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But this does not prevent their praises, nor at all disturb him in the enjoyment of that self-compla- TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. cence, to which his imaginary success entitles him. He wears his honours while he lives, and MY DEAR FRIEND,
October 6, 1783. if another strips them off when he has been dead Ir is indeed a melancholy consideration, that a century, it is no great matter; he can then the Gospel, whose direct tendency is to promote make shift without them.
the happiness of mankind in the present life as I have said a great deal upon this subject, and well as the lite to come, and which so effectually know not what it all amounts to. I did not intend answers the design of its author, whenever it is a syllable of it when I began. But currente ca- well understood and sincerely believed, should, lamo, I stumbled upon it. My end is to amuse through the ignorance, the bigotry, the superstimyself and you. The former of these two points tion of its professors, and the ambition of popes, is secured. I shall be happy if I do not miss the and princes, the tools of popes, have produced inlatter.
cidentally so much mischief; only furnishing the By the way, what is your opinion of these air- world with a plausible excuse to worry each other, balloons ? I am quite charmed with the discovery. while they sanctified the worse cause with the Is it not possible (do you suppose) to convey such specious pretext of zeal for the furtherance of the a quantity of inflammable air in the stomach and best. abdomen, that the philosopher, no longer gravita- Angels descend from Heaven to publish peace ting to a centre, shall ascend by his own compara- between man and his Maker-the Prince of Peace tive levity, and never stop till he has reached the himself comes to confirm and establish it, and medium exactly in equilibrio with himself ? May war, hatred, and desolation are the consequence. he not by the help of a pasteboard rudder, at- Thousands quarrel about the interpretation of a tached to his posteriors, steer himself in that purer book which none of them understand. He that is element with ease, and again by a slow and grad- slain dies firmly persuaded that the crown of marual discharge of his aerial contents, recover his tyrdom expects himn; and he that slew him is former tendency to the earth, and descend without equally convinced that he has done God service. the smallest danger or inconvenience? These In reality they are both mistaken, and equally unthings are worth inquiry; and (I dare say) they entitled to the honour they arrogate to themwill be inquired after as they deserve: The penna selves. If a multitude of blind men should set out non homini data are likely to be less regretted for a certain city, and dispute about the right than they were; and perhaps a flight of academi- road till a battle ensued between them, the probacians and a covey of fine ladies may be no uncoin- ble effect would be that none of them would ever mon spectacle in the next generation. A letter reach it; and such a fray, preposterous and shockwhich, appeared in the public prints last week ing in the extrejne, would exhibit a picture in convinces me that the learned are not without some degree resembling the original of which we hopes of some such improvement upon this dis- have been speaking. And why is not the world covery. The author is a sensible and ingenious thus occupied at present? even because they have man, and under a reasonable apprehension that exchanged a zeal, that was no better than madthe ignorant may feel themselves inclined to laugh ness, for an indifference equally pitiable and abupon a subject that affects himself with the utmost surd. The holy sepulchre has lost its importance seriousness, with much good manners and man- in the eyes of nations called Christians, not beagement bespeaks their patience, suggesting ma- cause the light of true wisdom has delivered them ny good consequences that may result from a from a superstitious attachment to the spot, but course of experiments upon this machine, and because he that was buried in it is no longer reamongst others, that it may be of use in ascertain- garded by them as the Saviour of the world. The ing the shape of continents and islands, and the exercise of reason, enlightened by philosophy, has face of wide-extended and far distant countries ; cured them indeed of the misery of an abused unan end not to be hoped for, unless by these means derstanding, but together with the delusion they of extraordinary elevation the human prospect have lost the substance, and for the sake of the lies may be immensely enlarged, and the philosopher, that were grafted upor. it have quarreled with the exalted to the skies, attain a view of the whole truth itself. Here then we see the ne plus ultrà of hemisphere at once. But whether he is to ascend human wisdom, at last in lairs of religion. It by the mere inflation of his person, as hinted enlightens the mind with respect to nonessentials above, or whether in a sort of bandbox, supported but with respect to that in which the essence of upon balloons, is not yet apparent, nor (I suppose) Christianity consists, leaves it perfectly in the even in his own idea perfectly decided.
dark. It can discover many errors that in differYours, my dear William, W.C. ent ages have disgraced the faith; but it is only to make way for the admission of one more fatal native land, and sent to cultivate a distant one, than them all, which represents that faith itself without the means of doing it; abandoned, too, as a delusion. Why those evils have been per- through a deplorable necessity, by the governmitted shall be known hereafter. One thing in mnent to which they have sacrificed all; they exthe mean time is certain, that the folly and frenzy hibit a spectacle of distress, which one can not of the professed disciples of the Gospel have been view even at this distance without participating in more dangerous to its interests, than all the avow, what they feel. Why could not some of our useed hostilities of its adversaries; and perhaps for less wastes and forests have been allotted to their this cause these mischiefs might be suffered to support? To have built them houses indeed, and prevail for a season, that its divine original and to have furnished them with implements of husnature might be the more illustrated, when it bandry, would have put us to no small expense; should appear that it was able to stand its ground but I suppose the increase of population, and the for ages against that most formidable of all at-improvement of the soil, would soon have been tacks, the indiscretion of its friends. The out- felt as a national advantage, and have indemnified rages that have followed this perversion of the the state, if not enriched it. We are bountiful to truth have proved indeed a stumbling-block to in- foreigners, and neglect those of our own housedividuals;
the wise of this world, with all their hold. I remember that compassionating the misewisdom, have not been able to distinguish be-ries of the Portuguese, åt the time of the Lisbon tween the blessing and the abuse of it. Voltaire earthquake, we sent them a ship load of tools to was offended, and Gibbon has turned his back; clear away the rubbish with, and to assist them but the flock of Christ is increases, notwithstanding the unbelief of a phlu reported at the time, that the court of Portugal losopher is able to convert bread into a stone, and accepted our wheelbarrows and spades with a a fish into a serpent.
very ill grace, and treated our bounty with conI am much obliged to you for the voyages, tempt. An act like this in behalf of our brethren, which I received, and began to read last night. carried only a little further, might possibly have My imagination' is so captivated upon these occa-redeemed them from ruin, have resulted in emosions, that I seem to partake with the navigators lument to ourselves, have been received with joy, in all the dangers they encountered. I lose my and repaid with gratitude. Such are my specuanchor; my mainsail is rent into shreds; I killa lations upon the subject, who not being a politishark, and by signs converse with a Patagonian, cian by profession,
and very seldom giving my and all this without moving from the fireside. attention for a moment to such a matter, may not The principal fruits of these circuits, that have be aware of difficulties and objections, which they been made around the globe, seem likely to be the of the cabinet can discern with half an eye. Peramusement of those that staid at home. Discove-haps to have taken under our protection a race hardly satisfy the expense of such undertakings. thought dangerous to the interests we hope to We brought away an Indian, and having de håve hereafter in their high and mighty regards bauched him, we sent him home again to commu- and affections. It is ever the way of those who nicate the infection to his country-fine sport, to rule the earth, to leave out of their reckoning Him be sure, but such as will not defray the cost. Na- who rules the universe. They forget that the tions that live upon bread-fruit
, and have no poor have a friend more powerful to avenge, than mines to make them worthy of our acquaintance, they can be to oppress, and that treachery and will be but little visited for the future. So mueh perfidy'must therefore prove, bad policy in the the better for them! their poverty is indeed their end. The Americans themselves appear to me mercy.
to be in a situation little less pitiable than that Yours, my dear friend, W. C. of the deserted Loyalists. Their fears of arbitrary
imposition were certainly well founded. A strug
gle therefore might be necessary, in order to preTO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.
vent it, and this end might surely have been an
swered without a renunciation of dependence. MY DEAR FRIEND,
October, 1783. But the passions of a whole people, once put in I am much obliged to you for your American motion, are not soon quieted. Contest begets anecdotes, and feel the obligation perhaps more aversion, a little success inspires more ambitious sensibly, the labour of transcribing being in parti- hopes, and thus a slight quarrel terminates at last cular that to which I myself have the greatest in a breach never to be healed, and perhaps in the aversion. The Loyalists are much to be pitied; ruin of both parties. It does not seem likely that driven from all the comforts that depend upon and a country so distinguished by the Creator with are intimately connected with a residence in their every thing that can make it desirable, should be
given up to desolation for ever; and they may the case at present.* If prose comes readily, I shall possibly have reason on their side, who suppose transcribe them on another sheet, otherwise, on this. that in time it will have the pre-eminence over all You will understand, before you have read many others; but the day of such prosperity seems far of them, that they are not for the press. I lay distant-Omnipotence indeed can hasten it, and you under no other injunctions. The unkind beit may dawn when it is least expected. But we haviour of our acquaintance, though it is possible govern ourselves in all our reasonings by present that in some instances it may not much affect our appearances. Persons at least no better informed happiness, nor engage many of our thoughts, will than myself are constrained to do so.
sometimes obtrude itself upon us with a degree of I intended to have taken another subject when importunity not easily resisted; and then perhaps, I began, and I wish I had. No man living is though almost insensible of it before, we feel more less qualified to settle nations than I am; but than the occasion will justify. In such a moment when I write to you, I talk, that is, I write, as it was that I conceived this poem, and gave loose fast as my pen can run, and on this occasion it to a degree of resentment, which perhaps I ought ran away with me. I acknowledge myself in not to have indulged, but which in a cooler hour your debt for your last favour, but can not pay you I can not altogether condemn.My former intinow, unless you will accept as payment, what I macy with the two characters was such, that I know you value more than all I can say beside, could not but feel myseif provoked by the neglect the most unfeigned assurances of my affection for with which they both treated me on
late occayou and yours:
sion. So much by way of preface Yours, &c. W. C. You ought not to have supposed that if you had
visited us last summer, the pleasure of the interview would have been all your own. By such an
imagination you wrong both yourself and us. Do TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
you suppose, we do not love you? You can not
Oct. 20, 1783. suspect your mother of coldness; and as to me, I should not have been thus long silent, had las
assure yourself I have no friend in the world with known with certainty where a letter of mine might whom I communicate without the least reserve, find you." Your summer excursions however are yourself excepted. Take heart then, and when now at an end, and addressing a line to you in you find a favourable opportunity to come, assure the centre of the busy scene in which you spend yourself of such a welcome from us both as you your winter, I am pretty sure of my mark. have a right to look for. But I have observed in
I see the winter approaching without much con- your two last letters somewhat of a dejection and cern, though a passionate lover of fine weather melancholy, that I am afraid you do not sufficientand the pleasant scenes of summer; but the long ly strive against. "I suspect you of being too sedenevenings have their comforts too, and there is tary "You can not walk." Why you can not hardly to be found upon the earth, I suppose, so is best known to yourself. . I am sure your legs snug a creature as an Englishman by his fireside are long enough, and your person does not overload in the winter. I mean however an Englishman them. But I beseech you ride, and ride often. I that lives in the country, for in London it is not think I have heard you say, you can not even do very easy to avoid intrusion. I have two ladies that without an object." "Is not health an object ? to read to, sometimes more, but never less—at pre- Is not a new prospect, which in most countries is sent we are circumnavigating the globe, and I find gained at the end of every mile, an object ? Asthe old story with which I amused myself some sure yourself that easy chairs are no friends to years since, through the great felicity of a memory cheerfulness
, and that a long winter spent by the not very retentive, almost new. I am however fireside is a prelude to an unhealthy spring. Every sadly at a loss for Cook’s voyage, can you send it ? thing I see in the fields is to me an object, and I I shall be glad of Foster's too. These together can look at the same rivulet, or at a handsome will make the winter pass merrily, and you will tree, every day of my life, with new pleasure. much oblige me
W.C. This indeed is partly the effect of a natural taste
for rural beauty, and partly the effect of habit; for I never in all my life have let slip the opportu
nity of breathing fresh air, and of conversing with TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
nature, when I could fairly catch it. I earnestly
recommend a cultivation of the same taste to you, MY DEAR WILLIAM,
Nov. 10, 1783. suspecting that you have neglected it, and suffer I have lost and wasted almost all my writing for doing so. time, in making an alteration in the verses I either enclose or subjoin, for I know not which will bel Verses from a poem entitled Valediction. Vide Poems
Last Saturday se’nnight, the moment I had cessary, no longer convenient, or in any respect composed myself in my bed, your mother too hav- an object. They think of me as of the man in the ing just got into hers, we were alarmed by a cry moon, and whether I have a lantern, or a dog and of fire on the staircase. I immediately arose, and fagot, or whether I have neither of those desirable saw sheets of flame above the roof of Mr. Palmer's accommodations, is to them a matter of perfect house, our opposite neighbour." The mischief indifference: upon that point we are agreed, our however was not so near to him as it seemed to indifference is mutual, and were I to publish again, be, having begun at a butcher's yard, at a little which is not impossible, I should give them a distance. We made all haste down stairs, and proof of it. soon threw open the street door, for the reception L'Estrange’s Josephus has lately furnished us of as much lumber, of all sorts, as our house would with evening lectures. But the historian is so hold, brought into it by several who thought it tediously circumstantial, and the translator so innecessary to move their furniture. In two hours supportably coarse and vulgar, that we are all time we had so much that we could hold no more, three weary of him. "How would Tacitus have even the uninhabited part of our building being shone upon such a subject, great master as he was filled: Not that we ourselves were entirely secure— of the art of description, concise without obscurity, an adjoining thatch, on which fell showers of and affecting without being poetical. But so it was sparks, being rather a dangerous neighbour. Pro- ordered, and for wișe reasons, no doubt, that the videntially however the night was perfectly calm, greatest calamities any people ever suffered, and and we escaped. By four in tħe morning it was an accomplishment of one of the most signal proextinguished, having consumed many out-build-phecies in the Scripture, should be recorded by ings, but no dwelling-house. Your mother suffered one of the worst writers. The man was a tema little in her health, from the fatigue and bustle porizer too, and courted the favour of his Roman of the night, but soon recovered. As for me, it masters at the expense of his own creed, or else hurt me not. The slightest wind would have an infidel and absolutely disbelieved it. You will carried the fire to the very extremity of the town, think me very difficult to please; I quarrel with there being multitudes of thatched buildings and Josephus for the want of elegance, and with some fagot-piles so near to each other, that they must of our modern historians for having too much. have proved infallible conductors.
With him for running right forward like a gaThe balloons prosper; I congratulate you"upon zette, without stopping to make a single observait. Thanks to Montgolfier, we shall fly at last. tion by the way; and with them for pretending Yours, my dear friend, w. c. to delincate characters that existed two thousand
years ago, and to discover the motives by which they were influenced, with the same precision as
if they had been their contemporaries.—Simplicity TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
is become a very rare quality in a writer. In the MY DEAR WILLIAM,
Nov. 24, 1783. decline of great kingdoms, and where refinement An evening unexpectedly retired, and which in all the arts is carried to an excess, I suppose it your mother and I spend without company (an is always rare. The latter Roman writers are occurrence far from frequent,) affordş me a fa remarkable for false ornament, they were yet no vourable opportunity to write by to-morrow's post, doubt admired by the readers of their own day; which else I could not have found. You are very and with respect to the authors of the present era, good to consider my literary necessities with so the most popular among them appear to me equalmuch attention, and I feel proportionably grateful. ly censurable on the same account. Swift and Blair's Lectures (though I suppose they must Addison were simple. make a part of my private studies, not being ad Your mother wants room for a postscript, so captum fæminarum) will be perfectly welcome. my lecture must conclude abruptly. You say you felt my verses; I assure you that in
Yours, W.C. this you follow my example, for I felt them first. A man's lordship is nothing to me, any further than in connexion with qualities that entitle him
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. to my respect. If he thinks himself privileged by it to treat me with neglect, I am his humble ser- MY DEAR FRIEND, vant, and shall never be at a loss to render him an It is hard upon us striplings who have uncles equivalent. I will not however belie my know-still living (N. B. I myself have an uncle still ledge of mankind so much, as to seem surprised alive) that those venerable gentlemen should stand at a treatment which I had abundant reasoir to in our way, even when the ladies are in question; expect. To these men with whom I was once that I, for instance, should find in one page of intimate, and for many years, I am no longer ne-lyour letter a hope that Miss Shuttleworth would
be of your party, and he told in the next that she key of it in a manner that made it impossible not is engaged to your uncle. Well we may perhaps to accept it, and said she would send us one. A never be uncles, but we may reasonably hope that few days afterwards in the cool of the evening we the time is coming, when others as young as we walked that way again. We saw them going toare now, shall envy us the privileges of old age, ward the house, and exchanged bows and curtsies and see us engross that share in the attention of at a distance, but did not join them. In a few the ladies to which their youth must aspire in vain. minutes when we had passed the house, and had Make our compliments if you please to your sis- almost reached the gate that opens out of the park ter Eliza, and tell her that we are both mortified into the adjoining field, I heard the iron gate beat having missed the pleasure of seeing her. longing to the court-yard ring, and saw Mr. T.
Balloons are so much the mode, that even in advancing hastily towards us, we made equal haste this country we have attempted a balloon. You to meet, he presented to us the key, which I told may possibly remember that at a place called Wes-him I esteemed a singular favour, and after a few ton, a little more than a mile froin Olney, there such speeches as are made on such occasions, we lives a family, whose name is Throckmorton. parted. This happened about a week ago. I conThe present possessor of the estate is a young cluded nothing less than that all this civility and man whom I remember a boy. He has a wife, attention was designed, on their part, as a prelude who is young, genteel, and handsome. They are to a nearer acquaintance; but here at present the Papists, but much more aniable than many Pro- matter rests. I should like exceedingly to be on
We never had any intercourse with the an easy footing there, to give a morning call now family, though ever since we lived here we have and then, and to receive one, but nothing more. enjoyed the range of their pleasure grounds, hav-For though he is one of the most agreeable men I ing been favoured with a key, which admits us ever saw, I could not wish to visit him in any other into all. When this man succeeded to the estate, way; neither our house, furniture, servants, or inon the death of his elder brother, and came to set- come, being such as qualify us to make entertaintle at Weston, I sent him a complimentary card, ments, neither would I on any account be introduced requesting the continuance of that privilege, hav- to the neighbouring gentry. Mr. T. is altogether a ing till then enjoyed it by favour of his mother, man of fashion, and respectable on every account. who on that occasion went to finish her days at
I have told you a long story. Farewell. We Bath. You may conclude that he granted it, and number the days as they pass, and are glad that we for about two years nothing more passed between shall see you and your sister soon. A fortnight ago, I received an invitation in
Yours, &c. W. Ç. the civilest terms, in which he told me that the next day he should attempt to fill a balloon, and if it would be any pleasure to me to be present,
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. should be happy to see me.
Your mother and I went. The whole camtry were there, but the
MY DEAR WILLIAM,
Jan. 3, 1784. balloon could not be filled. The endeavour was,
Your silence began to be distressing both to I believe, very philosophically made, but such a your mother and me, and had I not received a letprocess depends for its success upon such niceties ter from you last night, I should have written by as make it very precarious. Our reception was this post to inquire after your health. How can however flattering to a great degree, insomuch that it be, that you, who are not stationary like me, but more notice seemed to be taken of us, than we often change your situation, and mix with a vacould possibly have expected, indeed rather more riety of company, should suppose me furnished than of any of his other guests. They even with such abundant materials, and yourself destiseemed anxious to recommend themselves to our tute? I assure you faithfully, that I do not find regards. We drank chocolate, and were asked the soil of Olney prolific in the growth of such to dine, but were engaged. A day or two after- articles as make letter-writing a desirable employwards, Mrs. Unwin and I walked that way, and ment. No place contributes less to the catalogue were overtaken in a shower. I found a tree that of incidents, or is more scantily supplied with anI thought would shelter us both, a large elm, in a ecdotes worth notice. grove that fronts the mansion. Mrs. T. observed
We have us, and running towards us in the rain insisted on our walking in. He was gone out. We sat
One parson, one poel, one bellman, one crier,
And the poor poet is our only 'aquire. chatting with her till the weather cleared up, and then at her instance took a walk with her in the Guess then if I have not more reason to expect two garden. The garden is almost their only walk, letters from you, than you one from me. The and is certainly their only retreat in which they principal occurrence, and that which affects me are not liable to interruption. She offered us almost at present, came to pass this moment. The