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1787) I never breathed a sigh of repentance. On my return from England the scene was changed: I found only a faint semblance of Deyverdun, and that semblance was each day fading from my sight. I have passed an anxious year; but my anxiety is now at an end, and the prospect before me is a melancholy solitude. I am still deeply rooted in this country; the possession of this paradise, the friendship of the Severys, a mode of society suited to my taste, and the enormous trouble and expense of a mi-* gration. Yet in England (when the present clouds are dispelled) I could form a very comfortable establishment in London, or rather at Bath; and I have a very noble country-seat at about ten miles from East Grinstead in Sussex.* That spot is dearer to me than the rest of the three kingdoms; and I have sometimes wondered how two men, so opposite in their tempers and pursuits, should have imbibed so long and lively a propensity for each other. Sir Stanier Porten is just dead. He has left his widow with a moderate pension, and two children, my nearest relations; the eldest, Charlotte, is about Louisa's age, and also a most amiable sensible young creature. I have conceived a romantic idea of educating and adopting her; as we descend into the vale of years, our infirmities require some domestic female society: Charlotte would be the comfort of my age, and I could reward her care and tenderness with a decent fortune. A thousand difficulties oppose the execution of the plan, which I have never opened but to you; yet it would be less impracticable in England than in Switzerland. Adieu. I am wounded; pour some oil into my wounds: yet I am less unhappy since I have thrown my mind upon paper.

Are you not amazed at the French revolution? They have the power, will they have the moderation, to establish a good constitution? Adieu, ever yours.

Alluding to Sheffield-place.

Lausanne, Sept. 9, 1789.

WITHIN an hour after the reception of your last, I drew my pen for the purpose of a reply, and my exordium ran in the following words: I find by experience, that it is much more rational, as well as easy, to answer a letter of real business by the return of the post." This important truth is again verified by my own example. After writing three pages, I was called away by a very rational motive, and the post departed before I could return to the conclusion. A second delay was coloured by some decent pretence. Three weeks have slipped away, and I now force myself on a task which I should have dispatched without an effort on the first summons. My only excuse is, that I had little to write about English business, and that I could write nothing definitive about my Swiss affairs. And first, as Aristotle says, of the first.

1. I was indeed in low spirits when I sent what you so justly style my dismal letter; but I do assure you that my own feelings contributed much more to sink me than any events or terrors relative to the sale of Beriton. But I again hope and trust, from your consolatory epistle, that, &c. &c.

2. My Swiss transaction has suffered a great alteration. I shall not become the proprietor of my house and garden at Lausanne, and I relinquish the phantom with more regret than you could easily imagine. But I have been determined by a difficulty, which at first appeared of little moment, but which has gradually swelled to an alarming magnitude. There is a law in this country, as well as in some provinces of France, which is styled le droit de retrait, le retrait lignager, (lord Loughborough must have heard of it,) by which the relations of the deceased are entitled to redeem a house or estate at the price for which it has been sold; and as the sum fixed by poor Deyverdun is much below its known value, a crowd of competitors are beginning to start. The best opinions (for they are divided) are in my favour, that I am

not subject to le droit de retrait, since I take not as a purchaser, but as a legatee. But the words of the will are somewhat ambiguous, the event of law is always uncertain, the administration of justice at Berne (the last appeal) depends too much on favour and intrigue; and it is very doubtful whether I could revert to the life-holding, after having chosen and lost the property. These considerations engaged me to open a negociation with Mr de Montagny, through the medium of my friend the judge; and as he most ardently wishes to keep the house, he consented, though with some reluctance, to my proposals. Yesterday he signed a covenant in the most regular and binding form, by which he allows my power of transferring my interest, interprets in the most ample sense my right of making alterations, and expressly renounces all claim, as landlord, of visiting or inspecting the premises. I have promised to lend him twelve thousand livres, (between seven and eight hundred pounds,) secured on the house and land. The mortgage is four times its value; the interest of four pounds per cent. will be annually discharged by the rent of thirty guineas. So that I am now tranquil on that score for the remainder of my days. I hope that time will gradually reconcile me to the place which I have inhabited with my poor friend; for in spite of the cream of London, I am still persuaded that no other place is so well adapted to my taste and habits of studious and social life.

Far from delighting in the whirl of a metropolis, my only complaint against Lausanne is the great number of strangers, always of English, and now of French, by whom we are infested in summer. Yet we have escaped the superlatively great ones, the count d'Artois, the Polignacs, &c. who slip by us to Turin. What a scene is France! While the assembly is voting abstract propositions, Paris is an independent republic; the provinces have neither authority nor freedom; and poor Necker declares that credit is no

more, and that the people refuse to pay taxes. Yet I think you must be seduced by the abolition of tithes. If Eden goes to Paris, you may have some curious information. Give me some account of Mr and Mrs Douglas. Do they live with lord North? I hope they do. When will parliament be dissolved? Are you still Coventry-mad? I embrace my lady, the sprightly Maria, and the smiling Louisa.* Alas! alas! you will never come to Switzerland. Adieu,

ever vours.

Lausanne, Sept. 25th, 1789.
"Alas! what perils do environ
"The man who meddles with cold iron."


ALAS! what delays and difficulties do attend the man who meddles with legal and landed business! Yet, if it be only to disappoint your expectation, I am not so very nervous at this new provoking obstacle. I had totally forgotten the deed in question, which was contrived in the last year of my father's life, to tie his hands and regulate the disorder of his affairs and which might have been so easily cancelled by sir Stanier, who had not the smallest interest in it, either for himself or his family. The amicable suit, which is now become necessary, must, I think, be short and unambiguous; yet I cannot help dreading the crotchets that lurk under the chancellor's great wig; and at all events I foresee some additional delay and expense. The golden pill of the two thousand eight hundred pounds has soothed my discontent; and if it be safely lodged with the Goslings, I agree with you in considering it as an unequivocal pledge of a fair and willing purchaser. It is indeed chiefly in that light I now rejoice in so large a deposit, which

* Maria Josepha Holroyd, eldest daughter of lord Sheffield, married sir John Thomas Stanley, of Alderley, in Cheshire, baronet; and Louisa Dorothea Holroyd married lieutenant-general William Henry Clinton, eldest son of general sir Henry Clinton, K.B.


is no longer necessary in its full extent. You are apprised by my last letter that I have reduced myself to the life-enjoyment of the house and garden; and, in spite of my feelings, I am every day more convinced that I have chosen the safer side. I believe my cause to have been good, but it was doubtful. Law in this country is not so expensive as in England, but it is more troublesome; I must have gone to Berne, have solicited my judges in person-a vile custom! The event was uncertain; and during at least two years I should have been in a state of suspense and anxiety, till the conclusion of which it would have been madness to have attempted any alteration or improvement. According to my present arrangement, I shall want no more than eleven hundred pounds of the two thousand; and I suppose you will direct Gosling to lay out the remainder in India bonds, that it may not lie quite dead while I am accountable to **** for the interest. The elderly lady in a male habit, who informed me that Yorkshire is a register county, is a certain judge, one sir William Blackstone, whose name you possibly may have heard. After stating the danger of purchasers and creditors with regard to the title of estates on which they lay out or lend their money, he thus continues:-" In Scotland every act and event regarding the transmission of property is regularly entered on record; and some of. our own provincial divisions, particularly the extended country of York, and the populous county of Middlesex, have prevailed with the legislature to erect such registers in their respective districts." (Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. ii. p. 343, edition of 1774, in quarto.) If I am mistaken, it is in pretty good company; but I suspect that we are all riglit, and that the register is confined to one or two ridings. As we have, alas! two or three months before us, I should hope that your prudent sagacity will discover some sound land, in case you should not have time to arrange another mortgage. I now write in a hurry

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