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O RIG IN A L COR RESPON DE N C E
This letter bears the old-fashioned post-mark “ Glasgow, pd. 2d.,” and is addressed on the outside thus :
“To Captain RICKSON, of Col. LASCELLE'S Regiment,
Part of Wolfe's seal is still adhering.
When I saw your writing upon the Back of a letter, I concluded it was in consequence of the mandate I sent you by Lt. Herris, of this Regiment (that letter he carried upon your account and mine, not his own, as you will easily discover); but I find myself more in your debt than I expected. Twas your desire to please, and to express the part you take in your friend's good fortune. These were the motives that persuaded you to do what you knew would be agreeable. You'll believe me, when I tell you that, in my esteem, few of what we call advantages in 1ife would be worth acceptance if none were to partake them with us. What a wretch is he who lives for himself alone! his only aim. It is the first degree of happiness here below, that the honest, the brave, and estimable part of mankind, or, at least, some amongst them, share our success. There were several reasons concurring to have sent me into
Italy, if this had not happened (promotion) to prevent my intentions. One was to avoid the mortifying circumstance of going, a Captain, to Inverness. Disappointed of my sanguine hopes, humbled to an excess, I could not remain in the Army and refuse to do the duty of my office while I staid in Britain. Many things, I thought, were, and still are wanting to my education. Certain never to reap any advantages that way with the Regiment; on the contrary, your barren battalion conversation rather blunts the faculties than improves, my youth and vigour bestowed idly in Scotland; my temper daily changed with discontent; and from a man become martin or a monster.”
[Here follows a page relating to private matters, which must be held sacred ; but in the course of the confidential and unreserved statements which Wolfe makes to his friend, he incidentally alluded to his age as being then only twenty-two years and three months.]
“Cornwallis is preparing all things for Nova Scotia; his absence will over-bother me; my stay must be everlasting; and thou know'st, Hal, how I hate compulsion. I'd rather be Major, upon half pay, by my soul! These are all new men to me. and many of them but of low mettle. Besides, I am by no means ambitious of command, when that command obliges me to reside far from my own, surrounded either with flatterers or spies and in a country not at all to my taste. Would to God you had a company in this Regiment, that I might at last find some comfort in your conversation. Cornwallis asks to have Loftus with him. The Duke laughed at the request, and refused him.
“You know I am but a very indifferent scholar. When a man leaves his studies at fifteen, he will never be justly called a man of letters. I am endeavouring to repair the damages of my education, and have a person to teach me Latin and the mathematics; two hours in a day, for four or five months, this may help me a little.
“If I were to judge of a country by those just come out of it, Ireland will never be agreeable to me. You are in the midst and see the brightest and most shining, in other than in a soldier's character. I wish it were more pleasing to you than you mention, because probably you will stay there some time.