[Taken from Sermons and Discourses on several Subjects and Occasions .. by Richard Richmond London: C. Bathurst, 1764]
To Her Grace, The Duchess of Atholl,
Marchoiness of Tullibardine &c &c
Lady of Man and the Isles
and Baroness Strange
May it please your Grace
TO accept my humblest and most respectfull thanks, for the honor done me by your condescending permission to prefix your illustrious name to the following mean discourses. Conscious as I am of their various imperfections, I cannot but be sensible that I lye open to the charge of presumption in offering to your Grace what is so little worthy your acceptance. But this very consciousness was indeed one reason which induc'd me to beg the liberty of sheltering these sermons under your protection; In hope that the dignity and merit of the personage to whom they are address'd, might procure for them some degree of that favorable indulgence which they so much need.
But whatever other faults may (as many I fear will) be found in there, I hope I may venture to assure your Grace that no sentiments will be met with in any of them,contrary to reason and truth ; to virtue and christianity. Ill indeed wou'd it become a preacher of the gospel knowingly, to entertain, and still worse to publish any thing contradictory to these great guides and rules of life and manners ; and most of all unbecoming and unpardonable wou'd It be to address such a sentiment, to one whose whole conduct and behaviour is govern'd by the strictest conformity to them ALL.
And that your Grace's deportment is uniformly influenc'd by the dictates of these unerring counsellors, is unknown to those only who are entire strangers both to your person and character. Though I have not had the honor of myself enjoying the opportunities of remarking your eminent and amiable qualities, I have receiv'd my accounts of them from those who have been happy in observing them from your earliest years to the present : With whom I am connected by kindred, and still more nearly by friendship ; whom I know to be by no means deficient in sagacity ; and of whose veracity I have the highest Opinion. And how often have I heard them dwell with delight on your numerous perfections How often have they prais'd that attention to every even the minutest duty, which is so commendable in any station ; so truly admirable in the highest ! Sometimes expatiating on the virtues of your blooming. years ; admiring that early piety, that exemplary filial duty, and unaffected modestly which adorn'd your virgin state ; Thence going on to celebrate the conjugal affection, the Union of hearts as well as hands, of which your Grace and your most noble Lord are such remarkable examples : which each deserves from by each returning it to the other.
How still wou'd they protract the pleasing tale, by pointing out the budding beauties and dawning virtues of your lovely and hopefull off-spring ! who promise so happily to recompence that early diligence, and watchfull assiduity with which you attend the openings of the infant mind ; give the tender twig it's right inclination ; and (assisted by the best of Husbands and Fathers) train up the youth to walk those paths, which lead to; and will ensure honor and happness to the man.
Delightfull talk ! How much pleasanter sure, as well as worthier employment of time, than to squander it in the pursuit of every fashionable folly, every idle art of dissipation, to which so many (too many alas !) of far inferior rank devote their hours ! Roaming abroad in a vain search after that satisfaction, which your Grace by the happiest experience knows is only to be found at home.
Nor is your attention and kindness confin'd to your own relatives alone. True goodness though in humanity it cannot be absolutely perfect, is yet uniform and of a piece : And such is your Grace's ; extending to all who have the happiness to be near and about you; behaving to all with an humility rarely to be found in persons of much lower stations ; making your dependents friends by a condescension and affability peculiar to yourself ; and giving your commands with that sweet gentleness which renders obedience a pleasure ; and takes off not only the severity, but even the sense of servitude : Observing (in a word) that truly golden rule which contains the sum and substance of all social virtue ; and treating others with all the tenderness 'with which if in their situations you cou'd desire to be treated yourself.
And to all this mildness and sweetness you have added another excellence, rarely to be found united with the former in so eminent a degree. That noble frankness (I mean) and openness of disposition ; that genuine sincerity and true greatness of soul, which equally abhorrs the affectation of a friendship which it does not feel ; and disdains the concealment of a displeasure, which it has just cause to entertain.
It is impossible in reflecting on this part (and indeed on many parts) of your Grace's character, to avoid observing how much it resembles that of the Great and Good Countess of DERBY; the ever famous CHARLOTTE who has so long been the pride and boast of our county ; who so justy merited the admiration of all Britain ; whose piety and virtue, loyalty and courage ennobled her still more than her high descent ;.though that was from the first houses in Europe : In whose veins flow'd the blood of 'TREMOVILLE ! of NASSAU !!
Her high qualities together with her high blood descended to that amiable daughter, that acconplish'd Lady, who joyn'd to the honors of her own family house of the noble house of ATHOLL ; And that the virtues as well as honors of both families are conspicuous in your Grace will be doubted or disputed by one person only in the world.
But while that world will approve and confirm what I have here said, blaming only the inadequate and insufficient manner with which I have express'd myself, I have too much cause to apprehend the disapprobation of that one person whom I shou'd certainly be molt unwilling to offend. For though what is said is less, much lets than with the molt scrupulous adherence to truth, may be said, yet I know it is much more than will be agreeable to that modest reserve, that nice delicacy, which makes you so desirous to decline the praise you tso highly deserve. But as the fear of giving pain and disgust to that delicacy deterrs me from enlarging further on fo fair and copious a subject, Justice will not permit me to suppress this imperfect delineation of a character which I know my inability to paint in proper colors : Justice to' the world in general; and may I be pardon'd if I say to the great world especially, which wants such examples : and justice to those in particular, who have the higher obligations to your most illustrious Father; and who entertain the profoundest Veneration, mix'd with the warmest affection for your Grace ; for your noble and worthy Lord ; and your most amiable family. They form I well know the mot earnest and unceasing wishes for your uninterrupted happiness ; And permit me to assure your Grace, that in their supplications to that God whom with suck true devotion you serve, to pour down his choices} blessings on you and yours, they will ever with the sincerest cordiality be joyn'd by
Most Obedient, and
Most Humble Servant