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HE mystery is at last unravelled. I shall no more
wonder now that you engross his company at Purley *, whilst his other friends can scarce get a sight of him. This, you say, was President Bradshaw's seat. That is the secret of his attachment to the place. You hold him by the best security, his political prejudices and enthusiasm. But do not let his veneration for the memory of the antient possessor pass upon you for affection to the present.
* The seat of William Tooke, Esq. near Croydon, Surrey.
Should you be altogether so severe upon my politics ; when you reflect that, merely for attempting to prevent the effusion of brother's blood and the final dismemberment of the empire, I stand the single legal victim during the contest, and the single instance of proscription after it? But I am well contented that my principles, which have made so many of your way of thinking angry, should only make you laugh. Such however as they are, they need not now to be defended by me : for they have stood the test of ages; and they will keep their ground in the general commendation of the world, till men forget to love themselves; though, till then perhaps, they are not likely to be seen (nor credited if seen) in the practice of many individuals.
But are you really forced to go above a hundred years back to account for my attachment to Purley? Without considering the many strong public and private ties by which I am bound to its present possessor, can you find nothing in the beautiful prospect from these windows? nothing in the entertainment every one receives in this house? nothing in the delightful rides and walks we have taken round it ? nothing in the cheerful disposition and
easy kindness of its owner, to make a rational man partial to this habitation ?
Sir, you are making him transgress our only standing rules. Politics and compliments are strangers here. We always put them off when we put on our boots; and leave them behind us in their proper atmosphere, the smoke of London.
Is it poffible ! Can either of you-Englishmen and patriots !-abstain for four and twenty hours together from politics ? You cannot be always on horseback or at piquet. What, in the name of wonder, your favourite topic excluded, can be the subject of your so frequent conversations?
You have a strange notion of us. But I assure you we find more difficulty to finish than to begin our conversations. As for our subjects, their variety cannot be remembered ; but I will tell you on what we were discoursing, yesterday when you came in; and I believe you are the fittest person in the world to decide between us. He insists, contrary to my opinion, that all sorts of wisdom and useful knowledge may be obtained by a plain man of sense without what is
commonly called Learning. And when I took the easiest instance,
as I thought, and the foundation of all other knowledge, (because it is the beginning of education, and that in which children are first employed) he declined the proof of his assertion in this instance, and maintained that I had chosen the most difficult : for, he says, that, though Grammar be usually amongst the first things taught, it is always one of the last understood.
I must confess I differ from Mr. H. concerning the difficulty of grammar: if indeed what you have reported be really his opinion. But might he not possibly give you that answer to escape the discussion of a disagreeable, dry subject, remote from the course of his studies and the objects, of his inquiry and pursuit? By his general expression of what is commonly called Learning—and his declared opinion of that, I can pretty well guess what he thinks of grammatical learning in particular. I dare swear (though he will not perhaps pay me so indifferent a compliment) he does not in his mind allow us even the poor consolation which we find in Athenæus-Es un oc]pou no av; but concludes, without a single exception, xdev twv Ipar jepechomwv pewpolepov **
* Ου γαρ κακως τινι των εταιρων ημων ελεχθη το, γραμματικων μωροθερον. .
ει μη ιατροι ησαν και δεν αι ην των Deipnofoph. Lib. 15.