Part 5 out of 17
fruit-shop? whether the peeresses are to wear long, or short
tresses at the coronation? how many jewels Lady Harrington
borrows of actresses? All this is your light summer wear for
conversation; and if my memory were as much stuffed with it as my
ears, I might have sent you Volumes last week. My nieces, Lady
Waldegrave and Mrs. Keppel, were here five days, and discussed
the claim or disappointment of every miss in the kingdom for maid
of honour. Unfortunately this new generation is not at all my
affair. I cannot attend to what Concerns them. Not that their
trifles are less important than those of one's own time, but my
mould has taken all its impressions, and can receive no more. I
must grow old upon the stock I have. I, that was so impatient at
all their chat, the moment they were gone, flew to my Lady
Suffolk, and heard her talk with great satisfaction of the late
Queen's coronation-petticoat. The preceding age always appears
respectable to us (I mean as one advances in years), one's own
age interesting, the coming age neither one nor t'other.
You may judge by this account that I have writ all my letters, or
ought to have written them; and yet, for occasion to blame Me,
you draw a very pretty picture of my situation: all which tends
to prove that I ought to write to you every day, whether I have
any thing to say or not. I am writing, I am building--both works
that will outlast the memory of battles and heroes! Truly, I
believe, the one will as much as t'other. My buildings are
paper, like my writings, and both will be blown away in ten years
after I am dead; if they had not the substantial use of amusing
me while I live, they would be worth little indeed. I will give
you one instance that will sum up the vanity of great men,
learned men, and buildings altogether. I heard lately, that Dr.
Pearce, a very learned personage, had consented to let the tomb
of Aylmer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, a very great personage,
be removed for Wolfe's monument; that at first he had objected,
but was wrought upon by being told that hight Aylmer was a knight
templar, a very wicked set of people, as his lordship had heard,
though he knew nothing of them, as they are not mentioned by
Longinus. I own I thought this a made story, and wrote to his
lordship, expressing my concern that one of the finest and most
ancient monuments in the abbey should be removed, and begging, if
it was removed, that he would bestow it on me, who would erect
and preserve it here. After a fortnight's deliberation, the
bishop sent me an answer, civil indeed, and commending my zeal
for antiquity! but avowing the story under his own hand. He
said, that at first they had taken Pembroke's tomb for a knight
templar's. Observe, that not only the man who shows the tombs
names it every day, but that there is a draught of it at large in
Dart's Westminster; that upon discovering whose it was, he had
been very unwilling to consent to the removal, and at last had
obliged Wilton to engage to set it up within ten feet of where it
stands at present. His lordship concluded with congratulating me
on publishing learned authors at my press. don't wonder that a
man who thinks Lucan a learned author, should mistake a tomb in
his own cathedral. If I had a mind to be angry, I could complain
with reason; as, having paid forty pounds for ground for my
mother's tomb, that the Chapter of Westminster sell their church
over and over again; the ancient monuments tumble upon one's head
through their neglect, as one of them did, and killed a man at
Lady Elizabeth Percy's funeral; and they erect new waxen dolls of
Queen Elizabeth, etc. to draw visits and money from the mob. I
hope all this history is applicable to some part or other of my
letter; but letters you will have, and so I send you one, very
like your own stories that you tell your daughter-. There was a
King, and he had three daughters, and they all went to see the
tombs; and the youngest, -who was in love with Aylmer de Valence,
Thank you for your account of the battle; thank Prince Ferdinand
for giving you a very Honourable post, which, in spite of his
teeth and yours, proved a very safe one; and above all, thank
Prince Soubise, whom I love better than all the German Princes in
the universe. Peace, I think, we must have at last, if you beat
the French, or at least hinder them from beating you, and
afterwards starve them. Bussy's last last courier is expected;
but as he may have a last last last courier, I trust more to this
than to all the others. He was complaining t'other day to Mr.
Pitt of our haughtiness, and said it would drive the French to
some desperate effort, "Thirty thousand men," continued he,
"would embarrass you a little, I believe!" "Yes," replied Pitt,
"for I am so embarrassed with those we have already, I don't know
what to do with them."
Adieu! Don't fancy that the more you scold, the more I will
write: it has answered three times, but the next cross word you
give me shall put an end to our correspondence. Sir Horace
Mann's father used to say, "Talk, Horace, you have been abroad:"-
-You cry, "Write, Horace, you are at home." No, Sir. you can
beat an hundred and twenty thousand French, but you cannot get
the better of me. I will not write such foolish letters as this
every day, when I have nothing to say. Yours as you behave.
(180) George Fitzroy, afterwards created Lord Southampton.
Letter 89 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 20, 1761. (page 142)
A few lines before you go; your resolutions are good, and give me
great pleasure; bring them back unbroken; I have no mind to lose
you; we have been acquainted these thirty years, and to give the
devil his due, in all that time I never knew a bad, a false, a
mean, or ill-natured thing in the devil--but don't tell him I say
so, especially as I cannot say the same of myself. I am now
doing a dirty thing, flattering you to preface a commission.
Dickey Bateman(181) has picked up a whole cloister full of old
chairs in Herefordshire. He bought them one by one, here and
there in farmhouses, for three-and-sixpence, and a crown apiece.
They are of' wood, the seats triangular, the backs, arms, and
legs loaded with turnery. A thousand to one but there are plenty
up and down Cheshire too. If Mr. and Mrs. Wetenhall, as they
ride or drive out would now and then pick up such a chair, it
would oblige me greatly. Take notice, no two need be of the same
Keep it as the secret of your life; but if your brother John
addresses himself to me a day or two before the coronation, I can
place him well to see the procession: when it is over, I will
give you a particular reason why this must be such a mystery. I
was extremely diverted t'other day with my mother's and my old
milliner; she said she had a petition to me--"What is it, Mrs.
Burton?" "It Is in behalf of two poor orphans." I began to feel
for my purse. "What can I do for them, Mrs. Burton?" "Only if
your honour would be so compassionate as to get them tickets for
the coronation." I could not keep my countenance, and these
distressed orphans are two and three-and-twenty! Did you ever
hear a more melancholy case?
The Queen is expected on Monday. I go to town on Sunday. Would
these shows and your Irish journey were over, and neither of us a
day the poorer!
I am expecting Mr. Chute to hold a chapter on the cabinet. A
barge-load of niches, window-frames, and ribs, is arrived. The
cloister is paving, the privy garden making, painted glass
adjusting to the windows on the back stairs - with so many irons
in the fire, you may imagine I have not much time to write. I
wish you a safe and pleasant voyage.
(181) Richard Bateman, brother of Viscount Bateman. In Sir
Charles Hanbury Williams's Poems he figures as "Constant
Letter 90 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Arlington Street, Tuesday morning. (page 143)
My dear lord,
Nothing was ever equal to the bustle and uncertainty of the town
for these three days. The Queen was seen off the coast of Sussex
on Saturday last, and is not arrived yet-nay, last night at ten
o'clock it was neither certain when she landed, nor when she
would be in town. I forgive history for knowing nothing, when so
public an event as the arrival of a new Queen is a mystery even
at the very moment in St. James's Street. The messenger that
brought the letter yesterday morning, said she arrived ,it half
an hour after four at Harwich. This was immediately translated
into landing, and notified in those words to the ministers. Six
hours afterwards it proved no such thing, and that she was only
in Harwich-road; and they recollected that an hour after four
happens twice in twenty-four hours, and the letter did not
specify which of the twices it was. Well! the bridemaids whipped
on their virginity; the new road and the parks were thronged; the
guns were choking with impatience to go off; and Sir James
Lowther, who was to pledge his Majesty was actually married to
Lady Mary Stuart.(182) Five, six, seven, eight o'clock came, and
no Queen--She lay at Witham at Lord Abercorn's, who was most
tranquilly in town; and it is not certain even whether she will
be composed enough to be in town to-night. She has been sick but
half an hour; sung and played on the harpsicord all the voyage,
and been cheerful the whole time. The coronation will now
certainly not be put off-so I shall have the pleasure of seeing
you on the 15th. The weather is close and sultry; and if the
wedding is to-night, we shall all die.
They have made an admirable speech for the Tripoline ambassador
that he said he heard the King had sent his first eunuch to fetch
the Princess. I should think he meaned Lord Anson.
You will find the town over head and ears in disputes about rank,
and precedence, processions, entr`ees, etc. One point, that of
the Irish peers, has been excellently liquidated: Lord Halifax
has stuck up a paper in the coffee-room at Arthur's, importing, ,
That his Majesty, not having leisure to determine a point of such
great consequence, permits for this time such Irish peers as
shall be at the marriage to walk in the procession." Every body
concludes those personages will understand this order as it is
drawn up in their own language; otherwise it is not very clear
how they are to walk to the marriage, if they are at it before
they come to it.
Strawberry returns its duty and thanks for all your lordship's
goodness to it, and though it has not got its wedding-clothes
yet, will be happy to see you. Lady Betty Mackenzie is the
individual woman she was--she seems to have been gone three
years, like the Sultan in the Persian Tales, who popped his head
into a tub of water, pulled it up again, and fancied he had been
a dozen years in bondage in the interim. She is not altered a
tittle. Adieu, my dear lord!
Twenty minutes past three in the afternoon, not in the middle of
Madame Charlotte is this instant arrived. The noise of coaches,
chaises, horsemen, mob, that have been to see her pass through
the parks, is so prodigious that I cannot distinguish the guns.
I am going to be dressed, and before seven shall launch into the
crowd. Pray for me!
(182) Eldest daughter of the Earl of Bute.-E.
Letter 91 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Sept. 9, 1761. (page 144)
The date of my promise is now arrived, and I fulfil it--fulfil it
with great satisfaction, for the Queen is come; and I have seen
her, have been presented to her--and may go back to Strawberry.
For this fortnight I have lived upon the road between Twickenham
and london: I came, grew inpatient, returned; came again, still
to no purpose. The yachts made the coast of Suffolk last
Saturday, on Sunday entered the road of Harwich, and on Monday
morning the King's chief eunuch, as the Tripoline ambassador
calls Lord Anson, landed the Princess. She lay that night at
Lord Abercorn's at Whitham, the palace of silence; and yesterday
at a quarter after three arrived at St. James's. In half an hour
one heard nothing but proclamations of her beauty: every body was
content, every body pleased. At seven one went to court. The
night was sultry. About ten the procession began to move towards
the chapel, and at eleven they all came up into the drawing-room.
She looks very sensible, cheerful, and is remarkably genteel.
Her tiara of diamonds was very pretty, her stomacher sumptuous;
her violet-velvet mantle and ermine so heavy, that the spectators
knew as much of her upper half as the King himself. You will
have no doubts of her sense by what I shall tell you. On the
road they wanted to curl her toupet; she said she thought it
looked as well as that of any of the ladies sent to fetch her; if
the King bid her, she would wear a periwig, otherwise she would
remain as she was. When she caught the first glimpse of the
palace, she grew frightened and turned pale; the Duchess of
Hamilton smiled--the Princess said, "My dear Duchess, you may
laugh, you have been married twice, but it is no joke to me."
Her lips trembled as the coach stopped, but she jumped out with
spirit, and has done nothing but with good-humour and
cheerfulness. She talks a great deal--is easy, civil, and not
disconcerted. At first, when the bridemaids and the court were
introduced to her, she said, "Mon Dieu, il y en a tant, il y en a
tant!" She was pleased when she was to kiss the peeresses; but
Lady Augusta was forced to take her hand and give it to those
that were to kiss it, which was prettily humble and good-natured.
While they waited for supper, she sat down, sang, and played.
Her French is tolerable, she exchanged much both of that and
German with the King, and the Duke of York. They did not get to
bed till two. To-day was a drawing-room: every body was
presented to her; but she spoke to nobody, as she could not know
a soul. The crowd was much less than at a birthday, the
magnificence very little more. The King looked very handsome,
and talked to her continually with great good-humour.- It does
not promise as if they two would be the two most unhappy persons
in England, from this event. The bridemaids, especially Lady
Caroline Russel, Lady Sarah Lenox, and Lady Elizabeth Keppel,
were beautiful figures. With neither features nor air, Lady
Sarah was by far the chief angel. The Duchess of Hamilton was
almost in possession of her former beauty today: and your other
Duchess, your daughter, was much better dressed than ever I saw
her. Except a pretty Lady Sutherland, and a most perfect beauty,
an Irish Miss Smith,(183) I don't think the Queen saw much else
to discourage her: my niece,(184) Lady Kildare, Mrs. Fitzroy,
were none of them there. There is a ball to-night, and two more
drawing-rooms; but I have done with them. The Duchess of
Queensbury and Lady Westmoreland were in the procession, and did
credit to the ancient nobility.
You don't presume to suppose, I hope, that we are thinking of
you, and wars, and misfortunes, and distresses, in these festival
times. Mr. Pitt himself Would be mobbed if he talked of any
thing but clothes, and diamonds, and bridemaids. Oh! yes, we
have wars, civil wars; there is a campaign opened in the
bedchamber. Every body is excluded but the ministers; even the
lords of the bedchamber, cabinet counsellors, and foreign
ministers: but it has given such offence that I don't know
whether Lord Huntingdon must not be the scapegoat. Adieu! I am
going to transcribe most of this letter to your Countess.
(183) Afterwards married to Lord Llandaff.
(184) The Countess of Waldegrave.
Letter 92 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Sept. 24, 1761. (page 145)
I am glad you arrived safe in Dublin, and hitherto like it so
well; but your trial is not begun yet. When your King comes;,
the ploughshares will be put into the fire. Bless your stars
that your King is not to be married or crowned. All the vines of
Bordeaux, and all the fumes of Irish brains cannot make a town so
drunk as a regal wedding and coronation. I am going to let
London cool, and will not venture into it again this fortnight.
O! the buzz, the prattle, the crowds, the noise, the hurry! Nay,
people are so little come to their senses, that though the
coronation was but the day before yesterday, the Duke of
Devonshire had forty messages yesterday, desiring tickets for a
ball, that they fancied was to be at court last night. People
had sat up a night and a day, and yet wanted to see a dance. If
I was to entitle ages, I would call this the century of crowds.
For the coronation, if a puppet-show could be worth a million,
that is. The multitudes, balconies, guards, and processions,
made Palace-yard the liveliest spectacle in the world - the hall
was the most glorious. The blaze of lights, the richness and
variety of habits, the ceremonial, the benches of peers, and
peeresses, frequent and full, was as awful as a pageant can be -.
and yet for the King's sake and my own, I never wish to see
another; nor am impatient to have my Lord Effingham's promise
fulfilled. The King complained that so few precedents were kept
for their proceedings. Lord Effingham owned, the earl marshal's
office had been strangely neglected; but he had taken such care
for the future, that the next coronation would be regulated in
the most exact manner imaginable. The number of peers and
peeresses present was not very great; some of the latter, with no
excuse in the world, appeared in Lord Lincoln's gallery, and even
walked about the hall indecently in the intervals of the
procession. My Lady Harrington, covered with all the diamonds
she could borrow, hire, or seize, and with the air of Roxann, was
the finest figure at a distance; she complained to George Selwyn
that she was to walk with Lady Portsmouth, who would have a wig
and a stick--"Pho," said he, "you will only look as if you were
taken up by the constable." She told this everywhere, thinking
the reflection was on my Lady Portsmouth. Lady Pembroke, alone
at the head of the countesses, was the picture of majestic
modesty; the Duchess of Richmond as pretty as nature and dress,
with no pains of her own, could make her; Lady Spencer, Lady
Sutherland, and Lady Northampton, very pretty figures. Lady
Kildare, still beauty itself, if not a little too large. The
ancient peeresses were by no means the worst party: Lady
Westmoreland, still handsome, and with more dignity than all; the
Duchess of Queensbury looked well, though her locks were
milk-white; Lady Albemarle very genteel; nay, the middle age had
some good representatives in lady Holderness, Lady Rochford, and
Lady Strafford, the perfectest little figure of all. My Lady
Suffolk ordered her robes, and I dressed part of her head, as I
made some of my Lord Hertford's dress; for you know, no
profession comes amiss to me, from a tribune of the people to a
habit-maker. Don't imagine that there were not figures as
excellent on the other side: old Exeter, who told the King he was
the handsomest man she ever saw; old Effingham and a Lady Say and
Seale, with her hair powdered and her tresses black, were in
excellent contrast to the handsome. Lord B * * * * put on rouge
upon his wife and the Duchess of Bedford in the painted chamber;
the Duchess of Queensbury told me of the latter, that she looked
like an orange-peach, half red, and half yellow. The coronets of
the peers and their robes disguised them strangely; it required
all the beauty of the Dukes of Richmond and Marlborough to make
them noticed. One there was, though of another species, the
noblest figure I ever saw, the high-constable of Scotland, Lord
Errol; as one saw him in a space capable of containing him, one
admired him. At the wedding, dressed in tissue, he looked like
one of the giants in Guildhall, new gilt. It added to the energy
of his person, that one considered him acting so considerable a
part in that very hall, where so few years ago one saw his
father, Lord Kilmarnock, condemned to the block. The champion
acted his part admirably, and dashed down his gauntlet with proud
defiance. His associates, Lord Effingham, Lord Talbot, and the
Duke of Bedford, were woful: Lord Talbot piqued himself on his
horse backing down the hall, and not turning its rump towards the
King; but he had taken such pains to dress it to that duty, that
it entered backwards, and at his retreat the spectators clapped,
a terrible indecorum, but suitable to such Bartholomew-fair
doings. He had twenty demel`es and came out of none creditably.
He had taken away the table of the knights of the Bath, and was
forced to admit two in their old place, and dine the others in
the court of requests. Sir William Stanhope said, "We are
ill-treated, for some of us are gentlemen." beckford told the
Earl, it was hard to refuse a table to the city of london Whom it
would cost ten thousand pounds to banquet the King, and his
lordship would repent it if they had not a table in the Hall;
they had. To the barons of the Cinque-ports, who made the same
complaint, he said, "If you come to me as lord-steward, I tell
you it is impossible; if, as Lord Talbot, I am a match for any of
you:" and then he said to Lord Bute, "If I were a minister, thus
I would talk to France, to Spain, to the Dutch--none of your half
measures." This has brought me to a melancholy topic. Bussy
goes tomorrow, a Spanish war is hanging in the air, destruction
is taking a new lease of mankind--of the remnant of mankind. I
have no prospect of seeing Mr. Conway. Adieu! I will not disturb
you with my forebodings. You I shall see again in spite of war,
and I trust in spite of Ireland. I was much disappointed at not
seeing your brother John: I kept a place for him to the last
minute, but have heard nothing of him. Adieu!
Letter 93 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Sept. 25, 1761. (page 147)
This is the most unhappy day I have known of years: Bussy goes
away! Mankind is again given up, to the sword! Peace and you are
far from England!
I was interrupted this morning, just as I had begun my letter, by
Lord Waldegrave; and then the Duke of Devonshire sent for me to
Burlington-house to meet the Duchess of Bedford, and see the old
pictures from Hardwicke. If my letter reaches you three days
later, at least you are saved from a lamentation. Bussy has put
off his journey to Monday (to be sure, you know this is Friday):
he says this is a strange country, he can get no Waggoner to
carry his goods on a Sunday. I am Clad a Spanish war waits for a
conveyance, and that a wagoner's veto is as good as a tribune's
of Rome, and can stop Mr. Pitt on his career to Mexico. He was
going post to conquer it--and Beckford, I suppose, would have had
a contract for remitting all the gold, of which Mr. Pitt never
thinks, unless to serve a city friend. It is serious that we
have discussions with Spain, who says France is humbled enough,
but must not be ruined: Spanish gold is actually coining in
frontier towns of France; and the privilege which Biscay and two
other provinces have of fishing on the coast of Newfoundland, has
been demanded for all Spain. It was refused peremptorily; and
Mr. Secretary Cortez(185) insisted yesterday se'nnight on
recalling Lord Bristol.(186) The rest of the council, who are
content with the world they have to govern, without conquering
Others, prevailed to defer this impetuosity. However, if France
or Spain are the least untractable, a war is inevitable: nay, if
they don't submit by the first day of the session, I have no
doubt but Mr. Pitt will declare it himself on the address. I
have no opinion of Spain intending it: they give France money to
protract a war, from which they reap such advantages in their
peaceful capacity; and I should think would not give their money
if they were on the point of having occasion for it themselves.
In spite of you, and all the old barons our ancestors, I pray
that we may have done with glory, and would willingly burn every
Roman and Greek historian who have don nothing but transmit
precedents for cutting throats.
The coronation is over: 'tis even a more gorgeous sight than I
imagined. I saw the procession and the hall; but the return was
in the dark. In the morning they had forgot the sword of state,
the chairs for King and Queen, and their canopies. They used the
Lord Mayor's for the first, and made the last in the hall so they
did not set forth till noon; and then, by a childish compliment
to the King, reserved the illumination of the hall till his
entry; by which means they arrived like a funeral, nothing being
discernible but the plumes of the knights of the Bath, which
seemed the hearse. Lady Kildare the Duchess of Richmond, and
Lady Pembroke were the capital beauties. Lady Harrington, the
finest figure at a distance; old Westmoreland, the most majestic.
Lady Hertford could not walk, and indeed I think is in a way to
give us great anxiety. She is going to Ragley to ride. Lord
Beauchamp was one of the King's train-bearers. Of all the
incidents of the day, the most diverting was what happened to the
Queen. She had a retiring-chamber, with all conveniences,
prepared behind the altar. She went thither--in the most
convenient what found she, but--the Duke of Newcastle! Lady
Hardwicke died three days before the Ceremony, Which kept away
the whole house of Yorke. Some of the peeresses were dressed
overnight, slept in armchairs, and were waked if they tumbled
their heads. Your sister Harris's maid, Lady Peterborough, was a
comely figure. My Lady Cowper refused, but was forced to walk
with Lady Macclesfield. Lady Falmouth was not there on which
George Selwyn said, "that those peeresses who were most used to
walk, did not." I carried my Lady Townshend, Lady Hertford, Lady
Anne Connolly, my Lady Hervey, and Mrs. Clive, to my deputy's
house at the gate of Westminster-hall. My Lady Townshend said
she should be very glad to see a coronation, as she never had
seen one. "Why," said I, "Madam, you walked at the last?" "Yes,
child," said she, "but I saw nothing of it: I only looked to see
who looked at me." The Duchess of Queensbury walked! her
affectation that day was to do nothing preposterous. The Queen
has been at the Opera, and says she will go once a week. This is
a fresh disaster to our box, where we have lived so harmoniously
for three years. We can get no alternative but that over Miss
Chudleigh's; and Lord Strafford and Lady Mary Coke will not
subscribe, unless we can. The Duke of Devonshire and I are
negotiating with all our -art to keep our party together. The
crowds at the Opera and play when the King and Queen go, are a
little greater than what I remember. The late royalties went to
the Haymarket, when it was the fashion to frequent the other
opera in Lincoln's-inn-fields. Lord Chesterfield one night came
into the latter, and was asked, if he had been at the other
house? "Yes," said he, "but there was nobody but the King and
Queen; and as I thought they might be talking business, I came
Thank you for your journals: the best route you can send me in
would be of your Journey homewards. Adieu!
P. S. If you ever hear from, or write to, such a person as Lady
Ailesbury, pray tell her she is worse to me in point of
correspondence than ever you said I was to you, and that she
sends me every thing but letters!
(185) Mr. Pitt, then secretary of state.
(186) The English ambassador at the court of Madrid.
Letter 94 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 27, 1761. (page 149)
You are a mean mercenary woman. If you did not want histories of
weddings and coronations, and had not jobs to be executed about
muslins, and a bit of china, and counterband goods, one should
never hear of you. When you don't want a body, you can frisk
about with greffiers and burgomasters. and be as merry in a dyke
as my lady frog herself. The moment your curiosity is agog, or
your cambric seized, you recollect a good cousin in England, and,
as folks said two hundred years ago, begin to write "upon the
knees of your heart." Well! I am a sweet-tempered creature, I
forgive you. I have already writ to a little friend in the
customhouse, and will try what can be done; however, by Mr.
Amyand's report to the Duchess of Richmond, I fear your case is
desperate. For the genealogies, I have turned over all my books
to no purpose; I can meet with no Lady Howard that married a
Carey, nor a Lady Seymour that married a Canfield. Lettice
Canfield, who married Francis Staunton, was a daughter of Dr.
James (not George) Canfield, younger brother of the first Lord
Charlemont. This is all I can ascertain. For the other
pedigree; I can inform your friend that there was a Sir Nicholas
Throckmorton, who married an Anne Carew, daughter of Sir Nicholas
Carew, knight of the garter, not Carey. But the Sir Nicholas
Carew married Joan Courtney--not a Howard: and besides, the
Careys and Throckmortons you wot of were just the reverse, your
Carey was the cock, and Throckmorton the hen-mine are vice
versa:--otherwise, let me tell your friend, Carews and Courtneys
are worth Howards any day of the week, and of ancienter blood;-
-so, if descent is all he wants, I advise him to take up with the
pedigree as I have refitted it. However, I will cast a figure
once more, and try if I can conjure up the dames Howard and
Seymour that he wants.
My heraldry was much more offended at the coronation with the
ladies that did walk, than with those that walked out of their
place; yet I was not so perilously angry as my Lady Cowper, who
refused to set a foot with my Lady Macclesfield; and when she was
at last obliged to associate with her, set out on a round trot,
as if she designed to prove the antiquity of her family by
marching as lustily as a maid of honour of Queen Gwiniver. It
was in truth a brave sight. The sea of heads in palace-yard, the
guards, horse and foot, the scaffolds, balconies, and procession,
exceeded imagination. The hall, when once illuminated, was
noble; but they suffered the whole parade to return in the dark,
that his Majesty might be surprised with the quickness with which
the sconces catched fire. The champion acted well; the other
Paladins had neither the grace nor alertness of Rinaldo. Lord
Effingham and the Duke of Bedford were but untoward knights
errant; and Lord Talbot had not much more dignity than the figure
of General Monk in the abbey. The habit of the peers is
unbecoming to the last degree; but the peeresses made amends for
all defects. Your daughter Richmond, Lady Kildare, and Lady
Pembroke were as handsome as the Graces. Lady Rochford, Lady
Holderness, and Lady Lyttelton looked exceedingly well in that
their day; and for those of the day before, the Duchess of
Queensbury, Lady Westmoreland, and Lady Albemarle were
surprising. Lady Harrington was noble at a distance, and so
covered with diamonds, that you would have thought she had bid
somebody or other, like Falstaff, rob me the exchequer. Lady
Northampton was very magnificent too, and looked prettier than I
have seen her of late. Lady Spencer and Lady Bolingbroke were
not the worst figures there. The Duchess of Ancaster marched
alone after the Queen with much majesty; and there were two new
Scotch peeresses that pleased every body, Lady Sutherland and
Lady Dunmore. Per contra, were Lady P * * *, who had put a wig
on, and old E * * * *, who had scratched hers off, Lady S * * *,
the Dowager E * * *, and a Lady Say and Sele, with her tresses
coal-black, and her hair coal-white. Well! it was all delightful,
but not half so charming as its being over. The gabble one heard
about it for six weeks before, and the fatigue of the day, could
not well be compensated by a mere puppet-show; for puppet-show it
was, though it cost a million. The Queen is so gay that we shall
not want sights; she has been at the Opera, the Beggar's Opera
and the Rehearsal, and two nights ago carried the King to
Ranelagh. In short, I am so miserable with losing my
Duchess,(187) and you and Mr. Conway, that I believe, if you
should be another six weeks without writing to me, I should come
to the Hague and scold you in person--for, alas! my dear lady, I
have no hopes of seeing you here. Stanley is recalled, is
expected every hour. Bussy goes tomorrow ; and Mr. Pitt is so
impatient to conquer Mexico, that I don't believe he will stay
till my Lord Bristol can be ordered to leave Madrid. I tremble
lest Mr. Conway should not get leave to come--nay, are we sure he
would like to ask it? he was so impatient to get to the army,
that I should not be surprised if he stayed there till every
suttler and woman that follows the camp was come away. You ask
me if we are not in admiration of Prince Ferdinand. In truth, we
have thought very little of him. He may outwit Broglio ten
times, and not be half so much talked of as lord Talbot' backing
his horse down Westminster-hall. The generality are not struck
with any thing under a complete victory. If you have a mind to
be well with the mob of England, you must be knocked on the head
like Wolfe, or bring home as many diamonds as Clive. We live in
a country where so many follies or novelties start forth every
day, that we have not time to try a (general's capacity by the
rules of Polybius.
I have hardly left room for my obligations-to your ladyship, for
my commissions at Amsterdam; to Mrs. Sally,(188) for her teapots,
which are to stay so long at the Hague, that I fear they will
have begot a whole set of china; and to Miss Conway and Lady
George, for thinking of me. Pray assure them of my re-thinking.
Adieu, dear Madam! Don't You think we had better write oftener
(187) The Duchess of Grafton, who was abroad.
(188) Lady Ailesbury's woman.
Letter 95 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Oct. 8, 1761. (page 151)
I cannot swear I wrote to you again to offer your brother the
place for the coronation; but I was Confident I did, nay, I think
so still: my proofs are, the place remained vacant, and I sent to
old Richard to inquire if Mr. John was not arrived. He had no
great loss, as the procession returned in the dark.
Your King(189) will have heard that Mr. Pitt resigned last
Monday.(190) Greater pains have been taken to recover him than
were used to drive him out. He is inflexible, but mighty
peaceable. Lord Egremont is to have the seals to-morrow. It is
a most unhappy event--France and Spain will soon let us know we
ought to think so. For your part, you will be invaded; a blacker
rod than you will be sent to Ireland. Would you believe that the
town is a desert'! The wedding filled it, the coronation crammed
it; Mr. Pitt's resignation has not brought six people to London.
As they could not hire a window and crowd one another to death to
see him give up the seals, it seems a matter of perfect
indifference. If he will accuse a single man of checking our
career of glory, all the world will come to see him hanged; but
what signifies the ruin of a nation, if no particular man ruins
The Duchess of Marlborough died the night before last. Thank you
for your descriptions; pray continue them. Mrs. Delany I know a
little, Lord Charlemont's villa is in Chambers's book.(191)
I have nothing new to tell you; but the grain of mustard seed
sown on Monday will soon produce as large a tree as you can find
in any prophecy. Adieu!
P. S. Lady Mary Wortley is arrived.
(189) The Earl of Halifax, lord-lieutenant of Ireland.
(190) The following is Mr. Pitt's own account of this
transaction, in a letter to Alderman Beckford:--"A difference of
opinion with regard to measures to be taken against Spain, of the
highest importance to the Honour of the crown and to the most
essential national interests, and this founded on what Spain had
already done, not on what that court may further intend to do,
was the cause of my resigning, the seals. Lord Temple and I
submitted in writing, and urged our most humble sentiments to his
Majesty; which being overruled by the united opinion of the rest
of the King's servants, I resigned, on Monday the 5th, in order
not to remain responsible for measures which I was no longer
allowed to guide." Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 158.-E.
(191) Sir William Chambers's "Treatise on Civil Architecture," a
work which Walpole describes as "the most sensible book, and the
most exempt from prejudices, that was ever written on that
science." It first appeared in 1759. A fourth edition, edited by
Mr. Gwin was published in 1825.-E.
letter 96 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 10, 1761. (page 152)
Pray, sir, how does virtue sell in Ireland now? I think for a
province they have now and then given large prices. Have you a
mind to know what the biggest virtue in the world is worth? If
Cicero had been a drawcansir instead of a coward, and had carried
the glory of Rome to as lofty a height as he did their eloquence,
for how much do you think he would have sold all that reputation?
Oh! sold it! you will cry, vanity was his predominant passion; he
would have trampled on sesterces like dirt, and provided the
tribes did but erect statues enough for him, he was content with
a bit of Sabine mutton; he would have preferred his little
Tusculan villa, or the flattery of Caius Atticus at Baia, to the
wealth of Croesus, or to the luxurious banquets of Lucullus.
Take care, there is not a Tory gentleman, if there is one left,
who would not have laid the same wager twenty years ago on the
disinterestedness of my Lord Bath. Come, u tremble, you are so
incorrupt yourself you will give the world Mr. Pitt was so too.
You adore him for what he has done for us; you bless him for
placing England at the head of Europe, and you don't hate him for
infusing as much spirit into us, as if a Montague, Earl of
Salisbury, was still at the head of our enemies. Nothing could
be more just. We owe the recovery of our affairs to him, the
splendour of our country, the conquest of Canada, Louisbourg,
Guadaloupe, Africa, and the East. Nothing is too much for such
services; accordingly, I hope you will not think the barony of
Chatham, and three thousand pounds a-year for three lives too
much for my Lady Hester. She has this pittance: good night!
P. S. I told you falsely in my last that Lady Mary Wortley was
arrived--I cannot help it if my Lady Denbigh cannot read English
in all these years, but mistakes Wrottesley for Wortley.
Letter 97 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 10, 1761. (page 153)
I don't know what business I had, madam, to be an economist: it
was out of' character. I wished for a thousand more drawings in
that sale at Amsterdam, but concluded they would be very dear;
and not having seen them, I thought it too rash to trouble your
ladyship with a large commission. I wish I could give you as
good an account of your commission; but it is absolutely
impracticable. I employed one of the most sensible and
experienced men in the customhouse; and all the result was, he
could only recommend me to Mr. Amyand as the newest, and
consequently the most polite of the commissioners--but the
Duchess of Richmond had tried him before--to no purpose. There
is no way of recovering any of your goods, but purchasing them
again at the sale.
What am I doing, to be talking to you of drawings and chintzes,
when the world is all turned topsy-turvy! Peace, as the poets
would say, is not only returned to heaven, but has carried her
sister Virtue along with her!--Oh! no, peace will keep no such
company--Virtue is an errant strumpet, and loves diamonds as well
as my Lady Harrington, and is as fond of a coronet as my Lord
Melcombe.(192) Worse! worse! She will set men to cutting
throats, and pick their pockets at the same time. I am in such a
passion, I cannot tell you what I am angry about--why, about
Virtue and Mr. Pitt; two errant cheats, gipsies! I believe he
was a comrade of Elizabeth Canning, when he lived at
Enfield-wash. In short, the council were for making peace;
"But he, as loving his own pride, and purposes,
Evades them with a bombast circumstance,
horribly stuffed with epithets of war,
And in conclusion--nonsuits my mediators."
He insisted on a war with Spain, was resisted, and last Monday
resigned. The city breathed vengeance on his opposers, the
council quailed, and the Lord knows what would have happened; but
yesterday, which was only Friday, as this giant was stalking to
seize the tower of London, he stumbled over a silver penny,
picked it up, carried it home to Lady Hester, and they are now as
quiet, good sort of people, as my Lord and Lady Bath who lived in
the vinegar-bottle. In fact, Madam, this immaculate man has
accepted the Barony of Chatham for his wife, with a pension of
three thousand pounds a year for three lives; and though he has
not quitted the House of Commons, I think my Lord Anson would now
be as formidable there. The pension he has left us, is a war for
three thousand lives! perhaps, for twenty times three thousand
"Does this become a soldier? this become
Whom armies follow'd, and a people loved?"
What! to sneak out of the scrape, prevent peace, and avoid the
war! blast one's character, and all for the comfort of a Paltry
annuity, a long-necked peeress, and a couple of Grenvilles! The
city looks mighty foolish, I believe, and possibly even Beckford
may blush. Lord Temple resigned yesterday: I suppose his virtue
pants for a dukedom. Lord Egremont has the seals; Lord
Hardwicke, I fancy, the privy seal; and George Grenville, no
longer Speaker, is to be the cabinet minister in the House of
Commons. Oh! Madam, I am glad you are inconstant to Mr. Conway,
though it is only with a Barbette! If you piqued yourself on
your virtue, I should expect you would sell it to the master of a
I told you a lie about the King's going to Ranelagh--No matter;
there is no such thing as truth. Garrick exhibits the
coronation, and, opening the end of the stage, discovers a real
bonfire and real mob: the houses in Drury-lane let their windows
at threepence a head. Rich is going to produce a finer
coronation, nay, than the real one; for there is to be a dinner
for the Knights of the Bath and the Barons of the Cinque-ports,
which Lord Talbot refused them.
I put your Caufields and Stauntons into the hands of one of the
first heralds upon earth, and who has the entire pedigree of the
Careys; but he cannot find a drop of Howard or Seymour blood in
the least artery about them. Good night, Madam!
(192) Bubb Doddington, having for many years placed his ambition
on the acquisition of a coronet, obtained the long-wished-for
prize in the preceding April.-E.
Letter 98 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Oct. 12, 1761. (page 154)
It is very lucky that you did not succeed in the expedition to
Rochfort. Perhaps you might have been made a peer; and as
Chatham is a naval title, it might have fallen to your share.
But it was reserved to crown greater glory: and lest it should
not be substantial pay enough, three thousand pounds a year for
three lives go along with it. Not to Mr. Pitt--you can't suppose
it. Why truly, not the title, but the annuity does, and Lady
Hester is the baroness; that, if he should please, he may earn an
earldom himself. Don't believe me, if you have not a mind. I
know I did not believe those who told me. But ask the gazette
that swears it--ask the King, who has kissed Lady Hester--ask the
city of London, who are ready to tear Mr. Pitt to pieces--ask
forty people I can name, who are overjoyed at it--and then ask me
again, who am mortified, and who have been the dupe of his
disinterestedness. Oh, my dear Harry! I beg you on my knees,
keep your virtue: do let me think there is still one man upon
earth who despises money. I wrote you an account last week of his
resignation. Could you have believed that in four days he would
have tumbled from the conquest of Spain to receiving' a quarter's
pension from Mr. West?(193) To-day he has advertised his seven
coach-horses to be sold--Three thousand a year for three lives,
and fifty thousand pounds of his own, will not keep a coach and
six. I protest I believe he is mad, and Lord Temple thinks so
too; for he resigned the same morning that Pitt accepted the
pension. George Grenville is minister of the House of Commons.
I don't know who will be Speaker. They talk of Prowse, Hussey,
Bacon, and even of old Sir John Rushout. Delaval has said an
admirable thing: he blames Pitt not as you and I do; but calls
him fool; and says, if he had gone into the city, told them he
had a poor wife and children unprovided for, and had opened a
subscription, he would have got five hundred thousand pounds,
instead of three thousand pounds a year. In the mean time the
good man has saddled us with a war which we can neither carry on
nor carry off. 'Tis pitiful! 'tis wondrous pitiful! Is the
communication stopped, that we never hear from you? I own 'tis
an Irish question. I am out of humour: my visions are dispelled,
and you are still abroad. As I cannot put Mr. Pitt to death, at
least I have buried him: here is his epitaph:
Admire his eloquence--it mounted higher
Than Attic purity or Roman fire:
Adore his services-our lions view
Ranging, where Roman eagles never flew:
Copy his soul supreme o'er Lucre's sphere;
--But oh! beware three thousand pounds a-year!(194)
Jemmy Grenville resigned yesterday. Lord Temple is all
hostility; and goes to the drawing-room to tell every body how
angry he is with the court-but what is Sir Joseph Wittol, when
Nol Bluff is pacific? They talk of erecting a tavern in the city,
called The Salutation: the sign to represent Lord Bath and Mr.
Pitt embracing. These are shameful times. Adieu!
(193) Secretary to the treasury.
(194) Gray also appears to have been greatly offended at this
acceptance of the title and the pension: "Oh!" he exclaim, "that
foolishest of great men, that sold his inestimable diamond for a
paltry peerage and pension! The very night it happened was I
swearing that it was a d-d lie, and never could be: but it was
for want of reading Thomas `a Kempis, who knew mankind so much
better than I." Works, vol. iii. p. 265. Mr. Burke took a very
different view of Mr. Pitt's conduct on this occasion. "With
regard to the pension and title, it is a shame," he says, "that
any defence should be necessary. What eye cannot distinguish, at
the first glance, between this and the exceptionable case of
titles and pensions? What Briton, with the smallest sense of
honour and gratitude, but must blush for his country, if such a
man retired unrewarded from the public service, let the motives
for that retirement be what they would? It was not possible that
his sovereign could let his eminent services pass unrequited: the
sum that was given was inadequate to his merits; and the quantum
was rather regulated by the moderation of the great mind that
received it, than by the liberality of that which bestowed it."-
Letter 99 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, October 24, 1761. (page 156)
I have got two letters from you, and am sensibly pleased with
your satisfaction. I love your cousin for his behaviour to you;
he will never place his friendship better. His parts and
dignity, I did not doubt, would bear him out. I fear nothing but
your spirits and the frank openness of your heart; keep them
within bounds, and you will return in health, and with the
serenity I wish you long to enjoy.
You have heard our politics; they do not mend, sick of glory,
without being tired of war, and surfeited with unanimity before
it had finished its work, we are running into all kinds of
confusion. The city have bethought themselves, and have voted
that they will still admire Mr. Pitt; consequently, be, without
the cheek of seeming virtue, may do what he pleases. An address
of thanks to hit-() has been carried by one hundred and nine
against fifteen, and the city are to instruct their members; that
is, because we are disappointed of a Spanish war, we must have
one at home. Merciful! how old I am grown! here am I, not liking
a civil war! Do you know me? I am no longer that Gracchus, who,
when Mr. Bentley told him something or other, I don't know what,
would make a sect, answered quickly, "Will it make a party?" In
short, I think I am always to be in contradiction; now I am
loving my country.
Worksop(195) is burnt down; I don't know the circumstances; the
Duke and Duchess are at Bath; it has not been finished a month;
the last furniture was brought in for the Duke of York; I have
some comfort that I had seen it, and, except the bare chambers,
in which the Queen of Scots lodged, nothing remained of ancient
I am much obliged to Mr. Hamilton's civilities; but I don't take
too much to myself; yet it is no drawback to think that he sees
an compliments your friendship for me. I shall use his
permission of sending you any thing that I think will bear the
sea; but how must I send it! by what conveyance to the sea, and
where deliver it? Pamphlets swarm already; none very good, and
chiefly grave; you would not have them. Mr. Glover has published
his long-hoarded Medea,(196) as an introduction to the House of
Commons; it had been more proper to usher him from school to the
University. There are a few good lines, not much conduct, and a
quantity of iambics, and trochaics, that scarce speak English,
and yet have no rhyme to keep one another in countenance. If his
chariot is stopped at Temple-bar, I suppose he will take it for
the Straits of Thermopylae, and be delivered of his first speech
before its time.
The catalogue of the Duke of Devonshire's collection is only in
the six volumes of the Description of London. I did print about
a dozen, and gave them all away so totally that on searching, I
had not reserved one for myself. When we are at leisure, I will
reprint a few more, and you shall have one for your Speaker. I
don't know who is to be ours: Prowse, they say, has refused; Sir
John Cust was the last I heard named: but I am here and know
nothing; sorry that I shall hear any thing on Tuesday se'nnight.
Pray pick me up any prints of lord-lieutenants, Irish bishops,
ladies --nay, or patriots; but I will not trouble you for a
snuff-box or toothpick-case, made of a bit of the Giant's
My anecdotes of Painting will scarcely appear before Christmas.
My gallery and cabinet are at a full stop till spring. but I
shall be sorry to leave it all in ten days; October, that scarce
ever deceived one before, has exhibited a deluge; but it was
recovered, and promised to behave well as long as it lives, like
a dying sinner. Good night!
P. S. My niece lost the coronation for only a daughter. It makes
me smile, when I reflect that you are come into the world again,
and that I have above half left it.
(195) The Duke of norfolk's seat at Worksop Manor,
Nottinghamshire, was burnt down on the 20th of October 1761. The
damage was estimated at one hundred thousand pounds. When the
Duke heard of it, he exclaimed, "God's will be done!" and the
Duchess, "How many besides us are sufferers by the like
calamity!" Evelyn, who visited Worksop in 1654, says, "The manor
belongs to the Earle of Arundel, and has to it a faire house at
the foote of an hill, in a park that affords a delicate
(196) Glover's tragedy of Medea was performed several times at
Drury-lane and Covent-garden, for the benefit of Mrs. Yates,
whose spirited acting Gave it considerable effect.-E.
Letter 100 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 26, 1761. (page 157)
and how strange it seems! You are talking to me of the King's
wedding, while we are thinking of a civil war. Why, the King's
wedding was a century ago, almost two months; even the coronation
things that happened half an age ago, is quite forgot. The post
to Germany cannot keep pace with our revolutions. Who knows but
you may still be thinking that Mr. Pitt is the most disinterested
man in the world? Truly, as far as the votes of a common-council
can make him so, he is. Like Cromwell, he has always promoted
the self-denying ordinance, and has contrived to be excused from
it himself. The city could no longer choose who should be their
man of virtue; there was not one left - by all rules they ought
next to have pitched upon one who was the oldest offender:
instead of that, they have reelected the most recent; and, as if
virtue was a borough, Mr. Pitt is rechosen for it, on vacating
his seat. Well, but all this is very serious: I shall offer a
prophetic picture, and shall be very glad if I am not a true
soothsayer. The city have voted an address of thanks to Mr.
Pitt, and given instructions to their members; the chief articles
of which are, to promote an inquiry into the disposal of the
money that has been granted, and to consent to no peace, unless
we are to retain all, or near all, our conquests. Thus the city
of London usurp the right of making peace and war. But is the
government to be dictated to by one town? By no means. But
suppose they are not -what is the consequence? How will the
money be raised? If it cannot be raised without them, Mr. Pitt
must again be minister: that you think would be easily
accommodated. Stay, stay; he and Lord Temple have declared
against the whole cabinet council. Why, that they have done
before now, and yet have acted with them again. It is very true;
but a little word has escaped Mr. Pitt, which never entered into
his former declarations; nay, nor into Cromwell's, nor Hugh
Capet's, nor Julius Caesar's, nor any reformer's of ancient time.
He has happened to say, he will guide. Now, though the cabinet
council are mighty willing to be guided, when they cannot help
it, yet they wish to have appearances saved: they cannot be fond
of being told they are to be guided still less, that other people
should be told so. Here, then, is Mr. Pitt and the
common-council on one hand, the great lords on the other. I
protest, I do not see but it will come to this. Will it allay
the confusion, if Mr. Fox is retained on the side of the court?
Here are no Whigs and Tories, harmless people, that are content
with worrying one another for i hundred and fifty years together.
The new parties are, I will, and you shall not; and their
principles do not admit delay. However, this age is of suppler
mould than some of its predecessors; and this may come round
again, by a coup de baguette, when one least expects it. If it
should not, the honestest part one can take is to look on, and
try if one can do any good if matters go too far.
I am charmed with the Castle of Hercules;(197) it is the boldest
pile I have seen since I travelled in Fairyland. You ought to
have delivered a princess imprisoned by enchanters in his club:
she, in gratitude, should have fallen in love with you; your
constancy should have been immaculate. The devil knows how it
would have ended--I don't--and so I break off my romance.
You need not beer the French any more this year: it cannot be
ascribed to Mr. Pitt; and the mob won't thank you. If we are to
have a warm campaign in Parliament, I hope you will be sent for.
Adieu! We take the field tomorrow se'nnight.
P. S. You will be sorry to hear that Worksop is burned. My Lady
Waldegrave has got a daughter, and your brother an ague.
(197) Alluding to a description of a building in Hesse Cassel,
given by Mr. Conway in one of his letters.
Letter 101 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Nov. 7, 1761. (page 159)
You will rejoice to hear that your friend Mr. Amyand is going to
marry the dowager Lady Northampton; she has two thousand pounds
a-year, and twenty thousand in money. Old Dunch(198) is dead,
and Mrs. Felton Hervey(199) was given over last night, but is
Sir John Cust is Speaker, and bating his nose, the chair seems
well filled. There are so many new faces in this Parliament,
that I am not at all acquainted with it.
The enclosed print will divert you, especially the baroness in
the right-hand corner--so ugly, and so satisfied: the Athenian
head was intended for Stewart; but was so like, that Hogarth was
forced to cut off the nose. Adieu!
(198) Widow of Edmund Dunch, Esq. comptroller of the household of
George the First.-E.
(199) Wife of the Hon. Felton Hervey, ninth son of John, first
Earl of Bristol.-E.
Letter 102 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Nov. 28, 1761. (page 159)
I am much obliged for the notice of Sir Compton's illness; if you
could send me word of peace too, I should be completely satisfied
on Mr. Conway's account. He has been in the late action, and
escaped, at a time that, I flattered myself, the campaign -was at
an end. However, I trust it is now. You will have been
concerned for young Courtney. The war, we hear, is to be
transferred to these islands; most probably to yours. The
black-rod I hope, like a herald, is a sacred personage.
There has been no authentic account of the coronation published;
if there should be, I will send it. When I am at Strawberry, I
believe I can make you out a list of those that walked; but I
have no memorandum in town. If Mr. Bentley's play is printed in
Ireland, I depend on your sending me two copies.
There has been a very private ball at court, consisting of not
above twelve or thirteen couple; some of the lords of the
bedchamber, most of the ladies, the maids of honour, and six
strangers, Lady Caroline Russell, Lady Jane Stewart, Lord
Suffolk, Lord Northampton, Lord Mandeville, and Lord Grey.
Nobody sat by, but the Princess, the Duchess of Bedford, and Lady
Bute. They began before seven, danced till one, and parted
without a supper.
Lady Sarah Lenox has refused Lord Errol; the Duke of Bedford is
privy seal; Lord Thomond cofferer; Lord George Cavendish
comptroller; George Pitt goes minister to Turin; and Mrs. Speed
must go thither, as she is marrying the Baron de Perrier, Count
Virry's son.(200) Adieu! Commend me to your brother.
(200) "My old friend Miss SPeed has done what the world calls a
very foolish thing; she has married the Baron de la Poyri`ere,
son to the Sardinian minister, the Count de Viry. He is about
twenty-eight years old (ten years younger than herself), but
looks nearer This is not the effect of debauchery; for he is a
very sober and good-natured man honest and no conjurer." Gray to
Wliarton. Works, vol. iii. p. 263.-E.
Letter 103 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.
Arlington Street, Nov. 28, 1761. (page 160)
You are so bad and so good, that I don't know how to treat you.
You give me every mark of kindness but letting me hear from you.
You send me charming drawings the moment I trouble you with a
commission, and you give Lady Cecilia(201) commissions for
trifles of my writing, in the most obliging manner. I have taken
the latter off her hands.- The Fugitive Pieces, and the Catalogue
of Royal and Noble Authors shall be conveyed to you directly.
Lady Cecilia and I agree how we lament the charming suppers
there, every time we pass the corner of Warwick Street! We have
a little comfort for your sake and our own, in believing that the
campaign is at an end, at least for this year--but they tell us,
it is to recommence here or in Ireland. You have nothing to do
with that. Our politics, I think, will soon be as warm as our
war. Charles Townshend is to be lieutenant-general to Mr. Pitt.
The Duke of Bedford is privy seal; Lord Thomond, cofferer; Lord
George Cavendish, comptroller.
Diversions, you know, Madam, are never at high watermark before
Christmas: yet operas flourish pretty well: those on Tuesdays are
removed to Mondays, because the Queen likes the burlettas, and
the King cannot go on Tuesdays, his postdays. On those nights we
have the middle front box railed in, where Lady Mary(202) and I
sit in triste state like a Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress. The
night before last there was a private ball at court, which began
at half an hour after six, lasted till one, and finished without
a supper. The King danced the whole time with the Queen, Lady
Augusta with her four younger brothers. The other performers
were: the two Duchesses of Ancaster and Hamilton, who danced
little; Lady Effingham, and Lady Egremont who danced much; the
six maids of honour; Lady Susan Stewart, as attending Lady
Augusta; and Lady Caroline Russel, and Lady Jane Stewart, the
only women not of the family. Lady Northumberland is at Bath;
Lady Weymouth lies in; Lady Bolingbroke was there in Waiting, but
in black gloves, so did not dance. The men, besides the royals,
were Lords March and Lord Eglinton, of the bedchamber: Lord
Cantalope, vice-chamberlain; Lord Huntingdon; and four strangers,
Lord Mandeville, Lord Northampton, lord Suffolk, and lord Grey.
No sitters-by, but the Princess, the Duchess of Bedford, and Lady
If it had not been for this ball, I don't know how I should have
furnished a decent letter. Pamphlets on Mr. Pitt are the whole
conversation, and none of them worth sending cross the water: at
least I, who am said to write some of them, think so; by which
you may perceive I am not much flattered with the imputation.
There must be new personages at least, before I write on any
side. Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Newcastle! I should as soon think
of informing the world that Miss Chudleigh is no vestal. You
will like better to see some words which Mr. Gray has writ, at
Miss Speed's request, to an old air of Geminiani: the thought is
from the French.
Thyrsis, when we parted, swore
Ere the spring he would return.
Ah! what means yon violet flower,
And the buds that deck the thorn?
'Twas the lark that upward sprung,
'Twas the nightingale that sung.
Idle notes! untimely green!
Why this unavailing haste?
Western gales and skies serene
Speak not always winter past.
Cease my doubts, my fears to move;
Spare the Honour of my love.
Adieu, Madam, your most faithful servant.
(201) Lady Cecilia Johnston.
(202) lady Mary Coke.
Letter 104 To Sir David Dalrymple.(203)
Nov. 30, 1761. (page 161)
I am much obliged to you, Sir, for the specimen of letters(204)
you have been so good as to send me. The composition is
touching, and the printing very beautiful. I am still more
pleased with the design of the work; nothing gives so just an
idea of an age as genuine letters; nay, history waits for its
last seal from them. I have an immense collection in my hands,
chiefly of the very time on which you are engaged: but they are
not my own.
If I had received your commands in summer when I was at
Strawberry Hill, and at leisure, I might have picked you out
something to your purpose; at present I have not time, from
Parliament and business, to examine them: yet to show you, Sir,
that I have great desire to oblige you and contribute to your
work, I send you the following singular paper, which I have
obtained from Dr. Charles lyttelton, Dean of Exeter, whose name I
will beg you to mention in testimony of his kindness, and as
evidence for the authenticity of the letter, which he copied from
the original in the hands of Bishop Tanner, in the year 1733. It
is from Anne of Denmark, to the Marquis of Buckingham.
"My kind dogge, if I have any power or credit with you, let me
have a trial of it at this time, in dealing sincerely and
earnestly with the King, that Sir Walter Raleigh's life may not
be called in question. If you do it, so that the success answer
my expectation, assure yourself that I will take it
extraordinarily kindly at your hands, and rest one that wisheth
you well, and desires you to continue still as you have been, a
true servant to your master."
I have begun Mr. Hume's history, and got almost through the first
volume. It is amusing to one who ]knows a little of his own
country, but I fear would not teach much to a beginner; details
are so much avoided by him, and the whole rather skimmed than
elucidated. I cannot say I think it very carefully performed.
Dr. Robertson's work I should expect would be more accurate.
P. S. There has lately appeared, in four little volumes, a
Chinese Tale, called Hau Kiou Choaan,(205) not very entertaining
from the incidents, but I think extremely so from the novelty of
the manner and the genuine representation of their customs.
(203) Now first collected.
(204) Probably Sir David's "Memorials and Letters relating to the
History of Britain in the Reigns of James the First and Charles
the First," which were published in 1766, from the originals in
the Advocates' Library.-E.
(205) This pleasing little novel, in which the manners of the
Chinese are painted to the life, was a translation from the
Chinese by Mr. Wilkinson, and revised for publication by Dr.
Letter 105 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 8, 1761. (page 162)
I return you the list of prints, and shall be glad you will bring
me all to which I have affixed this mark X. The rest I have; yet
the expense of the whole list would not ruin me. Lord Farnham,
who, I believe, departed this morning, brings you the list of the
Duke of Devonshire's pictures.
I have been told that Mr. Bourk's history was of England, not of
Ireland; I am glad it is the latter, for I am now in Mr. Hume's
England, and would fain read no more. I not only know what has
been written, but what would be written. Our story is so
exhausted, that to make it new, they really make it new. Mr.
Hume has exalted Edward the Second and depressed Edward the
Third. The next historian, I suppose, will make James the First
a hero, and geld Charles the Second.
Fingal is come out; I have not yet got through it; not but, it is
very fine-yet I cannot at once compass an epic poem now. It
tires me to death to read how many ways a warrior is like the
moon, or the sun, or a rock, or a lion, or the ocean. Fingal is
a brave collection of similes, and will serve all the boys at
Eton and Westminster for these twenty years. I will trust you
with a secret, but you must not disclose it; I should be ruined
with my Scotch friends; in short, I cannot believe it genuine; I
cannot believe a regular poem of six books has been preserved,
uncorrupted, by oral tradition, from times before Christianity
was introduced into the island. What! preserved unadulterated by
savages dispersed among mountains, and so often driven from their
dens, so wasted by wars civil and foreign! alas one man ever got
all by heart? I doubt it; were parts preserved by some, other
parts by others? Mighty lucky, that the tradition was never
interrupted, nor any part lost-not a verse, not a measure, not
the sense! luckier and luckier. I have been extremely qualified
myself lately for this Scotch memory; we have had nothing but a
coagulation of rains, fogs, and frosts, and though they have
clouded all understanding, I suppose, if I had tried, I should
have found that they thickened, and gave great consistence to my
You want news--I must make it, if I send it. To change the
dulness of the scene I went to the play, where I had not been
this winter. They are so crowded, that though I went before six,
I got no better place than a fifth row, where I heard very ill,
and was pent for five hours without a soul near me that I knew.
It was Cymbeline, and appeared to me as long as if every body in
it went really to Italy in every act,, and came back again. With
a few pretty passages and a scene or two, it is so absurd and
tiresome, that I am persuaded Garrick(206) * * * * *
(206) The rest of this letter is lost.
Letter 106 To Sir David Dalrymple.(207)
December 21, 1761. (page 163)
Your specimen pleases me, and I give you many thanks for
promising me the continuation. You will, I hope, find less
trouble with printers than I have done. Just when my book was, I
thought, ready to appear, my printer ran away, and has left it
very imperfect. This is the fourth I have tried, and I own it
discourages me. Our low people are so corrupt and such knaves,
that being cheated and disappointed are all the fruits of
attempting to amuse oneself or others. Literature must struggle
with many difficulties. They who print for profit print only for
profit; we, who print to entertain or instruct others, are the
bubbles of our designs, defrauded, abused, pirated--don't you
think, Sir, one need have resolution? Mine is very nearly
(207) Now first collected.
Letter 107 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 23, 1761. Past midnight. (page 164)
I am this minute come home, and find such a delightful letter
from you, that I cannot help answering it, and telling you so
before I sleep. You need not affirm, that your ancient wit and
pleasantry are revived; your letter is but five and twenty, and I
will forgive any vanity, that is so honest, and so well founded.
Ireland I see produces wonders of more sorts than one; if my Lord
Anson was to go lord-lieutenant, I suppose he would return a
ravisher. How different am I from this state of revivification!
Even such talents as I had are far from blooming again; and while
my friends, or contemporaries, or predecessors, are rising to
preside over the fame of this age, I seem a mere antediluvian;
must live upon what little stock of reputation I had acquired,
and indeed grow so indifferent, that I can only wonder how those,
whom I thought as old as myself, can interest themselves so much
about a world, whose faces I hardly know. You recover your
spirits and wit, Rigby is grown a speaker, Mr. Bentley a poet,
while I am nursing one or two gouty friends, and sometimes
lamenting that I am likely to survive the few I have left.
Nothing tempts me to launch out again; every day teaches me how
much I was mistaken in my own parts, and I am in no danger now
but of thinking I am grown too wise; for every period of life has
Mr. Bentley's relation to Lord Rochester by the St. Johns is not
new to me, and you had more reason to doubt of their affinity by
the former marrying his mistress, than to ascribe their
consanguinity to it. I shall be glad to see the epistle: are not
"The Wishes" to be acted? remember me, if they are printed; and I
shall thank you for this new list of prints.
I have mentioned names enough in this letter to lead me naturally
to new ill usage I have received. Just when I thought my book
finished, my printer ran away, and had left eighteen sheets in
the middle of the book untouched, having amused me with sending
proofs. He had got into debt, and two girls with child; being
two, he could not marry two Hannahs. You see my luck; I had been
kind to this fellow; in short, if the faults of my life had been
punished as severely as my merits have been, I should be the most
unhappy of beings; but let us talk of something else.
I have picked up at Mrs. Dunch's auction the sweetest Petitot in
the world-the very picture of James the Second, that he gave Mrs.
Godfrey,(208) and I paid but six guineas and a half for it. I
will not tell you how vast a commission I had given; but I will
own, that about the hour of sale, I drove about the door to find
what likely bidders there were. The first coach I saw was the
Chudleighs; could I help concluding, that a maid of honour, kept
by a duke, would purchase the portrait of a duke kept by a maid
of honour-but I was mistaken. The Oxendens reserved the best
pictures; the fine china, and even the diamonds, sold for
nothing; for nobody has a shilling. We shall be beggars if we
don't conquer Peru within this half year.
If you are acquainted with my lady Barrymore, pray tell her that
in less than two hours t'other night the Duke of Cumberland lost
four hundred and fifty pounds at loo; Miss Pelham won three
hundred, and I the rest. However, in general, loo is extremely
gone to decay; I am to play at Princess Emily's to-morrow for the
first time this winter, and it is with difficulty she has made a
My Lady Pomfret is dead on the road to Bath; and unless the
deluge stops, and the fogs disperse, I think we shall all die. A
few days ago, on the cannon firing for the King going to the
House, some body asked what it was? M. de Choiseul replied,
"Apparemment, c'est qu'on voit le soleil."
Shall I fill up the rest of my paper with some extempore lines
that I wrote t'other night on Lady Mary Coke having St. Anthony's
fire in her cheek! You will find nothing in them to contradict
what I have said in the former part of my letter; they rather
No rouge you wear, nor can a dart
>From Love's bright quiver wound your heart.
And thought you, Cupid and his mother
Would unrevenged their anger smother?
No, no, from heaven they sent the fire
That boasts St. Anthony its sire;
They pour'd it on one peccant part,
Inflamed your cheek, if not your heart.
In vain-for see the crimson rise,
And dart fresh lustre through your eyes
While ruddier drops and baffled pain
Enhance the white they mean to stain.
Ah! nymph, on that unfading face
With fruitless pencil Time shall trace
His lines malignant, since disease
But gives you mightier power to please.
Willis is dead, and Pratt is to be chief justice; Mr. Yorke
attorney general; solicitor, I don't know who. Good night! the
watchman cries past one!
(208) Arabella Churchill, sister of the great Duke of
Marlborough, was the mistress of James the Second while Duke of
York, by whom she had four children; the celebrated Duke of
Berwick, the Duke of Albemarle, and two daughters. She
afterwards became the wife of Colonel Charles Godfrey, master of
the jewel office, and died in 1714, leaving by him two daughters,
Charlotte Viscountess Falmouth, and Elizabeth, wife of Edmund
Letter 108 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 30, 1761. (page 165)
I have received two more letters from You since I wrote last
week, and I like to find by them that you are so well and so
happy. As nothing has happened of change in my situation but a
few more months passed, I have nothing to tell you new of myself.
Time does not sharpen my passions or pursuits, and the experience
I have had by no means prompts me to make new connexions. 'Tis a
busy world, and well adapted to those who love to bustle in it; I
loved it once, loved its very tempests--now I barely open my
windows to view what course the storm takes. The town, who, like
the devil, when one has once sold oneself' to him, never permits
one to have done playing the fool, believe I have a great hand in
their amusements; but to write pamphlets, I mean as a volunteer,
one must love or hate, and I have the satisfaction of doing
neither. I Would not be at the trouble of composing a distich to
achieve a revolution. 'Tis equal to me what names are on the
scene. In the general view, the prospect is very dark: the
Spanish war, added to the load, almost oversets our most sanguine
heroism: and now we have in opportunity of conquering all the
world, by being at war with all the world, we seem to doubt a
little of our abilities. On a survey
of our situation, I comfort myself with saying, "Well, what is it
to me?" A selfishness that is far from anxious, when it is the
first thought in one's constitution; not so agreeable when it is
the last, and adopted by necessity alone.
You drive your expectations much too fast, in thinking my
Anecdotes of Painting are ready to appear, in demanding three
volumes. You will see but two, and it will be February first.
True, I have written three, but I question whether the third will
be published at all; certainly not soon; it is not a work of
merit enough to cloy the town with a great deal at once. My
printer ran away, and left a third part of the two first volumes
unfinished. I suppose he is writing a tragedy himself, or an
epistle to my Lord Melcomb, or a panegyric on my Lord Bute.
Jemmy Pelham(209) is dead, and has left to his servants what
little his servants had left him. Lord Ligonier was killed by
the newspapers, and wanted to prosecute them; his lawyer told him
it was impossible--a tradesman indeed might prosecute, as such a
report might affect his credit. "Well, then," said the old man,
"I may prosecute too, for I can prove I have been hurt by this
'report I was going to marry a great fortune, who thought I was
but seventy-four; the newspapers have said I am eighty, and she
will not have me."
Lord Charlemont's Queen Elizabeth I know perfectly; he outbid me
for it; is his villa finished? I am well pleased with the design
in Chambers. I have been my out-of-town with Lord Waldecrave,
Selwyn, and Williams; it was melancholy the missing poor
Edgecombe, who was constantly of the Christmas and Easter
parties. Did you see the charming picture Reynolds painted for
me of him, Selwyn, and Gilly Williams? It is by far one of the
best things he has executed. He has just finished a pretty
whole-length of Lady Elizabeth Keppel,(210) in the bridemaid's
habit, sacrificing to Hymen.
If the Spaniards land in Ireland, shall you make the campaign?
No. no, come back to England; you and I will not be patriots,
till the Gauls are in the city, and we must take our great chairs
and our fasces, and be knocked on the head with decorum in St.
James's market. Good night!
P. S. I am told that they bind in vellum better at Dublin than
any where; pray bring me one book of their binding, as well as it
can be done, and I will not mind the price. If Mr. Bourk's
history appear,-, before your return, let it be that.
(209) The Hon. James Pelham, of Crowhurst, Sussex. He had been
principal secretary to Frederick Prince of Wales, and for nearly
forty years secretary to the several lords-chamberlain.-E.
(210) She was daughter of the Earl of Albemarle, and married to
the Marquis of Tavistock.
Letter 109 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Jan. 26, 1762. (page 167)
We have had as many mails due from Ireland as you had from us. I
have at last received a line from you; it tells me you are well,
which I am always glad to hear; I cannot say you tell me much
more. My health is so little subject to alteration, and so
preserved by temperance, that it is not worth repetition; thank
God you may conclude it is good, if I do not say to the contrary.
Here is nothing new but preparations for conquest, and approaches
to bankruptcy; and the worst is, the former will advance the
latter at least as much as impede it. You say the Irish will
live and die with your cousin: I am glad they are so well
disposed. I have lived long enough to doubt whether all, who
like to live with one, would be so ready to die with one. I know
it is not pleasant to have the time arrived when one looks about
to see whether they would or not; but you are in a country of
more sanguine complexion, and where I believe the clergy do not
deny the laity the cup.
The Queen's brother arrived yesterday; your brother, Prince John,
has been here about a week; I am to dine with him to-day at Lord
Dacre's with the Chute. Our burlettas are gone out of fashion;
do the Atnicis come hither next year, or go to Guadaloupe, as is
said? I have been told that a lady Kingsland(211) at Dublin has
a picture of Madame Grammont by Petitot; I don't know who Lady
Kingsland is, whether rich or poor, but I know there is nothing I
would not give for such a picture. I wish you would hunt it; and
if the dame is above temptation, do try if you could obtain a
copy in water colours, if there is any body in Dublin could
The Duchess of Portland has lately enriched me exceedingly; nine
portraits of the court of Louis quatorze! Lord Portland brought
them over; they hung in the nursery at Bulstrode, the children
amused themselves with shooting at them. I have got them, but I
will tell you no more, you don't deserve it; you write to me as
if I were your godfather: "Honoured Sir, I am brave and well, my
cousin George is well, we drink your health every night, and beg
your blessing." This is the sum total of all your letters. I
thought in a new country, and with your spirits and humour, you
could have found something to tell me. I shall only ask you now
when you return; but I declare I will not correspond with you: I
don't write letters to divert myself, but in expectation of
returns; in short, you are extremely in disgrace with me; I have
measured my letters for sometime, and for the future will answer
you paragraph for paragraph. You yourself don't seem to find
letter-writing so amusing as to pay itself. Adieu!
(211) Nicholas Barnewall, third Viscount Kingsland, married Mary,
daughter of Frances Jennings, sister to the celebrated Sarah
Duchess of Marlborough, by George Count Hamilton: "by which
marriage," says Walpole, "the pictures I saw at Tarvey, Lord
Kingsland's house, came to him: I particularly recollect the
portraits of Count Hamilton and his brother Anthony, and two of
Madame Grammont; one taken in her youth, the other in advanced
Letter 110 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Feb. 2, 1762. (page 168)
I scolded YOU in my last, but I shall forgive you if you return
soon to England, as you talk of doing; for though you are an
abominable correspondent, and only write to beg letters, you are
good company, and I have a notion I shall still be glad to see
Lady Mary Wortley is arrived;(212) I have seen her; I think her
avarice, her dirt, and her vivacity, are all increased. Her
dress, like her languages, is a gralimatias of several countries;
the groundwork rags, and the embroidery nastiness. She needs no
cap, no handkerchief, no gown, no petticoat, no shoes. An old
black-laced hood represents the first; the fur of a horseman's
coat, which replaces the third, serves for the second; a dimity
petticoat is deputy, and officiates for the fourth; and slippers
act the part of the last. When I was at Florence, and she was
expected there, we were drawing Sortes Virgili-anas for her; we
Insanam vatem aspicies.
It would have been a stronger prophecy now, even than it was
You told me not a word of Mr. Macnaughton,(213) and I have a
great mind to be as coolly indolent about our famous ghost in
Cock-lane. Why should one steal half an hour from one's
amusements to tell a story to a friend in another island? I
could send you volumes on the ghost, and I believe if I were to
stay a little, I might send its life, dedicated to my Lord
Dartmouth, by the ordinary of Newgate, its two great patrons. A
drunken parish clerk set it on foot out of revenge, the
Methodists have adopted it, and the whole town of london think of
nothing else. Elizabeth Canning and the Rabbit-woman were modest
impostors in comparison of this, which goes on Without saving the
least appearances. The Archbishop, who would not suffer the
Minor to be acted in ridicule of the Methodists, permits this
farce to be played every night, and I shall not be surprised if
they perform in the great hall at Lambeth. I went to hear it,
for it is not an apparition, but an audition. We set out from
the Opera, changed our clothes at Northumberland-house, the Duke
of York, Lady Northumberland, Lady Mary Coke, Lord Hertford, and
I, all in one hackney coach, and drove to the spot: it rained
torrents; yet the lane was full of mob, and the house so full we
could not get in; at last they discovered it was the Duke of
York, and the company squeezed themselves into one another's
pockets to make room for us. The house, which is borrowed, and
to which the ghost has adjourned, is wretchedly small and
miserable; when we opened the chamber, in which were fifty
people, with no light but one tallow candle at the end, we
tumbled over the bed of the child to whom the ghost comes,
and whom they are murdering by inches in such insufferable heat
and stench. At the top of the room are ropes to dry clothes. I
asked, if we were to have rope-dancing between the acts? We had
nothing; they told us, as they would at a puppet-show, that it
would not come that night till seven in the morning, that is,
when there are only 'prentices and old women. We stayed however
till half an hour after one. The Methodists have promised them
contributions; provisions are sent in like forage, and all the
taverns and alehouses in the neighbourhood make fortunes. The
most diverting part is to hear people wondering when it will be
found out--as if there was any thing to find out--as if the
actors would make their noises when they can be discovered.
However, as this pantomime cannot last much longer, I hope Lady
Fanny Shirley will set up a ghost of her own at Twickenham, and
then you shall hear one. The Methodists, as Lord Aylesford
assured Mr. Chute two nights ago at Lord Dacre's have attempted
ghosts three times in Warwickshire. There, how good I am!
(212) Lady Mary Wortley Montagu remained at Venice till the death
of Mr. Wortley in this year when she yielded to the solicitations
of her daughter, the Countess of Bute, and, after an absence of
two-and-twenty years, began her journey to England, where she
arrived in October.-E.
(213) john Macnaughton, Esq. executed in December, 1761, for the
murder of Miss Knox, daughter of Andrew Knox, Esq. of Prehen,
member of parliament for Donegal. macnaughton, who had ruined
himself by gambling, sought to replenish his fortune by marriage
with this young lady, who had considerable expectations; but as
her friends would not consent to their union, and he failed both
in inveigling her into a secret marriage, and in compelling her
by the suits which he commenced in the ecclesiastical courts to
ratify an alleged promise of marriage, he revenged himself by
shooting her while riding in a carriage with her father.-E.
Letter 111 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Feb. 6, 1762. (PAGE 169)
You must have thought me very negligent of your commissions; not
only in buying your ruffles, but in never mentioning them; but my
justification is most ample and verifiable. Your letters of Jan.
2d arrived but yesterday with the papers of Dec. 29. These are
the mails that have so long been missing, and were shipwrecked or
something on the Isle of Man. Now you see it was impossible for
me to buy you a pair of ruffles for the 18th of January, when I
did not receive the orders till the 5th of February.
You don't tell me a word (but that is not new to you) of Mr.
Hamilton's wonderful eloquence, which converted a whole House of
Commons on the five regiments. We have no such miracles here;
five regiments might work such prodigies, but I never knew mere
rhetoric gain above one or two proselytes at a time in all my
We have a Prince Charles here, the Queen's brother; he is like
her, but more like the Hows; low, but well made, good eyes and
teeth. Princess Emily is very ill, has been blistered, and been
blooded four times.
My books appear on Monday se'nnight: if I can find any quick
conveyance for them, you shall have them; if not, as you are
returning soon, I may as well keep them for you. Adieu! I grudge
every word I write to you.
Letter 112To The Rev. Mr. Cole.(214)
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1762. (PAGE 170)
The little leisure I have to-day will, I trust, excuse my saying
very few words in answer to your obliging letter, of which no
part touches me more than what concerns your health, which,
however, I rejoice to hear is reestablishing itself.
I am sorry I did not save you the trouble of cataloguing Ames's
beads, by telling you that another person has actually done it,
and designs to publish a new edition ranged in a different
method. I don't know the gentleman's name, but he is a friend of
Sir William Musgrave, from whom I had this information some
You will oblige me much by the sight of the volume you mention.
Don't mind the epigrams you transcribe on my father. I have been
inured to abuse on him from my birth. It is not a quarter of an
hour ago since, cutting the leaves of a new dab called Anecdotes
of Polite Literature, I found myself abused for having defended
my father. I don't know the author, and suppose I never shall,
for I find Glover's Leonidas is one of the things he admires--and
so I leave them to be forgotten together, Fortunati Ambo!
I sent your letter to Ducarel, who has promised me those poems--I
accepted the promise to get rid of him t'other day, when he would
have talked me to death.
(214) A distinguished antiquary, better known by the assistance
he gave to others than by publications of his own. He was vicar
of Burnham, in the county of Bucks; and died December 16th, 1782,
in his sixty-eighth year.-E.
Letter 113 To The Rev. Henry Zouch.
Arlington Street, Feb. 13, 1762. (PAGE 171)
I should long ago have given myself the pleasure of writing to
you, if I had not been constantly in hope of accompanying my
letter with the Anecdotes of Painting, etc.; but the tediousness
of engraving, and the roguery of a fourth printer, have delayed
the publication week after week- for months: truly I do not
believe that there is such a being as an honest printer in the
I Sent the books to Mr. Whiston, who, I think you told me, was
employed by you: he answered, he knew nothing of the matter. Mr.
Dodsley has undertaken now to convey them to you, and I beg your
acceptance of them: it will be a very kind acceptance if you will
tell me of any faults, blunders ,omissions, etc. as you observe
them. In a first sketch of this nature, I cannot hope the work
is any thing like complete. Excuse, Sir, the brevity Of this. I
am much hurried at this instant of publication, and have barely
time to assure you how truly I am your humble servant.
Letter 114To The Earl Of Bute.(215)
Strawberry Hill, Feb. 15, 1762. (PAGE 171)
I am sensible how little time your lordship can have to throw
away on reading idle letters of compliment; yet as it would be
too great want of respect to your lordship, not to make some sort
of reply to the note(216) you have done me the honour to send me,
I thought I could couch what I have to say in fewer words by
writing, than in troubling you with a visit, which might come
unseasonably, and a letter you may read at any moment when you
are most idle. I have already, my lord, detained you too long by
sending you a book, which I could not flatter myself you would
turn over in such a season of business: by the manner in 'Which
you have considered it, you have shown me that your very minutes
of amusement you try to turn to the advantage of your country.
It was this pleasing prospect of patronage to the arts that
tempted me to offer you my pebble towards the new structure. I
am flattered that you have taken notice' of the only ambition I
have: I should be more flattered if I could contribute to the
smallest of your lordship's designs for illustrating Britain.
The hint your lordship is so good as to give me for a work like
Montfaucon's Monuments de la Monarchie Francaise, has long been a
subject that I have wished to see executed, nor, in point of
materials, do I think it would be a very difficult one. The
chief impediment was the expense, too great for a private
fortune. The extravagant prices extorted by English artists is a
discouragement to all public undertakings. Drawings from
paintings, tombs, etc. would be very dear. To have them engraved
as they ought to be, would exceed the compass of a much ampler
fortune than mine; which though equal to my largest wish, cannot
measure itself with the rapacity of our performers.
But, my lord, if his Majesty was pleased to command such a work,
on so laudable an idea as your lordship's, nobody would be more
ready than myself to give his assistance. I own I think I could
be of use in it, in collecting or pointing out materials, and I
would readily take any trouble in aiding, supervising, or
directing such a plan. Pardon me, my lord, if I offer no more; I
mean, that I do not undertake the part of composition. I have
already trespassed too much upon the indulgence of the public; I
wish not to disgust them with hearing of me, and reading me. It
is time for me to have done; and when I shall have completed, as
I almost have, the History of the Arts on which I am now engaged,
I did not purpose to tempt again the patience of mankind. But
the case is very different with regard to my trouble. My whole
fortune is from the bounty of the crown, and from the public: it
would ill become me to spare any pains for the King's glory, or
for the honour and satisfaction of my country; and give me leave
to add, my lord, it would be an ungrateful return for the
distinction with which your lordship has condescended to honour
me if I withheld such trifling aid as mine, when it might in the
least tend to adorn your lordship's administration. From me, my
lord, permit me to say, these are not words of course or of
compliment, this is not the language of flattery; your lordship
knows I have no Views, perhaps knows that, insignificant as it
is, my praise is never detached from my esteem: and when you have
raised, as I trust you will, real monuments of glory, the most
contemptible characters in the inscription dedicated by your
country, may not be the testimony of, my lord, etc.(217)
(215) Now first collected.
(216) This letter is in reply to the following note, which
Walpole had, a few days before, received from the Earl of Bute:--
"Lord Bute presents his compliments to Mr. Walpole, and returns
him a thousand thanks for the very agreeable present he has made
him. In looking over it, Lord Bute observes Mr. Walpole has
mixed several curious remarks on the customs, etc. of the times
he treats of; a thing much wanted, and that has never yet been
executed, except in parts, by Peck, etc. Such a general work
would be not only very agreeable, but instructive: the French
have attempted it; the Russians are about it; and Lord Bute has
been informed Mr. Walpole is well furnished with materials for
such a noble work."-E.
(217) The following passage, in a letter from Gray to Walpole, of
the 28th of February, has reference to that work projected by
Lord Bute:--"I rejoice in the good disposition of our court, and
in the propriety of their application to you: the work is a thing
so much to be wished; has so near a connexion with the turn of
your studies and of your curiosity, and might find such ample
materials among your hoards and in your head, that it will be a
sin if you let it drop and come to nothing, or worse than
nothing, for want of your assistance. The historical part should
be in the manner of Herault, a mere abridgment; a series of facts
selected with judgment, that may serve as a clue to lead the mind
along in the midst of those ruins and scattered monuments of art
that time has spared. This would be sufficient, and better than
Montfaucon's more diffuse narrative." Works, vol. iii. p. 293.
Before Walpole had received Gray's letter, he had already adopted
the proposed method; a large memorandum book of his being extant,
with this title page, Collections for a History of the Manners,
Customs, Habits, Fashions, Ceremonies, etc. of England; begun
February 21, 1762, by Horace Walpole." For a specimen of it, see
his Works, vol. v. p. 400.-E.
Letter 115 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Feb. 22, 1762. (PAGE 173)
My scolding does you so much good. that I will for the future
lecture you for the most trifling peccadillo. You have written
me a very entertaining letter, and wiped out several debts; not
that I will forget one of them if you relapse.
As we have never had a rainbow to assure us that the world shall
not be snowed to death, I thought last night was the general
connixation. We had a tempest of wind and snow for two hours
beyond any thing I remember: chairs were blown to pieces, the
streets covered with tassels and glasses and tiles, and coaches
and chariots were filled like reservoirs. Lady Raymond's house
in Berkeley-square is totally unroofed; and Lord Robert Bertie,
who is going to marry her, may descend into it like a Jupiter
Pluvius. It is a week of wonders, and worthy the note of an
almanack-maker. Miss Draycott, within two days of matrimony, has
dismissed Mr. Beauclerc; but this is totally forgotten already in
the amazement of a new elopement. In all your reading, true or
false, have you ever heard of a young Earl, married to the most
beautiful woman in the world, a lord of the bedchamber, a general
officer, and with a great estate, quitting every thing, resigning
wife and world, and embarking for life in a pacquetboat with a
Miss? I fear your connexions will but too readily lead you to
the name of the peer; it is Henry Earl of Pembroke,(218) the
nymph Kitty Hunter. The town and Lady Pembroke were but too much
witnesses to this intrigue, last Wednesday, at a great ball at
Lord Middleton's. On Thursday they decamped. However, that the
writer of their romance, or I, as he is a noble author, might not
want materials, the Earl has left a bushel of letters behind him;
to his mother, to Lord Bute, to Lord Ligonier, (the two last to
resign his employments,) and to Mr. Stopford, whom he acquits of
all privity to his design. In none he justifies himself, unless
this is a justification, that having long tried in vain to make
his wife hate and dislike him, he had no way left but this, and
it is to be hoped will succeed; and then it may not be the worst
event that could have happened to her. You may easily conceive
the hubbub such an exploit must occasion. With ghosts,
elopements, abortive motions, etc., we can amuse ourselves
tolerably well, till the season arrives for taking the field and
conquering the Spanish West Indies.
I have sent YOU my books by a messenger; Lord Barrington was so
good as to charge himself with them. They barely saved their
distance; a week later, and no soul could have read a line in
them, unless I had changed the title-page, and called them the
loves of the Earl of Pembroke and Miss Hunter.
I am sorry Lady Kingsland is so rich. However, if the Papists
should be likely to rise, pray disarm her of the enamel, and
commit it to safe custody in the round tower at Strawberry. Good
night! mine is a life of letter-writing; I pray for a peace that
I may sheath my Pen.
(218) Henry Herbert, tenth Earl of Pembroke, married, 13th March
1756, Lady Elizabeth Spencer, second daughter of Charles, third
Duke of Marlborough, by whom he had a son, George, eleventh Earl,
born 19th September 1759: and some years afterwards, when he ran
away with her, which he actually did, after they had lived for
some time separated, a daughter, born in 1773, who died in 1784,
Letter 116 To Dr. Ducarel.(219)
Feb. 24, 1762. (PAGE 174)
Sir, I am glad my books have at all amused you, and am much
obliged to you for your notes and communications. Your thought
of an English Montfaucon accords perfectly with a design I have
long had of attempting something of that kind, in which too I
have been lately encouraged; and therefore I will beg you at your
leisure, as they shall occur, to make me little notes of customs,
fashions, and portraits, relating to our history and manners.
Your work on vicarages, I am persuaded, will be very useful, as
every thing you undertake is, and curious.--After the medals I
lent Mr. Perry, I have a little reason to take it ill, that he
has entirely neglected me; he has published a number, and sent it
to several persons,-and never to me.(220) I wanted to see him
too, because I know of two very curious medals, which I could
borrow for him. He does not deserve it at my hands, but I will
not defraud the public of any thing valuable; and therefore, if
he will call on me any morning, but a Sunday or Monday, between
eleven and twelve, I will speak to him of them.--With regard to
one or two of your remarks, I have not said that real lions were
originally leopards. I have said that lions in arms, that is,
painted lions, were leopards; and it is fact, and no inaccuracy.
Paint a leopard yellow, and it becomes a lion.--YOU say, colours
rightly prepared do not grow black. The art would be much
obliged for such a preparation. I have not said that oil-colours
would not endure with a glass; on the contrary, I believe they
would last the longer.
I am much amazed at Vertue's blunder about my marriage of Henry
VII.; and afterwards, he said, "Sykes, knowing how to give names
to pictures to make them sell," called this the marriage of Henry
VII.; and afterwards, he said, Sykes had the figures in an old
picture of a church. He must have known little Indeed, Sir, if
he had not known how to name a picture that he had painted on
purpose that he might call it so! That Vertue, on the strictest
examination, could not be convinced that the man was Henry VII.,
not being like any of his pictures. Unluckily, he is extremely
like the shilling, which is much more authentic than any picture
of Henry VII. But here Sykes seems to have been extremely
deficient in his tricks. Did he order the figure to be painted
like Henry VII., and yet could not get it painted like him, which
was the easiest part of the task? Yet how came he to get the
Queen painted like, whose representations are much scarcer than
those of her husband? and how came Sykes to have pomegranates
painted on her robe, only to puzzle the cause! It is not worth
adding, that I should much sooner believe the church was painted
to the figures, than the figures to the church. They are hard
and antique: the church in a better style, and at least more
fresh. If Vertue had made no better criticisms than these, I
would never have taken so much trouble with his MS. Adieu!
(219) Librarian at Lambeth Palace, and a well-known antiquary.
He died in 1785.
(220) A series of English Medals, by Francis Perry, 4to. with
Letter 117 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Feb. 25, 1762. (PAGE 175)
I sent you my gazette but two days ago; I now write to answer a
kind long letter I have received from you since.
I have heard of my brother's play several years ago; but I never
understood that it was completed, or more than a few detached
scenes. What is become of Mr. Bentley's play and Mr. Bentley's
When I go to Strawberry, I will look for where Lord Cutts was
buried; I think I can find it. I am disposed to prefer the
younger picture of Madame Grammont by Lely; but I stumbled at the