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THE earliest specimens of Sir Thomas Browne's family correspondence, which have been discovered, are bis letters to his younger son Thomas, while in France; of which the following thirteen, preserved in No. 391 of the Rawlinson Collection of MSS., at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, seem to have been transcripts by Mrs. Elizabeth Lyttelton, his daughter. They are in the same band-writing as those addressed to herself, which are inserted at the close of the Domestic Correspondence. The series is entitled, Letters of my Father's, which he writ to my Brother Thomas when he went into France, at 14 years of age; 1660. I have not thought proper to alter the spelling of these letters; but would observe that its faultiness must not be charged on Sir Thomas. He wrote so illegibly (as those are well aware who have been fated to decypher his hieroglyphics) that his orthography was left at the mercy of the copyist, who, in the present case, seems not to have been remarkably skilled in that accomplishment.
Mrs. Browne to her son Thomas.1
We have thought very long to hear from you]. We had a letter from the Isle of White, but not since. Pray let us hear as often as you can and give your father an account how you spend your time, you had need make the best use of it, for you find by this time I am confident some inconvenience, in the first place a troublesome journey, which I hope God have delivered you out of, and many things will seem strange to you at first, but be sure to put your trust in God and be civill to all that you have to doe withall, and find out all that you can in that place, for in the sommer I beleeve your father will have you goe to some other place. I hope you follow writeing and all elce can be learnd there. We are all in good health thanks to God. That God of his mercy would be pleased to send yours and continue his blessing to you is the dayly prayer of your affectionate Mother,
Dr. Browne to his son Thomas.
Decr. 22, Norwich, [1660.]
I hope by Gods assistance you have been some weeks in Bourdeaux. I was yesterday at Yarmouth where I spoke with your uncle Charles Mileham who told me Mr. Dade? would accommodate you with what moneys were fitting for defray of your charges in any kind and therefore would not have mee at present send you any bill to receive any particular summ, but however when I hear from you I will take care for such a bill to be sent to Mr. Dade to whom in the mean
1 Without date : probably written early in 1660,-before he had left the kingdom.
2 Of Bourdeaux.
time present my true respects and service and be sure to be observant of what he shall advise you; be as good a husband as possible and enter not upon any cours of superfluous expences; be not dejected and malencholy because you can yet have litle comfort in conversation, and all things will seem strange unto you. Remember the camells back and be not troubled for any thing that other ways would trouble your patience here, be courteous and civil to all, put on a decent boldness and avoid pudor rusticus, not much known in France. Hold firm to the Protestant Religion and be diligent in going to church when you have any litle knowledge of the language. God will accept of your desires to serve him in his publick worship tho you cannot make it out to your desires; be constant not negligent in your dayly private prayers, and habituate
your heart in your tender days unto the fear and reverence of God. It were good you had a map of France that you might not be unacquainted with the several parts, and to resort unto upon occasion for your information; view and understand all notable buildings and places in Bourdeaux or near it, and take a draught thereof, as also the ruind Amphitheatre, but these at your leisure. There is I think a book in french calld Les Monuments or les Antiquites de Bourdeaux, enquire of the same; read some books of french and latin, for I would by no means you
should loose your latin but rather gain more. Ned comes not home this Xtmas.3 I shall God willing remember your new years gift. Give me an account of your voyage by sea as perticuler as you can, for I doubt you had a rough passage; be temperate in dyet and wary to over heat yourself; remember to compremere et non extendere labra. To God's Providence I commit you, I have sent a little box by
Vostre tres chere Pere,
3 From Cambridge, where he then was, at Trinity College.
Dr. Browne to his son Thomas.
Jan: 31, Norwich, [1660-1.]
I was glad to receive your letter, where you gave a good account of your voyage; take notice of all things remarkable, which will be pleasant unto you hereafter; if you goe to Saintes you may better learn the languadge and I think there is a protestant church ; be as good an husband as you can; to write and cast account will be necesarie; for either singing painting or dancing if you learn let it be but for a while; painting will be most usefull if you learn to draw landskips or buildings, the other takes up much time and your own private practise will sufficiently advantage you. I would be glad you had a good handsome garb of your body, which you will observe in most there, and may quickly learn if you cast of pudor rusticus, and take up a commendable boldness without which
you will never be fit for any thing nor able to show the good parts which God has given you. I would think it very happy if you had more Latin, and therefore advantage yourself that way if possible; one way beside learning from others will be to read the scripture or chapters thereof dayly in french and Latin and to look often upon the grammars in both languages. Since you went there was a little box with 4 knives and a pair of gloves &c. in it which I hope you received. Commend my humble service and respects to Mr. Dade and when you send unto him acknowledge your obligations to him, and how industrious
will be in all returns of gratitude which shall ever fall within your power. Sir Joseph Paint writes often to Mr. Dade. Some riseings there have been in London of the Anabaptists, fift Monarchie men and others, but soon suppresd and 13 executed. Upon the King's letter 5 of our Aldermen were put out which had got in in the usurpers time in other mens places, Andrews, Allen, Davie, Ashwell &c. Yesterday was an humiliation and fast kept to divert the judgments of God upon us and our posteritie for the abominable murther of King Charles the first and is by act of Parliment to be kept yearly on that day for ever. Ned is at Cambridge. Nancy still in London. God's mercifull Providence guide and protect you.
4 Of Norwich,
Your ever loveing father,
When you goe to Saintes you are about a days journey from Rochell, which I would have you see.
Mrs. Browne to her son Thomas.
I thought very long to hear from you and am now much joyd to hear you got so well to Bourdeaux, it was the 26 of february when we received your letter. I beseech God of his mercy continue your health, and be carefull to spend your time to the best advantage. I understand it is a chargable place which you are to live in ; learn what you can tho it be something extraordinary now you are where you may improve yourself, if you like to sing or dance learn, or any thing elce you like. Your Unckle' will convey moneys to you. I thank God we are all well and want nothing but the hearing from you oftner; pray let us know if you want any thing and how you imploy your time; your father was well pleased with your account of your voiage and it will please very much if you continue informing of him still what you observe there. I suppose you can frequently send them to Mr. Dade and he to your Unckle Mileham. Be sure you omit not serving God and then you will [have] his Blessing upon all your endeavors, to whose protection I leave you with my Prayers for you.
. Your loveing Mother,
All the servants present their loves to you and are mighty joyd to hear of you and will observe your commands.
5 Charles Mileham, of Yarmouth.