that you mould do with my letters juft as you
pleafed, and anfwer them at your leifure; and that
is as foon as I fhall think you ought. I have fo true
a tafte of the fubftantial part of your friendfhip, that
I wave all ceremonials ; and I am fure to make you
as many vifits as I can, and leave you to return
them whenever you pleafe, afluring you they (hall
at all times be heartily welcome to me.
The many alarms we have from your parts, have
no effed upon the genius that reigns in our country,
which is happily turned to preferve peace and quiet
among us. What a difmal fcene has there been
opened in the North ! what ruin have thofe unfor-
tunate rafli gentlemen drawn upon themfelves and their
miferable followers, and perchance upon many others
too, who upon no account would be their followers?
However, it may look ungenerous to reproach peo-
ple in diftrefs. I don't remember you and I ever
ufed to trouble ourfelves about politics, but when
any matter happened to fall into our difcourfe, we
ufed to condemn all undertakings that tended to-
wards the difturbing the peace and quiet of our
io LETTERS TO AND
Country, as contrary to the notions we had of
morality and religion, which oblige us on no pre-
tence whatfoever to violate the laws of charity.
How many lives have there been loft in hot blood,
and how many more are there like to be taken off
in cold ? If the broils of the nation affect you,
come down to me, and though we are farmers,
you know Eumeus made his friends welcome. You
mall here worfhip the Echo at your eafe ; indeed
we are forced to do fo, becaufe we can't hear the
firft report, and therefore are obliged to liften to the
fecond ; which, for fecurity fake, I do not always
It is a great many years fince I fell in love with
the character of Pomponius Atticus* : I longed to
imitate him a little, and have contrived hitherto to
be, like him, engaged in no party, but to be a faith-
ful friend to fome in both : I find myfelf very well
in this way hitherto, and live in a certain peace of
mind by it, which, I am perfuaded, brings a man more
content than all the perquifites of wild ambition.
I with pleafure join with you in wiming, nay I am not
amamed to fay, in praying for the welfare temporal
and eternal of all mankind. How much more affec-
tionately then mall I do fo for you, fince I am in a
moft particular manner, and with all fmcerity,
* Is the character of a man fo cold and indifferent to the ftate
of public affairs, patriae tempore iniquo, as was Atticus, deferring
the praifes beftowed on him ?
FROM EDW. BLOUNT,
Jan. 21, 1715-16.
T KNOW of nothing that will be fo interefting to you
at prefent, as fome circumftances of the laft act of
that eminent comic poet, and our friend, Wycherley.
He had often told me, as I doubt not he did all his
acquaintance, that he would marry as foon as his life
was defpaired of: Accordingly a few days before his
death he underwent the ceremony; and joined to-
gether thofe two facraments which, wife men fay,
mould be the laft we receive ; for, if you obferve,
Matrimony is placed after Extreme unction in our
Catechifm, as a kind of hint of the order of time in
which they are to be taken. The old man then lay
down, fatisfied in the confcience of having by this
one aft paid his juft debts, obliged a woman, who
(he was told) had merit, and mewn an heroic refent-
ment of the ill-ufage of his next heir. Some hun-
dred pounds which he had with the Lady, difcharged
thofe debts ; a jointure of four hundred a year made
her a recompence ; and the nephew he left to com-
fort himfelf as well as he could, with the miferable
remains of a mortgaged eftate. I faw our friend
twice after this was done, lefs peevifh in his ficknefs
than he ufed to be in his health ; neither much afraid
of dying, nor (which in him had been more likely)
much amamed of marrying. The evening before he
12 LETTERS TO AND
expired, he called his young wife to the bedfide, and
earneftly entreated her not to deny him one requeft,
the laft he fhould make. Upon her afifurances of
confenting to itj he told her, " My dear, it is only
" this, that you will never marry an old man again."
I cannot help remarking, that ficknefs, which often
deftroys both wit and wifdom, yet feldom has power
to remove that talent which we call Humour* : Mr.
Wycherley (hewed his, even in this laft compliment :
though I think his requeft a little hard, for why
mould he bar her from doubling her jointure on the
fame eafy terms ?
So trivial as thefe circumftances are, I mould not
be difpleafed myfelf to know fuch trifles, when they
concern or character ife any eminent perfon. The
wifeft and wittieft of men are feldom wifer or wittier
than others in thefe fober moments : At leaft, our
friend ended much in the character he had lived in :
And Horace's rule for a play, may as well be applied
to him as a play-wright,
Servetur ad imum
Quails ab inceptu proceflerit, et fibi conflet.
I am, etc.
* An observation founded on a deep knowledge of human
FROM EDW, BLOUNT, ESQ^ 13
Feb. 10, 1715-16.
T A M juft returned from the country, whither Mr.
Rowe accompanied me, and pafled a week in the
Foreft. I need not tell you how much a man of his
turn * entertained me ; but I mufl acquaint you there
is a vivacity and gaiety of difpofition almoft peculiar
to him, which make it impoffible to part from him.
without that uneafinefs which generally fucceeds all
our pleafures. I have been juft taking a folitary walk
by moon-mine, full of reflections on the tranfitory
nature of all human delights ; and giving my thoughts
a loofe in the contemplation of thofe fatisfactions
which probably we may hereafter tafte in the com-
pany of fcparate fpirits, when we mall range the
* During this vifit, it is faid, that Pope defired him to write a
Tragedy on the Death of Charles the Firft ; which he declined,
on account of the recency of the event, and the ftate of parties in
this country. At the fame time, alfo, Pope recommended to him,
as another good fubjecl for the Drama, the Story of Mary Queen
of Scots ; Which, if I undertake," faid Rowe, " I will by no
means introduce Queen Elizabeth ; for where me appears, all the
Queens and Heroines upon earth will make but a little figure."
He preferred, and I think injudicioufly, his Tragedy of Tamer-
lane to all his pther pieces. As Bajazet was intended to reprefent
Louis XIV. this play was not permitted to be a&ed, during the
latter part of Queen Ann's reign, though conftantly applauded
and called for, till 1710. It is truly mortifying to hear it faid,
that a man of fo gentle, engaging, and tender a difpofition, had
no heart, and no fincerity in his friendfhips ; and that even Ad-
difon held this unfavourable opinion of him.
14 LETTERS TO AND
walks above, and perhaps gaze on this world at as
vaft a diftance as we now do on thofe worlds. The
pleafures we are to enjoy in that converfation muft un-
doubtedly be of a noble kind, and (not unlikely) may
proceed from the difcoveries each mall communicate
to another, of God and of Nature ; for the happinefs
of minds can furely be nothing but knowledge.
The highefl gratification we receive here from
company is Mirth, which at the beft is but a flutter-
ing unquiet motion, that beats about the breaft for a
few moments, and after leaves it void and empty.
Keeping good company, even the beft, is but a lefs
fhameful art of lofmg time. What we here call fci-
cnce and ftudy, are little better : the greater number
of arts to which we apply ourfelves are mere groping
in the dark; and even the fearch of our moft im-
portant concerns in a future being, is but a needlefs,
anxious, and uncertain hafte to be knowing, fooner
than we can, what without all this folicitude we mall
know a little later. We are but curious impertinents
in the cafe of futurity. It is not our bufmefs to be
gueffing what the ftate of fouls mail be, but to be
doing what may make our own ftate happy j we can-
not be knowing, but we can be virtuous.
If this be my notion of a great part of that high
fcience, Divinity, you will be fo civil as to imagine I
lay no mighty ftrefs upon the reft. Even of my
darling poetry I really make no other ufe, than horfes
of the bells that gingle about their ears, (though now
FROM EDW. BLOUNT, ESC^ 15
and then they tofs their heads as if they were proud
of them,) only to jog on, a little more merrily.
Your obfervations on the narrow conceptions of
mankind in the point of Friendfhip, confirm me in
what I was fo fortunate as at my firft knowledge of you
to hope, and fmce fo amply to experience. Let me
take fo much decent pride and dignity upon me, as
to tell you, that but for opinions like thefe which I
difcovered in your mind, I had never made the trial I
have done; which has fucceeded fo much to mine,
and, I believe, not lefs to your fatisfa&ion; for, if I
know you right, your pleafure is greater in obliging
me, than I can feel on my part, till it falls in my
power to oblige you.
Your remark, that the variety of opinions in poll-
tics or religion is often rather a gratification, than an
objection, to people who have fenfe enough to con-
fider the beautiful order of nature in her variations,
makes me think you have not conftrued Joannes Se-
cundus wrong, in the verfe which precedes that which
you quote : Bene nota Fides, as I take it, does no way
fignify the Roman Catholic Religion, though Secun-
dus was of it. I think it was a generous thought,
and one that flowed from an exalted mind, That it
was not improbable but God might be delighted with
the various methods of worfhipping him, which di-
vided the whole world d . I am pretty fure you and I
d This was an opinion taken up by the old Philosophers, as the
laft fupport of Paganifm againfl Chriilianity: And the Miffion-
16 LETTERS TO AND
mould no more make good Inquifitors to the modern
tyrants in faith, than we could have been qualified
for Liftors to Procruftes, when he converted refrac-
tory members with the rack* In a word, I can only
repeat to you what, I think, I have formerly faid ;
that I as little fear God will damn a man who has
Charity, as I hope that any Prieft can fave him with-
I am, etc.
March 20, 1715-16.
T FIND that a real concern is not only a hindrance
to fpeaking, but to writing too : the more time we
give ourfelves to think over one's own or a friend's
unhappinefs, the more unable we grow to exprefs the
grief that proceeds from it. It is as natural to delay
a letter, at fuch a feafon as this, as to retard a melan-
choly vifit to a perfon one cannot relieve. One is
alhamed in that circumflance, to pretend to entertain
aries, to both the Indies, tell us, it is the firft anfwer modern bar-
Marians give to the offer made them of the Gofpel. But Chrif-
tians might fee that the notion is not only Improbable, but impof-
fible to be true, if the redemption of mankind was purchased by
the death of Jefus, which is the gofpel-idea of his Religion. Nor
is there any need of this opinion to difcredit perfecution. For
the iniquity of that practice does not arife from reftrajning what
God permits or delights in, but from ufurping a jurifdi&ion over
conference, which belongs only to his tribunal. W.
FROM EDW. BLOUNT, ESQ^ 17
people with trifling, infignificant affeftations of for-
row on the one hand, or unfeafonable and forced gai-
ties on the other. It is a kind of profanation of things
facred, to treat fo folemn a matter as a generous vo-
luntary fuffering, with compliments, or heroic gallan-
tries. Such a mind as yours has no need of being
fpirited up into honour, or like a weak woman,
praifed into an opinion of its own virtue. It is
enough to do and fuffer what we ought ; and men
mould know, that the noble power of fuffering
bravely is as far above that of enterprizing greatly, as
an unblemifhed confcience and inflexible refolution
are above an accidental flow of fpirits, or a fudden
tide of blood. If the whole religious bufmefs of
mankind be included in refignation to our Maker,
and charity to our fellow-creatures, there are now
fome people who give us as good an opportunity of
practifing the one, as themfelves have given an in-
ftance of the violation of the other. Whoever is
really brave, has always this comfort when he is op-
prefled, that he knows himfelf to be fuperior to thofe
who injure him : for the greateft power on earth can
no fooner do him that injury, but the brave man can
make himfelf greater by forgiving it.
If it were generous to feek for alleviating confola-
tions in a calamity of fo much glory, one might fay,
that to be ruined thus in the grofs, with a whole peo-
ple, is but like periming in the general conflagration,
where nothing we can value is left behind us.
VOL. vin. c Methinks,
i8 LETTERS TO AND
Methinks, the moft heroic thing we are left capable
of doing, is to endeavour to lighten each other's load,
and (opprefled as we are) to fuccour fuch as are yet
more opprefled. If there are too many who cannot
be affifted but by what we cannot give, our money ;
there are yet -others who may be relieved by our
counfeJ, by our countenance, and even by our chear-
fulnefs. The misfortunes of private families, the mif-
underflandings of people whom diftrefles make fufpi-
cious, the coldnefs of relations whom change of reli-
gion may difunite, or the necefiities of half ruined
eftates render unkind to each other; thefe at leaft
may be foftened in fome degree, by a general well-
managed humanity among ourfelves ; if all thofe who
have your principles of belief, had alfo your fenfe
and conduct. But indeed moft of them have given
lamentable proofs of the contrary; and it is to be ap-
prehended that they who want fenfe, are only religious
through weaknefs, and good-natured through fhame.
Thefe are narrow-minded creatures that never deal
in efientials, their faith never looks beyond ceremo-
nials, nor their charity beyond relations. As poor as
I am, I would gladly relieve any diftrefled, confcien-
tious French refugee at this inflant : what muft my
concern then be, when I perceive fo many anxieties
now tearing thofe hearts, which I have defired a place
in, and clouds of melancholy rifing on thofe faces,
which I have long looked upon with affeftion ? I be-
gin already to feel both what fome apprehend, and
FROM EDW. BLOUNT, ESC^ 19
what others are yet too ftupid to apprehend. I grieve
with the old, for fo many additional inconveniences
and chagrins, more than their fmall remain of life
feemed deftined to undergo ; and with the young, for
fo many of thofe gaieties and pleafures (the portion of
youth) which they will by this means be deprived of.
This brings into my mind one or other of thofe I
love beft, and among them the widow and fatherlefs,
late of . As I am certain no people living had an.
earlier and truer fenfe of others misfortunes, or a more
generous refignation as to what mjght be their own,
fo I earneftly wifh that whatever part they mufl bear,
may be rendered as fupportable to them, as it is in the
power of any .friend to make it.
But I know you have prevented me in this thought,
as you always will in any thing that is good, or ge-
nerous: I find by a letter of your Lady's (which
I have feen) that their eafe and tranquillity is part
of your care. I believe there is fome fatality in it,
that you mould always, from time to time, be doing
thofe particular things that make me enamoured of
I write this from Windfor-Foreft, of which I am
come to take my laft look. We here bid our neigh-
bours adieu, much as thofe who go to be hanged do
their fellow-prifoners, who are condemned to follow
them a few weeks after. I parted from honeft Mr.
D* with tendernefs ; and from old Sir William Trum-
bull as from a venerable prophet, foretelling with
c 2 lifted
20 LETTERS TO AND
lifted hands the miferies to come, from which he is
juft going to be removed himfelf.
Perhaps, now I have learnt fo far as
Nos dulcia linquimus arva,
my next leflbn may be
Nos Patriam fugimus.
Let that, and all elfe be as Heaven pleafes ! 1 have pro-
vided juft enough to keep me a man of honour. I
believe you and I mail never be amamed of each
other. I know I wifh my Country well, and, if it un-
does me, it mail not make me wilh it otherwife.
FROM MR. BLOUNT.
March 24, 1715-16.
letters give me a gleam of fatisfa&ion, in the
midft of a very dark and cloudy fituation of
thoughts, which it would be more than human to be
exempt from at this time, when our homes muft either
be left, or be made too narrow for us to turn in. Poe-
tically fpeaking, I mould lament the lofs Windfor-
Foreft and you fuftain of each other, but that me-
thinks, one can't fay you are parted, becaufe you
will live by and in one another, while verfe is verfe.
This confideration hardens me in my opinion rather
to congratulate you, fmce you have the pleafure of
FROM EDW. BLOUNT, ESC^ 21
the profpect whenever you take it from your fhelf,
and at the fame time the folid cam you fold it for, of
which Virgil in his exile knew nothing in thofe days,
and which will make every place eafy to you. I for
my part am not fo happy ; my parva rura are fatt-
ened to me, fo that I can't exchange them, as you
have, for more portable means of fubfiftence; and
yet I hope to gather enough to make the Patriamfu'
gimus fupportable to me ; it is what I am refolved on,
with my Penates. If therefore you afk me, to whom
you mall complain? I will exhort you to leave lazi-
nefs and the elms of St. James's Park, and choofe to
join the other two propofals in one, fafety and friend-
fhip, (the leaft of which is a good motive for moft
things, as the other is for almofl every thing,) and go
with me where war will not reach us, nor paultry
conftables fummon us to veftries.
The future epiftle you flatter me with, will find me
ftill here, and I think I may be here a month longer.
Whenever I go from hence, one of the few reafons to
make me regret my home will be, that I mail not
have the pleafure of faying to you,
Hie tamen hanc mecum poteris requiefcere no&em,
which would have rendered this place more agreeable
than ever elfe it could be to me ; for I proteft, it is
with the utmoft fincerity that I alfure you, I am en-
22 LETTERS TO AND
June 22, 1717.
TF a regard both to public and private affairs may
plead a lawful excufe in behalf of a negligent cor-
refpondent, I have really a very good title to it. I
cannot fay whether it is a felicity or unhappinefs, that
I am obliged at this time to give my whole applica-
tion to Homer j when without that employment, my
thoughts muft turn upon what is lefs agreeable, the
violence, madnefs, and refentment of modern War-
makers % which are likely to prove (to fome people
at leaft) more fatal, than the fame qualities in Achil-
les did to his unfortunate countrymen.
Though the change of my fcene of life, from
Windfor-Foreft to the fide of the Thames, be one of
the grand Era's of my days, and may be called a not-
able period in fo inconfiderable a hiftory; yet you can
fcarce imagine any hero paffmg from one ftage of
life to another, with fo much tranquillity, fo eafy a
tranfition, and fo laudable a behaviour. I am be-
come fo truly a citizen of the world (according to
Plato's exprefiion) that I look with equal indifference
on what I have left, and on what I have gained. The
times and amufements pafl are not more like a dream
to me, than thofe which are prefent: I lie in a rer
frefhing kind of inaction, and have one comfort at
This was written in the year of the affair at Prefton. P.
FROM EDW. BLOUNT, ESQ^ 23
leaft from obfcurity, that the darknefs helps me to
fleep the better. I now and then reflect upon the
enjoyment of my friends, whom, I fancy, I remember
much as feparate fpirits do us, at tender Intervals,
neither interrupting their own employments, nor al-
together carelefs of ours, but in general conflantly
wifhing us well, and hoping to have us one day in
To grow indifferent to the world is to grow philo-
fophical, or religious (which foever of thofe turns we
chance to take) ; and indeed the world is fuch a thing,
as one that thinks pretty much, muft either laugh at,
or be angry with: but if we laugh at it, they fay we
are proud; and if we are angry with it, they fay we
are ill-natured. So the moft politic way is to feem
always better pleafed than one can be, greater ad-
mirers, greater lovers, and in fhort, greater fools,
than we really are: fo mail we live comfortably with
our families, quietly with our neighbours, favoured
by our mafters, and happy with our miftrefies. I
have filled my paper, and fo adieu.
24 LETTERS TO AND
Sept. 8, 1717.
T THINK your leaving England was like a good
man's leaving the world, with the blefled con-
fcience of having acted well in it ; and I hope you
have received your reward, in being happy where
you are. I believe in the religious country you in-
habit, you will be better pleafed to find I confider
you in this light, than if I compared you to thofe
Greeks and Romans, whofe conftancy in fuffering
pain, and whofe refolution in purfuit of a generous
end, you would rather imitate than boaft of.
But I had a melancholy hint the other day, as if
you were yet a martyr to the fatigue your virtue
made you undergo on this fide the water. I beg, if
your health be reftored to you, not to deny me the joy
of knowing it. Your endeavours of fervice and good
advice to the poor Papifts, put me in mind of Noah's
preaching forty years to thofe folks that were to be
drowned at laft. At the word I heartily wifh your
Ark may find an Ararat, and the wife and family
(the hopes of the good patriarch) land fafely after the
deluge upon the more of Totnefs.
If I durft mix prophane with facred hiflory, I would
cheer you with the old tale of Brutus the wandering
Trojan, who found on that very coaft the happy end
of his peregrinations and adventures.
FROM EDW. BLOUNT, ESQ^ 25
I have very lately read Jeffery of Monmouth, (to
whom your Cornwall is not a little beholden,) in the
tranflation of a clergyman in my neighbourhood.
The poor man* is highly concerned to vindicate
Jeffery's veracity as an hiftorian ; and told me he
was perfectly aftonifhed, we of the Roman com-
munion could doubt of the legends of his Giants,
while we believe thofe of our Saints. I am forced to
make a fair compofition with him ; and, by crediting
fome of the wonders of Corinaeus and Gogmagog,
have brought him fo far already, that he fpeaks re-
fpeclfully of St. Chriftopher's carrying Chrift, and
the refufcitation of St. Nicholas Tolentine's chicken.
Thus we proceed apace in converting each other from
all manner of infidelity.
Ajax and Heftor are no more to be compared to
Corinaeus and Arthur, than the Guelphs and Ghibel-
lines are to the Mohocks of ever-dreadful memory.
This amazing writer has made me lay afide Homer
for a week, and when I take him up again, I fliall be
* Pope gave to this clergyman the following lines, being a
tranflation of a prayer of Brutus, which ought to be preserved :
Goddefs of woods, tremendous in the chace,
To mountain wolves and all the favage race,
Wide o'er th' aerial vault extend thy fway,
And o'er th' infernal regions void of day.
On thy third reign look down ; difclofe our fate,
In what new ftation mall we fix our feat ?
When mail we next thy hallow'd altars raife,
And choirs of virgins celebrate thy praife ?
2 6 LETTERS TO AND
very well prepared to tranflate, with belief and reve-
rence, the fpeech of Achilles's Horfe.
You will excufe all this trifling, or any thing elfe
which prevents a meet full of compliment : And be-
lieve there is nothing more true (even more true than
any thing in Jeffery is falfe) than that I have a con-
ftant affection for you, and am, etc.
P. S. I know you will take part in rejoicing for
the vi&ory of Prince Eugene over the Turks*, in the
zeal you bear to the Chriftian intereft, though your
Coufm of Oxford (with whom I dined yefterday)
fays, there is no other difference in the Chriftians
beating the Turks, or the Turks beating the Chrift-
ians, than whether the Emperor mail firft declare
war againft Spain, or Spain declare it againft the
Nov. 27, 1717.
*Tp H E queftion you propofed to me is what at pre-