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The Letters of Horace Walpole Volume 3 by Horace Walpole

Part 17 out of 17

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company. Dr. Ewin seems a very good sort of man, and Mr.
Rawlinson a very agreeable one. Pray do not think it
was any trouble to me to pay respect to your recommendation.

I have been eagerly reading Mr. Shenstone's Letters, which,
though containing nothing but trifles, amused me extremely, as
they mention so many persons I know; particularly myself. I
found there, what I did not know, and what, I believe, Mr.
Gray,(1070) himself never knew, that his ode on my cat was
written to ridicule Lord Lyttelton's monody. It is just as true
as that the latter will survive, and the former be forgotten.
There is another anecdote equally vulgar, and
void of truth:
that my father, sitting in George's coffee-house, (I suppose Mr.
Shenstone thought that, after he quitted his place, he went to
the coffee-houses to learn news,) was asked to contribute to a
figure of himself that was to be beheaded by the mob. I do
remember something like it, but it happened to myself. I met a
mob, just after my father was out, in Hanover-square, and drove
up to it to know what was the matter. They were carrying about a
figure of my sister.(1071) This probably gave rise to the other
story. That on my uncle I never heard; but it Is a good story,
and not at all improbable. I felt great pity on reading these
letters for the narrow circumstances of the author, and the
passion for fame that he was tormented with; and yet he had much
more fame than his talents entitled him to. Poor man! he wanted
to have all the world talk of him for the pretty place he had
made; and which he seems to have made only that it might be
talked of.(1072) The first time a company came to see my house,
I felt this joy. I am now so tired of it, that I shudder when
the bell rings at the gate. It is as bad as keeping an
inn, and I am often tempted to deny its being shown, if it would
not be ill-natured to those that come, and to my housekeeper. I
own, I was one day too cross, I had
been plagued all the week with staring crowds. At
last, it rained a deluge. Well, said
I, at last, nobody will come to-day. The words were scarce
uttered, when the bell rang. I replied, "Tell them they cannot
possibly see the house, but they are very welcome to walk in the
garden."(1073) Observe; nothing above alludes to Dr. Ewin and
Mr. Rawlinson: I was not only much pleased with them, but quite
glad to show them how entirely you may command my house, and your
most sincere friend and servant.

(1068) Dr. Matthias Mawson, translated from Llandaff to the see
of Ely in 1754. He died in November 1770, in his eighty-seventh
year. His character was thus drawn, in 1749, by the Rev. W.
Clarke:--"Our Bishop is a better sort of man than most of the
mitred order. He is, indeed, awkward, absent, etc.; but then, he
has no ambition, no desire to please, and is privately munificent
when the world thinks him parsimonious. He has given more to the
Church than all the bishops put together for almost a

(1069) The following is an extract from a previous letter of Mr.
Cole's, and to this Mr. Walpole alludes:--"An old wall being to
be taken down behind the choir (at Ely], on which were painted
seven figures of six Saxon bishops, and a Duke, as he is called,
of Northumberland, one Brithnoth; which painting I take to be as
old as any we have in England--I guessed by seven arches in the
wall, below the figures, that the bones of these seven
benefactors to the old Saxon conventual church were reposited in
the wall under them: accordingly, we found seven separate holes,
each with the remains of the Said persons," etc. etc. Mr. Cole
proposed that Mr. Walpole should contribute an Engraving from
this painting to the history of Ely Cathedral, a work about to be
published, or to use his interest to induce the Duke of
Northumberland to do so.

(1070) "I have read," says Gray, in a letter to Mr. Nicholls, "an
octavo volume of Shenstone's Letters. Poor man! he was always
wishing for money, for fame, and other distinctions; and his
whole philosophy consisted in living against his will in
retirement, and in a place which his taste had adorned; but which
he only enjoyed when people of note came to see and commend it:
his correspondence is about nothing else but this place and his
own writings, with two or three neighbouring clergy, who wrote
verses too." Works, vol. iv. p. 135-E.

(1071) See vol. i. p. 244, letter 61.-E.

(1072) "In the infancy of modern gardening, a false taste was
introduced by Shenstone, in his ferme orn`ee at the Leasowes;
where, instead of surrounding his house with such a quantity of
ornamental lawn or park Only, as might be consistent with the
size of the mansion or the extent of the property, his taste,
rather than his ambition, led him to ornament the whole of his
estate; and in the vain attempt to combine the profits of a farm
with the scenery of a park, he lived under the continual
mortification of disappointed hope; and with a mind exquisitely
sensible, he felt equally the sneer of the great man at the
magnificence of his attempts and the ridicule of the farmer at
the misapplication of his paternal acres." Repton.-E.

(1073) Walpole having complained of these intrusions on his
privacy to Madame du Deffand, the lady replied: "Oh! vous n'`etes
point f`ach`e qu'on vienne voir votre chateau; vous ne l'avez pas
fait singulier; vous ne l'avez pas rempli de choses precieuses,
de raret`es; vous ne b`atissez pas un cabinet rond, dans lequel
le lit est un trone, et o`u il n'y a que des tabourets, pour y
rester seul oou ne recevoir que vos amis. Tout le monde a les
m`emes passions, les m`emes vertus, les m`emes vices; il n'y a
que les modifications qui en fond la diff`erence; amour propre,
vanit`e, crainte de l'ennui," etc.-E.

Letter 362 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Monday, June 26, 1769. (page 545)

Dear Sir,
Oh! yes, yes, I shall like Thursday or Friday, 6th or 7th,
exceedingly; I shall like your staying with me two days
exceedinglier; and longer exceedingliest; and I will carry you
back to Cambridge on our pilgrirnage to Ely. But I should not at
all like to be catched in the glories
of an installation, and find myself a doctor, before I knew where
I was. It will be much more agreeable to find the whole caput
asleep, digesting turtle, dreaming of bishoprics, and humming old
catches of Anacreon, and scraps of Corelli. I wish Mr. Gray
may not be set out for the north ; which is
rather the case than setting out for
the summer. We have no summers, I think, but what we raise, like
pineapples, by fire. My bay is an absolute water-soochy, and
teaches me how to feel for you. You are quite in the right to
sell your fief in Marshland. I should be glad if you would take
one step more, and quit Marshland. We live, at least, on terra
firma in this part of the world, and
can saunter out without stilts. Item,
we do not wade into pools, and call
it going upon the water, and get sore throats. I trust yours
is better ; but I recollect this is not the first you have
complained of. Pray be not incorrigible, but come to shore.

Be so good as to thank Mr. Smith, my old tutor, for his
corrections, If ever the Anecdotes are reprinted, I will
certainly profit of them.

I joked, it is true, about Joscelin de Louvain(1074) and his
Duchess; but not at all in advising you to make Mr. Percy pimp
for the plate. On the contrary, I wish you success , and think
this an infallible method of obtaining the benefaction. It is
right to lay vanity under contribution; for then both sides are

It will not be easy for you to dine with Mr. Granger from hence,
and return at night. It cannot be less than six or
seven-and-twenty miles to Shiplake. But I go to
Park-place to-morrow, which is within two miles of him, and I
will try if I can tempt him to meet you here. Adieu!

(1074) The Duke of Northumberland. His grace having been
originally a baronet, Sir Hugh
Smithson, and having married the daughter of Algernon Seymour,
Duke of Somerset and Earl of Northumberland, in 1750 assumed the
surname and arms of Percy, and was created Duke of Northumberland
in 1766. Walpole's allusion is to his becoming a Percy by
marriage, as Joscelin had done before him: Agnes de Percy,
daughter of William de Percy the third baron, having only
consented to marry Joscelin of Louvain, brother of Queen
Adelicia, second wife of Henry I., and son of Godfrey Barbatus,
Duke of Lower Lorraine and Count of Brabant, who was descended
from the Emperor Charlemagne, upon his agreeing to adopt either
the surname or arms of Percy.-E.

Letter 363 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Arlington Street, July 3, 1769. (page 546)

When you have been so constantly good to me, my dear lord,
without changing, do you wonder that our friendship has lasted so
long? Can I be so insensible to the honour or pleasure of your
acquaintance When the advantage lies much on my side, am I likely
to alter the first? Oh, but it will last now! We have seen
friendships without number born and die. Ours was not formed on
interest, nor alliance; and politics, the poison of all English
connexions, never entered into ours. You have given me a new
proof by remembering the chapel of Luton. I hear it is to be
preserved; and am glad of it, though I might have been the better
for its ruins.

I should have answered your lordship's last post, but was at
Park-place. I think Lady Ailesbury quite recovered; though her
illness has made such an impression that she does not yet believe

It is so settled that we are never to have tolerable weather in
June, that the first hot day was on Saturday-hot by comparison:
for I think it is three years since we have really felt the feel
of summer. I was, however, concerned to be forced to come to
town yesterday on some business; for, however the country feels,
it looks divine, and the verdure we buy so dear is delicious. I
shall not be able, I fear, to profit of it this summer in the
loveliest of all places, as I am to go to Paris in August. But
next year I trust I shall accompany Mr. Conway and Lady Ailesbury
to Wentworth Castle. I shall be glad to visit Castle Howard and
Beverley; but neither would carry me so far, if Wentworth Castle
was not in the way.

The Chatelets are gone, without any more battles with the
Russians.(1075) The papers say the latter have been beaten by
the Turks;(1076) which rejoices me, though against all rules of
politics: but I detest that murderess, and like to have her
humbled. I don't know that this Piece Of news is true: it is
enough to me that it is agreeable. I had rather take it for
granted, than be at the trouble of inquiring about what I have so
little to do with. I am just the same about the City and Surrey
petitions. Since I have dismembered(1077) myself, it is
incredible how cool I am to all politics.

London is the abomination of desolation; and I rejoice to leave
it again this evening. Even Pam has not a lev`ee above once or
twice a week. Next winter, I suppose, it will be a fashion to
remove into the city: for, since it is the mode to choose
aldermen at this end of the town, the maccaronis will certainly
adjourn to Bishopsgate-street, for fear of being fined for
sheriffs. Mr. James and Mr. Boothby will die of the thought of
being aldermen of Grosvenor-ward and Berkeley-square-ward. Adam
and Eve in their paradise laugh at all these tumults, and have
not tasted of the tree that forfeits paradise; which I take to
have been the tree of politics, not of knowledge. How happy you
are not to have your son Abel knocked on the head by his brother
Cain at the Brentford election! You do not hunt the poor deer
and hares that gambol around you. If Eve has a sin, I doubt it
is angling;(1078) but as she makes all other creatures happy, I
beg she would not Impale worms nor whisk carp out of one element
into another. If she repents of that guilt, I hope she will live
as long as her grandson Methuselah. There is a commentator that
says his life was protracted for never having boiled a lobster
alive. Adieu, dear couple, that I honour as much as I could
honour my first grandfather and grandmother! Your most dutiful
Hor. Japhet.

(1075) The Duc de Chatelet, the French ambassador, had affronted
Comte Czernicheff, the Russian ambassador, at a ball at court, on
a point of precedence, and a challenge ensued, but their meeting
was prevented.

(1076) Before Choczim. The Russians were at first victorious;
but, like the King of Prussia at the battle of Zorndorff, they
despatched the messenger with the news too soon; for the Turks
having recovered their surprise, returned to the charge, and
repulsed the Russians with great slaughter.-E.

(1077) Mr. Walpole means, since he quitted Parliament.

(1078) Walpole's abhorrence of the pastime of angling has been
already noticed. See vol. iii. p. 70, letter 29.-E.

Letter 364 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Friday, July 7, 1769. (page 547)

You desired me to write, if I knew any thing particular. How
particular will content you? Don't imagine I would send you such
hash as the livery's petition.(1079) Come; would the apparition
of my Lord Chatham satisfy you? Don't be frightened; it was not
his ghost. He, he himself in propria persona, and not in a strait
waistcoat, came into the King's lev`ee this morning, and was in
the closet twenty minutes after the lev`ee; and was to go out of
town to-night again.(1080) The deuce is in it if this is not
news. Whether he is to be king, minister, lord mayor, or
alderman, I do not know; nor a word more than I have told you.
Whether he was sent for to guard St. James's gate, or whether he
came alone, like Almanzor, to storm it, I cannot tell: by
Beckford's violence I should think the latter. I am so
indifferent what he came for, that I shall wait till Sunday to
learn: when I lie in town on my way to Ely. You will probably
hear more from your brother before I can write again. I send
this by my friend Mr. Granger, who will leave it at your
park-gate as he goes through Henley home. Good-night! it is past
twelve, and I am going to bed. Yours ever.

(1079) The petition of the livery of London, complaining of the
unconstitutional conduct of the King's ministers, and the undue
return of Mr. Luttrell, when he Opposed Mr. Wilkes at the
election for Middlesex.

(1080) In a letter to the Earl of Chatham, of the 11th, Lord
Temple says:--"Your reception at St. James's where I am glad you
have been, turns out exactly such as I should have expected--full
of the highest marks of regard to your lordship: full of
condescension, and of all those sentiments of grace and goodness
which his Majesty can so well express. I think that you cannot
but be happy at the result of this experiment." Chatham
Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 361.-E.

Letter 365 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, July 15, 1769. (page 548)

Dear Sir,
Your fellow-travellers, Rosette(1081) and I, got home safe and
perfectly contented with our expedition, and wonderfully obliged
to you. Pray receive our thanks and barking; and pray say, and
bark a great deal for us to Mr. and Mrs. Bentham, and all that
good family.

After gratitude, you know, always comes a little self-interest;
for who would be at the trouble of being grateful, if he had no
further expectations? Imprimis, then, here are the directions
for Mr. Essex for the piers of my gates. Bishop Luda must not be
offended at my converting his tomb into a gateway. Many a saint
and confessor, I doubt, will be glad soon to be passed through,
as it will, at least, secure his being passed over. When I was
directing the east window at Ely, I recollected the lines of

"How unlucky were Nature and Art to poor Nell!
She was painting her cheeks at the time her nose fell."

Adorning cathedrals when the religion itself totters, is very
like poor Nell's mishap.(1082) ***** I will trouble you with no
more at present, but to get from Mr. Lort the name of the Norfolk
monster, and to give it to Jackson. Don't forget the list of
English heads in Dr. Ewin's book for Mr. Granger; particularly
the Duchess of Chenreux. I will now release you, only adding my
compliments to Dr. Ewin, Mr. Tyson, Mr. Lort, Mr. Essex, and once
more to the Benthams. Adieu, dear Sir! Yours ever

Remember to ask me for icacias, and any thing else with which I
can pay some of my debts to you..

(1081) A favourite dog of Mr. Walpole's.

(1082) Here follow some minute directions for building the
gateway, unintelligible without the sketch that accompanied the
letter, and uninteresting with it, and a list of prints that Mr.
Walpole was anxious to procure.

Letter 366 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, August 12, 1769. (page 549)

Dear Sir,
I was in town yesterday, and found the parcel arrived very safe.
I give you a thousand thanks, dear Sir, for all the contents; but
when I sent you the list of heads I wanted, it was for Mr.
Jackson, not at all meaning to rob you; but your generosity much
outruns my prudence, and I must be upon my guard with you. The
Catherine Bolen was particularly welcome; I had never seen it--it
is a treasure, though I am persuaded not genuine, but taken from
a French print of the Queen of Scots, which I have. I wish you
could tell me from whence it was taken; I mean from what book: I
imagine the same in which are two prints, which Mr. Granger
mentions, and has himself (with Italian inscriptions, too), of a
Duke of Northumberland and an Earl of Arundel. Mr. Bernardiston
I never saw before--I do not know in what reign he lived--I
suppose lately: nor do I know the era of the Master of Benet.
When I come back, I must beg you to satisfy these questions. The
Countess of Kent is very curious, too; I have lately got a very
dirty one, so that I shall return yours again. Mrs. Wooley I
could not get high or low. But there is no end of thanking you-
-and yet I must for Sir J. Finet, though Mr. ; but I am sure
they will be very useful to me. I hope he will not forget me in
October. It will be a good opportunity of
sending you some good acacias, or any thing you Want
from hence. I am sure you ought to ask me for any thing in
my power, so much I am in your debt: I must
beg to be a little more, by entreating you to pay Mr. Essex
whatever he asks for his drawing, which is
just what I wished. The iron gates I have.

With regard to a history of Gothic architecture, in which he
desires my advices, the plan, I think, should lie in a very
simple compass. Was I to execute it, it
should be thus:--I would give a series of
plates, even from the conclusion of Saxon architecture, beginning
with the round Roman arch, and going on to show how they
plaistered and zigzagged it, and then how better ornaments crept
in till the beautiful Gothic arrived at its perfection: then how
it deceased in Henry the Eighth's reign--Abp. Wareham's tomb at
Canterbury, being I believe the last example of unbastardized
Gothic. A very few plates more would demonstrate its change:
though Holbein embroidered it with some morsels of true
architecture. In Queen Elizabeth's reign there was scarce any
architecture at all: I mean no pillars, or seldom, buildings then
becoming quite plain. Under James a barbarous composition
succeeded. A single plate of something of Inigo
Jones, in his heaviest and worst style, should terminate the
work; for he soon stepped into the true and perfect Grecian.

The next part, Mr. Essex can do better than any body, and is,
perhaps, the only person that can do it. This should
consist of observations on the art, proportions, and method of
building, and the reasons observed by the Gothic architects for
what they did. This would show what great men they
were, and how they raised such aerial and stupendous masses;
though unassisted by half the lights now enjoyed by their
successors. The prices and the wages of workmen, and
the comparative value of money and provisions at the several
periods, should be stated, as far as it is possible to get

The last part (I don't know whether it should not be the first
part) nobody can do so well as yourself. This must be to
ascertain the chronological period of each building; and not only
of each building but of each tomb, that shall be exhibited: for
you know the great delicacy and richness of Gothic ornaments were
exhausted on small chapels, oratories and tombs. For my own
part, I should wish to have added detached samples of the various
patterns of ornaments, which would not be a great many; as,
excepting pinnacles, there is scarce one which does not branch
from the trefoil; quadrefoils, cinquefoils, etc. being but
various modifications of it. I believe almost all the
ramifications of windows are so, and of them there should be
samples, too.

This work you see could not be executed by one hand; Mr. Tyson
could give great assistance. I wish the plan was drawn out, and
better digested. This is a very rude sketch, and first thought.
I should be very glad to contribute what little I know, and to
the expense too, which would be considerable; but I am sure we
could get assistance-and it had better not be undertaken than
executed superficially. Mr. Tyson's History of Fashions and
Dresses would make a valuable part of the work; as, in elder
times especially, much must be depended on tombs for dresses.
I have a notion the King might be inclined to encourage such
a work; and, if a proper plan was drawn out, for which I have not
time now, I would endeavour to get it laid before him, and his
patronage solicited. Pray talk this over with Mr. Tyson and Mr.
Essex. It is an idea worth pursuing.

You was very kind to take me out of the scrape about the organ
and yet if my insignificant name could carry it to one side, I
would not scruple to lend it.(1084) Thank you, too, for St.
Alban and Noailles. The very picture the latter describes was in
my father's collection, and is now at Worksop. I have scarce
room to crowd in my compliments to the good house of Bentham, and
to say, yours ever.

(1083) The Rev. Michael Tyson, of Bennet College, Cambridge. He
was elected F. S. A. in 1768, and died in
1780. He was greatly Esteemed by Mr. Gough, and is described as a
good antiquary and a gentleman artist. He engraved a remarkable
portrait of Jane Shore, some of the old
masters of his college, and some of the noted characters in and
about Cambridge.-E.

(1084) There was a dispute among the chapter at Ely respecting
the situation of the organ.

letter 367 To George Montagu, Esq.
August 18, 1769. (page 551)

As I have heard nothing of you since the Assyrian calends, which
is much longer ago than the Greek, you may perhaps have died in
Media, at Ecbatana, or in Chaldoea, and then to be sure I have no
reason to take it ill that you have forgotten me. There is no
Post between Europe and the Elysian fields, where I hope in the
Lord Pluto you are; and for the letters that are sent by Orpheus,
Aeneas, Sir George Villiers, and such accidental passengers, to
be sure one cannot wonder if they miscarry. You might indeed
have sent one a scrawl by Fanny, as Cock-lane is not very distant
from Arlington-street; but, when I asked her, she scratched the
ghost of a no, that made One's ears tingle again. If, contrary
to all probability, you still be above ground, and if, which is
still more improbable, you should repent of your sins while you
are yet in good health, and should go strangely further, and
endeavour to make Atonement by writing to me again, I think it
conscientiously right to inform you, that I am not in
Arlington-street, nor at Strawberry-hill, nor even in Middlesex;
nay, not in England; I am--I am--guess where--not in Corsica, nor
at Spa--stay, I am not at Paris yet, but I hope to be there in
two days. In short, I am at Calais, having landed about two
hours ago, after a tedious passage of nine hours. Having no soul
with me but Rosette, I have been amusing myself with the arrival
of a French officer and his wife in a berlin, which carried their
ancestors to one of Moli`ere's plays: as Madame has no maid with
her, she and Monsieur very prudently untied the trunks, and
disburthened the venerable machine of all its luggage themselves;
and then with a proper resumption of their equality, Monsieur
gave his hand to Madame, and conducted her in much ceremony
through the yard to their apartment. Here ends the beginning of
my letter; when I have nothing else to do, perhaps, I may
continue it. You cannot have the confidence to complain, if I
give you no more than my moments perdus; have you deserved any
better of me?

Saturday morning.

Having just recollected that the whole merit of this letter will
consist in the Surprise, I hurry to finish it, and send it away
by the captain of the packet, who is returning. You may repay me
this surprise by answering my letter, and by directing yours to
Arlington-street, from whence Mary will forward it to me. You
will not have much time to consider, for I shall set out on my
return from Paris the first of October,(1085) according to my
solemn promise to Strawberry; and you must know, I keep my
promises to Strawberry much better than you do. Adieu! Boulogne

(1085) Mr. Walpole arrived at Paris on the 18th of august, and
left it on the 5th of October. On the 18th of July, Madame du
Deffand had written to him--"Vous souhaitez que je vive
quatre-vingt-huit ans; et pourquoi le souhaiter, si votre premier
voyage ici doit `etre le dernier'! Pour que ce souhait m'e`ut
`et`e agr`eable, il falloit y ajouter, 'Je verrai encore bien des
fois ma Petite, et je jouerai d'un bonheur qui n'`etoit r`eserv`e
qu'a moi, L'amiti`e la plus tendre, la plus sincere, et la plus
constants qu'il f`ut jamais.' Adieu! mon plaisir est troubl`e,
je l'avoue; je crains que ce ne soit un exc`es de complaisance
qui vous fasse faire ce voyage."-E.

Letter 368 To John Chute, Esq.
Paris, August 30, 1769. (page 552)

I have been so hurried with paying and receiving visits, that I
have not had a moment's worth of time to write. My passage was
very tedious, and lasted near nine hours for want of wind. But I
need not talk of my journey; for Mr. Maurice, whom I met on the
road, will have told you that I was safe on terra firma.

Judge of my surprise at hearing four days ago, that my Lord
Dacre(1086) and my lady were arrived here. They are lodged
within a few doors of me. He is come to consult a Doctor
Pomme,(1087) who has prescribed wine, and Lord Dacre already
complains of the violence of his appetite. If you and I had
pommed him to eternity, he would not have believed us. A man
across the sea tells him the plainest thing in the world; that
man happens to be called a doctor; and happening for novelty to
talk common sense, is believed, as if he had talked nonsense!
and what is more extraordinary, Lord Dacre thinks himself better,
though he is so.

My dear old woman(1088) is in better health than when I left her,
and her spirits so increased, that I tell her she will go mad
with age. When they ask her how old she is, she answers, "J'ai
soixante et mille ans." She and I went to the Boulevard last
night after supper, and drove about there till two in the
morning. We are going to sup in the country this evening, and
are to go tomorrow night at eleven to the puppet-show. A
prot`eg`e of hers has written a piece for that theatre. I have
not yet seen Madame du Barri, nor can get to see her picture at
the exposition at the Louvre, the crowds are so enormous that go
thither for that purpose. As royal curiosities are the least
part of my virt`u, I wait with patience. Whenever I have an
opportunity I visit gardens, chiefly with a view to Rosette's
having a walk. She goes nowhere else, because there is a
distemper among the dogs.

There is going to be represented a translation of Hamlet: who
when his hair is cut, and he is curled and powdered, I suppose
will be exactly Monsieur le Prime Oreste. T'other night I was at
M`erope. The Dumenil was as divine as Mrs. Porter; they said her
familiar tones were those of a poisonni`ere. In the last act,
when one expected the catastrophe, Narbas, more interested than
any body to see the event, remained coolly on the stage to hear
the story. The Queen's maid of honour entered without her
handkerchief, and with her hair most artfully undressed, and
reeling as if she was maudlin, sobbed Out a long narrative, that
did not prove true; while Narbas, with all the good breeding in
the world, was more attentive to her fright than to what had
happened. So much for propriety. Now for probability. Voltaire
has published a tragedy, called "Les Gu`e,bres." Two Roman
colonels open the piece: they are brothers, and relate to one
another, how they lately in company destroyed, by the Emperor's
mandate, a city of the Guebres, in which were their own wives and
children: and they recollect that they want prodigiously to know
whether both their families did perish in the flames. The son of
the one and the daughter of the other are taken up for heretics,
and, thinking themselves brother and sister, insist upon being
married, and upon being executed for their religion. The son
stabs his father, who is half a Gu`ebre, too. The high-priest
rants and roars. The Emperor arrives, blames the pontiff for
being a persecutor, and forgives the son for assassinating his
father (who does not die) because--I don't know why, but that he
may marry his cousin. The grave-diggers in Hamlet have no
chance, when such a piece as the Guebres is written agreeably to
all rules and unities. Adieu, my dear Sir! I hope to find you
quite well at my return. Yours ever.

(1086) Thomas Barret Lennard, seventeenth Baron Dacre. His
lordship married Ann Maria, daughter of Sir John Pratt, lord
chief-justice of the court of King's Bench.-E.

(1087) At that time the fashionable physician of Paris. He was
originally from Arles, and attained his celebrity by curing the
ladies of fashion in the French metropolis of the vapours.-E.

(1088) Madame du Deffand.

\Letter 369 To George Montagu, Esq.

Paris, Sept. 7, 1769. (page 553)

Your two letters flew here together in a breath. I shall answer
the article of business first. I could certainly buy many things
for you here, that you would like, the reliques of the last age's
magnificence; but, since my Lady Holderness invaded the
custom-house with a hundred and fourteen gowns, in the reign of
that two-penny monarch George Grenville, the ports are so
guarded, that not a soul but a smuggler can smuggle any thing
into England; and I suppose you would not care to pay
seventy-five per cent, on second-hand commodities. All I
transported three years ago, was conveyed under the canon of the
Duke of Richmond. I have no interest in our present
representative; nor if I had, is he returning. Plate, of all
earthly vanities, is the most impassable: it is not Counerband in
its metallic capacity, but totally so in its personal; and the
officers of the custom-house not being philosophers enough to
separate the substance from the superficies, brutally hammer both
to pieces, and return you only the intrinsic: a compensation
which you, who are a member of Parliament, would not, I trow, be
satisfied with. Thus I doubt you must retrench your generosity
to yourself, unless you can contract into an Elzevir size, and be
content with any thing one can bring in one's pocket.

My dear old friend was charmed with your mention of her, and made
me vow to return you a thousand compliments. She cannot conceive
why you will not step hither. Feeling in herself no difference
between the spirits of twenty-three and seventy-three, she thinks
there is no impediment to doing whatever one will but the want of
eyesight. If she had that, I am persuaded no consideration would
prevent her making me a visit at Strawberry Hill. She makes
songs, sings them, remembers all that ever were made; and, having
lived from the most agreeable to the most reasoning age, has all
that was amiable in the last, all that is sensible in this,
without the vanity of the former, or the pedant impertinence of
the latter. I have heard her dispute with all sorts of people,
on all sorts of subjects, and never knew her in the wrong. She
humbles the learned, sets right their disciples, and finds
conversation for every body. Affectionate as Madame de
S`evign`e, she has none of her prejudices, but a more universal
taste; and, with the most delicate frame, her spirits hurry her
through a life of fatigue that would kill me, if I was to
continue here. If we return by one in the morning from supping
in the country, she proposes driving to the Boulevard or to the
Foire St. Ovide, because it is too early to go to bed. I had
great difficulty last night to persuade her, though she was not
well, not to sit up till' between two or three for the comet; for
which purpose she had appointed an astronomer to bring his
telescopes to the President Henault's, as she thought it would
amuse me. In short, her goodness to me is so excessive, that I
feel unashamed at producing my withered person in a round of
diversions, which I have quitted at home. I tell a story; I do
feel ashamed, and sigh to be in my quiet castle and cottage; but
it costs me many a Pang, when I reflect that I shall probably
never have resolution enough to take another journey to see this
best and sincerest of friends, who loves me as much as my mother
did! but it is idle to look forward--what is next year?-a bubble
that may burst for her or me, before even the flying year can
hurry to the end of its almanack! To form plans and projects in
such a precarious life as this, resembles the enchanted
castles"of fairy legends, in which every gate Was guarded by
giants, dragons, etc. Death or diseases bar every portal through
which we mean to pass; and, though we may escape them and reach
the last chamber, what a wild adventurer is he that centres his
hopes at the end of such an avenue! I am contented with the
beggars of the threshold, and never propose going on, but as the
gates open of themselves.

The weather here is quite sultry, and I am sorry to say one can
send to the corner of the street and buy better peaches than all
our expense in kitchen gardens produces. Lord and Lady Dacre are
a few doors from me, having started from Tunbridge more suddenly
than I did from Strawberry Hill, but on a more unpleasant motive.
My lord was persuaded to come and try a new physician. His faith
is greater than mine! but, poor man! can one wonder that he is
willing to believe? My lady has stood her shock, and I do not
doubt will get over it.

Adieu, my t'other dear old friend! I am sorry to say I see you
almost as seldom as I do Madame du Deffand. However, it is
comfortable to reflect that we have not changed to each other for
some five-and-thirty years, and neither you nor I haggle about
naming so ancient a term. I made a visit yesterday to the Abbess
of Panthemont, General Oglethorpe's niece,(1089) and no chicken.
I inquired after her mother, Madame de Meziers, and I thought I
might to a spiritual votary to immortality venture to say, that
her mother must be very old; she interrupted me tartly, and said,
no, her mother had been married extremely young. Do but think of
its seeming important to a saint to sink a wrinkle of her own
through an iron grate! Oh, we are ridiculous animals; and if
animals have any fun in them, how we must divert them.

(1089) Sister of the Princess de Ligne.

Letter 370 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Paris, Sept. 8, 1769. (page 555)

T'other night, at the Duchess of Choiseul's at supper, the
intendant of Rouen asked me, if we have roads of communication
all over England and Scotland'@--I suppose he thinks that in
general we inhabit trackless forests and wild mountains, and that
once a year a few legislators come to Paris to learn the arts of
civil life, as to sow corn, plant vines, and make operas. If
this letter should contrive to scramble through that desert
Yorkshire, where your lordship has attempted to improve a dreary
hill and uncultivated vale, you will find I remember your
commands of writing from this capital of the world, whither I am
come for the benefit of my country, and where I am intensely
studying those laws and that beautiful frame of government, which
can alone render a nation happy, great, and flourishing; where
lettres de cachet soften manners, and a proper distribution of
luxury and beggary ensures a common felicity. As we have a
prodigious number of students in legislature of both sexes here
at present, I will not anticipate their discoveries; but as your
particular friend, will communicate a rare improvement on nature,
which these great philosophers have made, and which would add
considerable beauties to those parts which your lordship has
already recovered from the waste, and taught to look a little
like a Christian country. The secret is very simple, and yet
demanded the effort of a mighty genius to strike it out. It is
nothing but this: trees ought to be educated as much as men, and
are strange awkward productions when not taught to hold
themselves upright or bow on proper occasions. The academy de
belles-lettres have even offered a prize for the man that shall
recover the long lost art of an ancient Greek, called le sieur
Orph`ee, who instituted a dancing-school for plants, and gave a
magnificent ball on the birth of the Dauphin of Thrace, which was
performed entirely by forest-trees. In this whole kingdom there
is no such thing as seeing a tree that is not well-behaved. They
are first stripped up and then cut down; and you would as soon
meet a man with his hair about his ears as an oak or ash. As the
weather is very hot now, and the soil chalk, and the dust white,
I assure you it is very difficult, powdered as both are all over,
to distinguish a tree from a hairdresser. Lest this should sound
like a travelling hyperbole, I must advertise your lordship, that
there is little difference in their heights; for, a tree of
thirty years' growth being liable to be marked as royal timber,
the proprietors take care not to let their trees live to the age
of being enlisted, but burn them, and plant others as often
almost as they change their fashions. This gives an air of
perpetual youth to the face of the country, and if adopted by us
would realize Mr. Addison's visions, and

"Make our bleak rocks and barren mountains smile."

What other remarks I have made in my indefatigable search after
knowledge must be reserved to a future opportunity; but as your
lordship is my friend, I may venture to say without vanity to
You, that Solon nor any Of the ancient philosophers who travelled
to Egypt in quest of religions. mysteries, laws, and fables,
never sat up so late with the ladies and priests and presidents
de parlement at Memphis, as I do here--and consequently were not
half so well qualified as I am to new-model a commonwealth. I
have learned how to make remonstrances, and how to answer them.
The latter, it seems, is a science much wanted in my own
country(1090)--and yet it is as easy and obvious as their
treatment of trees, and not very unlike it. It was delivered
many years ago in an oracular sentence of my namesake,
"Odi profanum vulgus, et arceo." You must drive away the vulgar,
and you must have an hundred and fifty thousand men to drive them
away with--that is all. I do not wonder the intendant of Rouen
thinks we are still in a state of barbarism, when we are ignorant
of the very rudiments of government.

The Duke and Duchess of Richmond have been here a few days, and
are gone to Aubign`e. I do not think him at all well, and am
exceedingly concerned for it; as I know no man who has more
estimable qualities. They return by the end of the month. I am
fluctuating whether I shall not return with them, as they have
pressed me to do, through Holland. I never was there, and could
never go so agreeably; but then it would protract my absence
three weeks, and I am impatient to be in my own cave,
notwithstanding the wisdom I imbibe every day. But one cannot
sacrifice one's self wholly to the public: Titus and Wilkes have
now and then lost a day. Adieu, my dear lord! Be assured that I
shall not disdain yours and Lady Strafford's conversation, though
you have nothing but the goodness of your hearts, and the
simplicity of your manners, to recommend you to the more
enlightened understanding of your old friend.

(1090) Alluding to the number of remonstrances, under the name of
petitions, which were presented this year from the livery of
London, and many other corporate bodies, on the subject of the
Middlesex election.

Letter 371 To George Montagu, Esq.
Paris, Sunday night, Sept. 17, 1769. (page 557)

I am heartily tired; but, as it is too early to go to bed, I must
tell you how agreeably I passed the day. I wished for you; the
same scenes strike us both, and the same kind of visions has
amused us both ever since we were born.

Well then: I went this morning to Versailles with my niece Mrs.
Cholmondeley, Mrs. Hart, Lady Denbigh's sister, and the Count de
Grave, one of the most amiable, humane, and obliging men alive.
Our first object was to see Madame du Barri.(1091) Being too
early for mass, we saw the Dauphin and his brothers at dinner.
The eldest is the picture of the Duke of Grafton, except that he
is more fair, and will be taller. He has a sickly air, and no
grace. The Count de Provence has a very pleasing countenance,
with an air of more sense than the Count d'Artois, the genius of
the family. They already tell as many bon-mots of the latter as
of Henri Quatre and Louis Quatorze. He is very fat, and the most
like his grandfather of all the children. You may imagine this
royal mess did not occupy us long: thence to the chapel, where a
first row in the balconies was kept for us. Madame du Barri
arrived over against us below, without rouge, without powder, and
indeed sans avoir fait sa toilette; an odd appearance, as she was
so conspicuous, close to the altar, and amidst both court and
people. She is pretty, when you consider her; yet so little
striking, that I never should have asked who she was. There is
nothing bold, assuming, or affected in her manner. Her husband's
sister was alone, with her. In the tribune above, surrounded by
prelates, was the amorous and still handsome King. One could not
help smiling at the mixture of piety, pomp, and carnality. From
chapel we went to the dinner of the elder Mesdames. We were
almost stifled in the antechamber, where their dishes were
heating over charcoal, and where we could not stir for the press.
When the doors are opened every body rushes in, princes of the
blood, cordons bleus, abb`es, housemaids, and the Lord knows who
and what. Yet, so used are their highnesses to this trade, that
they eat as comfortably and heartily as you or I could do in our
own parlours.

Our second act was much more agreeable. We quitted the court and
a reigning mistress, for a dead one and a cloister. In short, I
had obtained leave from the Bishop of Chartres to enter into St.
Cyr; and, as Madame du Deffand never leaves any thing undone that
can give me satisfaction, she had written to the abbess to desire
I might see every thing that could be seen there. The Bishop's
order was to admit me, Monsieur de Grave, et les dames de ma
compagnie: I begged the abbess to give me back the order, that I
might deposit it in the archives of Strawberry, and she complied
instantly. Every door flew open to us: and the nuns vied in
attentions to please us. The first thing I desired to see was
Madame de Maintenon's apartment. It consists of' two small
rooms, a library, and a very small chamber, the same in which the
Czar saw her, and in which she died. The bed is taken away, and
the room covered now with bad pictures of the royal family, which
destroys the gravity and simplicity. It is wainscotted with oak,
with plain chairs of the same, covered with dark blue damask.
Every where else the chairs are of blue cloth. The simplicity and
extreme neatness of the whole house, which is vast, are very
remarkable. A large apartment above, (for that I have mentioned
is on the ground-floor,) consisting of five rooms, and destined
by Louis Quatorze for Madame de Maintenon, is now the infirmary,
with neat white linen beds, and decorated with every text of
Scripture by which could be insinuated that the foundress was a
Queen. The hour of vespers being come, we were conducted to the
chapel, and, as it was my curiosity that had led us thither, I
was placed in the Maintenon's own tribune; my company in the
adjoining gallery. The pensioners two and two, each band headed
by a man, March orderly to their seats, and sing the whole
service, which I confess was not a little tedious. The young
ladies to the number of two hundred and fifty are dressed in
black, with short aprons of the same, the latter and their stays
bound with blue, yellow, green or red, to distinguish the
classes; the captains and lieutenants have knots of a different
colour for distinction. Their hair is curled and powdered, their
coiffure a sort of French round-eared caps, with white tippets, a
sort of ruff and large tucker: in short, a very pretty dress.
The nuns are entirely in black, with crape veils and long trains,
deep white handkerchiefs, and forehead cloths, and a very long
train. The chapel is plain but very pretty, and in the middle of
the choir under a flat marble lies the foundress. Madame de
Cambis, one of the nuns, who are about forty, is beautiful as a
Madonna.(1092) The abbess has no distinction but a larger and
richer gold cross: her apartment consists of two very small
rooms. Of Madame de Maintenon we did not see less than twenty
pictures. The young one looking over her shoulder has a round
face, without the least resemblance to those of her latter age.
That in the roil mantle, of which you know I have a copy, is the
most repeated; but there is another with a longer and leaner
face, which has by far the most sensible look. She is in black,
with a high point head and band, a long train, and is sitting in
a chair of purple velvet. Before her knees stands her niece
Madame de Noailles, a child; at a distance a view of Versailles
or St. Cyr, I could not distinguish which. We were shown some
rich reliquaries, and the corpo santo that was sent to her by the
Pope. We were then carried into the public room of each class.
In the first, the young ladies, who were playing at chess, were
ordered to sing to us the choruses of Athaliah; in another, they
danced minuets and country-dances while a nun, not quite so able
as St. Cecilia, played on a violin. In the others, they acted
before us the proverbs or conversations written by Madame de
Maintenon for their instruction; for she was not only their
foundress but their saint, and their adoration of her memory has
quite eclipsed the Virgin Mary. We saw their dormitory, and saw
them at supper; and at last were carried to their archives. where
they produced volumes of her letters, and where one of the nuns
gave me a small piece of paper with three sentences in her
handwriting. I forgot to tell you, that this kind dame, who took
to me extremely, asked me if we had many convents and many relics
in England. I was much embarrassed for fear of destroying her
good opinion of me, and so said we had but few now. Oh! we went
to the apothecaries where they treated us with cordials, and
where one of the ladies told me inoculation was a sin, as it was
a voluntary detention from mass, and as voluntary a cause of
eating gras. Our visit concluded in the garden, now grown very
venerable, where the young ladies played at little games before
us. After a stay of four hours we took our leave. I begged the
abbess's blessing; she smiled, and said, she doubted I should not
place much faith in it. She is a comely old gentlewoman, and
very proud of having seen Madame de Maintenon. Well! was not I
in the right to wish you with me? could you have passed a day
more agreeably!

I will conclude my letter with a most charming trait of Madame de
Mailly, which cannot be misplaced in such a chapter of royal
concubines. Going to St. Sulpice, after she had lost the King's
heart, a person present desired the crowd to make way for her.
Some brutal young officers said, "Comment, pour cette catin-l`a!"
She turned to them, and, with the most charming modesty said,
"Messieurs, puisque vous me COnnoissez, priez Dieu pour moi." I
am sure it will bring tears into your eyes. Was not she the
Publican, and Maintenon the Pharisee? Good night! I hope I am
going to dream of all I have been seeing. As my impressions and
my fancy, when I am pleased, are apt to be strong. My night
perhaps, may still be more productive of ideas than the day has
been. It will be charming, indeed, if Madame de Cambis is the
ruling tint. Adieu! Yours ever.

(1091) Madame du Barry, the celebrated mistress of Louis XV., was
born in the lowest rank of society, and brought up in the most
depraved habits; being known only by the name which her beauty
had acquired for her, Mademoiselle l'Ange. She became the
mistress of the Comte du Barry, (a gentleman belonging to a
family of Toulon, of no distinction, well known as Le Grand du
Barry, or, Du Barry le Rou`e,) and eventually the mistress of the
King; and, when the influence she exercised over her royal
protector had determined him to receive her publicly at court and
a marriage was necessary to the purpose, Du Barry le Rou`e
brought forward his younger brother, the Comte Guillaume du
Barry, who readily submitted to this prostitution of his name and

(1092) Madame du Deffand, in her letter to Walpole of the 10th of
May 1776, enclosed the following portrait of Madame de Cambise,
by Madame de la Valli`ere:--"Non, non, Madame, je ne farai point
votre portrait: vous avez une mani`ere d'`etre si noble, si fine,
si piquante, si d`elicate, si s`eduisaitte; votre gentilesse et
vos graces changent si souvent pour n'en `etre que plus aimable,
que l'on ne peut saisir aucun de vos traits ni au physique ni au
moral." She was niece of La Marquise de Boufflers, and, having
fled to England at the breaking out of the French Revolution,
resided here until her death, which took place at Richmond in
January 1809.-E.

Letter 372 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Oct. 13, 1769. (page 560

I arrived last night at eleven o'clock, and found a letter from
you, which gave me so much pleasure, that I must write you a
line, though I am hurried to death. You cannot imagine how
rejoiced I am that Lord North(1093) drags you to light again; it
is a satisfaction I little expected. When do you come? I am
impatient. I long to know your projects.

I had a dreadful passage of eight hours, was drowned, though not
shipwrecked, and was sick to death. I have been six times at sea
before, and never suffered the least, which makes the
mortification the greater: but as Hercules was not more robust
than I, though with an air so little Herculean, I have not so
much as caught cold, though I was wet to the skin with the rain,
had my lap full of waves, was washed from head to foot in the
boat at ten o'clock at night, and stepped into the sea up to my
knees. Q'avois-je `a faire dans cette gal`ere?(1094) In truth,
it is a little late to be seeking adventures. Adieu! I must
finish, but I am excessively happy with what you have told me.
Yours ever.

(1093) Lord North had appointed Mr. Montagu his private

(1094) Walpole left Paris on the 5th of October. Early on the
morning of the 6th, Madame du Deffand thus wrote to him:-
-"N'exigez point de gaiet`e, contentez-vous de ne pas trouver de
tristesse: je n'envoyai point chez vous hier matin; j'ignore `a
quelle heure vous partites; tout ce que je sais c'est que vous
n'`etes plus ici." And again, on the 9th:--"Je ne respirerai `a
mon aise qu'apr`es une lettre de Douvres. Ah! je me ha`is bien
de tout le mal que je vous cause; trois journ`ees de route,
autant de nuits d`etestables, une embarquement, un passage, le
risque de mille accidens, voil`a le bien que je vous procure.
Ah! c'est bien vous qui pouvez dire en pensant de moi,
'Qu'allais-je faire dans cette gal`ere?'"-E.

Letter 373 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 16, 1769. (page 560)

I arrived at my own Louvre last Wednesday night, and am now at my
Versailles. Your last letter reached me but two days before I
left Paris, for I have been an age at Calais and upon the sea. I
could execute no commission for you, and, in truth, you gave me
no explicit one; but I have brought you a bit of china, and beg
you will be content with a little present, instead of a bargain.
Said china is, or will be soon, in the custom-house; but I shall
have it, I fear, long before you come to London.

I am sorry those boys got at my tragedy. I beg you would keep it
under lock and key; it is not at all food for the public; at
least not till I am "food for worms, good Percy." Nay, it is not
an age to encourage any body, that has the least vanity, to step
forth. There is a total extinction of all taste: our authors are
vulgar, gross, illiberal: the theatre swarms with wretched
translations, and ballad operas, and we have nothing new but
improving abuse. I have blushed at Paris, when the papers came
over crammed with ribaldry, or with Garrick's insufferable
nonsense about Shakspeare. As that man's writings will be
preserved by his name, who will believe that he was a tolerable
actor? Cibber wrote as bad odes, but then Cibber wrote The
Careless Husband and his own Life, which both deserve
immortality. Garrick's prologues and epilogues are as bad as his
Pindarics and pantomimes.(1095)

I feel myself here like a swan, that, after living six weeks in a
nasty pool upon a common, is got back into its own Thames. I do
nothing but plume and clean myself, and enjoy the verdure and
silent waves. Neatness and greenth are so essential in my
opinion to the country, that in France, where I see nothing but
chalk and dirty peasants, I seem in a terrestrial purgatory that
is neither town nor country. The face of England is so
beautiful, that I do not believe Tempe or Arcadia were half so
rural; for both lying in hot climates, must have wanted the turf
of our lawns. It IS unfortunate to have so pastoral a taste,
when I want a cane more than a crook. We are absurd creatures;
at twenty, I loved nothing but London.

Tell me when you shall be in town. I think of passing Most Of my
time here till after Christmas. Adieu!

(1095) Mr. J. Sharp, in a letter to Garrick, of the 29th of March
in this year, says--"I met Mr. Gray at dinner last Sunday: he
spoke handsomely of your happy knack of epilogues; but he calls
the Stratford Jubilee, Vanity Fair." See Garrick Correspondence,
vol. i. p. 337.-E.

Letter 374 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.

Strawberry Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 1769. (page 561)

I am here quite alone, and did not think of going to town till
Friday for the opera, which I have not yet seen. In compliment
to you and your Countess, I will make an effort, and be there on
Thursday; and will either dine with you at your own house, or at
your brother's; which you choose. This is a great favour, and
beyond my Lord Temple's journey to dine with my Lord Mayor.(1096)
I am so sick of the follies of all sides, that I am happy to be
at quiet here, and to know no more of them than what I am forced
to see in the newspapers; and those I skip over as fast as I can.

The account you give me of Lady *** was just the same as I
received from Paris. I will show you a very particular letter I
received by a private hand from France; which convinces me that I
guessed right, contrary to all the wise, that the journey to
Fontainbleau would overset Monsieur de Choiseul. I think he
holds but by a thread, which will snap soon.(1097) I am
labouring hard with the Duchess(1098) to procure the Duke of
Richmond satisfaction in the favour he has asked about his
duchy;' but he shall not know it till it is completed, if I can
be so lucky as to succeed. I think I shall, if they do not fall

You perceive how barren I am, and why I have not written to you.
I pass my time in clipping and pasting prints; and do not think I
have read forty pages since I came to England. I bought a poem
called Trinculo's Trip to the Jubilee; having been struck with
two lines in an extract in the papers,

"There the ear-piercing fife,
And the ear-piercing wife--"

Alas! all the rest, and it is very long, is a heap of
unintelligible nonsense, about Shakspeare, politics, and the Lord
knows what. I am grieved that, with our admiration of
Shakspeare, we can do nothing but write worse than ever he did.
One would think the age studied nothing but his Love's Labour
Lost, and Titus Andronicus. Politics and abuse have totally
corrupted our taste. Nobody thinks of writing a line that is to
last beyond the next fortnight. We might as well be given up to
a controversial divinity, The times put me in mind of the
Constantinopolitan empire; where, in an age of learning, the
subtlest wits of Greece contrived to leave nothing behind them,
but the memory of their follies and acrimony. Milton did not
write his Paradise Lost till he had Outlived his politics. With
all his parts, and noble sentiments of liberty, who would
remember him for his barbarous prose? Nothing is more true than
that extremes meet. The licentiousness of the press makes us as
savage as our Saxon ancestors, who could only set their marks;
and an outrageous pursuit of individual independence, grounded on
selfish views, extinguishes genius as much as despotism does.
The public good of our country is never thought of by men that
hate half their country. Heroes confine their ambition to be
leaders of the mob. Orators seek applause from their faction,
not from posterity; and ministers forget foreign enemies, to
defend themselves against a majority in Parliament. When any
Caesar has conquered Gaul, I will excuse him for aiming at the
perpetual dictature. If he has only jockeyed somebody out of the
borough of Veii or Falernum, it is too impudent to call himself a
patriot or a statesman. Adieu!

(1096) At Guildhall, on the 9th of November, in the second
mayoralty of Alderman Beckford.-E.

(1097) Walpole had received a letter, of the 2d, from Madame du
Deffand, describing the growing influence of Madame du Barry, and
her increasing enmity to the Duc de Choiseul.-E.

(1098) The Duchess of Aubign`e.

Letter 375 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 14, 1769. (page 562)

I cannot be silent, when I feel for you. I doubt not but the
loss of Mrs. Trevor is very sensible to you, and I am heartily
sorry for you. One cannot live any time, and not perceive the
world slip away, as it were, from under one's feet: one's
friends, one's connexions drop off, and indeed reconcile one to
the same passage; but why repeat these things? I do not mean to
write a fine consolation; all I intended was to tell you, that I
cannot be indifferent to what concerns you.

I know as little how to amuse you: news there are none but
politics, and politics there will be as long as we have a
shilling left. They are no amusement to me, except in seeing two
or three sets of people worry one another, for none of whom I
care a straw.

Mr. Cumberland has produced a comedy called The Brothers. It
acts well, but reads ill; though I can distinguish strokes of Mr.
Bentley in it. Very few of the characters are marked, and the
serious ones have little nature, and the comic ones are rather
too much marked; however, the three middle acts diverted me very

I saw the Bishop of Durham(1100) at Carlton House, who told me he
had given you a complete suit of armour. I hope you will have no
occasion to lock yourself in it, though, between the fools and
the knaves of the present time, I don't know but we may be
reduced to defend our castles. If you retain any connexions with
Northampton, I should be much obliged to you if you could procure
from thence a print of an Alderman Backwell.(1101) It is
valuable for nothing but its rarity, and it is not to be met with
but there. I would give eight or ten shillings rather than not
have it. When shall you look towards us?, how does your brother
John? make my compliments to him. I need not say how much I am
yours ever.

(1099) "The Brothers," Cumberland's first comedy, came out at
Covent-Garden theatre on the 2d of December, and met with no
inconsiderable success.-E.

(1100) The Hon. Dr. Richard Trevor, consecrated Bishop of St.
David's in 1744, and translated to the see of Durham in 1762. He
died in June 1771.-E.

(1101) Edward Backwell, alderman of London, of whom Granger gives
the following character:--"He was a banker of great ability,
industry, integrity, and very extensive credit. With such
qualifications, he, in a trading nation, would, in the natural
event of things, have made a fortune, except in such an age as
that of charles the Second, when the laws were overborne by
perfidy, violence, and rapacity; or in an age when bankers become
gamesters, instead of merchant-adventurers; when they affect to
live like princes, and are, with their miserable creditors, drawn
into the prevailing vortex of luxury. Backwell carried on his
business in the same shop which was afterwards occupied by Child.
He, to avoid a prison, retired into Holland, where he died. His
body was brought for sepulture to Tyringham church, near Newport
Pagnel." Frequent mention of the Alderman is made by Pepys, in
whose Diary is the following entry:--"April 12, 1669. This
evening, coming home, we overtook Alderman Backwell's coach and
his lady, and followed them to their house, and there made them
the, first visit, where they received us with extraordinary
civility, and owning the obligation But I do, contrary to my
expectation, find her something a proud and vainglorious woman,
in telling the number of her servants and family, and expenses;.
He is also so, but he was ever of that strain. But here he
showed me the model of his houses that he is going to build in
Cornhill and Lombard-street; but he has purchased so much there
that it looks like a little town, and must have cost him a great
deal of money."-E.

Letter 376 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.(1102)
Arlington Street, Dec. 21, 1769. (page 563)

Dear sir,
I am very grateful for all your communications, and for the
trouble you are so good as to take for me. I am glad you have
paid Jackson, Though he is not only dear, (for the prints he has
got for me are very common,) but they are not what I wanted, and
I do not believe were mentioned in my list. However, as paying
him dear for what I do not want, may encourage him to hunt for
what I do want, I am very well content he should cheat me a
little. I take the liberty of troubling you with a list I have
printed (to avoid copying it several times), and beg you will be
so good as to give it to him, telling him these are exactly what
I do want, and no others. I will pay him well for any of these,
and especially those marked thus x; and still more for those with
double or treble marks. The print I want most is the Jacob Hall.
I do not know whether it is not one of the London Cries, but he
must be very sure it is the right. I will let you know certainly
when Mr. West comes to town, who has one.

I shall be very happy to contribute to your garden: and if you
will let me have exact notice in February how to send the shrubs,
they shall not fail you; nor any thing else by which I can pay
you any part of my debts. I am much pleased with the Wolsey and
Cromwell, and beg to thank you and the gentleman from whom they
came. Mr. Tyson's etchings will be particulary acceptable. I
did hope to have seen or heard of him in October. Pray tell him
he is a visit in my debt, and that I will trust him no longer
than to next summer. Mr. Bentham, I find, one must trust and
trust without end. It is pity so good a sort of man should be so
faithless. Make my best compliments, however, to him and to my
kind host and hostess.

I found my dear old blind friend at Paris perfectly well, and am
returned so myself. London is very sickly, and full of bilious
fevers, that have proved fatal to several persons, and in my Lord
Gower's family have even seemed contagious. The weather is
uncommonly hot, and we want frost to purify the air.

I need not say, I suppose, that the names scratched out in my
list are of such prints as I have got since I printed it, and
therefore what I no longer want. If Mr. Jackson only stays at
Cambridge till the prints drop into his mouth, I shall never have
them. If he would take the trouble of going to Bury, Norwich,
Ely, Huntingdon, and such great towns, nay, look about in inns, I
do not doubt but he would find at least some of them. He should
be no loser by taking pains for me; but I doubt he chooses to be
a great gainer without taking any. I shall not pay for any that
are not in my list; but I ought not to trouble you, dear Sir,
with these particulars. It is a little your own fault, for you
have spoiled me.

Mr. Essex distresses me by his civility. I certainly would not
have given him that trouble, if I had thought he would not let me
pay him. Be so good as to thank him for me, and to let me know
if there is any other way I could return the obligation. I hope,
at least, he will make me a visit at Strawberry Hill, whenever he
comes westward. I shall be very impatient to see you, dear Sir,
both there and at Milton. Your faithful humble servant.

(1102) Now first printed, from the original in the British


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