Letters of Horace Walpole, V4
by Horace Walpole
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(462) Now first collected.

(463) See ant'e, p. 295, letter 233.-E.

Letter 237 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, Dec. 30, 1781. (page 299)

We are both hearty friends, my dear Sir, for I see we have both been reproaching ourselves with silence at the same moment. I am much concerned that you have had cause for yours.(464) I have had less, though indisposed too in a part material for correspondence—my hand, which has been in labour of chalk-stones this whole summer, and at times so nervous as to tremble so much, that, except when quite necessary, I have avoided a pen. I have been delivered of such a quantity of chalky matter, that I am not only almost free from pain, but hope to avoid a fit this winter. How there can be a doubt what the gout is, amazes me! what is it but a concretion of humours, that either Stop up the fine vessels, cause pain and inflammation, and pass away only by perspiration; or which discharge themselves into chalk-stones, which sometimes remain in their beds, sometimes make their passage outwardly? I have experienced all three. It may be objected, that the sometimes instantaneous removal of pain from one limb to another is too rapid for a current of chalk—true, but not for the humour before coagulated. As there is, evidently, too, a degree of wind mixed in the gout, may not that wind be impregnated with the noxious effluvia, especially as the latter are pent up in the body and may be corrupted? I hope your present complaint in the foot will clear the rest of your person. Many thanks for your etching of Mr. Browne Willis: I shall value it not only as I am a collector, but because he was your friend. What shall I say about Mr. Gough? He is not a pleasant man, and I doubt will tease me about many things, some of which I have never cared about, and all which I interest myself little about now, when I seek to pass my remnant in the most indolent tranquillity. He has not been very civil to me, he worships the fools I despise, and I conceive has no genuine taste; yet as to trifling resentments, when the objects have not acted with bad hearts, I can most readily lose them. Please Mr. Gough, I certainly shall not; I cannot be very grave about such idle studies as his and my own, and am apt to be impatient, or laugh when people imagine I am serious about them. But there is a stronger reason why I shall not satisfy Mr. Gough. He is a man to minute down whatever one tells him that he may call information, and whip it into his next publication. However, though I am naturally very frank, I can regulate myself by those I converse with; and as I shall be on my guard, I will not decline visiting Mr. Gough, as it would be illiberal or look surly if I refused. You shall have the merit, if you please, of my assent; and shall tell him, I shall be glad to see him any morning at eleven o'clock. This will save you the trouble of sending me his new work, as I conclude he will mention it to me.

I more willingly assure you that I shall like to see Mr. Steevens,(465) and to show him Strawberry. You never sent me a person you commended, that I did not find deserved it.

You will be surprised when I tell you, that I have only dipped into Mr. Bryant's book, and lent the Dean's before I had cut the leaves, though I had peeped into it enough to see that I shall not read it. Both he and Bryant are so diffuse on our antiquated literature, that I had rather believe in Rowley than go through their proofs. Dr. Warton and Mr. Tyrwhitt have more patience, and intend to answer them—and so the controversy will be two hundred years out of my reach. Mr. Bryant, I did find, begged a vast many questions, which proved to me his own doubts. Dr. Glynn's foolish evidence made me laugh, and so did Mr. Bryant's sensibility for me; he says that Chatterton treated me very cruelly in one of his writings. I am sure I did not feel it so. I suppose Bryant means under the title of Baron of Otranto, which is written with humour. I must have been the sensitive plant if any thing in that character had hurt me! Mr. Bryant too, and the Dean, as I see by extracts in the papers, have decorated Chatterton with sanctimonious honour—think of that young rascal's note, when, summing up his gains and losses by writing for and against Beckford, he says, "Am glad he is dead by three pounds 13 shillings 6pence." There was a lad of too nice honour to be capable of forgery! and a lad who, they do not deny, forged the poems in the style of Ossian, and fifty other things. In the parts I did read, Mr. Bryant, as I expected, reasons admirably, and staggered me; but when I took up the poems called Rowley's again, I protest I cannot see the smallest air of antiquity but the old words. The whole texture is conceived on ideas of the present century. The liberal manner of thinking of a monk so long before the Reformation is as stupendous; and where he met with Ovid's Metamorphoses, eclogues, and plans of Greek tragedies, when even Caxton, a printer, took Virgil's AEneid for so rare a novelty, are not less incomprehensible: though on these things I speak at random, nor have searched for the era when the Greek and Latin classics came again to light-at present I imagine long after our Edward the Fourth.

Another thing struck me in my very cursory perusal of Bryant. He asks where Chatterton could find so much knowledge of English events? I could tell him where he might, by a very natural hypothesis, though merely an hypothesis. It appears by the evidence, that Canninge left six chests of manuscripts, and that Chatterton got possession of some or several. Now what was therein so probably as a diary drawn up by Canninge himself, or some churchwarden or wardens, or by a monk or monks? Is any thing more natural than for such a person, amidst the events at Bristol, to set down other public facts as happened in the rest of the kingdom? Was not such almost all the materials of our ancient story? There is actually such an one, with some curious collateral facts, if I am not mistaken,—for I write by memory,— in the History of Furnese or Fountains Abbey, I forget which: if Chatterton found such an one, did he want the extensive literature on which so much stress is laid. Hypothesis for hypothesis,—I am sure this is as rational an one as the supposition that six chests were filled with poems never else heard of.

These are my indigested thoughts on this matter—not that I ever intend to digest them—for I will not, at sixty-four, sail back into the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and be drowned in an ocean of monkish writers of those ages or of this! Yours most sincerely.

(464) Mr. Cole, in a letter of the 31st says, "About six weeks ago, the gout was harassing both my feet; on Christmas-day it shifted its quarters, and got into my left hand; and inexpressible have been the pain and torment I have endured, with sleepless nights, racking pain, and no rest nor relief by day. I hope the worst is over, as I had a comfortable sleep for the whole night last night: but my hopes are like those in a ship in a storm; when one billow is past, another and greater is at the heels of it: for a water-drinker my lot is hard."-E.

(465) George Steevens, Esq. In 1770, this eminent scholar and learned commentator became associated with Dr. Johnson, in the edition of Shakspeare which goes by their joint names. A fourth edition, with large additions, was published in 1793, in fifteen volumes octavo. In the preparation of it for the press, Mr. Steevens gave an instance of editorial activity and perseverance, which is, probably, without a parallel. For a period of eighteen months, he devoted himself solely and exclusively to the work; and, during that time, left his house every morning at one o'clock with the Hampstead patrols, and proceeded, without any consideration of weather or season, to the chambers of his friend, Isaac Reed, in Staple's Inn, where he found a sheet of the Shakspeare letterpress was ready for his revision: thus, while the printers were asleep, the editor was @ awake; and the fifteen large volumes were completed in the short space of twenty months. The feat is recorded by Mr. Matthias, in the Pursuits of Literature:

"Him late, from Hampstead journeying to his book, Aurora oft for Cophalus mistook; What time he brush'd her dews with hasty pace, To meet the printer's dev'let face to face."

He died at Hampstead in 1800, and in his sixty-fourth year.-E.

Letter 238 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, Jan. 27, 1782. (page 302)

For these three weeks I have had the gout in my left elbow and hand, and can yet but just bear to lay the latter on the paper while I write with the other. However, this is no complaint, for it is the shortest fit I have had these sixteen years, and with trifling pain: therefore, as the fits decrease, it does ample honour to my bootikins regimen, and method. Next to my bootikins, I ascribe much credit to a diet-drink of dock-roots, of which Dr. Turton asked me for my receipt, as the best he had ever seen, and which I will send you if you please. It came from an old physician at Richmond, who did amazing service with it in inveterate scurvies,—the parents, or ancestors, at least, I believe, of all gouts. Your fit I hope is quite gone.

Mr. Gough has been with me. I never saw a more dry or more cold gentleman. He told me his new plan is a series of English monuments. I do like the idea, and offered to lend him drawings for it.

I have seen Mr. Steevens too, who is much more flowing. I wish you had told me it was the editor of Shakspeare, for, on his mentioning Dr. Farmer, I launched out and said, he was by much the most rational of Shakspeare's commentators, and had given the only sensible account of the authors our great poet had consulted. I really meant those -who Wrote before Dr. Farmer. Mr. Steevens seemed a little surprised, which made me discover the blunder I had made. For which I was very sorry, though I had meant nothing by it; however, do not mention it. I hope be has too much sense to take it ill, as he must have seen I had no intention of offending him; on the contrary, that my whole behaviour marked a desire of being civil to him as your friend, in which light only you had named him to me. Pray take no notice of it, though I could not help mentioning it, as it lies on my conscience to have been even undesignedly and indirectly unpolite to any body you recommend. I should not, I trust, have been so unintentionally to any body, nor with intention, unless provoked to it by great folly or dirtiness. Adieu!

Letter 239 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, Feb. 14, 1782. (page 303)

I have received such treasures from you, dear Sir, through the channel of Mr. Nichols, that I neither know how to thank you, nor to find time to peruse them so fast as I am impatient to do. You must complete your kindness by letting me detain them a few days, till I have gone through them, when I will return them most carefully by the same intervention; and particularly the curious piece of enamel; for though you are, as usual, generous enough to offer it to me, I have plundered you too often already; and indeed I have room left for nothing more, nor have that miserly appetite of continuing to hoard what I cannot enjoy, nor have much time left to possess.

I have already looked into your beautiful illuminated manuscript copied from Dr: Stukeley's letter, and with Anecdotes of the Antiquaries of Bennet College; and I have found therein so many charming instances of your candour, humility, and justice, that I grieve to deprive Mr. Gough for a minute even of the possession of so valuable a tract. I will not Injure him or it, by begging you to cancel what relates to me, as it would rob you of part of your defence of Mr. Baker. If I wish to have it detained from Mr. Gough till the period affixed in the first leaf, or rather to my death, which will probably precede yours, it is for this reason only: Mr. Gough is apt, as we antiquaries are, to be impatient to tell the world all he knows, which is unluckily much more than the world is at all impatient of knowing. For what you call your flaming zeal, I do not in the least object to it. We have agreed to tolerate each other, and certainly are neither of us infallible. I think, on what we differ most is, your calling my opinions fashionable; they were when we took them up: I doubt it is yours that are most in fashion now, at least in this country. The Emperor seems to be of our party; but, if I like his notions, I do not admire his judgment, which is too precipitate to be judgment.

I smiled at Mr. Gough's idea of my declining his acquaintance as a member of that Obnoxious Society of Antiquaries. It is their folly alone that is obnoxious to me, and can they help that? I shall very cheerfully assist him.

I am glad you are undeserved about the controversial piece in the Gentleman's Magazine, which I should have assured You, as you now know, that it was not mine. I declared, in my Defence,(466) that I would publish nothing more about that question. I have not, nor intend it. Neither was it I that wrote the prologue to the Count of Narbonne, but Mr. Jephson himself. On the opposite page I will add the receipt for the diet-drink: as to my regimen, I shall not specify it. Not only you would not adopt it, but I should tremble to have you. In fact, I never do prescribe it, as I am persuaded it would kill the strongest man in England, who was not exactly of the same temperament with me, and who had not embraced it early. It consists in temperance to quantity as to eating—I do not mind the quality; I am persuaded that great abstinence with the gout is dangerous; for, if one does not take nutriment enough, there cannot be strength sufficient to fling out the gout, and then it deviates to palsies. But my great nostrum is the use of cold water, inwardly and outwardly, on all occasions, and total disregard of precaution against catching cold. A hat you know I never wear, my breast I never button, nor wear great-coats, etc. I have often had the gout in my face (as last week) and eyes, and instantly dip my head in a pail of cold water, which always cures it, and does not send it anywhere else. All this I do, because I have so for these forty years, weak as I look; but Milo would not have lived a week if he had played such pranks. My diet-drink is not all of so Quixote a disposition; any of the faculty will tell you how innocent it is, at least. In a few days, for I am a rapid reader when I like my matter, I will return all your papers and letters; and in the mean time thank you most sincerely for the use of them.

(466) Hannah More, in a letter to Mrs. Boscawen, says, "Many thanks for Mr. Walpole's sensible, temperate, and humane pamphlet. I am not quite a convert yet to his side in the Chatertonian controversy, though this elegant writer and all the antiquaries and critics are against me: I like much the candid regret he every where discovers at not having fostered this unfortunate lad, whose profligate manners, however, I too much fear, would not have done credit to any patronage. Mrs. Garrick read it, and was more interested than I have ever seen her."-E.

Letter 240 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. February 15, 1782. (page 304)

I was SO impatient to peruse all the literary stores you sent me, my dear Sir, that I stayed at home on purpose to give up a whole evening to them. I have gone through all; your own manuscript, which I envy Mr. Gough, his specimen, and the four letters to you from the latter and Mr. Steevens. I am glad they were both satisfied with my reception. In truth, you know I am neither formal nor austere, nor have any grave aversion to our antiquities, though I do now and then divert myself with their solemnity about arrant trifles; yet perhaps we owe much to their thinking those trifles of importance, or the Lord knows how they would have patience to investigate them so indefatigably. Mr. Steevens seemed pleasant, but I doubt I shall never be demure enough to conciliate Mr. Gough. Then I have a wicked quality in an antiquary, nay, one that annihilates the essence: that is, I cannot bring myself to a habit of minute accuracy about very indifferent points. I do not doubt but there is a swarm of diminutive inaccuracies in my Anecdotes—well! if there is, I bequeath free leave of correction to the microscopic intellects of my continuators. I took dates and facts from the sedulous and faithful Vertue,(467) and piqued myself on little but on giving an idea of the spirit of the times with regard to the arts at the different periods.

The specimen you present me of Mr. Gough's detail of our monuments is very differently treated, proves vast industry, and shows most circumstantial fidelity. It extends, too, much farther than I expected; for it seems to embrace the whole mass of our monuments, nay, of some that are vanished. It is not what I thought, an intention of representing our modes of dress, from figures on monuments, but rather a history of our tombs. It is fortunate, though he may not think so, that so many of the more ancient are destroyed, since for three or four centuries they were clumsy, rude, and ugly. I know I am but a fragment of an antiquary, for I abhor all Saxon doings, and whatever did not exhibit some taste, grace, or elegance, and some ability in the artists. Nay, if I may say so to you, I do not care a straw for archbishops, bishops, mitred abbots, and cross-legged knights. When you have one of a sort, you have seen all. However, to so superficial a student in antiquity as I am, Mr. Gough's work is not unentertaining. It has frequently anecdotes and circumstances of kings, queens, and historic personages, that interest me though I care not a straw about a series of bishops who had only Christian names, or were removed from one old church to a newer. Still I shall assist Mr. Gough with whatever he wants in my possession. I believe he is a very worthy man, and I should be a churl not to oblige any man who is so innocently employed. I have felt the selfish, the proud avarice of those who hoard literary curiosities for themselves alone, as other misers do money.

I observed in your account of the Count-Bishop Hervey, that you call one of his dedicators Martin Sherlock, Esquire.(468) That Mr. Sherlock is an Irish clergyman; I am acquainted with him. He is a very amiable good-natured man, and wants judgment, not parts. He is a little damaged by aiming at Sterne's capricious pertness which the original wore out; and which, having been admired and cried up to the skies by foreign writers of reviews, was, on the contrary, too severely treated by our own. That injustice shocked Mr. Sherlock, who has a good heart and much simplicity, and sent him in dudgeon last year to Ireland, determined to write no more; yet I am persuaded he will, so strong Is his propensity to being an author; and if he does, correction may make him more attentive to what he says and writes. He has no gall; on the contrary, too much benevolence in his indiscriminate praise; but he has made many ingenious criticisms. He is a just, a due enthusiast to Shakspeare: but, alas! he scarce likes Richardson less.

(467) George Vertue, the engraver, was born in London in 1684, and died in 1756. Walpole has given a short sketch of his active life in his Anecdotes of Painting in England; a work, for the materials of which he was in a great measure, indebted to the collections of Vertue, which he bought of his widow. "These collections," he says, "amounted to nearly forty volumes, large and small: in one of his pocket-books I found a note of his first intention of compiling such a work; it was in 1713, and he continued it assiduously to his death."-E.

(468) This eccentric and original writer had published a book at Rome in Italian, and two others at Paris, in French. The first volume of his "Letters from an English Traveller," translated by the Rev. John Duncombe, appeared in London in 1779, the author's return from the Continent, and before it was known he was in holy orders. The Letters were dedicated to the Hon. and Rev. Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry, and afterwards Earl of Bristol. (See ant'e, p. 236, letter 182.) This volume was republished, revised and corrected by the author, in 1780, and was soon followed by "New Letters of an English Traveller." In 1781, Mr. Sherlock had a strong inclination to revisit the Continent, and actually caused the following article to be inserted in a public journal:—"It is now generally supposed, that, whoever may be honoured with the negotiation at Vienna, Mr. Sherlock, the celebrated English traveller and chaplain to the Earl of Bristol, will be appointed secretary to his embassy. His great literary and political accomplishments, are in high estimation throughout the Continent; and he is, perhaps, the only Englishman who can boast of having familiarly conversed with the high potentates whose alliance at this important juncture it would be desirable to obtain. His being in orders is an objection which will vanish, when it is recollected that the very same important office was, in 1708, intended for Dr. Swift: a name which, however deservedly revered in Great Britain and Ireland, must, in every other kingdom of Europe, give precedence to those of Sherlock, Rousseau, and Sterne, the luminaries of the present century." In June of the same year he was presented, by the Bishop of Killala, with a living of 200 pounds a-year. Upon which occasion he wrote to his publisher, "I think it may be of use to our sale to let the world know it in the newspaper; and I am persuaded that doubling the value of the living will make the books sell better. The world (God bless it!) is very apt to value a man's writing according to his rank and fortune. I am sure they will think more highly of my Letters, if they believe I have 400 a-year, than if they think I have only two. Pope, you know, says something like this—

'A saint in crape, is twice a saint in lawn.'

Will you then be so good as to have this paragraph put into the Morning Herald, the Morning Chronicle, the Morning Post, and any other fourth paper you choose? 'We hear that the Rev. Martin Sherlock, M.A., etc., is collated to the united vicarages of Castleconner and Rilglass, worth 400 a-year.' Is there any news of me in London? Am I abused or well-spoken of in print? Are the writers as uneasy as they used to be about my vanity? Keep all printed things, reviews, newspapers, etc., about me, till I have an opportunity of sending for them. I think I shall have something for you by next week; but keep that a secret. wish, for your sake, I was a bishop; for then, I will answer for it, my works would sell well." An elegant edition of all Mr. Sherlock's Letters was published by Mr. Nichols in 1802, in two volumes octavo. It is now a very scarce book. In 1788, he was collated to the rectory and vicarage of Streen, and soon afterwards to the archdeaconry of Killala. He died in 1797.-E.

Letter 241 To The Rev. William Mason. (page 307)

I have been reading a new French translation of the elder Pliny,(469) of whom I never read but scraps before; because, in the poetical manner in which we learn Latin at Eton, we never become acquainted with the names of the commonest things, too undignified to be admitted into verse; and, therefore, I never had patience to search in a dictionary for the meaning of every substantive. I find I shall not have a great deal less trouble with the translation, as I am not more familiar with their common drogues than with the Latin. However, the beginning goes off very glibly, as I am not yet arrived below the planets: but do you know that this study, of which I have never thought since I learnt astronomy at Cambridge, has furnished me with some very entertaining ideas! I have long been weary of the common jargon of poetry. You bards have exhausted all the nature we are acquainted with; you have treated us with the sun, moon, and stars, the earth and the ocean, mountains and valleys, etc. etc. under every possible aspect. In short, I have longed for some American Poetry, in which I might find new appearances of nature, and consequently of art. But my present excursion into the sky has afforded me more entertaining prospects, and newer phenomena. If I was as good a poet, as you are, I would immediately compose an idyl, or an elegy, the scene of which should be laid in Saturn or Jupiter: and then, instead of a niggardly soliloquy by the light of a single moon, I would describe a night illuminated by four or five moons at least, and they should be all in a perpendicular or horizontal line, according as Celia's eyes (who probably in that country has at least two pair) are disposed in longitude or latitude. You must allow that this system would diversify poetry amazingly.—And then Saturn's belt! which the translator says in his notes, Is not round the planet's waist, like the shingles; but is a globe of crystal that encloses the whole orb, as You may have seen an enamelled watch in a case of glass. If you do not perceive what infinitely pretty things may be said, either in poetry or romance. on a brittle heaven of crystal, and what furbelowed rainbows they must have in that country, you are neither the Ovid nor natural philosopher I take you for. Pray send me an eclogue directly upon this plan—and I give you leave to adopt my idea of Saturnian Celias having their every thing quadrupled—which would form a much more entertaining rhapsody than Swift's thought of magnifying or diminishing the species in his Gulliver. How much more execution a fine woman would do with two pair of piercers! or four! and how much longer the honeymoon would last, if both the sexes have (as no doubt they have) four times the passions, and four times the means of gratifying them!—I have opened new worlds to you—You must be four times the poet you are, and then you will be above Milton, and equal to Shakspeare, the only two mortals I am acquainted with who ventured beyond the visible diurnal sphere, and preserved their intellects. Dryden himself would have talked nonsense, and, I fear, indecency, on my plan; but you are too good a divine, I am sure, to treat my quadruple love but platonically. In Saturn, notwithstanding their glass-case, they are supposed to be very cold; but platonic love of itself produces frigid conceits enough, and you need not augment the dose.—But I will not dictate, The Subject is new; and you, who have so much imagination, will shoot far beyond me. Fontenelle would have made something of the idea, even in prose; but Algarotti would dishearten any body from attempting to meddle with the system of the universe a second time in a genteel dialogue.(470) Good night! I am going to bed.—Mercy on me! if I should dream of Celia with four times the usual attractions!

(469) By Poinsinet de Sivry, in twelve Volumes quarto.-E.

(470) A translation of Count Algarotti's "Newtonianismo per Le Dame," by Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, under the title of "Sir Isaac Newton'S Philosophy explained for the Use of the Ladies; in six Dialogues of Light and Colours," appeared in 1739.-E.

Letter 242 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. February 2, 1782. (page 308)

I doubt you are again in error, my good Sir, about the letter I in the Gentleman's Magazine against the Rowleians, unless Mr. Malone sent it to you; for he is the author, and not Mr. Steevens, from whom I imagine you received it.(471) There is a report that some part of Chatterton's forgery is to be produced by an accomplice; but this I do not answer for, nor know the circumstances. I have scarce seen a person who is not persuaded that the forging of the poems was Chatterton's own, though he might have found some old stuff to work upon, which very likely was the case; but now that the poems have been so much examined, nobody (that has an ear) can get over the modernity of the modulations, and the recent cast of the ideas and phraseology, corroborated by such palpable pillage of Pope and Dryden. Still the boy remains a prodigy, by whatever means he procured or produced the edifice erected; and still It will be found inexplicable how he found time or materials for operating such miracles.

You are in another error about Sir Harry Englefield, who cannot be going to marry a daughter of Lord Cadogan, unless he has a natural one, of whom I never heard. Lord Cadogan has no daughter by his first wife, and his oldest girl by My niece is not five years old.(472) The act of the Emperor to which I alluded, is the general destruction of convents in Flanders, and, I suppose, in his German dominions too. The Pope suppressed the carnival, as mourning and proposes a journey to Vienna to implore mercy.(473) This is a little different from the time when the pontiffs trampled on the necks of emperors, and called it trampling super Aspidem et Draconent. I hope you have received your cargo back undamaged. I was much obliged to you, and am yours ever.

(471) It was afterwards published separately, under the title of "Cursory Observations on the Poems Attributed to Thomas Rowley, a priest of the fifteenth century."-E.

(472) Lord Cadogan married, in 1747, Frances, daughter of the first Lord Montfort; and secondly, in 1777, Mary, daughter of Charles Churchill, Esq. by Lady Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Walpole.-E.

(473) The Emperor Joseph, having been restrained during the lifetime of Maria Theresa from acting as he wished in ecclesiastical matters, upon her death, in November, 1780, issued two ordinances respecting religious orders: by one forbidding the Roman Catholics to hold correspondence with their chief in foreign parts; and by the other forbidding any bull or ordinance of the Pope from being received in his dominions, until sanctioned by him. In 1782, he directed the suppression of the religious houses; upon which he was visited at Vienna by the Pope, who was received with great respect, but was unable to procure any intermission in the Emperor's ecclesiastical reforms.-E.

Letter 243 To The Hon. George Hardinge. March 8, 1782. (page 309)

It is very pleasing to receive congratulation from a friend on a friend's success: that success, however, is not so agreeable as the universal esteem allowed to Mr. Conway's character, which not only accompanies his triumph,(474) but I believe contributed to it. To-day, I suppose, all but his character will be reversed; for there must have been a miraculous change if the Philistines do not bear as ample a testimony to their Dagon's honour, as conviction does to that of a virtuous man. In truth, I am far from desiring that the Opposition should prevail yet: the nation is not sufficiently changed, nor awakened enough, and it is sure of having its feelings repeatedly attacked by more woes; the blow will have more effect a little time hence: the clamour must be loud enough to drown the huzzas of five hoarse bodies, the Scotch, Tories, Clergy, Law, and Army, who would soon croak if new ministers cannot do what the old have made impossible; and therefore, till general distress involves all in complaint, and lays the cause undeniably at the right doors, victory will be but momentary, and the conquerors would soon be rendered more unpopular than the vanquished; for, depend upon it, the present ministers would not be as decent and as harmless an Opposition as the present. Their criminality must be legally proved and stigmatised, or the pageant itself would soon be restored to essence. Base money will pass till cried down. I wish you may keep your promise of calling upon me better than you have done. Remember, that though you have time enough before you, I have not; and, consequently, must be much more impatient for our meeting than you are, as I am, dear Sir, yours most sincerely.

(474) General Conway had, on the 27th of February, distinguished himself in the House of Commons by a motion, "That the farther prosecution of offensive war on the continent of America, for the purpose of reducing the revolted colonies to obedience by force, will be the means of weakening the efforts of this country against her European enemies; tend, under the present circumstances, to increase the mutual enmity so fatal to the interests both of Great Britain and America; and, by preventing a happy reconciliation with that country, to frustrate the earnest desire graciously expressed by his Majesty, to restore the blessings of public tranquility." This motion was carried by a majority of 234 to 213; upon which the General moved an humble address to his Majesty thereupon, which was carried without a division.-E.

Letter 244 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, March 9, 1782. (page 310)

Though I have scarce time, I must write a line to thank you for the print of Mr. Cowper, and to tell you how ashamed I am that You should have so much attention to me, on the slightest wish I express, when I fear my gratitude is not half so active, though it ought to exceed obligations.

Dr. Farmer has been with me; and though it was but a short visit, he pleased me so much by his easy simplicity and good sense, that I wish for more acquaintance with him.

I do not know whether the Emperor will atone to you for demolishing the cross, by attacking the crescent. The papers say he has declared war with the Turks. He seems to me to be a mountebank who professes curing all diseases. As power is his Only panacea, the remedy methinks is worse than the disease. Whether Christianity will be laid aside, I cannot say. As nothing of the spirit is left, the forms, I think, signify very little. Surely it is not an age of morality and principle; does it import whether profligacy is baptized or not? I look to motives, not to professions. I do not approve of convents: but, if Caesar wants to make soldiers of monks, I detest his reformation, and think that men had better not procreate than commit murder; nay, I believe that monks get more children than soldiers do; but what avail abstracted speculations? Human passions wear the dresses of the times, and carry on the same views, though in different habits. Ambition and interest set up religions or pull them down, as fashion presents a handle; and the conscientious must be content when the mode favours their wishes, or sigh when it does not.

Letter 245 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. April 13, 1782. (page 310)

Your partiality to me, my good Sir, is much overseen, if you think me fit to correct your Latin. Alas! I have not skimmed ten pages of Latin these dozen years. I have dealt in nothing but English, French, and a little Italian; and do not think. if my life depended on it, I could write four lines of pure Latin. I have had occasion, once or twice to speak the language, and soon found that all my verbs were Italian with Roman terminations. I would not on any account draw you into a scrape, by depending on my skill in what I have half forgotten. But you are in the metropolis of Latium. If you distrust your own knowledge, which I do not, especially from the specimen you have sent me, surely you must have good critics at your elbow to consult.

In truth, I do not love Roman inscriptions in lieu of our own language, though, if any where, proper in an university; neither can I approve writing what the Romans themselves would not understand. What does it avail to give a Latin tail to a Guildhall? Though the word used by moderns, would mayor convey to Cicero the idea of a mayor? Architectus, I believe, is the right word; but I doubt whether veteris jam perantiquae is classic for a dilapidated building—but do not depend on me; consult some better judges.

Though I am glad of the late revolution,(475) a word for which I have great reverence, I shall certainly not dispute with you thereon. I abhor exultation. If the change produces peace, I shall make a bonfire in my heart. Personal interest I have none; you and I shall certainly never profit by the politics to which we are attached. The Archaeologic Epistle I admire exceedingly, though I am sorry it attacks Mr. Bryant, whom I love and respect. The Dean is so absurd an oaf, that he deserves to be ridiculed. Is any thing more hyperbolic than his preference of Rowley to Homer, Shakspeare, and Milton. Whether Rowley or Chatterton was the author, are the poems in any degree comparable to those authors? is not a ridiculous author an object of ridicule? I do not even guess at your meaning in your conclusive paragraph on that subject. Dictionary writer I suppose alludes to Johnson; but surely you do not equal the compiler of a dictionary to a genuine poet? Is a brickmaker on a level with Mr. Essex? Nor can I hold that exquisite wit and satire are Billingsgate; if they were, Milles and Johnson would be able to write an answer to the epistle. I do as little guess whom you mean that got a pension by Toryism: if Johnson too, he got a pension for having abused pensioners, and yet took one himself, which was contemptible enough. Still less know I who preferred opposition to principles, which is not a very common case; whoever it was, as Pope says,

"The way he took was strangely round about."

With Mr. Chamberlayne I was very little acquainted, nor ever saw him six times in my life. It was with Lord Walpole's branch he was intimate, and to whose eldest son Mr. Chamberlayne had been tutor. This poor gentleman had a most excellent character universally, and has been more feelingly regretted than almost any man I ever knew.(476) This is all I am able to tell you. I forgot to say, I am also in the, dark as to the person you guess for the author of the Epistle. it cannot be the same person to whom it is generally attributed; who certainly neither has a pension nor has deserted his principles, nor has reason to be jealous of those he laughed at; for their abilities are far below his. I do not mean that it is his, but is attributed to him. It was sent to me; nor did I ever see a line of it till I read it in print. In one respect it is most credible to be his; for there are not two such inimitable poets in England.(477) I smiled on reading it, and said to myself, "Dr. Glynn is well off to have escaped!" His language Indeed about me has been Billingsgate; but peace be to his and the manes of Rowley, if they have ghosts who never existed. The Epistle has not put an end to that controversy, which was grown so tiresome. I rejoice at having kept my resolution of not writing a word more on that subject. The Dean had swollen it to an enormous bladder; the Archaeologic poet pricked it with a pin; a sharp one indeed, and it burst. Pray send me a better account of yourself if you can.

(475) The resignation of Lord North, and the formation of the Rockingham administration.-E.

(476) Edward Chamberlayne, Esq. recently appointed secretary of the treasury. He was so overcome by a nervous terror of the responsibility of the office, that he committed suicide, by throwing himself out of a window on the 6th of April. On the following day, Hannah More sent the subjoined account of this melancholy event to her sister:—"Chamberlayne! the amiable, the accomplished, the virtuous, the religious Chamberlayne! in the full vigour of his age, high in reputation, happy in his prospects, threw him self out of the Treasury window, was taken up alive, and lived thirty-six hours in the most perfect possession of his mental activity, his religion, and his reasoning faculties. With an astonishing composure he settled his affairs with both worlds. He never seemed to feel any remorse, or to reproach his conscience with the guilt of suicide. In vain had they entreated him to accept of this place. In a fatal moment he consented: after this, he never had a moment's peace, and little or no sleep; this brought on a slow nervous fever, but not to confine him a moment. I saw him two days before. He looked pale and eager, and talked with great disgust of his place, on my congratulating him on such an acquisition. We chatted away, however, and he grew pleasant; and we parted— never to meet again."-E.

(477) In a review of the edition of the Works of Mason which appeared in 1816, the quarterly Review, after expressing a wish that this and the Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers had been included in the collection, says, "The Archaeological Epistle was an hasty but animated effusion, drawn forth by the Rowleian Controversy, and dressed in the garb of old English verse, in order to obviate the argument drawn from the difficulty of writing in the language of the fifteenth century. The task might indeed have been per; formed by many; but the sentiments accorded with the known declarations of Mason." Vol. xv. p. 385.-E.

Letter 246 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, May 24, 1782. (page 312)

You are always kind to me, dear Sir, in all respects, but I have been forced to recur to a rougher prescription than ass's milk. The pain and oppression on my breast obliged me to be blooded two days together, which removed my cold and fever; but, as I foresaw, left me the gout in their room. I have had it in my left foot and hand for a week, but it is going. This cold is very epidemic. I have at least half a dozen nieces and great-nieces confined with it. but it is not dangerous or lasting. I shall send you, within this day or two, the new edition of my Anecdotes of Painting; you will find very little new: it is a cheap edition for the use of artists, and that at least they who really want the book, and not the curiosity, may have it, without being forced to give the outrageous price at which the Strawberry edition sells, merely because it is rare.

I could assure Mr. Gough, that the Letter on Chatterton cost me 6 very small pains. I had nothing to do but recollect and relate the exact truth. There has been published another piece on it, which I cannot tell whether meant to praise or to blame me, so wretchedly is it written; and I have received another anonymous one, dated Oxford, (which may be to disguise Cambridge) and which professes to treat me very severely, though stuffed with fulsome compliments. It abuses me for speaking modestly of myself—a fault I hope I shall never mend; avows agreeing with me on the supposition of the poems, which may be a lie, for it is not uncharitable to conclude that an anonymous writer is a liar; acquits me of being at all accessory to the poor lad's catastrophe; and then, with most sensitive nerves, is shocked to death, and finds me guilty of it, for having, after it happened, dropped, that had he lived he might have fallen into more serious forgeries, though I declare that I never heard that he did. To be sure, no Irishman ever blundered more than to accuse one of an ex post facto murder! If this Hibernian casuist is smitten enough with his own miscarriage to preserve it in a magazine phial, I shall certainly not answer it, not even by this couplet which is suggested:

So fulsome, yet so captious too, to tell you much it grieves me, That though your flattery makes me sick, your peevishness relieves me.

Adieu, my good Sir. Pray inquire for your books, if you do not receive them: they go by the Cambridge Fly.

Letter 247 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, June 1, 1782. (page 313)

I thank you much, dear Sir, for your kind intention about Elizabeth of York;. but it would be gluttony and rapacity to accept her: I have her already in the picture of her marriage,(478) which was Lady Pomfret's; besides Vertue's print of her, with her husband, son, and daughter-in-law. In truth I have not room for any more pictures any where; yet, without plundering you, or without impoverishing myself, I have supernumerary pictures with which I can furnish your vacancies; but I must get well first to look them out. As yet I cannot walk alone; and my posture, as you see, makes me write ill. It is impossible to recover in such weather—never was such a sickly time.

I have not yet seen Bishop Newton's life. I will not give three guineas for what I would not give threepence, his Works; his Life,(479) I Conclude, will be borrowed by all the magazines, and there I shall see it.

I know nothing of Acciliator—I have forgotten some of my good Latin, and luckily never knew any bad; having always detested monkish barbarism. I have just finished Mr. Pennant's new volume, parts of which amused me; though I knew every syllable, that was worth knowing before, for there is not a word of novelty; and it is tiresome his giving such long extracts out of Dugdale and other common books, and telling one long stories about all the most celebrated characters in the English history, besides panegyrics on all who showed him their houses: but the prints are charming; though I cannot conceive why he gave one of the Countess of Cumberland, who never did any thing worth memory, but recording the very night on which she conceived.

"The Fair Circassian" was written by a Mr. Pratt, who has published several works under the name of Courtney Melmoth.(480) The play might have been written by Cumberland, it is bad enough. I did read the latter's coxcombical Anecdotes,(481) but saw nothing on myself, except mention of my Painters. Pray what is the passage you mean on me or Vertue? Do not write on purpose to answer this, it is not worth while.

(478) This picture of the marriage of Elizabeth of York with Henry the Seventh was painted by Mabuse, and is described in Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting.-E.

(479) Shortly after the death of Bishop Newton, his Works were published, with an autobiographical Memoir, in two volumes quarto. The prelate, speaking, in this Memoir, of Johnson's Lives of the Poets, having observed, that "candour was much hurt and offended at the malevolence that predominated in every part," the Doctor, in a conversation with Dr. Adams, master of Pembroke College, Oxford, thus retaliated on his townsman:—"Tom knew he should be dead before what he said of me would appear: he durst not have printed it while he was alive." Dr. Adams: "I believe his Dissertations on the Prophecies' is his great work." Johnson: "Why, Sir, it is Tom's great work; but how far it is great, or how much of it is Tom's, are other questions. I fancy a considerable part of it was borrowed." Dr. Adams: "He was a very successful man." Johnson: "I don't think so, Sir. He did not get very high. He was late in getting what he did get, and he did not get it by the best means. I believe he was a gross flatterer."-Life, vol. viii. p. 286.-E.

(480) Mr. Pratt was the author of "Gleanings in England," "Gleanings through Wales, Holland, and Westphalia," and many other works which enjoyed a temporary popularity, but are now forgotten. Of Mr. Pratt, the following amusing anecdote is related by Mr. Gifford, in the Maviad:—"This gentleman lately put in practice a very notable scheme. Having scribbled himself fairly out of notice, he found it expedient to retire to the Continent for a few months, to provoke the inquiries of Mr. Lane's indefatigable readers. Mark the ingratitude of the creatures! No inquiries were made, and Mr. Pratt was forgotten before he had crossed the channel. Ibi omnis efFusus labor—but what!

The mouse that is content with one poor hole, Can never be a mouse of any soul:

baffled in this expedient, he had recourse to another, and, while we were dreaming of nothing less, came before us in the following paragraph:—"A few days since, died at Basle in Switzerland, the ingenious Mr. Pratt: his loss will be severely felt by the literary world, as he joined to the accomplishments of the gentleman the erudition of the scholar." This was inserted in the London papers for several days successively; the country papers too yelled out like syllables of dolour; at length, while our eyes were yet wet for the irreparable loss we had sustained, came a second paragraph as follows: "As no event of late has caused a more general sorrow than the supposed death of the ingenious Mr. Pratt, we are happy to have it in our power to assure hiss numerous admirers, that he is as well as they can wish and (what they will be delighted to hear) busied is preparing his Travels for the press."-E.

(481) "Anecdotes of Eminent Painters, in Spain during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, with Cursory Remarks upon the present State of Arts in that Kingdom."

Letter 248 To John Nichols, Esq. Berkeley Square, June 19, 1782. (page 315)

Sir, Just this moment, on opening your fifth volume of Miscellaneous Poems, I find the translation of Cato's speech into Latin, attributed (by common fame) to Bishop Atterbury. I can most positively assure you, that that translation was the work of Dr. Henry Bland, afterwards Head-master of Eton school, Provost of the college there, and Dean of Durham. I have more than once heard my father Sir Robert Walpole say, that it was he himself who gave that translation to Mr. Addison, who was extremely surprised at the fidelity and beauty of it. It may be worth while, Sir, on some future occasion, to mention this fact in some one of your valuable and curious publications. I am, Sir, with great regard.

Letter 249 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, June 21, 1782. (page 315)

It is no trouble, my good Sir, to write to you, for I am as well recovered as I generally do. I am very sorry you do not, and especially in your hands, as your pleasure and comforts so much depend on them. Age is by no means a burden while it does not subject one to depend on others; when it does, it reconciles one to quitting every thing; at least I believe you and I think so, who do not look on solitude as a calamity. I shall go to Strawberry to-morrow, and will, as I might have thought of doing, consult Dugdale and Collins for the Duke of Ireland's inferior titles. Mr. Gough I shall be glad of seeing when I am settled there, which will not be this fortnight. I think there are but eleven parts of Marianne, and that it breaks off in the nun's story, which promised to be very interesting. Marivaux never finished Marianne, nor the Paysan Parvenu (which was the case too with the younger Cr'ebillon with Les Egaremens.) I have seen two bad conclusions of Marianne by other hands. Mr. Cumberland's brusquerie is not worth notice, nor did I remember it. Mr. Pennant's impetuosity you must overlook too; though I love your delicacy about your friend's memory. Nobody that knows you will suspect you of wanting it; but, in the ocean of books that overflows every day, who will recollect a thousandth part of what is in most of them? By the number of writers one should naturally suppose there were multitudes of readers; but if there are, which I doubt, the latter read only the productions of the day. Indeed, if they did read former publications, they would have no occasion to read the modern, which, like Mr. Pennant's, are borrowed wholesale from the more ancient: it is sad to say, that the borrowers add little new but mistakes. I have just been turning over Mr. Nichols's eight volumes of Select Poems, which he has swelled unreasonably with large collops of old authors, most of whom little deserved revivifying. I bought them for the biographical notes, in which I have found both inaccuracies and blunders. For instance, one that made me laugh. In Lord Lansdown's Beauties he celebrates a lady, one Mrs. Vaughan * Mr. Nichols turns to the peerage of that time, and finds a Duke of Bolton married a Lady Ann Vaughan; he instantly sets her down for the lady in question, and introduces her to posterity as a beauty. Unluckily, she was a monster, so ugly, that the Duke, then Marquis of Winchester, being forced by his father to marry her for her great fortune, was believed never to have consummated' and parted from her as soon as his father died; but, if our predecessors are exposed to these misrepresentations, what shall we be, when not only all private history is detailed in the newspapers, but scarce ever with tolerable fidelity! I have long said, that if a paragraph in a newspaper contains a word of truth, it is sure to be accompanied with two or three blunders; yet, who will believe that papers published in the face of the whole town should be nothing but magazines of lies, every one of which fifty persons could contradict and disprove? Yet so it certainly is, and future history will probably be ten times falser than all preceding. Adieu! Yours most sincerely.

Letter 250 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, July 23, 1782. (page 316)

I have been more dilatory than usual, dear Sir, in replying to your last; but it called for no particular answer, nor have I now any thing worth telling you. Mr. Gough and Mr. Nichols dined with me on Saturday last. I lent the former three-and-twenty drawings of monuments out of Mr. Lethieullier's books, for his large work, which will be a magnificent one. Mr. Nichols is, as you say, a very rapid editor, and I must commend him for being a very accurate one. I scarce ever saw a book so correct as his Life of Mr. Bowyer. I wish it deserved the pains he has bestowed on it every way, and that he would not dub so many men great. I have known several of his heroes who were very little men. Dr. Mead had nothing but pretensions; and Philip Carteret Webb was a sorry knave, with still less foundation. To what a slender total do those shrink who are the idols of their own age! How very few are known at all at the end of the next century! But there is a chapter in Voltaire that would cure any body of being a great man even in his own eyes. It is a chapter in which a Chinese goes into a bookseller's shop, and marvels at not finding any of his own country's classics. It is a chapter that ought never to be out of the sight of any vain author. I have just got the catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Museum. It is every way piteously dear; the method is extremely puzzling, and the contents chiefly rubbish: who would give a rush for Dr. Birch's correspondence? many of the pieces are in print. In truth, I set little store by a collection of manuscripts. A work must be of little value that never could get into print; I mean, if it has existed half a century. The articles that diverted me most were an absolute novelty; I knew Henry VIII. was a royal author, but not a royal quack. There are several receipts of his own, and this delectable one amongst others. "The King's Grace's oyntement made at St. James's, to coole, and dry, and comfort the —." Another, to the same purpose, was devised at Cawoode,—was not that an episcopal palace? How devoutly was the head of the church employed! I hope that you have recovered your spirits; and that summer, which is arrived at last, will make a great amendment in you.

Letter 251To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, August 16, 1782. (page 317)

If this letter reaches your lordship, I believe it must be conveyed by a dove; for we are all under water, and a postman has not where to set the sole of his foot. They tell me, that in the north you have not been so drowned, which will be very fortunate: for in these parts every thing is to be apprehended for the corn, the sheep, and the camps: but, in truth, all kinds of prospects are most gloomy, and even in lesser lights uncomfortable. Here we cannot stir, but armed for battle. Mr. Potts, who lives at Mr. Hindley's, was attacked and robbed last week at the end of Gunnersbury-lane, by five footpads who had two blunderbusses. Lady Browne and I do continue going to Twickenham park; but I don't know how long it will be prudent, nor whether it is so now.

I have not been at Park-place, for Mr. Conway is never there, at least only for a night or two. His regiment was reviewed yesterday at Ashford-common, but I did not go to see it. In truth, I have so little taste for common sights, that I never yet did see a review in my life: I was in town last week, yet saw not Monsieur de Grasse;(482) nor have seen the giant or the dwarf.

Poor Mrs. Clive is certainly very declining, but has been better of late; and which I am glad of, thinks herself better. All visions that comfort one are desirable: the conditions of mortality do not bear being pryed into; nor am I an admirer of that philosophy that scrutinizes into them: the philosophy of deceiving one's self is vastly preferable. What signifies anticipating what we cannot prevent?

I do not pretend to send your lordship any news, for I do not know a tittle, nor inquire. Peace is the sole event of which I wish to hear. For private news, I have outlived almost all the world with which I was acquainted, and have no curiosity about the next generation, scarce more than about the twentieth century. I wish I was less indifferent, for the sake of the few with whom I correspond,-your lordship in particular, who are always so good and partial to me, and on whom I should indubitably wait, were I fit to take a long journey; but as I walk no better than a tortoise, I make a conscience of not incommodating my friends, whom I should Only Confine at home. Indeed both my feet and hands are so lame, that I now scarce ever dine abroad. Being so antiquated and insipid, I will release your lordship; and am, with my unalterable respects to Lady Strafford, your lordship's most devoted humble servant.

(482) The Comte de Grasse, the admiral of the French fleet which Rodney defeated on the 12th of April, 1782, and who had struck his flag in that engagement to the Barbeur, and surrendered himself to Sir Samuel Hood, landed at Portsmouth, as a prisoner of war, on the 5th of August.-E.

Letter 252 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(483) Strawberry Hill, August 20, 1782. (page 318)

You know I am too reasonable to expect to hear from you when you are so overwhelmed in business, or to write when I have nothing upon earth to say. I would come to town, but am to have company on Thursday, and am engaged with Lady Cecilia at Ditton on Friday, and On Monday I am to dine and pass the day at Sion-hill; and, as I am twenty years older than any body of my age, I am forced to rest myself between my parties. I feel this particularly at this moment, as the allied houses of Lucan and Althorpe have just been breakfasting here, and I am sufficiently fatigued.

I have not been at Oatlands for years; for consider I cannot walk, much less climb a precipice; and the Duke of Newcastle has none of the magnificence of petty princes in a romance or in Germany, of furnishing calashes to those who visit his domains. He is not undetermined about selling the place; but besides that nobody is determined to buy it, he must have Lord Lincoln's consent.

I saw another proud prince yesterday, your cousin Seymour from Paris, and his daughter. She was so dishevelled, that she looked like a pattern doll that had been tumbled at the Custom-house.

I am mighty glad that war has gone to sleep like a paroli at faro, and that the rain has cried itself to death; unless the first would dispose of all the highwaymen, footpads, and housebreakers, or the latter drown them, for nobody hereabouts dare stir after dusk, nor be secure at home. When you have any interval Of Your little campaigns, I shall hope to see you and Lady Ailesbury here.

(483) Now first printed.

Letter 253 To The Earl Of Buchan.(484) Strawberry Hill, Sept. 15, 1782. (page 319)

I congratulate your lordship on the acquisition of a valuable picture by Jameson. The Memoirs of your Society I have not yet received; but when I do, shall read it with great pleasure, and beg your lordship to offer my grateful thanks to the members, and to accept them yourself.

No literature appears here at this time of the year. London, I hear, is particularly empty. Not only the shooting season is begun, but till about seventeen days ago, there was nothing but incessant rains, and not one summer's day. A catalogue, in two quartos, of the Manuscripts in the British Museum, and which thence does not seem to contain great treasures, and Mr. Tyrwhitt's book on the Rowleian controversy, which is reckoned completely victorious, are all the novelties I have seen since I left town. War and politics occupy those who think at all-no great number neither; and most of those, too, are content with the events of the day, and forget them the next. But it is too like an old man to blame the age; and, as I have nothing to do with it, I may as well be silent and let it please itself. I am, with great regard, my lord, yours, etc.

(484) Now first collected.

Letter 254 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 17, 1782. (page 319)

I had not time yesterday to say what I had to say about your coming hither. I should certainly be happy to see you and Lady Ailesbury at any time: but it would be unconscionable to expect it when you have scarce a whole day in a month to pass at your own house, and to look after your own works. Friends, I know, lay as great stress upon trifles as upon serious points; but as there never was a more sincere attachment than mine, so it is the most reasonable one too for I always think for you more than myself. Do whatever you have to do, and be assured, that is what I like best that you should do. The present hurry cannot last always. Your present object is to show how much more fit you are for your post(485) than any other man; by which you will do infinite service too, and will throw a great many private acts of good-nature and justice into the account. Do you think I would stand in the way of any of these things? and that I am not aware of them? Do you think about me? If it suits you at any moment, come. Except Sunday next, when I am engaged to dine abroad, I have nothing to do till the middle of October, when I shall go to Nuneham; and, going or coming, may possibly catch you at Park-place.

I am not quite credulous about your turning smoke into gold:(486) it is perhaps because I am ignorant. I like Mr. Mapleton extremely; and though I have lived so long, that I have little confidence, I think you could not have chosen one more likely to be faithful. I am sensible that my kind of distrust would prevent all great enterprises; and yet I cannot but fear, that unless one gives one's self' up entirely to the pursuit of a new object, this risk must be doubled. But I will say no more; for I do not even wish to dissuade you, as I am sure I understand nothing of the matter, and therefore mean no more than to keep your discretion awake.

The tempest of Monday night alarmed me too for the fleet: and as I have nothing to do but to care, I feel for individuals as well as for the public, and think of all those who may be lost, and of all those who may be made miserable by such loss. Indeed, I care most for individuals; for as to the public, it seems to be totally insensible to every thing! I know nothing worth repeating; and having now answered all your letter, shall bid you good night. Yours ever.

(485) Mr. Conway was now commander-in-chief.

(486) Alluding to the coke-ovens, for which Mr. Conway afterwards obtained a patent.

Letter 255 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 3, 1782. (page 320)

I did think it long since I had the honour of hearing from your lordship; but, conscious how little I could repay you with any entertainment, I waited with patience. In fact, I believe summer-correspondences often turn on complaints of want of news. it is unlucky that that is generally the season of correspondence, as it is of separation. People assembled in a capital contrive to furnish matter, but then they have not occasion to write it. Summer, being the season of campaigns, ought to be more fertile: I am glad when that is not the case, for what is an account of battles but a list of burials? Vultures and birds of prey might write with pleasure to their correspondents in the Alps of such events; but they ought to be melancholy topics to those who have no beaks or talons. At this moment if I was an epicure among the sharks, I should rejoice that General Elliot has just sent the carcases of fifteen hundred Spaniards down to market under Gibraltar;(487) but I am more pleased that he despatched boats, and saved some of those whom he had overset. What must a man of so much feeling have suffered at being forced to do his duty so well as he has done! I remember hearing such another humane being, that brave old admiral Sir Charles Wager, say, that in his life be had never killed a fly.

This demolition of the Spanish armada is a great event: a very good one if it prevents a battle between Lord Howe and the combined fleets, as I should hope; and yet better if it produces peace, the only political crisis to which I look with eagerness. Were that happy moment arrived, there is ample matter to employ our great men, if we have any, in retrieving the affairs of this country, if they are to be retrieved. But though our sedentary politicians write abundance of letters in the newspapers, full of plans of public spirit, I doubt the nation is not sober enough to set about its own work in earnest. When none reform themselves, little good is to be expected, We see by the excess of highwaymen how far evils may go before any attempt is made to cure them. I am sure, from the magnitude of this inconvenience, that I am not talking merely like an old man. I have lived here above thirty years, and used to go every where round at all hours of the night without any precaution. I cannot now stir a mile from my own house after sunset without one or two servants with blunderbusses. I am not surprised your lordship's pheasants were stolen: a woman was taken last Saturday night loaded with nine geese, and they say has impeached a gang Of fourteen housebreakers -but these are undergraduates; when they should have taken their doctor's degrees, they would not have piddled in such little game. Those regius-professors the nabobs have taught men not to plunder for farthings.

I am very sensible of your lordship's kindness to my nephew Mr. Cholmondeley. He is a sensible, well-behaved young man, and, I trust, would not have abused your goodness. Mr. Mason writes to me, that he shall be at York at the end of this month. I was to have gone to Nuneham; but the house is so little advanced, that it is a question whether they can receive me. Mason, I doubt, has been idle there. I am sure, if he found no muses there, he could pick up none at Oxford, where there is not so much as a bedmaker that ever lived in a muse's family. Tonton begs his duty to all the lambs, and trusts that Lady Strafford will not reject his homage.

(487) On the 13th of September, when General Elliot repulsed the grand attack made on Gibraltar - and Captain Curtis of the Brilliant, who commanded the marine brigade upon the occasion, and his men, saved numbers of the Spaniards, at the hazard of their own lives.-E.

Letter 256 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, Nov. 5, 1782. (page 321)

I had begun a letter in answer to another person, which I have broken off on receiving yours, dear Sir. I am exceedingly concerned at the bad account you give of yourself; and yet on weighing it, I flatter myself that you are not Only out of all danger, but have had a fortunate crisis, which I hope will Prolong your life. A bile surmounted is a present from nature to us, who are not boys: and though you speak as weary of life from sufferings, and yet with proper resignation and philosophy, it does not frighten me, as I know that any humour and gathering, even in the gum, is strangely dispiriting. I do not write merely from sympathizing friendship, but to beg that if your bile is not closed or healing, you will let me know; for the bark is essential, yet very difficult to have genuine. My apothecary here, I believe, has some very good, and I will send you some directly.

I will thank you, but not trouble you with an account of myself. I had no fit of the gout, nor any new complaint; but it is with the utmost difficulty I keep the humour from laming me entirely, especially in my hands, which are a mine of chalk-stones; but, as they discharge themselves, I flatter myself they prevent heavier attacks.

I do take in the European Magazine, and think it in general one of the best. I forgot what was said of me: sometimes I am corrected, sometimes flattered, and care for neither. I have not seen the answer to Mr. Warton, but will send for it.

I shall not be sorry on my own account if Dr. Lort quits Lambeth, and comes to Saville-row, which is in my neighbourhood; but I did not think a wife was the stall where he would set up his staff.

You have given me the only reason why I cannot be quite sorry that you do not print what you had prepared for the press. No kind intention towards me from you surprises me-but then I want no new proofs. My wish, for whatever shall be the remainder of my life is to be quiet and forgotten. Were my course to recommence, and one could think in youth as one does at sixty-five, I have no notion I should have courage to appear as an author. Do you know, too, that I look on fame now as the idlest of all visions? but this theme would lead me too far.

I collect a new comfort from your letter. The writing is much better than in most of your latest letters. If your pain were not ceased, you could not have formed your letters so firmly and distinctly. I will not say more, lest I should draw you into greater fatigue; let me have but a single line in answer. Yours most cordially.(488)

(488) This is the last letter addressed by Walpole to Mr. Cole; who died within six weeks of the date of it. The event is thus recorded by Mr. Gough, in the second volume of his edition of Camden's Britannia. "At Milton a small village on the Ely road, was the retirement of the Rev. William Cole. Here, Dec. 16, 1782, in his sixty-eighth year, he closed a life spent in learned research into the history and antiquities of this county in particular, which nothing but his declining state of health prevented this work from sharing the benefit of. He was buried under the belfry of St. Clement's Church in Cambridge."-E.

Letter 257 To George Colman, Esq.(489) Strawberry Hill, May 10, 1783. (page 322)

Dear Sir, For so you must allow me to call you, after your being so kind as to send me so valuable and agreeable a present as your translation of Horace(490)—I wish compliment had left any term uninvaded, Of which sincerity could make use without suspicion. Those would be precisely what I would employ in commending your poem; and, if they proved too simple to content my gratitude, I would be satisfied with an offering to truth, and wait for a nobler opportunity of sacrificing to the warmer virtue. If I have not lost my memory, your translation is the best I have ever seen of that difficult epistle. Your expression is easy and natural, and when requisite, poetic. In short, it has a prime merit, it has the air of an original.

Your hypothesis in your commentary is very ingenious. I do not know whether it is true, which now cannot be known; but if the scope of the epistle was, as you suppose, to hint in a delicate and friendly manner to the elder of Piso's sons that he had written a bad tragedy, Horace had certainly executed his plan with great address; and, I think, nobody will be able to show that any thing in the poem clashes with your idea. Nay, if he went farther, and meant to disguise his object, by giving his epistle the air of general rules on poetry and tragedy, he achieved both purposes; and while the youth his friend was at once corrected and put to no shame, all other readers were kept in the dark, except you, and diverted to different scents.(491) Excuse my commenting your comment, but I had no other way of proving that I really approve both your version and criticism than by stating the grounds of my applause. If you have wrested the sense of the original to favour your own hypothesis, I have not been able to discover your art; for I do not perceive where it has been employed. If you have given Horace more meaning than he was intitled to, you have conferred a favour on him, for you have made his whole epistle consistent, a beauty all the spectacles of all his commentators could not find out-but, indeed, they proceed on the profound laws of criticism, you by the laws of common sense, which, marching on a plain natural path, is very apt to arrive sooner at the goal, than they who travel on the Appian Way; which was a very costly and durable work, but is very uneasy, and at present does not lead to a quarter of the places to which it was originally directed.

I am, Sir, with great regard, your most obedient and obliged humble servant.

(489) Now first collected.

(490) His translation of Horace's Epistola ad Pisones de Arte Poeticae.-E.

(491) It had been the opinion of Bishop Hurd, that - it was the proper and sole purpose of ,Horace simply to criticise the Roman drama;" but Mr. Colman assumed a contrary ground. "If my partiality to my lamented friend, Mr. Colman," says Dr. Joseph Warton, "does not mislead me, I should think his account of the matter the most judicious of any yet published. He conceives that the elder Piso had written, or meditated, a Poetical work-probably, a tragedy, and had communicated his piece in confidence to Horace; but Horace, either disapproving of the work, or doubting of the poetical faculties of the elder Piso, or both, wished to dissuade him from all thoughts of publication. With this view he wrote his Epistle, addressing it, with a courtliness and delicacy perfectly agreeable to his acknowledged character, indifferently to the whole family, the father and his two sons."-E.

Letter 258 To The Earl Of Buchan.(492) Strawberry Hill, May 12, 1783. (page 324)

My lord, I did not know, till I received the honour of your lordship's letter, that any obstruction had been given to your charter. I congratulate your lordship and the Society on the defeat of that opposition, which does not seem to have been a liberal one. The pursuit of national antiquities has rarely been an object, I believe, with any university: why should they obstruct others from marching in that track? I have often thought the English Society of Antiquaries have gone out of their way when they meddled with Roman remains, especially if not discovered within our island. Were I to speak out, I should own, that I hold most reliques of the Romans that have been found in Britain, of little consequence, unless relating to such emperors as visited us. Provincial armies stationed in so remote and barbarous a quarter as we were then, acted little, produced little worth being remembered. Tombstones erected to legionary officers and their families, now dignified by the title of inscriptions; and banks and ditches that surrounded camps, which we understand much better by books and plans, than by such faint fragments, are given with much pomp, and tell us nothing new. Your lordship's new foundation seems to proceed on a much more rational and useful plan. The biography of the illustrious of your country will be an honour to Scotland, to those illustrious, and to the authors: and may contribute considerably to the general history; for the investigation of particular lives may bring out many anecdotes that may unfold secrets of state, or explain passages in such histories as have been already written; especially as the manners of the times may enter into private biography, though before Voltaire manners were rarely weighed in general history, though very often the sources of considerable events. I shall be very happy to see such lives as shall be published, while I remain alive. I cannot contribute any thing of consequence to your lordship's meditated account of John Law. I have heard many anecdotes of him, though none that I can warrant, particularly that of the duel for which he fled early.(493) I met the other day with an account in some French literary gazette, I forget which, of his having carried off the wife of another man. Lady Catherine Law, his wife, lived, during his power in France, in the most stately manner. Your lordship knows, to be sure, that he died and is buried at Venice. I have two or three different prints of him, and an excellent head of him in crayons by Rosalba, the best of her portraits. It is certainly very like, for, were the flowing wig converted into a female head-dress, it would be the exact resemblance of Lady Wallingford, his daughter, whom I See frequently at the Duchess of Montrose's, and who has by no means a look of the age to which she is arrived. Law was a very extraordinary man, but not at all an estimable one.

I don't remember whether I ever told your lordship that there are many charters of your ancient kings preserved in the Scots College at Paris, and probably many other curiosities. I think I did mention many paintings of the old house of Lenox in the ancient castle at Aubigny.

(492) Now first collected.

(493) Evelyn, in his Diary, gives the following account of this duel:—"April 22 1694. A very young man, named Wilson, the younger son of one who had not above two hundred pounds a-year estate, lived in the garb and equipage of the richest nobleman, for house, furniture, coaches, saddle-horses, and kept a table and all things accordingly, redeemed his father's estate, and gave portions to his sisters, being challenged by one Laws, a Scotchman, was killed in a duel, not fairly. The quarrel arose from his taking away his own sister from a lodging in a house where this Laws had a mistress , which the mistress of the house thinking a disparagement to it, and losing by it, instigated Laws to this duel. He was taken, and condemned for murder. The mystery is, how this so young a gentleman, very sober and of good fame, could live in such an expensive manner; it could not be discovered by all possible industry, or entreaty of his friends to make him reveal it. It did not appear that he was kept by women, play, coining, padding, or dealing in chemistry; but he would sometimes say, that, if he should live ever so long, he had wherewith to maintain himself in the same manner, This was a subject Of much discourse." Law was found guilty of murder, and sentence of death was passed upon him. He however, found means to escape, and got clear off to the Continent. A reward of fifty bounds for is apprehension appeared in the London Gazette of the 7th of January, 1695.-E.

Letter 259 To The Hon. George Hardinge. Berkeley Square, May 17, 1783. (page 325)

Though I shall not be fixed at Strawberry on this day fortnight, I will accept your offer, dear Sir, because my time is more at my disposal than yours, and you May not have any other day to bestow upon me later. I thank you for your second: which I shall read as carefully as I did the former. It is not your fault if you have not yet made Sir Thomas Rumbold white as driven snow to Me.(494) Nature has providentially given us a powerful antidote to eloquence, or the criminal that has the best advocate would escape. But, when rhetoric. and logic stagger my lords the judges, in steps prejudice, and, without one argument that will make a syllogism, confutes Messrs. Demosthenes, Tully, and Hardinge, and makes their lordships see as clearly as any old woman in England, that belief is a much better rule Of faith than demonstration. This is Just my case: I do believe, nay, and I will believe, that no man ever went to India with honest intentions. If he returns with 100,000 pounds it is plain that I was in the right. But I have still a stronger proof; my Lord Coke says "Set a thief to catch a thief;" my Lord Advocate(495) says, "Sir Thomas is a rogue:" ergo.—I cannot give so complete an answer to the rest of your note, as I trust I have done to your pleadings, because the latter is in print, and your note is manuscript. Now, unfortunately, I cannot read half of it; for, give me leave to say, that either your hand or my spectacles are so bad, that I generally guess at your meaning rather than decipher it, and this time the context has not served me well.

(494) The bill of pains and penalties against Sir Thomas Rumbold, late governor of Madras, was at this time in its progress through the House of Commons. On the 1st of July, the further proceedings upon the bill were adjourned to the 1st of October; by which means the whole business fell to the ground.-E.

(495) Mr. Dundas, afterwards Lord Melville. "I think him," said Mr. Wilberforce, in June, 1781, "the first speaker on the ministerial side in the House of Commons, and there is a manliness in his character which prevents his running away from the question; he grants all his adversaries' premises, and fights them On their own ground." Life, vol. i. P. 21.-E.

Letter 260 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, June 24, 1783. (page 326)

Though your lordship's partiality extends even to my letters, you must perceive that they grow as antiquated as the writer. News are the soul of letters: when we give them a body of our own invention, it is as unlike to life as a statue. I have withdrawn so much from the -world, that the newspapers know every thing before me, especially since they have usurped the province of telling every thing, private as -well as public: and consequently, a great deal more than I should -wish to know, or like to report. When I do hear the transactions of much younger people, they do not pass from my ears into my memory; nor does your lordship interest yourself more about them than I do. Yet still, when one reduces one's departments to such narrow limits, one's correspondence suffers by it. However, as I desire to show only my gratitude and attachment, not my wit, I shall certainly obey your lordship as long as you are content to read my letters, after I have told you fairly how little they can entertain you.

For imports of French, I believe we shall have few more. They have not ruined us so totally by the war, much less enriched themselves so much by it, but that they who have been here, complained so piteously of the expensiveness of England, that probably they will deter others from a similar jaunt; nor, such is their fickleness, are the French Constant to any thing but admiration of themselves. Their Anglomanie I hear has mounted, or descended, from our customs to our persons. English people are in fashion at Versailles. A Mr. Ellis,(496) who wrote some pretty verses at Bath two or three years ago, is a favourite there. One who was so, or may be still, the Beau Dillon, came upon a very different errand; in short, to purchase at any price a book written by Linguet, which was just coming out, called "Antoinette." That will tell your lordship why the Beau Dillon(497) was the messenger.

Monsieur de Guignes and his daughters came hither; but it was at eight o'clock at night in the height of the deluge. You may be sure I was much flattered by such a visit! I was forced to light candles to show them any thing; and must have lighted the moon to show them the views. If this is their way of seeing England, they might as well look at it with an opera-glass from the shores of Calais.

Mr. Mason is to come to me on Sunday, and will find me mighty busy in making my lock of hay, which is not Yet cut. I don't know why, but people are always more anxious about their hay than their corn, or twenty other things that cost them more. I suppose my Lord Chesterfield, or some such dictator, made it fashionable to care about one's hay. Nobody betrays solicitude about getting in his rents.

We have exchanged spring and summer for autumn and winter, as well as day for night. If religion or law enjoined people to love light, and prospect, and verdure, I should not wonder if perverseness made us hate them; no, nor if society made us prefer living always in town to solitude and beauty. But that is not the case. The most fashionable hurry into the country at Christmas and Easter, let the weather be ever so bad; and the finest ladies, who will go no whither till eleven at night, certainly pass more tiresome hours in London alone than they would in the country. But all this is no business of mine: they do what they like, and so do I; and I am exceedingly tolerant about people who are perfectly indifferent to me. The sun and the seasons were not gone out of fashion when I was young; and I may do what I will with them now I am old: for fashion is fortunately no law but to its devotees. Were I five-and-twenty, I dare to say I should think every whim of my contemporaries very wise, as I did then. In one light I am always on the side of the Young, for they only silently despise those who do not conform to their ordinances; but age is very apt to be angry at the change of customs, and partial to others no better founded. It is happy when we are occupied by nothing more serious. It is happy for a nation when mere fashions are a topic that can employ its attention; for, though dissipation may lead to graver moments, it commences with ease and tranquillity: and they at least who live before the scene shifts are fortunate, considering and comparing themselves with the various regions who enjoy no parallel felicity. I confess my reflections are couleur de rose at present. I did not much expect to live to see peace, without far more extensive ruin than has fallen on us. I will not probe futurity in search of less agreeable conjectures. Prognosticators may see many seeds of dusky hue; but I am too old to look forwards. Without any omens, common sense tells one, that in the revolution of ages nations must have unprosperous periods. But why should I torment myself for what may happen in twenty years after my death, more than for what may happen in two hundred? Nor shall I be more interested in the one than in the other. This is no indifference for my country: I wish it could always be happy; but so I do to all other countries. Yet who could ever pass a tranquil moment, if such future speculations vexed him?

Adieu, my good lord! I doubt this letter has more marks of senility than the one I announced at the beginning. When I had no news to send you, it was no reason for tiring you with commonplaces. But your lordship's indulgence spoils me. Does not it look as if I thought, that, because you commend my letters, you would like whatever I say? Will not Lady Strafford think that I abuse your patience? I ask both your pardons, and am to both a most devoted humble servant.

(496) George Ellis, Esq.; afterwards a contributor to "The Rolliad;" a coadjutor of Mr. Canning and Mr. Frere in "The Anti-Jacobin," and editor of "Specimens of Ancient English Romances," etc. He died in 1815, at the age of seventy. Sir Walter Scott, in the introduction to the fifth canto of Marmion, thus addresses him-

Thou, who can give to lightest lay An unpedantic moral gay, Nor less the dullest theme bid flit On wings of unexpected wit; In letters as in life approved, Example honour'd and beloved; Dear Ellis! to the bard impart A lesson of thy magic art To win at once the head and heart,- At once to charm, instruct, and mend, My guide, my pattern, and my friend!"-E.

(497) "Colonel Edward Dillon was particularly acquainted with him," says Wraxall, in his posthumous Memoirs; "he descended, I believe, collaterally from the noble Irish family of the Earls of Roscommon, though his father carried on the trade of a wine-merchant at Bordeaux; but he was commonly called 'Le Comte Edouard Dillon,' and 'Le Beau Dillon.' In my estimation, he possessed little pretense to the latter epithet: but surpassed most men in stature, like Lord Whitworth, Lord Hugh Seymour, and the other individuals on whom Marie Antoinette cast a favourable eye. That she showed him some imprudent marks of predilection at a ball, which, when they took place, excited Comment, is true; but they prove only indiscretion and levity on her part."-E.

Letter 261 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, August 1, 1783. (page 328)

It would be great happiness indeed to me, my dear lord, if such nothings as my letters could contribute to any part of your lordship's; but as your own partiality bestows their chief merit on them, you see they owe More to your friendship than to the writer. It is not my interest to depreciate them; much less to undermine the foundation of their sole worth. Yet it would be dishonest not to warn your lordship, that if my letters have had any intrinsic recommendation, they must lose of it every day. Years and frequent returns of gout have made a ruin of me. Dulness, in the form of indolence, grows upon me. I am inactive, lifeless, and so indifferent to most things. that I neither inquire after nor remember any topics that might enliven my letters. Nothing is so insipid as my way of passing MY time. But I need not specify what my letters speak. They can have no spirit left; and would be perfectly inanimate, if attachment and gratitude to your lordship were as liable to be extinguished by old age as our more amusing qualities. I make no new connexions; but cherish those that remain' with all the warmth of youth and the piety of gray hairs.

The weather here has been, and is, with very few intervals, sultry to this moment. I think it has been of service to me; though by overheating Myself I had a few days of lameness. The harvest is half over already all round us; and so pure, that not a poppy or cornflower is to be seen. Every field seems to have been weeded like Brisco's bowling-green. If Ceres, who is at least as old as many of our fashionable ladies, loves tricking herself out in flowers as they do, she must be mortified: and with more reason; for she looks well always with top-knots of ultramarine and vermilion, which modern goddesses do not for half so long as they think they do. As Providence showers so many blessings on us, I wish the peace may confirm them! Necessary I am sure it was; and when it cannot restore us, where should we have been had the war continued? Of our situation and prospect I confess my opinion is melancholy, not from present politics but from past. We flung away the most brilliant position, I doubt, for a long season! With politics I have totally done. I wish the present ministers may last; for I think better of their principles than of those of their opponents (with a few salvos on both sides,) and so I do of their abilities. But it would be folly in me to concern myself about new generations. How little a way can I see of their progress!

I am rather surprised at the new Countess of Denbigh. How could a woman be ambitious of resembling Prometheus, to be pawed and clawed and gnawed by a vulture?(498) I beg your earldom's pardon; but I could not conceive that a coronet was so very tempting!

Lady Browne is quite recovered, unless she relapses from what we suffer at Twickenham-park from a Lord Northesk,(499) an old seaman, who is come to Richmond on a visit to the Duke of Montrose. I think the poor man must be out of his senses, at least he talks us out of ours. It is the most incessant and incoherent rhapsody that ever was heard. He sits by the card-table, and pours on Mrs. N * * * all that ever happened in his voyages or his memory. He details the ship's allowance, and talks to her as if she was his first-mate. Then in the mornings he carries his daughter to town to see St. Paul's, and the Tower, and Westminster Abbey; and at night disgorges all he has seen, till we don't know the ace of spades from Queen Elizabeth's pocket-pistol in the armoury. Mercy on us! And mercy on your lordship too! Why should you be stunned with that alarum? Have you had your earthquake, my lord? Many have had theirs. I assure you I have had mine. Above a week ago, when broad awake, the doors of the cabinet by my bedside rattled, without a breath of wind. I imagined somebody was walking on the leads, or had broken into the room under me. It was between four and five in the morning. I rang my bell. Before my servant could come it happened again; and was exactly like the horizontal tremor I felt from the earthquake some years ago. As I had rung once, it is plain I was awake. I rang again; but heard nothing more. I am quite persuaded there was some commotion; nor is it surprising that the dreadful eruptions of fire on the coasts of Italy and Sicily(500) should have occasioned some alteration that has extended faintly, hither, and contributed to the heats and mists that have been so extraordinary. George Montagu said of our last earthquake, that it was so tame you might have stroked it. It is comfortable to live where one can reason on them without dreading them! What satisfaction should you have in having erected such a monument of your taste, my lord, as Wentworth Castle, if you did not know but it might be overturned in a moment and crush you? Sir William Hamilton is expected: he has been groping in all those devastations. Of all vocations I would not be a professor of earthquakes! I prefer studies that are couleur de rose; nor would ever think of calamities, if I can do nothing To relieve them. Yet this is a weakness of mind that I do not defend. They are more respectable who can behold philosophically the great theatre of events, or rather this little theatre of ours! In some ampler sphere, they may look on the catastrophe of Messina(501) as we do kicking to Pieces an ant-hill.

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