Sir William Meredith has written a large pamphlet, and a very good one. It is to show, that whenever the Grecian republics taxed their dependents, the latter resisted, and shook off the yoke. He has printed but twelve copies: the Duke of Gloucester sent me one of them. There is an anecdote of my father, on the authority of old Jack White, which I doubt. It says, he would not go on with the excise scheme, though his friends advised it, I cannot speak to the particular event, as I was, then at school; but it was more like him to have yielded, against his sentiments, to Mr. Pelham and his candid—or say, plausible—and timid friends. I have heard him say, that he never did give up his opinion to such men but he always repented it. However, the anecdote in the, book would be more to his honour. But what a strange man is Sir William! I suppose, now he has written this book, he will change his opinion, and again be for carrying on the war—or, if he does not know his own mind for two years together, why will he take places, to make every body doubt his honesty?
(343) See ant`e, P. 125, letter 86.-E.
I sent you by Dr. Jacob, as you desired, my Life of Mr. Baker, and with it your own materials. I beg you will communicate my Manuscript to nobody, but if you think it worth your trouble I will consent to your transcribing it; but on one condition, and a silly one for Me to exact, who am as old as You, and broken to pieces, and very unlikely to survive you; but, should so improbable a thing happen, I must exact that you will keep your transcript sealed up, with orders written on the cover to be restored to me in case of an accident, for I should Certainly dislike very much to see it printed without my consent. I should not think of your copying it, if you did not love to transcribe, and sometimes things of as little value as my manuscript. I shall beg to have it returned to me by a safe hand as soon as you can, for I have nothing but the foul copy, which nobody can read, I believe, but I and my secretary.
I am actually printing my Justification about Chatterton, but only two hundred copies to give away; for I hate calling in the whole town to a fray, of which otherwise probably not one thousand persons would ever hear. You shall have a copy as soon as ever it is finished, which my printer says will be in three weeks.
You know my printer is my secretary too: do not imagine I am giving myself airs of a numerous household of officers. I shall be glad to see the letter of Mr. Baker you mentioned. You will perceive two or three notes in my manuscript in a different hand from mine, or that of my amanuensis (still the same officer;) they were added by a person I lent it to, and I have effaced part of the last.
I must finish, lest Dr. Jacob should call, and my parcel not be ready. I hope your sore throat is gone; my gout has returned again a little with taking the air only, but did not stay— however, I am still confined, and almost ready to remain so, to prevent disappointment. Yours most sincerely.