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I am going to take a last dinner with a most at forgetting what I have seen. But if I am right, agreeable family, who have been my only neigh- I can not help recommending the omitted passages bours ever since I have lived at Weston. On to your reconsideration. If the play were designed Monday they go to London, and in the summer for representation, I should be apt to think Cecito an estate in Oxfordshire, which is to be their lia's first speech rather too long, and should prefer home in future. The occasion is not at all a plea- to have it broken into dialogue, by an interposition sant one to me, nor does it leave me spirits to add now and then from one of her sisters. But since more than that I am, dear sir,
it is designed, as I understand, for the closet only, Most truly yours, W.C. that objection scems of no importance; at no rate
however would I expunge it; because it is both
prettily imagined, and elegantly written. TO JOHN JOHNSON, ESQ.
I have read your cursory remarks, and am much
pleased both with the style and the argument. MY DEAREST JOHNNY, Weston, March 11, 1792. Whether the latter be new or not, I am not com
You talk of primroses that you pulled on Can- petent to judge; if it be, you are entitled to much dlemas day; but what think you of me who heard praise for the invention of it. Where other data a nightingale on New Year's day? Perhaps 1 are wanting to ascertain the time when an author am the only man in England who can boast of of many pieces wrote each in particular, there can such good fortune; good indeed, for if it was at be no better criterion by which to determine the all an omen, it could not be an unfavourable one. point, than the more or less proficiency manifested The winter, however, is now making himself in the composition. Of this proficiency, where it amends, and seems the more peevish for having appears, and of those plays in which it appears been encroached on at so undue a season. No-not, you seem to me to have judged well and truly; thing less than a large slice out of the spring will and consequently I approve of your arrangement, satisfy him.
I attended, as you desired me, in reading the Lady Hesketh left us yesterday. She intended character of Cecilia, to the hint you gave me conindeed to have left us four days sooner; but in the cerning your sister Sally, and give you joy of such evening before the day fixed for her departure, a sister. This however not exclusively of the rest, snow enough fell to occasion just so much delay for though they may not be all Cecilias, I have a of it.
strong persuasion that they are all very amiable. We have faint hopes that in the month of May
W.C. we shall see her again. I know that you have had a letter from her, and you will no doubt have the grace not to make her wait long for an answer.
TO LADY HESKETH. We expect Mr. Rose on Tuesday; but he stays with us only till the Saturday following. With MY DEAREST coz, The Lodge, March 25, 1792. him I shall have some conferences on the subject Mr. Rose's longer stay than he at first intended of Homer, respecting a new edition I mean, and was the occasion of the longer delay of my answer some perhaps on the subject of Milton; on him I to your date, as you may both have perceived by have not yet begun to comment, or even fix the the date thereof, and learned from his information. time when I shall.
It was a daily trouble to me to see it lying in the Forget not your promised visit! W.0. window seat, while I knew you were in expecta
tion of its arrival. By this time I presume you
have seen him, and have seen likewise Mr. HayTO THE REV. MR. HURDIS.
ley's friendly letter and complimentary sonnet, as
well as the letter of the honest Quaker; all of MY DEAR SIR,
Weston, March 23, 1792. which, at least the two former, I shall be glad to I have read your play carefully, and with great receive again at a fair opportunity. Mr. Hayley's pleasure; it seems now to be a performance that letter slept six weeks in Johnson's custody. It was can not fail to do you much credit. Yet, unless necessary I should answer it without delay, and my memory deceives me, the scene between Cecilia accordingly I answered it the very evening on and Heron in the garden has lost something that which I received it, giving him to understand, pleased me much when I saw it first; and I am among other things, how much vexation the booknot sure that you have not likewise obliterated an seller's folly had cost me, who had detained it so account of Sir Thomas's execution, that I found long; especially on account of the distress that I very pathetic. It would be strange if in these knew it must have occasioned to him also. From two particulars I should seem to miss what never his reply, which the return of the post brought me, existed; you will presently know whether I am as I learn that in the long interval of my noncorresgood at remembering what I never saw, as I ann pondence he had suflered anxiety and mortification
enough; so much that I dare say he made twenty not for me? This was adding mortification to vows never to hazard again either letter or compli- disappointment, so that I often lost all patience. ment to an unknown author. What indeed could The suffrage of Dr. Robertson makes more he imagine less, than that I meant by such an ob- than amends for the scurvy jest passed upon me stinate silence to tell him that I valued neither by the wag unknown. I regard him not; nor, him nor his praises, nor his proffered friendship; except for about two moments after I first heard in short that I considered him as a rival, and of his doings, have I ever regarded him. I have therefore, like a true author, hated and despised somewhere a secret enemy; I know not for what him? He is now however convinced that I love cause he should be so, but he I imagine supposes him, as indeed I do, and I account him the chief that he has a cause; it is well however to have acquisition that my own verse has ever procured but one; and I will take all the care I can not to me. Brute should I be if I did not, for he promises increase the number. me every assistance in his power.
I have begun my notes, and am playing the I have likewise a very pleasing letter from Mr. commentator manfully. The worst of it is that Park, which I wish you were here to read; and a I am anticipated in almost all my opportunities to very pleasing poem that came enclosed in it for shine by those who have gone before me. my revisal, written when he was only twenty.
W. C. years of age, yet wonderfully well written, though wanting some correction. To Mr. Hurdis I return Sir Thomas More to
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ. morrow; having revised it a second time. He is now a very respectable figure, and will do my MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, April 6, 1792. friend, who gives him to the public this spring, Gop grant that this friendship of ours may be considerable credit.
W.C. a comfort to us all the rest of our days, in a world
where true friendships are rarities, and especially
where suddenly formed they are apt soon to terTO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
minate! But as I said before, I feel a disposition
of heart toward you that I never felt for one whom MY DEAR FRIEND,
March 30, 1792. I had never seen; and that shall prove itself I My mornings, ever since you went, have been trust in the event a propitious omen. given to my correspondents; this morning I have already written a long letter to Mr. Park, giving Horace says somewhere, though I may quote my opinion of his poem, which is a favourable one. it amiss perhaps, for I have a terrible memory, I forget whether I showed it to you when you
Utrumque nostrum incredibili modo were here, and even whether I had then received it. He has genius and delicate taste; and if he were not an engraver might be one of our first **** Our stars consent, at least have had an inhands in poetry.
W. C. fluence somewhat similar in another, and more
It gives me the sincerest pleasure that I may TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ. hope to see you at Weston; for as to any migra
tions of mine, they must, I fear, notwithstanding Weston, April 5, 1792. the joy I should feel in being a guest of yours, be You talk, my dear friend, as John Bunyan says, still considered in the light of impossibilities. like one that has the egg-shell still upon his head. Come then, my friend, and be as welcome, as the You talk of the mighty favours that you have re-country people say here, as the flowers in May! ceived from me, and forget entirely those for which I am happy, as I say, in the expectation, but the I am indebted to you; but though you forget them, fear, or rather the consciousness that I shall not I shall not, nor ever think that I have requited answer on a nearer view, makes it a trembling you, so long as any opportunity presents itself of kind of happiness, and a doubtful. rendering you the sınallest service; small indeed After the privacy which I have mentioned is all that I can ever hope to render.
above, I went to Huntingdon; soon after my arYou now perceive, and sensibly, that not with- rival there, I took up my quarters at the house of out reason I complained as I used to do of those the Rev. Mr. Unwin: I lived with him while he tiresome rogues the printers. Bless yourself that lived, and ever since his death have lived with his you have not two thick quartos to bring forth as widow. Her, therefore, you will find mistress of I had. My vexation was always much increased the house; and I judge of you amiss, or you will by this reflection; they are every day, and all day find her just such as you would wish. To me long, employed in printing for somebody, and why she has been often a nurse, and invariably the
kindest friend, through a thousand adversities to Calchas, for I do remember that you have not that I have had to grapple with in the course of yet furnished me with the secret history of him almost thirty years. I thought it better to intro- and his family, which I demanded from you. duce her to you thus, than to present her to you Adieu. Yours, most sincerely, W. C. at your coming quite a stranger.
Bring with you any books that you think may I rejoice that you are so well with the learned be useful to my commentatorship, for with you Bishop of Sarum, and well remember how he ferfor an interpreter I shall be afraid of none of reted the vermin Lauder out of all his hidings, them. And in truth, if you think that you shall when I was a boy at Westminster. want them, you must bring books for your own I bave not yet studied with your last remarks use also, for they are an article with which I am before me, but hope soon to find an opportunity. heinously unprovided; being much in the condition of the man whose library Pope describes as No mighty store!
TO LADY THROCKMORTON His own works neatly bound, and little more!
Weston, April 16, 1792. You shall know how this has come to pass here- My dear LadY FROG, after.
I THANK you for your letter, as šiect as it was Tell me, my friend, are your letters in your own short, and as sweet as good news could make it. handwriting; if so, I am in pain for your eyes, lest you encourage a hope that has made me happy by such frequent demands upon them I should ever since I have entertained it. And if my wishhurt them. I had rather write you three letters, for es can hasten the event, it will not be long susone, much as I prize your letters, than that should pended. As to your jealousy, 1 mind it not, or happen. And
for the present, adieu-I am only to be pleased with it; I shall say no more on going to accompany Milton into the lake of fire the subject at present than this, that of all ladies and brimstone, having just begun my annotations. living, a certain lady, whom I need not name,
W. C. would be the lady of my choice for a certain gen
tleman, were the whole sex submitted to my elec
tion. TO THE REV. MR. HURDIS. What a delightful anecdote is that which you
tell me of a young lady detected in the very MY DEAR SIRY
Weston, April 8, 1792. act of stealing our Catharina's praises; is it posYour entertaining and pleasant letter, resem- ble that she can survive the shame, the mortificabling in that respect all that I receive from you, tion of such a discovery! Can she ever see the deserved a more expeditious answer; and should same company again, or any company that she can have had what it so well deserved, had it not suppose by the remotest probability, may have reached me at a time when deeply in debt to heard the tidings? If she can, she must have an all my correspondents, I had letters to write with- assurance equal to her vanity. A lady in Lonout number. Like autumnal leaves that strew don stole my song on the broken Rose, or rather the brooks in Vallambrosa, the unanswered far- would have stolen, and have passed it for her own. rago lay before me. If I quote at all, you must But she too was unfortumate in her attempt; for expect me henceforth to quote none but Milton, there happened to be a female cousin of mine in since for a long time to conne I shall be occupied company, who knew that I had written it. It is with him only.
very flattering to a poet's .pride, that the ladies I was much pleased with the extract you gave should thus hazard every thing for the sake of apme from your sister Eliza's letter; she writes very propriating his verses. I may say with Milton, elegantly, and (if I might say it without seeming that I am fallen on eril tongues, and evil days, to flatter you) I should say much in the manner being not only plundered of that which belongs to of her brother. It is well for your sister Sally, me, but being charged with that which does not. that gloomy Dis is already a married man; else Thus it seems (and I have learned it from more perhaps finding her, as he found Proserpine, stu- quarters than one) that a report is, and has been dying botany in the fields, he might transport her some time current in this and the neighbouring to his own flowerless abode, where all her hopes counties, that though I have given myself the air of improvement in that science would be at an end of declaiming against the Slave Trade in the for ever.
Task, I am in reality a friend to it; and last night What letter of the tenth of December is that I received a letter from Joe Rye, to inform me which you say you have not answered? Consider that I have been much traduced and calumniated it is April now, and I never remember any thing on this account. Not knowing how I could better that I write half so long. But perhaps it relates or more effectually refute the scandal, I have this
morning sent a copy to the Northampton paper, | the negroes, multiplying at a prodigious rate, were prefaced by a short letter to the printer, specifying necessitated to devour each other; for which reathe occasion. The verses are in honour of Mr. son I had judged it better, that the trade should Wilberforce, and sufficiently expressive of my continue, than that they should be again reduced present sentiments on the subject. You are a to so horrid a custom. wicked fair one for disappointing us of our ex
Now all this is a fable. I have read no such pected visit, and therefore out of mere spite I will history; I never in my life read any such assernot insert them. I have been very ill these ten tion; nor, had such an assertion presented itself to days, and for the same spite's sake wille not tell me, should I have drawn any such conclusion from you what ailed me. But lest you should die of a it: 'on the contrary, bad as it were, 'I think it would fright, I will have the mercy to tell you that I am be better the negroes should have eaten one recovering
another, than that we should carry them to marMrs. G - and her little ones are gone, ket. The single reason why I did not sign the but your brother is still here. He told me that he petition was, because I was never asked to do it; had some expectation of Sir John at Weston; if and the reason why I was never asked was, behe come, I shall most heartily rejoice once more cause I am not a parishioner of Olney. to see him at a table so many years his own. Thus stands the matter. You will do me the
W.C. justice, I dare, say, to speak of me as a man who
abhors the commerce, which is now I hope in a fair way to be abolished, as often as you shall find
occasion. And I beg you henceforth to do yourTO THE REV. JEKYLL RYE. self the justice to believe it impossible, that I should
for a moment suspect you of duplicity or misteMY DEAR SIR, Weston, April 16, 1792.
presentation. I have been grossly slandered, but I am truly sorry that you should have suffered neither by you, nor in consequence of any thing any apprehensions, such as your letter indicates, that you have either said or written. I remain to molest you for a moment. I believe you to be therefore, still as heretofore, with great respect, as honest a man as lives, and consequently do not
Much and truly yours, W.C believe it possible that you could in your letter to Mr. Pitts, or any otherwise wilfully misrepresent Mrs. Unwin's compliments attend you. me. In fact you did not; my opinions on the subject in question were, when I had the pleasure of seeing you, such as in that letter you stated them to be, and such they still continue.
TO LADY HESKETH. If any man concludes, because I allow myself the use of sugar and rum, that therefore I am a MY DEAREST Coz, Weston, May 5, 1792. friend to the Slave Trade, he concludes rashly, I REJOICE, as thou reasonably supposest me to and does me great wrong; for the man lives not do, in the matrimonial news communicated in your who abhors it more than I do. My reasons for last. Not that it was altogether news to me, for my own practice are satisfactory to myself, and twice I had received broad hints of it from Lady they whose practice is contrary, are, I suppose, Frog by letter, and several times virâ voce while satisfied with theirs. So far is good. Let every she was here. But she enjoined me secrecy as man act according to his own judgment and con- well as you, and you know that all secrets are science; but if we condemn another for not secing safe with me; safer far than the winds in the bags with our eyes, we are unreasonable ; and if we of Æolus. I know not in fact the lady whom it reproach him on that account, we are uncharita- would give me more pleasure to call Mrs. Courteble, which is a still greater evil.
nay, than the lady in question; partly because I I had heard, before received the favour of know her, but especially because I know her to yours, that such a report of me, as you mention, be all that I can wish in a neighbour. had spread about the country. But ny informant I have often observed that there is a regular altold me that it was founded thus: The people of ternation of good and evil in the lot of men, so Olney petitioned Parliament for the abolition—my that a favourable incident may be considered as name was sought among the subscribers, but was the harbinger of an unfavourable one, and vice not found—a question was asked, how that hap- versâ. Dr. Madan's experience witnesses to the pened? Answer was made, that I had once in- truth of this observation. One day he gets a deed been an enemy to the Slave Trade, but had broken head, and next a mitre to heal it. I rechanged my mind; for that lately having read a joice that he has met with so effectual a cure, history or an account of Africa, I had seen it there though my joy is not unmingled with concern: for asserted, that till the commencement of that traffic till now I had some hope of seeing him, but since
I live in the North, and his episcopal call is in the sooner after June the better; till then we shall
I forgot not my debts to your dear sister, and My sonnet, which I sent you, was printed in your aunts Balls. Greet them both with a brother's the Northampton paper last week, and this week kiss, and place it to my account. I will write to it produced me a complimentary one in the same them when Milton and a thousand other engagepaper, which served to convince me at least by ments will give me leave. Mr. Hayley is here on the matter of it, that my own was not published a visit. We have formed a friendship that I trust without occasion, and that it had answered its will last for life, and render us an edifying exampurpose.
ple to all future poets. My correspondence with Hayley proceeds brisk Adieu! Lose no time in coming after the time ly, and is very affectionate on both sides. I expect mentioned.
TO LADY HESKETH.
· Weston, May 21, 1792. of the daily papers. Lord S's vindication of the
I wish with all my heart, my dearest Coz, poor culprit in the affair of Cheit-Sing has con- that I had not ill news for the subject of the fimed me in the belief that he has been injurious- present letter: My friend, my Mary, has again ly treated, and I think it an act merely of justice been attacked by the same disorder that threat. to take a little notice of him.
ened me last year with the loss of her, and of
which you were yourself a witness. Gregson WARREN HASTINGS, ESQ.
would not allow that first stroke to be paralytic,
but this he acknowledges to be so; and with reAN OLD SCHOOLFELLOW OF HIS AT WESTMINSTER. spect to the former, I never had myself any doubt
that it was; but this has been much the severest. HASTINGS! I knew thee young, and of a mind,
Her speech has been almost unintelligible from
the moment that she was struck; it is with diffi-
purpose being contracted; and as to self-moving If thou wilt take the pains to send them to thy powers, from place to place, and the use of her news-monger, I hope thou wilt do well. Adieu! right hand and arm, she has entirely lost them.
W. C. It has happened well, that of all men living the
man most qualified to assist and comfort me is | here, though till within these few days I never
saw him, and a few weeks since had no expectaTO JOHN JOHNSON, ESQ.
tion that I ever should. You have already guessed
that I mean Hayley. Hayley who loves me as Weston, May 20, 1792. if he had known me from my cradle. When he MY DEAREST OF ALL JOHNNIÉS,
returns to town, as he must, alas! too soon, he I am not sorry that your ordination is post- will pay his respects to you. poned. A year's learning and wisdoin, added to I will not conclude without adding that our poor your present stock, will not be more than ertough patient is beginning, I hope, to recover from this to satisfy the demands of your function. Neither stroke also; but her amendment is slow, as must am I sorry that you find it difficult to fix your be expected at her time of life and in such a disthoughts to the serious point at all times. It proves order. I am as well myself as you have ever at least that you attempt, and wish to do it, and known me in a time of much trouble, and even these are good symptoms.
Woe to those who cn-better. ter on the ministry of the Gospel without having It was not possible to prevail on Mrs. Unwin previously asked at least from God a mind and to let me send for Dr. Kerr, but Hayley has writspirit suited to their occupation, and whose expe- ten to his friend Dr. Austin a representation of rience never differs from itself, because they are her case, and we expect his opinion and advice always alike vain, light, and inconsiderate. It is to-morrow. In the mean time, we have borrowed therefore matter of great joy to me to hear you an electrical machine from our neighbour Socket, complain of levity, and such it is to Mrs. Un- the eflect of which she tried yesterday, and the win. She is, I thank God, tolerably well, and day before, and we think it has been of material loves you. As to the time of your journey hither, service.