Sir, Except the mass of Conway papers, on which I have not yet had time to enter seriously, I am sorry I have nothing at present that would answer your purpose. Lately, indeed, I have had little leisure, to attend to literary pursuits. I have been much out of order with a violent cold and cough for great part of the winter; and the distractions of this country, which reach even those who mean the least to profit by their country, have not left even me, who hate politics, without some share in them. Yet as what one does not love, cannot engross one entirely, I have amused myself a little with writing. Our friend Lord Finlater will perhaps show you the fruit of that trifling, though I had not the confidence to trouble you with such a strange thing as a miraculous story, of which I fear the greatest merit is the novelty.
I have lately perused with much pleasure a collection of old ballads, to which I see, Sir, you have contributed with your usual benevolence. Continue this kindness to the public, and smile as I do, when the pains you take for them are misunderstood or perverted. Authors must content themselves with hoping that two or three Intelligent persons in an age will understand the merit of their writings, and those authors are bound in good breeding to Suppose that the public in general is enlightened. They who arc in the secret know how few of that public they have any reason to wish should read their works. I beg pardon of my masters the public, and am confident, Sir, you Will not betray me; but let me beg you not to defraud the few that deserve your information, in compliment to those who are not capable of receiving it. Do as I do about my small house here. Every body that comes to see it or me, are so good as to wonder that I don’t make this or that alteration. I never haggle with them; but always say I intend it. They are satisfied with the attention and themselves, and I remain with the enjoyment of my house as I like it. Adieu! dear Sir.
(805) Now first collected.
The plot thickens; at least, it does not clear up. I don’t know how to tell you in the compass of a letter, what is matter for a history, and it is the more difficult, as we are but just in the middle.
During the recess, the King acquainted the ministry that he would have a Bill of Regency, and told them the particulars of his intention. The town gives Lord Holland the honour of the measure;(806) certain it is, the ministry, who are not the court, did not taste some of the items: such as the Regent to be in petto, the Princes(807) to be omitted, and four secret nominations to which the Princes might be applied. However, thinking it was better to lose their share of future power than their present places, the ministers gave a gulp and swallowed the whole potion; still