To Thomas Coombe, Jr.8
ALS: Yale University Library; draft:9 American Philosophical Society
London, July 22. 1
I received with great Pleasure you[rs of] May 15. as it inform’d me of your Hea[lth, and Hap]piness. I thank you for your Sermons [which I] read with Satisfaction: I am glad that [of my good] Bishop’s pleas’d you. I enclose a Speech [of his,] on the same Subject. It is deem’d here a [Master-piece] of Eloquence.1 I send also the last Editi[on of some] Lines of your Friend Goldsmith, with the Ad[dition of my] Friend Whitefoord’s Epitaph, whom you [may remem]ber.2 Also the Heroic Postscript, the Author [of which] is yet unknown. He may be fond of F[ame, as a Poet, but if] he is, his Prudence predominates.3 That w[hich you] are acquiring as an Orator, gives me Pleas[ure as your] Friend; and it will give [you] yourself the most solid [Satisfaction,] if you find that by your Eloquence you can t[urn many] to Righteousness: Without that Effect, the Pre[acher, or the] Priest, in my Opinion, is not merely sounding [Brass, or a] tinkling Cymbal, which are innocent Things; [he is ra]ther like the Cunning-man in the Old Baily, [who conjures,] and tells Folks4 their Fortunes, to cheat them [of their] Money.
Mrs. Stevenson and Mrs. Hewson return your Compliments with their best Wishes. We have lost Mr. Hewson, and a great Loss it is. Mrs. Tickell too is lately dead.5
My Respects to your good Father. Adieu, my dear Friend, and believe me, ever, Yours most affectionately
Revd Mr Coombe
8. For Coombe’s career see above, XIX, 56 n.
9. From which we have inserted in brackets words missing in the ALS.
1. Coombe had sent two sermons printed together: The Harmony between the Old and New Testaments Respecting the Messiah: Being the Substance of Two Sermons Preached … on Christmas-Day, 1773 … (Philadelphia, 1774). For Bishop Shipley’s sermon see above, XX, 140, and for his speech BF to Rhoads above, June 30.
2. The posthumously published fifth edition of Oliver Goldsmith, Retaliation: a Poem … Including Epitaphs on Some of the Most Distinguished Wits of This Metropolis … (London, 1774), was the first to contain a mock epitaph on Caleb Whitefoord, for whom see above, X, 171 n; XX, 412.
3. The draft adds “at present and prevails with him to shun it.” BF enclosed [William Mason], An Heroic Postscript to the Public, Occasioned by Their Favourable Reception of a Late Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers … (London, 1774). Mason (1724–97), Horace Walpole’s friend and correspondent, was a clergyman “of considerable abilities and cultivated taste, who naturally mistook himself for a poet.” DNB. Coombe, in his acknowledgment below, Sept. 24, hailed the author as a worthy successor of Pope.
4. The draft reads “Fools.”
5. For William Hewson’s death see BF to DF above, May 5, and for Mrs. Tickell the document following this one.