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!