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WILLIAM JONES, ESQ. TO MR. PRITCHARD.
Lamb's Building, 21 May (by the calendar,
21 Nov. by the weather), 1782. MY DEAR PRITCHARD, I HAVE called anxiously at the stationer's, every now and then, for the last month,-no letter from Oldbury: I have called there
morning with increasing anxiety,—no letter from Oldbury, or Thornbury, or Hawkesbury, or any other bury. Are you dead and buried in earnest, my dear Arthur, or are you ill? The last idea gives me alarm; for it is impossible to conceive that you forget my existence, or that you stand upon the form of regular answers. Many thanks for yours dated 17th April—it was short, but agreeable to me. You will ask why I have not answered it, and will be anxious also for my health : I will inform you ; earnestly hoping that you will burn this, or at lea take special care of it. We parted on the bank of the Severn, on Sunday (was it not?) the 14th of April. I reached Oxford on the Monday, and found letters in college, which I did not look at till I had dined in the common room ; I read them at six o'clock: one was from Lord Shelburne, dated the 9th, desiring to see me instantly: I put four horses to my chaise ; travelled all night, and saw his lordship early the next morning: the same day I was presented to all the new ministers. A great place had been kept open for me above a fortnight : not hearing from me, nor knowing where I was, they desponded and disposed of it. Particulars
you shall know when we meet: had parliament been dissolved, I should have had a seat in it immediately. . I thought of you, and resolved, if possible, to procure you some genteel place in an office of state; this resolution I will never abandon. From that day to this I have been in hot water; you will see your friend more than parboiled, unless we meet soon. I have had no time for writing by daylight, and I do not think it prudent to strain my eyes by candlelight. After all, in these five weeks, I have been on the point of being under-secretary of state, on the point of being a member of parliament, on the point of being an Indian judge; yet I am neither undersecretary, nor in parliament, nor a judge, nor likely to be either these five or six months. Sir Elijah Impey is recalled; but there is no hope of any vacancy being filled up this year, nor of any bill being passed this session. I have been mentioned in the cabinet, and have the highest interest. In the meanwhile our poor friend Mr. Paradise is ruining himself here, and losing his American estate into the bargain: to rescue him and his family from destruction I have consented to accompany him to Virginia, and we propose to set out next month: we have no time to lose. We shall return as soon as the business is finished; in five or six months. I shall then be in time, probably, for the judgeship, or some better thing. We shall go first to Paris, then to a French port, and have good accommodations on board a swiftsailing frigate: we shall sail directly to the Chesapeak. There will be no danger; and, to avoid delay in case of capture, we shall have passes from Lord Keppell. Have you any objection, my dear Pritchard, to being of the party in this pleasant excursion? I mean in the capacity of my friend and secretary, with a very good allowance from me; and you might be sure of a handsome present from Paradise, who esteems you as much as I do: no one can esteem you more. You cannot increase or dimipish my esteem by accepting or rejecting this offer: in either place you will stand first in my will (after my female friend); and, you know, I have no heir unprovided for. I may die at sea : life is always uncertain; and, if you go, I will leave you, in case of my death during the voyage, a thousand pounds, which I shall take with me in bills. If you wish to do something handsome for your mother during your short absence, I will take care that she shall receive punctually from my agents what you choose to give her. Your friend at Midgham cannot object, as you will return in a few months. If there were any danger, I would not press you. I use no persuasion; I do not presume to think of persuading any one: I only propose ; and, if you accept my proposal, you will give me pleasure ; if you reject it, no pain. As to use, you will be of greater use to us both in reading and writing than I can describe. Some secretary I must have.
22nd May. Here I left off, to dine with the Bishop of St. Asaph,—who, do you think, were at table ? None less than your future uncle and int, Sir G***** and Lady M****,-between us, a stupid uncle and no very elegant aunt! but of this not a word. I have just read the newspaper, and am sorry to see old Mr. Poyntz, of Somersetsbire, in the Gazette. By the way, could not you make your visit to Midgham now upon your little gray, so that we might have a chance of meeting there or at Oxford, where I shall soon spend a day or two? I conclude, that my friends at Midgham will come to town for a little amusement at Ranelagh, some time this month. In short, my dear Pritchard, the case is very simple-I have not abandoned India, but shall not be able to go this year; in the meanwhile I shall accompany my friend Paradise, in order to prevent his ruin, to Virginia, and shall return before next spring fleet sails for India : if you will be of the party, I will ensure you much pleasure, much health, much knowledge of the world ; and a knowledge of men and things will be necessary to qualify you for any office that my interest may hereafter procure for you. I would add much profit, if I did not know your disinterestedness; but no man, however generous, ought to be so disinterested as to neglect any honourable mode of securing his independence by acquiring a fortune : you will be wholly on the footing of a gentleman. Paradise will have his servant, so that he will give you no trouble, except perhaps in writing for him and making his pens, for he says he can write with none so well as with yours. As we go on board a man-of-war, we shall have a charming voyage, and see a delightful country, as your
sister will tell you. Should any accident happen, or should you change your mind at Paris, you may return easily, and I will bear all your expenses back. We shall go from Dover to Calais, but this is a secret. If I die in America, you may return with Paradise, who would treat you as a friend and a gentleman. Let me add, that, if I should be named a commissioner for peace, you will be better qualified to act as my secretary by knowing French, so well as you will know it, by conversing with the French officers on board, and by having been in America. I trust you are in perfect health : the journey and voyage will confirm it; and, if you should again be ill, you may have as good advice and assistance on board a French ship of war as in London. Neither you nor I should fear to engage our ene. mies; but we should not fight our countrymen; and, in case of an engagement (which is not likely to bappen), we should be employed in assisting the wounded, and following the directions of the surgeon. I have stated the good and the bad of this reasonable scheme; but wish we could converse about it for an hour or two. If you reject it, and choose rather to risque the haughty behaviour of some noble or wealthy master, I will leave my opinion of your excellent character (as far as I have been able to discover it) with my friend Mr. Poyntz, who knows how much I value you; and, on my return, I will retain my resolution of contributing all in my power to your advancement and fortune here or in India. Wri to me soon with all that frank,