Part 7 out of 17
innumerable testimonies of the regard that was felt for Lord
Waldegrave. I have heard of but one man who ought to have known
his worth, that has shown no concern; but I suppose his childish
mind is too much occupied with the loss of his last
governor.(273) I have given up my own room to my niece, and have
taken myself to the Holbein chamber, where I am retired from the
rest of the family when I choose it, and nearer to overlook my
workmen. The chapel is quite finished except the carpet. The
sable mass of the altar gives it a very sober air; for,
notwithstanding the solemnity of the painted windows, it had a
gaudiness that was a little profane.
I can know no news here but by rebound; and yet, though they are
to rebound again to you, they will be as fresh as any you can
have at Greatworth. A kind of administration is botched up for
the present, and even gave itself an air of that fierceness with
which the winter set out. Lord Hardwicke -was told, that his
sons must vote with the court, or be turned out; he replied, as
he meant to have them in place, he chose they should be removed
now. It looks ill for the court when he is sturdy. They wished,
too, to have had Pitt, if they could have had him Without
consequences; but they don't find any recruits repair to their
standard. They brag that they should have had Lord Waldegrave; a
most notorious falsehood, as he had refused every offer they
could invent the day before he was taken ill. The Duke of'
Cumberland orders his servants to say, that so far from joining
them, he believes if Lord Waldecrave could have been foretold of
his death, he would have preferred it to an union with Bute and
Fox. The former's was a decisive panic; so sudden, that it is
said Lord Egremont was sent to break his resolution of retiring
to the King. The other, whose journey to France does not
indicate much less apprehension, affects to walk in the streets
at the most public hours to mark his not trembling. In the mean
time the two chiefs have paid their bravoes magnificently: no
less than fifty-two thousand pounds a-year are granted in
reversion! Young Martin,(274) Who is older than I am, is named
my successor; but I intend he shall wait some years: if they had
a mind to serve me, they could not have selected a fitter tool to
set my character in a fair light by the comparison. Lord Bute's
son has the reversion of an auditor of the imprest; this is all
he has done ostensibly for his family, but the great things
bestowed on the most insignificant objects, make me suspect some
private compacts. Yet I may wrong him, but I do not mean it.
Lord Granby has refused Ireland, and the Northumberlands are to
transport their magnificence thither.(275) I lament that you
made so little of that voyage, but is this the season of
unrewarded merit? One should blush to be preferred within the
same year. Do but think that Calcraft is to be an Irish lord!
Fox's millions, or Calcraft's tythes of millions, cannot purchase
a grain of your virtue or character. Adieu!
(271) In September 1766, Lady Waldegrave became the wife of his
Royal Highness William Henry Duke of Gloucester; by whom she was
mother of Prince William and of the Princess Sophia of
(272) Married to a sister of Lady Waldegrave.
(273) Lord Waldegrave had been governor of George the Third.-E.
(274) Samuel Martin, Esq. member for Camelford, one of the joint
secretaries of the treasury, named to succeed Walpole as usher of
receipts of the exchequer, comptroller of the great roll, and
keeper of the foreign receipts.-E.
(275) The Earl of Northumberland was gazetted on the 20th of
April lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and on the 14th of May the
Marquis of Granby was appointed master of the ordnance.-E.
Letter 152 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, April 22, 1763. (page 212)
I have two letters from you, and shall take care to execute the
commission in the second. The first diverted me much. .
I brought my poor niece from Strawberry on Monday. As executrix,
her presence was quite necessary, and she has never refused to do
any thing reasonable that has been desired of her. But the house
and the business have shocked her terribly; she still eats
nothing, sleeps worse than she did, and looks dreadfully; I begin
to think she will miscarry. She said to me t'other day, "they
tell me that if my lord had lived, he might have done great
service to his country at this juncture, by the respect all
parties had for him. This is very fine; but as he did not live
to do those services, it will never be mentioned in history!" I
thought this solicitude for his honour charming. But he will be
known by history; he has left a small volume of Memoirs, that are
a chef-d'oeuvre.(276) He twice
showed them to me, but I kept his secret faithfully; now it is
for his glory to divulge it.
I and glad you are going to Dr. Lewis After an Irish voyage I do
not wonder you want careening. I have often preached to
you--nay, and lived to you too; but my sermons were flung away
and my example.
This ridiculous administration is patched up for the present; the
detail is delightful, but that I shall reserve for
Strawberry-tide. Lord Bath has complained to Fanshaw of Lord
Pulteney's(277) extravagance, and added, "if he had lived he
would have spent my whole estate." This almost comes up to Sir
Robert Brown, who, when his eldest daughter was given over, but
still alive, on that uncertainty sent for an undertaker, and
bargained for her funeral in hopes of having it cheaper, as it
was possible she might recover. Lord Bath has purchased the
Hatton vault in Westminster-abbey, squeezed his wife, son, and
daughter into it, reserved room for himself, and has set the rest
to sale. Come; all this is not far short of Sir Robert Brown.
To my great satisfaction, the new Lord Holland has not taken the
least friendly, or even formal notice of me, on Lord Waldegrave's
death. It dispenses me from the least farther connexion with
him, and saves explanations, which always entertain the world
more than satisfy.
Dr. Cumberland is an Irish bishop; I hope before the summer is
over that some beam from your cousin's portion of the triumvirate
may light on poor Bentley. If he wishes it till next winter, he
will be forced to try still new sunshine. I have taken Mrs.
Pritchard's house for Lady Waldegrave; I offered her to live with
me at Strawberry, but with her usual good sense she declined it,
as she thought the children would be troublesome.
Charles Townshend's episode in this revolution passes belief,
though he does not tell it himself. If I had a son born, and an
old fairy were to appear and offer to endow him with her choicest
gifts, I should cry out, "Powerful Goody, give him any thing but
(276) "the Memoirs, from 1754 to 1758, by James Earl Waldegrave,"
which were published in 1821, in a small quarto volume.-E.
(277) Son Of the Earl of Bath. He was a lord of the bedchamber
and member for Westminster. He died on the 16th of February.-E.
(278) Lord Barrington, in a letter to Mr. Mitchell of the 19th of
April, says,--"Charles Townshend accepted the admiralty on
Thursday, and went to kiss hands the next day; but he brought
Peter Burrell with him to court, and insisted he likewise should
be one of the board. Being told that Lords Howe and Digby were
to fill up the vacant seats at the admiralty, he declined
accepting the office destined for him, and the next day received
a dismission from the King's service."-E.
Letter 153To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, May 1, 1763. (page 213)
I feel happy at hearing your happiness; but, my dear Harry, your
vision is much indebted to your long absence, which Makes
bleak rocks and barren mountains smile.
I mean no offence to Park-place, but the bitterness of the
weather makes me wonder how you can find the country tolerable
now. This is a May-day for the latitude of Siberia! The
milkmaids should be wrapped in @the motherly comforts of a
swanskin petticoat. In short, such hard words have passed
between me and the north wind to-day, that, according to the
language of the times, I was very near abusing it for coming from
Scotland, and to imputing it to Lord Bute. I don't know whether
I should not have written a North Briton against it, if the
printers were not all sent to Newgate, and Mr. Wilkes to the
Tower--ay, to the Tower, tout de bon.(279) The new ministry are
trying to make up for their ridiculous insignificance by a coup
d'`eclat. As I came hither yesterday, I do not know whether the
particulars I have heard are genuine--but in the Tower he
certainly is, taken up by Lord Halifax's warrant for treason;
vide the North Briton of Saturday was se'nnight. It is said he
refused to obey the warrant, of which he asked and got a copy
from the two messengers, telling them he did not mean to make his
escape, but sending to demand his habeas corpus, which was
refused. He then went to Lord Halifax, and thence to the Tower;
declaring they should get nothing out of him but what they knew.
All his papers have been seize(]. Lord Chief Justice Pratt, I am
told, finds great fault with the wording of the warrant.
I don't know how to execute your commission for books of
architecture, nor care to put you to expense, which I know will
not answer. I have been consulting my neighbour young Mr. Thomas
Pitt,(280) my present architect: we have all books of that sort
here, but, cannot think of one which will help you to a cottage
or a green-house. For the former you should send me your idea,
your dimensions; for the latter, don't you rebuild your old one,
though in another place? A pretty greenhouse I never saw; nor
without immoderate expense can it well be an agreeable object.
Mr. Pitt thinks a mere portico without a pediment, and windows
retrievable in summer, would be the best plan you could have. If
so, don't you remember something of that kind, which you liked at
Sir Charles Cotterel's at Rousham? But a fine greenhouse must be
on a more exalted plan. In Short.. YOU Must be more particular,
before I can be at all so.
I called at Hammersmith yesterday about Lady Ailesbury's tubs;
one of them is nearly finished, but they will not both be
completed these ten days. Shall they be sent to you by water?
Good night to her ladyship and you, and the infanta,(281) whose
progress in waxen statuary I hope advances so fast, that by next
winter she may rival Rackstrow's old man. Do you know that,
though apprised of what I was going to see, it deceived me, and
made such impression on my mind, that, thinking on it as I came
home in my chariot. and seeing a woman steadfastly at work in a
window in Pall-mall, it made me start to see her move. Adieu!
Arlington Street, Monday night.
The mighty commitment set out with a blunder; the warrant
directed the printer, and all concerned (unnamed) to be taken up.
Consequently Wilkes had his habeas corpus of course, and was
committed again; moved for another in the common pleas, and is to
appear there to-morrow morning. Lord Temple, by another strain
of power refused admittance to him, said, "I thought this was the
Tower, but find it the Bastille." They found among Wilkes's
papers an unpublished North Briton. designed for It contains
advice to the King not to go to St. Paul's for the thanksgiving,
but to have a snug one in his own chapel; and to let Lord George
Sackville carry the sword. There was a dialogue in it too
between Fox and Calcraft: the former says to the latter, "I did
not think you would have served me so, Jemmy Twitcher."
(279) For his strictures in the North Briton, No. 45, on the
King's speech at the close of the session.-E.
(280) Afterwards created Lord Camelford.
(281) Anne Seymour Conway.
Letter 154 To Sir David Dalrymple.(282)
Strawberry Hill, May 2, 1763. _page 215)
I forebore to answer your letter for a few days, till I knew
whether it was in my power to give you satisfaction. Upon
inquiry, and having conversed with some who could inform me, I
find it would be very difficult to obtain so peremptory an order
for dismissing fictitious invalids (as I think they may properly
be called), as you seem to think the state of the case requires;
by any interposition of mine, quite impossible. Very difficult I
am told it would be to get them dismissed from our hospitals when
once admitted, and subject to a clamour which, in the present
unsettled state of government, nobody would care to risk. Indeed
I believe it could not be done by any single authority. The
power of admission, and consequently of dismission, does not
depend on the minister, but on the board who direct the affairs
of the hospital, at which board preside the paymaster,, secretary
at war, governor, etc.; if I am not quite exact, I know it is so
in general. I am advised to tell you, Sir, that if upon
examination it should be thought right to take the step you
counsel, still it could not be done without previous and
deliberate discussion. As I should grudge no trouble, and am
very desirous of executing any
commission, Sir, you will honour me with, if you will draw up a
memorial in form, stating the abuses which have come to your
]Knowledge, the advantages which would result to the community by
more rigorous examination of candidates for admission, and the
to which the overflowings of the military might be put, I will
engage to put it into the hands of Mr. Grenville, the present
of the treasury, and to employ all the little credit he is so
to let me have with him, in backing your request. I can answer
one thing and no more, that as long as he sits at that board,
probably will not be long, he will give all due attention to any
scheme of national utility.
It is seldom, Sir, that political revolutions bring any man upon
the stage, with whom I have much connexion. The great actors are
not the class whom I much cultivate; consequently I am neither
elated with hopes on their advancement, nor mortified nor
at their fall. As the scene has shifted often of late, and is
from promising duration at present, one must, if one lives in the
great world, have now and then an acquaintance concerned in the
drama. Whenever I happen to have one, I hope I am ready and glad
to make use of such (however unsubstantial) interest to do good
to oblige; Ind this being the case at present, and truly I cannot
call Mr. Grenville much more than an acquaintance, I shall be
happy, Sir, if I can Contribute to your views, which I have
to believe are those of a benevolent man and good citizen; but I
advertise you truly, that my interest depends more on Mr.
Grenville's goodness and civility, than on any great connexion
between Us, and still less on any Political connexion. I think
he would like to do public good, I know I should like to
contribute to it-but if it is to be done by this channel, I
apprehend there is not much time to be lost--you See, what I
think of the permanence of the present system! Your ideas, Sir,
on the hard fate of our brave soldiers concur with mine; I
lamented their sufferings, and have tried in vain to suggest some
little plans for their relief. I only mention this, to prove to
you that I am not indifferent to the subject, nor undertake your
commission from mere complaisance. You Understand the matter
better than I do, but you cannot engage in it with more zeal.
Methodize, if you please, your plan, and communicate it to me,
and it shall not be lost for want of solicitation. We swarm with
highwaymen, who have been heroes. We owe our safety to them,
consequently we owe a return Of preservation to them, if we can
find out methods of employing them honestly. Extend your views,
Sir, for them, and let me -be@solicitor to the cause.
(282) Now first collected.
Letter 155To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, May 6, very late, 1763. (page 216)
The complexion of the times is a little altered since the
beginning of this last winter. Prerogation, that gave itself
such airs in November, and would speak to nothing but a Tory, has
had a rap this morning that will do it some good, unless it is
weak enough to do itself more harm. The judges of the common
pleas have unanimously dismissed Wilkes from his
imprisonment,(283) as a breach of
privilege; his offence not being a breach of peace, only tending
to it. The people are in transports; and it will require all the
vanity and confidence of those able ministers, Lord Sandwich and
Mr. C * * * to keep up the spirits of the court.
I must change this tone, to tell you of the most dismal calamity
that ever happened. Lady Molesworth's house, in Upper Brook-
street was burned to the ground between four and five this
morning. She herself, two of her daughters, her brother,(284)
and six servants Perished. Two other of the young ladies jumped
out of the two pair of stairs and garret windows: one broke her
thigh, the other (the eldest of all) broke hers too, and has had
it cut off. The fifth daughter is much burnt. The French
governess leaped from the garret, and was dashed to pieces. Dr.
Molesworth and his wife, who were there on a visit, escaped; the
wife by jumping from the two pair of stairs, and saving herself
by a rail; he by hanging by his hands, till a second ladder was
brought, after a first had proved too short. Nobody knows how or
where the fire began; the catastrophe is shocking beyond what one
ever heard: and poor Lady Molesworth whose character and conduct
were the most amiable in the world, is universally lamented.
Your good hearts will feel this in the most lively manner.(285)
I go early to Strawberry to-morrow, giving up the new Opera,
Madame de Boufflers, and Mr. Wilkes, and all the present topics.
Wilkes, whose case has taken its place by the side of the seven
bishops, calls himself the eighth--not quite improperly, when One
remembers that Sir Jonathan Trelawney, who swore like a trooper,
was one of those confessors.
There is a good letter in the Gazetteer on the other side,
pretending to be written by Lord Temple, and advising Wilkes to
cut his throat, like Lord E * * * as it would be of infinite
service to their cause. There are published, too, three volumes
of Lady Mary Wortley's letters, which I believe are genuine, and
are not unentertaining. But have you read Tom Hervey's letter to
the late King? That beats every thing for madness, horrid
indecency, and folly, and yet has some charming and striking
passages. I have advised Mrs. Harris to inform
against Jack, as writing in the North Briton; he will then be
shut up in the Tower, and may be shown for old Nero.(286) Adieu!
(283) Wilkes was discharged on the 6th of May, by Lord Chief
Justice Pratt, who decided that he was entitled to plead his
privilege as a member of parliament; the crime of which he was
accused, namely, a libel, being in the eyes of the law only a
high misdemeanour, whereas the only three cases which could
affect the privilege of a member of parliament were treason,
felony, and breach of the peace.-E.
(284) Captain Usher. Lady Molesworth was daughter of the Rev. W.
Usher, archdeacon of Clonfret, and second wife of Richard third
Viscount Molesworth, who was aide-de-camp to the Duke of
Marlborough at the battle of Ramilies, and saved his grace's life
in that engagement.-E.
(285) The King upon hearing of this calamity, immediately sent
the young ladies a handsome present; ordered a house to be taken
and furnished for them at his expense; and not only continued the
pension settled on the mother, but ordered it to be increased two
hundred pounds per annum.
(286) An old lion there, so called.
Letter 156 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, May 16, 1763. (page 217)
I promised you should hear from me if I did not go abroad, and I
flatter myself that you will not be sorry to know that I am much
better in health than I was at the beginning of the winter. My
journey is quite laid aside, at least for this year; though as
Lord Hertford goes ambassador to Paris, I propose to make him a
visit there next spring. As I shall be a good deal here this
summer, I hope you did not take a surfeit of Strawberry Hill, but
will bestow a visit on it while its beauty lasts; the gallery
advances fast now, and I think in a few weeks will make a figure
worth your looking at.
Letter 157 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, May 17, 1763. (page 218)
"On vient de nous donner une tr`es jolie f`ete au ch`ateau de
Straberri: tout etoit tapiss`e de narcisses, de tulipes, et de
lilacs; des cors de chasse, des clarionettes; des petits vers
galants faits par des f`ees, et qui se trouvoient sous la presse;
des fruits `a la glace, du th`e, du caff`e, des biscuits, et
force hot-rolls."--This is not the beginning of a letter to you,
but of one that I might suppose sets out to-night for Paris, or
rather, which I do not suppose will set out thither: for though
the narrative is circumstantially true, I don't believe the
actors were pleased enough with the scene, to give so favourable
an account of it.
The French do not come hither to see. A l'Anglaise happened to
be the word in fashion; and half a dozen of the most fashionable
people have been the dupes of it. I take for granted that their
next mode will be `a l'Iroquaise, that they may be under no
obligation of realizing their pretensions. Madame de
Boufflers(287) I think will die a martyr to a taste, which she
fancied she had, and finds she has not. Never having stirred ten
miles from Paris, and having only rolled in an easy coach from
one hotel to another on a gliding pavement, she is already worn
out with being hurried from morning till night from one sight to
another. She rises every morning SO fatigued with the toils of
the preceding day, that she has not strength, if she had
inclination, to observe the least, or the finest thing she sees!
She came hither to-day to a great breakfast I made for her, with
her eyes a foot deep in her head, her hands dangling, and scarce
able to support her knitting-bag. She had been yesterday to see
a ship launched, and went from Greenwich by water to Ranelagh.
Madame Dusson, who is Dutch-built, and whose muscles are
pleasure-proof, came with her; there were besides, Lady Mary
Coke, Lord and Lady Holderness, the Duke and Duchess of Grafton,
Lord Hertford, Lord Villiers, Offley, Messieurs de Fleury,
D'Eon,(288) et Duclos. The latter is author of the Life of Louis
Onze;(289) dresses like a dissenting minister, which I suppose is
the livery of le bel esprit, and is much more impetuous than
agreeable. We breakfasted in the great parlour, and I had filled
the hall and large cloister by turns with French horns and
clarionettes. As the French ladies had never seen a
printing-house, I carried them into mine; they found something
ready set, and desiring to see what it was, it proved as
The Press speaks:
For MADAME DE BOUFFLERS--
The graceful fair, who loves to know,
Nor dreads the North's inclement snow:
Who bids her polish'd accent wear
The British diction's harsher air;
Shall read her praise in every clime
Where types can speak or poets rhyme
For MADAME: DUSSON.
Feign not an ignorance of what I speak
You could not miss my meaning were it Greek:
'Tis the same language Belgium utter'd first,
The same which from admiring Gallia burst.
True sentiment a like expression pours;
Each country says the same to eyes like yours.
You will comprehend that the first speaks English, and that the
second does not; that the second is handsome, and the first not;
and that the second was born in Holland. This little gentilesse
pleased, and atoned for the popery of my house, which was not
serious enough for Madame de Boufflers, who is Montmorency, et du
sang du premier Chritien; and too serious for Madame Dusson, who
is a Dutch Calvinist. The latter's husband was not here, nor
Drumgold,(290) who have both got fevers, nor the Duc de
Nivernois, who dined at Claremont. The gallery is not advanced
enough to give them any idea at all, as they are not apt to go
out of their way for one; but the cabinet, and the glory of
yellow glass at top, which had a charming sun for a foil, did
surmount their indifference, especially as they were animated by
the Duchess of Grafton, who had never happened to be here before,
and who perfectly entered into the air of enchantment and
fairyism, which is the tone of the place, and was peculiarly so
to-day--a-propos, when do you design to come hither? Let me know,
that I may have no measures to interfere with receiving you and
Before Lord Bute ran away, he made Mr. Bentley a commissioner of
the lottery; I don't know whether a single or double one: the
latter, which I hope it is, is two hundred a-year.
I am ashamed of myself to have nothing but a journal of pleasures
to send you; I never passed a more agreeable day than yesterday.
Miss Pelham gave the French an entertainment at Esher; but they
have been so feasted and amused, that none of them were well
enough, or reposed enough. to come, but Nivernois and Madame
Dusson. The rest of the company were, the Graftons, Lady
Rockingham, Lord and Lady Pembroke, Lord and Lady Holderness,
Lord Villiers, Count Worotizow the Russian minister, Lady Sondes,
Mr. and Miss Mary Pelham, Lady Mary Coke, Mrs. Anne Pitt, and Mr.
Shelley. The day was delightful, the scene transporting; the
trees, lawns, concaves, all in the perfection in which the ghost
of Kent would joy to see them. At twelve we made the tour of the
farm in chaises, and calashes, horsemen, and footmen, setting out
like a picture of Wouverman's. My lot fell in the lap of Mrs.
Anne Pitt,(291) which I could have excused, as she was not at all
in the style of the day, romantic, but political. We had a
magnificent dinner, cloaked in the modesty of earthenware; French
horns and hautboys On the lawn. We walked to the Belvidere on
the summit of the hill, where a theatrical storm only served to
heighten the beauty Of the landscape, a rainbow on a dark cloud
falling precisely behind the tower of a neighbouring church,
between another tower and the building at Claremont. Monsieur de
Nivernois, who had been absorbed all day, and lagging behind,
translating my verses, was delivered of bis version, and of some
more lines which he wrote on Miss Pelham in the Belvedere, while
we drank tea and coffee. From thence we passed into the wood,
and the ladies formed a circle on chairs before the Mouth of the
cave, which was overhung to a vast height with the woodbines,
lilacs, and liburnums, and dignified by the tall shapely
cypresses. On the descent of the hill were placed the French
horns; the abigails, servants, and neighbours wandering below the
river; in short, it was Parnassus, as Watteau would have painted
it. Here we had a rural syllabub, and part of the company
returned to town; but were replaced
by Giardini and Onofrio, who, with Nivernois on he violin, an
Lord Pembroke on the bass, accompanied Mrs. Pelham, Lady
Rockingham, and the Duchess of Grafton, who sang. This little
concert lasted till past ten; then there were minuets, and as we
had seven couple left, it concluded with a Country dance. I
blush again, for I danced, but was kept in countenance by
Nivernois, who has one wrinkle more than I have. A quarter after
twelve they sat down to supper, and I came home by a charming
moonlight. I am going to dine in town, and to a great ball with
fireworks at Miss Chudleigh's, but I return hither on Sunday, to
bid adieu to this abominable Arcadian life; for really when one
IS not young, one ought to do nothing but s'ennuyer; I will try,
but I always go about it awkwardly. Adieu!
P. S. I enclose a copy of both the English and French verses.
A MADAME DE BOUFFLRLRS.
Boufflers, qu'embellissent les graces,
Et qui plairot sans le vouloir,
Elle `a qui l'amour du s`cavoir
Fit braver le Nord et les glaces;
Boufflers se plait en nos vergers,
Et veut `a nos sons `etrangers
Plier sa voix enchanteresse.
R`ep`etons son nom Mille fois,
Sur tons les coeurs Bourflers aura des droits,
Par tout o`u la rime et la Presse
`a l'amour pr`eteront leur voix.
A MADAME DUSSON.
Ne feignez point, Iris, de ne pas nous entendre
Cc que vous inspirez, en Grec doit se comprendre.
On vous l'a dit d'abord en Hollandois,
Et dans on langage plus tendre
Paris vous l'a repet`e mille fois.
C'est de nos coeurs l'expression sinc`ere;
En tout climat, Iris, & toute heure, en tous lieux,
Par tout o`u brilleront vos yeux,
Vous apprendrez combien ils s`cavent plaire.
(287) La Comtesse de Boufflers, a lady of some literary
pretensions, and celebrated as the intimate friend of the Prince
de Conti, to whom she is said to have been united by a marriage
de la main gauche. During her stay in England she paid a visit
to Dr. Johnson, of which Mr. Beauclerk gave the following account
to Boswell:--"When Madame de Boufflers was first in England, she
was desirous to see Johnson; I accordingly went with her to his
chambers in the Temple, where she was entertained with his
conversation for some time. When our visit was over, she and I
left him, and were got into Inner-Temple-lane, when all at once I
heard a voice like thunder. This was occasioned by Johnson, who,
it seem,;, upon a little reflection, had taken it into his head
that he ought to have done the honours of his literary residence
to a foreign lady of quality, and, eager to show himself a man of
gallantry, was hurrying down the staircase in violent agitation.
He overtook us before we reached the Temple gate, and brushing in
between me and Madame de Boufflers, seized her hand and conducted
her to her coach. His dress was a rusty-brown morning suit, a
pair of old shoes by way of slippers, a little shrivelled wig
sticking on the top of his head, and the sleeves of his shirt and
the knees of his breeches hanging loose. A considerable crowd of
people gathered round, and were not a little struck by this
(288) The Chevalier D'Eon, secretary to the Duke de Nivernois,
the French ambassador, and, upon the Duke's return to France,
appointed minister plenipotentiary. On the Comte de Guerchy
being some time afterwards nominated ambassador, the Chevalier
was ordered to resume his secretaryship; at which he was so much
mortified that he libelled the Comte, for which he was indicted
and found guilty in the court of king's bench, in July 1764. For
a further account of this extraordinary personage, see post,
letter 181 to Lord Hertford, of the 25th of November.-E.
(289) Duclos's History of Louis XI. appeared in 1743. He was
also the author of several ingenious novels, and had a large
share in the Dictionary of the Academy. After his death, which
took place in 1772, his Secret Memoirs of the Courts of Louis
XIV. and Louis XV. appeared. Rousseau describes him as a man
"droit et adroit;" and D'Alembert said of him, "De tons les
hommes que je connais, c'est lui qui a le plus d'esprit dans un
(290) Secretary to the Duc de Nivernois.
(291) Sister of Lord Chatham, whom she strikingly resembled in
features as well as in talent. She was remarkable, even to old
age, for decision of character and sprightliness of conversation.
She died in 1780.-E.
Letter 158 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, May 21, 1763. (page 221)
You have now seen the celebrated Madame de Boufflers. I dare say
you could in that short time perceive that she is agreeable, but
I dare say too that you will agree with me that vivacity is by no
means the partage of the French--bating the `etourderie of the
mousquetaires and of a high-dried petit-maitre or two, they
appear to me more lifeless than Germans. I cannot comprehend how
they came by the character of a lively people. Charles Townshend
has more sal volatile in him than the whole nation. Their King
is taciturnity itself, Mirepoix was a walking mummy, Nivernois
his about as much life as a sick favourite child, and M. Dusson
is a good-humoured country gentleman, who has been drunk the day
before, and is upon his good behaviour. If I have the gout next
year, and am thoroughly humbled by it again, I will go to Paris,
that I may be upon a level with them: at present, I am trop fou
to keep them company. Mind, I do not insist that, to have
spirits, a nation should be as frantic as poor Fanny Pelham, as
absurd as the Duchess of Queensbury, or as dashing as the Virgin
Chudleigh. Oh, that you had been' at her ball t'other night!
History could never describe it and keep its countenance. The
Queen's real birthday, you know, is not kept: this maid of honour
kept it--nay, while the court is in mourning, expected people to
be out of mourning; the Queen's family really was so, Lady
Northumberland having desired leave for them. A scaffold was
erected in Hyde-park for fireworks. To show the illuminations
without to more advantage, the company were received in an
apartment totally dark, where they remained for two hours. If
they gave rise to any more birthdays, who could help it? The
fireworks were fine, and succeeded well. On each side of the
court were two large scaffolds for the Virgin's tradespeople.
When the fireworks ceased, a large scene was lighted in the
court, representing their majesties; on each side of which were
six obelisks, painted with emblems, and illuminated; mottoes
beneath in Latin and English: 1. For the Prince of Wales, a ship,
Mullorum spes. 2. For the Princess Dowager, a bird of paradise,
and two little ones, meos ad sidera tollo. People smiled. 3.
Duke of York, a temple, Virtuti et honori. 4. Princess Augusta, a
bird of paradise, Non habet paren--unluckily this was translated,
I have no peer. People laughed out, considering where this was
exhibited. 5. The three younger princes, an orange tree,
Promiiuit et dat. 6. the younger princesses, the flower
crown-imperial. I forget the Latin: the translation was silly
enough, Bashful in youth, graceful in age. The lady of the house
made many apologies for the poorness of the performance, which
she said was only oil-paper, painted by one of her servants; but
it really was fine and pretty. The Duke of Kingston was in a
frock coat come chez lui. Behind the house was a cenotaph for
the Princess Elizabeth, a kind of illuminated cradle; the motto,
All the honours the dead can receive. This burying-ground was a
strange codicil to a festival, and, what was more strange, about
one in the morning, this sarcophagus burst out into crackers and
guns. The Margrave of Anspach began the ball with the Virgin.
The supper was most sumptuous.
You ask, when I propose to be at Park-place. I ask, shall not
you come to the Duke of Richmond's masquerade, which is the 6th
of June? I cannot well be with you till towards the end of that
The enclosed is a letter which I wish you to read attentively, to
give me your opinion upon it, and return it. It is from a
sensible friend of mine in Scotland,(292) who has lately
corresponded with me on the enclosed subjects, which I little
understand; but I promised to communicate his ideas to George
Grenville, if he would state them-are they practicable? I wish
much that something could be done for those brave soldiers and
sailors, who will all come to the gallows, unless some timely
provision can be made for them. The former part of his letter
relates to a Grievance he complains of, that men who have not
served are admitted into garrisons, and then into our hospitals,
which were designed for meritorious sufferers. Adieu!
(292) Sir David Dalrymple. See ant`e, p. 215, letter 154.-E.
Letter 159 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Arlington Street, Saturday evening. (May 28, 1763.] (page 223)
No, indeed, I cannot consent to your being a dirty
Philander.(293) Pink and white, and white and pink and both as
greasy as if you had gnawed a leg of a fowl on the stairs of the
Haymarket with a bunter from the Cardigan's Head! For Heaven's
sake don't produce a tight rose-coloured thigh, unless you intend
to prevent my Lord Bute's return from Harrowgate. Write, the
moment you receive this, to your tailor to get you a sober purple
domino as I have done, and it will make you a couple of
In the next place, have your ideas a little more correct about us
of times past. We did not furnish ou cottages with chairs of ten
guineas apiece. Ebony for a farmhouse!(294) So, two hundred
years hence some man of taste will build a hamlet in the style of
George the Third, and beg his cousin Tom Hearne to get him some
chairs for it of mahogany gilt, and covered with blue damask.
Adieu! I have not a minute's time more.
(293) At the masquerade given by the Duke of Richmond on the 6th
of June at his house in Privy-garden.
(294) Mr. Conway was at this time fitting up a little building
at Park-place, called the Cottage, for which he had consulted Mr.
Walpole on the propriety of ebony chairs.
Letter 160 To George Montagu, Esq.
Huntingdon, May 30, 1763. (page 223)
As you interest yourself about Kimbolton, I begin my journal of
two days here. But I must set Out With owning, that I believe I
am the first man that ever went sixty miles to an auction. As I
came for ebony, I have been up to my chin in ebony; there is
literally nothing but ebony in the house; all the other goods. if
there were any, and I trust my Lady Convers did not sleep upon
ebony mattresses, are taken away. There are two tables and
eighteen chairs, all made by the Hallet of two hundred years ago.
These I intend to have; for mind, the auction does not begin till
Thursday. There are more plebeian chairs of the same materials,
but I have left commission for only the true black blood. Thence
I went to Kimbolton,(295) and asked to see the house. A kind
footman, who in his zeal to open the chaise pinched half my
finger off, said he would call the housekeeper: but a groom of
the chambers insisted on my visiting their graces; and as I vowed
I did not know them, he said they were in the great apartment,
that all the rest was in disorder and altering, and would let me
see nothing. This was the reward of my first lie. I returned to
my inn or alehouse, and instantly received a message from the
Duke to invite me to the castle. I was quite undressed, and
dirty with my journey, and unacquainted with the Duchess--yet was
forced to go--Thank the god of dust, his grace was dirtier than
me. He was extremely civil, and detected me to the groom of the
chambers--asked me if I had dined. I said yes--lie the second.
He pressed me to take a bed there. I hate to be criticised at a
formal supper by a circle of stranger-footmen, and protested I
was to meet a gentleman at Huntingdon to-night. the Duchess and
Lady Caroline(296) came in from walking; and to disguise my not
having dined, for it was past six, I drank tea with them. The
Duchess is much altered, and has a bad short cough. I pity
Catherine of Arragon(297) for living at Kimbolton: I never saw an
uglier spot. The fronts are not so bad as I expected, by not
being so French as I expected; but have no pretensions to beauty,
nor even to comely ancient ugliness. The great apartment is
truly noble, and almost all the portraits good, of what I saw;
for many are not hung up, and half of those that are, my lord
Duke does not know. The Earl of Warwick is delightful; the Lady
Mandeville, attiring herself in her wedding garb, delicious. The
Prometheus is a glorious picture, the eagle as fine as my statue.
Is not it by Vandyck? The Duke told me that Mr. Spence found out
it was by Titian--but critics in poetry I see are none in
painting. This was all I was shown, for I was not even carried
into the chapel. The walls round the house are levelling, and I
saw nothing without doors that tempted me to taste. So I made my
bow, hurried to my inn, snapped up my dinner, lest I should again
be detected, and came hither, where I am writing by a great fire,
and give up my friend the east wind, which I have long been
partial to for the Southeast's sake, and in contradiction to the
west, for blowing perpetually and bending all one's plantations.
To-morrow I see Hinchinbrook(298)--and London. Memento, I
promised the Duke that you should come and write on all his
portraits. Do, as you honour the blood of Montagu! Who is the
man in the picture with Sir Charles Goring, where a page is tying
the latter's scarf? And who are the ladies in the double
Arlington Street, May 31.
Well! I saw Hinchinbrook this morning. Considering it is in
Huntingdonshire, the situation is not so ugly nor melancholy as I
expected; but I do not conceive what provoked so many of your
ancestors to pitch their tents in that triste country, unless the
Capulets(299) loved fine prospects. The house of Hinchinbrook is
most comfortable, and just what I like; old, spacious, irregular,
yet not vast or forlorn. I believe much has been done since you
saw it--it now only wants an apartment, for in no part of it are
there above two chambers together. The furniture has much
simplicity, not to say too much; some portraits tolerable, none I
think fine. When this lord gave Blackwood the head of the
Admiral' that I have now, he left himself not one so good. The
head he kept is very bad: the whole-length is fine, except the
face of it. There is another of the Duke of Cumberland by
Reynolds, the colours of which are as much changed as the
original is to the proprietor. The garden is wondrous small, the
park almost smaller, and no appearance of territory. The whole
has a quiet decency that seems adapted to the Admiral after his
retirement, or to Cromwell before his exaltation. I returned
time enough for the opera; observing all the way I came the proof
of the duration of this east wind, for on the west side the
blossoms were so covered with dust one could not distinguish
them; on the eastern hand the hedges were white in all the pride
of May. Good night!
Wednesday, June 1.
My letter is a perfect diary. There has been a sad alarm in the
kingdom of white satin and muslin. The Duke of Richmond was
seized last night with a sore throat and fever; and though he is
much better to-day, the masquerade of to-morrow night is put off
till Monday. Many a Queen of Scots, from sixty to sixteen, has
been ready to die of the fright. Adieu once more! I think I can
have nothing more to say before the post goes out to-morrow.
(295) The seat of the Duke of Manchester.-E.
(296) Sister of the Duke of Manchester.-E.
(297) Queen Catherine of Arragon, after her divorce from Henry
the Eighth, resided some time in this castle, and died there in
(298) The seat of the Earl of Sandwich.-E.
(299) As opposing in every thing the Montagus.
Letter 161 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, June 16, 1763. (page 225)
I do not like your putting off your visit hither for so long.
Indeed, by September the gallery will probably have all its fine
clothes on, and by what have been tried, I think it will look
very well. The fashion of the garments to be sure will be
ancient, but I have given them an air that is very becoming.
Princess Amelia was here last night While I was abroad; and if
Margaret is not too much prejudiced by the guinea left, or by
natural partiality to what servants call our house, I think was
pleased, particularly with the chapel.
As Mountain-George will not come to Mahomet-me, Mahomet-I Must
come to Greatworth. Mr. Chute and I think of visiting you about
the seventeenth of July, if you shall be at home, and nothing
happens to derange our scheme; possibly we may call at Horton; we
certainly shall proceed to Drayton, Burleigh, Fotheringay,
Peterborough, and Ely; and shall like much of your company, all,
or part of the tour. The only present proviso I have to make is
the health of my niece who is at present much out of order, we
think not breeding, and who was taken so ill on Monday, that I
was forced to carry her suddenly to town, where I yesterday left
her better at her father's.
There has been a report that the new Lord Holland was dead at
Paris, but I believe it is not true. I was very indifferent
about it: eight months ago it had been lucky. I saw his jackall
t'other night in the meadows, the secretary at war,(301) so
emptily-important and distilling paragraphs of old news with such
solemnity, that I did not know whether it was a man or the
(300) Admiral Montagu, first Earl of Sandwich; by Sir Peter Lely.
In early life he was distinguished as a military commander under
the parliamentary banner, and subsequently joint high-admiral of
England; in which capacity, having had sufficient influence to
induce the whole fleet to acknowledge the restored monarchy, he
received the peerage as his reward. Having attained the highest
renown as a naval officer, he fell in the great sea-fight with
the Dutch, off Southwold-bay, on the 28th of May, 1672. Evelyn,
in his diary of the 31st, gives the following high character of
the Earl:--"Deplorable was the loss of that incomparable person,
and my particular friend. He was learned in sea affairs, in
politics, in mathematics, and in music: he had been on divers
embassies, was of a sweet and obliging temper, sober, chaste,
very ingenious, a true nobleman and ornament to the court and his
prince; nor has he left any behind him who approach his many
(301) Welbore Ellis, Esq. afterwards Lord Mendip.-E.
Letter 162 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, July 1, 1763. (page 226)
Mr. chute and I intend to be with you on the seventeenth or
eighteenth; but as we are wandering swains, we do not drive one
nail into one day of the almanack irremovably. Our first stage is
to Bleckley, the parsonage of venerable Cole, the antiquarian of
Cambridge. Bleckley lies by Fenny Stratford; now can you direct
us how to make Horton(302) in our way from Stratford to
Greatworth? If this meander engrosses more time than we propose,
do not be disappointed, and think we shall not come, for we
shall. The journey you must accept as a great sacrifice either
to you or to my promise, for I quit the gallery almost in the
critical minute of consummation. Gilders, carvers, upholsterers,
and picture-cleaners are labouring at their several forges, and I
do not love to trust a hammer or a brush without my own
supervision. This will make my stay very short, but it is a
greater compliment than a month would be at another season and
yet I am not profuse of months. Well, but I begin to be ashamed
of my magnificence; Strawberry is growing Sumptuous in its latter
day; it will scarce be any longer like the fruit of its name, or
the modesty of its ancient demeanour, both which seem to have
been in spencer's prophetic eye when he sung of
"The blushing strawberries
Which lurk, close-shrouded from high-looking eyes,
Showing that sweetness low and hidden lies."
In truth, my collection was too great already to be lodged
humbly; it has extended my walls, and pomp followed. It was a
neat, small house; it now will be a comfortable one, and except
for one fine apartment, does not deviate from its simplicity.
Adieu! I know nothing about the world, and am only Strawberry's
and yours, sincerely.
(302) The seat of the Earl of Halifax.
Letter 163 To Sir David Dalrymple.(303)
Strawberry Hill, July 1, 1763. (page 227)
Perhaps, sir, you have wondered that I have been
so long silent about a scheme,(304) that called for despatch.
The truth is I have had no success. Your whole
plan has been communicated to Mr. Grenville by one whose heart
went with it, going always with what is humane. Mr. Grenville
mentions two objections; one, insuperable as to expedition; the
other, totally so. No crown or public lands could be so disposed
of without an act of parliament. In that case the scheme should
be digested during a war, to take place at the conclusion, and
cannot be adjusted in time for receiving the disbanded. But what
is worse, he hints, Sir, that your good heart has only considered
the practicability with regard to Scotland, where there are no
poor's rates. Here every parish would object to such settlers.
This is the sum of his reply; I am not master
enough of the subject or the nature of it, as to answer either
difficulty. If you can, Sir, I am ready to continue the
intermediate negotiator; but you must furnish me with answers to
these obstacles, before I could hope to make any way even with
any private person. In truth, I am little versed in the subject;
which I own, not to excuse myself from pursuing it if it can be
made feasible, but to prompt you, Sir, to instruct me. Except at
this place, which cannot be called the country, I have scarce
ever lived in the country, and am shamefully ignorant of the
police and domestic laws of my own country. Zeal to do any good,
I have; but I want to be tutored when the operation is at all
complicated. Your knowledge, Sir, may supply my deficiencies; at
least you are sure of a solicitor for your good intentions, in
(303) Now first collected.
(304) See ant`e, p. 215, letter 154.-E.
Letter 164 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, July 1, 1763. (page 228)
As you have given me leave, I propose to pass a day with you,
on my way to Mr. Montagu's. If you have no engagement, I will
be with you on the 16th of this month, and if it is not
inconvenient, and you will tell me truly whether it is or not,
I shall bring my friend Mr. Chute with me, who is destined to
the same place. I will beg you too to let me know how far it
is to Bleckley, and what road I must take: that is, how far
from London, or how far from Twickenham, and the road from
each, as I am uncertain yet from which I shall set out. If any
part of this proposal does not suit You, I trust you will own
it, and I will take some other opportunity of calling on you,
being most truly, dear Sir, etc.
Letter 165 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, July 12, 1763. (page 228)
Upon consulting maps and the knowing, I find it will be my best
way to call on Mr. Montagu first, before I come to you, or I must
go the same road twice. This will make it a few days later than
I intended before I wait on you, and will leave you time to
complete your hay-harvest, as I gladly embrace your offer of
bearing me company on the tour I meditate to Burleigh, Drayton,
Peterborough, Ely, and twenty other places, of all which you
shall take as much or as little as you please. It will, I think,
be Wednesday or Thursday se'nnight, before I wait on you, that is
the 20th or 21st, and I fear I shall come alone; for Mr. Chute is
confined with the gout: but you shall hear again before I set
out. Remember I am to see Sir Kenelm Digby's.
I thank you much for your informations. The Countess of
Cumberland is an acquisition, and quite new to me. With the
Countess of Kent I am acquainted since my last edition.
Addison certainly changed sides in the epitaph to indicabit to
avoid the jingle with dies: though it is possible that the
thought may have been borrowed elsewhere. Adieu, Sir!
To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Wednesday is the day I propose waiting on you; what time of it
the Lord and the roads know; so don't wait for me any part of it.
If I should be violently pressed to stay a day longer at Mr.
Montagu's I hope it will be no disappointment to you: but I love
to be uncertain, rather than make myself expected and fail.
Letter 166 To George Montagu, Esq.
Stamford, Saturday night, July 23, 1763. (page 229)
"Thus far arms have with success been crowned," bating a few
mishaps, which will attend long marches like ours. We have
conquered as many towns as Louis Quatorze in the campaign of
seventy-two; that is, seen them, for he did little more, and into
the bargain he had much better roads, and a dryer summer. It has
rained perpetually till to-day, and made us experience the rich
soil of Northamptonshire, which is a clay-pudding stuck full of
villages. After we parted with you on Thursday, we saw Castle
Ashby(305) and Easton MaudUit.(306) The first is most
magnificently triste, and has all the formality of the Comptons.
I should admire 'It if I could see out of it, or any thing in it,
but there is scarce any furniture, and the bad little frames of
glass exclude all objects. Easton is miserable enough; there are
many modern portraits, and one I was glad to see of the Duchess
of Shrewsbury. We lay at Wellingborough--pray never lie there--
the beastliest inn upon earth is there! We were carried into a
vast bedchamber, which I suppose is the club-room, for it stunk
of tobacco like a justice of peace. I desired some boiling water
for tea; they brought me a sugar dish of hot water in a pewter
plate. Yesterday morning we went to Boughton,(307) where we were
scarce landed, before the Cardigans, in a coach and six and three
chaises, arrived with a cold dinner in their pockets, on their
way to Deane; for as it is in dispute, they never reside at
Boughton. This was most unlucky, that we should pitch on the
only hour in the year in which they are there. I was so
disconcerted, and so afraid, of falling foul of the Countess and
her caprices, that I hurried from chamber to chamber, and scarce
knew what I saw, but that the house is in the grand old French
style, that gods and goddesses lived over my head in every room,
and that there was nothing but pedigrees all around me, and under
my feet, for there is literally a coat of arms at the end of
every step of the stairs: did the Duke mean to pun, and intend
this for the descent of the Montagus? Well! we hurried away and
got to Drayton an hour before dinner. Oh! the dear old place!
you would be transported with it. In the first place, it stands
in as ugly a hole as Boughton: well! that is not its beauty. The
front is a brave strong castle wall, embattled and loopholed for
defence. Passing the great gate, you come to a sumptuous but
narrow modern court, behind which rises the old mansion, all
towers and turrets. The house is excellent; has a vast hall,
ditto dining-room, king's chamber, trunk gallery at the top of
the house, handsome chapel, and seven or eight distinct
apartments, besides closets and conveniences without end. Then
it is covered with portraits, crammed with old china, furnished
richly, and not a rag in it under forty, fifty, or a thousand
years old; but not a bed or chair that has lost a tooth, or got a
gray hair, so well are they preserved. I rummaged it from head
to foot, examined every spangled bed, and enamelled pair of
bellows, for such there are; in short, I do not believe the old
mansion was ever better pleased with an inhabitant, since the
days of Walter de Drayton, except when it has received its divine
old mistress.(308) If one could honour her more than one did
before, it would be to see with what religion she keeps up the
old dwelling and customs, as well as old servants, who you may
imagine do not love her less than other people do. The garden is
just as Sir John Germain brought it from Holland; pyramidal yews,
treillages, and square cradle walks with windows clipped in them.
Nobody was there but Mr. Beauclerc(309) and Lady Catharine,(310)
and two parsons: the two first suffered us to ransack and do as
we would, and the two last assisted us, informed us, and carried
us to every tomb in the neighbourhood. I have got every
circumstance by heart, and was pleased beyond my expectation,
both with the place and the comfortable way of seeing it. We
stayed here till after dinner to-day, and saw Fotheringhay in our
way hither. The castle is totally ruined.(311) The mount, on
which the keep stood, two door-cases, and a piece of the moat,
are all the remains. Near it is a front and two projections of
an ancient house, which, by the arms about it, I suppose was part
of the palace of Richard and Cicely, Duke and Duchess of York.
There are two pretty tombs for them and their uncle Duke of York
in the church, erected by order of Queen Elizabeth. The church
has been very fine, but is now intolerably shabby; yet many large
saints remain in the windows, two entire, and all the heads well
painted. You may imagine we were civil enough to the Queen of
Scots, to feel a feel of pity for her, while we stood on the very
spot where she was put to death; my companion,(312) I believe,
who is a better royalist than I am, felt a little more. There, I
have obeyed you. To-morrow we see Burleigh and Peterborough, and
lie @t Ely; on Monday I hope to be in town, and on Tuesday I hope
much more to be in the gallery at Strawberry Hill, and to find
the gilders laying on the last leaf of gold. Good night!
(305) A seat of the Earl of Northampton.
(306) A seat of the Earl of Sussex.
(307) The seat of Lord Montagu.
(308) Lady Betty Germain.-E.
(309) Aubrey Beauclerk, Esq. member for Thetford. He succeeded
to the dukedom of St. Albans, as fifth Duke, in 1787, and died in
(310) Lady Catharine Ponsonby, daughter of the Earl of
(311) James the First is said to have ordered it to be destroyed,
in consequence of its having been the scene of the trial and
execution of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, beheaded there in
(312) Mr. Cole.
Letter 167 To George Montagu, Esq.
Hockerill, Monday night, July 25, Vol. 2d. (page 231)
You must know we were drowned on Saturday night. It rained, as
it did at Greatworth on Wednesday, all night and all next
morning, so we could not look even at the outside of Burleigh;
but we saw the inside pleasantly; for Lord Exeter, whom I had
prepared for our intentions, came to us, and made every door and
every lock fly open, even of his magazines, yet unranged. He is
going through the house by decrees, furnishing a room every year,
and has already made several most sumptuous. One is a little
tired of Carlo Maratti and Lucca Jordano, yet still these are
treasures. The china and japan are of the finest; miniatures in
plenty, and a shrine full of crystal vases, filigree, enamel,
jewels, and the trinkets of taste, that have belonged to many a
noble dame. In return for his civilities, I made my Lord Exeter
a present of a glorious cabinet, whose drawers and sides are all
painted by Rubens. This present you must know is his own, but he
knew nothing of the hand or the value. Just so I have given Lady
Betty Germain a very fine portrait, that I discovered ,at Drayton
in the Woodhouse.
I was not much pleased with Peterborough; the front is adorable,
but the inside has no more beauty than consists in vastness. By
the way, I have a pen and ink that will not form a letter. We
were now sent to Huntingdon in our way to Ely, as we found it
impracticable, from the rains and floods, to cross the country
thither. We landed in the heart of the assizes, and almost in
the middle of the races, both which, to the astonishment of the
virtuosi, we eagerly quitted this morning. We were hence sent
south to Cambridge, still on our way north to Ely: but when we
got to Cambridge we were forced to abandon all thoughts of Ely,
there being nothing but lamentable stories of inundations and
escapes. However, I made myself amends at the university, which
I have not seen these four-and-twenty years, and which revived
many youthful scenes, which, merely from their being youthful,
are forty times pleasanter than any other ideas. You know I
always long to live at Oxford: I felt that I could like to live
even at Cambridge again. The colleges are much cleaned and
improved since my days, and the trees and groves more venerable;
but the town is tumbling about their ears. We surprised Gray
with our appearance, dined and drank tea with him, and are come
hither within sight of land. I always find it worth my while to
make journeys, for the joy I have in getting home again. A
Letter 168 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 8, 1763. (page 232)
You judge rightly, I am very indifferent about Dr. Shorton, since
he is not Dr. Shorter. It has done nothing but rain since my
return; whoever wants hay, must fish for it; it is all drowned,
or swimming about the country. I am glad our tour gave you so
much pleasure; you was so very obliging, as you have always been
to me, that I should have been grieved not to have had it give
you satisfaction. I hope your servant is quite recovered.
The painters and gilders quit my gallery this week, but I have
not got a chair or a table for it yet; however, I hope it will
have all its clothes on by the time you have promised me a visit.
Letter 169 To Dr. Ducarel.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 8, 1763. (page 232)
I have been rambling about the country, or should not so long
have deferred to answer the favour of your letter. I thank you
for the notices in it, and have profited of them. I am much
obliged to you too for the drawings you intended me; but I have
since had a letter from Mr. Churchill, and he does not mention
Letter 170 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 9, 1763. (page 232)
My gallery claims your promise; the painters and gilders finish
to-morrow, and next day it washes its hands. You talked of the
15th; shall I expect you then, and the Countess,(313) and the
Contessina,(314) and the Baroness?(315)
Lord Digby is to be married immediately to the pretty Miss
Fielding; and Mr. Boothby, they say, to Lady Mary Douglas. What
more news I know I cannot send you; for I have had it from Lady
Denbigh and Lady Blandford, who have so confounded names,
genders, and circumstances, that I am not sure whether Prince
Ferdinand is not going to be married to the hereditary Prince.
P. S. If you want to know more of me, you may read a whole column
of abuse upon me in the Public Ledger of Thursday last; where
they inform me that the Scotch cannot be so sensible @as the
English, because they have not such good writers. Alack! I am
afraid the most sensible men in any country do not write.
I had writ this last night. This morning I receive your paper of
evasions, perfide que vous `etes! You may let it alone, you will
never see any thing like my gallery--and then to ask me to leave
it the instant it is finished! I never heard such a request in my
days!--Why, all the earth is begging to come to see it: as Edging
says, I have had offers enough from blue and green ribands to
make me a falbala-apron. Then I have just refused to let Mrs.
Keppel and her Bishop be in the house with me, because I expected
all you--it is mighty well, mighty fine!-No, sir, no, I shall not
come; nor am I in a humour to do any thing else you desire:
indeed, without your provoking me, I should not have come into
the proposal of paying Giardini. We have been duped and cheated
every winter for these twenty years by the undertakers of
operas, and I never will pay a farthing more till the last
moment, nor can be terrified at their puffs; I am astonished you
are. So far from frightening me. the kindest thing they could do
would be not to let one have a box to hear their old threadbare
voices and frippery thefts; and as for Giardini himself, I would
not go cross the room to hear him play to eternity. I should
think he could frighten nobody but Lady Bingley by a refusal.
(313) Of Ailesbury.
(314) Miss Anne Seymour Conway.
(315) Elizabeth Rich, second wife of George Lord Lyttelton.
Letter 171 To The Earl Of Strafford.
Strawberry Hill, Aug 10, 1763. Page 233)
My dear lord,
I have waited in hopes that the world would do something worth
telling you: it will not, and I cannot stay any longer without
asking you how you do, and hoping you have not quite forgot me.
It has rained such deluges, that I had some thoughts of turning
my gallery into an ark, and began to pack up a pair of bantams, a
pair of cats, in short, a pair of every living creature about my
house: but it is grown fine at last, and the workmen quit my
gallery to-day without hoisting a sail in it. I know nothing
upon earth but what the ancient ladies in my neighbourhood knew
threescore years ago; I write merely to pay you my pepper-corn of
affection, and to inquire after my lady, who I hope is perfectly
well. A longer letter would not have half the merit: a line in
return will however repay all the merit I can possibly have to
one to whom I am so much obliged.
Letter 172 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Aug. 15, 1763. (page 233)
The most important piece of news I have to tell you is, that the
gallery is finished; that is, the workmen have quitted it. For
chairs and tables, not one is arrived yet. Well, how you will
tramp up and down in it! Methinks I wish you would. We are in
the perfection of beauty; verdure itself was never green till
this summer, thanks to the deluges of rain. Our complexion used
to be mahogany in August. Nightingales and roses indeed are out
of blow, but the season is celestial. I don't know whether we
have not even had an earthquake to-day. Lady Buckingham, Lady
Waldegrave, the Bishop of' Exeter, and Mrs. Keppel, and the
little Hotham dined here; between six and seven we were sitting
in the great parlour; I sat in the window looking at the river:
on a sudden I saw it violently agitated, and, as it were, lifted
up and down by a thousand hands. I called out, they all ran to
the window; it continued; we hurried into the garden, and all saw
the Thames in the same violent commotion for I suppose a hundred
yards. We fancied at first there must be some barge rope; not
one was in sight. It lasted in this manner, and at the farther
end, towards Teddington, even to dashing. It did not cease
before I got to the middle of the terrace, between the fence and
the hill. Yet this is nothing: to what is to come. The Bishop
and I walked down to my meadow by the river. At this end were
two fishermen in a boat, but their backs had been turned to the
agitation, and they had seen nothing. At the farther end of the
field was a gentleman fishing, and a woman by him; I had
perceived him on the same spot at the time of the motion of the
waters, which was rather beyond where it was terminated. I now
thought myself sure of a witness, and concluded he could not have
recovered his surprise. I ran up to him. "Sir," said I, "did
you see that strange agitation of the waters?" "When, Sir? when,
Sir?" "Now, this very instant, not two minutes ago." He
replied, with the phlegm of a philosopher, or of a man that can
love fishing, "Stay, Sir, let me recollect if I remember nothing
of it." "Pray, Sir," said I, scarce able to help laughing, "you
must remember whether you remember it or not, for it is scarce
over." "I am trying to recollect," said he, with the same
coolness. "Why, Sir," said I, "six of us saw it from my parlour
window yonder." "Perhaps," answered he, "you might perceive it
better where you were, but I suppose it was an earthquake." His
nymph had seen nothing neither, and so we returned as wise as
most who inquire into natural phenomena. We expect to hear
to-morrow that there has been an earthquake somewhere; unless
this appearance portended a state-quake. You see, my impetuosity
does not abate much; no, nor my youthfullity, which bears me out
even at a sabat. I dined last week at Lady Blandford's, with
her, the old Denbigh, the old Litchfield, and Methuselah knows
who. I had stuck some sweet peas in my hair, was playing at
quadrille, and singing to my sorci`eres. The Duchess of Argyle
and Mrs. Young came in; you may guess how they stared; at last
the Duchess asked what was the meaning of those flowers? "Lord,
Madam," said I, "don't you know it is the fashion? The Duke of
Bedford is come over with his hair full." Poor Mrs. Young took
this in sober sadness, and has reported that the Duke of Bedford
wears flowers. You will not know me less by a precipitation of
this morning. Pitt and I were busy adjusting the gallery. Mr.
Elliott came in and discomposed us; I was horridly tired of him.
As he was going, he said, "Well, this house is so charming, I
don't wonder at your being able to live so much alone." I, who
shudder at the thought of any body's living With me, replied very
innocently, but a little too quick, "No, only pity me when I
don't live alone." Pitt was shocked, and said, "To be sure he
will never forgive you as long as he lives." Mrs. Leneve used
often to advise me never to begin being civil to people I did not
care for: For," says she, "you grow weary of them, and can't help
showing it, and so make it ten times worse than if you had never
attempted to please them."
I suppose you have read in the papers the massacre of my
innocents. Every one of my Turkish sheep, that I have been
nursing up these fourteen years, torn to pieces in one night by
three strange dogs! They killed sixteen outright, and mangled
the two others in such a manner that I was forced to have them
knocked on the head. However, I bore this better than an
I have scrawled and blotted this letter so I don't know whether
you can read it; but it is no matter, for I perceive it is all
about myself: but what has one else in the dead of summer? In
return, tell me as much as you please about yourself, which you
know is always a most welcome subject to me. One may preserve
one's spirits with one's juniors, but I defy any body to care but
about their contemporaries. One wants to linger about one's
predecessors, but who has the least curiosity about their
successors? This is abominable ingratitude: one takes wondrous
pains to consign one's own memory to them at the same time that
one feels the most perfect indifference to whatever relates to
them themselves. Well, they will behave just so in their turns.
Letter 173 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 3, 1763. (page 235)
I have but a minute's time for answering your letter; my house is
full of people, and has been so from the instant I breakfasted,
and more are coming; in short, I keep an inn; the sign, the
Gothic Castle. Since my gallery was finished I have not been in
it a quarter of an hour together; my whole time is passed in
giving tickets for seeing it, and hiding myself while it is seen.
Take my advice, never build a charming house for yourself between
London and Hampton-court: every body will live in it but you. I
fear you must give up all thoughts of the Vine for this year, at
least for some time. The poor master is on the rack; I left him
the day before yesterday in bed, where he had been ever since
Monday, with the gout in both knees and one foot, and suffering
martyrdom every night. I go to see him again on Monday. He has
not had so bad a fit these four years, and he has probably the
other foot still to come. You must come to me at least in the
mean time, before he is well enough to receive you. After next
Tuesday I am unengaged, except on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday
following; that is, the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, when the
family from Park-place are to be with me. Settle your motions,
and let me know them as soon as you can, and give me as much time
as you can spare. I flatter myself the General(316) and Lady
Grandison will keep the kind promise they made me, and that I
shall see your brother John and Mr. Miller too.
My niece is not breeding. You shall have the auction books as
soon as I can get them, though I question if there is any thing
in your way; however, I shall see you long before the sale, and
we will talk on it.
There has been a revolution and a re-revolution, but I must defer
the history till I see you, for it is much too big for a letter
written in such a hurry as this. Adieu!
(316) General Montagu, who, in the preceding February, had
married the Countess-dowager of Grandison.-E.
Letter 174 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Sept. 7, 1763. (page 236)
As I am sure the house of Conway will not stay with me beyond
Monday next, I shall rejoice to see the house of Montagu this day
se'nnight (Wednesday), and shall think myself highly honoured by
a visit from Lady Beaulieu;(317) I know nobody that has better
taste, and it would flatter me exceedingly if she should happen
to like Strawberry. I knew you would be pleased with Mr. Thomas
Pitt; he is very amiable and very sensible, and one of the very
few that I reckon quite worthy of being at home at Strawberry.
I have again been in town to see Mr. Chute; he thinks the worst
over, yet he gets no sleep, and is still confined to his bed 'but
his spirits keep up surprisingly. As to your gout, so far from
pitying you, 'tis the best thing that can happen to you. All
that claret and port are very kind to you, when they prefer the
shape of lameness to that of apoplexies, or dropsies, or fevers,
Let me have a line certain what day I may expect your party, that
I may pray to the sun to illuminate the cabinet. Adieu!
(317) Isabella, eldest daughter and co-heir of John Duke of
Montagu, and relict of William Duke of Manchester; married, in
1763, to Edward Montagu, Lord Beaulieu.-E.
Letter 175 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 3, 1763. (page 236)
I was just getting into my chaise to go to Park-place, when I
received your commission for Mrs. Crosby's pictures; but I did
not neglect it, though I might as well, for the old gentlewoman
was a little whimsical, and though I sent my own gardener and
farmer with my cart to fetch them on Friday, she would not
deliver them, she said, till Monday; so this morning they were
forced to go again. They are now all safely lodged in my
cloister; when I say safely, you understand, that two of them
have large holes in them, as witness this bill of lading signed
by your aunt. There are eleven in all, besides Lord Halifax,
seven half-lengths and four heads; the former are all desirable,
and one of the latter; the three others woful. Mr. Wicks is now
in the act of packing them, for we have changed our minds about
sending them to London by water, as your wagoner told Louis last
time I was at Greatworth, that if they were left at the Old Hat,
near Acton, he would take them up and convey them to Greatworth;
so my cart carries them thither, and they will set out towards
you next Saturday.
I felt shocked, as you did, to think how suddenly the prospect of
joy at Osterly was dashed after our seeing it. However the young
lover(318) died handsomely. Fifty thousand pounds will dry
tears, that at most could be but two months old. His brother, I
heard, has behaved still more handsomely, and confirmed the
legacy, and added from himself the diamonds that had been
prepared for her. Here is a charming wife ready for any body
that likes a sentimental situation, a pretty woman, and a large
I have been often at Bulstrode from Chaffont, but I don't like
it. It is Dutch and triste. The pictures you mention in the
gallery would be curious if they knew one from another; but the
names are lost, and they are only sure that they have so many
pounds of ancestors in the lump. One or two of them indeed I
know, as the Earl of Southampton, that was Lord Essex's friend.
The works of Park-place go on bravely; the cottage will be very
pretty, and the bridge sublime, composed of loose rocks, that
will appear to have been tumbled together there the very wreck of
the deluge. One stone is of fourteen hundred weight. It will be
worth a hundred of Palladio's brigades, that are only fit to be
used in an opera.
I had a ridiculous adventure on my way hither. A Sir Thomas
Reeves wrote to me last year, that he had a great quantity of
heads of painters, drawn by himself from Dr. Mead's collection,
of which many were English, and offered me the use of them. This
was one of the numerous unknown correspondents which my books
have drawn upon me. I put it off then, but being to pass near
his door, for he lives but two miles from Maidenhead, I sent him
word I would call on my way to Park-place. After being carried
to three wrong houses, I was directed to a very ancient mansion,
composed of timber, and looking as unlike modern habitations, as
the picture of Penderel's house in Clarendon. The garden was
overrun with weeds, and with difficulty we found a bell. Louis
came riding back in great haste, and said, "Sir, the Gentleman is
dead suddenly." You may imagine I was surprised; however, as an
acquaintance I had never seen was an endurable misfortune, I was
preparing to depart; but happening to ask some women, that were
passing by the chaise, if they knew any circumstance of Sir
Thomas's death, I discovered that this was not Sir Thomas's
house, but belonged to a Mr. Mecke,(320) fellow of a college at
Oxford, who was actually just dead, and that the antiquity itself
had formerly been the residence of Nell Gwyn. Pray inquire after
it the next time you are at Frocmore. I went on, and after a
mistake or two more found Sir Thomas, a man about thirty in age,
and twelve in understanding; his drawings very indifferent, even
for the latter calculation. I did not know what to do or say,
but commended them and his child, and his house; said I had all
the heads, hoped I should see him at Twickenham, was afraid of
being too late for dinner, and hurried out of his house before I
had been there twenty minutes. It grieves one to receive
civilities when one feels obliged, and yet finds it impossible to
bear the people that bestow them.
I have given my assembly, to show my gallery, and it was
glorious; but happening to pitch upon the feast of tabernacles,
none of my Jews could come, though Mrs. Clive proposed to them to
change their religion; so I am forced to exhibit once more. For
the morning spectators, the crowd augments instead of
diminishing. It is really true that Lady Hertford called here
t'other morning, and I was reduced to bring her by the back gate
into the kitchen; the house was so full of company that came to
see the gallery, that I had no where else to carry her. Adieu!
P. S. I hope the least hint has never dropped from the Beaulieus
of that terrible picture of Sir Charles Williams, that put me
into such confusion the morning they breakfasted here. If they
did observe the inscription, I am sure they must have seen too
how it distressed me. Your collection of pictures is packed up,
and makes two large cases and one smaller.
My next assembly will be entertaining; there will be five
countesses, two bishops, fourteen Jews, five papists, a doctor of
physic, and an actress; not to mention Scotch, Irish, East and
I find that, to pack up your pictures, Louis has taken some paper
out of a hamper of waste, into which I had cast some of the
Conway papers, perhaps only as useless , however, if you find any
such in the packing, be so good as to lay them by for me.
(318) Francis Child, Esq. the banker at Temple-bar, and member
for Bishop's-Castle, who died on the @3d of September. He was to
have been married in a few days to the only daughter of the Hon.
Robert Trevor Hampden, one of the postmasters-general.-E.
(319) This young lady was married in the May following to Henri,
twelfth Earl of Suffolk.-E.
(320) The Rev. Mr. Mecke, of Pembroke College. He died on the
26th of September.-E.
Letter 176 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, Oct. 8, 1763. Page 239)
You are always obliging to me and always thinking Of me kindly;
yet for once you have forgotten the way of obliging me most. You
do not mention any thought of coming hither, which you had given
me cause to hope about this time, I flatter myself nothing has
intervened to deprive me of that visit. Lord Hertford goes to
France the end of next week; I shall be in town to take leave of
him; but after the 15th, that is, this day se'nnight, I shall be
quite unengaged and the sooner I see you after the 15th, the
better, for I should be sorry to drag you across the country in
the badness of November roads.
I shall treasure up your notices against my second edition for
the volume of Engravers is printed off, and has been some time; I
only wait for some of the plates. The book you mention I have
not seen, nor do you encourage me to buy it. Some time or other
however I will get you to let me turn it over.
As I will trust that you will let me know soon when I shall have
the pleasure of seeing you here, I will make this a very short
letter indeed. I know nothing new or old worth telling you.
Letter 177 To The Earl Of Hertford.(321)
Arlington Street, Oct. 18, 1763. (page 239)
My dear Lord,
I am very impatient for a letter from Paris, to hear of your
outset, and what my Lady Hertford thinks of the new world she is
got into, and whether it is better or worse than she expected.
Pray tell me all: I mean of that sort, for I have no curiosity
about the family compact, nor the harbour of Dunkirk. It is your
private history--your audiences, reception, comforts or
distresses, your way of life, your company--that interests me; in
short, I care about my cousins and friends, not, like Jack
Harris,(322) about my lord ambassador. Consider you are in my
power. You, by this time,
are longing to hear from England, and depend upon me for the news
of London. I shall not send you a tittle, if you are not very
good, and do not (one of you, at least) write to me punctually.
This letter, I confess, will not give you much encouragement, for
I can absolutely tell you nothing. I dined at Mr. Grenville's
to-day, if there had been any thing to hear, I should have heard
it; but all consisted in what you will see in the papers--some
diminutive(323) battles in America, and the death of the King of
Poland,(324) which you probably knew before we did. The town is
a desert; it is like a vast plain, which, though abandoned at
present, is in three weeks to have a great battle fought upon it.
One of the colonels, I hear, is to be in town tomorrow, the Duke
of Devonshire. I came myself but this morning, but as I shall
not return to Strawberry till the day after to-morrow, I shall
not seal my letter till then. In the mean time, it is but fair
to give you some more particular particulars of what I expect to
know. For instance, of Monsieur de Nivernois's cordiality; of
Madame Dusson's affection for England; of my Lord Holland's joy
at seeing you in France, especially without your Secretary;(325)
of all my Lady Hertford's(326) cousins at St. Germains; and I
should not dislike a little anecdote or two of the late
embassy,(327) of which I do not doubt you will hear plenty. I
must trouble you with many
compliments to Madame de Boufflers, and with still more to the
Duchesse de Mirepoix,(328) who is always so good as to remember
me. Her brother, Prince de Beauvau,(329) I doubt has forgotten
the disagreeableness of taking leave, I omitted these messages.
Good night for to-night--OH! I forgot--pray send me some caff`e
au lait: the Duc de Picquigny(33) (who by the way is somebody's
son, as I thought) takes it for snuff; and says it is the new
Paris; I suppose they drink rappee after dinner.
I might as well have finished last night; for I know nothing more
than I did then, but that Lady mary Coke arrived this evening.
She has behaved very honourably, and not stolen the hereditary
Mr. Bowman(332) called on me yesterday before I came, and left
word that he would come again to-day, but did not. I wished to
hear of you from him, and a little of my old acquaintance at
Rheims. Did you find Lord Beauchamp(333) much grown? Are all
your sons to be like those of the Amalekites? who were I forget
how many cubits high.
Pray remind Mr. Hume(334) Of collecting the whole history of the
expulsion of the Jesuits. It is a subject worthy of his inquiry
and pen. Adieu! my dear lord.
(321) This is the first of the series of letters which Walpole
addressed to his relation, the Earl of Hertford, during his
lordship's embassy in Paris, in the years 1763, 1764, and 1765.
The first edition of these letters appeared, in quarto, in 1825,
edited by the Right Honourable John Wilson Croker, and contained
the following introductory notice:--
"No apology, it is presumed, is necessary for the following
publication. The Letters of Mr. Walpole have already attained
the highest rank in that department of English literature, and
seem to deserve their popularity, whether they are regarded as
objects of mere amusement, or as a collection of anecdotes
illustrative of the politics, literature, and manners of an
important and interesting period.
"The following collection is composed of his letters to his
cousin, the Earl of Hertford, while ambassador at Paris, from
1763 to 1765;
which seem, at least as much as those which have preceded them,
deserving of the public attention.
"It appears from some circumstances connected with the letters
themselves, that Mr. Walpole wrote them in the intention and hope
that they might be preserved; and although they are enlivened by
his characteristic vivacity, and are not deficient in the lighter
matters with which he was in the habit of amusing all his
correspondents, they are, on the whole, written in a more careful
style, and are employed on more important subjects than any
others which have yet come to light.
"Of the former collections, anecdote and chit-chat formed the
principal topics, and politics were introduced Only as they
happened to be the news of the day. Of the series now offered to
the public, politics are the groundwork, and the town-talk is
only the accidental embroidery.
"Mr. Walpole's lately published Memoires have given proof of his
ability in sketching parliamentary portraits and condensing
parliamentary debates. In the following letters, powers of the
same class will, it is thought, be recognised; and as the
published parliamentary debates are extremely imperfect for the
whole time to which this correspondence relates, Mr. Walpole's
sketches are additionally valuable.
"These letters also give a near view of the proceedings of
political parties during that interesting period; and although
the representation of so warm a partisan must be read with due
caution, a great deal of authentic information on this subject
will be found, and even the very errors of the writer will
sometimes tend to elucidate the state of parties during one of
the busiest periods of our domestic dissensions.
"Mr. Walpole's party feelings were, indeed, so warm, and his
judgment of individuals was so often affected by the political
lights in which he viewed them, that the Editor has thought it
due to many eminent political characters to add a few notes, to
endeavour to explain the prejudices and to correct the
misapprehensions under which Mr. Walpole wrote. In doing so, the
Editor has, he hopes, shown (what he certainly felt) a perfect
impartiality; and he flatters himself that he has only
endeavoured to perform, (however imperfectly) what Mr. Walpole
himself, after the heat of party had subsided, would have been
inclined to do."--
To the notes here spoken of, the letter C. is affixed.
(322) John Harris, Esq. of Hayne, in Devonshire, who married
Anne, Lord Hertford's eldest sister.-E.
(323) The actions at Detroit and Edge Hill, on the 31st of July
and 5th and 6th of August, between the British and the Indians.
In the former the British were defeated, and their leader,
Captain Ditlyell, killed; in the latter engagements, under
Colonel Bouguet, they defeated the Indians.-C.
(324) Stanislaus Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.
He died at Dresden, on the 5th of October.-E.
(325) Mr. Fox, so long a political leader in the House of
Commons, had been lately created Lord Holland, and was now in
Paris. Mr. Walpole insinuates, in his letter to Mr. Montagu of
the 14th of April, that Lord Holland's visit to France arose from
apprehension of personal danger to himself, in consequence of his
share in Lord Bute's administration--an absurd insinuation! What
is meant by his joy at seeing Lord Hertford in France is not
clear; but the allusion to the secretary probably refers to the
absence of Sir Charles, then Mr. Bunbury, who was nominated
secretary to the embassy, but who had not accompanied Lord
Hertford to Paris: as Mr.
Bunbury had married Lady Holland's niece, there may have been
family reason for this allusion.-C.
(326) Lady Hertford was a granddaughter of Charles II., and
therefore cousin to the pretender, who, however, was at this
period in Italy; and the cousins alluded to were probably the
family of Fitz-James.-C.
(327) John, fourth Duke of Bedford, was Lord Hertford's
predecessor. Mr. Walpole had been on terms of personal and
political intimacy at Bedford-house; but political and private
differences had occurred to sharpen his resentment against the
Duke, and even occasionally against the Duchess of Bedford.-C.
(328) The Mar`eschale de Mirepoix was a clever woman, who was at
the head of one class of French society. She, however,
quarrelled with her family, and lost the respect of the public by
the meanness of countenancing Madame du Barri.-C.
(329) Son of the Prince de Craon: he was born in 1720; served
with great distinction from the earliest age, and was created, in
1782, marshal of France. His conduct in discountenancing the
favouritism of the last years of Louis XV. was very honourable,
as was his devotion to Louis XVI. in the first years of the
revolution. The marshal survived his unfortunate sovereign but
(330) Son of the Duke de Chaulnes.-E.
(331) The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick was at this time
betrothed to the King's eldest sister; and Mr. Walpole, a
constant friend and admirer of Lady Mary, affects to think that
her beauty and vivacity might have seduced his Serene Highness
from his royal bride. Lady Mary lived till 1810.-C.
(332) This gentleman was travelling tutor to Lord Hertford's
eldest son, and had been lately residing with him at Rheims.-C.
(333) Francis, afterwards second Marquis of Hertford, who died in
the year 1822.-E.
(334) David Hume, the historian. He was at first private
secretary to Lord Hertford, and afterwards secretary of
Letter 178 To George Montagu, Esq.
Strawberry Hill, Nov. 12, 1763. (page 242)
I send you the catalogue as you desired; and as I told you, you
will, I think, find nothing to your purpose: the present lord
bought all the furniture at Navestock;(335) the few now to be
sold are the very fine ones of the best masters, and likely to go
at vast prices, for there are several people determined to have
some one thing that belonged to Lord Waldegrave. I did not get
the catalogue till the night before last, too late to send by the
post, for I had dined with Sir Richard Lyttelton at Richmond, and
was forced to return by Kew-bridge, for the Thames was swelled so
violently that the ferry could not work. I am here quite alone
in the midst of a deluge, without Mrs. Noah, but with half as
many animals. The waters are as much out as they were last year,
when her vice-majesty of Ireland,(336) that now is sailed to
Newmarket with both legs out at the fore glass, was here.
Apropos, the Irish court goes on ill; they lost a question by
forty the very first day
on the address. The Irish, not being so absurd or so
complimental as Mr. Allen, they would not suffer the word
"adequate" to pass.(337) The prime minister is so unpopular that
they think he must be sent back. His patent and Rigby's are
called in question.
You see the age is not favourable to prime ministers: well! I am
going amidst it all, very unwillingly; I had rather stay here,
for I am sick of the storms, that once loved them so cordially:
over and above, I am not well; this is the third winter my
has returned; it comes like the bellman before Christmas, to put
me in mind of my mortality.
Sir Michael Foster(338) is dead, a Whig of the old rock: he is a
greater loss to his country than the prim attorney-general,(339)
who has resigned, or than the attorney's father, who is dying,
My gallery is still in such request, that, though the middle of
November, I give out a ticket to-day for seeing it. I see little
of it myself, for I cannot sit alone in such state; I should
think myself like the mad Duchess of Albemarle,(340) who fancied
herself Empress of China. Adieu!
(335) In Essex, the seat of the Waldegraves.-E.
(336) The Countess of Northumberland.-E.
(337) To prevent the presentation of a more objectionable address
from the corporation of Bath, in favour of the peace, Mr. Allen
had secured the introduction of the word adequate, into the one
agreed to; which gave such offence to Mr. Pitt that he refused to
(338) One of the judges in the court of King's Bench.-E.
(339) The Hon. Charles Yorke.
(340) Widow of Christopher Duke of Albemarle, and daughter of the
Duke of Newcastle.
Letter 179 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Nov. 17, 1763. (page 243)
If the winter keeps up to the vivacity of its d`ebut, you will
have no reason to complain of the sterility of my letters. I do
this from the spirit of the House of Commons on the first
day,(341) which was the most fatiguing and dull debate I ever
heard, dull as
I have heard many; and yet for the first quarter of an hour it
looked as if we were met to choose a King of Poland,(342) and
that all our names ended in zsky. Wilkes, the night before, had
presented himself at the Cockpit: as he was listening to the
Speech,(343) George Selwyn said to him, in the words of the
Dunciad, "May Heaven preserve the ears you lend!"(344) We lost
four hours debating whether or not it was necessary to open the
session with reading a bill. The opposite sides, at the same
time, pushing to get the start, between the King's message, which
Mr. Grenville stood at the bar to present, which was to acquaint
us with the arrest of Wilkes and all that affair, and the
complaint which Wilkes himself stood up to make. At six we
divided on the question of reading a bill.(345) Young Thomas
Townshend(346) divided the House injudiciously, as the question
was so idle; yet the whole argument of the day had been so
complicated with this question, that in effect it became the
material question for trying
forces. This will be an interesting part to you, when you hear
that your brother(347) and I were in the minority. You know him,
and therefore know he did what he thought right; and for me, my
dear lord, you must know that I would die in the House for its
privileges, and the liberty of the press. But come, don't be
alarmed: this will have no Consequences. I don't think your
brother is going into opposition; and for me, if I may name
myself to your affection after him, nothing but a question of
such magnitude can carry me to the House at all. I am sick of
parties and factions, and leave them to buy and sell one another.
Bless me! I had forgot the numbers; they were 300, we 111. We
then went upon the King's message; heard the North Briton read;
and Lord North,(348) who took the prosecution upon him and did it
very well, moved to vote a scandalous libel, etc. tending to
foment treasonable insurrections. Mr. Pitt gave up the paper,
but fought against the last words of the censure. I say Mr.
Pitt, for indeed,
like Almanzor, he fought almost singly, and spoke forty times:
the first time in the day with much wit, afterwards with little
energy. He had a tough enemy too; I don't mean in parts or
argument, but one that makes an excellent bulldog, the
Legge was, as usual, concise; and Charles Townshend, what is not
usual, silent. We sat till within a few minutes of two, after
dividing again; we, our exact former number, 111; they, 273; and
then we adjourned to go on the point of privilege the next day;
"Listen, lordings, and hold you still;
Of doughty deeds tell you I will."
Martin,(349) in the debate, mentioned the North Briton, in which
he himself had been so heavily abused; and he said, "whoever
stabs a reputation in the dark, without setting his name, is a
cowardly, malignant, and scandalous scoundrel." This, looking at
repeated twice, with such rage and violence, that he owned his
passion obliged him to sit down. Wilkes bore this with the same
indifference as he did all that passed in the day. The -House,
too, who from Martin's choosing to take a public opportunity of
resentment, when he had so long declined any private notice, and
after Wilkes's courage was become so problematic, seemed to think
there was no danger of such champions going further; but the next
day, when we came into the House, the first thing we heard was
that Martin had shot Wilkes: so he had; but Wilkes has six lives
still good. It seems Wilkes had writ, to avow the paper, to
Martin, on which the latter challenged him. They went into
Hyde-park about noon; Humphrey Coates, the wine-merchant, waiting
in a postchaise to convey Wilkes away if triumphant. They fired
at the distance of
fourteen yards: both missed. then Martin fired and lodged a ball
in the side of Wilkes; who was going to return it, but dropped
his pistol. He desired Martin to take care of securing himself,
and assured him he would never say a word against him, and he
allows that Martin behaved well. The wound yesterday was thought
little more than a flesh-wound, and he was in his old spirits.
To-day the account is worse, and he has been delirious: so you
will think when
you hear what is to come. I think, from the agitation his mind
must be in, from his spirits, and from drinking, as I Suppose he
will, that he probably will end here. He puts me in mind of two
lines of Hudibras,(350) which, by the arrangement of the words
combined with Wilkes's story, are stronger than Butler intended
"But he, that fights and runs away,
May live to fight another day."
His adventures with Lord Talbot,(351) Forbes,(352) and Martin,
make these lines history.
Now for part the second. On the first day, in your House, where
the address was moved by Lord Hilsborough and Lord Suffolk, after
some wrangling between Lord Temple, Lord Halifax, the Duke of
Bedford, and Lord Gower; Lord Sandwich(353) laid before the House
the most blasphemous and indecent poem that ever was composed,
called "An Essay on Woman, With notes, by Dr. Warburton."', I
will tell you none of the particulars: they were so exceedingly
bad, that Lord Lyttelton begged the reading might be stopped.
was amazed; nobody ventured even to ask a question: so it was
easily voted every thing you please, and a breach of privilege
into the bargain. Lord Sandwich then informed your Lordships,
Wilkes was the author. Fourteen copies alone were printed, one
of which the ministry had bribed the printer to give up. Lord
Temple then objected to the manner of obtaining it; and Bishop
Warburton, as much shocked at infidelity as Lord Sandwich had
been at obscenity, said, "the blackest fiends in hell would not
keep company with Wilkes when he should arrive there." Lord
Sandwich moved to vote Wilkes the author; but this Lord Mansfield
stopped, advertising the House that it was necessary first to
hear what Wilkes could say in his defence. To-day, therefore,
for that purpose; but it has been put off by Martin's lodging a
caveat.(354) This bomb was certainly well conducted, and the
secret, though known to many, well kept. The management is
worthy of Lord Sandwich, and like him. It may sound odd for me,
with my principles, to admire Lord Sandwich; but besides that he