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.