Part 9 out of 17
Duke of Newcastle and others of his friends, who made the matter
of privilege a party question instead of treating it as a legal
one, as Mr. Yorke did.
(439) Philip Lord Royston, afterwards second Earl of Hardwicke,
elder brother of Mr. Charles Yorke.-E.
(440) George, first Marquis of Townshend, at this time a
major-general in the army. In the divisions on branches of the
Wilkes question, we sometimes find General Townshend a teller on
one side, and Mr. Townshend on the other.-C.
(441) The Hereditary Prince, who came to England to marry the
Princess Augusta, eldest sister of George III. He landed at
Harwich on the 12th of January, and arrived the same evening at
Somerset-house, where he was lodged. Lady Chatham, in a letter
to Mr. Pitt, relates the following anecdotes Mrs. Boscawen tells
me, that while the Prince was at Harwich, the people almost
pulled down the house in which he was, in order to see him. A
substantial Quaker insisted so strongly upon seeing him, that he
was allowed to come into the room: he pulled off his hat to him,
and said, 'Noble friend, give me thy hand!' which was given, and
he kissed it; 'although I do not fight myself, I love a brave man
that will fight: thou art a valiant Prince, and art to be married
to a lovely Princess: love her, make her a good husband, and the
Lord bless you both!'" See Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p.
(442) The Prince's chief secretary.-E.
(443) Granville, second Earl Gower, afterwards first Marquis:
groom of the stole.-E.
(444) William Charles Henry, Prince of Orange, who, in 1734,
married Anne, eldest daughter of George II.-E.
(445) Alicia Ashley, wife of Charles, third Earl of Tankerville,
lady of the bedchamber to Princess Augusta. Nothing but Mr.
Walpole's facetious ingenuity could have tortured the Prince's
little attention to Lady Tankerville into a desire to insult the
(446) Mr. Wilkes had thought it prudent to retire to Paris, under
circumstances which certainly rendered it unlikely that the
King's ambassador should pay him any kind of civil attention.-C.
(447) Again Mr. Walpole's partiality blinds him. "The Duellist"
is surely far from being the finest of Churchill's works. Mr.
Walpole's own feelings are strongly marked by the glee with which
he sees hemlock administered to his old friend Lord Holland, and
by being charmed with the abuse of Bishop Warburton.-C.
(448) Mr. Walpole, by one of those happy expressions which make
the chief charm of his writings, characterizes the stately
formality of this noble lord. His house at Witham is close to
the great road, a little beyond the town of Witham. Her late
Majesty, Queen Charlotte, slept there on her way to London, in
(449) Mr. Walpole probably understood his lordship to mean that a
Serene Highness was not sufficiently important to require his
attendance at Witham.-C.
(450) Wilkes was convicted, in the Court of King's Bench, on the
21st of January, the day before this letter was begun, of having
written the Essay on Woman.-C.
(451) Mr. Kidgel, a clergyman, had obtained from a printer a copy
of the Essay on Woman, which he said he felt it his duty to
denounce. His own personal character turned out to be far from
(452) The opposition club was in Albemarle-street, and the
ministerial at the Cocoa-tree; and the papers of the day had
several political letters addressed to and from these clubs.-C.
(453) The oldest field-marshal in the army.
(454) Major-general A,Court had a little before resigned, or
rather been dismissed, for his parliamentary opposition, from the
command of the second regiment of foot-guards.-C.
(455) John, afterwards seventh Earl of galloway.
(456) Joseph Damer, first Lord Milton.
Letter 189 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, Jan. 31, 1764. (page 277)
Several weeks ago I begged you to tell me how to convey to you a
print of Strawberry Hill, and another of Archbishop Hutton. I
must now repeat the same request for two more volumes of my
Anecdotes of Painting, which are on the point of being published.
I hope no illness prevented my hearing from you.
To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
I am impatient for your manuscript, but have not yet received it.
You may depend on my keeping it to myself, and returning it
I do not know that history of my father, which you mention, by
the name of Musgrave. If it is the critical history of his
administration, I have it; if not, I shall be obliged to you for
Your kindness to your tenants is like yourself, and most humane.
I am glad Your prize rewards you, and wish your fortune had been
as good as mine, who with a single ticket in this last lottery
got five hundred pounds.
I have nothing new, that is, nothing old to tell you. You care
not about the present world, and are the only real philosopher, I
I this winter met with a very large lot of English heads, chiefly
of the reign of James I., which very nearly perfects my
collection. There were several which I had in vain hunted for
these ten years. I have bought too, some very scarce, but more
modern ones out of Sir Charles Cotterell's collection. Except a
few of Faithorne's, there are scarce any now that I much wish
With my Anecdotes I packed up for you the head of Archbishop
Hutton, and a new little print of Strawberry. If the volumes, as
I understand by your letter, stay in town to be bound, I hope
your bookseller will take care not to lose those trifles.
Letter 190 To Sir David Dalrymple.(457)
Arlington Street, Jan. 31, 1764. (page 278)
I am very sorry, Sir, that your obliging corrections of my
Anecdotes of Painting have come so late, that the first volume is
actually reprinted. The second shall be the better for them. I
am now publishing the third volume, and another of Engravers. I
wish you would be so kind as to tell me how I may convey them
speedily to you: you waited too long the last time for things
that have little merit but novelty. These volumes are of still
less worth than the preceding; our latter painters not
compensating by excellence for the charms that antiquity has
bestowed on their antecessors.
I wish I had known in time what heads of Nanteuil you want.
There has been a very valuable sale of Sir Clement Cotterell's
prints, the impressions most beautiful, and of which Nanteuil
made the capital part. I do not know who particularly collects
his works now, but I have ordered my bookseller Bathoe,(458) who
is much versed in those things, to inquire; and if I hear of any
purchaser, Sir, I will let you know.
I have not bought the Anecdotes of Polite literature,(459)
suspecting them for a bookseller's compilation, and confirmed in
it by never hearing them mentioned. Our booksellers here at
London disgrace literature, by the trash they bespeak to be
written, and at the same time prevent every thing else from being
sold. They are little more or less than upholsters, who sell
sets or bodies of arts and sciences for furniture; and the
purchasers, for I am sure they are not readers, buy only in that
view.(460) I never thought there was much merit in reading: but
yet it is too good a thing to be put upon no better footing than
In damask and mahogany.
Whenever I can be of the least use to your studies or
collections, you know, Sir, that you may command me freely.
(457) Now first collected.
(458) This very intelligent bookseller, who lived near Exeter
'Change, in the Strand, died in 1768.-E.
(459) This was a very amusing and judicious selection, in five
small volumes, very neatly printed.-E.
(460 "I once said to Dr. Johnson, 'I am sorry, Sir, you did not
get more for your Dictionary.' His answer was, 'I am sorry too;
but it was very well: the booksellers are generous liberal-minded
men.' He, upon all occasions, did ample justice to their
character in this respect. He considered them as the patrons of
literature and, indeed, although they have eventually been
considerable gainers by his Dictionary, it is to them that we owe
its having been undertaken and carried out at the risk of great
expense for they were not absolutely sure of being indemnified."
Boswell's Johnson, vol. ii. p. 58.-E.
Letter 191 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Feb. 6, 1764. (page 279)
You have, I hope, long before this, my dear lord, received the
immense letter that I sent you by old Monin. It explained much,
and announced most part of which has already happened; for you
will observe that when I tell you any thing, very positively, it
is on good intelligence. I have another much bigger secret for
you, but that will be delivered to you by word of mouth. I am
not a little impatient for the long letter you promised me. In
the mean time thank you for the account you give me of the King's
extreme civility to you. It is like yourself, to dwell on that,
and to say little of M. de Chaulnes's dirty behaviour; but
Monsieur and Madame de Guerchy have told your brother and me all
I was but too good a prophet when I warned you to expect new
extravagances from the Due de Chaulnes's son. Some weeks ago he
lost five hundred pounds to one Virette, an equivocal being, that
you remember here. Paolucci, the Modenese minister, who is not
in the odour of honesty, was of the party. The Duc de Pecquigny
said to the latter, "Monsieur, ne jouez plus avec lui, si vous
n'`etes pas de moiti`e." So far was very well. On Saturday at
the Maccaroni Club(461) (which is composed of all the travelled
young men, men who wear long curls and spying-glasses,) they
played again: the Duc lost, but not Much. In the passage at the
Opera, the Duc saw Mr. Stuart talking to Virette, and told the
former that Virette was a coquin, a fripon, etc. etc. Virette
retired, saying only, "Voil`a un fou." The Duc then desired Lord
Tavistock to come and see him fight Virette, but the Marquis
desired to be excused. After the Opera, Virette went to the
Duc's lodgings, but found him gone to make his complaint to
Monsieur de Guerchy, whither he followed him; and farther this
deponent knoweth not. I pity the Count (de Guerchy,) who is one
of the best-natured amiable men in the world, for having this
absurd boy upon his hands!
Well! now for a little politics. The Cider-bill(462) has not
answered to the minority, though they ran the ministry hard;(463)
but last Friday was extraordinary. George Grenville was pushed
upon some Navy bills; I don't understand a syllable, you know of
money and accounts; but whatever was the matter,(464) he was
driven from entrenchment to entrenchment by Baker,(465) and
Charles Townshend. After that affair was over, and many gone
away, Sir W. Meredith moved for the depositions on which the
warrant against Wilkes had been granted. The ministers
complained of the motion being made so late In the day; called it
a surprise; and Rigby moved to adjourn, which was carried but by
73 to 60. Had a surprise been intended, one may imagine the
minority would have been better provided with numbers; but it
certainly had not been concerted: however, a majority, shrunk to
thirteen, frightened them out of the small senses they possess.
heaven, earth, and the treasury, were moved to recover their
ground to-day, when the question was renewed. For about two
hours the debate hobbled on very lamely, when on a sudden your
brother rose, and made such a speech(466)--but I wish any body
was to give you the account except me, whom you will think
partial: but you will hear enough of it, to confirm any thing I
can say. Imagine fire, rapidity, argument, knowledge, wit,
ridicule, grave, spirit; all pouring like a torrent, but without
clashing. Imagine the House in a tumult of continued applause
imagine the ministers thunderstruck; lawyers abashed and almost
blushing, for it was on their quibbles and evasions he fell most
heavily, at the same time answering a whole session of arguments
on the side of the court. No, it was unique; you can neither
conceive it, nor the exclamations it occasioned. Ellis, the
forlorn hope, Ellis presented himself in the gap, till the
ministers could recover themselves, when on a sudden Lord George
Sackville led up the Blues;(467) spoke with as much warmth as
your brother had, and with great force continued the attack which
he had begun. Did not I tell you he would take this part? I was
made privy to it; but this is far from all you are to expect.
Lord North in vain rumbled about his mustard-bowl, and
endeavoured alone to outroar a whole party: him and Forrester,
Charles Townshend took up, but less well than usual. His
jealousy of your brother's success, which was very evident, did
not help him to shine. There were several other speeches, and,
upon the whole, it was a capital debate; but Plutus is so much
more persuasive an orator than your brother or Lord George, that
we divided but 122 against 217. Lord Strange, who had agreed to
the question, did not dare to vote for it, and declared off; and
George Townshend who had actually voted for it on Friday, now
voted against it. well! upon the whole, I heartily wish this
administration may last: both their characters and abilities are
so contemptible, @at I am sure we can be in no danger from
prerogative when trusted to such hands!
Before I have done with Charles Townshend, I must tell you one of
his admirable bon-mots. Miss Draycote,(468) the great fortune,
is grown very fat: he says her tonnage is become equal to her
There is the devil to pay in Nabob-land, but I understand Indian
histories no better than stocks. The council rebelled against
the governors and sent a deputation, the Lord knows why, to the
Nabob, who cut off the said deputies' heads, and then, I think,
was disnabob'd himself, and Clive's old friend reinstated. There
is another rebellion in Minorca, where Johnson [has renounced his
allegiance to viceroy Dick Lyttelton, and set up for himself.
Sir Richard has laid the affair before the King and council;
Charles Townshend first, and then your brother, (you know why I
am sorry they should appear together in that cause,) have tried
to deprecate Sir Richard's wrath: but it was then too late. The
silly fellow has brought himself' to a precipice.
I forgot to tell you that Lord George Sackville carried into the
minority with him his own brother(469) Lord Middlesex; Lord
Milton's brother;(470) young Beauclerc; Sir Thomas Hales; and
We have not heard a word of the Hereditary Prince and Princess.
They were sent away in a tempest, and I believe the best one can
hope is, that they are driven to Norway.(471)
Good night, my dear lord; it is time to finish, for it is half an
hour after one in the morning - I am forced to purloin such hours
to Write to you, for I get up so late, and then have such a
perpetual succession Of nothings to do, such auctions, politics,
visits, dinners, suppers, books to publish or revise, etc. that I
have not a quarter of an hour without a call upon it: but I need
not tell you, who know my life, that I am forced to create new
time, if I will keep up my correspondence with you. You seem to
like I should, and I wish to give you every satisfaction in my
Tuesday, February 7, four o'clock.
I tremble whilst I continue my letter, having just heard such a
dreadful story! A captain of a vessel has made oath before the
Lord Mayor, this morning, that he saw one of the yachts sunk on
the coast of Holland; and it is believed to be the one in which
the Prince was. The city is in an uproar; nor need one point out
all such an accident may produce, if true; which I most fervently
hope it is not. My long letter will help you to comments enough,
which will be made on this occasion. I wish you may know, at
this moment, that our fears are ill placed. The Princess was not
in the same yacht with her husband. Poor Fanshawe,(472) as clerk
of the green cloth, with his wife and sister, was in one of them.
Here is more of the Duc de Pecquigny's episode. An officer was
sent yesterday to put Virette under arrest. His servant disputed
with the officer on his orders, till his master made his escape.
Virette sent a friend, whom he ordered to deliver his letter in
person, and see it read, with a challenge, appointing the Duc to
meet him at an hour after seven this morning, at Buckingham-gate,
where he waited till ten to no purpose, though the Duc had not
been put under arrest. Virette absconds, and has sent M. de
Pecquigny word, that he shall abscond till he can find a proper
opportunity of fighting him. Your discretion will naturally
prevent your talking of this; but I thought you would like to be
prepared, if this affair should any how happen to become your
business, though your late discussion With the Duc de Chaulnes
will add to your disinclination from meddling with it.
I must send this to the post before I go to the Opera, and
therefore shall not be able to tell you more of the Prince of
Brunswick by this post.
(461) The "Maccaroni" of 1764 was nearly synonymous with the term
"dandy" at present in vogue, and even become classical by the use
of it by Lord Byron; who, in his story of Beppo, written in 1817,
----"the dynasty of Dandies, now
Perchance succeeded by some other class
Of imitated imitators:--how
Irreparably soon decline, alas!
The demagogues of fashion: all below
Is frail; how easily the world is lost
By love, or war, and now and then by frost!"-E.
(462) A bill, passed in the last session, for an additional duty
on cider and perry, which was violently opposed by the cider
counties, and taken up as a general opposition question. This
measure was considered as a great error on the part of Lord Bute,
and the unpopularity consequent upon it is said to have
contributed to his resignation.
(463) On a motion for a committee on the Cider-bill on the 24th
of January. Mr. James Grenville, in a letter to his sister, Lady
Chatham, speaking of this debate says, "I should make you as old
a woman as either Sandys or Rushout, if I were to state all the
jargon that arose in this debate. It was plain the Court meant
to preclude any repeal of the bill; the cider people coldly
wished to obtain it. Sir Richard Bamfylde, at the head of them,
spoke, not his own sentiments, as he declared, but those which
the instructions and petitions of his constituents forced him to
maintain. We divided 127 with us: against us, 167." Chatham
Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 282.-E.
(464) It was a proposal for converting certain outstanding
navy-bills into annuities at four per cent.-C.
(465) Sir William Baker, member for Plympton; an alderman of
London. He married the eldest daughter of the second Jacob
Tonson, the bookseller.-E.
(466) There is no other account of this remarkable speech to be
found; and indeed we have little notice of General Conway's
parliamentary efforts, except Mr. Burke's general and brilliant
description of his conduct as leader of the House of Commons in
the Rockingham administration. As General Conway's reputation in
the House of Commons has been in some degree forgotten, it may be
as well to cite the passage from Mr. Burke's speech, in 1774, on
American taxation, in support of what Mr. Walpole says of the
General's powers in debate:--"I will likewise do justice, I ought
to do it, to the honourable gentleman who led us in this House.
Far from the duplicity wickedly charged on him, he acted his part
with alacrity and resolution. We all felt inspired by the
example he gave us, down even to myself, the weakest in that
phalanx. I declare for one, I knew well enough (it could not be
concealed from any body) the true state of things; but, in my
life I never came with so much spirits into this House. It was a
time for a man to act in. We had powerful enemies; but we had
faithful and determined friends and a glorious cause. We had a
great battle to fight, but we had the means of fighting; not as
now, when our arms are tied behind us. We did fight that day,
and conquer. I remember, Sir, with a melancholy pleasure, the
situation of the Honourable gentleman (General Conway) who made
the motion for the repeal; in that crisis, when the whole trading
interest of this empire, crammed into your lobbies with a
trembling, and anxious expectation, waited, ,almost to a winter's
return of light, their fate from your resolution. When, at
length, you had determined in their favour, and your doors thrown
open, showed them the figure of their deliverer in the
well-earned triumph of his important victory, from the whole of
that grave multitude there arose an involuntary burst of
gratitude and transport, They jumped upon him like children on a
long absent father. They clung about him like captives about the
redeemer. All England, all America, joined in his applause. Nor
did he seem insensible to the best of all earthly regards--the
love and admiration of his fellow-citizens. Hope elevated, and
joy brightened his crest. I stood near him; and his face, to use
the expression of the Scripture of the first martyr, 'his face
was as if it had been the face of an angel.' I do not know how
others feel; but if I had Stood in that situation, I never would
have exchanged it for all that kings, in their profusion, could
bestow. I did hope, that that day's danger and honour would have
been a bond to hold us all together for ever. But alas! that,
with other pleasing visions, is long since vanished."-C.
(467) Mr. Walpole tinges his approbation of Lord George's
politics by this allusion to Minden, where his lordship had not
"led up the Blues."-C.
(468) Miss Anna Maria Draycote, married in April, 17()3, to Earl
Pomfret. To taste Mr. Townshend's jest, one must recollect, that
in the finance of that day the duties of tonnage and poundage
held a principal place.-C.
(469) Governor Vansittart, contrary to the advice of his council,
had deposed the Nabob Meer Jaffier, and transferred the
sovereignty to his son-in-law, Cossim Ali Cawn. The latter,
however, soon forgot his obligations to the English; and in
consequence of some aggressions on his part, a deputation,
consisting of Mesrs Amyatt and Hay, members of council, attended
by half a dozen other gentlemen, was sent to the new Nabob.
While this deputation was on its return, hostilities broke out,
and these gentlemen were put to death as they were passing the
city of Mor", Moreshedabad. About the same here the English
council at Patna and their attendants were made prisoners, and
afterwards cruelly massacred. These events necessitated the
deposition of Cossim, and Jaffier was accordingly, after a short
campaign, restored.-C. (468) Charles, afterwards second Duke of
(470) John Damer, member for Dorchester. Lord Milton had married
Lord George's youngest sister, Lady Caroline.-E.
(471) The Prince and Princess landed safely at Helvoet on the 2d
(472) Simon Fanshawe, Esq. member for Grampound. He had married
a lady of his own name.
Letter 192 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 1764. (page 283)
My dear lord,
You ought to be Witness to the fatigue I am suffering, before you
can estimate the merit I have in being writing to you at this
moment. Cast up eleven hours in the House of Commons on Monday,
and above seventeen hours yesterday--ay, seventeen at length,-
-and then you may guess if I am tired! nay, you must add
seventeen hours that I may possibly be there on Friday, and then
calculate if I am weary.(473) In short, yesterday was the
longest day ever known in the House of Commons--why, on the
Westminster election at the end of my father's reign,(474) I was
at home by six. On Alexander Murray's(475) affair, I believe, by
five--on the militia, twenty people, I think, sat till six, but
then they were only among themselves, no heat, no noise, no
roaring. It was half an hour after seven this morning before I
was at home. Think of that, and then brag of your French
What is ten times greater, Leonidas and the Spartan minority did
not make such a stand at Thermopylae, as we did. Do you know, we
had like to have been the majority? Xerxes(477) is frightened
out of his senses; Sysigambis(478) has sent an express to Luton
to forbid Phrates(479) coming to town to-morrow: Norton's(480)
impudence has forsaken him; Bishop Warburton is at this moment
reinstating Mr. Pitt's name in the dedication to his sermons,
which he had expunged for Sandwich's;(481) and Sandwich himself
is--at Paris, perhaps, by this time, for the first thing I expect
to hear to-morrow is, that he is gone off.
Now are you mortally angry with me for trifling with you, and not
telling you at once the particulars of this almost-revolution.
You may be angry, but I shall take my own time, and shall give
myself what airs I please both to you, my Lord Ambassador, and to
you, my Lord Secretary of State, who will, I suppose, open this
letter--if you have courage enough left. In the first place, I
assume all the impertinence of a prophet, aye, of that great
curiosity, a prophet, who really prophesied before the event, and
whose predictions have been accomplished. Have I, or have I not,
announced to you the unexpected blows that would be given to the
administration?--come, I will lay aside my dignity, and satisfy
your impatience. There's moderation.
We sat all Monday hearing evidence against Mr. Wood,(482) that
dirty wretch Webb,(483) and the messengers, for their illegal
proceedings against Mr. Wilkes. At midnight, Mr. Grenville
offered us to adjourn or proceed. Mr. Pitt humbly begged not to
eat or sleep till so great a point should be decided. On a
division, in which though many said aye to adjourning, nobody
would go out for fear of losing their seats, it was carried by
379 to 31, for proceeding--and then--half the House went away.
The ministers representing the indecency of this, and Fitzherbert
saying that many were within call, Stanley observed, that after
voting against adjournment, a third part had adjourned
themselves, when, instead of being within call, they ought to
have been within hearing: this was unanswerable, and we
Yesterday we fell to again. It was one in the morning before the
evidence was closed. CarringTon, the messenger, was alone
examined for seven hours. This old man, the cleverest of all
ministerial terriers, was pleased with recounting his
achievements, yet guarded and betraying nothing. However, the
arcana imperia have been wofully laid open.
I have heard Garrick, and other players, give themselves airs of
fatigue after a long part--think of the Speaker, nay, think of
the clerks taking most correct minutes for sixteen hours, and
reading them over to every witness; and then let me hear of
fatigue! Do you know, not only my Lord Temple,(484)--who you may
swear never budged as spectator, but old Will Chetwynd,(485) now
past eighty, and who had walked to the House, did not stir a
single moment out of his place, from three in the afternoon till
the division at seven in the morning. Nay, we had patriotesses,
too, who stayed out the whole: Lady Rockingham and Lady Sondes
the first day; both again the second day, with Miss Mary Pelham,
Mrs. Fitzroy,(486) and the Duchess of Richmond, as patriot as any
of us. Lady Mary Coke, Mrs. George Pitt,(487) and Lady
Pembroke(488) came after the Opera, but I think did not stay
above seven or eight hours at most.
At one, Sir W. Meredith(489) moved a resolution of the illegality
of the warrant, and opened it well. He was seconded by old
Darlington's brother,(490) a convert to us. Mr. Wood, who had
shone the preceding day by great modesty, decency, and ingenuity,
forfeited these merits a good deal by starting up (according to a
ministerial plan,) and very arrogantly, and repeatedly in the
night, demanding justice and a previous acquittal, and telling
the House he scorned to accept being merely excused; to which Mr.
Pitt replied, that if he disdained to be excused, he would
deserve to be censured. Mr. Charles Yorke (who, with his family,
have come roundly to us for support against the Duke of Bedford
on the Marriage-bill(491)) proposed to adjourn. Grenville and
the Ministry would have agreed to adjourn the debate on the great
question itself, but declared they would push this acquittal.
This they announced haughtily enough--for as yet, they did not
doubt of their strength. Lord Frederick Campbell(492) was the
most impetuous of all, so little he foresaw how much wiser it
would be to follow your brother. Pitt made a short speech,
excellently argumentative, and not bombast, nor tedious. nor
deviating from the question. He was supported by your brother,
and Charles Townshend, and Lord George;(493) the two last of whom
are strangely firm, now they are got under the cannon of your
brother Charles, who, as he must be extraordinary, is now so in
romantic nicety of honour. His father,(494) who is dying, or
dead, at Bath, and from whom he hopes two thousand a year, has
sent for him. He has refused to go--lest his steadiness should
be questioned. At a quarter after four we divided. Our cry was
so loud, that both we and the ministers thought we had carried
it. It is not to be painted, the dismay of the latter--in good
truth not without reason, for we were 197, they but 207. Your
experience can tell you, that a majority of but ten is a defeat.
Amidst a great defection from them, was even a white staff, Lord
Charles Spencer(495)--now you know still more of what I told you
was preparing for them!
Crestfallen, the ministers then proposed simply to discharge the
complaint; but the plumes which they had dropped, Pitt soon
placed in his own beaver. He broke out on liberty, and, indeed,
on whatever he pleased, uninterrupted. Rigby sat feeling the
vice-treasurership slipping from under him. Nugent was now less
pensive--Lord Strange,(496) though not interested, did not like
it. Every body was too much taken up with his own concerns or
too much daunted, to give the least disturbance to the Pindaric.
Grenville, however, dropped a few words, which did but heighten
the flame. Pitt, with less modesty than ever he showed,
pronounced a panegyric, on his own administration, and from
thence broke out on the dismission of officers. This increased
the roar from us. Grenville replied, and very finely, very
pathetically, very animated. he painted Wilkes and faction, and,
with very little truth, denied the charge of menaces to officers.
At that moment, General A'Court(497) walked up the House --think
what an impression such an incident must make, when passions,
hopes, and fears, were all afloat--think, too, how your brother
and I, had we been ungenerous, could have added to these
sensations! There was a man not so delicate. Colonel Barr`e
rose--and this attended with a striking circumstance; Sir Edward
Deering, one of our noisy fools, called out, "Mr. Barr`e,"(498)
The latter seized the thought with admirable quickness, and said
to the Speaker, who, in pointing to him, had called him Colonel,
"I beg your pardon, Sir, you have pointed to me by a title I have
no right to," and then made a very artful and pathetic speech on
his own services and dismission; with nothing bad but an awkward
attempt towards an excuse to Mr. Pitt for his former behaviour.
Lord North, who will not lose his bellow, though he may lose his
place, endeavoured to roar up the courage of his comrades, but it
would not do--the House grew tired, and we again divided at seven
for adjournment; some of our people were gone, and we remained
but 184, they 208; however, you will allow our affairs are
mended, when we say, but 184. We then came away, and left the
ministers to satisfy Wood, Webb, and themselves, as well as they
could. It was eight in the morning before I was in bed; and
considering that this is no very short letter, Mr. Pitt bore the
fatigue with his usual spirit(499)--and even old Onslow, the late
Speaker, was sitting up, anxious for the event.
On Friday we are to have the great question, which would prevent
my writing; and to-morrow I dine with Guerchy, at the Duke of
Grafton's, besides twenty other engagements. To-day I have shut
myself up; for with writing this, and taking notes yesterday all
day, and all night, I have not an eye left to see out of--nay,
for once in my life, I shall go to bed at ten o'clock.
I am glad to be able to contradict two or three passages in my
last letter. The Prince and Princess of Brunswick are safely
landed, though they were in extreme danger. The Duc de Pecquigny
had not only been put in arrest late on the Sunday night, which I
did not know, but has retrieved his honour. Monsieur de Guerchy
sent him away, and at Dover Virette found him, and whispered him
to steal from D'Allonville(500) and fight. The Duc first begged
his pardon, owned himself in the wrong, and then fought him, and
was wounded, though slightly, in four places in the arm; and both
are returned to London with their honours as white as snow.
Sir Jacob Downing(501) is dead, and has left every shilling to
his wife; id est, not sixpence to my Lord Holland;(502) a mishap
which, being followed by a minority of 197, will not make a
pleasant week to him.
now would you believe how I feel and how I wish? I wish we may
continue the minority. The desires of some of my associates,
perhaps, may not be satisfied, but mine are. Here is an
opposition formidable enough to keep abler ministers than
Messieurs the present gentlemen in awe. They may pick pockets,
but they will pick no more locks. While we continue a minority,
we preserve our characters, and we have some too good to part
with. I hate to have a camp to plunder; at least, I am so Which
I am so whig, I hate spoils but the opima spolia. I think it,
too, much more creditable to control ministers, than to be
ministers--and much more creditable than to become mere ministers
ourselves. I have several other excellent reasons against our
success, though I could combat them with as many drawn from the
insufficience of the present folk, and the propriety of Mr. Pitt
being minister; but I am too tired, and very likely so are you,
my dear lord, by this time, and therefore good night!
I had sealed my letter, and break it open again on receiving
yours of the 13th, by the messenger. Though I am very sorry you
had not then got mine from Monin, which would have prepared you
for much of what has happened, I do not fear its miscarriage, as
I think I can account for the delay. I had, for more security,
put it into the parcel with two more volumes of my Anecdotes of
Painting; which, I suppose, remained in M. Monin's baggage; and
he might not have taken it when he delivered the single letters.
If he has not yet sent you the parcel, you may ask for it, as the
same delicacy is not necessary as for a letter.
I thank Lord Beauchamp much for the paper, but should thank him
much more for a letter from himself. I am going this minute to
the House, where I have already been to prayers,(503) to take a
place. It was very near full then, so critical a day it is! I
expect we shall be beaten-but we shall not be so many times more.
Lord Granby(504) I hear, is to move the previous question--they
are reduced to their heavy cannon.
Sunday evening, 19th.
Happening to hear of a gentleman who sets out for Paris in two or
three days, I stopped my letter, both out of prudence (pray
admire me!) and from thinking that it was as well to send you at
once the complete history of our Great Week. By the time you
have read the preceding pages, you may, perhaps, expect to find a
change in the ministry in what I am going to say. You must have
a little patience; our parliamentary war, like the last war in
Germany, produces very considerable battles, that are not
decisive. Marshal Pitt has given another great blow to the
subsidiary army, but they remained masters of the field, and both
sides sing te Deum. I am not talking figuratively, when I assure
you that bells, bonfires, and an illumination from the Monument,
were prepared in the city, in case we had the majority. Lord
Temple was so indiscreet and indecent as to have fagots ready for
two bonfires, but was persuaded to lay aside the design, even
before it was abortive.
It is impossible to give you the detail of so long a debate as
Friday's. You will regret it the less when I tell you it was a
very dull one. I never knew a day of expectation answer. The
impromptus and the unexpected are ever the most shining. We love
to hear ourselves talk, and yet we must be formed of adamant to
be able to talk day and night on the same question for a week
together. If you had seen how ill we looked, you would not have
wondered we did not speak well. A company of colliers emerging
from damps and darkness could not have appeared more ghastly and
dirty than we did on Wednesday morning; and we had not recovered
much bloom on Friday. We spent two or three hours on corrections
of, and additions to, the question of pronouncing the warrant
illegal, till the ministry had contracted it to fit scarce any
thing but the individual case of Wilkes, Pitt not opposing the
amendments because Charles Yorke gave into them; for it is
wonderful(505) what deference is paid by both sides to that
house. The debate then began by Norton's moving to adjourn the
consideration of the question for four months, and holding out a
promise of a bill, which neither they mean nor, for my part,
should I like: I would not give prerogative so much as a
definition. You are a peer, and, therefore, perhaps, will hear
it with patience--but think how our ears must have tingled, when
he told us, that should we pass the resolution, and he were a
judge, he would mind it no more than the resolution of a drunken
porter! Had old Onslow been in the chair, I believe he would
have knocked him down with the mace. He did hear of it during
the debate, though not severely enough; but the town rings with
it. Charles Yorke replied, and was much admired. Me he did not
please; I require a little more than palliatives and sophistries.
He excused the part he has taken by pleading that he had never
seen the warrant, till after Wilkes was taken up--yet he then
pronounced the No. 45 a libel, and advised the commitment of
Wilkes to the Tower. If you advised me to knock a man down,
would you excuse yourself by saying you had never seen the stick
with which I gave the blow Other speeches we had without end, but
none good, except from Lord George Sackville, a short one from
Elliot, and one from Charles Townshend, so fine that it amazed,
even from him. Your brother had spoken with excellent sense
against the corrections, and began well again in the debate, but
with so much rapidity that he confounded himself first, and then
was seized with such a hoarseness that he could not proceed.
Pitt and George Grenville ran a match of silence, striving which
should reply to the other. At last, Pitt, who had three times in
the debate retired with pain,(506) rose about three in the
morning, but so languid, so exhausted, that, in his life, he
never made less figure. Grenville answered him; and at five in
the morning we divided. The Noes were so loud, as it admits a
deeper sound than Aye, that the Speaker, who has got a bit of
nose(507) since the opposition got numbers, gave it for us. They
went forth; and when I heard our side counted to the amount of
218, I did conclude we were victorious; but they returned 232.
It is true we were beaten by fourteen, but we were increased by
twenty-one; and no ministry could stand on so slight an
advantage, if we could continue above two hundred.(508)
We may, and probably shall, fall off: this was our strongest
question--but our troops will stand fast: their hopes and views
depend upon it, and their spirits are raised. But for the other
side it will not be the same. The lookers-on will be stayers
away, and their very subsidies will undo them. They bought two
single votes that day with two peerages;(509) Sir R.
Bampfylde(510) and Sir Charles Tynte(511)--and so are going to
light up the flame of two more county elections--and that in the
west, where surely nothing was wanting but a tinder-box!
You would have almost laughed to see the spectres produced by
both sides; one would have thought that they had sent a
search-warrant for members of parliament into every hospital.
Votes were brought down in flannels and blankets, till the floor
of the House looked like the pool of Bethesda. 'Tis wonderful
that half of us are not dead--I should not say us; Herculean I
have not suffered the least, except that from being a Hercules of
ten grains, I don't believe I now weigh above eight. I felt from
nothing so much as the noise, which made me as drunk as an owl-
-you may imagine the clamours of two parties so nearly matched,
and so impatient to come to a decision.
The Duchess of Richmond has got a fever with the attendance of
Tuesday--but on Friday we were forced to be unpolite. The
Amazons came down in such squadrons, that we were forced to be
denied. However, eight or nine of the patriotesses dined in one
of the Speaker's rooms, and stayed there till twelve--nay, worse,
while their dear country was at stake, I am afraid they were
playing at loo!
The Townshends, you perceive by this account, are returned; their
father not dead.(512) Lord Howe(513) and the Colonel voted with
us; so did Lord Newnham,(514) and is likely to be turned out of
doors for it. A warrant to take up Lord Charles Spenser was sent
to Blenheim from Bedford-house,(515) and signed by his brother,
and returned for him; so he went thither--not a very kind office
in the Duke of Marlborough to Lord Charles's character. Lord
Granby refused to make the motion, but spoke for it. Lord
Hardwicke is relapsed; but we do not now fear any consequences
from his death. The Yorkes, who abandoned a triumphant
administration, are not so tender as to return and comfort them
in their depression.
The chief business now, I suppose, will lie in souterreins and
intrigues. Lord Bute's panic will, probably, direct him to make
application to us. Sandwich will be manufacturing lies, and
Rigby, negotiations. Some change or other, whether partial or
extensive, must arrive. The best that can happen for the
ministers, is to be able to ward off the blow till the recess,
and they have time to treat at leisure; but in just the present
state it is impossible things should remain. The opposition is
too strong, and their leaders too able to make no impression.
Adieu! pray tell Mr. Hume that I am ashamed to be thus writing
the history of England, when he is with you!
P. S. The new baronies are contradicted, but may recover truth at
the end of the session.(516)
(473) the important debate on the question of General Warrants,
which is the subject of the following able and interesting
letter, has never been reported. There are, indeed, in the
parliamentary history, a letter from Sir George Yonge, and two
statements by Sir William Meredith and Charles Townshend, on the
subject, but they relate chiefly to their own motives and
reasonings, and give neither the names nor the arguments of the
debater,-, and fall very short indeed of the vigour and vivacity
of Mr. Walpole's animated sketch.-C.
(474) On the 22d December, 1741. This was one of the debates
that terminated Sir Robert Walpole's administration: the numbers
on the division were 220 against 216.-C.
(475) The proceedings of the 6th of February, 1751, against the
Honourable A. Murray, for impeding the Westminster election; but
Walpole, in his Memoires, states that the House adjourned at two
in the morning.-C.
(476) The disputes between Louis XV. and his parliaments, which
prepared the revolution, were at this period assuming a serious
(477) The King.
(478) The Princess Dowager.
(479) Lord Bute. Luton was his seat in Bedfordshire.
(480) Mr. Walpole was too sanguine: Sir Fletcher had not even
lost his boldness; for in the further progress of the adjourned
debate, we shall find that he told the House that he would regard
their resolution of no more value (in point of law, must be
understood) than the vociferations of so many drunken porters.-C.
(481) Lord Sandwich was an agreeable companion and an able
minister; but One whose moral character did not point him out as
exactly the fittest patron for a volume of sermons; and he was at
this moment so unpopular, that Mr. Walpole affects to think he
may have been intimidated to fly.-C.
(482) Robert Wood, Esq. under-secretary of state; against whom,
for his official share in the affair of the general warrants, Mr.
Wilkes's complaint was made.-C.
(483) Philip Carteret Webb, Esq. solicitor to the treasury,
complained on the same ground. Mr. Walpole probably applies
these injurious terms to Mr. Webb, on account of a supposed error
in his evidence on the trial in the Common Pleas, for which he
was afterwards indicted for perjury, but he was fully acquitted.
The point was of little importance --whether he had or had not a
key in his hand.-C.
(484) Lord Temple was, as every one knows, a very keen
politician, and took in all this matter a most prominent part;
indeed, he was the prime mover of the whole affair, and bore the
expense of all Wilkes's law proceedings out of his own pocket.-C.
(485) William Chetwynd, brother of Lord Chetwynd: at this time
master of the mint. He was in early life a friend of Lord
Bolingbroke, and called, from the darkness of his complexion,
Oroonoko Chetwynd: he sat out these debates with impunity, for he
survived to succeed his brother as Lord Chetwynd, in 1767, and
did not die for some years after.-C.
(486) Probably Anne, daughter of Admiral Sir Peter Warren;
married, in 1758, to Colonel Charles Fitzroy, afterwards first
(487) Penelope, daughter of Sir H. Atkins, married, in 1746, to
George Pitt, first Lord Rivers.-C.
(488) Elizabeth. daughter of Charles Spenser, first Duke of
Marlborough of the Spenser branch, married, in 1756, to Henry,
tenth Earl of Pembroke; she was celebrated for her beauty, which
had even, it was said, captivated George III. When General
Conway was dismissed for the vote of this very night, Lord
Pembroke succeeded to his regiment.-C.
(489) Sir William Meredith's motion was, "That a general warrant
for apprehending and securing the authors, printers, and
publishers of a seditious libel, together with their papers, is
not warranted by law." This proposition the administration did
not venture to deny, but they attached to it an exculpatory
amendment to the Following effect:--"although such warrant has
been issued according to the usage of office, and has been
frequently produced to, and never condemned by, courts of
(490) Gilbert, youngest brother of henry, first Earl of
Darlington, who was so well known in Sir Robert Walpole's and Mr.
Pelham's time as " Harry Vane." Mr. Gilbert Vane was deputy
treasurer of Chelsea Hospital, but on this occasion abandoned the
ministerial side of the House, with which he had hitherto voted:
he died in 1772.-C.
(491) The Marriage act was not an original measure of Lord
Hardwicke; but as he, on the failure of one or two previous
attempts at a bill on that subject, was requested by the House of
Lords to prepare one, he, and of course his sons, must have
continued interested in its maintenance; but Mr. Walpole's
suspicion of a bargain and sale of sentiments between there and
the opposition is quite absurd. Even from Mr. Walpole's own
statement, it would seem, that, on the subject of general
warrants, mr. Charles Yorke acted with sincerity and
moderation,-anxious to have a great legal question properly
decided, and unwilling to prostitute its success to the purposes
(492) Fourth son of John, third Duke of Argyle; afterwards keeper
of the privy seal in Scotland, secretary to the Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, and finally, lord register of Scotland. As He was
the brother-in-law of General Conway, Mr. Walpole seems to have
expected him to have followed Conway's politics.-C.
(493) Lord George Sackville.
(494) Charles, third Lord Townshend, a peer, whose reputation is
lost between that of his father and his sons.-C.
(495) Second son of the Duke of Marlborough; his white staff was
that of comptroller of the household. He was, it seems, in Mr.
Walpole's sense of the word, wiser than Lord Frederick Campbell;
but we shall see presently, that this wisdom grew ashamed of
itself in a day or two, and in 1765, when the party which he had
this night assisted came into power, he was turned out.-C.
(496) James, eldest son of the Earl of Derby, born in 1717; he
died in 1771, before his father. I know not why Walpole says he
was not interested; he was a very respectable man, but he was
also chancellor of the duchy, and might naturally have felt as
much interested as the other placemen-C.
(497) Lately dismissed. See ant`e, p. 276, letter 188.-E.
(498) Colonel Barr`e had been dismissed from the office of
adjutant-general. See ant`e, p. 258, letter 184.-E.
(499) The Duke of Newcastle in a letter to Mr. Pitt of the 15th,
says, "Mr. West and honest George Onslow came to my bedside this
morning, to give me an account of the glorious day we had
yesterday, and of the great obligations which every true lover of
the liberties of his country and our present constitution owe to
you, for the superior ability, firmness, and resolution which you
showed during the longest attention that ever was known. God
forbid that your health should suffer by your zeal for your
country." Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 287.-E.
(500) Probably the gentleman in whose charge M. de Guerchy had
sent away the giddy Duke.-C.
(501) Sir Jacob Gerrard Downing, Bart., member for Dunwich: he
died the 6th of February, and left his estate, as Mr. Walpole
says, to his wife; but only for her life, and afterwards to build
and endow Downing College at Cambridge.(502) The grounds of any
expectation which Lord Holland may have entertained from Sir
Jacob Downing have not reached us; but it is right to say, that
Mr. Walpole had quarrelled with Lord Holland, and was glad on any
occasion, just or otherwise, to sneer at him.-C.
(503) It may be necessary to remark, that any member who attends
at the daily prayers of the House has a right, for that evening,
to the place he occupies at prayers. On nights of great
interest, when the House is expected to be crowded, there is
consequently a considerable attendance at prayers.-C.
(504) Eldest son of the third Duke of Rutland, well known for his
gallant conduct at Minden, and still remembered for his
popularity with the army and the public. He was at this time
commander-in-chief and master-general of the ordnance. He died
before his father, in 1770.-C.
(505) Wonderful to Mr. Walpole only, who had a private pique
against the Yorkes; no one else could wonder that deference
should be paid to long services, high stations, great abilities,
and unimpeached integrity.-C.
(506) Mr. Pitt's frequent fits of the gout are well known: he was
even suspected of sometimes acting a fit of the gout in the House
of Commons. (A reference to the Chatham Correspondence will, it
is believed, remove the illiberal suspicion, that Mr. Pitt, on
this, or any other occasion, was in the practice of "acting a fit
of the gout." On the morning after the debate, the Duke of
Newcastle thus wrote to Mr. Pitt "I shall not be easy till I hear
you have not increased your pain and disorder, by your attendance
and the great service you did yesterday to the public. I could
not omit thanking you and congratulating you upon your great and
glorious minority, before I went to Claremont. Such a minority,
with such a leader, composed of gentlemen of the Greatest and
most independent fortunes in the kingdom, against a majority of
fourteen only, influenced by power and force, and fetched from
all corners of the kingdom, must have its weight, and produce the
most happy consequences to the public." Chatham Correspondence,
vol. ii. p. 288.-E.]
(507) Sir John Cust's nose was rather short, as his picture by
Reynolds, as well as by Walpole, testify.-C.
(508) In reference to this defeat of the ministry, Gray, in a
letter to Dr. Wharton, says, "Their crests are much fallen and
countenances lengthened by the transactions of last week; for the
ministry, on Thursday last (after sitting till near eight in the
morning), carried a small point by a majority of only forty, and
on another previous division by one of ten only; and on Friday
last, at five in the morning, there were 220 to 232; and by this
the court only obtained to adjourn the debate for four months,
and not to get a declaration in favour of their measures. If
they hold their ground many weeks after this, I shall wonder; but
the new reign has already produced many wonders." Works, vol. iv.
(509) Not correct. See afterwards.-E.
(510) sir Richard Warwick Bampfylde, fourth baronet; member for
(511) Sir Charles Kemeys Tynte, fifth baronet; member for
(512) He died on the 13th of the ensuing month.-E.
(513) Richard, fourth Viscount, and first Earl Howe, the hero of
the 1st of June; and his brother, Colonel, afterwards General Sir
William, who succeeded him as fifth Viscount Howe.-C.
(514) George Simon, Viscount Newnham, afterwards second Earl of
Harcourt, remarkable for a somewhat exaggerated imitation of
French fashions. His father, the first Earl, was at this time
chamberlain to the Queen.-C.
(515) See ant`e, p. 286. The meaning of this passage is, that
the Duke of Bedford (who was president of the council) wrote a
letter, which he sent to Blenheim for the Duke of Marlborough to
sign, desiring his brother, Lord Charles, to abstain from again
voting against the government. The Duke of Marlborough (who was
privy seal) signed, as Walpole intimates, the letter; and Lord
Charles, instead of attending the House, and voting, as he had
done on the former night, against ministers, went down to
(516) They never took place, and probably never were in
Letter 193 To Sir David Dalrymple.(517)
Arlington Street, Feb. 23, 1764. (page 292)
I am much in your debt, but have had but too much excuse for
being so. Men who go to bed at six and seven in the morning, and
who rise but to return to the same fatigue, have little leisure
for other most necessary duties. The severe attendance we have
had lately in the House of Commons cannot be unknown to you, and
will already, I trust, have pleaded my pardon.
Mr. Bathoe has got the two volumes for you, and will send them by
the conveyance you prescribe. You will find in them much, I
fear, that will want your indulgence; and not only dryness,
trifles, and, I conclude, many mistakes, but perhaps opinions
different from your own. I can only plead my natural and
constant frankness, which always speaks indifferently, as it
thinks, on all sides and subjects. I am bigoted to none: Charles
or Cromwell, Whigs or Tories, are all alike to me, but in what I
think they deserve, applause or censure; and therefore, if' I
sometimes commend, sometimes blame them, it is not for being
inconsistent, but from considering them in the single light in
which I then speak of them: at the same time meaning to give only
my private opinion, and not at all expecting to have it adopted
by any other man. Thus much, perhaps, it was necessary for @ne
to say, and I will trouble you no further about myself.
Single portraits by Vandyck I shall avoid particularizing any
farther, and also separate pieces by other masters, for a reason
I may trust you with. Many persons possess pictures which they
believe or call originals, without their being so, and have
wished to have them inserted in my lists. This I certainly do
not care to do, nor, on the other hand, to assume the
impertinence of deciding from my own judgment. I shall,
therefore, stop where I have stopped. The portraits which you
mention, of the Earl of Warwick, Sir, is very famous and
indubitable; but I believe you will assent to my prudence, which
does not trouble me too often. I have heard as much fame of the
Earl of Denbigh.
You will see in my next edition, that I have been so lucky as to
find and purchase both the drawings that were at
Buckingham-house, of the Triumphs of Riches and Poverty. They
have raised even my ideas of Holbein. Could I afford it, and we
had engravers equal to the task, the public should be acquainted
with their merit; but I am disgusted with paying great sums for
wretched performances. I am ashamed of the prints in my books,
which were extravagantly paid for, and are wretchedly executed.
Your zeal for reviving the publication of Illustrious Heads
accords, Sir, extremely with my own sentiments; but I own I
despair of that, and every work. Our artists get so much money
by hasty, slovenly performances, that they will undertake nothing
that requires labour and time. I have never been able to
persuade any one of them to engrave the beauties at Windsor,
which are daily perishing for want of fires in that palace. Most
of them entered into a plan I had undertaken, of an edition of
Grammont with portraits. I had three executed; but after the
first, which was well done, the others were so wretchedly
performed, though even the best was much too dear, that I was
forced to drop the design. Walker, who has done much the best
heads in my new volumes, told me, when I pressed him to consider
his reputation, that , "he had got fame enough!" What hopes,
Sir, can one entertain after so shameful an answer? I have had
numerous schemes, but never could bring any to bear, but what
depended solely on myself; and how little is it that a private
man, with a moderate fortune, and who has many other avocations,
can accomplish alone? I flattered myself that this reign would
have given new life and views to the artists and the curious. I
am disappointed: Politics on one hand, and want of taste in those
about his Majesty on the other, have prevented my expectations
from being answered.
The letters you tell me of, Sir, are indeed curious, both those
of Atterbury and the rest; but I cannot flatter myself that I
shall be able to contribute to publication. My press, from the
narrowness of its extent, and having but one man and a boy, goes
very slow; nor have I room or fortune to carry it farther. What
I have already in hand, or promised, will take me up a long time.
The London Booksellers play me all manner of tricks. If I do not
allow them ridiculous profit,(518) they will do nothing to
promote the sale; and when I do, they buy up the impression, and
sell it for an advanced price before my face. This is the case
of my two first volumes of Anecdotes, for which people have been
made to pay half a guinea, and more than the advertised price.
In truth, the plague I have had in every shape with my own
printers, engravers, the booksellers, besides my own trouble,
have almost discouraged me from what I took up at first as an
amusement, but which has produced very little of it.
I am sorry, upon the whole, Sir, to be forced to confess to you,
that I have met with so many discouragements in virt`u and
literature. If an independent gentleman, though a private one,
finds such obstacles, what must an ingenious man do, who is
obliged to couple views of profit with zeal for the public? Or,
do our artists and booksellers, cheat me the more because I am a
gentleman? Whatever is the cause, I am almost as sick of the
profession of editor, as of author. If I touch upon either more,
it will be more idly, though chiefly because I never can be quite
(517) Now first collected.
(518) The following just and candid vindication of the London
booksellers from the charge of rapacity on the score of
"ridiculous profit," is contained in a letter written by Dr.
Johnson, in March, 1776, to the Rev. Dr. Wetherell:--"It is,
perhaps, not considered through how many hands a book often
passes, before it comes into those of the reader; or what part of
the profit each hand must retain, as a motive for transmitting it
to the next, We will call our primary agent in London, Mr.
Cadell, who receives our books from us, gives them room in his
warehouse, and issues them on demand; by him they are sold to Mr.
Dilly, a wholesale bookseller, who sends them into the country;
and the last seller is the country bookseller. Here are three
profits to be paid between the printer and the reader, or, in the
style of commerce, between the manufacturer and the consumer; and
if any of these profits is too penuriously distributed, the
process of commerce is interrupted."-E.
Letter 194 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Arlington Street, Feb. 24, 1764. (page 294)
As I had an opportunity, on Tuesday last, of sending you a letter
of eleven pages, by a very safe conveyance, I shall say but a few
words to-day; indeed, I have left nothing to say, but to thank
you for the answer I received from you this morning to mine by
Monsieur Monin. I am very happy that you take so kindly the
freedom I used: the circumstances made me think it necessary; and
I flatter myself, that you are persuaded I was not to blame in
speaking so openly, when two persons so dear to me were
concerned.(519) Your 'Indulgence will not lead me to abuse it.
What you say on the caution I mentioned, convinces me that I was
right, by finding your judgment correspond with my own-but enough
My long letter, which, perhaps, you will not receive till after
this (you will receive it from a lady), will give you a full
detail of the last extraordinary week. Since that, there has
been an accidental suspension of arms. Not only Mr. Pitt is laid
up with the gout, but the Speaker has it too. We have been
adjourned till to-day, and as he is not recovered, have again
adjourned till next Wednesday. The events of the week have been,
a complaint made by Lord Lyttelton in your House, of a book
called "Droit le Roy;"(520) a tract written in the highest strain
of prerogative, and drawn from all the old obsolete law-books on
that question.(521) The ministers met this complaint with much
affected indignation, and even on the complaint being
communicated to us, took it up themselves; and both Houses have
ordered the book to be burned by the hangman. To comfort
themselves for this forced zeal for liberty, the North Briton,
and the Essay on Woman have both been condemned(522) by Juries in
the King's Bench; but that triumph has been more than balanced
again, by the city giving their freedom to Lord Chief-Justice
Pratt,(523) ordering his picture to be placed in the King's
Bench, thanking their members for their behaviour in Parliament
on the warrant, and giving orders for instructions to be drawn
for their future conduct.
Lord Granby is made lord lieutenant of Derbyshire; but the vigour
of this affront was wofully weakened by excuses to the Duke of
Devonshire, and by its being known that the measure was
determined two months ago.
All this sounds very hostile; yet, don't be surprised if you hear
of some sudden treaty. Don't you know a little busy squadron
that had the chief hand in the negotiation(524) last autumn?
Well, I have reason to think that Phraates(525 is negotiating
with Leonidas(526) by the same intervention. All the world sees
that the present ministers are between two fires. Would it be
extraordinary if the artillery of' both should be discharged on
them at once? But this is not proper for the post: I grow
prudent the less prudence is necessary.
We are in pain for the Duchess of Richmond, who, instead of the
jaundice, has relapsed into a fever. She has blooded twice last
night, and vet had a very bad night. I called at the door at
three o'clock, when they thought the fever rather diminished, but
spoke of her as very ill. I have not seen your brother or Lady
Aylesbury to-day, but found they had been very much alarmed
yesterday evening.(527) Lord Suffolk,(528) they say, is going to
be married to Miss Trevor Hampden.
Your brother has told me, that among Lady Hertford's things
seized at Dover, was a packet for me from you. Mr. Bowman has
undertaken to make strict inquiry for it. Adieu, my dear lord.
P. S. We had, last Monday, the prettiest ball that ever was seen,
at Mrs. Ann Pitt's,(529) in the compass of a silver penny. There
were one hundred and four persons, of which number fifty-five
supped. The supper-room was disposed with tables and benches
back to back in the manner of an alehouse. The idea sounds ill;
but the fairies had so improved upon it, had so be-garlanded, so
sweetmeated, and so desserted it, that it looked like a vision.
I told her she Could only have fed and stowed so much company by
a miracle, and that, when we were gone, she would take up twelve
basketsfull of people. The Duchess of Bedford asked me before
Madame de Guerchy, if I would not give them a ball at Strawberry?
Not for the universe! What! turn a ball, and dust, and dirt, and
a million of candles, into my charming new gallery! I said, I
could not flatter myself that people would give themselves the
trouble of going eleven miles for a ball--(though I believe they
would go fifty)--"Well, then," says she, "it shall be a dinner."-
-"With all my heart, I have no objection; but no ball shall set
its foot within my doors."
(519) It related, as we have seen, to General Conway's vote in
opposition to the government.-C.
(520) "Droit le Roy, or the Rights and Prerogatives of the
Imperial Crown of Great Britain." In the examination of Griffin,
the printer, before the Peers, he stated that Timothy Becknock
afterwards hanged in Ireland as an accomplice of George Robert
Fitzgerald, had sent the pamphlet to the press, and was, Griffin
believed, the author of it.-C.
(521) Gray writes to Dr. Wharton, on the 21st of February:--"The
House of Lords, I hear, will soon take in hand a book lately
published, by some scoundrel lawyer, on the prerogative; in which
is scraped together all the flattery and blasphemy of our old
law-books in honour of kings. I presume it is understood, that
the court will support the cause of this impudent scribbler."
Works, vol. iv. p. 30.-E.
(522) Mr. Wilkes was tried on the 21st of February, for
republishing the North Briton, No. 45, and for printing the Essay
on Woman, and found guilty of both.-E.
(523) The preamble of these resolutions is worthy of
observation:--"Whereas the independency and uprightness of judges
is essential to the impartial administration of justice, etc.
this court, in manifestation of their just sense of the
inflexible firmness and integrity of the Right Honourable Sir C.
Pratt, lord chief justice, etc. gives him the freedom of the
city, and orders his picture to be placed in Guildhall;" as if
impartiality could only be assailed from one side, and as if gold
boxes and pictures, and addresses from the corporation of London,
were not as likely to have influence on the human mind as the
favours from the crown. Their applause was either worth nothing,
or it was an attempt on the impartiality of the judge.-C.
(524) The negotiation in August, 1763, already alluded to, for
Mr. Pitt's coming into power. There is some reason to suppose
that Mr. Calcraft was employed in the first steps of this
negotiation, and this may be what Mr. Walpole here refers to.-C.
(525) Lord Bute.
(526) Mr. Pitt.
(527) The Duchess was the sister of Lady Aylesbury's first
(528) Henry, twelfth Earl of Suffolk, married, May 1764, Miss
Trevor, who had been on the point of marriage with Mr. Child of
Osterley, where he suddenly died in September, 1763. See ant`e,
p. 237, letter 175.-E.
(529) Sister of the great Lord Chatham, whom she resembled in
some qualities of her mind. See ant`e, p. 220, letter 157. Mr.
Walpole, when some foreigner, who could not see Pitt himself, had
asked him if he was like his sister, answered, in his usual happy
style of giving a portrait at a touch, "Ils se ressemblent comme
deux gouttes de feu!" She was privy purse to the Princess
Letter 195 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Arlington Street, March 3, 1764. (page 296)
Just as I was going to the Opera, I received your manuscript. I
would not defer telling you so, that you may know it is safe.
But I have additional reason to write to you immediately; for on
opening the book, the first thing I saw was a new obligation to
You, the charming Faithorne of Sir Orlando Bridgman, which
according to your constantly obliging manner you have sent me,
and I almost fear you think I begged it; but I can disculpate
myself, for I had discovered that it belongs to Dugdale's
Origines -Judiciales, and had ordered my bookseller to try to get
me that book, which when I accomplish, you shall command your own
print again; for it is too fine an impression to rob you of.
I have been so entertained with your book, that I have stayed at
home on purpose, and gone through three parts of it. It makes me
wish earnestly some time or other to go through all your
collections, for I have already found twenty things of great
moment to me. One Is particularly satisfactory to me; it is in
Mr. Baker's MSS. at Cambridge; the title of Eglesham's book
against the Duke of Bucks,(530) mentioned by me in the account of
Gerbier, from Vertue, who fished out every thing, and always
proves in the right. This piece I must get transcribed by Mr.
Gray's assistance. I fear I shall detain your manuscript
prisoner a little, for the notices I have found, but I will take
infinite care of it, as it deserves. I have got among my new old
prints a most curious one of one Toole. It seems to be a
burlesque. He lived in temp. Jac. I. and appears to have been an
adventurer, like Sir Ant. Sherley:(531) can you tell me any thing
I must repeat how infinitely I think myself obliged to you both
for the print and the use of your manuscript, which is of the
greatest use and entertainment to me; but you frighten me about
Mr. Baker's MSS. from the neglect of them. I should lose all
patience if yours were to be treated so. Bind them in iron, and
leave them in a chest of cedar. They are, I am sure, most
valuable, from what I have found already.
(530) This libellous book, written by a Scotch physician, and
which is reprinted in the second volume of the Harleian
Miscellany, and in the fifth volume of the Somers' Collection of
Tracts, was considered by Sir Henry Wotton "as one of the alleged
incentives which hurried Felton to become an assassin."-E.
(531) Sherley's various embassies will be found in the
collections of Hakluyt and Purchas. An article upon his travels,
which were published in 1601, occurs likewise in the second
volume of the Retrospective Review. The travels of the three
brothers, Sir Thomas, Sir Anthony, and Master Robert Sherley,
were published from the original manuscripts in 1825.-E.
Letter 196 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Strawberry Hill, March 11, 1764. (page 297)
My dear lord,
the last was so busy a week with me, that I had not a minute's
time to tell you of Lord Hardwicke's(532) death. I had so many
auctions, dinners, loo-parties, so many sick acquaintance, with
the addition of a long day in the House of Commons, (which, by
the way, I quitted for a sale of books,) and a ball, that I left
the common newspapers to inform you of an event, which two months
ago would have been of much consequence. The Yorkes are fixed,
and the contest(533) at Cambridge will but make them strike
deeper root in opposition. I have not heard how their father has
portioned out his immense treasures. The election at Cambridge
is to be on Tuesday, 24th; Charles Townshend is gone thither, and
I suppose, by this time, has ranted, and romanced, and turned
every one of their ideas topsyturvy.
Our long day was Friday, the opening of the budget. mr.
Grenville spoke for two hours and forty minutes; much of it well,
but too long, too many repetitions, and too evident marks of
being galled by reports, which he answered with more art than
sincerity. There were a few more speeches, till nine o'clock,
but no division. Our armistice, you see, continues. Lord Bute
is, I believe, negotiating with both sides; I know he is with the
opposition, and has a prospect of making very good terms for
himself, for patriots seldom have the gift of perseverance. It
is wonderful how soon their virtue thaws!
Last Thursday, the Duchess of Queensbury(534) gave a ball, opened
it herself with a minuet, and danced two country dances; as she
had enjoined every body to be with her by six, to sup at twelve,
and go away directly. Of the Campbell-sisters, all were left out
but, Lady Strafford,(535) Lady Rockingham and Lady Sondes, who,
having had colds, deferred sending answers, received notice that
their places were filled up, and that they must not come; but
were pardoned on submission. A card was sent to invite Lord and
Lady Cardigan, and Lord Beaulieu instead of Lord Montagu.(536)
This, her grace protested, was by accident. Lady Cardigan was
very angry, and yet went. Except these flights, the only
extraordinary thing the Duchess did, was to do nothing
extraordinary, for I do not call it very mad that some pique
happening between her and the Duchess of Bedford, the latter had
this distich sent to her--
Come with a whistle, and come with a call,
Come with a good will, or come not at all.
I do not know whether what I am going to tell you did not border
a little upon Moorfields.(537) The gallery where they danced was
very cold. Lord Lorn,(538) George Selwyn, and I, retired into a
little room, and sat (Comfortably by the fire. The Duchess
looked in, said nothing, and sent a smith to take the hinges of
the door off We understood the hint, and left the room, and so
did the smith the door. This was pretty legible.
My niece Waldegrave talks of accompanying me to Paris, but ten or
twelve weeks may make great alteration in a handsome young
widow's plan: I even think I see Some(539) who will--not forbid
banns, but propose them. Indeed, I am almost afraid of coming to
you myself. The air of Paris works such miracles, that it is not
safe to trust oneself there. I hear of nothing but my Lady
Hertford's rakery, and Mr. Wilkes's religious deportment, and
constant attendance at your chapel. Lady Anne,(540) I conclude,
chatters as fast as my Lady Essex(541) and her four daughters.
Princess Amelia told me t'other night, and bade me tell you, that
she has seen Lady Massarene(542) at Bath, who is warm in praise
of you, and said that you had spent two thousand pounds out of
friendship, to support her son in an election. She told the
Princess too, that she had found a rent-roll of your estate in a
farmhouse, and that it is fourteen thousand a-year. This I was
ordered, I know not why, to tell you. The Duchess of Bedford has
not been asked to the loo-parties at Cavendish-house(543) this
winter, and only once to whisk there, and that was one Friday
when she is at home herself. We have nothing at the Princess's
but silver-loo, and her Bath and Tunbridge acquaintance. The
trade at our gold-loo is as contraband as ever. I cannot help
saying, that the Duchess of Bedford would mend our silver-loo,
and that I wish every body played like her at the gold.
Arlington Street, Tuesday.
You thank me, my dear lord, for my gazettes (in your letter of
the 8th) more than they deserve. There is no trouble in sending
you news; as you excuse the careless manner in which I write any
thing I hear. Don't think yourself obliged to be punctual in
answering me: it would be paying too dear for such idle and
trifling despatches. Your picture of the attention paid to
Madame Pompadour's illness, and of the ridicule attached to the
mission of that homage, is very striking. It would be still more
so by comparison. Think if the Duke of Cumberland was to set up
with my Lord Bute!
The East India Company, yesterday, elected Lord Clive--Great
Mogul; that is, they have made him governor-general of Bengal,
and restored his Jaghire.(544) I dare say he will put it out of
their power ever to take it away again. We have had a deluge of
disputes and pamphlets on the late events in that distant
province of our empire, the Indies. The novelty of the manners
divert me: our governors there, I think, have learned more of
their treachery and injustice, than they have taught them of our
Monsieur Helvetius(545 arrived yesterday. I will take care to
inform the Princess, that you could not do otherwise than you did
about her trees. My compliments to all your hotel.
(532) The event took place on the 6th of March.-E.
(533) For High steward of the university, between Lord Sandwich
and the new Lord Hardwicke. Gray, in a letter of the 21st of
February, written from Cambridge, says, "This silly dirty place
has had all its thoughts taken up with choosing a new high
steward; and had not Lord Hardwicke surprisingly, and to the
shame of the faculty, recovered by a quack medicine, I believe in
my conscience the noble Earl of Sandwich had been chosen, though,
(let me do them the justice to say) not without a considerable
opposition." Works, vol. iv. p. 29.-E.
(534) Catharine Hyde, the granddaughter of the great Lord
Clarendon; herself remarkable for some oddities of character,
dress, and manners, to which the world became less indulgent as
she ceased to be young and handsome.-C.
(535) the sisters omitted were, Lady Dalkeith, Lady Elizabeth
Mackenzie, and Lady Mary Coke.-C.
(536) John Duke of Montagu left two daughters; the eldest,
Isabella, married first the Duke of Manchester, and, secondly,
Mr. Hussey, an Irish gentleman, created in consequence of this
union, Lord Beaulieu. Mary, the younger sister, married Lord
Cardigan, who was, in 1776, created Duke of Montagu: their eldest
son having been in 1762, created Lord Montagu. The marriage of
the elder sister with Mr. Hussey was considered, by her family
and the world, as a m`esalliance; and, therefore, the mistake of
lord Beaulieu for Lord Montagu was likely to give offence.-C.
(537) It is now almost necessary to remind the reader, that old
Bedlam stood in Moorfields.-C.
(538) Afterwards fifth Duke of Argyle.-E.
(539) He means, as subsequently appears, the Duke of Portland.-C.
(540) Lord Hertford's eldest daughter, afterwards wife of Mr.
Stewart, subsequently created Earl and Marquis of Londonderry.-E.
(541) Elizabeth Russell, daughter of the second Duke of Bedford.
She had four daughters; but the oldest died young.-E.
(542) Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Eyre, Esq. of Derbyshire,
second wife of the first, and mother of the second, Earl of
Massarene; the latter being at this time a minor. The election
was probably for the county of Antrim, in which both Lord
Massarene and Lord Hertford had considerable property.-C.
(543) Princess Amelia's, the corner of Harley Street; since the
residence of Mr. Hope, and of mr. Watson Taylor.-C.
(544) A rent-charge which had been granted him by the late Nabob,
and which, on the seizure of the territory on which it was
charged by the East India Company, Lord Clive insisted that the
Company should continue to pay. It was about twenty-five
thousand pounds per annum.-C.
(545) A French philosopher, the son of a Dutch Physician brought
into France by Louis XIV. He was the author of a dull book
mis-named "De l'Esprit." We cannot resist repeating a joke made
about this period on the occasion of a requisition made by the
French ministry to the government of Geneva, that it should seize
copies of this book "De l'Esprit," and Voltaire's "Pucelle
d'Orl`eans," which were supposed to be collected there in order
to be smuggled into France. The worthy magistrates were said to
have reported that, after the most diligent search, they could
find in their whole town no trace "de l'Esprit, et pas une
Pucelle."-C. [The following is Gibbon's character of Helvetius,
in a letter of the 12th of February, 1763:--"Amongst my
acquaintance I cannot help mentioning M. Helvetius, the author of
the famous book 'De l'Esprit.' I met him at dinner at Madame
Geoffrin's, where he took great notice of me, made me a visit
next day, has ever since treated me, not in a polite but a
friendly manner. Besides being a sensible man, an agreeable
companion, and the worthiest creature in the world, he has a very
pretty wife, an hundred thousand livres a-year, and one of the
best tables in Paris." He died in 1771, at the age of
Letter 197 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Sunday, March 18, 1764. (page 300)
You will feel, my dear lord, for the loss I have had, and for the
much greater affliction of poor Lady Malpas. My nephew(546) went
to his regiment in Ireland before Christmas, and returned but
last Monday. He had, I suppose, heated himself in that
bacchanalian country, and was taken ill the very day he set out,
yet he came on, but grew much worse the night of his arrival; it
turned to an inflammation in his bowels, and he died last Friday.
You may imagine the distress where there was so much domestic
felicity, and where the deprivation is augmented by the very
slender circumstances in which he could but leave his family; as
his father--such an improvident father--is living! Lord Malpas
himself was very amiable, and I had always loved him--but this is
the cruel tax one pays for living, to see one's friends taken
away before one! It has been a week of mortality. The night I
wrote to you last, and had sent away my letter, came an account
of my Lord Townshend's death. He had been ill treated by a
surgeon in the country, then was carried improperly to the Bath,
and then again to Rainham, tho Hawkins, and other surgeons and
physicians represented his danger to him. But the woman he kept,
probably to prevent his seeing his family, persisted in these
extravagant journeys, and he died in exquisite torment the day
after his arrival in Norfolk. He mentions none of his children
in his will, but the present lord; to whom he gives 300 pounds
a-year that he had bought, adjoining to his estate. But there is
said, or supposed to be, 50,000 pounds in the funds in his
mistress's name, who was his housemaid. I do not aver this, for
truth is not the staple commodity of that family. Charles is
much disappointed and discontented--not so my lady, who has 2000
pounds a-year already, another 1000 pounds in jointure, and 1500
pounds her own estate in Hertfordshire.(547) We conclude, that
the Duke of Argyle will abandon Mrs. Villiers(548) for this
richer widow; who will only be inconsolable, as she is too
cunning, I believe, to let any body console her. Lord
Macclesfield(549) is dead too; a great windfall for Mr.
Grenville, who gets a teller's place for his son.
There is no public news: there was a longish day on Friday in our
House, on a demand for money for the new bridge from the city.
It was refused, and into the accompt of contempt, Dr. Hay(550)
threw a good deal of abuse on the common council--a nest of
hornets, that I do not see the prudence of attacking.
I leave to your brother to tell you the particulars of an
impertinent paragraph in the papers on you and your embassy; but
I must tell you how instantly, warmly, and zealously, he resented
it. He went directly to the Duke of Somerset, to beg of him to
complain of it to the Lords. His grace's bashfulness made him
choose rather to second the complaint, but he desired Lord
Marchmont to make it, who liked the office, and the printers are
to attend your House to-morrow.(551)
I went a little too fast in my history of Lord Clive, and yet I
had it from Mr. Grenville himself. The Jaghire is to be decided
by law, that is in the year 1000. Nor is it certain that his
Omrahship goes; that will depend on his obtaining a board of
directors to his mind, at the approaching election.(552) I
forgot, too, to answer your question about Luther;(553) and now I
remember it, I cannot answer it. Some said his wife had been
gallant. Some, that he had been too gallant, and that she
suffered for it. Others laid it to his expenses at his election;
others again, to political squabbles on that subject between him
and his wife--but in short, as he sprung into the world by his
election, so he withered when it was over, and has not been
thought on since.
George Selwyn has had a frightful accident, that ended in a great
escape. He was at dinner at Lord Coventry's, and just as he was
drinking a glass of wine, he was seized with a fit of coughing,
the liquor went wrong, and suffocated him: he got up for some
water at the sideboard, but being strangled, and losing his
senses, he fell against the corner of the marble table with such
violence, that they thought he had killed himself by a fracture
of his skull. He lay senseless for some time, and was recovered
with difficulty. He was immediately blooded, and had the chief
wound, which is just over the eye, sewed up--but you never saw so
battered a figure. All round his eye is as black as jet, and
besides the scar on his forehead, he has cut his nose at top and
bottom. He is well off with his life, and we with his wit.
P. S. Lord Macclesfield has left his wife(554) threescore
(546) George Viscount Malpas member for Corfe-Castle, and colonel
of the 65th regiment of foot, the son of George, third Earl of
Cholmondeley, and of Mary, only legitimate daughter of Sir Robert
Walpole. Lord Malpas had married, in 1747, Hester daughter and
heiress of Sir Francis Edwards, Bart. and by her was father of
the fourth Earl.
(547) She was daughter and heiress of J. Harrison, Esq. of Balls,
(548) Probably Mary Fowke, widow of Mr. Henry Villiers, nephew of
the first Earl of Jersey.-C.
(549) George, second Earl of Macclesfield, one of the tellers of
the exchequer, and president of the Royal Society.-E.
(550) George Hay, LL. D. member for Sandwich, and one of the
lords of the admiralty.-E.
(551) We find in the Journals, that the printers of two papers in
which the libellous paragraph appeared, were, after examination
at the bar, committed to Newgate. The libel itself is not
recorded. The proceedings in the House of Lords were notified to
Lord Hertford by the secretary of state, and the following is a
copy of his reply to this communication:--"Paris, March 27th,
1764. I am informed by my friend, of the insult that has been
offered to my character in two public papers, and of the zeal
shown by administration in seconding the resentment of the House
of Peers in my favour. Perhaps my own inclination might have led
me to despise such indignities; but if others, and particularly
my friends, take the matter more warmly, I am not insensible to
their attention, and receive with gratitude such pledges of their
regard. I had indeed flattered myself, that my course of life
had hitherto created me no enemy; but as I find that this
felicity is too great for any man, I am pleased, at least, to
find that he is a very low one: and I am so far obliged to him
for discovering to me the share I have in the friendship of so
many great persons, and for procuring me a testimony of esteem
from so honourable an assembly as that of the Peers of
(552) Lord Clive made it a condition of his going to India, that
Mr. Sullivan should be deprived of the lead he had in the
direction at home.-C. [Soon after the election of the directors,
the court took the subject of the settlement of Lord Clive's
Jaghire into consideration; and a proposition, made by himself,
was, on the ]6th of May, agreed to, confirming his right for ten
years, if he lived so long, and provided the company continued,
during that period, in possession of the lands from which the
revenue was Paid.-E.]
(553) John Luther, Esq. of Myless, near Ongar, in Essex, who, on
the death of Mr. Harvey, of Chigwell, stood on the popular
interest ,for that county against Mr. Conyers, and succeeded.-C.
(554) Lord Macclesfield's second wife, whom he married in 1757,
was a Miss Dorothy Nesbit.-E.
Letter 198 To The Earl Of Hertford.
Tuesday night, March 27, 1764. (page 302)
Your brother has just told me, my dear lord, at the Opera, that
Colonel Keith, a friend of his, sets out for Paris on Thursday.
I take that opportunity of saying a few things to you, which
would be less proper than by the common post; and if I have not
time to write to Lord Beauchamp too, I will defer my answer to
him till Friday, as the post-office will be more welcome to read
Lord Bute is come to town, has been long with the King alone, and
goes publicly to court and the House of Lords, where the Barony
of Bottetourt((555) has engrossed them some days, and of which
the town thinks much, and I not at all, so I can tell you nothing
about it. The first two days, I hear, Lord Bute was little
noticed; but to-day much court was paid to him, even by the Duke
of Bedford. Why this difference, I don't know: that matters are
somehow adjusted between the favourite not minister, and the
ministers not favourites, I have no doubt. Pitt certainly has
been treating with him, and so threw away the great and
unexpected progress which the opposition had made. They, good
people, are either not angry with him for this, or have not found
it out. The Sandwiches and rigbys, who feel another half year
coming into their pockets, are not so blind. For my own part, I
rejoice that the opposition are only fools, and by thus missing
their treaty, will not appear knaves. In the mean time, I have
no doubt but the return of Lord Bute must produce confusion at
court. He and Grenville are both too fond of being ministers,
not to be jealous of one another. If what is said to be designed
proves true, that the King will go to Hanover, and take the Queen
with him, I shall expect that clamour (which you see depends on
very few men,(556) for it has subsided during these private
negotiations) will rise higher than ever. The Queen's absence
must be designed to leave the regency in the hands of another
lady:(557) connect that with Lord Bute's return, and judge what
will be the consequence! These are the present politics, at
least mine, who trouble myself little about them, and know less.
I have not been at the House this month; the great points which
interested me are over, and the very stand has shut the door. I
might like some folks out, but there are so few that I desire to
see in, that indifference is my present most predominating
principle. The busier world are attentive to the election at
Cambridge, which comes on next Friday; and I think, now, Lord
Sandwich's friends have little hopes. Had I a vote, it would not
be given for the new Lord Hardwicke.
But we have a more extraordinary affair to engage us, and of
which you particularly will hear much more,-indeed, I fear must
be involved in. D'Eon has published (but to be sure you have
already heard so) a most scandalous quarto, abusing Monsieur de
Guerchy outrageously, and most offensive to Messieurs de Praslin
and Nivernois.(558) In truth, I think he will have made all
three irreconcilable enemies. The Duc de Praslin must be
outraged as to the Duke's carelessness and partiality to D'Eon,
and will certainly grow to hate Guerchy, concluding the latter
can never forgive him. D'Eon, even by his own account, is as
culpable as possible, mad with pride, insolent, abusive,
ungrateful, and dishonest, in short, a complication of
abominations, yet originally ill used by his court, afterwards
too well; above all, he has great malice, and great parts to put
the malice in play. Though there are even many bad puns in his
book, a very uncommon fault in a French book, yet there is much
wit too.(559) Monsieur de Guerchy is extremely hurt, though with
the least reason of the three; for his character for bravery and
good-nature is so established, that here, at least, he will not
suffer. I could write pages to you upon this Subject, for I am
full of it--but I will send you the book. The council have met
to-day to consider what to do upon it. Most people think it
difficult for them to do any thing. Lord Mansfield thinks they
can--but I fear he has a little alacrity on the severe side in
such cases. Yet I should be glad the law would allow severity in
the present case. I should be glad of it, as I was in your case
last week; and considering the present constitution of things,
would put the severity of the law in execution. You will wonder
at this sentence out of my mouth,(560) but not when you have
heard my reason. The liberty of the press has been so much
abused, that almost all men, especially such as have weight, I
mean, grave hypocrites and men of arbitrary principles, are ready
to demand a restraint. I would therefore show, that the law, as
it already stands, is efficacious enough to repress enormities.
I hope so, particularly in Monsieur de Guerchy's case, or I do
not see how a foreign minister can come hither; if, while their
persons are called sacred, their characters are at the mercy of
every servant that can pick a lock and pay for printing a letter.
It is an odd coincidence of accidents that has produced abuse on
you and your tally in the same week--but yours was a flea-bite.
Thank you, my dear lord, for your anecdotes relative to Madame
Pompadour, her illness, and the pretenders to her succession. I
hope she may live till I see her; she is one of the greatest
curiosities of the age, and I am a pretty universal virtuoso.
The match Of My niece with the Duke of Portland(561) was, I own,
what I hinted at, and what I then believed likely to happen. It
is now quite off, and with very extraordinary circumstances; but
if I tell it you at all, it Must not be in a letter, especially
when D'Eons steal letters and print them. It is a secret, and so
little to the lover's advantage, that I, who have a great regard
for his family, shall not be the first to divulge it.
We had last night, a magnificent ball at Lady Cardigan's;(562)
three sumptuous suppers in three rooms. The house, you know, is
crammed with fine things, pictures, china, japan, vases, and
every species of curiosities. These are much increased even
since I was in favour there, particularly by Lord Montagu's
importations. I was curious to see how many quarrels my lady
must have gulped before she could fill her house--truly, not
many, (though some,) for there were very few of her own
acquaintance, chiefly recruits of her son and daughter. There
was not the soup`con of a Bedford, though the town has married
Lord Tavistock and Lady Betty(563)--but he is coming to you to
France. The Duchess of Bedford told me how hard it was, that I,
who had personally offended my Lady Cardigan, should be invited,
and that she, who had done nothing, and yet had tried to be
reconciled, should not be asked. "Oh, Madam," said I, "be easy as
to that point, for though she has invited me, she will scarce
speak to me but I let all such quarrels come and go as they
please: if people, so indifferent to me, quarrel with me, it is
no reason why I should quarrel with them, and they have my full
leave to be reconciled when they please."
I must trouble you once more to know to what merchant you
consigned the Princess's trees, and Lady Hervey's biblioth`eque--
I mean for the latter. I did not see the Princess last week, as
the loss of my nephew kept me from public places. Of all public
places, guess the most unlikely one for the most unlikely person
to have been at. I had sent to know how Lady Macclesfield did:
Louis(564) brought me word that he could hardly get into St.
James's-square, there was so great a crowd to see my lord lie in
state. At night I met my Lady Milton(565) at the Duchess of
Argyle's, and said in joke, "Soh, to be sure, you have been to
see my Lord Macclesfield lie in state!" thinking it impossible--
she burst out into a fit of laughter, and owned she had. She and
my Lady Temple had dined at Lady Betty's,(566) put on hats and
cloaks, and literally waited on the steps of the house in the
thick of the mob, while one posse was admitted and let out again
for a second to enter, before they got in.
You will as little guess what a present I have had from Holland--
only a treatise of mathematical metaphysics from an author I
never heard of, with great encomiums on my taste and knowledge.
To be sure, I am warranted to insert this certificate among the
testimonia authorum, before my next edition of the Painters.
Now, I assure you, I am much more just--I have sent the gentleman
word what a perfect ignoramus I am, and did not treat my vanity
with a moment's respite. Your brother has laughed at me, or
rather at the poor man who has so mistaken me, as much as ever I
did at his absence and flinging down every thing at breakfast.
Tom, your brother's man, told him to-day, that Mister
Helvoetsluys had been to wait on him--now you are guessing,--did
you find out this was Helvetius?
It is piteous late, and I must go to bed, only telling you a
bon-mot of Lady Bell Finch.(567) Lord Bath owed her half a
crown; he sent it next day, with a wish that he could give her a
crown. She replied, that though he could not give her a crown,
he could give her a coronet, and she was very ready to accept
it.(568) I congratulate you on your new house; and am your very
sleepy humble servant.
(555) The ancient Barony of Bottetourt had been considered as
extinct ever since the reign of Edward III. and was now claimed
by Mr. Norborne Berkeley, member for Gloucestershire, and a groom
of the bedchamber; the revival of a claim so long forgotten
created considerable interest.-C.
(556) This is an important observation: it affords a clue to the
causes of the unpopularity of the early years of George III.-C.
(557) The Princess Dowager.
(558) M. de Praslin was secretary for foreign affairs, and M. de
Nivernois had been lately ambassador in England.-C.
(559) At this distance of time, D,Eon's book seems to us the mere
ravings of insane vanity; the puns poor, and the wit rare and
(560) It certainly does not appear quite consistent, that Mr.
Walpole, who so much disapproves of an attack on his friends,
Lord Hertford and M. de Guerchy, should have been delighted, but
a few pages since, with the hemlock administered to Lord Holland,
and the scurrility against Bishop Warburton.-C.
(561) See ant`e, p. 298), letter 196.
(562) See ant`e, p. 298, letter 196.
(563) Lady Cardigan's eldest daughter, married, in 1767, to the
third Duke of Buccleuzh. This amiable and venerable lady is
still living.-C. [She died in 1827.]
(564) His valet.
(565) Lady Caroline Sackville, wife of Joseph Damer, Lord Milton,
(566) Lady Betty Germain.-C.
(567) Lady Isabella Finch, daughter of Daniel, sixth Earl of
Winchelsea. She was lady of the bedchamber to Princess Amelia,
and died unmarried in 1771.-C.
(568) It seems that Lord Bath's coronet, and perhaps still more
his great wealth, for which, after his son's death, he had no
direct heir, subjected his lordship to views of the nature
alluded to in Lady Bell's bon-mot. In the Suffolk Letters,
lately published, is a proposition to this effect from Mrs. Anne
Pitt, made with all appearance of seriousness.-C. (The following
is the passage alluded to. It is contained in a letter from Mrs.
Anne Pitt to Lady Suffolk, dated November 10, 1753:--"I hear my
Lord Bath is here very lively, but I have not seen him, which I
am very sorry for, because I want to offer myself to him. I am
quite in earnest, and have set my heart upon it; so I beg
seriously you will carry it in your mind, and think if you could
find any way to help me. Do not you think Lady Betty Germain and
Lord and Lady Vere would be ready to help me, if they knew how
willing I am? But I leave all this to your discretion, and repeat
seriously, that I am quite in earnest. he can want nothing but a
companion that would like his company; and in my situation I
should not desire to make the bargain without that circumstance.
And though all I have been saying Puts me in mind of some
advertisements I have seen in the newspapers from gentlewoman in
distress, I will not take that method; but I want to recollect
whether you did not tell me, as I think you did many years ago,
that he once spoke so well of me, that he got anger for it at
home, where I never was a favourite. I perceive that by thinking
aloud, as I am apt to do with you, this letter is grown very
improper for the post, so I design to send it with a tea-box my
sister left and does not want, directed to your house."-E.]
Letter 199 To Charles Churchill, Esq.(569)
Arlington Street, March 27, 1764. (page 306)
I had just sent away a half-scolding letter to my sister, for not
telling me of Robert's(570) arrival, and to acquaint you both
with the loss of poor Lord Malpas, when I received your very
entertaining letter of the 19th. I had not then got the draught
of the Conqueror's kitchen, and the tiles you were so good as to
send me; and grew horribly afraid lest old Dr. Ducarel, who is an
ostrich of an antiquary, and can digest superannuated brickbats,
should have gobbled them up. At my return from Strawberry Hill
yesterday, I found the whole cargo safe, and am really much
obliged to you. I weep over the ruined kitchen,. but enjoy the
tiles. They are exactly like a few which I obtained from the
cathedral of Gloucester, when it was new paved; they are inlaid
in the floor of my china-room. I would have got enough to pave
it entirely; but the canons, who were flinging them away, had so
much devotion left, that they enjoined me not to pave a pagoda
with them, nor put them to any profane use. As scruples Increase
in a ratio to their decrease, I did not know but a china-room
might casuistically be interpreted a pagoda, and sued for no
more. My cloister is finished and consecrated but as I intend to
convert the old blue and white hall next to the china-room into a
Gothic columbarium, I should seriously be glad to finish the
floor with Norman tiles. However, as I shall certainly make you
a visit in about two months, I will wait till then, and bring the
dimensions with me.
Depend upon it, I will pay some of your debts to M. de
Lislebonne; that is, I will make as great entertainments for him
as any one can, who almost always dines alone in his
dressing-room; I will show him every thing all the morning, as
much as any one can, who lies abed till noon, and never gets
dressed till two o'clock; and I will endeavour to amuse him with
variety of diversions every evening as much as any one can, who
does nothing but play at loo till midnight, or sit behind Lady
Mary Coke in a corner of a box at the Opera. Seriously, though.
I will try to show him that I think distinctions paid to you and
my sister favours to me, and will make a point of adding the few
civilities which his name, rank, and alliance with the Guerchys