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yey the horrors of a storm with scarcely any other sentiment than a cool reflection on its general advantages, would be very little the better for such a contemplation. Universal and remote consequences would operate very faintly on our reason, if the heart were not, by Infinite Wisdom, formed to feel the private and immediate stroke. By this, it is awed and softened to such a sense of human weakness and dependence, as leads it into a state the most friendly to virtue. Reason, on which we are so apt to build our foolish pride, would perpetually slumber over the task of life, if it were not awakened to the charge by the voice of the affections. Upon this principle, I cannot help thinking that a cloister is by no means such a school of devotion as it is represented ; and every
observation which I made abroad served to confirm my opinion. I am persuaded that the vicissitudes of the world much more naturally carry the thoughts to a sense of our dependence upon the Divine protection, than that dead vacation from all present hopes and fears that stupifies the retirement of a convent.
I know not to what article in the papers you allude about Voltaire; but I suppose by what you say, he is expected in England. I am sorry for it. Certainly, from every society in which I had a casting vote, he would be excluded; and excluded particularly for the very circumstance for which he would claim to be admitted,--his being a genius. I must confess, that to me the idolatry of great talents applied to wicked purposes, appears worse than the idolatry of titles and riches
.. Do not think me too severe, my dear Mrs. Vesey. For particular faults I believe few people have more indul. gence tẶan I have; I feel how much I need it for my. self: but atrocious principles ought to be treated with: the utmost detestation. A wicked writer is a much worse character than even a wicked man. The temporary example of the last may ruin a few individuals : but the other poisons a river, and diffuses infection through whole kingdoms; the current of time rolls it to successive generations, and there can be no guessing when the force of the venom will be spent. The present fashionable system of French philosophy, subverts all the foundations of morality, breaks all connexion between earth and Heaven, and tries to cheat mankind out of all that is worth living for, and all that is worth dying for. Can any talents of understanding, any treasures of learning, or any brilliancy of wit, reconcile one to the conversation of a person engaged in a scheme to thwart every dispensation of Heaven for human happiness ? I am sure you find much more satisfaction in talking with your rustic dialist, than you could from the polished expositor of Newton,
“Che di sublime, chiaro ingegno adorno,
Tutt'altro seppe che se stesso e Dio.” The state of my health was so very languid, while I was abroad, that every exertion was more than I well knew how to support. My head is as bad as ever since my return.
I am now going to lay it on a pillow for the remainder of the day; but I would not omit writing, as you desired to hear from me.
: your letter
Lambeth Palace, Sept. 2, 1768. Your kind inquiries, my dear Mrs. Vesey, did not reach me so soon as you
intended : went to Deal, and I did not receive it till yesterday, I am much obliged to you for the concern which you express for my friends and me, on the late melancholy event at Lambeth*. You rightly judged how much I must be struck by the death of this great and good man, with whose friendship I had been honoured for more than twenty years, and to whom I had innumerable obligations. But I scarcely felt my own loss, compared with what I suffered from the effect which I knew it must have on Mrs. and miss Talbot, who had spent almost their whole lives with him. Though I knew miss Talbot's absolute submission, in every event, to the Divine will, there was great reason to apprehend that her weak health might sink under the first shock of so sudden an attack: but, I thank God, she has been wonderfully supported; and I had the comfort of finding both her and her mother in a better state than could have been expected.
The archbishop had for many months suffered constant pain, which both himself and his physicians took for the rheumatism; and there was no apprehension of any danger. You have seen by the papers what was the immediate cause of his death; he survived the fracturet
* The death of archbishop Secker.
+ Of his thigh-bone, which was become completely carious ; and which separated, of itself, without any external violence.
only three days. This accident, which, at first view, seemed so grievous a circumstance, soon appeared to have been a merciful means oi freeing him from sufferings which must have been every day increasing to a terrible degree.
The whole amount of the archbishop's fortune, when compared with the great preferments which he had enjoyed from his first setting out in life, is a mere trifle : and, in this instance, as well as in many others, he has left a noble example to his successors. The extent of his charities is scarcely to be imagined. It is grievous to hear every day of the desolation of such numbers as owed the best part of their subsistence to his bounty. Nor was he only charitable; he was kind and generous to a degree, which can be known only by those who were acquainted with his private and domestic life. I have seen a catalogue of his manuscripts, which are to be deposited in the library at Lambeth; and well as I was acquainted with his unwearied application, I was surprised to find such monuments of solitary studiousness in one who had been so much engaged in the active duties of his station, which he executed with great exactness and diligence.
I know not how much longer Mrs. and miss Talbot will continue here: certainly, however, not more than a month; and I hope not so long, as every object within these melancholy walls must, at every hour, remind them of their loss. The hope of being of some little relief to them, keeps up my spirits amidst the uncomfortable scenes by which I am surrounded. The disorder and confusion of half unfurnished rooms, which at every step present painful ideas of the dissolution of a family, lately so happily established, you will easily imagine must be extremely affecting.
Miss Talbot has some general remembrance of having seen you at Bath. If you admired her in her infancy, you would have been happy, if you had continued your acquaintance, to find that her whole life has answered every early promise both of her understanding and her. character. Her behaviour under the present trial is conformable to every other part of her conduct, and worthy of the principles by which she has been uniformly guided. With the weakest health, and the quickest sensibility of her loss, she discovers the noblest fortitude and the most unrepining resignation ; of which she gives the best, and, during the struggles of recent grief, the most difficult proof, by constantly endeavouring to set every remaining blessing in the most comfortable and cheerful point of view.
When my friends leave this place, they propose going to Mr. Talbot’s, in Surry, till a house, which they have taken in Lower Grosvenor street, can be got ready to receive them. As soon as they leave Lambeth, I return into Kent. I have written to you only on one subject : indeed, my present situation will scarcely allow me to fix on any other; and I thought you would be glad to know particularly how we go on,
Adieu! Remember you give me hopes of hearing froin you soon.
Clarges Street, Jan. 15, 1770. You will be so kindly solicitous about me, my dear Mrs. Vesey, when you see in the papers a confirmation of the reality of my apprehensions about my