(872) Widow of Dr. John Hunter.
(873) A manner of designating the Countess of Ailesbury.
(874) Two old ladies of his society, whom he thus called.
(875) Sisters to the great Earl of Mansfield.
(876) Samuel Lysons, Esq. brother to the Rev. Daniel Lysons, of whom a notice has been given at p. 438, (letter 344, note 674(, and author of several works relating to the Roman Antiquities of Great Britain. He also published, in conjunction with his brother, the earlier volumes of the “Magna Britannica.” In 1804, be succeeded Mr. Astle as keeper of the records in the Tower of London; which office he held till his death in 1819. Mr. Mathias, in November 1797, described him as “one of the most judicious, best-informed, and most learned amateur antiquaries in the kingdom in his department;” and his work on the remains of the Roman villa and pavements near Gloucester, as “such a specimen of ingenuity, unwearied zeal, and critical accuracy in delineating and illustrating the fragments of antiquity, as rarely had been equalled, certainly never surpassed.” See Pursuits of Literature.-E.
(877) The following is Mr. Gifford’s opinion of the qualifications of the lady for such a work—“Though no one better knows his own house’ than I the vanity of this woman; yet the idea of her undertaking it had never entered my head; and I was thunderstruck when I first saw it announced. To execute it with any tolerable degree of success, required a rare combination of talents, among the least of which may be numbered neatness of style, acuteness of perception, and a more than common accuracy of discrimination; and Mrs. Piozzi brought to the task, a jargon long since become proverbial for its vulgarity, an utter incapacity of defining a single term in the language, and just as much Latin from a child’s syntax as sufficed to expose the ignorance she so anxiously labours to conceal.” See Baviad and Maviad.-E.
I begin my last letter to Bransby, that I may have it ready to send away the moment I shall have any thing worth telling; which I certainly have not yet. What is become of Lord Howe and Co. you may guess if you please, as every body is doing—
“I’m weary of conjectures—”
but shall not end them like Cato, because I take the fate of a whole fleet a little more likely to come to a solution than doubts in metaphysics; and if Lord Howe should at last bring home two or three French men-of-war, one would not be out of the way to receive them. In the mean time, let us chat as if the destiny of half Europe were not at this moment in agitation.