The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2
Part 13 out of 16
Mr. Campbell, whose father lives in Sweden, is going thither to
make an alliance with that country, and hire twelve thousand
men. If one of my acquaintance, as an antiquary, were alive,
Sir Anthony Shirley,,(817) I suppose we should send him to
Persia again for troops; I fear we shall get none nearer!
Adieu! my dearest Harry! Next to wishing your expedition
still-born, my most constant thought is, how to be of any
service to poor Lady Ailesbury, whose reasonable concern makes
even that of the strongest friendship seem trifling. Yours most
(815) On the expedition to Rochfort.
(816) Brigadier-General Haldane.
(817) Sir Thomas, Sir Anthony, and Sir Robert Shirley, were
three brothers, all great travellers, and all distinguished by
extraordinary adventures in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and
392 Letter 235
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, August 25, 1757.
I did not know that you expected the pleasure of seeing the
Colonel so soon. It is plain that I did not solicit leave of
absence for him; make him my many compliments. I should have
been happy to have seen you and Mr. John, but must not regret
it, as you were so agreeably prevented. You are very
particular, I can tell you, in liking Gray's Odes--but you must
remember that the age likes Akenside, and did like
Thomson! can the same people like both? Milton was forced to
wait till the world had done admiring Quarles. Cambridge told
me t'other night that my Lord Chesterfield heard Stanley read
them as his own, but that must have been a mistake of my
lord's deafness. Cambridge said, "Perhaps they are Stanley's;
and not caring to own them, he gave them to Gray." I think this
would hurt Gray's dignity ten times more than his poetry not
succeeding. My humble share as his printer has been more
favourably received. We proceed soberly. I must give you
account of less amusements, des eaux de Strawberry. T'other day
my Lady Rochfort, Lady Townshend, Miss Bland,(818) and the
knight of the garter dined here, and were carried into the
printing-office, and were to see the man print. There were some
lines ready placed, which he took off; I gave them to Lady
Townshend; here they are-
"The press speaks:
>From me wits and poets their glory obtain;
Without me their wit and their verses were vain.
Stop, Townshend, and let me but print what you say;
You, the fame I on others bestow, will repay."
They then asked, as I foresaw, to see the man compose: I gave
him four lines out of the Fair Penitent, which he set; but while
he went to place them in the press, I made them look at
something else without their observing, and in an instant he
whipped away what he had just set, and to their great surprise
when they expected to see "Were ye, ye fair," he presented to my
Lady Rochford the following lines:-
"The press speaks:
In vain from your properest name you have flown,
And exchanged lovely Cupid's for Hymen's dull throne;
By my art shall your beauties be constantly sung,
And in spite of yourself you shall ever be young."
You may imagine, whatever the poetry was, that the gallantry of
it succeeded. Poor Mr. Bentley has been at the extremity with a
fever, and inflammation in his bowels; but is so well recovered
that Mr. Muntz is gone to fetch him hither to-day. I don't
guess what sight I have to come in Hampshire, unless it is
Abbotstone. I am pretty sure I have none to come at the Vine,
where I have done nothing, as I see Mr. Chute will never execute
any thing. The very altar-piece that I sent for to Italy is not
placed yet. But when he could refrain from
making the Gothic columbarium for his family, which I propose,
and Mr. Bentley had drawn so divinely, it is not probable he
should do any thing else. Adieu!
(818) Sister of the unfortunate Sir John Bland. See ant&, p.
287, letter 157.-E.
393 Letter 236
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(819)
Strawberry Hill, Thursday, Sept. 2, 1757.
Not being in town, there may be several more new productions,
as the Grubbaea frutex blossoms every day; but I send you all I
had gathered for myself, while I was there. I found the
pamphlet much in vogue; and, indeed, it is written smartly. My
Lady Townshend sends all her messages on the backs of these
political cards; the only good one of which the two heads facing
one another, is her son George's. Charles met D'Abreu t'other
day, and told him he intended to make a great many speeches next
winter; the first, said he, shall be to address the King not to
send for any more foreign troops, but to send for some foreign
My Lord Chesterfield is relapsed: he sent Lord Bath word
lately, that be was grown very lean and deaf: the other
replied, that he could lend him some fat, and should be very
glad at any time to lend him an ear.
I shall go to town on Monday, and if I find any thing else new,
I will pack it up with a flower picture for Lady
Ailesbury, which I shall leave in Warwick-street, with orders
to be sent to you. Adieu!
(819) Now first printed.
393 Letter 237
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 3, 1757.
having intended a journey into Warwickshire to see Lady
Hertford while my lord is in Ireland, and having accordingly
ordered my letters thither, though without going, I did not
receive yours of the 22d till last week; and though you
desired an immediate acknowledgment of it, I own I did defer
till I could tell you I had been at Linton,(820) from whence I
returned yesterday. I had long promised your brother a visit;
the immediate cause was very melancholy, and I must pass over it
rapidly-in short, I am going to place an urn in the church there
to our dear Gal.! If I could have divested myself of that
thought, I should have passed my time very happily; the house is
fine, and stands like the citadel of Kent; the whole county is
its garden. So rich a prospect scarce wants my Thames. Mr. and
Mrs. Foote(821) are settled there, two of the most agreeable and
sensible people I ever met. Their eldest boy has the finest
countenance in the world; your nephew
Hory(822) was there too, and has a sweetness of temper, as if
begot between your brother and you, and not between him and his
Tusephone. Your eldest brother has not only established your
sister Foote there, which looks well, but dropped very agreeable
hints about Hory.
Your letter has confirmed my satisfaction about your situation
about which indeed I am easy. I am persuaded you will remain at
Florence as long as King George has any minister there. I do
not imagine that a recall obliges you to return home;
whether you could get your appointments continued is very
different. It is certainly far from unprecedented: nay, more
than one have received them at home--but that is a favour far
beyond my reach to obtain. Should there be occasion, you must
try all your friends, and all that have professed themselves so;
your Mr. Pelham(823) might do something. In the mean time,
neglect none of the ministers. If you could wind into a
correspondence with Colonel Yorke,(824) at the Hague, he may be
of great service to you. That family is very Powerful: the
eldest brother, Lord Royston,(825) is historically curious and
political: if without its appearing too forced, you could at any
time send him uncommon letters, papers, manifestoes', and things
of that sort, it might do good service. My dear child, I can
give you better advice than assistance: I believe I have told
you before, that I should rather hurt you than serve you by
acting openly for you.
I told you in my last Admiral Boscawen's affair too strongly:
he is not disgraced nor dismissed, but seems to reckon himself
both. The story is far from exactly known: what I can sift out
is, that he indulged himself in a great latitude in a most
profitable station, was recalled against his inclination, for
the present expedition; not being easily met, a second
commander was appointed, whom it seems he did not much care to
serve under at first. He does not serve at all, and his
Boscawenhood is much more Boscawened; that is surely in the
deepest shade. The wind has blown so constantly west for nearly
three weeks, that we have not only received no mails from the
continent, but the transports have been detained in the Downs,
and the secret expedition has remained at anchor. I have prayed
it might continue, but the wind has got to the east to-day.
Having never been prejudiced in favour of this exploit, what
must I think of it when the French have had such long notice?
We had a torrent of bad news yesterday from America, Lord
Loudon has found an army of twenty-one thousand French, gives
over the design on Louisbourg, and retires to Halifax.
Admiral Holbourn writes, that they have nineteen ships to his
seventeen, and he cannot attack them. It is time for England to
slip her own cables, and float away into some unknown
Between disgraces and an inflammation in my eyes, it is time to
conclude my letter. My eyes I have certainly weakened with
using them too much at night. I went the other day to
Scarlet's to buy green spectacles; he was mighty assiduous to
give me a pair that would not tumble my hair. "Lord! Sir," said
I, "when one is come to wear spectacles, what signifies how one
I hope soon to add another volume to your packet from my
press. I shall now only print for presents; or to talk in a
higher style, I shall only give my Louvre editions to
privy-councillors and foreign ministers. Apropos! there is a
book of this sacred sort which I wish I could by your means
procure: it is the account, with plates, of what has been found
at Herculaneum. You may promise the King of Naples in return
all my editions. Adieu! my dear Sir.
I had sealed this up, and was just sending it to London, when I
received yours of the 13th of this month. I am charmed with the
success of your campaign at Leghorn-a few such generals or
ministers would give a revulsion to our affairs.
You frighten me with telling me of innumerable copies taken of
my inscription on the Pope's picture: some of our bear-leaders
will pick it up, send it over, and I shall have the horror of
seeing it in a magazine. Though I had no scruple of sending the
good old man a cordial, I should hate to have it published at
the tail of a newspaper, like a testimonial from one of Dr.
Rock's patients! You talk of the Pope's enemies; who are they?
I thought at most he could have none but at our
bonfires on the fifth of November.
(820) In Kent, the seat of Edward Louisa Mann, brother of sir
(821) Sister of Sir Horace.
(822) Horace, only son of Galfridus Mann.
(823) Thomas. afterwards Lord Pelham.
(824) Sir Joseph Yorke, K. B. third son of the chancellor
Hardwicke: created Lord Dover in 1788, and died without issue in
(825) Afterwards second Earl of Hardwicke.-D.
395 Letter 238
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 8, 1757.
How I laughed at your picture of the shrine of Notre Dame de
Straberri, and of the vows hung up there! I little thought that
when I converted my castle into a printing office, the next
transformation Would be into an hospital for the "filles
repenties" from Mrs. Naylor's and Lady Fitzroy's.(826) You will
treat the enclosed I trust with a little more respect; not for
the sake of the hero, but of the poet. The poet, poor soul! has
had a relapse, but is again recovering. As I know no earthly
history, you must accept the sonnet as if it was written into my
letter; and therefore supposing this the end of the third page,
I bid you good night.
(826) Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Cosby, governor of New
York, by Lucy Montagu, aunt of George Montagu, and widow of Lord
Augustus Fitzroy; by whom she had two sons, Au_gusttis Henry,
afterwards Duke of Grafton, and General Fitzroy, who was created
396 Letter 239
To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey.(827)
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 13, 1757.
After all the trouble your ladyship has been so good as to take
voluntarily, you will think it a little hard that I
should presume to give you more; but it is a cause, Madam, in
which I know you feel, and I can suggest new motives to your
ladyship's zeal. In short, Madam, I am on the crisis of
losing Mademoiselle de l'Enclos's picture, or of getting both
that and her letters to Lady Sandwich. I enclose Lord
Sandwich's letter to me, which will explain the whole. Madame
Greffini, I suppose, is Madame Graphigny;(828) whom some of your
ladyship's friends, if not yourself, must know; and she might be
of use, if she could be trusted not to detain so tempting a
treasure as the letters. From the effects being sealed up, I
have still hopes; greater, from the goodness your ladyship had
in writing before. Don't wonder, Madam, at my eagerness:
besides a good quantity Of natural impatience, I am now
interested as an editor and printer. Think what pride it would
give me to print original letters of Ninon at Strawberry Hill!
If your ladyship knows any farther means of serving me, of
serving yourself, good Mr. Welldone, as the widow Lackit says in
Oroonoko, I need not doubt your employing them. Your ladyship
and I are of a religion, with regard to certain
saints, that inspires more zeal than such trifling temptations
as persecution and fagots infuse into bigots of other sects. I
think a cause like ours might communicate ardour even to my Lady
Stafford. If she will assist in recovering, Notre Dame des
Amours, I will add St. Raoul(829) to my calendar. I am hers and
your ladyship's most obedient and faithful humble servant.
(827) Lady Hervey was only daughter of Brigadier-General
Nicholas Lepel. She was maid of honour to Queen Caroline, and
was one of the principal ornaments of her court. In 1720, she
was married to John Lord Hervey, eldest son of John Earl of
Bristol, by whom she had four sons and four daughters. She died
in September, 1768. A collection of her Letters, with a Memoir
and Illustrative Notes, by Mr. Croker, was published in 1821.-E.
(828) Madame de Graffigny, the author of "Lettres d'une
Peruvienne," and several dramatic pieces. She died in the
following year. A collection of her works, in four volumes, was
published at Paris in 1788.-E.
(829) A favourite cat of Lady Stafford's.
396 Letter 240
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Sept. 20(830)
My dear Sir,
I have been roving about Hampshire with Mr. Chute, and did not
receive your very kind note till yesterday, or I should
certainly not have deferred a moment to thank you for it, and
to express my great concern for Miss Montagu's bad health. You
do me justice when you reckon on my feeling most sincerely for
you: but let me ask why you will not bring her to town? She
might not only have more variety of assistance, but it would be
some relief to you: it must be dreadful, with your tenderness
and feeling, to have nobody to share and divert your uneasiness.
I did not, till on the road the day before yesterday, hear the
catastrophe of poor Sir John Bland, and the execrable villany,
or, what our ancestors would have called, the humours of
Taaffe. I am extremely sorry for Bland! He was very
good-natured, and generous and well-bred; but never was such
infatuation - I can call it by no term but flirting away his
fortune and his life; he seemed to have no passion for play
while he did it, nor sensibility when it ruined him but I fear
he had both! What judgments the good people in the city (I mean
the good in their own style, moneyed) will construe upon
White's, when two of the most remarkable members have
despatched themselves in nine months!
I shall be most sincerely glad to receive another letter to
tell me that Miss Montagu mends: you have both my most hearty
wishes. Yours ever.
(830) This letter is misplaced: the date of the year is
397 Letter 241
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 29, 1757.
For how many years have I been telling you that your country
was mad, that your country was undone! It does not grow wiser;
it does not grow more prosperous! You can scarce have
recovered your astonishment at the suspension of arms(831)
concluded near Stade. How do you behave on these lamentable
occasions? Oh! believe me, it is comfortable to have an
island to hide one's head in! You will be more surprised when
you hear that it is totally disavowed here. The clamour is
going to be extreme--no wonder, when Kensington is the
headquarters of murmur. The commander-in-chief is recalled--
the late Elector(832) is outrageous. On such an occasion you
may imagine that every old store of malice and hatred is
ransacked: but you would not think that the general is now
accused of cowardice! As improbable as that is, I do not know
whether it may not grow your duty as a minister to believe
it-and if it does, you must be sure not to believe, that with
all this tempest the suspension was dictated from hence. Be
that as it may, the general is to be the sacrifice. The
difficulty will be extreme with regard to the Hessians, for
they are in English pay. The King of Prussia will be another
victim: he says we have undone him, without mending our own
situation. He expected to beat the Prince de Soubize by
surprise, but he, like the Austrians, declined a battle, and
now will be reinforced by Richelieu's army, who is doomed to be
a hero by our absurdities. Austrians, French, Russians, Swedes,
can the King of Prussia not sink under all these!
This suspension has made our secret expedition forgot by all
but us who feel for particulars. It is the fashion now to
believe it is not against the coast of France; I wish I could
As if all these disgraces were foreign objects not worth
attending to, we have a civil war at home; literally so in many
counties. The wise Lords, to defeat it, have made the
Militia-bill so preposterous that it has raised a rebellion.
George Townshend, the promoter of it for popularity, sees it not
only most unpopular in his own county, but his father, my Lord
Townshend, who is not the least mad of your countrymen, attended
by a parson, a barber, and his own servants, and in his own long
hair, which he has let grow, raised a mob against the execution
of the bill, and has written a paper against it, which he has
pasted up on the doors of four churches near him. It is a good
name that a Dr. Stevens has given to our present situation, (for
one cannot call it a Government,) a Mobocracy.
I come to your letters which are much more agreeable subjects.
I think I must not wish you joy of the termination of the
Lorrain reign, you have lately taken to them, but I
congratulate the Tuscans. Thank you extremely for the trouble
you have given yourself in translating my inscription, and for
the Pope's letter: I am charmed with his beautiful humility, and
his delightful way of expressing it. For his ignorance about my
father, I impute it to some failure of his memory. I should
like to tell him that were my father still minister, I trust we
should not make the figure we do--at least he and England fell
together! If it is ignorance, Mr. Chute says it is a
confirmation of the Pope's deserving the inscription, as he
troubles his head so little about disturbing the peace of
others. But our enemies need not disturb us-we do their
business ourselves. I have one, and that not a little
comfort, in my politics ; this suspension will at least
prevent further hostilities between us and the Empress-Queen,
and that secures my dear you.
When I have done thinking of politics, and that is always in an
instant, unless such as you and Mr. Conway are involved in them,
I am far from passing my time disagreeably. My mind is of no
gloomy turn, and I have a thousand ways of amusing
myself. Indeed of late I have been terribly frightened lest I
must give them all up; my fears have gone to extravagance; do
not wonder; my life is not quite irrational, and I trembled to
think that I was growing fit only to consort with dowagers.
What an exchange, books and drawings, and every thing of that
sort, for cards! In short, for ten weeks I have had such pains
in my eyes with the least application, that I thought I should
lose them, at least that they would be useless. I was told that
with reading and writing at night I had strained and relaxed the
nerves. However, I am convinced that though this is partly the
case, the immediate uneasiness came from a cold, which I caught
in the hot weather by giving myself Florentine airs, by lying
with my windows open, and by lying on the
ground without my waistcoat. After trying forty 'you should do
this's,'(833) Mr. Chute has cured me -with a very simple
medicine: I will tell it you, that you may talk to Dr. Cocchi
and about my eyes too. It is to bathe and rub the outsides all
round, especially on the temples, with half a teaspoonful of
white spirit of lavender (not lavender-water) and half of
Hungary-water. I do this night and morning, and sometimes in
the day: in ten days it has taken off all the uneasiness; I can
now read in a chaise, which I had totally lost, and for five or
six hours by candle-light, without spectacles or
candle-screen. In short, the difference is incredible.
Observe that they watered but little, and were less inflamed;
only a few veins appeared red, whereas my eyes were remarkably
clear. I do not know whether this would do with any humour, but
that I never had. It is certain that a young man who for above
twelve years had studied the law by being read to, from vast
relaxation of the nerves, totally recovered the use of his eyes.
I should think I tired you with this detail, if I was not sure
that you cannot be tired with learning any thing for the good of
others. As the medicine is so hot, it must not be let into the
eyes, nor I should think be continued too long.
I approve much of your letter to Mr. Fox; I will give it to him
at his return, but at present he is on a tour. How
scrupulous you are in giving yourself the trouble to send me a
copy--was that needful? or are you not always full of
attentions that speak kindness? Your brother will take care to
procure the vases when they come, and is inquiring for the
I am putting up a stone in St. Ann's churchyard for your old
friend King Theodore; in short, his history is too remarkable to
be let perish. Mr. Bentley says that I am not only an
antiquarian, but prepare materials for future antiquarians. You
will laugh to hear that when I sent the inscription to the
vestry for the approbation of the ministers and churchwardens,
they demurred, and took some days to consider whether they
should suffer him to be called King of Corsica. Happily they
have acknowledged his title! Here is the inscription; over it is
a crown exactly copied from his coin:
"Near this place is interred
Theodore King of Corsica,
Who died in this perish Dec. 11, 1756,
Immediately after leaving the King's-Bench Prison,
By the benefit of the Act of Insolvency.
In consequence of which he registered
His Kingdom of Corsica
For the use of his Creditors.
The Grave, great teacher, to a level brings
heroes and beggars, galley-slaves and kings.
But Theodore this lesson learn'd, ere dead;
Fate pour'd its lessons on his living head,
Bestow'd a kingdom and denied him bread.
I think that at least it cannot be said of me, as it was of the
Duke of Buckingham entombing Dryden,
"And help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve."
I would have served him, if a King, even in a gaol, could he
have been an honest man. Our papers say, that we are bustling
about Corsica; I wish if we throw away our own liberty, that we
may at least help others to theirs! Adieu! my dear Sir.
(831) Known by the appellation of the Convention of
Closter-Severn, concluded by the Duke of Cumberland with
Marshal Richelieu; by which he agreed for himself and army not
to serve again against the French during the war.-D.
(832) George II.; he had ordered his son to make the
capitulation, and then disavowed him.
(833) Sic, in MS.-D.
400 Letter 242
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(834)
Arlington Street, Saturday, Oct. 8, 1757.
My dearest Harry,
But one person in the world may pretend to be so much
overjoyed as I am at your return.(835) I came hither to-day,
on purpose to learn about you; but how can you ask me such a
question, as do I think you are come too safe? is this a time
of day to question your spirit? I know but two things on
earth I esteem more, your goodness and your sense. You cannot
come into dispute; but by what I have picked up at my Lady
Townshend's, I find there is a scheme of distinguishing
between the land and the sea. The King has been told, that
Sir Edward Hawke had written, that, after waiting two days, he
asked the officers how long it would be before they took a
resolution; That if they would not attack, he should carry the
fleet home.(836) I should not entirely credit this report, if
Mr. Keith, who was present, had not dropped, in a dry way,
that some distinction would be shown to Captain Howe and
Captain Greaves. What confirms my opinion is, that I have
never received the letter you say you sent me by the last
express. I suppose it is detained, till proper emissaries
have made proper impressions; but we will not let it pass so.
If you had not bid me, I should not have given you this
intelligence, for your character is too sacred to be trifled
with; and as you are invulnerable by any slanders, it is
proper you should know immediately even what may be meditated.
The Duke is expected every hour. As he must not defend
himself, his case will be harder than yours. I was to go to
Bath on Monday, but will certainly not go without seeing you:
let me know your motions, and I will meet you any where. As I
know your scrupulousness about saying any thing I say to you
privately, I think it necessary. to tell you, that I don't
mean to preclude you from communicating any part of this
letter to those with whom it may be proper for you to consult;
only don't let more weight be given to my intelligence than it
deserves. I have told you exactly where and what I heard. It
may not prove so, but there is no harm in being prepared.
(834) Now first printed.
(835) From the Expedition to Rochfort. The expedition, under
Sir Edward Hawke, sailed early in September, and, on the 28th,
attacked the Isle of Aix; after which it returned to Spithead,
without attempting to land the troops.-E.
(836) On the 22d, Mr. Beckford writes to Mr. Pitt. "I hear
that Admiral Hawke says, the land-general has acted in a very
unbecoming manner, and will declare his sentiments to
Parliament. I hope he will: that, if possible, the mystery
may be unravelled. I have often lamented the fatality
attending conjunct commands. The French avoid them in all
their expeditions; for rank is perfectly settled among the
land and sea officers, and the eldest commission carries the
command." Chatham Correspondence, vol. i. p. 279.-E.
401 Letter 243
To The Earl Of Strafford.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 11, 1757.
My dear lord,
You will have seen or heard that the fleet is returned. They
have brought home nothing but one little island, which is a
great deal more than I expected, having neither thought so
despicably of France, or so considerably of ourselves, as to
believe they were exposed to much damage. My joy for Mr.
Conway's return is not at all lessened by the clamour on this
disappointment. Had he been chief commander, I should be very
sure the nothing he had done was all he could do. As he was
under orders, I wait with patience to hear his general's
I hope the Yorkists have not knocked out your brains for
living in a county. In my neighbourhood they have insulted
the Parliament in person.(837) He called in the Blues,
instead of piquing himself on dying in his curule chair in the
stable-yard at Ember-court. So entirely have we lost our
spirit, that the standing army is forced to defend us against
the people, when we endeavour to give them a militia, to save
them from a standing army; and that the representative of the
Parliament had rather owe his life to the Guards than die in
the cause of a militia. Sure Lenthall's ghost will come and
pull him by the nose!
I hope you begin to cast a southward look, and that my lady's
chickens and ducklings are old enough to go to a day-school,
and will not want her any longer.
My Lord Townshend and George are engaged in a paper-war
against one another, about the militia. That bill, the
suspension at Stade, and the late expedition, which has cost
millions, will find us in amusements this winter. It is
lucky, for I despair of the Opera. The Mattei has sent
certificates to prove that she is stopped by an inundation.
The certificates I suppose can swim. Adieu, my dear lord!
(837) Mr. Onslow, the Speaker.
402 Letter 244
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 12, 1757.
I shall Write you but a short letter for more reasons than
one--there are you blushing again for your country! We have
often behaved extravagantly, and often shamefully-this time we
have united both. I think I will not read a newspaper this
month, till the French have vented all their mirth. If I had
told You two months ago that this magnificent expedition was
designed against Rochfort, would you have believed me? Yet we
are strangely angry that we have not taken it! The clamour
against Sir John Mordaunt is at high-water-mark, but as I was
the dupe of clamour last year against one of the bravest of
men,(838) I shall suspend my belief till all is explained.
Explained it will be somehow or other: it seems to me that we
do nothing but expose ourselves in summer, in order to furnish
inquiries for the winter; and then those inquiries expose us
again. My great satisfaction is, that Mr. Conway is not only
returned safe, but that all the world agrees that it is not
his fault that he is SO. He is still at Portsmouth to see the
troops disembark. Hawke is come, and was graciously
received.--poor Sir John Mordaunt, who was sent for, was
received -as ill. I tell you no particulars of their
campaign, for I know it slightly, and will wait till I know it
The Duke came last night. You will not hear much more of his
affair: he will not do himself justice, and it proves too
gross, to be possible to do him injustice.
I think all the comfort we extract from a thousand bitter
herbs, is, that the Russians are gone back, gone
precipitately, and as yet we don't know why.
I have received yours of the 17th of last month, and you may
quiet your fears about posts: we have received all that each
has written, except my last, which could not be arrived at
Florence when yours came away. Mine was of the 29th of last
month, and had many particulars; I hope not too many to stop
To add to the ill-humour, our papers are filled with the new
loss of Fort William-Henry, which covered New York. That
opulent and proud colony between their own factions and our
folly is in imminent danger; but I will have done--nay, if we
lose another dominion. I think I will have done writing to
you, I cannot bear to chronicle so many disgraces. Adieu!
(838) Admiral Byng.
403 Letter 245
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 13, 1757.
If you have received mine of Tuesday, which I directed to
Portsmouth, you will perceive how much I agree with you. I am
charmed with your sensible modesty. When I talked to you of
defence, it was from concluding that you had all agreed that
the attempt(839) was impracticable, nay, impossible; and from
thence I judged that the ministry intended to cast the blame
of a wild project upon the officers. That they may be a
little willing to do that, I still think-but I have the joy to
find that it cannot be thrown on you. As your friend, and
fearing, if I talked for you first, it would look like doubt
of your behaviour, at least that you had bid me defend you at
the expense of your friends, I said not a word, trusting that
your innocence would break out and make its way. I have the
satisfaction to find it has already done so. It comes from
all quarters but your own, which makes it more honourable. My
Lady Suffolk told me last night, that she heard all the seamen
said they wished the general had been as ready as Mr. Conway.
But this is not all: I left a positive commission in town to
have the truth of the general report sent me without the least
disguise: in consequence of which I am solemnly assured that
your name is never mentioned but with honour; that all the
violence, and that extreme, is against Sir John Mordaunt and
Mr. Cornwallis. I am particularly sorry for the latter, as I
firmly believe him as brave as possible.
This situation of things makes me advise, what I know and find
I need not advise, your saying as little as possible in your
own defence, nay, as much as you can with any decency for the
others. I am neither acquainted with, nor care a straw about,
Sir John Mordaunt; but as it is known that you differed with
him, it will do you the greatest honour to vindicate him,
instead of disculpating yourself. My most earnest desire
always is, to have your character continue as amiable and
respectable as possible. There is no doubt but the whole will
come out, and therefore your justification not coming from
yourself will set it in a ten times better light. I shall go
to town to-day to meet your brother; and as I know his
affection for you will make him warm in clearing you, I shall
endeavour to restrain that ardour, of which you know I have
enough on the least glimmering of a necessity: but I am sure
you will agree with me, that, on the representation I have
here made to you, it is not proper for your friends to appear
solicitous about you.
The city talk very treason, and, connecting the suspension at
Stade with this disappointment,(840) cry out, that the general
had positive orders to do nothing, in order to obtain gentler
treatment of Hanover. They intend in a violent manner to
demand redress, and are too enraged to let any part of this
affair remain a mystery.
I think, by your directions, this will reach you before you
leave Bevismount: I would gladly meet you at Park-place, if i
was not sure of seeing you in town a day or two afterwards at
farthest; which I will certainly do, if you let me know.
(839) On Rochfort.
(840) "In all these complicated machines," writes Lord
Chesterfield to his son, on the 4th of this month, "there are
so many wheels within wheels, that it is always difficult and
sometimes impossible, to guess which of them gives direction
to the whole. Mr. Pitt is convinced that the principal wheel,
or if you will, spoke in the wheel, came from Stade."-E.
404 Letter 246
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Oct 18, 1757.
You never begged news at a worse time; for though I should
tell you much, I have neither time nor inclination, This
sounds brusque, but I will explain it. With regard to the
expedition, I am so far easy about Mr. Conway that he will
appear with great honour, but it is not pleasant to hear him
complicated with others in the mean time. He cannot speak
till forced. In short, there are twenty delicacies not for a
letter. The big event is, the Duke's resignation. He is not
so patient as Mr. Conway under unmerited reproach, and has
thrown up every thing, regiment and all. You and I wish for a
Fronde, but I don't expect one. At worst it will produce
M`emoires de la Fronde. I rejoice that all your family is
well, and beg my compliments to them. For this time you must
excuse a very short letter; I am only in town for this evening
to meet Mr. Conway, and I snatch a moment, that you might not
think me neglectful of you, which I certainly never will be.
404 Letter 247
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Oct. 24, 1757.
It is impossible not to write to you upon the great event(841)
that has happened, and yet it is difficult to know how to
write upon it. Considering your situation, it is improper to
make harsh comments: Europe, I suppose, will not be so
delicate. Our ministers have kept the article out of our own
papers; but they have as little power over foreign gazettes,
as weight with foreign powers. In short, the Duke is arrived,
was very ill received, and without that, would have done, what
he did immediately, resign all his commissions. He does not,
like his brother,(842) go into opposition. He is even to make
his Usual appearances. He treated Munchausen,(843) who had
taken great liberties with his name, with proper severity--I
measure my words extremely, not for my own sake, but yours.
General Mordaunt has demanded an inquiry. The form is not
settled yet; nor can it be soon, as Sir Edward Hawke is gone
upon a cruise with the fleet. I put a quick end to this
letter; I have no more facts to tell you; reflections you will
make yourself. In the uncertainty of this reaching you, it is
better to say no more. Adieu!
(841) The Duke of Cumberland's resignation of the command of
(842) Frederick Prince of wales.
(843) The minister for Hanover.
405 Letter 248
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 20, 1757.
I do not like to find that our correspondence is certainly
deranged. I have received but one letter from you for a great
while; it is of October 8th, and complaining on your side too.
You say my last was Sept. 3d. Since that I wrote on the 29th,
on the 13th, and 24th of last month. I have omitted a month,
waiting to see if you got my letters, and to have something
decisive to tell you. Neither has happened, and yet I know
you will be unhappy not to hear from me, which makes me write
now. Our Parliament was suddenly put off to the first of next
month), on news that the King Of Prussia had made a separate
peace with France;- as the Speech was prepared to ask money
for him, it was necessary to set it to a new tune; but we have
been agreeably surprised with his gaining a great victory over
the Prince de Soubize;(844) but of this we have only the first
imperfect account, the wind detaining his courier or
aide-de-camp on the other side still. It is prodigious how we
want all the good news we can amass together! Our fleet
dispersed by a tempest in America, where, into the bargain, we
had done nothing, the uneasiness on the convention at Stade,
which, by this time, I believe we have broken, and on the
disappointment about Rochfort, added to the wretched state of
our internal affairs; all this has reduced us to a most
contemptible figure. The people are dissatisfied, mutinous,
and ripe for insurrections, which indeed have already appeared
on the militia and on the dearness of corn, which is believed
to be owing to much villany in the dealers. But the other day
I saw a strange sight, a man crying corn, "Do you want any
corn?" as they cry knives and scissors. To add to the
confusion, the troubles in Ireland, which Mr. Conway had
pacified, are broke out afresh, by the imprudence of the Duke
of Bedford and the ambition of the primate.(845) The latter
had offered himself to the former, who rejected him, meaning
to balance the parties, but was insensibly hurried into Lord
Kildare's,(846) to please mr. Fox. The primate's faction have
passed eleven resolutions on pensions and grievances, equal to
any in 1641, and the Duke of Bedford's friends dared not say a
word against them.(847) The day before yesterday a messenger
arrived from him for help; the council will try to mollify;
but Ireland is no tractable country. About what you will be
more inquisitive, is the disappointment at Rochfort, and its
consequences. Sir John Mordaunt demanded an inquiry which the
city was going to demand. The Duke of Marlborough, Lord
George Sackville, and General Waldegrave have held a public
inquest, with the fairness of which people are satisfied; the
report is not to be made to the King till to-morrow, for which
I shall reserve my letter. You may easily imagine, that with
all my satisfaction in Mr. Conway's behaviour, I am very
unhappy about him: he is more so; having guarded and gained
the most perfect character in the world by the severest
attention to it, you may guess what he feels under any thing
that looks like a trial. You will see him more like himself,
in a story his aide-de-camp, Captain Hamilton,(848) tells of
him. While they were on the isle of Aix, Mr. Conway was so
careless and so fearless as to be trying a burning-glass on a
bomb--yes, a bomb, the match of which had been cut short to
prevent its being fired by any accidental sparks of tobacco.
Hamilton snatched the glass out of Mr. Conway's hand before he
had at all thought what he was about. I can tell you another
story of him, that describes all his thought for others, while
so indifferent about himself. Being with my Lady Ailesbury in
his absence, I missed a favourite groom they used to have; she
told me this story. The fellow refused to accompany Mr.
Conway on the expedition, unless he would provide for his
widow in case of accidents. Mr. C., who had just made his
will and settled his affairs, replied coolly, "I have provided
for her." The man, instead of being struck, had the command
of himself to ask how? He was told, she would have two
hundred pounds. Still uncharmed, he said it was too little!
Mr. Conway replied he was sorry he was not content; he could
do no more; but would only desire him to go to Portsmouth and
see his horses embarked. He refused. If such goodness would
make one adore human nature, such ingratitude would soon cure
Mr. Fox was going to write to you, but I took all the
compliments upon myself, as I think it is better for you to be
on easy than ceremonious terms. To promote this, I have
established a correspondence between you; he will be glad if
you will send him two chests of the best Florence wine every
year. The perpetuity destroys all possibility of your making
him presents Of it. I have compounded for the vases, but he
would not hear, nor must you think of giving him the wine,
which you must transact with your brother and me. The best of
Florence which puzzled James and me so much, proves to be Lord
Hertford's drams. We have got something else from Florence,
not your brother James and I, but the public: here is arrived
a Countess Rena, of whom my Lord Pembroke bought such
quantities of Florence, etc. I shall wonder if he deals with
her any more, as he has the sweetest wife(849) in the world,
and it seems to be some time since La Comtessa was so. Tell
me more of her history; antique as she is, she is since my
time.. Alas! every thing makes me think myself old since I
have worn out my eyes, which, notwithstanding the cure I
thought Mr. Chute had made upon them, are of very little use
to me. You have no notion how it mortifies me: when I am
wishing to withdraw more and more from a world of which I have
had satiety, and which I suppose is as tired of me, how
vexatious not to be able to indulge a happiness that depends
only on oneself, and consequently the only happiness proper
for people past their youth! I have often deluded you with
promises of returning to Florence for pleasure, I now threaten
you with it for your plague; for if I am to become a tiresome
old fool, at least it shall not be in my own country. In the
mean time, I must give you a commission for my press. I have
printed one book, (of which two copies are ready for you and
Dr. Cocchi,) and I have written another - it is a Catalogue of
the Royal and Noble Authors of England. Richard 1. it seems
was, or had a mind to pass for, a Proven`cal poet; nay, some
of those compositions are extant, and you must procure them
for me: Crescimbeni says there are some in the library of San
Lorenza at Florence, in uno de' Codici Provenzali, and others
nel 3204 della Vaticana.(850) YOU Will oblige and serve me
highly if you can get me copies. Dr. Cocchi certainly knows
Crescimbeni's Commentary on the Lives of the Proven`cal
I shall wind up this letter, Which is pretty long for a blind
man without spectacles, with an admirable bon-mot. Somebody
asked me at the play the other night what was become of Mrs.
Woffington; I replied, she is taken off by Colonel Caesar.
Lord Tyrawley said, "I suppose she was reduced to aut Caesar
The monument about which you ask you shall see in a drawing,
when finished; it is a simple Gothic arch, something in the
manner of the columbaria: a Gothic columbarium is a new
thought of my own, of which I am fond, and going(852) to
execute one at Strawberry. That at Linton is to have a
beautiful urn, designed by Mr. Bentley, as the whole is, with
this plain, very true inscription, "Galfrido Mann, amicissimo,
optimo, qui obiit--H. W. P."
Thank you for the King of Prussia's letter, though I had seen
it before. It is lively and odd. He seems to write as well
with Voltaire as he fights as well without the French--or
The report is made, but I have not yet seen it, and this
letter must go away this minute. I hear it names no names,
says no reason appears why they did not land on the 25th, and
gives no merit to all Mr. Conway's subsequent proposals for
(844) The battle of Rosbach.
(845) Dr. Stone, Archbishop of Armagh.
(846) Lady Kildare was sister of Lady Caroline Fox.
(847)) Walpole, in his Memoires of George II., states that
"the Duke of Bedford, on the death of the King's sister, the
Queen Dowager of Prussia, who had privately received a pension
of eight Hundred pounds a-year out of the Irish establishment,
had obtained it for his wife's sister, Lady Waldegrave."-E.
(848) Afterwards Sir William Hamilton, appointed, in 1764,
envoy to the court of Naples, where he resided during the long
period of thirty-six years; and where, "wisely diverting," in
the language of Gibbon, "his correspondence from the secretary
of state to the Royal Society and British Museum, he passed
his time in elucidating a country of inestimable value to the
naturalist and antiquarian." He returned to England in 1800,
and died in 1803.-E.
(849) Elizabeth, sister of the Duke of Marlborough.
(850) Walpole, in his Royal Authors, says, "I have had both
repositories carefully searched. The reference to the Vatican
proves a new inaccuracy of the author; there is no work of
King Richard. In the Laurentine library is a sonnet written
by the King, and sent to the Princess Stephanetta, wife of
Hugh de Daux, which I have had transcribed with the greatest
exactness." Works, vol. i. p. 252.-E.
(851) "Commentarii intorno alla sua Istoria della Volgar
Poesia." In 1803, Mr. Matthias, the author of the Pursuits of
Literature, published an edition of the commentaries, detached
from the historical part, in three volumes, 12mo.-E.
(852) It was not executed.
408 Letter 249
To George Montagu, Esq.
I leave Mr. M`untz in commission to do the honours of
Strawberry to you: if he succeeds well, will you be troubled
with him in your chaise to london on Wednesday?
He will tell you the history of' Queen Mab being attacked-not
in her virtue, but in her very palace: if all this does not
fill up the evening, and you shall have no engagement to your
aunt Cosby, or to your grandmother, you know how welcome you
will be at Clivden. Adieu!
408 Letter 250
To George Montagu, Esq.
Dec. 23, 1757.
You, who have always cultivated rather than stifled tender
sensations, well know how to feel for me, who have at last
lost my dear friend, Mr. Mann, not unexpectedly certainly; but
I never could find that one grew indifferent to what pains, as
one does to what pleases one. With all my consciousness of
having been more obliged to your brother than I could possibly
deserve, I think I should have trespassed on his kindness, and
have asked him to continue his favours to Mr. Mann's son and
brother, if I had not known that he was good beyond doubt: it
is just necessary for me, as transferring my friendship to the
family, to tell you, that if the contrary should be
insinuated, they do continue the business.
Had I any thing to tell you, it would be unpardonable in me to
communicate my grief to you and neglect your entertainment,
but Mr. Pitt's gout has laid up the nation; we adjourn
to-morrow for the holidays, and have not had a single
division. Mr. Pitt, Mr. Fox, France, and the King of Prussia
will not leave us idle much longer. Adieu! I am most
unaffectedly grieved, and most unfeignedly yours.
409 Letter 251
To Dr. Ducarel.(853)
Arlington Street, Dec. 25, 1757.
The Dean of Exeter(854) having showed me a letter in which you
desire the name of the MS. which contains the illumination I
wished to see, I take the liberty of troubling you with this.
The book is called "The Dictes and Sayings of the
Philosophers: translated out of Latyn into Frenshe, by Messire
Jehan de Jeonville; and from thence rendered into English, by
Earl Rivers."(855)--I am perfectly ashamed, Sir, of giving you
so much trouble, but your extreme civility and good-nature,
and your great disposition to assist in any thing that relates
to literature, encouraged me to make my application to you;
and the politeness with which you received it I shall always
acknowledge with the greatest gratitude. The Dean desired me
to make his excuses to you for not writing himself; and my
Lord Lyttelton returns you a thousand thanks for your kind
offers of communication, and proposes to wait on you himself
and talk those matters over with you. I shall not fail of
paying my respects to you on Friday next, at one o'clock; and
am, Sir, yours, etc.
(853) Dr. Andrew Coltee Ducarel. This eminent arcaeologist
was born at Caen in Normandy, but educated at Eton and at
Oxford. He had recently been appointed librarian at Lambeth
(854) Dr.Jeremiah Milles. In 1765 he was appointed president
of the Society of Antiquaries. The Doctor was a strenuous
advocate for the authenticity of Rowley's Poems; "thereby
proving himself," says the author of the Pursuits of
Literature, "a pleasant subject for that chef-d'oeuvre of wit
and poetry, the 'Archaeological Epistle,' written by Mr.
(855) Antony Widville, Earl Rivers, Lord Scales and Newsells.
The dismal catastrophe of this accomplished lord, in his
forty-first year, is well known--
"--Rivers, Vaughan, and Grey
Ere this lie shorter by the head at Pomfret."
The book is supposed to be the second ever printed in England
by Caxton: it contains an illumination representing the Earl
introducing Caxton to Edward the Fourth, his Queen, and the
Prince. "The most remarkable circumstance attending it," says
Walpole, in his Noble Authors, "is the gallantry of the Earl,
who omitted to translate part of it, because it contained
sarcasms of Socrates against the fair sex."-E.
410 Letter 252
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Jan, 11, 1758.
You express so much concern and tenderness for Mr. Conway and
me in your letter of Dec. 17th, which I received two days ago,
that I am impatient and happy to tell you, that after keeping
the report of the court-martial a week, the King yesterday
approved the sentence, which is a full acquittal of Sir John
Mordaunt, and was unanimous. If the commander-in-chief is so
fully cleared, what must the subordinate generals be? There
are still flying whispers of its being brought into Parliament
in some shape or other, but every public and private reason, I
say reason, forbid it. Sure this is not a season to relume
heats, when tranquility is so essential and so established!
In a private light who can wish to raise such a cloud of
enemies as the whole army, who murmur grievously at hearing
that an acquittal is not an acquittal; who hold it tyranny, if
they are not to be as safe by their juries as the rest of
their fellow-subjects; and who think a judgment of twenty-one
general officers not to be trifled with. I tremble if any
rashness drives the army to distinguish or think themselves
distinguished from the civil government.
You are by this time, I suppose, in weepers for princess
Caroline;(856) though her state of health has been so
dangerous for years, and her absolute confinement for many of
them, her disorder was in a manner new and sudden, and her
death unexpected by herself, though earnestly her wish. her
goodness was constant and uniform, her generosity immense, her
charities most extensive--in short I, no royalist, could be
lavish in her praise. What will divert you is, that the Duke
of Norfolk's and Lord Northumberland's upper servants have
asked leave to put themselves in mourning, not out of regard
for this admirable Princess, but to be more sur le bon ton. I
told the Duchess I supposed they would expect her to mourn
hereafter for their relations.
Well, it seems I guessed better about Sir James Grey than he
knew about himself. Sir Benjamin Keene is dead;(857) I dined
to-day where Colonel Grey did; he told me it is a year and a
half since the King named his brother for Spain, and that he
himself was told but yesterday that Sir James was too well at
Naples to be removed,(858) and that reasons of state called
for somebody else. Would they called for you! and why not?
You are attached to nobody; your dear brother had as much
reason to flatter himself with Mr. Pitt's favour, as he was
marked by not having Mr. Fox's. Your not having the least
connexion with the latter cannot hurt you. Such a change, for
so great an object, would overrule all my prudence: but I do
not know whether it were safe, to hint it'. especially as by
this time, at least before your application could come, it
must be disposed of. Lord Rochfort wishes it, Lord Huntingdon
has asked it; Lord Tyrawley and Lord Bristol(859) are talked
of. I am so afraid of ticklish situations for you, that in
case of the latter's removal, I should scarce wish you Turin.
I cannot quit this chapter without lamenting Keene! my father
had the highest opinion of his abilities, and indeed his late
Negotiations have been crowned with proportionate success. He
had great wit, agreeableness, and an indolent good-humour that
was very pleasing: he loved our dearest Gal.!
The King of Prussia is quite idle; I think he has done nothing
this fortnight but take Breslau, and Schweidnitz, and ten or a
dozen generals, and from thirty to fifty thousand prisoners--
in this respect he contradicts the omne majus continet in se
minus. I trust he is galloping somewhere or other with only a
groom to get a victory. Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick has
galloped a little from one: when we were expecting that he
would drive the French army into the sea, and were preparing
to go to Harwich to see it, he turned back, as if he wanted to
speak with the King of Prussia. In a street very near me they
do not care to own this; but as my side of Arlington Street is
not ministerial, we plain-dealing houses speak our mind about
it. Pray, do not you about that or any thing else; remember
you are an envoy, and though you must not presume to be as
false as an ambassador, yet not a grain of truth is consistent
with your character. Truth is very well for such simple
people as me, with my Fari quae sentiat, which my father left
me, and which I value more than all he left me; but I am
errantly wicked enough to desire you should lie and prosper.
I know you don't like my doctrine, and therefore I compound
with you for holding your tongue. Adieu! my dear child--shall
we never meet! Are we always to love one another at the
discretion of a sheet of paper? I would tell you in another
manner that I am ever yours.
P. S. I will not plague you with more than a postscript on my
eyes: I write this after midnight quite at my ease; I think
the greatest benefit I have found lies between old rum and
elder-water, (three spoonfuls of the latter to one of the
former,) and dipping my head in a pail of cold water every
morning the moment I am out of bed. This I am told may affect
my hearing, but I have too constant a passion for my eyes to
throw away a thought on any rival.
(856) Third daughter of King George the Second; who died at
St. James's on the 28th of December, in the forty-fifth year
of her age.-E.
(857) Sir Benjamin Keene died at Madrid on the 15th of
December. He was the eldest son of Charles Keene, Esq. of
Lynn, in Norfolk. His remains were brought to England-, and
buried at Lynn, near those of his parents.-E.
(858) Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in a letter to her daughter,
dated Venice, April 3, says, "Sir James Grey was universally
esteemed during his residence here: but, alas! he is gone to
Naples. I wish the maxims of Queen Elizabeth were revived,
who always chose men whose birth or behaviour would make the
nation respected, people being apt to look upon them as a
sample of their countrymen. If those now employed are so--
Lord have mercy upon us! How much the nation has suffered by
false intelligence, I believe you are very sensible of; and
how impossible it is to obtain truth either from a fool or a
knave." Works, Vol. iii. P. 155.-E.
(859) The Earl of Bristol was at this time British Minister at
the court of Turin. He was appointed ambassador extraordinary
to the court of Spain in the following June.-E.
411 Letter 253
To Dr. Ducarel.
Arlington Street, January 12, 1758.
I have the pleasure to let you know, that his grace the
Archbishop(860) has, with the greatest politeness and
goodness, sent me word, by the dean of Exeter, that he gives
me leave to have the illumination copied, on a receipt either
at your chambers, or at my own house, giving you a receipt for
it. As the former would be so inconvenient to me as to render
this favour useless, I have accepted the latter with great
joy; and will send a gentleman of the exchequer, my own
deputy, to you, Sir@ on Monday next, with my receipt, and
shall beg the favour of you to deliver the MS. to him, Mr.
Bedford. I would wait On you myself, but have caught cold at
the visit I made you yesterday, and am besides going to
Strawberry Hill, from whence I propose to bring you a little
print, which was never sold, and not to be had from any body
else; which is, the arms of the two Clubs at Arthur's;(861) a
print exceedingly in request last year. When I have more
leisure, for at this time of the year I am much hurried, I
shall be able, I believe, to pick you out some other
curiosities; and am, Sir, etc.
(860) Dr. Matthew Hutton. He died in the following April, and
was succeeded in the archbishopric by Dr. Secker.
(861) Designed by Mr. Walpole's friend, Lord Edgecumbe, and
engraved by Grinion.
412 Letter 254
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 9, 1758.
One would not have believed that I could so long have wanted
something to form a letter; but I think politics are gone into
winter-quarters: Mr. Pitt is in bed with the gout, and the
King of Prussia writing sonnets to Voltaire; but his Majesty's
lyre is not half so charming as his sword: if he does not take
care, Alexander will ride home upon his verses. All England
has kept his birthday; it has taken its place in our calendar
next to Admiral Vernon's(862) and my Lord Blakeney's; and the
people, I believe, begin to think that Prussia is some part
of' Old England. We had bonfires and processions,
illuminations and French horns playing out of windows all
In the mean time there have been some distant grumblings of a
war with Spain, which seem blown over: a new Russian army in
March has taken its place. The Duke of Richelieu is said to
be banished for appropriating some contributions(863) to his
own use: if he does not take care to prove that he meant to
make as extravagant a use of them as ever Marquis Catiline
did, it will be a very bourgeoise termination of such a
gallant life! By the rage of expense in our pleasures, in the
midst of such dearness and distress, one would think we had
opportunities of contributions too! The simple Duke of St.
Albans,(864) who is retired to Brussels for debt, has made a
most sumptuous funeral in public for a dab of five months old
that he had by his cookmaid. But our glaring extravagance is
the CONSTANT high price given for pictures: the other day at
Mr. Furnese's(865) auction a very small Gaspar sold for
seventy-six guineas; and a Carlo Maratti, which too I am
persuaded was a Giuseppe Chiari, lord Egremont bought at the
rate of two hundred and sixty pounds. Mr. Spencer(866) gave
no less than two thousand two hundred pounds for the Andrea
Sacchi and the Guido from the same collection. The latter is
of very dubious originality: my father, I think, preferred the
Andrea Sacchi to his own Guido, and once offered seven hundred
pounds for it, but Furnese said, "Damn him, it is for him; he
shall pay a thousand." There is a pewterer, one Cleeve, who
some time ago gave one thousand pounds for four very small
Dutch pictures. I know- but one dear picture not sold,
Cooper's head of Oliver Cromwell, an unfinished miniature;
they asked me four hundred pounds for it! But pictures do not
monopolize extravagance; I have seen a little ugly shell
called a Ventle-trap sold for twenty-seven guineas. However,
to do us justice, we have magnificence too that is well
judged. The Palmyra and Balbec are noble works to be
undertaken and executed by private men.(867) There is now
established a Society for the encouragement of Arts, Sciences,
and Commerce, that is likely to be very serviceable;(868) and
I was pleased yesterday with a very grand seigneurial design of
the Duke of Richmond,(869) who has collected a great many fine
casts of the best antique statues, has placed them in a large
room in his garden, and designs to throw it open to encourage
drawing. I have offered him to let my eagle be cast.
Adieu! If any thing happens, I will not, nor ever do wait for
a regular interval Of Writing to you.
(862) On Admiral Vernon's taking Porto Bello in 1740, the
populace of London celebrated his birthday; and some doubts
arising on the specific day, they celebrated it again, and I
think continued to do so for two or three subsequent years.
(863) He plundered the Electorate so indecently, that on his
return to Paris having built a pavilion in his garden, it was
nicknamed le Pavillon d'Hanovre.
(864) The third Duke of that title.
(865) Henry Furness had been a lord of the treasury. He was a
friend of Lord Bath, and personally an enemy to Sir Robert
(866) John first Earl Spencer.
(867) Robert Wood, Esq. under secretary of state, Mr. Dawkins,
and Mr. Bouverie. For a notice of these splendid works, see
ant`e, p. 191, letter 89.-E.
(868) Mr. William Shipley, of Northampton, being persuaded
that a society to give premiums, in the manner of one in
Ireland, would be highly beneficial to the country, came to
London several times in the year 1752 and 1753, and talked
about it to Mr. Henry Baker, who was of the same opinion, but
doubted the possibility of bringing it into effect. However,
in 1753, a general recommendation of such a society was drawn
up, printed, and dispersed; and indefatigable pains taken by
Mr. Shipley to put it into the hands of persons of quality and
fortune, this scheme was carried into execution. See
Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes, vol. v. p. 275.-E.
(869) Charles Lenox, third Duke of Richmond. His grace had
recently ordered a room to be opened at his house in
Whitehall, containing a large collection of original plaster
casts from the best antique busts and statues at Rome -and
Florence, to which all artists, and youths above twelve years
of age, had access. For the encouragement of genius, he also
bestowed two medals annually on those who executed the two
413 Letter 255
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 10, 1758.
This campaign does not open with the vivacity of the last; the
hero of the age has only taken Schweidnitz yet--he had fought
a battle Or two by this time last year. But this is the case
of Fame. A man that astonishes at first, soon makes people
impatient if he does not continue in the same andante key. I
have heard a good answer of one of the Duke of Marlborough's
generals, who dining with him at a city feast, and being
teased by a stupid alderman, who said to him, "Sir, yours must
be a very laborious employment!" replied, "Oh, no; we fight
about four hours in a morning, and two or three after dinner,
and then we have all the rest of the day to ourselves." I
shall not be quite so impatient about our own campaign as I
was last year, though we have another secret expedition on
foot--they say, to conquer France, but I believe we must
compound for taking the Isle of Wight, whither we are sending
fourteen thousand men. The Hero's uncle(870 reviewed them
yesterday in Hyde Park on their setting out. The Duke of
Marlborough commands, and is, in reality, commanded by Lord
George Sackville. We shall now see how much greater generals
we have than Mr. Conway, who has pressed to go in any
capacity, and is not suffered!
Mr. Pitt is again laid up with the gout, as the Duke of
Bedford is confined in Ireland by it. - His grace, like other
Kings I have known, is grown wonderfully popular there since
he was taken prisoner and tied hand and foot. To do faction
justice, it is of no cowardly nature; it abuses while it
attacks, and loads with panegyric those it defeats. We have
nothing in Parliament but a quiet straggle for an extension of
the Habeas Corpus.(871) It passed our House swimmingly, but
will be drowned with the same ease in the House of Lords. On
the new taxes we had an entertaining piece of pomp from the
Speaker: Lord Strange (it was in a committee) said, "I will
bring him down from the gallery." and proposed that the
Speaker should be exempt from the place tax. He came down,
and besought not to be excepted--lord Strange persisted-so did
the Speaker. After the debate, Lord Strange going out said,
"Well, did I not show my dromedary well?" I should tell you
that one of the fashionable sights of the winter has been a
dromedary and camel, the proprietor of which has entertained
the town with a droll variety of advertisements.
You would have been amazed, had you been here at Sir luke
Schaub's auction of pictures. He had picked up some good old
copies cheap when he was in Spain during the contentions there
between the houses of Austria and Bourbon, and when many
grandees being confiscated, the rest piqued themselves on not
profiting of their spoils. With these Sir Luke had some fine
small ones, and a parcel of Flemish, good in their way. The
late Prince offered him twelve thousand pounds for the whole,
leaving him the enjoyment for his life. As he knew the twelve
thousand would not be forthcoming, he artfully excused himself
by saying he loved pictures so much that he knew he should
fling away the money. Indeed, could he have touched it, it
had been well; the collection was indubitably not worth four
thousand pounds. It has sold for near eight!(872) A
Copy(873) of the King of France's Raphael went for seven
hundred pounds. A Segismonda, called by Corregio, but
certainly by Furoni his scholar, was bought in at upwards of
four hundred pounds. In short, there is Sir James Lowther,
Mr. Spencer, Sir Richard Grosvenor, boys with twenty and
thirty thousand a-year, and the Duchess of Portland,(874) Lord
Ashburnham, Lord Egremont, and others with near as much, who
care not what they give. I want to paint my coat and sell it
off my back--there never Was such a season. I am mad to have
the Houghton pictures sold now; what injury to the creditors
to have them postponed, till half of these vast estates are
spent, and the other half grown ten years older!
Lord Corke Is not the editor of Swift's History;(875) but one
Dr. Lucas, a physicianed apothecary, who some years ago made
such factious noise in Ireland(876)--the book is already
fallen into the lowest contempt. I wish you joy of the success
of the Cocchi family; but how three hundred crowns a year
sound after Sir Luke Schaub's auction! Adieu! my dear Sir.
(870) George II. uncle of the King of Prussia.
(871) Lord Chesterfield, in a letter to his son of the 8th,
says, "Every thing goes smoothly in Parliament: the King of
Prussia has united all our parties in his support, and the
Tories have declared that they will give Mr. Pitt unlimited
credit for this session: there has not been one single
division yet upon public points, and I believe will not."-E.
(872) The three days' sale produced seven thousand seven
hundred and eighty-four pounds five shillings.-E.
(873) It was purchased by the Duchess Dowager of Portland, for
seven hundred and three pounds ten shillings.-E.
(874) Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley, only daughter of Edward
Harley, second Earl of Oxford, and heiress of the vast
possessions of the Newcastle branch of the Cavendishes. She
married William Bentinck, second Duke of Portland.-D.
(875) Swift's "History of the Four last Years of Queen Anne,"
was first published in this year.-E.
(876) Dr. Johnson, in a review of Dr. Lucas's Essay on Waters,
which appeared in the Literary Magazine for 1756, thus speaks
of him: "The Irish ministers drove him from his native country
by a proclamation, in which they charge him with crimes of which
they never intended to be called to the proof, and
oppressed him by methods equally irresistible by guilt and
innocence: let the man thus driven into exile, for having been
the friend of his country, be received in every other place as
a confessor of liberty; and let the tools of power be taught
in time, that they may rob, but cannot impoverish." In 1761,
Dr. Lucas was elected representative for Dublin. He died in
1771, and a statue to his honour is erected in the Royal
Exchange of Dublin.-E.'
415 Letter 256
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 23, 1758.
Though the inactivity of our parliamentary winter has let me
be correspondent, I am far from having been so remiss as the
posts have made me seem. I remember to have thought that I
had no letter on board the packet that was taken; but since
the 20th of November I have writ to you on December 14,
January 11, February 9. The acquittal of General Mordaunt
would, I thought, make you entirely easy about Mr. Conway.
The paper war on their subject is still kept up; but all
inquiries are at an end. When Mr. Pitt, who is laid up with
the gout, is a little cool again, I think he has too much
eagerness to perform something of `eclatt, to let the public
have to reproach him with not employing so brave a man and so
able as Mr. Conway. Though your brothers do not satisfy your
impatience to know, you must a little excuse them; the eldest
lives out of the world, and James not in that world from
whence he can learn or inform you. Besides our dear Gal.'s
warmth of friendship, he had innumerable opportunities of
intelligence. He, who lent all the world money for nothing,
had at least a right to know something.
I shall be sorry on my account if one particular(877) letter
has miscarried, in which I mentioned some trifles that I
wished to purchase from Stosch's collection. As you do not
mention any approaching sale, I will stay to repeat them till
you tell me that you have received no such letter.
Thank you for the `eloge on your friend poor Cocchi; you had
not told me of his death, but I was prepared for it, and heard
it from Lord Huntingdon. I am still more obliged to you for
the trouble you have given yourself about King Richard. You
have convinced me of Crescimbeni's blunder as to Rome. For
Florence, I must intreat you to send me 'another copy, for
your copyist or his original have made undecipherable
mistakes; particularly in the last line; La Mere Louis is
impossible to be sense: I should wish, as I am to print it, to
have every letter of the whole sonnet more distinct and
certain than most of them are. I don't know how to repay you
for all the fatigue I give you. Mr. Fox's urns are arrived,
but not yet delivered from the Custom-house. You tell me no
more of Botta;(878) is he invisible in dignity, like
Richcourt; or sunk to nothing, like our Poor old friend the
Prince?(879) Here is a good epigram on the Prince de Soubize,
with which I must conclude, writing without any thing to tell
you, and merely to show you that I do by no means neglect you;
Soubize, apr`es ses grands exploits,
Peut b`atir un palais qui ne lui co`ute gu`ere;
Sa Femme lui fournit le bois,
Et chacun lui jette la pierre.
(877) The letter of Dec. 17th, which was lost.
(878) Marshal Botta, commander at Florence for the Emperor
(879) The Prince de Craon, chief of the council, superseded by
the Comte de Richcourt.
416 Letter 257
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, March 21, 1758.
Between my letters of Nov. 20th and Jan. 11th, which you say
you have received, was one of Dec. 11th lost, I suppose in
the packet: what it contained, it is impossible for me to
recollect; but I conclude the very notices about the
expedition, the want of which troubled you so much. I have
nothing now to tell you of any moment; writing only to keep up
the chain of our 'correspondence, and to satisfy you that
there is nothing particular.
I forgot in my last to say a word of our East Indian hero,
Clive, and his victories; but we are growing accustomed to
success again! There is Hanover retaken!--if to have Hanover
again is to have success! We have no news but what is
military; Parliaments are grown idle things, or busy like
quarter-sessions. Mr. Pitt has been in the House of Commons
but twice this winter, yet we have some grumblings: a
Navy-bill of Mr. George Grenville, rejected last year by the
Lords, and passed again by us, has by Mr. Fox's underhand
management been made an affair by the Lords; yet it will pass.
An extension of the Habeas corpus, of forty times the
consequence, is impeded by the same dealings, and IS not
likely to have so prosperous an issue. Yet these things
scarce make a heat within doors, and scarce conversation
Our new Archbishop(880) died yesterday; but the church loses
its head with as little noise as a question is now carried or
lost in Parliament.
Poor Sir Charles Williams is returned from Russia, having lost
his Senses upon the road. This is imputed to a lady at
Hamburgh, who gave him, or for whom he took some assistance to
his passion; but we hope he will soon recover.
The most particular thing I know is what happened the other
day: a frantic Earl of Ferrars(881) has for this twelvemonth
supplied conversation by attempting to murder his wife, a
pretty, harmless young woman, and every body that took her
part. having broken the peace, to which the House of Lords
tied him last year, the cause was trying again there on Friday
last. Instead of attending it, he went to the assizes at
Hertford to appear against a highwayman, one Page, of
extraordinary parts and escapes. The Earl had pulled out a
pistol, but trembled so that the robber turned, took it out of
his hand quietly, and said, "My lord, I know you always carry
more pistols about you; give me the rest." At the trial, Page
pleaded that my lord was excommunicated, consequently could
not give evidence, and got acquitted.(882)
There is just published Swift's History of the Four last Years
of Queen Anne: Pope and Lord Bolingbroke always told him it
would disgrace him, and persuaded him to burn it. Disgrace
him indeed it does, being a weak libel, ill-written for style,
uninformed, and adopting the most errant mob-stories.(883) He
makes the Duke of Marlborough a coward, Prince Eugene an
assassin, my father remarkable for nothing but impudence, and
would make my Lord Somers any thing but the most amiable
character in the world, if unfortunately he did not praise him
while he tries to abuse.
Trevor(884) of Durham is likely to go to Canterbury. Adieu!
(880) Archbishop Hutton. He was succeeded by Secker.
(881) Laurence Shirley, fourth Earl of Ferrars, who, in
January 1760, shot his land-steward, for which he was tried in
Westminster-hall, by his peers, in the following April, and
executed at Tyburn.-E.
(882) At the ensuing Rochester assizes he was tried for
robbing a Mr. Farrington, and executed.-E.
(883) Swift himself, in his Journal to Stella, calls it "his
grand business," and pronounced it "the best work he had ever
(884) Dr. Richard Trevor. This did not happen.
418 Letter 258
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, April 14, 1758.
As you was disappointed of any intelligence that might be in it
(I don't know what was), I am sorry my letter of December 14th
miscarried; but with regard to my commissions in Stosch's
collection, it did not signify, since they propose to sell it
in such great morsels. If they are forced to relent, and
separate it, what I wish to have, and had mentioned to you,
were, "his sculptured gems that have vases on them, of which he
had a large ring box:" the following modern medals, "Anglia
resurges," I think, of Julius III.; "the Capitol; the
Hugonotorum Strages; the Ganymede, a reverse of a Pope's medal,
by Michael Angelo; the first medal of Julius III.;" all these
were in silver, and very fine; then the little Florentine coin
in silver, with Jesus Rex noster on the reverse: he had,
besides, a fine collection of drawings after nudities and
prints in the same style, but you may believe I am not old
enough to give much for these. I am not very anxious about
any, consequently am not tempted to purchase wholesale.
Thank you for the second copy of King Richard; my book is
finished; I shall send it you by the first opportunity. I did
receive the bill of lading for Mr. Fox's wine; and my reason
for not telling you how he liked his vases was, because I did
not, nor do yet know, nor does he; they are at Holland House,
and will not be unpacked till he settles there: I own I have a
little more impatience about new things.
My letters will grow more interesting to you, I suppose, as the
summer opens: we have had no Winter campaign, I mean, no
parliamentary war. You have been much misinformed about the
King's health--and had he been ill, do you think that the
recovery of Hanover would not cure him? Yesterday the new
convention with the King of Prussia was laid before the houses,
and is to be considered next week: I have not yet read it, and
only know that he is to receive from us two millions in three
years, and to make no peace without us. I hope he will make
one for us before these three years are expired. A great camp
is forming in the Isle of Wight, reckoned the best spot for
defence or attack. I suppose both will be tried reciprocally;
Sir Charles Williams's disorder appears to have been
lightheadedness from a fever; he goes about again; but the
world, especially a world of enemies, never care to give up
their title to a man's madness, and will consequently not
believe that he is yet in his senses.(885)
Lord Bristol certainly goes to Spain; no successor is named for
Turin. You know how much I love a prescriptive situation for
you, and how I should fear a more eminent one--and yet you see
I notify Turin being open, if you should care to push for it.
It is not to recommend it to you that I tell you of it, but I
think it my duty as your friend not to take upon me to decide
for you without acquainting you.
I rejoice at Admiral Osborn's Success. I am not patriot enough
to deny but that there are captains and admirals whose glory
would have little charms for me; but Osborn was a steady friend
of murdered Byng!
The Earl and Countess of Northumberland have diverted the town
with a supper, which they intended should make their court to
my Lady Yarmouth; the dessert was a chasse at Herenhausen, the
rear of which was brought up by a chaise and six containing a
man with a blue riband and a lady sitting by him! Did you ever
hear such a vulgarism! The person complimented is not half so
German, and consequently suffered martyrdom at this clumsy
apotheosis of her concubinage. Adieu!
(885) On hearing, at Padua, of Sir Charles's indisposition,
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in a letter to her daughter, the
Countess of Bute, on the 17th of July, breaks out into the
following striking reflections:--"I hear that my old
acquaintance is much broken, both in his spirits and
constitution. How happy might that man have been, if there had
been added to his natural and acquired endowments a dash of
morality! If he had known how to distinguish between false and
true felicity; and, instead of seeking to increase an estate
already too large, and hunting after pleasures that have made
him rotten and ridiculous, he had bounded his desires of
wealth, and followed the dictates of his conscience! His
servile ambition has gained him two yards of red riband and an
exile into a miserable country, where there is no society, and
so little taste, that I believe he suffers under a dearth of
flatterers. This is said for the use of your growing sons,
whom I hope no golden temptations will induce to marry women
they cannot love, or comply with measures they do not approve.
All the happiness this world can afford is more within reach
than is generally supposed. A wise and honest man lives to his
own heart, without that silly splendour that makes him a prey
to knaves, and which commonly ends in his becoming one of the
fraternity." Works, vol. iii. p. 160.-E.
419 Letter 259
To The Rev. Dr. Birch.
Arlington Street, May 4, 1758.
I thought myself very unlucky in being abroad when you were so
good as to call here t'other day. I not only lost the pleasure
of your company, but the opportunity of obtaining from you
(what however I will not despair of) any remarks you may have
made on the many errors which I fear you found in my book.(886)
The hurry in which it was written, my natural carelessness and
insufficiency, must have produced many faults and mistakes. As
the curiosity of the world, raised I believe only by the
smallness Of the number printed, makes it necessary for me to
provide another edition, I should be much obliged to whoever
would be enough my friend to point out my wrong judgments and
inaccuracies,--I know nobody, Sir, more capable Of both offices
than yourself, and yet I have no pretensions to ask so great a
favour, unless your own zeal for the cause of literature should
prompt you to undertake a little of this task. I shall be
always ready to correct my faults, never to defend them.
(886) " The Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors," of which
Walpole had just printed three hundred copies, at the
Strawberry Hill press.-E.
420 Letter 260
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 4, 1758.
You are the first person, I believe, that ever thought of a
Swiss transcribing Welsh, unless, like some commentator on the
Scriptures, you have discovered great affinity between those
languages, and that both are dialects of the Phoenician. I
have desired your brother to call here to-day, and to help us
in adjusting the inscriptions. I can find no Lady Cutts in
your pedigree, and till I do, cannot accommodate her with a
My book is marvellously in fashion, to my great astonishment.
I did not expect so much truth and such notions of liberty
would have made their fortune in this our day. I am preparing
an edition for publication, and then I must expect to be a
little less civilly treated. My Lord Chesterfield tells every
body that he subscribes to all my opinions; but this mortifies
me about as much as the rest flatter me I cannot, because it is
my own case, forget how many foolish books he has diverted
himself with commending The most extraordinary thing I have
heard about mine is, that it being talked of at lord Arran's
table, Doctor King, the Dr. King of Oxford, said of the passage
on my father; "It is very modest, very genteel, and VEry TRUE."
I asked my Lady Cardigan if she would forgive my making free
with her grandmother;(887) she replied very sensibly, "I am
sure she would not have hindered any body from writing against
me; why should I be angry at any writing against her?"
The history promised you of Dr. Brown is this. Sir Charles
Williams had written an answer to his first silly volume of the
Estimate,(888) chiefly before he came over, but finished while
he was confined at Kensington. Brown had lately lodged in the
same house, not mad now, though he has been so formerly. The
landlady told Sir Charles, and offered to make affidavit that
Dr. Brown was the most profane cursor and swearer that ever
came into her house. Before I proceed in my history, I will
tell you another anecdote of this great performer: one of his
antipathies is the Opera, yet the only time I ever saw him was
in last Passion-week singing the Romish Stabat mater with the
Mingotti, behind a harpsichord at a great concert at my Lady
Carlisle's. Well--in a great apprehension of Sir Charles
divulging the story of his swearing, Brown went to Dodsley in a
most scurrilous and hectoring manner, threatening Dodsley if he
should publish any thing personal against him; abusing Sir
Charles for a coward and most abandoned man, and bidding
Dodsley tell the latter that he had a cousin in the army who
would call Sir Charles to account for any reflections on him,
Brown. Stay; this Christian message from a divine, who by the
way has a chapter in his book against duelling, is not all:
Dodsley refused to carry any such message, unless in writing.
The Doctor, enough in his senses to know the consequences of
this, refused; and at last a short verbal message, more
decently worded, was agreed on. To this Sir Charles made
Dodsley write down this answer: "that he could not but be
surprised at Brown's message, after that he Sir Charles, had,
at Ranby's desire, sent Brown a written assurance that he
intended to say nothing personal of him--nay, nor should yet,
unless Brown's impertinence made it necessary." This proper
reply Dodsley sent: Brown wrote back, that he should send an
answer to Sir Charles himself; but bid Dodsley take notice,
that printing the works of a supposed lunatic might be imputed
to the printer himself, and which he, the said Doctor, should
chastise. Dodsley, after notifying this new and unprovoked
insolence to me, Fox, and Garrick, the one friend of Sir
Charles, the other of Brown, returned a very proper, decent,
yet firm answer, with assurances of repaying chastisement of
any sort. Is it credible? this audacious man sent only a card
back, saying, "Footman's language I never return, J. Brown."
You know how decent, humble, inoffensive a creature Dodsley is;
how little apt to forget or disguise his having been a footman!
but there is no exaggerating this behaviour by reflections. On
the same card he tells Dodsley that he cannot now accept, but
returns his present of the two last volumes of his collection
of poems, and assures him that they are not soiled by the
reading. But the best picture of him is his own second volume,
which beats all the Scaligers and Scioppins's for vanity and
insolent impertinence. What is delightful; in the first volume
he had deified Warburton, but the success of that trumpery has
made Warburton jealous, and occasioned a coolness--but enough
of this jackanapes.
Your brother has been here, and as he is to go to-morrow, and
the pedigree is not quite finished, and as you will be
impatient, and as it is impossible for us to transcribe Welsh
which we cannot read without your assistance, who don't
understand it neither, we have determined that the Colonel
should carry the pedigree to you; you will examine it and bring
it with you to Strawberry, where it can be finished under your
own eye, better than it is possible to do without. Adieu! I
have not writ so long a letter this age.
(887) Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough.
(888) Estimate of the Manners of the Times. See ant`e, p. 232,
422 Letter 261
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, May 31, 1758.
This is rather a letter of thanks than of course, though I have
received, I verily believe, three from you since my last.
Well, then, this is to thank you for them too--chiefly for that
of to-day, with the account of the medals you have purchased
for me from Stosch, and those your own munificence bestows on
me. I am ashamed to receive the latter; I must positively know
what you paid for the former; and beg they may all be reserved
till a very safe opportunity. The price for the Ganymede is so
monstrous that I must not regret not having it--yet if ever he
should lower, I should still have a hankering, as it is one of
the finest medals I ever saw. Are any of the others in silver?
old Stosch had them so. When any of the other things I
mentioned descend to more mortal rates, I would be sorry to
Should not you, if you had not so much experienced the
contrary, imagine that services begot gratitude? You know they
don't--Shall I tell you what they do beget?--at best,
expectations of more services. This is my very case now--you
have just been delivered of one trouble for me--I am going to
get you with twins--two more troubles. In the first place, I
shall beg you to send me a case of liqueurs; in the next all
the medals in copper of my poor departed friend the Pope, for
whom I am as much concerned as his subjects have reason to be.
I don't know whether I don't want samples of his coins, and the
little pieces struck during the sede vacante. I know what I
shall want, any authentic anecdotes of the conclave. There!
are there commissions enough? I did receive the Pope's letter
on my inscription, and the translation of the epitaph on
Theodore, and liked both much, and thought I had thanked you
for them--but I perceive I am not half so grateful as
Here is the state of our news and politics. We thought our
foreign King(889) on the road to Vienna: he is now said to be
prevented by Daun, and to be reduced to besiege Olmutz, which
has received considerable supplies. Accounts make Louisbourgh
reduced to wait for being taken by us as the easiest way of
avoiding being starved.--In short, we are to be those unnatural
fowl, ravens that carry bread. But our biggest of all
expectations is from our own invasion of France, which took
post last Sunday; fourteen thousand landmen, eighteen ships of
the line, frigates, sloops, bombs, and four volunteers, Lord
Downe, Sir James Lowther, Sir John Armitage, and Mr. Delaval--
the latter so ridiculous a character, that it has put a stop to
the mode that was spreading. All this commanded by Lord Anson,
who has beat the French; by the Duke of Marlborough, whose name
has beaten them; and by Lord George Sackville, who is to beat
them. Every port and town on the coast of Flanders and France
have been guessed for the object. It is a vast armament,
whether it succeeds or is lost.
At home there are seeds of quarrels. Pratt the
attorney-general has fallen on a necessary extension of the
Habeas Corpus to private cases. The interpreting world
ascribes his motive to a want of affection for my Lord
Mansfield, who unexpectedly is supported by the late
Chancellor, the Duke of Newcastle, and that part of the
ministry; and very expectedly by Mr. Fox, as this is likely to
make a breach between the united powers. The bill passed
almost unanimously through our House. It will have a very
different fate in the other, where Lord Temple is almost single
in its defence, and where Mr. Pitt seems to have little
influence. If this should produce a new revolution, you will
not be surprised. I don't know that it will; but it has
already shown how little cordiality subsists since the last.
I had given a letter for you to a young gentleman of Norfolk,
an only son, a friend of Lord Orford, and of much merit, who
was going to Italy with Admiral Broderick. He is lost in that
dreadful catastrophe of the Prince George--it makes one regret
him still more, as the survivors mention his last behaviour
with great encomiums.
Adieu! my dear child! -when I look back on my letter, I don't
know whether there would not be more propriety in calling you
P. S. I cannot yet learn who goes to Turin: it was offered upon
his old request, to my Lord Orford but he has declined it.
(889) The King of Prussia.
423 Letter 262
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, June 4, 1758.
The Habeas Corpus is finished, but only for this year. Lord
Temple threatened to renew it the next; on which Lord Hardwicke
took the party of proposing to order the judges to prepare a
bill for extending the power of granting the writ in vacation
to all the judges. This prevented a division; though Lord
Temple, who protested alone t'other day, had a flaming protest
ready, which was to have been signed by near thirty. They sat
last night till past nine. Lord Mansfield spoke admirably for
two hours and twenty-five minutes. Except Lord Ravensworth and
the Duke of Newcastle, whose meaning the first never knows
himself, and the latter's nobody else, all who spoke spoke
well: they were Lord Temple, Lord Talbot, Lord Bruce, and Lord
Stanhope, for; Lord Morten, Lord Hardwicke, and Lord Mansfield,
against the bill.(890) T'other day in our House, we had Lady
Ferrars' affair: her sister was heard, and Lord Westmoreland,
who had a seat within the bar. Mr. Fox opposed the settlement;
but it passed.
The Duke of Grafton has resigned. Norborne Berkeley has
converted a party of pleasure into a campaign, and is gone with
the expedition,(891) without a shirt but what he had on, and
what is lent him. The night he sailed he had invited women to
supper. Besides him, and those you know, is a Mr. Sylvester
Smith. Every body was asking, "But who is Sylvester Smith?"
Harry Townshend replied, "Why, he is the son of Delaval, who
was the son of Lowther, who was the son of Armitage, who was
the son of Downe."(892)
The fleet sailed on Thursday morning. I don't know why, but
the persuasion is that they will land on this side Ushant, and
that we shall hear some events by Tuesday or Wednesday. Some
believe that Lord Anson and Howe have different destinations.
Rochfort, where there are twenty thousand men, is said
positively not to be the place. the King says there are eighty
thousand men and three marshals in Normandy and Bretagne.
George Selwyn asked General Campbell, if the ministry had yet
told the King the object?
Mademoiselle de l'Enclos is arrived,(893) to my supreme
felicity. I cannot say very handsome or agreeable: but I had
been prepared on the article of her charms. I don't say, like
Henry VIII. of Anne of Cleves, that she is a Flanders mare,
though to be sure she Is rather large: on the contrary, I bear
it as well as ever prince did who was married by proxy-and she
does not find me fricass`e dans de la neige."(894) Adieu!
P. S. I forgot to tell you of another galanterie I have had, -a
portrait of Queen Elizabeth left here while I was out of town.
The servant said it was a present, but he had orders not to say
(890) Lord Bute thus bewails the fate of the bill, in a letter
to Mr. Pitt of the same day: "What a terrible proof was Friday,
in the House of Lords, of the total loss of public spirit, and
the most supreme indifference to those valuable rights, for the
obtaining which our ancestors freely risked both life and
fortune! These are dreadful clouds that hang over the future
accession, and damp the hopes I should otherwise entertain of
that important day." Chatham Correspondence, vol. i. p. 317.-E.
(891) The expedition against St. Maloes.
(892) All these gentlemen had been volunteers on successive
expeditions to the coast of France.
(893) The portrait of ninon de l'Enclos.
(894) Madame de S`evign`e, in her letters to her daughter,
reports that Ninon thus expressed herself relative to her son,
Back to Full Books