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them with salutary properties on purpose that we TO LADY HESKETH.
might avail ourselves of them, otherwise that part Sept. 4, 1765.
of his creation were in vain. But to impute our Though I have some very agreeable acquaintance recovery to the medicine, and to carry our views no at Huntingdon, my dear cousin, none of their further, is to rob God of his honour; and is saying visits are so agreeable as the arrival of your letters. in effect he has parted with the keys of life and I thank you for that which I have just received death, and, by giving to a drug the power to heal from Droxford; and particularly that part of it us, has placed our lives out of his own reach. He where you give me an unlimited liberty upon the that thinks thus may as well fall upon his knees subject I have already so often written upon. at once, and return thanks to the medicine that Whatever interests us deeply as naturally flows cured him, for it was certainly more immediately into the pen as it does from the lips, when every instrumental in his recovery than either the apo restraint is taken away, and we meet with a friend thecary or the doctor. My dear cousin, a firm perindulgent enough to attend to us. How many, in suasion of the superintendence of Providence over all that variety of characters with whom I am ac- all our concerns is absolutely necessary to our hapquainted, could I find after the strictest search, to piness. Without it we can not be said to believe whom I could write as I do to you? I hope the in the scripture, or practise any thing like resigna number will increase. I am sure it can not easily tion to his will. If I am convinced that no afflicbe diminished. Poor ---! I have heard the tion can befal me without the permission of God, whole of his history, and can only lament what I I am convinced likewise that he sees and knows am sure I can make no apology for. Two of my that I am afflicted; believing this, I must in the friends have been cut off during my illness, in the same degree believe that, if I pray to him for demidst of such a lise as it is frightful to reflect upon; liverance, he hears me; I must needs know likeand here am I, in better health and spirits than I wise with equal assurance that, if he hears, he will can almost remember to have enjoyed before, after also deliver me, if that will upon the whole be most having spent months in the apprehension of instant conducive to my happiness; and if he does not dedeath. How mysterious are the ways of Provi- liver me, I may be well assured that he has none dence! Why did I receive grace and mercy? Why but the most benevolent intention in declining it. was I preserved, afflicted for my good, received, as He made us, not because we could add to his hapI trust, into favour, and blessed with the greatest piness, which was always perfect, but that we happiness I can ever know or hope for in this life, might be happy ourselves; and will he not in all while these were overtaken by the great arrest, his dispensations towards us, even in the minutest, unawakened, unrepenting, and every way unpre-consult that end for which he made us? To suppared for it? His infinite wisdom, to whose in- pose the contrary, is (which we are not always finite mercy I owe it all, can solve these questions, aware of) affronting every one of his attributes; and none beside him. If a free-thinker, as many and at the same time the certain consequence of a man miscalls himself, could be brought to give a disbelieving his care for us is, that we renounce utserious answer to them, he would certainly say—terly our dependence upon him. In this view it • Without doubt, sir, you was in great danger, you will appear plainly that the line of duty is not had a narrow escape, a most fortunate one indeed.' stretched too tight, when we are told that we ought How excessively foolish, as well as shocking! As to accept every thing at his hands as a blessing, if life depended upon luck, and all that we are or and to be thankful even while we smart under the can be, all that we have or hope for, could possibly rod of iron with which he sometimes rules us. be referred to accident. Yet to this freedom of Without this persuasion, every blessing, however thought it is owing that he, who, as our Saviour we may think ourselves happy in it, loses its tells us, is thoroughly apprized of the death of the greatest recommendation, and every affliction is inmeanest of his creatures, is supposed to leave those, tolerable. Death itself must be welcome to him whom he has made in his own image to the merey who has this faith, and he who has it not must aim of chance; and to this, therefore, it is likewise on- at it, if he is not a madman. You can not think ing that the correction which our heavenly Father how glad I am to hear you are going to commence bestows upon us, that we may be fitted to receive lady and mistress of Freemantle. * I know it well, his blessing, is so often disappointed of its benevo- and I could go from Southampton blindfold. You lent intention, and that men despise the chastening are kind to invite me to it, and I shall be so kind to of the Almighty. Fevers and all discases are ac- myself as to accept the invitation, though I should cidents; and long life, recovery at least from sick- not for a slight consideration be prevailed upon to ness, is the gift of the physician. No man can be quit my beloved retirement at Huntingdon. a greater friend to the use of means upon these
Yours ever, W.C. occasions than myself, for it were presumption and enthusiasm to neglect thein. God has endued * Freemantle, a village near Southampion.
he himself tells us, afflict willingly the sons of men. TO LADY HESKETH.
Doubtless there are many, who, having been placed Huntingdon, Sept. 14, 1765. by his good providence out of the reach of any MY DEAR COUSIN,
great evil and the influence of bad example, have The longer I live here, the better I like the from their very infancy been partakers of the grace place, and the people who belong to it. I am of his holy spirit, in such a manner as never to upon very good terms with no less than five fami- have allowed themselves in any grievous offence lies, besides two or three odd scrambling fellows against him. May you love him more and more like myself. The last acquaintance I made here day by day; as every day, while you think upon is with the race of the Unwins, consisting of father him, you will find him more worthy of your love: and mother, son and daughter, the most comforta- and may you be finally accepted with him for his ble, social folks you ever knew. The son is about sake, whose intercession for all his faithful servants twenty-one years of age, one of the most unre- can not but prevail ! Yours ever, W.C. served and amiable young men I ever conversed with. He is not yet arrived at that time of life, when suspicion recommends itself to us in the form
TO LADY HESKETH. of wisdom, and sets every thing but our own dear selves at an immeasurable distance from our es
Huntingdon, Oct. 10, 1765. teem and confidence. Consequently he is known MY DEAR COUSIN, almost as soon as seen, and having nothing in his
I should grumble at your long silence, if I did heart that makes it necessary for him to keep it not know that one may love one's friends very well, barred and bolted, opens it to the perusal even of a
though one is not always in the humour to write stranger. The father is a clergyman, and the son
to them. Besides, I have the satisfaction of heing is designed for orders. The design, however, is perfectly sure that you have at least twenty times quite his own, proceeding merely from his being recollected the debt you owe me, and as often reand baving always been sincere in his belief and solved to pay it: and perhaps while you remain love of the gospel. Another acquaintance I have indebted to me, you think of me twice as often as lately made is with a Mr. Nicholson, a North- you would do, if the account was clear. These country divine, very poor, but very good, and very are the reflections with which I comfort myself, happy. He reads prayers here twice a day, all the under the affliction of not hearing from you; my year round; and travels on foot to serve two temper does not incline me to jealousy, and if it churches every Sunday through the year, his jour- did, I should set all right by having recourse to what ney out and home again being sixteen miles. I
I have already received from you. supped with him last night. · He gave me bread
I thank God for your friendship, and for every and cheese, and a black jug of ale of his own
friend I have; for all the pleasing circumstances brewing, and doubtless brewed by his own hands. of my situation here, for my health of body, and Another of my acquaintance is Mr.
perfect serenity of mind. To recollect the past, tall, old man, and as good as lie is thin. He and compare it with the present, is all I have need drinks nothing but water, and eats no flesh; partly
of to fill nie with gratitude: and to be grateful is (I believe) from a religious scruple (for he is very thankful, or that I shall ever be so in this life,
to be happy. Not that I think myself sufficiently religious), and partly in the spirit of a valetudinarian. He is to be met with every morning The warmest heart perhaps only feels by fits, and of his life, at about six o'clock, at a fountain of very
is often as insensible as the coldest. This at least fine water, about a mile from the town, which is is frequently the case with mine, and oftener than reckoned extremely like the Bristol spring. Being it should be. But the mercy that can forgive iniboth early risers, and the only early walkers in the quity will never be severe to mark our frailties; to place, we soon became acquainted. His great
that mercy, my dear cousin, I commend you, with piety can be equalled by nothing but his great
earnest wishes for your welfare, and remain your regularity, for he is the most perfect time-piece in
W.C. the world. I have received a visit likewise from Mr. He is very much a gentleman, wellread, and sensible. I am persuaded, in short, that
TO LADY HESKETH. if I had the choice of all England, where to fix my
Huntingdon, Oct. 18, 1765. abode, I could not have chosen better for myself, I wish you joy, my dear cousin, of being safely and most likely I should not have chosen so well. arrived in port from the storms of Southampton.
You say, you hope it is not necessary for salva- For my own part, who am but as a Thames tion, to undergo the same afflictions that I have wherry, in a world full of tempest and commotion, undergone. No! my dear cousin. God deals with 'I know so well the value of the creek I have put his children as a merciful father; he does not, as into, and the snugness it affords me, that I have
-, a thin,
a sensible sympathy with you in the pleasure you to make use of for my conversion. After having find in being once more blown to Droxford. I been deservedly rendered unfit for any society, to know enough of Miss Morley to send her my be again qualified for it, and admitted at once into compliments; to which, if I had never seen her, the fellowship of those whom God regards as the her affection for you would sufficiently entitle her. excellent of the earth, and whom, in the cmphatiIf I neglected to do it sooner, it is only because I cal language of Scripture, he preserves as the am naturally apt to neglect what I ought to do; apple of his eye, is a blessing which carries with and if I was as genteel as I am negligent, I should it the stamp and visible superscription of divine be the most delightful creature in the universe. bounty-a grace unlimited as undeserved; and, I am glad you think so favourably of my Hun- like its glorious Author, free in its course, and tinguon acquaintance; they are indeed a nice set blessed in its operation! of folks, and suit me exactly. I should have been My dear cousin! Health and happiness, and more particular in my account of Miss Unwin, above all, the favour of our great and gracious if I had had materials for a minute description. Lord, attend you! While we seek it in spirit and She is about eighteen years of age, rather hand-in truth, we are infinitely more secure of it than some and genteel. In her mother's company she of the next breath we expect to draw. Heaven says little ; not because her mother requires it of and earth have their destined periods; ten thouher, but because she seems glad of that excuse for sand worlds will vanish at the consummation of all not talking, being somewhat inclined to bashful- things; but the word of God standeth fast; and ness. There is the most remarkable cordiality they who trust in him shall never be confounded. between all the parts of the family; and the mother My love to all who enquire after me. and daughter seem to doat upon each other. The
Yours affectionately, W. C. first time I went to the house I was introduced to the daughter alone; and sat with her near half an hour, before her brother came in, who had ap
TO MAJOR COWPER. pointed me to call upon him. Talking is necessary in a tête-à-tête, to distinguish the persons of
Huntingdon, Oct. 18, 1765. the drama from the chairs they sit on: accordingly MY DEAR MAJOR, she talked a great deal, and extremely well; and, I have neither lost the use of my fingers nor my like the rest of the family, behaved with as much memory, though my unaccountable silence might ease of address as if we had been old acquaintance. ineline you to suspect that I had lost both. The She resembles her mother in her great piety, who history of those things which have, from time to is one of the most remarkable instances of it 1 time, prevented my scribbling, would not only be have ever seen. They are altogether the cheer- insipid but extremely voluminous; for which reafullest and most engaging family-piece it is possi- sons they will not make their appearance at preble to conceive.—Since I wrote the above, I met sent, nor probably at any time hereafter. If my Mrs. Unwin in the street, and went home with neglecting to write to you were a proof that I had her. She and I walked together near two hours never thought of you, and that had been really the in the garden, and had a conversation which did case, five sluillings apiece would have been much me more good than I should have received from too little to give for the sight of such a monster ! an audience of the first prince in Europe. That but I am no such monster, nor do I perceive in woman is a blessing to me, and I never see her myself the least tendency to such a transformation. without being the better for her company. I am You may recollect that I had but very uncomforttreated in the family as if I was a near relation, able expectations of the accommodation I should and have been repeatedly invited to call upon them meet with at Huntingdon. How much better is at all times. You know what a shy fellow I am; it to take our lot, where it shall please Providence I can not prevail with myself to make so much to cast it, without anxiety! Had I chosen for myuse of this privilege as I am sure they intend 1 self, it is impossible I could have fixed upon a should; but perhaps this awkwardness will wear place so agreeable to me in all respects. I so off hereafter. It was my earnest request before I much dreaded the thought of having a new acleft St. Alban's, that wherever it might please quaintance to make, with no other recommendaProvidence to dispose of me, I might meet with tion than that of being a perfect stranger, that I such an acquaintance as I find in Mrs. Unwin.heartily wished no creature here might take the How happy it is to believe, with a steadfast assur- least notice of me. Instead of which, in about ance, that our petitions are heard even while we two months after my arrival, I became known to are making them--and how delightful to meet all the visitable people here, and do verily think it with a proof of it in the effectual and actual grant the most agreeable neighbourhood I ever saw. of them! Surely it is a gracious finishing given to Here are three families who have received me those means, which the Almighty has bcen pleased with the utmost civility; and two in particular
have treated me with as much cordiality, as if their suits me exactly; go when I will, I find a house pedigrees and mine had grown upon the same full of peace and cordiality in all its parts, and I sheep-skin. Besides these, there are three or four am sure to hear no scandal, but such discourse single men who suit my temper to a hair. The instead of it as we are all better for. You rememtown is one of the neatest in England; the coun-ber Rousseau's description of an English morning; try is fine for several miles about it; and the roads, such are the mornings I spend with these good peowhich are all turnpike, and strike out four or five ple; and the evenings differ from them in nothing, different ways, are perfectly good all the year except that they are still more snug and quieter. round. I mention this latter circumstance chiefly Now I know them, I wonder that I liked Hunbecause my distance from Cambridge has made a tingdon so well before I knew them, and am apt horseman of me at last, or at least is likely to do to think I should find every place disagreeable that 80. My brother and I meet every week, by an had not an Unwin belonging to it. alternate reciprocation of intercourse, as Sam John- This incident convinces me of the truth of an son would express it; sometimes I get a lift in a observation I have often made, that when we cirneighbour's chaise, but generally ride. As to my cumscribe our estimate of all that is clever within own personal condition, I am much happier than the limits of our own acquaintance (which I at the day is long, and sunshine and candlelight see least have been always apt to do,) we are guilty me perfectly contented. I get books in abund- of a very uncharitable censure upon the rest of the ance, as much company as I choose, a deal of com- world, and of a narrowness of thinking disgracefortable leisure, and enjoy better health, I think, ful to ourselves. Wapping and Redriff may conthan for many years past. What is there want- tain some of the most amiable persons living, and ing to make me happy? Nothing, if I can but such as one would go to Wapping and Redriff to be as thankful as I ought; and I trust that He make acquaintance with. You remember Mr. who has bestowed so many blessings upon me, will Gray's stanzagive me gratitude to crown them all. I beg you Full many a gem of purest ray serene will give my love to my dear cousin Maria, and to The deep unfathom'd caves of ocean bear; every body at the Park. If Mrs. Maitland is Full many a flower is born to blush unseen; with you, as I suspect by a passage in Lady Hes And waste its sweetness on the desert air.' keth's letter to me, pray remember me to her very
Yours, dear Joe, W.C. affectionately. And believe me, my dear friend, ever yours.
TO LADY HESKETH.
Huntingdon, March 6, 1766. TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
MY DEAR COUSIN, DEAR JOE,
October 25, 1765. I HAVE for some time past imputed your silence I am afraid the month of October has proved to the cause which you yourself assign for it, viz. rather unfavourable to the belle assemblée at to my change of situation: and was even sagaSouthampton; high winds and continual rains cious enough to account for the frequency of your being bitter enemies to that agreeable lounge, letters to me, while I lived alone, from your attenwhich you and I are equally fond of. I have very tion to me in a state of such solitude as seemed to cordially betaken myself to my books, and my make it an act of particular charity to write to fireside; and seldom leave them unless for exer- me. I bless God for it, I was happy even then; cise. I have added another family to the number solitude has nothing gloomy in it if the soul points of those I was acquainted with when you were upwards. St. Paul tells his Hebrew converts, here. Their name is Unwin-the most agreeable'ye are come (already come) to Mount Sion, to people imaginable; quite sociable, and as free from an innumerable company of angels, to the general the ceremonious civility of country gentlefolks as assembly of the first-born, which are written in any I ever met with. They treat me more like a heaven, and to Jesus the mediator of the new com near relation than a stranger, and their house is venient.' When this is the case, as surely it was always open to me. The old gentleman carries with them, or the Spirit of Truth had never spoken me to Cambridge in his chaise. He is a man of it, there is an end of the melancholy and dullness learning and good sense, and as simple as parson of a solitary life at once. You will not suspect Adams. His wife has a very uncommon under-me, my dear cousin, of a design to understand this standing, has read much to excellent purpose, and passage literally. But this, however, it certainly is more polite than a duchess. The son who be- means; that a lively faith is able to anticipate in longs to Cambridge, is a most amiable young man, some measure the joys of that heavenly society, and the daughter quite of a piece with the rest of which the soul shall actually possess hereafter. the family. They see but little company, which! Since I have changed my situation, I have found still greater cause of thanksgiving to the Father to this place. The lady in whose house I live is of all mercies. The family with whom I live are so excellent a person, and regards me with a friendChristians; and it has pleased the Almighty to ship so truly christian, that I could almost fancy bring me to the knowledge of them, that I may my own mother restored to life again, to compenwant no means of improvement in that temper sate to me for all the friends I have lost, and all and conduct which he is pleased to require in all my connexions broken. She has a son at Camhis servants.
bridge in all respects worthy of such a mother, My dear cousin! one half of the christian world the most amiable young man I ever knew. His would call this madness, fanaticism, and folly: but natural and acquired endowments are very consiare not all these things warranted by the word of derable; and as to his virtues, I need only say God, not only in the passages I have cited, but in that he is a christian. It ought to be a matter of many others? If we have no communion with daily thanksgiving to me, that I am admitted into God here, surely we can expect none hereafter. the society of such persons; and I pray God to A faith that does not place our conversation in make me and keep me worthy of them. heaven; that does not warm the heart, and purify Your brother Martin has been very kind to me, it too; that does not, in short, govern our thought, having written to me twice in a style which, though word, and deed, is no faith, nor will it obtain for it was once irksome to me, to say the least, I now us any spiritual blessing here or hereafter. Let know how to value. I pray God to forgive me the us see therefore, my dear cousin, that we do not de- many light things I have both said and thought ceive ourselves in a matter of such infinite moment. of him and his labours. Hereafter I shall consi
The world will be ever telling us that we are good der him as a burning and a shining light, and as enough; and the world will vilify us behind our one of those who, having turned many unto backs. But it is not the world which tries the righteousness, shall shine hereafter as the stars heart; that is the prerogative of God alone. My for ever and ever.' dear cousin! I have often prayed for you behind So much for the state of my heart; as to my your back, and now I pray for you to your face. spirits, I am cheerful and happy, and having peace There are many who would not forgive me this with God have peace within myself. For the conwrong; but I have known you so long, and so tinuance of this blessing I trust to Him who gives well, that I am not afraid of telling you how sincere- it: and they who trust in Him shall never be conly I wish for your growth in' every christian grace,
Yours affectionately, W.C. in every thing that may promote and secure your Huntingdon, at the Rev. Mr. Unwin's, everlasting welfare.
March 12, 1785. I am obliged to Mrs. Cowper for the book, which you perceive arrived safe. I am willing to consider it as an intimation on her part that she would
TO MRS. COWPER. wish me to write to her, and shall do it accordingly. My circumstances are rather particular, MY DEAR COUSIN, such as call upon my friends, those I mean who I AGREE with you that letters are not essential are truly such, to take some little notice of me; to friendship; but they seem to be a natural fruit and will naturally make those who are not such of it, when they are the only intercourse that can in sincerity rather shy of doing it. To this I im- be had. And a friendship producing no sensible pute the silence of many with regard to me, who, effects is so like indifference, that the appearance before the affliction that pefel me, were ready may easily deceive even an acute discerner. I reenough to converse with me.
tract, however, all that I said in my last upon this W.C. subject, having reason to suspect that it proceeded
from a principle which I would discourage in myself upon all occasions, even a pride that felt itself
hurt upon a mere suspicion of neglect. I have so TO MRS. COWPER.
much cause for humility, and so much need of it MY DEAR COUSIN,
too, and every little sneaking resentment is such I am much obliged to you for Pearsall's Medi- an enemy to it, that I hope I shall never give quartations, especially as it furnishes me with an occa- ter to any thing that appears in the shape of sulsion of writing to you, which is all I have waited lenness, or self-consequence, hereafter. Alas! if for. My friends must excuse me, if I write to none my best Friend, who laid down his life for me, wero but those who lay it fairly in my way to do so. to remember all the instances in which I have neThe inference I am apt to draw from their silenceglected him, and to plead them against me in judgis, that they wish me to be silent too.
ment, where should I hide my guilty head in the I have great reason, my dear cousin, to be thank- day of recompense ? I will pray, therefore, for ful to the gracious Providence that conducted me blessings upon my friends, even though they cease