Part 15 out of 17
Paris, April 3, 1766. (page 475)
One must be just to all the world; Madame Roland, I find, has
been in the country, and at Versailles, and was so obliging as to
call on me this morning, but I was so disobliging as not to be
awake. I was dreaming dreams; in short, I had dined at Livry;
yes, yes, at Livry, with a Langlade and De la Rochefoucaulds.
The abbey is now possessed by an Abb`e de Malherbe, with whom I
am acquainted, and who had given me a general invitation. I put
it off to the last moment, that the bois and all`ees might set
off the scene a little, and contribute to the vision; but it did
not want it. Livry is situated in the For`et de Bondi, very
agreeably on a flat, but with hills near it, and in prospect.
There is a great air of simplicity and rural about it, more
regular than our taste, but with an old-fashioned tranquillity,
and nothing of coligichet. Not a tree exists that remembers the
charming woman, because in this country an old tree is a traitor,
and forfeits its head to the crown; but the plantations are not
young, and might very well be as they were in her time. The
Abb`e's house is decent and snug; a few paces from it is the
sacred pavilion built for Madame de S`evign`e by her uncle, and
much as it was in her day; a small saloon below for dinner, then
an arcade, but the niches now closed, and painted in fresco with
medallions of her, the Grignan, the Fayette, and the
Rochefoucauld. Above, a handsome large room, with a
chimney-piece in the best taste of Louis the Fourteenth's time; a
holy family in good relief over it, and the cipher of her uncle
Coulanges; a neat little bedchamber within, and two or three
clean little chambers over them. On one side of the garden,
leading to the great road, is a little bridge of wood, on which
the dear woman used to wait for the courier that brought her
daughter's letters. Judge with what veneration and satisfaction
I set my foot upon it! If you will come to France with Me next
year, we will go and sacrifice on that sacred spot together.
On the road to Livry I passed a new house on the pilasters of the
gate to which were two sphinxes in stone, with their heads
coquetly reclined, straw hats, and French cloaks slightly pinned,
and not hiding their bosoms. I don't know whether I or Memphis
would have been more diverted. I shall set out this day
se'nnight, the tenth, and be in London about the fifteenth or
sixteenth, if the wind is fair. Adieu! Yours ever.
P. S. I need not say, I suppose, that this letter is to Mr.
Letter 302 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Paris, April 6, 1766. (page 476)
In a certain city of Europe(950) it is the custom to wear
slouched hats, long cloaks, and high capes. Scandal and the
government called this dress going in mask, and pretended that it
contributed to assassination. An ordonnance was published,
commanding free-born hats to be cocked, cloaks to be shortened,
and capes laid aside. All the world obeyed for the first day:
but the next, every thing returned into its old channel. In the
evening a tumult arose, and cries of,, "God bless the King! God
bless the kingdom! but confusion to Squillaci, the prime
minister."(951) The word was no sooner given, but his house was
beset, the windows broken, and the gates attempted. The guards
came and fired on the weavers(952) of cloaks. The weavers
returned the fire, and many fell on each side. As the hour of
supper approached and the mob grew hungry, they recollected a tax
upon bread, and demanded the repeal. the King yielded to both
requests, and hats and loaves were set at liberty. The people
were not contented, and still insisted on the permission of
murdering the first minister; though his Majesty assured his
faithful commons that the minister was never consulted on acts of
government, and was only his private friend, who sometimes called
upon him in an evening to drink a glass of wine and talk botany.
The people were incredulous, and continued in mutiny when the
last letters came away. If you should happen to suppose, as I
did, that this history arrived in London, do not be alarmed; for
it was at Madrid; and a nation who has borne the Inquisition
cannot support a cocked hat. So necessary it is for governors to
know when lead or a feather will turn the balance of human
understandings, or will not!
I should not have entrenched on Lord George's(953) province of
sending you news of revolutions, but he is at Aubign`e; and I
thought it right to advertise you in time, in case you should
have a mind to send a bale of slouched hats to the support of the
mutineers. As I have worn a flapped hat all my life, when I have
worn any at all, I think myself qualified, and would offer my
service to command them; but, being persuaded that you are a
faithful observer of treaties, though a friend to repeals, I
shall come and receive your commands in person. In the mean time
I cannot help figuring what a pompous protest my Lord Lyttelton
might draw up in the character of an old grandee against the
revocation of the act for cocked hats.
Lady Ailesbury forgot to send me word of your recovery, as she
promised; but I was so lucky as to hear it from other hands.
Pray take care of yourself, and do not imagine that you are as
weak as I am, and can escape the scythe, as I do, by being low:
your life is of more consequence. If you don't believe me, step
into the street and ask the first man you meet.
This is Sunday, and Thursday is fixed for my departure, unless
the Clairon should return to the stage on Tuesday se'nnight, as
it is said; and I do not know whether I should not be tempted to
borrow two or three days more, having never seen her; yet my
lilacs pull hard, and I have not a farthing left in the world.
Be sure you do not leave a cranny open for George Grenville to
wriggle it), till I have got all my things out of the
customhouse. Adieu! Yours ever.
(950) This account alludes to the insurrection at Madrid, on the
attempt of the court to introduce the French dress in Spain.
(951) Squillace, an Italian, whom the King was obliged to banish.
(952) Alluding to the mobs of silk-weavers which had taken place
(953) Lord George Lenox, only brother to the Duke of Richmond.
Letter 303 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Paris, April 8, 1766. (page 478)
I sent you a few lines by the post yesterday with the first of
the insurrection at Madrid. I have since seen Stahremberg,(954)
the imperial minister, who has had a courier from thence; and if
Lord Rochford(955) has not sent one, you will not be sorry to
know more particulars. The mob disarmed the Invalids; stopped
all coaches, to prevent Squillaci's flight; and meeting the Duke
de Medina Celi, forced him and the Duke d'Arcos to carry their
demands to the King. His most frightened Majesty granted them
directly; on which his highness the people despatched a monk with
their demands in writing, couched in four articles; the
diminution of the gabel on bread and oil; the revocation of the
ordonnance on hats and cloaks; the banishment of Squillaci; and
the abolition of some other tax, I don't know what. The King
signed all; yet was still forced to appear at a balcony, and
promise to observe what he had granted. Squillaci was sent with
an escort to Carthagena, to embark for Naples, and the first
commissioner of the treasury appointed to succeed him; which does
not look much like observation of the conditions. Some say
Ensenada is recalled, and that Grimaldi is in no good odour with
the people. If the latter and Squillaci are dismissed, we get
rid of two enemies.
The tumult ceased on the grant of the demands; but the King
retiring that night to Aranjuez, the insurrection was renewed the
next morning on pretence that this flight was a breach of the
capitulation The people seized the gates of the capital, and
permitted nobody to go out. In this state were things when the
courier came away. the ordonnance against going in disguise
looks as if some suspicions had been conceived; and yet their
confidence was so great as not to have two thousand guards in the
town. The pitiful behaviour of the court makes one think that
the Italians were frightened, and that the Spanish part of the
ministry were not sorry it took that turn. As I suppose there is
no great city in Spain which has not at least a bigger bundle of
grievances than the capital, one shall not wonder if the
pusillanimous behaviour of the King encourages them to redress
There is what is called a change of the ministry here; but it is
only a crossing over and figuring in. The Duc de Praslin has
wished to retire for some time; and for this last fortnight there
has been talk of his being replaced by the Duc d'Aiguillon. the
Duc de Nivernois, etc.; but it is plain, though not believed till
now, that the Duc de Choiseul is all-powerful. To purchase the
stay of his cousin Praslin, on whom he can depend, and to leave
no cranny open, he has ceded the marine and colonies to the Due
de Praslin, and taken the foreign and military department
himself. His cousin is, besides, named chef du conseil des
finances; a very honourable, very dignified, and very idle place,
and never filled since the Duc de Bethune had it. Praslin's
hopeful cub, the Viscount, whom you saw in England last year,
goes to Naples; and the Marquis de Durfort to Vienna--a cold,
dry, proud man, with the figure and manner of Lord Cornbury.
Great matters are expected to-day from the Parliament, which
re-assembles. A mousquetaire, his piece loaded with a lettre de
cachet, went about a fortnight ago to the notary who keeps the
parliamentary registers, and demanded them. They were refused--
but given up, on the lettre de cachet being produced. The
Parliament intends to try the notary for breach of trust, which I
suppose will make his fortune; though he has not the merit of
perjury, like Carteret Webb.
There have been insurrections at Bordeaux and Tailless, on the
militia, and twenty-seven persons were killed at the latter: but
both are appeased. These things are so much in vogue, that I
wonder the French do not dress `a la r`evolte. The Queen is in a
very dangerous way. This will be my last letter; but I am not
sure I shall set out before the middle of next week. Yours ever.
(954) Prince Stahremberg: he had married a daughter of the Duc
d'Arembert, by his Duchess, nee la Marche.
(955) William Henry Zuleistein de Nassau, Earl of Rochford, who
was at this time the English ambassador extraordinary at the
court of Spain.
Letter 304 To The Rev. Mr. COLE.
Arlington Street, May 10, 1766. (page 479)
At last I am come back, dear Sir, and in good health. I have
brought you four cups and saucers, one red and white, one blue
and white, and two coloured; and a little box of pastils. Tell
me whether and how I shall convey them to you; or whether you
will, as I hope, come to Strawberry this summer, and fetch them
yourself; but if you are in the least hurry, I will send them.
I flatter myself you have quite recovered your accident, and have
no remains of lameness. The spring is very wet and cold, but
Strawberry alone contains more verdure than all France.
I scrambled very well through the custom-house at Dover, and have
got all my china safe from that here in town. You will see the
fruits when you come to Strawberry Hill. Adieu!
Letter 305 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, May 13, 1766. (page 479)
I am forced to do a very awkward thing, and send you back one of
your letters, and, what is still worse, opened. The case was
this: I received your two at dinner, opened one and laid the
other in my lap; but forgetting that I had taken one out of the
first, I took up the wrong 'Hand broke it open,. without
perceiving my mistake, till I saw the words, Dear Sister. I give
you my honour I read no farther, but had torn it too much to send
it away. Pray excuse me; and another time I beg you will put an
envelope, for you write just where the seal comes; and besides,
place the seals so together that though I did not quite open the
fourth letter, yet it stuck so to the outer seal, that I could
not help tearing it a little. Adieu!
Letter 306 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, May 25, 1766. (page 480)
When the weather will please to be in a little better temper, I
will call upon you to perform your promise; but I cannot in
conscience invite you to a fireside. The Guerchys and French
dined here last Monday, and it rained so that we could no more
walk in the garden than Noah could. I came again, to-day, but
shall return to town to-morrow, as I hate to have no sun in May,
but what I can make with a peck of coals.
I know no news, but that the Duke of Richmond is secretary of
state,(956) and that your cousin North has refused the
vice-treasurer of Ireland. It cost him bitter pangs, not to
preserve his virtue, but his vicious connexions. He goggled his
eyes, and groped in his money-pocket; more than half consented;
nay, so much more, that when he got home he wrote an excuse to
Lord Rockingham, which made it plain that he thought he had
accepted. As nobody was dipped deeper in the warrants and
prosecution of Wilkes, there is no condoling with the ministers
on missing so foul a bargain. They are only to be pitied, that
they can purchase nothing but damaged goods.
So, my Lord Grandison(957) is dead! Does the General inherit
much? Have you heard the great loss the church of England has
had? It is not avowed; but hear the evidence and judge. On
Sunday last, George Selwyn was strolling home to dinner at half
an hour after four. He saw my Lady Townshend's coach stop at
Caraccioli's(958) chapel. He watched, saw her go in; her footman
laughed; he followed. She Went up to the altar, a woman brought
her a cushion; she knelt, crossed herself, and prayed. He stole
up, and knelt by her. Conceive her face, if you can, when she
turned and found his close to her. In his demure voice, he said,
"Pray, Madam, how long has your ladyship left the pale of our
church!" She looked furies, and made no answer. Next day he
went to her, and she turned it off upon curiosity; but is any
thing more natural? No, she certainly means to go armed with
every viaticum, the church of England in one hand, Methodism in
the other, and the Host in her mouth.
Have you ranged your forest, and seen your lodge yourself? I
could almost wish it may not answer, and that you may cast an eye
towards our neighbourhood. My Lady Shelburne(959) has taken a
house here, and it has produced a bon-mot from Mrs. Clive. You
know my Lady Suffolk is deaf, and I have talked much of a
charming old passion I have at Paris, who is blind; "Well," said
the Clive, "if the new Countess is but lame, I shall have no
chance of ever seeing you." Good night!
(956) When the Duke of Grafton quitted the seals, they were
offered first to Lord Egmont, then to Lord Hardwicke, who both
declined them; "but, after their going a-begging for some time,"
says Lord Chesterfield, " the Duke of Richmond begged them, and
has them, faute de mieux."-E.
(957) John Villiers, fifth Viscount Grandison. He had bee
n elevated to the earldom in 1721; which title became extinct,
and the viscounty devolved upon William third Earl of Jersey.-E.
(958) The Marquis de Carraccioli, ambassador from the court of
(959) Mary Countess of Shelburne, widow of the Hon. John
Fitzmaurice, first Earl of Shelburne. She was likewise his first
cousin, being the daughter of the Hon. William Fitzmaurice, of
Gailane, in the county of Kerry.-E.
Letter 307 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, June 20, 1766. (page 481)
I don't know when I shall see you, but therefore must not I write
to you? Yet I have as little to say as may be. I could cry
through a whole page over the bad weather. I have but a lock of
hay, you know; and I cannot get it dry, unless I bring it to the
fire. I would give half-a-crown for a pennyworth of sun. It is
abominable to be ruined in coals in the middle of June.
What pleasure have you to come! there is a new thing published,
that will make you split your cheeks with laughing. It is called
the New Bath Guide.(960) It stole into the world, and for a
fortnight no soul looked into it, concluding its name was the
true name. No such thing. It is a set of letters in verse, in
all kind of verses, describing the life at Bath, and incidentally
every thing else; but so much wit, so much humour, fun, and
poetry, so much originality, never met together before. Then the
man has a better ear than Dryden or Handel. Apropos to Dryden,
he has burlesqued his St. Cecilia, that you will never read it
again without laughing. There is a description of a milliner's
box in all the terms of landscape, painted lawns and chequered
shades, a Moravian ode, and a Methodist ditty, that are
incomparable, and the best names that ever were composed. I can
say it by heart, though a quarto, and if I had time would write
it you down; for it is not yet reprinted, and not one to be had.
There are two volumes, too, of Swift's Correspondence, that will
not amuse you less in another way, though abominable, for there
are letters of twenty persons now alive; fifty of Lady Betty
Germain, one that does her great honour in which she defends her
friend Lady Suffolk, with all the spirit in the world,(961)
against that brute, who hated every body that he hoped would get
him a mitre, and did not. His own Journal sent to Stella during
the four last years of the Queen, is a fund of entertainment.
You will see his insolence in full colours, and, at the same
time, how daily vain he was of being noticed by the ministers he
affected to treat arrogantly. His panic, at the Mohocks is
comical; but what strikes one, is bringing before one's eyes the
incidents of a curious period. He goes to the rehearsal of Cato,
and says the drab that acted Cato's daughter could not say her
part. This was only Mrs. Oldfield. I was saying before George
Selwyn, that this journal put me in mind of the present time,
there was the same indecision, irresolution, and want of system;
but I added, "There is nothing new under the sun." "No," said
Selwyn, "nor under the grandson."
My Lord Chesterfield has done me much honour: he told Mrs. Anne
Pitt that he would subscribe to any politics that I should lay
down. When she repeated this to me, I said, "Pray tell him I
have laid down politics."
I am got into puns and will tell you an excellent one of the King
of France, though it does not spell any better than Selwyn's.
You must have heard of Count Lauragais, and his horserace, and
his quacking his horse till he killed it. At his return the King
asked him what he had been doing in England? "Sire, j'ai appris
`a Penser"--"Des chevaux?" replied the King.(962) Good night! I
am tired, and going to bed. Yours ever.
(960) By Christopher Anstey. This production became highly
popular for its pointed and original humour, and led to numerous
imitations. Gray, in a letter to Dr. Wharton, says--"Have you
read the New Bath Guide? It is the only thing in fashion, and is
a new and original kind of humour. Miss Prue's conversation I
doubt you will paste down, as Sir W. St. Quintyn did before he
carried it to his daughter; yet I remember you all read Crazy
Tales without pasting." Works, vol. iv. p. 84.-E.
(961) The letter in question is dated Feb. 8, 1732-3, and the
following is the passage to which Walpole refers;--"Those out of
power and place always see the faults of those in, with dreadful
large spectacles. The strongest in my memory is Sir Robert
Walpole, being first pulled to pieces in the year 1720, because
the South Sea did not rise high enough; and since that, he has
been to the full as well banged about, because it did rise too
high. I am determined never wholly to believe any side or party
against@ the other; so my house receives them altogether, and
those people meet here that have, and would fight in any other
place. Those of them that have great and good qualities and
virtues, I love and admire; in which number is Lady Suffolk,
because I know her to be a wise, discreet, honest, and sincere
(962) See ant`e, p. 389, letter 248, note 802.-E.
Letter 308 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey.
Strawberry Hill, June 28, 1766. (page 482)
It is consonant to your ladyship's long experienced goodness, to
remove my error as soon as you could. In fact, the same post
that brought Madame d'Aiguillon's letter to you, brought me a
confession from Madame du Deffand of her guilt.(963) I am not
the less obliged to your ladyship for informing against the true
criminal. It is well for
me, however, that I hesitated, and did not, as Monsieur Guerchy
pressed me to do, constitute myself prisoner. What a ridiculous
vainglorious figure I should have made at Versailles, with a
laboured letter and my present! I still shudder when I think of
it, and have scolded(9
64) Madame du Deffand black and blue. However, I feel very
comfortable; and though it will be imputed to my own vanity, that
I showed the box as Madam de Choiseul's present, I resign the
glory, and submit to the Shame with great satisfaction. I have
no pain in receiving this present from Madame du Deffand; and
must own have great pleasure that nobody but she could write that
most charming of all letters. Did not Lord Chesterfield think it
so, Madam? I doubt our friend Mr. Hume must allow that not only
Madame de Boufflers, but Voltaire himself, could not have written
so well. When I give up Madame de S`evign`e herself, I think his
sacrifices will be trifling.
Pray, Madam, continue your waters; and, if possible, wash away
that original sin, the gout. What would one give for a little
rainbow to tell one one should never have it again! Well, but
then one should have a burning fever--for I think the greatest
comfort that good-natured divines give us IS, that we are not to
be drowned any more, in order that we may be burned. It will not
at least be this summer. here is nothing but haycocks swimming
round me. If it should cease raining by Monday se'nnight, I
think of' dining with your ladyship at Old Windsor; and if Mr.
Bateman presses me mightily, I may take a bed there.
As I have a waste of paper before me, and nothing more to say, I
have a mind to fill it with a translation of a tale that I found
lately in the Dictionnaire d'Anecdotes, taken from a German
author. The novelty of it struck me, and I put it into verse--
ill enough; but as the old Duchess of Rutland used to say of a
lie, it will do for news into the country.
"From Time's usurping power, I see,
Not Acheron itself is free.
His wasting hand my subjects feel,
Grow old, and wrinkle though in Hell.
Decrepit is Alecto grown,
Megaera worn to skin and bone;
And t'other beldam is so old,
She has not spirits left to scold.
Go, Hermes, bid my brother Jove
Send three new Furies from above."
To Mercury thus Pluto said:
The winged deity obey'd.
It was about the self same season
That Juno, with as little reason,
Rung for her abigail; and, you know,
Iris is chambermaid to Juno.
"Iris, d'ye hear? Mind what I say;
I want three maids--inquire--No, stay!
Three virgins--Yes, unspotted all;
No characters equivocal.
Go find me three, whose manners pure
Can Envy's sharpest tooth endure."
The goddess curtsey'd, and retired;
>From London to Pekin inquired;
Search'd huts and palaces in vain;
And tired, to Heaven came back again.
"Alone! are you return'd alone?
How wicked must the world be grown!
What has my profligate been doing?
On earth has he been spreading ruin?
Come, tell me all."--Fair Iris sigh'd,
And thus disconsolate replied:--
"'Tis true, O Queen! three maids I found--
The like are not on Christian ground--
So chaste, severe, immaculate,
The very name of man they hate:
These--but, alas! I came too late;
For Hermes had been there before--
In triumph off to Pluto bore
Three sisters, whom yourself would own
The true supports of Virtue's throne."
"To Pluto!--Mercy!" cried the Queen,
"What can my brother Pluto mean?
Poor man! he doats, or mad he sure is!
What can he want them for?"--"Three Furies."
You will say I am an infernal poet; but every body cannot write
as they do aux Champs Elys`ees. Adieu, Madam!
(963) Madame du Deffand had sent Mr. Walpole a snuff-box, on the
lid of which was a portrait of Madame de S`evign`e, accompanied
by a letter written in her name from the Elysian Fields, and
addressed to Mr. Walpole; who did not at first suspect Madame du
Deffand as the author, but thought both the present and the
letter had come from the Duchess of Choiseul. ("One of the
principal features, and it must be called, when carried to such
excess, one of the principal weaknesses of Mr. Walpole's
character, was a fear of ridicule--a fear which, , like most
others, often leads to greater dangers than that which it seeks
to avoid. At the commencement of his acquaintance with madame du
Deffand, he was near fifty, and she above seventy years of age,
and entirely blind. She had already long passed the first epoch
in the life of a Frenchwoman, that of gallantry, and had as long
been established as a bel esprit; and it is to be remembered
that, in the ante-revolutionary world of paris, these epochs in
life were as determined, and as strictly observed, as the changes
of dress on a particular day of the different seasons; and that a
woman endeavouring to attract lovers after she ceased to be
galante, would have been not less ridiculous as her wearing
velvet when the rest of the world were in demi-soisons. Madame
du Deffand, therefore, old and blind, had no more idea of
attracting Mr. Walpole to her as a lover than she had of the
possibility of any one suspecting her of such an intention; and
indeed her lively feelings, and the violent fancy she had taken
for his conversation and character, in every expression of
admiration and attachment which she really felt, and which she
never supposed capable of misinterpretation. By himself they
were not misinterpreted; but he seems to have had ever before his
eyes a very unnecessary dread of that being so by others--a fear
lest madame du Deffand's extreme partiality and high opinion
should expose him to suspicions of entertaining the same opinion
of himself, or of its leading her to some extravagant mark of
attachment; and all this, he persuaded himself, was to be exposed
in their letters to all the clerks of the post-office at paris
and all the idlers at Versailles. This accounts for the
ungracious language in which he often replied to the
importunities of her anxious affection; a language so foreign to
his heart, and so contrary to his own habits in friendship: this
too accounts for his constantly repressing on her part all
effusions of sentiment, all disquisitions on the human heart, and
all communications of its vexations, weaknesses, and pains."
Preface to "Letters of Madame du Deffand to Mr. Walpole."-E.
(964) Vous avez si bien fait," replied Madame du Deffand, "par vo
le`cons, vos pr`eceptes, vos gronderies, et, le pis do tous, par
vos ironies, que vous `etes presque parvenu `a me rendre fausse,
ou, pour le moins, fort dissimul`ee."-E.
Letter 309 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, July 10, 1766. (page 485)
Don't you think a complete year enough for any administration to
last? One, who at least can remove them, though he cannot make
them, thinks so; and, accordingly, yesterday notified that he had
sent for Mr. Pitt.(965) Not a jot more is known; but as this set
is sacrificed to their resolution to have nothing to do with Lord
Bute, the new list will probably not be composed Of such hostile
ingredients. The arrangement I believe settled in the outlines;
if it is not, it may still never take place: it will not be the
first time this egg has been addled. One is very sure that many
people on all sides will be displeased, and I think no side quite
contented. Your cousins, the house of Yorke, Lord George
Sackville, Newcastle, and Lord Rockingham, will certainly not be
of the elect. What Lord Temple will do, or if any thing will be
done for George Grenville, are great points of curiosity. The
plan will probably be, to pick and cull from all quarters, and
break all parties as much as possible.(966) From this moment I
date the wane of Mr. Pitt's glory; he will want the thorough-bass
of drums and trumpets, and is not made for peace. The dismission
of a most popular administration, a leaven of Lord Bute, whom,
too, he can never trust, and the numbers he will discontent, will
be considerable objects against him.
For my own part, I am much pleased, and much diverted. I have
nothing to do but to sit by and laugh; a humour you know I am apt
to indulge. You shall hear from me again soon.
(965) On the 7th the King addressed a letter to Mr. Pitt,
expressing a desire to have his thoughts how an able and
dignified ministry might be formed, and requesting him to come to
town for that salutary purpose. The letter will be found in the
Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 436.-E.
(966) "Here are great bustles at court," writes Lord
Chesterfield, on the 11th, "and a great change of persons is
certainly very near. My conjecture is, that, be the new
settlement what it will, Mr. Pitt will be at the head of it. If
he is, I presume, qu'il aura mis de l'eau dans son vin par
rapport `a My lord Bute: when that shall come to be known, as
known it certainly Will soon be, he may bid adieu to his
Letter 310 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, July 21, 1766. (page 485)
You may strike up your sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer; for Mr.
Pitt(967) comes in, and Lord Temple does not. Can I send you a
more welcome affirmative or negative? My sackbut is not very
sweet, and here is the ode I have made for it:
When Britain heard the woful news,
That Temple was to be minister,
To look upon it could she choose
But as an omen most sinister?
But when she heard he did refuse,
In spite of Lady Chat. his sister,
What could she do but laugh, O Muse?
And so she did, till she ***** her.
If that snake had wriggled in, he would have drawn after him the
whole herd of vipers; his brother Demogorcon and all. 'Tis a
The changes I should think now would be few. They are not yet
known; but I am content already, and shall go to Strawberry
to-morrow, where I shall be happy to receive you and Mr. John any
day after Sunday next, the twenty-seventh, and for as many days
as ever you will afford me. Let me know your mind by the return
of the post. Strawberry is in perfection: the verdure has all
the bloom of spring: the orange-trees are loaded with blossoms,
the gallery all sun and gold, Mrs. Clive all sun and vermilion--
in short, come away to Yours ever.
P. S. I forgot to tell you, and I hate to steal and not tell,
that my ode is imitated from Fontaine.
(967) Mr. Pitt was gazetted, on the 30th of July, Viscount Pitt,
of Burton Pynsent, and Earl of Chatham. The same gazette
contained the notification of his appointment as lord privy seal
in the room of the Duke of Newcastle. "What shall I say to you
about the ministry?" writes Gray to Wharton: "I am as angry as a
common-councilman of London about my Lord Chatham, but a little
more patient, and will hold my tongue till the end of the year.
In the mean time, I do mutter in secret, and to you, that to quit
the House of Commons, his natural strength, to sap his own
popularity and grandeur, (which no man but himself could have
done,) by assuming a foolish title; and to hope that he could win
by it, and attach him to a court that hate him, and will dismiss
him as soon as ever they dare, was the weakest thing that ever
was done by so great a man. Had it not been for this, I should
have rejoiced at the breach between him and Lord Temple, and at
the union between him and the Duke of Grafton and Mr. Conway: but
patience! we shall see!" Works, vol. iv. p. 83.-E.
Letter 311 To David Hume, Esq.(968)
Arlington Street, July 26, 1766. (page 486)
Your set of literary friends are what a set of literary men are
apt to be, exceedingly absurd. They hold a consistory to consult
how to argue with a madman; and they think it very necessary for
your character to give them the pleasure of seeing Rousseau
exposed, not because he has provoked you, but them. If Rousseau
prints, you must; but I certainly would not till he does.(969)
I cannot be precise as to the time of my writing the King of
Prussia's letter; but I do assure you with the utmost truth that
it was several days before you left Paris, and before Rousseau's
arrival there, of which I can give you a strong proof; for I not
only suppressed the letter while you stayed there, out of
delicacy to you, but it was the reason why, out of delicacy to
myself, I did not go to see him, as you often proposed to me,
thinking it wrong to go and make a cordial visit to a man, with a
letter in my pocket to laugh at him. You are at full liberty,
dear Sir, to make use of what I say in your justification, either
to Rousseau or any body else. I should be very sorry to have you
blamed on my account; I have a hearty contempt of Rousseau, and
am perfectly indifferent what the literati of Paris think of the
matter. If there is any fault, which I am far from thinking, let
it lie on me. No parts can hinder my laughing at their
possessor, if he is a mountebank. If he has a bad and most
ungrateful heart, as Rousseau has shown in your case, into the
bargain, he will have my scorn likewise, as he will of all good
and sensible men. You may trust your sentence to such who are as
respectable judges as any that have pored over ten thousand more
P. S. I will look out the letter and the dates as soon as I go to
(968) On the celebrated quarrel between Hume and Rousseau,
D'Alembert, and the other literary friends of the former, met at
Paris, and were unanimous in advising him to publish the
particulars. This Hume at first refused, but determined to
collect them and for that purpose had written to Mr. Walpole
respecting the pretended letter from the King of Prussia.
(969) "Your friend Rousseau, I doubt, grows tired of Mr.
Davenport and Derbyshire: he has picked up a quarrel with David
Hume, and writes him letters of fourteen pages folio, upbraiding
him with all his noirceurs; take one only as a specimen. He says
that at Calais they chanced to sleep in the same room together,
and that he overheard David talking in his sleep, and saying,
'Ah! je le tiens, ce Jean Jacques l`a.' In short, I fear, for
want of persecution and admiration (for these are his real
complaints), be will go back to the Continent." Gray to Wharton;
Works, vol. iv. P. 82.-E.
Letter 312 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, Sept. 18, 1766. (page 487)
I am exceedingly obliged to you for your very friendly letter,
and hurt at the absurdity of the newspapers that occasioned the
alarm. Sure I am not of consequence enough to be lied about! It
is true I am ill, have been extremely so, and have been ill long,
but with nothing like paralytic, as they have reported me. It
has been this long disorder alone that has prevented my profiting
of your company at Strawberry, according to the leave you gave me
of asking it. I have lived upon the road between that place and
this, never settled there, and uncertain whether I should go to
Bath or abroad. Yesterday se'nnight I grew exceedingly ill
indeed, with what they say has been the gout in my stomach,
bowels, back, and kidneys. The worst seems over, and I have been
to take the air to-day for the first time, but bore it so ill
that I don't know how soon I shall be able to set out for Bath,
whither they want me to go immediately. As that journey makes it
very uncertain when I shall be at Strawberry again, and as you
must want your cups and pastils, will you tell me if I can convey
them to you any way safely? Excuse my saying more to-day, as I
am so faint and weak; but it was impossible not to acknowledge
your kindness the first minute I was able. Adieu!
Letter 313 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 18, 1766. (page 488)
I am this moment come hither with Mr. Chute, who has showed me
your most kind and friendly letter, for which I give you a
thousand thanks. It did not surprise me, for you cannot alter.
I have been most extremely ill; indeed, never well since I saw
you. However, I think it is over, and that the gout is gone
without leaving a codicil in my foot. Weak I am to the greatest
degree, and no wonder. Such explosions make terrible havoc in a
body of paper. I shall go to the Bath in a few days. which they
tell me will make my quire of paper hold out a vast while! as to
that, I am neither credulous nor earnest. If it can keep me from
pain and preserve me the power of motion, I shall be content.
Mr. Chute, who has been good beyond measure, goes with me for a
few days. A thousand thanks and compliments to Mr. and Mrs.
Whetenhall and Mr. John, and excuse me writing more, as I am a
little fatigued with my little journey.
Letter 314 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Bath, Oct. 2, 1766. (page 488)
I arrived yesterday at noon, and bore my journey perfectly well,
except that I had the headache all yesterday; but it is gone
to-day, or at least made way for a little giddiness which the
water gave me this morning at first. If it does not do me good
very soon, I shall leave it; for I dislike the place exceedingly,
and am disappointed in it. Their new buildings that are so
admired, look like a collection of little hospitals; the rest is
detestable; and all crammed together, and surrounded with
perpendicular hills that have no beauty. The river is paltry
enough to be the Seine or Tiber. Oh! how unlike my lovely
I met my Lord Chatham's coach yesterday full of such
Grenville-looking children, that I shall not go to see him this
day or two; and to-day I spoke to Lady Rockingham in the street.
My Lords Chancellor and President are here, and Lord and Lady
Powis. Lady Malpas arrived yesterday. I shall visit Miss Rich
to-morrow. In the next apartment to [nine lodges *****. I have
not seen him some years; and he is grown either mad or
superannuated, and talks without cessation or coherence: you
would think all the articles in a dictionary were prating
together at once. The Bedfords are expected this week. There
are forty thousand others that I neither know nor intend to know.
In short, it is living in a fair, and I am heartily sick of it
Letter 315 To George Montagu, Esq.
Bath, Oct. 5, 1766. (page 489)
Yes, thank you, I am quite well again; and if I had not a mind to
continue so, I would not remain here a day longer, for I am tired
to death of the place. I sit down by the waters of Babylon and
weep, when I think of thee, oh Strawberry! The elements
certainly agree with me, but I shun the gnomes and salamanders,
and have not once been at the rooms. Mr. Chute stays with me
till Tuesday; when he is gone, I do not know what I shall do; for
I cannot play at cribbage by myself, and the alternative is to
see my Lady Vane open the ball, and glimmer at fifty-four. All
my comfort is, that I lodge close to the cross bath, by which
means I avoid the pump-room and all its works. We go to dine and
see Bristol to-morrow, which will terminate our sights, for we
are afraid of your noble cousins at Badminton; and, as Mrs. Allen
is dead and Warburton entered upon the premises, you may swear we
shall not go thither.
Lord Chatham, the late and present Chancellors, and sundry more,
are here; and their graces of Bedford expected. I think I shall
make your Mrs. Trevor and Lady Lucy a visit; but it is such an
age since we met, that I suppose we shall not know one another by
sight. Adieu! These watering places, that mimic a capital, and
add vulgarisms and familiarities of their own, seem to me like
abigails in cast gowns, and I am not young enough to take up with
either. Yours ever.
Letter 316 To John Chute, Esq.
Bath, Oct. 10, 1766. (page 489)
I am impatient to hear that your charity to me has not ended in
the gout to yourself--all my comfort is, if you have it, that you
have good Lady Brown to nurse you.
My health advances faster than my amusement. However, I have
been at one opera, Mr. Wesley's.(970) They have boys and girls
with charming voices, that sing hymns, in parts, to Scotch ballad
tunes but indeed so long, that one would think they were already
in eternity, and knew how much time they had before them. The
chapel is very neat, with true Gothic windows (yet I am not
converted); but I was glad to see that luxury is creeping in upon
them before persecution: they have very neat mahogany stands for
branches, and brackets of the same in taste. At the upper end is
a broad hautpas of four steps, advancing in the middle: at each
end of the broadest part are two of my eagles, with red cushions
for the parson and clerk. Behind them rise three more steps, in
the midst of which is a third eagle for pulpit. Scarlet armed
chairs to all three. On either hand, a balcony for elect ladies.
The rest of the congregation sit on forms. Behind the pit, in a
dark niche, is a plain table within rails; so you see the throne
is for the apostle. Wesley is a lean elderly man,
fresh-coloured, his hair smoothly combed, but with a soup`con of
curls at the ends. Wondrous clean, but as evidently an actor as
Garrick. He spoke his sermon, but so fast, and with so little
accent, that I am sure he has often uttered it, for it was like a
lesson. There were parts and eloquence in it; but towards the
end he exalted his voice, and acted very ugly enthusiasm; decried
learning, and told stories, like Latimer, of the fool of his
college, who said, "I thanks God for every thing." Except a few
from curiosity, and some honourable women, the congregation was
very mean. There was a Scotch Countess Of Buchan,(971) who is
carrying a pure rosy vulgar face to heaven, and who asked Miss
Rich, if that was the author of the poets. I believe she meant
me and the Noble Authors.
The Bedfords came last night. Lord Chatham was with me yesterday
two hours; looks and walks well, and is in excellent political
spirits. Yours ever.
(970) The idea of adapting the psalms of the church to secular
tunes had been put in practice long before Wesley's day. The
celebrated Clement Marot wrote a number of psalms to sing to the
popular airs of his time, for the accommodation of the ladies of
the French court who were devoutly inclined; but he left it to
Wesley to assign as a reason for doing so, that there were no
just grounds for letting the devil have all the best tunes
(971) Agnes, second daughter of Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees;
married, in January 1739, to Henry David, fifth Earl of Buchan.
She was the mother of the celebrated Lord Erskine.-E.
Letter 317 To George Montagu, Esq.
Bath, Oct. 18, 1766. (page 490)
Well, I went last night to see Lady Lucy and Mrs. Trevor, was let
in, and received with great kindness. I found them little
altered; Lady Lucy was much undressed, but looks better than when
I saw her last, and as well as one could expect; no shyness nor
singularity, but very easy and conversable. They have a very
pretty house, with two excellent rooms on a floor, and extremely
well furnished. You may be sure your name was much in request.
If I had not been engaged, I could have staved much longer with
satisfaction; and if I am doomed, as probably I shall be, to come
hither again, they would be a great resource to me; for I find
much more pleasure now in renewing old acquaintances than in
The waters do not benefit me so much as at firs,; the pains in my
stomach return almost every morning, but do not seem the least
allied to the gout. This decrease of their virtue is not near so
great a disappointment to me as you might imagine; for I am so
childish as not to think health itself a compensation for passing
my time very disagreeably. I can bear the loss of youth
heroically, provided I am comfortable, and can amuse myself as I
like. But health does not give one the sort of spirits that make
one like diversions, public places, and mixed company. Living
here is being a shopkeeper, who is glad of all kinds of
customers; but does not suit me, who am leaving Off trade. I
shall depart on Wednesday, even on the penalty of coming again.
To have lived three weeks in a fair appears to me a century! I
am not at all in love with their country, which so charms every
body. Mountains are very good frames to a prospect, but here
they run against one's nose, nor can one stir out of the town
without clambering. It is true one may live as retired as one
pleases, and may always have a small society. The place is
healthy, every thing is cheap, and the provisions better than
ever I tasted. Still I have taken an insupportable aversion to
it, which I feel rather than can account for; I do not think you
would dislike it: so you see I am just in general, though very
partial as to my own particular.
You have raised my curiosity about Lord Scarsdale's, yet I
question whether I shall ever take the trouble of visiting it. I
grow every year more averse to stirring from home, and putting
myself out of my way. If I can but be tolerably well at
Strawberry, my wishes bounded. If I am to live at
watering-places, and keep what is called good hours, life itself
will be very indifferent to me. I do not talk very sensibly, but
I have a contempt for that fictitious character styled
philosophy; I feel what I feel, and say I feel what I do feel.
Adieu! Yours ever.
Letter 318 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Bath, Oct. 18, 1766. (page 491)
You have made me laugh, and somebody else makes me stare. How
can one wonder at any thing he does, when he knows so little of
the world? I suppose the next step will be to propose me for
groom of the bedchamber to the new Duke of Cumberland. But why
me? Here is that hopeful young fellow, Sir John Rushout, the
oldest member of the House, and, as extremes meet, very proper to
begin again; why overlook him? However, as the secret is kept
from me myself, I am perfectly easy about it. I shall call
to-day or to-morrow to ask his commands, but certainly shall not
obey those you mention.(972)
The waters certainly are not so beneficial to me as at first: I
have almost every morning my pain in my stomach. I do not
pretend this to be the cause of my leaving Bath. The truth is, I
cannot bear it any longer. You laugh at my regularity; but the
contrary habit is so strong in me, that I cannot continue such
sobriety. The public rooms, and the loo, where we play in a
circle, like the hazard on Twelfth-night, are insupportable.
This coming into the world again, when I am so weary of it, is as
bad and ridiculous as moving an address would be. I have no
affectation; for affectation is a monster at nine-and-forty; but
if I cannot live quietly, privately,
and comfortably, I am perfectly indifferent about living at all.
I would not kill myself, for that is a philosopher's affectation,
and I will come hither again, if I must; but I shall always drive
very near, before I submit to do any thing I do not like. In
short, I must be as foolish as I please, as long as I can keep
without the limits of absurdity. What has an old man to do but
to preserve himself from parade on one hand, and ridicule on the
other?(973) Charming youth may indulge itself in either, may be
censured, will be envied, and has time to correct. Adieu
You are a delightful manager of the House of Commons, to reckon
540, instead of 565! Sandwich was more accurate In lists, and
would not have miscounted 25, which are something in a division.
(972) Mr. Conway had intimated to Walpole, that it was the wish
of Lord Chatham, that he should move the address on the King's
speech at the opening of the session.-E.
(973) On the topic of ridicule, Walpole had, a few days before,
thus expressed himself in a letter to Madame du Deffand:--"Il y
avoit longtemps avant la date de notre connaissance, que cette
crainte de ridicule s'`etoit plant`ee dans mon esprit, et vous
devez assur`ement vous ressouvenir a quel point elle me
poss`edoit, et combien de fois je vous en ai entretenu. N'allez
pas lui chercher une naissance r`ecente. D`es le moment que je
cessais d'`etre jeune, j'ai eu une peur horrible de devenir un
veillard ridicule." To this the lady replied--"Vos craintes sur
le ridicule sont des terreurs paniques, mais on ne gu`erit point
de la peur; je n'ai point une semblable foiblesse; je sais qu'`a
mon age on est `a l'abri de donner du scandale: si l'on aime, on
n'a point `a s'en cacher; l'amiti`e ne sera jamais un sentiment
ridicule, quand elle ne fait pas faire des folies; mais
gardons-nous d'en prof`erer le nom, puisque vous avez de si
bonnes raisons de la vouloir proscrire."-E.
Letter 319 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 22, 1766. (page 492)
They may say what they will, but it does one ten times more good
to leave Bath than to go to it. I may sometimes drink the
waters, as Mr. Bentley used to say I invited company hither that
I did not care for, that I might enjoy the pleasure of their
going away. My health is certainly amended, but I did not feel
the satisfaction of it till I got home. I have still a little
rheumatism in one shoulder, which was not dipped in Styx, and is
still mortal; but, while I went to the rooms, or stayed in my
chambers in a dull court, I thought I had twenty complaints. I
don't perceive one of them.
Having no companion but such as the place afforded, and which I
did not accept, my excursions were very few; besides that the
city is so guarded with mountains, that I had not patience to be
jolted like a pea in a drum, in my chaise alone. I did go to
Bristol, the dirtiest great shop I ever saw, with so foul a
river, that, had I seen the least appearance of cleanliness, I
should have concluded they washed all their linen in it, as they
do at Paris. Going into the town, I was struck with a large
Gothic building, coal-black, and striped with white; I took it
for the devil's cathedral. When I came nearer, I found it was a
uniform castle, lately built, and serving for stables and offices
to a smart false Gothic house on the other side of the road.
The real cathedral is very neat and has pretty tombs, besides the
two windows of painted glass, given by Mrs. Ellen Gwyn. There is
a new church besides of' St. Nicholas, neat and truly Gothic,
besides a charming old church at the other end of the town. The
cathedral, or abbey, at Bath, is glaring and crowded with modern
tablet-monuments; among others, I found two, of my cousin Sir
Erasmus Phillips, and of Colonel Madan. Your cousin Bishop
Montagu, decked it much. I dined one day with an agreeable
family, two miles from Bath, a Captain Miller(974) and his wife,
and her mother, Mrs. Riggs. They have a small new-built house,
with a bow-window, directly opposite to which the Avon falls in a
wide cascade, a church behind it in a vale, into which two
mountains descend, leaving an opening into the distant country.
A large village, with houses of gentry, is on one of the hills to
the left. Their garden is little, but pretty, and watered with
several small rivulets among the bushes. Meadows fall down to
the road; and above, the garden is terminated by another view of
the river, the city, and the mountains. 'Tis a very diminutive
principality, with large Pretensions.
I must tell you a quotation I lighted upon t'other day from
Persius, the application of which has much diverted Mr. Chute.
You know my Lord Milton,(975) from nephew of the old usurer
Damer, of Dublin, has endeavoured to erect himself into the
representative of the ancient Barons Damory--
"----Momento turbinis exit
Apropos, or rather not `apropos, I wish you joy of the
restoration of the dukedom in your house, though I believe we
both think it very hard upon my Lady Beaulieu.
I made a second visit to Lady Lucy and Mrs. Trevor, and saw the
latter One night at the rooms. She did not appear to me so
little altered as in the dusk of her own chamber. Adieu! Yours
(974) Captain John Miller, of Ballicasy, in the county of Clare.
In the preceding year he had married Anne, the only daughter of
Edward Riggs, Esq. In 1778, he was created an Irish baronet, and
in 1784, chosen representative for Newport in parliament. See
post, Walpole's letter to General Conway, of the 15th of January
(975) Joseph Damer Lord Milton, of Shrone Hill, in the kingdom of
Ireland, was created a baron of Great Britain in May 1762, by the
title of Baron Milton of Milton Abbey, Dorsetshire.-E.
Letter 320 To Sir David Dalrymple.(976)
Strawberry Hill, Nov. 5, 1766. (page 494)
On my return from Bath, I found your very kind and agreeable
present of the papers in King Charles's time;(977) for which and
all your other obliging favours I give you a thousand thanks.
I was particularly pleased with your just and sensible preface
against the squeamish or bigoted persons who would bury in
oblivion the faults and follies of princes, and who thence
contribute to their guilt; for if princes, who living are above
control, should think that no censure is to attend them when
dead, it would be new encouragement to them to play the fool and
act the tyrant. When they are so kind as to specify their crimes
under their own hands, it would be foppish delicacy indeed to
suppress them. I hope you will proceed, Sir, and with the same
impartiality. It was justice due to Charles to publish the
extravagancies of his enemies too. The comparison can never be
fairly made, but when we see the evidence on both sides. I have
done so in the trifles I have published, and have as much
offended some by what I have said of the Presbyterians at the
beginning of my third volume of the Painters, as I had others by
condemnation of King Charles in my Noble Authors. In the second
volume of my Anecdotes I praised him where he deserved praise;
for truth is my sole object, and it is some proof, when one
offends both. I am, Sir, your most obliged and obedient servant.
(976) Now first collected. In the March of this year, Sir David
Dalrymple was made a judge of the Court of session, when he
assumed the name of lord Hailes, by which he is best known.-E.
(977) "The Memorials and Letters relating to the History of
Britain in the Reigns of James the First and Charles the First,
published from the originals in the Advocates' Library at
Edinburgh," had just appeared, in two volumes, octavo.-E.
Letter 321 To David Hume, Esq.
Nov. 6, 1766. (page 494)
You have, I own, surprised me by suffering your quarrel with
Rousseau to be printed, contrary to your determination when you
left London, and against the advice of all your best friends
here; I may add, contrary to your own nature, which has always
inclined you to despise literary squabbles, the jest and scorn of
all men of sense. Indeed, I am sorry you have let yourself be
over-persuaded, and so are all that I have seen who wish you
well: I ought rather to use your own word extorted. You say your
Parisian friends extorted your consent to this publication. I
believe so. Your good sense would not approve what your good
heart could not refuse. You add, that they told you Rousseau had
sent letters of defiance against you all over Europe? Good God!
my dear Sir, could you pay any regard to such fustian? All
Europe laughs at being dragged every day into these idle
quarrels, with which Europe only ***. Your friends talk as
loftily as of a challenge between Charles the Fifth and Francis
the First. What are become of all the controversies since the
days of Scaliger and Scioppius, of Billingsgate memory? Why,
they sleep in oblivion, till some Bayle drags them out of their
dust, and takes mighty pains to ascertain the date of each
author's death, which is of no more consequence to the world than
the day of his birth. Many a country squire quarrels with his
neighbour about game and manors; yet they never print their
wrangles, though as much abuse passes between them as if they
could quote all the philippics of the learned. You have acted,
as i should have expected if you would print, with sense, temper,
and decency, and, what is still more uncommon, with your usual
modesty. I cannot say so much for your editors. But editors and
commentators are seldom modest. Even to this day that race ape
the dictatorial tone Of the commentators at the restoration of
learning, when the mob thought that Greek and Latin could give
men the sense which they wanted in their native languages. But
Europe is now grown a little wiser, and holds these magnificent
pretensions in proper contempt.
What I have said is to explain why I am sorry my letter makes a
part of this controversy. When I sent it to you, it was for your
justification; and, had it been necessary, I could have added as
much more, having been witness to your anxious and boundless
friendship for Rousseau. I told you, you might make what use of
it you pleased. Indeed, at that time I did not-could not think
of its being printed, you seeming so averse to any publication on
that head. However, I by no means take it ill, nor regret my
part, if it tends to vindicate your honour.
I must confess that I am more concerned that you have suffered my
letter to be curtailed; nor should I have consented to that if
you had asked me. I guessed that your friends consulted your
interest less than their own inclination to expose Rousseau; and
I think their omission of what I said on that subject proves I
was not mistaken in my guess. My letters hinted, too, my
contempt of learned men and their miserable conduct. Since I was
to appear in print, I should not have been sorry that that
opinion should have appeared at the same \time. In truth, there
is nothing I hold so cheap as the generality of learned men; and
I have often thought that young men ought to be made scholars,
lest they should grow to reverence learned blockheads, and think
there is any merit in having read more foolish books than other
folks; which, as there are a thousand nonsensical books for one
good one, must be the case of any man who has read much more than
Your friend D'Alembert, who, I suppose, has read a vast deal, is,
it seems, offended with my letter to Rousseau.(978) He is
certainly as much at liberty to blame it, as I was to write it.
Unfortunately he does not convince me; nor can I think but that
if Rousseau may attack all governments and all religions, I might
attack him: especially on his affectation and affected
misfortunes; which you and your editors have proved are affected.
D'Alembert might be offended at Rousseau's ascribing my letter to
him; and he is in the right. I am a very indifferent author; and
there is nothing so vexatious to an indifferent author as to be
confounded with another of the same class. I should be sorry to
have his eloges and translations of scraps of Tacitus laid to me.
However, I can forgive him any thing, provided he never
translates me. Adieu! my dear Sir. I am apt to laugh, you know,
and therefore you will excuse me, though I do not treat your
friends up to the pomp of their claims. They may treat me as
freely: I shall not laugh the less, and I promise you I will
never enter into a controversy with them. Yours ever.
(978) For writing the pretended letter from the King of Prussia
to Rousseau, Walpole was severely censured by Warburton, in a
letter to Hurd:--"As to Rousseau," says the Bishop, "I entirely
agree with you, that his long letter to his brother philosopher,
Hume, shows him to be a frank lunatic. His passion of tears, his
suspicion of his friends in the midst of their services, and his
incapacity of being set right, all consign him to Monro.
Walpole's pleasantry upon him had baseness in its very
conception. It was written when the poor man had determined to
seek an asylum in England; and is, therefore, justly and
generously condemned by D'Alembert. This considered, Hume failed
both in honour and friendship not to show his dislike; which
neglect seems to have kindled the first spark of combustion in
this madman's brain. However, the contestation is very amusing,
and I shall be very sorry if it stops, now it is in so good a
train. I should be well pleased, particularly, to see so
seraphic a madman attack so insufferable a coxcomb as Walpole;
and I think they are only fit for one another."-E.
Letter 322 To David Hume, Esq.
Arlington Street, Nov. 11, 1766. (page 496)
Indeed, dear Sir, it was not necessary to make me any apology.
D'Alembert is certainly at liberty to say what he pleases of me;
and undoubtedly you cannot think that it signifies a straw to me
what he says. But how can you be surprised at his printing a
thing that he sent you so long ago? All my surprise consists in
your suffering him to Curtail my letter to you, when you might be
sure be would print his own at length. I am glad, however, that
he has mangled mine: it not only shows his equity, but is the
strongest proof that he was conscious I guessed right, when I
supposed he urged you to publish, from his own private pique to
What you surmise of his censuring my letter because I am a friend
of Madame du Deffand, is astonishing indeed, and not to be
credited, unless you had suggested it. Having never thought him
any thing like a superior genius,(979) as you term him, I
concluded his vanity was hurt by Rousseau's ascribing my letter
to him; but, to carry resentment to a woman, to an old and blind
woman, so far as to hate a friend of hers qui ne lui avoit fait
de mal is strangely weak and lamentable. I thought he was a
philosopher, and that philosophers were virtuous, upright men,
who loved wisdom, and were above the little passions and foibles
of humanity. I thought they assumed that proud title as an
earnest to the world, that they intended to be something more
than mortal; that they engaged themselves to be patterns of
excellence, and would utter no opinion, would pronounce no
decision, but what they believed the quintessence of' truth; that
they always acted without prejudice and respect of persons.
Indeed, we know that the ancient philosophers were a ridiculous
composition of arrogance, disputation, and contradictions; that
some of them acted against all ideas of decency; that others
affected to doubt of their own senses; that some, for venting
unintelligible nonsense, pretended to think themselves superior
to kings; that they gave themselves airs of accounting for all
that we do and do not see-and yet, that no two of them agreed in
a single hypothesis; that one thought fire, another water, the
origin of all things; and that some were even so absurd and
impious, as to displace God, and enthrone matter in his place. I
do not mean to disparage such wise men, for we are really obliged
to them: they anticipated and helped us off with an exceeding
deal of nonsense, through which we might possibly have passed, if
they had not prevented us. But, when in this enlightened age, as
it is called, I saw the term philosophers revived, I concluded
the jargon would be omitted, and that we should be blessed with
only the cream of sapience; and one had more reason still to
expect this from any superior genius. But, alas! my dear Sir,
what a tumble is here! Your D'Alembert is a mere mortal oracle.
Who but would have laughed, if, when the buffoon Aristophanes
ridiculed Socrates, Plato had condemned the former, not for
making sport with a great man in distress, but because Plato
hated some blind old woman with whom Aristophanes was acquainted!
D'Alembert's conduct is the More Unjust, as I never heard Madame
du Deffand talk of him above three times in the seven months that
I passed at Paris; and never, though she does not love him, with
any reflection to his prejudice. I remember the first time I
ever heard her mention his name, I said I have been told he was a
good man but could not think him a good writer. (Craufurd(980)
remembers this, and it is a proof that I always thought of
D'Alembert as I do now.) She took it up with warmth, defended
his parts, and said he was extremely amusing. For her quarrel
with him, I never troubled my head about it one way or other;
which you will not wonder at. You know in England we read their
works, but seldom or never take any notice of authors. We think
them sufficiently paid if their books sell, and of course leave
them to their colleges and obscurity, by which means we are not
troubled with their variety and impertinence. In France, they
spoil us; but that was no business of mine. I, who am an author
must own this conduct very sensible; for in truth we are a most
That D'Alembert should have omitted passages in which you was so
good as to mention me with approbation, agrees with his
peevishness, not with his philosophy. However, for God's sake,
do not state the passages. I do not love compliments, and will
never give my consent to receive any. I have no doubt of your
kind intentions to me, but beg they may rest there. I am much
more diverted with the philosopher D'Alembert's underhand
dealings, than I should have been pleased with panegyric even
Allow me to make one more remark, and I have done with this
trifling business for ever. Your moral friend pronounces me
ill-natured for laughing at an unhappy man who had never offended
me. Rousseau certainly never did offend me. I believed, from
many symptoms in his writings, and from what I heard of him, that
his love of singularity made him choose to invite misfortunes,
and that he hung out many more than he felt. I, who affect no
philosophy, nor pretend to more virtue than my neighbours,
thought this ridiculous in a man who is really a superior genius,
and joked upon it in a few lines never certainly intended to
appear in print. The sage D'Alembert reprehends this--and where?
In a book published to expose Rousseau, and which confirms by
serious proofs what I had hinted at in jest. What! does a
philosopher condemn me, and in the very same, breath, only with
ten times more ill-nature, act exactly as I had done? Oh! but
you will say, Rousseau had offended D'Alembert by ascribing the
King of Prussia's letter to him. Worse and worse: if Rousseau is
unhappy, a philosopher should have pardoned. Revenge is so
unbecoming the rex regum, the man who is precipue sanus--nisi cum
pituita molesta est. If Rousseau's misfortunes are affected,
what becomes of my ill-nature? In short, my dear Sir, to
conclude as D'Alembert concludes his book, I do believe in the
virtue of Mr. Hume, but not much in that of philosophers. Adieu!
P. S. It occurs to me, that you may be apprehensive of my being
indiscreet enough to let D'Alembert learn your suspicions of him
on Madame du Deffand's account! but you may be perfectly easy on
that head. Though I like such an advantage over him, and should
be glad he saw this letter, and knew how little formidable I
think him, I shall certainly not make an ill use of a private
letter, and had much rather wave my triumph, than give a friend a
moment's pain. I love to laugh at an impertinent savant, but
respect learning when Joined to such goodness as yours, and never
confound ostentation and modesty.
I wrote to you last Thursday and, by Lady Hertford's advice,
directed my letter to Nine-Wells: I hope you will receive it.
(979) "I believe I said he was a man of superior parts, not a
superior genius; words, if I mistake not, of a very different
(981) John Craufurd, Esq. of Auchinames, in Scotland.-E.
Letter 323 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Dec. 12, 1766. (page 499)
Pray what are you doing?
Or reading or feeding?
Or drinking or thinking?
Or praying or playing?
Or walking or talking?
Or riding about to your neighbours?(982)
I am sure you are not writing, for I have not had a word from you
this century; nay, nor you from me. In truth, we have had a busy
month, and many grumbles of a state-quake; but the session has
however ended very triumphantly for the great Earl. I mean, we
are adjourned for the holidays for above a month, after two
divisions of one hundred and sixty-six to forty-eight, and one
hundred and forty to fifty-six.(983) The Earl chaffered for the
Bedfords, and who so willing as they?(984) However, the bargain
went off, and they are forced to return to George Grenville.
Lord Rockingham and the Cavendishes have made a jaunt to the same
quarter, but could carry only eight along with them, which
swelled that little minority to fifty-six. I trust and I hope it
will not rise higher in haste. Your cousin, I hear, has been two
hours with the Earl, but to what purpose I know not. Nugent is
made Lord Clare, I think to no purpose at all.I came hither
to-day for two or three days, and to empty my head. The weather
is very warm and comfortable. When do you move your tents
southward? I left little news in town, except politics. That
pretty young woman, Lady Fortrose,(985) Lady Harrington's eldest
daughter, is at the point of death, killed, like Coventry and
others, by white lead, of which nothing could break her. Lord
Beauchamp is going to marry the second Miss Windsor.(986) It is
odd that those two ugly girls, though such great fortunes, should
get the two best figures in England, him and Lord Mount-Stuart.
The Duke of York is erecting a theatre at his own palace, and is
to play Lothario in the Fair Penitent himself. Apropos, have you
seen that delightful paper composed out of scraps in the
newspapers! I laughed till I cried, and literally burst out so
loud, that I thought Favre, who was waiting in the next room,
would conclude I was in a fit; I mean the paper that says,
"This day his Majesty will go in state to fifteen notorious,"
It is the newest piece of humour except the Bath Guide, that I
have seen of many years. Adieu! Do let me hear from you soon.
How does brother John? Yours ever.
(982 Thus playfully imitated by Lord Byron, in December, 1816;
"What are you doing now, oh Thomas Moore?
Sighing or suing now?
Rhyming or wooing now?
Billing or cooing now?
Which, Thomas Moore?"-E.
(983) On the bill of indemnity for those concerned in the embargo
on the exportation of corn.-E.
(984) The following is Lord Chesterfield's account of this
negotiation:--"No mortal can comprehend the present state of
affairs. Eight or nine persons, of some consequence, have
resigned their employments; upon which, Lord Chatham made
overtures to the Duke of Bedford and his people; but they could
by no means agree, and his grace went the next day, full of
wrath, to Woburn; so that negotiation is entirely at an end.
People wait to see who Lord Chatham will take in, for some he
must have; even he cannot be alone, contra mundum. Such a state
of things, to be sure, was never seen before, in this or in any
other country. When this ministry shall be settled, it will be
the sixth in six years' time."-E.
(985) Caroline, eldest daughter of William second Earl of
Harrington; married, on the 7th of October 1765, to Kenneth
M'Kenzie, created Baron of Andelon, Viscount Fortrose and Earl of
Seaforth in the peerage of Ireland. Her ladyship died on the 9th
of February 1767.-E.
(986) Francis Lord Beauchamp, son of the first Marquis of
Hertford. His first wife, by whom he had no issue, was Alice
Elizabeth, youngest daughter and coheiress of Herbert second
Viscount Windsor. This lady died in 1772; when his lordship
married, secondly, in 1776, Isabella Anne, daughter and heiress
of Charles Ingram, Viscount Irvine of Scotland.-E.
(987) Cross-readings from the Public Advertiser, by Caleb
Whitefoord. [The paper was entitled, "A New Method of reading
the Newspapers," and was subscribed, "Papyrius Cursor;" a
signature which Dr. Johnson thought singularly happy, it being
the real name of an ancient Roman, and expressive of the thing
done in this lively conceit--of which the following may serve as
"Yesterday Dr. Jones preached at St. James's and performed it
with ease in less than 15 minutes.
The sword of state was carried before Sir J. Fielding, and
committed to Newgate.
There was a numerous and brilliant court; a down look, and cast
with one eye.
Last night the Princess Royal was baptized; Mary, alias Moll
Hacket, alias Black Nell.
This morning the Right Hon. the Speaker--was convicted of keeping
a disorderly house.
This day his Majesty will go in state to fifteen notorious common
Their R. H. the Dukes of York and Gloucester were bound over to
their good behaviour.
At noon her R. H. the Princess dowager was married to Mr.
Jenkins, an eminent tailor.
Several changes are talked of at court, consisting of 8040 triple
At a very full meeting of common council, the greatest show of
horned cattle this season.
An indictment for murder is preferred against the worshipful
company of Apothecaries.
Yesterday the new Lord Mayor was sworn in, and afterwards tossed
and gored several persons.
This morning will be married the Lord Viscount and afterwards
hung in chains, pursuant to his sentence.
Escaped from the new gaol, Terence M'Dernan, if he will return,
he will be kindly received,"
Letter 324 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 16, 1766. (p-age 500)
I wrote to You last post on the very day I ought to have received
yours; but being at Strawberry, did not get it in time. Thank
you for your offer of a doe; you know when I dine at home here,
it is quite alone, and venison frightens my little meal; yet, as
half of it is designed for dimidium animae meae Mrs. Clive (a
pretty round half), I must not refuse it; venison will make such
a figure at her Christmas gambols! only let me know when and how
I am to receive it, that she may prepare the rest of her banquet;
I will convey it to her. I don't like your wintering so late in
the country. Adieu!
Letter 325 To George Montagu, Esq.
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 1767. (page 501
I am going to eat some of your venison, and dare to say it is
very good; I am sure you are, and thank you for it. Catherine, I
do not doubt, is up to the elbows in currant jelly and Gratitude.
I have lost poor Louis, who died last week at Strawberry. He had
no fault but what has fallen upon himself, poor. soul! drinking:
his honesty and good-nature were complete; and I am heartily
concerned for him, which I shall seldom say so sincerely.
There has been printed a dull complimentary letter to me on the
quarrel of Hume and Rousseau. In one of the reviews they are so
obliging as to say I wrote it myself: it is so dull, that I
should think they wrote it themselves--a kind Of abuse I should
dislike much more than their criticism.
Are not you frozen, perished? How do you keep yourself alive on
your mountain! I scarce stir from my fireside. I have scarce
been at Strawberry for a day this whole Christmas, and there is
less appearance of a thaw to-day than ever. There has been
dreadful havoc at Margate and Aldborough, and along the coast.
At Calais, the sea rose above sixty feet perpendicular, which
makes people conclude there has been an earthquake somewhere or
other. I shall not think of my journey to France yet; I suffered
too much with the cold last year at Paris, where they have not
the least idea of comfortable, but sup in stone halls, with all
the doors open. Adieu! I must go dress for the drawing-room of
the Princess of Wales. Yours ever.
Letter 326 To Dr. Ducarel.
April 25, 1767. (page 501)
Mr. Walpole has been out of town, Or should have thanked Dr.
Ducarel sooner for the obliging favour of his most curious and
valuable work,(988) which Mr. Walpole has read with the greatest
pleasure and satisfaction. He will be very much obliged to Dr.
Ducarel if he will favour him with a set of the prints separate;
which Mr. Walpole would be glad to put into his volumes of
English Heads; and shall be happy to have an opportunity of
returning these obligations.
(988) Entitled "Anglo-Norman Antiquities considered, in a Tour
through part of Normandy."-E.
Letter 327 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Strawberry Hill, July 29, 1767. (page 502)
My dear lord,
I am very sorry that I must speak of a loss that will give you
and Lady Strafforct concern; an essential loss to me, who am
deprived of a most agreeable friend, with whom I passed here many
hours. I need not say I mean poor Lady Suffolk.(989) I was with
her two hours on Saturday night; and, indeed, found her much
changed, though I did not apprehend her in danger. I was going
to say she complained--but you know she never did complain--of
the gout and rheumatism all over her, particularly in her face.
It was a cold night, and she sat below stairs when she should
have been in bed; and I doubt this want of care was prejudicial.
I sent next morning. She had a bad night; but grew much better
in the evening. Lady Dalkeith came to her; and, when she was
gone, Lady Suffolk said to Lord Chetwynd, "She would eat her
supper in her bedchamber." He went up with her, and thought the
appearances promised a good night: but she was scarce sat down in
her chair, before she pressed her hand to her side, and died in
half an hour.
I believe both your lordship and Lady Strafford will be surprised
to hear that she was by no means in the situation that most
people thought. Lord Chetwynd and myself were the only persons
at all acquainted with her affairs, and they were far from being
even easy to her. It is due to her memory to say, that I never
saw more strict honour and justice. She bore knowingly the
imputation of being covetous, at a time that the strictest
economy could by no means prevent her exceeding her income
considerably. The anguish of the last years of her life, though
concealed, flowed from the apprehension of not satisfying her few
wishes, which were, not to be in debt, and to make a provision
for Miss Hotham.(990) I can give your lordship strong instances
of the sacrifices she tried to make to her principles. I have
not yet heard if her will is opened; but it will surprise those
who thought her rich. Lord Chetwynd's friendship to her has been
unalterably kind and zealous, and has not ceased. He stays in
the house with Miss Hotham till some of her family come to take
her away. I have perhaps dwelt too long on this subject; but, as
it was not permitted me to do her justice when alive, I own I
cannot help wishing that those who had a regard for her, may at
least know how much more she deserved it than even they
suspected. In truth, I never knew a woman more respectable for
her honour and principles, and have lost few persons in my life
whom I shall miss so much. I am, etc.
(989) Henrietta Hobart, Countess of Suffolk. She died at Marble
Hall, on the 24th of July.-E.
(990) Her great-niece.
Letter 328 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, July 31, 1767. (page 503)
I find one must cast you into debt, if one has a mind to hear of
you. You would drop one with all your heart, if one would let
you alone. Did not you talk of passing by Strawberry in June, on
a visit to the Bishop? I did not summon you, because I have not
been sure of my own motions for two days together for these three
months. At last all is subsided; the administration will go on
pretty much as it was, with Mr. Conway for part of it. The fools
and the rogues, or, if you like proper names, the Rockinghams and
the Grenvilles, have bungled their own game, quarrelled, and
thrown it away.
Where are you? What are you doing? Where are you going or
staying? I shall trip to Paris in about a fortnight, for a month
or six weeks. Indeed, I have had such a loss in poor Lady
Suffolk,(991) that my autumns at Strawberry will suffer
exceedingly, and will not be repaired by my Lord Buckingham. I
have been in pain, too, and am not quite easy about my brother,
who is in a bad state of health. Have you waded through or into
Lord Lyttelton?(992) How dull one may be, if one will but take
pains for six or seven-and-twenty years together! Except one
day's gout, which I cured with the boolikins, I have been quite
well since I saw you: nay, with a microscope you would perceive I
am fatter. Mr. Hawkins saw it with his naked eye, and told me
it was common for lean people to grow fat when they grow old. I
am afraid the latter is more certain than the former, I submit to
it with a good grace. There is no keeping off age by sticking
roses and sweet peas in one's hair, as Miss Chudleigh does still.
If you are not totally abandoned, you will send me a line before
I go. The Clive has been desperately nervous; but I have
convinced her it did not become her, and she has recovered her
(991) "Votre pauvre sourde!" writes Madame du Deffand to Walpole,
on the 3d of August. "Ah! mon Dieu! que j'en suis f`ach`ee;
c'est une veritable perte, et je la partage: j'aimais qu'elle
v`ecut; j'aimais son amiti`e pour vous; j'aimais votre
attachement pour elle: tout cela, ce me semble, m'`etait bon."-E.
(992) His "History of the Life of King Henry the Second, and of
the Age in which he lived," in four volumes quarto.-E.
Letter 329 To George Montagu, Esq.
Friday, Aug. 7, 1767. (page 503)
As I am turned knight-errant, and going again in search of my old
fairy,(993) I will certainly transport your enchanted casket, and
will endeavour to procure some talisman, that may secrete it from
the eyes of those unheroic harpies, the officers of the
customhouse, YOU must take care to let me have it before
The house at Twickenham with which you fell in love, is still
unmarried; but they ask a hundred and thirty pounds a-year for
it. If they asked one hundred and thirty thousand pounds for it,
perhaps my Lord Clive might snap it up; but that not being the
case, I don't doubt but it will fall, and I flatter myself, that
you and it may meet at last upon reasonable terms. That of
General Trapaud is to be had at fifty pounds a-year, but with a
fine on entrance of five hundred pounds. As I propose to return
by the beginning of October, perhaps I may see you, and then you
may review both. Since the loss of poor Lady Suffolk, I am more
desirous than ever of having you in my neighbourhood, as I have
not a rational acquaintance left. Adieu!
(993) Madame du Deffand. The following passages from her letters
to Walpole will best explain the reasons which induced him to
undertake the journey:--"Paris, 5 Juillet. Je crois entrevoir
que votre s`ejour ici vous inqui`ete, et que la complaisance qui
vous am`ene vous coute beaucoup; mais, mon Tuteur, songez au
plaisir que vous me ferez, quelle sera ma reconnaissance. Je ne
vous dirai point combien cette visite m'est necessaire; vous
jugerez par vous-m`eme si je vous en ai impose sur rien, et si
vous pourrez jamais vous repentir des marques d'amiti`e que vous
m'avez donn`ees. Mon Dieu! que nous aurons de sujets de
conversations!"--"Dimanche, 23 Ao`ut. Enfin, enfin, il n'y a plus
de mer qui nous s`epare; j'ai l'esperance de vous voir d`ees
aujoqrd'hui. J'ai pri`e hier Madame Simonetti d'envoyer chez moi
au moment de votre arriv`ee; si vous voulez venir chez MOi, comme
j'esp`ere, vous aurez sur le champ mon carrosse. Je me flatte
que demain vous dinerez et souperez avec moi t`ete-`a-t`ete; nous
en aurons bien `a dire. Sans cette maudite compagnie que j'ai si
sottement rassembl`ee, vous m'auriez trouv`ee chez vous `a la
d`escente de votre chaise; cela vous auroit fort d`eplu, mais je
m'en serois mocqu`ee." Madame Simonetti kept the H`otel garni du
Parc Royal, Rue du Colombie. In a journal which Walpole kept of
this journey to Paris, is the following entry:--"August 23.
Arrived at Paris a quarter before seven; at eight, to Madame du
Deffand's; found the Clairon acting Agrippine and Ph`edre. Not
tall; but I liked her acting better than I expected. Supped
there with her, and the Duchesse de Villeroi, d'Aiguillon, etC.
Letter 330 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(994)
Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 1767. (page 504)
Last night by Lord Rochford's courier, we heard of Townshend's
death;(995) for which indeed your letter had prepared me. As a
man of incomparable parts, and most entertaining to a spectator,
I regret his death. His good-humour prevented one from hating
him, and his levity from loving him; but, in a political light, I
own I cannot look upon it as a misfortune. His treachery alarmed
me, and I apprehended every thing from it. It was not advisable
to throw him into the arms of the Opposition. His death avoids
both kinds of mischief. I take for granted you will have Lord
North for chancellor of the exchequer.(996) He is very inferior
to Charles in parts; but what he wants in those, will be supplied
by firmness and spirit.
With regard to my brother, I should apprehend nothing, were he
like other men; but I shall not be astonished, if he throws his
life away; and I have seen so much of the precariousness of it
lately, that I am prepared for the event, if it shall happen. I
will say nothing about Mr. Harris; he is an old man, and his
death will be natural. For Lord Chatham, he is really or
intentionally mad,--but I still doubt which of the two. Thomas
Walpole has writ to his brother here, that the day before Lord
Chatham set out for Pynsent, he executed a letter of attorney,
with full powers to his wife, and the moment it was signed he
You may depend upon it I shall only stay here to the end of the
month: but if you should want me sooner, I will set out at a
moment's warning, on your sending me a line by Lord Rochf'ord's
courier. This goes by Lady Mary Coke, who sets out to-morrow
morning early, on notice of Mr. Townshend's death, or she would
have stayed ten days longer. I sent you a letter by Mr.
Fletcher, but I fear he did not go away till the day before
I am just come from dining en famille with the Duke de Choiseul:
he was very civil--but much more civil to Mr. Wood,(998) who
dined there too. I imagine this gratitude to the peacemakers. I
must finish; for I am going to Lady Mary, and then return to sup
with the Duchess de Choiseul, who is not civiller to any body
than to me. Adieu! Yours ever.
(994) Now first printed.
(995) Mr. Charles Townshend died very unexpectedly, on the 4th of
September; he being then only in his forty-second year.-E.
(996) "The chancellorship of the exchequer," says Adolphus, "was
filled up ad interim by Lord Mansfield. It was offered to Lord
North, who, for some reasons which are not precisely known,
declined accepting it. The offer was subsequently made to Lord
Barrington; who declared his readiness to undertake the office,
if a renewed application to Lord North should fail: a fresh
negotiation was attempted with the Duke of Bedford, but without
effect, and at length Lord North was prevailed on to accept the
office. Mr. Thomas Townshend succeeded Lord North as paymaster,
and Mr. Jenkinson was appointed a lord of the treasury; Lord
Northington and General Conway resigning, Lord Gower was made
president of the council; Lord Weymouth, secretary of state; and
Lord Sandwich, joint postmaster-general. These promotions
indicated an accommodation between the ministry and the Bedford
party; and the cabinet was further strengthened by the
appointment of Lord Hillsborough to the office of secretary of
state for America. The ministry, thus modelled, was called the
Duke of Grafton's administration; for, although Lord Chatham
still retained his place, he was incapable of transacting
(997) Lord Chatham's enemies were constantly insinuating, that
his illness was a political one. For the real state of his
health at the time Walpole was penning this uncharitable passage,
see Lady Chatham's letter to Mr. Nuthall of the 17th of August,
and his lordship's own grateful and affectionate letter to Mr.
Thomas Walpole of the 30th of October. Correspondence, Vol. iii.
p. 282, 289.-E.
(998) Mr. Robert Wood. He was under-secretary of state at the
time of the treaty of Paris.-E.
Letter 331 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, Oct. 24, 1767. (page 505)
It is an age since we have had any correspondence. My long and
dangerous illness last year, with my journey to Bath; my long
attendance in Parliament all winter, spring, and to the beginning
of summer: and my journey to France since, from whence I returned
but last week,(999) prevented my asking the pleasure Of Seeing
you at Strawberry Hill.
I wish to hear that you have enjoyed your health, and shall be
glad of any news of you. The season is too late, and the
Parliament too near opening, for me to propose a winter journey
to you. if you should happen to think at all of London, I trust
you would do me the favour to call on me. In short, this is only
a letter of inquiry after YOU, and to show you that I am always
most truly yours.
(999) Walpole left Paris the 9th of October; on the morning of
which Madame du Deffand thus resumes her correspondence with
him:--"Que de lachet`e, de faiblesse, et de ridicules je vous ai
laiss`e voir! Je m'`etais bien promis le contrire; mais, mais--
oubliez tout cela, pardonnez-le moi, mon Tuteur, et ne pensez
plus `a votre Petite que pour vous dire qu'elle est raisonnable,
ob`eissante, et par-dessus tout reconnaissante; que son respect,
oui, je dis respect, que sa crainte, mais sa crainte filiale, son
tendre mais s`erieux attachement, feront jusqu'`a son dernier
moment le bonheur de sa vie. Qu'importe d'`etre vielle, d'`etre
aveugle; qu'importe le lieu qu'on habite; qu'importe que tout ce
qui environne soit sot ou Extravagant: quand l'`ame est fortement
occup`ee, il ne lui manque rien que l'objet qui l'occupe; et
quand cet objet repond `a ce qu'on sent pour lui, on n'a plus
Letter 332 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sunday, Nov. 1, 1767. (page 506)
The house is taken that you wot of, but I believe you may have
General Trapaud's for fifty pounds a-year, and a fine of two
hundred and fifty, which is less by half, look you, than you was
told at first. A jury of matrons, composed of Lady Frances, my
Dame Bramston, Lady Pembroke, and Lady Carberry, and the merry
Catholic Lady Brown, have sat upon it, and decide that you should
take it. But you must come and treat in person, and may hold the
congress here. I hear Lord Guildford is much better, so that the
exchequer will still find you in funds. You will not dislike to
hear, shall you, that Mr Conway does not take the appointments of
secretary of state. if it grows the fashion to give up above
five thousand pounds a-year, this ministry will last for ever;
for I do not think the Opposition will struggle for places
without salaries. If my Lord Ligonier does not go to heaven, or
Sir Robert Rich to the devil soon, our General will run
considerably in debt; but he had better be too poor than too
rich. I would not have him die like old Pulteney, loaded with
the spoils of other families and the crimes of his own. Adieu! I
will not write to you any more, so you may as well come. Yours
Letter 333 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Dec. 19, 1767. (page 506)
You are now, I reckon, settled in your new habitation:(1000) I
would not interrupt you in your journeyings, dear Sir, but am not
at all pleased that you are seated so little to your mind; and
yet I think you will stay there. Cambridge and Ely are
neighbourhoods to your taste, and if you do not again shift your
quarters, I shall make them and you a visit: Ely I have never
seen. I Could have wished that you had preferred this part of the
world; and yet, I trust, I shall see you here oftener than I have
done of late. This, to my great satisfaction, is my last session
of Parliament; to which, and to politics, I shall ever bid adieu!
I did not go to Paris for my health, though I found the journey
and the seasickness, which I had never experienced before,
contributed to it greatly. I have not been so well for some
years as I am at present, and if I continue to plump up as I do
at present, I do not know but by the time we may meet, whether
you may not discover, without a microscope, that I am really
fatter. I went to make a visit to my dear old blind woman, and
to see some things I could not see in winter.
For the Catholic religion, I think it very consumptive. With a
little patience, if Whitfield, Wesley, my Lady Huntingdon, and
that rogue Madan(1001) live, I do not doubt but we shall have
something very like it here. And yet I had rather live at the
end of a tawdry religion, than at the beginning; which is always
more stern and hypocritic.
I shall be very glad to see your laborious work of the maps; you
are indefatigable, I know: I think mapping would try my patience
more than any thing.
My Richard the Third will go to press this week, and you shall
have one of the first copies, which I think will be in about a
month, if you will tell me how to convey it: direct to Arlington
street. Mr. Gray went to Cambridge yesterday se'nnight: I wait
for some papers from him for my purpose. I grieve for your
sufferings by the inundation; but you are not only an hermit,
but, what is better, a real philosopher. Let me hear from you
soon. Yours ever.
(1000) Mr. Cole had lately removed from Bleckeley, Bucks, to
Waterbeach, near Cambridge.
(1001) The Rev. Martin Madan, author of "Thelypthora," a defence
of a plurality of wives. In 1767, he subjected himself to much
obloquy, by dissuading a clerical friend from giving up a
benefice, which he had accepted under a solemn promise of
Letter 334 To Sir David Dalrymple.(1002)
Strawberry Hill, Jan. 17, 1768. (page 507)
I will begin, Sir, with telling you that I have seen Mr. Sherriff
and his son. The father desired my opinion on sending his son to
Italy. I own I could by no means advise it. Where a genius is
indubitable and has already made much progress, the study of
antique and the works of the great masters may improve a young
man extremely, and open lights to him which he might never
discover of himself: but it is very different sending a young man
to Rome to try whether he has genius or not; which may be
ascertained with infinitely less trouble and expense at home.
Young Mr. Sherriff has certainly a disposition to drawing; but
that may not be genius. His misfortune may have made him embrace
it as a resource in his melancholy hours. Labouring under the
misfortune of deafness, his friends should consider to what
unhappiness they may expose him. His family have naturally
applied to alleviate his misfortune, and to cultivate the parts
they saw in him: but who, in so long a journey and at such a
distance, is to attend him in the same affectionate manner? Can
he shift for himself, especially without the language? who will
take the trouble at Rome of assisting him, instructing him,
pointing out to him what he should study? who will facilitate
the means to him of gaining access to palaces and churches, and
obtain permission for him to work there? I felt so much for the
distresses he must undergo, that I could not see the benefits to
accrue, and those eventual, as a compensation. Surely, Sir, it
were better to place him here with some painter for a year or
two. He does not seem to me to be grounded enough for such an
I will beg to know how I may convey my Richard to you, which will
be published to-morrow fortnight. I do not wonder you could not
guess the discovery I have made. It is one of the most
marvellous that ever was made. In short, it is the original
coronation roll of Richard the Third, by which it appears that
very magnificent robes were ordered for Edward the Fifth, and
that he did, or was to have walked at his uncle's coronation.
This most valuable monument is in the Great Wardrobe. It is not,
though the most extraordinary the only thing that will much
surprise you in my work. But I will not anticipate what little
amusement you may find there. I am, Sir, etc.
(1002) Now first collected.
Letter 335 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, Feb. 1, 1768. (page 508)
I have waited for the impression of my Richard, to send you the
whole parcel together. This moment I have conveyed to Mr.
Cartwright a large bundle for you, containing Richard the
Third,(1003) the four volumes of the new edition of the
Anecdotes, and six prints of your relation Tuer. You will find
his head very small: but the original was too inconsiderable to
allow it to be larger. I have sent you no Patagon`eans;(1004)
for they are out of print: I have only my own copy, and could not
get another. Pray tell me how, or what you heard of it; and
tell me sincerely, for I did not know it had made any noise.
I shall be much obliged to you for the extract relating to the
Academy of which a Walpole was president. I doubt if he was of
our branch; and rather think he was of the younger and Roman
Are you reconciled to your new habitation? Don't you find it too
damp? and if you do, don't deceive yourself, and try to surmount
it, but remove immediately. Health is the most important of all
considerations. Adieu! dear Sir.
(1003) "Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the
Third, by Mr. Horace Walpole;" London, 1768, 4to. Two editions
of this work, which occasioned a good deal of historical
controversy, were published during the year.-E.
(1004) "An Account of the Giants lately discovered; in a letter
to a friend in the country." London, 1766, 8vo. It was
afterwards translated into French by the Chevalier Redmond, an
Irish officer in the French service.-E.
Letter 336 To Sir David Dalrymple.(1005)
Arlington Street, Feb. 2, 1768. (page 509)
I have sent to Mr. Cadell my Historic Doubts, Sir, for you. I
hope they may draw forth more materials, which I shall be very
ready either to subscribe to or to adopt. In this view I must
beg you, Sir, to look into Speed's History of England, and in his
account of Perkin Warbeck you will find Bishop Leslie often
quoted. May I trouble you to ask, to what work that alludes, and
whether in print or MS.? Bishop Leslie lived under Queen
Elizabeth, and though he could know nothing of Perkin Warbeck,
was yet near enough to the time to have had much better materials
than we have. May I ask, too, if Perkin Warbeck's Proclamation
exists any where authentically? You will see in my book the
reason of all these questions.
I am so much hurried with it just now, that you will excuse my
being so brief. I can attribute to nothing but the curiosity of
the subject, the great demand for it; though it was sold publicly
but yesterday, and twelve hundred and fifty copies were printed,
Dodsley has been with me this morning to tell me he must prepare
another edition directly. I am, Sir, etc.
(1005) Now first collected.
Letter 337 To Mr. Gray.
Arlington Street, Feb. 18, 1768. (page 509)
You have sent me a long and very obliging letter, and yet I am
extremely out of humour with you. I saw Poems by Mr. Gray
advertised: I called directly at Dodsley's to know if this was to