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much then must I be pleased, when you speak so kindly of Johnny! I know him to be all that you think him, and love him entirely.
Adieu ! We expect you at Christmas, and shall therefore rejoice when Christmas comes. Let nothing interfere. Ever yours,
To JOHN JOHNSON, Esqr.
Weston, Nov. 20, 1792. MY DEAREST JOHNNY,
I give you many thanks for your rhymes, and your verses without rhyme ; for your poetical dialogue between wood and stone; between Homer's head, and the head of Samuel; kindly intended, I know well, for my amusement, and that amused me much.
The successor of the clerk defunct, for whom I used to write, arrived here this morning, with a recommendatory Letter from Joe Rye, and an humble
petition of his own, entreating me to assist him as I laad assisted his predecessor. I have undertaken the service, although with no little reluctance, being involved in many arrears on other subjects, and having very little dependence at present on my ability to write at all. I proceed exactly as when you were here-a letter now and then before breakfast, and the rest of my time all holiday; if holiday it may be called, that is spent chiefly in moping and musing, and “ forecasting the fashion of uncertain evils.”
• The fever on my spirits has harrassed me much, and I have never had so good a night, nor so quiet a rising, since you went, as on this very morning. A relief that I account particularly seasonable and propitious, because I had, in my intentions, devoted this morning to you, and could not have fulfilled those intentions, had I been as spiritless as I generally am.
I am glad that Johnson is in no haste for Milton, for I seem myself not likely to address myself presently to that concern, with any prospect of success; yet something now and then, like a secret whisper, assures and encourages me that it will yet be done
To WILLIAM HAYLEY, Esqr.
Weston, Nov. 25, 1792.
How shall I thank you enough for the interest you take in my future Miltonic labours, and the assistance you promise me in the performance of them ; I will sometime or other, if I live, and live a poet, acknowledge your friendship in some of my best verse; the most suitable return one poet can make to another; in the mean time, I love you, and am sensible of all your kindness. You wish me warm in my work, and I ardently wish the same: bnt when I shall be so, God only knows. My melancholy, which seemed a little alleviated for a few days, has gathered about me again, with as black a cloud as ever; the consequence is absolute incapacity to begin.
I was for some years dirge-writer to the town of Northampton, being employed by the clerk of the principal parish there, to furnish him with an annual copy of verses proper to be printed at the foot of his bill of mortality; but the clerk died, and hearing
nothing for two years from his successor, I well hoped that I was out of my office. The other morning however, Sam announced the new clerk ; he came to solicit the same service as I had rendered his predecessor, and I reluctantly complied ; doubtful indeed, whether I was capable. I have however achieved that labour, and I have done nothing more. I am just sent for up to Mary, dear Mary! Adieu! she is as well as when I left you, I would I could say better. Remember us both affectionately to your sweet boy, and trust me for being
Most truly yours,
To JOSEPH HILL, Esqr.
Weston, Dec. 16, 1792.
MY DEAR SIR,
We differ so little, that it is pity we should not agree. The possibility of restoring our diseased government is, I think, the only
point on which we are not of one mind. If you are right, and it cannot be touched in the medical way, without danger of absolute ruin to the constitution, keep the doctors at a distance say I—and let us live as long as we can. But perhaps physicians might be found of skill sufficient for the purpose, were they but as willing as able. Who are they? Not those honest blunderers the mob, but our governors them
ves. As it is in the power of any individual to be honest if he will, any body of men are, as it seems to me, equally possessed of the same option. For! can never persuade myself to think, the world so constituted by the author of it, and human society, which is his ordinance, so shabby a business, that the buying and selling of votes and consciences should be essential to its existence. As to multiplied representation I know not that I foresee any great advantage likely to arise from that. Provided there be but a reasonable number of reasonable heads laid together for the good of the nation, the end may as well be answered by five hundred, as it would be by a thousand, and perhaps better. But then they should be honest as as well as wise, and in order that they may be so, they should put it out of their own power to be otherwise. This they might certainly do if they would, and would