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“The men here are civil, designing and treacherous, with their immediate interests always in view; they pursue trade with warmth and a necessary mercantile spirit, arising from the baseness of their other qualifications. The women, coarse, cold, and cunning, for ever enquiring after men's circumstances. They make that the standard of their good breeding. You may imagine it would not be difficnlt for me to be pretty well received here, if I took pains, having some of the advantages necessary to recommend me to their favour; but.........
[This letter is dated in 1750, but the place, the outside address and several other parts, are crumbled away. Probably, however, it was still written from Glasgow.]
You were embarked long before I thought you ready for your expedition (to Nova Scotia), and sailed before I could imagine you on board. I intended to have bid you farewell, and sent my good wishes to attend you. Indeed, I was not without hopes of hearing from my friend before he went off; for upon such changes he seldom forgot to make me acquainted with his destination. I am not entirely indifferent as to what befalls you, and should have been glad to know how such an undertaking as this is, agreed with your way of thinking; and whether, after a good deal of service you would not rather have sat down in peace and rest; or if your active spirit prompts you to enterprise, and pushes you to pursuits new and uncommon; whether this, (the expedition) certainly great in its nature, suits your inclination. Since I cannot be clearly informed of these matters till I hear from you, I shall content myself with entertaining some conjectures that are favourable to your interests. You are happy in a governor; and he'll be happy to have one near him that can be so serviceable to him as you have it in your power to be. I dare say you are on good terms together, and mutual aid will confirm your former friendships. He will require from you industry and assiduity; and, in return you may expect his confidence and trust. I look upon his situation as requiring one of his very way of thinking, before all things else; for to settle a new colony, justice, humanity, and disinterestedness are the high requisites; the rest follows from the excellent nature of our Government, which extends itself in full force to its remotest dependency.
“In what a state of felicity are our American colonies compared to those of other nations; and how blessed are the Americans that are in our neighbourhood above those that border upon the French and Spaniards. A free people cannot oppress; but despotism and bigotry find enemies among the most innocent. It is to the eternal honour of the English nation that we have helped to heal the wound given by the Spaniards to mankind by their cruelty pride and covetousness. Within the influence of our happy Government, all nations are in security. The barrier you are to form, will, if it takes place, strengthen ourselves, protect and support all our adherents; and, as I pretend to have some concern for the general good, and a vast desire to see the propagation of freedom and truth, I am very anxious about the success of this undertaking, and do most sincerely wish that it may have a prosperous issue. I think it is vastly worth your while to apply yourself to business, you that are so well acquainted with it; and, without any compliment, I may venture to assert that Cornwallis has few more capable to do him, and the public, considerable service than yourself.
“I beg you will tell me at large the condition of your affairs and what kind of order there is in your community; the notions that prevail; the method of administering justice; the distribution of lands, and their cultivation ; the nations that composed the colony and who are the most numerous; if under military government, how long that is to continue; and what sect in religious affairs is the most prevailing. If ever you advise upon this last subject, remember to be moderate. I suppose the Governor has some sort of council, and should be glad to know what it is composed of. The southern colonies will be concerned in this settlement, and have probably sent some able men to assist you with their advice, and with a proper plan of administration. Tell me likewise what climate you live in, and what soil you have to do with ; whether the country is mountainous and woody, or plain ; if well watered.
“I see by a map (now before me) that you are between (crumbled away in the letter) of latitude; in most parts of Europe the air is.... degrees, because we are sheltered by the prodigious. . . . of Norway and Lapland from the north winds. I am afraid you are more exposed; your great cold continent to the north may . . . . some severe effects upon you. Direct to me at your agent's.... If you think I can serve you, or be of any use, I. . . . . . . . I will send you any thing you have a mind for, when . . . . directions to have it sent, for I expect. . . . to go abroad for eight or ten months; do not let the.... prevent you from writing. I set out for London next.... if it is allowed, shall be in less than forty days. . . . Metz, in Lorraine, where I propose to pass the winter; you will easily guess my aim in that. I intend to ramble in the summer along the Rhine into Switzerland, and back through France and the Netherlands, and perhaps more. I hope you have a good provision of books. Rutherford has published his ; and there is a Frenchman has told me many excellent truths, in two volumes entitled, “L’Esprit des Loix.” (Montesqieu). It is a piece of writing that would be of great use where you are. Will you have him ?
“Tell Cornwallis that I thank him for making me a LieutenantColonel (which, by-the-by, you did not take the least notice of); if I was to rise by his merit, as upon this occasion, I should soon be at the top of the list. He promised to write to some of us, but has not; they are not the less ardent for his prosperity; and the whole corps unites in one common wish for his welfare and success. Pray tell him so, as you may
do it safely.
“Your old corps comes back from Gibraltar next summer. Do you know that Conway has got a company over Thompson by Eknis's death ? I will correspond constantly with you in whatever part of the world we happen to be thrown, provided you do not force me, by neglect, to leave off writing. We have but this one way left to preserve the remembrance of each other as lively as I could wish, and as I hope you do. The old General (his father), your friend, preserves his health, and is......... * he has often wished to have you again in his regiment. Farewell ! I am, most affectionately, my dear Rickson,
“Your faithful friend,
“J. Wol.FE. “. . . . . . . . . . . . 1750. ”
“Old Burlington Street, March 19, 1751. “Dear Rickson,
I writ to you six or eight months ago; but as you took no notice of my letter, I conclude you did not receive it; nay, I'm almost sure you did not receive it, because I ask'd a favour of you which I think you would not have refused me. I desired you to inform me of the condition of your new colony (Nova Scotia). (Which I have much at heart), and was not a little curious to know your particular employment and manner of living. Though I have a deal to say to you, I can't speak it just now, for I'm confin'd in point of time; but as I have the same regard and friendship for you that I always had, I have the same desire to cultivate our good understanding. Write to me, then, and forget nothing that you imagine can give me light into your affairs. I am going to Scotland in ten days; your agent will forward a letter to me there.
“The young gentleman who delivers my letter has served in the regiment with me. Want of precaution, and not want of honesty, obliges him to leave it. You'll learn his story from Cornwallis. I desire you to countenance and assist him a little, and I hope you'll not think any services that you may do him thrown away. May you be healthy and happy. I shall always wish it, with great truth.
I am, dear Rickson,
(This letter has a marking on it—“answered 22d July, 175 . ")
(Of eleven pages in length).
I am prepared to assist you in your apology whenever you think it requisite; but I desire you will never assign that as a reason for not writing, which, in my opinion, should prompt you for it. Attachments between men of certain characters do generally arise from something alike in their natures, and should never fall from a certain degree of firmness, that makes them the same all the world over, and incapable of any diminution. I have (as you justly acknowledge) a perseverance in friendship, that time, nor distance, nor circumstance, can defeat—nay, even neglect can hardly conquer it; and you are just as warm, and as near me, in North America, as you would be upon the spot. I writ to you lately from London, and sent my letter by one that I recommended to you for countenance. I hope what has befallen him will be as a shield against accidents of that sort, for the future. When I writ that letter, your poor friend was in the utmost distress (describes his illness); otherwise you should have had more of me. It is not an hour since I received your letter. I shall answer all the parts of it as they stand in their order; and you see I lose no time, because in a remote and solitary part of the globe". “(Banff to wit.)” I often experience the infinite satisfaction there is in the only one way that is open to communicate our thoughts, and express that truly unalterable serenity of affection that is found among friends, and nowhere else. I conceive it no less comfortable to you. I believe that no man can have a sincerer regard for you than myself, nor can any man wish to serve and assist you with more ardour; and the disappointment you speak of affects me greatly, and the more, as I have been told that you lived with Cornwallis and, consequently, had some employment near him that must be creditable and profitable, which I imagined you filled, with all the integrity, diligence, and skill, that I know you possessed of. I cannot otherwise account for the preference given to Mr Cotterel than that there has been an early promise, or some prevailing recommendations from England that Cornwallis could not resist. However, if I was Governor, methinks I should choose about my person some experience, and military ability, as requisite