« VorigeDoorgaan »
experience, would not understand it. But the clothed, they are now enabled to maintain themstrain of simple and unaffected piety in the origi- selves. Their labour was almost in vain before; nal is sweet beyond expression. She sings like an but now it answers; it earns them bread, and all angel, and for that very reason has found but few their other wants are plentifully supplied. admirers. Other things I write too, as you will I wish, that by Mr. -'s assistance, your see on the other side, but these merely for my purpose in behalf of the prisoners may be effectuW. C. ated. A pen so formidable as his might do much good, if properly directed. The dread of a bold censure is ten times more moving than the most eloquent persuasion. They that can not feel for others, are the persons of all the world who feel most sensibly for themselves.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
Yours, my dear friend, W. C.
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Feb. 8, 1783. WHEN I Contemplate the nations of the earth, and their conduct towards each other, through the medium of a scriptural light, my opinions of them are exactly like your own. Whether they do good
MY DEAR WILLIAM, Jan. 19, 1783. Nor to retaliate, but for want of opportunity,| I have delayed writing. From a scene of most uninterrupted retirement, we have passed at once into a state of constant engagement; not that our society is much multiplied. The addition of an individual has made all this difference. Lady Austen and we pass our days alternately at each other's chateau. In the morning I walk with one or other of the ladies, and in the afternoon wind thread. Thus did Hercules and Samson, and thus do I; and were both those heroes living, I should or do evil, I see them acting under the permission not fear to challenge them to a trial of skill in that business, or doubt to beat them both. As to killing lions, and other amusements of that kind, with which they were so delighted, I should be their humble servant, and beg to be excused.
-'s last child is dead; it lived a little while in a world of which it knew nothing, and has gone to another, in which it has already become wiser than the wisest it has left behind. The earth is a grain of sand, but the interests of man are commensurate with the heavens.
or direction of that Providence who governs the earth, whose operations are as irresistible as they are silent and unsuspected. So far we are perfectly agreed; and howsoever we may differ upon inferior parts of the subject, it is, as you say, an Having no frank, I can not send you Mr. affair of no great consequence. For instance, you two letters as I intended. We corresponded as think the peace a better than we deserve, and in a long as the occasion required, and then ceased. certain sense I agree with you: as a sinful nation Charmed with his good sense, politeness, and libe- we deserve no peace at all, and have reason enough rality to the poor, I was indeed ambitious of con- to be thankful that the voice of war is at any rate tinuing a correspondence with him, and told him put to silence. so. Perhaps I had done more prudently had I never proposed it. But warm hearts are not famous for wisdom, and mine was too warm to be very considerate on such an occasion. I have not heard from him since, and have long given up all expectation of it. I know he is too busy a man to have leisure for me, and ought to have recollected it sooner. He found time to do much good, and to employ us as his agents in doing it, and that might have satisfied me. Though laid under the strictest injunctions of secrecy, both by him, and by you on his behalf, I consider myself as under no obligation to conceal from you the remittances he made. Only, in my turn, I beg leave to request secrecy on your part, because, intimate as you are with MY DEAR FRIEND, him, and highly as he values you, I can not yet | In writing to you I never want a subject. Self is always at hand, and self with its concerns is always interesting to a friend.
Mrs. Unwin thanks Mrs. Newton for her kind
letter, and for executing her commissions. We truly love you both, and think of you often.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
Feb. 13 and 20, 1783.
be sure that the communication would please him, his delicacies on this subject being as singular as his benevolence. He sent forty pounds, twenty You may think, perhaps, that having commenat a time. Olney has not had such a friend this ced poet by profession, I am always writing verses. many a day; nor has there been an instance at Not so-I have written nothing, at least finished any time of a few poor families so effectually re-nothing, since I published-except a certain facelieved, or so completely encouraged to the pursuit tious history of John Gilpin, which Mr. Unwin of that honest industry by which, their debts be- would send to the Public Advertiser. Perhaps ing paid, and the parents and children comfortably you might read it without suspecting the author.
My book procures me favours, which my mo- spectator, at the same time that by some they are desty will not permit me to specify, except one supposed to be forerunners of a general dissoluwhich, modest as I am, I can not suppress-a very tion. handsome letter from Dr. Franklin at Passy.-| These fruits it has brought me.
I have been refreshing myself with a walk in the garden, where I find that January (who according to Chaucer was the husband of May) being dead, February has married the widow.
Yours, &c. W. C.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
Olney, Feb. 20, 1783. SUSPECTING that I should not have hinted at Dr. Franklin's encomium under any other influence than that of vanity, I was several times on the point of burning my letter for that very reaBut not having time to write another by the same post, and believing that you would have the grace to pardon a little self-complacency in an author on so trying an occasion, I let it pass. One sin naturally leads to another, and a greater; and thus it happens now, for I have no way to gratify your curiosity, but by transcribing the letter in question. It is addressed, by the way, not to me, but to an acquaintance of mine, who had transmitted the volume to him without my knowledge.
writing to me, and am much obliged by your kind
There are political earthquakes as well as natural ones, the former less shocking to the eye, but not always less fatal in their influence than the latter. The image which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream was made up of heterogeneous and incompatible materials, and accordingly broken. Whatever is so formed must expect a like catastrophe.
I have an etching of the late Chancellor hanging over the parlour chimney. I often contemplate it, and call to mind the day when I was intimate with the original. It is very like him, but he is disguised by his hat, which, though fashionable, is awkward; by his great wig, the tie of which is hardly discernible in profile; and by his band and gown, which give him an appearance clumsily sacerdotal. Our friendship is dead and buried, yours is the only surviving one of all with which I was once honoured.
Adieu, W. C.
WHEN one has a letter to write, there is nothing more useful than to make a beginning. In the first place, because unless it be begun, there is no good reason to hope it will ever be ended; and secondly, because the beginning is half the business; it being much more difficult to put the pen in motion at first, than to continue the progress of it, when once moved. Mrs. C -'s illness, likely to prove mortal, and seizing her at such a time, has excited much compassion in my breast, and in Mrs. Unwin's, both for her and her daughter. To have parted with a child she loves so much, intending soon to follow her; to find herself arrested before she could set out, and at so great a distance from her most valued relations, her daughter's life too threatened by a disorder not often curable, are circumstances truly affecting. She has indeed much natural fortitude, and to make her condition still more tolerable, a good Christian hope for her support. But so it is, that the distresses of those who least need our pity excite it most; the amiableness of the character engages our sympathy, and GREAT revolutions happen in this Ant's nest of we mourn for persons for whom perhaps we might ours. One Emmet of illustrious character and more reasonably rejoice. There is still however a great abilities pushes out another; parties are possibility that she may recover; an event we must formed, they range themselves in formidable op-wish for, though for her to depart would be far position, they threaten each other's ruin, they better. Thus we would always withhold from the cross over and are mingled together, and like the skies those who alone can reach them; at least till coruscations of the Northern Aurora amuse the we are ready to bear them company.
Your most obedient humble servant,
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Present our love, if you please, to Miss C
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
I saw in the Gentleman's Magazine for last month
May 12, 1783.
has succeeded wonderfully in the trial. He finds A LETTER Written from such a place as this is the seat of the distemper in the stomach, and cures it principally by emetics. The old method of encountering the disorder has proved so unequal to the task, that I should be much inclined to any new practice, that comes well recommended. He is spoken of as a sensible and judicious man, but his name I have forgot.
May 5, 1783.
a creation; and creation is a work for which mere man is very indifferently qualified. Ex nihilo nihit fit, is a maxim that applies itself in every case where deity is not concerned. With this view of the matter, I should charge myself with extreme folly for pretending to work without materials, did I not know, that although nothing could be the result, even that nothing will be welcome. If I can tell you no news, I can tell you at least that I esteem you highly; that my friendship with you and yours is the only balm of my life; a comfort, sufficient to reconcile me to an existence destitute of every other. This is not the language of today, only the effect of a transient cloud suddenly brought over me, and suddenly to be removed, but punctually expressive of my habitual frame of mind, such as it has been these ten years.
You may suppose that I did not hear Mr.preach, but I heard of him. How different is that In the Review of last month, I met with an acplainness of speech, which a spiritual theme re- count of a sermon preached by Mr. Paley, at the quires, from that vulgar dialect which this gentle-consecration of his friend, Bishop Law. man has mistaken for it! Affectation of every sort is critic admires and extols the preacher, and devoutly odious, especially in a minister, and more especial-prays the lord of the harvest to send forth more such ly an affectation that betrays him into expressions labourers into his vineyard. I rather differ from fit only for the mouths of the illiterate. Truth him in opinion, not being able to conjecture in indeed needs no ornament, neither does, a beauti-what respect the vineyard will be benefited by such ful person; but to clothe it therefore in rags, when a measure. He is certainly ingenious, and has a decent habit was at hand, would be esteemed stretched his ingenuity to the uttermost in order to preposterous and absurd. The best proportioned exhibit the church established, consisting of bishops, figure may be made offensive by beggary and filth; priests, and deacons, in the most favourable point and even truths, which came down from Heaven, of view. I lay it down for a rule, that when much though they can not forego their nature, may be ingenuity is necessary to gain an argument credit, disguised and disgraced by unsuitable language. that argument is unsound at bottom. So is his, It is strange that a pupil of yours should blunder and so are all the petty devices by which he seeks thus. You may be consoled however by reflect- to enforce it. He says first, 'that the appointing, that he could not have erred so grossly, if he ment of various orders in the church is attended with had not totally and wilfully departed both from this good consequence, that each class of people is your instruction and example. Were I to describe supplied with a clergy of their own level and descripyour style in two words, I should call it plain and tion, with whom they may live and associate on terms neat, simplicem munditiis, and I do not know of equality. But in order to effect this good purhow I could give it juster praise, or pay it a greater pose, there ought to be at least three parsons in compliment. He that speaks to be understood by every parish, one for the gentry, one for the traders a congregation of rustics, and yet in terms that and mechanics, and one for the lowest of the vulwould not offend academical ears, has found the gar. Neither is it easy to find many parishes, happy medium. This is certainly practicable to where the laity at large have any society with their men of taste and judgment, and the practice of a minister at all. This therefore is fanciful, and a few proves it. Hactenus de Concionando. mere invention. In the next place he says it gives We are truly glad to hear that Miss C- a dignity to the ministry itself, and the clergy share is better, and heartily wish you more promising in the respect paid to their superiors. Much good accounts from Scotland. Debemur morti nos nos- may such participation do them! They themtraque. We all acknowledge the debt, but are selves know how little it amounts to. The digseldom pleased when those we love are required nity a parson derives from the lawn sleeves and to pay it. The demand will find you prepared square cap of his diocesan will never endanger his for it. Yours, my dear friend, W. C.
Pope says truly
Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow;
some causes of sorrow, when an amiable and Christian friend departs; but the Scripture, so many more, and so much more important reasons to rejoice, that on such occasions, perhaps more Again-Rich and splendid situations in the remarkably than on any other, sorrow is turned church have been justly regarded as prizes, held into joy. The law of our land is affronted if we out to invite persons of good hopes, and ingenuous say the king dies, and insists on it that he only deattainments.' Agreed. But the prize held out mises. This, which is a fiction, where a monarch" in the Scripture is of a very different kind; and only is in question, in the case of a Christian is our ecclesiastical baits are too often snapped by reality and truth. He only lays aside a body, the worthless, and persons of no attainments at which it is his privilege to be encumbered with no all. They are indeed incentives to avarice and am- longer; and instead of dying, in that moment he bition, but not to those acquirements by which begins to live. But this the world does not unonly the ministerial function can be adorned-derstand, therefore the kings of it must go on dezeal for the salvation of men, humility, and self- mising to the end of the chapter.* denial. Mr. Paley and I therefore can not agree.
Yours, my dear friend, W. C.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
May 26, 1783.
TO THE REV: WILLIAM UNWIN. MY DEAR WILLIAM, June 8, 1783. OUR severest winter, commonly called the spring, is now over, and I find myself seated in my favourI FEEL for my uncle, and do not wonder that his ite recess, the green-house. In such a situation, loss afflicts him. A connexion that has subsisted so silent, so shady, where no human foot is heard, so many years could not be rent asunder without and where only my myrtles presume to peep in at great pain to the survivor. I hope however and the window, you may suppose I have no interrupdoubt not but when he has had a little more time tion to complain of, and that my thoughts are perfor recollection, he will find that consolation in his fectly at my command. But the beauties of the own family, which is not the lot of every father to spot are themselves an interruption, my attention be blessed with. It seldom happens that married being called upon by those very myrtles, by a doupersons live together so long, or so happily; but ble row of grass pinks just beginning to blossom, this, which one feels oneself ready to suggest as and by a bed of beans already in bloom; and you matter of alleviation, is the very circumstance are to consider it, if you please, as no small pr proof that aggravates his distress; therefore he misses of my regard, that though you have so many powher the more, and feels that he can but ill spare erful rivals, I disengage myself from them all, and her. It is however a necessary tax which all who devote this hour entirely to you. live long must pay for their longevity, to lose many You are not acquainted with the Rev. Mr. Bull, whom they would be glad to detain (perhaps those of Newport, perhaps it is as well for you that you in whom all their happiness is centered), and to are not. You would regret still more than you do, see them step into the grave before them. In one that there are so many miles interposed between respect at least this is a merciful appointment: us. He spends part of the day with us to-mor when life has lost that to which it owed its princi- row. A dissenter, but a liberal one; a man of pal relish, we may ourselves the more cheerfully letters and of genius; master of a fine imagination, resign it. I beg you would present him with my or rather not master of it; an imagination which, most affectionate remembrance, and tell him, if when he finds himself in the company he loves, you think fit, how much I wish that the evening of his long day may be serene and happy.
TO THE REV. J. NEWTON.
and can confide in, runs away with him into such fields of speculation, as amuse and enliven every other imagination that has the happiness to be of the party! At other times he has a tender and delicate sort of melancholy in his disposition, not less agreeable in its way. No men are better qualified for companions in such a world as this, than men of such a temperament. Every scene of life has two sides, a dark and a bright one, and the mind that has an equal mixture of melancholy and
May 31, 1783. WE rather rejoice than mourn with you on the occasion of Mrs. C- -'s death. In the case of believers, death has lost his sting, not only with respect to those he takes away, but with respect to The Task appears to have been begun between the wrisurvivors also. Nature indeed will always suggest ting of this letter and that which immediately follows.
vivacity is the best of all qualified for the contem- proof till the day itself shall prove it. My own senplation of either. He can be lively without levity, timents upon the subject appear to me perfectly and pensive without dejection. Such a man is scriptural, though I have no doubt that they differ Mr. Bull. But he smokes tobacco-nothing is totally from those of all who have ever thought perfectabout it; being however so singular, and of no importance to the happiness of mankind, and being moreover difficult to swallow, just in proportion as they are peculiar, I keep them to myself.
Nihil est ab omni
On the other side I sent you a something, a song if you please, composed last Thursdaythe incident happened the day before.*
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.
I am, and always have been, a great observer of natural appearances, but, I think not a superstitious one. The fallibility of those speculations Yours, W. C. which lead men of fanciful minds to interpret Scripture by the contingencies of the day, is evident from this consideration, that what the God of the Scriptures has seen fit to conceal, he will not as the God of nature publish. He is one and the June 13, 1783. same in both capacities, and consistent with himI THANK you for your Dutch communications, self and his purpose, if he designs a secret, imThe suffrage of such respectable men must have penetrable, in whatever way we attempt to open given you much pleasure, a pleasure only to be ex it. It is impossible however for an observer of naceeded by the consciousness you had before of hav-tural phenomena not to be struck with the singuing published truth, and of having served a good larity of the present season. The fogs I mentioned master by doing so. in my last still continue, though till yesterday the
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I have always regretted that your ccclesiastical earth was as dry as intense heat could make it. history went no further; I never saw a work that The sun continues to rise and set without his rays, I thought more likely to serve the cause of truth, and hardly shines at noon, even in a cloudless sky. nor history applied to so good a purpose. The At eleven last night the moon was a dull red, she upon was nearly at her highest elevation, and had the facts incontestable, the grand observations upon them all irrefragable, and the style, in my judg colour of heated brick. She would naturally, I ment, incomparably better than that of Robertson know, have such an appearance looking through or Gibbon. I would give you my reasons for think- a misty atmosphere; but that such an atmosphere ing so, if I had not a very urgent one for declining should obtain for so long a time, and in a country it. You have no ear for such music, whoever where it has not happened in my remembrance may be the performer. What you added, but never even in the winter, is rather remarkable. We printed, is quite equal to what has appeared, have had more thunder storms than have consisted which I think might have encouraged you to pro-well with the peace of the fearful maidens in Olceed, though you missed that freedom in writing ney, though not so many as have happened in which you found before. While you were at places at no great distance, nor so violent. YesOlney this was at least possible; in a state of re- terday morning, however, at seven o'clock, two firetirement you had leisure, without which I suppose balls burst either in the steeple or close to it. WilPaul himself could not have written his Epistles. liam Andrews saw them meet at that point, and But those days are fled, and every hope of a continuation is fled with them.
immediately after saw such a smoke issue from the apertures in the steeple as soon rendered it invisiThe day of judgment is spoken of not only as a ble: the noise of the explosion surpassed all the surprise, but a snare-a snare upon all the in- noises I ever heard-you would have thought that habitants of the earth A difference indeed will a thousand sledge-hammers were battering great obtain in favour of the godly, which is, that though stones to powder, all in the same instant. The a snare, a sudden, in some sense an unexpected, weather is still as hot, and the air as full of vaand in every sense an awful event, yet it will find pour, as if there had been neither rain nor thunder them prepared to meet it. But the day being thus all the summer.
characterised, a wide field is consequently open to There was once a periodical paper published, conjecture; some will look for it at one period, and some at another; we shall most of us prove at last to have been mistaken, and if any should prove to have guessed aright, they will reap no advantage, the felicity of their conjecture being incapable of
⚫ Here followed his song of the Rose."
called Mist's Journal: a name well adapted to the sheet before you. Misty however as I am, I do not mean to be mystical, but to be understood, like an almanack-maker, according to the letter. As poet, nevertheless, I claim, if any wonderful event should follow, a right to apply all and every such post-prognostic, to the purposes of the tragic muse.
Yours, W. C.