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 painting."-E.
(1028) Essais Historiques sur Paris, par Germain-Fran`cois-Poulain de Saint Foix; of which an English translation was published in 1767.-E.