Imatges de pàgina

286 Letters of Mr. Henderson to Dr. Priestley. that on his mother's missing it she which I then understood so little, made inquiry about it, and on that I did not attend thereto, as I his acknowledging his taking it, might have done when those opshe gave him repeated charges pot portunities offered, which now to embezzle or lose it on any ac- are lost for ever. All here are count; that she often interrogated much as usual as to health : they him about it, even to the end of join me in my afiliction on your her life; but that he never ac- account. Pray write to me soon, knowledged his having lost it to for I shall expect your answer her, well knowing it would give with an impatience equal to that her much concern, and bring on regard, wherewith I am, himself her just reproaches. But Dear Brother, sull as I said above, what the Your most affectionate and anxious figure on the coat armour was, I Brother,

B. H. know nothing of; it being a thing Musbury, Jan. 10, 1757.


Two Letters from Mr. Henderson When I lived at Calne, and pre.

to Dr. Priestley, communicated sently after the publication of my by Dr. P. to the Gentleman's Disquisitions relating to Matter

Magazine, April, 1789. ụnd Spirit, I received an anony(From “ A Selection of Curious Articles mous letter from Bristol about from the G. M.” In 4 volumes, svo. some intercourse with spirits; and 1811. Vol. III. pp. 167-171.)

hearing that Miss Hannah More Dr. Priestley's Introductory bad said, that the letter probably Letter.

came from Mr. Henderson, I MR. URBAN,

wrote to him about it; and as the As one of your correspondents letter was carried by a friend who has expressed a desire of having was going to Oxford, I told Mr. sonje information concerning the Henderson, that, if he could call late Mr. Henderson's pretension up any spirit, my friend was wil. to intercourse with spirits, &c. I ling to be disposed of as he should send you two of his letters to me, think proper for the purpose. In which are curious in themselves, what manner I expressed myself and inay throw some light on the I do not now recollect; but it is subject. They will likewise give a evident that Mr. Henderson did betier idea of the man than any not consider me as very credulous thing written by another person on the subject. concerning him can do. Also,

J. PRIESTLEY. as I imagine it is generally supposed that I am the person in. Mr. Henderson's First Letter. tended by the Doctor, whom the Hanham, Aug. 29, 1774. writer of Mr. Henderson's life re. SIR, presents as believing he had this

I hope your goodness will parpower, the reader may be able to don this presumption from a stranjudge from the second letter of the ger unworthy your notice; and probability of this circumstance. likewise my not franking this letter,

as I have no franks and can get cord with the speeches of Christ none. If you can condescend therein recorded. I believe the thus much, I have one request doctrine of original sin to be ab. more, that you would answer me. surd. I believe the spirit of God

I was brought up with some only assists our apprehension. I prejudices of education, which I believe the foreknowledge of God, hope I have now got over. This held by the Arminians, to be I owe in no small measure to the equal to the decree of God, held candour of my father, who, though by the Calvinists; that they are he inculcated his own principles both wrong; and the truth is, on me, left me to my own judg. the pains of hell are purga. ment. At first I received these tory. These I believe; and have principles without hesitation, and reasons which I think substantial soon became acquainted with the for them. Many things I yet best arguments for them. I had doubt of; among these are ihe no opportunity for a long time to Trinity, and the mediation of, converse with judicious men of Christ. contrary sentiments, so that I

I am in such a state of mind eysily vanquished those who con. as to be shocked at no assertion, tradicted me. But yet my mind and to submit to any argument suggested many difficulties which which I cannot answer. I could not solve. Hence I began I beg that you would be to doubt. Imparting my doubts pleased to assist me in the media-, to some friends, I was told there tion of Christ; for I own I do not were mysteries in religion; that I like tbe doctrine of his being a should iake God's word for them, sacrifice; yet he is so represented and pry no further. This satisfied by Paul and John. And, though me for a while, but not long; for I am not certain of the infallibility I considered; let a inystery be of the Epistles, yet I do not chuse what it may, God would not de. to contradict them, lest they may liver absurdities. Again, it does be true. not follow that all our bible is

JOHN HENDERSON. divine because some is. And if P. S. Please to direct for me, any part of our Bible contain ab. at Mr. Wail's, grocer, in Castlesurdities, &c. that part is not street, Bristol. divine. I could not get books on any subject. I wanted instruction on predestination, remission of Mr. Henderson's Second Letter. sins, assistance of the spirit, eter. Sir, nity of hell torments, and various I hope you will not take it other points. My friends could ill, when your friend informs not satisfy me. At length I sur. you that I have not seen him. I mounted these difficulties, wading was from my rooms (for a few through many doubts, and little hours) when he came to seek me. less than intidelity. I now be. I staid at home all the following lieve that the prophecies in our day, but found no more of him. Bible were given by God; that Had I known where he lodged in the Gospels

true ; that Oxford, I should have visited him. whatever we believe should ac. Excuse me then that I must take


288 Letters of Mr. Henderson to Dr. Priestley. the other communication you pro.' unwilling to change; 3, Nor a posed, and send this by post. despiser of those who thought

Of the anonymous letter from otherwise than I. I mention my Bristol, which you inention, I being very doubtful, the rather know nothing. It was, probably, because you will agree with me, written by some one, I hope well. that, when one thinks nu certainty meaning, who wished to check is to be found, one will be less your philosophic Disquisitions of nice in assenting to insufficient Matter and Spirit. That such evidence. Perhaps I am an in. intormation should' excite the cu- stance. I have nothing to add of riosity, especially of one so incre. myself, but to thank you for your dulous, I cannot wonder. But kind attention to letters of mine such curiosity I neither blame nor (some years ago), for your hints, neglect.

and the books you lent and gave That I may satisfy you, I' to me. Do not you recollect it? will tell you, i. Who I am; 2. II. Do I believe those things? Whether I believe those things; 1, I have no reason to think them 3. Whether I be willing to de. absurd' or impossible; 2, They monstrate their truth sensibly; 4. are commonly asserted in all

lages; What good ground that informå- 3, And generally believed ; 4, tion had.

I find myself more at ease in bea 1. As to myself, I shall only lieving them; my notions are suita write what I think pertinent lo able. Thence, it may be on bad this purpose.

I had a small proof, I assert that there are such school education. I loved read things. You will the less wonder ing and thought from my earliest at such a belief, when I add, that years. Peculiarly I was attached I not only assent to spirits, appa. to religious, and, though at first ritions, magic and witchcraft, I knew not the term, metaphysic but that I allow Belomen's philo. studies. These (both in the an- sophy and Swedenborg's visions. thors and systems, or courses of Yea, I deny hardly any thing of learning), having no teacher, that sort. So you will perceive meeting with none but such as that I easily believe, and require slighted, blamed, pitied mý turn not too much demonstration. of thinking, or only wondered at III. Whether I be willing to it-these I pursued not regularly, demonstrate their trutb sensibly? but as they occurred to a boy 1, I do not know that I can give discountenanced, uninformed, with any such exhibition. 2. The faith scattered intervals of scanty lei. itself is not interesting, nor have sure, and a very few unseleci, oat. I the least wish to convince any. of-the-way books. As one thought 3, My conscience is not clear that introduces another, so does a book. such acts are innocent. 4, They Both increased to me in time. So would not be, at least may not, did some kind and degree of seem. demonstrations. A sensible man, ing knowledge. Opinions multi. when I had asked, 'Would you plied and varied; but doubts ex- be convinced if I shewed you a ceeded. Sceptical as those made spirit ? answered, No; I should me, they did me good'; 1. In grant any thing at the time, but making me never positive; 2, Nor afterwards I should think you had

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frighted me out of my senses, and apprehensions for your philosophy, then you could make me believe on account of any experimental any nonsense.'

knowledge of mine. li I can say IV. What good ground bad any thing more that is worth the that iọformation? I will tell you while on this subject, or a betier, all I know. I have asked Miss I shall be glad of an epistle from More. She says,


her, she would have told you that Farewel, I esteem you; and
she knew nothing of the matter, opinions I regard little. I am
Many people have known that obliged by your friendly expres,
I studied astrology, geomancy, sions in the letter. I wish you
and magic, and was of an ab. all good and success in doing it.
stract mind. They surmised. I should have answered sooner,
Common things looked extraordi. but for bad eyes, and the com•
nary. Little things were greaier. pany of strangers.
I was reported a conjuror.

JOHN HENDERSON. teazed to tell fortunes, raise spirits, Pembroke College, Oxford; or at and sometimes to cast out a devil. Hanham, near Bristol, when in Some preiended to a graver curi.

that Country. osity, and asked me for a positive answer to, ‘Have you not seen Anecdotes of Mr. Henderson, of and raised a spirit. I always re Pembroke College, Oxford. plied, “I will tell you any thing (From the same. Vol. IV. pp. 221 -224.] about them out of books, but as

April 3, 1789. to my own experience I will not

MR. URBAN, say.' Can you deny it?' I said,

Much has been said in your • I will not deny it.' Thence, they Miscellany, respecting the late affirmed it abroad. To sum up

Mr. Henderson, of Pembroke all: 1, I believe. 2. I think I College, Oxford, * whose extraor. have reason.

3, No one was ever dinary abilities, and eccentricity witness to any appearance with of character, justly rendered him me. 4, I never told any one that during his life, an object of gene. éver I raised a spirit. 5, I will ral curiosity, and will continue not deny it; I have said some. to stamp an adscititious value on times, that I thought I had seen a any authentic particulars that may spirit.

be recorded of bim. As I take it, your main wish A correspondent in your last is to know, 1, if I believe such an Magazine requests Mr. Agulter exhibition possible ? I do. 2, if to favour the world with an ac. I have done it? I never did say,

count of “the literary courses nor mean to say, that I have; Mr. Henderson took, and the va. (uue for some reason) I will not rious authors he conversed with, deny it. 3, If I can do it? I do in bis penetrations of the obscure not know that I can, 4, If I be regions of magic, divinity, and willing to try? I had rather be physic.” As Mr. Agutter will excused.

in all probability return a copious I have answered your letter as satisfactorily as I can. * He died Nov. 2, 9788, in the 32 You see you need not be in any year of his age, YOL, VII.

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Anecdotes of Mr. Henderson. answer to the inquiries of i his cor- man in the ways and customs of respondent. I shall avoid a discus. the college. sion of the points alluded to by Mr. Henderson passing some him, and shall content myself hours of that day with me, I was with exhibuing a few traits of gratified with a rich feast of intel. Mr. Henderson's character and lectual entertaiment. The exdeporiment, collected during that tent and variety of his knowledge, acquaintance which I maintained the intrinsic politeness of his man. with him at the university of which ners, his inexhaustible fund of he was a member.

humour and anecdote, concurred It may not perhaps be imper- to instruct, please, and amuse me. tinent or superfluous to mention From this period to the time of some particulars relative to the my relinquishing an academical commencement of our acquaint. residence (a space of about four

I had never seen Mr. Hen. years), I was frequently honoured derson b. fore be entered at Pem- with the society of Mr. Henderson. broke College, thongh his fame I had therefore niany opportunihad pieviously reached my ears. ties of being acquainted with his One morning while I was occupied natural disposition, his habits of in my apartments at this college, life, and his moral as well as lite. I was surprised by the unexpected rary character. appearance of the joint tutors of His temper was mild, placable, our socji ty, introducing to me a and humane. He possessed such stranger, who from the singularity a spirit of philanthropy, that he of bis dress, and the uricuuthness was ready to oblige every indiviof his aspict (I speak not with dual as far as lay in his power. any disiespect;, attracted my no. His benevolence knew no bounds; tice in an uncominon degree. His and his liberality was so diffusive cloibes were made in a fashion that it submitted with difficulty to peculiar to himself; he wore no the circumscription of a narrow stock or neckcloth; his bụckles income. He was fond of society, were so small as not to exceed the and well qualified to shine in it. dimensions: f an ordinary knee. He was. frank, open, and commu. buckle, at a time when very large nicative, averse io suspicion, and buch les were in vogue. Though untinctured with pride or morose. he was then twenty-four years of ness. age, he 'wore his bair like that of His mode of life was singular. a school-boy of six. This stran. He generally retired to rest about ger was no less a person than Mr. day-break, and rose in the afterHenderson, who had that morn. noon: a practice, however, that ing bien enrolled in our fraternity, was frequently interrupted by the and had been recommended to occasional attendance which he apartments situated exactly under was obliged to give to the morning mine, which I believe was the service of the college chapel. He sole reason of his being introduced spent a great part of the day in to me 'in particular, as it was not smoking and, except when in otherwise probable that I should company, he usually read while have been singled out as thie per. he smoked. He had no objection son who was to initiate this freshe to the liberal use of wine and spi.

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