These reflections were the best proofs of my sense: and, when I could see through my own vanity, there is less wonder at my discovering that such talents as I might have had, are impaired at Seventy-two. Being just to myself, I am not such a coxcomb as to be unjust to you. No, nor did I cover any irony towards you, in the opinion I gave you of making deep writings palatable to the mass of readers. Examine my words; and I am sure you will find that, if there was any thing ironic in my meaning, it was levelled at your readers, not at you. it is my opinion, that whoever wishes to be read by many, if his subject is weighty and solid, must treat the majority with more than is to his purpose. Do not you believe that twenty name Lucretius because of the poetic commencement of his books, for five that wade through his philosophy?
I promised to say but little; and, if I have explained myself clearly, I have said enough. It is not, I hope, my character to be a flatterer: I do most sincerely think you capable of great things; and I should be a pitiful knave if I told you so, unless it was my opinion; and what end could it serve to me? Your course is but beginning; mine is almost terminated. I do not want you to throw a few daisies on my grave; and if you make the figure I augur you will, I shall not be a witness to it. Adieu, dear Sir!
(665) Now first collected.
I shall heartily lament with you, Sir, the demolition of those beautiful chapels at Salisbury. I was scandalized long ago at the ruinous state in which they were indecently suffered to remain. It appears as strange, that, when a spirit of restoration and decoration has taken place, it should be mixed with barbarous innovation. As much as taste has improved, I do not believe that modern execution will equal our models. I am sorry that I can only regret, not prevent. I do not know the Bishop of Salisbury(666) even by Sight, and certainly have no credit to obstruct any of his plans. should I get sight of Mr. Wyatt, which is not easy to do, I will remonstrate against the intended alteration; but probably without success, as I do not suppose he has authority enough to interpose effectually: still I will try. It is an old complaint with me, Sir, that when families are extinct, chapters take the freedom of removing ancient monuments, and even of selling, over again the sites of such tombs. A scandalous, nay, dishonest abuse, and very unbecoming clergy! Is it creditable for divines to traffic for consecrated ground, and which the church had already sold? I do not wonder that magnificent monuments are out of fashion, when they are treated so disrespectfully. You, Sir, alone have placed several out of the reach of such a kind of simoniacal abuse; for to buy into the church, or to sell the church’s land twice