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moral philosophy. Certainly I am not lazy; elaborate quartos have proved, and will abundantly prove my diligence. I can write : spare my modesty on that subject. I like to converse with my friends by pen and tongue, and as soon as I can set myself agoing, I know no moments that run off more pleasantly. I am so well convinced of that truth, and so much ashamed of forcing people that I love to forget me, that I have now resolved to set apart the first hour of each day for the discharge of my obligations ; beginning comme de raison, with yourself, and regularly proceeding to Lord Loughborough and the rest. May Heaven give me strength and grace to accomplish this laudable intention! Amen.Certainly (yet I do not know whether it be so certain) I should write much oftener to you if you were not linked in business, and if my business had not always been of the unpleasant and mortifying kind. Even now I shove the ugly monster to the end of this epistle, and will confine him to a page by himself, that he may not infect the purer air of our correspondence. Of my situation here I have little new to say, except a very comfortable and singular truth, that my passion for my wife or mistress (Fanny Lausanne) is not palled by satiety and possession of two years: I have seen her in all seasons, and in all humours, and though she is not without faults, they are infinitely overbalanced by her good quali. ties. Her face is not handsome, but her person, and every thing about her, has admirable grace and beauty: she is of a very cheerful, sociable temper; without much learning, she is endowed with taste and good sense ; and though not rich, the simplicity of her education makes her a very good economist; she is forbid by her parents to wear any expensive finery; and though her limbs are not much calculated for walking, she has not yet asked me to keep her a coach. Last spring (not to wear the metaphor to rags) I saw Lau. sanne in a new light during my long fit of the gout, and must boldly declare, that either in health or sickness I find it far more comfortable than your huge metropolis. In London my confinement was sad and solitary; the many forgot my existence when they saw me no longer at Brookes's; and the few, who sometimes cast an eye or a thought on their friend, were detained by business or pleasure, the distance of the way, or the hours of the House of Commons, and I was proud and happy if I could prevail on Elmsley to enliven the dulness of the evening. Here the objects are nearer, and much more distinct, and I myself am an object of much larger magnitude. People are not kinder, but they are more idle, and it must be confessed that, of all nations on the globe, the English are the least attentive to the old and infirm; I do not mean in acts of charity, but in the offices of civil life. During three months I have had round my chair a succession of agreeable men and women, who came with a smile, and vanished with a nod; and as soon as it was agreeable I had a constant party at cards, which was sometimes dismissed to their respective homes, and sometimes detained by Deyverdun to supper, without the least trouble or inconvenience to myself. In a word, my plan has most completely answered ; and I solemnly protest, after two years trial, that I have never in a single moment repented of my transmigration. The only disagreeable circumstance is the increase of a race of animals with which this country has been long infested, and who are said to come from an island in the Northern Ocean. I am told, but it seems incredible, that upwards of forty thousand English, masters and servants, are now absent on the continent; and I am sure we have our full proportion, both in town and country, from the month of June to that of October. The occupations of the closet, indifferent health, want of horses, in some measure plead my excuse; yet I do too much to please myself, and probably too little to satisfy my countrymen.What is still more unlucky is, that a part of the colony of this present year are really good company, people one knows, &c. the Astons, Hales, Hampdens, Trevors, Lady Clarges and Miss Carter, Lord Northington, &c. I ha seen Trevor several times, who talks of you, and seems to be a more exact correspondent than myself. His wife is much improved by her diplomatic life, and shines in every company as a woman of fashion and elegance. But those who have repaid me for the rest were Lord and Lady Spencer. I saw them almost every day, at my house or their own, during their stay of a month ; for they were hastening to Italy, that they might return to Lon. don next February. He is a valuable man, and where he is familiar, a pleasant companion ; she a charming woman, who, with sense and spirit, has
the simplicity and playfulness of a child. You are not ignorant of her talents, of which she has left me an agreeable specimen, a drawing of the Historic Muse, sitting in a thoughtful posture to compose. So much of Self and Co.: let us now talk a little of your house and your two countries, Does my lady ever join in the abuse which I have merited from you? Is she satisfied with her own behaviour, her unpardonable silence, to one of the prettiest, most obliging, most entertaining, most, &c. epistles that ever was penned since the epistles of ******? Will she not mew one word of reply? I want some account of her spirits, health, amusements, of the elegant accomplishments of Maria, and the opening graces of Louisa; of yourself I wish to have some of those details which she is most likely to transmit. Are you patient in your exclusion from the house? Are you satisfied with legislating with your pen? Do you pass the whole winter in town? Have you resumed the pursuits of farming, &c. ? What new connexions, public or private, have you formed ? A tour to the continent would be the best medicine for the shattered nerves of a soldier and politician. By this expression you will perceive that your letter to Deyverdun is received; it landed last post, after I had already written the two first pages of this composition. On the whole, my friend was pleased and flattered ; but instead of surrendering, or capitulating, he seems to be making preparations for an obstinate defence. He already talks of the right of possession *, of the duties of
* This alludes to a portrait of Mr. Gibbon, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
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a good citizen, of a writ ne exeat regnum, and of a vote of the Two Hundred, that whoever shall, directly or indirectly, &c. is an enemy to his country. Between you be the strife, while I sit with my scales in my hand, like Jupiter on Mount Ida. I begin to view with the same indifference the combat of Achilles Pitt and Hector Fox; for such, as it should now seem, must be the comparison of the two warriors. At this distance I am much less angry with bills, taxes, and propositions than I am pleased with Pitt for making a friend and a deserving man happy, for releasing Batt from the shackles of the law, and for enhancing the gift of a secure and honourable competency, by the handsome manner in which it was conferred. This I understand to be the case, from the unsuspicious evidence of Lord Northington and Chief Baron Skinner; and if I can find time (resolution) I will send him a hearty congratulation; if I fail, you may at least communicate my intentions. Of Ireland I know nothing, and while I am writing the Decline of a great Empire, I have not leisure to attend to the affairs of a remote and petty pro. vince. I see that your friend Foster has been hooted by the mob, and unanimously chosen Speaker of the House of Commons. How could Pitt expose himself to the disgrace of withdraw. ing his propositions after a public attempt ? Have ministers no way of computing beforehand the sense or nonsense of an Irish Parliament? I am quite in the dark; your pamphlet, or book, would probably have opened my eyes; but, whatever may have been the reason, I give you my word of