first section he discusses the unlawfulness of selfdestruction and reasons against those who argue that selfmurder has nothing criminal in it. The second is a general dissuasion from selfmurder. In the third section he writes against the "pretences" for selfmurder, in the fourth he gives advice to those who are tempted that way and in the fifth he gives warning to those who have been rescued trom temptation. In the last section he discusses what he considers to be the causes of selfmurder. In the preface he speaks of
"the numerous selfmurders which we read in our papers of weekly news, 59 cases in the year before, 74 who were found drowned and 43 who were said to be found dead."
He expresses his behef that these were all cases of suicide. Watts attributes this tendency to
"growing Atheism, and the neglect of religion, to secret cruninal practices and shameful iniquities and the horror of poverty." ...
As this subject must naturally be repellent to every mentally healthy individual he apologises for his discourses :
"Though such themes as these are not a very delightful entertainment either to him that writes or reads, yet the cakmitous and wretched circumstances both of flesh and spirit in this feeble and dangerous state of frailty, sin and temptation, make such discourses necessary at some seasons to prevent the ruin of mankind."
In the very first year of its publication, 1731, the Gentleman's Magazine has an article to the effect that suicide is not suffïciendy discouraged. It quotes some remarks from Read's Journal March 6th. A young woman had stabbed herself with a penknife because her lover had been killed at sea. On this occasion the journalist Read had put the following lines into her mouth :
Kind Instrument! Now death direct the Blow Philanthus! meet me in the Shades below, Spite of the envious World we'11 happy be, If not while Finites, in Infinity.
That happiness after death could be the share of suicides