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gratification. But for explaining that cannot be, that is quite impossible, unless you could (and you cannot) shape to yourself a conception of such a disease of procrastination, as you never saw exemplified, in an equal degree, in any person whom you can have had within your habitual and prolonged observation. To be sure it is a moral disease—but it has clung to me with all the tenacity of a natural and constitutional one.
I will, however, repeat, with what a strong emotion of pleasure I received the communications froin Dublin-a pleasure which I certainly intended to express without delay. Some mortification, I acknowledge, mingled with the pleasure. The warm kindness of my old friends had the effect of giving edge to my self-accusation; and this, in truth, however perversely, operated somewhat concurrently with the tendency of the disease of which I have been complaining. But now I am recognized as an old friend, and will gratefully take my position accordingly. I will try to place myself, as now an old man, near you, now a man in middle age, but appearing to me, whether I will or not, and however I may strive to change the aspect and situation, in the image of a youth of fifteen. Nothing less than seeing you will set me right; and as my remembrance of you, and of our diversified intercourse at that time, are among the most distinct of the things that remain with me from the long past, I am certain I should, in the event of seeing you, have to combat with a very strange confusion of ideas, and that the one person would very obstinately, for a long time, be two,-indeed, perhaps always. It would, however, be very interesting to me to hear from you very minutely, as means of identification, the long history of the progress of events during the blank interval of so large a breadth of time. I should recount, to see whether or how much you recollected in coincidence with me, a number of the particulars, the adventures, the debates, the juvenile fancies, which stand representative
my mind of the young friend of a third part of a century back. It would be highly interesting to me to see your family,
in the midst of them, and Mrs. Purser, whom I so well recollect as Miss Allen–who did not much like me
at which 1 am far from wondering,—and indeed think she was considerably in the right, for certainly I was a queer article in those times. I can recollect what an indifferent figure I cut in divers respects and situations. I should be much amused to recall some of them with her,-if she had any marked remembrance of any of them. good friend, neither did she, at that time, much like you ; and it would have seemed an extremely improbable event that you should ever have become united in the most intimate relation of life. I was pleased at hearing, last summer, that a thing so unlikely had actually come to pass, happy to believe I may most justly congratulate you both; and I most cordially wish you may very long contribute to each other's happiness.
It is gratifying that you appear to have cause for so much satisfaction in viewing your family, when I see so many parents, on every hand, afflicted with apprehension and sorrow on account of their children; insomuch that I have acquired a feeling which (tacitly perhaps) congratulates parents on the early removal of their children by death. This is not from any painful experience of my own.
My eldest, who would now have been a young man about nineteen, died of consumption two years since; and left the consolation of an assured hope that he is removed to a higher, happier region. He had previously been, though with very minor faults, an object of considerable solicitude, in consideration of what a world of temptation he was (as it was mistakenly presumed) entering into; a world quite dreadful in its aspect on the character and destinies of young men. He departed in humble, pious hope,-and I have never wished him here again,—have felicitated him, rather, on his final escape from all sorrow and sin. ..
It would be a high gratification to me, to hear those opinions of men and things which you have been forming and maturing throughout the more than thirty years since I saw you. It would be curious and interesting to see how far our general or particular notions, preferences, or aversions, would coalesce, after our having so long passed through different trains and scenes of observation and experi
From the early acuteness and intelligence, of which
I have so perfect a recollection, I am sure you cannot have failed to be a keen observer and independent thinker, while a vast variety of moral phenomena have passed before your view. Your early sentiments were forming to a cast not greatly alien from my own; and I cannot help flattering myself that we should, in many points, find ourselves at this time in agreement, even after so immensely long a dissociation.--Have you taken a considerable, or a lively, interest in political events and subjects? If so, you have suffered a long course of grievous mortifications, especially in relation to your own country.
And in what a fearful state is that country at this hour!—I cannot be sure, but am strongly inclined to presume, that you think the whole system of the Government respecting it bears a character of absolute infatuation ; that a “ lying spirit” has prompted and directed all their councils :-and with such a ministry as we have now, for a judgment sent on the nation, it is gloomy, and, indeed, quite dreadful, to look forward to the course and issue of things in Ireland.
You have lately had, in Dublin, Dr. Marshman. . . That Serampore affair has, during the last twelve months, occupied my time and attention to a very self-sacrificing extent; and, I am afraid, to
little useful purpose. After reading the principal of these opponent publications, I have to say, that my opinion is modified in some points.—For one thing,—as to the alienation or hostility between the seniors and the junior missionaries,-the testimony thus produced of the feelings of so many of these latter, does lead me to believe that the fault was not so wholly on their side as Dr. M. represents, and certainly thinks. At the same time it is to be considered that all this is their own story, that they went to India with no proper information, and with expectations which were necessarily disappointed,--and that many of the circumstances stated in accusation are such (I know that some are such) as the seniors could so state as to turn the accusation on the juniors.
Yet I admit the impression that in some degree, not possible to be precisely assigned, there was cause to complain of the manner in which the seniors exercised, in some particulars, their rightful ascendency. Another thing to be admitted is, that the coalescence, the unanimity, of
sentiment among the three seniors, has not been so perfect and entire as had been supposed, while substantially and generally, they have, beyond all question, coincided in sentiment, purpose, and plan of proceeding.-But how carelessly, indiscreetly, and sometimes inconsistently, they have each and all (the three) written to their friends, at various times ! But these discrepancies are the produce of a ransack of (I have heard) 700 letters and papers. What might not be the result of such a ransack, for such an exclusive purpose, of any three associated men's writings during nearly thirty years' co-operation ?-Another point which these documents show somewhat more plainly and strongly than Dr. M. had stated, is, that in the undigested and undefined state of their early notions of their situation relatively to the Society, they had not come to a distinct and positive principle of independence till after a very considerable advance of time. But their solid ground in this question is, that from nearly the beginning they acted independently, in all manner of ways, and in very important and even hazardous matters, in which they practically held themselves under no control of the Society, not seeking either its assistance or counsel.—But these are minor matters, which, however, as I foresaw, would be laboured against the Serampore men, to keep out of sight the great substance and mass of their achievements and merits, namely, that they have most indefatigably laboured for nearly thirty years for the Christian service, that they have faithfully expended all they have acquired, in every way in and upon that service, and that finally they have nothing for themselves -excepting still to labour, through the remainder of life, whether through “evil report” or “good report.”
But for this obtrusive and endless topic, I should have said something in express answer and acknowledgment to my old, excellent, and always dear friend, your father.
He and I, I do certainly believe, are the same men that we were almost an age since; but doubtless we should, if we met, feel mutual and strange wonder to see the operation of time. We shall not long, now, remain under that operation. Eternity is beginning to throw on us its mysterious gleams through the growing shades of our evening of life.
CXLIX. TO THE REV. JOSIAH HILL.
December 15, 1828. For the evenings, I have been a prisoner all the autumn, and must be all the winter-rigorously so. A cold and cough, confirmed from time to time, last winter and spring, has been partially removed by the whole fine summer; during which I took more than a month's excursion, in parts of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and Herefordshire, under the most favourable auspices possible of weather, hospitable friends, and care, avoidance of all evening parties, and exemptions from public exercises. The cough at one time had very ill-omened symptoms, as evidently betraying an affection of the lungs. I am strictly ordered to keep out of the evening damp and cold,-never go into the town in the evening, not even to hear Hall—and take every sort of care. The cough is very much diminished, and I expect that continued care will remove the remainder. Within the last half-year I have lost (so nearly wholly, as to amount to quite the same thing) the hearing of one ear, without any known cause, without pain, but in such a manner as renders it certain it will always remain lost. poor teeth are gone, but three or four that are soon to follow. Otherwise I am in much better health than two or three years since.
Good wife is in the same feeble, ailing, but patient way. I could not tell you in any moderate number of words, or pages, or sheets, the state of the Serampore affair. That affair has been sadly and utterly consuming my time and attention for the whole past year--a vast number of laboured letters to write, &c., &c.
Hall has had a whole year of most miserable suffering, under his old complaint. In other points of health he seems tolerably well, and no decadence in mind.
And all my