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M. Oliver Cromwell to the Speaker of the House of Commons,
on founding a College at Durham.
HAVING received information from the mayor and citizens of Durham, and some gentlemen of the northerne countys, that upon theire petition to the parliament, that the houses of the late Deane and Chapter in the citie of Durham might be converted into a colledge or schoole of literature, the parliament was pleased in May last, to referr the same to the committee for removeing obstructions in the sale of Dean and Chapters lands, to consider thereof, and to report theire opinion therein to the house, which said committee (as I am also informed) have so far approved thereof as that they are of opinion that the said houses will be a fit place to erect a colledge or schoole for all the sciences and literature, and that it will be a pious and laudable worke, and of great use to the northerne parts, and have ordered Sir, Arthur Hesilrige to make report thereof to the house accordingly. And the said citizens and gentlemen having made some addresse to me to contribute my assistance to them therein, to which, in so good and pious a worke, I could not but willingly and hartily concurr; and not knowing wherein I might better serve them, or answer their desires, than by recommending the same to the parliament by, Sir, yourself, their speaker, I do therefore make it my humble and earnest request, that the house may be moved as speedily as conveniently may be, to hear the report of the said business from Sir Arthur Hesilrige, that soe the house, taking the same into consideration, may doe therein what shall seem meete for the good of those poore countries. Truly it seems to me a matter of great concernment and importance, as that which (by the blessing of God) may much conduce to the promoting of learning and piety in those poore, rude, and ignorant parts, there being also many concurring advantages to this place, as pleasantness and aptness of scituation, healthful aire, and plenty of provisions, which seem to favour and plead for thcire desire therein. And besides the good (so obvious to-us) those portherne countjes may reape thereby, who knowes, but the setting on foote of this worke at this time may suit with God's present dispensations, and may, if due care and circumspecțion be used in the right constituteing and carrying
on the same, tend to, (and by the blessing of God) produce such happy and glorious fruits as are scarce thought on, or foreseene. Not doubting of your readiness and zeal to promote so good and publick a work, I crave pardon for this boldness, and rest,
Sir, your most humble servant,
wealth of England, 1762, June.
IV. From Sir Robert Strange, containing an account of some
Pictures at Rome.
Rome, July 28, 1761. I WAS much flattered with the trouble you were pleased to take in communicating your sentiments with regard to my present undertaking. I once indeed entertained very serious thoughts of engraving the Parnassus of Raphael; and it was with this intention that leave was solicited, and, after much difficulty, granted, that I should erect a scaffold in the Vatican, which, for several years past has been absolutely prohibited.
I began, in that place, with two figures; the one representing Justice, and the other Meekness, by Raphael : they are in the Hall of Constantine, and were the two last things he painted before his death. These figures contain all that is excellent in painting, whether we consider them in the beauty of the compositions, the noble gracefulness of the characters, the uncominon greatness in the stile of the draperies, or the wonderful force of colouring, light, and shade. I had frequent opportunities, during this time, of examining the Parnassus, and examining it near, by the assistance of a ladder. I own many discouraging circumstances occurred to me, which made me entirely drop the undertaking, though even with regret. The principal figure of this picture, I believe, the world will agree, is amongst the most indifferent, and has the least grace of any figure that great master ever painted. Many of the principal female characters are so much repaired, that they hardly retain any thing of the original. The shape of the whole is
most disagreeable, and out of all form.; and lastly, the situation of this picture is such, that I could only work a few hours in the morning, and that by the assistance of the reflection of the sun. This last circumstance is so discouraging that I am persuaded I should consume almost a year before I could make a complete drawing of this picture, which contains no less than twenty-eight figures. With regard to the other pictures you mention, I have nothing to object against them.
The School of Athens is indeed a most glorious performance, and worthy the hand of a divinity. Had I made this journey at a period of life when a few years, more or less, would have made no material difference with me, I should indeed have been proud of transmitting my name, with Raphael's in this wonderful performance : but at present the case is different; I have no idea of coming abroad to Italy, but for a very few years, and throwing that time away upon a work which ought to be carried on at a public expence, or by the patronage of a prince.
I must leave, my dear Sir, those laborious undertakings to some future genius : at present it is my scheme to vary my subjects and authors, as much as possible, and that even those be of the most agreeable kind; such as will please the public, and best suit the genius of a free people. I think, so far as this I may venture to raise your expectation; I have already enriched my collection with the names of Raphael, Titian, Guido, Dominichino, Guercino, &c. &c. Of the first of those masters, I think I may venture to assure you of at least six different subjects, and all the inost agreeable of their kind. I have, perhaps, the finest Titian you could desire to see; and, of Guercino, I have no less than his famous picture of the Death of Dido, a composition of twelve or fifteen figures. I propose, this ensuing autumn, making an excursion to Naples, where, I am told, there is a sweet Parmigiano. Ai Florence I have already several pictures, and at Bologna some inimitable things. At Parma I hope for the St. Jerome; and at Venice, I may probably light on another Titian, or some agreeable Paul Veronese. With regard to Statues, Busts, &c. I have nothing to say; I must be satisfied with admiring them; and if possible, endeavour to retain a part of their inimitable beauties.
I long much to be with you, but dare not as yet even think on the time, nor can I in the least ascertain it.
I remain, Dear Sir, Yours, &". 17 ), Aug.
V. Mr, Addison to a Lady.
MADAM, It would be ridiculous in me, after the late intimation you were pleased to favour me with, to affect any longer an ignorance of your sentiments, opposite soever as an approba . tion of them must be to the dictates of reason and justice. This expression, mailam, I am highly sensible may appear a little too coarse in the mouth of a polite man; but I hope is no disgrace to the behaviour of a sincere one, When we are to talk upon matters of importance, delicacy must give way to truth, and ceremony be sacrificed to candour: an honest freedom is the privilege of ingenuity; and the mind, which is above the practice of deceit, can never stoop to a willingness to flatter,--Give me leave, madam, to remark, that the connection subsisting between your husband and myself, is of a nature too strong for me to think of injuring him in a point where the happiness of his life is so materially concerned. You cannot be insensible of his goodness, or my obligations; and suffer me to observe, madam, that were I capable of such an action, at the time that my behaviour might be rewarded by your passion, I must be de. spised by your reason; and though I might be esteemed as a lover, I must be hated as a man.
Highly sensible, madam, of the power of your beauty, I am determined to avoid an interview where my reputation may be for ever lost.--You have passions you say, madam; but give me leave to answer, that you have understanding also; you have a heart susceptible of the tenderest impressions, but a soul, if you would choose to wake it, above an unwarranted indulgence of them; and let me intreat you for your own sake, that no giddy impulse of an ill-placed inclination may induce you to entertain a thought prejudi
repugnant to your virtue. I, madam, am far from being insensible; I too have pas, sions, and could my situation a few years ago have allowed me a possibility of succeeding, I should have legally solicited that happiness which you are now ready to bestow. I had the honour, madam, of supping at Mr D-'s, where I first saw you, and shall make no scruple in declaring, that I never saw a person so irresistibly beautiful, or a manner so excessively engaging, but the superiority of your circumstances prevented any declaration on my side; and though
cial to your
I burned with a flame as strong as ever filled human breast, I laboured to suppress, or at least studied to conceal it.
Time and absence at length abated an unhoping passion, and your marriage with my patron and my friend effectually cured it. Do not now, I beseech you, madam, rekindle that fire which I must never think to fan ; do not now, I beseech you, destroy a tranquillity I have just begun to taste, or blast your own honour, which has been hitherto spotless and unsullied.--My best esteem is ever yours; but should I promise more, consider, I conjure you, the fatal necessity I am under of removing myself from an intercourse so dangerous; and in any other commands dispose of your most humble and devoted, 1762, April.
VI. From Dean Swift, on the Fishery.
A genuine Copy of a Letter from the late Dean Swift, to
Esg. a Scots Gentleman.
Dublin, March 23, 1734, I RETURN you my hearty thanks for your letter, and disę course upon the fishery. You discover in both a true love of your country, and (excepting your civilities to me) a very good judgment, good wishes to this vicious kingdom, and a perfect knowledge in the subject you treat. are more temperate than I, and consequently much wiser: for corruptions are apt to make me impatient, and give offence, which you prudently avoid.
Ever since I began to think, I was enraged at the folly of England, in suffering the Dutch to have almost the whole advantage of our fishery, just under our noses.
The late Lord Weemys told me he was governor of a castle in Scotland, near which the Duteh used to fish. He sent to them in a civil manner to desire they would send him some fish, which they brutishly refused. Whereupon he ordered three or four cannon to be discharged from the castle, (for their boats were in reach of the shot) and immediately they sent him more than he wanted.
The Dutch are a kind of sharpers amongst a parcel of honest gentlemen, who think they understand play, and are bubbled of their money, I love them for the love they