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be more subservient to such his laudable design, than the vindication of it, he would readily and cheerfully make it, as I, for my part, am not only willing, but desirous to be better informed, if I am mistaken.
X. Two Letters from Mr. Gilbert Walmesley, to the late Professor Colson, of Cambridge, when Master of an Academy at Rochester, relative to Garrick and Johnson.
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND, Lichfield, Feb. 5, 1736. HAVING not been in town since the year thirty-one, you will the less wonder at seeing a letter from me. But I have the pleasure of hearing of you sometimes in the prints, and am glad to see you are daily throwing in your valuable contributions to the republic of letters.
But the present occasion of my writing is a favour I have to ask of you. My neighbour Captain Garrick, (who is an honest valuable man,) has a son, who is a very sensible young fellow, and a good scholar, and whom the Captain hopes in some two or three years he shall be able to send to the Temple, and breed to the bar: but at present his pocket will not hold out for sending him to the University. I have proposed your taking him, if you think well of it, and your boarding him, and instructing him in mathematics, and philosophy, and humane learning: he is now nineteen, of sober and good dispositions; and is as ingenious and promising a young man, as ever I knew in my life. Few instructions on your side will do, and in the intervals of study, he will be an agreeable companion for you. His father will be glad to pay you whatever you shall require within his reach; and I shall think myself very much obliged to you into the bargain.
Lichfield, March 2.
I HAD the favour of yours, and am extremely obliged to you; but cannot say I have a greater affection for you upon it than I had before, being long since so much endeared to you, as well by an early friendship, as by your many excellent and valuable qualifications. And had I a son of my own, it would be my ambition, instead of sending him to the University, to dispose of him as this young gentleman is.
He and another neighbour of mine, one Mr. S. Johnson, set out this morning for London together: Davy Garrick to be with you early the next week, and Mr. Johnson to try his fate with a tragedy, and to see to get himself employed in some translation, either from the Latin or the French. Johnson is a very good scholar and poet, and I have great hopes will turn out a fine tragedy writer. If it should any ways lay in your way, I doubt not but you would be ready to recommend and assist your countryman. G. WALMESLEY.
XI. Two Letters from Mr. Everard relative to Count Alberti, cordemned to the Mines in Idra.
THE pleasure I always take in writing to you wherever I am, and whatever doing, in some measure dispels my present uneasiness; an uneasiness caused at once by the disagreeable aspect of every thing round me, and the more disagreeable circumstances of the Count Alberti, with whom you were once acquainted. You remember him one of the gayest, most agreeable persons at the court of Vienna; at once the example of the men, and the favourite of the fair sex. I often heard you repeat his name with esteem, as one of the few that did honour to the present age, as possessed of generosity and pity in the highest degree; as one who made no other use of fortune but to alleviate the distresses of mankind. Of that gentleman, Sir, I wish I could say, he is now no more; yet, too unhappily for him, he exists, but in situation more terrible than the most gloomy imagination
After passing through several parts of the Alps, and having visited Germany, I thought I could not well return home without visiting the quicksilver mines at Idra, and seeing those dreadful subterranean caverns, where thousands are condemned to reside, shut out from all hopes of ever seeing the cheerful light of the sun, and obliged to toil out a miserable life under the whips of imperious taskinasters. Imagine to yourself a hole in the side of a mountain, of about five yards over; down this you are let, in a kind of a bucket, more than an hundred fathom. At
length, after swinging in terrible suspense for some time, you reach the bottom, and tread on the ground, which, by its hollow sound under your feet, and the reverberations of the echo, seems thundering at every step you take. In this gloomy and frightful solitude, you are enlightened by the feeble gleam of lamps, here and there disposed, so as that the wretched inhabitants of these mansions can go from one part to another without a guide. And yet, let me assure you, that though they, by custom, could see objects very distinctly by these lights, I could scarcely discern the person who came with me to shew me these scenes of horror.
From this description, I suppose, you have but a disagreeable idea of the place; yet let me assure you, that it is a palace, if we compare the habitation with the inhabitants. Such wretches my eyes never yet beheld. The blackness of their visages only serves to cover a horrid paleness, caused by the noxious qualities of the mineral they are employed in procuring. As they, in general, consist of malefactors condemned for life to this task, they are fed at the public expense; but they seldom consume much provision, as they lose their appetites in a short time; and commonly in about two years expire, from a total contraction of all the joints of the body.
In this horrid mansion I walked after my guide.for some time, pondering on the strange tyranny and avarice of mankind, when I was accosted by a voice behind me, calling me by name and inquiring after my health with the most cordial affection. I turned and saw a creature all black and hideous, who approached me, and with a most piteous accent demanding, "Ah! Mr. Everard, don't you know me!" Good God! what was my surprize, when, through the veil of his wretchedness, I discovered the features of my old and dear friend Alberti. I flew to him with affection, and after a tear of condolence, asked how he came there? To this he replied, that having fought a duel with a general of the Austrian infantry, against the emperor's command, and having left him for dead, he was obliged to fly into one of the forests of Istria, where he was first taken, and afterwards sheltered by some banditti, who had long infested that quarter. With these he had lived nine months, till, by a close investiture of the place in which they were con cealed, and after a very obstinate resistance, in which the greater part of them were killed, he was taken and carried to Vienna, in order to be broken alive upon the wheel. However, upon arriving at the capital, he was quickly known, and several of the associates of his accusation and
danger witnessing his innocence, his punishment of the rack was changed into that of perpetual confinement and labour in the mines of Idra; a sentence in my opinion, a thousand times worse than death.
As Alberti was giving me this account, a young woman came up to him, who at once I saw to be born for better fortune. The dreadful situation of the place was not able to destroy her beauty; and even in this scene of wretchedness she seemed to have charms to grace the most brilliant assembly. This lady was in fact daughter to one of the first families in Germany, and having tried every means to procure her lover's pardon without effect, was at last resolved to share his miseries as she could not relieve them. With him she accordingly descended into these mansions from whence few of the living return; and with him she is contented to live, forgetting the gaieties of life; with him to toil, despising the splendors of opulence; and contented with the consciousness of her own constancy.
MY last to you was expressive, and perhaps too much so, of the gloomy situation of my mind. I own, the deplorable situation of the worthy man described in it, was enough to add double severity to the hideous mansion. At present, however, I have the happiness of informing you, that I was spectator of the most affecting scene I ever yet beheld. Nine days after I had written my last, a person came post from Vienna to the little village near the mouth of the greater shaft. He was soon after followed by a second, and he by a third. Their first inquiry was after the unfortunate Count, and I happening to over-hear the demand, gave them the best information. Two of these were the brother and cousin of the lady, the third was an intimate friend, and fellow-soldier of the Count: they came with his pardon, which had been procured by the General with whom the duel had been fought, and who was perfectly recovered from his wounds. I led them with all the expedition of joy down to his dreary abode, and presented to him his friends, and informed him of the happy change in his circumstances. It would be impossible to describe the joy that brightened upon his grief-worn countenance; nor was the young lady's emotion less vivid at seeing her friends, and hearing of her husband's freedom. Some hours were employed in mending the appearance of this faithful couple, nor could I without a tear behold him taking leave of the former
wretched companions of his toil. To one he left his mattock, to another his working-clothes, to a third his little household utensils, such as were necessary for him in that situation. We soon emerged from the mine, where he once again revisited the light of the sun, that he had totally despaired of ever seeing. A post-chaise and four were ready the next morning to take them to Vienna, where I am since informed by a letter from himself, they are returned. The empress has again taken him into favour, his fortune and rank are restored, and he and his fair partner now have the pleasing satisfaction of feeling happiness with double relish, as they once knew what it was to be miserable.
XII. Justinian Pagitt, to Dr. Twysden, Chancellor of the Diocese of Litchfield and Coventry, on some remarkable Trials in the Star Chamber.
Lincoln's Inn, Nov. 1618.
I HAVING been present at the proceedings in three very remarkable causes this term, and conceiving that a relation thereof may be welcome to you, do here present them, with myself, to your kind acceptance, as sure and legal testimonies of the continuance of my due respects unto you. The first of these was in the King's Bench; the other two in the Star Chamber.
1. In the King's Bench, one Arthur Chwhoggen was attainted of high treason; viz. for saying in Spain, "I would kill the King of England, if I could come at him ;" which was testified by the oaths of two gentlemen, besides others that justified it, from the several relations of other men. For farther probability of his malicious intent, the officers, that apprehended him at his lodgings in Drury-lane, London, did depose upon oath, that then, when they told him he was the king's prisoner, &c. he bit his thumb, saying, "I care not thus much for your king." Where Mr. Attorney-general observed, that in Spain the biting of the thumb is a token of scorn and disdain in the highest degree, and will bear an action of disgrace in Spain, as spitting in one's face will in England. And I hear, that after he was condemned, the judges sent the sheriff to him, to know of him, whether he could allege any other colourable intent of his coming