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sectaries to their peculiar modes and tenets. He is the Pope of thousands, as blind and presumptuous as himself. God certainly infatuates those who will not see. It were otherwise impossible, that a man, naturally me, and I should have enjoyed the first fine This change of wind and weather comforts shrewd and sensible, and whose understand-morning I have seen this month with a peculiar relish, if our new tax-maker had not put only for the matter, but for the manner of his me out of temper. I am angry with him, not proposal. When he lays his impost upon horses he is jocular, and laughs, though, considering that wheels, and miles, and grooms were taxed before, a graver countenance upon the occasion would have been more decent. But he provoked me still more by reasoning as he does on the justification of the tax upon candles. Some families he says will suffer little by it. Why? because they are so poor that they cannot afford themselves more than ten pounds in the year. Excellent! They can use but few, therefore they will pay but little, and consequently will be but little burdened: an argument which for its cruelty and effrontery seems worthy of a hero; but he does not avail himself of the whole force of it, nor with all his wisdom had sagacity enough to most extent, a free discharge and acquittal of see that it contains, when pushed to its utthe poor from the payment of any tax at all: a commodity being once made too expensive for their pockets, will cost them nothing, for they will not buy it. Rejoice, therefore, O ye penniless! the minister will indeed send you to bed in the dark, but your remaining halfpenny will be safe; instead of being spent in the useless luxury of candle-light, it will buy you a roll for breakfast, which you will eat no doubt with gratitude to the man who so kindly lessens the number of your disbursements, and, while he seems to threaten member that the halfpenny which government your money, saves it. I wish he would reimposes, the shopkeeper will swell to twopence. I wish he would visit the miserable huts of our lacemakers at Olney, and see them working in the winter months, by the light of a farthing candle, from four in the afternoon till midnight: I wish he had laid luminate the Pantheon, upon the flambeaux his tax upon the ten thousand lamps that ilthat wait upon ten thousand chariots and sedans in an evening, and upon the wax candles that give light to ten thousand card-tables. I wish, in short, that he would consider the pockets of the poor as sacred, and that to tax courage the little industry that is left among a people already so necessitous is but to disus, by driving the laborious to despair.

ass; the ass lives on the other side of the
A neighbor of mine in Silver-end keeps an
garden-wall, and I am writing in the green-
house. It happens that he is this morning
most musically disposed, whether cheered by
the fine weather, or some new tune which he

ing has had all the advantages of constant exercise and cultivation, could have satisfied himself, or have hoped to satisfy others, with such palpable sophistry as has not even the grace of fallacy to recommend it. His silly assertion, that, because it would be no sin to divert the course of the Danube, therefore it is none to let out a few ounces of blood from an artery, would justify not suicide only, but homicide also. For the lives of ten thousand men are of less consequence to their country than the course of that river to the regions through which it flows. Population would soon make society amends for the loss of her ten thousand members, but the loss of the Danube would be felt by all the millions that dwell upon its banks, to all generations. But the life of a man and the water of a river can never come into competition with each other in point of value, unless in the estimation of an unprincipled philosopher.

I thank you for your offer of the classics. When I want I will borrow. Horace is my own. Homer, with a clavis, I have had possession of for some years. They are the property of Mr. Jones. A Virgil, the property of Mr. S, I have had as long. I am nobody in the affair of tenses, unless when you are present. W. C.

Yours ever,

Olney, July 13, 1781.

My dear William,-We rejoice that you had a safe journey, and, though we should have rejoiced still more had you had no ocension for a physician, we are glad that, having had need of one, you had the good fortune to find him-let us hear soon that his advice has proved effectual, and that you are delivered from all ill symptoms.

Thanks for the care you have taken to furnish me with a dictionary: it is rather strange that, at my time of life, and after a youth spent in classical pursuits, I should want one; and stranger still that, being possessed at present of only one Latin author in the world, Ishould think it worth while to purchase one. I say that it is strange, and indeed I think it so myself. But I have a thought that, when my present labors of the pen are ended, I may go to school again, and refresh my spirits by a little intercourse with the Mantuan and the Sabine bard, and perhaps by a re-perusal of some others, whose works we generally lay by at that period of life when we are best


qualified to read them, when, the judgment and the taste being formed, their beauties are least likely to be overlooked.

has just acquired, or by finding his voice more harmonious than usual. It would be cruel to mortify so fine a singer, therefore I do not tell him that he interrupts and hinders me; but I venture to tell you so, and to plead his performance in excuse for my abrupt conclusion.

I send you the goldfinches, with which you will do as you see good. We have an affectionate remembrance of your late visit, and of all our friends at Stock. W. C.

Believe me ever yours,

however, are so plain, and the evidence against them so strong and pointed, that there is not the least doubt of their guilt being fully proved, and that nothing but a pardon can preserve them from punishment. In this situation, it should seem their wisdom to avail themselves of every expedient in their power for obtaining mercy. But they are entirely regardless of their danger, and wholly taken up with contriving methods of amusing themselves, that they may pass away the term of their imprisonment with as much cheerfulness as possible. Among other resources, they call in the assistance of music. And, amidst a great variety of subjects in this way, they are particularly pleased with one: they choose to make the solemnities of their impending trial, the character of their judge, the methods of his procedure, and the awful sentence to which they are exposed, the groundwork of a musical entertainment; and, as if they were quite unconcerned in the event, their attention is chiefly fixed upon the skill of the composer, in adapting the style of his music to the very solemn language and subject with which they are trifling. The King, however, out of his great clemency and compassion towards those who have no pity for themselves, presents them with his goodness: undesired by them, he sends them a gracious message: he assures them, that he is unwilling they should suffer: he requires, yea, he entreats them to submit: he points out a way in which their confession and submission shall be certainly accepted: and, in this way, which he condescends to prescribe, he offers them a free and full pardon. But, instead of taking a single step towards a compliance with his goodness, they set his message likewise to music and this, together with a descripper-doom awaiting them if they continue obstition of their present state, and of the fearful nate, is sung for their diversion: accompanied with the sound of cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of instruments. Surely, if such a case as I have supposed could be found in real life, though I might admire the musical taste of these people, I should commiserate their insensibility."

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. Olney, July 14, 1784. My dear Friend,-Notwithstanding the justness of the comparison by which you illustrate the folly and wickedness of a congregation assembled to pay divine honors to the memory of Handel, I could not help laughing at the picture you have drawn of the musical convicts. The subject indeed is awful, and your manner of representing it is perfectly just; yet I laughed, and must have laughed had I been one of your hearers. But the ridicule lies in the preposterous conduct which you reprove, and not in your reproof of it. A people so musically mad as to make not only their future trial the subject of a concert, but even the message of mercy from their King, and the only one he will ever send them, must excuse me if I am merry where there is more cause to be sad; for, melancholy as their condition is, their behavior under it is too ludicrous not to be felt as such, and would conquer even a more settled gravity than mine.

Yours, my dear friend, W. C.

The Commemoration of Handel, mentioned in the above letter, which was formed with great pomp in a place of religious worship, and accompanied by his celebrated oratorio of the Messiah, was considered by many pious minds to resemble an act of canonization, and therefore censured as profane. Mr. Newton, being at that time rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, in the city, preached a course of sermons on the occasion, and delivered his sentiments on the subject of oratorios generally, but with such originality of thought in the following passage that we insert it for the benefit of those to whom it may be unknown. It is introduced in the beginning of his fourth sermon from Malachi iii. 1-3.


Whereunto shall we liken the people of this generation, and to what are they like? I represent to myself a number of persons, of various characters, involved in one common charge of high treason. They are already in a state of confinement, but not yet brought to their trial. The facts,

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. Olney, July 19, 1784. In those days when Bedlam was open to the cruel curiosity of holiday ramblers, I have been a visitor there. Though a boy, I was not altogether insensible of the misery of the poor captives, nor destitue of feeling for them. But the madness of some of them had such a humorous air, and displayed itself in so many whimsical freaks, that it was impossible not to be entertained, at the

same time that I was angry with myself for this, we are the less disappointed. At your being so. A line of Bourne's is very ex-age and mine, biennial visits have such a pressive of the spectacle which this world gap between them, that we cannot promise exhibits, tragi-comical as the incidents of it ourselves upon those terms very numerous are, absurd in themselves, but terrible in future interviews. But, whether ours are their consequences; to be many or few, you will always be welcome to me for the sake of the comfortable days that are past. In my present state of mind, my friendship for you indeed is as warm as ever: but I feel myself very indifferently qualified to be your companion. Other days than these inglorious and unprofitable ones are promised me, and when I see them I shall rejoice.

Sunt res humanæ flebile ludibrium.

An instance of this deplorable merriment

has occurred in the course of the last week
at Olney. A feast gave the occasion to a
catastrophe truly shocking.*
Yours, my dear friend, W. C.

I saw the advertisement of your adversary's book. He is happy at least in this, that, whether he have brains or none, he strikes He could not wish to engage in a contro without the danger of being stricken again. versy upon easier terms. The other, whose solved I suppose to do something. But, do publication is postponed till Christmas, is rewhat he will, he cannot prove that you have not been aspersed, or that you have not re

Olney, July 28, 1784.

My dear Friend, I may perhaps be short, but am not willing that you should go to Lymington without first having had a line from me. I know that place well, having spent six weeks there above twenty years ago. The town is neat and the country delightful. You walk well, and will conse-futed the charge; which, unless he can do, I quently find a part of the coast, called Hall- think he will do little to the purpose. eliff, within the reach of your ten toes. It was a favorite walk of mine; to the best of my remembrance about three miles distant from Lymington. There you may stand

ful to us both.

Mrs. Unwin thinks of you, and always with Newton's kindness. She has had a nervous a grateful recollection of yours and Mrs. fever lately; but I hope she is better. The upon the beach and contemplate the Needle-weather forbids walking, a prohibition hurtrock; at least, you might have done so twenty years ago; but since that time I think it is fallen from its base and is drowned, and is no longer a visible object of contemplation. I wish you may pass your time there happily, as in all probability you will, perhaps usefully too to others, undoubtedly so to yourself.

The manner in which you have been previously made acquainted with Mr. Gilpin gives a providential air to your journey, and affords reason to hope that you may be charged with a message to him. I admire him as a biographer. But, as Mrs. Unwin and I were talking of him last night, we could not but wonder that a man should see so much excellence in the lives, and so much glory and beauty in the death, of the martyrs whom he has recorded, and at the same time disapprove the principles that produced the very conduct he admired. seems however a step towards the truth to applaud the fruits of it; and one cannot help thinking that one step more would put him in possession of the truth itself. By your means may he be enabled to take it!


We are obliged to you for the preference you would have given to Olney, had not Providence determined your course another way. But as, when we saw you last summer, you gave us no reason to expect you

We presume that this is the same circumstance

of which more particular mention is made in the beginning of the letter to the Rev. Mr. Unwin, Aug. 14, 17:4.

We heartily wish you a good journey, and are affectionately yours,

W. C. & M. U.

TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. Olney, August 14, 1784. My dear Friend,-I give you joy of a journey performed without trouble or danger. You have travelled five hundred miles without having encountered either. Some neighbors of ours about a fortnight since, made an excursion only to a neighboring village, and brought home with them fractured sculls and broken limbs, and one of them is dead.

For my own part, I seem pretty much exempted from the dangers of the road.Thanks to that tender interest and concern which the legislature takes in my security! Having, no doubt, their fears lest so precious a life should determine too soon and by some made wheels and horses so expensive that I untimely stroke of misadventure, they have am not likely to owe my death to either.

Your mother and I continue to visit Weston daily, and find in those agreeable bowers such amusement as leaves us but little room to regret that we can go no farther. Having pleasure of telling you that our neighbors in touched that theme, I cannot abstain from the that place being about to leave it for some time, and meeting us there but a few evenings

before their departure, entreated us, during their absence, to consider the garden and all its contents as our own, and to gather whatever we liked without the least scruple. We accordingly picked strawberries as often as we went, and brought home as many bundles of honeysuckles as served to perfume our dwelling till they returned.

Once more, by the aid of Lord Dartmouth, I find myself a voyager in the Pacific Ocean. In our last night's lecture we made our acquaintance with the island of Hapaee, where we had never been before. The French and Italians, it seems, have but little cause to plume themselves on account of their achievements in the dancing way, and we may hereafter, without much repining at it, acknowledge their superiority in that art. They are equalled, perhaps excelled, by savages. How wonderful that, without any intercourse with a politer world, and having made no proficiency, in any other accomplishment, they should in this however have made themselves such adepts, that for regularity and grace of motion they might even be our masters! How wonderful too that with a tub and a stick they should be able to produce such harmony, as persons accustomed to the sweetest music cannot but hear with pleasure! It is not very difficult to account for the striking difference of character that obtains among the inhabitants of these islands! Many of them are near neighbors to each other; their opportunities of improvement much the same; yet some of them are in a degree polite, discover symptoms of taste, and have a sense of elegance; while others are as rude as we naturally expect to find a people who have never had any communication with the northern hemisphere. These volumes furnish much matter of philosophical speculation, and often entertain me, even while I am not employed in reading them.

I am sorry you have not been able to ascertain the doubtful intelligence I have received on the subject of cork shirts and bosoms. I am now every day occupied in giving all the grace I can to my new production and in transcribing it; I shall soon arrive at the passage that censures that folly, which I shall be loath to expunge, but which I must not spare unless the criminals can be convicted. The world, however, is not so unproductive of subjects of censure, but that it may probably supply me with some other that may serve as well.

If you know anybody that is writing, or intends to write, an epic poem on the new regulation of franks, you may give him my compliments, and these two lines for a beginningHeu quot amatores nunc torquet epistola rara! Vectigal certum perituraque gratia FRANKI! Yours faithfully, W. C.

We have elsewhere stated that the mode originally used in franking, was for the member to sign his name at the left corner of the letter, with the word "free" attached to it, leaving the writer of the letter to add the su perscription at his own convenience. But instances of forgery having become frequent, by persons erasing the word "free," and using the name of the member for fraudulent purposes, a new regulation was adopted at this time to defeat so gross an abuse. In August, 1784, under the act of the 24th of George III., chap. 37, a new enactment passed, prescribing the mode of franking for the future as it is now practised.

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON, Olney, August 16, 1784. My dear Friend,-Had you not expressed a desire to hear from me before you take leave of Lymington, I certainly should not have answered you so soon. Knowing the place and the amusements it affords, I should have had more modesty than to suppose myself capable of adding anything to your present entertainments worthy to rank with them. I am not, however, totally destitute of such pleasures as an inland country may pretend to. If my windows do not command a view of the ocean, at least they look out upon a profusion of mignonette; which, if it be not so grand an object, is, however, quite as fragrant; and, if I have not an hermit in a grotto, I have, nevertheless, myself in a greenhouse, a less venerable figure perhaps, but not at all less animated than he nor are we in this nook altogether unfurnished with such means of philosophical experiment and speculation as at present the world rings with. On Thursday morning last, we sent up a balloon from Emberton meadow.Thrice it rose and as oft descended, and in the evening it performed another flight at Newport, where it went up and came down no more. Like the arrow discharged at the pigeon in the Trojan games, it kindled in the air and was consumed in a moment. not heard what interpretation the soothsayers have given to the omen, but shall wonder a little if the Newton shepherd prognosticate anything less from it than the most bloody war that was ever waged in Europe.

I have

I am reading Cook's last Voyage, and am much pleased and amused with it. It seems that in some of the Friendly Isles they excel so much in dancing, and perform that opera tion with such exquisite delicacy and grace, that they are not surpassed even upon our European stages. Oh! that Vestris had been in the ship, that he might have seen himself outdone by a savage! The paper indeed tells us, that the queen of France has clapped

the most. I know that you will lose no time in reading it, but I must beg you likewise to lose none in conveying it to Johnson, that, if he chooses to print it, it may go to the press immediately; if not, that it may be offered directly to your friend Longman, or any other. Not that I doubt Johnson's acceptance of it, for he will find it more ad captum populi than the former. I have not

this king of capers up in prison, for declining to dance before her on a pretence of sickness, when, in fact, he was in perfect health. If this be true, perhaps he may, by this time, be prepared to second such a wish as mine, and to think, that the durance he suffers would be well exchanged for a dance at Annamooka. I should, however, as little have expected to hear that these islanders had such consummate skill in an art that re-numbered the lines, except of the four first quires so much taste in the conduct of the per- | books, which amount to three thousand two son, as that they were good mathematicians hundred and seventy-six. I imagine, thereand astronomers. Defective as they are in fore, that the whole contains about five thouevery branch of knowledge, and in every other sand. I mention this circumstance now, bespecies of refinement, it seems wonderful cause it may save him some trouble in casting that they should arrive at such perfection in the size of the book, and I might possibly the dance, which some of our English gentle- forget it in another letter. men, with all the assistance of French instruction, find it impossible to learn. We must conclude, therefore, that particular nations have a genius for particular feats, and that our neighbors in France, and our friends in the South Sea, have minds very nearly akin, though they inhabit countries so very remote from each other.

About a fortnight since, we had a visit from Mr., whom I had not seen many years. He introduced himself to us very politely, with many thanks on his own part, and on the part of his family, for the amusement which my book has afforded them. He said he was sure that it must make its way, and hoped that I had not laid down the pen. I only told him, in general terms, that the use of the pen was necessary to my well being, but gave him no hint of this last production. He said that one passage in particular had absolutely electrified him, meaning the description of the Briton in Table Talk. He seemed, indeed, to emit some sparks, when he mentioned it. I was glad to have that picture noticed by a man of a cultivated mind, because I had always thought well of it myself, and had never heard it distinguished before. Assure yourself, my William, that though I would not write thus freely on the subject of me or mine, to any but yourself, the pleasure I have in doing it is a most innocent one, and partakes not in the least degree, so far as my conscience is to be credited, of that vanity with which authors are in general so justly chargeable. Whatever I do, I confess that I most sincerely wish to do it well; and when I have reason to hope that I have succeeded, am pleased indeed, but not proud; for He who has placed everything out of the reach of man, except what he freely gives him, has made it impossible for a reflecting mind that knows this, to indulge so silly a passion for a moment. W. C.


Mrs. Unwin remembers to have been in company with Mr. Gilpin at her brother's. She thought him very sensible and polite, and consequently very agreeable.

We are truly glad that Mrs. Newton and yourself are so well, and that there is reason to hope that Eliza is better. You will learn from this letter that we are so, and that for my own part I am not quite so low in spirits as at some times. Learn too, what you knew before, that we love you all, and that I am Affectionate friend,


W. C.

TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. Olney, Sept. 11, 1784. My dear Friend,-You have my thanks for the inquiries you have made. Despairing, however, of meeting with such confirmation of that new mode as would warrant a general stricture, I had, before the receipt of your last, discarded the passage in which I had censured it. I am proceeding in my transcript with all possible despatch, having nearly finished the fourth book, and hoping, by the end of the month, to have completed the work. When finished, that no time may be lost, I purpose taking the first opportunity to transmit it to Leman Street, but must beg that you will give me in your next an exact direction, that it may proceed to the mark without any hazard of a miscarriage. A second transcript of it would be a labor I should very reluctantly undertake; for, though I have kept copies of all the material alterations, there are many minutiae of which I have made none; it is besides slavish work, and of all occupations that which I dislike

TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ. Olney, Sept. 11, 1784. My dear Friend,-I have never seen Doctor Cotton's book, concerning which your sisters question me, nor did I know, till you mentioned it, that he had written anything newer than his Visions; I have no doubt that it is so far worthy of him as to be pious and sensible, and I believe no man living is better

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