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purposes, for private or public ends, riches are a blessing, only as they are used. . If these hints be of service, their father will not have lived in vain : and that these hints should not be disregarded, is their peculiar duty-for never yet has that prodigy been shown to mankind of one family being misers through three generations.
MR. Elwes, shortly after executing his will, gave, by letter of attorney, the power of managing and receiving and paying all his youngest son, John Elwes, Esq. who had been his chief agent for some time.
Indeed the act was by no means improper. The lapses of his memory had now become frequent and glaring. All recent occurrences he forgot entirely ; and as he never committed any thing to writing, the confusion he made was inexpressible. As an instance of this, the following anecdote may serve. He had one evening given a draft on Messrs. Hoares, his bankers, for twenty pounds; and having taken it into his head during the night that he had overdrawn his account, his anxiety was unceasing. He left his bed, and walking about his room with that little feverish irritation that always distinguished him, waited with the utmost impatience till morning came, when, on going to his banker with an apology for the great liberty he had taken, he was assured there was no occasion for his apology, as he happened to have in their hands, at that time, the small sum of fourteen thousand seven hundred pounds!
However singular this act of forgetfulness may appear, it will yet serve to mark, amidst all his anxiety about money, that extreme conscientiousness, which was to the honor of his character. If accident placed him in debt to any person, even in the most trivial manner, he was never easy till it was paid ; and it should be noted, that never was he known on any occasion to fail in what he said. Of the punctuality of his word he was so scrupulously tenacious, that no person ever requested better security, and he was so par. ticular in every thing of promise, that in any appointment of meeting, or the hour of it, he exceeded even military exactness.
The summer of 1788, Mr. Elwes passed at his house in Welbeck-street, London, and he passed that summer without any other society than that of two maid-servants, for he had now given up the expense of keeping any male domestic. His chief employment used to be that of getting up early in a morning to
visit some of his houses in Mary-le-bone, which during the summer were repairing. As he was there generally at four o'clock in a morning, he was of course on the spot before the workmen; and he used contentedly to sit down on the steps before the door to scold them when they did come. The neighbors who used to see him appear thus regular every morning, and who concluded, from his apparel, he was one of the workmen, observed, “ there never was so punctual a man as the old carpenter.” During the whole morning, he would continue to run up and down stairs, to see the men were not idle for an instant, with the same anxiety as if his whole happiness in life had been centered in the finishing this house, regardless of the greater property he had at stake in various places, and for ever employed in the minutiæ only of affairs. Indeed such was his anxiety about this house, the rent of which was not above fifty pounds a year, that it brought on à fever which nearly cost him his life : but the fate which dragged him on thus strangely, to bury him under the load of his own wealth, seemed as resistless as it was unaccountable.
In the muscular and unencumbered frame of Mr. Elwes, there was every thing that promised extreme length of life, and he lived to above seventy years of age, without any natural disorder attacking him : but as Lord Bacon has well observed, “ the minds of some men are a lamp that is continually burning," and such was the mind of Mr. Elwes. Removed from those occasional public avocations which had once engaged his attention, money was now his only thought. He rose on money—on money he laid down to rest; and as his capacity sunk away from him by degrees, he dwindled from the real cares of his property into the puerile concealment of a few guineas. This little store he would carefully wrap up in various papers, and depositing them in different corners, would amuse himself with running from one to the other, to see whether they were all safe. Then forgetting, perhaps, where he had concealed some of them, he would become as seriously afflicted as a man might be who had lost all his property. Nor was the day alone thus spent-hé would frequently rise in the middle of the night, and be heard walking about different parts of the house, looking after what he had thus hidden and forgotten.
Rest thou perturbed spirit-rest!
Is an apostrophe that here would have met real cause for its address- not in the wild fancy of the bard, bodying forth ideal forms and phantoms of the brain, but in the settled thirst after one object for ever preying on the mind, and getting strange
mastership over it. Then, as memory wore away, and reason became weaker and weaker still, exhibiting a wondrous picture of avarice rising over the ruins of the understanding; the mind all laid waste before it, and the body at length falling a sacrifice to feverish imagination. Preposterous passion! that siseemed to grow by what it fed on," still more unsated when desire could have no room for want, and when the powers of enjoyment were all closed ! • It was at this period, and at seventy-six-years old, or upwards, that Mr. Elwes began to feel, for the first time, some bodily infirmities from age. He now experienced occasional attacks from the gout; on which, with his usual perseverance, and with all his accustomed antipathy to apothecaries and their bills, he would set out to walk as far and as fast as he could. While he was engaged in this painful mode of cure, he frequently lost himself in the streets, the names of which he no longer remembered, and was as frequently brought home by some errand-boy, or stranger, of whom he had inquired his way. On these occasions he would bow and thank then, at the door, with great civility; but he never indulged them with a sight of the inside of the house.
During the winter of 1789, the last winter Mr. Elwes was fated to see, his memory visibly weakened every day; and from the unceasing wish to save money, he now began to apprehend he should die in want of it. Mr. Gibson had been appointed his builder, in the room of Mr. Adams; and one day, when this gentleman waited on him, he said, with apparent concern« Sir, pray consider in what a wretched state I am in ; you see in what a good house I am living and here are five guineas, which is all I have at present; and how I shall go on with such a sum of money, puzzles me to death–I dare say you thought I was rich; now you see how it is !” . In the spring of this year, the eldest son of Mr. Elwes, Mr. George Elwes, married a young lady, not less distinguished for her engaging manners than for her beauty. She was a Miss Alt, of Northamptonshire, and is the god-daughter of Mr. Hastings. She is indeed a lady of whom any father might be proud; but pride, or even concern, in these matters, were not passions likely to affect Mr. Elwes, as a circumstance which happened a few years before, in a case not dissimilar, will prove.
Mr. George Elwes had, at that time, paid his addresses to a niece of Doctor Noel, of Oxford, who, of course, thought it proper to wait on old Mr. Elwes, to apprise him of the circumstance, and to ask his consent. Old Mr. Elwes had not the least objection. Doctor Noel was very happy to hear it, as a marriage betwixt the young people might be productive of happiness to
Hastinos morging mamarried in the oldes
both, Old Mr. Elyes had not the least objection to any body marrying whatever. “This ready acquiescence is so obliging !? said the Doctor" but, doubtless, you feel for the mutual wishes. of the parties.” “I dare say I do,” replied the old gentleman. " Then, Sir,” said Doctor Noel, “ you have no objection to an immediate union ?-you see I talk freely on the subject.”. Old Mr. Elwes had no objection to any thing«Now then, Sir," observed Doctor Noel, “ we have only one thing to settle, and you are so kind, there can be no difficulty about the matter, as I shall behave liberally to my niece-What do you mean to give your son ?"-2" Give !” said old Elwes, “ sure I did not say any thing about giving ; but if you wish it so much, I will give my consent.”
The word give, having stuck in the throat of the Elwes family for two generations--the transaction ended altogether.
That the above anecdote, is literally a fact, Doctor Noel can testify, who that day discovered there was more than one short word in the English language to which there is no reply.
The close of Mr. Elwes's life was still reserved for one singularity more, and which will not be held less singular than all that has passed before it, when his disposition and his advanced age are considered. He gave away' his affections.: he conceived the tender passion.--In plain terms, having been accustomed for some time to pass his hours, out of economy, with the two maid-servants in the kitchen one of them had the art to induce him to fall in love with her; and it is matter of doubt, had it not been discovered, whether she would not have had the power over him to have made him marry her.
Had Mr. Elwes, at near eighty years of age, and with property amounting to almost a million of money-thus closed his extraordinary, life by a marriage in the kitchen, it would indeed have added one feature more to that singular memoir, which the life of this gentleman has presented to the public; and which, since the beginning of time, certainly never had a parallel ! . . .
But good fortune and the attention of his friends saved him from this last act-in which, perhaps, the pitiable infirmity of nature, weakened and worn down by age and perpetual anxiety, is in some measure to be called to account. At those moments, when the cares of money left him somewhat of ease, he had no domestic scene of happiness to which he could flyand therefore felt with more sensibility, any act of kindness that might come from any quarter: and thus when his sons were absent, having no one near him whom principle made assiduous--those who might be interested too frequently gained his attention. ... ai - Mr. George Elwes having now.settled at his seat, at Marcham, in
Berkshire, he was naturally desirous, that in the assiduities of his wife his father might at length find a comfortable home. In London he was certainly most uncomfortable: but still, with these temptations before and behind him, a journey with any expense annexed to it was insurmountable. This, however, was luckily obviated by an offer from Mr. Partis, a gentleman of the law, to take him to his ancient seat in Berkshire with his purse perfectly whole-a circumstance so pleasing, that the general intelligence which renders this gentleman so entertaining, was not adequate to it in the opinion of Mr. Elwes. But there was one circumstance still very distressing—the old gentleman had now nearly worn out his last coat, and he would not buy a new one ; his son, therefore, with a pious fraud that did him honor, contrived to get Mr. Partis to buy him a coat, and make him a present of it. Thus, formerly having had a good coat, then a bad one, and, at last, no coat at all he was kind enough to accept one from a neighbor.
On the day before Mr. Elwes took his gratuitous journey into Berkshire, he delivered to Mr. Partis that copy of his last will and testament, which he himself had kept, to be carried to Messrs. Hoares, his bankers. Mr. Partis punctually fulfilled his request, and this was the copy proved in Doctors' Commons after the death of Mr. Elwes.
Mr. Elwes carried with him into Berkshire five guineas and a half, and half a crown. Lest the mention of this sum may appear singular, it should be said, that previous to his journey, he had carefully wrapped it up in various folds of paper, that no part of it might be lost. On the arrival of the old gentleman, Mr. George Elwes and his wife, whose good temper might well be expected to charm away the irritations of avarice and age, did every thing they could to make the country a scene of quiet to him. But he had that within,” which baffled every effort of this kind. Of his heart it might be said, “there was no peace in Israel.” His mind, cast away on the vast and troubled ocean of his property, extending beyond the bounds of his calculation, returned to amuse itself with fetching and carrying about a few guineas, which in that ocean was indeed a drop. But Nature had now carried on life nearly as far as she was able. The sand was almost run out: for against such ceaseless inquietudes, what power of body could resist ?
His very singular appetite Mr. Elwes retained till within a few