[from Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley]
To the Rev. W. CUMMING, Stevenage, Herts.
Bishops-Court, Isle of Mann, March 20, 1762.
It is high time I should acknowledge the receipt of your last favour. I am glad to hear of the encreasing stock of your household, of each sort they are all, in their distinct places and relations, blessings of Providence, for which we ought to be thankful. I had great reason to be so, for one of the sorts 1 ; in which. though I had great care, yet had I also more than merited emolument :and, had not Providence called me off, I had probably continued on in the same way.
I am, or shall be in a few weeks, entered. on the eighth year of my present station;, and, thank GOD , have enjoyed as much health as I can remember to have had in the eight years preceding. However, I cannot but have occasion to think, that I was removed at a critical juncture, when the double charge, of my pupils and a large parochial cure together, began to be too heavy for my weak shoulders 2.
I have, indeed; in my new province as much care, but not quite so much labour ; and am rather also in a less dependent state than that of collecting small tithes and voluntary Easter-Offerings. The former you know the trouble of; and the latter, though never failing to produce me fifty pounds per annum, for twenty five years successively, yet, being at best but a precarious trusting to the good-will of numbers, of various tempers and dispositions: could not be supposed equal to a certainty.Though I must, at thesame time, be:ready to own, that, as they were for the most part voluntary, there was a comfort in that respect, which was not always to be had from legal demands.
My provision here depends upon a large demesne, for we are at a great distance from a market ; and were we nearer , even necessaries not always to be had for money. But my farm, thank GOD, furnishes us with flesh, fuel, and bread-corn. We grind, malt, and slay, within ourselves : and as to fish, the sea produces us plenty ; for we are a kind of amphibious creatures who inhabit this terraqueous isle.
I conclude this epistolary visit, long since due, with my blessing and love to my godson, and our joint withes for the health and prosperity of you and yours.
Your affecionate Friend
MARK SODOR and MANN,
1 Alluding to the Pupils he received, while vicar of Hitchin : see MEMOIRS, p 11. It does notappear that the bishop had any children to live. ~ See p. 278
2- " GOD tempers the wind," said Maria; "to the shorn lamb ! STERNE.