There are two volumes, too, of Swift's Correspondence, that will not amuse you less in another way, though abominable, for there are letters of twenty persons now alive; fifty of Lady Betty Germain, one that does her great honour in which she defends her friend Lady Suffolk, with all the spirit in the world,(961) against that brute, who hated every body that he hoped would get him a mitre, and did not. His own Journal sent to Stella during the four last years of the Queen, is a fund of entertainment. You will see his insolence in full colours, and, at the same time, how daily vain he was of being noticed by the ministers he affected to treat arrogantly. His panic, at the Mohocks is comical; but what strikes one, is bringing before one's eyes the incidents of a curious period. He goes to the rehearsal of Cato, and says the drab that acted Cato's daughter could not say her part. This was only Mrs. Oldfield. I was saying before George Selwyn, that this journal put me in mind of the present time, there was the same indecision, irresolution, and want of system; but I added, "There is nothing new under the sun." "No," said Selwyn, "nor under the grandson."
My Lord Chesterfield has done me much honour: he told Mrs. Anne Pitt that he would subscribe to any politics that I should lay down. When she repeated this to me, I said, "Pray tell him I have laid down politics."
I am got into puns and will tell you an excellent one of the King of France, though it does not spell any better than Selwyn's. You must have heard of Count Lauragais, and his horserace, and his quacking his horse till he killed it. At his return the King asked him what he had been doing in England? "Sire, j'ai appris 'a Penser"—"Des chevaux?" replied the King.(962) Good night! I am tired, and going to bed. Yours ever.
(960) By Christopher Anstey. This production became highly popular for its pointed and original humour, and led to numerous imitations. Gray, in a letter to Dr. Wharton, says—"Have you read the New Bath Guide? It is the only thing in fashion, and is a new and original kind of humour. Miss Prue's conversation I doubt you will paste down, as Sir W. St. Quintyn did before he carried it to his daughter; yet I remember you all read Crazy Tales without pasting." Works, vol. iv. p. 84.-E.
(961) The letter in question is dated Feb. 8, 1732-3, and the following is the passage to which Walpole refers;—"Those out of power and place always see the faults of those in, with dreadful large spectacles. The strongest in my memory is Sir Robert Walpole, being first pulled to pieces in the year 1720, because the South Sea did not rise high enough; and since that, he has been to the full as well banged about, because it did rise too high. I am determined never wholly to believe any side or party against@ the other; so my house receives them altogether, and those people meet here that have, and would fight in any other place. Those of them that have great and good qualities and virtues, I love and admire; in which number is Lady Suffolk, because I know her to be a wise, discreet, honest, and sincere courtier."-E.
(962) See ant'e, p. 389, letter 248, note 802.-E.
Letter 308 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Strawberry Hill, June 28, 1766. (page 482)
It is consonant to your ladyship's long experienced goodness, to remove my error as soon as you could. In fact, the same post that brought Madame d'Aiguillon's letter to you, brought me a confession from Madame du Deffand of her guilt.(963) I am not the less obliged to your ladyship for informing against the true criminal. It is well for me, however, that I hesitated, and did not, as Monsieur Guerchy pressed me to do, constitute myself prisoner. What a ridiculous vainglorious figure I should have made at Versailles, with a laboured letter and my present! I still shudder when I think of it, and have scolded(9 64) Madame du Deffand black and blue. However, I feel very comfortable; and though it will be imputed to my own vanity, that I showed the box as Madam de Choiseul's present, I resign the glory, and submit to the Shame with great satisfaction. I have no pain in receiving this present from Madame du Deffand; and must own have great pleasure that nobody but she could write that most charming of all letters. Did not Lord Chesterfield think it so, Madam? I doubt our friend Mr. Hume must allow that not only Madame de Boufflers, but Voltaire himself, could not have written so well. When I give up Madame de S'evign'e herself, I think his sacrifices will be trifling.
Pray, Madam, continue your waters; and, if possible, wash away that original sin, the gout. What would one give for a little rainbow to tell one one should never have it again! Well, but then one should have a burning fever—for I think the greatest comfort that good-natured divines give us IS, that we are not to be drowned any more, in order that we may be burned. It will not at least be this summer. here is nothing but haycocks swimming round me. If it should cease raining by Monday se'nnight, I think of' dining with your ladyship at Old Windsor; and if Mr. Bateman presses me mightily, I may take a bed there.
As I have a waste of paper before me, and nothing more to say, I have a mind to fill it with a translation of a tale that I found lately in the Dictionnaire d'Anecdotes, taken from a German author. The novelty of it struck me, and I put it into verse— ill enough; but as the old Duchess of Rutland used to say of a lie, it will do for news into the country.
"From Time's usurping power, I see, Not Acheron itself is free. His wasting hand my subjects feel, Grow old, and wrinkle though in Hell. Decrepit is Alecto grown, Megaera worn to skin and bone; And t'other beldam is so old, She has not spirits left to scold. Go, Hermes, bid my brother Jove Send three new Furies from above." To Mercury thus Pluto said: The winged deity obey'd.
It was about the self same season That Juno, with as little reason, Rung for her abigail; and, you know, Iris is chambermaid to Juno. "Iris, d'ye hear? Mind what I say; I want three maids—inquire—No, stay! Three virgins—Yes, unspotted all; No characters equivocal. Go find me three, whose manners pure Can Envy's sharpest tooth endure." The goddess curtsey'd, and retired; >From London to Pekin inquired; Search'd huts and palaces in vain; And tired, to Heaven came back again. "Alone! are you return'd alone? How wicked must the world be grown! What has my profligate been doing? On earth has he been spreading ruin? Come, tell me all."—Fair Iris sigh'd, And thus disconsolate replied:— "'Tis true, O Queen! three maids I found— The like are not on Christian ground— So chaste, severe, immaculate, The very name of man they hate: These—but, alas! I came too late; For Hermes had been there before— In triumph off to Pluto bore Three sisters, whom yourself would own The true supports of Virtue's throne." "To Pluto!—Mercy!" cried the Queen, "What can my brother Pluto mean? Poor man! he doats, or mad he sure is! What can he want them for?"—"Three Furies."
You will say I am an infernal poet; but every body cannot write as they do aux Champs Elys'ees. Adieu, Madam!
(963) Madame du Deffand had sent Mr. Walpole a snuff-box, on the lid of which was a portrait of Madame de S'evign'e, accompanied by a letter written in her name from the Elysian Fields, and addressed to Mr. Walpole; who did not at first suspect Madame du Deffand as the author, but thought both the present and the letter had come from the Duchess of Choiseul. ("One of the principal features, and it must be called, when carried to such excess, one of the principal weaknesses of Mr. Walpole's character, was a fear of ridicule—a fear which, , like most others, often leads to greater dangers than that which it seeks to avoid. At the commencement of his acquaintance with madame du Deffand, he was near fifty, and she above seventy years of age, and entirely blind. She had already long passed the first epoch in the life of a Frenchwoman, that of gallantry, and had as long been established as a bel esprit; and it is to be remembered that, in the ante-revolutionary world of paris, these epochs in life were as determined, and as strictly observed, as the changes of dress on a particular day of the different seasons; and that a woman endeavouring to attract lovers after she ceased to be galante, would have been not less ridiculous as her wearing velvet when the rest of the world were in demi-soisons. Madame du Deffand, therefore, old and blind, had no more idea of attracting Mr. Walpole to her as a lover than she had of the possibility of any one suspecting her of such an intention; and indeed her lively feelings, and the violent fancy she had taken for his conversation and character, in every expression of admiration and attachment which she really felt, and which she never supposed capable of misinterpretation. By himself they were not misinterpreted; but he seems to have had ever before his eyes a very unnecessary dread of that being so by others—a fear lest madame du Deffand's extreme partiality and high opinion should expose him to suspicions of entertaining the same opinion of himself, or of its leading her to some extravagant mark of attachment; and all this, he persuaded himself, was to be exposed in their letters to all the clerks of the post-office at paris and all the idlers at Versailles. This accounts for the ungracious language in which he often replied to the importunities of her anxious affection; a language so foreign to his heart, and so contrary to his own habits in friendship: this too accounts for his constantly repressing on her part all effusions of sentiment, all disquisitions on the human heart, and all communications of its vexations, weaknesses, and pains." Preface to "Letters of Madame du Deffand to Mr. Walpole."-E.
(964) Vous avez si bien fait," replied Madame du Deffand, "par vo le'cons, vos pr'eceptes, vos gronderies, et, le pis do tous, par vos ironies, que vous 'etes presque parvenu 'a me rendre fausse, ou, pour le moins, fort dissimul'ee."-E.
Letter 309 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, July 10, 1766. (page 485)
Don't you think a complete year enough for any administration to last? One, who at least can remove them, though he cannot make them, thinks so; and, accordingly, yesterday notified that he had sent for Mr. Pitt.(965) Not a jot more is known; but as this set is sacrificed to their resolution to have nothing to do with Lord Bute, the new list will probably not be composed Of such hostile ingredients. The arrangement I believe settled in the outlines; if it is not, it may still never take place: it will not be the first time this egg has been addled. One is very sure that many people on all sides will be displeased, and I think no side quite contented. Your cousins, the house of Yorke, Lord George Sackville, Newcastle, and Lord Rockingham, will certainly not be of the elect. What Lord Temple will do, or if any thing will be done for George Grenville, are great points of curiosity. The plan will probably be, to pick and cull from all quarters, and break all parties as much as possible.(966) From this moment I date the wane of Mr. Pitt's glory; he will want the thorough-bass of drums and trumpets, and is not made for peace. The dismission of a most popular administration, a leaven of Lord Bute, whom, too, he can never trust, and the numbers he will discontent, will be considerable objects against him.
For my own part, I am much pleased, and much diverted. I have nothing to do but to sit by and laugh; a humour you know I am apt to indulge. You shall hear from me again soon.
(965) On the 7th the King addressed a letter to Mr. Pitt, expressing a desire to have his thoughts how an able and dignified ministry might be formed, and requesting him to come to town for that salutary purpose. The letter will be found in the Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 436.-E.
(966) "Here are great bustles at court," writes Lord Chesterfield, on the 11th, "and a great change of persons is certainly very near. My conjecture is, that, be the new settlement what it will, Mr. Pitt will be at the head of it. If he is, I presume, qu'il aura mis de l'eau dans son vin par rapport 'a My lord Bute: when that shall come to be known, as known it certainly Will soon be, he may bid adieu to his popularity."-E.
Letter 310 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, July 21, 1766. (page 485)
You may strike up your sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer; for Mr. Pitt(967) comes in, and Lord Temple does not. Can I send you a more welcome affirmative or negative? My sackbut is not very sweet, and here is the ode I have made for it:
When Britain heard the woful news, That Temple was to be minister, To look upon it could she choose But as an omen most sinister? But when she heard he did refuse, In spite of Lady Chat. his sister, What could she do but laugh, O Muse? And so she did, till she ***** her.
If that snake had wriggled in, he would have drawn after him the whole herd of vipers; his brother Demogorcon and all. 'Tis a blessed deliverance.
The changes I should think now would be few. They are not yet known; but I am content already, and shall go to Strawberry to-morrow, where I shall be happy to receive you and Mr. John any day after Sunday next, the twenty-seventh, and for as many days as ever you will afford me. Let me know your mind by the return of the post. Strawberry is in perfection: the verdure has all the bloom of spring: the orange-trees are loaded with blossoms, the gallery all sun and gold, Mrs. Clive all sun and vermilion— in short, come away to Yours ever.
P. S. I forgot to tell you, and I hate to steal and not tell, that my ode is imitated from Fontaine.
(967) Mr. Pitt was gazetted, on the 30th of July, Viscount Pitt, of Burton Pynsent, and Earl of Chatham. The same gazette contained the notification of his appointment as lord privy seal in the room of the Duke of Newcastle. "What shall I say to you about the ministry?" writes Gray to Wharton: "I am as angry as a common-councilman of London about my Lord Chatham, but a little more patient, and will hold my tongue till the end of the year. In the mean time, I do mutter in secret, and to you, that to quit the House of Commons, his natural strength, to sap his own popularity and grandeur, (which no man but himself could have done,) by assuming a foolish title; and to hope that he could win by it, and attach him to a court that hate him, and will dismiss him as soon as ever they dare, was the weakest thing that ever was done by so great a man. Had it not been for this, I should have rejoiced at the breach between him and Lord Temple, and at the union between him and the Duke of Grafton and Mr. Conway: but patience! we shall see!" Works, vol. iv. p. 83.-E.
Letter 311 To David Hume, Esq.(968) Arlington Street, July 26, 1766. (page 486)
Dear Sir, Your set of literary friends are what a set of literary men are apt to be, exceedingly absurd. They hold a consistory to consult how to argue with a madman; and they think it very necessary for your character to give them the pleasure of seeing Rousseau exposed, not because he has provoked you, but them. If Rousseau prints, you must; but I certainly would not till he does.(969)
I cannot be precise as to the time of my writing the King of Prussia's letter; but I do assure you with the utmost truth that it was several days before you left Paris, and before Rousseau's arrival there, of which I can give you a strong proof; for I not only suppressed the letter while you stayed there, out of delicacy to you, but it was the reason why, out of delicacy to myself, I did not go to see him, as you often proposed to me, thinking it wrong to go and make a cordial visit to a man, with a letter in my pocket to laugh at him. You are at full liberty, dear Sir, to make use of what I say in your justification, either to Rousseau or any body else. I should be very sorry to have you blamed on my account; I have a hearty contempt of Rousseau, and am perfectly indifferent what the literati of Paris think of the matter. If there is any fault, which I am far from thinking, let it lie on me. No parts can hinder my laughing at their possessor, if he is a mountebank. If he has a bad and most ungrateful heart, as Rousseau has shown in your case, into the bargain, he will have my scorn likewise, as he will of all good and sensible men. You may trust your sentence to such who are as respectable judges as any that have pored over ten thousand more volumes.
P. S. I will look out the letter and the dates as soon as I go to Strawberry Hill.
(968) On the celebrated quarrel between Hume and Rousseau, D'Alembert, and the other literary friends of the former, met at Paris, and were unanimous in advising him to publish the particulars. This Hume at first refused, but determined to collect them and for that purpose had written to Mr. Walpole respecting the pretended letter from the King of Prussia.
(969) "Your friend Rousseau, I doubt, grows tired of Mr. Davenport and Derbyshire: he has picked up a quarrel with David Hume, and writes him letters of fourteen pages folio, upbraiding him with all his noirceurs; take one only as a specimen. He says that at Calais they chanced to sleep in the same room together, and that he overheard David talking in his sleep, and saying, 'Ah! je le tiens, ce Jean Jacques l'a.' In short, I fear, for want of persecution and admiration (for these are his real complaints), be will go back to the Continent." Gray to Wharton; Works, vol. iv. P. 82.-E.
Letter 312 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Arlington Street, Sept. 18, 1766. (page 487)
Dear sir, I am exceedingly obliged to you for your very friendly letter, and hurt at the absurdity of the newspapers that occasioned the alarm. Sure I am not of consequence enough to be lied about! It is true I am ill, have been extremely so, and have been ill long, but with nothing like paralytic, as they have reported me. It has been this long disorder alone that has prevented my profiting of your company at Strawberry, according to the leave you gave me of asking it. I have lived upon the road between that place and this, never settled there, and uncertain whether I should go to Bath or abroad. Yesterday se'nnight I grew exceedingly ill indeed, with what they say has been the gout in my stomach, bowels, back, and kidneys. The worst seems over, and I have been to take the air to-day for the first time, but bore it so ill that I don't know how soon I shall be able to set out for Bath, whither they want me to go immediately. As that journey makes it very uncertain when I shall be at Strawberry again, and as you must want your cups and pastils, will you tell me if I can convey them to you any way safely? Excuse my saying more to-day, as I am so faint and weak; but it was impossible not to acknowledge your kindness the first minute I was able. Adieu!
Letter 313 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 18, 1766. (page 488)
I am this moment come hither with Mr. Chute, who has showed me your most kind and friendly letter, for which I give you a thousand thanks. It did not surprise me, for you cannot alter. I have been most extremely ill; indeed, never well since I saw you. However, I think it is over, and that the gout is gone without leaving a codicil in my foot. Weak I am to the greatest degree, and no wonder. Such explosions make terrible havoc in a body of paper. I shall go to the Bath in a few days. which they tell me will make my quire of paper hold out a vast while! as to that, I am neither credulous nor earnest. If it can keep me from pain and preserve me the power of motion, I shall be content. Mr. Chute, who has been good beyond measure, goes with me for a few days. A thousand thanks and compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Whetenhall and Mr. John, and excuse me writing more, as I am a little fatigued with my little journey.
Letter 314 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Bath, Oct. 2, 1766. (page 488)
I arrived yesterday at noon, and bore my journey perfectly well, except that I had the headache all yesterday; but it is gone to-day, or at least made way for a little giddiness which the water gave me this morning at first. If it does not do me good very soon, I shall leave it; for I dislike the place exceedingly, and am disappointed in it. Their new buildings that are so admired, look like a collection of little hospitals; the rest is detestable; and all crammed together, and surrounded with perpendicular hills that have no beauty. The river is paltry enough to be the Seine or Tiber. Oh! how unlike my lovely Thames!
I met my Lord Chatham's coach yesterday full of such Grenville-looking children, that I shall not go to see him this day or two; and to-day I spoke to Lady Rockingham in the street. My Lords Chancellor and President are here, and Lord and Lady Powis. Lady Malpas arrived yesterday. I shall visit Miss Rich to-morrow. In the next apartment to [nine lodges *****. I have not seen him some years; and he is grown either mad or superannuated, and talks without cessation or coherence: you would think all the articles in a dictionary were prating together at once. The Bedfords are expected this week. There are forty thousand others that I neither know nor intend to know. In short, it is living in a fair, and I am heartily sick of it already. Adieu!
Letter 315 To George Montagu, Esq. Bath, Oct. 5, 1766. (page 489)
Yes, thank you, I am quite well again; and if I had not a mind to continue so, I would not remain here a day longer, for I am tired to death of the place. I sit down by the waters of Babylon and weep, when I think of thee, oh Strawberry! The elements certainly agree with me, but I shun the gnomes and salamanders, and have not once been at the rooms. Mr. Chute stays with me till Tuesday; when he is gone, I do not know what I shall do; for I cannot play at cribbage by myself, and the alternative is to see my Lady Vane open the ball, and glimmer at fifty-four. All my comfort is, that I lodge close to the cross bath, by which means I avoid the pump-room and all its works. We go to dine and see Bristol to-morrow, which will terminate our sights, for we are afraid of your noble cousins at Badminton; and, as Mrs. Allen is dead and Warburton entered upon the premises, you may swear we shall not go thither.
Lord Chatham, the late and present Chancellors, and sundry more, are here; and their graces of Bedford expected. I think I shall make your Mrs. Trevor and Lady Lucy a visit; but it is such an age since we met, that I suppose we shall not know one another by sight. Adieu! These watering places, that mimic a capital, and add vulgarisms and familiarities of their own, seem to me like abigails in cast gowns, and I am not young enough to take up with either. Yours ever.
Letter 316 To John Chute, Esq. Bath, Oct. 10, 1766. (page 489)
I am impatient to hear that your charity to me has not ended in the gout to yourself—all my comfort is, if you have it, that you have good Lady Brown to nurse you.
My health advances faster than my amusement. However, I have been at one opera, Mr. Wesley's.(970) They have boys and girls with charming voices, that sing hymns, in parts, to Scotch ballad tunes but indeed so long, that one would think they were already in eternity, and knew how much time they had before them. The chapel is very neat, with true Gothic windows (yet I am not converted); but I was glad to see that luxury is creeping in upon them before persecution: they have very neat mahogany stands for branches, and brackets of the same in taste. At the upper end is a broad hautpas of four steps, advancing in the middle: at each end of the broadest part are two of my eagles, with red cushions for the parson and clerk. Behind them rise three more steps, in the midst of which is a third eagle for pulpit. Scarlet armed chairs to all three. On either hand, a balcony for elect ladies. The rest of the congregation sit on forms. Behind the pit, in a dark niche, is a plain table within rails; so you see the throne is for the apostle. Wesley is a lean elderly man, fresh-coloured, his hair smoothly combed, but with a soup'con of curls at the ends. Wondrous clean, but as evidently an actor as Garrick. He spoke his sermon, but so fast, and with so little accent, that I am sure he has often uttered it, for it was like a lesson. There were parts and eloquence in it; but towards the end he exalted his voice, and acted very ugly enthusiasm; decried learning, and told stories, like Latimer, of the fool of his college, who said, "I thanks God for every thing." Except a few from curiosity, and some honourable women, the congregation was very mean. There was a Scotch Countess Of Buchan,(971) who is carrying a pure rosy vulgar face to heaven, and who asked Miss Rich, if that was the author of the poets. I believe she meant me and the Noble Authors.
The Bedfords came last night. Lord Chatham was with me yesterday two hours; looks and walks well, and is in excellent political spirits. Yours ever.
(970) The idea of adapting the psalms of the church to secular tunes had been put in practice long before Wesley's day. The celebrated Clement Marot wrote a number of psalms to sing to the popular airs of his time, for the accommodation of the ladies of the French court who were devoutly inclined; but he left it to Wesley to assign as a reason for doing so, that there were no just grounds for letting the devil have all the best tunes himself.-E.
(971) Agnes, second daughter of Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees; married, in January 1739, to Henry David, fifth Earl of Buchan. She was the mother of the celebrated Lord Erskine.-E.
Letter 317 To George Montagu, Esq. Bath, Oct. 18, 1766. (page 490)
Well, I went last night to see Lady Lucy and Mrs. Trevor, was let in, and received with great kindness. I found them little altered; Lady Lucy was much undressed, but looks better than when I saw her last, and as well as one could expect; no shyness nor singularity, but very easy and conversable. They have a very pretty house, with two excellent rooms on a floor, and extremely well furnished. You may be sure your name was much in request. If I had not been engaged, I could have staved much longer with satisfaction; and if I am doomed, as probably I shall be, to come hither again, they would be a great resource to me; for I find much more pleasure now in renewing old acquaintances than in forming new.
The waters do not benefit me so much as at firs,; the pains in my stomach return almost every morning, but do not seem the least allied to the gout. This decrease of their virtue is not near so great a disappointment to me as you might imagine; for I am so childish as not to think health itself a compensation for passing my time very disagreeably. I can bear the loss of youth heroically, provided I am comfortable, and can amuse myself as I like. But health does not give one the sort of spirits that make one like diversions, public places, and mixed company. Living here is being a shopkeeper, who is glad of all kinds of customers; but does not suit me, who am leaving Off trade. I shall depart on Wednesday, even on the penalty of coming again. To have lived three weeks in a fair appears to me a century! I am not at all in love with their country, which so charms every body. Mountains are very good frames to a prospect, but here they run against one's nose, nor can one stir out of the town without clambering. It is true one may live as retired as one pleases, and may always have a small society. The place is healthy, every thing is cheap, and the provisions better than ever I tasted. Still I have taken an insupportable aversion to it, which I feel rather than can account for; I do not think you would dislike it: so you see I am just in general, though very partial as to my own particular.
You have raised my curiosity about Lord Scarsdale's, yet I question whether I shall ever take the trouble of visiting it. I grow every year more averse to stirring from home, and putting myself out of my way. If I can but be tolerably well at Strawberry, my wishes bounded. If I am to live at watering-places, and keep what is called good hours, life itself will be very indifferent to me. I do not talk very sensibly, but I have a contempt for that fictitious character styled philosophy; I feel what I feel, and say I feel what I do feel. Adieu! Yours ever.
Letter 318 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Bath, Oct. 18, 1766. (page 491)
You have made me laugh, and somebody else makes me stare. How can one wonder at any thing he does, when he knows so little of the world? I suppose the next step will be to propose me for groom of the bedchamber to the new Duke of Cumberland. But why me? Here is that hopeful young fellow, Sir John Rushout, the oldest member of the House, and, as extremes meet, very proper to begin again; why overlook him? However, as the secret is kept from me myself, I am perfectly easy about it. I shall call to-day or to-morrow to ask his commands, but certainly shall not obey those you mention.(972)
The waters certainly are not so beneficial to me as at first: I have almost every morning my pain in my stomach. I do not pretend this to be the cause of my leaving Bath. The truth is, I cannot bear it any longer. You laugh at my regularity; but the contrary habit is so strong in me, that I cannot continue such sobriety. The public rooms, and the loo, where we play in a circle, like the hazard on Twelfth-night, are insupportable. This coming into the world again, when I am so weary of it, is as bad and ridiculous as moving an address would be. I have no affectation; for affectation is a monster at nine-and-forty; but if I cannot live quietly, privately, and comfortably, I am perfectly indifferent about living at all. I would not kill myself, for that is a philosopher's affectation, and I will come hither again, if I must; but I shall always drive very near, before I submit to do any thing I do not like. In short, I must be as foolish as I please, as long as I can keep without the limits of absurdity. What has an old man to do but to preserve himself from parade on one hand, and ridicule on the other?(973) Charming youth may indulge itself in either, may be censured, will be envied, and has time to correct. Adieu
You are a delightful manager of the House of Commons, to reckon 540, instead of 565! Sandwich was more accurate In lists, and would not have miscounted 25, which are something in a division.
(972) Mr. Conway had intimated to Walpole, that it was the wish of Lord Chatham, that he should move the address on the King's speech at the opening of the session.-E.
(973) On the topic of ridicule, Walpole had, a few days before, thus expressed himself in a letter to Madame du Deffand:—"Il y avoit longtemps avant la date de notre connaissance, que cette crainte de ridicule s''etoit plant'ee dans mon esprit, et vous devez assur'ement vous ressouvenir a quel point elle me poss'edoit, et combien de fois je vous en ai entretenu. N'allez pas lui chercher une naissance r'ecente. D'es le moment que je cessais d''etre jeune, j'ai eu une peur horrible de devenir un veillard ridicule." To this the lady replied—"Vos craintes sur le ridicule sont des terreurs paniques, mais on ne gu'erit point de la peur; je n'ai point une semblable foiblesse; je sais qu''a mon age on est 'a l'abri de donner du scandale: si l'on aime, on n'a point 'a s'en cacher; l'amiti'e ne sera jamais un sentiment ridicule, quand elle ne fait pas faire des folies; mais gardons-nous d'en prof'erer le nom, puisque vous avez de si bonnes raisons de la vouloir proscrire."-E.
Letter 319 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 22, 1766. (page 492)
They may say what they will, but it does one ten times more good to leave Bath than to go to it. I may sometimes drink the waters, as Mr. Bentley used to say I invited company hither that I did not care for, that I might enjoy the pleasure of their going away. My health is certainly amended, but I did not feel the satisfaction of it till I got home. I have still a little rheumatism in one shoulder, which was not dipped in Styx, and is still mortal; but, while I went to the rooms, or stayed in my chambers in a dull court, I thought I had twenty complaints. I don't perceive one of them.
Having no companion but such as the place afforded, and which I did not accept, my excursions were very few; besides that the city is so guarded with mountains, that I had not patience to be jolted like a pea in a drum, in my chaise alone. I did go to Bristol, the dirtiest great shop I ever saw, with so foul a river, that, had I seen the least appearance of cleanliness, I should have concluded they washed all their linen in it, as they do at Paris. Going into the town, I was struck with a large Gothic building, coal-black, and striped with white; I took it for the devil's cathedral. When I came nearer, I found it was a uniform castle, lately built, and serving for stables and offices to a smart false Gothic house on the other side of the road.
The real cathedral is very neat and has pretty tombs, besides the two windows of painted glass, given by Mrs. Ellen Gwyn. There is a new church besides of' St. Nicholas, neat and truly Gothic, besides a charming old church at the other end of the town. The cathedral, or abbey, at Bath, is glaring and crowded with modern tablet-monuments; among others, I found two, of my cousin Sir Erasmus Phillips, and of Colonel Madan. Your cousin Bishop Montagu, decked it much. I dined one day with an agreeable family, two miles from Bath, a Captain Miller(974) and his wife, and her mother, Mrs. Riggs. They have a small new-built house, with a bow-window, directly opposite to which the Avon falls in a wide cascade, a church behind it in a vale, into which two mountains descend, leaving an opening into the distant country. A large village, with houses of gentry, is on one of the hills to the left. Their garden is little, but pretty, and watered with several small rivulets among the bushes. Meadows fall down to the road; and above, the garden is terminated by another view of the river, the city, and the mountains. 'Tis a very diminutive principality, with large Pretensions.
I must tell you a quotation I lighted upon t'other day from Persius, the application of which has much diverted Mr. Chute. You know my Lord Milton,(975) from nephew of the old usurer Damer, of Dublin, has endeavoured to erect himself into the representative of the ancient Barons Damory—
"——Momento turbinis exit Marcus Dama."
Apropos, or rather not 'apropos, I wish you joy of the restoration of the dukedom in your house, though I believe we both think it very hard upon my Lady Beaulieu.
I made a second visit to Lady Lucy and Mrs. Trevor, and saw the latter One night at the rooms. She did not appear to me so little altered as in the dusk of her own chamber. Adieu! Yours ever.
(974) Captain John Miller, of Ballicasy, in the county of Clare. In the preceding year he had married Anne, the only daughter of Edward Riggs, Esq. In 1778, he was created an Irish baronet, and in 1784, chosen representative for Newport in parliament. See post, Walpole's letter to General Conway, of the 15th of January 1775.-E.
(975) Joseph Damer Lord Milton, of Shrone Hill, in the kingdom of Ireland, was created a baron of Great Britain in May 1762, by the title of Baron Milton of Milton Abbey, Dorsetshire.-E.
Letter 320 To Sir David Dalrymple.(976) Strawberry Hill, Nov. 5, 1766. (page 494)
Sir, On my return from Bath, I found your very kind and agreeable present of the papers in King Charles's time;(977) for which and all your other obliging favours I give you a thousand thanks.
I was particularly pleased with your just and sensible preface against the squeamish or bigoted persons who would bury in oblivion the faults and follies of princes, and who thence contribute to their guilt; for if princes, who living are above control, should think that no censure is to attend them when dead, it would be new encouragement to them to play the fool and act the tyrant. When they are so kind as to specify their crimes under their own hands, it would be foppish delicacy indeed to suppress them. I hope you will proceed, Sir, and with the same impartiality. It was justice due to Charles to publish the extravagancies of his enemies too. The comparison can never be fairly made, but when we see the evidence on both sides. I have done so in the trifles I have published, and have as much offended some by what I have said of the Presbyterians at the beginning of my third volume of the Painters, as I had others by condemnation of King Charles in my Noble Authors. In the second volume of my Anecdotes I praised him where he deserved praise; for truth is my sole object, and it is some proof, when one offends both. I am, Sir, your most obliged and obedient servant.
(976) Now first collected. In the March of this year, Sir David Dalrymple was made a judge of the Court of session, when he assumed the name of lord Hailes, by which he is best known.-E.
(977) "The Memorials and Letters relating to the History of Britain in the Reigns of James the First and Charles the First, published from the originals in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh," had just appeared, in two volumes, octavo.-E.
Letter 321 To David Hume, Esq. Nov. 6, 1766. (page 494)
Dear sir, You have, I own, surprised me by suffering your quarrel with Rousseau to be printed, contrary to your determination when you left London, and against the advice of all your best friends here; I may add, contrary to your own nature, which has always inclined you to despise literary squabbles, the jest and scorn of all men of sense. Indeed, I am sorry you have let yourself be over-persuaded, and so are all that I have seen who wish you well: I ought rather to use your own word extorted. You say your Parisian friends extorted your consent to this publication. I believe so. Your good sense would not approve what your good heart could not refuse. You add, that they told you Rousseau had sent letters of defiance against you all over Europe? Good God! my dear Sir, could you pay any regard to such fustian? All Europe laughs at being dragged every day into these idle quarrels, with which Europe only ***. Your friends talk as loftily as of a challenge between Charles the Fifth and Francis the First. What are become of all the controversies since the days of Scaliger and Scioppius, of Billingsgate memory? Why, they sleep in oblivion, till some Bayle drags them out of their dust, and takes mighty pains to ascertain the date of each author's death, which is of no more consequence to the world than the day of his birth. Many a country squire quarrels with his neighbour about game and manors; yet they never print their wrangles, though as much abuse passes between them as if they could quote all the philippics of the learned. You have acted, as i should have expected if you would print, with sense, temper, and decency, and, what is still more uncommon, with your usual modesty. I cannot say so much for your editors. But editors and commentators are seldom modest. Even to this day that race ape the dictatorial tone Of the commentators at the restoration of learning, when the mob thought that Greek and Latin could give men the sense which they wanted in their native languages. But Europe is now grown a little wiser, and holds these magnificent pretensions in proper contempt.
What I have said is to explain why I am sorry my letter makes a part of this controversy. When I sent it to you, it was for your justification; and, had it been necessary, I could have added as much more, having been witness to your anxious and boundless friendship for Rousseau. I told you, you might make what use of it you pleased. Indeed, at that time I did not-could not think of its being printed, you seeming so averse to any publication on that head. However, I by no means take it ill, nor regret my part, if it tends to vindicate your honour.
I must confess that I am more concerned that you have suffered my letter to be curtailed; nor should I have consented to that if you had asked me. I guessed that your friends consulted your interest less than their own inclination to expose Rousseau; and I think their omission of what I said on that subject proves I was not mistaken in my guess. My letters hinted, too, my contempt of learned men and their miserable conduct. Since I was to appear in print, I should not have been sorry that that opinion should have appeared at the same ime. In truth, there is nothing I hold so cheap as the generality of learned men; and I have often thought that young men ought to be made scholars, lest they should grow to reverence learned blockheads, and think there is any merit in having read more foolish books than other folks; which, as there are a thousand nonsensical books for one good one, must be the case of any man who has read much more than other people.
Your friend D'Alembert, who, I suppose, has read a vast deal, is, it seems, offended with my letter to Rousseau.(978) He is certainly as much at liberty to blame it, as I was to write it. Unfortunately he does not convince me; nor can I think but that if Rousseau may attack all governments and all religions, I might attack him: especially on his affectation and affected misfortunes; which you and your editors have proved are affected. D'Alembert might be offended at Rousseau's ascribing my letter to him; and he is in the right. I am a very indifferent author; and there is nothing so vexatious to an indifferent author as to be confounded with another of the same class. I should be sorry to have his eloges and translations of scraps of Tacitus laid to me. However, I can forgive him any thing, provided he never translates me. Adieu! my dear Sir. I am apt to laugh, you know, and therefore you will excuse me, though I do not treat your friends up to the pomp of their claims. They may treat me as freely: I shall not laugh the less, and I promise you I will never enter into a controversy with them. Yours ever.
(978) For writing the pretended letter from the King of Prussia to Rousseau, Walpole was severely censured by Warburton, in a letter to Hurd:—"As to Rousseau," says the Bishop, "I entirely agree with you, that his long letter to his brother philosopher, Hume, shows him to be a frank lunatic. His passion of tears, his suspicion of his friends in the midst of their services, and his incapacity of being set right, all consign him to Monro. Walpole's pleasantry upon him had baseness in its very conception. It was written when the poor man had determined to seek an asylum in England; and is, therefore, justly and generously condemned by D'Alembert. This considered, Hume failed both in honour and friendship not to show his dislike; which neglect seems to have kindled the first spark of combustion in this madman's brain. However, the contestation is very amusing, and I shall be very sorry if it stops, now it is in so good a train. I should be well pleased, particularly, to see so seraphic a madman attack so insufferable a coxcomb as Walpole; and I think they are only fit for one another."-E.
Letter 322 To David Hume, Esq. Arlington Street, Nov. 11, 1766. (page 496)
Indeed, dear Sir, it was not necessary to make me any apology. D'Alembert is certainly at liberty to say what he pleases of me; and undoubtedly you cannot think that it signifies a straw to me what he says. But how can you be surprised at his printing a thing that he sent you so long ago? All my surprise consists in your suffering him to Curtail my letter to you, when you might be sure be would print his own at length. I am glad, however, that he has mangled mine: it not only shows his equity, but is the strongest proof that he was conscious I guessed right, when I supposed he urged you to publish, from his own private pique to Rousseau.
What you surmise of his censuring my letter because I am a friend of Madame du Deffand, is astonishing indeed, and not to be credited, unless you had suggested it. Having never thought him any thing like a superior genius,(979) as you term him, I concluded his vanity was hurt by Rousseau's ascribing my letter to him; but, to carry resentment to a woman, to an old and blind woman, so far as to hate a friend of hers qui ne lui avoit fait de mal is strangely weak and lamentable. I thought he was a philosopher, and that philosophers were virtuous, upright men, who loved wisdom, and were above the little passions and foibles of humanity. I thought they assumed that proud title as an earnest to the world, that they intended to be something more than mortal; that they engaged themselves to be patterns of excellence, and would utter no opinion, would pronounce no decision, but what they believed the quintessence of' truth; that they always acted without prejudice and respect of persons. Indeed, we know that the ancient philosophers were a ridiculous composition of arrogance, disputation, and contradictions; that some of them acted against all ideas of decency; that others affected to doubt of their own senses; that some, for venting unintelligible nonsense, pretended to think themselves superior to kings; that they gave themselves airs of accounting for all that we do and do not see-and yet, that no two of them agreed in a single hypothesis; that one thought fire, another water, the origin of all things; and that some were even so absurd and impious, as to displace God, and enthrone matter in his place. I do not mean to disparage such wise men, for we are really obliged to them: they anticipated and helped us off with an exceeding deal of nonsense, through which we might possibly have passed, if they had not prevented us. But, when in this enlightened age, as it is called, I saw the term philosophers revived, I concluded the jargon would be omitted, and that we should be blessed with only the cream of sapience; and one had more reason still to expect this from any superior genius. But, alas! my dear Sir, what a tumble is here! Your D'Alembert is a mere mortal oracle. Who but would have laughed, if, when the buffoon Aristophanes ridiculed Socrates, Plato had condemned the former, not for making sport with a great man in distress, but because Plato hated some blind old woman with whom Aristophanes was acquainted!
D'Alembert's conduct is the More Unjust, as I never heard Madame du Deffand talk of him above three times in the seven months that I passed at Paris; and never, though she does not love him, with any reflection to his prejudice. I remember the first time I ever heard her mention his name, I said I have been told he was a good man but could not think him a good writer. (Craufurd(980) remembers this, and it is a proof that I always thought of D'Alembert as I do now.) She took it up with warmth, defended his parts, and said he was extremely amusing. For her quarrel with him, I never troubled my head about it one way or other; which you will not wonder at. You know in England we read their works, but seldom or never take any notice of authors. We think them sufficiently paid if their books sell, and of course leave them to their colleges and obscurity, by which means we are not troubled with their variety and impertinence. In France, they spoil us; but that was no business of mine. I, who am an author must own this conduct very sensible; for in truth we are a most useless tribe.
That D'Alembert should have omitted passages in which you was so good as to mention me with approbation, agrees with his peevishness, not with his philosophy. However, for God's sake, do not state the passages. I do not love compliments, and will never give my consent to receive any. I have no doubt of your kind intentions to me, but beg they may rest there. I am much more diverted with the philosopher D'Alembert's underhand dealings, than I should have been pleased with panegyric even from you.
Allow me to make one more remark, and I have done with this trifling business for ever. Your moral friend pronounces me ill-natured for laughing at an unhappy man who had never offended me. Rousseau certainly never did offend me. I believed, from many symptoms in his writings, and from what I heard of him, that his love of singularity made him choose to invite misfortunes, and that he hung out many more than he felt. I, who affect no philosophy, nor pretend to more virtue than my neighbours, thought this ridiculous in a man who is really a superior genius, and joked upon it in a few lines never certainly intended to appear in print. The sage D'Alembert reprehends this—and where? In a book published to expose Rousseau, and which confirms by serious proofs what I had hinted at in jest. What! does a philosopher condemn me, and in the very same, breath, only with ten times more ill-nature, act exactly as I had done? Oh! but you will say, Rousseau had offended D'Alembert by ascribing the King of Prussia's letter to him. Worse and worse: if Rousseau is unhappy, a philosopher should have pardoned. Revenge is so unbecoming the rex regum, the man who is precipue sanus—nisi cum pituita molesta est. If Rousseau's misfortunes are affected, what becomes of my ill-nature? In short, my dear Sir, to conclude as D'Alembert concludes his book, I do believe in the virtue of Mr. Hume, but not much in that of philosophers. Adieu! Yours ever.
P. S. It occurs to me, that you may be apprehensive of my being indiscreet enough to let D'Alembert learn your suspicions of him on Madame du Deffand's account! but you may be perfectly easy on that head. Though I like such an advantage over him, and should be glad he saw this letter, and knew how little formidable I think him, I shall certainly not make an ill use of a private letter, and had much rather wave my triumph, than give a friend a moment's pain. I love to laugh at an impertinent savant, but respect learning when Joined to such goodness as yours, and never confound ostentation and modesty.
I wrote to you last Thursday and, by Lady Hertford's advice, directed my letter to Nine-Wells: I hope you will receive it. Yours ever.
(979) "I believe I said he was a man of superior parts, not a superior genius; words, if I mistake not, of a very different import." Hume.-E.
(981) John Craufurd, Esq. of Auchinames, in Scotland.-E.
Letter 323 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Dec. 12, 1766. (page 499)
Pray what are you doing? Or reading or feeding? Or drinking or thinking? Or praying or playing? Or walking or talking? Or riding about to your neighbours?(982)
I am sure you are not writing, for I have not had a word from you this century; nay, nor you from me. In truth, we have had a busy month, and many grumbles of a state-quake; but the session has however ended very triumphantly for the great Earl. I mean, we are adjourned for the holidays for above a month, after two divisions of one hundred and sixty-six to forty-eight, and one hundred and forty to fifty-six.(983) The Earl chaffered for the Bedfords, and who so willing as they?(984) However, the bargain went off, and they are forced to return to George Grenville. Lord Rockingham and the Cavendishes have made a jaunt to the same quarter, but could carry only eight along with them, which swelled that little minority to fifty-six. I trust and I hope it will not rise higher in haste. Your cousin, I hear, has been two hours with the Earl, but to what purpose I know not. Nugent is made Lord Clare, I think to no purpose at all.I came hither to-day for two or three days, and to empty my head. The weather is very warm and comfortable. When do you move your tents southward? I left little news in town, except politics. That pretty young woman, Lady Fortrose,(985) Lady Harrington's eldest daughter, is at the point of death, killed, like Coventry and others, by white lead, of which nothing could break her. Lord Beauchamp is going to marry the second Miss Windsor.(986) It is odd that those two ugly girls, though such great fortunes, should get the two best figures in England, him and Lord Mount-Stuart.
The Duke of York is erecting a theatre at his own palace, and is to play Lothario in the Fair Penitent himself. Apropos, have you seen that delightful paper composed out of scraps in the newspapers! I laughed till I cried, and literally burst out so loud, that I thought Favre, who was waiting in the next room, would conclude I was in a fit; I mean the paper that says,
"This day his Majesty will go in state to fifteen notorious," etc. etc.(987)
It is the newest piece of humour except the Bath Guide, that I have seen of many years. Adieu! Do let me hear from you soon. How does brother John? Yours ever.
(982 Thus playfully imitated by Lord Byron, in December, 1816;
"What are you doing now, oh Thomas Moore? Sighing or suing now? Rhyming or wooing now? Billing or cooing now? Which, Thomas Moore?"-E.
(983) On the bill of indemnity for those concerned in the embargo on the exportation of corn.-E.
(984) The following is Lord Chesterfield's account of this negotiation:—"No mortal can comprehend the present state of affairs. Eight or nine persons, of some consequence, have resigned their employments; upon which, Lord Chatham made overtures to the Duke of Bedford and his people; but they could by no means agree, and his grace went the next day, full of wrath, to Woburn; so that negotiation is entirely at an end. People wait to see who Lord Chatham will take in, for some he must have; even he cannot be alone, contra mundum. Such a state of things, to be sure, was never seen before, in this or in any other country. When this ministry shall be settled, it will be the sixth in six years' time."-E.
(985) Caroline, eldest daughter of William second Earl of Harrington; married, on the 7th of October 1765, to Kenneth M'Kenzie, created Baron of Andelon, Viscount Fortrose and Earl of Seaforth in the peerage of Ireland. Her ladyship died on the 9th of February 1767.-E.
(986) Francis Lord Beauchamp, son of the first Marquis of Hertford. His first wife, by whom he had no issue, was Alice Elizabeth, youngest daughter and coheiress of Herbert second Viscount Windsor. This lady died in 1772; when his lordship married, secondly, in 1776, Isabella Anne, daughter and heiress of Charles Ingram, Viscount Irvine of Scotland.-E.
(987) Cross-readings from the Public Advertiser, by Caleb Whitefoord. [The paper was entitled, "A New Method of reading the Newspapers," and was subscribed, "Papyrius Cursor;" a signature which Dr. Johnson thought singularly happy, it being the real name of an ancient Roman, and expressive of the thing done in this lively conceit—of which the following may serve as a specimen:—
"Yesterday Dr. Jones preached at St. James's and performed it with ease in less than 15 minutes. The sword of state was carried before Sir J. Fielding, and committed to Newgate. There was a numerous and brilliant court; a down look, and cast with one eye. Last night the Princess Royal was baptized; Mary, alias Moll Hacket, alias Black Nell. This morning the Right Hon. the Speaker—was convicted of keeping a disorderly house. This day his Majesty will go in state to fifteen notorious common prostitutes. Their R. H. the Dukes of York and Gloucester were bound over to their good behaviour. At noon her R. H. the Princess dowager was married to Mr. Jenkins, an eminent tailor. Several changes are talked of at court, consisting of 8040 triple bob-majors. At a very full meeting of common council, the greatest show of horned cattle this season. An indictment for murder is preferred against the worshipful company of Apothecaries. Yesterday the new Lord Mayor was sworn in, and afterwards tossed and gored several persons. This morning will be married the Lord Viscount and afterwards hung in chains, pursuant to his sentence. Escaped from the new gaol, Terence M'Dernan, if he will return, he will be kindly received,"
Letter 324 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Dec. 16, 1766. (p-age 500)
I wrote to You last post on the very day I ought to have received yours; but being at Strawberry, did not get it in time. Thank you for your offer of a doe; you know when I dine at home here, it is quite alone, and venison frightens my little meal; yet, as half of it is designed for dimidium animae meae Mrs. Clive (a pretty round half), I must not refuse it; venison will make such a figure at her Christmas gambols! only let me know when and how I am to receive it, that she may prepare the rest of her banquet; I will convey it to her. I don't like your wintering so late in the country. Adieu!
Letter 325 To George Montagu, Esq. Tuesday, Jan. 13, 1767. (page 501
I am going to eat some of your venison, and dare to say it is very good; I am sure you are, and thank you for it. Catherine, I do not doubt, is up to the elbows in currant jelly and Gratitude. I have lost poor Louis, who died last week at Strawberry. He had no fault but what has fallen upon himself, poor. soul! drinking: his honesty and good-nature were complete; and I am heartily concerned for him, which I shall seldom say so sincerely.
There has been printed a dull complimentary letter to me on the quarrel of Hume and Rousseau. In one of the reviews they are so obliging as to say I wrote it myself: it is so dull, that I should think they wrote it themselves—a kind Of abuse I should dislike much more than their criticism.
Are not you frozen, perished? How do you keep yourself alive on your mountain! I scarce stir from my fireside. I have scarce been at Strawberry for a day this whole Christmas, and there is less appearance of a thaw to-day than ever. There has been dreadful havoc at Margate and Aldborough, and along the coast. At Calais, the sea rose above sixty feet perpendicular, which makes people conclude there has been an earthquake somewhere or other. I shall not think of my journey to France yet; I suffered too much with the cold last year at Paris, where they have not the least idea of comfortable, but sup in stone halls, with all the doors open. Adieu! I must go dress for the drawing-room of the Princess of Wales. Yours ever.
Letter 326 To Dr. Ducarel. April 25, 1767. (page 501)
Mr. Walpole has been out of town, Or should have thanked Dr. Ducarel sooner for the obliging favour of his most curious and valuable work,(988) which Mr. Walpole has read with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction. He will be very much obliged to Dr. Ducarel if he will favour him with a set of the prints separate; which Mr. Walpole would be glad to put into his volumes of English Heads; and shall be happy to have an opportunity of returning these obligations.
(988) Entitled "Anglo-Norman Antiquities considered, in a Tour through part of Normandy."-E.
Letter 327 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, July 29, 1767. (page 502)
My dear lord, I am very sorry that I must speak of a loss that will give you and Lady Strafforct concern; an essential loss to me, who am deprived of a most agreeable friend, with whom I passed here many hours. I need not say I mean poor Lady Suffolk.(989) I was with her two hours on Saturday night; and, indeed, found her much changed, though I did not apprehend her in danger. I was going to say she complained—but you know she never did complain—of the gout and rheumatism all over her, particularly in her face. It was a cold night, and she sat below stairs when she should have been in bed; and I doubt this want of care was prejudicial. I sent next morning. She had a bad night; but grew much better in the evening. Lady Dalkeith came to her; and, when she was gone, Lady Suffolk said to Lord Chetwynd, "She would eat her supper in her bedchamber." He went up with her, and thought the appearances promised a good night: but she was scarce sat down in her chair, before she pressed her hand to her side, and died in half an hour.
I believe both your lordship and Lady Strafford will be surprised to hear that she was by no means in the situation that most people thought. Lord Chetwynd and myself were the only persons at all acquainted with her affairs, and they were far from being even easy to her. It is due to her memory to say, that I never saw more strict honour and justice. She bore knowingly the imputation of being covetous, at a time that the strictest economy could by no means prevent her exceeding her income considerably. The anguish of the last years of her life, though concealed, flowed from the apprehension of not satisfying her few wishes, which were, not to be in debt, and to make a provision for Miss Hotham.(990) I can give your lordship strong instances of the sacrifices she tried to make to her principles. I have not yet heard if her will is opened; but it will surprise those who thought her rich. Lord Chetwynd's friendship to her has been unalterably kind and zealous, and has not ceased. He stays in the house with Miss Hotham till some of her family come to take her away. I have perhaps dwelt too long on this subject; but, as it was not permitted me to do her justice when alive, I own I cannot help wishing that those who had a regard for her, may at least know how much more she deserved it than even they suspected. In truth, I never knew a woman more respectable for her honour and principles, and have lost few persons in my life whom I shall miss so much. I am, etc.
(989) Henrietta Hobart, Countess of Suffolk. She died at Marble Hall, on the 24th of July.-E.
(990) Her great-niece.
Letter 328 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, July 31, 1767. (page 503)
I find one must cast you into debt, if one has a mind to hear of you. You would drop one with all your heart, if one would let you alone. Did not you talk of passing by Strawberry in June, on a visit to the Bishop? I did not summon you, because I have not been sure of my own motions for two days together for these three months. At last all is subsided; the administration will go on pretty much as it was, with Mr. Conway for part of it. The fools and the rogues, or, if you like proper names, the Rockinghams and the Grenvilles, have bungled their own game, quarrelled, and thrown it away.
Where are you? What are you doing? Where are you going or staying? I shall trip to Paris in about a fortnight, for a month or six weeks. Indeed, I have had such a loss in poor Lady Suffolk,(991) that my autumns at Strawberry will suffer exceedingly, and will not be repaired by my Lord Buckingham. I have been in pain, too, and am not quite easy about my brother, who is in a bad state of health. Have you waded through or into Lord Lyttelton?(992) How dull one may be, if one will but take pains for six or seven-and-twenty years together! Except one day's gout, which I cured with the boolikins, I have been quite well since I saw you: nay, with a microscope you would perceive I am fatter. Mr. Hawkins saw it with his naked eye, and told me it was common for lean people to grow fat when they grow old. I am afraid the latter is more certain than the former, I submit to it with a good grace. There is no keeping off age by sticking roses and sweet peas in one's hair, as Miss Chudleigh does still.
If you are not totally abandoned, you will send me a line before I go. The Clive has been desperately nervous; but I have convinced her it did not become her, and she has recovered her rubicundity. Adieu!
(991) "Votre pauvre sourde!" writes Madame du Deffand to Walpole, on the 3d of August. "Ah! mon Dieu! que j'en suis f'ach'ee; c'est une veritable perte, et je la partage: j'aimais qu'elle v'ecut; j'aimais son amiti'e pour vous; j'aimais votre attachement pour elle: tout cela, ce me semble, m''etait bon."-E.
(992) His "History of the Life of King Henry the Second, and of the Age in which he lived," in four volumes quarto.-E.
Letter 329 To George Montagu, Esq. Friday, Aug. 7, 1767. (page 503)
As I am turned knight-errant, and going again in search of my old fairy,(993) I will certainly transport your enchanted casket, and will endeavour to procure some talisman, that may secrete it from the eyes of those unheroic harpies, the officers of the customhouse, YOU must take care to let me have it before to-morrow se'nnight.
The house at Twickenham with which you fell in love, is still unmarried; but they ask a hundred and thirty pounds a-year for it. If they asked one hundred and thirty thousand pounds for it, perhaps my Lord Clive might snap it up; but that not being the case, I don't doubt but it will fall, and I flatter myself, that you and it may meet at last upon reasonable terms. That of General Trapaud is to be had at fifty pounds a-year, but with a fine on entrance of five hundred pounds. As I propose to return by the beginning of October, perhaps I may see you, and then you may review both. Since the loss of poor Lady Suffolk, I am more desirous than ever of having you in my neighbourhood, as I have not a rational acquaintance left. Adieu!
(993) Madame du Deffand. The following passages from her letters to Walpole will best explain the reasons which induced him to undertake the journey:—"Paris, 5 Juillet. Je crois entrevoir que votre s'ejour ici vous inqui'ete, et que la complaisance qui vous am'ene vous coute beaucoup; mais, mon Tuteur, songez au plaisir que vous me ferez, quelle sera ma reconnaissance. Je ne vous dirai point combien cette visite m'est necessaire; vous jugerez par vous-m'eme si je vous en ai impose sur rien, et si vous pourrez jamais vous repentir des marques d'amiti'e que vous m'avez donn'ees. Mon Dieu! que nous aurons de sujets de conversations!"—"Dimanche, 23 Ao'ut. Enfin, enfin, il n'y a plus de mer qui nous s'epare; j'ai l'esperance de vous voir d'ees aujoqrd'hui. J'ai pri'e hier Madame Simonetti d'envoyer chez moi au moment de votre arriv'ee; si vous voulez venir chez MOi, comme j'esp'ere, vous aurez sur le champ mon carrosse. Je me flatte que demain vous dinerez et souperez avec moi t'ete-'a-t'ete; nous en aurons bien 'a dire. Sans cette maudite compagnie que j'ai si sottement rassembl'ee, vous m'auriez trouv'ee chez vous 'a la d'escente de votre chaise; cela vous auroit fort d'eplu, mais je m'en serois mocqu'ee." Madame Simonetti kept the H'otel garni du Parc Royal, Rue du Colombie. In a journal which Walpole kept of this journey to Paris, is the following entry:—"August 23. Arrived at Paris a quarter before seven; at eight, to Madame du Deffand's; found the Clairon acting Agrippine and Ph'edre. Not tall; but I liked her acting better than I expected. Supped there with her, and the Duchesse de Villeroi, d'Aiguillon, etC. etc."-E.
Letter 330 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(994) Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 1767. (page 504)
Last night by Lord Rochford's courier, we heard of Townshend's death;(995) for which indeed your letter had prepared me. As a man of incomparable parts, and most entertaining to a spectator, I regret his death. His good-humour prevented one from hating him, and his levity from loving him; but, in a political light, I own I cannot look upon it as a misfortune. His treachery alarmed me, and I apprehended every thing from it. It was not advisable to throw him into the arms of the Opposition. His death avoids both kinds of mischief. I take for granted you will have Lord North for chancellor of the exchequer.(996) He is very inferior to Charles in parts; but what he wants in those, will be supplied by firmness and spirit.
With regard to my brother, I should apprehend nothing, were he like other men; but I shall not be astonished, if he throws his life away; and I have seen so much of the precariousness of it lately, that I am prepared for the event, if it shall happen. I will say nothing about Mr. Harris; he is an old man, and his death will be natural. For Lord Chatham, he is really or intentionally mad,—but I still doubt which of the two. Thomas Walpole has writ to his brother here, that the day before Lord Chatham set out for Pynsent, he executed a letter of attorney, with full powers to his wife, and the moment it was signed he began singing.(997)
You may depend upon it I shall only stay here to the end of the month: but if you should want me sooner, I will set out at a moment's warning, on your sending me a line by Lord Rochf'ord's courier. This goes by Lady Mary Coke, who sets out to-morrow morning early, on notice of Mr. Townshend's death, or she would have stayed ten days longer. I sent you a letter by Mr. Fletcher, but I fear he did not go away till the day before yesterday.
I am just come from dining en famille with the Duke de Choiseul: he was very civil—but much more civil to Mr. Wood,(998) who dined there too. I imagine this gratitude to the peacemakers. I must finish; for I am going to Lady Mary, and then return to sup with the Duchess de Choiseul, who is not civiller to any body than to me. Adieu! Yours ever.
(994) Now first printed.
(995) Mr. Charles Townshend died very unexpectedly, on the 4th of September; he being then only in his forty-second year.-E.
(996) "The chancellorship of the exchequer," says Adolphus, "was filled up ad interim by Lord Mansfield. It was offered to Lord North, who, for some reasons which are not precisely known, declined accepting it. The offer was subsequently made to Lord Barrington; who declared his readiness to undertake the office, if a renewed application to Lord North should fail: a fresh negotiation was attempted with the Duke of Bedford, but without effect, and at length Lord North was prevailed on to accept the office. Mr. Thomas Townshend succeeded Lord North as paymaster, and Mr. Jenkinson was appointed a lord of the treasury; Lord Northington and General Conway resigning, Lord Gower was made president of the council; Lord Weymouth, secretary of state; and Lord Sandwich, joint postmaster-general. These promotions indicated an accommodation between the ministry and the Bedford party; and the cabinet was further strengthened by the appointment of Lord Hillsborough to the office of secretary of state for America. The ministry, thus modelled, was called the Duke of Grafton's administration; for, although Lord Chatham still retained his place, he was incapable of transacting business."-E.
(997) Lord Chatham's enemies were constantly insinuating, that his illness was a political one. For the real state of his health at the time Walpole was penning this uncharitable passage, see Lady Chatham's letter to Mr. Nuthall of the 17th of August, and his lordship's own grateful and affectionate letter to Mr. Thomas Walpole of the 30th of October. Correspondence, Vol. iii. p. 282, 289.-E.
(998) Mr. Robert Wood. He was under-secretary of state at the time of the treaty of Paris.-E.
Letter 331 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Arlington Street, Oct. 24, 1767. (page 505)
Dear Sir, It is an age since we have had any correspondence. My long and dangerous illness last year, with my journey to Bath; my long attendance in Parliament all winter, spring, and to the beginning of summer: and my journey to France since, from whence I returned but last week,(999) prevented my asking the pleasure Of Seeing you at Strawberry Hill.
I wish to hear that you have enjoyed your health, and shall be glad of any news of you. The season is too late, and the Parliament too near opening, for me to propose a winter journey to you. if you should happen to think at all of London, I trust you would do me the favour to call on me. In short, this is only a letter of inquiry after YOU, and to show you that I am always most truly yours.
(999) Walpole left Paris the 9th of October; on the morning of which Madame du Deffand thus resumes her correspondence with him:—"Que de lachet'e, de faiblesse, et de ridicules je vous ai laiss'e voir! Je m''etais bien promis le contrire; mais, mais— oubliez tout cela, pardonnez-le moi, mon Tuteur, et ne pensez plus 'a votre Petite que pour vous dire qu'elle est raisonnable, ob'eissante, et par-dessus tout reconnaissante; que son respect, oui, je dis respect, que sa crainte, mais sa crainte filiale, son tendre mais s'erieux attachement, feront jusqu''a son dernier moment le bonheur de sa vie. Qu'importe d''etre vielle, d''etre aveugle; qu'importe le lieu qu'on habite; qu'importe que tout ce qui environne soit sot ou Extravagant: quand l''ame est fortement occup'ee, il ne lui manque rien que l'objet qui l'occupe; et quand cet objet repond 'a ce qu'on sent pour lui, on n'a plus rien desirer."-E.
Letter 332 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Sunday, Nov. 1, 1767. (page 506)
The house is taken that you wot of, but I believe you may have General Trapaud's for fifty pounds a-year, and a fine of two hundred and fifty, which is less by half, look you, than you was told at first. A jury of matrons, composed of Lady Frances, my Dame Bramston, Lady Pembroke, and Lady Carberry, and the merry Catholic Lady Brown, have sat upon it, and decide that you should take it. But you must come and treat in person, and may hold the congress here. I hear Lord Guildford is much better, so that the exchequer will still find you in funds. You will not dislike to hear, shall you, that Mr Conway does not take the appointments of secretary of state. if it grows the fashion to give up above five thousand pounds a-year, this ministry will last for ever; for I do not think the Opposition will struggle for places without salaries. If my Lord Ligonier does not go to heaven, or Sir Robert Rich to the devil soon, our General will run considerably in debt; but he had better be too poor than too rich. I would not have him die like old Pulteney, loaded with the spoils of other families and the crimes of his own. Adieu! I will not write to you any more, so you may as well come. Yours ever.
Letter 333 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, Dec. 19, 1767. (page 506)
You are now, I reckon, settled in your new habitation:(1000) I would not interrupt you in your journeyings, dear Sir, but am not at all pleased that you are seated so little to your mind; and yet I think you will stay there. Cambridge and Ely are neighbourhoods to your taste, and if you do not again shift your quarters, I shall make them and you a visit: Ely I have never seen. I Could have wished that you had preferred this part of the world; and yet, I trust, I shall see you here oftener than I have done of late. This, to my great satisfaction, is my last session of Parliament; to which, and to politics, I shall ever bid adieu!
I did not go to Paris for my health, though I found the journey and the seasickness, which I had never experienced before, contributed to it greatly. I have not been so well for some years as I am at present, and if I continue to plump up as I do at present, I do not know but by the time we may meet, whether you may not discover, without a microscope, that I am really fatter. I went to make a visit to my dear old blind woman, and to see some things I could not see in winter.
For the Catholic religion, I think it very consumptive. With a little patience, if Whitfield, Wesley, my Lady Huntingdon, and that rogue Madan(1001) live, I do not doubt but we shall have something very like it here. And yet I had rather live at the end of a tawdry religion, than at the beginning; which is always more stern and hypocritic.
I shall be very glad to see your laborious work of the maps; you are indefatigable, I know: I think mapping would try my patience more than any thing.
My Richard the Third will go to press this week, and you shall have one of the first copies, which I think will be in about a month, if you will tell me how to convey it: direct to Arlington street. Mr. Gray went to Cambridge yesterday se'nnight: I wait for some papers from him for my purpose. I grieve for your sufferings by the inundation; but you are not only an hermit, but, what is better, a real philosopher. Let me hear from you soon. Yours ever.
(1000) Mr. Cole had lately removed from Bleckeley, Bucks, to Waterbeach, near Cambridge.
(1001) The Rev. Martin Madan, author of "Thelypthora," a defence of a plurality of wives. In 1767, he subjected himself to much obloquy, by dissuading a clerical friend from giving up a benefice, which he had accepted under a solemn promise of eventual resignation.-E.
Letter 334 To Sir David Dalrymple.(1002) Strawberry Hill, Jan. 17, 1768. (page 507)
I will begin, Sir, with telling you that I have seen Mr. Sherriff and his son. The father desired my opinion on sending his son to Italy. I own I could by no means advise it. Where a genius is indubitable and has already made much progress, the study of antique and the works of the great masters may improve a young man extremely, and open lights to him which he might never discover of himself: but it is very different sending a young man to Rome to try whether he has genius or not; which may be ascertained with infinitely less trouble and expense at home. Young Mr. Sherriff has certainly a disposition to drawing; but that may not be genius. His misfortune may have made him embrace it as a resource in his melancholy hours. Labouring under the misfortune of deafness, his friends should consider to what unhappiness they may expose him. His family have naturally applied to alleviate his misfortune, and to cultivate the parts they saw in him: but who, in so long a journey and at such a distance, is to attend him in the same affectionate manner? Can he shift for himself, especially without the language? who will take the trouble at Rome of assisting him, instructing him, pointing out to him what he should study? who will facilitate the means to him of gaining access to palaces and churches, and obtain permission for him to work there? I felt so much for the distresses he must undergo, that I could not see the benefits to accrue, and those eventual, as a compensation. Surely, Sir, it were better to place him here with some painter for a year or two. He does not seem to me to be grounded enough for such an expedition.
I will beg to know how I may convey my Richard to you, which will be published to-morrow fortnight. I do not wonder you could not guess the discovery I have made. It is one of the most marvellous that ever was made. In short, it is the original coronation roll of Richard the Third, by which it appears that very magnificent robes were ordered for Edward the Fifth, and that he did, or was to have walked at his uncle's coronation. This most valuable monument is in the Great Wardrobe. It is not, though the most extraordinary the only thing that will much surprise you in my work. But I will not anticipate what little amusement you may find there. I am, Sir, etc.
(1002) Now first collected.
Letter 335 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Arlington Street, Feb. 1, 1768. (page 508)
Dear Sir, I have waited for the impression of my Richard, to send you the whole parcel together. This moment I have conveyed to Mr. Cartwright a large bundle for you, containing Richard the Third,(1003) the four volumes of the new edition of the Anecdotes, and six prints of your relation Tuer. You will find his head very small: but the original was too inconsiderable to allow it to be larger. I have sent you no Patagon'eans;(1004) for they are out of print: I have only my own copy, and could not get another. Pray tell me how, or what you heard of it; and tell me sincerely, for I did not know it had made any noise.
I shall be much obliged to you for the extract relating to the Academy of which a Walpole was president. I doubt if he was of our branch; and rather think he was of the younger and Roman Catholic branch.
Are you reconciled to your new habitation? Don't you find it too damp? and if you do, don't deceive yourself, and try to surmount it, but remove immediately. Health is the most important of all considerations. Adieu! dear Sir.
(1003) "Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third, by Mr. Horace Walpole;" London, 1768, 4to. Two editions of this work, which occasioned a good deal of historical controversy, were published during the year.-E.
(1004) "An Account of the Giants lately discovered; in a letter to a friend in the country." London, 1766, 8vo. It was afterwards translated into French by the Chevalier Redmond, an Irish officer in the French service.-E.
Letter 336 To Sir David Dalrymple.(1005) Arlington Street, Feb. 2, 1768. (page 509)
I have sent to Mr. Cadell my Historic Doubts, Sir, for you. I hope they may draw forth more materials, which I shall be very ready either to subscribe to or to adopt. In this view I must beg you, Sir, to look into Speed's History of England, and in his account of Perkin Warbeck you will find Bishop Leslie often quoted. May I trouble you to ask, to what work that alludes, and whether in print or MS.? Bishop Leslie lived under Queen Elizabeth, and though he could know nothing of Perkin Warbeck, was yet near enough to the time to have had much better materials than we have. May I ask, too, if Perkin Warbeck's Proclamation exists any where authentically? You will see in my book the reason of all these questions.
I am so much hurried with it just now, that you will excuse my being so brief. I can attribute to nothing but the curiosity of the subject, the great demand for it; though it was sold publicly but yesterday, and twelve hundred and fifty copies were printed, Dodsley has been with me this morning to tell me he must prepare another edition directly. I am, Sir, etc.
(1005) Now first collected.
Letter 337 To Mr. Gray. Arlington Street, Feb. 18, 1768. (page 509)
You have sent me a long and very obliging letter, and yet I am extremely out of humour with you. I saw Poems by Mr. Gray advertised: I called directly at Dodsley's to know if this was to be more than a new edition? He was not at home himself, but his foreman told me he thought there were some new pieces, and notes to the whole. It was very unkind, not only to go out of town without mentioning them to me, without showing them to me, but not to say a word of them in this letter. Do you think I am indifferent, or not curious, about what you write? I have ceased to ask you, because you have so long refused to show me any thing. You could not suppose I thought that you never write. No; but I concluded you did not intend, at least yet, to publish what you had written. As you did intend it, I might have expected a month's preference. You will do me the Justice to own that I had always rather have seen your writings than have shown you mine; which you know are the most hasty trifles in the world, and which, though I may be fond of the subject when fresh, I constantly forget in a very short time after they are published. This would sound like affectation to others, but will not to you. It would be affected, even to you, to say I am indifferent to fame. I certainly am not, but I am indifferent to almost any thing I have done to acquire it. The greater part are mere compilations; and no wonder they are, as you say, incorrect, when they are commonly written with people in the room, as Richard and the Noble Authors were. But I doubt there is a more intrinsic fault in them: which is, that I cannot correct them. If I write tolerably, it must be -,it once; I can neither mend nor add. The articles of Lord Capel and Lord Peterborough, in the second edition of the Noble Authors, cost me more trouble than all the rest together: and you may perceive that the worst part of Richard, in point of ease and style, is what relates to the papers you gave me on Jane Shore, because it was taken on so long afterwards, and when my impetus was chilled. If some time or other you will take the trouble of pointing out the inaccuracies of' 'It, I shall be much obliged to you: at present I shall meddle no more with it. It has taken its fate; nor did I mean to complain. I found it was Condemned indeed beforehand, which was what I alluded to. Since publication (as has happened to me before) the success has gone beyond my expectation.
Not only at Cambridge, but here there have been people wise enough to think me too free with the King of Prussia!(1006) A newspaper has talked of my known inveteracy to him. Truly, I love him as well as I do most kings. The greater offence is my reflection on Lord Clarendon. It is forgotten that I had overpraised him before. Pray turn to the new State Papers, from which, it is said, he composed his history. You will find they are the papers from which he did not compose his history. And yet I admire my Lord Clarendon more than these pretended admirers do. But I do not intend to justify myself. I can as little satisfy those who complain that I do not let them know what really did happen. If this inquiry can ferret out any truth, I shall be glad. I have picked up a few more circumstances. I now want to know what Perkin Warbeck's Proclamation was, which Speed in his history says is preserved by Bishop Leslie. If you look in Speed, perhaps you will be able to assist me.
The Duke of Richmond and Lord Lyttelton agree with you, that I have not disculpated Richard of the murder of Henry VI. I own to you, it is the crime of which in my own mind I believe him most guiltless. Had I thought he committed it, I should never have taken the trouble to apologize-for the rest. I am not at all positive or obstinate on your other objections, nor know exactly what I believe on many points of this story. And I am so sincere, that, except a few notes hereafter, I shall leave the matter to be settled or discussed by others. As you have written much too little, I have written a great deal too much, and think only of finishing the two or three other things I have begun—and of those, nothing but the last volume of Painters is designed for the present public. What has one to do when turned fifty, but really think of finishing?(1007)
I am much obliged and flattered by Mr. Mason's approbation, and particularly by having had almost the same thought with him. I said, "People need not be angry at my excusing Richard; I have not diminished their fund of hatred, I have only transferred it from Richard to Henry." Well, but I have found you close with Mason—No doubt, cry Prating I, something will come out.(1008)- -Oh! no—leave us, both of you, to Annabellas and Epistles to Ferney,(1009) that give Voltaire an account of his own tragedies, to +Macarony fables that are more unintelligible than Pilpay's are in the original, to Mr. Thornton's hurdy-gurdy poetry'(1010) and to Mr. ***** who has imitated himself worse than any fop in a magazine would have done. In truth, if you should abandon us, I could not wonder—When Garrick's prologues and epilogues, his own Cymons and farces, and the comedies of the fools that pay court to him, are the delight of the age, it does not deserve any thing better. Pray read the new account of Corsica. What relates to Paoli will amuse you much. There is a deal about the island and its divisions that one does not care a straw for. The author, Boswell,(1011) is a strange being, and, like Cambridge, has a rage of knowing any body that ever was talked of. He forced himself upon me at Paris in spite of my teeth and my doors, and I see has given a foolish account of all he could pick up from me about King Theodore. He then took an antipathy to me on Rousseau's account, abused me in the newspapers, and exhorted Rousseau to do so too: but as he came to see me no more, I forgave all the rest. I see he now is a little sick of Rousseau himself; but I hope it will not cure him of his anger to me. However, his book will I am sure entertain you.(1012)
I will add but a word or two more. I am criticised for the expression tinker up in the preface. Is this one of those that you object to? I own I think such a low expression, placed to ridicule an absurd instance of wise folly, very forcible. Replace it with an elevated word or phrase, and to my conception it becomes as flat as possible.
George Selwyn says I may, if I please, write historic doubts on the present Duke of Grafton too. Indeed, they would be doubts, for I know nothing certainly.
Will you be so kind as to look into Leslie De Rebus Scotorum, and see if Perkin's Proclamation is there, and if there, how authenticated. You will find in Speed my reason for asking this. I have written in such a hurry, I believe you will scarce be able to read my letter—and as I have just been writing French, perhaps the sense may not be clearer than the writing. Adieu!
(1006) Gray, in a letter to Mr. Walpole, of the 14th, had said— "I have heard it objected, that you raise doubts and difficulties, and do not satisfy them by telling us what is really the case. I have heard you charged with disrespect to the King of Prussia; and above all, to King William and the Revolution. My own objections are little more essential: they relate chiefly to inaccuracies of style, which either debase the expression or obscure the meaning. As to your argument@ most of the principal parts are made out with a clearness and evidence that no one would expect, where materials are so scarce. Yet I still suspect Richard of the murder of Henry the Sixth." Works, vol. iv. p. 105.-E.
(1007) To this Gray, on the 25th, replied—"To what you say to me so civilly, that I ought to write more, I answer in your own words, (like the Pamphleteer, who is going to refute you out of your own mouth,) what has one to do, when turned fifty, but really to think of finishing? However, I will be candid (for you seem to be so with me), and avow to you, that, till fourscore and ten, whenever the humour takes me, I will write, because I like it; and because I like myself better when I do so. If I do not write much, it is because I cannot." Works, vol. iv. p. 111.-E.
(1008) "I found him close with Swift."—"Indeed?"—"No doubt," Cries prating Balbus, "something will come out." Pope.
(1009) Keate's "Ferney; an Epistle to M. Voltaire."-E.
(1010) His burlesque Ode on St. Cecilia's Day; with the humour of which Dr. Johnson was much diverted, and used to repeat this passage—
"In strains more exalted the salt-box shall join, And clattering and battering and clapping combine, With a rap and a tap, while the hollow side sounds, Up and down leaps the flap, and with rattling rebounds.-E.
(1011) "Your history," wrote Dr. Johnson to Boswell, "is like other histories, but your journal is, in a very high degree, curious and delightful: there is between them that difference which there will always be found between notions borrowed from without and notions generated within. Your history was copied from books; your journal rose out of your own experience and observation. I know not whether I could name any narrative by which curiosity is better excited or better gratified."-E.
(1012) To this Gray replies—,'Mr. Boswell's book has pleased and moved me strangely; all, I mean, that relates to Paoli. He is a man born two thousand years after his time! The pamphlet proves what I have always maintained, that any fool may write a most valuable book by chance, if he will only tell us what he heard and saw with veracity. Of Mr. Boswell's truth I have not the least suspicion, because I am sure be could invent nothing of this kind. The true title of this part of his work is a Dialogue between a Green Goose and a Hero." Works, vol. iv. p. 112.-E.
Letter 338 To Mr. Gray. Arlington Street, Friday night, Feb. 26, 1768. (page 512)
I plague you to death, but I must reply a few more words. I shall be very glad to see in print, and to have those that are worthy, see your ancient Odes; but I was in hopes there were some pieces. too, that I had not seen. I am sorry there are not.(1013)
I troubled you about Perkin's Proclamation. because Mr. Hume lays great stress upon it, and insists, that if Perkin affirmed that his brother was killed, it must have been true, if he was true Duke of York. Mr. Hume would have persuaded me that the Proclamation is in Stowe, but I can find no such thing there; nor, what is more, in Casley's Catalogue, which I have twice looked over carefully. I wrote to Sir David Dalrymple In Scotland, to inquire after it; because I would produce it if I could, though it should make against me: but he, I believe, thinking I inquired with the contrary view, replied very drily, that it was published at York, and was not to be found in Scotland. Whether he is displeased that I have plucked a hair from the tresses of their great historian; or whether, as I suspect, he is offended for King William; this reply was all the notice he took of my letter and book. I only smiled; as I must do when I find one party is angry with me on King William's, and the other on Lord Clarendon's account.
The answer advertised is Guthrie's, who is furious that I have taken no notice of his History. I shall take as little of his pamphlet; but his end will be answered, if he sells that and one or two copies of his History.(1014) Mr. Hume, I am told, has drawn up an answer too, which I shall see, and, if I can, will get him to publish; for, if I should ever choose to say any thing more on this subject, I had rather reply to him than to hackney-writers:—to the latter, indeed, I never will reply. A few notes I have to add that will be very material; and I wish to get some account of a book that was once sold at Osborn's, that exists perhaps at Cambridge, and of which I found a memorandum t'other day in my note-book. It is called A Paradox, or Apology for Richard the Third, by Sir William Cornwallis.(1015) If you could discover it, I should be much obliged to you.
Lord Sandwich, with whom I have not exchanged a syllable since the general warrants, very obligingly sent me an account of the roll at Kimbolton; and has since, at my desire, borrowed it for me and sent it to town.(1016) It is as long as my Lord Lyttelton's History; but by what I can read of it (for it is both ill written and much decayed), it is not a roll of kings, but of all that have been possessed of, or been Earls of Warwick: or have not—for one of the first earls is Aeneas. How, or wherefore, I do not know, but amongst the first is Richard the Third, in whose reign it was finished, and with whom it concludes. He is there again with his wife and son, and Edward the Fourth, and Clarence and his wife, and Edward their son (who unluckily is a little old man), and Margaret Countess of Salisbury, their daughter.—But why do I say with these? There is every body else too and what is most meritorious, the habits of all the times are admirably well observed from the most savage ages. Each figure is tricked with a pen, well drawn, but neither Coloured nor shaded. Richard is straight, but thinner than my print; his hair short, and exactly curled in the same manner; not so handsome as mine, but what one might really believe intended for the same countenance, as drawn by a different painter, especially when so small; for the figures in general are not so long as one's finger. His queen is ugly, and with just such a square forehead as in my print, but I cannot say like it. Nor, indeed, where forty-five figures out of fifty (I have not counted the number) must have been imaginary, can one lay great stress on the five. I shall, however, have these figures copied, especially as I know Of no other image of the son. Mr. Astle is to come to Me tomorrow morning to explain the writing.