There are no new old news, and you care for nothing Within the memory of man. I am always intending to draw up an account of my intercourse with Chatterton, which I take very kindly you remind me of, but some avocation or other has still prevented it. My perfect innocence of having indirectly been an ingredient in his dismal fate, which happened two years after our correspondence, and after he had exhausted both his resources and his constitution, have made it more easy to prove that I never saw him, knew nothing of his ever being in London, and was the first person, instead of the last, on whom he had practised his impositions, and founded his chimeric hopes of promotion. My very first, or at least second letter, undeceived him in those views, and our correspondence(298) was broken off before he quitted his aster’s business at Bristol-so that his disappointment with me was but his first ill success; and he resented my incredulity so much, that he never condescended to let me see him. Indeed, what I have said now to you, and which cannot be controverted by a shadow of a doubt, would be sufficient vindication. I could only add to the proofs, a vain regret of never having known his distresses, which his amazing genius would have tempted me to relieve, though I fear he had no other claim to compassion. Mr. Warton has said enough to open the eyes of every one who is not greatly prejudiced to his forgeries. Dr. Milles is one who will not make a bow to Dr. Percy for not being as wilfully blind as himself-but when he gets a beam in his eye that he takes for an antique truth, there is no persuading him to submit to be coached. Adieu!
(296) Walpole alludes to the bill for the Relief of the Roman Catholics which released their priests from prosecution, and allowed members of that religion to purchase lands and take them by descent. It passed both houses without opposition.-E.
(297) The Earl of Chatham died on the 10th Of May 1778. His remains were honoured with a public funeral in Westminster Abbey, his debts were paid by the nation, and an annuity of four thousand pounds settled upon the earldom of Chatham.-E.
(298) Walpole’s correspondence with Chatterton took place in March and April 1769. The death Of the young poet happened in August 1770, in consequence of a dose Of arsenic, at his lodgings in Brook-street, Holborn.-E.
The purport of Dr. Robertson’s visit was to inquire where he could find materials for the reigns of King William and Queen Anne, which he means to write as a supplement to David Hume. I had heard of his purpose, but did not own I knew it, that my discouragement might seem the more natural. I do not care a straw what he writes about the church’s wet-nurse, Goody Anne; but no Scot is worthy of being the historian of William, but Dr. Watson.(300) When