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Memoirs of William Hazlitt
Chap. I 1778-1811
William Hazlitt to William Hazlitt sen.; [July] 1790

Chap. I 1778-1811
Ch. II: 1791-95
Ch. III 1795-98
Ch. IV 1798
Ch. V 1798
Ch. VI 1792-1803
Ch. VII 1803-05
Ch. VIII 1803-05
Ch. IX
Ch. X 1807
Ch. XI 1808
Ch. XII 1808
Ch. XII 1812
Ch. XIV 1814-15
Ch. XV 1814-17
Ch. XVI 1818
Ch. XVII 1820
Ch. XX 1821
Ch. I 1821
Ch. II 1821-22
Ch. III 1821-22
Ch. IV 1822
Ch. V 1822
Ch. VI 1822
Ch. VII 1822-23
Ch. VIII 1822
Ch. IX 1823
Ch. X 1824
Ch. XI 1825
Ch. XII 1825
Ch. XIII 1825
Ch. XIV 1825
Ch. XV 1825
Ch. XVI 1825-27
Ch. XVII 1826-28
Ch. XVIII 1829-30
Ch. XX
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“Monday, 18th March.
“Dear Papa,

“I this morning received your affectionate letter, and, at the same time, one from my brother and sister, who were very well when they wrote. On Wednesday I received a lexicon, which I was very glad of. I have, since that time, gotten to the 12th verse of the 14th chapter, which is 39 verses from the place I was in before. Mr. Clegg came last Wednesday, and employed the time he staid in showing the Miss Traceys how to find the latitude and longitude of any place, which I can now do upon the globes with ease. Whilst he was here I was as attentive as I could be. He came again on Saturday, and I came in a few minutes after he came. I drank tea at his house the Thursday before, when he asked me to prepare the map of Asia, which Miss Traceys were at that time getting. I answered that I had already gotten it. I said it to him on Saturday, with Miss Traceys, without missing a single word. He, when he had finished with us, bid me have the map of Africa ready by the next time he should come, which I have done. He also asked me to read a dialogue with him, which I did. I should think he intends to teach me geography while I stay. On Thursday he took me and George, with his two brothers, to the glass-house, and then we went to the new fort. On Friday I went to the play with Mr. Corbett, at whose house I dined and drank tea. The play was ‘Love in many Masks,’ and the farce, ‘No Song, no Supper.’ It was very entertaining, and was performed by some of
the best players in London, as for instance,
Kemble, Suett, Dignum, the famous singer, Mrs. Williams, Miss Hagley, Miss Romanzini, and others. Suett, who acted in the character of ‘Ned Blunt,’ was enough to make any one laugh, though he stood still; and Kemble acted admirably as an officer. Mr. Dignum sang beautifully, and Miss Hagley acted the country-girl with much exactness. Mr. Corbett says he will take us to another play before we go. So much for last week. I have been writing an hour now. Yesterday I went to Meeting by myself in the morning, where we had a very good discourse on the 10th of the 2nd chapter of Thess. 2nd—‘With all deceiveableness of unrighteousness.’ From this he drew several conclusions of the false pretences which are made by sin to her followers to happiness; how people are drawn away, by imperceptible degrees, from one degree of sin to another, and so on to greater. I sent a note to Mr. Yates this morning, requesting him to send me a dictionary and ‘Horace.’ Was it right to express myself in this manner? —‘Mr. Hazlitt sends his compliments to Mr. Yates, and would be much obliged to him if he would send him a dictionary and an “Horace.”’

“‘P.S. Papa desired me to remember him to you.’

“On Sunday, after I had come from Meeting, I went, but not willingly, to Mrs. Sydebotham’s to dinner. In the afternoon we went to church, for the first time I ever was in one, and I do not care if I should never go into one again. The clergyman, after he had gabbled
over half a dozen prayers, began his sermon, the text of which was as follows:—Zachariah, 3rd chapter, 2nd verse, latter part—‘Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?’ If a person had come in five minutes after he began, he would have thought that he had taken his text out of Joshua. In short, his sermon had neither head nor tail. I was sorry that so much time should be thrown away upon nonsense. I often wished I was hearing Mr. Yates; but I shall see I do not go to church again in a hurry. I have been very busy to day; I got up at seven and wrote a note for Mr. Yates; and called on Mr. Nicholls with it, who was at breakfast. I then went to the post-office, and there I stayed a good while waiting for my letter, but as they told me the letters were gone to Richmond, I came home to my breakfast. After breakfast I went with George, to buy some paper, down to Mr. Bird; when I came home I sat down to my French, but as Mrs. Tracey wanted some riband, I went to Mr. Bird’s for some; but, as you may suppose, I was not a long time going there. I had almost forgotten to tell you that I wrote to
Joseph Swanwick last week. I have everything ready for Mr. Dolounghpryeé, who comes this evening. I have also made myself perfect in the map of Africa. As I have now given you all the news I can, I shall lay by for the present, and to-morrow, for my observations and reflections. Tell Kynaston I have done the first sum, and understand it quite well. I cannot play any tune on the harpsichord but ‘God save the King.’—Farewell for the present.


“I shall have satis pecuniae, dum tu habeas opportunitatem, mittendi aliquam partem mihi.*

“Tuesday morning.

“I have this morning gotten my French for to-morrow, and thirteen verses of the ‘Testament;’ I have also written out the contractions, and can tell any of them. I said my lessons very well last night; I had only one word wrong in my fable, and not any one in my two verbs. I am to go to the concert to-night. I have written two verbs, and translated my French task. How ineffectual are all pleasures, except those which arise from a knowledge of having done, as far as one knew, that which was right, to make their possessors happy. The people who possess them, at night, lie down upon their beds, and after having spent a wearisome right, rise up in the morning to pursue the same ‘pleasures.’ or, more properly, vain shadows of pleasure, which, like Jacks with lanthorns, as they are called, under a fair outside, at last bring those people who are so foolish as to confide in them into destruction, which they cannot then escape. How different from them is a man who wisely ‘in a time of peace, lays up arms, and such like necessaries in case of a war.’ Mrs. Tracey desires me to give her respects.”