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most disagreeable, and out of all form; and lastly, the situation of this picture is such, that I could only work a few hours in the morning, and that by the assistance of the reflection of the sun. This last circumstance is so discouraging that I am persuaded I should consume almost a year before I could make a complete drawing of this picture, which contains no less than twenty-eight figures. With regard to the other pictures you mention, I have nothing to object against them.
The School of Athens is indeed a most glorious performance, and worthy the hand of a divinity. Had I made this journey at a period of life when a few years, more or less, would have made no material difference with me, I should indeed have been proud of transmitting my name, with Raphael's, in this wonderful performance: but at present the case is different; I have no idea of coming abroad to Italy, but for a very few years, and throwing that time away upon a work which ought to be carried on at the public expense, or by the patronage of a prince.
I must leave, my dear Sir, those laborious undertakings to some future genius: at present it is my scheme to vary my subjects and authors as much as possible, and that even those be of the most agreeable kind; such as will please the public, and best suit the genius of a free people. I think, so far as this I may venture to raise your expectation; I have already enriched my collection with the names of Raphael, Titian, Guido, Dominichino, Guercino, &c. &c. Of the first of those masters, I think I may venture to assure you of at least six different subjects, and all the most agreeable of their kind. I have, perhaps, the finest Titian you could desire to see; and, of Guercino, I have no less than his famous picture of the Death of Dido, a composition of twelve or fifteen figures. I propose, this ensuing autumn, making an excursion to Naples, where, I am told, there is a sweet Parmigiano. At Florence I have already several pictures, and at Bologna some inimitable things. At Parma, I hope for the St. Jerome; and at Venice, I may probably light on another Titian, or some agreeable Paul Veronese. With regard to statues, busts, &c. I have nothing to say; I must be satisfied with admiring them; and, if possible, endeavour to retain a part of their inimitable beauties.
I long much to be with you, but dare not as yet even think on the time, nor can I in the least ascertain it.
I remain, dear Sir, yours, &c.
V. Mr. Addison to a Lady.
IT would be ridiculous in me, after the late intimation you were pleased to favour me with, to affect any longer an ignorance of your sentiments, opposite soever as an approbation of them must be to the dictates of reason and justice. This expression, Madam, I am highly sensible may appear a little too coarse in the mouth of a polite man; but I hope is no disgrace to the behaviour of a sincere one. When we are to talk upon matters of importance, delicacy must give way to truth, and ceremony be sacrificed to candour: an honest freedom is the privilege of ingenuity; and the mind, which is above the practice of deceit, can never stoop to a willingness to flatter. Give me leave, Madam, to remark, that the connection subsisting between your husband and myself, is of a nature too strong for me to think of injuring him in a point where the happiness of his life is so materially concerned. You cannot be insensible of his goodness, or my obligations; and suffer me to observe, Madam, that were I capable of such an action at the time that my behaviour might be rewarded by your passion, I must be despised by your reason; and though I might be esteemed as a lover, I must be hated as a man.
Highly sensible, Madam, of the power of your beauty, I am determined to avoid an interview where my reputation may be for ever lost. You have passions you say, Madam; but give me leave to answer, that you have understanding also; you have a heart susceptible of the tenderest impres sions, but a soul, if you would choose to wake it, above an unwarranted indulgence of them; and let me intreat you for your own sake, that no giddy impulse of an ill-placed inclination may induce you to entertain a thought prejudicial to your honour, and repugnant to your virtue.
I, Madam, am far from being insensible; I too have passions, and could my situation a few years ago have allowed me a possibility of succeeding, I should have legally solicited that happiness which you are now ready to bestow. I had the honour, Madam, of supping at Mr. D.'s, where I first saw you, and shall make no scruple in declaring, that I never saw a person so irresistibly beautiful, or a manner so excessively engaging, but the superiority of your circumstances prevented any declaration on my side; and though I
burned with a flame as strong as ever filled the buman breast, I laboured to suppress, or at least studied to conceal it.
Time and absence at length abated an unhoping passion, and your marriage with my patron and my friend effectually cured it. Do not now, I beseech you, Madam, rekindle that fire which I must never think to fan; do not now, I be seech you, destroy a tranquillity I have just begun to taste, or blast your own honour, which has been hitherto spotless and unsullied. My best esteem is ever yours; but should I promise more, consider, I conjure you, the fatal necessity I am under of removing myself from an intercourse so dangerous; and in any other commands dispose of your most humble and devoted
VI. From Dean Swift, on the Fishery.
A genuine Copy of a Letter from the late Dean Swift, to Esq. a Scotch Gentleman.
Dublin, March 23, 1734.
I RETURN you my hearty thanks for your letter, and discourse, upon the fishery. You discover in both a true love of your country, and (excepting your civilities to me) a very good judgment, good wishes to this vicious kingdom, and a perfect knowledge in the subject you treat. But you are more temperate than I, and consequently much wiser: for corruptions are apt to make me impatient, and give offence, which you prudently avoid.
Ever since I began to think, I was enraged at the folly of England, in suffering the Dutch to have almost the whole advantage of our fishery, just under our noses.
The late Lord Weemys told me he was governor of a castle in Scotland, near which the Dutch used to fish. He sent to them in a civil manner to desire they would send him some fish, which they brutishly refused. Whereupon he ordered three or four cannon to be discharged from the castle (for their boats were in reach of the shot) and imme diately they sent him more than he wanted.
The Dutch are a kind of sharpers amongst a parcel of honest gentlemen, who think they understand play, and are bubbled of their money. I love them for the love they
have to their country, which however is no virtue in them, because it is their private interest, which is directly con trary in England. In the queen's time I did often press the lord treasurer Oxford and others of the ministry, upon this very subject; but the answer was, we must not offend the Dutch," who at that very time were opposing us in all our steps towards a peace. I laughed to see the zeal the ministry had about the fishing at Newfoundland (I think) while no care was taken against the Dutch fishing just at our doors.
As to my native country, I happened, indeed, by a perfect accident, to be born here; my mother being left here in returning to her house at Leicester; and I was a year old before I was sent to England. And thus I am a Teague or an Irishman, or what people please, although the best part of my life was in England.
What I did for this country was from perfect hatred of tyranny and oppression, for which I had a proclamation against me for 300l. which my old friend was obliged to consent to, the very first or second night of his arrival hither. The crime was, that of writing against one Wood, an ironmonger, who had a patent to coin 180,000 pounds in half-pence, not exceeding one-sixth part of the money; which was laid before the people in so plain a manner, that they all refused it, and so the nation was preserved from immediate ruin,
I have done some smaller services for this kingdom, but I can do no more; I have too many years upon me, and too much sickness: I am out of favour at court, where I was well received during two summers, six or seven years ago: the governing people do not love me, for as corrupt as England is, it is an habitation of saints, in comparison of Ireland. We are all slaves, and knaves, and fools; and all, but the bishops, and people in employment, beggars. The cash of Ireland does not amount to 200,000l. The few honest men among us are dead-hearted, poor, and out of favour and power.
I talked to two or three gentlemen of this House of Commons now sitting here, mentioned your scheme, shewed 'how very advantageous it would be to Ireland: they agreed with me, but said, that if such a thing were proposed, the members would all go out, as at a thing they had no concern in.
I believe the people of Lapland, or the Hottentots, are not so miserable a people as we: for oppression supported
by power will infallibly introduce slavish principles. I am afraid that even in England your proposal will come to nothing. There is not virtue enough left among mankind.— If your scheme should pass into an act, it will become a job; your sanguine temper will cool; rogues will be the only gainers; parties and faction will intermingle, and defeat the most essential parts of the design.-Standing armies in time of peace, projects of excise, and bribing elections, are all you are likely to be employed in, not forgetting septennial parliaments, directly against the old whig principles, which have always been mine.
A gentleman of this kingdom, about three years ago, joined with some others in a fishery here, in the northern parts. They advanced only 2001. by way of trial; they got men from Orkney to cure their fishes, who understood it well. But the vulgar folks of Ireland are so lazy and so knavish, that it turned to no account, nor would any body join with them; and so the matter fell, and they lost two thirds of their money. Oppressed beggars are always knaves, and I believe there are hardly any other among us. They had rather gain a shilling by knavery, than five pounds by honest dealings. They lost 300,000l. a year for ever, in the time of the plague at Marseilles, when the Spaniards would have bought all their linen from Ireland; but the merchants and weavers sent over such abominable linen, that it was all returned back, and sold for a fourth part of its value. This is our condition, which you may please to pity, but never can mend. I wish you good success with all my heart. I have always loved good projects, but have always found them to miscarry. I am, Sir, with true esteem for your good intentions,
Your most obedient humble servant,
P.S. I would have subscribed my name, if I had not a very bad one; so I leave you to guess it. If I can be of any service to you in this kingdom, I shall be glad if you will employ me. 1762, March.