I have received such treasures from you, dear Sir, through the channel of Mr. Nichols, that I neither know how to thank you, nor to find time to peruse them so fast as I am impatient to do. You must complete your kindness by letting me detain them a few days, till I have gone through them, when I will return them most carefully by the same intervention; and particularly the curious piece of enamel; for though you are, as usual, generous enough to offer it to me, I have plundered you too often already; and indeed I have room left for nothing more, nor have that miserly appetite of continuing to hoard what I cannot enjoy, nor have much time left to possess.
I have already looked into your beautiful illuminated manuscript copied from Dr: Stukeley’s letter, and with Anecdotes of the Antiquaries of Bennet College; and I have found therein so many charming instances of your candour, humility, and justice, that I grieve to deprive Mr. Gough for a minute even of the possession of so valuable a tract. I will not Injure him or it, by begging you to cancel what relates to me, as it would rob you of part of your defence of Mr. Baker. If I wish to have it detained from Mr. Gough till the period affixed in the first leaf, or rather to my death, which will probably precede yours, it is for this reason only: Mr. Gough is apt, as we antiquaries are, to be impatient to tell the world all he knows, which is unluckily much more than the world is at all impatient of knowing. For what you call your flaming zeal, I do not in the least object to it. We have agreed to tolerate each other, and certainly are neither of us infallible. I think, on what we differ most is, your calling my opinions fashionable; they were when we took them up: I doubt it is yours that are most in fashion now, at least in this country. The Emperor seems to be of our party; but, if I like his notions, I do not admire his judgment, which is too precipitate to be judgment.
I smiled at Mr. Gough’s idea of my declining his acquaintance as a member of that Obnoxious Society of Antiquaries. It is their folly alone that is obnoxious to me, and can they help that? I shall very cheerfully assist him.