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Letters of Horace Walpole by Horace Walpole

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Bedford of an immense sum: Pope hints at that affair in this line,

Or when a duke to Jansen punts at White's.]

The Austrians in Flanders have separated from our troops a little out of
humour, because it was impracticable for them to march without any
preparatory provision for their reception. They will probably march in
two months, if no peace prevents it. Adieu!



ARLINGTON STREET, _Feb._ 24, 1743.

I write to you in the greatest hurry in the world, but write I will.
Besides, I must wish you joy: you are warriors; nay, conquerors[1]; two
things quite novel in this war, for hitherto it has been armies without
fighting, and deaths without killing. We talk of this battle as of a
comet; "Have you heard of _the_ battle?" it is so strange a thing, that
numbers imagine you may go and see it at Charing Cross. Indeed, our
officers, who are going to Flanders, don't quite like it; they are
afraid it should grow the fashion to fight, and that a pair of colours
should no longer be a sinecure. I am quite unhappy about poor Mr. Chute:
besides, it is cruel to find that abstinence is not a drug. If
mortification ever ceases to be a medicine, or virtue to be a passport
to carnivals in the other world, who will be a self-tormentor any
longer--not, my child, that I am one; but, tell me, is he quite

[Footnote 1: This alludes to an engagement, which took place on the 8th
of February, near Bologna, between the Spaniards under M. de Gages, and
the Austrians under General Traun, in which the latter were successful.]

I thank you for King Theodore's declaration,[1] and wish him success
with all my soul. I hate the Genoese; they make a commonwealth the most
devilish of all tyrannies!

[Footnote 1: With regard to Corsica, of which he had declared himself
king. By this declaration, which was dated January 30, Theodore
recalled, under pain of confiscation of their estates, all the Corsicans
in foreign service, except that of the Queen of Hungary, and the Grand
Duke of Tuscany. (See vol. ii. p. 74.)]

We have every now and then motions for disbanding Hessians and
Hanoverians,[1] alias mercenaries; but they come to nothing. To-day the
party have declared that they have done for this session; so you will
hear little more but of fine equipages for Flanders: our troops are
actually marched, and the officers begin to follow them--I hope they
know whither! You know in the last war in Spain, Lord Peterborough[2]
rode galloping about to inquire for his army.

[Footnote 1: The employment of Hessian and Hanoverian troops in this war
was not only the subject of frequent complaints in Parliament, but was
also the cause of very general dissatisfaction in the country, where it
was commonly regarded as one of the numerous instances in which the
Ministers sacrificed the interests of England from an unworthy desire to
maintain their places by humouring the king's preference for his native

[Footnote 2: Lord Peterborough is celebrated by Pope as

taming the genius of the arid plain
Almost as quickly as he conquered Spain:

not that he did conquer Spain; but by an extraordinary combination of
hardihood and skill he took Barcelona, which had defied all previous
attacks; and, in the confidence inspired by this important success, he
offered Archduke Charles to escort him to Madrid, so that he might be
crowned King of Spain in that capital. But the Archduke, under the
advice of some of his own countrymen, who were jealous of his influence,
rejected the plan.]

But to come to more _real_ contests; Handel has set up an Oratorio
against the Operas, and succeeds. He has hired all the goddesses from
farces and the singers of _Roast Beef_[1] from between the acts at both
theatres, with a man with one note in his voice, and a girl without ever
an one; and so they sing, and make brave hallelujahs; and the good
company encore the recitative, if it happens to have any cadence like
what they call a tune. I was much diverted the other night at the opera;
two gentlewomen sat before my sister, and not knowing her, discoursed at
their ease. Says one, "Lord! how fine Mr. W. is!" "Yes," replied the
other, with a tone of saying sentences, "some men love to be
particularly so, your _petit-maitres_--but they are not always the
brightest of their sex."--Do thank me for this period! I am sure you
will enjoy it as much as we did.

[Footnote 1: It was customary at this time for the galleries to call for
a ballad called "The Roast Beef of Old England" between the acts, or
before or after the play.--WALPOLE.]

I shall be very glad of my things, and approve entirely of your
precautions; Sir R. will be quite happy, for there is no telling you how
impatient he is for his Dominchin. Adieu!



HOUGHTON, _July_ 4, 1743.

I hear no particular news here, and I don't pretend to send you the
common news; for as I must have it first from London, you will have it
from thence sooner in the papers than in my letters. There have been
great rejoicings for the victory; which I am convinced is very
considerable by the pains the Jacobites take to persuade it is not. My
Lord Carteret's Hanoverian articles have much offended; his express has
been burlesqued a thousand ways. By all the letters that arrive, the
loss of the French turns out more considerable than by the first
accounts: they have dressed up the battle into a victory for
themselves--I hope they will always have such! By their not having
declared war with us, one should think they intended a peace. It is
allowed that our fine horse did us no honour: the victory was gained by
the foot. Two of their princes of the blood, the Prince de Dombes, and
the Count d'Eu his brother, were wounded, and several of their first
nobility. Our prisoners turn out but seventy-two officers, besides the
private men; and by the printed catalogue, I don't think many of great
family. Marshal Noailles' mortal wound is quite vanished, and Duc
d'Aremberg's shrunk to a very slight one. The King's glory remains in
its first bloom.

Lord Wilmington is dead.[1] I believe the civil battle for his post will
be tough. Now we shall see what service Lord Carteret's Hanoverians will
do him. You don't think the crisis unlucky for him, do you? If you
wanted a Treasury, should you choose to have been in Arlington Street,
or driving by the battle of Dettingen? You may imagine our Court wishes
for Mr. Pelham. I don't know any one who wishes for Lord Bath but
himself--I believe that is a pretty substantial wish.

[Footnote 1: Formerly Sir Spencer Compton, and successor of Sir R.
Walpole at the Treasury. He was succeeded by Mr. Pelham, a brother of
the Duke of Newcastle.]

I have got the Life of King Theodore, but I don't know how to convey
it--I will inquire for some way.

We are quite alone. You never saw anything so unlike as being here five
months out of place, to the congresses of a fortnight in place; but you
know the "Justum et tenacem propositi virum"[1] can amuse himself
without the "Civium ardor!" As I have not so much dignity of character
to fill up my time, I could like a little more company. With all this
leisure, you may imagine that I might as well be writing an ode or so
upon the victory; but as I cannot build upon the Laureate's[2] place
till I know whether Lord Carteret or Mr. Pelham will carry the
Treasury, I have bounded my compliments to a slender collection of
quotations against I should have any occasion for them. Here are some
fine lines from Lord Halifax's[3] poem on the battle of the Boyne--

The King leads on, the King does all inflame,
The King;--and carries millions in the name.

[Footnote 1: A quotation from Horace, Odes iii. 3.]

[Footnote 2: The Poet Laureate was Colley Cibber.]

[Footnote 3: The celebrated Chancellor of the Exchequer, Charles
Montagu, was raised to the peerage as Earl of Halifax. In conjunction
with Prior, he wrote the "Country and City Mouse," in ridicule of
Dryden's "Hind and Panther."]

Then follows a simile about a deluge, which you may imagine; but the
next lines are very good:

So on the foe the firm battalions prest,
And he, like the tenth wave, drove on the rest.
Fierce, gallant, young, he shot through ev'ry place,
Urging their flight, and hurrying on the chase,
He hung upon their rear, or lighten'd in their face.

The next are a magnificent compliment, and, as far as verse goes, to be
sure very applicable.

Stop, stop! brave Prince, allay that generous flame;
Enough is given to England and to Fame.
Remember, Sir, you in the centre stand;
Europe's divided interests you command,
All their designs uniting in your hand.
Down from your throne descends the golden chain
Which does the fabric of our world sustain,
That once dissolved by any fatal stroke,
The scheme of all our happiness is broke.

Adieu! my dear Sir; pray for peace!



HOUGHTON, _Sept._ 7, 1743.

My letters are now at their _ne plus ultra_ of nothingness; so you may
hope they will grow better again. I shall certainly go to town soon, for
my patience is worn out. Yesterday, the weather grew cold; I put on _a
new_ waistcoat for its being winter's birthday--the season I am forced
to love; for summer has no charms for me when I pass it in the country.

We are expecting another battle, and a congress at the same time.
Ministers seem to be flocking to Aix la Chapelle: and, what will much
surprise you, unless you have lived long enough not to be surprised, is,
that Lord Bolingbroke has hobbled the same way too--you will suppose, as
a minister for France; I tell you, no. My uncle [_old_ Horace], who is
here, was yesterday stumping along the gallery with a very political
march: my Lord asked him whither he was going. Oh, said I, to Aix la

You ask me about the marrying Princesses. I know not a tittle. Princess
Louisa seems to be going, her clothes are bought; but marrying our
daughters makes no conversation. For either of the other two, all
thoughts seem to be dropped of it. The Senate of Sweden design
themselves to choose a wife for their man of Lubeck.

The City, and our supreme governors, the mob, are very angry that there
is a troop of French players at Clifden. One of them was lately
impertinent to a countryman, who thrashed him. His Royal Highness sent
angrily to know the cause. The fellow replied, "he thought to have
pleased his Highness in beating one of them, who had tried to kill his
father and had wounded his brother." This was not easy to answer.

I delight in Prince Craon's exact intelligence! For his satisfaction, I
can tell him that numbers, even here, would believe any story full as
absurd as that of the King and my Lord Stair; or that very one, if
anybody will write it over. Our faith in politics will match any
Neapolitan's in religion. A political missionary will make more converts
in a county progress than a Jesuit in the whole empire of China, and
will produce more preposterous miracles. Sir Watkin Williams, at the
last Welsh races, convinced the whole principality (by reading a letter
that affirmed it), that the King was not within two miles of the battle
of Dettingen. We are not good at hitting off anti-miracles, the only way
of defending one's own religion. I have read an admirable story of the
Duke of Buckingham, who, when James II. sent a priest to him to persuade
him to turn Papist, and was plied by him with miracles, told the doctor,
that if miracles were proofs of a religion, the Protestant cause was as
well supplied as theirs. We have lately had a very extraordinary one
near my estate in the country. A very holy man, as you might be, Doctor,
was travelling on foot, and was benighted. He came to the cottage of a
poor dowager, who had nothing in the house for herself and daughter but
a couple of eggs and a slice of bacon. However, as she was a pious
widow, she made the good man welcome. In the morning, at taking leave,
the saint made her over to God for payment, and prayed that whatever she
should do as soon as he was gone she might continue to do all day. This
was a very unlimited request, and, unless the saint was a prophet too,
might not have been very pleasant retribution. The good woman, who
minded her affairs, and was not to be put out of her way, went about her
business. She had a piece of coarse cloth to make a couple of shifts for
herself and child. She no sooner began to measure it but the yard fell
a-measuring, and there was no stopping it. It was sunset before the good
woman had time to take breath. She was almost stifled, for she was up to
her ears in ten thousand yards of cloth. She could have afforded to have
sold Lady Mary Wortley a clean shift, of the usual coarseness she wears,
for a groat halfpenny.

I wish you would tell the Princess this story. Madame Riccardi, or the
little Countess d'Elbenino, will doat on it. I don't think it will be
out of Pandolfini's way, if you tell it to the little Albizzi. You see I
have not forgot the tone of my Florentine acquaintance. I know I should
have translated it to them: you remember what admirable work I used to
make of such stories in broken Italian. I have heard old Churchill tell
Bussy English puns out of jest-books: particularly a reply about eating
hare, which he translated, "j'ai mon ventre plein de poil." Adieu!



ARLINGTON STREET, _March_ 29, 1745.

I begged your brother to tell you what it was impossible for me to tell
you. You share nearly in our common loss! Don't expect me to enter at
all upon the subject. After the melancholy two months that I have
passed, and in my situation, you will not wonder I shun a conversation
which could not be bounded by a letter--a letter that would grow into a
panegyric, or a piece of moral; improper for me to write upon, and too
distressful for us both!--a death is only to be felt, never to be talked
over by those it touches!

I had yesterday your letter of three sheets: I began to flatter myself
that the storm was blown over, but I tremble to think of the danger you
are in! a danger, in which even the protection of the great friend you
have lost could have been of no service to you. How ridiculous it seems
for me to renew protestations of my friendship for you, at an instant
when my father is just dead, and the Spaniards just bursting into
Tuscany! How empty a charm would my name have, when all my interest and
significance are buried in my father's grave! All hopes of present
peace, the only thing that could save you, seem vanished. We expect
every day to hear of the French declaration of war against Holland. The
new Elector of Bavaria is French, like his father; and the King of Spain
is not dead. I don't know how to talk to you. I have not even a belief
that the Spaniards will spare Tuscany. My dear child, what will become
of you? whither will you retire till a peace restores you to your
ministry? for upon that distant view alone I repose!

We are every day nearer confusion. The King is in as bad humour as a
monarch can be; he wants to go abroad, and is detained by the
Mediterranean affair; the inquiry into which was moved by a Major
Selwyn, a dirty pensioner, half-turned patriot, by the Court being
overstocked with votes. This inquiry takes up the whole time of the
House of Commons, but I don't see what conclusion it can have. My
confinement has kept me from being there, except the first day; and all
I know of what is yet come out is, as it was stated by a Scotch member
the other day, "that there had been one (Matthews)[1] with a bad head,
another (Lestock) with a worse heart, and four (the captains of the
inactive ships) with na heart at all." Among the numerous visits of form
that I have received, one was from my Lord Sandys: as we two could only
converse upon general topics, we fell upon this of the Mediterranean,
and I made _him_ allow, "that, to be sure, there is not so bad a court
of justice in the world as the House of Commons; and how hard it is upon
any man to have his cause tried there!"...

[Footnote 1: Admiral Matthews, an officer of great courage and skill,
was Commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean fleet. Lestock, his second
in command, was also a skilful officer; but the two were on bad terms,
and when, in February, 1744, Matthews attacked the Spanish fleet,
Lestock disobeyed his signals, and by his misconduct deprived Matthews
of a splendid victory, which was clearly within his grasp.
Court-martials were held on the conduct of both officers; but the
Admiralty was determined to crush Matthews, as being a member of the
House of Commons and belonging to the party of Opposition, and the
consequence was that, though Lestock's misconduct was clearly proved, he
was acquitted, and Matthews was sentenced to be cashiered, and declared
incapable of any further employment in his Majesty's service. The whole
is perhaps the most disgraceful transaction in the history of the navy
or of the country. (See the Editor's "History of the British Navy," i.

The town flocks to a new play of Thomson's called "Tancred and
Sigismunda:" it is very dull; I have read it. I cannot bear modern
poetry; these refiners of the purity of the stage, and of the
incorrectness of English verse, are most wofully insipid. I had rather
have written the most absurd lines in Lee, than "Leonidas" or "The
Seasons;" as I had rather be put into the round-house for a wrong-headed
quarrel, than sup quietly at eight o'clock with my grandmother. There is
another of these tame genius's, a Mr. Akenside, who writes Odes: in one
he has lately published, he says, "Light the tapers, urge the fire."[1]
Had not you rather make gods "jostle in the dark," than light the
candles for fear they should break their heads? One Russel, a mimic, has
a puppet-show to ridicule Operas; I hear, very dull, not to mention its
being twenty years too late: it consists of three acts, with foolish
Italian songs burlesqued in Italian.

[Footnote 1: Walpole's quotation, however, is incorrect; the poet wrote:

Urge the warm bowl, and ruddy fire.]

There is a very good quarrel on foot between two duchesses: she of
Queensberry sent to invite Lady Emily Lenox to a ball: her Grace of
Richmond, who is wonderfully cautious since Lady Caroline's elopement
[with Mr. Fox], sent word, "she could not determine." The other sent
again the same night: the same answer. The Queensberry then sent word,
that she had made up her company, and desired to be excused from having
Lady Emily's: but at the bottom of the card wrote, "too great a trust."
You know how mad she is, and how capable of such a stroke. There is no
declaration of war come out from the other Duchess; but, I believe it
will be made a national quarrel of the whole illegitimate royal family.

It is the present fashion to make conundrums: there are books of them
printed, and produced at all assemblies: they are full silly enough to
be made a fashion. I will tell you the most renowned: "Why is my uncle
Horace like two people conversing?--Because he is both teller and
auditor." This was Winnington's....

I will take the first opportunity to send Dr. Cocchi his translated
book; I have not yet seen it myself.

Adieu! my dearest child! I write with a house full of relations, and
must conclude. Heaven preserve you and Tuscany.



ARLINGTON STREET, _May_ 11, 1745.

I stayed till to-day, to be able to give you some account of the battle
of Tournay: the outlines you will have heard already. We don't allow it
to be a victory on the French side: but that is, just as a woman is not
called _Mrs._ till she is married, though she may have had half-a-dozen
natural children. In short, we remained upon the field of battle three
hours; I fear, too many of us remain there still! without palliating, it
is certainly a heavy stroke. We never lost near so many officers. I pity
the Duke [of Cumberland], for it is almost the first battle of
consequence that we ever lost. By the letters arrived to-day, we find
that Tournay still holds out. There are certainly killed Sir James
Campbell, General Ponsonby, Colonel Carpenter, Colonel Douglas, young
Ross, Colonel Montagu, Gee, Berkeley, and Kellet. Mr. Vanburgh is since
dead. Most of the young men of quality in the Guards are wounded. I have
had the vast fortune to have nobody hurt, for whom I was in the least
interested. Mr. Conway, in particular, has highly distinguished himself;
he and Lord Petersham, who is slightly wounded, are most commended;
though none behaved ill but the Dutch horse. There has been but very
little consternation here: the King minded it so little, that being set
out for Hanover, and blown back into Harwich roads since the news came,
he could not be persuaded to return, but sailed yesterday with the fair
wind. I believe you will have the _Gazette_ sent to-night; but lest it
should not be printed time enough, here is a list of the numbers, as it
came over this morning:

British foot 1237 killed.
Ditto horse 90 ditto.
Ditto foot 1968 wounded.
Ditto horse 232 ditto.
Ditto foot 457 missing.
Ditto horse 18 ditto.
Hanoverian foot 432 killed.
Ditto horse 78 ditto.
Ditto foot 950 wounded.
Ditto horse 192 ditto.
Ditto horse and foot 53 missing.
Dutch 625 killed and wounded.
Ditto 1019 missing.

So the whole _hors de combat_ is above seven thousand three hundred. The
French own the loss of three thousand; I don't believe many more, for it
was a most rash and desperate perseverance on our side. The Duke behaved
very bravely and humanely; but this will not have advanced the peace.

However coolly the Duke may have behaved, and coldly his father, at
least his brother [the Prince of Wales] has outdone both. He not only
went to the play the night the news came, but in two days made a ballad.
It is in imitation of the Regent's style, and has miscarried in nothing
but the language, the thoughts, and the poetry. Did not I tell you in my
last that he was going to act Paris in Congreve's "Masque"? The song is
addressed to the goddesses.


Venez, mes cheres Deesses,
Venez calmer mon chagrin;
Aidez, mes belles Princesses,
A le noyer dans le vin.
Poussons cette douce Ivresse
Jusqu'au milieu de la nuit,
Et n'ecoutons que la tendresse
D'un charmant vis-a-vis.


Quand le chagrin me devore,
Vite a table je me mets,
Loin des objets que j'abhorre,
Avec joie j'y trouve la paix.
Peu d'amis, restes d'un naufrage
Je rassemble autour de moi,
Et je me ris de l'etalage
Qu'a chez lui toujours un Roi.


Que m'importe, que l'Europe
Ait un, ou plusieurs tyrans?
Prions seulement Calliope,
Qu'elle inspire nos vers, nos chants
Laissons Mars et toute la gloire;
Livrons nous tous a l'amour;
Que Bacchus nous donne a boire;
A ces deux faisons la cour.


Passons ainsi notre vie,
Sans rever a ce qui suit;
Avec ma chere Sylvie
Le tems trop vite me fuit.
Mais si, par un malheur extreme,
Je perdois cet objet charmant,
Oui, cette compagnie meme
Ne me tiendroit un moment.


Me livrant a ma tristesse,
Toujours plein de mon chagrin,
Je n'aurois plus d'allegresse
Pour mettre Bathurst en train:
Ainsi pour vous tenir en joie
Invoquez toujours les Dieux,
Qu'elle vive et qu'elle soit
Avec nous toujours heureuse!

Adieu! I am in great hurry.



[_August_ 1, 1745.]

Dear George,--I cannot help thinking you laugh at me when you say such
very civil things of my letters, and yet, coming from you, I would fain
not have it all flattery:

So much the more, as, from a little elf,
I've had a high opinion of myself,
Though sickly, slender, and not large of limb.

With this modest prepossession, you may be sure I like to have you
commend me, whom, after I have done with myself, I admire of all men
living. I only beg that you will commend me no more: it is very
ruinous; and praise, like other debts, ceases to be due on being paid.
One comfort indeed is, that it is as seldom paid as other debts.

I have been very fortunate lately: I have met with an extreme good print
of M. de Grignan;[1] I am persuaded, very like; and then it has his
_touffe ebourifee_; I don't, indeed, know what that was, but I am sure
it is in the print. None of the critics could ever make out what Livy's
Patavinity is; though they are all confident it is in his writings. I
have heard within these few days what, for your sake, I wish I could
have told you sooner--that there is in Belleisle's suite the Abbe
Perrin, who published Madame Sevigne's letters, and who has the
originals in his hands. How one should have liked to have known him! The
Marshal[2] was privately in London last Friday. He is entertained to-day
at Hampton Court by the Duke of Grafton. Don't you believe it was to
settle the binding the scarlet thread in the window, when the French
shall come in unto the land to possess it? I don't at all wonder at any
shrewd observations the Marshal has made on our situation. The bringing
him here at all--the sending him away now--in short, the whole series of
our conduct convinces me, that we shall soon see as silent a change as
that in "The Rehearsal," of King Usher and King Physician. It may well
be so, when the disposition of the drama is in the hands of the Duke of
Newcastle--those hands that are always groping and sprawling, and
fluttering, and hurrying on the rest of his precipitate person. But
there is no describing him but as M. Courcelle, a French prisoner, did
t'other day: "Je ne scais pas," dit il, "je ne scaurois m'exprimer, mais
il a un certain tatillonage." If one could conceive a dead body hung in
chains, always wanting to be hung somewhere else, one should have a
comparative idea of him.

[Footnote 1: M. de Grignan son-in-law to Mme. de Sevigne, the greater
part of whose letters are to his wife.]

[Footnote 2: The Marechal de Belleisle and his younger brother, the
Comte de Belleisle, were the grandsons of Fouquet, the Finance Minister
treated with such cruelty and injustice by Louis XIV. The Parisians
nicknamed the two brothers "Imagination" and "Common Sense." The Marshal
was joined with the Marshal de Broglie in the disastrous expedition
against Prague in the winter of 1742; when, though they succeeded in
taking and occupying the city for a time, they were afterwards forced to
evacuate it; and though Belleisle conducted the retreat with great
courage and skill, the army, which had numbered fifty thousand men when
it crossed the Rhine, scarcely exceeded twelve thousand when it regained
the French territory. (See the Editor's "History of France under the
Bourbons," c. xxv.)]

For my own part, I comfort myself with the humane reflection of the
Irishman in the ship that was on fire--I am but a passenger! If I were
not so indolent, I think I should rather put in practice the late
Duchess of Bolton's geographical resolution of going to China, when
Whiston told her the world would be burnt in three years. Have you any
philosophy? Tell me what you think. It is quite the fashion to talk of
the French coming here. Nobody sees it in any other light but as a thing
to be talked of, not to be precautioned against. Don't you remember a
report of the plague being in the City, and everybody went to the house
where it was to see it? You see I laugh about it, for I would not for
the world be so unenglished as to do otherwise. I am persuaded that
when Count Saxe,[1] with ten thousand men, is within a day's march of
London, people will be hiring windows at Charing-cross and Cheapside to
see them pass by. 'Tis our characteristic to take dangers for sights,
and evils for curiosities.

[Footnote 1: The great Marechal Saxe, Commander-in-chief of the French
army in Flanders during the war of the Austrian succession.]

Adieu! dear George: I am laying in scraps of Cato against it may be
necessary to take leave of one's correspondents _a la Romaine_, and
before the play itself is suppressed by a _lettre de cachet_ to the

P.S.--Lord! 'tis the first of August,[1] 1745, a holiday that is going
to be turned out of the almanack!

[Footnote 1: August 1 was the anniversary of the accession of George I.]



ARLINGTON STREET, _Sept._ 6, 1745.

It would have been inexcusable in me, in our present circumstances, and
after all I have promised you, not to have written to you for this last
month, if I had been in London; but I have been at Mount Edgecumbe, and
so constantly upon the road, that I neither received your letters, had
time to write, or knew what to write. I came back last night, and found
three packets from you, which I have no time to answer, and but just
time to read. The confusion I have found, and the danger we are in,
prevent my talking of anything else. The young Pretender, at the head of
three thousand men, has got a march on General Cope, who is not eighteen
hundred strong; and when the last accounts came away, was fifty miles
nearer Edinburgh than Cope, and by this time is there. The clans will
not rise for the Government: the Dukes of Argyll and Athol are come post
to town, not having been able to raise a man. The young Duke of Gordon
sent for his uncle, and told him he must arm their clan. "They are in
arms."--"They must march against the rebels."--"They will wait on the
Prince of Wales." The Duke flew in a passion; his uncle pulled out a
pistol, and told him it was in vain to dispute. Lord Loudon, Lord
Fortrose, and Lord Panmure have been very zealous, and have raised some
men; but I look upon Scotland as gone! I think of what King William said
to Duke Hamilton, when he was extolling Scotland: "My Lord, I only wish
it was a hundred thousand miles off, and that you was king of it!"

There are two manifestoes published, signed Charles Prince, Regent for
his father, King of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland. By one, he
promises to preserve everybody in their just rights; and orders all
persons who have public monies in their hands to bring it to him; and by
the other dissolves the union between England and Scotland. But all this
is not the worst! Notice came yesterday, that there are ten thousand
men, thirty transports, and ten men-of-war at Dunkirk. Against this
force we have--I don't know what--scarce fears! Three thousand Dutch we
hope are by this time landed in Scotland; three more are coming hither.
We have sent for ten regiments from Flanders, which may be here in a
week, and we have fifteen men-of-war in the Downs. I am grieved to tell
you all this; but when it is so, how can I avoid telling you? Your
brother is just come in, who says he has written to you--I have not time
to expiate.

My Lady O[rford] is arrived; I hear she says, only to endeavour to get a
certain allowance. Her mother has sent to offer her the use of her
house. She is a poor weak woman. I can say nothing to Marquis Ricardi,
nor think of him; only tell him that I will when I have time.

My sister [Lady Maria Walpole] has married herself, that is, declared
she will, to young Churchill. It is a foolish match; but I have nothing
to do with it. Adieu! my dear Sir; excuse my haste, but you must imagine
that one is not much at leisure to write long letters--hope if you can!



ARLINGTON STREET, _Sept._ 20, 1745.

One really don't know what to write to you: the accounts from Scotland
vary perpetually, and at best are never very certain. I was just going
to tell you that the rebels are in England; but my uncle [_old_ Horace]
is this moment come in, and says, that an express came last night with
an account of their being at Edinburgh to the number of five thousand.
This sounds great, to have walked through a kingdom, and taken
possession of the capital! But this capital is an open town; and the
castle impregnable, and in our possession. There never was so
extraordinary a sort of rebellion! One can't tell what assurances of
support they may have from the Jacobites in England, or from the French;
but nothing of either sort has yet appeared--and if there does not,
never was so desperate an enterprise. One can hardly believe that the
English are more disaffected than the Scotch; and among the latter, no
persons of property have joined them: both nations seem to profess a
neutrality. Their money is all gone, and they subsist merely by levying
contributions. But, sure, banditti can never conquer a kingdom! On the
other hand, what cannot any number of men do, who meet no opposition?
They have hitherto taken no place but open towns, nor have they any
artillery for a siege but one-pounders. Three battalions of Dutch are
landed at Gravesend, and are ordered to Lancashire: we expect every
moment to hear that the rest are got to Scotland; none of our own are
come yet. Lord Granville and his faction persist in persuading the King,
that it is an affair of no consequence; and for the Duke of Newcastle,
he is glad when the rebels make any progress, in order to confute Lord
Granville's assertions. The best of our situation is, our strength at
sea: the Channel is well guarded, and twelve men-of-war more are arrived
from Rowley. Vernon, that simple noisy creature, has hit upon a scheme
that is of great service; he has laid Folkstone cutters all round the
coast, which are continually relieved, and bring constant notice of
everything that stirs. I just now hear that the Duke of Bedford declares
that he will be amused no longer, but will ask the King's leave to raise
a regiment. The Duke of Montagu has a troop of horse ready, and the Duke
of Devonshire is raising men in Derbyshire. The Yorkshiremen, headed by
the Archbishop [Herring] and Lord Malton, meet the gentlemen of the
county the day after to-morrow, to defend that part of England. Unless
we have more ill fortune than is conceivable, or the general supineness
continues, it is impossible but we must get over this. You desire me to
send you news: I confine myself to tell you nothing but what you may
depend upon; and leave you in a fright rather than deceive you. I
confess my own apprehensions are not near so strong as they were; and if
we get over this, I shall believe that we never can be hurt; for we
never can be more exposed to danger. Whatever disaffection there is to
the present family, it plainly does not proceed from love to the other.

My Lady O[rford] makes little progress in popularity. Neither the
protection of my Lady Pomfret's prudery, nor of my Lady Townshend's
libertinism, do her any service. The women stare at her, think her
ugly, awkward, and disagreeable; and what is worse, the men think so
too. For the height of mortification, the King has declared publicly to
the Ministry, that he has been told of the great civilities which he was
said to show to her at Hanover; that he protests he showed her only the
common civilities due to any English lady that comes thither; that he
never intended to take any particular notice of her; nor had, nor would
let my Lady Yarmouth. In fact, my Lady Yarmouth peremptorily refused to
carry her to court here; and when she did go with my Lady Pomfret, the
King but just spoke to her. She declares her intention of staying in
England, and protests against all lawsuits and violences; and says she
only asks articles of separation, and to have her allowance settled by
any two arbitrators chosen by my brother and herself. I have met her
twice at my Lady Townshend's, just as I used at Florence. She dresses
English and plays at whist. I forgot to tell a _bon-mot_ of Leheup on
her first coming over; he was asked if he would not go and see her? He
replied, "No, I never visit modest women." Adieu! my dear child! I
flatter myself you will collect hopes from this letter.



ARLINGTON STREET, _Sept._ 27, 1745.

I can't doubt but the joy of the Jacobites has reached Florence before
this letter. Your two or three Irish priests, I forget their names,
will have set out to take possession of abbey lands here. I feel for
what you will feel, and for the insulting things that will be said to
you upon the battle we lost in Scotland; but all this is nothing to what
it prefaces. The express came hither on Tuesday morning, but the Papists
knew it on Sunday night. Cope lay in face of the rebels all Friday; he
scarce two thousand strong, they vastly superior, though we don't know
their numbers. The military people say that he should have attacked
them. However, we are sadly convinced that they are not such raw
ragamuffins as they were represented. The rotation that has been
established in that country, to give all the Highlanders the benefit of
serving in the independent companies, has trained and disciplined them.
Macdonald (I suppose, he from Naples), who is reckoned a very
experienced able officer, is said to have commanded them, and to be
dangerously wounded. One does not hear the Boy's personal valour cried
up; by which I conclude he was not in the action. Our dragoons most
shamefully fled without striking a blow, and are with Cope, who escaped
in a boat to Berwick. I pity poor him, who with no shining abilities,
and no experience, and no force, was sent to fight for a crown! He never
saw a battle but that of Dettingen, where he got his red ribbon:
Churchill, whose led-captain he was, and my Lord Harrington, had pushed
him up to his misfortune. We have lost all our artillery, five hundred
men taken--and _three_ killed, and several officers, as you will see in
the papers. This defeat has frightened everybody but those it rejoices,
and those it should frighten most; but my Lord Granville still buoys up
the King's spirits, and persuades him it is nothing. He uses his
Ministers as ill as possible, and discourages everybody that would risk
their lives and fortunes with him. Marshal Wade is marching against the
rebels; but the King will not let him take above eight thousand men; so
that if they come into England, another battle, with no advantage on our
side, may determine our fate. Indeed, they don't seem so unwise as to
risk their cause upon so precarious an event; but rather to design to
establish themselves in Scotland, till they can be supported from
France, and be set up with taking Edinburgh Castle, where there is to
the value of a million, and which they would make a stronghold. It is
scarcely victualled for a month, and must surely fall into their hands.
Our coasts are greatly guarded, and London kept in awe by the arrival of
the guards. I don't believe what I have been told this morning, that
more troops are sent for from Flanders, and aid asked of Denmark.

Prince Charles has called a Parliament in Scotland for the 7th of
October; ours does not meet till the 17th, so that even in the show of
liberty and laws they are beforehand with us. With all this, we hear of
no men of quality or fortune having joined him but Lord Elcho, whom you
have seen at Florence; and the Duke of Peith, a silly race horsing boy,
who is said to be killed in this battle. But I gather no confidence
from hence: my father always said, "If you see them come again, they
will begin by their lowest people; their chiefs will not appear till the
end." His prophecies verify every day!

The town is still empty; on this point only the English act contrary to
their custom, for they don't throng to see a Parliament, though it is
likely to grow a curiosity!...



ARLINGTON STREET, _Oct._ 21, 1745.

I had been almost as long without any of your letters as you had without
mine; but yesterday I received one, dated the 5th of this month, N.S.

The rebels have not left their camp near Edinburgh, and, I suppose, will
not now, unless to retreat into the Highlands. General Wade was to march
yesterday from Doncaster for Scotland. By their not advancing, I
conclude that either the Boy and his council could not prevail on the
Highlanders to leave their own country, or that they were not strong
enough, and still wait for foreign assistance, which, in a new
declaration, he intimates that he still expects. One only ship, I
believe, a Spanish one, is got to them with arms, and Lord John Drummond
and some people of quality on board. We don't hear that the younger Boy
is of the number. Four ships sailed from Corunna; the one that got to
Scotland, one taken by a privateer of Bristol, and one lost on the Irish
coast; the fourth is not heard of. At Edinburgh and thereabouts they
commit the most horrid barbarities. We last night expected as bad here:
information was given of an intended insurrection and massacre by the
Papists; all the Guards were ordered out, and the Tower shut up at
seven. I cannot be surprised at anything, considering the supineness of
the Ministry--nobody has yet been taken up!

The Parliament met on Thursday. I don't think, considering the crisis,
that the House was very full. Indeed, many of the Scotch members cannot
come if they would. The young Pretender had published a declaration,
threatening to confiscate the estates of the Scotch that should come to
Parliament, and making it treason for the English. The only points that
have been before the House, the address and the suspension of the Habeas
Corpus, met with obstructions from the Jacobites. By this we may expect
what spirit they will show hereafter. With all this, I am far from
thinking that they are so confident and sanguine as their friends at
Rome. I blame the Chutes extremely for cockading themselves: why take a
part, when they are only travelling? I should certainly retire to
Florence on this occasion.

You may imagine how little I like our situation; but I don't despair.
The little use they made, or could make of their victory; their not
having marched into England; their miscarriage at the Castle of
Edinburgh; the arrival of our forces, and the non-arrival of any French
or Spanish, make me conceive great hopes of getting over this ugly
business. But it is still an affair wherein the chance of battles, or
perhaps of one battle, may decide.

I write you but short letters, considering the circumstances of the
time; but I hate to send you paragraphs only to contradict them again: I
still less choose to forge events; and, indeed, am glad I have so few to
tell you.

My Lady O[rford] has forced herself upon her mother, who receives her
very coolly: she talks highly of her demands, and quietly of her
methods: the fruitlessness of either will, I hope, soon send her back--I
am sorry it must be to you!

You mention Holdisworth:[1] he has had the confidence to come and visit
me within these ten days; and (I suppose, from the overflowing of his
joy) talked a great deal and quick--with as little sense as when he was
more tedious.

[Footnote 1: A nonjuror, who travelled with Mr. George Pitt.--WALPOLE.]

Since I wrote this, I hear the Countess [of Orford] has told her mother,
that she thinks her husband the best of our family, and me the
worst--nobody so bad, except you! I don't wonder at my being so ill with
her; but what have you done? or is it, that we are worse than anybody,
because we know more of her than anybody does? Adieu!



ARLINGTON STREET, _Nov._ 22, 1745.

For these two days we have been expecting news of a battle. Wade marched
last Saturday from Newcastle, and must have got up with the rebels if
they stayed for him, though the roads are exceedingly bad and great
quantities of snow have fallen. But last night there was some notice of
a body of rebels being advanced to Penryth. We were put into great
spirits by an heroic letter from the Mayor of Carlisle, who had fired on
the rebels and made them retire; he concluded with saying, "And so I
think the town of Carlisle has done his Majesty more service than the
great city of Edinburgh, or than all Scotland together." But this hero,
who was grown the whole fashion for four-and-twenty hours, had chosen to
stop all other letters. The King spoke of him at his _levee_ with great
encomiums; Lord Stair said, "Yes, sir, Mr. Patterson has behaved very
bravely." The Duke of Bedford interrupted him; "My lord, his name is not
_Paterson_; that is a Scotch name; his name is _Patinson_." But, alack!
the next day the rebels returned, having placed the women and children
of the country in waggons in front of their army, and forcing the
peasants to fix the scaling-ladders. The great Mr. Pattinson, or
Patterson (for now his name may be which one pleases), instantly
surrendered the town, and agreed to pay two thousand pounds to save it
from pillage. Well! then we were assured that the citadel could hold out
seven or eight days; but did not so many hours. On mustering the
militia, there were not found above four men in a company; and for two
companies, which the ministry, on a report of Lord Albemarle, who said
they were to be sent from Wade's army, thought were there, and did not
know were not there, there was nothing but two of invalids. Colonel
Durand, the governor, fled, because he would not sign the capitulation,
by which the garrison, it is said, has sworn never to bear arms against
the house of Stuart. The Colonel sent two expresses, one to Wade, and
another to Ligonier at Preston; but the latter was playing at whist with
Lord Harrington at Petersham. Such is our diligence and attention! All
my hopes are in Wade, who was so sensible of the ignorance of our
governors, that he refused to accept the command, till they consented
that he should be subject to no kind of orders from hence. The rebels
are reckoned up at thirteen thousand; Wade marches with about twelve;
but if they come southward, the other army will probably be to fight
them; the Duke is to command it, and sets out next week with another
brigade of Guards, the Ligonier under him. There are great apprehensions
for Chester from the Flintshire-men, who are ready to rise. A
quartermaster, first sent to Carlisle, was seized and carried to Wade;
he behaved most insolently; and being asked by the general, how many the
rebels were, replied, "Enough to beat any army you have in England." A
Mackintosh has been taken, who reduces their formidability, by being
sent to raise two clans, and with orders, if they would not rise, at
least to give out they had risen, for that three clans would leave the
Pretender, unless joined by those two. Five hundred new rebels are
arrived at Perth, where our prisoners are kept.

I had this morning a subscription-book brought me for our parish; Lord
Granville had refused to subscribe. This is in the style of his friend
Lord Bath, who has absented himself whenever any act of authority was to
be executed against the rebels.

Five Scotch lords are going to raise regiments _a l'Angloise_! resident
in London, while the rebels were in Scotland; they are to receive
military emoluments for their neutrality!

The _Fox_ man-of-war of 20 guns is lost off Dunbar. One Beavor, the
captain, has done us notable service: the Pretender sent to commend his
zeal and activity, and to tell him, that if he would return to his
allegiance, he should soon have a flag. Beavor replied, "He never
treated with any but principals; that if the Pretender would come on
board him, he would talk with him." I must now tell you of our great
Vernon: without once complaining to the Ministry, he has written to Sir
John Philipps, a distinguished Jacobite, to complain of want of
provisions; yet they do not venture to recall him! Yesterday they had
another baiting from Pitt, who is ravenous for the place of Secretary at
War: they would give it him; but as a preliminary, he insists on a
declaration of our having nothing to do with the continent. He mustered
his forces, but did not notify his intention; only at two o'clock
Lyttelton said at the Treasury, that there would be business at the
House. The motion was, to augment our naval force, which, Pitt said, was
the only method of putting an end to the rebellion. Ships built a year
hence to suppress an army of Highlanders, now marching through England!
My uncle [_old_ Horace] attacked him, and congratulated his country on
the wisdom of the modern young men; and said he had a son of
two-and-twenty, who, he did not doubt, would come over wiser than any of
them. Pitt was provoked, and retorted on his negotiations and
_grey-headed_ experience. At those words, my uncle, as if he had been at
Bartholomew fair, snatched off his wig, and showed his grey hairs, which
made the _august senate_ laugh, and put Pitt out, who, after laughing
himself, diverted his venom upon Mr. Pelham. Upon the question, Pitt's
party amounted but to thirty-six: in short, he has nothing left but his
words, and his haughtiness, and his Lytteltons, and his Grenvilles.



ARLINGTON STREET, _Dec._ 9, 1745.

I am glad I did not write to you last post as I intended; I should have
sent you an account that would have alarmed you, and the danger would
have been over before the letter had crossed the sea. The Duke, from
some strange want of intelligence, lay last week for four-and-twenty
hours under arms at Stone, in Staffordshire, expecting the rebels every
moment, while they were marching in all haste to Derby. The news of this
threw the town into great consternation; but his Royal Highness repaired
his mistake, and got to Northampton, between the Highlanders and London.
They got nine thousand pounds at Derby, and had the books brought to
them, and obliged everybody to give them what they had subscribed
against them. Then they retreated a few miles, but returned again to
Derby, got ten thousand pounds more, plundered the town, and burnt a
house of the Countess of Exeter. They are gone again, and go back to
Leake, in Staffordshire, but miserably harassed, and, it is said, have
left all their cannon behind them, and twenty waggons of sick. The Duke
has sent General Hawley with the dragoons to harass them in their
retreat, and despatched Mr. Conway to Marshal Wade, to hasten his march
upon the back of them. They must either go to North Wales, where they
will probably all perish, or to Scotland, with great loss. We dread them
no longer. We are threatened with great preparations for a French
invasion, but the coast is exceedingly guarded; and for the people, the
spirit against the rebels increases every day. Though they have marched
thus into the heart of the kingdom, there has not been the least symptom
of a rising, nor even in the great towns of which they possessed
themselves. They have got no recruits since their first entry into
England, excepting one gentleman in Lancashire, one hundred and fifty
common men, and two parsons, at Manchester, and a physician from York.
But here in London, the aversion to them is amazing: on some thoughts of
the King's going to an encampment at Finchley,[1] the weavers not only
offered him a thousand men, but the whole body of the Law formed
themselves into a little army, under the command of Lord Chief Justice
Willes, and were to have done duty at St. James's, to guard the royal
family in the King's absence.

[Footnote 1: The troops which were being collected for the Duke of
Cumberland, as soon as he should arrive from the Continent, to march
with against the Pretender, were in the meantime encamped on Finchley
Common near London. The march of the Guards to the camp is the subject
of one of Hogarth's best pictures.]

But the greatest demonstration of loyalty appeared on the prisoners
being brought to town from the Soleil prize: the young man is certainly
Mr. Radcliffe's son; but the mob, persuaded of his being the youngest
Pretender, could scarcely be restrained from tearing him to pieces all
the way on the road, and at his arrival. He said he had heard of English
mobs, but could not conceive they were so dreadful, and wished he had
been shot at the battle of Dettingen, where he had been engaged. The
father, whom they call Lord Derwentwater, said, on entering the Tower,
that he had never expected to arrive there alive. For the young man, he
must only be treated as a French captive; for the father, it is
sufficient to produce him at the Old Bailey, and prove that he is the
individual person condemned for the last Rebellion, and so to Tyburn.

We begin to take up people, but it is with as much caution and timidity
as women of quality begin to pawn their jewels; we have not ventured
upon any great stone yet! The Provost of Edinburgh is in custody of a
messenger; and the other day they seized an odd man, who goes by the
name of Count St. Germain. He has been here these two years, and will
not tell who he is, or whence, but professes that he does not go by his
right name. He sings, plays on the violin wonderfully, composes, is mad,
and not very sensible. He is called an Italian, a Spaniard, a Pole; a
somebody that married a great fortune in Mexico, and ran away with her
jewels to Constantinople; a priest, a fiddler, a vast nobleman. The
Prince of Wales has had unsatiated curiosity about him, but in vain.
However, nothing has been made out against him;[1] he is released; and,
what convinces me that he is not a gentleman, stays here, and talks of
his being taken up for a spy.

[Footnote 1: In the beginning of the year 1755, on rumours of a great
armament at Brest, one Virette, a Swiss, who had been a kind of
toad-eater to this St. Germain, was denounced to Lord Holdernesse for a
spy; but Mr. Stanley going pretty surlily to his lordship, on his
suspecting a friend of his, Virette was declared innocent, and the
penitent secretary of state made him the _amende honorable_ of a dinner
in form. About the same time, a spy of ours was seized at Brest, but,
not happening to be acquainted with Mr. Stanley, was broken upon the

I think these accounts, upon which you may depend, must raise your
spirits, and figure in Mr. Chute's loyal journal.--But you don't get my
letters: I have sent you eleven since I came to town; how many of these
have you received? Adieu!



ARLINGTON STREET, _April_ 25, 1746.

You have bid me for some time to send you good news--well! I think I
will. How good would you have it? must it be a total victory over the
rebels; with not only the Boy, that is here, killed, but the other, that
is not here, too; their whole army put to the sword, besides an infinite
number of prisoners; all the Jacobite estates in England confiscated,
and all those in Scotland--what would you have done with them?--or could
you be content with something much under this? how much will you abate?
will you compound for Lord John Drummond, taken by accident? or for
three Presbyterian parsons, who have very poor livings, stoutly refusing
to pay a large contribution to the rebels? Come, I will deal as well
with you as I can, and for once, but not to make a practice of it, will
let you have a victory! My friend, Lord Bury, arrived this morning from
the Duke, though the news was got here before him; for, with all our
victory, it was not thought safe to send him through the heart of
Scotland; so he was shipped at Inverness, within an hour after the Duke
entered the town, kept beating at sea five days, and then put on shore
at North Berwick, from whence he came post in less than three days to
London; but with a fever upon him, for which he had been twice blooded
but the day before the battle; but he is young, and high in spirits, and
I flatter myself will not suffer from this kindness of the Duke: the
King has immediately ordered him a thousand pound, and I hear will make
him his own aide-de-camp. My dear Mr. Chute, I beg your pardon; I have
forgot you have the gout, and consequently not the same patience to wait
for the battle, with which I, knowing the particulars, postpone it.

On the 16th, the Duke, by forced marches, came up with the rebels, a
little on this side Inverness--by the way, the battle is not christened
yet; I only know that neither Prestonpans nor Falkirk are to be
godfathers. The rebels, who fled from him after their victory, and durst
not attack him, when so much exposed to them at his passage of the Spey,
now stood him, they seven thousand, he ten. They broke through Barril's
regiment, and killed Lord Robert Kerr, a handsome young gentleman, who
was cut to pieces with above thirty wounds; but they were soon repulsed,
and fled; the whole engagement not lasting above a quarter of an hour.
The young Pretender escaped; Mr. Conway says, he hears, wounded: he
certainly was in the rear. They have lost above a thousand men in the
engagement and pursuit; and six hundred were already taken; among which
latter are their French ambassador and Earl Kilmarnock. The Duke of
Perth and Lord Ogilvie are said to be slain; Lord Elcho was in a
salivation, and not there. Except Lord Robert Kerr, we lost nobody of
note: Sir Robert Rich's eldest son has lost his hand, and about a
hundred and thirty private men fell. The defeat is reckoned total, and
the dispersion general; and all their artillery is taken. It is a brave
young Duke! The town is all blazing round me, as I write, with fireworks
and illuminations: I have some inclination to wrap up half a dozen
sky-rockets, to make you drink the Duke's health. Mr. Dodington, on the
first report, came out with a very pretty illumination; so pretty, that
I believe he had it by him, ready for _any_ occasion....



ARLINGTON STREET, _Aug._ 1, 1746.

I am this moment come from the conclusion of the greatest and most
melancholy scene I ever yet saw! You will easily guess it was the Trials
of the rebel Lords. As it was the most interesting sight, it was the
most solemn and fine: a coronation is a puppet-show, and all the
splendour of it idle; but this sight at once feasted one's eyes and
engaged all one's passions. It began last Monday; three parts of
Westminster Hall were inclosed with galleries, and hung with scarlet;
and the whole ceremony was conducted with the most awful solemnity and
decency, except in the one point of leaving the prisoners at the bar,
amidst the idle curiosity of some crowd, and even with the witnesses
who had sworn against them, while the Lords adjourned to their own House
to consult. No part of the royal family was there, which was a proper
regard to the unhappy men, who were become their victims. One hundred
and thirty-nine Lords were present, and made a noble sight on their
benches _frequent and full_! The Chancellor [Hardwicke] was Lord High
Steward; but though a most comely personage with a fine voice, his
behaviour was mean, curiously searching for occasion to bow to the
minister [Mr. Pelham] that is no peer, and consequently applying to the
other ministers, in a manner, for their orders; and not even ready at
the ceremonial. To the prisoners he was peevish; and instead of keeping
up to the humane dignity of the law of England, whose character it is to
point out favour to the criminal, he crossed them, and almost scolded at
any offer they made towards defence. I had armed myself with all the
resolution I could, with the thought of their crimes and of the danger
past, and was assisted by the sight of the Marquis of Lothian in weepers
for his son who fell at Culloden--but the first appearance of the
prisoners shocked me! their behaviour melted me! Lord Kilmarnock and
Lord Cromartie are both past forty, but look younger. Lord Kilmarnock is
tall and slender, with an extreme fine person: his behaviour a most just
mixture between dignity and submission; if in anything to be
reprehended, a little affected, and his hair too exactly dressed for a
man in his situation; but when I say it is not to find fault with him,
but to show how little fault there was to be found. Lord Cromartie is
an indifferent figure, appeared much dejected, and rather sullen: he
dropped a few tears the first day, and swooned as soon as he got back to
his cell. For Lord Balmerino, he is the most natural brave old fellow I
ever saw: the highest intrepidity, even to indifference. At the bar he
behaved like a soldier and a man; at the intervals of form, with
carelessness and humour. He pressed extremely to have his wife, his
pretty Peggy, with him in the Tower. Lady Cromartie only sees her
husband through the grate, not choosing to be shut up with him, as she
thinks she can serve him better by her intercession without: she is big
with child and very handsome: so are their daughters. When they were to
be brought from the Tower in separate coaches, there was some dispute in
which the axe must go--old Balmerino cried, "Come, come, put it with
me." At the bar, he plays with his fingers upon the axe, while he talks
with the gentleman-gaoler; and one day somebody coming up to listen, he
took the blade and held it like a fan between their faces. During the
trial, a little boy was near him, but not tall enough to see; he made
room for the child and placed him near himself.

When the trial began, the two Earls pleaded guilty; Balmerino not
guilty, saying he could prove his not being at the taking of the castle
of Carlisle, as was laid in the indictment. Then the King's counsel
opened, and Serjeant Skinner pronounced the most absurd speech
imaginable; and mentioned the Duke of Perth, "who," said he, "I see by
the papers is dead." Then some witnesses were examined, whom afterwards
the old hero shook cordially by the hand. The Lords withdrew to their
House, and returning, demanded of the judges, whether one point not
being proved, though all the rest were, the indictment was false? to
which they unanimously answered in the negative. Then the Lord High
Steward asked the Peers severally, whether Lord Balmerino was guilty!
All said, "guilty upon honour," and then adjourned, the prisoner having
begged pardon for giving them so much trouble. While the Lords were
withdrawn, the Solicitor-General Murray (brother of the Pretender's
minister) officiously and insolently went up to Lord Balmerino, and
asked him, how he could give the Lords so much trouble, when his
solicitor had informed him that his plea could be of no use to him?
Balmerino asked the bystanders who this person was? and being told he
said, "Oh, Mr. Murray! I am extremely glad to see you; I have been with
several of your relations; the good lady, your mother, was of great use
to us at Perth." Are not you charmed with this speech? how just it was!
As he went away, he said, "They call me Jacobite; I am no more a
Jacobite than any that tried me: but if the Great Mogul had set up his
standard, I should have followed it, for I could not starve." The worst
of his case is, that after the battle of Dumblain, having a company in
the Duke of Argyll's regiment, he deserted with it to the rebels, and
has since been pardoned. Lord Kilmarnock is a Presbyterian, with four
earldoms in him, but so poor since Lord Wilmington's stopping a pension
that my father had given him, that he often wanted a dinner. Lord
Cromartie was receiver of the rents of the King's second son in
Scotland, which, it was understood, he should not account for; and by
that means had six-hundred a-year from the Government: Lord Elibank, a
very prating, impertinent Jacobite, was bound for him in nine thousand
pounds, for which the Duke is determined to sue him.

When the Peers were going to vote, Lord Foley withdrew, as too well a
wisher; Lord Moray, as nephew of Lord Balmerino--and Lord Stair,--as, I
believe, uncle to his great-grandfather. Lord Windsor, very affectedly,
said, "I am sorry I must say, _guilty upon my honour_." Lord Stamford
would not answer to the name of _Henry_, having been christened
_Harry_--what a great way of thinking on such an occasion! I was
diverted too with old Norsa, the father of my brother's concubine, an
old Jew that kept a tavern; my brother [Orford], as Auditor of the
Exchequer, has a gallery along one whole side of the court; I said, "I
really feel for the prisoners!" old Issachar replied, "Feel for them!
pray, if they had succeeded, what would have become of _all us_?" When
my Lady Townsend heard her husband vote, she said, "I always knew _my_
Lord was _guilty_, but I never thought he would own it _upon his
honour_." Lord Balmerino said, that one of his reasons for pleading _not
guilty_, was that so many ladies might not be disappointed of their

On Wednesday they were again brought to Westminster Hall, to receive
sentence; and being asked what they had to say, Lord Kilmarnock, with a
very fine voice, read a very fine speech, confessing the extent of his
crime, but offering his principles as some alleviation, having his
eldest son (his second unluckily with him), in the Duke's army,
_fighting for the liberties of his country at Culloden, where his
unhappy father was in arms to destroy them_. He insisted much on his
tenderness to the English prisoners, which some deny, and say that he
was the man who proposed their being put to death, when General
Stapleton urged that _he_ was come to fight, but not to butcher; and
that if they acted any such barbarity, he would leave them with all his
men. He very artfully mentioned Van Hoey's letter, and said how much he
would scorn to owe his life to such intercession.[1] Lord Cromartie
spoke much shorter, and so low, that he was not heard but by those who
sat very near him; but they prefer his speech to the other. He mentioned
his misfortune in having drawn in his eldest son, who is prisoner with
him; and concluded with saying, "If no part of this bitter cup must pass
from me, not mine, O God, but thy will be done!" If he had pleaded _not
guilty_, there was ready to be produced against him a paper signed with
his own hand, for putting the English prisoners to death.

[Footnote 1: In a subsequent letter Walpole attributes Lord Kilmarnock's
complicity in the rebellion partly to the influence of his mother, the
Countess of Errol, and partly to his extreme poverty. He says: "I don't
know whether I told you that the man at the tennis-court protests that
he has known him dine with the man that sells pamphlets at Storey's
Gate; 'and,' says he, 'he would often have been glad if I would have
taken him home to dinner.' He was certainly so poor, that in one of his
wife's intercepted letters she tells him she has plagued their steward
for a fortnight for money, and can get but three shillings." One cannot
help remembering, _Ibit eo quo vis qui zonam perdidit_. And afterwards,
in relating his execution, he mentions a report that the Duke of
Cumberland charging him (certainly on misinformation) with having
promoted the adoption of "a resolution taken the day before the battle
of Culloden" to put the English prisoners to death, "decided this
unhappy man's fate" by preventing his obtaining a pardon.]

Lord Leicester went up to the Duke of Newcastle, and said, "I never
heard so great an orator as Lord Kilmarnock? if I was your grace I would
pardon him, and make him _paymaster_."[1]

[Footnote 1: "_I would make him paymaster._" The paymaster at this time
was Mr. Pitt.]

That morning a paper had been sent to the lieutenant of the Tower for
the prisoners; he gave it to Lord Cornwallis, the governor, who carried
it to the House of Lords. It was a plea for the prisoners, objecting
that the late act for regulating the trials of rebels did not take place
till after their crime was committed. The Lords very tenderly and
rightly sent this plea to them, of which, as you have seen, the two
Earls did not make use; but old Balmerino did, and demanded council on
it. The High Steward, almost in a passion, told him, that when he had
been offered council, he did not accept it. Do but think on the ridicule
of sending them the plea, and then denying them council on it! The Duke
of Newcastle, who never let slip an opportunity of being absurd, took it
up as a ministerial point, in defence of his creature the Chancellor
[Hardwicke]; but Lord Granville moved, according to order, to adjourn to
debate in the chamber of Parliament, where the Duke of Bedford and many
others spoke warmly for their having council; and it was granted. I said
_their_, because the plea would have saved them all, and affected nine
rebels who had been hanged that very morning; particularly one Morgan, a
poetical lawyer. Lord Balmerino asked for Forester and Wilbraham; the
latter a very able lawyer in the House of Commons, who, the Chancellor
said privately, he was sure would as soon be hanged as plead such a
cause. But he came as council to-day (the third day), when Lord
Balmerino gave up his plea as invalid, and submitted, without any
speech. The High Steward [Hardwicke] then made his, very long and very
poor, with only one or two good passages; and then pronounced sentence!

Great intercession is made for the two Earls: Duke Hamilton, who has
never been at Court, designs to kiss the King's hand, and ask Lord
Kilmarnock's life. The King is much inclined to some mercy; but the
Duke, who has not so much of Caesar after a victory, as in gaining it,
is for the utmost severity. It was lately proposed in the city to
present him with the freedom of some company; one of the aldermen said
aloud, "Then let it be of the _Butchers_!"[1] The Scotch and his Royal
Highness are not at all guarded in their expressions of each other. When
he went to Edinburgh, in his pursuit of the rebels, they would not
admit his guards, alleging that it was contrary to their privileges; but
they rode in, sword in hand; and the Duke, very justly incensed, refused
to see any of the magistrates. He came with the utmost expedition to
town, in order for Flanders; but found that the Court of Vienna had
already sent Prince Charles thither, without the least notification, at
which both King and Duke are greatly offended. When the latter waited on
his brother, the Prince carried him into a room that hangs over the wall
of St. James's Park, and stood there with his arm about his neck, to
charm the gazing mob.

[Footnote 1: "The Duke," says Sir Walter Scott, "was received with all
the honours due to conquest; and all the incorporated bodies of the
capital, from the Guild brethren to the Butchers, desired the acceptance
of the freedom of their craft, or corporation." Billy the Butcher was
one of his by-names.]

Murray, the Pretender's secretary, has made ample confessions: the Earl
of Traquair, and Mr. Barry, a physician, are apprehended, and more
warrants are out; so much for rebels! Your friend, Lord Sandwich, is
instantly going ambassador to Holland, to pray the Dutch to build more
ships. I have received yours of July 19th, but you see have no more room
left, only to say, that I conceive a good idea of my eagle, though the
seal is a bad one. Adieu!

P.S.--I have not room to say anything to the Tesi till next post; but,
unless she will sing gratis, would advise her to drop this thought.



ARLINGTON STREET, _Oct._ 14, 1746.

You will have been alarmed with the news of another battle lost in
Flanders, where we have no Kings of Sardinia. We make light of it; do
not allow it to be a battle, but call it "the action near Liege." Then
we have whittled down our loss extremely, and will not allow a man more
than three hundred and fifty English slain out of the four thousand. The
whole of it, as it appears to me, is, that we gave up eight battalions
to avoid fighting; as at Newmarket people pay their forfeit when they
foresee they should lose the race; though, if the whole army had fought,
and we had lost the day, one might have hoped to have come off for eight
battalions. Then they tell you that the French had
four-and-twenty-pounders, and that they must beat us by the superiority
of their cannon; so that to me it is grown a paradox, to war with a
nation who have a mathematical certainty of beating you; or else it is
still a stranger paradox, why you cannot have as large cannon as the
French.[1] This loss was balanced by a pompous account of the triumphs
of our invasion of Bretagne; which, in plain terms, I think, is reduced
to burning two or three villages and reimbarking: at least, two or three
of the transports are returned with this history, and know not what is
become of Lestock and the rest of the invasion. The young Pretender is
landed in France, with thirty Scotch, but in such a wretched condition
that his Highland Highness had no breeches.

[Footnote 1: Marshal Saxe had inspired his army with confidence that a
day of battle was sure to be a day of victory, as was shown by the
theatrical company which accompanied the camp. After the performance on
the evening of October 10th the leading actress announced that there
would be no performance on the morrow, because there was to be a battle,
but on the 12th the company would have the honour of presenting "The
Village Clock." (See the Editor's "France under the Bourbons," iii.

I have received yours of the 27th of last month, with the capitulation
of Genoa, and the kind conduct of the Austrians to us their allies, so
extremely like their behaviour whenever they are fortunate. Pray, by the
way, has there been any talk of my cousin, the Commodore, being
blameable in letting slip some Spanish ships?--don't mention it as from
me, but there are whispers of court-martial on him. They are all the
fashion now; if you miss a post to me, I will have you tried by a
court-martial. Cope is come off most gloriously, his courage
ascertained, and even his conduct, which everybody had given up,
justified. Folkes and Lascelles, two of his generals, are come off too;
but not so happily in the opinion of the world. Oglethorpe's sentence is
not yet public, but it is believed not to be favourable. He was always a
bully, and is now tried for cowardice. Some little dash of the same sort
is likely to mingle with the judgment on _il furibondo_ Matthews; though
his party rises again a little, and Lestock's acquittal begins to pass
for a party affair. In short, we are a wretched people, and have seen
our best days!

I must have lost a letter, if you really told me of the sale of the
Duke of Modena's pictures, as you think you did; for when Mr. Chute told
it me, it struck me as quite new. They are out of town, good souls; and
I shall not see them this fortnight; for I am here only for two or three
days, to inquire after the battle, in which not one of my friends were.



WINDSOR, _Oct._ 24, 1746.

Well, Harry, Scotland is the last place on earth I should have thought
of for turning anybody poet: but I begin to forgive it half its treasons
in favour of your verses, for I suppose you don't think I am the dupe of
the Highland story that you tell me: the only use I shall make of it is
to commend the lines to you, as if they really were a Scotchman's. There
is a melancholy harmony in them that is charming, and a delicacy in the
thoughts that no Scotchman is capable of, though a _Scotchwoman_ might
inspire it.[1] I beg, both for Cynthia's sake and my own, that you
would continue your De Tristibus till I have an opportunity of seeing
your muse, and she of rewarding her: _Reprens la musette, berger
amoureux_! If Cynthia has ever travelled ten miles in fairy-land, she
must be wondrous content with the person and qualifications of her
knight, who in future story will be read of thus: Elmedorus was tall and
perfectly well made, his face oval, and features regularly handsome, but
not effeminate; his complexion sentimentally brown, with not much
colour; his teeth fine, and forehead agreeably low, round which his
black hair curled naturally and beautifully. His eyes were black too,
but had nothing of fierce or insolent; on the contrary, a certain
melancholy swimmingness, that described hopeless love rather than a
natural amorous languish. His exploits in war, where he always fought by
the side of the renowned Paladine William of England, have endeared his
memory to all admirers of true chivalry, as the mournful elegies which
he poured out among the desert rocks of Caledonia in honour of the
peerless lady and his heart's idol, the incomparable Cynthia, will for
ever preserve his name in the flowery annals of poesy.

[Footnote 1: Walpole could not foresee the genius of Burns, that before
his own death was to shed such glory on Scotland. His compliment to a
Scotchwoman was an allusion to Lady Aylesbury (_nee_ Miss Caroline
Campbell), whom Conway married after her husband's death, which took
place a few months after the date of this letter. Lady Aylesbury was no
poetess, but his estimate of what might be accomplished by Scotch ladies
was afterwards fully borne out by Lady Anne Lindsay, the authoress of
"Auld Gray," and Lady Nairn.]

What a pity it is I was not born in the golden age of Louis the
Fourteenth, when it was not only the fashion to write folios, but to
read them too! or rather, it is a pity the same fashion don't subsist
now, when one need not be at the trouble of invention, nor of turning
the whole Roman history into romance for want of proper heroes. Your
campaign in Scotland, rolled out and well be-epitheted, would make a
pompous work, and make one's fortune; at sixpence a number, one should
have all the damsels within the liberties for subscribers: whereas now,
if one has a mind to be read, one must write metaphysical poems in blank
verse, which, though I own to be still easier, have not half the
imagination of romances, and are dull without any agreeable absurdity.
Only think of the gravity of this wise age, that have exploded
"Cleopatra and Pharamond," and approve "The Pleasures of the
Imagination," "The Art of Preserving Health," and "Leonidas!" I beg the
age's pardon: it has done approving these poems, and has forgot them.

Adieu! dear Harry. Thank you seriously for the poem. I am going to town
for the birthday, and shall return hither till the Parliament meets; I
suppose there is no doubt of our meeting then.

Yours ever.

P.S.--Now you are at Stirling, if you should meet with Drummond's
History of the five King Jameses, pray look it over. I have lately read
it, and like it much. It is wrote in imitation of Livy; the style
masculine, and the whole very sensible; only he ascribes the misfortunes
of one reign to the then king's loving architecture and

In trim gardens taking pleasure.



TWICKENHAM, _June_ 8, 1747.

You perceive by my date that I am got into a new camp, and have left my
tub at Windsor. It is a little plaything-house that I got out of Mrs.
Chenevix's shop, and is the prettiest bauble you ever saw. It is set in
enamelled meadows, with filigree hedges:

A small Euphrates through the piece is told,
And little finches wave their wings in gold.

Two delightful roads, that you would call dusty, supply me continually
with coaches and chaises: barges as solemn as Barons of the Exchequer
move under my window; Richmond Hill and Ham walks bound my prospect;
but, thank God! the Thames is between me and the Duchess of Queensberry.
Dowagers as plenty as flounders inhabit all around, and Pope's ghost is
just now skimming under my window by a most poetical moonlight. I have
about land enough to keep such a farm as Noah's, when he set up in the
ark with a pair of each kind; but my cottage is rather cleaner than I
believe his was after they had been cooped up together forty days. The
Chenevixes had tricked it out for themselves: up two pair of stairs is
what they call Mr. Chenevix's library, furnished with three maps, one
shelf, a bust of Sir Isaac Newton, and a lame telescope without any
glasses. Lord John Sackville _predecessed_ me here, and instituted
certain games called _cricketalia_, which have been celebrated this
very evening in honour of him in a neighbouring meadow.

You will think I have removed my philosophy from Windsor with my
tea-things hither; for I am writing to you in all this tranquillity,
while a Parliament is bursting about my ears. You know it is going to be
dissolved: I am told, you are taken care of, though I don't know where,
nor whether anybody that chooses you will quarrel with me because he
does choose you, as that little bug the Marquis of Rockingham did; one
of the calamities of my life which I have bore as abominably well as I
do most about which I don't care. They say the Prince has taken up two
hundred thousand pounds, to carry elections which he won't carry:--he
had much better have saved it to buy the Parliament after it is chosen.
A new set of peers are in embryo, to add more dignity to the silence of
the House of Lords.

I made no remarks on your campaign, because, as you say, you do nothing
at all; which, though very proper nutriment for a thinking head, does
not do quite so well to write upon. If any one of you can but contrive
to be shot upon your post, it is all we desire, shall look upon it as a
great curiosity, and will take care to set up a monument to the person
so slain; as we are doing by vote to Captain Cornewall, who was killed
at the beginning of the action in the Mediterranean four years ago. In
the present dearth of glory, he is canonized; though, poor man! he had
been tried twice the year before for cowardice.

I could tell you much election news, none else; though not being
thoroughly attentive to so important a subject, as to be sure one ought
to be, I might now and then mistake, and give you a candidate for Durham
in place of one for Southampton, or name the returning officer instead
of the candidate. In general, I believe, it is much as usual--those sold
in detail that afterwards will be sold in the representation--the
ministers bribing Jacobites to choose friends of their own--the name of
well-wishers to the present establishment, and patriots outbidding
ministers that they may make the better market of their own
patriotism:--in short, all England, under some name or other, is just
now to be bought and sold; though, whenever we become posterity and
forefathers, we shall be in high repute for wisdom and virtue. My
great-great-grandchildren will figure me with a white beard down to my
girdle; and Mr. Pitt's will believe him unspotted enough to have walked
over nine hundred hot ploughshares, without hurting the sole of his
foot. How merry my ghost will be, and shake its ears to hear itself
quoted as a person of consummate prudence! Adieu, dear Harry!

Yours ever.



STRAWBERRY HILL, _Aug._ 29, 1748.

Dear Harry,--Whatever you may think, a campaign at Twickenham furnishes
as little matter for a letter as an abortive one in Flanders. I can't
say indeed that my generals wear black wigs, but they have long
full-bottomed hoods which cover as little entertainment to the full.


There's General my Lady Castlecomer, and General my Lady Dowager Ferris!
Why, do you think I can extract more out of them than you can out of
Hawley or Honeywood? Your old women dress, go to the Duke's levee, see
that the soldiers cock their hats right, sleep after dinner, and soak
with their led-captains till bed-time, and tell a thousand lies of what
they never did in their youth. Change hats for head-clothes, the rounds
for visits, and led-captains for toad-eaters, and the life is the very
same. In short, these are the people I live in the midst of, though not
with; and it is for want of more important histories that I have wrote
to you seldom; not, I give you my word, from the least negligence. My
present and sole occupation is planting, in which I have made great
progress and talked very learnedly with the nurserymen, except that now
and then a lettuce run to seed overturns all my botany, as I have more
than once taken it for a curious West Indian flowering shrub. Then the
deliberation with which trees grow, is extremely inconvenient to my
natural impatience. I lament living in so barbarous an age, when we are
come to so little perfection in gardening. I am persuaded that a hundred
and fifty years hence it will be as common to remove oaks a hundred and
fifty years old, as it is now to transplant tulip roots.[1] I have even
begun a treatise or panegyric on the great discoveries made by posterity
in all arts and sciences, wherein I shall particularly descant on the
great and cheap convenience of making trout-rivers--one of the
improvements which Mrs. Kerwood wondered Mr. Hedges would not make at
his country-house, but which was not then quite so common as it will be.
I shall talk of a secret for roasting a wild boar and a whole pack of
hounds alive, without hurting them, so that the whole chase may be
brought up to table; and for this secret, the Duke of Newcastle's
grandson, if he can ever get a son, is to give a hundred thousand
pounds. Then the delightfulness of having whole groves of humming-birds,
tame tigers taught to fetch and carry, pocket spying-glasses to see
all that is doing in China, with a thousand other toys, which we now
look upon as impracticable, and which pert posterity would laugh in
one's face for staring at, while they are offering rewards for
perfecting discoveries, of the principles of which we have not the least
conception! If ever this book should come forth, I must expect to have
all the learned in arms against me, who measure all knowledge backward:
some of them have discovered symptoms of all arts in Homer; and
Pineda,[2] had so much faith in the accomplishments of his ancestors,
that he believed Adam understood all sciences but politics. But as these
great champions for our forefathers are dead, and Boileau not alive to
hitch me into a verse with Perrault, I am determined to admire the
learning of posterity, especially being convinced that half our present
knowledge sprung from discovering the errors of what had formerly been
called so. I don't think I shall ever make any great discoveries myself,
and therefore shall be content to propose them to my descendants, like
my Lord Bacon,[3] who, as Dr. Shaw says very prettily in his preface to
Boyle, "had the art of inventing arts:" or rather like a Marquis of
Worcester, of whom I have seen a little book which he calls "A Century
of Inventions,"[4] where he has set down a hundred machines to do
impossibilities with, and not a single direction how to make the
machines themselves.

[Footnote 1: It is worth noting that these predictions that "it will be
common to remove oaks a hundred and fifty years old" has been verified
many years since; at least, if not in the case of oaks, in that of large
elms and ashtrees. In 1850 Mr. Paxton offered to a Committee of the
House of Commons to undertake to remove the large elm which was standing
on the ground proposed for the Crystal Palace of the Exhibition of 1851,
and his master, the Duke of Devonshire, has since that time removed many
trees of very large size from one part of his grounds to another; and
similarly the "making of trout rivers" has been carried out in many
places, even in our most distant colonies, by Mr. Buckland's method of
raising the young fish from roe in boxes and distributing them in places
where they were needed.]

[Footnote 2: Pineda was a Spanish Jesuit of the seventeenth century, and
a voluminous writer.]

[Footnote 3: It is a singular thing that this most eminent man should be
so constantly spoken of by a title which he never had. His first title
in the peerage was Baron Verulam; his second, on a subsequent promotion,
was Viscount St. Albans; yet the error is as old as Dryden, and is
defended by Lord Macaulay in a sentence of pre-eminent absurdity:
"Posterity has felt that the greatest of English philosophers could
derive no accession of dignity from any title which power could bestow,
and, in defiance of letters-patent, has obstinately refused to degrade
Francis Bacon into Viscount St. Albans." But, without stopping to
discuss the propriety of representing a Britiph peerage, honestly
earned, and, in his case as Lord Chancellor, necessarily conferred, as a
"degradation," the mistake made is not that of continuing to call him
Francis Bacon, a name by which at one time he was known, but that of
calling him "Lord Bacon," a title by which he was never known for a
single moment in his lifetime; while, if a great philosopher was really
"degraded" by a peerage, it is hard to see how the degradation would
have been lessened by the title being Lord Bacon, which it was not,
rather than Viscount St. Albans, which it was.]

[Footnote 4: The "Biographie Universelle" (art. _Newcomen_) says of the
Marquis: "Longtemps avant lui [Neucomen] on avait remarque la grande
force expansive de la vapeur, et on avait imagine de l'employer comme
puissance. On trouve deja cette application proposee et meme executee
dans un ouvrage publie en 1663, par le Marquis de Worcester, sous le
titre bizarre, 'A Century of Inventions.'"]

If I happen to be less punctual in my correspondence than I intend to
be, you must conclude I am writing my book, which being designed for a
panegyric, will cost me a great deal of trouble. The dedication with
your leave, shall be addressed to your son that is coming, or, with Lady
Ailesbury's leave, to your ninth son, who will be unborn nearer to the
time I am writing of; always provided that she does not bring three at
once, like my Lady Berkeley.

Well! I have here set you the example of writing nonsense when one has
nothing to say, and shall take it ill if you don't keep up the
correspondence on the same foot. Adieu!



STRAWBERRY HILL, _May_ 3, 1749.

I am come hither for a few days, to repose myself after a torrent of
diversions, and am writing to you in my charming bow-window with a
tranquillity and satisfaction which, I fear, I am grown old enough to
prefer to the hurry of amusements, in which the whole world has lived
for this last week. We have at last celebrated the Peace, and that as
much in extremes as we generally do everything, whether we have reason
to be glad or sorry, pleased or angry. Last Tuesday it was proclaimed:
the King did not go to St. Paul's, but at night the whole town was
illuminated. The next day was what was called "a jubilee-masquerade in
the Venetian manner" at Ranelagh: it had nothing Venetian in it, but was
by far the best understood and the prettiest spectacle I ever saw:
nothing in a fairy tale ever surpassed it. One of the proprietors, who
is a German, and belongs to Court, had got my Lady Yarmouth to persuade
the King to order it. It began at three o'clock, and, about five, people
of fashion began to go. When you entered, you found the whole garden
filled with masks and spread with tents, which remained all night _very
commodely_. In one quarter, was a May-pole dressed with garlands, and
people dancing round it to a tabor and pipe and rustic music, all
masqued, as were all the various bands of music that were disposed in
different parts of the garden; some like huntsmen with French horns,
some like peasants, and a troop of harlequins and scaramouches in the
little open temple on the mount. On the canal was a sort of gondola,
adorned with flags and streamers, and filled with music, rowing about.
All round the outside of the amphitheatre were shops, filled with
Dresden china, japan, &c., and all the shopkeepers in mask. The
amphitheatre was illuminated; and in the middle was a circular bower,
composed of all kinds of firs in tubs, from twenty to thirty feet high:
under them orange-trees, with small lamps in each orange, and below them
all sorts of the finest auriculas in pots; and festoons of natural
flowers hanging from tree to tree. Between the arches too were firs, and
smaller ones in the balconies above. There were booths for tea and wine,
gaming-tables and dancing, and about two thousand persons. In short, it
pleased me more than anything I ever saw. It is to be once more, and
probably finer as to dresses, as there has since been a subscription
masquerade, and people will go in their rich habits. The next day were
the fireworks, which by no means answered the expense, the length of
preparation, and the expectation that had been raised; indeed, for a
week before, the town was like a country fair, the streets filled from
morning to night, scaffolds building wherever you could or could not
see, and coaches arriving from every corner of the kingdom. This hurry
and lively scene, with the sight of the immense crowd in the Park and on
every house, the guards, and the machine itself, which was very
beautiful, was all that was worth seeing. The rockets, and whatever was
thrown up into the air, succeeded mighty well; but the wheels, and all
that was to compose the principal part, were pitiful and ill-conducted,
with no changes of coloured fires and shapes: the illumination was mean,
and lighted so slowly that scarce anybody had patience to wait the
finishing; and then, what contributed to the awkwardness of the whole,
was the right pavilion catching fire, and being burnt down in the middle
of the show. The King, the Duke, and Princess Emily saw it from the
Library, with their courts: the Prince and Princess, with their
children, from Lady Middlesex's; no place being provided for them, nor
any invitation given to the library. The Lords and Commons had galleries
built for them and the chief citizens along the rails of the Mall: the
Lords had four tickets a-piece, and each Commoner, at first, but two,
till the Speaker bounced and obtained a third. Very little mischief was
done, and but two persons killed: at Paris, there were forty killed and
near three hundred wounded, by a dispute between the French and Italians
in the management, who, quarrelling for precedence in lighting the
fires, both lighted at once and blew up the whole. Our mob was extremely
tranquil, and very unlike those I remember in my father's time, when it
was a measure in the Opposition to work up everything to mischief, the
Excise and the French players, the Convention and the Gin Act. We are as
much now in the opposite extreme, and in general so pleased with the
peace, that I could not help being struck with a passage I read lately
in Pasquier, an old French author, who says, "that in the time of
Francis I. the French used to call their creditors 'Des Anglois,' from
the facility with which the English gave credit to them in all treaties,
though they had broken so many." On Saturday we had a serenta at the
Opera-house, called Peace in Europe, but it was a wretched performance.
On Monday there was a subscription masquerade, much fuller than that of
last year, but not so agreeable or so various in dresses. The King was
well disguised in an old-fashioned English habit, and much pleased with
somebody who desired him to hold their cup as they were drinking tea.
The Duke had a dress of the same kind, but was so immensely corpulent
that he looked like Cacofogo, the drunken captain, in "Rule a Wife and
have a Wife." The Duchess of Richmond was a Lady Mayoress in the time of
James I.; and Lord Delawarr, Queen Elizabeth's porter, from a picture in
the guard-chamber at Kensington: they were admirable masks. Lord
Rochford, Miss Evelyn, Miss Bishop, Lady Stafford, and Mrs. Pitt, were
in vast beauty; particularly the last, who had a red veil, which made
her look gloriously handsome. I forgot Lady Kildare. Mr. Conway was the
Duke in "Don Quixote," and the finest figure I ever saw. Miss Chudleigh
was Iphigenia, but so naked that you would have taken her for Andromeda;
and Lady Betty Smithson [Seymour] had such a pyramid of baubles upon her
head, that she was exactly the Princess of Babylon in Grammont.

You will conclude that, after all these diversions, people begin to
think of going out of town--no such matter: the Parliament continues
sitting, and will till the middle of June; Lord Egmont told us we should
sit till Michaelmas. There are many private bills, no public ones of any
fame. We were to have had some chastisement for Oxford, where, besides
the late riots, the famous Dr. King,[1] the Pretender's great agent,
made a most violent speech at the opening of the Ratcliffe Library. The
ministry denounced judgment, but, in their old style, have grown
frightened, and dropped it. However, this menace gave occasion to a
meeting and union between the Prince's party and the Jacobites which
Lord Egmont has been labouring all the winter. They met at the St.
Alban's tavern, near Pall Mall, last Monday morning, a hundred and
twelve Lords and Commoners. The Duke of Beaufort opened the assembly
with a panegyric on the stand that had been made this winter against so
corrupt an administration, and hoped it would continue, and desired
harmony. Lord Egmont seconded this strongly, and begged they would come
up to Parliament early next winter. Lord Oxford spoke next; and then
Potter with great humour, and to the great abashment of the Jacobites,
said he was very glad to see this union, and from thence hoped, that if
another attack like the last Rebellion should be made on the Royal
Family, they would all stand by them. No reply was made to this. Then
Sir Watkyn Williams spoke, Sir Francis Dashwood,[2] and Tom Pitt, and
the meeting broke up. I don't know what this coalition may produce: it
will require time with no better heads than compose it at present,
though the great Mr. Dodington had carried to the conference the
assistance of his. In France a very favourable event has happened for
us, the disgrace of Maurepas,[3] one of our bitterest enemies, and the
greatest promoter of their marine. Just at the beginning of the war, in
a very critical period, he had obtained a very large sum for that
service, but which one of the other factions, lest he should gain glory
and credit by it, got to be suddenly given away to the King of Prussia.

[Footnote 1: Dr. King was Principal of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, and one
of the chief supports of the Jacobite party after 1745.]

[Footnote 2: Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1761, through the influence
of the Earl of Bute. He was the owner of Medmenham Abbey, on the Thames,
and as such, the President of the profligate Club whose doings were made
notorious by the proceedings against Wilkes, and who, in compliment to
him, called themselves the Franciscans.]

[Footnote 3: The Comte de Maurepas was the grandson of the Chancellor of
France, M. de Pontchartrain. When only fourteen years old Louis had made
him Secretary of State for the Marine, as a consolation to his
grandfather for his dismissal; and he continued in office till the
accession of Louis XVI., when he was appointed Prime Minister. He was
not a man of any statesmanlike ability; but Lacretelle ascribes to him
"les graces d'un esprit aimable et frivole qui avait le don d'amuser un
vieillard toujours porte a un elegant badinage" (ii. 53); and in a
subsequent letter speaks of him as a man of very lively powers of

Sir Charles Williams[1] is appointed envoy to this last King: here is an
epigram which he has just sent over on Lord Egmont's opposition to the
Mutiny Bill:

Why has Lord Egmont 'gainst this bill
So much declamatory skill
So tediously exerted?
The reason's plain: but t'other day
He mutinied himself for pay,
And he has twice deserted.

[Footnote 1: Sir Charles Hanbury Williams had represented Monmouth in
Parliament, but in 1744 was sent as ambassador to Berlin, and from
thence to St. Petersburg. He was more celebrated in the fashionable
world as the author of lyrical odes of a lively character.]

I must tell you a _bon-mot_ that was made the other night at the
serenata of "Peace in Europe" by Wall,[1] who is much in fashion, and a
kind of Gondomar. Grossatesta, the Modenese minister, a very low fellow,
with all the jackpuddinghood of an Italian, asked, "Mais qui est ce qui
represente mon maitre?" Wall replied, "Mais, mon Dieu! L'abbe, ne scavez
vous pas que ce n'est pas un opera boufon?" and here is another
_bon-mot_ of my Lady Townshend: we were talking of Methodists; somebody
said, "Pray, Madam, is it true that Whitfield[2] has _recanted_?" "No,
sir, he has only _canted_."

[Footnote 1: General Wall was the Spanish ambassador, as Gondomar had
been in the reign of James I.]

[Footnote 2: Whitefield, while an undergraduate at Oxford, joined
Wesley, who had recently founded a sect which soon became known as the
Methodists. But, after a time, Whitefield, who was of a less moderate
temper than Wesley, adopted the views known as Calvinistic, and,
breaking off from the Wesleyans, established a sect more rigid and less
friendly to the Church.]

If you ever think of returning to England, as I hope it will be long
first, you must prepare yourself with Methodism. I really believe that
by that time it will be necessary: this sect increases as fast as almost
ever any religious nonsense did. Lady Fanny Shirley has chosen this way
of bestowing the dregs of her beauty; and Mr. Lyttelton is very near
making the same sacrifice of the dregs of all those various characters
that he has worn. The Methodists love your big sinners, as proper
subjects to work upon--and indeed they have a plentiful harvest--I think
what you call flagrancy was never more in fashion. Drinking is at the
highest wine-mark; and gaming joined with it so violent, that at the
last Newmarket meeting, in the rapidity of both, a bank-bill was thrown
down, and nobody immediately claiming it, they agreed to give it to a
man that was standing by....



ARLINGTON STREET, _March_ 11, 1750.

Portents and prodigies are grown so frequent,
That they have lost their name.

My text is not literally true; but as far as earthquakes go towards
lowering the price of wonderful commodities, to be sure we are
overstocked. We have had a second, much more violent than the first; and
you must not be surprised if by next post you hear of a burning mountain
sprung up in Smithfield. In the night between Wednesday and Thursday
last (exactly a month since the first shock), the earth had a shivering
fit between one and two; but so slight that, if no more had followed, I
don't believe it would have been noticed. I had been awake, and had
scarce dozed again--on a sudden I felt my bolster lift up my head; I
thought somebody was getting from under my bed, but soon found it was a
strong earthquake, that lasted near half a minute, with a violent
vibration and great roaring. I rang my bell; my servant came in,
frightened out of his senses: in an instant we heard all the windows in
the neighbourhood flung up. I got up and found people running into the
streets, but saw no mischief done: there has been some; two old houses
flung down, several chimneys, and much chinaware. The bells rung in
several houses. Admiral Knowles, who has lived long in Jamaica, and felt
seven there, says this was more violent than any of them: Francesco
prefers it to the dreadful one at Leghorn. The wise say,[1] that if we
have not rain soon, we shall certainly have more. Several people are
going out of town, for it has nowhere reached above ten miles from
London: they say, they are not frightened, but that it is such fine
weather, "Lord! one can't help going into the country!" The only visible
effect it has had, was on the Ridotto, at which, being the following
night, there were but four hundred people. A parson, who came into
White's the morning of earthquake the first, and heard bets laid on
whether it was an earthquake or the blowing up of powder mills, went
away exceedingly scandalized, and said, "I protest, they are such an
impious set of people, that I believe if the last trumpet was to sound,
they would bet puppet-show against Judgment." If we get any nearer
still to the torrid zone, I shall pique myself on sending you a present
of cedrati and orange-flower water: I am already planning a _terreno_
for Strawberry Hill.

[Footnote 1: In an earlier letter Walpole mentions that Sir I. Newton
had foretold a great alteration in the English climate in 1750.]

The Middlesex election is carried against the Court: the Prince, in a
green frock (and I won't swear, but in a Scotch plaid waistcoat), sat
under the Park-wall in his chair, and hallooed the voters on to
Brentford. The Jacobites are so transported, that they are opening
subscriptions for all boroughs that shall be vacant--this is wise! They
will spend their money to carry a few more seats in a Parliament where
they will never have the majority, and so have none to carry the general
elections. The omen, however, is bad for Westminster; the High Bailiff
went to vote for the Opposition.

I now jump to another topic; I find all this letter will be detached
scraps; I can't at all contrive to hide the seams: but I don't care. I
began my letter merely to tell you of the earthquake, and I don't pique
myself upon doing any more than telling you what you would be glad to
have told you. I told you too how pleased I was with the triumphs of
another old beauty, our friend the Princess. Do you know, I have found a
history that has great resemblance to hers; that is, that will be very
like hers, if hers is but like it. I will tell it you in as few words as
I can. Madame la Marechale l'Hopital was the daughter of a seamstress; a
young gentleman fell in love with her, and was going to be married to
her, but the match was broken off. An old fermier-general, who had
retired into the province where this happened, hearing the story, had a
curiosity to see the victim; he liked her, married her, died, and left
her enough not to care for her inconstant. She came to Paris, where the
Marechal de l'Hopital married her for her riches. After the Marechal's
death, Casimir, the abdicated King of Poland, who was retired into
France, fell in love with the Marechale, and privately married her. If
the event ever happens, I shall certainly travel to Nancy, to hear her
talk of _ma belle fille la Reine de France_. What pains my Lady Pomfret
would take to prove that an abdicated King's wife did not take place of
an English countess; and how the Princess herself would grow still
fonder of the Pretender for the similitude of his fortune with that of
_le Roi mon mari_! Her daughter, Mirepoix, was frightened the other
night, with Mrs. Nugent's calling out, _un voleur! un voleur_! The
ambassadress had heard so much of robbing, that she did not doubt but
_dans ce pais cy_, they robbed in the middle of an assembly. It turned
out to be a _thief in the candle_! Good night!



ARLINGTON STREET, _April_ 2, 1750.

You will not wonder so much at our earthquakes as at the effects they
have had. All the women in town have taken them up upon the foot of
_Judgments_; and the clergy, who have had no windfalls of a long season,
have driven horse and foot into this opinion. There has been a shower of
sermons and exhortations: Seeker, the Jesuitical Bishop of Oxford, began
the mode. He heard the women were all going out of town to avoid the
next shock; and so, for fear of losing his Easter offerings, he set
himself to advise them to await God's good pleasure in fear and
trembling. But what is more astonishing, Sherlock, who has much better
sense, and much less of the Popish confessor, has been running a race
with him for the old ladies, and has written a pastoral letter, of which
ten thousand were sold in two days; and fifty thousand have been
subscribed for, since the two first editions.

I told you the women talked of going out of town: several families are
literally gone, and many more going to-day and to-morrow; for what adds
to the absurdity, is, that the second shock having happened exactly a
month after the former, it prevails that there will be a third on
Thursday next, another month, which is to swallow up London. I am almost
ready to burn my letter now I have begun it, lest you should think I am
laughing at you: but it is so true, that Arthur of White's told me last
night, that he should put off the last ridotto, which was to be on
Thursday, because he hears nobody would come to it. I have advised
several, who are going to keep their next earthquake in the country, to
take the bark for it, as it is so periodic.[1] Dick Leveson and Mr.
Rigby, who had supped and stayed late at Bedford House the other night,
knocked at several doors, and in a watchman's voice cried, "Past four
o'clock, and a dreadful earthquake!"...

[Footnote 1: "I remember," says Addison, in the 240th _Tatler_, "when
our whole island was shaken with an earthquake some years ago, that
there was an impudent mountebank who sold pills, which, as he told the
country people, were 'very good against an earthquake.'"]

This frantic terror prevails so much, that within these three days seven
hundred and thirty coaches have been counted passing Hyde Park corner,
with whole parties removing into the country. Here is a good
advertisement which I cut out of the papers to-day:--

"On Monday next will be published (price 6_d._) A true and exact
List of all the Nobility and Gentry who have left, or shall leave,
this place through fear of another Earthquake."

Several women have made earthquake gowns; that is, warm gowns to sit out
of doors all to-night. These are of the more courageous. One woman,
still more heroic, is come to town on purpose: she says, all her friends
are in London, and she will not survive them. But what will you think of
Lady Catherine Pelham, Lady Frances Arundel, and Lord and Lady Galway,
who go this evening to an inn ten miles out of town, where they are to
play at brag till five in the morning, and then come back--I suppose, to
look for the bones of their husbands and families under the rubbish. The
prophet of all this (next to the Bishop of London) is a trooper of Lord
Delawar's, who was yesterday sent to Bedlam. His _colonel_ sent to the
man's wife, and asked her if her husband had ever been disordered
before. She cried, "Oh dear! my lord, he is not mad now; if your
_lordship_ would but get any _sensible_ man to examine him, you would
find he is quite in his right mind."...

I shall now go and show you Mr. Chute in a different light from
heraldry, and in one in which I believe you never saw him. He will shine
as usual; but, as a little more severely than his good-nature is
accustomed to, I must tell you that he was provoked by the most
impertinent usage. It is an epigram on Lady Caroline Petersham, whose
present fame, by the way, is coupled with young Harry Vane.


Her face has beauty, we must all confess,
But beauty on the brink of ugliness:
Her mouth's a rabbit feeding on a rose;
With eyes--ten times too good for such a nose!
Her blooming cheeks--what paint could ever draw 'em?
That paint, for which no mortal ever saw 'em.
Air without shape--of royal race divine--
'Tis Emily--oh! fie!--'tis Caroline.

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