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disease, upon the eating of fish, though it be those which are wholesome, the poisonous ferment in their body is revived thereby, and their pain increased.”
Thus far the ingenious person, from whom I had this relation, who, having been but a very little while upon the island when he writ this, could not send so perfect an account of this odd observation as one could wish, or as I expect to receive from him, in answer to some queries I lately sent him by a ship bound thither. When his answer comes to my hand, if there be any thing in it which may gratify your curiosity, I shall be glad of that or any other occasion to assure you that I am,
Sir, Your most humble servant,
A Letter to Anthony Collins, Esq.
Oates, 4 May, 1703. None of your concerns are of indifference to me. You may from thence conclude I take part in your late great loss. But I consider you as a philosopher, and a christian ; and so spare you the trouble of reading from me, what your own thoughts will much better suggest to you.
You have exceedingly obliged me, in the books of yours that you have sent me, and those of mine you have been at so much trouble about. I received but just now the packet, wherein they and your obliging letter were; that must be my excuse for so tardy a return of my thanks.
I am overjoyed with an intimation I have received also, that gives me hopes of seeing you here the next week. You are a charitable good friend, and are resolved to make the decays and dregs of my life the pleasantest part of it. For I know nothing calls me so much back to a pleasant sense of enjoyment, and makes my days so gay and lively, as your good company. Come, then, and multiply happy minutes upon, and rejoice here in the good you do me. For I am, with a perfect esteem and respect,
To the same.
Oates, 3 June, 1703. It is not enough to have heard from my cousin King * that you got safe to town, or from others that you were since well there. I am too much concerned in it, not to inquire of yourself, how you do. Besides that I owe you my thanks, for the greatest favour I can receive, the confirmation of your friendship, by the visit I lately received from you. If you knew what satisfaction I feel spread over my mind by it, you would take this acknowledgement as coming from something beyond civility; my heart goes with it, and that you may be sure of; and so useless a thing as I am have nothing else to offer you.
As a mark that I think we are past ceremony, I here send you a new book t in quires, with a desire you will get it bound by your binder. In the parts of good binding, besides folding, beating, and sewing, will I count strong pasteboards, and as large margins as the paper will possibly afford; and, for lettering, I desire it should be upon the same leather blacked, and barely the name of the author, as, in this case, Vossius.
Pardon this liberty, and believe me, with perfect sincerity and respect, &c.
* Sir Peter King.
+ “G. J. Vossii Etymologicum Linguæ Latinæ," Amstelodami 1695.
To the same.
Oates, 18 June, 1703. It would be strange, if after all those marks of friendship and esteem I have received from you, in the little time I have had the honour of your acquaintance, I should quarrel with you; and should repay the continuance of your good offices, employed even in things beneath you, with grumbling at you; and yet this I can hardly forbear to do. Do not, I beseech you, take this to be altogether ill-nature, but a due estimate of what I enjoy in you. And, since upon just measures I count it the great treasure of my life, I cannot with patience hear you talk of condescension in me, when I stick not to waste your time in looking after the binding of my books. If you please, let us live upon fairer terms; and when you oblige me, give me leave to be sensible of it. And pray remember, that there is one Mr. Collins, with whom, if I desire to live upon equal terms, it is not that I forget how much he is superior to me, in many things wherein he will always have the precedency; but I assume it upon the account of that friendship that is between us; friendship levelling all inequalities between those whom it joins, that it may leave nothing that may keep them at a distance, and hinder a perfect union and enjoyment.
This is what I would be at with you; and were I not in earnest in it, out of a sincere love of you, I would not be so foolish to rob myself of the only way wherein I might pretend to enter the lists with you. I am old and useless, and out of the way; all the real services are then like to be on your side. In words, expressions, and acknowledgment, there might have been perhaps some room to have made some offers of holding up to you. But I desire that nothing of the court-guise may mix in our conversation. Put not, I beseech you, any thing into your letters to make me forget how much I am obliged to you by the liberty you allow me to tell you that I am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, 24 June, 1703. Mr. Bold *, who leaves us to-day, intends to see you; and I cannot forbear going, as far as I can, to make the third in the company. Would my health second my desires, not only my name, and a few words of friendship, should go with him to you ; but I myself would get to horse ; and had I nothing else to do in town, I should think it worth a longer journey than it is thither, to see and enjoy you. But I must submit to the restraints of old age, and expect that happiness from your charity.
It is but six days since, that I writ to you; and see here another letter. You are like to be troubled with me. If it be so, why do you make yourself beloved ? Why do you make yourself so necessary to me? I thought myself pretty loose from the world, but I feel you begin to fasten me to it again. For you make my life, since I have had your friendship, much more valuable to me than it was before.
You thanked me in your last, for the employment I gave you; I wish I do not make you repent it; for you are likely to have my custom. I desire you would do me the favour to get me Dr. Barrow's English works, bound as Vossius's Etymologicum was. I am in no manner of haste for them, and therefore you may get them from your bookseller in quires, when you go to his shop upon any other occasion; and put them to your binder at leisure. I have them for my own use already;
* Mr. Samuel Bold died in August 1737, aged 88. He had been rector of Steeple, in Dorsetshire, 56 years. He was author of several books; and, among others, some in defence of Mr. Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding, and his Reasonableness of Christianity. He was imprisoned and persecuted in the reign of James II. for a sermon against persecution, and for a pamphlet intitled, A Plea for Moderation; doctrines which neither the court nor prelates of those times could bear. He was a man of true learning and genuine piety, of sound doctrine and most exemplary life; a most useful man in his station, and a zealous promoter of true religion.
these are to give away to a young lady here in the country. When they are bound, I desire your binder would pack them up carefully, and cover them with paper enough to keep their corners and edges from being hurt in the carriage. For carriers are a sort of brutes, and declared enemies to books. I am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, 9 July, 1703. YOURS, of the 30th of June, I received just now, and cannot forbear a moment to tell you, that if there were any thing in my last letter, that gave you an occasion, after having mentioned disguise, to say, you “ have made use of no way to show your esteem of me, but still your heart went with it," I am very sorry for it. For, however, I might think the expressions in your letter above what I could deserve, yet my blaming your excess of civility to me tended not to any doubt of the sincerity of your affection. Had I not been secure of that, I could not have talked to you with the same freedom I did, nor have endeavoured to persuade you, that you were lodged so near my heart as you are. Though my friendship be of very little value, or use; yet being the best thing I have to give, I shall not forwardly bestow it, where I do not think there is worth and sincerity; and therefore, pray, pardon me the forwardness wherewith I throw my arms about your neck; and holding you so, tell you, you must not hope, by any thing that looks like compliment, to keep me at a civiler, and more fashionable distance.
You comply with me, I see, by the rest of your letter; and you bear with my treating you with the familiarity of an established friendship. You pretend you have got the advantage by it. I wish it may be so ; for I should be very glad there were any thing, wherein I could be useful to you. Find it out, I beseech you ; and tell me of it, with as little ceremony and scruple, as you see I use with you.