I beg your pardon for talking so much of myself; but an answer was due to the unmerited attention which you have paid to my writings. I turn with more pleasure to speak on yours. Forgive me if I shall blame you, whether you either abandon your intention, or are too impatient to execute it.(536) Your preface proves that you are capable of treating the subject ably; but allow me to repeat, that it is a work that ought not to be performed impetuously. A mere recapitulation of authenticated facts would be dry; a more enlarged plan would demand much acquaintance with the characters of the actors, and with the probable sources of measures. The present time is accustomed to details and anecdotes; and the age immediately preceding one’s own is less known to any man than the history of any other period. You are young en — ugh, Sir, to collect information on many particulars that will occur in your progress, from living actors, at least from their contemporaries; and, great as your ardour may be, you will find yourself delayed by the want of materials, and by further necessary inquiries. As you have a variety of talents, why should not you exercise them on works that will admit of more rapidity; and at the same time, in leisure moments, commence, digest, and enrich your plan by collecting new matter for it?
In one word, I have too much zeal for your credit, not to dissuade you from precipitation in a work of the kind you meditate. That I speak sincerely you are sure; as accident, not design, made you acquainted with my admiration of your tract on medals. If I wish to delay your history, it must be from wishing that it may appear with more advantages; and I must speak disinterestedly, as my age will not allow me to hope to see it, if not finished soon. I should not forgive myself if I turned you from prosecution of your work; but, as I am certain that my writings can have given you no opinion of my having sound and deep judgment, pray follow your own, and allow no merit but that of sincerity and zeal to the sentiments of yours, etc.
(535) Now first collected.
(536) Of writing a history of the reign of George the Second.
Thank you a thousand times, dear Madam, for your obliging letter and the new Bristol stones you have sent me, which would pass on a more skilful lapidary than I am for having been brillianted by a professed artist, if you had not told me that they came shining -out of a native mine, and had no foreign diamond-dust to polish them. Indeed, can one doubt any longer that Bristol Is as rich and warm a soil as India? I am convinced it has been so of late years, though I question its having been so luxuriant in Alderman Canning’s days; and I have more reasons for thinking so, than from the marvels’ of Chatterton.—But I will drop metaphors, lest some nabob should take me au pi`e de la lettre, fit out an expedition, plunder your city, and massacre you for weighing too many carats.