The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2
Part 11 out of 16
the Fleet, and afterwards a fugitive; and in Mingotti's
acquiring for a while the sovereignty in the Opera kingdom, by
which gratification of ambition they were soon brought to the
brink of ruin, as others had been before them." Burney.-E.
(689) In 1776, Mr. Ryder was created Baron Harrowby.-E.
(690) George Parker, second Earl of Macclesfield, President of
the Royal Society. He died in 1764.-D.
(691) Mr. Potter, in a letter to Mr. Pitt of the 4th of June,
says, "Upon the death of the Chief Justice, all the
Attorney-General's private friends thought the office, on every
account, so fit for him, that it would be infatuation to
decline it, and that the Attorney-General himself was of the
same opinion, but the Duke of Newcastle was frightened at the
thoughts of what was to become of the House of Commons."
Chatham Correspondence, v 1. i. p. 159.-E.
325 Letter 185
To The Earl Of Strafford.(692)
Strawberry Hill, June 6, 1756.
My dear lord,
I am not sorry to be paving my way to Wentworth Castle by a
letter, where I suppose you are at this time, and for which I
waited: it is not that I stayed so long before I executed my
embassy aupr`es de Milord Tylney. He had but one pair of gold
pheasants at present, but promises my Lady Strafford the first
fruits of their loves. He gave me hopes of some pied peacocks
sooner, for which I asked directly, as one must wait for the
lying-in of the pheasants. If I go on negotiating so
successfully, I may hope to arrive at a peerage a little sooner
than my uncle has.
As your Lordship, I know, is so good as to interest yourself in
the calamities of your friends, I will, as shortly as I can,
describe and grieve your heart with a catastrophe that has
happened to two of them. My Lady Ailesbury, Mr. Conway, and
Miss Rich passed two days last week at Strawberry Hill. We
were returning from Mrs. Clive's through the long field, and
had got over the high stile that comes into the road; that is,
three of us. It had rained, and the stile was wet. I could
not let Miss Rich straddle across so damp a palfrey, but took
her in my arms to lift her over. At that instant I saw a coach
and six come thundering down the hill from my house; and
hurrying to set down my charge, and stepping backwards, I
missed the first step, came down headlong with the nymph in my
arms; but turning quite round as we rushed to the ground, the
first thing that touched the earth was Miss Rich's head. You
must guess in how improper a situation we fell; and you must
not tell my Lady Strafford before any body that every
petticoat, etc. in the world were canted high enough indeed!
The coach came on, and never stopped. The apprehension that it
would run over my Chloe made me lie where I was, holding out my
arm to keep off the horses, which narrowly missed trampling us
to death. The ladies, who were Lady Holderness, Miss Pelham,
and your sister Lady Mary Coke, stared with astonishment at the
theatre which they thought I had chosen to celebrate our loves;
the footmen laughed; and you may imagine the astonishment of
Mr. Conway and Lady Ailesbury, who did not see the fall, but
turned and saw our attitude. It was these spectators that
amazed Miss Pelham, who described the adventure to Mrs. Pitt,
and said, "What was most amazing, there were Mr. Conway and
Lady Ailesbury looking on!" I shall be vexed to have told you
this long story, if Lady Mary has writ it already; only tell
in@ honestly if she has described it as decently as I have.
If you have not got the new Letters and Memoirs of Madame
Maintenon, I beg I may recommend them for your summer reading.
As far as I have got, which is but into the fifth volume of the
Letters, I think you will find them very curious, and some very
entertaining. The fourth volume has persuaded me of the
sincerity of' her devotion; and two or three letters at the
beginning of my present tome have made me even a little jealous
for my adored Madame de S`evign`e. I am quite glad to find
that they do not continue equally agreeable. The extreme
misery to which France was reduced at the end of Queen Anne's
war, is more striking than one could conceive. I hope it is a
debt that they are not going to pay, though the news that
arrived on Wednesday have but a black aspect. The
consternation on the behaviour of Byng,(693) and on the amazing
Council of war at Gibraltar,(694) is extreme; many think both
next to impossibilities. In the mean time we fear the loss of
Minorca. I could not help smiling t'other day at two passages
in Madame Maintenon's Letters relating to the Duc de Richelieu,
when he first came into the world: "Jamais homme n'a mieux
r`eussi `a la cour, la premi`ere fois qu'il y a paru: c'est
r`eellement une tr`es-jolie cr`eature!" Again:--"C'est la plus
aimable poup`ee qu'on puisse voir." How mortifying that this ,
jolie poup`ee should be the avenger Of the Valoises!
Adieu! my lord. I don't believe that a daughter of the Duke of
Argyle(695) will think that the present I have announced in the
first part of my letter balances the inglorious article in the
end. I wish you would both renew the breed of heroes, which
seems scarcer than that of gold pheasants!
(692) William Wentworth, second Earl of Strafford, of the
second creation. He married Lady Anne Campbell, second
daughter of John, second Duke of Argyle, and died in 1791.-E.
(693) Hon. John Byng, fourth son of Admiral Byng; a
distinguished officer, who, for his eminent services, was
created Viscount Torrington in 1721.-E.
(694) A council of war was held at Gibraltar, to decide upon a
request made by Admiral Byng for a reinforcement of troops from
that garrison for the defence of Minorca; where M. de la
Galissoni`ere, with thirteen sail of the line and several
transports, had, towards the end of April, landed a large body
of land forces under the command of the Duc de Richelieu.-E.
(695) Lady Strafford was the youngest daughter of John Duke of
327 Letter 186
To John Chute, Esq.(696)
Arlington Street, June 8, 1756.
My dear sir,
Pray have a thousand masses said in your divine chapel `a
l'intention of your poor country. I believe the occasion will
disturb the founder of it, and make him shudder in his shroud
for the ignominy of his countrymen. By all one learns, Byng,
Fowke, and all the officers at Gibraltar, were infatuated!
They figured Port Mahon lost, and Gibraltar a-going! a-going!
Lord Effingham, Cornwallis, Lord Robert Bertie, all, all signed
the council of war, and are in as bad odour as possible. The
King says It will be his death, and that he neither eats nor
sleeps--all our trust is in Hanoverians.
The Prince has desired to be excused living at Kensington, but
accepts of 40,000 pounds a year; 5,000 pounds is given to
Prince Edward, and an establishment is settling; but that too
will meet with difficulties. I will be more circumstantial
when we Meet.(697)
My uncle has chose no motto nor supporters yet: one would think
there were fees to pay for them! Mr. Fox said to him, "Why
don't you take your family motto?" He replied, "Because my
nephew would say I think I speak as well as my brother." I
believe he means me. I like his awe. The Duke of Richmond,
taking me for his son, reproached himself to Lady Caroline Fox
for not wishing me joy. She is so sorry she undeceived him!
Charles Townshend has turned his artillery upon his own court:
he says, "Silly fellow for silly fellow, I don't see why it is
not as well to be governed by my uncle with a blue riband, as
by my cousin with a green one."
I have passed to-day one of the most agreeable days of my life;
your righteous spirit will be offended with me-but I must tell
you: my Lord and Lady Bath carried my Lady Hervey and me to
dine with my Lady Allin at Blackheath. What added to the
oddness of the company in which I found myself was her sister
Mrs. Cleveland, whose bitterness against my father and uncle
for turning out her husband you have heard--but she is very
agreeable. I had a little private satisfaction in very
naturally telling my Lord Bath how happy I have made his old
printer, Franklyn. The Earl was in extreme good-humour,
repeated epigrams, ballads, anecdotes, stories, which, as
Madame S`evign`e says, put one in mind " "de sa d`efunte
veine." The Countess was not in extreme good-humour, but in
the best-humoured ill-humour in the world; contested every
thing with great drollery, and combated Mrs. Cleveland on
Madame Maintenon's character, with as much satire and knowledge
of the world as ever I heard in my life. I told my Lord Bath
General Wall's foolish vain motto, "Aut Caesar aut nihil." He
replied, "He is an impudent fellow; he should have taken 'Murus
aheneus.'" Doddington has translated well the motto on the
caps of the Hanoverians, "Vestigia nulla retrorsum." "They
never mean to go back again."
Saunders, the new admiral, told the King yesterday in a very
odd phrase, that they should scren his heart out, if Byng is
not now in the harbour of Mahon. The world condemns extremely
the rashness of superseding admirals on no information but from
our enemies. The ministry tremble for Thursday se'nnight
(inter alia), when the King is to desire the Parliament to
adjourn again. I believe altogether it will make a party.
(696) Now first printed.
(697) "June 6. I heard that a message in writing had been sent
to the Prince, from the King offering him an allowance of
40,000 pounds a year, and an apartment in the palaces of
Kensington and St. James's. The answer was full of high
gratitude for the allowance, but declining the apartment, on
account of the mortification it would be to his mother; though
it is well known that he does not live with her, either in town
or country." Doddington, p. 345.-E.
328 Letter 187
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, June 14, 1756.
Our affairs have taken a strange turn, my dear Sir, since I
wrote to you last at the end of May; we have been all
confusion, consternation, and resentment! At this moment we
are all perplexity! When we were expecting every instant that
Byng would send home Marshal Richelieu's head to be placed upon
Temple-bar, we were exceedingly astonished to hear that the
governor and garrison of Gibraltar had taken a panic for
themselves, had called a council of war, and in direct
disobedience to a positive command, had refused Byng a
battalion from thence. This council was attended, and their
resolution signed, by all the chief officers there, among whom
are some particular favourites, and some men of the first
quality. Instead of being shocked at this disappointment, Byng
accompanied it with some wonderful placid letters, in which he
notified his intention of retiring under the cannon of
Gibraltar, in case he found it dangerous to attempt the relief
of Minorca! These letters had scarce struck their damp before
D'Abreu, the Spanish minister, received an account from France,
that Galissoni`ere had sent word that the English fleet had
been peeping about him, with exceeding caution, for two or
three days; that on the 20th of May they had scuffled for about
three hours, that night had separated them, and that to his
great astonishment, the English fleet, of which he had not
taken one vessel. had disappeared in the morning. If the world
was scandalized at this history, it was nothing to the
exasperation of the court, who, on no other foundation than an
enemy's report, immediately ordered Admiral Hawke and Saunders
[created an admiral on Purpose] to bridle and saddle the first
ship at hand, and post away to Gibraltar, and to hang and drown
Byng and West, and then to send them home to be tried for their
lives: and not to be too partial to the land, and to be as
severe upon good grounds as they were upon scarce any, they
despatched Lord Tyrawley and Lord Panmure upon the like errand
over the Generals Fowke and Stuart. This expedition had so far
a good effect, that the mob itself could i)ot accuse the
ministry of want of rashness; and luckily for the latter, in
three days more the same canal confirmed the disappearance of
the English fleet for four days after the engagement--but
behold! we had scarce had time to jumble together our sorrow
for our situation, and our satisfaction for the despatch we had
used to repair it, when yesterday threw us into a new puzzle.
Our spies, the French, have sent us intelligence that
Galissoni`ere is disgraced, recalled, and La Motte sent to
replace him, and that Byng has reinforced the garrison of St.
Philip's(698) with--150 men! You, who are nearer the spot, may
be able, perhaps, to unriddle or unravel all this confusion;
but you have no notion how it has put all your politics
This is not our only quandary! A message of 40,000 pounds
a-year, with an intention of an establishment for a court, and
an invitation of coming to live at Kensington, has been sent to
Leicester-fields. The money was very kindly received--the
proposal of leaving our lady-mother refused in most submissive
terms. It is not easy to enforce obedience; yet it is not
pleasant to part with our money for nothing--and yet it is
thought that will be the consequence of this ill-judged step of
authority. My dear child, I pity you who are to represent and
to palliate all the follies of your country!
My uncle has got his peerage: but just when the patent was
ready my Lord Privy Seal Gower went out of town, on which the
old baby wrote him quite an abusive letter, which my Lord Gower
answered with a great deal of wit and severity. Lord
Ilchester(699) and Lord Falconberg(700) are created earls.
General Isemberg of the Hessians has already diverted us: he
never saw the tide till he came to Southampton; he was alarmed,
and seeing the vessel leaning on the shore, he sent for his
master of the horse, and swore at him for overturning the ship
in landing the horses. Another of them has challenged a
Hampshire justice, for committing one of his soldiers; but
hitherto both Hessians and Hanoverians are rather popular.
Your brother, whom, if any thing, I think better, is set out
this morning for Bristol. You cannot pray more for its
restoring his health than I do. I have just received yours of
May 28th, to which I make no answer, as all the events I have
mentioned are posterior to your accounts. Adieu! my dear Sir.
(698) In the month of June 1756, the Marshal de Richelieu, at
the head of sixteen thousand men, landed in Minorca, and almost
immediately obtained possession of the whole island, as well as
of the fortress of St. Philip and Port Mahon, the population
joining him; and the garrison, commanded by General Blakeney,
being very weak, and not having received the expected succours
from Admiral Byng.-D.
(699) Stephen first Earl of Ilchester, eldest surviving son of
Sir Stephen Fox. His titles were given him, with remainder, in
failure of issue male of himself, to his younger brother, Henry
(700) Thomas Belasyse, fourth Viscount and first Earl of
Fauconberg. He died in 1774.-D.
330 Letter 188
To George Montagu, Esq.
The two drawings of the Vine and Strawberry, which you desired,
are done. and packed up in a box; tell me how I must send them.
The confusion about the ministry is not yet settled; at least
it was not at noon to-day; but, for fear that confusion should
ever finish, all the three factions are likely to come into
place together. Poor Mr. Chute has had another bad fit; he
took the air yesterday for the first time. I came to town but
last night, and returned to my chateau this evening knowing
nothing but that we are on the crisis of battles and
P. S. I just hear that your cousin Halifax has resigned, on
Pitt's not letting him be secretary of state for the West
330 Letter 189
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, July 11, 1756.
I receive with great satisfaction all your thanks for my
anxiety about your brother: I love you both so much, that
nothing can flatter me more, than to find I please the one by
having behaved as I ought to the other--oh, yes! I could be
much more rejoiced, if this brother ceased to want my
attentions. Bristol began to be of service to him. but he has
caught cold there, and been out of order again: he assures me
it is over. I will give you a kind of happiness: since he was
there, he tells me, that if he does not find all the benefit he
expects, he thinks of going abroad. I press this most eagerly,
and shall drive it on, for I own if he stays another winter in
England, I shall fear his disorder will fix irremovably. I
will give you a commission, which, for his sake, I am sure, you
will be attentive to execute in the perfectest manner. Mr. Fox
wants four vases of the Volterra alabaster, of four feet high
each. I choose to make over any merit in it to you, and though
I hate putting you to expense, at which you always catch so
greedily, when it is to oblige, yet you shall present these.
Choose the most beautiful patterns, look to the execution, and
send them with rapidity, with such a letter as your turn for
doing civil things immediately dictates.
There is no describing the rage against Byng; for one day we
believed him a real Mediterranean Byng.(701) He has not
escaped a sentence of abuse, by having involved so many
officers in his disgrace and his councils of war: one talks
coolly of their being broke, and that is all. If we may
believe report, the siege is cooled' into a blockade, and we
may still save Minorca, and, what I think still more of dear
old Blakeney.(702) What else we shall save or lose I know not.
The French, we hear, are embarked at Dunkirk--rashly, if to
come hither; if to Jersey or Guernsey, uncertain of success if
to Ireland, ora pro vobis! The Guards are going to encamp. I
am sorry to say, that with so much serious war about our ears,
we can't help playing with crackers. Well, if the French do
come, we shall at least have something for all the money we
have laid out on Hanoverians and Hessians! The latter, on
their arrival. asked bonnement where the French camp was. They
could not conceive being sent for if it was no nearer than
The difficulties in settling the Prince's family are far from
surmounted; the council met on Wednesday night to put the last
hand to it, but left it as unsettled as ever.
Pray do dare to tell me what French and Austrians say of their
treaty: we are angry--but when did subsidies purchase
gratitude! I don't think we have always found that they even
purchased temporary assistance. France declared, Sweden and
Denmark allied to France, Holland and Austria neuter, Spain not
quite to be depended on, Prussia--how sincerely reconciled!
Would not one think we were menaced with a league of Cambray?
When this kind of situation was new to me, I did not like it-I
have lived long enough, and have seen enough, to consider all
political events as mere history, and shall go and see the
camps with as unthinking curiosity as if I were a simpleton or
a new general. Adieu!
(701) His father, Lord Torrington, had made a great figure
there against the Spaniards.
(702) It was at that time believed that General Blakeney had
acted with great spirit; but it appeared afterwards that he had
been confined to his bed, and had not been able to do any
331 Letter 190
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, July 12, 1756.
When I have told you that Mr. Muntz has finished the drapery of
your picture, and the copy of it, and asked you whither and how
they must be sent, I think I have done all the business of my
letter; except telling you, that if you think of conveying them
through Moreland, he is gone a soldiering. All the world is
going the same road, except Mr. Muntz, who had rather be
knocked on the head for fame, than paint for it. He goes to
morrow to Kingston, to see the great drum pass by to Cobham, as
women go to take a last look of their captains. The Duke of
Marlborough, and his grandfather's triumphal car are to close
the procession. What would his grandame, if she were alive,
say to this pageant? If the war lasts, I think well enough of
him to believe he will earn a sprig; but I have no passion for
trying on a crown of laurel, before I had acquired it. The
French are said to be embarked at Dunkirk--lest I should seem
to know more than any minister, I will not pretend to guess
whither they are bound. I have been but one night in town, and
my head sung ballads about Admiral Byng all night, as one is
apt to dream of the masquerade minuet: the streets swarm so
with lampoons, that I begin to fancy myself a minister's son
I am going to-morrow to Park-place; and the first week in
August into Yorkshire. If I hear that you are at Greatworth,
that is, if you will disclose your motions to me for the first
fortnight of that month, I will try if I cannot make it in my
road either going or coming. I know nothing of roads, but Lord
Strafford is to send me a route, and I should be glad to ask
you do for one night--but don't expect me, don't be
disappointed about me, and of all things don't let so uncertain
a scheme derange the least thing in the world that you have to
do. There are going to be as many camps and little armies, as
when England was a heptarchy. Adieu!
332 Letter 191
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, July 24, 1756.
Because you desire it, I begin a letter to-day, but I don't
fancy I shall be able to fill to the bottom of this side. It
is in answer to your long one of the 3d. In answer?--no; you
must have Patience till next session before your queries can
be resolved, and then I believe you will not be very
communicative of the solutions. In short, all your questions
of, Why was not Byng sent sooner? Why not with more ships? Why
was Minorca not supported earlier? All these are questions
which all the world is asking as well as you, and to which all
the world does not make such civil answers as you must, and to
which I shall make none, as I really know none.(703) The
clamour is extreme, and I believe how to reply in Parliament
will be the chief business that will employ our ministry for
the rest of the summer--perhaps some such home and personal
considerations were occupying their thoughts in the winter,
when they ought to have been thinking of the Mediterranean.
We are still in the dark; we have nothing but the French
account of the surrender of St. Philip's: we are humbled,
disgraced, angry. We know as little of Byng, but hear that he
sailed with the reinforcement before his successor reached
Gibraltar. if shame, despair, or any human considerations can
give courage, he will surely contrive to achieve some great
action, or to be knocked on the head--a cannon-ball must be a
pleasant quietus. compared to being torn to pieces by an
English mob or a House of Commons. I know no other
alternative, but withdrawing to the Queen of Hungary, who
would fare little better if she were obliged to come hither--
we are extremely disposed to massacre somebody or other, to
show we have any courage left. You will be pleased with a
cool, sensible speech of Lord Granville to Coloredo, the
Austrian minister, who went to make a visit of excuses. My
Lord Granville interrupted him, and said, "Sir, this is not
necessary; I understand that the treaty is only of neutrality;
but what grieves me is, that our people will not understand it
so; and the prejudice will be so great, that when it shall
become necessary Again, as it will do, for us to support your
mistress, nobody will then dare to be a Lord Granville."
I think all our present hopes lie in Admiral Boscawen's
intercepting the great Martinico fleet of a hundred and fifty
sail, convoyed by five men-of-war Boscawen has twenty. I see
our old friend Prince Beauvau behaved well at Mahon. Our old
diversion, the Countess,(704) has exhibited herself lately to
the public exactly in a style you would guess. Having
purchased and given her lord's collection of statues to the
University of Oxford, she has been there at the public act to
receive adoration. A box was built for her near the
Vice-Chancellor, where she sat three days together for four
hours at a time to hear verses and speeches, to hear herself
called Minerva; nay, the public orator had prepared an
encomium on her beauty, but being struck with her appearance,
had enough presence of mind to whisk his compliments to the
beauties of her mind. Do but figure her; her dress had all
the tawdry poverty and frippery with which you remember her,
and I dare swear her tympany, scarce covered with ticking,
produced itself through the slit of her scowered damask robe.
It is amazing that she did not mash a few words of Latin, as
she used to fricasee French and Italian! or that she did not
torture some learned simile, like her comparing the tour of
Sicily, the surrounding the triangle, to squaring the circle;
or as when she said it was as difficult to get into an Italian
coach, as for Caesar to take Attica, which she meant for
Utica. Adieu! I trust by his and other accounts that your
P. S. The letters I mentioned to you, pretended to be Bower's,
are published, together with a most virulent pamphlet, but
containing affidavits, and such strong assertions of facts as
have staggered a great many people. His escape and account of
himself' in Italy is strongly questioned. I own I am very
impatient for the answer he has promised. I admire his book
so much, and see such malice in his accusers, that I am
strongly disposed to wish and think him a good man. Do, for
my private satisfaction, inquire and pick up all the anecdotes
you can relating to him, and what is said and thought of him
in Italy. One accusation I am sure is false, his being a
plagiary; there is no author from whom he could steal that
ever wrote a quarter so well.
(703) "However the case may be with regard to Byng," writes
Mr. George Grenville to Mr. Pitt, on the first intelligence of
the disaster, "what can be the excuse for sending a force,
which at the utmost is scarcely equal to the enemy, upon so
important and decisive an expedition? Though, in the venality
of this hour, it may be sufficient to throw the whole blame
upon Byng, yet I will venture to say, the other is a question
that, in the judgment of every impartial man, now and
hereafter, will require a better answer, I am afraid, than can
be given. I believe be was not reckoned backward in point of
personal courage, which makes this affair the more
extraordinary, and induces me to wait for his own account of
it, before I form an opinion of it." Chatham Correspondence,
vol. i. p. 163.-E.
(704) Of Pomfret.
334 Letter 192
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, August 28, 1756.
As you were so kind as to interest yourself about the issue of
my journey, I can tell you that I did get to Strawberry on
Wednesday night, but it was half an hour past ten first-
-besides floods the whole day, I had twenty accidents with my
chaise, and once saw one of the postilions with the wheel upon
his body; he came off with making his nose bleed. My castle,
like a little ark, is surrounded with many waters, (and
yesterday morning I saw the Blues wade half way up their
horses through Teddington-lane.
There is nothing new but what the pamphlet shops produce;
however it is pleasant to have a new print or ballad every
day--I never had an aversion to living in a Fronde. The
enclosed cards are the freshest treason; the portraits by
George Townshend are droll--the other is a dull obscure thing
as can be. The "Worlds" are by Lord Chesterfield on Decorum,
and by a friend of yours and mine, who sent it before he went
to Jersey; but this is a secret: they neglected it till now,
so preferable to hundreds they have published--I suppose Mr.
Moore finds, what every body else has found long, that he is
aground. I saw Lovel to-day; he is very far advanced and
executes to perfection; you will be quite satisfied; I am not
discontent with my own design, now I see how well it succeeds.
It will certainly be finished by Michaelmas, at which time I
told him he might depend on his money, and he seemed fully
satisfied. My compliments to your brother, and adieu!
334 Letter 193
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, August 29, 1756.
A journey of amusement into Yorkshire would excuse my not
having writ to you above this month, my dear Sir, but I have a
better reason,--nothing has happened worth telling YOU. Since
the conquest of Minorca, France seems to have taken the wisest
way for herself, and a sure one too of ruining us, by sitting
still, and yet keeping us upon our guard, at an outrageous
expense. Gazettes of all countries announce, as you say,
almost a league of Cambray against us; but the best heads
think, that after all Europe has profited of our profusion,
they will have the sense only to look on, while France and we
contend which shall hereafter be the Universal Merchant of
Venal Princes. If we reckon at all upon the internal
commotions in France, they have still a better prospect from
ours: we ripen to faction fast. The dearness of corn has even
occasioned insurrections: some of these the Chief Justice
Willcs has quashed stoutly. The rains have been excessive
just now, and must occasion more inconveniences. But the
warmth on the loss of Minorca has opened every sluice of
opposition that has been so long dammed up. Even Jacobitism
perks up those fragments of asses' ears which were not quite
cut to the quick. The city of London and some counties have
addressed the King and their members on our miscarriages. Sir
John Barnard, who endeavoured to stem the torrent of the
former, is grown almost as unpopular as Byng. That poor
simpleton, confined at Greenwich, is ridiculously easy and
secure, and has even summoned on his behalf a Captain Young,
his warmest accuser. Fowke, who of two contradictory orders
chose to obey the least spirited, is broke. Pamphlets and
satirical prints teem; the courts are divided; the ministers
quarrel-indeed, if they agreed, one should not have much more
to expect from them! the fair situation!
I do not wonder that you are impertinenced by Richcourt;(705)
there is nothing so catching as the insolence of a great proud
woman(706) by a little upstart minister: the reflection of the
sun from brass makes the latter the more troublesome of the
Your dear brother returns from Bristol this week; as I fear
not much recovered, I shall have good reason to press his
going abroad, though I fear in vain. I will tell you
faithfully, after I have seen him a few days, what I think of
I never doubt your zeal in executing any commission I give
you. The bill shall be paid directly; it will encourage me to
employ you; but you are generally so dilatory in that part of
the commission, that I have a thousand times declined asking
your assistance. Adieu! my dear Sir.
(705) Count Richcourt, a Lorrainer, prime minister at Florence
for the Great Duke.
(706) The Empress Queen, wife of the Great Duke.
335 Letter 194
To Richard Bentley, Esq.
Wentworth Castle, August.
I always dedicate my travels to you. My present expedition
has been very amusing, sights are thick sown in the counties
of York and Nottingham; the former is more historic, and the
great lords live at a prouder distance: in Nottinghamshire
there is a very heptarchy of little kingdoms elbowing one
another, and the barons of them want nothing but small armies
to make inroads into one another's parks, murder deer, and
massacre park-keepers. But to come to particulars: the great
road as far as Stamford is superb; in any other country it
would furnish medals, and immortalize any drowsy monarch in
whose reign it was executed. It is continued much farther,
but is more rumbling. I did not stop at Hatfield(707) and
Burleigh(708) to seek the palaces of my great-uncle-ministers,
having seen them before.
Budgen palace(709) surprises one prettily in a little village;
and the remains of Newark castle, seated pleasantly, began to
open a vein of historic memory. I had only transient and
distant views of Lord Tyrconnells at Belton, and of Belvoir.
The borders of Huntingdonshire have churches instead of
milestones, but the richness and extent of Yorkshire quite
charmed me. Oh! what quarries for working in Gothic! This
place is one of the very few that I really like; the
situation, woods, views, and the improvements are perfect in
their kinds; nobody has a truer taste than Lord Strafford.
The house is a pompous front screening an old house; it was
built by the last lord on a design of the Prussian architect
Bott, who is mentioned in the King's M`emoires de Brandenburg,
and is not ugly: the one pair of stairs is entirely engrossed
by a gallery of 180 feet, on the plan of that in the Colonna
palace at Rome: it has nothing but four modern statues and
some bad portraits, but, on my proposal, is going to have
books at each end. The hall is pretty, but low; the
drawing-room handsome: there wants a good eating-room and
staircase: but I have formed a design for both, and I believe
they will be executed--that my plans should be obeyed when
yours are not! I shall bring you a groundplot for a Gothic
building, which I have proposed that you should draw for a
little wood, but in the manner of an ancient market-cross.
Without doors all is pleasing: there is a beautiful
(artificial) river, with a fine semicircular wood overlooking
it, and the temple of Tivoli placed happily on a rising
towards the end. There are obelisks, columns, and other
buildings, and above all, a handsome castle in the true style,
on a rude mountain, with a court -,and towers: in the
castle-yard, a statue of the late lord who built it. Without
the park is a lake on each side, buried in noble woods. Now
contrast all this, and you may have some idea of Lord
Rockingham's. Imagine now a most extensive and most beautiful
modern front erected before the great Lord Strafford's old
house, and this front almost blocked up with hills, and every
thing unfinished around it, nay within it. The great
apartment, which is magnificent, is untouched -. the
chimney-pieces lie in boxes unopened. The park is traversed
by a common road between two high hedges--not from necessity.
Oh! no; this lord loves nothing but horses, and the enclosures
for them take place of every thing. The bowling-green behind
the house contains no less than four obelisks, and looks like
a Brobdignag nine-pin-alley: on a hill near, you would think
you saw the York-buildings water-works invited into the
country. There are temples in corn-fields; and in the little
wood, a window-frame mounted on a bunch of laurel, and
intended for an hermitage. In the inhabited part of the
house, the chimney-pieces are like tombs; and on that in the
library is the figure of this lord's grandfather, in a night-
gown of plaster and gold. Amidst all this litter and bad
taste, I adored the fine Vandvek of Lord Strafford and his
secretary, and could not help reverencing his bed-chamber.
With all his faults and arbitrary behaviour, one must worship
his spirit and eloquence: where one esteems but a single
royalist, one need not fear being too partial. When I visited
his tomb in the church (which is remarkably neat and pretty,
and enriched with monuments) I was provoked to find a little
mural cabinet, with his figure three feet high kneeling.
Instead of a stern bust (and his head would furnish a nobler
than Bernini's Brutus) one is peevish to see a plaything that
might have been bought at Chenevix's. There is a tender
inscription to the second Lord Strafford's wife, written by
himself; but his genius was fitter to coo over his wife's
memory than to sacrifice to his father's.
Well! you have had enough of magnificence; you shall repose in
a desert. Old Wortley Montagu lives on the very spot where
the dragon of Wantley did, only I believe the latter was much
better lodged: you never saw such a wretched hovel; lean,
unpainted, and half its nakedness barely shaded with harateen
stretched till it cracks. Here the miser hoards health and
money, his only two objects: he has chronicles in behalf of
the air, and battens on tokay, his single indulgence, as he
has heard it is particularly salutary. But the savageness of
the scene would charm your Alpine taste - it is tumbled with
fragments of mountains, that look ready laid for building the
world. One scrambles over a huge terrace, on which mountain
ashes and various trees spring out of the very rocks; and at
the brow is the don, but not spacious enough for such an
inmate. However, I am persuaded it furnished Pope with this
line, so exactly it answers to the picture:
"On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes."
I wanted to ask Pope if he had not visited Lady Mary Wortley
here during their intimacy, but could one put that question to
Avidien himself? There remains an ancient odd inscription
here, which has such a whimsical mixture of devotion and
romanticness that I must transcribe it:-
"Preye for the soul of Sir Thomas Wortley. Knight of the body
to the kings Edward IV., Richard III., Henry VII., Henry
VIII., whose faults God pardon. He caused a lodge to be built
on this crag in the midst of Wharncliff (the old orthography)
to hear the harts bell, in the year of our Lord 1510." It was
a chase, and what he meant to hear was the noise of the stags.
During my residence here I have made two little excursions and
I assure you it requires resolution . the roads are
insufferable: they mend them--I should call it spoil them--
-with large pieces of stone. At Pomfret I saw the remains of
that memorable castle "where Rivers, Vaughan, and Gray lay
shorter by the head;" and on which Gray says,
"And thou, proud boy, from Pomfret's walls shalt send
A groan, and envy oft thy happy grandsire's end!"(710)
The ruins are vanishing, but well situated; there is a large
demolished church and a pretty market-house. We crossed a
Gothic bridge of eight arches at Ferrybridge, where there is a
pretty view, and went to a large old house of Lord
Huntingdon's at Ledstone, which has nothing remarkable but a
lofty terrace, a whole-length portrait of his Grandfather in
tapestry, and the having belonged to the great Lord Strafford.
We saw that monument of part of poor Sir John Bland's
extravagance,(711) his house and garden, which he left orders
to make without once looking at either plan. The house is a
bastard- Gothic, but Of not near the extent I had heard. We
lay at Leeds, a dingy large town; and through very bad black
roads, (for the whole country is a colliery, or a quarry,) we
went to Kirkstall Abbey, where are vast Saxon ruins, in a most
picturesque situation, on the banks of a river that falls into
a cascade among rich meadows, hills, and woods: it belongs to
Lord Cardigan: his father pulled down a large house here '.
lest it should interfere with the family seat, Deane. We
returned through Wakefield, where is a pretty Gothic chapel on
a bridge,(712) erected by Edward IV., in memory of his father,
who lived at Sandal castle just by, and perished in the battle
here, There is scarce any thing of the castle extant, but it
commanded a rich prospect.
By permission from their graces of Norfolk, who are at
Tunbridge, Lord Strafford carried us to WorkSop,(713) where we
passed two days. The house is huge, and one of the
magnificent works of old Bess of Hardwicke, who guarded the
Queen of Scots here for some time in a wretched little
bedchamber within her own lofty one: there is a tolerable
little picture of Mary's needlework. The great apartment is
vast and triste, the whole leanly furnished: the great
gallery, of above two hundred feet, at the top of the house,
is divided into a library, and into nothing. The chapel is
decent. There is no prospect, and the barren face of the
country is richly furred with evergreen plantations, under the
direction of the late Lord Petre.
On our way we saw Kiveton, an ugly neglected seat of the Duke
of Leeds, with noble apartments and several good portraits! I
went to Welbeck. It is impossible to describe the bales of
Cavendishes, harleys, Holleses, Veres, and Ogles: every
chamber is tapestried with them; nay, and with ten thousand
other fat morsels; all their histories inscribed; all their
arms, crests, devices, sculptured on chimneys of various
English marbles in ancient forms (and, to say truth, most of
them ugly). Then such a Gothic hall, with pendent fretwork in
imitation of the old, and with a chimney-piece extremely like
mine in the library. Such water-colour pictures! such
historic fragments! In short, such and so much of every thing
I like, that my party thought they should never get me away
again. There is Prior's portrait, and the column and
Varelst's flower on which he wrote; and the authoress Duchess
of Newcastle in a theatric habit, which she generally wore,
and, consequently,, looking as mad as the present Duchess; and
dukes of the same name, looking as foolish as the present
Duke; and Lady Mary Wortley, drawn as an authoress, with
rather better pretensions; and cabinets and glasses wainscoted
with the Greendale oak, which was so large that an old steward
wisely cut a way through it to make a triumphal passage for
his lord and lady on their wedding, and only killed it! But it
is impossible to tell you@ half what there is. The poor woman
who is just dead passed her whole widowhood, except in doing
ten thousand right and just things, in collecting and
monumenting the portraits and relics of all the great families
from which she descended, and which centred in her. The Duke
and Duchess of Portland are expected there to-morrow, and we
saw dozens of cabinets and coffers with the seals not yet
taken off What treasures to revel over! The horseman Duke's
man`ege is converted into a lofty stable,. and there is still
a grove or two of magnificent oaks that have escaped all these
great families, though the last Lord Oxford cut down above an
hundred thousand pounds' worth. The place has little pretty,
distinct from all these reverend circumstances.
(707) Hatfield, the seat of the Earl of Salisbury, was
exchanged by King James I. with Robert Cecil, first Earl of
Salisbury, for Theobald's, in the same county. Evelyn visited
Hatfield in March 1643: "I went," he says, "to see my Lord
Salisbury's palace at Hatfield, where the most considerable
rarity, besides the house," (inferior to few then in England
for its architecture,) " was the garden and vineyard, rarely
well-watered and planted. They also showed us the picture of
Secretary Cecil in mosaic work, very well done by some Italian
(708) built by the great Lord Burleigh, lord treasurer to
Queen Elizabeth, who visited him at this place, and where
several articles still remain which had belonged to her.-E.
(709) The episcopal palace of the Bishops of Lincoln.-E.
(710) "August 14, 1654.-Passed through Pontefract; the castle,
famous for many guests, both of late and ancient times, and
the death of that unhappy king murdered in it (Richard II.),
was now demolishing by the rebels: it stands on a mount, and
makes a goodly show at a distance." Evelyn, vol. ii. p. 88.-E.
(711) Kippax Park.
(712) The chapel upon Wakefield bridge is said to have been
built upon the spot where Edmund Earl of Rutland, the youngest
son of Richard Duke of York, and brother of Edward IV. and
Richard III. was killed by John Lord Clifford, surnamed the
(713) The magnificent structure here described by Walpole was
burnt down in 1761.-E.
339 Letter 195
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 19, 1756.
I promised you an account of your brother as soon as he should
return from Bristol, but I deferred it for a week, till I
could see him reposed and refreshed, and could judge more
fairly. I do think him much mended; I do not say recovered.
H e looks with colour again, and has (got a little flesh, and
is able to do much more than before he went. My Lord Radnor
thinks he has a great appetite; I did not perceive it when he
dined with me. His breath is better, though sometimes
troublesome, and he brought back a great cough, which,
however, is much abated. I think him so much better, that I
ventured to talk very freely to him upon his own state; and
though I allowed him mended, I told him plainly that I was
convinced his case would be irrecoverable, if he did not go
abroad. At times he swears he will, if he falls back at all;
at others he will not listen to it, but pleads the confusion
of his affairs. I wish there is not another more
insurmountable cause, the fury, who not only torments him in
this world, but is hurrying him into the next. I have not
been able to prevail with him to pass one day or two here with
me in tranquility. I see his life at stake, I feel for him,
for you, for myself'; I am desperate about it, and yet know no
remedy! I can only assure you that I will not see it quietly;
nor would any thing check me from going the greatest lengths
with your sister, whom I think effectually, though perhaps not
maliciously, a most wicked being, but that I always find it
recoils upon your brother. Alas! what signifies whether she
murders him from a bad heart or a bad temper?
Poor Mr. Chute, too, has been grievously ill with the gout- he
is laid up at his own house, whither I am going to see him.
I feel a little satisfaction that you have an opportunity of
Richcourt's insults: who thought that the King of Prussia
would ever be a rod in our hands? For my part, I feel quite
pleasant, for whether he demolishes the Queen, or the Queen
him, can one but find a loophole to let out joy? Lord
Stormont's(714) valet de chambre arrived three days ago with
an account of his being within four leagues of Dresden.(715)
He laughs at the King o abuses Count Bruhl(716) with so much
contempt, that one reconciles to him very fast: however, I
don't know what to think of his stopping in Saxony. He
assures us, that the Queen has not 55,000 men, nor magazines,
nor money; but why give her time to get away? As the chance
upon the long run must be so much against him, and as he has
three times repeated his offers of desisting if the
Empress-Queen will pawn her honour (counters to which I wonder
he of all Kings would trust) that she will not attack him, one
must believe that he thinks himself reduced to this step; but
I don@t see how he is reduced to involve the Russian Empress
in the quarrel too. He affirms that both intended to demolish
him--but I think I would not accuse both till at least I had
humbled one. We are much pleased with this expedition, but at
best it ensures the duration of the war--and I wish we don't
attend more to that on the Continent than to that on our
element, especially as we are discouraged a little on the
latter. You reproach me for not telling you more of Byng-
-what can I tell you, my dear child, of a poor simpleton who
behaves arrogantly and ridiculously in the most calamitous of
all situations? he quarrels with the admiralty and ministry
every day, though he is doing all he can to defer his trial.
After he had asked for and had had granted a great number of
witnesses, he demanded another large set: this has been
refused him: he is under close confinement, but it will be
scarce possible to try him before the Parliament meets.
The rage of addresses did not go far: at present every thing
is quiet. Whatever ministerial politics there are, are in
suspense. The rains are begun, and I suppose will soon
disperse our camps. The Parliament does not meet till the
middle of November. Admiral Martin, whom I think you knew in
Italy, died here yesterday, unemployed. This is a complete
abridgement of all I know, except that, since Colonel
Jefferies arrived, we think still worse of the land-officers
on board the fleet, as Boyd passed from St. Philip's to the
fleet easily and back again. Jefferies (strange that Lord
Tyrawley should not tell him) did not know till he landed
here,,what succour had been intended--he could not refrain
from tears. Byng's brother did die immediately on his
arrival.(717) I shall like to send you Prussian journals, but
am much more intent on what relates to your brother. Adieu!
(714) British minister at Vienna.
(715) This was the King of Prussia's irruption into Saxony,
which was the commencement of the terrible Seven Years'
(716) Prime minister to Augustus King of Poland, and Elector
(717) Edward Byng, youngest brother of the Admiral. He was
bred up in the army. On the Admiral being brought home a
prisoner, he went to visit him at Portsmouth, on the 28th of
July: overcome by the fatigue of the journey, in which he had
made great expedition, he was on the next morning seized with
convulsions, and died.-E.
341 Letter 196
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 14, 1756.
I shall certainly not bid for the chariot for you; do you
estimate an old dowager's new machine but at ten pounds? You
could scarce have valued herself at less! it is appraised here
at fifty. There are no family pictures but such as you might
buy at any sale, that is, there are three portraits without
names. If you had offered ten pounds for a set of Pelhams,
perhaps I should not have thought you had underpriced them.
You bid me give you some account of myself; I can in a very
few words: I am quite alone; in the morning I view a new pond
I am making for gold fish, and stick in a few shrubs or trees,
wherever I can find a space, which is very rare: in the
evening I scribble a little; all this is mixed with reading;
that is, I can't say I read much, but I pick up a good deal of
reading. The only thing I have done that can compose a
paragraph, and which I think you are Whig enough to forgive
me, is, that on each side of my bed I have hung MAGNA CHARTA,
and the warrant for King Charles's execution, on which I have
written Major Charta; and I believe, without the latter, the
former by this time would be of very little importance. You
will ask where Mr. Bentley is; confined with five sick
live in spite of the epidemic distemper, as if they were
infantas, and in bed himself with a fever and the same sore
throat, though he sends me word he mends.
The King of Prussia has sent us over a victory, which is very
kind, as we are not likely to get any of our own-not even by
the secret Expedition, which you apprehend, and which I
believe still less than I did the invasion-perhaps indeed
there may be another port on the coast of France which we hope
to discover, as we did one in the last war. By degrees, and
somehow or other, I believe, we shall be fully acquainted with
France. I saw the German letter you mention, think it very
mischievous, and very well written for the purpose.
You talk of being better than you have been for many months;
pray, which months were they, and what was the matter with
you? Don't send me your fancies; I shall neither pity nor
comfort you. You are perfectly well, and always were ever
since I knew you, which is now--I won't say how long, but
within this century. Thank God you have good health, and
don't call it names.
John and I are just going to Garrick's with a grove of
cypresses in our hands, like the Kentish men at the Conquest.
He has built a temple to his master Shakspeare, and I am going
to adorn the outside, since his modesty would not let me
decorate it within, as I proposed, with these mottoes:
"Quod spiro et placeo, si placeo, tuum est.
That I spirit have and nature,
That sense breathes in ev'ry feature,
That I please, if please I do,
Shakspeare, all I owe to you."
342 Letter 197
To George Montagu, Esq.
You are desired to have business to hinder you from going to
Northampton, and you are desired to have none to hinder you
from coming to Twickenham. The autumn is in great beauty; my
Lord Radnor's baby-houses lay eggs every day, and promise new
swarms; Mrs. Chandler treads, but don't lay; and the
neighbouring dowagers order their visiting coaches before
sunset-can you resist such a landscape? only send me a line
that I may be sure to be ready for you, for I go to London now
and then to buy coals.
I believe there cannot be a word of truth in Lord Granville's
going to Berlin; by the clumsiness of the thought, I should
take it for ministerial wit--and so, and so.
The Twickenham Alabouches say that Legge is to marry the
eldest Pelhamine infanta; he loves a minister's daughter--I
shall not wonder if he intends it, but can the parents! Mr.
Conway mentioned nothing to me but of the prisoners of the
last battle. and I hope it extends no farther, but I vow I
don't see why it should not. Adieu!
342 Letter 198
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 17, 1756.
Lentulus (I am going to tell you no old Roman tale; he is the
King of Prussia's aide-de-camp) arrived yesterday, with ample
Confirmation of the victory in Bohemia.(718) Are not you glad
that we have got a victory that we can at least call Cousin?
Between six and seven thousand Austrians were killed: eight
Prussian squadrons sustained the acharnement, which is said to
have been extreme, of thirty-two squadrons of Austrians: the
pursuit lasted from Friday noon till Monday morning; both our
countrymen Brown and Keith(719) performed wonders--we seem to
flourish much when transplanted to Germany--but Germany don't
make good manure here! The Prussian King writes that both
Brown and Piccolomini are too strongly entrenched to be
attacked. His Majesty ran to this victory; not `a la
Mulwitz.(720) He affirms having found In the King of Poland's
cabinet ample justification of his treatment of Saxony--should
not one query whether he had not those proofs(721) in his
hands antecedent to the cabinet? The Dauphiness(722) is said
to have flung herself at the King of France's feet and begged
his protection for her father; that he promised "qu'il le
rendroit au centuple au Roi de Prusse."
Peace is made between the courts of Kensington and Kew; Lord
Bute(723) who had no visible employment at the latter, and yet
whose office was certainly no sinecure, is to be groom of the
stole(724) to the Prince of Wales; which satisfies. The rest
of the family will be named before the birthday--but I don't
know how, as soon as one wound is closed, another breaks out!
Mr. Fox, extremely discontent at having no power, no
confidence, no favour, (all entirely engrossed by the old
monopolist(725) has asked leave to resign. It is not yet
granted. If Mr. Pitt will--or can, accept the seals, probably
Mr. Fox will be indulged,--if Mr. Pitt will not, why then, it
is impossible to tell you what will happen.(726) Whatever
happens on such an emergency, with the Parliament SO near,
with no time for considering measures, with so bad a past, and
so much worse a future, there certainly is no duration or good
in prospect. Unless the King of Prussia will take our affairs
at home as well as abroad to nurse, I see no possible recovery
for us-and you may believe, when a doctor like him is
necessary, I should be full as willing to die of the
Well! and so you think we are undone!--not at all; if folly
and extravagance are symptoms of nation's being at the height
of their glory, as after-observers pretend that they are
forerunners Of its ruin, we never were in a more flourishing
situation. My Lord Rockingham and my nephew Lord Orford have
made a match of five hundred pounds, between five turkeys and
five geese, to run from Norwich to London. Don't you believe
in the transmigration of souls? And are not you convinced
that this race is between Marquis Sardanapalus and Earl
Heliogabalus? And don't you pity the poor Asiatics and
Italians who comforted themselves on their resurrection with
being geese and turkeys?
Here's another symptom of our glory! The Irish Speaker, Mr.
Ponsonby,(727) has been reposing himself at Newmarket. George
Selwyn, seeing him toss about bank-bills at the hazard-table,
said, "How easily the Speaker passes the money-bills!"
You, who live at Florence among vulgar vices and tame slavery,
will stare at these accounts. Pray be acquainted with your
own country, while it is in its lustre. In a regular monarchy
the folly of the Prince gives the tone; in a downright
tyranny, folly dares give itself no airs; it is in a wanton
overgrown commonwealth that whim and debauchery ]Intrigue best
together. Ask me which of these governments I prefer--oh! the
last--only I fear it is the least durable.
I have not yet thanked you for your letter of September 18th,
with the accounts of the Genoese treaty and of the Pretender's
quarrel with the Pope--it is a squabble worthy a Stuart. Were
he here, as absolute as any Stuart ever wished to be, who
knows with all his bigotry but he might favour us with a
reformation and the downfall of the mass? The ambition of
making a Duke of York vice-chancellor of holy church would be
as good a reason for breaking with holy church, as Harry the
Eighth's was for quarrelling with it, because it would not
excuse him from going to bed to his sister, after it had given
I wish I could tell you that your brother mends! indeed I
don't think he does; nor do I know what to say to him; I have
exhausted both arguments and entreaties, and yet if I thought
either would avail, would gladly recommence them. Adieu!
(718) This was the battle of Lowositz, gained by the King of
Prussia over the Austrians, commanded by Marshal Brown, on the
first of October, 1756.-D.
(719) Brother of the Earl Marshal.
(720) The King of Prussia was said to have fled from the first
battle, though it proved a victory.
(721) He had procured copies of all Count Bruhl's despatches
by bribing a secretary.
(722) The second wife of the Dauphin was daughter of Augustus
King of Poland.
(723) John Stuart, Earl of Bute, who played so conspicuous a
part in the succeeding reign.-D.
(724) Upon this appointment Edward Wortley Montagu thus writes
to lady Mary:--"I have something to mention that I believe
will be agreeable to you: I mean some particulars relating to
Lord Bute. He stood higher in the late Prince Of Wales's
favour than any man. His attendance was frequent at
Leicester-house, where this young Prince has resided, and
since his father's death has continued without intermission,
till new officers were to be placed under him. It is said
that another person was to be groom of the stole, but that the
Prince's earnest request was complied with in my lord's
favour. It is supposed that the governors, preceptors, etc.
who were about him before will be now set aside, and that my
lord is the principal adviser, This young Prince is supposed
to know the true state of the country, and to have the best
inclinations to do all in his power to make it flourish."-E.
(725) The Duke of Newcastle.
(726) "Oct. 19. Mr. Pitt was sent for to town, and came. He
returned, rejecting all terms, till the Duke of Newcastle was
removed." Dodington, p. 346-E.
(727) The Right Hon. John Ponsonby, brother of Lord
344 Letter 199
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Oct. 28, 1756.
Can you recommend one a first minister? We want one so much,
that we do not insist upon his having a character from his
last place: there will be good vails.--But I forget; one ought
to condole with you: the Duke of Newcastle is your cousin, and
as I know by experience how much one loves one's relations, I
sympathize with you! But, alas! all first ministers are
mortal; and, as Sir Jonathan Swift said, crowned heads and
cane heads, good heads and no heads at all, may all come to
disgrace. My father, who had no capacity, and the Duke of
Newcastle, who has so much, have equally experienced the
mutability of this world. Well-a-day, well-a-day! his grace
is gone! He has bid adieu to courts, retires to a hermitage,
and Will let his beard grow as long as his Duchess's.
so you are surprised! and the next question you will ask will
be, who succeeds? Truly that used to be a question the
easiest in the world to be resolved upon change of ministers.
It is now the most unanswerable. I can only tell you that all
the atoms are dancing, and as atoms always do, I suppose. will
range themselves into the most durable system imaginable.
Beyond the past hour I know not a syllable; a good deal of'
the preceding hours--a volume would not contain it. There is
some notion that the Duke of Bedford and your cousin Halifax
are to be the secretaries of state--as Witwould says, they
will sputter at one another like roasted apples.
The Duchess of Hamilton has brought her beauty to London at
the only instant when it would not make a crowd. I believe we
should scarce stare at the King of Prussia, so much are we
engrossed by this ministerial ferment.
I have been this morning to see your monument;(728) it IS not
Put together, but the parts are admirably executed; there is a
helmet that would tempt one to enlist. The inscription suits
wonderfully, but I have overruled the golden letters, which
not Only are not lasting, but would not do at all, as they are
to be cut in statuary marble. I have given him the arms,
which certainly should be in colours: but a shield for your
sister's would be barbarous tautology. You see how arbitrary
I am, as you gave me leave to be. Adieu!
(728) To the memory of his sister, Miss Harriet Montagu.-E.
345 Letter 200
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 4, 1756.
I desired your brother last week to tell you that it was in
vain for me to write while every thing was in such confusion.
The chaos is just as far from being dispersed now; I only
write to tell you what has been its motions. One of the
Popes, I think, said soon after his accession, he did not
think it had been so easy to govern. What would he have
thought of such a nation as this, engaged in a formidable war,
without any government at all, literally, for above a
fortnight! The foreign ministers have not attempted to
transact any business since yesterday fortnight. For God's
sake, what do other countries say of us?--but hear the
progress of our inter-ministerium.
When Mr. Fox had declared his determination of resigning great
offers were sent to Mr. Pitt; his demands were much greater,
accompanied with a total exclusion of the Duke of Newcastle.
Some of the latter's friends would have persuaded him, as the
House of Commons is at his devotion, to have undertaken the
government against both Pitt and Fox; but fears preponderated.
Yesterday his grace declared his resolution of retiring with
all that satisfaction of mind which must attend a man whom not
one man of sense, will trust any longer. The King sent for
Mr. Fox, and bid him try if Mr. Pitt would join him. The
latter, without any hesitation, refused. In this perplexity
the King ordered the Duke of Devonshire to try to compose some
ministry for him, and sent him to Pitt, to try to accommodate
with Fox.(729) Pitt, with a list of terms a little modified,
was ready to engage, but on condition that Fox should have no
employment in the cabinet. Upon this plan negotiations have
been carrying on for this week. Mr. Pitt and Mr. Legge, whose
whole party consists of from twelve to sixteen persons,
exclusive of Leicester-house, (of that presently,) concluded
they were entering on the government as secretary of state and
chancellor of the exchequer;@ but there is so great
unwillingness to give it up totally into their hands, that all
manner of expedients have been projected to get rid of their
proposals, or to limit their power. Thus the case stands at
this instant: the Parliament has been put off for a fortnight,
to gain time; the Lord knows whether that will suffice to
bring on any sort of temper! In the mean time the government
stands still; pray Heaven the war may too! You will wonder how
fifteen or sixteen persons can be of such importance. In the
first place, their importance has been conferred on them, and
has been notified to the nation by these concessions and
messages; next, Minorca is gone; Oswego gone; the nation is in
a ferment; some very great indiscretions in delivering a
Hanoverian soldier from prison by a warrant from the secretary
of state have raised great difficulties; instructions from
counties, boroughs, especially from the city of London, in the
style of 1641, and really in the spirit of 1715(730) and 1745,
have raised a great flame; and lastly, the countenance of
Leicester-house, which Mr. Pitt is supposed to have,(731) and
which Mr. Legge thinks he has, all these tell Pitt that he may
command such numbers without doors as may make the majorities
within the House tremble.
Leicester-house is by some thought inclined to more pacific
measures. Lord Bute's being established groom of the stole
has satisfied. They seem more Occupied in disobliging all
their new court than in disturbing the King's. Lord
Huntingdon, the new master of the horse to the Prince, and
Lord Pembroke, one of his lords, have not been spoken to.
Alas! if the present storms should blow over, what seeds for
new! You must guess at the sense of this paragraph, which it
is difficult, at least improper to explain to you; though you
could not go into a coffee-house here where it would not be
interpreted to you. One would think all those little
politicians had been reading the Memoirs of the minority of
There has been another great difficulty: the season obliging
all camps to break up, the poor Hanoverians' have been forced
to continue soaking in theirs. The country magistrates have
been advised that they arc not obliged by law to billet
foreigners on public-houses, and have refused. Transports
were yesterday ordered to carry away the Hanoverians! There
are eight thousand men taken from America; for I am sure we
can spare none from hence. The negligence and dilatoriness of
the ministers at home, the wickedness of our West Indian
governors, and the little-minded quarrels of the regulars and
irregular forces, have reduced our affairs in that part of the
world to a most deplorable state. Oswego, of ten times more
importance even than Minorca, is so annihilated that we cannot
learn the particulars.
My dear Sir, what a present and future picture have I given
you! The details are infinite, and what I have neither time,
nor, for many reasons, the imprudence to send by the post:
your good sense will but too well lead you to develop them.
The crisis is most melancholy and alarming. I remember two or
three years ago I wished for more active times, and for events
to furnish our correspondence. I think I could write you a
letter almost as big as my Lord Clarendon's History. What a
bold man is he who shall undertake the administration! How
much shall we be obliged to him! How mad is he, whoever is
ambitious of it! Adieu!
(729) "The Duke of Devonshire advised his Majesty to comply
with Pitt's demands, whereupon the administration was formed;
on which account the Duke was unjustly censured by some
unreasonable friends; for he joined Pitt rather than Fox, not
from any change of friendship, or any partiality in Pitt's
favour, but because it was more safe to be united with him who
had the nation of his side, than with the man who was the most
unpopular; a reason which will have its proper weight with
most ministers." Waldegrave's Memoirs, p. 87.-E.
(730) Meaning that the Jacobites excited the clamour.
(731) Lord Temple, in a letter to Mr. Pitt of the 11th, says,
"Lord Bute used expressions so transcendently obliging to me,
and so decisive of the determined purpose of Leicester-house
towards us, in the present or any future day, that your own
lively imagination cannot suggest to you a wish beyond them."
Chatham correspondence, vol. i. p. 191.-E.
347 Letter 201
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, November 6, 1756.
After an inter-MinisteriUm of seventeen days, Mr. Pitt has
this morning, accepted the government as secretary of state;
the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Fox being both excluded. The
Duke of Devonshire is to be at the head of the treasury. the
Chancellor(732) retires; the seals to be in commission.
Remnants of both administrations must be preserved, as Mr.
Pitt has not wherewithal to fill a quarter of their
employments. Did you ever expect to see a time when he would
not have cousins enough? It will take some days to adjust all
that is to follow. You see that, unless Mr. Pitt joins with
either Fox or Newcastle, his ministry cannot last six months;
I would bet that the lightness of the latter emerged first.
George Selwyn, hearing some people at Arthur's t'other night
lamenting the distracted state of the country, joined in the
discourse, with the whites of his eyes and his prim mouth, and
fetching a deep sigh, said, "Yes, to be sure it is terrible!
There is the Duke of Newcastle's faction, and there is Fox's
faction, and there is Leicester-house! between two factions
and one faction we are torn to pieces!"
Thank you for your exchequer-ward wishes for me, but I am apt
to think that I have enough from there already: don't think my
horns and hoofs are growing, when I profess indifference to my
interest. Disinterestedness is no merit in me, 'It happens to
be my passion. It certainly is not impossible that your two
young lords may appear in the new system. Mr. Williams is
just come from his niece, Lady North's, and commends her
husband exceedingly. He tells me that the plump Countess is
in terrors lest Lord Coventry should get a divorce from his
wife and Lord Bolingbroke should marry her. 'Tis a
Mr. Mann, I trust, does not grow worse; I wish I could think
he mended. Mr. B. is sitting in his chimney-corner literally
with five girls; I expect him to meet me to-morrow at
Strawberry. As no provision is made for the great C`u in the
new arrangement, it is impossible but he may pout a little.
My best compliments to your brothers and sisters. Adieu! Will
this find you at Greatworth!
(732) Lord Hardwicke.
348 Letter 202
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 13, 1756.
Your brother has told me that Mr. Pitt accepts your southern
province, yielding to leave Lord Holderness in the northern.
I don't know what calm you at this distance may suppose this
will produce; I should think little; for though the Duke of
Newcastle resigned on Thursday, and Mr. Fox resigns to-day,
the chief friends of each remain in place -, and Mr. Pitt
accedes with so little strength that his success seems very
precarious. If he Hanoverizes, or checks any inquiries, he
loses his popularity, and falls that way; if he burnouts the
present rage of the people, he provokes two powerful factions.
His only chance seems to depend on joining with the Duke of
Newcastle, who is most offended with Fox: but after Pitt's
personal exclusion of his grace, and considering Pitt's small
force, it may not be easy for him to be accepted there. I
foresee nothing but confusion: the new system is composed of
such discordant parts that it can produce no harmony. Though
the Duke of Newcastle, the Chancellor, Lord Anson, and Fox
quit, yet scarce one of their friends is discarded. The very
cement seems disjunctive; I mean the Duke of Devonshire, who
takes the treasury. If he acts cordially, he disobliges his
intimate friend Mr. Fox; if he does not, he offends Pitt.
These little reasonings will give you light, though very
insufficient for giving you a clear idea of the most perplexed
and complicate situation that ever was. Mr. Legge returns to
be chancellor of the exchequer, and Sir George Lyttelton is
indemnified with a peerage. The Duke of Newcastle has got his
dukedom entailed on Lord Lincoln. The seals are to be in
commission, if not given to a lord keeper. Your friend Mr.
Doddington(733) is out again for about the hundred and
fiftieth time. The rest of the list is pretty near settled;
you shall have it as soon as it takes place. I should tell
you that Lord Temple is first lord of the admiralty.
Being much too busy to attend to such trifles as a war and
America, we know mighty little of either. The massacre at
Oswego happily proves a romance: part of the two regiments
that were made prisoners there are actually arrived at
Plymouth, the provisions at Quebec being too scanty to admit
additional numbers. The King of Prussia is gone into winter
quarters, but disposed in immediate readiness. One hears that
he has assured us, that if we will keep our fleet in good
order, he will find employment for the rest of our enemies.
Two days ago, in the midst of all the ferment at court,
Coloredo, the Austrian minister, abruptly demanded an
audience, in which he demanded our quotas: I suppose the King
told him that whenever he should have a ministry again he
would consult them. I will tell you my comment on this: the
Empress-Queen, who is scrupulous on the ceremonial of
mischief, though she so easily passes over the reality and
ingratitude, proposes, I imagine, on a refusal which she
deserves and has drawn upon her, to think herself justified in
assisting France in some attempts on us from the coast of
Flanders. I have received yours of October 23d, and am glad
the English showed a proper disregard of Richcourt. Thank you
a thousand times for your goodness to Mr. and Mrs. Dick: it
obliges me exceedingly, and I am sure will be most grateful to
Lady Henry Beauclerc.
I don't know what to answer to that part about your brother:
you think and argue exactly as I have done; would I had not
found it in vain! but, my dear child, you and I have never
been married, and are sad judges! As to your elder brother's
interposition, I wish he had tenderness enough to make him
arbitrary. I beg your pardon, but he is fitter to marry your
sister than to govern her. Your brother Gal. certainly looks
better; yet I think of him just as you do, and by no means
trust to so fallacious a distemper. Indeed I tease him to
death to take a resolution, but to no purpose. In short, my
dear Sir, they are melancholy words, but I can neither flatter
you publicly nor privately; England is undone, and your
brother is not to be persuaded; Yet i hope the former will not
be quite given up, and I shall certainly neglect nothing
possible with regard to the latter. Adieu!
(733) Doddington, in his Diary of the 15th, says, "The Duke of
Devonshire told me that he was forced by the King to take the
employment he held; that his grace was ordered to go to Mr.
Pitt, and know upon what conditions he would serve; that, in
the arrangement Pitt and his friends made, my office was
demanded--he was sorry for it--he was not concerned in it--and
he behaved very civilly," etc.-E.
350 Letter 203
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Nov. 25, 1756.
You must tell me what or whose the verses are that you demand;
I know of none. I could send you reams of tests, contests,
and such stupid papers, and bushels of more stupid cards. I
know of nothing good; nor of any news, but that the committee
of creations is not closed yet. Mr. Obrien was yesterday
created Irish Earl of Thomond. Mr. Pitt is to be wrapped up
in flannel, and brought to town to-morrow to see King George
the Second; and I believe, to dissolve the new ministry,
rather than to cement it. Mr. Fox has commenced hostilities,
and has the borough of Stockbridge from under Dr. Hay, one of
the new admiralty; this enrages extremely the new ministers,
who, having neither members nor boroughs enough , will
probably recur to their only resource, popularity.
I am exceedingly obliged to the Colonel, but is that new? to
whom am I so much obliged? I will not trouble him with any
commissions: the little money I have I am learning to save:
the times give one a hint that one may have occasion for it.
I beg my best compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Wetenhall, and Mr.
John Montagu. Don't you wish me joy of my Lord Hertford's
having the garter! It makes me very happy! Adieu!
350 Letter 204
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, November 29,
No material event has yet happened under the new
administration; indeed it has scarce happened itself: your new
master, Mr. Pitt, has been confined in the country with the
gout, and came to town but within these two days. The world,
who love to descry policy in every thing, and who have always
loved to find it in Mr. Pitt's illnesses, were persuaded that
his success was not perfect enough, and that he even hesitated
whether he should consummate. He is still so lame that he
cannot go to court--to be sure the King must go to him He
takes the seals on Saturday; the Parliament meets on Thursday,
but will adjourn for about ten days for the re-elections. The
new ministers are So little provided with interest in
boroughs, that it is almost an administration out of
Parliament. Mr. Fox has already attacked their seats, and has
undermined Dr. Hay, one of the new admiralty, in Stockbridge:
this angers extremely. The Duke of Newcastle is already
hanging out a white flag to Pitt; but there is so little
disposition in that quarter to treat, that they have employed
one Evans-, a lawyer, to draw up articles of impeachment
against Lord Anson. On the other hand they show great
tenderness to Byng, who has certainly been most inhumanly and
spitefully treated by Anson. Byng's trial is not yet
appointed. Lord Effingham, Cornwallis, and Stuart are
arrived, and are to have their conduct examined this day
se'nnight by three general officers. In the mean time the
King, of his own motion, has given a red riband and an Irish
barony to old Blakeney, who has been at court in a
hackney-coach, with a foot soldier behind it. As he has not
only lost his government, but as he was bedrid while it was
losing, these honours are a little ridiculed: we have too many
governors that will expect titles, if losses are pretensions!
Mr. Obrien is made Earl of Thomond:(734) my Lady Townshend
rejoices; she says he has family enough to re-establish the
dignity of the Irish peerage, to which of late nothing but
brewers and poulterers have been raised; that she expected
every day to receive a bill from her fishmonger, signed Lord
I promised you a list of the changes when they should be
complete. They are very conveniently ready to fill the rest
of my letter.
Transcriber's note: In the print copy the following
information is given in three columns: the new office-holder
on the left, the office in the middle, and the previous
office-holder on the right.
Duke of Devonshire, in the room of the duke of Newcastle
(P) Mr. Legge, Chancellor of exchequer, in the room of (N) Sir
G. Lyttelton a peer.
(N) Mr. Nugent, Lord Duncannon, (P) Mr. J. Grenville, of the
Old Treasury; in the room of Mr. Furnese, dead; (N) mr.
Obrien, Irish Earl.
Mr. w. Pitt, Secretary of State, in the room of mr. Fox.
Lord Buckingham, Lord of bedchamber, in the room of Lord
(F) Mr. Edgcumbe, Comptroller of Household, in the room of
(F) Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Captain of pensioners, in the
room of the late Lord Buckingham.
(F) Lord Bateman, Treasurer of Household, in the room of Lord
(P) Mr. G. Grenville, Treasurer of the Navy, in the room of
(F) mr. dodinglton.
(P) Mr. Potter, Joint paymaster, in the room of (N) Lord
(P) mr. martin, Secretary of Treasury, in the room of (N) Mr.
(P) Sir r. Lyttelton, Master of jewel Office, in the room of
(N) Lord Breadalbane.
(N) Lord Breadalbane, Justice in Eyre, in the room of (N) Lord
(N) Lord Sandys, Speaker of House of Lords, in the room of (N)
Lord chief Justice Willes, (P) Justice Wilmot, and baron
smyth, Commissioners of the Great Seal, in the room of the
(P) Lord Temple, Admiral Boscawen before, (P) Admiral West,
(P) Dr. Hay, (P) Mr. Elliot, (P) Mr. Hunter, (P) John Pitt, in
the room of (N) Lord Anson, Admiral (N) rowley, Lord
Duncannon, (F) Lord Bateman, Lord Hyde, and (F) mr. Edgcumbe.
But John Pitt is to resign again, and be made Paymaster of the
Marines, to make room for Admiral Forbes.
Charles Townshend, Treasurer of the Chambers, in the room of
Lord Hilsborough, English baron.
This last is not done; as Mr. Townshend cannot be rechosen at
Yarmouth, he only consents to accept, provided another borough
can be found for him' this does not appear very easy.
The Duke of Newcastle has advertised in all the newspapers,
that he retires without place or pension: here is a list of
his disinterestedness. The reversion of his dukedom for Lord
Lincoln: this is the only duchy bestowed by the present King:
on my father's resignation, the new ministers did prevail to
have dukedoms offered to Lord Northampton and Lord Ailesbury;
but both declined, having no sons. Mr. Shelley, the Duke's
nephew, has the reversion of Arundel's place: Mr. West has a
great reversion for himself and his son: your little waxen
friend, Tommy Pelham, has another reversion in the Customs.
Jones, the Duke's favourite secretary, and nephew of the late
chancellor, has another. Not to mention the English barony
for Sir George Lyttelton, and the Irish earldom for Mr.
Obrien. The Garters are given to the Duke of' Devonshire, to
Lord Carlisle, Lord Northumberland, and (to my great
satisfaction) to Lord Hertford.
Oh! I should explain the marks: the (N) signifies of the
Newcastle and Hardwick faction; the (P) of Pitt's; the (F) of
Fox's. You will be able by these to judge a little of how
strange a medley the new government is composed! consequently,
I was with your brother this morning at Richmond; he thinks
himself better; I do not think him worse; but judge by your
own feelings if that is enough to content me. Pray that your
brother and your country may mend a little faster! I dread the
winter for him, and the summer for England! Adieu!
P. S. Since I have finished this, I received yours of November
13th, with the account of Richcourt's illness. What! you are
forced to have recourse to apoplexies and deaths for
revolutions! We make nothing of changing our ministers at
every fall of the leaf. My Lord Huntingdon (who, by the way,
loves you, and does you justice,) has told me one or two very
good bon-mots of the Pope:(735) I have always had a great
partiality for the good old man: I desire you will tell me any
anecdotes or stories of him that you know-. I remember some
of his sayings with great humour and wit. You can never
oblige me more than by anecdotes of particular people--but you
are indeed always good in that and every other way.
(734) Percy Windham Obrien, second son of Sir William Windham,
by a daughter of Charles Duke of Somerset. The Earl of
Thomond, who had married another daughter, left his estate to
this Mr. Windham, his wife's nephew, on condition of his
taking the name of Obrien.
(735) Prospero Lambertini, called Benedict the Fourteenth.
352 Letter 205
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Dec. 8, 1756.
Your poor brother desires me to write to you to-day, as he is
in bed (and not able. He went to town last week, caught cold,
and returned with a fever. He has been drinking tar-water
since the middle of November, at the persuasion of your older
brother and his Richmond friends. Indeed he had gone through
the whole course of drugs to no purpose. There is a great
eruption to-day in most parts of his body, which they think
will be of great service to him. In my own opinion, he is so
weak, that I am in great apprehensions for him. He is very
low-spirited, and yet thinks himself much better to-day. Your
brother Ned was surprised at my being so alarmed, as they had
considered this as a most fortunate crisis-but I have much
difficulty in persuading myself to be so sanguine. As we have
a recess for a few days, I shall stay here till Saturday, and
see your brother again, and will tell you my opinion again.
You see I don't deceive you: if that is any satisfaction, be
assured that nobody else would give you so bad an account, as
I find all his family have new hopes of him: would to God I
Our first day of Parliament(736) passed off harmoniously; but
in the House of Lords there was an event. A clause of thanks
for having sent for the Hanoverians had crept into the address
of the peers--by Mr. Fox's means, as the world thinks: Lord
Temple came out of a sick bed to Oppose it.(737) Next day
there was an alarm of an intention of instating the same
clause in our address. Mr. Pitt went angry to court,
protesting that he would not take the seals, if any such
motion passed: it was sunk. Next day he accepted--and the day
after, Mr. Fox, extremely disgusted with the Duke of
Devonshire for preferences shown to Mr. Pitt, retired into the
country. The Parliament is adjourned for the reelections; and
Mr. Pitt, who has pleased in the closet, is again laid up with
the gout. We meet on Monday, when one shall be able to judge
a little better of the temper of the winter. The Duke of
Bedford is to be Lord Lieutenant of Ireland-no measure of
peace! Not to mention his natural warmth, every body is
sensible that he is only placed there to traverse Pitt.
Your brother and I are uneasy about your situation: when we
are treated insolently at Leghorn, to what are we sunk! Can
Mr. Pitt or the King of Prussia find a panacea for all our
disgraces? Have you seen Voltaire's epigram?
"Rivaux du Vainqueur de l'Euphrate,
L'Oncle,(738) et le Neveu;(739)
L'un fait la guerre en pirate,
L'autre en partie bleue."
It is very insipid! It Seems to me,(740) as if Uncle and
Nephew could furnish a better epigram , unless their
reconciliation deadens wit. Besides, I don't believe that the
Uncle of these lines means at all to be like Alexander, who
never was introduced more pompously for the pitiful end of
supplying @ rhyme.
Is it true what we see in the gazettes, that the Pantheon is
tumbled down? Am not I a very Goth, who always thought it a
dismal clumsy performance, and could never discover any beauty
in a strange mass of light poured perpendicularly into a
circle of obscurity? Adieu! I wish you may hope more with
your elder brother than tremble with me!
(736) "The Speech from the throne, by its style and substance,
appeared to be the work of the new speech-maker: the Militia,
which his Majesty had always turned into ridicule, being
strongly recommended, the late administration censured, and
the uncourtly addresses of the preceding summer receiving the
highest commendations." Waldegrave, 88.-E.
(737) "The new Lord of the Admiralty came, as he told the
Lords, out of a sick bed, at the hazard of his life, (indeed,
he made a most sorrowful appearance,) to represent to their
lordships the fatal consequences of the intended compliment:
he said, that the people of England would be offended even at
the name of Hanover, or of foreign mercenaries, and added many
other arguments, without mentioning the true reason of his
disapprobation: namely, the Duke of Devonshire's having added
this compliment without consulting him: and, having finished
his oration, went out of the House, with a thorough conviction
that such weighty reasons must be quite unanswerable." Ibid.
((738) George II.
(739) The King of Prussia.
(740) Mr. Walpole had had a quarrel with his uncle Horatio.
354 Letter 206
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Dec. 16, 1756.
It will be easier for you, I fear, to guess, than for me to
describe, what I have felt for these last six days! Your dear
brother is still alive; it is scarce possible he should be so
when you receive this. I wrote to you this day se'nnight, the
day after I saw him last. On that day and Friday I received
favourable messages. I went myself on Saturday, as I had
promised him--how shocked I was at seeing Your brother Ned and
a lawyer come to the chaise: the former told me that poor Gal.
had desired the lawyer to settle his affairs, which were then
in agitation: you may imagine I did not choose to add the
tender sensations of seeing me, to what he was then feeling?
I saw our doom too plainly, though your brother Ned still had
hopes. Every day confirmed my fears: but I could not bear my
anxiety, and went to Richmond to-day, with as much horror as
persons must go to execution yet determined to see Gal. if I
found that he had expressed the leas@ desire of it.--Alas! he
has scarce had moments of sense since Sunday morning--how can
I bring myself to say of so dreadful a situation, that it is
my greatest consolation! But I could not support the thought
of his remaining sensible of death with all those anxious
attentions about him which have composed his whole life! Oh!
my dear child, what rash wretches are heroes, compared to this
brother of yours! Nothing ever equalled his cool solicitude
for his family and friends. What an instance am I going to
repeat to you! His most unhappy life was poisoned by the
dread of leaving his children and fortune to be torn to pieces
by his frantic wife, whose settlements entitled her to thirds.
On Friday, perceiving her alarmed by his danger, he had the
amazing presence of mind and fortitude to seize that only
moment of tenderness, and prevailed on her to accept a
jointure. He instantly despatched your brother Ned to London
for his lawyer, and by five o'clock on Saturday, after
repeated struggles of passion on her side, the whole was
finished. Dear Gal. he could not speak, but he lifted up his
hands in thanks! While he had any sense, it was employed in
repeated kindnesses, particularly to your brother James--he
had ordered a codicil, but they have not found a sufficient
interval to get it signed!
My dearest Sir, what an afflicting letter am I forced to write
to you! but I flatter myself, you will bear it better from me,
than from any other person: and affectionate as I know you,
could I deprive you or myself of the melancholy pleasure of
relating such virtues My poorest, yet best consolation is,
that, though I think his obstinacy in not going abroad, and
Ill management, may have hurried his end, yet nothing could
have saved him; his lungs are entirely gone. But how will you
be amazed at what I am going to tell you! His wretched wife is
gone mad--at least your brother Ned and the physician are
persuaded so--I cannot think so well of her.--I see her in so
diabolic a light, that I cannot help throwing falsehood into
the account--but let us never mention her more. What little
more I would say, for I spare your grief rather than indulge
my own, is, that I beseech you to consider me as more and more
your friend: I adored Gal. and will heap affection on that I
already have for you. I feel your situation, and beg of you
to manage with no delicacy, but confide all your fears and
wishes and wants to me-if I could be capable of neglecting
you, write to Gal.'s image that will for ever live in a memory
most grateful to him.
You will be little disposed or curious to hear politics; yet
it must import you always to know the situation of your
country, and 'It never was less settled. Mr. Pitt is not yet
able to attend the House, therefore no inquiries are yet
commenced. The only thing like business has been the affair
of preparing quarters for the Hessians, who are soon to
depart; but the Tories have shown such attachment to Mr. Pitt
on this occasion, that it is almost become a Whig point to
detain them. The breach is so much widened between Mr. Pitt
and Mr. Fox, and the latter is so warm, that we must expect
great violences. The Duke of Newcastle's party lies quiet;
one of the others must join it. The -new ministers have so
little weight, that they seem determined at least not to part
with their popularity: the new Secretary of State(741) is to
attack the other, lord Holderness, on a famous letter of his
sent to the mayor of Maidstone, for releasing a Hanoverian
soldier committed for theft. You may judge what harmony there
Adieu, my dear Sir! How much I pity you, and how much you
ought to pity me! Imitate your brother's firmness of Mind, and
bear his loss as well as you can. You have too much merit not
to be sensible of his, and then it will be impossible for you
to be soon comforted.
(741) Mr. Pitt.
356 Letter 207
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Dec. 23, 1756.
I KNOW I can no more add to your concern than to my own, by
giving you the last account of your dear brother, who put a
period to our anxious suspense in the night between the 20th
and 21st. For the five last days he had little glimmerings of
amendment, that gave hopes to some of his friends, terror to
me, who dreaded his sensibility coming to Itself! When I had
given up his life, I could not bear the return of his
tenderness! Sure he had felt enough for his friends--yet he
would have been anxious for them if he had recovered his
senses. He has left your brothers Edward, James, and
Foote,(742) his executors; to his daughters 7500 pounds
a-piece, and the entail of his estate in succession--to a name
I beg we may never mention, 700 pounds a-year, 4000 pounds and
his furniture, etc. Your brother James, a very worthy man,
though you never can have two Gals. desired me to give you
this account--' how sad a return for the two letters I have
received from you this week! Be assured, my dear Sir, that
nothing could have saved his life. For your sake and my own I
hurry from this dreadful subject-not for the amusement of'
either, or that I have any thing to tell you: my letter shall
be very short, for I am stabbing you with a dagger used on
Mr. Pitt has not been able to return to Parliament for the
gout, which has prevented our having one long day; we adjourn
to-morrow for a fortnight; yet scarce to meet then for
business, as a call of the House is not appointed till the
20th of January; very late indeed, were any inquiries
probable: this advantage I hope will be gained, that our new
ministers will have a month's time to think of their country.
Adieu! my dear Sir, this letter was necessary for me to write-
-I find it as necessary to finish it.
(742) Mr. Foote married the second sister of Mr. Mann; as his
brother, a clergyman, afterwards did the third.
356 Letter 208
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, January 6, 1757.
I live in dread of receiving your unhappy letters! I am
sensible how many, many reasons you have to lament your dear
brother; yet your long absence will prevent the loss of him
from leaving so sharp a sting as it would have done had you
seen as much of him as I have of late years! When I wrote to
you, I did not know his last instance Of love to you;(743) may
you never have occasion to use it!
I wish I could tell you any politics to abstract your thoughts
from your concern; but just at present all political
conversation centres in such a magazine of abuse, as was
scarce ever paralleled. Two papers, called the "Test" and
"Contest," appear every Saturday, the former against Mr. Pitt,
the latter against Mr. Fox, which make me recollect-,' "Fogs"
and "Craftsmen" as harmless libels. The authors are not
known; Doddington(744) is believed to have the chief hand in
the "Test,"(745) which is much the best, unless virulence is
to bestow the laurel. He has been turned out by the opposite
faction, and has a new opportunity of revenge, being just
become a widower. The best part of his fortune is entailed on
lord Temple if he has no son; but I suppose he would rather
marry a female hawker than not propagate children and
lampoons. There is another paper, called "The Monitor,"(746)
written by one Dr. Shebbeare, who made a pious resolution of
writing himself into a place or the pillory,(747) but having
miscarried in both views, is wreaking his resentment on the
late Chancellor, who might have gratified him in either of his
objects. The Parliament meets to-morrow, but as Mr. Pitt
cannot yet walk, we are not likely soon to have any business.
Admiral Byng's trial has been in agitation above these ten
days, and is supposed an affair of length: I think the reports
are rather unfavourable to him, though I do not find that it
is believed he will be capitally punished. I will tell you my
sentiments, I don't know whether judicious or not: it may
perhaps take a great deal of time to prove he was not a
coward; I should think it would not take half an hour to prove
he had behaved bravely.
Your old royal guest King Theodore is gone to the place which
it is said levels kings and beggars; an unnecessary journey
for him, who had already fallen from one to the other; I think
he died somewhere in the liberties of the Fleet.(748)
lord Lyttelton has received his things, and is much content
with them; this leads me to trouble you with another, I hope
trifling, commission; will you send me a case of the best
drains for Lord Hertford, and let me know the charge?
You must take this short letter only as an instance of my
attention to you; I would write, though I knew nothing to tell
(743) Mr. Galfridus Mann left an annuity to his brother Sir
Horace, in case he were recalled from Florence.
(744) George Bubb Doddington, Esq. This report was not
(745) "The Test" was written principally by Arthur Murphy. It
forms a thin folio volume,.-E.
(746) "The "Monitor" was commenced in August 1755, and
terminated in July 1759. It is said to have been planned by
(747) He did write himself into a pillory before, the
conclusion of that reign, and into a pension at the beginning
of the next, for one and the same kind of merit,--writing
against King William and the Revolution.
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