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Now for the visit you propose to pay us, and propose not to pay us. The hope of which plays upon your paper, like a jack-o-lantern upon the ceiling. This is no mean simile, for Virgil (you remember) uses it. 'Tis here, 'tis there, it vanishes, it returns, it dazzles you, a cloud interposes, and it is gone. However just the comparison, I hope you will contrive to spoil it, and that your final determination will be to come. As to the masons you expect, bring them with you -bring brick, bring mortar, bring every thing, that would oppose itself to your journey-all shall be welcome. I have a green-house that is too small, come and enlarge it; build me a pinery; repair the garden-wall, that has great need of your assistance; do any thing, you cannot do too much; so far from thinking you, and your train, troublesome, we shall rejoice to see you, upon these, or upon any other terms you can propose. But, to be serious—you will do well to consider, that a long summer is before you --that the party will not have such another opportunity to meet, this great while that you may finish your masonry long enough before winter, though you should not begin this month, but that you cannot always find your Brother and Sister Powley, at Olney. These, and some other considerations, such as the de
sire we have to see you, and the pleasure we expect from seeing you all together, may, and, I think, ought to overcome your scruples.
From a general recollection of Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, I thought, (and I remember, I told you so,) that there was a striking resemblance between that period, and the present. But I am now reading, and have read, three volumes of Hume's History, one of which, is engrossed intirely by that subject. There, I see reason to alter my opinion, and the seeming resemblance has disappeared, upon a more particular information. Charles succeeded to a long train of arbitrary princes, whose subjects had tamely acquiesced in the despotism of their masters, 'till their privileges were all forgot. He did but tread in their steps, and exemplify the principles, in which he had been brought up, when he oppressed his people. But just at that time, unhappily for the monarch, the subject began to see, and to see, that he had a right to property and freedom. This marks a sufficient difference between the disputes of that day, and the present. But there was another main cause of that rebellion, which, at this time, does not operate at all. The king was de
voted to the hierarchy, his subjects were puritans, and would not bear it. Every circumstance of eccle siastical order and discipline, was an abomination to them, and in his esteem, an indispensable duty, and, though at last, he was obliged to give up many things, he would not abolish episcopacy, and 'till that were done, his concessions could have no conciliating effect. These two concurring causes, were indeed sufficient to set three kingdoms in a flame. But they subsist not now, nor any other, I hope, notwithstanding the bustle made by the patriots, equal to the production of such terrible events. Yours, my dear friend,
At this time Cowper's attention was irresistibly recalled to his Cousin, Mrs. Cowper, by hearing that she was deeply afflicted; and he wrote to her the following Letter, on the loss of her Brother, Frederic Madan, a soldier, who died in America, after having distinguished himself, by poetical talents, as well as by military virtues.
To Mrs. COWPER.
May 10, 1780. MY DEAR COUSIN,
I do not write to comfort you: that office is not likely to be well performed by one, who has no comfort for himself; nor to comply with an impertinent ceremony, which in general, might well be spared upon such occasions : but because I would not seem indifferent to the concerns of those, I have so much reason to esteem, and love. If I did not sorrow for your Brother's death, I should expect that nobody would for mine ; when I knew him, he was much beloved, and I doubt not continued to be so. To live and die together, is the lot of a few happy families, who hardly know what a separation means, and one sepulchre serves them all; but the ashes of our kindred are dispersed indeed. Whether the American Gulph has swallowed up any other of my relations, I know not; it has made many mourners.
Believe me, my dear Cousin, though after a long silence, which perhaps, nothing less than the present concern, could have prevailed with me to in· terrupt, as much as ever,
If authors could have lived to adjust, and authenticate their own text, a commentator would have been an usesless creature. For instance—if Dr. Bentley had found, or opined that he had found, the word tube, where it seemed to present itself to you, and had judged the subjeet worthy of his critical acumen, he would either have justified the corrupt reading, or have substituted some invention of his own, in defence of which he would have exerted all his polemical abilities, and have quarreled with half the literati in Europe. Then suppose the writer himself, as in the present case, to interpose, with a gentle whisper, thus~--" If you look again, Doc« tor, you will perceive, that what appears to you to