« VorigeDoorgaan »
Rodney is almost accounted a Methodist for as-confess a weakness that I should not confess to all), cribing his success to Providence, men who have I feel myself not a little influenced by a tender rerenounced all dependence upon such a friend, gard to my reputation here, even among my neighwithout whose assistance nothing can be done, bours at Olney. Here are watch-makers, who threaten to drive the French out of the sea, laugh themselves are wits, and who at present perhaps at the Spaniards, sneer at the Dutch, and are to think me one. Here is a carpenter and a baker, carry the world before them. Our enemies are and not to mention others, here is your idol Mr. apt to brag, and we deride them for it; but we can whose smile is fame. All these read the
sing as loud as they can, in the same key, and no Monthly Review, and all these will set me down doubt wherever our papers go, shall be derided in for a dunce, if those terrible critics should show our turn. An Englishman's true glory should be, them the example. But oh! wherever else I am to do his business well, and say little about it; accounted dull, dear Mr. Griffith, let me pass for but he disgraces himself when he puffs his prow-a genius at Olney. ess, as if he had finished his task, when he has but just begun it.
Yours, W. C.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
We are sorry for little William's illness. It is however the privilege of infancy to recover almost immediately what it has lost by sickness. We are sorry too for Mr.'s dangerous condition. But he that is well prepared for the great journey can not enter on it too soon for himself, though his friends will weep at his departure.
Yours, W. C.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN..
MY DEAR FRIEND, June 12, 1782. EVERY extraordinary occurrence, in our lives affords us an opportunity to learn, if we will, something more of our own hearts and tempers, than we were before aware of. It is easy to promise ourselves beforehand, that our conduct shall be wise, or moderate, or resolute, on any given occasion. But when that occasion occurs, we do not THOUGH Some people pretend to be clever in the always find it easy to make good the promise: way of prophetical forecast, and to have a peculiar such a difference there is between theory and prac- talent of sagacity, by which they can divine the tice. Perhaps this is no new remark; but it is not meaning of a providential dispensation, while its a whit the worse for being old, if it be true. consequences are yet in embryo-I do not. There Before I had published, I said to myself-you is at this time to be found I suppose in the cabiand I, Mr. Cowper, will not concern ourselves net, and in both houses, a greater assemblage of much about what the critics may say of our book. able men, both as speakers and counsellors, than But having once sent my wits for a venture, I ever were contemporary in the same land. A man soon became anxious about the issue, and found not accustomed to trace the workings of Provithat I could not be satisfied with a warm place dence, as recorded in Scripture, and that has given in my own good graces, unless my friends were no attention to this particular subject, while empleased with me as much as I pleased myself. ployed in the study of profane history, would asMeeting with their approbation, I began to feel sert boldly, that it is a token for good, that much the workings of ambition. It is well, said I, that may be expected from them, and that the country, my friends are pleased, but friends are sometimes though heavily afflicted, is not to be despaired of, partial, and mine, I have reason to think, are not distinguished as she is by so many characters of altogether free from bias. Methinks I should like the highest class. Thus he would say, and I do to hear a stranger or two speak well of me. I was not deny, that the event might justify his skill in presently gratified by the approbation of the Lon-prognostics. God works by means, and in a case don Magazine, and the Gentleman's, particularly of great national perplexity and distress, wisdom by that of the former, and by the plaudit of Dr. and political ability seem to be the only natural Franklin. By the way, magazines are publica- means of deliverance. But a mind more religiously tions we have but little respect for, till we ourselves inclined, and perhaps a little tinctured with meare chronicled in them, and then they assume an lancholy, might, with equal probability of success, importance in our esteem which before we could hazard a conjecture directly opposite -Alas! what not allow them. But the Monthly Review, the is the wisdom of man, especially when he trusts most formidable of all my judges, is still behind. in it as the only God of his confidence?-When I What will that critical Rhadamanthus say, when consider the general contempt that is poured upon my shivering genius shall appear before him? all things sacred, the profusion, the dissipation, Still he keeps me in hot water, and I must wait the knavish cunning of some, the rapacity of another month for his award. Alas! when I wish others, and the impenitence of all; I am rather infor a favourable sentence from that quarter (to clined to fear that God, who honours himself by
We are as happy in lady Austen, and she in us,
bringing human glory to shame, and by disap-who is a creature the most easily comforted of any pointing the expectations of those whose trust is in the world! in creatures, has signalized the present day as a day of much human sufficiency and strength, has as ever-having a lively imagination, and being brought together from all quarters of the land the passionately desirous of consolidating all into one most illustrious men to be found in it, only that he family (for she has taken her leave of London), she may prove the vanity of idols, and that when a has just sprung a project which serves at least to great empire is falling, and he has pronounced a amuse us, and make us laugh--it is to hire Mr. sentence of ruin against it, the inhabitants, be Small's house, on the top of Clifton-hill, which is they weak or strong, wise or foolish, must fall with large, commodious, and handsome, will hold us it. I am rather confirmed in this persuasion by conveniently, and any friends who may occasionobserving that these luminaries of the state had ally favour us with a visit the house is furnished, no sooner fixed themselves in the political heaven, but, if it can be hired without the furniture, will than the fall of the brightest of them shook all the let for a trifle-your sentiments, if you please, upon rest. The arch of their power was no sooner this demarche! struck than the key-stone slipped out of its place; I send you my last frank-our best love attend those that were closest in connexion with it fol- you individually, and all together. I give you joy lowed, and the whole building, new as it is, seems of a happy change in the season, and myself also. to be already a ruin. If a man should hold this I have filled four sides in less time than two would language, who could convict him of absurdity? have cost me a week ago such is the effect of The marquis of Rockingham is minister-all the sunshine upon such a butterfly as I am. world rejoices, anticipating success in war and a glorious peace.-The marquis of Rockingham is dead-all the world is afflicted, and relapses into its former despondence. What does this prove, but that the marquis was their Almighty, and that now he is gone, they know no other? But MY DEAR FRIEND, let us wait a little, they will find another-Perhaps the duke of Portland, or perhaps the unpopular whom they now represent as a devil, may obtain that honour. Thus God is forgot; and when he is, his judgments are generally his
Yours, W. C.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
Aug. 3, 1782.
ENTERTAINING some hope that Mr. Newton's next letter would furnish me with the means of satisfying your inquiry on the subject of Dr. Johnson's opinion, I have till now delayed my answer to your last; but the information. is not yet come, Mr. Newton having intermitted a week more than How shall I comfort you upon the subject of usual, since his last writing. When I receive it, your present distress? Pardon me that I find my- favourable or not, it shall be communicated to you; self obliged to smile at it, because who but your- but I am not over sanguine in my expectations self would be distressed upon such an occasion? from that quarter. Very learned and very critical You have behaved politely, and like a gentleman; heads are hard to please. He may perhaps treat you have hospitably offered your house to a stran- me with lenity for the sake of the subject and deger, who could not, in your neighbourhood at least, sign, but the composition I think will hardly eshave been comfortably accommodated, any where cape his censure.. Though all doctors may not else. He, by neither refusing nor accepting an be of the same mind, there is one doctor at least, offer that did him too much honour, has disgraced whom I have lately discovered, my professed adhimself, but not you. I think for the future you mirer. He too, like Johnson, was with difficulty must be cautious of laying yourself open to a stran- persuaded to read, having an aversion to all poetger, and never again expose yourself to incivilities ry, except the Night Thoughts, which on a cerfrom an archdeacon you are not acquainted with. tain occasion, when being confined on board a Though I did not mention it, I felt with you ship he had no other employment, he got by what you suffered by the loss of Miss heart. He was however prevailed upon, and
I was only silent because I could minister no con- read me several times over; so that if my volume solation to you on such a subject, but what I had sailed with him, instead of Dr. Young's, 1 knew your mind to be already stored with. In- perhaps might have occupied that shelf in his deed, the application of comfort in such cases is a memory which he then allotted to the Doctor. nice business, and perhaps when best managed It is a sort of paradox, but it is true; we are might as well be let alone. I remember reading never more, in danger than when we think ourmany years ago a long treatise on the subject of selves most secure, nor in reality more secure than consolation, written in French; the author's name when we seem to be most in danger. Both sides I forgot, but I wrote these words in the margin-of this apparent contradiction were lately verified Special consolation! at least for a Frenchman, in my experience-Passing from the green-house
to the barn, I saw three kittens (for we have so learned, ingenious, good-natured, pious friend of many in our retinue) looking with fixed attention ours, who sometimes visits us, and whom we visiton something, which lay on the threshold of a ed last week, has put into my hands three voldoor nailed up. I took but little notice of them at umes of French poetry, composed by Madame first, but a loud hiss engaged me to attend more Guion-a quietist say you, and a fanatic, I will closely, when behold-a viper! the largest that I have nothing to do with her 'Tis very well, remember to have seen, rearing itself, darting its you are welcome to have nothing to do with her, forked tongue, and ejaculating the aforesaid hiss but in the mean time her verse is the only French at the nose of a kitten almost in contact with his verse I ever read that I found agreeable; there is lips. I ran into the hall for a hoe with a long a neatness in it equal to that which we applaud handle, with which I intended to assail him, and with so much reason in the compositions of Prior. returning in a few seconds missed him; he was I have translated several of them, and shall progone, and I feared had escaped me. Still how-ceed in my translations, till I have filled a Lillipuever the kitten sat watching immoveably upon the tian paper-book I happen to have by me, which same spot. I concluded therefore that, sliding when filled, I shall present to Mr. Bull. He is between the door and the threshold, he had found her passionate admirer, rode twenty miles to see his way out of the garden into the yard. I went her picture in the house of a stranger, which stranround immediately, and there found him in close ger politely insisted on his acceptance of it, and it conversation with the old cat, whose curiosity be- now hangs over his chimney. It is a striking poring excited by so novel an appearance, inclined her trait, too characteristic not to be a strong resem to pat his head repeatedly with her fore foot, with blance, and, were it encompassed with a glory, inher claws however sheathed, and not in anger, stead of being dressed in a nun's hood, might pass but in the way of philosophic inquiry and exami- for the face of an angel. 晶 Yours, W. C. nation. To prevent her falling a victim to so laudable an exercise of her talents, I interposed a moment with the hoe, and performed upon him an act of decapitation, which though not immediately mortal, proved so in the end. Had he slid into the passages, where it is dark, or had he, when in the yard, met with no interruption from the cat, and secreted himself in any of the outhouses, it is hardly possible but that some of the family must have been bitten; he might have been trodden upon without being perceived, and have slipped away before the sufferer could have distinguished what foe had wounded him. Three years ago we discovered one in the same place,
which the barber slew with a trowel.
TO LADY AUSTEN.
To watch the storms and hear the sky
For lumpish Hollander unfit !
Our proposed removal to Mr. Small's was, as you suppose, a jest, or rather a joco-serious matter. We never looked upon it as entirely feasible, yet we saw in it something so like practicability, that we did not esteem it altogether unworthy of our attention. It was one of those projects which MY DEAR SISTER, people of lively imaginations play with, and ad- You see my beginning-I do not know but in mire for a few days, and then break in pieces. time I may proceed even to the printing of halfLady Austen returned on Thursday from Lon-penny ballads-Excuse the coarseness of my padon, where she spent the last fortnight, and whi-per-I wasted such a quantity before I could ac ther she was called by an unexpected opportunity complish any thing legible, that I could not afford to dispose of the remainder of her lease. She has finer. I intend to employ an ingenious mechanic therefore no longer any connexion with the great of the town to make me a longer case; for you city, and no house but at Olney. Her abode is to may observe that my lines turn up their tails like be at the vicarage, where she has hired as much room as she wants, which she will embellish with her own furniture, and which she will occupy as soon as the minister's wife has produced another child, which is expected to make its entry in Oc
Dutch mastiffs, so difficult do I find it to make the two halves exactly coincide with each other.
We wait with impatience for the departure of this unseasonable flood. We think of you, and talk of you, but we can do no more, till the waters subside. I do not think our correspondence Mr. Bull, a dissenting minister of Newport, a should drop because we are within a mile of each
other. It is but an imaginary approximation, the perfectly at liberty to deal with them as you please. flood having in reality as effectually parted us, as Auctore tantùm anonymo imprimantur; and if the British Channel rolled between us. when printed, send me a copy. Yours, my dear sister, with Mrs. Unwin's best love.
Aug. 12, 1782.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM BULL.
Oct. 27, 1782.
I congratulate you on the discharge of your duty and your conscience, by the pains you have taken for the relief of the prisoners.-You proceeded wisely, yet courageously, and deserved better success. Your labours however will be remembered elsewhere, when you shall be forgotten here; and if the poor folks at Chelmsford should never receive the benefit of them, you will yourself receive it in Mon aimable et très cher Ami, heaven. It is pity that men of fortune should be Ir is not in the power of chaises or chariots to determined to acts of beneficence sometimes by carry you where my affections will not follow you; popular whim, or prejudice, and sometimes by if I heard that you were gone to finish your days motives still more unworthy. The liberal subin the moon, I should not love you the less; but scription raised in behalf of the widows of the seashould contemplate the place of your abode, as men lost in the Royal George was an instance of often as it appeared in the heavens, and say- the former. At least a plain, short, and sensible Farewell, my friend, for ever! Lost, but not for- letter in the newspaper convinced me at the time, gotten! Live happy in thy lantern, and smoke that it was an unnecessary and injudicious collec the remainder of thy pipes in peace! Thou art tion: and the difficulty you found in effectuating rid of earth, at least of all its cares, and so far can your benevolent intentions on this occasion, conI rejoice in thy removal; and as to the cares that strains me to think that had it been an affair of are to be found in the moon, I am resolved to sup- more notoriety than merely to furnish a few poor pose them lighter than those below-heavier they fellows with a little fuel to preserve their extremican hardly be. ⚫ties from the frost, you would have succeeded betMadame Guion is finished, but not quite tran- ter. Men really pious delight in doing good by scribed.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Nov. 4, 1782. You are too modest; though your last consisted of three sides only, I am certainly a letter in your debt. It is possible that this present writing may prove as short. Yet, short as it may be, it will be a letter, and make me creditor, and you my debtor. A letter indeed ought not to be estimated by the length of it, but by the contents, and how can the contents of any letter be more agreeable than your last?
stealth. But nothing less than an ostentatious
Yours, my dear Unwin,
You tell me that John Gilpin made you laugh tears, and that the ladies at court are delighted with my poems. Much good may they do them! May they become as wise as the writer wishes them, and they will be much happier than he! I know there is in the book that wisdom which TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. cometh from above, because it was from above that I received it. May they receive it too! For MY DEAR WILLIAM, Nov. 18, 1782. whether they drink it out of the cistern, or whe- ON the part of the poor, and on our part, be ther it falls upon them immediately from the pleased to make acknowledgments, such as the clouds, as it did on me, it is all one. It is the occasion calls for, to our beneficent friend Mr. water of life, which whosoever drinketh shall I call him ours, because having experithirst no more. As to the famous horseman enced his kindness to myself in a former instance, above-mentioned, he and his feats are an inex- and in the present his disinterested readiness to haustible source of merriment. At least we find succour the distressed, my ambition will be satishim so, and seldom meet without refreshing our-fied with nothing less. He may depend upon the selves with the recollection of them. You are strictest secrecy; no creature shall hear him men
Yours, my dear William, W. C.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. MY DEAR WILLIAM,
tioned, either now or hereafter, as the person from | necessity-a melancholy that nothing so effectuwhom we have received this bounty. But when I ally disperses, engages me sometimes in the arduspeak of him, or hear him spoken of by others, ous task of being merry by force. And, strange which sometimes happens, I shall not forget what as it may seem, the most ludicrous lines I ever is due to so rare a character. I wish, and your wrote have been written in the saddest mood, and mother wishes it too, that he could sometimes take but for that saddest mood, perhaps had never us in his way to ; he will find us happy to been written at all. receive a person whom we must needs account it I hear from Mrs. Newton, that some great peran honour to know. We shall exercise our best sons have spoken with great approbation of a cerdiscretion in the disposal of the money; but in tain book-Who they are, and what they have this town, where the Gospel has been preached so said, I am to be told in a future letter. The many years, where the people have been favoured Monthly Reviewers in the mean time have satisso long with laborious and conscientious minis-fied me well enough. ters, it is not an easy thing to find, those who make no profession of religion at all, and are yet proper objects of charity. The profane, are so profane, so drunken, dissolute, and in every respect worthless, that to make them partakers of his bounty would be to abuse it. We promise however that none shall touch it but such as are DOCTOR BEATTIE is a respectable character. I miserably poor, yet at the same time industrious account him a man of sense, a philosopher, a schoand honest, two characters frequently united here, lar, a person of distinguished genius, and a good where the most watchful and unremitting labour writer. I believe him too a Christian: with a will hardly procure them bread. We make none profound reverence for the Scripture, with great but the cheapest laces, and the price of them is zeal and ability to enforce the belief of it (both fallen almost to nothing. Thanks are due to your-which he exerts with the candour and good manself likewise, and are hereby accordingly rendered, ners of a gentleman;) he seems well entitled to for waiving your claim in behalf of your own pa- that allowance; and to deny it him, would impeach rishioners. You are always with them, and they one's own right to the appellation. With all these are always, at least some of them, the better for good things to recommend him, there can be no your residence among them. Olney is a popu- dearth of sufficient reasons to read his writings. lous place, inhabited chiefly by the half-starved You favoured me some years since with one of his and the ragged of the earth, and it is not possible volumes; by which I was both pleased and infor our small party and small ability to extend their structed: and I beg that you will send me the new operations so far as to be much felt among such one, when you can conveniently spare it, or rather numbers. Accept therefore your share of their bring it yourself, while the swallows are yet upon gratitude, and be convinced that when they pray the wing; for the summer is going down apace. for a blessing upon those who relieved their wants, He that answers that prayer, and when he answers, will remember his servant at Stock.
You tell me you have been asked, if I am intent upon another volume? I reply-not at present, not being convinced that I have met with sufficient I little thought when I was writing the history encouragement. I account myself happy in havof John Gilpin, that he would appear in print-I ing pleased a few, but am not rich enough to deintended to laugh, and to make two or three others spise the many. I do not know what sort of marlaugh, of whom you were one. But now all the ket my commodity has found, but if a slack one, world laughs, at least if they have the same relish I must beware how I make a second attempt. My for a tale ridiculous in itself, and quaintly told, as bookseller will not be willing to incur a certain we have-Well-they do not always laugh so in- loss; and I can as little afford it. Notwithstandnocently, and at so small an expense-for in a ing what I have said, I write, and am even now world like this, abounding with subjects for sa-writing for the press. I told you that I had transtire, and with satirical wits to mark them, a laugh lated several of the poems of Madame Guion. I that hurts nobody has at least the grace of no- told you too, or I am mistaken, that Mr. Bull develty to recommend it. Swift's darling motto was, signed to print them. That gentleman is gone to Vive la bagatelle-a good wish for a philosopher the sea-side with Mrs. Wilberforce, and will be of his complexion, the greater part of whose wis- absent six weeks. My intention is to surprise him dom, whencesoever it came, most certainly came at his return with the addition of as much more not from above. La bagatelle has no enemy in translation as I have already given him. This, me, though it has neither so warm a friend, nor however, is still less likely to be a popular work so able a one, as it had in him. If I trifle, and than my former. Men, that have no religion, merely trifle, it is because I am reduced to it by would despise it; and men, that have no religious