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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
James Hodgson to Francis Hodgson, 28 March 1810

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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Barwick: March 28, 1810.

My dear Son,—I have been for some days working myself up to a resolution to answer several letters of a much longer date than yours, but have taken you first, as a proof that you stand before all others in my thoughts and affection. Indeed you have put a question to me that rather required an earlier notice. Shall you go to Rugby this year, if the same office1 is offered to you? Not if you are a loser by the honour. But I should think that might be remedied by a candid statement of the facts to your friend Dr. Wooll. The examiner ought to have a remuneration clear of all expenses. Then it would be an object worth seeking. This is my opinion; I leave you to judge if it is well founded. It has struck me that if Sir J. Cotterell could be prevailed on to apply to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the living of Gladestry, the procrastinating Lord Eldon would be driven to a decision. I am sorry to be obliged to believe all the hard things you say of him; but he has certainly committed himself to such censure in too many instances.

1 That of Classical Examiner of the Upper Forms.


Turning out Mr. York, for a silly boy, I certainly do not approve of. If his being unshaken in his attachment to the present Government be a fault, it surely is a venial one; and if his being rewarded for it is blameable, I suspect there are not many who would not gladly submit to the same blame on the same account. Mr. York is a man of character, of family, and of considerable talents, and must be respectable, whether he is your county member, or for any petty borough. The epigram on ‘Gratia gratiam parit’ is very fair. Mr. Bull must be excused in all his absurdities for the sake of his old Whig principles. But what think you of Lord Erskine and Mr. Clifford, and their wish to exclude from the bar all persons engaged in periodical papers? Such an infamous project was never heard of; but it may be forgiven, if for no better reason, than from having been the occasion of that noble burst of eloquence from Mr. Stephens and Sheridan. The ‘Battle of Falkirk’ I have not yet seen, but my longing is increased both by your remarks and those of the ‘Critical Review.’ The translation1 of the ‘Georgics,’ which are noticed in the last ‘Monthly Review,’ I have no sort of wish

1 Stawell and Deare’s.

to know more of. I more than suspect I know the critic.

I am glad to hear Mr. Bland is doing well at Amsterdam. In these fearful times the ministers of the Church have a difficult task to perform, in an enemy’s country, with an unsettled Government. I augur favourably from the union between Bonaparte and the Austrian princess. It may lead to that which the sword could never bring to pass. I saw my old schoolfellow Le Blanc at York, and was cordially recognised by him at a large party to whom he gave a dinner. We returned to our boyish days, and he seemed pleased with the recollection of our former intimacy. As a judge he is far above my praise. Such mildness in expounding the laws, and such firmness in enforcing them, gave me a very high opinion of his head and heart. My villains, at least six of them, are sentenced to transportation for seven years; but, in order to convict them, it was found necessary to admit four of them as evidence.

The Edinburgh severe tribunal has passed sentence on our present Ministers with such diabolical malice, and has given such an alarming picture of the evils it supposes to be impending, that were it to obtain credit it would be impossible to go to
our beds with any degree of comfort or security. But are we to judge of the state of affairs from the factious babbling of a
Waithman or a Wardle, or the intemperate and ill-informed opinions of young partisans, or from the general demeanour of the majority of the public? They seem to be perfectly satisfied that the State is not going to ruin; nor can they be otherwise when they see a disposition in their rulers to reform all abuses, to correct all unnecessary expenditure, to encourage commerce and agriculture, and whatever tends to improve and enrich the country; above all, when they see the laws so impartially and so promptly executed, and even-handed justice protecting and punishing all persons without favour or distinction, according to their merits. If dinner had not been announced I could have improved the panegyric by entering on a detail of the meritorious services of Mr. Perceval, Lord Castlereagh, and Lord Chatham.

I am ever, dear Frank, yours,
James Hodgson.