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the sole management of such a business entrusted to us, we will order it otherwise.
I was glad to learn from the papers that our cousin Henry shone as he did in reading the charge. This must have given much pleasure to the General.+ Thy ever affectionate,
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. *
Weston, March 1, 1788. My dear Friend—That my letters may not be exactly an echo to those which I receive, I seldom read a letter immediately before I answer it; trusting to my memory to suggest to me such of its contents as may call for particular notice. Thus I dealt with your last, which lay in my desk, while I
I was writing to you. But my memory, or rather my recollection, failed me, in that instance. I had not forgotten Mr. Bean's letter, nor my obligations to you for the communication of it: but they did not happen to present themselves to me in the proper moment, nor till some hours after my own had been dispatched. I now return it, with many
+ The Poet addressed some complimentary verses on this occasion to Mr. Henry Cowper, beginning thus :
“ Cowper, whose silver voice, tasked sometimes hard,” &c. Henry Cowper, Esq. was reading clerk in the House of Lords. • Private Correspondence.
thanks for so favourable a specimen of its author. That he is a good man, and a wise man, its testimony proves sufficiently; and I doubt not, that when he shall speak for himself he will be found an agreeable one. For it is possible to be very good, and in many respects very wise; yet at the same time not the most delightful companion. Excuse the shortness of an occasional scratch, which I send in much haste; and believe me, my dear friend, with our united love to yourself and Mrs. Newton, of whose health we hope to hear a more favourable account as the year rises, Your truly affectionate,
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.*
Weston Lodge, March 3, 1788.+ My dear Friend—I had not, as you may imagine, read more than two or three lines of the enclosed, before I perceived that I had accidentally come to the possession of another man's property; who, by the same misadventure, has doubtless occupied mine. I accordingly folded it again the moment after having opened it, and now return it. The bells of Olney, both last night and this morning, have announced the arrival of Mr. Bean. I understand that he is
* Private Correspondence.
+ The date having been probably written on the latter balf of this letter, which is torn off, the editor bas endeavoured to supply it from the following to Mrs. King.
now come with his family. It will not be long, therefore, before we shall be acquainted. I rather wish than hope that he may find himself comfortably situated; but the parishioners' admiration of Mr. C—, whatever the bells may say, is no good omen. It is hardly to be expected that the same people should admire both.
I have lately been engaged in a correspondence with a lady whom I never saw. She lives at Pertenhall, near Kimbolton, and is the wife of a Dr. King, who has the living. She is evidently a Christian, and a very gracious one.
I would that she had you for a correspondent rather than me. One letter from you would do her more good than a ream of mine. But so it is; and, since I cannot depute my office to
you, and am bound by all sorts of considerations to answer her this evening, I must necessarily quit you that I may have time to do it.
TO MRS. KING.*
Weston Lodge, March 3, 1788. I owe you many acknowledgments, dear madam, for that unreserved communication both of your history and of your sentiments with which you favoured me in your last. It gives me great pleasure to learn that you are so happily circumstanced, both in respect of situation and frame of mind. With your view of religious subjects, you could not, indeed, speaking properly, be pronounced unhappy in any circumstances; but to have received from above not only that faith which reconciles the heart to affliction, but many outward comforts also, and especially that greatest of all earthly comforts, a comfortable home, is happiness indeed. May you long enjoy it! As to health or sickness, you have learned already their true value, and know well that the former is no blessing, unless it be sanctified, and that the latter is one of the greatest we can receive, when we are enabled to make a proper use of it.
* Private Correspondence.
There is nothing in my story that can possibly be worth your knowledge; yet, lest I should seem to treat you with a reserve which at your hands I have not experienced, such as it is, I will relate it.I was bred to the law; a profession to which I was never much inclined, and in which I engaged rather because I was desirous to gratify a most indulgent father, than because I had any hope of success in it myself. I spent twelve years in the Temple, where I made no progress in that science, to cultivate which I was sent thither. During this time my father died; not long after him died my mother-in-law :
and at the expiration of it, a melancholy seized me, which obliged me to quit London, and consequently to renounce the bar. I lived some time at St. Alban's. After having suffered in that place long and extreme affliction, the storm was suddenly dispelled, and the same day-spring from on high which has arisen upon you, arose on me also. I spent eight years in the enjoyment of it; and have, ever since the expiration of those eight years, been oc
casionally the prey of the same melancholy as at first. In the depths of it I wrote “ The Task,” and the volume which preceded it; and in the same deeps I am now translating Homer. But to return to St. Alban's. I abode there a year and half. Thence I went to Cambridge, where I spent a sho time with my brother, in whose neighbourhood I determined, if possible, to pass the remainder of my days. He soon found a lodging for me at Huntingdon. At that place I had not resided long, when I was led to an intimate connexion with a family of the name of Unwin. I soon quitted my lodging, and took up my abode with them. I had not lived long under their roof, when Mr. Unwin, as he was riding one Sunday morning to his cure at Gravely, was thrown from his horse; of which fall he died. Mrs. Unwin, having the same views of the gospel as myself, and being desirous of attending a purer ministration of it than was to be found at Huntingdon, removed to Olney, where Mr. Newton was at that time the preacher, and I with her. There we continued till Mr. Newton, whose family was the only one in the place with which we could have a connexion, and with whom we lived always on the most intimate terms, left it. After his departure, finding the situation no longer desirable, and our house threatening to fall upon our heads, we removed hither. Here we have a good house in a most beautiful village, and, for the greatest part of the year, a most agreeable neighbourhood. Like you, madam, I stay much at home, and have not