I cannot be told that you are extremely ill, and refrain from begging to hear that you are better. Let me have but one line; if it is good, ’it will satisfy me. If you was not out of order, I would scold you for again making excuses about the Noble Authors; it was not kind to be so formal about a trifle.
We do not differ so much in politics as you think, for when they grow too serious, they are so far from inflaming my zeal, they make me more moderate: and I can as easily discern the faults on my own side as on the other; nor would assist Whigs more than Tories in altering the constitution. The project of annual parliaments, or of adding a hundred members to the House of Commons would, I think, be very unwise, and will never have my approbation—but a temperate man is not likely to be listened to in turbulent times; and when one has not youth and lungs, or ambition, to make oneself attended to, one can only be silent and lament, and preserve oneself blameless of any mischief that is done or attempted.
Mr. Godfrey, the engraver, told me yesterday that Mr. Tyson is dead.(385) I am sorry for it, though he had left me off. A much older friend of mine died yesterday; but of whom I must say the same, George Montagu, whom you must remember at Eton and Cambridge. I should have been exceedingly concerned for him a few years ago but he had dropped me, partly from politics and partly from caprice, for we never had any quarrel; but he was grown an excessive humourist, and had shed almost all his friends as well as me. He had parts, and infinite vivacity and originality till of late years; and it grieved me much that he had changed towards me, after a friendship of between thirty and forty years.
I am told that a nephew of the provost of King’s has preached and printed a most flaming sermon, which condemns the whole Opposition to the stake. Pray who is it, and on what occasion? Mr. Bryant has published an Answer to Dr. Priestley.(386) I bought it, but though I have a great value for the author, the subject is so metaphysical, and so above human decision, I soon laid it aside. I hope you can send me a good account of yourself, though the spring is so unfavourable. Yours most sincerely.
(385) Mr. Cole, in a letter of the 14th, says, “the loss of poor Mr. Tyson shocked and afflicted me more than I thought it possible I could have been afflicted: since the loss of Mr. Gray, I have lamented no one so much. God rest his soul! I hope he is happy; and, was it not for those he has left behind, I am so much of a philosopher, now the affair is over, I would prefer the exchange."-E.
(386) It was entitled “An Address to Dr. Priestley upon his Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity Illustrated."-E.
@Letter 192 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Friday night, May 19, 1780. (page 249)