I don't think it would be quite unadvisable for Bistino(950) to take a journey hither. My Lady Carteret would take violently to any thing that came so far as to adore her grandeur. I believe even my Lady Pomfret would be persuaded he had seen the star of their glory travelling westward to direct him. For my part, I expect soon to make a figure too in the political magazine, for all our Florence set is coming to grandeur; but you and my Lady Carteret have outstripped me. I remain with -the Duke of Courtland in Siberia-my father has actually gone thither for a long season. I met my Lady Carteret the other day at Knaptons,(951) and desired leave to stay while she sat for her picture. She is drawn crowned with corn, like the Goddess of Plenty, and a mild dove in her arms, like Mrs. Venus. We had much of my lord and my lord. The countess-mother was glad my lord was not there-he was never satisfied with the eyes; she was afraid he would have had them drawn bigger than the cheeks. I made your compliments abundantly, and cried down the charms of the picture as politically as if' you yourself had been there in person.
To fill up this sheet, I shall transcribe some very good lines published to-day in one of the papers, by I don't know whom, on Pope's death.
"Here lies, who died, as most folks die, in hope, The mouldering, more ignoble part of Pope; The hard, whose sprightly genius dared to wage Poetic war with an immoral age; Made every vice and private folly known In friend and foe—a stranger to his own Set Virtue in its loveliest form to view, And still professed to be the sketch he drew. As humour or as interest served, his verse Could praise or flatter, libel or asperse: Unharming innocence with guilt could load, Or lift the rebel patriot to a god: Give the censorious critic standing laws- The first to violate them with applause; The just translator and the solid wit, Like whom the passions few so truly hit: The scourge of dunces whom his malice made- The impious plague of the defenceless dead: To real knaves and real fools a sore- Beloved by many but abhorr'd by more, If here his merits are not full exprest, His never-dying strains shall tell the rest."
Sure the greater part was his true character; Here is another epitaph by Rolli;(952) which for the profound fall in some of the verses', especially in the last, will divert you.
"Spento 'e il Pope: de' poeti Britanni Uno de' lumi che sorge in mille anni: Pur si vuol che la macchia d'Ingrato N'abbia reso il fulgor men sereno: Stato fora e pi'u giusto e pi'u grato. Men lodando e biasmando ancor meno."
(946) French ambassador at the court of St. Petersburg, and for some time a favourite of the Empress Elizabeth. The report of his disgrace was correct. He died in 1758.-E.
(947) A Florentine, but employed as minister by France.
(948) The officers of justice, who are reckoned so infamous in Italy, that the foreign ministers have always pretended to hinder them from passing through the streets where they reside.
(949) Cardinal Alexander Albani, nephew of Clement XI. was minister of the Queen of Hungary at Rome.
(950) Giovanni Battista Uguecioni, a Florentine nobleman, and great friend of the Pomfrets.
(951) George Knapton, a portrait painter. Walpole says, he was well versed in the theory of painting, and had a thorough knowledge of the hands of the good masters. He died at Kensington, in 1778, at the age of eighty.-E.
(952) Paolo Antonio Rolli, composer of the operas, translated and published several things. [Thus hitched into the Dunciad-
"Rolli the feather to his ear conveys Then his nice taste directs our operas."
Warburton says, "He taught Italian to some fine gentlemen, who affected to direct the operas."
379 Letter 143 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Arlington Street, July 20, 1744.
My dearest Harry, I feel that I have so much to say to you, that I foresee there will be but little method in my letter; but if, upon the whole, you see My meaning, and the depth of my friendship for you, I am content.
It was most agreeable to me to receive a letter of confidence from you, at the time I expected a very different one from you; though, by the date of your last, I perceive you had not then received some letters, which, though I did not see, I must call simple, as they could only tend to make you uneasy for some months. I should not have thought of communicating a quarrel to you at a distance, and I don't conceive the sort of friendship of those that thought it necessary. When I heard it had been wrote to you, I thought it right to myself to give you my account of it, but, by your brother's desire, suppressed my letter, and left it to be explained by him, who wrote to you so sensibly on it, that I shall say no more but that I think myself so ill-used that it will prevent my giving you thoroughly the advice you ask of me for how can I be sure that my resentment might not make me see in a stronger light the reasons for your breaking off an affair(953) which you know before I never approved?
You know my temper is so open to any body I love that I must be happy at seeing you lay aside a reserve with me, which is the only point that ever made me dissatisfied with you. That silence of yours has, perhaps, been one of the chief reasons that has always prevented my saying much to you on a topic which I saw was so near your heart. Indeed, its being so near was another reason; for how could I expect you would take my advice, even if you bore it? But, my dearest Harry, how can I advise you now? Is it not gone too far -for me to expect you should keep any resolution about it, especially in absence, which must be destroyed the moment you meet again? And if ever you should marry and be happy, won't you reproach me with having tried to hinder it? I think you as just and honest as I think any man living; but any man living in that circumstance would think I had been prompted by private reasons. I see as strongly as you can all the arguments for your breaking off; but, indeed, the alteration of your fortune adds very little strength to what they had before. You never had fortune enough to make such a step at all prudent: she loved you enough to be content with that; I can't believe this change will alter her sentiments, for I must do her the justice to say that it is plain she preferred you with nothing to all the world. I could talk upon this head, but I will only leave you to consider, without advising YOU On either side, these two things-whether you think it honester to break off with her after such engagements as yours (how strong I don't know), after her refusing very good matches for you, and show her that she must think of making her fortune; or whether you will wait with her till some amendment in your fortune can put it in your power to marry her. '
My dearest Harry, you must see why I don't care to say more on this head. My wishing it could be right for you to break off with her (for, without it is right, I would not have you on any account take such a step) makes it impossible for me to advise it; and therefore, I am sure you will forgive my declining, an act of friendship which your having put in my power gives me the greatest satisfaction. But it does put something else in my power, which I am sure nothing can make me decline, and for which I have long wanted an opportunity. Nothing could prevent my being unhappy at the smallness of your fortune, but its throwing it into my way to offer you to share mine. As mine is so precarious, by depending on so bad a constitution, I can only offer you the immediate use of it. I do that most sincerely. My places still (though my Lord Walpole has cut off three hundred pounds a-year to save himself the trouble of signing his name ten times for once) bring me in near two thousand pounds a-year. I have no debts, no connexions; indeed, no -way to dispose of it particularly. By living with my father, I have little real use for a quarter of it. I have always flung it away all in the most idle manner; but, my dear Harry, idle -,is I am, and thoughtless, I have sense enough to have real pleasure in denying myself baubles, and in saving a very good income to make a man happy, for whom I have a just esteem and most sincere friendship. I know the difficulties any gentleman and man of spirit must struggle with, even in having such an offer made him, much more in accepting it. I hope you will allow there are some in making it. But hear me: if there is such a thing as friendship in the world, these are the opportunities of exerting it, and it can't be exerted without it is accepted. I must talk of myself to prove to you that it will be right for 'you to accept it. I am sensible of having more follies and weaknesses, and fewer real good qualities than most men. I sometimes reflect on this, though I own too seldom. I always want to begin acting like a man, and a sensible one, which I think I might b, if I would. Can I begin better, than by taking care of my fortune for one I love? You have seen (I have seen you have) that I am fickle, and foolishly fond of twenty new people; but I don't really love them-I have always loved you constantly: I am willing to convince you and the world, what I have always told you, that I loved you better than any body. If I ever felt much for any thing, which I know may be questioned, it was certainly my mother. I look on you as my nearest relation by her, and I think I can never do enough to show my gratitude and affection to her. For these reasons, don't deny me what I have set my heart on-the making your fortune easy to you.
[The rest of this letter is wanting.]
(953) This was an early attachment of Mr. Conway's. By his having complied with the wishes and advice of his friends on this subject, and got the better of his passion, he probably felt that he, in some measure, owed to Mr. Walpole the subsequent happiness of his life, in his marriage with another person. (the lady alluded to was Lady Caroline Fitzroy, afterwards Countess of Harrington, whose sister, Lady Isabella, had, three years before, married Mr. Conway's elder brother, afterwards Earl and Marquis of Hertford.]
381 Letter 144 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, July 22, 1744.
I have not written to you, my dear child, a good while, I know but, indeed, it was from having nothing to tell you. You know I love you too well for it to be necessary to be punctually proving it to you; so, when I have nothing worth your knowing, I repose myself upon' the persuasion that you must have of my friendship. But I will never let that grow into any negligence, I should say, idleness, which is always mighty ready to argue me out of every thing I ought to do; and letter-writing is one of the first duties that the very best people let perish out of their rubric. Indeed, I pride myself extremely in having been so good a correspondent; for, besides that every day grows to make one hate writing, more, it is difficult, you must own, to keep up a correspondence of this sort with any spirit, when long absence makes one entirely out of all the little circumstances of each other's society, and which are the soul of letters. We are forced to deal only in great events, like historians; and, instead of being Horace Mann and Horace Walpole, seem to correspond as Guicciardin and Clarendon would:
Discedo Alceus puncto Illius; ille meo quis! Quis nisi Callimachus?
Apropos to writing histories and Guicciardin; I wish to God, Boccalini was living! never was such an opportunity for Apollo's playing off a set of looks, as there is now! The good city of London, who, from long dictating to the government, are now come to preside over taste and letters, have given one Carte,(954) a Jacobite parson, fifty pounds a-year, for seven years, to write the history of England; and four aldermen and six common councilmen are to .inspect his materials and the progress of the work. Surveyors and common sewers turned supervisors of literature! To be sure, they think a history of England is no more than Stowe's Survey of the Parishes! Instead of having books published with the imprimatur of an university, they Will be printed, as churches are whitewashed, John Smith and Thomas Johnson, churchwardens.
But, brother historian, you will wonder I should have nothing to communicate, when all Europe is bursting with events, and every day "big with the fate of Cato and of Rome." But so it is; I know nothing; Prince Charles's great passage of the Rhine has hitherto produced nothing, more: indeed, the French armies are moving towards him from Flanders; and they tell us, ours is crossing the Scheldt to attack the Count de Saxe, now that we arc equal to him, from our reinforcement and his diminutions. In the mean time, as I am at least one of the principal heroes of my own politics, being secure of any invasion, I am going to leave all my lares, that is, all my antiquities, household gods and pagods, and take a journey into Siberia for six weeks, where my father's grace of Courland has been for some time.
Lord Middlesex is going to be married to Miss Boyle,(955) Lady Shannon's daughter; she has thirty thousand pounds, and may have as much more, if her mother, who is a plain widow, don't happen to Nugentize.(956) The girl is low and ugly, but a vast scholar.
Young Churchill has got a daughter by the Frasi;(957) Mr. Winnington calls it the opera-comique ; the mother is an opera girl; the grandmother was Mrs. Oldfield.
I must tell you of a very extraordinary print, which my Lady Burlington gives away, of her daughter Euston, -with this inscription:
Lady Dorothy Boyle, Once the pride, the joy, the -comfort of her parents, The admiration of all that saw her, The delight of all that knew her. Born May 14, 1724, married alas! Oct. 10, 1741, an delivered from extremest misery May 2, 1742.
This print was taken from a picture drawn by memory seven weeks after her death, by her most afflicted mother; DOROTHY BURLINGTON.(958)
I am forced to begin a new sheet, lest you should think my letter came from my Lady Burlington, as it ends so patly with her name. But is it not a most melancholy way of venting oneself? She has drawn numbers of these pictures: I don't approve her having them engraved; but sure the inscription(959) is pretty.
I was accosted the other night by 'a little, pert petit-maitre figure, that claimed me for acquaintance. Do you remember to have seen at Florence an Abb'e Durazzo, of Genoa? well, this was he: it is mighty dapper and French: however, I will be civil to it: I never lose opportunities of paving myself an agreeable passage back to Florence. My dear Chutes, stay for me: I think the first gale of peace will carry me to you. Are you as fond of Florence as ever? of me you are not, I am sure, for you never write me a line. You would be diverted with the grandeur of our old Florence beauty, Lady Carteret. She dresses more extravagantly, and grows more short-sighted every day: she can't walk a step without leaning on one of her ancient daughters-in law. Lord Tweedale and Lord Bathurst are her constant gentlemen-ushers. She has not quite digested her resentment to Lincoln yet. He was walking with her at Ranelagh the other night, and a Spanish refugee marquis,(960) who is of the Carteret court, but who, not being quite perfect in the carte du pais, told my lady, that Lord Lincoln had promised him to make a very good husband to Miss Pelham. Lady Carteret, with an accent of energy, replied, "J'esp'ere qu'il tiendra sa promesse!" Here is a good epigram that has been made on her:
"Her beauty, like the Scripture feast, To which the invited never came, Deprived of its intended guest, Was given to the old and lame."
Adieu! here is company; I think I may be excused leaving off at the sixth side.
(954) Thomas Carte, a laborious writer of history. His principal works are, his Life of the Duke of Ormonde, in three volumes, folio, and his History of England, in four. He died in 1754.-D. [The former, though ill-written, was considered by Dr. Johnson as a work of authority; and of the latter Dr. Warton remarks, "You may read Hume for his eloquence, but Carte is the historian for facts."]
(955) Grace Boyle, daughter and sole heiress of Richard, Viscount Shannon. She became afterwards a favourite of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and died in 17 63.-D.
(956) See ant'e, p. 205. (Letter 48)
(957 Prima donna at the opera.
(958) This is an incorrect copy of the inscription on Lady Euston's picture given in a note at 329 of this volume.-D. (Letter 110, p. 328/9)
(959) It is said to be Pope's.
(960) The Marquis Tabernego.
383 Letter 145 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Aug. 6, 1744.
I don't tell you any thing about Prince Charles, for you must hear all his history as soon as we do: at least much sooner than it can come to the very north, and be despatched back to Italy. There is nothing from Flanders: we advance and they retire-just as two months ago we retired and they advanced: but it is good to be leading up this part of the tune. Lord Stair is going into Scotland: the King is grown wonderfully fond of him, since he has taken the resolution of that journey. He said the other day, "I wish my Lord Stair was in Flanders! General Wade is a very able officer, but he is not alert." I, in my private litany, am beseeching the Lord, that he may contract none of my Lord Stair's alertness.
When I first wrote you word of la Ch'etardie's disgrace, I did not believe it; but you see it is now public. What I like is, her Russian Majesty's making her amour keep exact pace with her public indignation. She sent to demand her picture and other presents. "Other presents," to be sure, were billet-doux, bracelets woven of her own bristles-for I look upon the hair of a Muscovite Majesty in the light of the chairs which Gulliver made out of the combings of the Empress of Brobdignag's tresses: the stumps he made into very good large-tooth combs. You know the present is a very Amazon. she has grappled with all her own grenadiers. I should like to see their loves woven into a French opera: La Ch'etardie's character is quite adapted to the civil discord of their stage: and then a northern heroine to reproach him in their outrageous quavers, would make a most delightful crash of sentiment, impertinence, gallantry, contempt, and screaming. The first opera that I saw at Paris, I could not believe was in earnest, but thought they had carried me to the op'era-comique. The three acts of the piece(961) were three several interludes, of the Loves of Antony and Cleopatra, of Alcibiades and the Queen of Sparta, and of Tibuilus with a niece of Macenas; besides something of Circe, who was screamed by a Mademoiselle Hermans, seven feet high. She was in black, with a nosegay of black (for on the French stage they pique themselves on propriety,) and without powder: whenever you are a widow, are in distress, or are a witch, you are to leave off powder.
I have no news for you, and am going to have less, for I a)n going into Norfolk. I have stayed till I have not one acquaintance left: the next billow washes me last off the plank. I have not cared to stir, for fear of news from Flanders; but I have convinced myself that there will be none. Our army is much superior to the Count de Saxe; besides, they have ten large towns to garrison, which will reduce their army to nothing; or they must leave us the towns to walk into coolly.
I have received yours of July 21. Did neither I nor your brother tell you, that we had received the Neapolitan snuff-box?(962) it is above a month ago: how could I be so forgetful? but I have never heard one word of the cases, nor of Lord Conway's guns, nor Lord Hartington's melon-seeds, all which you mention to have sent. Lestock has long been arrived, so to be sure the cases never came with him: I hope Matthews will discover them. Pray thank Dr. Cocchi very particularly for his book.
I am very sorry too for your father's removal; it was not done in the most obliging manner by Mr. Winnington; there was something exactly like a breach of promise in it to my father, which was tried to be softened by a civil alternative, that was no alternative at all. He was forced to it by my Lady Townshend, who has an implacable aversion to all my father's people; and not having less to Mr. Pelham's, she has been as brusque with Winnington about them. He has no principles himself, and those no principles of his are governed absolutely by hers, which are no-issimes.
I don't know any of your English. I should delight in your Vauxhall-ets: what a figure my Grifona must make in such a romantic scene! I have lately been reading the poems of the Earl of Surrey,(963) in Henry the Eighth's time; he was in love with the fair Geraldine of Florence; I have a mind to write under the Grifona's picture these two lines from one of his sonnets:
"From Tuscane came my lady's worthy race, Fair Florence was some time her auncient seat."
And then these:
"Her beauty of kinde, her vertue from above; Happy is he that can obtaine her love!"
I don't know what of kinde means, but to be sure it was something prodigiously expressive and gallant in those days, by its being unintelligible now. Adieu! Do the Chutes cicisb'e it?
(961) I think it was the ballet de la paix.
(962) It was for a present to Mr. Stone, the Duke of Newcastle's secretary
(963) Henry Howard, son of the Duke of Norfolk. Under a charge of high-treason, of which he was manifestly innocent, this noble soldier and accomplished poet was found guilty, and in 1547, in his thirty-first year, was beheaded on Tower Hill. History is silent as to the name of fair Geraldine.-E.
385 Letter 146 To Sir Horace Mann. London, Aug. 16, 1744.
I am writing to you two or three days beforehand, by way of settling my affairs-not that I am going to be married or to die; but something as bad as either if it were to last as long. You will guess that it can only be going to Houghton; but I make as much an affair of that, as other people would of going to Jamaica. Indeed I don't lay in store of cake and bandboxes, and citron-water, and cards, and cold meat, as country-women do after the session. My packing-up and travelling concerns lie in very small compass; nothing but myself and Patapan, my footman, a cloak-bag, and a couple of books. My old Tom is even reduced upon the article of my journey; he is at the Bath, patching together some very bad remains of a worn-out constitution. I always travel without company; for then I take my own hours and my own humours, which I don't think the most tractable to shut up in a coach with any body else. You know, St. Evremont's rule for conquering the passions, was to indulge them mine for keeping my temper in order, is never to leave it too long with another person. I have found out that it will have its way, but I make it take its way by itself. It is such sort of reflection as this, that makes me hate the country: it is impossible in one house with one set of company, to be always enough upon one's guard to make one's self agreeable, which one ought to do, as one always expects it from others. If I had a house of my own in the country, and could live there now and then alone, or frequently changing my company, I am persuaded I should like it; at least, I fancy I should; for when one begins to reflect why one don't like the country, I believe one grows near liking to reflect in it. I feel very often that I grow to correct twenty things in myself, as thinking them ridiculous at my age; and then with my spirit of whim and folly, I make myself believe that this is all prudence, and that I wish I were young enough to be as thoughtless and extravagant as I used to be. But if I know any thing of the matter, this is all flattering myself. I grow older, and love my follies less-if I did not, alas! poor prudence and reflection!
I think I have pretty well exhausted the chapter of myself. I will now go talk to YOU Of another fellow, who makes me look upon myself as a very perfect character; for as I have little merit naturally, and only pound a stray virtue now @ind then by chance, the other gentleman seems to have no vice, rather no villainy, but what he nurses in himself and metliodizes with as much pains as a stoic would patience. Indeed his pains are not thrown away. This painstaking person's name is Frederic, King of Prussia. Pray remember for the future never to speak of him and H. W. without giving the latter the preference. Last week we were all alarm! He was before Prague with fifty thousand men, and not a man in Bohemia to ask him, "What dost thou?" This week we have raised a hundred thousand Hungarians, besides vast militias and loyal nobilities. The King of Poland is to attack him on his march, and the Russians to fall on Prussia.(964) In the mean time, his letter or address to the people of England(965) has been published here: it is a poor performance! His Voltaires and his litterati should correct his works before they are printed. A careless song, with a little nonsense in it now and then, does not misbecome a monarch; but to pen manifestoes worse than the lowest commis that is kept jointly by two or three margraves, is insufferable!
We are very strong in Flanders, but still expect to do nothing this campaign. The French are so entrenched, that it is impossible to attack them. There is talk of besieging Maubeuge; I don't know how certainly.
Lord Middlesex's match is determined, and the writings signed. She proves an immense fortune; they pretend a hundred and thirty thousand pounds-what a fund for making operas!
My Lady Carteret is going to Tunbridge—there is a hurry for a son: his only one is gone mad: about a fortnight ago he was at the Duke of Bedford's, and as much in his few senses as ever. At five o'clock in the morning he waked the duke and duchess all bloody, and with the lappet of his coat held up full of ears: he had been in the stable and cropped all the horses! He is shut up.(966) My lady is in the honeymoon of her grandeur: she lives in public places, whither she is escorted by the old beaux of her husband's court; fair white-wigged old gallants, the Duke of Bolton,(967) Lord Tweedale, Lord Bathurst, and Charles Fielding;(968) and she all over knots, and small hoods, and ribands. Her brother told me the other night, "Indeed I think my thister doesth countenanth Ranelagh too mutch." They call Lord Pomfret, King Stanislaus, the queen's father.
I heard an admirable dialogue, which has been written at the army on the battle of Dettingen, but one can't get a copy; I must tell you two or three strokes in it that I have heard. Pierot asks Harlequin, "Que donne-t'on aux g'en'eraux qui ne se sont pas trouv'es 'a la bataille!" Harl. "On leur donne le cordon rouge." Pier. "Et que donne-t'on au g'en'eral en Chef(969 qui a gagn'e la victoire!" Harl. "Son cong'e." Pier. "Qui a soin des bless'es?" Harl. "L'ennemi." Adieu!
(964) This alludes to the King of Prussia's retreat from Prague, on the approach of the Austrian army commanded by Prince Charles Lorraine.-D.
(965) In speaking of this address of the King of Prussia, Lady Hervey, in a letter of the 17th, says, "I think it very well and very artfully drawn for his purpose, and very impertinently embarrassing to our King. He is certainly a very artful prince, and I cannot but think his projects and his ambition still more extensive, than people at present imagine them."-E.
(66) On the death of his father this son succeeded to the earldom in 1763. He died in 1776, when the title became extinct.-E.
(967) Charles Poulett, third Duke of Bolton.
(968) The Hon, Charles Fielding, third son of William, third Earl of Denbigh; a lieutenant-colonel in the guards, and Gentleman-usher to Queen Caroline. He died in 1765.-E.
(969) Lord Stair.-D.
387 Letter 147 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, Sept. 1, 1744.
I wish you joy of your victory at Velletri!(970) I call it yours, for you are the great spring of all that war. I intend to publish your life, with an Appendix, that shall contain all the letters to you from princes, cardinals, and great men of the time. In speaking of Prince Lobkowitz's attempt to seize the King of Naples at Velletri, I shall say: "for the share our hero had in this great action, vide the Appendix, Card. Albani's letter, p. 14." You shall no longer be the dear Miny, but Manone, the Great Man; you shall figure with the Great Pan, and the Great Patapan. I wish you and your laurels and your operations were on the Rhine, in Piedmont, or in Bohemia; and then Prince Charles would not have repassed the first, nor the Prince of Conti advanced within three days of Turin, and the King of Prussia would already have been terrified from entering the last-all this lumping bad news came to counterbalance your Neapolitan triumphs. Here is all the war to begin again! and perhaps next winter a second edition of Dunkirk. We could not even have the King of France die, though he was so near it. He was in a woful fright, and promised the Bishop of Soissons, that if he lived, he would have done with his women.(971) A man with all these crowns on his head, and attaching and disturbing all those on the heads of other princes, who is the soul of all the havoc and ruin that has been and is to be spread through Europe in this war, haggling thus for his bloody life, and cheapening it at the price of a mistress or two! and this was the fellow that they fetched to the army to drive the brave Prince Charles beyond the Rhine again. It is just Such another paltry mortal(972) that has fetched him back into Bohemia-I forget which of his battles(973) it was, that when his army had got the victory, they could not find the King: he had run away for a whole day without looking behind him.
I thank you for the particulars of the action, and the list of the prisoners: among them is one Don Theodore Diamato Amor, a cavalier of so romantic a name, that my sister and Miss Leneve quite interest themselves in his captivity; and make their addresses to you, who, they hear, have such power with Prince Lobkowitz, to obtain his liberty. If he has Spanish gallantry in any proportion to his name, he will immediately come to England, and vow himself their knight.
Those verses I sent you on Mr. Pope, I assure you, were not mine; I transcribed them from the newspapers; from whence I must send you a very good epigram on Bishop Berkeley's tar-water:
"Who dare deride what pious Cloyne has done? The Church shall rise and vindicate her son; She tells us, all her Bishops shepherds are- And shepherds heal their rotten sheep with tar."
I am not at all surprised at my Lady Walpole's ill-humour to you about the messenger. If the resentments of women did not draw them into little dirty spite, their hatred would be very dangerous; but they vent the leisure they have to do mischief in a thousand meannesses, which only serve to expose themselves.
Adieu! I know nothing here but public politics, of which I have already talked to you, and which you hear as soon as I do.
Thank dear Mr. Chute for his letter; I will answer it very soon; but in the country I am forced to let my pen lie fallow between letter and letter.
(970) The Austrians had formed a scheme to surprise the Neapolitan King and general at Velletri, and their first column penetrated into the place, but reinforcements coming up, they were repulsed with considerable slaughter.-E.
(971) On the 8th of August, Louis the Fifteenth was seized at Metz, on his march to Alsace, with a malignant putrid fever, which increased so rapidly, that, in a few days, his life was despaired of. In his illness, he dismissed his reigning mistress, Madame de Chateauroux.-E.
(972) The King of Prussia.
(973) The battle of Molwitz.
388 Letter 148 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Houghton, Oct. 6, 1744.
My dearest Harry, My lord bids me tell you how much he is obliged to you for your letter, and hopes you will accept my answer for his. I'll tell you what, we shall both be obliged to you if you will inclose a magnifying-glass in your next letters; for your two last were in so diminutive a character, that we were forced to employ all Mrs. Leneve's spectacles, besides an ancient family reading-glass, with which my grandfather used to begin the psalm, to discover what you said to us. Besides this, I have a piece of news for you: Sir Robert Walpole, when he was made Earl of Orford, left the ministry, and with it the palace in Downing-street; as numbers of people found out three years ago, who, not having your integrity, were quick in perceiving the change of his situation. Your letter was full as honest as you; for, though directed to Downing-street, it would not, as other letters would have done, address itself to the present possessor. Do but think if it had! The smallness of the hand would have immediately struck my Lord Sandys with the idea of a plot; for what he could not read' at first sight, he would certainly have concluded must be cipher.
I march next week towards London, and have already begun to send my heavy artillery before me, consisting of half-a-dozen books and part of my linen: my light-horse, commanded by Patapan, follows this day se'nnight. A detachment of hussars surprised an old bitch fox yesterday morning, who had lost a leg in a former engagement; and then, having received advice of another litter being advanced as far as Darsingham, Lord Walpole commanded Captain Riley's horse, with a strong party of foxhounds, to overtake them; but on the approach of our troops the enemy stole off, and are now encamped at Sechford common, whither we every hour expect orders to pursue them.
My dear Harry, this is all I have to tell you, and, to my great joy, which you must forgive me, is full as memorable as any part of the Flanders campaign. I do not desire to have you engaged in the least more glory than you have been. I should not love the remainder of you the least better for your having lost an arm or a leg, and have as full persuasion of your courage as if you had contributed to the slicing off twenty pair from French officers. Thank God. you have sense enough to content yourself without being a hero! though I don't quite forget your expedition a hussar-hunting the beginning of this campaign. Pray, no more of those jaunts. I don't know any body you would oblige with a present of such game - for my part, a fragment of the oldest hussar on earth should never have a place in my museum-they are not antique enough; and for a live one, I must tell you, I like my raccoon infinitely better.
Adieu! my dear Harry. I long to see you, You will easily believe the thought I have of being particularly well with you is a vast addition to my impatience, though you know it is nothing new to me to be overjoyed at your return. Yours ever.
390 Letter 149 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, Oct. 6, 1744.
Does decency insist upon one's writing within certain periods, when one has nothing to say? because, if she does, she is the most formal, ceremonious personage I know. I shall not enter into a dispute with her, as my Lady Hervey did with the goddess of Indolence, or with the goddess of letter-writing, I forget which, in a long letter that she sent to the Duke of Bourbon; because I had rather write than have a dispute about it. Besides, I am not at all used to converse with hierglyphic ladies. But, I do assure you, it is merely to avoid scolding that I set about this letter: I don't mean your scolding, for you are all goodness to me; but my own scolding of myself-a correction I stand in great awe of, and which I am sure never to escape as often as I am to blame. One can scold other people again, or smile and jog one's foot, and affect not to mind it; but those airs won't do with oneself; One always comes by the worst in a dispute with one's own conviction.
Admiral Matthews sent me down hither your great packet: I am charmed with your prudence, and with the good sense of your orders for the Neapolitan expedition; I won't say your good nature, which is excessive for I think your tenderness of the little Queen(974) a little outree, especially as their apprehensions might have added great weight to your menaces. I would threaten like a corsair, though I would conquer with all the good-breeding of a Scipio. I most devoutly wish you success; you are sure of having me most happy with any honour you acquire. You have quite soared above all fear of Goldsworthy, and, I think, must appear of consequence to any ministry. I am much obliged to you for the medal, and like the design: I shall preserve it as part of your works.
I can't forgive what you say to me about the coffee-pot: one would really think that you looked upon me as an old woman that had left a legacy to be kept for her sake, and a curse to attend the parting with it. My dear child, is it treating me justly to enter into the detail of your reasons? was it even necessary to say, ,I have changed your coffee-pot for some other plate?"
I have nothing to tell you but that I go to town next week, and will then write you all I hear. Adieu!
(974) The Queen of Naples,-Maria of Saxony, wife of Charles the Third, King of Naples, and subsequently, on the death of his elder brother, King of Spain. This alludes to the Austrian campaign in the Neapolitan territories, the attack on the town of Velletri, etc.-E.
391 Letter 150 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Oct 19, 1744.
I have received two or three letters from you since I wrote to you last, and all contribute to give me fears for your situation at Florence. How absurdly all the Queen's ban haughtinesses are dictated to her by her ministers, or by her own Austriacity! She lost all Silesia because she would not lose a small piece of it, and she is going to lose Tuscany for want of a neutrality, because she would not accept one for Naples, even after all prospect of conquering it was vanished. Every thing goes ill! the King of Sardinia beaten; and to-day we hear of Coni lost! You will see in the papers too, that the Victory, our finest ship, is lost, with Sir John Balchen and nine hundred men.(975) The expense alone of the ship is computed at above two hundred thousand pounds. We have nothing good but a flying report of a victory of Prince Charles over the Prussian, who, it 'Is said, has lost ten thousand men, and both his legs by a cannon-ball. I have no notion of his losing them, but by breaking them in over-hurry to run away. However, it comes from a Jew, who had the first news of the passage of the Rhine.(976) But, my dear child, how will this comfort me, if you are not to remain in peace at Florence! I tremble as I write!
Yesterday morning carried off those two old beldamss, Sarah of Marlborough and the (.countess Granville;(977) so now Uguccioni's(978) epithalamium must be new-tricked out in titles, for my Lady Carteret is Countess! Poor Bistino! I wish my Lady Pomfret may leave off her translation of Froissart to English the eight hundred and forty heroics! When I know the particulars of old Marlborough's will, you shall.
My Lord Walpole has promised me a letter for young Gardiner; who, by the way, has pushed his fortune en vrai b'atard, without being so, for it never was pretended that he was my brother's - he protests he is not; but the youth has profited of his mother's gallantries.
I have not seen Admiral Matthews yet, but I take him to be very mad. He walks in the Park with a cockade of three /colours: the Duke desired a gentleman to ask him the meaning, and all the answer he would give was, "The Treaty of Worms! the treaty of Worms!" I design to see him, thank him for my packet, and inquire after the cases.
it is a most terrible loss for his parents, Lord Beauchamp's(979) death: if they were out of the question, one could not be sorry for such a mortification to the pride of old Somerset. He has written the most shocking letter imaginable to poor Lord Hertford, telling him that it is a judgment upon him for all his undutifulness, and that he must always look upon himself. as the cause of' his son's death. Lord Hertford is as good a man as lives, and has always been most unreasonably ill-used by that old tyrant. The title of' Somerset will revert to Sir Edward Seymour, whose line has been most unjustly deprived of it from the first creation. The Protector when only Earl of Hertford, married a great heiress, and had a Lord Beauchamp, who was about twenty when his mother died. His father then married an Anne Stanhope, with whom he was In love, and not only procured an act of parliament to deprive Lord Beauchamp of' his honours and to settle the title of Somerset, which he was going to have, on the children of' this second match, but took from him even his mother's fortune. From him descended Sir Edward Seymour, the Speaker, who, on King William's landing, when he said to him, "Sir Edward, I think you are of the Duke of Somerset's family!" replied, "No, Sir: he is of mine."
Lord Lincoln was married last Tuesday, and Lord Middlesex will be very soon. Have you heard the gentle manner of the French King's dismissing Madame de Chateauroux? In the very circle, the Bishop of Soissons(980) told her, that, as the scandal the King had given with her was public, his Majesty thought his repentance ought to be so too, and that he therefore forbade her the court; and then turning to the monarch, asked him if that was not his pleasure, who replied, Yes. They have taken away her pension too, and turned out even laundresses that she had recommended for the future Dauphiness. A-propos to the Chateauroux: there is a Hanoverian come over, who was so ingenuous as to tell Master Louis,(981) how like he is to M. Walmoden. You conceive that "nous autres souvereins nous n'aimons pas qu'on se m'eprenne aux gens:" we don't love that our Fitzroys should be scandalized with any mortal resemblance.
I must tell you a good piece of discretion of a Scotch soldier, whom Mr. Selwyn met on Bexley Heath walking back to the army. He had met with a single glove at Higham, which had been left there last year in an inn by an officer now in Flanders: this the fellow was carrying in hopes of a little money; but, for fear he should lose the glove, wore it all the way.
Thank you for General Braitwitz's deux potences.(982) I hope that one of them, at least will rid us of the Prussian. Adieu! my dear child: all my wishes are employed about Florence.
(975) The Victory, of a hundred and ten brass guns, was lost, between the 4th and 5th of October, near Alderney.-E.
(976) This report proved to be without foundation.
(977) Mother of John, Lord Carteret, who succeeded her in the title.
(978) A Florentine, who had employed an abbe of his acquaintance to write an epithalamium on Lord Carteret's marriage, consisting of eight hundred and forty Latin lines. Sir H. Mann had given an account of the composition of this piece of literary flattery in one of his letters to Walpole.-D.
(979) Only son of Algernon, Earl of Hertford, afterwards the last Duke of Somerset of that branch. [lord Beauchamp was seized with the smallpox at Bologna, and, after an illness of four days, died on the 11th of September; on which day he had completed his nineteenth year.]
(980) Son of Fitzjames, Duke of Berwick. This Bishop of Soissons, on the King being given over at Metz, prevailed on him to part with his mistress, the Duchess de Chateauroux; but the King soon recalled her, and confined the bishop to his diocese.
(981) Son of King George II. by Madame Walmoden, created Countess of Yarmouth.
(982) General Braitwitz, commander of the Queen of Hungary's troops in Tuscany, speaking of the two powers, his mistress and the King of Sardinia, instead of' saying "ces deux pouvoirs," said "ces deux potences."
393 Letter 151 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Nov. 9, 1744.
I find I must not wait any longer for news, if I intend to keep up our correspondence. Nothing happens; nothing has since I wrote last, but Lord Middlesex's wedding;(983) which was over above a week before it was known. I believe the bride told it then; for he and all his family are so silent, that they Would never have mentioned it: she might have popped out a child, before a single Sackville would have been at the expense of a syllable to justify her.
Our old acquaintance, the Pomfrets, are not so reserved about their great matrimony: the new Lady Granville was at home the other night for the first time of her being mistress of the house. I was invited, for I am in much favour with them all, but found myself extremely d'eplac'e: there was nothing but the Winchilseas and Baths, and the Gleanings of a party stuffed out into a faction, some foreign ministers, and the whole blood of Fermor. My Lady Pomfret asked me if I corresponded still with the Grifona: "No," I said, "since I had been threatened with a regale of hams and Florence wine, I had dropped it." My Lady Granville said, "You was afraid of being thought interested."—"Yes," said the queen-mother, with all the importance with which she used to blunder out pieces of heathen mythology, "I think it was very ministerial." Don't you think that the Minister word came in as awkwardly as I did into their room? The Minister is most gracious to me; he has returned my visit, which, you know, IS never practised by that rank: I put it all down to my father's account, who is not likely to keep up the civility.
You will see the particulars of old Marlborough's will in the Evening Posts of this week: it is as extravagant as one should have expected; but I delight in her begging that no part of the Duke of Marlborough's life may be written in verse by Glover and Mallet, to whom she gives five hundred pounds apiece for writing it in prose.(984) There is a great deal of humour in the thought: to be sure the spirit of the dowager Leonidas(985) inspired her with it.
All public affairs in agitation at present go well for us; Prince Charles in Bohemia, the raising of the siege of Coni, and probably of that of Fribourg, are very good circumstances. I shall be very tranquil this winter, if Tuscany does not come into play, or another scene of invasion. In a fortnight meets the Parliament; nobody guesses what the turn of the Opposition will be. Adieu! My love to the Chutes. I hope you now and then make my other compliments: I never forget the Princess, nor (ware hams!) the Grifona.
(983) The Earl of Middlesex married Grace, daughter and sole heiress of Lord Shannon. On the death of his father in 1765, he succeeded, as second Duke of Dorset, and died without issue, in 1769.-E.
(984) Glover, though in embarrassed circumstances at the time, renounced the legacy; Mallet accepted it, but never fulfilled the terms.-E.
(985) Glover wrote a dull heroic poem on the action of Leonidas at Thermopylae. ["Though far indeed from being a vivid or arresting picture of antiquity, Leonidas," says Mr. Campbell, "the local descriptions of Leonidas, its pure sentiments, and the classical images which it recalls, render it interesting, as the monument of an accomplished and amiable mind."]
394 Letter 152 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Nov. 26, 1744.
I have not prepared for you a great event, because it was really, so unlikely to happen, that I was afraid of being the author of a mere political report; but, to keep you no longer in suspense, Lord Granville has resigned: that is the term "l'honn'ete fa'con de parler;" but, in few words, the truth of the history is, that the Duke of Newcastle (by the way, mind that the words I am going to use are not mine, but his Majesty's,) "being grown as jealous of Lord Granville(986) as he had been of Lord Orford, and wanting to be first minister himself, which, a puppy! how should he be?" (autre phrase royale) and his brother being as susceptible of the noble passion of jealousy as he is, have long been conspiring to overturn the great lord. Resolution and capacity were all they wanted to bring it about; for the imperiousness and universal contempt which their rival had for them, and for the rest of the ministry, and for the rest of the nation, had made almost all men his engines; and, indeed, he took no pains to make friends: his maxim was, "Give any man the Crown on his side, and he can defy every thing." Winnington asked him, if that were true, how he came to be minister? About a fortnight ago, the whole cabinet-council, except Lord Bath, Lord Winchilsea, Lord Tweedale, the Duke of Bolton, and my good brother-in-law,(987) (the two last severally bribed with the promise of Ireland,) did venture to let the King know, that he must part with them or with Lord Granville. The monarch does not love to be forced, and his son is full as angry. Both tried to avoid the rupture. My father was sent for, but excused himself from coming till last Thursday, and even then would not ,go to the King; and at last gave his opinion very unwillingly. But on Saturday it was finally determined: Lord Granville resigned the seals, which are given back to my Lord President Harrington. Lord Winchilsea quits too; but for all the rest of that connexion, they have agreed not to quit, but to be forced out: so Mr. Pelham must have a new struggle to remove every one. He can't let them stay in; because, to secure his power, he must bring in Lord Chesterfield, Pitt, the chief patriots, and perhaps some Tories. The King has declared that my Lord Granville has his opinion and affection-the Prince warmly and openly espouses him. Judge how agreeably the two brothers will enjoy their ministry! To-morrow the Parliament meets: all in suspense! every body will be staring at each other! I believe the war will still go on, but a little more Anglicized. For my part, I behold all with great tranquillity; I cannot —be sorry for Lord Granville,-for he certainly sacrificed everything to please the King; I cannot be glad for the Pelhams, for they sacrifice every thing to their own jealousy and ambition.
Who are mortified, are the fair Sophia and Queen Stanislaus. However, the daughter carries it off heroically: the very night of her fall she went to the Oratorio. I talked to her much, and recollected all that had been said to me upon the like occasion three years ago: I succeeded, and am invited to her assembly next Tuesday. Tell Uguccioni that she still keeps conversazioni, or he will hang himself. She had no court, but an ugly sister and the fair old-fashioned Duke of Bolton. It put me in mind of a scene in Harry VIII., where Queen Catherine appears after her divorce, with Patience her waiting-maid, and Griffith her gentleman-usher.
My dear child, voil'a le monde! are you as great a philosopher about it as I am? You cannot imagine how I entertain myself, especially as all the ignorant flock hither, and conclude that my lord must be minister again. Yesterday, three bishops came to do him homage; and who should be one of them but Dr. Thomas.(988) the only man mitred by Lord Granville! As I was not at all mortified with our fall, I am only diverted with this imaginary restoration. They little think how incapable my lord is of business again. He has this whole summer been troubled with bloody water upon the least motion; and to-day Ranby assured me, that he has a stone in his bladder, which he himself believed before: so now he must never use the least exercise, never go into a chariot again; and if ever to Houghton, in a litter. Though this account will grieve you, I tell it you, that you may know what to expect; yet it is common for people to live many years in his situation.
if you are not as detached from every thing as I am, you will wonder at my tranquillity, to be able to write such variety in the midst of hurricanes. It costs me nothing; so I shall write on, and tell you an adventure of my own. The town has been trying all this winter to beat pantomimes off the stage, very boisterously; for it is the way here to make even an affair of taste and sense a matter of riot and arms. Fleetwood, the master of Drury-Lane, has omitted nothing to support them, as they supported his house. About ten days ago, he let into the pit great numbers of Bear-garden bruisers (that is the term), to knock down every body that hissed. The pit rallied their forces, and drove them out: I was sitting very quietly in the side-boxes, contemplating all this. On a sudden the curtain flew up, and discovered the whole stage filled with blackguards, armed with bludgeons and clubs, to menace the audience. This raised the greatest uproar; and among the rest, who flew 'into a passion, but your friend the philosopher. In short, one of the actors, advancing to the front of the stage to make an apology for the manager, he had scarce begun to say, "Mr. Fleetwood—" when your friend, with a most audible voice and dignity of anger, called out, "He is an impudent rascal!" The whole pit huzzaed, and repeated the words. Only think of my being a popular orator! But what was still better, while my shadow of a person was dilating to the consistence of a hero, One of the chief ringleaders of the riot, coming under the box where I sat, and pulling off his hat, said, "Mr. Walpole, what would you please to have us do next?" It is impossible to describe to you the confusion into which this apostrophe threw me. I sank down into the box, and have never since ventured to set my foot into the playhouse. The next night, the uproar was repeated with greater violence, and nothing was heard but voices calling out, "Where's Mr. W.? where's Mr. W.?" In short, the whole town has been entertained with my prowess, and Mr. Conway has given me the name of Wat Tyler; which, I believe, would have stuck by me, if this new episode of Lord Granville had not luckily interfered.
We every minute expect news of the Mediterranean engagement for, besides your account, Birtles has written the same from Genoa. We expect good news, too, from Prince Charles, who is driving the King of Prussia before him. In the mean time, his wife the Archduchess is dead, which may be a signal loss to him.
I forgot to tell you that, on Friday, Lord Charles Hay,(989) who has more of the parts of an Irishman than of a Scot, told my Lady Granville at the drawing-room, on her seeing so full a court, "that people were come out of curiosity." The Speaker,(990) is the happiest of any man in these bustles: he says, "this Parliament has torn two favourite ministers from the throne." His conclusion is, that the power of the Parliament will in the end be so great, that nobody can be minister but their own speaker.
Winnington says my Lord Chesterfield and Pitt will have places before old Marlborough's legacy to them for being patriots is paid. My compliments to the family of Suares on the Vittorina's marriage. Adieu!
(986) By the death of his mother, Lord Carteret had become Earl Granville.-E.
(987) George, Earl Cholmondeley.
(988) Bishop of Lincoln [successively translated to Salisbury and Winchester. He died in 1781.]
(989) Brother of Lord Tweedale.
(990) Arthur Onslow.
397 Letter 153 To sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Dec. '24, 1744.
You will wonder what has become of me: nothing has. I know it is above three weeks since I wrote to you; but I will tell you the reason. I have kept a parliamentary silence, which I must 'explain to you. Ever since Lord Granville went out, all has been in suspense. The leaders of the Opposition immediately imposed silence upon their party; every thing passed without the least debate—in short, all were making their bargains. One has heard of the corruption of courtiers; but believe me, the impudent prostitution of patriots, going to market with their honesty, beats it to nothing. Do but think of two hundred men of the most consummate virtue, setting themselves to sale for three weeks! I have been reprimanded by the wise for saying that they all stood like servants at a country statute fair to be hired. All this while nothing was certain: one day the coalition was settled; the next, the treaty broke off-I hated to write to you what I might contradict next post. Besides, in my last letter I remember telling you that the Archduchess was dead; she did not die till a fortnight afterwards.
The result of the whole is this: the King, instigated by Lord Granville, has used all his ministry as ill as possible, and has with the greatest difficulty been brought to consent to the necessary changes. Mr. Pelham has had as much difficulty to regulate the disposition of places. Numbers of lists of the hungry have been given in by their centurions of those, several Tories have refused to accept the proffered posts some, from an impossibility of being rechosen for their Jacobite counties. But upon the whole, it appears that their leaders have had very little influence with them; for not above four or five are come into place. The rest will stick to Opposition. Here is a list of the changes, as made last Saturday:
Duke of Devonshire, Lord Steward, in the room of the Duke of Dorset. Duke of Dorset, Lord President, in Lord Harrington's room. Lord Chesterfield,+ Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in the Duke of Devonshire's. Duke of Bedford,+ Lord Sandwich,+ George Grenville,+ Lord Vere Beauclerc,(991) and Admiral Anson, Lords of the Admiralty, in the room of Lord Winchilsea,* Dr. Lee,* Cockburn,* Sir Charles Hardy,* and Philipson.* Mr. Arundel and George Lyttelton,f Lords of the Treasury, in the room of Compton* and Gybbon.* Lord Gowerf again Privy Seal, in Lord Cholmondeley's* room, who is made Vice-Treasurer of Ireland in Harry Vane's.* Mr. Doddington,+ Treasurer of the Navy, in Sir John Rushout's.* Mr. Waller,+ Cofferer, in Lord Sandys'.* Lord Hobart, Captain of the Pensioners, in Lord Bathurst's.* Sir John Cotton, (992) Treasurer of the Chambers, in Lord Hobart'S.(993) Mr. Keene, Paymaster of the Pensions, in Mr. Hooper's.* Sir John Philippsf and John Pitt Commissioners of Trade, in Mr. Keene's and Sir Charles Gilmour's.* William Chetwynd,+ Master of the Mint, in Mr. Arundel's. Lord Halifax,+ Master of the Buck-hounds, in Mr. Jennison's, who has a pension.
All those with a cross are from the Opposition; those with a star, the turned-out, and are of the Granville and Bath squadron, except Lord Cholmondeley, (who, too, had connected with the former,) and Mr. Philipson. The King parted with great regret with Lord Cholmondeley, and complains loudly of the force put upon him. The Prince, who is full as warm as his father for Lord Granville, has already turned out Lyttelton, who was his secretary, and Lord Halifax; and has named Mr. Drax and Lord Inchiquin(994) in their places. You perceive the great Mr. William Pitt is not in the list, though he comes thoroughly into the measures. To preserve his character and authority in the Parliament, he was unwilling to accept any thing yet: the ministry very rightly insisted that he should; he asked for secretary at war, knowing it would be refused-and it was.(995)
By this short sketch, and it is impossible to be more explanatory, you will perceive that all is confusion: all parties broken to Pieces, and the whole Opposition by tens and by twenties selling themselves for profit-power they get none! It is not easy to say where power resides at present: it is plain that it resides not in the King; and yet he has enough to hinder any body else from having it. His new governors have no interest with him-scarce any converse with him.
The Pretender's son is owned in France as Prince of Wales; the princes of the blood have been to visit him in form. The Duchess of Chateauroux is poisoned there; so their monarch is as ill-used as our most gracious King!(996) How go your Tuscan affairs? I am always trembling for you, though I am laughing at every thing else. My father is pretty well: he is taking a preparation of Mr. Stephens's(997) medicine; but I think all his physicians begin to agree that he has no large stone.
Adieu! my dear child: I think the present comedy cannot be of long duration. the Parliament is adjourned for the holidays; I am impatient to see the first division.
(991) Lord Vere Beauclerc, third son of the first Duke of St. Albans, afterwards created Lord Vere, of Hanworth. He entered early into a maritime life, and distinguished himself in several commands, He died in 1781.-E.
(992) The King was much displeased that an adherent of the exiled family should be forced into the service of his own. in consequence of this appointment a caricature was circulated, representing the ministers thrusting Sir John, who was extremely corpulent, down the King's throat.
(993) John, first Lord Hobart, so created in 1728, by the interest of his sister, Lady Suffolk, the mistress of George the Second. In 1746 he was created Earl of Buckinghamshire; and died in 1756.-D.
(994) William O'Brien, fourth Earl of Inchiquin, in Ireland. He died in 1777.-E.
(995) Pitt alone was placeless. He loftily declared, that he would accept no office except that of secretary at war, and the ministers were not yet able to dispense with Sir William Yonge in that department. This resolution of Pitt, joined to the King's pertinacity against him, excluded him, for the present, from any share in power."-Lord Mahon, vol. iii. p. 315.
(996) The Duchess died on the 8th of December. The Biog. Univ. says, that the rumour of her having been poisoned was altogether without foundation.-E.
(997) It was Dr. Jurin's preparation.
399 Letter 154 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Jan. 4, 1745.
When I receive your long letters I am ashamed: mine are notes in comparison. How do you contrive to roll out your patience into two sheets? You certainly don't love me better than I do you; and yet if our loves were to b@ sold by the quire, you would have by far the more magnificent stock to dispose of. I can only say that age has already an effect on the vigour of my pen; none on yours: it is not, I assure you, for you alone, but my ink is at low water-mark for all my acquaintance. My present shame arises from a letter of eight sides, of December 8th, which I received from you last post; but before I say a word to that, I must tell you that I have at last received the cases; three with gesse figures, and one with Lord Conway's gun- barrels: I thought there were to be four, besides the guns; but I quite forget, and did not even remember what they were to contain. Am not I in your debt again? Tell me, for you know how careless I am. Look over your list, and see whether I have received all. There were four barrels, the Ganymede, the Sleeping Cupid, the model of my statue, the Musaeum Florentinum, and some seeds for your brother. But alas! though I received them in gross, I did not at all in detail; the model was broken into ten thousand bits, and the Ganymede shorn in two: besides some of the fingers quite reduced to powder. Rysbrach has undertaken to mend him. The little Morpheus arrived quite whole, and is charmingly pretty; I like it better in plaster than in the original black marble.
It is not being an upright senator to promise one's vote beforehand, especially in a money matter; but I believe so many excellent patriots have just done the same thing, that I shall venture readily to engage my promise to you, to get you any sum for the defence of Tuscany -why it is to defend you and my own country! my own palace in via di santo spirits,(998) my own Princess 'epuis'ee, and all my family! I shall quite make interest for you: nay, I would speak to our new ally, and your old acquaintance, Lord Sandwich, to assist in it; but I could have no hope of getting at his ear, for he has put on such a first-rate tie-wig, on his admission to the admiralty board, that nothing without the lungs of a boatswain can ever think to penetrate the thickness of the curls. I think, however, it does honour to the dignity of ministers: when he was but a patriot, his wig was not of half its present gravity. There are no more changes made: all is quiet yet; but next Thursday the Parliament meets to decide the complexion of the session. My Lord Chesterfield goes next week to Holland, and then returns for Ireland.
The great present disturbance in politics is my Lady Granville's assembly; which I do assure you distresses the Pelhams infinitely more than a mysterious meeting of the States would, and far more than the abrupt breaking up of the Diet at Grodno. She had begun to keep Tuesdays before her lord resigned, which now she continues with greater zeal. Her house is very fine, she very handsome, her lord very agreeable and extraordinary; and yet the Duke of Newcastle wonders that people will go thither. He mentioned to my father my going there, who laughed at him; Cato's a proper person to trust with such a childish jealousy! Harry Fox says, "Let the Duke of Newcastle open his own house, and see if all that come thither are his friends." The fashion now is to send cards to the women, and to declare that all men Are welcome without being asked. This is a piece of ease that shocks the prudes of the last age. You can't imagine how my Lady Granville shines in doing favours; you know she is made for it. My lord has new furnished his mother's apartment for her, and has given her a magnificent set of dressing plate: he is very fond of her, and she as fond of his being so.
You will have heard of Marshal Belleisle's being made a prisoner at Hanover: the world will believe it was not by accident. He is sent for over hither: the first thought was to confine him to the Tower, but that is contrary to the politesse of modern war: they talk of sending him to Nottingham, where Tallard was. I am sure, if he is prisoner at large anywhere, we could not have a worse inmate! so ambitious and intriguing a man, who was author of this whole war, will be no bad general to be ready to head the Jacobites on any insurrection.(999)
I can say nothing more about young Gardiner, but that I don't think my father at all inclined now to have any letter written for him. Adieu!
(998) The street in Florence where Mr. Mann lived. (999) Belleisle and his brother, who had been sent by the King
of France on a mission to the King of Prussia, were detained, while changing horses, at Elbengerode, and from thence conveyed to England; where, refusing to give their parole in the mode it was required, they were confined in Windsor Castle.
400 Letter 155 To sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Jan. 14, 1745.
I have given my uncle the letter from M. de Magnan; he had just received another from him at Venice, to desire his recommendation to you. His history is, first,-the Regent picked him up, (I don't know from whence, but he is of the Greek church,) to teach the present Duke of Orleans the Russ tongue, when they had a scheme for marrying him into Muscovy. At Paris, Lord Waldegrave(1000) met with him, and sent him over hither, where they pensioned him and he was to be a spy, but made nothing out; till the King was weary of giving him money, and then they despatched him to Vienna, with a recommendation to Count d'Uhlefeldt, who, I suppose, has tacked him upon the Great Duke. My uncle says, he knows no ill of him; that you may be civil to him, but not enter into correspondence with him, you need not; he is of no use. Apropos to you; I have been in a fright about you; we were told that Prince Lobkowitz was landed at Harwich; I did not like the name; and as he has been troublesome to you, I did not know but he might fancy he had some complaints against you. I wondered you had never mentioned his being set out; but it is his son, a travelling boy of twenty; he is sent under the care of an apothecary and surgeon.
The Parliament is met: one hears of the Tory Opposition continuing, but nothing has appeared; all is quiet. Lord Chesterfield is set out for the Hague - I don't know what ear the States will lend to his embassy, when they hear with what difficulty the King was brought to give him a parting audience; and which, by a watch, did not last five-and-forty seconds. The Granville faction are still the constant and only countenanced people at court. Lord Winchilsea, one of the disgraced, played at court On Twelfth-night, and won: the King asked him the next morning, how much he had for his own share?(1001) He replied, "Sir, about a quarter's salary." I liked the spirit, and was talking to him Of it the next night at Lord Granville's: "Why, yes," said he, "I think it showed familiarity at least: tell it your father—I don't think he will dislike it." My Lady Granville gives a ball this week, but in a manner a private one, to the two families of Carteret and Fermor and their intimacies: there is a fourth sister, Lady Jullana,(1002) who is very handsome, but I think not so well as Sophia: the latter thinks herself breeding.
I will tell you a very good thing: Lord Baltimore will not come into the admiralty, because in the new commission they give Lord Vere Beauclerc the precedence to him, and he has dispersed printed papers with precedents in his favour. A gentleman, I don't know who, the other night at Tom's coffee-house, said, "It put him in mind of Ponkethman's petition in the Spectator, where he complains, that formerly he used to act second chair in Dioclesian, but now was reduced to dance fifth flowerpot."
The Duke of Montagu has found out an old penny-history-book, called the Old Woman's Will of Ratcliffe-Highway, which he has bound up with his mother-in-law's, Old Marlborough,(1003) only-tearing away the title-page of the latter.
My father has been extremely ill this week with his disorder— I think the physicians are more and more persuaded that it is the stone in his bladder. He is taking a preparation of Mrs. Stevens's medicine, a receipt of one Dr. Jurin, which we began to fear was too violent for him: I made his doctor angry with me, by arguing on this medicine, which I never could comprehend. it is of so great violence, that it Is to split a stone when it arrives at it, and yet it is to do no damage to all the tender intestines through which it must first pass.(1004) I told him, I thought it was like an admiral going on a secret expedition of war, with instructions, which are not to be opened till he arrives in such a latitude.
George Townshend,(1005) my lord's eldest son, who is at the Hague on his travels, has had an offer to raise a regiment for their service, of which he is to be colonel, with power of naming all his own officers. It was proposed, that it should consist of Irish Roman Catholics, but the regency of Ireland have represented against that, because they think they will all desert to the French. He is now to try it of Scotch, which will scarce succeed, unless he will let all the officers be of the same nation. An affair of this kind first raised the late Duke of Argyll; and was the cause of the first quarrel with the Duke of Marlborough, who was against his coming into our army in the same rank.
Sir Thomas Hanmer has at last published his Shakspeare: he has made several alterations, but they will be the less talked of, as he has not marked in the text, margin, or notes, where or why he has made any change; but every body must be obliged to collate it with other editions. One most curiously absurd alteration I have been told. In Othello, it is said of Cassio, "a Florentine, one almost damned in a fair wife." It happens that there is no other mention in the play of Cassio's wife. Sir Thomas has altered it-how do you think?-no, I should be sorry if you could think how-"almost damned in a fair phiz!"-what a tragic word! and what sense!
Adieu! I see advertised a translation of Dr. Cocchi's book on living on vegetables:(1006) Does he know any thing of it? My service to him and every body.
(1000) James, first Earl of Waldegrave, ambassador at Paris, K. G. He died in 1741.-D.
(1001) Those who play at court on Twelfth-night, make a bank with several people.
(1002) Lady Juliana Fermor, married in 1751 to Thomas Penn, Esq. (son of William Penn, the great legislator of the Quakers) one of the proprietors of Pennsylvania. He died in 1775, and Lady Juliana in 1781.-E.
(1003) The Duchess of Marlborough's will was published in a thin octavo volume.-D.
(1004) Mrs. Stephens's remedy for the stone made for some time, the greatest noise, and met both with medical approbation and national reward. In 1742, Dr. James Parsons published a pamphlet on the subject, which Dr. Mead describes as @' a very useful book; in which both the mischiefs done by the medicine, and the artifices employed to bring it into vogue are set in a clear light."—E.
(1005) Afterwards first Marquis Townshend, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Master General of the Ordnance. etc.
(1006) The Doctor's treatise "Di Vitto Pythagorico," appeared this year in England, under the title of "The Pythagorean Diet; or Vegetables only conducive to the Preservation of Health and the Cure of Diseases."-E.
402 letter 156 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Feb. 1, 1745.
I am glad my letters, obscure as they of course must be, give you any light into England; but don't mind them too much; they may be partial; must be imperfect: don't negotiate upon their authority, but have Capello's(1007) example before your eyes! How I laugh when I see him important, and see my Lady Pomfret's letters at the bottom of his instructions! how it would make a philosopher smile at the vanity of politics! How it diverts me, who can entertain myself at the expense of philosophy, politics, or any thing else! Mr. Conway says I laugh at all serious characters-so I do-and at myself too, who am far from being of the number. Who would not laugh at a world, where so ridiculous a creature as the Duke of Newcastle can overturn ministries! Don't take me for a partisan of Lord Granville's because I despise his rivals; I am not for adopting his measures; they were wild and dangerous -. in his single capacity, I think him a great genius(1008) and without having recourse to the Countess's translatable periods, am pleased with his company. His frankness charms one when it is not necessary to depend upon it: and his contempt for fools is very flattering to any one who happens to know the present ministry. Their coalition goes on as One should expect; they have the name of having effected it; and the Opposition is no longer mentioned: yet there is not a half-witted prater in the House but can divide with every new minister on his side, except Lyttelton, whenever he pleases. They actually do every day bring in popular bills, and on the first tinkling of the brass, all the new bees swarm back to the Tory side of the House. The other day, on the Flanders army, Mr. Pitt came down to prevent this: he was very ill, but made a very strong and much admired speech for coalition,(1009) which for that day succeeded, and the army was voted with but one negative,. But now the Emperor (1010) is dead, and every thing must wear a new face. If it produces a peace, Mr. Pelham is a fortunate man! He will do extremely well at the beginning of peace, like the man in Madame de la Fayette's Memoirs, Qui exer'coit extr'emement bien sa charge, quand il n'avoit rien 'a faire." However, do you keep well with them, and be sure don't write me back any treason, in answer to all I write to you: you are to please them; I think of them -is they are.
The new Elector(1011) seems to set out well for us, though there are accounts of his having taken the style of Archduke, as claiming the Austrian succession: if he has, it will be like the children's game of beat knaves out of doors, where you play the pack twenty times over; one gets pam, the other gets pam, but there is no conclusion to the game till one side has never a card left.
After my ill success with the baronet,(1012) to whom I gave a letter for you. I shall always be very cautious how I recommend barbarians to your protection. I have this morning been solicited for some credentials for a Mr. Oxenden.(1013) I could not help laughing: he is a son of Sir George, my Lady W.'s famous lover! Can he want recommendations to Florence? However, I must give him a letter; but beg you will not give yourself any particular trouble about him, for I do not know him enough to bow to. His person is good: that and his name, I suppose, will bespeak my lady's attentions, and save you the fatigue of doing him many honours.
Thank Mr. Chute for his letter; I will answer it very soon. I delight in the article of the Mantua Gazette. Adieu!
(1007) The Venetian ambassador.
(1008) Swift, in speaking of Lord Granville, says, that "he carried away from college more Greek, Latin, and philosophy than properly became a person of his rank;" and Walpole, in his Memoires, describes him as "an extensive scholar, master of all classic criticism, and of all modern politics."-E.
(1009) "Mr. Pitt, who had been laid up with the gout, came down with the mien and apparatus of an invalid, on purpose to make a full declaration of his sentiments on our present circumstances. What he said was enforced with much grace both of action and elocution. He commended the ministry for pursuing moderate and healing measures, and such -,is tended to set the King at the head of all his people." See Mr.- P. Yorke's MS. Parliamentary Journal.-E.
(1010) Charles Vii. Elector of Bavaria.
(1011) Maximilian Joseph. He died in 1777.-E.
(1012) Sir William Maynard. (He married the daughter of Sir Cecil Bisshopp, and died in 1772.]
(1013) Afterwards Sir Henry Oxenden, the sixth baronet of the family, and eldest son of Sir George Oxenden, for many years a lord of the treasury during the reign of George the Second. He died in 1803.-E.
404 Letter 157 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Feb. 28, 1745.
You have heard from your brother the reason of my not having written to you so long. I have been out but twice since my father fell into this illness, which is now near a month; and all that time either continually in his room, or obliged to see multitudes of people; for it is most wonderful how every body of all kinds has affected to express their concern for him. He has been out of danger above this week; but I can't say he mended at all perceptibly, till these last three days. His spirits are amazing, and his constitution more; for Dr. Hulse, said honestly from the first, that if he recovered, it would be from his own strength, not from their art. After the four or five first days, in which they gave him the bark, they resigned him to the struggles of his own good temperament-and it has surmounted! surmounted an explosion and discharge of thirty-two pieces of stone, a constant and vast effusion of blood for five days, a fever of three weeks, a perpetual flux of water, and sixty-nine years, already (one should think) worn down with his vast fatigues! How much more he will ever recover, one scarce dare hope about: for us, he is greatly recovered; for himself-
I had written thus far last week, without being able to find a moment to finish. In the midst of all my attendance on my lord and receiving visits, I am forced to go out and thank those that have come and sent; for his recovery is now at such a pause, that I fear it is in vain to expect much farther amendment. How dismal a prospect for him, with the possession of the greatest understanding in the world, not the least impaired to lie without any use of it! for to keep him from pains and restlessness, he takes so much opiate, that he is scarce awake four hours of the four-and-twenty; but I -will say no more on this.
Our coalition goes on thrivingly; but at the expense of the old Court, who are all discontented, and are likely soon to show their resentment. The brothers have seen the best days of their ministry. The Hanover troops dismissed to please the Opposition, and taken again with their consent, under the cloak of an additional subsidy to the Queen of Hungary, who is to pay them. This has set the patriots in so villainous a light, that they will be ill able to support a minister who has thrown such an odium on the Whigs, after they had so stoutly supported that measure last year, and which, after all the clamour, is now universally adopted, as you see. If my Lord Granville had any resentment, as he seems to have nothing but thirst, sure there is no vengeance he might not take! So far from contracting any prudence from his fall, he laughs it off every night over two or three bottles. The countess is with child. I believe she and the countess-mother have got it; for there is nothing ridiculous which they have not done and said about it. There was a private masquerade lately at the Venetian ambassadress's for the Prince of Wales, who named the company, and expressly excepted my Lady Lincoln and others of the Pelham faction. My Lady Granville came late, dressed like Imoinda, and handsomer than one of the houris - the Prince asked her why she would not dance? , Indeed, Sir, I was afraid I could not have come at all, for I had a fainting fit after dinner." The other night my Lady Townshend made a great ball on her son's coming of age: I went for a little while, little thinking of dancing. I asked my Lord Granville, why my lady did not dance? "Oh, Lord! I wish you would ask her: she will with you." I was caught, and did walk down one country dance with her; but the prudent Signora-madre would not let her expose the young Carteret any farther.
You say, you expect much information about Belleisle, but there has not (in the style of the newspapers) the least particular transpired. He was at first kept magnificently close at Windsor; but the expense proving above one hundred pounds per day, they have taken his parole, and sent him to Nottingham, 'a la Tallarde. Pray, is De Sade with you still'? his brother has been taken too by the Austrians.
My Lord Coke is going to be married to a Miss Shawe,(1014) of forty thousand pounds. Lord Hartington(1015) is contracted to Lady Charlotte Boyle, the heiress of Burlington, and sister of the unhappy Lady Euston; but she is not yet old enough. Earl Stanhope,(1016) too, has at last lifted up his eyes from Euclid, and directed them to matrimony. He has chosen the eldest sister of your acquaintance Lord Haddington. I revive about you and Tuscany. I will tell you. what is thought to have reprieved you: it is much suspected that the King of Spain(1017) is dead. I hope those superstitious people will pinch the queen, as they do witches, to make her loosen the charm that has kept the Prince of Asturias from having children. At least this must turn out better than the death of the Emperor has.
The Duke,(1018) you hear, is named generalissimo, with Count Koningseg, Lord Dunmore,(1019) and Ligonier,(1020) under him. Poor boy! he is most Brunswickly happy with his drums and trumpets. Do but think that this sugar-plum was to tempt him to swallow that bolus the Princess of Denmark!(1021) What will they do if they have children? The late Queen never forgave the Duke of Richmond, for telling her that his children would take place before the Duke's grandchildren.
I inclose you a pattern for a chair, which your brother desired me to send you. I thank you extremely for the views of Florence; you can't imagine what wishes they have awakened. My best thanks to Dr. Cocci for his book: I have delivered all the copies as directed. Mr. Chute will excuse me yet; the first moment I have time I will write. I have: just received your letter of Feb. 16, and grieve for your disorder: you know, how much concern your ill health gives m. Adieu! my dear child: I write with twenty people in the room.
(1014) This marriage did not take place. Lord Coke afterwards married Lady Campbell; and Miss Shawe, William, fifth Lord Byron, the immediate predecessor of the great poet.-E.
(1015) In 1755 he succeeded his father as fourth Duke of Devonshire. He died at Spa, in 1764; having filled at different times, the offices of lord lieutenant of Ireland, first lord of the treasury, and lord chamberlain of the household. His marriage with Lady Charlotte Boyle took place in March 1748.-E.
(1016) Philip, second Earl Stanhope. See ant'e, p. 308. Letter 96. He married, in July following, Lady Grizel Hamilton, daughter of Charles Lord Binning.-E.
(1017) The imbecile and insane Philip V. He did not die till 1746. The Prince of Asturias was Ferdinand VI., who succeeded him, and died childless in 1759.-D.
(1018) Of Cumberland. He never married.-D.
(1019) John Murray, second Earl of Dunmore: colonel of the third regiment of Scotch foot-guards. He died in 1752-E.
(1020) Sir John Ligonier a general of merit. He was created Lord Ligonier in Ireland, in 1757, an English peer by the same title in 1763, and Earl Ligonier in 1766. He died at the great age of ninety-one, in 1770.-D.
(1021) The Princess was deformed and- ugly. "Having in vain remonstrated with the King against the marriage, the Duke sent his governor, mr. Poyntz, to consult Lord Orford how to avoid the match. After reflecting a few moments, Orford advised 'that the Duke should give his consent, on condition of his receiving an ample and immediate establishment; and believe me,' added he, 'that the match will be no longer pressed.' The Duke followed the advice, and the result fulfilled the prediction "' Lord Mahon, vol. iii. p. 321.-E.
406 Letter 158 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, March 29, 1745.
I begged your brother to tell you what it was impossible for me to tell you.(1023) You share nearly in our common loss! Don't expect me to enter at all upon the subject. After the melancholy two months, that I have passed, and in my situation, you will not wonder I shun a conversation which could not be bounded by a letter-a letter that would grow into a panegyric, or a piece of moral; improper for me to write upon, and too distressful for us both!-a death is only to be felt, never to be talked over by those it touches!
I had yesterday your letter of three sheets - I began to flatter myself that the storm was blown over, but I tremble to think of the danger you are in! a danger, in which even the protection of the great friend you have lost could have been of no service to you. How ridiculous it seems for me to renew protestations of my friendship for you, at an instant when my father is just dead, and the Spaniards just bursting into Tuscany! How empty a charm would my name have, when all my interest and significance are buried in my father's grave! All hopes of present peace, the only thing that could save you, seem vanished. We expect every day to hear of the French declaration of war against Holland. The new Elector of Bavaria is French, like his father; and the King of Spain is not dead. I don't know how to talk to you. I have not even a belief that the Spaniards will spare Tuscany. My dear child what will become of you? whither will you retire till a peace restores you to your ministry? for upon that distant view alone I repose!
We are every day nearer confusion. The King is in as bad humour as a monarch can be; he wants to go abroad, and is detained by the Mediterranean affair; the inquiry into which was moved by a Major Selwyn, a dirty pensioner, half-turned patriot, by the Court being overstocked with votes.(1024) This inquiry takes up the whole time of the House of Commons, but I don't see what conclusion it can have. My confinement has kept me from being there, except the first day; and all I know of what is yet come out is, as it was stated by a Scotch member the other day, "that there had been one (Matthews) with a bad head, another, (Lestock) with a worse heart, and four (the captains of the inactive ships) with no heart at all." Among the numerous visits of form that I have received, one was from my Lord Sandys: as we two could only converse upon general topics, we fell upon this of the Mediterranean, and I made him allow, "that, to be sure, there is not so bad a court of justice in the world as the House of Commons; and how hard it is upon any man to have his cause tried there!"
Sir Everard Falkner(1025) is made secretary to the Duke, who is not yet gone: I have got Mr. Conway to be one of his aide-de-camps. Sir Everard has since been offered the joint-Postmastersh'ip, vacant by Sir John Iyles'S(1026) death; but he would not quit the Duke. It was then proposed to the King to give it to the brother: it happened to be a cloudy day, and he, only answered, ,I know who Sir Everard is, but I don't know who Mr. Falkner is."
The world expects some change when the Parliament rises. My Lord Granville's physicians have ordered him to go to the Spa, as, you know, they often send ladies to the Bath who are very ill of a want of diversion. It will scarce be possible for the present ministry to endure this jaunt. Then they are losing many of their new allies: the new Duke of Beaufort,(1027) a most determined and unwavering Jacobite, has openly set himself at the head of that party, and forced them to vote against the Court, and to renounce my Lord Gower. My wise cousin, Sir John Phillipps, has resigned his place; and it is believed that Sir John Cotton will soon resign but the Bedford, Pitt, Lyttelton, and that squadron, stick close to their places. Pitt has lately resigned his bedchamber to the Prince, which, in friendship to Lyttelton, it was expected he would have done long ago. They have chosen for this resignation a very apposite passage out of Cato:
"He toss'd his arm aloft, and proudly told me He would not stay, and perish like Sempronius."
This was Williams's.
My Lord Coke's match is broken off, upon some coquetry of the lady with Mr. Mackenzie,(1028) at the Ridotto. My Lord Leicester says, there shall not be a third lady in Norfolk of the species of the two fortunes(1029) that matched at Rainham and Houghton." Pray, will the new Countess of Orford come to England?
The town flocks to a new play of Thomson's, called Tancred and Sigismunda: it is very dull, I have read it.(1030) I cannot bear modern poetry; these refiners of the purity of the stage, and of the incorrectness of English verse, are most -,,,wofully insipid. I had rather have written the most absurd lines in Lee, than Leonidas or the Seasons; as I had rather be put into the round-house for a wrong-headed quarrel, than sup quietly at eight o'clock with my grandmother. There is another of these tame geniuses, a Mr. Akenside,(1031) who writes Odes: in one he has lately published, he says, "Light the tapers, urge the fire." Had not you rather make gods jostle 'in the dark, than light the candles for fear they should break their heads? One Russel, a mimic, has a puppet-show to ridicule operas; I hear, very dull, not to mention its being twenty years too late: it consists of three acts, with foolish Italian songs burlesqued in Italian.
There is a very good quarrel on foot between two duchesses; she of Queensberry sent to invite Lady Emily Lennox(1032) to a ball: her Grace of Richmond, who is wonderfully cautious since Lady Caroline's elopement, sent word, "she could not determine." The other sent again the same night: the same answer. The Queensberry then sent word, that she had made up her company, and desired to be excused from having Lady Emily's; but at the bottom of the card wrote, "Too great a trust." You know how mad she is, and how capable of such a stroke. There is no declaration of war come out from the other duchess; but, I believe it will be made a national quarrel of the whole illegitimate royal family.
It is the present fashion to make conundrums: there are books of them printed, and produced at all assemblies: they are full silly enough to be made a fashion. I will tell you the most renowned—"Why is my uncle Horace like two people conversing?-Because he is both teller and auditor." This was Winnington's.
Well, I had almost forgot to tell you a most extraordinary impertinence of your Florentine Marquis Riccardi. About three weeks ago, I received a letter by Monsieur Wastier's footman from the marquis. He tells me most cavalierly, that he has sent me seventy-seven antique gems to sell for him, by the way of Paris, not caring it should be known in Florence. He will have them sold altogether, and the lowest price two thousand pistoles. You know what no-acquaintance I had with him. I shall be as frank as he, and not receive them. If I did, they might be lost in sending back, and then I must pay his two thousand doppie di Spagna. The refusing to receive them is Positively all the notice I shall take of it.
I enclose what I think a fine piece on my father:(1033) it was written by Mr. Ashton, whom you have often heard me mention as a particular friend. You see how I try to make out a long letter, in return for your kind one, which yet gave me great pain by telling me of your fever. My dearest Sir, it is terrible to have illness added to your other distresses! .
I will take the first opportunity to send Dr. Cocchi his translated book; I have not yet seen it myself.
Adieu! my dearest child! I write with a house full of relations, and must conclude. Heaven preserve you and Tuscany.
(1023) The death of Lord Orford. - He expired," says Coxe, "on the 18th of March, 1745, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. His remains were interred in the parish church at Houghton, without monument or inscription-
"So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, Which once had honours, titles, wealth and fame!"-E.
(1024) "February 26.-We had an unexpected motion from a very contemptible fellow, Major Selwyn, for an inquiry into the cause of the miscarriage of the fleet in the action off Toulon. Mr. Pelham, perceiving that the inclination of the House was for an inquiry, acceded to the motion; but forewarned it of the temper, patience, and caution with which it should be pursued."-Mr. Yorke's MS. Journal.-E.
(1025) He had been ambassador at Constantinople.
(1026) Sir John Eyles, Bart. an alderman of the city of London, and at one time member of parliament for the same. He died March 11, 1745.-D.
(1027) Charles Noel Somerset, fourth Duke of Beaufort, succeeded his elder brother Henry in the dukedom, February 14, 1745.-D.
(1028) The Hon. James Stuart Mackenzie, second son of James, second Earl of Bute, and brother of John, Earl of Bute, the minister. He married Lady Elizabeth Campbell, one of the daughters of John, the great Duke of Argyll, and died in 1800.-D.
(1029) Margaret Rolle, Countess of Orford, and Ethelreda Harrison, Viscountess Townshend.
(1030) This was the most successful of all Thomson's plays; "but it may be doubted," says Dr. Johnson, " whether he was, either by the bent of nature or habits of study, much qualified for tragedy: it does not appear that he had much sense of the pathetic; and his diffusive and Descriptive style produced declamation rather than dialogue."-E.
(1031) The author of "The Pleasures of the Imagination;" a poem of some merit, though now but little read.-D.
(1032) Second daughter of Charles, Duke of Richmond. (Afterwards married to James Fitzgerald, first Duke of Leinster in Ireland.-D.)
1033) It was printed in the public papers.
410 Letter 159 To sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, April 15, 1745.
By this time you have heard of my Lord's death: I fear it will have been a very great shock to you. I hope your brother will write you all the particulars; for my part, you can't expect I should enter into the details of it. His enemies pay him the compliment of saying, they do believe now that he did not plunder the public,, as he was accused (as they accused him) of doing, he having died in such circumstances." If he had no proofs of his honesty but this, I don't think this would be such indisputable authority: not having immense riches would be scanty evidence of his not having acquired them, there happening to be such a thing as spending them. It is certain, he is dead very poor: his debts, with his legacies, which are trifling, amount to fifty thousand pounds. His estate, a nominal eight thousand a-year, much mortgaged. In short, his fondness for Houghton has endangered Houghton. If he had not so overdone it, he -might have left such an estate to his family as might have secured the glory of the place for many years: another such debt must expose it to sale. If he had lived, his unbounded generosity and contempt of money would have run him into vast difficulties. However irreparable his personal loss may be to his friends, he certainly died critically well for himself: he had lived to stand the rudest trials with honour, to see his character universally cleared, his enemies brought to infamy for their ignorance or villainy, and the world allowing him to be the only man in England fit to be what he had been; and he died at a time when his age and infirmities prevented his again undertaking the support of a government, which engrossed his whole care, and which he foresaw was falling into the last confusion. In this I hope his judgment failed! His fortune attended him to the last; for he died of the most painful of all distempers, with little or no pain.