Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

stair-foot door, being swelled by the thaw, would curse, and a bitter one, must follow the neglect of do any thing better than it would open. An at- it. But suppose this were done, can they be letempt to force it upon that office has been attended gally deprived of their charter? In truth I think with such a horrible dissolution of its parts, that so. If the abuse and perversion of a charter can we were immediately obliged to introduce a chirur- amount to a defeasance of it, never were they so geon, commonly called a carpenter, whose appli- grossly palpable as in this instance; never was cations we have some hope will cure it of a locked charter so justly forfeited. Neither am I at all jaw, and heal its numerous fractures. His medi- afraid that such a measure should be drawn into cines are powerful chalybeates, and a certain a precedent, unless it could be alleged as a suffiglutinous salve, which he tells me is made of the cient reason for not hanging a rogue, that perhaps tails and ears of animals. The consequences how-magistracy might grow wanton in the exercise of ever are rather unfavourable to my present employ-such a power, and now and then hang up an honment, which does not well brook noise, bustle, and est man for its amusement. When the governors interruption. of the bank shall have deserved the same severity,

I

I

W. C.

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.

Jan. 18, 1784.

This being the case, I shall not perhaps be either hope they will meet with it. In the mean time so perspicuous, or so diffuse, on the subject of which do not think them a whit more in jeopardy beyou desire my sentiments, as I should be, but I cause a corporation of plunderers have been brought will do my best. Know then that I have learnt to justice. long since of Abbé Raynal, to hate all monopo- We are well, and love you all. I never wrote lies, as injurious, howsoever managed, to the in- in such a hurry, nor in such disturbance. Pardon terests of commerce at large; consequently the char- the effects, and believe me yours affectionately, ter in question would not at any rate be a favourite of mine. This however is of itself I confess no sufficient reason to justify the resumption of it. But such reasons I think are not wanting. A grant of that kind, it is well known, is always forfeited by the nonperformance of the conditions. And why not equally forfeited, if those conditions MY DEAR FRIEND, are exceeded, if the design of it be perverted, and I TOO have taken leave of the old year, and its operation extended to objects which were never parted with it just when you did, but with very in the contemplation of the donor? This appears different sentiments and feelings upon the occasion. to me to be no misrepresentation of their case, I looked back upon all the passages and occurwhose charter is supposed to be in danger. It con- rences upon it, as a traveller looks back upon a stitutes them a trading company, and gives them wilderness, through which he has passed with an exclusive right to traffic in the East Indies. But weariness and sorrow of heart, reaping no other it does no more. It invests them with no sove- fruit of his labour than the poor consolation that, reignty; it does not convey them the royal prerog- dreary as the desert was, he has left it all behind ative of making war and peace, which the king him. The traveller would find even this comfort can not alienate if he would. But this preroga- considerably fessened, if, as soon as he had passed tive they have exercised, and, forgetting the terms one wilderness, another of equal length, and equally of their institution, have possessed themselves of desolate, should expect him. In this particular, an immense territory, which they have ruled with his experience and mine would exactly tally. I a rod of iron, to which it is impossible they should should rejoice indeed that the old year is over and even have a right, unless such a one as it is a dis-gone, if I had not every reason to prophesy a new grace to plead the right of conquest. The poten- one similar to it. tates of this country they dash in pieces like a pot- I am glad you have found so much hidden treater's vessel, as often as they please, making the sure; and Mrs. Unwin desires me to tell you that happiness of thirty millions of mankind a consid- you did her no more than justice, in believing that eration subordinate to that of their own emolu- she would rejoice in it. It is not easy to surmise ment, oppressing them as often as it may serve a the reason, why the reverend doctor, your predelucrative purpose, and in no instance, that I have cessor, concealed it. Being a subject of a free ever heard, consulting their interest or advantage. government, and I suppose full of the divinity most That government therefore is bound to interfere, in fashion, he could not fear lest his great riches and to unking these tyrants, is to me self-evident. should expose him to persecution. Nor can I supAnd if having subjugated so much of this misera- pose that he held it any disgrace for a dignitary ble world, it is therefore necessary that we must of the church to be wealthy, at a time when keep possession of it, it appears to me a duty so churchmen in general spare no pains to become binding on the legislature to resume it from the so. But the wisdom of some men has a droll sort hands of those usurpers, that I should think a of knavishness in it, much like that of the magpic,

who hides what he finds with a deal of contrivance, attended her hearse would have been better bemerely for the pleasure of doing it.

[ocr errors]

Yours, W. C.

TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.

MY DEAR WILLIAM,

stowed upon you; and by this time perhaps she thinks so. Alas! what an inquiry does that thought suggest, and how impossible to make it to any purpose? What are the employments of the departed spirit? and where does it subsist? Has it any cognizance of earthly things? Is it transported to an Jan. 23, 1784. immeasurable distance; or is it still, though imWHEN I first resolved to write an answer to perceptible to us, conversant with the same scene, your last, this evening, I had no thought of any and interested in what passes here? How little we thing more sublime than prose. But before I be- know of a state to which we are all destined; and gan, it occurred to me that perhaps you would how does the obscurity, that hangs over that unnot be displeased with an attempt to give a poetical discovered country, increase the anxiety we sometranslation of the lines you sent me. They are so times feel as we are journeying towards it! It is beautiful, that I felt the temptation irresistible. At sufficient however for such as you, and a few more least, as the French say, it was plus forte que of my acquaintance, to know that in your separate moi; and I accordingly complied. By this means state you will be happy. Provision is made for I have lost an hour; and whether I shall be able your reception, and you will have no cause to reto fill my sheets before supper, is as yet doubtful. gret aught that you have left behind. But I will do my best.

For your remarks, I think them perfectly just. You have no reason to distrust your taste, or to submit the trial of it to me. You understand the use and the force of language as well as any man. You have quick feelings, and you are fond of poetry. How is it possible then that you should not be a judge of it? I venture to hazard only one alteration, which, as it appears to me, would amount to a little improvement. The seventh and eighth lines I think I should like better thus

Aspirante levi zephyro et redeunte serena
Anni temperie, fœcundo e cespite surgunt.

I have written to Mr.

My letter went this morning. How I love and honour that man! For many reasons I dare not tell him how much. But I hate the frigidity of the style, in which I am Dii tibi divitias dederunt artemque fruendi→ forced to address him. That line of Horace was never so applicable to the poet's friend, as to Mr. My bosom burns to immortalize him. But prudence says Forbear!" and, though a poet, I pay respect to her injunctions.

I sincerely give you joy of the good you have unconsciously done by your example and conversation. That you seem to yourself not to deserve the acknowledgment your friend makes of it, is a My reason is, that the word cum is repeated too proof that you do. Grace is blind to its own soon. At least my ear does not like it; and when beauty, whereas such virtues as men may reach it can be done without injury to the sense, there without it, are remarkable self-admirers. May seems to be an elegance in diversifying the ex- you make such impressions upon many of your pression, as much as possible, upon similar occa- order! I know none that need them more. sions. It discovers a command of phrase, and You do not want our praises of your conduct gives a more masterly air to the piece. If extincta towards Mr. It is well for him however, stood unconnected with telis, I should prefer your and still better for yourself, that you are capable word micant to the doctor's vigent. But the latter of such a part. It was said of some good man, seems to stand more in direct opposition to that (my memory does not serve me with his name,) of extinction, which is effected by a shaft or arrow." do him an ill turn and you make him your friend In the day-time the stars may be said to die, and for ever." But it is Christianity only that forms in the night to recover their strength. Perhaps such friends. I wish his father may be duly afthe doctor had in his eye that noble line of Gray-fected by this instance and proof of your supeHyperion's march they spy, and glitt'ring shafts riority to those ideas of you which he has so unof war! But it is a beautiful composition. It is reasonably harboured. He is not in my favour tender, touching and elegant. It is not easy to now, nor will be upon any other terms. do justice in English, as for example.*

I laughed at the comments you make on your Many thanks for the books, which, being most own feelings, when the subject of them was a admirably packed, came safe. They will furnish newspaper eulogium. But it was a laugh of pleaus with many a winter evening's amusement. We sure and approbation: are glad that you intend to be the carrier back. and so is it made up. We rejoice too that your cousin has remembered good, and keep their you in her will. The money she left to those who without a struggle.

*See the note subjoined to the next letter.

such indeed is the heart, There are few that can do own secret, none perhaps Yourself, and your friend -, are no very common instances of the fortitude that is necessary in such a conflict. In for

mer days I have felt my heart beat, and every dispute, and such struggles having been already vein throb, upon such an occasion. To publish made in the conduct of it, as have shaken our very my own deed was wrong. I knew it to be so. foundations, it seems not unreasonable to suppose But to conceal it seemed like a voluntary injury that still greater efforts, and more fatal, are behind; to myself. Sometimes I could, and sometimes I and after all, the decision in favour of either side could not succeed. My occasions for such conflicts may be ruinous to the whole. In the mean time, indeed were not very numerous.. that the company themselves are but indifferently qualified for the kingship, is most deplorably evi dent. What shall I say therefore? I distrust the court, I suspect the patriots, I put the company entirely aside, as having forfeited all claim to confidence in such a business, and see no remedy of course, but in the annihilation, if that could be accomplished, of the very existence of our authority in the East Indies.

Yours, W. C.

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

[ocr errors]

The late Doctor Jortin
Had the good fortune

To write these verses
Upon tombs and hearses:
Which I being jinglish,
Have done into English.

Yours, my dear friend, W. C.

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.

Jan. 25, 1784. THIS contention about East Indian patronage seems not unlikely to avenge upon us, by its consequences, the mischiefs we have done there. The matter in dispute is too precious to be relinquished by either party; and each is jealous of the influence the other would derive from the possession of it. In a country whose politics have so long rolled upon the wheels of corruption, an affair of such value must prove a weight in either scale absolutely destructive of the very idea of a balance. Every man has his sentiments upon this subject, and I have mine. Were I constituted umpire of this strife, with full powers to decide it, I would tie a talent of lead about the neck of this patronage, and plunge it into the depths of the sea. To speak less figuratively, I would abandon all territo- MY DEAR FRIEND, February, 1784. rial interest in a country to which we can have no I am glad that you have finished a work, of right, and which we can not govern with any se- which I well remember the beginning, and which curity to the happiness of the inhabitants, or with-L was sorry you thought it expedient to disconout the danger of incurring either perpetual broils, tinue. Your reason for not proceeding was however or the most insupportable tyranny at home. That such as I was obliged to acquiesce in, being sugsort of tyranny, I mean, which flatters and tanta-gested by a jealousy you felt, "lest your spirit lizes the subject with a show of freedom, and in should be betrayed into acrimony, in writing upon reality, allows him nothing more; bribing to the such a subject." I doubt not you have sufficiently right and left, rich enough to afford the purchase guarded that point, and indeed at the time, I could of a thousand consciences, and consequently strong not discover that you had failed in it. I have buenough, if it happen to meet with an incorruptible sied myself this morning in contriving a Greek one, to render all the efforts of that man, or of title, and in seeking a motto. The motto you twenty such men, if they could be found, romantic, mention is certainly apposite. But I think it an and of no effect. I am the king's most loyal sub- objection that it has been so much in use; almost ject, and most obedient humble servant. But by every writer that has claimed a liberty to think for his majesty's leave I must acknowledge I am not himself upon whatever subject, having chosen it. altogether convinced of the rectitude even of his I therefore send you one, which I never saw in own measures, or the simplicity of his views; and that shape yet, and which appears to me equally if I were satisfied that he himself is to be trusted, apt and proper. The Greek word, dues, which it is nevertheless palpable, that he can not answer signifies literally a shackle, may figuratively serve for his successors. At the same time he is my to express those chains which bigotry and prejuking, and I reverence him as such. I account his dice cast upon the mind. It seems, therefore, to prerogative sacred, and shall never wish prosperity speak like a lawyer, no misnomer of your book to to a party that invades it, and that under the pre-call it, tence of patriotism would annihilate all the consequence of a character essential to the very being of the constitution. For these reasons I am sorry

that we be any dominion in the East-that we

Μισόδεσμος.

For the verses entitled "In brevitatem vitæ spatii homin

have any such emoluments to contend about. bus concessi," together with Cowper's translation of them,

Their immense value will probably prolong the vide Pocms.

The following pleases me most of all the mottos ing frequent occasion for some skill in surgery; I have thought of. But with respect both to that but physicians, I presume, they had none, having and the title you will use your pleasure.

Querelis

Haud justis assurgis, et irrita jurgia jactas.
En. X. 94.

no need of any. Is it possible, that a creature like myself can be descended from such progenitors, in whom there appears not a single trace of family resemblance? What an alteration have a few ages made? They, without clothing, would defy the From the little I have seen, and the much I severest season; and I, with all the accommodahave heard of the manager of the Review you tions that art has since invented, am hardly secure mention, I can not feel even the smallest push of a even in the mildest. If the wind blows upon me desire to serve him in the capacity of poet. Indeed when my pores are open, I catch cold. A cough I dislike him so much, that, had I a drawer full of is the consequence. I suppose if such a disorder pieces fit for his purpose, I hardly think I should could have seized a Pict, his friends would have contribute to his collection. It is possible too that concluded that a bone had stuck in his throat, and I may live to be once more a publisher myself; in that he was in some danger of choking. They which case I should be glad to find myself in pos- would perhaps have addressed themselves to the session of any such original pieces, as might de- cure of his cough by thrusting their fingers into cently make their appearance in a volume of my his gullet, which would only have exasperated the own. At present however I have nothing that case. But they would never have thought of adwould be of use to him, nor have I many oppor- ministering laudanum, my only remedy. For this tunities of composing. Sunday being the only difference, however, that has obtained between me day in the week which we spend alone. and my ancestors, I am indebted to the luxurious I am at this moment pinched for time, but was practices, and enfeebling self-indulgence, of a long desirous of proving to you, with what alacrity my Greek and Latin memory are always ready to obey you, and therefore by the first post have to the best of my ability complied with your request. Believe me, my dear friend, Affectionately yours, W. C.

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.

line of grandsires, who from generation to generation have been employed in deteriorating the breed, till at last the collected effects of all their follies have centred in my puny self. A man indeed, but not in the image of those that went before me. A man, who sigh and groan, who wear out life in dejection and oppression of spirits, and who never think of the Aborigines of the country to which I belong, without wishing that I had been born among them. The evil is without a remedy, unMY DEAR FRIEND, Feb. 10, 1784. less the ages that are passed could be recalled, my THE morning is my writing time, and in the whole pedigree be permitted to live again, and bemorning I have no spirits. So much the worse for ing properly admonished to beware of enervating my correspondents. Sleep, that refreshes my bo- sloth and refinement, would preserve their hardidy, seems to cripple me in every other respect. As ness of nature unimpaired, and transmit the desirathe evening approaches, I grow more alert, and ble quality to their posterity. I once saw Adam when I am retiring to bed, am more fit for mental in a dream. We sometimes say of a picture, that occupation than at any other time. So it fares we doubt not its likeness to the original, though with us whom they call nervous. By a strange we never saw him; a judgment we have some reainversion of the animal economy, we are ready to son to form, when the face is strongly charactersleep when we have most need to be awake, and ed, and the features full of expression. So I think go to bed just when we might sit up to some pur- of my visionary Adam, and for a similar reason. pose. The watch is irregularly wound up, it goes His figure was awkward indeed in the extreme. in the night when it is not wanted, and in the day It was evident that he had never been taught by a stands still. In many respects we have the advan- Frenchman to hold his head erect, or to turn out tage of our forefathers the Picts. We sleep in a his toes; to dispose gracefully of his arms, or to whole skin, and are not obliged to submit to the simper without a meaning. But if Mr. Bacon was painful operation of puncturing ourselves from head called upon to produce a statue of Hercules, he to foot, in order that we may be decently dressed, need not wish for a juster pattern. He stood like and fit to appear abroad. But on the other hand, a rock; the size of his limbs, the prominence of we have reason enough to envy them their tone of his muscles, and the height of his stature, all connerves, and that flow of spirits which effectually se- spired to bespeak him a creature whose strength cured them from all uncomfortable impressions of had suffered no diminution; and who, being the a gloomy atmosphere, and from every shade of me- first of his race, did not come into the world unlancholy from every other cause. They under-der a necessity of sustaining a load of infirmities, stood, I suppose, the use of vulnerary herbs, hav-derived to him from the intemperance of others.

[TO THE REV. WILLIAM BULL.) February 22, 1784.

He was as much stouter than a Pict, as I suppose from the newspapers. I take it for granted, that a Pict to have been than I. Upon my hypothesis, those reporters of the wisdom of our representatherefore, there has been a gradual declension, in tives are tolerably correct and faithful. Were they point of bodily vigour, from Adam down to me: not, and were they guilty of frequent and gross at least if my dream were a just representation of misrepresentation, assuredly they would be chasthat gentleman, and deserve the credit I can not tised by the rod of parliamentary criticism. Could help giving it, such must have been the case. I be present at the debates, I should indeed have a Yours, my dear friend, W. C. better opinion of my documents. But if the House of Commons be the best school of British politics, which I think an undeniable assertion, then he that reads what passes there has opportunities of infor|mation, inferior only to theirs who hear for them"I CONGRATULATE you on the thaw-I suppose selves, and can be present upon the spot. Thus it is an universal blessing, and probably felt all qualified I take courage; and when a certain reveover Europe. I myself am the better for it, who rend neighbour of ours curls his nose at me, and wanted nothing that might make the frost supporta- holds my opinions cheap, merely because he has ble; what reason therefore have they to rejoice, passed through London, I am not altogether conwho, being in want of all things, were exposed to vinced that he has reason on his side. I do not its utmost rigour ?-The ice in my ink, however, know that the air of the metropolis has a power is not yet dissolved. It was long before the frost to brighten the intellects, or that to sleep a night scized it, but at last it prevailed. The Sofa has in the great city is a necessary cause of wisdom. consequently received little or no addition since. He tells me that Mr. Fox is a rascal, and that It consists at present of four books and part of a Lord North is a villain, that every creature exefifth; when the sixth is finished, the work is ac- crates them both, and that I ought to do so too. complished; but if I may judge by my present ina-But I beg to be excused. Villain and rascal are bility, that period is at a considerable distance."

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. MY DEAR FRIEND,

February, 1784.

exerts himself in a constitutional way to oppose it.

appellations, which we, who do not converse with great men, are rather sparing in the use of. I can conceive them both to be most entirely persuaded of the rectitude of their conduct; and the rather, because I feel myself much inclined to believe that, I GIVE you joy of a thaw, that has put an end being so, they are not mistaken. I can not think to a frost of nine weeks' continuance with very lit-that secret influence is a bugbear, a phantom, contle interruption; the longest that has happened jured up to serve a purpose; the mere shibboleth since the year 1739. May I presume that you feel of a party: and being, and having always been, yourself indebted to me for intelligence, which per- somewhat of an enthusiast on the subject of British haps no other of your correspondents will vouch-liberty, I am not able to withhold my reverence safe to communicate, though they are as well ap- and good wishes from the man, whoever he be, that prised of it, and as much convinced of the truth of it, as myself? It is, I suppose, every where Caraccioli upon the subject of self-acquaintance felt as a blessing, but nowhere more sensibly than was never, I believe, translated. I have sometimes at Olney; though even at Olney the severity of it thought that the Theological Miscellany might be has been alleviated in behalf of many. The same glad of a chapter of it monthly. It is a work benefactor, who befriended them last year, has with which I much admire. You, who are master of equal liberality administered a supply to their ne- their plan, can tell me whether such a contribucessities in the present. Like the subterraneous tion would be welcome. If you think it would, I flue that warms my myrtles, he does good, and is would be punctual in my remittances; and a laHis injunctions of secrecy are as rigor-bour of that sort would suit me better in my preous as ever, and must, therefore, be observed with sent state of mind than original composition on the same attention. He, however, is a happy man, religious subjects. whose philanthropy is not like mine, an impotent principle, spending itself in fruitless wishes. At the same time, I confess it is a consolation, and I feel it an honour, to be employed as the conductor, and to be trusted as the dispenser, of another man's bounty. Some have been saved from perishing, and all, that could partake of it, from the most pitiable distress.

unseen.

Remember us as those that love you, and are never unmindful of you.

Yours, my dear friend, W. C.

TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
Feb. 29, 1784.
WE are glad that you have such a Lord Petre

MY DEAR FRIEND,

I will not apologize for my politics, or suspect them of error, merely because they are taken up in your neighbourhood. He must be a man of a

« VorigeDoorgaan »