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portrait upon so wide a canvass. She was no every* day character.
You are pleased with colonel Addington; and I am not less delighted with his sister, the elegant, the eloquent, and interesting Mrs. Goodenough, with whom I had lately the pleasure of passing a few hours of very rapid wing.
Ah, friend! how political prejudice can betray into uncandid decision the clearest heads and kindest hearts! You perceive I allude to the sentences which close your letter.—Adieu! and believe, that it is not in the wide difference of our opinion concerning those measures which may best preserve the welfare of this country, to alienate from you any portion of the esteem and regard of /'
LETTERS OF SEVERAL DISTINGUISHED
William Melmoth, esq. to .
- May 5, 1743.
If you received the first account of my loss from other hands than mine, you must impute it to the 'dejection of mind into which that event threw me. The blow, indeed, fell with too much severity, to leave me capable of recollecting myself enough to write to' you immediately: as there cannot, perhaps, be a greater shock to a breast of any sensibility, than to see its earliest and most valuable connexions irreparably broken; to find itself for ever' torn from the first and most endeared object of its highest veneration. At least, the affection and esteem I bore to that excellent parent were founded upon so many and so uncommon motives, that his death has given me occasion to lament not only a most tender father, but a most valuable friend.
That I can no longer enjoy the benefit of his animating example, is one among the many aggravating circumstances of my affliction; and I often apply to myself what an excellent ancient has said upon a similar occasion, " Vereor ne nunc negligentius vivam." There is nothing, in truth, puts us so much upon our guard, as to act under the constant inspection of one, whose virtues as well as years, have rendered him venerable. Never, indeed, did the dignity of goodness appear more irresistible in any man: yet there was something at the same time so gentle in his manners, Such an innocence and a cheerfulness in his conversation, that he was as sure to gain affection as to inspire reverence.'
It has been observed, (and I think, by Cowley,) that a man in much business must either make himself a knave, or the world will make him a fool. If there is any truth in this observation, it is not, however, without exceptions. My father was early engaged in the great scenes of business, in which he continued almost to his very last hour; yet he preserved his integrity firm and unbroken, through all those powerful assaults which he must necessarily have encountered in so long a course of action. . >
If it were justice, indeed, to his other virtues, to single out any particular one as shining with superior lustre to the rest, I should point to his probity as the brightest ftart of his character. But the truth is, the whole tenour of his conduct was one uniform exercise of every quality that can adorn and exalt human nature. To defend the injured, to relieve the indigent, to protect the distressed, were the chief end and aim of all his endeavours; and his principal motive both for engaging and persevering in his profession, was, to enable himself more abundantly to gratify so glorious an ambition.
No man had a higher relish for the pleasures of retired and contemplative life; as none was more qualified to enter into those calm scenes with greater ease and .dignity. He had nothing to make him desirous of flying from the reflections of his own mind; nor any passions which his moderate patrimony would not have been more than sufficient to gratify. But to live for. himself only, was not consistent with.his generous and enlarged sentiments. It was a spirit of benevolence that led him into the active scenes of the world: upon any other principle, he would either never have entered into them, or soon have renounced them. And it was that godlike spirit which conducted and supported him through his useful progress, to the honour and interest of his family and friends; and to the benefit of every creature that could possibly be comprehended within the extensive circle of his beneficence.
- I well know, my dear , the high regard you pay
to every character of merit in general, and the esteem in which you held this most valuable man in particular. I am sure, therefore, you would not forgive me were I to make an apology for leaving with you this private monument of my veneration for a parent, whose least and lowest claim to my gratitude and esteem, is, that I am indebted to him for my birth.
Adieu! I am &c.
Rev. James Hervey to his godson, Paul Orchard, esq. of Stoke Abbey, in Devonshire.
Weston Favel, near Northampton, Dear sir, July 14, 1747.
As your honoured father was pleased to make choice of me, to answer in your name at the font, and to exercise a sort of guardianship over your spiritual interests, permit me, by putting these little treatises*
Contemplations on the Night, Ac
into your hand, to fulfil some part of that solemn obligation.
Gratitude for many signal favours, and a conscientious regard to my sacred engagement, have long inspired my breast with the warmest wishes, both for your true dignity, ami for your real happiness. Nor can I think of a more endearing, or a more effectual way, of advancing either the one or the other, than to set before you a sketch of your excellent father's character.—Illustrious examples are the most winning incitements to virtue. And none can come attended with so particular a recommendation to you, sir, as the pattern of that worthyperson, from whom you derive your very being.
A cordial and reverential esteem for the Divine Word, was one of his most remarkable qualities. Those oracles of Heaven were his principal delight, and his inseparable companions. With unwearied assiduity, he exercised himself in the law of the Lord. Thence he derived his maxims of wisdom, and formed his judgment of things. The precepts of the Gospel, were the model of his temper, and the guide of his life; and its precious promises, were the joy of his heart, and his portion for ever.
Few gentlemen were better furnished, either with richness of fancy, or copiousness of expression, to bear a shining part in conversation. With these talents, he always endeavoured to give some useful, generally some religious, turn to the discourse. Nor did he ever reflect, with greater complacency, on his social hours, than when they tended to glorify the Eternal Majesty; and to awaken in himself and others, a more lively spirit of devotion.
To form projects for the good of others, and to carry