(44) West's mother was sister to Sir Richard Temple, afterwards Lord Cobham. Of his translation of Pindar, Dr. Johnson states, that he found his expectations surpassed, both by its elegance and its exactness. For his "Observations on the Resurrection," the University of Oxford, in March 1748, created him a Doctor of Laws by diploma. At his residence at Wickham, where he was often visited by Lyttelton and Pitt, there is a walk designed by the latter; while the former received at this place that conviction which produced his "Dissertation on St. Paul."-E.
(45) Daughter of Sir Robert Furnese, and widow of Lewis, Earl of Rockingham.
30 Letter 6 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, June 4, 1749.
As summery as June and Strawberry Hill may sound, I assure you I am writing to you by the fire-side: English weather will give vent to its temper, and whenever it is out of humour it will blow east and north and all kinds of cold. Your brothers Ned and Gal. dined with me to-day, and I carried the latter back to Richmond: as I passed over the green, I saw Lord Bath, Lord Lonsdale,(46) and half-a-dozen more of the White's club sauntering at the door of a house which they have taken there, and come to every Saturday and Sunday to play at whist. You will naturally ask why they can't play at whist in London on those two days as well as on the other five; indeed I can't tell you, except that it is so established a fashion to go out of town at the end of the week, that people do go, though it be only into another town. It made me smile to see Lord Bath sitting there, like a citizen that has left off trade.
Your brother Ned has not seen Strawberry Hill since my great improvements; he was astonished: it is pretty: you never saw so tranquil a scene, without the least air of melancholy: I should hate it, if it was dashed with that. I forgot to ask Gal. what is become of the books of Houghton which I gave him six months ago for you and Dr. Cocchi. You perceive I have got your letter of May 23rd, and with it Prince Craon's simple epistle to his daughter:(47) I have no mind to deliver it: it would be a proper recommendation of a staring boy on his travels, and is consequently very suitable to my colleague, Master St. Leger; but one hates to be coupled with a romping grayhound puppy, "qui est moins prudent que Monsieur Valpol!" I did not want to be introduced to Madame de Mirepoix's assemblies, but to be acquainted with her, as I like her family: I concluded, simple as he is, that an old Frenchman knew how to make these distinctions. By thrusting St. Leger into the letter with me, and talking of my prudence, I shall not wonder if she takes me for his bear-leader, his travelling governor!
Mr. Chute, who went from hence this morning, and is always thinking of blazoning your pedigree(48) in the noblest colours, has turned over all my library, till he has tapped a new and very great family for you: in short, by your mother it is very clear that you are descended from Hubert de Burgh, Grand Justiciary to Richard the Second: indeed I think he was hanged; but that is a misfortune that ill attend very illustrious genealogies; it is as common to them as to the pedigrees about Paddington and Blacieheath. I have had at least a dozen great-great-grandfathers that came to untimely ends. All your virtuosos in heraldry are content to know that they had ancestors who lived five hundred years ago, no matter how they died. A match with a low woman corrupts a stream of blood as long as the Danube, tyranny, villainy, and executions are mere fleabites, and leave no stain. The good Lord of Bath, whom I saw on Richmond-green this evening, did intend, I believe, to ennoble my genealogy with another execution: how low is he sunk now from those views! and how entertaining to have lived to see all those virtuous patriots proclaiming their mutual iniquities! Your friend Mr. Doddington, it seems, is so reduced as to be relapsing into virtue. In my last I told you some curious anecdotes of another part of the band, of Pope and Bolingbroke. The friends of the former have published twenty pamphlets against the latter; I say against the latter, for, as there is no defending Pope, they are reduced to satirize Bolingbroke. One of them tells him how little he would be known himself from his own writings, if he were not immortalized in Pope's; and still more justly, that if be destroys Pope's moral character, what will become of his own, which has been retrieved and sanctified by the embalming art of his friend? However, there are still new discoveries made every day of Pope's dirty selfishness. Not content with the great profits which he proposed to make of the work in question, he could not bear that the interest of his money should be lost till Bolingbroke's death; and therefore told him that it would cost very near as much to have the press set for half-a-dozen copies as it would for a complete edition, and by this means made Lord Bolingbroke pay very near the whole expense of the fifteen hundred. Another story I have been told on this occasion, was of a gentleman who, making a visit to Bishop Atterbury in France, thought to make his court by commending Pope. The Bishop replied not: the gentleman doubled the dose - at last the Bishop shook his head, and said, "Mens curva in corpore curvo!" The world will now think justly of these men: that Pope was the greatest poet, but not the most disinterested man in the world; and that Bolingbroke had not all those virtues and not all those talents which the other so proclaimed; and that be did not even deserve the friendship which lent him so much merit; and for the mere loan of which he dissembled attachment to Pope, to whom in his heart he was as perfidious and as false as he has been to the rest of the world.
The Duke of Devonshire has at last resigned, for the unaccountable and unenvied pleasure of shutting himself up at Chatsworth with his ugly mad Duchess;(49) the more extraordinary sacrifice, as he turned her head, rather than give up a favourite match for his son. She has consented to live with him there, and has even been with him in town for a few days, but did not see either her son or Lady Harrington. On his resignation he asked and obtained an English barony for Lord Besborough, whose son Lord Duncannon, you know, married the Duke's eldest daughter. I believe this is a great disappointment to my uncle, who hoped he would ask the peerage for him or Pigwiggin. The Duke of Marlborough succeeds as lord steward. Adieu!
(46) Henry Lowther, third Viscount Lonsdale, of the first creation. He was the second son of John, the first Viscount, and succeeded his elder brother Richard in the title in 1713. He was a lord of the bedchamber, and at one period of his life was privy seal.-D.
(47) Madame de Mirepoix, French ambassadress in England, to whom her father, Prince Craon, had written a letter of introduction for Horace Walpole.- D.
(48) Count Richcourt, and some Florentines, his creatures, had been very impertinent about Mr. Mann's family, which was very good, and which made it necessary to have his pedigree drawn out, and sent over to Florence.
(49) Coxe, in his Memoirs of Lord Walpole, vol ii. p. 264, says that the Duke of Devonshire resigned, because be was disgusted with the feuds in the cabinet, and perplexed with the jealous disposition of Newcastle and the desponding spirit of Pelham. He adds, " that the Duke was a man of sound judgment and unbiased integrity, and that Sir Robert Walpole used to declare, that, on a subject which required mature deliberation, he would prefer his sentiments to those of any other person in the kingdom."-E.
32 Letter 7 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, June 25, 1749.
Don't flatter yourself with your approaching year of jubilee; its pomps and vanities will be nothing to the shows and triumphs we have had, and are having. I talk like an Englishman: here you know we imagine that a jubilee is a season of pageants, not of devotion but our Sabbath has really been all tilt and tournament. There have been, I think, no less than eight masquerades, the fire-works, and a public act at Oxford: to-morrow is an installation of six Knights of the Bath, and in August of as many Garters: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday next, are the banquets(50) at Cambridge, for the instalment of the Duke of Newcastle as chancellor. The whole world goes to it: he has invited, summoned, pressed the entire body of nobility and gentry from all parts of England. His cooks have been there these ten days, distilling essences of every living creature, and massacring and confounding all the species that Noah and Moses took such pains to preserve and distinguish. It would be pleasant to see the pedants and professors searching for etymologies of strange dishes, and tracing more wonderful transformations than any in the Metamorphoses. How miserably Horace's unde et quo Catius will be hacked about in clumsy quotations! I have seen some that will be very unwilling performers at the creation of this ridiculous MaMaMOUChi.(51) I have set my heart on their giving a doctor's degree to the Duchess of Newcastle's favourite—this favourite is at present neither a lover nor an apothecary, but a common pig, that she brought from Hanover: I am serious; and Harry Vane, the new lord of the treasury, is entirely employed, when he is not -,it the Board, in opening and shutting the door for it. Tell me, don't you very often throw away my letters in a passion, and believe that I invent the absurdities I relate! Were not we as mad when you was in England?
The King, who has never dined out of his own palaces, has just determined to dine at Claremont to-morrow—all the cooks are at Cambridge; imagine the distress!
Last Thursday, the Monarch of my last paragraph gave away the six vacant ribands; one to a Margrave of Anspach, a near relation of the late Queen; others to the Dukes of leeds(52) and Bedford, lords Albemarle and Granville: the last, you may imagine gives some uneasiness. The Duke of Bedford has always been unwilling to take one, having tied himself up in the days of his patriotism to forfeit great sums if ever he did. The King told him one day this winter, that he would give none away but to him and to Anspach. This distinction struck him: he could not refuse the honour; but he has endeavoured to waive it, as one imagines, by a scruple he raised against the oath, which obliges the knights, whenever they are within two miles of Windsor, to go and offer. The King would not abolish the oath, but has given a general dispensation for all breaches of it, past, present, and to come. Lord Lincoln and Lord Harrington are very unhappy at not being in the list. The sixth riband is at last given to Prince George; the ministry could not prevail for it till within half an hour of the ceremony; then the Bishop of Salisbury was sent to notify the gracious intention. The Prince was at Kew, so the message was delivered to Prince George(53) himself. The child, with great good sense, desired the Bishop to give his duty and thanks, and to assure the King that he should always obey him; but that, as his father was out of town, he could send no other answer. Was not it clever? The design of not giving one riband to the Prince's children had made great noise; there was a Remembrancer(54) on that subject ready for the press. This is the Craftsman of the present age, and is generally levelled at the Duke,(55) and filled with very circumstantial cases of his arbitrary behaviour. It has absolutely written down Hawly, his favourite general and executioner, who was to have been upon the staff.
Garrick is married to the famous Violette, first at a Protestant, and then at a Roman Catholic chapel. The chapter of this history is a little obscure and uncertain as to the consent of the protecting Countess,(56) and whether she gives her a fortune or not.
Adieu! I believe I tell you strange rhapsodies; but you must consider that our follies are not only very extraordinary, but are our business and employment; they enter into our politics, nay, I think They are our politics(57)—and I don't know which are the simplest. they are Tully's description of poetry, "haec studia juventutem alunt, senectutem oblectant; pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusticantur:" so if you will that I write to you, you must be content with a detail of absurdities. I could tell you of Lord Mountford's(58) making cricket-matches, and fetching up parsons by express from different parts of England to play matches on Richmond-green; of his keeping aide-de-camps to ride to all parts to lay bets for him at horse-races, and of twenty other peculiarities; but I fancy you are tired: in short, you, who know me, will comprehend all best when I tell you that I live in such a scene of folly as makes me even think myself a creature of common sense.
(50) Gray, in giving an account of the installation to his friend Wharton, says, "Every one, while it lasted, was very gay and very busy in the morning, and very owlish and very tipsy at night. I make no exceptions, from the Chancellor to Blewcoat. Mason's Ode was the only entertainment that had any tolerable elegance, and for my own part, I think it (with some little abatements) uncommonly well on such an occasion. Works, vol. iii. p. 67.-E.
(51) See Moli'ere's Bourgeois Gentilhomme; in which the nouveau riche is persuaded that the Grand Seigneur has made him a mamamouchi, a knight of an imaginary order, and goes through the ceremony of a mock installation.-E.
(52) Thomas Osborne, fourth Duke of Leeds.—D.
(53) Afterwards George the Third.-D.
(54) A weekly paper edited by Ralph. It was undertaken a short time previous to the rebellion, to serve the purposes of Bubb Doddington; in whose Diary Ralph is frequently mentioned with especial approbation.—E.
(55) The Duke of Cumberland-D.
(56) Dorothy, Countess of Burlington. The Violette was a German dancer, first at the Opera and then at the playhouse; and in such favour at Burlington-house, that the tickets for her benefits were designed by Kent, and engraved by Vertue. [In the Gentleman's Magazine, the lady is stated to have brought Garrick a fortune of ten thousand pounds.)
(57) This was frequently the case while the Duke of Newcastle and Mr.-Pelham were ministers; it was true, that in the case of the Violette just mentioned, one night that she had advertised three dances and danced but two, Lord Bury and some young men of fashion began a riot, and would have had her sent from Burlington-House. It being feared that she would be hissed on her next appearance, and Lord Hartington, the cherished of Mr. Pelham, being son-in-law of Lady Burlington, the ministry were in great agitation to secure a good reception for the Violette from the audience, and the Duke was even desired to order Lord Bury (one of his lords) not to hiss.
(58) Henry Bromley, first Lord Montfort, so created in 1741. He died in 1755.-D.
35 Letter 8 To George Montagu, Esq. Mistley, July 5, 1749.
Dear George, I have this moment received your letter, and it makes me very unhappy,. You will think me a brute for not having immediately told you how glad I should be to see you and your sisters; but I trust that you will have seen Mrs. Boscawen, by whom I sent you a message to invite you to Strawberry Hill, when we should be returned from Roel and Mistley. I own my message had rather a cross air; but as you have retrieved all your crimes with me by your letter, I have nothing to do but to make myself as well with you as you are with me. Indeed I am extremely unlucky, but I flatter myself that Messrs. Montagus will not drop their kind intention, as it is not in my power to receive it now: they will give me infinite pleasure by a visit. I stay there till Monday se'nnight; will that be too late to see you before your journey to Roel? You must all promise, at least, to be engaged to me at my return. If the least impediment happens afterwards, I shall conclude my brother has got you from me; you know jealousy is the mark of my family.
Mr. Rigby makes you a thousand compliments, and wishes you would ever think his Roel worth your seeing: you cannot imagine how he has improved it! You have always heard me extravagant in the praises of the situation. he has demolished all his paternal intrenchments of walls and square gardens, opened lawns, swelled out a bow-window, erected a portico, planted groves, stifled ponds, and flounce himself with flowering shrubs and Kent fences. You may imagine that I have a little hand in all this. Since I came hither, I have projected a colonnade to join his mansion to the offices, have been the death of a tree that intercepted the view of the bridge, for which, too, I have drawn a white rail, and shall be absolute travelling Jupiter at Baucis and Philemon's; for I have persuaded him to transform a cottage into a church, by exalting a spire upon the end of it, as Talbot has done. By the way, I have dined at the Vineyard.(59) I dare not trust you with what I think, but I was a little disappointed. To-morrow we go to the ruins of the Abbey of St. Osyth; it is the seat of the Rochfords, but I never chose to go there while they were there. You will probably hear from Mr. Lyttelton (if in any pause of love he rests) that I am going to be first minister to the Prince: in short, I have occasioned great speculation, and diverted myself with the important mysteries that have been alembicked out of a trifle. In short, he had seen my AEdes Walpolianae at Sir Luke Schaub's, and sent by him to desire one. I sent him one bound quite in coronation robes, and went last Sunday to thank him for the honour. There were all the new knights of the garter. After the prince had whispered through every curl of lord Granville's periwig, he turned to me, and said such a crowd of civil things that I did not know what to answer; commended the style and the quotations; said I had sent him back to his Livy; in short, that there were but two things he disliked—one, that I had not given it to him of my own accord, and the other, that I had abused his friend Andrea del Sarto; and that he insisted, when I came to town again, I should come and see two very fine ones that he has lately bought of that master. This drew on a very long conversation on painting, every word of which I suppose will be reported at the other court as a plan of opposition for the winter. Prince George was not there: when he went to receive the riband, the Prince carried him to the closet door, where the Duke of Dorset received and carried him. Ayscough,(60) or Nugent. or some of the geniuses, had taught him a speech; the child began it', the Prince cried "No, no!" When the boy had a little recovered his fright, he began again; but the same tremendous sounds were repeated, and the oration still-born.
I believe that soon I shall have a pleasanter tale to tell you; it is said my Lady Anson, not content with the profusion of the absurdities she utters, (by the way, one of her sayings, and extremely in the style of Mr. Lyttelton's making love, was, as she sat down to play at brag at the corner of a square table: Lady Fitzwalter said she was sorry she had not better room; "O! Madam," said my Lady Anson, "I can sit like a nightingale, with my breast against a thorn;") in short, that, not content with so much wit, she proposes to entertain the town to the tune of Doctors' Commons. She does not mince her disappointments: here is an epigram that has been made on the subject:-
"As Anson his voyage to my lady was reading, And recounting his dangers—thank God she's not breeding! He came to the passage, where, like the old Roman, He stoutly withstood the temptation of woman; The Baroness smiled; when continuing, he said, "Think what terror must there fill the poor lover's head." "Alack!" quoth my lady, "he had nothing to fear, Were that Scipio as harmless as you are, my dear."
(59) Mr. Chute's.
(60) Francis Ayscough, Dean of Bristol, tutor to Prince George.-E.
36 Letter 9 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, July 20th, 1749.
I am returned to my Strawberry, and find it in such beauty, that I shall be impatient till I see you and your sisters here. They must excuse me if I don't marry for their reception; for it is said the Drax's have impeached fifteen more damsels, and till all the juries of matrons have finished their inquest, one shall not care to make one's choice: I was going to say, "throw one's handkerchief," but at present that term would be a little equivocal.
As I came to town I was extremely entertained with some excursions I made out of the road in search of antiquities. At Layer Marney is a noble old remnant of the palace of the Lords of Marney, with three very good tombs in the church well preserved. At Messing I saw an extreme fine window of painted glass in the church; it is the duties prescribed in the Gospel of visiting the sick and prisoners, etc. I mistook, and called it the seven deadly sins. There is a very old tomb of Sir Robert Messing, that built the church. The hall-place is a fragment of an old house belonging to Lord Grimston;(61) Lady Luckyn his mother, of fourscore and six, lives in it with an old son and daughter. The servant who showed it told us much history of another brother that had been parson there: this history was entirely composed of the anecdotes of the doctor's drinking. who, as the man told us, had been a blood. There are some Scotch arms taken from the rebels in the '15, and many old coats of arms on glass brought from Newhall, which now belongs to Olmius. Mr. Conyers bought a window(62) there for only a hundred pounds, on which is painted Harry the Eighth and one of his queens at full length: he has put it up at Copt-hall, a seat which he has bought that belonged to Lord North and Grey. You see I persevere in my heraldry. T'other day the parson of Rigby's parish dined with us; he has conceived as high an opinion of my skill in genealogies, as if I could say the first chapter of Matthew by heart. Rigby drank my health to him, and that I might come to be garter king at arms: the poor man replied with great zeal, "I wish he may with all my heart." Certainly, I am born to preferment; I gave an old woman a penny once, who prayed that I might live to be lord mayor of London! What pleased me most in my travels was Dr. Sayer's parsonage at Witham, which, with Southcote's help, whose old Roman Catholic father lives just by him, he has made one of the most charming villas in England. There are sweet meadows falling down a hill, and rising again on t'other side of the pretiest little winding stream you ever saw. You did not at all surprise me with the relation of the keeper's brutality to your family, or of his master's to the dowager's handmaid. His savage temper increases every day. George Boscawen is in a scrape with him by a court-martial, of which he is one; it was appointed on a young poor soldier, who to see his friends had counterfeited a furlough only for a day. They ordered him two hundred lashes; but Molkejunskoi, who loves blood like a leech, insisted it was not enough-has made them sit three times (though every one adheres to the first sentence,) and swears they shall sit these six months till they increase the punishment. The fair Mrs. Pitt has been mobbed in the Park, and with difficulty rescued by some gentlemen, only because this bashaw is in love with her. You heard, I suppose, of his other amour with the Savoyard girl. He sent her to Windsor and offered her a hundred pounds, which she refused because he was a heretic; he sent her back on foot. Inclosed is a new print on this subject, which I think has more humour than I almost ever saw in one of that sort.
Should I not condole with you upon the death of the head of the Cues?(63) If' you have not heard his will, I will tell you. The settled estate of eight thousand a year is to go between the two daughters, out of which is a jointure of three thousand a year to the Duchess-dowager, and to that he has added a thousand more out of the unsettled estate, which is nine thousand. He gives, together with his blessing, four thousand per annum rent-charge to the Duchess of Manchester in present, provided she will contest nothing with her sister, who is to have all the rest, and the reversion of the whole after Lady Cardigan and her children; but in case she disputes, Lady Hinchinbrooke and hers are in the entail next to the Cardigans, who are to take the Montagu name and livery. I don't know what Mr. Hussey will think of the blessing, but they say his Duchess will be inclined to mind it; she always wanted to be well with her father, but hated her mother. There are two codicils, one in favour of his servants, and the other of' his dogs, cats, and creatures; which was a little unnecessary, for lady Cardigan has exactly his turn for saving every thing's life. As he was making the codicil, One of his cats jumped on his knee; "What," says he, "have you a mind to be a witness too! You can't, for you are a party concerned." Lord Stafford is going to send his poor wife with one maid and one horse to a farm-house in Shropshire for ever. The Mirepoix's are come; but I have not yet seen them. A thousand compliments to your sisters.
(61) Sir Samuel Grimston, Bart. left an heiress, who married Sir Capel Luckyn, bart. Their son changed his name to Grimston, and was created a baron and a Viscount.
(62) This window is now in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.
(63) John, Duke of Montague.
38 letter 10 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, July 24, 1749.
You and Dr. Cocchi have made me ashamed with the civilities you showed to my book-I hope it blushed!
You have seen the death of the Duke of Montagu(64) in all the papers. His loss will be extremely felt! he paid no less than 2700 pounds a year in private pensions, which ought to be known, to balance the immense history of his places; of which he was perpetually obtaining new, and making the utmost of all: he had quartered on the great wardrobe no less than thirty nominal tailors and arras-workers. - This employment is to be dropped; his others are not yet given away. My father had a great opinion of his understanding, and at the beginning of the war was most desirous of persuading him to be Generalissimo; but the Duke was very diffident of himself, and, having seen little service, would not accept it, In short, with some foibles, he was a most amiable man, and one of the most feeling I ever knew. His estate is 17,000 pounds a year; the Duchess of Manchester must have four of it; all the rest he has given, after four thousand a year to the Duchess-dowager shall fall in, to his other daughter Lady Cardigan. Lord Vere Beauclerc(65) has thrown his into the list of vacant employments: he resigned his lordship of the admiralty on Anson's being preferred to him for vice-admiral of England; but what heightened the disgust, was Lord Vere's going to a party to visit the docks with Sandwich and Anson, after this was done, and yet they never mentioned it to him. It was not possible to converse with them upon good terms every day afterwards. You perceive our powers and places are in a very fluctuating situation: the Prince will have a catalogue of discontented ready to fill the whole civil list. My Lord Chancellor was terrified the other day with a vision of such a revolution; he saw Lord Bath kiss hands, and had like to have dropped the seals with the agony of not knowing what it was for—it was only for his going to Spa. However, as this is an event which the Chancellor has never thought an impossible one, he is daily making Christian preparation against it. He has just married his other daughter to Sir John Heathcote's son;(66) a Prince little inferior to Pigwiggin in person; and procreated in a greater bed of money and avarice than Pigwiggin himself: they say, there is a peerage already promised to him by the title of Lord Normanton. The King has consented to give two earldoms to replace the great families of Somerset and Northumberland in their descendants; Lady Betty Smithson is to have the latter title after the Duke of Somerset's death, and Sir Charles Windham any other appellation he shall choose. You know Lord Granville had got a grant of Northumberland for him, but it was stopped. These two hang a little, by the Duke of Somerset's wanting to have the earldom for his son-in-law,(67) instead of his daughter.(68)
You ask me about the principles of the Methodists: I have tried to learn them, and have read one of their books. The visible part seems to be nothing but stricter practice than that of our church, clothed in the old exploded cant of mystical devotion. For example, you take a metaphor; we will say our passions are weeds; you immediately drop every description of the passions, and adopt every thing peculiar to weeds: in five minutes a true Methodist will talk with the greatest compunction of hoeing—this catches women of fashion and shopkeepers.
I have now a request to make to you: Mrs. Gibberne is extremely desirous of having her son come to England for a short time. There is a small estate left to the family, I think by the uncle; his presence is absolutely necessary: however, the poor woman is so happy in his situation with you, that she talks Of giving up every thing rather than disoblige you by fetching him to England. She has been so unfortunate as to lose a favourite daughter ' that was just married greatly to a Lisbon merchant: the girl was so divided in her affections, that she had a mind not to have followed her husband to Portugal. Mrs. Leneve, to comfort the poor woman, told her what a distress this would have been either way: she was so struck with this position, that she said, "Dear Madam, it is very lucky she died!"—and since that, she has never cried, but for joy! Though it is impossible not to smile at these awkward sensations of unrefined nature, yet I am sure your good nature will agree with me in giving the poor creature this satisfaction; and therefore I beg it. Adieu!
(64) John, the last Duke of Montague, was knight of the garter, great master of the order of the Bath, master of the great wardrobe, Colonel of the Blues, etc. etc.
(65) Lord Vere Beauclerc, brother of the Duke of St. Albans, afterwards created Lord Vere of Hanworth.
(66) Sir John Heathcote, Bart. of Normanton Park, in Rutlandshire. He was the son of Sir Gilbert Heathcote, Lord Mayor of London, who acquired a vast fortune, and was created a baronet in 1733. Sir John's son, Sir Gilbert, the third baronet, married to his first wife, Margaret, youngest daughter of the Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.-D.
(67) Sir Hugh Smithson.
(68) The Duke of Somerset was eventually created Earl of Northumberland with remainder to Sir Hugh Smithson, and Earl of Egremont with remainder to Sir Charles Wyndham.-D.
40 Letter 11 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, Aug. 17, 1749.
I hear of nothing but your obliging civilities to the Barrets:(69) I don't wonder you are attentive to please; my amazement is, when I find it well distributed: you have all your life been making Florence agreeable to every body that came there, who have almost all forgot it—or worse. But Mr. and Mrs. Barret do you justice, and as they are very sensible and agreeable, I am persuaded you will always find that they know how to esteem such goodness as yours. Mr. Chute has, this morning received here a letter from Mr. ]Barret, and will answer it very soon. Mr. Montagu is here too, and happy to hear he is so -well, and recommends several compliments to your conveyance.
Your brother mentions your being prevented writing to me, by the toothache: I hate you should have any pain.
You always let us draw upon you for such weight of civilities to any body we recommend, that if I did not desire to show my attention, and the regard I have for Count LorenZi,(70) yet it would be burning ingratitude not to repay you. I have accordingly been trying to be very civil to the Chevalier; I did see him Once at Florence. To-morrow I am to fetch him hither to dinner, from Putney, where the Mirepoix's have got a house. I gave Madame her father's simple letter, of which she took no more notice than it deserved; but Prince Beauvau(71) has written her a very particular one about me, and is to come over himself in the winter to make me a visit: this has warmed their politesse. I should have known the Ambassadress any where by the likeness to her family. He is cold and stately, and not much tasted here. She is very sensible; but neither of them satisfy me in one point; I wanted to see something that was the quintessence of the newest bon ton, that had the last bel air, and spoke the freshest jargon. These people have scarce ever lived at Paris, are reasonable, and little amusing with follies. They have brought a cousin of' his, a Monsieur de Levi, who has a tantino of what I wanted to see. You know they pique themselves much upon their Jewish name, and call cousins with the Virgin Mary. They have a picture in the family, where she is made to say to the founder of the house, "Couvrez vous, Mon cousin." He replies, "Non pas, ma tr'es sainte cousine, je scai trop bien le respect que je vous dois."(72)
There is nothing like news: Kensington Palace was like to have made an article the other night; it was on fire: my Lady Yarmouth has an ague, and is forced to keep a constant fire in her room against the damps. When my Lady Suffolk lived in that apartment, the floor produced a constant crop of mushrooms. Though there are so many vacant chambers, the King hoards all he can, and has locked up half the palace since the queen's death: so he does at St. James's, and I believe would put the rooms out on interest, if he could get a closet a year for them! Somebody told my Lady Yarmouth they wondered she could live in that unwholesome apartment, when there are so many other rooms: she replied, "Mais pas pour moy."
The scagliola tables are arrived, and only one has suffered a little on the edge: the pattern is perfectly pretty. It would oblige me much if you could make the Friar make a couple more for me, and with a little more expedition.
Don't be so humble about your pedigree: there is not a pipe of good blood in the kingdom but we will tap for you: Mr. Chute has it now in painting; and you may depend on having it with the most satisfactory proofs, as soon as it can possibly be finished. He has taken great pains, and fathomed half the genealogies in England for you.
You have been extremely misinformed about my father's writing his own history: I often pressed it, but he never once threw a thought that way. He neither loved reading nor writing; and at last, the only time he had leisure, was not well enough. He used to say, "that but few men should ever be ministers, for it let them see too much of the badness of mankind." Your story, I imagine, was inoculated on this speech. Adieu!
(69) Thomas Barrett-Lennard, afterwards Lord Dacre of the South, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Lord Chief Justice Pratt, afterwards Lord Camden.
(70) The French minister at Florence.
(71) The brother of Madame de Mirepoix, afterwards a marshal of France.-D.
(72) There is said to have been another equally absurd picture in the same family, in which Noah is represented going into the ark, carrying under his arm a small trunk, on which was written "Papiers de la maison de Levis."-D.
42 Letter 12 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, August 26, 1749.
Dear George, I flatter myself that you are quite recovered of your disorder, and that your sisters will not look with an evil eye on Strawberry Hill. Mr. Chute and I are returned from our expedition miraculously well, considering all our distresses. If you love good roads, conveniences, good inns, plenty of postilions and horses, be so kind as never to go into Sussex. We thought ourselves in the northest part of England; the whole country has a Saxon air, and the inhabitants are savage, as if King George the Second had been the first monarch of the East Angles. Coaches grow there no more than balm and spices; we were forced to drop our postchaise, that resembled nothing so much as harlequin's calash, which was occasionally a chaise or a baker's cart. We journeyed over Alpine mountains, drenched in clouds, and thought of harlequin again, when he was driving the chariot of the sun through the morning clouds, and so was glad to hear the aqua vitae man crying a dram. At last we got to Arundel Castle, which was visibly built for defence in an impracticable country. It is now only a heap of ruins, with a new indifferent apartment clapt up for the Norfolks, when they reside there for a week or a fortnight. Their priest showed us about. There are the walls of a round tower where the garrison held out against Cromwell; he planted a battery on the top of the church, and reduced them. There is a gloomy gateway and dunccons, in one of which I conclude is kept the old woman who, in the time of the late rebellion, offered to show Lord Robert Sutton(73) where arms were hidden at Worksop.(74) The Duchess complimented him into dining before his search, and in the mean time the woman was spirited away, and adieu the arms. There are fine monuments of the old Fitzalans, Earls of Arundel, in the church. Mr. Chute, whom I have created Strawberry king at arms, has had brave sport a la chasse aux armes.
We are charmed with the magnificence of the park at Petworth,(75) which is Percy to the backbone; but the house and garden did not please our antiquarian spirit. The house is entirely new-fronted in the style of the Tu'lleries, and furnished exactly like Hampton Court. There is one room gloriously flounced all round whole-length pictures, with much the finest carving of Gibbins that ever my eyes beheld. There are birds absolutely feathered; and two antique vases with bas relieves, as perfect and beautiful as if they were carved by a Grecian master. There is a noble Claude Lorrain, a very curious Picture of the haughty Anne Stanhope, the Protector's wife,(76) pretty but not giving one an idea of her character, and many old portraits; but the housekeeper was at London, and we did not learn half. The chapel is grand and proper. At the inn we entertained ourselves with the landlord, whom my Lord Harvey had cabineted when he went to woo one of the Lady Seymours.
Our greatest pleasure was in seeing Cowdry, which is repairing; Lord Montacute(77) will at last live in it. We thought of old Margaret of Clarence, who lived there; one of her accusations was built on the bulls found there. It was the palace of her great uncle, the Marquis of Montacute. I was charmed with the front, and the court, and the fountain; but the room called Holbein's, except the curiosity of it, is wretchedly painted, and infinitely inferior to those delightful stories of Harry the Eighth in the private apartment at Windsor. I was much pleased with a whole length picture of Sir Anthony Brown in the very dress in which he wedded Anne of Cleves by proxy. He is in blue and white, only his right leg is entirely white, which was certainly robed for the act of putting into bed to her; but when the King came to marry her, he only put his leg into bed to kick her out of it.
I have set up my staff, and finished my pilgrimages for this year. Sussex is a great damper of curiosity. Adieu! my compliments to your sisters.
(73) lord Robert Sutton, third son of the Duke of rutland.
(74) A seat of the Duke of Norfolk in Nottinghamshire.
(75) A seat of Sir Charles Wyndham, who succeeded to the title of Earl of Egremont on the death of his uncle Algernon, Duke of Somerset.
(76) Second wife of Edward, Duke of Somerset, Protector in the reign of his nephew, Edward VI.-E.
(77) Anthony, the sixth Viscount Montagu, descended from Anthony Brown, created Viscount Montagu in 1554, being descended from John Neville, Marquis of Montagu.
43 Letter 13 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 12, 1749,
I have your two letters to answer of August 15th and 26, and, as far as I see before me, have a great deal of paper, which I don't know how to fill. The town is notoriously empty; at Kensington they have scarce company enough to pay for lighting the candles. The Duke has been for a week with the Duke of Bedford at Woburn; Princess Emily remains, saying civil things; for example, the second time she saw Madame de Mircpoix, she cried out, "Ah! Madame, vous n'avez pas tant de rouge aujourd'hui: la premi'ere fois que vous 'etes 'a not venue ici, vous aviez une quantit'e horrible." This the Mirepoix herself repeated to me; you may imagine her astonishment,—I mean, as far as your duty will give you leave. I like her extremely; she has a great deal of quiet sense. They try much to be English and whip into frocks without measure, and fancy they are doing the fashion. Then she has heard so much of that villanous custom of giving money to the servants of other people, that there is no convincing her that women of fashion never give; she distributes with both hands. The Chevalier Lorenzi has dined with me here: I gave him venison, and, as he was determined to like it, he protested it was "as good as beef." You will be delighted with what happened to him: he was impatient to make his brother's compliments to Mr. Chute, and hearing somebody at Kensington call Mr. Schutz, he easily mistook the sound, and went up to him, and asked him if he had not been at Florence! Schutz with the utmost Hanoverian gravity, replied, "Oui, oui, J'ai 'et'e 'a Florence, oui, oui:—mais o'u est-il, ce Florence?"
The Richcourts(78) are arrived, and have brought with them a strapping lad of your Count; sure, is it the boy my Lady O. used to bring up by hand? he is pretty picking for her now. The woman is handsome, but clumsy to a degree, and as much too masculine as her lover Rice is too little so. Sir Charles Williams too is arrived, and tells me how much he has heard in your praise in Germany. Villettes is here, but I have had no dealings with him. I think I talk nothing but foreign ministers to-day, as if I were just landed from the Diet of Ratisbon. But I shall have done on this chapter, and I think on all others, for you say such extravagant things of my letters, which are nothing but Gossiping gazettes, that I cannot bear it. Then you have undone yourself with me, for you compare them to Madame Sevign'e,'s; absolute treason! Do you know, there is scarce a book in the world I love so much as her letters?
How infinitely humane you are about Gibberne! Shall I amuse you with the truth of that history, which I have discovered? The woman, his mother, has pressed his coming for a very private reason—only to make him one of the most considerable men in this country!-and by what wonderful means do you think this mighty business is to be effected? only by the beauties of his person! As I remember, he was as little like an Adonis as could be: you must keep this inviolably; but depend upon the truth of it-I mean, that his mother really has this idea. She showed his picture to—why, to the Duchess of Cleveland, to the Duchess of Portsmouth, to Madame Pompadour; in short, to one of them, I don't know which, I only know it was not to my Lady Suffolk, the King's former mistress. "Mon Dieu! Madame, est-il frai que fotrc fils est si sholi que ce bortrait? il faut que je le garte; je feux apsolument l'afoir." The woman protested nothing ever was so handsome as her lad, and that the nasty picture did not do him half justice. In short, she flatters herself that the Countess(79) will do him whole justice-. I don't think it impossible but, out of charity, she may make him groom of the chambers. I don't know, indeed, how the article of beauty may answer; but if you should lose your Gibberne, it is good to have @ a friend at court.
Lord Granby is going to be married to the eldest of the Lady Seymours; she has above a hundred and thirty thousand pounds. The Duke of Rutland will take none of it, but gives at present six thousand a-year.
That I may keep my promise to myself of having nothing to tell you I shall bid you good night; but I really do know no more. Don't whisper my anecdote even to Gibberne, if he is not yet set out; nor to the Barrets. I wish you a merry, merry baths of Pisa, as the link-boys say at Vauxhall. Adieu!
(78) Count Richcourt, brother of the minister at Florence, and envoy from the Emperor; his wife was a Piedmontese.
(79) Lady Yarmouth.
45 Letter 14 To John Chute, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 22, 1749.
My dear sir, I expect Sir Charles Williams to scold me excessively. He wrote me a letter, in which he desired that I would send you word by last Post, that he expected to meet you here by Michaelmas, according to your promise. I was unfortunately at London; the letter was directed hither from Lord Ilchester's, where he is; and so I did not receive it till this morning. I /hope, however, this will be time enough to put you in mind of your appointment; but while I am so much afraid of Sir Charles's anger, I seem to forget the pleasure I shall have in seeing you myself; I hope you know that: but he is still The more pressing, as he will stay so little time in England. Adieu!
45 Letter 15 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 28, 1749.
I am much obliged to you, dear sir, and agree with your opinion about the painting of Prince Edward, that it cannot be original and authentic, and consequently not worth copying. Lord Cholmondeley is, indeed, an original; but who are the wise people that build for him? Sir Philip Harvey seems to be the only person likely to be benefited by this new extravagance. I have just seen a collection of tombs like those you describe— the house of Russel robed in alabaster and painted. There are seven monuments in all; one is immense, in marble, cherubim'd and seraphim'd, crusted with bas-reliefs and titles, for the first Duke of Bedford and his Duchess.(80) All these are in a chapel of the church at Cheneys, the seat of the first Earls. There are but piteous fragments of the house remaining, now a farm, built round three sides of a court. It is dropping down, in several places without a roof, but in half the windows are beautiful arms in painted glass. As these are so totally neglected, I propose making a push, and begging them of the Duke of Bedford. They would be magnificent for Strawberry-castle. Did I tell you that I have found a text in Deuteronomy to authorize my future battlements? "When thou buildest a new house, then shalt thou make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall from thence."
I saw Cheneys at a visit I have been making to Harry Conway at Latimers. This house, which they have hired, is large, and bad, and old, but of a bad age; finely situated on a hill in a beech wood, with a river at the bottom, and a range of hills and woods on the opposite side belonging to the Duke of Bedford. They are fond of it; the view is melancholy. In the church at Cheneys Mr. Conway put on an old helmet we found there: you cannot imagine how it suited him, how antique and handsome he looked; you would have taken him for Rinaldo. Now I have dipped you so deep in heraldry and genealogies, I shall beg you to step into the church of Stoke; I know it is not asking you to do, a disagreeable thing to call there; I want an account of the tomb of the first Earl of Huntingdon, an ancestor of mine, who lies there. I asked Gray, but he could tell me little about it. You know how out of humour Gray has been about our diverting ourselves with pedigrees, which is at least as wise as making a serious point of haranguing against the study. I believe neither Mr. Chute nor I ever contracted a moment's vanity from any of our discoveries, or ever preferred them to any thing but brag and whist. Well, Gray has set himself to compute, and has found out that there must go a million of ancestors in twenty generations to every body's composition.
I dig and plant till it is dark; all my works are revived and proceeding. When will you come and assist? You know I have an absolute promise, and shall now every day expect you. My compliments to your sisters.
(80) Anne, daughter of Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset.
46 Letter 16 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, October 27, 1749.
You never was more conveniently in fault in your life: I have been going to make you excuses these ten days for not writing; and while I was inventing them, your humble letter of Oct. 10th arrives. I am so glad to find it is you that are to blame, not I. Well, well, I am all good nature, I forgive you; I can overlook such little negligences.
Mr. Chute is indefatigable in your service, but Anstis(81) has been very troublesome; he makes as many difficulties in signing a certificate about folks that are dead as if they were claiming an estate. I am sorry you are so pressed, for poor Mr. Chute is taken off from this pursuit: he was fetched from hence this day se'nnight to his infernal brother's, where a Mrs. Mildmay, whom you must have heard him mention, is dead suddenly: this may turn out a very great misfortune to our friend.
Your friend, Mr. Doddington, has not quite stuck to the letter of the declaration he sent you: he is first minister at Carlton-house, and is to lead the Opposition; but the misfortune is, nobody will be led by him. That whole court is in disorder by this event: every body else laughs.
I am glad the Barrets please you, and that I have pleased Count Lorenzi. I must tell a speech of the Chevalier, which you will reconnoitre for Florentine; one would think he had seen no more of the world than his brother.(82) He was visiting Lady Yarmouth with Mirepoix: he drew a person into a window, and whispered him; Dites moi un peu en ami, je vous en prie; qu'est ce que c'est que Miledi Yarmouth."—"Eh! bien, vous ne savez pas?"—"Non, ma foi: nous savons ce que c'est que Miledi Middlesex.,"
Gibberne is arrived. I don't tell you this apropos to the foregoing paragraph: he has wanted to come hither, but I have waived his visit till I am in town.
I announce to you the old absurd Countess—not of Orford, but Pomfret. Bistino will have enough to do: there is Lady Juliana,(83) who is very like, but not so handsome as Lady Granville; 'and Lady Granville's little child. They are actually in France; I don't doubt but you will have them. I shall pity you under a second edition of her follies. Adieu! Pray ask my pardon for my writing you so short a letter.
(81) Garter King at Arms. (It was to him Lord Chesterfield said, "You foolish man, you do not know your own foolish business."-D.)
(82) Who had never been out of Tuscany.
(83) In 1751 married to Thomas Penn, Esq. of Stoke Pogies. See ant'e, p. 13, letter 1.-E.
47 Letter 17 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Nov. 17, 1749.
At last I have seen le beau Gibberne: I was extremely glad to see him, after I had done contemplating his person, which surely was never designed to figure in a romance. I never saw a creature so grateful! It is impossible not to be touched with the attachment he has for you. He talks of returning; and, indeed, I would advise it for his sake: he is quite spoiled for living in England, and had entirely forgot what Visigoths his countrymen are. But I must drop him to thank you for the charming intaglio which you have stolen for me by his means: it is admired as much as it deserves; but with me it has all the additional merit of coming from you. Gibberne says you will be frightened at a lamentable history(84 that you will read of me in the newspapers; but pray don't be frightened: -the danger, great as it was, was over before I had any notion of it; and the hurt did not deserve mentioning. The relation is so near the truth, that I need not repeat it; and, indeed, the frequent repetition has 'Been much worse than the robbery. I have at last been relieved by the riots(85) at the new French theatre, and by Lord Coke's lawsuit.(86) The first has been opened twice; the latter to-day. The young men of fashion, who espouse the French players, have hitherto triumphed: the old ladies, who countenance Lady Mary Coke, are likely to have their gray beards brought with sorrow to the grave. It will ,be a new aera, (or, as my Lord Baltimore calls it, a new area,) in English history, to have the mob and the Scotch beat out of two points that they have endeavoured to make national. I dare say the Chevalier Lorenzi will write ample accounts to Florence of these and all our English phenomena. I think, if possible, we brutalize more and more: the only difference is, that though every thing is anarchy, there seems to be less general party than ever. The humours abound, but there wants some notable physician to bring them to a head.
The Parliament met yesterday: we had opposition, but no division on the address.
Now the Barrets have left you, Mr. Chute and I will venture to open our minds to you a little; that is, to comfort you for the loss of your friends - we will abuse them—that is enough in the way of the world. Mr. Chute had no kind of acquaintance with Mr. Barret till just before he set out: I, who have known him all my life, must tell you that all those nerves are imaginary, and that as long as there are distempers in the world, he will have one or two constantly upon his list. I don't know her; I never heard much of her understanding, but I had rather take your opinion; or at least, if I am not absolutely so complaisant, I will believe that you was determined to like them on Mr. Chute's account. I would not speak so plainly to you (and have not I been very severe?) if I were not sure that your good nature would not relax any offices of friendship to them. You will scold me black and blue; but you know I always tell you when the goodness of your heart makes you borrow a little from that of other people to lend to their heads. Good night!
(84) Mr. Walpole had been robbed the week before in Hyde Park, and narrowly escaped being killed by the accidental going off of the highwayman's pistol, which did stun him, and took off the skin of his cheekbone.
(85) The mob was determined not to suffer French Players; and Lord Trentham's engaging in their defence was made great use, of against him at the ensuing election for Westminster; where he was to be rechosen, on being appointed a lord of the admiralty.
(86) Lady Mary Coke swore the peace against her husband.
48 letter 18 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Jan. 10, 1750.
I don't at all know what to say to you, for not having writ to you since the middle of November: I only know that nothing has happened, and so I have omitted telling you nothing. I have had two from you in the interim, one of Nov. @8th, and one without a date, in which you are extremely kind about my robbery, of which in my last I assured you there were no consequences: thank you a thousand times for having felt so much on my account. Gibberne has been with me again to-day, as his mother was a fortnight ago: she talked me to death, and three times after telling me her whole history, she said, "Well then, Sir, upon the whole," and began it all again. Upon the whole, I think she has a mind to keep her son in England; (-ind he has a mind to be kept, though in my opinion he is very unfit for living in England—he is too polished! For trade, she says, he is in a cold sweat if she mentions it; and so they propose, by the acquaintance, he says,. his mother has among the quality, to get him that nothing called something. I assured them, you had too much friendship for him to desire his return, if it would be a prejudice to his interest—did not I say right? He seems a good creature; too good to make his way here.
I beg you will not omit sending me every tittle that happens to compose my Lady Pomfret's second volume. We see perpetual articles of the sale of the furniture in the Great Duke's villas: is there any truth in it? You would know me again, if you saw me playing at pharaoh on one side of Madame de Mirepoix, as I used to do by her mother: I like her extremely, though she likes nothing but gaming. His pleasure is dancing: don't you envy any body that can have spirits to be so simple as to like themselves in a minuet after fifty? Don't tell his brother, but the Chevalier Lorenzi is the object of the family's entertainment. With all the Italian thirst for English knowledge, he vents as many absurdities as if he had a passion for Ireland too. He saw some of the Florentine Gesses at Lord Lincoln's; he showed them to the Ambassadress with great transport, and assured her that the Great Duke had the originals, and that there never had been made any copies of them. He told her the other day that he had seen a sapphire of the size of her diamond ring,,, and worth more: she said that could not be. "Oh!" said he, "I mean, supposing your diamond were a sapphire."
I want to know Dr. Cocchi's and your opinion of two new French books, if you have seen them. One is Montesquieu's "Esprit des Loix;" which I think the best book that ever was written—at least I never learned half so much from all I ever read. There is )s much wit as useful knowledge. He is said to have hurt his reputation by it in France, which I can conceive, for it is almost the interest of every body there that can understand it to decry it. The other, far inferior, but entertaining,, is Hainault's "Abrege Chronologique de l'Histoire de France." It is very amusing, though very full of Frenchisms; and though an abridgment, often so minute as to tell you when the Quinzevingts first wore flower-de-luces on their shoulders: but there are several little circumstances that give one an idea of the manners of old time, like Dr. Cocchi's treatise on the old rate of expenses.
There has been nothing particular in Parliament - all our conversation has turned on the Westminster election, on which, after a vast struggle, Lord Trentham had the majority. Then came on the scrutiny: after a week's squabbling on the right of election, the High-bailiff declared what he would take to be the right. They are now proceeding to disqualify votes on that foot; but as his decision could not possibly please both sides, I fear it will come to us at last.
Lord Pembroke(87) died last night: he had been at the Bridge Committee,(88) in the morning, where, according to custom, he fell into an outrageous passion; as my Lord Chesterfield told him, that ever since the pier sunk he has constantly been damming and sinking. The watermen say to-day, that now the great pier (peer) is quite gone. Charles Stanhope carried him home in his chariot; he desired the coachman to drive gently, for he could not avoid those passions; and afterwards, between shame and his asthma, he always felt daggers, and should certainly one day or other die in one of those fits. Arundel,(89) his great friend and relation, came to him soon after: he repeated the conversation, and said, he did not know but he might die by night. "God bless you! If I see you no more, take this as my last farewell!" He died in his chair at seven o'clock. He certainly is a public loss; for he was public-spirited and inflexibly honest, though prejudice and passion were so predominant in him that honesty had not fair play, whenever he had been set upon any point that had been given him for right. In his lawsuit with my Lady Portland he was scurrilously indecent, though to a woman; and so blasphemous at tennis, that the present primate of Ireland(90) was forced to leave off playing with him. Last year he went near to destroy post-chaises, on a quarrel with the postmaster at Hounslow, who, as he told the Bishop of Chichester, had an hundred devils and Jesuits in his belly. In short, he was one of the lucky English madmen who get people to say, that whatever extravagance they commit "Oh, it is his way." He began his life with boxing, and ended it with living upon vegetables, into which system avarice a little entered. At the beginning of the present war, he very honourably would resign his regiment, though the King pressed him to keep it, because his rupture hindered his serving abroad. My father, with whom he was always well, would at any time have given him the blue riband; but he piqued himself on its being offered to him without asking it. the truth was, he did not care for the expense of the instalment. His great excellence was architecture: the bridge at Wilton is more beautiful than any thing of Lord Burlington or Kent. He has left an only son, a fine boy about sixteen.(91) Last week, Lord Crawford(92) died too, as is supposed, by taking a large quantity of laudanum, under impatience at the badness of his circumstances, and at the seventeenth opening of the wound which he got in Hungary, in a battle with the Turks. I must tell you a story apropos of two noble instances of fidelity and generosity. His servant, a French papist, saw him fall; watched, and carried him off into a ditch. Lord Crawford told him the Turks would certainly find them, and that, as he could not live himself, it was in vain for him to risk his life too, and insisted on the man making his escape. After a long contest, the servant retired, found a priest, confessed himself, came back, and told his lord that he was now prepared to die, and would never leave him. The enemy did not return, and both were saved. After Lord Crawford's death, this story was related to old Charles Stanhope, Lord Harrington's brother, whom I mentioned just now: he sent for the fellow, told him he could not take him himself, but, as from his lord's affairs he concluded he had not been able to provide for him, he would give him fifty pounds, and did.
To make up for my long silence, and to make up for a long letter, I will string another old story, which I have just heard, to this. General Wade was at a low gaming-house, and had a very fine snuffbox, which on a sudden he missed. Every body denied having taken it: he insisted on searching the company. He did: there remained only one man, who had stood behind him, but refused to be searched, unless the general would go into another room alone with him: there the man told him, that he was born a gentleman, was reduced, and lived by what little bets he could pick up there, and by fragments which the waiters sometimes gave him. "At this moment I have half a fowl in my pocket; I was afraid of being exposed; here it is! Now, Sir, you may search me." Wade was so struck, that he gave the man a hundred pounds; and immediately the genius of generosity, whose province is almost a sinecure, was very glad of the opportunity of making him find his own snuff-box, or another very like it, in his own pocket again.
Lord Marchmont is to succeed Lord Crawford as one of the sixteen: the House of Lords is so inactive that at last the ministry have ventured to let him in there. His brother Hume Campbell, who has been in a state of neutrality, begins to frequent the House again.
It is plain I am no moneyed man; as I have forgot, till I came to My last paragraph, what a ferment the money-changers are in! Mr. Pelham, who has flung himself entirely into Sir John Barnard's(93) hands, has just miscarried in a scheme for the reduction of interest, by the intrigues of the three great companies and other usurers. They all detest barnard, who, to honesty and abilities, joins the most intolerable pride. @By my next, I suppose, you will find that Mr. Pelham is grown afraid of somebody else, of some director, and is governed by him. Adieu!—Sure I am out of debt now!
P.S. My dear Sir, I must trouble you with a commission, which I don't know whether you can execute. I am going to build a little Gothic castle at Strawberry Hill. If you can pick me up any fragments of old painted glass, arms, or any thing, I shall be excessively obliged to you. I can't say I remember any such things in Italy; but out of old chateaus, I imagine, one might get it cheap, if there is any.
(87) Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and Groom of the stole. For Walpole's character of him, see ant'e.-E.
(88) The committee under whose superintendence Westminster Bridge had been built.-D.
(89) Richard Arundel, treasurer to the chambers: his mother, the Dowager Lady Arundel, was second wife of Thomas, Earl of Pembroke, father of Earl Henry.
(90) Dr. George Stone.
(91) Henry, tenth Earl of Pembroke, and seventh Earl of Montgomery, He died in 1794.-D.
(92) John Lindsey Earl of Crawford, premier Earl of Scotland. His life, which indeed had little remarkable in it, was published afterwards, in a large quarto.
(93) An eminent citizen, and long member of Parliament for the city of London. He at length accomplished his plan for the reduction of the Interest of the National Debt.-D.
52 Letter 19 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Jan. 31, 1750.
You will hear little news from England, but of robberies;(94) the numbers of disbanded soldiers and sailors have all taken to the road, or rather to the street: people are almost afraid of stirring after it is dark. My Lady Albemarle(95) was robbed the other night in Great Russell Street, by nine men: the King gave her a gold watch and chain the next day. She says, "the manner was all"-and indeed so it was, for I never saw a more frippery present; especially considering how great a favourite she is, and my Lady Yarmouth's friend. The monarch is never less generous than when he has a mind to be so: the only present he ever made my father was a large diamond, cracked quite through. Once or twice, in his younger and gallant days, he has brought out a handful of maimed topazes and amethysts, and given them to be raffled for by the maids of honour. I told my Lady Yarmouth it had been a great loss to me that there was no queen, for then I suppose I should have had a watch too when I was robbed.
We have had nothing remarkable in Parliament, but a sort of secession the other day on the Mutiny-bill, when Lord Egmont and the Opposition walked out of the House, because the ministry would go upon the Report, when they did not like It. It is a measure of the Prince's court to lie by, and let the ministry demolish one another, which they are hurrying to do. The two secretaries(96) are on the brink of declaring war: the occasion is likely to be given by a Turnpike-bill, contested between the counties of Bedford and Northampton; and it (,rows almost as vehement a contest as the famous one between Aylesbury and Buckingham. The Westminster election is still hanging in scrutiny: the Duke of Bedford paid the election,(97) which he owns to have cost seven thousand pounds; and Lord Gower pays the scrutiny, which will be at least as much. This bustling little Duke has just had another miscarriage in Cornwall, where he attacked a family-borough of the Morrices. The Duke(97) espouses the Bedford; and Lord Sandwich is espoused by both. He goes once or twice a-week to hunt with the Duke; and as the latter has taken a turn of gaming, Sandwich, to make his court and fortune carries a box and dice in his pocket; and so they throw a main, whenever the hounds are at a fault, "upon every green hill, and under every green tree."
But we have one shocking piece of news, the dreadful account of the hurricane in the East Indies: you will see the particulars in the papers; but we reckon that we don't yet know the worst.. Poor Admiral Boscawen(99) has been most unfortunate during his whole expedition; and what increases the horror is, that I have been assured by a very intelligent person, that Lord Anson projected this business on purpose to ruin Boscawen, who, when they came together from the victory off Cape Finisterre, complained loudly of Anson's behaviour. To silence and to hurt him, Anson despatched him to Pondicherry, upon slight intelligence and upon improbable views.
Lord Coke's suit is still in suspense; he has been dying; she was to have died, but has recovered wonderfully on his taking the lead. Mr. Chute diverted me excessively with a confidence that Chevalier Lorenzi made him the other night-I have told you the style of his bon-mots! He said he should certainly return to England again, and that whenever he did, he would land at Bristol, because baths are the best places to make acquaintance, just as if Mr. Chute, after living seven years in Italy, and keeping the best company, should return thither, and land at Leghorn, in order to make Italian acquaintance at Pisa!
Among the robberies, I might have told you of the eldest Miss Pelham leaving a pair of diamond earrings, which she had borrowed for the birth-day, in a hackney chair; she had put them under the seat for fear of being attacked, and forgot them. The chairmen have sunk them. The next morning, when they were missed, the damsel began to cry: Lady Catherine(100) grew frightened, lest her infanta should vex herself sick, and summoned a jury of matrons to consult whether she should give her hartshorn or lavender drops? Mrs. Selwyn,(101) who was on the panel, grew very peevish, and said, "Pho! give her brilliant drops." Such are the present anecdotes of the court of England! Adieu!
(94) On the preceding day, in consequence of the number of persons of distinction who had recently been robbed in the streets, a proclamation appeared in the London Gazette, offering a reward of one hundred pounds for the apprehension of any robber.-E.
(95) Lady Anne Lenox, sister of the Duke of Richmond, wife of William Anne Keppel, Earl of Albemarle, ambassador at Paris, and lady of the bedchamber to Queen Caroline.
(96) the Dukes of Newcastle and Bedford.
(97) The Duke of Bedford's second wife was sister of Lord Trentham, the candidate.
(98) Of Cumberland.
(99) Edward, next brother of Lord Falmouth.
(100) Lady Catherine Manners, sister of John, Duke of Rutland, and wife of Henry Pelham, Chancellor of the exchequer.
(101) Mary Farenden, wife of John Selwyn, treasurer to Queen Caroline, and woman of the bedchamber.
53 letter 20 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, Feb. 25, 1750.
I am come hither for a little repose and air. The fatigue of a London winter, between Parliaments and rakery, is a little too much without interruption for an elderly personage, that verges towards—I won't say what. This accounts easily for my wanting quiet—but air in February will make you smile—yet it is strictly true, that the weather is unnaturally hot: we have had eight months of' warmth beyond what was ever known in any other country; Italy is quite north with respect to us!-You know we have had an earthquake. Mr. Chute's Francesco says, that a few evenings before it there was a bright cloud, which the mob called the bloody cloud; that he had been told there never were earthquakes in England, or else he should have known by that symptom that there would be one within a week. I am told that Sir Isaac Newton foretold a great alteration in Our climate in the year '50, and that he wished he could live to see it. Jupiter, I think, has jogged us three degrees nearer to the sun.
The Bedford Turnpike, which I announced to you in my last, is thrown out by a majority of fifty-two against the Duke of Bedford. The Pelhams, who lent their own persons to him, had set up the Duke of Grafton, to list their own dependents under against their rival. When the Chamberlain would head a party, you may be sure the opposite power is in the wane. The Newcastle is at open war, and has left off waiting on the Duke, who espouses the Bedfords. Mr. Pelham tries to patch it up, and is getting the Ordnance for the Duke; but there are scarce any terms kept. Lord Sandwich, who governs the little Duke through the Duchess, is the chief object of the Newcastle hatred. Indeed there never was such a composition! he is as capable of all little knavery, as if he was not practising all great knavery. During the turnpike contest, in which he laboured night and day against his friend Halifax, he tried the grossest tricks to break agreements, when the opposite side were gone away on the security of a suspension of action: and in the very middle of that I came to the knowledge of a cruel piece of flattery which he paid to his protector. He had made interest for these two years for one Parry, a poor clergyman, schoolfellow and friend of his, to be fellow of Eton, and had secured a majority for him. A Fellow died: another wrote to Sandwich to know if he was not to vote for Parry according to his engagement,—"No, he must vote for one who had been tutor to the Duke of Bedford," who by that means has carried it. My Lady Lincoln was not suffered to go to a ball which Sandwich made the other night for the Duke, who tumbled down in the middle of a country dance; they imagined he had beat his nose flat, but he lay like a tortoise on the topshell, his face could not touch the ground by some feet. My Lady Anson was there, who insisted on dancing minuets, though against the rule of the night, with as much eagerness as you remember in my Lady Granville. Then she proposed herself for a Louvre; all the men vowed they had never heard of such a dance, upon which she dragged out Lady Leveson,(102) and made her dance one with her.
At the last ball at the same house, a great dispute of precedence, which the Duchess of Norfolk had set on foot but has dropped, came to trial. Lord Sandwich contrived to be on the outside of the door to hand down to supper whatever lady came out first. Madame de Mirepoix and the Duchess of Bedford were the rival queens; the latter made a faint offer to the ambassadress to go first; she returned it, and the other briskly accepted it; upon which the ambassadress, with great cleverness, made all the other women go before her, and then asked the Duke of Bedford if he would not go too. However, though they continue to visit, the wound is incurable: you don't imagine that a widow(103) of the House of Lorraine, and a daughter of Princess Craon, can digest such an affront. It certainly was very absurd, as she is not only an ambassadress but a stranger; and consequently all English women, as being at home, should give her place. King George the Second and I don't agree in our explication of this text of ceremony; he approves the Duchess-so he does Miss Chudleigh, in a point where ceremony is out of the question. He opened the trenches before her a fortnight ago, at the masquerade- but at the last she had the gout, and could not come; he went away flat, cross. His son is not so fickle. My Lady Middlesex has been miscarrying; he attends as incessantly as Mrs. Cannon.(104) The other morning the Princess came to call him to go to Kew; he made her wait in her coach above half an hour at the door. You will be delighted with a bon-mot of a chair-maker, whom he has discarded for voting for Lord Trentham; one of his black-caps was sent to tell this Vaughan that the Prince would employ him no more: "I am going to bid another person make his Royal Highness a chair."—"With all my heart," said the chair-maker; "I don't care what they make him, so they don't make him a throne."
The Westminster election, which is still scrutinizing, produced us a parliamentary event this week, and was very near producing something much bigger. Mr. Fox and Mr. Pitt moved to Send for the High-bailiff to inquire into the delay. The Opposition took it up very high, and on its being carried against them, the Court of Requests was filled next day with the mob, and the House crowded, and big with expectation. Nugent had flamed and abused Lord Sandwich violently, as author of this outrageous measure. When the Bailiff appeared, the pacific spirit of the other part of the administration had operated so much, that he was dismissed with honour; and Only instructed to abridge all delays by authority of the House-in short, "we spit in his hat on Thursday, and wiped it off on Friday." This is a now fashionable proverb, which I must construe to you. About ten days ago, at the new Lady Cobham's(105) assembly, Lord Hervey(106) was leaning over a chair, talking to some women, and holding his hat in his hand. Lord Cobham came up and spit in it—yes, spit in it!—and then, with a loud laugh, turned to Nugent, and said, "Pay me my wager." In short, he had laid a guinea that he committed this absurd brutality, and that it was not resented. Lord Hervey, with great temper and sensibility, asked if he had any farther occasion for his hat?—"Oh! I see you are angry!"—"Not very well pleased." Lord Cobham took the fatal hat and wiped it, made a thousand foolish apologies, and wanted to pass it for a joke. Next morning he rose with the sun, and went to visit Lord Hervey; so did Nugent: he would not see them, but wrote to the Spitter, (or, as he is now called, Lord Gob'em,) to say, that he had affronted him very grossly before company, but having involved Nugent in it, he desired to know to which he was to address himself for satisfaction. Lord Cobham wrote him a most submissive answer, and begged pardon both in his own and Nugent's name. Here it rested for a few days; till getting wind, Lord Hervey wrote again to insist on an explicit apology under Lord Cobham's own hand, with a rehearsal of the excuses that had been made to him. This, too, was complied with, and the fair conqueror(107) shows all the letters.(108) Nugent's disgraces have not ended here: the night of his having declaimed so furiously he was standing by Lady Catherine Pelham, against Lord Sandwich at the masquerade, without his mask: she was telling him a history of a mad dog, (which I believe she had bit herself.) young Leveson, the Duchess of Bedford's brother, came up, without his mask too, and looking at Nugent, said, , I have seen a mad dog to-day, and a silly dog too."—"I suppose, Mr. Leveson,(109) you have been looking in a glass."—"No, I see him now." Upon which they walked off together, but were prevented from fighting, (if Nugent would have fought,) and were reconciled at the side-board. You perceive by this that our factions are ripening. The Argyll(110) carried all the Scotch against the turnpike: they were willing to be carried, for the Duke of Bedford, in case it should have come into the Lords, had writ to the sixteen Peers to solicit their votes; but with so little deference, that he enclosed all the letters under one cover, directed to the British Coffee-house!
The new Duke of Somerset(111) is dead: that title is at last restored to Sir Edward Seymour, after his branch had been most unjustly deprived of it for about one hundred and fifty years. Sir Hugh Smithson and Sir Charles Windham are Earls of Northumberland and Egremont, with vast estates; the former title, revived for the blood of Percy, has the misfortune of being coupled with the blood of a man that either let or drove coaches—such Was Sir Hugh's grandfather! This peerage vacates his seat for Middlesex, and has opened a contest for the county, before even that for Westminster is decided. The Duchess of Richmond takes care that house shall not be extinguished: she again lies in, after having been with child seven-and-twenty times: but even this is not so extraordinary as the Duke's fondness for her, or as the vigour of her beauty: her complexion is as fair and blooming as when she was a bride.
We expect some chagrin on the new regency, at the head of which is to be the Duke; "Au Augustum fess'a aetate totiens in Germaniam commeare potuisse," say the mutineers in Tacitus— Augustus goes in April. He has notified to my Lord Orford his having given the reversion of New Park to his daughter Emily; and has given him leave to keep it in the best repair. One of the German women, Madame Munchausen, his minister's wife, contributes very kindly to the entertainment of the town. She is ugly, devout, and with that sort of coquetry which proceeds from a virtue that knows its own weakness so much as to be alarmed, even when nothing is meant to its prejudice.(112) At a great dinner which they gave last -week, somebody observed that all the sugar figures in the dessert were girls: the Baron replied, "Sa est frai; ordinairement les petits cupitons sont des garsons; mais ma femme s'est amus'ee toute la matin'ee 'a en 'oter tout sa par motestie." This improvement of hers is a curious refinement, though all the geniuses of the age are employed in designing new plans for desserts. The Duke of Newcastle's last was a baby Vauxhall, illuminated with a million of little lamps of various colours.
We have been sitting this fortnight on the African Company: we, the British Senate, that temple of liberty, and bulwark of Protestant Christianity, have this fortnight been pondering methods to make more effectual that horrid traffic of selling negroes. It has appeared to us that six-and-forty thousand of these wretches are sold every year to our plantations alone!— It chills one's blood. I would not have to say that I voted in it for the continent of America!(113) The destruction of the miserable inhabitants by the Spaniards was but a momentary misfortune, that flowed from the discovery of the New World, compared to this lasting havoc which it brought upon Africa. We reproach Spain, and yet do not even pretend the nonsense of butchering these poor creatures for the good of their souls!
I have just received your long letter of February 13th, and am pleased that I had writ this volume to return it. I don't know how almost to avoid wishing poor Prince Craon dead, to see the Princess upon a throne.(114) I am sure she would invert Mr. Vaughan's wish, and compound to have nothing else made for her, provided a throne were.
I despise your literati enormously for their opinion of Montesquieu's book. Bid them read that glorious chapter on the subject I have been mentioning, the selling of African slaves. Where did he borrow that? In what book in the world is there half so much wit, sentiment, delicacy, humanity?
I shall speak much more gently to you, my dear child, though you don't like Gothic architecture. The Grecian is only proper for magnificent and public buildings. Columns and all their beautiful ornaments look ridiculous when crowded into a closet or a cheesecake-house. The variety is little, and admits no charming irregularities. I am almost as fond of the Sharavaggi, or Chinese want of symmetry, in buildings, as in grounds or gardens. I am sure, whenever you come to England, you will be pleased with the liberty of taste into which we are struck, and of which you can have no idea! Adieu!
(102) Daughter of John, second Lord Gower. Married in 1751 to the Hon. John Waldegrave.-D.
(103) madame de Mirepoix, eldest daughter of Prince Craon, and widow of the Prince of Lixin.
(104) The midwife.
(105) Atina Chamber, wife of Richard Temple, Lord Cobham, afterwards Earl Temple.
(106) George, eldest son of John, late Lord Hervey, son of the Earl of Bristol, whom this George succeeded in the title.
(107) George, Lord Hervey, was a very effeminate-looking man; which probably encouraged Lord Temple to risk this disgusting act of incivility.-D.
(108) Wraxall, in his historical Memoir Vol:'I. p. 139, relates the same story, with a few trifling alterations.-E.
(109) The Hon. Richard Leveson Gower, second son of John, second Lord Gower, member for Lichfield. Born 1726; died 1753.-D.
(110) Archibald Campbell, third Duke of Argyll, during the lifetime of bis elder brothers Duke John, Earl of Islay. He died in 1765.-D.
(111) Algernon, last Duke of Somerset, of the younger branch.-D.
(112) Dodington, in his Diary of the 25th of February, says, " I met the Prince and Princess, by order, at Lady Middlesex's where came Madame de Munchausen: we went to a fortune-teller's, who was young Des Noyers, disguised and instructed to surprise Madame de Munchausen, which he effectually did."-E.
(113) This sentiment is highly creditable to Walpole's humanity. It will remind the reader of a passage in Cowper's Task, written thirty years after:—
" And what man seeing this, And having human feelings, does not blush, And hang his head, to think himself a man! I would not have a slave to till my ground, To carry me, to fan me while I sleep, And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth That sinews bought and sold have ever earned,"-E.
(114) There was a notion that King Stanislaus, who lived in Lorraine, was in love with her.
58 Letter 21 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, March 11, 1750.
"Portents and prodigies are grown so frequent, That they have lost their name."(115)
My text is not literally true; but as far -,is earthquakes go towards lowering the price of wonderful commodities, to be sure we are overstocked. We have had a second much more violent than the first; and you must not be surprised if by next post you hear of' a burning mountain sprung up in Smithfield. In the night between Wednesday and Thursday last, (exactly a month since the first shock,) the earth had a shivering fit between one and two; but so slight that, if no more had followed, I don't believe it would have been noticed. I had been awake, and had scarce dozed again-on a sudden I felt my bolster lift up my head; I thought somebody was getting from under my bed, but soon found it was a strong earthquake, that lasted near half a minute, with a violent vibration and great roaring. I rang my bell; my servant came in, frightened out of his senses- - in an instant we heard all the windows in the neighbourhood flung up. I got up and found people running into the streets, but saw no mischief done: there has been some; two old houses flung down, several chimneys, and much china-ware. The bells rung in several houses. Admiral Knowles, who has lived long in Jamaica, and felt seven there, says this was more violent than any of them; Francesco prefers it to the dreadful one at Leghorn. The wise say, that if we have not rain soon, we shall certainly have more. Several people are going out of town, for it has nowhere reached above ten miles from London: they say, they are not frightened, but that it is such fine weather, "Lord! one can't help going into the country!" The only visible effect it has had, was on the Ridotto, at which, being the following night, there were but four hundred people. A parson, who came into White's the morning of earthquake the first, and heard bets laid on whether it was an earthquake or the blowing up of powder-mills, went away exceedingly scandalized, and said, "I protest, they are such an impious set of people, that I believe if the last trumpet was to sound, they would bet puppet-show against Judgment." If we get any nearer still to the torrid zone, I shall pique myself on sending you a present of cedrati and orange-flower water: I am already planning a terreno for Strawberry Hill.
The Middlesex election is carried against the court: the Prince, in a green frock, (and I won't swear, but in a Scotch plaid waistcoat,) sat under the park-wall in his chair, and hallooed the voters on to Brentford. The Jacobites are so transported, that they are opening subscriptions for all boroughs that shall be vacant—this is wise! They will spend their money to carry a few more seats in a Parliament where they will never have the majority, and so have none to carry the general elections. The omen, however, is bad for Westminster; the High-bailiff went to vote for the Opposition.
I now jump to another topic; I find all this letter will be detached scraps; I can't at all contrive to hide the scams: but I don't care. I began my letter merely to tell you of the earthquake, and I don't pique myself upon doing any more than telling you what you would be glad to have told you. I told you too how pleased I was with the triumphs of another old beauty, our friend the Princess.(116) Do you know, I have found a history that has a great resemblance to hers; that is, that will be very like hers, if hers is but like it. I will tell it you in as few words as I can. Madame la Marechale de l'H'opital was the daughter of a sempstress;(117) a young gentleman fell in love with her, and was going to be married to her, but the match was broken off. An old fermier-general, who had retired into the province where this happened, hearing the story, had a curiosity to see the victim; he liked her, married her, died, and left her enough not to care for her inconstant. he came to Paris, where the Marechal de l'H'opital married her for her riches. After the Marechal's death, Casimir, the abdicated King of Poland, who was retired into France, fell in love with the Marechale, and privately married her. If the event ever happens, I shall certainly travel to Nancy, to hear her talk of ma belle-fille la Reine de France. What pains my lady Pomfret would take to prove(118) that an abdicated King's wife did not take place of an English countess; and how the Princess herself would grow still fonder of the Pretender(119) for the similitude of his fortune with that of le Roi mon mari! Her daughter, Mirepoix, was frightened the other night, with Mrs. Nugent's calling out, un voleur! un voleur! The ambassadress had heard so much of robbing, that she did not doubt but dans ce pais cy, they robbed in the middle of an assembly. It turned out to be a thief in the candle! Good night!
(115) Dryden's All for Love."
(116) The Princess Craon, who, it had been reported, was to marry Stanislaus Leczinsky, Duke of Loraine and ex-King of Poland, whose daughter Maria Leczinska was married to Louis the Fifteenth, King of France.-D.