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before myself. I was some hours with him in this place, that is to say, almost all the time he was here. I find him always *
always good-natured, always amusing, and always trifling. I asked him some questions about Italy; he told me, he hurried out of it as soon as he could, because there was no French comedy, and he did not love the Italian opera. I let slip some words of the pleasure he would have of seeing his native country again, on account of the services he could render her in
parliament. “Yes, (says he,) I want vastly to be at London; there are three
since I have seen Garrick.” He spoke to me of you, and indeed not only with consideration, but with affection. Were there nothing else valuable in his character, I should love him, because he loves you. He told me he intended to see you as soon as he should be in England; I am glad he has kept his word. I was so taken up with my old friend, that I could not speak a word to peared, however, a good, sensible, modest young
Poor Minorca' indeed thus lost! but poor Englishmen who have lost it! I think the second exclamation still stronger than the first. Poor Lord Torrington! I can't help pitying him. What a shameful uncle he has ! I shall lose all my opinion of my countrymen, if the whole nation, Whigs, Toties, Courtiers, Jacobites, &c. &c. &c. are not unanimous in detesting that man. Pray is there any truth in a story we had here, of a bro
ther of Admiral Byng's having killed himself out of rage and shame? I did not think he had any brothers alive. It is thought here that Byng will be acquitted. I hope not. Though I do not love rash judgments, I cannot help thinking him guilty.
You ask me, when I shall come into England ? How should I know it? The 14th of June I wrote to my father, and saying nothing of my return, which I knew would have been to no purpose, I desired him to give me a fixed allowance of 2001. a-year, or, at least, to allow me a servant. No answer. About a fortnight ago I renewed my request; and I cannot yet know what will be my success. I design to make a virtue of necessity, to keep quiet during this winter, and to put in use all my machines next spring, in order to come over.*
* I shall write the strongest, and at the same time the most dutiful letter I can imagine to my father. If all that produces no effect, I don't know what I can do.
You talk to me of my cousin Ellison's wedding; but
say a word of who she is married toá Is it Elliot? Though you have not seen my father yet, I suppose you have heard of him. How was he in town? His wife, was she with him? Has marriage produced any changement in his way of living? Is he to be always at Beriton, or will he come up to London in winter? Pray have you
* This Letter is a curious specimen of the degree in which Mr. Gibbon had lost the English language in a short time.
ever seen my mother-in-law, or heard any thing more of her character? Compliments body that makes me compliments: to the Gilberts, to the Comarques, to Lord Nuneham, &c. When you see the Comarques again, ask them if they did not know, at Putney, Monsieur la Vabre, and his daughters; perhaps you know them yourself. I saw them lately in this country; one of them very well married.
The Englishman who lodges in our house, is little sociable, at least for a reasonable person. My health always good, my studies pretty good. I understand Greek pretty well. I have even some kind of correspondence with several learned men, with Mr. Crevier of Paris, with Mr. Breitinger of Zurich, and with Mr. Allamand, a clergyman of this country, the most reasonable divine I ever knew. Do you never read now? I am a little piqued that you say nothing of Sir Charles Grandison;
you have not read it yet, read it for my sake. Perhaps Clarissa does not encourage you ; but, in my opinion, it is much superior to Clarissa. When you have read it, read the letters of Madame de Sevigné to her daughter; I don't doubt of their being translated into English. They are properly what I called in the beginning of my letter, letters of the heart; the natural expressions of a mother's fondness; regret at their being at a great distance from one another, and continual schemes to get together again. All that, won't it please you? There is scarce any thing else in six whole volumes : and notwithstanding that, few people read
them without finding them too short. Adieu: my paper is at an end. I don't dare to tell you to write soon. Do it, however, if you can. Your's affectionately,
Rev. Dr. WALDGRAVE* to EDWARD GIBBON,
Washington, near Storrington, DEAR SIR,
Dec. 7, 1758. I HAVE read nothing for some time (and I keep reading on still) that has given me so much pleasure as your letter, which I received by the last post. I rejoice at your return to your country, to your father, and to the good principles of truth and reason.
Had I in the least suspected your design of leaving us, I should immediately have put you upon reading Mr. Chillingworth's Religion of Protestants; any one page of which is worth a library of Swiss divinity. It will give me great pleasure to see you at Washington; where I am, I thank God, very well and very happy. I desire my respects to Mr. Gibbon; and am, with very great regard, dear Sir, Your most affectionate humble servant,
* Tutor to Mr. Gibbon when he first went to Magdalen College, Oxford. S.
Mr. GIBBON to his FATHER.
1760, An address in writing, from a person who has the pleasure of being with you every day, may appear singular. However, I have preferred this method, as upon paper
I can speak without a blush, and be heard without interruption. If my letter displeases you, impute it, dear Sir, only to yourself. You have treated me, not like a son, but like a friend. Can
you be surprised that I should communicate to a friend, all my thoughts, and all my desires ? Unless the friend approve them, let the father never know them; or at least, let him know at the same time, that however reasonable, however eligible, my
may appear would rather forget it for ever, than cause him the slightest uneasiness,
When I first returned to England, attentive to my future interest, you were so good as to give me hopes of a seat in parliament. This seat, it was supposed, would be an expense of fifteen hundred pounds. This design flattered my vanity, as it might enable me to shine in so august an assembly, It flattered a nobler passion; I promised myself that by the means of this seat I might be one day the instrument of some good to my country. But I soon perceived how little a mere virtuous inclipation, unassisted by talents, could contribute