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thing never to be forgiven from you, if you tell another what you have concealed from me.
Sept. 15. 1734.
Have ever thought you as fenfible as any man I knew, of all the delicacies of friendship; and yet I fear (from what Lord B. tells me you faid in your last letter) that you did not quite understand the reafon of my late filence. I affure you it proceeded wholly from the tender kindness I bear you. When the heart is full, it is angry at all words that cannot come up to it; and you are now the man in all the world I am most troubled to write to, for you are the friend I have left whom I am moft grieved about. Death has not done worse to me in feparating poor Gay, or any other, than difeafe and abfence in dividing us. I am afraid to know how you do; fince moft accounts I have, give me pain for you, and I am unwilling to tell you the condition of my own health. If it were good, I would fee you; and yet if 1 found you in that very condition of deafnefs, which made you fly from us while we were toge ther, what comfort could we derive from it? In writing often I should find great relief, could we write freely; and yet, when I have done fo, you feem, by not anfwering in a very long time, to feel either the fame uneafinefs as I do, or to abftain, from fome prudential reafon. Yet I am fure, nothing that you and I would fay to each other, (though our whole fouls were to be laid open to the clerks of the post-office), could hurt either of us fo much, in the opinion of any honest man or good fubject, as the intervening, officious impertinence of those goers between us, who in England pretend to intimacies with you, and in Ireland to intimacies with me. I cannot but receive any that call upon me in your name; and in truth they take it in vain too often. I take all opportunities of juftifying you against thefe friends, efpecially thofe who know all you think and write, and repeat your flighter verses. It is generally on fuch little fcraps that witlings feed; and
'tis hard the world fhould judge of our housekeeping, from what we fling to our dogs; yet this is often the confequence. But they treat you ftill worfe, mix their own with yours, print them to get money, and lay them at your door. This I am fatisfied was the case in the epiftle to a lady. It was just the fame hand (if I have any judgment in ftyle) which printed your life and character before, which you fo ftrongly difavowed in your letters to Lord Carteret, myself, and others. I was very well informed of another fact, which convinced me yet more: The fame person who gave this to be printed, offered to a bookfeller a piece in prófe as your's, and as commiffioned by you, which has fince appeared, and been owned to be his own. I think (I lay once more) that I know your hand, though you did not mine in the Effay on Man. I beg your pardon for not telling you, as I fhould, had you been in England: but no fecret can crofs your Irish fea, and every clerk in the poft-office had known it. I fancy, though you loft fight of me in the first of thofe effays, you faw me in the fecond. The defign of concealing myfelf was good, and had its full effect. I was thought a divine, a philofopher, and what not; and my doctrine had a fanction I could not have given to it. Whether I can pro ceed in the fame grave march like Lucretius, or must defcend to the gaieties of Horace, I know not, or whether I can do either: but be the future as it will, I shall collect all the paft in one fair quarto this winter, and fend it you, where you will find frequent mention of yourself. I was glad you fuffered your writings to be collected more completely than hitherto, in the volumes I daily expect from Ireland; I wifhed it had been in more pomp, but that will be done by others: your's are beauties, that can never be too finely dreffed, for they will ever be young. I have only one piece of mercy to beg of you: do not laugh at my gravity, but permit me to wear the beard of a philofopher, till I pull it off, and make a jeft of it myself. It is juft what my Lord B. is doing with metaphyfics. I hope you will live to fee, and ftare at the learned figure he will make, on the fame shelf with Locke and Malbranche.
You see how I talk to you, (for this is not writing).
If you like I should do fo, why not tell me fo: if it be the leaft pleasure to you, I will write once a-week most gladly but can you abftract the letters from the perfon who writes them, fo far, as not to feel more vexation in the thought of our feparation, and those misfortunes which occafion it, than fatisfaction in the nothings he can exprefs? If you can, really and from my heart, I cannot. I return again to melancholy. Pray, however, tell me, is it a fatisfaction? that will make itone to me; and we will think alike, as friends ought, and you fhall hear from me punctually just when you
P. S. Our friend, who has just returned from a progrefs of three months, and is fetting out in three days with me for the Bath, where he will stay till towards the middle of October, left this letter with me yesterday, and I cannot feal and dispatch it till I have scribbled the remainder of this page full. He talks very pompously of my metaphyfics, and places them in a very honourable station. It is true, I have writ fix letters and an half to him on subjects of that kind, and I pro. pose a letter and an half more, which would fwell the whole up to a confiderable volume. But he thinks me fonder of the name of an author than I am. When he and you, and one or two other friends, have seen them, fatis magnum theatrum mihi eftis, I fhall not have the itch of making them more public *. I know how little regard you pay to writings of this kind. But I imagine, that if you can like any fuch, it must be those that ftrip metaphyfics of all their bombaft, keep within the fight of every well-conftituted eye, and never bewilder themselves whilft they pretend to guide the reason of others. I writ to you a long letter fome time ago, and fent it by the poft. Did it come to your hands? or did the infpectors of private correspondence ftop it, to revenge themselves of the ill faid of them in it? Vale, et
* As Lord B. (let. 49.) tells us, they fhew that all our metaphyfi cal theology is ridiculous and abominable.
Nov. 1. 1734.
Have your's with my Lord B-'s poftfcript, of Sep
weeks after the date, I was very ill with my two inveterate diforders, giddiness and deafness. The latter is pretty well off; but the other makes me totter towards evenings, and much difpirits me. But I continue to ride and walk; both of which, although they be no cures, are at least amusements. I did never imagine you to be either inconftant, or to want right notions of friendship: but I apprehend your want of health; and it hath been a frequent wonder to me, how you have been able to entertain the world fo long, fo frequently, fo happily, under fo many bodily diforders. My Lord B. fays you have been three months rambling, which is the best thing you can poffibly do in a fummer-season ; and when the winter recals you, we will, for our own interefts, leave you to your fpeculations. God be thanked, I have done with every thing, and of every kind, that requires writing, except now and then a letter; or, like a true old man, fcribbling trifles only fit for children, or schoolboys of the lowest class at best, which three or four of us read and laugh at to-day, and burn to morrow. Yet, what is fingular, I never am without some great work in view, enough to take up forty years of the most vigorous healthy man; although I am convinced, that I fhall never be able to finish three treatifes that have lain by me feveral years, and want nothing but correction. My Lord B. faid in his poftfcript, that you would go to Bath in three days. We fince heard that you were dangerously ill there, and that the news-mongers gave you over. But a gentleman of this kingdom, on his return from Bath, affured me he left you well; and fo did fome others, whom I have forgot. I am forry at my heart, that you are pestered with people who come in my name; and I profess to you, it
is without my knowledge. I am confident I shall hardly ever have occafion again to recommend; for my friends here are very few, and fixed to the freehold, from whence nothing but death will remove them. Surely I never doubted about your Effay on Man; and I would lay any odds, that I would never fail to discover you in fix lines, unless you had a mind to write below, or befide yourself, on purpose. I confess I did never imagine you were fo deep in morals, or that fo many new and excellent rules could be produced fo advantageously and agreeably in that science, from any one head. I confefs in fome few places I was forced to read twice. I believe I told you before what the Duke of D— faid to me on that occafion, how a judge here, who knows you, told him, that, on the first reading those effays, he was much pleafed, but found fome lines a little dark : on the second most of them cleared up, and his pleafure increased on the third he had no doubt remained; and then he admired the whole. My Lord B's attempt of reducing metaphyfics to intelligible fense and usefulness, will be a glorious undertaking; and as I never knew him fail in any thing he attempted, if he had the fole management, fo I am confident he will fucceed in this. I defire you will allow that I write to you both at prefent; and fo I fhall while I live. It faves your money and my time; and he being your genius, no matter to which it is addressed. I am happy that what you write is printed in large letters; otherwise, between the weakness of my eyes, and the thickness of my hearing, I fhould lofe the greatest pleasure that is left me. Pray command my Lord B- to follow that example, if I live to read his metaphyfics. Pray God bless you both. I had a melancholy account from the Doctor of his health. I will anfwer his letter as foon as I can. I am ever entirely your's.
Twickenham, Dec. 19. 1734.
AM truly forry for any complaint you have; and it is in regard to the weakness of your eyes, that I