Notes and Queries, Number 36, July 6, 1850 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about Notes and Queries, Number 36, July 6, 1850.


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Sir Walter Scott, in a letter to Miss Johanna Baillie, dated October 12, 1825, (Lockhart’s Life of Sir W. S., vol. vi. p. 82.), says,—­

“I well intended to have written from Ireland, but alas! as some stern old divine says, ‘Hell is paved with good intentions.’  There was such a whirl of laking, and boating, and wondering, and shouting, and laughing, and carousing—­” [He alludes to his visiting among the Westmoreland and Cumberland lakes on his way home, especially] “so much to be seen, and so little time to see it; so much to be heard, and only two ears to listen to twenty voices, that upon the whole I grew desperate, and gave up all thoughts of doing what was right and proper on post-days, and so all my epistolary good intentions are gone to Macadamise, I suppose, ‘the burning marle’ of the infernal regions.”

How easily a showy absurdity is substituted for a serious truth, and taken for granted to be the right sense.  Without having been there, I may venture to affirm that “Hell is not paved with good intentions, such things being all lost or dropt on the way by travellers who reach that bourne;” for, where “Hope never comes,” “good intentions” cannot exist any more than they can be formed, since to fulfil them were impossible.  The authentic and emphatical figure in the saying is, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions;” and it was uttered by the “stern old divine,” whoever he might be, as a warning not to let “good intentions” miscarry for want of being realized at the time and upon the spot.  The moral, moreover, is manifestly this, that people may be going to hell with “the best intentions in the world,” substituting all the while well-meaning for well-doing.



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As in small matters accuracy is of vital consequence, let me correct a mistake which I made, writing in a hurry, in my last communication about the two Gorings (Vol. ii., p. 65.).  The Earl of Norwich was not under sentence of death, as is there stated, on January 8, 1649.  He was then a prisoner:  he was not tried and sentenced till March.[2]

The following notice of the son’s quarrels with his brother cavaliers occurs in a letter printed in Carte’s bulky appendix to his bulky Life of the Duke of Ormond.  As this is an unread book, you may think it worth while to print the passage, which is only confirmatory of Clarendon’s account of the younger Goring’s proceedings in the West of England in 1645.  The letter is from Arthur Trevor to Ormond, and dated Launceston, August 18, 1645.

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Notes and Queries, Number 36, July 6, 1850 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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