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The Cocoa Tree. Pall Mall. London.
Sunday Morning.

I very much regret that my last last letter was so perfect and inexplicable
an Ænigma. I do not, my dearest friend, recollect that any thing was
contained in it which could render it absolutely unintelligible, or warrant
my ingenious Correspondent in answering it by a riddle which to me
is solutionless and incomprehensible, unless it were the abruptness of the
conclusion; but this I hope will be forgiven when you are told, that
just as I had finished the concluding sentence, a messenger informed me
that all the letters which were go to America by the Harmony, must be
sent immediately to Deptford, & that a single moments delay would
prevent thier passing the Atlantic in that Ship. There was, therefore, my
friend, a necessity for finishing my letter instantly, and to this cause
you will be so good as to ascribe the obscurities or inaccuracies of my

I must acknowledge that I acted somewhat incautiously, in stuffing
my letter with a legal disquisition, and that I was not sufficiently aware
that my friend was wholly ignorant of that delightful Science the law
and therefore that legal intelligence must be, in the highest degree,
frivolous and unamusing. But I must at the same time, in justice to
myself observe, that I thought whatever tended to display the state of this
illustrious nation, would, for that reason, have been acceptable, and I am
certain that, in similar circumstances, medical intelligence of the same
kind would have afforded me uncommon pleasure. I also reflected that
among those whom you honoured with your particular regard there were
two of this profession W.W.W. and C.B.B. by whom my intelligence would
doubtlessly, be understood, and to whom it would probably afford
Entertainment. Does the friendship which formerly subsisted between those
two young men and yourself still continue? Are not my predictions
with regard to Wilkins fully verified? Does not his character comprize
all the quallities which excite love and Admiration. Is he not distinguished

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by an innate generosity of disposition equally remote from cringing, parasitical
adulation, and a supercilious and morose disdain? In short has he not all those
accomplishments which quallify him for acting an illustrious part on the
theatre of nations; for shining in the forum and the Senate house, united with
the milder and perhaps more valuable quallifications of candour and politeness
of Sagacity and Sencibility, which place him in the rank of friends and lovers.
What is wanting to complete his character? Shall I venture to say that an
indefatigable and well directed application, an unquenchable thirst for
various knowledge, of which the importance in that profession to which he is
devoted, is far greater than is generally imagined, a towering Ambition which
aims at the highest things, which is the natural concomitant of great Abilities
and which is founded on a consciousness of our own worth—appear to be wanting
in this excellent and amiable Youth?

I have always regarded it as a mark either of inexperience or incapacity,
to devote ourselves intirely to one pursuit: to imagine it criminal to divert our
attention from it for a Moment; and I know not whether the most consumate
Skill in one pursuit will compensate for a total ignorance of all other branches
of literature, and, indeed, am doubtful whether it be possible to become an
adept in any single branch, without a general acquaintance with the rest
True Genius is never intimidated by slight or chimerical obstacles. It is conscious
of the force of its own faculties, and easily distinguishes between a profound or a
superficial Knowledge. It finds no difficulty in concieving that a knowledge of
the elements of every Science is easily attainable, though the acquisition of
profound skill in any one, is undoubtedly the business of an age; and that this
Knowledge is absolutely requisate to the pupil of any Scientifical profession.

With regard to your other friend, of whom, if I remember right you said
something in your last letter. I am so imperfectly acquainted with him
that I shall not venture to delineate his character. But is he not a grave
formal wretch, difficult to please and easily offended. Whom a sneer will
sink into despondency, and a word of decietful approbation or a smile of artful
complaisance, will raise into confidence? Though he is buried in the contemplation
of his own importance, he has not yet learned that there some whose contempt
is an argument of merit, and whose scorn is more desirable than their applause

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He is not content with the approbation of his own heart, and to tell you
the truth his modesty appears to me to be merely affectation, and I think
I discover, amidst all his diffidences and reserves, the most unsufferable
vanity. I am confident that he thinks himself superior to all his
contemporaries in literary accomplishments. He once very ingenuously owned
to me that he thought that the english language had reached the
highest degree of perfection of which it is susceptable, in his hands
and that he did not doubt of being here after universally esteemed
the finest writer that G. Britain or America ever produced. But to do
him justice, I must own that the manner in which this Intelligence
was conveyed, rendered it doubtful whether he was serious or in jest.
Certain it is however that he is exorbitantly vain of his own acquire=
=ments, and yet it is a circumstance not less true than extraordinary, that
that, this exalted opinion of himself is accompanied with a certain
diffidence in his own judgement, which leaves him sometimes in doubt
whether he be not, in reality, as despicable, as he, at other times,
imagines himself exalted. In short his character is in the highest
degree singular and inexplicable and contradictory. That his vanity is
exorbitant, and yet that his modesty is equal to his vanity. That he
is an hero and a dastard, sincere and hipocritical, amiable & detestable
admirable and contemptable. No one but himself knows his own
character, and this at least may be mentioned in his favour that
he has spared no pains nor time in the study of it, and in conclusion
notwithstanding all his weaknesses, he is worthy to be called your

His life has been full of Vicissitudes, but he has enjoyed one advantage
superior to any other, and which is a sufficient compensation for a thousand
evils and disasters. And that its ‸ is the love and confidence of a woman of
exalted talents and virtues: in whom was realized the picture of female
excellence which his juvenile Imagination had concieved; and to whom
he is indebted for all the moral or intellectual excellences to which he is
has a real claim; whom he regarded with a boundless love and reverence
and admiration, and whose death or marriage with another nothing is

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am is more certain that he never will survive, with whom he obstinately
fosters the hope that the period of his nuptual union will arrive, whose
fidelity is the prop of his existance and the bane: the Source of all his
misery and all his happiness.

To this portrait I must not omit to add, that his principal
fondness ‸ foibles are his propensity to talk about himself, and the Solicitude with
respect to the opinion which others may have formed of his abilities.
There is a third person whom you call your friend and with whom you are
more intimately acquainted than with the other two, and that is Joseph
Bringhurst. Will you charge yourself with my most affectionate compliments
to him, and tell him that his idea never flits athwart my fancy without
exciting the softest and most tender emotions. That I look up to him with that
veneration to which the superiority of his age, his virtues and his talents,
indisputably intitle him. That I should listen, to his just and severest reproof
with ex‸ emplary submissiveness and docility, and esteem the Sincerity of his
remarks upon my weaknesses and failings, as proofs of the sublimest
friendship. That [gap] his good opinion is one of the sources of consolation to a
heart, accustomed to the keenest of Unvulgar pangs: to an heart whom
calamity has taught to know itself, has taught the duty of humility,
and that therefore it is incumbent on him to throw aside the unworthy
apprehension of giving offence, and by wise and salutary admonition and
reproof, to render me worthy of his good opinion. Tell him also that I should
have more particularly described his character, had I not reason to suspect
that this letter would be shewn to him, and that his modesty induces him
to regard the applause lavished on a person present, and addressed, however
indirectly, to himself, as an unpardonable breach of delicacy.

And now my friend let me give you some account of my present
Situation. I have taken decent lodgings in Oxford Street. I banquet every
morning on French Rolls and coffee, but spend the time between
Sunrise and breakfast, generally in traversing the fields around Islington
and Chelsea. I spend the morning at Debrets, in talking with literary
men, and reading new publications, or at a Coffee-house, over a News paper

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or in writing anonymous remarks for the London Chronicle, on the
reigning topics of Conversation, or in writing letters, or in disputing
with a Neighbour, or in the gallery of the house of Commons. I dine, in
consequence of invitation, with my friends of which the number is
already extensive, and which is hourly increasing. The evening I spend
for the most part, in my chamber, and devote the conclusion of the
day to Journalising. My journal, which is very copious, I will reserve
for your inspection on my return. The approaching Summer I intend
to ‸ pass in Westmorland and Durham, as I passed the last in Straffordshire
and Wales, and the Winter shall be consumed at Edinburg, in
reading books and attending lectures on Anatomy and Physiology
and in the company of Literary men. I can procure the strongest
recommendatory letters to Robertson and Blair: Campbell and
Beattie. After which I purpose to loiter away several years in
Switzerland and Italy, in the study of human nature and of the
works of those who have best described it, and in producing
original compositions of my own, that shall be worthy of the
notice of Posterity ------ ----- ---- --- -- -

Vine Street. Sunday Morn.

Hah! Hah! Hah! Bravissimo! What a most excellent and
commodious plan! Could you concieve me, my friend, capable of
forming one so excellent? so ingenious? Alas! Your laughter is unseason=
able. With what regret do I percieve that all this is the painting
of my fancy only? And yet why may not imagination supply
the place of reality? Why cannot the tongue and pen keep pace
with the rapidity of thought! I laid aside the love-retracing
pen last night at one OClock, and throwing myself on my bed
spent an hour as delightfuly, in weaving the web of pleasing
and fictitious narrative, as I remember to have spent any Unimpass
ioned hour in my life. Ideas and incidents passed in my mind

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during the course of this delightful resverie, which, had some
Magician been present to reduce them to words, and record them upon
paper as they rose, would have filled a dozen volumes. But alas!
Sleep overtook me at the foot of the Alps, and while my heart beat
high with the expectation of descending, in a few hours, into the
plains of Lombardy, or rather of Piedmont, and reaching, ere the
second rising of the Sun, the gates of Turin, the Scene gradually vanished,
Valais with all its beauties was no more. The meanders of the Drance
were no longer visible nor the summits of St. Bernard pe‸ rvious to the
Light. The vision was fled with all its train of incidents and circumstan=
=ces, and I slept, not in the village of Fernez, beneath the Shadow of
impending mountains and almost within hearing of the murmers of
the Rhone, and within the sight of the Spires of Lion, but — alas! Alas!
Alas! ——s


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Profuse and prolix is the treat
To which I call my friend
But he the joys of short and sweet
Knows better how to blend