The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 by Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford

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Letter 108 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.131
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Letter 188 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.219
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Letter 263To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(502)307
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Letter 334 To Miss Hannah More.402
Letter 335 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.403
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Letter 383 To The Miss Berrys.489
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Letter 1 To Sir David Dalrymple.(1) Arlington Street, Jan. 1, 1770. (page 25)

Sir, I have read with great pleasure and information, your History of Scottish Councils.  It gave me much more satisfaction than I could have expected from so dry a subject.  It will be perused, do not doubt it, by men of taste and judgment; and it is happy that it will be read Without occasioning a controversy.  The curse of modern times is, that almost every thing does create controversy, and that men who are willing to instruct or amuse the world have to dread malevolence and interested censure, instead of receiving thanks.  If your part of our country is at all free from that odious spirit, you are to be envied.  In our region we are given up to every venomous mischievous passion, and as we behold all the public vices that raged in and destroyed the remains of the Roman Commonwealth, so I wish we do not experience some of the horrors that brought on the same revolution.  When we see men who call themselves patriots and friends of liberty attacking the House of Commons, to what, Sir, can you and I, who are really friends of liberty, impute such pursuits, but to interest and disappointed ambition!  When we see, on one hand, the prerogative of the Crown excited against Parliament, and on the other, the King and Royal Family traduced and insulted in the most shameless manner, can we believe such a faction is animated by honesty or love of the constitution?  When, as you very sensibly observe, the authors of grievances are the loudest to complain of them, and when those authors and their capital enemies shake hands, embrace, and join in a common cause, which set can we believe most or least sincere?  And when every set of men have acted every part, to whom shall the well-meaning look up?  What can the latter do, but sit with folded arms and pray for miracles?  Yes, Sir, they may weep over a prospect of ruin too probably approaching, and regret a glorious country nodding to its fall, when victory, wealth, and daily universal improvements, might make it the admiration and envy of the world?  Is the Crown to be forced to be absolute?  Is Caesar to enslave us, because he conquered Gaul?  Is some Cromwell to trample on us, because Mrs. Macaulay approves the army that turned out the House of Commons, the necessary consequence of such mad notions?  Is eloquence to talk or write us out of ourselves? or is Catiline to save us, butt so as by fire?  Sir, I talk thus freely, because it is a satisfaction, in ill-looking moments, to vent one’s apprehensions in an honest bosom.  You Will not, I am sure, suffer my letter to go out of your own hands.  I have no views to satisfy or resentments to gratify.  I have done with the world, except in the hopes of a quiet enjoyment of it for the few years I may have to come; but I love my country, though I desire and expect nothing from it, and I would wish to leave it to posterity, as secure and deserving to be valued, as I found it.  Despotism, or unbounded licentiousness, can endear no nation to any honest man.  The French can adore the monarch that starves them, and banditti are often attached to their chief; but no good Briton can love any constitution that does not secure the tranquillity and peace of mind of all.

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(1) Now first collected.

Letter 2 To Sir David Dalrymple.(2) Arlington Street, Jan. 23, 1770. (page 26)

Sir, I have not had time to return you the enclosed sooner, but I give you my honour that it has neither been out of my hands, nor been copied.  It is a most curious piece, but though affecting art has very little; so ill is the satire disguised.  I agree with you in thinking it ought not to be published yet, as nothing is more cruel than divulging private letters which may wound the living.  I have even the same tenderness for the children of persons concerned; but I laugh at delicacy for grandchildren, who can be affected by nothing but their pride--and let that be hurt if it will.  It always finds means of consoling itself.

The rapid history of Mr. Yorke is very touching.(3) For himself, he has escaped a torrent of obloquy, which this unfeeling and prejudiced moment was ready to pour on him.  Many of his survivors may, perhaps, live to envy him!  Madness and wickedness gain ground—­and you may be sure borrow the chariot of virtue.  Lord Chatham, not content with endeavouring to confound and overturn the legislature, has thrown out, that one member more ought to be added to each county;(4) so little do ambition -,And indulgence scruple to strike at fundamentals!  Sir George Savile and Edmund Burke, as if envying the infamous intoxication of Wilkes, have attacked the House of Commons itself, in the most gross and vilifying language.(5) In short, the plot thickens fast, and Catilines start up in every street.  I cannot say Ciceros and Catos arise to face them.  The phlegmatic and pedants in history quote King William’s and Sacheverel’s times to show the present is not more serious; but if I have any reading, I must remember that the repetition of bad scenes brings about a catastrophe at last!  It is small consolation to living sufferers to reflect that history will rejudge great criminals; nor is that sure.  How seldom is history fairly stated!  When do all men concur in the Same sentence?  Do the guilty dead regard its judicature, or they who prefer the convict to the judge?  Besides, an ape of Sylla will call himself Brutus, and the foolish people assist a proscription before they suspect that their hero is an incendiary.  Indeed, Sir, we are, as Milton says—­

“On evil days fallen and evil tongues!”

I shall be happy to find I have had too gloomy apprehensions.  A man, neither connected with ministers nor opponents, may speculate too subtly.  If all this is but a scramble for power, let it fall to whose lot it will!  It is the attack on the constitution that strikes me.  I have nothing to say for the corruption of senators; but if the senate itself is declared vile by authority, that is by a dissolution, will a re-election restore its honour?  Will Wilkes, and Parson Horne, and Junius (for they will name the members) give us more virtuous representations than ministers have done?  Reformation must be a blessed work in the hands of such reformers!  Moderation, and attachment to the constitution, are my principles.  Is the latter to be risked rather than endure any single evil?  I would oppose, that is restrain, by opposition check, each branch of the legislature that predominates in its turn;—­but if I detest Laud, it does not make me love Hugh Peters.

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Adieu, Sir!  I must not tire you with my reflections; but as I am flattered with thinking I have the sanction of the same sentiments in you, it is natural to indulge even unpleasing meditations when one meets with sympathy, and it is as natural for those who love their country to lament its danger.  I am, Sir, etc.

(2) Now first collected.

(3) On the 17th, Mr. Charles Yorke was appointed lord chancellor, and a patent was ordered to be made out, creating him a peer, by the title of Lord Morden; but, three days after, before the patent could be completed, he suddenly closed his valuable life, at the early age of forty-eight.-E.

(4) Lord Chatham, on the preceding day, had made his celebrated speech on the state of the nation, which had the good fortune to be ably reported by Sir Philip Francis, and attracted the particular attention of Junius.  The following is the passage which gave Walpole so much offence:—­“Since we cannot cure the disorder, let us endeavour to infuse such a portion of new health into the constitution, as may enable it to support its most inveterate diseases.  The representation of the counties is, I think, still preserved pure and uncorrupted.  That of the greatest cities is upon a footing equally respectable; and there are many of the larger trading towns which stilt preserve their independence.  The infusion of health which I now allude to would be to permit every county to elect one member more in addition to their present representation.”  Sir Philip Francis’s report of this speech was first printed by Almon in 1792.  Junius, in a letter to Wilkes, of the 7th of September 1771, says—­“I approve highly of Lord Chatham’s idea of infusing a portion of new health into the constitution, to enable it to bear its infirmities; a brilliant expression, and full of intrinsic wisdom.”  There can be little doubt that Junius and Sir Philip Francis were present in the House of Lords, when this speech was delivered.  See Chatham Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 406.-E.

(5) The speeches of Sir George Savile and Mr. Burke, above alluded to, will be found in Sir Henry Cavendish’s Debates.-E.

Letter 3.  To George Montagu, Esq.  Arlington Street, March 31, 1770. (page 28)

I shall be extremely obliged to you for Alderman Backwell.  A scarce print is a real present to me, who have a table of weights and measures in my head very different from that of the rich and covetous.  I am glad your journey was prosperous.  The weather here has continued very sharp, but it has been making preparations for April to-day, and watered the streets with some soft showers.  They will send me to Strawberry to-morrow, where I hope to find the lilacs beginning to put forth their little noses.  Mr. Chute mends very slowly, but you know he has as much patience as gout.

I depend upon seeing you whenever you return this wayward.  You will find the round chamber far advanced, though not finished; for my undertakings do not stride with the impetuosity of my youth.  This single room has been half as long in completing as all the rest of the castle.  My compliments to Mr. John, whom I hope to see at the same time.

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Letter 4 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill May 6, 1770. (page 28)

If you are like me, you are fretting at the weather.  We have not a leaf, yet, large enough to make an apron for a Miss Eve at two years old.  Flowers and fruits, if they come at all this year, must meet together as they do in a Dutch picture; our lords and ladies, however, couple as if it were the real Giovent`u dell’ anno.  Lord Albemarle,(6) you know has disappointed all his brothers and my niece; and Lord Fitzwilliam is declared sposo to Lady Charlotte Ponsonby.(7) It is a pretty match, and makes Lord Besborough as happy as possible.

Masquerades proceed in spite of church and King.  The Bishop of London persuaded that good soul the Archbishop to remonstrate against them; but happily the age prefers silly follies to serious ones, and dominos, comme de raison, carry It against lawn sleeves.(8)

There is a new Institution that begins to and if it proceeds, will make a considerable noise.  It is a club of both sexes to be erected at Almack’s, on the model of that of the men at White’s.  Mrs. Fitzroy, Lady Pembroke, Mrs. Meynel, Lady Molyneux, miss Pelham, and Miss Loyd, are the foundresses.  I am ashamed to say I am of so young and fashionable a society; but as they are people I live with, I choose to be idle rather than morose.  I can go to a young supper, without forgetting how much sand is run out of the hourglass.  Yet I shall never pass a triste old age in turning the psalms into Latin or English verse.  My plan is to pass away calmly; cheerfully if I can; sometimes to amuse myself with the rising generation, but to take care not to fatigue them, nor weary them with old stories, which will not interest them, as their adventures do not interest me.  Age would indulge prejudices if it did not sometimes polish itself against younger acquaintance; but it must be the work of folly if one hopes to contract friendship with them, or desires it, or thinks one can become the same follies, or expects that they should do more than bear one for one’s good humour.  In short, they are a pleasant medicine, that one should take care not to grow fond of.  Medicines hurt when habit has annihilated their force; but you see I am in no danger.  I intend by degrees to decrease my opium, instead of augmenting the dose.  Good-night!  You see I never let our long-lived friendship drop, though you give it so few opportunities of breathing.

(6) George, third Earl of Albemarle.  His lordship had married, on the 20th of April, Anne, youngest daughter of Sir John Miller, Bart. of Chichester.  He died in October 1772.-E.

(7) Lady Charlotte Ponsonby, second daughter of William, second Earl of Besborough.  The marriage took place on the 1st of July.-E.

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(8) Dr. Johnson, having read in the newspapers an account of a masquerade given at Edinburgh, by the Countess Dowager of Fife, at which Boswell had appeared in the character of a dumb conjuror, thus wrote to him:—­“I have heard of your masquerade.  What says your synod to such innovations?  I am not studiously scrupulous, nor do I think a Masquerade either evil in itself or very likely to be the occasion of evil, yet, as the world thinks it a very licentious relaxation of manners, I would not have been one of the first masquers in a country where no masquerades had ever been before."-E.

Letter 5 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, June 11, 1770. (page 29)

My company and I have wished for you very much to-day.  The Duchess of Portland, Mrs. Delany, Mr. Bateman, and your cousin, Fred. Montagu, dined here.  Lord Guildford was very obliging, and would have come if he dared have ventured.  Mrs. Montagu was at Bill-hill with Lady Gower.  The day was tolerable, with sun enough for the house, though not for the garden.  You, I suppose, will never come again, as I have not a team of horses large enough to draw you out of the clay of Oxfordshire.

I went yesterday to see my niece(9) in her new principality of Ham.  It delighted me and made me peevish.  Close to the Thames, in the centre of all rich and verdant beauty, it is so blocked up and barricaded with walls, vast trees, and gates, that you think yourself an hundred miles off and an hundred years back.  The old furniture is so magnificently ancient, dreary and decayed, that at every step one’s spirits sink, and all my passion for antiquity could not keep them up.  Every minute I expected to see ghosts sweeping by; ghosts I would not give sixpence to See, Lauderdales, Tollcmaches, and Maitlands.  There is one old brown gallery full of Vandycks and Lelys, charming miniatures, delightful Wouvermans, and Polenburghs, china, japan, bronzes, ivory cabinets, and silver dogs, pokers, bellows, etc. without end.  One pair of bellows is of filigree.  In this state of pomp and tatters my nephew intends it shall remain, and is so religious an observer of the venerable rites of his house, that because the gates never were opened by his father but once for the late Lord Granville, you are locked out and locked in, and after journeying all round the house, as you do round an old French fortified town, you are at last admitted through the stable-yard to creep along a dark passage by the housekeeper’s room, and so by a back-door into the great hall.  He seems as much afraid of water as a cat; for though you might enjoy the Thames from every window of three sides of the house, you may tumble into it before you guess it is there.  In short, our ancestors had so little idea of taste and beauty, that I should not have been surprised if they had hung their pictures with the painted sides to the wall.  Think of such a palace commanding all the reach of Richmond

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and Twickenham, with a domain from the foot of Richmond-hill to Kingston-bridge, and then imagine its being as dismal and prospectless as if it stood “on Stanmore’s wintry wild!” I don’t see why a man should not be divorced from his prospect as well as from his wife, for not being able to enjoy it.  Lady Dysart frets, but it is not the etiquette of the family to yield, and @ she must content herself with her chateau of Tondertentronk as well as she can.  She has another such ample prison in Suffolk, and may be glad to reside where she is.  Strawberry, with all its painted glass and gloom, looked as gay when I came home as Mrs. Cornelis’s ball-room.

I am very busy about the last volume of my Painters, but have lost my index, and am forced again to turn over all my Vertues, forty volumes of miniature MSS.; so that this will be the third time I shall have made an index to them.  Don’t say that I am not persevering, and yet I thought I was grown idle.  What pains one takes to be forgotten!  Good-night!

(9) Charlotte, daughter of Sir Edward Walpole, married to Lord Huntingtower, who had just succeeded to the title of the Earl of Dysart, on the death of his father.-E.

Letter 6 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, June 29, 1770. (page 30)

Since the sharp mountain will not come to the little hill, the little hill must go to the mountain.  In short, what do you think of seeing me walk into your parlour a few hours after this epistle!  I had not time to notify myself sooner.  The case is, Princess Amelia has insisted on my going with her to, that is, meeting her at Stowe on Monday, for a week.  She mentioned it to me some time ago, and I thought I had parried it; but having been with her at Park-place these two or three days, she has commanded it so positively that I could not refuse.  Now, as it would be extremely inconvenient to my indolence to be dressed up in weepers and hatbands by six o’clock in the morning, and lest I should be taken for chief mourner going to Beckford’s funeral,(10) I trust you will be charitable enough to give me a bed at Adderbury for one night, whence I can arrive at Stowe in a decent time, and caparisoned as I ought to be, when I have lost a brother-in-law(11) and am to meet a Princess.  Don’t take me for a Lauson, and think all this favour portends a second marriage between our family and the blood-royal; nor that my visit to Stowe implies my espousing Miss Wilkes.  I think I shall die as I am, neither higher nor lower; and above all things, no more politics.  Yet I shall have many a private smile to myself, as I wander among all those consecrated and desecrated buildings, and think what company I am in, and of all that is past; but I must shorten my letter, or you will not have finished it when I arrive.  Adieu!  Yours, a-coming! a-coming!

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(10) William Beckford, Esq.  Lord Mayor of London, who died on the 21st of June, during his second mayoralty, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.  On the 5th of the following month, at a meeting of the Common Council, “a motion being made and question put, that the statue of the Right Hon. William Beckford, late Lord Mayor, deceased, be erected in the Guildhall of this city, with the inscription of his late address to his Majesty, the was resolved in the affirmative.”  The speech here alluded to is the one which the Alderman addressed to his Majesty on the 23d of May, with reference to the King’s reply—­“That he should have been wanting to the public, as well as to himself, if he had not expressed his dissatisfaction at the late address.”  At the end of the Alderman’s speech, in his copy of the City Addresses, Mr. Isaac Reed has inserted the following note:—­“It is a curious fact, but a true one, that Beckford did not utter one syllable of this speech.  It was penned by Horne Tooke, and by his art put on the records of the city and on Beckford’s statue; as he told me, Mr. Braithwaite, Mr. Sayers, etc. at the Athenian club.  Isaac Reed.”  There can be little doubt that the worthy commentator and his friends were imposed upon.  In the Chatham Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 460, a letter from Sheriff Townsend to the Earl expressly states, that with the exception of the words “and necessary” being left out before the word “revolution,” the Lord Mayor’s speech in the Public Advertiser of the preceding day is verbatim the one delivered to the King.—­E.

(11) George third Earl of Cholmondeley.  He married, in 1723, Mary the youngest daughter of @Sir Robert Walpole.-E.

Letter 7 To George Montagu, Esq.  Adderbury, Sunday night, July 1, 1770. (page 32

You will be enough surprised to receive a letter from me dated from your own house, and may judge of my mortification at not finding you here; exactly as it happened two years ago.  In short, here I am, and will tell you how I came here; in truth, not a little against my will.  I have been at Park-place with Princess Amelia, and she insisted on my meeting her at Stowe to-morrow.  She had mentioned it before, and as I have no delight in a royal progress, and as little in the Seigneur Temple, I waived the honour and pleasure, and thought I should hear no more of it.  However, the proposal was turned into a command, and every body told me I could not refuse.  Well, I could not come so near, and not call upon you; besides, it is extremely convenient to my Lord Castlecomer, for it would have been horrid to set out at seven o’clock in the morning, full-dressed, in my weepers, and to step out of my chaise into a drawing-room.  I wrote to you on Friday, the soonest I could after this was settle(], to notify myself to you, but find I am arrived before my letter.  Mrs. White is all goodness; and being the first of July, and consequently the middle of winter, has given

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me a good fire and some excellent coffee and bread and butter, and I am as comfortable as possible, except in having missed you.  She insists on acquainting you, which makes me write this to prevent your coming; for as I must depart at twelve o’clock to-morrow, it would be dragging you home before your time for only half an hour, and I have too much regard for Lord Guildford to deprive him of your company.  Don’t therefore think of making this unnecessary compliment.  I have treated your house like an inn, and it will not be friendly, if you do not make as free with me.  I had much rather that you would take it for a visit that you ought to repay.  Make my best compliments to your brother and Lord Guildford, and pity me for the six dreadful days that I am going to pass.  Rosette is fast asleep in your chair, or I am sure she would write a postscript.  I cannot say she is either commanded or invited to be of this royal party; but have me, have my dog.

I must not forget to thank you for mentioning Mrs. Wetenhall, on whom I should certainly wait with great pleasure, but have no manner of intention of going into Cheshire.  There is not a chair or stool in Cholmondeley, and my nephew, I believe, will pull it down.  He has not a fortune to furnish or inhabit it; and, if his uncle should leave him one, he would choose a pleasanter country.  Adieu!  Don’t be formal with me, and don’t trouble your hand about yours ever.

Letter 8 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, Saturday night, July 7, 1770. (page 33)

After making an inn of your house, it is but decent to thank you for my entertainment, and to acquaint you with the result of my journey.  The party passed off much better than I expected.  A Princess at the Heart of a very small set for five days together did not promise well.  However, she was very good-humoured and easy, and dispensed with a large quantity of etiquette.  Lady Temple is good-nature itself, my lord was very civil, Lord Besborough is made to suit all sorts of people, Lady Mary Coke respects royalty too much not to be very condescending, Lady Anne Howard(12) and Mrs. Middleton filled up the drawing-room, or rather made it out, and I was so determined to carry it off as well as I could, and happened to be in such good spirits, and took such care to avoid politics, that we laughed a great deal, and had not one cloud the whole time.

We breakfasted at half an hour after nine; but the Princess did not appear till it was finished; then we walked in the garden, or drove about in cabriolets, till it was time to dress; dined at three, which, though properly proportioned to the smallness of company to avoid ostentation, lasted a vast While, as the Princess eats and talks a great deal; then again into the garden till past seven, when we came in, drank tea and coffee, and played at pharaoh till ten, when the Princess retired, and we went to supper, and before

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twelve to bed.  You see there was great sameness and little vivacity in all this.  It was a little broken by fishing, and going round the park one of the mornings; but, in reality, the number of buildings and variety of scenes in the garden, made each day different from the rest, and my meditations on so historic a spot prevented my being tired.  Every acre brings to one’s mind some instance of the parts or pedantry, of the taste or want of taste, of the ambition or love of fame, or greatness or miscarriages, of those that have inhabited, decorated, planned, or visited the place.  Pope, Congreve, Vanbrugh, Kent, Gibbs, Lord Cobham, Lord Chesterfield, the mob of nephews, the Lytteltons, Granvilles, Wests, Leonidas Glover, and Wilkes, the late Prince of Wales, the King of Denmark, Princess Amelia, and the proud monuments of Lord Chatham’s services, now enshrined there, then anathematized there, and now again commanding there, with the temple of Friendship, like the temple of Janus, sometimes open to war, and sometimes shut up in factious cabals—­all these images crowd upon one’s memory, and add visionary personages to the charming scenes, that are so enriched with fanes and temples, that the real prospects are little less than visions themselves.

On Wednesday night, a small Vauxhall was acted for us at the grotto in the Elysian fields, which was illuminated with lamps, as were the thicket and two little barks on the lake.  With a little exaggeration I could make you believe that nothing was so delightful.  The idea was really pretty; but as my feelings have lost something of their romantic sensibility, I did not quite enjoy such an entertainment alfresco so much as I should have done twenty years ago.  The evening was more than cool, and the destined spot any thing but dry.  There were not half lamps enough, and no music but an ancient militia-man, who played cruelly on a squeaking tabor and pipe.  As our procession descended the vast flight of’ steps into the garden, in which was assembled a crowd of people from Buckingham and the neighbouring villages to see the Princess and the show, the moon shining very bright, I could not help laughing as I surveyed our troop, which, instead of tripping lightly to such an Arcadian entertainment, were hobbling down by the balustrades, wrapt up in cloaks and greatcoats, for fear of catching cold.  The Earl, you know, is bent double, the Countess very lame; I am a miserable walker, and the Princess, though as strong as a Brunswick lion, makes no figure in going down fifty stone stairs.  Except Lady Anne, and by courtesy Lady Mary, we were none of us young enough for a pastoral.  We supped in the grotto, which is as proper to this climate as a sea-coal fire would be in the dog-days at Tivoli.

Page 10

But the chief entertainment of the week, at least what was so to the Princess, was an arch, which Lord Temple has erected to her honour in the most enchanting of all picturesque scenes.  It is inscribed on one side, ‘Amelia Sophia Aug.,’ and has a medallion of her on the other.  It is placed on an eminence at the top of the Elysian fields, in a grove of orange-trees.  You come to it on a sudden, and are startled with delight on looking through it:  you at once see, through a glade, the river winding at the bottom; from which a thicket arises, arched over with trees, but opened, and discovering a hillock full of haycocks, beyond which in front is the Palladian bridge, and again over that a larger hill crowned with the castle.  It is a tall landscape framed by the arch and the overhovering trees, and comprehending more beauties of light, shade, and buildings, than any picture of Albano I ever saw.  Between the flattery and the prospect the Princess was really in Elysium:  she visited her arch four or five times every day, and could not satiate herself with it. statues of Apollo and the Muses stand on each side of the arch.  One day she found in Apollo’s hand the following lines, which I had written for her, and communicated to Lord Temple:—­

T’other day, with a beautiful frown on her brow,
To the rest of the gods said the Venus of Stowe,
“What a fuss is here made with that arch just erected,
How our temples are slighted, our antirs neglected! 
Since yon nymph has appear’d, We are noticed no more,
All resort to her shrine, all her presence adore;
And what’s more provoking, before all our faces,
Temple thither has drawn both the Muses and Graces.” 
“Keep your temper, dear child,” Phoebus cried with a smile,
“Nor this happy, this amiable festival spoil. 
Can your shrine any longer with garlands be dress’d? 
When a true goddess reigns, all the false are suppress’d.”

If you will keep my counsel, I will own to you, that originally the two last lines were much better, but I was forced to alter them out of decorum, not to be too pagan upon the occasion; in short, here they are as in the first sketch,—­

“Recollect, once before that our oracle ceased, When a real divinity rose in the East.”

So many heathen temples around had made me talk as a Roman poet would have done:  but I corrected my verses, and have made them insipid enough to offend nobody.  Good night!  I am rejoiced to be once more in the gay solitude of my own little Temple.  Yours ever.

(12) Lady Anne Howard, daughter of Henry fourth Earl, and sister of Frederick fifth Earl of Carlisle.-E.

Letter 9 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, July 9, 1770. (page 35)

Page 11

I am not going to tell you, my dear lord, of the diversions or honours of Stowe, which I conclude Lady Mary has writ to Lady Strafford.  Though the week passed cheerfully enough, it was more glory than I should have sought of my own head.  The journeys to Stowe and Park-place have deranged my projects so, that I don’t know where I am, and I wish they have not given me the gout into the bargain; for I am come back very lame, and not at all with the bloom that one ought to have imported from the Elysian field.  Such jaunts when one is growing old is playing with edged-tools, as my Lord Chesterfield, in one of his Worlds,(13) makes the husband say to his wife, when she pretends that gray powder does not become her.  It is charming at twenty to play at Elysian fields, but it is no joke at fifty; or too great a joke.  It made me laugh as we were descending the great flight of steps from the house to go and sup in the grotto on the banks of Helicon:  we were so cloaked up, for the evening was very cold, and so many of us were limping and hobbling, that Charon would have easily believed we were going to ferry over in earnest.  It is with much more comfort that I am writing to your lordship in the great bow-window of my new round room, which collects all the rays of the southwest sun, and composes a sort of summer; a feel I have not known this year, except last Thursday.  If the rains should ever cease, and the weather settle to fine, I shall pay you my visit at Wentworth Castle; but hitherto the damps have affected me so much, that I am more disposed to return to London and light my fire, than brave the humours of a climate so capricious and uncertain, in the country.  I cannot help thinking it grows worse; I certainly remember such a thing as dust:  nay, I still have a clear idea of it, though I have seen none for some years, and should put some grains in a bottle for a curiosity, if it should ever fly again.

News I know none.  You may be sure it was a subject carefully avoided at Stowe; and Beckford’s death had not raised the glass or spirits of the master of the house.  The papers make one sick with talking of that noisy vapouring fool, as they would of Algernon Sidney.

I have not happened to see your future nephew, though we have exchanged visits.  It was the first time I had been at Marble-hill, since poor Lady Suffolk’s death; and the impression was so uneasy, that I was not sorry not to find him at home.  Adieu, my good lord!  Except seeing you both, nothing can be more agreeable than to hear of yours and Lady Strafford’s health, who, I hope, continues perfectly well.

(13) No. 18.  A Country Gentleman’s Tour to Paris with his Family.-E.

Letter 10 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, July 12, 1770. (page 36)

Page 12

Reposing under my laurels!  No, no, I am reposing in a much better tent, under the tester of my own bed.  I am not obliged to rise by break of day and be dressed for the drawing-room; I may saunter in my slippers till dinner-time, and not make bows till my back is as much out of joint as my Lord Temple’s.  In short, I should die of the gout or fatigue, if I was to be Polonius to a Princess for another week.  Twice a-day we made a pilgrimage to almost every heathen temple in that province that they call a garden; and there is no sallying out of the house without descending a flight of steps as high as St. Paul’s.  My Lord Besborough would have dragged me up to the top of the column, to see all the kingdoms of the earth; but I would not, if he could have given them to me.  To crown all, because we live under the line, and that we were all of us giddy young creatures, of near threescore, we supped in a grotto in the Elysian fields, and were refreshed with rivers of dew and gentle showers that dripped from all the trees, and put us in mind of the heroic ages, when kings and queens were shepherds and shepherdesses, and lived in caves, and were wet to the skin two or three times a-day.  Well! thank Heaven, I am emerged from that Elysium, and once more in a Christian country!—­Not but, to say the truth, our pagan landlord and landlady were very obliging, and the party went off much better than I expected.  We had no very recent politics, though volumes about the Spanish war; and as I took care to give every thing a ludicrous turn as much as I could, the Princess was diverted, the six days rolled away, and the seventh is my sabbath; and I promise you i will do no manner of work, I, nor my cat, nor my dog, nor any thing that is mine.  For this reason, I entreat that the journey to Goodwood may not take place before the 12th of August, when I will attend you.  But this expedition to Stowe has quite blown up my intended one to Wentworth Castle:  I have not resolution enough left for such a journey.  Will you and Lady Ailesbury come to Strawberry before, or after Goodwood?  I know you like being dragged from home as little as I do; therefore you shall place that visit just when it is most convenient to you.

I came to town the night before last, and am just returning.  There are not twenty people in all London.  Are not you in despair about the summer?  It is horrid to be ruined in coals in June and July.  Adieu.  Yours ever.

Letter 11 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, July 14, 1770. (page 37)

Page 13

I see by the papers this morning that Mr. Jenkinson(14) is dead.  He had the reversion of my place, which would go away, if I should lose my brother.  I have no pretensions to ask it, and you know It has long been my fixed resolution not to accept it.  But as Lord North is your particular friend, I think it right to tell you, that you may let him know what it is worth, that he may give it to one of his own sons, and not bestow it on somebody else, without being apprised of its value.  I have seldom received less than fourteen hundred a-year in money, and my brother, I think, has four more from it.  There are besides many places in the gift of the office, and one or two very considerable.  Do not mention this but to Lord North, or Lord Guilford.  It is unnecessary, I am sure, for me to say to you, but I would wish them to be assured that in saying this, I am incapable of, and above any finesse, or view, to myself.  I refused the reversion for myself several years ago, when Lord Holland was secretary of state, and offered to obtain it for me.  Lord Bute, I believe, would have been very glad to have given it to me, before he gave it to Jenkinson; but I say it very seriously, and you know me enough to be certain I am in earnest, that I would not accept it upon any account.  Any favour Lord North will do for you will give me all the satisfaction I desire.  I am near fifty-three; I have neither ambition nor interest to gratify.  I can live comfortably for the remainder of my life, though I should be poorer by fourteen hundred pounds a-year; but I should have no comfort if, in the dregs of life, I did any thing that I would not do when I was twenty years younger.  I will trust to you, therefore, to make Use of this information in the friendly manner I mean it, and to prevent my being hurt by its being taken otherwise than as a design to serve those to whom you wish well.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(14) Charles Jenkinson, at this time one of the lords of the treasury.  In 1786, He was created Baron Hawkesbury, and in 1796 advanced to the dignity of Earl of Liverpool.-E.

Letter 12 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, Sunday, [July 15, 1770.] (page 38)

I am sorry I wrote to you last night, for I find it is Mrs. Jenkinson(15) that is dead, and not Mr.; and therefore I should be glad to have this arrive time enough to prevent your mentioning the contents of my letter.  In that case, I should not be concerned to have given you that mark of my constant good wishes, nor to have talked to you of my affairs, which are as well in your breast as my own.  They never disturb me; for my mind has long taken its stamp, and as I shall leave nobody much younger than myself behind me for whom I am solicitous, I have no desire beyond being easy for the rest of my life I could not be so if I stooped to have obligations to any man beyond what it would ever be in my power to return. 

Page 14

When I was in Parliament, I had the additional reason of choosing to be entirely free; and my strongest reason of all is, that I will be at liberty to speak truth both living and dead.  This outweighs all considerations of interest, and will convince you, though I believe you do not want that conviction, that my yesterday’s letter was as sincere in its resolution as in its professions to you.  Let the matter drop entirely, as it is now Of no consequence.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(15) Amelia, daughter of William Watts, Esq. formerly governor of Fort William, in Bengal.-E.

Letter 13 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, Oct. 3, 1770. (page 38)

I am going on in the sixth week of my fit, and having had a return this morning in my knee, I cannot flatter myself with any approaching prospect of recovery.  The gate of painful age seems open to me, and I must travel through it as I may!  If you have not written one word for another, I am at a loss to understand you.  You say you have taken a house in London for a year, that you are gone to Waldeshare for six months, and then shall come for the winter.  Either you mean six weeks, or differ with most people in reckoning April the beginning of winter.  I hope your pen was in a hurry, rather than your calculation so uncommon; I certainly shall be glad of your residing in London.  I have long wished to live nearer to you, but it was in happier days.  I am now so dismayed by these returns of gout, that I can promise myself few comforts in any future scenes of my life.

I am much obliged to Lord Guildford and Lord North, and was very sorry that the latter came to see Strawberry in so bad a day, and when I was so extremely ill, and full of pain, that I scarce knew he was here; and as my coachman was gone to London, to fetch me bootikins, there was no carriage to offer him; but, indeed, in the condition I then was, I was not capable of doing any of the honours of my house, suffering at once in my hand, knee, and both feet.  I am still lifted out of bed by two servants; and by their help travel from my bedchamber down to the couch in my blue room; but I shall conclude, rather than tire you with so unpleasant a history.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

Letter 14 To George Montagu, Esq.  Arlington Street, Oct. 16, 1770. (page 39)

At last I have been able to remove to London; but though long weeks are gone and over since I was seized, I am only able to creep about upon a flat floor, but cannot go up and down stairs.  However, I have patience, as I can at least fetch a book for myself’, instead of having a servant bring me a wrong one.  I am much obliged to Lord Guildford for his goodness to me, and beg my thanks to him.  When you go to Canterbury, pray don’t wake the Black Prince.  I am very unwarlike, and desire to live the rest of my time upon the stock of glory I saved to my share Out Of the last war.  I know not more news than I did at Strawberry; there are not more people in town than I saw there, and I intend to return thither on Friday or Saturday.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

Page 15

Letter 15 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Arlington Street, Oct. 16, 1770. (page 39)

Though I have so very little to say, it is but my duty, my dear lord, to thank you for your extreme goodness to me and your inquiring after me.  I was very bad again last week, but have mended so much since Friday night, that I really now believe the fit is over.  I came to town on Sunday, and can creep about my room even without a stick, which is more felicity to me than if I had got a white one.  I do not aim yet at such preferment as walking up stairs; but having moulted my stick, I flatter myself I shall come forth again without being lame.  The few I have seen tell me there is nobody else in town.  That is no grievance to me, when I should be at the mercy of all that should please to bestow their idle time upon me.  I know nothing of the war-egg, but that sometimes it is to be hatched and sometimes to be addled.(16) Many folks get into the nest, and sit as hard upon it as they can, concluding it will produce a golden chick.  As I shall not be a feather the better for it, I hate that game-breed, and prefer the old hen Peace and her dunghill brood.  My compliments to my lady and all her poultry.

(16) The dispute with Spain relative to the possession of the Falkland Islands, had led to a considerable augmentation both of the army and navy; which gave an appearance of authenticity to the rumours of war which were now in circulation.-E.

Letter 16 To The Earl Of Charlemont.(17) Arlington Street, Oct. 17, 1770. (page 40)

My lord, I am very glad your lordship resisted your disposition to make me an apology for doing me a great honour; for, if you had not, the Lord knows where I should have found words to have made a proper return.  Still you have left me greatly in your debt.  It is very kind to remember me, and kinder to honour me with your commands:  they shall be zealously obeyed to the utmost of my little credit; for an artist that your lordship patronises will, I imagine, want little recommendation, besides his own talents.  It does not look, indeed, like very prompt obedience, when I am yet guessing only at Mr. Jervais’s merit; but though he has lodged himself within a few doors of me, I have not been able to get to him, having been confined near two months with the gout, and still keeping my house.  My first visit shall be to gratify my duty and curiosity.  I am sorry to say, and beg your lordship’s pardon for the confession, that, however high an opinion I have of your taste in the arts, I do not equally respect your judgment in books. it is in truth a defect that you have in common with the two great men who are the respective models of our present parties—­

“The hero William, and the martyr Charles.”

You know what happened to them after patronising Kneller and Bernini—­

“One knighted Blackmore, and one pensioned Quarles.”

Page 16

After so saucy an attack, my lord, it is time to produce my proof.  It lies in your own postscript, where you express a curiosity to see a certain tragedy, with a hint that the other works of the same author have found favour in your sight, and that the piece ought to have been sent to you.  But, my lord, even your approbation has not made that author vain; and for the lay in question, it has so many perils to encounter, that it never thinks of producing itself.  It peeped out of its lurking corner once or twice; and one of those times, by the negligence of a friend, had like to have been, what is often pretended in prefaces, stolen, and consigned to the press.  When your lordship comes to England, which, for every reason but that, I hope will be Soon, you shall certainly see it; and will then allow, I am sure. how improper it would be for the author to risk its appearance in public.  However, unworthy as that author may be, from his talents, of your lordship’s favour, do not let its demerits be confounded with the esteem and attachment with which he has the honour to be, my lord, your lordship’s most devoted servant.

(17) James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont, an Irish nobleman, distinguished for his literary taste and patriotism.  Of him Mr. Burke said, ,He is a man of such polished manners, of a mind so truly adorned and disposed to the adoption of whatever is excellent and praiseworthy, that to see and converse with him would alone induce me, or might induce any one who relishes such qualities, to pay a visit to Ireland.”  He died in 1799, and in 1810, his Memoirs were published by Francis Hardy, Esq. in a quarto volume.-E.

Letter 17 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Nov. 15, 1770. ((page 41)

Dear sir, If you have not engaged your interest in Cambridgeshire, you will oblige me much by bestowing it on young Mr. Brand, the son of my particular acquaintance, and our old schoolfellow.  I am very unapt to trouble my head about elections, but wish success to this.

If you see Bannerman, I should be glad you would tell him that I am going to print the last volume of my Painters, and should like to employ him again for some of the heads, if he cares to undertake them:  though there will be a little trouble as he does not reside in London.  I am in a hurry, and am forced to be brief, but am always glad to hear of you, and from you.  Yours most sincerely.

letter 18 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Nov. 20, 1770. (page 41)

I believe our letters crossed one another without knowing it.  Mine, it seems, was quite unnecessary, for I find Mr. Brand has given up the election.  Yours was very kind and obliging, as they always are.  Pray be so good as to thank Mr. Tyson for me a thousand times; I am vastly pleased with his work, and hope he will give me another of the plates for my volume of heads (for I shall bind up his present), and I by no means relinquish his promise of a complete set of his etchings, and of a visit to Strawberry Hill.  Why should it not be with you and Mr. Essex, whom I shall be very glad to see—­but what do you talk of a single day?  Is that all you allow me in two years?

Page 17

I rejoice to see Mr. Bentham’s advertisement at last.  I depend on you, dear Sir, for procuring me his book(18) the instant it is possible to have it.  Pray make my compliments to all that good family.  I am enraged, and almost in despair, at Pearson the glass-painter, he is so idle and dissolute.  He has done very little of the window, though what he has done is glorious, and approaches very nearly to Price.

My last volume of Painters begins to be printed this week; but, as the plates are not begun, I doubt it will be long before the whole is ready.  I mentioned to you in my last Thursday’s letter a hint about Bannerman, the engraver.  Adieu!

(18) The “History and Antiquities of the Conventual and Cathedral Church at Ely,” which appeared in the following year.-E.

Letter 19 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Dec. 20, 1770. (page 42)

Dear Sir I am very zealous, as you know, for the work; but I agree with you in expecting very little success from the plan.(19) Activity is the best implement in such undertakings, and that seems to be wanting; and, without that, it were vain to think of who would be at the expense.  I do not know whether it were not best that Mr. Essex should publish his remarks as simply as he can.  For my own part, I can do no more than I have done,- -sketch out the plan.  I grow too old, and am grown too indolent, to engage in any more works:  nor have I time.  I wish to finish some things I have by me, and to have done.  The last volume of my Anecdotes, of which I was tired, is completed and with them I shall take my leave of publications.  The last years of one’s life are fit for nothing but idleness and quiet, and I am as indifferent to fame as to politics.

I can be of as little use to Mr. Granger in recommending him to the Antiquarian Society.  I dropped my attendance there four or five years ago, from being sick of their ignorance and stupidity, and have not been three times amongst them since.  They have chosen to expose their dullness to the world, and crowned it with Dean Milles’s(20) nonsense.  I have written a little answer to the last, which you shall see, and then wash my hands of them.

To say the truth, I have no very sanguine expectation about the Ely window.  The glass-painter, though admirable, proves a very idle worthless fellow, and has yet scarce done any thing of consequence.  I gave Dr. Nichols notice of his character, but found him apprised of it.  The Doctor, however, does not despair, but pursues him warmly.  I wish it may succeed!

If you go over to Cambridge, be so good as to ask Mr. Grey when he proposes being in town; he talked of last month.  I must beg you, too, to thank Mr. Tyson for his last letter.  I can say no more to the Plan than I have said.  If he and Mr. Essex should like to come to town, I shall be very willing to talk it over with them, but I can by no means think of engaging in any part of the composition.

Page 18

These holidays I hope to have time to arrange my drawings, and give bannerman some employment towards my book, but I am in no hurry to have it appear, as it speaks of times so recent; for though I have been very tender of not hurting any living relations of the artists, the latter were in general so indifferent, that I doubt their families will not be very well content with the coldness of the praises I have been able to bestow.  This reason, with my unwillingness to finish the work, and the long interval between the composition of this and the other volumes, have, I doubt, made the greatest part a very indifferent performance.  An author, like other mechanics, never does well when he is tired of his profession.

I have been told that, besides Mr. Tyson, there are two other gentlemen engravers at Cambridge.  I think their names are Sharp or Show, and Cobbe, but I am not at all sure of either.  I should be glad, however, if I could procure any of their portraits; and I do not forget that I am already in your debt.  Boydell is going to recommence a suite of illustrious heads, and I am to give him a list of indubitable portraits of remarkable persons that have never been engraved; but I have protested against his receiving two sorts; the one, any old head of a family, when the person was moderately considerable; the other, spurious or doubtful heads; both sorts apt to be sent in by families who wish to crowd -their own names into the work; as was the case more than once in Houbraken’s set, and of which honest Vertue often complained to me.  The Duke of Buckingham, Carr, Earl of Somerset, and Thurloe, in that list, are absolutely not genuine—­the first is John Digby Earl of Bristol.  Yours ever.

(19) Mr. Essex’s projected History of Gothic Architecture.  See vol. iii.  Letter 366 to the Rev. Mr. Cole, Aug. 12, 1769.-E.

(20) Dr. Jeremiah Milles, dean of Exeter, many years president of the Antiquarian Society.  He engaged ardently in the Chatterton controversy, and published the whole of the poems purporting to be written by Rowley, with a glossary; thereby proving himself a fit subject for that chef-d’oeuvre of wit and poetry, the Archaeological Epistle, written by Mason.  Walpole’s answer is entitled, “Reply to the Observations on the Remarks of the Rev. Dr. Milles, Dean of Exeter and President of the Society of Antiquaries, on the Wardrobe Account of 1483, etc.”  It is inserted in the second volume of his collected Works-E.

Letter 20 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Christmas-day. (page 43)

If poplar-pines ever grow,(21) it must be in such a soaking season as this.  I wish you would send half-a-dozen by some Henley barge to meet me next Saturday at Strawberry Hill, that they may be as tall as the Monument by next summer.  My cascades give themselves the airs of cataracts, and Mrs. Clive looks like the sun rising out of the ocean.  Poor Mr. Raftor(22) is tired to death of their solitude; and, as his passion is walking, he talks with rapture of the brave rows of lamps all along the street, just as I used formerly to think no trees beautiful without lamps to them, like those at Vauxhall.

Page 19

As I came to town but to dinner, and have not seen a soul, I do not know whether there is any news.  I am just going to the Princess,(23) where I shall hear all there is.  I went to King Arthur(24) on Saturday, and was tired to death, both of the nonsense of the piece and the execrable performance, the singers being still worse than the actors.  The scenes are little better (though Garrick boasts of rivalling the French Opera,) except a pretty bridge, and a Gothic church with windows of painted glass.  This scene, which should be a barbarous temple of Woden, is a perfect cathedral, and the devil officiates at a kind of high-mass!  I never saw greater absurdities.  Adieu!

(21) The first poplar-pine (or, as they have since been called, Lombardy poplar) planted in England was at Park-place, on the bank of the river near the great arch.  It was a cutting brought from Turin by Lord Rochford in his carriage, and planted by General Conway’s own hand.

(22) Brother of Mrs. Clive.  He had been an actor himself, and, when his sister retired from the stage, lived with her in the house Mr. Walpole had given her at Twickenham.

(23( The Princess Amelia.

(24) Dryden’s dramatic opera of King Arthur, or the British Worthy, altered by Garrick, was this year brought out at Drury Lane, and, by the aid of scenery, was very successful.-E.

Letter 21 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Dec. 29, 1770. (page 44)

The trees came safe:  I thank you for them:  they are gone to Strawberry, and I am going to plant them.  This paragraph would not call for a letter, but I have news for you of importance enough to dignify a despatch.  The Duc de Choiseul is fallen!  The express from Lord Harcourt arrived yesterday morning; the event happened last Monday night, and the courier set out so immediately, that not many particulars are yet known.  The Duke was allowed but three hours to prepare himself, and ordered to retire to his seat at Chanteloup:  but some letters say, “il ira plus loin.”  The Duc de Praslin is banished, too, and Chatelet is forbidden to visit Choiseul.  Chatelet was to have had the marine; and I am Sure is no loss to us.  The Chevalier de Muy is made secretary of state pour la guerre;(25) and it is concluded that the Duc d’Aiguillon is prime-minister, but was not named so in the first hurry.  There! there is a revolution! there is a new scene opened!  Will it advance the war?  Will it make peace?  These are the questions all mankind is asking.  This whale has swallowed up all gudgeon-questions.  Lord Harcourt writes, that the d’Aiguillonists had officiously taken opportunities of assuring him, that if they prevailed it would be peace; but in this country we know that opponents turned ministers can change their language It is added, that the morning of Choiseul’s banishment’(26) the King said to him, “Monsieur, je vous ai dit que je ne voulais point la guerre.” 

Page 20

Yet how does this agree with Franc`es’s(27) eager protestations that Choiseul’s fate depended on preserving the peace?  How does it agree with the Comptroller-general’s offer of finding funds for the war, and of Choiseul’s proving he could not?—­But how reconcile half the politics one hears?  De Guisnes and Franc`es sent their excuses to the Duchess of Argyle last night; and I suppose the Spaniards, too; for none of them were there.—­Well!  I shall let all this bustle cool for two days; for what Englishman does not sacrifice any thing to go his Saturday out of town?  And yet I am very much interested in this event; I feel much for Madame de Choiseul, though nothing for her Corsican husband; but I am in the utmost anxiety for my dear old friend,(28) who passed every evening with the Duchess, and was thence in great credit; and what is worse, though nobody, I think, can be savage enough to take away her pension, she may find great difficulty to get it paid—­and then her poor heart is so good and warm, that this blow on her friends, at her great age, may kill her.(29) I have had no letter, nor had last post—­whether it was stopped, or whether she apprehended the event, as I imagine—­for every one observed, on Tuesday night, at your brother’s, that Franc`es could not open his mouth.  In short, I am most seriously alarmed about her.

You have seen in the papers the designed arrangements in the law.(30) They now say there is some hitch; but I suppose it turns on some demands, and so will be got over by their being granted.  Mr. Mason, the bard, gave me yesterday, the enclosed memorial, and begged I would recommend it to you.  It is in favour of a very ingenious painter.  Adieu! the sun shines brightly; but it is one o’clock, and it will be set before I get to Twickenham.  Yours ever.

(25) The Chevalier, afterwards Mar`echal de Muy, was offered that place, but declined it.  He eventually filled it in the early part of the reign of Louis XVI.-E.

(26) The Duc de Choiseul was dismissed from the ministry through the intrigues of Madame du Barry, who accused him of an improper correspondence with Spain.—­ E.

(27) Then charg`e des affaires from the French court in London.

(28) It appears by Madame du Deffand’s Letters to Walpole, that she had addressed to him, on the 27th of December, one of considerable length, filled with details relative to the dismissal of the Duc de Choiseul, which took place on the 24th, and the appointment of his successor; but this letter is unfortunately lost.-E.

(29) By the reduction which the Abb`e de Terrai, when he first entered upon the controle g`en`eral, made upon all pensions, Madame du Deffand had lost three thousand livres of income.  To her letter of the 2d of February 1771, announcing this diminution, Walpole made the following generous reply:—­“Je ne saurois souffrir une telle diminution de votre bien.  O`u voulez-vous faire des retranchemens? 

Page 21

O`u est-il possible que vous en fassiez?  Ne daignez pas fire un pas, s’il n’est pas fait, pour remplacer vos trois Mille livres.  Ayez assez d’amiti`e pour moi pour les accepter de ma part.  Accordez-moi, je vous conjure, la gr`ace, que je vous demande aux genoux, et jouissez de la satisfaction de vous dire, j’ai un ami qui ne permettra jamais que je me jette aux pieds des grands.  Ma Petite, j’insiste."-E.

(30) Mr. Bathurst was created Lord Apsley, and appointed Lord Chancellor; Sir William de Grey was made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; Mr. Thurlow, attorney-general and Mr. Wedderburn, solicitor-general.-E.

Letter 22 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Jan. 10, 1771. (page 45)

As I am acquainted with Mr. Paul Sandby, the brother of the architect,(31) I asked him if there was a design, as I had heard, of making a print or prints of King’s College Chapel, by the King’s order’!  He answered directly, by no means.  His brother made a general sketch of the chapel for the use of the lectures he reads on architecture at the Royal Academy.  Thus, dear Sir, Mr. Essex may be perfectly easy that there is no intention of interfering with his work.  I then mentioned to Mr. Sandby Mr. Essex’s plan, which he much approved, but said the plates would cost a great sum.  The King, he thought, would be inclined to patronise the work; but I own I do not know how to get it laid before him.  His own artists would probably discourage any scheme that might entrench on their own advantages.  Mr. Thomas Sandby, the architect, is the only one of them I am acquainted with; and Mr. Essex must think whether he would like to let him into any participation of the work.  If I can get any other person to mention it to his Majesty, I will; but you know me, and that I have always kept clear of connexions with courts and ministers, and have no interest with either, and perhaps my recommendation might do as much hurt as good, especially as the artists in favour might be jealous Of One who understands a little of their professions, and is apt to say what he thinks.  In truth, there is another danger, which is that they might not assist Mr. Essex without views of profiting of his labours.  I am slightly acquainted with Mr. Chambers,(32) the architect, and have a good opinion of him:  if Mr. Essex approves my communicating his plan to him or Mr. Sandby, I should think it more likely to succeed by their intervention, than by any lord of the court; for, at last, the King would certainly take the opinion of his artists.  When you have talked this over with Mr. Essex, let me know the result.  Till he has determined, there can be no use in Mr. Essex’s coming to town.

Mr. Gray will bring down some of my drawings to Bannerman, and when you go over to Cambridge, I will beg you now and then to supervise him.  For Mr. Bentham’s book, I rather despair of it; and should it ever appear, he will have had people expect it too long, which will be of no service to it, though I do not doubt of its merit.  Mr. Gray will show you my answer to"Dr. Milles.(33) Yours ever.

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(31) Paul Sandby, the well-known artist in water-colours, was brother to Thomas Sandby, who was professor of architecture in the Royal Academy of London.-E.

(32) Afterwards Sir William Chambers, author of the well-known “Treatise on Civil Architecture;” a “Dissertation on Oriental Gardening,” etc.  In 1775, he was appointed to superintend the building of Somerset-house, in the Strand.-E.

(33) In the early part of this year, Walpole’s house in Arlington-street was broke open, without his servants being alarmed; all the locks forced off his drawers, cabinets, etc. their contents scattered about the rooms, and yet nothing taken away.  In her letter of the 3d of April, Madame du Deffand says, “Votre aventure fait tenir ici toute sorte de propos:  les uns disent que l’on vous soup`connait d’avoir une correspondence secr`ete avec M. de Choiseul.-E.

Letter 23 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, May 29, 1771. (page 46)

Dear Sir, I have but time to write you a line, that I may not detain Mr. Essex, who is so good as to take charge of this note, and of a box, which I am sure will give you pleasure, and I beg may give you a little trouble.  It contains the very valuable seven letters of Edward the sixth to Barnaby Fitzpatrick.  Lord Ossory, to whom they belong, has lent them to me to print, but to facilitate that, and to prevent their being rubbed or hurt by the printer, I must entreat your exactness to copy them, and return them with the copies.  I need not desire your particular care; for you value these things as much as I do, and will be able to make them out better than I can do, from being so much versed in old writing.  Forgive my taking this liberty with you, which, I flatter myself, will not be disagreeable.  Mr. Essex and Mr. Tyson dined with me at Strawberry Hill; but could not stay so long as I wished.  The party would have been still more agreeable if you had made a fourth.  Adieu! dear Sir, yours ever.

Letter 24 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, June 11, 1771. (page 47)

You are very kind, dear Sir, and I ought to be, nay, what is more, I am ashamed of giving you so much trouble; but I am in no hurry for the letters.  I shall not set out till the 7th of next month, And it will be sufficient if I receive them a week before I set out.  Mr. C. C. C. C. is very welcome to attack me about a Duchess of Norfolk.  He is even welcome to be in the right; to the edification I hope of all the matrons at the Antiquarian Society, who I trust will insert his criticism in the next volume of their Archaeologia, or Old Women’s Logic; but, indeed, I cannot bestow my time on any more of them, nor employ myself in detecting witches for vomiting pins.  When they turn extortioners like Mr. Masters,(34) the law should punish them, not only for roguery, but for exceeding their province, which our ancestors

Page 23

limited to killing their neighbour’s cow, or crucifying dolls of wax.  For my own part, I am so far from being out of charity with him, that I would give him a nag or new broom whenever he has a mind to ride to the Antiquarian sabbat, and preach against me.  Though you have more cause to be angry, laugh -,it him as I do.  One has not life enough to throw away on all the fools and knaves that come across one.  I have often been attacked, and never replied but to Mr. Hume and Dr. Milles—­to the first, because he had a name; to the second, because he had a mind to have one:—­and yet I was in the wrong, for it was the only way he could attain one.  In truth, it is being too self-interested, to expose only one’s private antagonists, when one lets worse men pass unmolested.  Does a booby hurt me by an attack on me, more than by any other foolish thing he does?  Does not he tease me more by any thing he says to me, without attacking me, than by any thing he says against me behind my back?  I shall, therefore, most certainly never inquire after or read Mr. C. C. C. C.’s criticism, but leave him to oblivion with her Grace of Norfolk, and our wise society.  As I doubt my own writings will soon be forgotten, I need not fear that those of my answerers will be remembered.

(34) There is a note on this letter in Cole’s handwriting.  Mr. Mason had informed him, that Mr. Masters had lately read a paper at the Antiquarian Society against some mistake of Mr. Walpole’s respective a Duchess of Norfolk; and he adds, “This I informed Mr. Walpole of in my letter, and said something to him of Masters’ extortion in making me pay forty pounds towards the repairing his vicarage-house at Waterbeche, which he pretended he had fitted up for my reception.”

Letter 25 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(35) Strawberry Hill, June 17, 1771. (page 48)

I was very sure you would grant my request, if you could, and I am perfectly satisfied with your reasons; but I do not believe the parties concerned will be so too, especially the heads of the family, who are not so ready to serve their relations at their own expense as gratis.  When I see you I will tell you more, and what I thought I had told you.

You tax me with four days in Bedfordshire; I was but three at most, and of those the evening I went, and the morning I came away, made the third day.  I will try to see you before I go.  The Edgcumbes I should like and Lady Lyttelton, but Garrick does not tempt me at all.  I have no taste for his perpetual buffoonery, and am sick of his endless expectation of flattery; but you who charge me with making a long visit to Lord and Lady Ossory,—­you do not see the mote in your own eye; at least I am sure Lady Ailesbury does not see that in hers.  I could not obtain a single day from her all last year, and with difficulty got her to give me a few hours this.  There is always an indispensable pheasantry that must be visited, or some thing from which she cannot spare four-and-twenty hours.  Strawberry sets this down in its pocket-book. and resents the neglect.

Page 24

At two miles from Houghton Park is the mausoleum of the Bruces, where I saw the most ridiculous monument of one of Lady Ailesbury’s predecessors that ever was imagined; I beg she will never keep such company.  In the midst of an octagon chapel is the tomb of Diana, Countess of Oxford and Elgin.  From a huge unwieldy base of white marble rises a black marble cistern; literally a cistern that would serve for an eating-room.  In the midst of this, to the knees, stands her ladyship in a white domino or shroud, with her left hand erect as giving her blessing.  It put me in mind of Mrs. Cavendish when she got drunk in the bathing-tub.  At another church is a kind of catacomb for the Earls of Kent:  there are ten sumptuous monuments.  Wrest and Hawnes are both ugly places; the house at the former is ridiculously old and bad.  The state bedchamber (not ten feet high) and its drawing-room, are laced with Ionic columns of spotted velvet, and friezes of patchwork.  There are bushels of deplorable earls and countesses.  The garden was execrable too, but is something mended by Brown.  Houghton Park and Ampthill stand finely:  the last is a very good house, and has a beautiful park.  The other has three beautiful old fronts, in the style of Holland House, with turrets and loggias, but not so large within.  It is the worst contrived dwelling I ever saw.  Upon the whole, I was much diverted with my journey.  On my return I stayed but a single hour in London, saw no soul, and came hither to meet the deluge.  It has rained all night, and all day; but it is midsummer, consequently midwinter, and one can expect no better.  Adieu!

(35) Now first printed.

Letter 26 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, June 20, 1771. (page 49)

I have waited impatiently, my dear lord, for something worth putting into a letter but trees do not speak in parliament, nor flowers write in the newspapers; and they are almost the only beings I have seen.  I dined on Tuesday at Notting-hill(36) with the Countesses of Powis and Holderness, Lord and Lady Pelham, and Lord Frederick Cavendish—­and Pam; and shall go to town on Friday to meet the same company at Lady Holderness’s; and this short journal comprises almost my whole history and knowledge.

I must now ask your lordship’s and Lady Strafford’s commands for Paris.  I shall set out on the 7th of next month.  You will think, though you will not tell me so, that these are Very juvenile jaunts at my age.  Indeed, I should be ashamed if I went for any other pleasure but that of once more seeing my dear blind friend, whose much greater age forbids my depending on seeing more often.(37) It will, indeed, be amusing to change the scene of politics for though I have done with our own, one cannot help hearing them—­nay, reading them; for, like flies, they come to breakfast with one’s bread and butter.  I wish there was any other vehicle for them but a newspaper; a place into which, considering how they are exhausted, I am sure they have no pretensions.  The Duc d’Aiguillon, I hear, is minister.  Their politics, some way or other, must end seriously, either in despotism, a civil war, or assassination.  Methinks, it is playing deep for the power of tyranny.  Charles Fox is more moderate:  he only games for an hundred thousand pounds that he has not.

Page 25

Have you read the Life of Benvenuto Cellini,(38) my lord?  I am angry with him for being more distracted and wrong-headed than my Lord Herbert.  Till the revival of these two, I thought the present age had borne the palm of absurdity from all its predecessors.  But I find our contemporaries are quiet good folks, that only game till they hang themselves, and do not kill every body they meet in the street.  Who would have thought we were so reasonable?

Ranelagh, they tell me, is full of foreign dukes.  There is a Duc de la Tr`emouille, a Duc d’Aremberg, and other grandees.  I know the former, and am not sorry to be out of his way.

It is not pleasant to leave groves and lawns and rivers for a dirty town with a dirtier ditch, calling itself the Seine; but I dare not encounter the sea and bad inns in cold weather.  This consideration will bring me back by the end of August.  I should be happy to execute any commission for your lordship.  You know how earnestly I wish always to show myself your lordship’s most faithful humble servant.

(36) near Kensington.  The villa of Lady Mary Coke.

(37) In the February of this-year Madame du Deffand had made her will, and bequeathed Walpole all her manuscripts-.  In her letter of the 17th, informing him that she had so done, she says, “Je fis usage de votre ‘j’y consens.’  J’ai une vraie satisfaction que cette affaire soit termin`ee, et jamais vous ne m’avez fait un plus v`eritable plaisir qu’en pronon`cant ces deux mots."-E.

(38) The celebrated Florentine sculptor, “one of the most extraordinary men in an extraordinary age,” so designated by Walpole.  His Life, written by himself, was first published in English in 1771, from a translation by Dr. T. Nugent; of which a new edition, corrected and enlarged, with the notes and observations of G. P. Carpani, translated by Thomas Roscoe, appeared in 1822.-E.

Letter 27 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, June 22, 1771. (page 50)

I just write you a line, dear Sir, to acknowledge the receipt of the box of papers, which is come very safe, and to give you a thousand thanks for the trouble you have taken.  As you promise me another letter I will wait to answer it.

At present I will only beg another favour, and with less shame, as it is of a kind you will like to grant.  I have lately been at Lord Ossory’s at Ampthill.  You know Catherine of Arragon lived some time there.(39) Nothing remains of the castle, nor any marks of residence, but a very small bit of her garden.  I proposed to Lord Ossory to erect a cross to her memory on the spot, and he will.  I wish, therefore, you could, from your collections of books, or memory, pick out an authentic form of a cross, of a better appearance than the common run.  It must be raised on two or three steps; and if they were octagon, would it not be handsomer?  Her arms must be hung like an order upon it.  Here is something of my idea.(40) The shield appendant to a collar.  We will have some inscriptions to mark the cause of erection.  Adieu!  Your most obliged.

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(39) After her divorce from Henry the Eighth.

(40) A rough sketch in the margin of the letter.

Letter 28 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 24, 1771. (page 51)

Dear Sir, when I wrote to you t’other day, I had not opened the box of letters, and consequently had not found yours, for which, and the prints, I give you a thousand thanks; though Count Bryan I have, and will return to you.  Old Walker(41) is very like, and is valuable for being mentioned in the Dunciad, and a curiosity, from being mentioned there without abuse.

Your notes are very judicious,(42) and your information most useful to me in drawing up some little preface to the Letters; which, however, I shall not have time now to do before my journey, as I shall set out on Sunday se’nnight.  I like your motto much.  The Lady Cecilia’s Letters are, as you say, more curious for the writer than the matter.  We know very little of those daughters of Edward iv.  Yet she and her sister Devonshire lived to be old; especially Cecily, who was married to Lord Wells; and I have found why:  he was first cousin to Henry vii., who, I suppose, thought it the safest match for her.  I wish I knew all she and her sisters knew of her brothers, and their uncle Richard iii.  Much good may it do my Lord of Canterbury with his parboiled stag!  Sure there must be more curiosities in Bennet Library!

Though your letter is so entertaining and useful to me, the passage I like best is a promise you make me of a visit in the autumn with Mr. Essex.  Pray put him in mind of it, as I shall you.  It would add much to the obligation if you would bring two or three of your Ms. volumes of collections with you.  Yours ever.

(41) Dr. Richard Walker, vice-master of Trinity College, by Lambourne.

(42) From King Edward’s Journal relating to Mr. Fitzpatrick.

Letter 29 To John Chute, Esq.  Amiens, Tuesday evening, July 9, 1771. (page 51)

I am got no farther yet, as I travel leisurely, and do not venture to fatigue myself.  My voyage was but of four hours.  I was sick only by choice and precaution, and find myself in perfect health.  The enemy, I hope, has not returned to pinch you again, and that you defy the foul fiend.  The weather is but lukewarm, and I should choose to have all the windows shut, if my smelling was not much more summerly than my feeling; but the frowsiness of obsolete tapestry and needlework is insupportable.  Here are old fleas and bugs talking of Louis Quatorze like tattered refugees in the park, and they make poor Rosette attend them, whether she will or not.  This is a woful account of an evening in July, and which Monsieur de St. Lambert has omitted in his Seasons, though more natural than any thing he has placed there.  I f the Grecian religion had gone into the folly of self-mortification, I suppose the devotees of Flora would have shut themselves up in a nasty inn, and have punished their noses for the sensuality of having smelt to a rose or a honeysuckle.

Page 27

This is all I have yet to say; for I have had no adventure, no accident, nor seen a soul but my cousin Richard Walpole, whom I met on the road and spoke to in his chaise.  To-morrow I shall lie at Chantilly, and be at Paris early on Thursday.  The Churchills are there already.  Good night—­ and a sweet one to you!

Paris, Wednesday night, July 10.

I was so suffocated with my inn last night, that I mustered all my resolution, rose with the alouette this morning, and was in my chaise by five o’clock I got hither by eight this evening, tired, but rejoiced; I have had a comfortable dish of tea, and am going to bed in clean sheets.  I sink myself even to my dear old woman(43) and my sister; for it is impossible to sit down and be made charming At this time of night after fifteen posts, and after having been here twenty times before.

At Chantilly I crossed the Countess of Walpole, who lies there to-night on her way to England.  But I concluded she had no curiosity about me-and I could not brag of more about her-and so we had no intercourse.  I am wobegone to find my Lord F -* * * in the same hotel.  He is as starched as an old-fashioned plaited neckcloth, and come to suck wisdom from this curious school of philosophy.  He reveres me because I was acquainted with his father; and that does not at all increase my partiality to the son.

Luckily, the post departs early to-morrow morning I thought you would like to hear I was arrived -well.  I should be happy to hear you are so; but do not torment yourself too soon, nor will I torment you.  I have fixed the 26th of August for setting out on my return.  These jaunts are too juvenile.  I am ashamed to look back and remember in what year of Methuselah I was here first.  Rosette Sends her blessing to her daughter.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(43) Madame du Deffand; who, in her letter to Walpole of the 12th of June, had said, “Je sens l’exc`es de votre complaisance; j’ai tant de joie de l’esp`erance de vous revoir qu’il me semble que rien ne peut plus m’affliger ni m’attrister.”—­E.

Letter 30 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Paris, July 30, 1771. (page 52)

I do not know where you are, nor where this will find you, nor when it will set out to seek you, as I am not certain by whom I shall send it.  It is of little consequence, as I have nothing material to tell you, but what you probably may have heard.

The distress here is incredible, especially at court.  The King’s tradesmen are ruined, his servants starving, and even angels and archangels cannot get their pensions and salaries, but sing, “Woe! woe! woe!” instead of Hosannahs.  Compi`egne is abandoned; Villiers-coterets and Chantilly(44) crowded, and Chanteloup(45) still more in fashion, whither every body goes that pleases; though, when they ask leave, the answer is, “Je ne le defends ni le permets.”  This is the first time

Page 28

that ever the will of a King of France was interpreted against his inclination.  Yet, after annihilating his Parliament, and ruining public credit, he tamely submits to be affronted by his own servants.  Madame de Beauveau, and two or three high-spirited dames, defy this Czar of Gaul- Yet they and their cabal are as inconsistent on the other hand.  They make epigrams, sing vaudevilles(46) against the mistress, hand about libels against the Chancellor, and have no more effect than a sky-rocket; but in three months will die to go to court, and to be invited to sup with Madame du Barry.  The only real struggle is between the Chancellor(47) and the Duc d’Aiguillon.  The first is false, bold, determined, and not subject to little qualms.  The other is less known, communicates himself to nobody, is suspected of deep policy and deep designs, but seems to intend to set out under a mask of very smooth varnish; for he has just obtained the payment of all his bitter enemy La Chalotais’ pensions and arrears.  He has the advantage, too, of being but moderately detested in comparison of his rival, and, what he values more, the interest of the mistress.(48) The Comptroller-general serves both, by acting mischief more sensibly felt; for he ruins every body but those who purchase a respite from his mistress.(49) He dispenses bankruptcy by retail, and will fall, because he cannot even by these means be useful enough.  They are striking off nine millions la caisse militaire, five from the marine, and one from the afaires `etrang`eres:  yet all this will not extricate them.  You never saw a great nation in so disgraceful a position.  Their next prospect is not better:  it rests on an imbecile, both in mind and body.

July 31.

Mr. Churchill and my sister set out to-night after supper, and I shall send this letter by them.  There are no new books, no new Plays, no new novels; nay, no new fashions.  They have dragged old Mademoiselle Le Maure out of a retreat of thirty years, to sing at the Colis`ee, which is a most gaudy Ranelagh, gilt, painted, and becupided like an Opera, but not calculated to last as long as Mother Coliseum, being composed of chalk and pasteboard.  Round it are courts of treillage, that serve for nothing, and behind it a canal, very like a horsepond, on which there are fireworks and justs.  Altogether it is very pretty; but as there are few nabobs and nabobesses in this country, and as the middling and common people are not much richer than Job when he had lost every thing but his patience, the proprietors are on the point of being ruined, unless the project takes place that is talked of.  It is, to oblige Corneille, Racine, and Moli`ere to hold their tongues twice a-week, that their audiences may go to the Colis`ee.  This is like our Parliament’s adjourning when senators want to go to Newmarket.  There is a Monsieur Gaillard writing a “History of the Rivalit`e de la France et de l’Angleterre."(50) I hope he will not omit this parallel.

Page 29

The instance of their poverty that strikes me most, who make political observations by the thermometer of baubles, is, that there is nothing new in their shops.  I know the faces of every snuff-box and every tea-cup as well as those of Madame du Lac and Monsieur Poirier.  I have chosen some cups and saucers for my Lady Ailesbury, as she ordered me; but I cannot say they are at all extraordinary.  I have bespoken two cabriolets for her, instead of six, because I think them very dear, and that she may have four more if she likes them.  I shall bring, too, a sample of a baguette that suits them.  For myself, between economy and the want of novelty, I have not laid out five guineas—­a very memorable anecdote in the history of my life.  Indeed, the Czarina and I have a little dispute; she has offered to purchase the whole Crozat collection of pictures, at which I had intended to ruin myself.  The Turks thank her for it!  Apropos, they are sending from hence fourscore officers to Poland, each of whom I suppose, like Almanzor, can stamp with his foot and raise an army.

As my sister travels like a Tartar princess with her whole horde, she will arrive too late almost for me to hear from you in return to this letter, which in truth requires no answer, v`u que I shall set out myself on the 26th of August.  You will not imagine that I am glad to save myself the pleasure of hearing from you; but I would not give you the trouble of writing unnecessarily.  If you are at home, and not in Scotland, you will judge by these dates where to find me.  Adieu!

P. S. Instead of restoring the Jesuits, they are proceeding to annihilate the Celestines, Augustines, and some other orders.

(44) The country palaces of the Duke of Orleans and the Prince of Cond`e; who were in disgrace at court for having espoused the cause of the Parliament of Paris, banished by the Chancellor Maupeou.

(45) The country seat of the Duc de Choiseul, to which, on his ceasing to be first minister, he was banished by the King.

(46) The following `echantillon of these vaudevilles was given by Madame du Deffand to Walpole:—­

“L’avez-vous vue, ma Du Barry,
Elle a ravi mon `ame;
Pour elle j’ai perdu l’esprit,
Des Fran`cais j’ai le bl`ame: 
Charmants enfans de la Gourdon,
Est-elle chez vous maintenant? 
Rendez-la-moi,
Je suis le Roi,
Soulagez mon martyre;
Rendez-la-moi,
Elle est `a moi,
Je suis son pauvre Sire. 
Llavez-vous vue, etc.

“Je sais qu’autrefois les laquais
Ont f`et`e ses jeunes attraits;
Que les cochers,
Les peruquiers,
L’aimaient, l’aimaient d’amour ex`eme,
Mais pas autant que je l’aime. 
L’avez-vous vue,” etc,-E.

(47) Maupeou.

(48) Madame du Barry.’’’

(49) The Abb`e Terrai was comptroller-general of the finances.  His mistress, known in the fashionable circles of Paris by the name of La Sultane, received money, as it was supposed, in concert with the Abb`e himself, for every act of favour or justice solicited from the department over which he presided.-E.

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(50) In a letter to Walpole, Madame du Deffand thus speaks of this work:—­“Il m’arrive une bonne fortune apr`es laquelle je soupirais depuis longtemps:  c’est un livre qui me plait infiniment; il est de M. Gaillard; il a Pour titre ’Rivalit`e de la France et de l’Angleterre;’ il est par chapitres, et chaque chapitre est les `ev`enemens du r`egne d’un Roi de France et d’un Roi d’Angleterre contemporains.  Il est bien loin d’`etre fini; il n’en est qu’a Philippe de Valois et Edouard Trois.  Il n’y a que trois volumes; il y en aura peut-`etre douze ou quinze.”  The work, which was not completed till the year 1774, extended to eleven Volumes.-E.

Letter 31 To John Chute, Esq.  Paris, August 5, 1771. ((page 55)

It is a great satisfaction to Me to find by your letter of the 30th, that you have had no return of your gout.  I have been assured here, that the best remedy is to cut one’s nails in hot water.  It is, I fear, as certain as any other remedy!  It would at least be so here, if their bodies were of a piece with their understandings; or if both were as curable as they are the contrary.  Your prophecy, I doubt, is not better founded than the prescription.  I may be lame; but I shall never be a duck, nor deal in the garbage of the Alley.  I envy your Strawberry tide, and need not say how much I wish I was there to receive you.  Methinks, I should be as glad of a little grass, as a seaman after a long voyage.  Yet English gardening gains ground here prodigiously-not much at a time, indeed—­I have literally seen one, that is exactly like a tailor’s paper of patterns.  There is a Monsieur Boutin, who has tacked a piece of what he calls an English garden to a set of stone terraces, with steps of turf.  There are three or four very high hills, almost as high as, and exactly in the shape of, a tansy pudding.  You squeeze between these and a river, that is conducted at obtuse angles in a stone channel, and supplied by a pump, and when walnuts Come in I suppose it will be navigable.  In a corner enclosed by a chalk wall are the samples I mentioned:  there is a stripe of grass, another of corn, and a third en friche, exactly in the order of beds in a nursery.  They have translated Mr. Whately’s book,(51) and the Lord knows what barbarism is going to be laid at our door.  This new anglomanie will literally be mad English.

New arr`ets, new retrenchments, new misery, stalk forth every day.  The Parliament of Besan`con is dissolved; so are the grenadiers de France.  The King’s tradesmen are all bankrupt; no pensions are paid, and every body is reforming their suppers and equipages.  Despotism makes converts faster than ever Christianity did.  Louis Quinze is the true rex Ckristianissimus, and has ten times more success than his dragooning great-grandfather.  Adieu, my dear Sir!  Yours most faithfully.

Friday, 9th.

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This was to have gone by a private hand, but cannot depart till Monday; so I may be continuing my letter till I bring it myself.  I have been again at the Chartreuse; and though it was the sixth time, I am more enchanted with those paintings(52) than ever.  If it is not the first work in the world, and must yield to the Vatican, yet in simplicity and harmony it beats Raphael himself.  There is a vapour over all the pictures, that makes them more natural than any representation of objects-1 cannot conceive bow it is effected!  You see them through the shine of a southeast wind.  These poor folks do not know the inestimable treasure they possess—­but they are perishing these pictures, and one gazes at them as at a setting sun.  There is the purity of a Racine in them, but they give me more pleasure--and I should much sooner be tired of the poet than of the painter.

It is very singular that I have not half the satisfaction in going into C, churches and convents that I used to have.  The consciousness that the vision is dispelled, the want of fervour so obvious in the religious, the solitude that one knows proceeds from contempt, not from contemplation, make those places appear like abandoned theatres destined to destruction.  The monks trot about as if they had not long to stay there; and what used to be the holy gloom is now but dirt and darkness.  There is no more deception than in a tragedy acted by candlesnuffers.  One is sorry to think that an empire of common sense would not be very picturesque; for, as there is nothing but taste that can compensate for the imagination of madness, I doubt there will never be twenty men of taste for twenty thousand madmen.  The world will no more see Athens, Rome, and the Medici again, than a succession of five good emperors, like Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, and the two Antonines.

August 13.

Mr. Edmonson called on me; and, as he sets on to-morrow, I can safely trust my letter to him.  I have, I own,, been much shocked at reading Gray’s(53) death in the papers.  ’Tis an hour that makes one forget any subject of complaint, especially towards one with whom I lived in friendship from thirteen years old.  As self lies so rooted in self, no doubt the nearness of our ages made the stroke recoil to my own breast; and having so little expected his death, it is Plain how little I expect my own.  Yet to you, who of all men living are the most forgiving, I need not excuse the concern I feel.  I fear most men ought to apologize for their want of feeling, instead of palliating that sensation when they have it.  I thought that what I had seen of the world had hardened my heart; but I find that it had formed my language, not extinguished my tenderness.  In short, I am really shocked—­nay, I am hurt at my own weakness, as I perceive that when I love any body, it is for my life; and I have had too Much reason not to wish that such a disposition may very seldom be put to the trial.(54) You, at least, are the only person to whom I would venture to make such a confession.

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Adieu! my dear Sir!  Let me know when I arrive, which will be about the last day of the month, when I am likely to see you.  I have much to say to you.  Of being here I am most heartily tired, and nothing but the dear old woman should keep me here an hour-I am weary of them to death-but that is not new!  Yours ever.

(51) Entitled “An Essay on Design in Gardening,” Mr. Whately was at this time under-secretary of state, and member for Castle Rising.  In January, 1772, he was made keeper of the King’s private roads, gates, and bridges, and died in the June following.-E.

(52) The Life of St. Bruno, painted by Le Soeur, in the cloister of the Chartreuse.

(53) On the 24th of July,” says Mr. Mitford, “Gray, while at dinner in the college hall, was seized with an attack of the gout in his stomach.  The violence of the disease resisted all the powers of medicine:  on the 29th he was seized with convulsions, which returned more violently on the 30th; and he expired on the evening of that day, in the fifty-fifth year of his age.”  Works, Vol. i, P. lvi-E.

(54) “It will appear from this and the two following letters,” observes Mr. Mitford, “that Walpole’s affection and friendship for Gray was warm and sincere after the reconcilement took place; and indeed, before that, and immediately after the quarrel, I believe his regard for Gray was undiminished.”  Works, vol. iv. p. 2 12-E.

Letter 32 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Paris, August 11, 1771. (page 57)

You will have seen, I hope, before now, that I have not neglected writing to you.  I sent you a letter by my sister, but doubt she has been a great while upon the road, as they travel with a large family.  I was not sure where you was, and would not write at random by the post.

I was just going out when I received yours and the newspapers.  I was struck in a most sensible manner, when, after reading your letter, I saw in the newspapers that Gray is dead!  So very ancient an intimacy(55) and, I suppose, the natural reflection to self on losing a person but a year older, made me absolutely start in my chair.  It seemed more a corporal than a mental blow; and yet I am exceedingly concerned for him, and every body must be so for the loss of such a genius.  He called on me but two or three days before I came hither; he complained of being ill, and talked of the gout in his stomach—­but I expected his death no more than my own—­and yet the same death will probably be mine.(56) I am full of all these reflections-but shall not attrist you with them:  only do not wonder that my letter will be short, when my mind is full of what I do not give vent to.  It was but last night that I was thinking how few persons last, if one lives to be old, to whom one can talk without reserve.  It is impossible to be intimate with the Young, because they and the old cannot converse on the same common topics; and of the old that survive, there are few one can commence a friendship with, because one has probably all one’s life despised their heart or their understandings.  These are the steps through which one passes to the unenviable lees of life!

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I am very sorry for the state of poor Lady Beauchamp.  It presages ill.  She had a prospect of long happiness.  Opium is a very false friend.  I will get you Bougainville’s book.(57) I think it is on the Falkland Isles, for it cannot be on those just discovered; but as I set out to-morrow se’nnight, and probably may have no opportunity sooner of sending it, I will bring it myself.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(55) It will b recollected, that General Conway travelled with Gray and Walpole in 1739, and separated from them at Geneva.-E.

(56) Gray’s last letter to Walpole was dated March 17, 1771; it contained the following striking passage:—­“He must have a very strong stomach that can digest the crambe recocta of Voltaire.  Atheism is a vile dish, though all the cooks of France combine to make new sauces to it.  As to the soul, perhaps they may have none on the Continent; but I do think we have such things in England; Shakspeare, for example, I believe, had several to his own share.  As to the Jews (though they do not eat pork), I like them, because they are better Christians than Voltaire.”  Works vol. iv. p. 190.-E.

(57) An English translation of the book appeared in 1773, under the title of “History of a Voyage to the Malonine, or Falkland Islands, made in 1763 and 1764, under the command of M. de Bougainville; and of two Voyages to the Straits of Magellan, with an account of the Patagonians; translated from Don Pernety’s Historical Journal, written in French.”  In the same year was published a translation of Bougainville’s “Voyage autour du Monde.”  This celebrated circumnavigator retired from the service in 1790.  He afterwards was made Count and Senator by Napoleon Buonaparte, became member of the National Institute and of the Royal Society of London, and died at Paris in 1811, at the age of eighty-two.-E.

Letter 33 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Paris, August 12, 1771. (page 53)

I am excessively shocked at reading in the papers that Mr. Gray is dead!  I wish to God you may be able to tell me it is not true!  Yet in this painful uncertainty I must rest some days!  None of my acquaintance are in London—­I do not know to whom to apply but to you—­alas!  I fear in vain!  Too many circumstances speak it true!—­the detail is exact;—­a second paper arrived by the same post, and does not contradict it—­and, what is worse, I saw him but four or five days before I came hither:  he had been to Kensington for the air, complained of the gout flying about him, of sensations of it in his stomach:  I, indeed, thought him changed, and that he looked ill—­still I had not the least idea of his being in danger—­I started up from my chair when I read the paragraph—­a cannon-ball would not have surprised me more!  The shock but ceased, to give way to my concern; and my hopes are too ill-founded to mitigate it.  If nobody has the charity to write to me, my anxiety must continue till the end of the month, for I shall set out on my return on the 26th; and unless you receive this time enough for your answer to leave London on the 20th, in the evening, I cannot meet it till I find it in Arlington-street, whither I beg you to direct it.

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If the event is but too true, pray add to this melancholy service, that of telling me any circumstance you know of his death.  Our long, very long friendship, and his genius, must endear to me every thing that relates to him.  What writings has he left?  Who are his executors?(58) I should earnestly wish, if he has destined any thing to the public, to print it at my press—­it would do me honour, and would give me an opportunity of expressing what I feel for him.  Methinks, as we grow old, our only business here is to adorn the graves of our friends, or to dig our own!  Adieu, dear Sir!  Yours ever.

P. S. I heard this unhappy news but last night; and have just been told, that Lord Edward Bentinck goes in haste to-morrow to England; so that you will receive this much sooner than I expected:  still I must desire you to direct to Arlington-street, as by far the surest conveyance to me.

(58) His executors were, Mason the poet and the Rev. Dr. Brown, master of Pembroke Hall.  “He hath desired,” wrote Dr. Brown to Dr. Wharton, “to be buried near his mother, at Stoke, near Windsor, and that one of his executors would see him laid in the grave; a melancholy task, which must come to my share, for Mr. Mason is not here.”  Works, vol. iv. p. 206.-E.

Letter 34 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Paris, August 25, 1771. (page 59)

I have passed my biennial six weeks here, my dear lord, and am preparing to return as soon as the weather will allow me.  It is some comfort to the patriot virtue, envy, to find this climate worse than our own.  There were four very hot days at the end of last month, which, you know, with us northern people compose a summer:  it has rained half this, and for these three days there has been a deluge, a storm, and extreme cold.  Yet these folks shiver in silk, and sit with their Windows open till supper-time.  Indeed, firing is very dear, and nabobs very scarce.  Economy and retrenchment are the words in fashion, and are founded in a little more than caprice.  I have heard no instance of luxury but in Mademoiselle Guimard, a favourite dancer, who is building a palace:  round the salle `a manger there are windows that open upon hot-houses, that are to produce flowers all winter.  That is worthy of * * * * * *.  There is a finer dancer, whom Mr. Hobart is to transplant to London; a Mademoiselle Heinel or Ingle, a Fleming.(59) She is tall, perfectly made, very handsome, and has a set of attitudes copied from the classics.  She moves as gracefully slow as Pygmalion’s statue when it was Coming to life, and moves her leg round as imperceptibly as if she was dancing in the zodiac.  But she is not Virgo.

They make no more of breaking parliaments here than an English mob does of breaking windows.  It is pity people are so ill-sorted.  If this King and ours could cross over and figure in, Louis xv. would dissolve our parliament if Polly Jones did but say a word to him.  They have got into such a habit of it here, that you would think a parliament was a polypus:  they cut it in two, and by next morning half of it becomes a whole assembly.  This has literally been the case at Besan`con.(60) Lord and Lady Barrymore, who are in the highest favour at Compiegne, will be able to carry over the receipt.

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Everybody feels in their own way.  My grief is to see the ruinous Condition of the palaces and pictures.  I was yesterday at the Louvre.  Le Brun’s noble gallery, where the battles of Alexander are, and of which he designed the ceiling, and even the shutters, bolts, and locks, is in a worse condition than the old gallery at Somerset-house.  It rains in upon the pictures, though there are stores of much more valuable pieces than those of Le Brun.  Heaps of glorious works by Raphael and all the great masters are piled up and equally neglected at Versailles.  Their care is not less destructive in private houses.  The Duke of Orleans’ pictures and the Prince of Monaco’s have been cleaned, and varnished so thick that you May see your face in them; and some of them have been transported from board to cloth, bit by bit, and the seams filled up with colour; so that in ten years they will not be worth sixpence.  It makes me as peevish as if I was posterity!  I hope your lordship’s works will last longer than these of Louis XIV.  The glories of his si`ecle hasten fast to their end, and little will remain but those of his authors.

(59) “It was at this time,” says Dr. Burney, “that dancing seemed first to gain the ascendant over music, by the superior talents of Mademoiselle Heinel, whose grace and execution were so perfect as to eclipse all other excellence.  Crowds assembled at the Opera-house, more for the gratification of the eye than the ear; for neither the invention of a new composer, nor the talents of new singers, attracted the public to the theatre, which was almost abandoned till the arrival of this lady, whose extraordinary merit had an extraordinary recompense; for, besides the six hundred pounds’ salary allowed her by the Honourable Mr. Hobart, as manager, she was complimented with a regallo of six hundred more from the Maccaroni Club.  ‘E molto particulare,’ said Cocchi, the Composer; ’ma quei Inglesi non fanno conto d’alcuna cosa se non ben pagata:’  It is very extraordinary that the English set no value upon any thing but what they pay an exorbitant price for."-E.

(60) The Parliaments of Besan`con, Bourdeaux, Toulouse and Britany, were, in succession, totally suppressed by Louis xv.  New courts were assembled in their stead; most of the former members being sent into banishment.-E.

Letter 35 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Sept. 7, 1771. (page 61)

I arrived yesterday,(61) within an hour or two after you was gone, which mortified me exceedingly:  Lord knows when I shall see you.  You are so active and so busy, and cast bullets(62) and build bridges, are pontifex maximus, and, like Sir John Thorold or Cimon, triumph over land and wave, that one can never get a word with you.  Yet I am very well worth a general’s or a politician’s ear.  I have been deep in all the secrets of France, and confidant of some of the principals of

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both parties.  I know what is, and is to be, though I am neither priest nor conjuror -and have heard a vast deal about breaking carabiniers and grenadiers; though, as usual, I dare say I shall give a woful account of both.  The worst part is, that by the most horrid oppression and injustice their finances will very soon be in good order-unless some bankrupt turns Ravaillac, which will not surprise me.  The horror the nation has conceived of the King and Chancellor makes it probable that the latter, at least, will be sacrificed.  He seems not to be without apprehension, and has removed from the King’s library a Ms. trial of a chancellor who was condemned to be hanged under Charles vii.  For the King, qui a fait ses `epreuves, and not to his honour, you will not wonder that he lives in terrors.

I have executed all Lady Ailesbury’s commissions; but mind, I do not commission you to tell her, for you would certainly forget it.  As you will, no doubt, come to town to report who burnt Portsmouth;(63) I will meet you here, if I am apprised of the day.  Your niece’s marriage,(64) pleases me extremely.  Though I never saw him till last night, I know a great deal of her future husband, and like his character.  His person is much better than I expected, and far preferable to many of the fine young moderns.  He is better than Sir Watkin Williams Wynne, at least as well as the Duke of Devonshire, and Adonis compared to the charming Mr. Fitzpatrick.  Adieu!

(61) Mr. Walpole arrived at Paris on the ’10th of July, and left it on the 2d of September-E.

(62) Mr. Conway was now at the head of the ordnance, but with the title and appointments of lieutenant-general only.  The particular circumstances attending this are thus recorded in a letter from Mr. Walpole to another correspondent at the time (January 1770), and deserve to be known:—­“The King offered the mastership of the ordnance, on Lord Granby’s resignation, to Mr. Conway, who is only lieutenant-general of it:  he said he had lived in friendship with Lord Granby, and would not profit by his spoils; but, as he thought he could do some essential service in the office, where there were many abuses, if his Majesty would be pleased to let him continue as he is, be would do the business of the office without accepting the salary."-E.

(63) On the 27th of July, a fire had broken out in the dockyard at Portsmouth, which, as it might be highly prejudicial to the country at that period, excited universal alarm.  The loss sustained by it, which at first was supposed to be half a million, is said to have been about one hundred and fifty thousand pounds.-E.

(64) The marriage of Lady Gertrude Seymour Conway to Lord Villiers, afterwards Earl of Grandison.

Letter 36 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 10, 1771. (page 62)

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However melancholy the occasion is, I can but give you a thousand thanks, dear Sir-., for the kind trouble you have taken, and the information you have given me about poor Mr. Gray.  I received your first letter at Paris; the last I found at my house in town, where I arrived only on Friday last.  The circumstance of the professor refusing to rise in the night and visit him, adds to the shock.  Who is that true professor of physic?  Jesus! is their absence to murder as well as their presence?

I have not heard from Mr. Mason, but I have written to him.  Be so good as to tell the Master at Pembroke,(65) though I have not the honour of knowing him, how sensible I am of his proposed attention to me, and how much I feel for him in losing a friend of so excellent a genius.  Nothing will allay my own concern like seeing any of his compositions that I have not yet seen.  It is buying them too dear—­but when the author is irreparably lost, the produce of his Mind is the next best possession.  I have offered my press to Mr. Mason, and hope it will be accepted.

Many thanks for the cross, dear Sir; it is precisely what I wished.  I hope you and Mr. Essex preserve your resolution of passing a few days here between this and Christmas.  Just at present I am not My own master, having stepped into the middle of a sudden match in my own family.  Lord Hertford is going to marry his third daughter to Lord Villiers, son of Lady Grandison, the present wife of Sir Charles Montagu.  We are all felicity, and in a round of dinners.  I am this minute returned from Beaumont-lodge, at Old Windsor, where Sir Charles Grandison lives.  I will let you know, if the papers do not, when our festivities are subsided.

I shall receive with gratitude from Mr. Tyson either drawing or etching of our departed friend; but wish not to have it inscribed to me, as it is an honour, more justly due to Mr. Stonehewer.  If the Master of Pembroke will accept a copy of a small picture I have of Mr. Gray, painted soon after the publication of his Ode on Eton, it shall be at his service—­and after his death I beg, it may be bequeathed to his college.  Adieu!

(65) Dr. James Brown.  Gray used to call him “le petit bon homme;” and Cole, in his Athene Cantab, says of him—­“He is a very worthy man, a good scholar, small, and short-sighted.”  In the Chatham Correspondence there will be found an interesting letter from the Master of Pembroke to Lord Chatham, in which he thus speaks of his illustrious son, the future minister of this country:  " Notwithsanding the illness of your son, I have myself seen, and have heard enough from his tutors, to be convinced both of his extraordinary genius and most amiable disposition.  He promises fair, indeed to be one of those extraordinary persons whose eminent parts, equalled by as eminent industry, continue in a progressive state throughout their lives; such persons appear to be formed by Heaven to assist and bless mankind.”  Vol. iv. p. 311.-E.

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Letter 37 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Oct. 12, 1771. (page 63)

Dear Sir, As our wedding will not be so soon as I expected, and as I should be unwilling You Should take a journey in bad weather, I wish it may be convenient to you and Mr. Essex to come hither on the 25th day of this present month.  If one can depend on any season, it is on the chill suns of October, which, like an elderly beauty, are less capricious than spring or summer.  Our old-fashioned October, you know, reached eleven days into modern November, and I still depend on that reckoning, when I have a mind to protract the year.

Lord Ossory is charmed with Mr. Essex’s cross(66) and wishes much to consult him on the proportions.  Lord Ossory has taken a small house very near mine; is now, and will be here again, after Newmarket.  He is determined to erect it at Ampthill, and I have written the following lines to record the reason: 

In days of old here Ampthill’s towers were seen;
The mournful refuge of an injured queen. 
 Here flowed her pure, but unavailing tears;
Here blinded zeal sustain’d her sinking years. 
 Yet Freedom hence-her radiant banners waved,
And love avenged a realm by priests enslaved. 
 From Catherine’s wrongs a nation’s bliss was spread,
And Luther’s light from Henry’s lawless bed,

I hope the satire on Henry viii. will make you excuse the compliment to Luther, Which, like most poetic compliments, does not come from my heart.  I only like him better than Henry, Calvin, and the Church of Rome, who were bloody persecutors.  Calvin was an execrable villain, and the worst of all; for he copied those whom he pretended to correct.  Luther was as jovial as Wilkes, and served the cause of liberty without canting.  Yours most sincerely.

(66) Mr. Cole applied to Mr. Essex, who furnished a design for the cross, which was followed.

Letter 38 To The Rev Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Oct. 23, 1771. (page 63)

I am sorry, dear Sir, that I cannot say your answer is as agreeable and entertaining as you flatter me my letter was; but consider, you are prevented coming to me, and have flying pains of rheumatism—­either were sufficient to spoil your letter.

I am sure of being here till to-morrow se’nnight, the last of this month; consequently I may hope to see Mr. Essex here on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday next.  After that I cannot answer for myself, on account of our wedding, which depends on the return of a courier from Ireland.  If I can command any days certain in November, I will give you notice:  and yet I shall have a scruple of dragging you so far from home at such a season.  I will leave it to your option, only begging you to be assured that I shall always be most happy to see you.

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I am making a very curious purchase at Paris, the complete armour of Francis the First.  It is gilt, in relief, and is very rich and beautiful.  It comes out of the Crozat collection.(67) I am building a small chapel, too, in my garden, to receive two valuable pieces of antiquity, and which have been presents singularly lucky for me.  They are the window from Bexhill, with the portraits of Henry iii. and his Queen, procured for me by Lord Ashburnham.  The other, great part of the tomb of Capoccio, mentioned in my Anecdotes of Painting on the subject of the Confessor’s shrine, and sent to me from Rome by Mr. Hamilton, our minister at Naples.  It is very extraordinary that I should happen to be master of these curiosities.  After next summer, by which time my castle and collection will be complete (for if I buy more I must build another castle for another collection), I propose to form another catalogue and description, and shall take the liberty to call on you for your assistance.  In the mean time there is enough new to divert you at present.

(67) This curiosity was at first estimated at a thousand crowns, but Madame du Deffand finally purchased it for Walpole for fifty louis.  “Ce bijou,” she says, “me parait un peu cher et ressemble beaucoup aux casques du Ch`ateau d,Otrante:  si vous persistez `a le d`esirer, je le payerai, je le ferai encaisser et Partir sur le champ.  C’est certainement une pi`ece tr`es belle et tr`es rare, mais infiniment ch`ere."-E.

Letter 39 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Late Strawberry Hill, Jan. 7, 1772. (page 64)

You have read of my calamity without knowing it, and will pity me when you do.  I have been blown up; my castle is blown up; Guy Fawkes has been about my house:  and the 5th of November has fallen on the 6th of January!  In short, nine thousand powder-mills broke loose yesterday morning on Hounslow-heath;(68) a whole squadron of them came hither, and have broken eight of my painted-glass windows; and the north side of the castle looks as if it had stood a siege.  The two saints in the hall have suffered martyrdom! they have had their bodies cut off, and nothing remains but their heads.  The two next great sufferers are indeed two of the least valuable, being the passage-windows to the library and great parlour—­a fine pane is demolished in the round-room; and the window by the gallery is damaged.  Those in the cabinet, and Holbein-room, and gallery, and blue-room, and green-closet, etc. have escaped.  As the storm came from the northwest, the china-closet was not touched, nor a cup fell down.  The bow-window of brave old coloured glass, at Mr. Hindley’s, is massacred; and all the north sides of Twickenham and Brentford are shattered.  At London it was proclaimed an earthquake, and half the inhabitants ran into the street.

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As lieutenant-general of the ordnance, I must beseech you to give strict order that no more powder-mills may blow up.  My aunt, Mrs. Kerwood, reading one day in the papers that a distiller’s had been burnt by the head of the still flying off, said, she wondered they did not make an act of parliament against the heads of stills flying off.  Now, I hold it much easier for you to do a body this service; and would recommend to your consideration whether it would not be prudent to have all magazines of powder kept under water till they are wanted for service.  In the mean time, I expect a pension to make me amends for what I have suffered under the government.  Adieu!  Yours.

(68) Three powder-mills blew up on Hounslow-heath, on the 6th of January, when such was the violence of the explosion that it was felt not only in the metropolis, but as far as Gloucester, and was very generally mistaken for the shock of an earthquake.-E.

Letter 40 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Jan. 28, 1772. (page 65)

It is long indeed, dear Sir, since we corresponded.  I should not have been silent if I had had any thing worth telling you in your way:  but I grow such an antiquity myself, that I think I am less fond of what remains of our predecessors.

I thank you for Bannerman’s proposal; I mean, for taking the trouble to send it, for I am not at all disposed to subscribe.  I thank you more for the note on King Edward; I mean, too, for your friendship in thinking of me.  Of Dean Milles I cannot trouble myself to think any more.  His piece is at Strawberry:  perhaps I may look at it for the sake of your note.  The bad weather keeps me in town, and a good deal at home; which I find very comfortable, literally practising what so many persons pretend they intend, being quiet and enjoying my fireside in my elderly days.

Mr. Mason has shown me the relics of poor Mr. Gray.  I am sadly disappointed at finding them so very inconsiderable.  He always persisted, when I inquired about his writings, that he had nothing by him.  I own I doubted.  I am grieved he was so very near exact—­I speak of my own satisfaction; as to his genius, what he published during his life will establish his fame as long as our language lasts, and there is a man of genius left.  There is a silly fellow, I do not know who, that has published a volume of Letters on the English Nation, With characters of our modern authors.  He has talked such nonsense On Mr. Gray, that I have no patience with the compliments he has paid me.  He must have an excellent taste; and gives me a woful opinion of my own trifles, when he likes them, and cannot see the beauties of a poet that ought to be ranked in the first line.  I am more humbled by any applause in the present age, than by hosts of such critics as Dean Milles.  Is not Garrick reckoned a tolerable author, though he has proved how little sense is necessary to form

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a great actor’?  His Cymon, his prologues and epilogues, and forty such pieces of trash, are below mediocrity, and yet delight the mob in the boxes as well as in the footman’s gallery.  I do not mention the things written in his praise; because he writes most Of them himself!  But you know any one popular merit can confer all merit.  Two women talking Of Wilkes, one said he squinted—­t’other replied, “Squints!—­well, if he does, it is not more than a man should squint.”  For my part, I can see how extremely well Garrick acts, without thinking him six feet high.  It is said Shakspeare was a bad actor; why do not his divine plays make our wise judges conclude that he was a good one?  They have not a proof of the contrary, as they have in Garrick’s works—­but what is it to you or me what he is?  We may see him act with pleasure, and nothing obliges us to read his writings.(69)

(69) The best defence of Garrick against the charges which Walpole so repeatedly brings against him will be found in the estimation in which he was held by the most distinguished of his contemporaries.  His friend Dr. Johnson thought well of’ his talent in prologue writing:  “Dryden,” he said, “has written prologues superior to any that David has written; but David has written more good prologues than Dryden has done.  It is wonderful that he has been able to write such variety of them.  A true conception of character and natural expression of it, were his distinguished excellences; but I thought him less to be envied on the stage than at the head of a table.  He was the first man in the world for sprightly conversation."-E.

Letter 41 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, June 9, 1772. (page 66)

Dear sir, The preceding paper(70) was given me by a gentleman, who has a better opinion of my bookhood than I deserve.  I could give him no satisfaction, but told him, I would get inquiry made at Cambridge for the pieces he wants.  If you can give any assistance in this chase, I am sure you will:  as it will be trouble enough, I will not make my letter longer.

(70) This letter enclosed some queries from a gentleman abroad, respecting books, etc. relating to the order of Malta.

Letter 42 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 17, 1772. (page 66)

Dear sir, You are a mine that answers beyond those of Peru.  I have given the treasure you sent me to the gentleman from whom I had the queries.  He is vastly obliged to you, and I am sure so am I, for the trouble you have given yourself"and, therefore I am going to give you more.  King Edward’s Letters are printed.(71) Shall I keep them for you or send them, and how?  I intend you four copies—­shall you want more?  Lord Ossory takes a hundred, and I have as many; but none will be sold.

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I am out of materials for my press.  I am thinking of printing some numbers of miscellaneous MSS. from my own and Mr. Gray’s collection.  If you have any among your stores that are historic, new and curious, and like to have them printed, I shall be glad of them.  Among Gray’s are letters of Sir Thomas Wyat the elder.(72) I am sure you must have a thousand hints about him.  If you will send them to me I will do you justice; as you will see I have in King Edward’s Letters.  Do you know any thing of his son,(73) the insurgent, in Queen Mary’s reign?

I do not know whether it was not to Payne the bookseller, but I am sure I gave somebody a very few notes to the British Topography.  They were indeed of very little consequence.

I have got to-day, and am reading with entertainment, two vols. in octavo, the Lives of Leland, Hearne, and Antony Wood.,(74) I do not know the author, but he is of Oxford.  I think you should add that of your friend Brown Willis.(75) There is a queer piece on Freemasonry in one of the volumes, said to be written, on very slender authority, by Henry VI. with notes by Mr. Locke:  a very odd conjunction!  It says that Arts were brought from the East by Peter Gower.  As I am sure you will not find an account of this singular person in all your collections, be it known to you, that Peter Gower was commonly called Pythagoras.  I remember our newspapers insisting that Thomas Kouli Khan was an Irishman, and that his true name was Thomas Callaghan.

On reading over my letter, I find I am no sceptic, having affirmed no less than four times, that I am sure.  Though this is extremely awkward, I am sure I will not write my letter over again; so pray excuse or burn my tautology.

P. S. I had like to have forgotten the most obliging, and to me the most interesting part of your letter-your kind offer of coming hither.  I accept it most gladly; but, for reasons I will tell you, wish it may be deferred a little.  I am going to Park-place (General Conway’s), then to Ampthill (Lord Ossory’s), and then to Goodwood (Duke of Richmond’s); and the beginning of August to Wentworth Castle (Marquis of Rockingham’s); so that I shall not be at all settled here till the end of the latter month.  But I have a stronger reason.  By that time will be finished a delightful chapel I am building in my garden, to contain the shrine of Capoccio, and the Window with Henry iii. and his Queen.  My new bedchamber will be finished too, which is now all in litter:  and, besides, September is a quiet month; visits to make or receive are over, and the troublesome go to shoot partridges.  If that time suits you, pray assure me I shall see you on the first of September.

(71) “Copies of seven original Letters from King Edward VI. to Barnaby Fitzpatrick.”  Strawberry Hill, 1772.-E.

(72) He was the contemporary and friend of Surrey, and was accused by Henry viii. of being the paramour of Anne Boleyn; but the King’s suspicion dying away, he was appointed, in 1537, Henry’s ambassador to the Emperor.  His poems have recently been published in the Aldine edition of the Poets; and in the Biographical Preface to them are included some of his admirable letters.-E.

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(73) Sir Thomas Wyatt “the younger,” son of the preceding, who is presumed to have received that designation from having been knighted in the lifetime of his father.  Having joined in the effort to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne, he was condemned and executed for high treason, on the 11th of April 1554.-E.

(74) The editor was W. Huddersford, fellow of Trinity College.-E.

(74) Browne Willis, the antiquary, and author of “A Survey of the Cathedrals of England;” “Notitia Parliamentaria,” etc.  He was born at Blandford in 1682, and died in February 1760.  Dr. Ducarel printed privately, immediately after his death, a small quarto pamphlet, entitled " Some Account Of Browne Willis, Esq.  LL.  D.”  One of Willis’s peculiarities was his fondness for visiting cathedrals on the saints, days to which they were dedicated.-E.

Letter 43 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Monday, June 22, 1772. (page 68)

It is lucky that I have had no dealings with Mr. Fordyce;(75) for, if he had ruined me, as he has half the world, I could not have run away.  I tired myself with walking on Friday:  the gout came on Saturday in my foot; yesterday I kept my bed till four o’clock, and my room all day-but, with wrapping myself all over with bootikins, have scarce had any pain-my foot swelled immediately, and today I am descended into the blueth and greenth:(76) and though you expect to find that I am paving the way to an excuse, I think I shall be able to be with you on Saturday.  All I intend to excuse myself from, is walking.  I should certainly never have the gout, if I had lost the use of my feet.  Cherubims that have no legs, and do nothing but stick their chins in a cloud and sing, are never out of order.  Exercise is the worst thing in the world, and as bad an invention as gunpowder.

Apropos to Mr. Fordyce, here is a passage ridiculously applicable to him, that I met with yesterday in the letters of Guy Patin:  “Il n’y a pas long-temps qu’un auditeur des comptes nomm`e Mons. Nivelle fit banqueroute; et tout fra`ichement, c’est-`a-dire depuis trois jours, un tr`esorier des parties casuelles, nomm`e SanSon, en a fait autant; et pour vous montrer qu’il est vrai que res humanae faciunt circulum, comme il a `et`e autrefois dit par Plato et par Aristote, celui-l`a s’en retourne d’o`u il vient.  Il est fils d’un paysan; il a `et`e laquais de son premier m`etier, et aujourd’hui il n’est plus rien, si non qu’il lui reste une assez belle femme.”—­I do not think I can find in Patin or Plato, nay, nor in Aristotle, though he wrote about every thing, a parallel case to Charles Fox:(77) there are advertised to be sold more annuities of his and his society, to the amount of five hundred thousand pounds a-year!  I wonder what he will do next, when he has sold the estates of all his friends!

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I have been reading the most delightful book in the world, the Lives of Leland, Tom earne, and Antony Wood.  The last’s diary makes a thick volume in octavo.  One entry is, “This day Old Joan began to make my bed.”  In the story of Leland is an examination of a freemason, written by the hand of King Henry VI., with notes by Mr. Locke.  Freemasonry, Henry VI., and Locke, make a strange heterogeneous olio; but that is not all.  The respondent, who defends the mystery of masonry, says it was brought into Europe by the Venetians—­he means the Phoenicians.  And who do you think propagated it?  Why, one Peter Gore—­And who do you think that was?—­One Pythagoras, Pythagore.  I do not know whether it is not still More extraordinary, that this and the rest of the nonsense in that account made Mr. Locke determine to be a freemason:  so would I too, if I could expect to hear of more Peter Gores.

Pray tell Lady Lyttelton that I say she will certainly kill herself if she lets Lady Ailesbury drag her twice a-day to feed the pheasants, and you make her climb cliffs and clamber over mountains.  She has a tractability that alarms me for her; and if she does not pluck up a spirit, and determine never to be put out of her own way, I do not know what may be the Consequence.  I will come and set her an example of immovability.  Take notice, I do not say one civil syllable to Lady Ailesbury.  She has not passed a whole day here these two years.  She is always very gracious, says she will come when you will fix a time, as if you governed, and then puts it off whenever it is proposed, nor will spare one Single day from Park-place-as if other people were not as partial to their own Park-places, Adieu!  Yours ever.

Tuesday noon.

I wrote my letter last night; this morning I received yours, and shall wait till Sunday, as you bid me, which will be more convenient for my gout, though not for other engagements, but I shall obey the superior, as nullum tempus occurrit regi et podagrae.

(75) The greatest consternation prevailed at this time in the metropolis, in consequence of the banking-house of Neale, James, Fordyce, and Down having stopped payment.  Fordyce was bred a hosier in Aberdeen.  For a memoir of him, see Gent.  Mag. vol. x1ii. p. 310.-E.

(76) Cant words of Walpole for blue and green.  He means, that he came out of his room to the blue sky and green fields.

(77) Gibbon, in a letter to Mr. Holroyd, of the 8th of February, in reference to the recent debate in the House of Commons, on the clerical petition for relief from subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, says—­“I congratulate you on the late victory of our dear Mamma, the Church of England.  She had, last Thursday, seventy-one rebellious sons, Who pretended to set aside her will, on a account of insanity; but two hundred and seventeen worthy champions, headed by Lord North, Burke, Charles Fox, etc., though they allowed the thirty-nine clauses of her testament were absurd and unreasonable, supported the validity of it with infinite honour.  By the bye, Charles Fox prepared himself for that holy work by passing twenty-one hours in the pious exercise of hazard; his devotions cost him only about five hundred pounds an hour, in all, eleven thousand pounds."-E.

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Letter 44 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, July 7, 1772. (page 70)

Dear Sir, I sent you last week by the Cambridge Fly, that puts up in Gray’s-inn-lane, six copies of King Edward’s Letters, but fear I forgot to direct their being left at Mr. Bentham’s, by which neglect perhaps you have not yet got them; so that I have been very blamable, while I thought I was very expeditious; and it was not till reading your letter again just now that I discovered my carelessness.

I have not heard of Dr. Glynn, etc., but the housekeeper has orders to receive them.  I thank you a thousand times for the Maltese notes, which I have given to the gentleman, and for the Wyattiana:  I am going to work on the latter.

I have not yet seen Mr. ’s print, but am glad it is so like.  I expected Mr. Mason would have sent me one early; but I suppose he keeps it for me, as I shall call on him in my way to Lord Strafford’s.

Mr. West,(78) one of our brother antiquaries, is dead.  He had a very curious collection of old pictures, English coins, English prints, and manuscripts.  But he was so rich, that I take for granted nothing will be sold.  I could wish for his family pictures of Henry V. and Henry viii.

Foote, in his new comedy of The Nabob, has lashed Master Doctor Miles and our Society very deservedly for the nonsensical discussion they had this winter about Whittington and his Cat.  Few of them are fit for any thing better than such researches.  Poor Mr. Granger has been very ill, but is almost recovered.  I intend to invite him to meet you in September.  It is a party I shall be very impatient for:  you know how sincerely I am, dear Sir, your obliged and Obedient humble servant.

(78) James West, Esq.  He was for some time one of the secretaries of the treasury, vice president of the Society of Antiquaries, and president of the Royal Society.  His curious collection of manuscripts were purchased by the Earl of Shelburne, and are now deposited in the British Museum.-E.

Letter 45 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, July 28, 1772. (page 70)

Dear Sir, I am anew obliged to you, as I am perpetually, for the notice you give me of another intended publication against me in the Archaeologia, or Old Woman’s Logic.  By Your account, the author will add much credit to their Society!  For my part, I shall take no notice of any of his handycrafts.  However, as there seems to be a willingness to carp at me, and as gnats may on a sudden provoke one to give a slap, I choose to be at liberty to say what I think Of the learned Society; and therefore I have taken leave of them, having so good an occasion presented as their council on Whittington and his Cat, and the ridicule that Foote has thrown on them.  They are welcome to say any thing on my writings, but that they are the works of a fellow of so foolish a Society.

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I am at work on the Life of Sir Thomas Wyat, but it does not please me; nor will it be entertaining, though you have contributed so many materials towards it.  You must take one trouble more it is to inquire and search for a book that I want to see.  It is the Pilgrim; was written by William Thomas, who was executed in Queen Mary’s time; but the book was printed under, and dedicated to, Edward VI.  I have only an imperfect memorandum of it, and cannot possibly recall to mind from whence I made it.  All I think I remember is, that the book was in the King’s library.  I have sent to the Museum to inquire after it; but I cannot find it mentioned in Ames’s History of English Printers.  Be so good as to ask all your antiquarian friends if they know such a work.

Amidst all your kindness, you have added one very disagreeable paragraph:—­I mean, you doubt about coming here in September.  Fear of a sore throat would be a reason for your never coming.  It is one of the distempers in the world the least to be foreseen, and September, a dry month, one of the least likely months to bring it.  I do not like your recurring to so very ill-founded an excuse, and positively will not accept it, unless you wish I should not be so much as I an, dear Sir, Your most faithful humble servant, H. W.

Letter 46 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Aug. 25, 1772. (page 71)

Dear sir, I thank you for your notices, dear Sir, and will deliver you from the trouble of any further pursuit of the Peleryne of Thomas.  I have discovered him among the Cottonian MSS. in the Museum, and am to see him.

If Dr. Browne is returned to Cambridge, may I beg you to give him a thousand thanks for the present he left at my house, a goarstone and a seal, that belonged to Mr. Gray.  I shall lay them up in my cabinet at Strawberry among my most valuables.  Dr. Browne, however, was not quite kind to me; for he left no direction where to find him in town, so that I could not wait upon him, nor invite him to Strawberry Hill, as I much wished to do, Do not these words, “invite him to Strawberry,” make Your ears tingle?  September is at hand, and You must have no sore throat.  The new chapel in the garden is almost finished, and you must come to the dedication.

I have seen Lincoln and York, and to say the truth, prefer the former in some respects.  In truth, I was scandalized in the latter.  William of Hatfield’s tomb and figure is thrown aside into a hole:  and yet the chapter possess an estate that his mother gave them.  I have charged Mr. Mason(79) with my anathema, unless they do justice.  I saw Roche Abbey, too; which is hid in such a venerable chasm, that you might lie concealed there even from a ’squire parson of the parish.  Lord Scarborough, to whom it belongs, and who lives at next door, neglects it as much as if he was afraid of ghosts.  I believe Montesino’s cave lay in just such a solemn thicket, which is now so overgrown, that, when one finds the spot, one can scarce find the ruins.

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I forgot to tell you, that in the screen of York Minster there are most curious statues of the Kings of England, from the Conqueror to Henry VI.; very singular, evidently by two different hands, the one better than the other, and most of them I am persuaded, very authentic.  Richard ii., Henry iii., and Henry V., I am sure are; and Henry Iv., though unlike the common portrait at Hampton-court, in Herefordshire, the most singular and villanous countenance I ever saw.  I intend to try to get them well engraved.  That old fool, James I., is crowded in, in the place of Henry vii., that was taken away to make room for this piece of flattery; for the chapter did not slight live princes.  Yours ever.

(79) Mason was a residentiary of York cathedral; as well as prebendary of Duffield, and rector of Aston.-E.

Letter 47 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, August 28, 1772. (page 72)

Dear Sir, Your repentance is much more agreeable than your sin, and will cancel it whenever you please.  Still I have a fellow-feeling for the indolence of age, and have myself been writing an excuse this instant for not accepting an invitation above threescore miles off.  One’s limbs, when they grow old, will not go any where, when they do not like it.  If yours should find themselves in a more pliant humour, you are always sure of being welcome here, let the fit of motion come when it will.

Pray what is become of that figure you mention of Henry vii., which the destroyers, not the builders have rejected? and which the antiquaries, who know a man by his crown better than by his face, have rejected likewise?  The latter put me in mind of characters in comedies, in which a woman disguised in man’s habit, and whose features her very lover does not know, is immediately acknowledged by pulling off her hat, and letting down her hair, which her lover had never seen before.  I should be glad to ask Dr. Milles, if he thinks the crown of England was always made, like a quart pot, by Winchester measure?  If Mr. Tyson has made a print from that little statue, I trust he will give me one; and if he, or Mr. Essex, or both, will accompany you hither, I shall be glad to see them.

At Buckden, in the Bishop’s palace, I saw a print of Mrs. Newcome:  I Suppose the late mistress of St. John’s.  Can you tell me where I can procure one?  Mind, I insist that you do not serve me as you have often done, and send me your own, if you have one.  I seriously will not accept it, nor ever trust you again.  On the staircase, in the same palace, there is a picture of two young men, in the manner of Vandyck, not at all ill done; do you know who they are, or does any body?  There is a worse picture, in a large room, of some lads, which, too, the housemaid did not know.  Adieu! dear Sir, yours ever.

Letter 48To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Nov. 7, 1772. (page 73)

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Dear Sir, I did receive the print of Mrs. Newcome, for which I am extremely obliged to you, with a thousand other favours, and should certainly have thanked you for it long ago, but I was then, an(I am now, confined to my bed with the gout in every limb, and in almost every joint.  I have not been out of my bedchamber these five weeks to-day and last night the pain returned violently into one of my feet; so that I am now writing to you in a most uneasy posture, which will oblige me to be very short.

Your letter, which I suppose was left at my house in Arlington street by Mr. Essex, was brought to me this morning.  I am exceedingly sorry for his disappointment, and for his coming without writing first; in which case I might have prevented his journey.  I do not know, even, whither to send to him, to tell him how impossible it is for me just now, in my present painful and hopeless situation, to be of any use to him.  I am so weak and faint, I do not see even my nearest relations, and God knows how long it will be before I am able to bear company, much less application.  I have some thoughts, as soon as I am able, of removing to Bath; so that I cannot guess when it will be in my power to consider duly Mr. Essex’s plan with him.  I shall undoubtedly, if ever capable of it, be ready to give him my advice, such as it is; or to look over his papers, and even to correct them, if his modesty thinks me more able to polish them than he is himself.  At the same time, I must own, I think he will run too great a risk by the expense.  The engravers in London are now arrived at such a pitch of exorbitant imposition, that, for my own part, I have laid aside all thoughts of having a single plate more done.

Dear Sir, pray tell Mr. Essex how concerned I am for his mischance, and for the total impossibility I am under of seeing him now.  I can write no More, but I shall be glad to hear from you on his return to Cambridge:  and when I am recovered, you may be assured how glad I shall be to talk his plan over with him.  I am his and Your obliged humble servant.

Letter 49 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. (page 74)

I have had a relapse, and not been able to use my hand, or I should have lamented with you on the plunder of your prints by that Algerine hog.(80) I pity you, dear Sir, and feel for your awkwardness, that was struck dumb at his rapaciousness.  The beast has no sort of taste neither-and in a twelvemonth will sell them again.  I regret particularly one print, which I dare to say he seized, that I gave you, Gertrude More; I thought I had another, and had not; and, as you liked it, I never told you so.  This Muley Moloch used to buy books, and now sells them.  He has hurt his fortune, and ruined himself, to have a Collection, without any choice of what it should be composed.  It is the most underbred swine I ever saw; but I did not know it was so ravenous.  I wish you may get paid any how; you see by my writing how difficult it is to me, and therefore will excuse my being short.

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(80) This letter may want some explanation.  A gentleman, a collector of prints, and a neighbour of Mr. Walpole’s, had just before requested to see Mr. Cole’s collection, and on Mr. Cole’s offering to accommodate him with such heads as he had not, he selected and took away no less than one hundred and eighty-seven of the most rare and valuable.

Letter 50 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.  Arlington Street, Dec. 20, 1772. (page 74)

Indeed, Madam, I want you and Mr. Conway in town.  Christmas has dispersed all my company, and left nothing but a loo-party or two.  If all the fine days were not gone out of town, too, I should take the air in a morning; but I am not yet nimble enough, like old Mrs. Nugent, to jump out of a postchaise into an assembly.

You have a woful taste, my lady, not to like Lord Gower’s bonmot.  I am almost too indignant to tell you of a most amusing book in six volumes, called “Histoire Philosophique et Politique du commerce des Deux Indes."(81) It tells one every thing in the world;—­how to make conquests, invasions, blunders, settlements, bankruptcies, fortunes, etc.; tells you the natural and historical history of all nations; talks commerce, navigation, tea, coffee, china, mines, salt, spices; of the Portuguese, English, French, Dutch, Danes, Spaniards, Arabs, caravans, Persians, Indians, of Louis XIV. and the King of Prussia; of La Bourdonnais, Dupleix, and Admiral Saunders; of rice, and women that dance naked; of camels, ginghams, and muslin; of millions of millions of livres, pounds, rupees, and cowries; of iron cables, and Circassian women; of Law and the Mississippi; and against all governments and religions.  This and every thing else is in the two first volumes.  I cannot conceive what is left for the four others.  And all is so mixed, that you learn forty new trades and fifty new histories in a single chapter.  There is spirit, wit, and clearness and, if there were but less avoirdupois weight in it, it would be the richest book in the world in materials—­but figures to me are so many ciphers, and only put me in mind of children that say, an hundred hundred hundred millions.  However, it has made me learned enough to talk about Mr. Sykes and the Secret Committee,(82) which is all that any body talks of at present, and yet Mademoiselle Heinel(83) is arrived.  This is all I know, and a great deal too, considering I know nothing, and yet, were there either truth or lies, I should know them; for one hears every thing in a sick room.  Good night both!

(81) By the Abb`e Raynal. sensible of the faults of his work, the Abb`e visited England and Holland to obtain correct mercantile information, and, on his return, published an improved edition at Geneva, in ten volumes, octavo.  Hannah More relates, that, when in England, the Abb`e was introduced to Dr. Johnson, and advancing to shake his band, the Doctor drew back and put it behind him, and afterwards replied to the expostulation of a friend—­“Sir, I will not shake hands with an infidel.”  The Parliament of Paris ordered the work to be burnt, and the author to be arrested; but he retired to Spain, and, in 1788, the National Assembly cancelled the decree passed against him.  He died at Passy in 1794, at the age of eighty-five.-E.

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(82) Upon indian affairs.

(83) See ante, p. 59, letter 34.

Letter 51 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Jan. 8, 1773. (page 75)

In return to your very kind inquiries, dear Sir, I can let you know, that I am quite free from pain, and walk a little about my room, even without a stick:  nay, have been four times to take the air in the park.  Indeed, after fourteen weeks this is not saying much; but it is a worse reflection, that when one is subject to the gout, and far from young, one’s worst account will probably be better than that after the next fit.  I neither flatter myself on one hand, nor am impatient on the other—­for will either do one any good? one must bear one’s lot whatever it be.

I rejoice Mr. * * * * has justice,(84) though he had no bowels.  How Gertrude More escape’ him I do not guess.  It will be wrong to rob you of her, after she has come to you through so many hazards—­nor would I hear of it either, if you have a mind to keep her, or have not given up all thoughts of a collection since you have been visited by a Visigoth.

I am much more impatient to see Mr. Gray’s print, than Mr. What-d’ye-call-him’s answer to my Historic Doubts.(85) He may have made himself very angry; but I doubt whether he will make me at all so.  I love antiquities; but I scarce ever knew an antiquary who knew how to write upon them.  Their understandings seem as much in ruins as the things they describe.  For the Antiquarian Society, I shall leave them in peace with Whittington and his Cat.  As my contempt for them has not, however, made me disgusted with what they do not understand, antiquities, I have published two numbers of Miscellanies, and they are very welcome to mumble them with their toothless gums.  I want to send you these—­not their gums, but my pieces, and a Grammont,(86) of which I have printed only a hundred copies, and which will be extremely scarce, as twenty-five copies are gone to France.  Tell me how I shall convey them safely.

Another thing you must tell me, if you can, is, if you know any thing ancient of the Freemasons Governor Pownall,(87) a Whittingtonian, has a mind they should have been a corporation erected by the popes.  As you see what a good creature I am, and return good for evil, I am engaged to pick up what I can for him, to support this system, in which I believe no more than in the pope:  and the work is to appear in a volume of the Society’s pieces.  I am very willing to oblige him, and turn my cheek, that they may smite that, also.  Lord help them!  I am sorry that they are such numsculls, that they almost make me think myself something! but there are great authors enough to bring me to my senses again.  Posterity, I fear, will class me with the writers of this age, or forget me with them, not rank me with any names that deserve remembrance.  If I cannot survive the Milles’s, the What-d’ye-call-him’s, and the compilers of catalogues of topography, it would comfort me very little to confute them.  I should be as little proud of success as if I had carried a contest for churchwarden.

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Not being able to return to Strawberry Hill, where all my books and papers are, and my printer lying fallow, I want some short bills to print.  Have you any thing you wish printed?  I can either print a few to amuse ourselves, or, if very curious, and not too dry, could make a third number of Miscellaneous Antiquities.

I am not in any eagerness to see Mr. What-d’ye-call-him’s pamphlet against me; therefore pray give yourself no trouble to get it for me.  The specimens I have seen of his writing take off all edge from curiosity.  A print of Mr. Gray will be a real present.  Would it not be dreadful to be commended by an age that had not taste enough to admire his Odes?  Is not it too great a compliment to me to be abused too?  I am ashamed!  Indeed our antiquaries ought to like me.  I am but too much on a par with them.  Does not Mr. Henshaw come to London?  Is he a professor, or only a lover of engraving?  If the former, and he were to settle in town, I would willingly lend him heads to copy.  Adieu!

(84) The gentleman who had carried off so many of Mr. Cole’s prints.  He now fully remunerated Mr. Cole in a valuable present of books.

(85) Mr. Master’s pamphlet, printed at the expense of the Antiquarian Society in the second volume of the Archaeologia.

(86) “M`emoires du Comte de Grammont, nouvelle edition, augment`ee de Notes et Eclaircissemens n`ecessaires, par M. Horace Walpole.”  Strawberry Hill, 1772, 4to.  To the M`emoires was prefixed the following dedication to Madame du Deffand:—­ “L’Editeur vous Consacre cette edition, comme un monument de son amiti`e, de son admiration, et de son respect, a vous dont les gr`aces, l’esprit, et le gout retracent an si`ecle present le si`ecle de Louis XIV., et les agr`emens de l’auteur de ces Memoires.”

(87) Thomas Pownall, Esq. the antiquary, and a constant contributor to the Archaeologia.  Having been governor of South Carolina and other American colonies, he was always distinguished from his brother John, who was likewise an antiquary, by the title of Governor.-E.

Letter 52 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Feb. 18, 1773. (page 77)

The most agreeable ingredient of your last, dear Sir, is the paragraph that tells me you shall be in town in April, when I depend on the pleasure of seeing you; but, to be certain, wish you would give me a few days’ law, an let me know, too, where you lodge.  Pray bring your books, though the continuation of the Miscellaneous Antiquities is uncertain.  I thought the affectation of loving veteran anecdotes was so vigorous, that I ventured to print five hundred copies., One, hundred and thirty only are sold.  I cannot afford to make the town perpetual presents; though I find people exceedingly eager to obtain them when I do; and if they will not buy them, it is a sign of such indifference, that I shall neither bestow

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my time, nor my cost, to no purpose.  All I desire is, to pay the expenses, which I can afford much less than my idle moments.  Not but the operations of-my press have often turned against myself in many shapes.  I have told people many things they did not know, and from fashion they have bought a thousand things out of my hands, which they do not understand, and only love en passant.  At Mr. West’s sale, I got literally nothing:  his prints sold for the frantic sum of 1495 pounds 10 shillings.  Your and my good friend Mr. Gulston threw away above 200 pounds there.

I am not sorry Mr. Lort has recourse to the fountainhead:  Mr. Pownall’s system of Freemasonry is so absurd and groundless, that I am glad to be rid of intervention.  I have seen the former once:  he told Me he was willing to sell his prints, as the value of them is so increased—­for that very reason I did not want to purchase them.

Paul Sanby promised me ten days ago to show Mr. Henshaw’s engraving which I received from Dr. Ewen) to Bartolozzi, and ask his terms, thinking he would delight in So Very promising a scholar; but I have heard nothing since, and therefore fear there is no success.  Let me, however, see the young man when he comes, and I will try if there is any other way of serving him.

What shall I say to you, dear Sir, about Dr. Prescot? or what I say to him?  It hurts me not to be very civil, especially as any respect to my father’s memory touches me much more than any attention to myself, which I cannot hold to be a quarter so well founded.  Yet, how dare I write to a poor man, who may do, as I have lately seen done by a Scotchwoman that wrote a play,(88) and printed Lord Chesterfield’s and Lord Lyttelton’s letters to her, as Testimonia fluctorum:  I will therefore beg you to make my compliments and thanks to the master, and to make them as grateful as you please, provided I am dispensed with giving any certificate under my hand.  You may plead my illness, which, though the fifth month ended yesterday, is far from being at an end, My relapses have been endless — I cannot yet walk a step:  and a great cold has added an ague in my cheek, for which I am just going to begin the bark.  The prospect for the rest of my days is gloomy.  The case of my poor nephew still more deplorable — he arrived in town last night, and bore his Journey tolerably-but his head is in much more danger of not recovering than his health; though they give us hopes of both.  But the evils of life are not good subjects for letters—­why afflict one’s friends?  Why make commonplace reflections?  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(88) “Sir Harry Gaylove; or, Comedy in Embryo;” by Mrs. Jane Marshall.  It was printed in Scotland by subscription, but not acted. in the preface, she complains bitterly of the managers of the three London theatres, for refusing her the advantages of representing her performance.-E.

Letter 53 To The Rev. William Mason.(89) March 2, 1773. (page 78)

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What shall I say?  How shall I thank you for the kind manner in which you submit your papers to my correction?  But if you are friendly, I must be just.  I am so far from being dissatisfied, that I Must beg to shorten your pen, and in that respect only would I wish, with regard to myself, to alter your text.  I am conscious that in the beginning of the differences between Gray and me, the fault was mine.  I was young, too fond of my own diversions; nay, I do not doubt, too much intoxicated by indulgence, vanity, and the insolence of my situation, as a prime minister’s Son, not to have been inattentive to the feelings of one, I blush to say, that I knew was obliged to me; of one, whom presumption and folly made me deem not very superior in parts, though I have since felt my infinite inferiority to him.  I treated him insolently.  He loved me, and I did not think he did.  I reproached him with the difference between us, when he acted from the conviction of knowing that he was my superior.  I often disregarded his wish of seeing places, which I would not quit my own amusements to visit, though I offered to send him thither without me.  Forgive me, if I say that his temper was not conciliating, at the same time that I confess to you, that he acted a most friendly part had I had the sense to take advantage of it.  He freely told me my faults.  I declared I did not desire to hear them, nor would correct them.  You will not wonder,, that with the dignity of his spirit, and the obstinate carelessness of mine the breach must have widened till we became incompatible.

After this confession, I fear you will think I fall short in the words I wish to have substituted for some of yours.  If you think them inadequate to the state of the case, as I own they are, preserve this letter and let some future Sir John Dalrymple produce it to load my memory; but I own I do not desire that any ambiguity should aid his invention to forge an account) for me.  If you would have no objection, I would propose your narrative should run thus, [Here follows a note, which is inserted verbatim in Mason’s Life of Gray.(90)] and contain no more, till a more proper time shall come for publishing the truth, as I have stated it to you.  While I am living, it is not pleasant to see my private disagreements discussed in magazines and newspapers.

(89) This and the following letter are from Mr. mitford’s valuable edition of Gray’s Works.  See vol. iv. pp. 216, 218.- E.

(90) “In justice to the memory of so respectable a friend, Mr. Walpole enjoins me to charge himself with the chief blame in their quarrel — confessing that more attention and complaisance, more deference to a warm friendship, superior judgment and prudence, might have prevented a rupture that gave such uneasiness to them both and a lasting concern to the survivor; though, in the year 1744, a reconciliation was effected between them, by a lady who wished well to both parties."-E.

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Letter 54 To The Rev. William Mason.  Strawberry Hill, March 27, 1773. (page 79)

I have received your letter, dear Sir, your manuscript, and Gray’s letters to me.  Twenty things crowd upon my pen, and jostle, and press to be laid.  As I came here to-day for a little air, and to read you undisturbed, they shall all have a place in due time.  But having so safe a conveyance for my thoughts, I must begin with the uppermost of them, the Heroic Epistle.  I have read it so very often, that I have got it by heart; and now I am master of all its beauties, I confess I like it infinitely better than I did, though I liked it infinitely before.  There is more wit, ten times more delicacy of irony, as much poetry, and greater facility than and as in the Dunciad.  But what Signifies what I think?  All the world thinks the same.  No soul has, I have heard, guessed within an hundred miles.  I catched at Anstey’s name, and have, contributed to spread that notion.  It has since been called Temple Luttrell’s, and, to my infinite honour, mine; Lord ----- - swears he should think so, if I did not praise it so excessively.  But now, my dear Sir, that you have tapped this mine of talent, and it runs so richly and easily, for Heaven’s sake, and for England’s sake, do not let it rest!  You have a vein of irony, and satire, etc.

I am extremely pleased with the easy unaffected simplicity of your manuscript (Memoirs of Gray), and have found scarcely any thing I could wish added, much less retrenched, unless the paragraph on Lord Bute,(91) which I don’t think quite clearly expressed; and yet perhaps too clearly, while you wish to remain unknown as the author of the Heroic Epistle,(92) since it might lead to suspicion.  For as Gray asked for the place, and accepted it afterwards from the Duke of Grafton, it might be thought that he, or his friend for him, was angry with the author of the disappointment.  I can add nothing to your account of Gray’s going abroad with me.  It was my own thought and offer, and cheerfully accepted.  Thank you for inserting my alteration.  As I am the survivor, any Softening would be unjust to the dead.  I am sorry I had a fault towards him.  It does not wound me to own it; and it must be believed when I allow it, that not he, but I myself, was in the wrong.

(91) This paragraph was suppressed-E.

(92) In March, 1798, Mr. Matthias suggested, in the Pursuits of Literature, that Walpole’s papers would possibly lead to the discovery of the author of the far-famed Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers.  By Thomas Warton, the poet-laureate, it was supposed to have been “written by Walpole, and buckrum’d by Mason;” and Mr. Croker, in a note to his edition of Boswell’s Johnson, says of it, “there can be no doubt that it was the joint production of Mason and Walpole; Mason supplying the poetry and Walpole the points;” while the Quarterly Review,

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vol. xv. p. 385, observes, that “when it is remembered that no one then alive, with the same peculiar taste and the same political principles, could have written such poetry, we must either ascribe the Heroic Epistle to Mr. Mason, or suppose, very needlessly and improbably, that one person supplied the matter and another shaped it into verse; but, the personal insolence displayed in this poem to his Sovereign, which was probably the true reason for concealing the writer’s -the principles of genuine taste which abound in it—­the bitter and sarcastic strain of indignation against a monstrous mode of bad taste then beginning to prevail in landscape gardening, and, above all, a vigorous flow of spirited and harmonious verse, all concur to mark it as the work of our independent and uncourtly bard,” The above letter settles the long-disputed point, and fixes the sole authorship of this exquisite poem on Mason.-E.

Letter 55 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, April 7, 1773. (page 80)

I have now seen the second volume of the Archaeologia, or Old Woman’s Logic, with Mr. Masters’s Answer to me.  If he had not taken such pains to declare it was written against my Doubts, I should have thought it a defence of them; for the few facts he quotes make for my arguments, and confute himself; particularly in the case of Lady Eleanor Butler; -whom, by the way, he makes marry her own nephew, and not descend from her own family, because she was descended from her grandfather.

This Mr. Masters is an excellent Sancho Panza to such a Don Quixote as Dean Milles! but enough of such goosecaps!  Pray thank Mr. Ashby for his admirable correction of Sir Thomas Wyat’s bon-mot.  It is right beyond all doubt, and I will quote it if ever the piece is reprinted.

Mr. Tyson surprises me by usurping your Dissertation.  It seems all is fish that comes to the net of the Society- Mercy on us!  What a cart-load of brick and rubbish, and Roman ruins, they have piled together!  I have found nothing-, tolerable in the volume but the Dissertation of Mr Masters; which is followed by an answer, that, like Masters, contradicts him, without disproving any thing.

Mr. West’s books are selling outrageously.  His family will make a fortune by what he collected from stalls and Moorfields.  But I must not blame the virtuosi, having surpassed them.  In short I have bought his two pictures of Henry V. and Henry viii. and their families; the first of which is engraved in my Anecdotes, or, as the catalogue says, engraved by Mr. H. Walpole, and the second described there.  The first cost me 38 pounds and the last 84, though I knew Mr. West bought it for six guineas.  But, in fact, these two, with my Marriages of Henry VI. and vii., compose such a suite of the House of Lancaster, and enrich my Gothic house so completely, that I would not deny myself.  The Henry vii. cost me as much, and is less curious:  the price of antiquities is so exceedingly risen, too, at present, that I expected to have paid more.  I have bought much cheaper at the same sale, a picture of Henry viii. and Charles V. in one piece, both much younger than I ever saw any portrait of either.  I hope your pilgrimage to St. Gulaston’s this month will take place, and that you will come and see them.  Adieu!

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Letter 56 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, April 27, 1773. (page 81) ’

I had not time this morning to answer your letter by Mr. Essex, but I gave him the card you desired.  You know, I hope, how happy I am to obey any orders of yours.

In the paper I showed you in answer to Masters, you saw I was apprised of Rastel’s Chronicle:  but pray do not mention my knowing of it; because I draw so much from it, that I lie in wait, hoping that Milles, or Masters, or some of their fools, will produce it against me; and then I shall have another word to say to them, which they do not expect, since they think Rastel makes for them.

Mr. Gough(93) wants to be introduced to me!  Indeed!  I would see him, as he has been midwife to Masters; but he is so dull, that he would only be troublesome—­and besides you know I shun authors, and would never have been One myself, if it obliged me to keep such bad company.  They are always in earnest, and think their profession serious, and dwell upon trifles, and reverence learning.  I laugh at all those things, and write only to laugh at them, and divert myself.  None of us are authors of any consequence; and it is the most ridiculous in all vanities to be vain of being mediocre.  A page in a great author humbles me to the dust; and the conversation of those that are not superior to myself, reminds me of what will be thought of myself.  I blush to flatter them, or to be flattered by them, and should dread letters being published some time or other, in which they should relate our interviews, and we should appear like those puny conceited Witlings in Shenstone’s and Hughes’ Correspondence,(94) who give themselves airs from being in possession of the soil of Parnassus for the time being; as peers are proud, because they enjoy the estates of great men who went before them.  Mr. Gough is very welcome to see Strawberry Hill; or I would help him to any scraps in my possession, that would assist his publications; though he is one of those industrious who are only reburying the dead-but I cannot be acquainted with him.  It is contrary to my system, and my humour; and, besides, I know nothing of barrows, and Danish entrenchments, and Saxon barbarisms, and Phoenician characters—­in short, I know nothing of those ages that knew nothing—­then how should I be of use to modern literati?  All the Scotch metaphysicians have sent me their works.  I did not read one of them, because I do not understand what is not understood by those that write about it; and I did not get acquainted with one of the writers.  I should like to be intimate with Mr. Anstey,(95) even though he wrote Lord Buckhorse, or with the author of the Heroic Epistle.(96) I have no thirst to know the rest of my contemporaries, from the absurd bombast of Dr. Johnson down to the silly Dr. Goldsmith; though the latter changeling has had bright gleams of parts, and the former had sense, ’till he charged it for words, and sold it for a pension.  Don’t think me scornful.  Recollect that I have seen Pope, and lived with Gray.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

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P. S. Mr. Essex has shown me a charming drawing, from a charming round window at Lincoln.  It has revived all my eagerness to have him continue his plan.

(93) Richard Gough, Esq., author of the British Topography, and the Sepulchral Monuments of Great Britain; and editor of Camden’s Britannia.  This learned antiquary was born in 1735, and died in the year 1809-E.

(94) A second edition had just appeared of “Letters by several eminent Persons deceased; including the Correspondence of John Hughes, Esq, and several of His Friends."-E.

(95) The author of the New Bath Guide.  See vol. iii., letter 307 to George Montagu, Esq., June 20 1766.-E.

(96) See ante, letter 54, P. 80.-E.

Letter 57 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, May 4, 1773. (page 82)

I should not have hurried to answer your letter, dear Sir, the moment I receive it, but to send you another ticket(97) for your sister, in case she should not have recovered the other; and I think you said she was to stay but a fortnight in town.  I would have sent it to her, had I known whither:  and I have made it for five persons, in case she should have a mind to carry so many.

I am sorry for the young engraver; but I can by no means meddle with his going abroad, without the father’s consent. it would be very wrong, and would hurt the young man essentially, if the father has any thing to leave. , In any case, I certainly would not be accessory to sending away the son against the father’s will.  The father is an impertinent fool—­but that you and I cannot help.

Pray be not uneasy about Gertrude More:  I shall get the original or, at least, a copy.  Tell me how I shall Send you martagons by the safest conveyance, or any thing else you want.  I am always in your debt; and the apostle-spoon will make the debtor side in my book of gratitude run over.

Your public orator has done me too much honour by far—­ especially as he named me with my father,(98) to whom I am so infinitely inferior, both in parts and virtues.  Though I have been abused undeservedly, I feel I have more title to censure than praise, and -will subscribe to the former sooner than to the latter.  Would not it be prudent to look upon the encomium as a funeral oration, and consider Myself as dead?  I have always dreaded outliving myself, and writing after what small talents I have should be decayed.  Except the last volume of the Anecdotes of Painting, which has been finished and printed so long, and which, appear when they may, will still come too late for many reasons.  I am disposed never to publish any more of my own self; but I do not say so positively, lest my breaking my intention should be but another folly.  The gout has, however, made me so indolent and inactive, that if my head does not inform me how old I grow, at least my mind and my feet will—­and can one have too many monitors of one’s weakness!

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I am sorry you think yourself so much inconvenienced by stirring from home. ’ This is an incommodity by which your friends will suffer more than yourself, and nobody more, sensibly than yours, etc.

(97) Of admission to Strawberry.

(98) On presenting a relation of Mr. Walpole’s to the Vice-chancellor for his honorary degree.

Letter 58 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, May 29, 1773. (page 83)

Dear Sir, I have been so much taken up of late with poor Lord Orford’s affairs, I have not had, and scarce have now, time to write you a line, and thank you for all your kindnesses, information, and apostle -spoon.  I have not Newcomb’s Repertorium, and shall be obliged to you for the transcript; not as doubting, but to confirm what Heaven, King Edward I., and the Bishop of the Tartars have deposed in favour of Malibrunus, the Jew painter’s abilities.  I should sooner have suspected that Mr. Masters would have produced such witnesses to condemn Richard iii.  The note relating to Lady Boteler does not relate to her marriage.

I send you two martagon roots, and some jonquils; and have added some prints, two enamelled Pictures, and three medals.  One of Oliver, by Simon; a fine one of Pope Clement X., and a scarce one of Archbishop Sancroft and the Seven Bishops.  I hope the two latter will atone for the first.  As I shall never be out of your debt, pray draw on me for any more other roots, or any thing that will be agreeable to you, and excuse me at present.

Letter 59 To Dr. Berkenhout.(99) July 6, 1773, (page 84)

Sir, I am so much engaged in private business at present, that I have not had time to thank you for the favour of your letter:  nor can I now answer it to your satisfaction.  My life has been too insignificant to afford materials interesting to the public.  In general, the lives of mere authors are dry and unentertaining; nor, though I -have been one occasionally, are my writings of a class or merit to entitle me to any distinction.  I can as little furnish you, Sir, with a list of them or their dates, which would give me more trouble to make out than is worth while.  If I have any merit with the public, it is for printing and preserving some valuable works of others; and if ever you write the lives of printers, I may be enrolled in the number.  My own works, I suppose, are dead and buried; but, as I am not impatient to be interred with them, I hope you will leave that office to the parson of the parish, and I shall be, as long as I live, yours, etc.

(99) Dr. John Berkenhout had been a captain both in the English and Prussian service, and in 1765 took his degree of MD. at Leyden. his application to Walpole was for the purpose of procuring materials for a life of him In his forthcoming work, “Biographia Literaria, or a Biographical History of Literature; containing the Lives of English, Irish, and Scottish Authors, from the dawn of Letters in these Kingdoms to the present Time.”  The first volume, which treats of those writers who lived from the beginning of the fifth to the end of the sixth century, and which is the only one ever published, appeared in 1777.  He died in 1791-E.

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Letter 60 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Aug. 30, 1773. (page 84)

I returned last night from Houghton,(100) where multiplicity of business detained me four days longer than I intended, and where I found a scene infinitely more mortifying than I expected; though I certainly did not go with a prospect of finding a land flowing with milk and honey.  Except the pictures, which are in the finest preservation, and the woods, which are become forests, all the rest is ruin, desolation, confusion, disorder, debts, mortgages, sales, pillage, villany, waste, folly, and madness.  I do not believe that five thousand pounds would put the house and buildings into good repair.  The nettles and brambles in the park are up to your shoulders; horses have been turned into the garden, and banditti lodged in every cottage.  The perpetuity of livings that come up to the park-pales have been sold—­and every farm let for half its value.  In short, you know how much family pride I have, and consequently may judge how much I have been mortified!  Nor do I tell you half, or near the worst circumstances.  I have just stopped the torrent-and that is all.  I am very uncertain whether I must not fling up the trust; and some of the difficulties in my way seem unsurmountable, and too dangerous not to alarm even my zeal; since I must not ruin myself, and hurt those for whom I must feel, too, only to restore a family that will end with myself, and to retrieve an estate’ from which I am not likely ever to receive the least advantage.

if you will settle with the Churchills your journey to Chalfont, and will let me know the day, I will endeavour to meet you there; I hope it Will not be till next week.  I am overwhelmed with business—­but, indeed, I know not when I shall be otherwise!  I wish you joy of this endless summer.

(100) Whither he had gone during the mental alienation of his nephew, George Earl of Orford, to endeavour to settle and arrange his affairs.

Letter 61 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 24, 1773. (page 85)

The multiplicity of business which I found chalked out to me by my journey to Houghton, has engaged me so much, my dear lord, and the unpleasant scene opened to me there struck me so deeply, that I have neither had time nor cheerfulness enough to flatter myself I could amuse my friends by my letters.  Except the pictures, I found every thing worse than I expected, and the prospect almost too bad to give me courage to pursue what I am doing.  I am totally ignorant of most of the branches of business that are fallen to my lot, and not young enough to learn any new business well.  All I can hope is to clear the worst part of the way; for, in undertaking to retrieve an estate, the beginning is certainly the most difficult of the work—­it is fathoming a chaos.  But I will not unfold a confusion to your lordship which your good sense will always keep You from experiencing —­very unfashionably; for the first geniuses of the age hold, that the best method of governing the world is to throw it into disorder.  The experiment is not yet complete, as the rearrangement is still to come.

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I am very seriously glad of the birth of your nephew,(101) my lord; I am going this evening with my gratulations’; but have been so much absent and so hurried, that I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing

Lady Anne,(102) though I have called twice.  To Gunnersbury I have no summons this summer:  I receive such honours, or the want of them, with proper respect.  Lady Mary Coke, I fear, is in chace of a Dulcineus that she will never meet.  When the ardour of peregrination is a little abated, will not she probably give in to a more comfortable pursuit; and, like a print I have seen of -the blessed martyr Charles the First, abandon the hunt of a corruptible for that of an incorruptible crown?  There is another beatific print just published in that style:  it is of Lady Huntingdon.  With much pompous humility, she looks like an old basket-woman trampling on her coronet at the mouth of a cavern.-Poor Whitfield! if he was forced to do the honours of the spelunca!—­Saint Fanny Shirley is nearer consecration.  I was told two days ago that she had written a letter to Lady Selina that was not intelligible.  Her grace of Kingston’s glory approaches to consummation in a more worldly style.  The Duke(103) is dying, and has given her the whole estate, seventeen thousand a-year.  I am told she has already notified the contents of the will, and made offers of the sale of Thoresby.  Pious matrons have various ways of expressing decency.

Your lordship’s new bow-window thrives.  I do not want it to remind me of its master and mistress, to whom I am ever the most devoted humble servant.

(101) A son of John Earl of Buckingham, who died young.

(102) Lady Anne Conolly.

(103) The Duke of Kingston died on the 22d of September, when all his honours became extinct.-E.

Letter 62 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Arlington Street, Nov. 15, 1773. (page 86)

I am very sorry, my dear lord, that you are coming towards us so slowly and unwillingly.  I cannot quite wonder at the latter.  The world is an old acquaintance that does not improve upon one’s hands:  however, one must not give way to the disgusts it creates.  My maxim, and practice, too, is to laugh, because I do not like to cry.  I could shed a pailfull of tears over all I have seen and learnt Since my poor nephew’s misfortune-the more one has to do with men the worse one finds them But can one mend them?  No.  Shall we shut ourselves up from them?  No.  We should grow humourists-and of all animals an Englishman is least made to live alone.  For my part, I am conscious of so many faults, that I think I grow better the more bad I see in my neighbours; and there are so many I would not resemble, that it makes me watchful over myself You, my lord, who have forty more good qualities than I have, should not seclude yourself.  I do not wonder you despise knaves and fools:  but remember, they want better examples; they will never grow ashamed by conversing with one another.

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I came to settle here on Friday, being drowned out of Twickenham.  I find the town desolate, and no news in it, but that the ministry give up the Irish -tax-some say, because it will not pass in Ireland; others, because the city of London would have petitioned against it; and some, because there were factions in the council—­ which is not the most incredible of all.  I am glad, for the sake of some of my friends who would have suffered by it, that it is over.(104) In other respects, I have too much private business of my own to think about the public, which is big enough to take care of itself.

I have heard some of Lady Mary Coke’s mortifications.  I have regard and esteem for her good qualities, which are many; but I doubt her genius will never suffer her to be quite happy.  As she will not take the psalmist’s advice of not putting trust, I am sure she would not follow mine; for, with all her piety, King David is the only royal person she will not listen to, and therefore I forbear my sweet counsel.  When she and Lord Huntingdon meet, will not they put you in mind of Count-Gage and Lady Mary Herbert, who met in the mines of Asturias, after they had failed of the crown of Poland?(105) Adieu, my dear lord!  Come you and my lady among us.  You have some friends that are not odious, and who will be rejoiced to see you both--witness, for one, yours most faithfully.

(104) A tax upon absentees.  Mr. Hardy, in his Memoirs of Lord Charlemont, says, that the influence of the Whig leaders predominated so far as to oblige the ministers to relinquish the measure.-E.

(105) “The crown of Poland, venal twice an age, To just three millions stint;ed modest Gage.”

Pope in a note to the above couplet, states that Mr. Gage and Lady Mary Herbert, " each of them, in the Mississippi scheme, despised to realize above three hundred thousand pounds:  the gentleman with a view to the purchase of the crown of Poland, the lady on a vision of the like royal nature:  they have since retired into Spain, where they are still in search of gold, in the mines of the Asturias."-E.

Letter 63 To Lady Mary Coke.(106) ((page 87)

Your ladyship’s illustrious exploits are the constant theme of my meditations.  Your expeditions are so rapid, and to such distant regions, that I cannot help thinking you are possessed of the giant’s boots that stepped seven leagues at a stride, as we are assured by that accurate historian Mother Goose.  You are, I know, Madam’, an excellent walker, yet methinks seven leagues at once are a prodigious straddle for a fair lady.  But whatever is your manner of travelling, few heroines ancient or modern can be compared to you for length of journeys.  Thalestris, Queen of the Amazons, and M. M. or N. N. Queen of Sheba, went each of them the Lord knows how far to meet Alexander the Great and Solomon the Wise; the one to beg the favour of having a daughter (I

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suppose) and heiress by him; and the other, says scandal, to grant a like favour to the Hebrew monarch.  Your ladyship, who has more real Amazonian principles, never makes visits but to empresses, queens, and princesses; and your country is enriched with the maxims of wisdom and virtue which you collect in your travels.  For such great ends did Herodotus, Pythagoras, and other sages, make voyages to Egypt, and every distant kingdom; and it is amazing how much their own countries were benefited by what those philosophers learned in their peregrinations.  Were it not that your ladyship is actuated by such public spirit, I could Put you in mind, Madam, of an old story that might save you a great deal of fatigue and danger-and now I think of it, as I have nothing better to fill my letter with, I will relate it to you.

Pyrrhus, the martial and magnanimous King of Epirus (as my Lord Lyttelton would call him), being, as I have heard or seen Goodman Plutarch say, intent on his preparations for invading Italy, Cineas, one of the grooms of his bedchamber, took the liberty of asking his majesty what benefit he expected to reap if he should be successful in conquering the Romans?—­Jesus! said the King, peevishly; why the question answers itself.  When we have overcome the Romans, no province, no town, whether Greek or barbarian, will be able to resist us:  we shall at once be masters of all Italy.  Cineas after a short pause replied, And having subdued Italy, what shall we do next?—­Do next? answered Pyrrhus; why, seize Sicily.  Very likely, quoth Cineas:  but will that put an end to the war?-The gods forbid! cried his Majesty:  when Sicily is reduced, Libya and Carthage will be within our reach.  And then, without giving Cineas time to put in a word, the heroic Prince ran over Africa, Greece, Asia, Persia, and every other country he had ever heard of upon the face of God’s earth; not one of which he intended should escape his victorious sword.  At last, when he was at the end of his geography, and a little out of breath, Cineas watched his opportunity, and said quietly, Well, Sire, and when we have conquered all the world, what are we to do then?—­Why, then, said his Majesty, extremely satisfied with his own prowess, we will live at our ease; we:  Will spend whole days in banqueting and carousing, and will think of nothing but our pleasures.

Now, Madam, for the application.  Had I had the honour a few years ago of being your confidential abigail, when you meditated a visit to Princess Esterhazi, I would have ventured to ask your ladyship of what advantage her acquaintance would be to you?  Probably you would have told me, that she would introduce you to several electresses and margravines, whose courts you would visit.  That having conquered all their hearts, as I am persuaded you would, your next jaunt would be to Hesse; from whence it would be but a trip to Aix, where Madame de Rochouart lives.  Soaring from thence you Would repair to the Imperial

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court at Vienna, where resides the most august, most virtuous, and most plump of empresses and queens--no, I mistake—­I should only have said, of empresses; for her Majesty of Denmark, God bless her! is reported to be full as virtuous, and three stone heavier.  Shall not you call at Copenhagen, Madam?  If you do, you are next door to the Czarina, who is the quintessence of friendship, as the Princess Daskioff says, whom, next to the late Czar, her Muscovite Majesty loves above all the world.  Asia, I suppose, would not enter into your ladyship’s system Of conquest; for, though it contains a sight of queens and sultanas, the poor ladies are locked up in abominable places, into which I am sure your ladyship’s amity would never carry you—­I think they call them seraglios.  Africa has nothing but empresses stark-naked; and of complexions directly the reverse of your alabaster They do not reign in their own right; and what is worse, the emperors of those barbarous regions wear no more robes than the sovereigns of their hearts.  And what are princes and princesses without velvet and ermine?  As I am not a jot a better geographer than King Pyrrhus, I can at present recollect but one lady more who reigns alone, and that is her Majesty of Otaheite, lately discovered by Mr. Bankes and Dr. Solander; and for whom, your ladyship’s compassionate breast must feel the tenderest emotions,’ she having been cruelly deprived of her faithful minister and lover Tobiu, since dead at Batavia.

Well,’Madam, after you should have given me the plan of your intended expeditions, and not left a queen regent on the face of the globe unvisited,—­ I would ask what we were to do next?- -Why then, dear Abigail, you would have said, we will retire to Notting-hill, we will plant shrubs all the morning, read Anderson’s Royal Genealogies all the evening; and once or twice a week I will go to Gunnersbury and drink a bottle with Princess Amelia.  Alas, dear lady! and cannot you do all that without skuttling from one end of the world to the other?—­This was the, upshot of all Cineas’s inquisitiveness:  and this is the pith of this tedious letter from, Madam, your ladyship’s most faithful Aulic Counsellor and humble admirer.

(106) See the two preceding letters.  It will be recollected that Lady Mary Coke was sister-in-law to The Earl of Strafford, and widow of Viscount Coke, heir apparent of Thomas Earl of Leicester, who died without issue by her, in his father’s lifetime.  Lady Mary died at a great age in 1811-E.

Letter 64 To The Hon. Mrs. GREY.(107) Dec. 9, 1773. (page 89)

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Dear madam, As I hear Lady Blandford has a return of the gout-, as I foretold last night from the red spot being not gone, I beg you will be so good as to tell her, that if she does not encourage the swelling by keeping her foot wrapped up as hot as possible in flannel, she will torment herself and bring more pain.  I will answer that if she will let it swell, and suffer the swelling to go off of itself, she will have no more pain; and she must remember, that the gout will bear contradiction no more than she herself(108) Pray read this to her, and what I say farther—­that though I know she will not bear pain for herself, I am sure she will for her friends.  Her misfortune has produced the greatest satisfaction that a good mind can receive, the experience that that goodness has given her a great many sincere friends, who have shown as much concern as ever was known, and the most disinterested; as we know her generosity has left her nothing to give.  We wish to preserve her for her own sake and ours, and the poor beseech her to bear a little pain for them.

I am going out of town till Monday, or would bring my prescription myself.  She wants no virtue but patience; and patience takes it very ill to be left out of such good company.  I am, dear Madam, Your obedient servant, Dr. Walpole.

(107) Now first printed.

(108) It has already been stated, that Lady Blandford was somewhat impatient in her temper.-E.

Letter 65 To Sir David Dalrymple.(109) Arlington Street, Dec. 14, 1773. (page 90)

Sir, I have received from Mr. Dodsley, and read with pleasure, your Remarks on the History of Scotland,” though I am not competently versed in some of the subjects.  Indeed, such a load of difficult and vexatious business is fallen upon me by the unhappy situation of my nephew, Lord Orford, of whose affairs I have been forced to undertake the management, though greatly unfit for it, that I am obliged to bid adieu to all literary amusement and pursuits; and must dedicate the rest of a life almost worn out, and of late wasted and broken by a long illness, to the duties I owe to my family.  I hope you, Sir, will have no such disagreeable avocation, and am your obliged servant.

(109) Now first collected.

Letter 66 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, May 4, 1774. (page 90)

Dear Sir, We have dropped one another, as if we were not antiquaries, but people of this world-or do you disclaim me, because I have quitted the Society?  I could give You but too sad reasons for my silence.  The gout kept entire possession of me for six months; and, before it released me, Lord Orford’s illness and affairs engrossed me totally.  I have been twice in Norfolk since you heard from me.  I am now at liberty again.  What is your account of yourself?  To. ask you to come above ground,

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even so far as to see me, I know is in vain or I certainly would ask it.  You impose Carthusian shackles on Yourself, Will not quit your cell, nor will speak above once a week.  I am glad to hear of you, and to see your hand, though you make that as much like print as you can.  If you were to be tempted abroad, it would be a pilgrimage:  and I can lure you even with that.  My chapel is finished, and the shrine will actually be placed in less than a fortnight.  My father is said to have said, that every man had his price.  You are a Beatus, indeed, if you resist a shrine.  Why should not you add to your claustral virtues that of a peregrination to Strawberry?  You will find me quite alone in July.  Consider, Strawberry is almost the last monastery left, at least in England.  Poor Mr. Bateman’s is despoiled.  Lord Bateman has stripped and plundered it:  has sequestered the best things, has advertised the site, and is dirtily selling by auction what he neither would keep, nor can sell for a sum that is worth while.  I was hurt to see half the ornaments of the chapel, and the reliquaries, and in short a thousand trifles, exposed to sneers.  I am buying a few to keep for the founder’s sake.  Surely it is very indecent for a favourite relation, who is rich, to show so little remembrance and affection.  I suppose Strawberry will have the same fate!  It has already happened to two of my friends.  Lord Bristol got his mother’s house from his brother, by persuading her he was in love with it.  He let it in a month after she was dead band all her favourite pictures and ornaments, which she had ordered not to be removed, are mouldering in a garret!  You are in the right to care so little for a world where there is no measure but avoirdupois.  Adieu!  Yours sincerely.

Letter 67 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, May 28, 1774. (page 91)

Nothing will be more agreeable to me’, dear Sir, than a visit from you in July.  I will try to persuade Mr. Granger to meet you; and if you had any such thing as summer in the fens, I would desire you to bring a bag with you.  We are almost freezing here in the midst of beautiful verdure, with a profusion of blossoms and flowers; but I keep good fires, and seem to feel warm weather while I look through the window; for the way to ensure summer in England, is to have it framed and glazed in a comfortable room.

I shall be still more glad to hear you are settled in Your living.  Burnham is almost in my neighbourhood; and its being in that of Eton and Windsor, will more than console you, I hope, for leaving Ely and Cambridge.  Pray let me know the moment you are certain.  It would now be a disappointment to me as well as you.  You shall be inaugurated in my chapel, which is much more venerable than your parish church, and has the genuine air of antiquity.  I bought very little of poor Mr. Bateman’s.  His nephew disposed of little that was worth houseroom, and Yet pulled the whole to pieces.

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Mr. Pennant has Published a new Tour to Scotland and the Hebrides:  and, though he has endeavoured to paint their dismal isles and rocks in glowing colours, they will not be satisfied; for he seems no bigot about Ossian, at least in some passages; and is free in others, which their intolerating spirit will resent.  I cannot say the book is very entertaining to me, and it is more a book of rates than of antiquities.  The most amusing part was communicated to him by Mr. Banks, who found whole islands that bear nothing but columns, as other places do grass and barley.  There is a beautiful cave called Fingal’s; which proves that nature loves Gothic architecture.

Mr. Pennant has given a new edition of his former Tour, with more cuts.  Among others, is the vulgar head, called the Countess of Desmond.  I told him I had discovered, and proved past contradiction, that it is Rembrandt’s mother.  He owned it, and said, he would correct it by a note-but he has not.  This is a brave way of being an antiquary! as if there could be any merit in giving for genuine what one knows to be spurious.  He is, indeed, a superficial man, and knows little of history or antiquity:  but he has a violent rage for being an author.  He set out with Ornithology, and a little Natural History, and picks Up his knowledge as he rides.  I have a still lower idea of Mr. Gough; for Mr. Pennant, at least, is very civil:  the other is a hog.  Mr. Fenn,(110) another smatterer in antiquity, but. a very good sort of man, told me, Mr. Gough desired to be introduced to me—­but as he has been such a bear to you,(111) he shall not come.  The Society of Antiquaries put me in mind of what the old Lord Pembroke said to Anstis the herald:  “Thou silly fellow! thou dost not know thy own silly business.”  If they went behind taste by poking into barbarous ages, when there was no taste, one could forgive them—­but they catch at the first ugly thing they see, and take it for old, because it is new to them, and then usher it pompously into the world, as if they had made a discovery; though they have not yet cleared up a single point that is of the least importance, or that tends to Settle any obscure passage in history.

I will not condole with you on having had the gout, since you find it has removed other complaints.  Besides as it begins late, you are never likely to have it severely.  I shall be in terrors in two or three months, having had the four last fits periodically and biennially Indeed, the two last were so long and severe, that my remaining and shattered strength could ill support such.

I must repeat how glad I shall be to have you at Burnham.  When people grow old, as you and I do, they should get together.  Others do not care for us:  but we seem wiser to one another by finding fault with them.  Not that I am apt to dislike young folks, whom I think every thing becomes:  but it is a kind of self-defence to live in a body.  I dare to say that monks never find out that they

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grow old fools.  Their age gives them authority, and nobody contradicts them.  In the world, one cannot help perceiving one is out of fashion.  Women play at cards with women of their own standing, and censure others between the deals, and thence conclude themselves Gamaliels.  I who see many young men with better parts than myself, submit with a good grace, or retreat hither to my castle, where I am satisfied with what I have done, and am always in good humour.  But I like to have one or two old friends with me.  I do not much invite the juvenile, who think my castle and me of equal antiquity:  for no wonder, if they supposed George I. lived in the time of the crusades.

Adieu! my good Sir, and pray let Burnham Wood and Dunsinane be good neighbours.  Yours ever.

(110) Sir John Fenn, who edited the “Original Letters, written during the Reigns of Henry VI., Edward iv., Richard iii., and Henry ViI., by various Persons of rank and consequence, digested in a Chronological order — with Notes historical and explanatory;” which were published in four volumes, quarto, between the years 1787-1789.  The letters are principally by members of the Paston family and others, who were of great consequence in Norfolk at the time Sir John who was a native of Norwich, died in 1794.  A fifth volume was published in 1823.- E.

(111) Alluding to his not having answered a letter from Mr. Cole for nearly a twelvemonth.

Letter 68 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 21, 1774. (page 93)

Your illness, dear Sir, is the worst excuse you could make me; and the worse, as you may be well in a night, if you will, by taking six grains of James’s Powder.  He cannot cure death; but he can most complaints that are not mortal or chronical.  He could cure you so soon of colds, that he would cure you of another distemper, to which I doubt you are a little subject, the fear of them.  I hope you were certain, that illness is a legal plea for missing induction, or you will have nursed a cough and hoarseness with too much tenderness, as they certainly could bear a journey.  Never see my face again, if you are not rector of Burnham.  How can you be so bigoted to Milton?  I should have thought the very name would have prejudiced you against the place, as the name is all that could approach towards reconciling me to the fens.  I shall be very glad to see you here, whenever you have resolution enough to quit your cell.  But since Burnham and the neighbourhood of Windsor and Eton have no charms for you, can I expect that Strawberry Hill should have any?  Methinks, that when one grows old, one’s contemporary friends should be our best amusement:  for younger people are soon tired of us, and our old stories:  but I have found the contrary in some of mine.  For your part, you care for conversing with none but the dead:  for I reckon the unborn, for whom you are writing, as much dead, as those from whom you collect. .

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You certainly ask no favour, dear Sir, when you want prints of Me.  They are at any body’s service that thinks them worth having.  The owner sets very little value on them, since he sets very little, indeed, on himself:  as a man, a very faulty one; and as an author, a very middling one; which whoever thinks a comfortable rank, is not at all my opinion.  Pray convince me that you think I mean sincerely, by not answering me with a compliment. it is very weak to be pleased with flattery; the stupidest of ’all delusions to beg it.  From You I should take it ill.  We have known one another almost fifty years—­to very little purpose, indeed, if any ceremony is necessary, or downright sincerity not established between us. tell me that you are recovered, and that I shall see you some time or other.  I have finished the catalogue of my collection; but you shall never have it without fetching, nor, though a less punishment, the prints you desire.  I propose in time to have plates of my house added to ’the Catalogue, yet I Cannot afford them, unless by degrees.  Engravers are grown so much dearer, without My growing richer, that I must have patience! a quality I seldom have, but when I must.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

P. S. I have lately been at Ampthill, and saw Queen Catherine’s cross.  It is not near large enough for the situation, and would be fitter for a garden than a park:  but it is executed in the truest and best taste.  Lord Ossory is quite satisfied, as well as I, and designs Mr. Essex a present of some guineas.  If ever I am richer, I shall consult the same honest man about building my offices, for Which I have a plan:  but if I have no more money, ever, I Will not run in debt, and distress myself:  and therefore remit my designs to chance and a little economy.

Letter 69 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, June 23, 1774. (page 94)

I have nothing to say—­which is the best reason in the world for writing; for one must have a great regard for any body, one writes to, when one begins a letter neither on ceremony nor business.  You are seeing armies,(112) who are always in fine order—­and great spirits when they are in cold blood:  I am sorry you thought it worth while to realize what I should have thought you could have seen in your mind’s eye.  However, I hope you will be amused and pleased With viewing heroes, both in their autumn and their bud.  Vienna will be a new sight; so will the Austrian eagle and its two heads, I should like seeing, too, if any fairy would present me with a chest that would fly up into the air by touching a peg, and transport me whither I pleased in an instant:  but roads, and inns, and dirt, are terrible drawbacks on My curiosity.  I grow so old and so indolent, that I scarce stir from hence; and the dread of the gout makes me almost as much a prisoner, as a fit of it.  News I know none, if there is any.  The papers tell me that

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the city was to present a petition to The King against the Quebec-bill yesterday; and I suppose they will tell me to-morrow whether it was presented.  The King’s speech tells me, there has nothing happened between the Russians and the Turks.(113) Lady Barrymore told me t’other day, that nothing was to happen between her and Lord Egremont.  I am as well satisfied with these negatives, as I should have been with the contrary.  I am much more interested about the rain, for it destroys all my roses and orange-flowers, of which I have exuberance; and my hay is cut, and cannot be made.  However, it is delightful to have no other distresses.  When I compare my present tranquillity and indifference with all I suffered last year,(114) I am thankful for my happiness and enjoy it—­unless the bell rings early in the morning—­then I tremble, and think it an express from Norfolk.

It is unfortunate that when one has nothing to talk of but one’s self, one should have nothing to’ say of one’s self.  It is shameful, too, to send such a scrap by the post.  I think I shall reserve it till Tuesday.  If -I have then nothing to add, as is probable, you must content yourself with my good intentions, as you, I hope, will with this speculative campaign.  Pray, for the future, remain at home and build bridges:  I wish you were here to expedite ours to Richmond, which they tell me Will not be passable these two years.  I have done looking so forward.  Adieu!

(112) Mr. Conway was now on a tour of military curiosity through Flanders, Germany, Prussia, and part of Hungary.

(113) Peace between Russia and Turkey Was proclaimed at St. Petersburgh on the 14th of August, 1774.-E.

(114) During the illness of his nephew, Lord Orford.

Letter 70 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Matson, near Gloucester, Aug. 15, 1774. (page 95)

Dear Sir, As I am your disciple in antiquities (for you studied them when I was but a scoffer), I think it my duty to give you some account of my journeying, in the good cause.  You will not dislike my date.  I am in the Very mansion where King Charles the First and his two eldest sons lay during the siege; and there are marks of the last’s hacking with his hanger on a window, as he told Mr. Selwin’s grandfather afterwards.  The present master has done due honour to the royal residence, and erected a good marble bust of the Martyr, in a little gallery.  In a window is a shield in painted glass, with that King’s and his Queen’s arms, which I gave him.  So you see I am not a rebel, when alma mater antiquity stands godmother.

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I went again to the cathedral, and, on seeing the monument of Edward ii a new historic doubt started which I pray you to solve.  His Majesty has a longish beard — and such were certainly worn at that time.  Who is the first historian that tells the story of his being shaven with cold water from a ditch and weeping to supply warm, as he was carried to Berkeley Castle?  Is not this apocryphal?  The house whence Bishop Hooper(115) was carried to the stake, is still standing, tale quale.  I made a visit to his actual successor, Warburton, ’who is very infirm, speaks with much hesitation, and, they say, begins to lose his memory.  They have destroyed the beautiful cross; the two battered heads of Henry iii. and Edward iii. are in the Postmaster’s garden.

Yesterday I made a jaunt four miles hence that pleased me exceedingly, to Prinknash, the individual villa of the abbots of Gloucester.  I wished you there with their mitre on.  It stands on a glorious, but impracticable hill, in the midst of a little forest of beech, and commanding Elysium.  The house is small, but has good rooms, and though modernized here and there, not extravagantly.  On the ceiling of the hall is Edward IVth’s Jovial device, a fau-con serrure.  The chapel is low and small, but antique, and with painted glass, with many angels in their coronation robes, i. e. wings and crowns.  Henry viii. and Jane Seymour lay here:  in the dining-room are their arms in glass, and of Catherine of Arragon, and of Brays and Bridges.  Under the window, a barbarous bas-relief head of Harry, young:  as it is still on a sign of an alehouse, on the descent of the hill.  Think of my amazement, when they showed me the chapel plate, and I found on it, on four pieces, my own arms, quartering my mother-in-law, Skerret’s, and in a shield of pretence, those of Fortescue certainly by mistake, for those of my sister-in-law, as the barony of Clinton was in abeyance between her and Fortescue Lord Clinton.  The whole is modern and blundered:  for Skerret should be impaled, not quartered, and instead of our crest, are two spears tied together in a ducal coronet, and no coronet for my brother, in whose time this plate must have been made, and at whose sale it was probably bought; as he finished the repairs of the church at Houghton, for which, I suppose, this decoration was intended.  But the silversmith was no herald, you see.

As I descended the hill, I found in a wretched cottage a child, in an ancient oaken cradle, exactly in the form of that lately published from the cradle of Edward ii.  I purchased it for five shillings; but don’t know whether I shall have fortitude enough to transport it to Strawberry Hill.  People would conclude me in my second childhood.

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To-day I have been at Berkeley and Thornbury Castles.  The first disappointed me much, though very entire.  It is much smaller than I expected, but very entire, except a small part burnt two years ago, while the present Earl was in the house.  The fire began in the housekeeper’s room, who never appeared more; but as she was strict over the servants, and not a bone of her was found, it was supposed that she was murdered, and the body conveyed away.  The situation is not elevated nor beautiful, and little improvements made of late, but some silly ones `a la Chinoise, by the present Dowager.  In good sooth, I can give you but a very imperfect account; for, instead of the lord’s being gone to dine with the mayor of Gloucester, as I expected, I found him in the midst of all his captains of the militia.  I am so sillily shy of strangers and youngsters, that I hurried through the chambers; and looked for nothing but the way out of every room.  I just observed that there were many bad portraits of the family, but none ancient; as if the Berkeleys had been commissaries, and raised themselves in the last war.  There is a plentiful addition of those of my Lord Berkeley of Stratton, but no knights templars, or barons as old as Edward I.; yet are there three beds on which there may have been as frisky doings three centuries ago, as there probably have been within these ten ears.  The room shown for the murder of Edward ii., and the shrieks of an agonizing king, I verily believe to be genuine.  It is a dismal chamber, almost at top of the house, quite detached, and to be approached only by a kind of foot-bridge, and from that ‘descends’ a large flight of steps that terminate on strong gates; exactly the situation for a corps de garde.  In that room they show you a cast of a face in plaister, and tell you it was taken from Edward’s.  I was not quite so easy of faith about that; for it is evidently the face of Charles I.

The steeple of the church, lately rebuilt handsomely, stands some paces from the body; in the latter are three tombs of the old Berkeleys;, with cumbent figures.  The wife of the Lord Berkeley,(116) who was supposed to be privy to the murder, has a curious headgear; it is like a long horseshoe, quilted in quatrefoils; and, like Lord Foppington’s wig, allows no more than the breadth of a half-crown to be discovered of the face.  Stay, I think I mistake; the husband was a conspirator against Richard ii. not Edward.  But in those days, loyalty was not so rife as at present.

>From Berkeley Castle I went to Thornbury, of which the ruins are half-ruined.  It would have been glorious, if finished.(117) I wish the lords of Berkeley had retained the spirit of deposing till Henry the VIIIth’s time!  The situation is fine, though that was not the fashion; for all the windows of the great apartment look into the inner court.  The prospect was left to the servants.  Here I had two adventures.  I could find nobody to show

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me about.  I saw a paltry house that I took for the sexton’s, at the corner of the close, and bade my servant ring, and ask who could show me the Castle.  A voice in a passion flew, from a casement, and issued from a divine.  “What! was it his business to show the Castle? — Go look for somebody else!  What did the fellow ring for as if the house was on fire?” The poor Swiss came back in a fright, and said, the doctor had sworn at him.  Well—­we scrambled over a stone stile, saw a room or two glazed near the gate, and rung at it.  A damsel came forth and satisfied our curiosity.  When we had done seeing, I said, “Child, we don’t know our Way, and want to be directed into the London road; I see the Duke’s steward yonder at the window, pray desire him to come to me, that I may consult him.”  She went—­he stood staring at us at the window, and sent his footman.  I do not think courtesy is a resident at Thornbury.  As I returned through the close, the divine came running, out of breath, and without his beaver or band, and calls out, “Sir, I am come to justify myself:  your servant says I swore at him:  I am no swearer—­Lord bless me! (dropping his voice) it is Mr. Walpole!” “Yes, Sir, and I think you was Lord Beauchamp’s tutor at Oxford, but I have forgot your name.”  “Holwell, Sir.”  “Oh! yes.” and then I comforted him, and laid the ill-breeding on my footman’s being a foreigner; but could not help saying, I really had taken his house for the sexton’s.  “Yes, Sir, it is not very good without, won’t you please to walk in!” I did, and found the inside ten times worse, and He was making an Index to Homer, a lean wife, suckling a child.  He is going to publish the chief beauties, and I believe had just been reading some of the delicate civilities that pass between Agamemnon and Achilles, and that what my servant took for oaths, were only Greek compliments.(118) Adieu!  Yours ever.

You see I have not a line more of paper.

(115) John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, who, having refused to recant his opinions, was burned alive before the cathedral of Gloucester in the year 1554.-E.

(116) Thomas, third Lord Berkeley, was entrusted with the custody of Edward ii.; but, owing to the humanity with which he treated the captive monarch, he was forced to resign his prisoner and his castle to Lord Maltravers and Sir Thomas Gournay.  After the murder of Edward, Lord Berkeley was arraigned as a participator in the crime, but honourably acquitted.  The Lady Berkeley alluded to by Walpole was his first wife, Margaret, daughter of Roger de Mortimer, Earl of March, and widow of Robert Vere, Earl of Oxford.-E.

(117) Thornbury Castle was designed, but never finished by the Duke of Buckingham, in Henry VIII’s time.-E.

(118) The Rev. William Holwell, vicar of Thornbury, prebendary of Exeter, and some time chaplain to the King.  He was distinguished by superior talents as a scholar, and a critical knowledge of the Greek language.  His “Extracts from Mr. Pope’s Translation, corresponding with the Beauties of Homer, selected from the Iliad,” were published in 1776.-E.

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Letter 71 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, August 18, 1774. (page 98)

It is very hard, that because you do not get my letters, you will not let me receive yours, who do receive them.  I have not had a line from you these five weeks.  Of your honours and glories fame has told me;(119) and for aught I know, you may be a veldt-marshal by this time, and despise such a poor cottager as me.  Take notice I shall disclaim you in my turn, if you are sent on a command against Dantzich, or to usurp a new district in Poland.(120)

I have seen no armies, kings, or. empresses, and cannot send you such august gazettes; nor are they what I want to hear of.  I like to hear you are well and diverted; nay, have pimped towards the latter, by desiring Lady Ailesbury to send you Monsieur do Guisnes’s invitation to a military f`ete at Metz.(121) For my part, I wish you was returned to your plough.  Your Sabine farm is in high beauty.  I have lain there twice within this week, going to and from a visit to George Selwyn, near Gloucester; a tour as much to my taste as yours to you.  For fortified towns I have seen ruined castles.  Unluckily, in that of Berkeley I found a hole regiment of militia in garrison, and as many young officers as if the Countess was in possession, and ready to surrender at indiscretion.  I endeavoured to comfort myself, by figuring that they were guarding Edward ii.  I have seen many other ancient sights without asking leave of the King of Prussia:  it would not please me so much to write to him, as it once did to write for him.(122)

They have found at least seventy thousand pounds of Lord Thomond’s.(123) George Howard has decked himself with a red riband, money, and honours!  Charming things! and yet One may be happy without them.

The young Mr. Coke is returned from his travels n love with the Pretender’s queen,(124) who has permitted him to have her picture.  What can I tell you more?  Nothing.  Indeed, if I only write to postmasters, my letter is long enough.  Every body’s head but mine is full of elections.  I had the satisfaction at Gloucester, where George Selwyn is canvassing, of reflecting on my own wisdom.  “Suave mari maggno turbantibus aequora ventis,” etc.  I am certainly the greatest philosopher in the world, without ever having thought of being so:  always employed, and never busy;’ eager about trifles, and indifferent to every thing serious.  Well, if it is not philosophy, it is at least content.  I am as pleased here with my own nutshell, as any monarch you have seen these two months astride his eagle—­not but I was dissatisfied when I missed you at Park-place, and was peevish at your being in an Aulic chamber.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

P- S. They tell us from Vienna, that the peace is made between Tisiphone and the Turk:  is it true?

(119) Alluding to the distinguished notice taken of General Conway by the King of Prussia.

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(120) The first dismemberment of Poland had taken place in the preceding year, by which a third of her territory was ceded to Russia, Austria, and Prussia.-E.

(121) To see the review of the French regiment of Carabineers, then commanded by Monsieur de Guisnes.

(122) Alluding to the Letter to Rousseau in the name of the King of Prussia.

(123) Percy Wyndham Obrien.  He was the second son of Sir Charles Wyndham, chancellor of the exchequer to Queen Anne; and took the name of Obrien, pursuant to the Earl of Thomond in Ireland.

(124) The Countess of Albany.-E.

Letter 72 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 7, 1774. (page 99)

I did not think you had been so like the rest of the world, as, when you pretended to be visiting armies, to go in search of gold and silver mines!(125) The favours of courts and the smiles of emperors and kings, I see, have corrupted even you, and perverted you to a nabob.  Have you brought away an ingot in the calf of your leg?  What abomination have you committed?  All the gazettes in Europe have sent you on different negotiations:  instead of returning With a treaty in your pocket, you will only come back with bills of exchange.  I don’t envy your subterraneous travels, nor the hospitality of the Hungarians.  Where did you find a spoonful of Latin about you?  I have not attempted to speak Latin these thirty years, without perceiving I was talking Italian thickened with terminations in us and orum.  I should have as little expected to find an Ovid in those regions; but I suppose the gentry of Presburg read him for a fashionable author, as our squires and their wives do the last collections of ballads that have been sung at Vauxhall and Marybone.  I wish you may have brought away some sketches of Duke Albert’s architecture.  You know I deal in the works of royal authors, though I have never admired any of their own buildings, not excepting King Solomon’s temple.  Stanley(126) and Edmondson in Hungary!  What carried them thither?  The chase of mines too?  The first, perhaps, waddled thither obliquely, as a parrot would have done whose direction was to Naples.

Well, I am glad you have been entertained, and seen such a variety of sights.  You don’t mind fatigues and hardships, and hospitality, the two extremes that to me poison travelling.  I shall never see any thing more, unless I meet with a ring that renders one invisible.  It was but the other day that, being with George Selwyn at Gloucester, I Went to view Berkeley Castle, knowing the Earl was to dine with the mayor of Gloucester.  Alas! when I arrived, he had put off the party to enjoy his militia a day longer, and the house was full of officers.  They might be in the Hungarian dress, for aught I knew; for I was so dismayed, that I would"fain have persuaded the housekeeper that she could not show me the apartments; and when she opened the hall, and I saw it full of captains, I hid myself in a dark passage, and nothing could persuade me to enter, till they had the civility to quit the place.  When I was forced at last to go over the castle, I ran through it without seeing any thing, as if I had been afraid of being detained prisoner.

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I have no news to send you:  if I had any, I would not conclude, as all correspondents do, that Lady Ailesbury left nothing Untold.  Lady Powis is gone to hold mobs at Ludlow, where there is actual war, and where a knight, I forget his name, one of their friends, has been almost cut in two with a scythe.  When you have seen all the armies in Europe, you will be just in time for many election-battles—­perhaps, for a war in America, whither more troops are going.  Many of those already sent have deserted; and to be sure the- prospect there is not smiling.  Apropos, Lord Mahon,(127) whom Lord Stanhope, his father, will not suffer to wear powder because wheat is so dear, was presented t’other day in coal-black hair and a white feather:  they said, “he had been tarred and feathered.”

In France you will find a new scene.(128) The Chancellor is sent, a little before his time, to the devil.  The old Parliament is expected back.  I am sorry to say I shall not meet you there.  It will be too late in the year for me to venture, especially as I now live in dread of my biennial gout, and should die of it in an h`otel garni, and forced to receive all comers—­I, who you know lock myself up when I am ill as if I had the plague.

I wish I could fill my sheet, in return for your five pages.  The only thing-you will care for knowing is, that I never saw Mrs. Damer better in her life, nor look so well.  You may trust me, who am so apt to be frightened about her.

(125) Mr. Conway had gone to see the gold and silver mines of cremnitz, in the neighbourhood of Grau, in Hungary.

(126) Mr. Hans Stanley.

(127) Charles Viscount Mahon, born on the 3d of August 1753.  In the following December, he married Lady Hester Pitt, eldest daughter of the Earl of Chatham.  He succeeded his father, as third Earl Stanhope, in March 1786, and died in 1816.-E.

(128) In Consequence of the death of Louis xv. on the 10th of May.-E.

Letter 73 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 27, 1774. (page 101)

I should be very ungrateful indeed if I thought of complaining of you, who are goodness itself to me:  and when I did not receive letters from ’you, I concluded it happened from your eccentric positions.  I am amazed, that hurried as you have been, and your eyes and thoughts- crowded with objects, you have been able to find time to write me so many and such long letters, over and above all those to Lady, Ailesbury, your daughter, brother, and other friends.  Even Lord Strafford brags of your frequent remembrance.  That your superabundance of royal beams would dazzle you, I never suspected.  Even I enjoy for you the distinctions you have received—­though I should hate such things for myself, as they are particularly troublesome to me,’and I am particularly awkward under them, and as I abhor the King of Prussia, and if I passed through Berlin, should have no joy

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like avoiding him—­like one of our countrymen, who changed horses at Paris, and asked what the name of that town was?  All the other civilities you have received I am perfectly happy in.  The Germans are certainly a civil, well-meaning people, and, I believe, one of the least corrupted nations in Europe.  I do not think them very agreeable; but who do I think are so?  A great many French women, some English men, and a few English women; exceedingly few French men.  Italian women are the grossest, vulqarest of the sex.  If an Italian man has a grain of sense, he is a buffoon.  So much for Europe!

I have already told you, and so must Lady Ailesbury, that my courage fails me, and I dare not meet you at Paris, As the period arrived when the gout used to come, it is never a moment out of my head.  Such a suffering, such a helpless condition as I was in for five months and a half, two years ago, makes me tremble from head to foot.  I should die at once if seized in a French inn; or, what, if possible, would be worse, at Paris, where I must admit every body.—­I, who you know can hardly bear to see even you when I am ill, and who shut up myself here, and would not let Lord and Lady Hertford come near me—­I, who have my room washed though in bed, how could I bear French dirt!  In short, I, who am so capricious, and whom you are pleased to call a philosopher, I suppose because I have given up every thing but my own will—­how could I keep my temper, who have no way of keeping my temper but by keeping it out of every body’s way!  No, I must give up the satisfaction of being with you at Paris.  I have just learnt to give up my pleasures, but I cannot give up my pains, which such selfish people as I who have suffered much, grow to compose into a system that they are partial to, because it is their own.  I must make myself amends when you return:  you will be more stationary, I hope, for the future; and if I live I shall have intervals of health.  In lieu of me, you will have a charming succedaneum, Lady Harriet Stanhope.(129) Her father, who is more a hero than i, is packing up his old decrepit bones, and goes too.  I wish she may not have him to nurse, instead of diverting herself.

The present state of your country is, that it is drowned and dead drunk; all water without, and wine within.  Opposition for the next elections every where, even in Scotland; not from party, but as laying Out money to advantage.  In the head-quarters, indeed, party is not out of the question:  the day after to-morrow will be a great bustle in the city for a Lord Mayor,(130) and all the winter in Westminster, where Lord Mahon and Humphrey Cotes oppose the court.  Lady Powis is saving her money at Ludlow and Powis Castles by keeping open house day and night against Sir Watkin Williams, and fears she shall be kept there till the general election.  It has rained this whole month, and we have got another inundation.  The Thames is as broad as your Danube, and all my

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meadows are under water.  Lady Browne and I, coming last Sunday night from Lady Blandford’s, were in a piteous plight.  The ferryboat was turned round by the current, and carried to Isleworth.  Then we ran against the piers of our new bridge, and the horses were frightened.  Luckily, my cicisbeo -was a Catholic, and screamed to so many Saints, that some of them at the nearest alehouse came and saved us, or I should have had no more gout, or what I dreaded I should; for I concluded we should be carried ashore somewhere, and be forced to wade through the mud up to my middle.  So you see one may wrap oneself up in flannel and be in danger, without visiting all the armies on the face of the globe, and putting the immortality of one’s chaise to the proof.

I am ashamed Of sending you three sides of smaller paper in answer to seven large—­but what can I do?  I see nothing, know nothing, do nothing.  My castle is finished, I have nothing new to read, I am tired of writing, I have no new or old bit for my printer.  I have only black hoods around me; or, if I go to town, the family-party in Grosvenor Street.  One trait will give you a sample of how I passed my time, and made me laugh, as it put me in mind of you; at least it was a fit of absence, much more likely to have happened to you than to me.  I was playing eighteenpenny tredrille with the Duchess of Newcastle(131) and Lady Browne, and certainly not much interested in the game.  I cannot recollect nor conceive what I was thinking of, but I pushed the cards very gravely to the Duchess, and said, “Doctor, you are to deal.”  You may guess at their astonishment, and how much it made us all laugh.  I wish it may make you smile a moment, or that I had any thing better to send you.  Adieu, most affectionately.  Yours ever.

(129) a Daughter of the Earl of Harrington.  Her ladyship was married, in 1776, to Thomas second Lord Foley.-E.

(130) When Mr. Wilkes was elected.

(131) Catherine, eldest daughter and heiress of the Right Hon. Henry Pelham, married to Henry ninth Earl of Lincoln; who, in consequence of his marriage with her, inherited in 1768, the dukedom of Newcastle-under-Line on the demise of the Countess’s uncle, Thomas Pelham Holles, Who had been created Duke of Newcastle.under-Line, with special remainder to the Earl of Lincoln , in 1756 E.

Letter 74 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 28, 1774. (page 103)

Lady Ailesbury brings you this,(132) which is not a letter, but a paper of direction, and the counterpart of what I have written to Madame du Deffand.  I beg of you seriously to take a great deal of notice of this dear old friend of mine.  She will, perhaps, expect more attention from you, as my friend, and as it is her own nature a little, than will be quite convenient to you:  but you have an infinite deal of patience and good-nature, and will excuse it. 

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I was afraid of her importuning Madame Ailesbury, who has a vast deal to see and do, and, therefore, I prepared Madame du Deffand, and told her Lady Ailesbury loves amusements, and that, having never been at Paris before, she must not confine her:  so you must pay for both—­and it will answer:  and- I do not, I own, ask this Only for Madame du Deffand’s sake, but for my own, and a little for yours.  Since the late King’s death she has not dared to write to me freely, and I want to know the present state of ’France exactly, both to satisfy my Own curiosity, and for her sake, as- I wish to learn whether her, pension, etc. is in any danger from the present ministry, some of whom are not her friends.  She can tell you a great deal if she will—­by that I don’t mean that she is reserved, or partial to, her Own country against ours—­quite the contrary; she loves me better than all France together—­but she hates politics; and therefore, to make her talk on it, you must tell her it is to satisfy me, and that I want to know whether she is well at court, whether she has any fears from the government, particularly Maurepas and Nivernois:  and that I am eager to have Monsieur do Choiseul and ma grandmaman, the Duchess, restored to power.  If you take it on this foot easily, she will talk to you with the utmost frankness and with amazing cleverness.  I have told her you are strangely absent, and that, if she does not repeat it over and over, you will forget every syllable; so I have prepared her to joke and be quite familiar with you at once.(133) She knows more of personal characters, and paints them better, than any body:  but let this be between ourselves, for I would not have a living soul suspect, that I get any intelligence from her, which would hurt her; and, therefore, I beg you not to let any human being know of this letter, nor of your conversation with her, neither English nor French.

Madame du Deffand hates les philosophes; so you must give them up to her.  She and Madame Geoffrin are no friends:  so, if you go thither, don’t tell her of it.  Indeed, you would be sick of that house, whither all pretended beaux esprits and faux savants go, and where they are very impertinent and dogmatic.

Let me give you one other caution, which I shall give to Lady Ailesbury too.  Take care of your papers at Paris, and have a very strong lock to your porte-feuille.  In the h`otels garnis they have double keys to every lock, and examine every drawer and paper of the English they can get at.  They will pilfer, too, whatever they can.  I was robbed of half my clothes there the first time, and they wanted to hang poor Louis to save the people of the house who had stolen the things.

Here is another thing I must say.  Madame du Deffand has kept a great many of my letters, and, as she is very old, I am in pain about them.  I have written to her to beg she will deliver them up to you to bring back to me, and I trust she Will.(134) If she does, be so good to take great care of them.  If she does not mention them, tell her before you come away, that I begged you to bring them; and if she hesitates, convince her how it would hurt me to have letters written in very bad French, and mentioning several people, both French and English, fall into bad hands, and, perhaps, be printed.

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Let me desire you to read this letter more than once, that you may not forget my requests, which are very important to me; and I must give you one other caution, without which all would be useless.

There is at Paris a Mademoiselle de l,Espinasse,(135) a pretended bel esprit, who was formerly an humble companion of Madame du Deffand; and betrayed her and used her very ill.  I beg of you not to let any body carry you thither.  It Would disoblige my friend of all things in the world, and she would never tell you a syllable; and I own it would hurt me, who have such infinite obligations to her, that I should be very unhappy if a particular friend of mine showed her this disregard.  She has done every thing upon earth to please and serve me, and I owe it to her to be earnest about this attention.  Pray do not mention it; it might look simple in me, and yet I owe it to her, as I know it would hurt her, and, at her age, with her misfortunes, and with infinite obligations on my side, can I do too much to show My gratitude, or prevent her any new mortification?  I dwell upon it, because she has some enemies so spiteful that they try to carry all English to Mademoiselle de l’Espinasse.

I wish the Duchess of Choiseul may come to Paris while you are there; but I fear she will not; you would like her of all things.  She has more sense and more virtues than almost any human being.  If you choose to see any of the savans, let me recommend Monsieur Buffon.  He has not only much more sense than any of them, but is an excellent old man, humane, gentle, well-bred, and with none of the arrogant pertness of all the rest. if he is at Paris, you will see a good deal of the Comte d e Broglie at Madame du Deffand’s.  He is not a genius of the first water, but lively and sometimes agreeable.  The court, I fear, will be at Fontainbleau, which will prevent your seeing many, unless you go thither.  Adieu! at Paris!  I leave the rest of my paper for England, if I happen to have any thing particular to tell you.

(132) Mr. Conway ended is military tour at Paris; whither Lady Ailesbury and Mrs. Damer went to meet him, and where they spent the winter together.

(133) In her letter to Walpole, of the 28th of October, Madame du Deffand draws the following portrait of General Conway:—­ “Selon l’id`ee que vous m’en aviez donn`ee, je le croyais grave, s`ev`ere, froid, imposant; c’est l’homme le plus aimable, le plus facile, le plus doux, le plus obligeant, et le plus simple que je connaisse.  Il n’a pas ces premiers mouvemens de sensibilit`e qu’on trouve en vous, mais aussi n’a-t-il pas votre humeur."-E.

(134) To this request Madame du Deffand replied—­“Je ne me flatte point de vous revoir l’ann`ee prochaine, et le renvoi que vous voulez que je vous fasse de vos lettres est ce qui m’en fait denier.  Ne serait-il pas plus naturel, si vous deviez venir, que je vous les rendisse `a vous-m`eme? car vous ne pensez pas que je ne puisse vivre encore un an.  Vous me faites croire, Par votre m`efiance, que vous avez en vue d’effacer toute trace de votre intelligence avec Moi."-E.

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(135) Mademoiselle de l’Espinasse, the friend of D’Alembert, born at Lyons in 1732, was the natural child of Mademoiselle d’Albon, whose legitimate daughter was married to the Marquis de Vichy.  After the death of her mother, she resided with Monsieur and Madame de Vichy; but in consequence of some disagreements, left them, and in May 1754, went to reside with Madame du Deffand, with whom she remained until 1764.  The letters of Mademoiselle de l’Espinasse were published some few years since.-E.

Letter 75 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Oct. 11, 1774. (page 105)

Dear Sir, I answer yours immediately; as one pays a shilling to clench a bargain, when one suspects the seller.  I accept your visit in the last week of this month, and will prosecute you if you do not execute.  I have nothing to say about elections, but that I congratulate myself ,every time I feel I have nothing to do with them.  By my nephew’s strange conduct about his boroughs, and by many other reasons, I doubt whether he is so well as he seemed to Dr. Barnardiston.  It is a subject I do not love to talk on; but I know I tremble every time the bell rings at my gate at an unusual hour.

Have you seen Mr. Granger’s Supplement?  Methinks it grows too diffuse.  I have hinted to him that fewer panegyrics from funeral orations would not hurt it.  Adieu!

Letter 76 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Sunday, Oct. 16, 1774. (page 106)

I received this morning your letter of the 6th from Strasburg; and before you get this you will have had three from me by Lady Ailesbury.  One of them should have reached you much sooner; but Lady Ailesbury kept it, not being sure where you was.  It was in answer to one in which you told me an anecdote, which in this last you ask if I had received.

Your letters are always so welcome to me, that you certainly have no occasion for excusing what you say or do not say.  Your details amuse me, and so would what you suppress; for, though I have no military genius or curiosity, whatever relates to yourself must interest me.  The honours you have received, though I have so little taste for such things myself, gave me great satisfaction; and I do not know whether there is not more pleasure in not being a prophet in one’s own country, when one is almost received like Mahomet in every other.  To be an idol at home, is no assured touchstone of merit.  Stocks and stones have been adored in fifty regions, but do not bear transplanting.  The Apollo Belvidere and the Hercules Farnese may lose their temples, but never lose their estimation, by travelling.

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Elections, you may be sure, are the only topic here at present—­I mean in England—­not on this quiet hill, where I think of them as little as of the spot where the battle of Blenheim was fought.  They say there will not be much alteration, but the phoenix will rise from its ashes with most of its old plumes, or as bright.  Wilkes at first seemed to carry all before him, besides having obtained the mayoralty of London at last.  Lady Hertford told me last Sunday, that he would carry twelve members.  I have not been in town since, nor know any thing but what I collect from the papers; so. if my letter is opened, M. de Vergennes will not amass any very authentic intelligence from my despatches.

What I have taken notice of, is as follows:  For the city Wilkes will have but three members:  he will lose Crosby, and Townsend will carry Oliver.  In Westminster, Wilkes will not have one; his Humphrey Cotes is by far the lowest on the poll; Lord Percy and Lord T. Clinton are triumphant there.  Her grace of Northumberland sits at a window in Covent-garden, harangues the mob, and is “Hail, fellow, well met!” At Dover, Wilkes has carried one, and probably will come in for Middlesex himself with Glynn.  There have been great endeavours to oppose him, but to no purpose.  Of this I am glad, for I do not love a mob so near as Brentford especially, as my road lies through it.  Where he has any other interest I am too ignorant in these matters to tell you.  Lord John Cavendish is opposed at York, and at the beginning of the poll had the fewest numbers.  Charles Fox, like the ghost in Hamlet, has shifted to many quarters; but in most the cock crew, and he walked off.(136) In Southwark there has been outrageous rioting; but I neither know the candidates, their connexions, nor success.  This, perhaps, will appear a great deal of news at Paris:  here, I dare to say, my butcher knows more.

I can tell you still less of America.  There are two or three more ships with forces going thither, and Sir William Draper as second in command.

Of private news, except that Dyson has had a stroke of palsy and will die, there is certainly none; for I saw that shrill Morning Post, Lady Greenwich, two hours ago, and she did not Know a paragraph.

I forgot to mention to you M. de Maurepas.  He was by far the ablest and most agreeable man I knew at Paris:  and if you stay, I think I could take the liberty of giving you a letter to him; though, as he is now so great a man, and I remain so little an one, I don’t know whether it would be quite so proper—­though he was exceedingly good to me, and pressed me often to make him a visit in the country.  But Lord Stormont can certainly carry you to him—­a better passport.

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There was one of my letters on which I wish to hear from you.  There are always English coming from Paris, who would bring such a parcel:  at least, you might send me one volume at a time, and the rest afterwards:  but I should not care to have them ventured by the common conveyance.  Madame du Deffand is negotiating for an enamel picture for me; but, if she obtains it, I had rather wait for it till you come.  The books I mean, are those I told you Lady Ailesbury and Mrs. Damer would give you a particular account of, for they know my mind exactly.  Don’t reproach me with not meeting you at Paris.  Recollect what I suffered this time two years; and, if you can have any notion of fear, imagine my dread of torture for five months and a half!  When all the quiet of Strawberry did but just carry me through it, could I support it in the noise of a French hotel! and, what would be still worse, exposed to receive all visits? for the French, you know, are never mor in public than in the act of death.  I am like animals, and love to hide myself when I am dying.  Thank God, I am now two days beyond the crisis when I expected my dreadful periodic visitant, and begin to grow very sanguine about the virtue of the bootikins.  I shall even have courage to go to-morrow to Chalfont for two days, as it is but a journey of two hours.  I would not be a day’s journey from hence for all Lord Clive’s diamonds.  This will satisfy you.  I doubt Madame du Deffand is not so easily convinced—­therefore, pray do not drop a hint before her of blaming me for not meeting you rather assure her you are persuaded it would have been too great a risk for me at this season.  I wish to have her quite clear of my attachment to her; but that I do not always find so easy.  You, I am sure, will find her all zeal and entpressement for you and yours.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(136) Mr. Fox was returned for Malmesbury.-E.

Letter 77 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Oct. 29, 1774. (page 108)

I have received your letter of the 23d, and it certainly overpays me, when you thank instead of scolding me, as I feared.  A passionate man has very little merit in being in a passion, and is sure of saying many things he repents, as I do.  I only hope you think that I could not be so much in the wrong for every body; nor should have been, perhaps, even for you, if I had not been certain I was the only person, at that moment, that could serve you essentially:  and at such a crisis, I am sure I should take exactly the same part again, except in saying some things I did, of which I am ashamed!(137) I will say no more now on that topic, nor on any thing relating to it, because I have written my mind very fully, and you will know it soon.  I can only tell you now, that I approve extremely your way of thinking, and hope you will not change it before you hear from me, and know some material circumstances.  You and

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Lady Ailesbury and I agree exactly, and she and I certainly consider only you.  I do not answer her last, because I could not help telling you how very kindly I take your letter.  All I beg is, that you would have no delicacy about my serving you any way.  You know it is a pleasure to me:  any body else may have views that would embarrass you; and, therefore, till you are on the spot, and can judge for yourself (which I always insist on, because you are cooler than I, and because, though I have no interests to serve, I have passions, which equally mislead one,) it will be wiser to decline all kind of proposals and offers.  You will avoid the plague of contested elections and solicitations:  and I see no reasons, at present, that can tempt you to be in a hurry.(138)

You must not expect to be Madame du Deffand’s first favourite.  Lady Ailesbury has made such a progress there, that you will not easily supplant her.  I have received volumes in her praise.(139) You have a better chance with Madame de Cambis, who is very agreeable; and I hope you are not such an English husband as not to conform to the manners of Paris while you are there.

I forgot to mention one or two of my favourite objects to Lady Ailesbury, nay, I am not sure she will taste one of them, the church of the C`elestines. it is crowded with beautiful old tombs; one of Francis ii. whose beatitude is presumed from his being husband of the martyr Mary Stuart. — Another is of the first wife of John Duke of Bedford, the Regent Of France.  I think you was once there with me formerly.  The other is Richelieu’s tomb, at the Sorbonne—­but that every body is carried to see.  The H`otel de Carnavalet,(140) near the Place Royale, is worth looking at, even for the fa`cade, as you drive by.  But of all earthly things the most worth seeing is the house at Versailles, where the King’s pictures, not hung up, are kept.  There is a treasure past belief, though in sad order. and piled one against another.  Monsieur de Guerchy once carried me thither; and you may certainly get leave.  At the Luxembourg are some hung up, and one particularly is worth going to see alone:  it is the Deluge by Nicolo Poussin, as winter.  The three other seasons are good for nothing:  but the Deluge is the first picture in the world of its kind.  You will be shocked to see the glorious pictures at the Palais Royal transplanted to new canvasses, and new painted and varnished, as if they were to be scenes at the Opera-at least, they had treated half-a-dozen of the best so, three years ago, and were going on.  The Prince of Monaco has a few fine, but still worse used; one of them shines more than a looking glass.  I fear the exposition of pictures is over for this year; it is generally very diverting.(141) I, who went into every church of Paris, can assure you there are few worth it, but the Invalids-except the scenery at St. Roch, about one or two o’clock at noon, when the sun shines; the Carmelites, for

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the Guido and the portrait of Madame de la Vali`ere as a Magdalen; the Val de Grace, for a moment; the treasure at Notre Dame; the Sainte Chapelle, where in the ante-chapel are two very large enamelled portraits; the tomb of Cond`e at the Great Jesuits in the Rue St. Antoine, if not shut up; and the little church of St. Louis in the Louvre, where is a fine tomb of Cardinal Fleury, but large enough to stand on Salisbury-plain.  One thing some of u must remember, as you return; nay, it is better to go soon to St. Denis, and Madame du Deffand must get you a particular order to be shown (which is never shown without) the effigies of the Kings.(142) They are in presses over the treasure which is shown, and where is the glorious antique cameo-cup; but the countenance of Charles ix. is so horrid and remarkable, you would think he had died on the morrow of the St. Barthelemi, and waked full of the recollection.  If you love enamels and exquisite medals, get to see the collection of a Monsieur d’Henery, who lives in the corner of the street where Sir John Lambert lives—­I forget its name.  There is an old man behind the Rue de Colombier, who has a great but bad collection of old French portraits; I delighted in them, but perhaps you would not.  I, you may be sure, hunted out every thing of that sort.  The convent and collection of St. Germain, I mean that over against the H`otel du Parc Royal, is well worth seeing—­but I forget names strangely—­Oh! delightful!—­Lord Cholmondeley sends me word he goes to Paris on Monday:  I shall send this and my other letter by him.  It was him I meant; I knew he was going and had prepared it.

Pray take care to lock up your papers in a strong box that nobody can open.  They imagine you are at Paris on some commission, and there is no trusting French hotels or servants.  America is in a desperate situation, The accounts from the Congress are not expected before the 10th, and expected very warm.  I have not time to tell you some manoeuvres against them that will make your blood curdle.  Write to me when you can by private hands, as I will to you.  There are always English passing backwards and forwards.

(140) Where Madame de S`evign`e resided.

(141) He means from their extreme bad taste.

(142) The abbey of St. Denis was shorn of its glories during the Revolution.  On the 16th of October 1793, the coffin of Louis xv. was taken out of the vaults; and, after a stormy debate, it was decided to throw the remains of all the kings, even those of Henry iv. and Louis XIV. which were yet to a great degree preserved entire, into a pit, to melt down their leaden coffins on the spot, and to take away and cast into bullets whatever lead remained in the church; not even excepting the roof.-E.

Letter 78 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.  Strawberry Hill, Nov. 7, 1774. (page 110)

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I have written such tomes to Mr. Conway, Madam, and have so nothing new to write, that I might as well, methinks, begin and like the lady to her husband:  “Je vous `ecris parce que je n’ai rien `a faire:  je finis parce que je n’ai rien `a vous dire.”  Yes, I have two complaints to make, one of your ladyship, the other of myself.  You tell me nothing of Lady Harriet; have you no tongue, or the French no eyes? or are her eyes employed in nothing but seeing?  What a vulgar employment for a fine woman’s eyes, after she has risen from her toilet!  I declare I will ask no more questions—­what is it to me, whether she is admired or not?  I should know how charming she is, though all Europe were blind.  I hope I am not to be told by any barbarous nation upon earth what beauty and grace are.

For myself, I am guilty of the gout in my elbow; the left--witness my handwriting.  Whether I caught cold by the deluge in the night, or whether the bootikins, like the water of Styx, can only preserve the parts they surround, I doubt they have saved me but three weeks, for so long my reckoning has been out.  However, as I feel nothing in my feet, I flatter myself that this Pindaric transition will not be a regular ode, but a fragment, the more valuable for being imperfect.

Now for my gazette.—­Marriages—­Nothing done.  Intrigues—­More in the political than civil way.  Births—­Under par since Lady Berkeley left off breeding.  Gaming—­Low water.  Deaths—­Lord Morton, Lord Wentworth, Duchess Douglas.  Election stock—­More buyers than sellers.  Promotions—­Mr. Wilkes as high as he can go.—­Apropos, he was told the Lord Chancellor intended to signify to him, that the King did not approve the City’s choice:  he replied, “Then I shall signify to his lordship, that I am at least as fit to be Lord Mayor as he to be Lord Chancellor.”  This being more gospel than every thing Mr. Wilkes says, the formal approbation was given.

Mr. Burke has succeeded in Bristol, and Sir James Peachey will miscarry in Sussex.  But what care you, Madam, about our Parliament?  You will see the rentr`ee of the old one, with songs and epigrams into the bargain.  We do not shift our Parliaments with so much gaiety.  Money in one hand, and abuse in t’other—­those are all the arts we know.  Wit and a gamut I don’t believe ever signified a Parliament,(143) whatever the glossaries may say; for they never produce pleasantry and harmony.  Perhaps you may not taste this Saxon pun, but I know it will make the Antiquarian Society die with laughing.

Expectation hangs on America.  The result of the general assembly is expected in four or five days.  If one may believe the papers, which one should not believe, the other side of the waterists are not doux comme des moutons, and yet we do intend to eat them.  I was in town on Monday; the Duchess of Beaufort graced our loo, and made it as rantipole as a Quaker’s meeting.  Louis Quinze ,(144) I believe, is arrived by this time, but I fear without quinze louis.

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Your herb-snuff and the four glasses are lying in my warehouse, but I can hear of no ship going to Paris.  You are now at FOntainbleau, but not thinking of Francis 1. the Queen of Sweden, and Monaldelschi.  It is terrible that one cannot go to courts that are gone!  You have supped with the Chevalier de Boufflers:  did he act every thing in the world, and sing every thing in the world, and laugh at every thing in the world?  Has Madame de Cambis sung to you “Sans d`epit, sans l`egert`e?"(145) Has Lord Cholmondeley delivered my pacquet?  I hear I have hopes of Madame d’Olonne.(146) Gout or no gout, I shall be little in town till after Christmas.  My elbow makes me bless myself that I am not at Paris.  Old age is no such uncomfortable thing, if one gives oneself up to it with a good grace, and don’t drag it about

“To midnight dances and the public show.”

If one stays quietly in one’s own house in the country, and cares for nothing but oneself, scolds one’s servants, condemns every thing that is new, and recollects how charming a thousand things were formerly that were very disagreeable, one gets over the winters very well, and the summers get over themselves.

(143) Witenagemoot.

(144) This was a cant name given to Lady Powis, who was very fond of loo, and had lost much money at the game.

(145) The first words of a favourite French air.

(146) The Portrait in enamel of Madame d’Olonne by Petitot, which Walpole afterwards purchased.-E.

Letter 79 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, Nov. 11, 1774. (page 112)

I am sorry there is still time, my dear lord, to write to you again; and that though there is, I have so little to amuse you with.  One is not much nearer news for being within ten miles of London than if in Yorkshire; and besides, whatever reaches us, Lady Greenwich catches at the rebound before me, and Sends you before I can.  Our own circle furnishes very little.  Dowagers are good for propagating news when planted, but have done with sending forth suckers.  Lady Blandford’s coffee-house is removed to town, and the Duchess of Newcastle’s is little frequented, but by your sister Anne, Lady Browne, and me.  This morning, indeed, I was at a very fine concert at old Franks’s at Isleworth, and heard Leoni,(147) who pleased me more than any thing I have heard these hundred years.  There is a full melancholy melody in his voice, though a falsetto, that nothing but a natural voice ever compasses.  Then he sung songs of Handel in the genuine simple style, and did not put one in pain like rope-dancers.  Of the Opera I hear a dismal account; for I did not go to it to sit in our box like an old King dowager by myself.  Garrick is treating the town, as it deserves and likes to be treated, with scenes, fireworks, and his own writing.  A good new play I never expect to see more, nor have seen since The Provoked Husband, which came out when I was at school.

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Bradshaw is dead, they say by his own hand:  I don’t know wherefore.  I was told it was a great political event.  If it is, our politics run as low as our plays.  From town I heard that Lord Bristol was taken speechless with a stroke of the palsy.  If he dies, Madam Chudleigh(148) must be tried by her peers, as she is certainly either duchess or countess.  Mr. Conway and his company are so pleased with Paris, that they talk of staying till Christmas.  I am glad; for they will certainly be better diverted there than here.  Your lordship’s most faithful servant.

(147) Leoni, a celebrated singer of the day, considered one of the best in England.  He was a Jew, and engaged at the synagogues, from which he is said to have been dismissed for singing in the Messiah of Handel.-E.

(148) The Duchess of Kingston; against whom an indictment for bigamy was found on the 8th of December, she having married the Duke of Kingston, having been previously married to the Hon. Augustus John Hervey, then living, and who, by the death of his brother, in March, 1775, became Earl of Bristol.-E.

Letter 80 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Nov. 12, 1774. (page 112)

I have received a delightful letter from you of four sheets, and another since.  I shall not reply to the campaigning part (though much obliged to you for it), because I have twenty other subjects -more pressing to talk of The first is to thank you for your excessive goodness to my dear old friend-she has some indiscretions, and you must not have any to her; but she has the best heart in the world, and I am happy,, at her great age, that she has spirits enough not to he always upon her guard.  A bad heart, especially after long experience,, is but too apt to overflow inwardly with prudence.  At least, as I am but too like her, and have corrected too few of my faults, I would fain persuade myself that some of them flow from a good principle—­but I have not time to talk of myself, though you are much too Partial to me, and give me an opportunity; yet I shall not take it.

Now for English news, and then your letter again.  There has been a great mortality here; though Death has rather been pri`e than a volunteer.  Bradshaw, as I told Lady Ailesbury last post, shot himself.  He is dead, totally undone.  Whether that alone was the cause, or whether he had not done something worse, I doubt.  I cannot conceive that, with his resources, he should have been hopeless—­and, to suspect him of delicacy, impossible!

A ship is arrived from America, and I doubt with very bad news; for none but trifling letters have yet been given out--but I am here, see nobody that knows any thing,,and only hear by accident from people that drop in.  The sloop that is to bring the result of the general assembly is not yet come.  There are indeed rumours, that both the non-importation, and even non-exportation have been decreed, and that the flame is universal.  I hope this is exaggerated! yet I am told the stocks will fall very much in a day or two.

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I have nothing to tell Lady Ailesbury, but that I hear a deplorable account of the Opera.  There is a new puppet-show at Drury Lane, as fine as scenes can make it, called “The Maid of the Oaks,"(149) and as dull as the author could not help making it.

Except M. d’Herouville, I know all the people you name.  C. I doubt, by things I have heard formerly, may have been a concessionnaire.  The Duke, your protecteur(150) is mediocre enough; You would have been more pleased with his wife.  The Chevalier’s(151) bon-mot is excellent, and so is he.  He has as much buffonnerie as the Italians, With more wit and novelty.  His impromptu verses often admirable.  Get Madame du Deffand to show you his embassy to the Princess Christine, and his verses on his eldest uncle, beginning Si Monsieur de Veau.  His second uncle has parts, but they are not so natural.  Madame de Caraman is a very good kind of woman, but has not a quarter of her sister’s parts.(152) Madame de Mirepoix is the agreeable woman of the world when she pleases-but there, must not be a card in the room.  Lord * * * * has acted like himself; that is, unlike any body else.  You know, I believe, that I think him a very good spetcr; but I have little opinion of his judgment and knowledge of the world, and a great Opinion of his affectation and insincerity.  The Abb`e Raynal, though he wrote that fine work on the Commerce des Deux Indes, is the most tiresome creature in the world.  The first time I met him was at the dull Baron d’Olbach’s:  we were twelve at table:  I dreaded opening My Mouth in French, before so many people and so many servants:  he began questioning me, cross the table, about our colonies, which I understand as little as I do Coptic.  I made him signs I was deaf.  After dinner, he found I was not, and never forgave me.  Mademoiselle do Raucoux I never saw till you told me Madame du Deffand said she was d`emoniaque sans chaleur!  What painting!  I see her now.  Le Kain sometimes pleased me, oftener not.  Mol`e is charming in genteel, or in pathetic comedy, and would be fine in tragedy, if he was stronger.  Preville is always perfection.  I like his wife in affected parts, though not animated enough.  There was a delightful woman who did the Lady Wishforts, I don’t know if there still, I think her name Mademoiselle Drouin; and a fat woman, rather elderly, who sometimes acted the soubrette.  But you have missed the Dumenil, and Caillaut!  What irreparable losses!  Madame du Deffand, perhaps—­I don’t know—­could obtain your hearing the Clairon, yet the Dumenil was infinitely preferable.

I could now almost find in my heart to laugh at you for liking Boutin’s garden.(153) Do you know, that I drew a plan of it, as the completest absurdity I ever saw.  What! a river that wriggles at right angles through a stone gutter, with two tansy puddings that were dug out of it, and three or four beds in a row, by a corner of the wall, with samples of grass, corn, and of en friche, like a tailor’s paper of patterns!  And you like this!  I will tell Park-place—­Oh!  I had forgot your audience in dumb show—­Well, as Madame de S`evign`e said, “Le Roi de Prusse, c’est le plus grand Roi du monde still."(154) My love to the old Parliament; I don’t love new ones.

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I went several times to Madame do Monconseil’s, who is just what you say.  Mesdames de Tingri et de la Vauguion I never saw:  Madame de Noailles once or twice, and enough.  You say something of Madame de Mallet, which I could not read; for, by the way, your brother and I agree that you are grown not to write legibly:  is that lady in being?  I knew her formerly.  Madame de Blot(155) I know, and Monsieur de Paulmy I know; but for Heaven’s sake who is Colonel Conway?(156) Mademoiselle Sanadon is la sana donna, and not Mademoiselle Celadon,(157) as you call her.  Pray assure my good Monsieur Schouwalov(158)of my great regard:  he is one of the best of beings.

I have said all I could, at least all I should.  I reserve the rest of my paper for a postscript; for this is but Saturday, and my letter cannot depart till Tuesday:  but I could not for one minute defer answering your charming volumes, which interest me so much.  I grieve for Lady Harriet’s swelled face, and wish for both their sakes .She could transfer it to her father.  I assure her I meant nothing by desiring you to see the verses to the Princess Christine,(159) wherein there is very profane mention of a pair of swelled cheeks.  I hear nothing of Madame d’Olonne.  Oh! make Madame du Deffand show you the sweet portrait of Madame de Prie, the Duke of Bourbon’s mistress.  Have you seen Madame de Monaco, and the remains of Madame de Brionne?  If -you wish to see Mrs. A * * *, ask for the Princesse de Ligne.  If you have seen Monsieur de Maurepas, you have seen the late Lord Hardwicke.(160) By your not naming him, I suppose the Duc de Nivernois, is not at Paris.  Say a great deal for me to M. de Guisnes..  You will not see my passion, the Duchess de Chatillon. if You see Madame de Nivernois, you will think the Duke of Newcastle is come to life again.  Alas! where is my Postscript?  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(149) Written by General Burgoyne.  Walpole’s opinion of the General’s abilities as a writer totally changed upon the appearance of “The Heiress”, which he always called the greatest comedy in the English language.-E.

(150) The Duc de la Vali`ere:  whom Mr. Conway had said, that, when presented to him, “his reception was what might be called good but rather de protection.”

(151) The Chevalier de Boufflers; well known for his “Letters from Switzerland,” addressed to his mother; his “Reine de Golconde,” a tale; and a number of very pretty vers de soci`et`e.-E.

(152) Madame de Cambis.-E.

(153) See another ludicrous description of this garden in a letter to Mr. Chute; ante, P. 55, letter 31.-E.

(154) This alludes to Mr. Conway’s presentation to the King of France, Louis XVI. at Fontainbleau, of which, in his letter to Mr. Walpole he gives the following account:—­ “on St. Hubert’s day in the morning I had the honour of being presented to the King:  ’twas a good day, and an excellent deed.  You may be sure I was well received! the French are so polite! and their court so Polished!  The Emperor, indeed, talked to me every day; so did the King of Prussia, regularly and much; but that was not to be compared to the extraordinary reception of his most Christian Majesty, who, when I was presented, did not stop nor look to see what sort of an animal was offered to his notice, but carried his head, as it seemed, somewhat higher, and passed his way.”

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(155) Wife Of M. Chavigny de Blot, attached to the service of the Duke of Orleans:  she Was sister to the Comte d’Hennery, who died at St. Domingo, where he was commander-in-chief.

(156) An officer in the French service.

(157) Mademoiselle Sanadon, a lady who lived with Madame du Deffand.  She was niece to the P`ere Sanadon, well known by his translation of Horace, accompanied with valuable notes, and by his elegant Poems and orations in the Latin language.-E.

(158) The Russian minister at Paris.  See vol. iii., Letter to the Earl of Hertford, March 26, 1765, letter 245.  Madame du Deffand thus describes the Count in a letter to Walpole:—­“Je trouve notre bon ami un peu ennuyeux; il n’a nulle inflexion dans la parole, nul mouvement dans l’`ame; ce qu’il dit est une lecture sans p`en`etration."-E.

(159) By the Chevalier do Boufflers.

(160) He means, from their personal resemblance.

Letter 81 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Nov. 27, 1774. (page 115)

I have received your delightful Plump packet with a letter of six pages, one from Madame du Deffand, the Eloges,(161) and the Lit de Justice.  Now, observe my gratitude:  I appoint you my resident at Paris, but you are not to resemble all our ministers abroad, and expect to live at home, which would destroy my Lord Castlecomer’s(162) view in your staying at Paris.  However, to prove to you that I have some gratitude that is not totally selfish, I will tell you what little news I know, before I answer your letter; for English news, to be sure, is the most agreeable circumstance in a letter from England.

On my coming to town yesterday, there was nothing but more deaths—­don’t you think we have the plague?  The Bishop of Worcester,(163) Lord Breadalbane, Lord Strathmore.  The first fell from his horse, or with his horse, at Bath, and the bishopric was incontinently given to Bishop North.

America is still more refractory, and I doubt will outvote the ministry.  They have picked General Gage’s pocket of three pieces of cannon,(164) and intercepted some troops that were going to him.  Sir William Draper is writing plans of pacification in our newspapers; and Lord Chatham flatters himself that he shall be sent for when the patient is given over; which I don’t think at all unlikely to happen.  My poor nephew is very political too:  so we shall not want mad doctors.  Apropos, I hear Wilkes says he will propose Macreth for Speaker.

The Ecclesiastical Court are come to a resolution that the Duchess of Kingston is Mrs. Hervey; and the sentence will be public in a -fortnight.  It is not so certain that she will lose the estate.  Augustus(165) is not in a much more pleasant predicament than she is.  I saw Lord Bristol last night:  he looks perfectly well, but his speech is much affected, and his right hand.

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Lady Lyttelton, who, you know, never hears any thing that has happened, wrote to me two days ago, to ask if it would not be necessary for you to come over for the meeting of the Parliament.  I answered, very gravely, that to be sure you ought:  but though Sir James Morgan threatened you loudly with a petition, yet, as it could not be heard till after Christmas, I was afraid you could not be persuaded to come sooner.  I hope she will inquire who Sir James Morgan is, and that people will persuade her she has made a confusion about Sir James Peachy.  Now for your letter.

I have been in the Chambre de Parlement, I think they call it the Grande Chambre; and was shown the corner in which the monarchs sit, and do not wonder you did not guess where it was they sat.  It is just like the dark corner, under the window, where I always sat in the House of Commons.  What has happened, has passed exactly according to my ideas.  When one King breaks one parliament, and another, what can the result be but despotism? or of what else is it a proof?  If a Tory King displaces his father’s Whig lord chamberlain, neither lord chamberlain has the more or the less power ,over the theatres and court mournings and birthday balls.  All that can arrive is, that the people will be still more attached to the old parliament, from this seeming restitution of a right—­but the people must have some power before their attachment can signify a straw.  The old parliament, too, may some time or other give itself more airs on this confession of right; but that too cannot be but in a minority, when the power of the crown is lessened by reasons that have nothing to do with the parliament.  I will answer for it, they will be too grateful to give umbrage to their restorer.  Indeed, I did not think the people would be so quick-sighted at once, as to see the distinction of old and new was without difference.  Methinks France and England are like the land and the sea; one gets a little sense when the other loses it.

I am quite satisfied with all you tell me about my friend.  My intention is certainly to see her again, if I am able; but I am too old to lay plans, especially when it depends on the despot gout to register or cancel them.  It is even melancholy to see her, when it will probably be but once more; and still more melancholy, when we ought to say to one another, in a different sense from the common, au revoir!  However, as mine is a pretty cheerful kind of philosophy, I think the best way is to think of dying, but to talk and act as if one was not to die; or else one tires other people, and dies before one’s time.  I have truly all the affection and attachment for her that she deserves from me, or I should not be so very thankful as I am for your kindness to her.  The Choiseuls will certainly return at Christmas, and will make her life much more agreeable.  The Duchess has as much attention to her as I could have; but that will not keep me from making her a visit.

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I have only seen, not known, the younger Madame de Boufflers.  For her musical talents, I am little worthy of them-yet I am just going to Lady Bingham’s to hear the Bastardella, whom, though the first singer in Italy, Mrs. Yates could not or would not agree with,(166) and she is to have twelve hundred pounds for singing twelve times at the Pantheon, where, if she had a voice as loud as Lord Clare’s, she could not be heard.  The two bon-mots You sent me are excellent; but, alas!  I had heard them both before; consequently your own, which is very good too, pleased me much more.  M. de Stainville I think you will not like:  he has sense, but has a dry military harshness, that at least did not suit me—­and then I hate his barbarity to his Wife.(167)

You was very lucky indeed to get one of the sixty tickets.(168) Upon the whole, your travels have been very fortunate, and the few mortifications amply compensated.  If a Duke(169) has been spiteful when your back was turned, a hero-king has been all courtesy.  If another King has been silent, an emperor has been singularly gracious- -Frowns or silence may happen to anybody:  the smiles have been addressed to you particularly.  So was the ducal frown indeed-but would you have earned a smile at the price set on it?  One cannot do right and be always applauded—­ but in such cases are not frowns tantamount?

As my letter will not set forth till the day after to-morrow, I reserve the rest for my additional news, and this time will reserve it.

St. Parliament’s day, 29th, after breakfast.

The speech is said to be firm, and to talk of the rebellion(170) of our province of Massachusetts.  No sloop is yet arrived to tell us how to call the rest.  Mr. Van(171) is to move for the expulsion of Wilkes; which will distress, and may produce an odd scene.  Lord Holland is certainly dead; the papers say, Robinson too, but that I don’t know—­so many deaths of late make report kill to right and left.

(161) Two rival Eloges of Fontenelle, by ChamPfort and La Harpe.-E.

(162) A cant phrase of Mr. Walpole’s; which took its rise from the following story:—­The tutor of a young Lord Castlecomer, who lived at Twickenham with his mother, having broken his leg, and somebody pitying the poor man to Lady Castlecomer, she replied, “Yes indeed, it is very inconvenient to my Lord Castlecomer."-E.

(163) Dr. James Johnson.-E.

(164) The seizure of Fort William and Mary, near Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, by the provincial militia, in which they found many barrels of gunpowder, several pieces of cannon, etc.-E.

(165) Augustus Hervey, to whom she was first married.

(166) Mrs. Yates was at this time joint manager of the Opera with Mrs. Brook.  In November 1773, she spoke a Poetical exordium, by which it appeared that she intended mixing plays with operas, and entertaining the public with singing and declamation alternately; but permission could not be obtained from the Lord Chamberlain to put this plan into execution.-E.

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(167) Upon a suspicion of gallantry with Clairval, an actor, she was confined for life in the convent Of les filles de Sainte Marie, at Nancy.-E.

(168) To see the Lit de Justice held by Louis XVI. when he recalled the Parliament of Paris, at the instigation of the Chancellor Maupeou, and suppressed the new one of their creation.

(169) The Duke de Choiseul.

(170) The King’s Speech announced, “that a most daring spirit of resistance and disobedience to the law still unhappily prevailed in the province of Massachusett’s Bay;” and expressed the King’s “firm and steadfast resolution to withstand every attempt to weaken or impair the supreme authority Of this legislature over all the dominions of his crown:  the maintenance of which he considered as essential to the dignity, the safety, and welfare of the British empire."-E.

(171) Charles Van, Esq. member for Brecon town.  No motion for the expulsion of Wilkes took place.-E.

Letter 82 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Dec. 15, 1774. (page 118)

As I wrote to Lady Ailesbury but on Tuesday, I should not have followed it so soon with this, if I had nothing to tell you but of myself.  My gouts are never dangerous, and the shades of them not important.  However, to despatch this article at once, I will tell you, that the, pain I felt yesterday in my elbow made me think all former pain did not deserve the name.  Happily the torture did not last above two hours; and, which is more surprising, it is all the real pain I have felt; for though my hand has been as sore as if flayed, and that both feet are lame, the bootikins demonstrably prevent or extract the sting of it, and I see no reason not to expect to get out in a fortnight more.  Surely, if I am laid up but one month in two years, instead of five or six, I have reason to think the bootikins sent from heaven.

The long expected sloop is arrived at last, and is indeed a man of war!  The General Congress have voted a non-importation, a non-exportation, a non-consumption; that, in case of hostilities committed by the troops at Boston, the several provinces will march to the assistance of their countrymen; that the cargoes of ships now at sea shall be sold on their arrival, and the money arising thence given to the poor at Boston.; that a letter, in the nature of a petition of rights, shall be sent to the King; another to the House of Commons; a third to the people of England; a demand of repeal of all the acts of Parliament affecting North America passed during this reign, as also of the Quebec-bill:  and these resolutions not to be altered till such repeal is obtained.

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Well, I believe you do not regret being neither in parliament nor in administration!  As you are an idle man, and have nothing else to do, you may sit down and tell one a remedy for all this.  Perhaps you will give yourself airs, and say you was a prophet, and that prophets are not honoured in their own country.  Yet, if you have any inspiration about you, I assure you it will be of great service-we are at our wit’s end-which was no great journey.  Oh! you conclude Lord Chatham’s crutch will be supposed a wand, and be sent for.  They might as well send for my crutch; and they should not have it; the stile is a little too high to help them over.  His Lordship is a little fitter for raising a storm than laying one, and of late seems to have lost both virtues.  The Americans at least have acted like men,(172) gone to the"bottom at once, and set the whole upon the whole.  Our conduct has been that of pert children:  we have thrown a pebble at a mastiff, and are surprised that it was not frightened.  Now we must kill the guardian of the house which will be plundered the moment little master has nothing but the old nurse to defend it.  But I have done with reflections; you will be fuller of them than I.

(172) “I have not words to express my satisfaction,” says Lord Chatham in a letter of the 24th, “that the Congress has conducted this most arduous and delicate business with such manly Wisdom and calm resolution, as do the highest honour to their deliberations.  Very few are the things contained in their resolves, that I could wish had been otherwise.”  Correspondence, vol. ii, p. 368.-$.

Letter 83 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Dec. 26, 1774. (page 119)

I begin my letter to-day, to prevent the fatigue of dictating two to-morrow.  In the first and best place, I am very near recovered; that is, though still a mummy, I have no pain left, nor scarce any sensation of gout except in my right hand, which is still in complexion and shape a lobster’s claw.  Now, unless any body can prove to me that three weeks are longer than five months and a half, they will hardly convince me that the bootikins are not a cure for fits of the gout and a Very short cure, though they cannot prevent it:  nor perhaps is it to be wished they should; for, if the gout prevents every thing else, would not one have something that does?  I have but one single doubt left about the bootikins, which is, whether they do not weaken my breast:  but as I am sensible that my own spirits do half the mischief, and that, if I could have held my tongue, and kept from talking and dictating letters, I should not have been half so bad as I have been, there remains but half due to bootikins on the balance:  and surely the ravages of the last long fit, and two years more in age, ought to make another deduction.  Indeed, my forcing myself to dictate my last letter to you almost killed me; and since the gout is not dangerous to me, if I am kept perfectly quiet, my good old friend must have patience, and not insist upon letters from me but when it is quite easy to me to send them.  So much for me and my gout.  I will now endeavour to answer such parts of your last letters as I can in this manner, and considering how difficult it is to read your writing in a dark room.

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I have not yet been able to look into the French harangues you sent me.  Voltaire’s verses to Robert Covelle are not only very bad, but very contemptible.

I am delighted with all the honours you receive, and with all the amusements they procure you, which is the best part of honours.  For the glorious part, I am always like the man in Pope’s Donne,

“Then happy he who shows the tombs, said I.”

That is, they are least troublesome there.  The serenissime(173) you met at Montmorency is one of the least to my taste; we quarrelled about Rousseau, and I never went near him after my first journey.  Madame du Deffand will tell you the story, if she has not forgotten it.

It is supposed here, that the new proceedings of the French Parliament will produce great effects:  I don’t suppose any such thing.  What America will produce I know still less; but certainly something very serious.  The merchants have summoned a meeting for the second of next month, and the petition from the Congress to the King is arrived.  The heads have been shown to Lord Dartmouth; but I hear one of the agents is again presenting it; yet it is thought it will be delivered, and then be ordered to be laid before Parliament.  The whole affair has already been talked of there on the army and navy-days; and Burke, they say, has shone with amazing Wit and ridicule on the late inactivity of Gage, and his losing his cannon and straw; on his being entrenched in a town with an army of observation; with that army being, as Sir William Meredith had said, an asylum for magistrates, and to secure the port.  Burke said, he had heard of an asylum for debtors and whores, never for magistrates; and of ships never of armies securing a port.  This is all there has been in Parliament, but elections.  Charles Fox’s place did not come into question.  Mr. * * *, who is one of the new elect, has opened, but with no success.  There is a seaman, Luttrell,(174) that promises much better.

I am glad you like the Duchess de Lauzun:(175) she is one of my favourites.  The H`otel du Chatelet promised to be very fine, but was not finished when I was last at Paris.  I was much pleased with the person that slept against St. Lambert’s poem:  I wish I had thought of the nostrum, when Mr. Seward, a thousand years ago, at Lyons, would read an epic poem to me just as I had received a dozen letters from England.  St. Lambert is a great Jackanapes, and a very tiny genius:  I suppose the poem was The Seasons, which is four fans spun out into a Georgic.  If I had not been too ill, I should have thought of bidding you hear midnight mass on Christmas-eve in Madame du Deffand’s tribune, as I used to do.  To be sure, you know that her apartment was part of Madame du Montespan’s, whose arms are on the back of the grate in Madame du Deffand’s own bedchamber.  Apropos, ask her to show you Madame de Prie’s pinture, M. le Duc’s mistress—­I am very fond of it—­and make her tell you her history.(176)

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I have but two or three words more.  Remember my parcel of letters from Madame du Deffand,(177) and pray remember this injunction not to ruin yourselves in bringing presents.  A very slight fairing of a guinea or two obliges as much, is much more fashionable, and not a moment sooner forgotten than a magnificent one; and then you may very cheaply oblige the more persons; but as the sick fox, in Gay’s Fables, says (for one always excepts oneself),

“A chicken too might do me good.”

i allow you to go as far as three or even five guineas for a snuff-box for me; and then, as ***** told the King, when he asked for the reversion of the lighthouse for two lives, and the King reproached him, with having always advised him against granting reversions; he replied, “Oh!  Sir, but if your Majesty will give me this, I will take care you shall never give away another.”  Adieu, with my own left hand.

(173) The Prince de Conti.

(174) The Hon. James Luttrell, fourth son of Lord Irnham, a lieutenant in the navy.-E.

(175) She became Duchesse de Biron upon the death of her husband’s uncle, the Marechal Duke de Biron.  See vol. iii., Letter to John Montagu, Feb. 4, 1766, letter 294.  Her person is thus described by Rousseau:—­“Am`elie de Boufflers a une figure, une douceur, une timidit`e devierge:  rien de plus aimable et de plus int`eressant que sa figure; rien de plus tendre et de plus chaste que les sentiments qu’elle inspire."-E.

(176) Madame de Prie was the mistress of the Regent Duke of Orleans.  A full account of her family, character, etc. will be found in Duclos’s Memoirs.-E.

(177) At Walpole’s earnest solicitation, Madame du Deffand returned by General Conway all the letters she had received from him.  In so doing, she thus wrote to him:—­“Vous aurez longtemps de quoi allumer votre feu, surtout si vous joignez `a ce que j’avais de vous avez de moi, et rien ne serait plus juste:  mais je m’en rapporte `a votre prudence; je ne suivrai pas l’exemple de m`efiance que vous me donnez."-E.

Letter 84 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Dec. 31, 1774. (page 121)

No child was ever so delighted to go into breeches, as I was this morning to get on a pair of cloth shoes as big as Jack Harris’s:  this joy may be the spirits of dotage-but what signifies whence one is happy?  Observe, too, that this is written with my own right hand, with the bootikin actually upon it, which has no distinction of fingers:  so I no longer see any miracle in Buckinger, who was famous for writing without hands or feet; as it was indifferent which one uses, provided one has a pair of either.  Take notice, I write so much better without fingers than with, that I advise you to try a bootikin.  To be sure, the operation is a little slower; but to a prisoner, the duration of his amusement is of far more consequence than the vivacity of it.

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Last night I received your very kind, I might say your letter tout court, of Christmas-day.  By this time I trust you are quite out of pain about me.  My fit has been as regular as possible; only, as if the bootikins were post-horses, it made the grand tour of all my limbs in three weeks.  If it will always use the same expedition, I m content it should take the journey once in two years.  You must not mind my breast:  it was always the weakest part of a very weak system ; yet did not suffer now by the gout, but in consequence of it; and would not have been near so bad, if I could have kept from talking and dictating letters.  The moment I am out of pain, I am in high spirits ; and though I never take any medicines, there is one thing absolutely necessary to be put into my mouth—­a gag.  At present, the town is so empty that my tongue is a sinecure.

I am well acquainted with the Biblioth`eque du Roi, and the medals, and the prints.  I spent an entire day in looking over the English portraits, and kept the librarian without his dinner till dark night, till I was satisfied.  Though the Choiseuls(178) will not acquaint with you, I hope their Abb`e Barthelemil(179) is not put under the same quarantine.  Besides great learning, he has infinite wit and polissonnerie and is one of the best kind of men in the world.  As to the grandpapa,(180) il ne nous aime pas nous autres, and has never forgiven Lord Chatham.  Though exceedingly agreeable himself, I don’t think his taste exquisite.  Perhaps I was piqued; but he seemed to like Wood better than any of us.  Indeed, I am a little afraid that my dear friend’s impetuous zeal may have been a little too prompt in pressing you upon them d’abord:—­ but don’t say a word of this—­it is her great goodness.—­I thank you a million of times for all yours to her:-she is perfectly grateful for it.  The Chevalier’S(181) verses are pretty enough.  I own I like Saurin’s(182) much better than you seem to do.  Perhaps I am prejudiced by the curse on the Chancellor at the end.

Not a word of news here.  In a sick room one hears all there is, but I have not even a lie; but as this will not set out these three days, it is to be hoped some charitable Christian will tell a body one.  Lately indeed we heard that the King of Spain had abdicated; but I believe it was some stockjobber that had deposed him.

Lord George Cavendish, for my solace in my retirement, has given me a book, the History of his own Furness-abbey, written by a Scotch ex-Jesuit.(183) I cannot say that this unnatural conjunction of a Cavendish and a Jesuit has produced a lively colt; but I found one passage worth any money.  It is an extract of a constable’s journal kept during the civil war; and ends thus:  “And there was never heard of such troublesome and distracted times as these five years have been, but especially for constables.”  It is so natural, that inconvenient to my Lord Castlecomer is scarce a better proverb.

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Pray tell Lady Ailesbury that though she has been so very good to me, I address my letters to you rather than to her, because my pen is not always-upon its guard, but is apt to say whatever comes into its nib; and then, if she peeps over your shoulder, I am cens`e not to know it.  Lady Harriet’s wishes have done me great good:  nothing but a father’s gout could be obdurate enough to resist them.  My Mrs. Damer says nothing to me; but I give her intentions credit, and lay her silence on you.

January 1. 1775. a happy new year!

I walk!  I walk! walk alone!—­I have been five times quite round my rooms to-day, and my month is not up!  The day after to-morrow I shall go down into the dining-room; the next week to take the air:  and then if Mrs. * * * * is very pressing, why, I don’t know what may happen.  Well! but you want news, there are none to be had.  They think there is a ship lost with Gage’s despatches.  Lady Temple gives all her diamonds to Miss Nugent.(184) Lord Pigot lost 400 pounds the other night at Princess Amelia’s.  Miss Davis(185) has carried her cause against Mrs. Yates and is to sing again at the Opera.  This is all my coffee-house furnished this morning.

(178) Mr. Conway and the ladies of his party had met with the most flattering and distinguished reception at Paris from every body but the Duc and Duchesse de Choiseul, who rather seemed to decline their acquaintance.

(179) The author of the Voyage du Jenne Anacharsis.

(180) A name given to the Duc de Choiseul by Madame du Deffand.

(181) Verses written by the Chevalier de Boufflers, to be presented by Madame du Deffand to the Duke and Duchess of Choiseul.

(182) They were addressed to M. do Malesherbes, then premier president de la Cour des Aides; afterwards, still more distinguished by his having been the intrepid advocate Selected by the unfortunate Louis the Sixteenth on his trial.  He soon after perished by the same guillotine, from which he could not preserve his ill-fated master-E.

(183) “The Antiquities of Furness; or an account of the Royal Abbey of St. mary, in the vale Of Nightshade, near Dalton, in Furness.”  London, 1774 4to.  This volume, which was dedicated to Lord George Cavendish, Was written by Thomas West, the antiquary, who was likewise the author of “A Guide to the Lakes in Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire."-E.

(184) Mary, only daughter and heiress of Robert Earl Nugent, of the kingdom of Ireland.  She was married, on the 16th of May, 1775, to George Grenville, second Earl Temple, who then assumed, by royal permission, the surnames of Nugent and Temple before that of Grenville, and the privilege of signing Nugent before all titles whatsoever.  In 1784, he was created Marquis of Buckingham.-E.

(185) Cecilia Davis known in Italy by the name of L’Inglesina, first appeared at the Opera in 1773.  She was considered on the Continent as second only to Gabrieli, and in England is said to have been surpassed only by Mrs. Billington.  She was a pupil of the celebrated Hasse and, after having taught several crowned heads, died at an advanced age, and in very distressed circumstances, in 1836.-E.

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Letter 85To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Jan. 9, 1775. (page 124)

I every day intended to thank you for the copy of Nell Gwyn’s letter, till it was too late; the gout came, and Made me moult my goosequill.  The letter is very curious, and I am as well content as with the original.  It is lucky you do not care for news more recent Than the Reformation.  I should have none to tell you; nay, nor earlier neither.  Mr. Strutt’s(186) second volume I suppose you have seen.  He showed me two or three much better drawings from pictures in the possession of Mr. Ives.  One of them made me very happy; it is a genuine portrait of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and is the individual same face as that I guessed to be his in my Marriage of Henry VI.  They are infinitely more like each other, than any two modern portraits of one person by different painters.  I have been laughed at for thinking the skull of Duke Humphrey at St. Albans proved my guess; and yet it certainly does, and is the more like, as the two portraits represent him very bald, with only a ringlet of hair, as monks have.  Mr. Strutt is going to engrave his drawings.  Yours faithfully.

(186) His " Complete Views of the Manners, Customs, Arms, Habits, etc. of the Inhabitants of England from the arrival of the Saxons till the reign of Henry the viii.; with a short Account of the Britons during the Government of the Romans."-E.

Letter 86 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, Jan, 15, 1775. (page 124)

You have made me very happy by saying your journey to Naples is laid aside.  Perhaps it made too great an impression on me; but you must reflect, that all my life I have satisfied myself with your being perfect, instead of trying to be so myself.  I don’t ask you to return, though I wish it:  in truth there is nothing to invite you.  I don’t want you to come and breathe fire and sword against the Bostonians, like that second Duke of Alva, the inflexible Lord George Germain; or to anathematize the court and its works, like the incorruptible Burke, who scorns lucre, except when he can buy a hundred thousand acres from naked Caribs for a song.  I don’t want you to do any thing like a party-man.  I trust you think of every party as I do, with contempt, from Lord Chatham’s mustard-bowl down to Lord Rockingham’s hartshorn.  All, perhaps, will be tried in their turns, and yet, if they had genius, might not be Mighty enough to save us.  From some ruin or other I think nobody can, and what signifies an option of mischiefs?  An account is come of the Bostonians having voted an army of sixteen thousand men, who are to be called minute-men, as they are to be ready at a minute’s warning.  Two directors or commissioners, I don’t know what they are called, are appointed.  There has been too a kind of mutiny in the fifth regiment. 

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A soldier was found drunk on his post.  Gage, in his time of danger, thought vigour necessary, and sent the fellow to a court-martial.  They ordered two hundred lashes.  The general ordered them to improve their sentence.  Next day it was published in the Boston Gazette.  He called them before him, and required them on oath to abjure the communication, three officers refused.  Poor Gage is to be scape-goat, not for this, but for what was a reason against employing him, incapacity.  I Wonder at the precedent!  Howe is talked of for his successor.  Well, I have done with you!—­Now I shall go gossip with Lady Ailesbury

You must know, Madam, that near Bath is erected a new Parnassus, composed of three laurels,- a myrtle-tree, a weeping-willow, and a view of the Avon, which has been new-christened Helicon.  Ten years ago there lived a Madam Riggs, an old rough humourist who passed for a wit; her daughter, who passed for nothing, married to a Captain Miller, full of good-natured officiousness.  These good folks were friends of Miss Rich,(187) who carried me to dine with them at Batheaston, now Pindus.  They caught a little of what was then called taste, built and planted, and begot children, till the whole caravan- were forced to. go abroad to retrieve.  Alas!  Mrs. Miller is returned-’ a beauty, a genius, a Sappho, a Muse, as romantic as Mademoiselle Scuderi, and as sophisticated as Mrs. Vesey.  The captain’s fingers are loaded with cameos, his tongue runs over with virt`u, and that both may contribute to the improvement of their own country, they have introduced bouts-rim`es as a new discovery.  They hold a Parnassus-fair every Thursday, give out rhymes and themes, and all the flux of quality at Bath contend for the prizes.  A Roman vase dressed with pink ribands and myrtles receives the poetry which is drawn out every festival; six judges of these Olympic games retire and select the brightest compositions, which the respective successful acknowledge, kneel to Mrs. Calliope Miller, kiss her fair hand, and are crowned by it with myrtle, with—­I don’t know what.  You may think this is fiction, or exaggeration.  Be dumb, unbelievers!  The collection is printed, published. (188) Yes, on my faith, there are bouts-rim`es on a buttered muffin, made by her grace the Duchess of Northumberland;(189) receipts to make them by Corydon the venerable, alias George Pitt; others very pretty, by Lord Palmerston;(190) some by Lord Carlisle; many by Mrs. Miller herself, that have no fault but wanting metre; and immortality promised to her without end or measure.  In short, since folly, which never ripens to madness but in this hot climate, ran distracted, there was never any thing so entertaining or so dull—­for you cannot read so long as I have been telling.(191)

January 17.

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Before I could finish this, I received your despatches by Sir Thomas Clarges, and a most entertaining letter in three tomes.  It is being very dull, not to be able to furnish a quarter so much from your own country-but what can I do?  You are embarked in a new world, and I am living on the scraps of an old one, of which I am tired.  The best I can do is to reply to your letter, and not attempt to amuse you when I have nothing to say.  I think the Parliament meets today, or in a day or two-but I hope you are coming.  Your brother says so, and Madame du Deffand says so; and sure it is time to leave Paris, when you know ninety of the inhabitants.(192) There seems much affectation in those that will not know you;(193) and affectation is always a littleness—­it has been even rude:  but to be sure the rudeness one feels least, was that which is addressed to one before there has been any acquaintance.

Ninon came,(194) because, on Madame du Deffand’s mentioning it, I concluded it a new work, and am disappointed.  I can say this by heart.  The picture of Madame de Prie, which you don’t seem to value, and so Madame du Deffand says, I believe I shall dispute with you; I think it charming, but when offered to me years ago, I would not take it—­it was now given to you a little a mon intention.

I am sorry that, amongst all the verses you have sent me, you should have forgotten what you commend the most, Les trois exclamations.  I hope you will bring them with you.  Voltaire’s are intolerably stupid, and not above the level of officers in garrison.  Some of M. de Pezay’s are very pretty, though there is too much of them; and in truth I had seen them before.  Those on Madame de la Vali`ere pretty too, but one is a little tired of Venus and the Graces.  I am most pleased with your own—­and if you have a mind to like them still better, make Madame du Deffand show you mine, which are neither French, nor measure, nor metre.  She is unwilling to tell me so-, which diverts me.  Yours are really genteel and new.

I envy you the Russian Anecdotes(195) more than M. de Chamfort’s Fables, of which I know nothing; and as you say no more, I conclude I lose not much.  The stories of Sir Charles(196) are so far not new to me, that I heard them of him from abroad after he was mad:  but I believe no mortal of his acquaintance ever heard them before; nor did they at all correspond with his former life, with his treatment of his wife, or his history with Mrs. Woffington, qui n’`etait pas dupe.  I say nothing on the other stories you tell me of billets dropped,(197) et pour cause.

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I think I have touched all your paragraphs, and have nothing new to send you in return.  In truth, I go nowhere but into private rooms,; for I am not enough recovered to relaunch into the world, when I have so good an excuse for avoiding it.  The bootikins have done wonders; but even two or three such victories will cost too dear.  I submit very patiently to my lot.  I am old and broken, and it never was my system to impose upon myself when one can deceive nobody else.  I have spirits enough for my use, that is, amongst my friends and contemporaries:  I like Young people and their happiness for every thing but to live with; but I cannot learn their language, nor tell them old stories, of which I must explain every step as I go.  Politics’ the proper resource of age, I detest—­I am Contented, but see few that are so—­and I never will be led by any man’s self-interest.  A great scene is opening, of which I cannot expect to see the end!  I am pretty sure not a happy end—­so that, in short, I am determined to think the rest of my life but a postscript:  and as this has been too long an One, I will wish You good night, repeating what you know already, that the return of you three is the most agreeable prospect I expect to see realized.  Adieu!

(187) Daughter of Sir Robert Rich, and sister to the second wife of George Lord Lyttelton.

(188) They were published under the title of “Poetical Amusements at a Villa near Bath.”  An edition appeared in 1781, in four volumes.-E.

(189) “The pen which I now take and brandish
Has long lain useless in my standish. 
Know, every maid, from her on patten,
To her who shines in glossy satin,
That could they now prepare an oglio
>From best receipt of book in folio,
Ever so fine, for all their puffing,
I should prefer a butter’d muffin;
A muffin Jove himself might feast on,
If eat with Miller at Batheaston."-E.

(190) The following are the concluding lines of a poem on Beauty, by Lord Palmerston:—­

“In vain the stealing hand of Time
May pluck the blossoms of their prime;
Envy may talk of bloom decay’d,
How lilies droop and roses fade;
But Constancy’s unalter’d truth,
Regardful of the vows of youth,
Affection that recalls the past,
And bids the pleasing influence last,
Shall still preserve the lover’s flame
In every scene of life the same;
And still with fond endearments blend
The wife, the mistress, and the friend!"-E.

(191) “Lady Miller’s collection of verses by fashionable people, which were put into her vase at Batheaston, in competition for honourary prizes being mentioned, Dr. Johnson held them very cheap:  ‘Bouts-rim`es,’ said be, ’is a mere conceit, and an old conceit; I wonder how people were persuaded to write in that manner for this lady.’  I named a gentleman of his acquaintance who wrote for the vase.  Johnson—­’He was a blockhead for his pains!’ Boswell.  ’The Duchess of Northumberland wrote.’  Johnson:  ’Sir, the Duchess of Northumberland may do what she pleases; nobody will say any thing to a lady of her high rank:  but I should be apt to throw * * * ’s verses in his face.’” Boswell. vol. v. p. 227.-E.

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(192) Madame du Deffand, writing of General Conway to Walpole, had said—­“Savez-vous combien il connait d`ej`a de personnes dans Paris?  Quatre.vingt dix.  Il n’est nullement sauvage."-E.

(193) The Duc du Choiseul.

(194) The Life of Ninon de l’Enclos.

(195) The account of the revolution in Russia which placed Catherine ii. on the throne, by M. de la Rulhi`ere, afterwards Published.  Mr. Conway had heard it read in manuscript in a private society.

(196) Sir Charles Hanbury Williams.

(197) This alludes to circumstances Mr. Conway mentions as having taken place at a ball at Versailles.

Letter 87 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(198) January 22, 1775. (page 128)

After the magnificent overture for peace from Lord Chatham, that I announced to Madame du Deffand, you will be most impatient for my letter.  Ohin`e! you will be sadly disappointed.  Instead of drawing a circle with his wand round the House of Lords, and ordering them to pacify America, on the terms he prescribed before they ventured to quit the circumference of his commands, he brought a ridiculous, uncommunicated, unconsulted motion for addressing the King immediately to withdraw the troops from Boston, as an earnest of lenient measures.  The Opposition stared and shrugged; the courtiers stared and laughed.  His own two or three adherents left him, except Lord Camden and Lord Shelburne, and except Lord Temple, who is not his adherent and was not there.  Himself was not much animated, but very hostile; particularly on Lord Mansfield, who had taken care not to be there.  He talked of three millions of Whigs in America, and told the ministers they were checkmated and had not a move left to make.  Lord Camden was as strong.  Lord Suffolk was thought to do better than ever, and Lord Lyttelton’s declamation was commended as usual.  At last, Lord Rockingham, very punily, and the Duke of Richmond joined and supported the motion; but at eight at night it was rejected by 68 to 18, though the Duke of Cumberland voted for it.(199)

This interlude would be only entertaining, if the scene was not so totally gloomy.  The cabinet have determined on civil war, and regiments are going from Ireland and our West Indian islands.  On Thursday the plan of the war is to be laid before both Houses.  To-morrow the merchants carry their petition; which, I suppose, will be coolly received, since, if I hear true, the system is to cut off all traffic with America at present—­as, you know, we can revive it when we please.  There! there is food for meditation!  Your reflections, as you understand the subject better than I do, will go further than mine could.  Will the French you converse with be civil and keep their countenances?

George Damer(200) t’other day proclaimed your departure for the 25th; but the Duchess of Richmond received a whole cargo of letters from ye all on Friday night, which talk of a fortnight or three weeks longer.  Pray remember it is not decent to be dancing at Paris, when there is a civil war in your own country.  You would be like the Country squire, who passed by with his hounds as the battle of Edgehill began.

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January 24.

I am very sorry to tell you the Duke of Gloucester is dying.  About three weeks ago the physicians said it was absolutely necessary for him to go abroad immediately.  He dallied, but was actually preparing.  He now cannot go, and probably will not live many days, as he has had two shivering fits, and the physicians give the Duchess no hopes.(201) Her affliction and courage are not to be described; they take their turns as she is in the room with him or not.  His are still greater.  His heart is broken, and yet his firmness and coolness amazing.  I pity her beyond measure; and it is not a time to blame her having accepted an honour which so few women could have resisted, and scarce one ever has resisted.

The London and Bristol merchants carried their petitions yesterday to the House of Commons.  The Opposition contended for their being heard by the committee of the whole House, who are to consider the American papers; but the Court sent them to a committee(202) after a debate till nine at night, with nothing very remarkable, on divisions of 197 to 81, and 192 to 65.  Lord Stanley(203) spoke for the first time; his voice and manner pleased, but his matter was not so successful.  Dowdeswell(204 is dead, and Tom Hervey.(205) The latter sent for his Wife and acknowledged her.  Don’t forget to inform me when my letters must stop.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(198) Now first printed.

(199) In the Chatham correspondence will be found another, and a very different, account of this debate, in a letter to Lady Chatham, from their son William:—­“Nothing,” he says, “prevented my father’s speech from being the most forcible that can be imagined, and the administration fully felt it.  The matter and manner were striking; far beyond what I can express.  It was every thing that was superior; and though it had not the desired effect on an obdurate House of Lords, it must have an infinite effect without doors, the bar being crowded with Americans, etc.  Lord Suffolk, I cannot say answered him, but spoke after him.  He was a contemptible orator indeed, with paltry matter and a whining delivery.  Lord Shelburne spoke well, and supported the motion warmly.  Lord Camden was supreme, with only One exception, and as zealous as possible.  Lord Rockingham spoke shortly, but sensibly; and the Duke of Richmond well, and with much candour as to the Declaratory act.  Upon the whole, it was a noble debate.  The ministry were violent beyond expectation, almost to madness. instead of recalling the troops now there, they talked of sending more.  My father has had no pain, but is lame in one ankle near the instep from standing so long.  No wonder he is lame:  his first speech lasted above an hour, and the second half an hour; surely, the two finest speeches that ever were made before, unless by himself!” Dr. Franklin too, who heard the debate, says, in reference to Lord Chatham’s speech-"I am filled with admiration of that truly great man.  I have seen, in the course of my life, sometimes eloquence without wisdom and often wisdom without eloquence:  in the present instance, I see both united, and both, as I think, in the highest degree possible.”  Vol. iv. pp. 375, 385.-E.

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(200) Afterwards second Earl of Dorchester-E.

(201) His Royal Highness survived this illness more than thirty years.-E.

(202) This committee was wittily called by Mr. Burke, and afterwards generally known as “the committee of oblivion."-E.

(203) Afterwards Earl of Derby-E.

(204) The Right Hon. William Dowdeswell, of Pull Court, member for the county of Worcester.  He died at Nice, whither he had gone for the recovery of his health.-E.

(205) The Hon. Thomas Hervey, second son of John first Earl of Bristol.-E.

Letter 88 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, April 11, 1775. (page 129)

I thank you, dear Sir, for your kind letter., and the good account you give of yourself-nor can I blame your change from writing that is, transcribing, to reading—­sure you ought to divert yourself rather than others-though I should not say s, if your pen had not confined itself to transcripts.

I am perfectly well, and heed not the weather; though I wish the seasons came a little oftener into their own places instead of each Other’s.  From November, till a fortnight ago, we had much warmth that I should often be glad of in summer—­and since we are not sure of it then, was rejoiced when I could get it.  For myself, I am a kind of delicate Hercules; and though made of paper, have, by temperance, by using as much cold water inwardly and outwardly as I can, and by taking no precautions against catching cold, and braving all weathers, become capable of suffering by none.  My biennial visitant, the gout, has yielded to the bootikins, and stayed with me this last time but five weeks in lieu of five months.  Stronger men perhaps would kill themselves by my practice, but it has done so long with me, I shall trust to it.

I intended writing to you on Gray’s Life,(206) if you had not prevented me.  I am charmed with it, and prefer it to all the biography I ever saw.  The style is excellent, simple, unaffected; the method admirable, artful, and judicious.  He has framed the fragments, as a person said, so well, that they are fine drawings, if not finished pictures.  For my part, I am so interested in it, that I shall certainly read it over and over.  I do not find that it is likely to be the case with many yet.  Never was a book, which people pretended to expect so much with impatience, less devoured-at least in London, where quartos are not of quick digestion.  Faults are found, I hear, at Eton with the Latin Poems for false quantities-no matter-they are equal to the English -and can one say more?

At Cambridge, I should think the book would both offend much and please; at least if they are as sensible to humour as to ill-humour; and there is orthodoxy enough to wash down a camel.  The Scotch and the Reviewers will be still more angry. and the latter have not a syllable to pacify them.  So they who wait for their decisions will probably miss of reading the most entertaining book in the world—­a punishment which they who trust to such wretched judges deserve; for who are more contemptible than such judges, but they who pin their faith on them?

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In answer to you, yourself, my good Sir, I shall not subscribe to your censure of Mr. Mason, whom I love and admire, and who has shown the greatest taste possible in the execution of this work.  Surely he has said enough in gratitude, and done far beyond what gratitude could demand., It seems delicacy in expatiating on the legacy; particularizing more gratitude would have lessened the evidence of friendship, and made the ’justice done to Gray’s character look more like a debt.,_ He speaks of him in slender circumstances, not as distressed:  and so he was till after the deaths of his parents and aunts; and even then surely not rich.  I think he does somewhere say that he meant to be buried with his mother, and not specifying any other place confirms it.  In short, Mr. Mason shall never know your criticisms; he has a good heart, and would feel them, though certainly not apprised that he would merit them.  A man who has so called out all his -friend’s virtues, could not want them himself.

I shall be much obliged to you for the prints you destine for me.  The Earl of Cumberland I have, and will not rob you of.  I wish you had been as successful with Mr. G. as with Mr. T. I mean, if you are not yet paid-now is the time, for he has sold his house to the Duke of Marlborough-I suppose he will not keep his prints long:  he changes his pursuits Continually and extravagantly-and then sells to indulge new fancies.

I have had a piece of luck within these two days.  I have long lamented our having no certain piece written by Anne Boleyn’s brother, Lord Rochford.  I have found a very pretty copy of verses by him in the new published volume of the Nuge Antiquae, though by mistake he is called, Earl of, instead Of Viscount, Rochford.  They are taken from a Ms-dated twenty-eight years after the author’s death, and are much in the manner of Lord Surrey’s and Sir T. Wyat’s poems.  I should at first have doubted if they were not counterfeited, on reading my Noble Authors; but then the blunder of earl for viscount would hardly have been committed.  A little modernized and softened in the cadence, they would be very pretty.

I have got the rest of the Digby pictures, but at a very high rate.  There is one very large of Sir Kenelm, his wife, and two sons, in exquisite preservation, though the heads of him and his wife are not so highly finished as those I have—­yet the boys and draperies are so that, together with the size, it is certainly the most capital miniature in the world:  there are a few more, very fine too.  I shall be happy to show them to you, whenever You Burnhamize—­I mean before August, when I propose making my dear old blind friend a visit at Paris—­nothing else would carry me thither.  I am too old to seek diversions, and too indolent to remove to a distance by choice, though not so immovable as you to much less distance.  Adieu!  Pray tell me what you hear is said of Gray’s Life at Cambridge.

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(206) “The Poems of Mr. Gray:  to which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings; by W, Mason, M A, York, 1775.”  At the end of Mason’s work Mr. Cole wrote the following memorandum:—­ “I am by no means satisfied with this Life; it has too much the affectation of classical shortness to please me, More circumstances would have suited my taste better; besides, I think the biographer had a mind to revenge himself of the sneerings Mr. Gray put upon him, though he left him, I guess, above a thousand pounds, which is slightly hinted at only; yet Mr. Walpole was quite satisfied with the work when I made my objection.”  A copy of Gray’s will is given in the Rev. J. Mitford’s very valuable edition of the poet’s works, published by Pickering, in four volumes, in 1836.-E.

Letter 89 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, April 5, 1775. (page 132)

The least I can do, dear Sir, in gratitude for the cargo of prints I have received to-day from you, is to send you a medicine.  A pair of bootikins will set out to-morrow morning in the machine that goes from the Queen’s-head in Gray’s-inn-lane.  To be certain, you had better send for them where the machine inns, lest they should neglect delivering them at Milton.  My not losing a moment shows my zeal; but if you can bear a little pain, I should not press you to use them.  I have suffered so dreadfully, that I constantly wear them to diminish the stock of gout in my constitution; but as your fit is very slight, and will not last, and as you are pretty sure by its beginning so late, that you will never have much; and s the gout certainly carries off other complaints, had not you better endure a little, when it is rather a remedy than a disease?  I do not desire to be entirely delivered from the gout, for all reformations do but make room for some new grievance:  and in my opinion a disorder that requires no physician, is preferable to any that does.  However, I have put relief in your power, and you will judge for yourself.  You must tie them as tight as you can bear, the flannel next to the flesh; and, when you take them off, it should be in bed:  rub your feet with a warm cloth, and put on warm stockings, for fear of catching cold while the pores are open.  It would kill any body but me, who am of adamant, to walk out in the dew in winter in my slippers in half an hour after pulling off the bootikins.  A physician sent me word, good-naturedly, that there was danger of catching cold after the bootikins, unless one was careful.  I thanked him, but told him my precaution was, never taking any.  All the winter I pass five days in a week without walking out, and sit often by the fireside till seven in the evening.  When I do go out, whatever the weather is, I go with both glasses of the coach down, and so I do at midnight out of the hottest room.  I have not had a single cold, however slight, these two years.

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You are too candid in submitting at once to my defence of Mr. Mason.  It is true I am more charmed with his book than I almost ever was with one.  I find more people like the grave letters than those of humour, and some think the latter a little affected, which is as wrong a judgment as they could make; for Gray never wrote any thing easily but things of humour.  Humour was his natural and original turn—­and though from his childhood he was grave and reserved, his genius led him to see things ludicrously and satirically; and though his health and dissatisfaction gave him low spirits, his melancholy turn was much more affected than his pleasantry in writing.  You knew him enough to know I am in the right-but the world in general always wants to be told how to think, as well as what to think.  The print, I agree with you, though like, is a very disagreeable likeness, and the worst likeness of him.  It gives the primness he had under constraint; and there is a blackness in the countenance which was like him only the last time I ever saw him, when I was much struck with it:  and, though I did not apprehend him in danger, it left an impression on me that was uneasy, and almost prophetic of what I heard but too soon after leaving him.  Wilson drew the picture under such impression, and I could not bear it in my room; Mr. Mason altered it a little, but Still it is not well, nor gives any idea of the determined virtues of his heart.  It just serves to help the reader to an image of the person whose genius and integrity they must admire, if they are so happy as to have a taste for either.

The Peep into the Gardens at Twickenham is a silly little book, of which a few little copies were printed some years ago for presents, and which now sets up for itself as a vendible book.  It is a most inaccurate, superficial, blundering account of Twickenham and other places, drawn up by a Jewess, who has married twice, and turned Christian, poetess, and authoress.  She has printed her poems, too, and one complimentary copy of mine, which, in good breeding, I could not help Sending her in return for violent compliments in verse to me.  I do not remember that hers were good; mine I know were very bad, and certainly never intended for the press.

I bought the first volume of Manchester, but could not read it; it was much too learned for me, and seemed rather an account of Babel than Manchester, I mean in point of antiquity.(207) To be sure, it is very kind in an author to promise one the history of a country town, and give one a circumstantial account of the antediluvian world into the bargain.  But I am simple and ignorant, and desire no more than I pay for.  And then for my progenitors, Noah and the Saxons, I have no curiosity about them.  Bishop Lyttelton used to plague me to death about barrows, and tumuli, and Roman camps, and all those bumps in the ground that do not amount to a most imperfect ichnography; but, in good truth, I am content with

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all arts when perfected, nor inquire how ingeniously people contrive to do without them—­and I care still less for remains of art that retain no vestiges of art.  Mr. Bryant,)208) who is sublime in unknown knowledge, diverted me more, yet I have not finished his work, no more than he has.  There is a great ingenuity in discovering all his history [though it has never been written] by etymologies.  Nay, he convinced me that the Greeks had totally mistaken all they went to learn in Egypt, etc. by doing, as the French do still, judge wrong by the ear—­but as I have been trying now and then for above forty years to learn something, I have not time to unlearn it all again, though I allow this our best sort of knowledge.  If I should die when I am not clear in the History of the World below its first three thousand years, I should be at a sad loss on meeting with Homer and Hesiod, or any of those moderns in the Elysian fields, before I knew what I ought to think of them.  Pray do not betray my ignorance:  the reviewers and such literati have called me a learned and ingenious gentleman.  I am sorry they ever heard my name, but don’t let them know how irreverently I speak of the erudite, whom I dare to say they admire.  These wasps, I suppose, will be very angry at the just contempt Mr. Gray had for them, and will, as insects do, attempt to sting, in hopes that their twelvepenny readers will suck a little venom from the momentary tumour they raise—­but good night-and once more, thank you for the prints.  Yours ever.

(207) “The History of Manchester,” by John Whitaker, B. D. London, 1771-3-5. 2 vols. 4to.  “We talked,” says Boswell, “of antiquarian researches.  Johnson.  ’All that is really known Of the ancient state of Britain is contained in a few Pages.  We can know no more than what the old writers have told us; Yet what large books we have upon it; the whole of which, excepting such parts as are taken from these old writers, is all a dream, such as Whitaker’s Manchester.’” Life of Johnson, vol. vii. p. 189.-E.

(208) Jacob Bryan, the learned author of “A New System; or, n Analysis of Ancient Mythology,” 4to. 1774-6, 3 vols.; and of many other works.  His character was thus finely drawn, in 1796, by Mr. Matthias, in “The Pursuits of Literature:”—­“No man of literature can pass by the name of Mr. Bryant without gratitude and reverence.  He is a gentleman of attainments peculiar to himself, and of classical erudition without an equal in Europe.  His whole life has been spent in laborious researches, and the most curious investigations.  He has a youthful fancy and a playful wit; with the mind, and occasionally with the pen of a poet; and with an ease and simplicity of style aiming only at perspicuity, and, as I think, attaining it.  He has lived to see his eightieth winter (and May he yet long live!) with the esteem of the wise and good; in honourable retirement from the cares of life; with a gentleness of manners, and

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a readiness and willingness of literary communication seldom found.  He is admired and sought after by the young who are entering on a course of study, and revered, and often followed, by those who have completed it.  Nomen in exemplum sero servabirnus evo!” Mr. Bryant died in 1804, in his eighty-ninth year, in consequence Of a wound on his Shin, occasioned by his foot slipping from a chair which he had stepped on to reach a book in his library-E.

Letter 90 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 5, 1775. (page 134)

I am extremely concerned, dear Sir, to hear you have been so long confined by the gout.  The painting of your house may, from the damp, have given you cold-I don’t conceive that paint can affect one otherwise, if it does not make one sick, as it does me of all things.  Dr. Heberden(209) (as every physician, to make himself talked of, will Set up Some new hypothesis,) pretends that a damp house, and even damp sheets, which have ever been reckoned fatal, are wholesome:  to prove his faith he went into his own new house totally Unaired, and survived it.  At Malvern, they certainly put patients into sheets just dipped in the spring-however, I am ’glad you have a better proof that dampness is not mortal, and it is better to be too cautious than too rash.  I am perfectly well, and expect to be so for a year and a half-I desire no more of the bootikins than to curtail my fits.

Thank you for the note from North’s Life, though, having reprinted my Painters, I shall never have an opportunity of using it.  I am still more obliged to you for the offer of an Index to my Catalogue but, as I myself know exactly where to find every thing in it, and as I dare to say nobody else will want it, I shall certainly not put you to that trouble.

Dr. Glynn will certainly be most welcome to see my house, and shall, if I am not at home:-still I had rather know a few days before, because else he may happen to come when I have company, as I have often at this time of the year, and then it is impossible to let it be seen, as I cannot ask my company, who may have come to see it too, to go out, that somebody else may see it, and I should be Very sorry to have the Doctor disappointed.  These difficulties, which have happened more than once, have obliged me to give every ticket for a particular day; therefore, if Dr. Glynn will be so good as to advertise me of the day he intends to come here, with a direction, I shall send him word what day he can see it.

I have just run through the two vast folios of Hutchins’s Dorsetshire.(210) He has taken infinite pains; indeed, all but those that would make it entertaining.

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Pray can you tell me any thing of some relations of my own, the Burwells?  My grandfather married Sir Jeffery Burwell’s daughter, of Rongham, in Suffolk.  Sir Jeffery’s mother, I imagine, was daughter of a Jeffery Pitman, of Suffolk; at least I know there was such a man in the latter, and that we quarter the arms of Pitman.  But I cannot find who Lady Burwell, Sir Jeffery’s wife, was.  Edmondson has searched in vain in the Heralds’ office; and I have outlived all the ancient of my family so long, that I know not of whom to Inquire, but you of the neighbourhood.  There is an old walk in the park at Houghton, called “Sir Jeffery’s Walk,” where the old gentleman used to teach my father (Sir Robert) his book.  Those very old trees encouraged my father to plant at Houghton.  When people used to try to persuade him nothing would grow there, he said, why Will not other trees grow as well as those in Sir Jeffery’s Walk?—­Other trees have grown to some purpose!  Did I ever tell you that ,my father was descended from Lord Burleigh?  The latter’s granddaughter, by his son Exeter, married Sir Giles Allington, whose daughter married Sir Robert Crane, father of Sir Edward Walpole’s .’Wife.  I want but Lady Burwell’s name to Make my genealogic tree Shoot out stems every way.  I have recovered a barony in fee, which has no defect but in being antecedent to any summons to Parliament, that of the Fitz Osberts:  and On my Mother’s side it has mounted the Lord knows whither by the Philipps,s to Henry viii. and has sucked in Dryden for a great-uncle:  and by Lady Philipps’s mother, Darcy, to Edward iii. and there I stop for brevity’s sake—­especially as Edward iii. is a second Adam; who almost is not descended from Edward 1 as posterity will be from Charles ii. and all the princes in Europe from James I. I am the first antiquary of my race.  People don’t know how entertaining a study it is.  Who begot whom is a most amusing kind of hunting; one recovers a grandfather instead of breaking one’s own neck—­and then one grows so pious to the memory of a thousand persons one never heard of before.  One finds how Christian names came into a family, with a world of other delectable erudition.  You cannot imagine how vexed I was that Bloomfield(211) died before he arrived at Houghton—­I had promised myself a whole crop of notable ancestors-but I think I have pretty well unkennelled them myself.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

P. S. I found a family of Whaplode in Lincolnshire who give our arms, and have persuaded myself that Whaplode is a corruption of Walpole, and came from a branch when we lived at Walpole in Lincolnshire.

(209) Dr. William Heberden, the distinguished physician and medical writer, who died on the 17th of March, 1801, at the advanced age of ninety-one.-E.

(210) “The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset.”  London, 1774, in two volumes, folio.  A second edition, corrected, augmented, and improved, by Richard Gough and John Bowyer Nichols, in four Volumes, folio, appeared in 1796-1815.-E.

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(211) The Rev. Francis Blomefield, the author of an " Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk,” which was left unfinished by him, and continued by the Rev. Charles Parkin.  It was first printed in five folio volumes:  1739-1773.  A second edition, in eleven volumes, octavo, appeared in 1805-1810.-E.

Letter 91 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, July 9, 1775. (page 136)

The whole business of this letter would lie in half a line.  Shall you have room for me on Tuesday the 18th?  I am putting myself into motion that I may go farther.  I told Madame du Deffand how you had scolded me on her account, and she has charged me to thank you, and tell you how much she wishes to see you, too.  I would give any thing to go-But the going!—­However, I really think I shall, but I grow terribly affected with a maladie de famille, that of taking root at home.

I did but put my head into London on Thursday, and more bad news from America.(211) I wonder when it will be bad enough to make folks think it so, without going on!  The stocks, indeed, begin to grow a little nervous, and they are apt to affect other pulses.  I heard this evening here that the Spanish fleet is sailed, and that we are not in the secret whither-but I don’t answer for Twickenham gazettes, and I have no better.  I have a great mind to tell you a Twickenham story; and yet it will be good for nothing, as I cannot send you the accent in a letter.  Here it is, and you must try to set it to the right emphasis.  One of our maccaronis is dead, a Captain Mawhood, the teaman’s son.  He had quitted the army, because his comrades called him Captain Hyson, and applied himself to learn the classics and freethinking; and was always disputing with the parson of the parish about Dido and his own soul.  He married Miss Paulin’s warehouse, who had six hundred a-year; but, being very much out of conceit with his own canister, could not reconcile himself to her riding-hood—­so they parted beds in three nights.  Of late he has taken to writing comedies, which every body was welcome to hear him read, as he could get nobody to act them.  Mrs. Mawhood has a friend, one Mrs. V * * *, a mighty plausible good sort of body, who feels for every body, and a good deal for herself, is of a certain age, wears well, has some pretensions that she thinks very reasonable still, and a gouty husband.  Well! she was talking to Mr. Rafter about Captain Mawhood a little before he died.  “Pray, Sir, does the Captain ever communicate his writings to Mrs. Mawhood?” “Oh, dear no, Madam; he has a sovereign contempt for her understanding.”  “Poor woman!” “And pray, Sir,- - give me leave to ask you:  I think I have heard they very seldom sleep together!” “Oh, never, Madam!  Don’t you know all that?” “Poor woman!” I don’t know whether you will laugh; but Mr. Raftor,(213) who tells a story better than any body, made me laugh for two hours.  Good night!

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(212) Of the commencement of hostilities with the Americans at Lexington on the 19th of April.-E.

(213) Mr. Raftor brother to Mrs. Clive.-E.

Letter 92 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(214) Strawberry Hill, August 9, 1775. (page 137)

Well, I am going tout de bon, and I heartily wish I was returned.  It is a horrid exchange, the cleanness and verdure and tranquillity of ’Strawberry, for a beastly ship, worse inns, the pav`e of the roads bordered with eternal rows of maimed trees, and the racket of an h`otel garni!  I never doat on the months of August and September, enlivened by nothing but Lady Greenwich’s speaking-trumpet—­but I do not want to be amused—­at least never at the expense of being put in motion.  Madame du Deffand, I am sure, may be satisfied with the sacrifice I make to her!(215)

You have heard, to be sure, of the war between your brother and Foote; but probably do not know how far the latter has carried his impudence.  Being asked, why Lord Hertford had refused to license his piece, he replied, “Why, he asked me to make his youngest son a box-keeper, and because I would not, he stopped my play."(216) The Duchess of Kingston offered to buy it off, but Foote would not take her money, and swears he will act her in Lady Brumpton; which to be sure is very applicable.

I am sorry to hear Lord Villiers is going to drag my lady through all the vile inns in Germany.  I think he might go alone.

George Onslow told me yesterday, that the American Congress had sent terms of accommodation, and that your brother told him so; but a strange fatality attends George’s news, which is rarely canonical; and I doubt this intelligence is far from being so..  I shall know more to-morrow, when I go to town to prepare for my journey on Tuesday.  Pray let me hear from you, enclosed to M. Panchaud.

I accept with great joy Lady Ailesbury’s offer Of coming hither in October, which will increase my joy in being at home again.  I intend to set out on my return the 25th Of next month.  Sir Gregory Page has left Lord Howe eight thousand pounds at present, and twelve more after his aunt Mrs. Page’s death.

Thursday, 10th.

I cannot find any ground for believing that any proposals are come from the Congress.  On the contrary, every thing looks as melancholy as possible.  Adieu!

(214) Now first printed.

(215) In her letter of the 5th of August, Madame du Deffand, by way of inducement to Walpole to take the journey, says—­“Je vous jure que je ne me soucierai de rien pour vous; c’est `a dire, de vous faire faire une chose Plut`ot qu’une autre:  vous serez totalement libre de toutes vos pens`ees, paroles, et actions, vous ne me verrez pas un souhait un d`esir qui Puisse contredire vos pens`ees et Vos volont`es:  je saurai que M. Walpole est `a Paris, il saura que je demeure `a St. Joseph; il sera maitre d’y arriver, d’y rester, de s’en aller, comme il lui plaira."-E.

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(216) The piece was entitled “The Trip to Calais;” in which the author having ridiculed, under the name of Kitty Crocodile, the eccentric Duchess of Kingston she offered him a sum of money to strike out the part.  A correspondence took place between the parties, which ended in the Duchess making an application to Lord Hertford, at that time Lord Chamberlain, who interdicted the performance.  Foote, however, brought it out, with some alterations, in the following year, under the title of “The Capuchin."-E.

Letter 93 To The Countess Of Ailesbury. >From t’other side of the water, August 17, 1775.(217) (page 138)

Interpreting your ladyship’s orders in the most personal sense, as respecting the dangers of the sea, I -write the instant I am landed.  I did not, in truth, set out till yesterday morning at eight o’clock; but finding the roads, horses, postilions, tides, winds, moons, and Captain Fectors in the pleasantest humour in the world, I embarked almost as soon as I arrived at Dover, and reached Calais before the sun was awake;-and here I am for the sixth time in my life, with only the trifling distance of seven-and-thirty years between my first voyage and the present.  Well!  I can only say in excuse, that I am got into the land of Struldburgs, where one is never too old to be young, and where la b`equille du p`ere Barnabas blossoms like Aaron’s rod, or the Glastonbury thorn.  Now, to be sure, I shall be a little mortified, if your ladyship wanted a letter of news, and did not at all trouble your head about my navigation.  However, you will not tell one so; and therefore I will persist in believing that this good news will be received with transport at Park-place, and that the bells of Henley will be set a ringing.  The rest of my adventures, must be deferred till they have happened, which is not always the case of travels.  I send you no Compliments from Paris, because I have not got thither, nor delivered the bundle which Mr. Conway sent me.  I did, as Your ladyship commanded; buy three pretty little medallions in frames of filigraine, for our dear old friend.  They will not ruin you, having cost not a guinea and a half; but it was all I could find that was genteel and portable; and as she does not measure by guineas, but attentions, she will be as much pleased as if you had sent her a dozen acres of Park-place.  As they are in bas-relief, too, they are feelable, and that is a material circumstance to her.  I wish the Diomede had even so much as a pair of Nankin!

Adieu, toute la ch`ere famille!  I think of October with much satisfaction; it will double the pleasure of my return.

(217) Mr. Walpole reached Paris on the 19th of August and left it on the 19th of October.-E.

Letter 94 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.  Paris, August 20, 1775. (page 139)

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I have been sea-sick to death:  I have been poisoned by dirt and vermin; I have been stifled by beat, choked by dust, and starved for want of any thing I could touch:  and yet, Madam, here, I am perfectly well, not in the least fatigued; and, thanks to the rivelled parchments, formerly faces, which I have seen by hundreds, I find myself almost as young as When I came hither first in the last century.  In spite of my whims, and delicacy, and laziness, none of my grievances have been mortal:  I have borne them as well as if I had set up for a philosopher, like the sages of this town.  Indeed, I have found my dear old woman So well, and looking so much better than she did four years ago, that I am transported with pleasure, and thank your ladyship and Mr. Conway for driving me hither.  Madame du Deffand came to me the instant I arrived, and sat by me whilst I stripped and dressed myself; for, as she said, since she cannot see there was no harm in my being stark.(218) She was charmed with your present; but was so Kind as to be so much more charmed with my arrival, that she did not think of it a moment.  I sat with her till half an hour after two in the morning, and had a letter from her before my eyes were open again.  In short, her soul is immortal, and forces her body to bear it company.

This is the very eve of Madame Clotilde’s(219) Wedding — but Monsieur Turgot, to the great grief of Lady Mary Coke, will suffer no cost, but one banquet, one ball, and a play at Versailles.  Count Viry gives a banquet, a bal masqu`e, and a firework.  I think I shall see little but the last, from which I will send your ladyship a rocket in my next letter.  Lady Mary, I believe, has had a private audience of the ambassador’s leg,(220) but en tout bien, et honneur, and only to satisfy her ceremonious curiosity about any part of royal nudity.  I am just going to her, as she is to Versailles; and I have not time to add a word more to the vows of your ladyship’s most faithful.

(218) Madame du Deffand had just completed her seventy-eighth year.-E.

(219) Madame Clotilde, sister of Louis xv1.  Turgot was the new minister of finance, who, With his colleagues were endeavouring, by every practicable means, to reduce the enormous expenditure of the country.-E.

(220) Mr. Walpole alludes to the ceremony of the marriages of princesses by proxy.-E.

Letter 95 To Mrs. Abington(221) Paris, September [1775.] (page 140)

If I had known, Madam, of your being at Paris, before I heard it from Colonel Blaquiere, I should certainly have prevented your flattering invitation, and have offered you any services that could depend on my acquaintance here.  It is plain I am old, and live with very old folks, when I did not hear of your arrival.  However, Madam, I have not that fault at least of a veteran, the thinking nothing equal to what they admired in their youth.  I do impartial justice to your merit, and fairly allow it not only equal to that of any actress I have seen, but believe the present age will not be in the wrong, if they hereafter prefer it to those they may live to see.  Your allowing me to wait on you in London, Madam, will make me some amends for the loss I have had here; and I shall take an early opportunity of assuring you how much I am, Madam, your most obliged humble servant.

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(221) Now first printed.  This elegant and fashionable actress was born in 1735, quitted the stage in 1799, and died in 1815.-E.

Letter 96 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Paris, Sept 8, 1775. (page 140)

The delays of the post, and its departure before its arrival, saved me some days of anxiety for Lady Ailesbury, and prevented my telling you how concerned I am for her accident; though I trust, by this time, she has not even pain left.  I feel the horror you must have felt during her suffering in the dark, and on the sight of her arm;(222) and though nobody admires her needlework more than I, still I am rejoiced that it will be the greatest sufferer.  However, I am very impatient for a farther account.  Madame du Deffand, who, you know, never loves her friends by halves, and whose impatience never allows itself time to inform itself, was out of her wits, because I could not explain exactly how the accident happened, and where.  She wanted to write directly, though the post was just gone; and, as soon as I could make her easy about the accident, she fell into a new distress about her fans for Madame de Marchais, and concludes they have been overturned, and broken too.  In short, I never saw any thing like her.  She has made engagements for me till Monday se’nnight; in which are included I don’t know how many journeys into the country; and as nobody ever leaves her without her engaging them for another time, all these parties will be so many polypuses, that will shoot out into new ones every way.  Madame de Jonsac,(223) a great friend of mine, arrived the day before yesterday, and Madame du Deffand has pinned her down to meeting me at her house four times before next Tuesday, all parentheses, that are not to interfere with our other suppers; and from those suppers I never get to bed before two or three o’clock.  In short, I need have the activity of a squirrel, and the strength of a Hercules, to go through my labours—­not to count how many d`em`el`es I have had to raccommode, and how many m`emoires to present against Tonton,(224) who grows the greater favourite the more people he devours.  As I am the only person who dare correct him, I have already insisted on his being confined in the Bastile every day to after five o’clock.  T’other night he flew at Lady Barrymore’s face, and I thought would have torn her eye out; but it ended in biting her finger.  She was terrified:  she fell into tears.  Madame du Deffand, who has too much parts not to see every thing in its true light, perceiving that she had not beaten Tonton half enough, immediately told us a story of a lady, whose dog, having bitten a piece out of a gentleman’s leg, the tender dame in a great fright, cried out, “Won’t it make my dog sick?”

Lady Barrymore(225) has taken a house.  She will be glutted with conquests:  I never saw any body so much admired.  I doubt her poor little head will be quite overset.

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Madame de Marchais(226) is charming:  eloquence and attention itself I cannot stir for peaches, nectarines, grapes, and bury pears.  You would think Pomona was in love with me.  I am not so transported with N * * * * cock and hen.  They are a tabor and pipe that I do not understand.  He mouths and she squeaks and neither articulates.  M. d’Entragues I have not seen.  Upon the whole, I am much more pleased with Paris than ever I was; and, perhaps, shall stay a little longer than I intended.  The Harry Grenville’s(227) are arrived.  I dined with them at Madame de Viry’s,(228) who has completed the conquest of France by her behaviour on Madame Clotilde’s wedding, and by the f`etes she gave.  Of other English I wot not, but grieve the Richmonds do not come.  I am charmed with Dr. Bally; nay, and with the King of Prussia—­as much as I can be with a northern monarch.  For your Kragen, I think we ought to procure a female one, and marry it to Ireland, that we may breed some new islands against we have lost America.  I know nothing of said America.  There is not a Frenchman that does not think us distracted.

I used to scold you about your bad writing, and perceive I have written in such a hurry, and blotted my letter so much, that you will not be able to read it:  but consider how few moments I have to myself.  I am forced to stuff my ears with cotton to get any sleep.  However, my journey has done me good.  I have thrown off at least fifteen years.  Here is a letter for my dear Mrs. Damer from Madame de Cambis, who thinks she doats on you all.  Adieu!

P. S. I shall bring you two `eloges of Marshal Catinat; not because I admire them, but because I admire him, because I think him very like you.

(222) Lady Ailesbury had been overturned in her carriage at Park-place, and dislocated her wrist.

223) La Comtesse de Jonsac, sister of the President Henault.

(224) A favourite dog of Madame du Deffand’s.

(225) Third daughter of William second Earl of Harrington, and wife of Richard sixth Earl of Barrymore, who, dying in 1780, left issue Richard and Henry, each of whom became, successively, Earl of Barrymore; a title which expired upon the death of the latter, in 1823.-E.

(226) Madame de Marchais, n`ee Laborde, married to a valet-de-chambre of Louis xv1.  From her intimacy with M. d’Angivillier, Directeur des B`atiments, Jardins, etc. du Roi, She had the opportunity of obtaining the finest fruits and flowers.-E.

(227) Henry Grenville, brother to Earl Temple.  He married Miss Margaret Banks.  He died in 1784.-E.

(228) Miss Harriet Speed.  She had married M. le Comte do Viry when he was minister at London from the Court of Turin.  She is one of the ladies to whom Gray’s “Long Story” is addressed.  For an account of her, see Vol. iii.  P. 160, letter 102.-E.

Letter 97 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Paris, Oct. 6, 1775. (page 142)

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It will look like a month since I wrote to you; but I have been coming, and am.  Madame du Deffand has been so ill, that the day she was seized I thought she would not live till night.  Her Herculean weakness, which could not resist strawberries and cream after supper, has surmounted all the ups and downs which followed her excess; but her impatience to go every where, and to do every thing has been attended with a kind of relapse, and another kind of giddiness:  so that I am not quite easy about her, as they allow her to take no nourishment to recruit, and she will die of inanition, if she does not live upon it.  She cannot lift her head from the pillow without `etourdissemens; and yet her spirits gallop faster than any body’s, and so do her repartees.  She has a great supper to-night for the Due de Choiseul, and was in such a passion yesterday with her cook about it, and that put Tonton into such a rage, that nos dames de Saint Joseph thought the devil or the philosophers were flying away with their convert!  As I have scarce quitted her, I can have had nothing to tell you.  If she gets well, as I trust, I shall set out on the 12th; but I cannot leave her in any danger—­though I shall run many myself, if I stay longer.  I have kept such bad hours with this malade that I have had alarms of gout; and bad weather, worse inns, and a voyage in winter, will ill suit me.  The fans arrived at a propitious moment, and she immediately had them opened on her bed, and felt all the patterns, and had all the papers described.  She was all satisfaction and thanks, and swore me to do her full justice to Lady Ailesbury, and Mrs. Damer.  Lord Harrington and Lady Harriet are arrived; but have announced and persisted in a strict invisibility.  I know nothing of my ch`ere patrie, but what I learn from the London Chronicle; and that tells me, that the trading towns are suing out lettres de noblesse, that is, entreating the King to put an end to commerce, that they may all be gentlemen.  Here agriculture, economy, reformation, philosophy, are the bon-ton even at court.  The two nations seem to have crossed over and figured in; but as people that copy take the bad with the good, as well as the good with the bad, there was two days ago a great horserace in the plain de Sablon, between the Comte d’Artois,(229) the Duc de Chartres,(230) Monsieur de Conflans, and the Duc de Lauzun.(231) The latter won by the address of a little English postilion, who is in such fashion, that I don’t know whether the Academy will not give him for the subject of an `eloge.

The Due de Choiseul, I said, is here; and, as he has a second time put off his departure, cela fait beaucoup de bruit.  I shall not at all be surprised if he resumes the reins, as (forgive me a pun) he has the Reine at ready.  Messrs. de Turgot and Malesherbes certainly totter—­but I shall tell you no more till I see you; for though this goes by a private hand, it is so private, that I don’t know it, being an English merchant’s, who lodges in this hotel, and whom I do not know by sight:  so, perhaps, I may bring you word of this letter myself.  I flatter myself Lady Ailesbury’s arm has recovered its straightness and its cunning. . .

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Madame du Deffand says, I love you better than any thing in the world.  If true, I hope you have not less penetration:  if you have not, or it is not true, what would professions avail?-So I leave that matter in suspense.  Adieu!

October 7.

Madame du Deffand was quite well yesterday; and at near one this, morning I left the Duc de Choiseul, the Duchess de Grammont, the Prince and the Princess of Beauveau, Princess Of Poix,(232) the Mar`echale de Luxembourg, Duchess de Lauzun, Ducs de Gontaut(233) et de Chabot, and Caraccioli, round her chaise longue; and she herself was not a dumb personage.  I have not heard yet how she has slept, and must send away my letter this moment, as I must dress to go to dinner with Monsieur de Malesherbes at Madame de Villegagnon’s.  I must repose a great while after all this living in company; nay, intend to go very little into the world again, as I do not admire the French way of burning one’s candle to the very snuff in public.  Tell Mrs. Damer, that the fashion now is to erect the toup`ee into a high detached tuft of hair, like a cockatoo’s crest; and this toup`ee they call la physionomie—­I don’t guess why.

My laquais is come back from St. Joseph’s, and says Marie(234) de Vichy has had a very good night, and is quite well.—­Philip!(235) let my chaise be ready on Thursday.(236)

(229) Afterwards Charles the Tenth.-E.

(230) On the death of his father, in 1785, he became Duke of Orleans.  In 1792, he was chosen a member of the National-Convention, when he adopted the Jacobinical title of Louis-Philippe-Joseph Egalit`e; and, in November 1793, he suffered by the guillotine. -E.

(231) The Duc de Lauzun, son of the Duc de Gontaut, the maternal nephew of the Duchesse de Choiseul.-E.

(232) Wife of the Prince de Poix, eldest son of the Mar`echal de Mouchy, and daughter of the Prince de Beauveau.  The Prince de Poix retired to this country on the breaking out of the French revolution, accompanied by his son, Comte Charles de Noailles, who married the daughter of La Borde, the great banker.-E.

(233) The Duc de Gontaut, brother to the Mar`echal Duc de Biron, and father to the Duc de Lauzun.  The Duchesse de Gontaut was a sister of the Duchesse de Choiseul-E.

(234) The maiden name of Madame du Deffand was Marie de Vichy Chamrond.  She was born in 1697, of a noble family in the province of Burgundy; and, as her fortune was small, she was married by her parents, in 1718, to the Marquis du Deffand; the union being settled with as little attention to her feelings as was usual in French marriages of that age.  A separation soon took place; but Walpole says they always continued on good terms, and that upon her husband’s deathbed, at his express desire, she saw him.-E.

(235) Mr. Walpole’s valet-de-chambre.

(236) Walpole left Paris on the 12th; upon which day, Madame du Deffand thus wrote to him—­“Adieu! ce mot est bien triste!  Souvenez que vous laissez ici la personne dont vous `etes le plus aim`e, et dont le bonheur et le malheur consistent dans ce que vous pensez pour elle.  Donnez-moi de vos nouvelles le plus t`ot qu’il sera possible."-E.

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Letter 98 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Dec. 10, 1775. (page 144)

I was very sorry to have been here, dear Sir, the day you called on me in town.  It is so difficult to uncloister you, that I regret not seeing you when you are out of your own ambry.  I have nothing new to tell you that is very old; but you can inform me of something within your own district.  Who is the author, E. B. G. of a version of Mr. Gray’s Latin Odes into English,(237) and of an Elegy on my wolf-devoured dog, poor Tory? a name you will marvel at in a dog of mine; but his godmother was the widow of Alderman Parsons, who gave him at Paris to Lord Conway, and he to me.  The author is a poet; but he makes me blush, for he calls Mr. Gray and me congenial pair.  Alas!  I have no genius; and if any symptom of talent, so inferior to Gray’s, that Milton and Quarles might as well be coupled together.  We rode over the Alps in the same chaise, but Pegasus drew on his side, and a cart-horse on mine.  I am too jealous of his fame to let us be coupled together.  This author says he has lately printed at Cambridge a Latin translation of the Bards; I should be much obliged to you for it.

I do not ask you if Cambridge has produced any thing, for it never does.  Have you made any discoveries?  Has Mr. Lort?  Where is he?  Does Mr. Tyson engrave no more?  My plates for Strawberry advance leisurely.  I am about nothing.  I grow old and lazy, and the present world cares for nothing but politics, and satisfies itself with writing in newspapers.  If they are not bound up and preserved in libraries, posterity will imagine that the art of printing was gone out of use.  Lord Hardwicke(238) has indeed reprinted his heavy volume of Sir Dudley Carleton’s Despatches, and says I was in the wrong to despise it.  I never met with any body that thought otherwise.  What signifies raising the dead so often, when they die the next minute?  Adieu!

(237) Edward Burnaby Greene, formerly of Bennet College, but at that time a brewer in Westminster, He likewise published translations of Pindar, Persius, Apollonius Rhodius, Anacreon, etc.-E.

(238) Philip Yorke, second Earl of Hardwicke, when Lord Royston, published the “Letters to and from Sir Dudley Carleton, Knight, during his Embassy in Holland, from January 1615-16 to December 1620,” 4to. 1727; and, in 1775, a second edition, “with large additions to the Historical Preface."-E.

Letter 99 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.  Arlington Street, Dec. 11, 1775. (page 145)

Did you hear that scream?—­Don’t be frightened, Madam; it was only the Duchess of Kingston last Sunday was sevennight at chapel:  but it is better to be prepared; for she has sent word to the House of Lords, that her nerves are so bad she intends to scream for these two months, and therefore they must put off her trial.  They are to take her throes into consideration to-day; and that there may be sufficient room for the length of her veil and train, and attendants, have a mind to treat her with Westminster-hall.  I hope so, for I should like to see this com`edie larmoyante; and, besides, I conclude, it would bring your ladyship to town.  You shall have timely notice.

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There is another comedy infinitely worth seeing—­Monsieur Le Texier.  He is Pr`eville, and Caillaud, and Garrick, and Weston, and Mrs. Clive, all together; and as perfect in the most insignificant part, as in the most difficult.(239) To be sure, it is hard to give up loo in such fine weather, when one can play from morning till night.  In London, Pam can scarce get a house till ten o’clock.  If you happen to see the General your husband, make my compliments to him, Madam; his friend the King of Prussia is going to the devil and Alexander the Great.

(239) M. Le Texier was a native of Lyons, where he was directeur des fermes.  The following account of the readings of this celebrated Frenchman, is from a critique on Boaden’s Life of Kemble, in the Quarterly Review, vol. xxxiv. p. 241:—­“On one of the author’s incidental topics we must pause for a moment with delightful recollection.  We mean the readings of Le Texier, who, seated at a desk, and dressed in plain clothes, reads French plays with such modulation of voice, and such exquisite point of dialogue, as to form a pleasure different from that of the theatre, but almost as great as we experience in listening to a first-rate actor.  When it commenced, M. Le Texier read over the dramatis persome, with the little analysis of character usually attached to each name, Using the voice and manner with which he afterwards read the part:  and so accurately was the key-note given, that he had no need to name afterwards the person who spoke; the stupidest of the audience could not miss to recognise him.”  Madame du Deffand, in a letter to Walpole, says of him—­ “Soyez s`ur, que lui tout seul est la meilleure troupe que nous avons:”  and again in one to Voltaire—­“Assis dans un fauteuil, avec un livre `a la main, il jouc les comedies o`u1 il y a sept, huit, dix, douze personnages, si parfaitement bien, qu’on ne saurait croire, m`eme en le regardant, que ce soit le m`eme homme qui Parle.  Pour moi, l’illusion est parfaitc."-E.

Letter 100 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Dec. 14, 1775. (page 146)

Our letters probably passed by each other on the road, for I wrote to you on Tuesday, and have this instant received one from you, which I answer directly, to beg pardon for my incivility, nay, ingratitude, in not thanking you for your present of a whole branch of most respectable ancestors, the Derehaughs—­why, the Derehaughs alone would make gentlemen of half the modern peers, English or Irish.  I doubt my journey to France was got into my head, and left no room for an additional quarter-but I have given it to Edmondson, and ordered him to take care that I am born again from the Derehaughs.  This Edmondson has got a ridiculous notion into his head that another, and much ancienter of my progenitors, Sir Henry Walpole, married his wife Isabella Fitz-Osbert, when she was widow to Sir Walter Jernegan; whereas, all the Old Testament says Sir Walter married Sir Henry’s widow.  Pray send me your authority to confound this gainsayer, if you know any thing particular of the matter.

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I had not heard of the painting you tell me of.  As those boobies, the Society of Antiquaries, have gotten hold of it, I wonder their piety did not make them bury it again, as they did the clothes of Edward I.(240) I have some notion that in Vertue’s MSS. or somewhere else, I don’t know where, I have read of some ancient painting at the Rose Tavern.  This I will tell you-but Mr. Gough is such” a bear, that I shall not satisfy him about it.  That Society, when they are puzzled, have recourse to me; and that would be so often, that I shall not encourage them.  They may blunder as they please, from their heavy president down to the pert Governor Pownall, who accounts for every thing immediately, before the Creation or since.  Say only to Mr. Gough, that I said I had not leisure now to examine Vertue’s MSS.  If I find any thing there, you shall know-but I have no longer any eagerness to communicate what I discover.  When there was so little taste for MSS. which Mr. Gray thought worth transcribing, and which were so valuable, would one offer more pearls?

Boydel brought me this morning another number of the Prints from the pictures at Houghton.  Two or three in particular are most admirably executed—­but alas! it will be twenty years before the set is completed.  That is too long to look forward to at any age!—­and at mine!—­Nay, people will be tired in a quarter of the time.  Boydel, who knows this country, and still more this town, thinks so too.  Perhaps there will be newer, or at least more fashionable ways of engraving, and the old will be despised—­or, which is still more likely, nobody will be able to afford the expense.  Who would lay a plan for any thing in an overgrown metropolis hurrying to its fall!

I will return you Mr. Gough’s letter when I get a frank.  Adieu!

(240) The Society of Antiquaries, having obtained permission to do so, had, on the 2d of May 1774, opened the tomb of Edward the First in Westminster.  The body was found in perfect preservation, and most superbly attired.  The garments were, of course, carefully replaced in the tomb.-E.

Letter 101 To Thomas Astle, Esq.  December 19, 1775. (page 147)

Sir, I am much obliged, and return you my thanks for the paper you have sent me.  You have added a question to it, which, if I understand it, you yourself, Sir, are more capable than any body of answering.  You say, “Is it probable that this instrument was framed by Richard Duke of Gloucester?” If by framed you mean drawn up, I should think princes of the blood, in that barbarous age, were not very expert in drawing acts of attainder, though a branch of the law more in use then than since.  But as I suppose you mean forged, you, Sir, so conversant in writings of that age, can judge better than any man.  You may only mean forged by his order.  Your reading, much deeper than mine, may furnish you with precedents of forged acts of attainder: 

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I never heard of one; nor does my simple understanding suggest the use of such a forgery, on cases immediately pressing; because an act of attainder being a matter of public notoriety, it would be revolting to the common sense of all mankind to plead such an one’, if it had not really existed.  If it could be carried into execution by force, the force would avail without the forgery, and would be at once exaggerated and weakened by it.  I cannot, therefore, conceive why Richard should make use of so absurd a trick, unless that having so little to do in so short and turbulent a reign, he amused himself with treasuring up in the tower a forged act for the satisfaction of those who, three hundred years afterwards, should be glad of discovering new flaws in his character.  As there are men so bigoted to old legends, I am persuaded, Sir, that you would please them, by communicating your question to them.  They would rejoice to suppose that Richard was more criminal than even the Lancastrian historians represent him; and just at this moment I don’t know whether they would not believe that Mrs. Rudd assisted him.  I, who am, probably, as absurd a bigot on the other side, see nothing in the paper you have sent me, but a confirmation of Richard’s innocence of the death of Clarence.  As the Duke of Buckingham was appointed to superintend the execution, it is incredible that he should have been drowned in a butt of malmsey, and that Richard should have been the executioner.  When a seneschal of England, or as we call it, a lord high steward, is appointed for a trial, at least for execution, with all his officers, it looks very much as if, even in that age, proceedings were carried on with a little more formality than the careless writers of that time let us think.  The appointment, too, of the Duke of Buckingham for that office, seems to add another improbability [and a work of supererogation] to Richard’s forging the instrument.  Did Richard really do nothing but what tended to increase his unpopularity by glutting mankind with lies, forgeries, absurdities, which every man living could detect?  I take this opportunity, Sir, of telling you how sorry I am not to have seen you long, and how glad I shall be to renew our acquaintance, especially if you like to talk over this old story with me, though I own it is of little importance, and pretty well exhausted.(241) I am, Sir, with great regard, your obliged humble servant.

(241) To the above letter it was intended to subjoin the following queries:—­

“If there was no such Parliament held, would Richard have dared to forge an act for it?

“Would Henry vii. never have reproached him with so absurd a forgery?

“Did neither Sir T. More nor Lord Bacon ever hear of that forgery?

“As Richard declared his nephew the Earl of Warwick his successor, would he have done so, if he had forged an act of attainder of Warwick’s father?

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“if it is supposed he forged the act, when he set aside Warwick, could he pretend that act was not known when he declared him his heir?  Would not so recent an act’s being unknown have proved it a forgery; and if there had been no such Parliament as that which forged it, would not that have proved it a double forgery?  The act, therefore, and the parliament that passed it, must have been genuine, and existed, though no other record appears.  The distractions of the times, the evident insufficiency or partiality of the historians of that age, and the interest of Henry vii to destroy all records that gave authority to the House Of York and their title, account for our wanting evidence of that Parliament.”

Letter 102 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  January 26, 1776. (page 148)

I have deferred answering your last letter, dear Sir, till I cannot answer with my own hand.  I made a pilgrimage at Christmas to Queen’s Cross, at Ampthill, was caught there by the snow, Imprisoned there for a fortnight, and sent home bound hand and foot by the gout.  The pain, I suppose, is quite frozen, for I have had none; nothing but inflammation and swelling, and they abate.  In reality, this is owing to the bootikins, which -though they do not cure the gout, take out its sting.  You, who are still more apt to be an invalid, feel, I fear, this Hyperborean season; I should be glad to hear you did not.

I thought I had at once jumped upon a discovery of the subject of the painted room at the Rose Tavern, but shall not plume myself upon my luck till I have seen the chamber, because Mr. Gough’s account seems to date the style of the painting earlier than -will serve my hypothesis.  I had no data to go upon but the site having belonged to the family of Tufton (for I do not think the description at all answers to the taking of Francis I., nor is it at all credible that there should be arms in the painting, and yet neither those of France or Austria).  I turned immediately to Lord Thanet’s pedigree, in Collins’s Peerage, and found at once an heroic adventure performed by one of the family, that accords remarkably with the principal circumstance.  It is the rescue of the Elector Palatine, son of our Queen of Bohemia, from an ambuscade laid for him by the Duke of Lorrain.  The arms, Or, and Gules, I thought were those of Lorrain, which I since find are Argent and Gules.  The Argent indeed may be turned yellow by age, as Mr. Gough says he does not know whether the crescent is red or black.  But the great impediment is, that this achievement of a Tufton was performed in the reign of Charles ii.  Now in that reign, when we were become singularly ignorant of chivalry, anachronisms and blunders might easily be committed by a modern painter, yet I shall not adhere to my discovery, unless I find the painting correspond with the style of the modern time to which I would assign it; nor will I see through the eyes of my hypothesis, but fairly.

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I shall now turn to another subject.  Mr. Astle, who has left me off ever Since the fatal era of Richard iii. for no reason that I can conceive but my having adopted his discovery, which for aught I know may be a reason with an antiquary, lately sent me the attainder of George Duke of Clarence, which he has found in the Tower and printed; and on it, as rather glad to confute me and himself, than to have found a curiosity, he had written two or three questions which tended to accuse Richard of having forged the instrument, though to the instrument itself is added another, which confirms my acquittal of Richard of the murder of Clarence-but, alas! passion is a spying glass that does but make the eyes of folly more blind.

I sent him an answer, a copy of which I enclose.  Since that, I have heard no more of him, nor shall, I suppose, till I see this new proof of Richard’s guilt adopted into the annals of the Society, against which I have reserved some other stigmas for it.  Mr. Edmondson has found a confirmation of Isabella Fitz-Osbert having married Jernegan after Walpole.  I forget where I found my arms of the Fitz-Osberts.  Though they differ from yours of Sir Roger, the colours are the same, and they agree with yours of William Fitz-Osborne.  There was no accuracy in spelling names even till much later ages; and you know that different branches of the same family made little variation in their coats.

I am very sorry for the death of poor Henshaw, of which I had not heard.  I am yours most sincerely.

P. S. The queries added to the letter to Mr. Astle were not sent with it; and, as I reserve them for a future answer, I beg you will show them to nobody.

Letter 103To Edward Gibbon, Esq.(242) (February 1776.] (page 149)

Mr. Walpole cannot express how much he is obliged to Mr. Gibbon for the valuable present he has received;(243) nor how great a comfort it is to him, in his present situation, in which he little expected to receive singular pleasure.  Mr. Walpole does not say this at random, nor from mere confidence in the author’s abilities, for he has already (all his weakness would permit) read the first chapter, and it is in the greatest admiration of the style, manner, method, clearness, and intelligence.  Mr. Walpole’s impatience to proceed will struggle with his disorder, and give him such spirits, that he flatters himself he shall owe part of his recovery to Mr. Gibbon; whom, as soon as that is a little effected, he shall beg the honour of seeing.

(242) Now first collected.

(243) The first quarto volume of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.-E.

Letter 104 To Edward Gibbon, Esq.(244) February 14, 1776. (page 150)

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After the singular pleasure of reading you, Sir, the next satisfaction is to declare my admiration.  I have read great part of your volume, and cannot decide to which of its various merits I give the preference, though I have no doubt of assigning any partiality to one virtue of the author, which, seldom as I meet with it, always strikes me superiorly.  Its quality will naturally prevent your guessing which I mean.  It is your amiable modesty.  How can you know so much, judge so well, possess your subject, and your knowledge, and your power of judicious reflection so thoroughly, and yet command yourself and betray no dictatorial arrogance of decision?  How unlike very ancient and very modern authors!  You have, unexpectedly, given the world a classic history.  The fame it must acquire will tend every day to acquit this panegyric of flattery.(245) The impressions it has made on me are very numerous.  The strongest is the thirst of being better acquainted with you—­but I reflect that I have been a trifling author, and am in no light profound enough to deserve your intimacy, except by confessing your superiority so frankly, that I assure you honestly, I already feel no envy, though I did for a moment.  The best proof I can give you of my sincerity, is to exhort you, warmly and earnestly, to go on with your noble work—­the strongest, though a presumptuous mark of my friendship, is to warn you never to let your charming modesty be corrupted by the acclamations your talents will receive.  The native qualities of the man should never be sacrificed to those of the author, however shining.  I take this liberty as an older man, which reminds me how little I dare promise myself that I shall see your work completed!  But I love posterity enough to contribute, if I can, to give them pleasure through you.

I am too weak to say more, though I could talk for hours on your history.  But one feeling I cannot suppress, though it is a sensation of vanity.  I think, nay, I am sure I perceive, that your sentiments on government agree with my own.  It is the only point on which I suspect myself of any partiality in my admiration.  It is a reflection of a far inferior vanity that pleases me in your speaking with so much distinction of that, alas! wonderful period, in which the world saw five good monarchs succeed each other.(246) I have often thought of treating that Elysian era.  Happily it has fallen into better hands!

I have been able to rise to-day, for the first time, and flatter myself that if I have no relapse, you will in two or three days more give’ me leave, Sir, to ask the honour of seeing you.  In the mean time,,be just; and do not suspect me of flattering you.  You will always hear that I say the same of you to every body.  I am, with the greatest regard, Sir, etc.

(244) now first collected.

(245) “I am at a loss,” says Gibbon, in his Memoirs, “how to describe the success of the work without betraying the vanity of the writer.  The first impression was exhausted in a few days; a second and third edition were scarcely adequate to the demand; and the bookseller’s property was twice invaded by the pirates of Dublin.  My book was on every table, and almost on every toilette; the historian was crowned by the taste or fashion of the day; nor was the general voice disturbed by the barking of any profane critic."-E.

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(246) Walpole, in August 1771, had said, “The world will no more see Athens, Rome, and the Medici again, than a succession of five good Emperors, like Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, and the two Antonines.”  See ante, p. 56-E.

Letter 105 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, March 1, 1776. (page 151)

I am sorry to tell you that the curious old painting at the Tavern in Fleet Street is addled, by the subject turning out a little too old.  Alas! it is not the story of Francis I., but of St. Paul.  All the coats of arms that should have been French and Austrian, and that I had a mind to convert into Palatine and Lorrain, are the bearings of Pharisaic nobility.  In short, Dr. Percy was here yesterday, and tells me that over Mr. Gough’s imaginary Pavia is written Damascus in capital letters.  Oh! our antiquaries!

Mr. Astle has at last called on me, but I was not well enough to see him.  I shall return his visit when I can go out.  I hope this will be in a week:  I have no pain left, but have a codicil of nervous fevers, for which I am taking the bark.  I have nothing new for you in our old way, and therefore will not unnecessarily lengthen my letter, which was only intended to cashier the old painting, though I hear the antiquaries still go on with having a drawing taken from it.  Oh! our antiquaries!

Letter 106 To Dr. Gem.(247) Arlington Street, April 4, 1776 (page 151)

It is but fair, when one quits one’s party, to give notice to those one abandons—­at least, modern patriots, who often imbibe their principles of honour at Newmarket, use that civility.  You and I, dear Sir, have often agreed in our political notions; and you, I fear, will die without changing your opinion.  For my part, I must confess I am totally altered; and, instead of being a warm partisan of liberty, now admire nothing but despotism.  You will naturally ask what place I have gotten, or what bribe I have taken?  Those are the criterions of political changes in England-but, as my conversion is of foreign extraction, I shall not be the richer for it.  In One word, it is the relation du lit de justice(248) that has operated the miracle.  When two ministers(249) are found so humane, so virtuous, so excellent as to study nothing but the welfare and deliverance of the people; when a king listens to such excellent men; and when a parliament, from the basest, most interested motives, interposes to intercept the blessing, must I not change my opinions, and admire arbitrary power? or can I retain my sentiments, without varying the object?

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Yes, Sir, I am shocked at the conduct of the Parliament—­ one would think it was an English one!  I am scandalized at the speeches of the Ivocat-g`en`eral,(250) who sets up the odious interests of the nobility and clergy against the cries and groans of the poor; and who employs his wicked eloquence to tempt the good young monarch, by personal views, to sacrifice the mass of his subjects to the privileges of the few.  But why do I call it eloquence?  The fumes of interest had so clouded his rhetoric, that he falls into a downright Iricism.  He tells the King, that the intended tax on the proprietors of land will affect the property not only of the rich, but of the poor.  I should be glad to know what is the Property of the poor?  Have the poor landed estates?  Are those who have landed estates the poor?  Are the poor that will suffer by the tax, the wretched labourers who are dragged from their famishing families to work on the roads?  But it is wicked eloquence when it finds a reason, or gives a reason for continuing the abuse.  The Advocate tells the King, those abuses are presque consacr`es par l’anciennet`e.  Indeed, he says all that can be said for nobility, it is consacr`ee par l’anciennet`e—­and thus the length of the pedigree of abuses renders them respectable!

His arguments are as contemptible when he tries to dazzle the King by the great names of Henri Quatre and Sully, of Louis XIV. and Colbert, two couple whom nothing but a mercenary orator would have classed together.  Nor, were all four equally venerable, would it prove any thing.  Even good kings and good ministers, if such have been, may have erred; nay, may have done the best they could.  They would not have been good, if they wished their errors should be preserved, the longer they had lasted.

In short, Sir, I think this resistance of the Parliament to the adorable reformation planned by Messrs. de Turgot and Malesherbes, is more phlegmatically scandalous than the wildest tyranny of despotism.  I forget what the nation was that refused liberty when it was offered.  This opposition to so noble a work is worse.  A whole people may refuse its own happiness; but these profligate magistrates resist happiness for others, for millions, for posterity!  Nay, do they not half vindicate Maupeou, who crushed them?  And you, dear Sir, will you now chide my apostacy?  Have-I not cleared myself to your eyes?  I do not see a shadow of sound logic in all Monsieur Seguier’s but in his proposing that the soldiers should work on the roads, and that passengers should contribute to their fabric; though, as France is not so luxuriously mad as England, I do not believe passengers could support the expense of the roads.  That argument, therefore, is like another that the Avocat proposes to the King, and which, he modestly owns, he believes would be impracticable.

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I beg your pardon, Sir, for giving you this long trouble; but I could not help venting myself, when shocked to find such renegade conduct in a Parliament that I was rejoiced had been restored.  Poor human kind! is it always to breed serpents from its own bowels?  In one country, it chooses its representatives, and they sell it and themselves—­in others, it exalts despots—­in another, it resists the despot when he consults the good of his people!  Can we -wonder mankind is wretched, when men are such beings?  Parliaments run wild with loyalty, when America is to be enslaved or butchered.  They rebel, when their country is to be set free!  I am not surprised at the idea of the devil being always at our elbows.  They who invented him, no doubt could not conceive how men could be so atrocious to one another, without the intervention of a fiend.  Don’t you think, if he had never been heard of before, that he would have been invented on the late partition of Poland!  Adieu, dear Sir.  Yours most sincerely.

(247) An English physician long settled at Paris, no less esteemed for his professional knowledge, than for his kind attention to the poor who applied to him for medical assistance.

(248) The first lit de justice held by Louis XVI.

(249) Messieurs de Malesherbes and Turgot.  When the intrigues which had been set on foot to overthrow the administration of Turgot had accomplished that object, an event which took place shortly after the date of this letter Louis XVI requested Malesherbes to remain in office; but when he refused to do so, seeing that his friend Turgot had been dismissed, Louis conscious of the increased anxieties in which he should be involved, exclaimed, with a sigh, “Que vous `etes heureux! que ne Puis-je aussi quitter ma place."-E.

(250) Monsieur de Seguier.

Letter 107 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  April 16, 1776. (page 153)

You will be concerned, my good Sir, for what I have this minute heard from his nephew, that poor Mr. Granger was seized at the communion table on Sunday With an apoplexy, and died yesterday morning at five.  I have answered the letter with a word of advice about his manuscripts, that they may not fall into the hands of booksellers.  He had been told by idle people so many gossiping stories, that it would hurt him and living persons, to be printed; for as he Was incapable of 1, if all his collections were telling an untruth himself, he suspected nobody else—­too great goodness in a biographer.

P. S. The whole world is occupied with the Duchess of Kingston’s trial.(251) I don’t tell you a word of it; for you will not care about it these two hundred years.

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(251) in Westminster Hall, before the House of Peers, for intermarrying with the Duke of Kingston during the lifetime of her first husband.  She was found guilty, but, pleading her privilege, was discharged without any punishment.  Hannah More gives the following description of the scene:—­“Garrick would have me take his ticket to go to the trial f the Duchess of Kingston; a sight which, for beauty and magnificence, exceeded any thing which those who were never present at a coronation or a trial by peers can have the least notion of.  Mrs. Garrick and I were in full dress by seven.  You will imagine the bustle of five thousand people getting into one hall! yet, in all this hurry, we walked in tranquilly.  When they were all seated, and the King-at-arms had commanded silence, on pain of imprisonment, (which, however, was very ill observed,) the gentleman of the black rod was commanded to bring in his prisoner.  Elizabeth, calling herself Duchess dowager of Kingston, walked in, led by Black Rod and Mr. La Roche, courtesying profoundly to her judges.  The peers made her a slight bow.  The prisoner was dressed in deep mourning; a black hood on her head; her hair modestly dressed and powdered; a black silk sacque, with crape trimmings; black gauze, deep ruffles, and black gloves.  The counsel spoke about an hour and a quarter each.  Dunning’s manner is insufferably bad, coughing and spitting at every three words, but his sense and his expression pointed to the last degree:  he made her grace shed bitter tears.  The fair victim had four virgins in white behind the bar.  She imitated her great predecessor, Mrs. Rudd, and affected to write very often, though I plainly perceived she only wrote, as they do their love epistles on the stage, without forming a letter.  The Duchess has but small remains of that beauty of which kings and princes were once so enamoured.  She looked much like Mrs. Pritchard.  She is large and ill-shaped; there was nothing white but her face and, had it not been for that, she would have looked like a bale of bombazeen.  There was a great deal of ceremony, a great deal of splendour, and a great deal of nonsense:  they adjourned upon the most foolish pretences imaginable, and did nothing with such an air of business as was truly ridiculous.  I forgot to tell you the Duchess was taken ill, but performed it badly.”  In a subsequent letter, she says—­“I have the great satisfaction of telling you that Elizabeth, calling herself Duchess-dowager of Kingston, was, this very afternoon, Undignified and unduchessed, and very narrowly escaped being burned in the hand.  If you have been half as much interested against this unprincipled, artful, licentious woman as I have, you will be rejoiced at it as I am.  Lord Camden breakfasted with us.  He is very angry that she was not burned in the hand.  He says, as he was once a professed lover of hers, he thought it would have looked ill-natured and ungallant for him to propose it; but that he should have acceded to it most heartily, though he believes he should have recommended a cold iron.”  Memoirs, vol. i.  Pp. 82, 85.-E.

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Letter 108 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.

Strawberry Hill, June 1, 1776. (page 154)

Mr. Granger’s papers have been purchased by Lord Mount Stewart,(252) who has the frenzy of portraits as well as I; and, though I am at the head of the sect, I have no longer the rage of propagating it, nor would I on any account take the trouble of revising and publishing the manuscripts.  Mr. Granger had drowned his taste for portraits in the ocean of biography; and, though he began with elucidating prints, he at last only sought prints that he might write the lives of those they represented.  His work was grown and growing so voluminous, that an abridgment only could have made it useful to collectors.  I am not surprised that you wilt not assist Kippis;(253) Bishop Laud and William Prynne could never agree.  You are very justly more averse to Mr. Masters who is a pragmatic fellow, and at best troublesome.

If the agate knives you are so good as to recommend to me can be tolerably authenticated, have any royal marks, or, at least, old setting of the time, and will be sold for two guineas, I should not dislike having them — though I have scarce room to stick a knife and fork.  But if I trouble you to pay for them, you must let me know all I owe you already, for I know I am in your debt for prints and pamphlets, and this new debt will make the whole considerable enough to be remitted.  I have lately purchased three apostle-spoons to add to the one you was so kind as to give me.  What is become of Mr. Essex? does he never visit London?  I wish I could tempt him thither or hither.  I am not only thinking of building my offices in a collegiate style, for which I have a good design and wish to consult him, but am actually wanting assistance at this very moment, about a smaller gallery that I wish to add’ this summer; and which, if Mr. Essex was here, he should build directly.

It is scarce worth asking him to take the journey on purpose, though I would pay for his journey hither and back, and would lodge him here for the necessary time.  I can only beg you to mention it to him as an idle jaunt, the object is so trifling.  I wish more that you Could come with him:  do you leave your poor parishioners and their souls to themselves? if you do, I hope Dr. Kippis will seduce them.  Yours ever.

(252) John Lord Mountstuart; in March 1796, created Marquis of Bute.  He died in Geneva in November 1814, when the marquisate descended to his grandson.-E.

(253) Dr. Andrew Kippis, well-known for the active part he took in producing the second edition of the” Biographia Britannnica, of which he was the editor, and in a great measure the writer.  He had applied to ’Mr. Cole for assistance; and Walpole’s satisfaction at Cole’s refusal is to be accounted for by the fact of Kippis having threatened to expose Sir Robert Walpole in the course of that work.  Walpole had called the " Biographia Britannica” an apology for every body.  This Kippis happened to hear of; upon which he is said to have retorted, “that the Life of Sir Robert Walpole should prove that the Biographia was not an apology for every body.’-E.

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Letter 109 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 11, 1776. (page 155)

I am grieved, and feel for your gout; I know the vexations and disappointments it occasions, and how often it will return when one thinks it going or gone:  it represents life and its vicissitudes.  At last I know it makes me content when one does not feel actual pain,—­and what contents may be called a blessing; but it is a sort of blessing that extinguishes hopes and views, and is not so luxurious but one can bear to relinquish it.  I seek amusements now to amuse me; I used to rush into them, because I had an impulse and wished for what I sought.  My want of Mr. Essex has a little of both kinds, as it is for an addition to this place, for which my fondness is not worn out.  I shall be very glad to see him here either on the 20th or 21st of this month, and shall have no engagement till the 23d, and will gladly pay his journey.  I am sorry I must not hope that you will accompany him.

Letter 110 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, June 30, 1776. (page 156)

I was very glad to receive your letter, not only because always most glad to hear of you, but because I wished to write to you, and had absolutely nothing to say till I had something to answer.  I have lain but two nights in town since I saw you; have been, else, Constantly here, very much employed, though doing, hearing. knowing exactly nothing.  I have had a Gothic architect from Cambridge to design me a gallery, Which will end in a mouse, that is, in an hexagon closet, of seven feet diameter.  I have been making a beauty-room, which was effected by buying two dozen of small copies of Sir Peter Lely, and hanging them up; and I have been making hay, which is not made, because I put it off for three days, as I chose it should adorn the landscape when I was to have company; and so the rain is come, and has drowned it.  However, as I can even turn calculator when it is to comfort me for not minding my interest, I have discovered that it is five to one better for me that my hay should be spoiled than not-, for, as the cows will eat it if it is damaged, which horses will not, and as I have five cows and but one horse, is not it plain that the worse my hay is the better?  Do not you with your refining head go, and, out of excessive friendship, find out something to destroy my system.  I had rather be a philosopher than a rich man; and yet have so little philosophy, that I had much rather be content than be in the right.

Mr. Beauclerk and Lady Di.(254) have been here four or five days -so I had both content and exercise for my philosophy.  I wish Lady Ailesbury was as fortunate!  The Pembrokes, Churchills, Le Texier, as you will have heard, and the Garricks have been with us.  Perhaps, if alone, I might have come to you—­but you are all too healthy and harmonious.  I can neither walk nor sing -nor,

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indeed, am fit for any thing but to amuse myself in a sedentary trifling way.  What I have most certainly not been doing, is writing any thing:  a truth I say to you, but do not desire you to repeat.  I deign to satisfy scarce any body else.  Whoever reported that I was writing any thing, must have been so totally unfounded, that they either blundered by guessing without reason, or knew they lied-and that could not be with any kind intention; though saying I am going to do what I am not going to do, is wretched enough.  Whatever is said of me without truth, any body is welcome to believe that pleases.  In fact, though I have scarce a settled purpose about any thing, I think I shall never write any more.  I have written a great deal too much, unless I had written better, and I know I should now only write still worse.  One’s talent, whatever it is, does not improve at sixty-yet, if I liked it, I dare say a good reason would not stop my inclination;—­but I am grown most indolent in that respect, and most absolutely indifferent to every purpose of vanity.  Yet without vanity I am become still prouder and more contemptuous.  I have a contempt for my countrymen that makes me despise their approbation.  The applause of slaves and of the foolish mad is below ambition.  Mine is the haughtiness of an ancient Briton, that cannot write what would please this age, and would not, if he could.  Whatever happens in America this country is undone.  I desire to be reckoned of the last age, and to be thought to have lived to be superannuated, preserving my senses only for myself and for the few I value.  I cannot aspire to be traduced like Algernon Sydney, and content myself with sacrificing to him amongst my lares.  Unalterable in my principles, careless about most things below essentials, indulging myself in trifles by system, annihilating myself by choice, but dreading folly at an unseemly age, I contrive to pass my time agreeably enough, yet see its termination approach without anxiety.  This is a true picture of my mind; and it must be true, because drawn for you, whom I would not deceive, and could not, if I would.  Your question on my being writing drew it forth, though with more seriousness than the report deserved—­yet talking to one’s dearest friend is neither wrong nor out of season.  Nay, you are my best apology.  I have always contented myself with your being perfect, or, if your modesty demands a mitigated term, I will say, unexceptionable.  It is comical, to be sure, to have always been more solicitous about the virtue of one’s friend than about one’s own-yet, I repeat it, you are my apology -though I never was so unreasonable as to make you answerable for my faults in return; I take them wholly to myself.  But enough of this.  When I know my own mind, for hitherto I have settled no plan ,for my summer, I will come to you.  Adieu!

(254) Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of Charles, Duke of Marlborough; born in 1734; married, in 1757, to Viscount Bolingbroke; from whom she was divorced in 1768, and married immediately after to Mr. Topham Beauclerk.-E.

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Letter 111 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  July 23, 1776. (page 157)

You are so good to me, my dear Sir, that I am quite ashamed.  I must not send back your charming present, but wish you would give me leave to pay for it, and I shall have the same obligation to you, and still more.  It is beautiful in form and colours, and pleases me excessively.  In the mean time, I have in a great hurry (for I came home but at noon to meet Mr. Essex) chosen out a few prints for you, Such as I think you will like, and beg you to accept them:  they enter Into no one of my sets.  I am heartily grieved at your account of yourself, and know no comfort but submission.  I was absent to ’General Conway, who is far from well.  We must take our lot as it falls! joy and ’sorrow is mixed till the scene closes.  I am out of spirits, and shall not mend yours.  Mr. Essex is just setting out, and I write in great haste, but am, as I have so long been, most truly yours.

Letter 112To The Rev. Mr. Cole Strawberry Hill, July 24, 1776. (page 158)

I wrote to you yesterday, dear Sir, not only in great haste, but in great confusion, and did not say half I ought to have done for the pretty vase you sent me, and for your constant obliging attention to me.  All I can say is, that gratitude attempted even in my haste and concern to put in its word:  and I did not mean to pay you, (which I hope you will really allow me to do) but to express my sensibility of your kindness.  The fact was, that to avoid disappointing Mr. Essex, when I had dragged him hither from Cambridge, I had returned hither precipitately, and yet late, from Park-place whither I went the day before to see General Conway, who has had a little attack of the paralytic kind.  You, who can remember how very long and dearly I have loved so near a relation and particular friend, and who are full of nothing but friendly sensations, can judge how shocked I was to find him more changed than I expected.  I suffered so much in constraining and commanding myself, that I was not sorry, as the house was full of relations, to have the plea of Mr. Essex, to get away, and came to sigh here by myself.  It is, perhaps, to prevent my concern that I write now.  Mr. Conway is in no manner of danger, is better, his head nor speech are affected, and the physicians, who barely allow the attack to be of the paralytic nature, are clear it is local, in the muscles of the face.  Still has it operated such a revolution in my mind, as no time, at my age, can efface.  It has at once damped every pursuit which my spirits had even now prevented me from being weaned from, I mean a Virt`u.  It is like a mortal distemper in myself; for can amusements amuse, if there is but a glimpse, a vision, of outliving one’s friends?  I have had dreams in which I thought I wished for fame—­it was not certainly posthumous fame at any distance:  I feel,

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I feel, it was confined to the memory of those I love.  It seems to me impossible for a man who has no friends to do any Thing for fame—­and to me the first position in friendship is, to intend one’s friends should survive one-but it is not reasonable to oppress you, who are suffering gout, with my melancholy ideas.  Let me know as you mend.  What I have said, will tell you, what I hope so many years have told you, that I am very constant and sincere to friends of above forty years.  I doubt Mr. Essex perceived that my mind was greatly bewildered- He gave me a direction to Mr. Penticross, who I recollect, Mr. Gray, not you, told me was turned a Methodist teacher.  He was a blue-coat boy, and came hither then to some of my servants, having at that age a poetic turn.  As he has reverted to it, I hope the enthusiasm will take a more agreeable plea.  I have not heard of him for many Years, and thought he was settled somewhere near Cambridge:  I find it is at Wallingford.  I wonder those madmen and knaves do not begin to wear out, as their folly is no longer new, and as knavery can turn its hand to any trade according to the humour of the age, which in countries like this is seldom constant.  Yours most faithfully.

Letter 113 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, August 19, 1776. (page 159)

I have time but to write you a line, and it is as usual to beg your help in a sort of literary difficulty.  I have received a letter dated , “Catherine Hall” from “Ken.  Prescot,” whom I doubt I have forgotten; for he begins “Dear Sir,” and I protest I cannot recollect him, though I ought.  He says he wants to send me a few classical discourses, and e speaks with respect of my father, and, by his trembling hand, seems an old man.  All these are reasons for my treating him with great regard; and, being afraid of hurting him, I have written a short and very civil answer, directed to the “Rev. Dr. Prescot.”  God knows whether he is a clergyman or a doctor, and perhaps I may have betrayed my forgetfulness; but I -thought it was best to err on the over civil side.  Tell me something about him; I dread his Discourses.  Is he the strange man that a few years ago sent me a volume of an uncommon form, and of more uncommon matter?  I suspect so.(255)

You shall certainly have two or three of my prints by Mr. Essex when he returns hither and hence, and any thing else you will command.  I am just now in great concern for the terrible death of General Conway’s son-in-law, Mr. Damer,(256) of which, perhaps, you in your solitude have not heard.-You are happy who take no part but in the past world, for the mortui non mordent, nor do any of the extravagant and distressing things that perhaps they did in their lives.  I hope the gout, that persecutes even in a hermitage, has left you.  Yours most sincerely.

(255) Dr. Kenrick Prescot, master of Catherine Hall, and author of a quarto volume, published at Cambridge in 1773, entitled, “Letters concerning Homer the Sleeper, in Horace; with additional classic Amusements."-E.

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(256) John, eldest son of Joseph Damer, Esq, Lord Milton; afterwards Earl of Dorchester.-E.

Letter 114 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 9, 1776. (page 160)

May I trouble you, dear Sir, when you see our friend Mr. Essex, to tell him that the tower is covered in, and that whenever he has nothing to do, after this week, I shall be very glad to see him here, if he will only send me a line two or three days beforehand.  I have carried this little tower higher than the round one, and it has an exceedingly pretty effect, breaking the long line of the house picturesquely, and looking very ancient.  I must correct a little error in the spelling of a name in the pedigree you was so kind as to make out for me last year.  The Derehaughs were not of Colton, but of Coulston-hall.  This I discovered only this morning.  On opening a patch-box that belonged to my mother, and which I have not opened for many years, I found an extremely small silver collaring, about this size—­O—­but broad and flat.  I remember it was in an old satin bag of coins that my mother found in old Houghton when she first married.  I call it a collar from the breadth; for it would not be large enough for a fairy’s lap-dog.  It was probably made for an infant’s little finger, and must have been for a ring, not a collar; for I believe, though she was an heiress, young ladies did not elope so very early in those days.  I never knew how it came into the family, but now it is plain, for the inscription on the outside is, “of Coulstonhall, Suff.” and it is a confirmation of your pedigree.  I have tied it to a piece of paper, with a long inscription, and it is so small, it will not be melted down for the weight; and if not lost from its diminutive person, may remain in the family a long while, and be preserved when some gamester may Spend every other bit of silver he has in the world; at least, if one would make heir-looms now, one must take care that they have no value in them.

P. S. I was turning over Edmonson this evening, and observed an odd occurrence of circumstances in the present Lord Carmarthen.(257) By his mother he is the representative of the great Duke of Marlborough, and of old Treasurer Godolphin;(258) by his father, of the Lord treasurer Duke of Leeds;(259) and by his grandmother, is descended from the Lord-treasurer Oxford.(260) Few men are so well ancestored in so short a compass of time.

(257) Francis Godolphin, Marquis of Carmarthen, only surviving son of Thomas Duke of Leeds; and who, upon the death of his father, in 17 9 succeeded to the dukedom.-E

(258) Mary Duchess of Leeds, wife of Thomas, fourth duke, was second daughter, and eventually sole heiress, of Francis Earl Of Godolphin, by Henrietta Duchess of Marlborough, eldest daughter and coheir of the great Duke of Marlborough.-E.

(259) Sir Thomas Osborne, lord high treasurer of England, the first Duke of Leeds; who, having been successively honoured with the Barony of Osborne, the Viscounty of Latimer, the Earldom of Danby, and the Marquisate Of Carmarthen, was, on the 4th of May 1694, created Duke of Leeds.-E.

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(260) Elizabeth, the first wife of Peregrine Hyde, third Duke of Leeds, was the youngest daughter of Robert Harley, the great Earl of Oxford.-E.

Letter 115 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Thursday, Oct. 31, 1776. (page 161)

Thank you for your letter.  I send this by the coach.  You will have found a new scene,(261) not an unexpected one by you and me, though I do not pretend I thought it so near.  I rather imagined France would have instigated or winked at Spain’s beginning with us.  Here is a solution of the Americans declaring themselves independent.  Oh! the folly, the madness, the guilt of having plunged us into this abyss!  Were we and a few more endued with any uncommon penetration?  No:  they who did not see as far, would not.  I am impatient to hear the complexion of to-day.  I suppose it will, on the part of administration, have been a wretched farce of fear, daubed over with airs of bullying.  You, I do not doubt, have acted like yourself, feeling for our situation, above insulting, and unprovoked but at the criminality that has brought us to this pass.  Pursue your own path, nor lean to the court that may be paid to you on either side, as I am sure you will not regard their being displeased that you do not go as far as their interested views may wish.  If the court should receive any more of what they call good news, I think the war with France will be unavoidable.  It was the victory at Long Island(262) and the frantic presumption it occasioned, that has ripened France’s measures—­And now we are to awe them by pressing—­an act that speaks our impotence!—­which France did not want to learn!

I would have come to town, but I had declared so much I would not, that I thought it would look as if I came to enjoy the distress of the ministers-but I do not enjoy the distress of my country.  I think we are undone; I have always thought so—­ whether we enslaved America, or lost it totally—­so we that were against the war could expect no good issue.  If you do return to Park-place to-morrow, you will oblige me much by breakfasting here — you know it wastes you very little time.

’I am glad I did not know of Mrs. Damer’s sore throat till it is almost well.  Pray take care and do not catch it.

Thank you for your care of me:  I will not stay a great deal here, but at present I never was better in my life-and here I have no vexatious moments.  I hate to dispute; I scorn to triumph myself, and it is very difficult to keep my temper when others do.  I own I have another reason for my retirement, which is prudence.  I have thought of it late, but, at least, I will not run into any new expense. it would cost me more than I care to afford to buy a house in town, Unless I do it to take some of my money out of the stocks, for which I tremble a little.  My brother is seventy; and if I live myself, I Must not build too much on his life; and you know, if he

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fails, I lose the most secure part of my income.  I refused from Holland, and last year from Lord North, to accept the place for my own life; and having never done a dirty thing, I will not disgrace myself at fifty-nine.  I should like to live as well as I have done; but what I wish more, is to secure what I have already saved for those I would take care of after me.  These are the true reasons of my dropping all thought of a better house in town, and of living so privately here.  I -will not sacrifice my health to my prudence; but my temper is so violent, that I know the tranquillity I enjoy here in solitude is of much more benefit to my health, than the air of the country is detrimental to it.  You see I can be reasonable when I have time to reflect; but philosophy has a poor chance with me when my warmth is stirred—­and yet I know, that an angry old man out of parliament, and that can do nothing but be angry, is a ridiculous animal.

(261) On the opening of the session.

(262) On the 17th of August 1776, when the English army, under the command of General Howe, defeated the Americans at Flat Bush, in Long Island.-E.

Letter 116 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, Nov. 2, 1776. (page 162)

Though inclination, and consciousness that a man of my age, who is neither in parliament nor in business, has little to do in the world, keep me a good deal out of it, yet I will not, my dear lord, encourage you in retirement; to which, for the interest of your friends, you have but too much propensity.  The manners of the age cannot be agreeable to those who have lived in something soberer times; nor do I think, except in France, where old people are never out of fashion, that it is reasonable to tire those whose youth and spirits may excuse some dissipation.  Above all things, it is my resolution never to profess retirement, lest, when I have lost all my real teeth, the imaginary one, called a colt’s, should hurry me back and make me ridiculous.  But one never outlives all one’s contemporaries; one may assort with them.  Few Englishmen, too, I have observed, can bear solitude without being hurt by it.  Our climate makes us capricious, and we must rub off our roughness and humours against one another.  We have, too, an always increasing resource, which is, that though we go not to the young, they must come to us:  younger usurpers tread on their heels, as they did on ours, and revenge us that have been deposed.  They may retain their titles, like Queen Christina, Sir M * * * N * * *, and Lord Rivers; but they find they have no subjects.  If we could but live long enough, we should hear Lord Carlisle, Mr. Storer, etc. complain of the airs and abominable hours of the youth of the age.  You see, my dear lord, my easy philosophy can divert itself with any thing, even with visions; which perhaps is the best way of treating the great vision itself, life.  For half one’s time one should laugh with the world, the other half at it—­and then it is hard if we want amusement.

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I am heartily glad, for your lordship’s and Lady Anne Conolly’s sakes, that General Howe(263) is safe.  I sincerely interest myself for every body you are concerned for.  I will say no more on a subject on which I fear I am so unlucky as to differ very much with your lordship, having always fundamentally disapproved our conduct with America. indeed, the present prospect of war with France, when we have so much disabled ourselves, and are exposed in so many quarters, is a topic for general lamentation, rather than for canvassing Of Opinions, which every man must form for himself:  and I doubt the moment is advancing when we shall be forced to think alike, at least on the present.

I have not yet above a night at a time in town—­but shall be glad to give your lordship and Lady Strafford a meeting there whenever you please.  Your faithful humble servant.

(263) General Sir William Howe, brother of the Admiral, was then commander-in-chief of the British forces in America.  He was married to a daughter of Lady Anne Conolly, and consequently to a niece of Lord Strafford.-E.

Letter 117 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Dec. 9, 1776. (page 163)

I know you love an episcopal print, and, therefore, I send you one of two, that have just been given to me.  As you have time and patience, too, I recommend you to peruse Sir John Hawkins’s History Of Music.(264) It is true, there are five huge volumes in quarto, and perhaps you may not care for the expense; but surely you can borrow them in the University, and, though you may no more than I, delight in the scientific, there is so much about cathedral service, and choirs, and other old matters, that I am sure you will be amused with a great deal, particularly the two last volumes, and the facsimiles of old music in the first.  I doubt it is a work that will not sell rapidly, but it must have a place in all great libraries.

(264) A work full of amusement, and deserving of Walpole’s good word, notwithstanding the witty criticism which Dr. Calcott passed upon it in his well known catch, “Have You Sir John Hawkins’s History?” in which he makes the name of the rival work, “Burney’s (Burn-his) History,” express the fate which Hawkins’s volumes deserved.-E.

Letter 118 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Feb. 20, 1777. (page 163)

Dear Sir, You are always my oracle in any antique difficulties.  I have bought at Mr. Ives’s(265) sale (immensely dear) the shutters of the altar at Edmondsbury:  Mr. Ives had them from Tom Martin,(266) who married Peter Leneve’s widow; so you see no shutters can be better descended on the mother’s side.  Next to high birth, personal merit is something:  in that respect, my shutters are far from defective:  on the contrary, the figures in the inside are so very good, as to amaze me who could paint them here in the reign of Henry VI.; they are worthy of the Bolognese school—­but they have suffered in several places, though not considerably.  Bowes is to repair them, under oath of only filling up the cracks, and restoring the peelings off, but without repainting or varnishing.

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The possession of these boards, invaluable to me, was essential.  They authenticate the sagacity of my guesses, a talent in an antiquary coequal with prophecy in a saint.  On the outside is an archbishop, unchristened by the late possessors, but evidently Archbishop Kempe, or the same person with the prelate in my Marriage of Henry VI.,_ and you will allow from the collateral evidence that it must be Kempe, as I have so certainly discovered another person in my picture.  The other outside is a cardinal, called by Mr. Ives, Babington; but I believe Cardinal Beaufort, for the lion of England stands by him, which a bastardly prince of the blood was more likely to assume than a true one.  His face is not very like, nor very unlike, the face in my picture; but this is -shaven.-But now comes the great point.  On the inside is Humphrey Duke of Gloucester kneeling—­not only exactly resembling mine as possible, but with the same almost bald head, and the precisely same furred robe.  An apostle-like personage stands behind him, holding a golden chalice, as his royal highness’s offering, and, which is remarkable, the duke’s velvet cap of state, with his coronet of strawberry-leaves.

I used to say, to corroborate my hypothesis, that the skull of Duke Humphrey at St. Alban’s was very like the form of head in my picture, which argument diverted the late Lord Holland extremely—­but I trust now that nobody will dispute any longer my perfect acquaintance with all Dukes of Gloucester.—­By the way, did I ever tell You that when I published my Historic Doubts on Richard iii., my niece’s marriage not being then acknowledged, George Selwyn said, he did not think I should have doubted about the Duke of Gloucester?  On the inside of another shutter is a man unknown:  he is in a stable, as Joseph might be, but over him hangs a shield of arms, that are neither Joseph’s nor Mary’s.  The colours are either black and white, or so changed as not to be distinguishable. * * " * I conclude the person who is in red and white was the donor of the altar-piece, or benefactor; and what I want of you is to discover him and his arms; and to tell me whether Duke Humphrey, Beaufort, Kempe, and Babington were connected with St. Edmondsbury, or whether this unknown person was not a retainer of Duke Humphrey, at least of the royal family.

At the same sale I bought a curious pair, that I conclude came from Blickling, with Hobart impaling Boleyn from which latter family the former enjoyed that seat.  How does this third winter of the season agree with you?  The wind to-day is sharper than a razor, and blows icicles into one’s eyes.  I was confined for seven weeks with the gout " yet am so well recovered as to have been abroad to-day, though it is as mild under the pole.

Pray can you tell me the title of the book that Mr. Ives dedicated to me?  I never saw it, for he was so odd (I cannot call it modest, lest I should seem not so myself) as never to send it me, and I never could get it.  Yours truly.

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(265) John Ives the antiquary, author of “Remarks upon the Garianonum of the Romans the Site and Remains fixed and described."-E.

(266) Tom Martin of Palgrave, the well known antiquary, whose “History of Thetford"was published in 1779, by Gough, who has prefixed to it a Biographical Sketch of the Author.-E.

Letter 119 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  February 27, 1777. (page 165)

You see, dear Sir, that we thought on each other just at the same moment; but, as usual, you was thinking of obliging me, and I, of giving you trouble.  You have fully satisfied me of the Connexion between the Lancastrian Princes and St. Edmondsbury.  Edmondson, I conclude, will be able to find out the proprietor of the arms, impaling Walrond.

I am well acquainted with Sir A. Weldon(267) and the Aulicus Coquinanae,(268) and will return them with Mr. Ives’s tracts, which I intend to buy at the sale of his books.  Tell me how I may convey them to you most safely.  You say, “Till I show an inclination to borrow more of your MSS.”  I hope you do not think my appetite for that loan is in the least diminished.  I should at all minutes, and ever, be glad to peruse them all—­but I was not sure you wished to send them to me, though you deny me nothing—­and my own fear of their coming to any mischance made me very modest about asking for them—­but now, whenever you can send me any of them with perfect security, I eagerly and impudently ask to see them:  you cannot oblige me more, I assure you.

I am sorry Dr. E * * n is got into such a dirty scrape.  There is scarce any decent medium observed at present between wasting fortunes and fabricating them—­and both by any disreputable manner; for, as to saving money by prudent economy, the method is too slow in proportion to consumptions:  even forgery, alas!(269 seems to be the counterpart or restorative of the ruin by gaming.  I hope at least that robbery on the highway will go out of fashion as too piddling a profession for gentlemen.

I enclose a card for your friends, but must advertise them that March is in every respect a wrong month for seeing Strawberry.  It not only wants its leaves and beauty then, but most of the small pictures and curiosities, which are taken down and packed up in winter, are not restored to their places till the weather is fine and I am more there.  Unless they are confined in time, your friends had much better wait till May-but, however, they will be very welcome to go when they please.  I am more personally interested in hoping to See you there this summer—­you must visit my new tower.  Diminutive as it is, it adds much to the antique air of the whole in both fronts.  You know I shall sympathize with your gout, and you are always master of your own hours.

(267) Sir Anthony Weldon was the author of “The Court and Character of King James; written and taken by Sir A. W., being an eye and ear witness.”  London, 1650.  A work which has been pronounced, by competent authority, " a despicable tissue of filth and obscenity, of falsehood and malignity."-E.

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(268) “Aulicus Coquinanae; or, an Answer to the Court and Character of King James.”  London, 1650.  This work has been ascribed to William Sanderson, and to Dr. Heylin; and is, as well as Weldon’s, reprinted in the “Secret History of the Court of King James.”  Edinburgh, 1811-E.

(269) Alluding to Dr. Dodd; whose trial for forgery had taken place on the 22d, at the Old Bailey.-E.

Letter 120 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, May 22, 1777. (page 166)

It is not Owing to forgetfulness, negligence, or idleness—­to none of which I am subject, that you have not heard from me since I saw you, dear Sir, but to my miserable occupation with my poor nephew, who engrosses my whole attention, and will, I doubt, destroy my health, if he does not recover his.  I have got him within fourteen miles of town with difficulty.  He is rather worse than better, may recover in an instant, as he did last time, or remain in his present sullenness.  I am far from expecting he should ever be perfectly in his senses; which, in my opinion, he scarce ever was.  His intervals expose him to the worst people ; his relapses overwhelm me.

I have-put together some trifles I promised you, and will beg Mr. Lort to be the bearer when he goes to Cambridge, if I know of it.  At present I have time for nothing I like.  My age and inclination call for retirement:  I envied your happy hermitage, and leisure to follow your inclination.  I have always lived post, and shall not die before I can bait-yet it is not my wish to be unemployed, could I but choose my occupations.  I wish I could think of the pictures you mention, or had time to see Dr. Glynn and the master of Emmanuel.  I doat on Cambridge, and could like to be often there.  The beauty of King’s College Chapel, now it is restored, penetrated me with a visionary longing to be a monk in it; though my life has been passed in turbulent scenes, in pleasures-or rather pastimes, and in much fashionable dissipation, still books, antiquity, and virt`u kept hold of a corner of my heart, and since necessity has forced me of late years to be a man of business, my disposition tends to be a recluse for what remains-but it will not be my lot:  and though there is some excuse for the young doing what they like, I doubt an old man should do nothing but what he ought, and I hope doing one’s duty is the best preparation for death.  Sitting with one’s arms folded to think about it, is a very lazy way of preparing for it.  If Charles V. had resolved to make some amends for his abominable ambition by doing good, his duty as a King, there would have been infinitely more merit than going to doze in a convent.(270) One may avoid active guilt in a sequestered life; but the virtue of it is merely negative, though innocence is beautiful.

I approve much of ’Your corrections on Sir J. Hawkins, and send them to the Magazine.  I want the exact blazon of William of Hatsfield his arms,—­I mean the Prince buried at York.  Mr. Mason and I are going to restore his monument, and I have not time to look for them-:  I know you will be so good as to assist.  Yours most sincerely.

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(270) “The Spaniard, when the lust of sway
Had lost its quickening spell,
Cast crowns for rosaries away,
An empire for a cell!

“A strict accountant of his beads,
A subtle disputant on creeds,
His dotage trifled well: 
Yet better had he neither known
A bigot’s shrine nor despot’s throne.”  Byron.-E.

Letter 121 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 19, 1777. (page 167)

I thank you for your notices, dear Sir, and shall remember that on Prince William.  I did see the Monthly Review, but hope one is not guilty of the death of every man who does not make one the dupe of a forgery.  I believe M’Pherson’s success with Ossian was more The ruin of Chatterton than I. Two years passed between my doubting the authenticity of Rowley’s(271) poems and his death.  I never knew he had been in London till some time after he had undone and poisoned himself there.  The poems he sent me were transcripts in his own hand, and even in that circumstance he told a lie:  he said he had them from the very person at Bristol to whom he had given them.  If any man was to tell you that monkish rhymes had been dug up at Herculaneum, which was destroyed several centuries before there was any such poetry, should you believe it?  Just the reverse is the case of Rowley’s pretended poems.  They have all the elegance of Waller and Prior, and more than Lord Surrey—­but I have no objection to any body believing what he pleases.  I think poor Chatterton was an astonishing genius-but I cannot think that Rowley foresaw metres that were invented long after he was dead, or that our language was more refined at Bristol in the reign of Henry V. than it was at court under Henry viii.  One of the chaplains of the Bishop of Exeter has found a line of Rowley in Hudibras-the monk might foresee that too!  The prematurity of Chatterton’s genius is, however, full as wonderful, as that such a prodigy as Rowley should never have been heard of till the eighteenth century.  The youth and industry of the former are miracles, too, yet still more’ credible.  There is not a symptom in the poems, but the old words, that savours of Rowley’s age—­change the old words for modern, and the whole construction is of yesterday.

(271) See in Walpole’s Works, vol. iv. the Papers relative to Chatterton; see also vol- i.  P. 61 of this collection.-E.

Letter 122 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, July 10, 1777. (page 168)

Don’t be alarmed at this thousandth letter in a week.  This is more to Lady Hamilton(272) than to you.  Pray tell her I have seen Monsieur la Bataille d’.Agincourt.(273) He brought me her letter yesterday:  and I kept him to sup, sleep in the modern phrase, and breakfast here this morning; and flatter myself he was, and she will be, content with the regard I paid to her letter.

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The weather is a thought warmer to-day, and I am as busy as bees are about their hay.  My hayssians(274) have cost me as much as if I had hired them of the Landgrave.(275)

I am glad your invasion(276) is blown over.  I fear I must invite those flat-bottomed vessels hither, as the Swissess Necker has directed them to the port of Twickenham.  Madame de Blot is too fine, and Monsieur Schomberg one of the most disagreeable, cross, contemptuous savages I ever saw.  I have often supped with him at the Duchess de Choiseul’s, and could not bear him; and now I must be charm`e, and p`en`etr`e, and combl`e, to see him:  and I shall act it very ill, as I always do when I don’t do what I like.  Madame Necker’s letter is as affected and pr`ecieuse, as if Marmontel had written it for a Peruvian milk-maid.  She says I am a philosopher, and as like Madame de S`evign`e as two peas—­who was as unlike a philosopher as a gridiron.  As I have none of Madame de S`evign`e’s natural easy wit, I am rejoiced that I am no more like a philosopher neither, and still less like a philosophe; which is a being compounded of D’Urfey and Diogenes, a pastoral coxcomb, and a supercilious brute.

(272) The first wife of Sir William Hamilton, envoy extraordinary at the court of Naples.  She was a Miss Barlow-E.

(273) M. le Chevalier d’Agincourt, a French antiquary, long settled in Italy. 1.  B. L. Seroux d’Agincourt, born at Beauvais in 1730, died at Rome in 1814, having, during thirty-six years, laboured assiduously in the composition of his grand work, “Histoire de l’Art par les Monumens depuis sa D`ecadence au Quatri`eme Si`ecle jusqu’`a son Renouvellement au Seizi`eme”.  Of this splendid book, in six vols. folio, which was not published until 1823, nine years after the death of the author, an interesting review will be found in the seventh volume of the Foreign Quarterly Review.-E.

(274) Hessians.

(275) An allusion to the seventeen thousand which had been hired for the American service, by treaties entered into the preceding year with the Landgravine of Hesse Cassel, the Duke of Brunswick, and the Hereditary Prince of Hesse Cassel.-E.

(276) A party of French nobility then in England, who were to have made a visit at Parkplace.

Letter 123 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(277) Strawberry Hill, July 13, 1777. (page 169)

You have perhaps, Sir, paid too much regard to the observations I took the liberty to make, by your order, to a few passages in “Vitellia,” and I must hope they were in consequence of your own judgment too.  I do not doubt of its success on the stage, if well acted but I confess I would answer for nothing with the present set of actors, who are not capable in tragedy of doing any justice to it.  Mrs. Barry seems to me very unequal to the principal part, to which Mrs. Yates alone is suited.  Were I the author, I should be very sorry to have my tragedy murdered,

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perhaps miscarry.  Your reputation is established; you will never forfeit it yourself-and to give your works to unworthy performers is like sacrificing a daughter to a husband of bad character.  As to my offering it to Mr. Colman, I could merely be the messenger.  I am scarce known to him, have no right to ask a favour of him, and I hope you know me enough to think that I am too conscious of my own insignificance and private situation to give myself an air of protection, and more particularly to a work of yours, Sir.  What could I say, that would carry greater weight, than “This piece is by the author of Braganza?"(278)

A tragedy can never suffer by delay:  a comedy may, because the allusions or the manners represented in it maybe temporary.  I urge this, not to dissuade your presenting Vitellia to the stage, but to console you if both theatres should be engaged next winter.  My own interests, from my time of life, would make me with reason more impatient than you to see it represented, but I am jealous of the honour Of your poetry, and I should grieve to see Vitellia, at Covent-garden not that, except Mrs. Yates, I have any partiality to the tragic actors at Drury-lane, though Smith did not miscarry in Braganza-but I speak from experience.  I attended “Caractacus” last winter, and was greatly interested, both from my friendship for Mr. Mason and from the excellence of the poetry.  I was out of all patience; for though a young Lewis played a subordinate part very well, and Mrs. Hartley looked her part charmingly, the Druids were so massacred and Caractacus so much worse, that I never saw a more barbarous exhibition.  Instead of hurrying “The Law of Lombardy,"(279) which, however, I shall delight to see finished, I again wish you to try comedy.  To my great astonishment there were more parts performed admirably in “The School for Scandal,"(280) than I almost ever saw in any play.  Mrs. Abington was equal to the first of her profession, Yates, the husband, Parsons, Miss Pope, and Palmer, all shone.  It seemed a marvellous resurrection of the stage.  Indeed, the play had as much merit as the actors.  I have seen no comedy that comes near it since the “Provoked Husband.”

I said I was Jealous of your fame as a poet, and I truly am.  The more rapid your genius is, labour will but the more improve it.  I am very frank, but I am sure that my attention to your reputation will excuse it.  Your facility in writing exquisite poetry may be a disadvantage; as it may not leave you time to study the other requisites of tragedy so much as is necessary.  Your writings deserve to last for ages; but to make any work last, it must be finished in all parts to perfection.  You have the first requisite to that perfection, for you can sacrifice charming lines, when they do not tend to improve the whole.  I admire this resignation so much, that I wish to turn it to your advantage.  Strike out your sketches as suddenly as you please, but retouch

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and retouch them, that the best judges may for ever admire them.  The works that have stood the test of ages, and been slowly approved at first, are not those that have dazzled contemporaries and borne away their applause, but those whose intrinsic and laboured merit have shone the brighter on examination.  I would not curb your genius, Sir, if I did not trust it would recoil with greater force for having obstacles presented to it.

You will forgive my not having sent you the “Thoughts on Comedy,” (281) as I promised, I have had no time to look them over and put them into shape.  I have been and am involved in most unpleasant affairs of family, that take up my whole thoughts and attention.  The melancholy situation of my nephew Lord Orford, engages me particularly, and I am not young enough to excuse postponing business and duties for amusement.  In truth, I am really too old not to have given up literary pleasures.  Nobody will tell one when one grows dull, but one’s time of life ought to tell it one.  I long ago determined to keep the archbishop in Gil Blas in my eye. when I should advance to his caducity; but as dotage steals in at more doors than one, perhaps the sermon I have been preaching to you is a symptom of it.  You must judge of that, Sir.  If I fancy I have been wise, and have only been peevish, throw my lecture into the fire.  I am sure the liberties I have taken with you deserve no indulgence, if you do not discern true friendship at the bottom of them.

(277) Now first printed.  Robert Jephson, Esq. was born in Ireland in 1736.  He attained the rank of captain in the 73d regiment, and when it was reduced at the peace of 1763, he retired on half-pay, and procured, through the influence of Mr. Gerard Hamilton, a Pension on the Irish establishment.  Besides several tragedies, he wrote the farce of “Two Strings to your Bow,” and “Roman Portraits,” a poem.  Hardy, in his Memoirs of Lord Charlemont, says, “he was much caressed ’and sought after by several of the first societies in Dublin, as he possess’d much wit and pleasantry, and, when not overcome by the spleen, was extremely amusing and entertaining.”  He was a member of the Irish House of Commons, and died in 1803.  Walpole’s “Thoughts on Tragedy” had been addressed, in 1775, to this gentleman.-E.

(278) “Braganza” came out at Drury-lane theatre in 1775, and was very successful.  Walpole supplied the epilogue.-E.

(279) “The Law of Lombardy” was brought out at Drury-lane in 1779, but was only acted nine nights.-E.

(280) Sheridan’s “School for Scandal” was first performed at Drury-lane on the 8th of May, 1777.

(281) Walpole’s “Thoughts on Comedy” were written in 1775 and 1776, and will be found in his Works.-E.

Letter 124 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, August 31, 1777. (page 171)

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You are very kind, dear Sir, in giving me an account of your health and occupations, and inquiring after mine.  I am very sorry you are not as free from gout, as I have been ever since February; but I trust it will only keep you from other complaints, and never prevent your amusing yourself, which you are one of those few happy beings that can always do; and your temper is so good, and your mind so naturally philosophic, composed, and contented, that you neither want the world, care about it, nor are affected by any thing that occurs in it.  This is true wisdom, but wisdom which nothing can give but constitution.  Detached amusements have always made a great part of my own delight, and have sown my life with some of its best moments.  My intention was, that they should be the employments of my latter years, but fate seems to have chalked out a very different scene for me!  The misfortune of my nephew has involved me in business, and consequently care, and opens a scene of disputes, with which I shall not molest your tranquillity.

The dangerous situation in which his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester has been, and out of which I doubt he is scarce yet emerged, though better, has added more thorns to my uneasy mind.  The Duchess’s daughters are at Hampton-court, and partly under my care.  In one word, my whole summer has been engrossed by duties, which has confined me at home, without indulging myself in a single pursuit to my taste.

In short, as I have told you before, I often wish myself a monk at Cambridge.  Writers on government condemn, very properly, a recluse life, as contrary to Nature’s interest, who loves procreation; but as Nature seems not very desirous that we should procreate to threescore years and ten, I think convents very suitable retreats for those whom our Alma Mater does not emphatically call to her Opus Magnum.  And though, to be sure, gray hairs are fittest to conduct state affairs, yet as the Rehoboams of the world (Louis XVI. excepted) do not always trust the rudder of government to ancient hands, old gentlemen, methinks, are very ill placed [when not at the council-board] any where but in a cloister.  As I have no more vocation to the ministry than to carrying on my family, I sigh after a dormitory; and as in six weeks my clock will strike sixty, I wish I had nothing more to do with the world.  I am not tired of living, but-what signifies sketching visions?  One must take one’s lot as it comes; bitter and sweet"are poured into every cup.  To-morrow may be pleasanter than to-day.  Nothing lasts of one colour.  One must embrace the cloister, or take the chances of the world as they present themselves; and since uninterrupted happiness would but embitter the certainty that even that must end, rubs and crosses should be softened by the same consideration.  I am not so busied, but I shall be very glad of a sight of your manuscript, and will return it carefully.  I will thank you, too, for the print of Mr. Jenyns, which I have not, nor have seen.’  Adieu!  Yours most cordially.

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Letter 125 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 16, 1777. (page 172)

I have received your volume safely, dear Sir, and hasten to thank you before I have read a page, that you may be in no pain about its arrival.  I will return it with the greatest care as soon as I have finished it, and at the same time will send Mr. Essex the bills, as I beg you will let him know.  I have no less reason for writing immediately, to thank you for the great confidence you place in me.  You talk of nonsense; alas! what are all our opinions else? if we search for truth before we fix our principles, what do we find but doubt?  And which of us begins the search a tabula rasa?  Nay, where can we hunt but in volumes of error or purposed delusion?  Have not we, too, a bias in our Minds—­our passions?  They will turn the scale in favour of the doctrines most agreeable to them.  Yet let us be a little vain:  you and I differ radically in our principles, and yet in forty years they have never cast a gloom over our friendship.  We could give the world a reason that it would not like.  We have both been sincere, have both been consistent, and neither adopted our principles nor have varied them for our interest.

Your labour, as far as I am acquainted with it, astonishes me:  it shows what can be achieved by a man that does not lose a moment; and, which is still better, how happy the man is who can always employ himself I do not believe that the proud prelate, who would not make you a little happier, is half so much to be envied.  Thank you for the print of Soame Jenyns:  it is a proof of Sir Joshua’s art, who could give a strong resemblance of so uncouth a countenance without leaving it disagreeable.

The Duke of Gloucester is miraculously revived.  For two whole days I doubted whether he was not dead.  I hope fatalists and omenmongers will be confuted; and thus, as his grandfather broke the charm of the second of the name being an unfortunate prince, the Duke will baffle that, which has made the title of Gloucester unpropitious.  Adieu!

Letter 126 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Tuesday evening, Sept. 16, 1777. (page 173)

I have got a delightful plaything, if I had time for play.  It is a new sort of camera-obscura(282) for drawing the portraits of persons, or prospects, or insides of rooms, and does not depend on the sun or any thing.  The misfortune is, that there is a vast deal of machinery and putting together, and I am the worst person living for managing it.  You know I am impenetrably dull in every thing that requires a grain of common sense.  The inventor is to come to me on Friday, and try if he can make me remember my right hand from my left.  I could as soon have invented my machine as manage it; yet it has cost me ten guineas, and may cost me as much more as I please for improving it. u will conclude

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it was the dearness tempted me.  I believe I must keep an astronomer, like Mr. Beauclerk, to help me play with my rattle.  The inventor, who seems very modest and simple, but I conclude an able flatterer, was in love with my house, and vowed nothing ever suited his camera so well.  To be sure, the painted windows and the prospects, and the Gothic chimneys, etc. etc. were the delights of one’s eyes, when no bigger than a silver penny.  You would know how to manage it, as if you had never done any thing else.  Had not you better come and see it?  You will learn how to conduct it, with the pleasure of correcting my awkwardness and unlearnability.  Sir Joshua Reynolds and West have each got one; and the Duke of Northumberland is so charmed with the invention, that I dare say he can talk upon and explain it till I should understand ten times less of the matter than I do.  Remember, neither Lady Ailesbury, nor you, nor Mrs. Damer, have seen my new divine closet, nor the billiard-sticks with which the Countess of Pembroke And Arcadia used to play with her brother Sir Philip; nor the portrait of la belle Jennings in the state bedchamber.  I go to town this day s’ennight for a day or two; and as, to be sure, Mount Edgecumbe has put you out of humour with Park-place, you may deign to leave it for a moment.  I never did see Cotchel,(283) and am sorry.  Is not the old wardrobe there still?  There was one from the time of Cain; but Adam’s breeches and Eve’s under-petticoat were eaten by a goat in the ark.  Good-night!

(282) The machine called a Delineator.

(283) The old residence of the family of Edgecumbe, twelve miles distant from Mount Edgecumbe.

Letter 127 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 22, 1777. (page 173)

I return you Your manuscript, dear Sir, with a thousand thanks, and shall be impatient to hear that you receive it safe.  It has amused me much, and I admire Mr. Baker(284) for having been able to show so much sense on so dry a subject.  I wish, as you say you have materials for it, that you would write his life.  He deserved it much more than most of those he has recorded.  His book on the Deficiencies of Learning is most excellent, and far too little known.  I admire his moderation, too, which was extraordinary in a man who had suffered so much for his principles.  Yet they warped even him, for he rejects Bishop Burnet’s character of Bishop Gunning in p. 200, and yet in the very next page gives the same character of him.  Burnet’s words are, “he had a great confusion of things in his head, but could bring nothing into method:”  pray compare this with p. 201.  I see nothing in which they differ, except that Mr. Burnet does not talk so much of his comeliness as Mr. Baker.

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I Shall not commend your moderation, when you excuse such a man as Bishop Watson.  Nor ought you to be angry with Burnet, but with the witnesses on whose evidence Watson was convicted.  To tell you the truth, I am glad when such faults are found with Burnet; for it shows his enemies are not angry at his telling falsehoods, but the truth.  Must not an historian say a bishop was convicted Of Simony, if he was?  I will tell you what was said of Burnet’s History, by one whose testimony you yourself would not dispute—­at least you would not in any thing else.  That confessor said, “Damn him, he has told a great deal of truth, but where the devil did he learn it?” This was St. Atterbury’s testimony.

I shall take the liberty of reproving you, too, dear Sir, for defending that abominable murderess Queen Christina—­and how can you doubt her conversation with Burnet? you must know there are a thousand evidences of her laughing at the religion she embraced.  If you approve her, I will allow you to Condemn Lord Russel and Algernon Sidney.  Well, as we shall never have the same heroes, we Will not dispute about them, nor shall I find fault when you have given me so much entertainment:  it would be very Ungrateful, and I have a thousand obligations to you, and want to have more.  I want to see more of your manuscripts:  they are full of curiosities, and I love some of your heroes, too:  I honour Bishop Fisher, and love Mr. Baker.  If I might choose, I should like to see your account of the persons educated at King’s-but as you may have objections, I insist, if you have, that you make me no word of answer.  It is, perhaps, impertinent to ask it, and silence will lay neither of us under any difficulty.  I have no right to make such a request, nor do now, but on the foot of its proving totally indifferent to you.  You will make me blame myself, if it should a moment distress you; and I am sure you are too good-natured to put me out of humour with myself, which your making no answer would not do.

I enclose my bills for Mr. Essex, and will trouble you to send them to him.  I again thank you, and trust you will be as friendly free with me, as I have been with you:  you know I am a brother monk in every thing but religious and political opinions.  I only laugh at the thirty’ nine articles:  but abhor Calvin as much as I do the Queen of Sweden, for he was as thorough an assassin.  Yours ever.

P. S. As I have a great mind, and, indeed, ought, when I require it, to show moderation, and when I have not, ought to confess it, which I do, for I Own I am not moderate on certain points; if you are busy yourself and will send me the materials, I will draw up the life 4 Mr. Baker; and, if you are not content with it, you shall burn it in Smithfield.  In good truth, I revere conscientious martyrs, of all sects, communions, and parties—­I heartily pity them, if they are weak men.  When they are as sensible as Mr. Baker, I doubt my own understanding

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more than his.  I know I have not his virtues, but should delight in doing justice to them; and, perhaps, from a man of a different party the testimony would be more to his honour.  I do not call myself of different principles; because a man that thinks himself bound by his oath, can be a man of no principle if he violates it.  I do not mean to deny that many men might think King James’s breach of his oath a dispensation from theirs; but, if they did not think so, or did not think their duty to their country obliged them to renounce their King, I should never defend those who took the new oaths from interest.

(284) Thomas Baker, the learned author of “Reflections on Learning, wherein is shown the insufficiency thereof in its several particulars, in order to evince the usefulness and necessity Of Revelation;” a work which has gone through numerous editions, and was at one time one of the most popular books in the language, He was born at Durham in 1656, and died in the office of commoner master of st.  John’s College, Cambridge, in July 1740.-E.

Letter 128 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(285) Strawberry Hill, Oct. 1, 1777. (page 175)

To confer favours, Sir, is certainly not giving trouble:  and had I the most constant occupation, I should contrive to find moments for reading your works.  I have passed a most melancholy summer, from different distresses in my family; and though my nephew’s situation and other avocations prevent my having but very little time for literary amusements, I did not mean to debar myself of the pleasure of hearing from my friends.  Unfortunately, at present, it is impossible for me to profit of your kindness; not from my own business, but from the absence of Mr. Garrick.  He is gone into Staffirdshire to marry a nephew, and thence will pass into Wales to superintend a play that is to be acted at Sir Watkin Williams’s.  I am even afraid I shall not be the first apprised of his return, as I possibly may remove to town in expectation of the Duchess of Gloucester,’ before he is at home again.  I shall not neglect my own satisfaction; but mention this circumstance, that you may not suspect me of inattention, if I should not get sight of your tragedy so soon as I wish.  I am, Sir, with great regard.

(285) Now first printed.

Letter 129 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Oct. 5, 1777. (page 176)

You are so exceedingly good, I shall assuredly accept your proposal in the fullest sense, and to ensure Mrs. Damer, beg I may expect you on Saturday next the 11th.  If Lord and Lady william Campbell will do me the honour of accompanying you, I shall be most happy to see them, and expect Miss Caroline.(286) Let me know about them that the state bedchamber may be aired.

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My difficulties about removing from home arise from the consciousness of my own weakness.  I make it a rule, as much as I can, to conform wherever I go.  Though I am threescore to-day, I should not think that an age for giving every thing up; but it is, for whatever one has not strength to perform.  You, though not a vast deal younger, are as healthy and strong, thank God! as ever you was:  and you cannot have ideas of the mortification of being stared at by strangers and servants, when one hobbles, or cannot do as others do.  I delight in being with you, and the Richmonds, and those I love and know; but the crowds of young people, and Chichester folks, and officers, and strange servants, make me afraid of Goodwood, I own My spirits are never low; but they seldom will last out the whole day; and though I dare to say I appear to many capricious, and different from the rest of the world, there is more reason in my behaviour than there seems.  You know in London I seldom stir out in a morning, and always late; it is because I want a great deal of rest.  Exercise never did agree with me:  and it is hard if I do not know myself by this time; and what has done so well for me will probably suit me best for the rest of my life.  It would be ridiculous to talk so much of myself, and to enter into such trifling details, but you are the person in the world that I wish to convince that I do not act merely from humour or ill-humour; though I confess at the same time that I want your bonhommie, and have a disposition not to care at all for people that I do not absolutely like.  I could say a great deal more on this head, but it is not proper; though, when one has pretty much done with the world, I think with Lady Blandford, that One may indulge one’s self in one’s own whims and partialities in one’s own house.  I do not mean, still less to profess, retirement, because it is less ridiculous to go on with the world to the last, than to return to it; but in a quiet way it has long been my purpose to drop a great deal of it.  Of all things I am farthest from not intending to come often to Park-place, whenever you have little company; and I had rather be with you, in November than July, because I am so totally unable to walk farther than a snail.  I will never say any more on these subjects, because there may be as much affectation in being over old, as folly in being over young.  My idea of age is, that one has nothing really to do but what one ought, and what is reasonable.  All affectations are pretensions; and pretending to be any thing one is not, cannot deceive when one is known, as every body must be That has lived long.  I do not mean that old folks may not have pleasures if they can; but then I think those pleasures are confined to being comfortable, and to enjoying the few friends one has not outlived.  I am so fair as to own, that one’s duties are not pleasures.  I have given up a great deal of my time to nephews and nieces, even to some I can have little affection

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for.  I do love my nieces, nay like them; but people above forty years younger are certainly not the society I should seek.  They can only think and talk of what is, or is to come; I certainly am more disposed to think and talk of what is past:  and the obligation of passing the end of a long life in sets of totally new company is more irksome to me than passing a great deal of my time, as I do, quite alone.  Family love and pride make me interest myself about the young people of my own family-for the whole rest of the Young world, they are as indifferent to me as puppets or black children.  This is my creed, and a key to my whole conduct, and the more likely to remain my creed, as I think it is raisonn`e.  If I could paint my Opinions instead of writing them I don’t know whether it would not make a new sort of alphabet-I should use different colours for different affections at different ages.  When I speak of love, affection, friendship, taste, liking, I should draw them rose colour, carmine, blue, green, yellow, for my contemporaries:  for new comers, the first would be of no colour; the others, purple, brown, crimson, and changeable.  Remember, one tells one’s creed only to one’s confessor, that is sub sigillo.  I write to you as I think; to others as I must.  Adieu!

(286) Miss Caroline Campbell, eldest daughter of Lord William Campbell.

Letter 130 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(287) Strawberry Hill, Oct. 17, 1777. (page 177)

Mr. Garrick returned but two days ago, Sir, and I did not receive your tragedy(288) till this morning; so I could only read it once very rapidly and without any proper attention to particular passages though, even so, some struck me as very fine.  You have encouraged me rather to criticise than flatter you; and you are in the right, for you have even profited of so weak a judgment as mine, and always improved the passages I objected to.  Indeed, this is not quite a fair return, as it was inverting my method, by flattering instead of finding fault with me; and a critic that meets with submission, is apt to grow vain, and insolent, and capricious.  Still as I am persuaded that all criticisms, though erroneous, before an author appeals to the public, are friendly, I will fairly tell you what parts of your tragedy have struck me as objectionable on so superficial a perusal.

In general, the language appears to me too metaphoric; especially as used by all the characters.  You seem to me to have imitated Beaumont and Fletcher, though your play is superior to all theirs.  In truth, I think the diction is sometimes obscure from being so figurative, especially in the first act.  Will you allow me to mention two instances?

“And craven Sloth, moulting his sleepless plumes,
Nods drowsy wonder at th’ adventurous wing
That soars the shining azure o’er his head.”

I own I do not understand why Sloth’s plumes are sleepless; and I think that nodding wonder, and soaring azure, are expressions too Greek to be so close together, and too poetic for dialogue.  The other passage is—­

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“The wise should watch th’ event on Fortune’s wheel,”

and the seven following lines.  The images are very fine, but demand more attention than common audiences are capable of.  In Braganza every image is strikingly clear.

I am afraid I am not quite satisfied with the conduct of your piece.  Bireno’s conduct on the attack on the princess seems too precipitate, and not managed.  It is still more incredible, that Paladore should confess his passion to his rival; and not less so, that a private man and a stranger should doubt the princess’s faith, when she had preferred him to his rival, a prince of the blood and her destined husband; and that without the smallest inquiry he should believe Bireno was admitted privately to her apartment, when on her not rejecting him, he might have access to her openly.  One cannot conceive her meaning in offending her father by refusing so proper a match, `and intriguing with the very man she was to marry, and whom she had refused.  Paladore’s credulity is not of a piece with the account given of his wisdom, which had made him admitted to the king’S Counsels.

I think, when you bestow Sophia on Paladore, you forget that the king had declared he was obliged to give his daughter to a prince of his own blood; nor do I see any reason for Bireno’s stabbing Ascanio, who was sure of being put to death when their treachery was discovered.

The character of the princess is very noble and well sustained.  When I said I did not conceive her meaning, I expressed myself ill.  I did not suppose she, did intrigue with Bireno; but I meant that it was not natural Paladore should suspect she did, since it is inconceivable that a princess should refuse her cousin in marriage for the mere caprice of intriguing with him.  Had she managed her father, and, from the dread of his anger, temporized about Bireno, Paladore would have had more reason to doubt her.  Would it not too be more natural for Bireno to incense the king against Paladore than to endeavour to make the latter jealous of Sophia?  At least I think Bireno would have more chance of Poisoning Paladore’s mind, if he did not discover to him that he knew of his passion.  Forgive me, Sir but I cannot reconcile to probability Paladore’s believing that Sophia had rejected Bireno for a husband, though it would please her father, and yet chose to intrigue with him in defiance of so serious and extraordinary a law.  Either his credulity or his jealousy reduce Paladore to a lover very unworthy of such a woman as Sophia.  For her sake I wish to see him more deserving of her.

You are so great a poet, Sir, that you have no occasion to labour any thing but your plots.  You can express any thing you please.  If the conduct is natural, you will not want words.  Nay, I rather fear your indulging your poetic vein too far, for your language is sometimes sublime enough for odes, which admit the height of enthusiasm, which Horace will not allow to tragic writers.  You could set up twenty of our tragic authors with lines that you could afford to reject, though for no reason but their being too fine, as in landscape-painting some parts must be under-coloured to give the higher relief to the rest.  Will you not think me too difficult and squeamish, when I find the language of “The Law of Lombardy” too rich?

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I beg your pardon, but it is more difficult for you to please me, than any body.  I interest myself in your success and your glory.  You must be perfect in all parts, in nature, simplicity, and character, as well as in the most charming poetry, or I shall not be content.  If I dared, I would beg you to trust me with your plots, before you write a line.  When a subject seizes you, your impetuosity cannot breathe till you have executed your plan.  You must be curbed, as other poets want to be spurred.  When your sketch is made, you must study the characters and the audience.  It is not flattering you to say, that the least you have to do is to write your play.

(287) Now first printed.

(288) “The Law of Lombardy;” see ant`e, p. 170, letter 123.-E.

Letter 131 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Oct. 19, 1777. (page 179)

Thank you much, dear sir, for the sight of the book, which I return by Mr. Essex It is not new to me that Burnet paid his court on the other side in the former part of his life* nor will I insist that he changed On conviction, which might be said, and generally is, for all converts, even those who shift their principles the most glaringly from interest.  Duke Lauderdale,(289) indeed, was such a dog, that the least honest man must have been driven to detest him, however connected with him.  I doubt Burnet could not be blind to his character, when he wrote the dedication.  In truth, I have given up many of my saints, but not on the accusations of such wretches as Dalrymple(290) and Macpherson;(291) nor can men, so much their opposites, shake my faith in Lord Russel and Algernon Sidney.  I do not relinquish those that scaled their integrity with their blood, but such as have taken thirty pieces of silver.

I was sorry you said we had any variance.  We have differed in sentiments, but not in friendship.  Two men, however unlike in principles, may be perfect friends, when both are sincere in their opinions as we are.  Much less shall we quarrel about those of our separate parties, since very few on either side have been so invariably consistent as you and I have been; and therefore we are more sure of each other’s integrity, than that of men whom we know less and who did vary from themselves.  As you and I are only speculative persons, and no actors, it would be very idle to squabble about those that do not exist.  In short, we are, I trust, in as perfect good humour with each other as we have been these forty years.

Pray do not hurry yourself about the anecdotes of Mr. Baker, nor neglect other occupations on that account.  I shall certainly not have time to do any thing this year.  I expect the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester in a very few days, must go to town as soon as they arrive, and shall probably have not much idle leisure before next summer.

It is not very discreet to look even so far forward, nor am I apt any longer to lay distant plans.  A little sedentary literary amusement is indeed no very lofty castle in the air, if I do lay the foundation in idea seven or eight months beforehand.

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Whatever manuscripts you lend me, I shall be very grateful for.  They entertain me exceedingly, and I promise you we will not have the shadow of an argument about them.  I do not love disputation, even with those most indifferent to me.  Your pardon I most sincerely beg for having contested a single point with you.  I am sure it was not with a grain of ill-humour towards you:  on the contrary, it was from wishing at that moment that you did not approve though I disliked—­but even that I give up as unreasonable.

You are in the right, dear Sir, not to apply to Masters for any papers he may have relating to Mr. Baker.(292) It is a trumpery fellow’, from whom one would rather receive a refusal than an obligation.

I am sorry to hear Mr. Lort has the gout, and still more concerned that you still suffer from it.  Such patience and temper as yours are the only palliatives.  As the bootikins have so much abridged and softened my fits, I do not expect their return with the alarm and horror I used to do, and that is being cured of one half the complaints.  I had scarce any pain last time, and did not keep my bed a day, and had no gout at all in either foot.  May not I ask you if this is not some merit in the bootikins?  To have cured me of my apprehensions is to me a vast deal, for now the intervals do not connect the fits.  You will understand, that I mean to speak a word to you in favour of the bootikins, for can one feel benefit, and not wish to impart it to a suffering friend?  Indeed I am yours most sincerely.

(289) John second Earl of Lauderdale, who, having distinguished himself-by his zealous and active exertions in the royal cause during the civil wars, was, after the restoration created in May 1672, Marquis Of March and Duke of Lauderdale, in Scotland.-E.

(290) Sir John Dalrymple, author of “Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland.”  Edinburgh, 1771-1773-1788; 3 vols. 4to.-E.

(291) James M’Pherson, the editor of Ossian, who had published a “History of Great Britain from the Restoration in 1660 to the Accession of the House of Hanover,” 1775, 2 Vols. 4to — and also “An Introduction to the History of Great Britain and Ireland.”  London, 4to. 1771.-E.

(292) The papers which Masters possessed he himself eventually published, in 1784, under the title of,, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Baker, from the Papers of Dr. Zachary Grey:  with a Catalogue of his Manuscript Collections.  By R. Masters."-E.

Letter 132 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, March 31, 1778. (page 181)

I did think it long, indeed, dear Sir, since I heard from you, and am very sorry the gout was the cause.  I hope after such long persecution you will have less now than you apprehend.  I should not have been silent myself, had I had any thing to tell you that you would have cared to hear.

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Politics have been the only language, and abuse the only expression of the winter, neither of which are, or deserve to be, inmates of your peaceable hermitage.  I wish, however, they may not have grown so serious as to threaten every retreat with intrusion!  I will let you know when I am settled at Strawberry-hill, and can look over your kind collections relating to Mr. Baker.  He certainly deserves his place in the Biographia, but I am not surprised that you would not submit to his being instituted and inducted by a Presbyterian.  In troth, I, who have not the same zeal against dissenters, do not at all desire to peruse the History of their Apostles, which are generally very uninteresting.

You must excuse the shortness of this, in which, too, I have been interrupted:  my nephew is as suddenly recovered as he did last time; and, though I am far from thinking him perfectly in his senses, a great deal of his disorder is removed, which, though it will save me a great deal of trouble, hurries me at present, and forces me to conclude.

Letter 133 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, April 23, 1778. (page 181)

I thank you, dear Sir, for the notice of William Le Worcestre’s(293) appearance, and will send for my book as soon as I go to town, which will not be till next week.  I have been here since Friday as much a hermit as yourself.  I wanted air and quiet, having been much fatigued on my nephew’s amendment, trying to dissuade him from making the campaign with his militia; but in vain!  I now dread hearing of some eccentric freak.  I am sorry Mr. Tyson has quite dropped me, though he sometimes comes to town.  I am still more concerned at your frequent disorders-I hope their chief seat is unwillingness to move.

Your Bakeriana will be very welcome about June:  I shall not be completely resident here till then, at least not have leisure, as May is the month I have most visits from town.  As few spare hours as I have, I have contrived to go through Mr. Pennant’s Welsh Tour, and Warton’s second Volume;(294) both which come within the circle of your pursuits.  I have far advanced, too, in Lord Hardwicke’s first volume of State Papers.(295) I have yet found nothing that appears a new scene, or sets the old in a new light; yet they are rather amusing, though not in proportion to the bulk of the volumes.  One likes to hear actors speak for themselves; but, on the other hand, they use a great many more words than are necessary:  and when one knows the events from history, it is a little tiresome to go back to the details and the delays.

I should be glad to employ Mr. Essex on my offices, but the impending war with France deters me.  It is not a season for expense!  I could like to leave my little castle complete; but, though I am only a spectator, I cannot be indifferent to the aspect of the times, as the country gentleman was, who was going out with his hounds as the two armies at Edge-hill were going to engage.  I wish for peace and tranquillity, and should be glad to pass my remaining hours in the idle and retired amusements I love, and without any solicitude for my country.  Adieu!

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(293) “Itineraria Symonis, Simeonis et Willelmi de Worcestre.”  Cantab. 1778, 8vo.; edited by Dr. James Nasmith, who published the excellent Catalogue of MSS, which Archbishop Parker left to Corpus Christi College, at Cambridge.-E.

(294) Thomas Warton’s “History Of English Poetry."-E.

(295) Miscellaneous State Papers, from 1501 to 1726, published by the Earl of Hardwicke, in two volumes 4to.-E.

Letter 134 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, May 21, 1778. (page 182)

I will not flatter you:  I was not in the least amused with either Simon, Simeon, or William of Worcestre.  If there was any thing tolerable in either, it was the part omitted, or the part I did not read, which was the Journey to Jerusalem, about which I have not the smallest curiosity.  I thank you for mentioning the Gentleman’s Magazine, which I sent for.

Mr. Essex has called upon me, and left me the drawing of a bridge, with which I am perfectly pleased-but I was unluckily out of town; he left no direction, and I know not where to seek him in this overgrown bottle of hay.  I still hope he will call again before his return.

May not I, should not I, wish you joy on the restoration of popery?(296) I expect soon to see Capuchins tramping about, and Jesuits in high places.  We are relapsing fast to our pristine state, and have nothing but our island, and our old religion.

Mr. Nasmith’s publication directed me to the MSS. in Benet Library, which I did not know was printed.  I found two or three from which I should be glad to have transcripts, and would willingly pay for; but I left the book at Strawberry, and must trouble you another time with that commission.

The city wants to bury Lord Chatham(297) in St. Paul’s; which, as a person said to me this morning, would literally be “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”  I wish it could be so, that there might be some decoration in that nudity, en attendant the re-establishment of various altars.  It is not my design to purchase the new edition of the Biographia; I trust they will give the old purchasers the additions as a supplement.  I had corrected the errata of the press, throughout my copy, but I could not take the trouble of transcribing them, nor could lend them the originals, as I am apt to scribble notes in the margins of all my books that interest me at all.  Pray let me know if Baker’s Life is among the additions, and whether you are satisfied with it, as there could not be events enough in his retired life to justify two accounts of it.

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There are no new old news, and you care for nothing Within the memory of man.  I am always intending to draw up an account of my intercourse with Chatterton, which I take very kindly you remind me of, but some avocation or other has still prevented it.  My perfect innocence of having indirectly been an ingredient in his dismal fate, which happened two years after our correspondence, and after he had exhausted both his resources and his constitution, have made it more easy to prove that I never saw him, knew nothing of his ever being in London, and was the first person, instead of the last, on whom he had practised his impositions, and founded his chimeric hopes of promotion.  My very first, or at least second letter, undeceived him in those views, and our correspondence(298) was broken off before he quitted his aster’s business at Bristol-so that his disappointment with me was but his first ill success; and he resented my incredulity so much, that he never condescended to let me see him.  Indeed, what I have said now to you, and which cannot be controverted by a shadow of a doubt, would be sufficient vindication.  I could only add to the proofs, a vain regret of never having known his distresses, which his amazing genius would have tempted me to relieve, though I fear he had no other claim to compassion.  Mr. Warton has said enough to open the eyes of every one who is not greatly prejudiced to his forgeries.  Dr. Milles is one who will not make a bow to Dr. Percy for not being as wilfully blind as himself-but when he gets a beam in his eye that he takes for an antique truth, there is no persuading him to submit to be coached.  Adieu!

(296) Walpole alludes to the bill for the Relief of the Roman Catholics which released their priests from prosecution, and allowed members of that religion to purchase lands and take them by descent.  It passed both houses without opposition.-E.

(297) The Earl of Chatham died on the 10th Of May 1778.  His remains were honoured with a public funeral in Westminster Abbey, his debts were paid by the nation, and an annuity of four thousand pounds settled upon the earldom of Chatham.-E.

(298) Walpole’s correspondence with Chatterton took place in March and April 1769.  The death Of the young poet happened in August 1770, in consequence of a dose Of arsenic, at his lodgings in Brook-street, Holborn.-E.

Letter 135 To The Rev. William Mason. [1778.)(299) (page 184)

The purport of Dr. Robertson’s visit was to inquire where he could find materials for the reigns of King William and Queen Anne, which he means to write as a supplement to David Hume.  I had heard of his purpose, but did not own I knew it, that my discouragement might seem the more natural.  I do not care a straw what he writes about the church’s wet-nurse, Goody Anne; but no Scot is worthy of being the historian of William, but Dr. Watson.(300) When

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he had told me his object, I said, “Write the reign of King William, Dr. Robertson!  That is a great task!  I look on him as the greatest man of modern times since his ancestor William Prince of Orange.”  I soon found the Doctor had very little idea of him, or had taken upon trust the pitiful partialities of Dalrymple and Macpherson.  I said, “Sir, I do not doubt but that King William came over with a view to the crown.  Nor was he called upon by patriotism, for he was not an Englishman to assert our liberties.  No; his patriotism was of a higher rank.  He aimed not at the crown of England from ambition, but to employ its forces and wealth against Louis XIV. for the common cause of the liberties of Europe.  The Whigs did not understand the extent of his views, and the Tories betrayed him.  He has been thought not to have understood us; but the truth was, he took either party as it was predominant, that he might sway the Parliament to support his general plan.”  The Doctor, suspecting that I doubted his principles being enlarged enough to do justice to so great a character, told me he himself had been born and bred a Whig, though he owned he was not a moderate one--I believe, a very moderate one.  I said Macpherson had done great injustice to another hero, the Duke of Marlborough, whom he accuses of betraying the design on Brest to Louis XIV.  The truth was, as I heard often in my youth from my father, my uncle, and old persons who had lived in those times, that the Duke trusted the Duchess with the secret, and she her sister the popish Duchess of Tyrconnel, who was as poor and as bigoted as a church mouse.  A corroboration of this was the wise and sententious answer of King William to the Duke, whom he taxed with having betrayed the secret. “upon my honour, Sir,” said the Duke, “I told it to nobody but my wife.”  “I did not tell it to mine!” said the King.

I added, that Macpherson’s and Dalrymple’s invidious scandals really serve but to heighten the amazing greatness of the King’s genius; for, if they say true, he maintained the crown on his head though the nobility, the churchmen, the country gentlemen, the people were against him; and though almost all his own ministers betrayed him—­“But,” said I, “nothing is so silly as to suppose that the Duke -of Marlborough and Lord Godolphin ever meant seriously to
          restore King James.  Both had offended him too much to
expect forgiveness, especially from so remorseless a nature.  Yet a re-revolution was so probable, that it is no wonder they kept up a correspondence with him, at least to break their fall if he returned.  But as they never did effectuate the least service in his favour, when they had the fullest power, nothing can be inferred but King James’s folly in continuing to lean on them.  To imagine they meant to sacrifice his weak daughter, whom they governed absolutely, to a man who was sure of being governed-by others, one must have as little sense as James himself had.”

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The precise truth I take to have been this.  Marlborough and Godolphin both knew the meanness and credulity of James’s character.  They knew that he must be ever dealing for partisans; and they might be sure, that if he could hope for support from the General and the Lord-treasurer he must be less solicitous for more impotent supporters.  “Is it impossible,” said I to the Doctor, “but they might correspond with the King even by Anne’s own consent?  Do not be surprised, Sir,” said I:  “such things have happened.  My own father often received letters from the Pretender, which he always carried to George ii and had them endorsed by his Majesty- I myself have seen them countersigned by the King’s own hand.”

In short,.  I endeavoured to impress him with Proper ideas of his subject, and painted to him the difficulties., and the want of materials.  But- the booksellers will out-argue me, and the Doctor will forget his education—­Panem et Circenses, if you will allow me to use the latter for those that are captivated by favour in the circle, will decide his writing and give the colour.  I once wished he should write the History of King William; but his Charles V. and his America have opened my eyes, and the times have shut his.(301) Adieu!

(299) This letter, which is without date, was most probably written in April or May 1778; at which time Dr. Robertson was in London.-E.

(300) Dr. Watson’s History of the Reign of philip ii. of Spain was published, in two quarto volumes, in 1777.-E.

(301) By the life of Dr. Robertson, in Chamvers’s Scottish Biography, it will be seen, that several persons suggested to him
         a History of Great Britain from the Revolution to the
accession of the House of Hanover; and it appears, from a letter to Dr. Waddilour, Dean of Rippon, written in July of this year, that he had made up his mind to encounter the responsibility of the task, but abandoned it, in consequence of a correspondence with his friend, Mr. James Macpherson, had, three years before, published a history of the same reigns.-E.

Letter 136 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 3, 1778. (page 186)

I will not dispute with you, dear Sir, on patriots and politics.  One point is Past controversy, that the ministers have ruined this country; and if the church of England is satisfied with being reconciled with the church of Rome, and thinks it a compensation for the loss of America and all credit in Europe, she is as silly an old woman as any granny in an almshouse.  France is very glad we are grown such fools, and soon saw that the Presbyterian Dr. Franklin(302) had more sense than our ministers together.  She has got over all her prejudices, has expelled the Jesuits, and made the Protestant Swiss, Necker, her comptroller-general.  It is a little woful, that we are relapsing into the nonsense the rest of Europe is shaking off! and it is more deplorable, as we know by repeated experience, that this country has always been disgraced by Tory administrations.  The rubric is the only gainer by them in a few martyrs.

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I do not know yet what is settled about the spot of Lord Chatham’s interment.  I am not more an enthusiast to his memory than you.  I knew his faults and his defects-yet one fact Cannot Only not be controverted, but I doubt more remarkable every day—­ I mean, that under him we attained not only our highest elevation, but the most solid authority in Europe.  When the names of Marlborough and Chatham are still pronounced with awe in France, our little cavils make a puny sound.  Nations that are beaten cannot be mistaken.

I have been looking out for your friend a set of my heads of painters, and I find I want six or seven.  I think I have some odd ones in town; if I have not, I will have deficiencies supplied from the plates, though I fear they will not be good, as so many have been taken off.  I should be very ungrateful for all your kindnesses, if I neglected any opportunity of obliging you, dear Sir.  Indeed, our old and unalterable friendship is creditable to us both, and very uncommon between two persons who differ so much in their opinions relative to church and state.  I believe the reason is, that we are both sincere, and never meant to take advantage of our principles; which I allow is too common on both sides, and I own, too, fairly more common on my side of the question than on yours.  There is a reason, too, for that; the honours and emoluments are in the gift of the crown:  the nation has no separate treasury to reward its friends.

If Mr. Tyrwhit(303) has opened his eyes to Chatterton’s forgeries, there is an instance of conviction against strong prejudice!  I have drawn up an account of my transaction with that marvellous young man; you shall see it one day or other, but I do not intend to print it.(304) I have taken a thorough dislike to being an author; and if it would not look like begging you to Compliment me, by contradicting me, I would tell you, what I am most seriously convinced of, that I find what small share of parts I had, grown dulled—­and when I perceive it myself, I may well believe that others would not be less sharpsighted.  It is very natural; mine were spirits rather than parts; and as time has abated the one, it must surely destroy their resemblance to the other:  pray don’t say a syllable in reply on this head, or I shall have done exactly what I said I would not do.  Besides, as you have always been too partial to me, I am on my guard, and when I will not expose myself to my enemies, I must not listen to the prejudices of my friends; and as nobody is more partial to me than you, there is nobody I must trust less in that respect.  Yours most sincerely.

(302) Dr. Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane were publicly received at the court of France, as ambassadors from America in the preceding March-.E.

(303) Mr. Tyrwhit, the learned editor of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, considered one of the best edited books in the English language, had, on the appearance of the Rowley Poems, believed them genuine; but being afterwards convinced of the contrary, he did not hesitate to avow his conviction.-E.

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(304) It was entitled “A Letter to the Editor of the Miscellanies of Thomas Chatterton,” and will be found in the edition of Walpole’s works.-E.

Letter 137 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 10, 1778. (page 187)

I am as impatient and in as much hurry as you was, dear Sir, to clear myself from the slightest intention of censuring your politics.  I know the sincerity and disinterested goodness of your heart, and when I must be convinced how little certain we are all of what is truth, it would be very presumptuous to condemn the opinions of any good man, and still less an old and unalterable friend, as I have ever found ’You, The destruction that violent arbitrary principles have drawn on this blinded country has moved my indignation.  We never were a great and happy country till the Revolution.  The system of these days tended to overturn, and has overturned, that establishment, and brought on the disgraces that ever attended the foolish and wicked Councils of the house of Stuart.  If man is a rational being, he has a right to make use of his reason, and to enjoy his liberty.  We, we alone almost had a constitution that every other nation upon earth envied or ought to envy.  This is all I contend for.  I will give you up whatever descriptions of men you please; that is, the leaders of parties, not the principles.  These cannot change, those generally do, when power falls into the hands of them or their party, because men are corruptible, which truth is not.  But the more the leaders of a party dedicated to liberty are apt to change, the more I adore the principle, because it shows that extent of power is not to be trusted even, with those that are the most sensible of the value of liberty.  Man is a domineering animal; and it has not only been my principle. but my practice, too. to quit every body at the gate of the palace.  I trust we shall not much differ on these outlines, but we will bid adieu to the subject.  It is never an agreeable one to those who do not mean to make a trade of it.

I heartily wish you may not find the pontiff what I think the order, and what I know him, if you mean the high priest of Ely.(305) He is all I have been describing and worse; and I have too good an opinion of you, to believe that he will ever serve you.

What I said of disclaiming authorship by no means alluded to Mr. Baker’s life.  It would be enough that you desire it, for me to undertake it.  Indeed, I am inclined to it because he was what you and I are, a party-man from principle, not from interest:  and he, who was so candid, surely is entitled to the strictest candour.  You shall send me your papers whenever you please.  If I can succeed to your satisfaction, I shall be content:  though I assure you there was no affectation in my saying that I find my small talent decline.  I shall write the life to oblige you, without any thoughts of publication, unless I am better pleased than I expect to be, and even then not in my own life.  I had rather show that I am sensible of my own defects, and that I have judgment enough not to hope praise for my writings:  for surely when they are not obnoxious, and one only leaves them behind one, it is a mark that one is not very vain of them.

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I have found the whole set of my Painters, and will send them the first time I go to town:  and I will have my papers on Chatterton transcribed for you, though I am much chagrined at your giving me no hope of seeing you again here.  I will not say more of it; for, while it is in my power, I will certainly make you a visit now and then, if there is no other way of our meeting Mr. Tyrwhit, I hear, has actually published an Appendix, in which he gives up Mr. Rowley.  I have not seen it, but will.  Shall I beg you to transcribe the passage in which Dr. Kippis abuses my father and Me;(306) for I shall not buy the new edition, only to purchase abuse on me and mine:  I may be angry with liberties he takes with Sir Robert, but not with myself; I shall rather take it as a flattery to be ranked with him; though there can be nothing worse said of my father than to place us together.  Oh! that great, that good man!  Dr. Kippis may as well throw a stone at the sun.

I am sorry you have lost poor Mr. Bentham.  Will you say a civil thing for me to his widow, if she is living, and you think it not improper?  I have not forgotten their kindness to me.  Pray send me your papers on Mr. Prior’s generosity to Mr. Baker.(307) I am sorry it was not so.  Prior is much a favourite with me, though a Tory, nor did I ever hear any thing ill of him.  He left his party, but not his friends, and seems to me to have been very amiable.  Do you know I pretend to be very impartial sometimes.  Mr. Hollis(308) wrote against me for not being Whig enough.  I am offended with Mrs. Macaulay(309) for being too much a Whig.  In short, we are all silly animals, and scarce ever more so than when we affect sense.  Yours ever.

(305) Dr. Edmund Keene-E.

(306) See ant`e, p. 155, letter 108.

(307) The Biograpbia Britannica had asserted, that Prior ceded to Mr. Baker the profits of his fellowship after his expulsion.-E.

(308) Thomas Hollis, Esq. the editor of Toland’s Life of Milton; Algernon Sidney’s Discourses on Government; Algernon Sidney’s Works, etc.  He died in 1774.-E.

(309) The celebrated Catherine Macaulay, well known by her “History of England."-E.

Letter 138 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.  Strawberry Hill, June 25, 1778. (page 189)

I am quite astonished, Madam, at not hearing of Mr. Conway’s being returned!  What is he doing?  Is he revolting and setting up for himself, like our nabobs in India? or is he forming Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark, into the united provinces in the compass of a silver penny?  I should not wonder if this was to be the fate of our distracted empire, which we seem to have made so large, only that it might afford to split into separate kingdoms.  I told Mr. C. I should not write any more, concluding he would not stay a twinkling; and your ladyship’s last encouraged my expecting him.  In truth, I had nothing to tell him if he had written.

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I have been in town but one single night this age, as I could not bear to throw away this phoenix June.  It has rained a good deal this morning, but only made it more delightful.  The flowers are all Arabian.  I have found but One inconvenience, which is the hosts of cuckoos:  one would not think one was in Doctors’ Commons.  It is very disagreeable, that the nightingales should sing but half a dozen songs, and the other beasts squall for two months together.

Poor Mrs. Clive has been robbed again in her own lane, as she was last year, and has got the jaundice, she thinks, with the fright.  I don’t make a visit without a blunderbuss; so one might as well be invaded by the French.  Though I live in the centre of ministers, I do not know a syllable of politics; and though within hearing of Lady Greenwich, who is but two miles off, I have not a word of news to send your ladyship.  I live like Berecynthia, surrounded by nephews and nieces; yet Park-place is full as much in my mind, and I beg for its history.  I am, Madam, etc.

Letter 139 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, July 8, 1778. (page 189)

I have had some conversation with a ministerial person, on the subject of pacification with France; and he dropped a hint, that as ’we should not have Much chance of a good peace, the Opposition would make great clamour on it.  I said a few words on the duty of ministers to do what they thought right, be the consequence what it ,Would., But as honest men do not want such lectures, and dishonest will not let them weigh, I waived that theme, to dwell on what is more likely to be persuasive, and which I am firmly persuaded is no less true than the former maxim; and that was, that the ministers are still so strong, that if they could get a peace that would save the nation, though not a brilliant or glorious one, the nation in general would be pleased with it, and the clamours of the Opposition be insignificant.  I added, what I think true, too, that no time is to be lost in treating not only for preventing a blow, but from the consequences the first misfortune would have.  The nation is not yet alienated from the court, but it is growing so; is grown so enough, for any calamity to have violent effects.  Any internal disturbance would advance the hostile designs of France.  An insurrection from distress would be a double invitation to invasion; and, I am sure, much more to be dreaded, even personally, by the ministers, than the ill-humours of Opposition for even an inglorious peace.  To do the Opposition justice, it is not composed of incendiaries.  Parliamentary speeches raise no tumults:  but tumults would be a dreadful thorough bass to speeches.  The ministers do not know the strength they have left (supposing they apply it in time), if they are afraid of making any peace.  They were too sanguine in making war; I hope they will not be too timid of making peace.

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What do you think of an idea of mine, of offering France a neutrality? that is, to allow her to assist both us and the Americans.  I know she would assist only them:  but were it not better to connive at her assisting them, without attacking us, than her doing both?  A treaty with her would perhaps be followed by one with America.  We are sacrificing all the essentials we can recover, for a few words and risking the independence of this country, for the nominal supremacy over America.  France seems to leave us time for treating.  She made no scruple of begging peace of us in ’63, that she might lie by and recover her advantages.  Was not that a wise precedent?  Does not she now show that it was?  Is not policy the honour of nations?  I mean, not morally, but has Europe left itself any other honour?  And since it has really left itself no honour, and as little morality, does not the morality of a nation consist in its preserving itself in as much happiness as it can?  The invasion of Portugal by Spain in the last war, and the partition of Poland, have abrogated the law Of nations.  Kings have left no ties between one another.  Their duty to their people is still allowed.  He is a good King that preserves his people:  and if temporizing answers that end, is it not justifiable?  You who are as moral as wise, answer my questions.  Grotius is obsolete.  Dr. Joseph(310) and Dr. Frederic(311) with four hundred thousand commentators, are reading new lectures—­and I should say, thank God, to One another, if the four hundred thousand commentators were not in worse danger than they.(312) Louis XVI. is grown a casuist compared to those partitioners.  Well, let us Simple individuals keep our honesty, and bless our stars that we have not armies at our command, lest we should divide kingdoms that are at our biens`eance!  What a dreadful thing it is for such a wicked little imp as man to have absolute power!—­But I have travelled into Germany, when I meant to talk to you only of England; and it is too late to recall My text.  Good night!

(310) The Emperor of Germany.

(311) Frederic ii.  King of Prussia.

(312) The Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia having some dispute about Bavaria, brought immense armies into the field, but found their forces so nearly balanced, that neither ventured to attack the other; and the Prussian monarch falling back upon Silesia, the affair was, through the intervention of the Empress of Russia, settled by negotiation, which ended in the peace of Teschen.-E.

Letter 140 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  July 12, 1778. (page 191)

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Mr. Lort has delivered your papers to me, dear Sir, and I have already gone through them.  I will try if I can make any thing of them, but I fear I have not art enough, as I perceive there is absolutely but one fact—­the expulsion.  You have certainly very clearly proved that Mr. Baker was neither supported by Mr. Prior nor Bishop Burnet; but these are mere negatives.  So is the question, whether he intended to compile an Athenae Cantabrigienses or not; and on that you say but little, as you have not seen his papers in the Museum.  I will examine the printed Catalogue, and try if I can discover the truth thence, when I go to town.  I will also borrow the new Biographia, as I wish to know more of the expulsion.  As it is our only fact, one would not be too dry on it.  Upon the whole, I think that it would be preferable to draw up an ample character of Mr. Baker, rather than a life.  The one was most beautiful, amiable, conscientious; the other totally barren of more than one event:  and though you have taken excellent pains to discover all that was possible, yet there is an obscurity hangs over the circumstances that even did attend him; as his connexion with Bishop Crewe and his living.  His own modesty comes out the brighter, but then it composes a character, not a life.

As to Mr. Kippis and his censures, I am perfectly indifferent to them.  He betrays a pert malignity in hinting an intention of being severe on my father, for the pleasure of exerting a right I allowed, and do allow, to be a just One, though it is not just to do it for that reason; however, let him say his pleasure.  The truth will not hurt my father; falsehood will recoil on the author.  His asserting, that my censure of Mr. Addison’s character of Lord Somers is not to be justified, is a silly ipse dixit, as he does not, in truth cannot, show why it is not to be justified.  The passage I alluded to is the argument of an old woman; and Mr. Addison’s being a writer of true humour is not justification of his reasoning like a superstitious gossip.  In the other passage you have sent me, Mr. Kippis is perfectly in the right, and corrects me very justly.  Had I seen Archbishop Abbot’s(313) Preface, with the outrageous flattery on, And lies of James I., I should certainly never have said, “Honest Abbot could not flatter!” I should have said, and do say, I never saw grosser perversion of truth.  One can almost excuse the faults of James when his bishops were such base sycophants.  What can a king think of human nature, when it produces such wretches?  I am too impartial to prefer Puritans to clergymen, or vice versa, when Whitgift and Abbot only ran a race of servility and adulation:  the result is, that priests of all religions are the same.  James and his Levites were worthy of each other; the golden calf and the idolaters were well coupled, and it is Pity they ever came out of the wilderness.  I am very glad Mr. Tyson has escaped death and disappointment: 

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pray wish him joy ’of both from me.  Has not this Indian summer dispersed your complaints?  We are told we are to be invaded.  Our Abbots and Whitgifts now see with what successes and consequences their preaching up a crusade against America has been crowned!  Archbishop Markham(314) may have an opportunity of exercising his martial prowess.  I doubt he would resemble Bishop Crewe more than good Mr. Baker.  Let us respect those only who are Israelites indeed.  I surrender Dr. Abbot to you.  Church and presbytery are terms for monopolies, Exalted notions of church matters are contradictions in terms to the lowliness and humility of the gospel.  There is nothing sublime but the Divinity.  Nothing is sacred but as His work.  A tree or a brute stone is more respectable as such, than a mortal called an Archbishop, or an edifice called a Church, which are the puny and perishable productions of men.  Calvin and Wesley had just the same views as the Pope; power and wealth their objects.  I abhor both, and admire Mr. Baker.

P. S. I like Popery as well as you, and have shown I do.  I like it as I like chivalry and romance.  They all furnish one with ideas and visions, which presbyterianism does not.  A Gothic church or a convent fills one with romantic dreams-but for the mysterious, the Church in the abstract, it is a jargon that means nothing, or a great deal too much, and I reject it and its apostles, from Athanasius to Bishop Keene.(315)

(313) Dr. George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, born at Guildford, in Surrey, 1562.  In 1604, when the translation of the Scriptures now in use was commenced by direction of King James, Dr. Abbot was the second of eight divines of Oxford to whom was committed the care of translating the New Testament, with the exception of the Epistles, He died at the palace at Croydon, in 1633.-E.

(314) Dr. William Markham, translated to the see of York from Chester in 1776.  He died in 1807.-E.

(315) Dr. Edmund Keene, Bishop of Ely.-E.

Letter 141 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Saturday, July 18, 1778. (page 192)

Yesterday evening the following notices were fixed up in Lloyd’s coffee-house:-That a merchant in the city had received an express from France, that the Brest fleet, consisting, of twenty-eight ships of the line, were sailed, with orders to burn, sink, and destroy.  That Admiral Keppel was at Plymouth, and had sent to demand three more ships of the line to enable him to meet the French.  On these notices stocks sunk three-and-a-half per cent.  An account I have received this morning from a good hand says, that on Thursday the Admiralty received a letter from Admiral Keppel, who was off the Land’s End, saying that the Worcester was in sight; that the Peggy had joined him, and had seen the Thunderer making sail for the fleet; that he was waiting for the Centaur, Terrible, and Vigilant; and that having received advice

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from Lord Shuldham that the Shrewsbury was to sail from Plymouth on Thursday, he should likewise wait for her.  His fleet will then consist of thirty ships of the line; and he hoped to have an opportunity of trying his strength with the French fleet on our own coast:  if not, he would seek them on theirs.  The French fleet sailed on the 7th, consisting of thirty-one ships of the line, two fifty-gun ships, and eight frigates.  This state is probably more authentic than those at Lloyd’s.

Thus you see how big the moment is! and, unless far more favourable to us in its burst than good sense allows one to promise, it must leave us greatly exposed.  Can we expect to beat with considerable loss?—­and then, where have we another fleet?  I need not state the danger from a reverse.  The Spanish ambassador certainly arrived on Monday.

I shall go to town on Monday for a day or two; therefore, if you write to-morrow, direct to Arlington-street.  I add no more:  for words are unworthy of the situation; and to blame now, would be childish.  It is hard to be gamed for against one’s consent; but when one’s country is at stake, one must throw oneself out of the question.  When one, is old and nobody, one must be whirled with the current, and shake one’s wings like a fly, if one lights on a pebble.  The prospect is so dark, that one shall rejoice at whatever does not happen that may.  Thus I have composed a sort of philosophy for myself, that reserves every possible chance.  You want none of these Artificial aids to your resolution.  Invincible courage and immaculate integrity are not dependent on the folly of ministers or on the events of war.  Adieu!

Letter 142 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, July 24, 1778. (page 193)

Upon reviewing your papers, dear Sir, I think I can make more of them than I at first conceived.  I have even commenced the life, and do not dislike my ideas for it, if the execution does but answer, At present, I am interrupted by another task, which you, too, have wished me to undertake.  In a word, somebody has published Chatterton’s works, and charged me heavily for having discountenanced him.  He even calls for the indignation of the public against me.  It is somewhat singular, that I am to be offered up as a victim at the altar of a notorious impostor! but as Many saints have been impostors, so many innocent persons have been sacrificed to them.  However, I shall not be patient under this attack, but shall publish an answer-the narrative I mentioned to you.  I would, as you know, have avoided entering into this affair if I could; but as I do not despise public esteem, it is necessary to show how groundless the accusation is.  Do not speak of my intention, as perhaps I shall not execute it immediately.

I am not in the least acquainted with the Mr. Bridges you mention, nor know that I ever saw him.  The tomb for Mr. Gray is actually erected, and at the generous expense of Mr. Mason, and with an epitaph of four lines,(316) as you heard, and written by him—­but the scaffolds are not yet removed.  I was in town yesterday, and intended to visit it, but there is digging a vault for the family of Northumberland, which obstructs the removal of the boards.

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I rejoice in your amendment, and reckon it among my obligations to the fine weather, and hope it will be the most lasting of them.  Yours ever.

(316) “No more the Grecian Muse unrivall’d reigns; To Britain let the nations homage pay:  She felt a Homer’s fire in Milton’s strains, A Pindar’s rapture in the lyre of Gray."-E.

Letter 143 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, August 15, 1778. (page 194)

Your observation of Rowley not being mentioned by William of Wyrcestre, is very strong, indeed, dear Sir, and I shall certainly take notice of it.  It has suggested to me that he is not named by Bale or Pitts(317)—­is he?  Will you trouble yourself to look?  I conclude he is not, or we should have heard of it.  Rowley is the reverse of King Arthur, and all those heroes that have been expected a second time; he is to come again for the first time-I mean, as a great poet.  My defence amounts to thirty pages of the size of this paper:  yet I believe I shall not publish it.  I abhor a controversy; and what is it to me whether people believe in an impostor or not?  Nay, shall I convince every body of my innocence, though there is not the shadow of reason for thinking I was to blame?  If I met a beggar in the street, and refused him sixpence, thinking him strong enough to work, and two years afterwards he should die of drinking, might not I be told I had deprived the world of a capital rope-dancer?  In short, to show one’s self sensible to such accusations, would only invite more; and since they accuse me of contempt, I will have it for my accusers.

My brass plate for Bishop Walpole was copied exactly from the print in Dart’s Westminster, of the tomb of Robert Dalby, Bishop of Durham, with the sole alteration Of the name.  I shall return, as soon as I have time, to Mr. Baker’s Life; but I shall want to Consult you, or, at least, the account of him in the new Biographia, as your notes want some dates.  I am not satisfied yet with what I have sketched; but I shall correct it.  My small talent was grown very dull.  This attack about Chatterton has a little revived it; but it warns me to have done , for, if*one comes to want provocatives,-the produce will soon be feeble.  Adieu!  Yours most sincerely.

(317) John Bale, Bishop of Ossory.  The work to which Walpole alludes is his “Catalog’s Scriptorum illustrium Majoris Brytannie.”  Basle, 1557-E.—­John Pitts wrote, in opposition to Bale, “De illustribus Angliae Scriptoribus.”  Paris, 1619.-E.

Letter 144 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, August 21, 1778. (page 195)

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I think it so very uncertain whether this letter will find you, that I write merely to tell you I received yours to-day.  I recollect nothing particularly worth seeing in Sussex that you have not seen (for I think you have seen Coudray and Stansted, and I know you have Petworth), but Hurst Monceaux, near Battle; and I don’t know whether it is not pulled down.  The site of Arundel Castle is fine, and there are some good tombs of the Fitzalans at the church, but little remains of the castle; in the room of which is a modern brick house; and in the late Duke’s time the ghost of a giant walked there, his grace said—­but I suppose the present Duke has laid it in the Red Sea of claret.

Besides Knowle and Penshurst, I should think there were several seats of old families in Kent worth seeing; but I do not know them.  I poked out Summer-hill(318) for the sake of the Babylonienne in Grammont; but it is now a mere farmhouse.  Don’t let them Persuade you to visit Leeds Castle, which is not worth seeing.

You have been near losing me and half a dozen fair cousins today.  The Goldsmiths, Company dined in Mr. Shirley’s field, next to Pope’s.  I went to Ham with my three Waldegrave nieces and Miss Keppel, and saw them land, and dine in tents erected for them, from the opposite shore.  You may imagine how beautiful the sight was in such a spot and in such a day!  I stayed and dined at Ham, and after dinner Lady Dysart, with Lady Bridget Tollemache took our four nieces on the water to see the return of the barges but were to set me down at Lady Browne’s.  We were, with a footman and the two watermen, ten in a little boat.  As we were in the middle of the river, a larger boat full of people drove directly upon us on purpose.  I believe they were drunk.  We called to them, to no purpose; they beat directly against the middle of our little skiff—­but, thank you, did not do us the least harm—­no thanks to them.  Lady Malpas was in Lord Strafford’s garden, and gave us for gone.  In short, Neptune never would have had so beautiful a prize as the four girls.

I hear an express has been sent to * * * * to offer him the mastership of the horse.  I had a mind to make you guess, but you never can—­to Lord Exeter!  Pray let me know the moment you return to Park-place.

(318) Formerly a country-seat of Queen Elizabeth, and the residence of Charles the Second when the court was at Tunbridge.- E.

Letter 145 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, August 22, 1778. (page 196)

I beg you Will feel no uneasiness, dear Sir, at having shown my name to Dr. Glynn.  I Can never suspect you, who are giving me fresh proofs of your friendship, and solicitude for my reputation, of doing any thing unkind.  It is true I do not think I shall publish any thing about Chatterton.  Is not it an affront to innocence, not to be perfectly satisfied in her?  My pamphlet, for

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such it would be, is four times as large as the narrative in your hands, and I think Would not discredit me—­but, in truth, I am grown much fonder of truth than fame; and scribblers or their patrons shall not provoke me to sacrifice the one to the other.  Lord Hardwicke, I know, has long been my enemy,—­latterly, to get a sight of the Conway Papers, he has paid great court to me, which, to show how little I regarded his enmity, I let him see, at least the most curious.  But as I set as little value on his friendship, I did not grant another of his requests.  Indeed, I have made more than one foe by not indulging the vanity of those who have made application to me; and I am obliged to them, when they augment my contempt by quarrelling with me for that refusal.  It was the case of Mr. Masters, and is now of Lord Hardwicke.  He solicited me to reprint his Boeotian volume of Sir Dudley Carleton’s Papers, for which he had two motives.  The first he inherited from his father, the desire of saving money; for though his fortune is so much larger than mine, he knew I would not let out my press for hire, but should treat him with the expense, as I have done for those I have obliged.  The second was, that the rarity of my editions makes them valuable, and though I cannot make men read dull books, I can make them purchase them.  His lordship, therefore, has bad grace in affecting to overlook one, whom he had in vain courted, yet he again is grown my enemy, because I would not be my own.  For my Writings, they do not depend on him or the venal authors he patronizes (I doubt very frugally), but On their own merits or demerits.  It is from men of sense they must expect their sentence, not from boobies and hireling authors, whom I have always shunned, with the whole fry of minor wits, critics, and monthly censors.  I have not seen the Review you mention, nor ever do, but when something particular is pointed out to me.  Literary squabbles I know preserve one’s name, when one’s work will not; but I despise the fame that depends on scolding till one is remembered, and remembered by whom?  The scavengers of literature!  Reviewers are like sextons, who in a charnel-house can tell you to what John Thompson or to what Tom-Matthews such a skull or such belonged—­but who wishes to know?  The fame that is only to be found in such vaults, is like the fires that burn unknown in tombs, and go out as fast as they are discovered.  Lord Hardwicke is welcome to live among the dead if he likes’,,it, and can contrive to live nowhere else.

Chatterton did abuse me under the title of Baron of Otranto,(319) but unluckily the picture is more like Dr. Milles and Chatterton’s own devotees’ than to me, who am but a recreant antiquary, and, as the poor lad found by experience, did not swallow every fragment that ’Was offered to me as an antique; though that is a feature he has bestowed Upon me.

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I have seen, too, the criticism you mention on the Castle of Otranto, in the preface to the Old English Baron.(320) It is not at all oblique, but, though mixed with high compliments, directly attacks the visionary part, which, says the author or authoress, makes one laugh.  I do assure you, I have not had the smallest inclination to return that attack.  It would even be ungrateful, for the work is a professed imitation of mine, only stripped of the marvellous; and so entirely stripped, except in one awkward attempt at a ghost or two, that it is the most insipid dull nothing you ever saw.  It certainly does not make me laugh; but what makes one doze, seldom makes one merry.

I am very sorry to have talked for near three pages on what relates to myself, who should be of no consequence, if people did not make me so, whether I will or not.- My not replying to them, I hope, is a proof I do not seek to make myself the topic of conversation.  How very foolish are the squabbles of authors!  They buzz and are troublesome, to-day, and then repose for ever on some shelf in a college’ library, close by their antagonists, like Henry VI. and Edward iv. at Windsor.

I shall be in town in a few days, and will send You the heads of painters, which I left there; and along with them for yourself a translation of a French play,(321) that I have just printed there.  It is not for your reading, but as one of the Strawberry editions, and one of the rarest; for I have printed but seventy-five copies.  It was to oblige Lady Craven, — the translatress; and will be an aggravation of my offence to Sir Dudley’s State Papers.

I hope this Elysian summer, for it has been above Indian, has dispersed all your complaints.  Yet it does not agree with fruit; the peaches and nectarines are shrivelled to the size of damsons, and half of them drop.  Yet you remember what portly bellies the peaches had at Paris, where it is generally as hot.  I suppose our fruit-trees are so accustomed to rain, that they don’t know how to behave without it.  Adieu!

P. S. I can divert you with a new adventure that has happened to me in the literary way.  About a month ago, I received a letter from Mr. Jonathan Scott, at Shrewsbury, to tell me he was possessed of Ms. of Lord Herbert’s Account of the Court of France,(322) which he designed to publish by subscription, and which he desired me to subscribe to, and to assist in the publication.  I replied, that having been obliged to the late Lord Powis and his widow, I could not meddle with any such thing, without knowing that it had the consent of the present Earl and his mother.

Another letter, commending my reserve, told me Mr. Scott had applied for it formerly, and would again now.  This showed me they did not consent.  I have just received a third letter, owning the approbation has not yet arrived; but to keep me employed in the mean time, the modest Mr. Scott, whom I never saw, nor know more of than I did of Chatterton, proposes to me to get his fourth son a place in the civil department in India:  the father not choosing it should be in the military, his three eldest sons being engaged in that branch already.  If this fourth son breaks his neck, I suppose it will be laid to my charge!  Yours ever.

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(319) Chatterton exhibited a ridiculous portrait of Walpole:  in the “Memoirs of a Sad Dog,” under the character of “the redoubted Baron Otranto, who has spent his whole life in conjectures."-E.

(320) The Old English Baron, a romance of considerable repute which has been frequently reprinted, was the production of Clara Reeve.  This Ingenious lady had published, in 1772, a translation of Barclay’s Latin romance of Argenis, under the title of “The Phoenix, or the History of Polyarchus and Argenis.”  She was born at Ipswich, in 1738, died there in 1808.-E.

(321) “the Sleep Walker;” Strawberry Hill, 1778.  It was translated from the French of M. Pont de Veyle, by Lady Craven, afterwards Margravine of Anspach.-E.

(322) By Lord Herbert’s Account of the Court of France, Mr. Scott most probably referred to his “Letters written during his residence at the French Court” and which were first published from the originals, in the edition of his Life which appeared in 1826.-E.

Letter 146 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  September 1, 1778. (page 198)

I have now seen the Critical Review, with Lord Hardwicke’s note, in which I perceive the sensibility of your friendship for me, dear Sir, but no rudeness on his part.  Contemptuous it was to reprint Jane Shore’s letter without any notice of my having given it before:  the apology, too, is not made to me-but I am not affected by such incivilities, that imply more ill-will than boldness.  As I expected more from your representation, I believe I expressed myself with more warmth than the occasion deserved; and, as I love to be just, I will, now I am perfectly cool, be so to Lord Hardwicke.  His dislike of me was meritorious in him, as I conclude it was founded on my animosity to his father, as mine had been, from attachment to my own who was basely betrayed by the late Earl.  The present has given me formerly many peevish marks of enmity; and I suspect, I don’t know if justly, that he was the mover of the cabal in the Antiquarian Society against me--but all their Misunderstandings were of a size that made me smile rather than provoked me.  The Earl, as I told you, has since been rather wearisome in applications to me; which I received rather civilly, but encouraged no farther.  When he wanted me to be his printer, I own I was not good Christian enough, not to be pleased with refusing, and yet in as well-bred excuses as I could form, pleading what was true at the time, as you know, that I had laid down my press-but so much for this idle story.  I shall think no more of it, but adhere to my specific system.  The antiquarians will be as ridiculous as they used to be; and, since it is impossible to infuse taste into them, they will be as dry and dull as their predecessors.  One may revive what perished, but it will perish again, if more life is not breathed into it than it enjoyed originally.  Facts, dates, and names will never please the multitude, unless

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there is some style and manner to recommend them, and unless some novelty is struck out from their appearance.  The best merit of the society lies in their prints; for their volumes, no mortal will ever touch them but an antiquary.  Their Saxon and Danish discoveries are not worth more than monuments of the Hottentots; and for Roman remains in Britain, they are upon a foot with what ideas we should get of Inigo Jones, if somebody was to publish views of huts and houses, that our officers run up at Senegal and Goree.  Bishop Lyttelton used to torment me with barrows and Roman camps, and I would as soon have attended to the turf graves in our churchyards.  I have no curiosity to know how awkward and clumsy men have been in the dawn of arts, or in their decay.

I exempt you entirely from my general censure on antiquaries, both for your singular modesty in publishing nothing yourself, and for collecting stone and bricks for others to build with.  I wish your materials may ever fall into good hands—­perhaps they will! our empire is falling to pieces! we are relapsing to a little island. n that state men are apt to inquire how great their ancestors have been; and, when a kingdom is past doing any thing, the few that are studious look into the memorials of past time; nations, like private persons, seek lustre from their progenitors, when they have none in themselves, and the farther they are from the dignity of their source.  When half its colleges are tumbled down, the ancient university of Cambridge will revive from your Collections,(323) and you will be a living witness that saw its splendour.

Since I began this letter, I have had another curious adventure.  I was in the Holbein chamber, when a chariot stopped at my door.  A letter was brought up—­and who should be below but—­Dr. Kippis.  The letter was to announce himself and his business, flattered me on My Writings, desired my assistance, and particularly my direction and aid for his writing the life of my father.  I desired he would walk up, and received him very civilly, taking not the smallest notice of what you had told me of his flirts at me in the new Biographia.  I told him if I had been applied to, I could have pointed out many errors in the old edition, but as they were chiefly in the printing, I supposed they would be corrected.  With regard to my father’s life, I said, it might be partiality, but I had such confidence in my father’s virtues, that I was satisfied the more his life was examined, the clearer they would appear.  That I also thought that the life of any man written under the direction of his family, did nobody honour; and that, as I was persuaded my father’s would stand the test, I wished that none of his relations should interfere in it.  That I did not doubt but the Doctor would speak impartially, and that was all I desired.  He replied, that he did suppose I thought in that manner, and that all he asked was to be assisted in facts and dates.  I said, if he would please to write the life first, and then communicate it to me, I would point out any errors in facts that I should perceive.  He seemed mightily well satisfied-and so we parted-but is it not odd. that people are continually attacking me, and then come to me for’ assistance?—­ but when men write for profit, they are not very delicate.

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I have resumed Mr. Baker’s life, and pretty well arranged my plan; but I shall have little time to make any progress till October, as I am going soon to make some visits.  Yours ever.

(323) His valuable Collections, in about a hundred volumes, in folio fairly written in his own band, Mr. Cole, on his death in 1782, left to the British Museum, to be locked up for twenty years.  His Diary, as will be seen by a specimen or two, is truly ludicrous:—­Jan. 25, 1766.  Foggy.  My beautiful Parrot died at ten at night, without knowing the Cause of his illness, he being very well last night.—­Feb. 1.  Fine day, and cold.  Will.  Wood carried three or four loads of dung Baptized William, the son of William Grace, blacksmith, whom I married about six months before.  March 3.  I baptized Sarah, the bastard daughter of the Widow Smallwood, of Eton, aged near fifty, whose husband died about a year ago.—­March 6, Very fine weather.  My man was blooded.  I sent a loin Of pork and a spare-rib to Mr. Cartwright, in London.—­27.  I sent my two French wigs to my London barber to alter, they being made so miserably I could not wear them.—­June 17.  I went to our new Archdeacon’s visitation at Newport-Pagnel. took young H. Travel with me on my dun horse, in order that he might hear the organ, he being a great psalm-singer.  The most numerous appearance of clergy that I remember:  forty-four dined with the Archdeacon; and what is extraordinary, not one smoked tobacco.  My new coach-horse ungain.—­Aug. 16.  Cool day.  Tom reaped for Joe Holdom.  I cudgelled Jem for staying so long on an errand,” etc.-E.

Letter 147 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 18, 1778. (page 200)

I have run through the new articles in the Biographia, and think them performed but by a heavy hand.  Some persons have not trusted the characters of their ancestors, as I did my father’s, to their own merits.  On the contrary, I have met with one whose corruption is attempted to be palliated by imputing its punishment to the revenge of my father-which, by the way, is confessing the guilt of the convict.  This was the late Lord Barrington,(324) who, i believe, was a very dirty fellow; for, besides being expelled the House of Commons on the affair of the Harburgh lottery, he was reckoned to have twice sold the Dissenters to the court; but in short, what credit can a Biographia Britannica, which ought to be a standard work, deserve, when the editor is a mercenary writer, who runs about to relations for direction, and adopts any tale they deliver to him?  This very instance is proof that it is not a jot more creditable than a peerage.  The authority is said to be a nephew of Judge Foster, (consequently, I suppose, a friend of Judge Barrington), and he pretends to have found a scrap of paper, nobody knows on what occasion written, that seems to be connected with nothing, and is called a palliative, if not an

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excuse of Lord Barrington’s crime.  A man is expelled from Parliament for a scandalous job, and it is called a sufficient excuse to say the minister was his enemy; and this nearly forty years after the death of both! and without any impeachment of the justice of the sentence:  instead of which we are told that Lord Barrington was suspected of having offended Sir Robert Walpole, who took that opportunity of being revenged.  Supposing he did—­which at most you see is a suspicion—­grounded on a suspicion—­it would at least Imply, that he had found a good opportunity.  A most admirable acquittal!  Sir Robert Walpole was expelled for having endorsed a note that was not for his own benefit, nor ever supposed to be, and it Was the act of a whole outrageous party; yet, abandoned as parliaments sometimes are, a minister would not find them very complaisant In gratifying his private revenge against a member without some crime.  Not a syllable is said of any defence the culprit made:; and,’ had my father been guilty of such violence and injustice, it is totally incredible that he, whose minutest acts and his most innocent were so rigorously scrutinized, tortured, and blackened, should never have heard that act of power complained of.  The present Lord Barrington who opposed him, saw his fall, and the secret committee appointed’ to canvass his life, when a retrospect of twenty years was desired and only ten allowed, would certainly have pleaded for the longer term, had he had any thing to say, in behalf of his father’s sentence.  Would so warm a patriot then, though so obedient a courtier now, have suppressed the charge to this hour?  This Lord Barrington, when I was going to publish the second edition of my Noble Authors, begged it as a favour of me suppress all mention of his father—­a strong presumption that he was ashamed of him.  I am well repaid! but I am certainly 11 record that good man.  I shall-and s ow at liberty to hall take notice of the satisfactory manner in which his sons have whitewashed their patriarch.  I recollect a saying of the present peer that will divert you when contrasted with forty years of servility which even in this age makes him a proverb.  It was in his days of virtue.  He said, “If I should ever be so unhappy as to have a place that would make it necessary for me to have a fine coat on a birthday, I would pin a bank-bill on my sleeve.”  He had a place in less than two years, I think—­and has had almost every place that every administration could bestow.(325) Such were the patriots that opposed that excellent man, my father; allowed by all parties as incapable of revenge as ever minister was—­but whose experience of mankind drew from him that memorable saying, “that very few men ought to be prime ministers, for it is not fit many should know how bad men are;”—­one can see a little of it without being a prime minister. “one shuns mankind and flies to books, one meets with their meanness and falsehood there, too! one has reason to say, there is but one good, that is God.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

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(324) John Shute, first Viscount Barrington in the peerage of Ireland, expelled the House of Commons in February 1723, for having promoted, abetted, and carried on that fraudulent undertaking, the Harburgh lottery.  This lottery took its name from the place where it Was to be drawn, the town and port of Harburgh, on the river Elbe, where the projector was to settle a trade for the woollen manufacture between England and Germany.  Lord Barrington was distinguished for theological learning, and published “Miscellanea Critica” and an “Essay on the several Dispensations of God to Mankind.”  He died in 1734, leaving five sons, who had the rare fortune of each rising to high stations in the church, the state, the law, the army, and the navy.-E.

(325) See vol. i. p. 258, letter 69.  Among the Mitchell MSS. is a letter from Lord Barrington, in which he says, “No man knows what is good for him:  my invariable rule, therefore, is to ask nothing, to refuse nothing; to let Others place me, and to do my best wherever I am placed.  The same strange fortune which made me secretary of war five years ago has made me chancellor of the exchequer; it may perhaps at last make me pope.  I think i am equally fit to be at the head of the church as the exchequer."-E.

Letter 148 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Oct, 14, 1778. (page 202)

I think you take in no newspapers, nor do I believe condescend to read any more modern than the Paris `a la Main at the time of the Ligue; consequently you have not seen a new scandal on my father, which you will not wonder offends me.  You cannot be interested in his defence; but, as it comprehends some very curious anecdotes, you will not grudge my indulging myself to a friend in vindicating a name so dear to me.  In the accounts of Lady Chesterfield’s(326) death and fortune, it is said that the late King, at the instigation of Sir Robert Walpole, burnt his father’s will which contained a large legacy to that, his supposed, daughter, and I believe his real one; for she was very like him, as her brother General Schulembourg, is, in black, to the late King.  The fact of suppressing the will is indubitably true; the instigator most false, as I can demonstrate thus:—­ When the news arrived of the death of George the First, my father carried the account from Lord Townshend to the then Prince of Wales.  One of the first acts of royalty is for the new monarch to make a speech to the privy council.  Sir Robert asked the King who he would please to have draw the Speech, which was, in fact, asking who was to be prime minister; to which his Majesty replied, Sir Spencer Compton.  It is a wonderful anecdote, and but little known, that the new premier, a very dull man, could not draw the Speech, and the person to whom he applied was the deposed premier.  The Queen, who favoured my father, observed how unfit a man was for successor, who was reduced to beg assistance of his predecessor. 

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The council met as soon as possible, the next morning at latest.  There Archbishop Wake, with whom one copy of the will had been deposited, (as another was, I think, with the Duke of Wolfenbuttle, who had a pension for sacrificing it, which, I know, the late Duke of Newcastle transacted,) advanced and delivered the will to the King, who put it into his pocket, and went out of council without opening it, the Archbishop- not having courage or presence of mind to desire it to b’ read,. as he ought to have done.

These circumstances, which I solemnly assure you are strictly true, prove that my father neither advised, nor was consulted; nor is it credible that the King in one night’s time should have passed from the intention of disgracing him, to make him his bosom Confidant on so delicate an affair.

I was once talking to the late Lady Suffolk, the former mistress, on that extraordinary event.  She said, “I cannot justify the deed to the legatees; but towards his father, the late King was justifiable, for George the First had burnt two wills made in favour of George the Second.”  I suppose these were the testaments of the Duke and Duchess of Zell, parents of George the First’s wife, whose treatment of her they always resented.

I said, I know the transactions of the Duke of Newcastle.  The late Lord Waldegrave showed me a letter from that Duke to The first Earl of Waldegrave, then ambassador at Paris, with directions about that transaction, or, at least, about payment of the pension, I forget which.(327) I have somewhere, but cannot turn to it now, a memorandum of that affair, and who the Prince was, whom I may mistake in calling Duke of Wolfenbuttle.  There was a third copy of the will, I likewise forget with whom deposited.  The newspaper says, which is true, that Lord Chesterfield filed a bill in chancery against the late King to oblige him to produce the will, and was silenced, I think, by payment of twenty thousand Pounds.  There was another legacy to his own daughter, the Queen of Prussia, which has at times been, and, I believe, is still claimed by the King of Prussia.

Do not mention any part of this story, but it is worth preserving, I am sure you are satisfied with my scrupulous veracity.  It may Perhaps be authenticated hereafter by collateral evidence that may come out.  If ever true history does come to light my father’s character will have just honour paid to it.  Lord Chesterfield, one of his sharpest enemies, has not, with all his prejudices, left a very unfavourable account of him, and it would alone be raised by a comparison of their two characters.  Think of one who calls Sir Robert the corrupter of youth, leaving a system of education to poison them from their nursery!  Chesterfield, Pulteney, and Bolingbroke were the saints that reviled my father!  I beg your pardon, but you will allow Me to open my heart to you when it is full.  Yours ever.

(326) Malosine de Schulenbourg, a natural daughter of George I. by Miss Schulenbourg, afterwards created Duchess of Kendal.  She was created, in 1722, Countess of Walsingham and Baroness of Aldborough, and was the widow of Philip Dormer Stanhope, the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield, who died in 1773-E.

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(327) See Walpole’s Memoires of George the second, vol. ii., p. 458-E.

Letter 149 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Oct. 23, 1778. (page 204)

* * * * * Having thus told you all I know, I shall add a few words, to say I conclude you have known as much, by my not having heard from you.  Should the post-office or secretary’s o(fice set their wits at work to bring to light all the intelligence contained under the above hiatus, I am confident they will discover nothing, though it gives an exact description of all they have been about themselves.

My personal history is very short.  I have had an assembly and the rheumatism-and am buying a house-and it rains-and I shall plant the roses against my treillage to-morrow.  Thus you know -what I have done, suffered, am doing, and shall do.  Let me know as much of you, in quantity, not in quality.  Introductions to, and conclusions of, letters are as much out of fashion, as to at, etc. on letters.  This sublime age reduces every thing to its quintessence:  all periphrases and expletives are so much in disuse, that I suppose soon the only way of making love will be to say “Lie down.”  Luckily, the lawyers will not part with any synonymous words, and will, consequently preserve the redundancies of our language—­Dixi.

Letter 150 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  October 26, 1778. (page 204)

I have finished the life of Mr. Baker, will have it transcribed, and send it to you.  I have omitted several little particulars that are in your notes, for two reasons; one, because so much is said in the Biographia; and the other, because I have rather drawn a character of him, than meant a circumstantial life.  In the justice I have done to him, I trust I shall have pleased you.  I have much greater doubt of that effect in what I have said of his principles and party.  It is odd, perhaps, to have made use of the life of a high churchman for expatiating on my own very opposite principles; but it gave me so fair an opportunity of discussing those points, that I very naturally embraced it.  I have done due honour to his immaculate conscience, but have not spared the cause in which he fell,-or rather rose,-for the ruin of his fortune was the triumph of his virtue.

As you know I do not love the press, you may be sure I have no thoughts of printing this life at present; nay, I beg you will not only not communicate it, but take care it never should be printed without my consent.  I have written what presented itself; I should perhaps choose to soften several passages; and I trust to you for Your own satisfaction, not as a finished thing, or as I am determined it should remain.

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Another favour I beg of you is to criticise it as largely and severely As you please:  you have A right so to do, as it is built with your own materials, nay, you have a right to scold if I have, nay, since I have, employed them so differently from your intention.  All my excuse is, that you communicated them to one who did not deceive you, and you was pretty sure would make nearly the use of them that he has made.  Was not you? did you not suspect a little that I could not write even a Life of Mr. Baker without talking Whiggism!—­Well, if I have ill-treated the cause, I am sure I have exalted the martyr.  I have thrown new light on his virtue from his notes on the Gazettes, and you will admire him more, though you may love me less, for my chymistry.  I should be truly sorry if I did lose a scruple of your friendship.  You have ever been as candid to me, as Mr. Baker was to his antagonists, and our friendship is another proof that men of the most opposite principles can agree in every thing else, and not quarrel about them.

As my manuscript contains above twenty pages of my writing on larger paper than this, you cannot receive it speedily—­however, I have Performed my promise, and I hope you will not be totally discontent, though I am not satisfied with myself.  I have executed it by snatches and by long interruptions; and not having been eager about it, I find I wanted that ardour to inspire me; another proof of what I told you, that my small talent is waning, and wants provocatives.  It shall be a warning to me.  Adieu!

Letter 151 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Nov. 4, 1778. (page 205)

You will see by my secretary’s hand, that I am not able to write myself; indeed, I am in bed with the gout in six places, like Daniel in the den; but, as the lions are slumbering round me, and leave me a moment of respite, I employ it to give you one.  You have misunderstood me, dear Sir:  I have not said a word that will lower Mr. Baker’s character; on the contrary, I think he will come out brighter from my ordeal.  In truth, as I have drawn out his life from your papers, it is a kind of Political epic, in which his conscience is the hero that always triumphs over his interest upon the most opposite occasions.  Shall you dislike your saint in this light!  I had transcribed about half when I fell ill last week.  If the gout does not seize my right hand, I shall Probably have recovery full leisure to finish it during my recovery, but shall certainly not be able to send it to you by Mr. Lort.

Your promise fully satisfies me.  My life can never extend to twenty years.(328) Anyone that saw me this moment would not take me for a Methusalem.  I have not strength to dictate more now, except to add, that if Mr. Nicholls has seen my narrative about Chatterton, it can only be my letter to Mr. Barrett, of which you have a copy; the larger one has not yet been out of my own house.  Yours most sincerely.

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(328) Mr. Cole had informed Walpole that his collections were not to be opened until twenty years after his death.  See ant`e, P. 199, letter 146, note 323.

Letter 152 To Lady Browne.(329) Arlington Street, Nov, 5, 1778. (page 206)

Your ladyship is exceedingly kind and charitable, and the least I can do in return is to do all I can—­dictate a letter to you.  I have not been out of bed longer than it was necessary to have it made, once a day, since last Thursday.  The gout is in both my feet, both my knees, and in my left hand and elbow.  Had I a mind to brag, I could boast of a little rheumatism too, but I scorn to set value on such a trifle; nay, I will own that I have felt but little acute pain.  My chief propensity to exaggeration would be on the miserable nights I have passed; and yet whatever I should say would not be beyond what I thought I suffered.  I have been constantly as broad awake as Mrs. Candour that is always gaping for Scandal,(330) except when I have taken opiates, and then my dreams have been as extravagant as Mrs. Candour adds to what she hears.  In short, Madam, not to tire you with more details, though you have ordered them, I am so weak that I am able to see nobody at all, and when I shall be recovered enough to take possession of this new lease, as it is called, the mansion, I believe, will be so shattered that it won’t be worth repairs.  Is it not very foolish, then, to be literally buying a new house?  Is it not verifying Pope’s line, when I choose a Pretty situation,

“But just to look about us and to die?”

I am sorry Lady Jane’s lot is fallen in Westphalia, where so great a hog is lord of the manor.  He is like the dragon of Wantley,

“And houses and churches
To him are geese and turkeys;”

so I don’t wonder that he has gobbled her two cows.

Lady Blandford is delightful in congratulating me upon having the gout in town, and staying in the country herself.  Nay, she is very insolent in presuming to be the only person invulnerable.  If I could wish her any, harm, it should be that she might feel for one quarter of an hour a taste of the mortifications that I suffered from eleven last night till four this morning, and I am sure she would never dare to have a spark of courage again.  I can only wish her in Grosvenor-square, where she would run no risks.  Her reputation for obstinacy is so well established, that she might take advice from her true friends for a twelvemonth, before we should believe our own ears.  However, as every body has some weak part, I know she will do for others more than for herself; and, therefore, pray Madam, tell her, that I am sure it is bad for Your ladyship to stay in the country at this time of year, and that reason, I am sure will bring you both.  I really must rest.

(329) Now first printed.  See vol. iii., letter to George Montagu, Esq., Nov. 1, 1767, letter 332.

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(330) Sheridan’s popular comedy of the “School for Scandal” which came out at Drury-lane theatre in May 1777, was at this time as much the favourite of the town as ever.-E.

Letter 153 To Lady Browne.(331) Arlington Street, Dec. 18, 1778. (page 207)

My not writing with my own hand, to thank Your ladyship for your very obliging letter, is the worst symptom that remains with me, Madam:  all pain and swelling are gone; and I hope in a day or two to get a glove even on my right hand, and to walk with help into the room by the end of next week.  I did I confess, see a great deal too much company too early; and was such an old child as to prattle abundantly, till I was forced to shut myself up for a week and see nobody; but I am quite recovered, and the emptiness of the town will soon preserve me from any excesses.

I am exceedingly glad to hear your ladyship finds so much benefit from the air:  I own I thought you looked ill the last time I had the honour of seeing you; and though I am sorry to hear you talk with so much satisfaction of a country life, I am not selfish enough to wish you to leave Tusmore(332) a day before your health is quite re-established, nor to envy Mr. Fermor so agreeable an addition to his society and charming seat.

Poor Lady Albemarle is indeed very miserable and full of apprehensions; though the incredible zeal. of the navy for Admiral Keppel crowns him with glory, and the indignation of and the indignation of mankind, and the execration of Sir Hugh, add to the triumph.  Indeed, I still think Lady A.’s fears may be well founded:  some slur may be Procured on her son; and his own bad nerves, and worse constitution, may not be able to stand agitation and suspense.(333)

Lady Blandford has had a cold, but I hear is well again, and has generally two tables.  She will be a loss indeed to all her friends, and to hundreds more; but she cannot be immortal, nor would be, if she could.

The writings are not yet signed, Madam, for my house, but I am in no doubt of having it; yet I shall not think of going into it till the spring, as I cannot enjoy this year’s gout in it, and will not venture catching a codicil, by going backwards and forwards to it before it is aired.

I know no particular news, but that Lord Bute was thought in great danger yesterday; I have heard nothing of him to-day.  I do not know even a match, but of some that are going to be divorced; the fate of one of the latter is to be turned into an exaltation, and is treated by her family and friends in quite a new style, to the discomfit of all prudery.  It puts me in mind of Lord Lansdowne’s lines in the room in the Tower where my father had been confined,

“Some fall so hard, they bound and rise again.”

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Methinks, however, it is a little hard on Lord George Germaine, that in four months after seeing a Duchess of Dorset, he may see a Lord Middlesex too; for so old the egg is said to be, that is already prepared.  If this trade goes on, half the peeresses will have two eldest sons with both fathers alive at the same time.  Lady Holderness expresses nothing but grief and willingness to receive her daughter(334) again on any terms, which probably will happen; for the daughter has already opened her eyes, is sensible of her utter ruin, and has written to Lord Carmarthen and Madam Cordon, acknowledging her guilt, and begging to be remembered only with pity, which is sufficient to make one pity her.

I would beg pardon for so long a letter, but your ladyship desired the intelligence, and I know a long letter from London is not uncomfortable at Christmas, even. in the most comfortable house in the country.  Perhaps my own forced idleness has a little contributed to lengthen it; still I hope it implies great readiness to obey your ladyship’s commands, in your most obedient humble servant.

(331) Now first printed.

(332) Lady Browne’s first husband was Henry Fermor Esq., grandfather of Mr. Fermor of Tusmore House.  She was Miss Sheldon.-E.

(333) Some charges having been brought against Admiral Keppel for his conduct at the battle of Ushant, by Sir Hugh Palliser, his vice-admiral, he was tried for the same, and not only unanimously acquitted, but the prosecution declared malicious.  This verdict gave such general satisfaction, that London was illuminated for two nights; upon one, of which a mob, consisting in great part of sailors who had served under Keppel, broke all the windows in the house of his accuser.  The city of London voted the Admiral the freedom of the corporation.  In 1782, he was Created Viscount Keppel, and appointed first lord of the admiralty.  He died unmarried, in October 1786.  The following is a part of Mr. Burke’s beautiful panegyric on him, at the conclusion of his letter to a noble Lord:—­“I ever looked on Lord Keppel as one of the greatest and best men of his age, and I loved and cultivated him accordingly.  It was at his trial that he gave me this picture.  With what zeal and anxious affection I attended him through that his agony of glory; what part my son took in the early flush and enthusiasm of his virtue, and the pious passion with which he attached himself to all my connexions; with what prodigality we both squandered ourselves in courting almost every sort of enmity for his sake, I believe he felt, just as I should have felt such friendship on such an occasion.  I partook, indeed, of this honour with several of the first, and best, and ablest in the kingdom; but I was behind with none of them — and I am sure that if, to the eternal disgrace of this nation, and to the total annihilation of every trace of honour and virtue in it, things had taken a different turn from what they did, I should have attended him to the quarterdeck with no less good-will and more pride, though with far other feelings, than I partook of the general flow of national joy that attended the justice that was done to his virtue."-E.

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(335) Amelia D’Arcy, Baroness Conyers, daughter of Robert, fourth Earl of Holderness, Married to Lord Carmarthen; who had eloped with Captain John Byron, father of the great poet.-E.

Letter 154 To The Earl Of Buchan.(336) Arlington Street, Dec. 24, 1778. (page 209)

It was an additional mortification to my illness, my lord, that I was nut able to thank your lordship with my own hand for the honour of your letter, and for your goodness in remembering an old man, who must with reason consider himself as forgotten, when he never was of importance, and is now almost useless to himself.  Frequent severe fits of the gout have a good deal disabled me from pursuing the trifling studies in which I could pretend to know any thing; or at least has given me an indifference, that makes me less ready in answering questions than I may have been formerly; and as my papers are in the country, whither at present I am not able to go, I fear I can give but unsatisfactory replies to your lordship’s queries.

The two very curious pictures of King James and his Queen (I cannot recollect whether the third or fourth of the name, but I know that she was a princess of Sweden or Denmark,(337) and that her arms are on her portrait,) were at the palace at Kensington, and I imagine are there still.  I had obtained leave from the Lord Chamberlain to have drawings made of them, and Mr. Wale actually began them for me, but made such slow progress, and I was so called off from the thought of them by indispositions and other avocations, that they were never finished; and Mr..  Wale may, perhaps, still have the beginnings he made.

At the Duke of Devonshire’s at Hardwicke, there is a valuable though poorly painted picture of James V. and Mary of Guise, his second queen:  it is remarkable from the great resemblance of Mary Queen of Scots to her father; I mean in Lord Morton’s picture of her, and in the image of her on her tomb at Westminster, which agree together, and which I take to be the genuine likeness.  I have doubts on Lord Burlington’s picture, and on Dr. Mead’s.  The nose in both is thicker, and also fuller at bottom than on the tomb; though it is a little supported by her coins.

There is a much finer portrait,—­indeed, an excellent head,—­of the Lady Margaret Douglas at Mr. Carteret’s at Hawnes in Bedfordshire, the late Lord Granville’s.  It is a shrewd countenance, and at the same time with great goodness of character.  Lord Scarborough has a good picture, in the style of Holbein at least, of Queen Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry vii., and of her second or third husband (for, if I don’t mistake, she had three); but indeed, my lord, these things are so much out of my memory at present, that I speak with great diffidence.  I cannot even recollect any thing else to your lordship’s purpose; but I flatter myself, that these imperfect notices will at least be a testimony of my readiness to obey your lordship’s commands, as that I am, with great respect, my lord, your lordship’s obedient humble servant.

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(336) Now first printed.  David Stewart Erskine, eleventh Earl of Buchan.  He was intended for public life, but shortly after succeeding to the family honours, in 1767, he retired to Scotland, and devoted himself to literature.  His principal works were, an Essay on the lives of Fletcher of Saltoun and the Poet Thomson, and a Life of Napier of Merchiston.  He died at Dryburgh Abbey in 1829 at the age of eighty-seven.-E.

(337) James the First married, in 1590, Anne, daughter of Frederick King of Denmark.-E.

Letter 155 To Edward Gibbon, Esq.(338) [1778.] (page 210)

Dear Sir, I have gone through your Inquisitor’s attack(339) and am far from being clear that it deserves your giving yourself the trouble of an answer, as neither the detail nor the result affects your argument.  So far from it, many of his reproofs are levelled at your having quoted a wrong page; he confessing often that what you have cited is in the author, referred to, but not precisely in the individual spot.  If St. Peter is attended by a corrector of the press, you will certainly never be admitted where he is a porter.  I send you my copy, because I scribbled my remarks.  I do not send them with the impertinent presumption of suggesting a hint to you, but to prove I did not grudge the trouble of going through such a book when you desired it, and to show how little struck me as of any weight.

I have set down nothing on your imputed plagiarisms; for, if they are so, no argument that has ever been employed must be used again, even where the passage necessary is applied to a different purpose.  An author is not allowed to be master of his own works; but, by Davis’s new law, the first person that cites him would be so.  You probably looked into Middleton, Dodwell, etc.; had the same reflections on the same circumstances, or conceived them so as to recollect them, without remembering what suggested them.  Is this plagiarism?  If it is, Davis and such cavillers might go a short step further, and insist that an author should peruse every work antecedently written on every subject at all collateral to his own.-not to assist him, but to be sure to avoid every material touched by his predecessors.  I will make but one remark on such divine champions.  Davis and his prototypes tell you Middleton, etc. have used the same objections, and they have been confuted:  answering, in the theologic dictionary, signifying confuting; no matter whether there is sense, argument, truth, in the answer or not.

Upon the whole I think ridicule is the only answer such a work is entitled to.’  The ablest, answer which you can make (which would be the ablest answer that could be made) would never have any authority with the cabal, yet would allow a sort of dignity to the author.  His patrons will always maintain that he vanquished you, unless u made him too ridiculous for them to dare to revive his name.  You might divert yourself, too, with Alma Mater, the church, employing a goviat to defend the citadel, while the generals repose in their tents.  If irenaeus, St. Augustine, etc. did not set apprentices and proselytes to combat Celsus and the adversaries of the new religion—–­but early bishops had not five or six thousand pounds a-year.

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In short, dear Sir, I wish you not to lose your time; that is, either ,not reply, or set your mark on your answer, that it may always be read with the rest of your works.

(338) Now first collected.

(339) “An Examination of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of Mr. Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  By Henry Edward Davis, B.A. of Baliol College, Oxford.”  He was born in 1756 and died in 1784, at the early age of twenty-seven.  He was a native of Windsor, and is believed to have received a present from George the Third for this production.-E.

Letter 156 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Jan. 3, 1779. (page 211)

At last, after ten weeks I have been able to remove hither, in hopes change of air and the frost will assist my recovery; though I am not one of those ancients that forget the register, and think they are to be as well as ever after every fit of illness.  As yet I can barely creep about the room in the middle of the day.

I have made my printer (now my secretary) copy out the rest of Mr. Baker’s Life; for my own hand will barely serve to write necessary letters, and complains even of them.  If you know of any very trusty person passing between London and Cambridge, I would send it to you, but should not care to trust it by the coach, nor to any giddy undergraduate that comes to town to see a play; and, besides, I mean to return you your own notes.  I Will Say no more than I have said in my apology to you for the manner in which I have written this life.  With regard to Mr. Baker himself, I am confident you will find that I have done full justice to his work and character. i do not expect You to approve the inferences I draw against some other persons; and yet, if his conduct was meritorious, it would not be easy to excuse those who -were active after doing what he would not do.  You will not understand this sentence till you have seen the Life.

I hope you have not been untiled or unpaled by the tempest on New-year’s morning.(340) I have lost two beautiful elms in a row before my windows here, and had the skylight demolished in town.  Lady Pomfret’s Gothic house in my street lost one of the stone towers, like those at King’s Chapel, and it was beaten through the roof The top of our cross, too, at Ampthill was thrown down, as I hear from Lady Ossory this morning.  I remember to have been told that Bishop Kidder and his wife were killed in their bed in the palace of Gloucester in 1709,(341) and yet his heirs were sued for dilapidations.  Lord de Ferrers,(342) who deserves his ancient honours, is going to repair the castle at Tamworth, and has flattered me that he will Consult me.  He has a violent passion for ancestry—­and, consequently, I trust will not stake the patrimony of the Ferrars, Townshends, and Comptons, at the hazard-table.  A little pride would not hurt our nobility, cock and hen.  Adieu, dear Sir; send me a good account of yourself Yours ever.

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(340) On the 1st of January, 1779, London was visited by one of the most violent tempests ever known.  Scarcely a public building in the metropolis escaped without damage.-E.

(341) The memorable storm here alluded to took place in November, 1703, and Bishop Kidder and his lady perished in their bed at the episcopal palace at Wells by the fall of a stack of chimneys.  They were privately interred in the cathedral; and one of his daughters, dying single, directed by her will a monument to be erected for her parents.-E.

(342) Robert, sixth Earl Ferrers.  He had just succeeded to the title, by the death of his brother Washington, vice-admiral of the blue,; who had begun to rebuild the mansion of Stanton Harold, in Leicestershire, according to a plan of his own, and lived to see it nearly finished.-E.

Letter 157 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street; Jan. 9, 1779. (page 212)

Your flight to Bath would have much surprised me, if Mr. Churchill, who, I think, heard it from Stanley, had not prepared me for it.  Since you was amused, I am glad you went, especially as you escaped being initiated in Mrs. Miller’s follies at Batheaston,(343) which you would have mentioned.  She would certainly have sent some trapes of a Muse to press you, had she known what good epigrams you write.

I went to Strawberry partly out of prudence, partly from ennui.  I thought it best to air myself before I go in and out of hot rooms here, and had my house thoroughly warmed for a week previously, and then only stirred from the red room to the blue on the same floor.  I stayed five days, and was neither the better nor the worse for it.  I was quite tired with having neither company, books, nor amusement of any kind.  Either from the emptiness of the town, or that ten weeks of gout have worn out the patience of all my acquaintance, but I do not see three persons in three days.  This gives me but an uncomfortable prospect for my latter days:  it is but probable that I may be a cripple in a fit or two more, if I have strength to go through them; and, as that will be long life, one outlives one’s acquaintance.  I cannot make new acquaintance, nor interest myself at all about the young, except those that belong to me; nor does that go beyond contributing to their pleasures, without having much satisfaction in their conversation-But-one must take every thing as it comes, and make the best of it., I have had a much happier life than I deserve, and than millions that deserve better.  I should be very weak if I could not bear the uncomfortableness of old age, when I can afford what comforts it is capable of.  How many poor old people have none of them!  I am ashamed whenever I am peevish, and recollect that I have fire and servants to help me.

I hear Admiral Keppel is in high spirits with the great respect and zeal expressed for him.  In my own opinion, his constitution will not stand the struggle.  I am very uneasy too for the Duke of Richmond, who is at Portsmouth, and will be at least as much agitated.

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Sir William Meredith has written a large pamphlet, and a very good one.  It is to show, that whenever the Grecian republics taxed their dependents, the latter resisted, and shook off the yoke.  He has printed but twelve copies:  the Duke of Gloucester sent me one of them.  There is an anecdote of my father, on the authority of old Jack White, which I doubt.  It says, he would not go on with the excise scheme, though his friends advised it, I cannot speak to the particular event, as I was, then at school; but it was more like him to have yielded, against his sentiments, to Mr. Pelham and his candid—­or say, plausible—­and timid friends.  I have heard him say, that he never did give up his opinion to such men but he always repented it.  However, the anecdote in the, book would be more to his honour.  But what a strange man is Sir William!  I suppose, now he has written this book, he will change his opinion, and again be for carrying on the war—­or, if he does not know his own mind for two years together, why will he take places, to make every body doubt his honesty?

(343) See ant`e, P. 125, letter 86.-E.

Letter 158 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  January 15, 1779. (page 213)

I sent you by Dr. Jacob, as you desired, my Life of Mr. Baker, and with it your own materials.  I beg you will communicate my Manuscript to nobody, but if you think it worth your trouble I will consent to your transcribing it; but on one condition, and a silly one for Me to exact, who am as old as You, and broken to pieces, and very unlikely to survive you; but, should so improbable a thing happen, I must exact that you will keep your transcript sealed up, with orders written on the cover to be restored to me in case of an accident, for I should Certainly dislike very much to see it printed without my consent.  I should not think of your copying it, if you did not love to transcribe, and sometimes things of as little value as my manuscript.  I shall beg to have it returned to me by a safe hand as soon as you can, for I have nothing but the foul copy, which nobody can read, I believe, but I and my secretary.

I am actually printing my Justification about Chatterton, but only two hundred copies to give away; for I hate calling in the whole town to a fray, of which otherwise probably not one thousand persons would ever hear.  You shall have a copy as soon as ever it is finished, which my printer says will be in three weeks.

You know my printer is my secretary too:  do not imagine I am giving myself airs of a numerous household of officers.  I shall be glad to see the letter of Mr. Baker you mentioned.  You will perceive two or three notes in my manuscript in a different hand from mine, or that of my amanuensis (still the same officer;) they were added by a person I lent it to, and I have effaced part of the last.

I must finish, lest Dr. Jacob should call, and my parcel not be ready.  I hope your sore throat is gone; my gout has returned again a little with taking the air only, but did not stay—­ however, I am still confined, and almost ready to remain so, to prevent disappointment.  Yours most sincerely.

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Letter 159 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, Jan. 28, 1779. (page 214)

I write in as much hurry as you did, dear Sir, and thank you for the motive of yours mine is to prevent your fatiguing yourself in copying my manuscript, for which I am not in the least haste:  pray keep it till another safe conveyance presents itself.  You may bring the gout, that is, I am sorry to hear, flying about you, into your hand by wearying it.

How can you tell me I may well be cautious about my manuscript and yet advise me to print it?—­No-I shall not provoke nests of hornets, till I am dust, as they will be too.

If I dictated tales when ill in my bed, I must have been worse than I thought; for, as I know nothing of it, I must have been light-headed.  Mr. Lort was certainly misinformed, though he seems to have told you the story kindly to the honour of my philosophy or spirits-but I had rather have no fame than what I do not deserve.

I am fretful or low-spirited at times in the gout, like other weak old men, and have less to boast than most men.  I have some strange things in my drawer, even wilder than the Castle of Otranto, and called Hieroglyphic Tales; but they were not written lately, nor in the gout, nor, whatever they may seem, written when I was out of my senses.  I showed one or two of them to a person since my recovery, who may have mentioned them, and occasioned Mr. Lort’s misintelligence.  I did not at all perceive that the latter looked ill; and hope he is quite recovered.  You shall see Chatterton soon.  Adieu!

Letter 160To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  February 4, 1779. (page 215)

I have received the manuscript, and though you forbid my naming the subject more, I love truth, and truth in a friend so much, that I must tell you, that so far from taking your sincerity ill, I had much rather you should act with your native honest sincerity than say you was pleased with my manuscript.  I have always tried as much as is in human nature to divest myself of the self-love of an author; in the present case I had less difficulty than ever, for I never thought my Life of Mr. Baker one of my least indifferent works.  You might, believe me, have sent me your long letter; whatever it contained, it would not have made a momentary cloud between us.  I have not only friendship, but great gratitude for you, for a thousand instances of kindness; and should detest any writing of mine that made a breach with a friend, and still more, if it could make me forget obligations.

Letter 161 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  February 18, 1779. (page 215)

I sent you my Chattertoniad(344) last week,,in hopes it would sweeten your pouting; but I find it has not, or has miscarried; for You have not ’acknowledged the receipt with your usual punctuality.

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Have you seen Hasted’s new History of Kent?(345) I am sailing through it, but am stopped every minute by careless mistakes.  They tell me the author has good materials, but is very negligent, and so I perceive, He has not even given a list of monuments in the churches, which I do not remember in any history of a county; but he is rich in pedigrees; though I suppose they have many errors too, as I have found some in those I am acquainted with- It is unpardonable to be inaccurate in a work in which one nor expects nor demands any thing but fidelity.(346)

We have a great herald arising in a very noble race, Lord de Ferrers.  I hope to make him a Gothic architect too, for he is going to repair Tamworth Castle and flatters me that I shall give him sweet counseil!  I enjoin him to kernellare.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(344) “A Letter to the Editor of the Miscellanies of Thomas Chatterton.”  Strawberry Hill, 1779, 8vo.-E.

(345) “The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; by Edward Hasted,” four volumes, folio, 1778-1799.  A second and improved edition, in twelve volumes, octavo, appeared in 1797-1801.  Mr. Hasted died in 1812 at the age of eighty.-E.

(346) in a memoir of himself, which, he drew up for the Gentleman’s Magazein, to be published after his death, he says, “his laborious History of Kent took him more than forty years; during the whole series of which he spared neither pains nor expense to bring it to maturity."-E.

Letter 162 To Sir David Dalrymple.(347) Arlington Street, March 12, 1779. (page 216)

I have received this moment from your bookseller, Sir, the valuable present of the second volume of your “Annals,” and beg leave to return you my grateful thanks for so agreeable a gift, of which I can only have taken a look enough to lament that you do not intend to continue the work.  Repeated and severe attacks of the gout forbid my entertaining- visions of pleasures to come; but though I might not have the advantage of your labours, Sir, I wish too well to posterity not to be sorry that you check your hand.

Lord Buchan did me the honour lately of consulting me on portraits of illustrious Scots.  I recollect that there is at Windsor a very good portrait of your countryman Duns Scotus,(348) whose name struck me on just turning over your volume.  A good print was made from that picture some years ago, but I believe it is not very scarce:  as it is not worth while to trouble his lordship with another letter for that purpose only, may I take the liberty, Sir, of begging you to mention it to his lordship?

(347) Now first collected.

(348) Granger considers the portrait of Windsor not to be genuine.  Of Duns Scotus, he says, “It requires one half of a man’s life to read the works of this profound doctor, and the , other to understand his subtleties.  His printed works are in twelve volumes in folio!  His manuscripts are sleeping in Merton College, Oxford.  Voluminous works frequently arise from the ignorance and confused ideas of the authors:  if angels, says Mr. Norris, were writers, we should have few folios.  He was the head of the sect of schoolmen called scotists.  He died in 1308."-E.

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Letter 163 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, March 28, 1779. (page 216)

Your last called for no answer; and I have so little to tell you, that I only write to-day to avoid the air of remissness.  I came hither on Friday, for this last week has been too hot to stay in London; but March is arrived this morning with his northeasterly malice, and I suppose will assert his old-style claim to the third of April.  The poor infant apricots will be the victims to that Herod of the almanack.  I have been much amused with new travels through Spain by a Mr. Swinburne(349)—­at least with the Alhambra, of the inner parts of which there are two beautiful prints.  The Moors were the most polished, and had the most taste of any people in the Gothic ages; and I hate the knave Ferdinand and his bigoted Queen for destroying them.  These new travels are simple, and do tell you a little more than late voyagers, by whose accounts one would think there was nothing in Spain but muleteers and fandangos.  In truth, there does not seem to be much worth seeing but prospects; and those, unless I were a bird, I would never visit, when the accommodations are so wretched.

Mr. Cumberland has given the town a masque, called Calypso,(350) which is a prodigy of dulness.  Would you believe, that such a sentimental Writer would be so gross as to make cantharides one of the ingredients of a love-potion, for enamouring Telemachus?  If you think I exaggerate, here are the lines: 

“To these, the hot Hispanian fly
Shall bid his languid pulse beat high.”

Proteus and Antiope are Minerva’s missioners for securing the prince’s virtue, and in recompense they are married and crowned king and queen!

I have bought at Hudson’s sale a fine design of a chimney-piece, by Holbein, for Henry viii.  If I had a room left I would erect.  It is certainly not so Gothic as that in my Holbein room; but there is a great deal of taste for that bastard style; perhaps it was executed at Nonsuch.  I do intend, under Mr. Essex’s inspection, to begin my offices next spring.  It is late in my day, I confess, to return to brick and mortar but I shall be glad to perfect my plan, or the’ next possessor will marry my castle to a Doric stable.  There is a perspective through two or three rooms in the Alhambra, that might easily be improved into Gothic, though there seems but small affinity between them; and they might be finished within with Dutch tiles, and painting, or bits of ordinary marble, as there must be gilding.  Mosaic seems to be their chief ornaments, for walls, ceilings, and floors.  Fancy must sport in the furniture, and mottos might be gallant, and would be very Arabesque.  I would have a mixture of colours, but with a strict attention to harmony and taste; and some one should predominate, as supposing it the favourite colour of the lady who was sovereign of the knight’s affections who built the house. 

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Carpets are classically Mahometans, and fountains—­but, alas! our climate till last summer was never romantic!  Were I not so old, I would at least build a Moorish novel-for you see my head Turns on Granada-and by taking the most picturesque parts of the Mahometan and Catholic religions, and with the mixture of African and Spanish names, one might make something very agreeable—­at least I will not give the hint to Mr. Cumberland.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(349) “Travels through Spain in the Years 1775 and 1776; in which several Monuments of Roman and Moorish Architecture are illustrated by accurate Drawings taken on the spot.  By Henry Swinburne.”  London, 1779, 4to.  Mr. Swinburne also published, in 1783-5 his “Travels in the Two Sicilies during the Years 1777-8-9, and 1780.”  This celebrated traveller was the youngest son of Sir John Swinburne, of Capheaton, Northumberland; the long-established seat of that ancient Roman Catholic family.  Pecuniary embarrassments, arising from the marriage of his daughter to Paul Benfield, Esq. and consequent involvement in the misfortunes of that adventurer, induced him to obtain a Place in the newly-ceded settlement of Trinidad, where he died in 1803.-E.

(350) “Calypso” was brought out at Covent-Garden theatre, but was performed only a few nights. \ It was imprudently ushered in by a prelude, in which the author treated the newspaper editors as a set of unprincipled fellows.-E.

Letter 164 To Edward Gibbon, Esq.(351) (1779.] (page 218)

The penetration, solidity, and taste, that made you the first of historians, dear Sir, prevent my being surprised at your being the best writer of controversial pamphlets too.(352) I have read you with more precipitation than such a work deserved, but I could not disobey you and detain it.  Yet even in that hurry I could discern, besides a thousand beauties and strokes of wit, the inimitable eighty-third page, and the conscious dignity that you maintain throughout, over your monkish antagonists.  When you are so superior in argument, it would look like insensibility to the power of your reasoning, to select transient passages for commendation; and yet I must mention one that pleased me particularly, from the delicacy of the severity, and from its novelty too; it is, bold is not the word.  This is the feathered arrow of Cupid, that is more formidable than the club of Hercules.  I need not specify thanks, when I prove how much I have been pleased.  Your most obliged.

(351) Now first collected.

(352) Gibbon’s celebrated “Vindication” of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of his History appeared early in the year 1779.  “I adhered,” he says in his Memoirs, “to the wise resolution of trusting myself and my writing to the candour of the public, till Mr. Davis of Oxford presumed to attack, not the faith but the fidelity of the historian.  My Vindication, expressive of less anger than contempt,

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amused for a moment the busy and idle metropolis; and the most rational Part of the laity, and even of the clergy, appear to have been satisfied of my innocence and accuracy I would not print it in quarto, lest it should be bound and preserved with the history itself At the distance of twelve years, I calmly affirm my judgment of Davis, Chelsum, etc.  A victory over such antagonists was a sufficient humiliation.  They, however were rewarded in this world, Poor Chelsum was, indeed, neglected; and I dare not boast the making Dr. Watson a bishop:  he is a prelate of a large mind and a liberal spirit:  but I enjoyed the pleasure of giving a royal pension to Mr. Davis, and of collating Dr. Althorpe to an archiepiscopal living."-E.

Letter 165 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, April 12, 1779. (page 218)

As your gout was so concise, I will not condole on it, but I am sorry you are liable to it if you do but take the air.  Thank you for telling me of the vendible curiosities at the Alderman’s.  For St. Peter’s portrait to hang to a fairie’s watch, I shall not think of it, both as I do not believe it very like, and as it is composed of invisible Writing, for which my eyes are not young enough.  In truth, I have almost left off making purchases:  I have neither room for any thing more, nor inclination for them, as I reckon every thing very dear when One has so little time to enjoy it.  However, I cannot say but the plates by Rubens do tempt me a little—­yet, as I do not care to, buy even Rubens in a poke, I should wish to know if the Alderman would let me see. if it were but one.  Would he be persuaded?  I would pay for the carriage, though I should not buy them.

Lord de Ferrers will be infinitely happy with the sight of the pedigree, and I will certainly tell him of it, and how kind you are.

Strype’s account, or rather Stow’s, of Richard’s person is very remarkable—­but I have done with endeavouring at truth.  Weeds grow more naturally than what one plants.  I hear your Cantabrigians are still unshaken Chattertonians.  Many men are about falsehood like girls about the first man that makes love to them:  a handsomer, a richer, or even a sincerer lover cannot eradicate the first impression—­but a sillier swain, or a sillier legend, sometimes gets into the head of a miss or the learned man, and displaces the antecedent folly.  Truth’s kingdom is not of this world.

I do not know whether our clergy are growing Mahometans or not:  they certainly are not what they profess themselves—­but as you and I should not agree perhaps in assigning the same defects to them, I will not enter on a subject which I have promised you to drop.  All I allude to now is, the shocking murder of Miss Ray(353) by a divine.  In my own opinion we are growing more fit for Bedlam, than for Mahomet’s paradise.  The poor criminal in question, I am persuaded, is mad—­and the

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misfortune is, the law does not know how to define the shades of madness; and thus there -are twenty outpensioners of Bedlam, for the one that is confined.  You, dear Sir, have chosen a wiser path to happiness by depending on yourself for amusement.  Books and past ages draw one into no scrapes, and perhaps it is best not to know much of men till they are dead.  I wish you health -,You want nothing else.  I am, dear Sir, yours most truly.

(353) On the 7th of April, Miss Reay, who had been the mistress of Lord Sandwich for twenty years, by whom she was the mother of many children, was shot, on her leaving Covent-Garden theatre, by the Rev. James Hackman, who had the living of Wiverton, in Norfolk, a young man not half her age, who had imbibed a violent passion for her, whom he first met at Lord Sandwich’s seat at Hinchinbroke, where he had been frequently invited to dine while commanding a recruiting party at Huntingdon; he being, previously to his entering the church, a lieutenant in the 68th regiment of foot.  Having shot Miss Reay, he fired a pistol at himself; but, being only wounded by it, he was tried at the Old Bailey, convicted, and executed.-E.

Letter 166 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, April 20, 1779. (page 219)

Dear Sir, I have received the plates very safely, but hope You nor the Alderman,(354) will take it ill that I return them.  They are extremely pretty, and uncommonly well preserved; but I am sure they are not by Rubens, nor I believe after his designs, for I am persuaded they are older than his time.  In truth, I have a great many Of the same sort, and do not wish for more.  I shall send them back on Thursday by the Fly, and will beg you to inquire after them; and I trust they will arrive as safely as they did to Yours ever.

(354) Alderman John Boydell, an English engraver; distinguished as an encourager of the fine arts.  In 1790 he held the office of Lord Mayor of London, and died in 1804.-E.

Letter 167 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  April 23, 1779. (page 220)

I ought not to trouble you so often when you are not well; but that is the very cause of my writing now.  You left off abruptly from disorder, and therefore I wish to know it is gone.  The plates I hope got home safe.  They are pretty, especially the reverses; but the drawing in general is bad.

Pray tell me what you mean by a priced catalogue of the pictures at Houghton.  Is it a printed one? if it is, where is it to be had?—­odd questions from me, and which I should not wish to have mentioned as coming from me.  I have been told to-day that they are actually sold to the Czarina—­sic transit! mortifying enough, were not every thing transitory! we must recollect that our griefs and pains are so, as well as our joys and glories; and, by balancing the account, a grain of comfort is to be extracted!  Adieu!  I shall be heartily glad to receive a better account of you.

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Letter 168 To Mrs. Abington.(355) (1779.] (page 220)

Mr. Walpole cannot express how much he is mortified that he cannot accept of Mrs. Abington’s obliging invitation, as he had engaged company to dine with him on Sunday at Strawberry-hill; whom he would put off, if not foreigners who are leaving England.  Mr. Walpole hopes, however, that this accident will not prevent an acquaintance, which his admiration of Mrs. Abington’S genius has made him long desire; and which he hopes to cultivate at Strawberry Bill, when her leisure will give him leave to trouble her with an invitation.

(355) Now first collected.

Letter 169 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Arlington Street, May 21, 1779. (page 221)

As Mr. Essex has told me that you still continue out of order, I am impatient to hear from yourself how you are.  Do send me a line:  I hope it will be a satisfactory one. you know that Dr. Ducarel has published a translation of a History of the Abbey of Bec!  There is a pretty print to it:  and one very curious circumstance, at least valuable to us disciples of Alma Mater Etonensis.  The ram-hunting was derived from the manor of Wrotham in Norfolk, which formerly belonged to Bec, and being forfeited, together with other alien priories, was bestowed by Henry VI. on our college.  I do not repine at reading any book from which I can learn a single fact that I wish to know.  For the lives of the abbots, they were, according to the author, all pinks of piety and holiness but there are few other facts amusing, especially with regard to the customs of those savage times-excepting that the Empress Matilda was buried in a bull’s hide, and afterwards had a tomb covered with silver.  There is another new book called “Sketches from Nature,” in two volumes, by Mr. G. Keate, in which I found one fact too, that, if authentic, is worth knowing.  The work is an imitation of Sterne, and has a sort of merit, though nothing that arrives at originality.

For the foundation of the church of Reculver, he quotes a manuscript said to be written by a Dominican friar of Canterbury, and preserved at Louvain.  The story is evidently metamorphosed into a novel. and has very little of an antique air; but it affirms that the monkish author attests the beauty of Richard iii.  This is very absurd, if invention has nothing to do with the story; and therefore one should suppose it genuine.  I have desired Dodsley to ask Mr. Keate, if there truly exists such, a manuscript:  if there does, I own I wish he had printed it rather than his own production; for I am with Mr. Gray, “that any man living may make a book worth reading, if he will but set down with truth what he has seen or heard, no matter whether the book is well written or not.”  Let those who can write, glean.

Letter 170 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, May 22, 1779. (page 221)

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If you hear of us no oftener than we of you, you will be as much behindhand in news as my Lady Lyttelton.  We have seen a traveller that saw you in your island,(356) but it sounds like hearing of Ulysses.  Well! we must be content.  You are not only not dethroned, but owe the safety of your dominions to your own skill in fortification. if we do not hear of your extending your conquests, why, is it not less than all our modern heroes have done, whom prophets have foretold and gazettes celebrated—­or who have foretold and celebrated themselves.  Pray be content to be cooped up in an island that has no neighbours, when the Howes and Clintons and Dunmores and Burgoynes and Campbells are not yet got beyond the great river—­ Inquiry!(357) To-day’s papers say, that the little Prince of Orange(358) is to invade you again; but we trust Sir James Wallace has clipped his wings so close, that they will not grow again this season, though he is so ready to fly.

Nothing material has happened since I wrote last-so, as every moment of a civil war is precious, every one has been turned to the interest of diversion.  There have been three masquerades, an Installation, and the ball of the knights at the Haymarket this week; not to mention Almack’s festino, Lady Spencer’s, Ranelagh and Vauxhall, operas and plays.  The Duchess of Bolton too saw masks—­so many, that the floor gave way, and the company in the dining-room were near falling on the heads of those in the parlour, and exhibiting all that has not yet appeared in Doctors’ Commons.  At the knights’ ball was such a profusion of strawberries, that people could hardly get into the supper-room.  I could tell you more, but I do not love to exaggerate.  Lady Ailesbury told me this morning that Lord Bristol has got a calf with two feet to each leg—­I am convinced it is by the Duchess of Kingston, who has got two of every thing where others have but one.(359) Adieu!  I am going to sup with Mrs. Abington—­and hope Mrs. Clive will not hear of it.

(356) Mr. Conway was now at his government of Jersey.

(357) The parliamentary inquiry which took place in the House of Commons on the conduct of the American war.

(358) The Prince of Nassau, who had commanded the attack upon Jersey, claiming relationship to the great house of Nassau Mr. Walpole calls him the “little Prince of Orange.”  Gibbon, in a letter to Mr. Holroyd, of the 7th, says, “You have heard of the Jersey invasion; every body praises Arbuthnot’s decided spirit.  Conway went last night to throw himself into the island."-E.

(359) “Do you know, my lord,” said the Duchess, then Miss Chudleigh, to Lord Chesterfield, “the world says I have had twins!” “Does it?” said his lordship; “I make a point of believing only one-half of what it says."-E.

Letter 171 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 2, 1779. (page 222)

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I am most sincerely rejoiced, dear Sir, that you find yourself at all better, and trust it is an omen of farther amendment.  Mr. Essex surprised me by telling me, that you, who keep yourself so warm and so numerously clothed, do yet sometimes, if the sun shines, sit and write in your garden for hours at a time.  It is more than I should readily do, whose habitudes are so very different from yours.  Your complaints seem to demand perspiration—­but I do not venture to advise.  I understand no constitution but my own, and should kill Milo, if I managed him as I treat myself.  I sat in a window on Saturday, with the east wind blowing on my neck till near two in the morning-and it seems to have done me good, for I am better within these two days than I have been these six months.  My spirits have been depressed, and my nerves so aspen, that the smallest noise disturbed me.  To-day I do not feel a complaint; which is something at near sixty-two.

I don’t know whether I have not misinformed you, nor am sure it was Dr. Ducarel who translated the account of the Abbey of Bec—­ he gave it to Mr. Lort; but I am not certain he ever published it.  You was the first that notified to me the fifth volume of the Archaeologia—­I am not much more edified than usual; but there are three pretty prints of Reginal Seats.  Mr. Pegge’s tedious dissertation, which he calls a brief one, about the foolish legend of St. George, is despicable:  all his arguments are equally good for proving the existence of the dragon.  What diversion might laughers make of the society!  Dolly Pentraeth, the old woman of Mousehole, and Mr. Penneck’s nurse. p. 81, would have furnished Foote with two personages for a farce.  The same grave dissertation on patriarchal customs seems to have as much to do with British antiquities, as the Lapland:  witches that sell wind—­and pray what business has the Society With Roman inscriptions in Dalmatia!  I am most pleased With the account of Nonsuch, imperfect as it is:  it appears to have been but a villa, and not considerable for a royal one.  You see lilacs were then a novelty.  Well, I am glad they publish away.  The vanity of figuring in these repositories will make many persons contribute their manuscripts, and every now and then something valuable Will come to light, which its own intrinsic merit might not have saved. \ I know nothing more of Houghton.  I should certainly be glad to have the priced catalogue; and if you will lend me yours, my printer shall transcribe it-but I am in no hurry.  I Conceive faint hopes, as the sale is not concluded:  however, I take care not to flatter myself.

I think I told you I had purchased, at Mr. Ives’s sale, a handsome coat in painted glass, of Hobart impaling Boleyn—­but I can find no such match in my pedigree—­yet I have heard that Blickling belonged to Ann Boleyn’s father.  Pray reconcile all this to me. ’

Lord de Ferrers is to dine here on Saturday; and I have got to treat him with an account of ancient painting, formerly in the hall of Tammworth Castle; they are mentioned in Warton’s Observations on the Fairy Queen, Vol i. p. 43.

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Do not put yourself’ to pain to answer this—­only be assured I shall be happy to know when you are able to write with ease.  You must leave Your cloister, if Your transcribing leaves you.  Believe me, dear Sir, Ever most truly.

Letter 172 To The Rev. Dr. Lort.  Strawberry Hill, June 4, 1779. (page 224)

I am sorry, dear Sir, you could not let me have the pleasure of your company; but, I own, you have partly, not entirely, made me amends by the sight of your curious manuscript, which I return you, with your other book of inaugurations.

The sight of the manuscript was particularly welcome to me, because the long visit of Henry VI. and his uncle Gloucester, to St. Edmund’s Bury, accounts for those rare altar tablets that I bought at Mr. Ives’s sale, on which are incontestably the portraits of Duke Humphrey, Cardinal Beaufort, and the same archbishop that is in my Marriage of Henry VI.  I know the house of Lancaster were patrons of St. Edmund’s Bury; but so long a visit is demonstration.

The fourth person on my panels is unknown.  Over his head is a coat of arms. but may be that of W. Curteys the abbot, or the alderman, as he is in scarlet.  His figure and the Duke’s are far superior to the other two, and worthy of a good Italian master.  The Cardinal and the Archbishop are in the dry hard manner of the age.  I wish you would call and look at them; they are at Mr. Bonus’s in Oxford-road; the two prelates are much damaged.  I peremptorily enjoined Bonus to repair only, and not to repaint them; and thus, by putting him out of his way, I have put him so much out of humour too, that he has kept them these two years, and not finished them yet.  I design them for the four void spaces in my chapel, on the sides of the shrine.  The Duke of Gloucester’s face is so like, though younger, that it proves I guessed right at his figure in my Marriage.  The tablets came out of the abbey of Bury; were procured by old Peter Le Neve, Norroy; and came by his widow’s marriage to Tom Martin, at whose sale Mr. Ives bought them.  We have very few princely portraits so ancient, so authentic, and none so well painted as the Duke and fourth person.  These were the insides of the doors, which I had split into two, and value them extremely.  This account I think will be more satisfactory to you than notes.

Pray tell me how you like the pictures when you have examined them.  I shall search in Edmondson’s new Vocabulary of Arms for the coat which contains three bulls’ heads on six pieces; but the colours are either white and black. or the latter is become so by time.  I hope you are not going out of town yet; I shall probably be there some day in next week.

I see advertised a book something in the way of your inaugurations, called Le Costume; do you know any thing of it?  Can you tell me who is the author of the Second Anticipation on the Exhibition?  Is not it Barry the painter?

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Letter 173 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Saturday, June 5, 1779. (page 225)

I write to you more seldom than I am disposed to do, from having nothing positive to tell you, and from being unwilling to say and unsay every minute something that is reported positively.  The confident assertions of the victory over D’Estaing are totally vanished-and they who invented them, now declaim as bitterly against Byron, as if he had deceived them-and as they did against Keppel.  This day se’nnight there was a great alarm about Ireland-which was far from being all invention, though not an absolute insurrection, as it was said.”  The case, I believe, was this:-The court, in order to break the volunteer army established by the Irish themselves, endeavoured to persuade a body in Lady Blayney’s county of Monaghan to enlist in the militia—­which they took indignantly.  They said, they had great regard for Lady Blayney and Lord Clermont; but to act under them, would be acting under the King, and that was by no means their intention.  There have since been motions for inquiries what steps the ministers have taken to satisfy the Irish-and these they have imprudently rejected-which will not tend to pacification.  The ministers have been pushed too on the article of Spain, and could not deny that all negotiation is at an end—­though they will not own farther.  However, the Spanish ambassador is much out of humour.  From Paris they write confidently of the approaching declaration;(360) and Lord Sandwich, I hear, has said in a very mixed company, that it was folly not to expect it.  There is another million asked, and given on a vote of credit; and Lord North has boasted of such mines for next year,,that one would think he believed next year would never Come.

The Inquiry(361) goes on, and Lord Harrington did honour himself and Burgoyne.  Barr`e and Governor Johnstone have had warm words,(362) and Burke has been as frantic for the Roman Catholics as Lord George Gordon against them.  The Parliament, it is said, is to rise on the 21st.

You Will not collect from all this that our prospect clears up.  I fear there is not more discretion in the treatment of Ireland than of America.  The court seems to-be infatuated and to think that nothing is of any consequence but a majority in Parliament-though they have totally lost all power but that of provoking.  Fortunate it had been for the- King and kingdom, had the court had no majority for these six years!  America had still been ours -and all the lives and all the millions we have squandered!  A majority that has lost thirteen provinces by bullying and vapouring, and the most childish menaces, will be a brave countermatch for France and Spain, and a rebellion in Ireland!  In short, it is plain that there is nothing a majority in Parliament can do, but outvote a minority; and by their own accounts one would think they could not even do that.  I saw a paper t’other day that began with this Iriscism, “As the minority have lost us thirteen provinces,” etc.  I know nothing the minority have done, or been suffered to do, but restore the Roman Catholic religion-and that too was by the desire of the court.

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This is however the present style.  They announced with infinite applause a new production of Tickell:—­it has appeared, and is a most paltry performance.  It is called the Cassette Verte of M. de Sartine, and pretends to be his correspondence with the opposition.  Nay, they are so pitifully mean as to laugh at Dr. Franklin, who has such thorough reason to sit and laugh at them.  What triumph it must be to him to see a miserable pamphlet all the revenge they can take!  There is another, still duller, called Opposition Mornings, in which you are lugged in.  In truth, it is a compliment to any man to except him out of the number of those that have contributed to the shocking disgraces inflicted on this undone country.  When Lord Chatham was minister, he never replied to abuse but by a victory.

I know no private news:  I have been here ever since Tuesday, enjoying my tranquillity, as much as an honest man can do who sees his country ruined.  It is just such a period as makes philosophy wisdom.  There are great moments when every man is called on to exert himself-but when folly, infatuation, delusion, incapacity, and profligacy fling a nation away, and it concurs itself, and applauds its destroyers, a man who has lent no hand to the mischief, and can neither prevent nor remedy the mass of evils, is fully justified in sitting aloof and beholding the tempest rage, with silent scorn and indignant compassion.  Nay, I have, I own, some comfortable reflections.  I rejoice that there is still a great continent of Englishmen who will remain free and independent, and who laugh at the impotent majorities of a prostitute Parliament.  I care not whether General Burgoyne and Governor Johnstone cross over and figure in, and support or oppose; nor whether Mr. Burke, or the superior of the Jesuits, is high commissioner to the kirk of Scotland.  My ideas are such as I have always had, and are too plain and simple to comprehend modern confusions; and, therefore, they suit with those of few men.  What will be the issue of this chaos, I know not, and, probably, shall not see.  I do see with satisfaction, that what was meditated has failed by the grossest folly; and when one has escaped the worst, lesser evils must be endured with patience.

After this dull effusion, I will divert you with a story that made me laugh this morning till I cried.  You know my Swiss David, and his incomprehensible pronunciation.  He came to me, and said, “Auh! dar is Meses Ellis wants some of your large flags to put in her great O.”  With much ado, I found out that Mrs. Ellis had sent for leave to take up some flags out of my meadow for her grotto.

I hope in a few days to see Lady Ailesbury and Miss Jennings here; I have writ to propose it.  What are your intentions?  Do you stay till you have made your island impregnable?  I doubt it will be our only one that will be so.

(360) On the breaking out of the war between this country and America, Spain had offered to mediate between them; but, receiving a refusal, she at once declared herself a principal in the war and ready to fulfil the terms of the family compact.-E.

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(361) The Inquiry into the Conduct of the American war.

(362) In the course of a debate in the House of Commons, on the 3d of June, Governor Johnstone told Colonel Barr`e, that he was making a scaramouch of himself.  The Colonel got up to demand an explanation, but the Speaker put an end to the altercation.-E.

Letter 174 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, June 16, 1779. (page 227)

Your Countess was here last Thursday, and received a letter from you, that told us how slowly you receive ours.  When you will receive this I cannot guess; but it dates a new era, which you with reason did not care to look at as possible.  In a word, behold a Spanish war!  I must detail a little to increase your wonder.  I heard here the day before yesterday that it was likely; and that night received a letter from Paris, telling me (it was of the 6th) that Monsieur de Beauveau was going, they knew not whither, at the head of twenty-five thousand men, with three lieutenant-generals and six or eight mar`echaux de camp under him.  Yesterday I went to town, and Thomas Walpole happened to call on me.  He, who used to be informed early, did not believe a word either of a Spanish war or a French expedition.  I saw some other persons in the evening as ignorant.  At night I went to sup at Richmond-house.  The Duke said the Brest fleet was certainly sailed, and had got the start of ours by twelve days:  that Monsieur de Beauveau was on board with a large sum of money, and with white and red cockades; and that there would certainly be a Spanish war.  He added, that the Opposition were then pressing in the House of Commons to have the Parliament continue sitting, and urging to know if we were not at the eve of a Spanish war; but the ministers persisted in the prorogation ,for to-morrow or Friday, and would not answer on Spain.

I said I would make you wonder-But no-Why should the Parliament continue to sit?  Are not the ministers and the Parliament the same thing?  And how has either House shown that it has any talent for war?

The Duke of Richmond does not guess whither the Brest fleet is gone.  He thinks, if to Ireland, we should have known it by this time.  He has heard that the Prince of Beauveau has said he was going on an expedition that would be glorious in the eyes of posterity. asked, if that might not mean Gibraltar?  The Duke doubts, but hopes it, as he thinks it no wise measure on their side:  yet he was very melancholy, as you will be, on this heavy accession to our distresses.

Well! here we are, aris et focis and all at stake!  What can we be meaning?  Unable to conquer America before she was assisted—­scarce able to keep France at bay—­are we a match for both, and Spain too?  What can be our view? nay, what can be Our expectation?  I sometimes think we reckon it will be more creditable to be forced by France and Spain to give up America, than to have the merit with the latter of doing it with grace.-But, as Cato says,

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“I’m weary of conjectures—­this must end them;”

that is, the sword:—­and never, I believe, did a Country Plunge itself into such difficulties step by step, and for six years, together, without once recollecting that each foreign war rendered the object of the civil war more unattainable; and that in both the foreign wars we have not an object in prospect.  Unable to recruit our remnant of an army in America, are we to make conquests on France and Spain?  They may choose their attacks:  we can scarce choose what we will defend.

Ireland, they say, is more temperate than was expected.  That is some consolation-yet many fear the Irish will be tempted to unite with America, which would throw all that trade into their convenient harbours; and I own I have apprehensions that the Parliament’s rising without taking a step in their favour may offend them.  Surely at least we have courageous ministers.  I thought my father a stout man:—­he had not a tithe of their spirit.

The town has wound up the season perfectly in character by a f`ete at the Pantheon by subscription.  Le Texier managed it; but it turned out sadly.  The company was first shut into the galleries to look down on the supper, then let to descend to it.  Afterwards they were led into the subterraneous apartment, which was laid with mould, and planted with trees, and crammed with nosegays:  but the fresh earth, and the dead leaves, and the effluvia of breaths made such a stench and moisture, that they were suffocated; and when they remounted, the legs and wings of chickens, and remnants Of ham (for the supper was not removed) poisoned them more.  A druid in an arbour distributed verses to the ladies; then the Baccelli(363) and the dancers of the Opera danced; and then danced the company; and then it being morning, and the candles burnt out, the windows were opened; and then the stewed-danced assembly were such shocking figures, that they fled like ghosts as they looked.—­I suppose there will be no more balls unless the French land, and then we shall show we do not mind it.

Thus I have told you all I know.  You will ponder over these things in your little distant island, when we have forgotten them.  There is another person, one Doctor Franklin, who, I fancy, is not sorry that we divert ourselves so well.  Yours ever.

(363) After the departure of Mademoiselle Heinel, no dancing so much delighted the frequenters of the Opera as that of Mademoiselle Baccelli and M. Vestris le jeune.-E.

Letter 175 To The Hon. George Hardinge.(364) Strawberry Hill, July 4, 1779. (page 229)

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I have now received the drawings of Grignan, and know not how to express my satisfaction and gratitude but by a silly witticism that is like the studied quaintness of the last age.  In short, they are so much more beautiful than I expected, that I am not surprised at your having surprised me by exceeding even what I expected from your well-known kindness to me; they are charmingly executed, and with great taste.  I own too that Grignan is grander, and in a much finer situation, than I had imagined; as I concluded that the witchery of Madame de S`evign`e’s ideas and style had spread the same leaf-gold over places with which she gilded her friends.  All that has appeared of them since the publication of her letters has lowered them.  A single letter of her daughter, that to Paulina, with a description of the Duchess of Bourbon’s toilette, is worthy of the mother.  Paulina’s own letters contain not a little worth reading:  one just divines that she might have written well if she had had any thing to write about (which, however, would not have signified to her grandmother.) Coulanges was a silly good-humoured glutton, that flattered a rich widow for her dinners.  His wife was sensible, but dry, and rather peevish at growing old.  Unluckily nothing more has come to light of Madame de S`evign`e’s son, whose short letters in the collection I am almost profane enough to prefer to his mother’s; and which makes me astonished that she did not love his wit, so unaffected, and so congenial to her own, in preference to the eccentric and sophisticated reveries of her sublime and ill-humoured daughter.  Grignan alone maintains its dignity, and shall be consecrated here among other monuments of that bewitching period, and amongst which one loves to lose oneself, and drink oblivion of an era so very unlike; for the awkward bigots to despotism of our time have not Madame de S`evign`e’s address, nor can paint an Indian idol with an hundred hands as graceful as the Apollo of the Belvidere.  When will you come and accept my thanks? will Wednesday next suit you?  But do you know that I must ask you not to leave your gown behind You, which indeed I never knew you put on Willingly, but to come in it.  I shall want your protection at Westminster Hall.  Yours most cordially.

(364) Son of Nicholas Hardinge, Esq. one of the joint secretaries of the treasury, and member for the borough of Eye.  He was educated at Eton school, and finished his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, where Dr. Watson was his tutor, He was called to the bar in 1769, and was subsequently appointed solicitor-general to the Queen. in 1787, he was made a Welsh judge, and died in 1816.  In 1818, the works of this clever and eccentric scholar were published, with an account of his life, by Mr. John Nichols.-E.

Letter 176 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.  Saturday night, July 10, 1779. (page 230)

I could not thank your ladyship before the post went out to-day, as I was getting into my chaise to go and dine at Carshalton with my cousin Thomas Walpole when I received your kind inquiry about my eye.  It is quite well again, and I hope the next attack of the gout will be any where rather than in that quarter.

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I did not expect Mr. Conway would think of returning just now.  As you have lost both Mrs. Damer and Lady William Campbell, I do not see why your ladyship should not go to Goodwood.

The Baroness’s increasing peevishness does not surprise me.  When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun with nettles.  She knows nothing of politics, and no wonder talks nonsense about them.  It is silly to wish three nations had but one neck; but it is ten times more absurd to act as if it was so, which the government has done;—­ay, and forgetting, too, that it has not a scimitar large enough to sever that neck, which they have in effect made one.  It is past the time, Madam, of making Conjectures.  How can one guess whither France and Spain will direct a blow that is in their option?  I am rather inclined to think that they will have patience to ruin us in detail.  Hitherto France and America have carried their points by that manoeuvre.  Should there be an engagement at sea, and the French and Spanish fleets, by their great superiority, have the advantage, one knows not what might happen.  Yet, though there are such large preparations making on the French coast, I do not much expect a serious invasion, as they are sure they can do us more damage by a variety of other attacks, where we can make little resistance.  Gibraltar and Jamaica can but be the immediate objects of Spain.  Ireland is much worse guarded than this island:—­nay, we must be undone by our expense, should the summer pass without any attempt.  My cousin thinks they will try to destroy Portsmouth and Plymouth—­but I have seen nothing in the present French ministry that looks like bold enterprise.  We are much more adventurous, that set every thing to the hazard:  but there are such numbers of baronesses that both talk and act with passion, that one would think the nation had lost its senses.  Every thing has miscarried that has been undertaken, and the worse we succeed, the more is risked;—­yet the nation is not angry!  How can one conjecture during such a delirium?  I sometimes almost think I must be in the wrong to be of so contrary an opinion to most men—­yet, when every Misfortune that has happened had been foretold by a few, why should I not think I have been in the right?  Has not almost every single event that has been announced as prosperous proved a gross falsehood, and often a silly one?  Are we not at this moment assured that Washington cannot possibly amass an army of above 8000 men! and yet Clinton, with 20,000 men, and with the hearts, as we are told, too, of three parts of the colonies, dares not show his teeth without the walls of New York?  Can I be in the wrong in not believing what is so contradictory to my senses We could not Conquer America when it stood alone; then France supported it, and we did not mend the matter.  To make it still easier, we have driven Spain into the alliance.  Is this wisdom?  Would it be presumption, even if one were single, to think

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that we must have the worst in such a contest?  Shall I be like the mob, and expect to conquer France and Spain, and then thunder upon America?  Nay, but the higher mob do not expect such success.  They would not be so angry at the house of Bourbon, if not morally certain that those kings destroy all our passionate desire and expectation of conquering America.  We bullied, and threatened, and begged, and nothing would do.  Yet independence was still the word.  Now we rail at the two monarchs—­and when they have banged us, we shall sue to them as humbly as We did to the Congress.  All this my senses, such as they are, tell me has been and will be the case.  What is worse, all Europe is of the same opinion; and though forty thousand baronesses may be ever so angry, I venture to prophesy that we shall make but a very foolish figure whenever we are so lucky as to obtain a peace; and posterity, that may have prejudices of its own, will still take the liberty to pronounce, that its ancestors were a woful set of politicians from the year 1774 to—­I wish I knew when.

If I might advise, I would recommend Mr. Burrell to command the fleet in the room of Sir Charles Hardy.  The fortune of the Burrells is powerful enough to baffle calculation.  Good night, Madam!

P. S. I have not written to Mr. Conway since this day sevennight, not having a teaspoonful of news to send him.  I will beg your ladyship to tell him so.

Letter 177 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, July 12, 1779. (page 231)

I am concerned, dear sir, that you gave yourself the trouble of transcribing the catalogue and prices, which I received last night, and for which I am exceedingly obliged to you.  Partial as I am to the pictures at Houghton, I confess I think them much overvalued.  My father’s whole collection, of which alone he had preserved the prices, cost but 40,000 pounds; and after his death there were three sales of pictures, among which were all the whole-lengths of Vandyke but three, which had been sent to Houghton, but not fitting any of the ,spaces left, came back to town.  Few of the rest sold were very fine, but no doubt Sir Robert had paid as dear for many of them; as purchasers are not perfect connoisseurs at first.  Many of the valuations are not only exorbitant, but injudicious.  They who made the estimate seem to have considered the rarity of the hands more than the excellence.  Three-The, Magi’s Offering, by Carlo Maratti, as it is called, and two supposed Paul Veronese,-are very indifferent copies, and yet all are roundly valued, and the first ridiculously.  I do not doubt of another picture in the collection but the Last Supper, by Raphael, and yet this is set down at 500 pounds.  I miss three pictures, at least they are not set down, the Sir Thomas Wharton, and Laud and Gibbons.  The first is most capital; yes, I recollect I have had some doubts on the Laud, though the University

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of Oxford once offered 400 pounds for it—­and if Queen Henrietta is by Vandyke, it is a very indifferent One.  The affixing a higher value to the Pietro Cortona than to the octagon Guido is most absurd—­I have often gazed on the latter, and preferred it even to the Doctor’s.  In short, the appraisers were determined to see what the Czarina Could give, rather than what the pictures were really worth—­I am glad she seems to think so, for I hear no more of the sale—­it is not very wise in me still to concern myself, at my age, about what I have so little interest in-it is still less wise to be so anxious on trifles, when one’s country is sinking.  I do not know which is most Mad, my nephew, or our ministers—­both the one and the other increase my veneration for the founder of Houghton!

I will not rob you of the prints you mention, dear Sir; one of them at least I know Mr. Pennant gave me.  I do not admire him for his punctiliousness with you.  Pray tell me the name Of your glass-painter; I do not think I shall want him, but it is not impossible.  Mr. Essex agreed With me, that Jarvis’s windows for Oxford, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, will not succeed.  Most of his colours are opake, and their great beauty depending on a spot of light for Sun or moon, is an imposition.  When his paintings are exhibited at Charing-cross, all the rest of the room is darkened to relieve them.  That cannot be done at New College; or if done, the chapel would be too dark.  If there are other lights, the effect will be lost.

This sultry weather will, I hope, quite restore you; People need not go to Lisbon and Naples, if we continue to have such summers.  Yours most sincerely.

Letter 178 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, August 12, 1779. (page 232)

I write from decency, dear Sir, not from having any thing particular to say, but to thank you for your offer of letting me see the arms of painted glass; which, however, I will decline, lest it should be broken, and as at present I have no occasion to employ the painter.  If I build my offices, perhaps I may have; but I have dropped that thought for this year.  The disastrous times do not inspire expense.  Our alarms, I conclude, do not ruffle your hermitage.  We are returning to our state of islandhood, and shall have little, I believe, to boast but of what we have been.

I see a History of Alien Priories announced;(365) do you know any thing of it, or of the author?  I am ever yours.

(365) This was Mr. Gough’s well-known work, entitled “Some Account of the Alien Priories, and of such Lands as they are known to have possessed in England and Wales,” in two volumes octavo.-E.

Letter 179 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.  Strawberry Hill, Friday night, 1779. (page 233)

I am not at all surprised, my dear Madam, at the intrepidity of Mrs. Damer;(366) she always was the heroic daughter of a hero.  Her sense and coolness never forsake her.  I, who am not so firm, shuddered at your ladyship’s account.  Now that she has stood fire for four hours, I hope she will give as clear proofs of her understanding, of which I have as high opinion as of her courage, and not return in any danger.

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I am to dine at Ditton to-morrow, and will certainly talk on the subject You recommend; yet I am far, till I have heard more, from thinking with your ladyship, that more troops and artillery at Jersey would be desirable.  Any considerable quantity of either, especially of the former, cannot be spared at this moment, when so big a cloud ’hangs over this island, nor would any number avail if the French should be masters at sea.  A large garrison would but tempt the French thither, were it but to distress this country; and, what is worse, would encourage Mr. Conway to make an impracticable defence.  If he is to remain in a situation so unworthy of him, I confess I had rather he was totally incapable of making any defence.  I love him enough not to murmur at his exposing himself where his country and his honour demand him; but I would not have him measure himself in a place untenable against very superior force.  My present comfort is, as to him, that France at this moment has a far vaster object.  I have good reason to believe the government knows that a great army is ready to embark at St. Maloes, but will not stir till after a sea-fight, which we do not know but may be engaged at this moment.  Our fleet is allowed to be the finest ever set forth by this country; but it is inferior in number by seventeen ships to the united squadron of the Bourbons.  France, if successful, means to pour in a vast many thousands on us, and has threatened to burn the capital itself, Jersey, my dear Madam, does not enter into a calculation of such magnitude.  The moment is singularly awful; yet the vaunts of enemies are rarely executed successfully and ably.  Have we trampled America under our foot?

You have too good sense, Madam, to be imposed upon by my arguments, if they are insubstantial.  You do know that I have had my terrors for Mr. Conway; but at present they are out of the question, from the insignificance of his island.  Do not listen to rumours, nor believe a single one till it has been canvassed over and over.  Fear, folly, fifty Motives, Will coin new reports every hour at such a conjuncture.  When one is totally void of credit and power, patience is the only wisdom.  I have seen dangers still more imminent.  They were dispersed.  Nothing happens in proportion to what is meditated.  Fortune, whatever fortune is, is more constant than is the common notion.  I do not give this as one of my solid arguments, but I have encouraged myself in being superstitious on the favourable side.  I never, like most superstitious people, believe auguries against my wishes.  We have been fortunate in the escape of Mrs. Damer, and in the defeat at Jersey even before Mr. Conway arrived-, and thence I depend on the same future prosperity.  From the authority of persons who do not reason on such airy hopes, I am seriously persuaded, that if the fleets engage, the enemy will not gain advantage without deep-felt loss, enough probably to dismay

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their invasion.  Coolness may succeed, and then negotiation.  Surely, if we, can weather the summer, we shall, obstinate as we are against conviction, be compelled by the want of money to relinquish our ridiculous pretensions, now proved to be utterly impracticable; for, with an inferior navy at home, can we assert sovereignty over America?  It is a contradiction in, terms and in fact.  It may be hard of digestion to relinquish it, but it is impossible to pursue it.  Adieu, my dear Madam!  I have not left room for a line more.

(366) The packet in which she was crossing from Dover to Ostend was taken by a French frigate, after a running fight of several hours.

Letter 180 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 13, 1779. (page 234)

I am writing to you at random; not knowing whether or when this letter will go:  but your brother told me last night that an officer, whose name I have forgot, was arrived from Jersey, and would return to you soon.  I am sensible how very seldom I have written to you-but you have been few moments out of my thoughts.  What they have been, you who know me so minutely may well guess, and why they do not pass my lips.  Sense, experience, circumstances, can teach One to command one’s self. outwardly, but do not divest a most friendly heart of its feelings.  I believe the state of my Mind has contributed to bring on a very weak and decaying body my present disorders.  I have not been well the whole summer; but for these three weeks much otherwise.  It has at last ended in the gout, which to all appearance will be a short fit.

On public affairs I cannot speak.  Every thing is so exaggerated on all sides, that what grains of truth remain in the sieve would appear cold and insipid; and the great manoeuvres you learn as soon as I. In the naval battle between Byron and D’Estaing, our captains were worthy of any age in our story.

You may imagine how happy I am at Mrs. Damer’s return, and at her not being at Naples, as she was likely to have been, at the dreadful explosion of Vesuvius.(367) Surely it will have glutted Sir William’s rage for volcanoes!  How poor Lady Hamilton’s nerves stood it I do not conceive.  Oh, mankind! mankind!  Are there not calamities enough in store for us, but must destruction be our amusement and pursuit?

I send this to Ditton,(368) where it may wait some days; but I would not suffer a sure opportunity to slip without a line.  You are more obliged to me for all I do not say, than for whatever eloquence itself could pen.

P. S. I unseal my letter to add, that undoubtedly you will come to the Meeting of Parliament, which will be in October.  Nothing can or ever did make me advise you to take a step unworthy of yourself.  But surely you have higher and more sacred duties than the government of a mole-hill!

(367) On the 10th of August when the eruption was so great, that several villages were destroyed; a hunting seat belonging to the King of Naples, called Caccia Bella, shared the like fate.-E.

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(368) Where Lord Hertford had then a villa.

Letter 181 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Nov. 16, 1779. (page 235)

You ought not to accuse yourself only, when I have been as silent as you.  Surely we have been friends too long to admit ceremony as a go-between.  I have thought of writing to you several times, but found I had nothing worth telling you.  I am rejoiced to hear your health has been better:  mine has been worse the whole summer and autumn than ever it was without any positive distemper, and thence I conclude it is a failure in my constitution-of which, being a thing of course, we will say no more-nobody but a physician is bound to hear what he cannot cure-and if we will pay for what we cannot expect, it is our own fault.

I have seen Doctor Lort, who seems pleased with becoming a limb of Canterbury.  I heartily wish the mitre may not devolve before it has beamed substantially on him.  In the meantime he will be delighted with ransacking the library at Lambeth; and, to do him justice, his ardour is literary, not interested.

I am much obliged to you, dear Sir, for taking the trouble of transcribing Mr. Tyson’s Journal, which is entertaining.  But I am so Ignorant as not to know where Hatfield Priory is.  The three heads I remember on the gate at Whitehall; there were five more.  The whole demolished structure was transported to the great Park at Windsor, by the late Duke of Cumberland, who intended to re-edify it, but never did; and now I suppose

Its ruins ruined, as its Place no more.

I did not know what was become of the heads, and am glad any are preserved.  I should doubt their being the works of Torregiano.  Pray who is Mr. Nichols, who has published the Alien Priories; there are half a dozen or more pretty views of French cathedrals.  I cannot say that I found any thing else in the book that amused me-but as you deal more in ancient lore than I do, perhaps you might be better pleased.

I am told there is a new History of Gloucestershire, very large, but ill executed, by one Rudder(369)—­still I have sent for it, for Gloucestershire is a very historic country.

It was a wrong scent on which I employed you.  The arms I have impaled were certainly not Boleyn’s.  You lament removal of friends -alas! dear Sir, when one lives to our age, one feels that in a higher degree than from their change of place! but one must not dilate those common moralities.  You see by my date I have changed place myself.  I am got into an excellent, comfortable, cheerful house; and as, from necessity and inclination, I live much more at home than I used to do, it is very agreeable to be so pleasantly lodged, and to be in a warm inn as one passes through the last Vale.  Adieu!  Yours ever.

(369) “The History and Antiquities of Gloucestershire; comprising the Topography, Antiquities, Curiosities, Produce, Trade, and Manufactures of that County:”  by Samuel Rudder, printer, Cirencester, folio.-E.

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Letter 182 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Dec. 1779. (page 236)

I have two good reasons against writing:  nothing to say and a lame muffled hand; and therefore I choose to write to you, for it shows remembrance.  For these six weeks almost I have been a prisoner with the gout, but begin to creep about my room.  How have you borne the late deluge and the present frost?  How do you like an earl-bishop?(370) Had not we one before in ancient days?  I have not a book in town; but was not there Anthony Beck, or a Hubert de Burgh, that was Bishop of Durham and Earl of Kent, or have I confounded them?

Have you seen Rudder’s new History of Gloucestershire?  His additions to Sir Robert Atkyns make it the most sensible history of a county that we have had yet; for his descriptions of the scite, soil, products, and prospects of each parish are extremely good and picturesque; and he treats fanciful prejudices, and Saxon etymologies, when unfounded, and traditions, with due contempt.

I will not spin this note any further, but shall be glad of a line to tell me you are well.  I have not seen Mr. Lort since he roosted under the metropolitan Wings of his grace of Lambeth.  Yours ever.

(370) The Hon. and Rev, Frederick Hervey, bishop of Derry, had just succeeded to the earldom of Bristol, as fifth Earl, by the death of his brother.  Hardy, in his memoirs of Lord Charlemont gives the following account of this singular man:—­“His family was famous for talents, equally so for eccentricity; and the eccentricity of the whole race shone out and seemed to be concentrated in him.  In one respect he was not unlike Villiers Duke of Buckingham, ‘every thing by starts, and nothing long!’ Generous, but uncertain; splendid, but fantastical; an admirer of the fine arts, without any just selection:  engaging, often licentious in conversation- extremely polite, extremely violent.  His distribution of church livings, chiefly, as I have been informed, among the older and respectable clergy in his own diocese, must always be mentioned with that warm approbation which it is justly entitled to.  His progress from his diocese to the metropolis, and his entrance into it, were perfectly correspondent to the rest of his conduct.  Through every town on the road, he seemed to court, and was received with, all warlike honours; and I remember seeing him pass by the Parliament-house in Dublin (Lords and Commons were then both sitting), escorted by a body of dragoons, full of spirits and talk, apparently enjoying the eager gaze of the surrounding multitude, and displaying altogether the self-complacency of a favourite marshal of France on his way to Versailles, rather than the grave deportment of a prelate of the Church of England.”  He died in 1803.-E.

Letter 183 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Jan. 5, 1780. (page 237)

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When you said that you feared that your particular account of your very providential escape would deter me from writing to you again, I am sure, dear Sir, that you spoke only from modesty, and not from thinking me capable of being so criminally indifferent to any thing, much less under such danger as you have run, that regards so old a friend, and one to whom I owe so many obligations.  I am but too apt to write letters on trifling or no occasion’s:  and should certainly have told you the interest I take in your accident, and how happy I am that it had no consequences of any sort.  It is hard that temperance itself, which you are, should be punished for a good-natured transgression of your own rules, and where the excess was only staying out beyond your usual hour.  I am heartily glad you did not jump out of your chaise; it has often been a much worse precaution than any consequences from risking to remain in it; as you are lame too, might have been very fatal.  Thank God! all ended so well.  Mr. Masters seems to have been more frightened, with not greater reason.  What an absurd man to be impatient to notify a disagreeable event to you, and in so boisterous a manner, and which he could not know was true, since it was not!

I shall take extremely kind your sending me your picture in glass.  I have carefully preserved the slight outline of yourself in a gown and nightcap, which you once was’ so good as to give me, because there was some likeness to your features. though it is too old even now.  For a portrait of me in return you might have it by sending the painter to the anatomical school, and bidding him draw the first skeleton he sees.  I should expect any limner would laugh in my face if I offered it to him to be copied.

I thought I had confounded the ancient count-bishops, as I had, and you have set me right.  The new temporal-ecclesiastical peers estate is more than twelve thousand a Year, though I can scarce believe it is eighteen, as the last lord said.

The picture found near the altar in Westminster-Abbey, about three years ago, was of King Sebert; I saw it, and it was well preserved, with some others worse—­but they have foolishly buried it again behind their new altar-piece; and so they have a very fine tomb of Ann of Cleve, close to the altar, which they did not know till I told them whose it was, though her arms are upon it, and though there is an exact plate of it in Sandford.  They might at least have cut out the portraits, and removed them to a conspicuous situation; but though this age is grown so antiquarian, it has not gained a grain more of sense in that walk—­witness as you instance in Mr. Grose’s Legends, and in the dean and chapter reburying the crown, robes, and sceptre of Edward I.—­there would surely have been as much piety in preserving them in their treasury, as in consigning them again to decay.  I did not know that the salvation of robes and crowns depended on receiving Christian burial.  At the same time, the chapter transgress that prince’s will, like all their antecessors; for he ordered his tomb to be opened every year or two years, and receive a new cerecloth or pall; but they boast now of having enclosed him so substantially that his ashes cannot be violated again.

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It was the present Bishop Dean who showed me the pictures and Ann’s tomb, and consulted me on the new altar-piece.  I advised him to have a light octangular canopy, like the cross at Chichester, placed over the table or altar itself, which would have given dignity to it, especially if elevated by a flight of steps; and from the side arches of the octacon, I would have had a semicircle of open arches that should have advanced quite to the seats of the prebends, which would have discovered the pictures; and through the octagon itself you would have perceived the shrine of Edward the Confessor, which is much higher than the level of the choir—­but men who ask advice seldom follow it, if you do not happen to light on the same ideas with themselves.

P. S. The Houghton pictures are not lost-but to Houghton and England!(371)

(371) They had been sold to the Empress of Russia in the preceding September, and immediately transferred to that country.-E.

Letter 184 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(372) Berkeley Square, January 25, 1780. (page 238)

It was but yesterday, Sir, that I received the favour of your letter, and this morning I sent, according to your permission, to Mr. Sheridan the elder, to desire the manuscript of your tragedy;(373) for as I am but just recovering of a fit of the gout, which I had severely for above two months, I was not able to bear the fatigue of company at home; nor could I have had the pleasure of attending to the piece so much as I wished to do, if I had invited ladies to hear it, to whom I must have been doing the honours.

I have read your play once, Sir, rapidly, though alone, and therefore cannot be very particular on the details; but I can say already, with great truth, that you have made a great deal more than I thought possible out of the skeleton of a story.; and have arranged it so artfully, that unless I am deceived by being too familiar with it, it will be -very intelligible to the audience, even if they have not read the original fable; and you have had the address to make it coherent, without the marvellous, though so much depended on that part.  In short, you have put my extravagant materials in an alembic, and drawn off only what was rational.

Your diction is very beautiful, often poetic, and yet what I admire, very simple and natural; and when necessary, rapid, concise, and sublime.

If I did not distrust my own self-love, I should say that I think it must be a very interesting piece:  and yet I might say so without vanity, so much of the disposition of the scenes is your own.  I do not yet know, Sir, what alterations you propose to make; nor do I perceive where the second and fourth acts want amendment.  The first in your manuscript is imperfect.  If I wished for any correction, it would be to shorten the scene in the fourth act between the Countess, Adelaide, and Austin, which rather delays the impatience of the audience for the

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catastrophe, and does not contribute to it, but by the mother’s orders to the daughter at the end of the scene to repair to the great church.  In the last scene I should wish to have Theordore fall into a transport of rage and despair immediately on the death of Adelaide, and be carried off by Austin’s orders; for I doubt the interval is too long for him to faint after Narbonne’s speech.  The fainting, fit, I think, might be better applied to the Countess; it does not seem requisite that she should die, but the audience might be left in suspense about her.

My last observations will be very trifling indeed, Sir; but I think you use nobleness, niceness, etc. too often, which I doubt are not classic terminations for nobility, nicety, etc. though I allow that nobility will not always express nobleness.  My children’s timeless deaths can scarce be said for untimely; nor should I choose to employ children’s as a plural genitive case, which I think the s at the end cannot imply.  “Hearted preference” is very bold for preference taken to heart.  Raymond, in the last scene says—­

“Show me thy wound—­oh, hell! ’tis through her heart!”

This line is quite unnecessary, and infers an obedience in displaying her wound which would be shocking; besides, as there is often a buffoon in an audience at a new tragedy, it might be received dangerously.  The word “Jehovah” will certainly not be suffered on the stage.

In casting the parts I conclude Mrs. Yates, as women never cease to like acting young parts, would prefer that of Adelaide, though the Countess is more suitable to her age; and it is foolish to see her representing the daughter of women fifteen or twenty years younger.  As my bad health seldom allows of my going to the theatre, I never saw Mr. Henderson but once.  His person and style should recommend him to the parts of Raymond or Austin.  Smith, I suppose, would expect to be Theodore; but Lewis is younger, handsomer, and, I think, a better actor; but you are in the right, Sir, in having no favourable idea of our stage at present.

I am sorry, Sir, that neither my talents nor health allow me to offer to supply you with Prologue and Epilogue.  Poetry never was my natural turn; and what little propensity I had to it, is totally extinguished by age and pain.  It is honour enough to me to have furnished the canons of your tragedy; I should disgrace it by attempting to supply adventitious ornaments.  The clumsiness of the seams would betray my gouty fingers.  I shall take the liberty of reading your play once more before I return it.  It will be extraordinary indeed if it is not accepted, but I cannot doubt but it will be, and very successful; though it will be great pity but you should have some zealous friend to attend to it, and who is able to bustle, and see justice done to it by the managers.  I lament that such a superannuated being as myself is not only totally incapable Of that office, but that I am utterly’ unacquainted -with the managers, and now too retired to form new Connexions.  I was still more concerned, Sir, to hear of your unhappy accident, though the bad consequences are past.

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(372) now first published.

(373) Mr. Jephson’s tragedy of The Count of Narbonne, founded on Walpole’s Gothic story of the Castle of Otranto.  It will be seen, that it was brought out, in the following year, With considerable success, at Covent Garden theatre.  “On Friday evening” says Hannah More, in a letter to one of her sisters, “I went to Mr. Tighe’s to hear him read Jephson’s tragedy.  ‘Praise,’ says Dr. Johnson, ’is a tribute which every man is expected to pay for the grant of perusing a manuscript;’ and indeed I could praise without hurting my Conscience, for The Count of Narbonne has considerable merit; the language is very Poetical, and parts of the fable very interesting; the plot managed with art, and the characters well drawn.  The love scenes I think are the worst:  they are prettily written, and full of flowers, but are rather cold; they have more poetry than passion.  I do not mean to detract from Mr. Jephson’s merit by this remark; for it does not lessen a poet’s fame to say he excels more in Painting the terrible, than the tender passions."-Memoirs, vol. i, P, 206.-E.

Letter 185 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(374) Berkeley Square, Jan. 27, 1780. (page 240)

I have returned Your tragedy, Sir, to Mr. Sheridan, after having read it again, and without wishing any more alterations than the few I hinted before.  There may be some few incorrectnesses, but none of much consequence.  I must -again applaud your art and judgment, Sir, in having made so rational a play out of my wild tale — and where you have changed the arrangement of the incidents, you have applied them to great advantage The Characters of the mother and daughter you have rendered more natural by giving jealousy to the mother, and more passion to the daughter.  In short, you have both honoured and improved my outlines:  my vanity is content, and truth enjoins me to do justice.  Bishop Warburton, in his additional notes to Pope’s works, which I saw in print in his bookseller’s hands, though they have not yet been published, observed that the plan of The Castle of Otranto was regularly a drama(375) (an intention I am sure I do not pretend to have conceived; nor, indeed, can I venture to affirm that I had any intention at all but to amuse myself—­no, not even a plan, till some pages were written).  You, Sir, have realized his idea, and yet I believe the Bishop would be surprised to see how well you have succeeded.  One cannot be quite ashamed of one’s follies, if genius condescends to adopt, and put them to a sensible use.  Miss Aikin flattered me even by stooping to tread in my eccentric steps.  Her " Fragment,” though but a specimen, showed her talent for imprinting terror.  I cannot compliment the author of the " Old English Baron,” professedly written in imitation, but as a corrective of The Castle of Otranto.  It was totally void of imagination and interest, had scarce ’any incidents, and, though it condemned the marvellous, admitted a ghost.  I suppose the author thought a tame ghost might come within the laws of probability.  You alone, Sir, have kept within nature, and made superstition supply the place of phenomenon, yet acting as the agent of divine justice—­a beautiful use of bigotry.

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I was mistaken in thinking the end of the first act deficient.  The leaves stuck together, and, there intervening two or three blank pages between the first and second acts, I examined no farther, but concluded the former imperfect, which on the second reading I found it was not.

I imagine, Sir, that the theatres of Dublin cannot have fewer good Performers than those of London; may I ask why you prefer ours?  Your own directions and instructions would be of great advantage to your play; especially if you suspect antitragic prejudices in the managers.  You, too, would be the best judge of the rehearsal of what might be improvements.  Managers will take liberties, and often curtail necessary speeches, so as to produce nonsense.  Methinks it is unkind to send a child, of which you have so much reason to be proud, to a Foundling Hospital.

(374) Now first printed.

(375) Bishop Warburton’s panegyric on the Castle of Otranto appears in a note to the following lines in Pope’s imitation of one of Horace’s epistles:—­

“Then peers grew proud in horsemanship t’excel,
Newmarket’s glory rose as Britain’s fell’
The soldier breathed the gallantries of France,
And ev’ry flow’ry courtier Writ Romance.”

“Amidst all this nonsense,” says the Bishop, “when things were at the worst, we have been lately entertained with what I will venture to call, a masterpiece in the Fable; and of a new species likewise.  The piece I mean is, The Castle of Otranto.  The scene is laid in Gothic chivalry; where a beautiful imagination, supported by strength of judgment, has enabled the author to go beyond his Subject, and effect the full purpose of the ancient tragedy; that is, to purge the passions by Pity and terror, in colouring as great and harmonious as in any of the best dramatic writers."-E.

Letter 186 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Feb. 5, 1780. (PAGE 242)

I have been turning over the new second volume of the Biographia, and find the additions very poor and lean performances.  The lives entirely new are partial and flattering, being contributions of the friends of those whose lives are recorded.  This publication made at a time when I have lived to see several of my contemporaries deposited in this national temple of fame has made me smile, and reflect that many preceding authors, who have been installed there with much respect, may have been as trifling personages as those we have l(nown and now behold consecrated to memory.  Three or four have struck me particularly, as Dr. Birch,(376) who was a worthy, good-natured soul, full of industry and activity, and running about like a young setting-dog in quest of any thing, new or old, and with no parts, taste, or judgment.  Then there is Dr. Blackwell,(377) the most impertinent literary coxcomb upon earth—­but the editor has been so just as to insert a very merited satire on his Court of Augustus.

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The third is Dr. Brown, that mountebank, who for a little time made as much noise by his Estimate, as ever quack did by a nostrum.  I do not know if I ever told you how much I was struck the only time I ever saw him.  You know one object, and the anathemas of his Estimate was the Italian Opera; yet did I find him one evening, in Passion Week, accompanying some of the Italian singers, at a concert at Lady Carlisle’s.  A clergyman, no doubt, is not obliged to be on his knees the whole week before Easter, and music and a concert are harmless amusements; but when Cato or Calvin are out of character, reformation becomes ridiculous—­but poor Dr. Brown was mad,(378) and therefore might be in earnest, whether he played the fool or the reformer.

You recollect, perhaps, the threat of Dr. Kippis to me, which is to be executed on my father, for my calling the first edition of the Biographia the Vindicatio Britannica—­but observe how truth emerges at last!  In his new volume he confesses that the article of Lord Arlington, which I had specified as one of the most censurable, is the one most deserving that censure, and that the character of Lord Arlington is palliated beyond all truth and reason"-words stronger than mine—­yet mine deserved to draw vengeance on my father! so a Presbyterian divine inverts divine judgment, and visits the sins of the children on the parents!

Cardinal Beaton’s character, softened in the first edition, gentle Dr. Kippis pronounces “extremely detestable”—­yet was I to blame for hinting such defects in that work!—­and yet my words are quoted to show that Lord Orrery’s poetry was ridiculously bad.  In like manner Mr. Cumberland, who assumes the whole honour of publishing his grandfather’s Lucan, and does not deign to mention its being published at Strawberry Hill, (though by the way I believe it will be oftener purchased for having been printed there, than for wearing Mr. Cumberland’s name to the dedication,) and yet he quotes me for having praised his ancestor in one of my publications.  These little instances of pride and spleen divert me, and then make me reflect sadly on human weaknesses.  I am very apt myself to like what flatters my opinions or passions, and to reject scornfully what thwarts them, even in the same persons.  The more one lives, the more one discovers one’s uglinesses in the features of others!  Adieu! dear Sir; I hope you do not suffer by this severe season.

P. S. I remember two other instances, where my impartiality, or at least sincerity, have exposed me to double censure.  You perhaps condemned my severity on Charles the First; yet the late Mr. Hollis wrote against me in the newspapers, for condemning the republicans for their destruction of ancient monuments.  Some blamed me for undervaluing the Flemish and Dutch pictures in my preface to the Aedes Walpolianae.  Barry the painter, because I laughed at his extravagances, says, in his rejection of that school, “But I leave them to be admired by the Hon. Horace Walpole, and such judges.”  Would not one think I had been their champion!

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(376) See vol. i. p. 434, letter 177.-E.

(377) Dr. Thomas Blackwell, principal of the Marischal College in Aberdeen.  Besides the above work, he wrote “An Enquiry into the Life and Writings of Homer,” and “Letters concerning Mythology.”  He died in 1757.

(378) In September, 1766, he destroyed himself in a fit of insanity.  See vol. ii. p. 232, letter 119, note 234.-E.

Letter 187 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Feb. 27, 1780. (PAGE 243)

Unapt as you are to inquire after news, dear Sir, you wish to have Admiral Rodney’s victory confirmed.(379) I can now assure you, that he has had a considerable advantage, and took at least four Spanish men-of-war, and an admiral, who they say is since dead of his wounds.  We must be glad of these deplorable successes—­but I heartily wish we had no longer occasion to hope for the destruction of any of our species but, alas! it looks as if devastation would still open new fields of blood!  The prospect darkens even at home—­but, however you and I may differ in our political principles, it would be happy. if every body would pursue others with as little rancour.  How seldom does it happen in political contests, that any side can count any thing but its wounds! your habitudes seclude you from meddling in our divisions; so do my age and my illnesses me.  Sixty-two is not a season for bustling among young partisans.  Indeed, if the times grow perfectly serious, I shall not wish to reach sixty-three.  Even a superannuated spectator is then a miserable being; for though insensibility is one of the softenings of old age, neither one’s feelings nor enjoyments can be accompanied with tranquillity.  We veterans must hide ourselves in inglorious security, and lament what we cannot prevent; nor shall be listened to, till misfortunes have brought the actors to their senses; and then it will be too late, or they will calm themselves faster than they could preach—­but I hope the experience of the last century will have some operation and check our animosities.  Surely, too, we shall recollect the ruin a civil war would bring on, when accompanied by such collaterals as French and Spanish wars.  Providence alone can steer us amidst all these rocks.  I shall watch the interposition of its aegis with anxiety and humility.  It saved us this last summer, and nothing else I am sure did; but often the mutual follies of enemies are the instruments Of Heaven.  If it pleases not to inspire wisdom, I shall be content if it extricates us by the reciprocal blunders and oversights of all parties—­of which, at least, we ought never to despair.  It is almost my systematic belief, that as cunning and penetration are seldom exerted for good ends, it is the absurdity of mankind that often acts as a succedaneum, and carries on and maintains the equilibrium that Heaven designed should subsist.  Adieu, dear Sir!  Shall we live to lay down our heads in peace?  Yours ever.

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28th.—­A second volume of Sir George Rodney’s exploits arrived to-day.  I do not know the authentic circumstances, for I have not been abroad yet, but they say he has taken four more Spanish ships of the line and five frigates; of the former, one of ninety guns.  Spain was sick of the war before—­how fortunate if she would renounce it!

I have just got a new History of Leicester, in six small volumes.  It seems to be superficial; but the author is young, and talks modestly which, if it Will not serve instead of merit, makes one at least hope he will improve, and not grow insolent on age and more knowledge.  I have also received from Paris a copy of an illumination from La Cit`e des Dames of Christina of Pisa, in the French King’s library.  There is her own portrait with three allegoric figures.  I have learnt much more about her, and of her amour with an English peer;(380) but I have not time to say more at present.

(379) Admiral Sir George Rodney, who had been despatched to the relief of Gibraltar, the garrison of which was much distressed for provisions, after taking a convoy of Spanish ships bound to the Caraccas, fell in, on the 16th of February off Cape St. Vincent, with the Spanish fleet, commanded by Don Juan Langara, which he defeated, and captured
        four sail of the line.-E.

(380) John Montacute, Earl of Salisbury; who arriving in Paris, as ambassador from Richard ii. to demand in marriage the Princess Isabel, daughter of Charles V., soon after the death of Castel, the husband of Christine, was so struck with her beauty and accomplishments as to offer her his hand.  This Christine respectfully declined; upon which the Earl bade adieu to love, renounced marriage, and, with her consent, brought her eldest son with him to England, to educate and protect.-E.

Letter 188 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.

Berkeley Square, March 6, 1780. (Page 245)

I have this moment received your portrait in glass, dear Sir, and am impatient to thank you for it, and tell you how much I value it.  It is better executed than I own I expected, and yet I am not quite satisfied with it.  The drawing is a little incorrect, the eyes too small in proportion, and the mouth exaggerated.  In short, it is a strong likeness of your features, but not of your countenance, which is better, and more serene.  However, I am enough content to place it at Strawberry amongst all my favourite, brittle, transitory relics, which will soon vanish with their founder—­and with his no great unwillingness for himself.

I take it ill, that you should think I should suspect you of asking indirectly for my Noble Authors-and much more if you would not be so free as to ask for them directly-a most trifling present surely—­and from you who have made me a thousand!  I know I have some copies in my old house in Arlington-street, I hope of both volumes, I am sure of the second.  I will soon go thither and look for them.

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I have gone through the six volumes of Leicester.  The author is so modest and so humble, that I am quite sorry it is so very bad a work; the arrangement detestable, the materials trifling, his reflections humane but silly.  He disposes all under reigns of Roman emperors and English kings, whether they did any thing or nothing at Leicester.  I am sorry I have such predilection for the histories of particular counties and towns:  there certainly does not exist a worse class of reading.

Dr. E. made me a visit last week.  He is not at all less vociferous for his disgrace.  I wish I had any Guinea-fowls.  I can easily get you some eggs from Lady Ailesbury, and will ask her for some, that you may have the pleasure of rearing your own chicks—­but how can you bear their noise? they are more discordant and clamorous than peacocks.  How shall I convey the eggs?

I smiled at Dr. Kippis’s bestowing the victory on Dean Milles, and a sprig on Mr. Masters.  I regard it as I should, if the sexton of Broad Street St. Giles’s were to make a lower bow to a cheese-monger of his own parish than to me.  They are all three haberdashers of small wares, and welcome to each other’s civilities.  When such men are summoned to a jury on one of their own trade, it is natural they should be partial.  They do not reason, but recollect how much themselves have overcharged some yards of buckram.  Adieu!

P. S. Mr. Pennicott has shown me a most curious and delightful picture.  It is Rose, the royal gardener, presenting the first pine-apple ever raised in England to Charles ii.  They are In a garden, with a view of a good private house, such as there are several at Sunbury and about london.  It is by far the best likeness of the King I ever saw; the countenance cheerful, good-humoured, and very sensible.  He is in brown, lined with orange, and many black ribands, a large flapped hat, dark wig, not tied up, nor yet bushy, a point cravat, no waistcoat, and a tasselled handkerchief, hanging from a low pocket.  The whole is of the smaller landscape size, and extremely well coloured, with perfect harmony. \It was a legacy from London, grandson of him who was partner with Wise.

Letter 189 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, March 13, 1780.(PAGE 246)

You compliment me, my good friend, on a sagacity that is surely very common.  How frequently do we see portraits that have catched the features and missed the countenance or character, which is far more difficult to hit; nor is it unfrequent to hear that remark made.

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I have confessed to you that I am fond of local histories.  It is the general execution of them that I condemn, and that I call “the worst kind of reading.”  I cannot comprehend but that they might be performed with taste.  I did mention this winter the new edition of Atkyns’s Gloucestershire, as having additional descriptions of situations that I thought had merit.  I have just got another, a View of Northumberland, in two volumes, quarto, with cuts;(381) but I do not devour it fast; for the author’s predilection is to Roman antiquities, which, such as are found in this island, are very indifferent, and inspire me with little curiosity.  A barbarous country, so remote from the seat of empire, and occupied by a few legions that very rarely decided any great events, is not very interesting, though one’s own country; nor do I care a straw for a stone that preserves the name of a standard-bearer of a cohort, or of a colonel’s daughter.  Then I have no patience to read the tiresome disputes of antiquaries to settle forgotten names of vanished towns, and to prove that such a village was called something else in Antoninus’s Itinerary.  I do not say the Gothic antiquities I like are of more importance; but at least they exist.  The site of a Roman camp, of which nothing remains but a bank, gives me not the smallest pleasure.  One knows they had square camps-has one a clearer idea from the spot, which is barely distinguishable?  How often does it happen, that the lumps of earth are so imperfect, that it is never clear whether they are Roman, Druidic, Danish, or Saxon fragments:  the moment it is uncertain, it is plain they furnish no specific idea of art or history, and then I neither desire to see or read them.  I have been diverted, too, by another work, in which I am personally a little concerned.  Yesterday was published an octavo, pretending to contain the correspondence of Hackman and Miss Ray, that he murdered.(382) I doubt whether the letters are genuine; and yet, if fictitious, they are executed well, and enter into his character:  hers appears less natural, and yet the editors were certainly more likely to be in the possession of hers than his.  It is not probable that Lord Sandwich should have sent what he found in her apartments to the press.  No account is pretended to be given of how they came to light.

You will wonder how I should be concerned in this correspondence, who never saw either of the lovers in my days.  In fact, my being dragged in is a reason for doubting the authenticity; nor can I believe that the long letter in which I am frequently mentioned could be written by the wretched lunatic.  It pretends that Miss Ray desired him to give her a particular account of Chatterton.  He does give a most ample one; but is there a glimpse of probability that a being so frantic should have gone to Bristol, and sifted Chatterton’s sister and others with as much cool curiosity as Mr. Lort could do? and at such a moment!  Besides, he murdered Miss Ray,

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I think, in March; my printed defence was not at all dispersed before the preceding January or February, nor do I conceive that Hackman could even see it.  There are notes, indeed, by the editor, who has certainly seen it; but I rather imagine that the editor, whoever he is, composed the whole volume.  I am acquitted of’ being accessory to the man’s death, which is gracious; but much blamed for speaking of his bad character, and for being too hard on his forgeries, though I took so much pains to Specify the innocence of them; and for his character, I only quoted the words of his own editor and panegyrist.  I did not repeat what Dr. Goldsmith told me at the Royal Academy, where I first heard of his death, that he went by the appellation of the “Young Villain;” but it is not new to me, as you know, to be blamed by two opposite parties.  The editor has in one place confounded me and my uncle; who, he says, as is true, checked Lord Chatham for being too forward a young man in 1740.  In that year I was not even come into Parliament; and must have been absurd indeed if I had taunted Lord Chatham with youth, who was, at least, six or seven years younger than he was; and how could he reply by reproaching me with old age, who was then not twenty-three?  I shall make no answer to these absurdities, nor to any part of the work.  Blunder, I see, people will, and talk of what they do not understand @ and what care I?  There is another trifling mistake of still less consequence.  The editor supposes it was Macpherson who communicated Ossian to me.  It was Sir David Dalrymple who sent me the first specimen.(383) Macpherson did once come to me, but my credulity was then a little shaken.

Lady Ailesbury has promised me Guinea-eggs for you, but they have not yet begun to lay I am well acquainted with Lady Craven’s little tale, dedicated to me.(384) It is careless and incorrect, but there are very pretty things in it.  I will stop, for I fear I have written to you too much lately.  One you did not mention:  I think it was of the 28th of last month.

(381) “A View of Northumberland; with an Excursion to the Abbey of Melrose, Scotland, in the year 1776;” by William Hutchinson, F. A. S. Two volumes 4to.; 1778-80.-E.

(382) the work here alluded to was written by Sir Herbert Croft, Bart.  It was a compound of fact and fiction called “Love and Madness, a Story too true, in a Series of Letters between Parties, whose names would, perhaps, be mentioned, were they less known or less lamented.  London, 1780.”  The work ran through several editions.  In 1800, Sir Herbert published, “Chatterton and Love and Madness, in a Letter from Sir Herbert Croft to Mr. Nichols.”  Boswell says, that Dr. Johnson greatly disapproved of mingling real facts with fiction, and on this account censured “Love and Madness."-E.

(383) See vol. iii. p. 63, letter 25, note 64.-E.

(384) Entitled “The Miniature Picture."-E.

Letter 190 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, March 30, 1780. (page 248)

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I cannot be told that you are extremely ill, and refrain from begging to hear that you are better.  Let me have but one line; if it is good, ’it will satisfy me.  If you was not out of order, I would scold you for again making excuses about the Noble Authors; it was not kind to be so formal about a trifle.

We do not differ so much in politics as you think, for when they grow too serious, they are so far from inflaming my zeal, they make me more moderate:  and I can as easily discern the faults on my own side as on the other; nor would assist Whigs more than Tories in altering the constitution.  The project of annual parliaments, or of adding a hundred members to the House of Commons would, I think, be very unwise, and will never have my approbation—­but a temperate man is not likely to be listened to in turbulent times; and when one has not youth and lungs, or ambition, to make oneself attended to, one can only be silent and lament, and preserve oneself blameless of any mischief that is done or attempted.

Letter 191 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, May 11, 1780. (page 248)

Mr. Godfrey, the engraver, told me yesterday that Mr. Tyson is dead.(385) I am sorry for it, though he had left me off.  A much older friend of mine died yesterday; but of whom I must say the same, George Montagu, whom you must remember at Eton and Cambridge.  I should have been exceedingly concerned for him a few years ago but he had dropped me, partly from politics and partly from caprice, for we never had any quarrel; but he was grown an excessive humourist, and had shed almost all his friends as well as me.  He had parts, and infinite vivacity and originality till of late years; and it grieved me much that he had changed towards me, after a friendship of between thirty and forty years.

I am told that a nephew of the provost of King’s has preached and printed a most flaming sermon, which condemns the whole Opposition to the stake.  Pray who is it, and on what occasion?  Mr. Bryant has published an Answer to Dr. Priestley.(386) I bought it, but though I have a great value for the author, the subject is so metaphysical, and so above human decision, I soon laid it aside.  I hope you can send me a good account of yourself, though the spring is so unfavourable.  Yours most sincerely.

(385) Mr. Cole, in a letter of the 14th, says, “the loss of poor Mr. Tyson shocked and afflicted me more than I thought it possible I could have been afflicted:  since the loss of Mr. Gray, I have lamented no one so much.  God rest his soul!  I hope he is happy; and, was it not for those he has left behind, I am so much of a philosopher, now the affair is over, I would prefer the exchange."-E.

(386) It was entitled “An Address to Dr. Priestley upon his Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity Illustrated."-E.

@Letter 192 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Friday night, May 19, 1780. (page 249)

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By tomorrow’s coach you will receive a box of Guinea-hens’ eggs, which Lady Ailesbury sent me to-day from Park-place.  I hope they will arrive safe and all be hatched.

I thank you for the account of the sermon and the portrait of the uncle.  They will satisfy me without buying the former.  As I knew Mr. Joseph Spence,(387) I do not think I should have been so much delighted as Dr. Kippis with reading his letters.  He was a good-natured, harmless little soul, but more like a silver penny than a genius.  It was a neat, fiddle-faddle, bit of sterling, that had read good books and kept good company, but was too trifling for use, and only fit to please a child.

I hesitate on purchasing Mr. Gough’s second edition.  I do not think there was a guinea’s worth of entertainment in the first; how can the additions be worth a guinea and a half?  I have been aware of the royal author you tell me of, and have noted him for a future edition; but that will not appear in my own time; because, besides that, it will have the castrations in my original copy, and other editions, that I am not impatient to produce.  I have been solicited to reprint the work, but do not think it fair to give a very imperfect edition when I could print it complete, which I do not choose to do, as I have an aversion to literary squabbles:  one seems to think one’s self too important when one engages in a controversy on one’s writings; and when one does not vindicate them, the answerer passes for victor, as you see Dr. Kippis allots the palm to Dr. Milles, though you know I have so much more to say in defence of my hypothesis.  I have actually some hopes of still more, of which I have heard, but till I see it, I shall not reckon upon it as on my side.

Mr. lort told me of King James’s Procession to St. Paul’s; but they ask such a price for it, and I care so little for James I., that I have not been to look at the picture.

Your electioneering will probably be increased immediately.  Old Mr. Thomas Townshend is at the point of death.(388) The Parliament will probably be dissolved before another session.  We wanted nothing but drink to inflame our madness, which I do not confine to politics; but what signifies it to throw out general censures?  We old folks are apt to think nobody wise but ourselves.  I wish the disgraces of these last two or three years did not justify a little severity more than flows from the peevishness of years!  Yours ever.

(387) See Vol.  I. p, 168, letter 29.-E.

(388) The Right Hon. Thomas Townshend, son of Charles second Viscount Townshend, many years member for the University of Cambridge.  He died a few days after the date of this letter.  He was a most elegant scholar, and lived in acquaintance and familiarity with most of the considerable men of his time.  In early life he entered into the secretary of state’s office under his father, whom he accompanied in his journeys to Germany with George the First and Second.  At the time of his death he was in his seventy-ninth year.-E.

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Letter 193 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, May 30, 1780. (page 250)

I hope you will bring your eggs to a fair market.  At last I have got from Bonus my altar-doors which I bought at Mr. Ives’s; he has repaired them admirably.  I would not suffer him to repaint or varnish them.  There are indubitably Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, Cardinal Beaufort, and Archbishop Kemp.  The fourth I cannot make out.  It is a man in a crimson garment lined with white, and not tonsured.  He is in the stable with cattle, and has the air of Joseph; but over his head hangs a large shield with these arms. * * (389) The Cornish choughs are sable on or; the other three divisions are gules, on the first of which is a gold crescent.

The second arms have three bulls’ heads sable, horned or.  The chevron was so changed that Bonus thought it sable; but I think it was gules, and then it would be Bullen or Boleyn.  Lord de Ferrars says, that the first are the arms of Sir Bartholomew Tate, who he finds married a Sanders.  Edmondson’s new Dictionary of Heraldry confirms both arms for Tate and Sanders, except that Sanders bore the chevron erminc, which it may have been.  But what I wish to discover is, whether Sir Bartholomew Tate was a benefactor to St. Edmundsbury, whence these doors came, or was in any shape a retainer to the Duke of Gloucester or Cardinal Beaufort.  The Duke’s and Sir Bartholomew’s figures were on the insides of the doors (which I have had sawed into four panels,) and are painted in a far superior style to the Cardinal and the Archbishop, which are very hard and dry.  The two others are so good that they are in the style of the school of the Caracci.  They at least were painted by some Italian; the draperies have large and bold folds, and One wonders how they could be executed in the reign of Henry VI.  I shall be very glad if you can help me to any lights, at least about Sir Bartholomew.  I intend to place them in my chapel, as they will aptly accompany the shrine.  The Duke and Archbishop’s agree perfectly with their portraits in my Marriage of Henry VI., and prove how rightly I guessed.  The Cardinal’s is rather a longer and thinner visage, but that he might have in the latter end of life; and in the Marriage he has the red bonnet on, which shortens his face.  On the door he is represented in the character he ought to have possessed, a pious, contrite look, not the truer resemblance which Shakspeare drew—­ “He dies, and makes no sign!”—­but Annibal Caracci himself could not paint like our Raphael poet!  Pray don’t venture yourself in any more electioneering riots:  you see the mob do not respect poets, nor, I suppose, antiquaries.

P. S. I am in no haste for an answer to my queries.

(389) Here Mr. Walpole had sketched in a rough draught of the arms.

Letter 194 To Mrs. Abington.(390) Strawberry Hill, June 11, 1780. (page 251)

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Madam, You may certainly always command me and my house.  My common custom is to give a ticket for only four persons at a time but it would be very insolent in me, when all laws are set at nought, to pretend to prescribe rules.  At such times there is a shadow of authority in setting the laws aside by the legislature itself; and though I have no army to supply their place, I declare Mrs. Abington may march through all my dominions at the head of as large a troop as she pleases.  I do not say, as she can muster and command; for then I am sure my house would not hold them.  The day, too, is at her own choice; and the master is her very obedient humble servant.

(390) Now first printed.

Letter 195 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, June 12, 1780. (page 251)

My dear lord, If the late events had been within the common proportion of news, I would have tried to entertain your lordship with an account of them; but they were far beyond that size, and could only create horror and indignation.  Religion has often been the cloak of injustice, outrage, and villany:  in our late tumults,(391) it scarce kept on its mask a moment; its persecution was downright robbery; and it was so drunk that it killed its banditti faster than they could plunder.  The tumults have been carried on in so violent and scandalous a manner, that I trust they will have no copies.  When prisons are levelled to the ground, when the Bank is aimed at, and reformation is attempted by conflagrations, the savages of Canada are the only fit allies of Lord George Gordon(392) and his crew.  The Tower is much too dignified a prison for him-but he had left no other.

I came out of town on Friday, having seen a good deal of the shocking transactions of Wednesday night—­in fact, it was difficult to be in London, and not to see or think some part of it in flames.  I saw those of the King’s Bench, New Prison, and those on the three sides of the Fleet-market, which turned into one blaze.(393) The town and parks are now one camp—­the next disagreeable sight to the capital being in ashes.  It will still not have been a fatal tragedy, if it brings the nation one and all to their senses.  It will still be not quite an unhappy country, if we reflect that the old constitution, exactly as it was in the last reign, was the most desirable of any in the universe.  It made us then the first people in Europe—­we have a vast deal of ground to recover—­but can we take a better path than that which King William pointed out to us?  I mean the system he left us at the Revolution.  I am averse to all changes of it—­it fitted us just as it was.

For some time even individuals must be upon their guard.  Our new and now imprisoned apostle has delivered so many Saint Peters from gaol, that one hears of nothing but robberies on the highway.  Your lordship’s sister, Lady Browne, and I have been at Twickenham-park this evening, and kept together, and had a horseman at our return.  Baron d’Aguilar was shot at in that very lane on Thursday night.  A troop of the fugitives had rendezvoused in Combe Wood, and were dislodged thence yesterday by the light horse.

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I do not know a syllable but what relates to these disturbances.  The newspapers have neglected few truths.  Lies, without their natural propensity to falsehoods, they could not avoid, for every minute produces some, at least exaggerations.  We were threatened with swarms of good Protestants `a br`uler from all quarters, and report sent various detachments on similar errands; but thank God they have been but reports!  Oh! when shall we have peace and tranquility?  I hope your lordship and Lady Strafford will at least enjoy the latter in your charming woods.  I have long doubted which of our passions is the strongest—­perhaps every one of them is equally strong in some person or other-but I have no doubt but ambition is the most detestable, and the most inexcusable; for its mischiefs are by far the most extensive, and its enjoyments by no means proportioned to its anxieties.  The latter, I believe, is the case of most passions—­but then all but ambition cost little pain to any but the possessor.  An ambitious man must be divested of all feeling but for himself.  The torment of others is his high-road to happiness.  Were the transmigration of souls true, and accompanied by consciousness, how delighted would Alexander or Croesus be to find themselves on four legs, and divested of a wish to conquer new worlds, or to heap up all the wealth of this!  Adieu, my dear lord!

(391) The riots of 1780, when Lord George Gordon raised a no-popery cry, and assembled many thousand persons in St. George’s Fields, to accompany him to the House of Commons, with a petition for the repeal of the act passed for the relief of the Roman Catholics in the preceding session.  The petition was, of course, rejected; which being communicated to the mob by Lord George, they dispersed for a while, but on that evening commenced their work of mischief, destroying two Catholic chapels in Duke-street and Warwick-street:  Newgate and all the other prisons were likewise fired; the Bank was attempted; and the riot was not quelled until 210 persons were killed and 248 wounded, of whom seventy-five died in the hospitals.  Lord George was committed to the Tower; and many of the ringleaders, after being tried by special commissioners, suffered the extreme penalty of the law.-E.

(392) Lord George Gordon was brother of Alexander Duke of Gordon.  He was considered not to be at all times of sound mind.  Some years after his acquittal, on the indictment preferred against him in the Court of King’s Bench as instigator of the riots, he was convicted of a libel on Marie Antoinette and Count d’Ademar, one of the French ministry.  To avoid punishment, he fled the country; but shortly afterwards was discovered at Birmingham in the garb of a Jew, and committed to Newgate, pursuant to his sentence, where he lived some time, professing the Jewish religion, having undergone the extreme rites of it, and where he died, in November 1793.-E.

(393) In her reply to a letter from Walpole, giving an account of these riots, Madame du Deffand says—­“Rien n’est plus affreux que tout ce qui arrive chez vous.  Votre libert`e ne me s`eduit point; cette libert`e tant vant`ee me paroit bien plus on`ereuse que notre esclavage; mais il ne m’appartient pas de traitor de telles mati`eres:  permettez-moi de bl`amer votre indiscr`etion, de vous aller promener dans les rues pendant ce vacarme."-E.

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Letter 196 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 15, 1780. (page 253)

You may like to know one is alive, dear Sir, after a massacre, and the conflagration of a capital.  I was in it, both on the Friday and on the Black Wednesday; the most horrible sight I ever beheld, and which, for six hours together, I expected to end in half the town being reduced to ashes.  I can give you little account of the original of this shocking affair; negligence was certainly its nurse, and religion only its godmother.  The ostensible author is in the Tower.  Twelve or fourteen thousand men have quelled all tumults; and as no bad account is come from the country, except for a moment at Bath, and as eight days have passed,—­nay, more, since the commencement, I flatter myself the whole nation is shocked at the scene; and that, if plan there was, it was laid only in and for the metropolis.  The lowest and most villanous of the people, and to no great amount, were almost the sole actors.

I hope your electioneering riotry(394) has not, nor will mix in these tumults.  It would be most absurd; for Lord Rockingham, the Duke of Richmond, Sir George Saville, and Mr. Burke, the patrons of toleration, were devoted to destruction as much as the ministers.  The rails torn from Sir George’s house were the chief weapons and instruments of the mob.  For the honour of the nation I should be glad to have it proved that the French were the engineers.  You and I have lived too long for our comfort—­shall we close our eyes in peace?  I will not trouble you more about the arms I sent you:  I should like that they were those of the family of Boleyn; and since I cannot be sure they were not, why should not I fancy them so?  I revert to the prayer for peace.  You and I, that can amuse ourselves with our books and papers, feel as much indignation at the turbulent as they have scorn for us.  It is hard at least that they who disturb nobody can have no asylum in which to pursue their innoxious indolence Who is secure against Jack Straw and a whirlwind?  How I abominate Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, who routed the poor Otaheitans out of the centre of the ocean, and carried our abominable passions amongst them! not even that poor little specie could escape European restlessness.  Well, I have seen many tempestuous scenes, and outlived them! the present prospect is too thick to see through--it is well hope never forsakes us.  Adieu!

(394) Of the “electioneering riotry” going on at this time in Cambridgeshire, Mr. Cole, in a letter of the 14th of May, gives the following account:—­“Electioneering madness and faction have inflamed this country to such a degree, that the peace it has enjoyed for above half a century may take as long a time before it returns again.  Yesterday, the three candidates were nominated; the Duke of Rutland’s brother, the late Mr. Charles Yorke’s son, and Sir Sampson

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Gideon, whose expenses for this month have been enormous, beyond all belief.  Sending my servant on a particular message to Sir Sampson, he found him in bed, not well, and probably half asleep; for he not only wrote the direction to two covers which I sent him, but sealed them both, though they were only covers.  I wonder, indeed, that he is alive, considering the immense fatigue and necessary drinking he must undergo—­a miserable hard task to get into Parliament!” The contest terminated in the return of Lord Robert Manners, who died, in April 1782, of the wounds he received in the great sea-fight in the West Indies; and of Mr. Philip Yorke, who, in 1790, succeeded his uncle as Earl of Hardwicke.-E.

Letter 197 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, July 4, 1780. (page 254)

I answer your letter the moment I receive it, to beg you will by no means take any notice, not even in directly and without My name, of the Life of Mr. Baker.  I am earnest against its being known to exist.  I should be teased to show it.  Mr. Gough might inquire about it—­I do not desire his acquaintance; and above all am determined, if I can help it, to have no controversy while I live.  You know I have hitherto suppressed my answers to the critics of Richard iii. for that reason; and above all things, I hate theologic or political controversy-nor need you fear my disputing with you, though we disagree very considerably indeed about Papist’s and Presbyterians.  I hope you have not yet sent the manuscript to Mr. Lort, and if you have not, do entreat you to deface undecipherably what you have said about my Life of Mr. Baker.

Pray satisfy me that no mention of it shall appear in print.  I can by no means consent to it, and I am sure you will prevent it.  Yours sincerely.

Letter 198 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 9, 1780. (page 255)

I am very happy at receiving a letter from your lordship this moment, as I thought it very long since we had corresponded, but am afraid of being troublesome, when I have not the excuse of thanking you, or something worth telling you, which in truth is not the case at present.  No soul, whether interested or not, but deafens one about elections.  I always detested them, even when in Parliament; and when I lived a good deal at White’s, preferred hearing of Newmarket to elections; for the former, being uttered in a language I did not understand, did not engage my attention; but as they talked of elections in English, I could not help knowing what they said.  It does surprise me, I own, that people can choose to stuff their heads with details and circumstances. of which in six weeks they will never hear or think more.  The weather till now has been the chief topic of conversation.  Of late it has been the third very hot summer; but refreshed by so little rain, that the banks of the

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Thames have been and are, I believe, like those of the Manzanares.  The night before last we had some good showers, and to-day a thick fog has dissolved in some as thin as gauze.  Still I am not quite sorry to enjoy the weather of adust climates without their tempests and insects.  Lady Cowper I lately visited, and but lately:  if what I hear is true, I shall be a gainer, for they talk of Lord Duncannon having her house at Richmond:  like your lordship, I confess I was surprised at his choice.  I know nothing to the prejudice of the young lady;(395) but I should not have selected, for so gentle and very amiable a man, a sister of the empress of fashion,(396) nor a daughter of the goddess of wisdom.(397)

They talk of great disssatisfactions in the fleet.  Geary and Barrington are certainly retired.  It looks, if this deplorable war should continue, as if all our commanders by sea and land were to be disgraced or disgusted.

The people here have christened Mr. Shirley’s new house, Spite-hall.(398) It is dismal to think that one may live to seventy-seven, and go out of the world doing as ill-natured an act as possible!  When I am reduced to detail the gazette of Twickenham, I had better release your lordship; but either way it is from the utmost attention and respect for your lordship and Lady Strafford, as I am ever most devotedly and gratefully yours.

(395) In the following November, Lord Duncannon married Henrietta-Frances, second daughter of John first Earl Spencer.-E.

(396) Georgiana, eldest daughter of John first Earl Spencer; married, in 1774, to the Duke of Devonshire.-E.

(397) Margaret-Georgiana, daughter of the Right Hon. Stephen Poyntz; married, in 1755, to John first Earl Spencer.-E.

(398) Because built, it was said, on purpose to intercept a view of the Thames from his opposite neighbour.

letter 199 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 27, 1780. (page 256)

Dear Sir, I must inquire how you do after all your election agitations, which have growled even around your hermitage.  Candidates and their emissaries are like Pope’s authors,

“They pierce our thickets, through our groves they glide.”

However, I have barred my doors; and when I would not go to an election for myself, I would not for any one else.

Has not a third real summer, and so very dry one, assisted your complaints?  I have been remarkably well, and better than for these five years.  Would I could say the same of all my friends—­ but, alas!  I expect every day to hear that I have lost my dear old friend Madame du Deffand.(399) She was indeed near eighty-four, but retained all her interior faculties—­two days ago the letters from Paris forbade all hopes.  So I reckon myself dead as to France, where I have kept up no other connexion.

I am going at last to publish my fourth volume of Painters, which, though printed so long, I have literally treated by Horace’s rule, “Nonumque prematur in nonum.”  Tell me how I shall send it to you.  Yours ever.

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(399) In the last letter Madame du Deffand ever wrote to Walpole, dated the 22d of August, she thus describes her situation:—­“Je vous mandai dans ma derni`ere que je ne me portais pas bien; c’cst encore pis aujourd’hui.  Je suis d’une faiblesse et d’un abattement excessifs; Ma voix est `eteinte, je ne puis me soutenir sur mes jambes, je ne puis me donner aucun mouvement, j’ai le coeur envolopp`e; j’ai de la peine `a croire que cet `etat ne m’annonce une fin prochaine.  Je n’ai pas la force d’en `etre effray`ee; et, ne vous devant revoir de ma vie, je n’a rien `a regretter.  Divertissez-vous, mon ami, le plus que vous pourrez; ne vous affligez point de mon `etat; nous `etions presque perdus l’un pour l’autre; nous ne nous devions jamais revoir! vous me regretterez, parce qu’on est bien-aise de se savoir aim`e.  Peut-`etre que par la suite Wiart vous mandera de mes nouvelles; c’est une fatigue pour moi de dicter.”  From this day she kept her bed.  On the 8th of September Mr. Walpole had written to her, expressing his great anxiety for her.  To his inquiries she was unable to dictate an answer.  Her anteroom continued every day crowded with the persons who had before surrounded her supper-table.  Her weakness became excessive; but she suffered no pain, and possessed her memory, understanding, and ideas till within the last eight days of her existence, when a lethargic insensibility took which terminated in death, without effort or struggle, on the 24th of September.  She was buried, according to her own direction, in the plainest manner, in her parish church of St. Sulpice.  To Mr. Walpole she bequeathed the whole of her manuscripts, papers, letters, and books, of every description; with a permission to the Prince of Beauvau to take a copy of any of the papers he might desire.-E.

Letter 200 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Oct. 3, 1780. (page 256)

I did not go to Malvern, and therefore cannot certify you, my good Sir, whether Tom Hearne mistook stone for brass or not, though I dare to say your criticism is just.

My book, if I can possibly, shall go to the inn to-morrow, or next day at least.  You will find a great deal of rubbish in it, with all your partiality—­but I shall have done with it.

I cannot thank you enough for your goodness about your notes that you promised Mr. Grose; but I cannot possibly be less generous and less disinterested, nor can by any means be the cause of your breaking your word.  In short, I insist on your sending your notes to him—­and as to my Life of Mr. Baker, if it is known to exist, nobody can make me produce it sooner than I please, nor at all if I do not please; so pray send your accounts, and leave me to be stout with our antiquaries, or curious.  I shall not satisfy the latter, and don’t care a straw for the former.

The Master of Pembroke (who he is, I don’t know(400)) is like the lover who said,

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“Have I not seen thee where thou hast not been?”

I have been in Kent with Mr. Barrett, but was not at Ramsgate; the Master, going thither, perhaps saw me.  It is a mistake not worth rectifying.  I have no time for more, being in the midst of the delivery of my books.  Yours ever.

(400) Dr. James Brown; see ante, p. 62, letter 36.-E.

Letter 201 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Nov. 11, 1780. (page 257)

I am afraid you are not well, my good Sir; for you are so obligingly punctual, that I think you would have acknowledged the receipt of my last volume, if you were not out of order.

Lord Dacre lent me the new edition of Mr. Gough’s Topography, and the ancient maps and quantity of additions tempted me to buy it.  I have not gone through much above the half of the first volume, and find it more entertaining than the first edition.  This is no partiality; for I think he seems rather disposed, though civilly, to find cavils with me.  Indeed, in the passage in which I am most mentioned, he not only gives a very confused, but quite a wrong account:  as in other places, he records some trifles in my possession not worth recording—­but I know that we antiquaries are but too apt to think, that whatever has had the honour of entering our ears, is worthy of being laid before the eyes of every body else.  The story I mean is P. ix. of the preface.  Now the three volumes of drawings and tombs, by Mr. Lethueillier and Sir Charles Frederick, for which Mr. Gough says I refused two hundred pounds, are now Lord Bute’s, are not Lord Bute’s, but mine, and for which I never was offered two hundred pounds, and for which I gave sixty pounds—­full enough.  The circumstances were much more entertaining than Mr. G.’s perplexed account.  Bishop Lyttelton told me Sir Charles Frederick complained of Mr. L.’s not bequeathing them to him, as he had been a joint labourer with him; and that Sir Charles wished I Would not bid against him for them, as they were to be sold by auction.  I said this was a very reasonable request, and that I was ready to oblige Sir Charles; but as I heard others meant to bid high for the books, I should wish to know how far he would go, and that I would not oppose him; but should the books exceed the price Sir Charles was willing to give, I should like to be at liberty to bid for them against others.  However, added I, as Sir Charles (who lived then in Berkelyey-square, as I did then in Arlington-street,) passes by my door every time he goes to the House of Commons, if he will call on me, We will make such agreement.  You will scarce believe the sequel.  The dignity of Sir Charles Frederick was hurt that I should propose his making me the first visit, though to serve himself—­nothing could be more out of my imagination than the ceremonial of visits; though when he was so simple as to make a point of it, I could not see how in any light I

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was called on to make the first visit—­and so the treaty ended; and so I bought the books.  There was another work, I think in two volumes, which was their Diary of Their Tour, with a few slight views.  Bishop Lyttelton proposed them to me, and engaged to get them for me from Mr. Lethueillier’s sister for ten guineas.  She hesitated, the Bishop died, I thought no more of them, and they may be what Lord Bute has.  There is another assertion in Mr. Gough, which I can authentically Contradict.  He says Sir Matthew Decker first introduced ananas, p. 134.  My very curious picture of Rose, the royal gardener, presenting the first ananas to Charles ii. proves the culture here earlier by several years.

At page 373, he seems to doubt my assertion of Gravelot’s making drawings of tombs in Gloucestershire, because he never met with any engravings from them.  I took my account from Vertue, who certainly knew what he said.  I bought at Vertue’s own sale some of Gravelot’s drawings of our regal monuments, which Vertue engraved:  but, which is stronger, Mr. Gough himself a few pages after, viz. in p. 387, mentions Gravelot’s drawing of Tewkesbury church; which being in Gloucestershire, Mr. G. might have believed me that Gravelot did draw in that county.  This is a little like Mr. Masters’s being angry with me for taking liberties with bishops and chancellors, and then abusing grossly one who had been both bishop and chancellor.  I forgot that in the note on Sir Charles Frederick, Mr. Gough calls Mr. Worseley, Wortley.  In page 354, he says Rooker exhibited a drawing of Waltham-cross to the Royal Academy of Sciences—­pray where is that academy?  I suppose he means that of painting.  I find a few omissions; one very comical; he says Penshurst was celebrated by Ben Jonson, and seems Perfectly in the dark as to how much more fame it owes to Waller.  We antiquaries are a little apt to get laughed at for knowing what every body has forgotten, and for being ignorant of what every child knows.  Do not tell him of these things, for I do not wish to vex him.  I hope I was mistaken, and shall hear that you are well.  Yours ever.

Letter 202 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Nov. 24, 1780. (page 259)

I am sorry I was so much in the right in guessing you had been ill, but at our age there is little sagacity in such divination.  In my present holidays from the gout, I have a little rheumatism, or some of those accompaniments.

I have made several more notes to the new Topography, but none of consequence enough to transcribe.  It is well it is a book only for the adept, or the scorners would often laugh.  Mr. Gough speaking of some cross that has been removed, says, there is now an unmeaning market-house in its place.  Saving his reverence and our prejudices, I doubt there is a good deal more meaning in a market-house than in a cross.  They tell me that there are numberless

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mistakes.  Mr. Pennant, whom I saw yesterday, says so.  He is not one of our plodders; rather the other extreme.  His corporal spirits (for I cannot call them animal) do not allow him time to digest any thing.  He gave a round jump from ornithology to antiquity; and, as if they had any relation, thought he understood every thing between them.  These adventures divert me who am got on shore, and find how sweet it is to look back on those who are toiling in deep waters, whether in ships, or cock-boats, or on old rotten planks.  I am sorry for the Dean of Exeter; if he dies, I conclude the leaden mace of the Antiquarian Society will be given to Judge Barrington,(401)

Et simili frondescet Virga metallo.”

I endeavoured to give our antiquaries a little wrench towards taste—­but it was in vain.  Sandby and our engravers have lent them a great deal—­but there it stops.  Captain Grose’s dissertations are as dull and silly as if they were written for the Ostrogoth maps of the beginning of the new Topography:  and which are so square and incomprehensible, that they look as if they were ichnographics of the New Jerusalem.  I am delighted with having done with the professions of author and printer, and intend to be most comfortably lazy, I was going to say idle (but that would not be new) for the rest of my days.

If there was a peace, I would build my offices—­if there is not soon, we shall be bankrupt—­nay, I do not know what may happen as it is.  Well!  Mr. Grose will have plenty of ruins to engrave!  The Royal Academy will make a fine mass, with what remains of old Somerset-house.

Adieu! my good Sir.  Let me know you are well.  You want nothing else, for you can always amuse Yourself, and do not let the foolish world disturb you.  Yours most sincerely.

(401) The Hon. Daines Barrington, fourth son of John first Viscount Barrington, second Justice of Chester, and author of “Observations on the Statutes,” etc.  He was eminent in natural history, and in several branches of literature; and died in 1800.-E.

Letter 203 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Nov. 30, 1780. (page 260)

I am sorry, my dear Sir, that you should be so humble with me, your ancient friend, and to whom you have ever been so liberal, as to make an apology for desiring me to grant the request of another person.  I am not less sorry that I shall not, I fear, be able to comply with it; and you must have the patience to hear my reason,,-,.  The first edition of the Anecdotes was of three hundred, of the two first volumes; and of as many of the third volume, and of the volume of Engravers.  Then there was an edition of three hundred of all four.  Unluckily, I did not keep any number back of the two first volumes, and literally have none but those I reserved for myself.  Of the other two I have two or three:  and, I believe, I have a first, but without the cuts.  If I can,.with some odd volumes that I kept for corrections, make out a decent set, the library of the University shall have them; but you must not promise them, lest I should not be able to perform.

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Of my new fourth volume I printed six hundred; but as they can be had, I believe not a third part is sold.  This is a very plain lesson to me, that my editions sell for their curiosity, and not for any merit in them:  and so they would if I printed Mother Goose’s Tales, and but a few.  As my Anecdotes of Painting have been published at such distant periods, and in three divisions, complete sets will be seldom seen; so, If I am humbled as an author, I may be vain as a printer; and, when one has nothing else to be vain of, it is certainly very little worth while to be proud of that.

I will now trust you with a secret, but beg Mr. Gough may not know it, for he will print it directly.  Though I forgot Alma Mater, I have not forgotten my Alma Nutrices, wet or dry, I mean Eton and King’s.  I have laid aside for them, and left them in my will, as complete a set as I could, of all I have printed.  A few I did give them at first; but I have for neither a perfect set of the Anecdotes, I mean not the two first volumes.  I should be much obliged to you, if, without naming me, you could inform yourself if I did send to King’S those two first volumes—­I believe not. ’

I will now explain what I said above of Mr. Gough.  He has learnt, I suppose from my engravers, that I have had some views of Strawberry-hill engraved.  Slap-dash, down it went, and he has even specified each view in his second volume.  This curiosity is a little impertinent; but he has made me some amends by a new blunder, for he says they are engraved for a second edition of my Catalogue.  Now I have certainly printed but one edition, for which the prints are designed.  He says truly, that I printed but a few for use; consequently, I by no means wished the whole world should know it; but he is silly, and so I will say no more about him.  Dr. Lort called yesterday, and asked if I had any message for you; but I had written too lately.

Mr. Pennant has been, as I think I told you, in town:  by this time I conclude he is, as Lady Townley says of fifty pounds, all over the kingdom.  When Dr. Lort returns, I shall be very glad to read your transcript of Wolsey’s Letters; for, in your hand, I can read them.  I will not have them but by some very safe conveyance, and will return them with equal care.

I can have no objection to Robin Masters being wooden-head of the Antiquarian Society; but, I suppose, he is not dignified enough for them.  I should prefer the Judge too, because a coif makes him more like an old woman, and I reckon that Society the midwives of superannuated miscarriages.  I am grieved for the return of your headaches—­I doubt you write too much.  Yours most sincerely.

P. S. It will be civil to tell Dr. Farmer that I do not know whether I can obey his commands , but that I will if I can.  As to a distinguished place, I beg not to be preferred to much better authors; nay, the more conspicuous, the more likely to be stolen for the reasons I have given you, of there being few complete sets, and true collectors are mighty apt to steal.

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Letter 204 To Sir David Dalrymple.(402) Dec. 11, 1780. (page 261)

I should have been shamefully ungrateful, Sir, if I could ever forget all the favours I have received from you, and had omitted any mark of respect to you that it was in my power to show.  Indeed, what you are so good as to thank me for was a poor trifle, but it was all I had or shall have of the kind.  It was imperfect too, as some painters Of name have died since it was printed, which was nine years ago.  They will be added with your kind notices, should I live, which is not probable, to see a new edition wanted.  Sixty-three years, and a great deal of illness, are too speaking mementos not to be attended to; and when the public has been more indulgent than one had any right to expect, it is not decent to load it with one’s dotage.

I believe, Sir, that I may have been over-candid to Hogarth, and fail his spirit and youth and talent may have hurried him into more real caricatures than I specified . yet he certainly restrained his bent that way pretty early.  Charteris(403) I have seen; but though Some years older than you, Sir, I cannot say I have at all a perfect idea of him:  nor did I ever hear the curious anecdote you tell me of ’ the banker and my father.  I was much better acquainted with bishop Blackbourne.  He lived within two doors of my father in Downing Street, and took much notice of me when I was near man.  It is not to be ungrateful and asperse him, but to amuse you, if I give you some account of him from what I remember.(404) He was perfectly a fine gentleman to the last, to eighty-four; his favourite author was Waller, whom he frequently quoted.  In point of decorum, he was not quite so exact as you have been told, Sir.  I often dined with him, his mistress, Mrs. Conwys, sat at the head of the table, and Hayter,(405) his natural son by another woman, and very like him, at the bottom, as chaplain:  he was afterwards Bishop of London.  I have heard, but do not affirm it, that Mrs. Blackbourne, before she died, complained of Mrs. Conwys being brought under the same roof.  To his clergy he was, I have heard, very imperious.  One story I recollect, which showed how much he was a man of this world:  and which the Queen herself repeated to my father.  On the King’s last journey to Hanover, before Lady Yarmouth came over, the Archbishop being With her Majesty, said to her, “Madam, I have been with your minister Walpole, and he tells me that you are a wise woman, and do not mind your husband’s having a mistress.”  He was a little hurt at not being raised to Canterbury on Wake’s death, and said to my father, “You did not think on me:  but it is true, I am too old, I am too old.”  Perhaps, Sir, these are gossiping stories, but at least they hurt nobody now.

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I can say little, Sir, for my stupidity or forgetfulness about Hogarth’s poetry, which I still am not sure I ever heard, though I knew him so well; but it is an additional argument for my distrusting myself, if my memory fails, which is very possible.  A whole volume of Richardson’s poetry has been published since my volume was printed, not much to the honour of his muse, but exceedingly so to that of his piety and amiable heart.  You will be pleased, too, Sir, with a story Lord Chesterfield told me (too late too) of Jervas, who piqued himself on the reverse, on total infidelity.  One day that he had talked very indecently in that strain, Dr. Arbuthnot, who was as devout as Richardson, said to him, “Come, Jervas, this is all an air and affectation; nobody is a sounder believer than you.”  “I!” said Jervase, “I believe nothing.”  “Yes, but you do,” replied the Doctor; “nay, you not only believe, but practise:  you are so scrupulous an observer of the commandments, that you never make the likeness of any thing that is in heaven, or on the earth beneath, or,” etc.

I fear, Sir, this letter is too long for thanks, and that I have been proving what I have said, of my growing superannuated; but, having made my will in my last volume, you may look on this as a codicil.

P. S. I had sealed my letter, Sir, but break it open, lest you should think soon, that I do not know what I say, or break my resolution lightly.  I shall be able to send you in about two months a very curious work that I am going to print, and is actually in the press; but there is not a syllable of my writing in it.  It is a discovery just made of two very ancient manuscripts, copies of which were found in two or three libraries in Germany, and of which there are more complete manuscripts at Cambridge.  They are of the eleventh century at longest, and prove that painting in oil was then known, above three hundred years before the pretended invention of Van Dyck.  The manuscripts themselves will be printed, with a full introductory Dissertation by the discoverer, Mr. Raspe, a very learned German. formerly librarian to the Landgrave of Hesse, and who writes English surprisingly well.  The manuscripts are in the most barbarous monkish Latin, and are much such works as our booksellers publish of receipts for mixing colours, varnishes, etc.  One of the authors, who calls himself Theophilus, was a monk; the other, Heraclitis, is totally unknown; but the proofs are Unquestionable.  As my press is out of order, and that besides it would take up too much time to print them there, they will be printed here at my expense, and if there is any surplus, it will be for Raspe’s benefit.

(402) Now first collected.

(403) The notorious Colonel Francis Charteris, to whom Hogarth has accorded a conspicuous place in the first plate of his Harlot’s Progress.  Pope describes him as “a man infamous for all manner of vices,” and thus introduces him into his third Moral Essay:—­

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“Riches in effect,
No grace of Heaven, or token of th’ Elect;
Given to the fool, the mad, the vain, the evil,
To Ward, to Waters, Chartres, and the devil!”

He died in Scotland, in 1731, at the age of sixty-two.  The populace, at his funeral, raised a great riot, almost tore the body out of the coffin, and cast dead dogs, etc. into the grave along with it.-E.

(404) See the note to vol. i. p. 314, letter 101.-E.

(405) For a refutation of Walpole’s assertion, that Bishop Hayter was a natural son of bishop Blackbourn’s, see vol. ii. p. 100, letter 39.-E.

Letter 205 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Dec. 19, 1780. (page 263)

I cannot leave you for a moment in error, my good Sir, when you transfer a compliment to me, to which I have not the most slender claim, and defraud another of it to whom it is due.

The friend of Mr. Gray, in whom authorship caused no jealousy or variance, as Mr. Mainwaring says truly, is Mr. Mason.  I certainly never excelled in poetry, and never attempted the species of poetry alluded to, odes.  Dr. Lort, I suppose, is removing to a living or a prebend, at least; I hope so.  He may run a risk if he carries his book to Lambeth.  “Sono sonate venti tre ore e mezza,” as Alexander viii. said to his nephew, when he was chosen pope in extreme old age.  My Lord of Canterbury’s is not extreme, but very tottering.  I found in Mr. Gough’s new edition, that in the Pepysian library is a view of the theatre in Dorset Gardens, and views of four or five other ancient great mansions.  Do the folk of Magdalen ever suffer copies of such things to be taken?  If they would, is there any body at Cambridge that could execute them, and reasonably?  Answer me quite at your leisure; and, also, what and by whom is the altar-piece that Lord Carlisle has given to King’s.  I did not know he had been of our college.  I have two or three plates of Strawberry more than those you mention; but my collections are so numerous, and from various causes my prints have been in such confusion, that at present I neither know where the plates or proofs are.  I intend next summer to set about completing my plan of the Catalogue and its prints; and when I have found any of the plates or proofs, you shall certainly have those you want.  There are two large views of the house, one of the cottage, one of the library, one of the front to the road, and the chimney-piece in the Holbein room.  I think these are all that are finished—­oh! yes, I believe the prior’s garden; but I have not seen them these two years.  I was so ill the summer before last, that I attended to nothing; the little I thought of in that way last summer, was to get out my last volume of the Anecdotes; now I have nothing to trouble myself about as an editor, and that not publicly, but to finish my Catalogue—­and that will be awkwardly enough; for so many articles have been added to my collection since the description was made, that I must add them in the appendix or reprint it:  and, what is more inconvenient, the positions of many of the pictures have been changed; and so it will be a lame piece of work.  Adieu, my dear Sir!  Yours most cordially.

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Letter 206 To Sir David Dalrymple.(406) Berkeley Square, Jan. 1, 1781. (page 264)

Your favourable opinion of my father, Sir, is too flattering(r to me not to thank you for the satisfaction it gave me.  Wit, I think he had not naturally, though I am sure he had none from affectation, as simplicity was a predominant feature in his amiable composition. but he possessed that, perhaps, most true species of wit, which flows from experience and deep knowledge of mankind, and consequently had more in his later than in his earlier years; which is not common to a talent that generally flashes from spirits, though they alone cannot bestow it.  When you was once before so good, Sir, as to suggest to me an attempt at writing my father’s life, I probably made you one answer that I must repeat now, which is, that a son’s encomiums would be attributed to partiality; and with my deep devotion to his memory, I should ever suspect it in myself.  But I will set my repugnance in a stronger light, by relating an anecdote not incurious.  In the new edition of the Biographia Britannica, Dr. Kippis, the tinker of it, reflecting on my having called the former, Vindicatio Britannica, or Defence of Every body, threatened that when he should come to my father’s life he would convince me that the new edition did not deserve that censure.  I confess I thought this but an odd sort of historian equity, to reverse scripture and punish the sins of children upon their fathers!  However, I said nothing.  Soon after Dr. Kippis himself called on me, and in very gracious terms desired I would favour him with anecdotes of my father’s life.  This was descending a little from his censorial throne, but I took no notice; and only told him, that I was so persuaded of the fairness of my father’s character, that I chose to trust it to the most unprejudiced hands; and that all I could consent to was, that when he shall have written it, if he would communicate it to me, I would point out to him any material facts, if I should find any, that were not truly noted.  This was all I could contribute.  Since that time I have seen in the second volume a very gross accusation of Sir Robert, at second or third hand, and to which the smallest attention must give a negative.  Sir Robert is accused of having, out of spite, influenced the House of Commons to expel the late Lord Barrington for the notorious job of the Hamburg lottery.(407) Spite was not the ingredient most domineering in my father’s character; but whatever has been said of the corruption or servility of Houses of Commons, when was there one so prostitute, that it would have expelled one of their own members for a fraud not proved, to gratify the vengeance of the minister? and a minister must have been implacable indeed, and a House of Commons profligate indeed, to inflict such a stigma on an innocent man, because he had been attached to a rival predecessor of the minister.  It is not less strange that the Hamburgher’s son should not have vindicated his parent’s memory at the opportunity of the secret committee on Sir Robert, but should wait for a manuscript memorandum of Serjeant Skinner after the death of this last.  I hope Sir Robert will have no such apologist!

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I do not agree less with you, Sir, in your high opinion of King William.  I think, and a far better judge, Sir Robert, thought that Prince one of the wisest men that ever lived.  Your bon-mot of his was quite new to me.  There are two or three passages in the Diary of the second Earl of Clarendon that always struck me as instances of wisdom and humour at once, particularly his Majesty’s reply to the lords who advised him (I think at Salisbury,) to send away King James; and his few words, after long patience, to that foolish lord himself, who harangued him on the observance of his declaration.  Such traits, and several of Queen Anne (not equally deep) in the same journal, paint those princes as characteristically as Lord Clarendon’s able father would have drawn them.  There are two letters in the “Nugae Antiquae,” that exhibit as faithful pictures of Queen Elizabeth and James the First, by delineating them in their private life and unguarded hours.

You are much in the right, Sir, in laughing at those wise personages, who not only dug up the corpse of Edward the First, but restored Christian burial to his crown and robes.  Methinks, had they deposited those regalia in the treasury of the church, they would have committed no sacrilege.  I confess I have not quite so heinous an idea of sacrilege as Dr. Johnson.  Of all kinds of robbery, that appears to me the lightest species which injures nobody.  Dr. Johnson is so pious, that in his journey to your country, he flatters himself that all his readers will join him in enjoying the destruction of two Dutch crews, who were swallowed up by the ocean after they had robbed a church.(408) I doubt that uncharitable anathema is more in the spirit of the Old Testament than of the New.

(406) Now first published.

(407) See ant`e, p. 201, letter 147.-E.

(408) The following are Johnson’s words:—­“The two churches of Elgin were stripped, and the lead was shipped to be sold in Holland:  I hope every reader will rejoice that this cargo of sacrilege was lost at sea."-E.

Letter 207 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  January 3, 1781. (page 266)

After I had written my note to you last night, I called on * * * * who gave me the dismal account of Jamaica,(409) that you will see in the Gazette, and of the damage done to our shipping.  Admiral Rowley is safe; but they are in apprehensions for Walsingham.  He told me too what is not in the Gazette; that of the expedition against the Spanish settlements, not a single man survives!  The papers to-day, I see, speak of great danger to Gibraltar.

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Your brother repeated to me his great desire that you should publish your speech,(410) as he told you.  I do not conceive why he is so eager for it, for he professes total despair about America.  It looks to me as if there was a wish of throwing the blame somewhere; but I profess I am too simple to dive into the objects of shades of intrigues:  nor do I care about them.  We shall be reduced to a miserable little island; and from a mighty empire sink into as insignificant a country as Denmark or Sardinia!  When our trade and marine are gone, the latter of which we keep up by unnatural efforts, to which our debt will put a stop, we shall lose the East Indies as Portugal did; and then France will dictate to us more imperiously than ever we did to Ireland, which is in a manner already gone too!  These are mortifying reflections, to -which an English mind cannot easily accommodate itself.  But, alas! we have been pursuing the very conduct that France would have prescribed, and more than with all her presumption she could have dared to expect.  Could she flatter herself that we would take no advantage of the dilatoriness and unwillingness of Spain to enter into the war? that we would reject the disposition of Russia to support us? and that our still more natural friend, Holland,(411) would be driven into the league against us?  All this has happened; and, like an infant, we are delighted with having set our own frock in a blaze!  I sit and gaze with astonishment at our frenzy.  Yet why?  Are not nations as liable to intoxication as individuals?  Are not predictions founded on calculation oftener rejected than the prophecies of dreamers?  Do we not act precisely like Charles Fox, who thought he had discovered a new truth in figures, when he preached that wise doctrine, that nobody could want money that would pay enough for it?  The consequence was, that in two years he left himself without the possibility of borrowing a shilling.  I am not surprised at the spirits of’ a boy of parts; I am not surprised at the people; I do wonder at government, that games away its consequence.  For what are we now really at war with America, France, Spain, and Holland!—­Not with hopes of reconquering America; not with the smallest prospect of conquering a foot of land from France, Spain, or Holland.  No; we are at war on the defensive to protect what is left, or more truly to stave off, for a year perhaps, a peace that must proclaim our nakedness and impotence.  I would not willingly recur to that womanish vision of something may turn up in our favour!  That something must be a naval victory that will annihilate at once all the squadrons of Europe—­must wipe off forty millions of new debt—­reconcile the affections of America, that for six years we have laboured to alienate; and that must recall out of the grave the armies and sailors that are perished--and that must make thirteen provinces willing to receive the law, without the necessity of keeping ten thousand men amongst them. 

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The gigantic imagination of Lord Chatham would not entertain such a chimera.  Lord * * * * perhaps would say he did, rather than not undertake; or Mr. Burke could form a metaphoric vision that would satisfy no imagination but his own:  but I, who am nullius addiclus itrare in verba, have no hopes either in our resources or in our geniuses, and look on my country already as undone!  It is grievous—­but I shall not have much time to lament its fall!(412)

(409) On the 3d of October occurred one of the most dreadful hurricanes ever experienced in the West Indies.  In Jamaica, Savannah la Mar, with three hundred inhabitants, was utterly swept away by an irruption of the sea; and at Barbados, on the 10th, Bridgetown, the capital of the island, was almost levelled to the ground, and several thousands of the inhabitants perished.-E.

(410) “Introductory of a motion for leave to bring in a bill for quieting the troubles that have for some time subsisted between Great Britain and America, and enabling his Majesty to send out commissioners with full power to treat with America for that purpose.”  The motion was negatived by 123 against 81.  For the speech of General Conway, and a copy of his proposed bill, see Parl.  History, vol, Nxi. pp. 570, 588.-E.

(411) Mr. Henry Laurens, president of the American council, having been taken by one of the King’s frigates early in October 1780, on his passage to Holland, and it being discovered by the papers in his possession that the American States had been long carrying on a secret correspondence with Amsterdam, Sir Joseph Yorke, the British minister at the Hague, demanded a satisfactory explanation; but the same not being afforded, hostilities against Holland were declared on the 28th of December 1780.-E.

(412) To this passage the editor of Walpole’s Works subjoined, in March 1798, the following note:—­“It may be some comfort, in a moment no less portentous and melancholy than the one here described, to recollect the almost unhoped-for recovery of national prosperity, which took place from the peace of 1782 to the declaration of war against France in the year 1793.  May our exertions procure the speedy application of a similar remedy to our present evils, and may that remedy be productive of equally good effects!"-E.

Letter 208 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Feb. 7, 1781. (page 268)

Dear Sir, I will not leave you a moment in suspense about the safety of your very valuable volume, which you have so kindly sent me, and which I have just received, with the enclosed letters, and your other yesterday.  I have not time to add a word more at present, being full of business, having the night before last received an account of Lady Orford’s death at Pisa,(413) and a copy of her will, which obliges me to write several letters, and to see my relations.  She has left every thing in her power to her friend Cavalier Mozzi, at Florence; but her son comes into a large estate, besides her great jointure.  You may imagine, how I lament that he had not patience to wait sixteen months, before he sold his pictures!

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I am very sorry you have been at all indisposed.  I will take the utmost care of your fifty-ninth volume (for which I give you this receipt), and will restore it the instant I have had time to go through it.  Witness my hand.

(413) See vol. i. p. 243, letter 61.-E.

Letter 209 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  February 9, 1781. (page 268)

I had not time, dear Sir, when I wrote last, to answer your letter, nor do more than cast an eye on your manuscripts.  To say the truth, my patience is not tough enough to go through Wolsey’s negotiations.  I see that your perseverance was forced to make the utmost efforts to transcribe them.  They are immeasurably verbose, not to mention the blunders of the first copyist.  As I road only for amusement, I cannot, so late in my life, purchase information on what I do not much care about, at the price of a great deal of ennui.  The old wills at the end of your volume diverted me much more than the obsolete politics.  I shall say nothing about what you call your old leaven.  Every body must judge for himself in those matters:  nor are you or I of an age to change long-formed opinions, as neither of us is governed by self-interest.  Pray tell me how I may most safely return your volume.  I value all your manuscripts so much, that I should never forgive myself, if a single one came to any accident by your so obligingly lending them to me.  They are great treasures, and contain something or other that must suit most tastes:  not to mention your amazing industry, neatness, legibility, with notes, arms, etc.  I know no such repositories.  You will receive with your manuscript Mr. Kerrick’s and Mr. Gough’s letters.  The former is very kind.  The inauguration of the Antiquated Society is burlesque and so is the dearth of materials for another volume; can they ever want such rubbish as compose their preceding annals?

I think it probable that story should be stone:  however, I never piqued myself on recording every mason.  I have preserved but too many that did not deserve to be mentioned.  I dare to say, that when I am gone, many more such will be added to my volumes.  I had not heard of poor Mr. Pennant’s misfortune.  I am very sorry for it, for I believe him to be a very honest good-natured man.  He certainly was too lively for his proportion of understanding, and too impetuous to make the best use of what he had.  However, it is a credit to us antiquaries to have one of our class disordered by vivacity.  I hope your goutiness is dissipated, and that this last fine week has set you on your feet again.

Letter 210 To The Earl Of Buchan.(414) Berkeley Square, Feb. 10, 1781. (page 269)

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I was honoured yesterday with your lordship’s card, with the notification of the additional honour of my being elected an honourary member of the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland;(415) a grace, my lord, that I receive with the respect and gratitude due to so valuable a distinction; and for which I must beg leave, through your lordship’s favour, to offer my most sincere and humble thanks to that learned and respectable Society.  My very particular thanks are still due to your lordship, who, in remembrance of ancient partiality, have been pleased, at the hazard of your own judgment, to favour an old humble servant, who can only receive honour from, but can reflect none on, the Society into which your lordship and your associates have condescended to adopt him.  In my best days, my lord, I never could pretend to more than having flitted over some flowers of knowledge.  Now worn out and near the end of my course, I can Only be a broken monument to prove that the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland are zealous to preserve even the least valuable remains of a former age, and to recompense all who have contributed their mite towards illustrating our common island.  I am, etc.

(414) Now first printed.

(415) The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Scotland had been formed at Edinburgh in the preceding December, when the Earl of Buchan was elected president.-E.

Letter 211 To Sir David Dalrymple.(416) Strawberry Hill, Feb. 10, 1781. (page 270)

I was very intimate, Sir, with the last Lord Finlater when he was Lord Deskford.  We became acquainted at Rome on our travels, and though during his illness and long residence in Scotland, we had no intercourse, I had the honour of seeing him sometimes during his last visit to England; but I am an entire stranger to the anecdote relative to my father and Sir William Windham.  I have asked my brother, who was much more conversant in the scenes of that time, for I was abroad when Sir William died, and returned to England but about six months before my father’s retirement, so that having been at school and at Cambridge, or in my infancy, during Sir Robert’s administration, the little I retain from him was picked up in the last three years of his life, which is an answer, Sir, to your inquiries why, among other reasons, I have always declined writing his life; for I could in reality say but little on my own knowledge; and yet should have the air of being good authority, at least better than I should truly be.  My brother, Sir Edward, who is eleven years older than I am, never heard of your anecdote.  I may add, that latterly I lived in great intimacy with the Marchioness of Blandford, Sir William’s widow, who died but a year and a half ago at Sheepe, here in my neighbourhood; and with Lady Suffolk, who could not but be well acquainted with the history of those times from her long residence at court, and with whom, for the last five or six years

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of her life here at Twickenham, I have had many and many long conversations on those subjects, and yet I never heard a word of the supposed event you mention.  I myself never heard Sir W. William speak but once in the House of Commons, but have always been told that his style and behaviour were most liberal and like a gentleman and my brother says, there never passed any bitterness or acrimony between him and our father.(417)

I will answer you as fairly and candidly, Sir, about Archibald Duke of Argyll, of whom I saw at least a great deal.  I do believe Sir Robert had a full opinion of his abilities as a most useful man.  In fact, it is plain he had; for he depended on the Duke, when Lord Islay, for the management of your part of the island, and, as I have heard at the time, disobliged the most firm of the Scottish Whigs by that preference.  Sir Robert supported Lord Islay against the Queen herself, who hated him for his attachment to Lady Suffolk, and he was the only man of any consequence whom her Majesty did not make feel how injudicious it was (however novel) to prefer the interest of the mistress to that of the wife.  On my father’s defeat his warm friends loudly complained of Lord Islay as having betrayed the Scottish boroughs, at the election of Sir Robert’s last Parliament, to his brother, Duke John.  It is true too, that Sir Robert always replied, “I do not accuse him.”  I Must own, knowing my father’s manner, and that when he said but little, it was not a favourable symptom, I did think, that if he would not accuse, at least he did not acquit.  Duke Archibald was undoubtedly a dark shrewd man.  I recollect an instance for which I should not choose to be quoted just at this moment, though it reflects on nobody living.  I forget the precise period, and even some of the persons concerned; but it was in the minority of the present Duke of Gordon, and you, Sir, can probably adjust the dates.  A regiment had been raised of Gordons.  Duke Archibald desired the command of it to a favourite of his own.  The Duchess-dowager insisted on it for her second husband.  Duke A. said, “Oh! to be sure her grace must be obeyed;” but instantly got the regiment ordered to the East Indies, which had not been the reckoning of a widow remarried to a young fellow.(418)

At the time of the rebellion, I remember that Duke Archibald was exceedingly censured in London for coming thither, and pleading that he was not empowered to take up arms.  But I believe that I have more than satisfied your curiosity, Sir, and that you will not think it very prudent to set an old man on talking of the days of his Youth.

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I have just received the favour of a letter from Lord Buchan, in which his lordship is so good as to acquaint me with the honour your new Society of Antiquaries have done me in nominating me an honourary member.  I am certainly much flattered by the distinction, but am afraid his lordship’s partiality and patronage will in this only instance do him no credit.  My knowledge even of British antiquity has ever been desultory and most superficial; I have never studied any branch of science deeply and solidly, nor ever but for temporary \amusement, and without any system, suite, or method.  Of late years I have quitted every connexion with societies, not only Parliament, but those of our Antiquaries and of Arts and Sciences, and have not attended the meetings of the Royal Society.  I have withdrawn myself in a great measure from the world, and live in a very narrow circle idly and obscurely.  Still, Sir, I could not decline the honour your Society has been pleased to offer me, lest it should be thought a want of respect and gratitude, instead of a mark of humility and conscious unworthiness.  I am so sensible of this last, that I cannot presume to offer my services in this part of’ our island to so respectable an assembly; but if you, Sir, who know too well my limited abilities, can at any time point out any information that it is in my power to give to the Society, (as in the case of Royal Scottish portraits, on which Lord Buchan was pleased to Consult Me,) I shall be very proud to obey your and their commands, and shall always be with great regard their and your most obedient humble servant.

P. S. I do not know whether I ever mentioned to you or Lord Buchan, Sir, a curious and excellent head in oil of the Lady Margaret Douglas at Mr. Carteret’s, at Hawnes in Bedfordshire, the seat of his grandfather Lord Granville; I know few better portraits.  It is at once a countenance of goodness and cunning, a mixture I think pleasing.  It seems to imply that the person’s virtue was not founded on folly or ignorance of the world; it implies perhaps more, that the person would combat treachery and knavery, and knew how.  I could fancy the head in question was such a character as Margaret Queen of Navarre, sister of Francis the First. who was very free in her conversation and writings, yet strictly virtuous; debonnaire, void of ambition; yet a politician when her brother’s situation required it.  If your Society should give into engraving historic portraits, this head would deserve an early place.  There is at Lord Scarborough’s in Yorkshire, a double portrait, perhaps by Holbein or Lucas de Heere, of Lady Margaret’s mother, Queen Margaret, and her second husband.

(416) Now first collected.

(417) Pope in his second Dialogue for the Year 1738, has transmitted Sir William’s character to posterity—­

“How can I, Pultney, Chesterfield, forget,
While Roman spirit charms, and Attic wit? 
Or Wyndham, just to freedom and the throne,
The master of our passions and his own?”

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Speaker Onslow says, “there was a spirit and power in his speaking that always animated himself and his hearers, and with the decoration of his manner, which was, indeed, very ornamental, produced, not only the most attentive, respectful, but even a reverend regard, to whatever he spoke."-E.

(418) See Memoires of George the Second, vol. i. p. 240.  “In his private life,” says Walpole, “he had more merit, except in the case of his wife, whom, having been deluded into marrying without a fortune, he punished by rigorous and unrelaxed confinement in Scotland.  He had a great thirst for books; a head admirably turned to mechanics; was a patron of ingenious men, a promoter of discoveries, and one of the first encouragers of planting in England; most of the curious exotics which have been familiarized to this climate being introduced by him.  He died suddenly in his chair after dinner, at his house in Argyle-buildings, London, April 15, 1761."-E.

Letter 212 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, March 2, 1781. (page 272)

Dear Sir, My Lady Orford ordered herself to be buried at Leghorn, the only place in Tuscany where Protestants have burial; therefore I suppose she did not affect to change.  On the contrary, I believe she had no preference for any sect, but rather laughed at all.  I know nothing new, neither in novelty nor antiquity.  I have had no gout this winter, and therefore I call it my leap-year.  I am sorry it is not yours too.  It is an age since I saw Dr. lort.  I hope illness is not the cause.  You will be diverted with hearing that I am chosen an honourary member of the new Antiquarian Society at Edinburgh.  I accepted for two reasons:  first, it is a feather that does not demand my flying thither; and secondly, to show contempt for our own old fools.(419) To me it will be a perfect sinecure; for I have moulted all my pen feathers, and shall have no ambition of nestling into their printed transactions.  Adieu, my good Sir.  Your much obliged.

(419) Cole, in a letter to Mr. Gough, acquainting him with Walpole’s election, adds—­“The admission of a few things into our Archaeologia, has, I fear, estranged for ever one of the most lively, learned, and entertaining members on our list."-E.

Letter 213 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  March 5, 1781. (PAGE 273)

I do not in the least guess or imagine what you mean by Lord Hardwicke’s publication of a Walpoliana.(420) Naturally it should mean a collection of sayings or anecdotes of my father, according to the French Anas, which began, I think, with those of Menage.  Or, is it a collection of letters and state-papers, during his administration?  I own I am curious to know at least what this piece contains.  I had not heard a word of it; and, were it not for the name, I should have very little inquisitiveness about it:  for nothing upon earth ever was duller than the three heavy tomes his lordship printed of Sir Dudley Carleton’s Negotiations, and of what he called State-papers.  Pray send me an answer as soon as you can, at least of as much as you have heard about this thing.

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(420) “Walpoliana; or a few Anecdotes of Sir Robert Walpole”—­an agreeable little collection of anecdotes relative to Sir Robert Walpole, made by Philip second Earl of Hardwicke; printed in quarto, but never published.-E.

Letter 214 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, March 29, 1781. (PAGE 273)

You are so good-natured that I am sure you will be glad to be told that the report of Mr. Pennant being disordered is not true.  He is come to town—­has been with me, and at least is as composed as ever I saw him.  He is going to publish another part of his Welsh Tour, which he can well afford; though I believe he does not lose by his works.  An aunt is dead, exceedingly rich, who had given some thousands to him and his daughter, but suddenly changed her mind and left all to his sister, who has most nobly given him all that had been destined in the cancelled will.  Dr. Nash has just published the first volume of his Worcestershire.  It is a folio of prodigious corpulence, and yet dry enough; but then it is finely dressed, and has many heads and views.(421) Dr. Lort was with me yesterday, and I never saw him better, nor has he been much out of order.  I hope your gout has left you; but here are winds bitter enough to give one any thing.  Yours ever.

(421) Dr. Threadway Nash’s “Collections for the History of Worcestershire;” 1781-1799; in two volumes, folio.-E.

Letter 215 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  April 3, 1781.(PAGE 274)

I am very sorry, dear Sir, that, in my last letter but one, I took notice of what you said of Lord Hardwicke; the truth was, I am perfectly indifferent about what he prints or publishes.  There is generally a little indirect malice but so much more dulness, that the latter soon suffocates the former.  This is telling you that I could not be offended at any thing you said of him, nor am I likely to suspect a sincere friend of disobliging me.  You have proved the direct contrary these forty years.  I have not time to say more, but am ever most truly yours.

Letter 216 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, May 4, 1781. (PAGE 274)

I shall not only be ready to show Strawberry Hill, at any time he chooses, to Dr. Farmer, as your friend, but to be honoured with his acquaintance, though I am very shy now of contracting new.  I have great respect for his character and abilities and Judicious taste, and am very clear that he has elucidated Shakspeare(422) in a more reasonable and satisfactory manner than any of his affected commentators, who only complimented him with learning that he had not, in order to display their own.

Pray give me timely notice whenever I am likely to see Dr. Farmer, that I may not be out of the way when I can have an opportunity of showing attention to a friend of yours, and pay a small part of your gratitude to him.  There shall be a bed at his service; for you know Strawberry cannot be seen in a moment, nor are Englishmen so liants as to get acquainted in the time they are walking through a house.

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But now, my good Sir, how could you suffer your prejudiced partiality to me to run away with you so extravagantly, as to call me one of the greatest characters of the age?  You are too honest to flatter, too much a hermit to be interested, and I am too powerless and insignificant to be an object of court, were you capable of paying it from mercenary views.  I know then that it could proceed from nothing but the warmth of your heart; but if you are blind towards me, I am not so to myself.  I know not how others feel on such occasions, but if any one happens to praise me, all my faults rush into my face, and make me turn my eyes inward and outward with horror.  What am I but a poor old skeleton tottering towards the grave, and conscious of a thousand weaknesses, follies, and worse!  And for talents, what are mine but trifling and superficial; and, compared with those of men with real genius, most diminutive!  Mine a great character!  Mercy on me!  I am a composition of Anthony Wood and Madame Danois,(423) and I know not what trumpery writers.  This is the least I can say to refute your panegyric, which I shall burn presently; for I will not have such an encomiastic letter found in my possession, lest I should seem to have been pleased with it.  I enjoin you, as a penance, not to contradict one tittle I have said here; for I am not begging more compliments, and shall take it seriously ill if you ever pay me another.  We have been friends above forty years; I am satisfied of your sincerity and affection; but does it become us, at past threescore each, to be saying fine things to one another?  Consider how soon we shall both be nothing!

I assure you, with great truth, I am at this present very sick of my little vapour of fame.  My tragedy has wandered into the hands of some banditti booksellers, and I am forced to publish it myself to prevent piracy.(424) All I can do is to condemn it myself, and that I shall.  I am reading Mr. Pennant’s new Welsh Tour; he has pleased me by making very handsome mention of you; but I will not do, what I have been blaming.

My poor dear Madame du Deffand’s little dog is arrived.  She made me promise to take care of it the last time I saw her:  that I will most religiously, and make it as happy as is possible.(425) I have not much curiosity to see your Cambridge Raphael, but great desire to see you, and will certainly this summer, accept your invitation,, which I take much kinder than your great character, though both flowed from the same friendship.  Mine for you is exactly what it has been ever since you knew (and few men can boast so uninterrupted a friendship as yours and that of—­) H. W.

(422) In his well-known “Essay on the Learning of Shakspeare."-E.

(423) Madame d’Aulnoy, the contemporary of Perrault, and, like him, a writer of fairy tales.  She was the authoress of “The Lady’s Travels in Spain,” and many other works, which have been translated into English.-E.

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(424) Walpole had printed fifty copies of"The Mysterious Mother” at Strawberry Hill as early as the year 1765; but a surreptitious edition of it being announced in 1781, he consented to Dodsley’s publishing a genuine one.-E.

(425) In his reply to this letter, of the 7th of May, the worthy antiquary says-"I congratulate the little Parisian dog, that he has fallen into the hands of so humane a master.  I have a little diminutive dog, Busy, full as great a favourite, and never out of my lap:  I have already, in case of an accident, ensured it a refuge from starvation and ill-usage.  It is the least we can do for poor harmless, shiftless, pampered animals that have amused us, and we have spoilt.”  A brother antiquary, on reading this passage, exclaimed, “How could Mr. Cole ever get through the transcript of a Bishop’s Registry, or a Chartulary, with Busy never out of his lap!"-E.

Letter 217 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill,, Sunday evening, May 6, 1781. (PAGE 275)

I supped With your Countess on Friday at Lord Frederick Campbell’s, where I heard of the relief of Gibraltar by Darby.  The Spanish fleet kept close in Cadiz:  however, he lifted up his leg, and just squirted contempt on them.  As he is disembarrassed of his transports, I suppose their ships will scramble on shore rather than fight.  Well, I shall be perfectly content with our fleet coming back in a whole skin; it will be enough to have outquixoted Don Quixote’s own nation.  As I knew, your Countess would write the next day, I waited till she was gone out of town and would not have much to tell you—­not that I have either; and it is giving myself an air to pretend to know more at Twickenham than she can at Henley.  Though it is a bitter northeast, I came hither to-day to look at my lilacs, though `a la glace; and to get from pharaoh, for which there is a rage.  I doted on it above thirty years ago; but it is not decent to sit up all night now with boys and girls.  My nephew, Lord Cholmondeley, the banker `a la mode, has been demolished.  He and his associate, Sir Willoughby Aston, went early t’other night to Brookcs’s, before Charles Fox and Fitzpatrick, who keep a bank there, were come; but they soon arrived, attacked their rivals, broke their bank, and won above four thousand pounds.  “There,” said Fox, “so should all usurpers be served!” He did still better; for he sent for his tradesmen, and paid as far as the money would go.  In the mornings he continues his war on Lord North, but cannot break that bank.  The court has carried a secret committee for India affairs, and it is supposed that Rumbold is to be the sacrifice; but as he is near as rich as Lord Clive, I conclude he will escape by the same golden key.

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I told you in my last that Tonton was arrived.  I brought him this morning to take possession of his new villa, but his installation has not been at all pacific.  As he has already found out that he may be as despotic as at Saint Joseph’s, he began with exiling my beautiful little cat; upon which, however, we shall not quite agree.  He then flew at one of my dogs,(426) who returned it by biting his foot till it bled, but was severely beaten for it.  I immediately rung for Margaret,(427) to dress his foot:  but in the midst of my tribulation could not keep my countenance; for she cried, “Poor little thing, he does not understand my language!” I hope she will not recollect too that he is a Papist!

Berkeley Square, Tuesday, May 8.

I came before dinner, and found your long letter of the 3d.  You have mistaken Tonton’s sex, who is a cavalier, and a little of the mousquetaire still; but if I do not correct his vivacities, at least I shall not encourage them like my dear old friend.

You say nothing of your health; therefore, I trust it is quite re-established:  my own is most flourishing for me.  They say the Parliament will rise by the birthday; not that it seems to be any grievance or confinement to any body.  I hope you will soon come and enjoy a quiet summer under the laurels of your own conscience.  They are at least as spreading as any body’s else; and the soil will preserve their verdure for ever.  Methinks we western powers might as well make peace. since we make war so clumsily.  Yet I doubt the awkwardness of our enemies will not have brought down our stomach.  Well, I wish for the sake of mankind there was an end of their sufferings!  Even spectators are not amused—­the whole war has passed like the riotous murmurs of the upper gallery before the play begins—­they have pelted the candle-snuffers, the stage has been swept, the music has played, people have taken their places—­but the deuce a bit of any performance!—­And when folks go home, they will have seen nothing but a farce, that has cost fifty times more than the best tragedy!

(426) This does not quite accord with the favourable character given of Tonton by Madame du Deffand’s secretary, Wyrt, in a letter to Walpole:—­“Je garderai,” he says, “Tonton jusqu’au d`epart de M. Thomas Walpole; j’en ai le plus grand soin.  Il est tr`es doux; il ne mord personne; il n’`etait m`echant qu’aupr`es de sa maitresse."-E.

(427) Mr. Walpole’s housekeeper.

Letter 218 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Berkeley Square, May 28, 1781. (PAGE 277)

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This letter, like an embarkation, will not set out till it has gotten its complement; but I begin it, as I have just received your second letter.  I wrote to you two days ago, and did not mean to complain; for you certainly cannot have variety of matter in your sequestered isle:  and since you do not disdain trifling news, this good town, that furnishes nothing else, at least produces weeds, which shoot up in spite of the Scotch thistles, that have choked all good fruits.  I do not know what Lady Craven designs to do with her play; I hope, act it only in private; for her other was murdered, and the audience did not exert the least gallantry to so pretty an authoress, though she gave them so fair an opportunity.  For my own play, I was going to publish it in my own defence, as a spurious edition was advertised here, besides one in Ireland.  My advertisement has overlaid the former for the present, and that tempts me to suppress mine, as I have a thorough aversion to its appearance.  Still, I think I shall produce it in the dead of summer, that it may be forgotten by winter; for I could not bear having it the subject of conversation in a full town.  It is printed; so I can let it steal out in the midst of the first event that engrosses the public; and as it is not quite a novelty, I have no fear but it will be stillborn, if it is twin with any babe that squalls and makes much noise.

At the same time with yours I received a letter from another cousin at Paris, who tells me Necker is on the verge, and in the postscript says, he has actually resigned.  I heard so a few days ago; but this is a full confirmation.  Do you remember a conversation at your house, at supper, in which a friend of yours spoke, very unfavourably of Necker, and seemed to wish his fall?  In my own opinion they are much in the wrong.  It is true, Necker laboured with all his shoulders to restore their finances; yet I am persuaded that his attention to that great object made him clog all their military operations.  They will pay dearer for money; but money they will have:  nor is it so dear to them, for, when they have gotten it, they have only not to pay.  A Monsieur Joly de Fleury is comptroller-general.  I know nothing of him; but as they change so often, some able man will prove minister at last—­and there they will have the advantage again.

Lord Cornwallis’s courier, Mr. Broderick, is not yet arrived; so you are a little precipitate in thinking America so much nearer to be subdued, which you have often swallowed up as if you were a minister; and yet, methinks, that era has been so frequently put off, that I wonder you are not cured of being sanguine—­or rather, of believing the magnificent lies that every trifling advantage gives birth to.  If a quarter of the Americans had joined the Royalists, that have been said to join, all the colonies would not hold them.  But, at least, they have been like the trick of kings and queens at cards; where one Of two goes back every turn to fetch another.  However, this Is only for conversation for the moment.  With such aversion to disputation, I have no zeal for making converts to my own opinions not even on points that touch me nearer.

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Thursday, May 31.

If you see the papers, you will find that there was a warm debate yesterday on a fresh proposal from Hartley(428) for pacification with America; in which the ministers were roundly reproached with their boasts of the returning zeal of the colonies and which, though it ought by their own accounts to be so much nearer Complete, they could not maintain to be at all effectual; though even yesterday a report was revived of a second victory of Lord Cornwallis.  This debate prevented another on the Marriage-bill, which Charles Fox wants to get repealed, and which he told me he was going to labour.  I mention this from the circumstance of the moment when he told ne so.  I had been to see if Lady Ailesbury was come to town; as I came up St. James’s-street, I saw a cart and porters at Charles’s door; coppers and old chests of drawers loading.  In short, his success at faro has awakened his host of creditors; but unless his bank had swelled to the size of the bank of England, it could not have yielded a sop apiece for each.  Epsom, too, had been unpropitious; and One creditor has actually seized and carried off his goods, which did not seem worth removing.  As I returned full of this scene, whom should I find sauntering by my own door but Charles?  He came up and talked to me at the coach-window, on the Marriage-bill(429) With as much sang-froid as if he knew nothing of what had happened.  I have no admiration for insensibility to one’s own faults, especially when committed out of vanity.  Perhaps the whole philosophy consisted in the commission.  If you could have been as much to blame, the last thing you would bear well would be your own reflections.  The more marvellous Fox’s parts are, the more one is provoked at his follies, which comfort so many rascals and blockheads, and make all that is admirable and amiable in him only matter of regret to those who like him as I do.

I did intend to settle at Strawberry on Sunday; but must return on Thursday, for a party made at Marlborough-house for Princess Amelia.  I am continually tempted to retire entirely; and should, if I did not see how very unfit English tempers are for living quite out of the world.  We grow abominably peevish and severe on others, if we are not constantly rubbed against and polished by them.  I need not name friends and relations of yours and mine as instances.  My prophecy on the short reign of faro is verified already.  The bankers find that all the calculated advantages of the game do not balance pinchbeck parolis and debts of honourable women.  The bankers, I think, might have had a previous and more generous reason, the very bad air of holding a bank:—­but this country is as hardened against the petite morale, as against the greater.—­What should I think of the world if I quitted it entirely?

(428) On the preceding day, Mr. Hartley had moved for leave to bring in a bill to invest the Crown with sufficient power to treat upon the means of restoring peace with the provinces of north America.  It was Negatived by 106 against 72.-E.

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(429) On the 7th of June Mr. Fox moved for leave to bring in a bill to amend the act of the 26th of George the Second, for preventing clandestine marriages.  The bill passed the Commons, but was rejected by the Lords.-E.

Letter 219 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, June 3, 1781. (PAGE 279)

You know I have more philosophy about you than courage, yet for once I have been very brave.  There was an article in the papers last week that said, a letter from Jersey mentioned apprehensions of being attacked by four thousand French.  Do you know that I treated the paragraph with scorn?  No, no; I am not afraid for your island, when you are at home in it, and have had time to fortify it, and have sufficient force.  No, no; it will not be surprised when you are there, and when our fleet is returned, and Digby before Brest.  However, with all my valour, I could not help going to your brother to ask a few questions; but he had heard of no such letter.  The French would be foolish indeed if they ran their heads a third time against your rocks, when watched by the most vigilant of all governors.  Your nephew George(430) is arrived with the fleet:  my door opened t’other morning; I looked towards the common horizon of heads, but was a foot and a half below any face.  The handsomest giant in the world made but one step across my room, and seizing my hand, gave it such a robust gripe that I squalled; for he crushed my poor chalk-stones to powder.  When I had recovered from the pain of his friendly salute, I said, “It must be George Conway! and yet, is it possible?  Why, it is not fifteen months ago since you was but six feet high!” In a word, he is within an inch of Robert and Edward, with larger limbs; almost as handsome as Hugh, with all the bloom of youth; and, in short, another of those comely sons of Anak, the breed of which your brother and Lady Hertford have piously restored for the comfort of the daughters of Sion.  He is delighted with having tapped his warfare with the siege of Gibraltar, and burns to stride to America.  The town, he says, is totally destroyed, and between two and three hundred persons were killed.—­Well, it is a pity Lady Hertford has done breeding:  we shall want such a race to repeople even the ruins we do not lose!  The rising generation does give one some hopes.  I confine myself to some of this year’s birds.  The young William Pitt(431) has again displayed paternal oratory.  The other day, on the commission of accounts, he answered Lord North, and tore him limb from limb.  If Charles Fox could feel, one should Think such a rival, with an unspotted character, would rouse him.  What, if a Pitt and Fox should again be rivals!  A still newer orator has appeared in the India business, a Mr. Bankes,(432) and against Lord North too; and with a merit that the very last crop of orators left out of their rubric—­modesty.  As young Pitt is modest too, one would hope some genuine English may revive!(433)

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Tuesday, June 5.

This is the season of opening my cake-house.  I have chosen a bad spot, if I meant to retire; and calculated ill, when I made it a puppet-show.  Last week we had two or three mastiff-days; for they were fiercer than our common dog-days.  It is cooled again; but rain is as great a rarity as in Egypt; and father Thames is so far from being a Nile, that he is dying for thirst himself.  But it would be prudent to reserve paragraphs of weather till people are gone out of town; for then I can have little to send you else from hence.

Berkeley Square, June 6.

As soon as I came to town to-day Le Texier called on me, and told me he has miscarried of Pygmalion.  The expense would have mounted to 150 pounds and he could get but sixty subscribers at a guinea apiece.  I am glad his experience and success have taught him thrift.  I did not expect it.  Sheridan had a heavier miscarriage last night.  The two Vestris had imagined a f`ete; and, concluding that whatever they designed would captivate the town and its purses, were at the expense of 1200 pounds and, distributing tickets at two guineas apiece, disposed of not two hundred.  It ended in a bad opera, that began three hours later than usual, and at quadruple the price.  There were bushels of dead flowers, lamps, country dances—­and a cold supper.  Yet they are not abused as poor Le Texier was last year.

June 8.

I conclude my letter, and I hope our present correspondence, very agreeably; for your brother told me last night, that you have written to Lord Hillsborough for leave to return.  If all our governors could leave their dominions in as good plight, it were lucky.  Your brother owned, what the Gazette with all its circumstances cannot conceal, that Lord Cornwallis’s triumphs have but increased our losses, without leaving any hopes.  I am told that his army, which when he parted from Clinton amounted to seventeen thousand men, does not now contain above as many hundred, except the detachments.  The Gazette, to my sorrow and your greater sorrow, speaks of Colonel O’Hara having received two dangerous wounds.  Princess Amelia was at Marlborough-house last night, and played at faro till twelve o’clock.  There ends the winter campaign!  I go to Strawberry-hill to-morrow; and I hope, a l’Irlandaise, that the next letter I write to you will be not to write to you any more.

(430) Lord George Seymour Conway, seventh son of Francis, first Earl and Marquis of Hertford; born 1763.-E.

(431) The young William Pitt,” afterwards, as Walpole anticipated, the proud rival of Charles Fox, and for so long a period the prime-minister of England, delivered his maiden speech in the House of Commons, on the 26th of February, in favour of Mr. Burke’s bill for an economical reform in the civil list.  “Never,” says his preceptor, Bishop Tomline, “were higher expectations formed of any person upon his first coming into Parliament, and never were

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expectations more completely answered.  They were, indeed, much more than answered; such were the fluency and accuracy of language, such the perspicuity of arrangement, and such the closeness of reasoning, and manly and dignified elocution,—­generally, even in a much less degree, the fruits of long habit and experience,—­that it could scarcely be believed to be the first speech of a young man not yet two-and-twenty.  On the following day, knowing my anxiety upon every subject which related to him, Mr. Pitt, with his accustomed kindness, wrote to me at Cambridge, to inform me that ’he had heard his own voice in the House of Commons,’ and modestly expressed his satisfaction at the manner in which his first attempt at parliamentary speaking had been received."-E.

(432) Henry Bankes, Esq. of Kingston Hall.  He represented Corfe-Castle from 1780 to 1826, and the county of Dorset from that time until 1831.  In 1818, he published “The Civil and Constitutional History of Rome, from the Foundation to the Age of Augustus,” in two volumes, 8vo; and died in 1834.-E.

(433) Mr. Wilberforce, in a letter to a friend, of the 9th of June, says—­“The papers will have informed you how Mr. William Pitt, second son of the late Lord Chatham has distinguished himself:  he comes out as his father did, a ready-made orator, and I doubt not but that I shall one day or other, see him the first man in the country.”  Life, vol. 1. p. 22.-E.

Letter 220 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, June 13, 1781. (PAGE 281)

It was very kind, my dear lord, to recollect me so soon:  I wish I Could return it by amusing you; but here I know nothing, and suppose it is owing to age that even in town I do not find the transactions of the world very entertaining.  One must sit up all night to see or hear any thing; and if the town intends to do any thing, they never begin to do it till next day.  Mr. Conway will certainly be here the end of this month, having thoroughly secured his island from surprise, and it is not liable to be taken any other way.  I wish he was governor of this bigger one too, which does not seem quite so well guaranteed.

Your lordship will wonder at a visit I had yesterday:  it was from Mr. Storer, who has passed a day and night here.  It was not from my being a fellow-scholar of Vestris, but from his being turned antiquary; the last passion I should have thought a macaroni would have taken.  I am as proud of such a disciple as of having converted Dicky Bateman from a Chinese to a Goth.  Though he was the founder of the Sharawadgi taste in England, I preached so effectually that his every pagoda took the veil.  The Methodists say, one must have been very wicked before one can be of the elect—­yet is that extreme more distant from the ton, which avows knowing and liking nothing but the fashion of the instant, to studying what were the modes of five hundred years ago? 

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I hope this conversion will not ruin Mr. Storer’s fortune under the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  How his Irish majesty will be shocked when he asks how large Prince Boothby’s shoe-buckles are grown, to be answered, he does not know, but that Charles Brandon’s cod-piece at the last birthday had three yards of velvet in it! and that the Duchess of Buckingham thrust out her chin two inches farther than ever in admiration of it! and that the Marchioness of Dorset had put out her jaw by endeavouring to imitate her!

We have at last had some rains, which I hope extended to Yorkshire, and that your lordship has found Wentworth Castle in the bloom of verdure.  I always, as in duty bound, wish prosperity to every body and every thing there, and am your lordship’s ever devoted and grateful humble servant.

Letter 221To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, June 16, 1781. (PAGE 282)

Your last account of yourself was so indifferent, that I am impatient for a better:  pray send me a much better.

I know little in your way but that Sir Richard Worseley has just published a History of the Isle of Wight, with many views poorly done enough.(434) Mr. Bull(435) is honouring me, at least my Anecdotes of Painting, exceedingly.  He has let every page into a pompous sheet, and is adding every print of portrait, building, etc. that I mention, and that he can get, and specimens of all our engravers.  It will make eight magnificent folios, and be a most valuable body of our arts.  Nichols the printer has published a new Life of Hogarth,(436) of near two hundred pages--many more, in truth, than it required:  chiefly it is the life of his works, containing all the variations, and notices of any persons whom he had in view.  I cannot say there are discoveries of many prints which I have not mentioned, though I hear Mr. Gulston(437) says he has fifteen such; but I suppose he only fancies so.  Mr. Nichols says our printsellers are already adding Hogarth’s name to several spurious.  Mr. Stevens, I hear, has been allowed to ransack Mrs. Hogarth’s house for obsolete and unfinished plates, which are to be completed and published.  Though she was not pleased with my account of her husband, and seems by these transactions to have encouraged the second, I assure you I have much more reason to be satisfied than she has, the editor or editors being much civiller to living me than to dead Hogarth—­yet I should not have complained.  Every body has the same right to speak their sentiments.  Nay, in general, I have gentler treatment than I expected, and I think the world and I part good friends.

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I am now setting about the completion of my AEdes Strawberrianae.  A painter is to come hither on Monday to make a drawing of the Tribune, and finish T. Sandby’s fine view of the gallery, to which I could never get him to put the last hand.  They will Then be engraved with a few of the chimney-pieces, which will complete the plates.  I must add an appendix of curiosities, purchased or acquired since the Catalogue was printed.  This will be awkward, but I cannot afford to throw away an hundred copies.  I shall take care if I can that Mr. Gough does not get fresh intelligence from my engravers, or he will advertise my supplement, before the book appears.  I do not think it was very civil to publish such private intelligence, to which he had no right without my leave; but every body seems to think he may do what is good in his own eyes.  I saw the other day, in a collection of seats (exquisitely engraved), a very rude insult on the Duke of Devonshire.  The designer went to draw a view of Chiswick, without asking leave, and was not hindered, for he has given it; but he says he was treated illiberally, the house not being shown without tickets, which he not only censures, but calls a singularity, though a frequent practice in other places, and practised there to my knowledge for these thirty years:  so every body is to come into your house if he pleases, draw it whether you please or not, and by the same rule, I suppose, put any thing into his pockets that he likes.  I do know, by experience, what a grievance it is to have a house worth being seen, and though I submit in consequence to great inconveniences, they do not save me from many rudenesses.  Mr. Southcote(438) was forced to shut up his garden, for the savages who came as connoisseurs scribbled a thousand brutalities, in the buildings, upon his religion.  I myself, at Canons, saw a beautiful table of oriental alabaster that had been split in two by a buck in boots jumping up backwards to sit upon it.

I have placed the oaken head Of Henry the Third over the middle arch of the armoury.  Pray tell me what the church of Barnwell, near Oundle, was, which his Majesty endowed, and whence his head came.  Dear Sir, Yours most sincerely.

(434) Sir Richard Worsley is better known by his splendid work, the “Museum Worsleianum; or, a Collection of antique Basso-relievos, Bustos, Statues, and Gems; with views of places in the Levant, taken on the spot, in the years 1785-6-7;” in two volumes, folio.  Sir Richard sat many years in Parliament for the borough of Newport, and was governor of the Isle of Wight, where he died in 1805.-E.

(435) Richard Bull, Esq. a famous collector of portraits.-E.

(436) " Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth; and a Catalogue of his Works, chronologically arranged; with occasional Remarks."-E.

(437) Joseph Gulston, Esq. also an eminent portrait collector.-E.

(438) Philip Southcote, Esq. of Wooburn Farm, Chertsey:  one of the first places improved according to the principles of modern gardening.-E.

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Letter 222 To The Earl Of Charlemont.(439) Strawberry Hill, July 1, 1781. (PAGE 284)

I should have been exceedingly flattered, my lord, by receiving a present from your lordship, which at once proves that I retain a place in your lordship’s memory, and you think me worthy of reading what you like.  I could not wait to give your lordship a thousand thanks for so kind a mark of your esteem till I had done through the volume, which I may venture to say I shall admire, as I find it contains some pieces which I had seen, and did admire, without knowing their author.  That approbation was quite impartial.  Perhaps my future judgment of the rest will be not a little prejudiced, and yet on good foundation; for if Mr. Preston(440) has retained my suffrage in his favour by dedicating his poems to your lordship, it must at least be allowed that I am biassed by evidence of his taste.  He would not possess the honour of your friendship unless he deserved it; and, as he knows you, he would not have ventured to prefix your name, my lord, to poems that did not deserve your patronage.  I dare to say they will meet the approbation of better judges than I can pretend to be.  I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, esteem, and gratitude.

(439) Now first collected.

(440) William Preston, Esq. a young Irish gentleman, of whom Lord Charlemont had become the friend and patron.  He afterwards published “Thoughts on Lyric Poetry, with an Ode to the Moon;” an “essay on Ridicule, Wit, and Humour;” and a translation of the Argonautics of Appollonius Rhodius.  He died in 1807.-E.

Letter 223 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, July 7, 1781. (PAGE 284)

My good Sir, you forget that I have a cousin, eldest son of Lord Walpole, and of a marriageable age, who has the same Christian name as I. The Miss Churchill he has married is my niece, second daughter of my sister, Lady Mary Churchill; so that if I were in my dotage, I must have looked out for another bride—­in short, I hope you will have no occasion to wish me joy of any egregious folly.  I do congratulate you on your better health, and on the Duke of Rutland’s civilities to you.  I am a little surprised at his brother, who is a seaman, having a propensity to divinity, and wonder you object to it; the church navigant would be an extension of its power.  As to orthodoxy, excuse me if I think it means nothing at all but every man’s own opinion.  Were every man to define his faith, I am persuaded that no two men are or ever were exactly of the same opinion in all points and as men are more angry at others for differing with them on a single point, than satisfied with their Concurrence in all others, each would deem every body else a heretic.  Old or new Opinions are exactly of the same authority, for every opinion must have been new when first started; and no man

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has nor ever had more right than another to dictate, unless inspired.  St. Peter and St. Paul disagreed from the earliest time, and who can be sure which was in the right? and if one of the apostles was in the wrong, who may not be mistaken?  When you will tell me which was the orthodox, and which the heterodox apostle, I will allow that you know what orthodoxy is.(441) You and I are perhaps the two persons who agree the best with very different ways of thinking; and perhaps the reason is, that we have a mutual esteem for each other’s sincerity, and, from an experience of more than forty years, are persuaded that neither of us has any interested views.(442) For my own part, I confess honestly that I am far from having the same charity for those whom I suspect of mercenary views.  If Dr. Butler, when a private clergyman, wrote Whig pamphlets, and when Bishop of Oxford preaches Tory sermons, I should not tell him that he does not know what orthodoxy is, but I am convinced he does not care what it is.  The Duke of Rutland seems much more liberal than Butler or I, when he is so civil to you, though you voted against his brother.  I am not acquainted with his grace, but I respect his behaviour; he is above prejudices.

The story of poor Mr. Cotton(443) is shocking, whichever way it happened, but most probably it was accident.

I am ashamed at the price of my book, though not my fault; but I have so often been guilty myself of giving ridiculous prices for rarities, though of no intrinsic value, that I must not condemn the same folly in others.  Every thing tells me how silly I am!  I pretend to reason, and yet am a virtuoso!  Why should I presume that, at sixty-four, I am too wise to marry? and was you, who know so many of my weaknesses, in the wrong to suspect me of one more?  Oh! no, my good friend:  nor do I see any thing in your belief of it, but the kindness with which you wish me felicity on the occasion.  I heartily thank you for it, and am most cordially yours.

(441) On Lord Sandwich’s observing that he did not know the difference between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, Bishop Warburton is said to have replied, “Orthodoxy, my lord, is my doxy, and heterodoxy is another man’s doxy."-E.

(442) Cole, in a letter to ’Mr. Gough, of the 10th of August, says—­“Mr. Walpole and myself are as opposite in political matters as possible; yet we continue friends.  Your political and religious opinions possibly may be as dissimilar; yet I hope we shall all meet in a better world, and be happy."-E.

(443) A son of Sir John Cotton, who was accidentally killed whilst shooting in his father’s Woods.-E.

Letter 224 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, July 26, 1781. (PAGE 286)

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I will not delay thanking you, dear Sir, for a second letter, which you wrote out of kindness, though I have time but to say a word, having my house full of company.  I think I have somewhere or other mentioned the “Robertus Comentarius,” (probably on some former information from you, which you never forget to give me,) at least the name sounds familiar to me; but just now I cannot consult my papers or books from the impediment of my guests.  As I am actually preparing a new edition of my Anecdotes, I shall very soon have occasion to search.  I am sorry to hear you complain of the gout, but trust It will be a short parenthesis.  Yours most gratefully.

Letter 225 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Strawberry Hill, August 31, 1781. (page 286)

Your lordship’s too friendly partiality sees talents in me which I am sure I do not possess.  With all my desire of amusing you, and with all my sense of gratitude for your long and unalterable goodness, it is quite impossible to send you an entertaining letter from hence.  The insipidity of my life, that is passed with a few old people that are wearing out like myself, after surviving so many of my acquaintance, can furnish no matter of correspondence.  What few novelties I hear, come stale, and not till they have been hashed in the newspapers and though we are engaged in such big and wide wars, they produce no striking events, nor furnish any thing but regrets for the lives and millions we fling away to no purpose!  One cannot divert when one can only compute, nor extract entertainment from prophecies that there is no reason to colour favourably.  We have, indeed, foretold success for seven years together, but debts and taxes have been the sole completion.

If one turns to private life, what is there to furnish pleasing topics?  Dissipation, without object, pleasure, or genius, is the only colour of the times.  One hears every day of somebody undone. but can we or they tell how, except when it is by the most expeditious of all means, gaming?  And now, even the loss of an hundred thousand pounds is not rare enough to be surprising.  One may stare or growl, but cannot relate any thing that is worth hearing.  I do not love to censure a younger age; but in good truth, they neither amuse me nor enable me to amuse others.

The pleasantest event I know happened to myself last Sunday morning when General Conway very unexpectedly walked in as I was at breakfast, in his way to Park-place.  He looks as well in health and spirits as ever I saw him; and though he stayed but half an hour, I was perfectly content, as he is at home.

I am glad your lordship likes the fourth book of The Garden,(444) which is admirably coloured.  The version of Fresnoy I think the finest translation I ever saw.  It is a most beautiful poem, extracted from as dry and prosaic a parcel of verses as could be put together:  Mr. Mason has gilded lead, and burnished it highly.  Lord and Lady Harcourt I should think would make him a visit, and I hope, for their sakes, will visit Wentworth Castle.  As they both have taste, I should be sorry they did not see the perfectest specimen of architecture I know.

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Mrs. Damer certainly goes abroad this winter.  I am glad of it for every reason but her absence.  I am certain it will be essential to her health; and she has so eminently a classic genius, and is herself so superior an artist, that I enjoy the pleasure she will have in visiting Italy.

As your lordship has honoured all the productions of my press with your acceptance, I venture to enclose the last, which I printed to oblige the Lucans.  There are many beautiful and poetic expressions in it.  A wedding to be sure, is neither a new nor a promising subject, nor will outlast the favours:  still I think Mr. Jones’s Ode(445) is uncommonly good for the occasion; at least, if it does not much charm Lady Strafford and your lordship, I know you will receive it kindly as a tribute from Strawberry Hill, as every honour is due to you both from its master.  Your devoted servant.

(444) The fourth book of Mason’s “English Garden” had just made its appearance.-E.

(445) Mr. afterwards Sir William, Jones’s Ode on the marriage of Lord Althorpe, afterwards Earl Spencer, with Miss Bingham.-E.

Letter 226 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, Sept. 16, 1781. (page 227)

I am not surprised that such a mind as yours cannot help expressing gratitude:  it would not be your mind, if it could command that sensation as triumphantly as it does your passions.  Only remember that the expression is unnecessary.  I do know that you feel the entire friendship I have for you; nor should I love you so well if I was not persuaded of it.  There never was a grain of any thing romantic in my friendship for you.  We loved one another from children, and as so near relations; but my friendship grew up with your virtues, which I admired though I did not imitate.  We had scarce one in common but disinterestedness.  Of the reverse we have both, I may say, been so absolutely clear, that there is nothing so natural and easy as the little moneyed transactions between us — and therefore, knowing how perfectly indifferent I am upon that head, and remembering the papers I showed you, and what I have said to you when I saw you last, I am sure you will have the complaisance never to mention thanks more.-Now, to answer your questions.

As to coming to you, as that feu gr`egeois Lord George Gordon has given up the election, to my great joy, I can come to you on Sunday next.  It is true, I had rather you visited your regiment first, for this reason:  I expect summons to Nuneham every day; and besides, having never loved two journeys instead of one, I grow more covetous of my time, as I have little left, and therefore had rather take Park-place, going and coming, on my way to Lord Harcourt.

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I don’t know a word of news, public or private.  I am deep in my dear old friend’s papers.(446) There are some very delectable; and though I believe, nay, know, I have not quite all, there are many which I almost wonder, after the little delicacy they(447) have shown, ever arrived to my hands.  I dare to say they will not be quite so just to the public; for though I consented that the correspondence with Voltaire should be given to the editors of his works, I am persuaded that there are many passages at least which they will suppress, as very contemptuous to his chief votaries:  I mean, of the votaries to his sentiments; for, like other heresiarchs, he despised his tools.  If I live to see the edition, it Will divert me to collate it with what I have in my hands.

You are the person in the world the fittest to encounter the meeting you mention for the choice of a bridge.(448) You have temper and patience enough to bear with fools and false taste.  I, so unlike you, have learned some patience with both sorts too, but by a more summary method than by waiting to instil reason into them.  Mine is only by leaving them to their own vagaries, and by despairing that sense and taste should ever extend themselves.  Adieu!

P. S. In ’Voltaire’s letters are some bitter traits on the King of Prussia, which, as he is defender of their no-faith, I conclude will be ray`es too.

(446) Madame du Deffand, who died in September 1780, and left all her papers to Mr. Walpole.  See ant`e, p. 256, letter 199.-E.

(447) The executors of Madame du Deffand; whom Walpole suspected of having abstracted some of her papers.-E.

(448) The bridge over the Thames at Henley, to the singular beauty of which the good taste of mr.  Conway materially contributed.

Letter 227 To John Nichols, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, Oct. 31, 1781. (page 288)

I am glad to hear, Sir, that your account of Hogarth calls for another edition; and I am very sensible of your great civility in offering to change any passages that criticise my own work.  Though I am much obliged by the offer, I should blush to myself if I even wished for that complaisance.  Good God!  Sir, what am I that I should be offended at or above criticism or correction?  I do not know who ought to be; I am sure, no author.  I am a private man, of no consequence, and at best an author of very moderate abilities.  In a work that comprehends so much biography as my Anecdotes of Painting, it would have been impossible, even with much more diligence than I employed, not to make numberless mistakes.  It is kind to me to point out those errors; to the world it is justice.  Nor have i a reason to be displeased even with the manner.  I do remember that in many passages you have been very civil to me.  I do not recollect any harsh phrases.  As my work is partly critical as well as biographic, there too I had no reason or right to expect deference to my opinions.  Criticism, I doubt, has no very certain rule to go by; in matters of taste it is a still more vague and arbitrary science.

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As I am very sincere, Sir, in what I say, I will with the same integrity own, that in one or two places of your book I think the criticisms on me are not well founded.  For instance; in p. 37 I am told that Hogarth did not deserve the compliment I pay him of not descending to the indelicacy of the Flemish and Dutch painters.  It is very true that you have produced some instances, to which I had not adverted, where he has been guilty of the same fault, though I think not in all you allege, nor to the degree alleged:  in some I think the humour compensates for the indelicacy, which is never the case with the Dutch; and in one particular I think it is a merit,—­I mean in the burlesque Paul before Felix,—­for there, Sir, you should recollect that Hogarth himself meant to satirize, not to imitate the painters of Holland and Flanders.

You have also instanced, Sir, many more portraits in his satiric prints than come within my defence of him as not being a personal satirist; but in those too, with submission, I think you have gone too far; as, though you have cited portraits, are they all satiric?  Sir John Gouson is the image of an active magistrate identified; but it is not ridiculous, unless to be an active magistrate is being ridiculous.  Mr. Pine,(449) I think you allow, desired to sit for the fat friar in the Gates of Calais—­ certainly not with a view to being turned into derision.

With regard to the bloody fingers of Sigismunda, you Say, Sir, that my memory must have failed me, as you affirm that they are unstained with blood.  Forgive me if I say that I am positive they were so originally.  I saw them so, and have often mentioned that fact.  Recollect, Sir, that you yourself allow, p. 46, in the note, that the picture was continually “altered, upon the criticism of one connoisseur or another.”  May not my memory be more faithful about so striking a circumstance than the memory of another who would engage to recollect all the changes that remarkable picture underwent?

I should be very happy, Sir, if I could contribute any additional lights to your new publication; indeed, what additional lights I have gained are from your work, which has furnished me with many.  I am going to publish a new edition of all the five volumes of my Anecdotes of Painting, in which I shall certainly insert what I have gathered from you.  This edition will be in five thin octaves, without cuts, to make the purchase easy to artists and such as cannot afford the quartos, which are grown so extravagantly dear, that I am ashamed of it.  Being published too at different periods, and being many of them cut to pieces for the heads, since the race for portraits has been carried so far, it is very rare to meet with a complete set.  My corrected copy is now in the printer’s hands, except the last volume, in which are my additions to Hogarth from your list, and perhaps one or two more but that volume also I have left in town, though not at the printer’s, as, to complete it, I must wait for his new works, which Mrs. Hogarth is to publish.  When I am settled in town, Sir, I shall be very ready, if you please to call on me in Berkeley Square, to communicate any additions I have made to my account of Hogarth.

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(449) John Pine the artist, who published “The Procession and Ceremonies at the Installation of the Knights of the Bath, 17th of June, 1725;” folio, 1730; and, in 1739, “The Tapestry Hangings of the House of Lords,” etc. sat for the Fat Friar in Hogarth’s Gates of Calais, and received from that circumstance the name of “Friar Pine,” which he retained till his death.  E.

Letter 228 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(450) Berkeley Square, Nov. 7. 1781. (page 290)

Yesterday, Sir, I received the favour of your letter with the inclosed prologue,(451) and am extremely pleased with it; not only as it omits mention of me, for which I give you my warmest thanks, but as a composition.  The thoughts are just and happily expressed; and the conclusion is so lively and well conceived, that Mr. Harris, to whom I carried it this morning, thinks it will have great effect.  We are very sorry you have not sent us an epilogue too; but, before I touch on that, I will be more regular in my details.  Miss Younge has accepted the part very gracefully; and by a letter I have received from her, in answer to mine, will, I flatter myself, take care to do justice to it.  Nay, she is so zealous, that Mr. Harris tells me she has taken great pains with the young person who is to play the daughter, but whose name I cannot at this moment recollect.(452)

I must now confess that I have been again alarmed.  I had a message from Mr. Harris on Saturday last to tell me that the performers had been so alert, and were so ready with their parts, and the many disappointments that had happened this season had been so prejudicial to him, that it would be easy and necessary to bring out your play next Saturday the 10th, and desired to have the prologue and epilogue.  This precipitation made me apprehend that justice would not be done to your tragedy.  Still I did not dare to remonstrate; nor would venture to damp an ardour which I could not expect to excite again.  Instead of objecting to his haste, I only said I had not received your prologue and epilogue, but had written for them and expected them every Minute, though, as it depended on winds, one could never be sure.  I trusted to accidents for delay; at least I thought I could contrive some, without seeming to combat what he thought for his interest.

I have not been mistaken.  On receiving your prologue yesterday, I came to town to-day and carried it to him, to show him I lost no time.  He told me Mr. Henderson was not enough recovered, but he hoped would be well enough to bring out the play on Saturday se’nnight.  That he had had a rough rehearsal yesterday morning, with which he had been charmed; and was persuaded, and that the performers think so too. that your play will have great effect.  All this made me very easy.  There is to be a regular rehearsal on Saturday, for which I shall stay in town on purpose; and, if I find the performers perfect, I think there will be no objection to its appearance on Saturday se’nnight.  I shall rather prefer that day to a later; as, the Parliament not being met, it will have a week’s run before politics interfere.

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Now, Sir, for the epilogue.  I have taken the liberty of desiring Mr. Harris to have one prepared, in case yours should not arrive in time.  It is a compliment to him, (I do not mean that he will write it himself,) will interest him still more in the cause; and, though he may not procure a very good one, a manager may know better than we do what will suit the taste of the times.  The success of a play being previous, cannot be hurt by an epilogue, though some plays have been saved; and if it be not a good one, it will not affect you.  If you send us a good one, though too late, it may be printed with the play.

I must act about the impression just the reverse of what I did about the performance, and must beg you would commission some friend to transact that affair; for I know nothing of the terms, and should probably disserve you if I undertook the treaty with the booksellers, nor should I have time to supervise the correction of the press.  In truth, it is so disagreeable a business, that I doubt I have given proofs at my own press of being too negligent; and as I am actually at present reprinting my Anecdotes of Painting, I have but too much business of that sort on my hands.  You will forgive my saying this, especially when you consider that my hands are very lame, ind that this morning in Mr. Harris’s room, the right one shook so, that I was forced to desire him to write a memorandum for me.

I think I have omitted nothing material.  Mr. Wroughton is to play the Count.  I do not know who will speak the prologue; probably not Mr. Henderson, as he has been so very ill:  nor should I be very earnest for it; for the Friar’s is so central and so laborious a part, that I should not wish to abate his powers by any previous exertion.  Perhaps I refine too much, but I own I think the non-appearance of a principal actor till his part opens is an advantage.

I will only add that I must beg you will not talk of obligations to me.  You have at least overpaid me d’avance by the honour you have done me in adopting the Castle of Otranto.

(450) Now first printed.

(451) To the tragedy of the Count of Narbonne.  See ant`e, p. 238, letter 184.-E.

(452) Miss Satchell.

Letter 229 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(453) Strawberry Hill, Nov. 10, 1781. (page 292)

As I have been at the rehearsal of your tragedy to-day, Sir, I must give you a short a(-count of it; though I am little able to write, having a good deal of gout in my right hand, which would have kept me away from any thing else, and made me hurry back hither the moment it was over, lest I should be confined to town.  Mr. Malone, perhaps, who was at the playhouse too, may have anticipated me; for I could not save the post to-night, nor will this go till to-morrow.

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Mr. Henderson is still too ill to attend, but hopes to be abroad by Tuesday:  Mr. Hull read his part very well.  Miss Younge is perfectly mistress of her part, is pleased with it, and I think will do it justice.  I never saw her play so ably.  Miss Satchell, who is to play Adelaide, is exactly what she should be:  very young, pretty enough, natural and simple.  She has already acted Juliet with success.  Her voice not only pleasing, but very audible; and, which is much more rare, very articulate:  she does not gabble, as most young women do, even off the stage.  Mr. Wroughton much exceeded my expectation.  He enters warmly into his part, and with thorough zeal.  Mr. Lewis was so very imperfect in his part, that I cannot judge quite what he will do, for he could not repeat two lines by heart; but he looked haughtily, and as he pleased me in Percy, which is the same kind of character, I promise myself he will succeed in this.

Very, very few lines will be omitted; and there will be one or two verbal alterations to accommodate the disposition, but which will not appear in the printed copies, of which Mr. Malone says he will take the management.  As Mr. Harris and the players all seemed zealous and in good humour, I will not contest some trifles; and, indeed, they were not at all unreasonable.  I an) to see the scenes on Friday, if I am able:  and if Mr. Henderson is well enough, the play will be performed on the 17th or immediately after.  Some slight delays, which one cannot foresee, may always happen.  In truth-, I little expected so much readiness and compliance both in manager and actors; nor, from all I have heard of the stage, could conceive such facilities. >From the moment Mr. Harris consented to perform your play, there has not been one instance of obstinacy or wrongheadedness anywhere.  If the audience is as reasonable and just, you may, Sir, promise yourself complete success.

(453) Now first printed.

Letter 230 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(454) Strawberry Hill, Nov. 13, 1781. )page 293)

I have, this minute, Sir, received the corrected copy of your tragedy, which is almost all I am able to say, for I have so much gout in this hand, and it shakes so much, that I am scarce able to manage my pen.  I will go to town if I can, and consult Mr. Henderson on the alterations; though I confess I think it dangerous to propose them so late before representation, which the papers say again is to be on Saturday if Mr. Henderson is well enough.  Mr. Malone shall have the corrected copy for impression.

I own I cannot suspect that Mr. Sheridan will employ any ungenerous arts against your play.  I have never heard any thing to give me suspicions of his behaving unhandsomely; and as you indulge my zeal and age a liberty of speaking like a friend, I would beg you to suppress your sense of the too great prerogatives of theatric monarchs.  I hope you will again and again have occasion to court the power of their crowns; and, therefore if not for your own, for the sake of the public, do not declare war with them.  It has not been my practice to preach slavery; but, while one deals with and depends on mimic sovereigns, I would act policy, especially when by temporary passive obedience one can really lay a lasting obligation on one’s country, which your plays really are.

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I am glad you approve what I had previously undertaken, Mr. Harris’s procuring an epilogue; he told me on Saturday that he should have one.  You are very happy in friends, Sir; which is another proof of your merit.  Mr. Malone is not less zealous than Mr. Tighe, to whom I beg my compliments.

(454) Now first printed.

Letter 231 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(455) Berkeley Square, Nov. 18, 1781. (page 293)

As Mr. Malone undertook to give you an account, Sir, by last night’s post, of the great success of the tragedy, I did not hasten home to write; but stayed at the theatre, to talk to Mr. Harris and the actors, and learn what was said, besides the general applause.  Indeed I never saw a more unprejudiced audience, nor more attention.  There was not the slightest symptom of disapprobation to any part, and the plaudit was loud and long when given out again for Monday.  I mention these circumstances in justification of Mr. Sheridan, to whom I never spoke in my life, but who certainly had not sent a single person to hurt you.  The prologue was exceedingly liked; and, for effect, no play ever produced more fears.  In the green-room I found that Hortensia’s sudden death was the only incident disapproved; as we heard by intelligence from the pit; and it is to be deliberated tomorrow whether it may not be preferable to carry her off as in a swoon.  When there is Only so slight an objection, you cannot doubt of your full success.  It is impossible to say how much justice Miss Younge did to your writing.  She has shown herself’ a great mistress of her profession, mistress of dignity, passion, and of all the sentiments you have put into her hands.  The applause given to her description of Raymond’s death lasted some minutes, and recommenced; and her scene in the fourth act, after the Count’s ill-usage, was played in the highest perfection.  Mr. Henderson was far better than I expected from his weakness, and from his rehearsal yesterday, with which he was much discontented himself.  Mr. Wroughton was very animated, and played the part of the Count much better than any man now on the stage would have done.  I wish I could say Mr. Lewis satisfied me; and that poor child Miss Satchell was very inferior to what she appeared at the rehearsals, where the total silence and our nearness deceived us.  Her voice has no strength, nor is she yet at all mistress of the stage.  I have begged Miss Younge to try what she can do with her by Monday.  However, there is no danger to your play:  it is fully established.  I confess I am not only pleased on your account, Sir, but on Mr. Harris’s, as he has been very obliging to me.  I am not likely to have any more intercourse with the stage; but I shall be happy if I leave my interlude there by settling an amity between you and Mr. Harris, whence I hope he will draw profit and you more renown.

(455) Now first printed.

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Letter 232 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Berkeley Square, Sunday morning, Nov. 18, 1781. (page 294)

I have been here again for three days, tending and nursing and waiting on Mr. Jephson’s play.  I have brought it into the world, was well delivered of it, it can stand on its own legs—­and I am going back to My Own quiet hill, never likely to have any thing more to do with theatres.  Indeed it has seemed strange to me, who for these three or four years have not been so many times in a playhouse, nr knew six of the actors by sight, to be at two rehearsals, behind the scenes, in the green-room, and acquainted with half the company.  The Count of Narbonne was played last night with great applause, and without a single murmur of disapprobation.  Miss Younge has charmed me.(456) She played with intelligence that was quite surprising.  The applause to one of her speeches lasted a minute, and recommenced twice before the play could go on.  I am sure you will be pleased with the conduct and the easy beautiful language of the play, and struck with her acting.

(456) In 1786, this celebrated actress was married to Mr. Pope, the comedian.  She died in 1797, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.-E.

Letter 233 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(457) Strawberry Hill, Nov. 21, 1781. (page 295)

I have just received your two letters, Sir, and the epilogue, which I am sorry came so late, as there are very pretty things in it:  but I believe it would be very improper to produce it now, as the two others have been spoken.

I am sorry you are discontent with there being no standing figure of Alphonso, and that I acquiesced in its being cumbent.  I did certainly yield, and I think my reasons will justify me.  In the first place, you seemed to have made a distinction between the statue and the tomb; and, had both been represented, they would have made a confusion.  But a more urgent reason for my compliance was the shortness of the time, which did not allow the preparation of an entire new scene, as I proposed last year and this, nay, and mentioned it to Mr. Harris.  When I came to the house to see the scene prepared, it was utterly impossible to adjust an erect figure to it; nor, indeed, do I conceive, were the scene disposed as you recommend, how Adelaide could be stabbed behind the scenes.  As I never disguise the truth, I must own,.-for I did think myself so much obliged to Mr. Harris,—­that I was unwilling to heap difficulties on him, when I did not think they would hurt your piece.  I fortunately was not mistaken:  the entrance of Adelaide wounded had the utmost effect, and I believe much greater than would have resulted from her being stabbed on the stage.  In short, the success has been so complete, and both your poetry and the conduct of the tragedy are so much and so justly admired, that I flatter myself you will not blame me for what has not produced

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the smallest inconvenience.  Both the manager and the actors were tractable, I believe, beyond example; and it is my nature to bear some contradiction, when it will carry material points.  The very morning, the only morning, I had to settle the disposition, I had another difficulty to reconcile,-the competition of the two epilogues, which I was so lucky as to compromise too.  I will say nothing of my being three hours each time, on two several days, in a cold theatre with the gout on me; and perhaps it was too natural to give up a few points in order to get home, for which I ask your pardon.  Yet the event shows that I have not injured you and if I was in one instance impatient, I flatter myself that my solicitations to Mr. Harris and Miss Younge, and the zeal I have shown to serve you, will atone for my having in one moment thought of myself, and then only when the reasons that weighed with me were so plausible, that without a totally new scene, which the time would not allow, I do not see how they could have been obviated.  Your tragedy, Sir, has taken such a rank upon the stage, that one may reasonably hope it will hereafter be represented with all the decorations to your mind; and I admire it so truly, that I shall be glad to have it conducted by an abler mechanist than your obedient humble servant.

(457) Now first collected.

Letter 234 To The Earl Of Strafford.  Berkeley Square, Nov. 27, 1781. (page 296)

Each fresh mark of your lordship’s kindness and friendship, calls on me for thanks and an answer:  every other reason would enjoin me silence.  I not only grow so old, but the symptoms of age increase so fast, that, as they advise me to keep out of the world, that retirement makes me less fit to be informing or entertaining.  Those philosophers who have sported on the verge of the tomb, or they who have affected to sport in the same situation, both tacitly implied that it was not out of their thoughts; and however dear what we are going to leave may be, all that is not particularly dear must cease to interest us much.  If those reflections blend themselves with our gayest thoughts, must not their hue grow more dusky when public misfortunes and disgraces cast a general shade?(458) The age, it is true, soon emerges out of every gloom, and wantons as before.  But does not that levity imprint a still deeper melancholy on those who do think?  Have any of our calamities corrected us?  Are we not revelling on the brink of the precipice?  Does administration grow more sage, or desire that we should grow more sober?  Are these themes for letters, my dear lord!  Can one repeat common news with indifference, while our shame is writing for future history by the pens of all our numerous enemies?  When did England see two whole armies lay down their arms and surrender themselves prisoners?  Can venal addresses efface such stigmas, that will be recorded in every country

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in Europe?  Or will such disgraces have no consequences?  Is not America lost to us?  Shall we offer up more human victims to the demon of obstinacy; and shall we tax ourselves deeper to furnish out the sacrifice?  These are thoughts I cannot stifle at the moment that enforces them; and though I do not doubt but the same spirit of dissipation that has swallowed up all our principles will reign again in three days with its wonted sovereignty, I had rather be silent than vent my indignation.  Yet I cannot talk, for I cannot think, on any other subject.  It was not six days ago, that in the midst of four raging wars I saw in the papers an account of the Opera and of the dresses of the company; and thence the town, and thence of course the whole nation were informed that Mr. Fitzpatrick had very little powder in his hair.(459) Would not one think that our newspapers were penned by boys just come from school for the information of their sisters and cousins?  Had we had Gazettes and Morning Posts in those days, would they have been filled with such tittle-tattle after the battle of Agincourt, or in the more resembling weeks after the battle of Naseby?  Did the French trifle equally even during the ridiculous war of the Fronde?  If they were as impertinent then, at least they had wit in their levity.  We are monkeys in conduct, and as clumsy as bears when we try to gambol.  Oh! my lord!  I have no patience with my country! and shall leave it without regret!—­Can we be proud when all Europe scorns us?  It was wont to envy us, sometimes to hate us, but never despised us before.  James the First was contemptible, but he did not lose an America!  His eldest grandson sold us, his younger lost us—­but we kept ourselves.  Now we have run to meet the ruin—­and it is coming!

I beg your lordship’s pardon, if I have said too much—­but I do not believe I have.  You have never sold yourself, and therefore have not been accessary to our destruction.  You must be happy now not to have a son, who would live to grovel in the dregs of England.  Your lordship has long been so wise as to secede from the follies of your countrymen.  May you and Lady Strafford long enjoy the tranquillity that has been your option even in better days!—­and may you amuse yourself without giving loose to such reflections as have overflowed in this letter from your devoted humble servant!

(458) The fatal intelligence of the surrender of the British forces at Yorktown, under the command of Lord Cornwallis, to the combined armies of America and France, under General Washington, had reached England on the 25th.-E.

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(459) The following picture of fashionable life at the time of Walpole’s lament, is by Mr. Wilberforce:—­“When I left the University, so little did I know of general society, that I came up to London stored with arguments to prove the authenticity Of Rowley’s poems; and now I was at once immersed in politics and fashion.  The very first time I went to Boodle’s, I won twenty.five guineas of the Duke of Norfolk.  I belonged at this time to five clubs--Miles and Evans’s, Brookes’s, Boodle’s, White’s, Goostree’s.  The first time I was at Brookes’s, scarcely knowing any one, I joined, from niere shyness, in play at the
          faro-table, where George Selwyn kept bank.  A friend,
who knew my inexperience, and regarded me as a victim decked out for sacrifice, called to me, ’What, Wilberforce! is that you?’ Selwyn quite resented the interference; and, turning to him, said, in his most expressive tone, ’O, Sir, don’t interrupt Mr. Wilberforce; he could not be better employed!’ Nothing could be more luxurious than the style of these clubs, Fox, Sheridan, Fitzpatrick, and all your leading men, frequented them, and associated upon the easiest terms; you chatted, played at cards, or gambled, as you pleased.  I was one of those who met to spend an evening in memory of Shakspeare, at the Boar’s Head, Eastcheap.  Many professed wits were present, but Pitt was the most amusing of the party.  He played a good deal at Goostree’s; and I well remember the intense earnestness which he displayed when joining in those games of chance. he perceived their increasing fascination, and soon after suddenly abandoned them for ever.”  Life, vol, i. p, 16.-E.

Letter 235To The Earl Of Buchan.(460) Berkeley Square, Dec. 1, 1781. (page 297)

I am truly sensible of, and grateful for, your lordship’s benevolent remembrance of me, and shall receive with great respect and pleasure the collection your lordship has been pleased to order to be sent to me.  I must admire, too, my lord, the generous assistance that you have lent to your adopted children; but more forcibly than all I feel your pathetic expressions on the distress of the public, which is visible even in this extravagant and thoughtless city.  The number of houses to be let in every street, whoever runs may read.

At the time of your writing your letter, your lordship did not know the accumulation of misfortune and disgrace that has fallen on us;(461) nor should I wish to be the trumpeter of my country’s calamities.  Yet as they must float on the surface of the mind, and blend their hue -with all its emanations, they suggest this reflection, that there can be no time so proper for the institution of inquiries into past story as the moment of the fall of an empire,—­a nation becomes a theme for antiquaries, when it ceases to be one for an historian!—­and while its ruins are fresh and in legible preservation.

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I congratulate your lordship on the discovery of the Scottish monarch’s portrait in Suabia, and am sorry you did not happen to specify of which; but I cannot think of troubling your lordship to write again on purpose; I may probably find it mentioned in some of the papers I shall receive.

There is one passage in your lordship’s letter in which I cannot presume to think myself included; and yet if I could suppose I was, it would look like most impertinent neglect and unworthiness of the honour that your lordship and the society have done me, if I did not at least offer. very humbly to obey it.  You are pleased to say, my lord, that the members, when authors, have agreed to give copies of such of their works as any way relate to the objects of the institution.  Amongst my very trifling publications, I think there are none that can pretend even remotely to that distinction, but the Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, and the Anecdotes of Painting, in each of which are Scottish authors or artists.  If these should be thought worthy of a corner on any shelf of the society’s library, I should be proud sending, at your lordship’s command, the original edition of the first.  Of the latter I have not a single set left but my own.  But I am printing a new edition in octavo, with many additions and corrections, though without cuts, as the former edition was too dear for many artists to purchase.  The new I will send when finished, if I could hope it would be acceptable, and your lordship would please to tell me by what channel.

I am ashamed, my lord, to have said so much, or any thing relating to myself.  I ask your pardon too for the slovenly writing of my letter; but my hand is both lame and shaking, and I should but write worse if I attempted transcribing.

I have the honour to be, with great respect, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient and obliged humble servant.

P. S. It has this moment started into my mind, my lord, that I have heard that at the old castle at Aubigny, belonging and adjoining to the Duke of Richmond’s house, there are historic paintings or portraits of the ancient house of Lennox.  I recollect too that Father Gordon, superior of the Scots College at Paris, showed me a whole-length of Queen Mary, young, and which he believed was painted while she was Queen of France.  He showed me too the original letter she wrote, the night before her execution, some deeds of Scottish kings, and one of King (I think Robert) Bruce, remarkable for having no seal appendent, which Father Gordon said was executed in the time of his so great distress, that he was not possessed of a seal.  I shall be happy if these hints lead to any investigations of use.

(460) Now first collected.

(461) The surrender of the British army at Yorktown.  See ant`e, p. 296, letter 234.-E.

Letter 236 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(462) Berkeley Square, Dec. 3, 1781. (page 299)

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I have not only a trembling hand, but scarce time to save the post; yet I write a few lines to beg you will be perfectly easy on my account, who never differ seriously with my friends, when I know they do not mean ill to me.  I was sorry you took so much to heart an alteration in the scenery of your play,(463) which did not seem to me very material; and which, having since been adjusted to your wish, had no better effect.  I told you that it was my fault, not Mr. Malone’s, who is warmly your friend; and I am sure you will be sorry if you do him injustice.  I regret no pains I have taken, since they have been crowned with your success; and it would be idle in either of us to recall any little cross circumstance that may have happened, (as always do in bringing a play on the stage,) when they have not prevented its appearance or good fortune.  Be assured, Sir, if that is worth knowing, that I have taken no offence, and have all the same good wishes for you that I ever had since I was acquainted with your merit and abilities.  I can easily allow for the anxiety of a parent of your genius for his favourite offspring; and though I have not your parts, I have had the warmth, though age and illness have chilled it:  but, thank God! they have not deprived me of my good-humour, and I am most good-humouredly and sincerely your obedient humble servant.

(462) Now first collected.

(463) See ant`e, p. 295, letter 233.-E.

Letter 237 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Dec. 30, 1781. (page 299)

We are both hearty friends, my dear Sir, for I see we have both been reproaching ourselves with silence at the same moment.  I am much concerned that you have had cause for yours.(464) I have had less, though indisposed too in a part material for correspondence—­my hand, which has been in labour of chalk-stones this whole summer, and at times so nervous as to tremble so much, that, except when quite necessary, I have avoided a pen.  I have been delivered of such a quantity of chalky matter, that I am not only almost free from pain, but hope to avoid a fit this winter.  How there can be a doubt what the gout is, amazes me! what is it but a concretion of humours, that either Stop up the fine vessels, cause pain and inflammation, and pass away only by perspiration; or which discharge themselves into chalk-stones, which sometimes remain in their beds, sometimes make their passage outwardly?  I have experienced all three.  It may be objected, that the sometimes instantaneous removal of pain from one limb to another is too rapid for a current of chalk—­true, but not for the humour before coagulated.  As there is, evidently, too, a degree of wind mixed in the gout, may not that wind be impregnated with the noxious effluvia, especially as the latter are pent up in the body and may be corrupted?  I hope your present complaint in the foot will clear the rest of your person.  Many thanks for your etching of

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Mr. Browne Willis:  I shall value it not only as I am a collector, but because he was your friend.  What shall I say about Mr. Gough?  He is not a pleasant man, and I doubt will tease me about many things, some of which I have never cared about, and all which I interest myself little about now, when I seek to pass my remnant in the most indolent tranquillity.  He has not been very civil to me, he worships the fools I despise, and I conceive has no genuine taste; yet as to trifling resentments, when the objects have not acted with bad hearts, I can most readily lose them.  Please Mr. Gough, I certainly shall not; I cannot be very grave about such idle studies as his and my own, and am apt to be impatient, or laugh when people imagine I am serious about them.  But there is a stronger reason why I shall not satisfy Mr. Gough.  He is a man to minute down whatever one tells him that he may call information, and whip it into his next publication.  However, though I am naturally very frank, I can regulate myself by those I converse with; and as I shall be on my guard, I will not decline visiting Mr. Gough, as it would be illiberal or look surly if I refused.  You shall have the merit, if you please, of my assent; and shall tell him, I shall be glad to see him any morning at eleven o’clock.  This will save you the trouble of sending me his new work, as I conclude he will mention it to me.

I more willingly assure you that I shall like to see Mr. Steevens,(465) and to show him Strawberry.  You never sent me a person you commended, that I did not find deserved it.

You will be surprised when I tell you, that I have only dipped into Mr. Bryant’s book, and lent the Dean’s before I had cut the leaves, though I had peeped into it enough to see that I shall not read it.  Both he and Bryant are so diffuse on our antiquated literature, that I had rather believe in Rowley than go through their proofs.  Dr. Warton and Mr. Tyrwhitt have more patience, and intend to answer them—­and so the controversy will be two hundred years out of my reach.  Mr. Bryant, I did find, begged a vast many questions, which proved to me his own doubts.  Dr. Glynn’s foolish evidence made me laugh, and so did Mr. Bryant’s sensibility for me; he says that Chatterton treated me very cruelly in one of his writings.  I am sure I did not feel it so.  I suppose Bryant means under the title of Baron of Otranto, which is written with humour.  I must have been the sensitive plant if any thing in that character had hurt me!  Mr. Bryant too, and the Dean, as I see by extracts in the papers, have decorated Chatterton with sanctimonious honour—­think of that young rascal’s note, when, summing up his gains and losses by writing for and against Beckford, he says, “Am glad he is dead by three pounds 13 shillings 6pence.”  There was a lad of too nice honour to be capable of forgery! and a lad who, they do not deny, forged the poems in the style of Ossian, and fifty other things. 

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In the parts I did read, Mr. Bryant, as I expected, reasons admirably, and staggered me; but when I took up the poems called Rowley’s again, I protest I cannot see the smallest air of antiquity but the old words.  The whole texture is conceived on ideas of the present century.  The liberal manner of thinking of a monk so long before the Reformation is as stupendous; and where he met with Ovid’s Metamorphoses, eclogues, and plans of Greek tragedies, when even Caxton, a printer, took Virgil’s AEneid for so rare a novelty, are not less incomprehensible:  though on these things I speak at random, nor have searched for the era when the Greek and Latin classics came again to light-at present I imagine long after our Edward the Fourth.

Another thing struck me in my very cursory perusal of Bryant.  He asks where Chatterton could find so much knowledge of English events?  I could tell him where he might, by a very natural hypothesis, though merely an hypothesis.  It appears by the evidence, that Canninge left six chests of manuscripts, and that Chatterton got possession of some or several.  Now what was therein so probably as a diary drawn up by Canninge himself, or some churchwarden or wardens, or by a monk or monks?  Is any thing more natural than for such a person, amidst the events at Bristol, to set down other public facts as happened in the rest of the kingdom?  Was not such almost all the materials of our ancient story?  There is actually such an one, with some curious collateral facts, if I am not mistaken,—­for I write by memory,—­ in the History of Furnese or Fountains Abbey, I forget which:  if Chatterton found such an one, did he want the extensive literature on which so much stress is laid.  Hypothesis for hypothesis,—­I am sure this is as rational an one as the supposition that six chests were filled with poems never else heard of.

These are my indigested thoughts on this matter—­not that I ever intend to digest them—­for I will not, at sixty-four, sail back into the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and be drowned in an ocean of monkish writers of those ages or of this!  Yours most sincerely.

(464) Mr. Cole, in a letter of the 31st says, “About six weeks ago, the gout was harassing both my feet; on Christmas-day it shifted its quarters, and got into my left hand; and inexpressible have been the pain and torment I have endured, with sleepless nights, racking pain, and no rest nor relief by day.  I hope the worst is over, as I had a comfortable sleep for the whole night last night:  but my hopes are like those in a ship in a storm; when one billow is past, another and greater is at the heels of it:  for a water-drinker my lot is hard."-E.

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(465) George Steevens, Esq.  In 1770, this eminent scholar and learned commentator became associated with Dr. Johnson, in the edition of Shakspeare which goes by their joint names.  A fourth edition, with large additions, was published in 1793, in fifteen volumes octavo.  In the preparation of it for the press, Mr. Steevens gave an instance of editorial activity and perseverance, which is, probably, without a parallel.  For a period of eighteen months, he devoted himself solely and exclusively to the work; and, during that time, left his house every morning at one o’clock with the Hampstead patrols, and proceeded, without any consideration of weather or season, to the chambers of his friend, Isaac Reed, in Staple’s Inn, where he found a sheet of the Shakspeare letterpress was ready for his revision:  thus, while the printers were asleep, the editor was @ awake; and the fifteen large volumes were completed in the short space of twenty months.  The feat is recorded by Mr. Matthias, in the Pursuits of Literature: 

“Him late, from Hampstead journeying to his book,
Aurora oft for Cophalus mistook;
What time he brush’d her dews with hasty pace,
To meet the printer’s dev’let face to face.”

He died at Hampstead in 1800, and in his sixty-fourth year.-E.

Letter 238 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Jan. 27, 1782. (page 302)

For these three weeks I have had the gout in my left elbow and hand, and can yet but just bear to lay the latter on the paper while I write with the other.  However, this is no complaint, for it is the shortest fit I have had these sixteen years, and with trifling pain:  therefore, as the fits decrease, it does ample honour to my bootikins regimen, and method.  Next to my bootikins, I ascribe much credit to a diet-drink of dock-roots, of which Dr. Turton asked me for my receipt, as the best he had ever seen, and which I will send you if you please.  It came from an old physician at Richmond, who did amazing service with it in inveterate scurvies,—­the parents, or ancestors, at least, I believe, of all gouts.  Your fit I hope is quite gone.

Mr. Gough has been with me.  I never saw a more dry or more cold gentleman.  He told me his new plan is a series of English monuments.  I do like the idea, and offered to lend him drawings for it.

I have seen Mr. Steevens too, who is much more flowing.  I wish you had told me it was the editor of Shakspeare, for, on his mentioning Dr. Farmer, I launched out and said, he was by much the most rational of Shakspeare’s commentators, and had given the only sensible account of the authors our great poet had consulted.  I really meant those -who Wrote before Dr. Farmer.  Mr. Steevens seemed a little surprised, which made me discover the blunder I had made.  For which I was very sorry, though I had meant nothing by it; however, do not mention it.  I hope be has too

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much sense to take it ill, as he must have seen I had no intention of offending him; on the contrary, that my whole behaviour marked a desire of being civil to him as your friend, in which light only you had named him to me.  Pray take no notice of it, though I could not help mentioning it, as it lies on my conscience to have been even undesignedly and indirectly unpolite to any body you recommend.  I should not, I trust, have been so unintentionally to any body, nor with intention, unless provoked to it by great folly or dirtiness.  Adieu!

Letter 239 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, Feb. 14, 1782. (page 303)

I have received such treasures from you, dear Sir, through the channel of Mr. Nichols, that I neither know how to thank you, nor to find time to peruse them so fast as I am impatient to do.  You must complete your kindness by letting me detain them a few days, till I have gone through them, when I will return them most carefully by the same intervention; and particularly the curious piece of enamel; for though you are, as usual, generous enough to offer it to me, I have plundered you too often already; and indeed I have room left for nothing more, nor have that miserly appetite of continuing to hoard what I cannot enjoy, nor have much time left to possess.

I have already looked into your beautiful illuminated manuscript copied from Dr:  Stukeley’s letter, and with Anecdotes of the Antiquaries of Bennet College; and I have found therein so many charming instances of your candour, humility, and justice, that I grieve to deprive Mr. Gough for a minute even of the possession of so valuable a tract.  I will not Injure him or it, by begging you to cancel what relates to me, as it would rob you of part of your defence of Mr. Baker.  If I wish to have it detained from Mr. Gough till the period affixed in the first leaf, or rather to my death, which will probably precede yours, it is for this reason only:  Mr. Gough is apt, as we antiquaries are, to be impatient to tell the world all he knows, which is unluckily much more than the world is at all impatient of knowing.  For what you call your flaming zeal, I do not in the least object to it.  We have agreed to tolerate each other, and certainly are neither of us infallible.  I think, on what we differ most is, your calling my opinions fashionable; they were when we took them up:  I doubt it is yours that are most in fashion now, at least in this country.  The Emperor seems to be of our party; but, if I like his notions, I do not admire his judgment, which is too precipitate to be judgment.

I smiled at Mr. Gough’s idea of my declining his acquaintance as a member of that Obnoxious Society of Antiquaries.  It is their folly alone that is obnoxious to me, and can they help that?  I shall very cheerfully assist him.

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I am glad you are undeserved about the controversial piece in the Gentleman’s Magazine, which I should have assured You, as you now know, that it was not mine.  I declared, in my Defence,(466) that I would publish nothing more about that question.  I have not, nor intend it.  Neither was it I that wrote the prologue to the Count of Narbonne, but Mr. Jephson himself.  On the opposite page I will add the receipt for the diet-drink:  as to my regimen, I shall not specify it.  Not only you would not adopt it, but I should tremble to have you.  In fact, I never do prescribe it, as I am persuaded it would kill the strongest man in England, who was not exactly of the same temperament with me, and who had not embraced it early.  It consists in temperance to quantity as to eating—­I do not mind the quality; I am persuaded that great abstinence with the gout is dangerous; for, if one does not take nutriment enough, there cannot be strength sufficient to fling out the gout, and then it deviates to palsies.  But my great nostrum is the use of cold water, inwardly and outwardly, on all occasions, and total disregard of precaution against catching cold.  A hat you know I never wear, my breast I never button, nor wear great-coats, etc.  I have often had the gout in my face (as last week) and eyes, and instantly dip my head in a pail of cold water, which always cures it, and does not send it anywhere else.  All this I do, because I have so for these forty years, weak as I look; but Milo would not have lived a week if he had played such pranks.  My diet-drink is not all of so Quixote a disposition; any of the faculty will tell you how innocent it is, at least.  In a few days, for I am a rapid reader when I like my matter, I will return all your papers and letters; and in the mean time thank you most sincerely for the use of them.

(466) Hannah More, in a letter to Mrs. Boscawen, says, “Many thanks for Mr. Walpole’s sensible, temperate, and humane pamphlet.  I am not quite a convert yet to his side in the Chatertonian controversy, though this elegant writer and all the antiquaries and critics are against me:  I like much the candid regret he every where discovers at not having fostered this unfortunate lad, whose profligate manners, however, I too much fear, would not have done credit to any patronage.  Mrs. Garrick read it, and was more interested than I have ever seen her."-E.

Letter 240 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  February 15, 1782. (page 304)

I was so impatient to peruse all the literary stores you sent me, my dear Sir, that I stayed at home on purpose to give up a whole evening to them.  I have gone through all; your own manuscript, which I envy Mr. Gough, his specimen, and the four letters to you from the latter and Mr. Steevens.  I am glad they were both satisfied with my reception.  In truth, you know I am neither formal nor austere, nor have any grave aversion to our antiquities, though

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I do now and then divert myself with their solemnity about arrant trifles; yet perhaps we owe much to their thinking those trifles of importance, or the Lord knows how they would have patience to investigate them so indefatigably.  Mr. Steevens seemed pleasant, but I doubt I shall never be demure enough to conciliate Mr. Gough.  Then I have a wicked quality in an antiquary, nay, one that annihilates the essence:  that is, I cannot bring myself to a habit of minute accuracy about very indifferent points.  I do not doubt but there is a swarm of diminutive inaccuracies in my Anecdotes—­well! if there is, I bequeath free leave of correction to the microscopic intellects of my continuators.  I took dates and facts from the sedulous and faithful Vertue,(467) and piqued myself on little but on giving an idea of the spirit of the times with regard to the arts at the different periods.

The specimen you present me of Mr. Gough’s detail of our monuments is very differently treated, proves vast industry, and shows most circumstantial fidelity.  It extends, too, much farther than I expected; for it seems to embrace the whole mass of our monuments, nay, of some that are vanished.  It is not what I thought, an intention of representing our modes of dress, from figures on monuments, but rather a history of our tombs.  It is fortunate, though he may not think so, that so many of the more ancient are destroyed, since for three or four centuries they were clumsy, rude, and ugly.  I know I am but a fragment of an antiquary, for I abhor all Saxon doings, and whatever did not exhibit some taste, grace, or elegance, and some ability in the artists.  Nay, if I may say so to you, I do not care a straw for archbishops, bishops, mitred abbots, and cross-legged knights.  When you have one of a sort, you have seen all.  However, to so superficial a student in antiquity as I am, Mr. Gough’s work is not unentertaining.  It has frequently anecdotes and circumstances of kings, queens, and historic personages, that interest me though I care not a straw about a series of bishops who had only Christian names, or were removed from one old church to a newer.  Still I shall assist Mr. Gough with whatever he wants in my possession.  I believe he is a very worthy man, and I should be a churl not to oblige any man who is so innocently employed.  I have felt the selfish, the proud avarice of those who hoard literary curiosities for themselves alone, as other misers do money.

I observed in your account of the Count-Bishop Hervey, that you call one of his dedicators Martin Sherlock, Esquire.(468) That Mr. Sherlock is an Irish clergyman; I am acquainted with him.  He is a very amiable good-natured man, and wants judgment, not parts.  He is a little damaged by aiming at Sterne’s capricious pertness which the original wore out; and which, having been admired and cried up to the skies by foreign writers of reviews, was, on the contrary, too severely treated by our own.  That injustice

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shocked Mr. Sherlock, who has a good heart and much simplicity, and sent him in dudgeon last year to Ireland, determined to write no more; yet I am persuaded he will, so strong Is his propensity to being an author; and if he does, correction may make him more attentive to what he says and writes.  He has no gall; on the contrary, too much benevolence in his indiscriminate praise; but he has made many ingenious criticisms.  He is a just, a due enthusiast to Shakspeare:  but, alas! he scarce likes Richardson less.

(467) George Vertue, the engraver, was born in London in 1684, and died in 1756.  Walpole has given a short sketch of his active life in his Anecdotes of Painting in England; a work, for the materials of which he was in a great measure, indebted to the collections of Vertue, which he bought of his widow.  “These collections,” he says, “amounted to nearly forty volumes, large and small:  in one of his pocket-books I found a note of his first intention of compiling such a work; it was in 1713, and he continued it assiduously to his death."-E.

(468) This eccentric and original writer had published a book at Rome in Italian, and two others at Paris, in French.  The first volume of his “Letters from an English Traveller,” translated by the Rev. John Duncombe, appeared in London in 1779, the author’s return from the Continent, and before it was known he was in holy orders.  The Letters were dedicated to the Hon. and Rev. Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry, and afterwards Earl of Bristol. (See ant`e, p. 236, letter 182.) This volume was republished, revised and corrected by the author, in 1780, and was soon followed by “New Letters of an English Traveller.”  In 1781, Mr. Sherlock had a strong inclination to revisit the Continent, and actually caused the following article to be inserted in a public journal:—­“It is now generally supposed, that, whoever may be honoured with the negotiation at Vienna, Mr. Sherlock, the celebrated English traveller and chaplain to the Earl of Bristol, will be appointed secretary to his embassy.  His great literary and political accomplishments, are in high estimation throughout the Continent; and he is, perhaps, the only Englishman who can boast of having familiarly conversed with the high potentates whose alliance at this important juncture it would be desirable to obtain.  His being in orders is an objection which will vanish, when it is recollected that the very same important office was, in 1708, intended for Dr. Swift:  a name which, however deservedly revered in Great Britain and Ireland, must, in every other kingdom of Europe, give precedence to those of Sherlock, Rousseau, and Sterne, the luminaries of the present century.”  In June of the same year he was presented, by the Bishop of Killala, with a living of 200 pounds a-year.  Upon which occasion he wrote to his publisher, “I think it may be of use to our sale to let the world know it in the newspaper; and I am persuaded that doubling the value of the living will make the books sell better.  The world (God bless it!) is very apt to value a man’s writing according to his rank and fortune.  I am sure they will think more highly of my Letters, if they believe I have 400 a-year, than if they think I have only two.  Pope, you know, says something like this—­

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‘A saint in crape, is twice a saint in lawn.’

Will you then be so good as to have this paragraph put into the Morning Herald, the Morning Chronicle, the Morning Post, and any other fourth paper you choose?  ’We hear that the Rev. Martin Sherlock, M.A., etc., is collated to the united vicarages of Castleconner and Rilglass, worth 400 a-year.’  Is there any news of me in London?  Am I abused or well-spoken of in print?  Are the writers as uneasy as they used to be about my vanity?  Keep all printed things, reviews, newspapers, etc., about me, till I have an opportunity of sending for them.  I think I shall have something for you by next week; but keep that a secret. wish, for your sake, I was a bishop; for then, I will answer for it, my works would sell well.”  An elegant edition of all Mr. Sherlock’s Letters was published by Mr. Nichols in 1802, in two volumes octavo.  It is now a very scarce book.  In 1788, he was collated to the rectory and vicarage of Streen, and soon afterwards to the archdeaconry of Killala.  He died in 1797.-E.

Letter 241 To The Rev. William Mason. (page 307)

I have been reading a new French translation of the elder Pliny,(469) of whom I never read but scraps before; because, in the poetical manner in which we learn Latin at Eton, we never become acquainted with the names of the commonest things, too undignified to be admitted into verse; and, therefore, I never had patience to search in a dictionary for the meaning of every substantive.  I find I shall not have a great deal less trouble with the translation, as I am not more familiar with their common drogues than with the Latin.  However, the beginning goes off very glibly, as I am not yet arrived below the planets:  but do you know that this study, of which I have never thought since I learnt astronomy at Cambridge, has furnished me with some very entertaining ideas!  I have long been weary of the common jargon of poetry.  You bards have exhausted all the nature we are acquainted with; you have treated us with the sun, moon, and stars, the earth and the ocean, mountains and valleys, etc. etc. under every possible aspect.  In short, I have longed for some American Poetry, in which I might find new appearances of nature, and consequently of art.  But my present excursion into the sky has afforded me more entertaining prospects, and newer phenomena.  If I was as good a poet, as you are, I would immediately compose an idyl, or an elegy, the scene of which should be laid in Saturn or Jupiter:  and then, instead of a niggardly soliloquy by the light of a single moon, I would describe a night illuminated by four or five moons at least, and they should be all in a perpendicular or horizontal line, according as Celia’s eyes (who probably in that country has at least two pair) are disposed in longitude or latitude.  You must allow that this system would diversify poetry amazingly.—­And

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then Saturn’s belt! which the translator says in his notes, Is not round the planet’s waist, like the shingles; but is a globe of crystal that encloses the whole orb, as You may have seen an enamelled watch in a case of glass.  If you do not perceive what infinitely pretty things may be said, either in poetry or romance. on a brittle heaven of crystal, and what furbelowed rainbows they must have in that country, you are neither the Ovid nor natural philosopher I take you for.  Pray send me an eclogue directly upon this plan—­and I give you leave to adopt my idea of Saturnian Celias having their every thing quadrupled—­which would form a much more entertaining rhapsody than Swift’s thought of magnifying or diminishing the species in his Gulliver.  How much more execution a fine woman would do with two pair of piercers! or four! and how much longer the honeymoon would last, if both the sexes have (as no doubt they have) four times the passions, and four times the means of gratifying them!—­I have opened new worlds to you—­You must be four times the poet you are, and then you will be above Milton, and equal to Shakspeare, the only two mortals I am acquainted with who ventured beyond the visible diurnal sphere, and preserved their intellects.  Dryden himself would have talked nonsense, and, I fear, indecency, on my plan; but you are too good a divine, I am sure, to treat my quadruple love but platonically.  In Saturn, notwithstanding their glass-case, they are supposed to be very cold; but platonic love of itself produces frigid conceits enough, and you need not augment the dose.—­But I will not dictate, The Subject is new; and you, who have so much imagination, will shoot far beyond me.  Fontenelle would have made something of the idea, even in prose; but Algarotti would dishearten any body from attempting to meddle with the system of the universe a second time in a genteel dialogue.(470) Good night!  I am going to bed.—­Mercy on me! if I should dream of Celia with four times the usual attractions!

(469) By Poinsinet de Sivry, in twelve Volumes quarto.-E.

(470) A translation of Count Algarotti’s “Newtonianismo per Le Dame,” by Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, under the title of “Sir Isaac Newton’S Philosophy explained for the Use of the Ladies; in six Dialogues of Light and Colours,” appeared in 1739.-E.

Letter 242 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  February 2, 1782. (page 308)

I doubt you are again in error, my good Sir, about the letter I in the Gentleman’s Magazine against the Rowleians, unless Mr. Malone sent it to you; for he is the author, and not Mr. Steevens, from whom I imagine you received it.(471) There is a report that some part of Chatterton’s forgery is to be produced by an accomplice; but this I do not answer for, nor know the circumstances.  I have scarce seen a person who is not persuaded that the forging of the poems was Chatterton’s own, though he might have found some old stuff to work upon, which

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very likely was the case; but now that the poems have been so much examined, nobody (that has an ear) can get over the modernity of the modulations, and the recent cast of the ideas and phraseology, corroborated by such palpable pillage of Pope and Dryden.  Still the boy remains a prodigy, by whatever means he procured or produced the edifice erected; and still It will be found inexplicable how he found time or materials for operating such miracles.

You are in another error about Sir Harry Englefield, who cannot be going to marry a daughter of Lord Cadogan, unless he has a natural one, of whom I never heard.  Lord Cadogan has no daughter by his first wife, and his oldest girl by My niece is not five years old.(472) The act of the Emperor to which I alluded, is the general destruction of convents in Flanders, and, I suppose, in his German dominions too.  The Pope suppressed the carnival, as mourning and proposes a journey to Vienna to implore mercy.(473) This is a little different from the time when the pontiffs trampled on the necks of emperors, and called it trampling super Aspidem et Draconent.  I hope you have received your cargo back undamaged.  I was much obliged to you, and am yours ever.

(471) It was afterwards published separately, under the title of “Cursory Observations on the Poems Attributed to Thomas Rowley, a priest of the fifteenth century."-E.

(472) Lord Cadogan married, in 1747, Frances, daughter of the first Lord Montfort; and secondly, in 1777, Mary, daughter of Charles Churchill, Esq. by Lady Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Walpole.-E.

(473) The Emperor Joseph, having been restrained during the lifetime of Maria Theresa from acting as he wished in ecclesiastical matters, upon her death, in November, 1780, issued two ordinances respecting religious orders:  by one forbidding the Roman Catholics to hold correspondence with their chief in foreign parts; and by the other forbidding any bull or ordinance of the Pope from being received in his dominions, until sanctioned by him.  In 1782, he directed the suppression of the religious houses; upon which he was visited at Vienna by the Pope, who was received with great respect, but was unable to procure any intermission in the Emperor’s ecclesiastical reforms.-E.

Letter 243 To The Hon. George Hardinge.  March 8, 1782. (page 309)

It is very pleasing to receive congratulation from a friend on a friend’s success:  that success, however, is not so agreeable as the universal esteem allowed to Mr. Conway’s character, which not only accompanies his triumph,(474) but I believe contributed to it.  To-day, I suppose, all but his character will be reversed; for there must have been a miraculous change if the Philistines do not bear as ample a testimony to their Dagon’s honour, as conviction does to that of a virtuous man.  In truth, I am far from desiring that the Opposition should prevail yet: 

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the nation is not sufficiently changed, nor awakened enough, and it is sure of having its feelings repeatedly attacked by more woes; the blow will have more effect a little time hence:  the clamour must be loud enough to drown the huzzas of five hoarse bodies, the Scotch, Tories, Clergy, Law, and Army, who would soon croak if new ministers cannot do what the old have made impossible; and therefore, till general distress involves all in complaint, and lays the cause undeniably at the right doors, victory will be but momentary, and the conquerors would soon be rendered more unpopular than the vanquished; for, depend upon it, the present ministers would not be as decent and as harmless an Opposition as the present.  Their criminality must be legally proved and stigmatised, or the pageant itself would soon be restored to essence.  Base money will pass till cried down.  I wish you may keep your promise of calling upon me better than you have done.  Remember, that though you have time enough before you, I have not; and, consequently, must be much more impatient for our meeting than you are, as I am, dear Sir, yours most sincerely.

(474) General Conway had, on the 27th of February, distinguished himself in the House of Commons by a motion, “That the farther prosecution of offensive war on the continent of America, for the purpose of reducing the revolted colonies to obedience by force, will be the means of weakening the efforts of this country against her European enemies; tend, under the present circumstances, to increase the mutual enmity so fatal to the interests both of Great Britain and America; and, by preventing a happy reconciliation with that country, to frustrate the earnest desire graciously expressed by his Majesty, to restore the blessings of public tranquility.”  This motion was carried by a majority of 234 to 213; upon which the General moved an humble address to his Majesty thereupon, which was carried without a division.-E.

Letter 244 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, March 9, 1782. (page 310)

Though I have scarce time, I must write a line to thank you for the print of Mr. Cowper, and to tell you how ashamed I am that You should have so much attention to me, on the slightest wish I express, when I fear my gratitude is not half so active, though it ought to exceed obligations.

Dr. Farmer has been with me; and though it was but a short visit, he pleased me so much by his easy simplicity and good sense, that I wish for more acquaintance with him.

I do not know whether the Emperor will atone to you for demolishing the cross, by attacking the crescent.  The papers say he has declared war with the Turks.  He seems to me to be a mountebank who professes curing all diseases.  As power is his Only panacea, the remedy methinks is worse than the disease.  Whether Christianity will be laid aside, I cannot say.  As nothing of the spirit is left, the forms, I think,

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signify very little.  Surely it is not an age of morality and principle; does it import whether profligacy is baptized or not?  I look to motives, not to professions.  I do not approve of convents:  but, if Caesar wants to make soldiers of monks, I detest his reformation, and think that men had better not procreate than commit murder; nay, I believe that monks get more children than soldiers do; but what avail abstracted speculations?  Human passions wear the dresses of the times, and carry on the same views, though in different habits.  Ambition and interest set up religions or pull them down, as fashion presents a handle; and the conscientious must be content when the mode favours their wishes, or sigh when it does not.

Letter 245 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  April 13, 1782. (page 310)

Your partiality to me, my good Sir, is much overseen, if you think me fit to correct your Latin.  Alas!  I have not skimmed ten pages of Latin these dozen years.  I have dealt in nothing but English, French, and a little Italian; and do not think. if my life depended on it, I could write four lines of pure Latin.  I have had occasion, once or twice to speak the language, and soon found that all my verbs were Italian with Roman terminations.  I would not on any account draw you into a scrape, by depending on my skill in what I have half forgotten.  But you are in the metropolis of Latium.  If you distrust your own knowledge, which I do not, especially from the specimen you have sent me, surely you must have good critics at your elbow to consult.

In truth, I do not love Roman inscriptions in lieu of our own language, though, if any where, proper in an university; neither can I approve writing what the Romans themselves would not understand.  What does it avail to give a Latin tail to a Guildhall?  Though the word used by moderns, would mayor convey to Cicero the idea of a mayor?  Architectus, I believe, is the right word; but I doubt whether veteris jam perantiquae is classic for a dilapidated building—­but do not depend on me; consult some better judges.

Though I am glad of the late revolution,(475) a word for which I have great reverence, I shall certainly not dispute with you thereon.  I abhor exultation.  If the change produces peace, I shall make a bonfire in my heart.  Personal interest I have none; you and I shall certainly never profit by the politics to which we are attached.  The Archaeologic Epistle I admire exceedingly, though I am sorry it attacks Mr. Bryant, whom I love and respect.  The Dean is so absurd an oaf, that he deserves to be ridiculed.  Is any thing more hyperbolic than his preference of Rowley to Homer, Shakspeare, and Milton.  Whether Rowley or Chatterton was the author, are the poems in any degree comparable to those authors? is not a ridiculous author an object of ridicule?  I do not even guess at your meaning in your conclusive

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paragraph on that subject.  Dictionary writer I suppose alludes to Johnson; but surely you do not equal the compiler of a dictionary to a genuine poet?  Is a brickmaker on a level with Mr. Essex?  Nor can I hold that exquisite wit and satire are Billingsgate; if they were, Milles and Johnson would be able to write an answer to the epistle.  I do as little guess whom you mean that got a pension by Toryism:  if Johnson too, he got a pension for having abused pensioners, and yet took one himself, which was contemptible enough.  Still less know I who preferred opposition to principles, which is not a very common case; whoever it was, as Pope says,

“The way he took was strangely round about.”

With Mr. Chamberlayne I was very little acquainted, nor ever saw him six times in my life.  It was with Lord Walpole’s branch he was intimate, and to whose eldest son Mr. Chamberlayne had been tutor.  This poor gentleman had a most excellent character universally, and has been more feelingly regretted than almost any man I ever knew.(476) This is all I am able to tell you.  I forgot to say, I am also in the, dark as to the person you guess for the author of the Epistle. it cannot be the same person to whom it is generally attributed; who certainly neither has a pension nor has deserted his principles, nor has reason to be jealous of those he laughed at; for their abilities are far below his.  I do not mean that it is his, but is attributed to him.  It was sent to me; nor did I ever see a line of it till I read it in print.  In one respect it is most credible to be his; for there are not two such inimitable poets in England.(477) I smiled on reading it, and said to myself, “Dr. Glynn is well off to have escaped!” His language Indeed about me has been Billingsgate; but peace be to his and the manes of Rowley, if they have ghosts who never existed.  The Epistle has not put an end to that controversy, which was grown so tiresome.  I rejoice at having kept my resolution of not writing a word more on that subject.  The Dean had swollen it to an enormous bladder; the Archaeologic poet pricked it with a pin; a sharp one indeed, and it burst.  Pray send me a better account of yourself if you can.

(475) The resignation of Lord North, and the formation of the Rockingham administration.-E.

(476) Edward Chamberlayne, Esq. recently appointed secretary of the treasury.  He was so overcome by a nervous terror of the responsibility of the office, that he committed suicide, by throwing himself out of a window on the 6th of April.  On the following day, Hannah More sent the subjoined account of this melancholy event to her sister:—­“Chamberlayne! the amiable, the accomplished, the virtuous, the religious Chamberlayne! in the full vigour of his age, high in reputation, happy in his prospects, threw him self out of the Treasury window, was taken up alive, and lived thirty-six hours in the most perfect possession of his mental activity, his religion, and his reasoning

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faculties.  With an astonishing composure he settled his affairs with both worlds.  He never seemed to feel any remorse, or to reproach his conscience with the guilt of suicide.  In vain had they entreated him to accept of this place.  In a fatal moment he consented:  after this, he never had a moment’s peace, and little or no sleep; this brought on a slow nervous fever, but not to confine him a moment.  I saw him two days before.  He looked pale and eager, and talked with great disgust of his place, on my congratulating him on such an acquisition.  We chatted away, however, and he grew pleasant; and we parted—­ never to meet again."-E.

(477) In a review of the edition of the Works of Mason which appeared in 1816, the quarterly Review, after expressing a wish that this and the Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers had been included in the collection, says, “The Archaeological Epistle was an hasty but animated effusion, drawn forth by the Rowleian Controversy, and dressed in the garb of old English verse, in order to obviate the argument drawn from the difficulty of writing in the language of the fifteenth century.  The task might indeed have been per; formed by many; but the sentiments accorded with the known declarations of Mason.”  Vol. xv. p. 385.-E.

Letter 246 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, May 24, 1782. (page 312)

You are always kind to me, dear Sir, in all respects, but I have been forced to recur to a rougher prescription than ass’s milk.  The pain and oppression on my breast obliged me to be blooded two days together, which removed my cold and fever; but, as I foresaw, left me the gout in their room.  I have had it in my left foot and hand for a week, but it is going.  This cold is very epidemic.  I have at least half a dozen nieces and great-nieces confined with it. but it is not dangerous or lasting.  I shall send you, within this day or two, the new edition of my Anecdotes of Painting; you will find very little new:  it is a cheap edition for the use of artists, and that at least they who really want the book, and not the curiosity, may have it, without being forced to give the outrageous price at which the Strawberry edition sells, merely because it is rare.

I could assure Mr. Gough, that the Letter on Chatterton cost me 6 very small pains.  I had nothing to do but recollect and relate the exact truth.  There has been published another piece on it, which I cannot tell whether meant to praise or to blame me, so wretchedly is it written; and I have received another anonymous one, dated Oxford, (which may be to disguise Cambridge) and which professes to treat me very severely, though stuffed with fulsome compliments.  It abuses me for speaking modestly of myself—­a fault I hope I shall never mend; avows agreeing with me on the supposition of the poems, which may be a lie, for it is not uncharitable to conclude that an anonymous writer is a liar; acquits me of being at

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all accessory to the poor lad’s catastrophe; and then, with most sensitive nerves, is shocked to death, and finds me guilty of it, for having, after it happened, dropped, that had he lived he might have fallen into more serious forgeries, though I declare that I never heard that he did.  To be sure, no Irishman ever blundered more than to accuse one of an ex post facto murder!  If this Hibernian casuist is smitten enough with his own miscarriage to preserve it in a magazine phial, I shall certainly not answer it, not even by this couplet which is suggested: 

So fulsome, yet so captious too, to tell you much it grieves me, That though your flattery makes me sick, your peevishness relieves me.

Adieu, my good Sir.  Pray inquire for your books, if you do not receive them:  they go by the Cambridge Fly.

Letter 247 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, June 1, 1782. (page 313)

I thank you much, dear Sir, for your kind intention about Elizabeth of York;. but it would be gluttony and rapacity to accept her:  I have her already in the picture of her marriage,(478) which was Lady Pomfret’s; besides Vertue’s print of her, with her husband, son, and daughter-in-law.  In truth I have not room for any more pictures any where; yet, without plundering you, or without impoverishing myself, I have supernumerary pictures with which I can furnish your vacancies; but I must get well first to look them out.  As yet I cannot walk alone; and my posture, as you see, makes me write ill.  It is impossible to recover in such weather—­never was such a sickly time.

I have not yet seen Bishop Newton’s life.  I will not give three guineas for what I would not give threepence, his Works; his Life,(479) I Conclude, will be borrowed by all the magazines, and there I shall see it.

I know nothing of Acciliator—­I have forgotten some of my good Latin, and luckily never knew any bad; having always detested monkish barbarism.  I have just finished Mr. Pennant’s new volume, parts of which amused me; though I knew every syllable, that was worth knowing before, for there is not a word of novelty; and it is tiresome his giving such long extracts out of Dugdale and other common books, and telling one long stories about all the most celebrated characters in the English history, besides panegyrics on all who showed him their houses:  but the prints are charming; though I cannot conceive why he gave one of the Countess of Cumberland, who never did any thing worth memory, but recording the very night on which she conceived.

“The Fair Circassian” was written by a Mr. Pratt, who has published several works under the name of Courtney Melmoth.(480) The play might have been written by Cumberland, it is bad enough.  I did read the latter’s coxcombical Anecdotes,(481) but saw nothing on myself, except mention of my Painters.  Pray what is the passage you mean on me or Vertue?  Do not write on purpose to answer this, it is not worth while.

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(478) This picture of the marriage of Elizabeth of York with Henry the Seventh was painted by Mabuse, and is described in Walpole’s Anecdotes of Painting.-E.

(479) Shortly after the death of Bishop Newton, his Works were published, with an autobiographical Memoir, in two volumes quarto.  The prelate, speaking, in this Memoir, of Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, having observed, that “candour was much hurt and offended at the malevolence that predominated in every part,” the Doctor, in a conversation with Dr. Adams, master of Pembroke College, Oxford, thus retaliated on his townsman:—­“Tom knew he should be dead before what he said of me would appear:  he durst not have printed it while he was alive.”  Dr. Adams:  “I believe his Dissertations on the Prophecies’ is his great work.”  Johnson:  “Why, Sir, it is Tom’s great work; but how far it is great, or how much of it is Tom’s, are other questions.  I fancy a considerable part of it was borrowed.”  Dr. Adams:  “He was a very successful man.”  Johnson:  “I don’t think so, Sir.  He did not get very high.  He was late in getting what he did get, and he did not get it by the best means.  I believe he was a gross flatterer."-Life, vol. viii. p. 286.-E.

(480) Mr. Pratt was the author of “Gleanings in England,” “Gleanings through Wales, Holland, and Westphalia,” and many other works which enjoyed a temporary popularity, but are now forgotten.  Of Mr. Pratt, the following amusing anecdote is related by Mr. Gifford, in the Maviad:—­“This gentleman lately put in practice a very notable scheme.  Having scribbled himself fairly out of notice, he found it expedient to retire to the Continent for a few months, to provoke the inquiries of Mr. Lane’s indefatigable readers.  Mark the ingratitude of the creatures!  No inquiries were made, and Mr. Pratt was forgotten before he had crossed the channel.  Ibi omnis efFusus labor—­but what!

The mouse that is content with one poor hole,
Can never be a mouse of any soul: 

baffled in this expedient, he had recourse to another, and, while we were dreaming of nothing less, came before us in the following paragraph:—­“A few days since, died at Basle in Switzerland, the ingenious Mr. Pratt:  his loss will be severely felt by the literary world, as he joined to the accomplishments of the gentleman the erudition of the scholar.”  This was inserted in the London papers for several days successively; the country papers too yelled out like syllables of dolour; at length, while our eyes were yet wet for the irreparable loss we had sustained, came a second paragraph as follows:  “As no event of late has caused a more general sorrow than the supposed death of the ingenious Mr. Pratt, we are happy to have it in our power to assure hiss numerous admirers, that he is as well as they can wish and (what they will be delighted to hear) busied is preparing his Travels for the press."-E.

(481) “Anecdotes of Eminent Painters, in Spain during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, with Cursory Remarks upon the present State of Arts in that Kingdom.”

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Letter 248 To John Nichols, Esq.  Berkeley Square, June 19, 1782. (page 315)

Sir, Just this moment, on opening your fifth volume of Miscellaneous Poems, I find the translation of Cato’s speech into Latin, attributed (by common fame) to Bishop Atterbury.  I can most positively assure you, that that translation was the work of Dr. Henry Bland, afterwards Head-master of Eton school, Provost of the college there, and Dean of Durham.  I have more than once heard my father Sir Robert Walpole say, that it was he himself who gave that translation to Mr. Addison, who was extremely surprised at the fidelity and beauty of it.  It may be worth while, Sir, on some future occasion, to mention this fact in some one of your valuable and curious publications.  I am, Sir, with great regard.

Letter 249 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Berkeley Square, June 21, 1782. (page 315)

It is no trouble, my good Sir, to write to you, for I am as well recovered as I generally do.  I am very sorry you do not, and especially in your hands, as your pleasure and comforts so much depend on them.  Age is by no means a burden while it does not subject one to depend on others; when it does, it reconciles one to quitting every thing; at least I believe you and I think so, who do not look on solitude as a calamity.  I shall go to Strawberry to-morrow, and will, as I might have thought of doing, consult Dugdale and Collins for the Duke of Ireland’s inferior titles.  Mr. Gough I shall be glad of seeing when I am settled there, which will not be this fortnight.  I think there are but eleven parts of Marianne, and that it breaks off in the nun’s story, which promised to be very interesting.  Marivaux never finished Marianne, nor the Paysan Parvenu (which was the case too with the younger Cr`ebillon with Les Egaremens.) I have seen two bad conclusions of Marianne by other hands.  Mr. Cumberland’s brusquerie is not worth notice, nor did I remember it.  Mr. Pennant’s impetuosity you must overlook too; though I love your delicacy about your friend’s memory.  Nobody that knows you will suspect you of wanting it; but, in the ocean of books that overflows every day, who will recollect a thousandth part of what is in most of them?  By the number of writers one should naturally suppose there were multitudes of readers; but if there are, which I doubt, the latter read only the productions of the day.  Indeed, if they did read former publications, they would have no occasion to read the modern, which, like Mr. Pennant’s, are borrowed wholesale from the more ancient:  it is sad to say, that the borrowers add little new but mistakes.  I have just been turning over Mr. Nichols’s eight volumes of Select Poems, which he has swelled unreasonably with large collops of old authors, most of whom little deserved revivifying.  I bought them for the biographical notes, in which

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I have found both inaccuracies and blunders.  For instance, one that made me laugh.  In Lord Lansdown’s Beauties he celebrates a lady, one Mrs. Vaughan * Mr. Nichols turns to the peerage of that time, and finds a Duke of Bolton married a Lady Ann Vaughan; he instantly sets her down for the lady in question, and introduces her to posterity as a beauty.  Unluckily, she was a monster, so ugly, that the Duke, then Marquis of Winchester, being forced by his father to marry her for her great fortune, was believed never to have consummated’ and parted from her as soon as his father died; but, if our predecessors are exposed to these misrepresentations, what shall we be, when not only all private history is detailed in the newspapers, but scarce ever with tolerable fidelity!  I have long said, that if a paragraph in a newspaper contains a word of truth, it is sure to be accompanied with two or three blunders; yet, who will believe that papers published in the face of the whole town should be nothing but magazines of lies, every one of which fifty persons could contradict and disprove?  Yet so it certainly is, and future history will probably be ten times falser than all preceding.  Adieu!  Yours most sincerely.

Letter 250 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.  Strawberry Hill, July 23, 1782. (page 316)

I have been more dilatory than usual, dear Sir, in replying to your last; but it called for no particular answer, nor have I now any thing worth telling you.  Mr. Gough and Mr. Nichols dined with me on Saturday last.  I lent the former three-and-twenty drawings of monuments