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To Mrs. Greg, Manchester.
Liverpool, January 16. 1790.
By the Liverpool papers you will see that we are going to meet on the subject of the Test and Corporation Acts. What sort of meeting it will be, God knows. Whether I may grow warm in the progress of the business, I do not know; but at present I am but lukewarm. There is such a degree of hatred, malice, and uncharitableness generated in the discussion of all
party questions, that I could be well contented to have nothing to do with them. I believe, however, that I shall be forced more or less forward, though little, I fear, to my own credit or satisfaction. It is my misfortune that I do not entirely approve of the conduct and principles of any sect; and, therefore, I can take part in the present question only in so far as it is connected with the principle of universal toleration. But this principle has not been sufficiently avowed on the present occasion ; and many, who wish for their own hands untied, are decidedly against the same liberty to others. The Catholics, they say, are not to be trusted :— now, this I despise.
I am one of those who can bear up under the deepest afflictions, provided I may hold my peace. I can go on with the usual occupations of life with tolerable composure, and keep my face unruffled to the world at large : but if I must enter into the particulars of my sorrow, and examine the loss I have sustained ; if I must speak of ties so recently broken, and recall the image of that living excellence which but yesterday appeared before me, and which to-day is shrouded in the grave, I feel emotions that impede my utterance, and bid my tongue be still.
To write, and to write to such a friend as you, is indeed less difficult; and as I proceed in my task, the employment lightens on my hands.
What a loss have we suffered! Miss Cropper's friendship was to me invaluable :- it supported me in sickness and in sorrow, and to her exertions I think I owe it that I survive to lament her. Such a friendship can never be compensated. Let me be thankful that I have enjoyed it so long. Such a blessing has fallen to the lot of few. If minds such as hers were common, earth would be a paradise. That she was prepared to die is true in every sense : her whole life was a preparation for a better. *
But she might be said to be prepared for death in that she clearly foresaw it; this I know from her conversations, and it also appears from some meditations which she has left behind her in papers bequeathed to me, which are deeply affecting. If ever you and I meet, which I hope we shall, you shall know more of these interesting particulars. blessings which she has been the means of
procuring me, I consider your friendship as one of the most valuable. Your kind expressions I receive with gratitude. Be assured of and affection. In truth, I know not that life would be worth the having, if it were not for the opportunities it affords us of exercising the kinder feelings of our nature, and of having them exercised towards us. If there were not
Of the many
several on earth that I sincerely love, and some few still that I hope have a regard for me, I should not care how soon my eyes were closed in death. Thinking thus, you may guess what I feel on my late loss, and how I think of those friends that still remain. I was not altogether unprepared for this stroke, but less at the time it happened than perhaps at any time for three years before. You must send me all the advice you can, for I want it
want it very much. Let your confidence towards me be equal to your kindness. This letter is not fit for any eye but your own. Farewell, my dear friend. .
A short time ago, I wrote to Miss Kennedy in much disorder of spirit. At present I can think with much more calmness, and express myself with much more ease. The influence of time, of continual occupations, but more espe
cially of study, has alleviated my feelings, on a loss which I shall never cease to lament, and which I shall never be able to repair. Such a friend is not to be met with twice in the narrow circle of an individual society, or in the short limits of human life. Such judgment, such generosity and tenderness, such delicacy of heart and devotion of friendship, are rarely seen on earth, which does not indeed seem worthy of them. That eternal Being who brought them into existence, has not, we will anxiously hope, resolved them into dust; but preserved them in a brighter world, the great receptacle of virtuous minds. I cannot express to you the chasm in my thoughts and feelings which Miss Cropper's death has produced.
I READ your letter twice over before I could convince myself that you had nothing to say