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quence sufficiently studious of profit, cannot be fupposed to have looked with much compassion upon negligence and extravagance, or to think any excellence equivalent to a fault of such consequence as neglect of economy. It is natural to imagine, that many of those, who would have relieved his real wants, were discouraged from the exertion of their benevolence by obfervation of the use which was made of their favours, and conviction that relief would only be momentary, and that the same necessity would quickly return.
· At last he quitted the house of his friend, and returned to his lodging at the inn, still intending to set out in a few days for London; but on the roth of January 1742-3, having been at supper with two of his friends, he was at his return to his lodgings arrested for a debt of about eight pounds, which he owed at a coffee-house, and conducted to the house of a fheriff's officer. The account which he gives of this misfortune, in a letter to one of the gentlemen with whom he had supped, is too remarkable to be omitted.
“ It was not a little unfortunate for me, that I spent
yesterday's evening with you; because the hour “ hindered me from entering on my new lodging; “ however, I have now got one, but such an one as I “ believe nobody would chuse.
“ I was arrested, at the suit of Mrs. Read, just as I
was going up stairs to bed, at Mr. Bowyer's; but “ taken in so private a manner, that I believe nobody " at the White Lion is apprised of it. Though I let " the officers know the strength (or rather weakness) “ of my pocket, yet they treated me with the utmost “ civility; and even when they conducted me to con
« finement, it was in such a manner, that I verily be“ lieve I could have escaped, which I would rather “ be ruined than have done, notwithstanding the “ whole amount of my finances was but three pence “ halfpenny.
“ In the first place I must insist, that you will in“ dustriously conceal this from Mrs. S—s, because “ I would not have her good-nature suffer that pain, “ which, I know, she would be apt to feel on this « occasion.
“ Next, I conjure you, dear Sir, by all the ties of “ friendship, by no means to have one uneasy thought “ on my account; but to have the same pleasantry “ of countenance, and unruffled ferenity of mind, “ which (God be praised !) I have in this, and have “ had in a much feverer calamity. Furthermore, I
value my friendship as truly as I “ do yours, not to utter, or even harbour, the least “ resentment against Mrs. Read. I believe the has “ ruined me, but I freely forgive her; and (though I “ will never more have any intimacy with her) I “ would, at a due distance, rather do her an act of
good, than ill will. Lastly (pardon the expreflion) “ I absolutely command you not to offer me any pe“ cuniary affistance, nor to attempt getting me any “ froin any one of your friends. At another time, or
on any other occasion, you may, dear friend, be “ well assured, I would rather write to you in the sub“ missive style of a request, than that of a peremptory “ command.
“ However, that my truly valuable friend may not “ think I am too proud to ask a favour, let me entreac you to let me have your boy to attend me for this
66. charge you,
“ day, not only for the sake of saving me the expence “ of porters, but for the delivery of some letters to
people whose names I would not have known to “ strangers.
" The civil treatment I have thus far met from “ those whose prisoner I am, makes me thankful to “ the Almighty, that, though he has thought fit to “ visit me (on my birth-night) with affliction, yet “ (such is his great goodness!) my affliction is not “ without alleviating circumstances. I murmur not ; “ but am all resignation to the divine will." As to the
world, I hope that I shall be endued by Heaven with “ that presence of mind, that serene dignity in misfor
tune, that constitutes the character of a true noble“ man; a dignity far beyond that of coronets; a “ nobility arising from the just principles of philofo
phy, refined and exalted by those of christianity.”
He continued five days at the officer's, in hopes that he should be able to procure bail, and avoid the necesfity of going to prison. The state in which he passed his time, and the treatment which he received, are very justly expressed by him in a letter which he wrote to a friend : “ The whole day,” says he, “ has been em“ployed in various people's filling my head with
their foolish chimerical systems, which has obliged
me coolly (as far as nature will admit) tò digest, " and accommodate myself to, every different person's way
of thinking; hurried from one wild system to “ another, till it has quite made a chaos of my “ imagination, and nothing donempromised—disap
pointed-ordered to send, every hour, from one part of the town to the other."
When his friends, who had hitherto caressed and applauded, found that to give bail and pay the debt was the same, they all refused to preserve him from a prison at the expence of eight pounds; and therefore, after having been for some time at the officer's house,
at an immense expence," as he observes in his letter, he was at length removed to Newgate.
This expence he was enabled to support by the generosity of Mr. Nash at Bath, who, upon receiving from him an account of his condition, immediately sent him five guineas, and promised to promote his subscription at Bath with all his interest.
By his removal to Newgate, he obtained at least a freedom from suspense, and rest from the disturbing viciffitudes of hope and disappointment; he now found that his friends were only companions, who were willing to share his gaiety, but not to partake of his miffortunes; and therefore he no longer expected any afsistance from them.
It must however be observed of one gentleman, that he offered to release him by paying the debt; but that Mr. Savage would not consent, I suppose because he thought he had before been too burthensome to him.
He was offered by some of his friends, that a collection should be made for his enlargeinent ; but he “ treated the proposal,” and declared * “ he should “ again treat it, with disdain. As to writing any men“i dicant letters, he had too high a spirit, and de“ termined only to write to some ministers of state, to
try to regain his penfion.”
* In a letter after his confinement. Orig. Edit. Vol. III.
He continued to complain * of those that had sent him into the country, and objected to them, that he had “ lost the profits of his play, which had been “ finished three years ;” and in another letter declares his resolution to publish a pamphlet, that the world might know how “ he had been used.”
This pamphlet was never written; for he in a very short time recovered his usual tranquillity, and cheerfully applied himself to more inoffensive studies. He indeed steadily declared, that he was promised a yearly allowance of fifty pounds, and never received half the suin; but he seemed to resign himself to that as well as to other misfortunes, and lose the remembrance of it in his amusements and employments.
The cheerfulness with which he bore his confinement appears from the following letter, which he wrote, January the zoth, to one of his friends in London :
“ I now write to you from my confinement in Newgate, where I have been ever since Monday last was fe’nnight, and where I enjoy myself with much
inore tranquillity than I have known for upwards of “ a twelvemonth pait; having a room entirely to my: - felf, and pursuing the amusement of my poetical “ studies, uninterrupted, and agreeable to my inind. “ I thank the Almighty, I am now all collected in “ myself; and, though my person is in confinement,
my mind can expatiate on ample and useful subjects “ with all the freedom imaginable. I am now more " converiant with the Nine than ever; and if, instead “ of a Newgate-bird, I may be allowed to be a bird
Leiter, Jan. 15.