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to our ears, during the whole visit. The birds however survived it, and so did we. They, perhaps, flatter themselves, they gained a complete victory, but I believe Mr. - could have killed them both in another hour.
To the Revd. JOHN NEWTON.
May 3, 1780.
You indulge me in such a variety of subjects, and allow me such a latitude of excursion in this scribbling, employment, that I have no excuse for silence. I am much obliged to you, for swallowing such boluses, as I send you, for the sake of my gilding, and verily believe, I am the only man alive, from whom they would be welcome, to a palate like yours. I wish I could make them more-splendid, than they are, more alluring to the eye, at least, if not more pleasing to the taste, but my leaf-gold is tarnished, and has received such a tinge from the vapours, that are ever brooding over my mind, that I
think it no small proof of your partiality to me, that you will read my Letters. I am not fond of longwinded metaphors, I have always observed, that they halt at the latter-end of their progress, and so does mine. I deal much in ink indeed, but not such ink as is employed by poets, and writers of essays. : Mine is a harmless fluid, and guilty of no deceptions, but such as may prevail, without the least injury, to the person imposed on. I draw mountains, valleys, woods, and streams, and ducks, and dab-chicks. I admire them myself, and Mrs. Unwin admires them, and her praise, and my praise put together, are fame enough for me. Oh! I could spend whole days, and moon-light nights, in feeding upon a lovely prospect! My eyes drink the rivers as they flow. If every human being upon earth could think for one quarter of an hour, as I have done for many years, there might, perhaps, be many miserable men among them, but not an unwakened one would be found, from the Arctic to the Antartic circle. At present, the difference between them and me, is greatly to their advantage, I delight in baubles, and know them to be so, for rested in, and viewed, without a reference to their author, what is the earth, what are the planets, what is the sun itself, but a
bauble? Better for a man never to have seen them, or to see them with the eyes of a brute, stupid and unconscious of what he beholds, than not to be able to say, “ The maker of all these wonders is my friend !” Their eyes have never been opened, to see that they are trifles, mine have been, and will be 'till they are closed for ever. They think a fine es-, tate, a large conservatory, a hot-house, rich as a West-Indian garden, things of consequence; visit them with pleasure, and muše upon them with ten times more. I am pleased with a frame of four lights, doubtful whether the few pines it contains, will ever be worth a farthing; amuse myself with a greenhouse, which Lord Bute's gardener could take upon his back, and walk away with, and when I have paid it the accustomed visit, and watered it, and given it air, I say to myself " This is not mine, 'tis a “play-thing lent me for the present, I must leave “ it soon."
TO JOSEPH HILL, Esqr
Olney, May 6, 1780. MY DEAR FRIEND,
I am much obliged to you for your speedy answer to my queries. I know less of the law than a country attorney, yet sometimes I think I have almost as much business. My former connexion with the profession has got wind, and though I earnestly profess, and protest, and proclaim it abroad, that I know nothing of the matter, they cannot be persuaded to believe, that a head once endowed with a legal perriwig, can ever be deficient in those natural endowments, it is supposed to cover. I have had the good fortune to be once or twice in the right, 'which added to the cheapness of a gratuitous counsel, has advanced my credit, to a degree I never expected to attain, in the capacity of a lawyer. Indeed if two of the wisest in the science of jurisprudence, may give opposite opinions, on the same point, which does not unfrequently happen, it seems to be a matter of indifference, whether a man answers by rule, or at a venture. He that stumbles upon the right side of the question, is just as useful
to his client, as he that arrives at the same end by regular approaches, and is conducted to the mark he aims at, by the greatest authorities.
These violent attacks of a distemper so often fatal, are very alarming, to all who esteem and respect the Chancellor, as he deserves. A life of confinement, and of anxious attention to important objects, where the habit is bilious, to such a terrible degree, threatens to be but a short one; and I wish he may not be made a text, for men of reflection, to moralize upon, affording a conspicuous instance of the transient and fading nature of all human accomplishment and attainments.
My scribbling humour has of late been entirely absorbed, in the passion for land