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ments) is due in discretion and common policy to the world. For indeed the foibles and vices of great men, celebrated for their parts and actions, too much exposed to view, only confirm and comfort the vulgar in the like conduct, without teaching to that vulgar the imitation of their virtues. Give me leave to add, that this reasoning is irresistible, where the person in question has himself checked the feelings, and cancelled the first expressions of his own intemperate passion.
Let me beg of you to reprint the leaf which contains the passage objected to, and supply the gap either by asterisks, or by a note, which the latter well deserves, as to the state of the king's revenue, then depending in parliament (or near that time) for deliberation; and which will probably give you an opportunity of vindicating Lord Salisbury, whom Sir Francis Bacon, with so much dignity, gravity, and decorum, calls a great subject and a great servant, in another letter written to the king immediately after the treasurer's death.
Forgive me, dear sir, and believe me with true affection always yours,
MRS. MONTAGU TO DR. MONSEY.
Saturday night, (1762]. I MUCH approve of the style and temper of your last letter, as far as it inclines to that decent share of retirement and meditation which be. comes the age of sixty-five; but as in a gay and dissipated life the faults and levities of youth will continue longest upon you, have a care those of old age do not advance faster in your retreat. It is the great misfortune of man never to be without enemies. The passions in his own breast are the most dangerous he has. No bolt or bar can exclude them. In the silence of the night they are heard ; they invade every solitude, though ever so deep. When the gay illusions of the world spread no longer their temptations to our fancy, there may arise spirits of great power and influence to haunt our dark retreats. Pride, discontent, suspicion, selfishness, and the whole train of unsocial passions, like the spectres of the night, stalk about us. Too often the solitaire, by retiring from the business of the world, does no better than a man who, to avoid the whelps and puppies which run about in the daytime in a vil. lage, should shut himself up in some sequestered place haunted by the wolf, the fox, and other beasts of prey. We had better entertain idle affections than malignant passions. If you retire from an opinion mankind are insincere, ungrateful, and malignant, you will grow proud by reflecting you are not like thesē pharisees. We should retire, from a sense of our own faults, with a desire to correct them, and to have leisure for self-examination. This is the spirit of Christian pbilosophy. By frequently considering our own errors, we lose the bitter we should otherwise express when we perceive the vices of others. If you find you grow more indulgent to your fel. low creatures in your retirement, be assured you
have a bigher opinion of the uses of retirement, if I saw it produced the fruits of benevolence, of humility, of charity. I am, however, quite of your opinion, that you ought to pass a good deal of your time in your apartment; it will cure you of those levities in conversation, which, even if innocent, cease to be decent when old age approaches. Your heart bas so many amiable vir. tues, it will endure strict examination. The formal hypocrite, who has thrown a veil of decency over his vices, must be shocked when he undresses in private. But you, my dear Doctor, who have only hid your virtues under too gay a dress, will be happy to see, when your grotesque habit is pulled off, the virtues of a Christian and the wisdom of a philosopher were concealed by it. In yoir retired hours, think much of your own state in respect to God and the world; as little as you can of the conduct of others towards you. Do not harden your heart against mankind by too intense meditation on their vices and follies. Consider them as you do your patients ; administer to their infirmities; give to some good advice, and to all the world a good example; using the world as not abusing it, according to the advice of the apostle, is an example much wanted. Man is both an active and a speculative being; he does not live according to nature, or in other words, according to the will of him who made him what he is, if he is always engaged in a circle of frivolous actions, which by their continual succession, prevent his exercising his mind in meditation; less still if he is inactive and conVOL. V.
templative at all times. As that regimen is best which keeps the body in health, so is that course of life which best disposes us to do acts of virtue; but to cherish the dispositions, we must not retire where we cannot exercise it. So much in answer to the serious part of your letter, which I am in a proper temper and situation to answer; I am in a middle state, betwixt the pains of sickness and the joy of health. For solitude I may have enough of it. From the setting of the sun I have no voice but the hooting owl, and thus will pass all my evenings till my Lord Bath and you come to Sandleford. Lord Lyttelton and Mr. Lyttelton left us on Friday, his lordship is in great grief for the loss of Admiral Smith. I should be very glad if you could get me any good claret; we pay the best price, and have it of the most famous wine merchants, but of its goodness I am no judge. As to Madeira, I fear it is not to be got in any perfection. I should be very glad you could get me some excellent hock at any price, for my Lord Bath drinks hock. Of all these wines, or any, if you can hear of such as you can depend upon, order some down by the Newbery carrier. You do not condescend to send me any news. Pray what do they mean in the city by roaring against the peace before they know the terms of it? I wish the aldermen and the head of the train-bands were in the campaign in Germany. Adieu ! most venerable hermit of St. James's, who from your cell contemplate the world's vanities in the Green Park and Birdcage Walk ! When you go to Lambeth, make my compliments, and let me know how the respectable person's there do. You may at Lambeth see that due mixture of virtuous action and pious meditation you should aspire to. With my best wishes for your health and happiness, I am, your sincere and affectionate friend, and humble servant,
MRS. MONTAGU TO DR. MONSEY.
Sandleford, Aug. 9th, 1764. I Am much shocked at the account yesterday's post brought me of the Duchess of Leeds, and heartily condole with you, who I know had a very sincere regard for her. I shall be glad to hear of the health of Lord Godolphin and the Duke of Leeds. The fond father and affectionate husband are greatly to be pitied. One cannot but sympathize in their sorrow. The Duke and Duchess of Leeds lived in a more friendly and domestic upion than is usual for persons in their rank of life; so that his grace deserves the highest compassion. A lady for whom I have the highest regard, Lady Harriet Roper, will be greatly afflicted by their misfortune; she had the most tender attachment to the duchess, whose amiable virtues must entirely gain a heart like lady Harriet's; and as her ladyship is in a bad state of health, I much fear the consequences of such an affliction for her. The sad subject of this letter puts to flight all the whimsical nonsense I used to write to you; and I will only * add, that I shall be very glad to hear that Lord