I rejoice to see Mr. Bentham’s advertisement at last. I depend on you, dear Sir, for procuring me his book(18) the instant it is possible to have it. Pray make my compliments to all that good family. I am enraged, and almost in despair, at Pearson the glass-painter, he is so idle and dissolute. He has done very little of the window, though what he has done is glorious, and approaches very nearly to Price.
My last volume of Painters begins to be printed this week; but, as the plates are not begun, I doubt it will be long before the whole is ready. I mentioned to you in my last Thursday’s letter a hint about Bannerman, the engraver. Adieu!
(18) The “History and Antiquities of the Conventual and Cathedral Church at Ely,” which appeared in the following year.-E.
Dear Sir I am very zealous, as you know, for the work; but I agree with you in expecting very little success from the plan.(19) Activity is the best implement in such undertakings, and that seems to be wanting; and, without that, it were vain to think of who would be at the expense. I do not know whether it were not best that Mr. Essex should publish his remarks as simply as he can. For my own part, I can do no more than I have done,- -sketch out the plan. I grow too old, and am grown too indolent, to engage in any more works: nor have I time. I wish to finish some things I have by me, and to have done. The last volume of my Anecdotes, of which I was tired, is completed and with them I shall take my leave of publications. The last years of one’s life are fit for nothing but idleness and quiet, and I am as indifferent to fame as to politics.
I can be of as little use to Mr. Granger in recommending him to the Antiquarian Society. I dropped my attendance there four or five years ago, from being sick of their ignorance and stupidity, and have not been three times amongst them since. They have chosen to expose their dullness to the world, and crowned it with Dean Milles’s(20) nonsense. I have written a little answer to the last, which you shall see, and then wash my hands of them.
To say the truth, I have no very sanguine expectation about the Ely window. The glass-painter, though admirable, proves a very idle worthless fellow, and has yet scarce done any thing of consequence. I gave Dr. Nichols notice of his character, but found him apprised of it. The Doctor, however, does not despair, but pursues him warmly. I wish it may succeed!
If you go over to Cambridge, be so good as to ask Mr. Grey when he proposes being in town; he talked of last month. I must beg you, too, to thank Mr. Tyson for his last letter. I can say no more to the Plan than I have said. If he and Mr. Essex should like to come to town, I shall be very willing to talk it over with them, but I can by no means think of engaging in any part of the composition.