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April 27th.-I write to you sooner than I intended, because I perceive that you are somewhat distrustful as to your power of learning French as quickly as you would wish; but be of good cheer, my boy! You cannot acquire the language by a miracle; habit and patience alone will render you familiar with it; and one fine morning, before the two years are elapsed, you will waken and find yourself a good French scholar.
"I was very glad to receive your letter. It confirms my opinion of you, that you are a manly person, and not fractious and quarrelsome. I know very well that you must have rubs and annoyances in your new settlement-and who is without them? But still you say that you are happy; and, without taking the expression too literally, it gives me a token that you have a spring of hope and industry within you, that will bear you into a prosperous tide of life. I know you will not abuse my confidence in you, when I say-tell me whatever inconveniences you have, and, if I can, they shall be removed. In the meantime, don't think it inconsistent when I saw, 'put up with everything until you have acquired something of the language; for, to begin at present to make new arrangements with Monsieur Goubault, would set us all to sea again. One thing that I mean to make a future arrangement about, is, that you shall have more liberty to go about the town of Rheims-and not be confined like a child within the walls of the Academy. I have another little reformation in view more immediately, if it can be effected: Mr. Scott informs me that when he was at the school, the breakfast was bread 'at discretion,' and the liberty of the pump. Now, although it is possible that you will keep your health upon this breakfast, as well as if you had fowls and marmalade, I do not like the idea of my nephew breakfasting on bread and water. I have therefore remitted you, by Mr. Scott, two napoleons, for the following purpose: Get, if you can, to a cheese shop, and purchase a pound of cheese-you cannot in delicacy eat this before the other students, so whip it out slily, and take a nip of it to give a zest to your bread.
"I cannot estimate your pocket-money, till I know your entire expense; but these forty francs shall not come out of your pocket-allowance, any more than the books you buy.
"You can get no harm by going to a Catholic place of worship; and I am glad that you seem to view the matter in that light. God listens to human prayers wherever they are offered
LETTER TO HIS NEPHEW ROBERT.
up. The Catholics have a mistaken religion; but persecution is not a necessary part of their creed. In the very reign of the 'Bloody Mary,' many true Catholics were horrified at her cruelties; and I am sorry to say that we, Protestants, have too often persecuted. Calvin and the Genevan church, which is the Mother of the Scotch Kirk, got Servetus burnt alive for being a Socinian! In fact, at one time the bulk of Christians, in whatever other points they differed, agreed in thinking that they had a right to burn others for difference of belief! Adieu, my dear Robert, let me hear from you soon, &c. T. C."
While their correspondence was thus proceeding, the youth fell ill, his studies were interrupted; and on the 14th of July the French physician recommended that he should be immediately sent home. In the meantime, however owing to some illusory symptoms of amendment-this opportunity was lost; and with the pleasing intelligence that his nephew "was able to resume his studies without alarm," Campbell wrote to him as follows:
"July 22d.-Your letter received this morning, gives me infinite relief. I was annoyed beyond expression at the prospect of expense and delay in your education, and return to England; but the positive manner in which the physician announced your case being serious, left me no choice but to send for you. Now matters are completely changed, and your resolution to remain was quite proper. Tell Mons. Goubault from me, that I am much obliged to him for the attention that has been shown you in your temporary ailment. Your friend, young Mr. Scott, will help you to interpret the message, and will you add to Mons. Goubault, that in the event of any illness likely to be more than transitory befalling you, I know too well what is due to him, to occasion your remaining with him during such illness; for it is not proper to burthen a boardingschool with a sick scholar; but in that event (which may God avert!) we must consult about your retiring to some place, not far from Rheims, and not think of transferring you at once to your native air.' The physician of course knows the general treatment of your complaint better than I can pretend to know but assuredly, both he and Mons. Goubault are utterly deceived as to the climate of Glasgow-our native climate. It is a cold, raw, wretchedly wet climate-the very nursery of sore throats and chest diseases. If you had come home, and if I had found your bronchitis worse, or your chest threatened, I
meant to have sent you to Devonshire or the Isle of Wight. The North of Scotland, for a pectoral or throat complaint? God help us!
I hope and trust that your health will improve and continue sound; and that you will not forget your promise to be punctiliously accurate in keeping a double-sided book, with the creditor on one side, and the debtor on the other, noticing the express purpose for which every expense is incurred.-Pray attend also to the computation of French and English money; for your letter, before the two last, written, I dare say, under indisposition, was inaccurate on the subject. I have written to you about your four years' education; I dare say you think me a man who means what I say.-I can further assure you that I have laid aside a sum, which, in the event of my death, before the end of the four years, will be sufficient to support and educate you, frugally, during whatever part of the unexpired term may remain at my death.* T. C."
In a letter to Mrs. A, with a proof engraving of "Latilla's Child," the infant heroine of his poem, he ·says:
Aug. 26th. I am projecting a new volume of poetical pieces, not contained in any hitherto edition. Some of the projected volume is not yet written.-I fancy I am in my dotage, for I am smitten with such a passion for having vignettes affixed to my poems, that if I had a large fortune, it is to be feared that I should squander it on them. In this project for a new series of steel engravings, I am stuck fast in the mud, however,
* In less than a month the symptoms were much aggravated; Campbell came to me in great distress about his favorite nephew; and as no time was to be lost, he was immediately recalled. To his nephew he writes:"It is my wish and request that you will come to London as soon as you can, and by such stages as will not fatigue you. The best place
I have no dis
you will be the mild climate of Devonshire. trust in the humanity of the French; but in such a state of health, you ought to be nearer to your relatives.-As soon as you can fix a day for setting out, drop me a line-as I must provide a comfortable lodging for you near to me, where Dr. Beattie will immediately see you, and give his opinion of your case. God bless and preserve you, my dear nephew.
On his nephew's arrival in London, Dr. Johnson and I saw him; but the case was quite hopeless; and after a short visit to his brother, Mr. Alexander Campbell, this very amiable and intelligent youth was removed to his mother's house in Glasgow, where he died at the early age of twenty. His death was much felt by Campbell, as another severe blow to his hopes.
by poverty. I have got two vignettes-this one for the girlpoem, finished-and another on Napoleon and the British seaman, nearly finished-but they will cost me about 1007. the two; and that is but the tenth part of what the vignette illustration of a volume-even a small one-would cost. As borrowed money must be repaid, it would be of no use borrowing the money. I was thinking, as forgery is not a hanging matter now, whether I might not risk raising the sum in that way; but on reflection, I thought it would be both discreditable to myself and painful to my friends, if I were to be transported for forgery! Another thought struck me, viz., to marry some rich old widow -but after all, it might be worse to be yoked to an old Gorgon, than even to be hanged for forgery. So I must try to pinch and starve, till I can, year by year, scrape together the money in an honest way.
"To be serious. As it may be possible for me, in no great length of time, to get some score of vignettes-such as the child's picture accomplished, I shall be anxious to keep the few copies of each plate that is struck off as little known to the public as possible, and so a very few impressions have been taken. The darling child is about the same age as M- was, when I first knew her, and so I was anxious that she should have the only copy I could spare. Give best remy spects to Dr. A– His pamphlet on the Poor best work that was ever published on the subject. grateful to him over and over again for writing it. your affectionate friend,
Laws is the
I have felt Believe me T. C."*
July 15th. I wish to get Lawrence's portrait of me copied for Lord Holland, who has expressed a desire to that effect; and, as I can refuse nothing to my earliest patron,-especially when he requests to have what was once my similitude in his library, I have promised to apply to you, to forward the original to London, that I may have it well copied. You may depend upon having it back safe and soon.-Apropos to portraits! I have been importuned to sit for one to Latilla, the painter of that lovely child, on whose picture I had made a poem. But, as I am not so beautiful as the child, he has not been so fortunate in making me the subject of his pencil.
LETTER TO MRS. A.-PORTRAIT.
*In a P. S. to this letter, he speaks of setting off for Italy in November, and returning to his own loved Scotland the following May.
Being unable to sleep of a morning,* I get up very early; and, when the painter comes, I am returned to a state of drowsiness. The limner has caught this somnolent expression to a miracle, and has made me the stupidest looking old fellow that ever scribbled verses! The portrait, now on the eve of being finished, is, unfortunately for me, most exceedingly like!... T. C."
The suspense he had lately suffered on account of his nephew, with the near prospect of his untimely death, told very sensibly upon Campbell's health and, resorting to the old experiment of change of scene, I proposed a visit to Chatham. A launch was to take place; and as we felt sure that a spectacle, which he himself had so admirably described,† would infallibly arrest and divert his attention, arrangements were immediately concluded. A flattering invitation was forwarded to the Poetpreparations were made to receive him with due honor; and, in company with a few private friends, we proceeded to Chatham. The events of the day are thus condensed from the published
Sep. 29.-The launch of two ships of war at the same port, on the same day, is an event but very rarely recorded in our annals; and as the 'BARD OF HOPE' happened to form the most distinguished integer in the countless spectators there to see,' it may be pardonable to characterize the great gathering in connexion with the occasion that called it forth, in words which mental memory must ever, we opine, mark as her own-like angel visits, few and far between.' The business of the day commenced with the launch of the Polyphemus steamer, a vessel in many respects peculiar, of the burden of 800 tons, and so appointed as to perform alternately with ease the double duty of a roomy transport or a ship of war. The slip or descent was not only steady, but sublime and beautiful; and the moment spray arose as she dipped in and careered through the briny deep-the welkin literally rung with vivas, as deafening to most ears as the cannon's roar. Pending this launch, a different set of carpenters were busy undoing all the fastenings of a ship of the line-a two decker named the London,' mounted in the meantime for ninety-two guns, but which may carry hereafter a hundred or more. Half an hour or more elapsed between acts first and second of the marine drama; and during the whole interval expectation stood so completely on tiptoe, that the boldest held his breath for a time.' As the last holdfast or keeper was removed, away the 'London' glided most majestically, cheered by at least twenty thousand voicessome afloat, some on board of vessels moored-the spectators densely ranged on the quays, and no inconsiderable number scattered over dizzying artificial heights, better befitting the wings of a bird than the temporary occupancy of human beings.
* He was suffering from rheumatism at the time. The portrait is still unfinished. This letter is addressed to Mr. Thomson.
In his Specimens of the British Poets.