The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2
Part 15 out of 16
require new submissions, new supplications from the person he
has injured? If he thinks you proper to command, as one must
suppose by this information, is it patriotism that forbids him
to employ an able officer, unless that officer sues to be
employed? Does patriotism bid him send out a man that has had
a stroke of a palsy, preferable to a young man of vigour and
capacity, only because the latter has made' no Application
within these two months!--But as easily as I am inclined to
believe that your merit makes its way even through the cloud of
Mr. Pitt's proud prejudices, yet I own in the present case I
question it. I can see two reasons why he should wish to
entice you to this application: the first is, the clamour
against his giving all commands to young or improper officers
is extreme; Holmes, appointed admiral of the blue but six weeks
ago, has writ a warm letter on the chapter of subaltern
commanders: the second, and possibly connected in his mind with
the former, may be this; he would like to refuse you, and then
say, you had asked when it was too late; and at the same time
would have to say that he would have employed you if you had
asked sooner. This leads me to the point of time: Hobson is
not Only appointed,(971) but Haldane, though going governor to
Jamaica, is made a brigadier and joined to him,--Colonel
Barrington set out to Portsmouth last night. All these
reasons, I think, make it very improper for you to ask this
command now. You have done more than enough to satisfy your
honour, and will certainly have opportunities again of
repeating offers of your service. But though it may be right
to ask in general to serve, I question much if it is advisable
to petition for particulars, any failure in which would be
charged entirely on you. I should wish to have you vindicated
by the rashness of Mr. Pitt and the miscarriages of others, as
I think they hurry to -make you be; but while he bestows only
impracticable commands, knowing that, if there is blood enough
shed, the city of London will be content even with
disappointments, I hope you will not be sacrificed either to
the mob or the minister. And this leads me to the article of
the expedition itself. Martinico is the general notion; a
place the strongest in the world, with a garrison of ten
thousand men. Others now talk of Guadaloupe, almost as strong
and of much less consequence. Of both, every body that knows,
despairs. It is almost impossible for me to find out the real
destination.' I avoid every one of the three factions--and
though I might possibly learn the secret from the chief of one
of them, if he knows it, yet I own I do not care to try; I
don't think it fair to thrust myself into secrets with a man
(972) of whose ambition and views I do not think well, and
whose purposes (in those lights) I have declined and will
decline to serve. Besides, I have reason just now to think
that he and his court are meditating some attempt which may
throw us again into confusion; and I had rather not be told
what I am sure I shall not approve: besides, I cannot ask
secrets of this nature without hearing more with which I would
not be trusted, and which, if divulged, would be imputed to me.
I know you will excuse me for these reasons, especially as you
know how much I would do to serve you, and would even in this
case, if I was not convinced that it is too late for you to
apply; and being too late, they would be glad to say you had
asked too late. Besides if any information could be got from
the channel at which I have hinted, the Duke of Richmond could
get it better than I; and the Duke of Devonshire could give it
I can have no opinion of the expedition itself, which certainly
started from the disappointment at St. Cas, if it can be called
a disappointment where there was no object. I have still more
doubts on Lord Milton's authority; Clarke(973) was talked to by
the Princess yesterday much more than any body in the room.
Cunningham is made quartermaster-general to this equipment;
these things don't look as if your interest was increased. As
Lord George has sent over his commands for Cunningham, might
not his art at the same time have suggested some application to
you--tell me, do you think he would ask this command for
himself I, who am not of so honest and sincere a nature as you
are, suspect that this hint is sent to you with some bad view-I
don't mean on Lord Milton's part, who I dare say is deceived by
his readiness to serve you; and since you do me the honour of
letting me at all judge for you, which in one light I think I
am fit to do, I mean, as your spirit naturally makes you
overlook every thing to get employed, I would wish you to
answer to Lord Milton,,"that you should desire of all things to
have had this command, but that having been discouraged from
asking what you could not flatter yourself would be granted, it
would look, you think, a vain offer, to sue for what is now
given away, and would not be consistent with your honour to ask
when it is too late." I hint this, as such an answer would
turn their arts on themselves, if, as I believe, they mean to
refuse you, and to reproach you with asking too late.
If the time is come for Mr. Pitt to want you, you will not long
be unemployed; if it is not, then you would get nothing by
asking. Consider, too, how much more graceful a reparation of
your honour it will be, to have them forced to recall you, than
to force yourself on desperate service, as if you yourself, not
they, had injured your reputation.
I can say nothing now on any other chapter, this has so much
engrossed all my thoughts. I see no one reason upon earth for
your asking now. If you ever should ask again, you will not
want opportunities; and the next time you ask, will have just
the same merit that this could have, and by asking in time,
would be liable to none of the objections of that sort which I
have mentioned! Adieu! Timeo Lord George et dona.
(970) Now first printed.
(971) To the command of an expedition against Martinique.-E.
(972) Mr. Fox.
(973) Lord Bute says, in a letter to Mr. Pitt, of the 8th of
September, "With regard to Clarke, I know him well: he must be
joined to a general in whom he has confidence, or not thought
of. Never was man so cut out for bold and hardy enterprises;
but the person who commands him must think in the same way of
him, or the affair of Rochfort will return." Chatham
Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 350.-E.
459 Letter 290
To The Rev. Henry Zouch.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 21st, 1758.
Every letter I receive from you is a new obligation, bringing
me new information; but, sure, my Catalogue was not worthy of
giving you so much trouble. Lord Fortescue is quite new to me:
I have sent him to the press. Lord Dorset's poem it will be
unnecessary to mention separately, as I have already said that
his works are to be found among those of the minor poets.
I don't wonder, Sir, that you prefer Lord Clarendon to
Polybius; nor can two authors well be more unlike: the
former(974) wrote a general history in a most obscure and
almost unintelligible style; the latter-, a portion of private
history, in the noblest style in the world. Whoever made the
comparison, I will do them the justice to believe that they
understood bad Greek better than their own language in its
For Dr. Jortin's Erasmus, which I have very nearly finished, it
has given me a good opinion of the author, and he has given me
a very bad one of his subject. By the Doctor's labour and
impartiality, Erasmus appears a begging parasite, who had parts
enough to discover truth, and not courage enough to profess it:
whose vanity made him always writing; yet Ills writings ought
to have cured his vanity, as they were the most abject things
in the world. Good Erasmus's honest mean was alternate
time-serving. I never had thought much about him, and now
heartily despise him.
When I speak my opinion to you, Sir, about what I dare say you
care as little for as I do, (for what is the merit of a mere
man of letters?) it is but fit I should answer you as sincerely
on a question about which you are so good as to interest
yourself. that my father's life is likely to be written, I
have no grounds for believing. I mean I know nobody that
thinks of it. For myself, I certainly shall not, for many
reasons, which you must have the patience to hear. A reason to
me myself is, that I think too highly of him, and too meanly of
myself, to presume I am equal to the task. They who do not
agree with me in the former part of my position, will
undoubtedly allow the latter part. In the next place, the very
truths that I should relate would be so much imputed to
partiality, that he would lose of his due praise by the
suspicion of my prejudice. In the next place, I was born too
late in his life to be acquainted with him in the active part
of it. Then I was at school, at the university, abroad, and
returned not till the last moments of his administration. What
I know of him I could only learn from his own mouth in the last
three years of his life; when, to my shame, I was so idle, and
young, and thoughtless, that I by no means profited of his
leisure as I might have done; and, indeed, I have too much
impartiality in my nature to care, if I could, to give the
world a history, collected solely from the person himself of
whom I should write. With the utmost veneration for his truth,
I can easily conceive, that a man who had lived a life of
party, and who had undergone such persecution from party,
should have had greater bias than he himself could be sensible
of. The last, and that a reason which must be admitted, if all
the others are not--his papers are lost. Between the confusion
of his affairs, and the indifference of my elder brother to
things of that sort, they were either lost, burnt, or what we
rather think, were stolen by a favourite servant of my brother,
who proved a great rogue, and was dismissed in my brother's
life; and the papers were not discovered to be missing till
after my brother's death. Thus, Sir, I should want vouchers
for many things I could say of much importance. I have another
personal reason that discourages me from attempting this task,
or any other, besides the great reluctance that I have to being
a voluminous author. Though I am by no means the learned man
you are so good as to call me in compliment; though, on the
contrary, nothing can be more superficial than my knowledge, or
more trifling than my reading,--yet, I have so much strained my
eyes, that it is often painful to me to read even a newspaper
by daylight. In short, Sir, having led a very dissipated life,
in all the hurry of the world of pleasures scarce ever read,
but by candlelight, after I have come home late at nights. As
my eyes have never had the least inflammation or humour, I am
assured I may still recover them by care and repose. I own I
prefer my eyes to any thing I could ever read, much more to any
thing I could write. However, after all I have said, perhaps I
may now and then, by degrees, throw together some short
anecdotes of my father's private life and particular story, and
leave his public history to more proper and more able hands, if
such will undertake it. Before I finish on this chapter, I can
assure you he did forgive my Lord Bolingbroke(975)--his nature
was forgiving: after all was over, and he had nothing to fear
or disguise, I can say with truth, that there were not three
men of whom he ever dropped a word with rancour. What I meant
of the clergy not forgiving Lord Bolingbroke, alluded not to
his doctrines, but to the direct attack and war he made on the
whole body. And now, Sir, I will confess my own weakness to
you. I do not think so highly of that writer, as I seem to do
in my book; but I thought it would be imputed to prejudice in
me, if I appeared to undervalue an author of whom so many
persons of sense still think highly. My being Sir Robert
Walpole's son warped me to praise, instead of censuring, Lord
Bolingbroke. With regard to the Duke of Leeds, I think you
have misconstrued the decency of my expression. I said, Burnet
had treated him severely; that is, I chose that Burnet should
say so, rather than myself. I have never praised where my
heart condemned. Little attentions, perhaps, to worthy
descendants, were excusable in a work of so extensive a nature,
and that approached so near to these times. I may, perhaps,
have an opportunity at one day or other of showing you some
passages suppressed on these motives, which yet I do not intend
Crew, Bishop of Durham, was is abject a tool as possible. I
would be very certain he is an author before I should think him
worth mentioning. If ever you should touch on Lord
Willoughby's sermon, I should be obliged for a hint of it. I
actually have a printed copy of verses by his son, on the
marriage of the Princess Royal; but they are so ridiculously
unlike measure, and the man was so mad and so poor,(976) that I
determined not to mention them.
If these details, Sir, which I should have thought interesting
to no mortal but myself', should happen to amuse you, I shall
be glad; if they do not, you will learn not to question a man
who thinks it his duty to satisfy the curiosity of men of sense
and honour, and who, being of too little consequence to have
secrets, is not ambitious of the less consequence of appearing
to have any.
P. S. I must ask you one question, but to be answered entirely
at your leisure. I have a play in rhyme called Saul, said to
be written by a peer. I guess Lord Orrery. If ever you happen
to find out, be so good to tell me.
(974) It is evident that Mr. Walpole has here transposed,
contrary to his meanings the references to lord Clarendon and
Polybius: the latter wrote the general history, the former the
portion of history.-C.
(975) This alludes to an epigrammatic passage in the article
"Bolingbroke" in the Noble Authors. "He wrote against Sir
Robert Walpole, who did forgive him; and against the clergy,
who never will forgive him."@.
(976) this seems a singular reason for excluding him from a
list of authors@-C.
462 Letter 291
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Oct. 24, 1758.
I am a little sorry that my preface, like the show-cloth to a
sight, entertained you more than the bears it invited you in to
see. I don't mean that I am not glad to have written any thing
that meets your approbation, but if Lord Whitworth's work is
not better than my preface, I fear he has much less merit than
I thought he had.
Your complaint of your eyes makes me feel for you: mine have
been very weak again, and I am taking the bark, which did them
so much service last year. I don't know how to give up the
employment of them, I mean reading; for as to writing, I am
absolutely winding up my bottom, for twenty reasons. The
first, and perhaps the best, I have writ enough. The next; by
what I have writ, the world thinks I am not a fool, which was
just what I wished them to think, having always lived in terror
of that oracular saying Ermu naidex luchoi, which Mr. Bentley
translated with so much more parts than the vain and malicious
hero could have done that set him the task, --I mean his
father, the sons of heroes are loobies. My last reason is, I
find my little stock of reputation very troublesome, both to
maintain and to undergo the consequences--it has dipped me in
erudite correspondences--I receive letters every week that
compliment my learning; now, as there is nothing I hold so
cheap as a learned man, except an unlearned one, this title Is
insupportable to me; if' I have not a care, I shall be called
learned, till somebody abuses me for not being learned, as
they, not I, fancied I was. In short, I propose to have
nothing more to do with the world, but divert myself in it as
an obscure passenger--pleasure, virt`u, politics, and
literature, I have tried them all, and have had enough of them.
Content and tranquillity, with now and then a little of three
of them, that I may not grow morose, shall satisfy the rest of
a life that is to have much idleness, and I hope a little
goodness; for politics--a long adieu! With some of the Cardinal
de Retz's experience, though with none of his genius, I see the
folly of taking a violent part without any view, (I don't mean
to commend a violent part with a view, that is still worse;) I
leave the state to be scrambled for by Mazarine, at once
cowardly and enterprising, ostentatious, jealous, and false; by
Louvois, rash and dark; by Colbert, the affecter of national
interest, with designs not much better; and I leave the Abb`e
de la Rigbi`ere to sell the weak Duke of Orleans to whoever has
money to buy him, or would buy him to get money; at least these
are my present reflections--if I should change them to-morrow,
remember I am not only a human creature, but that I am I, that
is, one of the weakest of human creatures, and so sensible of
my fickleness that I am sometimes inclined to keep a diary of
my mind, as people do of the weather. To-day you see it
temperate, to-morrow it may again blow politics and be stormy;
for while I have so much quicksilver left, I fear my
passionometer will be susceptible of sudden changes. What do
years give one? Experience; experience, what? Reflections;
reflections, what? nothing that I ever could find--nor can I
well agree with Waller, that
"The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Lets in new light through chinks that time has made."
Chinks I am afraid there are, but instead of new light, I find
nothing but darkness visible, that serves only to discover
sights of Wo. I look back through my chinks--I find errors,
follies, faults; forward, old age and death, pleasures fleeting
from me, no virtues succeeding to their place--il faut avouer,
I want all my quicksilver to make such a background receive any
I am glad Mr. Frederick Montagu thinks so well of me as to be
sure I shall be glad to see him without an invitation. For
you, I had already perceived that you would not come to
Strawberry this year. Adieu!
463 Letter 292
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 24, 1758.
It is a very melancholy present I send you here, my dear Sir;
yet, considering the misfortune that has befallen us, perhaps
the most agreeable I could send you. You will not think it the
bitterest tear you have shed when you drop one over this plan
of an urn inscribed with the name of your dear brother, and
with the testimonial of my eternal affection to him! This
little monument is at last placed over the pew of your family
at Linton, and I doubt whether any tomb was ever erected that
spoke so much truth of the departed, and flowed from so much
sincere friendship in the living. The thought was my own,
adopted from the antique columbaria, and applied to Gothic.
The execution of the design was Mr. Bentley's, who alone, of
all mankind, could unite the grace of Grecian architecture and
the irregular lightness and solemnity of Gothic. Kent and many
of our builders sought this, but have never found it. Mr.
Chute, who has as much taste @s Mr. Bentley, thinks this little
sketch a perfect model. The soffite is more beautiful than any
thing of either style separate. There is a little error in the
inscription; it should be Horatius Walpole posuit. The urn is
of marble, richly polished; the rest of stone. On the whole, I
think there is simplicity and decency, with a degree of
ornament that destroys neither.
What do you say in Italy on the assassination of the King of
Portugal? Do you believe that Portuguese subjects lift their
hand against a monarch for gallantry? Do you believe that when
a slave murders an absolute prince, he goes a walking with his
wife the next morning and murders her too'! Do you believe the
dead King is alive? and that the Jesuits are as wrongfully
suspected of this assassination as they have been of many
others they have committed? If you do believe this, and all
this, you are not very near turning Protestants. It is scarce
talked of here, and to save trouble, we admit just what the
Portuguese minister is ordered to publish. The King of
Portugal murdered, throws us two hundred years back--the King
of Prussia not murdered, carries us two hundred years forward
Another King, I know, has had a little blow: the Prince de
Soubise has beat some Isenbourgs and Obergs, and is going to be
Elector of Hanover this winter. There has been a great
sickness among our troops in the other German army; the Duke of
Marlborough has been in great danger, and some officers are
dead. Lord Frederick Cavendish is returned from France. He
confirms and adds to the amiable accounts we had received of
the Duc d'Aiguillon's behaviour to our prisoners. You
yourself, the pattern of attentions and tenderness, could not
refine on what he has done both in good-nature and
good-breeding: he even forbad any ringing of bells or
rejoicings wherever they passed--but how your representative
blood will curdle when you hear of the absurdity of one of your
countrymen: the night after the massacre at St. Cas, the Duc
d'Aiguillon gave a magnificent supper of eighty covers to our
prisoners--a Colonel Lambert got up at the bottom of the table,
and asking for a bumper, called out to the Duc, "My Lord Duke,
here's the Roy de France!" You must put all the English you
can crowd into the accent. My Lord Duke was so confounded at
this preposterous compliment, which it was impossible for him
to return, that he absolutely sank back into his chair and
could not utter a syllable: our own people did not scorn to
You will read and hear that we have another expedition sailing,
somewhither in the West Indies. Hobson, the commander, has in
his whole life had but one stroke of a palsy, so possibly may
retain half of his understanding at least. There is great
tranquillity at home, but I should think not promising
duration. The disgust in the army on the late frantic measures
will furnish some warmth probably to Parliament--and if the
French should think of returning our visits, should you wonder?
There are even rumours of some stirring among your little
neighbours at Albano--keep your eye on them--if you could
discover any thing in time, it would do you great credit.
Apropos to them,, I will send you an epigram that I made the
other day on Mr. Chute's asking why Taylor the oculist called
Why Taylor the quack calls himself Chevalier,
'Tis not easy a reason to render;
Unless he would own, what his practice makes clear,
That at best he is but a Pretender.
465 Letter 293
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Nov. 26, 1758.
How can you make me formal excuses for sending me a few covers
to frank? Have you so little right to any act of friendship
from me, that you should apologize for making me do what is
scarce any act at all? However, your man has not called for
the covers, although they have been ready this fortnight.
I shall be very glad to see your brother in town, but I cannot
quite take him in full of payment. I trust you will stay the
longer for coming the later. There is not a syllable of news.
The Parliament is met, but empty and totally oppositionless.
Your great Cu moved in the lords, but did not shine much. The
great Cu of all Cues is out of order, not in danger, but
My eyes are performing such a strict quarantine, that you must
excuse my brevity. Adieu.
465 Letter 294
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 27, 1758.
it seems strange that at this time of the year, with armies
still in the field and Parliaments in town, I should have had
nothing to tell you for above a month--yet so it was. The King
caught cold on coming to town, and was very ill,(977) but the
gout, which had never been at court above twice in his reign,
came, seized his foot a little, and has promised him at least
five or six years more--that is, if he will take care of
himself; but yesterday, the coldest day we have felt, he would
go into the drawing-room, as if he was fond of showing the new
stick @e is forced to walk with.
The Parliament is all harmony, and thinks of nothing but giving
away twelve more millions. Mr. Pitt made the most artful
speech he ever made: provoked, called for, defied objections;
promised enormous expense, demanded never to be judged by
events. Universal silence left him arbiter of his own terms.
In short, at present he is absolute master, and if he can coin
twenty millions may command them. He does every thing, the
Duke of Newcastle gives every thing. As long as they can agree
in this partition, they may do what they will.
We have been in great anxiety for twenty-four hours to learn
the fate of Dresden, and of the King of resources, as Mr.
Beckford called the King of Prussia the other day. We heard
that while he was galloped to raise the siege of Neiss, Marshal
Daun was advanced to Dresden; that Schmettau had sent to know
if he meant to attack it, having orders to burn the Fauxbourgs
and defend it street by street; that Daun not deigning a reply,
the Conflagration had been put in execution; that the King was
posting back, and Dohna advancing to join him. We expect to
hear either of the demolition of the city, or of a bloody
decision fought under the walls--an account is just arrived
that Daun(978) is retired, thus probably the campaign is
finished, and another year of massacre to come. One could not
but be anxious at such a crisis-one felt for Dresden, and
pitied the Prince Royal shut up in his own capital, a mere
spectator of its destruction; one trembled for the decisive
moment of the life of such a man as the King of Prussia. It is
put off--yet perhaps he will scarce recover so favourable a
moment. He had assembled his whole force, except a few
thousands left to check the Swedes. Next year this force must
be again parcelled out against Austrians, Russians, Swedes, and
possibly French. He must be more than a King Of resources if
he can for ever weather such tempests!
Knyphausen(979) diverted me yesterday with some anecdotes of
the Empress's college of chastity-not the Russian Empress's.
The King of Prussia asked some of his Austrian prisoners
whether their mistress consulted her college of chastity on the
letters she wrote (and he intercepted) to Madame Pompadour.
You have heard some time ago of the death of the Duke of
Marlborough.(980) The estate is forty-five thousand pounds
a-year--nine of which are jointured out. He paid but eighteen
thousand pounds a-year in joint lives. This Duke and the
estate save greatly by his death, as the present wants a year
of being of age, and would certainly have accommodated his
father in agreeing to sell and pay. Lord Edgcumbe(981) is dead
too, one of the honestest and most steady men in the world.
I was much diverted with your histories of our Princess(982)
and Madame de Woronzow. Such dignity as Madame de Craon's
wants a little absolute power to support it! Adieu! my dear
(977) Lord Chesterfield, writing on the 21st to his son, says,
"The King has been ill; but his illness has terminated in a
good fit of the gout. It was generally thought he would have
died, and for a very good reason; for the oldest lion in the
Tower, much about the King's age, died about a fortnight ago.
This extravagancy, I can assure you, was believed by many above
people. So wild and capricious is the human mind!"-E.
(978) "The King of Prussia has just compelled Daun to raise the
siege of Dresden, in spite of his (the King's) late most
disastrous defeat by the same general at Bochkirchen, which had
taken place on the 14th of October, 1758.-D.
(979) The Prussian minister.
(980) Charles Spencer, second Duke of Marlborough. He died, on
the 28th of October at Munster, in Westphalia.-E.
(981) Richard, first Lord Edgcumbe; an intimate friend of Sir
(982) The Princess Craon.
467 Letter 295
To The Rev. Henry Zouch.
Arlington Street, Dec. 9, 1758.
I have desired Mr. Whiston to convey to you the second edition
of my Catalogue, not so complete as it might have been, if
great part had not been printed before I received your remarks,
but yet more correct than the first sketch with which I
troubled you. Indeed, a thing of this slight and idle nature
does not deserve to have much more pains employed upon it.
I am just undertaking an edition of Lucan, my friend Mr.
Bentley having in his possession his father's notes and
emendations on the first seven books. Perhaps a partiality for
the original author concurs a little. with this circumstance of
the notes, to make me fond of printing, at Strawberry Hill, the
works of a man who, alone of all the classics, was thought to
breathe too brave and honest a spirit for the perusal of the
Dauphin and the French. I don't think that a good or bad taste
in poetry is of so serious a nature, that I should be afraid of
owning too, that, with that great judge Corneille, and with
that, perhaps, no judge Heinsius, I prefer Lucan to Virgil. To
speak fairly, I prefer great sense to poetry with little sense.
There are hemistics in Lucan that go to one's soul and one's
heart;--for a mere epic poem, a fabulous tissue of
uninteresting battles that don't teach one even to fight, I
know nothing more tedious. The poetic images, the
versification and language of the Aeneid are delightful; but
take the story by itself, and can any thing be more silly and
unaffeCting? There are a few gods without power, heroes
without character, heaven-directed wars without justice,
inventions without probability, and a hero who betrays one
woman with a kingdom that he might have had, to force himself
upon another woman and another kingdom to which he had no
pretensions, and all this to show his obedience to the gods! In
short, I have always admired his numbers so much, and his
meaning so little, that I think I should like Virgil better if
I understood him less.
Have you seen, Sir, a book which has made some noise--Helvetius
de l'Esprit? The author is so good and moral a man, that I
grieve he should have published a system of as relaxed morality
as can well be imagined.-. 'tis a large quarto, and in general
a very superficial one. His philosophy may be new in France,
but is greatly exhausted here. He tries to imitate
Montesquieu, and has heaped commonplaces upon commonplaces,
which supply or overwhelm his reasoning; yet he has often wit,
happy allusion;, and sometimes writes finely: there is merit
enough to give an obscure man fame; flimsiness enough to
depreciate a great man. After his book was licensed, they
forced him to retract it by a most abject recantation. Then
why print this book? If zeal for his system pushed him to
propagate it, did not he consider that a recantation would hurt
his cause more than his arguments could support it.
We are promised Lord Clarendon in February from Oxford, though
I hear shall have the surreptitious edition from Holland much
You see, Sir, I am a sceptic as well as Helvetius, but of a
more moderate complexion. There is no harm in telling mankind
that there is not so much divinity in the Aeneid as they
imagine; but, (Even if I thought so,) I would not preach that
virtue and friendship are mere names, and resolvable into
self-interest; because there are numbers that would remember
the grounds of the principle, and forget what was to be
engrafted on it. Adieu!
468 Letter 296
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Christmas-day, 1758.
Adieu! my dear Sir--that is, adieu to our correspondence, for I
am neither dying nor quarrelling with you; but as we, Great-
Britons, are quarrelling with all Europe, I think very soon I
shall not be able to convey a letter to you, but by the way of
Africa, and am afraid the post-offices are not very well
regulated. In short, we are on the brink of a Dutch war too.
Their merchants are so enraged that we will not only not suffer
them to enrich themselves by carrying all the French trade, and
all kinds of military stores to the French settlements, but
that they lose their own ships into the bargain, that they are
ready to despatch the Princess Royal(983) into the other world
even before her time; if her death arrives soon, and she is
thought in great danger, it will be difficult for any body else
to keep the peace. Spain and Denmark are in little better
humour--well, if We have not as many lives as a cat or the King
of Prussia! However, our spirits do not droop; we are raising
thirteen millions, we look upon France as totally undone, and
that they have not above five loaves and a few small fishes
left; we intend to take all America from them next summer, and
then if Spain and Holland are not terrified, we shall be at
leisure to deal with them. Indeed, we are rather in a hurry to
do all this, because people may be weary of paying thirteen
millions; and besides it may grow decent for Mr. Pitt to visit
his gout, which this year he has been forced to send to the
Bath without him. I laugh, but seriously we are in a critical
situation; and it is as true, that if Mr. Pitt had not exerted
the spirit and activity that he has, we should ere now have
been past a critical situation. Such a war as ours carried on
by my Lord Hardwicke, with the dull dilatoriness of a Chancery
suit, would long ago have reduced us to what suits in Chancery
reduce most people! At present our unanimity is prodigious--
you Would as soon hear No from an old maid as from the House of
Commons--but I don't promise you that this tranquillity will
last.(984) One has known more ministries overturned of late
years by their own squabbles than by any assistance from
Sir George Lee, formerly an heir-apparent(985) to the ministry
is dead. it was almost sudden, but he died with great
composure. Lord Arran(986) went off with equal philosophy. Of
the great house of Ormond there now remains only his sister,
Lady Emily Butler, a young heiress of ninety-nine.
It is with great pleasure I tell you that Mr. Conway is going
to Sluys to settle a cartel with the French. The commission
itself is honourable, but more pleasing as it re-establishes
him--I should say his merit re-establishes him. All the world
now acknowledges it--and the insufficiency of his
brother-generals makes it vain to oppress him any longer.
I am happy that you are pleased with the monument, and vain
that you like the Catalogue(987)--if it would not look too
vain, I would tell you that it was absolutely undertaken and
finished within five months. Indeed, the faults in the first
edition and the deficiencies show it was; I have just printed
another more correct.
Of the Pretender's family one never hears a word: unless our
Protestant brethren the Dutch meddle in their affairs, they
will be totally forgotten; we have too numerous a breed of our
own, to want Princes from Italy. The old Chevalier by your
account is likely to precede his rival, who with care may still
last a few years, though I think will scarce appear again out
of his own house.
I want to ask you if it is possible to get the royal edition of
the Antiquities of Herculaneum?(988) and I do not indeed want
you to get it for me unless I am to pay for it. Prince San
Severino has told the foreign ministers here that there are to
be twelve hundred volumes, of it--and they believe it. I
imagine the fact is, that there are but twelve hundred copies
printed. Could Cardinal Albani get it for me? I would send
him my Strawberry-editions, and the Birmingham-editions(988) in
exchange--things here much in fashion.
The night before I came from town, we heard of the fall of the
Cardinal de Bernis,(989) but not the cause of it(990)--if we
have a Dutch war, how many cardinals will fall in France and in
England, before you hear of these or I of the former! I have
always written to you with the greatest freedom, because I care
more that you should be informed of the state of your own
country, than what secretaries of state or their clerks think
of me,--but one must be more circumspect if the Dey of Algiers
is to open one's letters. Adieu!
(983) The Princess Dowager of Orange, eldest daughter of George
(984) Lord Chesterfield, in a letter of the 15th, says, "The
estimates for the expenses of the year 1759 are made up. I
have seen them; and what do you think they amount to? No less
than twelve millions three hundred thousand pounds: a most
incredible sum, and its yet already all subscribed, and even
more offered! The unanimity in the House of Commons in voting
such a sum, and such forces, both by sea and land, is not less
astonishing. This is Mr. Pitt's doing, and it is marvellous in
(985) Frederick, Prince of Wales, had designed, if he outlived
the King, to make Sir George Lee chancellor of the exchequer.
(986) He was Charles Butler, the second and last surviving son
of Thomas, Earl of Ossory, eldest son of the first Duke of
Ormond. He had been created, in 1693, Baron Clogligrenan,
Viscount Tullough, and Earl of Arran, in Ireland; and at the
same time Baron Butler of Weston, in the Peerage of England.
Dying without issue his titles became extinct.-D.
(987) The Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors.
(988) Editions printed with the Baskerville types.-D.
(989) The Cardinal de Bernis was a frivolous and incapable
minister, who was equally raised and overthrown by the
influence of the King of France's mistress, Madame de
(990) "Cardinal Bernis's disgrace," says Lord Chesterfield, "is
as sudden, and hitherto as little understood, as his elevation
was. I have seen his poems printed at Paris, not by a friend,
I dare say; and, to judge by them, I humbly conceive his
excellency is a puppy. I will say nothing of that excellent
headpiece that made him and unmade him in the same month,
except O King, live for ever!"-E.
470 Letter 297
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 26th, 1758.
it is so little extraordinary to find you doing what is
friendly and obliging, that one don't take half notice enough
of it. Can't you let Mr. Conway go to Sluys without taking
notice of it? How would you be hurt, if he continued to be
oppressed? what is it to you whether I am glad or sorry? Can't
you enjoy yourself whether I am happy or not'--'@ I suppose If
I were to have a misfortune, you would immediately be concerned
at it! How troublesome it is to have you sincere and
good-natured! Do be a little more like the rest of the world.
I have been at Strawberry these three days, and don't know a
tittle. The last thing I heard before I went was that Colonel
Yorke is to be married to one or both of the Miss Crasteyns,
nieces of the rich grocer that died three years ago. They have
two hundred and sixty thousand pounds apiece. A marchioness--
or a grocer---nothing comes amiss to the digestion of that
family.(991) If the rest of the trunk was filled with money, I
believe they would really marry Carafattatouadaht--what was the
lump of deformity called in the Persian Tales, that was sent to
the lady in a coffer? And as to marrying both the girls, it
would cost my Lord Hardwicke but a new marriage-bill: I suppose
it is all one to his conscience whether he prohibits matrimony
or licenses bigamy. Poor Sir Charles Williams is relapsed, and
As you come so late, I trust you will stay with us the longer.
(991) Colonel Yorke, afterwards Lord Dover, married in 1783 the
Dowager Baroness de Boetzalaer, widow of the first noble of the
province of Holland.-E.
471 Letter 298
To The Rev. Henry Zouch.
Strawberry Hill, Jan. 12, 1759.
I shall certainly be obliged to you for an account of that
piece of Lord Lonsdale:(992) besides my own curiosity in any
thing that relates to a work in which I have engaged so far, I
think it a duty to the public to perfect, as far as one can,
whatever one gives to it; and yet I do not think of another
edition; two thousand have peen printed, and though nine
hundred went off at once, it would be presumption in me to
expect that the rest will be sold in any short time. I only
mean to add occasionally to my private copy whatever more I can
collect and correct; and shall perhaps, but leave behind me
materials for a future edition, in which should be included
what I have hitherto omitted. Yet it is very vain in me to
expect that any body should care for such a trifle after the
novelty is worn off; I ought to be content with the favourable
reception I have found; so much beyond my first expectations,
that, except in two Magazines, not a word of censure has passed
on me in print. You may easily believe, Sir, that having
escaped a trial, I am not mortified by having dirt thrown at me
by children in the kennel. With regard to the story of Lord
Suffolk, I wish I had been lucky enough to have mentioned it to
you in time, it should not have appeared: yet it was told me by
Mr. Mallet, who did not seem to have any objection that I
should even mention his name as the very person to whom it
happened. I must suppose that Lord Suffolk acted that foolish
scene in imitation of Lord Rochester.(993)
I am happy, Sir, that I have both your approbation to my
opinion of Lucan, and to my edition of him; but I assure you
there will not be one word from me. I am sensible that it
demands great attention to write even one's own language well:
how can one pretend to purify a foreign language? to any merit
in a dead one? I would not alone undertake to correct the
press; but I am so lucky as to live in the strictest friendship
with Dr. Bentley's Only Son, Who, to all the ornament of
learning, has the amiable turn of mind, disposition, and easy
wit. Perhaps you have heard that his drawings and architecture
are admirable,--perhaps you have not: he is modest--he is poor-
-he is consequently little known, less valued.
I am entirely ignorant of Dr. Burton and his Monasticon,(994)
and after the little merit you tell me it has, I must explain
to you that I have a collection of books of that sort, before I
own that I wish to own it; at the same time, I must do so much
justice to myself as to protest that I don't know so
contemptible a class of writers as topographers, not from the
study itself, but from their wretched execution. Often and
often I have had an inclination to show how topography should
be writ, by pointing out the curious particulars of places,
with descriptions of principal houses, the pictures, portraits,
and Curiosities they contain.
I scarce ever yet found any thing one wanted to know in one of
those books; all they contain, except encomiums on the Stuarts
and the monks, are lists of institutions and inductions, and
inquiries how names of places were spelt before there was any
spelling. If the Monasticon Eboracense is only to be had at
York, I know Mr. Caesar Ward, and can get him to send it to me.
I will add but one short word: from every letter I receive from
you, Sir, my opinion of you increases, and I much wish that so
much good sense and knowledge were not thrown away only on me.
I flatter myself that you are engaged, or will engage, in some
work or pursuit that will make you better known. In the mean
time, I hope that some opportunity will bring us personally
acquainted, for I am, Sir, already most sincerely yours,
P. S. You love to be troubled, and therefore I will make no
apology for troubling you. Last summer, I bought of Vertue's
widow forty volumes of his ms. corrections relating to English
painters, sculptors, gravers, and architects. He had actually
begun their lives: unluckily he had not gone far, and could not
write grammar. I propose to digest and complete this work (I
mean after the Conway Papers).(995) In the mean time, Sir,
shall I beg the favour of you just to mark down memorandums of
the pages where you happen to meet with any thing relative to
these subjects, especially of our antienter buildings,
paintings, and artists. I would not trouble you for more
reference, if even that is not too much.
(992) Mr. Walpole did not insert any notice of Lord Lonsdale in
his subsequent editions, though the omission has been remedied
by Mr. Park. The piece to which Mr. Zouch probably alluded,
the knowledge of which he may have derived from the noble
family of Lowther, was " a "Treatise on Economies" addressed to
his son, by Sir John Lowther, created Baron Lonsdale in 1696.
This treatise was never published.-C.
(993) The story here alluded to is told, in the Noble Authors,
of Edward Howard, eighth Earl of Suffolk. But Mr. Zouch had
probably apprised Mr. Walpole, that a similar story had been
told of Lord Rochester. The Earl is represented as having sent
for " a gentleman well known in the literary world," (Mallet,)
upon whom he inflicted the hearing of some of his verses; but
coming to the description of a beautiful woman, he suddenly
stopped, and said, "Sir, I am not like most poets; I do not
draw from ideal mistresses; I always have my subject before
me;" and ringing the bell, be said to a footman, "Call up Fine
Eyes." A woman of the town appeared--"Fine Eyes," said the
Earl, "look full on this gentleman." She did, and retired.
Two or three others of the seraglio were summoned in their
turns, and displayed their respective charms for which they had
been distinguished by his lordship's pencil.-C.
(994) Dr. John Burton was a physician and antiquary of
Yorkshire, who died in 1771. His principal work, here alluded
to, is entitled "Monasticon Eboracense." This work was never
completed, the first volume only having appeared in folio.
Some imputations on the Doctor's loyalty in 1745, diminished,
it is said, his means and materials for continuing the Work.-C.
(995) The two first volumes appeared from the press at
Strawberry Hill in 1762.-C.
473 Letter 299
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Jan. 19, 1759.
I hope the treaty of Sluys advances rapidly.(996) Considering
that your own court is as new to you as Monsieur de Bareil and
his, you cannot be very well entertained: the joys of a Dutch
fishing town and the incidents of a cartel will not compose a
very agreeable history. In the mean time you do not lose much:
though the Parliament is met, no politics are come to town: one
may describe the House of Commons like the price of stocks;
Debates, nothing done. Votes, under par. Patriots, no price.
Oratory, books shut. Love and war are as much at a stand;
neither the Duchess of Hamilton nor the expeditions are gone
off yet. Prince Edward has asked to go to Quebec, and has been
refused. If I was sure they would refuse me, I would ask to go
thither too. I should not dislike about as much laurel as I
could stick in my window at Christmas.
We are next week to have a serenata at the Opera-house for the
King of Prussia's birthday: it is to begin, "Viva Georgio, e
Federico viva!" It will, I own, divert me to see my Lord Temple
whispering for this alliance, on the same bench on which I have
so often seen him whisper against all Germany. The new opera
pleases universally, and I hope will yet hold up its head.
Since Vanneschi is cunning enough to make us sing the roast
Beef of old Germany, I am persuaded it will revive: politics
are the only lhotbed for keeping such a tender plant as Italian
music alive in England.
You are so thoughtless about your dress, that I cannot help
giving you a little warning against your return. Remember,
every body that comes from abroad is cens`e to come from
France, and whatever they wear at their first reappearance
immediately grows the fashion. Now if, as is very likely, you
should through inadvertence change hats with a master of a
Dutch smack, Offley will be upon the watch, will conclude you
took your pattern from M. de Bareil, and in a week's time we
shall all be equipped like Dutch skippers. You see I speak
very disinterestedly; for, as I never wear a hat myself, it is
indifferent to me what sort of hat I don't wear. Adieu! I hope
nothing in this letter, if it is opened, will affect the
conferences, nor hasten our rupture with Holland. Lest it
should, I send it to Lord Holderness's office; concluding, like
Lady Betty Waldegrave, that the government never suspect what
they send under their own covers.
(996) Mr. Conway was sent to Sluys to settle a cartel for
prisoners with the French. M. de Bareil was the person
appointed by the French court for the same business.
473 Letter 300
The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Jan. 28, 1759.
You and M. de Bareil may give yourselves what airs you please
of settling cartels with expedition: you don't exchange
prisoners with half so much alacrity as Jack Campbell(997) and
the Duchess of Hanillton have exchanged hearts. I had so
little observed the negotiation, Or suspected any, that when
your brother told me of it yesterday morning, I would not
believe a tittle--I beg Mr. Pitt's pardon, not an iota. It is
the prettiest match in the world since yours, and every body
likes it but the Duke of Bridgewater and Lord Coventry. What an
extraordinary fate is attached to those two women! Who could
have believed that a Gunning would unite the two great houses
of Campbell and Hamilton? For my part, I expect to see my Lady
Coventry Queen of Prussia. I would not venture to marry either
of them these thirty years, for fear of being shuffled out of
the world prematurely, to make room for the rest of their
adventures. The first time Jack carries the Duchess into the
Highlands, I am persuaded that some of his second-sighted
subjects will see him in a winding-sheet, with a train of kings
behind him as long as those in Macbeth.
We had a scrap of a debate on Friday, on the Prussian and
Hessian treaties. Old Vyner opposed the first, in pity to that
poor woman, as he called her, the Empress-Queen.(998) Lord
Strange objected to the gratuity of sixty thousand pounds to
the Landgrave, unless words were inserted to express his
receiving that Sum in full of all demands. If Hume Campbell
had cavilled at this favourite treaty, Mr. Pitt could scarce
have treated him with more haughtiness; and, what is far more
extraordinary, Hume Campbell could scarce have taken it more
dutifully. This long day was over by half an hour after four.
As you and M. de Bareil are on such amicable terms, you will
take care to soften to him a new conquest we have made. Keppel
has taken the island of Goree. You great ministers know enough
Of its importance: I need not detail it. Before your letters
came we had heard of the death of the Princess Royal:(999) you
will find us black and all black. Lady Northumberland and the
great ladies put off their assemblies: diversions begin again
to-morrow with the mourning.
You perceive London cannot furnish half so long a letter as the
little town of Sluys; at least I have not the art of making one
out. In truth, I believe I should not have writ this unless
Lady Ailesbury had bid me; but she does not care how much
trouble it gives me, provided it amuses you for a moment. Good
P. S. I forgot to tell you that the King has granted my Lord
Marischall's pardon, at the request of M. de Knyphausen.(1000)
I believe the Pretender himself could get his attainder
reversed if he would apply to the King of Prussia.
(997) Afterwards Duke of Argyle.
(998) "There never was so quiet or so silent a session of
Parliament as the present: Mr. Pitt declares only what he would
have them do, and they do it, nemine contradicente, Mr. Vyner
only excepted." Lord Chesterfield.-E.
(999) The Princess of Orange died on the 12th of January.-E.
(1000) By a letter from Sir Andrew Mitchell, of the 8th of
January, in the Chatham correspondence, it will be seen that
the Lord of Marischal's pardon was granted at the earnest
request of the King of Prussia, who said he " should consider
it as a personal favour done to himself." The Earl Marischal
was attainted for his share in the rebellion of 1715.-E.
475 Letter 301
To John Chute, Esq.(1001)
Arlington Street, Feb. 1, 1759.
Well! my dear Sir, I am now convinced that both Mr. Keate's
panic and mine were ill-founded; but pray, another time, don't
let him be afraid of being afraid for fear of frightening me:
on the contrary, if you will dip your gout in lemonade, I hope
I shall be told of it. If you have not had it in Your stomach,
it is not your fault: drink brandy, and be thankful. I would
desire you to come to town, but I must rather desire you not to
have a house to come to. Mrs. H. Grenville is passionately
enamoured of yours, and begged I would ask you what will be the
lowest price, with all the particulars, which I assured her you
had stated very ill for yourself. I don't quite like this
commission; if you part with your house in town, you will never
come hither; at least, stow your cellars with drams and
gunpowder as full as Guy Fawkcs's-you will be drowned if you
don't blow yourself up. I don't believe that the Vine is
within the verge of the rainbow: seriously, it is too damp for
Colonel Campbell marries the Duchess of Hamilton forthwith.
the house of Argyle is CONTENT, and think that the head of the
Hamilton's had purified the blood of Gunning; but I should be
afraid that his grace was more likely to corrupt blood than to
Never was any thing so crowded as the house last night for the
Prussian cantata; the King was hoarse, and could not go to Sing
his own praises. The dancers seemed transplanted from Sadler's
Wells; there were milkmaids riding on dolphins; Britain and
Prussia kicked the King of France off the stage, and there was
a petit-maitre with his handkerchief full of holes; but this
vulgarism happily was hissed.
I am deeper than ever in Gothic antiquities: I have bought a
monk of Glastonbury's chair, full of scraps of the Psalms; and
some seals of most reverend illegibility. I pass all my
mornings in the thirteenth century, and my evenings with the
century that is coming on. Adieu!
(1001) Now first printed.
475 Letter 302
To John Chute, Esq.(1002)
Arlington Street, Feb. 2, 1759.
My dear sir,
I am glad to see your writing again, and can now laugh very
cordially at my own fright, which you take a great deal too
kindly. I was not quite sure you would like my proceedings,
but just then I could not help it, and perhaps my natural
earnestness had more merit than my friendship; and yet it is
worth my while to save a friend if I think I can--I have not so
many! You yourself are in a manner lost to me! I must not,
cannot repine at your having a fortune that delivers you from
uneasy connexions with a world that is sure to use ill those
that have any dependence on it; but undoubtedly some of the
satisfaction that you have acquired is taken out of my scale; I
will not, however, moralize, though I am in a very proper
humour for it, being just come home from an outrageous crowd at
Northumberland-house, where there were five hundred people,
that would have been equally content or discontent with any
other five hundred. This is pleasure! You invite so many
people to your house, that you are forced to have constables at
your door to keep the peace; just as the royal family, when
they hunted, used to be attended by surgeons. I allow honour
and danger to keep company with one another, but diversion and
breaking one's neck are strangely ill-matched. Mr. Spence's
Magliabechi(1003) is published to-day from Strawberry; I
believe you saw it, and shall have it; but 'tis not worth
sending you on purpose. However, it is full good enough for
the generality of readers. At least there is a proper dignity
in my saying so, who have been so much abused in all the
magazines lately for my Catalogue. The points in dispute lie
in a very narrow compass: they think I don't understand
English, and I am sure they don't: yet they will not be
convinced, for I shall certainly not take the pains to set them
right. Who them are I don't know; the highest, I believe, are
Dr. Smollet, or some chaplain of my uncle.
Adieu! I was very silly to alarm you so; but the wisest of' us,
from Solomon to old Carr's cousin, are poor souls! May be you
don't know any thing of Carr's cousin. Why then, Carr's cousin
was--I don't know who; but Carr was very ill, and had a cousin,
as I may be, to sit up with her. Carr had not slept for many
nights--at last she dozed--her cousin jogged her: "Cousin,
cousin!"--"Well!" said Carr, "what would you have?"--"Only,
cousin, if you die where will you be buried?" This resemblance
mortifies me ten times more than a thousand reviews could do:
there is nothing in being abused by Carr's cousin, but it is
horrid to be like Carr's cousin Good night!
(1003) Mr. Spence's Parallel of Magliabechi and Hill.-E.
476 Letter 303
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 9, 1759.
The Dutch have not declared war and interrupted our
correspondence, and yet it seems ceased as if we had declared
war with one another. I have not heard from you this age--how
happens it? I have not seized any ships of yours--you carry on
no counterband trade--oh! perhaps you are gone incognito to
Turin, are determined to have a King of Prussia of your own! I
expect to hear that the King of Sardinia, accompanied by Sir
Horace Mann, the British minister, suddenly appeared before
Parma at the head of an hundred thousand men, that had been
privately landed at Leghorn. I beg, as Harlequin did when he
had a house to sell, that you will send me a brick, as a sample
of the first town you take-the Strawberry-press shall be
preparing a congratulatory ode.
The Princess Royal has been dead some time: and yet the Dutch
and we continue in amity, and put on our weepers together. In
the mean time our warlike eggs have been some time under the
hen, and one has hatched and produced Gor`ee. The expedition,
called to Quebec, departs on Tuesday next, under Wolfe, and
George Townshend, who has thrust himself again into the
service, and as far as wrongheadedness will go, very proper for
a hero. Wolfe, who was no friend of Mr. Conway last year, and
for whom I consequently have no affection, has great merit,
spirit, and alacrity, and shone extremely at Louisbourg. I am
not such a Juno but I will forgive him after eleven more
labours.(1004) Prince Edward asked to go with them, but was
refused. It is clever in him to wish to distinguish himself;
I, who have no partiality to royal blood, like his good-nature
Except the horrid Portuguese histories, that between
Jesuits(1005) and executions make one's blood run hot and cold,
we have no news. The Parliament has taken a quieting-draught.
Of private story, the Duchess of Hamilton is going to marry
Colonel Campbell, Lady Ailesbury's brother. It is a match that
would not disgrace Arcadia. Her beauty has made sufficient
noise, and in some people's eyes is even improved--he has a
most pleasing countenance, person, and manner, and if they
could but carry to Scotland some of our sultry English weather,
they might restore the ancient pastoral life, when fair Kings
and queens reigned at once over their subjects and their sheep.
Besides, exactly like antediluvian lovers, they reconcile
contending clans, the great houses of Hamilton and Campbell-and
all this is brought about by a GUnning! I talked of our sultry
weather, and this is no air. While Italy, I suppose, is buried
in snow, we are extinguishing fires, and panting for breath.
In short, we have had a wonderful winter--beyond an earthquake
winter-we shall soon be astonished at frost, like an Indian.
Shrubs and flowers and blossoms are all in their pride; I am
not sure that in some counties the corn is not cut.
I long to hear from you; I think I never was so long without a
letter. I hope it is from no bad reason. Adieu!
(1004) Speaking of Wolfe in his Memoires, Walpole says,
"Ambition, industry, passion for the service, were conspicuous
in him. He seemed to breathe for nothing but fame, and lost no
moments in qualifying himself to compass that object.
Presumption on himself was necessary for his object, and he had
it. He was formed to execute the designs of such a master as
(1005) The strange and mysterious conspiracy against the life
of the King of Portugal, which was attempted as he was going,
one night through the streets of Lisbon in his coach. many
Jesuits were put to death for it, and also several of the noble
families of the Dukes d'Aveiro, and Marquises of Tavora.-D.
[See ant`e, p. 456, letter 289.]
478 Letter 304
To Mr. Gray.
Arlington Street, Feb. 15, 1759
The enclosed, which I have this minute received from Mr.
Bentley, explains much that I had to say to you-yet I have a
question or two more.
Who and what sort of a man is a Mr. Sharp of Benet? I have
received a most obliging and genteel letter from him, with the
very letter of Edward VI. which you was so good as to send me.
I answered his, but should like to know a little more about
him. Pray thank the Dean of Lincoln too for me: I am much
obliged to him for his offer, but had rather draw upon his
Lincolnship than his Cambridgehood.(1006) In the library of
the former are some original letters of Tiptoft, as you will
find in my Catalogue. When Dr. Greene is there, I shall be
glad if he will let me have them copied.
I will thank you if you will look in some provincial history of
Ireland for Odo (Hugh) Oneil, King of Ulster. When did he
live? I have got a most curious seal of his, and know no more
of him than of Ouacraw King of the Pawwaws.
I wanted to ask you, whether you, or anybody that you believe
in, believe in the Queen of Scots' letter to Queen
Elizabeth.(1007) If it is genuine, I don't wonder she cut her
head off--but I think it must be some forgery that was not made
Now to my distress. You must have seen an advertisement
perhaps the book itself, the villanous book itself, that has
been published to defend me against the Critical Review.(1008)
I have been childishly unhappy about it, and had drawn up a
protestation or affidavit of my knowing nothing of it; but my
friends would not let me publish it. I sent to the printer,
who would not discover the author--nor could I guess. They
tell me nobody can suspect my being privy to It but there is an
intimacy affected that I think will deceive many--and yet I
must be the most arrogant fool living, if I could know and
suffer any body to speak of me in that style. For God's sake
do all you can for me, and publish my abhorrence. To-day I am
told that it Is that puppy Dr. Hill, who has chosen to make war
with the magazines through my sides. I could pardon him any
abuse, but I never can forgive this friendship. Adieu!
(1006 He was master of Benet College, Cambridge.
(1007) See Murden's State Papers, p. 558, for this curious
(1008) It was called "Observations on the account given of the
Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors of England, etc. etc. in
article v'- of the Critical review, No. xxv. December, 1758,
where the unwarrantable liberties taken with that work, and the
honourable author of it, are examined and exposed."
479 Letter 305
To The Right Hon. Lady hervey.
Feb. 20, 1759.
I met with this little book t'other day by chance, and it
pleased me so much that I cannot help lending it to your
ladyship, as I know it will amuse you from the same causes. It
contains many of those important truths which history is too
proud to tell, and too dull from not telling.
Here Grignon's soul the living canvass warms:
Here fair Fontagno assumes unfading charms:
Here Mignard's pencil bows to female wit;
Louis rewards, but ratifies Fayette:
The philosophic duke, and painter too,
Thought from her thoughts--from her ideas drew.
479 Letter 306
To Sir David Dalrymple.(1009)
Strawberry Hill, Feb. 25, 1759.
I think, sir, I have perceived enough of the amiable benignity
of your mind, to be sure that you will like to hear the praises
of your friend. Indeed, there is but one opinion about Mr.
Robertson's history.(1010) I don't remember any other work
that ever met universal approbation. Since the Romans and the
Greeks, who have now an exclusive charter for being the best
writers in every kind, he is the historian that pleases me
best; and though what he has been so indulgent as to say of me
ought to shut my mouth, I own I have been unmeasured in my
commendations. I have forfeited my own modesty rather than not
do justice to him. I did send him my opinion some time ago,
and hope he received it. I can add, with the strictest truth,
that he is regarded here as one of the greatest men that this
island has produced. I say island, but you know, Sir, that I
am disposed to say Scotland. I have discovered another very
agreeable writer among your countrymen, and in a profession
where I did not look for an author; It is Mr. Ramsay,(1011) the
painter, whose pieces being anonymous have been overlooked. He
has a great deal of genuine wit, and a very just manner of
reasoning. In his own walk he has great merit. He and Mr.
Reynolds are our favourite painters, and two of the very best
we ever had. Indeed, the number of good has been very small,
considering the numbers there are. A very few years ago there
were computed two thousand portrait painters in London; I do
not exaggerate the computation, but diminish; though I think it
must have been exaggerated. Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Ramsay can
scarce be rivals; their manners are so different. The former
is bold, and has a kind of tempestuous colouring, yet with
dignity and grace; the latter is all delicacy. Mr. Reynolds
seldom succeeds in women; Mr. Ramsay is formed to paint them.
I fear I neglected, Sir, to thank you for your present of the
history of the conspiracy of the Gowries: but I shall never
forget all the obligations I have to you. I don't doubt but in
Scotland you approve what is liked here almost as much as Mr.
Robertson's history; I mean the marriage of Colonel Campbell
and the Duchess of Hamilton. If her fortune is singular, so is
her merit. Such uncommon noise as her beauty made has not at
all impaired the modesty of her behaviour. Adieu!
(1009) Now first collected.
(1010) Dr. Robertson's "History of Scotland during the Reigns
of Mary and James the Sixth," was published in the beginning of
(1011) Alan Ramsay, the eminent portrait-painter, and eldest
son of the poet; on whose death, in 1757, in somewhat
embarrassed circumstances, he paid his debts. He was an
excellent classical scholar, understood French and Italian, and
had all the polish and liberal feeling of a highly instructed
man. In Bouquet's pamphlet on "The Present State of the Fine
Arts in England," published in 1755, he is described as "an
able painter, who, acknowledging no other guide than nature,
brought a rational taste of resemblance with him from Italy."
He died in 1784.-E.
480 Letter 307
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, March 1, 1759.
I know you are ministerial enough, or patriot enough, (two
words that it is as much the fashion to couple now as it was
formerly to part them,) to rejoice over the least bit of a
conquest, and therefore I hurry to send you a morsel of
Martinico, which you may lay under your head, and dream of
having taken the whole island. As dreams often go by
contraries, you must not be surprised if you wake and find we
have been beaten back; but at this present moment, we are all
dreaming of victory. A frigate has been taken going to France
with an account that our troops landed on the island on the
16th of January, without opposition. A seventy-gun ship was
dismissed at the same time, which is thought a symptom of their
not meaning to resist. It certainly is not Mr. Pitt's fault if
we have not great success; and if we have, it is certainly
owing to him. The French talk of invading us; I hope they will
not come quite so near either to victory or defeat, as to land
on our Martinico! But you are going to have a war of your own.
Pray send me all your gazettes extraordinary. I wish the King
of Sardinia's heroism may not be grown a little rusty. Time
was when he was the only King in Europe that had fought in his
waistcoat; but now the King of Prussia has almost made it part
of their coronation oath. Apropos, pray remember that the
Emperor's pavilion is not the Emperor's pavillon; though you
are so far in the right, that he may have a pavilion, but I
don't conceive how he comes by a pavillon. What Tuscan colours
has he, unless a streamer upon the belfry at Leghorn? You was
so deep in politics when you wrote your last letter, that it
was almost in cipher, and as I don't happen to have a key to
bad writing, I could not read a word that interests my vanity
extremely-I unravelled enough to learn that a new
governor(1012) of Milan is a great admirer of me, but I could
not guess at one syllable of his name, and it is very
uncomfortable in a dialogue between one's pride and oneself, to
be forced to talk of Governor What-d'ye-call-em, who has so
good a taste. I think you never can have a more important
occasion for despatching a courier than to tell me Governor -
-'s name. In the mean time, don't give him any more Strawberry
editions; of some I print very few, they are all begged
immediately, and then you will not have a complete set, as I
wish you to have, notwithstanding all my partiality for the
governor of Milan. Perhaps, upon the peace I may send him a
set richly bound! I am a little more serious in what I am going
to say; you will oblige me if at your leisure you will pick up
for me all or any little historical tracts that relate to the
house of Medici. I have some distant thoughts of writing their
history, and at the peace may probably execute what you know I
have long retained in my wish, another journey to Florence.
Stosch, I think, had great collections relating to them; would
they sell a separate part of his library? Could I get at any
state letters and papers there? Do think of this; I assure you
I do Thank you for the trouble you have taken about the
Neapolitan books, and for the medals that are coming.
Colonel Campbell and the Duchess of Hamilton are married. My
sister(1013) who was at the Opera last Tuesday, and went from
thence to a great ball at the Duke of Bridgewater's, where she
stayed till three in the morning, was brought to bed in less
than four hours afterwards of a fifth boy: she has had two
girls, too, and I believe left it entirely to this child to
choose what it would be. Adieu! my dear Sir.
(1012) Count Firmian, who understood English, and was fond of
English authors. Sir Horace Mann had given him the Royal and
(1013) Lady Mary Churchill, only daughter of Sir Robert Walpole
by his second wife.
481 Letter 308
To John Chute, Esq.(1014)
Arlington Street, March 13, 1759.
I am puzzled to know how to deal with you: I hate to be
Officious, it has a horrid look; and to let you alone till you
die at the Vine of mildew, goes against my conscience, Don't it
go against yours to keep all your family there till they are
mouldy? Instead of sending you a physician, I will send you a
dozen brasiers; I am persuaded that you want to be dried and
aired more than physicked. For God's sake don't stay there any
"Mater Cyrene, mater quae gurgitis hujus
send him away!--Nymphs and Jew doctors! I don't know what I
shall pray to next against your obstinacy.
No more news yet from Guadaloupe! A persecution seems to be
raising against General Hobson--I don't wonder! Wherever
Commodore Moore is, one may expect treachery and blood. Good
(1014) Now first printed.
482 Letter 309
To The Rev. Henry Zouch.
Arlington Street, March 15, 1759.
You judge very rightly, Sir, that I do not intend to meddle
with accounts of religious houses; I should not think of them
at all unless I could learn the names of any of the architects,
not of the founders. It is the history of our architecture
that I should search after, especially the beautiful Gothic. I
have by no means digested the plan of my intended work. The
materials I have ready in great quantities in Vertue's MSS.;
but he has collected little with regard to our architects,
except Inigo Jones. As our painters have been very
indifferent, I must, to make the work interesting, make it
historical; I would mix it with anecdotes of patrons of the
arts, and with dresses and customs from old pictures. something
in the manner of Moulfaucon's Antiquities of France. I think
it capable of being made a very amusing work, but I don't know
whether I shall ever bestow the necessary time on it. At
present, even my press is at a stop, my printer, who was a
foolish Irishman, and who took himself for a genius, and who
grew angry when I thought him extremely the former, and not the
least of the latter, has left me, and I have Not yet fixed upon
In what edition, Sir, of Beaumont and Fletcher, is the copy of
verses you mention, signed "Grandison?"(1015) They are not in
mine. In my Catalogue I mention the Countess of Montgomery's
Eusebia; I shall be glad to know what her Urania is. I fear you
will find little satisfaction in a library of noble works. I
have got several, some duplicates, that shall be at your
service if you continue Your collection; but in general they
are mere curiosities.
Mr. Hume has published his History of the House of Tudor. I
have not advanced far in it, but it appears an inaccurate and
careless, as it certainly has been a very hasty, performance.
(1015) There has been some mistake here. Amidst the vast
number of verses to Beaumont and Fletcher, none are found with
this signature. There is one copy signed Gardiner.-C.
482 Letter 310
To Sir David Dalrymple.(1016)
Strawberry Hill, March 25, 1759.
I should not trouble you, Sir, so soon again with a letter, but
some questions and some passages in yours seem to make it
necessary. I know nothing of the Life of Gustavus, nor heard of
it, before it was advertised. Mr. Harte(1017) was a favoured
disciple of Mr. Pope, whose obscurity he imitated more than his
lustre. Of the History of the Revival of Learning I have not
heard a word. Mr. Gray a few years ago began a poem on that
subject; but dropped it, thinking it would cross too much upon
some parts of the Dunciad. It would make a signal part of a
History of Learning which I lately proposed to Mr. Robertson.
Since I wrote to him, another subject has started to me, which
would make as agreeable a work, both to the writer and to the
reader, as any I could think of; and would be a very tractable
one, because capable of being extended or contracted as the
author should please. It is the History of the House of
Medici.(1018) There is an almost unknown republic, factions,
banishment, murders, commerce, conquests, heroes, cardinals,
all of a new stamp, and very different from what appear in any
other country. There is a scene of little polite Italian
courts, where gallantry and literature were uncommonly blended,
particularly in that of Urbino, which without any violence
might make an episode. The Popes on the greater plan enter of
course. What a morsel Leo the Tenth! the revival of
letters!(1019) the torrent of Greeks that imported them! Extend
still farther, there are Catherine and Mary, Queens of France.
In short, I know nothing one could wish in a subject that would
not fall into this--and then it is a Complete Subject, the
family is extinct: even the state is so, as a separate
I could not help smiling, Sir, at being taxed with insincerity
for my encomiums on Scotland. They were given in a manner a
little too serious to admit of irony, and (as partialities
cannot be supposed entirely ceased) with too much risk of
disapprobation in this part of the world, not to flow from my
heart. My friends have long known my opinion on this point,
and it is too much formed on fact for me to retract it, if I
were so disposed. With regard to the magazines and reviews, I
can say with equal and great truth, that I have been much more
hurt at a gross defence of me than by all that railing.
Mallet still defers his life of the Duke of Marlborough;(1020)
I don't know why: sometimes he says he will stay till the
peace; sometimes that he is translating it, or having it
translated into French, that he may not lose that advantage.
(1016) Now first collected.
(1017) Walter Harte was tutor to Mr. Stanhope, Lord
Chesterfield's natural son, and through bis lordship's interest
made canon of Windsor. Dr. Johnson describes him as a scholar,
and a man of the most companionable talents he had ever known."
"Poor man!" he adds, "he left London the day of the publication
of his book, that he might be out of the way of the great
praise he was to receive; and he was ashamed to return, when he
found how ill his book had succeeded. It was unlucky in coming
out on the same day with Robertson's History of Scotland." See
Boswell, vol. viii. p. 53. Lord Chesterfield writes to his
son, on the 30th of March, "Harte's work will, upon the whole,
be a very curious and valuable history. You will find it
dedicated to one of your acquaintance, who was forced to prune
the luxuriant praises bestowed upon him, and yet has left
enough of all conscience to satisfy a reasonable man."-E.
(1018) It was afterwards written in five volumes in quarto,
from authentic documents furnished by the Great-Duke himself.
It was published in Florence in 1781, and was entitled "Istoria
del Gran Ducato di Toscana sotto il Governo delta Casa Medici,
per Riguccio Galuzzi."-E.
(1019) Mr. Roscoe's Life of Lorenzo do' Medici appeared in
1796, and his Life and Pontificate of Leo the Tenth in 1805.-E.
(1020) See vol. i. p. 393, letter 151.
484 Letter 311
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, April 11, 1759.
I have waited and waited, in hopes of sending you the rest of
Martinico or Guadaloupe; nothing else, as you guessed, has
happened, or I should -have told you. But at present I can
stay no longer, for I, who am a little more expeditious than a
squadron, have made a conquest myself, and in less than a month
since the first thought started. I hurry to tell you, lest you
should go and consult the map of Middlesex, to see -whether I
have any dispute about boundaries with the neighbouring Prince
of Isleworth, or am likely to have fitted out a secret
expedition upon Hounslow Heath--in short, I have married, that
is, am marrying, my niece Maria,(1021) my brother's second
daughter, to Lord Waldegrave.(1022) What say you? A month ago
I was told he liked her.--does he? I jumbled them together, and
he has Already proposed. For character and credit, he is the
first match in England-for beauty, I think she is. She has not
a fault in her face and person, and the detail is charming. A
warm complexion tending to brown, fine eyes, brown hair, fine
teeth, and infinite wit and vivacity. Two things are odd in
this match; he seems to have been doomed to a Maria Walpole--if
his father had lived, he had married my sister;(1023) and this
is the second of my brother's daughters that has married into
the house of Stuart. Mr. Keppel(1024) comes from Charles, Lord
Waldegrave from James II. My brother has luckily been
tractable, and left the whole management to me. My family
don't lose any rank or advantage, when they let me dispose of
them--a knight of the garter for my niece; 150,000 pounds for
my Lord Orford if he would have taken her;(1025) these are not
It were miserable after this to tell you that Prince Ferdinand
has cut to pieces two or three squadrons of Austrians. I frame
to myself that if I was commander-in-chief. I should on a
sudden appear in the middle of Vienna, and oblige the Empress
to give an Archduchess with half a dozen provinces to some
infant prince or other, and make a peace before the bread
wagons were come up. Difficulties are nothing; all depends on
the sphere in which one is placed.
You must excuse my altitudes I feel myself very impertinent
just now, but as I know it, I trust I shall not be more so than
The Dutch cloud is a little dispersed; the privy council have
squeezed out some rays of sunshine by restoring One Of' their
ships, and by adjudging that we captors should prove the
affirmative of contraband goods, instead of the goods proving
themselves so: just as if one was ordered to believe that if a
blackamoor is christened Thomas, he is a white. These
distinctions are not quite adapted to the meridian of a
flippant English privateer's comprehensions: however, the
murmur is not great yet. I don't know what may betide if the
minister should order the mob to be angry with the Ministry,
nor whether Mr. Pitt or the mob will speak first. He is laid
up with the gout, and it is as much as the rest of the
administration can do to prevent his flying out. I am sorry,
after you have been laying in such bales of Grotius and
Puffendorf, that you must be forced to correct the text by a
Dutch comment. You shall have the pamphlet you desire, and
Lord Mansfield's famous answer to the Prussian manifesto, (I
don't know whether it is in French,) but you must now read
Hardwickius usum Batavorum.(1026)
We think we have lost Fort St. David, but have some scanty
hopes of a victorious codicil, as our fleet there seems to have
had the superiority. The King of Spain is certainly not dead,
and the Italian war in appearance is blown over. This summer,
I think, must finish all war, for who will have men, who will
have money to furnish another campaign? Adieu!
P. S. Mr. Conway has got the first regiment of dragoons on
(1021) Maria, second daughter of Sir Edward Walpole, afterwards
married to William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, brother of King
(1022) James, second Earl of Waldegrave, knight of the garter,
and governor of George Prince of Wales, afterwards George III.
(1023) Lady Maria Churchill, daughter of Sir Robert Walpole.
(1024) Frederick Keppel, fourth son of William Anne, Earl of
Albemarle, by Lady Anne Lennox, daughter of the first Duke of
(1025) Miss Nichols, afterwards Marchioness of Carnarvon.
(1026) Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke.
485 Letter 312
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, April 26, 1759.
Your brother, your Wetenhalls, and the ancient Baron and
Baroness Dacre of the South, are to dine with me at Strawberry
Hill next Sunday. Divers have been the negotiations about it:
your sister, you know, is often impeded by a prescription or a
prayer; and I, on the other hand, who never rise in the
morning, have two balls on my hands this week to keep me in bed
the next day till dinner-time. Well, it is charming to be so
young! the follies of the town are so much more agreeable than
the wisdom of my brethren the authors, that I think for the
future I shall never write beyond a card, nor print beyond Mrs.
Clive's benefit tickets. Our great match approaches; I dine at
Lord Waldegrave's presently, and suppose I shall then hear the
day. I have quite reconciled my Lady Townshend to the match
(saving her abusing us all), by desiring her to choose my
wedding clothes; but I am to pay the additional price of being
ridiculous. to which I submit; she has chosen me a white ground
with green flowers. I represented that, however young my
spirits may be, my bloom is rather past; but the moment I
declared against juvenile colours, I found it was determined I
should have nothing else: so be it. T'other night I had an
uncomfortable situation with the duchess of Bedford: we had
played late at loo at Lady Joan Scot's; I came down stairs with
their two graces of Bedford and Grafton: there was no chair for
me: I said I will walk till I meet one. "Oh!" said the Duchess
of Grafton, "the Duchess of Bedford will set you down:" there
were we charmingly awkward and complimenting: however, she was
forced to press it, and I to accept it; in a minute she spied a
hackney chair--"Oh! there is a chair,-but I beg your pardon, it
looks as if I wanted to get rid of you, but indeed I don't;
only I am afraid the Duke will want his supper." You may
imagine how much I was afraid of making him wait. The ball at
Bedford-house, on Monday, was very numerous and magnificent.
The two Princes were there, deep hazard, and the Dutch
deputies, who are a proverb for their dulness: they have
brought with them a young Dutchman, who is the richest man of
Amsterdam. I am amazed Mr. Yorke has not married him! But the
delightful part of the night was the appearance of the Duke of
Newcastle, who is veering round again, as it is time to betray
Mr. Pitt. The Duchess(1027) was at the very upper end of the
gallery, and though some of the Pelham court were there too,
yet they showed so little cordiality to this revival of
connexion, that Newcastle had nobody to attend him but Sir
Edward Montagu, who kept pushing him all up the gallery. From
thence he went into the hazard-room, and wriggle(], and
shuffled, and lisped, and winked, and spied, till he got behind
the Duke of Cumberland, the Duke of Bedford, and Rigby; the
first of whom did not deign to notice him; but he must come to
it. You would have died to see Newcastle's pitiful and
distressed figure,--nobody went near him: he tried to flatter
people, that were too busy to mind him; in short, he was quite
disconcerted; his treachery used to be so sheathed in folly,
that he was never out of countenance; but it is plain he grows
old. To finish his confusion and anxiety, George Selwyn,
Brand, and I, went and stood near him, and in half whispers,
that he might hear, said, "Lord, how he is broke! how old he
looks!" then I said, "This room feels very cold: I believe
there never is a fire in it." Presently afterwards I said,
"Well, I'll not stay here; this room has been washed to-day."
In short, I believe we made him take a double dose of
Gascoign's powder when he went home. Next night Brand and I
communicated this interview to Lord Temple, who was in agonies;
and yesterday his chariot was seen in forty different parts of
the town. I take it for granted that Fox will not resist these
overtures, and then we shall have the paymastership, the
secretaryship of Ireland, and all Calcraft's regiments once
I did not finish this letter last week, for the picture could
not set out till next Thursday. Your kin brought Lord
Mandeville with them to Strawberry; he was very civil and
good-humoured, and I trust I was so too. My nuptialities dined
here yesterday. The wedding is fixed for the 15th. The town,
who saw Maria set out in the Earl's coach, concluded it was
yesterday. He notified his marriage to the Monarch last
Saturday, and it was received civilly. Mrs. Thornhill is dead,
and I am inpatient to hear the fate of Miss Mildmay. the
Princes Ferdinand and Henry have been skirmishing, have been
beaten, and have beat, but with no decision.
The ball at Mr. Conolly's(1028) was by no means delightful.
the house is small, it was hot, and was composed Of young
Irish. I was retiring when they went to supper, but was fetched
back to sup with Prince Edward and the Duchess of Richmond, who
is his present passion. He had chattered as much love to her
as would serve ten balls. The conversation turned on the
Guardian--most unfortunately the Prince asked her if she should
like Mr. Clackit--"No, indeed, Sir," said the Duchess. Lord
Tavistock(1029) burst out into a loud laugh, and I am afraid
none of the company quite kept their countenances. Adieu! This
letter is gossiping enough for any Mrs. Clackit, but I know you
love these details.
(1027) Gertrude Duchess of Bedford, daughter of Earl Gower.
(1028) Thomas Conolly, Esq., son of Lady Anne Conolly, sister
of Thomas Earl of Strafford, and who inherited great part of
her brother's property. Mr. Conolly was married to Lady Louisa
Lenox, sister of the Duke of Richmond, and of Lady Holland.
They died without issue.-E.
(1029) Francis Marquis of Tavistock, only son of John Duke of
Bedford. He died before his father, in 1767, in consequence of
a fall from his horse when hunting.-E.
487 Letter 313
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, May 10, 1759.
The laurels we began to plant in Guadaloupe do not thrive--we
have taken half the island, and despair of the other half which
we are gone to take. General Hobson is dead, and many of our
men-it seems all climates are not equally good for
conquest-Alexander and Caesar would have looked wretchedly
after a yellow fever! A hero that would have leaped a rampart,
would perhaps have shuddered at the thought of being scalped.
Glory will be taken in its own way, and cannot reconcile itself
to the untoward barbarism of America. In short, if we don't
renounce expeditions, our history will be a journal of
miscarriages. What luck must a general have that escapes a
flux, or being shot abroad--or at home! How fatal a war has
this been! From Pondicherry to Canada, from Russia to Senegal,
the world has been a great bill of mortality? The King of
Prussia does not appear to have tapped his campaign yet--he was
slow last year; it is well if he concludes this as thunderingly
as he did the last. Our winter-politics are drawn to the
dregs. The King is gone to Kensington, and the Parliament is
going out of town. The ministers who don't agree, will, I
believe, let the war decide their squabbles too. Mr. Pitt will
take Canada and the cabinet-council together, or miscarry in
both. There are Dutch deputies here, who are likely to be here
some time: their negotiations are not of an epigrammatic
nature. and we are in no hurry to decide on points which we
cannot well give up, nor maintain without inconvenience. But
it is idle to describe what describes itself by not being
I have received yours of the 7th of last month, and fear you
are quite in the right about a history of the house of Medici--
yet it is pity it should not be written!(1030) You don't, I
know, want any spur to incite you to remember me and any
commission with which I trouble you; and therefore you must not
take it in that light, but as the consequence of my having just
seen the Neapolitan book of Herculaneum, that I mention it to
you again. Though it is far from being finely engraved, yet
there are bits in It that make me wish much to have it, and if
you could procure it for me, I own I should be pleased. Adieu!
my dear Sir.
(1030) See ant`e, p. 483, letter 310.
488 Letter 314
To The Rev. Henry Zouch.
Strawberry Hill, May 14, 1759.
You accuse me with so much delicacy and with so much seeming
justice, that I must tell you the truth, cost me what it will.
It is in fact, I own, that I have been silent, not knowing what
to say to you, or how not to say something about your desire
that I would attend the affair of the navigation of Calder in
Parliament. In truth, I scarce ever do attend private business
on solicitation. If I attend, I cannot help forming an
opinion, and when formed I do not care not to be guided by it,
and at the same time it is very unpleasant to vote against a
person whom one went to serve. I know nothing of the merits of
the navigation in question, and it would have given me great
pain to have opposed, as it might have happened, a side
espoused by one for whom I had conceived such an esteem as I
have for you, Sir. I did not tell you my scruples, because you
might have thought them affected, and because, to say the
truth, I choose to disguise them. I have seen too much of the
parade of conscience to expect that an ostentation of it in me
should be treated with uncommon lenity. I cannot help having
scruples; I can help displaying them; and now, sir, that I have
made you my confessor, I trust you will keep my secret for my
sake, and give me absolution for what I have committed against
I certainly do propose to digest the materials that Vertue had
collected(1031) relating to English arts; but doubting of the
merit of the subject, as you do, Sir, and not proposing to give
myself much trouble about it, I think, at present, that I shall
still call the work his. However, at your leisure, I shall be
much obliged to you for any hints. For nobler or any other
game, I don't think of it; I am sick of the character of
author; I am sick of the consequences of it; I am weary Of
Seeing my name in the newspapers; I am tired with reading
foolish criticisms on me, and as foolish defences of me; and I
trust my friends will be so good as to let the last abuse of me
pass unanswered. It is called "Remarks" on my Catalogue,
asperses the Revolution more than it does my book, and, in one
word, is written by a non-juring preacher, who was a
dog-doctor. Of me he knows so little, that he thinks to punish
me by abusing King William! Had that Prince been an author,
perhaps I might have been a little ungentle to him too. I am
not dupe enough to think that any body wins a crown for the
sake of the people. Indeed, I am Whig enough to be glad to be
abused; that is, that any body may write what they please; and
though the Jacobites are the only men who abuse outrageously
that liberty of the press which all their labours tend to
demolish, I would not have the nation lose such a blessing for
their impertinences. That their spirit and projects revive is
certain. All the histories of England, Hume's, as you observe,
and Smollett's more avowedly, are calculated to whiten the
house of Stuart. All the magazines are elected to depress
writers of the other side, and as it has been learnt within
these few days, France is preparing an army of
commentators1032) to illustrate the works of those professors.
But to come to what ought to be a particular part of this
letter. I am very sensible, Sir, to the confidence you place
in me, and shall assuredly do nothing to forfeit it; at the
same time, I must take the liberty you allow me, of making some
objections to your plan. As your friend, I must object to the
subject. It is heroic to sacrifice one's own interest to do
good, but I would be sure of doing some before I offered myself
up. You will make enemies; are you sure you shall make
proselytes? I am ready to believe you have no ambition now--
but may you not have hereafter? Are bishops corrigible or
placable? Few men are capable of forgiving being told their
faults in private; who can bear being told of them publicly?-
-Then, you propose to write in Latin: that is, you propose to
be read by those only whom you intend to censure, and whose
interest it will be to find faults in your work. If I proposed
to attack the clergy, I would at least call in the laity to
hear my arguments, and I fear the laity do not much listen to
Latin. In Short, Sir, I wish much to see something of your
writing, and consequently I wish to see it in a shape in which
it would give me most pleasure.
You will say, that your concealing your name is an answer to
all I have said. A bad author may be concealed, but then what
good does he do? I am persuaded you would write well-ask your
heart, Sir, if you then would like to conceal yourself.
Forgive my frankness; I am not old, but I have lived long
enough to be sure that I give you good advice. There -is
lately published a voluminous history of Gustavus Adolphus,
sadly written, yet very amusing from the matter.
(1031) Mr. Walpole, in his dedication of the "Anecdotes of
painting," says, he is rather an Editor than an Author; but
much as he certainly derived from Vertue, his own share in this
interesting work entitles him to the thanks of every lover of
the fine arts, and of British antiquities.-C.
(1032) The French were at this time attempting to play the
farce of invasion. Flat-bottomed boats were building in all
the ports of Normandy and Brittany, calculated to transport an
army of a hundred thousand men.-C.
489 Letter 315
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 16, 1759.
I packed up a long letter to you in the case with the Earl of
Manchester, which I suppose did not arrive at Greatworth before
you left it. Don't send for it, for there are private
histories in it, that should not travel post, and which will be
full as new to you a month hence.
Well! Maria was married yesterday. Don't we manage well! the
original day was not once put off: lawyers and milliners were
all ready canonically. It was as sensible a wedding as ever
was. There was neither form nor indecency, both which
generally meet on such occasions. They were married at my
brother's in Pall-Mall, just before dinner, by Mr. Keppel; the
company, my brother, his son, Mrs. Keppel, and Charlotte, Lady
Elizabeth Keppel, Lady Betty Waldegrave, and I. We dined there;
the Earl and new Countess got into their postchaise at eight
o'clock, and went to Navestock alone, where they stay till
Saturday night: on Sunday she is to be presented, and to make
my Lady Coventry distracted, who, t'other day, told Lady Anne
Connolly how she dreaded Lady Louisa's arrival; "But," said
she, "now I have seen her, I am easy."
Maria was in a white silver gown, with a hat pulled very much
over her face; what one could see of it was handsomer than
ever; a cold maiden blush gave her the sweetest delicacy in the
world. I had liked to have demolished the solemnity of the
ceremony by laughing, when Mr. Keppel read the words, "Bless
thy servant and thy handmaid;" it struck me how ridiculous it
would have been, had Miss Drax been the handmaid, as she was
once to have been.
Did I ever tell you what happened at my Lord Hertford's
wedding? You remember that my father's style was not purity
itself. As the bride was so young and so exceedingly bashful,
and as my Lord Hertford is a little of the prude himself, great
means were used to keep Sir Robert within bounds. He yawned,
and behaved decently. When the dessert was removed, the
Bishop, who married them, said, "Sir Robert, what health shall
we drink?" It was just after Vernon's conquest of Porto Bello.
"I don't know," replied my father: "why, drink the admiral in
the straights of Bocca Cieca."
We have had a sort of debate in the House of Commons on the
bill for fixing the augmentation of the salaries of the judges:
Charles Townshend says, the book of Judges was saved by the
book of Numbers.
Lord Weymouth(1033) is to be married on Tuesday, or, as he said
himself, to be turned off. George Selwyn told him he wondered
that he had not been turned off before, for he still sits up
drinking all night and gaming.
Well! are you ready to be invaded? for it seems invasions from
France are coming into fashion again. A descent on Ireland at
least is expected. There has been a great quarrel -between Mr.
Pitt and Lord Anson, on the negligence of the latter. I
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