[c. late 1795]
Mary Hays to unknown correspondent, undated [c. 1795].1
My dear friend, I shall send the review to Hamiltons in its present state, I shall then have discharged my duty: Dr G2 may afterwards curtail, or omit, it, as he pleases, I shall never be offended with him, because I am convince[d] he never means to offend me, & I always estimate the worth of my friends by their intentions, not by their opinions. If ever I venture an original composition, it will be for the declared purpose of combating, without fear or reserve, those pernicious prejudices, which have prey’d upon the vitals of human virtue & happiness, & to which moral martyrs have been sacrificed in hecatombs. I know not whether open profligacy is not a less evil than timid & wretched expedients, that, like a feeble barrier, arrest the current for a moment, till its accumulated waters swell into a resistless torrent. Nothing great, nothing effectual, will ever be done, till we have the courage to look on truth with the eye of an eagle, her light may discover, but it will always assist us in removing, the accumulated rubbish of ages. I remember hearing the late Dr Price3 say, that infidelity had done less mischief than superstition, the first may have slain its thousands, but the latter has destroy’d its ten thousands.
I feel myself much obliged to Dr G for the books sent me, because to preserve my present situation, which I am very desirous of doing, it is necessary that I shou’d encrease my income, & at present, I have no other employment, but, unfortunately, differing so much from the editors in opinion, I now consider it rather as a matter of business than of principle, I cannot write what I do not, or suppress what I do, think, but after the reviews are out of my hands I consider myself as no longer answerable for them. I trust to Dr G—s candor that he will excuse my freedom, & that a difference in sentiment will make none in friendship &c.
1 MS MH 0026, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 303-04.
2 Reference is to (1) the printing firm established by Archibald Hamilton (1719-93), long-time printer of the Critical Review, and his son, Archibald, Jr. (d. 1792), and continued at the time of the above letter by his grandson, Samuel (he would become a bankrupt in 1804); and (2) George Gregory, Godwin's friend and periodical editor.
3 Dr. Richard Price, former Unitarian minister at the meeting in Gravel Pit, Hackney (for more on Price, see Worthington to Hays, 15 November 1791.