Critics have assigned them to the middle of the 2nd century.
Much of Shaftesbury's career, increasingly so as it came near its close, is incapable of defence; but it has escaped most of his critics that his life up to the Restoration, apparently full of inconsistencies, was evidently guided by one leading principle, the determination to uphold the supremacy of parliament, a principle which, however obscured by self-interest, appears also to have underlain his whole political career.
The vigour and success with which he organized the national resources and upheld the national honour, asserted the British sovereignty of the seas, defended the oppressed, and caused his name to be feared and respected in foreign courts where that of Stuart was despised and neglected, command praise and admiration equally from contemporaries and from modern critics, from his friends and from his opponents.
The attention of the reader was distracted, and his good taste annoyed, by the incessant use of puns, of which Hood had written in his own vindication: "However critics may take offence, A double meaning has double sense."
The influence of Aspasia on Athenian thought, though denounced unsparingly by most critics, may indeed have been beneficial, inasmuch as it tended towards the emancipation of the Attic woman from the over-strict tutelage in which she was kept.