As lieutenant-general of the ordnance, I must beseech you to give strict order that no more powder-mills may blow up. My aunt, Mrs. Kerwood, reading one day in the papers that a distiller’s had been burnt by the head of the still flying off, said, she wondered they did not make an act of parliament against the heads of stills flying off. Now, I hold it much easier for you to do a body this service; and would recommend to your consideration whether it would not be prudent to have all magazines of powder kept under water till they are wanted for service. In the mean time, I expect a pension to make me amends for what I have suffered under the government. Adieu! Yours.
(68) Three powder-mills blew up on Hounslow-heath, on the 6th of January, when such was the violence of the explosion that it was felt not only in the metropolis, but as far as Gloucester, and was very generally mistaken for the shock of an earthquake.-E.
It is long indeed, dear Sir, since we corresponded. I should not have been silent if I had had any thing worth telling you in your way: but I grow such an antiquity myself, that I think I am less fond of what remains of our predecessors.
I thank you for Bannerman’s proposal; I mean, for taking the trouble to send it, for I am not at all disposed to subscribe. I thank you more for the note on King Edward; I mean, too, for your friendship in thinking of me. Of Dean Milles I cannot trouble myself to think any more. His piece is at Strawberry: perhaps I may look at it for the sake of your note. The bad weather keeps me in town, and a good deal at home; which I find very comfortable, literally practising what so many persons pretend they intend, being quiet and enjoying my fireside in my elderly days.
Mr. Mason has shown me the relics of poor Mr. Gray. I am sadly disappointed at finding them so very inconsiderable. He always persisted, when I inquired about his writings, that he had nothing by him. I own I doubted. I am grieved he was so very near exact—I speak of my own satisfaction; as to his genius, what he published during his life will establish his fame as long as our language lasts, and there is a man of genius left. There is a silly fellow, I do not know who, that has published a volume of Letters on the English Nation, With characters of our modern authors. He has talked such nonsense On Mr. Gray, that I have no patience with the compliments he has paid me. He must have an excellent taste; and gives me a woful opinion of my own trifles, when he likes them, and cannot see the beauties of a poet that ought to be ranked in the first line. I am more humbled by any applause in the present age, than by hosts of such critics as Dean Milles. Is not Garrick reckoned a tolerable author, though he has proved how little sense is necessary to form