« ПредишнаНапред »
shrined in the receptacle of grace and beauty, and appear there distinctly as those of Lady E. Butler and Miss Ponsonby, are engraven on the memory and on the heart of their faithful, &c.
Colonel Dowdeswell, of Shrewsbury.
Lichfield, Nov. 30, 1797. I THANK you for the always wakeful remembrance of your annual present. It arrived in taintless preservation the day of my return from Birmingham; whither I had been allured by a generous concert, every professional man performing gratis, in honour of the gallant Duncan's victory, and for the benefit of the women and children, widowed and orphanized, alas ! by the obstinacy of Dutch resistance. Great part of the music was appropriate and good, and the band was numerous and able. Mr Saville's “ Rule Britannia," chorussed at once by the full orchestra and brilliant audience, produced the most sublimely exhilarating effect, and was encored. As he had other songs, which called forth all his
noble energies of voice and expression, I feared their effect upon his precarious liealth might be too trying ; happily my fear proved vain.
During the last ten months, eighty French prisoners have resided in Lichfield, with the wisest quietness—with the most uncomplaining patience. On their first arrival, and indeed long afterwards, they could not pass our streets without being brutally reviled by our populace; but they reviled not again. Though several of the officers were men of graceful manners and enlightened minds, yet by no family of this city, mine and the Simpsons excepted, were they in the smallest degree noticed. So little impression did compassion for their fate, or the involuntary testimony that could not be withheld to their unoffending manners,
the indurated hearts of our affluent gentry. The Simpson family and myself strove to cheer, by kindness and a little hospitable attention, the bitter hours of their exile.
On Monday a sad edict arrived from our government, which sent them away the next morning on foot, and under a convoy of cavalry, beneath these severely wintry skies, to pass the freezing nights of their cruel journey on coverless straw; and, on its close, to find themselves in an unwholesome jail at Liverpool, destitute of all the comforts of existence. This dire lot is undoubt
edly that of many of our own officers, nursed in the lap of ease and luxury.
O! this horrid, this remorseless war! Infatuated ministry! who have rejected so many opportunities of terminating it, with honour and advantage to this deceived country ;-on the taking of Toulon and Valenciennes; on the desertion of Prussia ; on the subsidiary claims of the emperor; -yet still they went on, regardless of our exhausted wealth, of the miseries of a bleeding world; foundering deeper and deeper in-defeated projects, till the olive, with all its healing blessedness, is perhaps no longer within our reach. Yet it ought to have been tried, if it could have been procured even by the sacrifice of that(no longer great) title, King of France; by the restitution of the Toulon ships, and by the cession of all our foreign conquests, whose advantages are as dust in the balance against the miseries of protracted war. Peace is worth any price to England, short of the reduction of her navy. In another twelvemonth we shall offer the recently rejected terms, and then offer them in vain. So it has been through the whole progress of this mad contest. Nothing but the blindest prejudice can prevent the public from being universally sensible of that melancholy truth.
I have perceived the drowning hopes of Mr Pitts adherents catching at the straw respecting English safety,—another rupture between France and Spain, regardless of the renewed miseries of the harassed continent.
By stimulating Portugal to break her treaty with a foe she has not power to resist; by stimulating Spain to make a second helpless attempt at resistance, what are the mole-eyed cabinet of England about, but to bring the claim of new 'enormous subsidies from us,--perhaps the claim of auxiliary armies, to be sacrificed as they were in Germany ? and, after all, as the event must evidently be (if there is any eye-couching power in experience), to throw both those kingdoms into the absolute power of France, as conquered countries; while, by wiser capitulation, Portugal might retain the power of trading with England.
Lawless power will demonize its possessors in every country. It has demonized the French ; but the French character has risen greatly in my estimation, from the exemplary conduct of our late unfortunate prisoners.
Without intending it, I have slid into politics. In a period so momentous, their attraction, to thinking minds of both sexes, is resistless.
Lichfield, Dec. 3, 1797. I have lately suffered, during a week, all I underwent in the summer, from a severe return of my hemorrhage. My appearance became again a rival spectacle of horror to “ the bloodboltered Banquo," whose visibility the silly foppery of modern refinement has banished from the stage, to the great injury of the noblest tragedy in the world. Absurd !-that our feelings, which tolerate scenic witches, should be revolted by the sight of a scenic ghost.
Do you not pity me?-think of awakening from imperfect slumber, with streams of bood running down my throat, and threatening suffocation, till, on my starting up, they found a less fatal channel, and deluged my pillow! You will conceive that such visitations, by the. glimpses of the moon, made the night hideous; but while I have bled, dear Mrs H. has died! · I understood that she had obtained the pleasure of your acquaintance: We met at Derby last spring. She then appear