The Letters of Horace Walpole Volume 3
Part 16 out of 17
be more than a new edition? He was not at home himself, but his
foreman told me he thought there were some new pieces, and notes
to the whole. It was very unkind, not only to go out of town
without mentioning them to me, without showing them to me, but
not to say a word of them in this letter. Do you think I am
indifferent, or not curious, about what you write? I have ceased
to ask you, because you have so long refused to show me any
thing. You could not suppose I thought that you never write.
No; but I concluded you did not intend, at least yet, to publish
what you had written. As you did intend it, I might have
expected a month's preference. You will do me the Justice to own
that I had always rather have seen your writings than have shown
you mine; which you know are the most hasty trifles in the world,
and which, though I may be fond of the subject when fresh, I
constantly forget in a very short time after they are published.
This would sound like affectation to others, but will not to you.
It would be affected, even to you, to say I am indifferent to
fame. I certainly am not, but I am indifferent to almost any
thing I have done to acquire it. The greater part are mere
compilations; and no wonder they are, as you say, incorrect, when
they are commonly written with people in the room, as Richard and
the Noble Authors were. But I doubt there is a more intrinsic
fault in them: which is, that I cannot correct them. If I write
tolerably, it must be -,it once; I can neither mend nor add. The
articles of Lord Capel and Lord Peterborough, in the second
edition of the Noble Authors, cost me more trouble than all the
rest together: and you may perceive that the worst part of
Richard, in point of ease and style, is what relates to the
papers you gave me on Jane Shore, because it was taken on so long
afterwards, and when my impetus was chilled. If some time or
other you will take the trouble of pointing out the inaccuracies
of' 'It, I shall be much obliged to you: at present I shall
meddle no more with it. It has taken its fate; nor did I mean to
complain. I found it was Condemned indeed beforehand, which was
what I alluded to. Since publication (as has happened to me
before) the success has gone beyond my expectation.
Not only at Cambridge, but here there have been people wise
enough to think me too free with the King of Prussia!(1006) A
newspaper has talked of my known inveteracy to him. Truly, I
love him as well as I do most kings. The greater offence is my
reflection on Lord Clarendon. It is forgotten that I had
overpraised him before. Pray turn to the new State Papers, from
which, it is said, he composed his history. You will find they
are the papers from which he did not compose his history. And
yet I admire my Lord Clarendon more than these pretended admirers
do. But I do not intend to justify myself. I can as little
satisfy those who complain that I do not let them know what
really did happen. If this inquiry can ferret out any truth, I
shall be glad. I have picked up a few more circumstances. I now
want to know what Perkin Warbeck's Proclamation was, which Speed
in his history says is preserved by Bishop Leslie. If you look
in Speed, perhaps you will be able to assist me.
The Duke of Richmond and Lord Lyttelton agree with you, that I
have not disculpated Richard of the murder of Henry VI. I own to
you, it is the crime of which in my own mind I believe him most
guiltless. Had I thought he committed it, I should never have
taken the trouble to apologize-for the rest. I am not at all
positive or obstinate on your other objections, nor know exactly
what I believe on many points of this story. And I am so
sincere, that, except a few notes hereafter, I shall leave the
matter to be settled or discussed by others. As you have written
much too little, I have written a great deal too much, and think
only of finishing the two or three other things I have begun--and
of those, nothing but the last volume of Painters is designed for
the present public. What has one to do when turned fifty, but
really think of finishing?(1007)
I am much obliged and flattered by Mr. Mason's approbation, and
particularly by having had almost the same thought with him. I
said, "People need not be angry at my excusing Richard; I have
not diminished their fund of hatred, I have only transferred it
from Richard to Henry." Well, but I have found you close with
Mason--No doubt, cry Prating I, something will come out.(1008)-
-Oh! no--leave us, both of you, to Annabellas and Epistles to
Ferney,(1009) that give Voltaire an account of his own tragedies,
to +Macarony fables that are more unintelligible than Pilpay's
are in the original, to Mr. Thornton's hurdy-gurdy poetry'(1010)
and to Mr. ***** who has imitated himself worse than any fop in
a magazine would have done. In truth, if you should abandon us,
I could not wonder--When Garrick's prologues and epilogues, his
own Cymons and farces, and the comedies of the fools that pay
court to him, are the delight of the age, it does not deserve any
thing better. Pray read the new account of Corsica. What
relates to Paoli will amuse you much. There is a deal about the
island and its divisions that one does not care a straw for. The
author, Boswell,(1011) is a strange being, and, like Cambridge,
has a rage of knowing any body that ever was talked of. He
forced himself upon me at Paris in spite of my teeth and my
doors, and I see has given a foolish account of all he could pick
up from me about King Theodore. He then took an antipathy to me
on Rousseau's account, abused me in the newspapers, and exhorted
Rousseau to do so too: but as he came to see me no more, I
forgave all the rest. I see he now is a little sick of Rousseau
himself; but I hope it will not cure him of his anger to me.
However, his book will I am sure entertain you.(1012)
I will add but a word or two more. I am criticised for the
expression tinker up in the preface. Is this one of those that
you object to? I own I think such a low expression, placed to
ridicule an absurd instance of wise folly, very forcible.
Replace it with an elevated word or phrase, and to my conception
it becomes as flat as possible.
George Selwyn says I may, if I please, write historic doubts on
the present Duke of Grafton too. Indeed, they would be doubts,
for I know nothing certainly.
Will you be so kind as to look into Leslie De Rebus Scotorum, and
see if Perkin's Proclamation is there, and if there, how
authenticated. You will find in Speed my reason for asking this.
I have written in such a hurry, I believe you will scarce be able
to read my letter--and as I have just been writing French,
perhaps the sense may not be clearer than the writing. Adieu!
(1006) Gray, in a letter to Mr. Walpole, of the 14th, had said--
"I have heard it objected, that you raise doubts and
difficulties, and do not satisfy them by telling us what is
really the case. I have heard you charged with disrespect to the
King of Prussia; and above all, to King William and the
Revolution. My own objections are little more essential: they
relate chiefly to inaccuracies of style, which either debase the
expression or obscure the meaning. As to your argument@ most of
the principal parts are made out with a clearness and evidence
that no one would expect, where materials are so scarce. Yet I
still suspect Richard of the murder of Henry the Sixth." Works,
vol. iv. p. 105.-E.
(1007) To this Gray, on the 25th, replied--"To what you say to me
so civilly, that I ought to write more, I answer in your own
words, (like the Pamphleteer, who is going to refute you out of
your own mouth,) what has one to do, when turned fifty, but
really to think of finishing? However, I will be candid (for you
seem to be so with me), and avow to you, that, till fourscore and
ten, whenever the humour takes me, I will write, because I like
it; and because I like myself better when I do so. If I do not
write much, it is because I cannot." Works, vol. iv. p. 111.-E.
(1008) "I found him close with Swift."--"Indeed?"--"No doubt,"
Cries prating Balbus, "something will come out." Pope.
(1009) Keate's "Ferney; an Epistle to M. Voltaire."-E.
(1010) His burlesque Ode on St. Cecilia's Day; with the humour of
which Dr. Johnson was much diverted, and used to repeat this
"In strains more exalted the salt-box shall join,
And clattering and battering and clapping combine,
With a rap and a tap, while the hollow side sounds,
Up and down leaps the flap, and with rattling rebounds.-E.
(1011) "Your history," wrote Dr. Johnson to Boswell, "is like
other histories, but your journal is, in a very high degree,
curious and delightful: there is between them that difference
which there will always be found between notions borrowed from
without and notions generated within. Your history was copied
from books; your journal rose out of your own experience and
observation. I know not whether I could name any narrative by
which curiosity is better excited or better gratified."-E.
(1012) To this Gray replies--,'Mr. Boswell's book has pleased and
moved me strangely; all, I mean, that relates to Paoli. He is a
man born two thousand years after his time! The pamphlet proves
what I have always maintained, that any fool may write a most
valuable book by chance, if he will only tell us what he heard
and saw with veracity. Of Mr. Boswell's truth I have not the
least suspicion, because I am sure be could invent nothing of
this kind. The true title of this part of his work is a Dialogue
between a Green Goose and a Hero." Works, vol. iv. p. 112.-E.
Letter 338 To Mr. Gray.
Arlington Street, Friday night, Feb. 26, 1768. (page 512)
I plague you to death, but I must reply a few more words. I
shall be very glad to see in print, and to have those that are
worthy, see your ancient Odes; but I was in hopes there were some
pieces. too, that I had not seen. I am sorry there are
I troubled you about Perkin's Proclamation. because Mr. Hume lays
great stress upon it, and insists, that if Perkin affirmed that
his brother was killed, it must have been true, if he was true
Duke of York. Mr. Hume would have persuaded me that the
Proclamation is in Stowe, but I can find no such thing there;
nor, what is more, in Casley's Catalogue, which I have twice
looked over carefully. I wrote to Sir David Dalrymple In
Scotland, to inquire after it; because I would produce it if I
could, though it should make against me: but he, I believe,
thinking I inquired with the contrary view, replied very drily,
that it was published at York, and was not to be found in
Scotland. Whether he is displeased that I have plucked a hair
from the tresses of their great historian; or whether, as I
suspect, he is offended for King William; this reply was all the
notice he took of my letter and book. I only smiled; as I must
do when I find one party is angry with me on King William's, and
the other on Lord Clarendon's account.
The answer advertised is Guthrie's, who is furious that I have
taken no notice of his History. I shall take as little of his
pamphlet; but his end will be answered, if he sells that and one
or two copies of his History.(1014) Mr. Hume, I am told, has
drawn up an answer too, which I shall see, and, if I can, will
get him to publish; for, if I should ever choose to say any thing
more on this subject, I had rather reply to him than to
hackney-writers:--to the latter, indeed, I never will reply. A
few notes I have to add that will be very material; and I wish to
get some account of a book that was once sold at Osborn's, that
exists perhaps at Cambridge, and of which I found a memorandum
t'other day in my note-book. It is called A Paradox, or Apology
for Richard the Third, by Sir William Cornwallis.(1015) If you
could discover it, I should be much obliged to you.
Lord Sandwich, with whom I have not exchanged a syllable since
the general warrants, very obligingly sent me an account of the
roll at Kimbolton; and has since, at my desire, borrowed it for
me and sent it to town.(1016) It is as long as my Lord
Lyttelton's History; but by what I can read of it (for it is both
ill written and much decayed), it is not a roll of kings, but of
all that have been possessed of, or been Earls of Warwick: or
have not--for one of the first earls is Aeneas. How, or
wherefore, I do not know, but amongst the first is Richard the
Third, in whose reign it was finished, and with whom it
concludes. He is there again with his wife and son, and Edward
the Fourth, and Clarence and his wife, and Edward their son (who
unluckily is a little old man), and Margaret Countess of
Salisbury, their daughter.--But why do I say with these? There
is every body else too and what is most meritorious, the habits
of all the times are admirably well observed from the most savage
ages. Each figure is tricked with a pen, well drawn, but neither
Coloured nor shaded. Richard is straight, but thinner than my
print; his hair short, and exactly curled in the same manner; not
so handsome as mine, but what one might really believe intended
for the same countenance, as drawn by a different painter,
especially when so small; for the figures in general are not so
long as one's finger. His queen is ugly, and with just such a
square forehead as in my print, but I cannot say like it. Nor,
indeed, where forty-five figures out of fifty (I have not counted
the number) must have been imaginary, can one lay great stress on
the five. I shall, however, have these figures copied,
especially as I know Of no other image of the son. Mr. Astle is
to come to Me tomorrow morning to explain the writing.
I wish you had told me in what age your Franciscan friars lived;
and what the passage in Comines is. I am very ready to make
amende honorable. Thank you for the notes on the Noble Authors.
They shall be inserted when I make a new edition, for the sake of
the trouble the person has taken, though they are of little
consequence. Dodsley has asked me for a new edition; but I have
had little heart to undertake such work, no more than to mend my
old linen. It is pity one cannot be born an ancient, and have
commentators to do such jobs for one! Adieu! Yours ever.
On reading over your letter again this morning, I do find the age
in which the friars lived--I read and write in such a hurry, that
I think I neither know what I read or say.
(1013) Gray, in his letter of the 25th, had said:--"The Long
Story was to be totally omitted, as its only use (that of
explaining the plates) was gone; but, to supply the place of it
in bulk, lest my works should be mistaken for the works of a flea
or a pismire I promised to send him an equal weight of poetry or
prose; so I put up about two ounces of stuff, viz. The Fatal
Sisters; The Descent of Odin; a bit of something from the Welch,
and certain little Notes, partly from justice-,, partly from ill-
temper, just to tell the gentle reader that Edward 1. was not
Oliver Cromwell, nor Queen Elizabeth the Witch of Endor. This is
literally all; and with all this, I shall be but a shrimp of an
author." Works, vol. iv. P. 110.-E.
(1014) Gray, in his answer of the 6th of March, says--"Guthrie,
you see, has vented himself in the Critical Review. His History
I never saw, nor is it here, nor do I know any one that ever saw
it. He is a rascal; but rascals may chance to meet with curious
records." Works, vol. iv. p. 116.-E.
(1015) "The Praise of King Richard the Third," which was
published by Sir William Cornwallis, Knight, the celebrated
"Essayist," in 1617, is reprinted in the third volume of the
Somers' Collection of Tracts.-E.
(1016) From this roll were taken the two plates of portraits in
the Historic Doubts.
Letter 339 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, March 12, 1768. (page 514)
The house, etc. described in the enclosed advertisement I Should
think might suit you; I am sure its being in my neighbourhood
would make me glad, if it did. I know no more than what you will
find in this scrap of paper, nor what the rent is, nor whether it
has a chamber as big as Westminster-hall; but as you have flown
about the world, and are returned to your ark without finding a
place to rest your foot, I should think you might as well inquire
about the house I notify to you, as set out with your caravan to
Greatworth, like a Tartar chief; especially as the laws of this
country will not permit you to stop in the first meadow you like,
and turn your horses to grazing without saying by your leave.
As my senatorial dignity is gone,(1017) and the sight of my name
is no longer worth threepence, I shall not put you to the expense
of a cover, and I hope the advertisement will not be taxed, as I
seal it to the paper. In short, I retain so much iniquity from
the last infamous Parliament that you see I would still cheat the
public. The comfort I feel in sitting peaceably here, instead of
being at Lynn in the high fever of a contested election, which at
best would end in my being carried about that large town like the
figure of a pope at a bonfire, is very great. I do not think,
when that function is over, that I shall repent my resolution.
What could I see but sons and grandsons playing over the same
knaveries, that I have seen their fathers and Grandfathers act?
Could I hear oratory beyond my Lord Chatham's? Will there ever
be parts equal to Charles Townshend's? Will George Grenville
cease to be the most tiresome of beings? Will he not be
constantly whining, and droning, and interrupting, like a
cigala(1018) in a sultry day in Italy.
Guthrie has published two criticisms on my Richard;(1019) one
abusive in the Critical Review; t'other very civil and even
flattering in a pamphlet; both so stupid and contemptible, that I
rather prefer the first, as making some attempt at vivacity; but
in point of argument, nay, and of humour, at which he makes an
effort too, both things are below scorn. As an instance of the
former, he says, the Duke of Clarence might die of drinking sack,
and so be said to be drowned in a butt of malmsey; of the latter
sort, are his calling the Lady Bridget Lady Biddy, and the Duke
of York poor little fellow! I will weary you with no more such
The weather is so very March, that I cannot enjoy my new holidays
at Strawberry yet; I sit reading and writing close to the fire.
Sterne has published two little volumes, called Sentimental
Travels. They are very pleasing, though too much dilated, and
infinitely preferable to his tiresome Tristram Shandy, of which I
never could get through three volumes. In these there is a great
good-nature and strokes of delicacy. Gray has added to his poems
three ancient Odes from Norway and Wales. The subjects of the
two first are grand and picturesque, and there is his genuine
vein in them; but they are not interesting, and do not, like his
other poems, touch any passion. Our human feelings, which he
masters at will in his former pieces, are here not
affected.(1020) Who can care through what horrors a Runic savage
arrived at all the joys and glories they could conceive, the
supreme felicity of boozing ale out of the skull of an enemy in
Odin's hall? Oh! yes, just now perhaps these odes would be
toasted at many a contested election. Adieu! Yours ever.
(1017) Walpole had retired from Parliament at the general
election in the beginning of this year.-E.
(1018) "The shrill cicalas, people of the pine,
Making their summer lives one ceaseless song,
Were the sole echoes, save my steed's and mine,
And vesper-bells that rose the boughs along."
Don Juan, c. iii. st. 106.-E.
(1019) Walpole's work is thus characterized by Sir Walter Scott:-
-"The Historical Doubts are an acute and curious example how
minute antiquarian research may shake our faith in the facts most
pointedly averred by general history. It is remarkable also to
observe how, in defending a system, which was probably at first
adopted as a mere literary exercise, Mr. Walpole's doubts
acquired, in his own eyes, the respectability of certainties, in
which he could not brook controversy." Prose Works; vol. iii. p.
(1020) "They strike, rather than please; the images are magnified
by affectation; the language is laboured into harshness. The
mind of the writer seems to work with unnatural violence.
Double, double, toil and trouble! There is too little appearance
of ease and nature." Johnson.-E.
Letter 340 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, April 15, 1768. (page 516)
Mr. Chute tells me that you have taken a new house in Squireland,
and have given yourself up for two years more to port and
parsons. I am very angry, and resign you to the works of the
devil or the church, I don't care which. You will get the gout,
turn Methodist, and expect to ride to heaven upon your own great
foe. I was happy with your telling me how well you love me, and
though I don't love loving, I could have poured out all the
fullness of my heart to such an old and true friend; but what am
I the better for it, if I am to see you but two or three days in
the year? I thought you would at last come and while away the
remainder of life on the banks of the Thames in gaiety and old
tales. I have quitted the stage, and the Clive is preparing to
leave it. We shall neither of us ever be grave: dowagers roost
all round us and you could never want cards or mirth. Will you
end like a fat farmer, repeating annually the price of oats, and
discussing stale newspapers? There have you got, I hear into an
old gallery that has not been glazed since Queen Elizabeth, and
under the nose of an infant Duke and Duchess, that will
understand you no more than if you wore a ruff and a coif, and
talked to them of a call of serjeants the year of the Spanish
armada! Your wit and humour will be as much lost upon them, as
if you talked the dialect of Chaucer; for with all the divinity
of wit, it grows out of fashion like a fardingale. I am
convinced that the young men at White's already laugh at George
Selwyn's bon-mots only by tradition. I avoid talking before the
youth of the age as I would dancing before them; for if one's
tongue don't move in the steps of the day, and thinks to please
by its old graces, it is only an object of ridicule, like Mrs.
Hobart in her cotilion. I tell you we should get together, and
comfort ourselves with reflecting on the brave days that we have
known--not that I think people were a jot more clever or wise in
our youth than now, are now; but as my system is always to live
in a vision as much as I can, and as visions don't increase with
years, there is nothing so natural as to think one remembers what
one does not remember.
I have finished my tragedy,(1021) but as you would not bear the
subject, I will say no more of it, but that Mr. Chute, who is not
easily pleased, likes it, and Gray, who is still more difficult,
approves it.(1022) I am not yet intoxicated enough with it to
think it would do for the stage, though I wish to see it acted;
but, as Mrs. Pritchard(1023) leaves the stage next month, I know
nobody could play the Countess; nor am I disposed to expose
myself to the impertinent eyes of that jackanapes Garrick, who
lets nothing appear but his own wretched stuff, or that of
creatures still duller, who suffer him to alter their pieces as
he pleases. I have written an epilogue in character for the
Clive, which she would speak admirably; but I am not so sure that
she would like to speak it. Mr. Conway, Lady Aylesbury, Lady
Lyttelton, and Miss Rich, are to come hither the day after
to-morrow, and Mr. Conway and I are to read my play to them; for
I have not strength enough to go through the whole alone.(1024)
My press is revived, and is printing a French play written by the
old President Henault.(1025) It was damned many years ago at
Paris, and yet I think it is better than some that have
succeeded, and much better than any of our modern tragedies. I
print it to please the old man, as he was exceedingly kind to me
at Paris; but I doubt whether he will live till it is
finished.(1026) He is to have a hundred copies, and there are to
be but a hundred more, Of Which You shall have one.
Adieu! though I am very angry with you, I deserve all your
friendship, by that I have for you, witness my anger and
disappointment. Yours ever.
P. S. Send me your new direction, and tell me when I must begin
to use it.
(1021) The Mysterious Mother. See vol. i. p. 57.-E.
(1022) Of this tragedy Lord Byron was also an approver: "It is
the fashion," he says, "to underrate Horace Walpole; firstly,
because he was a nobleman; and secondly, because he was a
gentleman; but, to say nothing of the composition of his
incomparable Letters, and of the Castle of Otranto, he is the
ultimus Romanorum, the author of the Mysterious Mother; a tragedy
of the highest order, and not a puling love.play."-E.
(1023) This celebrated actress, who excelled alike in tragedy and
comedy, took leave of the stage in May, in the part of Lady
Macbeth, and died at Bath in the following August.-E.
(1024) Walpole, in a letter to Madame du Deffand, of the 11th of
March, speaking of the "Honn`ete Criminel," a copy of which she
had sent him, gives her the following account of his own
tragedy:--"L'Honn`ete Criminel me paroit assez m`ediocre. Ma
propre trag`edie a de bien plus grands d`efauts, mais au moins
elle ne ressemble pas au toout compass`e tet r`egl`e du si`ecle.
Il ne vous plairoit pas assur`ement; il n'y a pas de beaux
Sentiments: il n'y a que des passions sans envelope, des crimes,
des repentis, et des horreurs. Je crois qu'il y a beaucoup plus
de mauvais que de bon, et je sais s`urement que depuis le premier
acte jusqu'a la derni`ere sc`ene l'int`er`et languit au lieu
d'augmenter: peut-il avoir on plus grand d`efaut?"-E.
(1025) Corn`elie, a manuscript tragedy, written by the Pr`esident
Henault in early life.
(1026) He died in Novembor 1770, at the age of eighty-six.-E.
Letter 341 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, April 16, 1768. (page 517)
Well, dear Sir, does your new habitation improve as the spring
advances? There has been dry weather and east wind enough to
parch the fens. We find that the severe beginning of this last
winter has made terrible havoc among the evergreens, though of
old standing. Half my cypresses have been bewitched, and turned
into brooms; and the laurustinus is every where perished. I am
Goth enough to choose now and then to believe in prognostics; and
I hope this destruction imports, that, though foreigners should
take root here, they cannot last in this climate. I would fain
persuade myself, that we are to be our own empire to eternity.
The Duke of Manchester has lent me an invaluable curiosity; I
mean invaluable to us antiquaries: but perhaps I have already
mentioned it to you; I forgot whether I have or no. It is the
original roll of the Earls of Warwick, as long as my gallery, and
drawn by John Rous(1027) himself. Ay, and what is more, there
are portraits of Richard III., his Queen, and son; the two former
corresponding almost exactly with my print; and a panegyric on
the virtues of Richard, and a satire, upwards and downwards, on
the illegal marriage of Edward IV., and on the extortions of
Henry VII. I have had these and seven other portraits copied,
and shall, some time or other, give plates of them. But I wait
for an excuse; I mean till Mr. Hume shall publish a few remarks
he has made on my book: they are very far from substantial; yet
still better than any other trash that has been written against
it, nothing of which deserves an answer.
I have long had thoughts of drawing up something for London like
St. Foix's Rues de Paris,(1028) and have made some collections.
I wish You Would be so good, in the course of your reading, to
mark down any passage to that end: as where any great houses of
nobility were situated; or in what street any memorable event
happened. I fear the subject will not furnish much till later
times, as our princes kept their courts up and down the country
in such a vagrant manner.
I expect Mr. Gray and Mr. Mason to pass the day with me here
to-morrow. When I am more settled here I shall put you in mind
of your promise to bestow more than one day on me.
I hope the Methodist, your neighbour, does not, like his
patriarch Whitfield, encourage the people to forge, murder, etc.
in order to have the benefit of being converted at the gallows.
That arch-rogue preached lately a funeral sermon on one Gibson,
hanged for forgery, and told his audience, that he could assure
them Gibson was now in heaven, and that another fellow, executed
at the same time, had the happiness of touching Gibson's coat as
he was turned off. As little as you and I agree about a hundred
years ago, I don't desire a reign of fanatics. Oxford has begun
with these rascals, and I hope Cambridge will wake. I don't mean
that I would have them persecuted, which is what they wish; but I
would have the clergy fight them and ridicule them. Adieu! dear
Sir. Yours ever.
(1027) John Rous, the historian of Warwickshire, "who," according
to Walpole in his Anecdotes of Painting, "drew his own portrait,
and other semblances, but in too rude a style to be called
(1028) Essais Historiques sur Paris, par
Germain-Fran`cois-Poulain de Saint Foix; of which an English
translation was published in 1767.-E.
Letter 342 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, June 6, 1768. (page 519)
You have told me what makes me both sorry and glad.(1029) Long
have I expected the appearance of Ely, and thought it at the eve
of coming forth. Now you tell me it is not half written; but
then I am rejoiced you are to write it. Pray do; the author is
very much in the right to make you author for him. I cannot say
you have addressed yourself quite so judiciously as he has. I
never heard of Cardinal Lewis de Luxembourg in my days, nor have
a scrap of the history of Normandy, but Ducarel's tour to the
Conqueror's kitchen. But the best way will be to come and
rummage my library yourself: not to set me to writing the lives
of prelates: I shall strip them stark, and you will have them to
reconsecrate. Cardinal Morton is at your service: pray say for
him, and of me, what you please. I have very slender opinion of
his integrity; but as I am not spiteful, It would be hard to
exact from you a less favourable account of him than I conclude
your piety will bestow on all his predecessors and successors.
Seriously, you know how little I take contradiction to heart, and
beg you will have no scruples about defending Morton. When I
bestow but a momentary smile on the abuse of any answerers, I am
not likely to stint a friend in a fair and obliging remark.
The man that you mention, who calls himself "Impartialis," is, I
suppose some hackney historian, I shall never inquire, whom,
angry at being censured in the jump, and not named. I foretold he
would drop his criticisms before he entered on Perkin Warbeck,
which I knew he could not answer; and so it happened. Good night
Unfortunately, I am no culinary antiquary - the Bishop of
Carlisle, who is, I have oft heard talk of a sotelle, as an
ancient dish. He is rambling between London, flagley, and
Carlisle, that I do not know where to consult him: but, if the
book is not printed before winter, I am sure he could translate
your bill of fare into modern phrase. As I trust I shall see you
some time this summer, you might bring your papers with you, and
we will try what we can make of them. Tell me, do, when it will
be most convenient for you to come, from now to the end of
October. At the same time, I will beg to see the letters of the
university to King Richard; and shall be still more obliged to
you for the print of Jane Shore.(1030) I have a very bad
mezzotinto of her, either from the picture at Cambridge or Eton.
I wish I could return these favours by contributing to the
decoration of your new old house: but, as you know, I erected an
old house, not demolished one. I had no windows, or frames for
windows, but what I bespoke on purpose for the places where they
are. My painted glass was so exhausted, before I got through my
design, that I was forced to have the windows in the Battery
painted on purpose by Pecket. What scraps I have remaining are
so bad I cannot make you pay for the carriage of them, as I think
there is not one whole piece; but you shall see them when you
come hither, and I will search if I can find any thing for your
purpose. I am sure I owe it you. Adieu! Yours ever.
(1029) This is in reply to one of Mr. Cole's letters, wherein he
had informed Mr. Walpole, that he had undertaken to write the
history of some of' the Bishops of Ely for the History of Ely
Cathedral, and requested some particulars relating to Cardinal
Lewis de Luxembourg; and to be informed the meaning of the French
word sotalle or sotelle. Mr. Cole also proposed to controvert an
opinion of Mr. Walpole's respecting Cardinal Morton.
(1030) This appears, from the copy of Cole's previous letter, to
have been an engraving done by Mr. Tyson of Bennett's College,
from the picture in the Provost's lodge.
Letter 343 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, June 15, 1768. (page 520)
No, I cannot be so false as to say I am glad you are pleased with
your situation. You are so apt to take root, that it requires
ten years to dig you out again when you once begin to settle. As
you go pitching your tent up and down, I wish you were still more
a Tartar, and shifted your quarters perpetually. Yes, I will
come and see you, but tell me first, when do your Duke and
Duchess travel to the north? I know that he is a very amiable
lad, and I do not know that she is not as amiable a laddess, but
I had rather see their house comfortably when they are not there.
I perceive the deluge fell upon you before it reached us. It
began here but on Monday last, and then rained near
eight-and-forty hours without intermission. My poor hay has not
a dry thread to its back. I have had a fire these three days.
In short, every summer one lives in a state of mutiny and murmur,
and I have found the reason: it is because we will affect to have
a summer, and we have no title to any such thing. Our poets
learnt their trade of the Romans, and so adopted the terms of
their masters. They talk of shady groves, purling streams, and
cooling breezes, and we get sore throats and agues with
attempting to realize these visions. Master Damon writes a song,
and invites Miss Chloe to enjoy the cool of the evening, and the
deuce a bit have we of any such thing as a cool evening. Zephyr
is a northeast wind, that makes Damon button up to the chin, and
pinches Chloe's nose till it is red and blue; and then they cry,
this is a bad summer! as if we ever had any other. The best sun
we have is made of Newcastle coal, and I am determined never to
reckon upon any other. We ruin ourselves with inviting over
foreign trees and make our houses clamber up hills to look at
prospects. How our ancestors would laugh at us, who knew there
was no being comfortable, unless you had a high hill before your
nose, and a thick warm wood at your back! Taste is too freezing
a commodity for us, and, depend upon it, will go out of fashion
There is indeed a natural warmth in this country, which, as you
say, I am very glad not to enjoy any longer; I mean the hothouse
in St. Stephen's chapel. My own sagacity makes me very vain,
though there was very little merit in it. I had seen so much of
all parties, that I had little esteem left for any; it is most
indifferent to me who is in or -who is out, or which is set in
the pillory, Mr. Wilkes or my Lord Mansfield. I see the country
going to ruin, and no man with brains enough to save it. That is
mortifying ; but what signifies who has the undoing it? I seldom
suffer myself to think on this subject: my patriotism could do no
good, and my philosophy can make me be at peace.
I am sorry you are likely to lose your poor cousin Lady
Hinchinbrook;(1031) I heard a very bad account of her when I was
last in town. Your letter to Madame Roland shall be taken care
of; but as you are so scrupulous of making me pay postage, I must
remember not to overcharge you, as I can frank my idle letters no
longer; therefore, good night!
P. S. I was in town last week, and found Mr. Chute still
confined. He had a return in his shoulder, but I think it more
rheumatism than gout.
(1031) Elizabeth, wife of John Viscount Hinchinbroke, afterwards
fifth Earl of Sandwich, was the only surviving daughter of
George, second and last Earl of Halifax. Her ladyship died on
the 1st of July 1768, leaving a son, George Viscount
Hinchinbroke, who died sine prole, in 1790.-E.
Letter 344 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(1032)
Strawberry Hill, June 16, 1768. (page 521)
I am glad you have writ to me, for I wanted to write to you, and
did not know what to say. I have been but two nights in town,
and then heard of nothing but Wilkes, of whom I am tired to
death, and of T. Townshend, the truth of whose story I did not
know; and indeed the tone of the age has made me so uncharitable,
that I concluded his ill-humour was put on, in order to be
mollified with the reversion of his father's place, which I know
he has long wanted; and the destination of the Pay-office has
been so long notified, that I had no notion of his not liking the
arrangement. For the new Paymaster,(1033) I could not think him
worth writing a letter on purpose. By your letter and the
enclosed I find Townshend has been very ill-treated, and I like
his spirit in not bearing such neglect and contempt, though
wrapped up in 2700 pounds a-year.
What can one say of the Duke of Grafton, but that his whole
conduct is childish, insolent, inconstant, and absurd--nay,
ruinous? Because we are not in confusion enough, he makes every
thing as bad as possible, neglecting on one hand, and taking no
precaution on the other. I neither see how it is possible for
him to remain minister, nor whom to put in his place. No
government, no police, London and Middlesex distracted, the
colonies in rebellion, Ireland ready to be so, and France
arrogant, and on the point of being hostile! Lord Bute accused of
all and dying of a panic; George Grenville wanting to make rage
desperate; Lord Rockingham the Duke of Portland, and the
Cavendishes thinking we have no enemies but Lord Bute and Dyson,
and that four mutes and an epigram can set every thing to rights,
the Duke of Grafton like an apprentice, thinking the world should
be postponed to a whore and a horserace; and the Bedfords not
caring what disgraces we undergo, while each of them has 3000
pounds a-year and three thousand bottles of claret and champagne!
Not but that I believe these last good folks are still not
satisfied with the satisfaction of their wishes. They have the
favour of the Duke of Grafton, but neither his confidence nor his
company; so that they can neither sell the places in his gift nor
his secrets. Indeed, they,' have not the same reasons to be
displeased with him as you have; for they were his enemies and
you his friend--and therefore he embraced them and dropped you,
and I believe would be puzzled to give a tolerable reason for
As this is the light in which I see our present situation, you
will not wonder that I am happy to have nothing to do with it.
Not that, were it more flourishing, I would ever meddle again. I
have no good opinion of any of our factions, nor think highly of
either their heads or their hearts. I can amuse myself much more
to my satisfaction; and, had I not lived to see my country at the
period of its greatest glory, I should bear our present state
much better. I cannot mend it, and therefore will think as
little of it as I can. The Duke of Northumberland asked me to
dine at Sion to-morrow; but, as his vanity of governing Middlesex
makes him absurdly meditate to contest the county, I concluded he
wanted my interest here, and therefore excused myself; for I will
have nothing to do with it.
I shall like much to come to Park-place, if your present company
stays, or if the Fitzroys or the Richmonds are there; but I
desire to be excused from the Cavendishes, who have in a manner
left me off, because I am so unlucky as not to think Lord
Rockingham as great a man as my Lord Chatham, and Lord John more
able than either. If you will let me know when they leave you,
you shall see me: but they would not be glad of my company, nor I
My hay and I are drowned; I comfort myself with a fire, but I
cannot treat the other with any sun, at least not with one that
has more warm than the sun in a harlequin-farce.
I went this morning to see the Duchess of Grafton, who has got an
excellent house and fine prospect, but melancholy enough, and so
I thought was she herself: I did not ask wherefore.
I go to town to-morrow to see the Devil upon Two Sticks,(1034) as
I did last week, but could not get in. I have now secured a
place in my niece Cholmondeley's box, and am to have the
additional entertainment of Mrs. Macauley in the same company;
who goes to see herself represented, and I suppose figures
herself very like Socrates.
I shall send this letter by the coach, as it is rather free
spoken, and Sandwich may be prying.
Mr. Chute has found the subject of my tragedy, which I thought
happened in Tillotson's time, in the Queen of Navarre's Tales;
and what is very remarkable, I had laid my plot at Narbonne and
about the beginning of the Reformation, and it really did happen
in Languedoc and in the time of Francis the First. Is not this
I hope your canary hen was really with egg by the blue-bird, and
that he will not plead that they are none of his and sue for a
(1032) Now first printed. In the preceding January Mr. Conway
had resigned his situation of secretary of state for the northern
(1033) Mr. Rigby.
(1034) Foote's successful comedy of The Devil upon Two Sticks was
first acted at the Haymarket on the 31st of May.-E.
(1035) See vol. i. p. 57.
Letter 345 To Monsieur De Voltaire.
Strawberry Hill, June 21, 1768. (page 523)
You read English with so much more facility than I can write
French, that I hope you will excuse my making use of my own
tongue to thank you for the honour of your letter. If I employed
your language, my ignorance in it might betray me into
expressions that would not do justice to the sentiments I feel at
being so distinguished.
It is true, Sir, I have ventured to contest the history of
Richard the Third, as it has been delivered down to us; and I
shall obey your commands, and send it to you, though with fear
and trembling; for though I have given it to the world, as it is
called, yet, as you have justly observed, that world is comprised
within a very small circle of readers--and Undoubtedly I could
not expect that you would do me the Honour of being one of the
number. Nor do I fear you, Sir, only as the first genius in
Europe, who has illustrated every science; I have a more intimate
dependence on you than YOU Suspect. Without knowing it, you have
been my master, and perhaps the sole merit that may be found in
my writings is owing to my having studied yours; so far, Sir, am
I from living in that state of barbarism and ignorance with which
you tax me when you say que vous m'`etes peut-`etre inconnu. I
was not a stranger to your reputation very many years ago, but
remember to have then thought you honoured our house by dining
with my mother--though I was at school, and had not the happiness
of seeing you: and yet my father was in a situation that might
have dazzled eyes older than mine. The plain name of that
father, and the pride of having had so excellent a father, to
whose virtues truth at last does justice , is all I have to
boast. I am a very private man, distinguished by neither
dignities nor titles, which I have never done any thing to
deserve--but as I am certain that titles alone would not have
procured me the honour of your notice, I am content without
But, Sir, if I can tell you nothing good of myself, I can at
least tell you something bad; and, after the obligation you have
conferred on me by your letter, I should blush if you heard it
from any body but myself. I had rather incur your indignation
than deceive you. Some time ago I took the liberty to find fault
in print with the criticisms you had made on our Shakspeare.
This freedom, and no wonder, never came to your knowledge. It
was in a preface to a trifling romance, much unworthy of your
regard, but which I shall send you, because I cannot accept even
the honour of your correspondence, without making you judge
whether I deserve it. I might retract, I might beg your pardon;
but having said nothing but what I thought, nothing illiberal or
unbecoming a gentleman, it would be treating you with ingratitude
and impertinence, to suppose that you would either be offended
with my remarks, or pleased with my recantation. You are as much
above wanting flattery, as I am above offering it to you. You
would despise me, and I should despise myself--a sacrifice I
cannot make, Sir, even to you.
Though it is impossible not to know you, Sir, I must confess my
ignorance on the other part of your letter. I know nothing of
the history of Monsieur de Jumonville, nor can tell whether it is
true or false, as this is the first time I ever heard of it. But
I will take care to inform myself as well as I can, and, if you
allow me to trouble you again, will send you the exact account as
far as I can obtain It. I love my country, but I do not love any
of my countrymen that have been capable, if they have been so, of
a foul assassination. I should have made this inquiry directly,
and informed you of the result of it in this letter, had I been
in London; but the respect I owe you, Sir, and my impatience to
thank you for so unexpected a mark of your favour, made me choose
not to delay my gratitude for a single post. I have the honour
to be, Sir, your most obliged and most obedient humble servant.
(1036) Voltaire had said, "Vous pardonnerez encore plus `a mon
ignorance de vos titres; je n'en respecte pas moins votre
personne; je connais plus votre m`erite que les dignit`es dont il
doit `etre rev`etu."-E.
Letter 346 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Strawberry Hill, June 25, 1768. (page 524)
You ordered me, my dear Lord, to write to you, and I am ready to
obey you, and to give you every proof of attachment in my power:
but it is a very barren season for all but cabalists, who can
compound, divide, multiply No. 45 forty-five thousand different
ways. I saw in the papers to-day, that somehow or other this
famous number and the number of the beast in the Revelations is
the same--an observation from which different persons will draw
various conclusions. For my part, who have no ill wishes to
Wilkes, I wish he was in Patmos, or the New Jerusalem, for I am
exceedingly tired of his name. The only good thing I have heard
in all this Controversy was of a man who began his letter thus:
"I take the Wilkes-and-liberty to assure you," etc.
I peeped at London last week, and found a tolerably full opera.
But now the birthday is over, I suppose every body will go to
waters and races till his Majesty of Denmark arrives. He is
extremely amorous; but stays so short a time, that the ladies who
Intended to be undone must not hagle. They must do their
business in the twinkling of an allemande, or he will be flown.
Don't you think he will be a little surprised, when he inquires
for the seriglio in Buckingham-house, to find, in full of all
accounts, two old Mecklenburgheresses?
Is it true that Lady Rockingham is turned Methodist? It will be a
great acquisition to the sect to have their hymns set by
Giardini. I hope Joan Huntingdon will be deposed, if the husband
becomes first minister. I doubt, too, the saints will like to
call at Canterbury and Winchester in their way to heaven. My
charity is so small, that I do not think their virtue a jot more
obdurate than that of patriots.
We have had some severe rain; but the season is now beautiful,
though scarce hot. The hay and the corn promise that we shall
have no riots on their account. Those black dogs the whiteboys
or coal-heavers are dispersed or taken; and I really- see no
reason to think we shall have another rebellion this fortnight.
The most comfortable event to me is, that we shall have no civil
war all the summer at Brentford. I dreaded two kings there; but
the writ for Middlesex will not be issued till the Parliament
meets; so there will be no pretender against King Glynn.(1037)
As I love peace, and have done with politics, I quietly
acknowledge the King de facto; and hope to pass and repass
unmolested through his Majesty's long, lazy, lousy capital.(1038)
My humble duty to my Lady Strafford and all her pheasants. I
have just made two cascades; but my naiads are fools to Mrs.
Chetwynd or my Lady Sondes, and don't give me a gallon of water
in a week.--Well, this is a very silly letter! But you must take
the will for the deed. Adieu, my dear Lord! Your most faithful
(1037) Serjeant Glynn, Member of Parliament for Middlesex.
Letter 347 To Monsieur De Voltaire.
Strawberry Hill, July 27, 1768. (page 525)
One can never, Sir, be sorry to have been in the wrong, when
one's errors are pointed out to one in so obliging and masterly a
manner. Whatever opinion I may have of Shakspeare, I should
think him to blame, if he could have seen the letter you have
done me the honour to -write to me, and yet not conform to the
rules you have there laid down. When he lived, there had not
been a Voltaire both to give laws to the stage, and to show on
what good sense those laws were founded. Your art, Sir, goes
still farther: for you have supported your arguments, without
having recourse to the best authority, your own words. It was My
interest perhaps to defend barbarism and irregularity. A great
genius is in the right, on the contrary, to show that when
correctness, nay, when perfection is demanded, he can still
shine, and be himself, whatever fetters are imposed on him. But
I will say no more on this head; for I am neither so unpolished
as to tell you to your face how much I admire you, nor, though I
have taken the liberty to vindicate Shakspeare against your
criticisms, am I vain enough to think myself an adversary worthy
of you. I am much more proud of receiving laws from you, than of
contesting them. It was bold in me to dispute with you even
before I had the honour of your acquaintance; it would be
ungrateful now when you have not only taken notice of me, but
forgiven me. The admirable letter you have been so good as to
send me, is a proof that you are one of those truly great and
rare men who know at once how to conquer and to pardon.
I have made all the inquiry I could into the story of M. de
Jumonville; and though your and our accounts disagree, I own I do
not think, Sir, that the strongest evidence is in our favour. I
am told we allow he was killed by a party of our men, going to
the Ohio. Your countrymen say he was going with a flag of truce.
The commanding officer of our party said M. de Jumonville was
going with hostile intentions; and that very hostile orders were
found after his death in his pocket. Unless that officer had
proved that he had previous intelligence of those orders, I doubt
he will not be justified by finding them afterwards; for I am not
at all disposed to believe that he had the foreknowledge of your
hermit,(1039) who pitched the old woman's nephew into the river,
because "ce jeune homme auroit assassin`e sa tante dans un an."
I am grieved that such disputes should ever subsist between two
nations who have every thing in themselves to create happiness,
and who may find enough in each other to love and admire. It is
your benevolence, Sir, and your zeal for softening the manners of
mankind; it is the doctrine of peace and amity which You preach
which have raised my esteem for you even more than the brightness
of your genius. France may claim you in the latter light, but
all nations have a right to call you their countryman du c`ot`e
du coeur. it is on the strength of that connexion that I beg
you, Sir, to accept the homage of, Sir, your most obedient humble
(1039) An allusion to the fable in Zadig, which is said to have
been founded on Parnell's Hermit, but which was most probably
taken from one of the Contes Devots, "De l'Hermite qu'un ange
conduisit dans le Si`ecle," and of which a translation, or rather
modernization, is to be found in the fifth volume of Le Grand
d'Aussy, Fabliaux (p. 165, ed. 1829). The original old French
version has been printed by Meou, in his Nouveau Recueil de
Fabliaux et Contes, tom. ii. p. 916.-E.
(1040) The letter of Voltaire, to which the above is a reply,
contained the following opinion of Walpole's Historical Doubts:-
-"Avant le d`epart de ma lettre, j'ai eu le tems, Monsieur, de
lire votre Richard Trois. Vous seriez un excellent attornei
general; vous pesez toutes les probabilit`es; mais il paroit que
vous avez une inclination secrette pour ce bossu. Vous voulez
qu'il ait `et`e beau gar`con, et m`eme galant homme. Le
b`en`edictin Calmet a fait une dissertation pour prouver que
Jesus Christ avait un fort beau visage. Je veux croire avec
vous, que Richard Trois n'`etait ni si laid, ni si m`echant,
qu'on le dit; mais je n'aurais pas voulu avoir affaire `a lui.
Votre rose blanche et votre rose rouge avaient de terribles
`epines pour la nation.
"Those gracious kings are all a pack of rogues. En lisant
l'histoire des York et des Lancastre, et de bien d'autres, on
croit lire l'histoire des voleurs de grand chemin. Pour votre
Henri Sept, il n'`etait que coupeur de bourses. Be a minister or
an anti-minister, a lord or a philosopher, I will be, with an
equal respect, Sir, etc."-E.
Letter 348 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, August 9, 1768. (page 527)
You are very kind, or else you saw into my mind, and knew that I
have been thinking of writing to you, but had not a penfull of
matter. True, I have been in town, but I am more likely to learn
news here; where at least we have it like fish, that could not
find vent in London. I saw nothing there but the ruins of loo,
Lady Hertford's cribbage, and Lord Botetourt, like patience on a
monument, smiling in grief. He is totally ruined, and quite
charmed. Yet I heartily pity him. To Virginia he cannot be
indifferent: he must turn their heads somehow or other. If his
graces do not captivate them, he will enrage them to fury; for I
take all his douceur to be enamelled on iron.
My life is most uniform and void of events, and has nothing worth
repeating. I have not had a soul with me, but accidental company
now and then at dinner. Lady Holderness,. Lady Ancram, Lady
Mary Coke, Mrs. Ann Pitt, and Mr. Hume, dined here the day before
yesterday. They were but just gone, when George Selwyn, Lord
Bolingbroke, and Sir William Musgrave, who had been at
Hampton-court, came in, at nine at night, to drink tea. They
told me, what I was very glad to hear, and what I could not
doubt, as they had it from the Duke of Grafton himself, that
Bishop Cornwallis(1041) goes to Canterbury. I feared it would be
****; but it seems he had secured all the backstairs, and not the
great stairs. As the last head of the church had been in the
midwife line, I supposed Goody Lyttelton(1042) had hopes; and as
he had been president of an atheistical club, to be Sure
Warburton did not despair. I was thinking it would make a good
article in the papers, that three bishops had supped with Nancy
Parsons at Vauxhall, in their way to Lambeth. I am sure ****,
would have been of the number; and **** who told the Duke of
Newcastle, that if his grace had commanded the Blues at Minden,
they would have behaved better, would make no scruple to cry up
The King of Denmark comes on Thursday; and I go to-morrow to see
him. It has cost three thousand pounds to new furnish an
apartment for him at St. James's; and now he will not go thither,
supposing it would be a confinement. He is to lodge at his own
Augustus Hervey, thinking it the bel air, is going to sue for a
divorce from the Chudleigh.(1043) He asked Lord Bolingbroke
t'other day, who was his proctor'! as he would have asked for his
tailor. The nymph has sent him word, that if he proves her his
wife he must pay her debts; and she owes sixteen thousand pounds.
This obstacle thrown in the way, looks as if she was not sure of
being Duchess of Kingston. The lawyers say, it will be no valid
plea; it not appearing that she was Hervey's wife, and therefore
the tradesmen could not reckon on his paying them.
Yes, it is my Gray, Gray the poet, who is made professor of
modern history, and I believe it is worth five hundred a-year. I
knew nothing of it till I saw it in the papers; but believe //it
was Stonehewer that obtained it for him.(1044)
Yes, again; I use a bit of alum half as big as my nail, Once or
twice a-week, and let it dissolve in my mouth. I should not
think that using it oftener could be prejudicial. You should
inquire; but as you are in more hurry than I am, you should
certainly use it oftener than I do. I wish I could cure my Lady
Ailesbury too. Ice-water has astonishing effect on my stomach,
and removes all pain like a charm. Pray, though the one's teeth
may not be so white as formerly, nor t'other look in perfect
health, let the Danish King see such good specimens of the last
age--though, by what I hear, he likes nothing but the very
present age. However, sure you will both come and look at him:
not that I believe he is a jot better than the apprentices that
flirt to Epsom in a Tim-whisky; but I want to meet you in town.
I don't very well know what I write, for I hear a caravan on my
stairs, that are come to see the house; Margaret is chattering,
and the dogs barking; and this I call retirement! and yet I think
it preferable to your visit at Becket. Adieu! Let me know
something more of your motions before you go to Ireland, which I
think a strange journey, and better compounded for: and when I
see you in town I will settle with you another visit to
Park-place. Yours ever.
(1041) The Hon. Frederick Cornwallis, seventh son of Charles
fourth Baron Cornwallis, was translated from the see of Lichfield
and Coventry to that of Canterbury, on the death of Archbishop
(1042) Bishop of Carlisle. He died in December following; upon
which event, Warburton wrote to Dr. Hurd--"A bishop, more or
less, in the world, is nothing; and perhaps of as small account
in the next. I used to despise him for his antiquarianism, but
of late, since I grow old and dull myself, I cultivated an
acquaintance with him for the sake of what formerly kept us
(1043) On the 8th of March, 1769,, the lady publicly espoused
Evelyn Pierrepoint., Duke of Kingston; for which offence she was
impeached before the House of Peers, and the marriage declared
illegal. She subsequently retired to the continent, where she
died in 1788.-E.
(1044) The following is Gray's own account, in a letter of the
1st of August:--"I write chiefly to tell you, that on Sunday
se'nnight Brocket died by a fall from his horse, being, as I
hear, drunk: that on the Wednesday following I received a letter
from the Duke of Grafton, saying he had the King's command to
offer me the vacant professorship; and he adds, that from private
as well as public considerations, he must take the warmest part
in approving so well-judged a measure, etc. There's for you!"--
In a letter to Dr. Beattie, of the 31st of October, he says--"It
is the best thing the Crown has to bestow (on a layman) here; the
salary is four hundred pounds per annum; but what enhances the
value of it to me is, that it was bestowed without being asked.
Instances of a benefit so nobly conferred, I believe, are rare;
and therefore I tell you of it as a thing that does honour, not
only to me, but to the minister." Works, vol. IV. pp. 123,
Letter 349 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Aug. 13, 1768. (page 529)
indeed, what was become of you, as I had offered myself to you so
long ago, and you did not accept my bill; and now it is payable
at such short notice, that as I cannot find Mr. Chute, nor know
where he is, whether at your brother's or the Vine, I think I had
better defer my visit till the autumn, when you say you will be
less hurried, and more at leisure. I believe I shall go to
Ragley beginning of September, and possibly on to Lord
Strafford's, and therefore I may call on you, if it will not be
inconvenient to you, on my return.
I came to town to see the Danish King. He is as diminutive as if
he came out of a kernel in the Fairy Tales. He is not ill made,
nor weakly made, though so small; and though his face is pale and
delicate, it is not at all ugly, yet has a strong cast of the
late King, and enough of the late Prince of Wales to put one upon
one's guard not to be prejudiced in his favour. Still he has
more royalty than folly in his air; and, considering he is not
twenty, is as well as one expects any king in a puppet-show to
be. He arrived on Thursday, supped and lay at St. James's.
Yesterday evening he was at the Queen's and Carlton-house, and at
night at Lady Hertford's assembly. He only takes the title of
altesse, an absurd mezzotermine, but acts king exceedingly;
struts in the circle like a cock-sparrow, and does the honours of
himself very civilly. There is a favourite too, who seems a
complete jackanapes; a young fellow called Holke, well enough in
his figure, and about three-and-twenty, but who will be tumbled
down long before he is prepared for it. Bernsdorff, a
Hanoverian, his first minister, is a decent sensible man; I pity
him, though I suppose he is envied. From Lady Hertford's they
went to Ranelagh, and to-night go to the opera. There had like
to have been an untoward circumstance: the last new opera in the
spring, which was exceedingly pretty, was called "I Viaggiatori
Ridicoli," and\ they were on the point of acting it for this
I am sure you are not sorry that Cornwallis is archbishop. He is
no hypocrite, time-server, nor high-priest. I little expected so
good a choice. Adieu! Yours ever.
Letter 350 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 16, 1768. (page 529)
As you have been so good, my dear lord, as twice to take notice
of my letter, I am bound in conscience and gratitude to try to
amuse you with any thing new. A royal visiter, quite fresh, is a
real curiosity--by the reception of him, I do not think many more
of the breed will come hither. He came from Dover in
hackney-chaises; for somehow or other the master of the horse
happened to be in Lincolnshire; and the King's coaches having
received no orders, were too good subjects to go and fetch a
stranger King of their own heads. However, as his Danish Majesty
travels to improve himself for the good of his people, he will go
back extremely enlightened in the arts of government and
morality, by having learned that crowned heads may be reduced to
ride in a hired chaise.
By another mistake, King George happened to go to Richmond about
an hour before King Christiern arrived in London. An hour Is
exceedingly long; and the distance to Richmond Still longer: so
with all the despatch that could possibly be made, King George
could not get back to his capital till next day at noon. Then,
as the road from his closet at St. James's to the King of
Denmark's apartment on t'other side of the palace is about thirty
miles, which posterity, having no conception of the prodigious
extent and magnificence of St. James's, will never believe, it
was half an hour after three before his Danish Majesty's courier
could go, and return to let him know that his good brother and
ally was leaving the palace in which they both were, in order to
receive him at the Queen's palace, which you know is about a
million of snail's paces from St. James's. Notwithstanding these
difficulties and unavoidable delays, Woden, Thor, Fria, and all
the gods that watch over the Kings of the North, did bring these
two invincible monarchs to each other's embraces about half an
hour after five that same evening. They passed an hour in
projecting a family compact that will regulate the destiny of
Europe to latest posterity: and then, the Fates so willing it,
the British Prince departed for Richmond, and the Danish
potentate repaired to the widowed mansion of his royal
mother-in-law, where he poured forth the fulness of his heart in
praises on the lovely bride she had bestowed on him, from whom
nothing but the benefit of his subjects could ever have torn him.
And here let Calumny blush, who has aspersed so chaste and
faithful a monarch with low amours; pretending that he has raised
to the honour of a seat in his sublime council, an artisan of
Hamburgh, known only by repairing the soles of buskins, because
that mechanic would, on no other terms, consent to his fair
daughter's being honoured with majestic embraces. So victorious
over his passions is this young Scipio from the Pole, that though
on Shooter's-hill he fell into an ambush laid for him by an
illustrious Countess, of blood-royal herself, his Majesty, after
descending from his car, and courteously greeting her, again
mounted his vehicle, without being one moment eclipsed from the
eyes of the surrounding multitude. Oh! mercy on me! I am out of
breath--pray let me descend from my stilts, or I shall send you
as fustiin and tedious a history as that of Henry II. Well then,
this great King is a very little one; not ugly, nor ill-made. He
has the sublime strut of his grandfather, or of a cock-sparrow;
and the divine white eyes of all his family by the mother's side.
His curiosity seems to have consisted in the original plan of
travelling for I cannot say he takes notice of any thing in
particular. His manner is cold and dignified, but very civil and
gracious and proper. The mob adore him and huzza him; and so
they did the first instant. At Present they begin to know why--
for he flings money to them out of his windows; and by the end of
the week I do not doubt but they will want to choose him for
Middlesex. His court is extremely well ordered; for they bow as
low to him at every word as if his name was Sultan Amurat. You
would take his first minister for only the first of his slaves.
I hope this example, which they have been so good as to exhibit
at the opera, will contribute to civilize us. There is indeed a
pert young gentleman, who a little discomposes this august
ceremonial. His name is Count Holke, his age three-and-twenty
and his post answers to one that we had formerly in England, many
ages ago, and which in our tongue was called the lord high
favourite. Before the Danish monarchs became absolute, the most
refractory of that country used to write libels, called North
Danes, against this great officer; but that practice has long
since ceased. Count Holke seems rather proud of his favour, than
shy of displaying it.
I hope, my dear lord, you will be content with my Danish
politics, for I trouble myself with no other. There is a long
history about the Baron de Bottetourt and Sir Jeffery Amherst,
who has resigned his regiment but it is nothing to me, nor do I
care a straw about it. I am deep in the anecdotes of the new
court; and if you want to know more of Count Holke or Count
Molke, or the grand vizier Bernsdorff, or Mynheer Schimmelman,
apply to me, and you shall be satisfied. But what do I talk of?
You will see them yourself. Minerva in the shape of Count
Bernsdorff, or out of all shape in the person of the Duchess of
Northumberland, is to conduct Telemachus to York races; for can a
monarch be perfectly accomplished in the mysteries of king-craft,
as our Solomon James I. called it, unless he is initiated in the
arts of jockeyship? When this northern star travels towards its
own sphere, Lord Hertford will go to Ragley. I shall go with
him; and, if I can avoid running foul of the magi that will be
thronging from all parts to worship that star, I will endeavour
to call at Wentworth Castle for a day or two, if it will not be
inconvenient; I should think it would be about the second week in
September, but your lordship shall hear again, unless you should
forbid me, who am ever Lady Strafford's and your lordship's most
faithful humble servant.
Letter 351To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(1045)
Arlington Street, Aug. 25, 1768. (page 531)
heartily glad you do not go to Ireland; it is very well for the
Duke of Bedford, who, as George Selwyn says, is going to be made
a mamamouchi. Your brother sets out for Ragley on Wednesday
next, and that day I intend to be at Park--place, and from thence
shall go to Ragley on Friday. I shall stay three or four days,
and then go to Lord Strafford's for about as many; and shall call
on George Montagu on my return, so as to be at home in a
fortnight, an infinite absence in my account. I wish you could
join in with any part of this progress, before you go to worship
the treasures that are pouring in upon your daughter by the old
You ask me about the harvest--you might as well ask me about the
funds. I thought the land flowed with milk and honey. We have
had forty showers, but they have not lasted a minute each; and as
the weather continues warm and my lawn green,
"I bless my stars, and call it luxury."
They tell me there are very bad accounts from several colonies,
and the papers are full of their remonstrances; but I never read
such things. I am happy to have nothing to do with them, and
glad you have not much more. When one can do no good, I have no
notion of sorrowing oneself for every calamity that happens in
general. One should lead the life of a coffee-house politician,
the most real patriots that I know, who amble out every morning
to gather matter for lamenting over their country. I leave mine,
like the King of Denmark, to ministers and Providence; the latter
of which, like an able chancellor of the exchequer to an ignorant
or idle first lord, luckily does the business. That little King
has had the gripes, which have addled his journey to York. I
know nothing more of his motions. His favourite is fallen in
love with Lady Bel Stanhope,(1047) and the monarch himself
demanded her for him. The mother was not averse, but Lady Bel
very sensibly refused--so unfortunate are favourites the instant
they set their foot in England! He is jealous of
Sackville,(1048) and says, "ce gros noir n'est pas beau;" which
implies that he thinks his own whiteness and pertness charming.
Adieu! I shall see you on Wednesday.
(1045) Now first printed.
(1046) J. Damer, Esq., of carne in Dorsetshire, brother to the
first Lord Milton.-E.
)1047) Afterwards Countess of Sefton.-E.
(1048) Who afterwards succeeded to the Dukedom of Dorset.-E.
Letter 352 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 30, 1768. (page 532)
You are always heaping so many kindnesses on me, dear Sir, I
think I must break off all acquaintance with you, unless I can
find some way of returning them. The print of the Countess of
Exeter Is the greatest present to me in the world. I have been
trying for years to no purpose to get one. Reynolds the painter
promised to beg one for me of a person he knows, but I have never
had it. I wanted it for four different purposes. 1. As a
grandmother (in law, by the Cranes and Allingtons): 2. for my
collection of heads: 3. for the volumes of prints after pieces in
my collection: and, above all, for my collection of Faithornes,
which though so fine, wanted such a capital print: and to this
last I have preferred it. I give you unbounded thanks for it:
and yet I feel exceedingly ashamed to rob you. The print of Jane
Shore I had: but as I have such various uses for prints I easily
bestowed it. It is inserted in my Anecdotes, where her picture
Thank you, too, for all your notices. I intend next summer to
set about the last volume of my Anecdotes, and to make still
further additions to my former volumes, in which these notes find
their place. I am going to reprint all my pieces together, and,
to my shame be it spoken, find they will at least make two large
quartos. You, I know, will be partial enough to give them a
place on a shelf, but as I doubt many persons will not be so
favourable, I Only think of leaving the edition behind me.
Methinks I should like for your amusement and my own, that you
settled to Ely: yet I value your health so much beyond either,
that I must advise Milton, Ely being, I believe, a very damp,
and, consequently, a very unwholesome situation. Pray let me
know on which you fix; and if you do fix this summer, remember
the hopes you have given me of a visit. My summer, that is, my
fixed residence here, lasts till November. My gallery is not
only finished, but I am going on with the round chamber at the
end of it; and am besides playing with the little garden on the
other side of the road, which was old Franklin's, and by his
death came into my hands. When the round tower is finished, I
propose to draw up a description and catalogue of the whole house
and collection, and I think you will not dislike lending me your
Mr. Granger,(1049) of Shiplake, is printing his laborious and
curious Catalogue of English heads, with an accurate though
succinct account of almost all the persons. It will be a very
valuable and useful work, and I heartily wish may succeed; though
I have some fears. There are of late a small number of persons
who collect English heads but not enough to encourage such a
work: I hope the anecdotic part will make it more known and
tasted. It is essential to us, who shall love the performance,
that it should sell: for he prints no farther at first than to
the end of the first Charles: and, if this part does not sell
well, the bookseller will not purchase the remainder of the copy,
though he gives but a hundred pounds for this half'; and good Mr.
Granger is not in circumstances to afford printing it himself. I
do not compare it with Dr. Robertson's writings, who has an
excellent genius, with admirable style and manner; and yet I
cannot help thinking, that there is a good deal of Scotch puffing
and partiality, when the booksellers have given the Doctor three
thousand pounds for his Life of Charles V., for composing which
he does not pretend to have obtained any new materials.
I am going into Warwickshire; and I think shall go on to Lord
Strafford's, but propose returning before the end of September.
(1049) The Rev. James Granger, Vicar of Shiplake in Oxfordshire;
where he died in 1776. See post, May 27, 1769.-E.
Letter 353 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Strawberry Hill, Monday, Oct. 10, 1768. (page 534)
I give you a thousand thanks, my dear Lord, for the account of
the ball at Welbeck. I shall not be able to repay it with a
relation of the masquerade to-night;(1050) for I have been
confined here this week with the gout in my foot, and have not
stirred off my bed or couch since Tuesday. I was to have gone to
the great ball at Sion on Friday, for which a new road,
paddock, and bridge were made, as other folks make a dessert. I
conclude Lady Mary Coke has, and will tell you of all these
pomps, which Health thinks so serious, and Sickness with her
grave face tells one are so idle. Sickness may make me moralize,
but I assure you she does not want humour. She has diverted me
extremely with drawing a comparison between the repose (to call
neglect by its dignified name) which I have enjoyed in this fit,
and the great anxiety in which the whole world was when I had the
last gout, three years ago--you remember my friends were then
coming into power. Lord Weymouth was so good as to call at least
once every day, and inquire after me; and the foreign ministers
insisted that I should give them the satisfaction of seeing me,
that they might tranquillize their sovereigns with the certainty
of My not being in any danger. The Duke and Duchess of Newcastle
were So kind, though very nervous themselves, as to send
messengers and long messages every day from Claremont. I cannot
say this fit has alarmed Europe quite so much. I heard the bell
ring at the gate, and asked with much majesty if it was the Duke
of Newcastle had sent? "No, Sir, it was only the butcher's boy."
The butcher's boy is, indeed, the only courier i have had.
Neither the King of France nor King of Spain appears to be under
the least concern about me.
My dear Lord, I have had so many of these transitions in my life,
that you will not wonder they divert me more than a masquerade.
I am ready to say to most people, "Mask, I know you." I wish I
might choose their dresses!
'When I have the honour of seeing Lady Strafford, I shall beseech
her to tell me all the news: for I am too nigh and too far to
know any. Adieu, my dear Lord!
(1050) A masquerade given at the Opera-house by the King of
Denmark; one of the most magnificent which had ever been given in
England. The jewels worn on the occasion by the maskers were
estimated to be of the value of two millions.-E.
Letter 354 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Nov. 10, 1768. (page 535)
I have not received the cheese, but I thank you as much
beforehand. I have been laid up with a fit of the gout in both
feet and a knee; at Strawberry for an entire month, and eight
days here: I took the air for the first time the day before
yesterday, and am, considering, surprisingly recovered by the
assistance of the bootikins and my own perseverance in drinking
water. I moulted my stick to-day, and have no complaint but
weakness left. The fit came just in time to augment my felicity
in having quitted Parliament. I do not find it so uncomfortable
to grow old, when One is not obliged to expose oneself in public.
I neither rejoice nor am sorry at your being accommodated in your
new habitation. It has long been plain to me that you choose to
bury yourself in the ugliest spot you can find, at a distance
from almost all your acquaintance; so I give it up; and then I am
glad you are pleased.
Nothing is stirring but politics, and chiefly the worst kind of
politics, elections. I trouble myself with no sort, but seek to
pass what days the gout leaves me or bestows on me, as quietly as
I can. I do not wonder at others, because I doubt I am more
singular than they are; and what makes me happy would probably
not make them so. My best compliments to your brother; I shall
be glad to see you both when you come; though for you, you don't
care how little time you pass with your friends. Yet I am, and
ever shall be Yours most sincerely.
Letter 355 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Nov. 15, 1768. (page 535)
You cannot wonder when I receive such kind letters from you, that
I am vexed our intimacy should be reduced almost to those
letters. It is selfish to complain, when you give me such good
reasons for your system: but I grow old; and the less time we
have to live together, the more I feel a separation from a person
I love so well; and that reflection furnishes me with arguments
in vindication of my peevishness. Methinks, though the contrary
is true in practice, prudence should be the attribute of youth,
not of years. When we approach to the last gate of life, what
does it signify to provide for new furnishing one's house? Youth
should have all those cares; indeed, charming youth is better
employed. It leaves foresight to those that have little occasion
for it. You and I have both done with the world, the busy world,
and therefore I would smile with you over what we have both seen
of it, and luckily we can smile both, for we have quitted it
willingly, not from disgust nor mortifications. However, I do
not pretend to combat your reasons, much less would I draw you to
town a moment sooner than it is convenient to you, though I shall
never forget your offering it. Nay, it is not so much in town
that I wish we were nearer, as in the country. Unless one lives
exactly in the same set of company, one is not much the better
for one's friends being in London. I that talk of giving up the
world, have only given up the troubles of it, as far as that is
possible. I should speak more properly in saying, that I have
retired out of the world into London. I always intend to place
some months between me and the moroseness of retirement. We are
not made for Solitude. It gives us prejudices, it indulges us in
our own humours, and at last we cannot live without them.
My gout is quite gone; and if I had a mind to disguise its
remains, I could walk very gracefully, except on going down
stairs. Happily, it is not the fashion to hand any body; the
nymph and I should soon be at the bottom.
Your old cousin Newcastle is going; he has had a stroke of the
palsy, and they think will not last two days.(1051) I hope he is
not sensible, as I doubt he would be too averse to his situation.
Poor man! he is not like my late amiable friend, Lady
Hervey;(1052) two days before She died, she wrote to her Son
Bristol these words: "I feel my dissolution coming on, but I have
no pain; what can an old woman desire more?" This was consonant
to her usual propriety--yes, propriety IS grace, and thus every
body may be graceful, when other graces are fled. Oh! but you
will cry, is not this a contradiction to the former part of your
letter? Prudence is one of the graces of age;-why--yes, I do not
know but it may and yet I don't know how, it is a musty quality;
one hates to allow it to be a grace--come, at least it is only
like that one of the graces that hides her face. In Short, I
have ever been so imprudent, that though I have much corrected
myself, I am not at all vain of such merit. I have purchased it
for much more than it was worth. I wish you joy of Lord
Guildford's amendment; and always take a full part in your
satisfaction or sorrow. Adieu! Yours ever.
(1051) The Duke of Newcastle died on the 17th.-E.
(1052) Lady Hervey died on the 2d of September, in the
sixty-eighth year of her age.-E.
Letter 356 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 1, 1768. (page 536)
I like your letter, and have been looking at my next door but
one. The ground-story is built, and the side walls will
certainly be raised another floor, before you think of arriving.
I fear nothing for you but the noise of workmen, and of this
street in front and Picadilly on the other side. If you can bear
such a constant hammering and hurricane, it will rejoice me to
have you so near me; and then I think I must see you oftener than
I have done these ten years. Nothing can be more dignified than
this position. From my earliest memory Arlington-street has been
the ministerial street. The Duke of Grafton is actually coming
into the house of Mr. Pelham, which my Lord president is
quitting, and which occupies too the ground on which my father
lived; and Lord Weymouth has just taken the Duke of Dorset's; yet
you and I, I doubt, shall always live on the wrong side of the
Lord Chatham is reconciled to Lord Temple and George
Grenville.(1053) The second is in great spirits on the occasion;
and yet gives out that Lord Chatham earnestly solicited it. The
insignificant Lepidus patronizes Antony, and is sued to by
Augustus! Still do I doubt whether Augustus will ever come forth
again. Is this a peace patched up by Livia for the sake of her
children, seeing the imbecility of her husband? or is Augustus
to own he has been acting changeling, like the first Brutus, for
near two years? I do not know, I remain in doubt.
Wilkes has struck an artful stroke.(1054) The ministers, devoid
of all management in the House of Commons, consented that he
should be heard at the bar of the House, and appointed to-morrow,
forgetting the election for Middlesex is to come on next
Thursday: one would think they were impatient to advance riots.
Last Monday Wilkes demanded to examine Lord Temple: when that was
granted, he asked for Lord Sandwich and Lord March. As the first
had not been refused, the others could not. The Lords were
adjourned till to-day
@ , and, I suppose, are now sitting on this perplexing demand.
If Lord Temple desires to go to the bar of the Commons, and the
others desire to be excused, it will be difficult for the Lords
to know what to do. Sandwich is frightened out of his
senses,(1055) and March does not like it. Well! this will cure
ministers and great lords of being flippant in dirty tyranny,
when they see they may be worried for it four years afterwards.
The Commons, I suppose, are at this minute as hotly engaged on
the Cumberland election between Sir James Lowther and the Duke of
Portland. Oh! how delightful and comfortable to be sitting
quietly here a scribbling to you, perfectly indifferent about
both houses! You will Just escape having your brains beaten out,
by not coming this fortnight. The Middlesex election will be
over. Adieu! Yours ever.
(1053) Through the mediation of their mutual friend, Mr.
Calcraft, a reconciliation between Lord Chatham and Earl Temple
took place at Hayes, on the 25th of November, to which Mr.
Grenville heartily acceded. See Chatham Correspondence, vol,
iii. p. 349.-E.
(1054) Mr. Wilkes, on the 14th of November, had presented a
petition to the House of Commons, praying for a redress of his
(1055) By a reference to Sir Henry Cavendish's Debates, vol. i.
pp. 93, 131, it will be seen, that Lord Sandwich expressed,
through Mr. Rigby, his readiness to be examined, and that he was
examined on the 31st of January.-E.
Letter 357 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sunday, March 26, 1769. (page 538)
I beg your pardon; I promised to send you news, and I had quite
forgot that we have had a rebellion; at least, the Duke of
Bedford says so. Six or eight hundred merchants, English, Dutch,
Jews, Gentiles, had been entreated to protect the Protestant
succession, and consented.(1056) They set out on Wednesday noon
in their coaches and chariots, chariots not armed with scythes
like our Gothic ancestors. At Temple-bar they met several
regiments of foot dreadfully armed with mud, who discharged a
sleet of dirt on the royal troop. Minerva, who had forgotten her
dreadful Egis, and who, in the shape of Mr. Boehm, carried the
address, was forced to take shelter under a Cloud in Nando's
coffeehouse, being more afraid of Buckhorse than ever Venus was
of Diomed; in short, it was a dismal day; and if Lord Talbot had
not recollected the patriot feats of his youth,(1057) and
recommenced bruiser, I don't know but the Duchess of
Kingston,(1058) who has so long preserved her modesty, from both
her husbands, might not have been ravished in the drawing-room.
Peace is at present restored, and the rebellion adjourned to the
thirteenth of April; when Wilkes and Colonel Luttrell are to
fight a pitched battle at Brentford, the Phillippi of antoninus.
Tityre, tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fogi, know nothing of
these broils. You don't convert your ploughshares into
falchions, nor the mud of Adderbury into gunpowder. I tremble for
my painted windows, and write talismans of number forty-five on
every gate and postern of my castle. Mr. Hume is writing the
Revolutions of Middlesex, and a troop of barnacle geese are
levied to defend the capital. These are melancholy times!
Heaven send we do not laugh till we cry!
London, Tuesday, 28th.
Our ministers, like their Saxon ancestors, are gone to bold a
wittenagemoot on horseback at Newmarket. Lord Chatham, we are
told, is to come forth after the holidays and place himself at
the head of the discontented. When I see it I shall believe it.
Lord Frederick Campbell is, at last, to be married this evening
to the Dowager-countess of Ferrers.(1059) The Duchess of Grafton
is actually Countess of Ossory.(1060) This is a short gazette;
but, consider, it is a time of truce. Adieu!
(1056) A great riot took place on the 22d of March 1769, when a
cavalcade of the merchants and tradesmen of the city of London,
who were proceeding to St. James's with a loyal address, was so
maltreated by the populace, that Mr. Boehm, the gentleman to whom
the address was entrusted, was obliged to take refuge in Nando's
coffeehouse. His coach was rifled; but the address escaped the
search of the rioters, and was, after considerable delay, during
which a second had been voted and prepared, eventually presented
at St. James's.-E.
(1057) Lord Talbot behaved with great intrepidity upon this
occasion: though he had his staff of office broken in his hand,
and was deserted by his servants, he secured two of the most
active of the rioters. His example recalled the military to
their duty, who, without employing either guns or bayonets,
captured fifteen more.-E.
(1058) The Duke of Kingston had married Miss Chudleigh on the 8th
of this instant; the Consistory Court of London having declared,
on the 11th of February previous, that the lady was free from any
matrimonial contract with the Hon. Augustus John Hervey. On the
19th, she was presented, upon her marriage, to their Majesties;
who honoured her by wearing her favours, as did all the great
officers of state.-E.
(1059) See vol. iii. p. 58, letter 24. This unfortunate lady was
burnt to death at Lord Frederick's seat at Combe Bank, in July
(1060) Lady Anne Liddel, only daughter of Henry Liddel, Lord
Ravensworth, married, in 1756, to Augustus Henry, third Duke of
Grafton; from whom being divorced by act of parliament, she was
married secondly, on the 26th of March, to the Earl of Ossory.-E.
Letter 358 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, April 15, 1769. (page 539)
I should be very sorry to believe half your distempers. I am
heartily grieved for the vacancy that has happened in your mouth,
though you describe it so comically. As the only physic I
believe in is prevention, you shall let me prescribe to you. Use
a little bit of alum twice or thrice in a week, no bigger than
half your nail, till it has all dissolved in your mouth, and then
spit out. This has fortified my teeth, that they are as strong
as the pen of Junius.(1061) I learned it of Mrs. Grosvenor, who
had not a speck in her teeth to her death. For your other
complaints, I revert to my old sermon, temperance. If you will
live in a hermitage, methinks it is no great addition to live
like a hermit. Look in Sadeler's prints, they had beards down to
their girdles; and with all their impatience to be in heaven,
their roots and water kept them for a century from their wishes.
I have lived all my life like an anchoret in London, and within
ten miles, shed my skin after the gout, and am as lively as an
eel in a week after. Mr. Chute, who has drunk no more wine than
a fish, grows better every year. He has escaped this winter with
only a little pain in one hand. Consider that the physicians
recommended wine, and then can you doubt of its being poison?
Medicines may cure a few acute distempers, but how should they
mend a broken constitution? they would as soon mend a broken
leg. Abstinence and time may repair it, nothing else can; for
when time has been employed to spoil the blood, it cannot be
purified in a moment.
Wilkes, who has been chosen member of Parliament almost as often
as Marius was consul, was again re-elected on Thursday. The
House of Commons, who are as obstinate as the county, have again
rejected him. To-day they are to instate Colonel Luttrell in his
place.(1062) What is to follow I cannot say, but I doubt
grievous commotions. Both sides seem so warm, that it Will be
difficult for either to be in the right. This is not a merry
subject, and therefore I will have done with it. If it comes to
blows, I intend to be as neutral as the gentleman that was going
out with his hounds the morning of Edgehill. I have seen too
much of parties to list with any of them.
You promised to return to town, but now say nothing of it. You
had better come before a passport is necessary: Adieu!
(1061) The Letters of Junius, the first of which appeared on the
21st of January, were now in course of publication, and exciting
great attention, not only in this country, but, as it would seem,
also in France: "On parle ici beaucoup de votre `ecrit de
Junius," writes Madame du Deffand to Walpole.-E.
(1062) Wilkes, having been expelled the House of Commons on the
3d of February 1769, was a third time elected for Middlesex on
the 16th of March. On the 17th, the election was declared by the
House to be null and void, and a new writ was ordered to be
issued. On the day of election, the 13th of April, Wilkes,
Luttrell, and Serjeant Whitaker presented themselves as
candidates, when the former, having a majority, was declared duly
elected. On the 14th, this election was pronounced void, and on
the 15th Henry Laws Luttrell, Esq. was duly elected, by 197
against 143, and took his seat accordingly.-E.
Letter 359 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 11, 1769. (page 540)
You are so wayward, that I often resolve to give you up to your
humours. Then something happens with which I can divert you, and
my good-humour returns. Did not you say you should return to
London long before this time? At least, could you not tell me you
had changed your mind? why am I to pick it out from your absence
and silence, as Dr. Warburton found a future state in Moses's
saying nothing of the matter! I could go on with a chapter of
severe interrogatories, but I think it more cruel to treat You as
a hopeless reprobate; yes, you are graceless, and as I have a
respect for my own scolding, I shall not throw it away upon you.
Strawberry has been in great glory; I have given a festino there
that will almost mortgage it. Last Tuesday all France dined
there: Monsieur and Madame du Chatelet,(1063) the Duc de
Liancourt,(1064) three more French ladies, whose names you will
find in the enclosed paper, eight other Frenchmen, the Spanish
and Portuguese ministers, the Holdernesses, Fitzroys, in short we
were four-and-twenty. They arrived at two. At the gates of the
castle I received them, dressed in the cravat of Gibbons's
carving, and a pair of gloves embroidered up to the elbows that
had belonged to James the First. The French servants stared, and
firmly believed this was the dress of English country gentlemen.
After taking a survey of the apartments, we went to the
printing-house, where I had prepared the enclosed verses, with
translations by Monsieur de Lille,(1065) one of the company. The
moment they were printed off, I gave a private signal, and French
horns and clarionets accompanied this compliment. We then went
to see Pope's grotto and garden, and returned to a magnificent
dinner in the refectory. In the evening we walked, had tea,
coffee, and lemonade in the gallery, which was illuminated with a
thousand, or thirty candles, I forgot which, and played at whist
and loo till midnight. Then there was a cold supper, and at one
the company returned to town, saluted by fifty nightingales, who,
as tenants of the manor, came to do honour to their lord.
I cannot say last night was equally agreeable. There was what
they called a ridotto el fresco at Vauxhall,(1066) for which one
paid half-a-guinea, though, except some thousand more lamps and a
covered passage all round the garden, which took off from the
gardenhood, there was nothing better than on a common night. Mr.
Conway and I set out from his house at eight o'clock; the line
and torrent of coaches was so prodigious, that it was
half-an-hour after nine before we got half-way from Westminster-
bridge. We then alighted; and after scrambling under bellies of
horses, through wheels, and over posts and rails, we reached the
gardens, where were already many thousand persons. Nothing
diverted me but a man in a Turk's dress and two nymphs in
masquerade without masks, who sailed amongst the company, and,
which was surprising seemed to surprise nobody. It had been
given out that people were desired to come in fancied dresses
without masks. We walked twice round and were rejoiced to come
away, though with the same difficulties as at our entrance; for
we found three strings of coaches all along the road, who did not
move half a foot in half-an-hour. There is to be a rival mob in
the same way at Ranelagh to-morrow; for the greater the folly and
imposition the greater is the crowd. I have suspended the
vestimenta that were torn off my back to the god of repentance,
and shall stay away. Adieu! I have not a word more to say to
you. Yours ever.
P. S. I hope you will not regret paying a shilling for this
(1063) Le Marquis du Chatelet, was son to la Marquise du
Chatelet, the commentator upon Newton, and the Am`elie of
Voltaire. The scandalous chronicles of the time accord to the
philosopher the honour of his paternity.-E.
(1064) The Duc de Liancourt, of the family de la Rochefoucauld,
grand ma`itre de la garde-robe du Roi. At the commencement of
the Revolution, his conduct was much blamed by those attached to
the court. He eventually emigrated to England, and, after
residing here some time, visited America, and published an
account of his travels in that country. In 1799, after the 19th
Brumaire, he returned to France. He died in March 1827, in his
(1065) M. de Lille was an officer of the French cavalry, an
agreeable man in society, and author of several pretty ballads
and vers de soci`et`e.
(1066) "They went to the Ridotto-'tis a hall
Where people dance, and sup, and dance again;
Its proper name, perhaps, were a masqued ball,
But that's of no importance to my strain;
'Tis (on a smaller scale) like our Vauxhall,
Excepting that it can't be spoilt by rain:
The company is 'mix'd'--the phrase I quote is
As much as saying, they're below your notice."
Beppo, st. 58.-E.
Letter 360 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, May 27, 1769. (page 541)
I have not heard from you this century, nor knew where you had
fixed yourself. Mr. Gray tells me you are still at Waterbeche.
Mr. Granger has published his Catalogue of Prints and Lives down
to the Revolution;(1067) and as the work sells well, I believe,
nay, do not doubt, we shall have the rest. There are a few
copies printed but on one side of the leaf. As I know you love
scribbling in such books as well as I do, I beg you will give me
leave to make you a present of one set. I shall send it in about
a week to Mr. Gray, and have desired him, as soon as he has
turned it over, to convey it to you. I have found a few
mistakes, and you will find more. To my mortification, though I
have four thousand heads, I find, upon a rough calculation, that
I still want three or four hundred.
Pray, give me some account of yourself, how you do, and whether
you are fixed. I thought you rather inclined to Ely. Are we
never to have the history of that cathedral? I wish you would
tell me that you have any thoughts of coming this way, or that
you would make me a Visit this Summer. I shall be little from
home this summer till August, when I think of going to Paris for
six weeks. To be sure you have seen the History of British
Topography,(1068) which was published this winter, and it is a
delightful book in our way. Adieu! dear Sir. Yours ever.
(1067) A Biographical History of England, from Egbert the Great
to the Revolution. A continuation, bringing the work down from
the Revolution to the end of George I.'s reign, was published in
1806, by the Rev. Mark Noble. In a letter to Boswell, of the
30th of August 1776, Dr. Johnson says--"I have read every word of
Granger's Biographical History. It has entertained me
exceedingly, and I do not think him the Whig that you supposed.
Horace Walpole being his patron is, indeed, no good sign of his
political principles; but he denied to Lord Mansfield that he was
a Whig, and said he had been accused by both parties of
partiality. It seems he was like Pope--
'While Tories call me Whig, and Whigs a Tory.'
I wish you would look more into his book; and as Lord Mountstuart
wishes much to find a proper person to continue the work upon
Granger's plan, and has desired I would mention it to you, if
such a man occurs, please to let me know. His lordship will give
him generous encouragement."-E.
(1068) By Richard Gough, the well-known antiquary. The second
edition, published in 1780, is a far better one.-E.
Letter 361 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, June 14, 1769. (page 542)
Among many agreeable passages in your last, there is nothing I
like so well as the hope you give me of seeing you here in July.
I will return that visit immediately: don't be afraid; I do not
mean to incommode you at Waterbeche; but, if you will come, I
promise I will accompany you back as far as Cambridge: nay, carry
you on to Ely, for thither I am bound. The Bishop(1068) has sent
a Dr. Nichols to me, to desire I would assist him in a plan for
the east window of his cathedral, which he intends to
benefactorate with painted glass. The window is the most
untractable of all Saxon uncouthness: nor can I conceive what to
do with it, but by taking off the bottoms for arms and mosaic,
splitting the crucifixion into three compartments, and filling
the five lights at top with prophets, saints, martyrs, and such
like; after shortening the windows like the great ones. This I
shall propose. However, I choose to see the spot myself, as it
will be a proper attention to the Bishop after his civility, and
I really would give the best advice I could. The Bishop, like
Alexander VIII., feels that the clock has struck half-an-hour
past eleven, and is impatient to be let depart in peace after his
eyes shall have seen his vitrification: at least, he is impatient
to give his eyes that treat; and yet it will be a pity to
precipitate the work. If you can come to me first, I shall be
happy; if not, I must come to you: that is, will meet you at
Cambridge. Let me know your mind, for I would not press you
unseasonably. I am enough obliged to you already; though, by
mistake, you think it is you that are obliged to me. I do not
mean to plunder you of any more prints; but shall employ a little
collector to get me all that are getable. The rest, the greatest
of us all must want.
I am very sorry for the fever you have had: but, Goodman Frog, if
you will live in the fens, do not expect to be as healthy as if
you were a fat Dominican at Naples. You and your MSS. will all
grow mouldy. When our climate is subject to no sign but Aquarius
and Pisces, would one choose the dampest country under the
heavens! I do not expect to persuade you, and so I will say no
more. I wish you joy of the treasure you have discovered: six
Saxon bishops and a Duke of Northumberland!(1069) You have had
fine sport this season. Thank you much for wishing to see my
name on a plate in the history. But, seriously, I have no such
vanity. I did my utmost to dissuade Mr. Granger from the
dedication, and took especial pains to get my virtues left out of
the question; till I found he would be quite hurt if I did not
let him express his gratitude, as he called it: so, to satisfy
him, I was forced to accept of his present; for I doubt I have
few virtues but what he has presented me with; and in a
dedication, you know, One is permitted to have as many as the
author can afford to bestow. I really have another objection to
the plate: which is, the ten guineas. I have so many
draughts on my extravagance for trifles, that I like better than
vanity, that I should not care to be at that expense. But I
should think either the Duke or Duchess of
Northumberland would rejoice at such an Opportunity of buying
incense; and I will tell you what you shall do. Write to Mr.
Percy, and vaunt the discovery of Duke Brithnoth's bones, and ask
him to move their graces to contribute a plate. They Could not
be so unnatural as to refuse; especially if the Duchess knew the
size of his thigh-bone.
I was very happy to show civilities to your friends, and should
have asked them to stay and dine, but unluckily expected other
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