I will begin, Sir, with telling you that I have seen Mr. Sherriff and his son. The father desired my opinion on sending his son to Italy. I own I could by no means advise it. Where a genius is indubitable and has already made much progress, the study of antique and the works of the great masters may improve a young man extremely, and open lights to him which he might never discover of himself: but it is very different sending a young man to Rome to try whether he has genius or not; which may be ascertained with infinitely less trouble and expense at home. Young Mr. Sherriff has certainly a disposition to drawing; but that may not be genius. His misfortune may have made him embrace it as a resource in his melancholy hours. Labouring under the misfortune of deafness, his friends should consider to what unhappiness they may expose him. His family have naturally applied to alleviate his misfortune, and to cultivate the parts they saw in him: but who, in so long a journey and at such a distance, is to attend him in the same affectionate manner? Can he shift for himself, especially without the language? who will take the trouble at Rome of assisting him, instructing him, pointing out to him what he should study? who will facilitate the means to him of gaining access to palaces and churches, and obtain permission for him to work there? I felt so much for the distresses he must undergo, that I could not see the benefits to accrue, and those eventual, as a compensation. Surely, Sir, it were better to place him here with some painter for a year or two. He does not seem to me to be grounded enough for such an expedition.
I will beg to know how I may convey my Richard to you, which will be published to-morrow fortnight. I do not wonder you could not guess the discovery I have made. It is one of the most marvellous that ever was made. In short, it is the original coronation roll of Richard the Third, by which it appears that very magnificent robes were ordered for Edward the Fifth, and that he did, or was to have walked at his uncle’s coronation. This most valuable monument is in the Great Wardrobe. It is not, though the most extraordinary the only thing that will much surprise you in my work. But I will not anticipate what little amusement you may find there. I am, Sir, etc.
(1002) Now first collected.
Dear Sir, I have waited for the impression of my Richard, to send you the whole parcel together. This moment I have conveyed to Mr. Cartwright a large bundle for you, containing Richard the Third,(1003) the four volumes of the new edition of the Anecdotes, and six prints of your relation Tuer. You will find his head very small: but the original was too inconsiderable to allow it to be larger. I have sent you no Patagon`eans;(1004) for they are out of print: I have only my own copy, and could not get another. Pray tell me how, or what you heard of it; and tell me sincerely, for I did not know it had made any noise.