Page images

letters at Tamworth, and answered them there, declining, as you may suppose, to go for the funeral to Plymouth. I also wrote to Corneille to break it to the Ormsbys.

If you write pray do not mention anything that may lead to a suspicion, if Jane should see the letter. You may imagine how difficult I find it to conceal my feelings, when I know there is so much affliction in store for her. Your ever affectionate Brother,




Kingsbury, February 3, 1801, MY DEAR PRICE, I little thought, when we parted with so much gaiety on Saturday last, what mournful news I was to meet at the Letter Office at Tamworth—the decease of one of my wife's brothers, of whose illness we had had no previous intimation. He had just attained to the summit of his wishes, the command of a sloop. I suppose you heard me sometimes speak of him in the warmth of my heart, as I had a great affection for him, and high expectations that he would distinguish himself in his profession. What adds to my distress is, that I must conceal the mournful intelligence from my wife till she has been confined and begins to recover her strength, as the effects might be dreadful of her hearing it now. If you write, therefore, do not allude to it.

This event must necessarily delay my visit to you, and indeed to every one for some time. Your affectionate friend,


On the eleventh of February his wife was brought to bed of her second daughter, whose early death not many years afterwards became to him the source of severe and lasting affliction : it was one of those

grim calamities” which, to use his own forcible expression in the following letter, "was about to strike him to the ground.”

The painful secret, however, with which he was yet burthened and on which he was still compelled to ruminate, did not prevent his attending to the ordinary duties of life. Mr. Price had written to ask his advice about the course to be pursued in endeavouring to relieve the distresses of his poor parishioners at Abbots-Bromley : his answer was as follows:


Lichfield, February 21, 1801. MY DEAR PRICE, As I neither saw you yesterday nor had an answer to my letter of Thursday, I am induced to think you did not receive it the same day it was written, or else that you were from home when it arrived. Being thus disappointed in this second attempt at making you a visit, I must content myself at present with a paper intercourse, and with the hope of being once more

he sees any

able to stretch my wing more successfully towards your nest, or of seeing you soon on the way to mine.

With respect to an application to Lord Uxbridge for his contribution to the subscription, I will mention it to my father, and request him to apply, if chance of success.

But I think it not unlikely he will consider the farmers as having made sufficient profits by the last harvest to enable them to give relief to their own poor.

This has been done at Kingsbury, where I believe no landlord, living out of the neighbourhood, has been asked for assistance. With regard to Lord Bagot, his case is different. He is almost an inhabitant of the parish, in which much of his pleasure-grounds and his park are situated, and is under the necessity of employing many of the poor as his own labourers. Last

year self to Lord Dartmouth to ask him to subscribe, for which liberty I excused myself by saying, that I took it in consequence of the request of the parishioners and the distresses of the poor. If it were to come over again, before I gave any assistance I should stipulate that what was done should relieve the farmers less and the poor more. Your neighbour, Mr. Palmer, who, without any solicitation, and with too prompt a liberality, gave two guineas, soon saw the matter in the same light that I did. I hope you have not applied to him, as he has no interest in the parish, and cannot fairly be asked to contribute to its relief.

I wrote my

I thank you very much for thinking of me on the approaching arrival of your remittance; my share of it will certainly be very welcome when it comes; but if the parting with it at present puts you to any serious inconvenience, defer it to another time, as I can probably borrow from my father.

I left my family well on Thursday, and my wife almost completely recovered from her late effort, but soon about to be afflicted by the disclosure of the fatal event which I mentioned to you.

I cannot easily describe to you what my feelings have at times been on this occasion. I have shrunk with terror at thinking of the knowledge of those superior beings who, while they behold the happiness and gaiety of us miserable mortals, at the same time can see every grim calamity that stands by our side, and is about to strike us to the ground.

I must say a word to you, to show our politics do not differ so essentially as you conceive. Mr. Pitt's conduct in relinquishing his place appears to be upright and honourable, and I should be sorry if Mr. Fox succeeded him without the confidence of his king and his countrymen: but remember I still lament that such confidence has not been reposed in him. I apprehend too, with you, that the late divisions in our councils may increase the pretensions and the spirit of our enemies, and our own embarrassments,

I think you will do well to go to Mr. Bagot's

when you feel yourself

feel yourself so inclined, after his invitation. For my own part, in your circumstances, I should have waited on him again in the course of two or three months, and staid to dinner if he asked me. But I am perhaps ritrosetto. Surely, you estimate your own judgment too low, and mine too highly, in asking such a question.

Yours, truly,

H. F. C.

During the period of these domestic anxieties the regular course of his studies had been interrupted. In May, we learn from his journal, and perhaps sooner, his evening readings aloud were renewed; but were again interrupted in the month of August by the absence of his wife, who then went to Ireland on a visit to her own relatives. The following letters give an interesting picture, as well of the tenderness of his domestic affections as of his occupations during his wife's absence.


Kingsbury, Tuesday, August 4, 1801. MY DEAREST JANE, I am happy to have the same story to repeat about our babes, who are as well as when you left them. Jenny keeps close to me as if to give and take comfort for your absence; for though she does not talk much of it, yet like other silent folks she does not feel the less, if I may guess from a little dejection I

« PreviousContinue »