« 前へ次へ »
you may imagine, but not calculated for severe fatigue; and a disposition of mind not at all gratified by show or parade, nor disposed to severe exertions of any kind; but that cannot do well without a certain degree of ease and comfort, nor exist at all without some sort of business and employment.
I would wish to exercise my profession in the place I settled in, and to have as few as possible of the long dreary rides into the American woods. Perhaps I might come with rather more of what is called character and experience than most new settlers in the medical line in America. I am a fellow of the Edinburgh College of Physicians, a member of many learned societies, and particularly of the Royal Society of London, into which I was admitted about the beginning of the year. Having practised with some reputation twelve years here, I could bring some recommendations with me; and not being entirely dependant as to circumstances on my profession, that might operate to my advantage. The favour of mankind comes late to those who depend, upon it, but the multitude delight to patronise those who have no need of their assistance.
On the other hand, I am, as you know, no longer young (I am thirty-seven), and no longer disposed to those violent exertions which I have
been compelled to make in former parts of
my life. My manners had never the vivacity of yours — they are now serious, and perhaps reserved; my temper is thoughtful; my taste much disposed to study and literature, anà delighting in private parties and friendly associations.
I know my profession (perhaps I may say without vanity) well, and have studied it as well as practised it with care. I do not suppose that practitioners in America think it necessary to acquire the medical learning which an English physician requires, and which I have endeavoured to attain. But as I have practised physic only, and have no relish for surgery, I might, without some previous attention, be unfit for an American practitioner, if much attention to surgery is required.
With all these particulars in your mind, I request of you to consider where it would be best for me to settle, if I should come among you. And take into your consideration that I have a young family, and must not bury myself with them in the woods beyond the reach of necessary instruction.
In regard to your wishes for the safety of this country from internal revolution, I believe they are likely to be answered. At least, there is certainly no danger of the people in England plunging wantonly, after France, into the excesses we have seen. From a mere spirit of change — the offspring of folly grown wanton with prosperity, there is certainly nothing to be feared. But what is really to be apprehended, is the spirit of discontent arising from the general bankruptcy and ruin produced by the war. The funding system is here approaching its crisis, and a most fearful period is before us; unless, indeed, general peace could be restored throughout Europe, of which I see little prospect. It is this which renders an asylum in America an object which every prudent man will look to. The difficulties in the way of peace arise partly from the unsettled state of things in France; partly from the extreme folly as well as ignorance of the Germans and Prussians; and above all from England, who alone could have mediated peace, having become a party in the affray. These points you will see discussed in the pamphlet I send you. As to the conquest of France, it is a mere chimera; more than half the campaign is over, and the allied armies have neither gained a single fortress, nor possessed themselves of a square league of the soil. Men cannot be conquered, who are in the state of mind of the French ; though, perhaps, they may be exterminated. But all Europe is not equal to this task.
In haste, I am, my dear friend,
Liverpool, January 11. 1794. MY DEAR FRIEND,
The destructive nature of this war renders it impossible to be lasting, for all Europe will be converted into a desart in the course of a few years if it goes on at this rate. In the last campaign more men have fallen than in the whole American war. The last fourteen days of the year 1793, thirty thousand Austrians and Prussians fell on the Rhine, and perhaps an equal number was mortally wounded. The French lost as many.
In the issue, however, they drove the Duke of Brunswick and
General Wurmser out of Alsace, after destroying almost the whole of their army. Nothing can withstand the attacks of these republicans. As a nation, they are by far the most military people in the world. The English troops we sent to Flanders have shown great but useless valour : they were a mere handful ; and the Hanoverians and Hessians, who composed the rest of the Duke of York's army, were indifferent troops. The Duke is himself a young man, and utterly unfit for command.
This army was driven from Dunkirk by the French, and has reaped nothing but defeat and disaster. You see also that Toulon is carried by storm, and that the allies are every where unsuccessful. If the French government would assume a consistent form, I think there is a chance that we might have peace; but I fear there will be one more bloody campaign. At present the French talk of invading this country : the attempt is not impossible, for they are in a state of enthusiasm to attempt any thing; but their success is impossible, for the people here are united and firm against French fraternity, though much distressed and dissatisfied with the war.
We are at present broken in our spirits by ease, opulence, and luxury; but a foreign inva