Thursday, Sept. 28.
I do myself the honour to send you with This, according to my promise ( a ) , copies of the posthumous letters written by your exalted friend.
These will be accompanied with other letters, particularly a copy of one from Mr. Lovelace, begun to be written on the 14th, and continued down to the 18th ( b ) 411 . You will judge by it, Madam, of the dreadful anguish that his spirits labour with, and of his deep remorse.
Mr. Lovelace sent for this letter back. I complied; but I first took a copy of it. As I have not told him that I have done so, you will be pleased to forbear communicating of it to any-body but Mr. Hickman. That gentleman’s perusal of it will be the same as if no-body but yourself saw it.
One of the letters of Colonel Morden’s which I inclose, you will observe, Madam, is only a copy ( c ) 412 . The true reason for which, as I will ingenuously acknowledge, is, some free, but respectful observations which the Colonel has made upon you, Madam, for declining to carry into execution your part of your dear friend’s last requests. I have therefore, in respect to that worthy gentleman (having a caution from him on that head) omitted those parts.
Will you allow me, Madam, however, to tell you, that I myself could not have believed that my inimitable testatrix’s own Miss Howe would have been the most backward in performing such a part of her dear friend’s last Will, as is intirely in her own power to perform—Especially, when that performance would make one of the most deserving men in England happy; and whom, I presume, she proposes to honour with her hand?
Excuse me, Madam. I have a most sincere veneration for you; and would not disoblige you for the world.
I will not presume to make remarks on the letters I send you: Nor upon the informations I have to give you of the dreadful end of two unhappy wretches, who were the greatest criminals in the affair of your adorable friend. These are the infamour Sinclair, and a person whom you have read of no doubt in the letters of the charming Innocent, by the name of Captain Tomlinson .
The wretched woman died in the extremest tortures and despondency: The man from wounds got in defending himself in carrying on a contraband trade: Both accusing themselves in their last hours, for the parts they had acted against the most excellent of women, as of the crime they had most remorse for.
Give me leave to say, Madam, that if your compassion be not excited for the poor man who suffers from his own anguish of mind, as you will see by his letter; and for the unhappy family, whose remorse, as you will see by Col. Morden’s, is so deep;—your terror must. And yet I shall not wonder, if the just sense of the irreparable loss you have sustained hardens a heart against pity, which, on a less extraordinary occasion, would want its principal grace, if it were not compassionate.
I am, Madam, with the greatest respect and gratitude,
Your most obliged and faithful humble Servant,
J. Belford .