The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1
Part 5 out of 18
where he remained until about 1734. He was the contemporary, if
not the rival of Farinelli; and Mr. Hogarth, in his "Memoirs of
the Musical Drama," (i. 431,) tells us, that when Senesino and
Farinelli were in England together, they had not for some time
the opportunity of hearing each other, in consequence of their
engagements at different theatres. At last, however, they were
both engaged to sing on the same stage. Senesino had the part of
a furious tyrant, and Farinelli the part of an unfortunate hero
in chains; but, in the course of the first act, the captive so
softened the heart of the tyrant, that Senesino, forgetting his
stage character, ran to Farinelli, and embraced him in his
(186) He means the name of Walpole at Rome, where the
Pretender and many of his adherents then resided.
148 letter 20
To Richard West, Esq.
Rome, April 16th, 1740, N. S.
I'll tell you, West, because one is amongst new things, you think
one can always write new things. When I first came
abroad, every thing struck me, and I wrote its history: but now I
am grown so used to be surprised, that I don't perceive any
flutter in myself when I meet with any novelties;
curiosity and astonishment wear off, and the next thing is, to
fancy that other people nnow as much of places as One's Self; or,
at least, one does not remember that they do not. It
appears to me as odd to write to you of St.
Peter's, as it would do to you to write of Westminster Abbey.
Besides, as one looks at churches, etc. with a book of travels in
one's hand, and sees every thing particularized there, it would
appear transcribing, to write upon the same subjects. I know you
will hate me for this declaration; I remember how ill I used to
take it when any body served me so that was
travelling. Well, I will tell you something, if you will love
me: You have seen prints of the ruins of the temple of Minerva
Medica; you shall only hear its situation, and then figure what a
villa might be laid out there. 'Tis in the middle of a garden: at
a little distance are two subterraneous grottos, which were the
burial-places of the liberti of Augustus.
There are all the niches and covers of the urns and the
inscriptions remaining; and in one, very considerable remains of
an ancient stucco Ceiling with paintings in grotesque. Some of
the walks would terminate upon the Castellum Aquae Martioe, St.
John Lateran, and St. Maria Maggiore, besides other churches; the
walls of the garden would be two
aqueducts. and the entrance through one of the old gates of Rome.
This glorious spot is neglected, and only serves for a small
vineyard and kitchen-garden.
I am very glad that I see Rome while it yet exists: before a
great number of years are elapsed, I question whether it will be
worth seeing. Between the ignorance and poverty of the present
Romans, every thing is neglected and falling to decay; the villas
are entirely out of repair, and the palaces so ill kept, that
half the pictures are spoiled by damp. At the
villa Ludovisi is a large oracular head of red marble,
colossal, and with vast foramina for the eyes and mouth: the man
that showed the palace said it was un ritratto della
famiglia? The Cardinal Corsini has
so thoroughly pushed on the misery of Rome by impoverishing it,
that there is no money but paper to be seen. He is
reckoned to have amassed three millions of crowns. You may judge
of' the affluence the nobility live in, when I assure you, that
what the chief princes allow for their own eating is a testoon a
day; eighteen pence: there are some extend their expense to five
pauls, or half a crown: Cardinal Albani is called extravagant for
laying out ten pauls for his dinner and supper. You may imagine
they never have any entertainments: so far from it, they never
have any company. The princesses and duchesses particularly lead
the dismallest of lives.
Being the posterity of popes, though of worse families than the
ancient nobility, they expect greater
respect than my ladies the countesses and marquises will pay
them; consequently they consort not, but mope in a vast palace
with two mniserable tapers, and two or three monsignori, whom
they are forced to court and humour, that they may not be
entirely deserted. Sundays they do issue forth in a most
unwieldy coach to the Corso.
In short 'child, after sunset one passes one's time here very
ill; and if I did not wish for you in the mornings, it would be
no compliment to tell you that I do in the evening. Lord! how
many English I could change for you, and yet buy you
wondrous cheap! And, then French and Germans I could fling into
the bargain by dozens. Nations swarm here. You will have a
great fat French cardinal garnished with thirty abb`es roll into
the area of St. Peter's, gape, turn short, and talk of the chapel
of Versailles. I heard one of them say t'other day, he had been
at the Capitale. One asked of course how he liked it-.Oh! il y a
assez de belles choses.
Tell Ashton I have received his letter, and will write next post
but I am in a violent hurry and have no more time; so Gray
finishes this delicately.
NOT so delicate; nor indeed would his conscience suffer him to
write to you, till he received de vos nouvelles, if he had not
the tail of another person's letter to use by way of evasion. I
sha'n't describe, as being in the only place in the world that
deserves it which may seem an odd reason-but they say as how it's
fulsome, and every body does it (and I suppose every body says
the same thing); else I should tell'you a vast deal about the
Coliseum, and the Conclave, and the Capitol, and these matters.
A-propos du Colis`ee, if you don't know what it is, the Prince
Borghese will be very capable of giving you some account of it,
who told an Englishman that asked what it was built for: "They
say 'twas for Christians to fight with tigers in." We are just
come from adoring a great piece of the true cross, St. Longinus's
spear, and St. Veronica's handkerchief; all of which have been
this evening exposed to view in St. Peter's. In the same place,
and on the same occasion last night, Walpole saw a poor
creature naked to the waist discipline himself with a scourge
filled with iron prickles, till he made hii-nself a raw
doublet, that he took for red satin torn, and showing the skin
through. I should tell you, that he fainted away three times at
the sight, and I twice
and a half at the repetition of it. All this is performed by the
light of a vast fiery cross, composed of hundreds of
little crystal latmps, which appears through the great altar
under the grand tribuna, as if hanging by itself in the air. All
the confraternities of the city resort thither in solemn
procession, habited in linen frocks, girt with a cord, and their
heads covered with a cowl all over, that has only two holes
before to see through. Some of these are all black, others
parti-coloured and white: and with these masqueraders that vast
church is filled, who are seen thumping their
breasts, and kissing the pavement with extreme devotion. But
methinks I am describing:-'tis an ill habit; but this, like every
thing else will wear off We have sent you our compliments by a
friend of yours, and correspondent in a corner, who seems a very
agreeable man; one Mr. Williams; I am sorry he staid so little a
while in Rome. I forget Porto-Bello (187) all this while; pray
let us know where it is, and whether you or Ashton had any hand
in the taking of'it. Duty to the admiral. Adieu! Ever yours,
(187) Porto-Bello, taken from the Spaniards by Admiral Vernon,
with six ships only, On the 21st Nov. 1740. By the articles of
the capitulation, the town was not to be plundered, nor the
inhabitants molested in the smallest degree; and the governor and
inhabitants expressed themselves in the highest terms, when
speaking of the humanity and generosity with which they had been
treated by the admiral and the officers of the
squadron under his command.-E.
150 Letter 21
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Rome, April, 23, 1740, N. S.
As I have wrote you two such long letters lately, my dear Hal, I
did not hurry myself to answer your last; but choose to write to
poor SelWyn (188) Upon his illness. I pity you excessively upon
finding him in such a situation- what a shock it must have been
to you! He deserves so much love from all that know him, and you
owe him so much friendship, that I can scarce conceive a greater
shock. I am very glad you did not write to me till he was out of
danger; for this great distance would have added to my pain, as I
must have waited so long for another letter. I charge you, don't
let him relapse into balls: he does not love them, and, if you
please, your example may keep him out of them. You are extremely
pretty people to be dancing and trading with French poulterers
and pastry cooks, when a hard frost is starving half the nation,
and the Spanish war ought to be employing the other half. We are
much more public spirited here; we live upon the public news, and
triumph abundantly upon the taking Porto-Bello. If you are not
entirely debauched with your balls, you must be pleased with an
answer of Lord Harrington's (189) to the governor of
Rome. He asked him what they had determined about the
vessel that the Spaniards took under the canon of Civita
Vecchia, whether they had restored it to the English? The
governor said, they had done justice. My lord replied, "If you
had not, we should have' done it ourselves." Pray
reverence our spirit, Lieutenant Hal.
Sir, MoscovitEO (190) is not a pretty woman, and she does
sing ill; that's all.
My dear Harry, I must now tell you a little about myself,
and answer your questions. How I like the inanimate part of Rome
you will soon perceive at my arrival in England; I am far gone in
medals, lamps, idols, prints, etc." and all the small commodities
to the purchase of which I can attain; I would buy the Coliseum
if I could: Judge. My mornings are spent in the most agreeable
manner; my evenings ill enough. Roman conversations are dreadful
things! such untoward
mawkins as the princesses! and the princes are worse. Then the
whole city is littered with French and German abb`es,
who make up a dismal contrast with the inhabitants. The
conclave is far from enlivening us; its secrets don't
transpire. I could give you names of this cardinal and
that, that are talked of, but each is contradicted the next hour.
I was there t'other day to visit one of them, and one of the most
agreeable, Alexander Albani. I had the
opportunity of two cardinals making their entry: upon that
occasion the gate is unlocked, and their eminences come to talk
to their acquaintance over the threshold. I have
received great civilities from him I named to you, and I
wish he were out, that I might receive greater: a friend of his
does the honours of Rome for him; but you know that it is
unpleasant to visit by proxy. Cardinal Delei, the object of the
Corsini faction, is dying; the hot weather will probably despatch
half a dozen more. Not that it is hot yet; I am now writing to
you by my fireside.
Harry, you saw Lord Deskfoord (191) at Geneva; don't you
like him? He is a mighty sensible man. There are few young
people have so good understandings. He is mighty grave, and so
are you; but you can both be pleasant when you have a
mind. Indeed, one can make you pleasant, but his solemn
Scotchery is a little formidable: before you 1 can play the fool
from morning to night, courageously. Good night. I
have other letters to write, and must finish this.
(188) John Selwyn, elder brother of George Augustus Selwyn. He
died about 1750.
(189)William Marquis of Hartington. He succeeded his father as
fourth Duke of Devonshire in 1755.-E.
(190) Notwithstanding she laboured under such
disadvantages-and want of beauty and want of talent are
serious ones to a cantatrice,-it will be seen from Walpole's
letter to Mann, 5th Nov. 1741, that the Moscovita, on her
arrival here, received six hundred guineas for the season,
instead of four hundred, the salary previously given to the ,
second woman;" and became, moreover, the mistress of Lord
Middlesex, the director of the opera.-E.
(191) Son of the Earl of Findlater and Seafield, who
succeeded his father in 1764, and died in 1770.-E.
152 Letter 22
To Richard West, Esq.
Rome, May 7, 1740, N. S.
'Twould be quite rude and unpardonable in one not to wish you joy
upon the great conquests that you are all committing all over the
world. We heard the news last night from Naples, that Admiral
Haddock (192) had met the Spanish convoy going to Majorca, and
taken it all, all; three thousand men, three
colonels, and a Spanish grandee. We conclude it is true, for the
Neapolitan Majesty mentioned it at dinner. We are going thither
in about a week, to wish him joy of it too. 'Tis with some
apprehensions we go too, of having a pope chosen in the interim:
that would be cruel, you know. But, thank our stars, there is no
great probability of it. ' Feuds and contentions run high among
the eminences. A notable one happened this week. Cardinal
Zinzendorff and two more had given their votes for the general of
the Capucins: he is of the Barberini
family, not a cardinal, but a worthy man. Not effecting any
thing, Zinzendorff voted for Coscia, and declared it publicly.
Cardinal Petra reproved him; but the German replied, he
thought Coscia as fit to be pope as any of them. It seems, his
pique to the whole body is, their having denied a daily admission
of a pig into the conclave for
his eminence's use who, being much troubled with the gout, was
ordered by his mother to bathe his leg in pig's blood every
Who should have a vote t other day but the Cardinalino of
Toledo! Were he older, the Queen of Spain might possibly
procure more than one for him, though scarcely enough.
Well, but we won't talk Politics: shall we talk antiquities?
Gray and I discovered a considerable curiosity lately. In an
unfrequented quarter of the Colonna garden lie two immense
fragments of marble, formerly part of a frieze to some building;
'tis not known of what. They are of Parian marble: which may
give one some idea of the magnificence of the rest of the
building for these pieces were at the very top. Upon inquiry, we
were told they had been measured by an architect, who declared
they were larger than any member of St. Peter's. The length of
one of the pieces is above sixteen feet. They were formerly sold
to a stonecutter for five thousand crowns, but Clement XI. would
not permit them to be sawed, annulled the bargain, and laid a
penalty of twelve thousand crowns upon the family if they parted
with them. I think it was a right judged thing. Is it not
amazing, that so vast a structure should not be known of, or that
it should be so entirely destroyed? But indeed at Rome this is a
common surprise; for, by the remains one sees of the Roman
grandeur in their structures, 'tis evident that there must have
been more pains taken to destroy those piles than to raise them.
They are more demolished than any time or chance could have
effected. I am persuaded that in an hundred years Rome will not
be worth seeing; 'tis less so now than one would believe. All
the public pictures are decayed or decaying; the few ruins cannot
last long; and the statues and private collections must be sold,
from the great poverty of the families. There are now selling no
less than three of the principal collections, the Barberini, the
Sacchetti, and Ottoboni: the latter
belonged to the cardinal who died in the conclave. I must give
you an instance of his generosity, or rather ostentation. When
Lord Carlisle was here last year, who is a great
virtuoso, he asked leave to see the cardinal's collection of
cameos and intaglios. Ottoboni gave leave, and ordered the
person who showed them to observe which my lord admired most. My
lord admired many: they were all sent him the next morning. He
sent the cardinal back a fine gold repeater; who returned him an
acate snuff box, and more cameoes of ten
times the value. Voila qui est fini! Had my lord produced more
golden repeaters, it would have been begging more cameos.
Adieu, my dear West! You see I write often and much, as you
desired it. Do answer one now and then, with any little job that
is done in England. Good night. Yours ever.
(192) This report, which proved unfounded, was grounded on the
fact, that on the 18th of April his Majesty's ships Lenox, Kent,
and Orford, commanded by Captains Mayne, Durell, and Lord
Augustus Fitzroy, part of Admiral Balchen's squadron
being on a cruise about forty leagues to the westward of Cape
Finisterre, fell in with the Princessa, esteemed the finest ship
of war in the Spanish navy, and captured her, after an engagement
of five hours.-E.
(193) Henry fourth Earl of Carlisle, grandfather of the
present Earl. In 1742, he married Isabella, the daughter of
William fourth Lord Byron, and died in 1758.-E.
(194) Cardinal Ottoboni, Dean of the Sacred College, who died in
1740: he had been made a cardinal in 1689.-E.
153 Letter 23
To Richard West, Esq.
Naples, June 14, 1740, N. S.
One hates writing descriptions that are to be found in every book
of travels; but we have seen something to-day that I am sure you
never read of, and perhaps never heard of. Have
you ever heard of a subterraneous town? a whole Roman town, with
all its edifices, remaining under ground? Don't fancy the
inhabitants buried it there to save it from the Goths: they were
buried with it themselves; which is a caution we are not told
that they ever took. You remember in Titus's time there were
several cities destroyed by an eruption of Vesuvius,
attended with an earthquake. Well, this was one of them, not
very considerable, and then called Herculaneum. (195) Above it
has since been built Portici, about three miles from
Naples, where the King has a villa. This under-ground city is
perhaps one of the noblest curiosities that ever has been
discovered. It was found out by chance, about a year and half
ago. They began digging, they found statues; they dug,
further, they found more. Since that they have made a
very considerable progress, and find continually. You may walk
the compass of a mile; but by the misfortune of the
modern town being overhead, they are obliged to proceed with
great caution, lest they destroy both one and t'other. By this
occasion the path is very narrow, just wide enough and high
enough for one man to walk upright. They have hollowed, as they
found it easiest to work, and have carried their
streets not exactly where were the ancient ones, but sometimes
before houses, sometimes through them. You would imagine that
all the fabrics were crushed together; on the contrary.,
except some columns, they have found all the edifices standing
upright in their proper ' situation. There is one inside of a
temple quite perfect, with the middle arch, two columns, and two
pilasters. It is built of brick plastered over, and
painted with architecture almost all the insides of the houses
are in the same manner; and, what is very particular the
general ground of all the painting is red. Besides this
temple, they make out very plainly an amphitheatre: the
stairs, of white marble and the seats are very perfect; the
inside was painted in the same colour with the private houses,
and great part cased with white marble. They have found among
other things some fine statues, some human bones, some rice,
medals, and a few paintings
extremely fine. These latter are preferred to all the ancient
paintings that have ever been discovered. We have not seen them
yet, as they are kept in the King's apartment, whither all these
curiosities are transplanted; and 'tis difficult to see them-but
we shall. I forgot to tell you, that in several places the beams
of the houses remain, but burnt to charcoal; so little damaged
that they retain visibly the grain of the wood, but upon touching
crumble to ashes. What is remarkable, there are no other marks
or appearance of fire, but what are visible on these beams.
There might certainly be collected great light from this
reservoir of antiquities, if a man of learning had the
inspection of it; if he directed the working, and would make a
journal of the discoveries. But I believe there is no
judicious choice made of directors. There is nothing of the kind
known in the world; I mean a Roman city entire of that age, and
that has not been corrupted with modern repairs.
(196) Besides scrutinising this very carefully, I should be
inclined to search for the remains of the other towns that were
partners with this in the general ruin. 'Tis certainly an
advantage to the learned world, that this has been laid up so
long. Most of the discoveries in Rome were made in a
barbarous age, where they only ransacked the ruins in quest of
treasure, and had no regard to the form and being of the
building; or to any circumstances that might give light to its
use and history. I shall finish this long account with a
passage which Gray has observed in Statius, and which
correctly pictures out this latent city:-
Haec ego Chalcidicis ad te, Marcelle, sonabam
Littoribus, fractas ubi Vestius egerit iras,
Emula Trinacriis volvens incendia flammis.
Mira fides! credetne viram ventura propago,
Cum segetes iterum, cum jam haec deserta virebunt,
Infra urbes populosque premi?
SyLv. lib. iv. epist. 4.
Adieu, my dear West! and believe me yours ever.
(195) Some excavations were made at Herculaneum in 1709
by the Prince d'Elbeuf; but, thirty years elapsed after the
prince had been forbidden to dig further, before any more
notice was taken of them. In December 1738 the King of the two
Sicilies was at Portici, and gave orders for the
prosecution of these subterranean labours. There had been an
excavation in the time of the Romans;
and another so lately as 1689. In a letter from Gray
to his mother, he describes their visits to Herculaneum;
but, not mentioning it by name, Mason supposed it had not then
been discovered to be that city. It is evident, from this
observation of Walpole, that Mason's opinion was unfounded.-E.
(196) Pompei a was not then discovered.
155 Letter 24
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
R`e di Cofano, vulg. Radicofani, July 5, 1740, N. S.
You will wonder, my dear Hal, to find me on the road from
Rome: why, intend I did to stay for a new popedom, but the old
eminences are cross and obstinate, and will not choose one the
Holy Ghost does not know when. There is a horrid thing called
the mallaria, that comes to Rome, every summer, and kills one,
and I did not care for being killed so far from Christian burial.
We have been jolted to death; my servants let us
come without springs to the chaise, and we are wore
threadbare: to add to our disasters, I have sprained my ancle,
and have brought it along, laid upon a little box of baubles that
I have bought for presents in England. Perhaps I may pick you
out some little trifle there, but don't depend upon it; you are a
disagreeable creature and may be I shall not care for you.
Though I am so tired in this devil of a place, yet I have taken
it into my head, that it is like Hamilton's Bawn, (197) and I
must write to you. 'Tis the top of a black barren mountain, a
vile little town at the foot of an old citadel: yet this, know
you, was the residence of one of the three kings that went to
Christ's birth-day; his name was Alabaster, Abarasser, or some
such thing; the other two were kings, one of the East, the other
of Cologn. 'Tis this of Cofano, who was represented in an
ancient painting found in the Palatine Mount, now in the
possession of Dr. Mead; he was crowned by Augustus. Well, but
about writing-what do you think I write with? Nay, with a pen;
there was never a one to be found in the whole
circumference but one, and that was in the possession of the
governor, and had been used time out of mind to write
the parole with : I was forced to send to borrow it. It was sent
me under the conduct of a sergeant and two Swiss, with desire to
return it when I should have done with it. 'Tis a curiosity, and
worthy to be laid up with the relics
which we have just been seeing- in a small hovel of
Capucins, on the side of the hill, and which were all brought by
his Majesty from Jerusalem. Among other things of great sanctity
there is a set of gnashing of teeth, the grinders very entire; a
bit of the worm that never dies, preserved in spirits; a crow of
St. Peter's cock, very useful against
Easter; the crisping and curling, frizzling and frowncing of Mary
Magdalen, which she cut off on growing devout. The good man that
showed us all these commodities was got into such a train of
calling them the blessed this, and blessed that, that at last he
showed us a bit of the blessed fig-tree that Christ cursed.
Florence, July 9.
My dear Harry,
We are come hither, and I have received another letter from you
with Hosier's Ghost. Your last put me in pain for you, when you
talked of going to Ireland; but now I find your
brother and sister go with you, I am not much concerned.
Should I be? You have but to say, for my feelings are
extremely at your service to dispose as you please. Let us see:
you are to come back to stand for some
place; that will be about April. 'Tis a sort of thing I
should do, too; and then we should see one another, and that
would be charming; but it is a sort of thing I have no mind to
do; and then we shall not see one another, unless you
would come hither-but that you cannot do: nay, I would not have
you, for then I shall be gone. So! there are many @
that just signify nothing at all. Return I must sooner than I
shall like. I am happy here to a degree. I'll tell you my
situation. I am lodged with Mr. Mann, (198) the best of
creatures. I have a terreno all to myself, with an open
gallery on the Arno, where I am now writing to you. Over
against me is the famous Gallery; and, on either hand, two fair
bridges. Is not this charming and cool? The air is so serene,
and so secure, that one sleeps with all the windows and doors
thrown open to the river, and only covered with a slight gauze to
keep away the gnats. Lady Pomfret
(199) has a charming conversation once a week. She has
taken a vast palace and a vast garden, which is vastly
commode, especially to the cicisbeo-part of mankind, who have
free indulgence to wander in pairs about the arbours. You know
her daughters : Lady Sophia (200) is still, nay she must be, the
beauty she was: Lady Charlotte, (201) is much improved, and is
the cleverest girl in the world; speaks the purest Tuscan, like
any Florentine. The
Princess Craon (202) has a constant pharaoh and supper every
night, where one is quite at one's ease. I am going into the
country with her and the prince for a little while, to a villa of
the Great Duke's. The people are good-humoured here and easy;
and what makes me pleased with them, they are pleased with me.
One loves to find people care for one, when they can have no view
You see how glad I am to have reasons for not returning; I wish I
had no better.
As to Hosier's Ghost, (203) I think it very easy, and
consequently pretty; but, from the ease, should never have
guessed it Glover's. I delight in your, "the patriots cry it up,
and the courtiers cry it down, and the hawkers cry it up and
down," and your laconic history of the King and Sir
Robert, on going to Hanover, and turning out the Duke of
Argyle. The epigram, too, you sent me
on the same occasion is charming.
Unless I sent you back news that you and others send me, I can
send you none. I have left the conclave, which is the only
stirring thing in this part of the world, except the child that
the Queen of Naples is to be delivered of in August. There is no
likelihood the conclave will end, unless the messages take effect
which 'tis said the Imperial and
French ministers have sent to their respective courts for
leave to quit the Corsini for the Albani faction: otherwise there
will never be a pope. Corsini has
lost the only one he could have ventured to make pope, and him he
designed; 'twas Cenci, a relation of the Corsini's
mistress. The last morning Corsini made him rise, stuffed a dish
of chocolate down his throat, and would carry him to
the scrutiny. The poor old creature went, came back, and
died. I am sorry to have lost the sight of the pope's
coronation, but I might have stayed for seeing it till I had been
old enough to be pope myself.
Harry, what luck the chancellor has! first, indeed, to be in
himself so great a man; but then in accidents: he is
made chief justice and peer, when Talbot is made chancellor and
peer: (204) Talbot dies in a twelvemonth, and leaves him the
seals at an age when others are scarce made solicitors:
(205)-then marries his son into one of the first families of
Britain, (206) obtains a patent for a marquisate and eight
thousand pounds a year after the Duke of Kent's death: the duke
dies in a fortnightt, and leaves them all! People talk of
Fortune's wheel, that is always rolling: my Lord Hardwicke has
overtaken her wheel, and rolled with it. I perceive Miss Jenny
(207) would not venture to Ireland, nor stray so far from London;
I am glad I shall always know where to find her within threescore
miles. I must say a word to my lord, which, Harry, be sure you
don't read. ["My dear lord, I don't love troubling you with
letters, because I know you don't love the trouble of answering
them; not that I should insist on that ceremony, but I hate to
burthen any one's conscience. Your brother tells me he is to
stand member of parliament: without telling me so, I am sure he
owes it to you. I am sure you will not repent setting him up;
nor will he be ungrateful to a brother who deserves so much, and
whose least merit is not the knowing how to employ so great a
There, Harry,-I have done. Don't suspect me: I have said no ill
of you behind your back. Make my
best compliments to Miss Conway. (208)
I thoght I had done, and lo, I had forgot to tell you, that who
d'ye think is here?-Even Mr. More! our Rheims Mr.
More! the fortification, hornwork, ravelin, bastion Mr.
More! which is very pleasant sure. At the end of the eighth
side, I think I need make no excuse for leaving off; but I am
going to write to Selwyn, and to the lady of the mountain; from
whom I have had a very kind letter. She has at last
received the Chantilly brass. Good night: write to me from one
end of the world to t'other. Yours ever.
(197) A large old house, two miles from the seat of Sir
Arthur Acheson, near Market-hill, and the scene of Swift's
humorous poem, "The Grand Question debated, whether
Hamilton's Bawn should be turned into a barrack or a malt-
(198) Afterwards Sir Horace Mann. He was at this time
resident at Florence from George II.
(199) Henrietta Louisa, wife of Thomas Earl of Pomfret. [She was
the daughter of John Lord Jefferies, Baron of Wem. Lady Pomfret,
who was the friend and correspondent of Frances
Duchess of Somerset, retired from the court upon the death of
Queen Caroline in 1737.]
(200) Afterwards married to John Lord Carteret, who became Earl
of Granville on the death of his mother in the year 1744.
(201) Lady Charlotte Fermor married, in August 1746, William
Finch, brother of Daniel seventh Earl of Winchelsea, by whom she
had issue a son, George, who, on the death of his uncle, in 1769,
succeeded to the earldom. Her ladyship was governess to the
children of George III., and highly esteemcd by him and his royal
(202) The Princess Craon was the favourite mistress of
Leopold the last Duke of Lorrain, who married her to M. de
Beauveau, and prevailed on the Emperor to make him a prince of
the empire. They at this time resided at Florence, where Prince
Craon was at the head of the council of regency.
(203) This was a party ballad (written by Glover, though by some
at the time ascribed to Lord Bath,) on the taking of
Porto-Bello by Admiral Vernon. "The case of Hosier," says
Bishop Percy, in his admirable Reliques, vol. ii. p. 382,
where the song is preserved, "The case of Hosier, which is here
so pathetically represented, was briefly this. In
April 1726, that commander was sent with a strong fleet into the
Spanish West Indies to block up the galleons in the port of that
country, or, should they presume to come out, to
seize and carry them to England: he accordingly arrived at
Bastimentos, near Porto-Bello; but, being employed rather to
overawe than attack the Spaniards, with whom it was probably not
our interest to go to war, he continued long inactive on this
station. He afterwards removed to Carthagena, and
remained crusing in those seas, till the greater part of his men
perished deplorably by the diseases of that unhealthy
Climate. This brave man, seeing his best officers and men thus
daily swept away, his ships exposed to inevitable
destruction, and himself made the sport of the enemy, is
said to have died of a broken heart.-E.
(204) Philip Yorke Lord Hardwicke was the son of an attorney at
Dover, and was introduced by the Duke of Newcastle to Sir Robert
Walpole. He was attorney-general, and when Talbot, the
solicitor-general, was preferred to him in the contest for the
chancellorship, Sir Robert made him chief justice
for life, with an increased salary. He was an object of
aversion to Horace Walpole, who, in his Memoirs, tells us, "in
the House of Lords, he was laughed at, in the cabinet
despised." Upon which it is very properly observed by the
noble editor of those memoirs, Lord Hollan,-"Yet, in the
course of the work, Walpole laments Lord Hardwicke's
influence in the cabinet, where he would have us believe
that he was despised, and acknowledges that he exercised a
dominion nearly absolute over that house of Parliament
which, he would persuade his readers, laughed at him. The truth
is, that, wherever this great magistrate is mentioned, Lord
Orford's resentments blind his judgment and disfigure his
(205) charles Talbot baron Talbot was, on the 29th Nov.
1733, made lord high chancellor and created a baron; and,
dying in Feb. 1737, was succeeded by Lord Hardwicke. There is a
story current, that Sir Robert Walpole, finding it
difficult to prevail on Yorke to quit a place for life, for the
higher but more precarious dignity of chancellor, worked upon his
jealousy, and said that if he persisted in refusing the seals, he
must offer them to Fazakerly. "Fazakerly!"
exclaimed Yorke, "impossible! he is certainly a Tory,
perhaps a Jacobite." "It's all very true," replied Sir
Robert, taking out his watch; " but if by one o'clock you do not
accept my offer, Fazakerly by two becomes lord keeper of the
great seal, and one of the staunchest Whigs in all
England!" Yorke took the seals and the peerage.-E.
(206) That of Grey, Duke of Kent, see avove.-E.
(207) Miss Jane Conway, half-sister to Henry Seymour Conway. She
died unmarried in 1749.
(208) Afterwirds married to John Harris, Esq. of
Hayne in Devonshire.
159 Letter 25
To Richard West, Esq.
Florence, July 31, 1740, N. S.
I have advised with the most notable antiquarians of this city on
the meaning of Thur gut Luetis. I can get no satisfactory
interpretation. In my own opinion 'tis Welsh. I don't love
offering conjectures on a language in which I have hitherto made
little proficiency, but I will trust you with my
explication. You know the famous Aglaughlan, mother of
Cadwalladhor, was renowned for her conjugal virtues, and grief on
the death of her royal spouse. I conclude this medal was struck
in her regency, by her express order, to the memory of her lord,
and that the inscription Thur gut Luetis means no more than her
dear Llewis or Llewellin.
In return for your coins I send you two or three of different
kinds. The first is a money of one of the kings of Naples; the
device, a horse; the motto, Equitas regni. This curious pun is
on a coin in the Great Duke's collection, and by great chance I
have met with a second. Another is, a satirical
medal struck on Lewis XIV.; 'tis a bomb, covered with
flower-de-luces, bursting; the motto, Se ipsissimo. The last,
and almost the only one I ever saw with a text well applied, is a
German medal with a Rebellious town besieged and blocked up; the
inscription, This kind is not expelled but by fasting.
Now I mention medals, have they yet struck the intended one on
the taking of Porto-Bello? Admiral Vernon will shine in our
medallic history. We have just received the news of the
bombarding Carthagena, and the taking Chagre. (209) We are in
great expectation of some important victory obtained by the
squadron under Sir John Norris. we are told the Duke is to be of
the expedition; is it true? (210) All the letters, too, talk of
France suddenly declaring war; I hope they will defer it for a
season, or one shall be obliged to return through Germany.
The conclave still subsists, and the divisions still increase; it
was very near separating last week, but by breaking into two
popes; they were on the dawn of a schism. Aldovrandi had
thirty-three voices for three days, but could not procure the
requisite two more; the Camerlingo having engaged his faction to
sign a protestation against him and each party were
inclined to elect. I don't know whether one should wish for a
schism or not; it might probably rekindle the zeal for the church
in the powers of Europe which has been so far decaying.
On Wednesday we expect a third she-meteor. Those learned
luminaries the Ladies Pomfret and Walpole are to be joined by the
Lady Mary Wortley Montague. You have not been witness to the
rhapsody of mystic nonsense which these two fair ones
debate incessantly, and consequently cannot figure what must be
the issue of this triple alliance: we have some idea of it. Only
figure the coalition of prudery, debauchery, sentiment, history,
Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and metaphysics; all, except the
second, understood by halves, by quarters, or not at all. You
shall have the journals of this notable academy. Adieu, my dear
West! Yours ever,
Though far unworthy to enter into so learned and political a
correspondence, I am employed pour barbouiller une page
de 7 pounces et demie en hauteur, et `a en largeur; and to inform
you that we are at Florence, a city of Italy, and the capital of
Tuscany: the latitude I cannot justly tell, but it is governed by
a prince called Great Duke; an excellent place to employ all
one's animal sensations in, but utterly contrary to one's
rational powers. I have struck a medal upon myself: the device
is thus 0, and the motto Nihilissimo, which I take in the most
concise manner to contain a full account of my person,
sentiments, occupations, and late glorious successes. If you
choose to be annihilated too, you cannot do better than undertake
this journey. Here you shall get up at twelve
o'clock, breakfast till three, dine till five, sleep till six,
drink cooling liquors till eight, go to the bridge till ten, sup
till two, and so sleep till twelve again.
Lahore fessi venimus ad larem nostrum,
Desideratoque acquiescimus lecto;
Hoc est, quod unum est, pro laborious tantis.
O quid solutis est beatius curis?
We shall never come home again; a universal war is just upon the
point of breaking out; all outlets will be
shut up. I shall be secure in my nothingness, while you, that
will be so absurd as to exist, will envy me. You don't tell me
what proficiency you make in the noble science of defence. Don't
you start still at the sound of a gun? Have you learned to say
ha! ha! and is your neck clothed with thunder? Are your whiskers
of a tolerable length? And have you got drunk yet with brandy and
gunpowders? Adieu, noble captain!
(209) On the 24th March, 1740, the Spaniards hung out a white
flag, and the place was surrendered by capitulation to Admiral
(210) The Duke of Cumberland had resolved to accompany Sir John
Norris as a volunteer, and sailed with him from St.
Helens on the 10th June; but on the 17th a gale arising drove
them into Torbay, Where Sir John continued until the 29th, when
he again put to sea; but the wind once more becoming
contrary, and blowing very hard, he was constrained to return to
Spithead, and on the following day his royal highness
returned to London.-E.
161 Letter 26
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Florence, September 25, 1740, N. S.
My dear Hal,
I begin to answer your letter the moment I have read it,
because you bid me; but I grow so unfit for a correspondence with
any body in England, that I have almost left it off. 'Tis so
long since I was there, and I am so utterly a stranger to every
thing that passes there, that I must talk vastly in the dark to
those I write: and having in a manner settled
myself here, where there can be no news, I am void of all
matter for filling up a letter. As, by the absence of the Great
Duke, Florence is become in a manner a country town, YOU may
imagine that we are not without dem`el`es; but for a
country town I believe there never were a set of people so
peaceable, and such strangers to scandal. 'Tis the family of
love, where every body is paired, and go as constantly
together as paroquets. Here nobody hangs or drowns
themselves; they are not ready to cut one another's throats about
elections or parties; don't think that wit consists in saying
bold truths, or humour in getting
drunk. But I shall give you no more of their characters,
because I am so unfortunate as to think that their encomium
consists in being the reverse of the English, who in general are
either mad, or enough to make other people so. After
telling you so fairly my sentiments, you may believe, my dear
Harry, that I had rather see you here than in England. 'Tis an
evil wish for you, who should not be lost in so obscure a place
as this. I will not make you compliments, or else here is a
charming opportunity for saying what I think of you. As I am
convinced you love me, and as I am conscious you have One strong
reason for it, I will own to you, that for my own peace you
should wish me to remain here. I am so well within and without,
that you would scarce know me: I am younger than ever, think of
nothing but diverting myself, and live in a round of pleasures.
We have operas, concerts, and balls,
mornings and evenings. I dare not tell you all One's
idleness: you would look so grave and senatorial at hearing that
one rises at eleven in the morning, goes to the opera at nine at
night, to supper at one, and to bed at three! But
literally here the evenings and nights are so charming and so
warm, one can't avoid 'em.
Did I tell you Lady Mary Wortley is here? She laughs at my Lady
Walpole, scolds my Lady Pomfret, and is laughed at by the whole
town. (211) Her dress, her avarice, and her impudence must amaze
any one that never heard her name. She wears a foul mob, that
does not cover her greasy black locks, that hang loose, never
combed or curled; an old mazarine blue
wrapper, that gapes open and discovers a canvass petticoat. Her
face swelled violently on one side with the remains of a-, partly
covered with a plaster, and partlv with white paint, which for
cheapness she has bought so coarse, that you would not use it to
wash a chimney.-In three words I will give you her picture (212)
as we drew it in the Sortes Virgilianae-
Insanam vatem aepicies.
I give you my honour, we did not choose it; but Mr. Gray, Mr.
Cooke, (213) Sir Francis Dashwood, (214) and I, and several
others, drew it fairly amongst a thousand for different
people, most of which did not hit as you may imagine: those that
did I will tell you.
For our most religious and gracious-
-Dii, talem terris avertite pestem.
For one that would be our most religious and gracious.
Purpureus veluti cum flos succisus aratro
Languescit moriens, lassove papavera collo
Demis`ere caput, pluvia cum fort`e gravantur.
For his son.
Regis Romani: primus qui legibus urbem Fundabit, Curibus
parvis et paupere terra, Missus in imperium magnum.
For Sir Robert.
Res dura et regni novitas me talia cogunt Moliri, et late
fines custode tueri.
I will show you the rest when I see you.
(211) In a letter from Florence, written by Lady Mary to Mr.
Wortley, on the 11th of August, she says, "Lord and Lady
Pomfret take pains to make the place agreeable to me, and I have
been visited by the greatest part of the people of
quality." See the edition of her works, edited by Lord
Wharncliffe, vol. ii. p. 325.-E.
(212) The following favourable picture" of Lady Mary is by
Spence, who met her at Rome, in the ensuing January:-" She is one
of the most shining characters in the world, but shines like a
comet; she is all irregularity, and always wandering; the most
wise, most imprudent; loveliest, most disagreeable; best-natured,
cruellest woman in the world; 'all things by turns, and nothing
(213) George Cooke, Esq. afterwards member for Tregony, and chief
prothonotary in the Court of Common Pleas. On Mr.
Pitt's return to office in 1766 he was appointed joint
paymaster-general, and died in 1768. See Chatham
Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 338.-E.
(214) Sir Francis Dashwood, who, on the death of John Earl of
Westmoreland, succeeded to the barony of Le Despencer, as
being the only son of Mary, eldest sister of the said Earl, and
which was confirmed to him 19th April'1763.-E.
163 Letter 27
To Sir Richard West, Esq.
Florence, Oct. 2, 1740, N. S.
T'other night as we (you know who we are) were walking on
the charming bridge, just before going to a wedding assembly, we
said, Lord, I wish, just as we are got into the room, they would
call us out, and say, West is arrived! We would make him dress
instantly, and carry him back to the entertainment. How he would
stare and wonder at a thousand things, that no longer strike us
as odd!" Would not you? One agreed that you should come directly
by sea from Dover, and be set down at Leghorn, without setting
foot in any other foreign town, and so land at Us, in all your
first full amaze; for you are to know, that astonishment rubs off
violently; we did not cry out Lord! half so much at Rome as at
Calais, which to this hour I look upon as one of the most
surprising cities in the
universe. My dear child, what if you were to take this little
sea-jaunt? One would recommend Sir John Norris's convoy to you,
but one should be laughed at now for supposing that he is ever to
sail beyond Torbay.(215) The Italians take Torbay for an English
town in the hands of the Spaniards, after the
fashion of Gibraltar, and imagine 'tis a wonderful strong
place, by our fleet's having retired from before it so often, and
so often returned. We went to this wedding that I told you of;
'twas a charming feast: a large palace finely
illuminated; there were all the beauties, all the jewels, and all
the sugarplums of Florence. Servants loaded with great chargers
full of comfits heap the tables with them, the women fall on with
both hands, and stuff their pockets and every creek and corner
about them. You would be as much amazed at us as at any thing
you saw: instead of being deep in the arts, and being in the
Gallery every morning, as I thought
of course to be sure I would be, we are in all the idleness and
amusements of the town. For me, I am grown so lazy, and so
tired-of seeing sights, that, though I have been at
Florence six months, I have not seen Leghorn, Pisa, Lucca, or
Pistoia; nay, not so much as one of the Great Duke's
villas. I have contracted so great an aversion to
postchaises, and have so absolutely lost all curiosity, that,
except the towns in the straight road to Great Britain, I
shall scarce see a jot more of a foreign land; and trust me, when
I returt), I will not visit the Welsh mountains, like Mr.
Williams. After Mount Cenis, the Boccheto, the Giogo,
Radicofani, and the Appian Way, one has mighty little hunger
after travelling. I shall be mighty apt to set up my staff at
Hyde Park corner: the alehouseman there at Hercules's
Pillars(216) was certainly returned from his travels into
Now I'll answer your questions.
I have made no discoveries in ancient or modern arts. Mr.
Addison travelled through the poets, and not through Italy; for
all his ideas are borrowed from the descriptions, and not from
the reality. He saw places as they were, not as they are. I am
very well acquainted with Dr. Cocchi; (217) he is a good sort of
man, rather than a great man; he is a plain
honest creature, with quiet knowledge, but I dare say all the
English have told you, he has a very particular understanding: I
really don't believe they meant to impose on you, for they
thought so. As to Bondelmonti, he is much less; he is a low
mimic; the brightest cast of his parts attains to the
composition of a sonnet: he talks irreligion with- English boys,
sentiment with my sister, (218) and bad French with any one that
will hear him. I will transcribe you a little song that he made
t'other day; 'tis pretty enough; Gray turned it into Latin, and I
into English; you will honour him highly by putting it into
French, and Asheton into Greek. Here 'tis.
Spesso Amor sotto la forma
D'amista ride, e s'asconde;
Poi si mischia, e si confonde
Con lo sdegno e col rancor.
In pietade ei si trasforma,
Pas trastullo e par dispetto;
ma nel suo diverso aspetto,
Sempre egli `a l'istesso Amor.
Risit amicitiae interd`um velatus amictu,
Et ben`e composit`a veste fefellit Amor:
Mox irae assumpsit cultus faciemque minantem,
Inque odium versus, versus et in lacrymas:
Ludentem fuge, nec lacrymanti aut furenti;
Idem est dissimili semper in ore Deus.
Love often in the comely mien
Of friendship fancies to be seen;
Soon again he shifts his dress,
And wears disdain and rancour's face.
To gentle pity then he changes-
Thro' wantonness, thro' piques he ranges;
But in whatever shape he moves,
He's still himself, and still is Love.
See how we trifle! but one can't pass one's youth too
amusingly for one must grow old, and that in England; two
most serious circumstances, either of which makes people
gray in the twinkling of a bedstaff; for know you there is not a
country upon earth where there are so many old fools and so few
Now I proceed in my answers.
I made but small collections, and have only bought some
bronzes and medals, a few busts, and two or three pictures: one
of my busts is to be mentioned; 'tis the famous
vespasian in touchstone, reckoned the best in Rome, except the
Caracalia of the Farnese- I gave but twenty-two POUDds for it at
Cardinal Ottoboni's sale. One of my medals is as great a
curiosity; 'tis of Alexander Severus, with the
amphitheatre in brass; this reverse is extant on medals of his,
but mine is a medagliuncino, or small medallion, and
The Only one with this reverse known in the world: 'twas
found by a peasant while I was in Rome, and sold by him for
sixpence to an antiquarian, to whom I paid for it seven
guineas and a half: but to virtuosi 'tis worth any SUM.
As to Tartini's (219) musical compositions, ask Gray; I know but
little in music.
But for the Academy, I am not of it, but frequently in
company with it: 'tis all disjointed. Madame * * *, who,
though a learned lady, has not lost her modesty and
character, is extremely scandalized with the other two
dames, especially Moll Worthless, who knows no bounds. She is at
rivalry with Lady W. for a certain Mr. * * *, whom
perhaps you knew at Oxford. If you did not, I'll tell you: he is
a grave young man by temper, and a rich one by
constitution; a shallow creature by nature, but a wit by the
grace of our women here, whom he deals with as of old with the
Oxford toasts. He fell into sentiments with my Lady W. and was
happy to catch her at Platonic love; but as she
seldom stops there, the poor man will be frightened out of his
senses when she shall break the matter to him; for he
never dreamt that her purposes were so naught. Lady Mary is so
far gone, that to get him from the mouth of her
antagonist she literally took him out to dance country
dances last night at a formal ball, where there was no
measure kept in laughing at her old, foul, tawdry, painted,
plastered personage. She played at pharaoh two or three
times at Princess Craon's, where she cheats horse and foot. She
is really entertaining: I have been reading her works, which she
lends out in manuscript, but they are too
womanish: I like few of her performances. I forgot to tell you a
good answer of Lady Pomfret to mr. W. *** who asked
her if she did not approve Platonic love. "Lord, sir," says she,
, "I am sure any one that knows me never heard that I had any
love but one, and there sit two proofs of it,"
pointing to her two daughters.
So I have given you a sketch of our employments, and
answered your questions, and will with pleasure as many more as
you have about you. Adieu! Was ever such a lon@ letter? But 'tis
nothing to what I shall have to say to you. I
shaft scold you for never telling us any news, public or
private, no deaths, riiarriages, or mishaps; no account of new
books: Oh, you are abominable! I could find it in my
heart to hate You if I did not love you so well; but we will
quarrel now, that we may be the better friends when we meet:
there is no danger of that, is there? Good night, whether
friend or foe! I am most sincerely Yours.
(215) Though brave, skilful, and enterprising Sir John
failed to acquire renown, in consequence of mere
accidents. On the breaking out of the Spanish war, he was
ordered to cruise in the Bay of Biscay; but, owing to
tempestuous weather, was compelled to put into port for the
winter. The following lines were addressed to him upon this
"Homeward, oh! bend thy course; the seas are rough;
To the Land's End who sails has sailed enough." E.
(216) Walpole calls the Hercules' Pillars an
alehouse. Whatever it might have been at the period he
wrote, it is very certain that, after the peace of 1762, it was a
respectable tavern, where the Marquis of Granby, and other
persons of rank, particularly military men, had
frequent dinner parties, which were then fashionable. It
was also an inn of great repute among the west-country
gentlemen, coming to London for a few weeks, who thought
themselves fortunate if they could secure accommodations for
their families at the Hercules' Pillars. The spot where it once
stood, is now occupied by the noble mansion of the Duke of
(217) Dr. Antonio Cocchi, a learned physician, resident at
Florence, who published a collection of Greek writers upon
medicine. He figures conspicuously in Spence's
(218) Margaret Rolle, wife of Robert Walpole, eldest son of Sir
Robert Walpole, created Lord Walpole during the lifetime of his
(219) Giuseppe Tartini of Padua, whom Viotti pronounced the last
great improver of the practice of the violin. Several of
Tartini's compositions are particularized in that amusing little
volume, "The Violin and its Professors," by Mr.
Dubourg, who has recorded in quaint verse the well-known
story of the "Devil's Sonata," a piece of diablerie, the
result of which is that to this day, Tartini's
tale hath made all fiddlers say, A hard sonata is the devil to
166 Letter 28
To Richard West, Esq.
>From Florence, Nov. 1740.
Child, I am going to let you see your shocking proceedings with
us. On my conscience, I believe 'tis three months since you wrote
to either Gray or me. If you had been ill, Ashton would have
said so; and if you had been dead the gazettes
would have said it. If you had been angry,-but that's
impossible; how can one quarrel with folks three thousand
miles off? We are neither divines nor commentators, and
consequently have not hated you on paper. 'Tis to show that my
charity for you cannot be interrupted at this distance
that I write to you, though I have nothing to say, for 'tis a bad
time for small news; and when emperors and czarinas
are dying all up and down Europe, one can't pretend to tell you
of any thing that happens within our sphere. Not but
that we have our accidents too. if you have had a great wind in
England, we have had a great water at Florence. We have been
trying to set out every day, and pop upon you (220) * * * * * It
is fortunate that we stayed, for I don't know what had become of
us! Yesterday, with violent rains, there came flouncing down
from the mountains such a flood that it
floated the whole city. The jewellers on the Old Bridge
removed their commodities, -and in two hours after the
bridge was cracked. The torrent broke down the quays and
drowned several coach-horses, which are kept here in stables
under ground. We were moated into our house all day, which is
near the Arno, and had the miserable spectacles of the
ruins that were washed along with the hurricane. There was a
cart with two oxen not quite dead, and four men in it
drowned: but what was ridiculous, there came tiding along a fat
haycock, with a hen and her eggs, and a cat. The
torrent is considerably abated; but we expect terrible news from
the country, especially from Pisa, which stands so much lower,
and nearer the sea. There is a stone here, which,
when the water overflows, Pisa is entirely flooded. The
water rose two ells yesterday above that stone. Judge!
For this last month we have passed our time but dully; all
diversions silenced on the emperor's death, (221) and
everybody out of town. I have seen nothing but cards and
dull pairs of cicisbeos. I have literally seen so much love and
pharaoh since being here, that I believe I shall never love
either again SO long as I live. Then I am got in a
horrid lazy way of a morning. I don't believe I should know
seven o'clock in the morning again if I was to see it. But I am
returning to England, and shall grow very solemn and
wise! Are you wise'( Dear West, have pity on one who have
done nothing of gravity for these two years, and do laugh
sometimes. We do nothing else, and have contracted such
formidable ideas of the good people of England that we are
already nourishing great black eyebrows and great black
beards, and teasing our countenances into wrinkles. Then
for the common talk of the times, we are quite at a loss,
and for the dress. You would oblige us exceedingly by
forwarding to us the votes of the houses, the king's speech, and
the magazines; or if you had any such thing as a little book
called the Foreigner's Guide through the city of London and the
liberties of Westminster; or a letter to a
Freeholder; or the Political Companion: then 'twoulg be an
infinite obligation if you would neatly band-box up a baby
dressed after the newest Temple fashion now in use at both
play-houses. Alack-a-day! We shall just arrive in the
tempest of elections!
As our departure depends entirely upon the weather, we
cannot tell you to a day when we shall say Dear
West, how glad I am to see you! and all the many questions and
answers that we shall give and take. Would the day were come! Do
but figure to yourself the journey we are to pass through first!
But you can't conceive Alps, Apennines,
Italian inns, and postchaises. I tremble at the thoughts. They
were just sufferable while new and unknown, and as we met them by
the way in coming to Florence, Rome, and Naples; but they are
passed, and the mountains remain! Well, write to one in the
interim; direct to me addressed to Monsieur
Selwyn, chez Monsieur.Ilexandre, Rue St. Apolline, a Paris. If
Mr. Alexandre is not there, the street is, and I believe that
will be sufficient. Adieu, my dear child! Yours ever.
(220) A line of the manuscript is here torn away.
(221) Charles the Sixth, Emperor of Germany, upon whose
death, on the 9th of October, his eldest daughter,
Maria-Theresa, in virtue of the Pragmatic Sanction,
instantly succeeded to the whole Austrian inheritance.-E.
168 Letter 29
To The Rev. Joseph Spence. (222)
Florence, Feb. 21, 1741, N. S.
Not having time last post, I begged Mr. Mann to thank you for the
obliging paragraph for me in your letter to him. But as I desire
a nearer correspondence with you than by third hands, I assure
you in my own proper person that I shall have great pleasure, on
our meeting in England, to renew an acquaintance that 'I began
with so much pleasure in Italy. (223) I Will not reckon you
among my modern friends, but in the first article of virtu: you
have given me so many new lights into a science that but a warmth
and freedom that will flow from my friendship, and which will not
be contained within the circle of a severe awe. As I shall always
be attentive to give you any satisfaction that lies in my power,
I take the first opportunity of sending you two little poems,
both by a hand that I know you esteem the most; if you have not
seen them, you will thank me for lilies of Mr. Pope: if you have,
why I did not know it.
I don't know whether Lord Lincoln has received any orders to
return home: I had a letter from one of my brothers last
post to tell me from Sir Robert that he would have me leave Italy
as soon as possible, lest I should be shut up unawares by the
arrival of the Spanish troops; and that I might pass some time in
France if I had amind. I own I don't conceive how it is possible
these troops should arrive without its being known some time
before. And as to the Great Duke's dominions, one can always be
out of them in ten hours or less. If Lord Lincoln has not
received the same orders.. I shall believe what I now think, that
I am wanted for some other reason. I beg my kind love to Lord
Lincoln, and that Mr. Spence will believe me, his sincere humble
servant HOR. WALPOLE.
(222) The well-known friend of Pope and author of the
Polymetis, who was then travelling on the Continent with
Henry, Earl of Lincoln, afterwards Duke of Newcastle. See ante
p. 140, (Letter 14, and footnote 175).-E.
(223) This acquaintance proved of infinite service to
Walpole, shortly after the date of this letter, when he was laid
up with a quinsy at Reggio. Spence thus describes the
circumstance: "About three or four in the morning I was
surprised with a message, saying that Mr. Walpole was very much
worse, and desired to see me; I went, and found him
scarce able to speak. I soon learned from his servants that he
had been all the while without a physician, and had
doctored himself; so I immediately sent for the best aid the
place would afford, and despatched a messenger to the
minister at Florence, desiring him to send my friend Dr. Cocchi.
In about twenty-four hours I had the satisfaction to find Mr.
Walpole better: we left him in a fair way of recovery, and we
hope to see him next week at Venice. I had obtained leave of
Lord Lincoln to stay behind some days if he had been worse. You
see what luck one has sometimes in going out of one's way. If
Lord Lincoln had not wandered to
Reggio, Mr. Walpole (who is one of the best-natured and most
sensible young gentlemen England affords) would have, in all
probability, fallen a sacrifice to his disorder."-E.
169 Letter 30
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Florence, March 25th, 1741, N. S.
You must judge by what you feel yourself of what I feel for
Selwyn's recovery, with the addition of what I have suffered from
post to post. But as I find the whole town have had the same
sentiments about him, (though I am sure few so strong as myself,)
I will not repeat what you have heard so much. I shall write to
him to-night, though he knows without my
telling him how very much I love him. To you, my dear Harry, I
am infinitely obliged for the three successive letters you wrote
me about him, which gave me double pleasure, as they showed your
attention for me at a time that you know I must be so unhappy;
and your friendship for him. Your account of Sir Robert's
victory (224) was so extremely well told, that I made Gray
translate it into French, and have showed it to all that could
taste It, or were inquisitive on the occasion. I have received a
print by this post that diverts me extremely; 'the Motion.' (225)
Tell me, dear, now, who made the design, and who took the
likenesses; they are admirable: the lines are as good as one sees
on such occasions. I wrote last post to Sir Robert, to wish him
joy; I hope he received my letter.
I was to have set out last Tuesday, but on Sunday came the news
of the Queen of Hungary being brought to bed of a son; (226) on
which occasion here will be great triumphs, operas and
masquerades, which detain me for a short time.
I won't make you any excuse for sending you the follOWing
lines; you have prejudice enough for me to read with patience any
Of My idlenesses. (227)
My dear Harry, you enrage me with talking of another journey to
Ireland; it will shock me if I don't find you at my return: pray
take care and be in England.
I wait with some patience to see Dr. Middleton's Tully, as I read
the greatest part of it in manuscript; though indeed 'tis rather
a reason for my being impatient to read the rest. If Tully can
receive any additional honour, Dr. Middleton is most capable of
conferring it. (228)
I receivc with great pleasure any remembrances of my lord and
your sisters; I long to see all of you. Patapan is so
handsome that he has been named the silver fleece; and there is a
new order of knighthood to be erected to his honour, in
opposition to the golden. Precedents are searching, and plans
drawing up for that purpose. I hear that the natives pretend to
be companions, upon the authority of their dogskin
waistcoats; but a council that has been held on purpose has
declared their pretensions impertinent. Patapan has lately taken
wife unto him, as ugly as he is genteel, but of a very great
family, being the direct heiress of Canis Scaliger, Lord of
Verona: which principality we design to seize `a la
Prussienne; that is, as soon as ever we shall have persuaded the
republic of Venice that we are the best friends they have in the
world. Adieu, dear child!
P. S. I left my subscriptions for Middleton's Tully with Mr.
Selwyn; I won't trouble him, but I wish you would take care and
get the books, if Mr. S. has kept the list.
(224) On the event of Mr. Sandys' motion in the House of
commons to remove Sir Robert Walpole from the King's presence and
councils for ever. [The motion was negatived by 290
against 106: an unusual majority, which proceeded from the schism
between the Tories and the Whigs, and the secession of Shippen
and his friends. The same motion was made by
Lord-Carteret in the House of Lords, and negatived by 108
(225) The print alluded to exhibits an interesting view of
Whitehall, the Treasury, and adjoining buildings, as they
stood at the time. The Earl of Chesterfield, as postilion of a
coach which is going full speed towards the Treasury, drives over
all in his way. The Duke of Argyle is coachman,
flourishing a sword instead of a whip; while Doddington is
represented as a spaniel, sitting between his legs. Lord
Carteret, perceiving the coach about to be overturned, is
calling to the coachman,"Let me get out!" Lord Cobbam, as the
footman, is holding fast on by the straps; while Lord
Lyttleton is ambling by the side on a rosinante as thin as
himself. Smallbrook, Bishop of Lichfield, is bowing
obsequiously as they pass; while Sandys, letting fall the
place-bill, exclaims, ,I thought what would come of putting him
on the box." In the foreground is Pulteney, leading
several figures by strings from their noses, and wheeling a
barrow filled with the Craftsman's Letters, Champion, State of
the Nation, and Common Sense, exclaiming, "Zounds, they are
over!" This caricature, and another, entitled " The Political
Libertines, or Motion upon Motion," had been provoked by one put
forth by Sir Robert Walpole's opponents, entitled "The Grounds
for the Motion;" and were followed up by another from the
supporters of Sandys' motion, entitled "The Motive or
Reason for his Triumph," which the caricaturist attributes
entirely to bribery.-E.
(226) Afterwards Joseph the Second, emperor of Germany.-E.
(227) Here follows the Inscription for the neglected column in
the place of St. Mark, at Florence, afterwards printed in the
(228) Dr. Middleton's "History of the Life of Cicero" was
published in the early part of this year, by subscription, and
dedicated to Pope's enemy, Lord Hervey. This laboured
encomium on his lordship obtained for the doctor a niche in the
Narcissus, praised with all a Parson's power,
Look'd a white lily sunk beneath a shower."-E.
170 Letter 31
To Richard West, Esq.
Reggio, May 1 1741, N. S.
I have received the end of your first act, (229) and now will
tell you sincerely what I think of it. If I was not so
pleased with the beginning as I usually am with your
compositions, believe me the part of Pausanias has charmed me.
There is all imaginable art joined with all requisite
simplicity: and a simplicity, I think, much preferable to that in
the scenes of Cleodora and Argilius. Forgive me, if I say they
do not talk laconic but low English in her, who is
Persian too, there would admit more heroic. But for the whole
part of Pausanias, 'tis great and well worried up, and the art
that is seen seems to proceed from his head, not from the
author's. As I am very desirous you should continue, so I own I
wish you would improve or change the beginning: those who know
you not so well as I do, would not wait with so much
patience for the entrance of Pausanias. You see I am frank; and
if I tell you I do not approve of the first part, you may believe
me as sincere when I tell you I admire the latter
My letter has an odd date. You would not expect I should be
writing in such a dirty place as Reggio: but the fair is
charming; and here come all the nobility of Lombardy, and all the
broken dialects of Genoa, Milan, Venice, Bologna, etc. You never
heard such a ridiculous confusion of tongues. All the morning
one goes to the fair undressed, as to the walks of Tunbridge:
'tis Just in that manner, with lotteries, raffles, etc. After
dinner all the company return in their coaches, and make a kind
of corso, with the ducal family, who go to shops, where you talk
to 'em, from thence to the opera, in mask if you will, and
afterwards to the ridotto. This five nights in the week, Fridays
there are masquerades, and
Tuesdays balls at the Rivalta, a villa of the Duke's. In
short, one diverts oneself. I pass most part of the opera in the
Duchess's box, who is extremely civil to me and extremely
agreeable. A daughter of the Regent's, (230) that could
please him, must be so. She is not young, though still
handsome, but fat; but has given up her gallantries
cheerfully, and in time, and lives easily with a dull husband,
two dull sisters of his, and a dull court. These two
princesses are wofully ugly, old maids and rich. They might have
been married often; but the old Duke was whimsical and proud, and
never would consent to any match for them, but left them much
money, and pensions of three thousand pounds a year apiece.
There was a design to have given the eldest to this King of
Spain, and the Duke was to have had the Parmesan
princess; so that now he would have had Parma and Placentia,
Joined to Modena, Reggio, Mirandola, and Massa. But there being
a Prince of Asturias, the old Duke Rinaldo broke off the match,
and said his daughter's children should not be younger brothers:
and so they mope old virgins.
I am goin@ from hence to Venice, in a fright
lest there be a war with France, and then I must drag myself
through Germany. We have had an imperfect account of a
sea-fight in America . but we are so out of the way, that one
can't be sure of it. Which way soever I return, I shall be soon
in England, and there you 'will find me again.
As much as ever yours.
(229) of a tragedy called Pausanias, The first act, and
probably all that was ever written by Mr. West. [In the
preceding month West had forwarded to Gray the sketch of this
tragedy, which he appears to have criticised with
much freedom; but Mr. Mason did not find among Gray's papers
either the sketch itself, or the free critique upon it.]
(230) Philip Duke of Orleans.
172 Letter 32
To Sir Horace Mann. (231)
Calais, and Friday, and here I have been these two days, 1741.
Is the wind laid? Shall I Dever get aboard? I came here on
Wednesday night, but found a tempest that has never ceased since.
At Boulogne I left Lord Shrewsbury and his mother, and brothers
and sisters, waiting too: Bulstrode (232) passes his winter at
the court of Boulogne, and then is to travel with two young
Shrewsburys. I was overtaken by Amorevoli and Monticelli, (233)
who are here with me and the Viscontina, and Barberina, and
Abbate Vanneschi (234)-what
a coxcomb! I would have talked to him about the opera, but he
preferred politics. I have wearied Amorevoli with
questions about you. If he was not just come from you, and could
talk to me about you, I should hate him; for, to
flatter me, he told me that I talked Italian better than
you. He did not know how little I think it a compliment to have
any thing preferred to you-besides, you know the
consistence of my Italian! They are all frightened out of their
senses about going on the sea, and are not a little
afraid of the English. They went on board the William and Mary
yacht yesterday, which waits here for Lady Cardigan from Spa.
The captain clapped the door, and swore in broad English that the
Viscontina should not stir till she gave him a song, he did not
care whether it was a catch or a moving ballad; but she would not
submit. I wonder he did! When she came home and told me, I
begged her not to judge of all the English from this specimen;
but, by the way, she will find many
sea-captains that grow on dry land.
Sittinburn, Sept. 13, O. S.
Saturday morning, or yesterday, we did set out, and after a good
passage of four hours and a half, landed at Dover. I begin to
count my comforts, for I find their contraries
thicken on my apprehension. I have, at least, done for a
while with postchaises. My trunks were a little opened at
Calais, and they would have stopped my medals, but with much ado
and much three louis's they let them pass. At Dover I found the
benefit of the motions (235) having miscarried last year, for
they respected Sir Robert's son even in the person of his trunks.
I came over in a yacht with East India
captains' widows, a Catholic girl, coming from a convent to be
married, with an Irish priest to guard her, who says he
studied medicines for two years, and after that he studied
learning for two years more. I have not brought over a word of
French or Italian for common use; I have so taken pains to avoid
affectation in this point, that I have failed Only now and then
in a chi`a l`a! to the servants, who I
can scarce persuade myself yet are English. The
COUntry-town (and you will believe me, who, you know, am not
prejudiced) delights me; the populousness, the ease, the
gaiety, and well-dressed every body amaze me. Canterbury, which
on my setting out I thought deplorable, is a paradise, (236) to
Modena, Reggio, Parma, etc. I had before discovered that there
was nowhere but in England the distinction of
middling people; I perceive now, that there is peculiar to us
middling houses: how snug they are! I write to-night
because I have time; to-morrow I get to London just as the post
goes. Sir Robert is at Houghton. Good night till
another post. You are quite well I
trust, but tell me so always. My loves to the Chutes (237) and
all the etc.'s.
Oh! a story of Mr. Pope and the prince:-"Mr. Pope, you don't love
princes." "Sir, I beg your pardon." "Well, you don't love
kings, then!""Sir, I own I love the lion best
before his claws are grown." Was it possible to make a
better answer to such simple questions? Adieu! my dearest child!
Yours, ten thousand times over.
P. S. Patapan does not seem to regret his own country.
(231) This is the first of the series of letters
addressed by Walpole to Sir Horace Man, British envoy at
the court of Tuscany. The following prefatory note,
entitled "Advertisement by the Author," explains the views which
led Walpole to preserve them for publication:-
"The following Collection of Letters, written
very carelessly by a young man, had been preserved by the
person to whom they were addressed. The author, some years after
the date of the first, borrowed them, on account of
some anecdotes interspersed. On the perusal, among many
trifling relations and stories, which were only of
consequence or amusing to the two persons concerned in the
correspondence, he found some facts, characters, and news, which,
though below the dignity of history, might prove
entertaining to many other people: and knoing how much
pleasure, not only himself, but many other persons have
found in a series of private and familiar letters, he
thought it worth his while to preserve these, as they
contain something of the customs, fashions, politics,
diversions, and private history of several
years; which, if worthy of any existence, can be properly
transmitted to posterity only in this manner.
"The reader will find a few pieces of intelligence which did not
prove true; but which are retained here as the author
heard and related them, lest correction should spoil the
simple air of the narrative.* When the letters
were written, they were never intended for public
inspection; and now they are far from being thought correct, or
more authentic than the general turn of epistolary
correspondence admits. The author would sooner have burnt them
than have taken the trouble to correct such errant
trifles, which are here presented to the reader, with scarce any
variation or omissions, but what private friendships and private
history, or the great haste with which the letters were written,
made indispensably necessary, as will plainly appear, not only by
the unavoidable chasms, where the
originals were worn out or torn away,
but by many idle relations and injudicious remarks and
prejudices of a young man; for which @the only excuse the
author can pretend to make, is, that as some future reader may
possibly be as young as he was when he first wrote, he hopes they
may be amused with what graver people (if into such hands they
should fall) will very justly despise. Who ever has patience to
peruse the series, will find, perhaps, that as the author grew
older, some of his faults became less striking."
* They are marked in the notes.
(232) Tutor to the young Earl of Shrewsbury. [.Charles
Talbot, fifteenth Earl of Shrewsbury, born December 1719. He
married, in 1753, Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon. John Dormer,
afterwards Lord Dormer, and died in
1787, without issue.]
(233) Italian singers. [Angelo Maria Monticelli, a celebrated
singer of the same class as Veluti, was born at Milan in 1715,
and first attained the celebrity which he enjoyed by singing with
Mingotti at the Royal Opera at Naples in 1746. After visiting
most of the cities of the Continent, he was induced by the favour
with which he was received at Dresden to make that city his
residence, until his death in 1764. Is the name of Amorevoli,
borne by one of the first singers of that
day, an assumed one, or an instance of name fatality?
Certain it is,that Amorevole is a technical term in music
somewhat analogous in its signification with Amabile and
(234) An Italian abb`e, who directed and wrote the
operas under the protection of Lord Middlesex.
(235) The motion in both houses of Parliament,
1740, for removing Sir Robert Walpole from the King's
councils. [See ante, p. 169 (Letter 30).)
(236) ("On! On! through meadows, managed like a garden,
A paradise of hops and high production;
For, after years of travel by a bard in
Countries of greater heat, but lesser suction,
A green field is a sight which makes him pardon
The absence of that more sublime construction,
Which mixes up vines, olives, precipices,
Glaciers, volcanos, oranges, and ices."-Byron, 1823.)
(237) John Chute and Francis Whithed, Esqrs.
two great friendls of Mr. W.'s, whom he had left at Florence,
where he had been himself thirteen months, in the house of Mr.
Mann, his relation and particular friend.
174 Letter 33
To Sir Horace Mann.
[The beginning of this letter is lost.)
****I had written and sealed my letter, but have since
received another from you, dated Sept. 24. I read Sir Robert your
account of Corsica; he seems to like hearing any account sent
this way-indeed, they seem to have more superficial
relations in general than I could have believed! You will
oblige me, too, with any farther account of Bianca Colonna: (238)
it is romantic, her history!
I am infinitely obliged to Mr. Chute for his kindness to me, and
still more for his friendship to you. You cannot think how happy
I am to hear that you are to keep him longer. You do not mention
his having received my letter from Paris: I directed it to him,
recommended to you. I would not have him think me capable of
neglecting to answer his letter, which obliged me so much. I
will deliver Amorevoli his letter the first time I see him.
Lord Islay (239) dined here; I mentioned Stosch's (240)
Maltese cats. Lord Islay begged I would write to Florence to
have the largest male and female that can be got. If you will
speak to Stosch, you will oblige me: they may come by sea.
You cannot imagine my amazement at your not being
invited to Riccardi's ball; do tell me, when you know, what can
be the meaning of it; it could not be inadvertence-nay, that were
as bad! Adieu my dear child, once more!
(238A kind friend of Joan of Are, who headed the
Corsican rebels against the Genoese.
(239) Archibald Campbell, Earl of Islay, and, on his
brother's death in 1743, Duke of Argyle.
(240) Baron Stosch, a Prussian virtuoso, and spy for
the court of England on the Pretender. He had been driven from
Rome, though it was suspected that he was a spy on both sides: he
was a man of a most infamous character in every
respect. according to the Biographic Universelle, the Baron "ne
put s'acquitter de fonctions aussi d`elicates sans se voir
expos`e `a des naines violentes, qui le forc`erent `a se
retirer `a Florence;" where he died in 1757. He was one of the
most skilful and industrious antiquaries of his time. A
catalogue of his gems was drawn up by Winkelmann.]
175 Letter 34
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
My Dearest Harry,
Before I thank you for myself, I must thank you for that
excessive good nature you showed in writing to poor Gray. I am
less impatient to see you, as I find you are not the least
altered, but have the same tender friendly temper you always had.
I wanted much to see if you were still the same-but you are.
Don't think of coming before your brother, he is too good to be
left for any one living: besides, if it is possible, I will see
you in the country. Don't reproach me, and think nothing could
draw me into the country: impatience to see a few
friends has drawn me out of Italy; and Italy, Harry, is
pleasanter than London. As I do not love living en famille so
much as you (but then indeed my family is not like yours), I am
hurried about getting myself a house; for I have so long lived
single, that I do not much take to being confined with my own
You won't find me much altered, I believe; at least,
outwardly. 'I am not grown a bit shorter, or a bit fatter, but
am just the same long lean creature as usual. Then I talk no
French., but to my footman; nor Italian, but to myself. What
inward alterations may have happened to me, you will
discover best; for you know 'tis said, one never knows that one's
self. I will answer, that that part of it that belongs to you,
has not suffered the least change-I took care of that.
For virt`u, I have a little to entertain you: it is my sole
pleasure.-I am neither young enough nor old enough to be in love.
My dear Harry, will you take care and make my compliments to that
charming Lady Conway, (241) who I hear is so charming, and to
Miss Jenny [Conway], who I know is so? As for Miss Anne, (242)
and her love as far as it is decent: tell her, decency is out of
the question between us, that I love her without any restriction.
I settled it yesterday with Miss Conway, that you three are
brothers and sister to me, and that if you had been so, I could
not love you better. I have so many cousins, and uncles and
aunts, and bloods that grow in Norfolk, that if I had portioned
out my affections to them, as they say I should, what a modicum
would have fallen to
each!-So, to avoid fractions, I love my family in you three,
their representatives. (243)
Adieu, my dear Harry! Direct to me at Downing Street.
Good-bye! Yours ever.
(241) Isabella Fitzroy, daughter of Charles Duke of
Grafton. She had been married in May, to(Walpole's maternal
cousin), Francis Seymour Conway, afterwards Earl of Hertford.(
242) Miss Anne conway, youngest sister of Henry Seymour
(243) They were first cousins by the mother's side; Francis first
Lord conway having married Charlotte, eldest daughter of John
Shorter of Bybrook in Kent, sister to Catherine Shorter Lady
176 Letter 35
To Sir Horace Mann.
Downing Street, Oct. 8, 1741, O. S.
I have been very near sealing this letter with black wax; Sir
Robert came from Richmond on Sunday night extremely ill, and on
Monday was in great danger. It was an ague and looseness; but
they have stopped the latter, and converted the other into a
fever, which they are curing with the bark. He came out of his
chamber to-day for the first time, and is quite out of danger.
One of the newspapers says, Sir R. W. is so bad that there are no
Hopes of him.
The Pomfrets (244) are arrived; I went this morning to visit my
lord, but did not find him. Lady Sophia is ill, and my earl
(245) still at Paris, not coming. There is no news, nor a soul in
town. One talks of nothing but distempers, like Sir Robert's.
My Lady Townsende (246) was reckoning up the other day the
several things that have cured them; such a doctor so many, such
a medicine, so many; but of all, the greatest
number have found relief from the sudden deaths of their
The opera begins the day after the King's birthday: the
singers are not permitted to sing till on the stage, so no one
has heard them, nor have I seen Amorovoli to give him the
letter. The opera is to be on the French system of dancers,
scenes, and dresses. The directors have already laid out
great sums. They talk of a mob to silence the operas, as they
did the French players; but it will be more difficult, for here
half the young noblemen in town are engaged, and they will not be
so easily persuaded to humour the taste of the mobility: in
short, they have already retained several eminent lawyers from
the Bear Garden (247) to plead their defence. I have had a long
visit this morning from Don Benjamin: (248) he is one of the best
kind of agreeable men I ever saw-quite fat and easy, with
universal knowledge: he is in the greatest
esteem at my court.
I am going to trouble you with some commissions. Miss Rich,
(249) who is the finest singer except your sister (250) in the
world, has begged me to get her some music, particularly "the
office of the Virgin of the Seven Sorrows," by Pergolesi,
(251) the "Serva Padrona, il Pastor se torna Aprile," and
"Symplicetta Pastorella." If you can send these easily, you will
much oblige me. Do, too, let me know by your brother, what you
have already laid out for me, that I may pay him.
I was mentioning to Sir Robert some pictures in italy, which I
wished him to buy; two particularly, if they can be got, would
make him delight in you beyond measure. They are, a Madonna, and
Child, by Dominichino, (252) in the palace Zambeccari, at
Boloana, or Caliambec, (253) as they call it; Mr. Chute knows the
picture. The other is by Corregio, in a convent at Parma, and
reckoned the second best of that hand in the world. There are
the Madonna and Child, St. Catherine, St. Matthew, and other
figures: it is a most known picture, and has been
engraved by Augustin Caracei. If you can employ any body
privately to inquire about these pictures, be so good as to let
me know; Sir R. would not scruple almost any price, for he has of
neither hand: the convent is poor: the Zambeccari
collection is to be sold, though, when I inquired after this
picture, they would not set a price.
Lord Euston is to be married to Lady Dorothy Boyle (254)
tomorrow, after so many delays. I have received your long
letter, and Mr. Chute's too, which I will answer next post. I
wish I had the least politics to tell you; but all is silent.
The opposition sav not a syllable, because they don't know what
the Court will think of public 'affairs; and they will not take
their part till they are sure of contradicting. The Court will
not be very ready to declare themselves, as their present
situation is every way disagreeable. All they say, is to throw
the blame entirely on the obstinacy of the Austrian Court, who
-,vould never stir or soften for themselves, while they thought
any one obliged to defend them. All I know of news is, that
Poland is leaning towards the acquisition side, like her
neighbours, and proposes to get a lock of the Golden Fleece too.
Is this any part of Gregory's (255) negotiation? I delight in
his Scapatta--"Scappata, no; egli solamente ha preso la posta."
My service to Seriston; he is charming.
How excessively obliging to go to Madame Grifoni's (256)
festino! but believe me, I shall be angry, if for my sake, you
do things that are out of your character: don't you know that I
am infinitely fonder of that than of her?
I read your story of the Sposa Panciatici at table, to the great
entertainment of the company, and Prince Craon's
epitaph, which Lord Cholmley (257) says he has heard before, and
does not think it is the prince's own; no more do I, it is too
good; but make my compliments of thanks to him; he shall have his
buckles the first opportunity I find of sending them.
Say a thousand things for me to dear Mr. Chute, till I can say
them next post for myself: till then, adieu. Yours ever.
(244) Thomas Earl of Pomfret, and Henrietta Louisa, his
consort, and his two eldest daughters, Sophia and Charlotte, had
been in Italy at the same time with Mr. Walpole. The Earl had
been master of the horse to Queen Caroline, and the
countess lady of the bedchamber.
(245) Henry Earl of Lincoln was at that time in love with Lady
(246) Ethelreda Harrison, wife of Charles Lord Viscount
Townsend, but parted from him.
(248) Sir Benjamin Keene, ambassador at Madrid.
(249) Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Robert Rich, since
married to Sir George Lyttelton. [Eldest son of sir Thomas
Lyttelton of hagley; in 1744 appointed one of the lords of the
treasury, and in 1755, chancellor of the exchequer. In
1757,when he retired from public life, he was raised to the
peerage, by the title of Lord Lyttelton. He died in 1773. His
prose works were printed collectively in 1774; and his poems have
given him a place among the British poets.]
(250) Mary, daughter of R. Mann, Esq. since married to Mr. Foote.
(251) Better known to all lovers of the works of this great
composer as his " Stabat mater."-E.
(252) It will be seen by Walpole's letter to Mr. Chute, of the
20th August 1743, now first published, that he eventually
succeeded in purchasing this picture.-E.
(253) A corrupted pronunciation of the Bolognese.
(254) This unfortunate marriage is alluded to several times in
the course of the subsequent letters. George Earl of Euston was
the eldest son of Charles the second Duke of Grafton. He
married, in 1741, Lady Dorothy Boyle, eldest daughter and
co-heir of Richard, third and last heir of B(irlington. She died
in 1742, from the effects, as it is supposed, of his
brutal treatment of her. The details of his cruelty towards her
are almost too revolting to be believed. In Sir Charles Hanbury
Williams's poems are some pretty lines on her death, beginning,
"Behold one moment Dorothea's fate."-D.
(255) Gregorio ALdollo, an Asiatic, from being a prisoner at
Leghorn, raised himself to be employed to the Great Duke by the
King of Poland.
(256) Elisabetta Capponi, wife of signor
Grifoni, a great beauty.
(257) George third Earl of Cholmondeley, had married Mary
Walpole, only legitimate daughter of Sir Robert Walpole-D.
178 Letter 36
To Sir Horace Mann.
London, Oct. 13, 1741.
[The greatest part of this letter is wanting.]
**** The Town will come to town, and then one shall know
something. Sir Robert is quite recovered.
Lady Pomfret I saw last night: Lady Sophia has been ill with a
cold; her head is to be dressed French, and her body English, for
which I am sorry; her figure is so fine in a robe: she is full as
sorry as I am. Their trunks are not arrived yet, so they have
not made their appearance. My lady told me a little out of
humour that Uguecioni wrote her word, that you said her things
could not be sent away yet: I understood from you, that very
wisely, you would have nothing to do about them, so made no
The parliament meets the fifteenth of November. ****
Amorevoli has been with me two hours this evening; he is in
panics about the first night, which is the next after the
I have taken a master, not to forget my Italian-don't it look
like returning to Florence'!-some time or other. Good night.
ever and ever, my dear child.
178 Letter 37
To Sir Horace Mann.
London, Oct. 19, 1741, O. S.
[Great part wanting.]
I write to you up to the head and ears in dirt, straw, and
unpacking. I have been opening all my cases from the
Custom-house the whole morning; and-are not you glad?-every
individual safe and undamaged. I am fitting up an apartment in
Downing Street ***(258) was called in the morning, and was asleep
as soon as his head touched the pillow, for I have
frequently known him snore ere they had drawn his curtains, now
never sleeps above an hour without waking; and he, who at dinner
always forgot he was minister, and was more gay and thoughtless
than all his company, now sits without speaking, and with his
eyes fixed for an hour together. Judge if this is the Sir Robert
The politics of the age are entirely suspended; nothing is
mentioned; but this bottling them up, will make them fly out with
the greater violence the moment the parliament meets; till *** a
word to you about this affair.
I am sorry to hear the Venetian journey of the Suares family; it
does not look as if the Teresina was to marry PandOlfini; do you
know, I have set my heart upon that match.
You are very good to the Pucci, to give her that advice,
though I don't suppose she will follow it. The Bolognese
scheme *** In return for Amorevoli's letter, he has given me
two. I fancy it will be troublesome to you; so put his wife into
some other method of correspondence with him.
Do you love puns? A pretty man of the age came into the
playhouse the other night, booted and spurred: says he, "I am
come to see Orpheus"-"And Euridice- You rid I see," replied
(258) The omissions in these letters marked with stars occur in
the original MS.-D.
179 Letter 38
To Sir Horace Mann.
London, Oct. 22, 1741, O. S.
Your brother has been with me this morning, and we have talked
over your whole affair. He thinks it will be impossible to find
any servant of the capacities you require, that will live with
you under twenty, if not thirty pounds a-year, especially as he
is not to have your clothes: then the expense of the journey to
Florence, and of back again, in case you should not like him,
will be considerable. He is for your taking one from Leghorn;
but I, who know a little more of Leghorn than he does, should be
apprehensive of any person from thence being in the interest of
Goldsworthy, (259) or too attached to the merchants: in short, I
mean, he would be liable to prove a spy upon you. We have agreed
that I shall endeavour to find out a proper man, if such a one
will go to you for twenty pounds a-year, and then you shall ficar
from me. I am very sensible that Palombo (260) is not fit for
you, and shall be extremely diligent in equipping you with such a
one as you want. You know how much I want to be of service to
you even in trifles.
I have been much diverted privately, for it is a secret that not
a hundred persons know yet, and is not to be spoken of. Do but
think on a duel between Winnington (261) and Augustus Townshend;
(262) the latter a pert boy, captain of an
Indiaman; the former declared cicisbeo to my Lady Townshend. The
quarrel was something that Augustus had said of them; for since
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