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We believe this work is culturally important in its original archival form. While we strive to adequately clean and digitally enhance the original work, there are occasionally instances where imperfections such as blurred or missing pages, poor pictures or errant marks may have been introduced due to either the quality of the original work or the scanning process itself. This was done the 25th of last month. Tomlinson, who managed all this affair, was present.
Now, having further considered that matter, I find that I have done a most wicked thing.
I am persuaded that I have betrayed the trust of a person who, for twenty-six years, had given me continual instances of his friendship and confidence. I am convinced that I have acted contrary to the will and intention of my dear deceased friend; showed a disregard to the particular mark of esteem he gave me on that occasion; in short, that I have forfeited what is dearer to me than my own life—honour and reputation.
These melancholy thoughts have made so great an impression upon me, that I protest to you I can enjoy no rest; they haunt me everywhere, day and night. I earnestly beseech you, sir, to represent my unhappy case to Mrs. I acted with all the simplicity and uprightness of my heart; I considered that the MSS. Collins's hands as in mine; that she was no less obliged to preserve them than myself; and that, as the library was left to her, they might naturally go along with it.
Besides, I thought I could not too much comply with the desire of a lady to whom I have so many obligations. But I see now clearly that this is not fulfilling Mr. Collins's will, and that the duties of our conscience are superior to all other regards.
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But it is in her power to forgive and mend what I have done imprudently, but with a good intention. Her high sense of virtue and generosity will not, I am sure, let her take any advantage of my weakness; and the tender regard she has for the memory of the best of men, and the tenderest of husbands, will not suffer that his intentions should be frustrated, and that she should be the instrument of violating what is most sacred.
If our late friend had designed that his MSS. All this I proposed to represent to her in the most respectful manner; but you will do it infinitely better than I can in this present distraction of mind; and I flatter myself that the mutual esteem and friendship which has continued so many years between Mr. Collins and you, will make you readily embrace whatever tends to honour his memory.
I send you the fifty guineas I received, which I do now look upon as the wages of iniquity; and I desire you to return them to Mrs. Collins, who, as I hope it of her justice, equity, and regard to Mr. Collins's intentions, will be pleased to cancel my paper. The manuscripts were never returned to Des Maizeaux; for seven years afterwards Mrs. Collins, who appears to have been a very spirited lady, addressed to him the following letter on the subject of a report, that she had permitted transcripts of these very manuscripts to get abroad.
This occasioned an animated correspondence from both sides. SIR, March 10, I have thus long waited in expectation that you would ere this have called on Dean Sykes, as Sir B.
Lucy said you intended, that I might have had some satisfaction in relation to a very unjust reproach—viz. Collins into the Bishop of London's hands. I cannot, therefore, since you have not been with the dean as was desired, but call on you in this manner, to know what authority you had for such a reflection; or on what grounds you went for saying that these transcripts are in the Bishop of London's hands.
I am determined to trace out the grounds of such a report; and you can be no friend of mine, no friend of Mr. Collins, no friend to common justice, if you refuse to acquaint me, what foundation you had for such a charge. To Mr. Des Maizeaux, at his lodgings next door to the Quakers' burying-ground, Hanover-street, out of Long-Acre.
TO MRS. March 14, I had the honour of your letter of the 10th inst. Being lately with some honourable persons, I told them it had been reported that some of Mr. What occasioned this surmise, or what particular MSS. But as the original and the transcript are in your possession, if you please, madam, to compare them together, you may easily see whether they be both entire and perfect, or whether there be anything wanting in either of them.
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By this means you will assure yourself, and satisfy your friends, that several important pieces are safe in your hands, and that the report is false and groundless. All this I take the liberty to offer out of the singular respect I always professed for you, and for the memory of Mr. Collins, to whom I have endeavoured to do justice on all occasions, and particularly in the memoirs that have been made use of in the General Dictionary; and I hope my tender concern for his reputation will further appear when I publish his life.
SIR, April 6, My ill state of health has hindered me from acknowledging sooner the receipt of yours, from which I hoped for some satisfaction in relation to your charge, in which I cannot but think myself very deeply concerned. You tell me now, that you was left to your own conjectures what particular MSS. I must beg of you to satisfy me very explicitly who were the persons that reported this to you, and from whom did you receive this information?
You know that Mr. Collins left several MSS. I beg that you will be very plain, and tell me what strangers were named to you; and why you said the Bishop of London, if your informer said stranger to you. I am so much concerned in this, that I must repeat it, if you have the singular respect for Mr. Collins which you profess, that you would help me to trace out this reproach, which is so abusive to, Sir, Your servant, ELIZ. I flattered myself that my last letter would have satisfied you, but I have the mortification to see that my hopes were vain.
Therefore I beg leave once more to set this matter right. When I told you what had been reported, I acted, as I thought, the part of a true friend, by acquainting you that some of your MSS. I did own I never thought of such a thing, and whenever I happened to hear that some of my friends had some loss, I thought it my duty to acquaint them with such report, that they might inquire into the matter, and see whether there was any ground for it.
But I never troubled myself with the names of the persons who spoke, as being a thing entirely needless and unprofitable. Give me leave further to observe, that you are in no ways concerned in the matter, as you seem to be apprehensive you are. Suppose some MSS. What man in his senses, who has the honour to know you, will say you gave your consent to such thing—that you was privy to it? How can you then take upon yourself an action to which you was neither privy and consenting?
Do not such things happen every day, and do the losers think themselves injured or abused when they are talked of? Is it impossible to be betrayed by a person we confided in? You call what I told you was a report, a surmise; you call it, I say, an information , and speak of informers as if there was a plot laid wherein I received the information: I thought I had the honour to be better known to you.
Collins loved me and esteemed me for my integrity and sincerity, of which he had several proofs; how I have been drawn in to injure him, to forfeit the good opinion he had of me, and which, were he now alive, would deservedly expose me to his utmost contempt, is a grief which I shall carry to the grave. It would be a sort of comfort to me, if those who have consented I should be drawn in were in some measure sensible of the guilt towards so good, kind, and generous a man.
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Thus we find that, seven years after Des Maizeaux had inconsiderately betrayed his sacred trust, his remorse was still awake; and the sincerity of his grief is attested by the affecting style which describes it: the spirit of his departed friend seemed to be hovering about him, and, in his imagination, would haunt him to the grave. The nature of these manuscripts; the cause of the earnest desire of retaining them by the widow; the evident unfriendliness of her conduct to Des Maizeaux; and whether these manuscripts, consisting of eight octavo volumes with their transcripts, were destroyed, or are still existing, are all circumstances which my researches have hitherto not ascertained.
He did something more, but not better; he attempted to imitate the "Spectator," in his "Le Misanthrope," , which exhibits a picture of the uninteresting manners of a nation whom he could not make very lively. De Limiers has had his name slipped into our biographical dictionaries. An author cannot escape the fatality of the alphabet; his numerous misdeeds are registered. It is said, that if he had not been so hungry, he would have given proofs of possessing some talent. If a pension be granted for reward, it seems a mockery that the income should be so grievously reduced, which cruel custom still prevails.
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In he procured his pension to be placed on his wife's life, and he died in He was sworn in as gentleman of his majesty's privy chamber in — Sloane MSS. Neology, or the novelty of words and phrases, is an innovation, which, with the opulence of our present language, the English philologer is most jealous to allow; but we have puritans or precisians of English, superstitiously nice!
The fantastic coinage of affectation or caprice will cease to circulate from its own alloy; but shall we reject the ore of fine workmanship and solid weight? There is no government mint of words, and it is no statutable offence to invent a felicitous or daring expression unauthorised by Mr. When a man of genius, in the heat of his pursuits or his feelings, has thrown out a peculiar word, it probably conveyed more precision or energy than any other established word, otherwise he is but an ignorant pretender!
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