Letters of Horace Walpole, V4
by Horace Walpole
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I will answer you as fairly and candidly, Sir, about Archibald Duke of Argyll, of whom I saw at least a great deal. I do believe Sir Robert had a full opinion of his abilities as a most useful man. In fact, it is plain he had; for he depended on the Duke, when Lord Islay, for the management of your part of the island, and, as I have heard at the time, disobliged the most firm of the Scottish Whigs by that preference. Sir Robert supported Lord Islay against the Queen herself, who hated him for his attachment to Lady Suffolk, and he was the only man of any consequence whom her Majesty did not make feel how injudicious it was (however novel) to prefer the interest of the mistress to that of the wife. On my father's defeat his warm friends loudly complained of Lord Islay as having betrayed the Scottish boroughs, at the election of Sir Robert's last Parliament, to his brother, Duke John. It is true too, that Sir Robert always replied, "I do not accuse him." I Must own, knowing my father's manner, and that when he said but little, it was not a favourable symptom, I did think, that if he would not accuse, at least he did not acquit. Duke Archibald was undoubtedly a dark shrewd man. I recollect an instance for which I should not choose to be quoted just at this moment, though it reflects on nobody living. I forget the precise period, and even some of the persons concerned; but it was in the minority of the present Duke of Gordon, and you, Sir, can probably adjust the dates. A regiment had been raised of Gordons. Duke Archibald desired the command of it to a favourite of his own. The Duchess-dowager insisted on it for her second husband. Duke A. said, "Oh! to be sure her grace must be obeyed;" but instantly got the regiment ordered to the East Indies, which had not been the reckoning of a widow remarried to a young fellow.(418)

At the time of the rebellion, I remember that Duke Archibald was exceedingly censured in London for coming thither, and pleading that he was not empowered to take up arms. But I believe that I have more than satisfied your curiosity, Sir, and that you will not think it very prudent to set an old man on talking of the days of his Youth.

I have just received the favour of a letter from Lord Buchan, in which his lordship is so good as to acquaint me with the honour your new Society of Antiquaries have done me in nominating me an honourary member. I am certainly much flattered by the distinction, but am afraid his lordship's partiality and patronage will in this only instance do him no credit. My knowledge even of British antiquity has ever been desultory and most superficial; I have never studied any branch of science deeply and solidly, nor ever but for temporary amusement, and without any system, suite, or method. Of late years I have quitted every connexion with societies, not only Parliament, but those of our Antiquaries and of Arts and Sciences, and have not attended the meetings of the Royal Society. I have withdrawn myself in a great measure from the world, and live in a very narrow circle idly and obscurely. Still, Sir, I could not decline the honour your Society has been pleased to offer me, lest it should be thought a want of respect and gratitude, instead of a mark of humility and conscious unworthiness. I am so sensible of this last, that I cannot presume to offer my services in this part of' our island to so respectable an assembly; but if you, Sir, who know too well my limited abilities, can at any time point out any information that it is in my power to give to the Society, (as in the case of Royal Scottish portraits, on which Lord Buchan was pleased to Consult Me,) I shall be very proud to obey your and their commands, and shall always be with great regard their and your most obedient humble servant.

P. S. I do not know whether I ever mentioned to you or Lord Buchan, Sir, a curious and excellent head in oil of the Lady Margaret Douglas at Mr. Carteret's, at Hawnes in Bedfordshire, the seat of his grandfather Lord Granville; I know few better portraits. It is at once a countenance of goodness and cunning, a mixture I think pleasing. It seems to imply that the person's virtue was not founded on folly or ignorance of the world; it implies perhaps more, that the person would combat treachery and knavery, and knew how. I could fancy the head in question was such a character as Margaret Queen of Navarre, sister of Francis the First. who was very free in her conversation and writings, yet strictly virtuous; debonnaire, void of ambition; yet a politician when her brother's situation required it. If your Society should give into engraving historic portraits, this head would deserve an early place. There is at Lord Scarborough's in Yorkshire, a double portrait, perhaps by Holbein or Lucas de Heere, of Lady Margaret's mother, Queen Margaret, and her second husband.

(416) Now first collected.

(417) Pope in his second Dialogue for the Year 1738, has transmitted Sir William's character to posterity—

"How can I, Pultney, Chesterfield, forget, While Roman spirit charms, and Attic wit? Or Wyndham, just to freedom and the throne, The master of our passions and his own?"

Speaker Onslow says, "there was a spirit and power in his speaking that always animated himself and his hearers, and with the decoration of his manner, which was, indeed, very ornamental, produced, not only the most attentive, respectful, but even a reverend regard, to whatever he spoke."-E.

(418) See Memoires of George the Second, vol. i. p. 240. "In his private life," says Walpole, "he had more merit, except in the case of his wife, whom, having been deluded into marrying without a fortune, he punished by rigorous and unrelaxed confinement in Scotland. He had a great thirst for books; a head admirably turned to mechanics; was a patron of ingenious men, a promoter of discoveries, and one of the first encouragers of planting in England; most of the curious exotics which have been familiarized to this climate being introduced by him. He died suddenly in his chair after dinner, at his house in Argyle-buildings, London, April 15, 1761."-E.

Letter 212 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, March 2, 1781. (page 272)

Dear Sir, My Lady Orford ordered herself to be buried at Leghorn, the only place in Tuscany where Protestants have burial; therefore I suppose she did not affect to change. On the contrary, I believe she had no preference for any sect, but rather laughed at all. I know nothing new, neither in novelty nor antiquity. I have had no gout this winter, and therefore I call it my leap-year. I am sorry it is not yours too. It is an age since I saw Dr. lort. I hope illness is not the cause. You will be diverted with hearing that I am chosen an honourary member of the new Antiquarian Society at Edinburgh. I accepted for two reasons: first, it is a feather that does not demand my flying thither; and secondly, to show contempt for our own old fools.(419) To me it will be a perfect sinecure; for I have moulted all my pen feathers, and shall have no ambition of nestling into their printed transactions. Adieu, my good Sir. Your much obliged.

(419) Cole, in a letter to Mr. Gough, acquainting him with Walpole's election, adds—"The admission of a few things into our Archaeologia, has, I fear, estranged for ever one of the most lively, learned, and entertaining members on our list."-E.

Letter 213 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. March 5, 1781. (PAGE 273)

I do not in the least guess or imagine what you mean by Lord Hardwicke's publication of a Walpoliana.(420) Naturally it should mean a collection of sayings or anecdotes of my father, according to the French Anas, which began, I think, with those of Menage. Or, is it a collection of letters and state-papers, during his administration? I own I am curious to know at least what this piece contains. I had not heard a word of it; and, were it not for the name, I should have very little inquisitiveness about it: for nothing upon earth ever was duller than the three heavy tomes his lordship printed of Sir Dudley Carleton's Negotiations, and of what he called State-papers. Pray send me an answer as soon as you can, at least of as much as you have heard about this thing.

(420) "Walpoliana; or a few Anecdotes of Sir Robert Walpole"—an agreeable little collection of anecdotes relative to Sir Robert Walpole, made by Philip second Earl of Hardwicke; printed in quarto, but never published.-E.

Letter 214 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, March 29, 1781. (PAGE 273)

You are so good-natured that I am sure you will be glad to be told that the report of Mr. Pennant being disordered is not true. He is come to town—has been with me, and at least is as composed as ever I saw him. He is going to publish another part of his Welsh Tour, which he can well afford; though I believe he does not lose by his works. An aunt is dead, exceedingly rich, who had given some thousands to him and his daughter, but suddenly changed her mind and left all to his sister, who has most nobly given him all that had been destined in the cancelled will. Dr. Nash has just published the first volume of his Worcestershire. It is a folio of prodigious corpulence, and yet dry enough; but then it is finely dressed, and has many heads and views.(421) Dr. Lort was with me yesterday, and I never saw him better, nor has he been much out of order. I hope your gout has left you; but here are winds bitter enough to give one any thing. Yours ever.

(421) Dr. Threadway Nash's "Collections for the History of Worcestershire;" 1781-1799; in two volumes, folio.-E.

Letter 215 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. April 3, 1781.(PAGE 274)

I am very sorry, dear Sir, that, in my last letter but one, I took notice of what you said of Lord Hardwicke; the truth was, I am perfectly indifferent about what he prints or publishes. There is generally a little indirect malice but so much more dulness, that the latter soon suffocates the former. This is telling you that I could not be offended at any thing you said of him, nor am I likely to suspect a sincere friend of disobliging me. You have proved the direct contrary these forty years. I have not time to say more, but am ever most truly yours.

Letter 216 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Berkeley Square, May 4, 1781. (PAGE 274)

I shall not only be ready to show Strawberry Hill, at any time he chooses, to Dr. Farmer, as your friend, but to be honoured with his acquaintance, though I am very shy now of contracting new. I have great respect for his character and abilities and Judicious taste, and am very clear that he has elucidated Shakspeare(422) in a more reasonable and satisfactory manner than any of his affected commentators, who only complimented him with learning that he had not, in order to display their own.

Pray give me timely notice whenever I am likely to see Dr. Farmer, that I may not be out of the way when I can have an opportunity of showing attention to a friend of yours, and pay a small part of your gratitude to him. There shall be a bed at his service; for you know Strawberry cannot be seen in a moment, nor are Englishmen so liants as to get acquainted in the time they are walking through a house.

But now, my good Sir, how could you suffer your prejudiced partiality to me to run away with you so extravagantly, as to call me one of the greatest characters of the age? You are too honest to flatter, too much a hermit to be interested, and I am too powerless and insignificant to be an object of court, were you capable of paying it from mercenary views. I know then that it could proceed from nothing but the warmth of your heart; but if you are blind towards me, I am not so to myself. I know not how others feel on such occasions, but if any one happens to praise me, all my faults rush into my face, and make me turn my eyes inward and outward with horror. What am I but a poor old skeleton tottering towards the grave, and conscious of a thousand weaknesses, follies, and worse! And for talents, what are mine but trifling and superficial; and, compared with those of men with real genius, most diminutive! Mine a great character! Mercy on me! I am a composition of Anthony Wood and Madame Danois,(423) and I know not what trumpery writers. This is the least I can say to refute your panegyric, which I shall burn presently; for I will not have such an encomiastic letter found in my possession, lest I should seem to have been pleased with it. I enjoin you, as a penance, not to contradict one tittle I have said here; for I am not begging more compliments, and shall take it seriously ill if you ever pay me another. We have been friends above forty years; I am satisfied of your sincerity and affection; but does it become us, at past threescore each, to be saying fine things to one another? Consider how soon we shall both be nothing!

I assure you, with great truth, I am at this present very sick of my little vapour of fame. My tragedy has wandered into the hands of some banditti booksellers, and I am forced to publish it myself to prevent piracy.(424) All I can do is to condemn it myself, and that I shall. I am reading Mr. Pennant's new Welsh Tour; he has pleased me by making very handsome mention of you; but I will not do, what I have been blaming.

My poor dear Madame du Deffand's little dog is arrived. She made me promise to take care of it the last time I saw her: that I will most religiously, and make it as happy as is possible.(425) I have not much curiosity to see your Cambridge Raphael, but great desire to see you, and will certainly this summer, accept your invitation,, which I take much kinder than your great character, though both flowed from the same friendship. Mine for you is exactly what it has been ever since you knew (and few men can boast so uninterrupted a friendship as yours and that of—) H. W.

(422) In his well-known "Essay on the Learning of Shakspeare."-E.

(423) Madame d'Aulnoy, the contemporary of Perrault, and, like him, a writer of fairy tales. She was the authoress of "The Lady's Travels in Spain," and many other works, which have been translated into English.-E.

(424) Walpole had printed fifty copies of"The Mysterious Mother" at Strawberry Hill as early as the year 1765; but a surreptitious edition of it being announced in 1781, he consented to Dodsley's publishing a genuine one.-E.

(425) In his reply to this letter, of the 7th of May, the worthy antiquary says-"I congratulate the little Parisian dog, that he has fallen into the hands of so humane a master. I have a little diminutive dog, Busy, full as great a favourite, and never out of my lap: I have already, in case of an accident, ensured it a refuge from starvation and ill-usage. It is the least we can do for poor harmless, shiftless, pampered animals that have amused us, and we have spoilt." A brother antiquary, on reading this passage, exclaimed, "How could Mr. Cole ever get through the transcript of a Bishop's Registry, or a Chartulary, with Busy never out of his lap!"-E.

Letter 217 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill,, Sunday evening, May 6, 1781. (PAGE 275)

I supped With your Countess on Friday at Lord Frederick Campbell's, where I heard of the relief of Gibraltar by Darby. The Spanish fleet kept close in Cadiz: however, he lifted up his leg, and just squirted contempt on them. As he is disembarrassed of his transports, I suppose their ships will scramble on shore rather than fight. Well, I shall be perfectly content with our fleet coming back in a whole skin; it will be enough to have outquixoted Don Quixote's own nation. As I knew, your Countess would write the next day, I waited till she was gone out of town and would not have much to tell you—not that I have either; and it is giving myself an air to pretend to know more at Twickenham than she can at Henley. Though it is a bitter northeast, I came hither to-day to look at my lilacs, though 'a la glace; and to get from pharaoh, for which there is a rage. I doted on it above thirty years ago; but it is not decent to sit up all night now with boys and girls. My nephew, Lord Cholmondeley, the banker 'a la mode, has been demolished. He and his associate, Sir Willoughby Aston, went early t'other night to Brookcs's, before Charles Fox and Fitzpatrick, who keep a bank there, were come; but they soon arrived, attacked their rivals, broke their bank, and won above four thousand pounds. "There," said Fox, "so should all usurpers be served!" He did still better; for he sent for his tradesmen, and paid as far as the money would go. In the mornings he continues his war on Lord North, but cannot break that bank. The court has carried a secret committee for India affairs, and it is supposed that Rumbold is to be the sacrifice; but as he is near as rich as Lord Clive, I conclude he will escape by the same golden key.

I told you in my last that Tonton was arrived. I brought him this morning to take possession of his new villa, but his installation has not been at all pacific. As he has already found out that he may be as despotic as at Saint Joseph's, he began with exiling my beautiful little cat; upon which, however, we shall not quite agree. He then flew at one of my dogs,(426) who returned it by biting his foot till it bled, but was severely beaten for it. I immediately rung for Margaret,(427) to dress his foot: but in the midst of my tribulation could not keep my countenance; for she cried, "Poor little thing, he does not understand my language!" I hope she will not recollect too that he is a Papist!

Berkeley Square, Tuesday, May 8.

I came before dinner, and found your long letter of the 3d. You have mistaken Tonton's sex, who is a cavalier, and a little of the mousquetaire still; but if I do not correct his vivacities, at least I shall not encourage them like my dear old friend.

You say nothing of your health; therefore, I trust it is quite re-established: my own is most flourishing for me. They say the Parliament will rise by the birthday; not that it seems to be any grievance or confinement to any body. I hope you will soon come and enjoy a quiet summer under the laurels of your own conscience. They are at least as spreading as any body's else; and the soil will preserve their verdure for ever. Methinks we western powers might as well make peace. since we make war so clumsily. Yet I doubt the awkwardness of our enemies will not have brought down our stomach. Well, I wish for the sake of mankind there was an end of their sufferings! Even spectators are not amused—the whole war has passed like the riotous murmurs of the upper gallery before the play begins—they have pelted the candle-snuffers, the stage has been swept, the music has played, people have taken their places—but the deuce a bit of any performance!—And when folks go home, they will have seen nothing but a farce, that has cost fifty times more than the best tragedy!

(426) This does not quite accord with the favourable character given of Tonton by Madame du Deffand's secretary, Wyrt, in a letter to Walpole:—"Je garderai," he says, "Tonton jusqu'au d'epart de M. Thomas Walpole; j'en ai le plus grand soin. Il est tr'es doux; il ne mord personne; il n''etait m'echant qu'aupr'es de sa maitresse."-E.

(427) Mr. Walpole's housekeeper.

Letter 218 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Berkeley Square, May 28, 1781. (PAGE 277)

This letter, like an embarkation, will not set out till it has gotten its complement; but I begin it, as I have just received your second letter. I wrote to you two days ago, and did not mean to complain; for you certainly cannot have variety of matter in your sequestered isle: and since you do not disdain trifling news, this good town, that furnishes nothing else, at least produces weeds, which shoot up in spite of the Scotch thistles, that have choked all good fruits. I do not know what Lady Craven designs to do with her play; I hope, act it only in private; for her other was murdered, and the audience did not exert the least gallantry to so pretty an authoress, though she gave them so fair an opportunity. For my own play, I was going to publish it in my own defence, as a spurious edition was advertised here, besides one in Ireland. My advertisement has overlaid the former for the present, and that tempts me to suppress mine, as I have a thorough aversion to its appearance. Still, I think I shall produce it in the dead of summer, that it may be forgotten by winter; for I could not bear having it the subject of conversation in a full town. It is printed; so I can let it steal out in the midst of the first event that engrosses the public; and as it is not quite a novelty, I have no fear but it will be stillborn, if it is twin with any babe that squalls and makes much noise.

At the same time with yours I received a letter from another cousin at Paris, who tells me Necker is on the verge, and in the postscript says, he has actually resigned. I heard so a few days ago; but this is a full confirmation. Do you remember a conversation at your house, at supper, in which a friend of yours spoke, very unfavourably of Necker, and seemed to wish his fall? In my own opinion they are much in the wrong. It is true, Necker laboured with all his shoulders to restore their finances; yet I am persuaded that his attention to that great object made him clog all their military operations. They will pay dearer for money; but money they will have: nor is it so dear to them, for, when they have gotten it, they have only not to pay. A Monsieur Joly de Fleury is comptroller-general. I know nothing of him; but as they change so often, some able man will prove minister at last—and there they will have the advantage again.

Lord Cornwallis's courier, Mr. Broderick, is not yet arrived; so you are a little precipitate in thinking America so much nearer to be subdued, which you have often swallowed up as if you were a minister; and yet, methinks, that era has been so frequently put off, that I wonder you are not cured of being sanguine—or rather, of believing the magnificent lies that every trifling advantage gives birth to. If a quarter of the Americans had joined the Royalists, that have been said to join, all the colonies would not hold them. But, at least, they have been like the trick of kings and queens at cards; where one Of two goes back every turn to fetch another. However, this Is only for conversation for the moment. With such aversion to disputation, I have no zeal for making converts to my own opinions not even on points that touch me nearer.

Thursday, May 31.

If you see the papers, you will find that there was a warm debate yesterday on a fresh proposal from Hartley(428) for pacification with America; in which the ministers were roundly reproached with their boasts of the returning zeal of the colonies and which, though it ought by their own accounts to be so much nearer Complete, they could not maintain to be at all effectual; though even yesterday a report was revived of a second victory of Lord Cornwallis. This debate prevented another on the Marriage-bill, which Charles Fox wants to get repealed, and which he told me he was going to labour. I mention this from the circumstance of the moment when he told ne so. I had been to see if Lady Ailesbury was come to town; as I came up St. James's-street, I saw a cart and porters at Charles's door; coppers and old chests of drawers loading. In short, his success at faro has awakened his host of creditors; but unless his bank had swelled to the size of the bank of England, it could not have yielded a sop apiece for each. Epsom, too, had been unpropitious; and One creditor has actually seized and carried off his goods, which did not seem worth removing. As I returned full of this scene, whom should I find sauntering by my own door but Charles? He came up and talked to me at the coach-window, on the Marriage-bill(429) With as much sang-froid as if he knew nothing of what had happened. I have no admiration for insensibility to one's own faults, especially when committed out of vanity. Perhaps the whole philosophy consisted in the commission. If you could have been as much to blame, the last thing you would bear well would be your own reflections. The more marvellous Fox's parts are, the more one is provoked at his follies, which comfort so many rascals and blockheads, and make all that is admirable and amiable in him only matter of regret to those who like him as I do.

I did intend to settle at Strawberry on Sunday; but must return on Thursday, for a party made at Marlborough-house for Princess Amelia. I am continually tempted to retire entirely; and should, if I did not see how very unfit English tempers are for living quite out of the world. We grow abominably peevish and severe on others, if we are not constantly rubbed against and polished by them. I need not name friends and relations of yours and mine as instances. My prophecy on the short reign of faro is verified already. The bankers find that all the calculated advantages of the game do not balance pinchbeck parolis and debts of honourable women. The bankers, I think, might have had a previous and more generous reason, the very bad air of holding a bank:—but this country is as hardened against the petite morale, as against the greater.—What should I think of the world if I quitted it entirely?

(428) On the preceding day, Mr. Hartley had moved for leave to bring in a bill to invest the Crown with sufficient power to treat upon the means of restoring peace with the provinces of north America. It was Negatived by 106 against 72.-E.

(429) On the 7th of June Mr. Fox moved for leave to bring in a bill to amend the act of the 26th of George the Second, for preventing clandestine marriages. The bill passed the Commons, but was rejected by the Lords.-E.

Letter 219 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, June 3, 1781. (PAGE 279)

You know I have more philosophy about you than courage, yet for once I have been very brave. There was an article in the papers last week that said, a letter from Jersey mentioned apprehensions of being attacked by four thousand French. Do you know that I treated the paragraph with scorn? No, no; I am not afraid for your island, when you are at home in it, and have had time to fortify it, and have sufficient force. No, no; it will not be surprised when you are there, and when our fleet is returned, and Digby before Brest. However, with all my valour, I could not help going to your brother to ask a few questions; but he had heard of no such letter. The French would be foolish indeed if they ran their heads a third time against your rocks, when watched by the most vigilant of all governors. Your nephew George(430) is arrived with the fleet: my door opened t'other morning; I looked towards the common horizon of heads, but was a foot and a half below any face. The handsomest giant in the world made but one step across my room, and seizing my hand, gave it such a robust gripe that I squalled; for he crushed my poor chalk-stones to powder. When I had recovered from the pain of his friendly salute, I said, "It must be George Conway! and yet, is it possible? Why, it is not fifteen months ago since you was but six feet high!" In a word, he is within an inch of Robert and Edward, with larger limbs; almost as handsome as Hugh, with all the bloom of youth; and, in short, another of those comely sons of Anak, the breed of which your brother and Lady Hertford have piously restored for the comfort of the daughters of Sion. He is delighted with having tapped his warfare with the siege of Gibraltar, and burns to stride to America. The town, he says, is totally destroyed, and between two and three hundred persons were killed.—Well, it is a pity Lady Hertford has done breeding: we shall want such a race to repeople even the ruins we do not lose! The rising generation does give one some hopes. I confine myself to some of this year's birds. The young William Pitt(431) has again displayed paternal oratory. The other day, on the commission of accounts, he answered Lord North, and tore him limb from limb. If Charles Fox could feel, one should Think such a rival, with an unspotted character, would rouse him. What, if a Pitt and Fox should again be rivals! A still newer orator has appeared in the India business, a Mr. Bankes,(432) and against Lord North too; and with a merit that the very last crop of orators left out of their rubric—modesty. As young Pitt is modest too, one would hope some genuine English may revive!(433)

Tuesday, June 5.

This is the season of opening my cake-house. I have chosen a bad spot, if I meant to retire; and calculated ill, when I made it a puppet-show. Last week we had two or three mastiff-days; for they were fiercer than our common dog-days. It is cooled again; but rain is as great a rarity as in Egypt; and father Thames is so far from being a Nile, that he is dying for thirst himself. But it would be prudent to reserve paragraphs of weather till people are gone out of town; for then I can have little to send you else from hence.

Berkeley Square, June 6.

As soon as I came to town to-day Le Texier called on me, and told me he has miscarried of Pygmalion. The expense would have mounted to 150 pounds and he could get but sixty subscribers at a guinea apiece. I am glad his experience and success have taught him thrift. I did not expect it. Sheridan had a heavier miscarriage last night. The two Vestris had imagined a f'ete; and, concluding that whatever they designed would captivate the town and its purses, were at the expense of 1200 pounds and, distributing tickets at two guineas apiece, disposed of not two hundred. It ended in a bad opera, that began three hours later than usual, and at quadruple the price. There were bushels of dead flowers, lamps, country dances—and a cold supper. Yet they are not abused as poor Le Texier was last year.

June 8.

I conclude my letter, and I hope our present correspondence, very agreeably; for your brother told me last night, that you have written to Lord Hillsborough for leave to return. If all our governors could leave their dominions in as good plight, it were lucky. Your brother owned, what the Gazette with all its circumstances cannot conceal, that Lord Cornwallis's triumphs have but increased our losses, without leaving any hopes. I am told that his army, which when he parted from Clinton amounted to seventeen thousand men, does not now contain above as many hundred, except the detachments. The Gazette, to my sorrow and your greater sorrow, speaks of Colonel O'Hara having received two dangerous wounds. Princess Amelia was at Marlborough-house last night, and played at faro till twelve o'clock. There ends the winter campaign! I go to Strawberry-hill to-morrow; and I hope, a l'Irlandaise, that the next letter I write to you will be not to write to you any more.

(430) Lord George Seymour Conway, seventh son of Francis, first Earl and Marquis of Hertford; born 1763.-E.

(431) The young William Pitt," afterwards, as Walpole anticipated, the proud rival of Charles Fox, and for so long a period the prime-minister of England, delivered his maiden speech in the House of Commons, on the 26th of February, in favour of Mr. Burke's bill for an economical reform in the civil list. "Never," says his preceptor, Bishop Tomline, "were higher expectations formed of any person upon his first coming into Parliament, and never were expectations more completely answered. They were, indeed, much more than answered; such were the fluency and accuracy of language, such the perspicuity of arrangement, and such the closeness of reasoning, and manly and dignified elocution,—generally, even in a much less degree, the fruits of long habit and experience,—that it could scarcely be believed to be the first speech of a young man not yet two-and-twenty. On the following day, knowing my anxiety upon every subject which related to him, Mr. Pitt, with his accustomed kindness, wrote to me at Cambridge, to inform me that 'he had heard his own voice in the House of Commons,' and modestly expressed his satisfaction at the manner in which his first attempt at parliamentary speaking had been received."-E.

(432) Henry Bankes, Esq. of Kingston Hall. He represented Corfe-Castle from 1780 to 1826, and the county of Dorset from that time until 1831. In 1818, he published "The Civil and Constitutional History of Rome, from the Foundation to the Age of Augustus," in two volumes, 8vo; and died in 1834.-E.

(433) Mr. Wilberforce, in a letter to a friend, of the 9th of June, says—"The papers will have informed you how Mr. William Pitt, second son of the late Lord Chatham has distinguished himself: he comes out as his father did, a ready-made orator, and I doubt not but that I shall one day or other, see him the first man in the country." Life, vol. 1. p. 22.-E.

Letter 220 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, June 13, 1781. (PAGE 281)

It was very kind, my dear lord, to recollect me so soon: I wish I Could return it by amusing you; but here I know nothing, and suppose it is owing to age that even in town I do not find the transactions of the world very entertaining. One must sit up all night to see or hear any thing; and if the town intends to do any thing, they never begin to do it till next day. Mr. Conway will certainly be here the end of this month, having thoroughly secured his island from surprise, and it is not liable to be taken any other way. I wish he was governor of this bigger one too, which does not seem quite so well guaranteed.

Your lordship will wonder at a visit I had yesterday: it was from Mr. Storer, who has passed a day and night here. It was not from my being a fellow-scholar of Vestris, but from his being turned antiquary; the last passion I should have thought a macaroni would have taken. I am as proud of such a disciple as of having converted Dicky Bateman from a Chinese to a Goth. Though he was the founder of the Sharawadgi taste in England, I preached so effectually that his every pagoda took the veil. The Methodists say, one must have been very wicked before one can be of the elect—yet is that extreme more distant from the ton, which avows knowing and liking nothing but the fashion of the instant, to studying what were the modes of five hundred years ago? I hope this conversion will not ruin Mr. Storer's fortune under the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. How his Irish majesty will be shocked when he asks how large Prince Boothby's shoe-buckles are grown, to be answered, he does not know, but that Charles Brandon's cod-piece at the last birthday had three yards of velvet in it! and that the Duchess of Buckingham thrust out her chin two inches farther than ever in admiration of it! and that the Marchioness of Dorset had put out her jaw by endeavouring to imitate her!

We have at last had some rains, which I hope extended to Yorkshire, and that your lordship has found Wentworth Castle in the bloom of verdure. I always, as in duty bound, wish prosperity to every body and every thing there, and am your lordship's ever devoted and grateful humble servant.

Letter 221To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, June 16, 1781. (PAGE 282)

Your last account of yourself was so indifferent, that I am impatient for a better: pray send me a much better.

I know little in your way but that Sir Richard Worseley has just published a History of the Isle of Wight, with many views poorly done enough.(434) Mr. Bull(435) is honouring me, at least my Anecdotes of Painting, exceedingly. He has let every page into a pompous sheet, and is adding every print of portrait, building, etc. that I mention, and that he can get, and specimens of all our engravers. It will make eight magnificent folios, and be a most valuable body of our arts. Nichols the printer has published a new Life of Hogarth,(436) of near two hundred pages- -many more, in truth, than it required: chiefly it is the life of his works, containing all the variations, and notices of any persons whom he had in view. I cannot say there are discoveries of many prints which I have not mentioned, though I hear Mr. Gulston(437) says he has fifteen such; but I suppose he only fancies so. Mr. Nichols says our printsellers are already adding Hogarth's name to several spurious. Mr. Stevens, I hear, has been allowed to ransack Mrs. Hogarth's house for obsolete and unfinished plates, which are to be completed and published. Though she was not pleased with my account of her husband, and seems by these transactions to have encouraged the second, I assure you I have much more reason to be satisfied than she has, the editor or editors being much civiller to living me than to dead Hogarth—yet I should not have complained. Every body has the same right to speak their sentiments. Nay, in general, I have gentler treatment than I expected, and I think the world and I part good friends.

I am now setting about the completion of my AEdes Strawberrianae. A painter is to come hither on Monday to make a drawing of the Tribune, and finish T. Sandby's fine view of the gallery, to which I could never get him to put the last hand. They will Then be engraved with a few of the chimney-pieces, which will complete the plates. I must add an appendix of curiosities, purchased or acquired since the Catalogue was printed. This will be awkward, but I cannot afford to throw away an hundred copies. I shall take care if I can that Mr. Gough does not get fresh intelligence from my engravers, or he will advertise my supplement, before the book appears. I do not think it was very civil to publish such private intelligence, to which he had no right without my leave; but every body seems to think he may do what is good in his own eyes. I saw the other day, in a collection of seats (exquisitely engraved), a very rude insult on the Duke of Devonshire. The designer went to draw a view of Chiswick, without asking leave, and was not hindered, for he has given it; but he says he was treated illiberally, the house not being shown without tickets, which he not only censures, but calls a singularity, though a frequent practice in other places, and practised there to my knowledge for these thirty years: so every body is to come into your house if he pleases, draw it whether you please or not, and by the same rule, I suppose, put any thing into his pockets that he likes. I do know, by experience, what a grievance it is to have a house worth being seen, and though I submit in consequence to great inconveniences, they do not save me from many rudenesses. Mr. Southcote(438) was forced to shut up his garden, for the savages who came as connoisseurs scribbled a thousand brutalities, in the buildings, upon his religion. I myself, at Canons, saw a beautiful table of oriental alabaster that had been split in two by a buck in boots jumping up backwards to sit upon it.

I have placed the oaken head Of Henry the Third over the middle arch of the armoury. Pray tell me what the church of Barnwell, near Oundle, was, which his Majesty endowed, and whence his head came. Dear Sir, Yours most sincerely.

(434) Sir Richard Worsley is better known by his splendid work, the "Museum Worsleianum; or, a Collection of antique Basso-relievos, Bustos, Statues, and Gems; with views of places in the Levant, taken on the spot, in the years 1785-6-7;" in two volumes, folio. Sir Richard sat many years in Parliament for the borough of Newport, and was governor of the Isle of Wight, where he died in 1805.-E.

(435) Richard Bull, Esq. a famous collector of portraits.-E.

(436) " Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth; and a Catalogue of his Works, chronologically arranged; with occasional Remarks."-E.

(437) Joseph Gulston, Esq. also an eminent portrait collector.-E.

(438) Philip Southcote, Esq. of Wooburn Farm, Chertsey: one of the first places improved according to the principles of modern gardening.-E.

Letter 222 To The Earl Of Charlemont.(439) Strawberry Hill, July 1, 1781. (PAGE 284)

I should have been exceedingly flattered, my lord, by receiving a present from your lordship, which at once proves that I retain a place in your lordship's memory, and you think me worthy of reading what you like. I could not wait to give your lordship a thousand thanks for so kind a mark of your esteem till I had done through the volume, which I may venture to say I shall admire, as I find it contains some pieces which I had seen, and did admire, without knowing their author. That approbation was quite impartial. Perhaps my future judgment of the rest will be not a little prejudiced, and yet on good foundation; for if Mr. Preston(440) has retained my suffrage in his favour by dedicating his poems to your lordship, it must at least be allowed that I am biassed by evidence of his taste. He would not possess the honour of your friendship unless he deserved it; and, as he knows you, he would not have ventured to prefix your name, my lord, to poems that did not deserve your patronage. I dare to say they will meet the approbation of better judges than I can pretend to be. I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, esteem, and gratitude.

(439) Now first collected.

(440) William Preston, Esq. a young Irish gentleman, of whom Lord Charlemont had become the friend and patron. He afterwards published "Thoughts on Lyric Poetry, with an Ode to the Moon;" an "essay on Ridicule, Wit, and Humour;" and a translation of the Argonautics of Appollonius Rhodius. He died in 1807.-E.

Letter 223 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, July 7, 1781. (PAGE 284)

My good Sir, you forget that I have a cousin, eldest son of Lord Walpole, and of a marriageable age, who has the same Christian name as I. The Miss Churchill he has married is my niece, second daughter of my sister, Lady Mary Churchill; so that if I were in my dotage, I must have looked out for another bride—in short, I hope you will have no occasion to wish me joy of any egregious folly. I do congratulate you on your better health, and on the Duke of Rutland's civilities to you. I am a little surprised at his brother, who is a seaman, having a propensity to divinity, and wonder you object to it; the church navigant would be an extension of its power. As to orthodoxy, excuse me if I think it means nothing at all but every man's own opinion. Were every man to define his faith, I am persuaded that no two men are or ever were exactly of the same opinion in all points and as men are more angry at others for differing with them on a single point, than satisfied with their Concurrence in all others, each would deem every body else a heretic. Old or new Opinions are exactly of the same authority, for every opinion must have been new when first started; and no man has nor ever had more right than another to dictate, unless inspired. St. Peter and St. Paul disagreed from the earliest time, and who can be sure which was in the right? and if one of the apostles was in the wrong, who may not be mistaken? When you will tell me which was the orthodox, and which the heterodox apostle, I will allow that you know what orthodoxy is.(441) You and I are perhaps the two persons who agree the best with very different ways of thinking; and perhaps the reason is, that we have a mutual esteem for each other's sincerity, and, from an experience of more than forty years, are persuaded that neither of us has any interested views.(442) For my own part, I confess honestly that I am far from having the same charity for those whom I suspect of mercenary views. If Dr. Butler, when a private clergyman, wrote Whig pamphlets, and when Bishop of Oxford preaches Tory sermons, I should not tell him that he does not know what orthodoxy is, but I am convinced he does not care what it is. The Duke of Rutland seems much more liberal than Butler or I, when he is so civil to you, though you voted against his brother. I am not acquainted with his grace, but I respect his behaviour; he is above prejudices.

The story of poor Mr. Cotton(443) is shocking, whichever way it happened, but most probably it was accident.

I am ashamed at the price of my book, though not my fault; but I have so often been guilty myself of giving ridiculous prices for rarities, though of no intrinsic value, that I must not condemn the same folly in others. Every thing tells me how silly I am! I pretend to reason, and yet am a virtuoso! Why should I presume that, at sixty-four, I am too wise to marry? and was you, who know so many of my weaknesses, in the wrong to suspect me of one more? Oh! no, my good friend: nor do I see any thing in your belief of it, but the kindness with which you wish me felicity on the occasion. I heartily thank you for it, and am most cordially yours.

(441) On Lord Sandwich's observing that he did not know the difference between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, Bishop Warburton is said to have replied, "Orthodoxy, my lord, is my doxy, and heterodoxy is another man's doxy."-E.

(442) Cole, in a letter to 'Mr. Gough, of the 10th of August, says—"Mr. Walpole and myself are as opposite in political matters as possible; yet we continue friends. Your political and religious opinions possibly may be as dissimilar; yet I hope we shall all meet in a better world, and be happy."-E.

(443) A son of Sir John Cotton, who was accidentally killed whilst shooting in his father's Woods.-E.

Letter 224 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, July 26, 1781. (PAGE 286)

I will not delay thanking you, dear Sir, for a second letter, which you wrote out of kindness, though I have time but to say a word, having my house full of company. I think I have somewhere or other mentioned the "Robertus Comentarius," (probably on some former information from you, which YOU never forget to give me,) at least the name sounds familiar to me; but just now I cannot consult my papers or books from the impediment of my guests. As I am actually preparing a new edition of my Anecdotes, I shall very soon have occasion to search. I am sorry to hear you complain of the gout, but trust It will be a short parenthesis. Yours most gratefully.

Letter 225 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, August 31, 1781. (page 286)

Your lordship's too friendly partiality sees talents in me which I am sure I do not possess. With all my desire of amusing you, and with all my sense of gratitude for your long and unalterable goodness, it is quite impossible to send you an entertaining letter from hence. The insipidity of my life, that is passed with a few old people that are wearing out like myself, after surviving so many of my acquaintance, can furnish no matter of correspondence. What few novelties I hear, come stale, and not till they have been hashed in the newspapers and though we are engaged in such big and wide wars, they produce no striking events, nor furnish any thing but regrets for the lives and millions we fling away to no purpose! One cannot divert when one can only compute, nor extract entertainment from prophecies that there is no reason to colour favourably. We have, indeed, foretold success for seven years together, but debts and taxes have been the sole completion.

If one turns to private life, what is there to furnish pleasing topics? Dissipation, without object, pleasure, or genius, is the only colour of the times. One hears every day of somebody undone. but can we or they tell how, except when it is by the most expeditious of all means, gaming? And now, even the loss of an hundred thousand pounds is not rare enough to be surprising. One may stare or growl, but cannot relate any thing that is worth hearing. I do not love to censure a younger age; but in good truth, they neither amuse me nor enable me to amuse others.

The pleasantest event I know happened to myself last Sunday morning when General Conway very unexpectedly walked in as I was at breakfast, in his way to Park-place. He looks as well in health and spirits as ever I saw him; and though he stayed but half an hour, I was perfectly content, as he is at home.

I am glad your lordship likes the fourth book of The Garden,(444) which is admirably coloured. The version of Fresnoy I think the finest translation I ever saw. It is a most beautiful poem, extracted from as dry and prosaic a parcel of verses as could be put together: Mr. Mason has gilded lead, and burnished it highly. Lord and Lady Harcourt I should think would make him a visit, and I hope, for their sakes, will visit Wentworth Castle. As they both have taste, I should be sorry they did not see the perfectest specimen of architecture I know.

Mrs. Damer certainly goes abroad this winter. I am glad of it for every reason but her absence. I am certain it will be essential to her health; and she has so eminently a classic genius, and is herself so superior an artist, that I enjoy the pleasure she will have in visiting Italy.

As your lordship has honoured all the productions of my press with your acceptance, I venture to enclose the last, which I printed to oblige the Lucans. There are many beautiful and poetic expressions in it. A wedding to be sure, is neither a new nor a promising subject, nor will outlast the favours: still I think Mr. Jones's Ode(445) is uncommonly good for the occasion; at least, if it does not much charm Lady Strafford and your lordship, I know you will receive it kindly as a tribute from Strawberry Hill, as every honour is due to you both from its master. Your devoted servant.

(444) The fourth book of Mason's "English Garden" had just made its appearance.-E.

(445) Mr. afterwards Sir William, Jones's Ode on the marriage of Lord Althorpe, afterwards Earl Spencer, with Miss Bingham.-E.

Letter 226 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 16, 1781. (page 227)

I am not surprised that such a mind as yours cannot help expressing gratitude: it would not be your mind, if it could command that sensation as triumphantly as it does your passions. Only remember that the expression is unnecessary. I do know that you feel the entire friendship I have for you; nor should I love you so well if I was not persuaded of it. There never was a grain of any thing romantic in my friendship for you. We loved one another from children, and as so near relations; but my friendship grew up with your virtues, which I admired though I did not imitate. We had scarce one in common but disinterestedness. Of the reverse we have both, I may say, been so absolutely clear, that there is nothing so natural and easy as the little moneyed transactions between us - and therefore, knowing how perfectly indifferent I am upon that head, and remembering the papers I showed you, and what I have said to you when I saw you last, I am sure you will have the complaisance never to mention thanks more.-Now, to answer your questions.

As to coming to you, as that feu gr'egeois Lord George Gordon has given up the election, to my great joy, I can come to you on Sunday next. It is true, I had rather you visited your regiment first, for this reason: I expect summons to Nuneham every day; and besides, having never loved two journeys instead of one, I grow more covetous of my time, as I have little left, and therefore had rather take Park-place, going and coming, on my way to Lord Harcourt.

I don't know a word of news, public or private. I am deep in my dear old friend's papers.(446) There are some very delectable; and though I believe, nay, know, I have not quite all, there are many which I almost wonder, after the little delicacy they(447) have shown, ever arrived to my hands. I dare to say they will not be quite so just to the public; for though I consented that the correspondence with Voltaire should be given to the editors of his works, I am persuaded that there are many passages at least which they will suppress, as very contemptuous to his chief votaries: I mean, of the votaries to his sentiments; for, like other heresiarchs, he despised his tools. If I live to see the edition, it Will divert me to collate it with what I have in my hands.

You are the person in the world the fittest to encounter the meeting you mention for the choice of a bridge.(448) You have temper and patience enough to bear with fools and false taste. I, so unlike you, have learned some patience with both sorts too, but by a more summary method than by waiting to instil reason into them. Mine is only by leaving them to their own vagaries, and by despairing that sense and taste should ever extend themselves. Adieu!

P. S. In 'Voltaire's letters are some bitter traits on the King of Prussia, which, as he is defender of their no-faith, I conclude will be ray'es too.

(446) Madame du Deffand, who died in September 1780, and left all her papers to Mr. Walpole. See ant'e, p. 256, letter 199.-E.

(447) The executors of Madame du Deffand; whom Walpole suspected of having abstracted some of her papers.-E.

(448) The bridge over the Thames at Henley, to the singular beauty of which the good taste of mr. Conway materially contributed.

Letter 227 To John Nichols, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 31, 1781. (page 288)

I am glad to hear, Sir, that your account of Hogarth calls for another edition; and I am very sensible of your great civility in offering to change any passages that criticise my own work. Though I am much obliged by the offer, I should blush to myself if I even wished for that complaisance. Good God! Sir, what am I that I should be offended at or above criticism or correction? I do not know who ought to be; I am sure, no author. I am a private man, of no consequence, and at best an author of very moderate abilities. In a work that comprehends so much biography as my Anecdotes of Painting, it would have been impossible, even with much more diligence than I employed, not to make numberless mistakes. It is kind to me to point out those errors; to the world it is justice. Nor have i a reason to be displeased even with the manner. I do remember that in many passages you have been very civil to me. I do not recollect any harsh phrases. As my work is partly critical as well as biographic, there too I had no reason or right to expect deference to my opinions. Criticism, I doubt, has no very certain rule to go by; in matters of taste it is a still more vague and arbitrary science.

As I am very sincere, Sir, in what I say, I will with the same integrity own, that in one or two places of your book I think the criticisms on me are not well founded. For instance; in p. 37 I am told that Hogarth did not deserve the compliment I pay him of not descending to the indelicacy of the Flemish and Dutch painters. It is very true that you have produced some instances, to which I had not adverted, where he has been guilty of the same fault, though I think not in all you allege, nor to the degree alleged: in some I think the humour compensates for the indelicacy, which is never the case with the Dutch; and in one particular I think it is a merit,—I mean in the burlesque Paul before Felix,—for there, Sir, you should recollect that Hogarth himself meant to satirize, not to imitate the painters of Holland and Flanders.

You have also instanced, Sir, many more portraits in his satiric prints than come within my defence of him as not being a personal satirist; but in those too, with submission, I think you have gone too far; as, though you have cited portraits, are they all satiric? Sir John Gouson is the image of an active magistrate identified; but it is not ridiculous, unless to be an active magistrate is being ridiculous. Mr. Pine,(449) I think you allow, desired to sit for the fat friar in the Gates of Calais— certainly not with a view to being turned into derision.

With regard to the bloody fingers of Sigismunda, you Say, Sir, that my memory must have failed me, as you affirm that they are unstained with blood. Forgive me if I say that I am positive they were so originally. I saw them so, and have often mentioned that fact. Recollect, Sir, that you yourself allow, p. 46, in the note, that the picture was continually "altered, upon the criticism of one connoisseur or another." May not my memory be more faithful about so striking a circumstance than the memory of another who would engage to recollect all the changes that remarkable picture underwent?

I should be very happy, Sir, if I could contribute any additional lights to your new publication; indeed, what additional lights I have gained are from your work, which has furnished me with many. I am going to publish a new edition of all the five volumes of my Anecdotes of Painting, in which I shall certainly insert what I have gathered from you. This edition will be in five thin octaves, without cuts, to make the purchase easy to artists and such as cannot afford the quartos, which are grown so extravagantly dear, that I am ashamed of it. Being published too at different periods, and being many of them cut to pieces for the heads, since the race for portraits has been carried so far, it is very rare to meet with a complete set. My corrected copy is now in the printer's hands, except the last volume, in which are my additions to Hogarth from your list, and perhaps one or two more but that volume also I have left in town, though not at the printer's, as, to complete it, I must wait for his new works, which Mrs. Hogarth is to publish. When I am settled in town, Sir, I shall be very ready, if you please to call on me in Berkeley Square, to communicate any additions I have made to my account of Hogarth.

(449) John Pine the artist, who published "The Procession and Ceremonies at the Installation of the Knights of the Bath, 17th of June, 1725;" folio, 1730; and, in 1739, "The Tapestry Hangings of the House of Lords," etc. sat for the Fat Friar in Hogarth's Gates of Calais, and received from that circumstance the name of "Friar Pine," which he retained till his death. E.

Letter 228 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(450) Berkeley Square, Nov. 7. 1781. (page 290)

Yesterday, Sir, I received the favour of your letter with the inclosed prologue,(451) and am extremely pleased with it; not only as it omits mention of me, for which I give you my warmest thanks, but as a composition. The thoughts are just and happily expressed; and the conclusion is so lively and well conceived, that Mr. Harris, to whom I carried it this morning, thinks it will have great effect. We are very sorry you have not sent us an epilogue too; but, before I touch on that, I will be more regular in my details. Miss Younge has accepted the part very gracefully; and by a letter I have received from her, in answer to mine, will, I flatter myself, take care to do justice to it. Nay, she is so zealous, that Mr. Harris tells me she has taken great pains with the young person who is to play the daughter, but whose name I cannot at this moment recollect.(452)

I must now confess that I have been again alarmed. I had a message from Mr. Harris on Saturday last to tell me that the performers had been so alert, and were so ready with their parts, and the many disappointments that had happened this season had been so prejudicial to him, that it would be easy and necessary to bring out your play next Saturday the 10th, and desired to have the prologue and epilogue. This precipitation made me apprehend that justice would not be done to your tragedy. Still I did not dare to remonstrate; nor would venture to damp an ardour which I could not expect to excite again. Instead of objecting to his haste, I only said I had not received your prologue and epilogue, but had written for them and expected them every Minute, though, as it depended on winds, one could never be sure. I trusted to accidents for delay; at least I thought I could contrive some, without seeming to combat what he thought for his interest.

I have not been mistaken. On receiving your prologue yesterday, I came to town to-day and carried it to him, to show him I lost no time. He told me Mr. Henderson was not enough recovered, but he hoped would be well enough to bring out the play on Saturday se'nnight. That he had had a rough rehearsal yesterday morning, with which he had been charmed; and was persuaded, and that the performers think so too. that your play will have great effect. All this made me very easy. There is to be a regular rehearsal on Saturday, for which I shall stay in town on purpose; and, if I find the performers perfect, I think there will be no objection to its appearance on Saturday se'nnight. I shall rather prefer that day to a later; as, the Parliament not being met, it will have a week's run before politics interfere.

Now, Sir, for the epilogue. I have taken the liberty of desiring Mr. Harris to have one prepared, in case yours should not arrive in time. It is a compliment to him, (I do not mean that he will write it himself,) will interest him still more in the cause; and, though he may not procure a very good one, a manager may know better than we do what will suit the taste of the times. The success of a play being previous, cannot be hurt by an epilogue, though some plays have been saved; and if it be not a good one, it will not affect you. If you send us a good one, though too late, it may be printed with the play.

I must act about the impression just the reverse of what I did about the performance, and must beg you would commission some friend to transact that affair; for I know nothing of the terms, and should probably disserve you if I undertook the treaty with the booksellers, nor should I have time to supervise the correction of the press. In truth, it is so disagreeable a business, that I doubt I have given proofs at my own press of being too negligent; and as I am actually at present reprinting my Anecdotes of Painting, I have but too much business of that sort on my hands. You will forgive my saying this, especially when you consider that my hands are very lame, ind that this morning in Mr. Harris's room, the right one shook so, that I was forced to desire him to write a memorandum for me.

I think I have omitted nothing material. Mr. Wroughton is to play the Count. I do not know who will speak the prologue; probably not Mr. Henderson, as he has been so very ill: nor should I be very earnest for it; for the Friar's is so central and so laborious a part, that I should not wish to abate his powers by any previous exertion. Perhaps I refine too much, but I own I think the non-appearance of a principal actor till his part opens is an advantage.

I will only add that I must beg you will not talk of obligations to me. You have at least overpaid me d'avance by the honour you have done me in adopting the Castle of Otranto.

(450) Now first printed.

(451) To the tragedy of the Count of Narbonne. See ant'e, p. 238, letter 184.-E.

(452) Miss Satchell.

Letter 229 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(453) Strawberry Hill, Nov. 10, 1781. (page 292)

As I have been at the rehearsal of your tragedy to-day, Sir, I must give you a short a(-count of it; though I am little able to write, having a good deal of gout in my right hand, which would have kept me away from any thing else, and made me hurry back hither the moment it was over, lest I should be confined to town. Mr. Malone, perhaps, who was at the playhouse too, may have anticipated me; for I could not save the post to-night, nor will this go till to-morrow.

Mr. Henderson is still too ill to attend, but hopes to be abroad by Tuesday: Mr. Hull read his part very well. Miss Younge is perfectly mistress of her part, is pleased with it, and I think will do it justice. I never saw her play so ably. Miss Satchell, who is to play Adelaide, is exactly what she should be: very young, pretty enough, natural and simple. She has already acted Juliet with success. Her voice not only pleasing, but very audible; and, which is much more rare, very articulate: she does not gabble, as most young women do, even off the stage. Mr. Wroughton much exceeded my expectation. He enters warmly into his part, and with thorough zeal. Mr. Lewis was so very imperfect in his part, that I cannot judge quite what he will do, for he could not repeat two lines by heart; but he looked haughtily, and as he pleased me in Percy, which is the same kind of character, I promise myself he will succeed in this.

Very, very few lines will be omitted; and there will be one or two verbal alterations to accommodate the disposition, but which will not appear in the printed copies, of which Mr. Malone says he will take the management. As Mr. Harris and the players all seemed zealous and in good humour, I will not contest some trifles; and, indeed, they were not at all unreasonable. I an) to see the scenes on Friday, if I am able: and if Mr. Henderson is well enough, the play will be performed on the 17th or immediately after. Some slight delays, which one cannot foresee, may always happen. In truth-, I little expected so much readiness and compliance both in manager and actors; nor, from all I have heard of the stage, could conceive such facilities. >From the moment Mr. Harris consented to perform your play, there has not been one instance of obstinacy or wrongheadedness anywhere. If the audience is as reasonable and just, you may, Sir, promise yourself complete success.

(453) Now first printed.

Letter 230 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(454) Strawberry Hill, Nov. 13, 1781. )page 293)

I have, this minute, Sir, received the corrected copy of your tragedy, which is almost all I am able to say, for I have so much gout in this hand, and it shakes so much, that I am scarce able to manage my pen. I will go to town if I can, and consult Mr. Henderson on the alterations; though I confess I think it dangerous to propose them so late before representation, which the papers say again is to be on Saturday if Mr. Henderson is well enough. Mr. Malone shall have the corrected copy for impression.

I own I cannot suspect that Mr. Sheridan will employ any ungenerous arts against your play. I have never heard any thing to give me suspicions of his behaving unhandsomely; and as you indulge my zeal and age a liberty of speaking like a friend, I would beg you to suppress your sense of the too great prerogatives of theatric monarchs. I hope you will again and again have occasion to court the power of their crowns; and, therefore if not for your own, for the sake of the public, do not declare war with them. It has not been my practice to preach slavery; but, while one deals with and depends on mimic sovereigns, I would act policy, especially when by temporary passive obedience one can really lay a lasting obligation on one's country, which your plays really are.

I am glad you approve what I had previously undertaken, Mr. Harris's procuring an epilogue; he told me on Saturday that he should have one. You are very happy in friends, Sir; which is another proof of your merit. Mr. Malone is not less zealous than Mr. Tighe, to whom I beg my compliments.

(454) Now first printed.

Letter 231 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(455) Berkeley Square, Nov. 18, 1781. (page 293)

As Mr. Malone undertook to give you an account, Sir, by last night's post, of the great success of the tragedy, I did not hasten home to write; but stayed at the theatre, to talk to Mr. Harris and the actors, and learn what was said, besides the general applause. Indeed I never saw a more unprejudiced audience, nor more attention. There was not the slightest symptom of disapprobation to any part, and the plaudit was loud and long when given out again for Monday. I mention these circumstances in justification of Mr. Sheridan, to whom I never spoke in MY life, but who certainly had not sent a single person to hurt you. The prologue was exceedingly liked; and, for effect, no play ever produced more fears. In the green-room I found that Hortensia's sudden death was the only incident disapproved; as we heard by intelligence from the pit; and it is to be deliberated tomorrow whether it may not be preferable to carry her off as in a swoon. When there is Only SO slight an objection, you cannot doubt of your full success. It is impossible to say how much justice Miss Younge did to your writing. She has shown herself' a great mistress of her profession, mistress of dignity, passion, and of all the sentiments you have put into her hands. The applause given to her description of Raymond's death lasted some minutes, and recommenced; and her scene in the fourth act, after the Count's ill-usage, was played in the highest perfection. Mr. Henderson was far better than I expected from his weakness, and from his rehearsal yesterday, with which he was much discontented himself. Mr. Wroughton was very animated, and played the part of the Count much better than any man now on the stage would have done. I wish I could say Mr. Lewis satisfied me; and that poor child Miss Satchell was very inferior to what she appeared at the rehearsals, where the total silence and our nearness deceived us. Her voice has no strength, nor is she yet at all mistress of the stage. I have begged Miss Younge to try what she can do with her by Monday. However, there is no danger to your play: it is fully established. I confess I am not only pleased on your account, Sir, but on Mr. Harris's, as he has been very obliging to me. I am not likely to have any more intercourse with the stage; but I shall be happy if I leave my interlude there by settling an amity between you and Mr. Harris, whence I hope he will draw profit and you more renown.

(455) Now first printed.

Letter 232 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Berkeley Square, Sunday morning, Nov. 18, 1781. (page 294)

I have been here again for three days, tending and nursing and waiting on Mr. Jephson's play. I have brought it into the world, was well delivered of it, it can stand on its own legs—and I am going back to My Own quiet hill, never likely to have any thing more to do with theatres. Indeed it has seemed strange to me, who for these three or four years have not been so many times in a playhouse, nr knew six of the actors by sight, to be at two rehearsals, behind the scenes, in the green-room, and acquainted with half the company. The Count of Narbonne was played last night with great applause, and without a single murmur of disapprobation. Miss Younge has charmed me.(456) She played with intelligence that was quite surprising. The applause to one of her speeches lasted a minute, and recommenced twice before the play could go on. I am sure you will be pleased with the conduct and the easy beautiful language of the play, and struck with her acting.

(456) In 1786, this celebrated actress was married to Mr. Pope, the comedian. She died in 1797, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.-E.

Letter 233 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(457) Strawberry Hill, Nov. 21, 1781. (page 295)

I have just received your two letters, Sir, and the epilogue, which I am sorry came so late, as there are very pretty things in it: but I believe it would be very improper to produce it now, as the two others have been spoken.

I am sorry you are discontent with there being no standing figure of Alphonso, and that I acquiesced in its being cumbent. I did certainly yield, and I think my reasons will justify me. In the first place, you seemed to have made a distinction between the statue and the tomb; and, had both been represented, they would have made a confusion. But a more urgent reason for my compliance was the shortness of the time, which did not allow the preparation of an entire new scene, as I proposed last year and this, nay, and mentioned it to Mr. Harris. When I came to the house to see the scene prepared, it was utterly impossible to adjust an erect figure to it; nor, indeed, do I conceive, were the scene disposed as you recommend, how Adelaide could be stabbed behind the scenes. As I never disguise the truth, I must own,.-for I did think myself so much obliged to Mr. Harris,—that I was unwilling to heap difficulties on him, when I did not think they would hurt your piece. I fortunately was not mistaken: the entrance of Adelaide wounded had the utmost effect, and I believe much greater than would have resulted from her being stabbed on the stage. In short, the success has been so complete, and both your poetry and the conduct of the tragedy are so much and so justly admired, that I flatter myself you will not blame me for what has not produced the smallest inconvenience. Both the manager and the actors were tractable, I believe, beyond example; and it is my nature to bear some contradiction, when it will carry material points. The very morning, the only morning, I had to settle the disposition, I had another difficulty to reconcile,-the competition of the two epilogues, which I was so lucky as to compromise too. I will say nothing of my being three hours each time, on two several days, in a cold theatre with the gout on me; and perhaps it was too natural to give up a few points in order to get home, for which I ask your pardon. Yet the event shows that I have not injured you and if I was in one instance impatient, I flatter myself that my solicitations to Mr. Harris and Miss Younge, and the zeal I have shown to serve you, will atone for my having in one moment thought of myself, and then only when the reasons that weighed with me were so plausible, that without a totally new scene, which the time would not allow, I do not see how they could have been obviated. Your tragedy, Sir, has taken such a rank upon the stage, that one may reasonably hope it will hereafter be represented with all the decorations to your mind; and I admire it so truly, that I shall be glad to have it conducted by an abler mechanist than your obedient humble servant.

(457) Now first collected.

Letter 234 To The Earl Of Strafford. Berkeley Square, Nov. 27, 1781. (page 296)

Each fresh mark of your lordship's kindness and friendship, calls on me for thanks and an answer: every other reason would enjoin me silence. I not only grow so old, but the symptoms of age increase so fast, that, as they advise me to keep out of the world, that retirement makes me less fit to be informing or entertaining. Those philosophers who have sported on the verge of the tomb, or they who have affected to sport in the same situation, both tacitly implied that it was not out of their thoughts; and however dear what we are going to leave may be, all that is not particularly dear must cease to interest us much. If those reflections blend themselves with our gayest thoughts, must not their hue grow more dusky when public misfortunes and disgraces cast a general shade?(458) The age, it is true, soon emerges out of every gloom, and wantons as before. But does not that levity imprint a still deeper melancholy on those who do think? Have any of our calamities corrected us? Are we not revelling on the brink of the precipice? Does administration grow more sage, or desire that we should grow more sober? Are these themes for letters, my dear lord! Can one repeat common news with indifference, while our shame is writing for future history by the pens of all our numerous enemies? When did England see two whole armies lay down their arms and surrender themselves prisoners? Can venal addresses efface such stigmas, that will be recorded in every country in Europe? Or will such disgraces have no consequences? Is not America lost to us? Shall we offer up more human victims to the demon of obstinacy; and shall we tax ourselves deeper to furnish out the sacrifice? These are thoughts I cannot stifle at the moment that enforces them; and though I do not doubt but the same spirit of dissipation that has swallowed up all our principles will reign again in three days with its wonted sovereignty, I had rather be silent than vent my indignation. Yet I cannot talk, for I cannot think, on any other subject. It was not six days ago, that in the midst of four raging wars I saw in the papers an account of the Opera and of the dresses of the company; and thence the town, and thence of course the whole nation were informed that Mr. Fitzpatrick had very little powder in his hair.(459) Would not one think that our newspapers were penned by boys just come from school for the information of their sisters and cousins? Had we had Gazettes and Morning Posts in those days, would they have been filled with such tittle-tattle after the battle of Agincourt, or in the more resembling weeks after the battle of Naseby? Did the French trifle equally even during the ridiculous war of the Fronde? If they were as impertinent then, at least they had wit in their levity. We are monkeys in conduct, and as clumsy as bears when we try to gambol. Oh! my lord! I have no patience with my country! and shall leave it without regret!—Can we be proud when all Europe scorns us? It was wont to envy us, sometimes to hate us, but never despised us before. James the First was contemptible, but he did not lose an America! His eldest grandson sold us, his younger lost us—but we kept ourselves. Now we have run to meet the ruin—and it is coming!

I beg your lordship's pardon, if I have said too much—but I do not believe I have. You have never sold yourself, and therefore have not been accessary to our destruction. You must be happy now not to have a son, who would live to grovel in the dregs of England. Your lordship has long been so wise as to secede from the follies of your countrymen. May you and Lady Strafford long enjoy the tranquillity that has been your option even in better days!—and may you amuse yourself without giving loose to such reflections as have overflowed in this letter from your devoted humble servant!

(458) The fatal intelligence of the surrender of the British forces at Yorktown, under the command of Lord Cornwallis, to the combined armies of America and France, under General Washington, had reached England on the 25th.-E.

(459) The following picture of fashionable life at the time of Walpole's lament, is by Mr. Wilberforce:—"When I left the University, so little did I know of general society, that I came up to London stored with arguments to prove the authenticity Of Rowley's poems; and now I was at once immersed in politics and fashion. The very first time I went to Boodle's, I won twenty.five guineas of the Duke of Norfolk. I belonged at this time to five clubs- -Miles and Evans's, Brookes's, Boodle's, White's, Goostree's. The first time I was at Brookes's, scarcely knowing any one, I joined, from niere shyness, in play at the faro-table, where George Selwyn kept bank. A friend, who knew my inexperience, and regarded me as a victim decked out for sacrifice, called to me, 'What, Wilberforce! is that you?' Selwyn quite resented the interference; and, turning to him, said, in his most expressive tone, 'O, Sir, don't interrupt Mr. Wilberforce; he could not be better employed!' Nothing could be more luxurious than the style of these clubs, Fox, Sheridan, Fitzpatrick, and all your leading men, frequented them, and associated upon the easiest terms; you chatted, played at cards, or gambled, as you pleased. I was one of those who met to spend an evening in memory of Shakspeare, at the Boar's Head, Eastcheap. Many professed wits were present, but Pitt was the most amusing of the party. He played a good deal at Goostree's; and I well remember the intense earnestness which he displayed when joining in those games of chance. he perceived their increasing fascination, and soon after suddenly abandoned them for ever." Life, vol, i. p, 16.-E.

Letter 235To The Earl Of Buchan.(460) Berkeley Square, Dec. 1, 1781. (page 297)

I am truly sensible of, and grateful for, your lordship's benevolent remembrance of me, and shall receive with great respect and pleasure the collection your lordship has been pleased to order to be sent to me. I must admire, too, my lord, the generous assistance that you have lent to your adopted children; but more forcibly than all I feel your pathetic expressions on the distress of the public, which is visible even in this extravagant and thoughtless city. The number of houses to be let in every street, whoever runs may read.

At the time of your writing your letter, your lordship did not know the accumulation of misfortune and disgrace that has fallen on us;(461) nor should I wish to be the trumpeter of my country's calamities. Yet as they must float on the surface of the mind, and blend their hue -with all its emanations, they suggest this reflection, that there can be no time so proper for the institution of inquiries into past story as the moment of the fall of an empire,—a nation becomes a theme for antiquaries, when it ceases to be one for an historian!—and while its ruins are fresh and in legible preservation.

I congratulate your lordship on the discovery of the Scottish monarch's portrait in Suabia, and am sorry you did not happen to specify of which; but I cannot think of troubling your lordship to write again on purpose; I may probably find it mentioned in some of the papers I shall receive.

There is one passage in your lordship's letter in which I cannot presume to think myself included; and yet if I could suppose I was, it would look like most impertinent neglect and unworthiness of the honour that your lordship and the society have done me, if I did not at least offer. very humbly to obey it. You are pleased to say, my lord, that the members, when authors, have agreed to give copies of such of their works as any way relate to the objects of the institution. Amongst my very trifling publications, I think there are none that can pretend even remotely to that distinction, but the Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, and the Anecdotes of Painting, in each of which are Scottish authors or artists. If these should be thought worthy of a corner on any shelf of the society's library, I should be proud sending, at your lordship's command, the original edition of the first. Of the latter I have not a single set left but my own. But I am printing a new edition in octavo, with many additions and corrections, though without cuts, as the former edition was too dear for many artists to purchase. The new I will send when finished, if I could hope it would be acceptable, and your lordship would please to tell me by what channel.

I am ashamed, my lord, to have said so much, or any thing relating to myself. I ask your pardon too for the slovenly writing of my letter; but my hand is both lame and shaking, and I should but write worse if I attempted transcribing.

I have the honour to be, with great respect, my lord, your lordship's most obedient and obliged humble servant.

P. S. It has this moment started into my mind, my lord, that I have heard that at the old castle at Aubigny, belonging and adjoining to the Duke of Richmond's house, there are historic paintings or portraits of the ancient house of Lennox. I recollect too that Father Gordon, superior of the Scots College at Paris, showed me a whole-length of Queen Mary, young, and which he believed was painted while she was Queen of France. He showed me too the original letter she wrote, the night before her execution, some deeds of Scottish kings, and one of King (I think Robert) Bruce, remarkable for having no seal appendent, which Father Gordon said was executed in the time of his so great distress, that he was not possessed of a seal. I shall be happy if these hints lead to any investigations of use.

(460) Now first collected.

(461) The surrender of the British army at Yorktown. See ant'e, p. 296, letter 234.-E.

Letter 236 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(462) Berkeley Square, Dec. 3, 1781. (page 299)

I have not only a trembling hand, but scarce time to save the post; yet I write a few lines to beg you will be perfectly easy on my account, who never differ seriously with my friends, when I know they do not mean ill to me. I was sorry you took so much to heart an alteration in the scenery of your play,(463) which did not seem to me very material; and which, having since been adjusted to your wish, had no better effect. I told you that it was my fault, not Mr. Malone's, who is warmly your friend; and I am sure you will be sorry if you do him injustice. I regret no pains I have taken, since they have been crowned with your success; and it would be idle in either of us to recall any little cross circumstance that may have happened, (as always do in bringing a play on the stage,) when they have not prevented its appearance or good fortune. Be assured, Sir, if that is worth knowing, that I have taken no offence, and have all the same good wishes for you that I ever had since I was acquainted with your merit and abilities. I can easily allow for the anxiety of a parent of your genius for his favourite offspring; and though I have not your parts, I have had the warmth, though age and illness have chilled it: but, thank God! they have not deprived me of my good-humour, and I am most good-humouredly and sincerely your obedient humble servant.

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