I should have been exceedingly flattered, my lord, by receiving a present from your lordship, which at once proves that I retain a place in your lordship’s memory, and you think me worthy of reading what you like. I could not wait to give your lordship a thousand thanks for so kind a mark of your esteem till I had done through the volume, which I may venture to say I shall admire, as I find it contains some pieces which I had seen, and did admire, without knowing their author. That approbation was quite impartial. Perhaps my future judgment of the rest will be not a little prejudiced, and yet on good foundation; for if Mr. Preston(440) has retained my suffrage in his favour by dedicating his poems to your lordship, it must at least be allowed that I am biassed by evidence of his taste. He would not possess the honour of your friendship unless he deserved it; and, as he knows you, he would not have ventured to prefix your name, my lord, to poems that did not deserve your patronage. I dare to say they will meet the approbation of better judges than I can pretend to be. I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, esteem, and gratitude.
(439) Now first collected.
(440) William Preston, Esq. a young Irish gentleman, of whom Lord Charlemont had become the friend and patron. He afterwards published “Thoughts on Lyric Poetry, with an Ode to the Moon;” an “essay on Ridicule, Wit, and Humour;” and a translation of the Argonautics of Appollonius Rhodius. He died in 1807.-E.
My good Sir, you forget that I have a cousin, eldest son of Lord Walpole, and of a marriageable age, who has the same Christian name as I. The Miss Churchill he has married is my niece, second daughter of my sister, Lady Mary Churchill; so that if I were in my dotage, I must have looked out for another bride—in short, I hope you will have no occasion to wish me joy of any egregious folly. I do congratulate you on your better health, and on the Duke of Rutland’s civilities to you. I am a little surprised at his brother, who is a seaman, having a propensity to divinity, and wonder you object to it; the church navigant would be an extension of its power. As to orthodoxy, excuse me if I think it means nothing at all but every man’s own opinion. Were every man to define his faith, I am persuaded that no two men are or ever were exactly of the same opinion in all points and as men are more angry at others for differing with them on a single point, than satisfied with their Concurrence in all others, each would deem every body else a heretic. Old or new Opinions are exactly of the same authority, for every opinion must have been new when first started; and no man