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liberty to hope that by this time Mrs. Newton's recovery is complete. Sally's looks do credit to the air of Hoxton. She seems to have lost nothing, either in complexion or dimensions, by her removal hence; and, which is still more to the credit of
your great town, she seems in spiritual things also to be the very same Sally whom we knew once at Olney. Situation therefore is nothing. They who have the means of
and an art to use them, will thrive anywhere; others nowhere. More than a few, who were formerly ornaments of this garden which you once watered, here flourished, and here have seemed to wither. Others, transplanted into a soil apparently less favourable to their growth, either find the exchange an advantage, or at least are not impaired by it. Of myself, who had once both leaves and fruit, but who have now neither, I
nothing, or only this,—that when I am overwhelmed with despair I repine at my barrenness, and think it hard to be thus blighted; but when a glimpse of hope breaks in upon me, I am contented to be the sapless thing I am, knowing that He who has commanded me to wither can command me to flourish again when He pleases. My experiences however of this latter kind are rare and transient. The light that reaches me cannot be compared either to that of the sun or of the moon.
It is a flash in a dark night, during which the heavens seem opened only to shut again.
We inquired, but could not learn, that any thing memorable passed in the last moments of poor Nathan. I listened in expectation that he would at least acknowledge what all who knew him in his
more lively days had so long seen and lamented, his neglect of the best things, and his eager pursuit of riches. But he was totally silent upon that subject. Yet it was evident that the cares of this world had choked in him much of the good seed, and that he was no longer the Nathan whom we have so often heard at the old house, rich in spirit, though poor in expression : whose desires were unutterable in every sense, both because they were too big for language, and because Nathan had no language for them. I believe with you however that he is safe at home. He had a weak head and strong passions, which He who made him well knew, and for which He would undoubtedly make great allowance. The forgiveness of God is large and absolute; so large, that though in general He calls for confession of our sins, He sometimes dispenses with that preliminary, and will not suffer even the delinquent himself to mention his transgression. He has so forgiven it, that He seems to have forgotten it too, and will have the sinner to forget it also. Such instances perhaps may not be common, but I know that there have been such, and it might be so with Nathan.
I know not what Johnson is about, neither do I now inquire. It will be a month to-morrow since I returned him the last proot. He might, I suppose, have published by this time without hurrying himself into a fever, or breaking his neck through the violence of his dispatch. But having never seen the book advertised, I conclude that he has not. Had the Parliament risen at the usual time, he would have been just too late, and though it sits longer than
usual, or is likely to do so, I should not wonder if he were too late at last. Dr. Johnson laughs at Savage for charging the still-birth of a poem of his upon the bookseller's delay; yet, when Dr. Johnson had a poem of his own to publish, no man ever discovered more anxiety to meet the niarket. But I have taken thought about it till I am grown weary of the subject, and at last have placed myself much at my ease upon the cushion of this one resolution, that, if ever I have dealings hereafter with my present manager, we will proceed upon other terms.
Mr. Wright called here last Sunday, by whom Lord Dartmouth made obliging inquiries after the volume, and was pleased to say that he was impatient to see it. I told him that I had ordered a copy to his lordship, which I hoped he would receive, if not soon, at least before he should retire into the country. I have also ordered one to Mr. Barham.
We suffer in this country very much by drought. The corn, I believe, is in most places thin, and the hay harvest amounts in some to not more than the fifth of a crop. Heavy taxes, excessive levies for the poor,' and lean acres, have brought our farmers almost to their wits' end ; and many who are not farmers are not very remote from the same point of despondency. I do not despond, because I was never much addicted to anxious thoughts about the future in respect of temporals. But I feel myself a little angry with a minister who, when he imposed a tax upon gloves, was not ashamed to call them a luxury. Caps and boots lined with fur are not accounted a luxury in Russia, neither can gloves be
reasonably deemed such in a climate sometimes hardly less severe than that. Nature indeed is content with little, and luxury seems, in some respect, rather relative than of any fixed construction. Accordingly it may become in time a luxury for an Englishman to wear breeches, because it is possible to exist without them, and because persons of a moderate income may find them too expensive. I hope however to be hid in the dust before that day shall come; for, having worn them so many years, if they be indeed a luxury, they are such a one as I could very ill spare; yet spare them I must, if I cannot afford to wear them.
We are tolerably well in health, and as to spirits, much as usual-seldom better, sometimes worse. Yours, my dear friend, affectionately,
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. *
Olney, July 9, 1785. My dear Friend – You wrong your own judgment when you represent it as not to be trusted; and mine, if you suppose that I have that opinion of it. Had you disapproved, I should have been hurt and mortified. No man's disapprobation would have hurt me more. Your favourable sentiments of my book must consequently give me pleasure in the same proportion. By the post, last Sunday, I had a letter from Lord Dartmouth, in which he thanked me for my volume, of which he had read only a part. Of that part however he expresses himself in terms with which my authorship has abundant cause to be satisfied; and adds that the specimen has made him impatient for the whole. I have likewise received a letter from a judicious friend of mine in London, and a man of fine taste, unknown to you, who speaks of it in the same language. Fortified by these cordials, I feel myself qualified to face the world without much anxiety, and delivered in a great measure from those fears which I suppose all men feel
* Private Correspondence.
the like occasion. My first volume I sent, as you may remember, to the Lord Chancellor, accompanied by a friendly but respectful epistle. His Lordship however thought it not worth his while to return me any answer, or to take the least notice of my present. I sent it also to Colman, with whom I once was intimate. He likewise proved too great a man to recollect me; and, though he has published since, did not account it necessary to return the compliment.
I have allowed myself to be a little pleased with an opportunity to show them that I resent their treatment of me, and have sent this book to neither of them. They indeed are the former friends to whom I particularly allude in my epistle to Mr. Hill; and it is possible that they may take to themselves a censure that they so well deserve. If not, it matters not; for I shall never have any communication with them hereafter.
If Mr. Bates has found it difficult to furnish you with a motto to your volumes, I have no reason to