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to the Earl of Chesterfield.
to continue it. When I had once addressed your Lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had done all that I could, and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little. Seven years, my Lord, have now passed, since I waited in your outward rooms, or was repulsed from your door, during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties, of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it, at last, to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before. The shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks. Is not a patron, my Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind ; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it ; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it ; till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron, which Providence has enabled me to do for myself. Having carried on my work thus far with so little obligation to any favourer of learning, I shall not be disappointed though I should conclude it, if less be possible, with less ; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope in which I once boasted myself with so much exultation. My Lord, your Lordship’s most humble, most obedient servant, SAM. JOHNSON.
Sir Walter's letters are very pleasant reading, particularly those addressed to the members of
Sir Walter Scott
his own family and his more intimate friends ; but their great length prevents me from introducing even a singleexample. The following, however, is a short, playful effusion to his esteemed chief, the Duke of Buccleuch, with reference to a contemplated cattle-show at Bowhill :SIR WALTER SCOTT TO THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH,
ETC. ETC., DRUMLANRIG CASTLE. MY DEAR LORD DUKE, I am just honoured with your Grace's of the 27th. The posts, which are as cross as pye-crust, have occasioned some delay. Depend on our attending at Bowhill on the 20th, and staying over the show. I have written to Adam Fergusson, who will come with a whoop and a hollo. So will the Ballantynes—flageolet and all—for the festival, and they shall be housed at Abbotsford. I have an inimitably good songster in the person of Terence Magarth, who teaches my girls. He beats almost all whom I have ever heard attempt Moore's songs, and I can easily cajole him also out to Abbotsford for a day or two. In jest or earnest, I never heard a better singer in a room, though his voice is not quite full enough for a concert ; and for an aftersupper song, he almost equals Irish Johnstone.
Trade of every kind is recovering, and not a loom idle in Glasgow. The most faithful respects of this family attend the ladies, and all at Drumlanrig. I ever am, your Grace's truly obliged and grateful
WALTER SCOTT. Given from my Castle of Grawacky,
this second day of the month called October, one thousand eight hundred and seventeen years.
to the Duke of Buccleuch.
There is a date nearly as long as the letter! I hope we shall attack the foxes at Bowhill. I will hazard Maida.
The following extract from his letter of condolence to the same Dukel on the death of his lovely and amiable partner, written at Glasgow on the 8th of September 1814, is a good specimen of Sir Walter's more serious strain. He thus feelingly expresses himself :
Would to God I could say, Be comforted; but I feel every common topic of consolation must be, for the time at least, even an irritation to affliction. Grieve, then, my dear Lord, or I should say my dear and much honoured friend,-for sorrow for the time levels the highest distinctions of rank; but do not grieve as those who have no hope. I know the last earthly thoughts of the departed sharer of your joys and sorrows must have been for your Grace, and the dear pledges she has left to your
Do not, for their sake, suffer grief to take that exclusive possession which disclaims care for the living, and is not only useless to the dead, but is what their wishes would have most earnestly deprecated. To time, and to God, whose are both time and eternity, belongs the office of future consolation ; it is enough to require from the sufferer under such a dispensation to bear his burthen of sorrow with fortitude, and to resist those feelings which prompt us to believe that that which is galling and grievous is therefore altogether beyond our strength to support.
1 The father of the present Duke of Buccleuch, his Duchess being the
est daughter of the first Viscount Sydney.
The Eve of Battle.
The Duke's own letter announcing the sad intelligence to the poet, written a few days before Sir Walter's, but not received in due course, is a beautiful illustration of Christian composure. The description of the closing scene is deeply pathetic ; and the unselfish resolution with which his Grace concludes is indicative of the noble heart which he possessed.
Except in the case of suicides, there are few examples on record of letters deliberately written in the anticipation of death. The following touching epistle was penned by the lamented Colonel Shadforth, of the 57th Regiment, the evening before the fruitless attack upon the celebrated Redan,' on the 18th of June 1855, when he fell along with many other brave companions in arms :
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, June 17, 9 P.M. MY OWN BELOVED WIFE AND DEARLY BELOVED CHILDREN,—At one o'clock to-morrow morning I head the 57th to storm the Redan. It is, as I feel, an awfully perilous moment to me, but I place myself in the hands of our gracious God, without whose will a sparrow cannot fall to the ground. I place my whole trust in Him. Should I fall in the performance of my duty, I fully rely in the precious blood of our Saviour, shed for sinners, that I may be saved through Him. Pardon and forgive me, my beloved ones, for anything I may have said or Thomas Arnold.
done to cause you one moment's unhappiness. Unto God I commend my body and soul, which are His; and, should it be His will that I fall in the performance of my duty, in the defence of my Queen and country, I most humbly say, 'Thy will be done.' God bless you and protect you ; and my last prayer will be, that He in His infinite goodness may preserve me to you. God ever bless you, my beloved Eliza, and my dearest children, and if we meet not again in this world, may we all meet in the mansion of our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ. God bless and protect you ; and ever believe me, your affectionate husband and loving father,
THOMAS SHAD FORTH.
In the letters of Dr. Arnold, we find abundant illustration of that manliness of tone and liberality of sentiment for which he was so remarkably distinguished. His correspondence with the Chevalier Bunsen, Dr. Whately Archbishop of Dublin, Mr. Justice Coleridge, and other eminent men, on the leading questions of the day, is possessed of peculiar interest; but probably the majority of readers derive a still greater amount of gratification from the perusal of the numerous letters which he addressed to old pupils while residing at the Universities or engaged in the active business of life.