Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Rodney is almost accounted a Methodist for as-confess a weakness that I should not confess to all), cribing his success to Providence, men who have I feel myself not a little influenced by a tender rerenounced all dependence upon such a friend, gard to my reputation here, even among my neighwithout whose assistance nothing can be done, bours at Olney. Here are watch-makers, who threaten to drive the French out of the sea, laugh themselves are wits, and who at present perhaps at the Spaniards, sneer at the Dutch, and are to think me one. Here is a carpenter and a baker, carry the world before them. Our enemies are and not to mention others, here is your idol Mr. apt to brag, and we deride them for it; but we can whose smile is fame. All these read the sing as loud as they can, in the same key, and no Monthly Review, and all these will set me down doubt wherever our papers go, shall be derided in for a dunce, if those terrible critics should show our turn. An Englishman's true glory should be, them the example. But oh! wherever else I am to do his business well, and say little about it; accounted dull, dear Mr. Griffith, let me pass for but he disgraces himself when he puffs his prow- a genius at Olney. ess, as if he had finished his task, when he has We are sorry for little William's illness. It is but just begun it.

Yours, W.C. however the privilege of infancy to recover almost

immediately what it has lost by sickness. We are sorry too for Mr, - -'s dangerous condition.

But he that is well prepared for the great journey TO THE REY. WILLIAM UNWIN.

can not enter on it too soon for himself, though his MY DEAR FRIEND,

June 12, 1782. friends will weep at his departure. Every extraordinary occurrence in our lives

Yours, W. C. affords us an opportunity to learn, if we will, something more of our own hearts and tempers, than we were before aware of. It is easy to promise TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. ourselves beforehand, that our conduct shall be wise, or moderate, or resolute, on any given occa- MY DEAR FRIEND,

July 16, 1782. sion. But when that occasion occurs, we do not Though some people pretend to be clever in the always find it easy to make good the promise: way of prophetical forecast, and to have a peculiar such a difference there is between theory and prac- talent of sagacity, by which they can divine the tice. Perhaps this is no new remark; but it is not meaning of a providential dispensation, while its a whit the worse for being old, if it be true. consequences are yet in embryo“I do not. There

Before I had published, I said to myself—you is at this time to be found I suppose in the cabiand I, Mr. Cowper, will not concern ourselves net, and in both houses, a greater assemblage of much about what the critics may say of our book. able men, both as speakers and counsellors, than But having once sent my wits for a venture, I ever were contemporary in the same land. A man soon became anxious about the issue, and found not accustomed to trace the workings of Provithat I could not be satisfied with a warm placedence, as recorded in Scripture, and that has given in my own good graces, unless my friends were no attention to this particular subject, while empleased with me as much as I pleased myself. ployed in the study of profane history, would asMeeting with their approbation, I began to feel sert boldly, that it is a token for good, that much the workings of ambition. It is well, said I, that may be expected from them, and that the country, my friends are pleased, but friends are som times though heavily afflicted, is not to be despaired of, partial, and mine, I have reason to think, are not distinguished as she is by so many characters of altogether free from bias. Methinks I should like the highest class. Thus he would say, and I do to hear a stranger or two speak well of me. I was not deny, that the event might justify his skill in presently gratified by the approbation of the Lon-prognostics. God works by means, and in a case don Magazine, and the Gentleman's, particularly of great national perplexity and distress, wisdom by that of the former, and by the plaudit of Dr. and political ability seem to be the only natural Franklin. By the way, magazines are publica- means of deliverance. But a mind more religiously tions we have but little respect for, till we ourselves inclined, and perhaps a little tinctured with me are chronicled in them, and then they assume an lancholy, might, with equal probability of success, importance in our esteem which before we could hazard a conjecture directly opposite --Alas! what not allow them. But the Monthly Review, the is the wisdom of man, especially when he trusts most formidable of all my judges, is still behind. in it as the only God of his confidence ?— When I What will that critical Rhadamanthus say, when consider the general contempt that is poured upon my shivering genius shall appear before him ? all things sacred, the profusion, the dissipation, Still he keeps me in hot water, and I must wait the knavish cunning of some, the rapacity of another month for his award. Alas! when I wish others, and the impenitence of all; I am rather infor a favourable sentence from that quarter (to'clined to fear that God, who honours himself by



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

bringing human glory to shame, and by disap- / who is a creature the most easily comforted of any
pointing the expectations of those whose trust is in the world!
in creatures, has signalized the present day as a We are as happy in lady Austen, and she in us,
day of much human sufficiency and strength, has as ever-having a lively imagination, and being
brought together from all quarters of the land the passionately desirous of consolidating all into one
most illustrious men to be found in it, only that he family (for she has taken her leave of London), she
may prove the vanity of idols, and that when a has just sprung a project which serves at least to
great empire is falling, and he has pronounced a amuse us, and make us laugh it is to hire Mr.
sentence of ruin against it, the inhabitants, be Small's house, on the top of Clifton-hill, which is
they weak or strong, wise or foolish, must fall with large, commodious, and handsome, will hold us
it. I am rather confirmed in this persuasion by conveniently, and any friends who may occasion-
observing that these luminaries of the state had ally favour us with a visit—the house is furnished,
no sooner fixed themselves in the political heaven, but, if it can be hired without the furniture, will
than the fall of the brightest of them shook all the let for a trifle—your sentiments, if you please, upon

The arch of their power was no sooner this de marche !
struck than the key-stone slipped out of its place; I send you my last frank-our best love attend
those that were closest in connexion with it fol- you individually, and all together. I give you joy
lowed, and the whole building, new as it is, seems of a happy change in the season, and myself also.
to be already a ruin. If a man should hold this I have filled four sides in less time than two would
language, who could convict him of absurdity ? have cost me a week ago—such is the effect of
The marquis of Rockingham is minister-all the sunshine upon such a butterfly as I am.
world rejoices, anticipating success in war and a

Yours, W.C. glorious peace.--The marquis of Rockingham is dead—all the world is amicted, and relapses into its former despondence. What does this prove, TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. but that the marquis was their Almighty, and that now he is gone, they know no other? But MY DEAR FRIEND,

Aug. 3, 1782. let us wait a little, they will find another-Per- ENTERTAINING some hope that Mr. Newton's haps the duke of Portland, or perhaps the unpopu- next letter would furnish me with the means of lar whom they now represent as a devil, satisfying your inquiry on the subject of Dr. Johnmay obtain that honour. Thus God is forgot ; son's opinion, I have till now delayed my answer and when he is, his judgments are generally his to your last ; but the information is not yet come, remembrancers.

Mr. Newton having interniitted a week more than How shall I comfort you upon the subject of usual, since his last writing. When I receive it, your present distress ? Pardon me that I find my- favourable or not, it shall be communicated to you; self obliged to smile at it, because who but your- but I am not over sanguine in my expectations self would be distressed upon such an occasion ? from that quarter. Very learned and very critical You have behaved politely, and like a gentleman; heads are hard to please. He may perhaps treat you have hospitably offered your house to a stran- me with lenity for the sake of the subject and deger, who could not, in your neighbourhood at least, sign, but the composition I think will hardly eshave been comfortably accommodated any where cape his censure.. Though all doctors may not else. He, by neither refusing nor accepting an be of the same mind, there is one doctor at least, offer that did him too much honour, has disgraced whom I have lately discovered, my professed adhimself, but not you. I think for the future you mirer. He too, like Johnson, was with difficulty must be cautious of laying yourself open to a stran- persuaded to read, having an aversion to all poetger, and never again expose yourself to incivilities ry, except the Night Thoughts, which on a cerfrom an archdeacon you are not acquainted with. tain occasion, when being confined on board a

Though I did not mention it, I felt with you ship he had no other employment, he got by what you suffered by the loss of Miss

heart. He was however prevailed upon, and I was only silent because I could minister no con- read me several times over; so that if my volume solation to you on such a subject, but what I had sailed with him, instead of Dr. Young's, 1 knew your mind to be already stored with. In- perhaps might have occupied that shelf in his deed, the application of comfort in such cases is a memory which he then allotted to the Doctor. nice business, and perhaps when best managed It is a sort of paradox, but it is true ; we are might as well be let alone. I remember reading never more in danger than when we think ourmany years ago a long treatise on the subject of selves most secure, nor in reality more secure than consolation, written in French; the author's name when we seem to be most in danger. Both sides I forgot, but I wrote these words in the margin of this apparent contradiction were lately verified Special consolation! at least for a Frenchman, in my experience Passing from the green-house

[ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to the barn, I saw three kittens (for we have so learned, ingenious, good-natured, pious friend of many in our retinue) looking with fixed attention ours, who sometimes visits us, and whom we visiton something, which lay on the threshold of a ed last week, has put into my hands three voldoor nailed up. I took but little notice of them at umes of French poetry, composed by Madame first, but a loud hiss engaged me to attend more Guion-a quietist say you, and a fanatic, I will closely, when behold—a viper! the largest that I have nothing to do with her—'Tis very well, remember to have seen, rearing itself, darting its you are welcome to have nothing to do with her, forked tongue, and ejaculating the aforesaid hiss but in the mean time her verse is the only French at the nose of a kitten almost in contact with his verse I ever read that I found agreeable; there is Lips. I ran into the hall for a hoe with a long a neatness in it equal to that which we applaud handle, with which I intended to assail him, and with so much reason in the compositions of Prior. returning in a few seconds missed him; he was I have translated several of them, and shall progone, and I feared had escaped me. Still how- ceed in my translations, till I have filled a Lillipuever the kitten sat watching immoveably. upon the tian paper-book I happen to have by me, which same spot. I concluded therefore that, sliding when filled, I shall present to Mr. Bull. He is between the door and the threshold, he had found her passionate admirer, rode twenty miles to see his way out of the garden into the yard.— I went her picture in the house of a stranger, which stranround immediately, and there found him in close ger politely insisted on his acceptance of it

, and it conversation with the old cat, whose curiosity be- now hangs over his chimney. It is a striking poring excited by so novel an appearance, inclined her trait, too characteristic not to be a strong resemto pat his head repeatedly with her fore foot, with blance, and, were it encompassed with a glory, inher claws however sheathed, and not in anger, stead of being dressed in a mun’s hood, might pass but in the way of philosophic inquiry and exami- for the face of an angel.

Yours, W.C. nation. To prevent her falling a victim to so laudable an exercise of her talents, I interposed a moment with the hoe, and performed upon him

TO LADY AUSTEN. an act of decapitation, which though not immediately mortal, proved so in the end. Had he slid

To watch the storms and hear the sky into the passages, where it is dark, or had he, Give all our almanacks the lie; when in the yard, met with no interruption from To shake with cold, and see the plains the cat, and secreted himself in any of the out

In autumn drown'd with wintry rains;

'Tis thus I spend my moments here, houses, it is hardly possible but that some of the

And wish myself a Dutch mynheer; family must have been bitten; he might have I then should have no need of wit; been trodden upon without being perceived, and • For lumpish Hollander unfit !. have slipped away before the sufferer could have

Nor should I then repine at mud,

Or meadows delug'd with a flood; distinguished what foe had wounded him. Three

But in a bog live well content, years ago we discovered one in the same place, And find it just my element; which the barber slew with a trowel.

Should be a clod, and not a man, Our proposed removal to Mr. Small's was, as

Nor wish in vain for Sister Ann,

With charitable aid to drag you suppose, a jest, or rather a joco-serious mat

My mind out of its proper quag; ter. We never looked upon it as entirely feasible,

Should have the genius of a boor, yet we saw in it something so like practicability, And no ambition to have more. that we did not esteem it altogether unworthy of our attention. It was one of those projects which MY DEAR SISTER, people of lively imaginations play with, and ad- You see my beginning—I do not know but in mire for a few days, and then break in pieces. time I may proceed even to the printing of halfLady Austen returned on Thursday from Lon- penny ballads—Excuse the coarseness of my padon, where she spent the last fortnight, and whi-per-I wasted such a quantity before I could acther she was called by an unexpected opportunity complish any thing legible, that I could not afford to dispose of the remainder of her lease. She has tiner. I intend to employ an ingenious mechanic therefore no longer any connexion with the great of the town to make me a longer case ; for you city, and no house but at Olney. Her abode is to may observe that my lines turn up their tails like be at the vicarage, where she has hired as much Dutch mastiffs, so difficult do I find it to make the room as she wants, which she will embellish with two halves exactly coincide with each other. her own furniture, and which she will occupy as We wait with impatience for the departure of soon as the minister's wife has produced another this unseasonable flood. We think of you, and child, which is expected to make its entry in Oc- talk of you, but we can do no more, till the waters tober.

subside. I do not think our correspondence Mr. Bull, a dissenting minister of Newport, a 'should drop because we are within a mile of each



other. It is but an imaginary approximation, the perfectly at liberty to deal with them as you please, flood having in reality as effectually parted us, as Auctore tantùm anonymo imprimantur; and if the British Channel rolled between us. when printed, send me a copy.

Yours, my dear sister, with Mrs. Unwin's best I congratulate you on the discharge of your duty love,

and your conscience, by the pains you have taken Aug. 12, 1782.

W. C. for the relief of the prisoners. —You proceeded wise

ly, yet courageously, and deserved better success.

Your labours however will be remembered elseTO THE REV. WILLIAM BULL. where, when you shall be forgotten here; and if

the poor folks at Chelmsford should never receive

Oct. 27, 1782. the benefit of them, you will yourself receive it in Mon aimable et très cher Ami,

heaven. It is pity that men of fortune should be It is not in the power of chaises or chariots to determined to acts of beneficence sometimes by carry you where my affections will not follow you; popular whim, or prejudice, and sometimes by if I heard that you were gone to finish your days motives still more unworthy. The liberal subin the moon, I should not love you the less; but scription raised in behalf of the widows of the seashould contemplate the place of your abode, as men lost in the Royal George was an instance of often as it appeared in the heavens, and say the former. At least a plain, short, and sensible Farewell, my friend, for ever! Lost, but not for- letter in the newspaper convinced me at the time, gotten! Live happy in thy lantern, and smoke that it was an unnecessary and injudicious collecthe remainder of thy pipes in peace! Thou art tion: and the difficulty you found in effectuating rid of earth, at least of all its cares, and so far can your benevolent intentions on this occasion, conI rejoice in thy removal; and as to the cares that strains me to think that had it been an affair of are to be found in the moon, I am resolved to sup- more notoriety than merely to furnish a few poor pose them lighter than those below-heavier they fellows with a Bttle fuel to preserve their extremican hardly be.

ties from the frost, you would have succeeded betMadame Guion is finished, but not quite tran- ter. Men really pious' delight in doing good by seribed.

stealth. But nothing less than an ostentatious display of bounty will satisfy mankind in general.

I feel myself disposed to furnish you with an opTO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.

portunity to shine in secret. We do what we

can. But that can is little. You have rich friends, MY DEAR FRIEND,

Nov. 4, 1782. are eloquent on all occasions, and know how to You are too modest; though your last consisted be pathetic on a proper one. The winter will be of three sides only, I am certainly a letter in your severely felt at Olney by many, whose sobriety, debt. It is possible that this present writing may industry, and honesty, recommend them to chariprove as short. Yet, short as it may be, it will be table notice: and we think we could tell such pera letter, and make me creditor, and you my debtor. sons as Mr.

or Mr.

half a dozen A letter indeed ought not to be estimated by the tales of distress, that would find their way into length of it, but by the contents, and how can the hearts as feeling as theirs. You will do as you contents of any letter be more agreeable than your see good; and we in the mean time shall remain last?

convinced, that you will do your best. Lady AusYou tell me that John Gilpin made you laughten will no doubt do something; for she has great tears, and that the ladies at court are delighted sensibility and compassion. with my poems.

Much good may they do them! Yours, my dear Unwin, W. C. May they become as wise as the writer wishes them, and they will be much happier than he! I know there is in the book that wisdom which

TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. cometh from above, because it was from above that I received it. May they receive it too! For MY DEAR WILLIAM,

Nov. 18, 1782. whether they drink it out of the cistern, or whe- On the part of the poor, and on our part, be ther it falls upon them immediately from the pleased to make acknowledgments, such as the clouds, as it did on me, it is all one. It is the occasion calls for, to our beneficent friend Mr. water of life, which whosoever drinketh shall I call him ours, because having experithirst no more.

As to the famous horseman enced his kindness to myself in a former instance, above-mentioned, he and his feats are an inex- and in the present his disinterested readiness to haustible source of merriment. At least we find succour the distressed, my ambition will be satishim so, and seldom meet without refreshing our-fied with nothing less. He may depend upon the selves with the recollection of them. You are strictest secrecy; no creature shall hear him men. tioned, either now or hereafter, as the person from necessity-a melancholy that nothing so effectuwhom we have received this bounty. But when I ally disperses, engages me sometimes in the arduspeak of him, or hear him spoken of by others, ous task of being merry by force. And, strange which sometimes happens, I shall not forget what as it may seem, the most ludicrous lines I ever is due to so rare a character. I wish, and your wrote have been written in the saddest mood, and mother wishes it too, that he could sometimes take but for that saddest mood, perhaps had never us in his way to -; he will find us happy to been written at all. receive a person whom we must needs account it I hear from Mrs. Newton, that some great peran honour to know. We shall exercise our best sons have spoken with great approbation of a cerdiscretion in the disposal of the money; but in tain book- Who they are, and what they have this town, where the Gospel has been preached so said, I am to be told in a future letter. The many years, where the people have been favoured Monthly Reviewers in the mean time have satis50 long with laborious and conscientious minis- fied me well enough. ters, it is not an easy thing to find those who

Yours, my dear William, W.C. make no profession of religion at all, and are yet proper objects of charity. The profane, are so profane, so drunken, dissolute, and in every re

TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. spect worthless, that to make them partakers of his bounty would be to abuse it. We promise MY DEAR WILLIAM, however that none shall touch it but such as are Dooror BEATTIE is a respectable character. I miserably poor, yet at the same time industrious account him a man of sense, a philosopher, a schoand honest, two characters frequently united here, lar, a person of distinguished genius, and a good where the most watchful and unremitting labour writer. I believe him too a Christian: with a will hardly procure them bread. We make none profound reverence for the Scripture, with great but the cheapest laces, and the price of them is zeal and ability to enforce the belief of it (both fallen almost to nothing. Thanks are due to your- which he exerts with the candour and good manself likewise, and are hereby accordingly rendered, ners of a gentleman ;) he seems well entitled to for waiving your claim in behalf of your own pa- that allowance; and to deny it him, would impeach rishioners. You are always with them, and they one's own right to the appellation. With all these are always, at least some of them, the better for good things to recommend him, there can be no your residence among them. Olney is a popu- dearth of sufficient reasons to read his writings. lous place, inhabited chiefly by the half-starved You favoured me some years since with one of his and the ragged of the earth, and it is not possible volumes; by which I was both pleased and infor our small party and small ability to extend their structed: and I beg that you will send me the new operations so far as to be much felt among such one, when you can conveniently spare it, or rather numbers. Accept therefore your share of their bring it yourself

, while the swallows are yet upon gratitude, and be convinced that when they pray the wing; for the summer is going down apace. for a blessing upon those who relieved their wants, You tell me you have been asked, if I am intent He that answers that prayer, and when he an- upon another volume ? I reply—not at present, swers, will remember his servant at Stock. not being convinced that I have met with sufficient

I little thought when I was writing the history encouragement. ' I account myself happy in havof John Gilpin, that he would appear in print-I ing pleased a few, but am not rich enough to deintended to laugh, and to make two or three others spise the many. I do not know what sort of marlaugh, of whom you were one. But now all the ket my commodity has found, but if a slack one, world laughs, at least if they have the same relish I must beware how I make a second attempt. My for a tale ridiculous in itself, and quaintly told, as bookseller will not be willing to incur a certain we have-Well—they do not always laugh so in- loss; and I can as little afford it. Notwithstandnocently, and at so small an expense—for in a ing what I have said, I write, and am even now world like this, abounding with subjects for sa-writing for the press. I told you that I had transtire, and with satirical wits to mark them, a laugh lated several of the poems of Madame Guion. I that hurts nobody has at least the grace of no- told you too, or I am mistaken, that Mr. Bull develty to recommend it. Swift's darling motto was, signed to print them. That gentleman is gone to Vive la bagatellea good wish for a philosopher the sea-side with Mrs. Wilberforce, and will be of his complexion, the greater part of whose wis- absent six weeks. My intention is to surprise him dom, whencesoever it came, most certainly came at his return with the addition of as much more not from above. La bagatelle has no enemy in translation as I have already given him. This, me, though it has neither so warm a friend, nor however, is still less likely to be a popular work 80 able a one, as it had in him. If I trifle, and than my former. Men, that have no religion, merely trifle, it is because I am reduced to it by would despise it; and men, that have no religious


« AnteriorContinuar »