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"London, March 25th, 1773. "Dear Home,
"I Don't wonder you are surprised at not hearing from me ; it would appear to any one else most unkind, but you know me enough not to measure my friendship by my letters. Alas! my friend, Fortune has been determined to empty every envenomed arrow out of her quiver against me, which, joined to so long a state of bad health, will bring matters to a quicker issue; which, far from a painful, is rather a comfortable reflection at my time of life. Few men have ever suffered more, in the short space I have gone through of political warfare, and yet the violence of open enemies has least affected me. Think, my friend, of my son Charles being refused every thing I asked. I have not had interest to get him a company, while every alderman of a petty corporation meets with certain success. I am now in treaty, under Lord Townshend's wing, for dragoons in Ireland; if I don't succeed, I will certainly offer him to the Emperor. A thousand thanks for the boxes and snuff; before I received it, I had got a provision from Prestonpans, that will, I believe, last my life. You say nothing of moving southward, though my motions and residence are too uncertain to make me wish for it. If I am in being, and in this part of the world, I need not tell you that I shall rejoice to see you. Adieu, my good friend.—Health, quiet, and happiness attend you many years.
"Yours, most affectionately,
"London, June 27th, 1780. "Dear John,
"How are matters going on with you in the world, while we here have both lives and property at stake? This mad Scotchman* has lighted up a flame that will not be so easily extinguished, though at present, surrounded by fifteen thousand men, it remains dormant. You will easily perceive, that under the colour of religious zeal, three different purposes were pursued by three very different sets of people; the breaking open the prisons and plundering houses, were the natural operations of the abandoned populace. Lord Mansfield's house, and many others, they have found marked for destruction, (of which both mine in town and country had the foremost rank,) belong to counsels you cannot be at a loss to guess; but the attack on the Bank, of the New River'water-pipes, and the particular fire-balls made use of, came from those who really wished the total destruction of this once-great country. Fanaticism in burning Romish chapels, with a formidable list found of thirty-five thousand Roman Catholic houses, all destined to the flames, may be deemed to proceed from a fourth junto. You will see printed, by authority, lists of three or four hundred killed and wounded; but Charles tells me the first don't exceed thirty. The troops had very cautious orders, and acted accordingly: Never was an hour where spirit was so necessary to save a country at the gates of destruction ; but that is fled from this island, and exists only in the first person amongst us. The extempore speech he made at Council, drew tears from several there,— '/ lament the conduct of the magistrates, but I can only answer for one—one (putting his hand on his breast,) will do Ms duty.' The language of . is, at this hour, 'Poor creatures! they did not mean mischief, a mere frolic, &c. and now all over, so that keeping the troops has very sinister purposes.' I fear, indeed, those in power think it over; but the troops once gone, I look on the fate of my house as determined; indeed, nothing but my son Charles, with forty of the Royals, saved it on the Thursday; and as to this place, I fear they may destroy it when they please. Twenty men left at Luton would have secured me, for a mob can't come from London without its being known, but eight or ten villains may do here what they please. Charles is to send me arms, but his account of the servants left in town renders them useless, for he says, except Peter, they were all sneaking cowards. O! my friend, how does this demonstrate the folly I have been guilty of in all done here? One-fourth as much at Bute would have made that the first seat in Britain, and given me a comfortable and secure asylum in the decline of life; but repentance comes too late, and now, 'come what come may, time and the tide wear out the roughest day.'"
* Lord George Gordon.
The last division of the correspondence, which I have selected from other letters, less interesting to the Society, consists of some from Mr Home's celebrated friend, to whom I have had occasion so often to allude, David Hume ;—many of whose letters, I regret to say, our poet, with his characteristic inattention to such matters, appears to have destroyed, or rather probably neglected to keep, as his nephew, to whose kindness I am indebted for a communication of his uncle's papers and correspondence, has been able to find but a very few.
In the first part of this paper, I mentioned ajeu d'esprit of Mr Hume's ; who, being kept out of the secret of a humorous pamphlet, written by his intimate friend, Mr Ferguson, took his revenge by writing to Dr Carlyle a letter, claiming the work as his own ; and I took occasion to observe how much this anecdote tended to confirm an observation which had frequently occurred to me, of the uncertainty of the evidence arising from letters, when the writers are dead, and the motives of the correspondence cannot be known. I have now been favoured with a copy of that letter, which I will read to the Society, who, I think, will perceive, that though plainly ironical to us, who know the previous circumstances, there is an air of sober reality about it, that would have made it appear perfectly serious to one who should have found it at some distance of time, without being possessed of such previous knowledge.
"Edinburgh, 3d February, 1761. "Dear Sir,
"I Am informed that you have received a letter from London, by which you learn that the manuscript of sister Peg has been traced to the printer's, and has been found to be, in many places, interlined and corrected in my hand-writing. I could have wished that you had not published this piece of intelligence before you told me of it. The truth is, after I had composed that trifling performance, and thought I had made it as correct as I could, I gave it to a sure hand to be transcribed; that in case any of the London printers had known my