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I shall have my twenty guineas refunded, with what interest you think fit. I hear you often dined with the sheriff and with the judges, but you will eat more luxuriously with us, for we have venison and wheatears at every meal.Lady Bath will be glad to see you, and so you may be sure shall I, your most affectionate friend,
THE EARL OF BATH TO GEORGE COLMAN, ESQ. DEAR COLEY,
London, March 3d, 1759. I THANK you for your letter, and am glad to hear of your notable success at Oxford. You say you got two guineas, by saving two men from banging. I wish you was to have two guineas apiece for every man in Oxford that deserves to be hanged, and then the University would be of some use to you. At Worcester I doubt you will get but little; but get acquainted with two or three roguish attorneys, and they will lay you in a stock of causes for next assizes, when you are to be no longer at my expense. Mrs. Lake, Miss Lear, Lord Pulteney, and Mr. Douglas, drank your health on Sunday last, and wished to convey you a few bottles of the claret we drank it in. This letter I directed to Shrewsbury, which is the surest place to find you in. If you are concerned in the trial of any rape, the ladies desire you would send a minute and circumstantial account of all that passed at it, &c. In the House of Lords we had a debate about bringing in Irish
cattle. The Duke of Newcastle made use of this expression [obliterated] to the soldiers. Upon which some wag (for the house was vastly crowd. ed) dropped the following epigram:
Since beef adds more courage to soldiers in battle,
I hope the two horses, as well as the master and the man, hold out well, and will all return to town again in good health and flesh; if you brink back with you all the money you pick up on the road, no matter what way, your horse will find you more weighty on your return than in your setting out. Adieu, dear Colman, don't fail to write to me as often as you can, for I wish you very well, and am sincerely yours,
GEORGE ALEXANDER STEVENS TO DR. MILLER.
Nottingham Gaol, March 27, 1761. When I parted from you at Doncaster, I ima. gined, long before this, to have met with some oddities worth acquainting you with. It is grown a fashion of late to write lives :-I have now, and for a long time have had, leisure enough to undertake mine, but want materials for the latter part of it; for my existence pow cannot properly be called living, but what the painters term still life; having, ever since March 13, been confined in this town gaol for a London debt.
As a hunted deer is always shunned by the happier herd, so am I deserted by the company (the Norwich) my share taken off, and no support left me, save what my wife can spare me out of hers :
Deserted in my utmost need
With an economy which till now I was a stranger to, I have made shift to victual hitherto my little garrison, but then it has been with the aid of my good friends and allies--my clothes. This week's eating finishes my last waistcoat; and next, I must atone for my errors upon bread and water.
Themistocles had many towns to furnish bis table, and a whole city bore the charge of his meals. In some respects I am like him, for I am furnished by the labours of a multitude. A wig has fed me two days: the trimming of a waistcoat as long: a pair of velvet breeches paid my washerwoman, and a ruffled shirt has found me in shaving. My coat I swallowed by degrees. The sleeves I breakfasted upon for weeks: the body, skirts, &c. served me for dinner two months. My silk stockings have paid my lodgings; and two pair of new pumps, enabled me to smoke several pipes. It is incredible how my appetite (barometer like) rises in proportion as my necessities make their terrible advances. I here could say something droll about a good stomach, but it is ill jesting with edge tools, and I am sure that's the sharpest thing about me. You inay think I have no sense of my condition, that, while I am thus wretched, I should offer at ridicule; but,
sir, people constitutioned like me, with a disproportioned levity of spirits, are always most merry wben they are most miserable; and quicken like the eyes of the consumptive, which are always brightest the nearer the patient approaches his dissolution. However, sir, to show you I am not lost to all reflection, I think myself poor enough to want a favour, and humble enough to ask it here. Sir, I might make an encomium on your good nature, humanity, &c. but I shall not pay so bad a compliment to your understanding, as to endeavour, by a parade of phrases, to win it over to my interest. If you could any night at a concert make a small collection for me, it might be a means of my obtaining my liberty ; and you well know, sir, the first people of rank abroad will perform the most friendly offices for the sick : be not, therefore, offended at the request of a poor (though a deservedly punished) debtor,
GEORGE ALEXANDER STEVENS.
THE HON. CHARLES YORKE TO DR. BIRCH. DEAR SIR,
Sat. Morn, Oct. 9, 1762. I THANK you much for the sheets of Sir Francis Bacon's Letters. They are extremely curious and well writ, and have made me impatient for the rest. I have marked in p. 6, a word blundered in printingAnchor, for Anchoret or Anchorite (Hermit-ara xwentns).
No man deserves so much of the public as you do, for bringing to light so many valuable inemo. rials for the illustration both of literary and civil history in England; but you will forgive me, if I wish the words in brackets, f. 31, 32, struck out of the book. They convey no fact ; and since Sir Francis Bacon struck them out of his letter, as conveying a low and indecent flattery to the king, as well as betraying a weakness of passion and resentment in himself, I think that you have no more right to print them than you would have if you could read the hearts of men, so as to be conscious of every roving thought or wayward gust of passion which crosses them involuntarily and by surprise. It is enough if men do not act by them; but to be subject to such starts of mind is matter of constitution, and part of the mechanism of human nature, and ought not to be exposed, lest the reader should apply that to the character of the man which never entered into his conduct. You have the best heart in the world; but your zeal for the illustration of history almost makes you transgress those laws which, in the case of me, or any man now alive, you would hold most sacred. Now, though Sir Francis Bacon has been dead almost one hundred and forty years, yet I think his fame and his memory more recent, more living, and more bright than when he was alive. His faults are cast in the shade by the candour of posterity, and finer colours laid over his virtues, unsullied by envy and detraction (those busy and malignant passions of contemporaries), or even by his own weaknesses.