The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2
Part 12 out of 16
(748) See an account of his death, and the monument and
epitaph erected for him in Mr. Walpole's fugitive pieces; see
also his letter to Sir Horace Mann of the 29th of September,
in this year.-E.
358 Letter 209
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Jan. 17, 1757.
I am still, my dear Sir, waiting for your melancholy letters,
not one of which has yet reached me. I am impatient to know
how you bear your misfortune, though I tremble at what I shall
feel from your expressing it! Except good Dr. Cocchi, what
sensible friend have you at Florence to share and moderate
your unhappiness?--but I will not renew it: I will hurry to
tell you any thing that may amuse it--and yet what is that any
thing; Mr. Pitt, as George Selwyn says, has again taken to his
Lit de Justice; he has been once with the King,(749) but not
at the House; the day before yesterday the gout flew into his
arm, and has again laid him up: I am so particular in this,
because all our transactions, or rather our inactivity, hang
upon the progress of his distemper. Mr. Pitt and every thing
else have been forgot for these five days, obscured by the
news of the assassination of the King of France.(750) I don't
pretend to tell you any circumstance of it, who must know them
better than, at least as well as, I can; war and the sea don't
contribute to dispel the clouds of lies that involve such a
business. The letters of the foreign ministers, and ours from
Brussels, say he has been at council; in the city he is
believed dead: I hope not! We should make a bad exchange in
the Dauphin. Though the King is weak and irresolute, I
believe he does not want sense: weakness, bigotry, and some
sense, are the properest materials for keeping alive the
disturbances in that country, to which this blow, if the man
was any thing but a madman, Will contribute. The despotic and
holy stupidity(751) of the successor would quash the
Parliament at once. He told his father about a year ago, that
if he was King, the next day, and the Pope should bid him lay
down his crown, he would. They tell or make a good answer for
the father, "And if he was to bid you take the crown from me,
would you!" We have particular cause to say masses for the
father: there is invincible aversion between him and the young
Pretender, whom, it is believed, nothing could make him
assist. You may judge what would make the Dauphin assist him!
he was one day reading the reign of Nero he said, "Ma foi,
c'`etoit le plus grand sc`el`erat qui f`ut jamais; il ne lui
manquoit que d'`etre Janseniste." I am grieving for my
favourite,(752) the Pope, whom we suppose dead, at least I
trust he was superannuated when they drew from him the late
Bull enjoining the admission of the Unigenitus on pain of
damnation; a step how unlike all the amiable moderation of his
life! In my last I told you the death of another monarch, for
whom in our time you and I have interested ourselves, King
Theodore. He had just taken the benefit of the act of
insolvency, and went to the Old Bailey for that purpose: in
order to it, the person applying gives up all his effects to
his creditors - his Majesty was asked what effects he had? He
replied, nothing but the kingdom of Corsica--and it is
actually registered for the benefit of the creditors. You may
get it intimated to the Pretender, that if he has a mind to
heap titles upon the two or three medals that he coins, he has
nothing to do but to pay King Theodore's debts, and he may
have very good pretensions to Corsica. As soon as Theodore
was at liberty, he took a chair and went to the Portuguese
minister, but did not find him at home: not having sixpence to
pay, he prevailed on the chairman to carry him to a tailor he
knew in Soho, whom he prevailed upon to harbour him; but he
fell sick the next day, and died in three more.
Byng's trial continues; it has gone ill for him, but mends; it
is the general opinion that he will come off for some severe
Bower's first part of his reply is published; he has pinned a
most notorious falsehood about a Dr. Aspinwall on his enemies,
which must destroy their credit, and will do him more service
than what he has yet been able to prove about himself. They
have published another pamphlet against his history, but so
impertinent and scurrilous and malicious, that it will serve
him more than his own defence: they may keep the old man's
life so employed as to prevent the prosecution of his work,
but nothing can destroy the merit of the three volumes already
published, which in every respect is the best written history
I know: the language is the purest, the compilation the most
judicious, and the argumentation the soundest.
The famous Miss Elizabeth Villiers Pitt(753) is in England;
the only public place in which she has been seen is the Popish
chapel; her only exploit, endeavours to wreak her malice on
her brother William, whose kindness to her has been excessive.
She applies to all his enemies, and, as Mr. Fox told me, has
even gone so far as to send a bundle of his letters to the
author of the Test, to prove that Mr. Pitt has cheated her, as
she calls it, of a hundred a year, and which only prove that
he once allowed her two, and after all her wickedness still
allows her one. she must be vexed that she has no way of
setting the gout more against him! Adieu! tell me if you
receive all my letters.
(749) "The King became every day more and more averse to his
new ministers. Pitt, indeed, had not frequent occasions of
giving offence, having been confined by the gout the greater
part of the winter; and when he made his appearance he behaved
with proper respect, so that the King, though he did not like
his speeches, always treated him like a gentleman."
Waldegrave, p. 93.-E.
(750) Lady Hervey, in a letter of the 13th, gives the
following account of Damien's attempt:--"I have barely time to
tell you the news of the day, which arrived by a courier from
France this morning to M. d'Abreu, the Spanish minister. The
King of France was stepping into his coach to go to Bellevue,
and a fellow who seemed to be gaping and looking at the coach
en hayeur, took his opportunity, and taking aim at the King's
heart thrust his dagger into his side,--Just over against the
heart; but a lucky and sudden motion the King gave with his
elbow at that moment, turned the dagger. which made only a
slight wound in his ribs, as they say, which is judged not to
be dangerous. The fellow was immediately secured."-E.
(751) The Dauphin, son of Louis XV., had been bred a bigot;
but, as he by no means wanted sense, he got over the
prejudices of his education, and before he died had far more
(752) Prospero Lambertini, by the name of Benedict XIV. For
Walpole's inscription on his picture, see Works, vol. i. p.
218; and also post, letter to Sir Horace Mann of the 20th of
June, in this year.-E.
(753) Sister of William Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham.
360 Letter 210
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Jan. 30, 1757.
Last night I received your most melancholy letter of the 8th
of this month, in which you seem to feel all or more than I
apprehended. As I trust to time and the necessary avocation
of your thoughts, rather than to any arguments I could use for
your consolation, I choose to say as little more as possible
on the subject of your loss. Your not receiving letters from
your brothers as early as mine was the consequence of their
desiring me to take that most unwelcome office upon me: I
believe they have both written since, though your eldest
brother has had a severe fit of the gout: they are both
exceedingly busied in the details necessarily fallen upon
them. That would be no reason for their neglecting you, nor I
am persuaded will they; they shall certainly want no
incitements from me, who wish and will endeavour as much as
possible to repair your loss, alas! how inadequately! Your
brother James has found great favour from the Duke.(754) Your
@brother Ned, who is but just come to town from his
confinement, tells me that your nephew will be in vast
circumstances; above an hundred thousand pounds, besides the
landed estate and debts! These little details related, I had
rather try to amuse you, than indulge your grief and my own;
your dear brother's memory will never be separated from mine;
but the way in which I shall show it, shall be in increased
attention to you: he and you will make me perpetually think on
both of you!
All England is again occupied with Admiral Byng; he and his
friends were quite persuaded of his acquittal. The
court-martial, after the trial was finished, kept the whole
world in suspense for a week; after great debates and
divisions amongst themselves, and despatching messengers
hither to consult lawyers whether they could not mitigate the
article of war, to which a negative was returned, they
pronounced this extraordinary sentence on Thursday: they
condemn him to death for negligence, but acquit him of
disaffection and cowardice (the other heads of the article),
specifying the testimony of Lord Robert Bertie in his favour,
and unanimously recommending him to mercy; and accompanying
their sentence with a most earnest letter to the Lords of the
admiralty to intercede for his pardon, saying, that finding
themselves tied up from moderating the article of war, and not
being able in conscience to pronounce that he had done all he
could, they had been forced to bring him in guilty, but beg he
may be spared. The discussions and difference of opinions, on
the sentence is incredible. The cabinet council, I believe,
will be to determine whether the King shall pardon him or not:
some who wish to make him the scapegoat for their own
neglects, I fear, will try to complete his fate, but I should
think the new administration will not be biassed to blood by
such interested attempts. He bore well his Unexpected
sentence, as he has all the outrageous indignities and
cruelties heaped upon him. last week happened an odd event, I
can scarce say in his favour, as the world seems to think it
the effect of the arts of some of his friends: Voltaire sent
him from Switzerland an accidental letter of the Duc de
Richelieu bearing witness to the Admiral's good behaviour in
the engagement.(755) A letter of a very deferent cast, and of
great humour, is showed about, said to be written to Admiral
Boscawen from an old tar, to this effect:
"Sir., I had the honour of being at the taking of Port Mahon,
for which one gentleman(756) was made a lord; I was also at
the losing of Mahon, for which another gentleman(757) has been
made a lord: each of those gentlemen performed but one of
those services; surely I, who performed both, ought at least
to be made a lieutenant. Which is all from your honour's
humble servant, etc."(758)
Did you hear that after their conquest, the French ladies wore
little towers for pompons, and called them des Mahonnoises? I
suppose, since the attempt on the King, all their fashions
will be `a l'assassin. We are quite in the dark still about
that history: it is one of the bad effects of living in one's
own time, that one never knows the truth of it till one is
Old Fontenelle is dead at last;(759) they asked him as he was
dying "s'il sentoit quelque mal?" He replied, "Oui, je sens
le mal d'`etre." My uncle, a young creature compared to
Fontenelle, is grown something between childish and mad, and
raves about the melancholy situation of politics;(760) one
should think he did not much despair of his country, when at
seventy-eight he could practice such dirty arts to intercept
his brother's estate from his brother's grandchildren!
conclusion how unlike that of the honest good-humoured Pope! I
am charmed with his bon-mot that you sent me. Apropos! Mr,
Chute has received a present of a diamond mourning ring from a
cousin; he calls it l'anello del Piscatore.(761)
Mr. Pitt is still confined, and the House of Commons little
better than a coffee-house. I was diverted the other day with
P`ere Brumoy's translation of Aristophanes; the Harangueses,
or female orators, who take the Government upon themselves
instead of their husbands, might be well applied to our
politics: Lady Hester Pitt, Lady Caroline Fox, and the Duchess
of Newcastle, should be the heroines of the piece; and with
this advantage, that as lysistrata is forced to put on a
beard, the Duchess has one ready grown.
Sir Charles Williams is returning, on the bad success of our
dealings with Russia. The French were so determined to secure
the Czarina, that they chose about seven of their handsomest
young men to accompany their ambassador. How unlucky for us,
that Sir Charles was embroiled with Sir Edward Hussey Montagu,
who could alone have outweighed all the seven! Sir Charles's
daughter, Lady Essex, had engaged the attentions of Prince
Edward,(762) who has got his liberty, and seems extremely
disposed to use it, and has great life and good-humour. She
has already made a ball for him. Sir Richard Lyttelton was so
wise as to make her a visit, and advise her not to meddle with
politics; that the Princess would conclude it was a plan laid
for bringing together Prince Edward and Mr. Fox!(763) As Mr.
Fox was not just the person my Lady Essex was thinking of
bringing together with Prince Edward, she replied very
cleverly, "And my dear Sir Richard, let me advise you not to
meddle with politics neither." Adieu!
(754) From the Duke of Cumberland, commander-in-chief of the
army. Mr. Galfridus and James Mann were clothiers to many
(755) Voltaire's letter to Admiral Byng was written in
English, and is as follows:@' Aux D`elices, pr`es de Gen`eve.
Sir, though I am almost unknown to you, I think 'tis my duty
to send you the copy of the letter which I have just received
from the Marshal Duc de Richelieu; honour, humanity, and
equity order me to convey it into your hands. The noble and
unexpected testimony from one of the most candid as well as
the most generous of my countrymen, makes me presume your
judges will do you the same justice." Sir John Barrow, in his
Life of Lord Anson, proves that these letters got into the
hands of those who were not friendly to the Admiral, and he
suspects that they never reached the unfortunate person for
whose benefit they were intended.-E.
(756) Byng, Viscount Torrington.
(757) Lord Blakeney.
(758) It is now generally believed that Byng was brave but
incapable. He might have done more than he did; but this was
occasioned not by his want of courage, but by his want of
ability. He was cruelly sacrificed to the fury of the people,
and to the popularity of the ministry.-D.
(759) Fontenelle died on the 9th of January, having nearly
completed his hundredth year. M. le Cat, in his `eloge of
him, gives the following account of his dying words!--"he
reflected upon his own situation, just as he would upon that
of another man, and seemed to be observing a phenomenon.
Drawing very near his end, he said, 'This is the first death I
have ever seen;' and his physicians having asked him, whether
be was in pain, or what he felt, his answer was, 'I feel
nothing but a difficulty of existing.'"-E.
(760) The following is Lord Chesterfield's account of Sir
Charles's mental alienation, in a letter of the 4th, to his
son: "He was let blood four times on board the ship, and has
been let blood four times since his arrival here; but still
the inflammation continues very high. He is now under the
care of his brothers. They have written to the same
Mademoiselle John, to prevent, if they can, her coming to
England; which, when she hears, she must be as mad as he is,
if she takes the journey. By the way, she must be une dame
aventuri`ere, to receive a note for ten thousand roubles, from
a man whom she had known only three days; to take a contract
of marriage, knowing he was married already; and to engage
herself to follow him to England." Again, on the 22d, he
writes, "Sir C. W. is still in confinement, and, I fear, will
always be so, for he seems cum ratione sanire: the physicians
have collected all he has said and done, that indicated an
alienation of mind, and have laid it before him in writing; he
has answered it in writing too, and justifies himself by the
most plausible argument that can possibly be urged. I
conclude this subject With pitying him, and poor human nature,
which holds its reason by so precarious a tenure. The lady,
who you tell me is set out, en sera pour la peine et les frais
du voyage, for her note is worth no more than her
(761) The Pope's seal with a ring, which is called the
Fisherman's ring. Mr. Chute, who was unmarried, meant that
his cousin was fishing for his estate.
(762) Brother of George the Third; afterwards created Duke of
York. He died in 1767, at the early age of twenty-eight.-E.
(763) Sir Charles Williams was a particular friend of Mr. Fox.
363 Letter 211
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Feb. 13, 1757.
I am not surprised to find you still lamenting your dear
brother but you are to blame, and perhaps I shall be so, for
asking and giving any more accounts of his last hours.
Indeed, after the fatal Saturday, on which I told you I was
prevented seeing him by his being occupied with his lawyer, he
had scarce an interval of sense--and no wonder! His lawyer
has since told me, that nothing ever equalled the horrid
indecencies of your sister-in-law on that day. Having yielded
to the settlement for which he so earnestly begged, she was
determined to make him purchase it, and in transports of
passion and avarice, kept traversing his chamber from the
lawyer to the bed, whispering her husband, and then telling
the lawyer, who was drawing the will, "Sir, Mr. Mann says I am
to have this, I am to have that!" The lawyer at last,
offended to the greatest degree, said, "Madam, it is Mr.
Mann's will I am making, not yours!"--but here let me break it
off; I have told you all I know, and too much. It was a very
different sensation I felt, when your brother Ned told me that
he had found seven thousand pounds in the stocks in your name.
As Mr. Chute and I know how little it is possible for you to
lay up, we conclude that this sum is amassed for you by dear
Gal.'s industry and kindness, and by a silent way of serving
you, without a possibility of his wife or any one else calling
it in question.
What a dreadful catastrophe is that of Richcourt's family!
What lesson for human grandeur! Florence, the scene of all his
triumphs and haughtiness, is now the theatre of his misery and
After a fortnight of the greatest variety of opinions, Byng's
fate is still in suspense. The court and the late ministry
have been most bitter against him; the new admiralty most
good-natured; the King would not pardon him. They would not
execute the sentence, as many lawyers are clear that it is not
a legal one.(64) At last the council has referred it to the
twelve judges to give their opinion: if not a favourable one,
he dies! He has had many fortunate chances had the late
admiralty continued, one knows how little any would have
availed him. Their bitterness will always be recorded against
themselves: it will be difficult to persuade posterity that
all the shame of last summer was the fault of Byng! Exact
evidence of whose fault it was, I believe posterity will never
have: the long expected inquiries are begun, that is, some
papers have been moved for, but so coldly, that it is plain
George Townshend and the Tories are unwilling to push
researches that must necessarily reunite Newcastle and Fox.
In the mean time, Mr. Pitt stays at home, and holds the House
of Commons in commendam. I do not augur very well of the
ensuing summer; a detachment is going to America under a
commander whom a child might outwit, or terrify with a
pop-gun! The confusions in France seem to thicken with our
mismanagements: we hear of a total change in the ministry
there, and of the disgrace both of Machault and D'Argenson,
the chiefs of the Parliamentary and Ecclesiastic factions.
That the King should be struck with the violence Of their
parties, I don't wonder: it is said, that as he went to hold
the lit de Justice, no mortal cried Vive le Roi! but one old
woman, for which the mob knocked her down, and trampled her to
My uncle died yesterday was Se'nnight; his death I really
believe hastened by the mortification of the money vainly
spent at Norwich. I neither intend to spend money, nor to die
of it, but, to my mortification, am forced to stand for Lynn,
in the room of his son. The corporation still reverence my
father's memory so much, that they will not bear distant
relations, while he has sons living. I was reading the other
day a foolish book called "l'Histoire des quatre Cic`erons;"
the author, who has taken Tully's son for his hero, says, he
piques himself on out-drinking Antony, his father's great
enemy. Do you think I shall ever pique myself on being richer
than my Lord Bath?
Prince Edward's pleasures continue to furnish conversation: he
has been rather forbid by the Signora Madre to make himself so
common; and he has been rather encouraged by his grandfather
to disregard the prohibition. The other night the Duke and he
were at a ball at Lady Rochford's:(765) she and Lady Essex
were singing in an inner chamber when the Princes entered, who
insisting on a repetition of the song, my Lady Essex, instead
of continuing the same, addressed herself to Prince Edward in
this ballad of Lord -Dorset-
"False friends I have as well as you,
Who daily counsel me
Fame and ambition to pursue,
And leave off loving thee--"
It won't be unamusing, I hope it will be no more than amusing,
when all the Johns of Gaunt, and Clarences, and Humphrys of
Gloucester, are old enough to be running about town, and
furnishing histories. Adieu!
(764) Walpole, in his Memoires, vol. it. p. 152, says, that
Mr. Pitt moved the King to mercy, but was cut very short; nor
did his Majesty remember to ask his usual question, whether
there were any favourable circumstances."-E.
(765) Lucy Young, wife of William Henry, Earl of Rochford.
364 Letter 212
To John Chute, Esq.(766)
Sunday night, very late, Feb. 27, 1757.
My dear Sir,
I should certainly have been with YOU to-night, as I desired
George Montagu to tell you, but every six hours produce such
new wonders, that I do not know when I shall have a moment to
see you. Will you, can you believe me, when I tell you that
the four persons of the court-martial whom Keppel named
yesterday to the House as commissioning him to ask for the
bill, now deny they gave him such commission, though Norris,
one of them, was twice on Friday with Sir Richard Lyttelton,
and once with George Grenville for the same purpose! I have
done nothing but traverse the town tonight from Sir Richard
Lyttelton's to the Speaker's, to Mr. Pitt's, to Mr. Fox's, to
Doddington's, to Lady Hervey's, to find out and try how to
defeat the evil of this, and to extract, if possible, some
good from it. Alas! alas! that what I meant so well, should
be likely only to add a fortnight to the poor man's misery!
(766) Now first published.
365 Letter 213
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, March 3, 1757.
I have deferred writing to you till I could tell you something
certain of the fate of Admiral Byng: no history was ever so
extraordinary, or produced such variety of surprising turns.
In my last I told you that his sentence was referred to the
twelve judges. They have made law of that of which no man
else could make sense. The Admiralty immediately signed the
warrant for his execution on the last of February--that is,
three signed: Admiral Forbes positively refused, and would
have resigned sooner. The Speaker would have had Byng
expelled the House, but his tigers were pitiful. Sir Francis
Dashwood tried to call for the court-martial's letter, but the
tigers were not so tender as that came to. Some of the
court-martial grew to feel as the execution advanced: the city
grew impatient for it. Mr. Fox tried to represent the new
ministry as compassionate, and has damaged their popularity.
Three of the court-martial applied on Wednesday last to Lord
Temple to renew their solicitation for mercy. Sir Francis
Dashwood moved a repeal of the bloody twelfth article: the
House was savage enough; yet Mr. Doddington softened them, and
not one man spoke directly against mercy. They had nothing to
fear: the man,(767) who, of all defects, hates cowardice and
avarice most, and who has some little objection to a mob in
St. James's street, has magnanimously forgot all the services
of the great Lord Torrington. On Thursday seven of the
court-martial applied for mercy: they were rejected. On
Friday a most strange event happened. I was told at the House
that Captain Keppel and Admiral Norris desired a bill to
absolve them from their oath of secrecy, that they might
unfold something very material towards saving the prisoner's
life. I was out of Parliament myself during my re-election,
but I ran to Keppel; he said he had never spoken in public,
and could not, but would give authority to any body else. The
Speaker was putting the question for the orders of the day,
after which no motion could be made: it was Friday, the House
would not sit on Saturday, the execution was fixed for Monday.
I felt all this in an instant, dragged Mr. Keppel to Sir
Francis Dashwood, and he on the floor before he had taken his
place, called out to the Speaker, and though the orders were
passed, Sir Francis was suffered to speak. The House was
wondrously softened: pains were taken to prove to Mr. Keppel
that he might speak, notwithstanding his oath; but he adhering
to it, he had time given him till next morning to consider and
consult some of his brethren who had commissioned him to
desire the bill. The next day the King sent a message to our
House, that he had respited Mr. Byng for a fortnight, till the
bill could be passed, and he should know whether the Admiral
was unjustly condemned. The bill was read twice in our House
that day, and went through the committee: mr. Keppel affirming
that he had something, in his opinion, of weight to tell, and
which it was material his Majesty should know, and naming four
of his associates who desired to be empowered to speak. On
Sunday all was confusion on news that the four disclaimed what
Mr. Keppel had said for them. On Monday he told the House
that in one he had been mistaken; that another did not declare
off, but wished all were to be compelled to speak; and from
the two others he produced a letter upholding him in what he
had said. The bill passed by 153 to 23. On Tuesday it was
treated very differently by the Lords. The new Chief
Justice(768) and the late Chancellor(769) pleaded against Byng
like little attorneys, and did all they could to stifle truth.
That all was a good deal. They prevailed to have the whole
courtmartial at their bar. Lord Hardwicke urged for the
intervention of a day, on the pretence of a trifling cause of
an Irish bankruptcy then depending before the Lords, though
Lord Temple showed them that some of the captains and admirals
Were under sailing orders for America. But Lord Hardwicke and
Lord Anson were expeditious enough to do what they wanted in
one night's time: for the next day, yesterday, every one of
the court-martial defended their sentence, and even the three
conscientious said not one syllable of their desire of the
bill, which was accordingly unanimously rejected, and with
great marks of contempt for the House of Commons.
This is as brief and as clear an abstract as I can give you of
a most complicated affair, in which I have been a most
unfortunate actor, having to my infinite grief, which I shall
feel till the man is at peace, been instrumental in
protracting his misery a fortnight, by what I meant as the
kindest thing I could do. I never knew poor Byng enough to
bow to; but the great doubtfulness of his crime, and the
extraordinariness of his sentence, the persecution of his
enemies, who sacrifice him for their own guilt and the rage of
a blinded nation, have called forth all my pity for him. His
enemies triumph, but who can envy the triumph of murder?
Nothing else material has happened, but Mr. Pitt's having
moved for a German subsidy, which is another matter of triumph
to the late ministry. He and Mr. Fox have the warmest
altercations every day in the House.
We have had a few French symptoms; papers were fixed on the
Exchange, with these words, "Shoot Byng, or take care of your
King;" but this storm, which Lord Anson's creatures and
protectors have conjured up, may choose itself employment when
Byng is dead.
Your last was of Jan. 29th, in which I thank you for what you
say of my commissions: sure you could not imagine that I
thought you neglected them? Adieu!
(767) The King.
(768) W. Murray, Lord Mansfield.
(769) Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke.
367 Letter 214
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, March 17, 1757.
Admiral Byng's tragedy was completed on Monday-a perfect
tragedy, for there were variety of incidents, villany, murder,
and a hero! His sufferings, persecutions, aspersions,
disturbances, nay, the revolutions of his fate, had not in the
least unhinged his mind; his whole behaviour was natural and
firm. A few days before, one of his friends standing by him,
said, "Which of us is the tallest?" He replied, "Why this
ceremony? I know what it means; let the man come and measure
me for my coffin." He said, that being acquitted of
cowardice, and being persuaded on the coolest reflection that
he had acted for the best, and should act so again, he was not
unwilling to suffer. he desired to be shot on the
quarter-deck, not where common malefactors are; came out at
twelve, sat down in a chair, for he would not kneel, and
refused to have his face covered, that his countenance might
show whether he feared death; but being told that it might
frighten his executioners, he submitted, gave the signal at
once, received one shot through the head, another through the
heart, and fell. Do cowards live or die thus? Can that man
want spirit who only fears to terrify his executioners? Has
the aspen Duke of Newcastle lived thus? Would my Lord
Hardwicke die thus, even supposing he had nothing on his
This scene is over! what will be the next is matter of great
uncertainty. The new ministers are well weary of their
situation; without credit at court, without influence in the
House of Commons, undermined every where, I believe they are
too sensible not to desire to be delivered of their burthen,
which those who increase yet dread to take on themselves. Mr.
Pitt's health is as bad as his situation: confidence between
the other factions almost impossible; yet I believe their
impatience will prevail over their distrust. The nation
expects a change every day, and being a nation, I believe,
desires it; and being the English nation, will condemn it the
moment it is made. We are trembling for Hanover, and the Duke
is going to command the army of observation. These are the
politics of the week; the diversions are balls, and the two
Princes frequent them; but the eldest nephew(770) remains shut
up in a room, where, as desirous as they are of keeping him, I
believe he is now and then incommode. The Duke of Richmond
has made two balls on his approaching wedding with Lady Mary
Bruce, Mr. Conway's(771) daughter-in-law: it is the perfectest
match in the world; youth, beauty, riches, alliances, and all
the blood of all the kings from Robert Bruce to Charles the
Second. they are the prettiest couple in England, except the
father-in-law and mother.
As I write so often to you, you must be content with shorter
letters, which, however, are always as long as I can make
them. This summer will not contract our correspondence.
Adieu! my dear Sir.
(770) George Prince of Wales, afterwards George III.
(771) Lady Mary Bruce was only daughter of Charles last Earl
of Ailesbury, by his third wife, Caroline, daughter of General
John Campbell, afterwards Duke of Argyll. lady Ailesbury
married to her second husband, Colonel Henry Seymour Conway,
only brother of Francis Earl of Hertford.
368 Letter 215
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, April 7, 1757.
You will receive letters by this post that will surprise you;
I will try to give you a comment to them; an exact explication
I don't know who could give you. You will receive the orders
of' a new master, Lord Egremont. I was going on to say that
the ministry is again changed, but I cannot say Changed, it is
only dismissed--and here is another inter-ministerium.
The King has never borne Lord Temple,(772) and soon grew
displeased with Mr. Pitt: on Byng's affair it came to
aversion. It is now given out that both I have mentioned have
personally affronted the King. On the execution, he would not
suffer Dr. Hay of the admiralty to be brought into Parliament,
though he had lost his seat on coming into his service.
During this squabble negotiations were set on foot between the
Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Fox, and would have been concluded
if either of them would have risked being hanged for the
other. The one most afraid broke off the treaty; need I say
it was the Duke?(773 While this was in agitation, it grew
necessary for the Duke(774) to go abroad and take the command
of the army of observation. He did not care to be checked
there by a hostile ministry at home: his father was as
unwilling to be left in their hands. The drum was beat for
forces; none would list. However, the change must be made,
The day before yesterday Lord Temple was dismissed, with all
his admiralty but Boscawen, who was of the former, and with an
offer to Mr. Elliot to stay, which he has declined. The new
admirals are Lord Winchelsea, Rowley again, Moyston, Lord
Carysfort, Mr. Sandys, and young Hamilton of the board of
trade.(775) It was hoped that this disgrace would drive Mr.
Pitt and the rest of his friends to resign--for that very
reason they would not. The time pressed; to-day was fixed for
the Duke's departure, and for the recess of Parliament during
the holidays. Mr. Pitt was dismissed, and Lord Egremont has
received the seals to-day. Mr. Fox has always adhered to
being only paymaster; but the impossibility of finding a
chancellor of the exchequer, which Lord Duplin of the
Newcastle faction, and Doddington of Mr. Fox's, have refused,
has, I think, forced Mr. Fox to resolve to take that post
himself. However, that and every thing else is unsettled, and
Mr. Fox is to take nothing till the Inquiries are over. The
Duke of Devonshire remains in the treasury, declaring that it
is only for a short time, and till they can fix on somebody
else. The Duke of Newcastle keeps aloof, professing no
connexion with Mr. Pitt; Lord Hardwicke is gone into the
country for a fortnight. The stocks fall, the foreign
ministers stare; Leicester-house is going to be very angry,
and I fear we are going into great confusion. As I wish Mr.
Fox so well, I cannot but lament the undigested rashness of
Having lost three packet-boats lately, I fear I have missed a
letter or two of yours: I hope this will have better fortune;
for, almost unintelligible, as it is, you will want even so
awkward a key.
Mr. Fox was very desirous of bargaining for a peerage for Lady
Caroline; the King has positively refused it, but has given
him the reversion for three lives of clerk of the pelts in
Ireland, which Doddington has now. Mr. Conway is made groom
of the bedchamber to the King.
A volume on all I have told you would only perplex you more;
you will have time to study what I send you now. I go to
Strawberry Hill to-morrow for the holidays; and till they are
over, certainly nothing more will be done. You did not expect
this new confusion, just when you was preparing to tremble for
the campaign. Adieu!
(772) "To Lord Temple," says Lord Waldegrave, "the King had
the strongest aversion, his lordship having a pert
familiarity, which is not always agreeable to his Majesty.
besides, in the affair of admiral Byng, he had used some
insolent expressions, which his Majesty could never forgive.
Pitt, he said, made him long speeches, which probably might be
very fine, but were greatly beyond his comprehension, and that
his letters were affected, formal, and pedantic; but as to
Temple, he was so disagreeable a fellow, there was no bearing
him." Memoirs, p. 93.-E.
(773) "I told his Majesty, that the Duke of Newcastle was quite
doubtful what part he should take, being equally balanced by
fear on the one side and love of power on the other. To this
the King replied, 'I know he is apt to be afraid, therefore go
and encourage him; tell him I do not look upon myself as king
whilst I am in the hands of these scoundrels; that I am
determined to get rid of them at any rate; that I expect his
assistance, and that he may depend on my favour and
protection.'" Waldegrave, p. 96.-E.
(774) The Duke of Cumberland.
(775) The new admiralty actually consisted of the following:--
Lord Winchilsea, Admiral Sir W. Rowley, K. B., Hon. Edward
Boscawen, Gilbert Elliott, Esq., John Proby, first lord
Carysfort, Savage Mostyn, Esq., and the Hon. Edward Sandys,
afterwards second lord Sandys.-D.
370 Letter 216
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, April 20, 1757.
You will wonder that I should so long have announced my lord
Egremont to you for a master, without his announcing himself to
you.--it was no fault of mine; every thing here is a riddle or
an absurdity. Instead of coming forth secretary of state, he
went out of town, declaring he knew nothing of the matter. On
that, it was affirmed that he had refused the seals. The truth
is, they have never been offered to him in form. He had been
sounded, and I believe was not averse, but made excuses that
were not thought invincible. As we are in profound peace with
all the world, and can do without any government, it is thought
proper to wait a little, till what are called the Inquiries are
over;(776) what they are, I will tell you
presently. A man(777) who has hated and loved the Duke of
Newcastle pretty heartily in the course of some years, is
Willing to wait, in hopes of prevailing on him to resume the
seals--that Duke is the arbiter of England! Both the other
parties are trying to unite with him. The King pulls him, the
next reign (for you know his grace is very young) pulls him
back. Present power tempts: Mr. Fox's unpopularity terrifies-
-he will reconcile all, with immediate duty to the King, with a
salvo to the intention of betraying him to the Prince, to make
his peace with the latter, as soon as he has made up with the
former. Unless his grace takes Mr. Fox by the hand, the latter
is in an ugly situation--if he does, is he in a beautiful one?
Yesterday began the famous and long-expected Inquiries.(778)
The House of Commons in person undertakes to examine all the
intelligence, letters, and orders, of the administration that
lost Minorca. In order to this, they pass over a -,,whole
winter; then they send for cart-loads of papers from all the
offices, leaving it to the discretion of the clerks to
transcribe, insert, omit, whatever they please; and without
inquiring what the accused ministers had left or secreted.
Before it was possible for people to examine these with any
attention, supposing they were worth any, the whole House goes
to work, sets the clerk to reading such bushels of letters, that
the very dates fill three-and-twenty sheets of paper; he reads
as fast as he can, nobody attends, every body goes away, and
to-night they determined that the whole should be read through
on tomorrow and Friday, that one may have time to digest on
Saturday and Sunday what one had scarce heard,
cannot remember, nor is it worth the while; and then on
Monday, without asking any questions, examining any witnesses,
authority, or authenticity, the Tories are to affirm that the
ministers were very negligent; the Whigs, that they were
wonderfully informed, discreet, provident, and active; and Mr.
Pitt and his friends are to affect great zeal for justice, are
to avoid provoking the Duke of Newcastle, and are to endeavour
to extract from all the nothings they have not heard,
something that is to lay all the guilt at Mr. Fox's door. Now
you know very exactly what the Inquiries are-and this wise
nation is gaping to see the chick which their old brood-hen the
House of Commons will produce from an egg laid in
November, neglected till April, and then hatched in a
The common council have presented gold boxes with the freedom
of their city to Mr. Pitt and Mr. Legge--no gracious
compliment to St. James's. It is expected that the example
will catch, but as yet, I hear of no imitations. Pamphlets,
cards, and prints swarm again. George Townshend has published
one of the latter, which is so admirable in its kind, that I
cannot help sending 'It to you. His genius for likenesses in
caricatura is astonishing--indeed, Lord Winchelsea's figure is
not heightened--your friends Doddington and Lord Sandwich are
like; the former made me laugh till I cried. The Hanoverian
drummer, Ellis, is the least like, though it has much of his
air. I need say nothing of the lump of fat(779) crowned with
laurel on the altar. As Townshend's parts lie entirely in his
pencil, his pen has no share in them; the labels are very dull,
except the inscription on the altar, which I believe is his
brother Charles's. This print, which has so diverted the town,
has produced to-day a most bitter pamphlet against
George Townshend, called The Art of Political Lying. Indeed,
it is strong.
The Duke, who has taken no English with him but Lord
Albemarle, Lord Frederick Cavendish,(780) Lord George
Lennox,(781) Colonel Keppel, Mr. West, and Colonel Carlton, all
his own servants, was well persuaded to go by Stade; there were
French parties laid to intercept him on the other road. It
might have saved him an unpleasant campaign. We have no
favourable events, but that Russia, who had neither men,
money, nor magazines, is much softened, and halts her troops.
The Duke of Grafton(782) still languishes: the Duke of
Newcastle has so pestered him with political visits, that the
physicians ordered him to be excluded: yet he forced himself
into the house. The Duke's Gentlemen would not admit him into
the bedchamber, saying his grace was asleep. Newcastle
protested he would go in on tiptoe and only look at him-he
rushed in, clattered his heels to waken him, and then fell upon
the bed, kissing and hugging him. Grafton waked. "God! what's
here?" "Only I, my dear lord." Buss, buss, buss, buss! "God!
how can you be such a beast, to kiss such a
creature as I am, all over plaisters! get along, get along!"
and turned about and went to sleep. Newcastle hurries home,
tells the mad Duchess that the Duke of Grafton was certainly
light-headed, for he had not known him, frightened her into
fits, and then was forced to send for Dr. -Shaw-for this
Lepidus are struggling Octavius and Anthony!(783)
I have received three letters from you, one of March 25th, one
of the second of this month, inclosing that which had
journeyed back to you unopened. I wish it lay in my way to
send you early news of the destination of fleets, but I rather
avoid secrets than hunt them. I must give you much the same
answer with regard to Mr. Dick, whom I should be most glad to
serve; but when I tell you that in the various revolutions of
ministries I have seen, I have never asked a single favour for
myself or any friend I have; that whatever friendships I have
with the man, I avoid all connexions with the minister; that I
abhor courts and levee-rooms and flattery; that I have done with
all parties and only sit by and smile--(you would
weep)--when I tell You all this, think what my interest must
be! I can better answer your desiring me to countenance your
brother James, and telling me it will cost me nothing. My God!
if you don't believe the affection I have for you, at least
believe in the adoration I have for dear Gal.'s memory,- -that,
alas! cannot now be counterfeited! If ever I had a friend, if
ever there was a friend, he was one to me; if ever there were
love and gratitude, I have both for him--before I received your
letter, James was convinced for all this--but my dear child, you
let slip an expression which sure I never deserved--but I will
say no more of it. thank you for the verses on
Buondelmonti(784)--I did not know he was dead--for the prayer
for Richcourt, for the Pope's letter, and for the bills of
lading for the liqueurs.
You will have heard all the torments exercised on that poor
wretch Damien, for attempting the least bad of all murders, that
of a king. They copied with a scrupulous exactness
horrid precedents, and the dastardly monarch permitted them! I
don't tell you any particulars, for in time of war, and at this
distance, how to depend on the truth of them?
This is a very long letter, but I will not make excuses for
long ones and short ones too--I fear you forgive the long ones
(776) "April 6, Mr. Pitt dismissed. Mr. Fox and I were
ordered from the King, by Lord Holderness to come and kiss his
hand as paymaster of the army, and treasurer of the navy. We
wrote to the Duke of Cumberland our respectful thanks and
acceptance of the offices; but we thought it would be more for
his Majesty's service,.not to enter into them publicly till the
Inquiry was over." Doddington, p. 352.-E.
(777) the King.
(778) On the 19th of April, the House of Commons went into a
committee on the state of the navy, and the causes which had led
to the loss of the island of Minorca.-E.
(779) The Duke of Cumberland.
(780) Third son of William third Duke of Devonshire. He was
made a field-marshal in 1796, and died in 1803.-D.
(781) Second son of Charles second Duke of Richmond. He died
in March, 1805.-D.
(782) Charles Fitzroy, second Duke of Grafton, lord
(783) Lepidus, Duke of Newcastle; Octavius and Anthony, Pitt
(784) A Florentine Abb`e and wit; author of several poetical
372 Letter 217
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, May 5, 1757.
You may expect what you please of new ministries, and
revolutions, and establishments; we are a grave people, and
don't go so rashly to work-at least when we have demolished any
thing rashly, we take due time before we repair it. At a
distance you may be impatient. We, the most concerned, wait
very tranquilly to see the event of chaos. It was given out
that nothing would be settled till the Inquiries were at an end.
The world very obediently stayed for the time appointed. The
Inquiries are at an end, yet nothing is in more
forwardness. Foreign nations may imagine (but they must be at
a great distance!) that we are so wise and upright a people,
that every man performs his part, and thence every thing goes on
in its proper order without any government--but I fear, our case
is like what astronomers tell us, that if a star was to be
annihilated, it would still shine for two months. The Inquiries
have been a most important and dull farce, and very fatiguing;
we sat six days till past midnight. If you have received my
last letter, you have already had a description of what passed
just as I foresaw. Mr. Pitt broke out a little the second day,
and threatened to secede, and tell the world the iniquity of the
majority; but recollecting that the
majority might be as useful as the world, he recomposed
himself, professed meaning no personalities, swallowed all
candour as fast as it was proposed to him, swallowed camels and
haggled about gnats, and in a manner let the friends of the old
ministry state and vote what resolutions they pleased. They
were not modest, but stated away; yet on the last day of the
committee, on their moving that no greater force could have been
sent to the Mediterranean than was under Byng the triumphant
majority shrank to one of seventy-eight, many
absenting themselves, and many of the independent sort voting
with the minority. This alarmed so much, that the
predetermined vote of acquittal or approbation was forced to be
dropped, and to their great astonishment the late cabinet is not
thanked parliamentarily for having lost Minorca. You may judge
what Mr. Pitt might have done, if he had pleased; when, though
he starved his own cause, so slender an advantage was obtained
against him. I retired before the vote I have mentioned; as Mr.
Fox was complicated in it, I would not
appear against him, and I could not range myself with a
squadron who I think must be the jest of Europe and posterity.
It now remains to settle some ministry: Mr. Pitt's friends are
earnest, and some of them trafficking for an union with
Newcastle. He himself, I believe, maintains his dignity, and
will be sued to, not sue. The Duke of Newcastle, who cannot
bear to resign the last twilight of the old sun, would join with
Fox; but the Chancellor, who hates him, and is alarmed at his
unpopularity, and at the power of Pitt with the people, holds
back. Bath, Exeter, Yarmouth, and Worcester, have
followed the example of london, and sent their freedoms to Pitt
and Legge: I suppose Edinburgh will, but instead of
giving, will ask for a gold box in return. Here are some new
epigrams on the present politics:
TO THE NYMPH OF BATH.
Mistaken Nymph, thy gifts withhold;
Pitt's virtuous soul despises gold;
Grant him thy boon peculiar, health;
He'll guard, not covet, Britain's wealth.
The two great rivals London might content,
If what he values most to each she sent;
Ill was the franchise coupled with the box:
Give Pitt the freedom, and the gold to Fox.
ON DR. SHEBBEAR ABUSING Hume CAMPBELL FOR BEING A PROSTITUTE
'Tis below you, dear Doctor to worry an elf,
Who you know will defend $any thing but himself.
The two first are but middling, and I am bound to think the
last so, as it is my own. Shebbear is a broken Jacobite
physician, who has threatened to write himself into a place or
the pillory: he has Just published a bitter letter to the Duke
of Newcastle, which occasioned the above two lines.
The French have seized in their own name the country of
Bentheim, a purchase of the King's, after having offered him
the most insulting neutrality for Hanover, in the world; they
proposed putting a garrison into the strongest Post(785) he has,
with twenty other concessions. We have rumours of the Prince of
Bevern having beaten the Austrians considerably.
I believe, upon review, that this is a mighty indefinite
letter; I would have waited for certainties, but not knowing
how long that might be, I thought you would prefer this
parenthesis of politics.
lord Northumberland's great gallery is finished and opened; it
is a sumptuous chamber, but might have been in a better taste.
He is wonderfully content with his pictures, and gave me leave
to repeat it to you. I rejoiced, as you had been the
negotiator--as you was not the painter, you will allow me not
to be so profuse of my applause. Indeed I have yet only seen
them by candle-light. Mengs's School of Athens pleased me:
Pompeio's two are black and hard; Mazucci's Apollo, fade and
without beauty; Costanza's piece is abominable. Adieu! till a
374 Letter 218
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, May 19, 1757.
We are not yet arrived at having a ministry, but we have had
two or three alarms at one. On Monday, the Duke of
Devonshire, impatient for a plaything, took the chamberlain's
staff and key--these were reckoned certain prognostics; but they
were only symptoms Of his childishness. Yesterday it was
published that Mr. Pitt's terms were so extravagant, that the
Duke of Newcastle could not comply with them--and would take the
whole himself--perhaps leave some little trifle for Mr.
Fox--to-day all is afloat again, and all negotiations to
recommence. Pitt's demands were, that his grace should not
meddle in the House of Commons, nor in the province of
Secretary of State, but stick to the Treasury, and even there
to be controlled by a majority of Mr. Pitt's friends-they were
certainly great terms, but he has been taught not to trust less.
But it is tautology to dwell on these variations; the
inclosed(786 is an exact picture of our situation--and is
perhaps the only political paper ever written, in which no man
of any party can dislike or deny a single fact. I wrote it in
an hour and a half, and you will perceive that it must be the
effect of a single thought.
We had big letters yesterday of a total victory of the King of
Prussia over the Austrians,(787) with their army dispersed and
their general wounded and prisoner--I don't know how, but it is
not confirmed yet. You must excuse the brevity of my
English letter, in consideration of my Chinese one. Adieu!
(786) Letter from Xo Ho, a Chinese philosopher at London, to
his friend Lien Chi at Pekin.
(787) This was the battle of Prague, gained by the King of
Prussia on the 6th of May, 1757, over the forces of the
Empress-Queen, commanded by Prince Charles of Lorraine.-D.
375 Letter 219
To George Montagu, Esq.
May 27, 1757.
I have ticketed you with numbers 5832, 58322, 58323, 58324,
58325, 58326; I think you bespoke six. I do not send them by
post, unless you order it: but I have writ your name on each,
lest in case of accident my executors should put them into my
auction, for which you are so impatient, and then you would have
to buy them over again.
I am glad you like Xo Ho: I think every body does, which is
strange, considering it has no merit but truth. Mrs. Clive
cried out like you, "Lord! you will be sent to the Tower!"
"Well," said I coolly, "my father was there before me."
Lord Abercorn's picture is extremely like; he seems by the
Vandyke habit to be got back into his own times; but nothing is
finished yet, except the head.
You will be diverted with a health which my Lady Townshend gave
at supper with the Prince t'other night: "'Tis a health you will
all like," she said. "Well! what is it?" "The three P's." The
boy coloured up to the eyes. After keeping them in suspense
some time, she named, Pitt, Peace, and Plenty. The Princess has
given Home, the author of Douglas, a hundred a year. Prince and
Princess Edward continue to entertain
themselves and Ranelagh every night.
I wish your brother and all heirs to estates joy, for old Shutz
is dead, and cannot wriggle himself into any more wills. The
ministry is not yet hatched; the King of Prussia is
conquering the world; Mr. Chute has some murmurs of the gout;
and I am yours for ever.
376 Letter 220
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, June 1, 1757.
After a vacancy of full two months, we are at last likely to
have a ministry again--I do not promise you a very lasting one.
Last Wednesday the conferences broke off between the Duke of
Newcastle and Mr. Pitt; the latter demanding a full restoration
of his friends, with the admiralty and a peerage for Mr. Legge,
the blue riband and, I believe, Ireland for Lord Temple, and Mr.
Grenville for chancellor of the
exchequer, with stipulations that no more money should be sent
this year to Germany. The last article, the admiralty, and
especially the exchequer, were positively refused; and on Friday
the Duke went to the King, and consented to be sole minister,
insisting that Mr. Fox should be nothing but
paymaster, not cabinet-councillor, and have no power; Sir
Thomas Robinson to be again secretary of state, and Sir George
Lee chancellor of exchequer. For form, he was to retire to
Claremont for a few days, to take advice of his oracle, whose
answer he had already dictated. Lord Hardwicke refuses the
seals; says, he desires nobody should be dismissed for him; if
president or privy seal should by any means be vacant, he will
accept either, but nothing till Lord Anson is satisfied, for
whom he asks treasurer of the navy. The Duke goes to
Kensington to-morrow, when all this is to be declared-however,
till it is, I shall doubt it. Lord Lincoln and his principal
friends are vehement against it; and indeed his grace seems to
be precipitating his own ruin. If Mr. Fox could forgive all
that is past, which he by no means intends, here are now
provocations added--will they invite Mr. Fox's support? Not to
mention what Unpopular German steps the Duke must take to
recover the King's favour, who is now entirely Fox's; the latter
is answerable for nothing, and I believe would not manage
inquiries against his grace as Mr. Pitt has--leniently. In
short, I think the month of October will terminate the fortunes
of the house of Pelham for ever--his supporters are ridiculous;
his followers will every day desert to one or other of the two
princes(788) of the blood, who head the other factions. Two
parts in three of the cabinet, at least half, are attached to
Mr. Fox; there the Duke will be overborne; in Parliament will be
deserted. Never was a plan concerted with more weakness!
I enclose a most extraordinary print. Mr. Fox has found some
caricaturist(789) equal to George Townshend, and who manages
royal personages with at least as little ceremony. I have
written "Lord Lincoln" over the blue riband, because some people
take it for him--likeness there is none: it is certain Lord
Lincoln's mother was no whore; she never recovered the death of
her husband. The line that follows "son of a whore" seems but
too much connected with it; at least the "could say more" is not
very merciful. The person of Lord Bute, not his face, is
ridiculously like; Newcastle, Pitt, and Lord Temple are the very
men. It came out but to-day, and shows how
cordial the new union is. Since the Ligue against Henry III.
of France, there never was such intemperate freedom with
velvet and ermine; never, I believe, where religion was not
I cannot find by the dates you send me that I have received
yours of Jan. 1, and Feb. 12, and I keep all your letters very
orderly. Mine of this year to you have been of Jan. 6, 17, 30;
Feb. 14; March 3 , 17; April 7, 20; May 5, 19. Tell me if you
have received them.
What a King is our Prussian! how his victories come out
doubled and trebled above their very fame! My Lady Townshend
says, "Lord! how all the Queens will go to see this Solomon! and
how they will be disappointed!" How she of Hungary is
disappointed! We hear that the French have recalled their green
troops, which had advanced for show, and have sent their oldest
regiments against the Duke.(790) Our foreign affairs are very
serious, but I don't know whether I do not think that our
domestic tend to be more so! Adieu!
(788) The Prince of Wales, who espoused Mr. Pitt; and the Duke
of Cumberland, Mr. Fox.
(789) This relates to a print that made much noise, called "The
Turnstile." The uncertain figure pretended to be Lord Lincoln,
but was generally thought to mean the Prince of
Wales, whom it resembled; but in the second impression a
little demon was inserted to imply ,The Devil over Lincoln."
Yet that evasion did not efface the first idea.
(790) The Duke of Cumberland.
377 Letter 221
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, June 2, 1757.
The ministry is to be settled to-day; there are different
accounts how: some say, that the Duke of Newcastle is to take
orders and to have the reversion of the bishopric of
Winchester: that Mr. Pitt is to have a regiment and to go serve
in Germany with the Duke; that Mr. Fox is to have Sir William
Irby'S place,(791) and be chamberlain to the Princess; that my
Lord Bute is to be divorced and marry Princess Emily; and that
my Lord Darlington is to be first minister. Others say, that
the Duke of Newcastle is to be sole minister, having broken with
Mr. Pitt; that Sir Thomas Robinson is to be again secretary of
state; Sir George Lee chancellor of the
exchequer, and Mr. Fox paymaster, but with no place in the
cabinet, nor any power. I believe the Duke himself has said
this; but, as I think the former establishment would be the less
ridiculous of the two, I intend to believe that.
I send you your tickets and a curious new print. The blue
riband in the corner, and the line that explains it, but
leaves it still in the dark, makes much noise. I choose to
think it my Lord Lincoln, for, having a tenderness for
royalties, I will not suppose, as most do, that it points
higher. The rest are certainly admirable: the times are very
entertaining; one cannot complain that no Wit is stirring, as
one used to do. I never thought I should feel glad for the death
of poor Mr. Pelham; but really it has opened such scenes of
amusement, that I begin to bear it better than I did. I rejoice
to hear that your brother is accommodated, though not by my
means. The Duke of Bedford might have reflected, that what I
asked was a very trifle, or that I should never have asked it;
nay, that if I could have asked a favour of
consequence, I should not have applied to himself, but to those
who govern him,--to the Duchess and Rigby.
I certainly am glad of rain, but could wish it was boiled a
little over the sun first: Mr. Bentley calls this the hard
summer, and says he is forced to buy his fine weather at
P. S. Pray acknowledge the receipt of your tickets. I don't
know how you came not to see the advertisements of Xo Ho, which
have been in continually; four editions were published in twelve
(791) Vice-chamberlain to the Princess of wales.
378 Letter 222
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, June 9, 1757.
I must write you a very different story from my last. The day
before yesterday the Duke of Newcastle, who had resumed
conferences with Mr. Pitt by the intervention of Lord Bute,
though they could not agree on particulars, went to
Kensington, and told the King he could not act without Mr. Pitt
and a great plan of that connexion. The King reproached him
with his breach of promise; It seems the King is in the wrong
for Lord Lincoln and that court reckon his grace as white as
snow, and as steady as virtue itself. Mr. Fox went to court,
and consented to undertake the whole--but it is madness! Lord
Waldegrave,(792) a worthy man as ever was born, and sensible, is
to be the first lord of his treasury. Who is to be any thing
else I don't know, for by to-morrow it will rain resignations as
it did in the year '46. Lord Holderness has begun, and gave up
to-day; the Dukes of Rutland and Leeds and all these Pelhamites
are to follow immediately: the
standard of opposition is, I believe, ready painted, and is to
be hung out at Leicester-house by the beginning of the week. I
grieve for Mr. Fox, and have told him so: I see how
desperate his game is, but I shall not desert him, though I
mean nor meant to profit of his friendship. So many places will
be vacant, that I cannot yet guess who will be to fill them.
Mr. Fox will be chancellor of the exchequer, and, I think, Lord
Egremont one of the secretaries of state. What is certain,
great clamour, and I fear. great confusion, will follow. You
shall know more particulars in a few days, but at present I have
neither time for it, nor knowledge of, more. Adieu!
(792) James second Earl Waldegrave, and first Husband to Maria
Duchess of gloucester.
379 Letter 223
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, June 14, 1757.
This is Tuesday; I wrote to you but on Thursday, and promised to
write again in a few days--a week cannot pass without a new
revolution. On Friday Mr. Fox found that his kissing hands was
to be a signal for the resignations: Lord Rockingham and Lord
Coventry were the most eager to give up. The Duke of Newcastle,
transported that his breach of promise and
ingratitude to the King produced such noble mischief,
endeavoured to spread the flame as wide as possible. On
Saturday, Mr. Fox and Lord Waldegrave represented the ugly
situation of their affairs, and advised against persisting, yet
offering to proceed if commanded. The Chief Justice, who was to
carry the exchequer seal that morning, enforced this-- "Well,"
said the King, "go tell the others to make what
ministry they can; I only insist on two things, that Lord
Winchilsea remain where he is, and that Fox be paymaster."
These two preliminaries would be enough to prevent the whole, if
there were no other obstacles. Lord Winchilsea, indeed, would
not act with Newcastle and Pitt, if they would consent; but
there are twenty other impediments: Leicester-house can never
forgive or endure Fox; and if they could, his and
Winchilsea's remaining would keep their friends from
resigning, and then how would there be room for Newcastle's
zealots or Pitt's martyrs? But what I take to be most
difficult of all, is the accommodation between the chiefs
themselves: his grace's head and heart seem to be just as young
and as old as ever they were; this triumph will
intoxicate him; if he could not agree with Pitt, when his
prospect was worst, be will not be more firm or more sincere
when all his doublings have been rewarded. If his vainglory
turns his head, it will make no impression on Pitt, who is as
little likely to be awed by another's pageant, as to be
depressed by his own slender train. They can't agree--but what
becomes of us? There are three factions, just strong enough to
make every thing impracticable.
The willing victim, Lord Holderness, is likely to be the most
real victim. His situation was exactly parallel to Lord
Harrington's,(793) with the addition of the latter's
experience. Both the children of fortune, unsupported by
talents, fostered by the King's favour, without connexions or
interest, deserted him to please this wayward Duke, who, to
recover a little favour in the cabinet, sacrificed the first to
the King@s resentment, and has prepared to treat the other in
the same manner, by protesting that he did not ask the
compliment. But no matter for him! I have already told you, and
I repeat, that I see no end to these struggles without great
convulsions. The provocations, and consequently the
resentments, increase with every revolution. Blood royal is
mixed in the quarrels: two factions might cease by the victory
of either; here is always a third ready to turn the scale.
Happily the people care or interest themselves very little about
all this-but they will be listed soon, as the chiefs grow so
much in earnest, and as there are men of such vast property
engaged on every side-there is not a public pretence on any.
The scramble is avowedly for power-whoever remains master of the
field at last, I fear, will have power to use it!
This is not the sole uneasiness at Kensington; they know the
proximity of the French army to the Duke, and think that by this
time there may have been an action: the suspense is not
pleasant: the event may have great consequences even on these
broils at home. For the King of Prussia, he is left to the
coffee-houses. Adieu! I can scarce steal a day for
Strawberry; if one leaves London to itself for four-and-twenty
hours, one finds it topsy-turvy.
(793) William Stanhope, Earl of Harrington, who, though a
younger brother, had been raised to an earldom, to be Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland, and Secretary of State, had been the
first man to resign his place in 1746, when the King, his master
and benefactor, had a mind to remove the Pelhams, and make Lord
Granville prime minister. He was afterwards
sacrificed by the Pelhams to please the King. Lord Holderness
was born to an earldom, but having little fortune or parts, had
been promoted by the Duke of Newcastle to great posts.
380 Letter 224
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, June 20, 1757.
I renounce all prophesying; I will never suppose that I can
foresee politically; I can foresee nothing, what ever I may
foretell. Here is a ministry formed of all the people who for
these ten weeks have been giving each other exclusion! I will
now not venture, even to pronounce that they cannot agree
together. On Saturday last, the 18th, Lord Hardwicke carried to
Kensington the result of the last negotiations between Newcastle
and Pitt, and the latter followed and actually
kissed hands again for the seals.(794) Here is the
arrangement as far as I know it, the most extraordinary part of
which is, that they suffer Mr. Fox to be paymaster--oh! no, it
is more extraordinary that he will submit to be so. His grace
returns to the treasury, and replaces there his singular good
friend Mr. Legge. Lord Holderness "comes to life again as
secretary of state; Lord Anson reassumes the admiralty, not with
the present board, nor with his own, but with Mr. Pitt's, and
this by Mr. Pitt's own desire. The Duke of Dorset retires with
a pension of 4000 pounds a-year, to make room for Lord Gower,
that he may make room for Lord Temple. Lord George Sackville
forces out Lord Barrington from secretary at war, who was going
to resign with the rest, for fear Mr. Fox
should, and that this plan should not take place. Lord
Hardwicke, young disinterested creature! waits till something
drops. Thus far all was smooth; but even this perfection of
harmony and wisdom meets with rubs. Lord Halifax had often and
lately been promised to be erected into a secretary of state for
the West Indies. Mr. Pitt says, "No, I will not part with so
much power." Lord Halifax resigned on Saturday, and Lord Dublin
succeeds him. The two Townshends are gone into the country in a
rage; Lord Anson is made the pretence; Mr. Fox is the real sore
to George, Lord G. Sackville to
Charles. Sir George Lee, who resigned his treasurership to the
Princess against Mr. Pitt, and as the world says, wanting to
bring Lord Bute into Doctors' Commons,(795) is succeeded by Lord
Bute's brother M'Kinsy; but to be sure, all this, in which there
is no intrigue, no change, no policy, no hatred, no jealousy, no
disappointment, no resentment, no
mortification, no ambition, Will produce the utmost concord! It
is a system formed to last; and to be sure it will! In the mean
time, I shall bid adieu to politics; my curiosity is satisfied
for some months, and I shall betake myself to
employments I love better, and to this place, which I love best
of all. Here is the first fruit of my retirement; behind a
bas-relief in wax of the present Pope I have writ the
Bishop of Rome
by the name of Benedict IV.
who, though an absolute Prince, reigned as harmlessly as a Doge
of Venice. He restored the lustre of the Tiara by those arts
alone, by which alone he obtained it, his Virtues.
Beloved by Papists, esteemed by Protestants: A Priest without
insolence or interest; A Prince without favourites; A Pope
without nepotism: An Author without vanity; In short, a Man whom
neither Wit nor Power could spoil. The Son of a
favourite Minister, but One, who never courted a Prince, nor
worshipped a Churchman, offers, in a free Protestant Country,
this deserved Incense to the Best of the Roman Pontiffs.
If the good old soul is still alive, and you could do it
unaffectedly and easily, you may convey it to him; it must be a
satisfaction to a good heart to know that in so distant a
country, so detached from his, his merit is acknowledged,
without a possibility of interest entering into the
consideration. His death-bed does not want comfort or
cheerfulness, but it may be capable of an expansion of heart
that May still sweeten it! Adieu!
(794) "On the day they were all to kiss hands," says Lord
Waldegrave, "I went to Kensington, to entertain myself with the
innocent, or, perhaps, ill-natured amusement of examining the
different countenances. The behaviour of Pitt and his party was
decent and sensible; they had neither the insolence of men who
had gained a victory, nor were they awkward and disconcerted,
like those who come to a place where they know they are not
welcome: but as to the Duke of Newcastle, and his friends the
resigners, there was a mixture of fear and of shame on their
countenances: they were real objects of
compassion." Memoires, 138.-E.
(795) Meaning the offence he took at Lord Bute's favourite. Sir
George Lee was a civilian.
382 Letter 225
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, July 3, 1757.
I have been under great uneasiness about you; Coloredo, the
Austrian minister, is recalled precipitately, with orders not to
take leave. our papers joined Pucci(796) with him in this
recall, but I do not find with any foundation. However, I cannot
be easy while your situation is precarious. One should conceive
that the advantages of the English trade to Tuscany would induce
the Emperor to preserve a neutrality; but what are good reasons
against his wife's vengeance and obstinacy, and haughtiness?
Tell me immediately what you think or hear on this head; what
steps you would take; whither you would retire if this should
happen; whether you would not come home to watch over your own
interest and return, or whether you would be more in the way by
remaining in Italy. I know not what to advise; I don't even
know how this letter is to get to you, and how our
correspondence will continue; at least it must be very
irregular, now all communication is cut off through the
Empress's dominions. I am in great solicitude!
Had this recall happened a week later I should not have
wondered: it was haughty, indeed, at the time it was dictated;
but two days, and we heard of the reversal of all the King of
Prussia's triumphs; of his being beat by Count Daun; of the
siege of Prague being raised: of Prince Charles falling on their
retreat and cutting off two thousand: we would willingly not
believe to the extent of all this,(797) yet we have known what
it is to have our allies or ourselves beaten! The Duke has been
forced to pass the Weser, but writes that the French are so
distressed for provisions that he hopes to repass it.
I notified to you the settlement of the ministry, and,
contrary to late custom, have not to unnotify it again.
However, it took ten days to complete, after an
inter-ministerium of exactly three months. I have often
called this the age of abortions; for the present, the
struggles of the three factions, that threatened such
disturbances, have gone off like other forebodings. I think I
told you in my last the chief alterations; the King would not
absolutely give the secretary at war to Lord George Sackville;
Lord Barrington remains: the Duke of Dorset would not take a
pension eo nomine; his cinque-ports are given to him for life,
with a salary of four thousand pounds a-year. Lord
Cholmondeley, who is removed for Potter, has a pension equal to
his place. Mr. M'Kinsy is not treasurer to the Princess, as I
told you. One of the most extraordinary parts of the new system
is the advancement of Sir Robert Henley. He was made
attorney-general by Mr. Fox at the end of last year, and made as
bad a figure as might be. Mr. Pitt insisting upon an
attorney-general of his own, Sir Robert Henley is made lord
keeper!(798) The first mortification to Lord Holderness has
been, that, having been promised a garter as well as Lord
Waldegrave, and but one being vacant, that one, contrary to
customs has been given to the latter, with peculiar marks of
grace. I now come to your letter of June 18th, and attribute to
your distance, or to my imperfect representations of our actors
and affairs, that you suppose our dissensions owing to French
intrigues--we want no foreign causes; but in so
precarious a letter as this I cannot enter into farther
explanations; indeed the French need not be at any trouble to
distract or weaken our councils!
I cannot be at peace while your fate is in suspense; I shall
watch every step that relates to it, but I fear absolutely
impotent to be of any service to you: from Pucci's not being
recalled, I would hope that he will not be. Adieu!
P. S. Lord Dublin is not yet first lord of trade; there are
negotiations for recovering Lord Halifax.
As I was sending this to London I received the newspapers of
yesterday, and see that old Pucci is just dead. I cannot help
flattering myself that this is a favourable event: they cannot
recall no minister; and when they do not, I think we shall not.
(796) Resident from Florence. He was here for fifty years, and
said he had seen London twice built. This meant, that houses
are run up so slightly that they last but few years.
(797) the King of Prussia had been completely beaten at Kolin by
the Austrians, commanded by Count Daun, on the 17th of June. He
was in consequence obliged to retreat from Bohemia, and soon
found himself, surrounded as he was by increasing and advancing
enemies, in one of the most critical positions of his whole
military life. From this he at length extricated himself, by
means of the victories of Rosbach and Lissa.-D.
(798) Afterwards created Lord Henley, and made lord
chancellor, and finally elevated to be Earl of Northington-D.
383 Letter 226
To The Earl Of Strafford.
Strawberry Hill, July 4, 1757.
My dear Lord,
It is well I have not obeyed you sooner, as I have often been
going to do.- what a heap of lies and contradictions I should
have sent you! What joint ministries and sole ministries! What
acceptances and resignations!--Viziers and bowstrings never
succeeded one another quicker. Luckily I have stayed till we
have got an administration that will last a little more than for
ever. There is such content and harmony in it, that I don't
know whether it is not as perfect as a plan which I formed for
Charles Stanhope, after he had plagued me for two days for news.
I told him the Duke of Newcastle was to take orders, and have
the reversion of the bishopric of Winchester; that Mr. Pitt was
to have a regiment, and go over to the Duke; and Mr. Fox to be
chamberlain to the Princess, in the room of Sir William Irby.
Of all the new system I believe the happiest is Offley; though in
great humility he says he only takes the bedchamber to
accommodate. Next to him in joy is the Earl of Holderness--who
has not got the garter. My Lord Waldegrave has; and the garter
by this time I believe has got fifty spots.(799)
Had I written sooner, I should have told your lordship, too, of
the King of Prussia's triumphs-but they are addled too! I hoped
to have had a few bricks from Prague to send you towards
building Mr. Bentley's design, but I fear none will come from
thence this summer. Thank God, the happiness of the menagerie
does not depend upon administrations or victories! The
happiest of beings in this part of the world is my Lady
Suffolk: I really think her acquisition and conclusion of her
lawsuit will lengthen her life ten years. You may be sure I am
not so satisfied, as Lady Mary(800) has left Sudbroke.
Are your charming lawns burnt up like our humble hills? Is your
sweet river as low as our deserted Thames?--I am wishing for a
handful or two of those floods that drowned me last year all the
way from Wentworth Castle. I beg my best compliments to my
lady, and my best wishes that every pheasant egg and peacock egg
may produce as many colours as a harlequin-jacket.
Tuesday, July 5.
Luckily, my good lord, my conscience had saved its distance. I
had writ the above last night, when I received the honour of
your kind letter this morning. You had, as I did not doubt,
received accounts of all our strange histories. For that of the
pretty Countess,(801) I fear there is too much truth in all you
have heard: but you don't seem to know that Lord
Corydon and Captain Corydon(802) his brother have been most
abominable. I don't care to write scandal; but when I see you,
I will tell you how much the chits deserve to be whipped. Our
favourite general(803) is at his camp: lady Ailesbury don't go
to him these three weeks. I expect the pleasure of seeing her
and Miss Rich and Fred. Campbell here soon for a few days. I
don't wonder your lordship likes St. Philippe better than
Torcy:(804) except a few passages interesting to Englishmen,
there cannot be a more dry narration than the latter. There is
an addition of seven volumes of Universal History to Voltaire's
Works, which I think will charm you: I almost like it the best
of his works.(805) It is what you have seen extended, and the
Memoirs of Louis XIV. refondues in it. He is a little tiresome
with contradicting La Beaumelle out of pique--and there is too
much about Rousseau. Between La Beaumelle and Voltaire, one
remains with scarce a fixed idea about that time. I wish they
would produce their authorities and proofs; without which, I am
grown to believe neither. From mistakes in the English part, I
suppose there are great ones in the more distant histories; yet
altogether it is a fine work. He is, as one might believe,
worst informed on the present times. He says eight hundred
persons were put to death for the last rebellion-I don't believe
a quarter of the number were: and he makes the first ]lord
Derwentwater--who, poor man! was in no such high-spirited
mood--bring his son, who by the way was not above a year -,ind a
half old, upon the scaffold to be sprinkled with his blood.
However, he is in the right to expect to be believed: for he
believes all the romances in Lord Anson's Voyage, and how
Admiral Almanzor made one man-of-war box the ears of the whole
empire of China!--I know nothing else new but a new edition of
Dr. Young's Works. If your lordship thinks like me, who hold
that even in his most frantic rhapsodies there are innumerable
fine things you will like to have this edition. Adieu, once
more, my best lord!
(799) He was apt to be dirty.
(800) Lady Mary Coke, daughter of John Campbell, Duke of
Argyle, and sister to Lady Strafford.
(801) The Countess of Coventry.-E.
(802) Lord Bolingbroke, and his brother, the Hon. Henry St.
(803) General Conway.
(804) A translation of the Memoirs of the Marquis de Torcy,
secretary of state to Louis XIV., had just been published in
(805) For a review of these volumes by Oliver Goldsmith, see the
enlarged edition of his Miscellaneous Works, vol. iii. p. 445.-
385 Letter 227
To John Chute, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, July 12, 1757.
It would be very easy to persuade me to a Vine-voyage,(806)
without your being so indebted to me, if it were possible. I
shall represent my impediments, and then you shall judge. I say
nothing of the heat of this magnificent weather, with the glass
yesterday up to three-quarters of sultry. In all
English probability this will not be a hindrance long; though
at present, so far from travelling, I have made the tour of my
own garden but once these three days before eight at night, and
then I thought I should have died of it. For how many years we
shall have to talk of the summer of fifty-seven!--But hear: my
Lady Ailesbury and Miss Rich come hither on Thursday for two or
three days; and on Monday next the Officina
Arbuteana opens in form. The Stationers' Company, that is, Mr.
Dodsley, Mr. Tonson, etc., are summoned to meet here on Sunday
night. And with what do you think we open? Cedite, Romani
Impressores--with nothing under Graii Carmina. I found him in
town last week: he had brought his two Odes to be
printed. I snatched them out of Dodsley's hands, and they are
to be the first fruits of my press. An edition of Hentznerus,
with a version by Mr. Bentley and a little preface of mine, were
prepared, but are to wait. Now, my dear sir, can I stir?
"Not ev'n thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail!"
Is not it the plainest thing in the world that I cannot go to
you yet, but that you must come to me?
I tell you no news, for I know none, think of none. Elzevir,
Aldous, and Stephens are the freshest personages in my memory.
Unless i was appointed printer of the Gazette, I think nothing
could at present make me read an article in it. Seriously you
must come to us, and shall be witness that the first holidays we
have I will return with you. Adieu!
(806) To visiting Mr. Chute at the Vine, his seat in
386 Letter 228
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, July 16, 1757.
You do me justice in believing that I enjoy your satisfaction; I
do heartily, and particularly on this point: you know how often
I have wished this reconciliation: indeed you have taken the
handsomest manner of doing it, and it has been accepted
handsomely. I always had a good opinion of your cousin, and I
am not apt to throw about my esteem lightly. He has ever
behaved with sense and dignity, and this country has more
obligations to him than to most men living.
the weather has been so hot, and we are so unused to it, that
nobody knew how to behave themselves; even Mr. Bentley has done
Elzevirianum opens to-day; you shall taste its first fruits. I
find people have a notion that it is very mysterious; they don't
know how I should abhor to profane Strawberry Hill with
386 Letter 229
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Thursday, 17.
I only write you a line to tell you, that as you mention Miss
Montagu's being well and alone, if she could like to accompany
the Colonel(807) and you to Strawberry Hill and the Vine, the
seneschals of those castles will be very proud to see her. I am
sorry to be forced to say any thing civil in a letter to you;
you deserve nothing but ill-usage for disappointing us so often,
but we stay till we have got you into our power, and then--why
then, I am afraid we shall still be what I have been so long.
(807) mr. Montagu's brother.
387 Letter 230
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, July 25, 1757.
The Empress-Queen has not yet hurt my particular. I have
received two letters from you within this week, dated July 2d
and 9th. Yet she has given up Ostend and Nieuport, and, I
think, Furnes and Ypr`es, to the French. We are in a piteous
way! The French have passed the Weser, and a courier
yesterday brought word that the Duke was marching towards them,
and within five miles: by this time his fate is decided. The
world here is very inquisitive about a secret expedition(808)
which we are fitting out: a letter is not a proper place to talk
about it; I can only tell you, that be it whither it will, I do
not augur well about it, and what makes me dislike it infinitely
more, Mr. Conway is of it. I am more easy about your situation
than I was, though I do not like the rejoicings ordered at
Leghorn for the victory over the Prussians.
I have so little to say to-day that I should not have writ, but
for one particular reason. The Mediterranean trade being
arrived, I concluded the vases for Mr. Fox were on board it, but
we cannot discover them. Unluckily it happens that the bill of
lading is lost, and I have forgot in what ship they were
embarked. In short, my dear Sir, I think that, as I always used
to do, I gave the bill to your dearest brother, by which means
it is lost. I imagine you have a duplicate. send it as soon as
I thank you for what you have given to Mr. Phelps. I don't call
this billet part of the acknowledgment. All the world is
dispersed: the ministers are at their several villas: one day in
a week serves to take care of a nation, let it be in as bad a
plight as it will! We have a sort of Jewish superstition, and
would not come to town on a Saturday or Sunday though it were to
defend the Holy of Holies. Adieu!
(808) the expedition to Rochfort.
387 Letter 231
To John Chute, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, July 26, 1757.
I love to communicate my satisfactions to you. You will
imagine that I have got an original portrait of John
Guttemburg, the first inventor of printing, or that I have met
with a little boke called Eneyr dos, which I am going to
translate and print. No, no; far beyond any such thing! Old
Lady Sandwich(809) is dead at Paris, and my lord has given me
her picture of Ninon l'Enclos; given it me in the prettiest
manner in the world. I beg if he should ever meddle in any
election in Hampshire, that you will serve him to the last drop
of your shrievalty. If you reckon by the thermometer of my
natural impatience, the picture would be here already, but I
fear I must wait some time for it.
The press goes on as fast as if I printed myself. I hope in a
very few days to send you a specimen, though I could wish you
was at the birth of the first produce. Gray has been gone these
five days. Mr. Bentley has been ill, and is not
recovered of the sweating-sickness, which I now firmly believe
was only a hot summer and England, being so unused to it, took
it for a malady. mr. Muntz is not gone; but pray don't think
that I keep him: he has absolutely done nothing this whole
summer but paste two chimney-boards. In short, instead of
Claude Lorrain, he is only one of Bromwich's men.
You never saw any thing so droll as Mrs. Clive's countenance,
between the heat of the summer, the pride in her legacy,(810)
and the efforts to appear concerned.
We have given ourselves for a day or two the air of an
earthquake, but it proved an explosion of the powder-mills at
Epsom. I asked Louis if it had done any mischief: he said,
"Only blown a man's head off;" as if that was a part one could
P. S. I hope Dr. Warburton will not think I encroach either upon
his commentatorship or private pretension, if I assume these
lines of Pope, thus altered, for myself:
"Some have for wits, and then for poets pass'd
turn'd printers next, and proved plain fools at last."
(809) Daughter of the famous Wilmot Earl of Rochester.
(810) A legacy of fifty pounds, left her by John Robarts, the
last Earl of Radnor of that family.
388 Letter 232
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, August 4, 1757.
Mr. Phelps (who is Mr. Phelps?) has brought me the packet safe,
for which I thank you. I would fain have persuaded him to stay
and dine, that I might ask him more questions about you. He
told me how low your immaterial spirits are: I fear the news
that came last night will not exalt them. The French attacked
the Duke for three days together, and at last
defeated him. I find it is called at Kensington an
encounter(811) of fourteen squadrons; but any defeat must be
fatal to Hanover. I know few particulars, and those only by a
messenger despatched to me by Mr. Conway on the first tidings:
the Duke exposed himself extremely, but is unhurt, as they say,
all his small family are. In what a situation is our Prussian
hero, surrounded by Austrians, French, and
Muscovites-even impertinent Sweden is stealing in to pull a
feather out of his tail! What devout plunderers will every
little Catholic prince of the empire become! The only good I
hope to extract out of this mischief is, that it will stifle our
secret expedition, and preserve Mr. Conway from going on it. I
have so ill an opinion of our secret expeditions, that I hope
they will for ever remain so. What a melancholy
picture is there of an old monarch at Kensington, who has lived
to see such inglorious and fatal days! Admiral Boscawen is
disgraced. I know not the cause exactly, as ten miles out of
town are a thousand out of politics. He is said to have refused
to serve under Sir Edward Hawke in this armament. Shall I tell
you what, more than distance, has thrown me Out of attention to
news? A little packet which I shall give your brother for you,
will explain it. In short, I am turned
printer, and have converted a little cottage here into a
printing-office. My abbey is a perfect colicue or academy. I
keep a painter in the house and a printer--not to mention Mr.
Bentley, who is an academy himself. I send you two copies (one
for Dr. Cocchi) of a very honourable opening of my press- -two
amazing Odes of Mr. Gray; they are Greek, they are
Pindaric, they are sublime! consequently I fear a little
obscure; the second particularly, by the confinement of the
measure and the nature of prophetic vision, is
mysterious.(812) I could not persuade him to add more notes;
he says whatever wants to be explained, don't deserve to be. I
shall venture to place some in Dr. Cocchi's copy, who need not
be supposed to understand Greek- and English together, though he
is so much master of both separately. To divert you in the mean
time, I send you the following copy of a letter written by my
printer(813) to a friend in Ireland. I should tell you that he
has the most sensible look in the world; Garrick said he would
give any money for four actors with such eyes--they are more
Richard the Third's than Garrick's own; but whatever his eyes
are, is head is Irish. Looking for something I wanted in a
drawer, I perceived a parcel of
strange romantic words in a large hand beginning a letter; he
saw me see it, yet left it, which convinces me it was left on
purpose: it is the grossest flattery to me, couched in most
ridiculous scraps of poetry, which he has retained from things
he has printed; but it will best describe itself:--
"I DATE this from shady bowers, nodding groves, and
amaranthine shades,--close by old Father Thames's silver side-
-fair Twickenham's luxurious shades--Richmond's near
neighbour, where great George the King resides. You will
wonder at my prolixity--in my last I informed you that I was
going into the country to transact business for a private
gentleman. This gentleman is the Hon. Horatio Walpole, son to
the late great Sir Robert Walpole, who is very studious, and an
admirer of all the liberal arts and sciences; amongst the rest
he admires printing. He has fitted out a complete
printing-house at this his country seat, and has done me the
favour to make me sole manager and operator (there being no one
but myself). All men of genius resorts his house, courts his
company, and admires his understanding--what with his own and
their writings, I believe I shall be pretty well
employed.--I have pleased him, and I hope continue so to do.
Nothing can be more warm than the weather has been here this
time past; they have in London, by the help of glasses,
roasted in the artillery-ground fowls and quarters of lamb.
The coolest days that I have felt since May last are equal to,
nay, far exceed the warmest I ever felt in Ireland. The place I
am in now is all my comfort from the heat--the situation Of it
is close to the Thames, and is Richmond Gardens (if you were
ever in them) in miniature, surrounded by bowers, groves,
cascades, and ponds, and on a rising ground, not very common in
this part of the country--the building elegant, and the
furniture of a peculiar taste, magnificent and superb He is a
bachelor, and spends his time in the studious rural taste--not
like his father, lost in the weather-beaten vessel of state--
many people censured, but his conduct was far better than our
late pilots at the helm, and more to the interest of England-
-they follow his advice now, and court the assistance of
Spain, instead of provoking a war, for that was ever against
I laughed for an hour at this picture of myself, which is much
more like to the studious magician in the enchanted opera of
Rinaldo; not but Twickenham has a romantic genteelness that
would figure in a more luxurious climate. It was but
yesterday that we had a new kind of auction-it was of the
orange-trees and plants of your old acquaintance, Admiral
Martin. It was one of the warm days of this jubilee summer,
which appears only once in fifty years--the plants were
disposed in little clumps about the lawn: the company walked to
bid from one to the other, and the auctioneer knocked down the
lots on the orange tubs. Within three doors was an
auction of china. You did not imagine that we were such a
(811) The battle at Hastenbeck.
(812) Gray, in a letter to Dr. Wharton, of the 17th of August,
says, "I hear we are not at all popular: the great objection is
obscurity: nobody knows what we would be at: one man, a peer, I
have been told of, that think's -the last stanza of The second
Ode relates to Charles the First and Oliver
Cromwell; in short, the zuveroi appear to be still fewer than
even, I expected." Works, vol. iii. p. 165-E.
(813) William Robinson, first printer to the press at
390 Letter 233
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 4, 1757.
I shall to-morrow deliver to your agentess, Mrs. Moreland,
something to send to you.
The Duke(814) is beaten by the French; he and his family are
safe; I know no more particulars-if I did, I should say, as I
have just said to Mr. Chute, I am too busy about something to
have time to write them. Adieu!
(814) The Duke of Cumberland, in the affair of Hastenbeck.
391 Letter 234
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, August 14, 1757.
You are too kind to me, and, if it were possible, would make me
feel still more for your approaching departures.(815) I can
only thank you ten thousand times; for I must not
expatiate, both from the nature of the subject, and from the
uncertainty of this letter reaching you. I was told
yesterday, that you had hanged a French spy in the Isle of
Wight; I don't mean you, but your government. Though I wish no
life taken away, it was some satisfaction to think that the
French were at this hour wanting information.
Mr. Fox breakfasted here t'other day. He confirmed -what you
tell me of Lord Frederick Cavendish's account: it is
universally said that the Duke failed merely by inferiority,
the French soldiers behaving in general most scandalously. They
had fourscore pieces of cannon, but very ill served. Marshal
D'Estr`ees was recalled before the battle, but did not know it.
He is said to have made some great mistakes in the action. I
cannot speak to the truth of it, but the French are reported to
have demanded two millions sterling of Hanover.
My whole letter will consist of hearsays: for, even at so
little distance from town, one gets no better news than
hawkers and pedlars retail about the country. From such I hear
that George Haldane(816) is made governor of Jamaica, and that a
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