Thus you see how big the moment is! and, unless far more favourable to us in its burst than good sense allows one to promise, it must leave us greatly exposed. Can we expect to beat with considerable loss?—and then, where have we another fleet? I need not state the danger from a reverse. The Spanish ambassador certainly arrived on Monday.
I shall go to town on Monday for a day or two; therefore, if you write to-morrow, direct to Arlington-street. I add no more: for words are unworthy of the situation; and to blame now, would be childish. It is hard to be gamed for against one’s consent; but when one’s country is at stake, one must throw oneself out of the question. When one, is old and nobody, one must be whirled with the current, and shake one’s wings like a fly, if one lights on a pebble. The prospect is so dark, that one shall rejoice at whatever does not happen that may. Thus I have composed a sort of philosophy for myself, that reserves every possible chance. You want none of these Artificial aids to your resolution. Invincible courage and immaculate integrity are not dependent on the folly of ministers or on the events of war. Adieu!
Upon reviewing your papers, dear Sir, I think I can make more of them than I at first conceived. I have even commenced the life, and do not dislike my ideas for it, if the execution does but answer, At present, I am interrupted by another task, which you, too, have wished me to undertake. In a word, somebody has published Chatterton’s works, and charged me heavily for having discountenanced him. He even calls for the indignation of the public against me. It is somewhat singular, that I am to be offered up as a victim at the altar of a notorious impostor! but as Many saints have been impostors, so many innocent persons have been sacrificed to them. However, I shall not be patient under this attack, but shall publish an answer-the narrative I mentioned to you. I would, as you know, have avoided entering into this affair if I could; but as I do not despise public esteem, it is necessary to show how groundless the accusation is. Do not speak of my intention, as perhaps I shall not execute it immediately.
I am not in the least acquainted with the Mr. Bridges you mention, nor know that I ever saw him. The tomb for Mr. Gray is actually erected, and at the generous expense of Mr. Mason, and with an epitaph of four lines,(316) as you heard, and written by him—but the scaffolds are not yet removed. I was in town yesterday, and intended to visit it, but there is digging a vault for the family of Northumberland, which obstructs the removal of the boards.