(215) Now first collected.
(216) This letter is in reply to the following note, which Walpole had, a few days before, received from the Earl of Bute:— “Lord Bute presents his compliments to Mr. Walpole, and returns him a thousand thanks for the very agreeable present he has made him. In looking over it, Lord Bute observes Mr. Walpole has mixed several curious remarks on the customs, etc. of the times he treats of; a thing much wanted, and that has never yet been executed, except in parts, by Peck, etc. Such a general work would be not only very agreeable, but instructive: the French have attempted it; the Russians are about it; and Lord Bute has been informed Mr. Walpole is well furnished with materials for such a noble work."-E.
(217) The following passage, in a letter from Gray to Walpole, of the 28th of February, has reference to that work projected by Lord Bute:—“I rejoice in the good disposition of our court, and in the propriety of their application to you: the work is a thing so much to be wished; has so near a connexion with the turn of your studies and of your curiosity, and might find such ample materials among your hoards and in your head, that it will be a sin if you let it drop and come to nothing, or worse than nothing, for want of your assistance. The historical part should be in the manner of Herault, a mere abridgment; a series of facts selected with judgment, that may serve as a clue to lead the mind along in the midst of those ruins and scattered monuments of art that time has spared. This would be sufficient, and better than Montfaucon’s more diffuse narrative.” Works, vol. iii. p. 293. Before Walpole had received Gray’s letter, he had already adopted the proposed method; a large memorandum book of his being extant, with this title page, Collections for a History of the Manners, Customs, Habits, Fashions, Ceremonies, etc. of England; begun February 21, 1762, by Horace Walpole.” For a specimen of it, see his Works, vol. v. p. 400.-E.
My scolding does you so much good. that I will for the future lecture you for the most trifling peccadillo. You have written me a very entertaining letter, and wiped out several debts; not that I will forget one of them if you relapse.