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Letters of Horace Walpole, V4
by Horace Walpole
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According to your order, I have delivered Ghosts(653) to Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Garrick, Lady Juliana Penn, Mrs. Walsingham, and Mr. Pepys. Mr. Batt, I am told, leaves London to-day; so I shall reserve his to his return. This morning I carried his thirty to the Bishop of London, who said modestly, he should not have expected above ten. I was delighted with the palace, with the Venerable chapel, and its painted episcopalities in glass, and the brave hall, etc. etc. Though it rained, I would crawl to Bonner's chair. In short, my satisfaction would have been complete, but for wanting the presence of that jesuitess, "the good old papist."

To-morrow departs for London, to be delivered to the Bristol coach at the White-horse-cellar in Piccadilly, a parcel containing sixty-four Ghosts, one of which is printed on brown for your own eating. There is but one more such, so you may preserve it like a relic. I know these two are not so good as the white: but, as rarities, a collector would give ten times more for them; and uniquity will make them valued more than the charming poetry. I believe, if there was but one ugly woman in the world, she would occasion a longer war than Helen did. You will find the Bishop's letter in the parcel. I did not breathe a hint of my having seen it, as I could not conjure up Into my pale cheeks the blush I ought to exhibit on such flattery.

I pity you most sincerely for your almost drowned guest. Fortune seems to delight in throwing poor Louisas in Your Way, that you may exercise your unbounded charity and benevolence. Adieu! pray write. I need not write to you to pray; but I wish, when your knees have what the common people call a worky-day, you would employ your hands the whole time. Yours most cordially.

P. S. I believe I have blundered, and that your knees would call a week-day a holiday.

(652) With the view of making Bishop Porteus and Walpole better known to each other, Miss More had committed what she called a double treachery, in showing to the Bishop a letter she had received from Walpole, and to Walpole one sent her by the Bishop.-E.

(653) Though the author of this poem must have been known to so many individuals in the year 1789, the secret was so well kept, that it was actually printed in the, Gentleman's Magazine for February, 1804, as the production of Walpole.-E.



Letter 337 To Miss Berry. Strawberry Hill, July 29, 1789. (PAGE 428)

I have received two dear letters from you of the 18th and 25th and though you do not accuse me, but say a thousand kind things to me in the most agreeable manner, I allow my ancientry, and that I am an old, jealous, and peevish husband, and quarrel with you if I do not receive a letter exactly at the moment I please to expect one. You talk of mine; but, if you knew how I like Yours, you would not wonder that I am impatient, and even unreasonable in my demands. However, though I own my faults, I do not mean to correct them. I have such pleasure in your letters (I am sorry I am here forced to speak in the singular number,'which by the way is an Irishism,) that I will be cross if you do not write to me perpetually. The quintessence of your last but one was, in telling me you are better - how fervently do I wish to receive such accounts every post. But who can mend but old I, in such detestable weather?—not one hot day; and, if a morning shines, the evening closes with a heavy shower.

Of French news I can give you no fresher or more authentic account, than you can collect in general from the newspapers; but my present visitants and every body else confirm the veracity of Paris being in that anarchy that speaks the populace domineering in the most cruel and savage manner, and which a servile multitude broken loose calls liberty; and which in all probability will end, when their Massaniello-like reign is over, in their being more abject slaves than ever, and chiefly by the crime of their 'Etats, who, had they acted with temper and prudence, might have obtained from their poor and undesigning King a good and permanent constitution. Who may prove their tyrant, if reviving loyalty does not in a new frenzy force him to be so, it is impossible to foresee; but much may happen first. The rage seems to gain the provinces, and threatens to exhibit the horrors of those times when the peasants massacred the gentlemen. Thus you see I can only conjecture, which is not sending you news; and my intelligence reaches me by so many rebounds, that you must not depend on any thing I can tell you. I repeat, because I hear; but draw on you for no credit. Having experienced last winter, in suporaddition to a long life of experience, that in Berkeley Square I could not trust to a single report from Kew, can I swallow implicitly at Twickenham the distorted information that comes from Paris through the medium of London?

You asked me in one of your letters who La Chalotais was. I answer, premier pr'esident or avocat-g'en'eral, I forget which, of the Parliament of Bretagne; a great, able, honest, and most virtuous man, who opposed the Jesuits and the tyranny of the Duc d'Aiguillon; but he was as indiscreet as he was good. Calonne was his friend and confident; to whom the imprudent patriot trusted, by letter, his farther plan of opposition and designs. The wretch pretended to have business with, or to be sent for by, the Duc de la Vrilli'ere, secretary of state; a courtier-wretch, whose mistress used to sell lettres do cachet for a louis.(654) Calonne was left to wait in the antechamber; but being, as he said, suddenly called in to the minister, as he was reading (a most natural soil for such a lecture) the letter of his friend, he by a second natural inadvertence left the fatal letter on the chimney-piece. The consequence, much more natural, was, that La Chalotais was committed to the Ch'ateau du Taureau, a horrible dungeon on a rock in the sea, with his son, whose legs mortified there, and the father was doomed to the scaffold; but the Duc de Choiseul sent a counter reprieve by an express and a cross-road, and saved him.(655) At the beginning of this reign he was restored. Paris, however, was so indignant at the treachery, that this Calonne was hissed out of the theatre, when I was in that capital.(656) When I heard, some years after, that a Calonne was made controlleur-g'en'eral, I concluded that it must be a son, not conceiving that so reprobated a character could emerge to such a height; but asking my sister, 'who has been in France since I was, she assured me it was not only the identical being, but that when she was at Metz, where I think he was intendant, the officers in garrison would not dine with him. When he fled hither for an asylum, I did not talk of his story till I saw it in one of the pamphlets that were written against him in France, and that came over hither.

Friday night, 31st.

My company prevented my finishing this: part left me at noon, the residue are to come to-morrow. To-day I have dined at Fulham(657) along with Mrs. Boscawen but St. Swithin played the devil so, that we could not stir out of doors, and had fires to chase the watery Spirits. Quin, being once asked if ever he had seen so bad a winter, replied, "Yes, just such an one last summer!"—and here is its youngest brother!

Mrs. Boscawen saw a letter from Paris to Miss Sayer this morning, Which says Necker's son-in-law was arrived, and had announced his father-in- law's promise of return from Basle. I do not know whether his honour or ambition prompt this compliance; Surely not his discretion. I am much acquainted with him, and do not hold him great and profound enough to quell the present anarchy. if he attempts to moderate for the King, I Shall not be surprised if he falls another victim to tumultuary jealousy and outrage.(658) All accounts agree in the violence of the mob against the inoffensive as well as against the objects of their resentment; and in the provinces, where even women are not safe in their houses. The hotel of the Duc de Chatelet, lately built and superb, has been assaulted, and the furniture sold by auction;(659) but a most shocking act of a royalist in Burgundy who is said to have blown up a committee of forty persons, will probably spread the flames of civil rage much wider. When I read the account I did not believe it; but the Bishop of London says, he hears the 'Etats have required the King to write to every foreign power not to harbour the execrable author, who is fled.(660) i fear this conflagration will not end as rapidly as that in Holland!

(654) The Duc de la Vrillibre was dismissed in 1775, and succeeded by M. de Malesherbes, Madame du Deffand's letter to Walpole of June 26, 1774, contains the following epigram on him:—

"Ministre sans talent ainsi que sans vertu, Couvert d'ignominie autant qu'on le peut 'etre, Retire-toi donc! Qu'attends-tu? Qu'on te jette par la fen'etre?"-E.

(655) La Chalotais died in July 1785. Among other works he wrote an "Essay On National Education," which was reprinted in 1825. His son perished by the guillotine in January 1794.-E.

(656) "An intrigue brought M. de Calonne forward, who was not in good odour with the public, because he had contributed to the persecution Of La chatolais." Thiers, vol. i. p. 5.-E.

(657) With Bishop Porteus. "I fear," writes Hannah More, on hearing of this dinner, "I shall secretly triumph in the success of my fraud, if it has contributed to bring about any intercourse between the Abbey of Fulham and the Castle of Otranto, it sounds so ancient and so feudal! But among the things which pleased you in the episcopal domain, I hope the lady of it has that good fortune; she is quite a model of a pleasant wife. Now, I am acquainted with a great many very good wives, who are so notable and so manageable, that they make a man every thing but happy; and I know a great many other;, who sing, play and paint, and cut paper, and are so accomplished, that they have no time to be agreeable, and no desire to be useful," Memoirs, vol.'Ii. p. 165.-E.

(658) On the 16th of July, five days after the dismissal of M. Necker, the National Assembly obtained his recall. His return from Basle to Paris was one continued triumph. During the next twelve months, he was constantly presenting new financial statements; but he soon perceived that his influence was daily diminishing: at length the famous Red Book appeared, and completely put an end to his popularity. In September 1790, his resignation was accepted: as he was quitting the kingdom, his carriage was stopped by the same populace which had so recently drawn him into Paris in triumph; and it was necessary to apply to the Assembly for an order, directing that he should be allowed to proceed to Switzerland. He obtained this permission, and retired to Coppet, "there," says M. Thiers, "to contemplate at a distance, a revolution which he was no longer qualified to observe Closely Or to guide."-E.

(659) The Duke, who was colonel of the King's guard, narrowly escaped assassination.-E.

(660) After an inquiry, instituted by the National Assembly, the whole was found to be a villanous fabrication.-E.



Letter 338 To John Pinkerton, Esq.(661) Strawberry Hill, July 31, 1789. (PAGE 431)

Having had my house full of relations till this evening, I could not answer the favour of your letter Sooner; and now I am ashamed of not being able to tell you that I have finished reading your "Essay on the Ancient History of Scotland." I am so totally unversed in the story of original nations, and I own always find myself so little interested in savage manners unassisted by individual characters, that, though you lead me with a firmer hand than any historian through the dark tracts, the clouds rose round me the moment I have passed them, and I retain no memory of the ground I have trod. I greatly admire your penetration, and read with wonder your clear discovery of the kingdom of Strathclyde; but, though I bow to you, as I would to the founder of an empire, I confess I do not care a straw about your subjects, with whom I am no more acquainted than with the ancient inhabitants of Otaheite. Your origin of the Piks is most able; but then I cannot remember them with any precise discrimination from any other hyperborean nation; and all the barbarous names at the end of the first volume, and the gibberish in the Appendix, was to me as unintelligible as if Repeated Abracadabra; and made no impression on me but to raise respect of your patience, and admire a sagacity that could extract meaning and suite from what seemed to me the most indigestible of all materials. You rise in my estimation in Proportion to the disagreeable mass of your ingredients. What gave me pleasure that I felt, was the exquisite sense and wit of your Introduction; and your masterly handling and confutation of the Macphersons, Whitaker, etc. there and through your work. Objection I have but one, I think you make yourself too much a party against the Colts. I do not think they were or are worthy of hatred.

Upon the whole, dear Sir, you see that your work is too learned and too deep for my capacity and shallow knowledge. I have told you that my reading and knowledge is and always was trifling and superficial, and never taken up or pursued but for present amusement. I always was incapable of dry and unentertaining studies; and of all studies the origin of nations never was to my taste. Old age and frequent disorders have dulled both my curiosity and attention, as well as weakened my memory; and I cannot fix my attention to long deductions. I say to myself, "What is knowledge to me who stand on the verge, and must leave any old stores as well as what I may add to them; and how little could that be?"

Having thus confessed the truth, I am sure you are too candid and liberal to be offended - you cannot doubt of my high respect for your extraordinary abilities I am even proud of having discovered them of myself without any clue. I should be very insincere, if I pretended to have gone through with eagerness your last work, which demands more intense attention than my age, eyes, and avocations will allow. I cannot read long together; and you are sensible that your work is not a book to be'rea'd' by snatches and intervals; especially as the novelty, to me at least, requires some helps to connect it with the memory.

(661) Now first collected.



Letter 339 To Miss Hannah More.(662) Strawberry Hill, August 9, 1789. (PAGE 432)

You are not very corresponding, (though better of late,) and therefore I will not load the conscience of your fingers much, lest you should not answer me in three months. I am happy that you are content with my edition of your Ghost, and with the brown copy. Every body is charmed with your poem: I have not heard one breath but of applause. In confirmation, I enclose a note to me from the Duchess of Gloucester, who certainly never before wished to be an authoress. You may lay it up in the archives of Cowslip-green, and carry it along with your other testimonials to Parnassus.(663) Mr. Carter, to whom I sent a copy, is delighted with it. The Bishop, with whom I dined last week, is extremely for your printing an edition for yourself, and desired I would press you to it. Mind, I do press you: and could Bonner's Ghost be laid again,-which is ,impossible, for it will walk for ever, and by day too,—we would have it laid in the Red Sea by some West India merchant, who must be afraid of spirits, and cannot be in charity with you. Mrs. Boscawen dined at Fulham with me. It rained all day; and, though the last of July, we had fires in every room, as if Bonner had been still in possession of the see.

I have not dared to recollect you too often by overt acts, dear Madam; as, by the slowness of your answer, you seem to be sorry my memory was so very alert. Besides, it looks as if you had a mind to keep me at due distance, by the great civility and cold complimentality of your letter; a style I flattered myself you had too much good will towards me to use. Pretensions to humility I know are generally traps to flattery; but, could you know how very low my opinion is of myself, I am sure you would not have used the terms to me you did, and which I will not repeat, as they are by no means applicable to me. If I ever had tinsel parts, age has not only tarnished them, but convinced me how frippery they were.

Sweet are your Cowslips, sour my Strawberry Hill; My fruits are fallen, your blossoms flourish still.

Mrs. Boscawen told me last night, that she had received a long letter from you, which makes me flatter myself you have no return of your nervous complaints. Mrs. Walsingham I have seen four or five times - Miss Boyle has decorated their house most charmingly; she has not only designed, but carved in marble, three beautiful base reliefs, with boys, for a chimney-piece; besides painting elegant panels for the library, and forming, I do not know how, pilasters of black and gold beneath glass; in short, we are so improved in taste, that, if it would be decent, I could like to live fifty or sixty years more, just to see how matters go on. In the mean time, I wish my Macbethian wizardess would tell me "that Cowslip Dale should come to Strawberry Hill;" which by the etiquette of oracles, you know, would certainly happen, because so improbable. I will be content if the nymph of the dale will visit the old man of the mountain, and her most sincere friend.

(662) Now first collected.

(663) In reply to this, Miss More says, "You not only do all you can to turn my head by printing my trumpery verses yourself. but you call in royal aid to complete my delirium. I comfort myself you will counteract some part of the injury you have done, my principles this summer, by a regular course of abuse when we meet in the winter: remember that you owe this to my moral health; next to being flattered I like to be scolded; but to be let quietly alone would be intolerable. Dr. Johnson once said to me, 'I Never mind whether they praise or abuse your writings; any thing is tolerable except oblivion.'" Memoirs, vol. ii. P. 169.-E.



Letter 340 To John Pinkerton, Esq.(664) Strawberry Hill, Aug. 14, 1789. (PAGE 433)

I must certainly have expressed myself very awkwardly, dear Sir, if you conceive I meant the slightest censure on your book, much less on your manner of treating it; which is as able, and clear, and demonstrative as possible. No; it was myself, my age, my want of apprehension and memory, and my total ignorance of the subject, which I intended to blame. I never did taste or study the very ancient histories of nations. I never had a good memory for names of persons, regions, places, which no specific circumstances concurred to make me remember; and now, at seventy-two, when, as is common, I forget numbers of names most familiar to me, is it possible I should read with pleasure any work that consists of a vocabulary so totally new to me? Many years ago, when my faculties were much less impaired, I was forced to quit Dow's History of Indostan, because the Indian names made so little impression on me, that I went backward instead of forward, and was every minute reverting to the former page to find about whom I was reading. Your book was a still more laborious work to me; for it contains such a series of argumentation that it demanded a double effort from a weak old head; and, when I had made myself master of a deduction, I forgot it the next day, and had my pains to renew. These defects have for some time been so obvious to me, that I never read now but the most trifling books; having often said that, at the very end of life, it is useless to be improving one's stock of knowledge, great or small, for the next world. Thus, Sir, all I have said in my last letter or in this, is an encomium on your work, not a censure or criticism. It -would be hard on you, indeed, if my incapacity detracted from your merit.

Your arguments in defence of works of science and deep disquisition are most just; and I am sure I have neither power nor disposition to answer them. You have treated your matter as it ought to be treated. Profound men or conversant on the subject, like Mr. Dempster, will be pleased with it, for the very reasons that made it difficult to me. If Sir Isaac Newton had written a fairy tale, I should have swallowed it eagerly; but do you imagine, Sir, that, idle as I am, I am, idiot enough to think that Sir Isaac had better have amused me for half an hour, than enlightened mankind and all ages? I was so fair as to confess to you that your work was above me, and did not divert me: you was too candid to take that ill, and must have been content with silently thinking me very silly; and I am too candid to condemn any man for thinking of me as I deserve. I am only sorry when I do deserve a disadvantageous character.

Nay, Sir, you condescend, after all, to ask My opinion of the best way of treating antiquities; and, by the context, I suppose you mean, how to make them entertaining. I cannot answer you in one word -, because there are two ways, as there are two sorts of readers. I should therefore say, to please antiquaries of judgment, as you have treated them, with arguments and proofs; but, if you would adapt antiquities to the taste of those who read only to be diverted, not to be instructed, the nostrum is very easy and short. You must divert them in the true sense of the word diverto; you must turn them out of the way, you must treat them with digressions nothing or very little to the purpose. But, easy as I call this recipe, you, I believe, would find it more difficult to execute, than the indefatigable industry you have employed to penetrate chaos and extract the truth. There have been professors who have engaged to adapt all kinds of knowledge to the meanest capacities. I doubt their success, at least on me: however, you need not despair; all readers are not as dull and superannuated as, dear Sir, yours, etc.

(664) Now first collected.



Letter 341 To John Pinkerton, Esq,(665) Strawberry Hill, August 19, 1789. (PAGE 434)

I will not use many words, but enough, I hope, to convince you that I meant no irony in my last. All I said of you and myself was very sincere- It is my true opinion that your understanding is one of the strongest, most manly, and clearest I ever knew; and, as I hold my own to be of a very inferior kind and know it to be incapable of sound, deep application, I should have been very foolish if I had attempted to sneer at you or your pursuits. Mine have always been light and trifling, and tended to nothing but my casual amusement; I will not say, without a little vain ambition of showing some parts but never with industry sufficient to make me apply to any thing solid. My studies, if they could be called so, and my productions, were alike desultory. In my latter days I discovered the utility both of my objects and writings: I felt how insignificant is the reputation of an author of mediocrity; and that, being no genius, I only added one name more to a list of writers that had told the world nothing but what it could as well be without.

These reflections were the best proofs of my sense: and, when I could see through my own vanity, there is less wonder at my discovering that such talents as I might have had, are impaired at Seventy-two. Being just to myself, I am not such a coxcomb as to be unjust to you. No, nor did I cover any irony towards you, in the opinion I gave you of making deep writings palatable to the mass of readers. Examine my words; and I am sure you will find that, if there was any thing ironic in my meaning, it was levelled at your readers, not at you. it is my opinion, that whoever wishes to be read by many, if his subject is weighty and solid, must treat the majority with more than is to his purpose. Do not you believe that twenty name Lucretius because of the poetic commencement of his books, for five that wade through his philosophy?

I promised to say but little; and, if I have explained myself clearly, I have said enough. It is not, I hope, my character to be a flatterer: I do most sincerely think you capable of great things; and I should be a pitiful knave if I told you SO, unless it was my opinion; and what end could it serve to me? Your course is but beginning; mine is almost terminated. I do not want you to throw a few daisies on my grave; and if you make the figure I augur you will, I shall not be a witness to it. Adieu, dear Sir!

(665) NOW first collected.



Letter 342 To Richard Gough, Esq. Strawberry Hill, August 24, 1789. (PAGE 435)

I shall heartily lament with you, Sir, the demolition of those beautiful chapels at Salisbury. I was scandalized long ago at the ruinous state in which they were indecently suffered to remain. It appears as strange, that, when a spirit of restoration and decoration has taken place, it should be mixed with barbarous innovation. As much as taste has improved, I do not believe that modern execution will equal our models. I am sorry that I can only regret, not prevent. I do not know the Bishop of Salisbury(666) even by Sight, and certainly have no credit to obstruct any of his plans. should I get sight of Mr. Wyatt, which is not easy to do, I will remonstrate against the intended alteration; but probably without success, as I do not suppose he has authority enough to interpose effectually: still I will try. It is an old complaint with me, Sir, that when families are extinct, chapters take the freedom of removing ancient monuments, and even of selling, over again the sites of such tombs. A scandalous, nay, dishonest abuse, and very unbecoming clergy! Is it creditable for divines to traffic for consecrated ground, and which the church had already sold? I do not wonder that magnificent monuments are out of fashion, when they are treated so disrespectfully. You, Sir, alone have placed several out of the reach of such a kind of simoniacal abuse; for to buy into the church, or to sell the church's land twice over, breathes a similar kind of spirit. Perhaps, as the subscription indicates taste, if some of the subscribers could be persuaded to object to the removal of the two beautiful chapels, as contrary to their view of beautifying, it might have good effect; or, if some letter were published in the papers against the destruction, as barbarous and the result of bad taste, it might divert the design. I zealously wish it were stopped, but I know none of the chapter or subscribers.(667)

(666) Dr. Shute Barrington; in 1791, translated to the see of Durham.-E.

(667) Much discussion on the subject of the injury done to Salisbury cathedral, here complained of by Walpole, took place in the Gentleman's Magazine for this and the following year. "This good," says the writer of a learned article on Cathedral Antiquities, in the Quarterly Review for 1825, "has arisen from the injury which was done at Salisbury, that in subsequent undertakings of the same kind, the architect has come to his work with Greater respect for the structures upon which he was employed, and a mind more embued with the principles of Gothic architecture."-E.



Letter 343 To The Miss Berrys. Strawberry Hill, Thursday evening, Aug. 27, 1789. (PAGE 436)

I jumped for joy,-that is, my heart did, which is all the remain of me that is in statu iumpante,-at the receipt of your letter this morning, which tells me you approve of the house at Teddington. How kind you was to answer so incontinently! I believe you borrowed the best steed from the races. I have sent to the landlord to come tomorrow: but I could not resist beginning my letter to-night, as I am at home alone, with a little pain in my left wrist; but the right one has no brotherly feeling for it, and would not be put off so. You ask how you have deserved such attentions? Why, by deserving them; by every kind of merit, -and by that superlative one to me, your submitting to throw away so much time on a forlorn antique—you two, who, without specifying particulars, (and you must at least be conscious that you are not two frights,) might expect any fortune and distinctions, and do delight all companies. On which side lies the Wonder? Ask me no more such questions, or I will cram you with reasons.

My poor dear niece(668) grows worse and worse: the medical people do not pretend to give us any hopes; they only say she may last some weeks, which I do not expect, nor do absent myself. I had promised Mr. Barrett to make a visit to my Gothic child, his house, on Sunday; but I have written to-day to excuse myself: so I have to the Duchess of Richmond,(669) who wanted me to meet her mother, sister,(670) and General Conway, at Goodwood next week.

I wish Lady Fitzwilliam may not hear the same bad news as I expect, in the midst of her royal visitors: her sister, the Duchess of St. Albans, is dying, in the same way as Lady, Dysart; and for some days has not been in her senses. How charming you are to leave those festivities for your good parents; who I do not wonder are impatient for you. I, who am old enough to be your great-grandmother, know one needs not be your near relation to long for your return. Of all your tour, next to your duteous visits, I most approve the jaunt to the sea - I believe in its salutary air more than in the whole college and all its works.

You must not expect any news from me, French or homebred. I am not in the way of hearing any: your morning gazetteer rarely calls on me, as I am not likely to pay him in kind. About royal progresses, paternal or filial, I never inquire; nor do you, I believe, care more than I do. The small wares in which the societies at Richmond and Hampton-court deal, are still less to our taste. My poor niece and her sisters take up most of my time and thoughts: but I will not attrist you to indulge myself, but will break off here, and finish my letter when I have seen your new landlord. Good night!

Friday.

Well! I have seen him, and nobody was ever so accommodating! He is as courteous as a candidate for a county. You may stay in his house till Christmas if you please, and shall pay but twenty pounds; and if more furniture is wanting, it shall be supplied.

(668) The Countess of Dysart.-M.B.

(669) Lady Mary Bruce, daughter of the Earl of Ailesbury by Caroline Campbell, daughter of General John Campbell, afterwards Duke of Argyle.-M.B.

(670) Mrs. Damer, only child of the Dowager Countess of Ailesbury, by Marshal Henry Seymour Conway, her second husband. She was thus half-sister to the Duchess of Richmond.-M.B.



Letter 344 To The Miss Berrys. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 4, 1789. (PAGE 437)

You ask whether I will call you wise or stupid for leaving, York races in the middle-neither; had you chosen to stay, you would have done rightly. The more young persons see, where there is nothing blamable, the better; as increasing the stock of ideas early will be a resource for age. To resign pleasure to please tender relations is amiable, and superior to wisdom; for wisdom, however laudable, is but a selfish virtue. But I do decide peremptorily, that it was very prudent to decline the invitation to Wentworth House,(671) which was obligingly given; but, as I am very proud for you, I should have disliked your being included in a mobbish kind of colhue. You two are not to go where any other two misses would have been equally pri'ees, and where people would have been thinking of the princes more than of the Berrys. Besides, princes are so rife now, that, besides my sweet nephew(672) in the Park, we have another at Richmond: the Duke of Clarence has taken Mr. Henry Hobart's house, pointblank over against Mr. Cambridge's, which will make the good woman of that mansion cross herself piteously, and stretch the throat of the blatant beast at Sudbrook(673) and of all the other pious matrons 'a la ronde; for his Royal Highness, to divert lonesomeness, has brought with him - -, who, being still more averse to solitude, declares that any tempter would make even Paradise more agreeable than a constant t'ete-'a-t'ete.

I agree with you in not thinking Beatrice one of Miss Farren's capital parts. Mrs. Pritchard played it with more spirit, and was superior to Garrick's Benedict; so is Kemble, too, as he Is to Quin in Maskwell. Kemble and Lysons the clergyman(674) passed all Wednesday here with me. The former is melting the three parts of Henry the Sixth into one piece: I doubt it will be difficult to make a tolerable play out of them.

I have talked scandal from Richmond, like its gossips; and now, by your queries after Lady Luxborough, you are drawing me into more, which I do not love: but she is dead and forgotten, except on the shelves of an old library, or on those of my old memory; which you will be routing into. The lady you wot of, then, was the first wife of Lord Catherlogh, before he was an earl; and who was son of Knight, the South Sea cashier, and whose second wife lives here at Twickenham. Lady Luxborough, a high-coloured lusty black woman, was parted from her husband, upon a gallantry she had with Dalton, the reviver of Comus and a divine. She retired into the country; corresponded, as you see by her letters, with the small poets of that time; but, having no Theseus amongst them, consoled herself, as it is said, like Ariadne, with Bacchus.(675) This might be a fable, like that of her Cretan Highness—no matter; the fry of little anecdotes are so numerous now, that throwing one more into the shoal is of no consequence, if it entertains you for a Moment; nor need you believe what I don't warrant.

Gramercy for your intention of seeing Wentworth Castle. it is my favourite of all great seats;-such a variety of ground, of wood, and water; and almost all executed and disposed with so much taste by the present Earl. Mr. Gilpin sillily could See nothing but faults there. The new front is, in my opinion, one of the lightest and most beautiful buildings on earth - and, pray like the little Gothic edifice, and its position in the menagerie! I recommended it, and had it drawn by Mr. Bentley, from Chichester Cross. Don't bring me a pair of scissors from Sheffield - I am determined nothing shall cut our loves, though I should live out the rest of Methusalem's term, as you kindly wish, and as I can believe, though you are my wives; for I am persuaded my Agnes wishes so too. Don't you?

At night.

I am just come from Cambridge's, where I have not been in an evening, time out of mind. Major Dixon, alias "the Charming man,"(676) is there; but I heard nothing of the Emperor's rickets:(677) a great deal, and many horrid stories, of the violences in France; for his brother, the Chevalier Jerningham, is Just arrived from Paris. You have heard of the destruction of thirty-two chateaus in Burgundy, at the instigation of a demon, who has since been broken on the racks. There is now assembled near Paris a body of sixteen thousand deserters, daily increasing; who, they fear, will encamp and dictate to the capital, in spite of their militia of twenty thousand bourgeois. It will soon, I suppose, ripen to several armies, and a civil war; a fine acheminement to liberty!

My poor niece is still alive, though weaker every day, and pronounced irrecoverable: yet it is possible she may live some weeks; which, however, is neither to be expected nor wished, for she eats little and sleeps less. Still she is calm, and behaves with the patience of a martyr.

You may perceive, by the former part of my letter, that I have been dipping into Spenser again, though he is no passion of mine - there I lighted upon two lines that, at first sight, reminded me of Mademoiselle d'Eon,

"Now, when Marfisa had put off her beaver, To be a woman every one perceive her!"

but I do not think that is so perceptible in the Chevali'ere. She looked more feminine, as I remember her, in regimentals, than she does now. She is at best a heri-dragoon, or an Herculean hostess. I wonder she does not make a campaign in her own country, and offer her sword to the almost dethroned monarch, as a second Joan of Arc.(678) Adieu! for three weeks I shall say, Sancte Michael, ora pro nobis! You seem to have relinquished your plan of sea-coasting. I shall be sorry for that; it would do you good.

(671) The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York were going to receive a great entertainment at Wentworth House.-M.B.

(672) The Duke of Gloucester.

(673) Lady Greenwich.

(674) The " little Daniel" of the Pursuits of Literature, brother of Samuel Lysons, the learned antiquary, and author of "The Environs, twelve miles round London," in four volumes quarto—

"Nay once, for Purer air o'er rural ground, With little Daniel went his twelve miles round."-E.

(675) Lady Luxborough died in 1756. Her letters to Shenstone were published in 1775. In the first leaf of the original manuscript there is an autograph of the poet, describing them as being "written with abundant ease politeness, and vivacity; in which she was scarce equalled by any woman of her time." Some of her verses are printed in Dodsley's Miscellany, and Walpole has introduced her ladyship into his Noble Authors.-E.

(676) Edward Jerningham, Esq. Of Cossey, in Norfolk, uncle to the present Lord Stafford. He was distinguished in his day by the name of Jerningham the poet; but it was an unpoetical day. The stars of Byron, of Baillie, and of Scott, had not risen On the horizon. The well merited distinction of Jerningham was the friendship, affection, and intimacy which his amiable character had impressed on the author, and on all of his society mentioned in these letters.-M.B.

(677) This alludes to something said in a character which Jerningham had assumed, for the amusement of a society some time before at Marshal Conway's.-M.B.

(678) Miss More gives the following account of this extraordinary character:—"On Friday I gratified the curiosity of many years, by meeting at dinner Madame la Chevali'ere D'Eon - she is extremely entertaining, has universal information, wit, vivacity, and gaiety. Something too much of the latter (I have heard) when she has taken a bottle or two of Burgundy; but this being a very sober party, she was kept entirely within the limits of decorum. General Johnson was of the party, and it was ridiculous to hear her military conversation. Sometimes it Was, 'Quand j''etais colonel d'un tel regiment;' then again, 'Non, c'Rait quand j''etais secr'etaire d'ambassade du Duc de Nivernois,' or, 'Quand je n'egociais la paix de Paris.' She is, to be sure, a phenomenon in history; and, as such, a great curiosity. But one D'Eon is enough, and one slice of her quite sufficient." Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 156.-E.



Letter 345 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 5, 1789. (PAGE 440)

You speak so unperemptorily of your motions, that I must direct to you at random: the most probable place where to hit you, I think, will be Goodwood; and I do address this thither, because I am impatient to thank you for your tale, which is very pretty and easy and genteel. It has made me make a reflection, and that reflection made six lines; which I send you, not as good, but as expressing my thoughts on your writing so well in various ways which you never practised when you was much younger. Here they are:

The Muse most wont to fire a youthful heart, To gild your setting sun reserved her art; To crown a life in virtuous labours pass'd, Bestow'd her numbers and her wit at last; And, when your strength and eloquence retire, Your voice in notes harmonious shall expire.

The swan was too common a thought to be directly specified, and, perhaps, even to be alluded to: no matter, such a trifle is below criticism.

I am still here, in no uncertainty, God knows, about poor Lady Dysart (679) of whom there are not the smallest hopes. She grows weaker every day, and does actually still go out for the air, and may languish many days, though most probably will go off in a moment, As the water rises. She retains her senses perfectly, and as perfectly her unalterable calmness and patience, though fully sensible of her situation. At your return from Goodwood, I shall like to come to you, if you are unengaged, and ready to receive me. For the beauties of Park-place, I am too well acquainted with them, not, like all old persons about their contemporaries, to think it preserves them long after they are faded; and am so unwalking, that prospects are more agreeable to me when framed and glazed, and I look at them through a window. It is yourselves I want to visit, not your verdure. Indeed, except a parenthesis of scarce all August, there has been no temptation to walk abroad; and the tempter himself would not have persuaded me, if I could, to have climbed that long-lost mountain whence he could show one even the Antipodes. It rained incessantly all June and all July; and now again we have torrents every day.

Jerningham's brother, the Chevalier, is arrived from Paris, and does not diminish the horrors one hears every day. They are now in the capital dreading the sixteen thousand deserters who hover about them. I conclude that when in the character of banditti the whole disbanded army have plundered and destroyed what they can, they will congregate into separate armies under different leaders, who will hang Out different principles, and the kingdom will be a theatre of civil wars; and, instead of liberty, the nation will get petty tyrants, perhaps petty kingdoms: and when millions have suffered, or been sacrificed, the government will be no better than it was, all owing to the intemperance of the 'etats, who might have obtained a good constitution, or at least one much meliorated, if they had set out with discretion and moderation. They have left too a sad lesson to despotic princes, who will quote this precedent of frantic 'etats, against assembling any more, and against all the examples of senates and parliaments that have preserved rational freedom. Let me know when it will be convenient to you to receive me. Adieu!

(679) Her ladyship, who was the daughter of Sir Edward Walpole and the first wife of Lionel, fourth Earl of Dysart, died on the day this letter was written.-E.



Letter 346 To Miss Hannah More. Strawberry Hill, Sept. -, 1789. (PAGE 441)

I know whence you wrote last, but not where you are now; you gave me no hint. I believe you fly lest I should pursue, and as if you were angry that I have forced you to sprout into laurels. Yet you say you are vain of it, and that you are no philosopher. Now, if you are vain I am sure you are a philosopher; for it is a maxim of mine, and one of my own making, that there never was a philosopher that did not love sweetmeats. ou tell me too, that you like I should scold you but since you have appeared as Bonner's ghost, I think I shall feel too much awe; for though (which I never expected would be in my power) I have made you stand in a white sheet, I doubt my respect is increased. I never did rate you for being too bad, but too good: and if, when you make up your week's account, YOU find but a fraction of vanity in the sum total, you will fall to repenting, and Come forth On Monday as humble as * * *. Then, if I huff my heart Out, you will only simper, and still wrap yourself up in your obstinate goodness. Well! take your own way; I give you Up to your abominable virtues, and will go answer the rest of your letter.

I congratulate you on the demolition of the Bastille; I mean as you do, of its' functions.(680) For the poor soul itself, I had no ill will to it: on the contrary, it was a curious sample of ancient castellar dungeons, which the good folks the founders took for palaces: yet I always hated to drive by it, knowing the miseries it contained. Of itself it did not gobble up prisoners to glut its maw, but received them by command. The destruction of it was silly, and agreeable to the ideas of a mob, who do not know stones and bars and bolts from a lettre de cachet. If the country remains free, the Bastille would be as tame as a ducking-Stool, now that there is no such thing as a scold. If despotism recovers, the Bastille will rise from its ashes!— recover, I fear, it will. The 'Etats cannot remain a mob of kings, and will prefer a single one to a larger mob of kings and greater tyrants. The nobility, the clergy, and people of property will wait, till by address and Money they can divide the people; or, whoever gets the larger or more victorious army into his hands, will be a Cromwell or a Monk. In short, a revolution procured by a national vertigo does not promise a crop of legislators. It is time that composes a good constitution: it formed ours. We were near losing it by the lax and unconditional restoration of Charles the Second. The revolution was temperate, and has lasted; and, though it might have been improved, we know that with all its moderation it disgusted half the nation, who would have brought back the old sores. I abominate the Inquisition as much as you do: yet if the King of Spain receives no check like his cousin Louis, I fear he will not be disposed to relax any terrors. Every crowned head in Europe must ache at present; and the frantic and barbarous proceedings in France will not meliorate the stock of liberty, though for some time their majesties will be mighty tender of the rights of their subjects.

According to this hypothesis, I can administer some comfort to you about your poor negroes. I do not imagine that they will be emancipated at once; but their fate will be much alleviated, as the attempt will have alarmed their butchers enough to make them gentler, like the European monarchs, for fear of"provoking the disinterested, who have no sugar plantations, to abolish the horrid traffic.

I do not understand the manoeuvre of sugar, and, perhaps, am going to talk nonsense, as my idea maybe impracticable; but I Wish human wit, which is really very considerable in mechanics and merchantry, could devise some method of cultivating canes and making sugar without the manual labour of the human" species. How many mills and inventions have there not been discovered to supply succedaneums to the works of the hands, which before the discoveries would have been treated as visions! It is true, manual labour has sometimes taken it very ill to be excused, and has destroyed such mills; but the poor negroes would not rise and insist upon being worked to death. Pray talk to some ardent genius, but do not name me; not merely because I may have talked like an idiot, but because my ignorance might, ipso C fiacto, stamp the idea with ridicule. People, I know, do not love to be put out of their old ways: no farmer listens at first to new inventions in agriculture; and I don't doubt but bread was originally deemed a new-fangled vagary, by those who had seen their fathers live very comfortably upon acorns. Nor is there any harm in starting new game to invention: many excellent discoveries have been made by men who were a la chasse of something very different. I am not quite sure that the art of making gold and of* living for ever have been yet found out: yet to how many noble discoveries has the pursuit of those nostrums given birth! Poor chymistry, had she not had such glorious objects in view! If you are sitting under a cowslip at your cottage, these reveries may amuse you for half an hour, at least make you smile; and for the ease of your conscience, which is always in a panic, they require no answer.(681)

I will not ask you about the new history of Bristol,(682) because you are too good a citizen to say a word against your native place; but do pray cast your eye on the prints of The cathedral and castle, the chef-d',oeuvres of Chatterton's ignorance, and of Mr. Barrett's too; and on two letters pretended to have been sent to me, and which never were sent. If my incredulity had wavered, they would have fixed it. I wish the milkwoman would assert that Boadicea's dairymaid had invented Dutch tiles; it would be like Chatterton's origin of heraldry and painted glass, in those two letters. I must, however, mention one word about myself. In the new fourth volume of the Biographia Britannica I am more candidly treated about that poor lad than usual: yet the writer still affirms, that, according to my own account, my reply was too much in the-commonplace style of court replies. Now my own words, and the truth, as they stand in print in the very letter of mine which this author quotes, were, "I wrote him a letter with as much kindness and tenderness as if I had been his guardian." Is this by my own account a court-reply? Nor did I conceive, for I never was a courtier, that courtiers are wont to make tender replies to the poor; I am glad to hear they do.

I have kept this letter some days in my writing-box, till I could meet with a stray member of parliament, for it is not worth making you pay for: but when you talk to me I cannot help answering incontinently; besides, can one take up a letter at a long distance, and heat one's reply over again with the same interest that it occasioned at first? Adieu! I wish you may come to Hampton before I leave these purlieus! Yours More and More.

(680) Miss More had written to Walpole,—"Poor France! though I am sorry that the lawless rabble are so triumphant, I cannot help hoping that some good will arise from the sum of human misery having been so considerably lessened at one blow by the destruction of the Bastille. The utter extinction of the Inquisition, and the redemption of Africa, I hope yet to see accomplished." Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 170.-E.

(681) To this passage Miss More thus replies:—"Your project for relieving our poor slaves by machine work is so far from being wild or chimerical, that of three persons deep and able in the concern (Mr. Wilberforce among others), not one but has thought it rational and practicable, and that a plough may be so constructed as to save much misery." Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 187.-,E.

(682) "The History and Antiquities of Bristol, by William Barrett:" Bristol, 1789, quarto; a Work which Mr. Park described as " a motley compound of real and superstitious history."-E.



Letter 347 To Miss Hannah More. Strawberry Hill, Nov. 4, 1789. (PAGE 444)

I am not surprised, my dear Madam, that the notice of my illness should have stimulated your predominant quality, your sensibility. 1 cannot do less in return than relieve it immediately, by assuring you that I am in a manner recovered; and should have gone out before this time, if my mind were as much at ease as my poor limbs. I have passed, five months most uncomfortably; the two last most unhappily. In June and September I had two bad falls by my own lameness and weakness, and was much bruised; while I was witness to the danger, and then to the death, of my invaluable niece, Lady Dysart. She was angelic, and has left no children. The unexpected death of Lord Waldegrave(683) one of the most amiable of men, has not only deprived me of him, but has opened a dreadful scene of calamities! he and my niece were the happiest and most domestic of couples.

Your kind inquiries after me have drawn these details from me, for which I make no excuse; good-nature never grudges its pity. I, who love to force your gravity to smile, am seriously better pleased to indulge your benevolence with a subject of esteem, which, though moving your compassion, will be accompanied by no compunction. I will now answer your letter. Your plea, that not composition, but business, has occasioned your silence, is no satisfaction to me. In my present anxious solitude I have again read Bonner and Florio, and the Bas Bleu; and do you think I am much pleased to learn that you have not been writing? Who is it says something like this line?—

Hannah will not write, and Lactilla will.

They who think her Earl Goodwin will outgo Shakspeare, might be in the right, if they specified in what way. I believe she may write worse than he sometimes did, though that is not easy; but to excel him—oh! I have not words adequate to my contempt for those who can suppose such a possibility!

I am sorry, very sorry, for what you tell me of poor Barrett's fate. Though he did write worse than Shakspeare, it is great pity he was told so, as it killed him; and I rejoice that I did not publish a word in contradiction of the letters which he said Chatterton sent to me, as I was advised to do. I might have laughed at the poor man's folly, and then I should have been miserable to have added a grain to the poor man's mortification.(684)

you rejoice me, not my vanity, by telling me my idea of a mechanic succedaneum to the labour of negroes is not visionary, but thought practicable. Oh! how I wish I understood sugar ploughs, and could marry them! Alas! I understand nothing useful. My head is as un-mechanic as it is un-arithmetic, un-geometric, un-metaphysic, uncommercial; but will not some one of those superior heads to whom you have talked on my indigested hint reduce it to practicability'! How a feasible scheme would stun those who call humanity romantic, and show, from the books of the Custom-house, that murder is a great improvement of the revenue! Even the present situation of France is favourable. Could not Mr. Wilberforce obtain to have the enfranchisement of the negroes started there? The Jews are claiming their natural rights there; and blacks are certainly not so great defaulters as the Hebrews, though they too have undergone ample persecutions. Methinks, as Lord George Gordon is in correspondence with the 'Etats, he has been a little remiss in not signing the petition of those of his new communion.

The 'Etats are detestable and despicable; and, in fact, guilty of the outrages of the Parisian and provincial mobs. The mob of twelve hundred, not legislators, but dissolvers of all law, unchained the mastiffs that had been tied up, and were sure to worry all who fell in their way. To annihilate all laws, however bad, and to have none ready to replace them, was proclaiming anarchy. What should one think of a mad-doctor, who should let loose a lunatic, suffer him to burn Bedlam, chop off the heads of the keepers, and then consult with some students in physic on the gentlest mode of treating delirium? By a late vote I see that the twelve hundred praters are reduced to five hundred: Vive la reine Billingsgate! the Thalestris who has succeeded Louis Quatorze! A committee of those Amazons stopped the Duke of Orleans, who, to use their style, I believe is not a barrel the better herring.

Your reflections on Vertot's passion for revolutions are admirable,(685) and yet it is natural for an historian to like to describe times of action. Halcyon days do not furnish matter for talents; they are like the virtuous couple in a comedy, a little insipid. Mr. Manly and Lady Grace, Mellefont and Cynthia, do not interest one much. Indeed, in a tragedy where they are unhappy, they give the audience full satisfaction, and no envy. The newspapers, no doubt, thought Dr. Priestley could not do better than to espouse you.(686) He certainly would be very judicious, could he obtain your consent; but, alas! you would squabble about Socinianism, or some of those isms. To tell you the truth, I hate all those Constantinopolitan jargons, that set people together by the ears about pedantic terms. When you apply scholastic phrases as happily and genteelly as you do in your Bas Bleu, they are delightful; but don't muddify your charming simplicity with controversial distinctions, that will sour your sweet piety. Sects are the bane of charity, and have deluged the world with blood.

I do not mean, by what I am going to say, to extort another letter from you before I have the pleasure of seeing you at Hampton; but I really shall be much obliged to you for a single line soon, only to tell me if Miss Williams is at Stoke with the Duchess of Beaufort. To a short note, cannot you add a short P. S. on the fate of Earl Goodwin?(687) Lac mihi novum non frigore desit. Adieu! my amiable friend! Yours most sincerely.

(683) George fourth Earl of Waldegrave born in 1751; married, in 1782, his cousin Lady Elizabeth Laura Waldegrave, daughter of James, the second Earl. He died on the 22d of October.-E.

(684) Mr. Barrett was the person who first encouraged Chatterton to publish the poems which he attributed to Rowley. He was a respectable surgeon at Bristol.-E.

(685) Miss More, in her last letter, had said—"What a pity it is that Vertot is not alive that man's element was a state convulsion; he hopped over peaceful intervals, as periods of no value, and only seemed to enjoy himself when all the rest of the world was sad. Storm and tempest were his halcyon days."-E.

(686) In her letter to Walpole Miss More had said,—"I comforted myself., that your two fair wives were within reach of your elbow-chair, and that their pleasant society would somewhat mitigate the sufferings of your confinement. Apropos of two wives—when the newspapers the other day were pleased to marry me to Dr. Priestley, I am surprised they did not rather choose to bestow me on Mr. Madan, as his wife is probably better broken in to these eastern usages, than Mrs. Priestley may be. I never saw the Doctor but once in my life, and he had then been married above twenty years." Memoirs, vol. ii. P. 188.-E.

(687) Ann Yearsley's tragedy, which had just been represented, with little success, at the Bath and Bristol theatres. In reply to Walpole's query, Miss More says, "There are, I dare say, some Pretty Passages in it, but all seem to bring it in guilty of the crime of dullness; which I take to be the greatest fault in dramatic composition."-E.



Letter 348 To Miss Hannah More. Berkeley Square, Feb. 20, 1790. (PAGE 446)

It is very provoking that people must always be hanging or drowning themselves, or going mad, that you forsooth, Mistress, may have the diversion of exercising your pity and good-nature, and charity, and intercession, and all that bead-roll of virtues that make you so troublesome and amiable, when you might be ten times more agreeable by things that would not cost one above half-a-crown at a time.(688) YOU are an absolutely walking hospital, and travel about into lone and bye places, with your doors open to house stray casualties! I wish at least that you would have some children yourself, that you might not be plaguing one for all the Pretty brats that are starving and friendless. I suppose it was some such goody two or three thousand years ago that suggested the idea of an alna-mater, suckling the three hundred and sixty-five bantlings of the Countess of Hainault. Well, as your newly-adopted pensioners have two babes, I insist on your accepting two guineas for them instead of one at present (that is, when you shall be present). i If you cannot circumscribe your own charities, you shall not stint mine, Madam, who can afford it much better, and who must be dunned for alms, and do not scramble over hedges and ditches in searching for opportunities of flinging away my money on good works. I employ mine better at auctions, and in buying pictures and baubles, and hoarding curiosities, that in truth I cannot keep long but that will last for ever in my catalogue, and make me immortal! Alas! will they cover a multitude of sins? Adieu! I cannot jest after that sentence. Yours sincerely.

(688) Miss More was at this time raising a subscription for the benefit of the family of a poor man who had been cut down after he had nearly hung himself.-E.



Letter 349 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(689) Strawberry Hill, June 25, 1790. (PAGE 447)

I am glad at least that you was not fetched to town on last Tuesday, which was as hot as if Phaeton had once more gotten into his papa's curricle and driven it along the lower road; but the old king has resumed the reins again, and does not allow us a handful more of beams than come to our northern share. I am glad, too, that I was not summoned also to the Fitzroyal arrangement: it was better to be singed here, than exposed between two such fiery furnaces as Lady Southampton and my niece Keppel. I pity Charles Fox to be kept on the Westminster gridiron.(690) Before I came out of town, I was diverted by a story from the hustings: one of the mob called out to Fox, "Well, Charley, are not you sick of your coalition?" "Poor gentleman!" cried an old woman in the crowd, "why should not he like a collation?"

I am very sorry Mrs. Damer is so tormented, but I hope the new inflammation will relieve her. As I was writing that sentence this morning, Mesdames de Boufflers came to see me from Richmond, and brought a Comte de Moranville to see my house. The puerile pedants of their 'Etats are going to pull down the statues of Louis Quatorze, like their silly ancestors, who proposed to demolish the tomb of John Duke of Bedford. The Vicomte de Mirabeau is arrested somewhere for something, perhaps for one of his least crimes; in short, I M angry that the cause of liberty is profaned by such rascals. If the two German Kings make peace, as you hear and as I expected, the Brabanters, who seem not to have known much better what to do with their revolution, will be the first sacrifice on the altar of peace.

I stick fast at the beginning of the first volume of Bruce,(691) though I am told it is the most entertaining; but I am sick of his vanity, and (I believe) of his want of veracity; but I am sure of his want of method and of his obscurity. I hope my wives were not at Park-place in your absence: the loss of them is irreparable to me, and I tremble to think how much more I shall feel it in three months, when I am to part with them for—who can tell how long? Adieu!

(689) Now first printed.

(690) At the close of the election, on the 2d of July, the numbers were, for Mr. Fox 3516, Lord Hood 3217, and Mr. Horne Took 1697.-E.

(691) Bruce's "Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile" had just appeared, in five large quarto volumes. It was dedicated to George the Third, who, while society in general raised a cry of incredulity against it, stood up warmly in its' favour, and contended that it was a great work.-E.



Letter 350 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, June 26, 1790. (page 448)

I do not forget your lordship's commands, though I do recollect my own inability to divert you. Every year at my advanced time of life would make more reasonable my plea of knowing nothing worth repeating, especially at this season. The general topic of elections is the last subject to which I could listen: there is not one about which I care a straw; and I believe your lordship quite as indifferent. I am not much more au fait of war. or peace; I hope for the latter, nay and expect it, because it is not yet war. Pride and anger do not deliberate to the middle of the campaign; and I believe even the great incendiaries are more intent on making a good bargain than on saving their honour. If they save lives, I care not who is the better politician; and, as I am not to be their judge, I do not inquire what false weights they fling into the scales. Two-thirds of France, who are not so humble as I, seem to think they can entirely new-model the world with metaphysical compasses; and hold that no injustice, no barbarity, need to be counted in making the experiment. Such legislators are sublime empirics, and in their universal benevolence have very little individual sensibility. In short, the result of my reflections on what has passed in Europe for these latter centuries is, that tyrants have no consciences, and reformers no feeling; and the world suffers both by the plague and by the cure. What oceans of blood were Luther and Calvin the authors of being spilt! The late French government was detestable; yet I still doubt whether a civil war will not be the consequence of the revolution, and then what may be the upshot? Brabant was grievously provoked; is it sure that it will be emancipated? For how short a time do people who set out on the most just principles, advert to their first springs of motion, and retain consistency? Nay, how long can promoters of revolutions be sure of maintaining their own ascendant? They are like projectors, who are commonly ruined; while others make fortunes on the foundation laid by the inventors.



Letter 351 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, Wednesday night, July 1, 1790. (page 448)

It is certainly not from having any thing to tell you, that I reply so soon, but as the most agreeable thing I can do in my confinement. The gout came into my heel the night before last, perhaps from the deluge and damp. I increased it yesterday by limping about the house with a party I had to breakfast. To-day I am lying on the settee, unable to walk alone, or even to put on a slipper. However, as I am much easier this evening, I trust it will go off.

I do not love disputes, and shall not argue with you about Bruce; but, if you like him, you shall not choose an author for me. It is the most absurd, obscure, and tiresome book I know. I shall admire if you have a clear conception about most of the persons and matters in his work; but, in fact, I do not believe you have. Pray, can you distinguish between his cock and hen Heghes, and between A Yasouses and Ozoros? and do you firmly believe that an old man and his son were sent for and put to death, because the King had run into a thornbush, and was forced to leave his clothes behind him? Is it your faith, that one of their Abyssinian Majesties pleaded not being able to contribute towards sending for a new Abuna, because he had spent all his money at Venice in looking-glasses? And do you really think that Peter Paez was a Jack-of-all-trades, and built palaces and convents without assistance, and furnished them with his own hands? You, who are a little apt to contest most assertions, must have strangely let out your credulity!(692) I could put forty questions to you as wonderful; and, for my part, could as soon credit * * * *.

I am tired of railing at French barbarity and folly. They are more puerile now serious, than -when in the long paroxysm of gay levity. Legislators, a senate, to neglect laws, in order to annihilate coats of arms and liveries! to pull down a King, and set up an Emperor! They are hastening to establish the tribunal of the praetorian guards; for the sovereignty, it seems, is not to be hereditary. One view of their F'ete of the 14th,(693) I suppose, is to draw money to Paris; and the consequence will be, that the deputies will return to the provinces drunk with independence and self-importance, and will commit fifty times more excesses, massacres, and devastations, than last year. George Selwyn says, that Monsieur, the King's brother, is the only man of rank from whom they cannot take a title.(694)

How franticly have the French acted, and how rationally the Americans! But Franklin and Washington were great men. None have appeared yet in France; and Necker has only returned to make a wretched figure! He is become as insignificant as his King; his name is never mentioned, but now and then as disapproving something that is done. Why then does he stay? Does he wait to strike some great stroke, when every thing is demolished? His glory, which consisted in being minister though a Protestant, is vanished by the destruction of popery; the honour of which, I suppose, he will scarce assume to himself. I have vented my budget, and now good night! I feel almost as if I could walk up to bed.

(692 Though Bruce's work was attacked at the time by the critics with much virulence, his statements have been more or less confirmed by Salt, Burckhardt, Wit-an, Clarke, Belzoni, and other distinguished travellers. Bruce never replied to any of his opponents; but sometimes said to his daughter, that he hoped she would live to see the time when the truth of what he had written would be established. He lost his life in April 1794, in consequence of an accidental slip of his foot, while handing a lady down stairs to her carriage. A second edition of his Travels was published in 1805, by Dr. Alexander Murray, from a copy which the traveller had himself prepared for the press.-E.

(693) The grand federation in the Champ de Mar, on the anniversary of the taking of the Bastille, thus described by M. Thiers:—"A magnificent amphitheatre, formed at the further extremity, was destined for the national authorities. The King and the president sat beside one another on similar seats. Behind the King was an elevated balcony for the Queen and the court. The ministers were at some distance before from the King, and the deputies ranged on either side. Four hundred thousand spectators occupied the lateral amphitheatres. Sixty thousand armed federalists performed their evolutions in the intermediate space; and in the centre, upon a base twenty-five feet high, stood the altar of the country. Three hundred priests, in white surplices and tricoloured scarfs, covered the steps, and were to officiate. The Bishop of Anton" [afterwards Prince Talleyrand] began the mass. Divine service over, La Fayette received the orders of the King, who handed to him the form of the oath. La Fayette carried it to the altar. At this moment all the banners waved, every sabre glistened. The general the army, the president, the deputies cried 'I swear it.' The King, standing, with his hand outstretched towards the altar, said 'I King of the French, swear,' etc. At this moment., the Queen, moved by the general emotion, clasped in her arms the august child, the heir to the throne, and, from the balcony, showed him to the assembled nation. At this moment shouts of joy, attachment 'enthusiasm, were addressed to the mother and the child, and all hearts were hers." History of the Revolution, vol. i. p. 155.-E.

(694) On the 20th of Julio, a decree, that the titles of duke, count, marquis, viscount, baron, and chevalier should be suppressed, had been carried in the National Assembly by a large majority.-E.



Letter 352 To Miss Berry. Strawberry Hill, Saturday night, July 3, 1790. (page 450)

How kind to write the very moment you arrived! but pray do not think that, welcome as your letters are, I would purchase them at the price of any fatigue to you-a proviso I put in already against moments when you may be more weary than by a journey to Lymington. You make me happy by the good accounts of Miss Agnes; and I should be completely so, if the air of the sea could be so beneficial to you both, as to make your farther journey unnecessary to your healths, at least for some time; for—and I protest solemnly that not a personal thought enters into the consideration—I shall be excessively alarmed at your going to the Continent. when such a frenzy has seized it. You see by the papers, that the flame has burst out at Florence: can Pisa then be secure? Flanders can be no safe road; and is any part of France so? I told you in my last of the horrors at Avignon. At Madrid the people are riotous against the war with us, and prosecuted I am persuaded it will not be; but the demon of Gaul is busy every where. The Etats, who are as foolish as atrocious, have printed lists of the surnames which the late noblesse are to assume or resume; as if people did not know their own names. I like a speech I have heard of the Queen. She went with the King to see the manufacture of glass, and, as they passed the Halles, the poissardes huzzaed them; "Upon my word," said the Queen, "these folks are civiler when you visit them, than when they visit you." This marked both spirit and good -humour. For my part, I am so shocked at French barbarity, that I begin to think that our hatred of them is not national prejudice, but natural instinct; as tame animals are born with an antipathy to beasts of prey.

Mrs. Damer tells me in a letter to-day, that Lady Ailesbury was charmed with you both (which did not surprise either of us); and she never saw two persons have so much taste for the country, who have no place of their Own. It may be so; but begging her ladyship's pardon and yours, I think that people who have a place of their own, are mighty apt not to like any other.

I feel all the kindness at your determination of coming to Twickenham in August, and shall certainly say no more against it, though I am certain that I shall count every day that passes; and when they are passed, they will leave a melancholy impression on Strawberry, that I had rather have affixed to London. The two last summers were infinitely the pleasantest I ever passed here, for I never before had an agreeable neighbourhood. Still I loved the place, and had no comparisons to draw. Now, the neighbourhood will remain, and will appear ten times worse; with the aggravation of remembering two months that may have some transient roses, but I am sure, lasting thorns. You tell me I do not write with my usual spirits: at least I will suppress, as much as I can, the want of them, though I am a bad dissembler.(695)

You do not mention the cathedral at Winchester, which I have twice seen and admired; nor do you say any thing of Bevismount and Netley—charming Netley! At Lyndhurst you passed the palatial hovel of my royal nephew; who I have reason to wish had never been so, and did all I could to prevent his being.

The week before last I met the Marlboroughs at Lady Di's. The Duchess(696) desired to come and see Strawberry again, as it had rained the whole time she was here last. I proposed the next morning: no, she could not: she expected company to dinner; she believed their brother, Lord Robert(697) would dine with them: I thought that a little odd, as they had Just turned him out for Oxfordshire; and I thought a dinner no cause at the distance of four miles. In her grace's dawdling way, she could fix no time: and so on Friday, at half an hour after seven, as I was going to Lady North's, they arrived; and the sun being setting, and the moon not risen, You may judge how much they could see through all the painted glass by twilight.

(695) In a letter written in this month to Walpole, Miss More asks, "Where and how are the Berrys? I hope they are within reach of your great chair, if you are confined, and of your airings, if you go abroad. I hate their going to Yorkshire: as Hotspur Says, 'What do they do in the north, when they ought to be in the south?", Memoirs, vol.ii. p. 235.-E.

(696) Lady Caroline Russell; married, in 1762, to the Duke of Marlborough.

(697) Lord Robert Spencer, brother of the Duke of Marlborough.



Letter 353 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, August 9, at night, 1790. (page 452)

MR. NICHOLLS has offered to be postman to you; whereof, though I have nothing, or as little as nothing, to say, I thought as how, it would look kinder to send nothing in writing than by word of mouth.

Nothing the first. So the peace is made, and the stocks drank its health in a bumper; but when they waked the next morning, they found they had reckoned without their host, and that their majesties the King of big Britain and the King of little Spain have agreed to make peace some time or other, if they can agree upon it; and so the stocks drew in their horns: but, having great trust in some time or other, they only fell two pegs lower. I, who never believed there would be war, keep my prophetic stocks up to par, and my consolation still higher; for when Spanish pride truckles, and English pride has had the honour of bullying, I dare to say we shall be content with the ostensible triumph, as Spain will be with some secret article that will leave her much where she was before. Vide Falkland's Island.

Nothing the second. Miss Gunning's match with Lord Blandford. You asserted it so peremptorily, that, though I doubted it, I quoted you. Lo! it took its rise solely in poor old Bedford's dotage, that still harps on conjunctions copulative, but now disavows it, as they say, on a remonstrance from her daughter.

Nothing the third. Nothing will come of nothing, says King Lear, and your humble servant.



Letter 354 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, August 12, 1790. (page 452)

I must not pretend any longer, my dear lord, that this region is void of news and diversions. Oh! we can innovate as well as neighbouring nations. If an Earl Stanhope, though he cannot be a tribune, is ambitious of being a plebeian, he may without law be as vulgar as heart can wish; and, though we have not a national assembly to lay the axe to the root of nobility, the peerage have got a precedent for laying themselves in the kennel. Last night the Earl of Barrymore was so humble as to perform a buffoon-dance and act Scaramouch in a pantomime at Richmond for the benefit of Edwin, Jun. the comedian:(698) and I, like an old fool, but calling myself a philosopher that loves to study human nature in all its disguises, went to see the performance.

Mr. Gray thinks that some Milton or some Cromwell may be lost to the world under the garb of a ploughman. Others may suppose that some excellent jack-pudding may lie hidden under red velvet and ermine. I cannot say that by the experiment of last night the latter hypothesis has been demonstrated, any more than the inverse proposition in France, where, though there seem to be many as bloody-minded rascals as Cromwell, I can discover none of his abilities.(699) They have settled nothing like a constitution; on the contrary, they seem to protract every thing but violence, as much as they can, in order to keep their Louie a day, which is more than two-thirds of the Asset they perhaps ever saw in a month. I do not love legislators that pay themselves so amply! They might have had as good a constitution as twenty-four millions of people could comport. As they have voted an army of an hundred and fifty thousand men, I know what their constitution will be, after passing through a civil war. In short, I detest them: they have done irreparable injury to liberty, for no monarch will ever summon 'etats again; and all the real service that will result from their fury will be, that every King in Europe, for these twenty, or perhaps thirty years to come, will be content with the prerogative he has. without venturing to augment it.

The Empress of Russia has thrashed the King of Sweden; and the King of Sweden has thrashed the Empress of Russia. I am more glad that both are beaten than that either is victorious ; for I do not, like our newspapers, and such admirers, fall in love with heroes and heroines who make war without a glimpse of provocation. I do like our makincy peace, whether we had provocation or not. I am forced to deal in European news, my dear lord, for I have no homespun. I don't think my whole inkhorn could invent another paragraph; and therefore I will take my leave, with (your lordship knows) every kind wish for your health and happiness.(700)

(698) In the following month "The Follies of a Day" was performed at Lord Barrymore's private theatre, at Wergrave. "His lordship, in the character of the gardener," according to the newspapers, "was highly comic, and his humour was not overstrained: the whole concluded with a dance, in which was introduced a favourite pas Russe, by Lord Barrymore and Mr. Delpini, which kept the theatre in a roar."-E.

(699) Gibbon, in a letter written a few months before from Lausanne to Lord Sheffield, makes the following reflections:— "The French nation had a glorious opportunity, but they have abused and may lose their advantages. If they had been content with a liberal translation of our system, if they had respected the prerogatives of the crown and the privileges of the nobles, they might have raised a solid fabric on the only true foundation, the natural aristocracy of a great country. How different is the prospect! Their King brought a captive to Paris, after his palace had been stained with the blood of his guards; the nobles in exile; the clergy plundered in a way which strikes at the root of all property; the capital an independent republic; the union of the provinces dissolved; the flames of discord kindled by the worst of men, and the honestest of the Assembly a set of wild visionaries. As yet there is no symptom of a great man, a Richelieu or a Cromwell, arising either to restore the monarchy, or to lead the commonwealth."-E.

(700) This appears to have been the last letter addressed by Walpole to the Earl of Strafford. His lordship died at Wentworth Castle, on the 10th of March following, in his seventy-ninth year.-E.



Letter 355 To Sir David Dalrymple.(701) Strawberry Hill, Sept. 21, 1790. (page 454)

So many years, Sir, have elapsed since I saw Burleigh, that I cannot in general pretend to recollect the pictures Well. I do remember that there was a surfeit of pieces by Luca Jordano, and Carlo Dolce, no capital masters, and posterior to the excellent. The Earl of Exeter, who resided long at Rome in the time of those two painters, seemed to have employed them entirely during his sojourn there. I was not struck more than you, Sir, with the celebrated Death of Seneca, though one of the best works of Jordano. Perhaps Prior's verses lifted it to part of its fame, though even those verses are inferior to many of that charming poet's compositions. Upon the whole, Burleigh is a noble palace, contains many fine things, and the inside court struck me with admiration and reverence. The Shakspeare Gallery is truly most inadequate to its prototypes but how should it be worthy of them! If we could recall the brightest luminaries of painting, could they do justice to Shakspeare? Was Raphael himself as great a genius in his art as the author of Macbeth? and who could draw Falstaffe, but the writer of Falstaffe? I am entirely of your opinion, Sir, that two of Northcote's pictures, from King John and Richard the Third, are at the head of the collection. In Macklin's Gallery of Poets and Scripture, there are much better pictures than at Boydell's. Opie's Jephthah's Vow is a truly fine performance, and would be so in any assemblage of paintings; as Sir Joshua's Death of Beaufort is worthy of none: the Imp is burlesque, and the Cardinal seems terrified at him as before him, when the Imp is behind him. In Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition there is a print that gives the fact simply, pathetically, and with dignity, and just as you wish it told.

My sentiments on French politics concur as much with yours as they do on subjects above. The National Assembly set out too absurdly and extravagantly, not to throw their country into the last confusion; which is not the way of correcting a government, but more probably of producing a worse, bad as the old was, and thence they will have given a lasting wound to liberty: for what king will ever call 'Etats again, if he can possibly help it! The new legislators were pedants, not politicians, when they announced the equality of all men. We are all born so, no doubt, abstractedly; and physically capable of being kept so, were it possible to establish a perfect government, and give the same education to all men. But are they so in the present constitution of society, under a bad government, where most have had no education at all, but have been debased, brutified, by a long train and mixture of superstition and oppression, and witnesses to the luxury and vices of their superiors, which they could only envy and not enjoy? It was turning tigers loose; and the degradation of the nobility pointed out the prey. Could it be expected that savages so hallooed on to outrage and void of any notions of reciprocal"duties and obligations, would fall into a regular system of' acting as citizens under the government of reason and justice? It was tearing all the bonds of society, which the experience of mankind had taught them were necessary to the mutual convenience of all; and no provision, no security, was made for those who were levelled, and who, though they enjoyed what they had by the old constitution, were treated, or were exposed to be treated, as criminals. They have been treated so: several have been butchered; and the National Assembly dare not avenge them, as they should lose the favour of the intoxicated populace. That conduct was senseless, or worse. With no less folly did they seek to expect that a vast body of men, more enlightened, at least, than the gross multitude, would sit down in patience under persecution and deprivation of all they valued; I mean the nobility and clergy, who might be stunned, but Were sure of reviving and of burning with vengeance. The insult was the greater, as the subsequent conduct of the National Assembly has proved more shamefully dishonest, in their paying themselves daily more than two-thirds of them ever saw perhaps in a month; and that flagitious self-bestowed stipend, as it is void of all patriotic integrity, will destroy their power too; for, if constitution-making is so lucrative a trade, others will wish to share in the plunder of their country too; and, even without a civil war, I am persuaded the present Assembly will neither be septennial, nor even triennial.

(701) Now first collected.



Letter 356 To The Miss Berrys. Sunday, Oct. 10, 1790, The day of your departure. (page 455)

Is it possible to write to my beloved friends, and refrain from speaking of my grief for losing you; though it is but the continuation of what I have felt ever since I was stunned by your intention Of going abroad this autumn? Still I will not tire YOU With it Often. In happy days I smiled, and called you my dear wives—now I can only think on you as darling children of whom I am bereaved! As such I have loved and do love You; and, charming as you both are, I have had no Occasion to remind myself that I am Past seventy-three. Your hearts, your understandings, your virtues, and the cruel injustice of your fate,(702) have interested me in every thing that concerns you; and so far from having occasion to blush for any unbecoming weakness, I am proud of my affection for you, and very proud of your condescending to pass so many hours with a very old man, when every body admires you, and the most insensible allow that your good sense and information (I speak of both) have formed you to Converse with the most intelligent of our sex as well as your own; and neither can tax you with airs of pretension or affectation. Your simplicity and natural ease set off all your other merits-all these graces are lost to me, alas! when I have no time to lose.

Sensible as I am to my loss, it will occupy but part of my thoughts, till I know you are safely landed, and arrived safely at Turin. Not till you are there, and I learn so, will my anxiety subside, and settle into steady, selfish sorrow. I looked at every weathercock as I came along the road to-day, and was happy to see every one point northeast. May they do so to-morrow!

I found here the frame for Wolsey, and to-morrow morning Kirgate will place him in it; and then I shall begin pulling the little parlour to pieces, that it may be hung anew to receive him. I have also obeyed Miss Agnes, though with regret; for, on trying it, I found her Arcadia(703) would fit the place of the picture she condemns, which shall therefore be hung in its room; though the latter should give Way to nothing else, nor shall be laid aside, but shall hang where I shall see it almost as often. I long to hear that its dear paintress is well; I thought her not at all so last night. You will tell me the truth, though she in her own case, and in that alone, allows herself mental reservation.

Forgive me for writing nothing to-night but about you two and myself. Of what can I have thought else? I have not spoken to a single person but my own servants since we parted last night.

I found a message here from Miss Howe(704) to invite me for this evening—do you think I have not preferred staying at home to write to you, as this Must go to London to-morrow morning by the coach to be ready for Tuesday's post! My future letters shall talk of other things, whenever I know any thing worth repeating; or perhaps any trifle, for I am determined to forbid myself lamentations that would weary you; and the frequency of my letters will prove there is no forgetfulness. If I live to see you again, you will then judge whether I am changed; but a friendship so rational and so pure as mine is, and so equal for both, is not likely to have any of the fickleness of youth, when it has none of its other ingredients. It was a sweet consolation to the short time that I may have left, to fall into such a society; no wonder then that I am unhappy at that consolation being abridged. I pique myself on no philosophy but what a long use and knowledge of the world had given me-the philosophy of indifference to most persons and events. I do pique myself on not being ridiculous at this very late period of my life; but when there is not a grain of passion in my affection for you two, and when you both have the good sense not to be displeased at my telling you so, (though I hope you would have despised me for the contrary,) I am not ashamed to say that your loss is heavy to me; and that I am only reconciled to it by hoping that a winter in Italy, and the journeys and sea air, will be very beneficial to two constitutions so delicate as yours. Adieu! my dearest friends it would be tautology to subscribe a name to a letter, every line of which would suit no other man in the world but the writer.

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