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which at some certain times could not be so effectually promoted by any thing else. - I have endeavoured to comply with your request, though I am not good at writing upon a given subject. Your Mother however comforts me by her approbation, and I steer myself in all that I produce by her judgment. If she does not understand me at the first reading, I am sure the lines are obscure, and always alter them ; if she laughs, I know it is not without reason, and if she says, “ that's well, it will do”-I have no fear lest any body else should find fault with it. She is my lord chamberlain, who licenses all I write.
If you like it, use it. If not you know the remedy. It is serious, yet epigrammatic- like a bishop at a ball ! :
I am sensibly mortified at finding myself obliged to disappoint you; but though I have had many thoughts upon the subjects you propose to my consideration, I have had none that have been favourable to the undertaking. I applaud your purpose, for the sake of the principle from which it springs, but I look upon the evils you mean to animadvert upon, as too obstinate and inveterate ever to be expelled by the means you mention. The very persons to whom you would address your remonstrance, are themselves sufficiently aware of their enormity; years ago, to my knowledge, they were frequently the topics of conversations at polite tables;
they have been frequently mentioned in both houses of parliament; and, I suppose, there is hardly a member of either, who would not immediately assent to the necessity of a reformation, were it proposed to him in a reasonable way. But there it stops; and there it will for ever stop, till the majority are animated with a zeal in which they are at present deplorably defective. A religious man is unfeignedly shocked when he reflects upon the prevalence of such crimes, a moral man must needs be so in a degree, and will affect to be much more so than he is. But how many do you suppose there are among our worthy representatives, that come under either of these descriptions? If all were such, yet to new model the police of the country, which must be done in order to make even unavoidable perjury less frequent, were a task they would hardly undertake, on account of the great difficulty that would attend it. Government is too much interested in the consumption of malt-liquor, to reduce the number of venders. Such plausible pleas may be offered in defence of travelling on Sundays, especially by the trading part of the world, as the whole bench of bishops would find it difficult to overrule. And with respect to the violation of oaths, till a certain name is more generally respected, than it is. at present, however such persons as yourself may be grieved at it, the legislature are never likely to lay it to heart. I do not mean, nor would by any means attempt, to discourage you in so laudable an enterprize, but such is the light in which it appears to me, that I do not feel the least spark of courage qualifying or prompting me to embark in it myself. An exhortation therefore written by me, by hopeless-desponding me, would be flat, insipid, and uninteresting; and disgrace the cause instead of serving it. If after what I have said however, you still retain the same sentiments, Macte esto virtute tuâ, there is nobody better qualified than yourself, and may your success prove, that I despaired of it without a
To the Revd. WILLIAM UNWIN..
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I write under the impression of a difficulty not easily surmounted, the want of something to say. Letter-spinning is generally more entertaining to the writer, than the reader; for your sake therefore, I would avoid it, but a dearth of materials is very apt to betray one into a trifling strain, in spite of all our endeavours to be serious.
I left off on Saturday, this present being Monday morning, I renewed the attempt, in hopes that I may possibly catch some subject by the end, and be more successful.