I have the pleasure of inclosing to you (I believe) an unpublished letter of Horace Walpole’s. It was found among the papers of the late William Parsons, one of the Della Cruscan poets. That it is genuine I have no doubt. The handwriting is precisely similar to a note sent with a copy of the Mysterious Mother to Mr. Parsons, in which Horace Walpole writes, “he is unwilling to part with a copy without protesting against his own want of judgment in selecting so disgusting a subject; the absurdity of which he believes makes many faults of which he is sensible in the execution overlooked.” It is also guaranteed by its date,—“Paris, July 28. 1771.” By reference to his correspondence with Sir H. Mann (vol. ii. p. 163.), we find a letter dated July 6, 1771, in which he writes, “I am not gone; I do go to-morrow;” and in his General Correspondence, vol. v. p. 303., writing to John Chute, his letter is dated from Amiens, July 9. 1771, beginning, “I am got no farther yet;” and he returned to Arlington Street, September 6. 1771, having arrived at Paris on the 10th of July, and quitted it on the 2nd of September. I notice the dates, as they indicate the rate of travelling in some degree at that period. The Query is, to whom was it addressed? There is nothing on the original to indicate the person. The letter is of no great importance, except as it shows that Walpole, under certain conditions of being, was more earnest and sincere than perhaps was in his nature, or was generally his wont.
Athenaeum, Feb. 25. 1850.
“Paris, July 28. 1771.
“I have received no letter from my brother, and consequently have no answer to make to him. I shall only say that after entering into a solemn engagement with me, that we should dispose of the places alternately, I can scarce think him serious, when he tells you he has made an entirely new arrangement for all the places, expects I shoud concur in it; and after that, is so good as to promise he will dispose of no more without consulting me. If He is so absolutely master of all, my concurrence is not necessary, and I will give none. If he chuses to dispose of the places without me, That matter with others more important, must be regulated in another manner,—and it is time they shoud, when no agreement is kept with me, and I find objections made which, upon the fullest discussion and after allowance of the force of my arguments and right, had been given up twenty years ago.