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ann. by his former business, and that his profits of the share in the mill were last year 1501. This Being has great merit, in never having sutfered the day-dreams of his imagination to lure him from the path of manual industry. Genius is to indigence a dangerous present. I shall rejoice his honest, modest heart, by shewing him the high praise with which your last letter honours that poem of his that I inclosed.
Dr Johnson's absurd assertion must have often occurred to you, amidst the beautiful compositions which uneducated Poverty has produced in this age, viz. the impossibility which he alleges of people in low life writing any thing worth attention. He observes, that “ the mind can only acquire ingenious ideas in the mart of intelligent conversation.” His observations on this subject close with one of those dazzling metaphoric decisions, in which verbal strength and point are so continually mistaken for truth in that author, by those who are either not capable, or will not take the trouble of thinking for themselves. says he, “ can coin guineas but in proportion as he obtains gold.” Newton, Yearsly, Burns, and, above all, the miraculous Chatterton, sufficiently refute the dogma. That its appearance in his writings was subsequent many years to the publi
« No man,”
city of Chatterton, causes the reflecting mind to recoil astonished from its effrontery.
We have in this neighbourhood an extraordinary character, Mr Vernon, Lady Berwick's brother; whom, in early life, the form of an Adonis, an ardour for licentious pleasures, and for increasing the means of obtaining them, made a fine man about town, a knowing man on the turf, and a deep staker at White's, till he was about thirty. Then, turning suddenly from these soul-less pursuits, he threw his energies into far different channels, and roamed, in a ten year's tour, with enthusiastic curiosity, not only “ the Celtic and Iberian fields,” but almost every scene upon the globe which has been dignified by martial prowess, or has obtained poetic celebrity. He has seen, in tolerable preservation, a great part of the Temple of Ceres at Thebes; has stood upon Mount Calvary, Olympus, and the Aonian Hills; and has drank of the now nearly exhausted waters of the Simois and Scamander; has fought, since England sheathed the sword, the Indians for America, and the Turks for the Empress. He was some time at Gibraltar with General Elliot, and obtained the friendship of that illustrious Being. Mr Vernon, calling upon me lately, shewed me a passage in one of the General's letters, to the following purport:
“ I am informed that Monsieur, (I have forgot the name) who fought so gallantly against me at Gibraltar, has been overlooked by his thankless nation; is out of health, and poor. Have the goodness to draw upon my banker at Paris for fifty guineas, and present them to him as from an unknown hand. I am not myself rich, as you know, or my donation had been less scanty."
What lustre does such a proof of generous goodness throw on the martial fame of this justly celebrated soldier!
My dearest father yet lives—and, I trust, not in any actual pain of body, or inquietude of spirits, since no symptoms appear of either; but the lights of reason, imagination, and memory, are extremely faded.
“ Darkness gathers on the last of his days."
Lichfield, Sept. 2, 1787. Yes, my dear Sir, I have been honoured with a visit from your truly great General,
« With all his full-blown honours thick upon him.”
The blended dignity, and kindness of his manners, perfectly answered the idea I had formed of the noble Elliot from your and Mr Vernon's description, super-added to that of public report.
You excited the flattering hope of his staying a few days with me. Could that have been fulfilled, -nay, had he passed only one night in Lichfield, the compliment of a general illumination through our little city had been paid. The words Elliot, Gibraltar, Victory, enwreathed with flowers, were to have shone in phosphorus upon the walls of our town-hall, and over the arms of the city. It was the contrivance of an ingenious young surgeon, of the name of Green, who prepared it when you taught me to expect one of the most Nattering distinctions of my life ; but arriving on
a Sunday morning, and departing in the afternoon, he frustrated the wish of our inhabitants to have welcomed, with public eclat, the restorer of the nation's glory.
Captain Cayleur and Mr Vernon accompanied his lordship. The former is a graceful young gentleman, strongly resembling the brave unfortunate André.
It gives me pleasure that my neighbour, Mr Vernon, stands so high in Lord Heathfield's esteem. He has considerable talents and exertion; and the warm, and entirely voluntary praise of so great and good a man, proves that they have been, at least of late years, directed to noble pur: poses. Nor did Lord H. wait for
intended mention of you. We had not been ten minutes together before he entered upon a theme so agreeable, declaring his high opinion of your professional merit, of your domestic virtues ; adding, “ his wife will be a happy woman, and she deserves him."
My father had not sufficiently recovered from a recent epileptic fit for me to venture introducing him to my noble guest. Greatly was I disappointed that he could not have the happiness of paying his respects to one, whose name he al