The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1
Part 16 out of 18
(1246) Alluding to Mr. Pitt, who had lately been preferred to
that post, from the fear the ministry had of his abusive
(1247) Charles, fifth Lord Cornwallis. He was created an earl
in 1753, and died in 1762.-D.
(1248) James, sixth Duke of Hamilton: died in 1758.-D.
(1249) "The Duke," says Sir Walter Scott, " was received with
all the honours due to conquest; and all the incorporated
bodies of the capital, from the guild brethren to the
butchers, desired his acceptance of the freedom of their
craft, or corporation." Billy the Butcher was one of his
(1250) Charles Stuart, fifth Earl of Traquair.-D.
494 Letter 212
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Aug. 2, 1746.
You have lost nothing by missing yesterday at the trials, but
a little additional contempt for the High Steward; and even
that is recoverable, as his long, paltry speech is to be
printed; for which, and for thanks for it, Lord Lincoln moved
the House of Lords. Somebody said to Sir Charles Windham,
"Oh! you don't think Lord Hardwicke's speech good, because you
have read Lord Cowper's."--"No," replied he; "but I do think
it tolerable, because I heard Serjeant Skinner's."(1251) Poor
brave old Balmerino retracted his plea, asked pardon, and
desired the Lords to intercede for mercy. As he returned to
the Tower, he stopped the coach at Charing-cross to buy
honey-blobs as the Scotch call gooseberries. He says he is
extremely afraid Lord Kilmarnock will not behave well. The
Duke said publicly at his levee, that the latter proposed
murdering the English prisoners. His Highness was to have
given Peggy Banks a ball last night; but was persuaded to
defer it, as it would have rather looked like an insult on the
prisoners, the very day their sentence was passed. George
Selwyn says that he had begged Sir William Saunderson to get
him the High Steward's wand, after it was broke, as a
curiosity; but that he behaved so like an attorney the first
day, and so like a pettifogger the second, that he would not
take it to light his fire with; I don't believe my Lady
Hardwicke is so high-minded.
Your cousin Sandwich(1252) is certainly going on an embassy to
Holland. I don't know whether it is to qualify him, by new
dignity, for the head of the admiralty, or whether (which is
more agreeable to present policy) to satisfy him instead of
it. I know when Lord Malton,(1253) who was a young earl,
asked for the garter, to stop his pretensions, they made him a
marquis. When Lord Brooke, who is likely to have ten sons,
though he has none yet, asked to have his barony settled on
his daughters, they refused him with an earldom; and they
professed making Pitt paymaster, in order to silence the
avidity of his faction.
Dear George, I am afraid I shall not be in your neighbourhood,
as I promised myself. Sir Charles Williams has let his house.
I wish you would one day whisk over and look at Harley House.
The inclosed advertisement makes it sound pretty, though I am
afraid too large for me. Do look at it impartially: don't be
struck at first sight with any brave old windows; but be so
good as to inquire the rent, and if I can have it for a year,
and with any furniture. I have not had time to copy out the
verses, but you shall have them soon. Adieu, with my
compliments to your sisters.
(1251) Matthew Skinner, afterwards a Welsh judge.-E.
(1252) John, the fourth Earl of Sandwich; son of Edward
Richard, Viscount Hichinbrooke. He signed the treaty of peace
at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.
(1253) Thomas Watson Wentworth, Earl of Malton, created
Marquis of Rockingham, in 1746. [He died In 1782, when his
title became extinct.)
495 Letter 213
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Aug. 5, 1746.
Though I can't this week accept your invitation, I can prove
to you that I am most desirous of passing my time with you,
and therefore en attendant Harley House, if you can find me
out any clean, small house in Windsor, ready furnished, that
is not -,absolutely in the middle of the town, but near you, I
should be glad to take it for three or four months.(1254) I
have been about Sir Robert Rich's, but they will only sell it.
I am as far from guessing why they send Sandwich in embassy,
as you are; and, when I recollect of what various materials
our late ambassadors have been composed, I can only say, "ex
quovis ligno fit Mercurius." Murray(1255) has certainly been
discovering, and warrants are out; but I don't yet know who
are to be their prize. I begin to think that the ministry had
really no intelligence till now. I before thought they had,
but durst not use it. A-propos to not daring, I went t'other
night to look at my poor favourite Chelsea,(1256) for the
little Newcastle is gone to be dipped in the sea. In one of
the rooms is a bed for her Duke, and a press-bed for his
footman; for he never dares lie alone, and, till be was
married, had always a servant to sit up with him. Lady
Cromartie presented her petition to the King last Sunday. He
was very civil to her, but would not at all give her any
hopes. She swooned away as soon as he was gone.(1257) Lord
Corn-wallis told me that her lord weeps every time any thing
of his fate is mentioned to him. Old Balmerino keeps up his
spirits to the same pitch of gaiety. In the cell at
Westminster he showed Lord Kilmarnock how he must lay his
head; bid him not wince, lest the stroke should cut his skull
or his shoulders, and advised him to bite his lips. As they
were to return, he begged they might have another bottle
together, as they should never meet any more till---, and then
pointed to his neck. At getting into the coach, he said to
the gaoler, "Take care, or you will break my shins with this
I must tell you a bon-mot of George Selwyn's at the trial. He
saw Bethel's(1259) sharp visage looking wistfully at the rebel
lords; he said, What a shame it is to turn her face to the
prisoners till they are condemned." If you have a mind for a
true foreign idea, one of the foreign ministers said at the
trial to another, "Vraiment cela est auguste." "Oui," replied
the other, "cela est vrai, mais cela n'est pas royale." the I
am assured that the old Countess of Errol made her son Lord
Kilmarnock(1260) go into the rebellion on pain of
disinheriting him. I don't know whether I told you that the
man at the tennis-court protests that he has known him dine at
the man that sells pamphlets at Storey's Gate; "and," says he,
"he would often have been glad if I would have taken him home
to dinner." He was certainly so poor, that in one of his
wife's intercepted letters she tells him she has plagued their
steward for a fortnight for money, and can get but three
shillings. Can any one help pitying such distress?(1261) I
am vastly softened, too, about Balmerino's relapse, for his
pardon was only granted him to engage his brother's vote in
the election of Scotch peers.
My Lord Chancellor has got a thousand pounds in present for
his high stewardship, and has @(it the reversion of clerk of
the crown (twelve hundred a-year) for his second son. What a
long time it will be before his posterity are drove into
rebellion for want, like Lord Kilmarnock!
The Duke gave his ball last night to Peggy Banks at Vauxhall.
It was to pique my Lady Rochford, in return for the Prince of
Hesse. I saw the company get into their barges at Whitehall
Stairs, as I was going myself, and just then passed by two
city companies in their great barges, who had been a
swan-hopping:. They laid by and played "God save our noble
King," and altogether it was a mighty pretty show. When they
came to Vauxhall, there were assembled about five-and-twenty
hundred people, besides crowds without. They huzzaed, and
surrounded him so, that he was forced to retreat into the
ball-room. He was very near being drowned t'other night going
from Ranelagh to Vauxhall, and politeness of Lord Cathcart's,
who, stepping on the side of the boat to lend his arm, overset
it, and both fell into the water up to their chins.
I have not yet got Sir Charles's ode;(1262) when I have, you
shall see it: here are my own lines. Good night!
(1260) The Earl of Kilmarnock was not the son of the Countess
of Errol. His wife, the Lady Anne Livingstone, daughter of
the Earl of Linlithgow, was her niece, and, eventually, her
(1261) The Duke of Argyle, telling him how sorry he was to see
him engaged in such a cause, 'MY Lord,' says be, 'for the two
Kings and their rights, I care not a farthing which prevailed;
but I was starving, and by God, if Mahomet had set up his
standard in the highlands, I had been a good Mussulman for
bread, and stuck close to the party, for I must eat.'" Gray,
(1262) On the Duchess of Manchester, entitled Isabella, or the
497 Letter 214
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Aug. 11, 1746.
I have seen Mr. Jordan, and have taken his house at forty
guineas a-year, but I am to pay taxes. Shall I now accept
your offer of being at the trouble of giving orders for the
airing of it? I have desired the landlord will order the key
to be delivered to you, and Asheton will assist you.
Furniture, I find, I have in abundance, which I shall send
down immediately; but shall not be able to be at Windsor at
the quivering dame's before to-morrow se'nnight, as the rebel
Lords are not to be executed till Monday. I shall stay till
that is over, though I don't believe I shall see it. Lord
Cromartie is reprieved for a pardon. If wives and children
become an argument for saving rebels, there will cease to be a
reason against their going into rebellion. Lady Caroline
Fitzroy's execution is certainly to-night. I dare say she
will follow Lord Balmerino's advice to Lord Kilmarnock, and
Lord Sandwich has made Mr. Keith his secretary. I don't
believe the founder of your race, the great Quu,(1263) of
Habiculeo, would have chosen his secretary from California.
I would willingly return the civilities you laid upon me at
Windsor. Do command me; in what can I serve you? Shall I get
you an earldom? Don't think it will be any trouble; there is
nothing easier or cheaper. Lord Hobart and Lord Fitzwilliam
are both to be Earls to-morrow: the former, of Buckingham; the
latter, by his already title. I suppose Lord Malton will be a
Duke; he has had no new peerage this fortnight. Adieu! my
compliments to the virtuous ladies, Arabella and Hounsibeloa
P. S. Here is an order for the key.
(1263) The Earl of Halifax.-E.
497 Letter 215
To sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Aug. 12, 1746.
To begin with the Tesi; she is mad if she desires to come
hither. I hate long histories, and so will only tell you in a
few words, that Lord Middlesex(1264) took the opportunity of a
rivalship between his own mistress, the Nardi, and the
Violette,(1265) the finest and most admired dancer in the
world, to involve the whole m`enage of the Opera in the
quarrel, and has paid nobody; but, like a true Lord of the
Treasury, has shut up his own exchequer. The principal
man-dancer was arrested for debt; to the composer his Lordship
gave a bad note, not payable in two years, besides amercing
him entirely three hundred pounds, on pretence of his siding
with the Violette. If the Tesi likes this account-venga!
Did I tell you that your friend Lord Sandwich was sent'
/ambassador to Holland? He is: and that Lady Charlotte
Fermor(1266) was to be married to Mr. Finch,(1267) the
Vice-chamberlain? She is. Mr. Finch is a comely black
widower, without children, and heir to his brother Winchilsea,
who has no sons. The Countess-mother has been in an embroil,
(as we have often known her,) about carrying Miss Shelly, a
bosom-friend, into the Peeresses' place at the trials. Lord
Granville, who is extremely fond of Lady Charlotte, has given
her all her sister's jewels, to the great discontent of his
own daughters. She has five thousand pounds, and Mr. Finch
Settles fifteen thousand pounds more upon her. Now we are
upon the chapter of marriages, Lord Petersham(1268) was last
night married to One Of our first beauties, Lady Caroline
Fitzroy;(1269) and Lord Coke(1270) is to have the youngest of
the late Duke of Argyl@s daughters,)1271) who is none of our
beauties at all.
Princess Louisa has already reached the object of her wish
ever since she could speak, and is Queen of Denmark, We have
been a little lucky lately in the deaths of Kings, and promise
ourselves great matters from the new monarch in Spain.(1272)
Princess Mary is coming over from Hesse to drink the Bath
waters; that is the pretence for leaving her brutal husband,
and for visiting the Duke and Princess Caroline, who love her
extremely. She is of the softest, mildest temper in the
We know nothing certainly of the young Pretender, but that he
is concealed in Scotland, and devoured with distempers - I
really wonder how an Italian constitution can have supported
such rigours! He has said, that "he did not see what he had
to be ashamed of; and that if he had lost one battle, he had
gained two." Old Lovat curses Cope and Hawley for the loss of
those two, and says, if they had done their
duty, he had never been in this scrape. Cope is actually
going to be tried; but Hawley, who is fifty times more
culpable, is saved by partiality: Cope miscarried by
incapacity; Hawley, by insolence and carelessness.
Lord Cromartie is reprieved; the Prince asked his life, and
his wife made great intercession. Duke Hamilton's
intercession for Lord Kilmarnock has rather hurried him to the
block: he and Lord Balmerino are to die next Monday. Lord
Kilmarnock, with the greatest nobleness of soul, desired to
have Lord Cromartie preferred to himself for pardon, if there
could be but one saved; and Lord Balmerino laments that
himself and Lord Lovat were not taken at the same time; "For
then," says he, "we might have been sacrificed, and those
other two brave men escaped." Indeed Lord Cromartie does not
much deserve the epithet; for he wept whenever his execution
was mentioned. Balmerino is jolly with 'his pretty Peggy.
There is a remarkable story of him at the battle of Dunblain,
where the Duke of Argyll, his colonel, answered for him, on
his being suspected. He behaved well; but as soon as we had
gained the victory, went off with his troop to the Pretender:
protesting that he had never feared death but that day, as he
had been fighting against his conscience. Popularity has
changed sides since the year '15, for now the city and the
generality are very angry that so Many rebels have been
pardoned. Some of those taken at Carlisle dispersed papers at
their execution, saying they forgave 'all men but three, the
Elector of Hanover, the pretended Duke of Cumberland, and the
Duke of Richmond, who signed the capitulation at
Wish Mr. Hobart joy of ])is new lordship; his father took his
seat to-day as Earl of Buckingham -. Lord Fitzwilliam is made
English earl with him, by his old title. Lord
TankerVille(1274) goes governor to Jamaica: a cruel method of
recruiting a prodigal nobleman's broken fortune, by sending
him to pillage a province! Adieu!
P. S. I have taken a pretty house at Windsor and am going
thither for the remainder of the summer.
(1264) Charles Sackville, eldest son of Lionel, Duke of
Dorset, a Lord of the Treasury.
(1265) She was born at Vienna, in February, 1724-5, and
married to Garrick, the celebrated actor, in June, 1749. She
died in October, 1822, in the ninety-eighth year of her
(1266) Second daughter of Thomas, Earl of Pomfret, and sister
of Lady Granville.
(1267) William Finch, brother of the Earl of Winchilsea, had
been ambassador in Holland.
(1268) Son of the Earl of Harrington, Secretary of State.
(1269) Eldest daughter of Charles, Duke of Grafton, Lord
(1270) Edward, only son of Thomas, Earl of Leicester.
(1271) Lady Mary Campbell. She survived her husband
fifty-eight years; he having died in 1753, and she in 1811.-D.
(1272) Philip the Fifth, the mad and imbecile King of Spain,
was just dead. He was succeeded by his son Ferdinand the
Sixth, who died in 1759.--D.
(1273) A melancholy and romantic incident which took place
amid the terrors of the executions is thus related by Sir
Walter Scott:--"A young lady, of good family and handsome
fortune, who had been contracted in marriage to James Dawson,
one of the sufferers, had taken the desperate resolution of
attending on the horrid ceremonial. She beheld her lover,
after being suspended for a few minutes, but not till death
(for such was the barbarous sentence), cut down, embowelled,
and mangled by the knife of the executioner. All this she
supported with apparent fortitude; but when she saw the last
scene, finished, by throwing Dawson's heart into the fire, she
drew her head within the carriage, repeated his name, and
expired on the spot." This melancholy event was made, by
Shenstone, the theme of a tragic ballad:--
"The dismal scene was o'er and past,
The lover's mournful hearse retired;
The maid drew back her languid head,
And, sighing forth his name, expired
"though justice ever must prevail,
The tear my Kitty shed is due;
For seldom shall she hear a tale
So sad, so tender, yet so true."
James Dawson was one of the nine men who suffered at
Kennington, on the 30th Of July.-E.
(1274) Charles Bennet, second Earl of TankerVille. The
appointment did not take place. He died in 1753. His wife,
Camilla, daughter of Edward Colville, of White-house, in the
bishopric of Durham, Esq. survived till 1775, aged one hundred
500 Letter 216
To George Montagu, Esq,
Arlington Street, Aug. 16, 1746.
I shall be with you on Tuesday night, and since you are so
good as to be my Rowland white, must beg my apartment at the
quivering dame's may be aired for me. My caravan sets out
with all my household stuff on Monday; but I have heard
nothing of your sister's hamper, nor do I know how to send the
bantams by it, but will leave them here till I am more settled
under the shade of my own mulberry- tree.
I have been this morning at the Tower, and passed under the
new heads at Temple Bar,(1275) where people make a trade of
letting spying-glasses at a halfpenny a look. Old Lovat
arrived last night. I saw Murray, Lord Derwentwater, Lord
Traquair, Lord Cromartie and his son, and the Lord Provost,
-,it their respective windows. The other two wretched Lords
are in dismal towers, and they have stopped up one of old
Balmerino's windows because he talked to the populace; and now
he has only one, which looks directly upon all the
scaffolding. They brought in the death-warrant at his dinner.
His wife fainted. He said, "Lieutenant, with your damned
warrant you have spoiled my lady's stomach." He has written a
sensible letter to the Duke to beg his intercession, and the
Duke has given it to the King; but gave a much colder answer
to Duke Hamilton, who went to beg it for Lord Kilmarnock: he
told him the affair was in the King's hands, and that he had
nothing to do with it. Lord Kilmarnock, who has hitherto kept
up his spirits, grows extremely terrified. It will be
difficult to make you believe to what heights of affectation
or extravagance my Lady Townshend carries her passion for my
Lord Kilmarnock, whom she never saw but at the bar of his
trial, and was smitten with his falling shoulders. She has
been under his windows; sends messages to him; has got his dog
and his snuff-box; has taken lodgings out of town for
to-morrow and Monday night, and then goes to Greenwich;
forswears conversing with the bloody English, and has taken a
French master. She insisted on Lord Hervey's promising her he
would not sleep a whole night for my Lord Kilmarnock, "and in
return," says she, "never trust me more if I am not as yellow
as a jonquil for him."(1276) She said gravely t'other day,
"Since I saw my Lord Kilmarnock, I really think no more of Sir
Harry Nisbett than if there was no such man in the world." But
of all her flights, yesterday was the strongest. George
Selwyn dined with her, and not thinking her affliction so
serious as she pretends, talked rather jokingly of the
execution. She burst into a flood of tears and rage, told him
she now believed all his father and mother had said of him;
and with a thousand other reproaches flung upstairs. George
coolly took Mrs. Dorcas, her woman, and made her sit down to
finish the bottle: "And pray, sir," said Dorcas, "do you think
my lady will be prevailed upon to let me go see the execution?
I have a friend that has promised to take care of me, and I
can lie in the Tower the night before." My lady has quarrelled
with Sir Charles Windham for calling the two Lords
malefactors. The idea seems to be general; for 'tis said Lord
Cromartie is to be transported, which diverts me for the
dignity of the peerage. The ministry really gave it as a
reason against their casting lots for pardon, that it was
below their dignity. I did not know but that might proceed
from Balmerino'S not being an earl; and therefore, now their
hand is in, would have them make him one. You will see in the
papers the second great victory at Placentia. There are
papers pasted in several parts of the town, threatening your
cousin Sandwich's head if be makes a dishonourable peace. I
will bring you down Sir Charles Williams's new Ode on the
(1275) In the sixth volume of "London and its Environs
described," published in 1761, a work which furnishes a
curious view of the state of the metropolis on the accession
of George the Third, it is not only gravely stated of Temple
Bar, that, "since the erection of this gate, it has been
particularly distinguished by having the heads of such as have
been executed for high treason placed upon it," but the
accompanying plate exhibits it as being at that time
surmounted by three such disgusting proofs of the- then
semi-barbarous state of our criminal code. The following
anecdote, in reference to this exhibition, was related by Dr.
Johnson in 1773:--"I remember once being with Goldsmith in
Westminster Abbey: while we surveyed the Poet's Corner, I said
'Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis.'
When we got to Temple Bar, he stopped me, pointed to the heads
upon it, and slily whispered me,
'Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur ISTIS."'
Life, vol. iii. p. 2@.-E
( 276) "This," says the Quarterly Review, "is an odd
illustration of the truth of the first line in the following
couplet, which begins an epigram ascribed to Johnson:--
'Pitied by gentle minds, Kilmarnock died:
The brave, Balmerino, are on thy side.'"--E.
(1277) Isabel, Duchess of Manchester, married to Edward
501 Letter 217
To sir Horace Mann.
Windsor, Aug. 21, 1746.
You will perceive by my date that I am got into a new scene,
and that I am retired hither like an old summer dowager; Only
that I have no toad-eater to take the air with me in the back
part of my lozenge-coach, and to be scolded. I have taken a
small house here within the castle and propose spending the
greatest part of every week here till the parliament meets;
but my jaunts to town will prevent my news from being quite
provincial and marvellous. Then, I promise you, I will go to
no races nor assemblies, nor make comments upon couples that
come in chaises to the White Hart.
I came from town (for take notice, I put this place upon
myself for the country) the day after the execution of the
rebel Lords: I was not at it, but had two persons come to me
directly who were at the next house to the scaffold; and I saw
another who was upon it, so that you may depend upon my
Just before they came out of the Tower, Lord Balmerino drank a
bumper to King James's health. As the clock struck ten they
came forth on foot, Lord Kilmarnock all in black, his hair
unpowdered in a bag: supported by Forster, the great
Presbyterian, and by Mr. Home a young clergyman, his friend.
Lord Balmerino followed], alone, in a blue coat turned up with
red, his rebellious regimentals, a flannel waistcoat, and his
shroud beneath; their hearses following They were conducted to
a house near the scaffold; the room forwards had benches for
spectators; in the second Lord Kilmarnock was put, and in the
third backwards Lord Balmerino; all three chambers hung with
black. Here they parted! Balmerino embraced the other, and
said, "My lord, I wish I could suffer for both!" he had scarce
left him, before he desired again to see him, and then asked
him, "My Lord Kilmarnock, do you know any thing of the
resolution taken in our army, the day before the battle of
Culloden, to put the English prisoners to death?" He replied,
"My lord, I was not present; but since I came hither, I have
had all the reason in the world to believe that there was such
order taken; and I hear the Duke has the pocket-book with the
order." Balmerino answered, "It was a lie raised to excuse
their barbarity to us."-Take notice, that the Duke's charging
this on Lord Kilmarnock (certainly on misinformation) decided
this unhappy man's fate! The most now pretended is, that it
would have come to Lord Kilmarnock's turn to have given the
word for the slaughter, as lieutenant-general, with the patent
for which he was immediately drawn into the rebellion, after
having been staggered by his wife, her mother, his own
poverty, and the defeat of Cope. He remained an hour and a
half in the house, and shed tears. At last he came to the
scaffold, certainly much terrified, but with a resolution that
prevented his behaving in the least meanly or unlike a
gentleman.(1278) He took no notice of the crowd, only to
desire that the baize might be lifted up from the rails, that
the mob might see the spectacle. He stood and prayed some
time with Forster, who wept over him, exhorted and encouraged
him. He delivered a long speech to the Sheriff, and with a
noble manliness stuck to the recantation he had made at his
trial; declaring he wished that all who embarked in the same
cause might meet the same fate. he then took off his bag,
coat and waistcoat with great composure, and after some
trouble put on a napkin-cap, and then several times tried the
block; the executioner, who was in white with a white apron,
out of tenderness concealing the axe behind himself. At last
the Earl knelt down, with a visible unwillingness to depart,
and after five minutes dropped his handkerchief, the signal,
and his head was cut off at once, only hanging by a bit of
skin, and was received in a scarlet cloth by four of the
undertaker's men kneeling, who wrapped it up and put it into
the coffin with the body; orders having been given not to
expose the heads, as used to be the custom.
The scaffold was immediately new-strewed with saw-dust, the
block new-covered, the executioner new-dressed, and a new axe
brought. Then came old Balmerino, treading with the air of a
general. As soon as he mounted the scaffold, he read the
inscription on his coffin, as he did again afterwards: he then
surveyed the spectators, who were in amazing numbers, even
upon masts of ships in the river; and pulling out his
spectacles, read a treasonable speech,(1279) which he
delivered to the Sheriff, and said, the young Pretender was so
sweet a Prince that flesh and blood could not resist following
him; and lying down to try the block, he said, "If I had a
thousand lives, I would lay them all down here in the same
cause." he said, "if he had not taken the sacrament the day
before, he would have knocked down Williamson, the lieutenant
of the Tower, for his ill usage of him. He took the axe and
felt it, and asked the headsman how many blows he had given
Lord Kilmarnock; and gave him three guineas. Two clergymen,
who attended him, coming up, he said, "No, gentlemen, I
believe you have already done me all the service you can."
Then he went to the corner of the scaffold, and called very
loud for the warder, to give him his periwig, which he took
off, and put on a nightcap of Scotch plaid, and then pulled
off his coat and waistcoat and lay down; but being told he was
on the wrong side, vaulted round, and immediately gave the
sign by tossing up his arm, as if he were giving the signal
for battle. He received three blows, but the first certainly
took away all sensation. He was not a quarter of an hour on
the scaffold; Lord Kilmarnock above half a one. Balmerino
certainly died with the intrepidity of a hero, but with the
insensibility of one too.(1280) As he walked from his prison
to execution, seeing every window and top of house filled with
spectators, he cried out, "Look, look, how they are all piled
up like rotten oranges!"
My Lady Townshend, who fell in love -with Lord Kilmarnock at
his trial, will go nowhere to dinner, for fear of meeting with
a rebel- pie; she says, every body is so bloody-minded, that
they eat rebels! The Prince of Wales, whose intercession
saved Lord Cromartie, says he did it in return for old Sir
William Gordon, Lady Cromartie's father, coming down out of
his deathbed to vote against my father in the Chippenham
election.(1281) If his Royal Highness had not countenanced
inveteracy like that of Sir Gordon he would have no occasion
to exert his gratitude now in favour of rebels. His brother
has plucked a very useful feather out of the cap of the
ministry, by forbidding any application for posts in the army
to be made to any body but himself: a resolution I dare say,
he will keep as strictly and minutely as he does the
discipline and dress of the army. Adieu!
P. S. I have just received yours of Aug. 9th. You had not
then heard of the second great battle of Placentia, which has
already occasioned new instructions, or, in effect, a recall,
being sent after Lord Sandwich.
(1278) "When," says Sir Walter Scott, in Tales of a
Grandfather, "he beheld the fatal scaffold, covered with black
cloth; the executioner with his axe and his assistants; the
saw-dust which was soon to be drenched with his blood; the
coffin prepared to receive the limbs which were yet warm with
life; above all, the immense display of human countenances
which surrounded the scaffold like a sea, all eyes being bent
on the sad object of the preparation, his natural feelings
broke forth in a whisper to the friend on whose arm he leaned,
'Home, this is terrible!' No sign of indecent timidity,
however, affected his behaviour."-E.
(1279) Ford, in his account, states that " so far was this
speech from being filled with passionate invective, that it
mentioned his Majesty as a Prince of the greatest magnanimity
and mercy, at the same time that, through erroneous 'political
principles, it denied him a right to the allegiance of his
(1280) He once more turned to his friends and took his last
farewell, and looking on the crowd, said, 'Perhaps some may
think my behaviour too bold; but remember, Sir,' said he to a
gentleman who stood near him, 'that I now declare it is the
effect of confidence in God, and a good conscience, and I
should dissemble if I should show any signs of fear.'"
(1281) See ant`e, P. 215. (in Letter 51, which begins p. 212.)
504 Letter 218
To Sir Horace Mann.
Windsor, Sept. 15, 1746.
You have sent me Marquis Rinuncini with as much secrecy as if
you had sent me a present. I was here; there came an
exceedingly fair written and civil letter from you, dated last
May: I comprehended by the formality of it, that it was
written for the person who brought it, not for the person it
was sent to. I have been to town on purpose to wait on him,
and though you know he was not of my set, yet being of
Florence and recommended by you, and recollecting how you used
to cuddle over a bit of politics with the old Marquis,(1282) I
set myself to be wondrous civil to Marquis Polco; pray, faites
valoir ma politesse!(1283) You have no occasion to let people
know exactly the situation of my villa; but talk of my
standing in campagnaz and coming directly in sedia di posta,
to far mio dovere al Signor Marchesino. I stayed literally an
entire week with him, carried him to see palaces and Richmond
gardens and park, and Chenevix's shop, and talked a great deal
to him alle conversationi. It is a wretched time for him;
there is not a soul in town; no plays; and Ranelagh shut up.
You may say I should have stayed longer with him. but I was
obliged to return for fear of losing my vintage. I shall be
in London again in a fortnight, and then I shall do more mille
gentilezzes. Seriously, I was glad to see him-after I had got
over being sorry to see him, (for with all the goodness of
one's Soquckin soqubut, as the Japanese call the heart, YOU
must own it is a little troublesome to be showing the tombs,)
I asked him a thousand questions, rubbed up my old tarnished
Italian, and inquired about fifty people that I had entirely
forgot till his arrival. He told me some passages, that I
don't forgive you for not mentioning; your Cicisbeatura, Sir,
with the Antinora;(1284) and Manelli's(1285) marriage and
jealousy: who consoles my illustrious mistress?(1286)
Rinuncini has announced the future arrival of the Abbate
Niccolini, the elder Pandolfini, and the younger Panciatici;
these two last, you know, were friends of mine; I shall be
extremely glad to see them.
Your two last were of Aug. 23d and 30th. In the latter you
talk of the execution of the rebel lords, but don't tell me
whether you received my long history of their trials. Your
Florentines guessed very rightly about my Lady O."s reasons
for not returning amongst you: she has picked up a Mr.
Shirley,(1287) no great genius--but with all her affectation
of parts, you know she never was delicate about the capacity
of her lovers. this swain has so little pretensions to any
kind of genius, that two years ago being to act in the Duke of
Bedford's company,(1288) he kept back the play three weeks,
because he could not get his part by heart, though it
consisted but of seventeen lines and a half. With him she has
retired to a villa near Newpark, and lets her house in town.
Your last letter only mentions the progress of the King of
Sardinia towards Genoa; but there is an account actually
arrived of his being master of it. It is very big new-,, and
I hope will make us look a little haughty again: we are giving
ourselves airs, and sending a secret expedition against
France: we don't indeed own that it is in favour of the
Chevalier William Courtenay,(1289) who, you know, claims the
crown of France, and whom King William threatened them to
proclaim, when they proclaimed the Pretender; but I believe
the Protestant Highlanders in the south of France are ready to
join him the moment he lands. There is one Sir Watkin
Williams, a great Baron in languedoc, and a Sir John Cotton, a
Marquis of Dauphin`e,(1290) who have engaged to raise a great
number of men, on the first debarkation that we make.
I think it begins to be believed that the Pretender's son is
got to France - pray, if he passes through Florence, make it
as agreeable to him as you can, ,ind introduce him to all my
acquaintance. I don't indeed know him myself, but he is a
particular friend of my cousin, Sir John Philipps,(1291) and
of my sister-in-law Lady O., who will both take it extremely
kindly--besides, do for your own sake you may make your peace
with her this way; and if ever Lord Bath comes into power, she
will secure your remaining at florence. Adieu!
(1282) Marquis Rinuncini, the elder, had been envoy in
England, and prime minister to John Gaston, the last Great
(1283) Grey, in a letter to Wharton of the 11th, says, "Mr.
Walpole has taken a house in Windsor, and I see him usually
once a week. He is at present gone to town, to perform the
disagreeable task of presenting and introducing about a young
Florentine, the Marquis Rinuncini, who comes recommended to
him." Works, vol. iii. @. 9.-E.
(1284) Sister of Madame Grifoni.
(1285) Signor Ottavio Manelli had been cicisbeo of Madame
(1286) Madame Grifoni.
(1287) Sewallis Shirley, uncle of Earl Ferrers. (He married
Lady Orford, after her first husband's death.-D)
(1288) The Duke of Bedford and his friends acted several plays
(1289) Sir William Courtenay, said to be the right heir of
Louis le Gros. There is a notion that at the coronation of a
new King of France, the Courtenays assert their pretensions,
and that the King of France says to them, "Apres Nous, Vous."
[See Gibbon's beautiful account of this family, in a
digression to his History of the Decline and Fall, Vol. xi.]
(1290) Two Jacobite Knights of Wales and Cambridgeshire.
(1291) Sir J. Philipps, of Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire; a
noted Jacobite. He was first cousin of Catherine Shorter,
first wife of Sir Robert Walpole.
506 Letter 219
To sir Horace Mann.
Windsor, Oct. 2,1746.
By your own loss YOU may measure My joy at the receipt of the
dear Chutes.(1292) I strolled to town one day last week, and
there I found them! Poor creatures! there they were!
wondering at every thing they saw, but with the difference
from Englishmen that go abroad, O keeping their amazement to
themselves. They will tell you of wild dukes in the
playhouse, of streets dirtier than forests, and of women more
uncouth than the streets. I found them extremely surprised at
not finding any ready-furnished palace built round two courts.
I do all I can to reconcile their country to them; though
seriously they have no affectation, and have nothing
particular in them, but that they have nothing particular: a
fault, of which the climate and their neighbours will soon
correct. You may imagine how we have talked you over, and how
I have inquired after the state of your Wetbrownpaperhood.
Mr. Chute adores you: do you know, that as well as I love you,
I never found all those charms in you that he does! I own this
to you out of pure honesty, that you may love him as much as
he deserves. I don't know how he will succeed here, but to me
he has more wit than any body I know: he is altered, and I
think, broken: Whitehed is grown leaner considerably, and is a
very pretty gentleman.(1293) He did not reply to me as the
Turcotti(1294) did bonnement to you when you told her she was
a little thinner: do you remember how she puffed and chuckled,
and said, "And indeed I think you are too." Mr. Whitehed was
not so sensible of the blessing of decrease, as to conclude
that it would be acceptable news even to shadows: he thinks me
plumped out. I would fain have enticed them down hither, and
promised we would live just as if we were at the King's Arms
in via di Santo Spirito:(1295) but they were obliged to go
chez eux, not pour se d`ecrasser, but pour se crasser. I
shall introduce them a tutte le mie conoscenze, and shall try
to make questo paese as agreeable to them as possible; except
in one point, for I have sworn never to tell Mr. Chute a word
of news, for then he will be writing it to you, and I shall
have nothing to say. This is a lucky resolution for you, my
dear child, for between two friends one generally hears
nothing; the one concludes that the other has told all.
I have had two or three letters from you since I wrote. The
young Pretender is generally believed to have got off the 18th
of last month: if he were not, with the zeal of the Chutes, I
believe they would be impatient to send a limb to Cardinal
Acquaviva and Monsignor Piccolomini. I quite gain a winter
with them, having had no expectation of them till spring'.
(1292) John Chute and Francis Whitehed had been several years
in Italy, chiefly at Florence.
(1293) Gray, in a letter to Mr. Chute, written at this time,
thus describes Mr. Whithead:
"He is a fine young personage in a coat all over spangles,
just come over from the tour in Europe to take possession and
be married. I desire my hearty congratulations to him, and
say I wish him more spangles, and more estates, and more
wives." Works, vol. iii. p. 20.-E.
(1294) A fine singer.
(1295) Mr. Mann hired a large palace of the Manetti family at
Florence in via di Santo Spirito: foreign ministers in Italy
affix large shields with the arms of their sovereign over
507 Letter 220
To the Hon. H. S. Conway.
Windsor still, Oct. 3, 1746.
My dear Harry,
You ask me if I have really grown a philosopher. Really I
believe not: for I shall refer you to my practice rather than
to my doctrine, and have really acquired what they only
pretended to seek, content. So far, indeed I was a
philosopher even when I lived in town, for then I was content
too; and all the difference I can conceive between those two
opposite doctors was, that Aristippus loved London, and
Diogenes Windsor; and if your master the Duke, whom I
sincerely prefer to Alexander, and who certainly can intercept
more sunshine, would but stand out of my way, which he is
extremely in, while he lives in the park here,(1296) I should
love my little tub of forty pounds a-year, more than my palace
dans la rue des ministers, with all my pictures and bronzes,
which you ridiculously imagine I have encumbered myself with
in my solitude. Solitude it is, as to the tub itself, for no
soul lives in it with me; though I could easily give you room
at the butt end of it, and with -vast pleasure; but George
Montagu, who perhaps is a philosopher too, though I am sure
not of Pythagoras's silent sect, lives but two barrels off;
and Asheton, a Christian philosopher of our acquaintance,
lives -,it the foot of that hill which you mention with a
melancholy satisfaction that always attends the reflection. A-
propos, here is an Ode on the very subject, which I desire you
will please to like excessively:(1297)
You will immediately conclude, out of good breeding, that it
is mine, and that it is charming. I shall be much obliged to
you for the first thought, but desire you will retain only the
second; for it is Mr. Gray's, and not your humble servant's.
(1296) " The Duke of Cumberland is here at his lodge with
three women, and three aide-de-camps; and the country swarms
with people. He goes to races and they make a ring about him
as at a bear-baiting." Gray to Wharton, Sept. 11. Works, vol.
iii. p. 10.-E.
(1297) Here follows, in the original Mr. Gray's Ode on a,
distant prospect of Eton College. [This, which was the first
English production of Gray which appeared in print, was
published by Dodsley in the following year. Dr. Warton says,
that " little notice was taken of it, on its first
508 Letter 221
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Oct. 14, 1746.
You will have been alarmed with the news of another
battle(1298) lost in Flanders, where we have no Kings of
Sardinia. We make light of it; do not allow it to be a
battle, but call it "the action near Liege." then, we have
whittled down our loss extremely, and will not allow a man
more than three hundred and fifty English slain out of the
four thousand. The whole of' it, as It appears to me, is,
that we gave up eight battalions to avoid fighting; as at
Newmarket people pay their forfeit when they foresee they
should lose the race; though, if the whole army had fought,
and we had lost the day, one might have hoped to have come off
for eight battalions. Then they tell you that the French had
four-and-twenty-pounders, and that they must beat us by the
superiority of their cannon; so that to me it is grown a
paradox, to war with a nation who have a mathematical
certainty of beating you; or else it is a still stranger
paradox, why you cannot have as large cannon as the French.
This loss was balanced by a pompous account of the triumphs of
our invasion of Bretagne; which, in plain terms, I think, is
reduced to burning two or three villages and reimbarking: at
least, two or three of the transports are returned with this
history, and know not what is become of Lestock and the rest
of the invasion. The young Pretender is landed in France,
with thirty Scotch, but in such a wretched condition that his
Highland Highness had no breeches.(1299)
I have received yours of the 27th of last month, with the
capitulation of Genoa, and the kind conduct of the Austrians
to us their allies, so extremely like their behaviour whenever
they are fortunate. Pray, by the way, has there been any talk
of my cousin,(1300) the Commodore, in letting slip some
Spanish ships'!-don't mention it as from me, but there are
whispers of court-martial on him. They are all the fashion
now; if you miss a post to me, I will have you tried by a
court-martial. Cope is come off most gloriously, his courage
ascertained, and even his conduct, which every body had given
up, justified. Folkes and Lascelles, two of his generals, are
come off too; but not so happily in the opinion of the world.
Oglethorpe's sentence is not yet public, but it is believed
not to be favourable. He was always a bully, and is now tried
for cowardice. Some little dash of the same sort is likely to
mingle withe the judgment on il furibondo Matthews; though his
party rises again a little, and Lestock's acquittal begins to
pass for a party affair. In short, we are a wretched people,
and have seen our best days.
I must have lost a letter, if you really told me of the sale
of the Duke of Modena's pictures,(1301) as you think you did;
for when Mr. Chute told it me, it struck me as quite new.
They are out of town, good souls; and I shall not see them
this fortnight; for I am here only for two or three days, to
inquire after the battle, in which not one of my friends were.
(1298) The battle of Rocoux; lost by the allies on the 11th of
(1299) About the 18th of September, Prince Charles received
intelligence that two French frigates had arrived at
Lochnannagh, to carry him and other fugitives of his party to
France: accordingly, after numerous wanderings in various
disguises he embarked, on the 20th of September, attended by
Lochiel, Colonel Roy Stuart, and about a hundred others of the
relics of his party; and safely landed at the little port of
Morlaix, in Brittany, on the 29th. " During these
wanderings," says Sir Walter Scott, in Tales of a Grandfather,
"the secret of the Adventurer's concealment was intrusted to
hundreds, of every sex, age, and condition; but no individual
was found, in a high or low situation, or robbers even , who
procured their food at the risk of their lives, who thought
for an instant of obtaining opulence at the expense of
treachery to the proscribed and miserable fugitive. Such
disinterested conduct will reflect honour on the Highlands of
Scotland while their mountains shall continue to exist." Prose
Works, vol. xxvi. p. 374.-E.
(1300) George Townshend, eldest son of Charles, Lord Viscount
Townshend, by Dorothy, his second wife, sister of Sir Robert
Walpole. (He was subsequently tried by a court-martial for his
conduct upon this occasion, and honourably acquitted.-D.)
(1301) To the King of Poland.
509 Letter 222
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Windsor, Oct. 24, 1746.
Well, Harry, Scotland is the last place on earth I should have
thought of for turning any body poet: but I begin to forgive
it half its treasons in favour of your verses, for I suppose
you don't think I am the dupe of the highland story that you
tell me: the only use I shall make of it is to commend the
lines to you, as if they really were a Scotchman's. There is
a melancholy harmony in them that is charming, and a delicacy
in the thoughts that no Scotchman is capable of, though a
Scotchwoman(1302 might inspire it. I beg, both for Cynthia's
sake and my own, that you would continue your De Tristibus
till I have an opportunity of seeing your muse, and she of
rewarding her: Reprens ta musette, berger amoureux! If
Cynthia has ever travelled ten miles in fairy-land, she must
be wondrous content with the person and qualifications of her
knight, who in future story will be read of thus: Elmedorus
was tall and perfectly well made, his face oval, and features
regularly handsome, but not effeminate; his complexion
sentimentally brown, with not much colour; his teeth fine, and
forehead agreeably low, round which his black hair curled
naturally and beautifully. His eyes were black too, but had
nothing of fierce or insolent; on the contrary, a certain
melancholy swimmingness, that described hopeless love rather
than a natural amorous languish. His exploits in war, where
he always fought by the side of the renowned Paladine William
of England, have endeared his memory to all admirers of true
chivalry, as the mournful elegies which he poured out among
the desert rocks of Caledonia,(1303) in honour of the peerless
lady and his
heart's idol, the incomparable Cynthia, will for ever preserve
his name in the flowery annals of poesy.
What a pity it is I was not born in the golden age of Louis
the Fourteenth, when it was not only the fashion to write
folios, but to read them too! or rather , it is a pity the
same fashion don't subsist NOW, when one need not be at the
trouble of invention, nor of turning the whole Roman history
into romance for want of proper heroes. Your campaign in
Scotland, rolled out and well be-epitheted, would make a
pompous work, and make one's fortune; at sixpence a number,
one should have all the damsels within the liberties for
subscribers: whereas now, if one has a mind to be read, one
must write metaphysical poems in blank verse, which, though I
own to be still easier, have not half the imagination of
romances, and are dull without any agreeable absurdity. Only
think of the gravity of this wise age, that have exploded
"Cleopatra and Pharamond," and approve "The Pleasures of the
Imagination," "The Art of Preserving Health," and "Leonidas!"
I beg the age's pardon: it has done approving these poems, and
has forgot them.
Adieu! dear Harry. Thank you seriously for the poem. I am
going to town for the birthday, and shall return hither till
the Parliament meets; I suppose there is no doubt of our
meeting then. Yours ever.
P.S. Now you are at Stirling, if you should meet with
Drummond's history of the five King Jameses, pray look it
over.(1304) I have read it, and like it much. It is wrote in
imitation of Livy; the style is masculine, and the whole very
sensible; only he ascribes the misfortunes of one reign to the
then king's loving architecture and
"In trim gardens taking pleasure."
(1302) Caroline Campbell, Countess of Ailesbury.-E.
(1303) Mr. Conway was now in Scotland.
(1304) Drummond of Hawthorne's History of Scotland, from 1423
to 1542, did not appear until after his death. This work, in
which the doctrine of unlimited authority and passive
obedience is advocated to an extravagant extent, is generally
considered to have added little to his reputation. He died in
December 1649, in his sixty-fourth year.
Ben Jonson is said to have so much admired the genius of this
"Scotian Petrarch," as to travel on foot to Scotland, out of
love and respect for him.-E.
510 Letter 523
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Nov. 3, 1746.
Do not imagine I have already broken through all my wholesome
resolutions and country schemes, and that I am given up body
and soul to London for the winter. I shall be with you by the
end of the week; but just now I am under the maiden
palpitation of an author. My epilogue will, I believe, be
spoken to-morrow night;(1305) and I flatter myself I shall
have no faults to answer for but what are in it, for I have
kept secret whose it is. It is now gone to be licensed; but
as the Lord Chamberlain is mentioned,(1306)' though rather to
his honour, it is possible it may be refused.
Don't expect news, for I know no more than a newspaper.
Asheton would have written it if there were any thing to tell
you. Is it news that my Lord Rochford is an oaf? He has got a
set of plate buttons for the birthday clothes, with the Duke's
head in every one. Sure my good lady carries her art too far
to make him so great a dupe. How do all the comets? Has Miss
Harriet found out any more ways at solitaire? Has Cloe left
off evening prayer on account of the damp evenings? How is
Miss Rice's cold and coachman? Is Miss Granville better? Has
Mrs. Masham made a brave hand of this bad season, and lived
upon carcases like any vampire? Adieu! I am just going to see
Mrs. Muscovy,(1307) and will be sure not to laugh if my old
lady should talk of Mr. Draper's white skin, and tickle his
bosom like Queen Bess.
(1305) Rowe's tragedy of Tamerlane was written in compliment
to William the Third, whose character the author intended to
display under that of Tamerlane, as he meant to be understood
to draw that of Louis the Fourteenth in Bajazet. Tamerlane
was always acted on the 4th and 5th of November, the
anniversaries of King William's birth and landing; and this
year Mr. Walpole had written an epilogue for it, on the
suppression of the rebellion.-E.
(1306) The Duke of Grafton.
(1307) Mrs. Boscawen, wife of the Hon. George Boscawen, fifth
son of Viscount Falmouth.-E.
511 Letter 224
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 4, 1746.
Mr. Chute and I a,,reed not to tell you of any new changes
till we could tell you more of them, that you might not be
"put into a taking," as you was last winter with the
revolution of three days; but I think the present has ended
with a single fit. Lord Harrington,(1308) quite on a sudden,
resigned the seals; it is said, on some treatment not over-
gracious; but he is no such novice to be shocked with that,
though I believe it has been rough ever since his resigning
last year, which he did more boisterously than he is
accustomed to behave to Majesty. Others talk of some quarrel
with his brother secretary, who, in complaisance, is all for
drums and trumpets. Lord Chesterfield was immediately named
his successor; but the Duke of Newcastle has taken the
northern provinces, as of more business, and consequently
better suited to his experience and abilities! I flatter
myself that this can no way affect you. Ireland is to be
offered to Lord Harrington, or the Presidentship; and the Duke
of Dorset, now President, is to have the other's refusal. The
King has endured a great deal with your old complaint; and I
felt for him, recollecting all you underwent.
You will have seen in the papers all the histories of our
glorious expeditions(1309) and invasions of France, which have
put Cressy and Agincourt out of all countenance. On the first
view, indeed, one should think that our fleet had been to
victual; for our chief prizes were cows and geese and turkeys.
But I rather think that the whole was fitted out by the Royal
Society, for they came back quite satisfied with having
discovered a fine bay! Would one believe, that in the year of
our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty-six, we should
boast of discovering something on the coast of France, as if
we had found out the Northeast passage, or penetrated into
some remote part of America? The Guards are come back too, who
never went: in one Single day they received four several
Matthews is broke at last. Nobody disputes the justice of the
sentence; but the legality of it is not quite so
authenticated. Besides some great errors in the forms,
whenever the Admiralty perceived any of the court-martial
inclined to favour him, they were constantly changed. Then,
the expense has been enormous; two hundred thousand pounds!
chiefly by employing young captains, instead of old half-pay
officers; and by these means, double commissions. Then there
has been a great fracas between the court-martial and
Willes.(1310) He, as Chief Justice, sent a summons in the
ordinary form of law, to Mayerne, to appear as an evidence in
a trial where a captain had prosecuted Sir Chaloner Ogle for
horrid tyranny: the ingenious court-martial sat down and drew
up articles of impeachment, like any House of Commons, against
the Chief Justice for stopping their proceedings! and the
Admiralty, still more ingenious, had a mind to complain of him
to the house! He was charmed to catch them at such
absurdities--but I believe at last it is all compromised.
I have not heard from you for some time, but I don't pretend
to complain: you have real occupation; my idleness is for its
own sake. The Abb`e Niccolini and Pandolfini are arrived; but
I have not yet seen them. Rinuncini cannot bear England--and
if the Chutes speak their mind, I believe they are not
captivated yet with any thing they have found: I am more and
more with them: Mr. Whithed is infinitely improved: and Mr.
Chute has absolutely more Wit, knowledge, and good-nature,
than, to their great surprise, ever met together in one
man.(1311) he has a bigotry to you, that even astonishes me,
who used to think that I was pretty well in for loving you;
but he is very often ready to quarrel with me for not thinking
you all pure gold. Adieu!
(1308) William Stanhope, Earl of Harrington, secretary of
(1309) The expedition to Quiberon; the troops under General
St. Clair, the fleet under Admiral Lestock. The object was to
surprise Port l'Orient, and destroy the stores and ships of
the French East India Company, but the result attained was
only the plunder and burning of a few helpless villages. The
fleet and troops returned, however, with little loss. "The
truth is," says Tindal, "Lestock was too old and infirm for
enterprise, and, as is alleged, was under the shameful
direction of a woman he carried along with him; and neither
the soldiers nor the sailors seem to have been under any kind
(1310) John Willes, Lord Chief Justice of the Common
Pleas(1311) Grey, in a letter to Mr. Chute of the 12th of
October says, "Mr. Walpole is full, I assure you, of your
panegyric. Never any man had half so much wit as Mr. Chute,
(which is saying every thing with him, you know,) and Mr.
Whitehead is the finest young man that was ever imported."
Works, vol. iii. p. 22.-E.
513 Letter 225
To Sir Horace Mann.
Windsor, Nov. 12, 1746.
Here I AM come hither, per saldare; but though the country is
excellently convenient, from the idleness of it, for beginning
a letter, yet it is not at all commode for finishing one: the
same ingredients that fill a basket by the carrier, will not
fill half a sheet of paper; I could send you a cheese, or a
hare; but I have not a morsel of news. Mr. Chute threatened
me to tell you the distress I was in last week, when I starved
Niccolini and Pandolfini on a fast-day, when I had thought to
banquet them sumptuously. I had luckily given a guinea for
two pine-apples, which I knew they had never seen in Italy,
and upon which they revenged themselves for all the meat that
they dared not touch. Rinuncini could not come. How you
mistook me, my dear' child! I meant simply that you had not
mentioned his coming; very far from reproving you for giving
him a letter. Don't I give letters for you every day to cubs,
ten times cubber than Rinuncini! and don't you treat them as
though all their names were Walpole? If you was to send me all
the uncouth productions of Italy, do you think any of them
would be so brutal as Sir William Maynard? I am exactly like
you; I have no greater pleasure than to make them value your
recommendation, by showing how much I value it. Besides, I
love the Florentines for their own sakes and to indemnify
them, poor creatures! a little for the Richcourts, the
Lorraines, and the Austrians. I have received per mezzo di
Pucci,(1312) a letter from Marquis Riccardi, with orders to
consign to the bearer all his treasure in my hands, which I
shall do immediately with great satisfaction. There are four
rings that I should be glad he would sell me; but they are
such trifles, and he will set such a value on them the moment
he knows I like them, that it is scarce worth while to make
the proposal, because I would give but a little for them.
However, you may hint what plague I have had with his roba,
and that it will be a gentillezza to sell me these four dabs.
One is a man's head, small, on cornelian, and intaglio; a fly,
ditto; an Isis, cameo; and an inscription in Christian Latin:
the last is literally not worth two sequins.
As to Mr. Townshend, I now know all 'the particulars, and that
Lord SandWich(1313) was at the bottom of it. What an
excellent heart his lordship will have by the time he is
threescore, if he sets out thus! The persecution(1314) is on
account of the poor boy's relation to my father; of whom the
world may judge pretty clearly already, from the abilities and
disinterestedness of such of his enemies as have succeeded;
and from their virtue in taking any opportunity to persecute
any Of his relations; in which even the public interest of
their country can weigh nothing, when clashing with their
malice. The King of Sar dinia has written the strongest
letter imaginable to complain of the grievous prejudice the
Admiralty has don@his affairs by this step.
Don't scold me for not sending you those Lines to
Eckardt:(1315) I never wrote any thing that I esteemcd less,
or that was seen so incorrect ; nor can I at all account for
their having been so much liked,
especially as the thoughts were so old and so common. I was
hurt at their getting into print. I enclose you an
epilogue(1316) that I hae vwritten since, merely for a
specimen of something more correct. You know, or have known,
that Tamerlane is always acted on King William's birthday,
with an occasional prologue ; this was the epilogue to it, and
succeeded to flatter me. Adieu!
(1312) Minister from the Great Duke.
(1313) John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the
1314) See letter 221 of the 14th October.
((1315) The Beauties, an Epistle to Eckardt, the painter;
reprinted in Dodsley's Miscellanieg in Walpole's Works, vol.
i. p. 19.]
(1316) On the suppression of the rebellion. [See Works, vol.
i. p. 25.]
514 Letter 226
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Dec. 5, 1746.
We are in such a newsless situation, that I have been some
time without writing to you; but I now answer one I received
from you yesterday. You will excuse me, if I am not quite so
transported as Mr. Chute is, at the extremity of
Aquaviva.(1317) I can't afford to hate people so much at such
a distance: my aversions find employment within their own
Rinuncini returns to you this week, not at all contented with
England: Niccolini is extremely, and turns his little talent
to great account; there is nobody of his own standard but
thinks him a great genius. The Chutes and I deal extremely
together; but they abuse me, and tell me I am grown so
English! lack-a-day! so I am; as folks that have been in the
Inquisition, and did not choose to broil, come out excellent
I have been unfortunate in my own family; my nephew, Captain
Cholmondeley,(1318) has married a player's sister; and I fear
Lord Malpas(1319) is on the brink of matrimony with another
girl of no fortune. Here is a ruined family! their father
totally undone, and all be has seized for debt!
The Duke is gone to Holland to settle the operations of the
campaign, but returns before the opening of it. A great
reformation has been made this week in the army; the horse are
broke, and to be turned into dragoons, by which sixty thousand
pounds a-year will be saved. Whatever we do in Flanders, I
think you need not fear any commotions here, where Jacobitism
seems to have gasped its last. Mr. Radcliffe, the last
Derwentwater's brother, is actually named to the gallows for
Monday; but the imprudence of Lord Morton,(1320) who has drawn
himself into the Bastile, makes it doubtful whether the
execution will be so quick. The famous orator Henley is taken
up for treasonable flippancies.(1321)
You know Lord Sandwich is minister at the Hague. Sir Charles
Williams, who has resigned the paymastership of the marines,
is talked of for going to Berlin, but it is not yet done. The
Parliament has been most serene, but there is a storm in the
air: the Prince waits for an opportunity of erecting his
standard, and a disputed election between him and the
Grenvilles is likely very soon to furnish the occasion. We
are to have another contest about Lord Bath's borough,(1322)
which Mr. Chute's brother formerly lost, and which his
colleague, Lu@e Robinson, has carried by a majority of three,
though his competitor is returned. Lord Bath wrote to a man
for a list of all that would be against him: the man placed
his own and his brother's names at the head of the list.
We have operas, but no company at them; the Prince and Lord
Middlesex Impresarii. Plays only are in fashion: at one house
the best company that perhaps ever were together, quin,
Garrick, Mrs. Pritchard, and Mrs. Cibber: at the other, Barry,
a favourite young actor, and the Violette, whose dancing our
friends don't like; I scold them, but all the answer is,
"Lord! you are so English!" If I do clap sometimes when they
don't, I can fairly say with Oedipus,
"My hands are guilty, but my heart is free."
(1317) Cardinal Acquaviva, Protector of Spain, and a great
promoter of the interests of the Pretender
(1318) Robert, second son of George, Earl of Cholmondeley,
married Mary, sister of Mrs. Margaret Woffington, the actress.
He afterwards quitted the army and took orders. [Besides two
church livings, he enjoyed the office of auditor of the King's
revenues in America. He died in 1804.]
(1319) George, eldest son of Lord Cholmondeley, married, in
January 1747, Miss Edwards. (She was the, daughter and
heiress of Sir Francis Edwards, Bart. of Grete, in
(1320) James Douglas, ninth Earl of Morton.-D.
(1321) He was, a few days after, admitted to bail.-E.
515 Letter 227
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Christmas-day, 1746.
We are in great expectation of farther news from Genoa, which
the last accounts left in the greatest confusion, and I think
in the hands of the Genoese;,(1323) a circumstance that may
chance to unravel all the fine schemes in Provence! Marshal
Bathiani, at the Hague, treated this revolt as a trifle; but
all the letters by last post make it a reconquest. The Dutch
do all the Duke asks: we talk of an army of 140,000 men in
Flanders next campaign. I don't know how the Prince of Orange
relishes his brother-in-law's dignities and success.
Old Lovat has been brought to the bar of the House of Lords:
he is far from having those abilities for which he has been so
cried up. He saw Mr. Pelham at a distance and called to him,
and asked him if it were worth while to make all this fuss to
take off a gray head fourscore years old? In his defence he
complained of his estate being seized and kept from him. Lord
Granville took up this complaint very strongly, and insisted
on having it inquired into. Lord Bath went farther, and, as
some people think, intended the Duke; but I believe he only
aimed at the Duke of Newcastle, who was so alarmed with this
motion, that he kept the House above a quarter of an hour in
suspense, till he could send for Stone,(1324) and consult what
he should do. They made a rule to order the old creature the
profits of his estate till his conviction. He is to put in
his answer the 13th of January.
Lord Lincoln is cofferer at last, in the room of Waller,(1325)
who is dismissed. Sir Charles Williams has kissed hands, and
sets out for Dresden in a month: he has hopes of Turin, but I
think Villettes is firm. Don't mention this.
Did I ever talk to you of a Mr. Davis, a Norfolk gentleman,
who has taken to painting? He has copied the Dominichin, the
third picture he ever copied in his life: how well, you may
judge; for Mr. Chute, who, I believe you think, understands
pictures if any body does, happened to come in, just as Mr.
Davis brought his copy hither. "Here," said I, "Mr. Chute,
here is your Dominichin come to town to be copied." He
literally did not know it; which made me very happy for Mr.
Davis, who has given me this charming picture. Do but figure
to yourself a man of fifty years old, who was scarce ever out
of the county of Norfolk, but when his hounds led him; who
never saw a tolerable picture till those at Houghton four
years ago who plays and composes as well as he paints, and who
has no more of the Norfolk dialect than a Florentine! He is
the most decent, sensible man you ever saw.
Rinuncini is gone: Niccolini sups continually with the Prince
of Wales, and learns the Constitution! Pandolfini is put
to-bed, like children, to be out of the way. Adieu!
P. S. My Lady O. who has entirely settled her affairs with my
brother, talks of going abroad again, not being able to live
here on fifteen hundred pounds a-year--many an old 'lady, and
uglier too, lives very comfortably upon less. After I had
writ this, your brother brought me another letter with a
confirmation of all we had heard about Genoa. You may be easy
about the change of provinces,(1326) which has not been made
as was designed. Echo Mons`u Chute
>From Mr. Chute.
Mr. Walpole gives me a side, and I catch hold of it to tell
you that I parted this minute with your charming brother, who
has been in the council with me about your grand affair:(1327)
it is determined now to be presented to the King by way of
memorial; and to-morrow we meet again to draw it up: Mr. Stone
has graciously signified that this is a very proper
opportunity - one should think he must know.
Oh! I must tell you: I was here last night, and saw my Lord
Walpole,(1328) for the first time, but such a youth! I declare
to you, I was quite astonished at his sense and cleverness; it
is impossible to describe it; it was just what would have made
you as happy to observe as it did me: he is not yet seventeen,
and is to continue a year longer at Eton, upon his own desire.
Alas! how few have I seen of my countrymen half so formed even
at their return from their travels! I hope you will have him
at Florence One day or other; he will pay you amply for the
Mr. Walpole is quite right in all he tells you of the miracle
worked by St. Davis, which certainly merits the credit of
deceiving far better judges of painting than I; who am no
judge of any thing but you, whom I pretend to understand
better than any body living and am, therefore, my dear sir,
etc. etc. etc. J. C.
(1323) This circumstance is thus alluded to in a letter of Sir
Horace Mann's, dated Dec. 20th, 1746. "The affairs of Genoa
are in such a horrid situation, that one is frightened out of
one's senses. The accounts of them are so confused, that one
does not know what to make of them; but it is certain that the
mob is quite master of the town and of every thing in it.
They have sacked several houses, particularly that of the
Doge, and five or six others, belonging to those who were the
principal authors of the alliance which the Republic made with
France and Spain."-D.
(1324) Andrew Stone, secretary to the Duke of Newcastle, and
afterwards sub-governor to George, Prince of Wales.
(1325) Edmund Waller, of Beaconsfield.
(1326) Meaning a change in the secretaries of state. There
were at this time two, one of whom was called the Secretary of
State for the Northern Province, and the other the Secretary
of State for the Southern Province.-D.
(1327) Of Mr. Mann's arrears.
(1328) George, only son of Robert, second Earl of Orford, whom
he succeeded in the title.
517 Letter 228
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Jan. 27, 1747.
The Prince has formally declared a new Opposition which is
never to subside till he is King (s'entendent that he does not
carry his point sooner.) He began it pretty handsomely the
other day with 143 to 184, which has frightened the ministry
like a bomb. This new party wants nothing but heads; though
not having any, to be sure the struggle is the fairer. Lord
Baltimore(1329) takes the lead; he is the best and honestest
man in the world, with a good deal of jumbled knowledge; but
not capable of conducting a party. However, the next day, the
Prince, to reward him, and to punish Lord Archibald Himllton,
who voted with the ministry, told Lord Baltimore that he would
not give him the trouble of waiting any more as Lord of the
Bedchamber. but would make him Cofferer. Lord B. thanked
him, but desired that it might not be done in a way
disagreeable to Lord Archibald, who was then Cofferer. The
Prince sent for Lord Archibald, and told him he would either
make him Comptroller, or give him a pension of twelve hundred
pounds a-year; the latter of' which the old soul accepted, and
went away content; but returned in an hour with a letter from
his wife,(1330) to say, that as his Royal Highness was angry
with her husband, it was not proper for either of them to take
their pensions. It is excellent! When she was dismissed
herself, she accepted the twelve hundred pounds, and now will
not let her husband, though he had accepted. It must mortify
the Prince wondrously to have four-and-twenty hundred pounds
a-year thrown back into an exchequer that never yet
I am a little piqued at Marquis Riccardi's refusing me such a,
trifle as the four rings, after all the trouble I have had
with his trumpery! I think I cannot help telling him, that
Lord Carlisle and Lord Duncannon, Who heard of his collection
from Niccolini, have seen it; and are willing, at a reasonable
price, to take it between them: if you let me know the lowest,
and in money that I understand, not his equivocal pistoles, I
will allow so much to Florence civilities, as still to help
him off with his goods, though he does not deserve it; as
selling me four rings could not have affected the general
purchase. I pity your Princess Strozzi(1331) but cannot
possibly hunt after her chattels: Riccardi has cured me of
Italian merchandise, by forcing it upon me.'
Your account of your former friend's neglect of you does not
at all surprise me: there is an inveteracy, a darkness, a
design and cunning in his character that stamp him for a very
unamiable young man: it is uncommon for a heart to be so
tainted so early My cousin's(1332) affair is entirely owing to
him;(1333) nor can I account for the pursuit of such
I never heard of the advertisement that you mention to have
received from Sir James Grey,(1334) nor believe it was ever in
the House of Commons; I must have heard of it. I hear as
little of Lady O. who never appears; nor do I know if she sees
Niccolini: he lives much with Lady Pomfret (who has married
her third daughter),(1335) and a good deal with the Prince.
Adieu! I have answered your letter, and have nothing more to
put into mine.
(1329) Charles Calvert, Lord Baltimore, had been a Lord of the
Admiralty, on the change of the ministry in 1742. He died
soon after the Prince, in 1751.
(1330) Jane, sister of the Earl of Abercorn, and wife of Lord
Archibald Hamilton, great-uncle of Duke Hamilton: she had been
mistress of the robes, etc. to the Princess of Wales, and the
supposed mistress of the Prince. She died at Paris, in
(1331) She had been robbed of some of the most valuable gems
of the famous Strozzi collection.
(1332) The Hon. George Townshend. See what is said of him in
a letter (221) of Oct. 14, 1746, and note 1300.-D.
(1333) It appeared afterwards that the person here mentioned,
after having behaved very bravely, gave so perplexed an
account of his own conduct, that the Admiralty thought it
necessary to have it examined; but the inquiry proved much to
(1334) "Sir James Gray has sent me the copy of an
advertisement, the publisher of which, he says, had been
examined before the House of Commons, Lost or mislaid an ivory
table-book, containing various queries vastly strong." Letter
of Sir H. Mann, of Jan. 10th, 1747. It probably related to
the trial of the rebel Lords.-D.
(1335) Lady Henrietta Fermor, second wife of Mr. Conyers.
519 Letter 229
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 23, 1747.
Why, you do nothing but get fevers! I believe you try to dry
your Wet-brown-paperness, till you scorch it. Or do you play
off fevers against the Princess's coliques? Remember, hers
are only for the support of her dignity, and that is what I
never allowed you to have: you must(1336) have twenty unlawful
children, and then be twenty years in devotion, and have
twenty unchristian appetites and passions all the while,
before you may think of getting into a cradle with
`epuisements and have a Monsieur Forzoni(1337) to burn the
wings of boisterous gnats-pray be more robust-do you hear!
One would think you had been describing our Opera, not your
own; we have just set out with one in what they call, the
French manner, but about as like it, as my Lady Pomfret's hash
of plural persons and singular verbs or infinitive moods was
to Italian. They sing to jigs, and dance to church music -.
Phaeton is run away with by horses that go a foot's-pace, like
the Electress's(1338) coach, with such long traces, that the
postilion was in one street and the coachman in another;--then
comes Jupiter with a farthing-candle to light a squib and a
half, and that they call fire-works. Reginello, the first
man, is so old and so tall, that he seems to have been growing
ever since the invention of operas. The first woman has had
her mouth let out to show a fine set of teeth, but it lets out
too much bad voice at the same time.(1339) Lord Middlesex,
for his great prudence in having provided such very tractable
steeds to Prince Phaeton's car, is going to be Master of the
Horse to the Prince of Wales; and for his excellent economy in
never paying the performers, is likely to continue in the
treasury. The two courts grow again: and the old question of
settling the 50,000 pounds a-year talked of. The Tories don't
list kindly under this new Opposition; though last week we had
a warm day on a motion for inquiring into useless places and
quarterings. Mr. Pitt was so well advised as to acquit my
father pretty amply, in speaking Of the Secret Committee. My
uncle Horace thanked him in a speech, and my brother Ned has
been to visit him-Tant d'empressement, I think, rather shows
an eagerness to catch any opportunity of paying court to him;
for I do not see the so vast merit in owning now for his
interest, what for his honour he should have owned five years
ago. This motion was spirited up by Lord Bath, who is raving
again, upon losing the borough of Heydon: from which last week
we threw his brother-in-law Gumley, and instated Luke
Robinson, the old sufferer for my father, and the colleague of
Mr. Chute's brother; an incident that will not heighten your
indifference, any more than it did mine.
Lord Kildare is married to the charming Lady Emily Lennox, who
went the very next day to see her sister Lady Caroline Fox, to
the great mortification of the haughty Duchess-mother. They
have not given her a shilling, but the King endows her, by
making Lord Kildare a Viscount Sterling:(1340) and they talk
of giving him a Pinchbeck-dukedom too, to keep him always
first peer of Ireland.(1341) Sir Everard Falkener is married
to Miss Churchill, and my sister is brought to bed of a son.
Panciatici is arrived, extremely darkened in his person and
enlivened in his manner. He was much in fashion at the Hague,
but I don't know if he will succeed so well here: for in such
great cities as this, you know people affect not to think
themselves honoured by foreigners; and though we don't quite
barbarize them as the French do, they are toujours des
etrangers. Mr. Chute thinks we have to the full all the
politeness that can make a nation brutes to the rest of the
world. He had an excellent adventure the other day with Lord
Holderness, whom he met at a party it Lady Betty Germains; but
who could not possibly fatigue himself to recollect that they
had ever met before in their lives. Towards the end of dinner
Lady Betty mentioned remembering a grandmother of Mr. Chute
who was a peeress: immediately the Earl grew as fond of him as
if they had walked together at a coronation. He told me
another good story last night of Lord Hervey,(1342) who was
going with them from the Opera, and was so familiar as to beg
they would not call him my Lord and your Lordship. The
freedom proceeded; when on a sudden, he turned to Mr. Whithed,
and with a distressed friendly voice, said, "Now have you no
peerage that can come to you by any woman?"
Adieu! my dear Sir; I have no news to tell you. Here is
another letter of Niccolini that has lain in my standish this
(1336) All the succeeding paragraph alludes to Princess Craon.
(1337) Her gentleman usher.
(1338) The Electress Palatine Dowager, the last of the house
of Medici; she lived at Florence.
(1339) The drama of Fetonte was written by Vaneschi. "The
best apologies for the absurdities of an Italian opera, in a
country where the language is little understood, are," says
Dr. Burney, "good music and exquisite singing: unluckily,
neither the composition nor performance of Phaeton had the
siren power of enchanting men so much, as to stimulate
attention at the expense of reason." Hist. of Music, Vol. iv.
(1340) Meaning an English viscount. He was created Viscount
Leinster, of Taplow, in Bucks, Feb. 21st, 1747.-D.
(1341) In 1761 his lordship was advanced to the Marquisate of
Kildare, and in 1766 created Duke of Leinster. By Lady Emily
Lennox the Duke had seventeen children.-E.
(1342) George, eldest son of John, Lord Hervey, and afterwards
Earl of Bristol, and minister at Turin and Madrid.
521 Letter 230
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, March 20, 1747.
I have been living at old Lovat's trial, and was willing to
have it over before I talked to you of it. It lasted seven
days: the evidence was as strong as possible; and after all he
had denounced, he made no defence. The
Solicitor-General,(1343) who was one of the managers for the
House of Commons, shone extremely; the Attorney-General
,(1344) who is a much greater lawyer, is cold and tedious.
The old creature's behaviour has been foolish, and at last,
indecent. I see little of parts in him, nor attribute much to
that cunning for which he is so famous: it might catch wild
Highlanders; but the art of dissimulation and flattery is so
refined and improved, that it is of little use where it is not
very delicate. His character seems a mixture of tyranny and
pride in his villainy. I must make you a little acquainted
with him. In his own domain he governed despotically, either
burning or plundering the lands and houses of his open
enemies, or taking off his secret ones by the assistance of
his cook, who was his poisoner in chief. He had two servants
who married without his consent; he said, "You shall have
enough of each other," and stowed them in a dungeon, that had
been a well for three weeks. When he came to the Tower, he
told them, that if he were not so old and infirm, they would
find it difficult to keep him there. They told him they had
kept much younger: "Yes," said he, "but they were
inexperienced: they had not broke so many gaols as I have." At
his own house he used to say, that for thirty years of his
life he never saw a gallows but it made his neck ache. His
last act was to shift his treason upon his eldest son, whom he
forced into the rebellion. He told Williamson, the Lieutenant
of the Tower, "We will hang my eldest son, and then my second
shall marry your niece." He has a sort of ready humour at
repartee, not very well adapted to his situation. One day
that Williamson complained that he could not sleep, he was so
haunted with rats, he replied, "What do you say, that you are
so haunted with Reitc yeq?" The first day, as he was brought
to his trial, a woman looked into the coach, and said, "You
ugly old dog, don't you think that you will have that
frightful head cut off?" He replied, You ugly old -, I believe
I shall." At his trial he affected great weakness and
infirmities, but often broke into passions; particularly at
the first witness, who was his vassal: he asked him how he
dared to come thither! The man replied, to satisfy his
conscience. Murray, the Pretender's secretary, was the chief
evidence, who, in the course of his information, mentioned
Lord Traquair's having conversed with Lord Barrymore, Sir
Watkin Williams, and Sir John Cotton, on the Pretender's
affairs, but that they were shy. He was proceeding to name
others, but was stopped by Lord Talbot, and the court
acquiesced--I think very indecently. It is imagined the
Duchess of Norfolk would have come next upon the stage. The
two Knights were present, as was Macleod, against whom a
bitter letter from Lovat was read, accusing him of breach of
faith; and afterwards Lovat summoned him to answer some
questions he had to ask; but did not. it is much expected
that Lord Traquair, who is a great coward, will give ample
information of the whole plot. When Sir Everard Falkener had
been examined(1345) against Lovat, the Lord High Steward asked
the latter if he had any thing to say to Sir Everard? he
replied, "No; but that he was his humble servant, and wished
him joy of his young wife." The two last days he behaved
ridiculously, joking, and making every body laugh even at the
sentence. He said to Lord Ilchester, who sat near the bar,
"Je meUrs pour ma patrie, et ne m'en soucie gueres." When he
withdrew, he said, "Adieu! my lords, we shall never meet again
in the same place."(1346) He says he will be hanged; for that
his neck is so short and bended, that he should be struck in
the shoulders. I did not think it possible to feel so little
as I did at so melancholy a spectacle, but tyranny and
villainy wound up by buffoonery took off all edge of concern-.
The foreigners were much struck; Niccolini seemed a great deal
shocked, but he comforts himself with the knowledge he thinks
he has gained of the English constitution.
Don't thank Riccardi for me: I don't feel obliged for his
immoderate demand, but expect very soon to return him his
goods; for I have no notion that the two Lords, who are to see
them next week, will rise near his price. We have nothing
like news: all the world has been entirely taken up with the
trial. -Here is a letter from Mr. Whithed to Lord Hobart. Mr.
Chute would have written to-Day, if I had not; but will next
(1343) William Murray.
(1344) Sir Dudley Ryder; afterwards Lord Chief Justice.
(1345) He was secretary to the Duke, whom he had attended into
Scotland during the rebellion.
(1346) Lord Byron has put nearly the same words into the mouth
of Israel Bertuccio, in his tragedy of Marino Falicro.-E.
522 Letter 131
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, April 10, 1747.
I deferred writing to you as long as they deferred the
execution of old Lovat, because I had a mind to send you some
account of his death, as I had of his trial. He was beheaded
yesterday, and died extremely well, without passion,
affectation, buffoonery, or timidity: his behaviour was
natural and intrepid. He professed himself a Jansenist; made
no speech, but sat down a little while in a chair on the
scaffold, and talked to the people round him. He said, "he
was glad to suffer for his country, dulce est pro patria mori;
that he did not know how, but he had always loved it, nescio
qua natale solum, etc.; that he had never swerved from his
principles; that this was the character of his family, who had
been gentlemen for five hundred years." He lay down quietly,
gave the sign soon, and was despatched at a blow. I believe it
will strike some terror into the Highlands, when they hear
there is any power great enough to bring so potent a tyrant to
the block. A scaffold fell down, and killed several persons;
one, a man that had rid post from Salisbury the day before to
see the ceremony; and a woman was taken up dead with a live
child in her arms. The body(1347) is sent into Scotland: the
day was cold, and before It set out, the coachman drove the
hearse about the court, before my Lord Traquair's dungeon,
which could be no agreeable sight: it might to Lord Cromartie,
who is above the chair.(1348) Mr. Chute was at the execution
with the Italians, who were more entertained than shocked:
Panciatici told me, "It was a triste spectacle, mais qu'il ne
laissoit d'`etre beau." Niccolini has treasured it up among
his insights into the English constitution. We have some
chance of a Peer's trial that has nothing to do with the
rebellion. A servant of a college has been killed at Oxford,
and a verdict of wilful murder by persons unknown, brought in
by the coroner's inquest. These persons unknown are supposed
to be Lord Abergavenny,(1349) Lord Charles Scot,(1350) and two
more, who had played tricks with the poor fellow that night,
while he was drunk, and the next morning he was found with his
skull fractured, at the foot of the first Lord's staircase.
One pities the poor boys, who undoubtedly did not foresee the
melancholy event of their sport.
I shall not be able till the next letter to tell you about
Riccardi's gems: Lord Duncannon has been in the country; but
he and Lord Carlisle are to come to me next Sunday, and
Mr. Chute gave you some account of the Independents:(1351) the
committee have made a foolish affair of it, and cannot furnish
a report. Had it extended to three years ago, Lord Sandwich
and Grenville(1352) of the admiralty would have made an
admirable figure as dictators of some of the most Jacobite
healths that ever were invented. Lord Doneraile, who is made
comptroller to the Prince, went to the committee, (whither all
members have a right to go, though not to vote, as it is
select, not secret,) and plagued Lyttelton to death, with
pressing him to inquire into the healths of the year '43. The
ministry are now trembling at home, with fear of losing the
Scotch bills for humbling the Highland chiefs: they have
whittled them down almost to nothing, in complaisance to the
Duke of Argyll: and at last he deserts them. Abroad they are
in panics for Holland, where the French have at once besieged
two towns, that must fall into their hands, though we have
plumed ourselves so much on the Duke's being at the head of a
hundred and fifteen thousand men.
There has been an excellent civil war in the house of Finch:
our friend, Lady Charlotte,(1353( presented a daughter of John
Finch, (him who was stabbed by Sally Salisbury,(1354)) his
offspring by Mrs. Younger,(1355) whom he since married. The
King, Prince, and Princess received her: her aunt, Lady
Bel,(1356) forbad Lady Charlotte to present her to Princess
Emily, whether, however, she carried her in defiance. Lady
Bel called it publishing a bastard at court, and would not
present her--think on the poor girl! Lady Charlotte, with
spirit, presented her herself. Mr. W. Finch stepped up to his
other sister, the Marchioness of Rockingham,(1357) and
whispered her with his composed civility, that he knew it was
a plot of her and Lady Bel to make Lady Charlotte miscarry.
The sable dame (who, it is said, is the blackest of the
family, because she swept the chimney) replied, "This is not a
place to be indecent, and therefore I shall only tell you that
you are a rascal and a villain, and that if ever you dare to
put your head into my house, I will kick you down stairs
myself." Politesse Anglaise! lord Winchilsea (who, with his
brother Edward, is embroiled with both sides) came in, and
informed every body of any circumstances that tended to make
both parties in the wrong. I am impatient to hear how this
operates between my Lady Pomfret and her friend, Lady Bel.
Don't you remember how the Countess used to lug a half-length
picture of the latter behind her post-chaise all over Italy,
and have a new frame made for it in every town where she
stopped? and have you forgot their correspondence, that poor
lady Charlotte was daily and hourly employed to transcribe
into a great book, with the proper names in red ink? I have
but just room to tell you that the King is perfectly well, and
that the Pretender's son was sent from Spain as soon as he
arrived there. Thank you for the news of Mr. Townshend.
(1347) It was countermanded, and buried in the Tower.
(1348) Lord Cromartie had been pardoned.-D.
(1349) George Neville, fifteenth Lord and first Earl of
Abergavenny. Died 1785.-D.
(1350) Lord Charles Scott, second son of Francis, Duke of
. He died at Oxford during the year 1747.-D.
(1351) An innkeeper in Piccadilly, who had been beaten by
them, gave information against them for treasonable practices,
and a committee of the House of Commons, headed by Sir W.
Yonge and Lord Coke, was appointed to inquire into the matter.
[The informant's name was Williams, keeper of the White Horse
in Piccadilly. Being observed, at the anniversary dinner of
the independent electors of Westminster, to make memorandums
with a pencil, he was severely cuffed, and kicked out of the
company. The alleged treasonable practices consisted in
certain Offensive toasts. On the King's health being drunk,
every man held a glass of water in his left hand, and waved a
glass of wine over it with the right.]
(1352) George Grenville, afterwards prime minister.-D.
(1353) Lady Charlotte Fermor, second daughter of Thomas, Earl
of Pomfret, and second wife of William Finch, vice-chamberlain
to the King; formerly ambassador in Holland, and brother of
Daniel, Earl of Winchilsea.
(1354) Sally Salisbury, alias Pridden, a woman of the town,
stabbed the Hon. John Finch, in a bagnio, in the neighbourhood
of Covent-garden; but he did not die of the wound.-D.
(1355) Elizabeth Younger. Her daughter, by the Hon. John
Finch, married John Mason, Esq. of Greenwich.-D.
(1356) Lady Isabella Finch, lady of the bedchamber to the
Princesses Emily and Caroline.
(1357) Lady mary Finch, fifth daughter of Daniel, sixth Earl
of Winchilsea; married in 1716 to the Hon. Thomas Wentworth,
afterwards created Marquis of Rockingham.-E.
525 Letter 232
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, April 16, 1747.
We are all skyrockets and bonfires tonight for your last
year's victory;(1359) but if you have a mind to perpetuate
yourselves in the calendar, you must take care to refresh your
conquests. I was yesterday out of town, and the very signs as
I passed through the villages made me make very quaint
reflections on the mortality of fame and popularity. I
observed how the Duke's head had succeeded almost universally
to Admiral Vernon's, as his had left but few traces of the
Duke of Ormond's. I pondered these things in my heart, and
said unto myself, Surely all glory is but as a sign!
You have heard that old lovat's tragedy is over: it has been
succeeded by a little farce, containing the humours of the
Duke of Newcastle and his man Stone. The first event was a
squabble between his grace and the Sheriff about holding up
the head on the scaffold--a custom that has been disused, and
which the Sheriff would not comply with, as he received no
order in writing. Since that, the Duke has burst ten yards of
breeches strings(1360) about the body, which was to be sent
into Scotland; but it seems it is customary for vast numbers
to rise to attend the most trivial burial. The Duke, who is
always at least as much frightened at doing right as at doing
wrong, was three days before he got courage enough to order
the burying in the Tower. I must tell you an excessive good
story of George Selwyn -. Some women were scolding him for
going to see the execution, and asked him, how he could be
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