The peace is still in a cloud: according to custom, we have hurried on our complaisance before our new friends were at all ready with theirs. There was a great Regency(1469) kept in town, to take off the prohibition of commerce with Spain: when they were met, somebody asked if Spain was ready to take off theirs? "Oh, Lord! we never thought of that!" They sent for Wall,(1470) and asked him if his court would take the same step with us? He said, "he believed they might, but he had no orders about it." However, we proceeded, and hitherto are bit.
Adieu! by the first opportunity I shelf send you the two books of Houghton, for yourself and Dr. Cocchi. My Lord Orford is much mended: my uncle has no prospect of ever removing from his couch.
(1467) A Madame Ubaldini having raised a scandalous story of two persons whom she saw together in Mr. Mann's garden at one of his assemblies, and a scurrilous sonnet having been made upon the occasion, the Florentine ladies for some time pretended that it would hurt their characters to come any more to his assembly.
(1468) Dr. Edmund Gibson had been very intimate with Sir Robert Walpole, and was designed by him for archbishop after the death of Wake; but setting himself at the head of the clergy against the Quaker bill, he broke with Sir Robert and lost the archbishoprick which was given to Potter; but on his death, the succeeding ministry offered it to Dr. Gibson. [The Doctor declined it, on account of his advanced age and increasing infirmities. He died on the 6th of February, 1748.)
(1469) This means a meeting of the persons composing the Regency during the King's absence in Hanover.-D.
(1470) General Wall, the Spanish ambassador.
566 Letter 262 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 25, 1748.
I shall write you a very short letter, for I don't know what business we have to be corresponding when we might be together. I really wish to see you, for you know I am convinced of what you say to me. It is few people I ask to come hither, and if possible, still fewer that I wish to see here. The disinterestedness of your friendship for me has always appeared, and is the only sort that for the future I will ever accept, and consequently I never expect any more friends. As to trying to make any by obligations, I have had such woful success, that, for fear of thinking still worse than I do of the world, I will never try more. But you are abominable to reproach me with not letting you go to Houghton: have not I offered a thousand times to carry you there? I mean, since it was my brother's: I did not expect to prevail with you before; for you are so unaccountable, that you not only will never do a dirty thing, but you won't even venture the appearance of it. I have often applied to you in my own mind a very pretty passage that I remember in a letter of Chillingworth; "you would not do that for preferment that you would not do but for preferment." You oblige me much in what you say about my nephews, and make me happy in the character you have heard of Lord Malpas;(1471) I am extremely inclined to believe he deserves it. I am as sorry to hear what a companion lord Walpole has got: there has been a good deal of noise about him, but I had laughed at it, having traced the worst reports to his gracious mother, who is now sacrificing the character of her son to her aversion for her husband. If we lived under the Jewish dispensation, how I should tremble at my brother's leaving no children by her, and its coming to my turn to raise him up issue!
Since I gave you the account of the Duchess of Ireland's piked horns among the tombs of the Veres, I have found a long account in Bayle of the friar, who, as I remember to have read somewhere, preached so vehemently against that fashion: it was called Hennin, and the monk's name was Thomas Conecte. He was afterwards burnt at Rome for censuring the lives of the clergy. As our histories say that Anne of Bohemia introduced the fashion here, it is probable that the French learnt it from us, and were either long before they caught it, Or long in retaining the mode; for the Duke of Ireland died in 1389, and Connect was burnt at Rome in 1434. There were, indeed, several years between his preaching down Hennins and his death, but probably not near five-and-forty years, and half that term was a long duration for so outrageous a fashion. But I have found a still more entertaining fashion in another place in Bayle which was, the women wearing looking-glasses upon their bellies': I don't conceive for what use. Adieu! don't write any more, but come.
(1471) Eldest son of George, third Earl of Cholmondoley, and grandson of Sir Robert Walpole.
567 Letter 263 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 6, 1748.
Dear harry, I am sorry our wishes clash so much. Besides that I have no natural inclination for the Parliament, it will particularly disturb me now in the middle of all my planting; for which reason I have never inquired when it will meet, and cannot help you to guess—but I should think not hastily-for I believe the peace, at least the evacuations, are not in so prosperous a way as to be ready to make any figure in the King's speech. But I speak from a distance; it may all be very toward: our ministers enjoy the consciousness of their wisdom, as the good do of their virtue, and take no pains to make it shine before men. In the mean time, we have several collateral emoluments from the pacification: all our milliners, tailors, tavern keepers, and young gentlemen are tiding to France for our improvement in luxury; and as I foresee we shall be told on their return that we have lived in a total state of blindness for these six years. and gone absolutely retrograde to all true taste in every particular, I have already begun to practise walking on my head, and doing every thing the wrong way. Then Charles Frederick has turned all his virt'u into fireworks, and, by his influence at the ordnance, has prepared such a spectacle for the proclamation of the peace as is to surpass all its predecessors of bouncing memory. It is to open with a concert of fifteen hundred hands, and conclude with so many hundred thousand crackers all set to music, that all the men killed in the war are to be wakened with the crash, as if it was the day of judgment, and fall a dancing, like the troops in the Rehearsal. I wish you could see him making squibs of his papillotes, and bronzed over with a patina of gunpowder, and talking himself still hoarser on the superiority that his firework will have over the Roman naumachia.
I am going to dinner with Lady Sophia Thomas(1472) at Hampton Court, where I was to meet the Cardigans; but I this minute receive a message that the Duchess of Montagu(1473) is extremely ill, which I am much concerned for on Lady Cardigan's(1474) account, whom I grow every day more in love with; you may imagine, not her person, which is far from improved lately; but, since I have been here, I have lived much with them, and, as George Montagu says, in all my practice I never met a better understanding, nor more really estimable qualities: such a dignity in her way of thinking; so little idea of any thing mean or ridiculous, and such proper contempt for both! Adieu! I must go dress for dinner, and you perceive that I wish I had, but have nothing to tell you.
(1472) Daughter of the first Earl of Albemarle, and wife of General Thomas.-E.
(1473) She was mother to Lady Cardigan, and daughter to the great Duke of Marlborough.
(1474) Lady Mary Montagu, third daughter of John, Duke of Montagu, and wife of George Brudenell, Earl of Cardigan, afterwards created Duke of Montagu.
568 Letter 264 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 20, 1748.
You are very formal to send me a ceremonious letter of thanks; you see I am less punctilious, for having nothing to tell you, I did not answer your letter. I have been in the empty town for a day: Mrs. Muscovy and I cannot devise where you have planted Jasmine; I am all plantation, and sprout away like any chaste nymph in the Metamorphosis.
They say the old Monarch at Hanover has got a new mistress; I fear he ought to have got * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Now I talk of getting, Mr. Fox has got the ten thousand pound prize; and the Violette, as it is said, Coventry for a husband. It is certain that at the fine masquerade he was following her, as she was under the Countess's arm, who, pulling off her glove, moved her wedding-ring up and down her finger, which it seems was to signify that no other terms would be accepted. It is the year for contraband marriages, though I do not find Fanny Murray's is certain. I liked her spirit in an instance I heard t'other night: she was complaining of want of money; Sir Robert Atkins immediately gave her a twenty pound note; she said, "D-n your twenty pound! what does it signify?" clapped it between two pieces of bread and butter, and ate it. Adieu! nothing should make me leave off so shortly but that my gardener waits for me, and you must allow that he is to be preferred to all the world.
569 Letter 265 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, October 24, 1748.
I have laughed heartily at your adventure of Milord Richard Onslow;(1475) it is an admirable adventure! I am not sure that Riccardi's absurdity was not the best part of it. Here were the Rinuncinis, the Panciaticis, and Pandolfinis? were they as ignorant too? What a brave topic it would have been for Niccolini, if he had been returned, to display all his knowledge of England!
Your brothers are just returned from Houghton, where they found my brother extremely recovered: my uncle too, I hear, is better; but I think that an impossible recovery.(1476) Lord Walpole is setting out on his travels; I shall be impatient to have him in Florence; I flatter myself you will like him: I, who am not troubled with partiality to my family, admire him much. Your brother has got the two books of Houghton, and will send them by the first Opportunity: I am by no means satisfied with then; they are full of' faults, and the two portraits wretchedly unlike.
The peace is signed between us, France, and Holland, but does not give the least joy; the stocks do not rise, and the merchants are unsatisfied; they say France will sacrifice us to Spain, which has not yet signed: in short, there has not been the least symptom of public rejoicing; but the government is to give a magnificent firework.
I believe there are no news, but I am here all alone, planting. The Parliament does not meet till the 29th of next month: I shall go to town but two or three days before that. The Bishop of Salisbury,(1477) who refused Canterbury, accepts London, upon a near prospect of some fat fines. Old Tom Walker(1478) is dead, and has left vast wealth and good places; but have not heard where either are to go. Adieu! I am very paragraphical, and you see have nothing to say.
(1475) One Daniel Bets, a Dutchman or Fleming, who called himself my Lord Richard Onslow, and pretended to be the Speaker's son, having forged letters of credit Ind drawn money from several bankers, came to Florence, and was received as an Englishman of quality by Marquis Riccardi, who could not be convinced by Mr. Mann of the imposture till the adventurer ran away on foot to Rome in the night.
(1476) Yet he did in great measure recover by the use of soap and limewater.
(1477) Dr. Sherlock.
(1478) He was surveyor of the roads; had been a kind of toad-eater to Sir Robert Walpole and Lord Godolphin; was a great frequenter of Newmarket, and a notorious usurer. His reputed wealth is stated, in the Gentleman's Magazine, at three hundred thousand pounds.]
570 Letter 266 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Dec. 2, 1748.
Our King is returned and our parliament met: we expected nothing but harmony and tranquillity, and love of the peace; but the very first day opened with a black cloud, that threatens a stormy session. To the great surprise of the ministry, the Tories appear in intimate league with the Prince's party, and both agreed in warm and passionate expressions on the treaty: we shall not have the discussion till after Christmas. My uncle, who is extremely mended by soap, and the hopes of a peerage is come up, and the very first day broke out in a volley of treaties: though he is altered, you would be astonished at his spirits.
We talk much of the Chancellor's(1479) resigning the seals, from weariness of the fatigue, and being made president of the council, with other consequent changes, which I will write you if they happen; but as this has already been a discourse of six months, I don't give it you for certain.
Mr. Chute, to whom alone I communicated Niccolini's banishment, though it is now talked of from the Duke of Bedford's office, says "he is sorry the Abb'e is banished for the only thing which he ever saw to commend in him,-his abusing the Tuscan ministry." I must tell you another admirable bon mot of Mr. Chute, now I am mentioning him. Passing by the door of Mrs. Edwards, who died of drams, be saw the motto which the undertakers had placed to her escutcheon, Mors janua vitae, he said "it ought to have been Mors aqua vita."
The burlettas are begun; I think, not decisively liked or condemned yet: their success is certainly not rapid, though Pertici is excessively admired. Garrick says he is the best comedian he ever saw: but the women are execrable, not a pleasing note amongst them. Lord Middlesex has stood a trial with Monticelli for arrears of salary, in Westminster-hall, and even let his own handwriting be proved against him! You may imagine he was cast. Hume Campbell, lord Marchmont's brother, a favourite advocate, and whom the ministry have pensioned out of the Opposition into silence, was his council, and protested, striking his breast, that he had never set his foot but once into an opera-house in his life. This affectation 'of British patriotism is excellently ridiculous in a man so known: I have often heard my father say, that of all the men he ever ](new, Lord Marchmont and Hume Campbell were the most abandoned in their professions to him on their coming into the world: he was hindered from accepting their services by the present Duke of Argyll, of whose faction they were not. They then flung themselves into the Opposition, where they both have made great figures, till the elder was shut out of Parliament by his father's death, and the younger being very foolishly dismissed from being solicitor to the Prince, in favour of Mr. Bathurst, accepted a pension from the court, and seldom comes into the House, and has lately taken to live on roots and study astronomy.(1480) Lord Marchmont, you know, was one of Pope's heroes, had a place in Scotland on Lord Chesterfield's coming into the ministry, though he had not power to bring him into the sixteen: and was very near losing his place last winter, on being Supposed the author of the famous apology for Lord Chesterfield's resignation. This is the history of these Scotch brothers, which I have told you for want of news.
Two Oxford scholars are condemned to two years' imprisonment for treason;(1481) and their vice-chancellor, for winking at it, is soon to be tried. What do you say to the young Pretender's persisting to stay in France? It will not be easy to persuade me that it is without the approbation of that court. Adieu!
(1479) Lord Hardwicke.-D.
(1480) In the preceding March, Lord Marchmont had married a second wife.@, Miss Crampton. The circumstances attending this marriage are thus related by David Hume, in a letter to Mr. Oswald, dated January 29, 1748:-" Lord Marchmont has had the most extraordinary adventure in the world. About three weeks ago he was at the play, when he espied in one of the boxes a fair virgin, whose looks, airs, and manners had such a wonderful effect upon him, as was visible by every bystander. His raptures were so undisguised, his looks so expressive of passion, his inquiries so earnest, that every person took notice of it. He soon was told that her name was Crampton, a linendraper's daughter, who had been bankrupt last year. He wrote next morning to her father, desiring to visit his daughter on honourable terms, and in a few days she will be the Countess of Marchmont. Could you ever suspect the ambitious, the severe, the bustling, the impetuous, the violent Marchmont of becoming so tender and gentle a swain-an Orondates!"-E.
(1481) In drinking the Pretender's health, and using seditious expressions against the King. They were also sentenced "to walk round Westminster-hall with a label affixed to Their foreheads, denoting their crime and sentence, and to ask pardon of the several courts;" which they accordingly performed.-E.
571 Letter 267 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Dec. 15, 1748.
I conclude your Italy talks of nothing but the young Pretender's imprisonment at Vincennes. I don't know whether he be a Stuart, but I am sure, by his extravagance he has proved himself' of English extraction! What a mercy that we had not him here! with a temper so, impetuous and obstinate, as to provoke a French government when in their power, what would he have done with an English Government in his power?(1482) An account came yesterday that he, with his Sheridan and a Mr. Stafford (who was a creature of my Lord Bath,) are transmitted to Pont de Beauvoisin, under a solemn promise never to return into France (I suppose unless they send for him). It is said that a Mr. Dun, who married Alderman Parsons's eldest daughter, is in the Bastile for having struck the officer when the young man was arrested.
Old Somerset(1483) is at last dead, and the Duke of Newcastle Chancellor of Bainbridge, to his heart's content. Somerset tendered his pride even beyond his hate; for he has left the present Duke all the furniture of his palaces, and forbore to charge the estate, according to a power he had, with five-and-thirty thousand pounds. To his Duchess,(1484) who has endured such a long slavery with him, he has left nothing but one thousand pounds and a small farm, besides her jointure; giving the whole of his unsettled estate, which is about six thousand pounds a-year, equally between his two daughters, and leaving it absolutely in their own powers now, though neither are of age; and to Lady Frances, the eldest, he has additionally given the fine house built by Inigo Jones, in Lincoln's-inn-fields, (which he had bought of the Duke of Ancaster for the Duchess,) hoping that his daughter will let her mother live with her. To Sir Thomas Bootle he has given half a borough, and a whole one,(1485) to his grandson Sir Charles Windham,(1486) with an estate that cost him fourteen thousand pounds. To Mr. Obrien,(1487) Sir Charles Windham's brother, a single thousand; and to Miss Windham an hundred a-year, which he gave her annually at Christmas, and is just Such a legacy as you would give to a housekeeper to prevent her from going to service again. She is to be married immediately to the second Grenville;(1488) they have waited for a larger legacy. The famous settlement(1489) is found, which gives Sir Charles Windham about twelve thousand pounds a-year of the Percy estate after the present Duke's death; the other five, with the barony of Percy, must go to Lady Betty Smithson.(1490) I don't know whether you ever heard that, in Lord Grenville's administration, he had prevailed with the King to grant the earldom of Northumberland to Sir Charles; Lord Hertford represented against it; at last the King said he would give it to whoever they would make it appear was to have the Percy estate; but old Somerset refused to let any body see his writings, and so the affair dropped, every body believing that there was no such settlement.
John Stanhope of the admiralty is dead, and Lord Chesterfield gets thirty thousand pounds for life: I hear Mr. Villiers is most likely to succeed to that board. You know all the Stanhopes are a family aux bon-mots: I must tell you one of this John. He was sitting by an old Mr. Curzon, a nasty wretch, and very covetous: his nose wanted blowing, and continued to want it: at last Mr. Stanhope, with the greatest good-breeding, said, "Indeed, Sir, if you don't wipe your nose, you will lose that drop."
I am extremely pleased with Monsieur de Mirepoix's(1491) being named for this embassy; and I beg you will desire Princess Craon to recommend me to Madame, for I would be particularly acquainted with her as she is their daughter. Hogarth has run a great risk since the peace; he went to France, and was so imprudent as to be taking a sketch of the drawbridge at Calais. He was seized and carried to the governor, where he was forced to prove his vocation by producing several caricatures of the French; particularly a scene(1492) of the shore, with an immense piece of beef landing for the lion-d'argent, the English inn at Calais, and several hungry friars following it.(1493) They were much diverted with his drawings, and dismissed him.
Mr. Chute lives at the herald's office in your service, and yesterday got particularly acquainted with your great-great-grandmother. I says, by her character, she would be extremely shocked at your wet-brown-paperness, and that she was particularly famous for breaking her own pads. Adieu!
(1482) At the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle the French court proposed to establish Prince Charles at Fribourg in Switzerland, with the title of Prince of Wales, a company of guards, and a sufficient pension; but he placed a romantic point of Honour in 'braving 'the orders from Hanover,' as he called them, and positively refused to depart from Paris. Threats, entreaties, arguments, were tried on him in vain. He withstood even a letter obtained from his father at Rome, and commanding his departure. He still nourished some secret expectation, that King Louis would not venture to use force against a kinsman; but he found himself deceived. As he went to the Opera on the evening of the 11th of December, his coach was stopped by a party of French guards, himself seized, bound hand and foot, and conveyed, with a single attendant, to the state-prison of Vincennes, where he was thrust into a dungeon seven feet wide and eight feet long. After this public insult, he was carried to Pont de Beauvoisin, on the frontier of Savoy, and there restored to his wandering and desolate freedom." lord Mahon, vol .iii. p. 552.-E.
(1483) The proud Duke of Somerset.-D.
(1484) Charlotte Finch, sister of the Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham, second wife of Charles Seymour, Duke of Somerset; by whom she had two daughters, Lady Frances, married to the Marquis of Granby, and lady Charlotte to Lord Guernsey, eldest son of the Earl of Aylesford.
(1485) Midhurst, in Sussex.-D.
(1486) Afterwards Earl of Egremont.-D.
(1487) Afterwards created Earl of Thomond in Ireland.-D.
(1488) George Grenville. issue of that marriage were the late Marquis of Buckingham, the Right Honourable Thomas Grenville, and Lord Grenville; besides several daughters.-D.
(1489) The Duke's first wife was the heiress of the house of Northumberland - she made a settlement of her estate, in case her sons died without heirs male, on the children of her daughters. Her eldest daughter, Catherine, married Sir William Windham, whose son, Sir Charles, by the death of Lord Beauchamp, only son of Algernon, Earl of Hertford, and afterwards Duke of Somerset, succeeded to the greatest part of the Percy estate, preferably to Elizabeth, daughter of the same Algernon, who was married to Sir Hugh Smithson.
(1490) Elizabeth daughter of Algernon, last Duke of Somerset of the younger branch. She was married to Sir Hugh Smithson, Bart. who became successively Earl and Duke of NorthUmberland.-D.
(1491) The Marquis de Mirepoix, marshal of France, and ambassador to England. His wife was a woman of ability, and was long in great favour with Louis the Fifteenth and his successive mistresses.-D.
(1492) He engraved and published it on his return.
(1493) Hogarth's well known print, entitled "The Roast Beef of Old England." The original picture is in the possession of the Earl of Charlemont, in Dublin.-D.
574 Letter 268 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, Dec. 26, 1748.
Did you ever know a more absolute country-gentleman? Here am I come down to what you call keep my Christmas! indeed it is not in all the forms; I have stuck no laurel and holly in my windows, I eat no turkey and chine, I have no tenants to invite, I have not brought a single soul With me. The weather is excessively stormy, but has been so warm, and so entirely free from frost the whole winter, that not only several of' my honeysuckles are come out, but I have literally a blossom upon a nectarine-tree, which I believe was never seen in this climate before on the 26th of December. I am extremely busy here planting; I have got four more acres, which makes my territory prodigious in a situation where land is so scarce, and villas as abundant as formerly at Tivoli and Baiae. I have now about fourteen acres, and am making a terrace the whole breadth of my garden on the brow of a natural hill, With meadows at the foot, and commanding the river, the village, Richmond-hill, and the park, and part of Kingston-but I hope never to show it you. What you hint at in your last, increase of character, I should be extremely against your stirring in now: the whole system of embassies is in confusion, and more candidates than employments. I would have yours pass, as it is, for settled. If you were to be talked especially for a higher character at Florence, one don't know whom the -,additional dignity might tempt. Hereafter, perhaps, it might be practicable for you, but I would by no means advise your soliciting it at present. Sir Charles Williams is the great obstacle to all arrangement: Mr. Fox makes a point of his going to Turin; the ministry, Who do not love him, are not for his going any where. Mr. Villiers is talked of for Vienna, though just made a lord of the admiralty. There were so many competitors, that at last Mr. Pelham said he would carry in two names to the King, and he should choose (a great indulgence!) Sir Peter Warren and Villiers were carried in; the King chose the latter. I believe there is a little of Lord Granville in this, and in a Mr. Hooper, who was turned out with the last ministry, and is now made a commissioner of the customs: the pretence is, to vacate a seat in Parliament for Sir Thomas Robinson, who is made a lord of trade; a scurvy reward after making the peace. Mr. Villiers, you know, has been much gazetted, and had his letters to the King of Prussia printed; but he is a very silly fellow. I met him the other day at Lord Granville's, where, on the subject of a new play, he began to give the Earl an account of CoriolanUS, with reflections on his history. Lord Granville at last grew impatient, and said, "Well! well! it is an old story; it may not be true." As we went out together, I said, "I like the approach to this house."'(1494) "Yes,"said Villiers, "and I love to be in it; for I never come here but I hear something I did not know before." Last year, I asked him to attend a controverted election in which I was interested; he told me he would with all his heart, but that he had resolved not to vote in elections for the first session, for that he owned he could not understand them—not understand them!
Lord St. John(1495) is dead; he had a place in the custom-house of 1200 pounds a year, which his father had bought of the Duchess of Kendal for two lives, for 4000 pounds. Mr. Pelham has got it for Lord Lincoln and his child.
I told you in my last a great deal about old Somerset's will: they have since found 150,000 which goes, too, between the two daughters. It had been feared that he would leave nothing to the youngest; two or three years ago, he waked after dinner and found himself upon the floor; she used to watch him, had left him, and he had fallen from his couch. He forbade every body to speak to her, but yet to treat her with respect as his daughter. She went about the house for a year, without any body daring openly to utter a syllable to her; and it was never known that he had forgiven her. His whole stupid life was a series of pride and tyranny.
There have been great contests in the Privy Council about the trial of the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford: the Duke of' Bedford and Lord Gower pressed it extremely. The latter asked the Attorney-General(1496) his opinion, who told him the evidence did not appear strong enough: Lord Gower said, "Mr. Attorney, you Seem to be very lukewarm for your party." He replied, "My lord, I never was lukewarm for my party, nor ever was but Of one party." There is a scheme for vesting in the King the nomination of' the Chancellor of that University,(1497) who has much power—and much noise it would make! The Lord Chancellor is to be High Steward of Cambridge, in succession to the Duke of Newcastle.
The families of Devonshire and Chesterfield have received a great blow at Derby, where, on the death of John Stanhope, they set up another of the name. One Mr. Rivett, the Duke's chief friend and manager. stood himself, and carried it by a majority of seventy-one. Lord Chesterfield had sent down credit for ten thousand pounds. The Cavendish's. however, are very happy, for Lady Hartington(1498) has produced a son.(1499)
I asked a very intelligent person if there could be any foundation for the story of Niccolini's banishment taking its rise from complaints of our court: he answered very sensibly, that even if our court had complained, -which was most unlikely, it was not at all probable that the court of Vienna would have paid any regard to it. There is another paragraph in your same letter in which I must set you right: you talk Of the sudden change of my opinion about Lord Walpole:(1500) I never had but one opinion about him, and that was always most favourable: nor can I imagine what occasioned your mistake, unless my calling him a wild boy, where I talked of the consequences of his father's death. I meant nothing in the world by wild, but the thoughtlessness of a boy of nineteen, who comes to the possession of a peerage and an estate. My partiality, I am sure, could never let me say any thing else of him.
Mr. Chute's sister is dead. When I came from town Mr. Whithed had heard nothing of her will - she had about four thousand pounds. The brother is so capricious a monster, that we almost hope she has not given the whole to our friend.
You will be diverted with a story I am going to tell You; it is very long, and so is my letter already; but you perceive I am in the country and have nothing to hurry me. There is about town a Sir William Burdett,*1501) a man of a very good family, but most infamous character. He formerly was at Paris with a Mrs. Penn, a Quaker's wife, whom he there bequeathed to the public, and was afterwards a sharper at Brussels, and lately came to England to discover a plot for poisoning the Prince of Orange, in which I believe he was poisoner, poison, and informer all himself. In short, to give you his character at once, there is a wager entered in the bet-book at White's (a MS. of which I may one day or other give you an account), that the first baronet that will be hanged is this Sir William Burdett. About two months ago he met at St. James's, a Lord Castledurrow,(1502) a young Irishman, and no genius as you will find, and entered into conversation with him: the Lord, seeing a gentleman, fine, polite, and acquainted with every body, invited him to dinner for next day, and a Captain Rodney,(1503) a young seaman, who has made a fortune by very gallant behaviour during the war. At dinner it came out, that neither the Lord nor the Captain had ever been at any Pelham-levees. "Good God!" said Sir William, "that must not be so any longer; I beg I may carry you to both the Duke and Mr. Pelham: I flatter myself I am very well with both." The appointment was made for the next Wednesday and Friday; in the mean time, he invited the two young men to dine with him the next day. When they came, he presented them to a lady, dressed foreign, as a princess of the house of' Brandenburg: she had a toadeater, and there was another man, who gave himself for a count. After dinner Sir William looked at his watch, and said, "J-s! it is not so late as I thought by an hour; Princess, will your Highness say how we shall divert ourselves till it is time to go to the play!" "Oh!" said she, "for my part you know I abominate every thing but pharaoh." "I am very sorry, Madam," replied he, very gravely, "but I don't know whom your Highness will get to tally to you; you know I am ruined by dealing'." "Oh!" says she, "the Count will deal to us." "I would with all my soul." said the Count, "but I protest I have no money about me." She insisted: at last the Count said, "Since your Highness commands us peremptorily, I believe Sir William has four or five hundred pounds of mine, that I am to pay away in the city to-morrow: if he will be so good as to step to his bureau for that Sum, I will make a bank of it." Mr. Rodney owns he was a little astonished at seeing the Count shuffle with the faces of the cards upwards; but concluding that Sir 'William Burdett, at whose house he was, was a relation or particular friend of Lord Castledurrow, he was unwilling to affront my lord. In short, my lord and he lost about a hundred and fifty apiece, and it was settled that they should meet for payment the next morning at breakfast at Ranelagh, In the mean time Lord C. had the curiosity to inquire a little int the character of his new friend the Baronet; and being au fait, he went up to him at Ranelagh and apostrophized him; "Sir William, here is the sum I think I lost last night; since that I have heard that you are a professed pickpocket, and therefore desire to have no further acquaintance with you." Sir William bowed, took the money and no notice; but as they were going away, he followed Lord Castledurrow and said, "Good God, my lord, my equipage is not come; will you be so good as to set me down at Buckingham-gate?" and without staying for an answer, whipped into the chariot and came to town with him. If you don't admire the coolness of this impudence, I shall wonder. Adieu! I have written till I can scarce write my name.(1504)
(1494) Lord Granville's house in Arlington Street was the lowest in the street on the side of the Green-park-D.
(1495) John, second Viscount St. John, the only surviving son of Henry, first Viscount St. John, by his second wife, Angelica Magdalene, daughter of George Pillesary, treasurer-general of the marines in France, He was half- brother of the celebrated Henry, Viscount Bolingbroke, who was the only son of the said Henry, first Viscount St. John, by his first wife Mary, second daughter of Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick. John, second Viscount St. John, was the direct ancestor of the present Viscount Bolingbroke and St. John.-D.
(1496) Sir Dudley Ryder.
(1497) In consequence of the University's always electing Jacobites to that office.-D.
(1498) Lady Charlotte Boyle, second daughter of Richard, Earl of Burlington and Cork, and wife of William, Marquis of Hartington.
(1499) William Cavendish, afterwards fifth Duke of Devonshire, and Knight of the Garter. He died in 1811.-D.
(1500) George, third Earl of Orford.
(1501) Sir William Vigors Burdett, of Dunmore, in the county of Carlow.-E.
(1502) Henry Flower, Lord Castledurrow, and afterwards created Viscount Ashbrook.
(1503) George Brydges Rodney. He had distinguished himself in Lord Hawke's victory, In 1761 he took the French island of Martinique. In 1779 he met and defeated the Spanish fleet commanded by Don Juan de Langara, and relieved the garrison of gibraltar, which was closely besieged; and in 1789, he obtained his celebrated victory over the French fleet commanded by Count de Grasse. For this latter service he was created a peer, by the title of Baron Rodney, of Rodney Stoke in the county of Somerset. He died May 24, 1792.