The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2
Part 4 out of 16
of a session: I will tell you some reasons why; what I had to
tell you was not finished; I wished to give you an entire
account: besides, we have had so vigorous an attendance, that
with that, and the fatigue, it was impossible to write. Before
the Parliament met, there was a dead tranquillity, and no
symptoms of party spirit. What is more extraordinary, though
the Opposition set out vehemently the very first day, there has
appeared ten times greater spirit on the court side, a Whig
vehemence that has rushed on heartily. I have been much
entertained-what should I have been, if I had lived in the
times of the Exclusion-bill, and the end of queen Anne's reign,
when votes and debates really tended to something! Now they
tend but to the alteration of a dozen places, perhaps, more or
less-but come, I'll tell you, and you shall judge for yourself.
The morning the Houses met, there was universally dispersed, by
the penny post, and by being dropped into the areas of houses,
a paper called Constitutional Queries, a little equivocal, for
it is not clear whether they were levelled at the Family, or by
Part of the Family at the Duke.(216) The Address was warmly
opposed, and occasioned a remarkable speech of Pitt, in
recantation of his former orations on the Spanish, war, and in
panegyric on the Duke of Newcastle, wit whom e is pushing
himself, and by whom he is pushed at all rates, in opposition
to Lord Sandwich and the Bedfords. Two or three days
afterwards there were motions in both Houses to have the
Queries publicly burnt. That too occasioned a debate with us,
and a fine speech of Lord Egmont, artfully condemning the
paper, though a little suspected of it, and yet supporting some
of the reasonings in it. There was no division on the
resolution; but two days afterwards we had a very extraordinary
and unforeseen one. Mr. Pelham had determined to have 'but
8,000 seamen this year, instead of 10,000. Pitt and his
cousins, without any notice given, declared with the Opposition
for the greater number. The key to this you will find in Pit'S
whole behaviour; whenever he wanted new advancement, he used to
go off He has openly met with great discouragement now; though
he and we know Mr. Pelham so -well, that it Will not be
surprising if, though baffled, he still carries his point of
secretary of state. However, the old corps resented this
violently, and rushed up their old anger: Mr. Pelham was
inclined to give way, but Lord Hartington, at the head of the
young Whigs, divided the House, and Pitt had the mortification
of being followed into the minority by only fifteen persons. The
King has been highly pleased with this event; and has never
named the Pitts and Grenvilles to the Duke of Newcastle, but to
abuse them, and to commend the spirit of the young people. It
has not weakened the Bedford faction, who have got more
strength by the clumsy politics of another set of their
enemies. There has all the summer been a Westminster petition
in agitation, driven on by the independent electors, headed by
Lord Elibank, Murray his brother, and one or two gentlemen.
Sir John Cotton, and Cooke the member for Middlesex,
discouraged it all they could, and even stifled the first
drawn, which was absolutely treason. However, Cooke at last
presented one from the inhabitants, and Lord Egmont another
from Sir George Vandeput; and Cooke even made a strong
invective against the High-bailiff; on which Lord Trentham
produced and read a letter written by Cooke to the
High-bailiff, when he was in their interest, and stuffed with
flattery to him. Lord Trentham's friends then called in the
High-bailiff, who accused some persons of hindering and
threatening him on the scrutiny, and, after some contention,
named Crowle, counsel for Sir George Vandeput, Gibson, an
upholsterer and independent, and Mr. Murray.(217) These three
were ordered to attend on the following Thursday to defend
themselves. Before that day came, we had the report on the
eight thousand seamen, when Pitt and his associates made
speeches of lamentation on their disagreement with Pelham, whom
they flattered inordinately. This ended in a burlesque quarrel
between Pitt and Hampden,(218) a buffoon who hates the
cousinhood, and thinks his name should entitle him to Pitt's
office. We had a very long day on Crowle's defence, who had
called the power of the House brutum fulmen: he was very
submissive, and was dismissed with a reprimand on his knees.
Lord Egmont was so severely handled by Fox, that he has not
recovered his spirits since. He used to cry up Fox against Mr.
Pelham, but since the former has seemed rather attached to the
Duke and the Duke of Bedford, the party affect to heap incense
on Pelham and Pitt--and it is returned.
The day that Murray came to the bar he behaved with great
confidence, but at last desired counsel, which was granted: in
the mean time we sent Gibson to Newgate. Last Wednesday was
the day of trial: the accusation was plentifully proved against
Murray, and it was voted to send him close prisoner to Newgate.
His party still struggling against the term close, the Whigs
grew provoked, and resolved he should receive his sentence on
his knees at the bar. To this he refused to submit. The
Speaker stormed, and the House and its honour grew outrageous
at the dilemma they were got into, and indeed out of which we
are not got yet. If he gets the better, he will indeed be a
meritorious martyr for the cause: en attendant, he is strictly
shut up in Newgate.(219)
By these anecdotes you will be able to judge a little of the
news you mention in your last, of January 29th, and will
perceive that our ministerial vacancies and successions are not
likely to be determined soon. Niccolini's account of the
aversion to Lord Sandwich is well grounded, though as to
inflexible resentments, there cannot easily be any such thing,
where parties and factions are so fluctuating as in this
country. I was to have dined the other day at Madame de
Mirepoix's with my Lord Bolingbroke, but he was ill. She said,
she had repented asking me, as she did not know if I should
like it. , Oh! Madam, I have gone through too many of those
things to make any objection to the only one that remains!"
I grieve much for the return of pains in your head and breast;
I flattered myself that you had quite mastered them.
I have seen your Pelham and Milbank, not much, but I like the
latter; I have some notion, from thinking that he resembles you
in his manner. The other seems very good-humoured, but he is
nothing but complexion. Dame is returned; he looks ill; but I
like him better than I used to do, for he commends you. My
Lord Pomfret is made ranger of the parks, and by consequence my
Lady is queen of the Duck Island.(220) Our greatest miracle is
Lady Mary Wortley's son,(221) whose adventures have made so
much noise- his parts are not proportionate, but his expense is
incredible. His father scarce allows him any thing: yet he
plays, dresses, diamonds himself, even to distinct shoe-buckles
for a frock, and has more snuff-boxes than would suffice a
Chinese idol with an hundred noses. But the most curious part
of his dress, which he has brought from Paris, is an iron wig;
you literally would not know it from hair--I believe it is on
this account that the Royal Society have just chosen him of
their body. This may surprise you: what I am now going to tell
you will not, for you have only known her follies - the Duchess
of Queensbury told Lady Di. Egerton,(222) a pretty daughter of
the Duchess of Bridgewater, that she was going to make a ball
for her: she did, but did not invite her: the girl was
mortified, and Mr. Lyttelton, her father-in-law, sent the mad
Grace a hint of it. She sent back this card-. "The
advertisement came to hand; it was very pretty and very
ingenious; but every thing that is pretty and ingenious does not
always succeed; the Duchess of Q. piques herself on her house
being unlike Socrates's; his was small and held all his friends;
hers is large, but will not hold half of hers: postponed, but not
forgot: unalterable." Adieu!
(217) The Hon. Alexander Murray, fourth son of Alexander,
fourth Lord Elibank. This family was for the most part
Jacobite in its principles.-D.
(218) John Hampden, Esq., the last descendant in the file line of
the celebrated Hampden. On his death in 1754, he left his
estates to the Hon. Robert Trevor, son of Lord Trevor, who was
descended from Ruth, the daughter of the Patriot.-D.
(219) mr Murray's health appearing to be in danger, the House,
upon the report of his physician, offered to remove him from
Newgate into the custody of the sergeant-at-arms: but he had
the resolution to reject the offer, and to continue in Newgate
till the end of the session; when he made a kind of triumphal
procession to his own house, attended by the sheriffs of
London, a large train of coaches, and the declamations of the
(220) Duck Island was a spot in St. James's Park, near the
Bird-cage Walk; and was so called, because Charles the Second
had established a decoy of ducks upon it. It was destroyed
when the improvements and alterations took place in this park,
about the year 1770.-D.
(221) Edward Wortley Montague, whose singular adventures and
eccentricities are so well known. In 1747, he was chosen
member for the county of Huntingdon; but in his senatorial
capacity he did not distinguish himself. His expenses greatly
exceeding his income, towards the end of this year he quitted
the kingdom and went to Paris.-E.
(222) Daughter of Scroop, Duke of Bridgewater, by the Lady
Rachel Russel, sister of the Duke of Bedford. Lady Diana
Egerton was afterwards married to Lord Baltimore.
94 Letter 36
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, March 13, 1751.
You will be expecting the conclusion of Mr. Murray's history,
but as he is too great a hero to submit, and not hero enough to
terminate his prison in a more summary, or more English way,
you must have patience, as we shall have, till the end of the
session. His relations, who had leave to visit him, are
excluded again: rougher methods with him are not the style of
the age: in the mean time he is quite forgot. General
Anstruther is now the object in fashion, or made so by a Sir
Harry Erskine, a very fashionable figure in the world of
politics, who has just come into Parliament, and has been
laying a foundation for the next reign by attacking the
Mutiny-bill, and occasionally General Anstruther, who treated
him hardly ten years ago in Minorca. Anstruther has mutually
persecuted and been persecuted by the Scotch ever since
Porteous's affair, when, of all that nation, he alone voted for
demolishing part of Edinburgh. This affair would be a trifle,
if it had not opened the long-smothered rivalship between Fox
and Pitt: for these ten days they have been civilly at war
together; and Mr. Pelham is bruised between both. However,
this impetuosity of Pitt has almost overset the total
engrossment that the Duke of Newcastle had made of all power,
and if they do not, as it is suspected, league with the Prince,
you will not so soon hear of the fall of the Bedfords, as I had
made you expect. With this quantity of factions ind infinite
quantity of speakers, we have had a most fatiguing session, and
seldom rise before nine or ten at night.
There have been two events, not political, equal to any
absurdities or follies of former years. My Lady Vane(223) has
literally published the memoirs of her own life, Only
suppressing part of her lovers, no part of the success of the
others with her: a degree of profligacy not to be accounted
for; she does not want money, none of her lovers will raise her
credit; and the number, all she had to brag of, concealed! The
other is a play that has been acted by people of some fashion
at Drury Lane, hired on purpose. They really acted so well
that it is astonishing they should not have had sense enough
not to act at all. You would know none of their names, should I
tell you; but the chief were a family of Delavals, the eldest of
which was married by one Foote, a player, to Lady Nassau
Poulett,(224) who had kept the latter. The rage was so great
to see this performance that the House of Commons literally
adjourned at three o'clock on purpose: the footman's gallery
was strung with blue ribands. What a wise people! what an
august Senate! yet my Lord Granville once told the Prince, I
forget on occasion of what folly, "Sir, indeed your Royal
Highness is in the wrong to act thus; the English are a grave
The King has been much out of order, but he is quite well
again, and they say, not above sixty-seven! Adieu!
(223) Anne, second daughter of Mr. Hawes, the wife of William,
Lord Viscount Vane. The history of her intrigues, communicated
by herself, had just been published in Smollett's Adventures of
Peregrine Pickle. See vol. i. Gray, in a letter to Walpole,
of the 3d of March, writes, "Has that miracle of tenderness and
sensibility (as she calls it), given you any amusement?
Peregrine, whom she uses as a vehicle, is very poor indeed,
with a few exceptions."-E.
(224) Isabella, youngest daughter and co-heiress of Thomas
Tufton, Earl of Thanet, and widow of Lord Nassau Poulett,
youngest brother of the Duke of Bolton. She was mad.
95 Letter 37
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, March 21, 1751.
What, another letter, -when I wrote to you but last week!-
-Yes--and with an event too big to be kept for a regular
interval. You will imagine from the conclusion of my last
letter that our King is dead--or, before you receive this, you
will probably have heard by flying couriers that it is only our
King that was to be. In short, the Prince died last night
between nine and ten. If I don't tell you ample details, it is
because you must content yourself with hearing nothing but what
I know true. He had had a pleurisy, and was recovered. Last
Tuesday was se'nnight he went to attend the King's passing some
bills in the House of Lords; from thence to Carlton House, very
hot, where he unrobed, put on a light unaired frock and
waistcoat, went to Kew, walked in a bitter day, came home
tired, and lay down for three hours, upon a couch in a very
cold room at Carlton House, that opens into the garden. Lord
Egmont told him how dangerous it was, but the Prince did not
mind him. My father once said to this King, when he was ill
and royally untractable, "Sir, do you know what your father
died of? of thinking he could not die." In short, the Prince
relapsed that night, has had three physicians ever since, and
has never been supposed out of danger till yesterday: a thrush
had appeared, and for the two or three last evenings he had
dangerous suppressions of breath. However, his family thought
him so well yesterday, that there were cards in his outward
room. Between nine and ten he was seized with a violent fit of
coughing. Wilmot, and Hawkins the surgeon, were present: the
former said, ,Sir, have you brought up all the phlegm? I hope
this will be over in a quarter of an hour, and that your Royal
Highness will have a good night." Hawkins had occasion to go
out of the room, and said, "Here is something I don't like."
The cough continued; the prince laid his hand upon his stomach,
and said, "Je sens la mort." The page who held him up, felt him
shiver, and cried out, The Prince is going!" The Princess was at
the feet of the bed; she catched up a
candle and ran to him, but before she got to the head of the
bed, he was dead.(225)
Lord North was immediately sent to the King, who was looking
over a table, where Princess Emily, the Duchess of Dorset, and
Duke of Grafton were playing. He was extremely surprised, and
said, "Why, they told me he was better!" He bid Lord North tell
the Princess, he would do every thing she could desire; and has
this morning sent her a very kind message in writing. He is
extremely shocked--but no pity is too much for the Princess;
she has eight children, and is seven months gone with another.
She bears her affliction with great courage and sense. They
asked her if the body was to be opened; she replied, what the
This is all I know yet; you shall have fresh and fresh
intelligence--for reflections on minorities, Regencies,
Jacobitism, Oppositions, factions, I need not help you to them.
You will make as many as any body, but those who reflect on
their own disappointments. The creditors are no inconsiderable
part of the moralists. They talk of fourteen hundred thousand
pounds on post-obits. This I am sure I don't vouch; I Only
know that I never am concerned to see the tables of the
money-changers overturned and cast out of the temple.(226)
I much fear, that by another post I shall be forced to tell you
news that will have much worse effects for my own family, My
Lord Orford has got such another violent boil as he had two
years ago--and a thrush has appeared too along with it. We are
in the utmost apprehensions about him, the more, because there
is no possibility of giving him any about himself. He has not
only taken an invincible aversion to physicians, but to the
bark, and we have no hopes from any thing else. It will be a
fatal event for me, for your brother, and for his own son.
Princess Emily,(227) Mr. Pelham(228) and my Lady Orford, are
not among the most frightened.
Your brother, who dines here with Mr. Chute and Gray,(229) has
just brought me your letter of March 12th. The libel you ask
about was called "Constitutional Queries:" have not you
received mine of February 9th? there was some account of our
present history. Adieu! I have not time to write any longer to
you; but you may well expect our correspondence will thicken.
(225) Frederick, Prince of Wales, was a man in no way
estimable, though his understanding and disposition were cried
up by those who were in opposition to his father's government.
Walpole says of him, "His best quality was generosity; his
worst, insincerity and indifference to truth, which appeared so
early, that Earl Stanhope wrote to Lord Sunderland from
Hanover, "He has his father's head, and his mother's heart."
His death was undoubtedly a deliverance for those who, had he
lived, would have become his subjects.-D.
(226) Frederick, Prince of Wales's debts were never paid.-D.
(227) Princess Emily had the reversion of New-park.
(228) The auditor of the exchequer, was in the gift of Mr.
Pelham, as chancellor of the exchequer, and first lord of the
(229) Thomas Gray, author of the Elegy in a Churchyard, and
97 Letter 38
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, April 1, 1751.
How shall I begin a letter that will-that must give you as much
pain as I feel myself? I must interrupt the story of the
Prince's death, to tell you of two more, much more important,
God knows! to you and me! One I had prepared you for-but how
will you be shocked to hear that our poor Mr. Whithed is
dead(230) as well as my brother! Whithed had had a bad cough
for two months: he was going out of town to the Minchester
assizes; I persuaded and sent him home from hence one morning
to be blooded. However, he went, in extreme bad weather. His
youngest brother, the clergyman, who is the greatest brute in
the world, except the elder brother, the layman, dragged him
out every morning to hunt, as eagerly as if it had been to hunt
heretics. One day they were overturned in a water, and then
the parson made him ride forty miles: in short, he arrived it
the Vine half dead, and soon grew delirious. Poor Mr. Chute
was sent for to him last Wednesday, and sent back for two more
physicians, but in vain; he expired on Friday night! Mr. Chute
is come back half distracted, and scarce to be known again.
You may easily believe that my own distress does not prevent my
doing all in my power to alleviate his. Whithed, that best of
hearts, had forgiven all his elder brother's beastliness, and
has left him the Norton estate, the better half; the rest to
the clergyman, with an annuity of one hundred and twenty pounds
a year to his Florentine mistress, and six hundred pounds to
their child. He has left Mr. Chute one thousand pounds, which,
if forty times the sum, would not comfort him, and, little as
it is, does not in the least affect or alter his concern.
Indeed, he not only loses an intimate friend, but in a manner
an only child; he had formed him to be one of the prettiest
gentlemen in England, and had brought about a match for him,
that was soon to be concluded with a Miss Nicholl, an immense
fortune; and I am persuaded had fixed his heart on making him
his own heir, if he himself outlived his brother. With such a
fortune, and with such expectations, how hard to die!--or,
perhaps, how lucky, before he had tasted misfortune and
I must now mention my own misfortune, Tuesday, Wednesday, and
Thursday mornings, the physicians and all the family of painful
death,(231) (to alter Gray's phrase,) were persuaded and
persuaded me, that the bark, which took great place, would save
my brother's life --but he relapsed at three o'clock on
Thursday, and died last night. He ordered to be drawn and
executed his will with the greatest tranquillity and
satisfaction on Saturday morning. His spoils are
prodigious-not to his own family! indeed I think his son the
most ruined young man in England. My loss, I fear, may be
considerable, which is not the only motive of my concern, though,
as you know, I had much to forgive, before I could regret: but
indeed I do regret. It is no small addition to my concern, to
fear or foresee that Houghton and all the remains of my father's
glory will be pulled to pieces! The widow-Countess immediately
marries--not Richcourt, but Shirley, and triumphs in advancing
her son's ruin by enjoying her own estate, and tearing away
great part of his.
Now I shall divert your private grief by talking to you of what
is called the public. The King and Princess are grown as fond
as it they had never been of different parties, or rather as
people who always had been of different. She discountenances
all opposition, and he all ambition. Prince George, who, with
his two eldest brothers, is to be lodged at St. James's, is
speedily to be created Prince of Wales. Ayscough, his tutor,
is to be removed, with her entire inclination as well as with
every body's approbation. They talk of a Regency to be
established (in case of a minority) by authority of Parliament,
even this session, with the Princess at the head of it. She
and Dr. lee, the only one she consults of the late cabal, very
sensibly burned the late Prince's papers the moment he was
dead. lord Egmont, by seven o'clock the next morning, summoned
(not very decently) the faction to his house: all was whisper!
at least he hinted something of taking the Princess and her
children under their protection, and something of the necessity
of harmony. No answer was made to the former proposal.
Somebody said, it was very likely indeed they should agree now,
when the Prince could never bring it about: and so every body
went away to take care of himself. The imposthumation is
supposed to have proceeded, not from his fall last year, but
from a blow with a tennis-ball some years ago. The grief for
the dead brother is affectedly great; the aversion to the
living one as affectedly displayed. They cried about an
elegy,(232) and added, "Oh, that it were but his brother!" On
'Change they said, "Oh, that it were but the butcher!(233)"
The Houses sit, but no business will be done till after the
holidays. AnStruther's affair will go on, but not with MUCH
spirit. One wants to see faces about again! Dick lyttelton,
one of the patriot officers, had collected depositions on oath
against the Duke for his behaviour in Scotland, but I suppose
he will now throw his papers into Ham/let's grave?
Prince George, who has a most amiable countenance, behaved
excessively well on his father's death. When they told him of
it, he turned pale, and laid his hand on his breast. Ayscough
said, "I am afraid, Sir, you are not well!"-he replied, "I feel
something here, just as I did when I saw the two workmen fall
from the scaffold at Kew." Prince Edward is a very plain boy,
with strange loose eyes, but was much the favourite. He is a
sayer of things! Two men were heard lamenting the death in
Leicester-fields: one said, "He has left a great many small
children!"-"Ay," replied the other, "and what is worse, they
belong to our parish!" But the most extraordinary reflections
on his death were set forth in a sermon at Mayfair chapel. "He
had no great parts, (pray mind, this was the parson said so,
not I,) but he had great virtues; indeed, they degenerated into
vices - he was very generous, but I hear his generosity has
ruined a great many people: and then his condescension was
such, that he kept very bad company."
Adieu! my dear child; I have tried, you see, to blend so much
public history with our private griefs, as may help to
interrupt your too great attention to the calamities in the
former part of my letter. You will, with the properest
good-nature in the world, break the news to the poor girl, whom
I pity, though I never saw. Miss Nicholl is, I am told,
extremely to be pitied too; but so is every body that knew
Whithed! Bear it yourself as well as you can!
(230) Francis Thistlethwaite, who took the name of Whithed for
his uncle's estate and, as heir to him, recovered Mr. Norton's
estate, which he had left to the Parliament for the use of the
poor, etc,; but the will was set aside for insanity. [See
(231) Vide Gray's Ode on a distant prospect of Eton College.
(232) Walpole, in his Memoires, vol. i. p. 504, says, "The
following which is the elegy alluded to, was probably the
effusion of some Jacobite royalist. That faction could not,
forgive the Duke of Cumberland his excesses or successes in
Scotland; and not content with branding the parliamentary
government of the country as usurpation, indulged in frequent
unfailing and scurrilous personalities on every branch of the
"Here lies Fred,
Who was alive and is dead:
Had it been his father,
I had much rather:
Had it been his brother,
Still better than another;
Had it been his sister,
No one would have missed her;
Had it been the whole generation,
Still better for the nation;
But since 'tis only Fred,
Who was alive and is dead-
There is no more to be said."-E.
(233) The Duke of Cumberland, by his friends styled the Hero of
culloden, by his opponents nicknamed Billy the Butcher.-E.
99 Letter 39
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, April 22, 1751.
I could not help, my dear child, being struck with the
conclusion of your letter of the 2d of this month, which I have
just received; it mentions the gracious assurances you had
received from the dead Prince--indeed, I hope you will not want
them. The person(234) who conveyed them was so ridiculous as
to tell your brother that himself was the most disappointed of
all men, he and the Prince having settled his first ministry in
such a manner that nothing could have defeated the plan.(235)
An admirable scheme for power in England, founded only on two
persons! Some people say he was to be a duke and
secretary of state. I would have him drawn like Edward V. with
the coronet hanging over his head. You will be entertained
with a story of Bootle: his washerwoman came to a friend of
hers in great perplexity, and said, "I don't know what to do,
pray advise me; my master is gone the circuit, and left me
particular orders to send him an express if the King died: but
here's the Prince, dead and he said nothing about him." You
would easily believe this story, if you knew what a mere
law-pedant it is!
The Lord(236) you hint at, certainly did not write the Queries,
nor ever any thing so well: he is one of the few discarded; for
almost all have offered their services, and been accepted. The
King asked the Princess if she had a mind for a master of the
horse; that it must be a nobleman, and that he had objections
to a particular One, Lord Middlesex. I believe she had no
objection to his objections, and desired none. Bloodworth is
at the head of her stables; of her ministry, Dr. Lee; all knees
bow to him. The Duke of Newcastle is so charmed with him, and
so sorry he never knew him before, and can't live without him!
He is a grave, worthy man; as a civilian, not much versed in
the world of this end of the town, but much a gentleman. He
made me a visit the other day on my brother's death, and talked
much of the great and good part the King had taken, (who by the
way, has been taught by the Princess to talk as much of him,)
and that the Prince's servants could no longer oppose, if they
meant to be consistent. I told this to Mr. Chute, who replied
instantly, , "Pho! he meant to be subsistent." You will not be
surprised, though you will be charmed, with a new instance of
our friend's disinterested generosity: so far from resenting
Whithed's neglect of him, he and your brother, on finding the
brute-brothers making difficulties about the child's fortune,
have taken upon them to act as trustees for her, and to stand
all risks. Did not Mr. Whithed know that Mr. Chute would act
Prince George is created Prince of Wales, and his household is
settle(]. Lord Harcourt is his governor, in the room of Lord
North, to whom there was no objection but his having a glimpse
of parts more than the new one, who is a creature of the
Pelhams, and very fit to cipher where Stone is to figure. This
latter is sub-governor, with the Bishop of Norwich,(237)
preceptor; and Scott sub-preceptor. The Bishop is a sensible,
good-humoured gentleman, and believed to be a natural son of
the old Archbishop of York.(238) Lord Waldegrave, long a
personal favourite of the King, who has now got a little
interest at his own court, is warden of the stannaries, in the
room of Tom Pitt; old Selwyn, treasurer; Lord Sussex,(239) Lord
Downe,(240) and Lord Robert Bertle,(241) lords of the
bedchamber; Peachy, a young Schutz, and Digby, grooms: but
those of the House of Commons have not kissed hands yet, a
difficulty being started, whether, as they are now nominated by
the King, it will not vacate their Seats.(242) Potter has
resigned as secretary to the Princess, and is succeeded by one
Cressett, his predecessor, her chief favourite, and allied to
the house of Hanover by a Duchess of Zell,(243) who was of a
French family-not of that of Bourbon. I was going on to talk
to you of the Regency; but as that measure is not complete, I
shall not send away my letter till the end of next week.
My private satisfaction in my nephew of Orford is very great
indeed; he has an equal temper of reason and goodness that is
most engaging. His mother professes to like him as much as
every body else does, but is so much a woman that she will not
hurt him at all the less. So far from contributing to retrieve
his affairs, she talks to him of nothing but mob stories of his
grandfather's having laid up--the Lord knows where!--three
hundred thousand pounds for him; and of carrying him with her
to Italy, that he may converse with sensible people! In
looking over her husband's papers, among many of her
intercepted billets-doux, I was much entertained with one,
which was curious for the whole orthography, and signed
Stitara: if Mr. Shirley was to answer it in the same romantic
tone, I am persuaded he would subscribe himself the dying
Hornadatus. The other learned Italian Countess(244) is
disposing of her fourth daughter, the fair Lady Juliana, to
Penn, the wealthy sovereign of Pennsylvania;(245) but the
nuptials are adjourned till he recovers of a wound in his
thigh, which he got by his pistol going off as he was
overturned in his post-chaise. Lady Caroline Fox has a legacy
of five- thousand pounds from Lord Shelburne,(246) a distant
relation, who never saw her but once, and that three weeks before
his death. Two years ago Mr. Fox got the ten thousand pound
May 1, 1751.
I find I must send away my letter this week, and reserve the
history of the Regency for another post. The bill was to have
been brought into the House of lords to-day, but Sherlock, the
Bishop of London, has raised difficulties against the
limitation of the future Regent's authority, which he asserts
to be repugnant to the spirit of our Constitution. Lord Talbot
had already determined to oppose it; and the Pitts and
Lyttelton's, who are grown very mutinous on the Newcastle's not
choosing Pitt for his colleague, have talked loudly against it
without doors. The preparatory steps to this great event I
will tell you. The old Monarch grandchildizes exceedingly: the
Princess, who is certainly a wise woman, and who, in a course
of very difficult situations, has never made an enemy nor had a
detractor, has got great sway there. The Pelhams, taking
advantage of this new partiality, of the universal dread of the
Duke, and of the necessity of his being administrator of
Hanover, prevailed to have the Princess Regent, but with a
council of nine of the chief great officers, to be continued in
their posts till the majority, which is fixed for eighteen;
nothing to be transacted without the assent of the greater
number; and the Parliament that shall find itself existing at
the King's death to subsist till the minority ceases: such
restrictions must be almost as unwelcome to the Princess as the
whole regulation is to the Duke. Judge of his resentment: he
does not conceal it. The divisions in the ministry are neither
closed nor come to a decision. Lord Holderness arrived
yesterday, exceedingly mortified at not finding himself
immediate secretary of state, for which purpose he was sent
for; but Lord Halifax would not submit to have this cipher
preferred to him. An expedient was proposed of flinging the
American province into the Board of Trade, but somehow or
other, that has miscarried, and all is at a stand. It is known
that Lord Granville is designed for president-and for what more
don't you think?-he has the inclination of the King--would they
be able again to persuade people to resign unless he is
removed?-and will not all those who did resign with that
intention endeavour to expiate that insult?
Amid all this new clash of politics Murray has had an
opportunity for one or two days of making himself talked of. A
month ago his brother(247) obtained leave, on pretence of his
health, to remove him into the custody of the sergeant-at-arms;
but he refused to go thither, and abused his brother for
meanness in making such submissive application. On this his
confinement was straitened. Last week, my worthy cousin, Sir
John Philips, moved the King's Bench for a rule to bring him
thither, in order to his having his habeas corpus. He was
produced there the next day; 'but the three Judges, onhearing he
was committed by the House of Commons, acknowledged the
authority, and remanded him back. There was a disposition to
commit Sir John, but we have liked to be-pleased with this
acknowledgment of our majesty.
Stitara(248) has declared to her son that she is marrying
Shirley, but ties him up strictly. I am ready to begin again
with a panegyric of My nephew, but I will rather answer a
melancholy letter I have Just received from you. His affairs
are putting into the best situation we can, and we are
agitating a vast match for him, which, if it can be brought to
bear, will even save your brother, whose great tenderness to
mine has left him exposed to greater risks than any of the
creditors. For myself, I think I shall escape tolerably, as my
demands are from my father, whose debts are likely to be
satisfied. My uncle Horace is indefatigable in adjusting all
this confusion. Do but figure him at seventy-four, looking,
not merely well for his age, but plump, ruddy, and without a
wrinkle or complaint; doing every body's business, full of
politics as ever, from morning till night, and then roaming the
town to conclude with a party at whist! I have no
apprehensions for your demands on Doddington; but your brother,
who sees him, will be best able to satisfy you on that head.
Madame de Mirepoix's brother-in-law was not Duke, but Chevalier
de Boufflers. Here is my uncle come to drop me a bit of
marriage-settlements on his road to his rubbers, so I must
finish--you will not be sorry; at least I have given you some
light to live upon. Adieu!
(234) George Bubb Dodington.
(235) The following is Dodington's own account of this plan:-
-"March 21. When this unfortunate event happened, I had set on
foot a project for a union between the independent Whigs and
Tories, by a writing, renouncing all tincture of Jacobitism,
and affirming short constitutional Revolution principles.
These parties, so united, were to lay this paper, containing
these principles, before the Prince, offering to appear as his
party now, and upon those principles to undertake the
administration when he was King, in the subordination and rank
among themselves that he should please to appoint. Father of
mercy! thy hand that wounds alone can save!" Diary, P. 88.-E.
(236) Lord Middlesex.
(237) Thomas Hayter, Bishop of Norwich.
(238) Dr. Lancelot Blackburne. (See vol. i. The Quarterly
Reviewer of Walpole's Memoires, alluding to a similar statement
made in that work says,--"As to the accusations of bastardy and
profligacy brought against the Bishop and Archbishop, they
were, probably, either the creatures of Walpole's own anxiety
to draw striking characters, or the echoes of some of those
slanderous murmurs which always accompany persons who rise from
inferior stations to eminence. He tells us without any
hesitation, that Bishop Hayter was a natural son of archbishop
Blackburne's. Now we have before us extracts from the
registers of the parish of Chagford, in Devonshire, which prove
that the Bishop Thomas Hayter was 'the son of George Hayter,
rector of this parish, and of Grace his wife,' and that Thomas
was one of a family of not fewer, we believe, than ten children
Vol. xxvii. p. 186.-E.)
(239) George Augustus Yelverton, second Earl of Sussex, died
(240) Henry Pleydell Dawnay, third Viscount Downe in Ireland.
He distinguished himself greatly in the command of a regiment
at the battle of Minden; and died Dec. 9th, 1760, of the wounds
he had received at the battle of Campen, Oct. 16th of that
(241) The third son of Robert, first Duke of Ancaster and
Kesteven. He died in 1782.-D.
(242) "May 3.-Sense of the House taken, if the young Prince of
Wales's new servants should be reelected: it was agreed not.
The act was read; but those who seemed to favour a re-election
forgot to call for the warrants that appointed them servants to
the Prince: by whom are they signed? if by the King, the case
would not have admitted a word of dispute." Dodington, p.
(243) Mademoiselle d'Olbreuse. It is this m`esalliance which
prevents our Royal Family from being what is called chapitrate
in Germany. Mademoiselle d'Olbreuse was the mother of George
the First's unhappy wife.-D.
(244) Lady Pomfret.
(245) See ant`e.-E.
(246) Henry Petty, Earl of Shelburne in Ireland, the last of
the male descendants of Sir William Petty. Upon his death his
titles extinguished; but his estates devolved on his nephew,
the Lord John Fitz Maurice, in whose favour the title of
Shelburne was revived.-D.
(247) Lord Elibank.
(248) Lady Orford. She did marry Mr. Shirley.
103 Letter 40
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, May 30, 1751.
In your last of May 14th, you seem uneasy at not having heard
from me in two posts. I have writ you so exactly all the
details that I know you would wish to hear, that I think my
letters must have miscarried. I will mention all the dates of
this year; Feb. 8th, March 14th and 21st, April 1st, and May
1st; tell me if you have received all these. I don't pretend
to say any thing to alleviate your concern for the late
misfortunes, but will only recommend to you to harden yourself
against every accident, as I endeavour to do. The
mortifications and disappointments I have experienced have
taught me the philosophy that dwells not merely in speculation.
I choose to think about the world, as I have always found, when
I most wanted its comfort, it thought about me, that is, not at
all. It is a disagreeable dream which must end for every body
else as well as for oneself. Some try to supply the emptiness
and vanity of present life by something still more empty, fame.
I choose to comfort myself, by considering that even while I am
lamenting any present uneasiness it is actually passing away. I
cannot feel the comfort of folly, because I am not a fool, and I
scarce know any other being that it is worth one's while to wish
to be. All this looks as if it proceeded from a train of
melancholy ideas--it does so: but misfortunes have that good in
them that they teach one indifference.
if I Could be mortified anew, I should be with a new
disappointment, The immense and uncommon friendship of Mr.
Chute had found a method of saving both my family and yours.
In short, in the height of his affliction for Whithed, whom he
still laments immoderately, he undertook to get Miss Nicholl,
the vast fortune, a fortune of above 150,000 pounds, whom
Whithed was to have had, for Lord Orford. He actually
persuaded her to run away from her guardians, who used her
inhumanly, and are her next heirs. How clearly he is
justified, you will see, when I tell you that the man, who has
eleven hundred a-year for her maintenance, with which he
stopped the demands Of his own creditors, instead of employing
it for her maintenance and education, is since gone into the
Fleet. After such fair success, Lord Orford has refused to
marry her; why, nobody can guess. Thus had I placed him in a
greater situation than even his grandfather hoped to bequeath
to him, had retrieved all the oversights of my family, had
saved Houghton and all our glory!-Now, all must go!-and what
shocks me infinitely more, Mr. Chute, by excess of treachery,
(a story too long for a letter,) is embroiled with his own
brother the story, with many others, I believe I shall tell you
in person; for I do not doubt but the disagreeable scenes which
I have still to go through, will at last drive me to where I
have long proposed to seek some peace. But enough of these
The Regency-bill has passed with more ease than could have been
expected from so extraordinary a measure; and from the warmth
with which it was taken up one day in the House of Commons. In
the Lords there were but 12 to 106, and the former, the most
inconsiderable men in that House. Lord Bath and Lord Grenville
spoke vehemently for it: the former in as wild a speech, with
much parts, as ever he made in his patriot days; and with as
little modesty he lamented the scrambles that he had seen for
power! In our House, Mr. Pelham had four signal mortifications:
the Speaker, in a most pathetic and fine speech, Sir John
Barnard, and Lord Cobham,(249) speaking against, and Mr. Fox,
though voting for it, tearing it to pieces. Almost all the
late Prince's people spoke or voted for it; most, pretending
deference to the Princess, though her power is so much abridged
by it. However, the consolation that resides in great
majorities balanced the disagreeableness of particular
oppositions. We sit, and shall sit, till towards the end of
June, though with little business of importance. If there
happens any ministerial struggle, which seems a little asleep at
present, it will scarce happen till after the prorogation.
Adieu! my dear child; I have nothing else worth telling you at
present--at least, the same things don't strike me that used to
do; or what perhaps is more true, when things of consequence
takes one up, one can't attend to mere trifling. When I say
this, you will ask me, where is my philosophy! Even where the
best is: I think as coolly as I can, I don't exaggerate what is
disagreeable, and I endeavour to lessen it, by undervaluing
what I am inclined to think would be a happier state.
(249) Richard Grenville, eldest son of Richard Grenville, of
Wotton, Esq. and of Esther Temple, Countess Temple and
Viscountess Cobham, in her own right. Lord Cobham became well
known in the political world as Earl Temple; which title he
succeeded to on the decease of his mother in 1752.-D.
105 Letter 41
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 30, 1751.
Mrs. Boscawen says I ought to write to you. I don't think so.
you desired I would, if I had any things new to tell you; I
have not. Lady Caroline and Miss Ashe had quarrelled, about
reputations before you went out of town. I suppose you would
not give a straw to know all the circumstances of a Mr. Paul
killing a Mr. Dalton, though the town, who talks of any thing,
talks of nothing else. Mrs. French and her Jeffery are parted
again. Lady Orford and Shirley married: they say she was much
frightened; it could not be for fear of what other brides dread
of happening, but for fear it should not happen.
My evening yesterday was employed, how wisely do You think? in
trying to procure for the Duchess of Portland a scarlet spider
from Admiral Boscawen. I had just seen her collection, which
is indeed magnificent, chiefly composed of the spoils of her
father's, and the Arundel collections. The gems of all sorts
are glorious. I was diverted with two relics of St. Charles
the Martyr; one, the pearl you see in his pictures, taken out
of his ear after his foolish head was off; the other, the cup
out of which he took his last sacrament. They should be given
to that nursery of nonsense and bigotry, Oxford.
I condole with you on your journey, am glad Miss Montagu is in
better health, and am yours sincerely.
105 Letter 42
To The Rev. Joseph Spence.(250)
Arlington Street, June 3, 1751.
I have translated the lines, and send them to you; but the
expressive conciseness and beauty of the original, and my
disuse of turning
verses, made it so difficult, that I beg they may be of no
other use than that of showing you how readily I complied with
"Illam, quicquid agit, quoquo vestilia vertit,
Componit furtim subsequiturque decor."
"If she but moves or looks, her step, her face,
By stealth adopt unmeditated grace."
There are twenty little literal variations that may be made,
and are of no consequence, as 'move' or 'look'; 'air' instead
of 'step', and 'adopts' instead of 'adopt': I don't know even
whether I would not read 'steal and adopt', instead of 'by
stealth adopt'. But none of these changes will make the copy
half so pretty as the original. But what signifies that? I am
not obliged to be a poet because Tibullus was one; nor is it
just now that I have discovered I am not. Adieu!
(250) Now first collated. See Singer's edition of Spence's
Anecdotes, p. 349.-E.
106 Letter 43
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, June 13, 1751.
You have told me that it is charity to write you news into
Kent; but what if my news should shock you! Won't it rather be
an act of cruelty to tell you, your relation, Sandwich,(251) is
immediately to be removed; and that the Duke of Bedford and all
the Gowers will resign to attend him? Not quite all the Gowers,
for the Earl himself keeps the privy-seal and plays on at brag,
with Lady Catherine Pelham, to the great satisfaction of the
Staffordshire Jacobites, who desire, at least expect, no better
diversion than a division in that house. Lord Trentham does
resign. Lord Hartington is to be master of the horse, and
called up to the House of Peers. Lord Granville is to be
president; if he should resent any former resignations and
insist on victims, will Lord Hartington assure the menaced that
they shall not be sacrificed?
I hear your friend Lord North is wedded: somebody said it is
very hot weather to marry so fat a bride; George Selwyn
replied, "Oh! she was kept in ice for three days before."
The first volume of Spenser is published with prints, designed
by Kent; but the most execrable performance you ever beheld.
The graving not worse than the drawing; awkward knights,
scrambling Unas, hills tumbling down themselves, no variety Of
prospect and three or four perpetual spruce firs.
Our charming Mr. Bentley is doing Gray as much more honour as
he deserves than Spencer. He is drawing vignettes for his
Odes; what a valuable MS. I shall have! Warburton publishes
his edition of Pope next week, with the famous piece of prose
on Lord Hervey,(252) which he formerly suppressed at my uncle's
desire; who had got an abbey from Cardinal Fleury for one
Southcote, a friend of Pope's.(253) My Lord Hervey pretended
not to thank him. I am told the edition has waited, because
Warburton has cancelled above a hundred sheets (in which he had
inserted notes) since the publication of the Canons of
Criticism.(254) The new history of Christina is a most
wretched piece of trumpery, stuffed with foolish letters and
confutations of Mademoiselle de Montpensier and Madame de
Motteville. Adieu! Yours ever.
(251) John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich.
(252) Entitled "A Letter to a Noble Lord, on occasion of some
libels written and propagated at court, in the year 1732-3."-E.
(253) According to Spence, the application was made by Pope to
Sir Robert Walpole; but Dr. Warton states, that, "in gratitude
for the favour conferred on his friend, Pope presented to
Horatio Walpole, afterwards Lord Walpole, a set of his works in
quarto, richly bound; which are now in the library at
(254) Edwards's "Canons of Criticism;" a series of notes on
Warburton's edition of Shakspeare. Johnson thought well of it;
but upon some one endeavouring to put the author upon a level
with Warburton, "Nay," said the Doctor, "he has given him some
smart hits, but the two men must not be named together: a fly,
sir, may sting a stately horse, and make him wince; but one is
but an insect, and the other is a horse still."-E.
107 Letter 44
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, June 18, 1751.
I sent my letter as usual from the secretary's office, but of
what secretary I don't know. Lord Sandwich last week received
his dismission, on which the Duke of Bedford resigned the next
day, and Lord Trentham with him, both breaking with old Gower,
who is entirely in the hands of the Pelhams, and made to
declare his quarrel with Lord Sandwich (who gave away his
daughter to Colonel Waldegrave) the foundation 4 his detaching
himself from the Bedfords. Your friend Lord Fane(255) comforts
Lord Sandwich with an annuity of a thousand a-year-scarcely for
his handsome behaviour to his sister! Lord Hartington is to be
master of the horse, and Lord Albemarle groom of the stole;
Lord Granville is actually lord president, and, by all outward
and visible signs, something more-in short, if he don't
overshoot himself, the Pelhams have; the King's favour to him
is visible, and so much credited, that all the incense is
offered to him. It is believed that Impresario Holderness will
succeed the Bedford in the foreign seals, and Lord Halifax in
those for the plantations. If the former does, you will have
ample instructions to negotiate for singers and dancers! Here
is an epigram made upon his directorship.
"That secrecy will now prevail
In politics, is certain;
Since Holderness, who gets the seals,
Was bred behind the curtain."
The Admirals Rowley and Boscawen are brought into the admiralty
under Lord Anson, who is advanced to the head of the board.
Seamen are tractable fishes! especially it will be Boscawen's
case, whose name in Cornish signifies obstinacy, and who brings
along with him a good quantity of resentment to Anson. In
short, the whole present system is equally formed for duration!
Since I began my letter, Lord Holderness has kissed hands for
the seals. It is said that Lord Halifax is to be made easy, by
the plantations being put under the Board of Trade. Lord
Granville comes into power as boisterously as ever, and dashes
at every thing. His lieutenants already beat up for
volunteers; but he disclaims all connexions with Lord Bath,
who, he says, forced him upon the famous ministry of
twenty-four hours, and by which he says he paid all his debts
to him. This will soon grow a turbulent scene-it 'Is not
unpleasant to sit upon the beach and see it; but few people
have the curiosity to step out to the sight. You, who knew
England in other times, will find it difficult to conceive what
an indifference reigns with regard to ministers and their
squabbles. The two Miss Gunnings,(256) and a late extravagant
dinner at White's, are twenty times more the subject of
conversation than the two brothers and Lord Granville. These
are two Irish girls, of no fortune, who are declared the
handsomest women alive. I think their being two so handsome
and both such perfect figures is their chief excellence, for
singly I have seen much handsomer women than either; however,
they can't walk in the park, or go to Vauxhall, but such mobs
follow them that they are generally driven away. The dinner
was a folly of seven young men, who bespoke it to the utmost
extent of expense: one article was a tart made of duke cherries
from a hothouse; and another, that they tasted but one glass
out of each bottle of champagne. The bill of fare has got into
print, and with good people has produced the apprehension of
another earthquake. Your friend St. Leger, was at the head of
these luxurious heroes--he is the hero of all fashion. I never
saw more dashing vivacity and absurdity, with some flashes of
parts. He had a cause the other day for duelling a sharper,
and was going to swear: the judge said to him, "I see, Sir, you
are very ready to take an oath." "Yes, my lord," replied St.
Leger, "my father was a judge."
We have been overwhelmed with lamentable Cambridge and Oxford
dirges on the Prince's death: there is but one tolerable copy;
it is by a young Lord Stormont,(257) a nephew of Murray, who is
much commended. You may imagine what incense is offered to
Stone by the people of Christ Church: they have hooked in, too
poor Lord Harcourt, and call him Harcourt the Wise! his wisdom
has already disgusted the young Prince; "Sir, pray hold up your
head. Sir, for Cod's sake, turn out your toes!" Such are
I am glad you receive my letters; as I knew I had been
punctual, it mortified me that you should think me remiss.
Thank you for the transcript from Bubb de tribes!(258) I will
keep your secret, though I am persuaded that a man who had
composed such a funeral oration on his master and himself fully
intended that its flowers should not bloom and wither in
We have already begun to sell the pictures that had not found
place at Houghton: the sale gives no great encouragement to
proceed; (though I fear it must come to that!) the large
pictures were thrown away: the whole length Vandykes went for a
song! I am mortified now at having printed the catalogue.
Gideon the Jew, and Blakiston(259) the independent grocer, have
been the chief purchasers of the pictures sold already--there,
if you love moralizing! Adieu! I have no more articles to-day
for my literary gazette.
(255) Lord Sandwich married Dorothy, sister of Charles, Lord
(256) Afterwards Countess of Coventry, and Duchess of Hamilton
(257) David Murray, seventh Viscount Stormont, ambassador at
Vienna and Paris, and president of the council. He died in
(258) A letter to Mr. Mann from Bubb Doddington on the Prince's
death. It is dated June 4, and contains the following
bombastic and absurd passage: which, however, proves how great
were the expectations of Doddington, if the prince had lived to
succeed his father: ,We have lost the delight and ornament of
the age he lived in, the expectations of the public-in this
light I have lost more than any subject in England, but this is
light; public advantages confined to myself do not, ought not,
to weigh with me. But we have lost the refuge of private
distress, the balm of the afflicted heart, the shelter of the
miserable against the fang of private calamity; the arts, the
graces, the anguish, the misfortunes of society have lost their
patron and their remedy. I have lost my protector, my
companion, my friend that loved me, that condescended to bear,
to communicate, and to share in all the pleasures and pains of
the human heart, where the social affections and emotions of
the mind only presided, without regard to the infinite
disproportion of our rank and condition. This is a wound that
cannot, ought not, to heal--if I pretended to fortitude here I
should be infamous, a monster of ingratitude; and unworthy of
all consolation, if I was not inconsolable.-D.
(259) Blakiston has been caught in smuggling, and pardoned by
Sir Robert Walpole; but continuing the practice, and being
again detected was fined five thousand pounds; on which he grew
a violent party man, and a ringleader of the Westminster
independent electors, and died an alderman of London.
109 Letter 45
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, July 16, 1751.
I shall do little more to-day than answer your last letter of
the 2d of this month; there is no kind of news. My chief
reason for writing to you is to notify a visit that you will
have at Florence this summer from Mr. Conway, who is forced to
go to his regiment at Minorca, but is determined to reckon
Italy within his quarters. You know how, particularly he is my
friend; I need not recommend him to you; but you will see
something very different from the staring boys that come in
flocks to you new, once a year, like woodcocks. Mr. Conway is
deservedly reckoned one of the first and most rising young men
in England. He has distinguished himself in the greatest style
both in the army and in Parliament. This is for you. for the
Florentine ladies, there is still the finest person and the
handsomest face I ever saw--no, I cannot say that all this will
be quite for them; he will not think any of them so handsome as
my Lady Aylesbury.
It is impossible to answer you why my Lord Orford would not
marry Miss Nicholl. I don't believe there was any particular
reason or attachment any where else; but unfortunately for
himself and for us, he is totally insensible to his situation,
and talks of selling Houghton with a coolness that wants
nothing but being intended for philosophy to be the greatest
that ever was. Mind, it is a virtue that I envy more than I
I am going into Warwickshire to Lord Hertford, and set out this
evening, and have so many things to do that you must excuse me,
for I neither know what I write, nor have time to write more.
110 Letter 46
To George Montagu, Esq.
Daventry, July 22, 1751.
You will wonder in what part of the county of Twicks lies this
Daventry. It happens to be in Northamptonshire. My letter
will scarce set out till I get to London, but I choose to give
it its present date lest you should admire, that Mr. Usher of
the exchequer, the lord treasurer of pen, ink, and paper,
should write with such coarse materials. I am on my way from
Ragley,(260) and if ever the waters subside and my ark rests
upon dry land again, I think of stepping over to TOnghes: but
your journey has filled my postchaise's head with such terrible
ideas of your roads, that I think I shall let it have done
raining for a month or six weeks, which it has not done for as
much time past, before I begin to grease my wheels again, and
lay in a provision of French books, and tea, and blunderbusses,
for my journey.
Before I tell you a word of Ragley, you must hear how busy I
have been upon Grammont. You know I have long had a purpose of
a new edition, with notes, and cuts of the principal beauties
and heroes, if I could meet with their portraits. I have made
out all the people at all remarkable except my Lord Janet, whom
I cannot divine unless he be Thanet. Well, but what will
entertain you is, that I have discovered the philosophe
Whitnell; and what do you think his real name was? Only
'Whetenhall! Pray do you call cousins?(261) Look in Collins's
Baronets, and under the article Bedingfield you will find that
he was an ingenious gentleman, and la blanche Whitnell, though
one of the greatest beauties of the age, an excellent wife. I
am persuaded the Bedingfields crowded in these characters to
take off the ridicule in Grammont; they have succeeded to a
miracle. Madame de Mirepoix told me t'other day, that she had
known a daughter of the Countess de Grammont, an Abbess in
Lorrain, who, to the ambassadress's great scandal, was ten
times more vain of the blood of Hamilton than of an equal
quantity of that of Grammont. She had told her much of her
sister my Lady Stafford,(262) whom I remember to have seen when I
was a child. She used to live at Twickenham when Lady Mary
Wortley(263) and the Duke of Wharton lived there; she had more
wit than both of them. What would I give to have had Strawberry
Hill twenty years ago! I think any thing but twenty years. Lady
Stafford used to say to her sister, "Well, child, I have come
without my wit to-day;" that is, she had not taken her opium,
which she was forced to do if she had any appointment, to be in
particular spirits. This rage of Grammont carried me a little
while ago to old Marlborough's,(264) at Wimbledon, where I had
heard there was a picture of Lady Denham;(265) it is a charming
one. The house you know stands in a hole, or, as the whimsical
old lady said, seems to be making a courtesy. She had directed
my Lord Pembroke not to make her go up any steps; "I wont go up
steps;"--and so he dug a saucer to put it in, and levelled the
first floor with the ground. There is a bust of Admiral
Vernon, erected I suppose by Jack Spencer, with as many lies
upon it as if it was a tombstone; and a very curious old
picture up-stairs that I take to be Louis Sforza the Moor, with
his nephew Galeazzo. There are other good pictures in the
house, but perhaps you have seen them. As I have formerly seen
Oxford and Blenheim, I did not stop till I came to
Stratford-upon-Avon, the wretchedest old town I ever saw, which
I intended for Shakspeare's sake, to find snug and pretty, and
antique, not old. His tomb, and his wife's, and John Combes',
are in an agreeable church, with several other monuments; as
one of the Earl of Totness,(266) and another of Sir Edward
Walker, the memoirs writer. There are quantities of Cloptons,
too but the bountiful corporation have exceedingly bepainted
Shakspeare and the principal personages.
I was much struck with Ragley; the situation is magnificent;
the house far beyond any thing I have seen of that bad age: for
it was begun, as I found by an old letter in the library from
Lord Ranelagh to Earl Conway, in the year 1680. By the way, I
have had, and am to have, the rummaging of three chests of
pedigrees and letters to that secretary Conway, which I have
interceded for and saved from the flames. The prospect is as
fine as one destitute of a navigated river can be, ind hitherto
totally unimproved; so is the house, which is but just covered
in, after so many years. They have begun to inhabit the naked
walls of the attic story; the great one is unfloored and
unceited - the hall is magnificent, sixty by forty, and
thirty-eight high. I am going to pump Mr. Bentley for designs.
The other apartments are very lofty, and in quantity, though I
had suspected that this leviathan hall must have devoured half
the other chambers.
The Hertfords carried me to dine at Lord Archer's,(267) an
odious place. On my return, I saw Warwick, a pretty old town,
small, and thinly inhabited, in the form of a cross. The
castle is enchanting; the view pleased me more than I can
express; the river Avon tumbles down a cascade at the foot of
it. It is well laid out by one Brown(268 who has set up on a
few ideas of Kent and Mr. Southcote. One sees what the
prevalence of taste does; little Brooke, who would have
chuckled to have been born in an age of clipt hedges and
cockle-shell avenues, has submitted to let his garden and park
be natural. Where he has attempted Gothic in the castle, he
has failed; and has indulged himself in a new apartment, that
is paltry. The chapel is very pretty, and smugged up with tiny
pews, that look like `etuis for the Earl and his diminutive
Countess. I shall tell you nothing of the glorious chapel of
the Beauchamps in St. Mary's church, for you know it is in
Dugdale; nor how ill the fierce bears and ragged staves are
succeeded by puppets and corals. As I came back another road,
I saw Lord Pomfret's,(269) by Towcester, where there are a few
good pictures, and many masked statues; there is an exceeding
fine Cicero, which has no fault, but the head being modern. I
saw a pretty lodge. just built by the Duke of Grafton, in
Whittleberry-forest; the design is Kent's, but, as was his
manner, too heavy. Iran through the gardens at Stowe, which I
have seen before, and had only time to be charmed with the
variety of scenes. I do like that Albano glut of buildings,
let them be ever so much condemned.
(260) The seat of the Earl of Hertford in Warwickshire.
(261) A sister of Mr. Montagu's was married to Nathaniel
(262) Claude Charlotte, Countess of Stafford, wife of Henry,
Earl of Stafford, and daughter of Philibert, Count of Grammont,
and Elizabeth Hamilton, his wife.
(263) Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
(264) Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough.
(265) Miss Brooke, one of the beauties of the court of Charles
II., second wife of Sir John Denham the poet. This second
marriage brought upon him so much disquiet, as for a time to
disorder his understanding, and Butler lampooned him for his
lunacy. In Grammont's Memoirs many circumstances are related,
both of his marriage and his frenzy, very little favourable to
(266) George Carew, Earl of Totness, died without heirs male in
1629, leaving an only daughter, married to Sir Allen Apsley.-E.
(267) Umberslade, near Stratford-upon-Avon.
(268) Lancelot Brown, generally called "Capability Brown," from
his frequent use of that word. He rose by his merit, from a
low condition, to be head gardener at Stowe; and was afterwards
appointed to the same situation at Hampton Court. Lord
Chatham, who had a great regard for him, thus speaks of him, in
a letter to Lady Stanhope:--"The chapter of my friend's dignity
must not be omitted. He writes Lancelot Brown, Esquire, en
titre d'affic: please to consider, he shares the private hours
of Majesty, dines familiarly with his neighbour of Sion, and
sits down to the tables of all the House of Lords, etc. To be
serious, he is deserving of the regard shown to him; for I know
him, upon very long acquaintance to be an honest man, and of
sentiments much above his birth." see Chatham Correspondence,
vol. iv. p. 430.-E.
(269) Easton Neston.
112 letter 47
To Sir Horace Mann.
Mistley, Aug. 31, 1751.
I am going to answer two of your letters, without having the
fear of Genoa(270) before my eyes. Your brother sent to me
about this embassy the night before I came out of town, and I
had not time nor opportunity to make any inquiry about it.
Indeed, I am persuaded it is all a fable, some political nonsense
of Richcourt. How should his brother know any thing of it? or,
to speak plainly, what can we bring about by a sudden negotiation
with the Genoese? Do but put these two things together, that we
can do nothing, and the Richcourts can know nothing, and you will
laugh at this pretended communication of a secret that relates
to yourself' from one who is ignorant of what relates to you,
and who would not tell you if he did know. I have had a note
from your brother since I came hither, which confirms my
opinion; and I find Mr. Chute is of the same. Be at peace, my
dear child: I should not be so if I thought you in the least
I imagined you would have seen Mr. Conway before this time; I
have already told you how different you will find him from the
raw animals that you generally see. As you talk of our
Beauties, I shall tell you a new story of the Gunnings, who
make more noise than any of their predecessors since the days
of Helen, though neither of them, nor any thing about them,
have yet been teterrima belli causa. They went the other day
to see Hampton Court; as they were going Into the Beauty-room,
another company arrived; the housekeeper said, "This way,
ladies; here are the Beauties." The Gunnings flew into a
passion, and asked her what she meant; that they came to see
the palace, not to be showed as a sight themselves.
I am charmed with your behaviour to the Count on the affair of
the Leghorn allegiance; I don't wonder he is willing to
transport you to Genoa! Your priest's epigram is strong; I
suppose he had a dispensation for making a false quantity in
Pray tell me if you know any thing of Lady Mary Wortley: we
have an obscure history here of her being in durance in the
Brescian, or the Bergamasco: that a young fellow whom she set
out with keeping has taken it into his head to keep her close
prisoner, not permitting her to write or receive any letters
but what he sees: he seems determined, if her husband should
die, not to lose her, as the Count lost my Lady Orford.(271)
Lord Rockingham told me himself of his Guercino, and seemed
obliged for the trouble you had given yourself in executing the
commission. I can tell you nothing farther of the pictures at
Houghton; Lord Orford has been ill and given over, and is gone
The affair of Miss Nicholl is blown up by the treachery of my
uncle Horace and some lawyers, that I had employed at his
recommendation. I have been forced to write a narrative of the
whole transaction, and was with difficulty kept from publishing
it. You shall see it whenever I have an opportunity. Mr.
Chute, who has been still worse used than I have been, is,
however, in better spirits than he was, since he got rid of all
this embroil. I have brought about a reconciliation with his
brother, which makes me less regard the other disappointments.
I must bid you good night, for I am at too great a distance to
know any news, even if there were any in season. I shall be in
town next week, and will not fail you in inquiries, though I am
persuaded you will before that have found that all this Genoese
mystery was without foundation. Adieu!
(270) Count Richcourt pretended that he had received
intelligence from his brother, then minister in London, that
Mr. Mann was to be sent on a secret commission to Genoa.
(271) Lord Wharncliffe, in his edition of Lady Mary's Works,
vol. iii. p. 435, makes the following observation on this
passage:--"Among Lady Mary's papers there is a long paper,
written in Italian, not by herself, giving an account of her
having been detained for some time against her will in a
country-house belonging to an Italian Count, and inhabited by
him and his mother. This paper seems to have been submitted to
a lawyer for his opinion, or to be produced in a court of law.
There is nothing else to be found in Lady Mary's papers
referring in the least degree to this circumstance. It would
appear, however, that some such forcible detention as is
alluded to did take place, probably for some pecuniary or
interested object; but, like many of Horace Walpole's stories,
he took care not to let this lose any thing that might give it
zest, and he therefore makes the person by whom Lady Mary was
detained a young fellow whom she set out with keeping.' Now, at
the time of this transaction, Lady Mary was sixty-one years
old. The reader, therefore, may judge for himself, how far
such an imputation upon her is likely to be founded in
114 Letter 48
To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Oct. 8, 1751.
So you have totally forgot that I sent you the pedigree of the
Crouches, as long ago as the middle of last August, and that
you promised to come to Strawberry Hill in October. I shall be
there some time in next week, but as my motions neither depend
on resolutions nor almanacs, let me know beforehand when you
intend to make me a visit; for though keeping an appointment is
not just the thing you ever do, I suppose you know you dislike
being disappointed yourself, as much as if you were the most
punctual person in the world to engagements.
I came yesterday from Woburn, where I have been a week. The
house is in building, and three sides of the quadrangle
finished. The park is very fine, the woods glorious, and the
plantations of evergreens sumptuous; but upon the whole, it is
rather -what I admire than like-I fear that is what I am a
little apt to do at the finest places in the world where there
is not a navigable river. You would be charmed, as I was, with
an old gallery, that is not yet destroyed. It is a bad room,
powdered with little gold stars, and covered with millions of
old portraits. There are all the successions of Earls and
Countesses of Bedford, and all their progenies. One countess
is a whole-length drawing in the drollest dress you ever saw; and
another picture of the same woman leaning on her hand, I
believe by Cornelius Johnson, is as fine a head as ever I saw.
There are many of Queen Elizabeth's worthies, the Leicesters,
Essexes, and Philip Sidneys, and a very curious portrait of the
last Courtney, Earl of Devonshire, who died at Padua. Have not
I read somewhere that he was in love with Queen Elizabeth, and
Queen Mary -with him? He is quite in the style of the former's
lovers, red-bearded, and not comely. There is Essex's friend,
the Earl of Southampton; his son the Lord Treasurer; and Madame
l'Empoisonneuse,(273) that married Carr,(274) Earl of
Somerset--she is pretty. Have not you seen a copy Vertue has
made of Philip and Mary? That is in this gallery too, but more
curious than good. They showed me two heads, who, according to
the tradition of the family, were the originals of Castalio and
Polydore. They were sons to the second Earl of Bedford; and the
eldest, if not both, died before their father. The eldest has
vipers in his hand, and in the distant landscape appears in a
maze, with these words, Fata viam invenient. The other has a
woman behind him, sitting near the sea, with strange monsters
surrounding her. I don't pretend to decipher this, nor to
describe half the entertaining morsels I found here; but I can't
omit, as you know I am Grammont-mad, that I found "le vieux
Roussel, qui `etoit le plus fier danseur d'Angleterre." The
portrait is young, but has all the promise of his latter
character. I am going to send them a head of a Countess of
Cumberland,(275) sister to Castalio and Polydore, and mother of a
famous Countess of Dorset,(276) who Afterwards married the Earl
of Pembroke,(277) of Charles the First's time. She was an
authoress, and immensely rich. After the restoration, Sir
Joseph Williamson, the secretary of state, wrote to her to
choose a courtier at Appleby: she sent him this answer: "I have
been bullied by an usurper, I have been ill-treated by a court,
but I won't be dictated to by a subject; your man shall not
stand. Ann Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery." Adieu! If you
love news a hundred years old, I think you can't have a better
correspondent. For any thing that passes now, I shall not
think it worth knowing these fifty years.
(273 Lady Frances Howard, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, and
married to the Earl of Essex, from whom she was divorced. She
then married her lover, the Earl of Somerset. She poisoned Sir
Thomas Overbury, because he had endeavoured to dissuade his
friend the Earl of Somerset from this alliance. She was tried
and condemned, but was pardoned by King James.
(274) Robert Carr, a favourite of King James the First, who
created him Viscount Rochester and Earl of Somerset. He was
tried and condemned, but was pardoned by James the First.
(275) Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, daughter of Francis
Russell, second Earl of Bedford, and married to George
Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland.
(276)) Ann Clifford, daughter of George, Earl of Cumberland,
first married to Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset, and
afterwards to Philip, Earl of Pembroke.
(277) Philip, Earl of Pembroke, son of Henry, second Earl of
Pembroke. He was chamberlain to Charles the First.
115 Letter 49
To Sir Horace Mann.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 14, 1751.
It is above six weeks since I wrote to you, and I was going on
to be longer, as I stayed for something to tell you; but an
express that arrived yesterday brought a great event, which,
though you will hear long before my letter can arrive, serves
for a topic to renew our correspondence. The Prince of Orange
is dead: killed by the waters of Aix-la-Chapelle. This is all I
yet know. I shall go to town to-morrow for a day or two, and if
I pick up any particulars before the post goes away, you shall
know them. The Princess Royal(278) was established Regent some
time ago; but as her husband's authority seemed extremely
tottering, it is not likely that she will be able to maintain
hers. Her health is extremely bad, and her temper neither
ingratiating nor bending. It is become the peculiarity of the
House of Orange to have minorities.
Your last letter to me of Sept. 24th, and all I have seen since
your first fright, make me easy about your Genoese journey. I
take no honour from the completion of my prophecy; it was
sufficient to know circumstances and the trifling falsehood of
Richcourt, to confirm me in my belief that that embassy was
never intended. We dispose of Corsica! Alas! I believe there
is but one island that we shall ever have power to give away;
and that is Great Britain--and I don't know but we may exert
You are exceedingly kind about Mr. Conway-but when are not you
so to me and my friends? I have just received a miserable
letter from him on his disappointment; he had waited for a
man-of-war to embark for Leghorn; it came in the night, left
its name upon a card, and was gone before he was awake in the
morning, and had any notice of it. He still talks of seeing
you; as the Parliament is to meet so soon, I should think he
will scarce have time, though I don't hear that he is sent for,
or that they will have occasion to send for any body, unless
they want to make an Opposition.
We were going to have festivals and masquerades for the birth
of the Duke of Burgundy, but I suppose both they and the
observance of the King's birthday will be laid aside or
postponed, on the death of our son-in-law. Madame de Mirepoix
would not stay to preside at her own banquets, but is slipped
away to retake possession of the tabouret. When the King
wished her husband joy, my Lady Pembroke(279) was standing near
him; she was a favourite, but has disgraced herself by marrying
a Captain Barnard. Mirepoix said, as he had no children he was
indifferent to the honour of a duchy for himself, but was glad
it would restore Madame to the honour she had lost by marrying
him! "Oh!" replied the King, ,you are of so great a family, the
rank was nothing; but I can't bear when women of quality marry
one don't know whom!"
Did you ever receive the questions I asked you about Lady Mary
Wortley's being confined by a lover that she keeps somewhere in
the Brescian? I long to know the particulars. I have lately
been at Woburn, where the Duchess of Bedford borrowed for me
from a niece of Lady Mary about fifty letters of the latter.
They are charming! have more spirit and vivacity than you can
conceive, and as much of the spirit of debauchery in them as
you will conceive in her writing. They were written to her
sister, the unfortunate Lady Mar, whom she treated so hardly
while out of her senses, which she has not entirely recovered,
though delivered and tended with the greatest tenderness and
affection by her daughter, Lady Margaret Erskine: they live in
a house lent to them by the Duke of Bedford; the Duchess is
Lady Mary's niece.(280) Ten of the letters, indeed, are dismal
lamentations and frights of a scene of villany of Lady Mary,
who, having persuaded one Ruremonde, a Frenchman and her lover,
to entrust her with a large sum of money to buy stock for him,
frightened him out of England, by persuading him that Mr.
Wortley had discovered the intrigue, and would murder him; and
then would have sunk the trust. That not succeeding, and he
threatening to print her letters, she endeavoured to make Lord
Mar or Lord Stair cut his throat. Pope hints at these
anecdotes of her history in that line,
"Who starves a sister or denies a debt."(281)
In one of her letters she says, "We all partake of father
Adam's folly and knavery, who first eat the apple like a sot,
and then turned informer like a scoundrel." This is character,
at least, if not very delicate; but in most of them, the wit
and style are superior to any letters I ever read but Madame
Sevign`e's. It is very remarkable, how much better women write
than men. I have now before me a volume of letters written by
the widow(282) of the beheaded Lord Russel, which are full of
the most moving and expressive eloquence ; I want to persuade
the Duke of Bedford to let them be printed.(283)
17th.--I have learned nothing but that the Prince of Orange
died of an imposthume in his head. Lord Holderness is gone to
Holland to-day--I believe rather to learn than to teach. I have
received yours of Oct. 8, and don't credit a word of
Birtle's(284) information. Adieu!
(276) Anne, eldest daughter of George the Second. Walpole, in
his Memoires, vol. i. p. 173, describes her as being
immoderately jealous and fond of her husband : "Yet," adds he,
"this Mars, who was locked in the arms of that Venus, was a
monster so deformed, that when the King had chosen him for his
son-in-law, he could not help, in the honesty of his heart and
the coarseness of his expression, telling the Princess how
hideous a bridegroom she was to expect; and even gave her
permission to refuse him: she replied, she would marry him if
he was a baboon; "Well, then," said the King, "there is baboon
enough for you!"-E.
(279) Mary, daughter of the Viscount Fitzwilliam, formerly maid
of honour to the Queen, and widow of Henry Herbert, Earl of
Pembroke. [In the preceding month, Lady Pembroke had married
North Ludlow Barnard, a major of dragoons. She died in 1769.]
(280) Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Lady Mar, and the first wife
of John, Lord Gower, were daughters of Evelyn Pierpoint, Duke
(281) Upon this passage Lord Wharncliffe observes, that
"nothing whatever has been found to throw light upon the ill
treatment of Lady Mar by Lady Mary, and that accusation is
supposed, by those who would probably have heard of it if true,
to be without foundation." Nine of the ten letters spoken of
by Walpole, are given in his lordship's edition of Lady Mary's
Works; and, in the opinion of the Quarterly Reviewer, "they
confirm, in a very extraordinary way, Horace Walpole's
impression." See vol. viii. p. 191.-E.
(282) @Rachel, daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of
Southampton, lord treasurer. One of these letters to Dr.
Tillotson, to persuade him to accept the archbishopric, has
been since printed, and a fragment of another of her letters,
in Birch's Life of that prelate.
(283) They were published in 1773, and met with such deserved
success as to call for a Seventh edition of them in 1809. In
1819, appeared a quarto volume, entitled "Some Account of the
Life of Rachael Wriothesley, Lady Russell, with Letters from
Lady Russell to her husband Lord Russell," by the editor of
Madame du Deffand's Letters.-E.
(284) Consul at Genoa: he had heard the report of Mr. Mann's
being designed for an embassy to Genoa.
118 Letter 50
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Nov. 22, 1751.
As the Parliament is met, you will, of course, expect to hear
something of it: the only thing to be told of it is, what I
believe was never yet to be told of an English Parliament, that
it is so unanimous, that we are not likely to have one division
this session-Day, I think not a debate.(285) On the Address,
Sir John Cotton alone said a few words against a few words of
it. Yesterday, on a motion to resume the sentences against
Murray, who is fled to France, only two persons objected--in
short, we shall not be more a French Parliament when we are
under French government. Indeed, the two nations seem to have
crossed over and figured in; one hears of nothing from Paris
but gunpowder plots in a Duke of Burgundy's cradle (whom the
clergy, by a vice versa, have converted into a Pretender,) and
menaces of assassinations. Have you seen the following verses,
that have been stuck up on the Louvre, the Pontneuf, and other
"Deux Henris immol`es par nos braves Ayeux,
L'un `a la Libert`e et l'autre `a nos Dieux,
Nous animent, Louis, aux m`emes entreprises:
Ils revivent, en Toi ces anciens Tyrans:
Crains notre desespoir: La Noblesse a des Guises,
Paris des Ravaillacs, le Clerg`e des Clements."
Did you ever see more ecclesiastic fury? Don't you like their
avowing the cause of Jacques Clement?'and that Henry IV. was
sacrificed to a plurality of gods! a frank confession! though
drawn from the author by the rhyme, as Cardinal Bembo, to write
classic Latin, used to say, Deos immortales! But what most
offends me is the threat of murder: it attaints the prerogative
of chopping off the heads of Kings in a legal way. We here
have been still more interested about a private history that
has lately happened at Paris. It seems uncertain by your
accounts whether Lady Mary Wortley is in voluntary or
constrained durance - it is not at all equivocal that her son
and a Mr. Taaffe have been in the latter at Fort LEvesque and
the Chatelet.(286) All the letters from Paris have been very
cautious of relating the circumstances. The outlines are, that
these two gentlemen, who were pharaoh-bankers to Madame de
Mirepoix, had travelled to France to exercise the same
profession, where it is suppose(] they cheated a Jew, who would
afterwards have cheated them of the money he owed; and that. to
secure payment, they broke open his lodgings and bureau, and
seized jewels and other effects; that he accused them; that they
were taken out of their beds at two o'clock in the morning, kept
in different prisons, without fire or candle, for six-and-thirty
hours; have since been released on excessive bail; are still to
be tried, may be sent to the galleys, or dismissed home, where
they will be reduced to keep the best company; for I suppose
nobody else will converse with them. Their separate anecdotes
are curious: Wortley, you know, has been a perfect Gil Blas, and,
for one of his last adventures; is thought to have added the
famous Miss Ashe to the number of his wives. Taaffe is an
Irishman, who changed his religion to fight a duel; as you know
in Ireland a Catholic may not wear a sword. He is a gamester,
usurer, adventurer, and of late has divided his attentions
between the Duke of Newcastle and Madame Pompadour; travelling,
with turtles and pine-apples, in postchaises, to the
latter,-flying back to the former for Lewes races--and smuggling
burgundy at the same time. I shall finish their history with a
bon-mot. The Speaker was railing at gaming and White's, apropos
to these two prisoners. Lord Coke, to whom the conversation was
addressed, replied, "Sir, all I can say is, that they are both
members of the House of Commons, and neither of them of
White's." Monsieur de Mirepoix sent a card lately to White's,
to invite all the chess-players of both 'clamps'. Do but think
what a genius a man must have, or, my dear child, do you
consider what information you would be capable of sending to
your court, if, after passing two years in a country, you had
learned but the two first letters of"a word, that you heard
twenty times every day! I have a bit of paper left, so I will
tell you another story. A certain King, that, whatever airs
you may give yourself, you are not at all like, was last week
at the play. The Intriguing Chambermaid in the farce(287) says
to the old gentleman, "You are villanously old; you are
sixty-six; you can't have the impudence to think of living
above two years." The old gentleman in the stage-box turned
about in a passion, and said, "This is d-d stuff!" Pray have
you got Mr. Conway yet! Adieu!
(285) "Nov. 14 Parliament opened. Lord Downe and Sir William
Beauchamp Proctor moved and seconded the Address. No
opposition to it." Dodington, p. 114. Tindal says that this
session was, perhaps, the most unanimous ever known."-E.
(286) See ant`e.-E.
(287) The Intriguing Chambermaid was performed at Drury-lane on
the 6th of November; it was dedicated by Fielding to Mrs.
119 Letter 51
To Sir Horace Mann.
Dec. 12, 1751.
I have received yours and Mr. Conway's letters, and am
transported that you have met at last, and that you answer so
well to one another, as I intended. I expect that you tell me
more and more all that you think of him. The inclosed is for
him; as he has never received one of my letters since he left
England, I have exhausted all my news upon him, and for this post
you must only go halves with him, who I trust is still at
Florence. In your last, you mentioned Lord Stormont, and commend
him; pray tell me more about him. He is cried up above all the
young men of the time-in truth we want recruits! Lord Bolingbroke
is dead, or dying,(288) of a cancer, which was thought cured by a
quack plaster; but it is not every body can be cured at
seventy-five, like my monstrous uncle.
What is an uomo nero?-neither Mr. Chute nor I can recollect the
term. Though you are in the season of the villegiatura,
believe me, Mr. Conway will not find Florence duller than he
would London: our diversions, politics, quarrels, are buried
all in our Alphonso's grave!(289) The only thing talked of is
a man who draws teeth with a sixpence, and puts them in again
for a shilling. I believe it; not that it seems probable, but
because I have long been persuaded that the most incredible
discoveries will be made, and that, about the time, or a little
after, I die, the secret will be found out of how to live for
ever--and that secret, I believe, will not be discovered by a
P. S. I have tipped Mr. Conway's direction with French, in case
it should be necessary to send it after him.
(288) lord Bolingbroke died on the 15th.-E.
(289) The late Prince of Wales: it alludes to a line in The
120 Letter 52
To George Montagu, Esq.
THE ST. JAMES'S EVENING POST.
Thursday, Jan. 9, 1752.
Monday being the Twelfth-day, his Majesty according to annual
custom offered myrrh, frankincense, and a small bit of gold;
and at night, in commemoration of the three kings or wise men,
the King and Royal Family played a@ hazard for the benefit of a
prince of the blood. There were above eleven thousand pounds
upon the table; his most sacred Majesty won three guineas, and
his Royal Highness the Duke three thousand four hundred pounds.
On Saturday was landed at the Custom-house a large box of
truffles, being a present to the Earl of Lincoln from Theobald
Taaffe, Esq. who is shortly expected home from his travels in
To-morrow the new-born son of the Earl of Egremont is to be
baptized, when his Majesty, and the Earl of Granville (if he is
able to stand), and the Duchess of Somerset, are to be
We are assured that on Tuesday last, the surprising strong
woman was exhibited at the Countess of Holderness's, before a
polite assembly of persons of the first quality; and some time
this week, the two dwarfs will play at brag at Madame Holman's.
N.B. The strong man, who was to have performed at Mrs. Nugent's,
is indisposed. There is lately arrived at the Lord Carpenter's,
a curious male chimpanzee, which had had the honour of being
shown before the ugliest princes in Europe, who all expressed
their approbation; and we hear that he intends to offer himself a
candidate to represent the city of Westminster at the next
general election. Note: he wears breeches, and there is a
gentlewoman to attend the ladies.'
Last night the Hon. and Rev. Mr. James Brudenel was admitted a
doctor of opium in the ancient UNIVERSITY of White's, being
received ad eundem by his grace the Rev. father in chess the
Duke of Devonshire, president, and the rest of the senior
fellows. At the same time the Lord Robert Bertie and Colonel
Barrington were rejected, on account of some deficiency of
formality in their testimonials.
Letters from Grosvenor Street mention a dreadful apparition,
which has appeared for several nights at the house of the
Countess Temple, which has occasioned several of her ladyship's
domestics to leave her service, except the coachman, who has
drove her sons and nephews for several years, and is not afraid
of spectres. The coroner's inquest have brought in their
Last week the Lord Downe received at the treasury the sum of a
hundred kisses from the Auditor of the Exchequer, being the
reward for shooting at a highwayman.
On Tuesday the operation of shaving was happily performed on
the upper lip of her grace the Duchess of Newcastle, by a
celebrated artist from Paris, sent over on purpose by the Earl
of Albemarle. The performance lasted but one minute and three
seconds, to the great joy of that noble family; and in
consideration of his great care and expedition, his grace has
settled four hundred pounds a year upon him for life. We hear
that he is to have the honour of shaving the heads of the Lady
Caroline Petersham, the Duchess of Queensberry, and several
other persons of quality.
By authority, on Sunday next will be opened the Romish chapel
at Norfolk House; no persons will be admitted but such as are
known well-wishers to the present happy establishment. Mass
will begin exactly when the English liturgy is finished.
At the theatre royal in the House of Lords, the Royal Slave,
with Lethe. At the theatre in St. Stephen's chapel, the Fool
The Jews are desired to meet on the 20th inst. at the sign of
Fort L'Evesque in Pharaoh Street, to commemorate the noble
struggle made by one of their brethren in support of his
To be let--an ambassador's masquerade, the gentleman going
To be sold--the whole nation.
Lately published, The Analogy of political and private
Quarrels, or the Art of healing family-differences by widening
them; on these words, "Do evil that good may ensue." a sermon
preached before the Right Hon. Henry Pell)am, and the rest of
the society for propagating Christian charity, by William
Levenson, chaplain to her R. H. the Princess Amelia; and now
printed at the desire of several of the family.
For capital weaknesses, the Duke of Newcastle's true spirit of
Given gratis at the Turn-stile, the corner of
Lincoln's-inn-fields, Anodyne Stars and Garters.(290)
(290) The residence of the duke of newcastle.-E.
122 Letter 53
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 2, 1752.
We are much surprised by two letters which my Lady Aylesbury
has received from Mr. Conway, to find that he had not yet heard
of his new regiment. She, who is extremely reasonable, seems
content that he went to Rome before he got the news, as it
would have been pity to have missed such an opportunity of
seeing it, and she flatters herself that he would have set out
immediately for England, if he had received the express -at
Florence. Now you know him, and you will not wonder that she
is impatient; you would wonder, if you knew her, if he were not
After all I have lately told you of our dead tranquillity, You
will be surprised to hear of an episode of Opposition: it is
merely an interlude, for at least till next @ear we shall have
no more: you will rather think it a farce, when I tell you,
that that buffoon my old uncle acted a principal part in it.
And what made it more ridiculous, the title of the drama was a
subsidiary treaty with Saxony.(291) In short, being impatient
with the thought that he should die without having it written
on his tomb, "He-re lies Baron Punch," he spirited up--whom do
you think?--only a Grenville! my Lord Cobham, to join with him
in speaking against this treaty: both did: the latter retired
after his speech; but my uncle concluded his (which was a
direct answer to all he has been making all his life,) with
declaring, that he should yet vote for the treaty! You never
heard such a shout and laughter as it caused. This debate was
followed by as new a one in, the House of Lords, where the Duke
of Bedford took the treaty, and in the conclusion of his
speech, the ministry, to pieces. His friend Lord Sandwich, by
a most inconceivable jumble of cunning, spoke for the treaty,
against the ministry; it is supposed, lest the 'Duke should be
thought to have countenanced the Opposition: you never heard a
more lamentable performance! there was no division.(292) The
next day the Tories in our House moved for a resolution against
subsidiary treaties in line of peace: Mr. Pelham, with great
agitation, replied to the philippics of the preceding, day, and
divided 180 to 52.
There has been an odd sort of codicil to these debates:
Vernon,(293) a very inoffensive, good-humoured young fellow,
who lives in the strongest intimacy with all the fashionable
young men, was proposed for the Old Club at White's, into the
mysteries of which, before a person is initiated, it is
necessary that he should be well with the ruling powers:
unluckily, Vernon has lately been at Woburn with the Duke of
Bedford. The night of' the ballot, of twelve persons present,
eight had promised him white balls, being his particular
friends--however, there were six black balls!-this made great
noise--his friends found it necessary to clear up their faith
to him--ten of the twelve assured him upon their honour that
they had given him white balls. I fear this will not give you
too favourable an idea of the honour of the young men of the
Your father, who has been dying, and had tasted nothing but
water for ten days, the other day called for roast beef, and is
well; cured, I suppose, by this abstinence, which convinces me
that intemperance has been his illness. Fasting and
mortification will restore a good constitution, but not correct
a bad one.
Adieu! I write you but short letters, and those, I fear,
seldom; but they tell you all that is material; this is not an
age to furnish volumes.
(291) Mr. Pitt was so much pleased with Mr. Horatio Walpole's
speech on this occasion that he requested him to consign it to
writing, and gave it as his opinion, that it contained much
weighty matter, and from beginning to end breathed the spirit
of a man who loved his country. See Chatham Correspondence,
vol. i. p. 63.-E.
(292) For an account of this d(@bate, taken by Lord Chancellor
Hardwicke, see Parl. Hist. vol. xiv. p. 1175.-E.
(293) Richard Vernon, Esq. He married Lady Evelyn Leveson,
widow of the Earl of Upper Ossory, and sister of Gertrude,
Duchess of Bedford.-D.
123 Letter 54
To Sir Horace Mann.
Arlington Street, Feb. 27, 1752.
Gal. tells me that your eldest brother has written you an
account of your affairs, the particulars of which I was most
solicitous to learn, and am now most unhappy to find no
better.(294) Indeed, Gal. would have most reason to complain,
if his strong friendship for you did not prevent him from
thinking that nothing is hard that is in your favour; he told
me himself that the conditions imposed upon him were inferior
to what he always proposed to do, if the misfortune should
Back to Full Books