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coughing, obliged to take rather strong Doses of Opiate for the chance of some Rest, as the Day comes on, but disappointed even of this, by the regular symptoms of my habitual bowel complaint, which begin about that time, my pulse rises to 120, my head feels full and hot, all my limbs, especially my swollen legs, refuse me ready service. But the most harrassing symptom is that of an unconquer. able drowsiness, which seizes me minute after minute in the very act of exerting myself to check it. It would be fortunate if I could lie down on the Sofa and make up for the wake of the night; but the moment I lose myself in sleep, a panting seizes me, and gives me the sense of choking.—(It has come upon me just as I wrote the last Word of the last Sentence.) In this miserable struggle must I pass the time between this and that of going to bed, and then begin the incessant coughing which harrasses me for three or four hours at least, awaking me afterwards (if I fall asleep) every half hour.–And yet there are People who wish me to live on in this State!
March 7th. My dear friend, Neither the exhaustion nor, what is worse, the irritation which a most distracting night has occasioned, shall prevent my sending a line of acknowledgment. But I cannot address my thanks to you alone. You have it not in your
bra most distracting might have occasioned
power to do any act of benevolence, in which another shall not have had some share either of activity or suggestion.
J. B. W.
Liverpool, March 10th, 1838. My dear Miss LThough I am reduced to a state of aggravated suffering, which makes both reading and writing difficult and fatiguing to me, I will not allow your kind Letter to lie unacknowledged for a long time. Ever since the 19th Dec. last, when I was seized with Fever, Fainting, and a variety of troublesome Symptoms, I have not had one day of tolerable health, and, what is worse, not a night of even middling repose. A harrassing cough keeps me awake from hour to hour, in spite of strong doses of Opium. I cannot read in the Day-Time, because both a morbid want of interest and attention, and an overwhelming drowsiness, prevent my following whither the Author would lead me. In a Word, my Days are employed in pure endurance of Pain and Dejection. Even walking across the Room requires a considerable Effort. But I think that as the Spring comes on, I shall fall again into the miserable State in which I have been since I had the Influenza the Winter before last; a long period of absolute confinement to my Rooms, but which, compared with the present, might be called one of Health.
I have not yet heard anything that can justify the expectation of a Theological Journal in Liverpool. But even if the external Arrangements were ever so satisfactorily made, I should doubt the success of the Undertaking. I see no possibility of an agreement between the Contributors, much less among the Subscribers, as to certain vital Points ; such, for instance, as the Question of Inspiration. By Agreement I mean, the Toleration of unlimited Freedom in that Inquiry : there is, on the one hand, too much Superstition ; on the other, too much Fear of public Opinion. England, I fear, will never have a free theological School. I hope when you go to Germany you will have Opportunities of consulting the truly enlightened and independent Men who fearlessly oppose the Mass of superstitious oldWomanish Pietism, which Alarm has collected together in that Country. What you chiefly want is to be directed to the leading Works both in Philosophy and Theology. You will be surprised to find that even the most bigoted Germans do not venture to support Theories which in England are still regarded as the Basis of Christianity. Such is the effect of free and frequent Discussion, in the total absence of the worldly and political Influences which affect every thing in England. One hundred a Year, probably much less, make an independent Man in Germany; the artificial necessity of having five times that Income, to begin Respectability in England, makes Independence a Name. I feel very much fatigued, and must take leave of you. Believe me, ever yours sincerely,
J. Blanco WHITE.
March 11, 1838. No rest : hardly able to read, owing to the drowsiness and shortness of breath. The thought of going to Hamburgh, and taking a room among the gentlemen in the famous Allgemeine Krankerhause, occurred to me this morning as practicable, with Ferdinand's assistance during the passage.
March 12th. Dr. Sutherland came, and encouraged my idea of getting to Hamburgh, but showed the necessity of subduing the dropsical swelling before I can set out. The vehement desire which I feel to quit this solitary prison subdued my reluctance to medicine.
March 19th. Very unwell. I am glad that I now think I am fairly in my last stage of life: sooner or later, the end cannot be distant.
The recollection that on this day it is full three months since this severe illness attacked me, made me remark that this very day, all the time I lived in Spain, used to bring about an annual feast at my father's house. The 19th of March is, in the Roman Catholic Church, dedicated to Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Those who, like myself, bear the same name, keep it as their Saint's day. Their friends, and even persons who are not in the habit of frequently meeting, call at the door, inside of which there is a table, upon which they leave their cards, or write their names on a sheet of paper laid upon it for that purpose. Asking to dinner is very rare in Spain, except on such occasions, when those who can afford it ask a large party, which generally become very riotous and noisy when
the wine has gone round several times. The truth is, that the object of such dinners is not so much to eat, as to be merry. Even my father forgot some part of his severe ascetism, and had a joke for the company. It may be easily conceived with what effect it would come from a man who, from one end of the year to the other, never entered into any sort of conversation except upon business.
The contrast between these recollections and my state of suffering on this very day, could not easily be overlooked, when once it arose before the mind. But, thank God, though such remembrances can never be indifferent to me, I have, both theoretically and practically, raised myself above the childish emotions which arise from an indulged feeling of repining against the primitive Laws of our Being. People wish that Nature stood still for their sakes.
So far am I from making these recollections the subject of a sentimental tragedy, that the circumstance of my having convinced Dr. Sutherland this morning that my dropsy must be left to itself, and that, owing to the old complaint in my bowels, all active remedies would only increase my misery, is a source of satisfaction to me; and if I believed in days and seasons, I should be inclined to think that Providence had chosen this particular day, to give me in it the most distinct intimation (though it is far from being as distinct as I wish) of approaching death, which I have ever received. It is true that you cannot persuade the physicians that such intima