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hour is become the serious attention and delight of my days.
It has already been so of three weeks, and is likely to continue as much longer. This universum triduum. When we meet, which I flatter myself will be soon, you will be amazed to see how I am altered. Breakfast at nine_two dishes of tea, and one thin slice of bread and butter-dine at three-eat moderately--drink a sober pint-tumble the bed till four-tea at sixwalk till nine-eat some cooling fruit and to bed. There is regularity for you.
Last Saturday 1 heard the trial of the conspirators relative to Miss Fanny, and was much entertained. They proposed to bring the girl into court; but my lord, looking in that way which is called looking we don't know how, significantly declared that he would advise them not to bring her in, for, quoth my lord, I find I shall certainly be at her.
I read the two last papers with much pleasure, and hear them well spoken of. There is one circumstance in your letter which hurts me. You say nothing when you shall be in town. I hope
Neither do you mention Miss Wilkes, whom I must not forget.
The paper of the third * will never be forgotten,
* The North Briton, No. 5, for July 3, 1762, consists of a bitter invective against the system of favouritism. The text is taken from the historical fact of the influence of Mortimer over the Queen Mother, during the minority of Edward III. It was an observation of Wilkes, that though No. 45 had won derful luck, the elder brother, No. 5, deserved still more to have been taken notice of, and perhaps actually laid the foundation of the younger brother's fortune. Wilkes repubJished an old tragedy, entitled the Fall of Mortimer, to which he prefixed a Dedication to the Earl of Bute, couched in language the most insulting and sarcastic. Wilkes was often heard to declare that this Dedication was the best thing he had ever written.
and you will never be forgiven, as it is universally ascribed to you.
It has opened the eyes of many. Hated by knaves, and knaves to hate, may not be your motto, but will undoubtedly be your fate through life.
I desire you to take great care of your health, and still more of your life. I cannot bear to think that a life, which I value almost equally with my own, should be sacrificed to false principles of honour, though ever ready to be devoted on a true and noble plan. You seem sometimes rather to live in romance, than under the direction of that well-tempered, cool, distinguishing reason, in which no man is generally more happy than you.
The passage you quote from Homer* ought never one moment to be out of your mind.
Yours, July, 13, 1762.
MY DEAR WILKES,
Oct. 11, 1764. You are certainly the best tempered fellow in the world; so ready to forgive the idleness of a friend, and yet never giving him an opportunity of paying you in kind. I am now in the same sentence to thank you for several letters, and likewise for the acquaintance of Goy,f which I deem
* Bold is the task, when subjects grown too wise
Instruct a monarch where his error lies;
"Tis sure the mighty will revenge at last. † For some account of M. Goy, see voi. iii. p. 287. On Churchill having intimated his wish to visit Wilkes in France, with some doubt as to his safety in so doing, in consequence of the then political position of affairs between the two parties, and the part taken in the North Briton as to the dispute between D'Eon and Guerchy the French ambassador, Wilkes vrote thus, on the 20th of Jan. 1764, to his agent Cotes.
Goy felt the pulse of the French ministers about my
one of the greatest obligations you have conferred upon me.
I have a thousand things to say relative to fools and wise men, Englishmen in France, and Scotsmen in England, but your own affairs are in their own nature so much more pressing, and as to time, so very critical, that I shall postpone every other consideration, and give them that preference in my letter they have in my mind.
Shall you come over in November? A very pithy manner of asking a question, on the decision of which your whole welfare turns, which you submit to others, when you should ask it of yourself, concerning which your friends may mean well, but you only from your own feelings can judge rightly. But take my thoughts thus.
If you stay in France, you will undoubtedly be outlawed: (the consequences of the outlawry are however nothing to a man not foolishly mad after this land of folly). You will not be able to go on now against Halifax, the cause cannot soon be tried. Yet, if I may advise, stay in France. There is scarcely a consideration that could make me think your return to England in November defensible in the eye of common sense.
Have I made out clearly what I mean? It is a cause in which you have too near a concern, for me to be cool and disinterested, and my heart is too much affected to give my head fair play. As there is no man, who is more ready to ask advice,
coming here, and Churchill's upon the former report. The answer was sent from the Duke de Praslin, by the king's orders, to M. St. Foy, Premier Commis des Affaires Etrangeres, in these words, “ Les deux illustres J. W. et C. C. peuvent venir en France et a Paris aussi souvent et pour autant de tems, qu'ils le jugeront à propos.”
so I am sure there is no one more able to give it you than yourself—I mean your cool and rational self-consult that, and you cannot do wrong.
Lend us Miss Wilkes—I long to see her-and I am sure you will not refuse her, when I tell you that every true Englishman will be happy in seeing her, and consider her (which I hope she will prove) as a forerunner of him, to whom every true Englishman is most essentially indebted.
Friendship great as mine can scarcely forgiva your inattention to the care of
health. Reflect that your country demands your life. The cause of liberty is in your hands, and that blessing so much dearer than life, must remain precarious, it not fixed by you. No one can try the Secretary of State, if you do not, and though there is no doubt but there may be arbitrary ministers in future times, yet 'tis with me a matter of question, whether there may ever be another Wilkes.
There is a new print just published of you, very like. I have wrote under it the four following lines from Pope, who is happy in them:
A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried,
I am ever yours,
The foregoing letters are almost the only ones which have been preserved, nor does it appear that Churchill was in habitual correspondence with any other individual than Wilkes ; his letters are therefore scarce, and consequently valuable. If they,
however, are not of a more interesting nature than some we have seen, there is little cause for regret. The autograph under the portrait to this volume, is a fac simile of the signature to an original letter in the possession of the Publisher of these volumes: it is, we fear, too characteristic of the writer :
MY DEAR GARRICK, Half drunk-half mad—and quite stript of all my money, I should be much obliged if you
would enclose and send by bearer, five pieces: by way of adding to favours already received by yours sincerely,
Dr. Kippis in his article of Churchill, in the Biographia Britannica, for several particulars in which he acknowledges himself much indebted to the obliging information of Mr. Wilkes,* alleges that Churchill contributed much of the poetry to “ The Library,” a respectable periodical miscellany, of which Lloyd was the editor ; it extended only to two volumes; on reading the poetry we find only the following epigram which can be safely ascribed to Churchill: On reading in the Newspaper, that the Players had given a
benefit to a distressed Clergyman.
WRITTEN BY A CLERGYMAN.
They send a starving brother to the Players; \ And who, says Garrick, wonders at the fact,
Who knows not Priests can talk and Players act.
* Chalmers, in his more satisfactory account of Churchill, in the Biographical Dictionary, says that Dr. Kippis expressed more gratitude than the small and imperfect information given justified. We have availed ourselves of both authori ties, rectifying many errors in each.