1765 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Burke

William Gerard Hamilton to Joseph Warton, 12 February 1765; Wooll, Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 299.



Feb. 12th, 1765.

My dear Sir,

I was extremely concerned that I had not the happiness of seeing you when you was last in town, and when I understood you was so obliging as to call upon me; I wish'd then to have the pleasure of conversing with you upon a subject on which I must now take the liberty of writing to you. Some years since you was so kind as to recommend Mr. Burke to my attention, to whose conversation I have been indebted for all that entertainment and improvement which you then assured me I should receive from so very litterate and ingenious an acquaintance. The variety of pursuits in which Mr. Burke is at present engaged makes it impossible for him to be with me either as constantly as I could wish, or as his friendship has inclined, or his leisure permitted for some years past. Tho' my political engagements will, I fear, always prevent my paying a very close attention to any litterary pursuits, they never can extinguish my love of them. I entertain, my dear Sir, the highest opinion of your taste for letters, and your judgment of men; and the favor I have to ask of you is, that if in the circle of your acquaintance, you know of any man qualified like Mr. Burke; who, in addition to a taste and an understanding of ancient authors, and what generally passes under the name of scholarship, has likewise a share of modern knowledge, and has applied himself in some degree to the study of the law, you would be so obliging as to inform me by what means I may become acquainted with him. It is not, I believe overrating my own influence, when I mention to you, that I should hereafter be able to place a person of this description in the possession of a situation, and immediately in the possession of an income, which would neither be insufficient for him as a man of letters, or disreputable to him as a gentleman. I know, my dear Sir, how needless it is to make any excuses for the trouble I am giving you, or to repeat the professions of that esteem which I entertain for you, in which no one has been more uniform, or can be more sincere, than

Your most faithful friend and obedient humble servant,

W. G. HAMILTON.