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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Thomas Manning, [31 August 1801]

Contents vol. VI
Letters: 1796
Letters: 1797
Letters: 1798
Letters: 1799
Letters: 1800
Letters: 1801
Letters: 1802
Letters: 1803
Letters: 1804
Letters: 1805
Letters: 1806
Letters: 1807
Letters: 1808
Letters: 1809
Letters: 1810
Letters: 1811
Letters: 1812
Letters: 1814
Letters: 1815
Letters: 1816
Letters: 1817
Letters: 1818
Letters: 1819
Letters: 1820
Letters: 1821
Contents vol. VII
Letters: 1821
Letters: 1822
Letters: 1823
Letters: 1824
Letters: 1825
Letters: 1826
Letters: 1827
Letters: 1828
Letters: 1829
Letters: 1830
Letters: 1831
Letters: 1832
Letters: 1833
Letters: 1834
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
List of Letters
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Produced by CATH
[p.m. August 31, 1801.]

I HEARD that you were going to China, with a commission from the Wedgwoods to collect hints for their pottery, and to teach the Chinese perspective. But I did not know that London lay in your way to Pekin. I am seriously glad of it, for I shall trouble you with a small present for the Emperor of Usbeck Tartary, as you go by his territories: it is a fragment of a “Dissertation on the state of political parties in England at the end of the eighteenth century,” which will no doubt be very interesting to his Imperial Majesty. It was written originally in English for the use of the two and twenty readers of “The Albion” (this calculation includes a printer, four pressmen, and a devil); but becoming of no use when “The Albion” stopped, I got it translated into Usbeck Tartar by my good friend Tibet Kulm, who is come to London with a civil invitation from the Cham to the English nation to go over to the worship of the Lama.

The Albion” is dead—dead as nail in door—and my revenues have died with it; but I am not as a man without hope. I have got a sort of opening to the “Morning Chronicle,”!!! Mister Manning, by means of that common dispenser of benevolence, Mister Dyer. I have not seen Perry the editor yet: but I am preparing a specimen. I shall have a difficult job to manage, for you must know that Mister Perry, in common with the great body of the Whigs, thinks “The Albion” very low. I find I must rise a peg or so, be a little more decent and less abusive; for, to confess the truth, I had arrived to an abominable pitch; I spared neither age nor sex when my cue was given me. N’importe (as they say in French): any climate will
suit me. So you are about to bring your old face-making face to London. You could not come in a better time for my purposes; for I have just lost
Rickman, a faint idea of whose character I sent you. He is gone to Ireland for a year or two, to make his fortune; and I have lost by his going, what [it] seems to me I can never recover—a finished man. His memory will be to me as the brazen serpent to the Israelites,—I shall look up to it, to keep me upright and honest. But he may yet bring back his honest face to England one day. I wish your affairs with the Emperor of China had not been so urgent, that you might have stayed in Great Britain a year or two longer, to have seen him; for, judging from my own experience, I almost dare pronounce you never saw his equal. I never saw a man that could be at all a second or substitute for him in any sort.

Imagine that what is here erased was an apology and explanation, perfectly satisfactory you may be sure! for rating this man so highly at the expense of ——, and ——, and ——, and M——, and ——, and ——, and ——. But Mister Burke has explained this phenomenon of our nature very prettily in his letter to a Member of the National Assembly, or else in his Appeal to the old Whigs, I forget which. Do you remember an instance from Homer (who understood these matters tolerably well) of Priam driving away his other sons with expressions of wrath and bitter reproach, when Hector was just dead.

I live where I did, in a private manner, because I don’t like state. Nothing is so disagreeable to me as the clamours and applauses of the mob. For this reason I live in an obscure situation in one of the courts of the Temple.

C. L.