I have two good reasons against writing: nothing to say and a lame muffled hand; and therefore I choose to write to you, for it shows remembrance. For these six weeks almost I have been a prisoner with the gout, but begin to creep about my room. How have you borne the late deluge and the present frost? How do you like an earl-bishop?(370) Had not we one before in ancient days? I have not a book in town; but was not there Anthony Beck, or a Hubert de Burgh, that was Bishop of Durham and Earl of Kent, or have I confounded them?
Have you seen Rudder’s new History of Gloucestershire? His additions to Sir Robert Atkyns make it the most sensible history of a county that we have had yet; for his descriptions of the scite, soil, products, and prospects of each parish are extremely good and picturesque; and he treats fanciful prejudices, and Saxon etymologies, when unfounded, and traditions, with due contempt.
I will not spin this note any further, but shall be glad of a line to tell me you are well. I have not seen Mr. Lort since he roosted under the metropolitan Wings of his grace of Lambeth. Yours ever.
(370) The Hon. and Rev, Frederick Hervey, bishop of Derry, had just succeeded to the earldom of Bristol, as fifth Earl, by the death of his brother. Hardy, in his memoirs of Lord Charlemont gives the following account of this singular man:—“His family was famous for talents, equally so for eccentricity; and the eccentricity of the whole race shone out and seemed to be concentrated in him. In one respect he was not unlike Villiers Duke of Buckingham, ‘every thing by starts, and nothing long!’ Generous, but uncertain; splendid, but fantastical; an admirer of the fine arts, without any just selection: engaging, often licentious in conversation- extremely polite, extremely violent. His distribution of church livings, chiefly, as I have been informed, among the older and respectable clergy in his own diocese, must always be mentioned with that warm approbation which it is justly entitled to. His progress from his diocese to the metropolis, and his entrance into it, were perfectly correspondent to the rest of his conduct. Through every town on the road, he seemed to court, and was received with, all warlike honours; and I remember seeing him pass by the Parliament-house in Dublin (Lords and Commons were then both sitting), escorted by a body of dragoons, full of spirits and talk, apparently enjoying the eager gaze of the surrounding multitude, and displaying altogether the self-complacency of a favourite marshal of France on his way to Versailles, rather than the grave deportment of a prelate of the Church of England.” He died in 1803.-E.