The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2
Part 10 out of 16
political illness. Come, my constitution is not very much
broken, when, in four days after such a mortifying attack, I
could sit in the House of Commons, full as possible, from two
at noon till past five in the morning, as we did but last
Thursday. The new opposition attacked the address. Who are
the new opposition? Why, the old opposition-- Pitt and the
Grenvilles; indeed, with Legge instead of Sir George
Lyttelton. Judge how entertaining it was to me to hear
Lyttelton answer Grenville, and Pitt Lyttelton! The debate,
long and uninterrupted as it was, was a great deal of it
extremely fine: the numbers did not answer to the merit: the
new friends, the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Fox, had 311 to
105. The bon-mot in fashion is, that the staff was very good,
but they wanted private Men. Pitt surpassed himself, and then
I need not tell you that he surpassed Cicero and Demosthenes.
What a figure would they, with their formal, laboured, cabinet
orations, make vis-`a-vis his manly vivacity and dashing
eloquence at one o'clock in the morning, after sitting in that
heat for eleven hours! He spoke above an hour and a half, with
scarce a bad sentence: the most admired part was a comparison
he drew of the two parts of the new administration, to the
conflux of the Rhone and the Saone; "the latter a gentle,
feeble, languid stream, languid but not deep; the other a
boisterous and overbearing torrent; but they joined at last;
and long may they continue united, to the comfort of each
other, and to the glory, honour, and happiness of this
nation!" I hope you are not mean-spirited enough to dread an
invasion, when the senatorial contests are reviving in the
temple of Concord.-But will it make a party? Yes, truly: I
never saw so promising a prospect. Would not it be cruel, at
such a period, to be laid up?
I have only had a note from you to promise me a letter; but it
is not arrived:--but the partridges are, and well; and I thank
England seems returning:(640) for those who are not in
Parliament, there are nightly riots at Drury-lane, where there
is an anti-Gallican party against some French dancers. The
young men of quality have protected them till last night,
when, being Opera night, the galleries were victorious.(641)
Montagu writes me many kind things for you; he is in Cheshire,
but comes to town this winter. Adieu! I have so much to say,
that I have time to say but very little.
P. S. George Selwyn hearing much talk of a sea-war or a
continent, said, , I am for a sea-war and a continent
(640) Walpole means the disposition towards mobs and rioting
at public places, which was then common among young men, and
had been a sort of fashion in his early youth.-E.
(641) A spectacle brought out by Garrick, in the beginning of
this month, at Drury-lane gave great offence to the public, in
consequence of the number of foreigners employed in it; and,
on the sixth representation, a violent riot took place, by
which a damage to the theatre was incurred of several thousand
292 Letter 161
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 16, 1755.
I have received a letter from you of Oct. 25th, full of
expectation of the invasion I announced to you-but we have got
two new parties erected, and if you imagine that the invasion
is attended to, any more than as it is played off by both
those parties, you know little of England. The Parliament met
three days ago: we have been so un-English lately as to have
no parties at all, have now got what never was seen before, an
opposition in administration. Mr. Pitt, Mr. Legge, and their
adherents, no great number, have declared open and unrelenting
war with the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Fox; and on the
address, which hinted approbation of the late treaties, and
promised direct support of Hanover, we sat till five the next
morning. If eloquence could convince, Mr. Pitt would have had
more than 105 against 31 1; but it is long since the arts of
persuasion were artful enough to persuade-rhetoric was
invented before places and commissions! The expectation of the
world is suspended, to see whether these gentlemen will resign
or be dismissed: perhaps neither; perhaps they may continue in
place and opposition; perhaps they may continue in place and
not oppose. Bossuet wrote "L'Histoire des Variations de
l'Eglise"-I think I could make as entertaining a history,
though not so well written, "des Variations de l'Etat:"i mean
of changes and counterchanges of party. The Duke of Newcastle
thought himself undone, beat up all quarters for support, and
finds himself stronger than ever. Mr. Fox was thought SO
unpopular, that his support was thought as dangerous as want
of defence; every thing bows to him. The Tories hate both him
and Pitt so much, that they sit still to see them worry one
another; they don't seem to have yet found out that while
there are parts and ambition, they will be obliged to follow
and to hate by turns every man who has both.
I don't at all understand my Lady Orford's politics; but that
is no wonder, when I am sure she does not understand ours.
Nobody knows what to make of the French inactivity: if they
intend some great stroke, the very delay and forbearance tells
us to prepare for it, and a surprise prepared for loses much
of its value. For my own part, I have not prophetic sagacity
enough to foresee what will be even the probable event either
of our warlike or domestic politics. I desired your brother
to write you an account of General Johnson's victory; the only
great circumstance in our favour that has happened yet. The
greatest mystery of all is the conduct of Admiral Boscawen:
since he left England, though they write private letters to
their friends, he and all his officers have not sent a single
line to the Admiralty; after great pain and uncertainty about
him, a notion prevailed yesterday, how well-founded I know
not, that without any orders he is gone to attack
Louisbourgh-considering all I have mentioned, he ought to be
very sure of success. Adieu! my dear Sir, I have told you the
heads of all I know, and have not time to be more particular.
P. S. I am glad to be able to contradict an untruth, before I
send it away -. Admiral Boscawen and his fleet are arrived,
and have brought along with them a French man-of-war of
293 Letter 162
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, November 25, 1755.
I have been so hurried since I came to town, and so enclosed
in the House of Commons, that I have not been able to write a
line sooner. I now write, to notify that your plants will set
out according to your direction next Monday, and are ordered
to be left at Namptwich.
I differ with the doctors about planting evergreens in spring;
if it happens to be wet weather, it may be better than
exposing them to a first winter: but the cold dry winds, that
generally prevail in spring, are ten times more pernicious.
In my own opinion, the end of September is the best season,
for then they shoot before the hard weather comes. But the
plants I send you are so very small, that they are equally
secure in any season, and would bear removing in the middle of
summer; a handful of dung will clothe them all for the whole
There is a most dreadful account of an earthquake in
Lisbon,(642) but several people will not believe it. There
have been lately such earthquakes and waterquakes, and rocks
rent, and other strange phenomena, that one would think the
world exceedingly out of repair. I am not prophet enough to
believe that such convulsions relate solely to the struggles
between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox, or even portend any between the
Georges and Jameses. You have already heard, I suppose, that
Pitt, Legge, and George Grenville, are dismissed, and that Sir
George Lyttelton is chancellor of the exchequer. My Lord
Temple says that Sir George Lyttelton said he would quit his
place when they did, and that he has kept his word! The world
expects your cousin to resign; but I believe all efforts are
used to retain him. Joan, the fair maid of Saxe-Gotha, did
not speak to Mr. Fox or Sir George when they kissed her hand
last Sunday. No more places are vacated or filled up yet.
It is an age since I have heard from Mr. Bentley; the war or
the weather have interrupted all communication. Adieu! let me
know at your leisure, when one is likely to see you.
(642) The dreadful earthquake, on the 1st of November, which
laid nearly the whole city in ruins. The number of
inhabitants who lost their lives was variously reported, but
generally estimated at about ten thousand.-E.
294 Letter 163
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Dec. 4, 1755.
Long before you receive this, my dear Sir, you will have
learned general, if not particular accounts of the dreadful
desolation at Lisbon: the particulars indeed are not yet come
hither; all we have heard hitherto is from France, and from
Sir Benjamin Keene at Madrid. The catastrophe is greater than
ever happened even in your neighbourhood, Naples. Our share
is very considerable, and by some reckoned at four millions.
We are despatching a ship with a present of an hundred
thousand pounds in provisions and necessaries, for they want
every thing. There have been Kings of Spain who would have
profited of such a calamity; but the present MONARCH has only
acted as if he had a title to Portugal, by showing himself a
father to that people.(643)
We are settled, politically, into a regular opposition. Mr.
Pitt, Mr. Legge, and George Grenville have received their
dismissions, and oppose regularly. Sir George Lyttelton, who
last year with that connexion, is made chancellor of the
exchequer. As the subsidies are not yet voted, and as the
opposition, though weak in numbers, are very strong in
speakers, no other places will be given away till Christmas,
that the re-elections may be made in the holidays.
There are flying reports that General Johnson, our only hero
at present, has taken Crown Point, but the report is entirely
unconfirmed by any good authority. The invasion that I
announced to you, is very equivocal; there is some suspicion
that it was only called in as an ally to the subsidiary
treaties: many that come from France say, that on their coasts
they are dreading an invasion from us. Nothing is certain but
their forbearance and good breeding-the meaning of that is
Shall I send away a letter with only these three paragraphs! I
must if I write at all. There are no private news at all! the
earthquake, the opposition, and the war, are the only topics;
each of those topics will be very fruitful, and you shall hear
of their offspring-at present, good night!
(643) The Spanish monarch did not long preserve that spirit of
295 Letter 164
To Richard Bentley, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 17, 1755.
After an immense interval, I have at last received a long
letter from you, of a very old date (November 5th), which
amply indemnifies my patience - nay, almost makes me amends
for your blindness; for I think, unless you had totally lost
your eyes, you would not refuse me a pleasure so easy to
yourself as now and then sending me a drawing. I can't call
it laziness; one may be too idle to amuse one's self, but sure
one is never so fond of idleness as to prefer it to the power
of obliging a person one loves! And yet I own your letter has
made me amends, the wit of your pen recompenses the stupidity
of your pencil; the caestus you have taken up supplies a
little the artem you have relinquished. I could quote twenty
passages that have charmed me: the picture of Lady Prudence
and her family; your idol that gave you hail when you prayed
for sunshine; misfortune the teacher of superstition;
unmarried people being the fashion in heaven; the Spectator-
hacked phrases; Mr. Spence's blindness to Pope's mortality;
and, above all, the criticism on the Queen in Hamlet, is most
delightful. There never was so good a ridicule of all the
formal commentators on Shakspeare, nor so artful a banter on
himself for so improperly making her Majesty deal in
double-entendres at a funeral. In short, I never heard as
much wit, except in a speech with which mr. Pitt concluded the
debate t'other day on the treaties. His antagonists endeavour
to disarm him, but as fast as they deprive him of one weapon,
he finds a better; I never suspected him of such an universal
armoury-I knew he had a Gorgon's head, composed of bayonets
and pistols, but little thought that he could tickle to death
with a feather. On the first debate on these famous treaties,
last Wednesday, Hume Campbell, whom the Duke of Newcastle had
retained as the most abusive counsel he could find against
Pitt (and hereafter perhaps against Fox), attacked the former
for eternal invectives. Oh! since the last philippic of
Billingsgate memory you never heard such an invective as Pitt
returned-Hume Campbell was annihilated! Pitt, like an angry
wasp, seems to have left his sting in the wound, and has since
assumed a style of delicate ridicule and repartee. But think
how charming a ridicule must that be that lasts and rises,
flash after flash, for an hour and a half! Some day or other,
perhaps you will see some of the glittering splinters that I
gathered up. I have written under his print these lines,
which are not only full as just as the original, but have not
the tautology of loftiness and majesty:
""Three orators in distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn;
The first in loftiness of thought surpass'd,
The next in language, but in- both the last:
The power of Nature could no farther go;
To make a third, she join'd the former two."
Indeed, we have wanted such an entertainment to enliven and
make the fatigue supportable. We sat on Wednesday till ten at
night; on Friday till past three in the morning; on Monday
till between nine and ten.(644) We have profusion of orators,
and many very great, which is surprising so soon after the
leaden age(645 of the late Right Honourable Henry
Saturnus!(646) The majorities are as great as in Saturnus's
Our changes are begun; but not being made at once, our very
changes change. Lord Duplin and Lord Darlington are made
joint paymasters: George Selwyn says, that no act ever showed
so much the Duke of Newcastle's absolute power as his being
able to make Lord Darlington a paymaster. That so often
repatriated and reprostituted Doddington is again to be
treasurer of the navy; and he again drags out Harry Furnese
into the treasury. The Duke of Leeds is to be cofferer, and
Lord Sandwich emerges so far as to be chief justice in eyre.
The other parts by the comedians; I don't repeat their names,
because perhaps the fellow that to-day is designed to act
Guildenstern, may to-morrow be destined to play half the part
of the second grave-digger.(647) However, they are all to
kiss hands on Saturday. mr. Pitt told me to-day that he
should not go to Bath till next week. "I fancy," said I, "you
scarce stay to kiss hands."
With regard to the invasion, which you are so glad to be
allowed to fear, I must tell you that it is quite gone out of
fashion again, and I really believe was dressed up for a
vehicle (as the apothecaries call it) to make us swallow the
treaties. All along the coast of France they are much more
afraid of an invasion than we are.
As obliging as you are in sending me plants, I am determined
to thank you for nothing but drawings. I am not to be bribed
to silence, when you really disoblige me. Mr. Muntz has
ordered more cloths for you. I even shall send you books
unwillingly; and, indeed, why should I? As you are
stone-blind, what can you do with them? The few I shall send
you, for there are scarce any now, will be a pretty dialogue
by Cr`ebillon; a strange imperfect poem, written by Voltaire
when he was very young, which with some charming strokes has a
great deal of humour manqu`e and of impiety estropi`ee; and an
historical romance, by him too, of the last war, in which is
so outrageous a lying anecdote of old Marlborough, as would
have convinced her, that when poets write history they stick
as little to truth in prose as in verse. Adieu!
(644) Lord Chesterfield, in a letter to Mr. Dayrolles of the
19th, says, "The House of Commons sits three or four times a
week till nine or ten at night, and sometimes till four or
five in the morning; so attentive are they to the good of
their dear country. That zeal has of late transported them
into much personal abuse. Even our insignificant House sat
one day last week till past ten at night upon the Russian and
Hessian treaties; but I was not able to sit it out, and left
it at seven, more than half dead; for I took it into my head
to speak upon them for near an hour, which fatigue, together
with the heat of the house, very nearly annihilated me. I was
for the Russian treaty as a prudent eventual measure at the
beginning of a war, and probably preventive even of a war in
that part of the world; but I could not help exposing, though
without opposing, the Hessian treaty, which is, indeed, the
most extraordinary one I ever saw."-E.
(645) " Here, pleased, behold her mighty wings outspread,
To hatch a new Saturnian age of Lead." Dunciad.-E.
(646) Mr. Pelham.
(647) "Places," writes Lord Chesterfield to Mr. Dayrolles on
the 19th, "are emptying and filling every day. The patriot of
Monday is the courtier of Tuesday, and the courtier of
Wednesday is the patriot of Thursday. This, indeed, has more
or less been long the case, but I really think never so
impudently and so profligately as now. @The power is all
falling from his Grace's into Fox's hands; which, you may
remember, I told you long ago would happen."-E.
297 Letter 165
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 20, 1755.
I am very much pleased that you are content with what are to
be trees a thousand years hence, though they were the best my
Libanus afforded. I was afraid you would think I had sent you
a bundle of picktooths, instead of pines and firs: may you
live to chat under their shade! I am still more pleased to
hear that you are to be happy in some good fortune to the
Colonel: he deserves it; but, alas! what a claim is that!
Whatever makes him happy, makes you so, and consequently me.
A regular opposition, composed of immense abilities, has
entertained us for this month. George Grenville, Legge, a Dr.
Hay, a Mr. Elliot, have shone; Charles Townshend lightened;
Pitt has rode in the whirlwind, and directed the storm with
abilities beyond the common reach of the genii of a tempest.
As soon as that storm has a little spent its fury, the dew of
preferments begins to fall and fatten the land. Moses and
Aaron differ indeed a little in which shall dispense the
manna, and both struggle for their separate tribes. Earl
Gower is privy seal, the Lords Darlington and Dublin joint
paymasters, Lord Gage paymaster of the pensions, Mr. O'Brien
in the treasury. That old rag of a dishclout ministry, Henry
Furnese, is to be the other lord. Lord Bateman and Dick
Edgcumbe(648) are the new admirals; Rigby, Soame Jennings, and
Talbot the Welsh judge, lords of trade; the Duke of Leeds
cofferer, Lord Sandwich chief justice in eyre, Ellis and Lord
Sandys (autre dishclout) divide the half of the treasury of
Ireland, George Selwyn paymaster of the board of works,
Arundel is to have a pension in Ireland, and Lord Hillsborough
succeeds him -,is treasurer of the chambers, though I thought
he was as fond of his white staff as my Lord Hobart will be,
who is to have it. There, if you love new politics! You
understand, to make these vacancies, that Charles Townshend
and John Pitt are added to the dismissed and dead.
My Lord Townshend is dying; the young Lord Pembroke marries
the charming Lady Betty Spencer.(649) The French are thought
to have passed eldest as to England, and to intend to take in
Hanover. I know an old potentate who had rather have the gout
in his stomach than in that little toe. Adieu! I have sent
your letter; make my compliments, and come to town.
648) Lord Edgecumbe.
(649) Second daughter of Charles second Duke of
298 Letter 166
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Dec. 12, 1755.
I am glad, my dear Sir, that you have not wasted many alarms
on the invasion; it does not seem to have been ever intended
by the French. Our ministers, who are not apt to have any
intelligence, have now only had bad: they spread that idea; it
took for some days, but is vanished. I believe we tremble
more really for Hanover: I can't say I do; for while we have
that to tremble for, we shall always be to tremble. Great
expectations of a peace prevail; as it is not likely to be
good, it is not a season for venturing a bad one. The
opposition, though not numerous, is now composed of very
determined and very great men; more united than the ministry,
and at least as able. the resistance to the treaties has been
made with immense capacity: Mr. Pitt has shone beyond the
greatest horizon of his former lustre. The Holidays are
arrived, and now the changes are making; but many of the
recruits, old deserters, old cashiered, old fagots, add very
little credit to the new coalition. The Duke of Newcastle and
his coadjutor Mr. Fox squabble twice for agreeing once: as I
wish so well to the latter, I lament what he must wade through
to real power, if ever he should arrive there. Underneath I
shall catalogue the alterations, with an additional letter to
each name, to particularize the corps to which each belongs.
Sir George Lyttelton, N. chancellor of the exchequer, in the
room of Mr. Legge, dismissed.
Duke of Leeds, N. Cofferer, in the room of Sir George
Mr. T. Brudenell N., Deputy. in the room of mr. Clare.
Mr. Doddington, F. Treasurer of the Navy, in the room of Sir
G. Grenville, dismissed.
Lords Darlington N. and Duplin N. Joint Paymasters, in the
room of mr. Pitt, dismissed
Duke of Marlborough, F. Master of the Ordnance. Long Vacant.
Earl Gower, F., Lord Privy Seal, in the room of the duke of
Lord Gage, N., Paymaster of Pensions, in the room of Mr.
Mr. Obrien, N. and mr. Henry Furnese, Lords of the Treasury,
in the room of Lord Darlington and Lord Duplin.
Lord Bateman, F., and Mr. Edgcumbe, F. Lords of the Admiralty,
in the room of mr. C. Townshend, dismissed and Mr. Ellis.
Judge Talbot Mr. S. Jennings, N. and mr. Rigby, F., Lords of
Trade, in the room of Mr. J. Grenville, resigned, Mr. T. Pitt,
dismissed, and Mr. Edgcumbe.
mr. Arundel, N., Pension on Ireland.
Lord Hilsborough, F. Treasurer of Chambers, in the room of mr.
Lord Hobart, N., Comptroller of the Household, in the room of
George Selwyn, F., Paymaster of the Board of works, in the
room of Mr. Denzil Onslow.
Lord cholmondeley, who had had half before to divide Vice-
Treasurer of Ireland with Lord Sandwich, F., and Mr. Ellis, F.
in the room of Sir w. Yonge, deceased.
Lord Berkeley of Stratton, F., Treasurer of the Household, in
the room of Lord Fitzwalter, dying.
Lord Sandys, N., Chief Justice in eyre, in the room of the
duke of Leeds.
As numerous as these changes are, they are not so
extraordinary as the number of times that each designation has
been changed. The four last have not yet kissed hands, so I
do not give you them for certain. You will smile at seeing
Doddington again revolved to the court, and Lord Sandys and
Harry Furnese, two of the most ridiculous objects in the
succession to my father's ministry, again dragged out upon the
stage: perhaps it may not give you too high an idea of the
stability or dignity of the new arrangement; but as the Duke
of Newcastle has so often turned in and out all men in
England, he must employ some Of The same dukes over again. In
short, I don't know whether all this will make your
ministerial gravity smile, but it makes me laugh out. Adieu!
P. S. I must mention the case of my Lord Fitzwalter,(650)
which all the faculty say exceeds any thing known in their
practice: he is past eighty-four, was an old beau, and had
scarce ever more sense than he has at present; he has lived
many months upon fourteen barrels of oysters, four-and-twenty
bottles of port, and some, I think seven, bottles of brandy
per week. What will Dr. Cocchi, with his Vitto Pittagorico,
say to this?
(650) Charles Mildmay, Earl Fitzwalter, so created May 14,
1730. He died without issue, Feb. 29, 1756, when his earldom
became extinct; and the old barony of Fitzwalter fell into
abeyance among females.-D.
299 Letter 167
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 30, 1755.
As I know how much you are my friend and take part in my joy,
I cannot help communicating to you an incident that has given
much pleasure. You know how much I love Mr. Mann-well, I
don't enter into that, nor into a detail of many hardships
that he has suffered lately, which made me still more eager to
serve him. As some regiments have been just given away, I
cast my eyes about to see if I could not help him to clothing.
Among the rest, there was one new colonel,(651) whom I could
not assume enough to call my friend, but who is much connected
with one that is so. As the time passed, I did not stay to go
round about, but addressed myself directly to the person
himself--but I was disappointed; the disaster was, that he had
left his quarters and was come to town. Though I immediately
gave it up in my own mind, knew how incessantly he would be
pressed from much more powerful quarters, concluded he would
be engaged, I wrote again; that letter was as useless as the
first, and from what reason do you think? Why this person, in
spite of all solicitations, nay previous to any, had already
thought of Mr. Mann, and recollected it would oblige me and my
friend in the country, and had actually given his clothing to
Mr. Mann, before he received either of my letters. Judge how
agreeably I have been surprised, and how much the manner has
added to my obligation! You will be still more pleased when
you hear the character of this officer, which I tell you
willingly, because I know you country gentlemen are apt to
contract prejudices, and to fancy that no virtues grow out of
your own shire; yet by this one sample, you will find them
connected with several circumstances that are apt to nip their
growth. He is of as good a family as any in England, yet in
this whole transaction he has treated me with as much humility
is if I was of as good a family and as if I had obliged him,
not he me. In the next place, I have no power to oblige him;
then, though he is young and in the army, he is as good, as
temperate, as meek, as if he was a curate on preferment; and
yet with all these meek virtues, nobody has distinguished
themselves by more personal bravery-and what is still more to
his praise, though he has so greatly established his courage,
he is as regular in his duty, and submits as patiently to all
the tedious exiles and fatigues of it, as if he had no merit
at all; but I will say no more, lest you imagine that the
present warmth of my gratitude makes me exaggerate. No, you
will not, when you know that all I have said relates to your
own brother, Colonel Charles Montagu. I did not think he
could have added still to my satisfaction; but he has, by
giving me hopes Of seeing you in town next week-till then,
adieu! Yours as entirely as is consistent with my devotedness
to your brother.
(651) Colonel Charles Montagu, this day appointed to the
command of the 59th regiment of foot.-E.
300 Letter 168
To Richard Bentley, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Jan. 6, 1756.
I am quite angry with you: you write me letters so
entertaining that they make me almost forgive your not
drawing: now, you know, next to being disagreeable, there is
nothing so shocking as being too agreeable. However, as I am
a true philosopher, and can resist any thing I like better, I
declare, that if you don't coin the vast ingot of colours and
cloth that I have sent you, I will burn your letters unopened.
Thank you for all your concern about my gout, but I shall not
mind you; it shall appear in my stomach before I attempt to
keep it out of it by a fortification of wine: I only drank a
little two days after being very much fatigued in the House,
and the worthy pioneer began to cry succour from my foot the
next day. However, though I am determined to feel young
still, I grow to take the hints age gives me; I come hither
oftener, I leave the town to the young; and though the busy
turn that the world has taken draws me back into it, I excuse
it to myself, and call it retiring into politics. From hence
I must retire, or I shall be drowned; my cellars are four feet
under water, the Thames gives itself Rhone airs, and the
meadows are more flooded than when you first saw this place
and thought it so dreary. We seem to have taken out our
earthquake in rain: since the third week in June, there have
not been five days together of dry weather. They tell us that
at Colnbrook and Stains they are forced to live in the first
floor. Mr. Chute is at the Vine, but I don't expect to hear
from him: no post but a dove can get from thence. Every post
brings new earthquakes; they have felt them in France, Sweden,
and Germany: what a convulsion there has been in nature! Sir
Isaac Newton, somewhere in his works, has this beautiful
expression, "The globe will want manum emendatricem."
I have been here this week with only Mr. Muntz; from whence
you may conclude I have been employed--Memoirs thrive apace.
He seems to wonder (for he has not a little of your indolence,
I am not surprised you took to him) that I am continually
occupied every minute of the day, reading, writing, forming
plans: in short, you know me. He is an inoffensive, good
creature, but had rather ponder over a foreign gazette than a
I expect to find George Montagu in town to-morrow: his brother
has at last got a regiment. Not content with having deserved
it, before he got it, by distinguished bravery and
indefatigable duty, he persists in meriting it still. He
immediately, unasked, gave the chaplainship (which others
always sell advantageously) to his brother's parson at
Greatworth. I am almost afraid it will make my commendation
of this really handsome action look interested, when I add,
that he has obliged me in the same way by making Mr. Mann his
clothier, before I had time to apply for it. Adieu! I find no
news in town.
302 Letter 169
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(652)
Arlington Street, Jan. 22, 1756.
As my Lady Ailesbury is so taken up with turnpike-hills,
Popish recusants, and Irish politics, and you are the only
idle person in the family (for Missy I find is engaged too), I
must return to correspond with you. But my letters will not
be quite so lively as they have been: the Opposition, like
schoolboys, don't know how to settle to their books again
after the holidays. We have not had a division: nay, not a
debate. Those that like it, are amusing themselves with the
Appleby election. Now and then we draggle on a little
militia. The recess has not produced even a pamphlet. In
short, there are none but great outlines of politics: a
memorial in French Billingsgate has been transmitted hither
which has been answered very laconically. More agreeable is
the guarantee signed with Prussia: M. Michel(653) is as
fashionable as ever General Wall was. The Duke of Cumberland
has kept his bed with a sore leg, but is better. Oh! I
forgot, Sir Harry Erskine is dismissed from the army, and if
you will suffer so low a pun, as upon his face, is a rubric
martyr for his country: bad as it Is, this is the best bon-mot
I have to send you: Ireland, which one did not suspect, is
become the staple of wit, and, I find, coins bons-mots for our
greatest men. I might not send you Mr. Fox's repartee, for I
never heard it, nor has any body here: as you have, pray send
it me. Charles Townshend t'other night hearing somebody say,
that my Lady Falmouth, who had a great many diamonds on, had a
Very fine stomach, replied, "By God! my lord has a better."
You will be entertained with the riot Charles makes in the
sober house of Argyle: t'other night, on the Duchess's bawling
to my Lady Suffolk,(654) he in the very same tone cried out,
"Large stewing Oysters!" When he takes such liberties with
his new parent, you may judge how little decency he observes
with his wife: last week at dinner at Lord Strafford's, on my
Lady Dalkeith's mentioning some dish that she loved, he
replied before all the servants, "Yes, my Lady Dalkeith, you
love it better than any thing but one!"
We were to have had a masquerade to-night, but the Bishops,
who you know have always persisted in God's hating dominos,
have made an earthquake point of it, and postponed it till
after the fast.
Your brother has got a sixth infanta; at the christening
night, Mr. Trail had got through two prayers before any body
found out that the child was not brought down stairs. You see
pauvret`e how little I have to say. Do accept the enclosed
World(655) in part of payment for the remainder of a letter.
I must conclude with telling you, that though I know her but
little, I admire my Lady Kildare as much as you do. She has
writ volumes to Lady Caroline Fox in praise of you and your
Countess: you are a good soul! I can't say so much for lady
Ailesbury. As to Missy, I am afraid I must resign my claim: I
never was very proper to contest with an Hibernian hero; and I
don't know how, but I think my merit does not improve. Adieu!
(652) Now first printed.
(653) The Prussian charg`e d'affaires.
(654) The Countess of Suffolk was very deaf.-E.
(655) No.160. On attacks upon Licentiousness.--Story of Sir
Eustace Drawbridge-court; written by Walpole.
303 Letter 170
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Jan. 24, 1756.
Oh sir, I shall take care how I ever ask favours of you again!
It was with great reluctance that I brought myself to ask
this: you took no notice of my request; and I flattered myself
that I was punished for having applied to you so much against
my inclination. Just as I grew confirmed in the pride of
being mortified, I hear that you have outgone my application,
and in the kindest manner in the world have given the young
man a pair of colours. It would have been unpleasant enough
to be refused; but to obtain more than one asked is the most
provoking thing in the world! I was prepared to be very
grateful if you had done just what I desired; but I declare I
have no thanks ready for a work of supererogation. If there
ever was a spirit that went to heaven for mere gratitude,
which I am persuaded is a much more uncommon qualification
than martyrdom, I must draw upon his hoard of merit to acquit
myself. You will at least get thus much by this charming
manner of obliging me: I look upon myself as double obliged;
and when it cost me so much to ask one favour, and I find
myself in debt for two, I shall scarce run in tick for a
What adds to my vexation is, that I wrote to you but the night
before last. Unless I could return your kindness with equal
grace, it would be not very decent to imitate you by beginning
to take no notice of it; and therefore you must away with this
letter upon the back of the former.
We had yesterday some history in the House - Beckford produced
an accusation in form against Admiral Knowles on his way to an
impeachment. Governor Verres was a puny culprit in
comparison! Jamaica indeed has not quite so many costly
temples and ivory statues, etc. as Sicily had: but what
Knowles could not or had not a propensity to commit in rapine
and petty larceny, he has made up in tyranny. The papers are
granted, and we are all going to turn jurymen. The rest of
the day was spent in a kind of avoirdupois war. Your friend
Sir George Lyttelton opened the budget; well enough in
general, but was strangely bewildered in the figures; he
stumbled over millions, and dwelt pompously upon farthings.
Pitt attacked him pretty warmly on mortgaging the sinking
Sir George kept up his spirit, and returned the attack on his
eloquence: it was entertaining enough, but ended in high
compliments; and the division was 231 to 5(;.
Your friend Lady Petersham, not to let the town quite lapse
into politics, has entertained it with a new scene. She was
t'other night at the play with her court; viz. Miss Ashe, Lord
Barnard, M. St. Simon, and her favourite footman Richard,
whom, under pretence of keeping places, she always keeps in
her box the whole time to see the play at his ease. Mr.
Stanley, Colonel Vernon, and Mr. Vaughan arrived at the very
end of the farce, and could find no room, but a row and a half
in Lady Caroline's box. Richard denied them entrance very
impertinently. Mr. Stanley took him by the hair of his head,
dragged him into the passage, and thrashed him. The heroine
was outrageous--the heroes not at all so.(656) She sent
Richard to Fielding for a warrant. He would not grant it--and
so it ended--And so must I, for here is company. Adieu!
My letter would have been much cleverer, but George Montagu
has been chattering by me the whole time, and insists on my
making you his compliments.
(656) Lady Hervey, in a letter of the 23d of March, thus
alludes to this story:--"This is the time of year you used to
come to town. Come and hear a little what is going forward:
you will be alarmed with invasions which are never intended;
you will hear of ladies of quality who uphold footmen
insulting gentlemen; nay, you will hear of ladies who steal
not only hearts, but gold boxes."-E.
304 Letter 171
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Jan. 25, 1756.
I am troubled to think what anxiety you have undergone! yet
your brother Gal. assures me that he has never missed writing
one week since he began to be ill. Indeed, had I in the least
foreseen that his disorder would have lasted a quarter of the
time it has, I should have given you an account of it; but the
distance between us is so great, that I could not endure to
make you begin to be uneasy, when, in all probability, the
cause would be removed before my letter reached You. This
tenderness for you has deceived me: your brother, as his
complaint is of the asthmatic kind, has continued all the time
at Richmond. Our attendance in Parliament has been so
unrelaxed, the weather has been so bad, and the roads so
impracticable by astonishing and continued deluges of rain,
that, as I heard from him constantly three or four times a
week, and saw your brother James, who went to him every week,
I went to see him but twice; and the last time, about a
fortnight ago, I thought him extremely mended: he wrote me two
very comfortable notes this week of his mending, and this
morning Mr. Chute and I went to see him, and to scold him for
not having writ oftener to you, which he protests he has done
constantly. I cannot flatter you, my dear child, as much as
to say I think him mended; his shortness of breath continues
to be very uneasy to him, and his long confinement has wasted
him a good deal. I fear his case is more consumptive than
asthmatic; he begins a course of quicksilver to-morrow for the
obstruction in his breast. I shall go out to him again the
day after to-morrow, and pray as fervently as you yourself do,
my dear Sir, for his recovery. You have not more obligations
to him, nor adore him more than I do. As my tenderness and
friendship is so strong for you both, you may depend on
hearing from me constantly; but a declining constitution, you
know, will not admit of a very rapid recovery. Though he is
fallen away, he looks well in the face, and his eyes are very
lively: the weather is very warm, he wants no advice, and I
assure YOU no solicitude for his health; no man ever was so
beloved, and so deservingly! Besides Dr. Baker, the physician
of Richmond, who is so much esteemed, he has consulted Dr.
Pringle, who is in the first repute, and who is strongly for
the quicksilver. I enter Into these particulars, because,
when one is anxious, one loves to know the most minute.
Nothing is capable of making me so happy, as being able soon
to send you a better account.
Our politics wear a serener face than they have done of late:
you will have heard that our nephew of Prussia-I was going to
say, has asked blessing--begging our dignity's pardon, I fear
he has given blessing! In short, he guarantees the empire with
us from all foreign troops. It is pleasant to think, that at
least we shall be to fight for ourselves. Fight we must,
France says: but when she said so last, she knew nothing of
our cordiality with the court of Berlin. Monsieur Rouill`e
very lately wrote to Mr. Fox, by way of Monsieur Bonac in
Holland, to say his master ordered the accompanying M`emoire
to be transmitted to his Britannic Majesty in person; it is
addressed to nobody, but after professing great disposition to
peace, and complaining in harsh terms of our brigandages and
pirateries, it says, that if we will restore their ships,
goods, etc. they shall then be ready to treat. We have
returned a squab answer, retorting the infraction of treaties,
professing a desire of peace too, but declare we cannot
determine upon restitution comme pr`eliminaire. If we do not,
the M`emoire says, they shall look upon it comme declaration
de guerre la plus authentique. Yet, in my own opinion, they
will not declare it; especially since the King of Prussia has
been Russianed out of their alliance. They will probably
attempt some stroke; I think not succeed in it, and then lie
by for an opportunity when they shall be stronger. They can
only go to Holland, attempt these islands, or some great coup
in America.(657) Holland they may swallow when they will;
yet, why should they, when we don't attempt to hinder them?
and it would be madness if -we did. For coming hither, our
fleet is superior say, but equal: our army and preparations
greater than ever--if an invasion were still easy, should we
be yet to conquer, when we have been so long much more
exposed? In America we arc much stronger than they, and have
still more chances of preventing their performing any action
The opposition is nibbling, but is not popular, nor have Yet
got hold of any clue of consequence. There is not the
vivacity that broke forth before the holidays.
I condole with you for Madame Antinori,(658) and Madame
Grifoni; but I know, my dear child, how much too seriously
your mind will be occupied about your dear brother, to think
that romantic grief will any longer disquiet you. Pray
Heaven! I may send you better and better news. Adieu!
P. S. I forgot to thank you for your history of the war with
Lucca in your last but one.
(657) "A formal declaration of war from France," writes Lord
Chesterfield to Mr. Dayrolles on the 23d, "seems to be the
natural consequence of Rouill`e's memorial. I am not so fond
of war as I find many people are. Mark the end on 't. Our
treaty lately concluded with Russia is a fortunate event, and
secures the peace of the empire; and is it possible that
France can invade the Low Countries, which are the dominions
of the Empress Queen, only because Admiral Boscawen has taken
two of their ships in America? I see but two places where
France can annoy us; in America, by slipping over in single
ships a considerable number of troops, and next by keeping us
in a state of fear and expense at home, with the threats and
appearances of an intended invasion."-E.
(658) A Florentine lady, whom Sir Horace admired, and who was
just dead: she was sister of Madame Grifoni.
306 Letter 172
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 5, 1756.
I think I can give you a little better account of your
brother, who is so dear to both of us; I put myself on a foot
with you, for nothing can love him better than I do. I have
been a week at Strawberry Hill. in order to watch and see him
every day. The Duke's physician, Dr. Pringle, who now attends
him, has certainly relieved him much: his cough is in a manner
gone, his fever much abated, his breath better. His strength
is not yet increased; and his stitches, which they impute to
wind, are not relieved. But both his physicians swear that
his lungs are not touched. His worst symptom is what they
cannot, but I must and will remove: in short, his wife is
killing him, I can scarce say slowly. Her temper is beyond
imagination, her avarice monstrous, her madness about what she
calls cleanliness, to a degree of distraction; if I had not
first, and then made your brother Ned interpose in form, she
would once or twice a week have the very closet washed in
which your brother sleeps after dinner. It is certainly very
impertinent to interfere in so delicate a case, but your
brother's life makes me blind to every consideration: in
short, we have made Dr. Pringle declare that the moment the
weather is a little warmer, and he can be moved, change of air
is absolutely necessary, and I am to take him to Strawberry
Hill, where you may imagine he will neither be teased nor
neglected: the physicians are strong for his going abroad, but
I find that it will be a very difficult point to carry even
with himself. His affairs are so extensive, that as yet he
will not hear of leaving them. Then the exclusion of
correspondence by the war with France would be another great
objection with him to going thither; and to send him to Naples
by sea, if we could persuade him would hardly be advisable in
the heat of such hostilities. I think by this account you
will judge perfectly of your brother's situation: you may
depend upon it, it is not desperate, and yet it is what makes
me very unhappy. Dr. Pringle says, that in his life he never
knew a person for whom so many people were concerned. I go to
him again to-morrow.
The war is reckoned inevitable, nay begun, though France does
not proceed to a formal declaration, but contents herself with
Monsieur Rouill`e's conditional declaration. All intercourse
is stopped. We, who two months ago were in terrors about a
war on the continent, are now more frightened about having it
at home. Hessians and Dutch are said to be, and, I believe,
are sent for. I have known the time when we were much less
prepared and much less alarmed. Lord Ravensworth moved
yesterday to send par pr`eference for Hanoverians, but nobody
seconded him. The opposition cavil, but are not strong enough
to be said to oppose. This is exactly our situation.
I must beg, my dear sir, that you will do a little for my
sake, what I know and hear you have already done from natural
goodness. Mr. Dick, the consul at Leghorn, is particularly
attached to my old and great friend Lady Harry Beauclerc, whom
you have often heard me mention; she was Miss Lovelace: it
will please me vastly if you will throw in a few civilities
more at my request.
Adieu! Pray for your brother: I need not say talk him over and
over with Dr. Cocchl, and hope the best of the war.
307 Letter 173
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Feb. 12, 1756.
I will not write to my Lady Ailesbury to-night, nor pretend to
answer the prettiest letter in the world, when I am out of
spirits. I am very unhappy about poor Mr. Mann, who I fear is
in a deep consumption: the doctors do not give him over, and
the symptoms are certainly a little mended this week; but you
know how fallacious that distemper is, and how unwise it would
be to trust to it! As he is at Richmond, I pass a great deal
of my time out of town to be near him, and so may have missed
some news; but I will tell you all I know.
The House of Commons is dwindled into a very dialogue between
Pitt and Fox-one even begins to want Admiral Vernon again for
variety. Sometimes it is a little piquant; in which though
Pitt has attacked, Fox has generally had the better. These
three or four last days we have been solely upon the
Pennsylvanian regiment, bickering, and but once dividing, 165
to 57. We are got but past the first reading yet. We want
the French to put a little vivacity into us. The Duke of
Newcastle has expected them every hour: he was terribly
alarmed t'other night; on his table he found a mysterious card
with only these words, "Charles is very well, and is expected
in England every day." It was plainly some secret friend that
advertised him of the pretender's approaching arrival. He
called up all the servants, ransacked the whole house to know
who had been in his dressing-room:-at last it came out to be
an answer from the Duchess of Queensberry to the Duchess of
Newcastle about Lord Charles Douglas. Don't it put you in
mind of my Lord Treasurer Portland in Clarendon, "Remember
The French have promised letters of noblesse to whoever fits
out even a little privateer. I could not help a melancholy
smile when my Lady Ailesbury talked of coming over soon. I
fear major-general you will scarce be permitted to return to
your plough at Park-place, when we grudge every man that is
left at the plough. Between the French and the earthquakes,
you have no notion how good we are grown; nobody makes a suit
of clothes now but of sackcloth turned up with ashes. The
fast was kept so devoutly, that Dick Edgecumbe, finding a very
lean hazard at White's, said with a sigh, "Lord, how the times
are degenerated! Formerly a fast would have brought every
body hither; now it keeps every body away!" A few nights
before, two men walking up the Strand, one said to t'other,
"Look how red the sky is! Well, thank God! there is to be no
My Lord Ashburnham(659) does not keep a fast; he is going to
marry one of the plump Crawleys:--they call him the noble lord
upon the woolsack.
The Duchess of Norfolk has opened her new house: all the earth
was there last Tuesday. You would have thought there had been
a comet, every body was gaping in the air and treading on one
another's toes. In short, you never saw such a scene of
magnificence and taste. The tapestry, the embroidered bed,
the illumination, the glasses, the lightness and novelty of
the ornaments, and the ceilings, are delightful. She gives
three Tuesdays, would you be at one! Somebody asked my Lord
Rockingham afterwards at White's, what was there'! He said, ,
"Oh! there was all the company afraid of the Duchess, and the
Duke afraid of all the company."--It was not a bad picture.
My Lady Ailesbury flatters me extremely about my "World," but
it has brought me into a peck of troubles. In short, the
good-natured town have been pleased to lend me a meaning, and
call my Lord Bute Sir Eustace. I need not say how ill the
story tallies to what they apply it; but I do vow to you, that
so far from once entering into my imagination, my only
apprehension was that I should be suspected of flattery for
the compliment to the Princess in a former part. It is the
more cruel, because you know it is just the thing in the world
on which one must not defend one's self. If I might, I can
prove that the paper was writ last Easter, long before this
history was ever mentioned, and flung by, because I did not
like it: I mentioned it one night to my Lady Hervey, which was
the occasion of its being printed.
I beg you will tell my Lady Ailesbury, that I am sorry she
could not discover any wit in Mrs. Hussey's making a
sept-leva. I know I never was so vain of any wit in my life
as winning a thousand leva and two five hundred levas.
You would laugh if you saw in the midst of what trumpery I am
writing. Two porters have just brought home my purchases from
Mrs. Kennon the midwife's sale: Brobdignag combs, old broken
pots, pans, and pipkins, a lantern of scraped oyster-shells,
scimitars, Turkish pipes, Chinese baskets, etc. etc. My
servants think my head is turned: I hope not: it is all to be
called the personal estate and moveables of my
great-great-grandmother, and to be reposited at Strawberry. I
believe you think my letter as strange a miscellany as my
P. S. I forgot, that I was outbid for Oliver Cromwell's
(659) John, second Earl of Ashburnham. On the 28th of June he
married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Ambrose Crawley,
309 Letter 174
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 23, 1756.
I can tell you with as much truth as pleasure that your brother
assuredly mends, and that his physician, Dr. Pringle, who is
the Duke's has told his Royal Highness, who expresses great
concern, that he now will live. He goes out to take the air
every day, that is not very bad: Mr. Chute and I went to see
him yesterday, and saw a real and satisfactory alteration. I
don't say this to flatter you; on the contrary, I must bid you,
my dear child, not to be too sanguine, for Dr. Cocchi will
tell you that there is nothing more fallacious than a
consumptive case; don't mistake me, it is not a consumption,
though it is a consumptive disposition. His spirits are
You will have heard, before you receive this, that the King of
France and Madame Pompadour are gone into devotion. Some say,
that D'Argenson, finding how much her inclination for peace
with us fell in with the Monarch's humanity, (and winch indeed
is the only rational account one can give of their inactivity,)
employed the Cardinal de la Rochefoucault and the Confessor to
threaten the most Christian King with an earthquake if he did
not communicate at Easter; and that his Majesty accordingly
made over his mistress to his wife, by appointing the former
dame du palais: others, who refine more, pretend that Madame
Pompadour, perceiving how much the King's disposition veered to
devotion, artfully took the turn of humouring it, desired to be
only his soul's concubine, and actually sent to ask pardon of
her husband, and to offer to return to him, from which he
begged to be excused-the point in dispute is whether she has or
has not left off rouge. In our present hostile state we cannot
arrive at any certainty on this important question; though our
fate seems to depend on it!
We have had nothing in Parliament but most tedious and long
debates on a West Indian regiment, to be partly composed of
Swiss and Germans settled in Pennsylvania, with some Dutch
officers. The opposition neither increase in numbers or
eloquence; the want of the former seems to have damped the fire
of the latter. the reigning fashion is expectation of an
invasion; I can't say I am fashionable; nor do I expect the
earthquake, though they say it is landed at Dover.
The most curious history that I have to tell you, is a
malicious, pretty successful, and yet most clumsy Plot executed
by the papists, in which number you will not be surprised at my
including some Protestant divines, against the famous
Bower,(660) author of the History of the Popes. Rumours were
spread of his being discovered in correspondence with the
Jesuits; some even said the correspondence was treasonable, and
that he was actually in the hands of a messenger. I went to
Sir George Lyttelton, his great friend, to learn the truth; he
told me the story: that Sir Harry Bedingfield, whom I know for
a most bigoted Papist in Norfolk, pretended to have six letters
from Bower (signed A. B.) in his hands, addressed to one Father
Sheldon, a Jesuit, under another name, in which A. B. affected
great contrition and desires of reconciliation to that church,
lamenting his living in fornication with a woman, by whom he
had a child, and from whom he had got fifteen hundred pounds,
which he had put into Sheldon's hands, and which he affirmed he
must have again if he broke off the commerce, for that the
woman insisted on having either him or her money; and offering
all manner of submission to holy church, and to be sent
wherever she should please; for non mea voluntas sed tua fiat:-
-the last letter grieved at not being able to get his money,
and to be forced to continue in sin, and concluded with telling
the Jesuit that something would happen soon which would put an
end to their correspondence-this is supposed to allude to his
history. The similitude of hands is very great-but you know
how little that can weigh! I know that Mr. Conway and my Lady
Ailesbury write so alike, that I never receive a letter from
either of them that I am not forced to look at the name to see
from which it comes; the only difference is that she writes
legibly, and he does not. These letters were shown about
privately, and with injunctions of secrecy: it seems Hooke, the
Roman historian, a convert to Popery, and who governs my Lord
Bath and that family, is deep in this plot. At last it got to
the ears of Dr. Birch, a zealous but simple Than, and of Millar
the bookseller, angry at Bower for not being his printer--they
trumpeted the story all over the town. Lord Pultney was One
who told it me, and added, "a Popish gentleman and an English
clergyman are upon the scent;" he told me Sir H. Bedingfield's
name, but Would not the clergyman's. I replied, then your
lordship must give me leave to say, as I don't know his name,
that I suppose our doctor is as angry as Sir Harry at Bower for
having written against the church of Rome. Sir G. Lyttelton
went to Sir Harry, and demanded to see the letters, and asked
for copies, which were promised. He soon observed twenty
falsehoods and inconsistencies, particulary the mention of a
patent for a place, which Sir George obtained for him, but
never thought of asking till a year and a half after the date
of this letter; to say nothing of the inconsistence of his
taking a place as a Protestant, at the same time he was
offering to go whithersoever the Jesuits would send him; and
the still more glaring improbability of his risking himself
again under their power! Sir George desired the woman might be
produced--Sir Harry shuffled, and at last said he believed it
was a lie of Bower. When he was beaten out of every point, he
said, he Would put it on this single fact, "Ask Mr. Bower if he
was not reconciled to the church of Rome in the year '44." The
whole foundation proves to be this: Bower, who is a very child
in worldly matters, was weak enough, for good interest, to put
fifteen hundred pounds into the hands of one Brown, a Jesuit
here in London, and from that correspondence they have forged
his hand; and finding the minds of men alarmed and foolish
about the invasion and the earthquake, they thought the train
would take like wildfire. I told Bower, that though this
trusting a Jesuit did great honour to his simplicity, it
Certainly did none to his judgment. Sir George begged I would
advise them what to do-they were afraid to enter into a
controversy, which Hooke might manage. I told him at once that
their best way would be to advertise a great reward for
discovery of the forgery, and to communicate their intention to
Sir Harry bedington. Sir George was pleased with the
thought-and indeed it succeeded beyond expectation. Sir Harry
sent word that he approved the investigation of truth, be the
persons concerned of what profession they would; that he was
obliged to go out of town next day for his health, but hoped at
his return Sir George would give him leave to cultivate an
acquaintance which this little affair had renewed. Sir George
answered with great propriety and spirit, that he should be
very proud of his acquaintance, but must beg leave to differ
with him in calling a little affair what tended to murder a
man's character, but he was glad to see that it was the best
way that Rome had of answering Mr. Bower's book. You see, Sir
Harry is forced to let the forgery rest on himself, rather than
put a chancellor of the exchequer upon the scent after priests!
He has even hesitated Upon giving Bower copies of the letters.
Since I began my letter, we hear that France is determined to
try a numerous invasion in several places in England and
Ireland, coute qui coute, and knowing how difficult it is. We
are well-prepared and strong; they have given us time. If it
were easy to invade us, we should not have waited for an attack
till the year 1756. I hope to give you a good account both of
England and your brother. Adieu!
(660) Bower was a man of very bad character, and it is now
generally believed that he intended to cheat the Jesuits out of
a sum of money.-D.
(661) Dr. Douglas, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, an intimate
friend of Lord Bath. He had detected sundry errors in Bower's
Lives of the Popes.-D.
312 Letter 175
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, March 4, 1756.
I have received so kind and so long a letter from you, and so
kind too because so long, that I feel I shall remain much in
your debt, at least for length. I won't allow that I am in
your debt for warmth of friendship. I have nothing worth
telling you: we are hitherto conquered only in threat: for my
part. I have so little expectation of an invasion, that I have
not buried a single enamel, nor bought a pane of painted glass
the less; of the two panics in fashion, the French and the
earthquake, I have not even made my option yet. The opposition
get ground as little as either: Mr. Pitt talks by Shrewsbury
clock, and is grown almost as little heard as that is at
Westminster. We have had full eight days on the Pennsylvania
regiment. The young Hamilton has spoken and shone again; but
nothing is luminous compared with Charles Townshend:--he drops
down dead in a fit, has a resurrection, thunders in the
Capitol, confounds the treasury-bench, laughs at his own party,
is laid up the next day, and overwhelms the Duchess and the
good women that go to nurse him! His brother's
Militia-bill(662) does not come on till next week: in the mean
time, he adorns the shutters, walls and napkins of every tavern
in Pall Mall with caricatures of the Duke(663) and Sir George
Lyttelton, the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Fox. Your friend
Legge has distinguished himself exceedingly on the supplies and
taxes, and retains all the dignity of chancellor of the
exchequer. I think I never heard so complete a scene of
ignorance as yesterday on the new duties! Except Legge, you
would not have thought there was a man in the House had learned
troy-weight; Murray quibbled--at Hume Campbell the House
groaned! Pitt and Fox were lamentable; poor Sir George never
knew prices from duties, nor drawbacks from premiums! The
three taxes proposed were on plate, on bricks and tiles, on
cards and dice. The earthquake has made us so good, that the
ministry might have burned the latter in Smithfield if they had
pleased. The bricks they were forced to give up, and consented
graciously, to accept 70,000 pounds on alehouses, instead of
30,000 pounds on bricks. They had nearly been forced to extend
the duty on plate beyond 10 pounds carrying the restriction by
a majority of only two.
An embargo is laid on the shipping, to get sailors. The young
court lords were going to raise troops of light horse, but my
Lord Gower (I suppose by direction of the Duke) proposed to the
King that they should rather employ their personal interest to
recruit the army; which scheme takes place, and, as George
Townshend said in the House, they are all turning recruiting
sergeants. But notwithstanding we so much expect a storm from
France, I am told that in France they think much more of their
own internal storms than of us. Madame Pompadour wears
devotion, whether forced or artful is not certain: the disputes
between the King and the parliament run very high, and the Duke
of Orleans and the Prince of Conti have set themselves -,it the
head of the latter. Old Nugent came fuddled to the Opera last
week, and jostled an ancient Lord Irwin, and then called him
fool for being in his way: they were going to fight; but my
Lord Talbot, professing that he did not care if they were both
hanged, advised them to go back and not expose themselves. You
will stare perhaps at my calling Nugent old: it is not merely
to distinguish him from his son; but he is such a champion and
such a lover, that it is impossible not to laugh at him as if
he was a Methuselah! He is en affaire regime with the young
Lady Essex. At a supper there a few nights ago of
two-and-twenty people, they were talking of his going to
Cashiobury to direct some alterations: Mrs. Nugent in the
softest infantine voice called out, "My Lady Essex, don't let
him do any thing out of doors; but you will find him delightful
I think I have nothing else to tell you but a bon-mot or two;
with that sort of news I think I take care to supply you duly.
I send you constantly the best that London affords. Dick
Edgecumbe has said that his last child was born on
All-gamesters'-day; Twelfth-night. This chapter shall conclude
with an epigram; the thought was George Selwyn's, who, you
know, serves all the epigram-makers in town with wit. It is on
Miss Chudleigh crying in the drawing-room on the death of her
"What filial piety! what mournful grace,
For a lost parent, sits on Chudleigh's face
Fair virgin, weep no more, your anguish smother!
You in this town can never want a mother."
I have told poor Mr. Mann how kind you are to him: indeed I
have been exceedingly frightened and troubled for him, and
thought him in immediate danger. He is certainly much mended,
though I still fear a consumption for him; he has not been able
to move from Richmond this whole winter: I never fail to visit
him twice or thrice a week. I heartily pity the fatigue and
dullness of your life; nor can I flatter you with pretending to
believe it will end soon: I hope you will not be forced to gain
as much reputation in the camp as you have in the cabinet!--You
see I must finish.
(662) On the 12th of March, Mr. George Townshend brought in a
bill for better ordering the militia. It passed the House of
Commons on the 10th of May.-E.
(663) The Duke of Cumberlan(l. Mr. George Townshend was very
skilful at drawing caricatures, and published a set of twelve;
to which he affixed the name of Austin.-E.
314 Letter 176
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, March 18, 1756.
I am not surprised to find by your letters of 21st and 28th of
February how much you have been alarmed for your brother. You
have not felt more than I have: but I have the satisfaction of
seeing him mend, while you undergo the terrible suspense of
waiting for posts. He has been pulled much back by the
operation of his quicksilver, which flung him into a severe
looseness and kind of salivation: it weakened him much and kept
him from the air, but it brought off a great load of black
stuff from his stomach, and his spirits are exceedingly better.
He is to go to the Bath as soon as he is able. Would to heaven
I could prevail for his going to Italy, but he will not listen
to it. You may be confident that I do not stop at mere decency
in checking his domestic torment--it is terrible; but when I
saw him in so much danger, I kept no measures-I went lengths
that would be inexcusable in any other situation. No
description can paint the madness, (and when I call it madness,
I know I flatter) the preposterous unreasonableness and
infernal temper of that little white fiend! His temper, which
is equal to yours, bears him up under it. I am with him two or
three mornings every week, and think I shall yet preserve him
for you. The physicians are positive that his lungs are not
We proceed fiercely in armaments-yet in my own opinion, and I
believe the ministry think so too, the great danger is for Port
Mahon. Admiral Bing sails directly for the Mediterranean. The
Brest fleet that slipped away, is thought on its progress to
Nova Scotia. The Dutch have excused sending us their troops on
the imminence of their own danger. The parliamentary campaign
is almost over; you know I persist in believing that we shall
not have any other here.
Thank you much for your kindness to Mr. Dick; I will repay you
on your brother, though I don't know how to place him to any
account but my own. If I could be more anxious than I am about
him, it would be, my dear child, on what you say to me on
yourself; but be comforted, all will yet be well.
Mr. Chute's picture is not yet arrived; when it comes, he shall
thank you himself. I must now give you a new commission, and
for no less a minister than the chancellor of the exchequer.
Sir George Lyttelton desires that you will send him for his
hall the jesses of the Venus, the dancing Faun, the Apollo
Medicis, (I think there is a cast of it,) the Mercury, and some
other female statue, at your choice: he desires besides three
pair of Volterra vases, of the size to place on tables, and
different patterns. consign the whole to me, and draw the bill
of lading on me.
I have nothing more to tell you but a naivet`e of my Lady
Coventry; the King asked her if she was not sorry that there
are no masquerades this year-(for you must know we have
sacrificed them to the idol earthquake,)-she said, no, she was
tired of them; she was surfeited with most sights; there was
but one left that she wanted to see--and that was a coronation!
The old man told it himself at supper to his family with a
great deal of good humour. Adieu! my dear child.
315 Letter 177
315 Letter 177
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(664)
Arlington Street, March 25, 1756.
In spite of being sorry, as I certainly ought to be, when your
letters are short, I feel quite glad; I rejoice that I am not
much in your debt, when I have not wherewithal to pay. Nothing
happens worth telling you: we have had some long days in the
House, but unentertaining; Mr. Pitt has got the gout in his
oratory, I mean in his head, and does not come out: we are sunk
quite into argument--but you know, when any thing is as it
should be, it is not worth talking of. The plate-tax has made
some noise; the ministry carried one question on it but by
nine. The Duke of Newcastle, who reserves all his heroism for
the war, grew frightened, and would have given up the tax; but
Mr. Fox bolstered up his courage and mustered their forces, and
by that and softening the tax till it was scarce worth
retaining, they carried the next question by an hundred. The
day before yesterday the King notified the invasion to both
Houses, and his having sent for Hessians. There were some
dislikes expressed to the latter; but, in general, fear
preponderated so much that the cry was for Hanoverians too.
Lord George Sackville, in a very artful speech, a little
maliciously even proposed them and noblemen's regiments: which
the Duke had rejected. Lord Ravensworth, in the other House,
moved in form for Hanoverians; the Duke of Newcastle desired a
few days to consider it, and they are to go upon it in the
Lords to-morrow. The militia, which had been dropped for next
year, is sprouted up again out of all this, and comes on
to-day. But we should not be English, if we did not become
still more intent on a very trifle: we are. A new road through
Paddington(665) has been proposed to avoid the stones: the Duke
of Bedford, who is never 'In town in summer, objects to the
dust it will make behind Bedford House, and to some buildings
proposed, though, if he was in town, he is too short-sighted to
see the prospect. The Duke of Grafton heads the other side:
this is carried! you can imagine it---you could compose the
difference! you, grand corrupter, you who can bribe pomp and
patriotism, virtue and a Speaker,(666) you that have pursued
uprightness even to the last foot of land on the globe, and
have disarmed Whiggism almost on the banks of its own Boyne-
-don't you return hither, we shall have you attempt to debauch
even Mr. Onslow, who has preserved his chastity, while all the
band of chosen youths, while every Pultney, Pitt, and Lyttelton
have fallen around him. I could not help laughing at the
picture of Malone bribed out of his virtue and mobbed into it
Now I am in a serious strain, I will finish my letter with the
only other serious history I know. My Lady Lincoln has given a
prodigious assembly to show the Exchequer house.(667) She sent
to the porter to send cards to all she visited: he replied, he
could easily do that, for his lady visited nobody but Lady Jane
Scott. As she has really neglected every body, many refusals
were returned. The Duchess of Bedford was not invited, and
made a little opposition-supper, which was foolish enough. As
the latter had refused to return my Lady Falmouth's visit, my
Lady Lincoln singled her out, visited and invited her. The
dignity of the assembly was great- Westminster Hall was
illuminated for chairs; the passage from it hung with green
baize and lamps, and matted. The cloister was the prettiest
sight in the world, lighted with lamps and Volterra vases. The
great apartment is magnificent. Sir Thomas Robinson the Long,
who you know is always propriety itself, told me how much the
house was improved since it was my brother's. The Duchess of
Norfolk gives a great ball next week to the Duke of Cumberland:
so you see that she does not expect the Pretender, at least
this fortnight. Last night, at my Lady Hervey's, Mrs. Dives
was expressing great panic about the French: my Lady Rochford,
looking down on her fan, said with great softness, "I don't
know, I don't think the French are a sort of people that women
need be afraid of." Adieu!
(664) Now first published.
(665) The Paddington or New Road, which the Duke of Bedford
opposed as making a dust behind Bedford House, and from some
intended buildings being likely to interrupt his prospect. The
Duke of Grafton warmly espoused the other side of the question.
(666) The Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.
(667) Lord Lincoln was at this time auditor of the
316 Letter 178
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, April 16, 1756.
You wrong me very much in thinking I omit writing because I
don't hear from you as often as you have a mind I should: you
are kinder to me in that respect than I have reason,
considering your numerous occupations, to expect: the real and
whole truth is, that I have had nothing to tell you; for I
could not tire either you or myself with all the details
relating to this foolish road-bill, which has engrossed the
whole attention of every body lately. I have entered into it
less than any body. What will you say when you are told that
proxies have been sent for to Scotland? that my Lord Harrington
has been dragged into the House of Lords from his coffin, and
Lord Arran(668) carried thither to take the oaths, who I
believe has not appeared there since the Revolution? In short,
it has become quite a trial for power: and though the Dukes of
Grafton and Bedford have lent their names and their vehemence,
you will guess what has been the engine behind the curtain.
The French are so obliging as to wait till we have done with
these important squabbles: the House of Commons takes care too
not to draw off the attention of the nation. The Militia-bill
has passed through that solitude, but I hear will be stopped in
the House of Lords. I have lived lately in a round of great
disagreeable suppers, which you know are always called for my
Lady Yarmouth, as if the poor woman loved nothing but cramming:
I suppose it will so much become the etiquette, that in the
next reign there will be nothing but suppers for my Lord Bute.
I am now come hither to keep my Newmarket, but the weather is
cold and damp: it is uncertain whether the Duke makes that
campaign, or against the French. As the road-bill extinguished
the violence about the two operas of next year, and they made
the invasion forgot, and the invasion the earthquake, I
foresee--and I go almost upon as sure grounds as prophets that
take care to let the event precede the prediction-I foresee
that the Hanoverians will swallow up all: they have already a
general named, who ranks before any one of ours; and there are
to be two Hanoverian aide-de-camps!
You will hear by this post of the death of Sir William Lowther,
whose vast succession falls to Sir James, and makes him
Croesus: he may hire the Dukes of Bedford and Marlborough for
led captains. I am sorry for this young man, though I did not
know him; but it is hard to be cut off so young and so rich:
old rich men seldom deserve to live, but he did a thousand
generous acts. You will be diverted with a speech of Lord
Shelburne,(669) one of those second-rate fortunes who have not
above five-and-thirty thousand pounds a year. He says, every
body may attain some one point if they give all their attention
to it; for his part, he knows he has no great capacity, he
could not make a figure by his parts; he shall content himself
with being one of the richest men in England! I literally saw
him t'other day buying pictures for two-and-twenty shillings,
that I would not hang in my garret, while I, who certainly have
not made riches my sole point of view, was throwing away
guineas, and piquing myself for old tombstones against your
father-in-law the General.(670) I hope Lady Ailesbury will
forgive my zeal for Strawberry against Coombank! Are you never
to see your Strawberry Hill again'? Lord Duncannon flatters us
that we shall see you in May. If I did not hope it, I would
send you the only two new fashionable pieces; a comic
elegy(671) by Richard Owen Cambridge, and a wonderful book by a
more wonderful author, Greville.(672) It is called "Maxims and
Characters:" several of the former are pretty: all the latter
so absurd, that one in particular, which at the beginning you
take for the character of a man, turns out to be the character
of a postchaise.
You never tell me now any of Missy's bons-mots. I hope she has
not resided in Ireland till they are degenerated into bulls?
(668) Charles Butler, second son of Thomas, Earl of Ossory,
created Earl of Arran in 1693. At his death, in 1759, his
title became extinct.-E.
(669) John, fifth son of Thomas Fitzmaurice, first Earl of
Kerry. He inherited, pursuant to the will of his uncle, Henry
Petty, Earl of Shelburne, his lordship's opulent fortune, and
assumed his surname in 1751. He was created Earl of Shelburne
in the kingdom of Ireland; and, in 1760, was raised to the
dignity of a British peer, by the title Of Lord Wycombe. He
died in 1761.-E.
(670) General John Campbell, who, upon the death of Archibald
Duke of Argyle, succeeded to that title.
(671) An Elegy on an Empty Assembly-room.-E.
(672) Fulke Greville, Esq. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in a
letter to her daughter, dated Louvere, Oct. 9, 1757, says, "We
have had many English here. Mr. Greville, his lady, and her
suite of adorers deserved particular notice: he was so good as
to present me with his curious book: since the days of the
Honourable Edward Howard, nothing has been published like it.
I told him the age wanted an Earl of Dorset to celebrate it
properly; and he was so well pleased with that speech, that he
visited me every day, to the great comfort of Madame, who was
entertained, meanwhile, with parties of pleasure of another
kind, though I fear I lost his esteem at last, by refusing to
correspond with him."-E.
318 Letter 179
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, April 18, 1756.
I wish I could send you accounts of your brother's amendment in
proportion to your impatience, and to my own: he does mend
certainly, but it is slowly: he takes the air every day, and
they talk of his riding, though I don't think him strong enough
yet to sit a horse; when he has rid a little he is to go to the
Bath. I wish it much; for though he is at Richmond, there is
no keeping him from doing too much business. Dr. Cocchi has
showed his usual sagacity: the case is pronounced entirely
asthmatic. As they have acquitted him of a consumption, I feel
easy, though the complaint he has is so uneasy to himself'.
You must not be discouraged by my accounts; for I see your
brother so very often, that it is not possible for me to
discern the progress of alteration in him.
YOU Will not believe how little we have thought of the French
lately! We are engaged in a civil war-not between St. James's
and Leicester House, but between the Dukes of Grafton and
Bedford, about a new turnpike-road on the back of the town: as
you may imagine, it grows politics; and if it is not
compromised during the recess, the French may march deep into
the kingdom before they become greater politics.
We think them not ready for Minorca, and that we shall be
prepared to receive them there. The Hessians are expected
immediately; and soon after them the Hanoverians; and soon
after them many jealousies and uneasinesses.
These are all the politics I can tell you; and I have as little
else to tell you. Poor Lady Drumlanrig(673) Whose lord
perished so unfortunately about a ear and a half ago, is dead
of a consumption from that shock; and Sir William Lowther, one
of the two heirs of old Sir James, died two days ago of a
fever. He was not above six-and-twenty, master of above twenty
thousand pounds a-year - sixteen of which comes to young Sir
James, who was equally rich: think what a fortune is here
assembled-will any Florentine believe this when reduced to
sequins or scudi?
I receive such packets of thanks of Lady Harry Beauclerc,
transmitted to her from Mr. Dick, that you must bear to have
some of them returned to you. I know you enough to believe
that you will be still better pleased with new trouble than
with my gratitude, therefore I will immediately flounce into
more recommendation; but while I do recommend, I must send a
bill of discount at the same time: in short, I have been
pressed to mention a Sir Robert Davers to you; but as I have
never seen him, I will not desire much more than your usual
civility for him; sure he may be content with that! I remember
Sir William Maynard,(674) and am cautious.
Since I began this, I receive yours of April 2d, full of
uneasiness for your brother's quicksilver and its effects. I
did not mention it to you, because, though it put him back, his
physicians were persuaded that he would not suffer, and he has
not. As to reasoning with them, my dear child, it is
impossible: I am more ignorant in physic than a child of six
years old; if it were not for reverence for Dr. Cocchi, and out
of gratitude to Dr. Pringle, who has been of such service to
your brother, I should say, I am as ignorant as a physician. I
am really so sensible of the good your brother has received
from this doctor, that I myself am arrived so far towards being
ill, that I now know, if I was to be ill, who should be my
physician. The weather has been so wet and cold that your
brother has received very little benefit from it: he talked to
me again this morning of riding but I don't yet think him able;
if you had seen him as I saw him the day I wrote my first
letter to you, you would be as happy as I am now: without that
I fear you would be shocked to see how he is emaciated; but his
eyes, his spirits, his attention, give me great hopes, though I
absolutely think it a tedious astigmatic case. Adieu! my dear
child; be in better spirits, and don't expect either sudden
amendment or worse change.
(673) Daughter of the Earl of Hopton.-E.
(674) Whom Mr. Walpole recommended to Sir H. Mann, to whom Sir
William, who was a Jacobite, behaved very impertinently.
319 Letter 180
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, April 20, 1756.
Your steward called on me just as I was going to keep my
Newmarket at Strawberry Hill; he promised to leave me the
direction to the statuary, but as I have not heard from him, I
wish you would send it me
The cold and the wet have driven me back to London, empty
London! where we are more afraid of the deluge than of the
invasion. The French are said to be sailed for Minorca, which
I hold to be a good omen of their not coming hither; for if
they took England, Port Mahon, I should think, would scarcely
Pray don't die, like a country body, because it is a fashion
for gentlefolks to die in London; it li's the bon ton now to
die; one can't show one's face without being a death's-head.
Mrs. Bethel and I are come strangely into fashion; but true
critics in mode object to our having underjaws, and maintain
that we are not dead comme il faut. The young Lady Exeter(675)
died almost suddenly, and has handsomely confirmed her father's
will, by leaving her money to her lord only for his life, and
then to Thomas Townshend.(676) Sir William Lowther has made a
charming will, and been as generous at his death as he was in
his short life; he has left thirteen legacies of five thousand
pounds each to friends; of which you know by sight,
Reynolds,(677) Mrs. Brudenel's son, (678) and young Turner. He
has given seventeen hundred pounds a-year; that is, I suppose,
seventeen hundred Pounds, to old Mrs. Lowther.(679) What an
odd circumstance! a woman passing an hundred years to receive a
legacy from a man of twenty-seven; after her it goes to Lord
George Cavendish. Six hundred pounds per year he gives to
another Mrs. Lowther, to be divided afterwards between Lord
Frederick and Lord John. Lord Charles, his uncle, is residuary
legatee. But what do you think of young Mr. James Lowther, who
not of age becomes master of one or two and forty thousand
pounds a-year? England will become a heptarchy, the property of
six or seven people! The Duke of Bedford is fallen to be not
above the fourth rich man in the island.
Poor Lord Digby(680) is like to escape happily at last, after
being cut for the stone, and bearing the preparation and
execution with such heroism, that waking with the noise of the
surgeons, he asked if that was to be the day? "Yes."--"How
soon will they be ready?"--"Not for some time."--"Then let me
sleep till they are?" He was cut by a new instrument of
Hawkins, which reduces an age of torture to but one minute.
The Duke had appeared in form on the causeway in Hyde Park with
my lady Coventry: it is the new office, where all lovers are
entered. How happy she must be with Billy and Bully!(681) I
hope she will not mistake, and call the former by the nickname
of the latter. At a great supper t'other night at Lord
Hertford's, if she was not the best-humoured creature in the
world, I should have made her angry: she said in a very vulgar
accent, if she drank any more, she should be muckibus. "Lord!"
said Lady Mary Coke, "what is that?"-"Oh! it is Irish for
There is a new Morocco ambassador, who declares for Lady
Caroline Petersham, preferably to Lady Coventry. Lady Caroline
Fox says he is the best bred of all the foreign ministers, and
at one dinner said more obliging things than Mirepoix did
during his whole embassy. He is so fashionable, that George
Selwyn says he is sure my lady Winchelsea will ogle him instead
I shall send you soon the fruits of my last party to
Strawberry; Dick Edgcumbe, George Selwyn, and Williams were
with me: we composed a coat of arms for the two clubs at
White's, which is actually engraving from a very pretty
painting of Edgcumbe, whom Mr. Chute, as Strawberry king at
arms, has appointed our chief herald painter; here is the
Vert (for card-table,) between three -parolis proper on a
chevron table (for hazard-table) two rouleaus in saltire
between two dice proper: in a canton, sable, a white ball (for
Supporters. An old knave of clubs on the dexter; a young knave
on the sinister side; both accoutred proper.
Crest. Issuing out of an earl's coronet (Lord Darlington) an
arm shaking a dice-box, all proper.
Motto. (Alluding to the crest,) Cogit amor nummi. The arms
encircled by a claret bottle ticket, by way of order.
By the time I hope to see you at Strawberry Hill, there will be
a second volume of the Horatiana ready for the press; or a full
and true account of the bloody civil wars of the house of
Walpole, being a narrative of the unhappy differences between
Horatio and Horace Walpoles; in short, the old wretch, who
aspires to be one of the heptarchy, and who I think will live
as long as old Mrs. Lowther, has accomplished such a scene of
abominable avarice and dirt, that I, notwithstanding my desire
to veil the miscarriages of my race, have been obliged to drag
him and all his doings into light-but I won't anticipate.
(675)Daughter and heir of horatio, son of the first Viscount
(676) The Honourable Thomas Townshend, second son of Charles
second Viscount Townshend, member for the University of
(677) Francis Reynolds, of strangeways, Esq.-E.
(678) George Brudenel, Esq. afterwards member for Rutlandshire,
and equerry to George the Second.-E.
(679) Hannah, youngest daughter of alderman Lowther. She had
been maid of honour to Queens Mary and Anne, and died in 1757,
at the age of one hundred and three.-E.
(680) Edward sixth Lord Digby. he died in the following
(681) The Duke of cumberland and Lord Bolingbroke.-E.
321 Letter 181
To George Montagu, Esq.
Don't imagine I write to you for any thing but form; there is
nothing like news, except the Prussian victories, which you see
in the papers: by next courier we expect he will send us at
least a leg or an arm of the Empress Queen.
Our domestic politics are far from settled. The King is gone
to Kensington, and when any ministry can be formed, it is to be
sent after him. The Parliament draggles on, till any two of
the factions can unite. I have not got my tickets yet, but
will certainly reserve what you want. Adieu!
322 Letter 182
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, May 16, 1756.
You will hear with great satisfaction that your brother rides
out every day, and bears it pretty well. I sent to him
yesterday morning, and my Swiss boy told me with great joy at
his return, that he saw your brother's servants cutting a plate
of bread and butter for him, big enough, said he, for you, Sir,
and Mr. Bentley, and Mr. Muntz--who is a Swiss painter that I
keep in the house--you perceive I deal much in Swiss. I saw
your brother this morning myself; he does not mend so fast as I
wish, but I still attribute it to the weather. I mentioned to
him Dr. Cocchi's desire of seeing his case and regimen in
writing by Dr. Pringle, but I found he did not care for it; and
you may imagine I would not press it. I sifted Dr. Pringle
himself, but he would not give me a positive answer: I fear he
still thinks that it is not totally an asthma. If you had seen
him so much worse, as I have, you would be tolerably comforted
now. Lord Malpas(682) saw him to-day for the first time, and
told me alone that he found him much better than he expected.
His spirits and attention to every thing are just as good as
ever, which was far from being the case three months ago.
I read the necessary part of your letter to Sir George
Lyttelton, who thinks himself much obliged, and leaves the
vases entirely to your taste, and will be fully content with
the five jesses you name.
We have nothing new; the Parliament rises the 25th: all our
attention is pointed to Minorca, of which you must be much
better and sooner informed than we can. Great dissatisfactions
arise about the defenceless state in which it was left; it is
said, some account arrived from Commodore Edgcumbe(683) the
night before last, but it is kept very secret, which at least
specifies the denomination of it. I hope to find Mr. Conway in
town to-morrow night, whither he is just returned from Ireland;
he has pacified that country to the standard of his own
I have read the poem you mention, the Pucelle, and am by no
means popular, for I by no means like it-it is as tiresome as
if it was really a heroic poem. The four first cantos are by
much the best, and throughout there are many vivacities; but so
absurd, perplexed a story is intolerable; the humour often
missed, and even the parts that give most offence, I think very
P. S. We are to declare war this week; I suppose, in order to
make peace, as we cannot make peace till we have made war.
(682) George, eldest son of George third Earl of Cholmondeley,
by Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Walpole: he died before his
father and was father of George the fourth earl.
(683) George, second son of Richard Lord Edgecumbe, succeeded
his brother in the title, and was by George III. created
Viscount Mount Edgccumbe.
323 Letter 183
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 19, 1756.
Nothing will be more agreeable to me than to see you at
Strawberry Hill; the weather does not seem to be of my mind,
and will not invite you. I believe the French have taken the
sun. Among other captures, I hear the King has taken another
English mistress. a Mrs. Pope, who took her degrees in
gallantry some years ago. She went to Versailles with the
famous Mrs. quon: the King took notice of them; he was told
that they were not so rigid as all other English women are-
-mind, I don't give you any part of this history for authentic;
you know we can have no news from France but what we run. I
have rambled so that I forgot what I intended to say; if ever
we can have spring, it must be soon; I propose to expect you
any day you please after Sunday se'nnight, the 30th: let me
know your resolution, and pray tell me in what magazine is the
Strawberry ballad? I should have proposed an earlier day to
you, but next week the Prince of Nassau is to breakfast at
Strawberry Hill, and I know your aversion to clashing with
As I have already told you one mob story of a king, I will tell
you another: they say, that the night the Hanover troops were
voted, he sent Schutz(684) for his German cook, and said, "Get
me a very good supper; get me all de varieties; I don't mind
I tremble lest his Hanoverians should be encamped at Hounslow;
Strawberry would become an inn; all the Misses would breakfast
there, to go and see the camp!
My Lord Denbigh,(685) is going to marry a fortune, I forget her
name; my Lord Gower asked him how long the honeymoon would
last? He replied, "Don't tell me of the honeymoon; it is
harvest moon with me." Adieu!
(684) Augustus Schutz, a German, master of the robes to the
King, and his favourite attendant.-E.
(685) Basil sixth Earl of Denbigh. In the following year he
married Mary, daughter and coheiress of Sir John Bruce
323 Letter 184
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, May 27, 1756.
Your brother is determined to go to Bristol in ten days: our
summer, which nobody but the almanack has the confidence to say
is not winter, is so cold that he does not advance at all. If
his temper was at all in the power of accidents, it would be
affected enough just now to affect his health! What a figure we
would make in a catalogue of philosophers or martyrs! His
wife's aunt, Mrs. Forth, who has always promised him the half
of her fortune, which is at least thirty thousand pounds, is
dead, and has left him only two thousand pounds. He sent for
your brother Ned this morning to talk to him upon some other
business, and it was with such unaffected cheerfulness, that
your eldest brother concluded he was reserving the notification
of a legacy of at least ten thousand pounds for the bonne
bouche; but he can bear his wife, and then what are
disappointments? Pray, my dear child, be humble, and don't
imagine that yours is the only best temper in the world. I
pretend so little to a good one, that it is no merit in me to
be out of all patience.
My uncle's ambition and dirt are crowned at last: he is a
peer.(686) Lord Chief Justice Ryder, who was to have kissed
hands with him on Monday, was too ill, and died on
Tuesday;(687) but I believe his son will save the peerage.
We know nothing yet of Minorca, and seem to think so little of
our war, that to pass away his time, Mars is turned Impresario:
in short, the Duke has taken the Opera-house for the ensuing
season. There has been a contest between the manager Vanneschi
and the singers Mingotti and Ricciarelli;(688) the Duke
patronizes the Mingotti and lists under her standard. She is a
fine singer, an admirable actress; I cannot say her temper is
entirely so sweet as your brother's.
May 30th, Arlington Street,
See what a country gentleman I am! One cannot stir ten miles
from London without coming to believe what one hears, and
without supposing that whatever should be done, will be done.
The Opera-house is still in dispute between Signor Guglielmo
and Signor Vanneschi--and Mr. Ryder(689) will not get the
peerage; for coronets are not forfeited by worthlessness, but
by misfortune. My lord Chief Justice misses one by only dying,
my uncle gets one by living!
I this moment receive your letter of the 15th. We had picked
up by scrambling accounts pretty much what you tell me of
Minorca; but hitherto we only live on comparing dates.
I can add nothing to what I have said in the article of your
brother. I am going to send the papers to Lord
P. S. It is uncertain who will be Chief Justice; Murray could
have no competitor, but the Duke of Newcastle cannot part with
him from the House of Commons.(691)
(686) Through the zeal of his friend Lord Hardwicke, and the
influence of the Cavendish party, the repugnance of the King
was overcome, and Horatio Walpole, on the 1st of June, was
elevated to the peerage, by the title of Lord Walpole of
(687) On the 24th of May, the King signed a warrant for raising
Sir Dudley Ryder to the peerage, but he died before the patent
(688) "Vanneschi's difference with Mingotti occasioned as many
private quarrels and public feuds as the disputed abilities of
Handel and Bononcini, or the talents of Faustina and Cuzzoni,
had done thirty years before. On a toujours tort in these
disputes; and addressing the town is but making bad worse: for
not a word which either party says is believed. These
squabbles ended in Vanneschi's being a bankrupt, a prisoner in
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