(570) Robert and Horace, both mentioned in this letter, were sons of Mr. Churchill.-E.
Your idea, my dear lord, of the abusive paragraph on you being conceived at Paris,(571) and transmitted hither, tallies exactly with mine. I guessed that a satire on your whole establishment must come from thence: I said so immediately to two or three persons; but I did not tell you I thought so, because I did not choose to fill you with suggestions for which I had no ground, but in my own reasoning. Your arguments convince me I was in the right. Yet, were you master of proofs, the wisest thing you can do, is to act as if you had no suspicion; that is, to act as you have done, civilly, but coolly. There are men whom one would, I think, no more acknowledge for enemies than friends. One’s resentment distinguishes them, and the only Gratitude they can pay for that distinction is, to double the abuse. Wilkes’s mind, you see, is sufficiently volatile, when he can already forget Lord Sandwich and the Scotch, and can employ himself on you. He will soon flit to other prey, when you disregard him. It is my way: I never publish a sheet, but buzz! out fly a swarm of hornets, insects that never settle upon you, if you don’t strike at them and whose venom is diverted to the next object that presents itself.
We have divine weather. The Bishop of Carlisle has been with me two days at Strawberry, where we saw the eclipse(572) to perfection: -not that there was much sight in it. The air was very chill at the time, and the light singular; but there was not a blackbird that left off singing for it. In the evening the Duke of Devonshire came with the Straffords from t’other end of Twickenham, and drank tea with us. They had none of them seen the gallery since it was finished; even the chapel was new to the Duke, and he was so struck with it that he desired to offer at the shrine an incense-pot of silver philigrain.(573)
The election at Cambridge has ended, for the present in strange confusion.(574) The proctors, who were of different sides, assumed each a majority; the votes, however, appear to have been equal. The learned in university decision say, an equality is a negative: if so Lord Hardwicke is excluded. Yet the novelty of the case, it not having been very customary to solicit such a trifling honour, and the antiquated forms of proceeding retained in colleges, leave the matter wide open for further contention, an advantage Lord Sandwich cherishes as much as success. The grave are highly scandalized:—popularity was still warmer. The under-graduates, who, having no votes had consequently been left to their real opinions, were very near expressing their opinions against Lord Sandwich’s friends in the most Outrageous manner: hissed they were; and after the election,