Part 6 out of 17
price; twelve guineas for a copy in enamel is very dear. Mrs.
Vezey tells me, his originals cost sixteen, and are not so good
as his copies. I will certainly have none of his originals.
His, what is his name'! I would fain resist his copy; I would
more fain excuse myself for having it. I say to myself, it Would
be rude not to have it, now Lady Kingsland and Mr. Montagu have
had so much trouble--well--"I think I must have it," as my Lady
Wishfort says, "Why does not the fellow take me?" Do try if he
will not take ten; remember it is the younger picture: and, oh!
now you are remembering, don't forget all my prints and a book
bound in vellum. There is-a thin folio too I want, called
"Hibernica;"(221) it is a collection of curious papers, one a
translation by Carew Earl of Totness: I had forgot that you have
no books in Ireland; however, I must have this, and your pardon
for all the trouble I give you.
No news yet of the runaways: but all that comes out antecedent to
the escape, is more and more extraordinary and absurd. The day
of the elopement he had invited his wife's family and other folk
to dinner with her, but said he must himself dine at a tavern;
but he dined privately in his own dressing-room, put on a
sailor's habit, and black wig, that he had brought home with him
in a bundle, and threatened the servants he would murder them if
they mentioned it to his wife. He left a letter for her, which
the Duke 'of Marlborough was afraid to deliver to her, and
opened. It desired that she would not write to him, as it would
make him completely mad. He desires the King would preserve his
rank of major-general, as some time or other he may serve again.
Here is an indifferent epigram made on the occasion: I send it to
you, though I wonder any body could think it a subject to joke
As Pembroke a horseman by most is accounted,
'Tis not strange that his lordship a Hunter has mounted.
Adieu! yours ever.
(221) Hibernica; or, some Ancient Pieces relating to Ireland,"
published at Dublin in 1757, by Walter Harris.-E.
Letter 118 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.
Strawberry Hill, March 5, 1762. (PAGE 176)
one of your slaves, a fine young officer, brought me two days ago
a very pretty medal from your ladyship. Amidst all your triumphs
you do not, I see, forget your English friends, and it makes me
extremely happy. He pleased me still more, by assuring me that
you return to England when the campaign opens. I can pay this
news by none so good as by telling you that we talk of nothing
but peace. We are equally ready to give law to the world, or
peace. MartiniCO has not made us intractable. We and the new
Czar are the best sort of people upon earth: I am sure, Madam,
you must adore him; he is ,,, to resign all his conquests, that
you and Mr. Conway may be settled again at Park-place. My Lord
Chesterfield, with the despondence of an old man and the wit of a
young one, thinks the French and Spaniards must make some attempt
upon these islands, and is frightened lest we should not be so
well prepared to repel invasions as to make them: he says, "What
will it avail us if we gain the whole world, and lose our own
I am here alone, Madam, and know nothing to tell you. I came
from town on Saturday for the worst cold I ever had in my life,
and, what I care less to own even to myself, a cough. I hope
Lord Chesterfield will not speak more truth in what I have
quoted, than in his assertion, that one need not cough if one did
not please. It has pulled me extremely, and you may believe I do
not look very plump, when I am more emaciated that usual.
However, I have taken James's powder for four nights, and have
found great benefit from it; and if Miss Conway does not come
back with soixante et douze quartiers, and the hauteur of a
landgravine, I think I shall still be able to run down the
precipices at Park-place with her-This is to be understood,
supposing that we have any summer. Yesterday was the first
moment that did not feel like Thule: not a glimpse of spring or
green, except a miserable almond tree, half opening one bud, like
my Lord PowersCOurt'S eye.
It will be warmer, I hope, by the King's birthday, or the old
ladies will catch their deaths. There is a court dress to be
instituted--(to thin the drawing-rooms)--stiff-bodied gowns and
bare shoulders. What dreadful discoveries will be made both on
fat and lean! I recommend to you the idea of Mrs. Cavendish,
when half-stark; and I might fill the rest of my paper with such
images, but your imagination will supply them; and you shall
excuse me, though I leave this a short letter: but I wrote merely
to thank your ladyship for the medal, and, as you perceive, have
very little to say, besides that known and lasting truth, how
much I am Mr. Conway's and your ladyship's faithful humble
Letter 119 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, March 9, 1762. (PAGE 177)
I am glad you have received my books safe, and are content with
them. I have little idea of Mr. Bentley's; though his
imagination is sufficiently Pindaric, nay obscure, his numbers
are not apt to be so tuneful as to excuse his flights. He should
always give his wit, both in verse and prose, to somebody else to
make up. If any of his things are printed at Dublin, let me have
them; I have no quarrel with his talents. Your cousin's
behaviour has been handsome, and so was his speech, which is
printed in our papers. Advice is arrived to-day, that our troops
have made good their landing at Martinico; I don't know any of
the incidents yet.
You ask me for an epitaph for Lord Cutts;(222) I scratched out
the following lines last night as I was going to bed; if they are
not good enough, pray don't take them: they were written in a
minute, and you are under no obligation to like them.
Late does the muse approach to Cutts's grave,
But ne'er the grateful muse forgets the brave;
He gave her subjects for the immortal lyre,
And sought in idle hours the tuneful choir;
Skilful to mount by either path to fame,
And dear to memory by a double name.
Yet if ill known amid the Aonian groves,
His shade a stranger and unnoticed roves,
The dauntless chief a nobler band may join:
They never die who conquer'd at the Boyne.
The last line intends to be popular in Ireland; but you must take
care to be certain that he was at the battle of the Boyne; I
conclude so; ind it should be specified the year, when you erect
the monument-The latter lines mean to own his having been but a
moderate poet, and to cover that mediocrity under his valour; all
which is true. Make the sculptor observe the steps.
I have not been at Strawberry above a month, nor ever was so long
absent - but the weather has been cruelly cold and disagreeable.
We have not had a single dry week since the beginning of
September; a great variety of weather, all bad. Adieu!
(222) John Lord Cutts, a soldier of most hardy bravery in King
William's wars. He died at Dublin in 1707. Swift's epigram on a
Salamander alluded to this lord, who was called by the Duke of
Marlborough the Salamander, on account of his always being in the
thickest of the fire. He published, in 1687, "Poetical
Exercises, written upon several Occasions."-E.
Letter 120 To The Rev. Henry Zouch.
Arlington Street, March 20, 1762. (PAGE 178)
I am glad you are pleased, Sir, with my "Anecdotes of Painting;"
but I doubt you praise me too much: it was an easy task when I
had the materials Collected. and I would not have the labours of
forty years, which was Vertue's case, depreciated in compliment
to the work of four months, which is almost my whole merit.
Style is become, in a manner, a mechanical affair,--and if to
much ancient lore our antiquaries would add a little modern
reading, to polish their language and correct their prejudices, I
do not see why books of antiquities should not be made as amusing
as writings on any other subject. If Tom Herne had lived in the
world, he might have writ an agreeable history of dancing; at
least, I am sure that many modern volumes are read for no reason
but for their being penned in the dialect of the age.
I am much beholden to you, dear Sir, for your remarks; they shall
have their due place whenever the work proceeds to a second
edition, for that the nature of it as a record will ensure to it.
A few of your notes demand a present answer: the Bishop of Imola
pronounced the nuptial benediction at the marriage of Henry VII.,
which made me suppose him the person represented.(223)
Burnet, who was more a judge of characters than statues, mentions
the resemblance between Tiberius and Charles II.; but, as far as
countenances went, there could not be a more ridiculous
prepossession; Charles had a long face, with very strong lines,
and a narrowish brow; Tiberius a very square face, and flat
forehead, with features rather delicate in proportion. I have
examined this imaginary likeness, and see no kind of foundation
for it. It is like Mr. Addison's travels, of which it was so
truly said, he might have composed them without stirring out of
England. There are a kind of naturalists who have sorted out the
qualities of the mind, and allotted particular turns of features
and complexions to them. It would be much easier to prove that
every form has been endowed with every vice. One has heard much
of the vigour of Burnet himself; yet I dare to say, he did not
think himself like to Charles II.
I am grieved, Sir, to hear that your eyes suffer; take care of
them; nothing can replace the satisfaction they afford: one
should hoard them, as the only friend that will not be tired of
one when one grows old, and when one should least choose to
depend on others for entertainment. I most sincerely wish you
happiness and health in that and every other instance.
(223) In the picture by Mabuse of the marriage of Henry VII.
Whatever was Mr. Zouch's correction (in which Mr. Walpole seems
to acquiesce), no alteration seem,- to have been made in the
passage about the Bishop of Imola. This curious picture is at
Strawberry Hill, and should be in the Royal Collection.-C.
Letter 121 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, March 22, 1762. (PAGE 179)
You may fancy what you -will, but the eyes of all the world are
not fixed upon Ireland. Because you have a little virtue, and a
lord-lieutenant(224) that refuses four thousand pounds a-year,
and a chaplain(225) of a lord-lieutenant that declines a huge
bishopric, and a secretary(226) whose eloquence can convince a
nation of blunderers, you imagine that nothing is talked of but
the castle of Dublin. In the first place, virtue may sound its
own praises, but it never is praised; and in the next place,
there are other feats besides self-denials; and for eloquence, we
overflow with it. Why, the single eloquence of Mr. Pitt, like an
annihilated star, can shine many months after it has set. I tell
you it has conquered Martinico.(227) If you will not believe me,
read the Gazette; read Moncton's letter; there is more martial
spirit in it than in half Thucydides, and in all the grand Cyrus.
Do you think Demosthenes or Themistocles ever raised the Grecian
stocks two per cent. in four-and-twenty hours? I shall burn all
my Greek and Latin books; they are histories of little people.
The Romans never conquered the world, till they had conquered
three parts of it, and were three hundred years about it; we
subdue the globe in three campaigns; and a globe, let me tell
you, as big again as It was in their days. Perhaps you may think
me proud; but you don't know that I had some share in the
reduction of Martinico; the express was brought to my godson, Mr.
Horatio Gates; and I have a very good precedent for attributing
some of the glory to myself - I have by me a love-letter, written
during my father's administration, by a journeyman tailor to my
brother's second chambermaid; his offers Honourable; he proposed
matrimony, and to better his terms, informed her of his
pretensions to a place; they were founded on what he called,
"some services to the government." As the nymph could not read,
she carried the epistle to the housekeeper to be deciphered, by
which means it came into my hands. I inquired what were the
merits of Mr. Vice Crispin, was informed that he had made the
suit of clothes for a figure of Lord Marr, that was burned after
the rebellion. I hope now you don't hold me too presumptuous for
pluming myself on the reduction of Martinico. However, I shall
not aspire to a post, nor to marry my Lady Bute's Abigail. I
only trust my services to you as a friend, and do not mean under
your temperate administration to get the list of Irish pensions
loaded with my name, though I am godfather to Mr. Horatio Gates.
The Duchess of Grafton and the English have been miraculously
preserved at Rome by being at loo, instead of going to a great
concert, where the palace fell in, and killed ten persons and
wounded several others. I shall send orders to have an altar
dedicated in the Capitol.
Pammio O. M.
Annam Ducisam de Grafton
I tell you of it now, because I don't know whether it will be
worth while to write another letter on purpose. Lord Albemarle
takes up the victorious grenadiers at Martinico, and in six weeks
will conquer the Havannah.- Adieu!
(224) The Irish House of Commons having voted an address to the
King to increase the salary of the lord-lieutenant, the Earl of
Halifax declined having any augmentation.
(225) Dr. Crane, chaplain to the Earl of Halifax, had refused the
bishopric of Elphin.
(226) Single-speech Hamilton.
(227) Sir Richard Lyttelton, in a letter to Mr. Pitt, written
from Rome on the 14th of April, says, " I cannot forbear
congratulating you on the glorious conquest of Martinico, which,
whatever effect it may have on England, astonishes all Europe,
and fills every mouth with praise and commendation of the noble
perseverance and superior ability of the planner of this great
and decisive undertaking. His Holiness told Mr. Weld, that, were
not the information such as left no possibility of its being
doubted, the news of our success could not have been credited;
and that so great was the national glory and reputation all over
the world, that he esteemed it the highest honour to be born an
Englishman. If this, sir, be the end of your administration, I
shall only say finis coronet opus." Chatham Correspondence, vol.
ii. p. 173-E.
Letter 122 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, April 29, 1762. (PAGE 180)
I am most absurdly glad to hear you are returned well and safe,
of which I have at this moment received your account from
Hankelow, where you talk of staying a week. However, not knowing
the exact day of your departure, I direct this to Greatworth,
that it may rather wait for you, than you for it, if it should go
into Cheshire and not find you there. As I should ever be sorry
to give you any pain, I hope I shall not be the first to tell you
of the loss of poor Lady Charlotte Johnstone,(228) who, after a
violent fever of less than a week, was brought to bed yesterday
morning of a dead child, and died herself at four in the
afternoon. I heartily condole with you, as I know your
tenderness for all your family, and the regard you have for
Colonel Johnstone. The time is wonderfully sickly; nothing but
sore throats, colds, and fevers. I got rid of one of the worst
of these disorders, attended with a violent cough, by only taking
seven grains of James's powder for six nights. It was the first
cough I ever had, and when coughs meet with so spare a body as
mine, they are not apt to be so easily conquered. Take great
care of yourself, and bring the fruits of your expedition in
perfection to Strawberry. I shall be happy to see you there
whenever you please. I have no immediate purpose of settling
there yet, as they are laying floors, which is very noisy, and as
it is uncertain when the Parliament will rise, but I would go
there at any time to meet you. The town will empty instantly
after the King's birthday; and consequently I shall then be less
broken in upon, which I know you do not like. If, therefore, it
suits you, any time you will name after the 5th of June will be
equally agreeable; but sooner if you like it better.
We have little news at present, except a profusion of new
peerages, but are likely I think to have much greater shortly.
The ministers disagree, and quarrel with as much alacrity as
ever; and the world expects a total rupture between Lord Bute and
the late King's servants. This comedy has been so often
represented, it scarce interests one, especially one who takes no
part, and who is determined to have nothing to do with the world,
but hearing and seeing the scenes it furnishes.
The new peers, I don't know their rank, scarce their titles, are
Lord Wentworth and Sir William Courtenay, Viscounts; Lord Egmont,
Lord Milton, Vernon of Sudbury, old Foxiane, Sir Edward Montagu,
Barons; and Lady Caroline Fox, a Baroness; the Duke of Newcastle
is created Lord Pelham, with an entail to Tommy Pelham; and Lord
Brudenel is called to the House of lords, as Lord Montagu. The
Duchess of Manchester was to have had the peerage alone, and
wanted the latter title: her sister, very impertinently, I think,
as being the younger, objected and wished her husband Marquis of
Monthermer. This difference has been adjusted, by making Sir
Edward Montagu Lord Beaulieu, and giving the title of the family
to Lord Brudenel. With pardon of your Cu-blood, I hold, that
Lord Cardigan makes a very trumpery figure by so meanly
relinquishing all Brudenelhood. Adieu! let me know soon when you
will keep your Strawberry tide.
P. S. Lord Anson is in a very bad way;(229) and Mr. Fox, I think,
in not a much better.
(228) Sister of the Earl of Halifax.
(229) His lordship, who was at this time first lord of the
admiralty, died on the 6th of June.-E.
Letter 123 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, May 14, 1762. (page 181)
It is very hard, when you can plunge over head and ears in Irish
claret, and not have even your heel vulnerable by the gout, that
such a Pythagorean as I am should yet be subject to it! It is
not two years since I had it last, and here am I with My foot
again upon cushions. But I will not complain; the pain is
trifling, and does little more than prevent my frisking about.
If I can bear the motion of the chariot, I shall drive to
Strawberry tomorrow, for I had rather only look at verdure and
hear my nightingales from the bow-window, than receive visits and
listen to news. I can give you no certain satisfaction relative
to the viceroy, your cousin. It is universally said that he has
no mind to return to his dominions, and pretty much believed that
he will succeed to Lord Egremont's seals, who will not detain
them long from whoever is to be his successor.
I am sorry you have lost another Montagu, the Duke of
Manchester.(230) Your cousin Guilford is among the competitors
for chamberlain to the Queen. The Duke of Chandos, Lord
Northumberland, and even the Duke of Kingston, are named as other
candidates; but surely they will not turn the latter loose into
another chamber of maids of honour! Lord Cantelupe has asked to
rise from vice-chamberlain, but met with little encouragement.
It is odd, that there are now seventeen English and Scotch dukes
unmarried, and but seven out of twenty-seven have the garter.
It is comfortable to me to have a prospect of seeing Mr. Conway
soon; the ruling part of the administration are disposed to
recall our troops front Germany. In the mean time our officers
and their wives are embarked for Portugal-what must Europe think
of us when we make wars and assemblies all over the world?
I have been for a few days this week at Lord Thomond's; by making
a river-like piece of water, he has converted a very ugly spot
into a tolerable one. As I was so near, I went to see Audley
Inn(231) once more; but it is only the monument now of its former
grandeur. The gallery is pulled down, and nothing remains but
the great hall, and an apartment like a tower at each end. In
the church I found, still existing and quite fresh, the
escutcheon of the famous Countess of Essex and Somerset.
Adieu! I shall expect you with great pleasure the beginning of
(230) Robert Montagu, third Duke of Manchester, lord-chamberlain
to the Queen, died on the 10th of May.-E.
(231) In Essex; formerly the largest palace in England. It was
built out of the ruins of a dissolved monastery, near Saffron
Walden, by Thomas, second son of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, who
married the only daughter and heir of Lord Audley, chancellor to
King Henry VIII. This Thomas was summoned to parliament in Queen
Elizabeth's time as Lord Audley of Walden, and was afterwards
created Earl of Suffolk by James I., to whom he was lord
chancellor and lord high treasurer. It was intended for a royal
palace for that King, who, when it was finished, was invited to
see it, and lodged there one night on his way to Newmarket; when,
after having viewed it with astonishment, he was asked how he
approved of it, he answered, "Very well; but troth, man, it is
too much for a king, but it may do for a lord high treasurer;"
and so left it upon the Earl's hands. It was afterwards
purchased by Charles II.; but, as he had never been able to pay
the purchase-money, it was restored to the family by William
Letter 124 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
strawberry Hill, May 20, 1762. (page 183)
You have sent me the most kind and obliging letter in the world,
and I cannot sufficiently thank you for it; but I shall be very
glad to have an opportunity of acknowledging it in person, by
accepting the agreeable visit you are so good as to offer me, and
for which I have long been impatient.
I should name the earliest day possible; but besides having some
visits to make, I think it will bi more pleasant to you a few
weeks hence (I mean, any time in July,) when the works, with
which I am finishing my house, will be more advanced, and the
noisy part, as laying floors and fixing wainscots, at an end, and
which now make me a deplorable litter. As you give me leave, I
will send You notice.
I am glad my books amused you;(232) yet you, who are so much
deeper an antiquarian, must have found more faults and emissions,
I fear, than your politeness suffers you to reprehend; yet you
will, I trust, be a little more severe. We both labour, I will
not say for the public (for the public troubles its head very
little about our labours),. but for the few of posterity that
shall be curious; and therefore, for their sake, you must assist
me in making my works as complete as possible. This sounds
ungrateful, after all the trouble you have given yourself; but I
say it to prove MY gratitude, and to show you how fond I am of
For the faults of impression, they were owing to the knavery of a
printer, who, when I had corrected the sheets, amused me with
revised proofs, and never printed off the whole number, and then
ran away. This accounts, too, for the difference of the ink in
various sheets, and for some other blemishes; though there are
still enough of my own, which I must not charge on others.
Ubaldini's book I have not, and shall be pleased to see it; but I
cannot think of robbing your collection, and am amply obliged by
the offer. The Anecdotes of Horatio Palavacini are extremely
In an Itinerary of the late Mr. Smart Lethiullier, I met the very
tomb of Gainsborough this winter that you mention; and, to be
secure, sent to Lincoln for an exact draught of it. But what
vexed me then, and does still, is, that by the defect at the end
of the inscription, one cannot be certain whether he lived in
CCC. or CCCC. as another C might have been there. Have you any
corroborating circumstance, Sir, to affix his existence to 1300
more than 1400? Besides, I don't know any proof of his having
been architect of the church: his epitaph only calls him
Caementarius, which, I suppose, means mason.
I have observed, since my book was published, what you mention of
the tapestry in Laud's trial; yet as the Journals were by
authority, and certainly cannot be mistaken, I have concluded
that Hollar engraved his print after the restoration. Mr. Wight,
clerk of the House of Lords, says, that Oliver placed them in the
House of Commons. I don't know on what grounds he says so. I
am, Sir, with great gratitude, etc.
(232) Anecdotes of Painting.
Letter 125 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, May 25, 1762. (page 184)
I am diverted with your anger at old Richard. Can you really
suppose that I think it any trouble to frank a few covers for
you? Had I been with you, I should have cured you and your whole
family in two nights with James's powder. If you have any
remains of the disorder, let me beg you to take seven or eight
grains when you go to bed: if you have none, shall I send you
some? For my own part, I am released -again, though I have been
tolerably bad, and one day had the gout for several hours in my
head. I do not like such speedy returns. I have been so much
confined that I could not wait on Mrs. Osborn, and I do not take
it unkindly that she will not let me have the prints without
fetching them. I met her, that is, passed her, t'other day as
she was going to Bushy, and was sorry to see her look much older.
Well! tomorrow is fixed for that phenomenon, the Duke of
Newcastle's resignation.(233) He has had a parting lev`ee; and
as I suppose all bishops are prophets, they foresee that he will
never come into place again, for there was but one that had the
decency to take leave of him after crowding his rooms for forty
years together; it was Cornwallis. I hear not even Lord Lincoln
resigns. Lord Bute succeeds to the treasury, and is to have the
garter too On Thursday with Prince William. Of your cousin I hear
no more mention, but that he returns to his island. I cannot
tell you exactly even the few changes that are to be made, but I
can divert you with a bon-mot, which they give to my Lord
Chesterfield. The new peerages being mentioned, somebody said,
"I suppose there will be no duke made," he replied, "Oh yes,
there is to be one."--"Is? who?"--"Lord Talbot: he is to be
created Duke Humphrey, and there is to be no table kept at court
but his." If you don't like this, what do you think of George
Selwyn, who asked Charles Boone if it is true that he is going to
be married to the fat rich Crawley? Boone denied it. "Lord!"
said Selwyn, "I thought you were to be Patrick Fleming on the
mountain, and that gold and silver you were counting!" * * * *
P.S. I cannot help telling you how comfortable the new
disposition of the court is to me-, the King and Queen are
settled for good and all at Buckingham-house, and are stripping
the other palaces to furnish it. In short, they have already
fetched pictures from Hampton Court, which indicates their never
living there; consequently Strawberry Hill will remain in
possession of its own tranquillity, and not become a cheesecake
house to the palace. All I ask of Princes is, not to live within
five miles of me.
(233) The Duke of Newcastle, finding himself, on the subject of a
pecuniary aid to the King of Prussia, only supported in the
council by the Duke of Devonshire and Lord Hardwicke, resigned on
the 26th of May, and Lord Bute became prime minister.-E.
Letter 126 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Wednesday night, June 1. (page 185)
Since you left Strawberry, the town (not the King of Prussia) has
beaten Count Daun, and made the peace, but the benefits of either
have not been felt beyond Change Alley. Lord Melcomb is
dying(234) of a dropsy in his stomach,' and Lady Mary Wortley of
a cancer in her breast.(235)
Mr. Hamilton was here last night, and complained of your not
visiting him. He pumped me to know if Lord Hertford has not
thoughts of the crown of Ireland, and was more than persuaded
that I should go with him: I told him what was true, that I knew
nothing of the former; and for the latter, that I would as soon
return with the King of the Cherokees.(236) When England has
nothing that can tempt me, it would be strange if Ireland had.
The Cherokee Majesty dined here yesterday at Lord Macclesfield's,
where the Clive sang to them and the mob; don't imagine I was
there, but I heard so at my Lady Suffolk's.
We have tapped a little butt of rain to-night, but my lawn is far
from being drunk yet. Did not you find the Vine in great beauty?
My compliments to it, and to your society. I only write to
enclose the enclosed. I have consigned your button to old
(234) Lord Melcombe died on the 28th of July: upon which event
the title became extinct.-E.
(235) Lady Mary Wortley Montagu died on the 21st August, in the
seventy-third year of her age.-E.
(236) Three Cherokee Indian chiefs arrived this month in London,
from South Carolina, and became the lions of the day.-E.
Letter 127 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, June 8, 1762. (page 185)
Well, you have had Mr. Chute. I did not dare to announce him to
you, for he insisted on enjoying all your ejaculations. He gives
me a good account of your health and spirits, but does not say
when you come hither. I hope the General, as well as your
brother John, know how welcome they would be, if they would
accompany you. I trust it will be before the end of this month,
for the very beginning of July I am to make a little visit to
Lord Ilchester, in Somersetshire, and I should not like not to
see you before the middle or end of next month.
Mrs. Osborn has sent me the prints; they are woful; but that is
my fault and the engraver's, not yours, to whom I am equally
obliged; you don't tell me whether Mr. Bentley's play was acted
or not, printed or not.
There is another of the Queen's brothers come over. Lady
Northumberland made a pompous festino for him t'other night; not
only the whole house, but the garden, was illuminated, and was
quite a fairy scene. Arches and pyramids of lights alternately
surrounded the enclosure; a diamond necklace of lamps edged the
rails and descent, with a spiral obelisk of candles on each hand;
and dispersed over the lawn were little bands of kettle-drums,
clarionets, flutes, etc., and the lovely moon, who came without a
card. The birthday was far from being such a show; empty and
unfine as possible. In truth, popularity does not make great
promises to the new administration, and for fear it should
hereafter be taxed with changing sides, it lets Lord Bute be
abused every day, though he has not had time to do the least
wrong. His first levee was crowded. Bothmer, the Danish
minister, said, "La chaleur est excessive!" George Selwyn
replied, "Pour se mettre au froid, il faut aller chez Monsieur le
Duc de Newcastle!" There was another George not quite SO tender.
George Brudenel was passing by; somebody in the mob said, "What
is the matter here?" Brudenel answered, "Why, there is a
Scotchman got into the treasury, and they can't get him out."
The Archbishop, conscious of not having been at Newcastle's last
levee, and ashamed of appearing at Lord Bute's, first pretended
he had been going by in his way from Lambeth, and, Upon inquiry,
found it was Lord Bute's levee, and so had thought he might as
well go in-I am glad he thought he might as well tell it.
The mob call Buckingham-house, Holyrood-house; in short, every
thing promises to be like times I can remember. Lord Anson is
dead; poor Mrs. Osborn will not break her heart; I should think
Lord Melcomb will succeed to the admiralty. Adieu!
Letter 128 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, July 29, 1762. (page 186)
I fear you will have thought me neglectful of the visit you was
so good as to offer me for a day or two at this place; the truth
is, I have been in Somersetshire on a visit, which was protracted
much longer than I intended. I am now returned, and shall be
glad to see you as soon as you please, Sunday or Monday next, if
you like either, or any other day you will name. I cannot defer
the pleasure of seeing you any longer, though to my mortification
you will find Strawberry Hill with its worst looks-not a blade of
grass! My workmen too have disappointed me; they have been in the
association for forcing their masters to raise their wages, and
but two are yet returned--so you must excuse litter and shavings.
Letter 129 To The Countess Of Ailesbury.
Strawberry Hill, July 31, 1762 (page 187)
Magnanimous as the fair soul of your ladyship is, and plaited
with superabundanCe of Spartan fortitude, I felicitate my own
good fortune who can circle this epistle with branches of the
gentle olive, as well as crown it with victorious laurel. This
pompous paragraph, Madam, which in compliment to my Lady
Lyttelton I have penned in the style of her lord, means no more,
them that I wish you joy of the castle of Waldeck,(237) and more
joy on the peace,
which I find every body thinks is concluded. In truth, I have
still my doubts; and yesterday came news, which, if my Lord Bute
does not make haste, may throw a little rub in the way. In
short, the Czar is dethroned. Some give the honour to his wife;
others, who add the little circumstance of his being murdered
too, ascribe the revolution to the Archbishop of Novogorod, who,
like other priests, thinks assassination a less affront to Heaven
than three Lutheran churches. I hope the latter is the truth;
because, in the honeymoonhood of Lady Cecilia's tenderness, I
don't know but she might miscarry at the thought of a wife
preferring a crown, and scandal says a regiment of grenadiers, to
I have a little meaning in naming Lady Lyttelton and Lady
Cecilia, who I think are at Park-place. Was not there a promise
that you all three would meet Mr. Churchill and Lady Mary here in
the beginning of August! Yes, indeed was there, and I put in my
claim. Not confining your heroic and musical ladyships to a day
or a week; my time is at your command: and I wish the rain was at
mine; for, if you or it do not come soon, I shall not have a leaf
left. Strawberry is browner than Lady Bell Finch.
I was grieved, Madam, to miss seeing you in town on Monday,
particularly as I wished to settle this party. If you will let
me know when it will be your pleasure, I will write to my sister.
(237) At the taking of which Mr. Conway had assisted.
Letter 130 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Strawberry Hill, August 5, 1762. (page 187)
My dear lord,
As you have correspondents of better authority in town, I don't
pretend to send you great events, and I know no small ones.
Nobody talks of any thing under a revolution. That in Russia
alarms me,.lest Lady Mary should fall in love with the Czarina,
who has deposed her Lord Coke, and set out for Petersburgh. We
throw away a whole summer in writing Britons and North Britons;
the Russians change sovereigns faster than Mr. Wilkes can choose
a motto for a paper. What years were spent here in controversy
on the abdication of King James, and the legitimacy of the
Pretender! Commend me to the Czarina. They doubted, that is,
her husband did, whether her children were of genuine
blood-royal. She appealed to the Preobazinski guards, excellent
casuists; and, to prove Duke Paul heir to the crown, assumed it
herself. The proof was compendious and unanswerable.
I trust you know that Mr. Conway has made a figure by taking the
castle of Waldeck. There has been another action to Prince
Ferdinand's advantage, but no English were engaged.
You tantalize me by talking of the verdure of Yorkshire; we have
not had a teacupfull of rain till to-day for these six weeks.
Corn has been reaped that never wet its lips; not a blade of
grass; the leaves yellow and falling as in the end of October.
In short, Twickenham is rueful; I don't believe Westphalia looks
more barren. Nay, we are forced to fortify ourselves too.
Hanworth was broken open last night, though the family was all
there. Lord Vere lost a silver standish, an old watch, and his
writing-box with fifty pounds in it. They broke it open in the
park, but missed a diamond ring which was found, and the
telescope, which by the weight of the case they had fancied full
of money. Another house in the middle of Sunbury has had the
same fate. I am mounting cannon on my
Your chateau, I hope, proceeds faster than mine. The carpenters
are all associated for increase of wages; I have had but two men
at work these five weeks. You know, to be sure, that Lady Mary
Wortley cannot live. Adieu, my dear Lord!
Letter 131 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, August 5, 1762. (page 188)
As I had been dilatory in accepting your kind offer of coming
hither, I proposed it as soon as I returned. As we are so burnt,
and as my workmen have disappointed me, I am not quite sorry that
I had not the pleasure of seeing you this week. Next week I am
obliged to be in town on business. If you please, therefore, we
will postpone our meeting till the first of September; by which
time, I flatter myself we shall be green, and I shall be able to
show you my additional apartment to more advantage. Unless you
forbid me, I shall expect you, Sir, the very beginning of next
month. In the mean time, I will only thank you for the obliging
and curious notes you have sent me, which will make a great
figure in my second edition.
Letter 132 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, August 10, 1762. (page 189)
I have received your letter from Greatworth since your return,
but I do not find that you have got one, which I sent you to the
Vine, enclosing one directed for you: Mr. Chute says you did
mention hearing from me there. I left your button too in town
with old Richard to be transmitted to you. Our drought
continues, though we have had one handsome storm. I have been
reading the story of Phaeton in the Metamorphoses; it is a
picture of Twickenham. Ardet
Athos, taurusque Cilix, etc.; Mount Richmond burns, parched is
Petersham: Parnassusque biceps, dry is Pope's grot, the nymphs of
Clievden are burning to blackmoors, their faces are already as
glowing as a cinder, Cycnus is changed into a swan: quodque suo
Tagus amne vehit, fluit ignibus aurum; my gold fishes are almost
molten. Yet this conflagration is nothing to that in Russia;
what do you say to a czarina mounting her horse, and marching at
the head of fourteen thousand men, with a large train of
artillery, to dethrone her husband? Yet she is not the only
virago in that country; the conspiracy was conducted by the
sister of the Czar's mistress, a heroine under twenty! They have
no fewer than two czars now in coops-that is, supposing these
gentle damsels have murdered neither of them. Turkey Will become
a moderate government; one must travel to frozen climates if one
chooses to see revolutions in perfection. Here's room for
meditation even to madness:" the deposed Emperor possessed
Muscovy, was heir to Sweden, and the true heir of Denmark; all
the northern crowns centered in his person; one hopes he is in a
dungeon, that is, one hopes he is not assassinated. You cannot
crowd more matter into a lecture of morality, than is
comprehended in those few words. This is the fourth czarina that
you and I have seen: to be sure, as historians, we have not
passed our time ill. Mrs. Anne Pitt, who, I suspect, envies the
heroine of twenty a little, says, "The Czarina has only robbed
Peter to pay Paul;" and I do not believe that her brother, Mr.
William Pitt, feels very happy, that he cannot immediately
despatch a squadron to the Baltic to reinstate the friend of' the
King of Prussia. I cannot afford to live less than fifty years
more; for so long, I suppose, at least, it will be before the
court of Petersburgh will cease to produce amusing scenes. Think
of old Count Biren, former master of that empire, returning to
Siberia, and bowing to Bestucheff, whom he may meet on the road
from thence. I interest myself now about nothing but Russia;
Lord Bute must be sent to the Orcades before I shall ask a
question in English politics; at least I shall expect that Mr.
Pitt, at the head of the Preobazinski guards, will seize the
person of the prime minister for giving up our conquests to the
chief enemy of this nation.
My pen is in such a sublime humour, that it can scarce condescend
to tell you that Sir Edward Deering is going to marry Polly Hart,
Danvers's old mistress; and three more baronets, whose names
nobody knows, but Collins, are treading in the same steps.
My compliments to the House of' Montagu-upon my word I
congratulate the General and you, and your viceroy, that you
escaped being deposed by the primate of Novogorod.
Letter 133 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, August 19, 1762. (page 190)
I am very sensible of the obligations I have to you and Mr.
Masters, and ought to make separate acknowledgments to both; but,
not knowing how to direct to him, I must hope that you will
kindly be once more the channel of our correspondence; and that
you will be so good as to convey to him an answer to what you
communicated from him to me, and in particular my thanks for the
most obliging offer he has made me of a picture of Henry VII.; of
which I will by no means rob him. My view in publishing the
Anecdotes was, to assist gentlemen in discovering the hands of
pictures they possess: and I am sufficiently rewarded when that
purpose is answered. If there is another edition, the mistake in
the calculation of the tapestry shall be rectified, and any
others, which any gentleman will be so good as to point out.
With regard to the monument of Sir Nathaniel Bacon, Vertue
certainly describes it as at Culford; and in looking Into the
place to which I am referred, in Mr. Master's History of Corpus
Christi College, I think he himself allows in the note, that
there is such a monument at Culford. Of Sir Balthazar Gerber
there are several different prints. Nich. Lanicre purchasing
pictures at the King's sale, is undoubtedly a mistake for one of
his brothers--I cannot tell now whether Vertue's mistake or my
own. At Longleafe is a whole-length of Frances Duchess of
Richmond, exactly such as Mr. Masters describes, but in
oil. I have another whole-length of the same duchess, I believe
by Mytins, but younger than that at Longleafe. But the best
picture of her is in Wilson's life of King James, and very
diverting indeed. I Will not trouble you, Sir, or Mr. Masters,
with any more at present; but, repeating my thanks to both, will
assure you that I am, etc.
Letter 134 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 9, 1762. (page 191)
Nondurn laurus erat, longoque decentia crine
Tempera cingebat de qualibet arbore Phoebus.(238)
This is a hint to you, that Phoebus, who was certainly your
superior, could take up with a chestnut garland, or any crown he
found, you must have the humility to be content without laurels,
when none are to be had: you have hurried far and near for them,
and taken true pains to the last in that old nursery-garden
Germany, and by the way have made me shudder with your last
journal: but you must be easy with qu`alibet other arbore; you
must come home to your own plantations. The Duke of Bedford is
gone in a fury to make peace, for he cannot be even pacific with
temper; and by this time I suppose the Duke de Nivernois is
unpacking his portion of olive dans la rue de Suffolk-street. I
say, I suppose- -for I do not, like my friends at Arthur's, whip
into my postchaise to see every novelty. My two sovereigns, the
Duchess of Grafton and Lady Mary Coke, are arrived, and yet I
have seen neither Polly nor Lucy. The former, I hear, is
entirely French; the latter as absolutely English.
Well! but if you insist on not doffing your cuirass, you may find
an opportunity of wearing it. The storm thickens. The city of
London are ready to hoist their standard; treason is the bon-ton
at that end of the town; seditious papers pasted up at every
corner: nay, my neighbourhood is not unfashionable; we have had
them at Brentford and Kingston. The Peace is the cry; but to
make weight, they throw in all the abusive ingredients they can
collect. They talk of your friend the Duke of Devonshire's
resigning; and, for the Duke of Newcastle, it puts him so much in
mind of the end of Queen Anne's time, that I believe he hopes to
be minister again for another forty years.
In the mean time. there are but dark news from the Havannah; the
Gazette, who would not fib for the world, says, we have lost but
four officers; the World, who is not quite so scrupulous, says,
our loss is heavy. But whit shocking notice to those who have
Harry Conways there! The Gazette breaks off with saying, that
they were to storm the next day! Upon the whole, it is regarded
as a preparative to worse news.
Our next monarch was christened last night, George Augustus
Frederick; the Princess, the Duke of Cumberland, and the Duke of
Mecklenburgh, sponsors,; the ceremony performed by the Bishop of
London. The Queen's bed, magnificent, and they say in taste, was
placed in the great drawing-room: though she is not to see
company in form, yet it looks as if they had intended people
should have been there, as all who presented themselves were
admitted, which were very few, for it had not been notified; I
suppose to prevent too great a crowd: all I have heard named,
besides those in waiting, were the Duchess of Queensbury, Lady
Dalkeith, Mrs. Grenville, and about four more ladies.
My Lady Ailesbury is abominable: she settled a party to come
hither, and Put it off a month; and now she has been here and
seen my cabinet, she ought to tell you what good reason I had not
to stir. If she has not told you that it is the finest, the
prettiest, the newest and the oldest thing in the world, I will
not go to Park-place on the 20th, as I have promised. Oh! but
tremble you may for me, though you will not for yourself--all my
glories were on the point of vanishing last night in a flame!
The chimney of the new gallery, which chimney is full of
deal-boards, and which gallery is full of shavings was on fire at
eight o'clock. Harry had quarrelled with the other servants, and
would not sit in the
kitchen; and to keep up his anger, had lighted a vast fire in the
servants' hall, which is under the gallery. The chimney took
fire; and if Margaret had not smelt it with the first nose that
ever a servant had, a quarter of an hour had set us in a blaze.
I hope you are frightened out of your senses for me: if you are
not, I will never live in a panic for three or four years for you
I have had Lord March and the Rena(239) here for One night, which
does not raise my reputation in the neighbourhood, and may usher
me again for a Scotchman into the North Briton.(240) I have had
too a letter from a German that I never saw, who tells me, that,
hearing by chance how well I am with my Lord Bute, he desires me
to get him a place. The North Briton first recommended me for an
employment, and has now given me interest -.it the backstairs.
It is a notion, that whatever is said of one, has generally some
kind of foundation: surely I am a contradiction to this maxim!
yet, was I of consequence enough to be remembered, perhaps
posterity would believe that I was a flatterer! Good night! Yours
(238) "The laurel was not yet for triumphs born,
But every green, alike by Phoebus worn,
Did, with promiscuous grace, his flowing locks adorn." Garth.-E.
(239) A fashionable courtesan.
(240) The favourable opinion given by Mr. Walpole of the
abilities of the Scotch in the Royal and Noble Authors, first
drew upon him the notice of the North Briton. ("The Scotch are
the most accomplished nation in Europe; the nation to which, if
any one country is endowed with a superior partition of sense, I
should be inclined to give the preference in that particular."]
Letter 135 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 24, 1762. (page 192)
I was disappointed at not seeing you, as you had given me hopes,
but shall he glad to meet the General, as I think I shall, for I
go to town on Monday to restore the furniture of my house, which
has been painted; and to stop the gaps as well as I can, which I
have made by bringing away every thing hither; but as long as
there are auctions, and I have money or hoards, those wounds soon
I can tell you nothing of your dame Montagu and her arms; but I
dare to swear Mr. Chute can. I did not doubt but you would
approve Mr. Bateman's, since it has changed its religion; I
converted it from Chinese to Gothic. His cloister of founders,
which by the way is Mr. Bentley's, is delightful; I envy him his
old chairs, and the tomb of Bishop Caducanus; but I do not agree
with you in preferring the Duke's to Stowe. The first is in a
greater style, I grant, but one always perceives the mesalliance,
the blood of Bagshot-heath will never let it be green, If Stowe
had but half so many buildings as it has, there would be too
many; but that profusion that glut enriches, and makes it look
like a fine landscape of Albano; one figures oneself in Tempe or
Daphne. I never saw St. Leonard's-hill; would you spoke
seriously of buying it! one could stretch out the arm from one's
postchaise, and reach you when one would.
I am here all in ignorance and rain, and have seen nobody these
two days since I returned from Park-place. I do not know whether
the mob hissed my Lord Bute at his installation,(241) as they
intended, or whether my lord Talbot drubbed them for it. I know
nothing of the peace, nor of the Havannah; but I could tell you
much of old English engravers, whose lives occupy me at present.
On Sunday I am to dine with your prime minister Hamilton; for
though I do not seek the world, and am best pleased when quiet
here, I do not refuse its invitations, whet) it does not press
one to pass above a few hours with it. I have no quarrel to it,
when it comes not to me, nor asks me to lie from home. That
favour is only granted to the elect, to Greatworth, and a very
few more spots. Adieu!
(241) The ceremony of the installation of
Prince William and Lord Bute, as knights of the garter, took
place at Windsor on the 22d of September.-E.
Letter 136 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 28, 1762. (page 193)
To my sorrow and your wicked joy, it is a doubt whether Monsieur
de Nivernois will shut the temple of Janus. We do not believe
him quite so much in earnest as the dove(242) we have sent, who
has summoned his turtle to Paris. She sets out the day after
to-morrow, escorted, to add gravity to the embassy, by George
Selwyn. The stocks don't mind this journey of a rush, but draw
in their horns every day. We can learn nothing of the Havannah,
though the axis of which the whole treaty turns. We believe, for
we have never seen them, that the last letters thence brought
accounts of great loss, especially by the sickness. Colonel
Burgoyne(243) has given a little fillip to the Spaniards, and
shown them, that though they can take Portugal from the
Portuguese, it will not be entirely so easy to wrest it from the
English. Lord Pulteney,(244) and my nephew,(245) Lady
Waldegrave's brother, distinguished themselves. I hope your
hereditary Prince is recovering of the wounds in his loins; for
they say he is to marry Princess Augusta.
Lady Ailesbury has told you, to be sure, that I have been at Park
place. Every thing there is in beauty; and, I should think,
pleasanter than a campaign in Germany. Your Countess is
handsomer than Fame; your daughter improving every day; your
plantations more thriving than the poor woods about Marburg and
Cassel. Chinese pheasants swarm there. For Lady Cecilia
Johnston, I assure you, she sits close upon her egg, and it will
not be her fault if she does not hatch a hero. We missed all the
glories of the installation, and all the faults, and all the
frowning faces there. Not a knight was absent but the lame and
Your brother, Lady Hertford, and Lord Beauchamp, are gone from
Windsor into Suffolk. Henry,(246) who has the genuine
indifference of a Harry Conway, would not stir from Oxford for
those pageants. Lord Beauchamp showed me a couple of his
letters, which have more natural humour and cleverness than is
conceivable. They have the ease and drollery of a man of parts
who has lived long in the world--and he is scarce seventeen!
I am going to Lord Waldegrave's for a few days, and, when your
Countess returns from Goodwood, am to meet her at Churchill's.
Lord Strafford, who has been terribly alarmed about my lady,
mentions, with great pleasure, the letters he receives from you.
His neighbour and cousin, Lord Rockingham, I hear, is one of the
warmest declaimers at Arthur's against the present system. Abuse
continues in much plenty, but I have seen none that I thought had
wit enough to bear the sea. Good night. There are satiric
prints enough to tapestry Westminster-hall.
Stay a moment: I recollect telling you a lie in my last, which,
though of no consequence, I must correct. The right reverend
midwife, Thomas Secker, archbishop, did christen the babe, and
not the Bishop of London, as I had been told by matron authority.
Apropos to babes: have you read Rousseau on Education? I almost
got through a volume at Park-place, though impatiently; it has
mor(-tautology than any of his works, and less eloquence. Sure
he has writ more sense and more nonsense than ever any man did of
both! All I have yet learned from this work is, that one should
have a tutor for one's son to teach him to have no ideas, in
order that he may begin to learn his alphabet as he loses his
Thursday noon, 30th.
lo Havannah! Lo Albemarle! I had sealed my letter, and given it
to Harry for the post, when my Lady Suffolk sent me a short note
from Charles Townshend, to say the Havannah surrendered on the
12th of August, and that we have taken twelve ships of the line
in the harbour. The news came late last night. I do not know a
particular more. God grant no more blood be shed! I have hopes
again of the peace. My dearest Harry, now we have preserved you
to the last moment, do take care of yourself. When one has a
whole war to wade through, it is not worth while to be careful in
any one battle; but it is silly to fling one's self away in the
last. Your character is established; Prince Ferdinand's letters
are full of encomiums on you; but what will weigh more with you,
save yourself for another war, which I doubt you will live to
see, and in which you may be superior commander, and have space
to display your talents. A second in service is never
remembered, whether the honour of the victory be owing to him -.
or be killed. Turenne would have a very short paragraph, if the
Prince of Cond`e had been general when he fell. Adieu!
(242) The Duke of Bedford, then ambassador at Paris.
(243) Colonel, afterwards General Burgoyne, with the Compte de
Lippe, commanded the British troops sent to the relief of
(244) Only son of William Pulteney, Earl of Bath. He died before
(245) Edward, only son of sir Edward Walpole. He died in 1771.
(246) ,Henry Seymour Conway, second son of Francis, Earl and
afterwards Marquis of Hertford.
Letter 137 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 30, 1762. (page 195)
It gives me great satisfaction that Strawberry Hill pleased you
enough to make it a second visit. I could name the time
instantly, but you threaten me with coming so loaded with
presents, that it will look mercenary, not friendly, to accept
your visit. If your chaise is empty, to be sure I shall rejoice
to hear it at my gate about the 22d of this next month: if it is
crammed, though I have built a convent, I have not SO much of the
monk in me as not to blush-nor can content myself with praying to
our Lady of Strawberries to reward you.
I am greatly obliged to you for the accounts from Gothurst. What
treasures there are still in private seats, if one knew where to
hunt them! The emblematic picture of Lady Digby is like that at
Windsor, and the fine small one at Mr. Skinner's. I should be
curious to see the portrait of Sir Kenelm's father; was not he
the remarkable Everard Digby?(247) How singular too is the
picture of young Joseph and Madam Potiphar! His Mujora--one has
heard of Josephs that did not find the lady's purse any
hinderance to Majora.
You are exceedingly obliging, in offering to make an index to my
prints, Sir; but that would be a sad way of entertaining you. I
am antiquary and virtuoso enough myself not to dislike such
employment, but could never think it charming enough to trouble
any body else with. Whenever you do me the favour of coming
hither, you will find yourself entirely at liberty to choose your
own amusements--if you choose a bad one, and in truth there is
not very good, you must blame yourself, while you know I hope
that it would be my wish that you did not repent your favours to,
(247) Executed in 1605, as a conspirator in the Gunpowder
Letter 138 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 1, 1762. (page 196)
I hope you are as free from any complaint, as I am sure you are
full of joy. Nobody partakes more of your satisfaction for Mr.
Hervey's(248) safe return; and now he is safe, I trust you enjoy
his glory: for this is a wicked age; you are one of those
un-Lacedaemonian mothers, that are not content unless your
children come off with all their limbs. A Spartan countess would
not have had the confidence of my Lady Albemarle to appear in the
drawing-room without at least one of her sons being knocked on
the head.(249) However, pray, Madam, make my compliments to her;
one must conform to the times, and congratulate people for being
happy, if they like it. I know one matron, however, with whom I
may condole; who, I dare swear, is miserable that she has not one
of her acquaintance in affliction, and to whose door she might
drive with all her sympathizing greyhounds to inquire after her,
and then to Hawkins's, and then to Graham's, and then cry over a
ball of rags that she is picking, and be sorry for poor Mrs.
Such-a-one, who has lost an only son!
When your ladyship has hung up all your trophies, I will come and
make you a visit. There is another ingredient I hope not quite
disagreeable that Mr. Hervey has brought with him,
un-Lacedaemonian too, but admitted among the other vices of our
system. If besides glory and riches they have brought us peace,
I will make a bonfire myself, though it should be in the
mayoralty of that virtuous citizen Mr. Beckford. Adieu, Madam!
(248) General William Hervey, youngest son of Lady Hervey; who
had just returned from the Havannah.
(249) Lady Anne Lenox, Countess of Albemarle, had three sons
present at the taking of the Havannah. The eldest, Lord
Albemarle, commanded the land forces; the second, afterwards Lord
Keppel, was then captain of a man of war; and the third was
colonel of a regiment.
Letter 139 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Oct. 4, 1762. (page 196)
I am concerned to hear you have been so much out of order, but
should rejoice your sole command(250) disappointed you, if this
late cannonading business(251) did not destroy all my little
prospects. Can one believe the French negotiators are sincere,
when their marshals are so false? What vexes me more is to hear
you seriously tell your brother that you are always unlucky, and
lose all opportunities of fighting. How can you be such a child?
You cannot, like a German, love fighting for its own sake. No:
you think of the mob of London, who, if you had taken Peru, would
forget you the first lord mayor's day, or for the first hyena
that comes to town. How can one build on virtue and on fame too?
When do they ever go together? In my passion, I could almost wish
you were as worthless and as great as the King of Prussia! If
conscience is a punishment, is not it a reward too? Go to that
silent tribunal, and be satisfied with its sentence.
I have nothing new to tell you. The Havannah is more likely to
break off the peace than to advance it.(252) We are not in a
humour to give up the world; anza, are much more disposed to
conquer the rest of it. We shall have some commanding here, I
believe, if we sign the peace. Mr. Pitt, from the bosom of his
retreat, has made Beckford mayor. The Duke of Newcastle, if not
taken in again, will probably end his life as he began it-at the
head of a mob. Personalities and abuse, public and private,
increase to the most outrageous degree, and yet the town is at
the emptiest. You may guess what will be the case in a month. I
do not see at all into the storm: I do not mean that there will
not be a great majority to vote any thing; but there are times
when even majorities cannot do all they are ready to do. Lord
Bute has certainly great luck, which is something in politics,
whatever it is in logic: but whether peace or war, I would not
give him much for the place he will have this day twelvemonth.
Adieu! The watchman goes past one in the morning; and as I have
nothing better than reflections and conjectures to send YOU, I
may as well go to bed.
(250) During Lord Granby's absence from the army in Flanders, the
command in chief had devolved on Mr. Conway.
(251) The affair of Bucker-Muhl.
(252) On this subject, Sir Joseph Yorke, in a letter to Mr.
Michell of the 9th of October, Observes, "All the world is struck
with the noble capture of the Havannah, which fell into our hands
on the Prince of Wales's birthday, as a just punishment upon the
Spaniards for their unjust quarrel with us, and for the supposed
difficulties they have raised in the negotiation for peace. By
what I hear from Paris, my old acquaintance Grimaldi is the cause
of the delay in signing the preliminaries, insisting upon points
neither France nor England would ever consent to grant, such as
the liberty of fishing at Newfoundland; a point we should not
dare to yield, as Mr. Pitt told them, though they were masters of
the Tower of London. What effect the taking of the Havannah will
have is uncertain; for the Spaniards have nothing to give us in
Letter 140 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Oct 14, 1762. (page 197)
You will not make your fortune in the admiralty at least; your
King's cousin is to cross over and figure in with George
Grenville; the latter takes the admiralty, Lord Halifax the
seals--still, I believe, reserving Ireland for pocket-money; at
least no new viceroy is named. mr. Fox undertakes the House of
Commons--and the peace--and the war--for if we have the first, we
may be pretty sure of the second.(253)
you see Lord Bute totters; reduced to shift hands so often, it
does not look like much stability. The campaign at Westminster
will be warm. When Mr. Pitt can have such a mouthful as Lord
Bute, Mr. Fox, and the peace, I do not think three thousand
pounds a year will stop it. Well, I shall go into my old corner
under the window, and laugh I had rather sit by my fire here; but
if there are to be bull-feasts, one would go and see them, when
one has a convenient box for nothing, and is very indifferent
about the cavalier combatants. Adieu!
(253) In a letter to Mr. Pitt, of this day's date, Mr. Nuthall
gives the ex-minister the following account of these changes:-
-"Mr. Fox kissed hands yesterday, as one of the cabinet; Lord
Halifax, as secretary of state, and Mr. George Grenville, as
first lord of the admiralty. Mr. Fox's present state of health,
it was given out, would not permit him to take the seals.
Charles Townshend was early yesterday morning sent for by Lord
Bute, who opened to him this new system, and offered him the
secretaryship of the plantations and board of trade, which he not
only refused, but refused all connexion and intercourse whatever
with the new counsellor, and spoke out freely. He was afterwards
three times in with the King, to whom be was more explicit, and
said things that did not a little alarm." Chatham Correspondence,
vol. ii. p. 181.-E.
Letter 141 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 29, 1762. (page 198)
You take my philosophy very kindly, as it was meant; but I
suppose you smile a little in your sleeve to hear me turn
moralist. Yet why should not I? Must every absurd young man
prove a foolish old one? Not that I intend, when the latter term
is quite arrived, to profess preaching; nor should, I believe,
have talked so gravely to you, if your situation had not made me
grave. Till the campaign is ended, I shall be in no humour to
smile. For the war, when it will be over, I have no idea. The
peace is a jack o' lanthorn that dances before one's eyes, is
never approached, and at best seems ready to lead some follies
into a woful quagmire.
As your brother was in town, and I had my intelligence from him,
I concluded you would have the same, and therefore did not tell
you of this last resolution, which has brought Mr. Fox again upon
the scene. I have been in town but once since; yet learned
enough to confirm the opinion I had conceived, that the building
totters, and that this last buttress will but push on its fall.
Besides the clamorous opposition already encamped, the world
talks of another, composed of names not so often found in a
mutiny. What think you of the great Duke,(254) and the little
Duke,(255) and the old Duke,(256) and the Derbyshire Duke,(257)
banded together against the favourite?(258) If so, it proves the
Court, as the late Lord G * * * wrote to the mayor of Litchfield,
will have a majority in every thing but numbers. However, my
letter is a week old before I write it: things may have changed
since last Tuesday. Then the prospect was des plus gloomy.
Portugal at the eve of being conquered--Spain preferring a diadem
to the mural crown of the Havannah--a squadron taking horse for
Naples, to see whether King Carlos has any more private bowels
than public, whether he is a better father than brother. If what
I heard yesterday be true, that the Parliament is to be put off
till the 24th, it does not look as if they were ready in the
green-room, and despised catcalls.
You bid me send you the flower of brimstone, the best things
published in this season of outrage. I should not have waited
for orders, if I had met with the least tolerable morsel. But
this opposition ran stark mad at once, cursed, swore, called
names, and has not been one minute cool enough to have a grain of
wit. Their prints are gross, their papers scurrilous: indeed the
authors abuse one another more than any body else. I have not
seen a single ballad or epigram. They are as seriously dull as
if the controversy was religious. I do not take in a paper of
either side; and being very indifferent, the only way of being
impartial, they shall not make me pay till they make me laugh. I
am here quite' alone, and shall stay a fortnight longer, unless
the Parliament prorogued lengthens my holidays. I do not pretend
to be so indifferent, to have so little curiosity, as not to go
and see the Duke of Newcastle frightened for his country--the
only thing that never yet gave him a panic. Then I am still such
a schoolboy, that though I could guess half their orations, and
know all their meaning, I must go and hear Caesar and Pompey
scold in the Temple of Concord. As this age is to make such a
figure hereafter, how the Gronoviuses and Warburtons would
despise a senator that deserted the forum when the masters of the
world harangued! For, as this age is to be historic, so of
course it will be a standard of virtue too; and we, like our
wicked predecessors the Romans, shall be quoted, till our very
ghosts blush, as models of patriotism and magnanimity. What
lectures will be read to poor children on this era! Europe taught
to tremble, the great King humbled, the treasures of Peru
diverted into the Thames, Asia subdued by the gigantic Clive! for
in that age men were near seven feet high; France suing for peace
at the gates of Buckingham-house, the steady wisdom of the Duke
of Bedford drawing a circle round the Gallic monarch, and
forbidding him to pass it till he had signed the cession of
America; Pitt more eloquent than Demosthenes, and trampling on
proffered pensions like-I don't know who; Lord Temple sacrificing
a brother to the love of his country; Wilkes as spotless as
Sallust, and the Flamen Churchill(259) knocking down the foes of
Britain with statues of the gods!-Oh! I am out of breath with
eloquence and prophecy, and truth and lies; my narrow chest was
not formed to hold inspiration! I must return to piddling with
my painters: those lofty subjects are too much for me. Good
P. S. I forgot to tell -you that Gideon, who is dead worth more
than the whole land of canaan, has left the reversion of all his
milk and honey, after his son and daughter and their children, to
the Duke of Devonshire, without insisting on his taking the name,
or even being circumcised. Lord Albemarle is expected home in
December. My nephew Keppel(260) is Bishop of Exeter, not of the
Havannah, as you may imagine, for his mitre was promised the day
before the news came.
(254) Of Cumberland.
(255) Of Bedford.
(256) Of Newcastle.
(257) Of Devonshire.
(258) The Earl of Bute.
(259) Charles Churchill the poet.
(260) Frederick Keppel, youngest brother of George Earl of
Albemarle, who commanded at taking the Havannah, had married
Laura, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Walpole.
Letter 142 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 31, 1762. (page 200)
It is too late, I fear, to attempt acknowledging the honour
Madame de Chabot,(261) does me; and yet, if she is not gone, I
would fain not appear ungrateful. I do not know where she lives,
or I would not take the liberty again of making your ladyship my
penny-post. If she is gone, you will throw my note into the
Pray, Madam, blow your nose with a piece of flannel-not that I
believe it will do you the least good--but, as all wise folks
think it becomes them to recommend nursing and flannelling the
gout, imitate them; and I don't know any other way of lapping it
up, when it appears in the person of a running cold. I will make
it a visit on Tuesday next, and shall hope to find it tolerably
P. S. You must tell me all the news when I arrive, for I know
nothing of what is passing. I have only seen in the papers, that
the cock and hen doves(262) that went to Paris not having been
able to make peace, there is a third dove(263) just flown thither
to help them.
(261) Lady Mary Chabot, daughter of the Earl of Stafford.
(262) The Duke and Duchess of Bedford.
(263) Mr. Hans Stanley.
letter 143 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Thursday, Nov. 4, 1762. (page 200)
The events of these last eight days will make you stare. This
day se'nnight the Duke of Devonshire came to town, was flatly
refused an audience, and gave up his key. Yesterday Lord
Rockingham resigned, and your cousin Manchester was named to the
bedchamber. The King then in council called for the book, and
dashed out the Duke of Devonshire's name. If you like spirit, en
Voila! Do you know I am sorry for all this? You will not
suspect me of tenderness for his grace of Devonshire, nor,
recollecting how the whole house of Cavendish treated me on my
breach with my uncle, will any affronts, that happen to them,
call forth my tears. But I think the act too violent and too
serious, and dipped in a deeper dye than I like in politics.
Squabbles, and speeches, and virtue, and prostitution, amuse one
sometimes; less and less indeed every day; but measures, from
which you must advance and cannot retreat, is a game too deep;
one neither knows who may be involved, nor where may be the end.
It is not pleasant. Adieu!
Letter 144 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Nov. 13, 1762. (page 201)
You will easily guess that my delay in answering your obliging
letter, was solely owing to my not knowing whither to direct to
you. I waited till I thought you may be returned home. Thank
you for all the trouble you have given, and do give yourself for
me; it is vastly more than I deserve.
Duke Richard's portrait I willingly wave, at least for the
present, till one can find out who he is. I have more curiosity
about the figures of Henry VII. at Christ's College. I shall be
glad some time or other to visit them, to see how far either of
them agree with his portrait in my picture of his marriage. St.
Ethelreda was mighty welcome.
We have had variety of weather since I saw you, but I fear none
of the patterns made your journey more agreeable.
Letter 145 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Dec. 20, 1762. (page 201)
As I am far from having been better since I wrote to you last, my
postchaise points more and more to Naples. Yet Strawberry, like
a mistress, As oft as I descend the hill of health, Washes my
hold away. Your company would have made me decide much faster,
but I see I have little hopes of that, nor can I blame you; I
don't use so rough a word with regard to myself, but to your
pursuing your amusement, which I am sure the journey Would be. I
never doubted your kindness to me one moment; the affectionate
manner in which you offered, three weeks ago, to accompany me to
Bath, Will never be forgotten. I do not think my complaint very
serious: for how can it be so, when it has never confined me a
whole day? But my mornings are so bad, and I have had so much
more pain this last week, with restless nights, that I am
convinced it must not be trifled with. Yet I think Italy would
be the last thing I would try, if it were 'not to avoid politics:
yet I hear nothing else. The court and opposition both grow more
violent every day from the same cause; the victory of the former.
Both sides torment me with their affairs, though it is so plain I
do not care a straw about either. I wish I -were great enough to
say, as a French officer on the stage at Paris said to the pit,
"Accordez vous, canaille!" Yet to a man without ambition or
interestedness, politicians are canaille. Nothing appears to me
more ridiculous in my life than my having ever loved their
squabbles, and that at an age when I loved better things too! My
poor neutrality, which thing I signed with all the world,
subjects me, like other insignificant monarchs on parallel
occasions, to affronts. On Thursday I was summoned to Princess
Emily's loo. Loo she called it, politics it was. The second
thing she said to me was, "How were you the two long days?"
"Madam, I was only there the first." "And how did you vote!"
"Madam, I went away." "Upon my word, that was carving well."
Not a very pleasant apostrophe to one who certainly never was a
time-server! Well, we sat down. She said, "I hear Wilkinson is
turned out, and that Sir Edward Winnington is to have his place;
who is he?" addressing herself to me, who sat over against her.
"He is the late Mr. Winnington's heir, Madam." "Did you like
that Winnington?" "I can't but say I did, Madam." She shrugged
her shoulders, and continued; "Winnington originally was a great
Tory; what do you think he was when he died?" "Madam, I believe
what all people are in place." Pray, Mr. Montagu, do you
perceive any thing rude or offensive in this? Hear then: she
flew into the most outrageous passion, Coloured like scarlet, and
said, "None of your wit; I don't understand joking on those
subjects; what do you think your father would have said if he had
heard you say so? He Would have murdered you, and you would have
deserved it." I was quite Confounded and amazed; it was
impossible to explain myself across a loo-table, as she is so
deaf: there was no making a reply to a woman and a Princess, and
particularly for me, who have made it a rule, when I must
converse with royalties, to treat them with the greatest respect,
since it is all the court they will ever have from me. I said to
those on each side of me, "What can I do? I cannot explain
myself now." Well, I held my peace, and so did she for a quarter
of an hour. Then she began with me again, examined me on the
whole debate, and at last asked me directly, which I thought the
best speaker, my father or Mr. Pitt. If possible, this was more
distressing than her anger. I replied, it was impossible to
compare two men so different: that I believed my father was more
a man of business than Mr. Pitt. "Well, but Mr. Pitt's
language?" "Madam," said I, "I have always been remarkable for
admiring Mr. Pitt's language." At last, this unpleasant scene
ended; but as we were going away, I went close to her, and said,
"Madam, I must beg leave to explain myself; your royal highness
has seemed to be very angry with me, and I am sure I did not mean
to offend you: all I intended to say was, that I supposed Tories
were Whigs when they got places!" "Oh!" said she, "I am very
much obliged to you; indeed, I was very angry." Why she was
angry, or what she thought I meaned, I do not know to this
moment, unless she supposed that I would have hinted that the
Duke of Newcastle and the opposition were not men of consummate
virtue, and had lost their places out of principle. The very
reverse was at that time in my head; for I meaned that the Tories
would be just as loyal as the Whigs, when they got any thing by
You will laugh at my distresses, and in truth they are little
serious yet they almost put me out of humour. If your cousin
realizes his fair words to you, I shall be very good-humoured
again. I am not so morose as to dislike my friends for being in
place; indeed, if they are in great place, my friendship goes to
sleep like a paroli at pharaoh, and does not wake again till
their deal is over. Good night!
Letter 146 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, Dec. 23, 1762. (page 203)
You are always abundantly kind to me, and pass my power of
thanking you. You do nothing but give yourself trouble and me
presents. My cousin Calthorpe is a great rarity, and I think I
ought, therefore, to return him to you; but that would not be
treating him like a relation, or you like a
friend. My ancestor's epitaph, too, was very agreeable to me.
I have not been at Strawberry Hill these three weeks. My maid is
ill there, and I have not been well myself with the same flying
gout in my stomach and breast, of which you heard me complain a
little in the summer. I am much persuaded to go to a warmer
climate, which often disperses these unsettled complaints. I do
not care for it, nor can determine till I see I grow worse: if I
do (To, I hope it will not be for long; and you shall certainly
hear again before I set out.
To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Feb. 28, 1763. (page 203)
Your letter of the 19th seems to postpone your arrival rather
than advance it; yet Lady Ailesbury tells me that to her you
talk of being here in ten days. I wish devoutly to see you,
though I am not departing myself; but I am impatient to have
your disagreeable function(264) at an end, and to know that YOU
enjoy Yourself after such fatigues, dangers, and ill-requited
services. For any public satisfaction you will receive in
being at home, you must not expect much. Your mind was not
formed to float on the surface of a mercenary world. My prayer
(and my belief) is, that you may always prefer what you always
have preferred, your integrity to success. You will then
laugh, as I do, at the attacks and malice of faction or
ministers. I taste of both; but, as my health is recovered,
and My Mind does not reproach me, they will perhaps only give
me an opportunity, which I should never have sought, of proving
that I have some virtue--and it will not be proved in the way
they probably expect. I have better evidence than by hanging
out the tattered ensigns of patriotism. But this and a
thousand other things I shall reserve for our meeting. Your
brother has pressed me much to go with him, if he goes, to
Paris.(265) I take it very kindly, but have excused myself,
though I have promised either to accompany him for a short time
at first, or to go to him if he should have any particular
occasion for me: but my resolution against ever appearing in
any public light is unalterable. When I wish to live less and
less in the world here, I cannot think of mounting a new stage
at Paris. At this moment I am alone here, while every body is
balloting in the House of Commons. Sir John Philips proposed a
commission of accounts, which has been converted into a select
committee of twenty-one, eligible by ballot. As the ministry
is not predominant in the affections of mankind, some of them
may find a jury elected that will not be quite so complaisant
as the House is in general when their votes are given openly.
As many may be glad of this opportunity, I shun it; for I
should scorn to do any thing in secret, though I have some
enemies that are not quite so generous.
You say you have seen the North Briton, in which I make a
capital figure. Wilkes, the author, I hear, says, that if he
had thought I should have taken it so well, he would have been
damned before he would have written it-but I am not sore where
I am not sore.
The theatre of Covent-garden has suffered more by riots than
even Drury-lane.(266) A footman of Lord Dacre has been hanged
for murdering the butler. George Selwyn had great hand in
bringing him to confess it. That Selwyn should be a capital
performer in a scene of that kind is not extraordinary: I tell
it you for the strange coolness which the young fellow, who was
but nineteen, expressed: as he was writing his confession, "I
murd--" he stopped, and asked, "how do you spell murdered?"
Mr. Fox is much better than at the beginning of the winter; and
both his health and power seem to promise a longer duration
than people expected. Indeed, I think the latter is so
established, that poor Lord Bute would find it more difficult
to remove him, than he did his predecessors, and may even feel
the effects of the weight he has made over to him; for it is
already obvious that Lord Bute's lev`ee is not the present path
to fortune. Permanence is not the complexion of these times--a
distressful circumstance to the votaries of a court, but
amusing to us spectators. Adieu!
(264) The re-embarkation of the British troops from Flanders
after the peace.
(265) An ambassador.
(266. In January, there was a riot at Drury-lane, in
consequence of the managers refusing admittance at the end of
the third act of a play for half-price; when the glass lustres
were broken and thrown upon the stage, the benches torn up, and
the performance put a stop to. The same scene was threatened
on the following evening, but was prevented by Garrick's
consenting to give admittance at half-price after the third
act, except during the first winter of a new pantomime. At
Covent-garden, the redress demanded having been acceded to, no
disturbance took place on that occasion; but a more serious
riot happened on the 24th of February, in consequence of a
demand for full prices at the opera of Artaxerxes. The
mischief done was estimated at not less than two thousand
Letter 148 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, March 29, 1763. (page 205)
Though you are a runaway, a fugitive, a thing without friendship
or feeling, though you grow tired of your acquaintance in half
the time you intended, I will not quite give you up: I will write
to you once a quarter, just to keep up a connexion that grace may
catch at, if it ever proposes to visit you. This is my plan, for
I have little or nothing to tell you. The ministers only cut one
another's throats instead of ours. They growl over their prey
like two curs over a bone, which neither can determine to quit;
and the whelps in opposition are not strong enough to beat either
way, though like the species, they will probably hunt the one
that shall be worsted. The saddest dog of all, Wilkes, shows
most spirit. The last North Briton is a masterpiece of mischief.
He has written a dedication too to an old play, the Fall of
Mortimer, that is wormwood; and he had the impudence t'other day
to ask Dyson if he was going to the treasury; "Because," said he,
"a friend of mine has dedicated a play to Lord Bute, and 'It is
usual to give dedicators something; I wish you would put his
lordship in mind of it." Lord and Lady Pembroke are reconciled,
and live again together.(267) Mr. Hunter would have taken his
daughter too, but upon condition she should give back her
settlement to Lord Pembroke and her child: she replied nobly,
that she did not trouble herself about fortune, and would
willingly depend on her father; but for her child, she had
nothing left to do but to take care of that, and would not part
with it; so she keeps both, and I suppose will soon have her
lover again too, for T'other sister(268) has been sitting to
Reynolds, who by her husband's direction has made a speaking
picture. Lord Bolingbroke said to him, "You must give the eyes
something of Nelly O'Brien, or it will not do." As he has given
Nelly something of his wife's, it was but fair to give her
something of Nelly's, and my lady will not throw away the
I am going to Strawberry for a few days, pour faire mes piques.
The gallery advances rapidly. The ceiling is Harry the Seventh's
chapel in proprid persona; the canopies are all placed; I think
three months will quite complete it. - I have bought at Lord
Granville's sale the original picture of Charles Brandon and his
queen; and have to-day received from France a copy of Madame
Maintenon, which with my La Vali`ere, and copies of Madame
Grammont, and of the charming portrait of the Mazarine at the
Duke of St. Alban's, is to accompany Bianca Capello and Ninon
L'Enclos in the round tower. I hope now there will never be
another auction, for I have not an inch of space, or a farthing
left. As I have some remains of paper, I will fill it up with a
song that I made t'other day in the postchaise, after a
particular conversation that I had with Miss Pelham the night
before at the Duke of Richmond's.
The business of women, dear Chloe, is pleasure,
And by love ev'ry fair one her minutes should measure.
"Oh! for love we're all ready," you cry.--very true;
Nor would I rob the gentle fond god of his due.
Unless in the sentiments Cupid has part,
And dips in the amorous transport his dart
'Tis tumult, disorder, 'tis loathing and hate;
Caprice gives it birth, and contempt is its fate.
"True passion insensibly leads to the joy,
And grateful esteem bids its pleasures ne'er cloy.
Yet here you should stop-but your whimsical sex
Such romantic ideas to passion annex,
That poor men, by your visions and jealousy worried,
To Dyinphs less ecstatic, but kinder, are hurried.
In your heart, I consent, let your wishes be bred;
Only take care your heart don't get into your head.
Adieu, till Midsummer-day!
(267) See ant`e, p. 175, Letter 117.-E.
(268) Lady Bolingbroke and the Countess of Pembroke were
Letter 149 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, April 6, 1763. (page 206)
You will pity my distress when I tell you that Lord Waldegrave
has got the smallpox, and a bad sort. This day se'nnight, in the
evening, I met him at Arthur's: he complained to me of the
headache, and a sickness in the stomach. I said, "My dear lord,
why don't you go home, and take James's powder you will be well
in the morning." He thanked me, said he was glad I had put him
in mind of it, and he would take my advice. I sent in the
morning; my niece said he had taken the powder, and that James
thought he had no fever, but that she found him very low. As he
had no fever, I had no apprehension. At eight o'clock on Friday
night, I was told abruptly at Arthur's, that Lord Waldegrave had
the small-pox. I was excessively shocked, not knowing if the
powder was good or bad for it. I went instantly to the house; at
the door I was met by a servant of Lady Ailesbury, sent to tell
me that Mr. Conway was arrived. These two opposite strokes of
terror and joy overcame me so much, that when I got to Mr.
Conway's I could not speak to him, but burst into a flood of
tears. The next morning, Lord Waldegrave hearing I was there,
desired to speak to me alone. I should tell you, that the moment
he knew it was the small-pox, he signed his will. This has been
the unvaried tenor of his behaviour, doing just what is wise and
necessary, and nothing more. He told me, he knew how great the
chance was against his living through that distemper at his age.
That, to be sure, he should like to have lived a few years
longer; but if he did not, he should submit patiently. That all
he desired was, that if he should fail, we would do our utmost to
comfort his wife, who, he feared was breeding, and who, he added,
was the best woman in the world. I told him he could not doubt
our attention to her, but that at present all our attention was
fixed on him. That the great difference between having the
small-pox young, or more advanced in years, consisted in the fear
of the latter; but that as I had so often heard him say, and now
saw, that he had none of those fears, the danger of age was
considerably lessened. Dr. Wilmot says, that if any thing saves
him, it will be his tranquillity. To my comfort I am told, that
James's powder has probably been a material ingredient towards
his recovery. In the mean time, the universal anxiety about him
is incredible. Dr. Barnard, the master of Eton, who is in town
for the holidays, says, that, from his situation, he is naturally
invited to houses of all ranks and parties, and that the concern
is general in all. I cannot say so much of my lord, and not do a
little justice to my niece too. Her tenderness, fondness,
attention, and courage are surprising. She has no fears to
become her, nor heroism for parade. I could not help saying to
her, "There never was a nurse of your age had such attention."
She replied, "There never was a nurse of my age had such an
object." It is this astonishes one, to see so much beauty
sincerely devoted to a man so unlovely in his person; but if
Adonis was sick, she could not stir seldomer out of his
bedchamber. The physicians seem to have little hopes, but, as
their arguments are not near so strong as their alarms, I own I
do not give it up, and yet I look on it in a very dangerous
I know nothing of news and of the world, for I go to
Albemarle-Street early in the morning, and don't come home till
late at night. Young Mr. Pitt has been dying of a fever in
Bedfordshire. The Bishop of Carlisle,(269) whom I have appointed
visiter of Strawberry, is gone down to him. You will be much
disappointed if you expect to find the gallery near finished.
They threaten me with three months before the gilding can be
begun. twenty points are at a stand by my present confinement,
and I have a melancholy prospect of being forced to carry my
niece thither the next time I go. The Duc de Nivernois, in
return for a set of the Strawberry editions, has sent me four
seasons, which, I conclude, he thought good, but they shall pass
their whole round in London, for they have not even the merit of
being badly old enough for Strawberry. Mr. Bentley's epistle to
Lord Melcomb has been published in a magazine. It has less wit
by far than I expected from him, and to the full as bad English.
The thoughts are old Strawberry phrases; so are not the
panegyrics. Here are six lines written extempore by Lady Temple,
on Lady Mary Coke, easy and genteel, and almost true:
She sometimes laughs, but never loud;
She's handsome too, but somewhat proud:
At court she bears away the belle;
She dresses fine, and figures well:
With decency she's gay and airy;
Who can this be but Lady Mary?
There has been tough doings in Parliament about the tax on cider;
and in the Western counties the discontent is so great, that if
Mr. Wilkes will turn patriot-hero, or patriot-incendiary in
earnest, and put himself at their head, he may obtain a rope of
martyrdom before the summer is over. Adieu! I tell you my
sorrows, because, if I escape them, I am sure nobody will rejoice
(269) Dr. Charles Lyttelton, consecrated Bishop of Carlisle in
1762, in the room of Dr. Osbaldiston, translated to the see of
Letter 150 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, Friday night, late. [April 8, 1763.. (page 208)
Amidst all my own grief, and all the distress which I have this
moment left, I cannot forget you, who have so long been my steady
and invariable friend. I cannot leave it to newspapers and
correspondents to tell you my loss. Lord Waldegrave died to-day.
Last night he had some glimmerings of hope. The most desponding
of the faculty flattered us a little. He himself joked with the
physicians, and expressed himself in this engaging manner: asking
what day of the week it was; they told him Thursday: "Sure," said
he, "it is Friday." "No, my lord, indeed it is Thursday."
"Well," said he, "see what a rogue this distemper makes one; I
want to steal nothing but a day." By the help of opiates, with
which, for two or three days, they had numbed his sufferings, he
rested well. This morning he had no worse symptoms. I told Lady
Waldegrave, that as no material alteration was expected before
Sunday, I would go to dine at Strawberry, and return in time to
meet the physicians in the evening; in truth, I was worn out with
anxiety and attendance, and wanted an hour or two of fresh air.
I left her at twelve, and had ordered dinner at three that I
might be back early. I had not risen from table when I received
an express from Lady Betty Waldegrave, to tell me that a sudden
change had happened, that they had given him James's powder, but
that they feared it was too late, and that he probably would be
dead before I could come to my niece, for whose sake she begged I
would return immediately. It was indeed too late! too late for
every thing--late as it was given, the powder vomited him even in
the agonies--had I had power to direct, he should never have
quitted James; but these are vain regrets! vain to recollect how
particularly kind he, who was kind to every body, was to me! I
found Lady Waldegrave at my brother's; she weeps without ceasing,
and talks of his virtues and goodness to her in a manner that
distracts one. My brother bears this mortification with more
courage than I could have expected from his warm passions: but
nothing struck me more than to see my rough savage Swiss, Louis,
in tears, as he opened my chaise. I have a bitter scene to come:
to-morrow morning I carry poor Lady Waldegrave to Strawberry.
Her fall is great, from that adoration and attention that he paid
her, from that splendour of fortune, so much of which dies with
him, and from that consideration, which rebounded to her from the
great deference which the world had for his character. Visions
perhaps. Yet who could expect that they would have passed away
even before that fleeting thing, her beauty!
If I had time or command enough of my thoughts, I could give you
as long a detail of as unexpected a revolution in the political
world. To-day has been as fatal to a whole nation, I mean to the
Scotch, as to our family. Lord Bute resigned this morning. His
intention was not even suspected till Wednesday, nor at all known
a very few days before. In short, there is nothing, more or
less, than a panic; a fortnight's opposition has demolished that
scandalous but vast majority, which a fortnight had purchased;
and in five months a plan of absolute power has been demolished
by a panic. He pleads to the world bad health; to his friends,
more truly, that the nation was set at him. He pretends to
intend retiring absolutely, and giving no umbrage. In the mean
time he is packing up a sort of ministerial legacy, which cannot
hold even till next session, and I should think would scarce take
place at all. George Grenville is to be at the head of the
treasury and chancellor of the exchequer; Charles Townshend to
succeed him; and Lord Shelburne, Charles. Sir Francis Dashwood
to have his barony of Despencer and the great wardrobe, in the
room of Lord Gower, who takes the privy seal, if the Duke of
Bedford takes the presidentship; but there are many ifs in this
arrangement; the principal if is, if they dare stand a tempest
which has so terrified the pilot. You ask what becomes of Mr.
Fox? Not at all pleased with this sudden determination, which has
blown up so many of his projects, and left him time to heat no
more furnaces, he goes to France by the way of the House of
Lords,(270) but keeps his place and his tools till something else
happens. The confusion I suppose will be enormous, and the next
act of the drama a quarrel among the opposition, who would be
all-powerful if they could do what they cannot, hold together and
not quarrel for the plunder. As I shall be
at a distance for some days, I shall be able to send you no more
particulars of this interlude, but you will like a pun my brother
made when he was told of this explosion: "Then," said he, "they
must turn the Jacks out of the drawing-room again, and again take
them into the kitchen." Adieu! what a world to set one's heart
270) Mr. Fox was Created Baron Holland of Foxley.-E.
Letter 151 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, April 14, 1763. (page 210)
I have received your two letters together, and foresaw that your
friendly good heart would feel for us just as you do. The loss
is irreparable,(271) and my poor niece is sensible it is. She
has such a veneration for her lord's memory, that if her sister
and I make her cheerful for a moment, she accuses herself of it
the next day to the Bishop of Exeter,(272) as if he was her
confessor, and that she had committed a crime. She cried for two
days to such a degree, that if she had been a fountain it must
have stopped. Till yesterday she scarce eat enough to keep her
alive, and looks accordingly; but at her age she must be
comforted: her esteem will last, but her spirits will return in
spite of herself. Her lord has made her sole executrix, and
added what little douceurs he could to her jointure, which is but
a thousand pounds a-year, the estate being but three-and-twenty
hundred. The little girls will have about eight thousand pounds
apiece; for the teller's place was so great during the war, that
notwithstanding his temper was a sluice of generosity, he had
saved thirty thousand pounds since his marriage.
Her sisters have been here with us the whole time. Lady
Huntingtower is all mildness and tenderness; and by dint of
attention I have not displeased the other. Lord Huntingtower has
been here once; the Bishop most of the time: he is very
reasonable and good-natured, and has been of great assistance and
comfort to me in this melancholy office, which is to last here
till Monday or Tuesday. We have got the eldest little girl too,
Lady Laura, who is just old enough to be amusing; and last night
my nephew arrived here from Portugal. It was a terrible meeting
at first; but as he is very soldierly and lively, he got into
spirits, and diverted us much with his relations of the war and
the country. He confirms all we have heard of the villany,
poltroonery, and ignorance of the Portuguese, and of their
aversion to the English; but I could perceive, even through his
relation, that our flippancies and contempt of them must have
given a good deal of play to their antipathy.
You are admirably kind, as you always are in inviting me to
Greatworth, and proposing Bath; but besides its being impossible
for me to take any journey just at present, I am really very well
in health, and the tranquillity and air of Strawberry have done
much good. The hurry of London, where I shall be glad to be just
now, will dissipate the gloom that this unhappy loss has
occasioned; though a deep loss I shall always think it. The time
passes tolerably here; I have my painters and gilders and
constant packets of news from town, besides a thousand letters of
condolence to answer; for both my niece and I have received