Letter From Edward Gibbon, ESQ., To The Right Honourable Lord Sheffield
From Letters To Lord Sheffield Part Of Edward Gibbon's Autobiography Edited by Lord Sheffield

Lausanne, June 13, 1789.

You are in truth a wise, active, indefatigable, and inestimable friend; and as our virtues are often connected with our failings, if you were more tame and placid, you would be perhaps of less use and value. A very important and difficult transaction seems to be nearly terminated with success and mutual satisfaction: we seem to run before the wind with a prosperous gale; and, unless we should strike on some secret rocks which I do not foresee, shall, on or before the 31st July, enter the harbour of Content; though I cannot pursue the metaphor by adding we shall land, since our operation is of a very opposite tendency. I could not easily forgive myself for shutting you up in a dark room with parchments and attorneys, did I not reflect that this probably is the last material trouble that you will ever have on my account; and that after the labours and delays of twenty years, I shall at last attain what I have always sighed for, a clear and competent income, above my wants, and equal to my wishes. In this contemplation you will be sufficiently rewarded. I hope ***** will be content with our title-deeds, for I cannot furnish another shred of parchment. Mrs. Gibbon's jointure is secured on the Buriton estate, and her legal consent is requisite for the sale. Again and again I must repeat my hope that she is perfectly satisfied, and that the close of her life may not be embittered by suspicion, or fear, or discontent. What new security does she prefer — the funds, the mortgage, or your land? At all events she must be made easy. I wrote to her again some time ago, and begged that if she were too weak to write, she would desire Mrs. Gould or Mrs. Holroyd to give me a line concerning her state of health. To this no answer; I am afraid she is displeased.

Now for the disposal of the money: I approve of the £8,000 mortgage on Buriton; and honour your prudence in not showing, by the comparison of the rent and interest, how foolish it is to purchase land. . . . There is a chance of my drawing a considerable sum into this country, for an arrangement which you yourself must approve, but which I have not time to explain at present. For the sake of dispatching, by this evening's post, an answer to your letter which arrived this morning, I confine myself to the needful, but in the course of a few days I will send a more familiar epistle. Adieu. Ever yours.

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