Part 10 out of 17
can leave necessary. M. de Guerchy is adored here, and will find
so, particularly at this Juncture, when he has been most cruelly
and publicly insulted by a mad, but villanous fellow, one D'Eon,
left here by the Duc de Nivernois, who in effect is still worse
treated. This creature, who had been made minister
plenipotentiary, which turned his brain, as you have already
heard, had stolen Nivernois's private letters, and has published
them, and a thousand scandals on M. de Guerchy, in a very thick
quarto. The affair is much too long for a letter, makes a great
noise, and gives great offence. The council have met to-day to
consider how to avenge Guerchy and punish D'Eon. I hope a legal
remedy is in their power.
I will say little on the subject of Robert; you know my opinion
of his capacity, and I dare say think as I do. He is worth
taking pains with. I heartily wish those pains may have success.
The cure performed by James's powder charms me more than
surprises me. I have long thought it could cure every thing but
Politics are all becalmed. Lord Bute's reappearance on the
scene, though his name is in no play-bill, may chance to revive
My Lord Townshend has not named Charles in his will, who is as
much disappointed as he has often disappointed others. We had
last night a magnificent ball at my Lady Cardigan's.
Those fiddles play'd that never play'd before,
And we have danced, where we shall dance no more.
He, that is, the totum pro parte,--you do not suspect me, I hope,
of any youthfullities--d'autant moins of dancing; that I have
rumours of gout flying about me, and would fain coax them into my
foot. I have almost tried to make them drunk, and inveigle them
thither in their cups; but as they are not at all familiar chez
moi, they formalize at wine, as much as a middle-aged woman who
is beginning to just drink in private.
Adieu, my dear Sir! my best love to all of' you. As Horace Is
evidently descended from the Conqueror, I will desire him to
pluck up the pavement by the roots, when I want to transport it
(569) Now first collected. The above letter was privately
printed, in 1833, by the Rev. Robert Walpole, with the following
introduction:--"The incomparable letters of Horace Walpole, as
they have been justly styled by Lord Byron, have long placed the
writer in the highest rank of those who have distinguished
themselves in this line of composition. The playful wit and
humour with which they abound; the liveliness of his
descriptions; the animation of his style; the shrewd and acute
observations on the different topics which form the subjects of
those letters, are not surpassed by any thing to be found in the
most perfect models of epistolary writing, either in England or
France. His correspondence extends over a period of more than
fifty years, and no subject of general interest seems to have
escaped his attention and curiosity. He not Only gives a
faithful portraiture of the manners of the times, particularly of
the highest circles of society in which he lived; but he presents
us with many striking sketches of various events and occurrences,
illustrating the political history of this country during the
latter part of the last century. If any proof were required of
the truth of this statement, in addition to what may be afforded
by an attentive examination of Mr. Walpole's Correspondence
already published, it may be found in the three volumes of
Letters addressed to Sir Horace Mann, and recently given to the
world under the superintendence of Lord Dover. The letter (now
printed for the first time with the consent of the possessor of
the original) was addressed to Charles Churchill, Esq., who
married Lady Mary, daughter of Sir Robert, and sister of Mr.
Walpole; and was written at the time when he was engaged in
completing the interior decorations of his villa, Strawberry
(570) Robert and Horace, both mentioned in this letter, were sons
of Mr. Churchill.-E.
Letter 200 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, April 5, 1764. (page 308)
Your idea, my dear lord, of the abusive paragraph on you being
conceived at Paris,(571) and transmitted hither, tallies exactly
with mine. I guessed that a satire on your whole establishment
must come from thence: I said so immediately to two or three
persons; but I did not tell you I thought so, because I did not
choose to fill you with suggestions for which I had no ground,
but in my own reasoning. Your arguments convince me I was in the
right. Yet, were you master of proofs, the wisest thing you can
do, is to act as if you had no suspicion; that is, to act as you
have done, civilly, but coolly. There are men whom one would, I
think, no more acknowledge for enemies than friends. One's
resentment distinguishes them, and the only Gratitude they can
pay for that distinction is, to double the abuse. Wilkes's mind,
you see, is sufficiently volatile, when he can already forget
Lord Sandwich and the Scotch, and can employ himself on you. He
will soon flit to other prey, when you disregard him. It is my
way: I never publish a sheet, but buzz! out fly a swarm of
hornets, insects that never settle upon you, if you don't strike
at them and whose venom is diverted to the next object that
We have divine weather. The Bishop of Carlisle has been with me
two days at Strawberry, where we saw the eclipse(572) to
perfection: -not that there was much sight in it. The air was
very chill at the time, and the light singular; but there was not
a blackbird that left off singing for it. In the evening the
Duke of Devonshire came with the Straffords from t'other end of
Twickenham, and drank tea with us. They had none of them seen the
gallery since it was finished; even the chapel was new to the
Duke, and he was so struck with it that he desired to offer at
the shrine an incense-pot of silver philigrain.(573)
The election at Cambridge has ended, for the present in strange
confusion.(574) The proctors, who were of different sides,
assumed each a majority; the votes, however, appear to have been
equal. The learned in university decision say, an equality is a
negative: if so Lord Hardwicke is excluded. Yet the novelty of
the case, it not having been very customary to solicit such a
trifling honour, and the antiquated forms of proceeding retained
in colleges, leave the matter wide open for further contention,
an advantage Lord Sandwich cherishes as much as success. The
grave are highly scandalized:--popularity was still warmer. The
under-graduates, who, having no votes had consequently been left
to their real opinions, were very near expressing their opinions
against Lord Sandwich's friends in the most Outrageous manner:
hissed they were; and after the election, the juniors burst into
the Senate-house, elected a fictitious Lord Hardwicke, and
chaired him. The indecent arts and applications which had been
used by the Twitcherites (as they are called, from Lord
Sandwich's nickname, Jemmy Twitcher,) had provoked this rage. I
will give you but one instance:-A voter, who was blooded on
purpose that morning, was brought out of a madhouse with his
keeper. This is the great and wise nation, which the philosopher
Helvetius is come to study! When he says of us C'est un furieux
pais! he does not know that the literal translation is the true
description of us.
I don't know whether I did not tell you some lies in my last;
very likely: I tell you what I hear, and do not answer for truth
but when I tell you what I know. How should I know any thing? I
am in no confidence; I think of both sides alike; I care for
neither; I ask few questions. The King's journey to Hanover is
contradicted. The return of Lord Bute is still a mystery. The
zealous say, he declares for the administration; but some of the
latter do not trust too much to that security; and, perhaps, they
are in the right: I know what I think and why I think it; yet
some, who do not go on ill grounds, have a middle opinion, that
is not very reconcilable to mine. You will not wonder that there
is a mystery, doubt, or irresolotion. The scene will be opened
further before I get to Paris.
Lord Lyttelton and Lord Temple have dined with each other, and
the reconciliation of the former with Mr. Pitt is concluded. It
is well that enmities are as frail as friendships.
The Archbishops and Bishops, who -are so eager against Dr.
Pearse's divorce from his see, not as illegal, but improper, and
of bad example, have determined the King, who left it to them,
not to consent to it, though the Bishop himself still insists on
it. As this decision disappoints Bishop Newton, Lord Bath has
obtained a consolatory promise for him of the mitre of London, to
the great discomfort of Terrick and Warburton. You see Lord
Bath(575 does not hobble up the back-stairs for nothing. Oh, he
is an excellent courtier! The Prince of Wales shoots him with
plaything arrows, he falls down dead; and the child kisses him to
life again. Melancholy ambition I heard him, t'other night,
propose himself to Lady Townshend as a rich widow. Such spirits
at fourscore are pleasing; but when one has lost all one's
children, to be flattering those of Kings!
The Bishop of Carlisle told me, that t'other day in the House of
Lords, Warburton said to another of the bench, "I was invited by
my Lord Mansfield to dine with that Helvetius, but he is a
professed patron of atheism, a rascal, and a scoundrel, and I
would not countenance him; besides, I should have worked him, and
that Lord Mansfield would not have liked." No, in good truth:
who can like such vulgarism! His French, too, I suppose, is
equal to his wit and his piety.
I dined, on Tuesday, with the imperial minister; we were
two-and-twenty, collected from the four corners of the earth.
Since it is become the fashion to banquet whole kingdoms by
turns, I should pray, if I was minister to be sent to Lucca.
Have you received D'Eon's very curious book, which I sent by
Colonel Keith? I do not find that the administration can
discover any method of attacking him. Monsieur de Guerchy very
properly determines to take no notice Of it.
In the mean time, the wit of it gains ground, and palliates the
abomination, though it ought not.
Princess Amelia asked me again about her trees. I gave her your
message. She does not blame you, but Madame de Boufflers, for
sending them so large. Mr. Legge is in a very bad way; but not
without hopes: his last night was better. Adieu! my dear lords
(571) See ant`e, p. 301, letter 197. Lord Hertford suspected
this paragraph to have been written by Mr. Wilkes; which
certainly would have been ungrateful, as Lord Hertford showed Mr.
Wilkes more attention than most people thought proper to be shown
by the King's ambassador to a person in Mr. Wilkes's
(572) A considerable eclipse of the sun, which took place on the
1st of April. It was annular at Boulogne, in France, and of
course nearly so at Paris and London.-C.
(573) Commonly called fillagree.-C.
(574) The contest was between Lords Hardwicke and Sandwich; but
according to University forms, the poll was taken on the first
name; there appeared among the Blackhoods for Lord Hardwicke,
placet 103; non-placet 101: among the Whitehoods, the proctors'
accounts differed; one made placet 108, non-placet 107; the other
made placet 107, non-placet 101: on this a scrutiny was demanded,
and refused, and a great confusion ensuing, the Vice-Chancellor
adjourned the senate sine die.-E.
(575) The once idolized patriot, William Pulteney. It must be
borne in mind, that Mr. Walpole cherished a filial aversion to
his father's great antagonist.-C.
Letter 201 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, April 12, 1764. (page 310)
Make yourself perfectly easy, my dear lord, about newspapers and
their tattle; they are not worth a moment's regard. In times of
party it is impossible to avoid abuse. If attached to one side,
one is pelted by the other; if to neither, by both. One can
place oneself above deserving invectives; and then it signifies
little whether they are escaped or not. But when one is
conscious that they are unmerited, it is noblest to scorn them-
-perhaps, I even think, that such a situation is not ineligible.
Character is the most precious of all blessings; but, pray allow
that it is too sacred to be hurt by any thing but itself: does it
depend on others, or on its own existence? That character must
be fictitious, and formed for man, which man can take away. Your
reputation does not depend on Mr. Wilkes,(576) like his own. It
is delightful to deserve popularity, and to despise it.
You will have heard of the sad misfortune that has happened to
Lord Ilchester by his daughter's marriage(577) with O'Brien the
actor. But, perhaps, you do not know the circumstances, and how
much his grief must be aggravated by reflection on his own
credulity and negligence. The affair has been in train for
eighteen months. The swain had learned to counterfeit Lady Sarah
Bunbury's(578) hand so well that in the country Lord Ilchester
has himself delivered several of O'Brien's letters to Lady Susan;
but it was not till about a week before the catastrophe that the
family was apprised of the intrigue. Lord Cathcart went to Miss
Reade's, the paintress; she said softly to him, "My lord, there
is a couple in the next room that I am sure ought not to be
together; I wish your lordship would look in." He did, shut the
door again, and went directly and informed Lord Ilchester. Lady
Susan was examined, flung herself at her father's feet, confessed
all, vowed to break off but--what a but!--desired to see the
loved object, and take a last leave. You will be amazed-even
this was granted. The parting scene happened the beginning of
the week. On Friday she came of age, and on Saturday morning--
instead of being under lock and key in the country--walked down
stairs, took her footman, said she was going to breakfast with
Lady Sarah, but would call at Miss Reade's; in the street,
pretended to recollect a particular cap in which she was to be
drawn, sent the footman back for it, whipped into a hackney
chair, was married at Covent-garden church, and set out for Mr.
O'Brien's villa at Dunstable. My Lady--my Lady Hertford! what
say you to permitting young ladies to act plays, and go to
painters by themselves?
Poor Lord Ilchester is almost distracted; indeed, it is the
completion of disgrace,(579)--even a footman were preferable; the
publicity of the hero's profession perpetuates the Unification.
Il ne sera pas milord, tout comme un autre. I could not have
believed that Lady Susan would have stooped so low. She may,
however, still keep good company, and say, "nos numeri sumus"--
Lady Mary Duncan,(580) Lady Caroline Adair,(581) Lady Betty
Gallini(582)--the shopkeepers of next age will be mighty well
born. If our genealogies had been so confused four hundred years
ago, Norborne Berkeley would have had still more difficulty with
his obsolete Barony of Bottelourt, which the House of Lords at
last has granted him. I have never attended the hearings, though
it has been much the fashion, but nobody cares less than I about
what they don't care for. I have been as indifferent about other
points, of which all the world is talking, as the restriction of
franking, and the great cause of Hamilton and Douglas. I am
almost as tired of what is still more in vogue, our East India
affairs. Mir Jaffeir(583) and Cossim Aly Cawn, and their
deputies Clive and Sullivan, or rather their principals, employ
the public attention, instead of Mogul Pitt and Nabob Bute; the
former of whom remains shut Up in Asiatic dignity at Hayes, while
the other is again mounting his elephant and levying troops.
What Lord Tavistock meaned of his invisible Haughtiness'S(584)
invective on Mr. Neville, I do not know. He has not been in the
House of Commons since the war of privilege. It must have been
something he dropped in private.
I was diverted just now with some old rhymes that Mr. Wilkes
would have been glad to have North-Britonized for our little
bishop of Osnaburgh.(585)
Eligimus puerum, puerorum testa colentes,
Non nostrum morem, sed Regis jussa sequentes.
They were literally composed on the election of a juvenile
Young Dundas marries Lady Charlotte Fitzwilliam;(586) Sir
Lawrence(587) settles four thousand per annum in present, and six
more in future--compare these riches got in two years and a half,
with D'Eon's account of French economy! Lord Garlies remarries
himself with the Duchess of Manchester's(588) next sister, Miss
Dashwood. The youngest is to have Mr. Knightly--a-propos to
D'Eon, the foreign ministers had a meeting yesterday morning, at
the imperial minister's, and Monsieur de Guerchy went from thence
to the King, but on what result I do not know, nor can I find
that the lawyers agree that any thing can be done against him.
There has been a plan of some changes among the Dii Minores, your
Lord Norths, and Carysforts, and Ellises, and Frederick
Campbellsl(589) and such like; but the supposition that Lord
Holland would be willing to accommodate the present ministers
with the paymaster's place, being the axle on which this project
turned, and his lordship not being in the accommodating humour,
there are half a dozen abortions of new lords of the treasury and
admiralty--excuse me if I do not send you this list of embryos;(5
I do not load my head with such fry. I am little more au fait of
the confusion that happened yesterday at the East India House; I
only know it was exactly like the jumble at Cambridge.
Sullivan's list was chosen, all but himself-his own election
turns on one disputed vote.(590) Every thing is intricate--a
presumption that we have few heads very clear. Good night, for I
am tired; since dinner I have been at an auction of prints, at
the Antiquarian Society in Chancery-lane, at Lady Dalkeith's(591)
in Grosvenor-square, and at loo at my niece's in Pall Mall; I
left them going to supper, that I might come home and finish this
letter; it is half @n hour after twelve, and now I am going to
supper myself. I suppose all this sounds very sober to you!
(576) See ant`e, p. 301, letter 197.-E.
(577) Lady Susan Fox, born in 1743, eldest daughter of the first
(578) Daughter of the Duke of Richmond, wife of Sir T. C.
Bunbury, and afterwards of Colonel Napier.-C.
(579) It must be observed how little consistent this
aristocratical indignation is with the Roman sentiments expressed
in page 262, letter 185, and signed so emphatically Horatius.-C.
(580) Daughter of the seventh Earl of Thanet, married, in
September 1763, to Doctor Duncan, M.D., soon after created a
(581) Daughter of the second Earl of Albemarle, married, in 1759,
to Mr. Adair, a surgeon.-C.
(582) Daughter of the third Earl of Abingdon, married to Sir John
Gallini. She died in 1804, at the age of eighty.-E.
(583) See ante, p. 281, letter 191.
(584) Mr. Pitt.
(585) Frederick, Duke of York, born in August 1763, elected
Bishop of Osnaburgh, 27th of February, 1764.-E.
(586) Second daughter of the third Earl Fitzwilliam, born in
(587) Sir Lawrence Dundas, father of the first Lord Dundas, is
said to have made his fortune in the commissariat, during the
Scotch rebellion of 1745.-C.
(588) Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Dashwood, Bart. and wife
of the fourth Duke of Manchester.-E.
(589) Second son of the fourth Duke of Argyle. He was
successively keeper of the privy seal in Scotland, secretary to
the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and lord register of' Scotland,
in which office he died.-C.
(590) "On the 25th of April, a very warm contest took place. Mr.
Sullivan brought forward one list of twenty-five directors, and
Mr. Rous, who was supported by Lord Clive, produced another.
Notwithstanding his friend Lord Bute was no longer minister, Mr.
Sullivan succeeded in bringing in half his numbers; but the
attack of Lord Clive had so shaken the power of this lately
popular director, that his own election was only carried by one
vote." Malcolm's Memoirs of Lord Clive, vol. ii. p. 235.-E.
(591) The eldest daughter of John Duke of Argyle and Greenwich,
the widow of Francis Earl of Dalkeith, son of the second Duke of
Buccleugh, and wife of Mr. Charles Townshend. She was, in 1767,
created Baroness Greenwich, with remainder to her sons by Mr.
Townshend. She, however, died leaving none.-C.
Letter 202 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, April 12, 1764. (page 313)
I shall send your MS. volume this week to Mr. Cartwright, and
with a thousand thanks. I ought to beg your pardon for having
detained it so long. The truth is, I had not time till last week
to copy two or three little things at most. Do not let this
delay discourage you from lending me more. If I have them in
summer I shall keep them much less time than in winter. I do not
send my print with it as you ordered me, because I find it is too
large to lie within the volume; and doubling a mezzotinto, you
know, spoils it. You shall have one more, if you please,
whenever I see you.
I have lately made a few curious additions to my collections of
various sorts, and shall hope to show them to you at Strawberry
Letter 203 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, April 19, 1764. (page 313)
I am just come from the Duchess of Argyll's,(592) where I dined.
General Warburton was there, and said it was the report at the
House of Lords, that you are turned out--he imagined, of your
regiment--but that I suppose is a mistake for the
bedchamber.(593) I shall hear more to-night, and Lady Strafford,
who brings you this, will tell you; though to be sure You will
know earlier by the post to-morrow. My only reason for writing
is, to repeat to you, that whatever you do, I shall act with
you.(594) I resent any thing done to you as to myself. My
fortunes shall never be separated from yours--except that some
time or other I hope yours will be great, and I am content with
The Manns go on with the business.(595) The letter you received
was from Mr. Edward Mann, not from Gal.'s widow. Adieu! I was
going to say, my disgraced friend--How delightful to have a
character so unspotted, that the word disgrace recoils on those
who displace you! Yours unalterably.
(592) Widow of John Campbell, Duke of Argyle. She was sister to
General Warburton, and had been maid of Honour to Queen Anne.-E.
(593) Mr. Conway was dismissed from all his employments, civil
and military, for having Opposed the ministry in the House of
Commons, on the question of the legality of warrants, at the time
of the prosecution of Mr. Wilkes for the publication of the North
(594) Mr. Walpole was then in the House of Commons, member for
King's Lynn in Norfolk.
(595) Of army-clothiers.
Letter 204 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, April 20, 1764. (page 314)
There has been a strong report about town for these two days that
your brother is dismissed, not only from the bedchamber, but from
his regiment, and that the latter is given to Lord Pembroke. I
do not believe it. Your brother went to Park-place but yesterday
morning at ten: he certainly knew nothing of it the night before
when we parted, after one, at Grafton-house: nor would he have
passed my door yesterday without stopping to tell me Of it: no
letter has been sent to his house since, nor were any orders
arrived at the War office at half an hour after three yesterday;
nay, though I can give the ministry credit for much folly, and
some of them credit for even violence and folly, I do not believe
they are so rash as this would amount to. For the bedchamber,
you know, your brother never liked it, and would be glad to get
rid of it. I should be sorry for his sake, and for yours too, if
it went farther;--gentle and indifferent as his nature is, his
resentment, if his profession were touched, would be as serious
as such spirit and such abilities could make it. I would not be
the man that advised provoking him; and one man(596) has put
himself wofully in his power! In my own opinion, this is one of
the lies of which the time is so fruitful; I would not even swear
that it has not the same parent with the legend I sent you last
week, relating to an intended disposition in consequence of Lord
Holland's resignation. The court confidently deny the whole
plan, and ascribe it to the fertility of Charles Townshend's
brain. However, as they have their Charles Townshends too, I do
not totally disbelieve it.
The Parliament rose yesterday,-no new peers, not even Irish: Lord
Northumberland's list is sent back ungranted.(597) The Duke of
MecklenbUrgh(598) and Lord Halifax are to have the garters.
Bridgman(599) is turned out of the green cloth, which is given to
Dick Vernon; and his place of surveyor of the gardens, which
young Dickinson held for him, is bestowed on Cadogan.(600)
Dyson(601) is made a lord of trade. These are all the changes I
have heard--not of a complexion that indicates the removal of
The foreign ministers agreed, as to be sure you have been told,
to make Monsieur de Guerchy's cause commune; and the
Attorney-general has filed an information against D'Eon: the poor
lunatic was at the Opera on Saturday, looking like Bedlam. He
goes armed, and threatens, what I dare say he would perform, to
kill or be killed, if any attempt is made to seize him.
The East Indian affairs have taken a new turn. Sullivan had
twelve votes to ten: Lord Clive bribed off one. When they came
to the election of chairman, Sullivan desired to be placed in the
chair, without the disgrace of a ballot; but it was denied. On
the scrutiny, the votes appeared eleven and eleven. Sullivan
understood the blow, and with three others left the room. Rous,
his great enemy, was placed in the chair; since that, I think
matters are a little compromised, and Sullivan does not abdicate
the direction; but Lord Clive, it is supposed, will go to Bengal
in the stead of Colonel Barr`e, as Sullivan and Lord Shelburne
Mr. Pitt is worse than ever with the gout. Legge's case is
thought very dangerous:--thus stand our politics, and probably
will not fluctuate much for some months. At least-I expect to
have little more to tell you before I see you at Paris, except
balls, weddings, and follies, of which, thank the moon! we never
have a dearth: for one of the latter class, we are obliged to the
Archbishop,(602) who, in remembrance, I suppose, of his original
profession of midwifery, has ordered some decent alterations to
be made in King Henry's figure in the Tower. Poor Lady Susan
O'Brien is in the most deplorable situation, for her Adonis is a
Roman Catholic, and cannot be provided for out of his calling.
Sir Francis Delaval, being touched with her calamity, has made
her a present--of what do you think?--of a rich gold stuff! The
delightful charity! O'Brien comforts himself, and says it will
make a shining passage in his little history.
I will tell you but one more folly, and hasten to my signature.
Lady Beaulieu was complaining of being waked by a noise in the
night: my lord(603 replied, "Oh, for my Part, there is no
disturbing be; If they don't wake me before I go to sleep, there
is no waking me afterwards."
Lady Hervey's table is at last arrived, and the Princess's trees,
which I sent her last night; but she wants nothing, for Lady
Barrymore(604) is arrived.
I smiled when I read your account of Lord Tavistock's expedition.
Do you remember that I made seven days from Calais to Paris, by
laying out my journeys at the rate of travelling in England,
thirty miles a-day; and did not find but that I could have gone
in a third of the time! I shall not be such a snail the next
time. It is said that on Lord Tavistock's return, he is to
decide whom he will marry. Is it true that the Choiseuls totter,
and that the Broglios are to succeed; or is there a Charles
Townshend at Versailles? Adieu! my dear lord.
(596) No doubt Mr. George Grenville is here meant. See ant`e, p.
257, letter 184.-E.
(597) This list was, Sir Ralph Gore, Sir Richard King, and Mr.
Stephen MOOTE, all created peers in this summer by the respective
titles of Bellisle, Kingston, and Kilworth.-C.
(598) Adolphus Frederick III. Duke of Mecklenburgh Strelitz, the
Queen's brother. He died in 1794.-C.
(599) Mr. George Bridgman, brother of the first Lord Bradford.
He had been many years surveyor of the royal gardens, and was
celebrated for his taste in ornamental gardening. He died at
Lisbon, in 1767.-C.
(600) Probably Charles Sloane Cadagan, son of the second Lord
Cadogan, who was treasurer to Edward Duke of York.-C.
(601) Jeremiah Dyson, Esq. afterwards a privy-counsellor.-E.
(602) See ant`e, p. 262, letter 185.
(603) Mr. Hussey was an Irishman. See ant`e, p. 251.-E.
(604) Margaret Davis, sister and Heiress of Edward, the last
Viscount Mountcashel of that family, and widow of James Earl of
Letter 205 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Saturday night, eight o'clock, April 21, 1764.
I write to you with a very bad headache; I have Passed a night,
for which George Grenville and the Duke of bedford shall pass
many an uneasy one! Notwithstanding that I heard from every body
I met, that your regiment, as well as bedchamber, were taken
away, I would not believe it, till last night the Duchess of
Grafton told me, that the night before the Duchess of Bedford
said to her, "Are not you sorry for Poor Mr. Conway? He has lost
every thing." When the Witch of Endor pities, one knows she has
raised the devil.
I am come hither alone to put my thoughts into some order, and to
avoid showing the first sallies of my resentment, which I know
you would disapprove; nor does it become your friend to rail. My
anger shall be a little more manly, and the plan of my revenge a
little deeper laid than in peevish bon-mots. You shall judge of
my indignation by its duration.
In the mean time, let me beg you, in the most earnest and most
sincere of all professions, to suffer me to make your loss as
light as it is in my power to make it: I have six thousand pounds
in the funds; accept all, or what part you want. Do not imagine
I will be put off with a refusal. The retrenchment of my
expenses, which I shall from this hour commence, will convince
you that I mean to replace Your fortune as far as I can. When I
thought you did not want it, I had made another disposition. You
have ever been the dearest person to me in the world. You have
shown that you deserve to be so. You suffer for your spotless
integrity. Can I hesitate a moment to show that there is at
least one man who knows how to value you? The new will, which I
am going to make, will be a testimonial of my own sense of
One circumstance has heightened my resentment. If it was not an
accident, it deserves to heighten it. The very day on which your
dismission was notified, I received an order from the treasury
for the payment of what money was due to me there. Is it
possible that they could mean to make any distinction between us?
Have I separated myself from you? Is there that spot on earth
where I can be suspected of having paid court? Have I even left
my name at a minister's door since you took your part? If they
have dared to hint this, the pen that is now writing to you will
bitterly undeceive them.
I am impatient to see the letters you have received, and the
answers you have sent. Do you come to town? If you do not, I
will come to you to-morrow se'nnight, that is, the 29th. I give
no advice on any thing, because you are cooler than I am--not so
cool, I hope, as to be insensible to this outrage, this villany,
this injustice You owe it to your country to labour the
extermination of such ministers!
I am so bad a hypocrite, that I am afraid of showing how deeply I
feel this. Yet last night I received the account from the
Duchess of Grafton with more temper than you believe me 'capable
of: but the agitation of the night disordered me so much, that
Lord John Cavendish, who was with me two hours this morning, does
not, I believe, take me for a hero. As there are some who I know
would enjoy my mortification, and who probably desired I should
feel my share of it, I wish to command myself-but that struggle
shall be added to their bill. I saw nobody else before I came
away but Legge, who sent for me and wrote the enclosed for you.
He would have said more both to you and Lady Ailesbury, but I
would not let him, as he is so ill: however, he thinks himself
that he shall live. I hope be will! I would not lose a shadow
that can haunt these ministers.
I feel for Lady Ailesbury, because I know she feels just as I do-
-and it is not a pleasant sensation. I will say no more, though
I could write volumes. Adieu! Yours, as I ever have been and
ever will be.
Letter 206 The Hon. H. S. Conway To The Earl Of Hertford.(605)
Park Place, April 23, 1764. (page 317)
You will, I think, be much surprised at the extraordinary news I
received yesterday, of my total dismission from his Majesty's
service, both as groom of the bedchamber and colonel of a
regiment. What makes it much stronger is, that I do not hear
that any of the many officers who voted with me on the same
questions in the minority, are turned out. It seems almost
impossible to conceive it should be so, and yet, so I suspect it
is; and if it be, it seems to me upon the coolest reflection I am
able to give it, the harshest and most unjust treatment ever
offered to any man on the like occasion. I never gave a single
vote(606) against the ministry , but in the questions on the
great constitutional point of the warrants. People are apt to
dignify with Such titles any question that serves their factious
purpose to maintain; but what proved this to be really so, was
the great number of persons who voted as I did, having no
connexion with the opposition, but determined friends of the
ministry in all their conduct, and in the government's service;
such as Lord Howe and his brother, and several more. As to the
rest, I never gave another vote against the ministry. I refused
being of the opposition club, or to attend any one meeting of the
kind, from a principle of not entering into a scheme of
opposition, but being free to follow my own sentiments upon any
question that should arise. On the Cider-act I even voted for
the court, in the only vote I gave on that subject; and in
another case, relative to the supposed assassination of Wilkes, I
even took a part warmly in preventing that silly thing from being
an object of clamour. So that, undoubtedly, my overt acts have
been only voting as any man might from judgment, only in a very
extraordinary and serious question of privilege and personal
liberty; the avowing my friendship and obligation to some few now
in opposition, and my neglecting to pay court to those in the
administration; that seemed to me, both an honest and an
honourable part in my situation, which was something delicate.
My poor judgment, at least, could point out no better for me to
take, and I enter into so much detail upon this old story, that
you may not think I have done any thing lightly or passionately
which might give just ground for this extraordinary usage; and I
must add to the account, that neither in nor out of the House can
I, I think, be charged with a single act or expression of offence
to any one of his Majesty's ministers. This was, at least, a
moderate part; and after this, what the ministry should find in
their judgment, their justice, or their prudence, from my
situation, my conduct, or my character, to single me out and
stigmatize me as the proper object of disgrace, or how the merit
of so many of my friends who are acting in their support, and
whom they might think it possible would feel hurt, did not, in
their prudential light, tend to soften the rigour of their
aversion towards me, does, I confess, puzzle me. I don't exactly
know from what particular quarter the blow comes; but I must
think Lord Bute has, at least, a share in it, as, since his
return, the countenance of the King, who used to speak to me
after all my votes, is visibly altered, and of late he has not
spoke to me at all.
So much for my political history: I wish it was as easy to my
fortune as it is to my mind in most other respects; but that,
too, I' must make as easy as I can: it comes unluckily at the end
of two German campaigns, which I felt the expense of with a much
larger income, and have not yet recovered;(607) as, far from
having a reward, it was with great difficulty I got the
reimbursement of the extraordinary money my last command through
Holland cost me, though the States-General, had, by a public act,
represented my conduct so advantageously, to our court; so that
on the whole I think no man was ever more contemptuously used,
who was not a wretch lost in character and reputation. It
requires all the philosophy one can Master, not to show the
strongest resentment. I think I have as much as my neighbours,
and I shall endeavour to use it; yet not so as to betray quite an
unmanly insensibility to such extraordinary provocation. Horace
Walpole has, on this occasion, shown that warmth of friendship
that you know him capable of, so strongly that I want words to
express my sense of it. I have not yet had time to see or hear
from any of the rest of my friends who are in the way of this
bustle; many of them have, I believe, taken their part, for
different reasons, another way, and I am sure I shall never say a
word to make them abandon what they think their own interest for
my petty cause. Nor am I anxious enough in the object of my own
fortune to wish for their taking any step that may endanger
theirs in any degree. With retrenchments and economy I may be
able to go on, and this great political wheel, that is always in
motion, may one day or other turn me up, that am but the fly upon
I shall go to town for ,i few days soon, and probably to court, I
suppose to be frowned upon, for I am not treated with the same
civility as others who are in determined opposition. Give my
best love and compliments to all with you, and believe me, dear
brother, ever most affectionately yours, H. S. C.
(605) As two of Mr. Walpole's letters, relative to General
Conway's dismissal, are wanting, the Editor is glad to be able to
supply their place by two letters on the subject from the General
himself; and as his dismissal was, both in its principle and
consequences, a very important political event, as well as a
principal topic in Mr. Walpole's succeeding letters, it is
thought that General Conway's own view of it cannot fail to be
(606) General Conway and Mr. Walpole seem to have taken the
argument on too low a scale. Their anxiety seems to have been,
to show that the General was not in decided opposition; thereby
appearing to admit, that if he had been so, the dismissal would
have been justifiable. It is however clear from Mr. Walpole's
own accounts, that Conway was considered as not only in
opposition, but as one of the most distinguished leaders of the
party, --and so the public thought: witness the following extract
from "a letter" from Albemarle-street to the Cocoa-tree,
published about this period:--"Amongst the foremost stands a
gallant general, pointed out for supreme command by the unanimous
voice of his grateful country: England has a Conway, the powers
of whose eloquence, Inspired by his zeal for liberty, animated by
the fire of true genius, and furnished with a sound knowledge of
the constitution, at once entertain, ravish, convince, conquer:--
such noble examples are the riches of the present age, the
treasures of posterity."-C.
(607) On this occasion, Lord Hertford, the Duke of Devonshire,
and Mr. Horace Walpole (each without the knowledge of the others)
pressed General Conway to accept from them an income equivalent
to what he had lost.-C.
(608) Within little more than a year Mr. Conway was secretary of
state, and leader of the House of Commons.-E.
Letter 207 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, April 24, 1764. (page 320)
I rejoice that you feel your loss so little. That you act with
dignity and propriety does not surprise me. To have you behave
in character, and with character, is my first of all wishes; for
then it will not be in the power of man to make you unhappy. Ask
yourself--is there a man in England with whom you would change
character? Is there a man in England who would not change with
you? Then think how little they have taken away!
For me, I shall certainly conduct myself as you prescribe. Your
friend shall say and do nothing unworthy of your friend. You
govern me in every thing but one: I mean, the disposition I have
told you I shall make. Nothing can alter that but a great change
in your fortune. In another point, you partly misunderstood me.
That I shall explain hereafter.
I shall certainly meet you here on Sunday, and very cheerfully.
We may laugh at a world in which nothing of us will remain long
but our characters. Yours eternally.
Letter 208 The Hon. H. S. Conway To The Earl Of Hertford.
London, May 1, 1764. (page 320)
I wrote a letter some days ago from the country, which. I am
sorry to find, does not set out till to-,day, having been given
to M. des Ardrets by Horace Walpole, as it was one I did not
choose to send by the post just at this time, though God knows
there was less in it, I think, than almost any but myself would
have said on such an occasion. I am sorry it did not go, as it
must seem very strange to you to hear on that subject from any
body before me: had it been possible, at the same time, I should
have wished not to write to you upon it at all. It is a
satisfaction, in most situations, certainly, to communicate even
one's griefs to those friends to whom one can do it in
confidence, but it is a pain where one thinks it must give them
any; and I assure you, I feel this sincerely from the share I
know your goodness will take in this, upon my account; as well as
that which, in some respects, it may give you on your own: as
'the particular distinction with which I am honoured beyond so
many of my brother officers who have so much more directly,
declaredly, and long been in real opposition to the ministry, has
great unkindness in it to all those friends of mine who have been
acting in their support. However, I would not, on any account,
that you or any of them should, for my sake, be drove a single
step beyond what is for their actual interest and inclination.
Nay, I Would not have the latter operate by itself, as I know,
from their goodness how bad a guide that might be. I do not
exactly know the grounds upon which the ministry made choice of
me as the object of their vengeance for a crime so general, The
only one I have heard, has certainly no weight; it was, that if I
was turned out of the bedchamber, and not my regiment, it would
be a sanction given for military men to oppose--that distinction
had before been destroyed by the dismission of three military
men; nor did my remaining in the army afterwards any more
establish it, than any other man's; it was a paltry excuse for a
thing they had a mind to do: the real motives or authors I cannot
yet quite ascertain. I hope, though they turned me out, they
cannot disgrace me, as I presume they wish; at least, so (my
friends flatter me) the language of the world goes, and I have at
least the satisfaction of being really ignorant myself, by what
part of the civil or military behaviour I could deserve so very
unkind a treatment. I am sure it was not for want of any
respect, duty, or attachment to his Majesty. I shall at present
say no more on the subject.
I have heard from two or three different quarters, of a
disagreeable accident you have had in your chaise, and calling by
chance at the Duke of Grafton's this morning, he read me a
postscript in a letter of yours, wherein you describe it as a
thing of no consequence. I was rejoiced to hear @it, and should
have been obliged for a line from any of your family to tell me
so; for one often hears those things so disagreeably represented,
that it is pleasant to know the truth.
You are delightful in writing me a long letter the other day, and
never mentioning M. de Pompadour's death; so that I flatly
contradicted it at first, to those that told me of it. I am
obliged to you for your intention of showing civility to my
friend Colonel Keith; I think you will like him.
I hear in town, that we have some little disputes stirring up
with our new friends on your side the water, about the limits of
their fishery on Newfoundland, and a fort building On St. Pierre:
but I speak from no authority.
We are all sorry here at a surmise, that M. de Guerchy does not
intend to return among us, being too much hurt at the behaviour
of his friends of the ministry in those letters so infamously
published by D'Eon. I hope it is only report. Adieu! dear
brother: give my love and compliments to all your family, as also
Lady Aylesbury's; and believe me ever sincerely and
affectionately yours, H. S. C.
I am here only for a few days, having, as you will imagine, not
many temptations to keep me from the country at this time.
I hope, by this time, your pheasants, etc., are safe at the end
of their journey,.
Letter 209 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 10, 1764. (page 322)
I hope I have done well for you, and that you will be content
with the execution of your commission. I have bought you two
pictures. No. 14, which is by no means a good picture, but it
went so cheap and looked so old-fashionably, that I ventured to
give eighteen shillings for it. The other is very pretty, no,
17; two sweet children, undoubtedly by Sir Peter Lely. This
costs you four pounds ten shillings; what shall I do with them--
how convey them to you? The picture of Lord Romney, which you
are so fond of, was not in this sale, but I suppose remains with
Lady Sidney. I bought for myself much the best picture in the
auction, a fine Vandyke of the famous Lady Carlisle and her
sister Leicester in one piece: it cost me nine-and-twenty
In general the pictures did not go high, which I was glad of;
that the vulture, who sells them, may not be more enriched than
could be helped. There was a whole-length of Sir Henry Sidney,
which I should have liked, but it went for fifteen guineas. Thus
ends half the glory of Penshurst! Not one of the miniatures was
I go to Strawberry to-morrow for a week. When do you come to
Frogmore? I wish to know, because I shall go soon to Park-place,
and would not miss the visit you have promised me. Adieu! Yours
Letter 210 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, May 27, 1764. Very late. (page 322)
My dear lord,
I am just come home, and find a letter from you, which gives me
too much pain(609) to let me resist answering it directly though
past one in the morning, as I go out of town early to-morrow.
I must begin with telling You, let me feel what I will from it,
how much I admire it. It is equal to the difficulty of your
situation, and expressed with all the feeling which must possess
you. I will show it your brother, as there is nothing I would
not and will not, do to preserve the harmony and friendship which
has so much distinguished your whole lives.
You have guessed, give me leave to say, at my wishes, rather than
answered to any thing I have really expressed. The truth was, I
had no right to deliver any opinion on so important a step as you
have taken, without being asked. Had you consulted me, which
certainly was not proper for you to do, it would have been with
the utmost reluctance that I should have brought myself to utter
my sentiments, and only then, if I had been persuaded that
friendship exacted it from me; for it would have been a great
deal for me to have taken upon myself: it would have been a step,
either way, liable to subject me to reproach from you in your own
mind, though you would have been too generous to have blamed me
in any other way. Now, my dear lord, do me the justice to say,
that the part I have acted was the most proper and most
honourable one I could take. Did I, have I dropped a syllable,
endeavouring to bias your judgment one way or the other? My
constant language has been, that I could not think, when a
younger brother had taken a part disagreeable to his elder, and
totally opposite, even without consulting him, that the elder,
was under any obligation to relinquish his own opinion, and adopt
the younger's. In my heart I undoubtedly wished, that even in
party your union should not be dissolved; for that Union would be
the strength of both.
This is the summary of a text on which I have infinitely more to
say; but the post is so far from being a proper conveyance, that
I think the most private letter transmitted in the most secure
manner is scarcely to be trusted. Should I resolve, if you
require it, to be more explicit, (and I certainly shall not think
of saying a word more, unless I know that it is strongly your
desire I should,) it must only be upon the most positive
assurance on your honour (and on their honour as strictly given
too) that not a syllable of what I shall say shall be
communicated to any person living. I except nobody, except my
Lady and Lord Beauchamp. What I should say now is now Of no
consequence, but for your information. It can tend to nothing
else. It therefore does not signify, whether said now, or at any
distant time hereafter, or when we meet. If, as perhaps you may
at first suppose, it had the least view towards making you quit
your embassy, you should not know it at all; for I think that
would be the idlest and most unwise step you could take; and
believe me, my affection for your brother will never make me
sacrifice your honour to his interest . I have loved you both
unalterably, and without the smallest cloud between us, from
children. It is true, as you observe, that party, with many
other mischiefs, produces dissensions in families. I can by no
means agree with you, that all party is founded in interest--
surely, you cannot think that your brother's conduct was not the
result of the most unshaken honour and conscience, and as surely
the result of no interested motive? You are not less mistaken,
if you believe that the present state of party in this country is
not of a most serious nature, and not a mere contention for power
and employments.(610) That topic, however, I shall pass over;
the discussion, perhaps, would end where it began. As you know I
never tried to bring you to my opinion before, I am very unlikely
to aim at it now. Let this and the rest of this subject sleep
for the present. I trust I have convinced you that my behaviour
has been both honourable and respectful towards you: and that,
though I think with your brother and am naturally very warm, I
have acted in the most dispassionate manner, and had recourse to
nothing but silence, when I was not so happy as to meet you in
This subject has kept me so long, and it is so very late, that
you will forgive me if I only skim over the gazette part of my
letter--my next shall be more in my old gossiping style.
Dr. Terrick and Dr. Lambe are made Bishops of London and
Peterborough, without the nomination or approbation of the
ministers. The Duke of Bedford declared this warmly, for you
know his own administration(611) always allow him to declare his
genuine opinion, that they may have the credit of making him
alter it. He was still more surprised at the Chancellor's being
made an earl(612) without his knowledge, after he had gone out of
town, blaming the Chancellor's coldness on D'Eon's affair, which
is now dropped. Three marquisates going to be given to Lords
Cardigan, Northumberland, and Townshend, may not please his grace
more, though they may his minister,(613) who may be glad his
master is angry, as it may produce a good quieting draught for
The Northumberlands are returned; Hamilton is dismissed,(614) and
the Earl of Drogheda(615) made secretary in his room.
Michell(616) is recalled by desire of this court, who requested
to have it done without giving their reasons, as Sir Charles
Williams(617) had been sent from Berlin in the same manner.
Colonel Johnson is also recalled from Minorca. He had been very
wrongheaded with his governors Sir Richard;(618) that wound was
closed, when the judicious deputy chose to turn out a
brother-in-law of Lord Bute. Lady Falkener's daughter is to be
married to a young rich Mr. Crewe,(619) a maccarone, and of our
loo. Mr. Skreene has married Miss Sumner, and her brother gives
her 10,000 pounds. Good night! The watchman cries three!
(609) It seems that Mr. Walpole, in one of the letters not found,
had expressed a desire that Lord Hertford should resent, in some
decided manner, the dismissal of his brother: but he, in the
course of this letter, recollects that as the younger brother had
acted not only without concert with Lord Hertford, but in direct
opposition to his opinion and advice, there was no kind of reason
why his lordship should take any extreme steps.-C.
(610) Yet, in frequent preceding passages, Mr. Walpole represents
the conflicts of parties as only a contention for power and
(611) He means the Duke's political friends, Mr. Rigby, etc.-C.
(612) The Earl of Northington.
(613) Mr. Rigby.
(614) See ant`e, p. 256, Letter 182.
(615) Charles, Earl and first Marquis of Drogheda, Who married
Lord Hertford's sister; he died in 1823, at a great age.-E.
(616) Minister from the court of Prussia to London.-E.
(617) Sir C. H. Williams had been minister, both at Berlin and
(618) Sir Richard Lyttelton.-E.
(618) John Crewe, Esq. married, 17th May, 1764, to Miss Fawkener,
the daughter of sir Everard Fawkener, who died in 1758, one of
Letter 211 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, June 5, 1764. (page 325)
You will wonder that I have been so long without giving you any
signs of life; yet, though not writing to you, I have been
employed about you, as I have ever since the 21st of April; a day
your enemies shall have some cause to remember. I had writ nine
or ten sheets of an answer to the "Address to the Public," when I
received the enclosed mandate.(620) You will see my masters
order me, as a subaltern of the exchequer, to drop you and defend
them--but you will see too, that, instead of obeying, I have
given warning. I would not communicate any part of this
transaction to you, till it was out of my hands, because I knew
your affection for me would not approve of in going so far--but
it was necessary. My honour required that I should declare my
adherence to you in the most authentic manner. I found that some
persons had dared to doubt whether I would risk every thing for
you. You see by these letters that Mr. Grenville himself had
presumed so. Even a change in the administration, however
unlikely, might happen before I had any opportunity of declaring
myself; and then those who should choose to put the worst
construction, either on my actions or my silence, might say what
they pleased. I was waiting for some opportunity: they have put
it into my hands, and I took care not to let It slip. Indeed
they have put more into my hands, which I have not let slip
neither. Could I expect they would give me so absurd an account
of Mr. Grenville's conduct, and give it to me in writing? They
can only add to this obligation that of provocation to print my
letter, which, however strong in facts, I have taken care to make
very decent in terms, because it imports us to have the candid
(that is,. I fear, the mercenary) on our side;--no, that we must
not expect, but at least disarmed.
Lord Tavistock has flung his handkerchief to Lady Elizabeth
Keppel. They all go to Woburn on Thursday, and the ceremony is
to be performed as soon as her brother, the bishop, can arrive
from Exeter. I am heartily glad the Duchess of Bedford does not
set her heart on marrying me to any body; I am sure she would
bring it about. She has some small intention Of coupling my
niece and Dick Vernon, but I have forbidden the banns.
The birthday, I hear, was lamentably empty. We had a loo last
night in the great chamber at Lady Bel Finch's: the Duke,
Princess Emily, and the Duchess of Bedford were there. The
Princess entertained her grace with the joy the Duke of Bedford
will have in being a grandfather; in which reflection, I believe,
the grandmotherhood was not forgotten. Adieu!
(620) The paper here alluded to does not appear.
Letter 212To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, June 8, 1764. (page 326)
To be sure, you have heard the event of' this last week? Lord
Tavistock has flung his handkerchief, and except a few jealous
sultanas, and some sultanas valides who had marketable daughters,
every body is pleased that the lot is fallen on Lady Elizabeth
The house of Bedford came to town last Friday. I supped with
them that night at the Spanish Ambassador's, who has made Powis-
house magnificent. Lady Elizabeth was not there nor mentioned.
On the contrary, by the Duchess's conversation, which turned on
Lady Betty Montagu,(622) there were suspicions in her favour.
The next morning Lady Elizabeth received a note from the Duchess
of Marlborough,(623) insisting on seeing her that evening. When
she arrived at Marlborough-house, she found nobody but the
Duchess and Lord Tavistock. The Duchess cried, "Lord! they have
left the window open in the next room!"--went to shut it, and
shut the lovers in too, where they remained for three hours. The
same night all the town was at the Duchess of Richmond's. Lady
Albemarle(624) was at tredille; the Duke of Bedford came up to
the table, and told her he must speak to her as soon as the pool
was over. You may guess whether she knew a card more that she
played. When she had finished, the Duke told her he should wait
on her the next morning, to make the demand in form. She told it
directly to me and my niece Waldegrave, who was in such transport
for her friend, that she promised the Duke of Bedford to kiss
him, and hurried home directly to write to her sisters.(625) The
Duke asked no questions about fortune, but has since slipped a
bit of paper into Lady Elizabeth's hand, telling her, he hoped
his son would live, but if he did not, there was something for
her; it was a jointure of three thousand pounds a-year, and six
hundred pounds pin-money. I dined with her the next day, at
Monsieur de Guerchy's, and as I hindered the company from wishing
her joy, and yet joked with her myself, Madame de Guerchy said,
she perceived I would let nobody else tease her, that I might
have all the teasing to myself She has behaved in the prettiest
manner, in the world, and would not appear at a vast assembly at
Northumberland-house on Tuesday, nor at a great haymaking at Mrs.
Pitt's on Wednesday. Yesterday they all went to Woburn, and
tomorrow the ceremony is to be performed; for the Duke has not a
moment's patience till she is breeding.
You would have been diverted at Northumberland-house; Besides the
sumptuous liveries, the illuminations in the garden, the pages,
the two chaplains in waiting in their gowns and scarves, `a
l'Irlandaise,(626) and Dr. Hill and his wife, there was a most
delightful Countess, who has Just imported herself from
Mecklenburgh. She is an absolute princess of Monomotapa; but I
fancy you have seen her. for her hideousness and frantic
accoutrements are so extraordinary, that they tell us she was
hissed in the Tuileries. She crossed the drawing-room on the
birthday to speak to the Queen en amie, after standing with her
back to Princess Amelia. The queen was so ashamed of her, that
she said cleverly, "This is not the dress at Strelitz; but this
woman always dressed herself as capriciously there, as your
Duchess of Queensberry does here."
The haymaking at Wandsworth-hill(627) did not succeed from the
excessive cold of the night; I proposed to bring one of the cocks
into the great room, and make a bonfire. All the beauties were
disappointed, and all the macaronies afraid of getting the
The Guerchys are gone to Goodwood, and were to have been carried
to Portsmouth, but Lord Egmont(628) refused to let the ambassador
see the place. The Duke of Richmond was in a rage, and I do not
know how it has ended, for the Duke of Bedford defends the
refusal, and says, they certainly would not let you see Brest.
The Comte d'Ayen is going a longer tour. he is liked here. The
three great ambassadors danced at court--the Prince of Masserano
they say well; he is extremely in fashion, and is a sensible very
good-humoured man, though his appearance is so deceitful. They
have given me the honour of a bon-mot, which, I assure you, does
not belong to me, that I never saw a man so full of orders and
disorders. He and his suite, and the Guerchys and theirs, are to
dine here next week. Poor little Strawberry never thought of
such f`etes. I did invite them to breakfast, but they confounded
it, and understood that they were asked to dinner, so I must do
as well as I can. Both the ambassadors are in love with my
niece;(629) therefore, I trust they will not have unsentimental
Shall I trouble you with a little commission? It is to send me a
book that I cannot get here, nor am I quite sure of the exact
title, but it is called "Origine des Moeurs,"(630) or something
to that import. It is in three volumes, and has not been written
above two or three years. Adieu, my dear lord, from my fireside.
P. S. Do you know that Madame de Yertzin, The Mecklenburgh
Countess, has had the honour of giving the King of Prussia a box
of the ear?--I am sure he deserved it, if he could take liberties
with such a chimpanzee. Colonel Elliot died on Thursday.
(621) the Daughter of the second Earl of Albemarle; she was born
(622) See ant`e, p. 304, letter 198.
(623) Caroline Russel, sister of the Duke of Bedford.-E.
(624) Anne, daughter of Charles, first Duke of Richmond.-E.
(625) Lady Dysart and Mrs. Keppel; the latter was married to Lady
(626) Lord Northumberland was still lord-lieutenant of
(627) Mrs. Pitt's villa.
(628) First lord of the admiralty.
(629) Lady Waldegrave.
(630) In a subsequent letter, he calls this work "Essais les
Moeurs." I find a work of the latter title published in 1756
anonymously, and under the date of Bruxelles. It was written by
a M. Soret, but it seems to have been in only one volume. Can
Mr. Walpole have meant Duclos's celebrated "Considerations sur
les Moeurs," published anonymously in 1750, but subsequently
under his name?--C.
Letter 213 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, June 18, 1764. (page 328)
I trust that you have thought I was dead, it is so long since you
heard of me. In truth I had nothing to talk of but cold and hot
weather, of rain and want Of rain, subjects that have been our
summer conversation for these twenty years. I am pleased that
you was content with your pictures, and shall be glad if you have
ancestors out of them. You may tell your uncle Algernon that I
go to-morrow, where he would not be ashamed to see me; as there
are not many such spots at present, you and he will guess it is
Strawberry, whose glories perhaps verge towards their setting-,
have been more sumptuous to-day than ordinary, and banquetted
their representative majesties of France and Spain. I had
Monsieur and Madame de Guerchy, Mademoiselle de Nangis their
daughter, two other French gentlemen, the Prince of Masserano,
his brother and secretary, Lord March, George Selwyn, Mrs. ADD
Pitt, and my niece Waldegrave. The refectory never was so
crowded; nor have any foreigners been here before that
comprehended Strawberry. Indeed, every thing succeeded to a
hair. A violent shower in the morning laid the dust, brightened
the green, refreshed the roses, pinks, orange-flowers, and the
blossoms with which the acacias are covered. A rich storm of
thunder and lightning gave a dignity of colouring to the heavens;
and the sun appeared enough to illuminate the landscape, without
basking himself over it at his length. During dinner there were
French horns and clarionets in the cloister, and after coffee I
treated them with an English, and to them a very new collation, a
syllabub milked Under the cows that were brought to the brow of
the terrace. Thence they went to the printing-house, and saw a
new fashionable French song printed. They drank tea in the
gallery, and at eight went away to Vauxhall.
They really seemed quite pleased with the place and the day; but
I must tell you, the treasury of the abbey will feel it, for
without magnificence, all was handsomely done. I must keep
maigre; at least till the interdict is taken off from my convent.
I have kings and queens, I hear, in my neighbourhood, but this is
no royal foundation. Adieu; your poor beadsman, The Abbot Of
P. S. Mr. T***'s servile poem is rewarded with one hundred and
sixty pounds a ),ear in the post-office.
Letter 214 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, July 16, 1764. (page 329)
mr. chute says you are peremptory that you will not cast a look
southwards. Do you know that in that case you will not set eyes
on me the Lord knows when? My mind is pretty much fixed on going
to Paris the beginning of September. I think I shall go, if it
is only to scold my Lord and Lady Hertford for sending me their
cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Berwick, who say they are come
to see their relations. By their appearance, you would imagine
they were come to beg money of their family. He has just the
sort of capacity which you would expect in a Stuart engrafted on
a Spaniard. He asked me which way he was to come to Twickenham?
I told him through Kensington, to which I supposed his geography
might reach. He replied, "Oh! du cot`e de la mer." She, who is
sister of the Duke of Alva, is a decent kind of a body: but they
talk wicked French. I gave them a dinner here t'other day, with
the Marquis of Jamaica, their only child, and a fat tutor, and
the few Fitzroys I could amass at this season. They were very
civil, and seemed much pleased. To-day they arc gone to Blenheim
by invitation. I want to send you something from the Strawberry
press; tell me how I shall convey it; it is nothing less than the
most curious book that ever set its foot into the world. I
expect to hear you scream hither: if you don't I shall be
disappointed, for I have kept it as a most profound secret from
you, till I was ready to surprise you with it: I knew your
impatience, and would not let you have it piecemeal. It is the
Life of the great philosopher, Lord Herbert, written by
himself.(631) Now are you disappointed? Well, read it--not the
first forty pages, of which you will be sick--I will not
anticipate it, but I will tell you the history. I found it a
year ago at Lady Hertford's, to whom Lady Powis had lent it. I
took it up, and soon threw it down again, as the dullest thing I
ever saw. She persuaded me to take it home. My Lady Waldegrave
was here in all her grief; Gray and I read it to amuse her. We
could not get on for laughing, and screaming. I begged to have
it to print: Lord Powis, sensible of the extravagance, refused--I
persisted--he persisted. I told my Lady Hertford, it was no
matter, I would print it, I was determined. I sat down and wrote
a flattering dedication to Lord Powis, which I knew he would
swallow: he did, and gave up his ancestor. But this was not
enough; I was resolved the world should not think I admired it
seriously, though there are really fine passages in it, and good
sense too: I drew up an equivocal preface, in which you will
discover my opinion, and sent it with the dedication. The Earl
gulped down the one under the palliative of the other, and here
you will have all. Pray take notice Of the pedigree, of which I
am exceedingly proud; observe how I have clearly arranged so
involved a descent: one may boast at one's heraldry. I shall
send you too Lady Temple's poems.(632) Pray keep both under lock
and key, for there are but two hundred copies of Lord Herbert,
and but one hundred of the poems suffered to be printed.
I am almost crying to find the glorious morsel of summer, that we
have had, turned into just such a watery season as the last.
Even my excess of verdure, which used to comfort me for every
thing, does not satisfy me now, as I live entirely alone. I am
heartily tired of my large neighbourhood, who do not furnish me
two or three rational beings at most, and the best of them have
no vivacity. London, Whither I go at least once a fortnight for
a night, is a perfect desert. As the court is gone into a
convent at Richmond, the town is more abandoned than ever. I
cannot, as you do, bring myself to be content without variety,
without events; my mind is always wanting new food; summer does
not suit me; but I will grow old some time or other. Adieu!
(631) Printed in quarto, This was the first edition of this
celebrated piece of autobiography. It was reprinted at Edinburgh
in 1807, with a prefatory notice, understood to be by Sir Walter
Scott; and a third edition, which also contained his letters
written during his residence at the French court, was published
(632) Poems by Anna Chambers, Countess Temple.-E.
Letter 215 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, July 16, 1764. (page 330)
You must think me a brute to have been so long without taking any
notice of your obliging offer of coming hither. The truth is, I
have not been at all settled here for three days together: nay,
nor do I know when I shall be. I go tomorrow into Sussex; in
August into Yorkshire, and in September into France. If, in any
interval of these jaunts, I Can be sure of remaining here a week,
which I literally have not been this whole summer, I will
certainly let you know, and will claim your promise.
Another reason for my writing now is, I want to know how I may
send you Lord Herbert's Life, which I have just printed. Did I
remember the favour you did me of asking for my own print? if I
did not, it shall accompany this book.
Letter 216 To The Rev. Henry Zouch.
Arlington Street, July 21, 1764. (page 330)
You will have heard of the severe attendance which we have had
for this last week in the House of Commons. It will, I trust,
have excused me to you for not having answered sooner your very
kind letter. My books, I fear, have no merit over Mr. Harte's
Gustavus, but by being much shorter. I read his work, and was
sorry so much curious matter should be so ill and so tediously,
put together. His anecdotes are much more interesting than mine;
luckily I was aware that mine were very trifling, and did not
dwell upon them. To answer the demand, I am printing them with
additions, but must wait a little for assistance and corrections
to the two latter, as I have had for the former.
You are exceedingly obliging, Sir, to offer me one of your
Fergussons. I thank you for it, as I ought; but, in truth, I
have more pictures than room to place them; both my houses are
full, and I have even been thinking of getting rid of some I
have. That this is no declension of your civility, Sir, you will
see, when I gladly accept either of your medals of King Charles.
I shall be proud to keep it as a mark of your friendship; but
then I will undoubtedly rob you of but one.
I condole with you, Sir, for the loss of your friend and
relation, as I heartily take my share in whatever concerns you.
The great and unmerited kindness I have received from you will
ever make me your most obliged, etc.
Letter 217To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, July 21, 1764. (page 331)
I must never send you trifles; for you always make me real
presents in return. The beauty of the coin surprises me. Mr.
White must be rich, when such are his duplicates. I am
acquainted with him, and have often intended to visit his
collection; but it is one of those things one never does, because
one always may. I give you a thousand thanks in return, and what
are not worth more, my own print, Lord Herbert's Life, (this is
curious, though it cost me little,) and some orange flowers. I
wish you had mentioned the latter sooner: I have had an amazing
profusion this year, and given them away to the right and left by
handfuls. These are all I could collect to-day, as I was coming
to town; but you shall have more if you want them.
I consign these things as you ordered - I wish the print may
arrive without being rumpled: it is difficult to convey
mezzotintos; but if this is spoiled you shall have another.
If I make any stay in France, which I do not think I shall, above
six weeks at most, you shall certainly hear from me but I am a
bad commissioner for searching you out a hermitage. It is too
much against my interest- and I had much rather find you one in
the neighbourhood of Strawberry. Adieu!
Letter 218 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, August 3, 1764. (page 332)
As my letters are seldom proper for the post now, I begin them at
any time, and am forced to trust to chance for a conveyance.
This difficulty renders my news very stale: but what can I do?
There does not happen enough at this season of' the year to fill
a mere gazette. I should be more sorry to have you think me
silent too long. You must be so good as to recollect, when there
is a large interval between my letters, that I have certainly one
ready in my writing-box, and only wait for a messenger. I hope
to send this by Lord Coventry. For the next three weeks, indeed,
I shall not be able to write, as I go in a few days with your
brother to Chatsworth and Wentworth Castle.
I am under more distress about my visit to you--but I will tell
you the truth. As I think the Parliament Will not meet before
Christmas, though they now talk of it for November, I would quit
our Politics for a few weeks; but the expense frightens me, which
did not use to be one of my fears. I cannot but expect, knowing
the enemies I have, that the treasury may distress me.(633) I
had laid by a little sum which I intended to bawble away at
Paris; but I may have very serious occasion for it. The recent
example of Lord Holderness,(634) Who has had every rag seized at
the Custom-house, alarms my present prudence. I cannot afford to
buy even clothes, which I may lose in six weeks. These
considerations dispose me to wait till I see a little farther
into this chaos. You know enough of the present actors in the
political drama to believe that the present system is not a
permanent one, nor likely to roll on till Christmas without some
change. The first moment that I can quit party with honour, I
shall seize. It neither suits my inclination nor the years I
have lived in the world; for though I am not old, I have been in
the world so long, and seen so much of those who figure in it,
that I am heartily sick of its commerce. My attachment to your
brother, and the apprehension that fear of my own interest would
be thought the cause if I took no part for him, determined me to
risk every thing rather than abandon him. I have done it, and
cannot repent, whatever distresses may follow. One's good name
is of more consequence than all the rest, my dear lord. Do not
think I say this with the least disrespect to you; it is only to
convince you that I did not recommend any thing to you that I
would avoid myself; nor engaged myself, nor wished to engage you,
in party from pique, resentment, caprice, or choice. I am dipped
in it much against my inclination. I can suffer by it infinitely
more than you could. But there are moments when one must take
one's part like a man. This I speak solely with regard to
myself. I allow fairly and honestly that you was not
circumstanced as I was. You had not voted with your brother as I
did; the world knew your inclinations were different. All this
certainly composed serious reasons for you not to follow him, if
you did not choose it. My motives for thinking you had better
have espoused his cause were for your own sake - I detailed those
motives to you in my last long letter; that opinion is as strong
within me as ever.
The affront to you, the malice that aimed that affront, the
importance that it gives one, upon the long-run to act steadily
and uniformly with one's friends, the enemies you make in the
opposition, composed of so many great families, and of your own
principal allies,(635) and the little merit you gain with the
ministry by the contrary conduct,--all these were, to me,
unanswerable reasons, and remain so, for what I advised; yet, as
I told you before, I think the season is passed, and that you
must wait for an opportunity of disengaging yourself with credit.
I am persuaded that occasion will be given you, from one or other
of the causes I mentioned in my last; and if the fairest is, I
entreat you by the good wishes which I am sure you know from my
soul I bear you, to seize it. Excuse me: I know I go too far,
but my heart is set on your making a great figure, and your
letters are so kind, that they encourage me to speak with a
friendship which I am sensible is not discreet:--but you know you
and your brother have ever been the objects of my warmest
affection and however partial you may think me to him, I must
labour to have the world think as highly of you, and to unite you
firmly for your lives. If this was not my motive, you must be
sure I should not be earnest. It is not one vote in the House of
Lords that imports us. Party is grown so Serious,(636) and will,
I doubt, become every day more so, that one must make one's
option; and it will go to my soul to see you embarked against all
your friends, against the Whig principles you have ever
professed, and with men, amongst whom you have not one
well-wisher, and with whom you will not even be able to remain
upon tolerable terms, unless you take a vigorous part against all
you love and esteem.
In warm times lukewarmness is a crime with those on whose side
you are ranged. Your good sense and experience will judge
whether what I say is not strictly the case. It is not your
brother or I that have occasioned these circumstances. Lord Bute
has thrown this country into a confusion which will not easily be
dissipated without serious hours. Changes may, and, as I said in
the beginning of my letter, will probably happen but the seeds
that have been sown will not be rooted up by one or two
revolutions in the cabinet. It had taken an hundred and fifty
years(637) to quiet the animosities of Whig and Tory; that
contest is again set on foot, and though a struggle for places
may be now, as has often been, the secret purpose of principals,
the court and the nation are engaging on much deeper springs of
action. I wish I could elucidate this truth, as I have the rest,
but that is not fit for paper, nor to be comprised within the
compass of a letter;--I have said enough to furnish you with
ample reflections. I submit all to your own judgment:--I have
even acted rightly by YOU, in laying before you what it was not
easy for you, my dear lord, to see or know at a distance. I
trust all to your indulgence, and your acquaintance with my
character, which surely is not artful or mysterious, and which,
to you, has ever been, as it ever shall be, most cordial and
well-intentioned. I come to my gazette.
There is nothing new, but the resignation of Lord Carnarvon,(638)
who has thrown up the bedchamber, and they say, the lieutenancy
of Hampshire on Stanley being made governor of the Isle of Wight.
I have been much distressed this morning. The royal family
reside chiefly at Richmond, whither scarce necessary servants
attend them, and no mortal else but Lord Bute. The King and
Queen have taken to going about to see places; they have been at
Oatlands and Wanstead. A quarter before ten to-day, I heard the
bell at the gate ring,--that is, I was not up, for my hours are
not reformed, either at night or in the morning,--I inquired who
it was? the Prince of Mecklenburgh and De Witz had called to
know if they could see the house; my two Swiss, Favre and Louis,
told them I was in bed, but if they would call again in an hour,
they might see it. I shuddered at this report,--and would it
were the worst part! The Queen herself was behind, in a coach: I
am shocked to death, and know not what to do! It is ten times
worse just now than ever at any other time: it will certainly be
said, that I refused to let the Queen see my house. See what it
is to have republican servants! When I made a tempest about it,
Favre said, with the utmost sang froid, "Why could not he tell me
he was the Prince of Mecklenburgh?" I shall go this evening and
consult my oracle, Lady Suffolk. If she approves it, I will
write to De Witz, and pretend I know nothing of any body but the
Prince, and beg a thousand pardons, and assure him how proud I
should be to have his master visit my castle at Thundertentronk.
I have dined to-day at Claremont, where I little thought I should
dine,(639) but whither our affairs have pretty naturally
conducted me. It turned out a very melancholy day. Before I got
into the house, I heard that letters were just arrived there,
with accounts of the Duke of Devonshire having had two more fits.
When I came to see Lord John's(640) and Lord Frederick's letters,
I found these two fits had been but one, and that very slight,
much less than the former, and certainly nervous by all the
symptoms, as Sir Edward Wilmot, who has been at Chatsworth,
pronounces it. The Duke perceived it coming, and directed what
to have done, and it was over in four minutes. The next event
was much more real. I had been half round the garden with the
Duke in his one-horse chair; we were passing to the other side of
the house, when George Onslow met us, arrived on purpose to
advertise the Duke of the sudden death of the Duchess of
Leeds,(641) who expired yesterday at dinner in a moment: he
called it apoplectic; but as the Bishop of Oxford,(642) who is at
Claremont, concluded, it was the gout flown up into the head.
The Duke received the news as men do at seventy-one: but the
terrible part was to break it to the Duchess, who is ill. George
Onslow would have taken me away to dinner with him, but the Duke
thought that would alarm the Duchess too abruptly, and she is not
to know it yet: with her very low spirits it is likely to make a
deep impression. It is a heavy stroke too for her father, poor
old Lord Godolphin, who is eighty-six. For the Duke, his
spirits, under so many mortifications and calamities, are
surprising: the only effect they and his years seem to have made
on him is to have abated his ridicules.(643) Our first meeting
to be sure was awkward, yet I never saw a man conduct any thing
with more sense than he did. There were no notices of what is
passed; nothing fulsome, no ceremony, civility enough, confidence
enough, and the greatest ease. You would only have thought that
I had been long abroad, and was treated like an old friend's son
with whom he might make free. In truth, I never saw more
rational behaviour: I expected a great deal of flattery, but we
had nothing but business while we were alone, and common
conversation while the Bishop and the Chaplain were present. The
Duke mentioned to me his having heard Lord Holland's inclination
to your embassy. He spoke very obligingly of you, and said that,
next to his own children, he believed there was nobody the late
Lord Hardwicke loved so much as you. I cannot say that the Duke
spoke very affectionately of Sir Joseph Yorke. who has never
written a single line to him since he was out. I told him that
did not surprise me, for Sir Joseph has treated your brother in
the same manner, though the latter has written two letters to him
since his dismission.
Arlington Street, Tuesday night, 10 o'clock.
I am here alone in the most desolate of all towns. I came to-day
to visit my sovereign Duchess(644) in her lying-in, and have been
there till this moment, not a sole else but Lady Jane Scott.(645)
Lady Waldegrave came from Tunbridge yesterday en passant, and
reported a new woful history of a fracas there--don't my Lady
Hertford's ears tingle? but she will not be surprised. A
footman--a very homely footman--to a Mrs. Craster, had been most
extremely impertinent to Lord Clanbrazil, Frederick Vane, and a
son of Lady Anne Pope; they threatened to have him turned away--
he replied, if he was, he knew where he should be protected.
Tunbridge is a quiet private place, where one does not imagine
that every thing one does in one's private family will be known:-
-yet so it happened that the morning after the fellow's
dismission, it was reported that he was hired by another lady,
the Lord knows who. At night, that lady was playing at loo in
the rooms. Lord Clanbrazil told her of the report, and hoped she
would contradict it: she grew as angry as a fine lady could grow,
told him it was no business of his, and--and I am afraid, still
more. Vane whispered her--One should have thought that name
would have some weight--oh! worse and worse! the poor English
language was ransacked for terms that came up to her resentment:-
-the party broke up, and, I suppose, nobody went home to write an
account of what happened to their acquaintance.
O'Brien and Lady Susan are to be transported to the Ohio, and
have a grant of forty thousand acres. The Duchess of Grafton
says sixty thousand were bestowed; but a friend of yours, and a
relation of Lady Susan, nibbled away twenty thousand for a Mr.
By a letter from your brother to-day, I find our northern journey
is laid aside; the Duke of Devonshire is coming to town; the
physicians want him to go to Spa. This derangement makes me turn
my eyes eagerly towards Paris; though I shall be ashamed to come
thither after the wise reasons I have given you against it in the
beginning of this letter; nous verrons--the temptation is strong,
but patriots must resist temptations; it is not the etiquette to
yield to them till a change happens.
I enclose a letter, which your brother has sent me to convey to
you, and two pamphlets.(646) The former is said to be written by
Shebbeare, under George Grenville's direction: the latter, which
makes rather more noise, is certainly composed by somebody who
does not hate your brother--I even fancy you will guess the same
person for the author that every body else does. I shall be able
to send you soon another pamphlet, written by Charles Townshend,
on the subject of the warrants:-you see, at least, we do not
ransack Newgate and the pillory(647) for writers. We leave those
to the administration.
I wish you would be so kind as to tell me, what is become of my
sister and Mr. Churchill. I received a letter from Lady Mary
to-day, telling me she was that instant setting out from Paris,
but does not say whither.
The first storm that is likely to burst in politics, seems to be
threatened from the Bedford quarter. The Duke and Duchess have
been in town but for two days the whole summer, and are now going
to Trentham, whither Lord Gower, qui se donnoit pour favori, is
retired for three months. This is very unlike the declaration in
spring, that the Duke must reside at Streatham,(648) because the
King could not spare him for a day.
The memorial(649) left by Guerchy at his departure, and the late
arr`ets in France on our American histories, make much noise, and
seem to say that I have not been a false prophet! If our
ministers can stand so many difficulties from abroad, and so much
odium at home, they are abler men than I take them for. Adieu,
the whole H`otel de Lassay!(650) I verily think I shall see it
(633) He had the lucrative office of usher of the exchequer, and
a couple of other less considerable sinecures.-C.
(634) Robert, last Earl of Holderness, grandson of the great Duke
Schomberg; he had been secretary of state at the accession.-C.
(635) Lady Hertford was daughter of the late, and cousin of the
existing Duke of Grafton, who was one of the leaders of the
(636) The state of the public mind at this time is thus described
by Gray:--"Grumble, indeed, every one does; but, since Wilkes's
affair, they fall off their metal, and seem to shrink under the
brazen hand of Norton and his colleagues. I hear there will be
no Parliament till after Christmas. If the French should be so
unwise as to suffer the Spanish court to go on in their present
measures (for they refuse to pay the ransom of Manilla, and have
driven away our logwood cutters already,) down go their friends
in the ministry, and all the schemes of right divine and
prerogative; and this is perhaps the best chance we have. Are
you not struck with the great similarity there is between the
first years of Charles the First and the present times? Who
would have thought it possible five years ago?" Works, vol. iv.
(637) It is not easy to say what hundred and fifty years he
alludes to; the contests of Whig and Tory were never so violent
as in the last years of Queen Anne, just fifty years before this
(638) The Marquis of Carnarvon, eldest son of the second Duke of
(639) See ant`e, p. 258, letter 184.
(640) Lord John and Lord Frederick Cavendish, his grace's
(641) Lady Mary, daughter of the second Lord Godolphin,
granddaughter of the great Duke of Marlborough, and sister of the
Duchess of Newcastle.-E.
(642) Dr. John Hume.-E.
(643) The reader will not fail to observe the sudden effect of
Mr. Walpole's conversion to the Duke of Newcastle's politics, how
it abates all ridicules and sweetens all acerbities. As no
writer has contributed so much as Mr. Walpole to depreciate the
character of the Duke of Newcastle, this kind of palinode is not
unimportant. See ant`e, p. 258, letter 184.-C.
(644) The Duchess of Grafton lay-in, on the 17th July 1764, of
her youngest son, Lord Charles.-E.
(645) Eldest daughter of Francis, second Duke of Buccleugh, born
1723, died in 1777, unmarried.-E.
(646) They were called "An Address to the Public on the late
dismission of a General Officer," and "A Counter Address." The
latter was written by Mr. Walpole himself.-C.
(647) Dr. Shebbeare had been convicted of a libel, and, I
believe, punished in the pillory-C. [By the indulgence of the
under-sheriff of Midllesex, the Doctor was allowed to stand on,
and not in, the pillory; for which indulgence he was prosecuted.)
(648) A villa of the Duke's at Streatham, derived from Mr.
Howland, his maternal grandfather, from whom Howland-street is
(649) The points in dispute between France and England at this
period arose out of the non-performance of certain articles of
the treaty-the payment of the Canada bills, and the expense of
the prisoners of war, and certain claims for compensation for
effects taken at Bellisle.-C.
(650) The house which Lord Hertford hired in Paris.-E.
Letter 219 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Aug. 16, 1764. (page 337)
I am not gone north, so pray write to me. I am not going south,
so pray come to me. The Duke of Devonshire's journey to Spa has
prevented the first, and twenty reasons the second; whenever
therefore you are disposed to make a visit to Strawberry, it will
rejoice to receive you in its old ruffs and fardingales, and
without rouge, blonde, and run silks.
You have not said a word to me, ingrate as you are, about Lord
Herbert; does not he deserve one line? Tell me when I shall see
you, that I may make no appointments to interfere with it. Mr.
Conway, Lady Ailesbury, and Lady Lyttelton, have been at
Strawberry with me for four or five days, so I am come to town to
have my house washed, for you know I am a very Hollander in point
This town is a deplorable solitude; one meets nothing but Mrs.
Holman, like the pelican in the wilderness. Adieu!
Letter 220 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 27, 1764. (page 338)
I hope you received safe a parcel and a very long letter that I
sent you, above a fortnight ago, by Mr. Strange the engraver.
Scarce any thing has happened since worth repeating, but what you
know already, the death of poor Legge, and the seizure of Turk
Island:(651) the latter event very consonant to all ideas. It
makes much noise here especially in the city, where the ministry
grow every day more and more unpopular. Indeed, I think there is
not much probability of their standing their ground, even till
Christmas. Several defections are already known, and others are
ripe which they do not apprehend.
Doctor Hunter, I conclude, has sent you Charles Townshend's
pamphlet: it is well written, but does not sell much, as a notion
prevails that it has been much altered and softened.
The Duke of Devonshire is gone to Spa; he was stopped for a week
by a rash, which those who wished it so, called a miliary fever,
but was so far from it that if he does not find immediate benefit
from Spa, he is to go to Aix-la-Chapelle, in hopes that the warm
baths will supple his skin, and promote another eruption.
I have been this evening to Sion, which is becoming another Mount
Palatine. Adam has displayed great taste, and the Earl matches
it with magnificence. The gallery is converting into a museum in
the style of a columbarium, according to an idea that I proposed
to my Lord Northumberland. Mr. Boulby(652) and Lady Mary are
there, and the Primate,(653) who looks old and broken enough to
aspire to the papacy. Lord Holland, I hear, advises what Lord
Bute much wishes, the removal of George Grenville, to make room
for Lord Northumberland at the head of the treasury. The Duchess
of Grafton is gone to her father. I wish you may hear no more of
this journey! If you should, this time, the Complaints will come
from her side.
You have got the Sposo(654) Coventry with you, have not you? And
you are going to have the Duke of York. You will not want such a
nobody as me. When I have a good opportunity, I will tell you
some very sensible advice that has been given me on that head,
which I am sure you will approve.
It is well for me I am not a Russian. I should certainly be
knouted. The murder of the young Czar Ivan has sluiced again all
my abhorrence of the czarina. What a devil in a diadem! I
wonder they can spare such a principal performer from hell!
I had left this letter unfinished, from want of common materials,
if I should send it by the post; and from want of private
conveyance, if I said more than was fit for the post. being Just
returned from Park-place, where I have been for three days, I not
only find your extremely kind letter of August 21st, but a card
from Madame de Chabot, who tells me she sets out for Paris in a
day or two. and offers to carry a letter to you, which gives me
the opportunity I wished for.
I must begin with what you conclude-your most friendly
offer,(655) if I should be distressed by the treasury. I can
never thank you enough for this, nor the tender manner in which
you clothe it: though, believe me, my dear lord, I could never
blush to be obliged to you. In truth, though I do not doubt
their disposition to hurt me, I have had prudence enough to make
it much longer than their reign Can last, before it could be in
their power to make me feel want. With all my extravagance, I am
much beforehand, and having perfected and paid for what I wished
to do here, my common expenses are trifling, and nobody can live
more frugally than I, when I have a mind to it. What I said of
fearing temptations at Paris, was barely serious: I thought it
imprudent, just now, to throw away my money; but that
consideration, singly, would not keep me here. I am eager to be
with you, and my chief reason for delaying is, that I wish to
make a longer stay than I could just now. The advice I hinted
at, in the former part of this letter, was Lady Suffolk's, and I
am sure you will think it very sensible. She told me, should I
now go to Paris, all the world would say I went to try to
persuade you to resign; that even the report would be impertinent
to you, to whom she knew and saw I wished so well; and that when
I should return, it would be said I had failed in MY errand.
Added to this, which was surely very prudent and friendly advice,
I will own to you fairly, that I think I shall soon have it in my
power to come to you on the foot I wish,--I mean, having done
with politics, which I have told you all along, and with great
truth, are as much my abhorrence as yours. I think this
administration cannot last till Christmas, and I believe they
themselves think so. I am cautious when I say this, because I
promise you faithfully, the last thing I will do shall be to give
you any false lights knowingly. I am clear, I repeat it, against
your resigning now; and there is no meaning in all I have taken
the liberty to say to you, and which you receive with so much
goodness and sense, but to put you on your guard in such ticklish
times, and to pave imperceptibly to the world the way to your
reunion with your friends. In your brother, I am persuaded, you
will never find any alteration; and whenever you find an
opportunity proper, his credit with particular persons will
remove any coldness that may have happened. I admire the force
and reasoning with which you have stated your own situation; and
I think there are but two points in which we differ at all. I do
not see how your brother could avoid the part he chose. It was
the administration that made it--no inclination of his. The
other is a trifle; it regards Elliot, nor is it my opinion alone
that he is at Paris on business: every body believes it, and
considering his abilities, and the present difficulties of Lord
Bute, Elliot's absence would be very extraordinary, if merely
occasioned by idleness or amusement, or even to place his
children, when it lasts so long.
The affair of Turk Island, and the late promotion of Colonel
Fletcher(656) over thirty-seven older officers, are the chief
causes, added to the Canada bills, Logwood, and the Manilla
affairs, Which have ripened our heats to such a height. Lord
Mansfield's violence against the press has contributed much--but
the great distress of all to the ministers, is the behaviour of
the Duke of Bedford, who has twice or thrice peremptorily refused
to attend council. He has been at Trentham, and crossed the
country back to Woburn, without coming to town.(657) Lord Gower
has been in town but one day. Many causes are assigned for all
this; the refusal of making Lord Waldegrave of the bedchamber;
Lord Tavistocl('s inclination to the minority; and above all, a
reversion, which it is believed Lord Bute has been so weak as to
obtain, of Ampthill, a royal grant, in which the Duke has but
sixteen years to come. You know enough of that court, to know
that, in the article of Bedfordshire, no influence has any weight
with his grace. At present, indeed, I believe little is tried.
The Duchess and Lady Bute are as hostile as possible. Rigby's
journey convinces me of what I have long suspected, that his
reign is at an end. I have even heard, though I am far from
trusting to the quarter from which I had my intelligence, that
the Duke has been making overtures to Mr. Pitt,(658) which have
not been received unfavourably; I shall know more of this soon,
as I am to go to Stowe in three or four days. Mr. Pitt is
exceedingly well-disposed to your brother, talks highly of him,
and of the injustice done to him, and they are to meet on the
first convenient opportunity. Thus much for politics, which,
however, I cannot quit, without again telling you how sensible I
am of all your goodness and friendly offers.
The Court, independent of politics, makes a strange figure. The
recluse life led here at Richmond, which is carried to such an
excess of privacy and economy, that the Queen's friseur waits on
them at dinner, and that four pounds only of beef are allowed for
their soup, disgusts all sorts of people. The drawing-rooms are
abandoned: Lady Buckingham(659) was the only woman there on
Sunday se'nnight. The Duke of York was commanded home. They
stopped his remittances,(660) and then were alarmed on finding he
still was somehow or other supplied with money. The two next
Princes(661) are at the Pavilions at Hampton Court, in very
private circumstances indeed; no household is to be established
for Prince William, who accedes nearer to the malcontents every
day. In short, one hears of nothing but dissatisfaction, which
in the city rises almost to treason.
Mrs. Cornwallis(662) has found that her husband has been
dismissed from the bedchamber this twelvemonth with no notice:
his appointments were even paid; but on this discovery they are
You ask about what I had mentioned in the beginning of my letter,
the dissensions in the house of Grafton. The world says they are
actually parted: I do not believe that; but I will tell you
exactly all I know. His grace, it seems, for many months has
kept one Nancy Parsons,(663) one of the commonest creatures in
London, one much liked, but out of date. He is certainly grown
immoderately attached to her, so much, that it has put an end to
all his decorum. She was publicly with him at Ascot races, and
is now in the forest;(664) I do not know if actually in the
house. At first, I concluded this was merely stratagem to pique
the Duchess; but it certainly goes further. Before the Duchess
laid in, she had a little house on Richmond-Hill, whither the
Duke sometimes, though seldom, came to dine. During her month of
confinement, he was scarcely in town at all, nor did he even come
up to see the Duke of Devonshire. The Duchess is certainly gone
to her father. She affected to talk of the Duke familiarly, and
said she would call in the forest as she went to Lord
Ravensworth's. I suspect she is gone thither to recriminate and
complain. She did not talk of returning till October. It was