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tion to the publishing any thing in opposition to my opinions. On the contrary, there is nothing I desire more than these discussions. I was far from threatening your lordship with the loss of my friendship, which I was sensible could never be of any consequence to you: I only foretold with infinite regret, that if you wrote against me in a heat, without allowing your temper to compose itself, it would be impossible for us to be any longer friends. I employed every pathetic, every engaging sentiment and expression to induce your lordship to embrace this way of thinking. I shall venture to say, that you have never in your life received a more friendly and more obliging letter. I leave your lordship to judge of the return it has met with.
“I composed my letter with great care, because I set a value on your lordship’s friendship. I was so much satisfied with it myself, that I read it to a friend, who told me, that it would be impossible for your lordship to resist so many mollifying expressions, and that they would certainly bring you back to our usual state of friendship. Under what power of fascination have your eyes lain, when you could see every thing in a light so directly opposite?
“I come now to the other ground of your complaint, my indifference in the case of Mr. Murray. When I arrived in Paris, the first question he asked me was, whether Lord Bute or Mr. Stuart Mackenzie had recommended him to Lord Hertford, that he might be received in the ambassador's house like other British subjects. I asked my lord, who told me that neither of these persons had ever mentioned Mr. Murray to him; he wished they had; he desired to show all manner of civilities to Mr. Murray. But he was afraid, that a person against whom a public proclamation had been issued, and who had openly lived so many years with the Pretender, could not be received in his house, unless he had previously received some assurances, that the matter would give no offence. I told this to Mr Murray. He was entirely satisfied. He only said that he would write again to Mr. Stuart Mackenzie, who never wrote to Lord Hertford. In this affair, then, Mr. Murray received all the favour which he either desired or expected.
“But perhaps your lordship means, that I ought to have befriended him in his law-suit with Mrs. Blake,- I suppose, by taking his part in company. But who told you that I did not? I have frequently desired people in general to suspend their judgment; for as to any particular justification of him, I was not capable of it, because I was and still am ignorant of all particulars of his story. Whence could I learn them? From himself, or from his antagonist, or from both? I assure your lordship that I was otherwise employed, and more to my satisfaction, than in unravelling an intricate story, which the Parliament of Paris could not clear up in much less than two years, and which, it is pretended, they have not cleared
at last. “But I need say no more on this head, since your brother a few days after I wrote you sent me a letter, in which he asked pardon for his former letter, acknowledged his error, and desired a return of my friendship. His only ground of quarrel, indeed, was a small negligence in returning his visits : an offence which, operating on a man of his vanity, has engaged him to do all this mischief.
“I have said that your lordship never received a letter more friendly and obliging than my former letter: I hope you will also acknowledge that this
is wrote with sufficient temper and moderation. Adieu.
“I have the honour to be, with the greatest regard and consideration, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient, and most humble servant.” 1
LORD ELIBANK to HUME.
Balancrief, July 9th, 1765. Dear Sir, - I have the pleasure to understand, by yours of the ~, that I have never been altogether in disgrace with you ; I choose rather to pass for dull as mad, and it would have been the highest proof of the latter, if I had taken any thing ill of you, that I had not thought ill meant.
I own the compliment you say you intended me in your former letter, was too refined for my genius. I really mistook it for an intention to break with me; and as there is hardly any thing I set a greater value on than your friendship, and I was not conscious of having ever entertained a single idea inconsistent with it, I could not resign it without pain and resentment. Diffident of myself, I showed your letter to several of our common friends, who all understood it as I did. Had my affection for you been more moderate, my answer to yours would have been cool in proportion. I am still mortified to think you could suspect me of siding with my brother against you. I know the distinction between relationship and friendship. I have ever thought those connexions incompatible; and if I was dull enough to mistake the meaning of your letter, I have not more reason to blush, than you have for suspecting, that any thing my brother could say, was capable of influencing my sincere regard for a friend of thirty years' standing, or that my zeal for the reputation of any prince, dead or alive, could draw any sentiment or expression from me, inconsistent with that admiration of your talents, as an author, and merit as a man, I have constantly felt in myself, and endeavoured to excite in others. I am, dear sir, your sincerely obedient humble servant,
Scroll, MS. R.S.E.
In fear lest the two letters to Elliot, printed above, might not have reached their destination, Hume wrote to him again on 17th November, repeating the substance of his engagement with the Abbé Choquart. The remainder of the letter follows:
HUME to GILBERT ELLIOT of Minto. “ As soon as I came from Fontainbleau, I went to the Pension Militaire, so it is called, where I had first a conversation with the Abbé. I found him exceedingly pleased with your boys: he told me that whenever his two young pupils arrived, he called together all the French gentlemen, who are to the number of thirty or thirty-two, and he made them a harangue; he then said to them, that they were all men of quality, to be educated to the honourable profession of arms; that all their wars would probably be with England ; that France and that kingdom, were Rome and Carthage, whose rivality more properly than animosity never allowed long intervals of peace; that the chance of arms might make them prisoners of arms to Messrs Elliot, in which case it would be a happiness to them to meet a private friend in a public enemy; that he knew many instances of people whose lives were saved by such fortunate events, and it therefore became them, from views of prudence, and from the generosity for which the French nation was so renowned, to give the best treatment to the young strangers, whose friendship might probably endure, and be serviceable to them through life: he added, that the effect of this harangue was such, that, as soon as he presented your boys to their companions, they all flew to them and embraced them, and have ever since
· See pp. 240, 244,
continued to pay them all courtship and regard, and to show them every mark of preference. Every one is ambitious to acquire the friendship of the two young Englishmen, who have already formed connexions more intimate than ever I observed among his other pupils.
Ce que j'admire,' added he, dans vos jeunes amis est qu'ils ont non seulement de l'esprit, mais de l'âme. Ils sont véritablement attendris des témoinages d'amitié qu'on leur rend. Ils méritent d'étre aimés, parce qu'ils savent aimer.'
“ When I came next to converse with your boys, I found all this representation exactly just: I believe they never passed fourteen days in their life so happily as they did the last. What I find strikes them much is the high titles of their companions: there is not one, says Hugh, that is not a marquis, or count, or chevalier at least. They are indeed all of them of the best families in France, a nephew of M. de Choiseul, two nephews of M. de Beninghen, &c. &c. They are frequently drawn out, and displayed after the Prussian manner. I saw them go through their exercises with the greatest exactness and best air. The Abbé remarked to me, that the marching, and wheeling, and moving under arms, is better than all the dancing schools in the world to give a noble carriage to youth. Gilbert is such a proficient, that the master is thinking already of advancing him to the first rank, if not of making him a corporal: all this is excellent for Hugh, and if Gilbert's head be a little too full with military ideas, this inconvenience will easily be corrected, as far as it ought to be corrected.
The Abbé tells me, that in the short time they have been with him, their accent is sensibly corrected, and he is persuaded that, in three months' time, it will not be possible to distinguish them from Frenchmen.