The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2
Part 2 out of 16
Sir William Windham, and others! and is it not known that the
moment the queen was expired, Atterbury proposed to go in his
lawn sleeves and proclaim the Pretender at Charing-cross, but
Bolinbroke's heart failing him, Atterbury swore, "There was the
best cause in Europe lost for want of spirit!" He imputes
Jacobitism singly to Lord Oxford, whom he exceedingly abuses;
and who, so far from being suspected, was thought to have
fallen into disgrace with that faction for refusing to concur
with them. On my father he is much less severe than I
expected; and in general, so obliquely, that hereafter he will
not be perceived to aim at him, though at this time one knows
so much what was at his heart, that it directs one to his
But there is a preface to this famous book, which makes much
more noise than the work itself. It seems, Lord Bolinbroke had
originally trusted Pope with the copy, to have half-a-dozen
printed for particular friends. Pope, who loved money
infinitely beyond any friend, got fifteen hundred Copies(35)
printed privately, intending to outlive Bolingbroke and make
great advantage of them; and not only did this, but altered the
copy at his Pleasure, and even made different alterations in
different copies. Where Lord Bolingbroke had strongly flattered
their common friend lyttelton, Pope suppressed the panegyric:
where, in compliment to Pope, he had softened the satire on
Pope's great friend, Lord Oxford, Pope reinstated the abuse. The
first part of this transaction is recorded in the preface; the
two latter facts are reported by Lord Chesterfield and Lyttelton,
the latter of whom went to Bolingbroke to ask how he had
forfeited his good opinion. In short, it is comfortable to us
people of moderate virtue to hear these demigods, and patriots,
and philosophers, inform the world of each other's villanies.(36)
What seems to make Lord Bolinbroke most angry, and I suppose
does, is Pope's having presumed to correct his work. As to his
printing so many copies, it certainly was a compliment, and the
more profit (which however could not be immense) he expected to
make, the greater opinion he must have conceived of the merit of
the work: if one had a mind to defend Pope, should not one
ask,(37) if any body ever blamed Virgil's executors for not
burning the AEneid, as he ordered them? Warburton, I fear, does
design to defend Pope: and my uncle Horace to answer the book;
his style, which is the worst in the world, must be curious, in
opposition to the other. But here comes full as bad a part of
the story as any: Lord Bolinbroke, to buy himself out of the
abuse in the Duke of Marlborough's life, or to buy himself into
the supervisal of it, gave those letters to Mallet, who is
writing this life for a legacy in the old Duchess's will, (and
which, with much humour, she gave, desiring it might not be
written in verse,) and Mallet sold them to the bookseller for a
hundred and fifty pounds. Mallet had many obligations to Pope,
no disobligations to him, and was one of his grossest flatterers;
witness the sonnet on his supposed death, printed in the notes
to the Dunciad. I was this morning told an anecdote from the
Dorset family that is no bad collateral evidence of the
Jacobitism Of the Queen'S four last years. They wanted to get
Dover Castle into their hands, and sent down Prior to the present
Duke of Dorset, who loved him, and probably was his brother,(38)
to persuade him to give it up. He sent Prior back with great
an(-,er, and in three weeks was turned out of the government
himself but it is idle to produce proofs; as idle as to deny the
I have just been with your brother Gal. who has been laid up
these two days with the gout in his ankle; an absolute
professed gout in all the forms, and with much pain. Mr. Chute
is out of town; when he returns, I shall set him upon your
brother to reduce him to abstinence and health. Adieu!
(30 At Whitehall.
(31) Daughter of Edward Young' Esq. and wife of William, Earl
of Rochford. She had been maid of honour to the Princess of
(32) Penelope, sister of Sir Richard Atkyns.
(33) Fulke Greville, Esq. son of the Hon. Algernon Greville,
second son of Fulke, fifth Lord Brooke. His wife was the
authoress of the pretty poem entitled "an Ode to
(34) This event was commemorated in the following doggrel
"Poor Jenny Conway
She drank lemonade,
At a masquerade,
So now she's dead and gone away."-D.
(35) Lord Bolingbroke discovered what Pope had done during his
lifetime, and never forgave him for it. He-obliged him to give
up the copies, and they were burned on the terrace of Lord
Bolingbroke's house at Battersea, in the presence of Lord B.
(36) In reference to this publication, Lord Bolingbroke
himself, in a letter to Lord Marchmont, written on the 7th of
June, says, "The book you mention has brought no trouble upon
me, though it has given occasion to many libels upon me. They
are of the lowest form, and seem to be held in the contempt
they deserve. There I shall leave them, nor suffer a nest of
hornets to disturb the quiet of my retreat. If these letters
of mine come to your hands, your lordship will find that I have
left out all that was said of our friend Lord Lyttelton in one
of them. He desired that it might be so; and I had at once the
double mortification of concealing the good I had said of one
friend, and of revealing the turpitude of another. I hope you
will never have the same treatment that I have met with;
neither will you. I am single in my circumstances--a species
apart in the political society; and they, who dare to attack no
one else, may attack me. Chesterfield says, I have made a
coalition of Wig, Tory, Trimmer, and Jacobite against myself.
Be it so. I have Truth, that is stronger than all of them, on
my side; and, in her company, and avowed by her, I have more
satisfaction than their applause and their favour could give
me." Marchmont Papers.-E.
(37) This thought was borrowed by Mr. Spence, in a pamphlet
published on this occasion in defence of Pope.
(38) Burnet relates that the Earl of Dorset, celebrated for
patronage of Genius, found Prior by chance reading Horace, and
was so well pleased with his proficiency, that he undertook the
care and cost of academical education.
27 Letter 5
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 18, 1749,.
Whatever you hear of the Richmond fireworks, that is short of
the prettiest entertainment in the world, don't believe it - I
really never passed a more agreeable evening. Every thing
succeeded; all the wheels played in time; Frederick was
fortunate, and all the world in good humour. Then for
royalty--Mr. Anstis himself would have been glutted; there were
all the Fitzes upon earth, the whole court of St. Germains, the
Duke,(39) the Duke of Modena, and two Anamaboes. The King, and
Princess Emily bestowed themselves upon the mob on the river
and as soon as they were gone, the Duke had the music into the
garden, and himself, with my Lady Lincoln, Mrs. Pitt, Peggy
Banks, and Lord Holderness, entertained the good subjects with
singing God save the King to them over the rails of the
terrace. The Duke of Modena supped there, and the Duke was
asked, but he answered, it was impossible; in short, he could
not adjust his dignity to a mortal banquet. There was an
admirable scene: Lady Burlington brought the Violette, and the
Richmonds had asked Garrick who stood ogling and sighing the
whole time, while my Lady kept a most fierce look-out.
Sabbatini, one of the Duke of Modena's court, was asking me who
all the people were? and who is that? "C'est miladi Hartington,
la belle fille du Duc de Devonshire." "Et qui est cette autre
dame!" It was a distressing question; after a little
hesitation, I replied, "Mais c'est Mademoiselle Violette?" "Et
comment Mademoiselle Violette! j'ai connu une Mademoiselle
Violette, par exemple."(40) I begged him to look at Miss
In the middle of all these principalities and powers was the
Duchess of Queensbury, in her forlorn trim, a white apron and a
white hood, and would make the Duke swallow all her undress.
T'other day she drove post to Lady Sophia Thomas, at
Parsons-green, and told her that she was come to tell her
something of importance. " What is it!" "Why take a couple of
beef-steaks, clap them together as if they were for a dumpling,
and eat them with pepper and salt; it is the best thing you
ever tasted: I could not help coming to tell you this:" and
away she drove back to town. Don't a course of folly for forty
years make one very sick?
The weather is SO hot, and the roads so dusty, that I can't get
to Strawberry; but I shall begin negotiating with you now about
your coming. You must not expect to find it in beauty. I hope
to get my bill finished in ten days; I have scrambled it
through the lords; but altogether, with the many difficulties
and plagues, I am a good deal out of humour; my purchases
hitch, and new proprietors start out of the ground, like the
crop of soldiers in the Metamorphosis. I expect but an
unpleasant summer; my indolence and inattention are not made to
wade through leases and deeds. Mrs. Chenevix brought me one
yesterday to sign, and her sister Bertrand, the toy-woman of
Bath, for a witness. I showed them my cabinet of enamels
instead of treating them with white wine. The Bertrand said,
"Sir, I hope you don't trust all sorts of ladies with this
cabinet!" What an entertaining assumption of dignity! I must
tell you an anecdote that I found t'other day in an old French
author, which is a great drawback on beaux sentiments and
romantic ideas. Pasquier, in his "Recherches de la France," is
giving an account of the Queen of Scots' execution; he says,
the night before, knowing her body must be stripped for her
shroud, she would have her feet washed, because she used
ointment to one of them which was sore. I believe I have told
you, that in a very old trial of her, which I bought from Lord
Oxford's collection, it is said that she was a large lame
woman. Take sentiments out of their pantoufles, and reduce
them to the infirmities of mortality, what a falling off there
is! I could not help laughing in myself t'other day, as I went
through Holborn in a very hot day, at the dignity of human
nature; all those foul old-clothes women panting without
handkerchiefs, and mopping themselves all the way down within
their loose jumps. Rigby gave me a strong picture of human
nature; he and Peter Bathurst t'other night carried a servant
of the latter's, who had attempted to shoot him, before
Fielding; who, to all his other vocations, has, by the grace of
Mr. Lyttelton, added that of Middlesex justice. He sent them
word he was at supper, that they must come next morning. They
did not understand that freedom, and ran up, where they found
him banqueting with a blind man,(41) a whore, and three on some
cold mutton and a bone of ham, both in One dish, and the
dirtiest cloth. He never stirred nor asked them to sit.
Rigby, who had seen him so often come to beg a guinea of Sir C.
Williams, and Bathurst, at whose father's he had lived for
victual,,, understood that dignity as little, and pulled
themselves chairs; on which he civilized.(42)
Millar the bookseller has done generously by him: finding Tom
Jones, for which he had given him six hundred pounds, sell So
greatly, he has since given him another hundred.(43) Now I
talk to you of authors, Lord Cobham's West(44) has published
his translation of Pindar; the poetry is very stiff, but
prefixed to it there is a very entertaining account of the
Olympic games, and that preceded by an affected inscription to
Pitt and Lyttelton. The latter has declared his future match
with Miss Rich. George Grenville has been married these two
days to Miss Windham. Your friend Lord North is, I suppose you
know, on the brink with the countess of Rockingham;(45) and I
think your cousin Rice is much inclined to double the family
alliance with her sister Furnese. It went on very currently
for two or three days, but last night at Vauxhall his
minionette face seemed to be sent to languish with Lord R.
Was not you sorry for poor Cucumber? I do assure you I was; it
was shocking to be hurried away so suddenly, and in so much
torment. You have heard I suppose of Lord Harry Beauclerc's
resignation, on his not being able to obtain a respite till
November, though the lowest officer in his regiment has got
much longer leave. It is incredible how Nolkejumskoi has
persecuted this poor man for these four years, since he could
not be persuaded to alter his vote at a court-martial for the
acquittal of a man whom the Duke would have condemned. Lord
Ossulston, too, has resigned his commission.
I must tell you a good story of Charles Townshend: you know his
political propensity and importance; his brother George was at
supper at the King's Arms with some more young men. The
conversation somehow or other rambled into politics, and it was
started that the national debt was a benefit. "I am sure it is
not," said Mr. Townshend; I can't tell why, but my brother
Charles can, and I will send to him for arguments." Charles
was at supper at another tavern, but so much the dupe of this
message, that he literally called for ink and paper, wrote four
long sides of arguments, and sent word that when his company
broke up, he would come and give them more, which he did at one
o'clock in the morning. I don't think you will laugh much less
at what happened to me: I wanted a print out of a booth, which
I did not care to buy at Osborn's shop: the next day he sent me
the print, and begged that when I had any thing to publish, I
would employ him.
I will now tell you, and finish this long letter, how I shocked
Mr. Mackenzie inadvertently at Vauxhall: we had supped there a
great party, and coming out, Mrs. More, who waits at the gate,
said, "Gentlemen and ladies, you will walk in and hear the
surprising alteration of voice?" I forgetting Mackenzie's
connexions, and that he was formerly of the band, replied, "No,
I have seen patriots enough."
I intend this letter shall last you till you come to Strawberry
Hill. one might have rolled it out into half-a-dozen. My best
compliments to your sisters.
(39) The Duke of Cumberland.
(40) Garrick's; marriage with Mademoiselle Eva Maria Violette
took place four days after the date of this letter.-E.
(41) Sir Walter Scott suggests, that this blind man was
probably Fielding's brother.-E.
(42) "Allen, the friend of Pope," says Sir Walter Scott, "was
also one of his benefactors, but unnamed at his own desire;
thus confirming the truth of the poet's beautiful couplet,
'Let humble Allen, with an awkward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.'
It is said that this munificent and modest patron made Fielding
a present of two hundred pounds at one time, and that even
before he was personally acquainted with him."-E.
(43) "This," observes Sir Walter Scott, in his biographical
notice of Fielding, " is a humiliating anecdote, even after we
have made allowance for the aristocratic exaggeration of
Walpole; yet it is consoling to observe that Fielding's
principles remained unshaken, though the circumstances
attending his official situation tended to increase the
careless disrespectability of his private habits. His own
account of his conduct respecting the dues of the office on
which he depended for subsistence, has never been denied or
doubted: 'I confess,' says he, 'that my private affairs at the
beginning of the winter had but a gloomy aspect; for I had not
plundered the public or the poor of those sums which they who
are always ready to plunder both as much as they can, have been
pleased to suspect me of taking: on the contrary, by composing,
instead of inflaming, the quarrels of porters and beggars, and
by refusing to take a shilling from a man who most undoubtedly
would not have had another left, I had reduced an income of
about five hundred a year, of the dirtiest money upon earth, to
a little more than three hundred; a considerable portion of
which remained with my clerk."'-E.
(44) West's mother was sister to Sir Richard Temple, afterwards
Lord Cobham. Of his translation of Pindar, Dr. Johnson states,
that he found his expectations surpassed, both by its elegance
and its exactness. For his "Observations on the Resurrection,"
the University of Oxford, in March 1748, created him a Doctor
of Laws by diploma. At his residence at Wickham, where he was
often visited by Lyttelton and Pitt, there is a walk designed
by the latter; while the former received at this place that
conviction which produced his "Dissertation on St. Paul."-E.
(45) Daughter of Sir Robert Furnese, and widow of Lewis, Earl
30 Letter 6
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, June 4, 1749.
As summery as June and Strawberry Hill may sound, I assure you
I am writing to you by the fire-side: English weather will give
vent to its temper, and whenever it is out of humour it will
blow east and north and all kinds of cold. Your brothers Ned
and Gal. dined with me to-day, and I carried the latter back to
Richmond: as I passed over the green, I saw Lord Bath, Lord
Lonsdale,(46) and half-a-dozen more of the White's club
sauntering at the door of a house which they have taken there,
and come to every Saturday and Sunday to play at whist. You
will naturally ask why they can't play at whist in London on
those two days as well as on the other five; indeed I can't
tell you, except that it is so established a fashion to go out
of town at the end of the week, that people do go, though it be
only into another town. It made me smile to see Lord Bath
sitting there, like a citizen that has left off trade.
Your brother Ned has not seen Strawberry Hill since my great
improvements; he was astonished: it is pretty: you never saw so
tranquil a scene, without the least air of melancholy: I should
hate it, if it was dashed with that. I forgot to ask Gal. what
is become of the books of Houghton which I gave him six months
ago for you and Dr. Cocchi. You perceive I have got your
letter of May 23rd, and with it Prince Craon's simple epistle
to his daughter:(47) I have no mind to deliver it: it would be
a proper recommendation of a staring boy on his travels, and is
consequently very suitable to my colleague, Master St. Leger;
but one hates to be coupled with a romping grayhound puppy,
"qui est moins prudent que Monsieur Valpol!" I did not want to
be introduced to Madame de Mirepoix's assemblies, but to be
acquainted with her, as I like her family: I concluded, simple
as he is, that an old Frenchman knew how to make these
distinctions. By thrusting St. Leger into the letter with me,
and talking of my prudence, I shall not wonder if she takes me
for his bear-leader, his travelling governor!
Mr. Chute, who went from hence this morning, and is always
thinking of blazoning your pedigree(48) in the noblest colours,
has turned over all my library, till he has tapped a new and
very great family for you: in short, by your mother it is very
clear that you are descended from Hubert de Burgh, Grand
Justiciary to Richard the Second: indeed I think he was hanged;
but that is a misfortune that ill attend very illustrious
genealogies; it is as common to them as to the pedigrees about
Paddington and Blacieheath. I have had at least a dozen
great-great-grandfathers that came to untimely ends. All your
virtuosos in heraldry are content to know that they had
ancestors who lived five hundred years ago, no matter how they
died. A match with a low woman corrupts a stream of blood as
long as the Danube, tyranny, villainy, and executions are mere
fleabites, and leave no stain. The good Lord of Bath, whom I
saw on Richmond-green this evening, did intend, I believe, to
ennoble my genealogy with another execution: how low is he sunk
now from those views! and how entertaining to have lived to see
all those virtuous patriots proclaiming their mutual
iniquities! Your friend Mr. Doddington, it seems, is so reduced
as to be relapsing into virtue. In my last I told you some
curious anecdotes of another part of the band, of Pope and
Bolingbroke. The friends of the former have published twenty
pamphlets against the latter; I say against the latter, for, as
there is no defending Pope, they are reduced to satirize
Bolingbroke. One of them tells him how little he would be
known himself from his own writings, if he were not
immortalized in Pope's; and still more justly, that if be
destroys Pope's moral character, what will become of his own,
which has been retrieved and sanctified by the embalming art of
his friend? However, there are still new discoveries made
every day of Pope's dirty selfishness. Not content with the
great profits which he proposed to make of the work in
question, he could not bear that the interest of his money
should be lost till Bolingbroke's death; and therefore told him
that it would cost very near as much to have the press set for
half-a-dozen copies as it would for a complete edition, and by
this means made Lord Bolingbroke pay very near the whole
expense of the fifteen hundred. Another story I have been told
on this occasion, was of a gentleman who, making a visit to
Bishop Atterbury in France, thought to make his court by
commending Pope. The Bishop replied not: the gentleman doubled
the dose - at last the Bishop shook his head, and said, "Mens
curva in corpore curvo!" The world will now think justly of
these men: that Pope was the greatest poet, but not the most
disinterested man in the world; and that Bolingbroke had not
all those virtues and not all those talents which the other so
proclaimed; and that be did not even deserve the friendship
which lent him so much merit; and for the mere loan of which he
dissembled attachment to Pope, to whom in his heart he was as
perfidious and as false as he has been to the rest of the
The Duke of Devonshire has at last resigned, for the
unaccountable and unenvied pleasure of shutting himself up at
Chatsworth with his ugly mad Duchess;(49) the more
extraordinary sacrifice, as he turned her head, rather than
give up a favourite match for his son. She has consented to
live with him there, and has even been with him in town for a
few days, but did not see either her son or Lady Harrington.
On his resignation he asked and obtained an English barony for
Lord Besborough, whose son Lord Duncannon, you know, married
the Duke's eldest daughter. I believe this is a great
disappointment to my uncle, who hoped he would ask the peerage
for him or Pigwiggin. The Duke of Marlborough succeeds as lord
(46) Henry Lowther, third Viscount Lonsdale, of the first
creation. He was the second son of John, the first Viscount,
and succeeded his elder brother Richard in the title in 1713.
He was a lord of the bedchamber, and at one period of his life
was privy seal.-D.
(47) Madame de Mirepoix, French ambassadress in England, to
whom her father, Prince Craon, had written a letter of
introduction for Horace Walpole.- D.
(48) Count Richcourt, and some Florentines, his creatures, had
been very impertinent about Mr. Mann's family, which was very
good, and which made it necessary to have his pedigree drawn
out, and sent over to Florence.
(49) Coxe, in his Memoirs of Lord Walpole, vol ii. p. 264, says
that the Duke of Devonshire resigned, because be was disgusted
with the feuds in the cabinet, and perplexed with the jealous
disposition of Newcastle and the desponding spirit of Pelham.
He adds, " that the Duke was a man of sound judgment and
unbiased integrity, and that Sir Robert Walpole used to
declare, that, on a subject which required mature deliberation,
he would prefer his sentiments to those of any other person in
32 Letter 7
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, June 25, 1749.
Don't flatter yourself with your approaching year of jubilee;
its pomps and vanities will be nothing to the shows and
triumphs we have had, and are having. I talk like an
Englishman: here you know we imagine that a jubilee is a season
of pageants, not of devotion but our Sabbath has really been
all tilt and tournament. There have been, I think, no less
than eight masquerades, the fire-works, and a public act at
Oxford: to-morrow is an installation of six Knights of the Bath,
and in August of as many Garters: Saturday, Sunday,
and Monday next, are the banquets(50) at Cambridge, for the
instalment of the Duke of Newcastle as chancellor. The whole
world goes to it: he has invited, summoned, pressed the entire
body of nobility and gentry from all parts of England. His
cooks have been there these ten days, distilling essences of
every living creature, and massacring and confounding all the
species that Noah and Moses took such pains to preserve and
distinguish. It would be pleasant to see the pedants and
professors searching for etymologies of strange dishes, and
tracing more wonderful transformations than any in the
Metamorphoses. How miserably Horace's unde et quo Catius will
be hacked about in clumsy quotations! I have seen some that
will be very unwilling performers at the creation of this
ridiculous MaMaMOUChi.(51) I have set my heart on their giving
a doctor's degree to the Duchess of Newcastle's favourite--this
favourite is at present neither a lover nor an apothecary, but
a common pig, that she brought from Hanover: I am serious; and
Harry Vane, the new lord of the treasury, is entirely employed,
when he is not -,it the Board, in opening and shutting the door
for it. Tell me, don't you very often throw away my letters in
a passion, and believe that I invent the absurdities I relate!
Were not we as mad when you was in England?
The King, who has never dined out of his own palaces, has just
determined to dine at Claremont to-morrow--all the cooks are at
Cambridge; imagine the distress!
Last Thursday, the Monarch of my last paragraph gave away the
six vacant ribands; one to a Margrave of Anspach, a near
relation of the late Queen; others to the Dukes of leeds(52)
and Bedford, lords Albemarle and Granville: the last, you may
imagine gives some uneasiness. The Duke of Bedford has always
been unwilling to take one, having tied himself up in the days
of his patriotism to forfeit great sums if ever he did. The
King told him one day this winter, that he would give none away
but to him and to Anspach. This distinction struck him: he
could not refuse the honour; but he has endeavoured to waive
it, as one imagines, by a scruple he raised against the oath,
which obliges the knights, whenever they are within two miles
of Windsor, to go and offer. The King would not abolish the
oath, but has given a general dispensation for all breaches of
it, past, present, and to come. Lord Lincoln and Lord
Harrington are very unhappy at not being in the list. The
sixth riband is at last given to Prince George; the ministry
could not prevail for it till within half an hour of the
ceremony; then the Bishop of Salisbury was sent
to notify the gracious intention. The Prince was at Kew, so
the message was delivered to Prince George(53) himself. The
child, with great good sense, desired the Bishop to give his
duty and thanks, and to assure the King that he should always
obey him; but that, as his father was out of town, he could
send no other answer. Was not it clever? The design of not
giving one riband to the Prince's children had made great
noise; there was a Remembrancer(54) on that subject ready for
the press. This is the Craftsman of the present age, and is
generally levelled at the Duke,(55) and filled with very
circumstantial cases of his arbitrary behaviour. It has
absolutely written down Hawly, his favourite general and
executioner, who was to have been upon the staff.
Garrick is married to the famous Violette, first at a
Protestant, and then at a Roman Catholic chapel. The chapter
of this history is a little obscure and uncertain as to the
consent of the protecting Countess,(56) and whether she gives
her a fortune or not.
Adieu! I believe I tell you strange rhapsodies; but you must
consider that our follies are not only very extraordinary, but
are our business and employment; they enter into our politics,
nay, I think They are our politics(57)--and I don't know which
are the simplest. they are Tully's description of poetry,
"haec studia juventutem alunt, senectutem oblectant; pernoctant
nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusticantur:" so if you will that I
write to you, you must be content with a detail of absurdities.
I could tell you of Lord Mountford's(58) making
cricket-matches, and fetching up parsons by express from
different parts of England to play matches on Richmond-green;
of his keeping aide-de-camps to ride to all parts to lay bets
for him at horse-races, and of twenty other peculiarities; but
I fancy you are tired: in short, you, who know me, will
comprehend all best when I tell you that I live in such a scene
of folly as makes me even think myself a creature of common
(50) Gray, in giving an account of the installation to his
friend Wharton, says, "Every one, while it lasted, was very gay
and very busy in the morning, and very owlish and very tipsy at
night. I make no exceptions, from the Chancellor to Blewcoat.
Mason's Ode was the only entertainment that had any tolerable
elegance, and for my own part, I think it (with some little
abatements) uncommonly well on such an occasion. Works, vol.
iii. p. 67.-E.
(51) See Moli`ere's Bourgeois Gentilhomme; in which the nouveau
riche is persuaded that the Grand Seigneur has made him a
mamamouchi, a knight of an imaginary order, and goes through
the ceremony of a mock installation.-E.
(52) Thomas Osborne, fourth Duke of Leeds.--D.
(53) Afterwards George the Third.-D.
(54) A weekly paper edited by Ralph. It was undertaken a short
time previous to the rebellion, to serve the purposes of Bubb
Doddington; in whose Diary Ralph is frequently mentioned with
(55) The Duke of Cumberland-D.
(56) Dorothy, Countess of Burlington. The Violette was a
German dancer, first at the Opera and then at the playhouse;
and in such favour at Burlington-house, that the tickets for
her benefits were designed by Kent, and engraved by Vertue. [In
the Gentleman's Magazine, the lady is stated to have brought
Garrick a fortune of ten thousand pounds.)
(57) This was frequently the case while the Duke of Newcastle
and Mr.-Pelham were ministers; it was true, that in the case of
the Violette just mentioned, one night that she had advertised
three dances and danced but two, Lord Bury and some young men
of fashion began a riot, and would have had her sent from
Burlington-House. It being feared that she would be hissed on
her next appearance, and Lord Hartington, the cherished of Mr.
Pelham, being son-in-law of Lady Burlington, the ministry were
in great agitation to secure a good reception for the Violette
from the audience, and the Duke was even desired to order Lord
Bury (one of his lords) not to hiss.
(58) Henry Bromley, first Lord Montfort, so created in 1741.
He died in 1755.-D.
35 Letter 8
To George Montagu, Esq.
Mistley, July 5, 1749.
I have this moment received your letter, and it makes me very
unhappy,. You will think me a brute for not having immediately
told you how glad I should be to see you and your sisters; but
I trust that you will have seen Mrs. Boscawen, by whom I sent
you a message to invite you to Strawberry Hill, when we should
be returned from Roel and Mistley. I own my message had rather
a cross air; but as you have retrieved all your crimes with me
by your letter, I have nothing to do but to make myself as well
with you as you are with me. Indeed I am extremely unlucky, but
I flatter myself that Messrs. Montagus will not drop their kind
intention, as it is not in my power to receive it now: they
will give me infinite pleasure by a visit. I stay there till
Monday se'nnight; will that be too late to see you before your
journey to Roel? You must all promise, at least, to be engaged
to me at my return. If the least impediment happens
afterwards, I shall conclude my brother has got you from me;
you know jealousy is the mark of my family.
Mr. Rigby makes you a thousand compliments, and wishes you
would ever think his Roel worth your seeing: you cannot imagine
how he has improved it! You have always heard me extravagant in
the praises of the situation. he has demolished all his
paternal intrenchments of walls and square gardens, opened
lawns, swelled out a bow-window, erected a portico, planted
groves, stifled ponds, and flounce himself with flowering
shrubs and Kent fences. You may imagine that I have a little
hand in all this. Since I came hither, I have projected a
colonnade to join his mansion to the offices, have been the
death of a tree that intercepted the view of the bridge, for
which, too, I have drawn a white rail, and shall be absolute
travelling Jupiter at Baucis and Philemon's; for I have
persuaded him to transform a cottage into a church, by exalting
a spire upon the end of it, as Talbot has done. By the way, I
have dined at the Vineyard.(59) I dare not trust you with what
I think, but I was a little disappointed. To-morrow we go to
the ruins of the Abbey of St. Osyth; it is the seat of the
Rochfords, but I never chose to go there while they were there.
You will probably hear from Mr. Lyttelton (if in any pause of
love he rests) that I am going to be first minister to the
Prince: in short, I have occasioned great speculation, and
diverted myself with the important mysteries that have been
alembicked out of a trifle. In short, he had seen my AEdes
Walpolianae at Sir Luke Schaub's, and sent by him to desire
one. I sent him one bound quite in coronation robes, and went
last Sunday to thank him for the honour. There were all the
new knights of the garter. After the prince had whispered
through every curl of lord Granville's periwig, he turned to me,
and said such a crowd of civil things that I did not know
what to answer; commended the style and the quotations; said I
had sent him back to his Livy; in short, that there were but
two things he disliked--one, that I had not given it to him of
my own accord, and the other, that I had abused his friend
Andrea del Sarto; and that he insisted, when I came to town
again, I should come and see two very fine ones that he has
lately bought of that master. This drew on a very long
conversation on painting, every word of which I suppose will be
reported at the other court as a plan of opposition for the
winter. Prince George was not there: when he went to receive
the riband, the Prince carried him to the closet door, where
the Duke of Dorset received and carried him. Ayscough,(60) or
Nugent. or some of the geniuses, had taught him a speech; the
child began it', the Prince cried "No, no!" When the boy had a
little recovered his fright, he began again; but the same
tremendous sounds were repeated, and the oration still-born.
I believe that soon I shall have a pleasanter tale to tell you;
it is said my Lady Anson, not content with the profusion of the
absurdities she utters, (by the way, one of her sayings, and
extremely in the style of Mr. Lyttelton's making love, was, as
she sat down to play at brag at the corner of a square table:
Lady Fitzwalter said she was sorry she had not better room; "O!
Madam," said my Lady Anson, "I can sit like a nightingale, with
my breast against a thorn;") in short, that, not content with
so much wit, she proposes to entertain the town to the tune of
Doctors' Commons. She does not mince her disappointments: here
is an epigram that has been made on the subject:-
"As Anson his voyage to my lady was reading,
And recounting his dangers--thank God she's not breeding!
He came to the passage, where, like the old Roman,
He stoutly withstood the temptation of woman;
The Baroness smiled; when continuing, he said,
"Think what terror must there fill the poor lover's head."
"Alack!" quoth my lady, "he had nothing to fear,
Were that Scipio as harmless as you are, my dear."
(59) Mr. Chute's.
(60) Francis Ayscough, Dean of Bristol, tutor to Prince
36 Letter 9
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, July 20th, 1749.
I am returned to my Strawberry, and find it in such beauty,
that I shall be impatient till I see you and your sisters here.
They must excuse me if I don't marry for their reception; for
it is said the Drax's have impeached fifteen more damsels, and
till all the juries of matrons have finished their inquest, one
shall not care to make one's choice: I was going to say, "throw
one's handkerchief," but at present that term would be a little
As I came to town I was extremely entertained with some
excursions I made out of the road in search of antiquities. At
Layer Marney is a noble old remnant of the palace of the Lords
of Marney, with three very good tombs in the church well
preserved. At Messing I saw an extreme fine window of painted
glass in the church; it is the duties prescribed in the Gospel
of visiting the sick and prisoners, etc. I mistook, and
called it the seven deadly sins. There is a very old tomb of
Sir Robert Messing, that built the church. The hall-place is a
fragment of an old house belonging to Lord Grimston;(61) Lady
Luckyn his mother, of fourscore and six, lives in it with an
old son and daughter. The servant who showed it told us much
history of another brother that had been parson there: this
history was entirely composed of the anecdotes of the doctor's
drinking. who, as the man told us, had been a blood. There are
some Scotch arms taken from the rebels in the '15, and many old
coats of arms on glass brought from Newhall, which now belongs
to Olmius. Mr. Conyers bought a window(62) there for only a
hundred pounds, on which is painted Harry the Eighth and one of
his queens at full length: he has put it up at Copt-hall, a
seat which he has bought that belonged to Lord North and Grey.
You see I persevere in my heraldry. T'other day the parson of
Rigby's parish dined with us; he has conceived as high an
opinion of my skill in genealogies, as if I could say the first
chapter of Matthew by heart. Rigby drank my health to him, and
that I might come to be garter king at arms: the poor man
replied with great zeal, "I wish he may with all my heart."
Certainly, I am born to preferment; I gave an old woman a penny
once, who prayed that I might live to be lord mayor of London!
What pleased me most in my travels was Dr. Sayer's parsonage at
Witham, which, with Southcote's help, whose old Roman Catholic
father lives just by him, he has made one of the most charming
villas in England. There are sweet meadows falling down a
hill, and rising again on t'other side of the pretiest little
winding stream you ever saw. You did not at all surprise me
with the relation of the keeper's brutality to your family, or
of his master's to the dowager's handmaid. His savage temper
increases every day. George Boscawen is in a scrape with him
by a court-martial, of which he is one; it was appointed on a
young poor soldier, who to see his friends had counterfeited a
furlough only for a day. They ordered him two hundred lashes;
but Molkejunskoi, who loves blood like a leech, insisted it was
not enough-has made them sit three times (though every one
adheres to the first sentence,) and swears they shall sit these
six months till they increase the punishment. The fair Mrs.
Pitt has been mobbed in the Park, and with difficulty rescued
by some gentlemen, only because this bashaw is in love with
her. You heard, I suppose, of his other amour with the
Savoyard girl. He sent her to Windsor and offered her a hundred
pounds, which she refused because he was a heretic; he sent her
back on foot. Inclosed is a new print on this subject, which I
think has more humour than I almost ever saw in one of that sort.
Should I not condole with you upon the death of the head of the
Cues?(63) If' you have not heard his will, I will tell you.
The settled estate of eight thousand a year is to go between
the two daughters, out of which is a jointure of three thousand
a year to the Duchess-dowager, and to that he has added a
thousand more out of the unsettled estate, which is nine
thousand. He gives, together with his blessing, four thousand
per annum rent-charge to the Duchess of Manchester in present,
provided she will contest nothing with her sister, who is to
have all the rest, and the reversion of the whole after Lady
Cardigan and her children; but in case she disputes, Lady
Hinchinbrooke and hers are in the entail next to the Cardigans,
who are to take the Montagu name and livery. I don't know what
Mr. Hussey will think of the blessing, but they say his Duchess
will be inclined to mind it; she always wanted to be well with
her father, but hated her mother. There are two codicils, one
in favour of his servants, and the other of' his dogs, cats,
and creatures; which was a little unnecessary, for lady
Cardigan has exactly his turn for saving every thing's life.
As he was making the codicil, One of his cats jumped on his
knee; "What," says he, "have you a mind to be a witness too!
You can't, for you are a party concerned." Lord Stafford is
going to send his poor wife with one maid and one horse to a
farm-house in Shropshire for ever. The Mirepoix's are come;
but I have not yet seen them. A thousand compliments to your
(61) Sir Samuel Grimston, Bart. left an heiress, who married
Sir Capel Luckyn, bart. Their son changed his name to
Grimston, and was created a baron and a Viscount.
(62) This window is now in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.
(63) John, Duke of Montague.
38 letter 10
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, July 24, 1749.
You and Dr. Cocchi have made me ashamed with the civilities you
showed to my book-I hope it blushed!
You have seen the death of the Duke of Montagu(64) in all the
papers. His loss will be extremely felt! he paid no less than
2700 pounds a year in private pensions, which ought to be
known, to balance the immense history of his places; of which
he was perpetually obtaining new, and making the utmost of all:
he had quartered on the great wardrobe no less than thirty
nominal tailors and arras-workers. - This employment is to be
dropped; his others are not yet given away. My father had a
great opinion of his understanding, and at the beginning of the
war was most desirous of persuading him to be Generalissimo;
but the Duke was very diffident of himself, and, having seen
little service, would not accept it, In short, with some foibles,
he was a most amiable man, and one of the most feeling I ever
knew. His estate is 17,000 pounds a year; the Duchess of
Manchester must have four of it; all the rest he has given,
after four thousand a year to the Duchess-dowager shall fall
in, to his other daughter Lady Cardigan. Lord Vere
Beauclerc(65) has thrown his into the list of vacant
employments: he resigned his lordship of the admiralty on
Anson's being preferred to him for vice-admiral of England; but
what heightened the disgust, was Lord Vere's going to a party
to visit the docks with Sandwich and Anson, after this was
done, and yet they never mentioned it to him. It was not
possible to converse with them upon good terms every day
afterwards. You perceive our powers and places are in a very
fluctuating situation: the Prince will have a catalogue of
discontented ready to fill the whole civil list. My Lord
Chancellor was terrified the other day with a vision of such a
revolution; he saw Lord Bath kiss hands, and had like to have
dropped the seals with the agony of not knowing what it was
for--it was only for his going to Spa. However, as this is an
event which the Chancellor has never thought an impossible one,
he is daily making Christian preparation against it. He has
just married his other daughter to Sir John Heathcote's
son;(66) a Prince little inferior to Pigwiggin in person; and
procreated in a greater bed of money and avarice than Pigwiggin
himself: they say, there is a peerage already promised to him
by the title of Lord Normanton. The King has consented to give
two earldoms to replace the great families of Somerset and
Northumberland in their descendants; Lady Betty Smithson is to
have the latter title after the Duke of Somerset's death, and
Sir Charles Windham any other appellation he shall choose. You
know Lord Granville had got a grant of Northumberland for him,
but it was stopped. These two hang a little, by the Duke of
Somerset's wanting to have the earldom for his son-in-law,(67)
instead of his daughter.(68)
You ask me about the principles of the Methodists: I have tried
to learn them, and have read one of their books. The visible
part seems to be nothing but stricter practice than that of our
church, clothed in the old exploded cant of mystical devotion.
For example, you take a metaphor; we will say our passions are
weeds; you immediately drop every description of the passions,
and adopt every thing peculiar to weeds: in five minutes a true
Methodist will talk with the greatest compunction of hoeing--this
catches women of fashion and shopkeepers.
I have now a request to make to you: Mrs. Gibberne is extremely
desirous of having her son come to England for a short time.
There is a small estate left to the family, I think by the
uncle; his presence is absolutely necessary: however, the poor
woman is so happy in his situation with you, that she talks Of
giving up every thing rather than disoblige you by fetching him
to England. She has been so unfortunate as to lose a favourite
daughter ' that was just married greatly to a Lisbon merchant:
the girl was so divided in her affections, that she had a mind
not to have followed her husband to Portugal. Mrs. Leneve, to
comfort the poor woman, told her what a distress this would
have been either way: she was so struck with this position,
that she said, "Dear Madam, it is very lucky she died!"--and
since that, she has never cried, but for joy! Though it is
impossible not to smile at these awkward sensations of
unrefined nature, yet I am sure your good nature will agree
with me in giving the poor creature this satisfaction; and
therefore I beg it. Adieu!
(64) John, the last Duke of Montague, was knight of the garter,
great master of the order of the Bath, master of the great
wardrobe, Colonel of the Blues, etc. etc.
(65) Lord Vere Beauclerc, brother of the Duke of St. Albans,
afterwards created Lord Vere of Hanworth.
(66) Sir John Heathcote, Bart. of Normanton Park, in
Rutlandshire. He was the son of Sir Gilbert Heathcote, Lord
Mayor of London, who acquired a vast fortune, and was created a
baronet in 1733. Sir John's son, Sir Gilbert, the third
baronet, married to his first wife, Margaret, youngest daughter
of the Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.-D.
(67) Sir Hugh Smithson.
(68) The Duke of Somerset was eventually created Earl of
Northumberland with remainder to Sir Hugh Smithson, and Earl of
Egremont with remainder to Sir Charles Wyndham.-D.
40 Letter 11
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 17, 1749.
I hear of nothing but your obliging civilities to the
Barrets:(69) I don't wonder you are attentive to please; my
amazement is, when I find it well distributed: you have all
your life been making Florence agreeable to every body that
came there, who have almost all forgot it--or worse. But Mr.
and Mrs. Barret do you justice, and as they are very sensible
and agreeable, I am persuaded you will always find that they
know how to esteem such goodness as yours. Mr. Chute has, this
morning received here a letter from Mr. ]Barret, and will
answer it very soon. Mr. Montagu is here too, and happy to
hear he is so -well, and recommends several compliments to your
Your brother mentions your being prevented writing to me, by
the toothache: I hate you should have any pain.
You always let us draw upon you for such weight of civilities
to any body we recommend, that if I did not desire to show my
attention, and the regard I have for Count LorenZi,(70) yet it
would be burning ingratitude not to repay you. I have
accordingly been trying to be very civil to the Chevalier; I
did see him Once at Florence. To-morrow I am to fetch him
hither to dinner, from Putney, where the Mirepoix's have got a
house. I gave Madame her father's simple\ letter, of which she
took no more notice than it deserved; but Prince Beauvau(71) has
written her a very particular one about me, and
is to come over himself in the winter to make me a visit: this
has warmed their politesse. I should have known the
Ambassadress any where by the likeness to her family. He is
cold and stately, and not much tasted here. She is very
sensible; but neither of them satisfy me in one point; I wanted
to see something that was the quintessence of the newest bon
ton, that had the last bel air, and spoke the freshest jargon.
These people have scarce ever lived at Paris, are reasonable,
and little amusing with follies. They have brought a cousin
of' his, a Monsieur de Levi, who has a tantino of what I wanted
to see. You know they pique themselves much upon their Jewish
name, and call cousins with the Virgin Mary. They have a
picture in the family, where she is made to say to the founder
of the house, "Couvrez vous, Mon cousin." He replies, "Non
pas, ma tr`es sainte cousine, je scai trop bien le respect que
je vous dois."(72)
There is nothing like news: Kensington Palace was like to have
made an article the other night; it was on fire: my Lady
Yarmouth has an ague, and is forced to keep a constant fire in
her room against the damps. When my Lady Suffolk lived in that
apartment, the floor produced a constant crop of mushrooms.
Though there are so many vacant chambers, the King hoards all
he can, and has locked up half the palace since the queen's
death: so he does at St. James's, and I believe would put the
rooms out on interest, if he could get a closet a year for
them! Somebody told my Lady Yarmouth they wondered she could
live in that unwholesome apartment, when there are so many
other rooms: she replied, "Mais pas pour moy."
The scagliola tables are arrived, and only one has suffered a
little on the edge: the pattern is perfectly pretty. It would
oblige me much if you could make the Friar make a couple more
for me, and with a little more expedition.
Don't be so humble about your pedigree: there is not a pipe of
good blood in the kingdom but we will tap for you: Mr. Chute
has it now in painting; and you may depend on having it with
the most satisfactory proofs, as soon as it can possibly be
finished. He has taken great pains, and fathomed half the
genealogies in England for you.
You have been extremely misinformed about my father's writing
his own history: I often pressed it, but he never once threw a
thought that way. He neither loved reading nor writing; and at
last, the only time he had leisure, was not well enough. He
used to say, "that but few men should ever be ministers, for it
let them see too much of the badness of mankind." Your story,
I imagine, was inoculated on this speech. Adieu!
(69) Thomas Barrett-Lennard, afterwards Lord Dacre of the
South, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Lord Chief Justice
Pratt, afterwards Lord Camden.
(70) The French minister at Florence.
(71) The brother of Madame de Mirepoix, afterwards a marshal of
(72) There is said to have been another equally absurd picture
in the same family, in which Noah is represented going into the
ark, carrying under his arm a small trunk, on which was written
"Papiers de la maison de Levis."-D.
42 Letter 12
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, August 26, 1749.
I flatter myself that you are quite recovered of your disorder,
and that your sisters will not look with an evil eye on
Strawberry Hill. Mr. Chute and I are returned from our
expedition miraculously well, considering all our distresses.
If you love good roads, conveniences, good inns, plenty of
postilions and horses, be so kind as never to go into Sussex.
We thought ourselves in the northest part of England; the whole
country has a Saxon air, and the inhabitants are savage, as if
King George the Second had been the first monarch of the East
Angles. Coaches grow there no more than balm and spices; we
were forced to drop our postchaise, that resembled nothing so
much as harlequin's calash, which was occasionally a chaise or
a baker's cart. We journeyed over Alpine mountains, drenched
in clouds, and thought of harlequin again, when he was driving
the chariot of the sun through the morning clouds, and so was
glad to hear the aqua vitae man crying a dram. At last we got
to Arundel Castle, which was visibly built for defence in an
impracticable country. It is now only a heap of ruins, with a
new indifferent apartment clapt up for the Norfolks, when they
reside there for a week or a fortnight. Their priest showed us
about. There are the walls of a round tower where the garrison
held out against Cromwell; he planted a battery on the top of
the church, and reduced them. There is a gloomy gateway and
dunccons, in one of which I conclude is kept the old woman who,
in the time of the late rebellion, offered to show Lord Robert
Sutton(73) where arms were hidden at Worksop.(74) The Duchess
complimented him into dining before his search, and in the mean
time the woman was spirited away, and adieu the arms. There
are fine monuments of the old Fitzalans, Earls of Arundel, in
the church. Mr. Chute, whom I have created Strawberry king at
arms, has had brave sport a la chasse aux armes.
We are charmed with the magnificence of the park at
Petworth,(75) which is Percy to the backbone; but the house and
garden did not please our antiquarian spirit. The house is
entirely new-fronted in the style of the Tu'lleries, and
furnished exactly like Hampton Court. There is one room
gloriously flounced all round whole-length pictures, with much
the finest carving of Gibbins that ever my eyes beheld. There
are birds absolutely feathered; and two antique vases with bas
relieves, as perfect and beautiful as if they were carved by a
Grecian master. There is a noble Claude Lorrain, a very
curious Picture of the haughty Anne Stanhope, the Protector's
but not giving one an idea of her character, and many old
portraits; but the housekeeper was at London, and we did not
learn half. The chapel is grand and proper. At the inn we
entertained ourselves with the landlord, whom my Lord Harvey
had cabineted when he went to woo one of the Lady Seymours.
Our greatest pleasure was in seeing Cowdry, which is repairing;
Lord Montacute(77) will at last live in it. We thought of old
Margaret of Clarence, who lived there; one of her accusations
was built on the bulls found there. It was the palace of her
great uncle, the Marquis of Montacute. I was charmed with the
front, and the court, and the fountain; but the room called
Holbein's, except the curiosity of it, is wretchedly painted,
and infinitely inferior to those delightful stories of Harry
the Eighth in the private apartment at Windsor. I was much
pleased with a whole length picture of Sir Anthony Brown in the
very dress in which he wedded Anne of Cleves by proxy. He is
in blue and white, only his right leg is entirely white, which
was certainly robed for the act of putting into bed to her; but
when the King came to marry her, he only put his leg into bed
to kick her out of it.
I have set up my staff, and finished my pilgrimages for this
year. Sussex is a great damper of curiosity. Adieu! my
compliments to your sisters.
(73) lord Robert Sutton, third son of the Duke of rutland.
(74) A seat of the Duke of Norfolk in Nottinghamshire.
(75) A seat of Sir Charles Wyndham, who succeeded to the title
of Earl of Egremont on the death of his uncle Algernon, Duke of
(76) Second wife of Edward, Duke of Somerset, Protector in the
reign of his nephew, Edward VI.-E.
(77) Anthony, the sixth Viscount Montagu, descended from
Anthony Brown, created Viscount Montagu in 1554, being
descended from John Neville, Marquis of Montagu.
43 Letter 13
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 12, 1749,
I have your two letters to answer of August 15th and 26, and,
as far as I see before me, have a great deal of paper, which I
don't know how to fill. The town is notoriously empty; at
Kensington they have scarce company enough to pay for lighting
the candles. The Duke has been for a week with the Duke of
Bedford at Woburn; Princess Emily remains, saying civil things;
for example, the second time she saw Madame de Mircpoix, she
cried out, "Ah! Madame, vous n'avez pas tant de rouge
aujourd'hui: la premi`ere fois que vous `etes `a not venue ici,
vous aviez une quantit`e horrible." This the Mirepoix herself
repeated to me; you may imagine her astonishment,--I mean, as
far as your duty will give you leave. I like her extremely;
she has a great deal of quiet sense. They try much to be
English and whip into frocks without measure, and fancy they
are doing the fashion. Then she has heard so much of that
villanous custom of giving money to the servants of other
people, that there is no convincing her that women of fashion
never give; she distributes with both hands. The Chevalier
Lorenzi has dined with me here: I gave him venison, and, as he
was determined to like it, he protested it was "as good as
beef." You will be delighted with what happened to him: he was
impatient to make his brother's compliments to Mr. Chute, and
hearing somebody at Kensington call Mr. Schutz, he easily mistook
the sound, and went up to him, and asked him if he had not been
at Florence! Schutz with the utmost Hanoverian gravity, replied,
"Oui, oui, J'ai `et`e `a Florence, oui, oui:--mais o`u est-il,
The Richcourts(78) are arrived, and have brought with them a
strapping lad of your Count; sure, is it the boy my Lady O.
used to bring up by hand? he is pretty picking for her now.
The woman is handsome, but clumsy to a degree, and as much too
masculine as her lover Rice is too little so. Sir Charles
Williams too is arrived, and tells me how much he has heard in
your praise in Germany. Villettes is here, but I have had no
dealings with him. I think I talk nothing but foreign
ministers to-day, as if I were just landed from the Diet of
Ratisbon. But I shall have done on this chapter, and I think
on all others, for you say such extravagant things of my
letters, which are nothing but Gossiping gazettes, that I
cannot bear it. Then you have undone yourself with me, for you
compare them to Madame Sevign`e,'s; absolute treason! Do you
know, there is scarce a book in the world I love so much as her
How infinitely humane you are about Gibberne! Shall I amuse
you with the truth of that history, which I have discovered?
The woman, his mother, has pressed his coming for a very
private reason--only to make him one of the most considerable
men in this country!-and by what wonderful means do you think
this mighty business is to be effected? only by the beauties of
his person! As I remember, he was as little like an Adonis as
could be: you must keep this inviolably; but depend upon the
truth of it-I mean, that his mother really has this idea. She
showed his picture to--why, to the Duchess of Cleveland, to the
Duchess of Portsmouth, to Madame Pompadour; in short, to one of
them, I don't know which, I only know it was not to my Lady
Suffolk, the King's former mistress. "Mon Dieu! Madame, est-il
frai que fotrc fils est si sholi que ce bortrait? il faut que
je le garte; je feux apsolument l'afoir." The woman protested
nothing ever was so handsome as her lad, and that the nasty
picture did not do him half justice. In short, she flatters
herself that the Countess(79) will do him whole justice-. I
don't think it impossible but, out of charity, she may make him
groom of the chambers. I don't know, indeed, how the article
of beauty may answer; but if you should lose your Gibberne, it
is good to have @ a friend at court.
Lord Granby is going to be married to the eldest of the Lady
Seymours; she has above a hundred and thirty thousand pounds.
The Duke of Rutland will take none of it, but gives at present
six thousand a-year.
That I may keep my promise to myself of having nothing to tell
you I shall bid you good night; but I really do know no more.
Don't whisper my anecdote even to Gibberne, if he is not yet
set out; nor to the Barrets. I wish you a merry, merry baths
of Pisa, as the link-boys say at Vauxhall. Adieu!
(78) Count Richcourt, brother of the minister at Florence, and
envoy from the Emperor; his wife was a Piedmontese.
(79) Lady Yarmouth.
45 Letter 14
To John Chute, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 22, 1749.
My dear sir,
I expect Sir Charles Williams to scold me excessively. He
wrote me a letter, in which he desired that I would send you
word by last Post, that he expected to meet you here by
Michaelmas, according to your promise. I was unfortunately at
London; the letter was directed hither from Lord Ilchester's,
where he is; and so I did not receive it till this morning. I
/hope, however, this will be time enough to put you in mind of
your appointment; but while I am so much afraid of Sir
Charles's anger, I seem to forget the pleasure I shall have in
seeing you myself; I hope you know that: but he is still The
more pressing, as he will stay so little time in England.
45 Letter 15
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 28, 1749.
I am much obliged to you, dear sir, and agree with your opinion
about the painting of Prince Edward, that it cannot be original
and authentic, and consequently not worth copying. Lord
Cholmondeley is, indeed, an original; but who are the wise
people that build for him? Sir Philip Harvey seems to be the
only person likely to be benefited by this new extravagance. I
have just seen a collection of tombs like those you describe--
the house of Russel robed in alabaster and painted. There are
seven monuments in all; one is immense, in marble, cherubim'd
and seraphim'd, crusted with bas-reliefs and titles, for the
first Duke of Bedford and his Duchess.(80) All these are in a
chapel of the church at Cheneys, the seat of the first Earls.
There are but piteous fragments of the house remaining, now a
farm, built round three sides of a court. It is dropping down,
in several places without a roof, but in half the windows are
beautiful arms in painted glass. As these are so totally
neglected, I propose making a push, and begging them of the
Duke of Bedford. They would be magnificent for
Strawberry-castle. Did I tell you that I have found a text in
Deuteronomy to authorize my future battlements? "When thou
buildest a new house, then shalt thou make a battlement for thy
roof, that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall
I saw Cheneys at a visit I have been making to Harry Conway at
Latimers. This house, which they have hired, is large, and
bad, and old, but of a bad age; finely situated on a hill in a
beech wood, with a river at the bottom, and a range of hills
and woods on the opposite side belonging to the Duke of
Bedford. They are fond of it; the view is melancholy. In the
church at Cheneys Mr. Conway put on an old helmet we found
there: you cannot imagine how it suited him, how antique and
handsome he looked; you would have taken him for Rinaldo. Now
I have dipped you so deep in heraldry and genealogies, I shall
beg you to step into the church of Stoke; I know it is not
asking you to do, a disagreeable thing to call there; I want an
account of the tomb of the first Earl of Huntingdon, an
ancestor of mine, who lies there. I asked Gray, but he could
tell me little about it. You know how out of humour Gray has
been about our diverting ourselves with pedigrees, which is at
least as wise as making a serious point of haranguing against
the study. I believe neither Mr. Chute nor I ever contracted a
moment's vanity from any of our discoveries,
or ever preferred them to any thing but brag and whist. Well,
Gray has set himself to compute, and has found out that there
must go a million of ancestors in twenty generations to every
I dig and plant till it is dark; all my works are revived and
proceeding. When will you come and assist? You know I have an
absolute promise, and shall now every day expect you. My
compliments to your sisters.
(80) Anne, daughter of Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset.
46 Letter 16
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, October 27, 1749.
You never was more conveniently in fault in your life: I have
been going to make you excuses these ten days for not writing;
and while I was inventing them, your humble letter of Oct. 10th
arrives. I am so glad to find it is you that are to blame, not
I. Well, well, I am all good nature, I forgive you; I can
overlook such little negligences.
Mr. Chute is indefatigable in your service, but Anstis(81) has
been very troublesome; he makes as many difficulties in signing
a certificate about folks that are dead as if they were
claiming an estate. I am sorry you are so pressed, for poor
Mr. Chute is taken off from this pursuit: he was fetched from
hence this day se'nnight to his infernal brother's, where a
Mrs. Mildmay, whom you must have heard him mention, is dead
suddenly: this may turn out a very great misfortune to our
Your friend, Mr. Doddington, has not quite stuck to the letter
of the declaration he sent you: he is first minister at
Carlton-house, and is to lead the Opposition; but the misfortune
is, nobody will be led by him. That whole court is in disorder
by this event: every body else laughs.
I am glad the Barrets please you, and that I have pleased Count
Lorenzi. I must tell a speech of the Chevalier, which you will
reconnoitre for Florentine; one would think he had seen no more
of the world than his brother.(82) He was visiting Lady
Yarmouth with Mirepoix: he drew a person into a window, and
whispered him; Dites moi un peu en ami, je vous en prie; qu'est
ce que c'est que Miledi Yarmouth."--"Eh! bien, vous ne savez
pas?"--"Non, ma foi: nous savons ce que c'est que Miledi
Gibberne is arrived. I don't tell you this apropos to the
foregoing paragraph: he has wanted to come hither, but I have
waived his visit till I am in town.
I announce to you the old absurd Countess--not of Orford, but
Pomfret. Bistino will have enough to do: there is Lady
Juliana,(83) who is very like, but not so handsome as Lady
Granville; 'and Lady Granville's little child. They are
actually in France; I don't doubt but you will have them. I
shall pity you under a second edition of her follies. Adieu!
Pray ask my pardon for my writing you so short a letter.
(81) Garter King at Arms. (It was to him Lord Chesterfield
said, "You foolish man, you do not know your own foolish
(82) Who had never been out of Tuscany.
(83) In 1751 married to Thomas Penn, Esq. of Stoke Pogies. See
ant`e, p. 13, letter 1.-E.
47 Letter 17
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 17, 1749.
At last I have seen le beau Gibberne: I was extremely glad to
see him, after I had done contemplating his person, which
surely was never designed to figure in a romance. I never saw
a creature so grateful! It is impossible not to be touched
with the attachment he has for you. He talks of returning;
and, indeed, I would advise it for his sake: he is quite
spoiled for living in England, and had entirely forgot what
Visigoths his countrymen are. But I must drop him to thank you
for the charming intaglio which you have stolen for me by his
means: it is admired as much as it deserves; but with me it has
all the additional merit of coming from you. Gibberne says you
will be frightened at a lamentable history(84 that you will
read of me in the newspapers; but pray don't be frightened:
-the danger, great as it was, was over before I had any notion
of it; and the hurt did not deserve mentioning. The relation
is so near the truth, that I need not repeat it; and, indeed,
the frequent repetition has 'Been much worse than the robbery.
I have at last been relieved by the riots(85) at the new French
theatre, and by Lord Coke's lawsuit.(86) The first has been
opened twice; the latter to-day. The young men of fashion, who
espouse the French players, have hitherto triumphed: the old
ladies, who countenance Lady Mary Coke, are likely to have their
gray beards brought with sorrow to the grave. It will ,be a new
aera, (or, as my Lord Baltimore calls it, a new area,) in
English history, to have the mob and the Scotch beat out of two
points that they have endeavoured to make national. I dare say
the Chevalier Lorenzi will write ample accounts to Florence of
these and all our English phenomena. I think, if possible, we
brutalize more and more: the only difference is, that though
every thing is anarchy, there seems to be less general party
than ever. The humours abound, but there wants some notable
physician to bring them to a head.
The Parliament met yesterday: we had opposition, but no
division on the address.
Now the Barrets have left you, Mr. Chute and I will venture to
open our minds to you a little; that is, to comfort you for the
loss of your friends - we will abuse them--that is enough in
the way of the world. Mr. Chute had no kind of acquaintance
with Mr. Barret till just before he set out: I, who have known
him all my life, must tell you that all those nerves are
imaginary, and that as long as there are distempers in the
world, he will have one or two constantly upon his list. I
don't know her; I never heard much of her understanding, but I
had rather take your opinion; or at least, if I am not
absolutely so complaisant, I will believe that you was
determined to like them on Mr. Chute's account. I would not
speak so plainly to you (and have not I been very severe?) if I
were not sure that your good nature would not relax any offices
of friendship to them. You will scold me black and blue; but
you know I always tell you when the goodness of your heart
makes you borrow a little from that of other people to lend to
their heads. Good night!
(84) Mr. Walpole had been robbed the week before in Hyde Park,
and narrowly escaped being killed by the accidental going off
of the highwayman's pistol, which did stun him, and took off
the skin of his cheekbone.
(85) The mob was determined not to suffer French Players; and
Lord Trentham's engaging in their defence was made great use,
of against him at the ensuing election for Westminster; where
he was to be rechosen, on being appointed a lord of the
(86) Lady Mary Coke swore the peace against her husband.
48 letter 18
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Jan. 10, 1750.
I don't at all know what to say to you, for not having writ to
you since the middle of November: I only know that nothing has
happened, and so I have omitted telling you nothing. I have
had two from you in the interim, one of Nov. @8th, and one
without a date, in which you are extremely kind about my
robbery, of which in my last I assured you there were no
consequences: thank you a thousand times for having felt so
much on my account. Gibberne has been with me again to-day, as
his mother was a fortnight ago: she talked me to death, and three
times after telling me her whole history, she said, "Well then,
Sir, upon the whole," and began it all again. Upon the whole, I
think she has a mind to keep her son in England; (-ind he has a
mind to be kept, though in my opinion he is very unfit for living
in England--he is too polished! For trade, she says, he is in a
cold sweat if she mentions it; and so they propose, by the
acquaintance, he says,. his mother has among the quality, to get
him that nothing called something. I assured them, you had too
much friendship for him to desire his return, if it would be a
prejudice to his interest--did not I say right? He seems a
good creature; too good to make his way here.
I beg you will not omit sending me every tittle that happens to
compose my Lady Pomfret's second volume. We see perpetual
articles of the sale of the furniture in the Great Duke's
villas: is there any truth in it? You would know me again, if
you saw me playing at pharaoh on one side of Madame de
Mirepoix, as I used to do by her mother: I like her extremely,
though she likes nothing but gaming. His pleasure is dancing:
don't you envy any body that can have spirits to be so simple
as to like themselves in a minuet after fifty? Don't tell his
brother, but the Chevalier Lorenzi is the object of the
family's entertainment. With all the Italian thirst for
English knowledge, he vents as many absurdities as if he had a
passion for Ireland too. He saw some of the Florentine Gesses
at Lord Lincoln's; he showed them to the Ambassadress with
great transport, and assured her that the Great Duke had the
originals, and that there never had been made any copies of
them. He told her the other day that he had seen a sapphire of
the size of her diamond ring,,, and worth more: she said that
could not be. "Oh!" said he, "I mean, supposing your diamond
were a sapphire."
I want to know Dr. Cocchi's and your opinion of two new French
books, if you have seen them. One is Montesquieu's "Esprit des
Loix;" which I think the best book that ever was written--at
least I never learned half so much from all I ever read. There
is )s much wit as useful knowledge. He is said to have hurt
his reputation by it in France, which I can conceive, for it is
almost the interest of every body there that can understand it
to decry it. The other, far inferior, but entertaining,, is
Hainault's "Abrege Chronologique de l'Histoire de France." It
is very amusing, though very full of Frenchisms; and though an
abridgment, often so minute as to tell you when the
Quinzevingts first wore flower-de-luces on their shoulders: but
there are several little circumstances that give one an idea of
the manners of old time, like Dr. Cocchi's treatise on the old
rate of expenses.
There has been nothing particular in Parliament - all our
conversation has turned on the Westminster election, on which,
after a vast struggle, Lord Trentham had the majority. Then
came on the scrutiny: after a week's squabbling on the right of
election, the High-bailiff declared what he would take to be
the right. They are now proceeding to disqualify votes on that
foot; but as his decision could not possibly please both sides, I
fear it will come to us at last.
Lord Pembroke(87) died last night: he had been at the Bridge
Committee,(88) in the morning, where, according to custom, he
fell into an outrageous passion; as my Lord Chesterfield told
him, that ever since the pier sunk he has constantly been
damming and sinking. The watermen say to-day, that now the
great pier (peer) is quite gone. Charles Stanhope carried him
home in his chariot; he desired the coachman to drive gently,
for he could not avoid those passions; and afterwards, between
shame and his asthma, he always felt daggers, and should
certainly one day or other die in one of those fits.
Arundel,(89) his great friend and relation, came to him soon
after: he repeated the conversation, and said, he did not know
but he might die by night. "God bless you! If I see you no
more, take this as my last farewell!" He died in his chair at
seven o'clock. He certainly is a public loss; for he was
public-spirited and inflexibly honest, though prejudice and
passion were so predominant in him that honesty had not fair
play, whenever he had been set upon any point that had been
given him for right. In his lawsuit with my Lady Portland he
was scurrilously indecent, though to a woman; and so
blasphemous at tennis, that the present primate of Ireland(90)
was forced to leave off playing with him. Last year he went
near to destroy post-chaises, on a quarrel with the postmaster
at Hounslow, who, as he told the Bishop of Chichester, had an
hundred devils and Jesuits in his belly. In short, he was one
of the lucky English madmen who get people to say, that
whatever extravagance they commit "Oh, it is his way." He began
his life with boxing, and ended it with living upon vegetables,
into which system avarice a little entered. At the beginning
of the present war, he very honourably would resign his
regiment, though the King pressed him to keep it, because his
rupture hindered his serving abroad. My father, with whom he
was always well, would at any time have given him the blue
riband; but he piqued himself on its being offered to him
without asking it. the truth was, he did not care for the
expense of the instalment. His great excellence was
architecture: the bridge at Wilton is more beautiful than any
thing of Lord Burlington or Kent. He has left an only son, a
fine boy about sixteen.(91) Last week, Lord Crawford(92) died
too, as is supposed, by taking a large quantity of laudanum,
under impatience at the badness of his circumstances, and at
the seventeenth opening of the wound which he got in Hungary,
in a battle with the Turks. I must tell you a story apropos of
two noble instances of fidelity and generosity. His servant, a
French papist, saw him fall; watched, and carried him off into
a ditch. Lord Crawford told him the Turks would certainly find
them, and that, as he could not live himself, it was in vain
for him to risk his life too, and insisted on the man making
his escape. After a long contest, the servant retired, found a
priest, confessed himself, came back, and told his lord that he
was now prepared to die, and would never leave him. The enemy
did not return, and both were saved. After Lord Crawford's
death, this story was related to old Charles Stanhope, Lord
Harrington's brother, whom I mentioned just now: he sent for
the fellow, told him he could not take him himself, but, as
from his lord's affairs he concluded he had not been able to
provide for him, he would give him fifty pounds, and did.
To make up for my long silence, and to make up for a long
letter, I will string another old story, which I have just
heard, to this. General Wade was at a low gaming-house, and
had a very fine snuffbox, which on a sudden he missed. Every
body denied having taken it: he insisted on searching the
company. He did: there remained only one man, who had stood
behind him, but refused to be searched, unless the general
would go into another room alone with him: there the man told
him, that he was born a gentleman, was reduced, and lived by
what little bets he could pick up there, and by fragments which
the waiters sometimes gave him. "At this moment I have half a
fowl in my pocket; I was afraid of being exposed; here it is!
Now, Sir, you may search me." Wade was so struck, that he gave
the man a hundred pounds; and immediately the genius of
generosity, whose province is almost a sinecure, was very glad
of the opportunity of making him find his own snuff-box, or
another very like it, in his own pocket again.
Lord Marchmont is to succeed Lord Crawford as one of the
sixteen: the House of Lords is so inactive that at last the
ministry have ventured to let him in there. His brother Hume
Campbell, who has been in a state of neutrality, begins to
frequent the House again.
It is plain I am no moneyed man; as I have forgot, till I came
to My last paragraph, what a ferment the money-changers are in!
Mr. Pelham, who has flung himself entirely into Sir John
Barnard's(93) hands, has just miscarried in a scheme for the
reduction of interest, by the intrigues of the three great
companies and other usurers. They all detest barnard, who, to
honesty and abilities, joins the most intolerable pride. @By my
next, I suppose, you will find that Mr. Pelham is grown afraid
of somebody else, of some director, and is governed by him.
Adieu!--Sure I am out of debt now!
P.S. My dear Sir, I must trouble you with a commission, which I
don't know whether you can execute. I am going to build a
little Gothic castle at Strawberry Hill. If you can pick me up
any fragments of old painted glass, arms, or any thing, I shall
be excessively obliged to you. I can't say I remember any such
things in Italy; but out of old chateaus, I imagine, one might
get it cheap, if there is any.
(87) Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and Groom of the stole.
For Walpole's character of him, see ant`e.-E.
(88) The committee under whose superintendence Westminster
Bridge had been built.-D.
(89) Richard Arundel, treasurer to the chambers: his mother,
the Dowager Lady Arundel, was second wife of Thomas, Earl of
Pembroke, father of Earl Henry.
(90) Dr. George Stone.
(91) Henry, tenth Earl of Pembroke, and seventh Earl of
Montgomery, He died in 1794.-D.
(92) John Lindsey Earl of Crawford, premier Earl of Scotland.
His life, which indeed had little remarkable in it, was
published afterwards, in a large quarto.
(93) An eminent citizen, and long member of Parliament for the
city of London. He at length accomplished his plan for the
reduction of the Interest of the National Debt.-D.
52 Letter 19
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Jan. 31, 1750.
You will hear little news from England, but of robberies;(94)
the numbers of disbanded soldiers and sailors have all taken to
the road, or rather to the street: people are almost afraid of
stirring after it is dark. My Lady Albemarle(95) was robbed
the other night in Great Russell Street, by nine men: the King
gave her a gold watch and chain the next day. She says, "the
manner was all"-and indeed so it was, for I never saw a more
frippery present; especially considering how great a favourite
she is, and my Lady Yarmouth's friend. The monarch is never
less generous than when he has a mind to be so: the only
present he ever made my father was a large diamond, cracked
quite through. Once or twice, in his younger and gallant days,
he has brought out a handful of maimed topazes and amethysts,
and given them to be raffled for by the maids of honour. I
told my Lady Yarmouth it had been a great loss to me that there
was no queen, for then I suppose I should have had a watch too
when I was robbed.
We have had nothing remarkable in Parliament, but a sort of
secession the other day on the Mutiny-bill, when Lord Egmont
and the Opposition walked out of the House, because the
ministry would go upon the Report, when they did not like It.
It is a measure of the Prince's court to lie by, and let the
ministry demolish one another, which they are hurrying to do.
The two secretaries(96) are on the brink of declaring war: the
occasion is likely to be given by a Turnpike-bill, contested
between the counties of Bedford and Northampton; and it (,rows
almost as vehement a contest as the famous one between
Aylesbury and Buckingham. The Westminster election is still
hanging in scrutiny: the Duke of Bedford paid the election,(97)
which he owns to have cost seven thousand pounds; and Lord
Gower pays the scrutiny, which will be at least as much. This
bustling little Duke has just had another miscarriage in
Cornwall, where he attacked a family-borough of the Morrices.
The Duke(97) espouses the Bedford; and Lord Sandwich is
espoused by both. He goes once or twice a-week to hunt with the
Duke; and as the latter has taken a turn of gaming, Sandwich, to
make his court and fortune carries a box and dice in his pocket;
and so they throw a main, whenever the hounds are at a fault,
"upon every green hill, and under every green tree."
But we have one shocking piece of news, the dreadful account of
the hurricane in the East Indies: you will see the particulars
in the papers; but we reckon that we don't yet know the worst..
Poor Admiral Boscawen(99) has been most unfortunate during his
whole expedition; and what increases the horror is, that I have
been assured by a very intelligent person, that Lord Anson
projected this business on purpose to ruin Boscawen, who, when
they came together from the victory off Cape Finisterre,
complained loudly of Anson's behaviour. To silence and to hurt
him, Anson despatched him to Pondicherry, upon slight
intelligence and upon improbable views.
Lord Coke's suit is still in suspense; he has been dying; she
was to have died, but has recovered wonderfully on his taking
the lead. Mr. Chute diverted me excessively with a confidence
that Chevalier Lorenzi made him the other night-I have told you
the style of his bon-mots! He said he should certainly return
to England again, and that whenever he did, he would land at
Bristol, because baths are the best places to make
acquaintance, just as if Mr. Chute, after living seven years in
Italy, and keeping the best company, should return thither, and
land at Leghorn, in order to make Italian acquaintance at Pisa!
Among the robberies, I might have told you of the eldest Miss
Pelham leaving a pair of diamond earrings, which she had
borrowed for the birth-day, in a hackney chair; she had put
them under the seat for fear of being attacked, and forgot
them. The chairmen have sunk them. The next morning, when
they were missed, the damsel began to cry: Lady Catherine(100)
grew frightened, lest her infanta should vex herself sick, and
summoned a jury of matrons to consult whether she should give
her hartshorn or lavender drops? Mrs. Selwyn,(101) who was on
the panel, grew very peevish, and said, "Pho! give her
brilliant drops." Such are the present anecdotes of the court
of England! Adieu!
(94) On the preceding day, in consequence of the number of
persons of distinction who had recently been robbed in the
streets, a proclamation appeared in the London Gazette,
offering a reward of one hundred pounds for the apprehension of
(95) Lady Anne Lenox, sister of the Duke of Richmond, wife of
William Anne Keppel, Earl of Albemarle, ambassador at Paris,
and lady of the bedchamber to Queen Caroline.
(96) the Dukes of Newcastle and Bedford.
(97) The Duke of Bedford's second wife was sister of Lord
Trentham, the candidate.
(98) Of Cumberland.
(99) Edward, next brother of Lord Falmouth.
(100) Lady Catherine Manners, sister of John, Duke of Rutland,
and wife of Henry Pelham, Chancellor of the exchequer.
(101) Mary Farenden, wife of John Selwyn, treasurer to Queen
Caroline, and woman of the bedchamber.
53 letter 20
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Feb. 25, 1750.
I am come hither for a little repose and air. The fatigue of a
London winter, between Parliaments and rakery, is a little too
much without interruption for an elderly personage, that verges
towards--I won't say what. This accounts easily for my wanting
quiet--but air in February will make you smile--yet it is
strictly true, that the weather is unnaturally hot: we have had
eight months of' warmth beyond what was ever known in any other
country; Italy is quite north with respect to us!-You know we
have had an earthquake. Mr. Chute's Francesco says, that a few
evenings before it there was a bright cloud, which the mob
called the bloody cloud; that he had been told there never were
earthquakes in England, or else he should have known by that
symptom that there would be one within a week. I am told that
Sir Isaac Newton foretold a great alteration in Our climate in
the year '50, and that he wished he could live to see it.
Jupiter, I think, has jogged us three degrees nearer to the
The Bedford Turnpike, which I announced to you in my last, is
thrown out by a majority of fifty-two against the Duke of
Bedford. The Pelhams, who lent their own persons to him, had
set up the Duke of Grafton, to list their own dependents under
against their rival. When the Chamberlain would head a party,
you may be sure the opposite power is in the wane. The
Newcastle is at open war, and has left off waiting on the Duke,
who espouses the Bedfords. Mr. Pelham tries to patch it up,
and is getting the Ordnance for the Duke; but there are scarce
any terms kept. Lord Sandwich, who governs the little Duke
through the Duchess, is the chief object of the Newcastle
hatred. Indeed there never was such a composition! he is as
capable of all little knavery, as if he was not practising all
great knavery. During the turnpike contest, in which he
laboured night and day against his friend Halifax, he tried the
grossest tricks to break agreements, when the opposite side
were gone away on the security of a suspension of action: and
in the very middle of that I came to the knowledge of a cruel
piece of flattery which he paid to his protector. He had made
interest for these two years for one Parry, a poor clergyman,
schoolfellow and friend of his, to be fellow of Eton, and had
secured a majority for him. A Fellow died: another wrote to
Sandwich to know if he was not to vote for Parry according to
his engagement,--"No, he must vote for one who had been tutor
to the Duke of Bedford," who by that means has carried it. My
Lady Lincoln was not suffered to go to a ball which Sandwich
made the other night for the Duke, who tumbled down in the
middle of a country dance; they imagined he had beat his nose
flat, but he lay like a tortoise on the topshell, his face
could not touch the ground by some feet. My Lady Anson was
there, who insisted on dancing minuets, though against the rule
of the night, with as much eagerness as you remember in my Lady
Granville. Then she proposed herself for a Louvre; all the men
vowed they had never heard of such a dance, upon which she
dragged out Lady Leveson,(102) and made her dance one with her.
At the last ball at the same house, a great dispute of
precedence, which the Duchess of Norfolk had set on foot but
has dropped, came to trial. Lord Sandwich contrived to be on
the outside of the door to hand down to supper whatever lady
came out first. Madame de Mirepoix and the Duchess of Bedford
were the rival queens; the latter made a faint offer to the
ambassadress to go first; she returned it, and the other
briskly accepted it; upon which the ambassadress, with great
cleverness, made all the other women go before her, and then
asked the Duke of Bedford if he would not go too. However,
though they continue to visit, the wound is incurable: you
don't imagine that a widow(103) of the House of Lorraine, and a
daughter of Princess Craon, can digest such an affront. It
certainly was very absurd, as she is not only an ambassadress
but a stranger; and consequently all English women, as being at
home, should give her place. King George the Second and I
don't agree in our explication of this text of ceremony; he
approves the Duchess-so he does Miss Chudleigh, in a point
where ceremony is out of the question. He opened the trenches
before her a fortnight ago, at the masquerade- but at the last
she had the gout, and could not come; he went away flat, cross.
His son is not so fickle. My Lady Middlesex has been
miscarrying; he attends as incessantly as Mrs. Cannon.(104)
The other morning the Princess came to call him to go to Kew;
he made her wait in her coach above half an hour at the door.
You will be delighted with a bon-mot of a chair-maker, whom he
has discarded for voting for Lord Trentham; one of his
black-caps was sent to tell this Vaughan that the Prince would
employ him no more: "I am going to bid another person make his
Royal Highness a chair."--"With all my heart," said the
chair-maker; "I don't care what they make him, so they don't
make him a throne."
The Westminster election, which is still scrutinizing, produced
us a parliamentary event this week, and was very near producing
something much bigger. Mr. Fox and Mr. Pitt moved to Send for
the High-bailiff to inquire into the delay. The Opposition
took it up very high, and on its being carried against them,
the Court of Requests was filled next day with the mob, and the
House crowded, and big with expectation. Nugent had flamed and
abused Lord Sandwich violently, as author of this outrageous
measure. When the Bailiff appeared, the pacific spirit of the
other part of the administration had operated so much, that he
was dismissed with honour; and Only instructed to abridge all
delays by authority of the House-in short, "we spit in his hat
on Thursday, and wiped it off on Friday." This is a now
fashionable proverb, which I must construe to you. About ten
days ago, at the new Lady Cobham's(105) assembly, Lord
Hervey(106) was leaning over a chair, talking to some women,
and holding his hat in his hand. Lord Cobham came up and spit in
spit in it!--and then, with a loud laugh, turned to Nugent, and
said, "Pay me my wager." In short, he had laid a guinea that
he committed this absurd brutality, and that it was not
resented. Lord Hervey, with great temper and sensibility,
asked if he had any farther occasion for his hat?--"Oh! I see
you are angry!"--"Not very well pleased." Lord Cobham took the
fatal hat and wiped it, made a thousand foolish apologies, and
wanted to pass it for a joke. Next morning he rose with the
sun, and went to visit Lord Hervey; so did Nugent: he would not
see them, but wrote to the Spitter, (or, as he is now called,
Lord Gob'em,) to say, that he had affronted him very grossly
before company, but having involved Nugent in it, he desired to
know to which he was to address himself for satisfaction. Lord
Cobham wrote him a most submissive answer, and begged pardon
both in his own and Nugent's name. Here it rested for a few
days; till getting wind, Lord Hervey wrote again to insist on
an explicit apology under Lord Cobham's own hand, with a
rehearsal of the excuses that had been made to him. This, too,
was complied with, and the fair conqueror(107) shows all the
letters.(108) Nugent's disgraces have not ended here: the
night of his having declaimed so furiously he was standing by
Lady Catherine Pelham, against Lord Sandwich at the masquerade,
without his mask: she was telling him a history of a mad dog,
(which I believe she had bit herself.) young Leveson, the
Duchess of Bedford's brother, came up, without his mask too,
and looking at Nugent, said, , I have seen a mad dog to-day,
and a silly dog too."--"I suppose, Mr. Leveson,(109) you have
been looking in a glass."--"No, I see him now." Upon which
they walked off together, but were prevented from fighting, (if
Nugent would have fought,) and were reconciled at the
side-board. You perceive by this that our factions are
ripening. The Argyll(110) carried all the Scotch against the
turnpike: they were willing to be carried, for the Duke of
Bedford, in case it should have come into the Lords, had writ
to the sixteen Peers to solicit their votes; but with so little
deference, that he enclosed all the letters under one cover,
directed to the British Coffee-house!
The new Duke of Somerset(111) is dead: that title is at last
restored to Sir Edward Seymour, after his branch had been most
unjustly deprived of it for about one hundred and fifty years.
Sir Hugh Smithson and Sir Charles Windham are Earls of
Northumberland and Egremont, with vast estates; the former
title, revived for the blood of Percy, has the misfortune of
being coupled with the blood of a man that either let or drove
coaches--such Was Sir Hugh's grandfather! This peerage vacates
his seat for Middlesex, and has opened a contest for the county,
before even that for Westminster is decided. The Duchess of
Richmond takes care that house shall not be extinguished: she
again lies in, after having been with child seven-and-twenty
times: but even this is not so extraordinary as the Duke's
fondness for her, or as the vigour of her beauty: her complexion
is as fair and blooming as when she was a bride.
We expect some chagrin on the new regency, at the head of which
is to be the Duke; "Au Augustum fess`a aetate totiens in
Germaniam commeare potuisse," say the mutineers in Tacitus--
Augustus goes in April. He has notified to my Lord Orford his
having given the reversion of New Park to his daughter Emily;
and has given him leave to keep it in the best repair. One of
the German women, Madame Munchausen, his minister's wife,
contributes very kindly to the entertainment of the town. She
is ugly, devout, and with that sort of coquetry which proceeds
from a virtue that knows its own weakness so much as to be
alarmed, even when nothing is meant to its prejudice.(112) At
a great dinner which they gave last -week, somebody observed
that all the sugar figures in the dessert were girls: the Baron
replied, "Sa est frai; ordinairement les petits cupitons sont
des garsons; mais ma femme s'est amus`ee toute la matin`ee `a
en `oter tout sa par motestie." This improvement of hers is a
curious refinement, though all the geniuses of the age are
employed in designing new plans for desserts. The Duke of
Newcastle's last was a baby Vauxhall, illuminated with a
million of little lamps of various colours.
We have been sitting this fortnight on the African Company: we,
the British Senate, that temple of liberty, and bulwark of
Protestant Christianity, have this fortnight been pondering
methods to make more effectual that horrid traffic of selling
negroes. It has appeared to us that six-and-forty thousand of
these wretches are sold every year to our plantations alone!--
It chills one's blood. I would not have to say that I voted in
it for the continent of America!(113) The destruction of the
miserable inhabitants by the Spaniards was but a momentary
misfortune, that flowed from the discovery of the New World,
compared to this lasting havoc which it brought upon Africa.
We reproach Spain, and yet do not even pretend the nonsense of
butchering these poor creatures for the good of their souls!
I have just received your long letter of February 13th, and am
pleased that I had writ this volume to return it. I don't know
how almost to avoid wishing poor Prince Craon dead, to see the
Princess upon a throne.(114) I am sure she would invert Mr.
Vaughan's wish, and compound to have nothing else made for her,
provided a throne were.
I despise your literati enormously for their opinion of
Montesquieu's book. Bid them read that glorious chapter on the
subject I have been mentioning, the selling of African slaves.
Where did he borrow that? In what book in the world is there
half so much wit, sentiment, delicacy, humanity?
I shall speak much more gently to you, my dear child, though
you don't like Gothic architecture. The Grecian is only proper
for magnificent and public buildings. Columns and all their
beautiful ornaments look ridiculous when crowded into a closet
or a cheesecake-house. The variety is little, and admits no
charming irregularities. I am almost as fond of the
Sharavaggi, or Chinese want of symmetry, in buildings, as in
grounds or gardens. I am sure, whenever you come to England,
you will be pleased with the liberty of taste into which we are
struck, and of which you can have no idea! Adieu!
(102) Daughter of John, second Lord Gower. Married in 1751 to
the Hon. John Waldegrave.-D.
(103) madame de Mirepoix, eldest daughter of Prince Craon, and
widow of the Prince of Lixin.
(104) The midwife.
(105) Atina Chamber, wife of Richard Temple, Lord Cobham,
afterwards Earl Temple.
(106) George, eldest son of John, late Lord Hervey, son of the
Earl of Bristol, whom this George succeeded in the title.
(107) George, Lord Hervey, was a very effeminate-looking man;
which probably encouraged Lord Temple to risk this disgusting
act of incivility.-D.
(108) Wraxall, in his historical Memoir Vol:'I. p. 139, relates
the same story, with a few trifling alterations.-E.
(109) The Hon. Richard Leveson Gower, second son of John,
second Lord Gower, member for Lichfield. Born 1726; died
(110) Archibald Campbell, third Duke of Argyll, during the
lifetime of bis elder brothers Duke John, Earl of Islay. He
died in 1765.-D.
(111) Algernon, last Duke of Somerset, of the younger
(112) Dodington, in his Diary of the 25th of February, says, "
I met the Prince and Princess, by order, at Lady Middlesex's
where came Madame de Munchausen: we went to a fortune-teller's,
who was young Des Noyers, disguised and instructed to surprise
Madame de Munchausen, which he effectually did."-E.
(113) This sentiment is highly creditable to Walpole's
humanity. It will remind the reader of a passage in Cowper's
Task, written thirty years after:--
" And what man seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush,
And hang his head, to think himself a man!
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earned,"-E.
(114) There was a notion that King Stanislaus, who lived in
Lorraine, was in love with her.
58 Letter 21
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, March 11, 1750.
"Portents and prodigies are grown so frequent,
That they have lost their name."(115)
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