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self here, that his employer procured for him a medical appointment in India; and in the year 1758 Goldsmith was appointed physician to one of the factories in India. Splendid visions of the wealth to be acquired in the east now filled our author's mind; but to equip himself for so long a voyage was an effort beyond his present means. To effect this, he drew up and printed proposals for publishing by subscription his ' Present State of Polite Literature in Europe:'16 the following letters will best explain his situation, and views at the time.
TO DANIEL HODSON, ESQ. AT LISHOY, NEAR BALLYMAHON,IN IRELAND.
(No date, but written in the summer of 1758.) DEAR SIR, You cannot expect regularity in one who is regular in nothing. Nay, were I forced to love you by rule, I dare venture to say, I could never do
him: 'You had better, Mr. Goldsmith, let me keep your money for you, as I do for some of the young gentlemen:' to which he replied with great good humour, 'In truth, madam, there is equal need.'—Watkins's Literary Anecdotes, p. 515.
16 In this very year, 1758, Goldsmith sold to Mr. Edward Dilly, for twenty guineas,' The Memoirs of a Protestant condemned to the Gallies of France for his Religion.' Written by himself. Translated from the original, just published at the Hague, by James Willington. Two volumes, 12mo.
Aikin's Life of Goldsmith, p. xvi. it sincerely. Take me then with all my faults; let me write when I please, for you see I say what I please, and am only thinking aloud when writing to you. I suppose you have heard of my intention of going to the East Indies. The place of my destination is one of the factories on the coast of Coromandel, and I go in the quality of physician and surgeon, for which the company has signed my warrant, which has already cost me £10. I must also pay £50 for my passage, and £10 for my sea stores, and the other incidental expenses of my equipment will amount to £60, or £70 more. The salary is but trifling, "iz. £100 per annum, but the other advantages, if a person be prudent, are considerable. The practice of the place, if I am rightly informed, generally amounts to not less than £1000 per annum, for which the appointed physician has an exclusive privilege. This, with the advantages resulting from trade, with the high interest which money bears, viz. twenty per cent are the inducements which persuade me to undergo the fatigues of the sea, the dangers of war, and the still greater dangers of the climate, which induce me to leave a place where I am every day gaining friends and esteem, and where I might enjoy all the conveniences of life. I am certainly wrong not to be contented with what I already possess, trifling as it is; for should I askmyself the serious question, What is it I want? what can I answer? my desires are capricious as the big bellied woman's, who longed for a piece of her husband's nose. I have no certainty, it is true. But why cannot I do as some men of more merit, who have lived on more precarious terms? Scarron used jestingly to call himself the Marquis of Quenault, which was the name of the bookseller that employed him. And why may not I assert my privilege and quality on the same pretensions? Yet upon deliberation, whatever airs I give myself on this side of the water, my dignity, I fancy, would be evaporated before I reached the other. I know you have in Ireland a very indifferent idea of a man who writes for bread, though Swift and Steele did so in the earliest parts of their lives. You imagine, I suppose, that every author by profession lives in a garret, wears shabby clothes, and converses with the meanest company. Yet I do not believe there is one single writer, who has abilities to translate a French novel, that does not keep better company, wear finer clothes, and live more genteelly than many who pride themselves for nothing else in Ireland. I confess it again, my dear Dan, that nothing but the wildest ambition could prevail on me to leave the enjoyment of that refined conversation which I am sometimes permitted to partake in, for uncertain fortune, and paltry show. You cannot conceive how I am sometimes divided: to leave all that is dear to me gives me pain, but when I consider I may possibly acquire a genteel independence in life; when I think of that dignity which philosophy claims, to raise itself above contempt and ridicule. When I think thus, I eagerly long to embrace every opportunity of separating myself from the vulgar, as much in my circumstances, as I am already in my sentiments. I am going to publish a book, for an account of which I refer you to a letter which I wrote to my brother Goldsmith. Circulate for me among your acquaintance a hundred proposals, which I have given orders may be sent to you, and if, in pursuance of such circulation, you should receive any subscriptions, let them, when collected, be transmitted to Mr. Bradley, who will give a receipt for the same. * • • •
I know not how my desire of seeing Ireland, which had so long slept, has again revived with so much ardour, so weak is my temper, and so unsteady, that I am frequently tempted, particularly when low spirited, to return home, and leave my fortune, though just beginning to look kinder. But it shall not be. In five or six years I hope to indulge those transports. I find I want constitution and a strong steady disposition, which alone makes men great. I will however correct my faults, since I am conscious of them.
17 TO EDWARD MILLS, ESQ., NEAR ROSCOMMON, IRELAND.
You have quitted, I find, that plan of life which you once intended to pursue, and given up ambition for domestic tranquillity. Were I to consult your satisfaction alone in this change, I have the utmost reason to congratulate your choice; but when I consider my own, I cannot avoid feeling some regret, that, one of my few friends has declined a pursuit in which he had every reason to expect success. The truth is, like the rest of the world, I am self-interested in my concern; and do not so much consider the happiness you have acquired, as the honour I have probably lost in the change. I have often let my fancy loose when you were the subject, and have imagined your gracing the bench, or thundering at the bar, while I have taken no small pride to myself, and whispered all that I could come near, that this was my cousin. In
"The letters of Goldsmith are so excellent, that it is to be hoped his next biographer will delight us with an increased collection of them. I find in Johnstone's Mem. of Parr. vol. ii. p. 489, that the Doctor says—' Sir W. Scott has written to ask if I had found among Bishop Bennett's papers some letters relating to Goldsmith, which passed between him and Burke and Johnson, and Morley, and which were supposed to be in the Bishop's possession.'