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likely to want, that best ingredient which can alone make it truly pleasant either to myself or youthat spirituality which once enlivened all our inter
You will tell me, no doubt, that the knowledge I have gained is an earnest of more and more valuable information, and that the dispersion of the clouds, in part, promises, in due time, their complete dispersion. I should be happy to believe it; but the power to do so is at present far from me. Never was the mind of man benighted to the degree that mine has been. The storms that have assailed me would have overset the faith of every man that ever had any; and the very remembrance of them, even after they have been long passed by, makes hope impossible.
Mrs. Unwin, whose poor bark is still held together, though shattered by being tossed and agitated so long at the side of mine, does not forget yours and Mrs. Newton's kindness on this last occasion. Mrs. Newton's offer to come to her assistance, and your readiness to have rendered us the same service, could you have hoped for any salutary effect of your presence, neither Mrs. Unwin nor myself undervalue, nor shall presently forget. But you judged right when you supposed, that even your company would have been no relief to me; the company
of my father or my brother, could they have returned from the dead to visit me, would have been none to me.
We are busied in preparing for the reception of Lady Hesketh, whom we expect here shortly. We have beds to put up, and furniture for beds to make; workmen, and scouring, and bustle. Mrs. Unwin's time has of course been lately occupied to a degree that made writing to her impracticable; and she excused herself the rather, knowing my intentions to take her office. It does not, however, suit me to write much at a time. This last tempest has left my nerves in a worse condition than it found them ; my head especially, though better informed, is more infirm than ever. I will therefore only add our joint love to yourself and Mrs. Newton, and that I am, my dear friend,
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Weston, Oct. 19, 1787. Dear Sir-A summons from Johnson, which I received yesterday, calls
attention once more to the business of translation. Before I begin, I am willing to catch though but a short opportunity to acknowledge your last favour. The necessity of applying myself with all diligence to a long work, that has been but too long interrupted, will make my opportunities of writing rare in future.
Air and exercise are necessary to all men, but particularly so to the man whose mind labours, and to him who has been all his life accustomed to much of both they are necessary in the extreme. My time, since we parted, has been devoted entirely to the recovery of health and strength for this service, and I am willing to hope with good effect. Ten months have passed since I discontinued my poetical efforts; I do not expect to find the same readiness as before, till exercise of the neglected faculty, such as it is, shall have restored it to me.
* This letter was addressed to Mr. Newton, on the writer's recovery from an attack of his grievous constitutional malady, which lasted eight months.
You find yourself, I hope, by this time as comfortably situated in your new abode as in a new abode one can be. I enter perfectly into all your feelings on occasion of the change. A sensible mind cannot do violence even to a local attachment without much pain. When my father died, I was young, too young to have reflected much. He was Rector of Berkhamstead, and there I was born. It had never occurred to me that a parson has no feesimple in the house and glebe he occupies. There was neither tree, nor gate, nor stile, in all that country, to which I did not feel a relation, and the house itself I preferred to a palace. I was sent for from London to attend him in his last illness, and he died just before I arrived. Then, and not till then, I felt for the first time that I and
native place were disunited for ever. I sighed a long adieu to fields and woods, from which I once thought I should never be parted, and was at no time so sensible of their beauties as just when I left them all behind me, to return no more.
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.*
Oct. 20, 1787. My dear Friend - My indisposition could not be of a worse kind. Had I been afflicted with a fever, or confined by a broken bone, neither of these cases would have made it impossible that we should meet. I am truly sorry that the impediment was insurmountable while it lasted, for such in fact it was. The sight of any face, except Mrs. Unwin's, was to me an insupportable grievance; and when it has happened that, by forcing himself into my hiding place, some friend has found me out, he has had no great cause to exult in his success, as Mr. Bull can tell you.
From this dreadful condition of mind I emerged suddenly; so suddenly, that Mrs. Unwin, having no notice of such a change herself, could give none to any body; and when it obtained, how long it might last, or how far it was to be depended on, was a matter of the greatest uncertainty. It affects me on the recollection with the more concern, because I learn from your last, that I have not only lost an interview with you myself, but have stood in the way of visits that you would have gladly paid to others, and who would have been happy to have seen you. You should have forgotten (but you are not good at forgetting your friends) that such a creature as myself existed.
I rejoice that Mrs. Cowper has been so comfortably supported. She must have severely felt the
* Private Correspondence.
loss of her son. She has an affectionate heart toward her children, and could not but be sensible of the bitterness of such a cup. But God's presence sweetens every bitter. Desertion is the only evil that a Christian cannot bear.
I have done a deed for which I find some people thank me little. Perhaps I have only burned my fingers, and had better not have meddled. Last Sunday se’nnight I drew up a petition to Lord Dartmouth, in behalf of Mr. Postlethwaite.
We signed it, and all the principal inhabitants of Weston followed our example.* What we had done was soon known in Olney, and an evening or two ago Mr. R- called here, to inform me (for that seemed to be his errand) how little the measure that I had taken was relished by some of his neighbours. I vindicated my proceeding on the principles of justice and mercy to a laborious and well-deserving minister, to whom I had the satisfaction to find that none could allege one serious objection, and that all, except one, who objected at all, are persons who in reality ought to have no vote upon such a question. The affair seems still to remain undecided. If his lordship waits, which I a little suspect, till his steward shall have taken the sense of those with whom he is likely to converse upon the subject, and means to be determined by his report, Mr. Postlethwaite's case is desperate.
* The living of Olney had become vacant by the death of the Rev. Moses Brown, and an attempt was made to secure it for the Rev. Mr. Postlethwaite, the curate. Mr. Bean was ult appointed.