The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1
Part 6 out of 18
she was parted from her husband, she has broke with all his
family. Winnington challenged; they walked into Hyde Park last
Sunday morning, scratched one another's fingers, tumbled into two
ditches-that is Augustus did,-kissed, and walked home together.
The other night at Mrs. Boothby's-
Well, I did believe I should never find time to write to you
again; I was interrupted in my letter last post, and could not
finish it; to-day I came home from the King's levee, where I
Kissed his hand, without going to the drawing-room, on purpose to
finish my letter, and the moment I sat down they let
somebody in. That somebody is gone, and I go on-At Mrs.
Boothby's Lady Townshend was coquetting with Lord Baltimore:
(263) he told her, if she meant any thing with him he was not for
her purpose; if only to make any one jealous, he would throw away
an hour with her with all his heart.
The whole town is to be to-morrow night at Sir Thomas
Robinson's (264) ball, which he gives to a little girl of the
Duke of Richmond's. There are already two hundred invited, from
miss in bib and apron, to my lord chancellor (265) in bib and
mace. You shall hear about it next post.
I wrote you word that Lord Euston is married: in a week more I
believe that I shall write you word that he is divorced. He is
brutal enough; and has forbid Lady Burlington (266) his house,
and that in very ungentle terms. The whole family is in
confusion: the Duke of Grafton half dead. and Lord
Burlington half mad. The latter has challenged Lord Euston, who
accepted the challenge, but they were prevented. There are
different stories: some say that the duel would have been no
breach of consanguinity; others, that there's a contract of
marriage come out in another place, which has had more
consanguinity than ceremony in it: in short, one cannot go into a
room but you hear something of it. Do you not pity the poor
girl? of the softest temper, vast beauty, birth, and
fortune, to be so sacrificed!
The letters from the West Indies are not the most agreeable. You
have heard of the fine river and little town which Vernon took,
and named, the former dugusta, the latter Cumberland. Since
that, they have found out that it is impracticable to take St.
Jago by sea - on which Admiral Vernon and Ogle
insisted that Wentworth, with the land forces, should march to it
by land, which he, by advice of all the land-officers, has
refused; for their march would have been of eighty miles, through
a mountainous, unknown country, full of defiles, where not two
men could march abreast; and they have but four
thousand five hundred men, and twenty-four horses. Quires of
paper from both sides are come over to the council, who are to
determine from hence what is to be done. They have taken a
Spanish man-of-war and a register ship, going to Spain,
The parliament does not meet till the first of December, which
relieves me into a little happiness, and gives me a little time
to settle myself. I have unpacked all my things, and have not
had the least thing suffer. I am now only in a
fright about my birthday clothes, which I bespoke at Paris:
Friday is the day, and this is Monday, without any news of them!
I have been two or three times at the play, very unwillingly; for
nothing was ever so bad as the actors, except the company. There
is much in vogue a Mrs. Woffington, (267) a bad actress; but she
Lord Hartington (268) dines here: it is said (and from his
father's partiality to another person's father, I don't think it
impossible) that he is to marry a certain miss:(269) Lord
Fitzwilliam is supposed another candidate.
Here is a new thing which has been much about town, and liked;
your brother Gale (270) gave me the copy of it:
"Les cours de l'Europe
L'Allemagne craint tout;
L'Autriche risque tout;
La Bavi`ere esp`ere touut;
La Prusse entreprend tout;
La Mayence vend tout;
Le Portugal regarde tout;
L'Angleterre veut faire tout;
L'Espagne embrouille tout;
La Savoye se d`efie de tout;
Le Mercure se m`ele de tout;
La France sch`ete tout;
Les Jesuites se trouvent par tout;
Rome b`enit tout'
Si dieu ne pourvoye `a tout,
Le diable emportera tout."
Good night, my dear child: you never say a word of your own
health; are not you quite recovered? a thousand services to Mr.
Chute and Mr. Whithed, and to all my friends: do they
begin to forget me? I don't them. Yours, ever.
(259) Consul at Leghorn, who was endeavouring to supplant Mr.
(260)An Italian, secretary to Mr. Mann.
(261"Winnington," says Walpole, (Memoirs, i. P. 151), "had been
bred a Tory, but had left them in the height of Sir
Robert Walpole's power -. when that minister sunk. he had
injudiciously, and, to please my Lady Townshend, who had then the
greatest influence over him, declined visiting him, in a manner
to offend the steady old Whigs; and his jolly way of laughing.at
his own want of principles had revolted all the graver sort, who
thought deficiency of honesty too sacred and profitable a
commodity to be profaned and turned into
ridicule. He had infinitely more wit than any man I ever
knew, and it was as ready and quick as it was constant and
Unmeditated. His style was a little brutal, his courage not at
all so; his good-humour inexhaustible; it was impossible to hate
or to trust him." Winnington was first Ynade lord of the
admiralty, then of the treasury, then cofferer, and lastly
paymaster of the forces: to which office, on his death in
1746, Mr. Pitt succeeded.-E.
(262) The Hon. Augustus Townshend was second son of the
minister, Lord Townshend, by his second wife, the sister of Sir
Robert Walpole. He was consequently half-brother to
Charles, the third viscount, husband to Ethelreda, Lady
(263) Charles Calvert, sixth Lord Baltimore in Ireland. He was
at this time member of parliament for the borough of St.
Germains, and a lord of the admiralty.-D.
(264) Sir Thomas Robinson, of Rokeby Park, in Yorkshire,
commonly called "Long Sir Thomas," on account of his stature, and
in order to distinguish him from the diplomatist, Sir
Thomas Robinson, afterwards created Lord Grantham. [He has
elsewhere been styled the new Robinson Crusoe by Walpole, who
says, when speaking of him, " He was a tall, uncouth man; and his
stature was often rendered still more remarkable by his
hunting-dress, a postilion's cap, a tight green jacket, and
buckskin breeches. He was liable to sudden whims, and once set
off on a sudden in his hunting suit to visit his sister, who was
married and settled at Paris. He arrived while there was a large
company at dinner. The servant announced M.
Robinson, and he came in to the great amazement of the hosts.
Among others, -a French abb`e thrice lifted his fork to his mouth
and thrice laid it down, with an eager stare of
surprise. Unable to restrain his curiosity any longer, he burst
out with I Excuse me, sir, are you the famous Robinson Crusoe so
remarkable in history?'"]
(265) Philip Yorke, Lord Hardwicke.-D.
(266) Lady Dorothy Savile, eldest daughter and co-heiress of
William second Marquis of Halifax, the mother of the unhappy Lady
(267) Margaret Woffington, the celebrated beauty.-D.
(268) William, Marquis of Hartington, afterwards fourth Duke of
Devonshire. He married Lady Charlotte Boyle, second
daughter of Richard, third Earl of Burlington.-D.
(269) Miss Mary Walpole, daughter of Sir Robert Walpole by his
second wife, Maria Skerrett, but born before their marriage.
When her father was made an earl, she had the rank of an
earl's daughter given to her.-D.
(270) Galfridus Mann.
182 Letter 39
To Sir Horace Mann.
London, Nov. 2, 1741.
You shall not hear a word but of balls and public places: this
one week has seen Sir T. Robinson's ball, my lord mayor's, the
birthday, and the opera. There were an hundred and
ninety-seven persons at Sir Thomas's, and yet was it so well
conducted that nobody felt a crowd. He had taken off all his
doors, and so separated the old and the young, that neither were
inconvenienced with the other. The ball began at eight; each man
danced one minuet with his partner, and then began country
dances. There were four-and-twenty couple, divided into twelve
a@d twelve: each set danced two dances, and then retired into
another room, while the other set took their two; and so
alternately. Except Lady Ancram, (271) no married
woman danced; so you see, in England, we do not foot it till
five-and-fifty. The beauties were the Duke of Richmond's two
daughters (272) and their mother, still handsomer than they: the
duke (273) sat by his wife all night, kissing her hand: how this
must sound in the ears of Florentine cicisbeos, cock or hen! Then
there was Lady Euston, Lady Caroline Fitzroy, (274) Lady Lucy
Manners, (275) Lady Camilla Bennett, (276) and Lady Sophia, (277)
handsomer than all, but a little out of humour at the scarcity of
minuets; however, as usual, she
danced more than any body, and, as usual too, took out what men
she liked or thought the best dancers. Lord Holderness (278) is a
little what Lord Lincoln (279) will be to-morrow; for he is
expected. There was Churchill's daughter (280) who is prettyish,
and dances well; and the Parsons (281) family from Paris, who are
admired too; but indeed it is `a force des muscles. Two other
pretty women were Mrs. Colebroke (did you know the he-Colebroke
in Italy?) and a Lady Schaub, a
foreigner, who, as Sir Luke says, would have him. Sir R. was
afraid of the heat, and did not go. The supper was served at
twelve; a large table of hot for the lady-dancers; their
partners and other tables stood round. We danced (for I
country-danced) till four, then had tea and coffee, and came
* * Friday was the birthday; it was vastly full, the ball
immoderately so, for there came all the second edition of my lord
mayor's, but not much finery: Lord Fitzwilliam (282) and myself
were far the most superb. I did not get mine till nine that
The opera will not tell as well as the other two shows, for they
were obliged to omit the part of Amorevoli, who has a fever. The
audience was excessive, without the least
disturbance, and almost as little applause; I cannot conceive
why, for Monticelli ***** be able to sing to-morrow.
At court I met the Shadwells; (283) Mademoiselle Misse Molli,
etc. I love them, for they asked vastly after you, and
kindly. Do you know, I have had a mind to visit Pucci, the
Florentine minister, but he is so black, and looks so like a
murderer in a play, that I have never brought it about yet? I
know none of the foreign ministers, but Ossorio, (284) a
little; he is still vastly in fashion, though extremely
altered. Scandal, who, I believe, is not mistaken, lays a Miss
Macartney to his charge; she is a companion to the
Duchess of Richmond, as Madame Goldsworthy was; but Ossorio will
rather be Wachtendonck (285) than Goldsworthy: what a lamentable
story is that of the hundred sequins per month! I have mentioned
Mr. Jackson, as you desired, to Sir R., who says, he has a very
good opinion of him. In case of any
change at Leghorn, you will let me know. He will not lose his
patron, Lord Hervey, (286) so soon as I imagined; he begins to
I believe the Euston embroil is adjusted; I was with Lady
Caroline Fitzroy on Friday evening; there were her brother and
the bride, and quite bridal together, quite honeymoonish.
I forgot to tell you that the prince was not at the opera; I
believe it has been settled that he should go thither on
Tuesdays, and Majesty on Saturdays, that they may not meet.
The Neutrality (287) begins to break out, and threatens to be an
excise or convention. The newspapers are full of it, and the
press teems. It has already produced three pieces: "The Groans
of Germany," which I will send you by the first
opportunity: "Bedlam, a poem on His Maj'esty's happy escape from
his German dominions, and all the wisdom of his conduct there."
The title of this is all that is remarkable in it. The third
piece is a ballad, which, not for the goodness, but for the
excessive abuse of it, I shall transcribe:
THE LATE GALLANT EXPLOITS OF A FAMOUS BALANCING CAPTAIN.
A NEW SONG. TO THE TUNE OF THE KING AND THE MILLER.
Mene tekel. The handwriting on the wall.
1. I'll tell you a story as strange as 'tis new,
Which all, who're concerned, will allow to be true,
Of a Balancing Captain, well-known herabouts,
Returned home, God save him as a mere King of Clouts.
2. This Captain he takes, in a gold-ballast'd ship,
Each summer to Terra damnosa a trip,
For which he begs, borrows, scrapes all he can get,
And runs his poor Owners most vilely in debt.
3. The last time he set out for this blessed place,
He met them, and told them a most piteous case,
Of a Sister of his, who, though bred up at court,
Was ready to perish for want of support.
4. This Hungry Sister, he then did pretend,
Would be to his Owners a notable friend,
If they would at that critical junction supply her-
They did-but alas! all the fat's in the fire!
5. This our Captain no sooner had finger'd the cole,
But he hies him abroad with his good Madam Vole-
Where, like a true tinker, he managed this metal,
And while he stopp'd one hole, made ten in the kettle.
6. His Sister, whom he to his Owners had,,;worn,
To see duly settled before his return,
He gulls with bad messages sent to and fro,
Whilst he underhand claps up a peace with her foe.
7. on He then turns this Sister adrift, and declares
Her most mortal foes were her Father's right heirs-
"G-d z-ds!" cries the world, "such a step was ne'er taken!"
"O, ho!" says Nol Bluff, "I have saved my own bacon."
8. Let France damn the Germans, and undam the Dutch,
And Spain on Old England pish ever so much,
Let Russia bang Sweden, or Sweden bang that,
I care not, by Robert! one kick of my hat.
9. So I by myself can noun substantive stand,
Impose on my Owners, and save my own land;
You call me masculine, feminine, neuter, or block,
Be what will the gender, sirs, hic, haec, or hoc.
10. Or should my choused Owners begin to look sour,
I'll trust to Mate Bob to exert his old power,
Regit animos dictis, or nummis, with ease,
So, spite of your growling, I'll act as I please."
11. Yet worse in this treacherous contract, 'tis said,
Such terms are agreed to, such promises made,
That his Owners must soon feeble beggars become-
"Hold!" cries the crown office, "'twere scandal-so, mum!"
12. This secret, however, must out on the day
When he meets his poor Owners to ask for more pay;
And I fear when they come to adjust the account,
zero for balance will prove their amount.
One or two of the stanzas are tolerable; some, especially the
ninth, most nonsensically bad. However, this is a specimen of
what we shall have amply commented upon in parliament.
I have already found out a person, who, I believe, will please
you, in Palombo's place: I am to see your brother about it
to-morrow, and next post you shall hear more particularly.
I am quite in concern for the poor prinCess,(289) and her
conjugal and amorous distresses: I really pity them; were they in
England, we should have all the old prudes dealing out
judgments on her, and mumbling toothless ditties to the tune of
Pride will have a fall. I am bringing some fans and
trifles for her, si mignons! Good night.
(271) Lady Caroline D'Arcy, daughter of Robert third Earl of
Holdernesse, and wife of William Henry fourth Marquis of
Lothian, at this time, during his father's lifetime, called Earl
(272) Lady Caroline and Lady Emily Lenox. [The former was
married, in 1744, to Henry Fox, the first Lord Holland; the
latter in 1746-7, to James, twentieth Earl of Kildare, in 1766
created Duke of Leinster.]
(273) Charles, second Duke of Richmond, and Lady Sarah
Cadogan, his duchess, eldest daughter of William Earl
(274) Eldest daughter of Charles Duke of Grafton.-[In 1746
married to Lord Petersham, afterwards Earl of Harrington.]
(275) Sister to John Duke of'Rutland; married in 1742, to the
Duke of Montrose.
(276) Only daughter of Charles second Earl of Tankerville. She
married, first, Gilbert Fane Fleming, Esq. and secondly, Mr.
Wake, of Bath.-D.
(277) Lady Sophia Fermor.-D.
(278) Robert D'Arcy, fourth and last Earl of Holdernesse.-E.
(279) Lord Lincoln was at this time an admirer of Lady Sophia
(280) Harriet, natural daughter of General Churchill;
afterwards married to Sir Everard Fawkener.
(281) The son and daughters of Alderman Parsons, a Jacobite
brewer, who lived much in France, and had, somehow or other, been
taken notice of by the king.
(282) William third Earl Fitzwilliam, in Ireland; created an
English peer in 1742; and in 1746 an English earl.-D.
(283) Sir John Shadwell, a physician, his wife and daughters, the
youngest of whom was pretty, and by the foreigners
generally called Mademoiselle Misse Molli, had been in Italy,
when Mr. W. was there.
(284) The Chevalier Ossorio, minister from the King of
(285) General Wachtendonck, commander of the great dukes
troops at Leghorn, was cicisbeo to the conslil's wife there.
(286) John Lord Hervey, lord privy seal, and eldest son of John
first Earl Of Bristol. He was a man of considerable
celebrity in his day; but is now principally known from his
unfortunate rivalry with Pope, for the good graces of Lady Mary
Wortley Montagu. He died August 5, 1743, at the age of
(287) The Neutrality for the electorate of Hanover.(
(288) This song is a satire upon George II., ,the balancing
Captain," and upon that in his vacillating and doubtful
conduct, which his fears for the electorate of Hanover made him
pursue, whenever Germany was the seat of war. His Sister, whom
he is accused of deserting, was Maria Theresa, Queen of
(289) The Prince de Craon, and the princess his wife, who had
been favourite mistress to Leopold, the last Duke of Lorrain,
resided at this time at Florence, where the prince was head of
the council of regency; but they were extremely ill-treited and
mortified by the Count de Richcourt, a low Lorrainer, who, being
a creature of the great duke's favourite minister, had the chief
ascendant and power there.
186 Letter 40
To Sir Horace Mann.
Downing Street, Nov. 5, 1741, O. S.
I just mentioned to you in my letter on Monday, that I had found
such a person as you wanted; I have since seen your
brother, who is so satisfied with him, that he was for sending
him directly away to you, without staying six weeks for an answer
from you, but I chose to have your consent. He is the son of a
tradesman in this city, so not yet a fine gentleman. He is
between fifteen and sixteen, but very tall of his age: he was
disappointed in not going to a merchant at Genoa, as was
intended; but was so far provided for it as to have
learned Italian three months: he speaks French very well,
writes a good hand, and casts accounts; so, you see there will
not be much trouble in forming him to your purpose. He will go
to you for twenty pounds a-year and his lodging. If you like
this, Nvrite me word by the first post, and he shall set out
We hear to-day that the Toulon squadron is airived at
Barcelona; I don't like it of' all things, for it has a look
towards Tuscany. If it is suffered to go thither quietly, it
will be no small addition to the present discontents.
Here is another letter, which I am entreated to send you, from
poor Amorevoli; he has a continued fever, though not a high one.
Yesterday, Monticelli was taken ill, so there will be no opera on
Saturday; nor was on Tuesday. MOnticelli is
infinitely admired; next to Farinelli. The Viscontina is
admired more than liked. The music displeases every body, and
the dances. I am quite uneasy about the opera, for Mr. Conway is
one of' the directors, and I fear they will lose
considerably, which he cannot afford. There are eight; Lord
Middlesex, (290) Lord Holderness, Mr. Frederick, (291) Lord
Conway, (292) Mr. Conway, (293) Mr. Damer, (294) Lord Brook,
(295) and Mr. Brand. (296) The five last are directed by the
three first; they by the first, and he by the Abb`e Vanneschi,
(297) who will make a pretty sum. I Will give YOU Some
instances; not to mention the improbability of eight young
thoughtless men of fashion understanding economy -. it is
usual to give the poet fifty guineas for composing the
books-Vanneschi and Rolli are allowed three hundred. Three
hundred more VannesChi had for his journey to Italy to pick up
dancers and performers, which was always as well transacted by
bankers there. Be has additionally brought over an Italian
tailor-because there are none here! They have already given this
Taylorini four hundred pounds, and he has already taken a house
of thirty pounds a-year. Monticelli and the Visconti are to have
a thousand guineas apiece; Amorevoli eight hundred and fifty:
this at the rate of the great singers, is not so extravagant; but
to the Muscovita (though the second woman never had above four
hundred,) they give six; that is for
secret services. (298) By this you may judge of their
frugality! I am quite uneasy for poor Harry, who will thus be to
pay for Lord Middlesex's pleasures! Good night; I have not time
now to write more.
(290) Charles Sackville, Earl of Middlesex, and subsequently
second Duke of Dorset, eldest son of Lionel, first Duke of
Dorset. He was made a lord of the treasury in 1743, and
master of the horse to Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1747-D.
(291) John Frederick, Esq. afterwards Sir John Frederick,
Bart. by the death of his cousin, Sir Thomas. He was a
commissioner of customs, and member of parliament for West
(292) Francis Seymour Conway, first Earl and Marquis of
Hertford, ambassador at Paris, lord chamberlain of the
(293) Henry Seymour Conway, afterwards secretary of state, and a
field marshal in the army.-D.
(294) Joseph Damer, Esq. created in 1753 Baron Milton, in
Ireland, and by George III. an English peer, by the same
title, and eventually Earl of Dorchester.-D.
(295) Francis Greville, eighth Lord Brooke; created in 1746 Earl
Brooke, and in 1759 Earl of Warwick.-D.
(296) Mr. Brand of the Hoo, in Hertfordshire, one of the
original members of the society of Dilettanti.--D.
(297) If this anticipation of Walpole's was ever realized, "the
pretty sum" was eventually lost on the spot where it had been
gained. Vanneschi, having in 1753 undertaken the
management of the opera-house on his own account, continued it
until 1756, when his differences with Mingotti, which excited
almost as much of the public attention as the rivalries of Handel
and Bononcini or of Faustina and Cuzzoni, completely prejudiced
the public against him, and eventually ended in making him a
bankrupt, a prisoner in the Fleet, and at last a fugitive.-E.
(298) She was kept by Lord Middlesex.
187 Letter 41
To Sir Horace Mann.
Downing Street, Nov. 12, 1741.
Nothing is equal to my uneasiness about you. I hear or think of
nothing but Spanish embarkations for Tuscany: before you receive
this, perhaps, they will be at Leghorn. Then, your brother tells
me you have received none of my letters. He knows I have never
failed writing once a week, if not twice. We have had no letters
from You this post. I shall not have the least respite from
anxiety, till I hear about you, and what you design to do. it is
immpossible but the great duke must lose Tuscany; and I suppose
it is as certain, (I speak on probabilities, for, upon honour, I
know nothing of the
matter,) that as soon as there is a peace, we shall
acknowledge Don Philip, and then you may return to Florence
again. In the mean while I will ask Sir R. if it is possible to
get your appointments continued, while you stay in
readiness at Bologna, Rome, Lucca, or where you choose. I talk
at random; but as I think so much of you, I am trying to find out
something that may be of service to you. I write in infinite
hurry, and am called away, so scarce know what I say. Lord
Conway and his family are this instant come to town, and have
sent for me.
It is Admiral Vernon's birthday, (299) and the city-shops are
full of favours, the streets of marrowbones and cleavers, and the
night will be full of mobbing, bonfires, and lights.
The opera does not succeed; Amorevoli has not sung yet; here is a
letter to his wife; mind, while he is ill, he sends to the
Chiaretta! The dances are infamous and ordinary. Lord
Chesterfield was told that the Viscontina said she was but
four-and-twenty: he answered, "I suppose she means
There is a mad parson goes about; he called to a sentinel the
other day in the Park; "Did you ever see the Leviathan?"
"No." "Well, he is as like Sir. R. W. as ever two devils were
like one another."
Never was such unwholesome weather! I have a great cold, and have
not been well this fortnight: even immortal majesty has had a
The Duke of Ancaster (300) and Lord James Cavendish (301) are
This is all the news I know: I would I had time to write more;
but I know you will excuse me now. If I wrote more, it would be
still about the Italian expedition, I am so disturbed about it.
(299) Admiral Vernon was now in the height of his popularity, in
consequence of his successful attack upon Porto-Bello, in
November, 1739, and the great gallantry he had shown upon that
occasion. His determined and violen't opposition, as a member of
parliament, to the measures of the government, assisted in
rendering him the idol of the mob, which he continued for many
years.-D. [The admiral was actually elected for Rochester,
Ipswich, and Penryn: he'was also set up for the City of
London, where he was beaten by two thousand votes; and in
Westminster, where he was beaten by four hundred. After the
affair of Porto-Bello, he took Chagre, and continued in the
service till 1748; when several matters which had passed
between him and the lords of the admiralty being laid before the
king, be was struck off the list of flag officers. He died in
1757. A handsome monument was erected to his memory in
(300) Peregrine Bertie, second Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven,
great chamberlain of England, and chief justice in Eyre, north of
Trent. The report of his death was premature. His grace
survived till the 1st of January.-E.
(301) The second son of William, second Duke of Devonshire. He
was colonel of a regiment of foot-guards, and member for
189 Letter 42
To Sir Horace Mann.
Downing Street, Nov. 23, 1741.
Your letter has comforted me much, if it can be called comfort to
have one's uncertainty fluctuate to the better side. You make me
hope that the Spaniards design on Lombardy ; my
passion for Tuscany, and anxiety for you, make me eager to
believe it; but alas! while I am in the belief of this, they may
be in the act of conquest in Florence, and poor you
retiring politically! How delightful is Mr. Chute for
cleaving unto you like Ruth! "Whither thou goest, I will go; and
where thou lodgest, I will lodge!" As to the merchants of Leghorn
and their concerns, Sir R. thinks you are mistaken, and that if
the Spaniards come thither, they will by no means be safe. I own
I write to you under a great dilemma; I
flatter myself, all is well with you; but if not, how
disagreeable to have one's letters fall into strange hands. I
A brother Of Mine, (302) Edward by name, has lately had a call to
matrimony: the virgins name was Howe. (303) He had agreed to take
her with no fortune, she him with his four children. The father
of him, to get rid of his importunities, at last acquiesced. The
very moment he had obtained this consent, he repented; and,
instead of flying on the wings of love to
notify it, he went to his fair One, owned his father had
mollified, but hoped she would be so good as to excuse him.
You cannot imagine what an entertaining fourth act of the
opera we had the other night. Lord Vane, (304) in the middle of
the pit, making love to my lady. The Duke of Newcastle (305) has
lately given him three-score thousand pounds, to consent to cut
off the entail of the Newcastle estate. The fool immediately
wrote to his wife, to beg she would return to him from Lord
Berkeley; that he had got so much money, and now they might live
comfortably: but she will not live
comfortably: she is at Lord Berkeley's house, whither go
divers after her. Lady Townshend told me an admirable
history; it is of our friend Lady Pomfret. Somebody that
belonged to the Prince of Wales said, they were going to
Court; it was objected that they ought to say, going to
Carlton House; that the only Court is where the king resides.
Lady P. with her paltry air of significant learning and
absurdity, said, "Oh Lord! is there no Court in England, but the
king's? sure, there are many more! There is the Court of
Chancery, the Court of Exchequer, the Court of King's Bench,
etc." Don't you love her? Lord Lincoln does her dauhter: he is
come over, and met her the other night: he turned pale, spoke to
her several times in the evening, but not long, and sighed to me
at going away. He came over all alive; and not only his
uncle-duke, but even majesty is fallen in love with him. He
talked to the king at his levee, without being spoken to. That
was always thought high treason; but I don't know how the gruff
gentleman liked it; and then he had been told that Lord Lincoln
designed to have made the campaicn, if we had gone to war; in
short, he says, Lord Lincoln (306) is the handsomest man in
I believe I told you that Vernon's birthday passed quietly, but
it was not designed to be pacific; for at twelve at night, eight
gentlemen, dressed like sailors, and masked, went round Covent
Garden with a drum, beating up for a volunteer mob, but it did
not take; and they retired to a great supper that was prepared
for them at the Bedford Head, and ordered by
Whitehead (307) the author of Manners. It has been written into
the country that Sir R. has had two fits of an apoplexy, and
cannot live till Christmas; but I think he is recovered to be as
well as ever. To-morrow se'nnight is the Day! (308) It is
critical. You shall hear faithfully.
The opera takes: Monticelli (309) pleases almost equal to
Farinelli: Amorevoli is much liked; but the poor, fine
Viscontina scarce at all. (310)I carry the two former to-night to
my Lady Townshend's.
Lord Coventry (311) has had his son thrown out by the party: he
went to Carlton House; the prince asked him about the
election. "Sir," said he, "the Tories have betrayed me, as they
will you, the first time you have occasion for them." The
merchants have petitioned the King for more guardships. My lord
president, (312) referred them to the Admiralty; but they bluntly
refused to go, and said they would have redress from the King
I am called down to dinner, and cannot write more now. I will
thank dear Mr. Chute and the Grifona next post. I hope she and
you liked your things. Good night, my dearest child! Your
brother and I sit upon your affairs every morning.
(302) Second son of Sir Robert Walpole. He was clerk of the
pells, and afterwards knight of the Bath. [Sir Edward died
unmarried, in 1784, leaving three natural daughters; Laura,
married to the Hon. and
Rev. Frederick Keppel, afterwards Bishop of Exeter; maria,
married, first to the Earl of Waldegrave, and, secondly to the
Duke of Gloucester; and Charlotte, married to the
Earl of Dysart.]
(303) Eldest sister of the Lord Viscount Howe. She was soon
after this married to a relation of her own name. [John
Howe, Esq. of Hanslop, Bucks.]
(304) William, second Viscount Vane, in Ireland. His "lady" was
the too-celebrated Lady Vane, first married to
Lord William Hamilton, and secondly to Lord Vane; who has
given her own extraordinary and disreputable adventures to the
world, in Smollett's novel of "Peregrine Pickle," under the title
of "Memoirs of a Lady of Quality." She is also
immortalized in different ways, by Johnson, in his ,Vanity of
Human Wishes," and by Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, in one of his
Odes.-D. [She was the daughter of Mr. Hawes, a South Sea
director, and died in 1788. Lord Vane died in 1789. Boswell
distinctly states, that the lady mnentioned in Johnson's
couplet "was not the celebrated Lady Vane, whose Memoirs were
given to the public by Dr. Smollett, but Ann Vane, who was
mistress to Frederick Prince of Wales, and died in 1736, not long
before Johnson settled in London." See Boswell's
Johnson, vol. i. p. 226, ed. 1835.]
(305) Uncle of Lord Vane, whose father, Lord Barnard, had
married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Gilbert Holles, Earl of
Clare, and sister and coheir of John Duke of Newcastle.
(306) Henry Clinton, ninth Earl of Lincoln, succeeded as
Duke of Newcastle in 1768, on the death of his uncle, the
(307) Paul Whitehead, a satirical poet of bad character, was the
son of a tailor, who lived in Castle-yard, Holborn. He wrote
several abusive poems, now forgotten, entitled "The
State Dances," "Manners," "The Gymnasiad," etc. In "Manners,"
having attacked some members of the House of Lords, that assembly
summoned Dodsley, the publisher, before them, (Whitehead having
absconded,) and subsequently imprisoned him. In politics,
Whitehead was a follower of Bubb Dodington; in private life be
was the friend and companion of the profligate Sir Francis
Dashwood, Wilkes, Churchill, etc. and, like them, was a member of
the Hell-fire Club, which held its orgies at Mednam Abbey, in
Bucks. The estimation in which he was held even by his friends
may be judged of by the lines in which Churchill has damned him
to everlasting fame:
"May I (can worse disgrace on mankind fall?)
Be born a Whitehead and baptized a Paul."
Paul Whitehead died in 1774.-D. [The proceedings in the
House of Lords against the author of "Manners" which took
place in February, 1739, was, in the opinion of Dr. Johnson,
"intended rather to intimidate Pope, than to punish
(308) The day the parliament was to meet.
(309) His voice was clear, sweet, and free from defects of every
kind. He was a chaste performer, and never hazarded any
difficulty which he was not certain of executing with the utmost
precision. He was, moreover, an excellent actor, so that nothing
but the recent remembrance of the gigantic
talents of Farinelli, and the grand and majestic style of
Senesino, could have lefl an English audience any thing to
(310) Amorevoli was an admirable tenor. "I have heard,"
says Dr. Burney, "better voices of his pitch, but
never, on the stage, more taste and expression. The
Visconti had a shrill flexible voice, and pleased more in
rapid songs than those that required high colouring and
(311) William, fifth Earl of Coventry. He died in 1751.-D.
(312) Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, a man of moderate
abilities, but who had filled many great offices. He died in
1743, when his titles extinguished.-D.
191 Letter 43
To Sir Horace Mann.
Nov. 26, 1741.
I don't write you a very long letter, because you will see the
inclosed to Mr. Chute. I forgot to thank you last post for the
songs, and your design on the Maltese cats.
It is terrible to be in this uncertainty about you! We have not
the least news about the Spaniards, more than what you told us,
of a few vessels being seen off Leghorn. I send
about the post, and ask Sir R. a thousand times a-day.
I beg to know if you have never heard any thing from Parker about
my statue: (313) it was to have been finished last june. What is
the meaning he does not mention it? If it is done, I beg it may
not stir from Rome till there is no more danger of Spaniards.
If you get out of your hurry, I will trouble you with a new
commission: I find I cannot live without Stosch's (314)
intaglio of the Gladiator, with the vase, upon a granite. You
know I offered him fifty pounds: I think, rather than not have
it, I would give a hundred. What will he do if the Spaniards
should come to Florence? Should he be driven to straits,
perhaps he would part with his Meleager too. You see I am as
eager about baubles as if I were going to Louis at the Palazzo
Vecchio! You can't think what a closet I have fitted up; such a
mixture of French gaiety and Roman virtu! you would be in love
with it: I have not rested till it was finished: I long to have
you see it. Now I am angry that I did not buy the
Hermaphrodite; the man would have sold it for twenty-five
sequins: do buy it for me; it was a friend of Bianchi. Can you
forgive me'! I write all this upon the hope and
presumption that the Spaniards go to Lombardy. Good night.
(313) A copy of the Livia Mattei, which Mr. W. designed for a
tomb of his mother: it was erected in Henry VII.'s Chapel, in
Westminster Abbey, in 1754.
(314) He gave it afterwards to Lord Duncannon, for procuring him
the arrears of his pension.
192 Letter 44
To Sir Horace Mann.
Downing Street, Dec. 3, 1741, O. S.
Here I have two letters from you to answer. You cannot
conceive my joy on the prospect of the Spaniards going to
Lombardy: all advices seem to confirm it. There is no telling
you what I have felt, and shall feel, till I am certain you are
secure. You ask me about Admiral Haddock; you must not wonder
that I have told you nothing of him: they know nothing of him
here. He had discretionary powers to act as he should judge
proper from his notices. He has been keeping in the Spanish
fleet at Cales. (315) Sir R. says, if he had let that go out, to
prevent the embarkation, the Tories would have
complained, and said he had favoured the Spanish trade, under pre
tence of hindering an expedition which was never designed. It
was strongly reported last week that Haddock had shot
himself; a satire on his having been neutral, as they call it.
The parliament met the day before yesterday, and there were four
hundred and eighty-seven members present. They did no business,
only proceeded to choose a speaker, which was,
unanimously, Mr. Onslow, moved for by Mr. Pelham, (316) and
seconded by Mr. Clutterbuck. But the Opposition, to flatter his
pretence to popularity and impartiality, call him their own
speaker. They intend to oppose Mr. Earle's being chairman of the
committee, and to set up a Dr. Lee, a civilian. To- morrow the
King makes his speech. Well, I won't keep you any longer in
suspense. The Court will have a majority of forty-a vast number
for the outset: a good majority, like a good sum of money, soon
makes itself bigger. The first great point will be the
Westminster election; another, Mr. Pultney's (317) election at
Heydon; Mr. Chute's brother is one of the
petitioners. It will be an ugly affair for the Court, for
Pultney has asked votes of the courtiers, and said Sir R. was
indifferent about it; but he is warmer than I almost ever saw
him, and declared to Churchill, (318) of whom Pultney claims a
promise, that he must take Walpole or Pultney. The Sackville
finally were engaged too, by means of George Berkeley, brother to
Lady Betty Germain, (319) whose influence with the Dorset I
suppose you know; but the King was so hot with his grace about
his sons, that I believe they will not venture to follow their
inclinations **** to vote (320) for Pultney, though he has
expressed great concern about it to Sir R.
So much for politics! for I suppose you know that Prague is taken
by storm, in a night's time. I forgot to tell you that Commodore
Lestock, with twelve ships, has been waiting for a wind this
fortnight, to join Haddock. (321)
I write to you in defiance of a violent headache, which I got
last night at another of Sir T. Robinson's balls. There were six
hundred invited, and I believe above two hundred there. Lord
Lincoln, out of prudence, danced with Lady Caroline
Fitzroy, and Mr. Conway, with Lady Sophia; the two couple were
just mismatched, as every body soon perceived, by the
attentions of each man to the woman he did not dance with, and
the emulation of either lady: it was an admirable scene. The
ball broke up at three; but Lincoln, Lord Holderness, Lord Robert
Sutton, (322) Young Churchill (323) and a dozen more grew 'oily,'
stayed till seven in the morning, and drank
I will take great care to send the knee-buckles and
pocket-book; I have got them, and Madame Pucci's silks, and only
wait to hear that Tuscany is quiet, and then I will
convey them by the first ship. I would write to them
to-night, but have not time now; old Cibber, (324) plays
to-night, and all the world will be there.
Here is another letter from Amorevoli, who is out of his wits at
not hearing from his wife. Adieu! my dearest child. How happy
shall I be when I know you are in peace;
(316) The Right Hon. Henry Pelham, so long in conjunction with
his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, one of the principal
rulers of this country. He was a man of some ability, and a
tolerable speaker. The vacillations, the absurdity, the
foolish jealousy of the duke, greatly injured the stability and
respectability of Mr. Pelham's administration. Mr. Pelham was
born in 1696, and died in 1754.-D.
(317) William Pulteney, afterwards Earl of Bath, whose
character and history are too well known to require to be here
(318) General Charles Churchill, groom of the bedchamber to the
(319) Lady Betty Berkeley, married to the notorious adventurer
and gambler, Sir John Germain, who had previously married the
divorced Duchess of Norfolk, (Lady Mary Mordaunt,) by whose
bequest he became possessed of the estate of Drayton, in
Northamptonshire, which he left on his own death to Lady
Betty, his second @wife. Lady Betty left it to Lord George
Sackville, third son of Lionel first Duke of Dorset. Sir John
Germain was so ignorant, that he is said to have left a legacy to
Fair Matthew Decker, as the author of St. Matthew's
(320) sic, in the manuscript.-D.
(321) But for this circumstance, and the junction of the
French squadron, Haddock would certainly have destroyed the
Spanish fleet, and thereby escaped the imputation which was
circulated with much industry, that his hands had been tied up by
a neutrality entered into for Hanover; than which nothing could
be more false. These reports, though ostensibly
directed against Haddock, were, in reality, aimed at Sir
Robert Walpole, a general election being at hand, and his
opponents wishing to render him as unpopular with the people as
(322) Second son of John, third Duke of Rutland. He took the
name of Sutton, on inheriting the estate of his maternal
grandfather, Robert Sutton, Lord Lexington.-D.
(323) Natural son of General Charles Churchill, afterwards
married to Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Walpole.-D.
(324) Colley Cibber, the celebrated dramatic author and actor.
He had left the stage in 1731; but still occasionally acted, in
spite of his age, for he was now seventy.-D. [For those
occasional performances he is said to have had fifty guineas per
night. So late as 1745, he appeared in the character of
Pandulph, the pope's legate, in his own tragedy, called "Papal
Tyranny." He died in 1757.]
194 letter 45
To Sir Horace Mann.
Somerset House, (for I write to you wherever I find myself,) Dec.
I have got no letter from you yet, the post should have
brought it yesterday. The Gazette says, that the cardinal (325)
has declared that they will suffer no expedition against Tuscany.
I wish he had told me so! if they preserve this
guarantee, personally, I can forgive their breaking the rest.
But I long for your letter; every letter now from each of us is
material. You will be almost as impatient to hear of the
parliament, as I of Florence. The lords on Friday went upon the
King's speech; Lord Chesterfield made a very fine speech against
the address, all levelled at the House of Hanover. Lord
Cholmley, they say, answered him well. Lord Halifax
(326) spoke Very ill, and was answered by little Lord Raymond,
(327) who always will answer him. Your friend Lord Sandwich
(328) affronted his grace of Grafton, (329) extremely, who was
ill, and sat out of his place, by calling him to order; it was
indecent in such a boy to a man of his age and rank: the
blood of Fitzroy will not easily pardon it. The court had a
majority of forty-one, with some converts.
On Tuesday we had the Speech; there were great differences among
the party; the Jacobites, with Shippen (330) and Lord Noel
Somerset at their head, were for a division, Pultney and the
Patriots against one; (332) the ill success in the House of lords
had frightened them; we had no division, but a very warm battle
between Sir. R. and Poltney. The latter made a fine speech,
very personal, on the state of affairs. Sir R. with as much
health, as much spirits, as much force and
command as ever, answered him for an hour; said, He hadbeen taxed
with all our misfortunes; but did he raise the war in Germany? or
advise the war with Spain? did he kill the late Emperor or King
of Prussia?' did he counsel this King? or was he first minister
to the King of Poland? did he kindle the war betwixt Muscovy and
Sweden?" For our troubles at home, he said, "all the grievances
of this nation were owing to the Patriots." They laughed much at
this; but does he want proofs of it? he said, They talked much
of an equilibrium in this parliament, (333) and of what they
designed against him; if it was so, the sooner he knew it the
better; and there-fore if any man would move for a day to examine
the state of the
nation, he would second it." Mr. Pultney did move for it; Sir R.
did second it, and it is fixed for the twenty-first of
January. Sir R. repeated some words of Lord Chesterfield's in
the House of Lords, that this was a time for truth, for plain
truth for English truth, and hinted at the reception (334) his
lordship had met in France. After these speeches of such
consequence, and from such men, Mr. Lyttelton (335) got up to
justify, or rather to flatter Lord Chesterfield, though every
body then had forgot that he had been mentioned. Danvers
(336) who is a rough, rude beast, but now and then mouths out
some humour, said, "that Mr. P. and Sir R. were like two old
bawds, debauching young members."
That day was a day of triumph, but yesterday (Wednesday) the
streamers of victory did not fly so gallantly. It was the day of
receiving petitions; Mr. Pultney presented an immense
piece of parchment, which he said he could but just lift; it was
the Westminster petition, and is to be heard next Tuesday, when
we shall all have our brains knocked out by the mob; so if you
don't hear from me next post, you will conclude my head was a
little out of order. After this we went upon a cornish petition,
presented by Sir William Yonge, (337) which drew on a debate and
a division, when lo! we were but 222 to 215-how do you like a
majority of seven? The Opposition triumphs
highly, and with reason; one or two such victories, as
Pyrrhus, the member for Macedon, said, will be the ruin of us. I
look upon it now, that the question is, Downing Street or the
Tower; will you come and see a body, if one should happen to
lodge at the latter? There are a thousand pretty things to amuse
you; the lions, the Armoury, the crown, and the axe that beheaded
Anna Bullon. I design to make interest for the room where the
two princes were smothered; in long winter evenings, when one
wants company, (for I don't suppose that many people will
frequent me then,) one may sit and scribble verses
against Crouch-back'd Richard, and dirges on the sweet babes. If
I die there, and have my body thrown into a wood, I am too old to
be buried by robin redbreasts, am not I?
Bootle, (338) the prince's chancellor, made a most long and
stupid speech; afterwards, Sir R. called to him, "Brother
Bootle, take care you don't get my old name." "What's that?"
You can't conceive how I was pleased with the vast and
deserved applause that Mr. Chute's (339) brother, the lawyer,
got: I never heard a clearer or a finer speech. When I went
home, "Dear Sir," said I to Sir R. "I hope Mr. Chute will
carry his election for Heydon; he would be a great loss to you."
He replied. "We will not lose him." I, who meddle with nothing,
especially elections, and go to no committees,
interest myself extremely for Mr. Chute.
Old Marlborough (340) is dying-but who can tell! last year she
had lain a great while ill, without speaking; her physicians
said, "She must be blistered, or she will die." She called out,
"I won't be blistered, and I won't die." If she takes the same
resolution now, I don't believe she will. (341)
Adieu! my dear child: I have but room to say, yours, ever.
(325) Cardinal Fleury, first minister of France.
(326) George Montague Dunk, second Earl of Halifax, of the last
creation. Under the reign of George III., he became
secretary of state, and was so unfortunate in that capacity as to
be the opponent of Wilkes, on the subject of General
Warrants, by which he is now principally remembered.-D.
(327) Robert, second Lord Raymond, only son of the chief
justice of that name and title.-D.
(328) John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich, passed through a
long life of office, and left behind him n indifferent
character, both in public and private He was, however, a man of
(329) Charles Fitzroy, second Duke of Grafton, and grandson of
Charles II., was a person of considerable weight and influence at
the court of George II., where he long held the post of
chamberlain of the household.
(330) "Honest Will Shippen," as he was called, or ,Downright
Shippen," as Pope terms him, was a zealous Jacobite member of
parliament, possessed of considerable talents, and a vehement
opposer of Sir Robert Walpole's government. He, however, did
justice to that able minister, for he was accustomed to say,
"Robin and I are honest men; but as for those fellows in long
perriwigs" (meaning the Tories of the day,) " they only want to
get into office themselves." He was the author of a
satirical poem, entitled, "Faction Displayed," which possesses
considerable merit.-D. [Shippen was born in 1672, and died in
1743. Sir Robert Walpole repeatedly declared, that he would not
say who was corrupted, but he would say who was not
corruptible-that man was Shippen. His speeches generally
contained some pointed period, which he uttered with great
animation. He usually spoke in a low tone of voice, with too
great rapidity, and held his glove before his mouth.]
(331) Lord Charles Noel Somerset, second son of Henry, second
Duke of Beaufort. He succeeded to the family honours in 1746,
when his elder brother, Henry, the third duke, died without
children.-D. [After the death of Sir William Wyndham, which
happened in 1740, Lord Noel Somerset was considered as the rising
head of the Tory interest. "He was," says Tindal, "a man of
sense, spirit, and activity, unblameable in his morals, but
questionable in his political capacity." He died in 1756.)
(332) Mr. Pulteney declared against dividing; observing, with a
witticism, that "dividing was not the way to multiply."
(333) In speaking of the balance of power, Mr. Pulteney had said,
,He did not know how it was abroad, not being in
secrets, but congratulated the House, that he had not, for these
many years, known it so near an equilibrium as it now was
(334) Lord Chesterfield had been sent by the party, in the
preceding September, to France, to request the Duke of Ormond (at
Avignon,) to obtain the Pretender's order to the
Jacobites, to vote against Sir R. W. upon any question
whatever; many of them having either voted for him, or
retired, on the famous motion the last year for removing him from
the, King's councils. [Lord Chesterfield's biographer, Dr. Maty
states that the object of his lordship's visit to France was the
restoration of his health, which required the assistance of a
warmer climate. The reception he met with during his short stay
at Paris, is thus noticed in a letter from Mr. Pitt, of the 10th
of September:-" I hope you liked the court of France as well as
it liked you. The uncommon distinctions I hear the Cardinal
(Fleury) showed you, are the best proof that, old as he is, his
judgment is as good as
ever. As this great minister has taken so much of his idea, of
the men in power here, from the person of a great
negotiator who has left the stage, (Lord Waldegrave,) I am very
glad he has, had an opportunity, once before he dies, of forming
an idea of those out of power from my Lord
Chesterfield." See Chatham Correspondence, vol. i. p. 3.]
(335) George Lyttelton, afterwards created Lord lyttelton.-D.
(336) Joseph Danvers, Esq. of Swithland, in the county of
Leicester, at this time member for Totness. In 1746 he was
created a baronet. He married Frances, the daughter of thomas
babington, Esq. of Rothley Temple, Leicestershire.-E.
(337) the Right Hon. Sir William Yonge, Bart., secretary at war,
to which office he had succeeded in May, 1735. Walpole, who
tells us (Memoires, i. p. 20,) that " he was vain,
extravagant, and trifling; simple out of the House, and too ready
at assertions in it," adds, "that his vivacity and
parts, whatever the cause was, made him shine, and he was
always content with the lustre that accompanied fame, without
thinking of what was reflected from rewarded fame-a convenient
ambition to ministers, who had few such disinterested
combatants. Sir Robert Walpole always said of him 'that
nothing but Yonge's character could keep down his parts, and
nothing but his parts support his character.'" That these parts
were very great is shown by the fact, that Sir Robert Walpole
often, when he did not care to enter early into the debate
himself, gave Yonge his notes, as the latter came late into the
House, from which be could speak admirably and
fluently, though he had missed the preceding discussion. Sir
William, who had a proneness to poetry, wrote the epilogue to
Johnson's tragedy of "Irene." 'When I published the plan for my
Dictionary," says the Doctor, "Lord'Chesterfield told me that the
word great should be pronounced so as to rhyme to state; and Sir
William Yonge sent me word, that it should be pronounced so as to
rhyme to seat, and that none but an
Irishman would pronounce it great. Now, here were two men of the
highest rank, the one the best speaker in the House of Lords, the
other the best speaker in the House of Commons, differing
entirely." See Boswell's Johnson,vol.iii.p.191.
(338) Sir Thomas Bootle, chancellor to the Prince of Wales; a
dull, heavy man, and who is, therefore, ironically called, by Sir
C. H. Williams, "Bright Bootle,"-D.
(339) Francis Chute, an eminent lawyer, second brother of
Anthony Chute, of the Vine, in Hampshire, had, in concert with
Luke Robinson, another lawyer, disputed Mr. Pultney's borough of
Heydon with him at the general elections and been returned but on
a petition, and the removal of Sir R. W. they were
voted out of their seats, and Mr. Chute died soon after.-E.
(340) Sarah, Dowager Duchess of Marlborough.
(341) Nor did she, Her grace survived the date of this letter
nearly three years. She died on the 18th of October 1744, being
then eighty-four years of age.-E.
197 Letter 46
To Sir Horace Mann.
Wednesday night, eleven o'clock, Dec. 16, 1741.
Remember this day.
Nous voil`a de la Minorit`e! entens-tu cela! h`e! My dear child,
since you will have these ugly words explained, they just mean
that we ar-- metamorphosed into the minority. This was the night
of choosing a chairman of the committee of elections. Gyles
Earle, (342) (as in the two last parliaments) was named by the
Court; Dr. Lee, (343) a civilian, by the Opposition, a man of a
fair character. (344) Earle was formerly a dependent on the Duke
of Argyle,(345) is of remarkable covetousness and wit, which he
has dealt out largely against the Scotch and the Patriots. It
was a day of much expectation, and both sides had raked together
all probabilities: I except near twenty who are in town, but stay
to vote on a second question, when the majority may be decided to
either party. have you not read of such in story?
Men, who would not care to find themselves on the weaker side,
contrary to their intent. In short, the determined sick were
dragged out of their beds; zeal came in a great coat. There were
two vast dinners at two taverns, for either-party; at six we met
in the House. Sir William Yonge, seconded by my uncle Horace,
(346) moved for Mr. Earle: Sir Paul Methuen (347) and Sir Watkyn
Williams (348) proposed Dr. Lee-and carried him, by a majority of
four: 242 against 238-the greatest number, I believe, that ever
lost a question. You have no idea of their huzza! unless you can
conceive how people must triumph after defeats of twenty years
together. We had one vote shut out, by coming a moment too late;
one that quitted us, for having been ill used by the Duke of
Newcastle but yesterday-for which in all probability, he will use
him well to-morrow-I mean, for quitting us. Sir Thomas
Lowther,(349) Lord Hartington's (350) uncle, was fetched down by
him and voted against us. Young Ross,(351) son to a commissioner
of the customs, and saved from the dishonour of not liking to go
to the West Indies when it was his turn, by Sir R.s giving him a
lieutenancy, voted against us; and Tom Hervey,(352) who is always
with us, but is quite mad; and being asked why he left us,
replied, "Jesus knows my thoughts; one day I blaspheme, and pray
the next." so, you see what accidents were against us, or we had
carried our point. They cry, Sir R. miscalculated: how should he
calculate, when there are men like Ross, and fifty others he
could name! It was not very pleasant to be stared in the face to
see how one bore it-you can guess at my bearing it, who interest
myself so little about any thing. I have had a taste of what I
am to meet from all sorts of people. The moment we had lost the
question, I went from the heat of the house into the Speaker's
chamber, and there were some fifteen others of us-an under
door-keeper thought a question was new put, when it was not, and,
withou@ giving us notice, clapped the door to. I asked him how
he dared lock us out without calling us: he replied insolently,
"It was his duty, and he would do it again:" one of
the party went to him, commended him, and told him he should be
punished if he acted otherwise. Sir R. is in great spirits, and
still sanguine. I have so little experience, that I shall not be
amazed at whatever scenes follow. My dear child, we have
triumphed twenty years; is it strange that fortune should at last
forsake us; or ought we not always to expect it, especially in
this kingdom? They talk loudly of the year forty-one, and
promise themselves all the confusions that began a hundred years
ago from the same date. I hope they prognosticate wrong; but
should it be so, I can be happy in other places. One reflection
I shall have, very sweet, though very melancholy; that if our
family is to be the sacrifice that shall first pamper discord, at
least the one,' the part of it that interested all my concerns,
and must have suffered from our ruin, is safe, secure, and above
the rage of confusion: nothing in this world can touch her peace
To-morrow and Friday we go upon the Westminster election-you will
not wonder, shall you, if you hear the next post that we have
lost that too? Good night.
(342) Giles Earle, Esq. one of the lords of the treasury and who
had been chairman of the committees of the House of Commons from
1727 to the date of this letter. He had been successively groom
of the bedchamber to the Prince of Wales in 1718, clerk
comptroller of the King"s household in 1720, commissioner of the
Irish revenue in 1728, and a lord of the treasury in 1738. Mr.
Earle was a man of broad coarse wit, and a lively image of his
style and sentiments has been preserved by Sir C. H. Williams, in
his "Dialogue between Giles Earle and Bubb Dodington."-E.
(343) George Lee, brother to the lord-chief justice; he was
appointed one of the lords of the admiralty on the following
change, which post he resigned on the disgrace of his patron,
Lord Granville. He was designed by the Prince of Wales for his
first minister, and, immediately on the prince's death, was
appointed treasurer to the princess dowager, and soon after made
dean of the arches, a knight, and privy counsellor. He died in
(344) In a letter to Dodington, written from Spa, on the 8th of
September, Lord Chesterfield says:-"I am for acting at the very
beginning of the session. The court generally proposes some
servile and shameless tool of theirs to be chairman of the
committee of privileges. Why should not we, therefore, pick up
some Whig of a fair character, and with personal connexions, to
set up in opposition? I think we should be pretty strong upon
(345) John, the great Duke of Argyle and Greenwich.-D.
(346) Horace Walpole, younger brother of Sir Robert, created. in
his old age, Lord Walpole of Wolterton. He was commonly called
"Old Horace," to distinguish him from his nephew, the writer of
(347) The son of John Methuen, Esq. the diplomatist, and author
of the celebrated Methuen treaty with Portugal. Sir Paul was a
knight of the Bath, and died in 1757.-D.
(348) Sir Watkyn Williams Wynn, Bart. the third baronet of the
family, was long one of the leaders in the House of Commons.-D.
(349) Sir Thomas Lowther, Bart. of Holker, in Lancashire. He
had married Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, daughter of the second Duke
(350) Afterwards the fourth Duke of Devonshire.
(351) Charles Ross, killed in flannders, at the battle of
(352) Thomas Hervey, second son of John, first Earl of Bristol,
'and Surveyor of the royal gardens. He was at this time writing
his famous letter to Sir Thomas Hanmer. [With whose wife he had
eloped. In the letter alluded to, he expresses his conviction
that his conduct was natural and delicate, and that, finally, in
heaven, Lady Hanmer, in the distribution of wives, would be
considered to be his. Dr. Johnson (to whom he had left a legacy
of fifty pounds, but -,afterwards gave it him in his life-time)
characterises him as "very vicious." " Alas!" observes Mr.
Croker, "it is but too probable that he was disordered in mind,
and that what was called vice was. in truth, disease, and
required a madhouse rather than a prison." He died in 1775. See
Boswell's Johnson, Vol. iii. P. 18, ed. 1835.)
(353) His mother, Catherine Lady Walpole, who died August 20,
199 Letter 47
To Sir Horace Mann.
Thursday, six o'clock. [Dec. 17, 1741.
You will hardly divine where I am writing to you-in the
Speaker's chamber. The House is examining witnesses on the
Westminster election, which will not be determined to-day; I am
not in haste it should, for I believe we shall lose it. A great
fat fellow, a constable, on their side, has just
deposed, that Lord Sundon,(355) and the high constable, took him
by the collar at the election, and threw him down stairs. Do you
know the figure of Lord Sundon? If you do, only think of that
little old creature throwing any man down stairs!
As I was coming down this morning, your brother brought me a long
letter from you, in answer to mine of the 12th of
November. You try to make me mistrust the designs of Spain
against Tuscany, but I will hope yet: hopes are all I have for
any thing I know!
As to the young man, I will see his mother the first moment I
can; and by next post, hope to give you a definite answer,
whether he will submit to be a servant or not; in every other
respect, I am sure he will please you.
Your friend, Mr. Fane,(356) would not come for us last night, nor
will vote till after the Westminster election: be is
brought into parliament by the Duke of Bedford,(357) and is
unwilling to disoblige him in this. We flattered ourselves with
better success; for last Friday, after sitting till two in the
morning we carried a Cornish election in four
divisions-the first by a majority of six, then of twelve, then of
fourteen, and lastly by thirty-six. You can't imagine the zeal
of the young men on both sides: Lord Fitzwilliam, Lord
Hartington, and my friend Coke (358) on ours, are warm as
possible; Lord Quarendon (359) and Sir Francis Dashwood (360) are
as violent on theirs: the former speaks often and well. But I am
talking to you of nothing but parliament; why,
really, all one's ideas are stuffed with it, and you yourself
will not dislike to hear things so material. The Opposition who
invent every method of killing Sir R., intend to make us sit on
Saturdays; but how mean and dirty is it, how
scandalous! when they can't ruin him by the least plausible
means, to murder him by denying him air and exercise.(361)
There was a strange affair happened on Saturday; it was
strange, yet very English. One Nourse, an old gamester, said, in
the coffee-house, that Mr. Shuttleworth, a member, only pretended
to be ill. This was told to Lord Windsor,(362) his friend, who
quarrelled with Nourse, and the latter challenged him. My lord
replied, he would not fight him, he was too old. The other
replied, he was not too old to fight with pistols. Lord Windsor
still refused: Nourse, in a rage, went home and cut his own
throat. This was one of the odd ways in which men are made.
I have scarce seen Lady Pomfret lately, but I am sure Lord
Lincoln is not going to marry her daughter. I am not
surprised at her sister being shy of receiving civilities from
you-that was English too!
Say a great deal for me to the Chutes. How I envy your snug
suppers! I never have such suppers! Trust me, if we fall, all the
grandeur, all the envied grandeur of our house, will not cost me
a sigh: it has given me no pleasure while we have it, and will
give me no pain when I part with it. My liberty, my ease, and
choice of my own friends and company, will
sufficiently counterbalance the crowds of Downing-street. I am so
sick of it all, that if we are victorious or not, I propose
leaving England in the spring,. Adieu!
Yours, ever and ever.
(355) William clayton, Lord Sundon, in Ireland, so created in
1735. His wife was a favourite of Queen Caroline, to whom she
was mistress of the robes.
(356) Charles Fane, Only son of Lord Viscount Fane, whom he
succeeded, had been minister at Florence.
(357) John Russell, fourth Duke of Bedford.-D.
(358) Edward, Lord Viscount Coke, only son of the Earl of
Leicester. He died in 1753.
(359) George Henry Lee, Lord Viscount Quarendon, eldest son of
the Earl of Lichfield, whom he succeeded in that title.
(360) Sir Francis Dashwood, Bart., afterwards Lord Le
Despencer. Under the administration of Lord Bute he was, for a
short time, chancellor of the exchequer.-D.
(361) Sir Robert always went every Saturday to Newpark,
Richmond, to hunt. (From his early youth, Sir Robert was fond of
the diversions of the field. He was accustomed to hunt in
Richmond Park with a pack of beagles. On receiving a packet of
letters, he usually opened that from his gamekeeper first.]
(362) Herbert Windsor Hickman, second Viscount Windsor in
Ireland, and Baron Montjoy of the Isle of Wight. [His lordship
died in 1758, when all his honours, in default of male issue,
201 Letter 48
To Sir Horace Mann.
Christmas eve, 1741.
My dearest child, if I had not heard regularly from you, what a
shock it would have given me! The other night at the opera, Mr.
Worseley, with his peevish face, half smiling through
ill-nature, told me (only mind!) by way of news, "that he
heard Mr. Mann was dead at Florence!"' How kind! To entertain one
with the chitchat of the town, a man comes and tells one that
one's dearest friend is dead! I am sure he would have lost his
speech if he had had any thing pleasurable to tell. If ever
there is a metempsychosis, his soul will pass into a vulture and
prey upon carcases after a battle, and then go and bode at the
windows of their relations. But I will say no more of him; I
will punish him sufficiently, if sufficiently there be, by
telling him you are perfectly well: you are, are you not? Send me
certificate signed by Dr. Cocchi,(363) and I will choke him with
it: another's health must be venomous to him.
Sir Francis Dashwood too,-as you know all ill-natured people hear
all ill news,-told me he heard you was ill: I vowed you was grown
as strong as the Farnese Hercules. Then he desires you will send
him four of the Volterra urns, of the
chimney-piece size; send them with any of my things; do, or he
will think I neglected it because he is our enemy; and I would
not be peevish, not to be like them. He is one of the most
inveterate; they list under Sandys,(364) a parcel of them with no
more brains than their general; but being malicious they pass for
ingenious, as in these countries fogs are reckoned warm weather.
Did you ever hear what Earle said of Sandys? "that he never
laughed but once, and that was when his best friend broke his
Last Thursday I wrote you word of our losing the chairman of the
committee. This winter is to be all ups and downs. The next day
(Friday) we had a most complete victory. Mr. Pultney moved for
all papers and letters, etc. between the King and the Queen of
Hungary and their ministers. Sir R. agreed to give them all the
papers relative to those transactions, only desiring to except
the letters written by the two sovereigns themselves. They
divided, and we carried it, 237 against 227. They moved to have
those relations to France, Prussia, and Holland. Sir R. begged
they would defer asking for those of Prussia till the end of
January, at which time a negotiation would be at an end with that
King, which now he might break off, if he knew it was to be made
public. Mr. Pultney
persisted; but his obstinacy, which might be so prejudicial to
the public, revolted even his own partisans, and seven of them
spoke against him. We carried that question by
twenty-four; and another by twenty-one, against sitting on the
next day (Saturday). Monday and Tuesday we went on the
Westminster election. Murray (365) spoke divinely; he Was their
counsel. Lloyd (366) answered him extremely well: but on summing
up the evidence on both sides, and in his reply, Murray was in
short, beyond what was ever heard at the
bar.That day (Tuesday) we went on the merits of the cause, and at
ten at night divided, and lost it. They had 220, we 216; so that
the election was declared void. You see four is a fortunate
number to them. We had forty-one more members in town, who would
not, or could not come down. The time. is a touchstone for
wavering consciences. All the arts, money, promises, threats,,
all the arts of the. former year 41, are applied; and
self-interest, in the shape of Scotch
members-nay, and of English ones, operates to the aid of their
party, and to the defeat of ours. Lord Doneraile,(367) a
young Irishman, brought in by the court, was petitioned
against, though his competitor had but one vote. This young man
spoke as well as ever any one spoke in his own defence insisted
on the petition being heard, and concluded with
declaring, that, "his cause was his Defence, and Impartiality
must be his support." Do you know that, after this, he went and
engaged if they would withdraw the petition, to vote with them in
the Westminster affair! His friends reproached him so strongly
with his meanness, that he was shocked, and went to Mr. Pultney
to get off; Mr. P. told him he had given him his honour, and he
would not release him, though Lord Doneraile declared it was
against his conscience: but he voted with
them, and lost us the next question which they put (for
censuring the High Bailiff) by his single vote; for in that the
numbers were 217 against 215: the alteration of his vote would
have made it even; and then the Speaker, I suppose,
would have chosen the merciful side, and decided for us.
After this, Mr. Pultney, with an affected humanity, agreed to
commit the High Bailiff only to the serjeant-at-arms. Then, by a
majority of six, they voted that the soldiers, who had been sent
for after the poll was closed, to save Lord Sundon's (368) life,
had come in a military and illegal manner, and influenced the
election. In short, they determined, as Mr. Murray had dictated
to them, that no civil magistrate, on any pretence whatsoever,
though he may not be able to suppress even a riot by the
assistance of the militia and constables, may call in the aid of
the army. Is not this doing the work of the Jacobites? have
they any other view than to render the riot act useless? and then
they may rise for the Pretender whenever they please. Then they
moved to punish Justice
Blackerby for calling in the soldiers; and when it was desired
that he might be heard in his own defence, they said he had
already confessed his crime. Do but think on it! without
being accused, without knowing, or being told it was a crime, a
man gives evidence in another cause, not his own, and then they
call it his-own accusation of himself, and would condemn him for
it. You see what justice we may expect if they
actually get the majority. But this was too strong a pill for
one of their own leaders to swallow: Sir John Barnard(369 did
propose and persuade them to give him a day to be heard. In
short we sat till half an hour after four in the morning; the
longest day that ever was known. I say nothing of myself, for I
could but just speak when I came away; but Sir Robert was as well
as ever, and spoke with as much spirit as ever, at four o'clock.
This way they will not kill him; I Will not answer for any other.
As he came out, Whitehead,(370) the author of Manners, and agent
with one Carey, a surgeon, for the
Opposition, said "D-n him, how well he looks!" Immediately after
their success, Lord Gage (371) went forth, and begged there might
be no mobbing; but last night we had bonfires all over the town,
and I suppose shall have notable mobbing at the new election;
though I do not believe there will be any
opposition to their Mr. Edwin and Lord Perceval.(372) Thank God!
we are now adjourned for three weeks. I shall go to
Swallowfield (373) for a few days: so for one week you will miss
hearing from me. We have escaped the Prince'S (374)
affair hitherto, but we shall have it after the holidays. All
depends upon the practices of both sides in securing or
getting new votes during the recess. Sir Robert is very
sanguine: I hope, for his sake and for his honour, and for the
nation's peace, that he will get the better: but the moment he
has the majority secure, I shall be very earnest with him to
resign. He has a constitution to last some years, and enjoy some
repose; and for my own part (and both my brothers agree with me
in it), we wish most heartily to see an end of his ministry. If
I can judge of them by myself, those who want to be in our
situation, do not wish to see it brought about more than we do.
It is fatiguing to bear so much envy and ill-will
undeservedly.-Otium Divos rogo; but adieu, politics, for three
The Duchess of Buckingham, (375) who is more mad with pride than
any merchant's wife in Bedlam, came the other night to the opera
en princesse, literally in robes, red velvet and ermine. I must
tell you a story of her: last week she sent for Cori,(376) to pay
him for her opera-ticket; he was not at
home, but went in an hour afterwards. She said, "Did he treat
her like a tradeswoman? She would teach him to respect women of
her birth; said he was in league with Mr. Sheffield (377) to
abuse her, and bade him come the next morning at nine." He came,
and she made him wait till eight at night, only sending him an
omlet and a bottle of wine, "as it was Friday, and he a Catholic,
she supposed he did not eat meat." At last she
received him in all the form of a princess giving audience to an
ambassador. "Now," she said, "she had punished him."
In this age we have some who pretend to impartiality: you will
scarce guess how Lord Brook (378) shows his: he gives one vote on
one side, one on the other, and the third time does not vote at
all, and so on, regularly.
My sister is ,up to the elbows in joy and flowers that she has
received from you this morning and begs I will thank you for her.
You know, or have heard of, Mrs. Nugent, Newsham's mother; she
went the other morning to Lord Chesterfield to beg "he would
encourage Mr. Nugent (379) to speak in the house; for that really
he was so bashful, she was afraid his abilities would be lost on
the world." I don't know who has encouraged him; but so it is,
that this modest Irish converted Catholic does talk a prodigious
deal of nonsense in behalf of English
Lord Gage (380) is another; no man would trust him in a wager,
unless he stakes, and yet he is trusted by a whole borough with
their privileges and liberties! He told Mr. Winnington the other
day, that he would bring his son into parliament, that he would
not influence him, but leave him entirely to himself. "D-n it,"
said Winnington, "so you have all his
Your brother says you accuse him of not writing to you, and that
his reasons are, he has not time, and next, that I tell you all
that can be said. So I do, I think: tell me when I begin to tire
you, or if I am too circumstantial; but I don't believe you will
think so, for I remember how we used to want such a correspondent
when I was with you.
I have spoke about the young man who is well content to live with
you as a servant out of livery. I am to settle the
affair finally with his father on Monday, and then he shall set
out as soon as possible. I will send the things for
Prince Craon etc. by him. I will write to Madame Grifoni the
moment I hear she is returned from the country.
The Princess Hesse (381) is brought to bed of a son. We are
going into mourning for the Queen of Sweden;(382) she had
always been apprehensive of the small-pox, which has been very
fatal in her family.
You have heard, I suppose, of the new revolution (383) in
Muscovy. The letters from Holland to-day say, that they have put
to death the young Czar and his mother, and his father too:
which, if true,(384) is going very far, for he was of a sovereign
house in another country, no subject of Russia, and after the
death of his wife and son, could have no pretence or interest to
raise more commotions there.
We have got a new opera, not so good as the former; and we have
got the famous Bettina to dance, but she is a most
indifferent performer. The house is excessively full every
Saturday, never on Tuesday: here, you know, we make every
thing a fashion.
I am happy that my fears for Tuscany vanish every letter. There!
there is a letter of twelve sides! I am forced to page it, it is
SO long, and I have not time to read it over and look for the
(363) Antonio Cocchi, a learned physician and author, at
Florence; a particular friend of Mr. Mann. [The following
favourable character of Dr. Cocchi is contained in a letter from
the Earl of Cork to Mr. Duncombe, dated Florence,
November 29, 1754. "Mr Mann's fortunate in the friendship, skill,
and care of his physician, Dr. Cocchi. He is a man of most
extensive learning; understands, reads, and speaks all the
European languages; studious, polite, modest, humane, and
instructive. He is always to be admired and beloved by all who
know him. Could I live with these two gentlemen only, and
converse with few or none others, I should scarce desire to
return to England for many years."]
(364) Samuel Sandys, a republican, raised on the fall of Sir
R.'W. to be chancellor of the exchequer, then degraded to a peer
and cofferer, and soon afterwards laid aside. [In 1743, he was
raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Sandys,
Baron of Omberley in the county of Worcester, and died in
1770. Dr. Nash, in his history of that county, states him to
have been "a very useful, diligent senator-a warm, steady
friend-a good neighbor, and a most hospitable country
gentleman and provincial magistrate."]
(365) William Murray, brother of Lord- Stormont, and of Lord
Dunbar, the Pretender's first minister. He is known by his
eloquence and the friendship of Mr. Pope. He was soon
afterwards promoted to be solicitor-general. (Afterwards the
celebrated chief-justice of the King's Bench, and Earl of
(366) Sir Richard Lloyd, advanced in 1754 to be
solicitor-general, in the room of Mr. Murray, appointed
attorney-general. [And in 1759, appointed one of the Barons of
(367) Arthur St. Leger, Lord Doneraile, died in 1750, being lord
of the bedchamber to the Prince of Wales.
(368) Lord Sundon and Sir Charles Wager had been the Court
candidates for Westminster at the late election against
Admiral Vernon and Charles Edwin, Esq.-D.
(369) A great London merchant, and one of the members for the
City. His reputation for integrity and ability gave him much
weight in the House of Commons.-D. (Lord Chatham, when mr. Pitt,
frequently calls him the Great Commoner. In 1749, he became
father of the City; when, much against his will, the merchants
erected a statue of him in the Royal Exchange. He died in 1764.]
(370) Paul Whitehead, an infamous but not despicable poet. [See
ante, p. 190, Letter 42.]
(371) Thomas Lord Viscount Gage had been a Roman Catholic, and
was master of the household to the Prince. [Lord Gage, in
1721, was elected for the borough of Tewksbury; which he
represented till within a few months of his death, in 1754. He
was a zealous politician, and distinguished himself, in 1732, by
detecting the fraudulent sale of the Derwentwater estates.]
(372) John Perceval, second Earl of Egmont, in Ireland,
created, in 176@, Lord Lovel and Rolland in the peerage of Great
Britain. He became, in 1747, a lord of the bedchamber to
Frederick Prince of Wales, and in the early part of the reign of
George III. held successively the offices of
postmaster-general and first lord of the admiralty. He was a man
of some ability and a frequent and fluent speaker, and was the
author of a celebrated party pamphlet of' the day,
entitled "Faction Detected." His excessive love of ancestry led
him, in Conjunction with his father, and assisted by
Anderson, the genealogist, to print two thick octavo volumes
respecting his family, entitled "History of the House of
Ivery;" a most remarkable monument of human vanity.-D.
[Boswell was not of this opinion. "Some have affected to
laugh," he says, "at the History of the House of Ivery: it would
be well if many others would transmit their pedigrees to
posterity, with the same accuracy and generous zeal with which
the noble lord who compiled that work has honoured and
perpetuated his ancestry. Family histories, like the imagines
majorum of the ancients, excite to virtue." See "Life of
Johnson," vol viii. p. 188.]
(373) Swallowfield, in Berkshire, the seat of John Dodd, Esq.
(374) A scheme for obtaining a larger allowance for the Prince of
(375) Catherine, Duchess Dowager of Buckingham, natural
daughter of King James II. (Supposed to be really the
daughter of Colonel Graham, a man of Gallantry of the time, and a
lover of her mother, Lady Dorchester.-D.) [This
remarkable woman was extravagantly proud of her descent from
James the Second, and affected to be the head of the Jacobite
party in England. She maintained a kind of royal state, and
affected great devotion to the memory of her father and
grandfather. On the death of her son, the second Duke of
Buckingham of the Sheffield family (whose funeral was
celebrated in a most extraordinary manner), she applied to the
old Duchess of Marlborough, who was as high spirited as
herself, for the loan of the richly-ornamented hearse which had
conveyed the great duke to his grave. "Tell her," said Sarah, "it
carried the Duke of Marlborough, and shall never carry any one
else." "My upholsterer," rejoined Catherine of Buckingham in a
fury, "tells me I can have a finer for twenty pounds."-" This
last stroke," says the editor of the Suffolk Correspondence, "
was aimed at the parsimony of their Graces of Marlborough, which
was supposed to have been visible even in the funeral; but the
sarcasm was as unjust as the original request of borrowing the
hearse was mean and unfeeling."-E.]
(376) Angelo Maria Cori, prompter to the Opera.
(377) Mr. Sheffield, natural son of the late Duke of
Buckingham, with whom she was at law.
(378) Francis, Baron, and afterwards created Earl Brooke.
(379) Robert Nugent, a poet, a patriot, an author, a lord of the
treasury, (and finally an Irish peer by the titles of Lord Clare
and Earl Nugent. He seems to have passed his long life in
seeking lucrative places and courting rich widows, in both of
which pursuits be was eminently successful.-D.) [He married the
sister and heiress of Secretary Craggs, and his only
daughter married the first Marquis of Buckingham. A volume of
his ,Odes and Epistles" were published anonymously in 1733. He
died in 1788.)
(380) Lord Gage was one of those persons to whom the
privileges of parliament were of extreme consequence, as their
own liberties were inseparable from them.
(381) Mary, fourth daughter of King George II.
(382) Ulrica, Queen of Sweden, sister of Charles XII.
(383) This relates to the revolution by which the young Czar John
was deposed, and the Princess Elizabeth raised to the throne.
(384) This was not true. The Princess Anne of Mecklenburgh died
in prison at Riga, a few years afterwards. Her son, the young
Czar, and her husband, Prince Antony of Brunswick
Wolfenbuttle, were confined for many years.
206 Letter 49
To Sir Horace Mann.
London, Dec. 29, 1741.
I write to YOU two days before the post goes out, because
to-morrow I am to go out of town; but I would answer your
letter by way of Holland, to tell you how much you have
obliged both Sir Robert and me about the Dominichini;(385) and to
beg you to thank Mr. Chute and Mr. Whithed-but I cannot leave it
"My dear Mr. Chute, was ever any thing so kind! I crossed the
Giogo (386) with Mr. Coke,(387) but it was in August, and I
thought it then the greatest compliment that ever was paid to
mortal; and I went with him too! but you to go only for a
picture, and in the month of December: What can I say to you? You
do more to oblige your friend, than I can find terms to thank you
for. If I was to tell-it here, it would be believed as little as
the rape of poor Tory (388) by a wolf. I can only say that I
know the Giogo, its snows and its inns, and consequently know the
extent of the obligation that I have to you and Mr. Whithed."
Now I return to you, my dear child: I am really so much
obliged to you and to them, that I know not what to say. I read
Pennee's letter to Sir. R., who was much pleased with his
discretion; he will be quite a favourite of mine. And now we are
longing for the picture; you know, of old, my
Your young secretary-servant is looking out for a ship, and will
set out in the first that goes: I envy him.
The Court has been trying but can get nobody to stand for
Westminster. You know Mr. Doddington has lost himself
extremely by his new turn, after so often changing sides: he is
grown very fat and lethargic; my brother Ned says, "he is grown
of less consequence, but more weight."(389)
One hears of nothing but follies said by the Opposition, who grow
mad on having the least prospect. Lady Carteret,(390) who, you
know, did not want any new fuel to her absurdity, says, "they
talk every day of making her lord first minister, but he is not
so easily persuaded as they think for." Good night.
(385) A celebrated picture of a Madonna and Child by
Dominichino, in the palace Zembeccari, at Bologna, now in the
collection of the Earl of Orford, at Houghton, in Norfolk.
(Since sent to Russia with the rest of the collection.-D.)
(386) The Giogo is the highest part of the Apennine between
Florence and Bologna.
(387) Son of Lord Lovel, since Earl of Leicester. [In 1744, Lord
Lovel was created Viscount Coke of Holkham and Earl of Leicester.
His only son Edward died before him, in 1753,
without issue; having married Lady Mary, one of the co-heirs of
John Duke of Argyle and Greenwich.]
(388) A black spaniel of Mr. Walpole's was seized by a wolf on
the Alps, as it was running at the head of the chaise-horses, at
noonday. [See ante, p. 139 letter 14.]
(389) George Bubb Dodington had lately resigned his post of one
of the lords of the treasury, and gone again into
opposition. [In Walpole's copy of the celebrated Diary of this
versatile politician, he had written a "Brief account of George
Bubb Doddington, Lord Melcombe," which the noble editor of the
"Memoires" has inserted. It describes him, "as his Diary shows,
vain, fickle, ambitious, and corrupt,' and very lethargic; but
gives him credit for great wit and readiness." Cumberland, in
his Memoirs, thus paints him:-"Dodington,
lolling in his chair, in perfect apathy and self-command,
dozing, and even snoring, at intervals, in his lethargic way,
broke out every now and then into gleams and flashes of wit and
humour." In 1761, he was created Lord Melcombe, and died in the
(390) Frances, daughter of Sir Robert Worseley, and first wife of
John Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl of Granville.
207 Letter 50
To Sir Horace Mann.
London, Jan. 7, 1741-2, O. S.
I must answer for your brother a paragraph that he showed me in
one of your letters: "Mr. W.'s letters are full of wit; don't
they adore him in England?" Not at all-and I don't
wonder at them: for if I have any wit in my letters, which I do
not at all take for granted, it is ten to one that I have none
out of my letters. A thousand people can write, that cannot
talk; and besides, you know, (or I conclude so, from the little
one hears stirring,) that numbers of the English have wit, who
don't care to produce it. Then, as to adoring; YOU now See Only
my letters, and you may be sure I take care not to write you word
of any of my bad qualities, which other people must see in the
gross; and that may be a great
hindrance to their adoration. Oh! there are a thousand other
reasons I could give you, why I am not the least in fashion. I
came over in an ill season: it is a million to one that
nobody thinks a declining old minister's son has wit. At any
time, men in opposition have always most; but now, it would be
absurd for a courtier to have even common sense. There is not a
Mr. Stuart, or a Mr. Stewart, whose names begin but with the
first letters of Stanhope,(391) that has not a better chance than
I, for being liked. I can assure you, even those of the same
party would be fools, not to pretend to think me one. Sir Robert
has showed no partiality for me;(392) and do you think they would
commend where he does not? even supposing they had no envy,
which by the way, I am far from saying they have not. Then. my
dear child, I am the coolest man of my party, and if I am ever
warm, it is by contagion; and where violence passes for parts,
what will indifference be called? But how could you think of such
a question '! I don't want money, consequently Do old women pay
me for my wit; I have a very flimsy constitution, consequently
the young women won't taste my wit, and it is a long while before
wit makes its own way in the world; especially, as I never prove
it, by assuring people that I have it by me. Indeed, if I were
disposed to brag, I could quote two or three half-pay officers,
and an old aunt or two, who laugh prodigiously at every thing I
say; but till they are allowed judges, I will not brag of such
If you have a mind to know who is adored and has wit, there is
old Churchill has as much God-d-n-ye wit as ever-except that he
has lost two teeth. There are half a dozen Scotchmen who vote
against the Court, and are cried up by the Opposition for wit, to
keep them steady. They are forced to cry up their parts, for it
would be too barefaced to commend their honesty. Then Mr. Nugent
has had a great deal of wit till within this week; but he is so
busy and so witty, that even his own party grow tired of him.
His plump wife, who talks of nothing else, says he entertained
her all the way on the road with repeating his speeches.
I did not go into the country, last week, as I intended, the
weather was so bad; but I shall go on Sunday for three or four
days, and perhaps shall not be able to write to you that week.
You are in an agitation, I suppose, about politics: both sides
are trafficking deeply for votes during the holidays. It is
allowed, I think, that we shall have a majority of twenty-six:
Sir R. says more; but now, upon a pinch, he brags like any
The Westminster election passed without any disturbance, in
favour of Lord Perceive-all (394) and Mr. Perceive-nothing, as my
uncle calls them. Lord Chesterfield was vaunting to Lord Lovel,
that they should have carried it, if they had set up two
broomsticks. "So I see," replied Lovel. But it seems we have not
done with it yet: if we get the majority, this will be declared a
void election too, for my Lord Chancellor (395) has found out,
that the person who made the return, had no right to make it: it
was the High Bailiff's clerk, the High Bailiff himself being in
custody of the sergeant-at-arms. it makes a great noise, and
they talk of making subscriptions for a Petition.
Lord Stafford (396) is come over. He told me some good
stories of the Primate.(397)
Last night I had a good deal of company to hear Monticelli and
Amorevoli, particularly the three beauty-Fitzroys, Lady
Euston, Lady Conway, and Lady Caroline.(398) Sir R. liked the
singers extremely: he had not heard them before, I forgot to tell
you all our beauties there was Miss Hervey,(399) my
lord's daughter, a fine, black girl, but as masculine as her
father should be;(400) and jenny Conway, handsomer Still,(401)
though changed with illness, than even the Fitzroys. I made the
music for my Lord Hervey, who is too ill to go to operas: yet,
with a coffin-face, is as full of his little dirty
politics as ever. He will not be well enough to go to the House
till the majority is certain somewhere, but lives shut up with my
Lord Chesterfield and Mr. Pultney-a triumvirate, who hate one
another more than any body they could proscribe, had they the
power. I dropped in at my Lord Hervey's, the other night,
knowing my lady had company: it was soon after our defeats. My
lord, who has always professed particularly to me, turned his
back on me, and retired for an hour into a
whisper with young Hammond,(402) at the end of the room. Not
being at all amazed at one whose heart I knew so well, I
stayed on, to see more of this behaviour; indeed, to rise
myself to it. At last he came up to me, and begged this
music. which I gave him, and would often again, to see how many
times I shall be ill and well with him within this month.
Yesterday came news that his brother, Captain William Hervey, has
taken a Caracca ship, worth full two hundred thousand
pounds. He was afterwards separated from it by a storm, for two
or three days, and was afraid of losing it, having but
five-and-twenty men to thirty-six Spaniards; but he has
brought it home safe. I forgot to tell you, that upon losing the
first question, Lord Hervey kept away for a week; on our carrying
the next great one, he wrote to Sir Robert, how much he desired
to see him, "not upon any business, but Lord Hervey longs to see
Sir Robert Walpole."
Lady Sundon(402) is dead, and Lady M- disappointed: she, who is
full as politic as my Lord Hervey, had made herself an
absolute servant to Lady Sundon, but I don't hear that she has
left her even her old clothes. Lord Sundon is in great grief: I
am surprised, for she has had fits of madness ever since her
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