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could not endure this French woman, and was, besides, dying for another. The
noblemen of the party (of whom there were several) used to amuse themselves with seeing so great a philosopher under such cruel embarrassment.
Though one is pleased to hear of particulars which prove that men eminent for great powers of reason and great acquisitions of knowledge, do not therefore lose the softer parts of their nature, yet I do not mention these circumstances as of a kind likely to be adopted by you in your account of Dr. Smith. Hearing, however, that you were writing an account of this extraordinary man, I thought you might be pleased to converse with Captain Lloyd, who is in himself most amiable as well as most enlightened ; and, finding that he had an intention of visiting Edinburgh, I gave him a letter to a friend there, requesting him to find some means of introducing him to you. I believe Captain Lloyd did not make good his purpose. I understand he is now in Switzerland, but I have not heard from him since the time I mention.
I am happy to hear you are still going on with the important work, of which one volume has already appeared. I am altogether a pupil of the school of philosophy in which you take such a lead; and am of opinion, that a work such as yours is of the greatest value -- calculated to recall the world from a path that leads to chaos and darkness, and to make the enquiries concerning mind and its attributes, run in a parallel direction with that chalked out for natural philosophy by Bacon.
In England I am persuaded that the system of Dr. Reid gains ground, though till very lately it seems not to have been understood.
I hope you will not suffer your exertions to languish under the pressure of this dark and clouded horizon. The storm is too violent, I should hope, to last, though I fairly confess I do not yet catch a glimpse of sunshine through the thick clouds. With the most perfect esteem,
I am, dear Sir,
To Miss Ann Duncan, Lochrutton.
Liverpool, 1794. MY DEAR AUNT, I do not know any one that flatters me more agreeably than my good and kind aunt.
declare to her, with great truth, that I am very sensible to her praise, and much gratified by any expression of her approbation. We are now very old acquaintance. Thirty-eight years are a long portion of human life. We have seen many changes, and participated in many sorrows, and I hope the mutual sympathy and affection between us will continue, while we are sensible either of pleasure or sorrow.
I am glad you think in some respects improved. He is indeed a very fine young man, and I hope his time is not thrown away.
I have not observed much Anglification about him, nor have I wished to see much. I like nothing so little as the awkward attempts of a Scotsman to be an Englishman. What comes naturally, where the disposition is a fine one, is always attractive in manners; and in this point of view,
's manners appear to me extremely engaging. But
do not like some of our ways. I must get him to explain this to me; and when you ask me why we should not be partial to our country, though there may be better and worse in both places, I join with you in the question, and assent to the observation, though the application must be made by him on his return. For my part, I assure you I love Scotland dearly :I like her green vales, her clear streams, her
bleak mountains. As I travel north, I always watch the moment, and mark the spot (a little beyond Penrith), where Burnswark rises above the English horizon, and presenting itself the first object in Scotland, recalls at the same time the idea of my native country, and of the scenes of my early life.
Considering that I have lived but little in Scotland, and that I left it early, there is no man retains more of the partialities of a Scotsman than I do. Men, whose connections in infancy deserved and possessed a large portion of their affection, always, I observe, love their country.
But though I love my country and my countrymen, when I examine their claims to esteem rationally, I am obliged to abate for the moment some part of my regard. Whatever trouble an ambitious and unprincipled statesman has with Englishmen, with Scotland he has little or no difficulty. You are always ready to give your confidence to the minister for the time being. You supported to a man the mad American war, and even now, I am told, in spite of bloody experience, you are to a man supporters of this war, unexampled in the annals of Britain for expense, disgrace, and carnage.
When I reflect on what has passed, on what is passing, and what in all probability is coming; when I observe the manner in which men's hearts are hardened, -- I fold my arms in silent wonder, and suspect that the hand of Providence is raised against us.
will say, Why should you think so deeply on such subjects ? I cannot help it. The streets here are full of press-gangs and recruiting sergeants. This single county has already sent out 40,000 men since the commencement of the war, of whom by far the greater part have already fallen in battle, or perished by disease. mothers are childless, how many children are fatherless! And what have we gained but disgrace and defeat? But at Lochrutton I dare say you are all for peace; if not, you will have the charity to forgive one, who is sick at heart with our political follies.
I beg to be most kindly remembered to all my friends there, and hasten to conclude.