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To HENRY CROMWELL, Efq;
June 27, 1727. A FTER so long a filence as the many and great 11 oppressions I have sighed under have occasioned, one is at a loss how to begin a letter to so kind a friend as yourself. But as it was always my resolution, if I must sink, to do it as decently (that is, as filently) as I could ; so when I found myself plunged into unforeseen, and unavoidable ruin, I retreated from the world, and in a manner buried myself in a dismal place, where I knew none, and none knew me. In this dull unthinking way, I have protracted a lingering death (for life it cannot be called) ever since you saw me, sequestered from company, deprived of my books, and nothing left to converse with, but the letters of my dead or absent friends ; among which latter I always placed yours, and Mr. Pope's in the first rank. I lent some of them indeed to an ingenious person, who was so delighted with the specimen, that he importuned me for a fight of the rest, which having obtained, he conveyed them to the press, I must not say, altogether with my confent, nor wholly without it. I thought them too good to be lost in oblivion, and had no cause to apprehend the disobliging of any.
The public, viz. all persons of taste and judgment, would be pleased with so agreeable an amusement; Mr. Cromwell could not be angry, since it was but justice to his merit, to publish the solemn and private professions of love, gratitude, and veneration, made him by so celebrated an author; and sincerely Mr. Pope ought not to resent the publication, since the early pregnancy of his genius was no dishonour to his character. And yet had either of you been alked, common modesty would have obliged you to refuse, what you would not be displeased with, if done without your knowledge. And besides, to end all dispute, you had been pleased to make me a free · gift of them, to do what I pleased with them; and every one knows, that the person to whom a letter is addressed, has the same right to dispose of it, as he has of goods purchased with his money. I doubt not but your generosity and honour will do me the right, of owning by a line that I came honestly by them. I flatter myself, in a few months I shall again be visible to the world ; and whenever thro' good providence that turn shall happen, I Mall joy
fully acquaint you with it, there being none more | truly your obliged servant, than, Sir,
Your faithful, and
E. THOMAS. P.S. A Letter, Sir, directed to Mrs. Thomas, to be left at my house, will be safely transmitted to her, by
To Mr. POPE.
Epsom, July 6, 1727.
dered how Curll could come by them, and could not but laugh at the pompous title; fince whatever you wrote to me was humour, and familiar raillery. As soon as I came from Epfom, I heard you had been to see me, and I writ you a short letter from Will's, that I longed to see you. Mr. D—s, about that time charged me with giving them to a mistress, which I positively den ed : not in the least, at that time, thinking of it; but some time after, finding in the News papers Letters from Lady Packington, Lady Chudleigh, and Mr. Norris, to the same Sappho or E. T. I began to fear I was guilty. I have never seen these Letters of Curll's, nor would go to his shop about them; I have not seen this Sappho alias E. T. these seven years. Her writing, That I gave her 'em, to do what she wouid with 'em, is straining the point too far. I thought not of it, nor do I think fhe did then; but severe necessity which catches hold of a twig, has produced all this ; which has lain hid, and forgot, by me so many years. Curll sent me a letter last week, defiring a positive answer about this matter, but finding I would give him none, he went to E. T. and writ a postscript in her long romantick letter, to direct my answer to his house; but they not expecting an answer, sent a young man to me, whose name, it
feems, is Pattison. I told him I should not write any
Your faithful Friend, and
Aug. 1, 1727. T HO' I writ my long narrative from Epsom
1 'till I was tired, yet was I not satisfied ; left any doubt should reft upon your mind. I could not make protestations of my innocence of a grievous crime; but I was impatient till I came to town, that I might send you those Letters as a clear evidence that I was a perfect stranger to all their proceeding. Should I have protested against it, after the printing, it might have been taken for an attempt to decry his purchase; and as the little exception you have taken has served him to play his game upon us for these two years, a new incident from me might enable him to play it on for two more.—The great value the expresses for all you write, and her passion for having them, I believe was what prevailed upon me to let her keep them. By the interval of twelve
years at least, from her possession to the time of printing them, 'tis manifeft, that I had not the least ground to apprehend such a design: but as people in great straits, bring forth their hoards of old gold and most valued jewels ; so Sappho had recourse to her hid treasure of Letters, and play'd off not only your’s to me, but all those to herself (as the lady's lalt stake) into the press-As for me, I hope, when you shall coolly consider the many thousand instances of our being deluded by the females, since that great Original of Adam by Eve, you will have a more favourable thought of the undesigning error of
: Your faithful Friend,
Now should our apology for this publication be as ill received, as the lady's seems to have been by the gentlemen concerned; we shall at least have Her Comfort, of being thanked by the rest of the world. Nor has Mr. P. himself any great cause to think it much offence 10 kis modesly, or refiečiion on his judgment;. when we take care to in; orm the public, that there are few Letters of his in this collection, which were not written under twenty years of age : on the other hand, we doubt not the reader will be much more surprized to find at that early period, so much variety of style, affeciing sentiment, and justness of criticism, in pieces which must have been writ in hafte, very few perhaps ever re. viewed, and none intended for the eye of the public,