The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2
Part 3 out of 16
My text is not literally true; but as far -,is earthquakes go
towards lowering the price of wonderful commodities, to be sure
we are overstocked. We have had a second much more violent
than the first; and you must not be surprised if by next post
you hear of' a burning mountain sprung up in Smithfield. In
the night between Wednesday and Thursday last, (exactly a month
since the first shock,) the earth had a shivering fit between
one and two; but so slight that, if no more had followed, I
don't believe it would have been noticed. I had been awake,
and had scarce dozed again-on a sudden I felt my bolster lift
up my head; I thought somebody was getting from under my bed,
but soon found it was a strong earthquake, that lasted near
half a minute, with a violent vibration and great roaring. I
rang my bell; my servant came in, frightened out of his senses-
- in an instant we heard all the windows in the neighbourhood
flung up. I got up and found people running into the streets,
but saw no mischief done: there has been some; two old houses
flung down, several chimneys, and much china-ware. The bells
rung in several houses. Admiral Knowles, who has lived long in
Jamaica, and felt seven there, says this was more violent than
any of them; Francesco prefers it to the dreadful one at Leghorn.
The wise say, that if we have not rain soon, we shall certainly
have more. Several people are going out of town, for it has
nowhere reached above ten miles from London: they say, they are
not frightened, but that it is such fine weather, "Lord! one
can't help going into the country!" The only visible effect it
has had, was on the Ridotto, at which, being the following night,
there were but four hundred people. A parson, who came into
White's the morning of earthquake the first, and heard bets laid
on whether it was an earthquake or the blowing up of
powder-mills, went away exceedingly scandalized, and said, "I
protest, they are such an impious set of people, that I believe
if the last trumpet was to sound, they would bet puppet-show
against Judgment." If we get any nearer still to the torrid zone,
I shall pique myself on sending you a present of cedrati and
orange-flower water: I am already planning a terreno for
The Middlesex election is carried against the court: the
Prince, in a green frock, (and I won't swear, but in a Scotch
plaid waistcoat,) sat under the park-wall in his chair, and
hallooed the voters on to Brentford. The Jacobites are so
transported, that they are opening subscriptions for all
boroughs that shall be vacant--this is wise! They will spend
their money to carry a few more seats in a Parliament where
they will never have the majority, and so have none to carry
the general elections. The omen, however, is bad for
Westminster; the High-bailiff went to vote for the Opposition.
I now jump to another topic; I find all this letter will be
detached scraps; I can't at all contrive to hide the scams: but
I don't care. I began my letter merely to tell you of the
earthquake, and I don't pique myself upon doing any more than
telling you what you would be glad to have told you. I told
you too how pleased I was with the triumphs of another old
beauty, our friend the Princess.(116) Do you know, I have
found a history that has a great resemblance to hers; that is,
that will be very like hers, if hers is but like it. I will
tell it you in as few words as I can. Madame la Marechale de
l'H`opital was the daughter of a sempstress;(117) a young
gentleman fell in love with her, and was going to be married to
her, but the match was broken off. An old fermier-general, who
had retired into the province where this happened, hearing the
story, had a curiosity to see the victim; he liked her, married
her, died, and left her enough not to care for her inconstant.
he came to Paris, where the Marechal de l'H`opital married her
for her riches. After the Marechal's death, Casimir, the
abdicated King of Poland, who was retired into
France, fell in love with the Marechale, and privately married
her. If the event ever happens, I shall certainly travel to
Nancy, to hear her talk of ma belle-fille la Reine de France.
What pains my lady Pomfret would take to prove(118) that an
abdicated King's wife did not take place of an English
countess; and how the Princess herself would grow still fonder
of the Pretender(119) for the similitude of his fortune with
that of le Roi mon mari! Her daughter, Mirepoix, was frightened
the other night, with Mrs. Nugent's calling out, un voleur! un
voleur! The ambassadress had heard so much of robbing, that
she did not doubt but dans ce pais cy, they robbed in the
middle of an assembly. It turned out to be a thief in the
candle! Good night!
(115) Dryden's All for Love."
(116) The Princess Craon, who, it had been reported, was to
marry Stanislaus Leczinsky, Duke of Loraine and ex-King of
Poland, whose daughter Maria Leczinska was married to Louis the
Fifteenth, King of France.-D.
(117) "This is the story of a woman named Mary Mignot. She was
near marrying a young man of La Gardie, who afterwards entered
the Swedish service, and became a field-marshal in that
country. Her first husband was, if I mistake not, a Procureur
of Grenoble; her second was the Marshal de l'H`opital; and her
third is supposed to have been Casimir, the ex-King of Poland,
who had retired, after his abdication, to the monastery of St
Germain des Pr`es. It does not, however, appear certain
whether Casimir actually married her or not.-D.
(118) Lady Pomfret and Princess Craon did not visit at
Florence, upon a dispute of precedence.
(119) The Pretender, when in Lorraine, lived in Prince Craon's
60 Letter 22
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, April 2, 1750.
You will not wonder so much at our earthquakes as at the
effects they have had. All the women in town have taken them
up upon the foot of Judgments; and the clergy, who have had no
windfalls of a long season, have driven horse and foot into
this opinion. There has been a shower of sermons and
exhortations; Secker, the jesuitical Bishop of Oxford, began
the mode. He heard the women were all going out of town to
avoid the next shock; and so: for fear of losing his Easter
offerings, he set himself to advise them to await God's good
pleasure in fear and trembling. But what is more astonishing,
Sherlock,(120) who has much better sense, and much less of the
Popish confessor has been running a race with him for the old
ladies, and has written a pastoral letter, of which ten
thousand were sold in two days; and fifty thousand have been
subscribed for, since the two first editions.
I told you the women talked of going out of town: several
families are literally gone, and many more going to-day and
to-morrow; for what adds to the absurdity, is, that the second
shock having happened exactly a month after the former, it
prevails that there will be a third on Thursday next, another
month, which is to swallow up London. I am almost ready to
burn my letter now I have begun it, lest you should think I am
laughing at you: but it is so true, that Arthur of White's told
me last night, that he should put off the last ridotto, which
was to be on Thursday, because he hears nobody would come to
it. I have advised several who are going to keep their next
earthquake in the country, to take the bark for it, as it is so
periodic.(121) Dick Leveson and Mr. Rigby, who had supped and
strived late at Bedford House the other night, knocked at several
doors, and in a watchman's voice cried, "Past four o'clock, and a
dreadful earthquake!" But I have done with this ridiculous
panic: two pages were too much to talk of it.
We have had nothing in Parliament but trade-bills, on one of
which the Speaker humbled the arrogance of Sir John Barnard,
who had reflected upon the proceedings of the House. It is to
break up on Thursday Se'nnight, and the King goes this day
fortnight. He has made Lord Vere Beauclerc a baron,(122) at
the solicitation of the Pelhams, as this Lord had resigned upon
a pique with Lord Sandwich. Lord Anson, who is treading in the
same path, and leaving the Bedfords to follow his
father-in-law, the Chancellor, is made a privy councillor, with
Sir Thomas Robinson and Lord Hyndford. Lord Conway is to be an
earl,(123) and Sir John Rawdon(124) (whose follies you
remember, and whose boasted loyalty of having been kicked
downstairs for not drinking the Pretender's health, though even
that was false, is at last rewarded,) and Sir John Vesey are to
be Irish lords; and a Sir William Beauchamp Proctor, and a Mr.
Loyd, Knights of the Bath.
I was entertained the other night at the house of much such a
creature as Sir John Rawdon, and one whom you remember too,
Naylor. he has a wife who keeps the most indecent house of all
those that are called decent: every Sunday she has a contraband
assembly: I had had a card for Monday a fortnight before. As
the day was new, I expected a great assembly, but found scarce
six persons. I asked where the company was--I was answered,
"Oh! they are not come yet: they will be here presently; they
all supped here last night, stayed till morning, and I suppose
are not up yet."
My Lord Bolinbroke has lost his wife. When she was dying, he
acted grief; flung himself upon her bed, and asked her if she
could forgive him. I never saw her, but have heard her wit and
parts excessively commended.(125) Dr. Middleton told me a
compliment she made him two years ago, which I thought pretty.
She said she was persuaded that he was a very great writer, for
she understood his works better than any other English book, and
that she had observed that the best writers were always the most
I had not time to finish my letter on Monday. I return to the
earthquake, which I had mistaken; it is to be to-day. This
frantic terror is so much, that within these three days seven
hundred and thirty coaches have been counted passing Hyde Park
corner, with whole parties removing into the country. Here is
a good advertisement which I cut out of the papers to-day;
"On Monday next will be published (price 6d.) A true and exact
List of all the Nobility and Gentry who have left, or shall
leave, this place through fear of another Earthquake."
Several women have made earthquake gowns; that is, warm gowns
to sit out of doors all to-night. These are of the more
courageous. One woman, still more heroic, is come to town on
purpose: she says, all her friends are in London, and she will
not survive them. But what will you think of Lady Catherine
Pelham, Lady Frances Arundel,(126) and Lord and Lady
Galway,(127) who go this evening to an inn ten miles out of
town, where they are to play at brag till five in the morning,
and then come back-I suppose, to look for the bones of their
husbands and families under the rubbish.(128) The prophet of
all this (next to the Bishop of London) is a trooper of Lord
Delawar's who was yesterday sent to Bedlam. His colonel sent
to the man's wife, and asked her if her husband had ever been
disordered before. She cried, "Oh dear! my lord, he is not mad
now; if your lordship would but get any sensible man to examine
him, you would find, he is quite in his right mind."
I shall now tell you something more serious: Lord Dalkeith(129)
is dead of the small-pox in three days. It is so dreadfully
fatal in his family, that besides several uncles and aunts, his
eldest boy died of it last year; and his only brother, who was
ill but two days, putrefied so fast that his limbs fell off as
they lifted the body into the coffin. Lady Dalkeith is five
months gone with child; she was hurrying to him, but was
stopped on the road by the physician, who told her that it was
a miliary fever. They were remarkably happy.
The King goes on Monday se'nnight;(130) it is looked upon as a
great event that the Duke of Newcastle has prevailed on him to
speak to Mr. Pitt, who has detached himself from the Bedfords.
The Monarch, who had kept up his Hanoverian resentments, though
he had made him paymaster, is now beat out of the dignity of
his silence: he was to pretend not to know Pitt, and was to be
directed to him by the lord in waiting. Pitt's jealousy is of
Lord Sandwich, who knows his own interest and unpopularity so
well, that he will prevent any breach, and thereby what you
fear, which yet I think you would have no reason to fear. I
could not say enough of my anger to your father, but I shall
take care to say nothing, as I have not forgot how my zeal for
you made me provoke him once before.
Your genealogical affair Is in great train, and will be quite
finished in a week or two. Mr. Chute has laboured at it
indefatigably: General Guise has been attesting the
authenticity of it to-day before a justice of peace. You will
find yourself mixed with every drop of blood in England that is
worth bottling up-. the Duchess of Norfolk and you grow on the
same bough of the tree. I must tell you a very curious
anecdote that Strawberry King-at-Arms(131) has discovered by
the way, as he was tumbling over the mighty dead in the
Heralds' office. You have heard me speak of the great
injustice that the Protector Somerset did to the children of
his first wife, in favour of those by his second; so much, that
he not only had the dukedom settled on the younger brood, but
to deprive the eldest of the title of Lord Beauchamp, which he
wore by inheritance, he caused himself to be anew created
Viscount Beauchamp. Well, in Vincent's Baronage, a book of
great authority, speaking of the Protector's wives, are these
remarkable words: "Katherina, filia et una Coh. Gul: Fillol de
Fillol's hall in Essex, uxor prima; repudiata, quia Pater ejus
post nuptias eam cognovit." The Speaker has since referred me
to our journals, where are some notes of a trial in the reign
of James the First, between Edward, the second son of Katherine
the dutiful, and the Earl of Hertford, son of Anne Stanhope,
which in some measure confirms our MS; for it says, the Earl of
Hertford objected, that John, the eldest son of all, was
begotten while the Duke was in France. This title, which now
comes back at last to Sir Edward Seymour is disputed: my Lord
Chancellor has refused him the writ, but referred his case to
the Attorney General,(132) the present great Opinion of
England, who, they say, is clear for Sir Edward's
I shall now go and show you Mr. Chute in a different light from
heraldry, and in one in which I believe you never saw him. He
will shine as usual; but, as a little more severely than his
good-nature is accustomed to, I must tell you that he was
provoked by the most impertinent usage. It is an epigram on
Lady Caroline Petersham, whose present fame, by the way, is
coupled with young Harry Vane.
WHO IS THIS?
Her face has beauty, we must all confess,
But beauty on the brink of ugliness:
Her mouth's a rabbit feeding on a rose;
With eyes-ten times too good for such a nose!
Her blooming cheeks-what paint could ever draw 'em?
That Paint, for which no mortal ever saw 'em.
Air without shape--of royal race divine--
'Tis Emily--oh! fie!--It'S Caroline.
Do but think of my beginning a third sheet! but as the
Parliament is rising, and I shall probably not write you a
tolerably long letter again these eight months, I will lay in a
stock of merit with you to last me so long Mr. Chute has set me
too upon making epigrams; but as I have not his art, mine is
almost a copy of verses: the story he told me, and is literally
true, of an old Lady Bingley.(134)
Celia now had completed some thirty campaigns,
And for new generations was hammering chains;
When whetting those terrible weapons, her eyes,
To Jennny, her handmaid, in anger she cries,
"Careless creature! did mortal e'er see such a glass!
Who that saw me in this, could e'er guess what I was!
Much you mind what I say! pray how oft have I bid you
Provide me a new one? how oft have I chid you?"
"Lord, Madam!" cried Jane, "you're so hard to be pleased
I am sure every glassman in town I have teased:
I have hunted each shop from Pall-mall to Cheapside:
Both Miss Carpenter's(135) man and Miss Banks's(136) I've
"Don't tell me of those girls!-all I know, to my cost,
Is, the looking-glass art must be certainly lost!
One used to have mirrors so smooth and so bright,
They did one's eyes justice, they heighten'd one's white,
And fresh roses diffused o'er ones bloom--but, alas!
In the glasses made now, one detests one's own face;
They pucker one's cheeks up and furrow one's brow,
And one's skin looks as yellow as that of Miss(137) Howe!"(138)
After an epigram that seems to have found out the longitude, I
shall tell you but one more, and that wondrous short. It is
said to be made by a cow. YOU Must not wonder; we tell as many
strange stories as Baker and Livy:
"A warm winter, a dry spring,
A hot summer, a new King."
Though the sting is very epigrammatic, the whole of the
distitch has more of the truth than becomes prophecy; that is,
it is false, for the spring is wet and cold.
There is come from France a Madame Bocage, who has translated
Milton. my Lord Chesterfield prefers the copy to the original;
but that is not uncommon for him to do, who is the patron of
bad authors and bad actors. She has written a play too, which
was damned, and worthy my lord's approbation.' You would be
more diverted with a Mrs. Holman, whose passion is keeping an
assembly, and inviting literally every body to it. She goes to
the drawing-room to watch for sneezes; whips out a curtsey, and
then sends next morning to know how your cold does, and to
desire your company next Thursday.
Mr. Whithed has taken my Lord Pembroke's house at Whitehall; a
glorious situation, but as madly built as my Lord himself was.
He has bought some delightful pictures too, of Claude, Gaspar,
and good masters, to the amount of four hundred pounds.
Good night! I have nothing more to tell you, but that I have
lately seen a Sir William Boothby, who saw you about a year
ago, and adores you, as all the English you receive ought to
do. He is much in my favour.
(120) Thomas Sherlock, Master of the Temple; first, Bishop of
Salisbury, and afterwards of London.
(121) " I remember," says Addison, in the 240th Tatler, "when
our whole island was Shaken With an earthquake some years ago,
that there was an impudent mountebank, who sold pills, which,
as he told the country people, were "very good against an
(122) lord Vere of Haworth, in Middlesex.-D.
(123( Lord Conway was made Earl of Hertford.-D.
(124) Sir John Rawdon was created in this year Baron Rawdon,
and in 1761 Earl of Moira, in Ireland. Sir John Vesey was
created Lord Knapton; and his son was made Viscount de Vesey in
Ireland, in 1766.-D.
(125) She was a Frenchwoman, of considerable fortune and
accomplishments, the widow of the Marquis de Villette, and
niece to Madame de Maintenon. She died on the 15th of March.
>From the following passage in a letter written by Bolingbroke
to Lord Marchmont a few days before her death, it is difficult
to believe that he "acted grief" upon this occasion:--"You are
very good to take my share in that affliction which has lain
upon me so long, and which still continues, with the fear of
being increased by a catastrophe I am little able to bear.
Resignation is a principal duty in my system of religion:
reason shows that it ought to be willing if not cheerful; but
there are passions and habitudes in human nature which reason
cannot entirely subdue. I should be ashamed not to feel them
in the present case."-E.
(126) Lady Frances Arundell was the daughter of John Manners,
second Duke of Rutland, and was married to the Hon. Richard
Arundell, second son of John, Lord Arundell of Trerice, and a
lord of the treasury. Lady Frances was sister of Lady
Catherine Pelham, the wife of the minister.-D.
(127) John Monckton, first Viscount Galway in Ireland. The
Lady Galway mentioned here was his second wife, Jane, daughter
of henry Westenra, Esq., of Dublin. His first wife, who died
in 1730, was Lady Elizabeth Manners, the sister of Lady
Catherine Pelham and Lady Frances Arundell.-D.
(128) " Incredible numbers of people left their houses, and
walked in the fields or lay in boats all night: many persons of
fashion in the neighbouring villages sat in their coaches till
daybreak; others went to a greater distance, so that the roads
were never more thronged." Gentleman's Magazine.-E.
(129) Francis Scott, eldest son of the Duke of Buccleugh.
(130) To Hanover.
(131) Mr. Chute.
(132) Sir Dudley Ryder.
(133) Sir Edward Seymour, when he became Duke of Somerset, did
not inherit the title of Beauchamp.-D.
(134) Lady Elizabeth Finch, eldest daughter of Heneage, Earl of
Aylesford, and widow of Robert Benson, Lord Bingley.
(135) Countess of Egremont.
(136) Miss Margaret Banks, a celebrated beauty.
(137) Charlotte, sister of Lord Howe, and wife of Mr.
(138) These lines are published in Walpole's Works.-D.
(139) Madame du Boccage published a poem in imitation of
Milton, and another founded on Gesner's Death of Abel. She
also translated Pope's Temple of Fame; but her principal work
was ,La Columbiade." It was at the house of this lady, at
Paris, in 1775, that Johnson was annoyed at her footman's
taking the sugar in his fingers and throwing it into his
coffee. "I was going," says the Doctor, "to put it aside, but
hearing it was made on purpose for me, I e'en tasted Tom's
fingers." She died in 1802.-E.
65 Letter 23
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 15, 1750.
The High-bailiff, after commending himself and his own
impartiality for an hour this morning, not unlike your cousin
Pelham, has declared Lord Trentham. The mob declare they will
pull his house down to show their impartiality. The Princess
has luckily produced another boy; so Sir George Vandeput may be
recompensed with being godfather. I stand to-morrow, not for a
member, but for godfather to my sister's girl, with Mrs. Selwyn
and old Dunch: were ever three such dowagers? when shall three
such meet again? If the babe has not a most sentimentally
yellow complexion after such sureties, I will burn my books,
and never answer for another skin.
You have heard, I suppose, that Nugent must answer a little
more seriously for Lady Lymington's child. Why, she was as
ugly as Mrs. Nugent, had had more children, and was not so
young. The pleasure of wronging a woman, who had bought him so
dear, could be the only temptation.
Adieu! I have told you all I know, and as much is scandal, very
possibly more than is true. I go to Strawberry on Saturday,
and so shall not know even scandal.
66 Letter 24
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, May 19, 1750.
I did not doubt but you would be diverted with the detail of
absurdities that were committed after the earthquake: I could
have filled more paper with such relations, If I had not feared
tiring you. We have swarmed with sermons, essays, relations,
poems, and exhortations On that subject. One Stukely, a
parson, has accounted for it, and I think prettily, by
electricity--but that is the fashionable cause, and every thing
is resolved into electrical appearances, as formerly every
thing was accounted for by Descartes's vortices, and Sir
Isaac's gravitation. But they all take care, after accounting
for the earthquake systematically, to assure you that still it
was nothing less than a judgment. Dr. Barton, the rector of
St. Andrews, was the only sensible, or at least honest divine,
upon the occasion. When some women would have had him to pray
to them in his parish church against the intended shock, he
excused himself on having a great cold. "And besides," said
he, "you may go to St. James's church; the Bishop of Oxford is
to preach there all night about earthquakes." Turner, a great
china-man, at the corner of Dext street, had a jar cracked by
the shock: he originally asked ten guineas for the pair; he now
asks twenty, "because it is the only jar in Europe that has
been cracked by an earthquake." But I have quite done with this
topic. The Princess of Wales is lowering the price of princes,
as the earthquake has raised old china; she has produced a
fifth boy. In a few years we shall have Dukes of York and
Lancaster popping out of bagnios and taverns as frequently as
Duke Hamilton.(140) George Selwyn said a good thing the other
day on another cheap dignity: he was asked who was playing at
tennis, He replied, "Nobody but three markers and a Regent."
your friend Lord Sandwich. While we are undervaluing all
principalities and powers, you are making a rout with them, for
which I shall scold you. We had been diverted with the pompous
accounts of the reception of the Margrave of Baden Dourlach at
Rome; and now you tell me he has been put upon the same foot at
Florence! I never heard his name when he was here, but on his
being mob'd as he was going to Wanstead, and the people's
calling him the Prince of Bad-door-lock. He was still less
noticed than he of Modena.
Lord Bath is as well received at Paris as a German Margrave in
Italy. Every body goes to Paris: Lord Mountford was introduced
to the King, who only said brutally enough, "Ma foi! il est
bien nourri!" Lord Albemarle keeps an immense table there, with
sixteen people in his kitchen; his aide-de-camps invite every
body, but he seldom graces the banquet himself, living retired
out of the town with his old Columbine.(141) What an
extraordinary man! with no fortune at all, and with slight parts,
he has seventeen thousand a year from the government, which he
squanders away, though he has great debts, and four or five
numerous broods of children of one sort or other!
The famous Westminster election is at last determined, and Lord
Trentham returned: the mob were outrageous, and pelted Colonel
Waldegrave, whom they took for Mr. Leveson, from Covent-garden
to the Park, and knocked down Mr. Offley, who was with him.
Lord Harrington(142) was scarce better treated when he went on
board a ship from Dublin. There are great commotions there
about one Lucas, an apothecary, and favourite of the mob. The
Lord Lieutenant bought off a Sir Richard Cox, a patriot, by a
place in the revenue, though with great opposition from that
silly mock-virtuoso, Billy
Bristow, and that sillier Frederick Frankland, two oafs, whom
you have seen in Italy, and who are commissioners there. Here
are great disputes in the Regency, where Lord Harrington finds
there is not spirit enough to discard these puppet-show heroes!
We have got a second volume of Bower'S(143) History of the
Popes, but it is tiresome and pert, and running into a warmth
and partiality that he had much avoided in his first volume.
He has taken such pains to disprove the Pope's supremacy being
acknowledged pretty early, that he has convinced me it was
acknowledged. Not that you and I care whether it were or not.
He is much admired here; but I am not good Christian enough to
rejoice over him, because turned Protestant; nor honour his
confessorship, when he ran away with the materials that were
trusted to him to write for the papacy, and makes use of them
to write against it. You know how impartial I am; I can love
him for being shocked at a system of cruelty supporting
nonsense; I can be pleased with the truths he tells; I can and
do admire his style, and his genius in recovering a language
that he forgot by six years old, so well as to excel in writing
it, and yet I wish that all this had happened without any
breach of trust!
Stosch has grievously offended me; but that he will little
regard, as I can be of no use to him: he has sold or given his
charming intaglio of the Gladiator to Lord Duncannon. I must
reprove you a little who sent it; you know how much I pressed
you to buy it for me, and how much I offered. I still think it
one of the finest rings(144) I ever saw, and am mortified at not
Apropos to Bower; Miss Pelham had heard that he had foretold
the return of the earthquake-fit: her father sent for him, to
COnVince her that Bower was too sensible; but had the
precaution to talk to him first: he replied gravely, that a
fire was kindled under the earth, and he could not tell when it
would blaze out. You may be sure he was not carried to the
(140) Jonas, sixth Duke of Hamilton, the Husband of the
beautiful Miss Gunning. he died in 1758.-D.
(141) Mademoiselle Gauchet.
(142) William Stanhope, Earl of Harrington, Lord Lieutenant.
(143) Archibald Bow(@r, a man of disreputable character, who
was born in Scotland, of a Roman Catholic family, was educated
at Douay and Rome, and became a Jesuit. Having been detected,
as it is said, in an intrigue with a nun, he was forced to fly
from Perugia, where he resided: and after a series of strange
and not very creditable adventures, he arrived in England.
Here he declared himself a Protestant; but, after some years,
wishing to swindle the English Jesuits out of an annuity, be
again returned to their order. Having got all he could from
them, he again returned to Protestantism, and wrote his
"History of the Popes," which was his principal literary
work.-D. (Gibbon, speaking of Bower, in his Extraits (le mon
Journal for 1764, says, " He is a rogue unmasked, who enjoyed,
for twenty years, the favour of the public, because he had
quitted a sect to which he still secretly adhered; and because
he had been a counsellor of the inquisition in the town of
Macerata, where an inquisition never existed." Bower died in
Bond Street, in September, 1766, in his eighty-first year, and
was buried in Mary-le-bone churchyard, where there is a
monument to his memory.]
(144) It is engraved in Stosch's book: it is a Gladiator
standing, with a vase by him on a table, on an exceedingly fine
68 Letter 25
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, June 23, 1750.
As I am not Vanneck'd(145) I have been in no hurry to thank you
for your congratulation, and to assure you that I never knew
what solid happiness was till I was married. Your Trevors and
Rices dined with me last week at Strawberry Hill, and would
have had me answer you upon the matrimonial tone, but I thought
I should imitate cheerfulness in that style as ill as if I were
really married. I have had another of your friends with me
here some time, whom I adore, Mr. Bentley; he has more sense,
judgment, and wit, more taste, and more misfortunes, than sure
ever met in any man. I have heard that Dr. Bentley, regretting
his want of taste for all such learning as his, which is the
very want of taste, used to sigh and say, "Tully had his
Marcus." If the sons resembled as much as the fathers did, at
least in vanity, I would be the modest agreeable Marquis. Mr.
Bentley tells me that you press him much to visit you at
Hawkhurst. I advise him, and assure him he will make his
fortune under you there; that you are an agent from the board
of trade to the smugglers, and wallow in contraband wine, tea,
and silk handkerchiefs. I found an old newspaper t'other day,
with a list of outlawed smugglers; there were John Price, alias
Miss Marjoram, Bob Plunder, Bricklayer Tom, and Robin
Cursemother, all of Hawkhurst, in Kent. When Miss Harriet is
thoroughly hardened at Buxton, as I hear she is being,, in a
public room with the whole Wells, from drinking waters, I
conclude she will come to sip nothing but new brandy.
As jolly and as abominable a life as she may have been leading,
I defy all her enormities to equal a party of pleasure that I
had t'other night. I shall relate it to you to show you the
manners of the age, which are always as entertaining to a
person fifty miles off, as to one born an hundred and fifty
years after the time. I had a card from Lady Caroline
Petersham to go with her to Vauxhall. I went accordingly to her
house, and found her and the little Ashe,(146) or the Pollard
Ashe, as they call her; they had just finished their last layer
of red, and looked as handsome as crimson could make them. On
the cabinet-door stood a pair of Dresden candlesticks, a present
from the virgin hands of Sir John Bland: the branches of each
formed a little bower over a cock and hen * * * * We issued
into the mall to assemble our company, which was all the town, if
we could get it; for just so many had been summoned, except Harry
Vane(147) whom we met by chance. We mustered the Duke of
Kingston, whom Lady Caroline says she has been trying for these
seven years; but alas! his beauty is at the fall of the leaf;
Lord March,(148) Mr. Whitehead, a pretty Miss Beauclerc, and a
very foolish Miss Sparre. These two damsels were trusted by
their mothers for the first time of their lives to the matronly
care of Lady Caroline. As we sailed up the mall with all our
colours flying, Lord Petersham,(149) with his hose and legs
twisted to every point of crossness, strode by us on the outside,
and repassed again on the return. At the end of' the mall she
called to him; he would not answer: she gave a familiar spring
and, between laugh and confusion, ran up to him, "My lord! my
lord! why, you don't see us!" We advanced at a little
distance, not a little awkward in expectation how all this
would end, for my lord never stirred his hat, or took the least
notice of any body; she said, "Do you go with us, or are you
going any where else?"--"I don't go with you, I am going
somewhere else;" and away he stalked. as sulky as a ghost that
nobody will speak to first. We got into the best order we
could, and marched to our barge, with a boat of French horns
attending, and little Ashe singing. We paraded some time up
the river, and at last debarked at Vauxhall - there, if we had
so pleased, we might have had the vivacity of our party
increased by a quarrel; for a Mrs. Loyd,(150)Who is supposed
to be married to Lord Haddington, seeing the two girls
following Lady Petersham and Miss Ashe, said aloud, "Poor
girls, I am sorry to see them in such bad company!" Miss
Sparre, who desired nothing so much as the fun of seeing a
duel,--a thing which, though she is fifteen, she has never been
so lucky to see,--took due pains to make Lord March resent
this; but he, who is very lively and agreeable, laughed her out
of this charming frolic with a great deal of humour. Here we
picked up Lord Granby, arrived very drunk from Jenny's
Whim;(151) where, instead of going to old Strafford's(152)
catacombs to make honourable love, he had dined with Lady
Fanny,(153) and left her and eight other women and
four other men playing at brag. He would fain have made over
his honourable love upon any terms to poor Miss Beauclerc, who
is very modest, and did not know at all what to do with his
whispers or his hands. He then addressed himself to the
Sparre, who was very well disposed to receive both; but the
tide of champagne turned, he hiccupped at the reflection of his
marriage (of which he is wondrous sick), and only proposed to
the girl to shut themselves up and rail at the world for three
weeks. If all the adventures don't conclude as you expect in
the beginning of a paragraph, you must not wonder, for I am not
making a history, but relating one strictly as it happened, and
I think with full entertainment enough to content you. At
last, we assembled in our booth, Lady Caroline in the front,
with the vizor of her hat erect, and looking gloriously jolly
and handsome. She had fetched my brother Orford from the next
box, where he was enjoying himself with his petite partie, to
help us to mince chickens. We minced seven chickens into a
china dish, which Lady Caroline stewed over a lamp with three
pats of butter and a flagon of water, stirring and rattling,
and laughing, and we every minute expecting to have the dish
fly about our ears. She had brought Betty, the fruit-girl,
with hampers of strawberries and cherries from Rogers's, and
made her wait upon us, and then made her sup by us at a little
table. The conversation was no less lively than the whole
transaction. There was a Mr. O'Brien arrived from Ireland, who
would get the Duchess of Manchester from Mr. Hussey, if she
were still at liberty. I took up the biggest hautboy in the
dish, and said to Lady Caroline, "Madam, Miss Ashe desires you
would eat this O'Brien strawberry:" she replied immediately, "I
won't, you hussey." You may imagine the laugh this reply
occasioned. After the tempest was a little calmed, the Pollard
said, "Now, how any body would spoil this story that was to
repeat it, and say, "I won't, you jade!" In short, the whole
air of our party was sufficient, as you will easily imagine, to
take up the whole attention of the garden; so much so, that
from eleven o'clock till half an hour after one we had the
whole concourse round our booth: at last, they came into the
little gardens of each booth on the sides of ours, till Harry
Vane took up a bumper, and drank their healths, and was
proceeding to treat them with still greater freedom. It was
three o'clock before we got home. I think I have told you the
chief passages. Lord Granby's temper had been a little ruffled
the night before; the Prince had invited him and Dick Lyttelton
to Kew, where he won eleven hundred pounds of the latter, and
eight of the former, then cut and told them @e would play with
them no longer, for he saw they played so idly, that they were
capable of "losing more than they would like." Adieu! I expect
in return for this long tale that you will tell me some of your
frolics with Robin Cursemother, and some of Miss
P. S. Dr. Middleton called on me yesterday: he is come to town
to consult his physician for a jaundice and swelled legs,
symptoms which, the doctor tells him, and which he believes,
can be easily cured: I think him visibly broke, and near his
end.(154) He lately advised me to marry, on the sense of his
own happiness; but if any body had advised him to the contrary,
at his time of life,(155) I believe he would not have broke so
(145) Alluding to the projected marriages, which soon after
took place, between two of the sons of his uncle Lord Walpole:
who each of them married a daughter of Sir Joshua Vanneck.-E.
(146 Miss Ashe was said to have been of very high parentage.
She married Mr. Falconer; an officer in the navy.-E.
(147) Eldest son of Lord Barnard, created Earl of Darlington in
(148) Upon the death of Charles, Duke of Queensbury and Dover,
he succeeded, in 1778, to the title of Queensbury, and died
unmarried in 1810.-E.
(149) Afterwards Earl of Harrington. His gait was so singular,
that he was generally known by the nickname of Peter
(150) She was afterwards married to Lord Haddington.-E.
(151) A tavern at the end of the wooden bridge at Chelsea, at
that period much frequented by his lordship and other men of
(152) Anne, daughter and Heiress of Sir Henry Johnson, widow of
Thomas Lord Raby, created Earl of Strafford in 1711.
(153) Lady Frances Seymour, eldest daughter of Charles, Duke of
Somerset (known by the name of the Proud Duke), by his second
Duchess, Lady Charlotte Finch. She was married in the
following September to the Marquis of Granby.-E.
(154) Warburton, in a letter to Hurd, of the 11th of July,
says, "I hear Dr. Middleton has been lately in London, (I
suppose, to consult Dr. Heberden about his health,) and is
returned in an extreme bad condition. The scribblers against
him will say they have killed him; but by what Mr. Yorke told
me, his bricklayer will dispute the honour of his death with
(155) The Doctor had recently taken a third wife, the relict of
a Bristol merchant. On making her a matrimonial visit, Bishop
Gooch told Mrs. Middleton that ,he was glad she did not dislike
the Ancients so much as her husband did." She replied, "that
she hoped his lordship did not reckon her husband among the
Ancients yet." The Bishop answered, "You, Madam, are the best
judge of that" Nichols's literary Anecdotes, Vol. v. p. 422.-E.
71 Letter 26
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, July 25, 1750.
I told YOU my idle season was coming on, and that I should have
great intervals between my letters; have not I kept my word?
For any thing I have to tell you, I might have kept it a month
longer. I came out of Essex last night, and find the town
quite depopulated: I leave it to-morrow, and go to Mr.
Conway's(156) in Buckinghamshire, with only giving a transient
glance on Strawberry Hill. Don't imagine I am grown fickle; I
thrust all my visits into a heap, and then am quiet for the
rest of the season. It is so much the way in England to jaunt
about, that one can't avoid it; but it convinces me that people
are more tired of themselves and the country than they care to
Has your brother told you that my Lord Chesterfield has bought
the Houghton lantern? the famous lantern, that produced so much
patriot Wit;(157) and very likely some of his lordship's? My
brother had bought a much handsomer at Lord Cholmondeley's
sale; for, with all the immensity of the celebrated one, it was
ugly, and too little for the hall. He would have given it to
Lord Chesterfield rather than he should not have had it.
You tell us nothing of your big events, of the quarrel of the
Pope and the Venetians, on the Patriarchate of Aquileia. We
look upon it as so decisive that I should not wonder if Mr.
Lyttelton, or Whitfield the Methodist, were to set out for
Venice, to make them a tender of some of our religions.
Is it true too what we hear, that the Emperor has turned the
tables on her Caesarean jealousy,(158) and discarded Metastasio
the poet, and that the latter is gone mad upon it, instead of
hugging himself on coming off so much better than his
predecessor in royal love and music, David Rizzio? I believe I
told you that one of your sovereigns, and an intimate friend of
yours, King Theodore, is in the King's Bench prison. I have so
little to say, that I don't care if I do tell you the same
thing twice. He lived in a privileged place; his creditors
seized him by making him believe lord Granville wanted him on
business of importance; he bit at it, and concluded they were
both to be reinstated at once. I have desired Hogarth to go
and steal his picture for me; though I suppose one might easily
buy a sitting of him. The King of Portugal (and when I have
told you this, I have done with kings) has bought a handsome
house here,(159) for the residence of his ministers.
I believe you have often heard me mention a Mr. Ashton,(160) a
clergyman, who, in one word, has great preferments, and owes
every thing upon earth to me. I have long had reason to
complain of his behaviour; in short, my father is dead, and I
can make no bishops. He has at last quite thrown off the mask,
and in the most direct manner, against my will, has written
against my friend Dr. Middleton,(161) taking for his motto
"Nullius addictus jurare in verba Magistri,
Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum".
I have forbid him my house, and wrote this paraphrase upon his
"Nullius addictus munus meminisse Patroni,
Quid vacat et qui dat, curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum."
I own it was pleasant to me the other day, on meeting Mr.
Tonson, his bookseller, at the Speaker's, and asking him if he
had sold many of Mr. Ashton's books, to be told, "Very few
I beg you will thank Dr. Cocchi much for his book; I will thank
him much more when I have received and read it. His friend,
Dr. Mead, is undone; his fine collection is going to be sold:
he owes about five-and-twenty thousand Pounds. All the world
thought himimmensely rich; but, besides the expense of his
collection, he kept a table for which alone he is said to have
allowed seventy pounds a-week.
(156) Mr. Conway had hired Latimers, in Buckinghamshire, for
(157) In one pamphlet, the noise of this lantern, was so
exaggerated, that the author said, on a journey to Houghton, he
was first carried into a glass-room, which he supposed was the
porter's lodge, but proved to be the lantern. [This lantern,
which hung from the ceiling of the hall, was for eighteen
candles, and of copper gilt. It was the Craftsman which made
so much noise about it.]
(158) The Empress Maria Theresa, who was very jealous, and with
reason, of her husband, the Emperor Francis.-D.
(159) In South Audley Street. (It continued to be the residence
of the Portuguese ambassadors till the year 1831.-D.
(160) Thomas Ashton, fellow of Eton College, and rector of St.
(161) Dr. Conyers Middleton, author of the Life of Cicero. [The
Doctor died three days after the date of this letter, in his
73 Letter 27
To sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, August 2, 1750.
I had just sent my letter to the '@Secretary's office the other
day, when I received yours: it would have prevented my
reproving you for not mentioning the quarrel between the Pope
and the Venetians; and I should have had time to tell you that
Dr. Mead's bankruptcy is contradicted. I don't love to send
you falsities, so I tell you this is contradicted, though it is
by no means clear that he is not undone-he is scarce worth
making an article in two letters.
I don't wonder that Marquis Acciaudi's villa did not answer to
you; by what I saw in Tuscany, and by the prints, their villas
are strangely out of taste, and laboured by their unnatural
regularity and art to destroy the romanticness of the
situations. I wish you could see the villas and seats here!
the country wears a new face; every body is improving their
places, and as they don't fortify, their plantations with
intrenchments of walls and high hedges, one has the benefit of
them even in passing by. The dispersed buildings, I mean
temples, bridges, etc. are generally Gothic or Chinese, and
give a whimsical air of novelty that is very pleasing. You
would like a drawing-room in the latter style that I fancied
and have been executing at Mr. Rigby's, in Essex. it has large
and Very fine Indian landscapes, with a black fret round them,
and round the whole entablature of the room, and all the ground
or hanging is of pink paper. While I was there, we had eight
of the hottest days that ever were felt; they say, some degrees
beyond the hottest in the East Indies, and that the Thames was
more so than the hot well at Bristol. The guards died )n their
posts at Versailles: and here a captain Halyburton,
brother-in-law of lord Moncton, went mad with the excess
Your brother Gal. will, I suppose, be soon making improvements
like the rest of the world: he has bought an estate in Kent,
called Bocton Malherbe, famous enough for having belonged to
two men who, in my opinion, have very little title to fame, Sir
Harry Wotton and my lord Chesterfield. I must have the
pleasure of being the first to tell you that your pedigree is
finished at last; a most magnificent performance, and that will
make a pompous figure in a future great hall at Bocton Malherbe
when your great nephews or great-grandchildren shall be Earls,
etc. My cousin Lord Conway is made Earl of Hertford, as a
branch of the somersets: Sir Edward Seymour gave his
approbation handsomely. He has not yet got the dukedom
himself, as there is started up a Dr. Seymour who claims it,
but will be able to make nothing out.
Dr. Middleton is dead--not killed by Mr. Ashton--but of a decay
that came Upon him at once. The Bishop of London(162) will
perhaps make a jubilee(163) for his death, and then We shall
draw off some Of your crowds of travellers. Tacitus
Gordon(164) died the same day; he married the widow of
Trenchard(165) (with whom he wrote Cato's letters,) at the same
time that Dr. Middleton married her companion. The Bishop of
Durham (Chandler),(166) another great writer of controversy, is
dead too, immensely rich; he is succeeded by Butler(167) of
Bristol, a metaphysic author, much patronized by the late
Queen; she never could make my father read his book, and -which
she Certainly did not understand herself: he told her his
religion was fixed, and that he did not want to change Or
improve it. A report is come of the death of the King of
Portugal, and of the young Pretender; but that I don't believe.
I have been in town for a day or two, and heard no conversation
but about M'Lean, a fashionable highwayman, who is just taken,
and who robbed me among others; as Lord Eglinton, Sir Thomas
Robinson, Of Vienna, Mrs. Talbot, etc. He took an odd booty
from the Scotch Earl, a blunderbuss, which lies very formidably
upon the justice's table. He was taken by selling a laced
waistcoat to a pawnbroker, who happened to carry it to the very
man who had just sold the lace. His history is very Particular,
for he confesses every thing, and is so little of a hero that
he cries and begs, and I believe, if Lord Eglinton had been in
any luck, might have been robbed of his own blunderbuss. His
father was an Irish Dean; his brother is a Calvinist minister
in great esteem at the Hague. He himself was a grocer, but
losing a wife that he loved extremely about two years ago, and
by whom he has one little girl, he quitted his business with
two hundred pounds in his pocket, which he soon spent, and then
took to the road with only one companion, Plunket, a journeyman
apothecary, my other friend, whom he has impeached, but who is
not taken. M'Lean had a lodging in St. James's Street, over
against White's, and another at Chelsea; Plunket one in Jermyn
Street; and their faces are as known about St. James's as any
gentleman's who lives in that quarter, and who perhaps goes upon
the road too. M'Lean had a quarrel at Putney bowling-green two
months ago with an officer, whom he challenged for disputing his
rank; but the captain declined, till M'Lean should produce a
certificate of his nobility, which he has just received. If he
had escaped a month longer, he might have heard of Mr. Chute's
genealogic expertness, and come hither to the college of Arms for
a certificate. There was a wardrobe of clothes, three-and-twenty
purses, and the celebrated blunderbuss found at his lodgings,
besides a famous kept mistress. As I conclude he will suffer,
and wish him no ill, I don't care to have his idea, and am
almost single in not having been to see him. Lord Mountford,
at the head of half White's, went the first day - his aunt was
crying over him: as soon as they were withdrawn, she said to
him, knowing they were of White's, "My dear, what did the lords
say to you? have you ever been concerned with any of
them?"-Was not that admirable? what a favourable idea people
must have of White's!--and what if White's should not deserve a
much better! But the chief personages who have been to comfort
and weep over this fallen hero are Lady Caroline Petersham and
Miss Ashe: I call them Polly and Lucy, and asked them if he did
Thus I stand like the Turk with his doxies around."(168)
Another celebrated Polly has been arrested for thirty pounds,
even old Cuzzoni.(169) The Prince Of Wales bailed her--who
will do as much for him?
I am much obliged to you for your intended civilities to my
liking Madame Capello; but as I never liked any thing of her,
but her prettiness, for she is an idiot, I beg you will
dispense with them on my account: I should even be against your
renewing your garden assemblies. you would be too good to
pardon the impertinence of the Florentines, and would very
likely expose yourself to more: besides, the absurdities which
English travelling boys are capable of, and likely to act or
conceive, always gave me apprehensions of your meeting with
disagreeable scenes-and then there is another animal still more
absurd than Florentine men or English boys, and that is,
travelling governors, who are mischievous into the bargain, and
whose pride is always hurt because they are sure of its never
being indulged: they will not learn the world, because they are
sent to teach it, and as they come forth more ignorant of it
than their pupils, take care to return with more prejudices,
and as much care to instil all theirs into their pupils. Don't
Since I began my letter, the King of Portugal's death is
contradicted: for the future, I will be as circumspect as one
of your Tuscan residents was, who being here in Oliver's time,
wrote to his court, "Some say the Protector is dead; others that
he is not: for my part, I believe neither one nor t'other."
Will u send me some excellent melon seeds? I have a neighbour
who shines in fruit, and have promised to get him some:
Zatte`e, I think he says, is a particular sort. I don't know
the best season for sending them, but you do, and will oblige
me by some of the best sorts.
I suppose you know all that execrable history that occasioned
an insurrection lately at Paris, where they were taking up
young children to try to people one of their colonies, in which
grown persons could never live. You have seen too, to be sure,
in the papers the bustle that has been all this winter about
purloining some of our manufacturers to Spain. I was told
to-day that the informations, if they had had rope given them,
would have reached to General Wall.(170) Can you wonder? Why
should Spain prefer a native of England(171) to her own
subjects, but because he could and would do us more hurt than a
Spaniard could? a grandee is a more harmless animal by far
than an Irish Papist. We stifled this evidence: we are in
their power; We forgot at the last peace to renew the most
material treaty! Adieu! You would not forget a material
(162) Thomas Sherlock, translated from the see of Salisbury in
1748. He died in 1761.-D.
(163) This alludes to the supposed want of orthodoxy shown by
Dr. Middleton in some of his theological writings.-D.
(164) Thomas Gordon, the translator of Sallust and Tacitus; and
also a political writer of his day of considerable notoriety.
His death happening at the same time as that of Dr. Middleton,
Lord Bolingbroke said to Dr. Heberden, "then there is the best
writer in England gone, and the worst."-E.
(165) John Trenchard, son of Sir John Trenchard, secretary of
state to King William the Third, was born in 1669. He wrote
various political pamphlets of a democratic cast. In 1720 he
published, in conjunction with Thomas Gordon, @ a series of
political letters, under the signature of "Cato." They
appeared at first in the " London Journal," and afterwards in
the "British Journal," two newspapers of the day. They
obtained great celebrity, as well from the merit of their
composition, as from -the boldness of the principles they
advocated. These consisted in an uncompromising hostility to
the Government and to the Church. Trenchard was member of
parliament for Taunton, and died in 1723.-D.
(166) Edward Chandler, a learned prelate, and author of various
polemical works. He had been raised to the see of Durham in
1730, as it was then said, by simoniacal means.-D.
(167) Joseph Butler, the learned and able author of "The
Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution
and Cause of Nature." This is the "Book," here alluded to, of
which Queen Caroline was so fond that she made the fortune of
its author. Bishop Butler died much regretted in 1752.-D.
(168) The last song in The Beggar's Opera.
(169) A celebrated Italian singer.-D.
(170) The Spanish ambassador to the court of
(171) General Richard Wall was of Irish parents, but I believe
not born in these dominions. [He came to England in 1747, on a
secret mission from Ferdinand, and continued as ambassador at
the British court till 1754, when he was recalled, to fill the
high office of minister for foreign affairs.]
76 Letter 28
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Sept. 1, 1750.
Here, my dear child, I have two letters of yours to answer. I
will go answer them; and then, if I have any thing to tell you,
I will. I accept very thankfully all the civilities you showed
to Madame Capello on my account, but don't accept her on my
account: I don't know who has told you that I liked her, but
you may believe me, I never did. For the Damers,(172)they have
lived much in the same world that I do. He is moderately
sensible, immoderately proud, self-sufficient, and whimsical.
She is very sensible, has even humour, if the excessive reserve
and silence that she draws from both father and mother -would
let her, I may almost say, ever show it. You say, "What people
do we send you!" I reply, "What people we do not send you!"
Those that travel are reasonable, compared with those who can
never prevail on themselves to stir beyond the atmosphere of
their own whims. I am convinced that the Opinions I give you
about several people must appear very misanthropic; but yet,
you see, are generally forced to own at last that I did not speak
from prejudice - but I won't triumph, since you own that I was in
the right about the Barrets. I was a little peevish with 'you
in your last, when I came to the paragraph where you begin to
say "I have made use of all the Interest I have with Mr.
Pelham."(173) I concluded you was proceeding to say, "to
procure your arrears;" instead of that, it was to make him
serve Mr. Milbank--will you never have done obliging people?
do begin to think of being obliged. I dare say Mr. Milbank is
a very pretty sort of man, very sensible of your attentions,
and who will never forget them-till he is past the Giogo.(174)
You recommend him to me: to show you that I have not naturally
an inclination to hate people, I am determined not to be
acquainted with him, that I may not hate him for forgetting
you. Mr. Pelham will be a little surprised at not finding his
sister(175) at Hanover. That was all a pretence of his wise
relations here, who grew uneasy that he was happy in a way that
they had not laid out for him: Mrs. Temple is in Sussex. They
looked upon the pleasure of an amour of choice as a transient
affair; so, to Make his satisfaction permanent, they propose to
marry him, and to a girl(176) he scarce ever saw!
I suppose you have heard all the exorbitant demands of the
heralds for your pedigree! I have seen one this morning,
infinitely richer and better done, which will not cost more; it
is for my Lady Pomfret. You would be entertained with all her
imagination in it. She and my lord both descend from Edward
the First, by his two Queens. The pedigree is painted in a
book: instead of a vulgar genealogical tree, she has devised a
pine-apple plant, sprouting out of a basket, on which is King
Edward's head; on the other leaves are all the intermediate
arms; the fruit is sliced open, and discovers the busts of the
Earl and Countess, from whence issue their issue! I have had
the old Vere pedigree lately In my hands, which derives that
house from Lucius Verus; but I am now grown to bear no descent
but my Lord Chesterfield's, who has placed among the portraits
of his ancestors two old heads, inscribed Adam de Stanhope and
Eve de Stanhope; the ridicule is admirable. Old Peter Leneve,
the herald, who thought ridicule consisted in not being of an
old family, made this epitaph, and it was a good one, for young
Craggs, whose father had been a footman, "Here lies the last
who died before the first of his family!" Pray mind,
how I string old stories together to-day. This old
Craggs,(177) who was angry with Arthur More, who had worn a 78
livery too, and who was getting into a coach with him, turned
about and said, "Why, Arthur, I am always going to get up
behind; are not you!" I told this story the other day to
George Selwyn, whose passion is to see coffins and corpses, and
executions: he replied, "that Arthur More had had his coffin
chained to that of his mistress."--"Lord!" said I, "how do you
know!"--"Why, I saw them the other day in a vault at St.
Giles's." He was walking this week in Westminster Abbey with
Lord Abergavenny, and met the man who shows the tombs, "Oh!
your servant, Mr. Selwyn; I expected to have seen you here the
other day, when the old Duke of Richmond's body was taken up."
Shall I tell you another story of George Selwyn before I tap
the chapter of Richmond, which you see opens here very apropos?
With this strange and dismal turn, he has infinite fun and
humour in him. He went lately on a party of pleasure to see
places with Lord Abergavenny and a pretty Mrs. Frere, who love
one another a little. At Cornbury there are portraits of all
the royalists and regicides, and illustrious headless.(178)
Mrs. Frere ran about, looked at nothing, let him look at
nothing, screamed about Indian paper, and hurried over all the
rest. George grew peevish, called her back, told her it was
monstrous. when he had come so far with her, to let him see
nothing; "And you are a fool, you don't know what you missed in
the other room."--"Why, what?"--"Why, my Lord Holland'S(179)
picture."--"Well! what is my Lord Holland to me?"--"Why, do you
know," said he, ,that my Lord Holland's body lies in the same
vault in Kensington church with my Lord Abergavenny's mother?"
Lord! she 'was so obliged, and thanked him a thousand times.
The Duke of Richmond is dead, vastly lamented: the Duchess is
left in great circumstances. Lord Albemarle, Lord Lincoln, the
Duke of Marlborough, Duke of Leeds, and the Duke of Rutland,
are talked of for master of the horse. The first is likeliest
to succeed; the Pelhams wish most to have the last: you know he
is Lady Catherine's brother, and at present attached to the
Prince. His son Lord Granby's match, which is at last to be
finished to-morrow, has been a mighty topic of conversation
lately. The bride is one of the great heiresses of old proud
Somerset. Lord Winchilsea, who is her uncle, and who has married
the other sister very loosely to his own
relation, Lord Guernsey, has tied up Lord Granby so rigorously
that the Duke of Rutland has endeavoured to break the match.
She has four thousand pounds a year: he is said to have the
same in present, but not to touch hers. He is in debt ten
thousand pounds. She was to give him ten, which now Lord
Winchilsea refuses. Upon the strength of her fortune, Lord
Granby proposed to treat her with presents of twelve thousand
pounds; but desired her to buy them. She, who never saw nor
knew the value of ten shillings while her father lived, and has
had no time to learn it, bespoke away so roundly, that for one
article of the plate she ordered ten sauceboats: besides this,
she and her sister have squandered seven thousand pounds apiece
in all kind of baubles and frippery; so her four thousand
pounds a-year is to be set apart for two years to pay her
debts. Don't you like this English management? two of the
greatest fortunes meeting and setting out with poverty and
want! Sir Thomas Bootle, the Prince's chancellor, who is one
of the guardians, wanted to have her tradesmen's bills taxed;
but in the mean time he has wanted to marry her Duchess-mother:
his love-letter has been copied and dispersed every where. To
give you a sufficient instance of his absurdity, the first time
he went with the Prince of Wales to Cliefden, he made a
nightgown, cap, and slippers of gold brocade, in which he came
down to breakfast the next morning.
My friend M'Lean is still the fashion: have not I reason to
call him my friend? He says, if the pistol had shot me, he had
another for himself. Can I do less than say I will be hanged
if he is? They have made a print, a very dull one, of what I
think I said to Lady Caroline Petersham about him,
,Thus I stand like the Turk with his doxies around!"
You have seen in the papers a Hanoverian duel, but may be you
don't know that it was an affair of jealousy. Swiegel, the
slain, was here two years ago, and paid his court so
Assiduously to the Countess(180) that it was intimated to him
to return; and the summer we went thither afterwards, he was
advised to stay at his villa. Since that, he has grown more
discreet and a favourite. Freychappel came hither lately, was
proclaimed a beauty by the monarch, and to return the
compliment, made a tender of all his charms where Swiegel had.
the latter recollected his own passion Jostled Freychappel,
fought, and was killed. I am glad he never heard what poor
Gibberne was intended for.
They have put in the papers a good story made on White's: a
man dropped down dead at the door, was carried in: the club
immediately made bets whether he was dead or not, and when they
were going to bleed him, the wagerers for his death interposed,
and said it would affect the fairness of the bet.
Mr. Whithed has been so unlucky as to have a large part of his
seat,(181) which he had just repaired, burnt down: it is a
great disappointment to me, too, who was going thither
Gothicizing. I want an act of parliament to make
master-builders liable to pay for any damage occasioned by fire
before their workmen have quitted it. Adieu! This I call a
very gossiping letter; I wish you don't call it worse.
(172) Joseph Damer, afterwards created Lord Milton in Ireland,
married Lady Caroline Sackville, daughter of Lionel, Duke of
(173) Thomas Pelham, of Stanmer; a young gentleman who
travelled with Mr. Milbank.
(174) The highest part of the Apennine between Florence and
(175) Mrs. Temple, widow of Lord Palmerston's son: she was
afterwards married to Lord Abergavenny.
(176) Frances, second daughter of Henry Pelham, chancellor of
the exchequer. Mr. Thomas Pelham married Miss Frankland.
(177) The two Craggs, father and son, were successively members
of the administration during the reign of George the First, in
the post of secretary of state. The father died in 1718, and
the son in 1720; and Pope consecrated a beautiful epitaph to
the memory of the latter. They are both supposed to have been
deeply implicated in the iniquities of the South Sea bubble.-D.
(178) This was the celebrated collection of portraits,
principally by Vandyck, which Lord Dartmouth, in his notes on
Burnet, distinctly accuses the Lord Chancellor Clarendon of
having obtained by rapacious and corrupt means; that is, as
bribes from the "old rebels," who had plundered them from the
houses of the royalists, and who, at the Restoration, found it
necessary to make fair weather with the ruling powers. The
extensive and miscellaneous nature of the collection (now
divided between Bothwell Castle, in Scotland, and The Grove, in
Hertfordshire) very strongly confirms this accusation. An
additional confirmation is to be found in a letter of Walpole,
addressed to Richard Bentley, Esq. and dated Sept. 1753, in
which he says, "At Burford I saw the house of Mr. Lenthal, the
descendant of the Speaker. The front is good; and a chapel,
connected by two or three arches, which let the garden appear
through, has a pretty effect; but the inside of the mansion is
bad, and ill-furnished. Except a famous picture of Sir Thomas
More's family, the portraits are rubbish, though celebrated. I
am told that the Speaker, who really had a fine collection,
made his peace by presenting them to Cornbury, where they were
well known, till the Duke of Marlborough bought that seat."-D.
(179) Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, the favourite of Queen
180) Lady Yarmouth.
(181) Southwick, in Hampshire.
80 Letter 29
To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 10, 1750.
You must not pretend to be concerned at having missed one here,
when I had repeatedly begged you, to let me know what day you
would call; and even after you had learnt that I was to come
the next day, you paraded by my house with all your matrimonial
streamers flying, without even saluting the future castle. To
punish this slight, I shall accept your offer of a visit on the
return of your progress; I shall be here, and Mrs. leneve will
I feel for the poor Handasyde.(182) If I wanted examples for
to deter one from making all the world happy, from obliging,
from being always in good-humour and spirits, she should be my
memento. You find long wise faces every day, that tell you
riches cannot make one happy. No, can't they? What pleasantry
is that poor woman fallen from! and what a joyous feel must
Vanneck(183) have expired in, Who could call and think the two
Schutzes his friends, and leave five hundred pounds apiece to
their friendship-. nay, riches made him so happy, that, in the
overflowing of his satisfaction, he has bequeathed a hundred
pounds apiece to eighteen fellows, whom he calls his good
friends, that favoured him with their company on Fridays. He
took it mighty kind that Captain James de Normandie, and twenty
such names, that came out of the Minories, would constrain
themselves to live upon him once a week.
I should like to visit the castles and groves of your old Welsh
ancestors with you: by the draughts I have seen, I have always
imagined that Wales preserved the greatest remains of ancient
days, and have often wished to visit Picton Castle, the seat of
Make my best compliments to your sisters, and with their leave
make haste to this side of the world; you will be extremely
welcome hither as soon and for as long as you like; I can
promise you nothing very agreeable, but that I will try to get
our favourite Mr. Bentley to meet you. Adieu!
(182) The widow of Brigadier-General Handasyde.-E.
(183) The legacies bequeathed by Gerard Vanneck amounted
altogether to more than a hundred thousand pounds. The residue
of his property he left to his brother, Joshua Vanneck,
ancestor of Lord Huntingfield.-E.
81 Letter 30
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, September 20, 1750.
I only write you a line to answer some of your questions, and
to tell you that I can't answer others.
I have inquired much about Dr. Mead, but can't tell you any
thing determinately: his family positively deny the foundation
of the reports, but every body does 'not believe their
evidence. Your brother is positive that there is much of truth
in his being undone, and even that there will be a sale of his
collection(184) when the town comes to town. I wish for Dr.
Cocchi's sake it be false. I have given your brother
Middleton's last piece to send you. Another fellow of
Eton(185) has popped out a sermon against the Doctor since his
death, with a note to one of the pages, that is the true
sublime of ecclesiastic absurdity. He is speaking against the
custom of dividing the Bible into chapters and verses, and says
it often encumbers the sense. This note, though long, I must
transcribe, for it would wrong the author to paraphrase his
nonsense:--"It is to be wished, therefore, I think, that a fair
edition were set forth of the original Scriptures, for the use
of learned men in their closets, in which there should be no
notice, either in text or margin, of chapter, or verse, or
paragraph, or any such arbitrary distinctions, (now mind,) and
I might go so far as to say even any pointing or stops. It
could not but be matter of much satisfaction, and much use, to
have it in our power to recur occasionally to such an edition,
where the understanding might have full range, free from any
external influence from the eye, and the continual danger of
being either confined or misguided by it." Well, Dr. Cocchi,
do English divines yield to the Romish for refinements in
absurdity! did one ever hear of a better way (if making sense
of any writing than by reading it without stops! Most of the
parsons that read the first and second lessons practise Mr.
Cooke's method of making them intelligible, for they seldom
observe any stops. George Selwyn proposes to send the man his
own sermon, and desire him to scratch out the stops, in order
to help it to some sense.
For the questions in Florentine politics, and who are to be
your governors, I am totally ignorant, you must ask Sir Charles
Williams; he is the present ruling star of our negotiations.
His letters are as much admired as ever his verses were. He
has met the ministers of the two angry empresses, and pacified
Russian savageness and Austrian haughtiness. He is to teach
the monarch of Prussia to fetch and carry, .@;, unless they
happen to treat in iambics, or begin to settle the limits of'
Parnassus instead of' those of Silesia. As he is so good a
pacifier, I don't know but we may want his assistance at home
before the end of the winter:
"With secretaries, secretaries jar,
And rival bureaus threat approaching war."
Those that deal in elections look still higher, and snuff a new
Parliament; but I don't believe the King ill, for the Prince is
building baby-houses at Kew; and the Bishop of Oxford has laid
aside his views on Canterbury, and is come roundly back to St.
James's for the deanery of St. Paul's.(186) I could not help
being diverted the other day with the life of another Bishop of
Oxford, one Parker, who, like Secker, set out a Presbyterian,
and died King James the Second's arbitrary master of Maudlin
M'Lean is condemned, and will hang. I am honourably mentioned
in a Grub-street ballad for not having contributed to his
sentence. There are as many prints and pamphlets about him as
about the earthquake. His profession grows no joke: I was
sitting in my own dining-room on Sunday night, the clock had
not struck eleven, when I heard a loud cry of "Stop thief!" a
highwayman had attacked a postchaise in Picadilly, within fifty
yards of this house: the fellow was pursued, rode over the
watchman, almost killed him, and escaped. I expect to be
robbed some night in my own garden at Strawberry; I have a pond
of gold fish, that to be sure they will steal to burn like old
lace; and they may very easily, for the springs are so much
sunk with this hot summer that I am forced to water my pond
once a week! The season is still so fine, that I yesterday, in
Kensington town, saw a horse-chestnut tree in second bloom.
As I am in town, and not within the circle of Pope's walks, I
may tell you a story without fearing he should haunt me with
the ghost of a satire. I went the other day to see little
Spence,(188) who fondles an old mother in imitation of Pope.
The good old woman was mighty civil to me, and, among other
chat, said she supposed I had a good neighbour in Mr. Pope.
"Lord! Madam, he has been dead these seven years!"--"Ah! ay,
Sir, I had forgot." When the poor old soul dies, how Pope will
set his mother's spectre upon her for daring to be ignorant "if
Dennis be alive or dead!"(189)
(184) His collection was not sold till after his death, in the
years 1754 and 1755.
(185) William Cooke.
(186) Dr. Secker. In November he was appointed to the said
(187) There is the following entry in Evelyn's Diary for March
23, 1687-8: "Dr. Parker, Bishop of Oxford, who so lately
published his extraordinary treatise about transubstantiation,
and for abrogating the test and penal laws, died. He was
esteemed a violent, passionate, haughty man; but yet being
pressed to declare for the church of Rome, he utterly refused
it. A remarkable end."-E.
(188) The Rev. Joseph Spence, author of an Essay on Pope's
Odyssey, Polymetus, etc. See vol. i. pp. 27, 65. (He was
always strongly attached to his mother. When on his travels,
in 1739, he thus wrote to her:--"I am for happiness in my own
way, and according to my notions of it, I might as well, and
better, have it in living with you, at our cottage in
Birchanger, than in any palace. As my affairs stand at
present, 'tis likely that we shall have enough to live quite at
our ease: when I desire more than that, may I lose what I
(189) "I was not born for courts or great affairs;
I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers;
Can sleep without a poem in my head,
Nor know if Dennis be alive or dead."
Pope, Prologue to Satires.-E.
83 Letter 31
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Oct. 18, 1750.
I had determined so seriously to write to Dr. Cocchi a letter
myself to thank him for his Baths of Pisa, that it was
impossible not to break my resolution. It was to be in
Italian, because I thought their superlative issimos would most
easily express how much I like it, and I had already gathered a
tolerable quantity together, of entertaining, charming, useful,
agreeable, and had cut and turned them into the best sounding!
Tuscan adjectives I could find in my memory or my Crusca: but,
alack! when I came to range them, they did not fadge at all;
they neither expressed what I would say, nor half what I would
say, and so I gave it all up, and am reduced to beg you would
say it all for me; and make as many excuses and as many thanks
for me as you can, between your receiving this, and your next
going to bully Richcourt, or whisper Count Lorenzi. I laughed
vastly at your idea of the latter's hopping into matrimony; and
I like as much Stainville's jumping into Richcourt's place. If
your pedigree, which is on its journey, arrives before his
fall, he will not dare to exclude YOU from the libro d'oro--
-why, child, you will find yourself as sumptuously descended as
--"All the blood of all the Howards."
or as the best-bred Arabian mare, that ever neighed beneath
Abou-al-eb-saba-bedin-lolo-ab-alnin! But pray now, how does cet
homme l`a, as the Princess used to call him, dare to tap the
chapter of birth! I thought he had not had a grandfather since
the creation, that was not born within these twenty years!-But
come, I must tell you news, big news! the treaty of commerce
with Spain is arrived signed. Nobody expected it would ever
come, which I believe is the reason it is reckoned so good; for
autrement one should not make the most favourable conjectures,
as they don't tell us how good it is. In general, they say,
the South Sea Company is to have one hundred thousand pounds in
lieu of their annual ship; which, if it is not over and above
the ninety-five thousand pounds that was allowed to be due to
them, it appears to me only as if there were some halfpence
remaining when the bill was paid, and the King of Spain had
given them to the company to drink his health. What does look
well for the treaty is, that stocks rise to highwater mark; and
what is to me as clear, is, that the exploded Don Benjamin(190)
has repaired what the patriot Lord Sandwich had forgot, or not
known to do at Aix-la-Chapelle. I conclude Keene will now come
over and enjoy the Sabbath of his toils. He and Sir Charles are
the plenipotentiaries in fashion. Pray, brush up your Minyhood
and figure too: blow the coals between the Pope and the
Venetians, till the Inquisition burns the latter, and they the
Inquisition. If you should happen to receive instructions on
this head, don't wait for St. George's day before you present
your memorial to the Senate, as they say Sir Harry Wotton was
forced to do for St. James's, when those aquatic republicans
had quarrelled with Paul the Fifth, and James the First thought
the best way in the world to broach a schism was by beginning
it with a quibble. I have had some Protestant hopes too of a
civil war in France, between the King and his clergy: but it is
a dull age, and people don't set about cutting one another's
throats with any spirit! Robbing is the only thing that goes
on with any vivacity, though my friend Mr. M'Lean is hanged.
The first Sunday after his condemnation, three thousand people
went to see him; he fainted away twice with the heat of his
cell. You can't conceive the ridiculous rage there is of going
to Newgate; and the prints that are published of the
malefactors, and the memoirs of their lives and deaths set
forth with as much parade as--as--Marshal Turenne's--we have no
General's worth making a parallel.
The pasquinade was a very great one.(191) When I was desiring
YOU to make speeches for me to Dr. Cocchi, I might as well have
drawn a bill upon you too in Mr. Chute's name: for I am sure he
will never write himself. Indeed, at present he is in his
brother's purgatory, and then you will not wonder if he does
nothing but pray to get Out of it. I am glad you are getting
into a villa: my castle will, I believe, begin to rear its
battlements next spring. I have got an immense cargo of
painted glass from Flanders: indeed, several of the pieces are
Flemish arms; but I call them the achievements of the old
Counts of Strawberry. Adieu!
(190) Benjamin Keene, afterwards knight of the bath, ambassador
at Madrid, was exceedingly abused by the Opposition in Sir
Robert Walpole's time, under the name of Don Benjamin, for
having made the convention in 1739. [Mr. Pelham, in a letter
to Mr. Pitt of the 12th of October 1750, announcing the signing
of the treaty with Spain, says, "I hope and believe, when you
see it and consider the whole, you will be of opinion, that my
friend Keene has acted ably, honestly, and bravely; but, poor
man! he is so sore with old bruises, that he still feels the
smart, and fears another thrashing." See Chatham
Correspondence, vol. i. P. 50.)
(191) It alluded to the quarrel between the Pope and the
Venetians. Marforio asked Pasquin, "Perche si triste?"-
-"Perche mon avremo pi`u Comedia, Pantalone `e partito."-D.
84 letter 32
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 19, 1750.
I stayed to write to you, till I could tell you that I had seen
Mr. Pelham and Mr. Milbank, and could give you some history of
a new administration--but I found it was too long to wait for
either. I pleaded with your brother as I did with you against
visiting your friends, especially when, to encourage me, he
told me that you had given them a very advantageous opinion of
me. That is the very reason, says I, why I don't choose to see
them: they will be extremely civil to me at first; and then they
will be told I have horns and hoofs., and they will shun me,
which I should not like. I know how unpopular I am with the
people with whom they must necessarily live; and, not desiring to
be otherwise, I must either seek your friends where I would most
avoid them, or have them very soon grow to avoid me. However, I
went and left my name for Mr. Pelham, where your brother told me
he lodged, eight days ago; he was to come but that night to his
lodgings, and by his telling your brother he believed I had not
been, I concluded he would not accept that for a visit; so last
Thursday, I left my name for both--to-day is Monday, and I have
heard nothing of them--very likely I shall before you receive
this--I only mention it to show you that you was in the wrong
and I in the right, to think that there would be no
empressement for an acquaintance. Indeed, I would not mention
it, as you will dislike being disappointed by any odd behaviour
of your friends, if it were not to justify myself, and convince
you of my attention in complying with whatever you desire of
me. The King, I hear, commands Mr. Pelham's dancing; and he
must like Mr. Milbank, as he distinguished himself much in a
tournament of bears at Hanover.
For the Ministry, it is all in shatters: the Duke of Newcastle
is returned more averse to the Bedfords than ever: he smothered
that Duke with embraces at their first meeting, and has never
borne to be in the room with him since. I saw the meeting of
Octavia and Cleopatra;(192) the Newcastle was all haughtiness
and coldness. Mr. Pelham, who foresaw the storm, had prudently
prepared himself for the breach by all kind of invectives
against the house of Leveson. The ground of all, besides
Newcastle's natural fickleness and jealousy, is, that the
Bedford and Sandwich have got the Duke. A crash @as been
expected, but people now seem to think that they will rub on a
little longer, though all the world seems indifferent whether
they will or not. Mankind is so sick of all the late follies
and changes, that nobody inquires or cares whether the Duke of
Newcastle is prime minister, or whom he will associate with
him. The Bedfords have few attachments, and Lord Sandwich is
universally hated. The only difficulty is, who shall succeed
them; and it is even a question whether some of the old
discarded must not cross over and figure in again. I mean, it
has even been said, that Lord Granville(193) will once more be
brought upon the stage:-if he should, and should push too
forward, could they again persuade people to resign with them?
The other nominees for the secretaryship are, Pitt, the Vienna
Sir Thomas Robinson, and even that formal piece of dulness -,it
the Hague, Lord Holderness. The talk of the Chancellor's being
president, in order to make room, by the promotion of the
Attorney to the seals, for his second son(194) to be solicitor,
as I believe I once mentioned to you, is revived;
though he told Mr. Pelham, that if ever he retired, it should
be to Wimple.(195) In the mean time, the Master of the Horse,
the Groom of the Stole, the Presidentship, (vacant by the
nomination of Dorset to Ireland in the room of Lord Harrington,
who is certainly to be given up to his master's dislike,) and
the Blues, are still vacant. Indeed, yesterday I heard that
Honeywood(196) was to have the latter. Such is the Interregnum
of our politics! The Prince's faction lie still, to wait the
event, and the disclosing of the new treaty. Your friend Lord
Fane,(197) some time ago had a mind to go to Spain: the Duke of
Bedford, who I really believe is an honest man, said very
bluntly, "Oh! my lord, nobody can do there but Keene." Lord
North is made governor to Prince George with a thousand a-year,
and an earl's patent in his pocket; but as the passing of the
patent is in the pocket of time, it would not sell for much.
There is a new preceptor, one Scott,(198) recommended by Lord
Bolingbroke. You may add that recommendation to the chapter of
our wonderful politics. I have received your letter from
Fiesoli Hill; poor Strawberry blushes to have you compare it
with such a prospect as yours. I say nothing to the abrupt
sentences about Mr. B. I have long seen his humour--and a
little of your partiality to his wife.
We are alarmed with the distemper being got among the horses:
few have died yet, but a farrier who attended General
Ligonier's dropped down dead in the stable. Adieu!
(192) The DUCHESSES of Newcastle and Bedford.
(193) "So anxious was the Duke of Newcastle to remove his
colleague, that he actually proposed either to open a
negotiation with Earl Granville for settling a new
administration, or to conciliate the Duke of Cumberland,
without the interposition of Mr. Pelham, by agreeing to
substitute Lord Sandwich in the room of the Duke of Bedford."
Coxe's Pelham, vol. ii. p. 137.-E.
(194) Charles Yorke.-D.
(195) Wimpole the Chancellor's seat in Cambridgeshire.
(196) Sir Philip Honeywood, knight of the bath.
(197) Lord Viscount Fane, formerly minister at Florence.
(198) Coxe states, that Mr. Scott was recommended to the Prince
of Wales by Lord Bathurst, at the suggestion of Lord
Bolingbroke, and that he was favoured by the Princess.-E.
86 Letter 33
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Dec. 19, 1750.
Well! you may be easy; your friends have been to see me at
last, but it has so happened that we have never once met, nor
have I even seen their persons. They live at Newcastle-house;
and though I give you my word my politics are exceedingly
neutral, I happen to be often at the court of Bedford. The
Interministerium still subsists; no place is filled up but the
Lieutenancy of Ireland; the Duke of Dorset was too impatient to
wait. Lord Harrington remains a melancholy sacrifice to the
famous general Resignation,(199) which he led up, and of which
he is the only victim. Overtures have been made to Lord
Chesterfield to be president; but he has declined it; for he
says he cannot hear causes, as he is grown deaf. I don't think
the proposal was imprudent, for if they should happen, as they
have now and then happened, to want to get rid of him again, they
might without consequence; that is, I suppose nobody would
follow him out, any more than they did when he resigned
voluntarily. For these two days every body has expected to see
Lord Granville president, and his friend the Duke of Bolton,
colonel of the Blues; two nominations that would not be very
agreeable, nor probably calculated to be so to the Duke, who
favours the Bedford faction. His old governor Mr. Poyntz(200)
is just dead, ruined in his circumstances by a devout brother,
whom he trusted, and by a simple wife, who had a devotion of
marrying, dozens of her poor cousins at his expense: you know
she was the Fair Circassian.(201) Mr. Poyntz was called a very
great man, but few knew any thing of his talents, for he was
timorous to childishness. The Duke has done greatly for his
family, and secured his places for his children, and sends his
two sons abroad, allowing them eight hundred pounds a year.
The little Marquis of Rockingham has drowned himself in claret;
and old Lord Dartmouth is dead of ague.(202) When Lord
Bolingbroke's last work was published, on the State of Parties
at the late King's accession, Lord Dartmouth said, he supposed
Lord Bolingbroke believed every body was dead who had lived at
There has been a droll cause in Westminster Hall: a man laid
another a wager that he produced a person who should weigh as
much again as the Duke. When they had betted, they recollected
not knowing how to desire the Duke to step into a scale. They
agreed to establish his weight at twenty stone, which, however,
is supposed to be two more than he weighs. One Bright was then
produced, who is since dead, and who actually weighed forty-two
stone and a half.)203) As soon as he was dead, the person who
had lost objected that he had been weighed in his clothes, and
thought it was impossible to suppose that his clothes could
weigh above two stone, they went to law. There were the Duke's
twenty stone bawled over a thousand times,-but the righteous
law decided against the man who had won!
Poor Lord Lempster(204) is more Cerberus(205) than ever; (you
remember his bon-mot that proved such a blunder;) he has lost
twelve thousand pounds at hazard to an ensign of the Guards-but
what will you think of the folly of a young Sir Ralph Gore,(206)
who took it into his head that he would not be waited on by
drawers in brown frocks and blue aprons, and has literally given
all the waiters at the King's Arms rich embroideries and laced
clothes! The town is still empty: the parties for the two
playhouses are the only parties that retain any spirit. I will
tell you one or two bon-mots of Quin the actor. Barry would have
had him play the ghost in Hamlet, a part much beneath the dignity
of Quin, who would give no other answer but, "I won't catch cold
behind." I don't know whether you remember that the ghost is
always ridiculously dressed, with a morsel of armour before,
and only a black waistcoat and breech behind. The other is an
old one, but admirable. When Lord Tweedale was nominal
secretary of State for Scotland, Mitchell,(207) his secretary,
was supping With Quin, who wanted him to stay another bottle;
but he pleaded my lord's business. "Then," said Quin, "only
stay till I have told you a story. A vessel was becalmed: the
master called to one of the cabin-boys at the top of the mast,
'Jack, what are you doing?' 'Nothing, Sir.' He called to
another boy, a little below the first, 'Will, what are you
doing?' 'Helping Jack, sir.'" Adieu!
(199) In the year 1746.
)200) Stephen Poyntz, formerly British minister in Sweden,
after being tutor to Lord Townshend's sons.
(201) Anna maria Mordaunt, maid of honour to Queen Caroline. A
young gentleman at Oxford wrote the "Fair Circassian" on her,
and died for love of her. [The "Fair Circassian," a dramatic
performance which appeared in 1720, Has been generally
attributed to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Croxall, author of "Fables of
Esop and others, translated into English, with instructive
applications," who died in 1752, at an advanced age.]
(202) William, first Earl of Dartmouth, secretary of state to
Queen Anne. He died on the 15th of December, in his
(203) Edward bright died at Malden in Essex, on the 10th of
November, at the age of thirty. He was an active man till a
year or two before that event; when his corpulency so
overpowered his strength, that his life was a burthen to
(204) Eldest son of Thomas Fermor, Earl of Pomfret, whom, in
1753, he succeeded in the title.
(205) When he was on his travels, and run much in debt, his
parents paid his debts: Some more came out afterwards; he wrote
to his mother, that he could only compare himself to Cerberus,
who, when one head was cut off, had another spring up in its
(206) In 1747, when only a captain, Sir Ralph distinguished
himself at the battle Of Laffeldt. In 1764, he was created
Baron Gore, and in 1771, Earl of Ross: in 1788, he was
appointed commander-in-chief in Ireland, and died in 1802.-E.
(207) Andrew Mitchell, afterwards commissary at Antwerp. [And,
for many years, envoy from England to the court of Prussia. In
1765 he was created a knight of the bath, and died at Berlin in
1771. His valuable collection of letters, forming sixty-eight
volumes, was purchased in 1810, by the trustees of the British
88 Letter 34
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Dec. 22, 1750.
As I am idling away some Christmas days here, I begin a letter
to you, that perhaps will not set out till next year. Any
changes in the ministry will certainly be postponed till that
date: it is even believed that no alteration will be made till
after the session; they will get the money raised -,And the new
treaty ratified in Parliament before they break and part. The
German ministers arc more alarmed, and seem to apprehend
themselves in as tottering a situation as some of the English:
not that any secretary of state is jealous of them--their
Countess(208) is on the wane. The housekeeper(209) at Windsor,
an old monster that Verrio painted for one of the Furies, is
dead. The revenue is large, and has been largely solicited.
Two days ago, at the drawing-room, the gallant Orondates strode
up to Miss Chudleigh, and told her he was glad to have an
opportunity of obeying her commands, that he appointed her
mother housekeeper at Windsor, and hoped she would not think a
kiss too great a reward--against all precedent he kissed her in
the circle. He has had a hankering these two years. Her life,
which is now of thirty years' standing, has been a little
historic.(210) Why should not experience and a charming face on
her side, and near seventy years on his, produce a title?
Madame de Mirepoix is returned: she gives a lamentable account
of another old mistress,(211) her mother. She has not seen her
since the Princess went to Florence, which she it seems has
left with great regret; with greater than her beauty, whose
ruins she has not discovered: but with few teeth, few hairs,
sore eyes, and wrinkles, goes bare-necked and crowned with
jewels! Madame Mirepoix told me a reply of Lord Cornbury, that
pleased me extremely. They have revived at Paris old
Fontenelle's opera of Peleus and Thetis: he complained of being
dragged upon the stage again for one of his juvenile
performances, and said he could not bear to be hissed now: Lord
Cornbury immediately replied to him out of the very opera,
"Jupiter en courroux
Ne peut rien contre vous,
Vous `etes immortel."
Our old laureat has been dying: when he thought himself at the
extremity, he wrote this lively, good-natured letter to the
Duke of Grafton:-
""May it please your Grace:
"I know no nearer way of repaying your favours for these last
twenty years than by recommending the bearer, Mr. Henry Jones,
for the vacant laurel: Lord Chesterfield will tell you more of
him. I don't know the day of my death, but while I live, I
shall not cease to be, your Grace's, etc.
"Colley Cibber." '
I asked my Lord Chesterfield who this Jones(212) is; he told me
a better poet would not take the post, and a worse ought not to
have it. There are two new bon-mots of his lordship much
repeated, better than his ordinary. He says, he would not be
president, because he would not be between two fires;(213) and
that"the two brothers are like Arbuthnot's Lindamira and
Indamora;(214) the latter was an able, tractable gentlewoman, but
her sister was always quarrelling and kicking and as they grew
together, there was no parting them.
You will think my letters are absolute jest-and-story books,
unless you will be so good as to dignify them with the title of
Walpoliana. Under that hope, I will tell you a very odd new
story. A citizen had advertised a reward for the discovery of
a person who had stolen sixty guineas out of his scrutoire. He
received a message from a condemned criminal in Newgate, with
the offer of revealing the thief. Being a cautious grave
personage, he took two friends along with him. The convict
told him that he was the robber; and when he doubted, the
fellow began with these circumstances; You came home such a
night, and put the money into your bureau: I was Under your
bed: you undressed, and then went to the foot of the garret
stairs, and cried, 'Mary, come to bed to me-'" "Hold, hold,"
said the citizen, "I am convinced." "Nay," said the fellow,
"you shell hear all, for our intrigue saved your life. Mary
replied, 'If any body wants me, they may come up to me:' you
went: I robbed your bureau in the mean time, but should have
cut your throat, if you had gone into your bed instead of Mary
The conclusion of my letter will be a more serious story, but
very proper for the Walpoliana. I have given you scraps of
Ashton's history. To perfect his ingratitude, he has struck up
an intimacy with my second brother, and done his utmost to make
a new quarrel between us, on the merit of having broke with me
on the affair of Dr. Middleton. I don't know whether I ever
told you that my brother hated Middleton, who was ill with a
Dr. Thirlby,(215) a creature of his. He carried this and his
jealousy of me so far, that once when Lord Mountford brought
Middleton for one night only to Houghton my brother wrote my
father a most outrageous letter, telling him that he knew I had
fetched Middleton to Houghton to write my father's life, and
how much more capable Thirlby was of this task. Can one help
admiring in these instances the dignity of human nature! Poor
Mrs. Middleton is alarmed with a scheme that I think she very
justly suspects as a plot of the clergy to get at and suppress
her husband's papers. He died in a lawsuit with a builder, who
has since got a monition from the Commons for her to produce
all the Doctor's effects and papers. The whole debt is but
eight hundred pounds. She offered ten thousand pounds
security, and the fellow will not take it. Is there clergy in
it, or no? Adieu!
(208) Lady Yarmouth. The new amour did not proceed.
(209) Mrs. Marriot.
(210) She was, though maid of honour, privately married to
Augustus, second son of the late Lord Hervey, by whom she had
two children; but disagreeing, the match was not owned. She
afterwards, still maid of honour, lived very publicly with the
Duke of Kingston, and at last married him during Mr. Hervey's
(211) Princess Craon, formerly mistress of Leopold, Duke of
(212) I think he was an Irish bricklayer; he wrote an "Earl of
Essex." ["Having a natural inclination for the Muses," says his
biographer, "he pursued his devotions to them even during the
labours of his more mechanical avocations, and composing a line
of brick and a line of verse alternately, his wall and poems
rose up in growth together." His tragedy of the "Earl of
Essex" came out at Covent Garden in 1753, and met with
considerable success. He died in great want, in 1770.-E.]
(213) Meaning President of the Council. The two fires were the
Pelham brothers; between whom all private intercourse was at
this time suspended.-E.
(214) See the Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus in Swift's Works;
Indamora alludes to Mr. Pelham, Lindamira to the Duke of
(215) For a notice of the Doctor, see ant`e.-E.
89 Letter 35
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 9, 1751.
You will wonder that I, who am pretty punctual, even when I
have little to say, should have been so silent at the beginning
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