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were not your son, I should apprehend his good opinion of me would be some recommendation to you of my character ; for setting aside the mistake which I am bound to suppose he has made in my own instance, I protest I do not know a better judge of men, or one whose mind is more sound and clear. Many are the hours we have spent together in Liverpool, at a very interesting period of his life, and much have I been delighted with the rectitude and the open ingenuousness of his sentiments, with the simplicity and the interest of his manners, and with the happy union which he discovered of a strong understanding, an ardent imagination, and a feeling heart. You perhaps know that we have corresponded together, and sometimes discussed in this way the French Revolution, and its extra. ordinary events. On this subject, which has called forth the sympathies of the bluntest minds, we have had just enough of difference of opinion to make a comparison of our sentiments interesting, without such a degree of difference as to make opposition disagreeable. The late extraordinary events in France, and the undisguised exhibition of a new republic, such as the world never saw, provoke me to a communication of thought on the singular crisis that is before us, and on the prospects to come. I intended writing to him, and you see how it happens that my letter is to you.
I am one of those who saw the opening of the Revolution with such extraordinary pleasure, that I have not been able to detach my wishes from the French cause for any length of time, in spite of the many disadvantages under which it has often appeared. The book of Mr. Burke produced no effect on me, but that of a violent headache, which three hundred and fifty pages of bitter and unmixed invective might well enough be supposed to occasion. The transactions of the 10th of August. last shook me much; and the bloody proscriptions which followed, detached me entirely. The flight of Lafayette, Liancourt, and Lameth ; the massacre of the prisoners; and, above all, the murder of Rochefoucauld, whose bloody tomb (to use an expression of the emigrant Bourbons) I yet bathe with my tears, shook me at the time with the strongest horror, and I never expected that any thing out of my own family and country could have so deeply disturbed my peace. But the rapid and momentous events which followed (for we live at a time when weeks are years) have again called me to the scene of action; and, like many other good Feuillans, being unable to go over to the Prussians, I find myself again in the ranks of France. Now, I want to be persuaded that I am right in this, on my original principles; and, to be ingenuous, I long for a few observations on the subject from one, who, I understand, has looked at this scene lately, and who to an unprejudiced judgment adds an experienced eye. I know there are times when the more prudent part is to be silent. But besides that I live remote from the great world, I have a tolerable share of prudence, and can conceal the sentiments of others on such a subject much better than my own.
LETTERS TO MRS. GREG,
FROM 1790 to 1801.
Nos. 40. TO 48.
Test and Corporation Acts. - Death of Miss Cropper. * - On Education. - On Truth-speaking (Note.) - Reflections on Death. - On Ireland. - On Composition.--Mungo Park.
* A Letter on this subject to Miss Kennedy, which it appeared desirable to insert here, is included in this series.