Part 11 out of 17
said the Duke was going to France, but I hear no more of it.
Thus the affair stands, as far as I or your brother, or the
Cavendishes, know; nor have we heard one word from either Duke or
Duchess of any rupture. I hope she will not be so weak as to
part, and that her father and mother will prevent it. It is not
unlucky that she has seen none of the Bedfords lately, who would
be glad to blow the coals. Lady Waldegrave was with her one day,
but I believe not alone.
There was nobody at Park-place but Lord and Lady William
Campbell.(665) Old Sir John Barnard(666) is dead; for other
news, I have none. I beg you will always say a great deal for me
to my lady. As I trouble you with such long letters, it would be
unreasonable to overwhelm her too. You know my attachment to
every thing that is yours. My warmest wish is to see an end of
the present unhappy posture of public affairs, which operate so
shockingly even on our private. If I can once get quit of them,
it will be no easy matter to involve me in them again, however
difficult it may be, as you have found, to escape them. Nobody
is more criminal in my eyes than George Grenville, who had it in
his power to prevent what has happened to your brother. Nothing
could be more repugnant to all the principles he has ever most
avowedly and publicly professed--but he has opened my eyes--such
a mixture of vanity and meanness, of falsehood(667) and
hypocrisy, is not common even in this country! It is a
ridiculous embarras after all the rest, and yet you may conceive
the distress I am under about Lady Blandford,(668) and the
negotiations I am forced to employ to avoid meeting him there,
which I am determined not to do.
I shall be able, when I see you, to divert you with some
excellent stories of a principal figure on our side; but they are
too long and too many for a letter, especially of a letter so
prolix as this. Adieu, my dear lord!
(651) A small island, also called Tortuga, near St. Domingo, of
which a French squadron had dispossessed some English settlers.
This proceeding was, however, immediately disavowed by the
French, and orders were immediately despatched for restitution
and compensation to the sufferers. We can easily gather from Mr.
Walpole's own expressions why this affair was raised into such
(652) Thomas Bouldby, Esq. and his lady, sister of the first Duke
of Montagu, of the second creation.-E.
(653) Dr. George Stone.
(654) see ant`e, p. 332, letter 218.
(655) This affair is creditable to all the parties. When General
Conway was turned out, Mr Walpole placed all his fortune at his
disposal, in a very generous letter (p. 316, letter 205). This
induced Mr. Walpole to think of economy, and to state in a former
letter (p. 332, letter 218) some apprehension as to his
circumstances; in reply to which, Lord Hertford, who had already
made a similar proposition to General Conway, now offers to place
Mr. Walpole above the pecuniary difficulties which he
(656) Colonel Fletcher of the 35th foot.-E.
(657) Not very surprising, however, as London would have been
about eighty miles round.-C.
(658) The following is a passage from a letter written by Mr.
Pitt to the Duke of Newcastle, in October, in reply to one of
these overtures:--"As for my single self, I purpose to continue
acting through life upon the best convictions I am able to form,
and Under the obligation of principles, not by the force of any
particular bargains. I presume not to judge for those who think
they see daylight to serve their country by such means: but shall
continue myself, as often as I think it worth the while to go to
the House of Commons, to go there free from stipulation-, about
every question under consideration, as well as to come out of the
House as free as I entered it. Having seen the close of last
session, and the system of that great war, in which my share of
the ministry was so largely arraigned, given up by silence in a
full House, I have little thoughts of beginning the world again
upon a new centre of union. Your grace will not, I trust, wonder
if, after so recent and so strange a phenomenon in politics, I
have no disposition to quit the free condition of a man standing
single, and daring to appeal to his country at large, upon the
soundness of his principles and the rectitude of his conduct."
See Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 296.-E.
(659) Mary Anne Drury, wife Of John, second Earl of
(660) Mr. Walpole gives an unfair turn to this circumstance. The
stopping the Duke of York's remittances, and ordering him home,
was a measure of prudence, not to say of necessity, for that
young Prince's extravagance abroad had made a public clamour; so
much so, that a popular preacher delivered, about this time, a
sermon on the following text:--"The younger son gathered all
together, and took his journey into a far country, and there
wasted his substance with riotous living." St. Luke, xv. 13. The
letters and even the publications of the day allude to this
extravagance, and surely it was the duty of his brother and
sovereign to repress an indiscretion which occasioned such
(661) William, created, in November, 1764, Duke of Gloucester;
and Henry created, in 1766, Duke of cumberland. The injustice of
mr. Walpole's insinuations will be evident, when it is
remembered that, at the date of this letter, the eldest of these
Princes was but twenty, and the other eighteen years of age, and
that they were both created Dukes, and had households established
for them as soon as they respectively came of age-C.
(662) Mary, daughter of Charles, second Viscount Townshend, wife
of Edward, sixth son of the third Lord Cornwallis. I suspect
that here again Mr. Walpole's accusation is not correct. General
Cornwallis had been groom of the bedchamber to George II., and
was continued in the same office by the successor, till he was
appointed Governor of Gibraltar, when Mr. Henry Seymour was
appointed in his room.-C.
(663) This scandal has been immortalized by Junius.-C.
(664) At Wakefield Lodge, in Whittlebury Forest,
(665) Lord William, brother of General Conway's lady, and third
brother of the fifth Duke of Argyle; his wife was Sarah, daughter
of W. Teard, Esq. of Charleston.-E.
(666) Father of the city, which he had represented in six
parliaments. He had been a very leading member of the House of
Commons, and was much deferred to on all matters of commerce.-C.
(667) See ant`e, p. 272, letter 188.
(668) Maria Catherine de Jonge, a Dutch Lady, widow of William
Godolphin, Marquis of Blandford, and sister of Isabella Countess
of Denbigh; they were near neighbours and intimate acquaintances
of Mr. Walpole's.@.
Letter 221 To The Right Hon. William Pitt.(669)
Arlington Street, Aug. 29, 1764. (page 343)
As you have always permitted me to offer you the trifles printed
at my press, I am glad to have one to send you of a little more
consequence than some in which I have had myself too great a
share. The singularity of the work I now trouble you with is
greater merit than its rarity; though there are but two hundred
copies, of which only half are mine.(670) If it amuses an hour
or two of your idle time, I am overpaid. My greatest ambition is
to pay that respect which every Englishman owes to your character
and services; and therefore you must not wonder if an
inconsiderable man seizes every opportunity, however awkwardly,
of assuring you, Sir, that he is Your most devoted, etc.
(669) Now first collected.
(670) The Life of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. See ant`e, p. 329,
Letter 222 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 29, 1764. (page 343)
Among the multitude of my papers I have mislaid, though not lost,
the account you was so good as to give me of your ancestor Toer,
as a painter. I have been hunting for it to insert it in the new
edition of my Anecdotes. It is not very reasonable to save
myself trouble at the expense of yours; but perhaps you can much
sooner turn to your notes, than I find your letter. Will you be
so good as to send me soon all the particulars you recollect of
him. I have a print of Sir Lionel Jenkins from his painting.
I did not send you any more orange flowers, as you desired; for
the continued rains rotted all the latter blow: but I had made a
vast potpourri, from whence you shall have as much as you please,
when I have the pleasure of seeing you here, which I should be
glad might be in the beginning of October, if it suits your
convenience. At the same time you shall have a print of Lord
Herbert, which I think I did not send you.
P. S. I trust you will bring me a volume or two of your MSS. of
which I am most thirsty.
Letter 223 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
September 1, 1764. (page 344)
I send you the reply to the Counter-address;(671) it is the
lowest of all Grub-street, and I hear is treated so. They have
nothing better to say, than that I am in love with you, have been
so these twenty years, and am no giant. I am a very constant old
swain: they might have made the years above thirty; it is so long
I have the same unalterable friendship for you, independent of
being near relations and bred up together. For arguments, so far
from any new ones, the man gives up or denies most of the former.
I own I am rejoiced not only to see how little they can defend
themselves, but to know the extent of their malice and revenge.
They must be sorely hurt, to be reduced to such scurrility. Yet
there is one paragraph, however, which I think is of George
Grenville's own inditing. It says, "I flattered, solicited, and
then basely deserted him." I no more expected to hear myself
accused of flattery, than of being in love with you; but I shall
not laugh at the former as I do at the latter. Nothing but his
own consummate vanity could suppose I had ever stooped to flatter
him! or that any man was connected with him, but who was low
enough to be paid for it. Where has he one such attachment?
You have your share too. The miscarriage at Rochfort now
directly laid at your door! repeated insinuations against your
courage. But I trust you will mind them no more than I do,
excepting the flattery, which I shall not forget, I promise them.
I came to town yesterday on some business, and found a case.
When I opened it, what was there but my Lady Ailesbury's most
beautiful of all pictures!(672) Don't imagine I can think it
intended for me: or that, if it could be so, I would hear of such
a thing. It is far above what can be parted with, or accepted.
I am serious--there is no letting such a picture, when one has
accomplished it, go from where one can see it every day. I
should take the thought equally kind and friendly, but she must
let me bring it back, if I am not to do any thing else with it,
and it came by mistake. I am not so selfish as to deprive her of
what she must have such pleasure in seeing. I shall have more
satisfaction in seeing it at Park-place; where, in spite of the
worst kind of malice, I shall persist in saying my heart is
fixed. They may ruin me, but no calumny shall make me desert
you. Indeed your case would be completely cruel, if it was more
honourable for your relations and friends to abandon you than to
stick to you. My option is made, and I scorn their abuse as much
as I despise their power.
I think of coming to you on Thursday next for a day or two,
unless your house is full, or you hear from me to the contrary.
Adieu! Yours ever.
(671) A pamphlet written by Mr. Walpole, in answer to another,
called ,An Address to the Public on the late Dismissal of a
(672) A landscape executed in worsteds by Lady Ailesbury. It is
now at Strawberry Hill.
Letter 224 To The Rev. Dr. Birch.
September 3, 1764. (page 345)
I am extremely obliged to you for the favour of your letter, and
the enclosed curious one of Sir William Herbert. It would have
made a very valuable addition to Lord Herbert's Life, which is
now too late; as I have no hope that Lord Powis will permit any
more to be printed. There were indeed so very few, and but half
of those for my share, that I have not it in my power to offer
you a copy, having disposed of my part. It is really a pity that
so singular a curiosity should not be public; but I must not
complain, as Lord Powis has been so good as to indulge my request
thus far. I am, Sir, Your much obliged humble servant, H. W.
Letter 225 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 5, 1764. (page 345)
My dear lord,
Though I wrote to you but a few days ago, I must trouble you with
another line now. Dr. Blanchard, a Cambridge divine, and who has
a good paternal estate in Yorkshire, is on his travels, which he
performs as a gentleman; and, therefore, wishes not to have his
profession noticed. He is very desirous of paying his respects
to you, and of being countenanced by you while he stays at Paris.
It will much oblige a particular friend of mine, and consequently
me, if you will favour him with your attention. Every body
experiences your goodness, but in the present case I wish to
attribute it a little to my request.
I asked you about two books, ascribed to Madame de Boufflers. if
they are hers, I should be glad to know where she found, that
Oliver Cromwell took orders and went over to Holland to fight the
Dutch. As she has been on the spot where he reigned (which is
generally very strong evidence), her countrymen will believe her
in spite of our teeth; and Voltaire, who loves all anecdotes that
never happened, because they prove the manners of the times, will
hurry it into the first history he publishes. I, therefore,
enter my caveat against it; not as interested for Oliver's
character, but to save the world from one more fable. I know
Madame de Boufflers will attribute this scruple to my partiality
to Cromwell (and, to be sure, if we must be ridden, there is some
satisfaction when the man knows how to ride). I remember one
night at the Duke of Grafton's, a bust of Cromwell was produced:
Madame de Boufflers, without uttering a syllable, gave me the
most speaking look imaginable, as much as to Say, Is it possible
you can admire this man! Apropos: I am sorry to say the reports
do not cease about the separation,(673) and yet I have heard
nothing that confirms it.
I once begged you to send me a book in three volumes, called
"Essais sur les Moeurs;" forgive me if I put you in mind of it,
and request you to send me that, or any other new book. I am
wofully in want of reading, and sick to death of all our
political stuff; which, as the Parliament is happily at the
distance of three months, I would fain forget till I cannot help
hearing of it. I am reduced to Guicciardin, and though the
evenings are so long, I cannot get through one of his periods
between dinner and supper. They tell me Mr. Hume has had sight
of King James's journal:(674) I Wish I could see all the trifling
passages that he will not deign to admit into history. I do not
love great folks till they have pulled off their buskins and put
on their slippers, because I do not care sixpence for what they
would be thought, but for what they are.
Mr. Elliot brings us woful accounts of the French ladies, of the
decency of their conversation, and the nastiness of their
Nobody is dead, married, or gone mad, since my last. Adieu!
P. S. I enclose an epitaph on Lord Waldegrave, written by my
brother,(675) which I think you will like, both for the
composition and the strict truth of it.
Arlington Street, Friday evening.
I was getting into my postchaise this morning with this letter in
my pocket, and Coming to town for a day or two, when I heard the
Duke of Cumberland was dead: I find it is not so. he had two
fits yesterday at Newmarket, whither he would go. The Princess
Amelia, who had observed great alteration in his speech,
entreated him against it. He has had too some touches of the
gout, but they were gone off, or might have prevented this
attack. I hear since the fits yesterday, which are said to have
been but slight, that his leg is broken out, and they hope will
save him. Still, I think, one cannot but expect the worst.
The letters yesterday, from Spa, give a melancholy account of the
poor Duke of Devonshire as he cannot drink the waters they think
of removing him; I suppose, to the baths at Aix-la-Chapelle; but
I look on his case as a lost one. There's a chapter for
moralizing! but five-and-forty, with forty thousand pounds
a-year and happiness wherever he turned him! My reflection is,
that it is folly to be unhappy at any thing, when felicity itself
is such a phantom.
(673) Of the Duke and Duchess of Grafton.-E.
(674) Since published, under the generous patronage of George the
Third, by Dr. Clarke, his Majesty's librarian. The work is,
however, not what Mr. Walpole contemplated: it is not a journal
of private feelings, interests, and actions, but a relation
rather of public affairs; and though the notes of James II. were
undoubtedly the foundation of the work, it was, in truth, written
by another hand, and that too a hand the least likely to have
given us the kind of memoirs which Mr. Walpole justly thinks
would have been so valuable. When an eminent person writes his
own memoirs, we have, at least, the motives which he thinks it
creditable to assign to his conduct--he has, generally the
candour of vanity, and even when he has not that candour, he is
sometimes blinded into discovering truth unawares; but nothing
can be more futile and fastidious than the meagre notes of the
original actor, fresh woven and discoloured by the hands of an
obsequious servant, who conceals all the facts he cannot explain,
and all the motives he cannot justify. Such memoirs resemble the
real life as the skeleton does the living man.-C.
(675) Sir Edward Walpole, K.B., second son of Sir Robert, and the
father of Ladies Dysart and Waldegrave, and Mrs. Keppel.-E.
Letter 226 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 5, 1764. (page 347)
It is over with us!--if I did not know your firmness, I would
have prepared you by degrees; but you are a man, and can hear the
worst at once. The Duke of Cumberland is dead. I have heard it
but this instant. The Duke of Newcastle was come to breakfast
with me, and pulled out a letter from Lord Frederick, with a
hopeless account of the poor Duke of Devonshire. Ere I could
read it, Colonel Schutz called at the door and told my servant
this fatal news! I know no more--it must be at Newmarket, and
very sudden; for the Duke of Newcastle had a letter from Hodgson,
dated on Monday, which said the Duke was perfectly well, and his
gout gone:--Yes, to be sure, into his head. Princess Amelia had
endeavoured to prevent his going to Newmarket, having perceived
great alteration in his speech, as the Duke of Newcastle had.
Well! it will not be. Every thing fights against this country!
Mr. Pitt must save it himself--or, what I do not know whether he
will not like as well, share in overturning its liberty--if they
will admit him; -which I question now if they will be fools
enough to do.
You see I write in despair. I am for the whole, but perfectly
tranquil. We have acted with honour, and have nothing to
reproach ourselves with. We cannot combat fate. We shall be
left almost alone; but I think you will no more go with the
torrent than I will. Could I have foreseen this tide of ill
fortune, I would have done just as I have done; and my conduct
shall show I am satisfied I have done right. For the rest, come
what come may, I am perfectly prepared and while there is a free
spot of earth upon the globe, that shall be my country. I am
sorry it will not be this, but to-morrow I shall be able to laugh
as usual. What signifies what happens when one is
seven-and-forty, as I am to-day!
"They tell me 'tis my birthday"--but I will not go on with
Antony, and say
----"and I'll keep it
With double pomp of sadness."
No. when they can smile, who ruin a great country'. sure those
who would have saved it may indulge themselves in that
cheerfulness which conscious integrity bestows. I think I shall
come to you next week; and since we have no longer any plan of
operations to settle, we will look over the map of Europe, and
fix upon a pleasant corner for our exile--for take notice, I do
not design to fall upon my dagger, in hopes that some Mr. Addison
a thousand years hence may write a dull tragedy about me. I will
write my own story a little more cheerfully than he would; but I
fear now I must not print it at my own press. Adieu! You was a
philosopher before you had any occasion to be so: pray continue
so; you have ample occasion! Yours ever, H. W.
Letter 227 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 13, 1764. (page 348)
Lord John Cavendish has been so kind as to send me word of the
Duke of Devonshire's(676) legacy to you.(677) You cannot doubt
of the great joy this gives me; and yet it serves to aggravate
the loss of so worthy a man! And when I feel it thus, I am
sensible how much more it will add to your concern, instead of
diminishing it. Yet do not wholly reflect on your misfortune.
You might despise the acquisition of five thousand pounds simply;
but when that sum is a public testimonial to your virtue, and
bequeathed by a man so virtuous, it is a million. Measure it
with the riches of those who have basely injured you, and it is
still more! Why, it is glory, it is conscious innocence, it is
satisfaction--it is affluence without guilt--Oh! the comfortable
sound! It is a good name in the history of these corrupt days.
There it will exist, when the wealth of your and their country's
enemies will be wasted, or will be an indelible blemish on their
My heart is full, and yet I will say no more. My best loves to
all your opulent family. Who says virtue is not rewarded in this
world? It is rewarded by virtue, and it is persecuted by the
bad. Can greater honour be paid to it?
(676) William, fourth Duke of Devonshire. During his
administration in Ireland, Mr. Conway had been secretary of state
there. He died at Spa on the 2d of October.-E.
(677) The legacy was contained in the following codicil, written
in the Duke's own hand. "I give to General Conway five thousand
pounds as a testimony of my friendship to him, and of my sense of
his Honourable conduct and friendship for me."-E.
Letter 228 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 29, 1764. (page 348)
I am glad you mentioned it: I would not have had you appear
without your close mourning for the Duke of Devonshire upon any
account. I was once going to tell you of it, knowing your
inaccuracy in such matters; but thought it still impossible you
should be ignorant how necessary it is. Lord Strafford, who has
a legacy of only two hundred pounds, wrote to consult Lady
Suffolk. She told him, for such a sum, which only implies a
ring,, it was sometimes not done but yet advised him to mourn.
In your case it is indispensable; nor can you see any of his
family without it. Besides it is much better on such an occasion
to over, than under do. I answer this paragraph first, because I
am so earnest not to have you blamed.
Besides wishing to see you all, I have wanted exceedingly to come
to you, having much to say to you; but I am confined here, that
is, Mr. Chute is: he was seized with the gout last Wednesday
se'nnight, the day he came hither to meet George Montagu, and
this is the first day he has been out of his bedchamber. I must
therefore put off our meeting till Saturday, when you shall
certainly find me in town.
We have a report here, but the authority bitter bad, that Lord
March is going to be married to Lady Conway. I don't believe it
the less for our knowing nothing of it; for unless their daughter
were breeding, and it were to save her character, neither your
brother nor Lady Hertford would disclose a tittle about it. Yet
in charity they should advertise it, that parents and relations,
if it is so, may lock up all knives, ropes, laudanum, and rivers,
lest it should occasion a violent mortality among his fair
I am charmed with an answer I have just read in the papers of a
man in Bedlam, who was ill-used by -,in apprentice because he
Would not tell him why he was confined there. The unhappy
creature said at last, "Because God has deprived me of a blessing
which you never enjoyed." There never was any thing finer or more
moving! Your sensibility will not be quite so much affected by a
story I heard t'other day of Sir Fletcher Norton. He has a
mother--yes, a mother: perhaps you thought that, like that tender
----duris in cotibus illum
Ismarus, aut Rhodope, aut extremi Garamantes,
Nec nostri generis puerum nec sanguinis edunt.
Well, Mrs. Rhodope lives in a mighty shabby hovel at Preston,
which the dutiful and affectionate Sir Fletcher began to think
not suitable to the dignity of one who has the honour of being
his parent. He cheapened a better, in which were two pictures
which the proprietor valued at threescore pounds. The
attorney(678) insisted on having them for nothing, as fixtures-
-the landlord refused, the bargain was broken off, and the
dowager Madam Norton remains in her original hut. I could tell
you another story which you would not dislike; but as it might
hurt the person concerned, if it was known, I shall not send it
by the post; but will tell you when I see you. Adieu!
(678) Sir Fletcher Norton, afterwards Lord Grantley, had been
appointed attorney-general in the preceding December.-E.
Letter 229 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, Nov. 1, 1764. (page 350)
I am not only pleased, my dear lord, to have been the first to
announce your brother's legacy to you, but I am glad whenever my
news reach you without being quite stale. I see but few persons
here. I begin my letters without knowing when I shall be able to
fill them, and then am to winnow a little what I hear, that I may
not send you absolute secondhand fables: for though I cannot
warrant all I tell you, I hate to send you every improbable tale
that is vented. You like, as one always does in absence, to hear
the common occurrences of your own country; and you see I am very
glad to be your gazetteer, provided you do not rank my letters
upon any higher foot. I should be ashamed of such gossiping, if
I did not consider it as chatting with you en famille, as we used
to do at supper in Grosvenor-street.
The Duke of Devonshire has made splendid provision for his
younger children; to Lady Dorothy,(679) 30,000 pounds; Lord
Richard and Lord George will have about 4,000 pounds a-year
apiece: for, besides landed estates, he has left them his whole
personal estate without exception, only obliging the present Duke
to redeem Devonshire-house, and the entire collection in it, for
20,000 pounds: he gives 500 pounds to each of his brothers, and
200 pounds to Lord Strafford, with some other inconsiderable
legacies. Lord Frederick carried the garter, and was treated by
the King with very gracious speeches of concern.
The Duke of Cumberland is quite recovered, after an incision of
many inches in his knee. Ranby(680) did not dare to propose that
a hero should be tied, but was frightened out of his senses when
the hero would hold the candle himself, which none of his
generals could bear to do: in the middle of the operation, the
Duke said, "Hold!" Ranby said, "For God's sake, Sir, let me
proceed now--it will be worse to renew it." The Duke repeated, "I
say hold!" and then calmly bade them give Ranby a clean waistcoat
and cap; for, said he, the poor man has sweated through these.
It was true; but the Duke did not utter a groan.
Have you heard that Lady Susan O'Brien's is not the last romance
of the sort? Lord Rockingham's youngest sister, Lady
Harriot,(681) has stooped even lower than a theatric swain, and
married her footman; but still it is you Irish(682) that commit
all the havoc. Lady Harriot, however, has mixed a wonderful
degree of prudence with her potion, and considering how plain she
is, has not, I think, sweetened the draught too much for her
lover: she settles a single hundred pound a-year upon him for his
life; entails her whole fortune on their children, if they have
any; and, if not, on her own family; nay, in the height of the
novel, provides for a separation, and insures the same pin-money
to Damon, in case they part. This deed she has vested out of her
power, by sending it to Lord Mansfield,(683) whom she makes her
trustee; it is drawn up in her own hand, and Lord Mansfield says
is as binding as any lawyer could make it. Did one ever hear of
more reflection in a delirium! Well, but hear more: she has
given away all her clothes, nay, and her ladyship, and says,
linen gowns are properest for a footman's wife, and is gone to
his family in Ireland, plain Mrs. Henrietta Surgeon. I think it
is not clear that she is mad, but I have no doubt but Lady
Bel(684) will be so who could not digest Dr. Duncan, nor even Mr.
My last told you of my sister's promotion.(685) I hear she is to
be succeeded at Kensington by Miss Floyd, who lives with Lady
Bolingbroke; but I beg you not to report this till you see it in
a Gazette of better authority than mine, who have it only from
fame and Mrs. A. Pitt.
I have not seen M. de Guerchy yet, having been in town but one
night since his return. You are very kind in accepting, on your
own account, his obliging expressions about me: I know no
foundation on which I should like better to receive them,: the
truth is he has distinguished me extremely, and when a person in
his situation shows much attention to a person so very
insignificant as I am, one is apt to believe it exceeds common
compliment: at least, I attribute it to the esteem which he could
not but see I conceived for him. His civility is so natural, and
his good nature so strongly marked, that I connected much more
with him than I am apt to do with new acquaintances. I pitied
the various disgusts he received, and I believe he saw I did. If
I felt for him, you may judge how much I am concerned that you
have your share. I foresaw it was unavoidable, from the swarms
of your countrymen that flock to Paris, and generally the worst
part; boys and governors are woful exports. I saw a great deal
of it when I lived with poor Sir Horace Mann at Florence-but you
have the whole market. We are a wonderful people-I would not be
our King,(686) our minister, or our ambassador, for the Indies.
One comfort, however, I can truly give you; I have heard their
complaints, if they have any, from nobody but yourself. Jesus!
if they are not content now, I wish they knew how the English
were received at Paris twenty years ago--why, you and I know they
were not received at all. Ay, and when the fashion of admiring
English is past, it will be just so again; and very reasonably-
-who would open their house to every staring booby from another
Arlington Street, Nov. 3.
I came to town to-day to meet your brother, who is going to
Euston and Thetford,(687) and hope he will bring back a good
account of the domestic history,(688) of which we can learn
nothing authentic. Fitzroy(689) knows nothing. The town says
the Duchess is going thither.
We have been this evening with Duchess Hamilton,(690) who is
arrived from Scotland, visibly promising another Lord Campbell.
I shall take this opportunity of seeing M. de Guerchy, and that
opportunity, of sending this letter, and one from your brother.
Our politics are all at a stand. The Duke of Devonshire's death,
I concluded, would make the ministry all powerful, all
triumphant, and all insolent. It does not appear to have done
so. They are, I believe, extremely ill among themselves, and not
better in their affairs foreign or domestic. The cider counties
have instructed their members to join the minority. The house of
Yorke seems to have laid aside their coldness and irresolution,
and to look towards opposition. The unpopularity of the court is
very great indeed--still I shall not be surprised if they
maintain their ground a little longer.
There is nothing new in the way of publication: the town itself'
is still a desert. I have twice passed by Arthur's(691) to-day,
and not seen a chariot.
Hogarth is dead, and Mrs. Spence, who lived with the Duchess of
Newcastle.(692) She had saved 20,000 pounds which she leaves to
her sister for life, and after her, to Tommy Pelham. Ned
Finch(693) has got an estate from an old Mrs. Hatton of 1500
pounds a year, and takes her name.
Adieu! my lord and lady, and your whole et cetera.
(679) Lady Dorothy married, in 1766, the Duke of Portland.-E.
(680) A celebrated surgeon of the day. He was serjeant-surgeon
to the King, and F. R. S.-E.
(681) Lady Henrietta Alicia Wentworth, born in 1737; married Mr.
(682) Lord Hertford was an Irish peer; he had besides so large a
fortune there, and paid so much attention to the interests of
that country,, that Mr. Walpole calls him Irish.-C.
(683) Lord Mansfield had married Lady Harriot's aunt.-E.
(684) Lady Isibella Finch, lady of the bedchamber to Princess
Amelia, was Lady Harriot's aunt. The Mr. Milbank here mentioned
had married Lady Mary Wentworth, the elder sister of Lady
(685) From being housekeeper at Kensington Palace, to the same
office at Windsor Castle; but Mr. Walpole is mistaken as to the
name of her successor: it was Miss Roche loyd.-C.
(686) It is due to the character of the King and the ministers,
whom Mr. Walpole so often and so wantonly depreciates, to solicit
the reader's attention to such passages as this, in which he
imputes to others, and therefore implies in himself, an unfair
disposition to criticise and censure.-C.
(687) He was member for Thetford.-E.
(688) Of the Grafton family.-E.
(689) Colonel Charles Fitzroy. See ant`e, p. 261, Letter 185.-E.
(690) Elizabeth Gunning, widow of James, sixth Duke of Hamilton,
and wife, in 1759, of John, fifth Duke of Argyle.-E.
(691) The fashionable club in St. James's Street.-E.
(692) The Duke of Newcastle, in a letter to Mr. Pitt of the 19th
of October, says, "The many great losses, both public and
private, which we have had this summer, have very greatly
affected the Duchess; and the last of all, of her old friend and
companion of above forty-five years, poor Mrs. Spence, has added
much to the melancholy situation in which she was before."
Chatham Correspondence, vol, ii. p. 295.-E.
(693) Edward, fifth son of the sixth Earl of Winchelsea. Mrs.
Hatton was his maternal aunt, sister of the last Viscount
Letter 230 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Nov. 8, 1764. (page 352)
I am much disappointed, I own, dear Sir, at not seeing you: more
so, as I fear it will be long before I shall, for I think of
going to paris early in February. I ought indeed to go directly,
as the winter does not agree with me here. Without being
positively ill, I am positively not well: about this time of
year, I have little fevers every night, and pains in my breast
and stomach, which bid me repair to a more flannel climate.
These little complaints are already begun, and as soon as affairs
will permit me, I mean to transport them southward.
I am sorry it is out of my power to make the addition you wish to
Mr. Tuer's article: many of the following sheets are printed off,
and there is no inserting any thing now, without shoving the
whole text forward, which you see is impossible. You promised to
bring me a portrait of him: as I shall have four or five new
plates, I can get his head into one of them: will you send it as
soon as you can possibly to my house in Arlington-street; I will
take great care of it-, and return it to you safe.
Letter 231 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, Nov. 9, 1764. (page 353)
I don't know whether this letter will not reach you, my dear
lord, before one that I sent to you last week by a private hand,
along with one from your brother. I write this by my Lord
Chamberlain's order--you may interpret it as you please, either
as by some new connexion of the Bedford squadron with the
opposition, or as a commission to you, my lord ambassador. As
yet, I believe you had better take it upon the latter foundation,
though the Duke of Bedford has crossed the country from Bath to
Woburn, without coming to town. Be that as it may, here is the
negotiation intrusted to you. You are desired by my Lord Gower
to apply to the gentilhomme de la chambre for leave for
Doberval(694) the dancer, who was here last year, to return and
dance at our Opera forthwith. If the court of France -will
comply with this request, we will send them a discharge in full,
for the Canada bills and the ransom of their prisoners, and we
will permit Monsieur D'Estain to command in the West Indies,
whether we will or not. The city of London must not know a word
of this treaty, for they hate any mortal should be diverted but
themselves, especially by any thing relative to harmony. It is,
I own, betraying my country and my patriotism to be concerned in
a job of this kind. I am sensible that there is not a weaver in
Spitalfields but can dance better than the first performer in the
French Opera; and yet, how could I refuse this commission? Mrs.
George Pitt delivered it to me just now, at Lord Holderness's at
Sion, and as my virtue has not yet been able to root out all my
good-breeding--though I trust it will in time--I could not help
promising that I would write to you--nay, and engaged that you
would undertake it. When I venture, sure you may, who are out of
the reach of a mob!
I believe this letter will go by Monsieur Beaumont. He
breakfasted here t'other morning, and pleased me exceedingly: he
has great spirit and good-humour. It is incredible what pains he
has taken to see. He has seen Oxford, Bath, Blenheim, Stowe,
Jews, Quakers, Mr. Pitt, the Royal Society, the Robinhood, Lord
Chief-Justice Pratt, the Arts-and-Sciences, has dined at
Wildman's, and, I think, with my Lord Mayor, or is to do.
Monsieur de Guerchy is full of your praises; I am to go to
Park-place with him next week, to make your brother a visit.
You know how I hate telling you false news: all I can do, is to
retract as fast as I can. I fear I was too hasty in an article I
sent you in my last, though I then mentioned it only as a report.
I doubt, what we wish in a private family(695) will not be
exactly the event.
The Duke of Cumberland has had a dangerous sore-throat, but is
recovered. In one of the bitterest days that could be felt, he
would go upon the course at Newmarket with the windows of his
landau down. Newmarket-heath, at no time of the year, is placed
under the torrid zone. I can conceive a hero welcoming death, or
at least despising it; but if I was covered with more laurels
than a boar's head at Christmas, I should hate pain, and Ranby,
and an operation. His nephew of York has been at Blenheim, where
they gave him a ball, but did not put themselves to much expense
in dancers; the figurantes were the maid-servants. You will not
doubt my authority, when I tell you my Lady Bute was my
intelligence. I heard to-day, at Sion, of some bitter verses
made at Bath, on both their graces of Bedford. I have not seen
them, nor, if I had them, would I send them to you before they
are in print, which I conclude they will be, for I am sorry to
say, scandalous abuse is not the commodity which either side is
sparing of. You can conceive nothing beyond the epigrams which
have been in the papers, on a pair of doves and a parrot that
Lord Bute has sent to the Princess.(696)
I hear-but this is another of my paragraphs that I am far from
giving you for sterling--that Lord Sandwich is to have the Duke
of Devonshire's garter; Lord Northumberland stands against Lord
Morton,(697) for president of the Royal Society, in the room of
Lord Macclesfield. As this latter article will have no bad
consequences if it should prove true, you may believe it. Earl
Poulet is dead, and Soame, who married Mrs. Naylor's sister.
You will wonder more at what I am going to tell you in the last
place: I am preparing, in earnest, to make you a visit-not next
week, but seriously in February. After postponing it for seven
idle months, you will stare at my thinking of it just after the
meeting Of the Parliament. Why, that is just one of my principal
reasons. I will stay and see the opening and one or two
divisions; the minority will be able to be the majority, or they
will not: if they can, they will not want me, who want nothing of
them: if they cannot, I am sure I can do them no good, and shall
take my leave of them;--I mean always, to be sure, if things do
not turn on a few votes: they shall not call me a deserter. In
every other case, I am so sick of politics, which I have long
detested, that I must bid adieu to them. I have acted the part
by your brother that I thought right. He approves what I have
done, and what I mean to do; so do the few I esteem, for I have
notified my intention; and for the rest of the world, they may
think what they please. In truth, I have a better reason, which
would prescribe my setting out directly, if it was consistent
with my honour. I have a return of those nightly fevers and
pains in my breast, which have come for the three last years -,it
this season: change of air and a better climate are certainly
necessary to me in winter. I shall thus indulge my inclinations
every way. I long to see you and my Lady Hertford, and am
wofully sick of the follies and distractions of this country, to
which I see no end, come what changes will! Now, do you wonder
any longer at my resolution? In the mean time adieu for the
(694) D'Auberval was not only a celebrated dancer, but a composer
(695) The reconciliation of the Duke and Duchess of Grafton.-E.
(696) The Princess Dowager of Wales.
(697) Lord Morton was elected.
Letter 232 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey.
November 10, 1764. (page 355)
Soh! madam, you expect to be thanked, because you have done a
very obliging thing.(698) But I won't thank you, and I won't be
obliged. It is very hard one can't come into your house and
commend any thing, but you must recollect it and send it after
one! I will never dine in your house again; and, when I do, I
will like nothing; and when I do, I will commend nothing; and
when I do, you shan't remember it. You are very grateful indeed
to Providence that give you so good a memory, to stuff it with
nothing but bills of fare of what every body likes to eat and
drink! I wonder you are not ashamed! Do you think there is no
such thing as gluttony of the memory?--You a Christian! A pretty
account you will be able to give of yourself!-Your fine folks in
France may call this friendship and attention, perhaps--but sure,
if I was to go to the devil, it should be for thinking of nothing
but myself, not of others, from morning to night. I would send
back your temptations; but, as I will not be obliged to you for
them, verily I shall retain them to punish you; ingratitude being
a proper chastisement for sinful friendliness. Thine in the
spirit, Pilchard Whitfield.
(698) Lady Hervey, it is supposed, had sent Mr. Walpole some
Letter 233 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, Nov. 25, 1764. (page 356)
Could you be so kind, my dear lord, as to recollect Dr.
Blanchard, after so long an interval. It will make me still more
cautious of giving recommendations to you, instead of drawing
upon the credit you give me. I saw Mr. Stanley last night at the
Opera, who made his court extremely to me by what he said of you.
It was our first opera, and I went to town to hear Manzoli,(699)
who did not quite answer my expectation, though a very fine
singer, but his voice has been younger, and wants the touching
tones of Elisi.(700) However, the audience was not so nice, but
applauded him immoderately, and encored three of his songs. The
first woman was advertised for a perfect beauty, with no voice;
but her beauty and voice are by no means so unequally balanced:
she has a pretty little small pipe, and only a pretty little
small person, and share of beauty, and does not act ill. There
is Tenducci, a moderate tenor, and all the rest intolerable. If
you don't make haste and send us Doberval, I don't know what we
shall do. The dances were not only hissed, as truly they
deserved to be, but the gallery, `a la Drury-lane, cried out, ,
Off! off!" The boxes were empty, for so is the town, to a degree.
The person,(701) who ordered me to write to you for Dobeval, was
reduced to languish in the Duchess of Hamilton's box. My
Duchess(702) does not appear yet--I fear.
Shall I tell you any thing about D'Eon? it is sending coals to
Paris: you must know his story better than me; so in two words
Vergy, his antagonist, is become his convert:(703) has wrote for
him and sworn for him,--nay, has made an affidavit before Judge
Wilmot, that Monsieur de Guerchy had hired him to stab or poison
D'Eon. Did you ever see a man who had less of an assassin than
your pendant, as Nivernois calls it! In short, the story is as
clumsy, as abominable. The King's Bench cited D'Eon to receive
his sentence: he absconds: that court issued a warrant to search
for him and a house in Scotland-yard, where he lodged, was broken
open, but in vain. If there is any thing more, you know it
yourself. This law transaction is buried in another. The Master
of the Rolls, Sir Thomas Clarke, is dead, and Norton succeeds.
Who do you think succeeds him? his predecessor.(704) The house
of York is returned to the house of Lancaster: they could not
keep their white roses pure. I have not a little suspicion that
disappointment has contributed to this faux-pas. Sir Thomas made
a new will the day before he died, and gave his vast fortune, not
to Mr. Yorke, as was expected, but to Lord Macclesfield, to whom,
it is come out, he was natural brother. Norton, besides the
Rolls, which are for lite, and near 3,000 pounds a-year, has a
pension of 1,200 pounds. Mrs. Anne Pitt, too, has got a third
pension: so you see we are not quite such beggars as you
Prince William, you know, is Duke of Gloucester, with the same
appanage as the Duke of York. Legrand(705) is his Cadogan;
Clinton(706) and Ligonier(707) his grooms.
Colonel Crawford is dead at Minorca, and Colonel Burton has his
regiment; the Primate (Stone) is better, but I suppose, from his
distemper, which is a dropsy in his breast, irrecoverable. Your
Irish queen(708) exceeds the English Queen, and follows her with
seven footmen before her chair--well! what trumperies I tell you!
but I cannot help it--Wilkes is outlawed, D'Eon run away, and
Churchill dead--till some new genius arises, you must take up
with the operas, and pensions, and seven footmen. But patience!
your country is seldom sterile long.
George Selwyn has written hither his lamentations about that
Cossack Princess. I am glad of it, for I did but hint it to my
Lady Rervey, (though I give you my word, without quoting you,
which I never do upon the most trifling occurrences,) and I was
cut very short, and told it was impossible. A la bonne heure!
Pray, who is Lord March(709) going to marry? We hear so, but
nobody named. I had not heard of your losses at whisk; but if I
had, should not have been terrified: you know whisk gives no
fatal ideas to any body that has been at Arthur's and seen
hazard, Quinze, and Trente-et-Quarante. I beg you will prevail
on the King of France to let Monsieur de Richelieu give as many
balls and f`etes as he pleases, if it is only for my diversion.
This journey to Paris is the last colt's tooth I intend ever to
cut, and I insist upon being prodigiously entertained, like a
Sposa Monacha, whom they cram with this world for a twelvemonth,
before she bids adieu to it for ever. I think, when I shut
myself up in my convent here, it will not be with the same
regret. I have for some time been glutted with the world, and
regret the friends that drop away every day; those, at least,
with whom I came into the world, already begin to make it appear
a great void. Lord Edgecumbe, Lord Waldegrave, and the Duke of
Devonshire leave a very perceptible chasm. At the Opera last
night, I felt almost ashamed to be there. Except Lady Townshend,
Lady Schaub, Lady Albemarle, and Lady Northumberland, I scarce
saw a creature whose debut there I could not remember: nay, the
greater part were maccaronies. You see I am not likely, like my
brother Cholmondeley (who, by the way, was there too), to totter
into a solitaire at threescore. The Duke de Richelieu(710) is
one of the persons I am curious to see--oh! am I to find Madame
de Boufflers, Princess of Conti? Your brother and Lady Aylesbury
are to be in town the day after to-morrow to hear Manzoli, and on
their way to Mrs. Cornwallis, who is acting l'agonisante; but
that would be treason to Lady Ailesbury. I was at Park-place
last week: the bridge is finished, and a noble object.
I shall come to you as soon as ever I have my cong`e, which I
trust will be early in February. I will let you know the moment
I can fix my time, because I shall beg you to order a small
lodging to be taken for me at no great distance from your palace,
and only for a short time, because, if I should like France
enough to stay some months I can afterwards accommodate myself to
my mind. I should like to be so near you that I could see you
whenever it would not be inconvenient to you, and without being
obliged to that intercourse with my countrymen, which I by no
means design to cultivate. If I leave the best company here, it
shall not be for the worst. I am getting out of the world, not
coming into it, and shall therefore be most indifferent about
their acquaintance, or what they think of my avoiding it. I come
to see you and my Lady Hertford, to escape from politics, and to
amuse myself with seeing, which I intend to do with all my eyes.
I abhor show, am not passionately fond of literati, don't want to
know people for a few months, and really think of nothing but
some comfortable hours with you, and indulging my curiosity.
Excuse almost a page about myself, but it was to tell you how
little trouble I hope to give you.
(699) "Manzoli's voice was the most powerful and voluminous
soprano that had been heard on our stage since the time of
Farinelli; and his manner of singing was grand and full of taste
and dignity. The lovers of music in London were more unanimous
in approving his voice and talents, than those of any other
singer within my memory." Burney.--E.
(700) Elisi, though a great singer, was a still greater actor:
his figure was large and majestic, and he had a great compass of
(701) Probably Mrs. George Pitt.-C.
(702) Of Grafton.
(703) This is altogether a very mysterious affair: M. de Vergy
was the cause of D'Eon's violent behaviour at Lord Halifax's (see
ant`e, p. 254, letter 181,); he afterwards took D'Eon's part, and
had the effrontery and the infamy to say, that he was suborned by
the French ministry to quarrel with and ruin D'Eon.-C.
(704) Mr. Charles Yorke; but we shall see, in the next letter,
that the fact on which all this imputation was built was
(705) Edward Legrand, Esq., treasurer to the Duke of Gloucester;
as the Hon. C. S. Cadogan was to the Duke of York.-E.
(706) Colonel Henry Clinton, afterwards commander-in-chief in
America, and K. B.-E.
(707) Colonel Edward Ligonier, aide-de-camp to the King.-E.
(708) The Countess of Northumberland.-E.
(709) James, third Earl of March, a lord of the bedchamber, who
subsequently, in 1778, succeeded to the dukedom of queensberry,
and was the last of that title.-E.
(710) The celebrated Mareschal Duc de Richelieu: he was born in
1696, and died in 1788. The whole of his long life was full of
adventures so extraordinary as to justify Mr. Walpole's
curiosity. The most remarkable, however, of all, had not at this
period occurred. In the year 1780, and at the age of
eighty-four, he married his third wife, and was severely
afflicted that a miscarriage of the Duchess destroyed his hopes
of another Cardinal de Richelieu; for to that eminence he
destined the child of his age. His biographer adds, that the
Duchess was an affectionate and attentive wife, notwithstanding
that her octogenarian husband tried her patience by reiterated
Letter 234 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Dec. 3, 1764. (page 358)
I love to contradict myself as fast as I can when I have told you
a lie, lest you should take me for a chambermaid, or Charles
Townshend. But how can I help it? Is this a consistent age?
How should I know people's minds, if they don't know them
themselves? In short, Charles Yorke is not attorney-general, nor
Norton master of the rolls. A qualm came across the first, and
my Lord lorn across the second, who would not have Norton in his
court. I cannot imagine why; it is so gentle, amiable, honest a
being! But I think the Chancellor says, Norton does not
understand equity, so he remains prosecutor-general. Yorke would
have taken the rolls, if they would have made it much more
considerable; but as they would not, he has recollected that it
will be clever for one Yorke to have the air of being
disinterested, so he only disgraces himself,(711) and takes a
patent of precedence over the Solicitor-General:--but do not
depend upon this--he was to have kissed hands on Friday, but has
put it off till Wednesday next--between this and that, his Virtue
may have another fit. The court ridicule him even more than the
opposition. What diverts me most, is, that the pious and dutiful
house of Yorke, who cried and roared over their father's memory,
now throw all the blame on him, and say, he forced them into
opposition--amorent nummi expellas furc`a, licet usque
recurret.(712) Sewell(713) is master of the rolls.
Well! I may grow a little more explicit to you; besides, this
letter goes to you by a private hand. I gave you little hints,
to prepare you for the separation of the house of Grafton. It is
so, and I am heartily sorry for it. Your brother is chosen by
the Duke, and General Ellison by the Duchess, to adjust the
terms, which are not yet settled. The Duke takes all on himself,
and assigns no reason but disagreement of tempers. He leaves
Lady Georgina' with her mother, who, he says, is the properest
person to educate her, and Lord Charles, till he is old enough to
be taken from the women. This behaviour is noble and generous--
still I wish they could have agreed!
This is not the only parting that makes a noise. His grace of
Kingston(714) has taken a pretty milliner from Cranborn-alley,
and carried her to Thoresby. Miss Chudleigh, at the Princess's
birthday on Friday, beat her side till she could not help having
a real pain in it, that people might inquire what was the matter;
on which she notified a pleurisy, and that she is going to the
baths of Carlsbad, in Bohemia. I hope she will not meet with the
Bulgares that demolished the Castle of Thundertentronck.(715
y) My Lady Harrington's robbery is at last come to light, and
was committed by the porter,(716) who is in Newgate.
Lady Northumberland (who, by the way, has added an eighth footman
since I wrote to you last) told Me this Morning that the Queen is
very impatient to receive an answer from Lady Hertford, about
Prince George's letters coming through your hands, as she desired
A correspondence between Legge and Lord Bute about the Hampshire
election is published to-day, by the express desire of the
former, When he was dying.(717) He showed the letters to me in
the spring, and I then did not-think them so strong or important
as he did. I am very clear it does no honour to his memory to
have them printed now. It implies want of resolution to publish
them in his lifetime, and that he died with more resentment than
I think one should care to own. I would Send them to you, but I
know Dr. Hunter takes care of such things. I hope he will send
you, too, the finest piece that I think has been written for
liberty since Lord Somers. It is called an Inquiry into the late
Doctrine on Libels, and is said to be written by one
Dunning,(718) a lawyer lately started up, who makes a great
noise. He is a sharp thorn in the sides of Lord Mansfield and
Norton, and, in truth, this book is no plaster to their pain. It
is bitter, has much unaffected wit, and is the Only tract that
ever made me understand law.(719) If Dr. Hunter does not send
you these things, I suppose he will convey them himself, as I
hear there will be a fourteenth occasion for him. Charles
Fitzroy says, Lord Halifax told Mrs. Crosby that you are to go to
Ireland. I said he l(nows you are not the most communicative
person in the world, and that you had not mentioned it--nor do I
now, by way of asking impertinent questions; but I thought you
would like to know what was said.
I return to Strawberry Hill to-morrow, but must return on
Thursday, as there is to be something at the Duke of York's that
evening, for which I have received a card. He and his brother
are most exceedingly civil and good-humoured--but I assure you
every place is like one of Shakspeare's plays:--Flourish, enter
the Duke of York, Gloucester, and attendants. Lady Irwin(720)
I have just come from a little impromptu ball at Mrs. Ann Pitt's.
I told you she had a new pension, but did I tell you it was five
hundred pounds a year? It was entertaining to see the Duchess of
Bedford and Lady Bute with their respective forces, drawn up on
different sides of the room; the latter's were most numerous. My
Lord Gower seemed very willing to promote a parley between the
two armies. It would have made you shrug up your shoulders at
dirty humanity, to see the two Miss Pelhams sit neglected,
without being asked to dance. You may imagine this could not
escape me, who have passed through the several grradations in
which Lady Jane Stuart and Miss Pelham are and have been; but I
fear poor Miss Pelham feels hers a little more than ever I
did.(721) The Duke of York's is to be a dinner and a ball for
Lady Mary Bowlby(722) gave me a commission, a genealogical one,
from my Lady Hertford, which I will execute to the best of my
power. I am glad my part is not to prove eighteen generations Of
nobility for the Bruces. I fear they have made some
mes-alliances since the days of King Robert-at least, the present
Scotch nobility are not less apt to go into Lombard-street than
My Lady Suffolk was at the ball; I asked the Prince of Masserano
whom he thought the oldest woman in the room, as I concluded he
would not guess she was. He did not know my reason for asking,
and would not tell me. At last, he said very cleverly, his own
Mr. Sarjent has sent me this evening from Les Consid`erations sur
les Moeurs," and "Le Testament Politique,"(723) for which I give
you, my dear lord, a thousand thanks. Good night!
P.S. Manzoli(724) has come a little too late, or I think he would
have as many diamond watches and snuff-boxes as Farinelli.
(711) We can venture to state, that there never was any idea of
Mr. Yorke's accepting the rolls; and it is believed that they
never were offered to him; certainly, be himself never thought of
taking that office. The patent of precedence which he did
accept, was an arrangement, which, though convenient for the
conduct of the business in court, could give no addition of
either rank or profit to a person in Mr. Yorke's circumstances.
The facts were as follow: when Mr. Yorke, in 1756, was made
solicitor-general, he was not a King's counsel; he succeeded to
be attorney-general, but on his resignation in October 1763, he
lost the precedence which his offices had given him, and he
returned to the outer bar and a stuff gown. It was a novel and
anomalous sight to see a man who had led the Chancery bar so
long, and filled the greatest office of the law, retire to
comparatively, so humble a rank in the court in which he might be
every day expected to preside; and accordingly, on his first
appearance after his resignation, the Chancellor, with the
concurrence (indeed, it has been said on the suggestion) of the
bar, called to Mr. Yorke, out of his turn, next after the King's
counsel: this irregular pre-audience had lasted above a year,
when it was thought more proper and more convenient for the
business of the court to give Mr. Yorke that formal patent of
precedence, the value and circumstances of which Mr Walpole so
much misunderstands. We have heard from old lawyers, that Mr.
Yorke's business at this period was more extensive and less
lucrative than any other man ever possessed in Chancery, and we
find no less than four other barristers had at this time patents
(712) The reader is requested to look back to p. 272, letter 188,
where he will find Mr. Walpole himself stating--long before Lord
Hardwickc's death, and even before his illness--that "the old
Chancellor was violent against the court, and that Mr. Charles
Yorke had resigned, contrary to his own; and Lord Royston's
inclination." The fact was in no way true; for it is well known
that there never was the slightest difference of opinion between
the old Lord Hardwicke and his son Charles upon their political
(713) Sir Thomas Sewell, Knight.-E.
(714) Evelyn, last Duke of Kingston: he soon after married Miss
Chudleigh, who was supposed to have been already married to Mr.
Augustus Hervey, afterwards Earl of Bristol.-C.
(715) An allusion to a loose incident in Voltaire's Candide.
(716) See ant`e, p. 260, letter 184.
(717) Mr. Legge had, in 1759, while chancellor of the exchequer
to George II. been requested by Lord Bute, in the name of the
Prince of Wales, to pledge himself to support a Mr. Stuart at the
next election for Hampshire: this Mr. Legge, for very sufficient
reasons, refused to do; and for this refusal (as he thought, and
wished to persuade the public) he was turned out of office at the
accession of the young King.-C.
(718) Mr. Dunning soon rose into great practice and eminence; in
1767 he was made solicitor-general, which office he held till
1770. He then made a considerable figure in the opposition, till
the accession to the ministry, in 1782, of his friend Lord
Shelburne, when he was created Lord Ashburton; he died next
(719) Mr. Dunning's pamphlet was intituled "Inquiry into the
Doctrine lately propagated concerning Juries, Libels, etc. upon
the principles of the Law and the Constitution." Gray, in a
letter to Walpole of the 30th, thus characterizes it:--"Your
canonical book I have been reading with great satisfaction. He
speaketh as one having authority. If Englishmen have any
feeling, methinks they must feel now; and if the ministry have
any feeling (Whom nobody will suspect of insensibility) they must
cut off the author's ears; for if is in all the forms a most
wicked libel. Is the old man and the lawyer put on, or is it
real? or has some real lawyer furnished a good part of the
materials, and another person employed them? This I guess."
Works, vol. iv. p. 40.-E.
(720) Anne Howard, daughter of the third Earl of Carlisle, and
widow of the third Viscount Irwin. She was lady of the
bedchamber to the Princess Dowager. Mr. Park has introduced her
into his edition of the Noble Authors.-C.
(721) Mr. Walpole means that he was courted during his father's
power, and neglected after his fall, as the daughters of a
succeeding prime minister, Mr. Henry Pelham, now were; but as
Lady Jane Stuart was but two-and-twenty years old, and Miss
Pelham was thirty-six, we may account for the preference given to
her ladyship at a ball, without any reference to the meanness and
political time-serving of mankind. Both the Misses Pelham died
(722) Sister of the Duke of Montagu.
(723) A French forgery called "Le Testament Politique du
Chevalier Robert Walpole," of which Mr. Walpole drew up an
exposure, which is to be found in the second volume of his
(724) The enthusiasm, however, ran pretty high, as we learn from
the following passage, in one of the periodical papers of the
day:--"Signor Manzoli, the Italian singer at the Haymarket, got
no less, after paying all charges of every kind, by his benefit
last week (March, 1765), than 1000 guineas. This added to a sum
of 1,500 which he has already saved, and the remaining profits of
the season, is surely an undoubted proof of British generosity.
One particular lady complimented the singer with a 200 pound bill
for a ticket on that occasion."-C.''
Letter 235 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 16, 1764. (page 362)
As I have not read in the paper that you died lately at
Greatworth, in Northamptonshire, nor have met with any Montagu or
Trevor in mourning, I conclude you are living: I send this,
however, to inquire, and if you should happen to be departed,
hope your executor will be so kind as to burn it. Though you do
not seem to have the same curiosity about my existence, you may
gather from my handwriting that I am still in being; which being
perhaps full as much as you want to know of me, I will trouble
you with no farther particulars about myself--nay, nor about any
body else; your curiosity seeming to be pretty much the same
about all the world. News there are certainly none; nobody is
even dead, as the Bishop of Carlisle told me to-day, which I
repeat to you in general, though I apprehend in his own mind he
meant no possessor of a better bishopric.
If you like to know the state of the town, here it is. In the
first place, it is very empty; in the next, there are more
diversions than the week will hold. A charming Italian opera,
with no dances and no company, at least on Tuesdays; to supply
which defect, the subscribers are to have a ball and supper--a
plan that in my humble opinion will fill the Tuesdays and empty
the Saturdays. At both playhouses are woful English operas;
which, however, fill better than the Italian, patriotism being
entirely confined to our ears: how long the sages of the law may
leave us those I cannot say. Mrs Cornelis, apprehending the
future assembly at Almack's, has enlarged her vast room, and hung
it with blue satin, and another with yellow satin; but Almack's
room, which is to be ninety feet long, proposes to swallow up
both hers, as easy as Moses's rod gobbled down those Of the
magicians. Well, but there are more joys; a dinner and assembly
every Tuesday at the Austrian minister's; ditto on Thursdays at
the Spaniard's; ditto on Wednesdays and Sundays at the French
ambassador's; besides Madame de Welderen's on Wednesdays, Lady
Harrington's Sundays, and occasional private mobs at my lady
Northumberland's. Then for the mornings, there are lev`ees and
drawing-rooms without end. Not to mention the maccaroni-club,
which has quite absorbed Arthur's; for you know old fools will
hobble after young ones. Of all these pleasures, I prescribe
myself a very small pittance,--my dark corner in my own box at
the Opera, and now and then an ambassador, to keep my French
going till my journey to Paris. Politics are gone to sleep, like
a paroli at pharaoh, though there is the finest tract lately
published that ever was written, called an Inquiry into the
Doctrine of Libels. It would warm your old Algernon blood; but
for what any body cares, might as well have been written about
the wars of York and Lancaster. The thing most in fashion is my
edition of Lord Herbert's Life; people are mad after it, I
believe because only two hundred were printed; and, by the
numbers that admire it, I am convinced that if I had kept his
lordship's counsel, very few would have found out the absurdity
of it. The caution with which I hinted at its extravagance, has
passed with several for approbation, and drawn on theirs. This
is nothing new to me; it is when one laughs out at their idols
that one angers people. I do not wonder now that Sir Philip
Sydney was the darling hero, when Lord Herbert, who followed him
so close and trod in his steps, is at this time of day within an
ace of rivalling him. I wish I had let him; it was contradicting
one of my own maxims, which I hold to be very just; that it is
idle to endeavour to cure the world of any folly, unless We Could
cure it of being foolish.
Tell me whether I am likely to see you before I go to Paris,
which will be early in February. I hate you for being so
indifferent about me. I live in the world, and yet love nothing,
care a straw for nothing, but two or three old friends, that I
have loved these thirty years. You have buried yourself with
half a dozen parsons and isquires, and Yet never cast a thought
upon those you have always lived with. You come to town for two
Months, grow tired in six weeks, hurry away, and then one hears
no more of you till next winter. I don't want you to like the
world, I like it no more than you; but I stay awhile in it,
because while one sees it one laughs at it, but when one gives it
up one grows angry with it; and I hold it to be much wiser to
laugh than to be out of humour. You cannot imagine how much ill
blood this perseverance has cured me of; I used to say to myself,
"Lord! this person is so bad, that person is so bad, I hate
them." I have now found out that they are all pretty much alike,
and I hate nobody. Having never found you out, but for integrity
and sincerity, I am much disposed to persist in a friendship with
you; but if I am to be at all the pains of keeping it up, I shall
imitate my neighbours (I don't mean those at next door, but in
the Scripture sense of my neighbour, any body,) and say "That is
a very good man, but I don't care a farthing for him." Till I
have taken my final resolution on that head, I am yours most
Letter 236 To George Montagu, Esq.
Christmas-eve, 1764. (page 364)
You are grown so good, and I delight so much in your letters when
you please to write them, that though it is past midnight, and I
am to go out of town tomorrow morning, I must thank you.
I shall put your letter to Rheims into the foreign post with a
proper penny, and it will go much safer and quicker than if I
sent it to Lord Hertford, for his letters lie very often till
enough are assembled to compose a jolly caravan. I love your
good brother John, as I always do, for keeping your birthday; I,
who hate ceremonious customs, approve of what I know comes so
much from the heart as all he and you do and say. The General
surely need not ask leave to enclose letters to me.
There is neither news, nor any body to make it, but the clergy,
who are all gaping after or about the Irish mitre,(725) which
your old antagonist has quitted. Keene has refused it; Newton
hesitates, and they think will not accept it; Ewer pants for it,
and many of the bench I believe do every thing but pray for it.
Goody Carlisle hopes for Worcester if it should be vacated, but I
believe would not dislike to be her Grace.
This comes with your muff, my Anecdotes of Painting, the fine
pamphlet on libels, and the Castle of Otranto, which came out
to-day. All this will make some food for your fireside. Since
you will not come and see me before I go, I hope not to be gone
before you come, though I am not quite in charity with you about
it. Oh! I had forgot; don't lend your Lord Herbert, it will grow
as dirty as the street; and as there are so few, and They have
been so lent about, and so dirtied, the few clean copies will be
very valuable. What signifies whether they read it or not?
there will be a new bishop, or a new separation, or a new
something or other, that will do just as well, before you can
convey your copy to them; and seriously, if you lose it, I have
not another to give you; and I would fain have you keep my
editions together, as you had the complete set. As I want to
make you an economist of my books, I will inform you that this
second' set of Anecdotes sells for three guineas. Adieu!
P. S. I send you a decent smallish muff, that you may put in your
pocket, and it costs but fourteen shillings.
(7250 Dr. John Stone, Archbishop of Armagh and primate of all
Ireland, died on the 19th of December 1764.-E.
Letter 237 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Jan. 10, 1765. (page 364)
I should prove a miserable prophet or almanac maker, for my
predictions are seldom verified. I thought the present session
likely to be a very supine one, but unless the evening varies
extremely from the morning, it will be a tempestuous day--and yet
it was a very southerly and calm wind that began the hurricane.
The King's Speech was so tame, that, as George Montagu said of
the earthquake, you might have stroked it.(726) Beckford (whom I
certainly did not mean by the gentle gale) touched on
Draper'S(727) Letter about the Manilla money. George Grenville
took up the defence of the Spaniards, though he said he only
stated their arguments. This roused your brother, who told
Grenville he had adopted the reasoning of Spain; and showed the
fallacy of their pretensions. He exhorted every body to support
the King's government, "which I," said he, "ill-used as I have
been, wish and mean to support-not that of ministers, when I see
the laws and independence of Parliament struck at in the most
profligate manner." You may guess how deeply this wounded.
Grenville took it to himself, and asserted that his own life and
character were as pure, uniform, and little profligate as your
brother's. The silence of the House did not seem to ratify this
declaration. Your brother replied with infinite spirit, that he
certainly could not have meant Mr. Grenville, for he did not take
him for the minister-(I do not believe this was the least
mortifying part)--that he spoke of public acts that were in every
body's mouth, as the warrants, and the disgrace thrown on the
army by dismissions for parliamentary reasons; that for himself
he was an open enemy, and detested men who smiled in his face and
stabbed him I do not believe he meant this personally, but
unfortunately the whole House applied it to Mr. Grenville's
grimace); that for his own disgrace, he did not know where to
impute it, for every minister had disavowed it. It was to the
warrants, he said, he owed what had happened; he had fallen for
voting against them, but had he had ten regiments, he would have
parted with them all to obey his conscience; that he now could
fall no lower, and would speak as he did then, and would not be
hindered nor intimidated from speaking the language of
Parliament. Grenville answered, that he had never avowed nor
disavowed the measure of dismissing Mr. Conway--(he disavowed it
to Mr. Harris,)(728) that he himself had been turned out for
voting against German connexions; that he had never approved
inquiring into the King's prerogative on that head-(I can name a
person who can repeat volumes of what he has said on the
subject,) and that the King had as much right to dismiss military
as civil officers, and then drew a ridiculous parallel betwixt
the two, in which he seemed to give himself the rank of a civil
lieutenant-general. This warmth was stopped by Augustus Hervey,
who spoke to order, and called for the question; but young T.
Townshend confirmed, that the term profligacy was applied by all
mankind to the conduct on the warrants. It was not the most
agreeable circumstance to Grenville, that Lord Granby closed the
debate, by declaring how much he disapproved the dismission of
officers for civil reasons, and the more, as he was persuaded it
would not prevent officers from acting according to their
consciences; and he spoke of your brother with many encomiums.
Sir W. Meredith then notified his intention of taking up the
affair of the warrants on Monday se'nnight. Mr. Pitt was not
there, nor Lord Temple in the House of Lords; but the latter is
ill. I should have told you that Lord Warkworth(729) and Thomas
Pitt(730) moved our addresses; as Lord Townshend and Lord
Botetourt did those of the Lords. Lord Townshend said, though it
was grown unpopular to praise the King, yet he should, and he was
violent against libels; forgetting that the most ill-natured
branch of them, caricatures, his own invention, are left off.
Nobody thought it worth while to answer him, at which he was much
So much for the opening of Parliament, which does not promise
serenity. Your brother is likely to make a very great figure:
they have given him the warmth he wanted, and may thank
Themselves for it. Had Mr. Grenville taken my advice, @e had
avoided an opponent that he will find a tough one, and must
already repent having drawn upon him.
With regard to yourself, my dear lord, you may be sure I did not
intend to ask you any impertinent question. You requested me to
tell you whatever I heard said about you; you was talked of for
Ireland, and are still; and Lord Holland within this week told
me, that you had solicited it warmly. Don't think yourself under
any obligation to reply to me on these occasions. It is to
comply with your desires that I repeat any thing I hear of you,
not to make use of them to draw any explanation from you, to
which I have no title; nor have I, you know, any troublesome
curiosity. I mentioned Ireland with the same indifference that I
tell you that the town here has bestowed Lady Anne,(731) first on
Lord March, and now on Stephen Fox(732)--tattle not worth your
You have lost another of your Lords Justices, Lord Shannon, of
whose death an account came yesterday.
Lady Harrington's porter was executed yesterday, and went to
Tyburn with a white cockade in his hat, as an emblem of his
All the rest Of My news I exhausted in my letter to Lady Hertford
three days ago. The King's Speech, as I told her it was to do,
announced the contract between Princess Caroline(733) and the
Prince Royal of Denmark. I don't think the tone the session has
taken will expedite my visit to you; however, I shall be able to
judge when a few of the great questions are over. The American
affairs are expected to occasion much discussion; but as I
understand them no more than Hebrew, they will throw no
impediment in my way. Adieu! my dear lord; you will probably
hear no more politics these ten days. Yours ever, Horace
The debate on the warrants is put off to the Tuesday; therefore,
as it will probably be so long a day, I shall not be able to give
you an account of it till this day fortnight.
(726) Gray, in a letter to Dr. Wharton, written in July 1764, in
giving an account of an illness, says, "Towards the end of my
confinement, during which I lived on nothing, came, the gout in
one foot, but so tame you might have stroked it." To this
passage, the learned editor of the last edition of his works has
sub-joined this note:--"I have mentioned several coincidences of
thought and expression of this kind in the letters of Gray and
Walpole, which I conceived to be a kind of common property; the
reader, indeed, will recognise much of that species of humour
which distinguishes Gray's correspondence in the letters of
Walpole, inferior, I think, in its comic force; sometimes
deviating too far from propriety in search of subjects for the
display of its talent, and not altogether free from affectation."
Vol. iv. p. 33.-E.
(727) Sir William Draper, K.B. best known by his controversy with
Junius. The letter here alluded to was entitled, "An Answer to
the Spanish Arguments for Refusing the Payment of the Ransom
(728) General Conway's brother-in-law.-E.
(729) Afterwards Duke of Northumberland-E.
(730) Afterwards Lord Camelford.-E.
(731) ant`e, p. 299, letter 196.
(732) Second son of the first Earl of Ilchester-E.
(733) The unhappy Queen of Denmark, who was afterwards divorced
Letter 238 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Sunday, Jan. 20, 1765. (page 367)
Do you forgive me, if I write to you two or three days sooner
than I said I would. Our important day on the warrants is put
off for a week, in compliment to Mr. Pitt's gout--can it resist
such attention I shall expect in it a prodigious quantity of
black ribands. You have heard, to be sure, of the great fortune
that is bequeathed to him by a Sir William Pynsent, an old man of
near ninety, who quitted the world on the peace of Utrecht; and,
luckily for Mr. Pitt, lived to be as angry with its pendant, the
treaty of Paris. I did not send you the first report, which
mounted it to an enormous sum: I think the medium account is two
thousand pounds a-year, and thirty thousand pounds in money.
This Sir William Pynsent, whose fame, like an aloe, did not blow
till near an hundred, was a singularity. The scandalous
chronicle of Somersetshire talks terribly of his morals(734)
*****. Lady North was nearly related to Lady Pynsent, which
encouraged Lord North to flatter himself that Sir William's
extreme propensity to him would recommend even his wife's
parentage for heirs; but the uncomeliness of Lady North, and a
vote my lord gave against the Cider-bill, offended the old
gentleman so much, that he burnt his would-be heir in effigy.
How will all these strange histories sound at Paris!
This post, I suppose, will rain letters to my Lady Hertford. on
her death and revival. I was dreadfully alarmed at it for a
moment; my servant was so absurd as to wake me, and bid me not be
frightened--an excellent precaution! Of all moments, that between
sleeping and waking is the most subject to terror. I started up,
and my first thought was to send for Dr. Hunter; but, in two
minutes, I recollected that it was impossible to be true, as your
porter had the very day before been with me to tell me a courier
was arrived from you, was to return that evening. Your poor son
Henry, whom you will doat upon for it, was not tranquillized so
soon. He instantly sent away a courier to your brother, who
arrived in the middle of the night. Lady Milton,(735) Lady
George SackVille,(736) and I, agreed this evening to tell my Lady
Hertford, that we ought to have believed the news, and to have
imputed it to the gaming rakehelly life my lady leads at Paris,
which scandalizes all us prudes, her old friends. In truth, I
have not much right to rail at any body to.- living in a
hurricane. I found myself with a violent cold on Wednesday, and
till then had not once reflected on all the hot and cold climates
I have passed through the day before: I had been at the Duke of
Cumberland's levee; then at the Princess Amelia's drawing-room;
from thence to a crowded House of Commons; to dinner at your
brother's; to the Opera; to Madame Seillern's; to Arthur's; and
to supper at Mrs. George Pitt's;--it is scandalous; but, who does
less? The Duke looked much better than I expected; is gone to
Windsor, and mends daily.
It was Lady Harcourt's(737) death that occasioned the confusion,
and our dismay. She died at a Colonel Oughton's; such a small
house, that Lord Harcourt has been forced to take their family
into his own house. Poor Lady Digby(738) is dead too, of a
fever, and was with child. They were extremely happy, and -her
own family adored her. My sister has begged me to ask a favour,
that will put you to a little trouble, though only for a moment.
It is, if you will be so good to order one of your servants when
you have done with the English newspapers, to put them in a
cover, and send them to Mr. Churchill, au Chateau de Nubecourt,
pr`es de Clermont, en Argone; they cannot get a gazette that does
not cost them six livres.
We have had a sort of a day in the House of Commons. The
proposition for accepting the six hundred and seventy thousand
pounds for the French prisoners passed easily. Then came the
Navy: Dowdeswell, in a long and very sensible speech, proposed to
reduce the number of sailors to ten thousand. He was answered
by--Charles Townshend--oh! yes!--are you surprised? Nobody here
was: no, not even at his assertion, that he had always applauded
the peace, though the whole House and the whole town knew that,
on the Preliminaries, he came down prepared to speak against
them; but that on Mr. Pitt's retiring, he plucked up courage, and
spoke for them. Well, you want to know what place he is to have-
-so does he too. I don't want to know what place, but that he
has some one; for I am sure he will always do most hurt to the
side on which he professes to be; consequently, I wish him with
the administration, and I wish so well to both sides, that I
would have him more decried, if that be possible, than he is.
Colonel Barr`e spoke against Dowdeswell's proposal, though not
setting himself up at auction, like Charles, nor friendly to the
ministry, but temperately and sensibly. There was no division.
You know my opinion of Charles Townshend is neither new nor
singular. When Charles Yorke left us,(739) I hoped for this
event, and my wish then slid into this couplet:
To The Administration.
One Charles, who ne'er was ours, you've got-'tis true:
To make the grace complete, take t'other too.
The favours I ask of them, are not difficult to grant. Adieu! my
dear lord. Yours ever, H. W.
Tuesday, 4 o'clock.
I had sealed my letter and given it to my sister, who sets out
to-morrow, and will put it into the post at Calais; but having
received yours by the courier from Spain, I must add a few words.
You may be sure I shall not mention a tittle of what you say to
me. Indeed, if you think it necessary to explain to me, I shall
be more cautious Of telling you what I hear. If I had any
curiosity, I should have nothing to do but to pretend I had heard
some report, and so draw from you what you might not have a mind
to mention: I do tell you when I hear any, for your information,
but insist on your not replying. The vice-admiral of America is
a mere feather; but there is more substance in the notion of the
Viceroy's quitting Ireland. Lord Bute and George Grenville are
so ill together, that decency is scarce observed between their
adherents: and the moment the former has an opportunity or
resolution enough, he will remove the latter, and place his
son-in-law(740) in the treasury. This goes so far, that Charles
Townshend, who is openly dedicated to Grenville, may possibly
find himself disappointed, and get no place at last. However, I
rejoice that we have got rid of him. It will tear up all
connexion between him and your brother, root and branch: a
circumstance you will not be more sorry for than I am. In the
mean time, the opposition is so staunch that, I think, after the
three questions on Warrants, DismisSion of officers, and the
Manilla-money, I shall be at liberty to come to you, when I shall
have a great deal to tell you. If Charles Townshend gets a
place, Lord George Sackville expects another, by the same
channel, interest, and connexion; but if Charles may be
disappointed himself, what may a man be who trusts to him?
(734) The original contains an imputation against Sir W. Pynsent,
which, if true, would induce us to suspect him of a disordered
(735) Lady Caroline Sackville, daughter of the Duke of Dorset,
married, in 1742, to the first Lord Milton.-E.
(736) Diana, second daughter of J. Sambrook, Esq.-E.
(737) Rebecca, daughter of Charles Le Bas, Esq., wife of the
first Earl of Harcourt.-E.
(738) Elizabeth Fielding, niece to the fourth Earl of Denbigh,
and wife of Henry, first Lord Digby.-E.
(739) It is remarkable enough, that the epigram which Mr. Walpole
thus introduces, admits that Charles Yorke had never joined them,
and therefore could not be said to have left them.-C.
(740) There is some obscurity here: Lord Warkworth (afterwards
Duke of Northumberland), who had lately married Lord Bute's third
daughter, was, at this period, a very young man, little known but
for his attachment to his profession--the army, and the idea of
his being placed at the head of the treasury must have been
absurd. His father, Lord Northumberland, indeed, had been spoken
of for that office: and, perhaps, Mr. Walpole, in his
epigrammatic way, has taken this mode of explaining the motive
which might have induced Lord Bute to advance his son-in-law's
Letter 239 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Jan. 27, 1765. (page 370)
The brother of your brother's neighbour, Mr. Freeman, who is
going to Paris, and I believe will not be sorry to be introduced
to you, gives me an opportunity which I cannot resist, of sending
you a private line or two, though I wrote you a long letter,
which my sister was to put into the post at Calais two or three
We had a very remarkable day on Wednesday in the House of
Commons--very glorious for us, and very mortifying to the
administration, especially to the principal performer, who was
severely galled by our troops, and abandoned by his own. The
business of the day was the Army, and, as nothing was expected,
the House was not full. The very circumstance of nothing being
expected, had encouraged Charles Townshend to soften a little
what had passed on Monday; he grew profuse of' his whispers and
promises to us, and offered your brother to move the question on
the Dismission of officers: the debate began; Beckford fell foul
on the dismissions, and dropped some words on America. Charles,
who had placed himself again under the wing of Grenville, replied
on American affairs; but totally forgot your brother. Beckford,
in his boisterous Indian style, told Charles, that on a single
idea he had poured forth a diarrhoea of words. He could not
stand it, and in two minutes fairly stole out of the House. This
battery being dismounted, the whole attack fell on Grenville, and
would have put you in mind of former days. You never heard any
minister worse treated than he was for two hours together, by
Tommy Townshend, Sir George Saville, and George Onslow--and what
was worse, no soul stepped forth in his defence, but Rigby and
Lord Strange, the latter of whom was almost as much abashed as
Charles Townshend; conscience flew in his black face, and almost
turned it red. T. Townshend was still more bitter on Lord
Sandwich, whom he called a profligate fellow--hoped he was
present,(741) and added, if he is not, I am ready to call him so
to his face in any private company: even Rigby, his accomplice,
said not a word in behalf of his brother culprit. You will
wonder how all this ended--what would be the most ridiculous
conclusion to such a scene'! as you cannot imagine, I will tell
you. Lord Harry Paulet(742) telling Grenville, that if Lord
Cobham was to rise from the dead, he would, if he could be
ashamed of any thing, be ashamed of him; by the way, every body
believes he meant the apostrophe stronger than he expressed it:
Grenville rose in a rage, like a basket-woman, and told Lord
harry that if he chose to use such language, he knew where to
find him. Did you ever hear of a prime minister, even soi-disant
tel, challenging an opponent, when he could not answer him? Poor
Lord Harry, too, was an unfortunate subject to exercise his
valour upon! The House interposed; Lord Harry declared he should
have expected Grenville to breakfast with him next morning;
Grenville explained off and on two or three times, the Scotch
laughed, the opposition roared, and the treasury-bench sat as
mute as fishes. Thus ended that wise Hudibrastic encounter.
Grenville however, attended by every bad omen, provoked your
brother, who had not intended to speak, by saying that some
people had a good opinion of the dismissed officers, others had
not. Your brother rose, and surpassed himself: he was very warm,
though less so than on the first day; very decent in terms, but
most severe in effect; he more than hinted at the threats that
had been used to him--said he would not reveal what was improper;
yet left no mortal in the dark on that head. He called on the
officers to assert their own freedom and independence. In short,
made such a speech as silenced all his adversaries, but has
filled the whole town with his praises: I believe, as soon as his
speech reaches Hayes, it will contribute extremely to expel the
gout, and bring Mr. Pitt to town, lest his presence should be no
longer missed. Princess Amelia told Me the next night, that if
she had heard nothing of Mr. Conway's speech, she should have
known how well he had done by my spirits. I was not sorry she
made this reflection, as I knew she would repeat it to Lady
(Betty) Waldegrave; and as I was willing that the Duchess of
Bedford, who, when your brother was dismissed, asked the Duchess
of Grafton if she was not sorry for poor Mr. Conway, who has lost
every thing, should recollect that it is they who have cause to
lament that dismission, not we.
There was a paragraph in Rigby's speech, and taken up, and
adopted by Goody Grenville, which makes much noise, and, I
suppose, has not given less offence; they talked of "arbitrary
Stuart principles," which are supposed to have been aimed at the
Stuart favourite: that breach is wider than ever: not one of Lord
Bute's adherents have opened their lips this session. I conclude
a few of them will be ordered to speak on Friday; but unless we
go on too triumphantly and reconcile them, I think this session
will terminate Mr. Grenville's reign, and that of the Bedfords
too, unless they make great submissions.
Do you know that Sir W. Pynsent had your brother in his eye! He
said to his lawyer, "I know Mr. Pitt is much younger than I but
he has very bad health: as you will hear it before me, if he dies
first, draw up another will with mr. Conway's name instead of Mr.
Pitt's, and bring it down to me directly." I beg Britannia's
pardon, but I fear I could have supported the loss on these
A very unhappy affair happened last night at the Star and Garter;
Lord Byron(743) killed a Mr. Chaworth there in a duel. I know
none of the particulars, and never believe the first reports.
My Lady Townshend was arrested two days ago in the street, at the
suit of a house painter, who, having brought her a bill double
the estimate he had given in, she would not pay it. As this is a
breach of Privilege, I should think the man would hear of it.
There is no date set for our intended motion on the Dismission of
officers; but, I believe, Lord John Cavendish and Fitzroy will be
the movers and seconders. Charles Townshend, we conclude, Will
be very ill that day; if one could pity the poor toad, one
should: there is jealousy of your brother,--fear of your
brother,--fear of Mr. Pitt,--influence of his own brother,--
connexions entered into both with Lord Bute and Mr. Grenville,
and a trimming plan concerted with Lord George Sackville and
Charles Yorke, all tearing him or impelling him a thousand ways,
with the addition of his own vanity and irresolution, and the
contempt of every body else. I dined with him yesterday at Mr.
Mackinsy's, where his whole discourse was in ridicule of George
The enclosed novel(744) is much in vogue; the author is not
known, but if you should not happen to like it, I could give you
a reason why you need not say so. There is nothing else now, but
a play called the Matonic Wife, written by an Irish Mrs.
Griffiths, Which in charity to her was suffered to run three
Since I wrote my letter, the following, is the account nearest
the truth that I can learn of the fatal duel last night: a club
of Nottinghamshire gentlemen had dined at the Star and Garter,
and there had been a dispute between the combatants, whether Lord
Byron, who took no care of his game, or Mr. Chaworth, who was
active in the association, had most game on their manor. The
company, however, had apprehended no consequences, and parted at
eight o'clock; but Lord Byron stepping into an empty chamber, and
sending the drawer for Mr. Chaworth, or calling him hither
himself, took the candle from the waiter, and bidding Mr.
Chaworth defend himself, drew his sword. Mr. Chaworth, who was
an excellent fencer, ran Lord Byron through the sleeve of his
coat, and then received a wound fourteen inches deep into his
body. He was carried to his house in Berkeley-street,--made his
will with the greatest composure, and dictated a paper, which
they say, allows it was a fair duel, and died at nine this
morning. Lord Byron is not gone off, but says he will take his
trial, which, if the Coroner brings in a verdict of manslaughter,
may, according to precedent, be in the House of Lords, and
without the ceremonial of Westminster Hall. George Selwyn is
much missed on this occasion, but we conclude it will bring him
over.(746) I feel for both families, though I know none of
either, but poor Lady Carlisle,(747) Whom I am sure you will
Our last three Saturdays at the Opera have been prodigious. and a
new opera by Bach(748) last night, was so crowded, that there
were ladies standing behind the scenes during the whole
performance. Adieu! my dear lord: as this goes by a private
hand, you may possibly receive its successor before it.
(741) It seems, from a subsequent letter, that Lord Sandwich was
present. See post, p. 375, letter 240.
(742) Lord Henry Paulet, member for Hampshire, vice-admiral of
the White, brother of the Duke of Bolton; to which dignity he
himself succeeded on the 5th July, 1764.-E.
(743) William, fifth Lord Byron, born in 1722, died in 1798. The
Star and Garter was a tavern in Pall Mall.-C.
(744) His own Castle of Otranto.-E.
(745) It came out at Drury-lane, and was acted six nights. The
hint of it was taken from Marmontel's "Heureux Divorce."
(746) Mr. Selwyn's morbid curiosity after trials and executions
is well known.-C.
(747) Isabella, only sister of Lord Byron, wife of the fourth
Earl of Carlisle.-E.
(748) Adriano in Siria." The expectations of the public the first
night this drama was performed occasioned such a crowd at the
King's theatre as has seldom been seen there before; but whether
from heat or inconvenience, the unreasonableness of expectation,
the composer being Out Of fancy, or too anxious to please, Dr.
Burney says the opera failed, and that every one came out of the
Letter 240 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Feb. 12, 1765. (page 373)
A great many letters pass between us, my dear lord, but I think
they are almost all of my writing. I have not heard from you
this age. I sent you two packets together by Mr. Freeman, with
an account of our chief debates. Since the long day, I have been
much out of order with a cold and cough, that turned to a fever:
I am now taking James's powder, not without apprehensions of the
gout, which it gave me two or three years ago.
There has been nothing of note in Parliament but one slight day
on the American taxes,(749) which Charles Townshend supporting,
received a pretty heavy thump from Barr`e, who is the present
Pitt, and the dread of all the vociferous Norths and Rigbys, on
whose lungs depended so much of Mr. Grenville's power. Do you
never hear them to Paris?
The operations of the opposition are suspended in compliment to
Mr. Pitt, who has declared himself so warmly for the question on
the Dismission of officers, that that motion waits for his
recovery. A call of the house is appointed for next Wednesday,
but as he has had a relapse, the motion will probably be
deferred. I should be very glad if it was to be dropped entirely
for this session, but the young men are warm and not easily
If it was not too long to transcribe, I would send you an
entertaining petition(750) of the periwig-makers to the King, in
which they complain that men will wear their own hair. Should
one almost wonder if carpenters were to remonstrate, that since
the peace their trade decays, and that there is no demand for
wooden legs Apropos, my Lady Hertford's friend, Lady Harriot
Vernon,(751) has quarrelled with me for smiling at the enormous
head-gear of her daughter, Lady Grosvenor. She came one night to
Northumberland-house with such a display of friz, that it
literally spread beyond her shoulders. I happened to say it
looked as if her parents had stinted her in hair before marriage,
and that she was determined to indulge her fancy now. This,
among ten thousand things said by all the world, was reported to
Lady Harriot, and has occasioned my disgrace. As she never found
fault with any body herself, I excuse her! You will be less
surprised to hear that the Duchess of Queensberry has not yet
done dressing herself marvellously: she was at court on Sunday in
a gown and petticoat of red flannel. The same day the Guerchys
made a dinner for her, and invited Lord and Lady Hyde,(752) the
Forbes's and her other particular friends: in the morning she
sent word she was to go out of town, but as soon as dinner was
over, arrived at Madame de Guerchy's, and said she had been at
Poor Madame de Seillern, the imperial ambassadress, has lost her
only daughter and favourite child, a young widow of twenty-two,
whom she was expecting from Vienna. The news Came this day
se'nnight; and the ambassador, who is as brutal as she is gentle
and amiable, has insisted on her having company at dinner to-day,
and her assembly as usual. The town says that Lord and Lady
Abergavenny(753) are parted, and that he has not been much milder
than Monsieur de Seillern on the chapter of a mistress he has
taken. I don't know the truth of this; but his lordship's heart,
I believe, is more inflammable than tender.