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pression made by your description. It is a com- tacle which this world exhibits, tragi-comical as fortable abode, and the time I hope will come when the incidents of it are, absurd in themselves, but I shall enjoy more than the mere representation terrible in their consequences;
I have not yet read the last Review, but dipping
Sunt res humanæ flebile ludibrium.
into it I accidentally fell upon their account of An instance of this deplorable merriment has ocHume's Essay on Suicide. I am glad that they curred in the course of last week at Olney. A have liberality enough to condemn the licentious- feast gave the occasion to a catastrophe truly shockness of an author whom they so much admire. 1 ing. Yours, my dear friend, W. C. say liberality, for there is as much bigotry in the world to that man's errors as there is in the hearts of some sectaries to their peculiar modes and tenets. He is the Pope of thousands, as blind and presumptuous as himself. God certainly infatuates those who will not see. It were otherwise impossible, that a man naturally shrewd and sensible,
and whose understanding has had all the advan
tages of constant exercise and cultivation, could have satisfied himself, or have hoped to satisfy others with such palpable sophistry as has not even the grace of fallacy to recommend it. His silly assertion that because it would be no sin to divert the course of the Danube, therefore it is none to let out a few ounces of blood from an artery, would justify not suicide only but homicide also. For the lives of ten thousand men are of less consequence to their country than the course of that river to the regions through which it flows. Population would soon make society amends for the loss of her ten thousand members, but the loss of the Danube would be felt by all the millions that dwell upon its banks, to all generations. But the life of a man and the water of a river can never
come into competition with each other in point of value, unless in the estimation of an unprincipled philosopher.
TO THE REV. J. NEWTON.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
July 28, 1784.
I MAY perhaps be short, but am not willing that you should go to Lymington without first having had a line from me. I know that place well, havThe town is neat, and the country delightful. You ing spent six weeks there, above twenty years ago. walk well, and will consequently find a part of the coast, called Half-Cliff, within the reach of your ten toes. It was a favourite walk of mine; to the best of my remembrance, about three miles distance from Lymington. There you may stand upon the beach, and contemplate the Needle-rock. At least you might have done so twenty years ago. But since that time I think it is fallen from its base, and is drowned, and is no longer a visible object of contemplation. I wish you may pass your time there happily, as in all probability you will, perhaps usefully too to others, undoubtedly so to yourself.
made acquainted with Mr. Gilpin gives a proviThe manner in which you have been previously dential air to your journey, and affords reason to I thank you for your offer of classics. When him. I admire him as a biographer. But as Mrs. hope that you may be charged with a message to I want I will borrow. Horace is my own. Ho- Unwin and I were talking of him last night, mer, with a clavis, I have had possession of some we could not but wonder that a man should see years. They are the property of Mr. Jones. A so much excellence in the lives, and so much glory Virgil, the property of Mr. S- I have had and beauty in the deaths of the martyrs, whom he as long. I am nobody in the affair of tenses, unless when you are present.
TO THE REV. J. NEWTON.
has recorded, and at the same time disapprove the principles that produced the very conduct he admired. It seems however a step towards the truth, to applaud the fruits of it; and one can not help thinking that one step more would put him in possession of the truth itself. By your means may he be enabled to take it!
July 19, 1784. We are obliged to you for the preference you In those days when Bedlam was open to the would have given to Olney, had not providence cruel curiosity of holiday ramblers, I have been a determined your course another way. But as, visiter there. Though a boy, I was not altogether when we saw you last summer, you gave us no reainsensible of the misery of the poor captives, nor son to expect you this, we are the less disappointed. destitute of feeling for them. But the madness of At your age and mine, biennial visits have such a some of them had such an humorous air, and dis- gap between them that we can not promise ourplayed itself in so many whimsical freaks, that it selves upon those terms very numerous future inwas impossible not to be entertained, at the same terviews. But whether ours are to be many or time that I was angry with myself for being so. few, you will always be welcome to me, for the A line of Bourne's is very expressive of the spec-sake of the comfortable days that are past. In
my present state of mind my friendship for you Once more, by the aid of Lord Dartmouth, I indeed is as warm as ever. But I feel myself find myself a voyager in the Pacific ocean. In very indifferently qualified to be your companion. our last night's lecture we made our acquaintance Other days than these inglorious and unprofitable with the island of Hapaee, where we had never ones are promised me, and when I see them I shall been before. The French and Italians, it seems, rejoice. have but little cause to plume themselves on acI saw the advertisement of your adversary's book. count of their achievements in the dancing way; He is happy at least in this, that whether he have and we may hereafter, without much repining at brains or none, he strikes without the danger of it, acknowledge their superiority in that art. They being stricken again, He could not wish to en-are equalled, perhaps excelled by savages. How gage in a controversy upon casier terms. The wonderful, that without any intercourse with the other, whose publication is postponed till Christ-politer world, and having made no proficiency mas, is resolved, I suppose, to do something. But in any other accomplishment, they should in this do what he will he can not prove that you have however have made themselves such adepts, that not been aspersed, or that you have not refuted the for regularity and grace of motion they might even charge; which unless he can do, I think he will be our masters. How wonderful too, that with a do little to the purpose.
Mrs. Unwin thinks of you, and always with a grateful recollection of yours and Mrs. Newton's kindness. She has had a nervous fever lately. But I hope she is better. The weather forbids walking, a prohibition hurtful to us both. We heartily wish you a good journey, and are affectionately yours, W. C. and M. U.
tub and a stick they should be able to produce such harmony, as persons accustomed to the sweetest music can not but hear with pleasure. Is it not very difficult to account for the striking difference of character, that obtains among the inhabitants of these islands? Many of them are near neighbours to each other. Their opportunities of improvement much the same; yet some of them are in a degree polite, discover symptoms of taste, and have a sense of elegance; while others are as rude as we naturally expect to find a people who have never had any communication with the MY DEAR FRIEND, northern hemisphere. These volumes furnish much I GIVE you joy of a journey performed without matter of philosophical speculation, and often entrouble or danger. You have travelled five hun-tertain me even while I am not employed in readdred miles without having encountered either. ing them.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
Aug. 14, 1784.
Some neighbours of ours, about a fortnight since, I am sorry you have not been able to ascertain made an excursion only to a neighbouring village the doubtful intelligence I have received on the and brought home with them fractured skulls, and subject of court skirts and bosoms. I am now broken limbs, and one of them is dead. For my every day occupied in giving all the grace I can own part, I seem pretty much exempted from the to my new production, and in transcribing it I dangers of the road. Thanks to that tender in- shall soon arrive at the passage that censures that terest and concern, which the legislature takes in folly, which I shall be loth to expunge, but which my security! Having no doubt their fears lest I must not spare, unless the criminals can be conso precious a life should determine too soon, and victed. The world however is not so unproducby some untimely stroke of misadventure, they tive of subjects of censure, but that it may possihave made wheels and horses so expensive that I bly supply me with some other that may serve me am not likely to owe my death to either. as well.
Heu quot amatores nunc torquet epistola rara!
Your mother and I continue to visit Weston If you know any body that is writing, or indaily, and find in those agreeable bowers such tends to write, an epic poem on the new regulaamusement as leaves us but little room to regret tion of franks, you may give him my compliments, that we can go no further. Having touched that and these two lines for a beginningtheme, I can not abstain from the pleasure of telling you that our neighbours in that place, being about to leave it for some time, and meeting us there but a few evenings before their departue, entreated us during their absence to consider the| garden, and all its contents, as our own, and to gather whatever we liked, without the least scruple. We accordingly picked strawberries as often as we went, and brought home as many bundles of honey-suckles as served to perfume our dwelling me before you take leave of Lymington, I certainly till they returned. should not have answered you so soon. Know
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.
HAD you not expressed a desire to hear from
very nearly akin, though they inhabit countries so very remote from each other.
We are truly glad that Mrs. Newton and yourself are so well, and that there is reason to hope that Eliza is better. You will learn from this letter that we are so, and that for my own part I am not quite so low in spirits as at some times. Learn too, what you knew before, that we love you all, and that I am Your affectionate friend, W. C.
ing the place, and the amusements it affords, I should have had more modesty than to suppose myself capable of adding any thing to your preMrs. Unwin remembers to have been in comsent entertainments worthy to rank with them. pany with Mr. Gilpin at her brother's. She I am not however totally destitute of such plea- thought him very sensible and polite, and consesures as an inland country may pretend to. If quently very agreeable. my windows do not command a view of the ocean, at least they look out upon a profusion of mignonette; which, if it be not so grand an object, is however quite as fragrant: and if I have not a hermit in a grotto, I have nevertheless myself in a green-house, a less venerable figure perhaps, but not at all less animated than he; nor are we in this nook altogether furnished with such means of philosophical experiment and speculation as at present the world rings with. On Thursday morning last, we sent up a balloon from Emberton meadow. Thrice it rose, and as oft descended, and in the evening it performed another flight at Newport, where it went up, and came down no more. Like the arrow discharged at the pigeon in the Trojan games, it kindled in the air, and was consumed in a moment. I have not heard what interpretation the soothsayers have given to the omen, but shall wonder a little if the Newton shepherd prognosticate any thing less from it than the most bloody war that was ever waged in Europe.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. MY DEAR FRIEND, Olney, Sept. 11, 1784. You have my thanks for the inquiries you have made. Despairing however of meeting with such confirmation of that new mode, as would warrant a general stricture, I had, before the receipt of your last, discarded the passage in which I had censured it. I am proceeding in my transcript with all possible despatch, having nearly finished the fourth book, and hoping, by the end of the month, to have completed the work. When I am reading Cook's last voyage, and am much finished, that no time may be lost, I purpose pleased and amused with it. It seems that in taking the first opportunity to transmit it to Lesome of the Friendly isles, they excel so much in man-street; but must beg that you will give me dancing, and perform that operation with such in your next an exact direction, that it may proexquisite delicacy and grace, that they are not ceed to the mark without any hazard of a miscarsurpassed even upon our European stages. O! riage. A second transcript of it would be a lathat Vestris had been in the ship, that he might bour I should very reluctantly undertake; for have seen himself outdone by a savage. The though I have kept copies of all the material alpaper indeed tells us that the queen of France terations, there are so many minutie of which I has clapped this king of capers up in prison, for have made none; it is besides slavish work, and declining to dance before her, on a pretence of of all occupations that which I dislike the most. I sickness, when in fact he was in perfect health. know that you will lose no time in reading it, but If this be true, perhaps he may by this time be I must beg you likewise to lose none in conveyprepared to second such a wish as mine, and to ing it to Johnson, that if he chooses to print it, it think that the durance he suffers would be well may go to the press immediately; if not, that it exchanged for a dance at Anamooka. I should may be offered directly to your friend Longman, however as little have expected to hear that or any other. Not that I doubt Johnson's acceptthese islanders had such consummate skill in ance of it, for he will find it more ad captum poan art, that requires so much taste in the puli than the former. I have not numbered the conduct of the person, as that they were good lines, except of the four first books, which amount mathematicians and astronomers. Defective as to three thousand two hundred and seventy-six. they are in every branch of knowledge, and in I imagine therefore that the whole contains above every other species of refinement, it seems won-five thousand. I mention this circumstance now, derful that they should arrive at such perfection because it may save him some trouble in casting in the dance, which some of our English gentle- the size of the book; and I might possibly forget it men, with all the assistance of French instruction, in another letter.
find it impossible to learn. We must conclude About a fortnight since, we had a visit from therefore that particular nations have a genius for Mr., whom I had not seen many years. He particular feats, and that our neighbours in France, introduced himself to us very politely, with many and our friends in the South sea, have minds thanks on his own part, and on the part of his
family, for the amusement which my book had that in my judgment of it has been very unworthy afforded them. He said he was sure that it must of your acceptance, but my conscience was in make its way, and hoped that I had not layed down some measure satisfied by reflecting, that if it the pen. I only told him in general terms, that were good for nothing, at the same time it cost the use of the pen was necessary to my well be- you nothing, except the trouble of reading it. But ing, but gave him no hint of this last production. the case is altered now. You must pay a solid He said that one passage in particular had abso- price for frothy matter, and though I do not absolutely electrified him, meaning the description of lutely pick your pocket, yet you lose your money, the Briton in Table Talk. He seemed indeed to and, as the saying is, are never the wiser. emit some sparks when he mentioned it. I was My green-house is never so pleasant as when glad to have that picture noticed by a man of a we are just upon the point of being turned out of cultivated mind, because I had always thought it. The gentleness of the autumnal suns, and the well of it myself, and had never heard it distin- calmness of this latter season, make it a much guished before. Assure yourself, my William, more agreeable retreat than we ever find it in the and though I would not write thus freely on the summer; when, the winds being generally brisk, subject of me or mine to any but yourself, the we can not cool it by admitting a sufficient quantity pleasure I have in doing it is a most innocent one, of air, without being at the same time incommoded and partakes not in the least degree, so far as my by it. But now I sit with all the windows and conscience is to be credited, of that vanity with the door wide open, and am regaled with the scent which authors are in general so justly chargeable. of every flower in a garden as full of flowers as I Whatever I do, I confess that I most sincerely have known how to make it. We keep no bees, wish to do it well, and when I have reason to hope but if I lived in a hive I should hardly hear more that I have succeeded, am pleased indeed, but not of their music. All the bees in the neighbourproud; for He, who has placed every thing out hood resort to a bed of mignonette, opposite to the of the reach of man, except what he freely gives window, and pay me for the honey they get out him, has made it impossible for a reflecting mind, of it by a hum, which, though rather monotonous, that knows this, to indulge so silly a passion for a is as agreeable to my ear as the whistling of my Yours, W. C. linnets. All the sounds that nature utters are delightful, at least in this country. I should not perhaps find the roaring of lions in Africa, or of bears in Russia, very pleasing; but I know no beast in England whose voice I do not account musical, Sept. 11, 1784. save and except always the braying of an ass. I HAVE never seen Dr. Cotton's book, concern- The notes of all our birds and fowls please me, ing which your sisters question me, nor did I without one exception. I I should not indeed think know, till you mentioned it, that he had written of keeping a goose in a cage, that I might hang any thing newer than his Visions. I have no him up in the parlour for the sake of his melody, doubt that it is so far worthy of him, as to be pious but a goose upon a common, or in a farm yard, is and sensible, and I believe no man living is better no bad performer; and as to insects, if the black qualified to write on such subjects as his title beetle, and beetles indeed of all hues, will keep seems to announce. Some years have passed out of my way, I have no objection to any of the since I heard from him, and considering his great age, it is probable that I shall hear from him no more; but I shall always respect him. He is truly a philosopher, according to my judgment of the character, every tittle of his knowledge in natural subjects being connected in his mind with the firm belief of an Omnipotent agent.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Yours, &c. W. C.
rest; on the contrary, in whatever key they sing, from the gnat's fine treble, to the base of the humble bee, I admire them all. Seriously however it strikes me as a very observable instance of providential kindness to man, that such an exact accord has been contrived between his ear, and the sounds with which, at least in a rurul situation, it is almost every moment visited. All the world is sensible of the uncomfortable effect that certain sounds have upon the nerves, and consequently upon the spirits-And if a sinful world had been filled with such as would have curdled the blood, and have Sept. 18, 1784. made the sense of hearing a perpetual inconveniFOLLOWING your good example, I lay before me ence, I do not know that we should have had a a sheet of my largest paper. It was this moment right to complain. But now the fields, the woods, fair and unblemished, but I have begun to blot it, the gardens, have each their concert, and the car and having begun am not likely to cease till I of man is for ever regaled by creatures who seem have spoiled it. I have sent you many a sheet only to please themselves. Even the ears that are
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
LET. 173, 174.
deaf to the Gospel are continually entertained, morton. With that gentleman we drank chocothough without knowing it, by sounds for which late, since I wrote last. The occasion of our visit they are solely indebted to its author. There is was, as usual, a balloon. Your mother invited somewhere in infinite space a world that does not her, and I him, and they promised to return the roll within the precincts of mercy, and as it is rea- visit, but have not yet performed. Tout le monde sonable, and even scriptural, to suppose that there se trouvoit là, as you may suppose, among the is music in Heaven, in those dismal regions per- rest, Mrs. W haps the reverse of it is found; tones so dismal, as to make wo itself more insupportable, and to acuminate even despair. But my paper admonishes me in good time to draw the reins, and to check the descent of my fancy into deeps, with which she is but too familiar. Our best love attends you Yours, W. C. both.
TO THE REV, WILLIAM UNWIN. MY DEAR WILLIAM,
She was driven to the door by her son, a boy of seventeen, in a phaeton, drawn by four horses from Lilliput. This is an ambiguous expression, and should what I write now be legible a thousand years hence, might puzBe it known therefore to the zle commentators.
Aldusses and the Stevenses of ages yet to come,
We love you all, jointly, and separately, as W. C. usual.
I have not seen, nor shall see, the Dissenter's answer to Mr. Newton, unless you can furnish me with it.
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.
Oct. 2, 1784. The privilege of franking having been so cropA POET can but ill spare time for prose. The ped, I know not in what manner I and my booktruth is, I am in hasto to finish my transcript, that seller are to settle the conveyance of proof sheets you may receive it time enough to give it a leisure-hither, and back again. They must travel I imaly reading before you go to town; which whether gine by coach, a large quantity of them at a time; I shall be able to accomplish, is at present uncer- for, like other authors, I find myself under a poetitain. I have the whole punctuation, to settle, cal necessity of being frugal. which in blank verse is of the last importance, and of a species peculiar to that composition; for I know no use of points, unless to direct the voice, the management of which, in the reading blank verse, being more difficult than in the reading of any other poetry, requires perpetual hints and notices, to regulate the inflections, cadences, and pauses. This however is an affair that in spite Oct. 9, 1784. of grammarians must be left pretty much ad libitum scriptoris. For I suppose every author points THE pains you have taken to disengage our coraccording to his own reading. If I can send the parcel to the wagon by one o'clock next Wednes- respondence from the expense with which it was day, you will have it on Saturday the ninth. But threatened, convincing me that my letters, trivial this is more than I expect. Perhaps I shall not as they are, are yet acceptable to you, encourage be able to despatch it till the eleventh, in which me to observe my usual punctuality. You comcase it will not reach you till the thirteenth. I plain of unconnected thoughts. I believe there is rather think, that the latter of these two periods not a head in the world but might utter the same will obtain, because, besides the punctuation, I complaint, and that all would do so, were they all have the argument of each book to transcribe. Add as attentive to their own vagaries, and as honest to this, that in writing for the printer, I am forced as yours. The description of your meditations at to write my best, which makes slow work. The least suits mine; perhaps I can go a step beyond motto of the whole is-Fit surculus arbor. If you, upon the same ground, and assert with the you can put the author's name under it, do so strictest truth that I not only do not think with if not, it must go without one. For I know not connexion, but that I frequently do not think at to whom to ascribe it. It was a motto taken by a all. I am much mistaken if I do not often catch certain prince of Orange, in the year 1733, but myself napping in this way; for when 1 ask mynot to a poem of his own writing, or indeed to any self what was the last idea (as the ushers at Westminster ask an idle boy what was the last word,) poem at all, but, as I think, to a medal. Mr. is a Cornish member, but for what I am not able to answer, but like the boy in quesAll I know of him tion, am obliged to stare and say nothing. This place in Cornwall I know not. is, that I saw him once clap his two hands upon a may be a very unphilosophical account of myself, rail, meaning to leap over it. But he did not think and may clash very much with the general opinion the attempt a safe one, and therefore took them of the learned, that the soul being an active prinoff again. He was in company with Mr. Throck-ciple, and her activity consisting in thought, she 18