HAVING been rather light-headed last night with a fever, and much perplexed with dreams, all my dreams have been upon income, and every respite I had in my sleep caused me to fancy that I got deeper and deeper into that mystery, and should be enabled to state my income to the satisfaction of the inquisitive commissioners: but when I awoke, behold it was a dream; and I am as ignorant as ever I was.
It is but of late years that I have been allowed any income at all, and since this necessary evil has fallen a little to my share, I have heard more about income than I ever did before. He that increases learning increases sorrow; and he that hath much income hath much trouble. I have stated as fair an account as I could of the income of the chapels, and sent it last Tuesday by a friend to Edgeware; but there were such crowds attending the chair for audience, that my friend could not come at the lords paramount for the press: therefore remain as I was; and yet am threatened with a forfeit for not obeying what I cannot understand. Every where, and in all things, I am instructed: for I now learn that I must make a statement of the profits of my farm, which will amount to the same sum as that of my pigeons - just nothing; but that will not do: for I must not set rent, and taxes, and tithes, against profit. It is demanded, not according to the rent the farmer pays, but according to what he ought to pay upon a moderate rent. So that a large rent for a small farm like mine must undergo a deduction, and an addition; that is, they will strike off half my rent to increase my profits, and so make me a gainer where I am a loser. And here I want an appraiser, an auctioneer, a politician, and a lawyer; but I alit neither. I own I am justly served: for I have often murmured against God when in hunger and nakedness, because I had no income: but the tables are now turned; for my eyes, my ears, and my heart, are not only full, but sick of the endless accounts of income. I am willing to part with all, but that will not do, without a statement where all came from, and that I cannot give. In this mystery upon income, in which many thousands are losers, no doubt, but some few, like the lawyers and collectors, will be gainers, and these, no doubt make it their study to understand the handwriting, do, dear friend, seek me out a cunning man, that is skilful in these things, and bring him to me tomorrow in the afternoon, and I will endeavour to collect all the materials I can for him to work upon; for I am in danger of forfeiting twenty pounds for being confined to my room; as human laws make no allowances for inability, nor for impossibilities.
Yours, very affectionately,
Sunday noon. Lying at anchor, and reading a long account from the Serapis at Woolwich, which puzzles me as bad as income.