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The Letters of Horace Walpole Volume 3 by Horace Walpole

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Lady Sophia Thomas,(754) has begged me to trouble you with a
small commission. It is to send me for her twelve little bottles
of "le Baume de Vie, compos`e par le Sieur Lievre, apoticaire
distillateur du Roi." If George Selwyn or Lord March are not set
out, they would bring it with pleasure, especially as she lives
at the Duke of Queensberry's.

We have not a new book, play, intrigue, marriage, elopement, or
quarrel; in short, we are very dull. For politics, unless the
ministers wantonly thrust their hands into some fire, I think
there will not even be a smoke. I am glad of it, for my heart is
set on my journey to Paris, and I hate every thing that stops me.
Lord Byron's foolish trial is likely to protract the session a
little; but unless there is any particular business, I shall not
stay for a puppet-show. Indeed, I can defend my staying here by
nothing but my ties to your brother. My health, I am sure, would
be better in another climate in winter. Long days in the House
kill me, and weary me into the bargain. The individuals of each
party are alike indifferent to me; nor can I at this time of day
grow to love men whom I have laughed at all my lifetime--no, I
cannot alter;--Charles Yorke or Charles Townshend are alike to
me, whether ministers or patriots. Men do not change in my eyes,
because they quit a black livery for a white one. When one has
seen the whole scene shifted round and round so often, one only
smiles, whoever is the present Polonius or the grave digger,
whether they jeer the Prince, or flatter his frenzy.

Thursday night, 14th.

The new assembly-room at Almack's was opened the night before
last, and they say is very magnificent, but it was empty; half
the town is ill With colds, and many were afraid to go, as the
house is scarcely built yet. Almack advertised that it was built
with hot brick and boiling water--think what a rage there must be
for public places, If this notice, instead of terrifying, could
draw any body thither. They tell me the ceilings were dropping
with wet--but can you believe me, when I assure you the Duke of
Cumberland was there?--Nay, had had a levee in the morning, and
went to the Opera before the assembly! There is a vast flight of
steps, and he was forced to rest two or three times. If he dies
of it--and how should he not?--it will sound very silly when
Hercules or Theseus ask him what he died of, to reply, "I caught
my death on a damp staircase at a new club-room."

Williams, the reprinter of the North Briton, stood in the pillory
to-day in Palace-yard. He went in a hackney-coach, the number of
which was 45. The mob erected a gallows opposite to him, on
which they hung a boot(755) with a bonnet of straw. Then a
collection was made for Williams, which amounted to near 200
pounds.(756) In short, every event informs the administration
how thoroughly they are detested, and that they have not a friend
whom they do not buy. Who can wonder, when every man of virtue
is proscribed, and they have neither parts nor characters to
impose even upon the mob! think to what a government is sunk,
when a Secretary of State is called in Parliament to his face
"the most profligate sad dog in the kingdom,"(757) and not a man
can open his lips in his defence. Sure power must have some
strange unknown charm, when it can compensate for such contempt!
I see many who triumph in these bitter pills which the ministry
are so often forced to swallow; I own I do not; it is more
mortifying to me to reflect how great and respectable we were
three years ago, than satisfactory to see those insulted who have
brought such shame upon us. 'Tis moor amends to national honour
to know, that if a printer is set in the pillory, his country
wishes it was my Lord This, or Mr. That. They will be gathered
to the Oxfords, and Bolingbrokes, and ignominious(758) of former
days; but the wound they have inflicted is perhaps indelible.
That goes to my heart, who had felt all the Roman pride of being
one of the first nations upon earth!--Good night!--I will go to
bed, and dream of Kings drawn in triumph; and then I will go to
paris, and dream I am proconsul there; pray, take care not to let
me be wakened with an account of an invasion having taken place
from Dunkirk!(759) Yours ever, H. W.

(749) The resolutions which were the foundation of the famous

(750) The substance of this petition, and the grave answer which
the King was advised to give to such a ludicrous appeal, are
preserved in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1765, p. 95; where also
we learn that Mr. Walpole's idea of the Carpenters' petition was
put in practice, and his Majesty was humbly entreated to wear a
wooden leg himself, and to enjoin all his servants to do the
same. It may, therefore, be presumed that this jeu d'esprit was
from the pen of Mr. Walpole.-C.

(751) Lady Hirriot Wentworth, sister of the last Lord Strafford,
wife of Henry Vernon, Esq., and mother of Lady Grosvenor, whose
intrigue with the Duke of Cumberland made so much noise.-C.

(752) Thomas Villers, second son of Lord Jersey, first Lord Hyde
of his family: his lady was Charlotte, daughter of Lady Jane
Hyde, wife of William Earl of Essex, daughter of Henry, second
Earl of clarendon, and sister of the Duchess of Queensberry.-C.

(753) George, fifteenth Lord Abergavenny; and his lady, Henrieta
Pelham, sister of the first Earl of Chichester: she died in

(754) Lady Sophia Keppel, daughter of the first Earl of
Albemarle, and wife of Colonel Thomas.-E.

(755) A Jack-boot, in allusion to the Christian name and title of
Lord Bute.-C.

(756) In a blue purse trimmed with orange, the colour of the
revolution, in opposition to the Stuart.-C.

(757) ant`e, p. 370, letter 239.

(758) We might be surprised at finding a person of Mr. Walpole's
taste and judgment, describing Harley and St. John as
ignominious, if we did not recollect, that during their
administration his father had been sent to the Tower, and
expelled the House of commons for alleged official corruptions.
It were to be wished that Mr. Walpole's personal prejudices could
always be traced to so amiable a source.-C.

(759) The demolition of Dunkirk was one of the articles of the
late treaty of peace, on which discussions were still

Letter 241 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Feb. 19, 1765. (page 376)

Your health and spirits and youth delight me; yet I think you
make but a bad use of them, when you destine them to a triste
house in a country solitude. If you were condemned to
retirement, It would be fortunate to have spirits to support it;
but great vivacity is not a cause for making it one's option.

Why waste your sweetness on the desert air! at least, why bestow
so little of your cheerfulness on your friends? I do not wish
you to parade your rubicundity and gray hairs through the mobs
and assemblies of London; I should think you bestowed them as ill
as on Greatworth; but you might find a few rational creatures
here, who are heartily tired of what are called our pleasures,
and who would be glad to have you in their chimney-corner. There
you might have found me any time this fortnight; I have been
dying of the worst and longest cold I ever had in my days, and
have been blooded, and taken James's powder to no purpose. I
look almost like the skeleton that Frederick found in the
oratory;(760) my only comfort was, that I should have owed my
death to the long day in the House of Commons, and have perished
with Our liberties; but I think I am getting the better of my
martyrdom, and shall live to See you; nay, I shall not be gone to
Paris. As I design that journey for the term of my figuring in
the world, I would fain wind up my politics too, and quit all
public ties together. As I am not old yet, and have an excellent
though delicate constitution, I may promise myself some agreeable
years, if I could detach myself from all connexions, but with a
very few persons that I value. Oh, with what joy I could bid
adieu to loving and hating; to crowds, public places, great
dinners, visits; and above all, to the House of Commons; but pray
mind when I retire, it shall only be to London and Strawberry
Hill--in London one can live as one will, and at Strawberry I
will live as I will. Apropos, my good old tenant Franklin is
dead, and I am in possession of his cottage, which will be a
delightfully additional plaything at Strawberry. I shall be
violently tempted to stick in a few cypresses and lilacs there
before I go to Paris. I don't know a jot of news: I have been a
perfect hermit this fortnight, and buried in Runic poetry and
Danish wars. In short, I have been deep in a late history of
Denmark, written by one Mallet, a Frenchman,(761) a sensible man,
but I cannot say he has the art of making a very tiresome subject
agreeable. There are six volumes, and I am stuck fast in the

Lord Byron's trial I hear is to be in May. If you are curious
about it, I can secure you a ticket for Lord Lincoln's gallery.
The Antiquarian Society have got Goody Carlisle(762) for their
president, and I suppose she will sit upon a Saxon chalkstone
till the return of King Arthur. Adieu!

(760) An allusion to the scene in the last chapter of his Castle
of Otranto.- E.

(761) Paul Henry Mallet was born at Geneva in 1731, and was for
some time professor of history in his native city. He afterwards
became professor royal of the belles lettres at Copenhagen. The
introduction to his History of Denmark was afterwards translated
by Dr. Percy, under the title of Northern Antiquities, including
the Edda.-E.

(762) Dr. Charles Lyttelton, Bishop of Carlisle. See ant`e, p.
207, letter 149. On his death, in 1768, he made a very valuable
bequest of manuscripts and printed books to the Society.-E.

Letter 242 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Feb. 28, 1765. (page 377)

Dear sir,
As you do not deal with newspapers, nor trouble Yourselves with
occurrences of modern times, you may perhaps conclude from what I
have told you, and from my silence, that I am in France. This
will tell you that I am not; though I have been long thinking of
it, and still intend it, though not exactly yet. My silence I
must lay on this uncertainty, and from having been much out of
order above a month with a very bad cold and cough, for which I
am come hither to try change of air. Your brother Apthorpe, who
was so good as to call upon me about a fortnight ago in town,
found me too hoarse to speak to him. We both asked one another
the same question--news of you?

I have lately had an accession to my territory here, by the death
of good old Franklin, to whom I had given for his life the lease
of the cottage and garden cross the road. Besides a little
pleasure in planting, and in crowding it with flowers, I intend
to make, what I am sure you are antiquarian enough to approve, a
bower, though your friends the abbots did not indulge in such
retreats, at least not under that appellation: but though we love
the same ages, you must excuse worldly me for preferring the
romantic scenes of antiquity. If you will tell me how to send
it, and are partial enough to me to read a profane work in the
style of former centuries, I shall convey to you a little
story-book, which I published some time ago, though not boldly
with my own name: but it has succeeded so well, that I do not any
longer entirely keep the secret. Does the title, The Castle of
Otranto(763) tempt you? I shall be glad to hear you are well and

(763) In the first edition of this work, of which but very few
copies were printed, the title ran thus:--"The Castle of Otranto,
a Story, translated by William Marshal, Gent., from the original
Italian of onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the church of St. Nicholas
at Otranto. London: printed for Thomas Lownds, in Fleet Street,

Letter 243 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, March 9, 1765. (page 378)

Dear sir,
I had time to write but a short note with the Castle of Otranto,
as your messenger called on me at four o'clock, as I was going to
go abroad. Your partiality to me and Strawberry have, I hope,
inclined you to excuse the wildness of the story. You will even
have found some traits to put you in mind of this
place.(764)--When you read of the Picture quitting its
panel,(765) did not you recollect the portrait of Lord Falkland,
all in white, in my gallery? Shall I even confess to you, what
was the origin of this romance! I waked one morning, in the
beginning of last June, from a dream, of which, all I could
recover was, that I had thought myself in an ancient castle, (a
very natural dream for a head filled like mine with Gothic
story,) and that on the uppermost bannister of a great staircase
I saw a gigantic hand in armour. In the evening I sat down, and
began to write, without knowing in the least what I intended to
say or relate. The work grew on my hands, and I grew fond of
it--add, that. I was very glad to think of any thing, rather
than politics. In short, I was so engrossed with my tale, which
I completed in less than two months, that one evening, I wrote
from the time I had drunk my tea, about six o'clock, till after
one in the morning when my hand and fingers were so weary, that
I- could not hold my pen to finish the sentence, but left Matilda
and Isabella talking, in the middle of a paragraph. You will
laugh at my earnestness; but if I have amused you by retracing
with any fidelity the manners of ancient days, I am content, and
give you leave to think me as idle as you please.

You are, as you have long been to me, exceedingly kind, and I
should, with great satisfaction, embrace your offer of visiting
the solitude of Bleckely, though my cold is in a manner gone, and
my cough quite, if I was at liberty: but as I am preparing for my
French journey, and have forty businesses upon my hands, and can
only now and then purloin a day, or half a day, to come hither.
You know I am not cordially disposed to your French journey,
which is much more serious, as it is to be much more lasting.
However, though I may suffer by your absence, I would not
dissuade what may suit your inclination and circumstances. One
thing, however, has struck me, which I must mention, though it
would depend on a circumstance, that would give me the most real
concern. It was suggested to me by that real fondness I have for
your MSS. for your kindness about which I feel the utmost
gratitude. You would not, I think, leave them behind you: and
are you aware of the danger you would run, If, you settled
entirely in France? Do You know that the King of France is heir
to all strangers who die in his dominions, by what they call the
Droit d'Aubaine. Sometimes by great interest and favour, persons
have obtained a remission of this right in their lifetime: and
yet that, even that, has not secured their effects from being
embezzled. Old Lady Sandwich(766) had obtained this remission,
and yet, though she left every thing to the present lord, her
grandson, a man for whose rank one should have thought they would
have had regard, the King's officers forced themselves into her
house, after her death, and plundered. You see, if you go, I
shall expect to have your MSS. deposited with me. Seriously, you
must leave them in safe custody behind you.

Lord Essex's trial is printed with the State Trials. In return
for your obliging offer, I can acquaint you with a delightful
publication of this winter, a Collection of Old Ballads and
Poetry, in three volumes, many from Pepys's Collection at
Cambridge.(767) There were three such published between thirty
and forty years ago, but very carelessly, and wanting many in
this set: indeed, there were others, a looser sort,(768) which
the present editor, who is a clergyman, thought it decent to

When you go into Cheshire, and upon your ramble, may I trouble
you with a commission? but about which you must promise me not to
go a Step Out of your way. Mr. Bateman has got a cloister at Old
Windsor, furnished with ancient wooden chairs, most of them
triangular, but all of various patterns, and carved and turned in
the most uncouth and whimsical forms. He picked them up one by
one, for two, three, five, or six shillings apiece from different
farmhouses in Herefordshire. I have long envied and coveted
them. There may be such in poor cottages, in so neighbouring a
county as Cheshire. I should not grudge any expense for purchase
or carriage; and should be glad even of a couple such for my
cloister here. When you are copying inscriptions in a churchyard
in any village, think of me, and step into the first cottage you
see--but don't take further trouble than that.

I long to know what your bundle of manuscripts from Cheshire

My bower is determined, but not at all what it is to be. Though
I write romances, I cannot tell how to build all that belongs to
them. Madame Danois, in the Fairy Tales, used to tapestry them
with jonquils; but as that furniture will not last above a
fortnight in the year, I shall prefer something more huckaback.
I have decided that the outside shall be of treillage, which,
however, I shall not commence, till I have again seen some of old
Louis's old-fashioned Galanteries at Versailles. Rosamond's
bower, you, and I, and Tom Hearne know, was a labyrinth:(769) but
as my territory will admit of a very short clew, I lay aside all
thoughts of a mazy habitation: though a bower is very different
from an arbour, and must have more chambers than one. In short,
I both know, and don't know, what it should be. I am almost
afraid I must go and read Spenser, and wade through his
allegories, and drawling stanzas, to get at a picture. But, good
night! you see how one gossips, when one is alone, and at quiet
on one's own dunghill!--Well! it may be trifling; yet it is such
trifling as Ambition never is happy enough to know! Ambition
orders palaces, but it is Content that chats for a page or two
over a bower. Yours ever.

(764) "As, in his model of a Gothic modern mansion, Mr. Walpole
had studiously endeavoured to fit to the purpose of modern
convenience or luxury the rich, varied, and complicated tracery
and carving of the ancient cathedral, so, in the Castle of
Otranto, it was his object to unite the marvellous turn of
incident and imposing tone of chivalry exhibited in the ancient
romance, with that accurate display of human character and
contrast of feelings and passions, which is, or ought to be,
delineated in the modern novel." Sir Walter Scott; Prose Works,
vol. iii. p. 307.-E.

(765) The forms of the grim knight and pictured saint
Look living in the moon; and as you turn
Backward and forward, to the echoes faint
Of your own footsteps--voices from the urn
Appear to wake, and shadows wild and quaint
Start from the frames which fence their aspects stern,
As if to ask how you can dare to keep
A vigil there, where all but death should sleep."
Don Juan, c. xvi. st. 18.-E.

(766) Elizabeth, second daughter of John Wilmot Earl of
Rochester, and sister and co-heiress of Charles third Earl, and
widow of Edward Montagu third Earl of Sandwich, who died 20th of
October, 1729.-E.

(767) Edited by the Rev. Thomas Percy, fellow of St. John's
College, Oxford, and afterwards Bishop of Dromore. "The reviver
of minstrel poetry in Scotland was the venerable Bishop of
Dromore, who, in 1765, published his elegant collection of heroic
ballads, songs, and pieces of early poetry under the title of
'Reliques Of Ancient English Poetry.' The plan of the work was
adjusted in concert with Mr. Shenstone, but we own we cannot
regret that the execution of it devolved upon Dr. Percy alone; of
whose labours, as an editor, it might be said, 'Nihil quod
tetigit non ornavit.'" Sir W. Scott. Prose Works, vol. xvii. P.

(768) The work was entitled "A Collection of Old Ballads,
corrected from the best and most ancient copies extant, with
Introductions, historical, critical, or humorous." Sir Walter
Scott observes, that the editor was an enthusiast in the cause of
old poetry, and selected his matter without much regard to
decency, as will appear from the following singular preface to
one or two indelicate pieces of humour:--"One of the greatest
complaints made by the ladies against the first volume of our
collection, and, indeed, the only one which has reached my ears,
is the want of merry songs. I believe I may give a pretty good
guess at what they call mirth in such pieces as These, and shall
endeavour to satisfy them." Prose Works, vol. xvii. p. 122.-E.

(769) The Bower of Rosamond is said, or rather fabled, to have
been a retreat built at Woodstock by Henry II. for the safe
residence of his mistress, Rosamond Clifford; the approaches of
which were so intricate, that it could not be entered without the
guidance of a thread, which the King always kept in his own
possession. His Queen, Eleanor, having, however, gained
possession of the thread, obtained access to, and speedily
destroyed her fair rival.-E.

Letter 244 To Monsieur Elie De Beaumont.(770)
Strawberry Hill, March 18, 1765. (page 381)

When I had the honour of seeing you here, I believe I told you
that I had written a novel, in which I was flattered to find that
I had touched an effusion of the heart in a manner similar to a
passage in the charming letters of the Marquis de Roselle.(771) I
have since that time published my little story, but was so
diffident of its merit, that I gave it as a translation from the
Italian. Still I should not have ventured to offer it to so
great a mistress of the passions as Madame de Beaumont, if the
approbation of London, that is, of a country to which she and
you, Sir, are so good as to be partial, had not encouraged me to
send it to you. After I have talked of the passions, and the
natural effusion-, of the heart, how will you be surprised to
find a narrative of the most improbable and absurd adventures!
How will you be amazed to hear that a country of whose good sense
you have an opinion should have applauded so wild a tale! But
you must remember, Sir, that whatever good sense we have, we are
not yet in any light chained down to precepts and inviolable
laws. All that Aristotle or his superior commentators, your
authors, have taught us, has not yet subdued us to regularity: we
still prefer the extravagant beauties of Shakspeare and Milton to
the cold and well-disciplined merit of Addison, and even to the
sober and correct march of Pope. Nay, it was but t'other day
that we were transported to hear Churchill rave in numbers less
chastised than Dryden's, but still in numbers like Dryden's.(772)
You will not, I hope, think I apply these mighty names to my own
case with any vanity, when it is only their enormities that I
quote, and that in defence, not of myself' but of my countrymen,
who have good-humour enough to approve the visionary scenes and
actors in the Castle of Otranto.

To tell you the truth, it was not so much my intention to recall
the exploded marvels of ancient romance, as to blend the
wonderful of old stories with the natural of modern novels. The
world is apt to wear out any plan whatever; and if the Marquis de
Roselle had not appeared, I should have been inclined to say,
that that species had been exhausted. Madame de Beaumont must
forgive me if I add, that Richardson had, to me at least, made
that kind of writing insupportable. I thought the nodus was
become dignus vindice, and that a god, at least a ghost, was
absolutely necessary to frighten us out of too much senses. When
I had so wicked a design, no wonder if the execution was
answerable. If I make you laugh, for I cannot flatter myself
that I shall make you cry, I shall be content; at least I shall
be satisfied, till I have the pleasure of seeing you, with
putting you in mind of, Sir, your, etc.

P. S. The passage I alluded to in the beginning of my letter is
where Matilda owns her passion to Hippolita. I mention it, as I
fear so unequal a similitude would not strike Madame de Beaumont.

(770) M. Elie de Beaumont was
admitted an advocate at the French bar in 1762. The weakness of
his voice militated against his success as a pleader, but the
beauty and eloquence with which he drew up his M`emoires, and
especially the one in favour of the unfortunate Calas family,
gained him great reputation. He was born in 1732, and died in

(771) A French epistolary novel written by Madame Elie de
Beaumont. She also wrote the third part of "Anecdotes de la Cour
et du R`egne de Edouard II." She was born at Caen in 1729, and
died in 1783.-E.

(772) "Churchill," observes Mr. Campbell, in his Specimens of the
British Poets, " may be ranked as a satirist immediately after
Pope and Dryden, with perhaps a greater share of humour than
either. He has the bitterness of Pope, with less wit to atone
for it; but no mean share of the free manner and energetic
plainness of Dryden," Vol. vi. P. 5.-E.

Letter 245 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, March 28, 1765. (page 382)

Three weeks are a great while, my dear lord, for me to have been
without writing to you; but besides that I have passed many days
at Strawberry, to cure my cold (which it has done), there has
nothing happened worth sending across the sea. Politics have
dozed, and common events been fast asleep. Of Guerchy's
affair,(773) you probably know more than I do; it is now
forgotten. I told him I had absolute proof of his innocence, for
I was sure, that if he had offered money for assassination, the
men who swear against him would have taken it.

The King has been very seriously ill,; and in great danger. I
would not alarm you, as there were hopes when he was at the
worst. I doubt he is not free yet from his complaint, as the
humour fallen on his breast still oppresses him. They talk of
his having a levee next week, but he has not appeared in public,
and the bills are passed by commission; but he rides out. The
Royal Family have suffered like us mortals; the Duke of
Gloucester has had a fever, but I believe his chief complaint is
of a youthful kind. Prince Frederick is thought to be in a deep
consumption; and for the Duke of Cumberland, next post will
probably certify you of his death, as he is relapsed, and there
are no hopes Of him. He fell into his lethargy again, and when
they waked him, he said he did not know whether he could call
himself obliged to them.

I dined two days ago at Monsieur de Guerchy's, with the Comte de
Caraman,(774) who brought me your letter. He seems a very
agreeable Man, and you may be sure, for Your sake, and Madame de
Mirepoix's, no civilities in my power shall be wanting. I have
not yet seen Schouvaloff,(775) about whom one has more
curiosity--it is an opportunity of gratifying that passion which
one can so seldom do in Personages of his historic nature,
especially remote foreigners. I wish M. de Caraman had brought
the "Siege of Calais,"(776) which he tells me is printed, though
your account has a little abated my impatience. They tell us the
French comedians are to act at Calais this summer--is it possible
they can be so absurd, or think us so absurd as to go thither, if
we would not go further? I remember, at Rheims, they believed
that English ladies went to Calais to drink champagne!--is this
the suite of that belief? I was mightily pleased with the Duc de
Choiseul's answer to the Clairon;(777) but when I hear of the
French admiration of Garrick, it takes off something of my wonder
at the prodigious admiration of him at home. I never could
conceive the marvellous merit of repeating the words of other's
in one's own language with propriety, however well delivered.
Shakspeare is not more admired for writing his plays, than
Garrick for acting them. I think him a very good and very
various player--but several have pleased me more, though I allow
not in so many parts. Quin in Falstaff, was as excellent as
Garrick in Lear. Old Johnson far more natural in every thing he
attempted. Mrs. Porter and your Dumesnil surpassed him in
passionate tragedy; Cibber and O'Brien were what Garrick could
never reach, coxcombs, and men of fashion.(778) Mrs. Clive is at
least as perfect in low comedy--and Yet to me, Ranger was the
part that suited Garrick the best of all he ever performed. He
was a poor Lothario, a ridiculous Othello, inferior to Quin(779)
in Sir John Brute and Macbeth, and to Cibber in Bayes, and a
woful Lord Hastings and Lord Townley. Indeed, his Bayes was
original, but not the true part: Cibber was the burlesque of a
great poet, as the part was designed, but Garrick made it a
Garretteer. The town did not like him in Hotspur, and yet I don't
know whether he did not succeed in it beyond all the rest. Sir
Charles Williams and Lord Holland thought so too, and they were
no bad judges. I am impatient to see the Clairon, and certainly
will, as I have promised, though I have not fixed my day. But do
you know you alarm me! There was a time when I was a match for
Madame de Mirepoix at pharaoh, to any hour of the night, and
believe did play, with her five nights in a week till three and
four in the morning--but till eleven o'clock to-morrow morning-
-Oh! that is a little too much even at loo. Besides, I shall not
go to Paris for pharaoh--if I play all night, how shall I see
every thing all day?

Lady Sophia Thomas has received the Baume de vie, for she gives
you a thousand thanks, and I ten thousand.

We are extremely amused with the wonderful histories of your
hyena(780) in the Gevaudan: but our fox-hunters despise you: it
is exactly the enchanted monster of old romances. If I had known
its history a few months ago, I believe it would have appeared in
the Castle of Otranto,--the success of which has, at last,
brought me to own it, though the wildness of it made me terribly
afraid: but it was comfortable to have it please so much, before
any mortal suspected the author: indeed, it met with too much
honour far, for at first it was universally believed to be Mr.
Gray's. As all the first impression is sold, I am hurrying out
another, with a new preface, which I will send you.

There is not so much delicacy of wit as in M. de Choiseul's
speech to the Clairon, but I think the story I am going to tell
you in return, will divert you as much: there was a vast assembly
at Marlborough-house, and a throng in the doorway. My Lady
Talbot said, "Bless me! I think this is like the Straits of
Thermopylae!" My Lady Northumberland replied, "I don't know what
Street that is, but I wish I could get my - through." I hope you
admire the contrast. Adieu! my dear lord! Yours ever.

(773) This alludes, it is presumed, to a bill of indictment which
was found in the beginning of March, at the sessions at Hick's
Hall, against the Count de Guerchy, for the absurd charge of a
conspiracy to murder D'Eon.-C.

(774) Probably fran`cois Joseph, Count de Caraman, who married a
Princess de Chimay, heiress of the house of Benin, niece of
Madame de Mirepoix.-C.

(775) He had been favourite to the Empress Catherine; and, as Mr.
Walpole elsewhere says, "a favourite without an enemy."-C.

(776) A tragedy by M. du Belloy, which, with little other merit
than its anti-Anglicism, (which, in all times, has passed in
France for patriotism,) "faisait fureur" at this time.-C.

(777) Mademoiselle Clairon was at this moment in such vogue on
the French stage, that her admirers struck a medal in honour of
her, and wore it as a kind of order. A critic of the name of
Fr`eron, however, did not partake these sentiments, and drew, in
his journal, an injurious character of Mademoiselle Clairon.
This insult so outraged the tragedy queen, that she and her
admirers moved heaven and earth to have Fr`ron sent to the
Bastile, and, failing in her solicitation to the inferior
departments, she at last had recourse to the prime-minister, the
Duke of Choiseul, himself. His answer, which Lord Hertford, no
doubt, had communicated to Mr. Walpole, was admired for its
polite persiflage of her theatric Majesty. "I am," said the Duke,
"like yourself, a public performer, with this difference in your
favour, that you choose the parts you please, and are sure to be
crowned with the applause of the public (for I reckon as nothing
the bad taste of one or two wretched individuals who have the
misfortune of not admiring you). I, on the other hand, am
obliged to act the parts imposed on me by necessity. I am sure to
please nobody; I am satirized, criticised, libelled, hissed,--yet
I continue to do my best. Let us both, then, sacrifice our
little resentments and enmities to the public service, and serve
our country each in our own station. Besides," he added, "the
Queen has condescended to forgive Fr`eron, and you may,
therefore, without compromising your dignity, imitate her
Majesty's clemency." M`emoires de Bachaumont, t. i. p. 61. Such
were the miserable intrigues and squabbles, and such the examples
of ministerial pleasantry and prudence which occupied and amused
the Parisian public!--this; is but a straw to show which way the
wind blew; but such instances moderate our surprise and our
sorrow at the storm which followed.-C.

(778) There was some little personal pique in Mr. Walpole's
opinion of Garrick; yet it would be difficult to imagine a more
forcible eulogium on that great actor than is here inadvertently
pronounced, when, in order to find an equivalent for him, Mr.
Walpole is obliged to bring together old Johnson and Colley
Cibber, Quin and Clive, Porter and Dumesnil--two nations, two
generations, and both sexes.-C.

(779) "In Brute he shone unequalled; all agree
Garrick's not half so great a brute as he." Rosciad.-E.

(780) A wolf of enormous size, and, in some respects, irregular
conformation, which for a long time ravaged the Gevaudan; it was,
soon after the date of this letter, killed, and Mr. Walpole saw
it in Paris.-C.

Letter 246 To George Montagu, Esq.

Arlington Street, April 5, 1765. (page 384)

I sent you two letters t'other day from your kin, and might as
well have written then as now, for I have nothing to tell you.
Mr. Chute has quitted his bed to-day the first time for above
five weeks, but is still swathed like a mummy. He was near
relapsing; for old Mildmay, whose lungs, and memory, and tongue,
will never wear out, talked to him t'other night from eight till
half an hour after ten, on the Poor-bill; but he has been more
comfortable with Lord Dacre and me this evening.

I have read the Siege of Calais, and dislike it extremely, though
there are fine lines, but the conduct is woful. The outrageous
applause it has received ,it Paris was certainly Political, and
intended to stir up their spirit and animosity against us, their
good, merciful, and forgiving allies. they will have no occasion
for this ardour; they may smite one cheek, and we shall turn

Though I have little to say, it is worth while to write, only to
tell you two bon-mots of Quin, to that turncoat hypocrite
infidel, Bishop Warburton. That saucy priest was haranguing at
Bath in behalf of prerogative: Quin said, "Pray, my lord, spare
me, you are not acquainted with my principles, I am a republican;
and perhaps I even think that the execution of Charles the First
might be justified." "AY!" said Warburton, "by what law?" Quin
replied, "By all the laws he had left them." The Bishop(781)
would have got off upon judgments, and bade the player remember,
that all the regicides came to violent ends; a lie, but no
matter. "I would not advise your lordship," said Quin, "to make
use of that inference; for, if I am not mistaken, that was the
case of the twelve apostles." There was great wit ad hominem in
the latter reply, but I think the former equal to any thing I
ever heard. It is the sum of the whole controversy couched in
eight monosyllables, and comprehends at once the King's guilt and
the justice of punishing it. The more one examines it, the finer
it proves. One can say nothing after it: so good night! Yours

(781) Gray, in a letter of the 29th, relates the following
anecdote:--"Now I am talking of bishops, I must tell you that,
not long ago, Bishop Warburton, in a sermon at court, asserted
that all preferments were bestowed on the most illiterate and
worthless objects; and, in speaking, turned himself about and
stared at the Bishop of London: he added, that if any one arose
distinguished for merit and learning, there was a combination of
dunces to keep him down. I need not tell you that he expected
the bishopric of London when Terrick got it: so ends my
ecclesiastical history." Works, vol. iv. p. 40.-E.

Letter 247 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, Easter Sunday, April 7, 1765. (page 385)

Your first wish -will be to know how the King does: he came to
Richmond last Monday for a week; but appeared suddenly and
unexpected at his lev`ee at St. James's last Wednesday; this was
managed to prevent a crowd. Next day he was at the drawing-room,
and at chapel on Good Friday. They say, he looks pale; but it is
the fashion to call him very well:--I wish it may be true.(782)
The Duke of Cumberland is actually set out for Newmarket to-day:
he too is called much better; but it is often as true of the
health of princes as of their prisons, that there is little
distance between each and their graves.(783) There has been a
fire at Gunnersbury, which burned four rooms: her servants
announced it to Princess Amalie with that wise precaution of "
Madam, don't be frightened!"--accordingly, she was terrified.
When they told her the truth, she said, "I am very glad; I had
concluded my brother was dead."--So much for royalties!

Lord March and George Selwyn are arrived, after being wind-bound
for nine days, at Calais. George is so charmed with my Lady
Hertford, that I believe it was she detained him at Paris, not
Lord March. I am full as much transported with Schouvaloff--I
never saw so amiable a man! so much good breeding, humility, and
modesty, with sense and dignity! an air of melancholy, without
any thing abject. Monsieur de Caraman is agreeable too, informed
and intelligent; he supped at your brother's t'other night, after
being at Mrs. Anne Pitt's. As the first curiosity of foreigners
is to see Mr. Pitt, and as that curiosity is one of the most
difficult points in the world to satisfy, he asked me if Mr. Pitt
was like his sister? I told him, "Qu'ils se ressembloient comme
deux gouttes de feu."

The Parliament is adjourned till after the holidays, and the
trial.(784) There have been two very long days in our own House,
on a complaint from Newfoundland merchants on French
encroachments. The ministry made a woful piece of work of it the
first day, and we the second. Your brother, Sir George Savile,
and Barr`e shone; but on the second night, they popped a sudden
division upon us about nothing; some went out, and some stayed
in; they were 161, we but 44, and then they flung pillows upon
the question, and stifled it,--and so the French have not

There has been more serious work in the Lords, upon much less
important matter; a bill for regulating the poor,--(don't ask me
how, for you know I am a perfect goose about details of
business,) formed by one Gilbert,(785) a member, and steward to
the Duke of Bridgewater, or Lord Gower, or both,--had passed
pacifically through the Commons, but Lord Egmont set fire to it
in the Lords. On the second reading, he opposed it again, and
made a most admired speech; however it passed on. But again,
last Tuesday, when it was to be in the committee, such forces
were mustered against the bill, that behold all the world
regarded it as a pitched battle between Lord Bute and Lord
Holland on One side, and the Bedfords and Grenville on the other.
You may guess if it grew a day of expectation. When it arrived,
Lord Bute was not present, Lord Northumberland voted for the
bill, and Lord Holland went away. Still politicians do not give
up the mystery. Lord Denbigh and Lord Pomfret, especially the
latter, were the most personal against his Grace of Bedford. He
and his friends, they say, (for I was not there, as you will find
presently,) kept their temper well. At ten at night the House
divided, and, to be sure, the minority was dignified; it
consisted of the Dukes of York and Gloucester, the Chancellor,
Chief Justice, Lord President, Privy Seal, Lord Chamberlain,
Chamberlain to the Queen, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and a
Secretary of State. Lord Halifax, the other Secretary, was ill.
The numbers were 44 to 58. Lord Pomfret then moved to put off
the bill for four months; but the cabinet rallied, and rejected
the motion by a majority of one. So it is to come on again after
the holidays. The Duke of Newcastle, Lord Temple, and the
opposition, had once more the pleasure, which, I believe, they
don't dislike, of being in a majority.

Now, for my disaster; you will laugh at it, though it was woful
to me. I was to dine at Northumberland-house, and went a little
after four: there I found the Countess, Lady Betty Mekinsy, Lady
Strafford; my Lady Finlater,(787) who was never out of Scotland
before; a tall lad of fifteen, her son; Lord Drogheda, and Mr.
Worseley.(788) At five,(789) arrived Mr. Mitchell,(790) who said
the Lords had begun to read the Poor-bill, which would take at
least two hours, and perhaps would debate it afterwards. We
concluded dinner would be called for, it not being Very
precedented for ladies to wait for gentlemen:--no such thing.
Six o'clock came,--seven o'clock came,--our coaches came,--well!
we sent them away, and excuses were we were engaged. Still the
Countess's heart did not relent, nor uttered a syllable of
apology. We wore out the wind and the weather, the opera and the
play, Mrs. Cornelys's and Almack's, and every topic that would do
in a formal circle. We hinted, represented--in vain. The clock
struck eight: my lady, at last, said, she would go and order
dinner; but it was a good half hour before it appeared. We then
sat down to a table for fourteen covers; but instead of
substantials, there was nothing but a profusion of plates striped
red, green, and yellow, gilt plate, blacks and uniforms! My Lady
Finlater, who had never seen these embroidered dinners, nor dined
after three, was famished. The first course stayed as long as
possible, in hopes of the lords: so did the second. The dessert
at last arrived, and the middle dish was actually set on when
Lord Finlater and Mr. Mackay(791) arrived!--would you believe
it?--the dessert was remanded, and the whole first course brought
back again!--Stay, I have not done:--just as this second first
course had done its duty, Lord Northumberland, Lord Strafford,
and Mekinsy came in, and the whole began a third time! Then the
second course, and the dessert! I thought we should have dropped
from our chairs with fatigue and fumes! When the clock struck
eleven, we were asked to return to the drawing-room, and drink
tea and coffee, but I said I was engaged to supper, and came home
to bed. My dear lord, think of four hours and a half in a circle
of mixed company, and three great dinners, one after another,
without interruption;--no, it exceeded our day at Lord Archer's!
Mrs. Armiger,(792) and Mrs. Southwell,(793) Lady Gower's(794)
niece, are dead, and old Dr. Young, the poet.(795) Good night!

(782) "In April 1765," says the Quarterly Review for June 1840,
"his Majesty had a serious illness: its particular character was
then unknown, but we have the best authority for believing that
it was of the nature of those which thrice after afflicted his
Majesty, and finally incapacitated him for the duties of

(783) The French express this thought very dramatically;
"Monseigneur est malade--Monscigneur est mieux--Monseigneur est

(784) See ant`e, p. 296, letter 194.-E.

(785) Of Lord Byron.

(786) Thomas Gilbert, Esq. At this time member for
Newcastle-under-Line, and comptroller of the King's wardrobe.-E.

(787) Lady Mary Murray, daughter of John first Duke of Athol, and
wife of James sixth Earl of Finlater: her son, afterwards seventh
Earl, was born in 1750.-E.

(788) Probably Thomas Worseley, Esq. member for Oxford, and
surveyor-general of the board of works.-C.

(789) This was probably the hour of extreme fashion at this

(790) Afterwards Sir Andrew Mitchell, K. B. He was at this time
our minister at Berlin, and also member for the burghs of Elgin,

(791) Probably J. Ross Mackie, member for Kirkcudbright,
treasurer of the ordnance.-C.

(792) The lady of Major-General Robert Armiger, who had been
aide-de-camp to George II.-E.

(793) Catherine, heiress of Edward Watson, Viscount Sondes, by
Lady Catherine Tufton, coheiress of the sixth Earl of Thanet, the
son of Lady margaret Sackville, the heiress of the De Cliffords:
she was the mother of Edward Southwell, Esq., member for
Gloucestershire, who, on the death of the great-aunt, Margaret
Tufton, Baroness de Clifford, was confirmed in that barony.-C.

(794) Mary, another daughter and coheiress of the sixth Earl
Thanet, widow of Anthony Grey, Earl of harold, and third wife of
John first Earl Gower.-C.

(795) Dr. Young died on the 5th of April, in his eighty-fourth

Letter 248 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, April 18, 1765. (page 388)

Lady Holland carries this, which enables me to write a little
more explicitly than I have been able to do lately. The King has
been in the utmost danger; the humour in his face having fallen
upon his breast. He now appears constantly; yet, I fear, his
life is very precarious, and that there is even apprehension of a
consumption. After many difficulties from different quarters, a
Regency-bill is determined; the King named it first to the
ministers, who said, they intended to mention it to him as soon
as he was well; yet they are not thought to be fond of it. The
King is to come to the House on Tuesday, and recommend the
provision to the Parliament.(796) Yet, if what is whispered
proves true, that the nomination of the Regent is to be reserved
to the King's will, it is likely to cause great uneasiness. If
the ministers propose such a clause, it is strong evidence of
their own instability, and, I should think, would not save them,
at least, some of them. The world expects changes Soon, though
not a thorough alteration; yet, if any takes place shortly, I
should think It would be a material One than not. The enmity
between Lord Bute and Mr. Grenville is not denied on either side.
There is a notion, and I am inclined to think not ill founded,
that the former and Mr. Pitt are treating. It is certain that
the last has expressed wishes that the opposition may lie still
for the remainder of the session. This, at least, puts an end to
the question on your brother,(797) of which I am glad for the
present. The common town-talk is, that Lord Northumberland does
not care to return to Ireland,--that you are to succeed him
there, Lord Rochford you, and that Sandwich is to go to Spain.
My belief is, that there will be no change, except, perhaps, a
single one for Lord Northumberland, unless there are capital
removals indeed.

The Chancellor, Grenville, the Bedfords, and the two Secretaries
are one body; at least, they pass for such: yet it is very
lately, if one of them has dropped his prudent management with
Lord Bute. There seems an unwillingness to discard the Bedfords,
though their graces themselves keep little terms of civility to
Lord Bute, none to the Princess (Dowager). Lord Gower is a
better courtier, and Rigby would do any thing to save his place.

This is the present state, which every day may alter: even
to-morrow is a day of expectation, as the last struggle of the
Poor-bill. If the Bedfords carry it, either by force or
sufferance, (though Lord Bute has constantly denied being the
author of the opposition to it,) I shall less expect any great
change soon. In those less important, I shall not wonder to find
the Duke of Richmond come upon the scene, perhaps for Ireland,
though he is not talked of.

Your brother is out of town, not troubling himself, though the
time seems so critical. I am not so philosophic; as I almost
wish for any thing that may put an end to my being concerned in
the m`el`ee--for any end to a most gloomy prospect for the
country: alas! I see it not.

Lord Byron's trial lasted two days, and he was acquitted totally
by four lords, Beaulieu, Falmouth, Despenser,(798) and
Orford,(799) and found guilty of manslaughter by one hundred and
twenty. The Dukes of York and Gloucester were present in their
places. The prisoner behaved with great decorum, and seemed
thoroughly shocked and mortified. Indeed, the bitterness of the
world against him has been great, and the stories they have
revived or invented to load him, very grievous. The Chancellor
has behaved with his usual, or, rather greater vulgarness and
blunders. Lord Pomfret(800) kept away decently, from the
similitude of his own story.

I have been to wait on Messrs. Choiseul(801) and De
Lauragais,(802) as you desired, but have not seen then yet. The
former is lodged with my Lord Pembroke, and the Guerchys are in
terrible apprehensions of his exhibiting some scene.

The Duke of Cumberland bore the journey to Newmarket extremely
well, but has been lethargic Since,; yet they have found out that
Daffy's Elixir agrees with, and does him good. Prince Frederick
is very bad. There is no private news at all. As I shall not
deliver this till the day after to-morrow, I shall be able to
give you an account of the fate of the Poor-bill.

The medals that came for me from Geneva, I forgot to mention to
you, and to beg you to be troubled with them till I see you. I
had desired Lord Stanhope(803) to send them; and will beg you
too, if any bill is sent, to pay it for me, and I will repay it.
you. I say nothing of my journey, which the unsettled state of
my affairs makes it impossible for me to fix. I long for every
reason upon earth to be with you.

April 20th, Saturday.

The Poor-bill is put off till Monday; is then to be amended, and
then dropped: a confession of weakness, in a set of people not
famous for being moderate! I was assured, last night, that
Ireland had been twice offered to you, and that it hung on their
insisting upon giving you a secretary, either Wood or Bunbury. I
replied very truly that I knew nothing of it, that you had never
mentioned it to me and I believed not even to your brother. The
answer was, Oh! his particular friends are always the last that
know any thing about him. Princess Amalie loves this topic, and
is for ever teasing us about your mystery. I defend myself by
pleading that I have desired you never to tell me any thing till
it was in the gazette.

They say there is to be a new alliance in the house of Montagu:
that Lord Hinchinbrook(804) is to marry the sole remaining
daughter of Lord Halifax; that her fortune is to be divided into
three shares, of which each father is to take one, and the third
is to be the provision for the victims. I don't think this the
most unlikely part of the story. Adieu! my dear lord.

(796) In a letter to his son, of the 22d of April, Chesterfield
says:--"Apropos of a minority: the King is to come to the House
tomorrow, to recommend a bill to settle a regency, in case of his
demise while his successor is a minor. Upon his late illness,
which was no trifling one, the whole nation cried out aloud for
such a bill, for reasons which will readily occur to you, who
know situations, persons, and characters here. I do not know the
provisions of this intended bill; but I wish it may b(@ copied
exactly from that which was passed in the late King's reign, when
the present King was a minor. I am sure there cannot be a

(797) As to his dismissal.-C.

(798) Sir Francis Dashwood, lately confirmed in this barony, as
the heir of the Fanes by his mother. He had been chancellor of
the exchequer in Lord Bute's administration.-E.

(799) George, third Earl of Orford, Mr. Walpole's nephew; on
whose death, in 1791, he succeeded to the title.-E.

(800) George, second Earl of Pomfret, while Lord Lempster, had
the misfortune to kill Captain Grey, of the Guards, in a duel: he
was tried at the Old Bailey in April 1752, and found guilty of
manslaughter only. See vol. ii. p. 124, letter 54.-E.

(801) The son, it is supposed, of the Duc de Praslin.-C.

(802) Louis L`eon de Brancas, the eldest son of the Duc de
Villars Brancas: he was, during his father's life, known as the
Comte, and afterwards Duc, de Lauragais, and was a very singular
and eccentric person. He was a great Anglomane, and was the
first introducer into France of horseraces `a l'Anglaise; it was
to him that Louis XV.--not pleased at his insolent Anglomanie--
made so excellent a retort. The King had asked him after one of
his journeys, what he had learned in England? Lauragais
answered, with a kind of republican dignity, "A panser"
(penser).--"Les chavaux?" inquired the King. On the other hand,
he was one of the first promoters of the practice of inoculation.
stories about him, both in England and France, are endless: "He
was," says M. de Segur, who knew him well, "one of the most
singular men of the long period in which he lived; he united in
his person a combination of great qualities and great faults, the
smallest portion of which would have marked any other man with a
striking originality." He died in 1823, at the age of
ninety-one--his youthful name and follies forgotten in the
respectable old age of the Duc de Brancas.-C.

(803) Philip, second Earl Stanhope; for a character of whom, by
his great-grandson, Lord Mahon, see vol. i. p. 308, letter 96,
note 771.-E.

(804) Afterwards fifth Earl of sandwich. The match with lady
Eliza Savile took place on the 1st of march 1766.-E.

Letter 249 To Sir David Dalrymple.(805)
Strawberry Hill, April 21, 1765. (page 391)

Except the mass of Conway papers, on which I have not yet had
time to enter seriously, I am sorry I have nothing at present
that would answer your purpose. Lately, indeed, I have had
little leisure, to attend to literary pursuits. I have been much
out of order with a violent cold and cough for great part of the
winter; and the distractions of this country, which reach even
those who mean the least to profit by their country, have not
left even me, who hate politics, without some share in them. Yet
as what one does not love, cannot engross one entirely, I have
amused myself a little with writing. Our friend Lord Finlater
will perhaps show you the fruit of that trifling, though I had
not the confidence to trouble you with such a strange thing as a
miraculous story, of which I fear the greatest merit is the

I have lately perused with much pleasure a collection of old
ballads, to which I see, Sir, you have contributed with your
usual benevolence. Continue this kindness to the public, and
smile as I do, when the pains you take for them are misunderstood
or perverted. Authors must content themselves with hoping that
two or three Intelligent persons in an age will understand the
merit of their writings, and those authors are bound in good
breeding to Suppose that the public in general is enlightened.
They who arc in the secret know how few of that public they have
any reason to wish should read their works. I beg pardon of my
masters the public, and am confident, Sir, YOU Will not betray
me; but let me beg you not to defraud the few that deserve your
information, in compliment to those who are not capable of
receiving it. Do as I do about my small house here. Every body
that comes to see it or me, are so good as to wonder that I don't
make this or that alteration. I never haggle with them; but
always say I intend it. They are satisfied with the attention
and themselves, and I remain with the enjoyment of my house as I
like it. Adieu! dear Sir.

(805) Now first collected.

Letter 250 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, May 5, 1765. (page 391)

The plot thickens; at least, it does not clear up. I don't know
how to tell you in the compass of a letter, what is matter for a
history, and it is the more difficult, as we are but just in the

During the recess, the King acquainted the ministry that he would
have a Bill of Regency, and told them the particulars of his
intention. The town gives Lord Holland the honour of the
measure;(806) certain it is, the ministry, who are not the court,
did not taste some of the items: such as the Regent to be in
petto, the Princes(807) to be omitted, and four secret
nominations to which the Princes might be applied. However,
thinking it was better to lose their share of future power than
their present places, the ministers gave a gulp and swallowed the
whole potion; still it lay so heavy at their stomachs, that they
brought up part of it again, and obtained the Queen's name to be
placed, as one that might be regent. Mankind laughed, and
proclaimed their Wisdoms bit. Upon this, their Wisdoms beat up
for opponents, and set fire to the old stubble(808) of the
Princess and Lord Bute. Every body took the alarm; and such
uneasiness was raised, that after the King had notified the bill
to both Houses, a new message was sent, and instead of four
secret nominations, the five Princes were named, with power to
the crown of supplying their places if they died off.

Last Tuesday the bill was read a second time in the Lords. Lord
Lyttelton opposed an unknown Regent, Lord Temple the whole bill,
seconded by Lord Shelburne. The first
division came on the commitment of the whole bill. The Duke of
Newcastle and almost all The opposition were with the majority,
for his grace could not decently oppose so great a likeness of
his own child, the former bill, and so they were one hundred and
twenty. Lord Temple, Lord Shelburne, the Duke of Grafton, and
six more, composed the minority; the Slenderness of which so
enraged Lord Temple, though he had declared himself of no party,
and connected with no party, that he and the Duke of Bolton came
no more to the House. Next day Lord Lyttelton moved an address
to the King, to name the person he would recommend for Regent.
In the midst of this debate, the Duke of Richmond started two
questions; whether the Queen was naturalized, and if not, whether
capable of being Regent: and he added a third much more puzzling;
who are the Royal Family? Lord Denbigh answered
flippantly, all who are prayed for: the Duke of Bedford, more
significantly, those, only who are in the order of
succession--a direct exclusion of the Princess; for the Queen is
named in the bill. The Duke of Richmond moved to consult the
judges; Lord Mansfield fought this off, declared he had his
opinion, but would not tell it--and stayed away next day! They
then proceeded on Lord Lyttelton's motion, which was rejected by
eighty-nine to thirty-one; after which, the Duke of Newcastle
came no more; and Grafton, Rockingham, and many others, went to
Newmarket: for that rage is so strong, that I cease to wonder at
the gentleman who was going out to hunt as the battle of Edgehill

The third day was a scene of folly and confusion, for when Lord
Mansfield is absent,

"Lost is the nation's sense, nor can be found."

The Duke of Richmond moved an amendment, that the persons capable
of the Regency should be the
Queen, the Princess Dowager, and all the
descendants of the late King usually resident in England. Lord
Halifax endeavoured to jockey this, by a previous amendment of
now for usually. The Duke persisted with great firmness and
cleverness; Lord Halifax, with as much peevishness and absurdity;
in truth, he made a woful figure. The Duke of Bedford supported
t'other Duke against the Secretary, but would not yield to name
the Princess, though the Chancellor declared her of the Royal
Family.(809) This droll personage is exactly what Woodward would
be, if there was such a farce as Trappolin Chancellor. You will
want a key to all this, but who has a key to chaos? After
puzzling on for two hours how to adjust these motions, while the
spectators stood laughing around, Lord Folkestone rose, and said,
why not say now and usually? They adopted this amendment at once,
and then rejected the Duke of Richmond's motion, but ordered the
judges to attend next day on the questions of naturalization.

Now comes the marvellous transaction, and I defy Mr. Hume, an
historian as he is, to parallel it. The judges had decided for
the Queen's capability, when Lord Halifax rose, by the King's
permission, desired to have the bill recommitted, and then moved
the Duke of Richmond's own words, with the single omission of the
Princess Dowager's name, and thus she alone is rendered incapable
of the Regency--and stigmatized by act of parliament! The
astonishment of the world is not to be described. Lord Bute's
friends are thunderstruck. The Duke of Bedford almost danced
about the House for joy. Comments there are, various; and some
palliate it, by saying it was done at the Princess's desire; but
the most inquisitive say, the King was taken by surprise, that
Lord Halifax proposed the amendment to him, and hurried with it
to the House of Lords, before it could be recalled; and they even
surmise that he did not observe to the King the omission of his
mother's name. Be that as it may, open war seems to be declared
between the court and the administration, and men are gazing to
see which side will be victorious.

To-morrow the bill comes to us, and Mr. Pitt, too, violent
against the whole bill, unless this wonderful event has altered
his tone.- For my part I shall not be surprised, if he affects to
be in astonishment at missing "a great and most respectable
man!"(810) This is the sum total--but what a sum total! It is
the worst of North Britons published by act of parliament!

I took the liberty, in my last, of telling you what I heard about
your going to Ireland. It was from one you know very well, and
one I thought well informed, or I should not have mentioned it.
Positive as the information was, I find nothing to confirm it.
On the contrary, Lord Harcourt(811) seems the most probable, if
any thing is probable at this strange juncture. You will scarce
believe me when I tell you, what I know is true, that the
Bedfords pressed strongly for Lord Weymouth--Yes, for Lord
Weymouth. Is any thing extraordinary in them?

Will it be presuming, too much upon your friendship and
indulgence, if I hint another point to you, which, I own, seems
to me right to mention to you? You know how eagerly the ministry
have laboured to deprive Mr. Thomas Walpole of the French
commerce of tobacco. His correspondent sends him word, that you
was so persuaded it was taken away, that you had recommended
another person. You know enough, my dear lord, of the little
connexion I have With that part of my family,(812) though we do
visit again; and therefore will, I hope, be convinced, that it is
for your sake I principally mention it. If Mr. Walpole loses
this vast branch of trade, he and sir Joshua Vanneck must shut up
shop. Judge the noise that would make in the city! Mr.
Walpole's(813) alliance with the Cavendishes (for I will say
nothing of our family) would interest them deeply in his cause,
and I think you would be sorry to have them think you
instrumental to his ruin. Your brother knows of my writing to
you and giving this information, and we are both solicitous that
your name should not appear in this transaction. This letter
goes to you by a private hand, or I would not have spoken so
plainly throughout. Whenever you please to recall your positive
order, that I should always tell you whatever I hear that relates
to you, I shall willingly forbear, for I am sensible this is not
the most agreeable province of friendship; yet, as it is
certainly due whenever demanded, I
don't consider myself, but sacrifice the more agreeable task of
pleasing you to that of serving you, that I may show myself Yours
most sincerely, H. W.

(806) It was certainly the result of his Majesty's own good
sense, directed to the subject by his late serious indisposition;
but the details, and the mismanagement of these details, were, no
doubt, the acts of the ministers.-C.

(807) The King,'s uncle and brothers.-E.

(808) These hints as to the modes by which the extraordinary
prejudices and clamours which disturbed the first years of the
reign of George III. were excited and maintained at the pleasure
of a faction, are very valuable: and the spirit of the times was
in nothing more evident than in the intrigues and violence which
marked the progress of so simple and necessary a measure as the

(809) This opinion of the Chancellor's appears to have been
considered by Mr. Walpole as very absurd, and he seems inclined
to come to the same conclusion which Sterne has treated with such
admirable ridicule in the case of the Duchess of Suffolk, viz.
that "the mother was not of kin to her own child." See Tristram
Shandy, part 4. Nothing in the debate of Didius and Triptolemus
at the visitation dinner, is more absurd than this grave
discussion in the House of Lords, whether the King's mother is
one of the Royal Family.-C.

(810) This was Mr. Pitt's expression on not finding Lord Anson's
name in the list of the ministry formed in 1757. Mr. Walpole,
disliked Lord Anson, and on more than one occasion amuses himself
with allusions to this phrase.-C.

(811) Simon, first Earl of Harcourt: he was, in 1768, ambassador
to Paris, and in 1769, lord-lieutenant of Ireland.-C.

(812) This coolness between Mr. Walpole and his uncle should be
remembered, when we read that portion of the Memoires which
relates to Lord Walpole.-C.

(813) Mr. Thomas Walpole's elder brother (second Lord Walpole,
and first Lord Orford of his branch) married the youngest
daughter of the third Duke of Devonshire.-C.

Letter 251 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Sunday, May 12, 1765. (page 395)

The clouds and mists that I raise by my last letter will not be
dispersed by this; nor will the Bill of Regency, as long as it
has a day's breath left (and it has but one to come) cease, I
suppose, to produce extraordinary events. For agreeable events,
it has not produced one to any Set Or side, except in gratifying
malice; every other passion has received, or probably will
receive, a box on the ear.

In my last I left the Princess Dowager in the mire. The next
incident was of a negative kind. Mr. Pitt, who, if he had been
wise, would have come to help her out, chose to wait to see if
she was to be left there, and gave himself a terrible fit of the
gout. As nobody was ready to read his part to the audience,
(though I assure you we do not want a genius or two who think
themselves born to dictate,) the first day in our House did not
last two minutes. The next, which was Tuesday, we rallied our
understandings (mine, indeed, did not go beyond being quiet, when
the administration had done for us what we could not do for
ourselves), and combated the bill till nine at night. Barr`e,
who will very soon be our first orator, especially as some(814)
are a little afraid to dispute with him, attacked it admirably,
and your brother ridiculed the House of Lords delightfully, who,
he said, had deliberated without concluding, and concluded
without deliberating. However, we broke up without a division.

Can you devise what happened next? A buzz spread itself, that the
Tories would move to reinstate the Princess. You will perhaps be
so absurd as to think with me, that when the
administration had excluded her, it was our business to pay her a
compliment. Alas! that was my opinion, but I was soon given to
understand that
patriots must be men of virtue, must be pharisees, and not
countenance naughty women; and that when the Duchess of Bedford
had thrown the first stone, we had nothing to do but continue
pelting. Unluckily I was not convinced; I could neither see the
morality nor prudence of branding the King's mother upon no other
authority than public fame: yet, willing to get something when I
could not get all, I endeavoured to obtain that we should stay
away. Even this was warmly contested with me, and, though I
persuaded several, particularly the two oldest Cavendishes,(815)
the Townshends,(816) and your nephew Fitzroy,(817) whom I trust
you will thank me for saving, I could not convince Lord John,
[Cavendish,] who, I am sorry to say, is the most obstinate,
conceited young man I ever saw; George Onslow, and that old
simpleton the Duke of Newcastle, who had the impudence to talk to
me of character, and that we should be ruined with the public if
we did not divide against the Princess. You will be impatient,
and wonder I do not name your brother. You know how much he
respects virtue and honour, even in their names; Lord John, who,
I really believe, respects them too, has got cunning enough to
see their empire over your
brother, and had fascinated him to agree to this outrageous,
provoking, and most unjustifiable of all acts. Still Mr. Conway
was so good as to yield to my earnest and vehement entreaties,
and it was at last agreed to propose the name of the Queen; when
we did not carry it, as we did not expect to do, to retire before
the question came on the Princess. But even this measure was not
strictly observed. We divided 67 for the nomination of the
Queen, against 157. Then Morton(818) moved to reinstate the
Princess. Martin, her treasurer, made a most indiscreet and
offensive speech in her behalf; said she had been stigmatized by
the House of Lords, and had lived long enough in this country to
know the hearts and falsehood of those who had professed the most
to her. Grenville vows publicly he will never forgive this, and
was not more discreet, declaring, though he agreed to the
restoration of her name, that he thought the omission would have
been universally acceptable. George Onslow and all the
Cavendishes, gained over by Lord John, and the most attached of
the Newcastle band, opposed the motion; but your brother, Sir
William Meredith, and I, and others, came away, which reduced the
numbers so much that there was no division;(819) but now to
unfold all this black scene;(820) it comes out as I had guessed,
and very plainly told them, that the Bedfords had stirred up our
fools to do what they did not dare to do themselves. Old
Newcastle had even told me, that unless we opposed the Princess,
the Duke of Bedford would not. It was
sedulously given out. that Forrester,(821) the latter duke's
lawyer, would speak against her; and after the question had
passed, he told our people that we had given up the game when it
was in our hands, for there had been many more noes than ayes.
It was Very true, many did not wish well enough to the Princess
to roar for her; and many will say no when the question is put,
who will vote ay if it comes to a division. and of' this I do not
doubt but the Bedfords had taken care--well! duped by these gross
arts, the Cavendishes and Pelhams determined to divide the next
day on the report. I did not learn this mad resolution till four
o'clock, when it was too late, and your brother in the House, and
the report actually made; so I turned back and came away,
afterwards to my great mortification, that he had voted with
them. If any thing could comfort me, it would be, that even so
early as last night, and only this happened on Friday night, it
was generally allowed how much I had been in the right, and
foretold exactly all that had happened. They had vaunted to me
how strong they should be. I had replied, "When you were but 76
on the most inoffensive question, do you think you will be half
that number on the most personal and indecent that can be
devised?" Accordingly, they were but 37 to 167; and to show how
much the Bedfords were at the bottom of all, Rigby, they
Forrester, and Lord Charles Spencer, went up into the Speaker's
chamber, and would not vote for the Princess! At first I was not
quite so well treated. Sir William Meredith, who, by the way,
voted in the second question against his opinion, told me Onslow
had said that he, Sir William, your
brother, and Lord Townshend, had stayed away from conscience, but
all the others from interest. I replied, "Then I am included in
the latter predicament.(822) but you may tell Mr. Onslow that he
will take a place before I shall, and that I had rather be
suspected of being
mercenary, than stand up in my place and call God to witness that
I meant nothing personal, when I was doing the most personal
thing in the world." I beg your pardon, my dear lord, for
talking so much about myself, but the detail was necessary and
important to you; who I wish should see that I can act with a
little common sense, and will not be governed by all the frenzy
of party.

The rest of the bill was contested inch by inch, and by division
on division, till eleven at night, after our wise leaders had
whittled down the minority to twenty-four.(823) Charles
Townshend, they say, surpassed all he had ever done, in a wrangle
with Onslow, and was so lucky as to have Barr`e absent, who has
long lain in wait for him. When they told me how well Charles
had spoken on himself, I replied, "That is conformable to what I
always thought of his parts, that he speaks best on what he
understands the least."

We have done with the bill, and to-morrow our correction goes to
the Lords. It will be a day of wonderful expectation.. to see in
what manner they will swallow their vomit. The Duke of Bedford,
it is conjectured, will stay away:--but what will that
scape-goose, Lord Halifax, do, who is already convicted of having
told the King a most notorious lie, that if the Princess was not
given up by the Lords, she would be
unanimously excluded by the Commons! The Duke of Bedford, who
had broke the ground, is little less blamable; but Sandwich, who
was present, has, with his usual address, contrived not to be
talked of, since the first hour.

When the bill shall be passed, the eyes of mankind will turn to
see what will be the consequence. The Princess, and Lord Bute,
and the Scotch, do not affect to conceal their indignation. If
Lord Halifax is even reprieved, the King is more
enslaved to a cabal than ever his grandfather was: yet how
replace them! Newcastle and the most desirable of the
opposition have rendered themselves more obnoxious than ever, and
even seem, or must seem to Lord Bute, in league with those he
wishes to remove. The want of a proper person for chancellor of
the exchequer is another difficulty, though I think easily
removable by clapping a tied wig on Ellis, Barrington, or any
other block, and calling it George
Grenville. One remedy is obvious, and at which, after such
insults and provocations, were I Lord Bute, I should not stick; I
would deliver myself up, bound hand and foot, to Mr. Pitt, rather
than not punish such traitors and wretches, who murmur, submit,
affront, and swallow in the most
ignominious manner,--"Oh! il faudra qu'il y vienne,"--as L`eonor
says in the Marquis de Roselle,--"il y viendra." For myself, I
have another little comfort, which is seeing that when the
ministry encourage the Opposition, they do but
lessen our numbers.

You may be easy about this letter, for Monsieur de Guerchy sends
it for me by a private hand, as I did the last. I wish, by some
Such conveyance, you would tell me a little of your mind on all
this embroil, and whether you approve or disapprove my conduct.
After the liberties you have permitted me to take with you, my
dear lord, and without them, as you know my openness, and how
much I am accustomed to hear of my faults, I think you cannot
hesitate. Indeed, I must, I have done, or tried to do, just what
you would have wished. Could I, who have at least some
experience and knowledge of the world, have directed, our party
had not been in the contemptible and ridiculous
situation it is. Had I had more weight, things still more
agreeable to you had happened. Now, I could almost despair; but
I have still perseverance, and some resources left. Whenever I
can get to you, I will unfold a great deal; but in this critical
situation, I cannot trust what I can leave to no management but
my own.

Your brother would have writ, if I had not: he is gone to
Park-place to-day, with his usual phlegm, but returns tomorrow.
What would I give you were here yourself; perhaps you do not
thank me for the wish.

Do not wonder if, except thanking you for D'Alembert's book,(824)
I say not a word of any thing but politics. I have not had a
single other thought these three weeks. Though in all the bloom
of my passion, lilac-tide, I have not been at Strawberry this
fortnight. I saw things arrive at the point(825) I wished, and
to which I had singularly contributed to bring them, as you shall
know hereafter, and then I saw all my Work kicked down by two or
three frantic boys, and I see what I most dread, likely to
happen, unless I can prevent it,--but I have said enough for you
to understand me. I think we agree. However, this is for no ear
or breast but your own. Remember Monsieur de Nivernois,(826) and
take care of the letters you receive. Adieu!

(814) It seems from the next letter, that this alludes to Charles

(815) Lord George and Lord Frederick.-E.

(816) Probably Messrs. Thomas Townshend, senior and junior, and
Charles Townshend, a cousin of the great Charles Townshend's, who
sat with Sir Edward Walpole for North Yarmouth.-C.

(817) Colonel Charles Fitzroy, afterwards Lord Southampton.-E.

(818) John Morton, Esq. member for Abingdon, and chief-justice of

(819) The following is Lord Temple's account of this debate, in a
letter of the 10th, to his sister, Lady Chatham: "Inability and
meanness are the characteristics of this whole proceeding,. I
shall pass over the very uninteresting parts of this matter, and
relate only the phenomenon of Morton's motion yesterday, seconded
by Kynaston, without a speech, and thirded by the illustrious Sam
Martin. The speech of the first was dull, and of the latter very
injudicious; saying that the House of Lords had passed a stigma
on the Princess of Wales; disclaiming all knowledge of her
wishes, but concluding, with a strong affirmative. George Onslow
opposed the motion, with very bad reasons; Lord Palmerston, with
much better. George Grenville seemed to convey, that the
alteration made in the Lords was not without the King's
knowledge; but that, to be sure, in his opinion, such a testimony
of zeal and affection which now manifested itself in the House of
Commons in favour of his royal mother, could not but prove
agreeable to his Majesty, and that therefore he should concur in
it. The Cocoa-tree have thus her Royal Highness to be regent; it
is well they have not given us a king, if they have not; for many
think Lord Bute is king. No division: many noes." Chatham
Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 309.-E.

(820) It was, indeed, a black and scandalous intrigue, by which
the character of the Sovereign's mother, and the peace and
comfort of the Royal Family, were thus made the counters with
which contending factions played their game; and if we may
believe Mr. Walpole himself, the motives which actuated those who
attacked, and those who seemed to defend the Princess
Dowager, were equally selfish and unworthy.-C.

(821) Probably Brook Forrester, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, member for
Great Wenlock, a barrister-at-law. See ante, p. 281, letter

(822) It certainly does seem, from the foregoing account of his
own motives, that conscience had little to do with Mr. Walpole's
conduct on this affair: as to his pledge, that Mr. Onslow would
take a place before him, we must observe that it is not quite so
generous as it may seem; for Mr. Walpole was already, by the
provident care of his father, supplied with three sinecure
places, and two rent-charges on two others, producing him
altogether about 6300 pounds per annum. See Quarterly Review,
Vol. xxvii. P. 198.-C.

(823) On the question for the third reading of the bill, the
numbers were 150 and 24.-E.

(824) De la Destruction des

(825 This seems to imply that Mr. Walpole thought, that if the
Opposition had taken up the cause of the Princess Dowager when
she had been abandoned by the ministers, the latter might have
been removed, and the former brought into power.-C.

(826) He alludes to the infidelity of D'Eon to the Duke of
Nivernois. See ant`e, p. 253, letter 181.-C.

Letter 252 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Monday evening, May 20, 1765. (page 399)

I scarce know where to begin, and I am sure not where I shall
end. I had comforted myself with getting over all my
difficulties: my friends opened their eyes, and were ready, nay,
some of them eager, to list under Mr. Pitt; for I must tell you,
that by a fatal precipitation,(827) the King,--when his ministers
went to him last Thursday, 16th, to receive his commands for his
speech at the end of the sessions which was to have been the day
after to-morrow, the 22d,--forbid the Parliament to be prorogued,
which he said he would only have adjourned: they were
thunderstruck, and asked if he intended to make any change in his
administration? he replied, certainly; he could not bear it as
it was. His uncle(828) was sent for, was ordered to form a new
administration, and treat with Mr. Pitt. This negotiation
proceeded for four days, and got wind in two. The town, more
accommodating than Mr. Pitt, settled the whole list of
employments. The facilities, however, were so few. that
yesterday the hero of Culloden went down in person to the
Conqueror of
America, at Hayes, and though tendering almost carte blanche,--
blanchissime for the constitution, and little short of it for the
whole red-book of places,--brought back nothing but a flat
refusal. Words cannot paint the confusion into which every thing
is thrown. The four ministers, I mean the Duke of Bedford,
Grenville, and the two Secretaries, acquainted their master
yesterday, that they adhere to one another, and shall all resign
to-morrow, and, perhaps, must be recalled on Wednesday,--must
have a carte noire, not blanche, and will certainly not expect
any stipulations to be offered for the constitution, by no means
the object of their care!

You are not likely to tell in Gath, nor publish in Ascalon, the
alternative of humiliation to which the crown is reduced. But
alas! this is far from being the lightest evil to which we are at
the eve of being exposed. I mentioned the mob of weavers which
had besieged the Parliament, and attacked the Duke of Bedford,
and I thought no more of it; but on Friday, a well
disciplined, and, I fear too well conducted a
multitude, repaired again to Westminster with red and black
flags; the House of Lords, where not thirty were present, acted
with no spirit;--examined Justice Fielding, and the magistrates,
and adjourned till to-day. At seven that evening, a prodigious
multitude assaulted Bedford-house, and began to pull down the
walls, and another party surrounded the garden, where there were
but fifty men on guard, and had forced their way, if another
party of Guards that had been sent for had arrived five minutes
later. At last, after reading the
proclamation, the gates of the court were thrown open, and sixty
foot-soldiers marched out; the mob fled, but, being met by a
party of horse, were much cut and
trampled, but no lives lost. Lady Tavistock, and every thing
valuable in the house, have been sent out of town. On Saturday,
all was pretty quiet; the Duchess
was blooded, and every body went to visit them. I hesitated,
being afraid of an air of triumph: -however, lest it should be
construed the other way, I went last night at eight o'clock; in
the square I found a great multitude, not of weavers, but
seemingly of Sunday-passengers. At the gate, guarded by
grenadiers, I found so large a throng, that I had not only
difficulty to make my way, though in my chariot, but was hissed
and pelted; and in two minutes after, the glass of Lady
Grosvenor's coach was broken, as those of Lady Cork's chair were
entirely demolished afterwards. I found Bedford-house a perfect
garrison, sustaining a siege, the court full of horse-guards,
constables, and gentlemen. I told the Duke that however I might
happen to differ with him in politics, this was a common cause,
and that every body must feel equal indignation at it. In the
mean time the mob grew so riotous, that they were forced to make
both horse and foot parade the square before the tumult was

To-morrow we expect much worse. The weavers have declared they
will come down to the House of Lords for redress, which they say
they have been promised. A body of five hundred sailors were on
the road from Portsmouth to join them, but luckily the admiralty
had notice of their intention, and stopped them.(829) A large
body of weavers are on the road from Norwich, and it is said have
been joined by numbers in Essex; guards are posted to prevent, if
possible, their
approaching the city. Another troop of manufacturers are coming
from Manchester; and what is worst of' all, there is such a
general spirit of mutiny and dissatisfaction in the lower people,
that I think we are in danger of a rebellion in the heart of the
capital in a week. In the mean time, there is neither
administration nor government. The King is out of town, and this
is the crisis in which Mr. Pitt, who could stop every evil,
chooses to be more unreasonable than ever.(830)

Mr. Craufurd, whom you have seen at the Duchess of Grafton's,
carries this, or I should not venture being so explicit.
Wherever the storm may break out at first, I think Lord Bute
cannot escape his share of it. The Bedfords may triumph over
him, the Princess, and still higher, if they are fortunate enough
to avoid the present ugly appearances; and yet how the load of
odium will be increased, if they return to power! One can name
many in whose situation one would not be,-not one who is not
situated unpleasantly.

Adieu my dear lord; you shall hear as often as I can find a
conveyance but these are not topics for the post! Poor Mrs.
Fitzroy has lost her eldest girl. I forgot to tell you that the
young Duke of Devonshire goes to court to-morrow. Yours ever.

Wednesday evening.

I am forced to send you journals rather than letters. Mr.
Craufurd, who was to carry this, has put off his journey till
Saturday, and I choose rather to defer my despatch than trust it
to Guerchy's courier, though he offered me that conveyance
yesterday, but it is too serious to venture to their inspection.

Such precautions have been taken, and so many troops brought into
town, that there has been no rising, though the sheriffs of
London acquainted the Lords on Monday that a very
formidable one was preparing for five o'clock the next morning.
There was another tumult, indeed, at three o'clock yesterday, at
Bedford-house, but it was dispersed by reading the Riot-act. In
the mean time, the revolution has turned round again. The
ministers desired the King to commission Lord Granby, the Duke of
Richmond, and Lord Waldegrave, to suppress the riots, which, in
truth, was little short of asking for the power of the sword
against himself. On this, his Majesty determined to name the
Duke of Cumberland captain-general but the tranquillity of the
rioters happily gave H. R. H. occasion to persuade the King to
suspend that resolution. Thank God! From eleven o'clock
yesterday, when I heard it, till nine at night, when I learned
that the resolution had dropped, I think I never passed such
anxious hours! nay, I heard it was done, and looked upon the
civil war as commenced. During these events, the Duke was
endeavouring to form a ministry, but, luckily, nobody would
undertake it when Mr. Pitt had refused so the King is reduced to
the mortification, and it is extreme, of taking his old ministers
again. They are insolent enough, you may believe. Grenville has
treated his master in the most impertinent manner, and they are
now actually digesting the terms that they mean to impose on
their captive, and Lord Bute is the chief object of their rage;
though I think Lord Holland will not escape, nor Lord
Northumberland, whom they treat as an encourager of the rioters.
Both he and my lady went on Monday night to Bedford-house, and
were received with every mark of insult.(831) The Duke turned
his back on the Earl, without speaking to him, and he was kept
standing an hour exposed to all their railery. Still I have a
more extraordinary event to tell you than all I have related.
Lord Temple and George Grenville were reconciled yesterday
morning, by the intervention of Augustus Hervey; and, perhaps,
the next thing you wilt hear, may be that Lord Temple is sent by
this ministry to Ireland, though Lord Weymouth is again much
talked of for it.

The report of Norwich and Manchester weavers on the road is now
doubted. If Lord Bute is banished, I suppose the Duke of Bedford
will become the hero of this very mob, and every act of power
which they (the ministers] have executed, let who will have been
the adviser, will be forgotten. It will be entertaining to see
Lord Temple supporting Lord Halifax on general warrants!

You have more than once seen your old master(832) reduced to
surrender up his closet to a cabal--but never with such
circumstances of insult, indignity, and humiliation! For our
little party, it is more humbled than ever. Still I prefer that
state to what I dread; I mean, seeing your brother embarked in a
desperate administration. It was proposed first to make him
secretary at war, then secretary of state, but he declined both.
Yet I trembled, lest he should think bound in honour to obey the
commands of the King and Duke of Cumberland; but, to my great
joy, that alarm is over, unless the triumphant faction exact more
than the King can possibly suffer. It will rejoice you, however,
my dear lord, to hear that Mr. Conway is perfectly restored to
the King's favour; and that if he continues in opposition, it
will not be against the King, but a most abominable faction, who,
having raged against the constitution and their country to pay
court to Lord Bute, have even thrown off that paltry mask, and
avowedly hoisted the standard of their own power. Till the King
has signed their demands, one cannot look upon this scene as

Friday evening.

You will think, my dear lord, and it is natural you should, that
I write my letters at once, and compose one part with my
prophecies, and the other with the completion of them; but you
must recollect that I understand this country pretty well,--
attend closely to what passes,--have very good intelligence,--and
know the characters of the actors thoroughly. A little sagacity
added to such foundation, easily carries one's sight a good way;
but you will care for my narrative more than my reflections, so I

On Wednesday, the ministers dictated their terms; you will not
expect much moderation, and, accordingly, there was not a grain:
they demanded a royal promise of never consulting Lord Bute,
Secondly, the dismission of Mr. Mckinsy from the direction of
Scotland; thirdly, and lastly, for they could go no further, the
crown itself--or, in their words the immediate nomination of Lord
Granby to be captain-general. You may figure the King's
indignation--for himself, for his favourite, for his uncle. In
my own opinion, the proposal of grounds for taxing his majesty
himself hereafter with breaking his word,(833) was the bitterest
affront of all. He expressed his anger and astonishment, and
bade them return at ten at night for his answer; but, before
that, he sent the Chancellor to the junta, consenting to displace
Mekinsy,(834) refusing to promise not to consult Lord Bute,
though acquiescing to his not interfering in business, but with a
peremptory refusal to the article of Lord Granby. The rebels
took till next morning to advise on their answer; when they gave
up the point of Lord Granby, and contented themselves with the
modification on the chapter of Lord Bute. However, not to be too
complimentary, they demanded Mekinsy's place for Lord Lorn,(835)
and the instant removal of Lord Holland; both of which have been
granted. Charles Townshend is paymaster, and Lord Weymouth
viceroy of Ireland; so Lord Northumberland remains on the pav`e,
which, as there is no place vacant for him, it was not necessary
to stipulate. The Duchess of bedford, with colours flying,
issued out of her garrison yesterday, and took possession of the
drawing-room. To-day their majesties are gone to Woburn; but as
the Duchess is a perfect Methodist against all suspicious
characters, it is said, to-day, that Lord Talbot is to be added
to the list of proscriptions, and now they think themselves
established for ever.--Do they so? Lord Temple declares himself
the warmest friend of the present administration;--there is a
mystery still to be cleared up,--and, perhaps, a little to the
mortification of Bedford-house.--We shall see.

The Duke of Cumberland is retired to Windsor: your brother gone
to Park-place: I go to Strawberry to-morrow, lest people should
not think me a great man too. I don't know whether I shall not
even think it necessary to order myself a fit of the gout.(836)
I have received your short letter of the 16th, with the memorial
of the family of Brebeuf;--now my head will have a little
leisure, I will examine it,. and see if I can do any thing in the
affair. In that letter you say, you have been a month without
hearing from any of your friends. I little expected to be taxed
on that head: I have written you volumes almost every day; my
last dates have been of April 11th, 20th, May 5th, 12th, and
16th. I beg you will look over them, and send me word exactly,
and I beg you not to omit it, whether any of these are missing.
Three of them I trusted to Guerchy, but took care they should
contain nothing which it signified whether seen or not on t'other
side of the water, though I did not care they should be perused
on this. I had the caution not to let him have this, though by
the eagerness with which he proffered both to-day and yesterday,
to send any thing by his couriers, I suspected he wished to help
them to better intelligence than he could give them himself. He
even told me he should have another courier depart on Tuesday
next; but I excused myself, on the pretence of having too much to
write at once, and shall send this, and a letter your brother has
left me, by mr. Craufurd, though he does not set out till Sunday;
but you had better wait for it from him, than from the Duc de
Choiseul. Pray commend my discretion--you see I grow a
consummate politician; but don't approve of it too much, lest I
only send you letters as prudent as your own.

You may acquaint Lady Holland with the dismission of her lord, if
she has not heard it, he being at Kingsgate. Your secretary(837)
is likely to be prime minister in Ireland. Two months ago the
new Viceroy himself was going to France for debt, leaving his
wife and children to be maintained by her mother.(838)

I will be much obliged to you, my dear lord, if you will contrive
to pay Lady Stanhope for the medals; they cost, I think, but 4
pounds 7 shillings or thereabout--but I have lost the note.

Adieu! here ends volume the first. Omnia mutantur, sed non
mutamur in illis. Princess Amelia, who has a little veered round
to northwest, and by Bedford, does not speak tenderly of her
brother--but if some families are reconciled, others are
disunited. The Keppels are at open war with the Keppels, and
Lady Mary Coke weeps with one eye over Lady Betty Mackinsy, and
smiles with t'other on Lady Dalkeith;(839) but the first eye is
the sincerest. The Duke of Richmond, in exactly the same
proportion, is divided between his sisters, Holland and Bunbury.

Thank you much for your kindness about Mr. T. Walpole-I have not
had a moment's time to see him, but will do full justice to your
goodness. Yours ever, H. W.

Pray remember the dates of my letters--you will be strangely
puzzled for a clue, if one of them has miscarried. Sir Charles
Bunbury is not to be secretary for Ireland, but Thurlow the
lawyer:(840) they are to stay five years without returning. Lord
Lorn has declined, and Lord Frederic Campbell is to be lord privy
seal for Scotland. Lord Waldegrave, they say, chamberlain to the

(831) From the family, not from the rioters.-C.

(832) George the Second.

(833) This alludes to the required promise not to consult Lord

(834) The Following is from Mr. Stuart Mackenzie's own account of
his removal, in the Mitchell MSS:--"They demanded certain terms,
without which they declined coming in; the principal of which
was, that I should be dismissed from the administration of the
affairs of Scotland, and likewise from the office of privy seal.
His Majesty answered, that as to the first, it would be no great
punishment, he believed, to me, as I had never been very fond of
the employment; but as to the second, I had his promise to
continue it for life. Grenville replied to this purpose: 'In
that case, Sir, we must decline coming in.'--'No,' says the King,
'I will not, on that account, put the whole kingdom in confusion,
and leave it without a government at all; but I will tell you how
that matter stands --that he has my royal word to continue in the
office; and if you force me, from the situation of things, to
violate my royal word, remember you are responsible for it, and
not I.' Upon that very solemn charge, Grenville answered, 'Sir,
we must make some arrangement for Mr. Mackenzie.' The King
answered, 'If I know any thing of him, he will give himself very
little trouble about your arrangements for him.' His Majesty
afterwards sent for me to his closet, where I was a very
considerable time with him; and if it were possible for me to
love my excellent prince now better than I ever did before, I
should certainly do it; for I have every reason that can induce a
generous mind to feel his goodness for me; but such was his
Majesty's situation at this time, that, had he absolutely
rejected my dismission, he would have put me in the most
disagreeable situation in the world; and, what was of much higher
consequence, he would leave greatly distressed his affairs."-E.

(835) John Marquis of Lorn, afterwards fifth Duke of Argyle; a
lieutenant-general in the army: he was brother of (General
Conway's lady.-C.

(836) An allusion to Mr. Pitt.-C.

(837) Sir Charles Bunbury, secretary of embassy at Paris, was
nominated secretary to Lord Weymouth, and held that office for
about two months.-E.

(838) The straitened circumstances of Lord Weymouth made his
nomination very unpopular in Ireland: he never went over.-C.

(839) In the recent arrangement, Lady Betty's husband was, as we
have seen, dismissed from, and Lady Dalkeith's (Charles
Townshend) acceded to, office.-C.

(840) This was a mistake.-E.

(841) This is the last of the series of letters written by
Walpole to Lord Hertford: to the publication is subjoined the
following postscript:-"The state of the administration, as
described in the foregoing letters, could evidently not last; and
after the failure of several attempts to induce Mr. Pitt to take
the government on terms which the King could grant, the Duke of
Cumberland, at his Majesty's desire, succeeded in forming the
Rockingham administration, in which General Conway was secretary
of state and leader of the House of Commons, and Lord Hertford,
lord lieutenant of Ireland. There can be little doubt, that
during these transactions, Mr. Walpole (although he had in the
interval a severe fit Of the gout) wrote to Lord Hertford, but no
other letter of this series has been discovered; which is the
more to be regretted, as the state of parties was it that moment
particularly interesting. The refusal of Mr. Pitt raised the
ministers to a pitch of confidence, (perhaps@, we might say,
-arrogance,) which, as Mr. Walpole foresaw, accelerated their
fall. So blind were they to their true situation, that Mr.
Rigby, who was as deep as any man in the ministerial councils,
writes to a private friend "I never thought, to tell you the
truth, that we were in any danger from this last political cloud.
The Duke of Cumberland's political system, grafted upon the Earl
of Bute's stock, seems, of all others, the least capable of
succeeding.' This letter was written on the 7th of July, and on
the 10th the new ministry was formed."-C.

Letter 253 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, May 26, 1765. (page 405)

If one of the one hundred events, and one hundredth part of the
one hundred thousand reports that have passed, and been spread in
this last month, have reached your solitary hill, you must be
surprised at not a single word from me during that period. The
number of events is my excuse. Though mine is the pen of a
pretty ready writer, I could not keep pace with the revolution of
each day, each hour. I had not time to begin the narrative, much
less to finish it: no, I Must keep the whole to tell you at once,
or to read it to you, for I think I shall write the history,
which, let me tell you, Buckinger himself could not have crowded
into a nutshell.

For your part, you will be content though the house of Montagu
has not made an advantageous figure in this political warfare;
yet it is crowned with victory, and laurels you know compensate
for every scar. You went out of town frightened out of your
senses at the giant prerogative: alack! he is grown so tame,
that, as you said of our earthquake, you may stroke him.(842) The
Regency-bill, not quite calculated with that intent, has produced
four regents, King Bedford, king Grenville, King Halifax, and
king Twitcher.(843) Lord Holland is turned out, and Stuart
Mackenzie. Charles Townshend is paymaster, and Lord Bute
annihilated; and all done without the help of the Whigs. You
love to guess what one is going to say. Now you may what I am
not going to say. your newspapers perhaps have given you a long
roll of opposition names, who were coming into place, and so all
the world thought; but the Wind turned quite round, and left them
on the strand, and just where they were, except in opposition
which is declared to be at an end. Enigma as all this may sound,
the key would open it all to you in the twinkling of an
administration. In the mean time we have family reconciliations
without end. The King and the Duke of Cumberland have been shut
up together day and night; Lord Temple and George Grenville are
sworn brothers; well, but Mr. Pitt, where is he? In the clouds,
for aught I know; in one of which he may descend like the kings
of Bantam, and take quiet possession of the throne again.

As a thorough-bass to these squabbles, we have had an
insurrection and a siege. Bedford-house, though garrisoned by
horse and foot guards, was on the point of being taken. The
besieged are in their turn triumphant; and, if any body now was
to publish "Droit le Duc,"(844) I do not think the House of Lords
would censure his book. Indeed the regents may do what they
please, and turn out whom they will; I see nothing to resist
them. Lord Bute will not easily be tempted to rebel when the
last struggle has cost him so dear.

I am sorry for some of my friends, to whom I wished more fortune.
For myself, I am but just where I should have been had they
succeeded. It is satisfaction enough to me to be delivered from
politics; which you know I have long detested. When I was
tranquil enough to write Castles of Otranto in the midst of grave
nonsense and foolish councils of war, I am not likely to disturb
myself with the diversions of the court where I am not connected
with a soul. As it has proved to be the interest of the present
ministers, however contrary to their torturer views, to lower the
crown, they will scarce be in a hurry to aggrandize it again.
That will satisfy you; and I, you know, am satisfied if I have
any thing to laugh at--'tis a lucky age for a man who is so
easily contented!

The poor Chute has had another relapse, but is out of bed again.
I am thinking of my journey to France; but, as Mr. Conway has a
mind I should wait for him, I don't know whether it will take
place before the autumn. I will by no means release you from
your promise of making me a visit here before I go.

Poor Mr. Bentley, I doubt, is under the greatest difficulties of
any body. His poem, which he modestly delivered over to
immortality, must be cut and turned; for Lord Halifax and Lord
Bute cannot sit in the same canto together; then the horns and
hoofs that he had bestowed on Lord Temple must be pared away, and
beams of glory distributed over his whole person. 'Tis a
dangerous thing to write political panegyrics or satires; it
draws the unhappy bard into a thousand scrapes and
contradictions. The edifices and inscriptions at Stowe should be
a lesson not to erect monuments to the living. I will not place
an ossuarium in my garden for my cat, before her bones are ready
to be placed in it. I hold contradictions to be as essential to
the definition of a political man, as any visible or featherless
quality can be to man in general. Good night!

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