(803) Philip, second Earl Stanhope; for a character of whom, by his great-grandson, Lord Mahon, see vol. i. p. 308, letter 96, note 771.-E.
(804) Afterwards fifth Earl of sandwich. The match with lady Eliza Savile took place on the 1st of march 1766.-E.
Letter 249 To Sir David Dalrymple.(805) Strawberry Hill, April 21, 1765. (page 391)
Sir, Except the mass of Conway papers, on which I have not yet had time to enter seriously, I am sorry I have nothing at present that would answer your purpose. Lately, indeed, I have had little leisure, to attend to literary pursuits. I have been much out of order with a violent cold and cough for great part of the winter; and the distractions of this country, which reach even those who mean the least to profit by their country, have not left even me, who hate politics, without some share in them. Yet as what one does not love, cannot engross one entirely, I have amused myself a little with writing. Our friend Lord Finlater will perhaps show you the fruit of that trifling, though I had not the confidence to trouble you with such a strange thing as a miraculous story, of which I fear the greatest merit is the novelty.
I have lately perused with much pleasure a collection of old ballads, to which I see, Sir, you have contributed with your usual benevolence. Continue this kindness to the public, and smile as I do, when the pains you take for them are misunderstood or perverted. Authors must content themselves with hoping that two or three Intelligent persons in an age will understand the merit of their writings, and those authors are bound in good breeding to Suppose that the public in general is enlightened. They who arc in the secret know how few of that public they have any reason to wish should read their works. I beg pardon of my masters the public, and am confident, Sir, YOU Will not betray me; but let me beg you not to defraud the few that deserve your information, in compliment to those who are not capable of receiving it. Do as I do about my small house here. Every body that comes to see it or me, are so good as to wonder that I don't make this or that alteration. I never haggle with them; but always say I intend it. They are satisfied with the attention and themselves, and I remain with the enjoyment of my house as I like it. Adieu! dear Sir.
(805) Now first collected.
Letter 250 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, May 5, 1765. (page 391)
The plot thickens; at least, it does not clear up. I don't know how to tell you in the compass of a letter, what is matter for a history, and it is the more difficult, as we are but just in the middle.
During the recess, the King acquainted the ministry that he would have a Bill of Regency, and told them the particulars of his intention. The town gives Lord Holland the honour of the measure;(806) certain it is, the ministry, who are not the court, did not taste some of the items: such as the Regent to be in petto, the Princes(807) to be omitted, and four secret nominations to which the Princes might be applied. However, thinking it was better to lose their share of future power than their present places, the ministers gave a gulp and swallowed the whole potion; still it lay so heavy at their stomachs, that they brought up part of it again, and obtained the Queen's name to be placed, as one that might be regent. Mankind laughed, and proclaimed their Wisdoms bit. Upon this, their Wisdoms beat up for opponents, and set fire to the old stubble(808) of the Princess and Lord Bute. Every body took the alarm; and such uneasiness was raised, that after the King had notified the bill to both Houses, a new message was sent, and instead of four secret nominations, the five Princes were named, with power to the crown of supplying their places if they died off.
Last Tuesday the bill was read a second time in the Lords. Lord Lyttelton opposed an unknown Regent, Lord Temple the whole bill, seconded by Lord Shelburne. The first division came on the commitment of the whole bill. The Duke of Newcastle and almost all The opposition were with the majority, for his grace could not decently oppose so great a likeness of his own child, the former bill, and so they were one hundred and twenty. Lord Temple, Lord Shelburne, the Duke of Grafton, and six more, composed the minority; the Slenderness of which so enraged Lord Temple, though he had declared himself of no party, and connected with no party, that he and the Duke of Bolton came no more to the House. Next day Lord Lyttelton moved an address to the King, to name the person he would recommend for Regent. In the midst of this debate, the Duke of Richmond started two questions; whether the Queen was naturalized, and if not, whether capable of being Regent: and he added a third much more puzzling; who are the Royal Family? Lord Denbigh answered flippantly, all who are prayed for: the Duke of Bedford, more significantly, those, only who are in the order of succession—a direct exclusion of the Princess; for the Queen is named in the bill. The Duke of Richmond moved to consult the judges; Lord Mansfield fought this off, declared he had his opinion, but would not tell it—and stayed away next day! They then proceeded on Lord Lyttelton's motion, which was rejected by eighty-nine to thirty-one; after which, the Duke of Newcastle came no more; and Grafton, Rockingham, and many others, went to Newmarket: for that rage is so strong, that I cease to wonder at the gentleman who was going out to hunt as the battle of Edgehill began.
The third day was a scene of folly and confusion, for when Lord Mansfield is absent,
"Lost is the nation's sense, nor can be found."
The Duke of Richmond moved an amendment, that the persons capable of the Regency should be the Queen, the Princess Dowager, and all the descendants of the late King usually resident in England. Lord Halifax endeavoured to jockey this, by a previous amendment of now for usually. The Duke persisted with great firmness and cleverness; Lord Halifax, with as much peevishness and absurdity; in truth, he made a woful figure. The Duke of Bedford supported t'other Duke against the Secretary, but would not yield to name the Princess, though the Chancellor declared her of the Royal Family.(809) This droll personage is exactly what Woodward would be, if there was such a farce as Trappolin Chancellor. You will want a key to all this, but who has a key to chaos? After puzzling on for two hours how to adjust these motions, while the spectators stood laughing around, Lord Folkestone rose, and said, why not say now and usually? They adopted this amendment at once, and then rejected the Duke of Richmond's motion, but ordered the judges to attend next day on the questions of naturalization.
Now comes the marvellous transaction, and I defy Mr. Hume, an historian as he is, to parallel it. The judges had decided for the Queen's capability, when Lord Halifax rose, by the King's permission, desired to have the bill recommitted, and then moved the Duke of Richmond's own words, with the single omission of the Princess Dowager's name, and thus she alone is rendered incapable of the Regency—and stigmatized by act of parliament! The astonishment of the world is not to be described. Lord Bute's friends are thunderstruck. The Duke of Bedford almost danced about the House for joy. Comments there are, various; and some palliate it, by saying it was done at the Princess's desire; but the most inquisitive say, the King was taken by surprise, that Lord Halifax proposed the amendment to him, and hurried with it to the House of Lords, before it could be recalled; and they even surmise that he did not observe to the King the omission of his mother's name. Be that as it may, open war seems to be declared between the court and the administration, and men are gazing to see which side will be victorious.
To-morrow the bill comes to us, and Mr. Pitt, too, violent against the whole bill, unless this wonderful event has altered his tone.- For my part I shall not be surprised, if he affects to be in astonishment at missing "a great and most respectable man!"(810) This is the sum total—but what a sum total! It is the worst of North Britons published by act of parliament!
I took the liberty, in my last, of telling you what I heard about your going to Ireland. It was from one you know very well, and one I thought well informed, or I should not have mentioned it. Positive as the information was, I find nothing to confirm it. On the contrary, Lord Harcourt(811) seems the most probable, if any thing is probable at this strange juncture. You will scarce believe me when I tell you, what I know is true, that the Bedfords pressed strongly for Lord Weymouth—Yes, for Lord Weymouth. Is any thing extraordinary in them?
Will it be presuming, too much upon your friendship and indulgence, if I hint another point to you, which, I own, seems to me right to mention to you? You know how eagerly the ministry have laboured to deprive Mr. Thomas Walpole of the French commerce of tobacco. His correspondent sends him word, that you was so persuaded it was taken away, that you had recommended another person. You know enough, my dear lord, of the little connexion I have With that part of my family,(812) though we do visit again; and therefore will, I hope, be convinced, that it is for your sake I principally mention it. If Mr. Walpole loses this vast branch of trade, he and sir Joshua Vanneck must shut up shop. Judge the noise that would make in the city! Mr. Walpole's(813) alliance with the Cavendishes (for I will say nothing of our family) would interest them deeply in his cause, and I think you would be sorry to have them think you instrumental to his ruin. Your brother knows of my writing to you and giving this information, and we are both solicitous that your name should not appear in this transaction. This letter goes to you by a private hand, or I would not have spoken so plainly throughout. Whenever you please to recall your positive order, that I should always tell you whatever I hear that relates to you, I shall willingly forbear, for I am sensible this is not the most agreeable province of friendship; yet, as it is certainly due whenever demanded, I don't consider myself, but sacrifice the more agreeable task of pleasing you to that of serving you, that I may show myself Yours most sincerely, H. W.
(806) It was certainly the result of his Majesty's own good sense, directed to the subject by his late serious indisposition; but the details, and the mismanagement of these details, were, no doubt, the acts of the ministers.-C.
(807) The King,'s uncle and brothers.-E.
(808) These hints as to the modes by which the extraordinary prejudices and clamours which disturbed the first years of the reign of George III. were excited and maintained at the pleasure of a faction, are very valuable: and the spirit of the times was in nothing more evident than in the intrigues and violence which marked the progress of so simple and necessary a measure as the Regency-bill.-C.
(809) This opinion of the Chancellor's appears to have been considered by Mr. Walpole as very absurd, and he seems inclined to come to the same conclusion which Sterne has treated with such admirable ridicule in the case of the Duchess of Suffolk, viz. that "the mother was not of kin to her own child." See Tristram Shandy, part 4. Nothing in the debate of Didius and Triptolemus at the visitation dinner, is more absurd than this grave discussion in the House of Lords, whether the King's mother is one of the Royal Family.-C.
(810) This was Mr. Pitt's expression on not finding Lord Anson's name in the list of the ministry formed in 1757. Mr. Walpole, disliked Lord Anson, and on more than one occasion amuses himself with allusions to this phrase.-C.
(811) Simon, first Earl of Harcourt: he was, in 1768, ambassador to Paris, and in 1769, lord-lieutenant of Ireland.-C.
(812) This coolness between Mr. Walpole and his uncle should be remembered, when we read that portion of the Memoires which relates to Lord Walpole.-C.
(813) Mr. Thomas Walpole's elder brother (second Lord Walpole, and first Lord Orford of his branch) married the youngest daughter of the third Duke of Devonshire.-C.
Letter 251 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Sunday, May 12, 1765. (page 395)
The clouds and mists that I raise by my last letter will not be dispersed by this; nor will the Bill of Regency, as long as it has a day's breath left (and it has but one to come) cease, I suppose, to produce extraordinary events. For agreeable events, it has not produced one to any Set Or side, except in gratifying malice; every other passion has received, or probably will receive, a box on the ear.
In my last I left the Princess Dowager in the mire. The next incident was of a negative kind. Mr. Pitt, who, if he had been wise, would have come to help her out, chose to wait to see if she was to be left there, and gave himself a terrible fit of the gout. As nobody was ready to read his part to the audience, (though I assure you we do not want a genius or two who think themselves born to dictate,) the first day in our House did not last two minutes. The next, which was Tuesday, we rallied our understandings (mine, indeed, did not go beyond being quiet, when the administration had done for us what we could not do for ourselves), and combated the bill till nine at night. Barr'e, who will very soon be our first orator, especially as some(814) are a little afraid to dispute with him, attacked it admirably, and your brother ridiculed the House of Lords delightfully, who, he said, had deliberated without concluding, and concluded without deliberating. However, we broke up without a division.
Can you devise what happened next? A buzz spread itself, that the Tories would move to reinstate the Princess. You will perhaps be so absurd as to think with me, that when the administration had excluded her, it was our business to pay her a compliment. Alas! that was my opinion, but I was soon given to understand that patriots must be men of virtue, must be pharisees, and not countenance naughty women; and that when the Duchess of Bedford had thrown the first stone, we had nothing to do but continue pelting. Unluckily I was not convinced; I could neither see the morality nor prudence of branding the King's mother upon no other authority than public fame: yet, willing to get something when I could not get all, I endeavoured to obtain that we should stay away. Even this was warmly contested with me, and, though I persuaded several, particularly the two oldest Cavendishes,(815) the Townshends,(816) and your nephew Fitzroy,(817) whom I trust you will thank me for saving, I could not convince Lord John, [Cavendish,] who, I am sorry to say, is the most obstinate, conceited young man I ever saw; George Onslow, and that old simpleton the Duke of Newcastle, who had the impudence to talk to me of character, and that we should be ruined with the public if we did not divide against the Princess. You will be impatient, and wonder I do not name your brother. You know how much he respects virtue and honour, even in their names; Lord John, who, I really believe, respects them too, has got cunning enough to see their empire over your brother, and had fascinated him to agree to this outrageous, provoking, and most unjustifiable of all acts. Still Mr. Conway was so good as to yield to my earnest and vehement entreaties, and it was at last agreed to propose the name of the Queen; when we did not carry it, as we did not expect to do, to retire before the question came on the Princess. But even this measure was not strictly observed. We divided 67 for the nomination of the Queen, against 157. Then Morton(818) moved to reinstate the Princess. Martin, her treasurer, made a most indiscreet and offensive speech in her behalf; said she had been stigmatized by the House of Lords, and had lived long enough in this country to know the hearts and falsehood of those who had professed the most to her. Grenville vows publicly he will never forgive this, and was not more discreet, declaring, though he agreed to the restoration of her name, that he thought the omission would have been universally acceptable. George Onslow and all the Cavendishes, gained over by Lord John, and the most attached of the Newcastle band, opposed the motion; but your brother, Sir William Meredith, and I, and others, came away, which reduced the numbers so much that there was no division;(819) but now to unfold all this black scene;(820) it comes out as I had guessed, and very plainly told them, that the Bedfords had stirred up our fools to do what they did not dare to do themselves. Old Newcastle had even told me, that unless we opposed the Princess, the Duke of Bedford would not. It was sedulously given out. that Forrester,(821) the latter duke's lawyer, would speak against her; and after the question had passed, he told our people that we had given up the game when it was in our hands, for there had been many more noes than ayes. It was Very true, many did not wish well enough to the Princess to roar for her; and many will say no when the question is put, who will vote ay if it comes to a division. and of' this I do not doubt but the Bedfords had taken care—well! duped by these gross arts, the Cavendishes and Pelhams determined to divide the next day on the report. I did not learn this mad resolution till four o'clock, when it was too late, and your brother in the House, and the report actually made; so I turned back and came away, learning afterwards to my great mortification, that he had voted with them. If any thing could comfort me, it would be, that even so early as last night, and only this happened on Friday night, it was generally allowed how much I had been in the right, and foretold exactly all that had happened. They had vaunted to me how strong they should be. I had replied, "When you were but 76 on the most inoffensive question, do you think you will be half that number on the most personal and indecent that can be devised?" Accordingly, they were but 37 to 167; and to show how much the Bedfords were at the bottom of all, Rigby, they Forrester, and Lord Charles Spencer, went up into the Speaker's chamber, and would not vote for the Princess! At first I was not quite so well treated. Sir William Meredith, who, by the way, voted in the second question against his opinion, told me Onslow had said that he, Sir William, your brother, and Lord Townshend, had stayed away from conscience, but all the others from interest. I replied, "Then I am included in the latter predicament.(822) but you may tell Mr. Onslow that he will take a place before I shall, and that I had rather be suspected of being mercenary, than stand up in my place and call God to witness that I meant nothing personal, when I was doing the most personal thing in the world." I beg your pardon, my dear lord, for talking so much about myself, but the detail was necessary and important to you; who I wish should see that I can act with a little common sense, and will not be governed by all the frenzy of party.
The rest of the bill was contested inch by inch, and by division on division, till eleven at night, after our wise leaders had whittled down the minority to twenty-four.(823) Charles Townshend, they say, surpassed all he had ever done, in a wrangle with Onslow, and was so lucky as to have Barr'e absent, who has long lain in wait for him. When they told me how well Charles had spoken on himself, I replied, "That is conformable to what I always thought of his parts, that he speaks best on what he understands the least."
We have done with the bill, and to-morrow our correction goes to the Lords. It will be a day of wonderful expectation.. to see in what manner they will swallow their vomit. The Duke of Bedford, it is conjectured, will stay away:—but what will that scape-goose, Lord Halifax, do, who is already convicted of having told the King a most notorious lie, that if the Princess was not given up by the Lords, she would be unanimously excluded by the Commons! The Duke of Bedford, who had broke the ground, is little less blamable; but Sandwich, who was present, has, with his usual address, contrived not to be talked of, since the first hour.
When the bill shall be passed, the eyes of mankind will turn to see what will be the consequence. The Princess, and Lord Bute, and the Scotch, do not affect to conceal their indignation. If Lord Halifax is even reprieved, the King is more enslaved to a cabal than ever his grandfather was: yet how replace them! Newcastle and the most desirable of the opposition have rendered themselves more obnoxious than ever, and even seem, or must seem to Lord Bute, in league with those he wishes to remove. The want of a proper person for chancellor of the exchequer is another difficulty, though I think easily removable by clapping a tied wig on Ellis, Barrington, or any other block, and calling it George Grenville. One remedy is obvious, and at which, after such insults and provocations, were I Lord Bute, I should not stick; I would deliver myself up, bound hand and foot, to Mr. Pitt, rather than not punish such traitors and wretches, who murmur, submit, affront, and swallow in the most ignominious manner,—"Oh! il faudra qu'il y vienne,"—as L'eonor says in the Marquis de Roselle,—"il y viendra." For myself, I have another little comfort, which is seeing that when the ministry encourage the Opposition, they do but lessen our numbers.
You may be easy about this letter, for Monsieur de Guerchy sends it for me by a private hand, as I did the last. I wish, by some Such conveyance, you would tell me a little of your mind on all this embroil, and whether you approve or disapprove my conduct. After the liberties you have permitted me to take with you, my dear lord, and without them, as you know my openness, and how much I am accustomed to hear of my faults, I think you cannot hesitate. Indeed, I must, I have done, or tried to do, just what you would have wished. Could I, who have at least some experience and knowledge of the world, have directed, our party had not been in the contemptible and ridiculous situation it is. Had I had more weight, things still more agreeable to you had happened. Now, I could almost despair; but I have still perseverance, and some resources left. Whenever I can get to you, I will unfold a great deal; but in this critical situation, I cannot trust what I can leave to no management but my own.
Your brother would have writ, if I had not: he is gone to Park-place to-day, with his usual phlegm, but returns tomorrow. What would I give you were here yourself; perhaps you do not thank me for the wish.
Do not wonder if, except thanking you for D'Alembert's book,(824) I say not a word of any thing but politics. I have not had a single other thought these three weeks. Though in all the bloom of my passion, lilac-tide, I have not been at Strawberry this fortnight. I saw things arrive at the point(825) I wished, and to which I had singularly contributed to bring them, as you shall know hereafter, and then I saw all my Work kicked down by two or three frantic boys, and I see what I most dread, likely to happen, unless I can prevent it,—but I have said enough for you to understand me. I think we agree. However, this is for no ear or breast but your own. Remember Monsieur de Nivernois,(826) and take care of the letters you receive. Adieu!
(814) It seems from the next letter, that this alludes to Charles Townshend.-C.
(815) Lord George and Lord Frederick.-E.
(816) Probably Messrs. Thomas Townshend, senior and junior, and Charles Townshend, a cousin of the great Charles Townshend's, who sat with Sir Edward Walpole for North Yarmouth.-C.
(817) Colonel Charles Fitzroy, afterwards Lord Southampton.-E.
(818) John Morton, Esq. member for Abingdon, and chief-justice of Chester.-E.
(819) The following is Lord Temple's account of this debate, in a letter of the 10th, to his sister, Lady Chatham: "Inability and meanness are the characteristics of this whole proceeding,. I shall pass over the very uninteresting parts of this matter, and relate only the phenomenon of Morton's motion yesterday, seconded by Kynaston, without a speech, and thirded by the illustrious Sam Martin. The speech of the first was dull, and of the latter very injudicious; saying that the House of Lords had passed a stigma on the Princess of Wales; disclaiming all knowledge of her wishes, but concluding, with a strong affirmative. George Onslow opposed the motion, with very bad reasons; Lord Palmerston, with much better. George Grenville seemed to convey, that the alteration made in the Lords was not without the King's knowledge; but that, to be sure, in his opinion, such a testimony of zeal and affection which now manifested itself in the House of Commons in favour of his royal mother, could not but prove agreeable to his Majesty, and that therefore he should concur in it. The Cocoa-tree have thus her Royal Highness to be regent; it is well they have not given us a king, if they have not; for many think Lord Bute is king. No division: many noes." Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 309.-E.
(820) It was, indeed, a black and scandalous intrigue, by which the character of the Sovereign's mother, and the peace and comfort of the Royal Family, were thus made the counters with which contending factions played their game; and if we may believe Mr. Walpole himself, the motives which actuated those who attacked, and those who seemed to defend the Princess Dowager, were equally selfish and unworthy.-C.
(821) Probably Brook Forrester, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, member for Great Wenlock, a barrister-at-law. See ante, p. 281, letter 191.-C.
(822) It certainly does seem, from the foregoing account of his own motives, that conscience had little to do with Mr. Walpole's conduct on this affair: as to his pledge, that Mr. Onslow would take a place before him, we must observe that it is not quite so generous as it may seem; for Mr. Walpole was already, by the provident care of his father, supplied with three sinecure places, and two rent-charges on two others, producing him altogether about 6300 pounds per annum. See Quarterly Review, Vol. xxvii. P. 198.-C.
(823) On the question for the third reading of the bill, the numbers were 150 and 24.-E.
(824) De la Destruction des J'esuites."-E.
(825 This seems to imply that Mr. Walpole thought, that if the Opposition had taken up the cause of the Princess Dowager when she had been abandoned by the ministers, the latter might have been removed, and the former brought into power.-C.
(826) He alludes to the infidelity of D'Eon to the Duke of Nivernois. See ant'e, p. 253, letter 181.-C.
Letter 252 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Monday evening, May 20, 1765. (page 399)
I scarce know where to begin, and I am sure not where I shall end. I had comforted myself with getting over all my difficulties: my friends opened their eyes, and were ready, nay, some of them eager, to list under Mr. Pitt; for I must tell you, that by a fatal precipitation,(827) the King,—when his ministers went to him last Thursday, 16th, to receive his commands for his speech at the end of the sessions which was to have been the day after to-morrow, the 22d,—forbid the Parliament to be prorogued, which he said he would only have adjourned: they were thunderstruck, and asked if he intended to make any change in his administration? he replied, certainly; he could not bear it as it was. His uncle(828) was sent for, was ordered to form a new administration, and treat with Mr. Pitt. This negotiation proceeded for four days, and got wind in two. The town, more accommodating than Mr. Pitt, settled the whole list of employments. The facilities, however, were so few. that yesterday the hero of Culloden went down in person to the Conqueror of America, at Hayes, and though tendering almost carte blanche,— blanchissime for the constitution, and little short of it for the whole red-book of places,—brought back nothing but a flat refusal. Words cannot paint the confusion into which every thing is thrown. The four ministers, I mean the Duke of Bedford, Grenville, and the two Secretaries, acquainted their master yesterday, that they adhere to one another, and shall all resign to-morrow, and, perhaps, must be recalled on Wednesday,—must have a carte noire, not blanche, and will certainly not expect any stipulations to be offered for the constitution, by no means the object of their care!
You are not likely to tell in Gath, nor publish in Ascalon, the alternative of humiliation to which the crown is reduced. But alas! this is far from being the lightest evil to which we are at the eve of being exposed. I mentioned the mob of weavers which had besieged the Parliament, and attacked the Duke of Bedford, and I thought no more of it; but on Friday, a well disciplined, and, I fear too well conducted a multitude, repaired again to Westminster with red and black flags; the House of Lords, where not thirty were present, acted with no spirit;—examined Justice Fielding, and the magistrates, and adjourned till to-day. At seven that evening, a prodigious multitude assaulted Bedford-house, and began to pull down the walls, and another party surrounded the garden, where there were but fifty men on guard, and had forced their way, if another party of Guards that had been sent for had arrived five minutes later. At last, after reading the proclamation, the gates of the court were thrown open, and sixty foot-soldiers marched out; the mob fled, but, being met by a party of horse, were much cut and trampled, but no lives lost. Lady Tavistock, and every thing valuable in the house, have been sent out of town. On Saturday, all was pretty quiet; the Duchess was blooded, and every body went to visit them. I hesitated, being afraid of an air of triumph: -however, lest it should be construed the other way, I went last night at eight o'clock; in the square I found a great multitude, not of weavers, but seemingly of Sunday-passengers. At the gate, guarded by grenadiers, I found so large a throng, that I had not only difficulty to make my way, though in my chariot, but was hissed and pelted; and in two minutes after, the glass of Lady Grosvenor's coach was broken, as those of Lady Cork's chair were entirely demolished afterwards. I found Bedford-house a perfect garrison, sustaining a siege, the court full of horse-guards, constables, and gentlemen. I told the Duke that however I might happen to differ with him in politics, this was a common cause, and that every body must feel equal indignation at it. In the mean time the mob grew so riotous, that they were forced to make both horse and foot parade the square before the tumult was dispersed.
To-morrow we expect much worse. The weavers have declared they will come down to the House of Lords for redress, which they say they have been promised. A body of five hundred sailors were on the road from Portsmouth to join them, but luckily the admiralty had notice of their intention, and stopped them.(829) A large body of weavers are on the road from Norwich, and it is said have been joined by numbers in Essex; guards are posted to prevent, if possible, their approaching the city. Another troop of manufacturers are coming from Manchester; and what is worst of' all, there is such a general spirit of mutiny and dissatisfaction in the lower people, that I think we are in danger of a rebellion in the heart of the capital in a week. In the mean time, there is neither administration nor government. The King is out of town, and this is the crisis in which Mr. Pitt, who could stop every evil, chooses to be more unreasonable than ever.(830)
Mr. Craufurd, whom you have seen at the Duchess of Grafton's, carries this, or I should not venture being so explicit. Wherever the storm may break out at first, I think Lord Bute cannot escape his share of it. The Bedfords may triumph over him, the Princess, and still higher, if they are fortunate enough to avoid the present ugly appearances; and yet how the load of odium will be increased, if they return to power! One can name many in whose situation one would not be,-not one who is not situated unpleasantly.
Adieu my dear lord; you shall hear as often as I can find a conveyance but these are not topics for the post! Poor Mrs. Fitzroy has lost her eldest girl. I forgot to tell you that the young Duke of Devonshire goes to court to-morrow. Yours ever.
I am forced to send you journals rather than letters. Mr. Craufurd, who was to carry this, has put off his journey till Saturday, and I choose rather to defer my despatch than trust it to Guerchy's courier, though he offered me that conveyance yesterday, but it is too serious to venture to their inspection.
Such precautions have been taken, and so many troops brought into town, that there has been no rising, though the sheriffs of London acquainted the Lords on Monday that a very formidable one was preparing for five o'clock the next morning. There was another tumult, indeed, at three o'clock yesterday, at Bedford-house, but it was dispersed by reading the Riot-act. In the mean time, the revolution has turned round again. The ministers desired the King to commission Lord Granby, the Duke of Richmond, and Lord Waldegrave, to suppress the riots, which, in truth, was little short of asking for the power of the sword against himself. On this, his Majesty determined to name the Duke of Cumberland captain-general but the tranquillity of the rioters happily gave H. R. H. occasion to persuade the King to suspend that resolution. Thank God! From eleven o'clock yesterday, when I heard it, till nine at night, when I learned that the resolution had dropped, I think I never passed such anxious hours! nay, I heard it was done, and looked upon the civil war as commenced. During these events, the Duke was endeavouring to form a ministry, but, luckily, nobody would undertake it when Mr. Pitt had refused so the King is reduced to the mortification, and it is extreme, of taking his old ministers again. They are insolent enough, you may believe. Grenville has treated his master in the most impertinent manner, and they are now actually digesting the terms that they mean to impose on their captive, and Lord Bute is the chief object of their rage; though I think Lord Holland will not escape, nor Lord Northumberland, whom they treat as an encourager of the rioters. Both he and my lady went on Monday night to Bedford-house, and were received with every mark of insult.(831) The Duke turned his back on the Earl, without speaking to him, and he was kept standing an hour exposed to all their railery. Still I have a more extraordinary event to tell you than all I have related. Lord Temple and George Grenville were reconciled yesterday morning, by the intervention of Augustus Hervey; and, perhaps, the next thing you wilt hear, may be that Lord Temple is sent by this ministry to Ireland, though Lord Weymouth is again much talked of for it.
The report of Norwich and Manchester weavers on the road is now doubted. If Lord Bute is banished, I suppose the Duke of Bedford will become the hero of this very mob, and every act of power which they (the ministers] have executed, let who will have been the adviser, will be forgotten. It will be entertaining to see Lord Temple supporting Lord Halifax on general warrants!
You have more than once seen your old master(832) reduced to surrender up his closet to a cabal—but never with such circumstances of insult, indignity, and humiliation! For our little party, it is more humbled than ever. Still I prefer that state to what I dread; I mean, seeing your brother embarked in a desperate administration. It was proposed first to make him secretary at war, then secretary of state, but he declined both. Yet I trembled, lest he should think bound in honour to obey the commands of the King and Duke of Cumberland; but, to my great joy, that alarm is over, unless the triumphant faction exact more than the King can possibly suffer. It will rejoice you, however, my dear lord, to hear that Mr. Conway is perfectly restored to the King's favour; and that if he continues in opposition, it will not be against the King, but a most abominable faction, who, having raged against the constitution and their country to pay court to Lord Bute, have even thrown off that paltry mask, and avowedly hoisted the standard of their own power. Till the King has signed their demands, one cannot look upon this scene as closed.
You will think, my dear lord, and it is natural you should, that I write my letters at once, and compose one part with my prophecies, and the other with the completion of them; but you must recollect that I understand this country pretty well,— attend closely to what passes,—have very good intelligence,—and know the characters of the actors thoroughly. A little sagacity added to such foundation, easily carries one's sight a good way; but you will care for my narrative more than my reflections, so I proceed.
On Wednesday, the ministers dictated their terms; you will not expect much moderation, and, accordingly, there was not a grain: they demanded a royal promise of never consulting Lord Bute, Secondly, the dismission of Mr. Mckinsy from the direction of Scotland; thirdly, and lastly, for they could go no further, the crown itself—or, in their words the immediate nomination of Lord Granby to be captain-general. You may figure the King's indignation—for himself, for his favourite, for his uncle. In my own opinion, the proposal of grounds for taxing his majesty himself hereafter with breaking his word,(833) was the bitterest affront of all. He expressed his anger and astonishment, and bade them return at ten at night for his answer; but, before that, he sent the Chancellor to the junta, consenting to displace Mekinsy,(834) refusing to promise not to consult Lord Bute, though acquiescing to his not interfering in business, but with a peremptory refusal to the article of Lord Granby. The rebels took till next morning to advise on their answer; when they gave up the point of Lord Granby, and contented themselves with the modification on the chapter of Lord Bute. However, not to be too complimentary, they demanded Mekinsy's place for Lord Lorn,(835) and the instant removal of Lord Holland; both of which have been granted. Charles Townshend is paymaster, and Lord Weymouth viceroy of Ireland; so Lord Northumberland remains on the pav'e, which, as there is no place vacant for him, it was not necessary to stipulate. The Duchess of bedford, with colours flying, issued out of her garrison yesterday, and took possession of the drawing-room. To-day their majesties are gone to Woburn; but as the Duchess is a perfect Methodist against all suspicious characters, it is said, to-day, that Lord Talbot is to be added to the list of proscriptions, and now they think themselves established for ever.—Do they so? Lord Temple declares himself the warmest friend of the present administration;—there is a mystery still to be cleared up,—and, perhaps, a little to the mortification of Bedford-house.—We shall see.
The Duke of Cumberland is retired to Windsor: your brother gone to Park-place: I go to Strawberry to-morrow, lest people should not think me a great man too. I don't know whether I shall not even think it necessary to order myself a fit of the gout.(836) I have received your short letter of the 16th, with the memorial of the family of Brebeuf;—now my head will have a little leisure, I will examine it,. and see if I can do any thing in the affair. In that letter you say, you have been a month without hearing from any of your friends. I little expected to be taxed on that head: I have written you volumes almost every day; my last dates have been of April 11th, 20th, May 5th, 12th, and 16th. I beg you will look over them, and send me word exactly, and I beg you not to omit it, whether any of these are missing. Three of them I trusted to Guerchy, but took care they should contain nothing which it signified whether seen or not on t'other side of the water, though I did not care they should be perused on this. I had the caution not to let him have this, though by the eagerness with which he proffered both to-day and yesterday, to send any thing by his couriers, I suspected he wished to help them to better intelligence than he could give them himself. He even told me he should have another courier depart on Tuesday next; but I excused myself, on the pretence of having too much to write at once, and shall send this, and a letter your brother has left me, by mr. Craufurd, though he does not set out till Sunday; but you had better wait for it from him, than from the Duc de Choiseul. Pray commend my discretion—you see I grow a consummate politician; but don't approve of it too much, lest I only send you letters as prudent as your own.
You may acquaint Lady Holland with the dismission of her lord, if she has not heard it, he being at Kingsgate. Your secretary(837) is likely to be prime minister in Ireland. Two months ago the new Viceroy himself was going to France for debt, leaving his wife and children to be maintained by her mother.(838)
I will be much obliged to you, my dear lord, if you will contrive to pay Lady Stanhope for the medals; they cost, I think, but 4 pounds 7 shillings or thereabout—but I have lost the note.
Adieu! here ends volume the first. Omnia mutantur, sed non mutamur in illis. Princess Amelia, who has a little veered round to northwest, and by Bedford, does not speak tenderly of her brother—but if some families are reconciled, others are disunited. The Keppels are at open war with the Keppels, and Lady Mary Coke weeps with one eye over Lady Betty Mackinsy, and smiles with t'other on Lady Dalkeith;(839) but the first eye is the sincerest. The Duke of Richmond, in exactly the same proportion, is divided between his sisters, Holland and Bunbury.
Thank you much for your kindness about Mr. T. Walpole-I have not had a moment's time to see him, but will do full justice to your goodness. Yours ever, H. W.
Pray remember the dates of my letters—you will be strangely puzzled for a clue, if one of them has miscarried. Sir Charles Bunbury is not to be secretary for Ireland, but Thurlow the lawyer:(840) they are to stay five years without returning. Lord Lorn has declined, and Lord Frederic Campbell is to be lord privy seal for Scotland. Lord Waldegrave, they say, chamberlain to the Queen.(841)
(831) From the family, not from the rioters.-C.
(832) George the Second.
(833) This alludes to the required promise not to consult Lord Bute.
(834) The Following is from Mr. Stuart Mackenzie's own account of his removal, in the Mitchell MSS:—"They demanded certain terms, without which they declined coming in; the principal of which was, that I should be dismissed from the administration of the affairs of Scotland, and likewise from the office of privy seal. His Majesty answered, that as to the first, it would be no great punishment, he believed, to me, as I had never been very fond of the employment; but as to the second, I had his promise to continue it for life. Grenville replied to this purpose: 'In that case, Sir, we must decline coming in.'—'No,' says the King, 'I will not, on that account, put the whole kingdom in confusion, and leave it without a government at all; but I will tell you how that matter stands —that he has my royal word to continue in the office; and if you force me, from the situation of things, to violate my royal word, remember you are responsible for it, and not I.' Upon that very solemn charge, Grenville answered, 'Sir, we must make some arrangement for Mr. Mackenzie.' The King answered, 'If I know any thing of him, he will give himself very little trouble about your arrangements for him.' His Majesty afterwards sent for me to his closet, where I was a very considerable time with him; and if it were possible for me to love my excellent prince now better than I ever did before, I should certainly do it; for I have every reason that can induce a generous mind to feel his goodness for me; but such was his Majesty's situation at this time, that, had he absolutely rejected my dismission, he would have put me in the most disagreeable situation in the world; and, what was of much higher consequence, he would leave greatly distressed his affairs."-E.
(835) John Marquis of Lorn, afterwards fifth Duke of Argyle; a lieutenant-general in the army: he was brother of (General Conway's lady.-C.
(836) An allusion to Mr. Pitt.-C.
(837) Sir Charles Bunbury, secretary of embassy at Paris, was nominated secretary to Lord Weymouth, and held that office for about two months.-E.
(838) The straitened circumstances of Lord Weymouth made his nomination very unpopular in Ireland: he never went over.-C.
(839) In the recent arrangement, Lady Betty's husband was, as we have seen, dismissed from, and Lady Dalkeith's (Charles Townshend) acceded to, office.-C.
(840) This was a mistake.-E.
(841) This is the last of the series of letters written by Walpole to Lord Hertford: to the publication is subjoined the following postscript:-"The state of the administration, as described in the foregoing letters, could evidently not last; and after the failure of several attempts to induce Mr. Pitt to take the government on terms which the King could grant, the Duke of Cumberland, at his Majesty's desire, succeeded in forming the Rockingham administration, in which General Conway was secretary of state and leader of the House of Commons, and Lord Hertford, lord lieutenant of Ireland. There can be little doubt, that during these transactions, Mr. Walpole (although he had in the interval a severe fit Of the gout) wrote to Lord Hertford, but no other letter of this series has been discovered; which is the more to be regretted, as the state of parties was it that moment particularly interesting. The refusal of Mr. Pitt raised the ministers to a pitch of confidence, (perhaps@, we might say, -arrogance,) which, as Mr. Walpole foresaw, accelerated their fall. So blind were they to their true situation, that Mr. Rigby, who was as deep as any man in the ministerial councils, writes to a private friend "I never thought, to tell you the truth, that we were in any danger from this last political cloud. The Duke of Cumberland's political system, grafted upon the Earl of Bute's stock, seems, of all others, the least capable of succeeding.' This letter was written on the 7th of July, and on the 10th the new ministry was formed."-C.
Letter 253 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, May 26, 1765. (page 405)
If one of the one hundred events, and one hundredth part of the one hundred thousand reports that have passed, and been spread in this last month, have reached your solitary hill, you must be surprised at not a single word from me during that period. The number of events is my excuse. Though mine is the pen of a pretty ready writer, I could not keep pace with the revolution of each day, each hour. I had not time to begin the narrative, much less to finish it: no, I Must keep the whole to tell you at once, or to read it to you, for I think I shall write the history, which, let me tell you, Buckinger himself could not have crowded into a nutshell.
For your part, you will be content though the house of Montagu has not made an advantageous figure in this political warfare; yet it is crowned with victory, and laurels you know compensate for every scar. You went out of town frightened out of your senses at the giant prerogative: alack! he is grown so tame, that, as you said of our earthquake, you may stroke him.(842) The Regency-bill, not quite calculated with that intent, has produced four regents, King Bedford, king Grenville, King Halifax, and king Twitcher.(843) Lord Holland is turned out, and Stuart Mackenzie. Charles Townshend is paymaster, and Lord Bute annihilated; and all done without the help of the Whigs. You love to guess what one is going to say. Now you may what I am not going to say. your newspapers perhaps have given you a long roll of opposition names, who were coming into place, and so all the world thought; but the Wind turned quite round, and left them on the strand, and just where they were, except in opposition which is declared to be at an end. Enigma as all this may sound, the key would open it all to you in the twinkling of an administration. In the mean time we have family reconciliations without end. The King and the Duke of Cumberland have been shut up together day and night; Lord Temple and George Grenville are sworn brothers; well, but Mr. Pitt, where is he? In the clouds, for aught I know; in one of which he may descend like the kings of Bantam, and take quiet possession of the throne again.
As a thorough-bass to these squabbles, we have had an insurrection and a siege. Bedford-house, though garrisoned by horse and foot guards, was on the point of being taken. The besieged are in their turn triumphant; and, if any body now was to publish "Droit le Duc,"(844) I do not think the House of Lords would censure his book. Indeed the regents may do what they please, and turn out whom they will; I see nothing to resist them. Lord Bute will not easily be tempted to rebel when the last struggle has cost him so dear.
I am sorry for some of my friends, to whom I wished more fortune. For myself, I am but just where I should have been had they succeeded. It is satisfaction enough to me to be delivered from politics; which you know I have long detested. When I was tranquil enough to write Castles of Otranto in the midst of grave nonsense and foolish councils of war, I am not likely to disturb myself with the diversions of the court where I am not connected with a soul. As it has proved to be the interest of the present ministers, however contrary to their torturer views, to lower the crown, they will scarce be in a hurry to aggrandize it again. That will satisfy you; and I, you know, am satisfied if I have any thing to laugh at—'tis a lucky age for a man who is so easily contented!
The poor Chute has had another relapse, but is out of bed again. I am thinking of my journey to France; but, as Mr. Conway has a mind I should wait for him, I don't know whether it will take place before the autumn. I will by no means release you from your promise of making me a visit here before I go.
Poor Mr. Bentley, I doubt, is under the greatest difficulties of any body. His poem, which he modestly delivered over to immortality, must be cut and turned; for Lord Halifax and Lord Bute cannot sit in the same canto together; then the horns and hoofs that he had bestowed on Lord Temple must be pared away, and beams of glory distributed over his whole person. 'Tis a dangerous thing to write political panegyrics or satires; it draws the unhappy bard into a thousand scrapes and contradictions. The edifices and inscriptions at Stowe should be a lesson not to erect monuments to the living. I will not place an ossuarium in my garden for my cat, before her bones are ready to be placed in it. I hold contradictions to be as essential to the definition of a political man, as any visible or featherless quality can be to man in general. Good night!
I shall send this by the coach; so whatever comes with it is only to make bundle. Here are some lines that came into my head yesterday in the postchaise, as I was reading in the Annual Register an account of a fountain-tree in one of the Canary Islands, which never dies, and supplies the inhabitants with water. I don't warrant the longevity though the hypostatic union of a fountain may eternize the tree.
"In climes adust, where rivers never flow, Where constant suns repel approaching snow, How Nature's various and inventive hand Can pour unheard-of moisture o'er the land! immortal plants she bids on rocks arise, And from the dropping branches streams supplies, The thirsty native sucks the falling shower, Nor asks for juicy fruit or blooming flower; But haply doubts when travellers maintain, That Europe's forests melt not into rain."
(842) See ant'e, p. 365, letter 237.-E.
(843) Wilkes, in the North Briton, had applied to the Earl of Sandwich the sobriquet of jemmy Twitcher.-E.
(844) ant'e, p. 294, letter 194.-E.
Letter 254 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, June 10, 1765, Eleven at night. (page 407)
I am just come out of the garden in the most oriental of all evenings, and from breathing odours beyond those of Araby. The acacias, which the Arabians have the sense to worship, are covered with blossoms, the honeysuckles dangle from every tree in festoons, the seringas are thickets of sweets, and the new-cut hay in the field tempers the balmy gales with simple freshness; while a thousand sky-rockets launched into the air at Ranelagh or Marybone illuminate the scene, and give it an air of Haroun Alraschid's paradise. I was not quite so content by daylight; some foreigners dined here, and, though they admired our verdure, it mortified me by its brownness—we have not had a drop of rain this month to cool the tip of our daisies. My company was Lady Lyttelton, Lady Schaub, a Madame de Juliac from the Pyreneans, very handsome, not a girl, and of Lady Schaub's mould; the Comte de Caraman, nephew of Madame de Mirepoix, a Monsieur de Clausonnette, and General Schouallow,(845) the favourite of the late Czarina; absolute favourite for a dozen years, without making an enemy. In truth, he is very amiable, humble, and modest. Had he been ambitious, he might have mounted the throne: as he was not, you may imagine they have plucked his plumes a good deal. There is a little air of melancholy about him, and, if I am not mistaken, Some secret wishes for the fall of the present Empress; which, if it were civil to suppose, I could heartily join with him in hoping for. As we have still liberty enough left to dazzle a Russian, he seems charmed with England, and perhaps liked even this place the more as belonging to the son of one that, like himself, had been prime minister. If he has no more ambition left than I have, he must taste the felicity of being a private man. What has Lord Bute gained, but the knowledge of how many ungrateful sycophants favour and power can create?
If you have received the parcel that I consined to Richard Brown for you, you will have found an explanation of my long silence. Thank you for being alarmed for my health.
The day after to-morrow I go to Park-place for four or five days, and soon after to Goodwood. My French journey is still in suspense; Lord Hertford talks of coming over for a fortnight; perhaps I may go back with him; but I have determined nothing yet, till I see farther into the present chase, that somehow or other I may take my leave of politics for ever; for can any thing be so wearisome as politics on the account of others? Good night! shall I not see you here? Yours ever.
(845) The Comte de Schouwaloff. See ant'e, p. 382, letter 245. Walpole says, in a note to Madame du Deffand's letter to him of the 19th of April, 1766, "Il fut IC favori, l'on croit le mari, de la Czarine Elizabeth de Russie, et pendant douze ans de faveur il ne se fit point un ennemi."-E.
Letter 255 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Strawberry Hill, June 11, 1765. (page 408)
I am almost as much ashamed, Madam, to plead the true cause of my faults towards your ladyship, as to have been guilty of any neglect. It is scandalous, at my age, to have been carried backwards and forwards to balls and suppers and parties by very young people, as I was all last week. My resolutions of growing old and staid are admirable: I wake with a sober plan, and intend to pass the day with my friends—then comes the Duke of Richmond, and hurries me down to Whitehall to dinner-then the Duchess of Grafton sends for me to loo in Upper Grosvenor-street—before I can get thither, I am begged to step to Kensington, to give Mrs. Anne Pitt my opinion about a bow-window—after the loo, I am to march back to Whitehall to supper-and after that, am to walk with Miss Pelham on the terrace till two in the morning, because it is moonlight and her chair is not come. All this does not help my morning laziness; and, by the time I have breakfasted, fed my birds and my squirrels, and dressed, there is an auction ready. In short, Madam, this was my life last week, and is I think every week, with the addition of forty episodes. Yet, ridiculous as it is, I send it your ladyship, because I had rather you should laugh at me than be angry. I cannot offend you in intention, but I fear my sins of omission are equal to many a good Christian's. Pray forgive me. I really will begin to be between forty and fifty by the time I am fourscore; and I truly believe I shall bring my resolutions within compass; for I have not chalked out any particular business that will take me above forty years more; so that, if I do not get acquainted with the grandchildren of all the present age, I shall lead a quiet sober life yet before I die.
As Mr. Bateman's is the kingdom of flowers, I must not wish to send you any; else, Madam, I should load wagons with acacias, honeysuckles, and seringas. Madame de Juliac, who dined here owned that the climate and odours equalled Languedoc. I fear the want of rain made the turf put her in mind of it, too. Monsieur de Caraman entered into the gothic spirit of the place, and really seemed pleased, which was more than I expected; for, between you and me, Madam, our friends the French have seldom eyes for any thing they have not been used to see all their lives. I beg my warmest compliments to your host and Lord Ilchester. I wish your ladyship all pleasure and health, and am, notwithstanding my idleness, your most faithful and devoted humble servant.
Letter 256 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Saturday night. (page 409)
I must scrawl a line to you, though with the utmost difficulty, for I am in my bed; but I see they have foolishly put it into the Chronicle that I am dangerously ill; and as I know you take in that paper, and are one of the very, very few, of whose tenderness and friendship I have not the smallest doubt, I give myself pain, rather than let you feel a moment's unnecessarily. It is true, I have had a terrible attack of the gout in my stomach, head, and both feet, but have truly never been in danger any more than one must be in such a situation. My head and stomach are perfectly well; my feet far from it. I have kept my room since this day se'nnight, and my bed these three days, but hope to get up to-morrow. You know my writing and my veracity, and that I would not deceive you. As to my person, it will not be so easy to reconnoitre it, for I question whether any of it will remain; it was easy to annihilate so airy a substance. Adieu!
Letter 257 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Wednesday noon, July 3, 1765. (page 410)
The footing part of my dance with my shocking partner the gout is almost over. I had little pain there this last night, and got, at twice, about three hours' sleep; but, whenever I waked, found my head very bad, which Mr. Graham thinks gouty too. The fever is still very high: but the same sage is of opinion, with my Lady LOndonderry, that if it was a fever from death, I should die; but as it is only a fever from the gout, I shall live. I think so too, and hope that, like the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough., they are so inseparable, that when one goes t'other will.
Tell Lady Ailesbury, I fear it will be long before I shall be able to compass all your terraces again. The weather is very hot, and I have the (comfort of a window open all day. I have got a bushel of roses too, and a new scarlet nightingale, which does not sing Nancy Dawson from morning to night. Perhaps you think all these poor pleasures; but you are ignorant what a provocative the gout is, and what charms it can bestow on a moment's amusement! Oh! it beats all the refinements of a Roman sensualist. It has made even my watch a darling plaything; I strike it as often as a child does. Then the disorder of my sleep diverts me when I am awake. I dreamt that I went to see Madame de Bentheim at Paris, and that she had the prettiest palace in the world, built like a pavilion, of yellow laced with blue; that I made love to her daughter, whom I called Mademoiselle Bleue et Jaune, and thought it very clever.
My next reverie was very serious, and lasted half an hour after I was awake; which you will perhaps think a little light-headed, and so do I. I thought Mr. Pitt had had a conference with Madame de Bentheim, and granted all her demands. I rung for Louis at six in the morning, and wanted to get up and inform myself of what had been kept so secret from me. You must know, that all these visions of Madame de Bentheim flowed from George Selwyn telling me last night, that she had carried most of her points, and was returning. What stuff I tell you! But alas! I have nothing better to do, sitting on my bed, and wishing to forget how brightly the sun shines, when I cannot be at Strawberry. Yours ever.
Letter 258 To The Countess Of Suffolk.(846) London, July 3, 1765. (page 411)
Your ladyship's goodness to me on all occasions makes me flatter myself that I am not doing an impertinence in telling you I am alive; though, after what I have suffered, you may be sure there cannot be much of me left. The gout has been a little in my stomach, much more in my head, but luckily never out of my right foot, and for twelve, thirteen, and seventeen hours together, insisting upon having its way as absolutely as ever my Lady Blandford(847) did. The extremity of pain seems to be over, though I sometimes think my tyrant puts in his claim to t'other foot; and surely he is, like most tyrants, mean as well as cruel, or he could never have thought the leg of a lark such a prize. The fever, the tyrant's first minister, has been as vexatious as his master, and makes use of this hot day to plague me more; yet, as I was sending a servant to Twickenham, I could not help scrawling out a few lines to ask how your ladyship does, to tell you how I am, and to lament the roses, strawberries, and banks of the river. I know nothing, Madam, of ,any kings or ministers but those I have mentioned; and this administration I fervently hope will be changed soon, and for all others I shall be very indifferent. had a (,real prince come to my bedside yesterday, I should have begged that the honour might last a very few minutes. I am, etc.
(846) Now first collected.
(847) lady Blandford was somewhat impatient in her temper. See ant'e, p. 342, letter 220.-E.
letter 259 To The Countess Of Suffolk.(848) Arlington Street, July 9, 1765. (page 411)
Madam, though instead of getting better, as I flattered myself I should, I have gone through two very painful and sleepless nights, yet as I give audience here in my bed to new ministers and foreign ministers, I think it full as much my duty to give an account of myself to those who are so good as to wish me well. I am reduced to nothing but bones and spirits; but the latter make me bear the inconvenience of the former, though they (I mean my bones) lie in a heap over one another like the bits of ivory at the game of straws.
It is very melancholy, at the instant I was getting quit of politics, to be visited with the only thing that is still more plaguing. However, I believe the fit of politics going off makes me support the new-comer better. Neither of them indeed will leave me plumper;(849) but if they will both leave me at peace, your ladyship knows it is all I have ever desired. The chiefs of' the new ministry were to have kissed hands to-day; but Mr. Charles Townshend, who, besides not knowing either of his own minds, has his brother's minds to know too, could not determine last night. Both brothers are gone to the King to-day. I was much concerned to hear so bad an account of your ladyship's health. Other people would wish you a severe fit, which is a very cheap wish to them who do not feel it: I, who do, advise you to be content with it in detail. Adieu! Madam. Pray keep a little summer for me. I will give You a bushel of politics, when I come to Marble Hill, for a teacup of strawberries and cream.
Mr. Chetwynd,(851) I suppose, is making the utmost advantage of any absence, frisking and cutting capers before Miss Hotham, and advising her not to throw herself away on a decrepit old man.- -Well, fifty years hence he may begin to be an old man too; and then I shall not pity him, though I own he is the best-humoured lad in the world now. Yours, etc.
(848) Now first collected.
(849) Walpole was too fond of this boast of disinterestedness. What was it but politics that made his fortune so plump? His fortune from his father, we know from himself, was very inconsiderable;-but from his childhood he held sinecure offices which, during the greater part of his life, produced him between six and seven thousand pounds per annum.-C.
(851) William Chetwynd, brother of the two first Viscounts, and himself, in 1767, third Viscount Chetwynd. He was at this time nearly eighty years of age.-E.
Letter 260 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, July 11, 1765. (page 412)
You are so good, I must write you a few lines, and you will excuse My not writing many, my posture is so uncomfortable, lying on a couch by the side of my bed, and writing on the bed. I have in this manner been what they call out of bed for two days, but I mend very slowly, and get no strength in my feet at all; however, I must have patience.
Thank you for your kind offer; but, my dear Sir, you can do me no good but what you always do me, in coming to see me. I should hope that would be before I go to France, whither I certainly go the beginning of September, if not sooner. The great and happy change-happy, I hope, for this country—is actually begun. The Duke of Bedford, George Grenville, and the two Secretaries are discarded. Lord Rockingham is first lord of the treasury, Dowdeswell chancellor of the exchequer, the Duke of Grafton and Mr. Conway secretaries of state. You need not wish me joy, for I know you do. There is a good deal more to come,(852) and what is better, regulation of general warrants, and of undoing at least some of the mischiefs these - have been committing; some, indeed, is past recovery! I long to talk it all over with you; though it is hard that when I may write what I will, I am not able. The poor Chute is relapsed again, and we are no comfort to one another but by messages. An offer from Ireland was sent to Lord Hertford last night from his brother's office. Adieu!
(852) "There has been pretty clean sweeping already," wrote Lord Chesterfield on the 15th; and I do not remember, in my time, to have seen so much at once, as an entire new board of treasury, and two new secretaries, etc. Here is a new political arch built; but of materials of so different a nature, and without a keystone, that it does not, in my opinion, indicate either strength or duration. It will certainly require repairs and a keystone next winter, and that keystone will and must necessarily be Mr. Pitt."-E.
Letter 262 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, August 23, 1765. (page 414)
As I know that when you love people, you love them, I feel for the concern that the death of Lady Bab. Montagu(854) Will give you. Though you have long lived out of the way of seeing her, you are not a man to forget by absence, or all your friends would have still more reason to complain of your retirement. Your solitude prevents your filling up the places of those that are gone. In the world, new acquaintances slide into our habits, but you keep so strict a separation between your old friends and new faces, that the loss of any of the former must be more Sensible to you than to most people. I heartily condole with you, and yet I must make you smile. The second Miss Jefferies was to go to a ball yesterday at Hampton-court with Lady Sophia Thomas's daughters. The news came, and your aunt Cosby said the girl must not go to it. The poor child then cried in earnest. Lady Sophia went to intercede for her, and found her grandmother at backgammon, who would hear no entreaties. Lady Sophia represented that Miss Jefferies was but a second cousin, and could not have been acquainted. "Oh! Madam, if there is no tenderness left in the world-cinq ace—Sir, you are to throw."
We have a strange story come from London. Lord Fortescue was dead suddenly; there was a great mob about his house in Grosvenor-square, and a buzz that my lady had thrown up the sash and cried murder, and that he then shot himself. How true all this I don't know: at least it is not so false as if it was in the newspapers. However, these sultry summers do not suit English heads: this last month puts even the month of November's nose out of joint for self-murders. If it was not for the Queen the peerage would be extinct: she has given us another Duke.(855)
My two months are up, and yet I recover my feet very slowly. I have crawled once round my garden; but it sent me to my couch for the rest of the day. This duration of weakness makes me very impatient, as I wish much to be at Paris before the fine season is quite gone. This will probably be the last time I shall travel to finish my education, and I should be glad to look once more at their gardens and villas: nay, churches and palaces are but uncomfortable sights in cold weather, and I have much more curiosity for their habitations than their company. They have scarce a man or a woman of note that one wants to see; and, for their authors, their style is grown so dull in imitation of us, they are si philosophes, si g'eom'etres, si moraux, that I certainly should not cross the sea in search of ennui, that I can have in such perfection at home. However, the change of scene is my chief inducement, and to get out of politics. There is no going through another course of patriotism in your cousin Sandwich and George Grenville. I think of setting out by the middle of September; have I any chance of seeing you here before that? Won't you come and commission me to offer up your devotions to Notre Dame de Livry?(8 or chez nos filles de Sainte Marie. If I don't make haste, the reformation in France will demolish half that I want to see. I tremble for the Val de Grace and St. Cyr. The devil take Luther for putting it into the heads of his methodists to pull down the churches! I believe in twenty years there Will not be a convent left in Europe but this at Strawberry. I wished for you to-day; Mr. Chute and Cowslade dined here; the day was divine: the sun gleamed down into the chapel in all the glory of popery; the gallery was all radiance; we drank our coffee on the bench under the great ash-tree; the verdure was delicious; our tea in the Holbein room, by which a thousand chaises and barges passed; and I showed them my new cottage and garden over the way, which they had never seen, and with which they were enchanted. It is so retired, so modest, and yet so cheerful and trim, that I expect you to fall in love with it. I intend to bring it a handful of treillage and agr'emens from Paris; for being cross the road, and quite detached, it is to have nothing gothic about it, nor pretend to call cousins with the mansion-house.
I know no more of the big world at London, than if I had not a relation in the ministry. To be free from pain and politics is such a relief to me, that I enjoy my little comforts and amusements here beyond expression. No mortal ever entered the gate of ambition with such transport as I took leave of them all at the threshold. Oh! if my Lord Temple knew what pleasures he could create for himself at Stowe, he would not harass a shattered carcass, and sigh to be insolent at St. James's! For my part, I say with the bastard in King John, though with a little more reverence, and only as touching his ambition, Oh! old Sir Robert, father, on my knee I give Heaven thanks I was not like to thee.
Adieu! Yours most cordially.
(854) Lady Barbara Montagu, daughter of George second Earl of Halifax.-E.
(855) The Duke of Clarence, born on the 21st of August; afterwards King William the Fourth.-'E.
(856) Madame de S'evign'e, whom Walpole frequently alludes to under this title.-E.
Letter 261 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, July 28, 1765. (page 413)
The less one is disposed, if one has any sense, to talk of oneself to people that inquire only out of compliment, and do not listen to the answer, the more satisfaction one feels in indulging a self-complacency, by Sighing to those that really sympathize with our griefs. Do not think it is pain that makes me give this low-spirited air to my letter. No, it is the prospect of what is to come, not the sensation of what is passing, that affects me. The loss of youth is melancholy enough; but to enter into old age through the gate of infirmity is most disheartening. My health and spirits make me take but slight notice of the transition, and under the persuasion of temperance being a talisman, I marched boldly on towards the descent of the hill, knowing I must fall at last, but not suspecting that I should stumble by the way. This confession explains the mortification I feel. A month's confinement to one who never kept his bed a day is a stinging lesson, and has humbled my insolence to almost indifference. Judge, then, how little I interest myself about public events. I know nothing of them since I came hither, where I had not only the disappointment of not growing better, but a bad return In one of my feet, so that I am still wrapped up and upon a couch. It was the more unlucky as Lord Hertford is come to England for a few days. He has offered to come to me; but as I then should see him only for some minutes, I propose being carried to town tomorrow. It will be SO long before I can expect to be able to travel, that my French journey will certainly not take place so soon as I intended, and if Lord Hertford goes to Ireland, I shall be still more fluctuating; for though the Duke and Duchess of Richmond will replace them at Paris, and are as eager to have me with them, I have had so many more years heaped upon me within this month, that I have not the conscience to trouble young people, when I can no longer be as juvenile as they are. Indeed I shall think myself decrepit till I again saunter into the garden in my slippers and without my hat in all weathers—a point I am determined to regain, if possible; for even this experience cannot make me resign my temperance and my hardiness. I am tired of the world, its politics, its pursuits, and its pleasures; but it will cost me some struggles before I submit to be tender and careful. Christ! can I ever stoop to the regimen of old age? I do not wish to dress up a withered person, nor drag it about to public places; but to sit in one's room, clothed warmly, expecting visits from folk-, I don't wish to see, and tended and flattered by relations impatient for one's death let the gout do its worst as expeditiously as it can; it would be more welcome in my stomach than in my limbs. I am not made to bear a course of nonsense and advice, but must play the fool in my own way to the last, alone with all my heart, if I cannot be with the very few I wish to see: but, to depend for comfort on others, who would be no comfort to me; this surely is not a state to be preferred to death: and nobody can have truly enjoyed the advantages of youth, health, and spirits, who is content to exist without the two last, which alone bear any resemblance to the first.(853)
You see how difficult it is to conquer my proud spirit: low and weak as I am, I think my resolution and perseverance will get me better, and that I shall still be a gay shadow; at least, I will impose any severity upon myself, rather than humour the gout, and sink into that indulgence with which most people treat it. Bodily liberty is as dear to me as mental, and I would as soon flatter any other tyrant as the gout, my Whiggism extending as much to my health as to my principles, and being as willing to part with life, when I cannot preserve it, as your uncle Algernon when his freedom was at stake. Adieu!
(853) Upon this passage the Quarterly Review observes: "Walpole's reflections on human life are marked by strong sense and knowledge of mankind; but our most useful lesson will perhaps be derived from considering this man of the world, full of information and sparkling with vivacity, stretched on a sick bed, and apprehending all the tedious languor of helpless decrepitude and deserted solitude." Vol. xix. p. 129.-E.
Letter 263 To George Montagu, Esq. Saturday, Aug. 31, 1765, Strawberry Hill. (page 416)
I thought it would happen so; that I should not see you before I left England! Indeed, I may as well give you quite up, for every year reduces our Intercourse. I am prepared, because it must happen, if I live, to see my friends drop off; but my mind was not turned to see them entirely separated from me while they live. This is very uncomfortable, but so are many things!—well! I will go and try to forget you all—all! God knows that all that I have left to forget is small enough; but the warm heart, that gave me affections, is not so easily laid aside. If I could divest myself of that, I should not, I think, find much for friendship remaining; you, against whom I have no complaint, but that you satisfy yourself with loving me without any desire of seeing me, are one of the very last that I wish to preserve; but I will say no more on a subject that my heart is too full of.
I shall set out on Monday se'nnight, and force myself to believe that I am glad to go, and yet this will be my chief joy, for I promise myself little pleasure in arriving. Can you think me boy enough to be fond of a new world at my time of life! If I did not hate the world I know, I should not seek another. My greatest amusement will be in reviving old ideas. The memory of what made impressions on one's youth is ten times dearer than any new pleasure can be. I shall probably write to you often, for I am not disposed to communicate myself' to any thing that I have not known these thirty years. My mind is such a compound from the vast variety that I have seen, acted, pursued, that it would cost me too much pains to be intelligible to young persons, if I had a mind to open myself to them. They certainly do not desire I should. You like my gossiping to you, though you seldom gossip with me. The trifles that amuse my mind are the only points I value now. I have seen the vanity of every thing serious, and the falsehood of every thing that pretended to be serious. I go to see French plays and buy French china, not to know their ministers, to look into their government, or think of the interests of nations—in short, unlike most people that are growing old, I am convinced that nothing is charming but what appeared important in one's youth, which afterwards passes for follies. Oh! but those follies were sincere; if the pursuits of age are so, they are sincere alone to self-interest. Thus I think, and have no other care but not to think aloud. I would not have respectable youth think me an old fool. For the old knaves, they may suppose me one of their number if they please; I shall not be so—but neither the one nor the other shall know what I am. I have done with them all, shall amuse myself as well as I can, and think as little as I can; a pretty hard task for an active mind!
Direct your letters to Arlington-street, whence Favre will take care to convey them to me. I leave him to manage all my affairs, and take no soul but Louis. I am glad I don't know your Mrs. Anne; her partiality would make me love her; and it is entirely incompatible with my present system to leave even a postern-door open to any feeling which would steal in if I did not double-bolt every avenue.
If you send me any parcel to Arlington-street before Monday .se'nnight I will take care of it. Many English books I conclude are to be bought at Paris. I am sure Richardson's works are, for they have stupefied the whole French nation:(857) I will not answer for our best authors. You may send me your list, and, if I do not find them, I can send you word, and you may convey them to me by Favre's means, who will know of messengers, etc., coming to Paris.
I have fixed no precise time for my absence. My wish is to like it enough to stay till February, which may happen, if I can support the first launching into new society. I know four or five very agreeable and sensible people there, as the Guerchys, Madame de Mirepoix, Madame de Boufflers, and Lady Mary Chabot,- -these intimately; besides the Duc de Nivernois, and several others that have been here. Then the Richmonds will follow me in a fortnight or three weeks, and their house will be a sort of home. I actually go into it at first, till I can suit myself with an -,apartment; but I shall take care to quit it before they come, for, though they are in a manner my children, I do not intend to adopt the rest of my countrymen; nor, when I quit the best company here, to live in the worst there; such @are young travelling boys, and, what is still worse, old travelling boys, governors.
Adieu! remember you have defrauded me of this summer; I will be amply repaid the next, so make your arrangements accordingly.
(857) "High as Richardson's reputation stood in his own country, it was even more exalted in those of France and Germany, whose imaginations are more easily excited, and their passions more easily moved, by tales of fictitious distress, than are the cold- blooded English. Foreigners of distinction have been known to visit Hampstead, and to inquire for the Flask Walk, distinguished as a scene in Clarissa's history, just as travellers visit the rocks of Meillerie to view the localities of Rousseau's tale of passion. Diderot vied with Rousseau in heaping incense upon the shrine of the English author. The former compares him to Homer, and predicts for his memory the same honours which are rendered to the father of epic poetry; and the last, besides his well-known burst of eloquent panegyric, records his opinion in a letter to D'Alembert:—'On n'a jamais fait encore, en quelque langue que ce soit, de roman 'egal 'a Clarisse, ni m'eme approchant.'" Sir Walter Scott; Prose Works, Vol. iii. p. 49.-E.
Letter 264 To The Earl Of Strafford. Arlington Street, Sept. 3, 1765. (page 418)
My dear lord, I cannot quit a country where I leave any thing that I honour so much as your lordship and Lady Strafford, without taking a sort of leave of you. I shall set out for Paris on Monday next the 9th, and shall be happy if I can execute any commission for you there.
A journey to Paris Sounds youthful and healthy. I have certainly mended much this last week, though with no pretensions to a recovery of youth. Half the view of my journey is to re-establish my health—the other half, to wash my hands of politics, which I have long determined to do whenever a change should happen. I would not abandon my friends while they were martyrs; but, now they have gained their crown of glory, they are well able to shift for themselves; and it was no part of my compact to go to that heaven, St. James's, with them. Unless I dislike Paris very much, I shall stay some time; but I make no declarations, lest I should be soon tired of it, and coming back again. At first, I must like it, for Lady Mary Coke will be there, as if by assignation. The Countesses of Carlisle and Berkeley, too, I hear, will set up their staves there for some time; but as my heart is faithful to Lady Mary, they would not charm me if they were forty times more Disposed to it.
The Emperor' is dead,(858)—but so are all the Maximilians and Leopolds his predecessors, and with no more influence on the present state of things. The EmpressQueen will still be master-Dowager unless she marries an Irishman, as I wish with all my soul she may.
The Duke and Duchess of Richmond will follow me in about a fortnight: Lord and Lady George Lennox go with them; and Sir Charles Banbury and Lady Sarah are to be at Paris, too, for some time: so the English court there will be very juvenile and blooming. This set is rather younger than the dowagers with whom I pass so much of my summers and autumns; but this is to be my last sally into the world and when I return, I intend to be as sober as my cat, and purr quietly in my own chimney corner.
Adieu, my dear lord! May every happiness attend you both, and may I pass some agreeable days next summer with you at Wentworth Castle!
(858) Francis the First, Emperor of Germany, died at Inspruck, on Sunday the 18th of August. He was in good health the greater part of the day, and assisted at divine service; but, between nine and ten in the evening, he was attacked by a fit of apoplexy, and expired in a few minutes afterwards in the arms of his son, the King of the Romans.-E.
Letter 265 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Arlington Street, Sept. 3, 1765. (page 419)
The trouble your ladyship has given yourself so immediately, makes me, as I always am, ashamed of putting you to any. There is no persuading you to oblige moderately. Do you know, Madam, that I shall tremble to deliver the letters you have been so good as to send me? If you have said half so much of me, as you are, so partial as to think of me, I shall be undone. Limited as I know myself, and hampered in bad French, how shall I keep up to any character at all? Madame d'Aiguillon and Madame Geoffrin will never believe that I am the true messenger, but will conclude that I have picked Mr. Walpole's portmanteau's pocket. I wish only to present myself to them as one devoted to your ladyship; that character I am sure I can support in any language, and it is the one to which they would pay the most regard. Well! I don't care, Madam-it is your reputation that is at stake more than mine; and, if they find me a simpleton that don't know how to express myself, it will all fall upon you at last.' If your ladyship will risk that, I will, if you please, thank you for a letter to Madame d'Egmont, too: I long to know your friends, though at the hazard of their knowing yours. Would I were a jolly old man, to match, at least, in that respect, your jolly old woman!(859)—But, alas! I am nothing but a poor worn-out rag, and fear, when I come to Paris, that I shall be forced to pretend that I have had the gout in my understanding. My spirits, such as they are, will not bear translating; and I don't know whether I shall not find it the wisest part I can take to fling myself into geometry, or commerce, or agriculture, which the French now esteem, don't understand, and think we do. They took George Selwyn for a poet, and a judge of planting and dancing-. why may I not pass for a learned man and a philosopher? If the worst comes to the worst, I will admire Clarissa and Sir Charles Grandison; and declare I have not a friend in the world that is not like my Lord Edward Bomston, though I never knew a character like it in my days, and hope I never shall; nor do I think Rousseau need to have gone so far out of his way to paint a disagreeable Englishman.
If you think, Madam, this sally is not very favourable to the country I am going to, recollect, that all I object to them is their quitting their own agreeable style, to take up the worst of ours. Heaven knows, we are unpleasing enough; but, in the first place, they don't understand us; and in the next, if they did, so much the worse for them. What have they gained by leaving Moli'ere, Boileau, Corneille, Racine, La Rochefucault, Crebillon, Marivaux, Voltaire, etc.? No nation can be another nation. We have been clumsily copying them for these hundred years, and are not we grown wonderfully like them? Come, madam, you like what I like of them? I am going thither, and you have no aversion to going thither—but own the truth; had not we both rather go thither fourscore years ago? Had you rather be acquainted with the charming madame Scarron, or the canting Madame de Maintenon? with Louis XIV. when the Montespan governed him, or when P'ere le Tellier? I am very glad when folks go to heaven, though it is after another body's fashion; but I 'wish to converse with them when they are themselves. I abominate a conqueror; but I do not think he makes the world much compensation, by cutting the throats of his Protestant subjects to atone for the massacres caused by his ambition.
The result of all this dissertation, Madam—for I don't know how to call it a letter—is, that I shall look for Paris in the midst of Paris, and shall think more of the French that have been than the French that are, except of a few of your friends and mine. Those I know, I admire and honour, and I am sure I will trust to your ladyship's taste for the others; and if they had no other merit, I can but like those that will talk to me of you. They will find more sentiment in me on that chapter, than they can miss parts; and I flatter myself that the one will atone for the other.
(859) la Duchesse Douairi'ere d'Aiguillon, n'ee Chabot, mother of the Duc d'Aiguillon, who succeeded the Duc de Choiseul as minister for foreign affairs. She was a correspondent of Lady Hervey's. In a letter to Walpole, of the 20th of November 1766, madame du Deffand says:—"Je soupai Iiier chez Madame d'Aiguillon: elle nous lut la traduction de la Lettre d'H'eloyse de Pope, et d'un chant du po'eme de Salomon, de Prior; elle 'ecrit admirablement bien; j'en 'etais r'eellement dans l'enthousiasme: dites-le 'a Milady Hervey." She died in 1772.-E.
Letter 266 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 5, 1765. (page 420)
Dear sir, You cannot think how agreeable your letter was to me, and how luckily it was timed. I thought you in Cheshire, and did not know how to direct; I now sit down to answer it instantly.
I have been extremely ill indeed with the gout all over; in head, stomach, both feet, both wrists, and both shoulders. I kept my bed a fortnight in the most sultry part of this summer; and for nine weeks could not say I was recovered. Though I am still weak, and very soon tired with the least walk, I am in other respects quite well. However, to promote my entire reestablishment, I shall set out for Paris next Monday. Thus your letter came luckily. To hear you talk of going thither, too, made it most agreeable. Why should you not advance your journey? Why defer it till the winter is coming on? It would make me quite happy to visit churches and convents with you: but they are not comfortable in cold weather. Do, I beseech you, follow me as soon as possible. The thought of your being there at the same time makes me much more pleased with my journey; you will not, I hope, like it the less; and, if our meeting there should tempt you to stay longer, it will make me still more happy.
If, in the mean time, I can be of any use to you, I shall be glad either in taking a lodging for you, Or any thing else. Let me know, and direct to me in Arlington-street, whence my servant Will convey it to me. Tell me above all things that you will set out sooner.
If I have any money left when I return, and can find a place for it, I shall be very glad to purchase the ebony cabinet you mention, and will make it a visit with you next summer if you please—but first let us go to Paris. I don't give up my passion for ebony; but, since the destruction of the Jesuits, I hear one can pick up so many of their spoils that I am impatient for the opportunity.
I must finish, as I have so much business before I set out; but I must repeat, how lucky the arrival of your letter was, how glad I was to hear of your intended journey, and how much I wish it may take place directly. I will only add that the court goes to Fontainbleau, the last week in September, or first in October, and therefore it is the season in the world for seeing all Versailles quietly, and at one's ease. Adieu! dear sir, yours most cordially.
Letter 267 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Amiens, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 1765. (page 421)
Beau Cousin, I have had a very prosperous journey till just at entering this city. I escaped a Prince of Nassau at Dover, and sickness at sea, though the voyage lasted seven hours and a half. I have recovered my strength surprisingly in the time; though almost famished for want of clean victuals, and comfortable tea and bread and butter. half a mile from hence I met a coach and four with an equipage of French, and a lady in pea-green and silver, a smart hat and feather., and two suivantes. My reason told me it was the Archbishop's concubine; but luckily my heart whispered that it was Lady Mary Coke. I Jumped out of my chaise—yes, jumped, as Mrs. Nugent said of herself, fell on my knees, and said my first ave Maria, grati'a plena. We just shot a few politics flying—heard that Madame de Mirepoix had toasted me t'other day in tea—shook hands, forgot to weep, and parted; she to the Hereditary Princess, I to this inn, where is actually resident the Duchess of Douglas. We are not likely to have an intercourse, or I would declare myself' a Hamilton.(860)