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Memoirs of William Hazlitt
Chap. I 1778-1811
William Hazlitt to William Hazlit 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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“Saturday, March —, 1790.
“Dear Father,

“I now sit down to spend a little time in an employment, the productions of which I know will give you pleasure, though I know that every minute that I am employed in doing anything which will be advantageous to me, will give you pleasure. Happy, indeed unspeakably happy, are those people who, when at the point of death, are able to say, with a satisfaction which none but themselves can have any idea of—‘I have done with this world, I shall now have no more of its temptations to struggle with, and praise be to God I have overcome them; now no more sorrow, now no more grief, but happiness for evermore!’ But how unspeakably miserable is that man who, when his pleasures are going to end, when his lamp begins to grow dim, is compelled to say,—‘Oh that I had done my duty to God and man! oh that I had been wise, and spent that time which was kindly given me by Providence, for a purpose quite contrary to that which I employed it to, as I should
have done; but it is now gone; I cannot recal time, nor can I undo all my wicked actions. I cannot seek that mercy which I have so often despised. I have no hope remaining. I must do as well as I can—but who can endure everlasting fire?’ Thus does the wicked man breathe his last, and without being able to rely upon his good, with his last breath, in the anguish of his soul, says, ‘Have mercy upon me a sinner, O God!’—After I had sealed up my last letter to you, George asked me if I were glad the Test Act was not repealed? I told him, No. Then he asked me why? and I told him because I thought that all the people who are inhabitants of a country, of whatsoever sect or denomination, should have the same rights with others.—But, says he, then they would try to get their religion established, or something to that purpose.—Well, what if it should be so?—He said that the Church religion was an old one.—Well, said I, Popery is older than that.—But then, said he, the Church religion is better than Popery.—And the Presbyterian is better than that, said I. I told him I thought so for certain reasons, not because I went to chapel. But at last, when I had overpowered him with my arguments, he said he wished he understood it as well as I did, for I was too high learned for him. I then went to the concert. But as I am now going with George to a Mrs. Cupham, I must defer the rest of my letter till another time. I have gotten to the 36th verse, 15th chapter.

Monday morning.—I was very much pleased at the concert; but I think Meredith’s singing was worth all
the rest. “When we came out of the concert, which was about nine o’clock, we went to Mrs. Chilton’s, at whose house we slept. It rained the next morning, but I was not much wet coming home. George was very much wet, and the colour of his coat was almost spoiled. On Wednesday Mr. Clegg did not come, as he was confined to his bed. On Wednesday evening Mr. Dolounghpryeé came, to whom I was very attentive. I was sorry Mr. Clegg did not come on Saturday, but I hope he will come on Wednesday next. Saturday afternoon I and George, with Miss Avis, went to a Mrs. Bartton’s, who appeared to be an unhospitable English prim ‘lady,’ if such she may be called. She asked us, as if she were afraid we should accept it, if we would stay to tea. And at the other English person’s, for I am sure she belongs to no other country than to England, I got such a surfeit of their ceremonial unsociality, that I could not help wishing myself in America. I had rather people would tell one to go out of the house than ask one to stay, and, at the same time, be trembling all over, for fear one should take a slice of meat, or a dish of tea, with them. Such as these require an
Horace or a Shakspeare to describe them. I have not yet learned the gamut perfectly, but I would have done it if I could. I spent a very agreeable day yesterday, as I read 160 pages of Priestley, and heard two good sermons; the best of which, in my opinion, was Mr. Lewin’s, and the other Mr. Smith’s. They both belong to Benn’s Gardens Chapel. Mr. Nicholls called last night, who informed me that he sent the note by his boy, who left
it with the servant, and that when he went again, Mr. Yates had not received it; so that I have not yet received the books, which I am very sorry for. I forgot to tell you, Winfield and all the other part of the family are very well, and that Mrs. Tracey said, I said my French task very well last Saturday. I am now almost at the end of my letter, and shall therefore answer all questions in your letter, which I received this morning, which I have not already answered. And in the first place. I have not seen Mr. Kingston since. I am glad that you liked my letter to Joe, which I was afraid he had not received, as you said nothing about it. Does he intend to answer me? Miss Shepherd will go on Monday, I believe, and I shall go with her. I have not seen Mr. Yates since I wrote last. I do not converse in French; but I and Miss Tracey have a book, something like a vocabulary, where we get the meanings of words. Miss Tracey never does accompts, but I take an hour or two every other day. I will follow your Greek precept. Give my best love to mamma, and tell her I shall write to her next time, and hope she will write to me in answer to it. Give my respects to Mr. and Miss Cottons, and to every other inquirer, not forgetting Kynaston. I wish people made larger paper. I shall put this into the post-office to-night, Monday evening.”

“I am your affectionate son,
“William Hazlitt.”