« 이전계속 »
attacked and took two French men of war, the Alcide and the Lys, Louis XV. was so averse to war, that he would have pocketed the insult; and Madame Pompadour said it was better to put up with the affront, than to go to war without any object but the point of honour. It is known, that neither the king, nor the ministers of England, wished for war. The French King abhorred the thought of war !—What then was the cause? Chiefly the fear of the popular clamour, and of the opposition in the Duke of Newcastle's mind. Mr Hume thinks Lord North no great minister, but does not see a better; cannot give any reason for the incapacity and want of genius, civil and military, which marks this period. He looks upon the country as on the verge of decline. His fears seem rather too great, and things are not quite so bad as he apprehends; but certainly the first show of statesmen, generals, and admirals, is, without comparison, the worst that has been seen in this country. I said to Mr Hume, that I thought the great consideration to be acquired by speaking in Parliament, was the cause of that want of every other quality in men of rank; they do speak readily, but there are many orators who can neither judge nor act well."
"Wednesday, 3lst April.
"Arrived in London, where we saw Sir John Pringle, who thought Mr Hume much better than he expected to see him, and in no immediate danger. We staid a few days in London, and then set out for Bath.
"In travelling from London to Bath, we had occasion frequently to make our observations on the passengers whom we met, and on those who passed us, as every carriage continued to do. Nothing occurred worthy the writing down, except Mr David's plan of managing his kingdom, in case Ferguson and I had been princes of the adjacent states. He knew very well, he said, (having often disputed the point with us,) the great opinion we had of military virtues as essential to every state; that from these sentiments rooted in us, he was certain he would be attacked and interrupted in his projects of cultivating, improving, and civilizing mankind by the arts of peace; that he comforted himself with reflecting, that from our want of economy and order in our affairs, we should be continually in want of money; whilst he would have his finances in excellent condition, his magazines well filled, and naval stores in abundance; but that his final stroke of policy, upon which he depended, was to give one of us a large subsidy to fall upon the other, which would infallibly secure to him peace and quiet, and after a long war, would probably terminate in his being master of all the three kingdoms. At this sally, so like David's manner of playing with his friends, I fell into a fit of laughing, in which David joined; and the people that passed us certainly thought we were very merry travellers."
Having communicated this biographical essay to my friend, Sir Robert Liston, lately our ambassador at the Porte, who was the early intimate and neighbour of Dr Wilkie, he wished me to correct the expression, uttered in the course of free and unweighed conversation, by Mr Charles Townshend, containing the opinion of that gentleman with regard to Dr Wilkie, which will be found at p» 15. I give Sir Robert's correction in his own words, contained in the following note to me ;—
V • ...
':' My Dear Sir,
"You have afforded me * a delicious treat by the communication of your Account of the Life of John Home, whom I know well, and to whom I think you have done perfect justice.
* I am happy to have this opportunity of setting down here the name of my excellent class-fellow and earliest friend, Sir Robert Lislon. It is needless for me to eulogize that name;
"I am anxious that you should mollify, or mo-r dify, what you say with respect to Professor Wilkie.
"You have spoken fairly of his genius, which I, like others, felt to be original and luminous beyond that of any man I have ever seen.
"But I knew him long, and knew him intimately, and I can assure you that Wilkie was good-hurmoured, mild, attached to his family and his friends, full of condescension and kindness in his notice to young persons,—of which I have a most grateful remembrance. He talked indeed a great deal, and loved disquisition and debate; but there was nothing overbearing or offensive, or even stiff, in the manner of his urging his arguments; on the contrary, he was always calm, placid, perfectly master of bis. temper,-—and often lively, j'ocular, and full of merriment.
"If he deserved, therefore, the epithet rough and unpolished, it was not because he was at any moment rude or harsh in the intercourse of life, but because he abstained from every thing like flattery or compliment, and perhaps too frankly spoke the truth; and if he was not accommodating to the decorum of society, it was solely in the slovenliness of his dress; and the neglect of cleanliness in his habits, sometimes, I own, carried to a degree that caused disgust in persons of delicacy and high breeding.
it has been praised at courts and by princes; but I know that he will not the less value the suffrage of an ancient friend, felt, deeply felt, though not expressed., in the private room in which J write.