Samuel Richardson.

The correspondence of Samuel Richardson ... selected from the original manuscripts, bequeathed by him to his family, to which are prefixed, a biographical account of that author, and observations on his writings online

. (page 5 of 14)
Online LibrarySamuel RichardsonThe correspondence of Samuel Richardson ... selected from the original manuscripts, bequeathed by him to his family, to which are prefixed, a biographical account of that author, and observations on his writings → online text (page 5 of 14)
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humble Servant,

S% RlCHARI>€a>r»

F 4 OOltRfi*-

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The Rev, M6. PECKARB



CSrVE me leave to address you in this fa-
lailiac, yet . sincere, manner, for every good
man is really dear tame, though I am not
fio happy as to enjoy a personal acquaintance
with Jiim.. In the eastern world,, many an
age since, it was a maxim, that none ^ were
g^eat but those who were good: pre-rcmi*
p. 5> nence

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nence in social virtues gave the pre-eminence
in civil society : and as an acknowledgment
of superior goodness, as well as a mark of
gratitude for such a public blessing to so-
ciety, none were permitted to approach the
great, without some little token of sub-
mission ; no matter what it was, the most
insignificant trifle might perfectly express
humility and gratitude of mind. In imita-
tion of this custom, laudable in its institu-
tion, and founded on the best reasons
(though much abused and corrupted in suc-
ceeding times) : as an acknowledgment of
your superior character, as a testimony of
gratitude for your kind civilities ta my
better part, and as an introduction of my-
self to an acquaintance which I have long
desired, and shall always esteem, I take
the liberty of coming to you with a trifling
present in my hand.

The loose sheets which you receive by

this post, I had thrown together some time

since without any design of publishing

1 them;

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t^em ; but when I shewed them to my
friend. Dr. Law, he insisted that L should'
print them, being of opinion that they
might possibly be of some little service*

I fancy you may make this a twelvepenny
affair. If it brings any profit, it is heartily
your's, and I hope it will at least defray the
expence of printing. But however, if it
should not^ that I may not lead you into an
inconvenience when I intend the contrary, .
the deficiency I will take upon myself*

My good woman desires her love and best'
respects to yourself andall your family, and
we are both very sincerely and affectionately^



* A Dias^rfatioD rebitive to tte laie Earthquake, .

F. 6^ TO

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108 irit. BICHAfil^SOlT'


Lbndent ^eb.^6y 1756. ,

1 Ought, before now> to hare ackhow*-
ledged the receipt of your favour crf'tKe
fifth, with the Dissertation thiat accompa^
nied it. Shalf I. say that I was sometime^
at a loss in what manner to acknowledge
the many kind things your good- nature
and partiality obliged you to say in favour/
of my writings.

Though I am convinced of the necessify^
of publishing soon the Dissertation^ yet I
am but now able to put it into hand^ by
reason of the hurry I mentioned, occasioned
by some business that is to be brought
before the Parliament. Shall I presume ta
offer to your re-consideration, those passages
in the Dissertation, in which Lord BoKng-


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Broke and Mr. Hume , are mentioned (t
Kumbly think) with too great harshness of.
expression, not foF their sakes, but for your
own. I think thenv: very mischievous
writers* I despise the one, for his absur*-
dities and' contradictions of himself/ a6 weH «
as for his presumption and evil intentions 5
and very mudi dislike the other, for his
attempts to sap the foundations of ow
common Christianity : but, sbouM the one
be referred, by a pious and- Christian divine,
to the suicide he so profligately vindicates ?
the other be called, what yet he is, an ira^
pudentJiar ? and this in passages that make
(not necessarily) parts of your principal:
subjects ? Caa you forgive me> Sir ? I hope
you can*. Your name being to be fixed to
tho piecCj gives me courage to represent
this to you^ for.your re-consideration^

If the piece succeeds^ as to sale> you must
allow me to alter the terms yoa propose to
me, and you. shall have, a faithful account
from the publisher of it>

I think it a very great felicity that I hav^

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been favoured with the sight, and (more^
than once in the short time of her being
m town) with the conversation of a lady,
whose genius and general character I very
jnubh admired before, 1 congratulate you
both, kindred, spirits (as you always were)
on your happy union.* May all the blessings^
of this life, preparatory to the joys of the*
next, be your's I'

My wife, my daughters, joih with me in^
best respects to her. Who (they ask) that
is possessed of such a jewel, can wish for
greater happiness ? Not having the plea-
sure of knowing Mr. Peckard, they judge
of bis merits by her choice ; and are pre-
pared by that to think highly of you. If
any call bring you and your lady to town,-
we shall all hope to cultivate an acquaintf
ance, so happily begun*

I am. Sir, your affectionate
and faitbful, humble Servant,


* Mrs, Peckard's maiden name was Ferrer. She
wrote several elegant little poems.

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C 1" I

rra MR, RJCHABtl>SaK.

Huntingdon^ Feb. 19, I75t>..


1 Am very nmcfir obliged to you for the
fevour of your letter, which I received yes-
terday, and particularly for the observations
which you make upon those passages which
you dislike in the Dissertation. I am en-
tirely of your opinion, for the reasons you
give ; and if I were not, I should not hesi-
tate a moment to give up my own opinion to
your's. For, in general, I can plainly see
in other men, that none are so bad judges
of their productions as they themselves are ;
and I am sure I know no reason why I
should be an exception to this general ob-
servation, I therefore beg of you to strike
out whatever you dislike, and to make what-

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ever alta^tions j^u think necessary. I do
assure you I shall be perfectly satisfied with
any thing you will either put out or put in«

You have given my good woman a great,
triumph over me, by showing me that your
opinion and her*s is the same When I re-
commend to Mr. Hume to hang himself, I:
am only in jest ; but irony is no better than:
inconsistency in a serious performance, and, .
therefore, for that reason, if there was no
other, it would be better left out;

My Patty joins with me in sincerest re-
spects to all your family ; whenever we come
to town> the pleasure of seeing, yoa and
them. will be a principal inducement. In
the mean time, we are very faithfully and

Your% &c.

E. BbcKAKI);.-


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CjrIVE me leave to interrupt you a moment^
to inform you, that I have ready for the
press a small tract, to be intitled, *^ A Pre-
paratory Essay on the Intermediate State be
tween Death and Resurrection," or some-
thing to that purpose. I hope to send it to
you in a few days, if my present engage*-
ments will allow me an hour to look it ovei^
and correct some of its faults. In all human
probability it will be the beginning of a
theological controversy^ in which I shall pre#-
tend to nothing more than the humble of*
fice of opening the door to introduce the
combatants. It will enforce the examination
of some points which have been perhaps too


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1 14 REV. MR. PBCKARD^ &e.

hastily taken for granted ; and, I hope, may
contribute something to the removal of ma-
ny heavy difficulties from Christianity, which-
have been arbitrarily tacked to it as essentials^
and with which it has nothing to do. The
-consequences of publishing this Essay will
not to myself be of the lucrative kind ; but
if I can discharge my duty, and satisfy my
conscience, I am pretty easy as to the ad*
vantages of this world.

Our friend. Miss Pennington, arrived at
Huntingdon last Monday safe, but not well.
I and my good woman are retired to a little
cottage in the woodlands, and the roads at
present are so bad that the female friends
have not been able to speak otherwise than-
by letters ; and I have had but one oppoiv
tunity of seeing Miss Pennington, and that
only for a quarter of an hour.

Adieu ! dear Sir, I am, with sincerest

wishes for your health and happiness, afiec^



P. Peckabd.

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Hitching Dec. 20 175S.

J- Don't know that I have for some lime
met with any thing (not immediately relating
to myself) that has more raised my indigna-
tion, than the account I have seen of Sir
Charles Grandison's being anticipated in
Ireland during the 'time you were preparing it
for the press.

I had

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I had the other, day an opportunity of'
venting some part of my spleen against the^
perpetrators of it, in a. letter to a worthy,
lady, who honours me with her correspon*
denee, and who is a^ great favourite at the
court of Dublin, Lady Lambard by name ; .
who^ I dare say, will soon give me the plea-*'
sure of knowing, that her righteous soul has
in all companies most fervently expatiated on^
ft is Irish piece of iniquity. This, Sir, I did,^
not in the hopes observing 3^u, which I am^^
as incapable of^ as F am of claiming any sort^
of title to your friendship or acquaintance..
To admire your talents is sufEcient honour-
to me> as I thereby manifest some degree of
taste ; the want of which I have seen occar
sion sometimes to pity in several of far greater
pretensions to learning than myself.

I once took the liberty of paying my per-
sonal compliments to you at your own house,
though in a very aukward manner, I am sure,-^
fbr want of a third person to introduce m^-
and apologize for my intrusion. .


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The unaffectedly easy and agreeable re-
Mception you gave me, I well remember en-
"Couraged my taking up more of your time,
than I ought. My whole curiosity and in-
tention then was to obtain a sight of the ex-
ternal form of a person, whose inward quali-
ties had afforded me so much entertainment,
andto do myself the pleasure of making him
a low bow in testimony of my gratitude and
veneration. As your candour, Sir, induced
you to forgive the impertinence of that un-
usual freedom of address from an entire
stranger (whereas you might have taken r^e
up on suspicion of being a rapparee) to the
same disposition to judge favourably of all
men you don't know to be rascals will I
venture to trust, for your vouchsafing this
very unwarrantable interruption of your pre-
cious moments the like favourable construc-

I am a little obscure man, wholly unknown
to the literary worlds a country vicar, who,
for these twenty-three years past, has been


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"eniployed in honest endeavours to make his
small talents useful, in the awful province of
^ large cure of souls, with a cheerfulness and
satisfaction, which a consciousness of a due
attention to the duties of his function (how
imperfectly soever executed) naturally in-

By this portrait of myself, I mean only
to intimate, that I am a person of station and
abilities too low to call for any share of your
time or notice, beyond what shall be suffi*
cient to assure me of your pardon and in-
dulgence ; but at the same time, of a temper
of soul incapable of any motive of writing to
one I have no sort of connection with, more
than what is common to fellow- christians in
general, but that of my ardent desire to ex-
press the highest esteem for an author so able
and disposed to promote virtue and religion,
^ Mr, Richardson appears to me to be, by
his inimitable productions : I mean his
Clarissa in particular : from whence it is I
have chieHy formed my judgment of the


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great genius in Salisbury Court. For I must
frankly own to you. Sir, that ray engage-
ments in die business of my profession, and
the care of some domestic pupils, have not
yet permitted me to see or know any thing of
your last work, excepting what I should have
•been glad there had been no occasion for my
knowing, viz. of its premature progress on
the other side of the water.

If you shall be graciously pleased to grant
an act of oblivion to the weakness and pre-
sumption of this application from a stranger,
you will thereby confirm me in the opinion I
already have of your humane and candid
spirit, and lay a particular obligation on.

Sir, jour truly respectful,

and most humble Servant,

Mark Hildesley.


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Hitchin, July 1 1, 1754.

XhOIFGH I oHce took the liberty of in*
trading a letter upon Mr. Hichardson^ on
occasion of the iniquitous treatment his ex-
cellent labours had undergone in Ireland,
and for which I was favoured with his, very
gracious acknowledgment, yet I could by no
means look upon myself either by abilities or
station qualified (notwithstanding his con^
descending invitation) to continue a corres-
pondence with so great a genius. But having
lately received an intimation, that such my
really modest and self-denying forbearance
has made me suffer in his opinion of my
decency and good manners, I her^y in-
treat you. Sir, to exert your candour in ak-
Jowing me to be as incapable of a wilful
slight, as I am of doing justice to your great


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WITH MR. RiCHk&BSOir. 121

'wotlh. But, alas! who or what am I, that
presume to speak of Mr. Richardson or his
productions, which are, and will be, just what
they are, neither better nor worse for all I
can say or think of them i

I begin now to think, perhaps, too late,
that it woiJd have been far better and more
eligible for me, never to have teen known
Qr named to so valuable a person as Mr.
Richardson » than to have hazarded a con->
$tructlon ef the least degree of disrespect to-
ward him,

*' A slight from a good man P' Sir, can a
igood man slight Mr. Richardson ? Let the
alternative light where it ought, whenever he
is slighted,

I have, I assure you, felt so much from
the intelligence I received, of the reproach
you honour me with, that I question whether
I shall ever command confidence enough,
how much soever disposed |)ersondily, to ask
your pardon,
. Further confessions stiH^ in order to dis-

TOL. V. G burthen

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burthen n^coMcieticei must be made; which
will render me more and more an object ci€
jour generosity or contempt. I have been in
town^ since the receipt of your letter^ and did
not^ dared not^ call on you 1 I bad not waited
on l^r Charles ; and could not ^w my face to
Mr.Ricbardsom Even Clarissa, I believe, wa«
in my possession upwards of two years before^
I was experimentally acquainted with her
excellencies* A succeseively dose, uninter'*
iHipted perusal of seven volumes (for I choose
not to mince and piece out such a sort of re-
past^ as a rich mind Kke fOKa\ Sir^ must be
likdy to furnish) a man who works as welf
as prays for faiia daily breads cannot readily
sit down to, with any prospect of enjoyment^
unless he was endowed with the faculty
wbieh I am sure the Vicar of Hitchin is not,
t>f <}ominandiog ^attention and dispatch te«

Whenever I am extremely pleased with^ b

book of any sort, I can steal time to look in-^

to^ I find in myself an almost irresistible pro-

a pensity

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triTR IfA. RlCHAHt>9(nr« I2S

pemltf to acknowledge mf obligation to the
ftuthoTj however personally unknown. An
unpertinence this (in such a one as I am at
least) which^ though with dtfSculty^ I refrain*
ed from being guilty of, upon my first read-
ing Clarissa, at last broke from me, without
thought or foresight of the consequence of a
country parish priest's addressing a celebrated
writer, who might probacy call upon him
to make good his pretensions.

And nowy Sir, being returned to the
point which introduced this, as^ well as my
former epistle, it is high time to release you,
by assuring you, that if I can, from atiy
hand, or by any means, learn any likelihood
of my bdng restored to your favourable
opinion, it will be a singular satisfaction to
me, who (though you should never write or
speak to me more) will be proud of an ad*
mission to the last place in the lowest class
of your friends, and do persist (notwithstand*
ing I have not yet read the History of Sir
Charles Grandison) in dedaring myself an
2 invariable

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invariable admirer of the ingenious and viror-
thy author of Clarissa, and consequentlf

obedient humble Servant,


T. S. The majority of those of our sex,
•whose sentiments I've had an opportunity of
hearing, I perceive give the preference to
Clarissa — of the other to Sir Charles Gran-
dison; whether this be merely reciprocal
complaisance, I cannot say.


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125r J t


London^ J\dy 13, 1754/

VV H AT pain have I given myself in the
pain L have given to a most worthy heart !
Dear and truly reverend Sir, you think toa
humbly of yourself ; too highly of me ! la
what manner has the sincere hearted Dr.
Webster reported my unwillingness to givo
up the hopes I had conceived of an acquain-r
tance with a man of Mr Hildesley's charac^
ter ; a character confirmed to me worthy and-
excellent, from Lady Echlin-and Lady Lam^^
bard, who. both so greatly and justly respect -
you? And still further- confirmed by Dr*
Webster, and worthy Mr. Bennet. Re-»
proach, Sir ! harsh word ! I intended not
the respectfiil sentiments I expressed of you
to my friend, as a reproach ; but as a desire
of p;*e8erving a place in your good opinion \
a>3« andKi

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and a half fear of having, by some means or
other^ if not forfeited, lessened it It was
not, Sir^ * that you ccmdescended to think
highly of the history of Qarissa, or justly of
my design in writing it^ that I was fond of
cultivating your kindly-offered friendship ;
but because it was the ofifered friendship of a
man noted for his goodness, and the indefa<>
tigable pains he takes in the performance of
all his important duties.

It is your province to instruct: youwttit
not to be instructed, were my poor writings
capable of affording useful hints to a good
and welF-disposed mind. My dear 8ir^ ydu
have only somewhat afiected me, in your
forbearance of paying me a personal visits
when you were in town, because you had
not read the History of Sir Charles 6randi«
son. Do not, I beseech you, think me a
vain creature ; a man wanting to be compH*
mented on his writings. All I would have
expected from you, if you had had leisure to
peruse such a voluminous work^ could have


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only been correction/ or to have suggested
to mt onj thing that would have served to
make my best character more useful. But
these should have been at your own motion :
I am not for teazing my friends with my sub-
jects* If they lead into them so spontane-
ously^ as that I may not impute their choice
to good-natured complaisance merely, then
do I convince them^ that I am more desirous
of their correction and improvement, than of
their praise. Dear Sir, do I not write with
Jiopes to improve the younger world ; and
shall I not wish, preferably to all other con-
siderations, to be improved myself^ by the
elder, and by those who, living in a constant
exercise of their first duties, are capable of
improving a man moving in a much narrower
f^)here than they do.

I repeat, that I am grieved for having
grieved you. Dear Sir, forgive me. Let
not your many and great avocations be in the
least interfered with, either by the History
43f Sir Charles Grandison, or its writer. If
G 4 I can

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and by what passed between your worthy
friend, Dr. Young, and me, when we could
have your presence no longer.

What a cheerful-making thing is true \
piety ! I was sure you were a cheerful man ^
before I saw you. The consciousness of a
duty well performed, I have ever since seen
in your every remembered feature and air.
This is more than a compliment. If it
abashes you, take it as a punishment for
the several disqualifying paragraphs in your
last letter..

I made your acknowledgments to Lady
Echlin, as you desired, on her being the
cause of the republication of Mr. Howe*s
Meditations. Thus, in her's to me, of Sep-
tember 27th, she writes in return : " I am
vastly obliged to you. Sir, for naming me
to good Mr. Hildesley, and greatly pleased
and honoured by his mentioning mie in his
letter to you. LadyLambard has not yet
had a visit from her dear Mark 1 longs to
aee, him in Kent/' &c..

G 5 Write

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Write not to roe, dear Sir, but at yoor
full leisure. Let me please mysdf, that I .
have in Mr. Hildesley a friend and miU
wisher, and that I am constandy remem«v
bered in your prayers ; and you will infi-^
nitely oblige^ dear and reverend Sir^

Your's, &c.

S. Richardson.


Lofidon, Feb. 21| 1755.

L Y dear Mr, Hildesley has, at last, gone
through the History of Sir Charles Grand!*
son. I am not a little pleased that he has found
in it something worthy of his approbation.
The kind, the friendly, freedom you are so
good as to treat that History with, when you


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gready prefer that of Clarissa to it^ is an in*
stance of your sincerity! that makes me the
mofe depend upon the praise you give to
aome of its parts. I bdieve most men who
have written a great deal at different parts
of life, and are advanced in years^ suspect*
ing a failure of their faculties^ are apt fondly
to wish that their last pdblished work shall
be found equal to those written in the vigor
of life. Many there are v(^o have contri^^*
buted to this fondness in me ; but^ for my
p^rt, I submit my own opinion of what I
have written to the judgment of my readers,
as I ought ; glad^ upon the whole, that they
approve of my design and main end in
writing the respective pieces ; and, looking
upon myself as the common father of the
tbree children^ delighted that one prefers
te e Ider, another the ybunger, as they are
atriKsk with their different features and com*

You wish that I had touched up6n the

fadnous sin of suicide. I have avoided in

o 6 one

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one history what I have endeavoured strongly
to enforce in the others. In Pamela, when
despairing of escspc or snccour^ she was
tempted to destroy herself, I have made her
subdue herself by reasonings that perhaps
will be found cogent;; and Ae pen^knife
scene in Clarissa, afid her resignation
throughout her deep distresses, leave little to
be said in this last piece on the subject. In
a collection of the sentiments contained ii>
ieach of the three histories (now soon to be
published in one pocket volume) it wilf be
seen that there are not many of the mate»
rial articles- that may beoTuse for the con-
duct of Kfe and manners unattended to in
one or other of them ; so that all together
they complete one plan, the best I was able,
to give.

But whftt thoughts must my <iear Mr.
Hildesley have of me, who had b^ged his
correction, when he adds, after the criticisms
he had fevonred me with, " And'nowj can I
ever think of seeing your face agaifi aft6r


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this freedom ?'* Most heartily do I thank
you for what you call freedom. It is true
friendly kindness^. Ah! Sir, that you had
gfven me Feave to thank you personally for
it, when you visited Dr. Young on Tuesday
morning last at n}y own house, when I was
under ar slight operation, and was ready to
attend you as you left it; Was you really
Ibth to look in the face a supposed tenacious
man, a conceited one too ; who, asking for

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Online LibrarySamuel RichardsonThe correspondence of Samuel Richardson ... selected from the original manuscripts, bequeathed by him to his family, to which are prefixed, a biographical account of that author, and observations on his writings → online text (page 5 of 14)