Seriously, he kept attacking his anticipated critics in the book itself. At one point, he said something to the effect of “many people are very similar to one another, and it is the true proficient who can draw characters similar to one another with slight differences. Lesser minds will accuse me of not varying my characters because they cannot detect the differences among them.” This is his way of excusing how literally every innkeeper’s wife is interchangeable, and getting his readers to try to justify him. And I’m sure they did it, too, because otherwise Henry Fielding himself called them stupid, and they’re afraid it’s true.
Also, I’d like to lodge a complaint that literally every single woman in the book wants to sleep with Tom Jones. Every. Single. One. Married, single, engaged, whatever: they all either try to or succeed in seducing him. Every time they succeed in making him betray his ‘dear Sophia,’ he throws all the blame on them. The men want to be him, the women want to sleep with him.
I’m aware that this is a comedy, and I have a suspicion that all the things I found particularly annoying about this book (see any time Tom Jones picks up and makes out with an inanimate object because Sophia touched it, which was no longer funny at time number 87) may have been jokes. Maybe so, but it was still a REALLY annoying book.