In the mean time. there are but dark news from the Havannah; the Gazette, who would not fib for the world, says, we have lost but four officers; the World, who is not quite so scrupulous, says, our loss is heavy. But whit shocking notice to those who have Harry Conways there! The Gazette breaks off with saying, that they were to storm the next day! Upon the whole, it is regarded as a preparative to worse news.
Our next monarch was christened last night, George Augustus Frederick; the Princess, the Duke of Cumberland, and the Duke of Mecklenburgh, sponsors,; the ceremony performed by the Bishop of London. The Queen's bed, magnificent, and they say in taste, was placed in the great drawing-room: though she is not to see company in form, yet it looks as if they had intended people should have been there, as all who presented themselves were admitted, which were very few, for it had not been notified; I suppose to prevent too great a crowd: all I have heard named, besides those in waiting, were the Duchess of Queensbury, Lady Dalkeith, Mrs. Grenville, and about four more ladies.
My Lady Ailesbury is abominable: she settled a party to come hither, and Put it off a month; and now she has been here and seen my cabinet, she ought to tell you what good reason I had not to stir. If she has not told you that it is the finest, the prettiest, the newest and the oldest thing in the world, I will not go to Park-place on the 20th, as I have promised. Oh! but tremble you may for me, though you will not for yourself—all my glories were on the point of vanishing last night in a flame! The chimney of the new gallery, which chimney is full of deal-boards, and which gallery is full of shavings was on fire at eight o'clock. Harry had quarrelled with the other servants, and would not sit in the kitchen; and to keep up his anger, had lighted a vast fire in the servants' hall, which is under the gallery. The chimney took fire; and if Margaret had not smelt it with the first nose that ever a servant had, a quarter of an hour had set us in a blaze. I hope you are frightened out of your senses for me: if you are not, I will never live in a panic for three or four years for you again.
I have had Lord March and the Rena(239) here for One night, which does not raise my reputation in the neighbourhood, and may usher me again for a Scotchman into the North Briton.(240) I have had too a letter from a German that I never saw, who tells me, that, hearing by chance how well I am with my Lord Bute, he desires me to get him a place. The North Briton first recommended me for an employment, and has now given me interest -.it the backstairs. It is a notion, that whatever is said of one, has generally some kind of foundation: surely I am a contradiction to this maxim! yet, was I of consequence enough to be remembered, perhaps posterity would believe that I was a flatterer! Good night! Yours ever.
(238) "The laurel was not yet for triumphs born, But every green, alike by Phoebus worn, Did, with promiscuous grace, his flowing locks adorn." Garth.-E.
(239) A fashionable courtesan.
(240) The favourable opinion given by Mr. Walpole of the abilities of the Scotch in the Royal and Noble Authors, first drew upon him the notice of the North Briton. ("The Scotch are the most accomplished nation in Europe; the nation to which, if any one country is endowed with a superior partition of sense, I should be inclined to give the preference in that particular."]
Letter 135 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 24, 1762. (page 192)
I was disappointed at not seeing you, as you had given me hopes, but shall he glad to meet the General, as I think I shall, for I go to town on Monday to restore the furniture of my house, which has been painted; and to stop the gaps as well as I can, which I have made by bringing away every thing hither; but as long as there are auctions, and I have money or hoards, those wounds soon close.
I can tell you nothing of your dame Montagu and her arms; but I dare to swear Mr. Chute can. I did not doubt but you would approve Mr. Bateman's, since it has changed its religion; I converted it from Chinese to Gothic. His cloister of founders, which by the way is Mr. Bentley's, is delightful; I envy him his old chairs, and the tomb of Bishop Caducanus; but I do not agree with you in preferring the Duke's to Stowe. The first is in a greater style, I grant, but one always perceives the mesalliance, the blood of Bagshot-heath will never let it be green, If Stowe had but half so many buildings as it has, there would be too many; but that profusion that glut enriches, and makes it look like a fine landscape of Albano; one figures oneself in Tempe or Daphne. I never saw St. Leonard's-hill; would you spoke seriously of buying it! one could stretch out the arm from one's postchaise, and reach you when one would.
I am here all in ignorance and rain, and have seen nobody these two days since I returned from Park-place. I do not know whether the mob hissed my Lord Bute at his installation,(241) as they intended, or whether my lord Talbot drubbed them for it. I know nothing of the peace, nor of the Havannah; but I could tell you much of old English engravers, whose lives occupy me at present. On Sunday I am to dine with your prime minister Hamilton; for though I do not seek the world, and am best pleased when quiet here, I do not refuse its invitations, whet) it does not press one to pass above a few hours with it. I have no quarrel to it, when it comes not to me, nor asks me to lie from home. That favour is only granted to the elect, to Greatworth, and a very few more spots. Adieu!
(241) The ceremony of the installation of Prince William and Lord Bute, as knights of the garter, took place at Windsor on the 22d of September.-E.
Letter 136 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 28, 1762. (page 193)
To my sorrow and your wicked joy, it is a doubt whether Monsieur de Nivernois will shut the temple of Janus. We do not believe him quite so much in earnest as the dove(242) we have sent, who has summoned his turtle to Paris. She sets out the day after to-morrow, escorted, to add gravity to the embassy, by George Selwyn. The stocks don't mind this journey of a rush, but draw in their horns every day. We can learn nothing of the Havannah, though the axis of which the whole treaty turns. We believe, for we have never seen them, that the last letters thence brought accounts of great loss, especially by the sickness. Colonel Burgoyne(243) has given a little fillip to the Spaniards, and shown them, that though they can take Portugal from the Portuguese, it will not be entirely so easy to wrest it from the English. Lord Pulteney,(244) and my nephew,(245) Lady Waldegrave's brother, distinguished themselves. I hope your hereditary Prince is recovering of the wounds in his loins; for they say he is to marry Princess Augusta.
Lady Ailesbury has told you, to be sure, that I have been at Park place. Every thing there is in beauty; and, I should think, pleasanter than a campaign in Germany. Your Countess is handsomer than Fame; your daughter improving every day; your plantations more thriving than the poor woods about Marburg and Cassel. Chinese pheasants swarm there. For Lady Cecilia Johnston, I assure you, she sits close upon her egg, and it will not be her fault if she does not hatch a hero. We missed all the glories of the installation, and all the faults, and all the frowning faces there. Not a knight was absent but the lame and the deaf.
Your brother, Lady Hertford, and Lord Beauchamp, are gone from Windsor into Suffolk. Henry,(246) who has the genuine indifference of a Harry Conway, would not stir from Oxford for those pageants. Lord Beauchamp showed me a couple of his letters, which have more natural humour and cleverness than is conceivable. They have the ease and drollery of a man of parts who has lived long in the world—and he is scarce seventeen!
I am going to Lord Waldegrave's for a few days, and, when your Countess returns from Goodwood, am to meet her at Churchill's. Lord Strafford, who has been terribly alarmed about my lady, mentions, with great pleasure, the letters he receives from you. His neighbour and cousin, Lord Rockingham, I hear, is one of the warmest declaimers at Arthur's against the present system. Abuse continues in much plenty, but I have seen none that I thought had wit enough to bear the sea. Good night. There are satiric prints enough to tapestry Westminster-hall.
Stay a moment: I recollect telling you a lie in my last, which, though of no consequence, I must correct. The right reverend midwife, Thomas Secker, archbishop, did christen the babe, and not the Bishop of London, as I had been told by matron authority. Apropos to babes: have you read Rousseau on Education? I almost got through a volume at Park-place, though impatiently; it has mor(-tautology than any of his works, and less eloquence. Sure he has writ more sense and more nonsense than ever any man did of both! All I have yet learned from this work is, that one should have a tutor for one's son to teach him to have no ideas, in order that he may begin to learn his alphabet as he loses his maidenhead.
Thursday noon, 30th.
lo Havannah! Lo Albemarle! I had sealed my letter, and given it to Harry for the post, when my Lady Suffolk sent me a short note from Charles Townshend, to say the Havannah surrendered on the 12th of August, and that we have taken twelve ships of the line in the harbour. The news came late last night. I do not know a particular more. God grant no more blood be shed! I have hopes again of the peace. My dearest Harry, now we have preserved you to the last moment, do take care of yourself. When one has a whole war to wade through, it is not worth while to be careful in any one battle; but it is silly to fling one's self away in the last. Your character is established; Prince Ferdinand's letters are full of encomiums on you; but what will weigh more with you, save yourself for another war, which I doubt you will live to see, and in which you may be superior commander, and have space to display your talents. A second in service is never remembered, whether the honour of the victory be owing to him -. or be killed. Turenne would have a very short paragraph, if the Prince of Cond'e had been general when he fell. Adieu!
(242) The Duke of Bedford, then ambassador at Paris.
(243) Colonel, afterwards General Burgoyne, with the Compte de Lippe, commanded the British troops sent to the relief of Portugal.
(244) Only son of William Pulteney, Earl of Bath. He died before his father.
(245) Edward, only son of sir Edward Walpole. He died in 1771.
(246) ,Henry Seymour Conway, second son of Francis, Earl and afterwards Marquis of Hertford.
Letter 137 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 30, 1762. (page 195)
It gives me great satisfaction that Strawberry Hill pleased you enough to make it a second visit. I could name the time instantly, but you threaten me with coming so loaded with presents, that it will look mercenary, not friendly, to accept your visit. If your chaise is empty, to be sure I shall rejoice to hear it at my gate about the 22d of this next month: if it is crammed, though I have built a convent, I have not SO much of the monk in me as not to blush-nor can content myself with praying to our Lady of Strawberries to reward you.
I am greatly obliged to you for the accounts from Gothurst. What treasures there are still in private seats, if one knew where to hunt them! The emblematic picture of Lady Digby is like that at Windsor, and the fine small one at Mr. Skinner's. I should be curious to see the portrait of Sir Kenelm's father; was not he the remarkable Everard Digby?(247) How singular too is the picture of young Joseph and Madam Potiphar! His Mujora—one has heard of Josephs that did not find the lady's purse any hinderance to Majora.
You are exceedingly obliging, in offering to make an index to my prints, Sir; but that would be a sad way of entertaining you. I am antiquary and virtuoso enough myself not to dislike such employment, but could never think it charming enough to trouble any body else with. Whenever you do me the favour of coming hither, you will find yourself entirely at liberty to choose your own amusements—if you choose a bad one, and in truth there is not very good, you must blame yourself, while you know I hope that it would be my wish that you did not repent your favours to, Sir, etc.
(247) Executed in 1605, as a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot.-E.
Letter 138 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 1, 1762. (page 196)
Madam, I hope you are as free from any complaint, as I am sure you are full of joy. Nobody partakes more of your satisfaction for Mr. Hervey's(248) safe return; and now he is safe, I trust you enjoy his glory: for this is a wicked age; you are one of those un-Lacedaemonian mothers, that are not content unless your children come off with all their limbs. A Spartan countess would not have had the confidence of my Lady Albemarle to appear in the drawing-room without at least one of her sons being knocked on the head.(249) However, pray, Madam, make my compliments to her; one must conform to the times, and congratulate people for being happy, if they like it. I know one matron, however, with whom I may condole; who, I dare swear, is miserable that she has not one of her acquaintance in affliction, and to whose door she might drive with all her sympathizing greyhounds to inquire after her, and then to Hawkins's, and then to Graham's, and then cry over a ball of rags that she is picking, and be sorry for poor Mrs. Such-a-one, who has lost an only son!
When your ladyship has hung up all your trophies, I will come and make you a visit. There is another ingredient I hope not quite disagreeable that Mr. Hervey has brought with him, un-Lacedaemonian too, but admitted among the other vices of our system. If besides glory and riches they have brought us peace, I will make a bonfire myself, though it should be in the mayoralty of that virtuous citizen Mr. Beckford. Adieu, Madam!
(248) General William Hervey, youngest son of Lady Hervey; who had just returned from the Havannah.
(249) Lady Anne Lenox, Countess of Albemarle, had three sons present at the taking of the Havannah. The eldest, Lord Albemarle, commanded the land forces; the second, afterwards Lord Keppel, was then captain of a man of war; and the third was colonel of a regiment.
Letter 139 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Arlington Street, Oct. 4, 1762. (page 196)
I am concerned to hear you have been so much out of order, but should rejoice your sole command(250) disappointed you, if this late cannonading business(251) did not destroy all my little prospects. Can one believe the French negotiators are sincere, when their marshals are so false? What vexes me more is to hear you seriously tell your brother that you are always unlucky, and lose all opportunities of fighting. How can you be such a child? You cannot, like a German, love fighting for its own sake. No: you think of the mob of London, who, if you had taken Peru, would forget you the first lord mayor's day, or for the first hyena that comes to town. How can one build on virtue and on fame too? When do they ever go together? In my passion, I could almost wish you were as worthless and as great as the King of Prussia! If conscience is a punishment, is not it a reward too? Go to that silent tribunal, and be satisfied with its sentence.
I have nothing new to tell you. The Havannah is more likely to break off the peace than to advance it.(252) We are not in a humour to give up the world; anza, are much more disposed to conquer the rest of it. We shall have some commanding here, I believe, if we sign the peace. Mr. Pitt, from the bosom of his retreat, has made Beckford mayor. The Duke of Newcastle, if not taken in again, will probably end his life as he began it-at the head of a mob. Personalities and abuse, public and private, increase to the most outrageous degree, and yet the town is at the emptiest. You may guess what will be the case in a month. I do not see at all into the storm: I do not mean that there will not be a great majority to vote any thing; but there are times when even majorities cannot do all they are ready to do. Lord Bute has certainly great luck, which is something in politics, whatever it is in logic: but whether peace or war, I would not give him much for the place he will have this day twelvemonth. Adieu! The watchman goes past one in the morning; and as I have nothing better than reflections and conjectures to send YOU, I may as well go to bed.
(250) During Lord Granby's absence from the army in Flanders, the command in chief had devolved on Mr. Conway.
(251) The affair of Bucker-Muhl.
(252) On this subject, Sir Joseph Yorke, in a letter to Mr. Michell of the 9th of October, Observes, "All the world is struck with the noble capture of the Havannah, which fell into our hands on the Prince of Wales's birthday, as a just punishment upon the Spaniards for their unjust quarrel with us, and for the supposed difficulties they have raised in the negotiation for peace. By what I hear from Paris, my old acquaintance Grimaldi is the cause of the delay in signing the preliminaries, insisting upon points neither France nor England would ever consent to grant, such as the liberty of fishing at Newfoundland; a point we should not dare to yield, as Mr. Pitt told them, though they were masters of the Tower of London. What effect the taking of the Havannah will have is uncertain; for the Spaniards have nothing to give us in return."-E.
Letter 140 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Oct 14, 1762. (page 197)
You will not make your fortune in the admiralty at least; your King's cousin is to cross over and figure in with George Grenville; the latter takes the admiralty, Lord Halifax the seals—still, I believe, reserving Ireland for pocket-money; at least no new viceroy is named. mr. Fox undertakes the House of Commons—and the peace—and the war—for if we have the first, we may be pretty sure of the second.(253)
you see Lord Bute totters; reduced to shift hands so often, it does not look like much stability. The campaign at Westminster will be warm. When Mr. Pitt can have such a mouthful as Lord Bute, Mr. Fox, and the peace, I do not think three thousand pounds a year will stop it. Well, I shall go into my old corner under the window, and laugh I had rather sit by my fire here; but if there are to be bull-feasts, one would go and see them, when one has a convenient box for nothing, and is very indifferent about the cavalier combatants. Adieu!
(253) In a letter to Mr. Pitt, of this day's date, Mr. Nuthall gives the ex-minister the following account of these changes:- -"Mr. Fox kissed hands yesterday, as one of the cabinet; Lord Halifax, as secretary of state, and Mr. George Grenville, as first lord of the admiralty. Mr. Fox's present state of health, it was given out, would not permit him to take the seals. Charles Townshend was early yesterday morning sent for by Lord Bute, who opened to him this new system, and offered him the secretaryship of the plantations and board of trade, which he not only refused, but refused all connexion and intercourse whatever with the new counsellor, and spoke out freely. He was afterwards three times in with the King, to whom be was more explicit, and said things that did not a little alarm." Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 181.-E.
Letter 141 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 29, 1762. (page 198)
You take my philosophy very kindly, as it was meant; but I suppose you smile a little in your sleeve to hear me turn moralist. Yet why should not I? Must every absurd young man prove a foolish old one? Not that I intend, when the latter term is quite arrived, to profess preaching; nor should, I believe, have talked so gravely to you, if your situation had not made me grave. Till the campaign is ended, I shall be in no humour to smile. For the war, when it will be over, I have no idea. The peace is a jack o' lanthorn that dances before one's eyes, is never approached, and at best seems ready to lead some follies into a woful quagmire.
As your brother was in town, and I had my intelligence from him, I concluded you would have the same, and therefore did not tell you of this last resolution, which has brought Mr. Fox again upon the scene. I have been in town but once since; yet learned enough to confirm the opinion I had conceived, that the building totters, and that this last buttress will but push on its fall. Besides the clamorous opposition already encamped, the world talks of another, composed of names not so often found in a mutiny. What think you of the great Duke,(254) and the little Duke,(255) and the old Duke,(256) and the Derbyshire Duke,(257) banded together against the favourite?(258) If so, it proves the Court, as the late Lord G * * * wrote to the mayor of Litchfield, will have a majority in every thing but numbers. However, my letter is a week old before I write it: things may have changed since last Tuesday. Then the prospect was des plus gloomy. Portugal at the eve of being conquered—Spain preferring a diadem to the mural crown of the Havannah—a squadron taking horse for Naples, to see whether King Carlos has any more private bowels than public, whether he is a better father than brother. If what I heard yesterday be true, that the Parliament is to be put off till the 24th, it does not look as if they were ready in the green-room, and despised catcalls.
You bid me send you the flower of brimstone, the best things published in this season of outrage. I should not have waited for orders, if I had met with the least tolerable morsel. But this opposition ran stark mad at once, cursed, swore, called names, and has not been one minute cool enough to have a grain of wit. Their prints are gross, their papers scurrilous: indeed the authors abuse one another more than any body else. I have not seen a single ballad or epigram. They are as seriously dull as if the controversy was religious. I do not take in a paper of either side; and being very indifferent, the only way of being impartial, they shall not make me pay till they make me laugh. I am here quite' alone, and shall stay a fortnight longer, unless the Parliament prorogued lengthens my holidays. I do not pretend to be so indifferent, to have so little curiosity, as not to go and see the Duke of Newcastle frightened for his country—the only thing that never yet gave him a panic. Then I am still such a schoolboy, that though I could guess half their orations, and know all their meaning, I must go and hear Caesar and Pompey scold in the Temple of Concord. As this age is to make such a figure hereafter, how the Gronoviuses and Warburtons would despise a senator that deserted the forum when the masters of the world harangued! For, as this age is to be historic, so of course it will be a standard of virtue too; and we, like our wicked predecessors the Romans, shall be quoted, till our very ghosts blush, as models of patriotism and magnanimity. What lectures will be read to poor children on this era! Europe taught to tremble, the great King humbled, the treasures of Peru diverted into the Thames, Asia subdued by the gigantic Clive! for in that age men were near seven feet high; France suing for peace at the gates of Buckingham-house, the steady wisdom of the Duke of Bedford drawing a circle round the Gallic monarch, and forbidding him to pass it till he had signed the cession of America; Pitt more eloquent than Demosthenes, and trampling on proffered pensions like-I don't know who; Lord Temple sacrificing a brother to the love of his country; Wilkes as spotless as Sallust, and the Flamen Churchill(259) knocking down the foes of Britain with statues of the gods!-Oh! I am out of breath with eloquence and prophecy, and truth and lies; my narrow chest was not formed to hold inspiration! I must return to piddling with my painters: those lofty subjects are too much for me. Good night!
P. S. I forgot to tell -you that Gideon, who is dead worth more than the whole land of canaan, has left the reversion of all his milk and honey, after his son and daughter and their children, to the Duke of Devonshire, without insisting on his taking the name, or even being circumcised. Lord Albemarle is expected home in December. My nephew Keppel(260) is Bishop of Exeter, not of the Havannah, as you may imagine, for his mitre was promised the day before the news came.
(254) Of Cumberland.
(255) Of Bedford.
(256) Of Newcastle.
(257) Of Devonshire.
(258) The Earl of Bute.
(259) Charles Churchill the poet.
(260) Frederick Keppel, youngest brother of George Earl of Albemarle, who commanded at taking the Havannah, had married Laura, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Walpole.
Letter 142 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 31, 1762. (page 200)
Madam, It is too late, I fear, to attempt acknowledging the honour Madame de Chabot,(261) does me; and yet, if she is not gone, I would fain not appear ungrateful. I do not know where she lives, or I would not take the liberty again of making your ladyship my penny-post. If she is gone, you will throw my note into the fire.
Pray, Madam, blow your nose with a piece of flannel-not that I believe it will do you the least good—but, as all wise folks think it becomes them to recommend nursing and flannelling the gout, imitate them; and I don't know any other way of lapping it up, when it appears in the person of a running cold. I will make it a visit on Tuesday next, and shall hope to find it tolerably vented.
P. S. You must tell me all the news when I arrive, for I know nothing of what is passing. I have only seen in the papers, that the cock and hen doves(262) that went to Paris not having been able to make peace, there is a third dove(263) just flown thither to help them.
(261) Lady Mary Chabot, daughter of the Earl of Stafford.
(262) The Duke and Duchess of Bedford.
(263) Mr. Hans Stanley.
letter 143 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Thursday, Nov. 4, 1762. (page 200)
The events of these last eight days will make you stare. This day se'nnight the Duke of Devonshire came to town, was flatly refused an audience, and gave up his key. Yesterday Lord Rockingham resigned, and your cousin Manchester was named to the bedchamber. The King then in council called for the book, and dashed out the Duke of Devonshire's name. If you like spirit, en Voila! Do you know I am sorry for all this? You will not suspect me of tenderness for his grace of Devonshire, nor, recollecting how the whole house of Cavendish treated me on my breach with my uncle, will any affronts, that happen to them, call forth my tears. But I think the act too violent and too serious, and dipped in a deeper dye than I like in politics. Squabbles, and speeches, and virtue, and prostitution, amuse one sometimes; less and less indeed every day; but measures, from which you must advance and cannot retreat, is a game too deep; one neither knows who may be involved, nor where may be the end. It is not pleasant. Adieu!
Letter 144 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, Nov. 13, 1762. (page 201)
Dear sir, You will easily guess that my delay in answering your obliging letter, was solely owing to my not knowing whither to direct to you. I waited till I thought you may be returned home. Thank you for all the trouble you have given, and do give yourself for me; it is vastly more than I deserve.
Duke Richard's portrait I willingly wave, at least for the present, till one can find out who he is. I have more curiosity about the figures of Henry VII. at Christ's College. I shall be glad some time or other to visit them, to see how far either of them agree with his portrait in my picture of his marriage. St. Ethelreda was mighty welcome.
We have had variety of weather since I saw you, but I fear none of the patterns made your journey more agreeable.
Letter 145 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Dec. 20, 1762. (page 201)
As I am far from having been better since I wrote to you last, my postchaise points more and more to Naples. Yet Strawberry, like a mistress, As oft as I descend the hill of health, Washes my hold away. Your company would have made me decide much faster, but I see I have little hopes of that, nor can I blame you; I don't use so rough a word with regard to myself, but to your pursuing your amusement, which I am sure the journey Would be. I never doubted your kindness to me one moment; the affectionate manner in which you offered, three weeks ago, to accompany me to Bath, Will never be forgotten. I do not think my complaint very serious: for how can it be so, when it has never confined me a whole day? But my mornings are so bad, and I have had so much more pain this last week, with restless nights, that I am convinced it must not be trifled with. Yet I think Italy would be the last thing I would try, if it were 'not to avoid politics: yet I hear nothing else. The court and opposition both grow more violent every day from the same cause; the victory of the former. Both sides torment me with their affairs, though it is so plain I do not care a straw about either. I wish I -were great enough to say, as a French officer on the stage at Paris said to the pit, "Accordez vous, canaille!" Yet to a man without ambition or interestedness, politicians are canaille. Nothing appears to me more ridiculous in my life than my having ever loved their squabbles, and that at an age when I loved better things too! My poor neutrality, which thing I signed with all the world, subjects me, like other insignificant monarchs on parallel occasions, to affronts. On Thursday I was summoned to Princess Emily's loo. Loo she called it, politics it was. The second thing she said to me was, "How were you the two long days?" "Madam, I was only there the first." "And how did you vote!" "Madam, I went away." "Upon my word, that was carving well." Not a very pleasant apostrophe to one who certainly never was a time-server! Well, we sat down. She said, "I hear Wilkinson is turned out, and that Sir Edward Winnington is to have his place; who is he?" addressing herself to me, who sat over against her. "He is the late Mr. Winnington's heir, Madam." "Did you like that Winnington?" "I can't but say I did, Madam." She shrugged her shoulders, and continued; "Winnington originally was a great Tory; what do you think he was when he died?" "Madam, I believe what all people are in place." Pray, Mr. Montagu, do you perceive any thing rude or offensive in this? Hear then: she flew into the most outrageous passion, Coloured like scarlet, and said, "None of your wit; I don't understand joking on those subjects; what do you think your father would have said if he had heard you say so? He Would have murdered you, and you would have deserved it." I was quite Confounded and amazed; it was impossible to explain myself across a loo-table, as she is so deaf: there was no making a reply to a woman and a Princess, and particularly for me, who have made it a rule, when I must converse with royalties, to treat them with the greatest respect, since it is all the court they will ever have from me. I said to those on each side of me, "What can I do? I cannot explain myself now." Well, I held my peace, and so did she for a quarter of an hour. Then she began with me again, examined me on the whole debate, and at last asked me directly, which I thought the best speaker, my father or Mr. Pitt. If possible, this was more distressing than her anger. I replied, it was impossible to compare two men so different: that I believed my father was more a man of business than Mr. Pitt. "Well, but Mr. Pitt's language?" "Madam," said I, "I have always been remarkable for admiring Mr. Pitt's language." At last, this unpleasant scene ended; but as we were going away, I went close to her, and said, "Madam, I must beg leave to explain myself; your royal highness has seemed to be very angry with me, and I am sure I did not mean to offend you: all I intended to say was, that I supposed Tories were Whigs when they got places!" "Oh!" said she, "I am very much obliged to you; indeed, I was very angry." Why she was angry, or what she thought I meaned, I do not know to this moment, unless she supposed that I would have hinted that the Duke of Newcastle and the opposition were not men of consummate virtue, and had lost their places out of principle. The very reverse was at that time in my head; for I meaned that the Tories would be just as loyal as the Whigs, when they got any thing by it.
You will laugh at my distresses, and in truth they are little serious yet they almost put me out of humour. If your cousin realizes his fair words to you, I shall be very good-humoured again. I am not so morose as to dislike my friends for being in place; indeed, if they are in great place, my friendship goes to sleep like a paroli at pharaoh, and does not wake again till their deal is over. Good night!
Letter 146 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Arlington Street, Dec. 23, 1762. (page 203)
Dear sir, You are always abundantly kind to me, and pass my power of thanking you. You do nothing but give yourself trouble and me presents. My cousin Calthorpe is a great rarity, and I think I ought, therefore, to return him to you; but that would not be treating him like a relation, or you like a friend. My ancestor's epitaph, too, was very agreeable to me.
I have not been at Strawberry Hill these three weeks. My maid is ill there, and I have not been well myself with the same flying gout in my stomach and breast, of which you heard me complain a little in the summer. I am much persuaded to go to a warmer climate, which often disperses these unsettled complaints. I do not care for it, nor can determine till I see I grow worse: if I do (To, I hope it will not be for long; and you shall certainly hear again before I set out.
Letter 147 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Feb. 28, 1763. (page 203)
Your letter of the 19th seems to postpone your arrival rather than advance it; yet Lady Ailesbury tells me that to her you talk of being here in ten days. I wish devoutly to see you, though I am not departing myself; but I am impatient to have your disagreeable function(264) at an end, and to know that YOU enjoy Yourself after such fatigues, dangers, and ill-requited services. For any public satisfaction you will receive in being at home, you must not expect much. Your mind was not formed to float on the surface of a mercenary world. My prayer (and my belief) is, that you may always prefer what you always have preferred, your integrity to success. You will then laugh, as I do, at the attacks and malice of faction or ministers. I taste of both; but, as my health is recovered, and My Mind does not reproach me, they will perhaps only give me an opportunity, which I should never have sought, of proving that I have some virtue—and it will not be proved in the way they probably expect. I have better evidence than by hanging out the tattered ensigns of patriotism. But this and a thousand other things I shall reserve for our meeting. Your brother has pressed me much to go with him, if he goes, to Paris.(265) I take it very kindly, but have excused myself, though I have promised either to accompany him for a short time at first, or to go to him if he should have any particular occasion for me: but my resolution against ever appearing in any public light is unalterable. When I wish to live less and less in the world here, I cannot think of mounting a new stage at Paris. At this moment I am alone here, while every body is balloting in the House of Commons. Sir John Philips proposed a commission of accounts, which has been converted into a select committee of twenty-one, eligible by ballot. As the ministry is not predominant in the affections of mankind, some of them may find a jury elected that will not be quite so complaisant as the House is in general when their votes are given openly. As many may be glad of this opportunity, I shun it; for I should scorn to do any thing in secret, though I have some enemies that are not quite so generous.
You say you have seen the North Briton, in which I make a capital figure. Wilkes, the author, I hear, says, that if he had thought I should have taken it so well, he would have been damned before he would have written it-but I am not sore where I am not sore.
The theatre of Covent-garden has suffered more by riots than even Drury-lane.(266) A footman of Lord Dacre has been hanged for murdering the butler. George Selwyn had great hand in bringing him to confess it. That Selwyn should be a capital performer in a scene of that kind is not extraordinary: I tell it you for the strange coolness which the young fellow, who was but nineteen, expressed: as he was writing his confession, "I murd—" he stopped, and asked, "how do you spell murdered?"
Mr. Fox is much better than at the beginning of the winter; and both his health and power seem to promise a longer duration than people expected. Indeed, I think the latter is so established, that poor Lord Bute would find it more difficult to remove him, than he did his predecessors, and may even feel the effects of the weight he has made over to him; for it is already obvious that Lord Bute's lev'ee is not the present path to fortune. Permanence is not the complexion of these times—a distressful circumstance to the votaries of a court, but amusing to us spectators. Adieu!
(264) The re-embarkation of the British troops from Flanders after the peace.
(265) An ambassador.
(266. In January, there was a riot at Drury-lane, in consequence of the managers refusing admittance at the end of the third act of a play for half-price; when the glass lustres were broken and thrown upon the stage, the benches torn up, and the performance put a stop to. The same scene was threatened on the following evening, but was prevented by Garrick's consenting to give admittance at half-price after the third act, except during the first winter of a new pantomime. At Covent-garden, the redress demanded having been acceded to, no disturbance took place on that occasion; but a more serious riot happened on the 24th of February, in consequence of a demand for full prices at the opera of Artaxerxes. The mischief done was estimated at not less than two thousand pounds.-E.
Letter 148 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, March 29, 1763. (page 205)
Though you are a runaway, a fugitive, a thing without friendship or feeling, though you grow tired of your acquaintance in half the time you intended, I will not quite give you up: I will write to you once a quarter, just to keep up a connexion that grace may catch at, if it ever proposes to visit you. This is my plan, for I have little or nothing to tell you. The ministers only cut one another's throats instead of ours. They growl over their prey like two curs over a bone, which neither can determine to quit; and the whelps in opposition are not strong enough to beat either way, though like the species, they will probably hunt the one that shall be worsted. The saddest dog of all, Wilkes, shows most spirit. The last North Briton is a masterpiece of mischief. He has written a dedication too to an old play, the Fall of Mortimer, that is wormwood; and he had the impudence t'other day to ask Dyson if he was going to the treasury; "Because," said he, "a friend of mine has dedicated a play to Lord Bute, and 'It is usual to give dedicators something; I wish you would put his lordship in mind of it." Lord and Lady Pembroke are reconciled, and live again together.(267) Mr. Hunter would have taken his daughter too, but upon condition she should give back her settlement to Lord Pembroke and her child: she replied nobly, that she did not trouble herself about fortune, and would willingly depend on her father; but for her child, she had nothing left to do but to take care of that, and would not part with it; so she keeps both, and I suppose will soon have her lover again too, for T'other sister(268) has been sitting to Reynolds, who by her husband's direction has made a speaking picture. Lord Bolingbroke said to him, "You must give the eyes something of Nelly O'Brien, or it will not do." As he has given Nelly something of his wife's, it was but fair to give her something of Nelly's, and my lady will not throw away the present!
I am going to Strawberry for a few days, pour faire mes piques. The gallery advances rapidly. The ceiling is Harry the Seventh's chapel in proprid persona; the canopies are all placed; I think three months will quite complete it. - I have bought at Lord Granville's sale the original picture of Charles Brandon and his queen; and have to-day received from France a copy of Madame Maintenon, which with my La Vali'ere, and copies of Madame Grammont, and of the charming portrait of the Mazarine at the Duke of St. Alban's, is to accompany Bianca Capello and Ninon L'Enclos in the round tower. I hope now there will never be another auction, for I have not an inch of space, or a farthing left. As I have some remains of paper, I will fill it up with a song that I made t'other day in the postchaise, after a particular conversation that I had with Miss Pelham the night before at the Duke of Richmond's.
The business of women, dear Chloe, is pleasure, And by love ev'ry fair one her minutes should measure. "Oh! for love we're all ready," you cry.—very true; Nor would I rob the gentle fond god of his due. Unless in the sentiments Cupid has part, And dips in the amorous transport his dart 'Tis tumult, disorder, 'tis loathing and hate; Caprice gives it birth, and contempt is its fate.
"True passion insensibly leads to the joy, And grateful esteem bids its pleasures ne'er cloy. Yet here you should stop-but your whimsical sex Such romantic ideas to passion annex, That poor men, by your visions and jealousy worried, To Dyinphs less ecstatic, but kinder, are hurried. In your heart, I consent, let your wishes be bred; Only take care your heart don't get into your head.
Adieu, till Midsummer-day!
(267) See ant'e, p. 175, Letter 117.-E.
(268) Lady Bolingbroke and the Countess of Pembroke were sisters.-E.
Letter 149 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, April 6, 1763. (page 206)
You will pity my distress when I tell you that Lord Waldegrave has got the smallpox, and a bad sort. This day se'nnight, in the evening, I met him at Arthur's: he complained to me of the headache, and a sickness in the stomach. I said, "My dear lord, why don't you go home, and take James's powder you will be well in the morning." He thanked me, said he was glad I had put him in mind of it, and he would take my advice. I sent in the morning; my niece said he had taken the powder, and that James thought he had no fever, but that she found him very low. As he had no fever, I had no apprehension. At eight o'clock on Friday night, I was told abruptly at Arthur's, that Lord Waldegrave had the small-pox. I was excessively shocked, not knowing if the powder was good or bad for it. I went instantly to the house; at the door I was met by a servant of Lady Ailesbury, sent to tell me that Mr. Conway was arrived. These two opposite strokes of terror and joy overcame me so much, that when I got to Mr. Conway's I could not speak to him, but burst into a flood of tears. The next morning, Lord Waldegrave hearing I was there, desired to speak to me alone. I should tell you, that the moment he knew it was the small-pox, he signed his will. This has been the unvaried tenor of his behaviour, doing just what is wise and necessary, and nothing more. He told me, he knew how great the chance was against his living through that distemper at his age. That, to be sure, he should like to have lived a few years longer; but if he did not, he should submit patiently. That all he desired was, that if he should fail, we would do our utmost to comfort his wife, who, he feared was breeding, and who, he added, was the best woman in the world. I told him he could not doubt our attention to her, but that at present all our attention was fixed on him. That the great difference between having the small-pox young, or more advanced in years, consisted in the fear of the latter; but that as I had so often heard him say, and now saw, that he had none of those fears, the danger of age was considerably lessened. Dr. Wilmot says, that if any thing saves him, it will be his tranquillity. To my comfort I am told, that James's powder has probably been a material ingredient towards his recovery. In the mean time, the universal anxiety about him is incredible. Dr. Barnard, the master of Eton, who is in town for the holidays, says, that, from his situation, he is naturally invited to houses of all ranks and parties, and that the concern is general in all. I cannot say so much of my lord, and not do a little justice to my niece too. Her tenderness, fondness, attention, and courage are surprising. She has no fears to become her, nor heroism for parade. I could not help saying to her, "There never was a nurse of your age had such attention." She replied, "There never was a nurse of my age had such an object." It is this astonishes one, to see so much beauty sincerely devoted to a man so unlovely in his person; but if Adonis was sick, she could not stir seldomer out of his bedchamber. The physicians seem to have little hopes, but, as their arguments are not near so strong as their alarms, I own I do not give it up, and yet I look on it in a very dangerous light.
I know nothing of news and of the world, for I go to Albemarle-Street early in the morning, and don't come home till late at night. Young Mr. Pitt has been dying of a fever in Bedfordshire. The Bishop of Carlisle,(269) whom I have appointed visiter of Strawberry, is gone down to him. You will be much disappointed if you expect to find the gallery near finished. They threaten me with three months before the gilding can be begun. twenty points are at a stand by my present confinement, and I have a melancholy prospect of being forced to carry my niece thither the next time I go. The Duc de Nivernois, in return for a set of the Strawberry editions, has sent me four seasons, which, I conclude, he thought good, but they shall pass their whole round in London, for they have not even the merit of being badly old enough for Strawberry. Mr. Bentley's epistle to Lord Melcomb has been published in a magazine. It has less wit by far than I expected from him, and to the full as bad English. The thoughts are old Strawberry phrases; so are not the panegyrics. Here are six lines written extempore by Lady Temple, on Lady Mary Coke, easy and genteel, and almost true:
She sometimes laughs, but never loud; She's handsome too, but somewhat proud: At court she bears away the belle; She dresses fine, and figures well: With decency she's gay and airy; Who can this be but Lady Mary?
There has been tough doings in Parliament about the tax on cider; and in the Western counties the discontent is so great, that if Mr. Wilkes will turn patriot-hero, or patriot-incendiary in earnest, and put himself at their head, he may obtain a rope of martyrdom before the summer is over. Adieu! I tell you my sorrows, because, if I escape them, I am sure nobody will rejoice more.
(269) Dr. Charles Lyttelton, consecrated Bishop of Carlisle in 1762, in the room of Dr. Osbaldiston, translated to the see of London.-E.
Letter 150 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Friday night, late. [April 8, 1763.. (page 208)
Amidst all my own grief, and all the distress which I have this moment left, I cannot forget you, who have so long been my steady and invariable friend. I cannot leave it to newspapers and correspondents to tell you my loss. Lord Waldegrave died to-day. Last night he had some glimmerings of hope. The most desponding of the faculty flattered us a little. He himself joked with the physicians, and expressed himself in this engaging manner: asking what day of the week it was; they told him Thursday: "Sure," said he, "it is Friday." "No, my lord, indeed it is Thursday." "Well," said he, "see what a rogue this distemper makes one; I want to steal nothing but a day." By the help of opiates, with which, for two or three days, they had numbed his sufferings, he rested well. This morning he had no worse symptoms. I told Lady Waldegrave, that as no material alteration was expected before Sunday, I would go to dine at Strawberry, and return in time to meet the physicians in the evening; in truth, I was worn out with anxiety and attendance, and wanted an hour or two of fresh air. I left her at twelve, and had ordered dinner at three that I might be back early. I had not risen from table when I received an express from Lady Betty Waldegrave, to tell me that a sudden change had happened, that they had given him James's powder, but that they feared it was too late, and that he probably would be dead before I could come to my niece, for whose sake she begged I would return immediately. It was indeed too late! too late for every thing—late as it was given, the powder vomited him even in the agonies—had I had power to direct, he should never have quitted James; but these are vain regrets! vain to recollect how particularly kind he, who was kind to every body, was to me! I found Lady Waldegrave at my brother's; she weeps without ceasing, and talks of his virtues and goodness to her in a manner that distracts one. My brother bears this mortification with more courage than I could have expected from his warm passions: but nothing struck me more than to see my rough savage Swiss, Louis, in tears, as he opened my chaise. I have a bitter scene to come: to-morrow morning I carry poor Lady Waldegrave to Strawberry. Her fall is great, from that adoration and attention that he paid her, from that splendour of fortune, so much of which dies with him, and from that consideration, which rebounded to her from the great deference which the world had for his character. Visions perhaps. Yet who could expect that they would have passed away even before that fleeting thing, her beauty!
If I had time or command enough of my thoughts, I could give you as long a detail of as unexpected a revolution in the political world. To-day has been as fatal to a whole nation, I mean to the Scotch, as to our family. Lord Bute resigned this morning. His intention was not even suspected till Wednesday, nor at all known a very few days before. In short, there is nothing, more or less, than a panic; a fortnight's opposition has demolished that scandalous but vast majority, which a fortnight had purchased; and in five months a plan of absolute power has been demolished by a panic. He pleads to the world bad health; to his friends, more truly, that the nation was set at him. He pretends to intend retiring absolutely, and giving no umbrage. In the mean time he is packing up a sort of ministerial legacy, which cannot hold even till next session, and I should think would scarce take place at all. George Grenville is to be at the head of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer; Charles Townshend to succeed him; and Lord Shelburne, Charles. Sir Francis Dashwood to have his barony of Despencer and the great wardrobe, in the room of Lord Gower, who takes the privy seal, if the Duke of Bedford takes the presidentship; but there are many ifs in this arrangement; the principal if is, if they dare stand a tempest which has so terrified the pilot. You ask what becomes of Mr. Fox? Not at all pleased with this sudden determination, which has blown up so many of his projects, and left him time to heat no more furnaces, he goes to France by the way of the House of Lords,(270) but keeps his place and his tools till something else happens. The confusion I suppose will be enormous, and the next act of the drama a quarrel among the opposition, who would be all-powerful if they could do what they cannot, hold together and not quarrel for the plunder. As I shall be at a distance for some days, I shall be able to send you no more particulars of this interlude, but you will like a pun my brother made when he was told of this explosion: "Then," said he, "they must turn the Jacks out of the drawing-room again, and again take them into the kitchen." Adieu! what a world to set one's heart on!
270) Mr. Fox was Created Baron Holland of Foxley.-E.
Letter 151 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, April 14, 1763. (page 210)
I have received your two letters together, and foresaw that your friendly good heart would feel for us just as you do. The loss is irreparable,(271) and my poor niece is sensible it is. She has such a veneration for her lord's memory, that if her sister and I make her cheerful for a moment, she accuses herself of it the next day to the Bishop of Exeter,(272) as if he was her confessor, and that she had committed a crime. She cried for two days to such a degree, that if she had been a fountain it must have stopped. Till yesterday she scarce eat enough to keep her alive, and looks accordingly; but at her age she must be comforted: her esteem will last, but her spirits will return in spite of herself. Her lord has made her sole executrix, and added what little douceurs he could to her jointure, which is but a thousand pounds a-year, the estate being but three-and-twenty hundred. The little girls will have about eight thousand pounds apiece; for the teller's place was so great during the war, that notwithstanding his temper was a sluice of generosity, he had saved thirty thousand pounds since his marriage.
Her sisters have been here with us the whole time. Lady Huntingtower is all mildness and tenderness; and by dint of attention I have not displeased the other. Lord Huntingtower has been here once; the Bishop most of the time: he is very reasonable and good-natured, and has been of great assistance and comfort to me in this melancholy office, which is to last here till Monday or Tuesday. We have got the eldest little girl too, Lady Laura, who is just old enough to be amusing; and last night my nephew arrived here from Portugal. It was a terrible meeting at first; but as he is very soldierly and lively, he got into spirits, and diverted us much with his relations of the war and the country. He confirms all we have heard of the villany, poltroonery, and ignorance of the Portuguese, and of their aversion to the English; but I could perceive, even through his relation, that our flippancies and contempt of them must have given a good deal of play to their antipathy.
You are admirably kind, as you always are in inviting me to Greatworth, and proposing Bath; but besides its being impossible for me to take any journey just at present, I am really very well in health, and the tranquillity and air of Strawberry have done much good. The hurry of London, where I shall be glad to be just now, will dissipate the gloom that this unhappy loss has occasioned; though a deep loss I shall always think it. The time passes tolerably here; I have my painters and gilders and constant packets of news from town, besides a thousand letters of condolence to answer; for both my niece and I have received innumerable testimonies of the regard that was felt for Lord Waldegrave. I have heard of but one man who ought to have known his worth, that has shown no concern; but I suppose his childish mind is too much occupied with the loss of his last governor.(273) I have given up my own room to my niece, and have taken myself to the Holbein chamber, where I am retired from the rest of the family when I choose it, and nearer to overlook my workmen. The chapel is quite finished except the carpet. The sable mass of the altar gives it a very sober air; for, notwithstanding the solemnity of the painted windows, it had a gaudiness that was a little profane.
I can know no news here but by rebound; and yet, though they are to rebound again to you, they will be as fresh as any you can have at Greatworth. A kind of administration is botched up for the present, and even gave itself an air of that fierceness with which the winter set out. Lord Hardwicke -was told, that his sons must vote with the court, or be turned out; he replied, as he meant to have them in place, he chose they should be removed now. It looks ill for the court when he is sturdy. They wished, too, to have had Pitt, if they could have had him Without consequences; but they don't find any recruits repair to their standard. They brag that they should have had Lord Waldegrave; a most notorious falsehood, as he had refused every offer they could invent the day before he was taken ill. The Duke of' Cumberland orders his servants to say, that so far from joining them, he believes if Lord Waldecrave could have been foretold of his death, he would have preferred it to an union with Bute and Fox. The former's was a decisive panic; so sudden, that it is said Lord Egremont was sent to break his resolution of retiring to the King. The other, whose journey to France does not indicate much less apprehension, affects to walk in the streets at the most public hours to mark his not trembling. In the mean time the two chiefs have paid their bravoes magnificently: no less than fifty-two thousand pounds a-year are granted in reversion! Young Martin,(274) Who is older than I am, is named my successor; but I intend he shall wait some years: if they had a mind to serve me, they could not have selected a fitter tool to set my character in a fair light by the comparison. Lord Bute's son has the reversion of an auditor of the imprest; this is all he has done ostensibly for his family, but the great things bestowed on the most insignificant objects, make me suspect some private compacts. Yet I may wrong him, but I do not mean it. Lord Granby has refused Ireland, and the Northumberlands are to transport their magnificence thither.(275) I lament that you made so little of that voyage, but is this the season of unrewarded merit? One should blush to be preferred within the same year. Do but think that Calcraft is to be an Irish lord! Fox's millions, or Calcraft's tythes of millions, cannot purchase a grain of your virtue or character. Adieu!
(271) In September 1766, Lady Waldegrave became the wife of his Royal Highness William Henry Duke of Gloucester; by whom she was mother of Prince William and of the Princess Sophia of Gloucester.-E.
(272) Married to a sister of Lady Waldegrave.
(273) Lord Waldegrave had been governor of George the Third.-E.
(274) Samuel Martin, Esq. member for Camelford, one of the joint secretaries of the treasury, named to succeed Walpole as usher of receipts of the exchequer, comptroller of the great roll, and keeper of the foreign receipts.-E.
(275) The Earl of Northumberland was gazetted on the 20th of April lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and on the 14th of May the Marquis of Granby was appointed master of the ordnance.-E.
Letter 152 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, April 22, 1763. (page 212)
I have two letters from you, and shall take care to execute the commission in the second. The first diverted me much. .
I brought my poor niece from Strawberry on Monday. As executrix, her presence was quite necessary, and she has never refused to do any thing reasonable that has been desired of her. But the house and the business have shocked her terribly; she still eats nothing, sleeps worse than she did, and looks dreadfully; I begin to think she will miscarry. She said to me t'other day, "they tell me that if my lord had lived, he might have done great service to his country at this juncture, by the respect all parties had for him. This is very fine; but as he did not live to do those services, it will never be mentioned in history!" I thought this solicitude for his honour charming. But he will be known by history; he has left a small volume of Memoirs, that are a chef-d'oeuvre.(276) He twice showed them to me, but I kept his secret faithfully; now it is for his glory to divulge it.
I and glad you are going to Dr. Lewis After an Irish voyage I do not wonder you want careening. I have often preached to you—nay, and lived to you too; but my sermons were flung away and my example.
This ridiculous administration is patched up for the present; the detail is delightful, but that I shall reserve for Strawberry-tide. Lord Bath has complained to Fanshaw of Lord Pulteney's(277) extravagance, and added, "if he had lived he would have spent my whole estate." This almost comes up to Sir Robert Brown, who, when his eldest daughter was given over, but still alive, on that uncertainty sent for an undertaker, and bargained for her funeral in hopes of having it cheaper, as it was possible she might recover. Lord Bath has purchased the Hatton vault in Westminster-abbey, squeezed his wife, son, and daughter into it, reserved room for himself, and has set the rest to sale. Come; all this is not far short of Sir Robert Brown.
To my great satisfaction, the new Lord Holland has not taken the least friendly, or even formal notice of me, on Lord Waldegrave's death. It dispenses me from the least farther connexion with him, and saves explanations, which always entertain the world more than satisfy.
Dr. Cumberland is an Irish bishop; I hope before the summer is over that some beam from your cousin's portion of the triumvirate may light on poor Bentley. If he wishes it till next winter, he will be forced to try still new sunshine. I have taken Mrs. Pritchard's house for Lady Waldegrave; I offered her to live with me at Strawberry, but with her usual good sense she declined it, as she thought the children would be troublesome.
Charles Townshend's episode in this revolution passes belief, though he does not tell it himself. If I had a son born, and an old fairy were to appear and offer to endow him with her choicest gifts, I should cry out, "Powerful Goody, give him any thing but parts!"(278) Adieu!
(276) "the Memoirs, from 1754 to 1758, by James Earl Waldegrave," which were published in 1821, in a small quarto volume.-E.
(277) Son Of the Earl of Bath. He was a lord of the bedchamber and member for Westminster. He died on the 16th of February.-E.
(278) Lord Barrington, in a letter to Mr. Mitchell of the 19th of April, says,—"Charles Townshend accepted the admiralty on Thursday, and went to kiss hands the next day; but he brought Peter Burrell with him to court, and insisted he likewise should be one of the board. Being told that Lords Howe and Digby were to fill up the vacant seats at the admiralty, he declined accepting the office destined for him, and the next day received a dismission from the King's service."-E.
Letter 153To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, May 1, 1763. (page 213)
I feel happy at hearing your happiness; but, my dear Harry, your vision is much indebted to your long absence, which Makes
bleak rocks and barren mountains smile.
I mean no offence to Park-place, but the bitterness of the weather makes me wonder how you can find the country tolerable now. This is a May-day for the latitude of Siberia! The milkmaids should be wrapped in @the motherly comforts of a swanskin petticoat. In short, such hard words have passed between me and the north wind to-day, that, according to the language of the times, I was very near abusing it for coming from Scotland, and to imputing it to Lord Bute. I don't know whether I should not have written a North Briton against it, if the printers were not all sent to Newgate, and Mr. Wilkes to the Tower—ay, to the Tower, tout de bon.(279) The new ministry are trying to make up for their ridiculous insignificance by a coup d''eclat. As I came hither yesterday, I do not know whether the particulars I have heard are genuine—but in the Tower he certainly is, taken up by Lord Halifax's warrant for treason; vide the North Briton of Saturday was se'nnight. It is said he refused to obey the warrant, of which he asked and got a copy from the two messengers, telling them he did not mean to make his escape, but sending to demand his habeas corpus, which was refused. He then went to Lord Halifax, and thence to the Tower; declaring they should get nothing out of him but what they knew. All his papers have been seize(]. Lord Chief Justice Pratt, I am told, finds great fault with the wording of the warrant.
I don't know how to execute your commission for books of architecture, nor care to put you to expense, which I know will not answer. I have been consulting my neighbour young Mr. Thomas Pitt,(280) my present architect: we have all books of that sort here, but, cannot think of one which will help you to a cottage or a green-house. For the former you should send me your idea, your dimensions; for the latter, don't you rebuild your old one, though in another place? A pretty greenhouse I never saw; nor without immoderate expense can it well be an agreeable object. Mr. Pitt thinks a mere portico without a pediment, and windows retrievable in summer, would be the best plan you could have. If so, don't you remember something of that kind, which you liked at Sir Charles Cotterel's at Rousham? But a fine greenhouse must be on a more exalted plan. In Short.. YOU Must be more particular, before I can be at all so.
I called at Hammersmith yesterday about Lady Ailesbury's tubs; one of them is nearly finished, but they will not both be completed these ten days. Shall they be sent to you by water? Good night to her ladyship and you, and the infanta,(281) whose progress in waxen statuary I hope advances so fast, that by next winter she may rival Rackstrow's old man. Do you know that, though apprised of what I was going to see, it deceived me, and made such impression on my mind, that, thinking on it as I came home in my chariot. and seeing a woman steadfastly at work in a window in Pall-mall, it made me start to see her move. Adieu!
Arlington Street, Monday night.
The mighty commitment set out with a blunder; the warrant directed the printer, and all concerned (unnamed) to be taken up. Consequently Wilkes had his habeas corpus of course, and was committed again; moved for another in the common pleas, and is to appear there to-morrow morning. Lord Temple, by another strain of power refused admittance to him, said, "I thought this was the Tower, but find it the Bastille." They found among Wilkes's papers an unpublished North Briton. designed for It contains advice to the King not to go to St. Paul's for the thanksgiving, but to have a snug one in his own chapel; and to let Lord George Sackville carry the sword. There was a dialogue in it too between Fox and Calcraft: the former says to the latter, "I did not think you would have served me so, Jemmy Twitcher."
(279) For his strictures in the North Briton, No. 45, on the King's speech at the close of the session.-E.
(280) Afterwards created Lord Camelford.
(281) Anne Seymour Conway.
Letter 154 To Sir David Dalrymple.(282) Strawberry Hill, May 2, 1763. _page 215)
Sir, I forebore to answer your letter for a few days, till I knew whether it was in my power to give you satisfaction. Upon inquiry, and having conversed with some who could inform me, I find it would be very difficult to obtain so peremptory an order for dismissing fictitious invalids (as I think they may properly be called), as you seem to think the state of the case requires; by any interposition of mine, quite impossible. Very difficult I am told it would be to get them dismissed from our hospitals when once admitted, and subject to a clamour which, in the present unsettled state of government, nobody would care to risk. Indeed I believe it could not be done by any single authority. The power of admission, and consequently of dismission, does not depend on the minister, but on the board who direct the affairs of the hospital, at which board preside the paymaster,, secretary at war, governor, etc.; if I am not quite exact, I know it is so in general. I am advised to tell you, Sir, that if upon examination it should be thought right to take the step you counsel, still it could not be done without previous and deliberate discussion. As I should grudge no trouble, and am very desirous of executing any commission, Sir, you will honour me with, if you will draw up a memorial in form, stating the abuses which have come to your ]Knowledge, the advantages which would result to the community by more rigorous examination of candidates for admission, and the uses to which the overflowings of the military might be put, I will engage to put it into the hands of Mr. Grenville, the present head of the treasury, and to employ all the little credit he is so good to let me have with him, in backing your request. I can answer for one thing and no more, that as long as he sits at that board, which probably will not be long, he will give all due attention to any scheme of national utility.
It is seldom, Sir, that political revolutions bring any man upon the stage, with whom I have much connexion. The great actors are not the class whom I much cultivate; consequently I am neither elated with hopes on their advancement, nor mortified nor rejoiced at their fall. As the scene has shifted often of late, and is far from promising duration at present, one must, if one lives in the great world, have now and then an acquaintance concerned in the drama. Whenever I happen to have one, I hope I am ready and glad to make use of such (however unsubstantial) interest to do good or to oblige; Ind this being the case at present, and truly I cannot call Mr. Grenville much more than an acquaintance, I shall be happy, Sir, if I can Contribute to your views, which I have reason to believe are those of a benevolent man and good citizen; but I advertise you truly, that my interest depends more on Mr. Grenville's goodness and civility, than on any great connexion between Us, and still less on any Political connexion. I think he would like to do public good, I know I should like to contribute to it-but if it is to be done by this channel, I apprehend there is not much time to be lost—you See, what I think of the permanence of the present system! Your ideas, Sir, on the hard fate of our brave soldiers concur with mine; I lamented their sufferings, and have tried in vain to suggest some little plans for their relief. I only mention this, to prove to you that I am not indifferent to the subject, nor undertake your commission from mere complaisance. You Understand the matter better than I do, but you cannot engage in it with more zeal. Methodize, if you please, your plan, and communicate it to me, and it shall not be lost for want of solicitation. We swarm with highwaymen, who have been heroes. We owe our safety to them, consequently we owe a return Of preservation to them, if we can find out methods of employing them honestly. Extend your views, Sir, for them, and let me -be@solicitor to the cause.
(282) Now first collected.
Letter 155To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Arlington Street, May 6, very late, 1763. (page 216)
The complexion of the times is a little altered since the beginning of this last winter. Prerogation, that gave itself such airs in November, and would speak to nothing but a Tory, has had a rap this morning that will do it some good, unless it is weak enough to do itself more harm. The judges of the common pleas have unanimously dismissed Wilkes from his imprisonment,(283) as a breach of privilege; his offence not being a breach of peace, only tending to it. The people are in transports; and it will require all the vanity and confidence of those able ministers, Lord Sandwich and Mr. C * * * to keep up the spirits of the court.
I must change this tone, to tell you of the most dismal calamity that ever happened. Lady Molesworth's house, in Upper Brook- street was burned to the ground between four and five this morning. She herself, two of her daughters, her brother,(284) and six servants Perished. Two other of the young ladies jumped out of the two pair of stairs and garret windows: one broke her thigh, the other (the eldest of all) broke hers too, and has had it cut off. The fifth daughter is much burnt. The French governess leaped from the garret, and was dashed to pieces. Dr. Molesworth and his wife, who were there on a visit, escaped; the wife by jumping from the two pair of stairs, and saving herself by a rail; he by hanging by his hands, till a second ladder was brought, after a first had proved too short. Nobody knows how or where the fire began; the catastrophe is shocking beyond what one ever heard: and poor Lady Molesworth whose character and conduct were the most amiable in the world, is universally lamented. Your good hearts will feel this in the most lively manner.(285)
I go early to Strawberry to-morrow, giving up the new Opera, Madame de Boufflers, and Mr. Wilkes, and all the present topics. Wilkes, whose case has taken its place by the side of the seven bishops, calls himself the eighth—not quite improperly, when One remembers that Sir Jonathan Trelawney, who swore like a trooper, was one of those confessors.
There is a good letter in the Gazetteer on the other side, pretending to be written by Lord Temple, and advising Wilkes to cut his throat, like Lord E * * * as it would be of infinite service to their cause. There are published, too, three volumes of Lady Mary Wortley's letters, which I believe are genuine, and are not unentertaining. But have you read Tom Hervey's letter to the late King? That beats every thing for madness, horrid indecency, and folly, and yet has some charming and striking passages. I have advised Mrs. Harris to inform against Jack, as writing in the North Briton; he will then be shut up in the Tower, and may be shown for old Nero.(286) Adieu!
(283) Wilkes was discharged on the 6th of May, by Lord Chief Justice Pratt, who decided that he was entitled to plead his privilege as a member of parliament; the crime of which he was accused, namely, a libel, being in the eyes of the law only a high misdemeanour, whereas the only three cases which could affect the privilege of a member of parliament were treason, felony, and breach of the peace.-E.
(284) Captain Usher. Lady Molesworth was daughter of the Rev. W. Usher, archdeacon of Clonfret, and second wife of Richard third Viscount Molesworth, who was aide-de-camp to the Duke of Marlborough at the battle of Ramilies, and saved his grace's life in that engagement.-E.
(285) The King upon hearing of this calamity, immediately sent the young ladies a handsome present; ordered a house to be taken and furnished for them at his expense; and not only continued the pension settled on the mother, but ordered it to be increased two hundred pounds per annum.
(286) An old lion there, so called.
Letter 156 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, May 16, 1763. (page 217)
Dear sir, I promised you should hear from me if I did not go abroad, and I flatter myself that you will not be sorry to know that I am much better in health than I was at the beginning of the winter. My journey is quite laid aside, at least for this year; though as Lord Hertford goes ambassador to Paris, I propose to make him a visit there next spring. As I shall be a good deal here this summer, I hope you did not take a surfeit of Strawberry Hill, but will bestow a visit on it while its beauty lasts; the gallery advances fast now, and I think in a few weeks will make a figure worth your looking at.
Letter 157 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, May 17, 1763. (page 218)
"On vient de nous donner une tr'es jolie f'ete au ch'ateau de Straberri: tout etoit tapiss'e de narcisses, de tulipes, et de lilacs; des cors de chasse, des clarionettes; des petits vers galants faits par des f'ees, et qui se trouvoient sous la presse; des fruits 'a la glace, du th'e, du caff'e, des biscuits, et force hot-rolls."—This is not the beginning of a letter to you, but of one that I might suppose sets out to-night for Paris, or rather, which I do not suppose will set out thither: for though the narrative is circumstantially true, I don't believe the actors were pleased enough with the scene, to give so favourable an account of it.
The French do not come hither to see. A l'Anglaise happened to be the word in fashion; and half a dozen of the most fashionable people have been the dupes of it. I take for granted that their next mode will be 'a l'Iroquaise, that they may be under no obligation of realizing their pretensions. Madame de Boufflers(287) I think will die a martyr to a taste, which she fancied she had, and finds she has not. Never having stirred ten miles from Paris, and having only rolled in an easy coach from one hotel to another on a gliding pavement, she is already worn out with being hurried from morning till night from one sight to another. She rises every morning SO fatigued with the toils of the preceding day, that she has not strength, if she had inclination, to observe the least, or the finest thing she sees! She came hither to-day to a great breakfast I made for her, with her eyes a foot deep in her head, her hands dangling, and scarce able to support her knitting-bag. She had been yesterday to see a ship launched, and went from Greenwich by water to Ranelagh. Madame Dusson, who is Dutch-built, and whose muscles are pleasure-proof, came with her; there were besides, Lady Mary Coke, Lord and Lady Holderness, the Duke and Duchess of Grafton, Lord Hertford, Lord Villiers, Offley, Messieurs de Fleury, D'Eon,(288) et Duclos. The latter is author of the Life of Louis Onze;(289) dresses like a dissenting minister, which I suppose is the livery of le bel esprit, and is much more impetuous than agreeable. We breakfasted in the great parlour, and I had filled the hall and large cloister by turns with French horns and clarionettes. As the French ladies had never seen a printing-house, I carried them into mine; they found something ready set, and desiring to see what it was, it proved as follows:—
The Press speaks:
For MADAME DE BOUFFLERS—
The graceful fair, who loves to know, Nor dreads the North's inclement snow: Who bids her polish'd accent wear The British diction's harsher air; Shall read her praise in every clime Where types can speak or poets rhyme
For MADAME: DUSSON.
Feign not an ignorance of what I speak You could not miss my meaning were it Greek: 'Tis the same language Belgium utter'd first, The same which from admiring Gallia burst. True sentiment a like expression pours; Each country says the same to eyes like yours.
You will comprehend that the first speaks English, and that the second does not; that the second is handsome, and the first not; and that the second was born in Holland. This little gentilesse pleased, and atoned for the popery of my house, which was not serious enough for Madame de Boufflers, who is Montmorency, et du sang du premier Chritien; and too serious for Madame Dusson, who is a Dutch Calvinist. The latter's husband was not here, nor Drumgold,(290) who have both got fevers, nor the Duc de Nivernois, who dined at Claremont. The gallery is not advanced enough to give them any idea at all, as they are not apt to go out of their way for one; but the cabinet, and the glory of yellow glass at top, which had a charming sun for a foil, did surmount their indifference, especially as they were animated by the Duchess of Grafton, who had never happened to be here before, and who perfectly entered into the air of enchantment and fairyism, which is the tone of the place, and was peculiarly so to-day—a-propos, when do you design to come hither? Let me know, that I may have no measures to interfere with receiving you and your grandsons.
Before Lord Bute ran away, he made Mr. Bentley a commissioner of the lottery; I don't know whether a single or double one: the latter, which I hope it is, is two hundred a-year.
I am ashamed of myself to have nothing but a journal of pleasures to send you; I never passed a more agreeable day than yesterday. Miss Pelham gave the French an entertainment at Esher; but they have been so feasted and amused, that none of them were well enough, or reposed enough. to come, but Nivernois and Madame Dusson. The rest of the company were, the Graftons, Lady Rockingham, Lord and Lady Pembroke, Lord and Lady Holderness, Lord Villiers, Count Worotizow the Russian minister, Lady Sondes, Mr. and Miss Mary Pelham, Lady Mary Coke, Mrs. Anne Pitt, and Mr. Shelley. The day was delightful, the scene transporting; the trees, lawns, concaves, all in the perfection in which the ghost of Kent would joy to see them. At twelve we made the tour of the farm in chaises, and calashes, horsemen, and footmen, setting out like a picture of Wouverman's. My lot fell in the lap of Mrs. Anne Pitt,(291) which I could have excused, as she was not at all in the style of the day, romantic, but political. We had a magnificent dinner, cloaked in the modesty of earthenware; French horns and hautboys On the lawn. We walked to the Belvidere on the summit of the hill, where a theatrical storm only served to heighten the beauty Of the landscape, a rainbow on a dark cloud falling precisely behind the tower of a neighbouring church, between another tower and the building at Claremont. Monsieur de Nivernois, who had been absorbed all day, and lagging behind, translating my verses, was delivered of bis version, and of some more lines which he wrote on Miss Pelham in the Belvedere, while we drank tea and coffee. From thence we passed into the wood, and the ladies formed a circle on chairs before the Mouth of the cave, which was overhung to a vast height with the woodbines, lilacs, and liburnums, and dignified by the tall shapely cypresses. On the descent of the hill were placed the French horns; the abigails, servants, and neighbours wandering below the river; in short, it was Parnassus, as Watteau would have painted it. Here we had a rural syllabub, and part of the company returned to town; but were replaced by Giardini and Onofrio, who, with Nivernois on he violin, an Lord Pembroke on the bass, accompanied Mrs. Pelham, Lady Rockingham, and the Duchess of Grafton, who sang. This little concert lasted till past ten; then there were minuets, and as we had seven couple left, it concluded with a Country dance. I blush again, for I danced, but was kept in countenance by Nivernois, who has one wrinkle more than I have. A quarter after twelve they sat down to supper, and I came home by a charming moonlight. I am going to dine in town, and to a great ball with fireworks at Miss Chudleigh's, but I return hither on Sunday, to bid adieu to this abominable Arcadian life; for really when one IS not young, one ought to do nothing but s'ennuyer; I will try, but I always go about it awkwardly. Adieu!
P. S. I enclose a copy of both the English and French verses.
A MADAME DE BOUFFLRLRS.
Boufflers, qu'embellissent les graces, Et qui plairot sans le vouloir, Elle 'a qui l'amour du s'cavoir Fit braver le Nord et les glaces; Boufflers se plait en nos vergers, Et veut 'a nos sons 'etrangers Plier sa voix enchanteresse. R'ep'etons son nom Mille fois, Sur tons les coeurs Bourflers aura des droits, Par tout o'u la rime et la Presse 'a l'amour pr'eteront leur voix.
A MADAME DUSSON.
Ne feignez point, Iris, de ne pas nous entendre Cc que vous inspirez, en Grec doit se comprendre. On vous l'a dit d'abord en Hollandois, Et dans on langage plus tendre Paris vous l'a repet'e mille fois. C'est de nos coeurs l'expression sinc'ere; En tout climat, Iris, & toute heure, en tous lieux, Par tout o'u brilleront vos yeux, Vous apprendrez combien ils s'cavent plaire.
(287) La Comtesse de Boufflers, a lady of some literary pretensions, and celebrated as the intimate friend of the Prince de Conti, to whom she is said to have been united by a marriage de la main gauche. During her stay in England she paid a visit to Dr. Johnson, of which Mr. Beauclerk gave the following account to Boswell:—"When Madame de Boufflers was first in England, she was desirous to see Johnson; I accordingly went with her to his chambers in the Temple, where she was entertained with his conversation for some time. When our visit was over, she and I left him, and were got into Inner-Temple-lane, when all at once I heard a voice like thunder. This was occasioned by Johnson, who, it seem,;, upon a little reflection, had taken it into his head that he ought to have done the honours of his literary residence to a foreign lady of quality, and, eager to show himself a man of gallantry, was hurrying down the staircase in violent agitation. He overtook us before we reached the Temple gate, and brushing in between me and Madame de Boufflers, seized her hand and conducted her to her coach. His dress was a rusty-brown morning suit, a pair of old shoes by way of slippers, a little shrivelled wig sticking on the top of his head, and the sleeves of his shirt and the knees of his breeches hanging loose. A considerable crowd of people gathered round, and were not a little struck by this singular appearance."-E.
(288) The Chevalier D'Eon, secretary to the Duke de Nivernois, the French ambassador, and, upon the Duke's return to France, appointed minister plenipotentiary. On the Comte de Guerchy being some time afterwards nominated ambassador, the Chevalier was ordered to resume his secretaryship; at which he was so much mortified that he libelled the Comte, for which he was indicted and found guilty in the court of king's bench, in July 1764. For a further account of this extraordinary personage, see post, letter 181 to Lord Hertford, of the 25th of November.-E.
(289) Duclos's History of Louis XI. appeared in 1743. He was also the author of several ingenious novels, and had a large share in the Dictionary of the Academy. After his death, which took place in 1772, his Secret Memoirs of the Courts of Louis XIV. and Louis XV. appeared. Rousseau describes him as a man "droit et adroit;" and D'Alembert said of him, "De tons les hommes que je connais, c'est lui qui a le plus d'esprit dans un temps donn'e."-E.
(290) Secretary to the Duc de Nivernois.
(291) Sister of Lord Chatham, whom she strikingly resembled in features as well as in talent. She was remarkable, even to old age, for decision of character and sprightliness of conversation. She died in 1780.-E.
Letter 158 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Arlington Street, May 21, 1763. (page 221)
You have now seen the celebrated Madame de Boufflers. I dare say you could in that short time perceive that she is agreeable, but I dare say too that you will agree with me that vivacity is by no means the partage of the French—bating the 'etourderie of the mousquetaires and of a high-dried petit-maitre or two, they appear to me more lifeless than Germans. I cannot comprehend how they came by the character of a lively people. Charles Townshend has more sal volatile in him than the whole nation. Their King is taciturnity itself, Mirepoix was a walking mummy, Nivernois his about as much life as a sick favourite child, and M. Dusson is a good-humoured country gentleman, who has been drunk the day before, and is upon his good behaviour. If I have the gout next year, and am thoroughly humbled by it again, I will go to Paris, that I may be upon a level with them: at present, I am trop fou to keep them company. Mind, I do not insist that, to have spirits, a nation should be as frantic as poor Fanny Pelham, as absurd as the Duchess of Queensbury, or as dashing as the Virgin Chudleigh. Oh, that you had been' at her ball t'other night! History could never describe it and keep its countenance. The Queen's real birthday, you know, is not kept: this maid of honour kept it—nay, while the court is in mourning, expected people to be out of mourning; the Queen's family really was so, Lady Northumberland having desired leave for them. A scaffold was erected in Hyde-park for fireworks. To show the illuminations without to more advantage, the company were received in an apartment totally dark, where they remained for two hours. If they gave rise to any more birthdays, who could help it? The fireworks were fine, and succeeded well. On each side of the court were two large scaffolds for the Virgin's tradespeople. When the fireworks ceased, a large scene was lighted in the court, representing their majesties; on each side of which were six obelisks, painted with emblems, and illuminated; mottoes beneath in Latin and English: 1. For the Prince of Wales, a ship, Mullorum spes. 2. For the Princess Dowager, a bird of paradise, and two little ones, meos ad sidera tollo. People smiled. 3. Duke of York, a temple, Virtuti et honori. 4. Princess Augusta, a bird of paradise, Non habet paren—unluckily this was translated, I have no peer. People laughed out, considering where this was exhibited. 5. The three younger princes, an orange tree, Promiiuit et dat. 6. the younger princesses, the flower crown-imperial. I forget the Latin: the translation was silly enough, Bashful in youth, graceful in age. The lady of the house made many apologies for the poorness of the performance, which she said was only oil-paper, painted by one of her servants; but it really was fine and pretty. The Duke of Kingston was in a frock coat come chez lui. Behind the house was a cenotaph for the Princess Elizabeth, a kind of illuminated cradle; the motto, All the honours the dead can receive. This burying-ground was a strange codicil to a festival, and, what was more strange, about one in the morning, this sarcophagus burst out into crackers and guns. The Margrave of Anspach began the ball with the Virgin. The supper was most sumptuous.
You ask, when I propose to be at Park-place. I ask, shall not you come to the Duke of Richmond's masquerade, which is the 6th of June? I cannot well be with you till towards the end of that month.
The enclosed is a letter which I wish you to read attentively, to give me your opinion upon it, and return it. It is from a sensible friend of mine in Scotland,(292) who has lately corresponded with me on the enclosed subjects, which I little understand; but I promised to communicate his ideas to George Grenville, if he would state them-are they practicable? I wish much that something could be done for those brave soldiers and sailors, who will all come to the gallows, unless some timely provision can be made for them. The former part of his letter relates to a Grievance he complains of, that men who have not served are admitted into garrisons, and then into our hospitals, which were designed for meritorious sufferers. Adieu!
(292) Sir David Dalrymple. See ant'e, p. 215, letter 154.-E.
Letter 159 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Arlington Street, Saturday evening. (May 28, 1763.] (page 223)
No, indeed, I cannot consent to your being a dirty Philander.(293) Pink and white, and white and pink and both as greasy as if you had gnawed a leg of a fowl on the stairs of the Haymarket with a bunter from the Cardigan's Head! For Heaven's sake don't produce a tight rose-coloured thigh, unless you intend to prevent my Lord Bute's return from Harrowgate. Write, the moment you receive this, to your tailor to get you a sober purple domino as I have done, and it will make you a couple of summer-waistcoats.
In the next place, have your ideas a little more correct about us of times past. We did not furnish ou cottages with chairs of ten guineas apiece. Ebony for a farmhouse!(294) So, two hundred years hence some man of taste will build a hamlet in the style of George the Third, and beg his cousin Tom Hearne to get him some chairs for it of mahogany gilt, and covered with blue damask. Adieu! I have not a minute's time more.
(293) At the masquerade given by the Duke of Richmond on the 6th of June at his house in Privy-garden.
(294) Mr. Conway was at this time fitting up a little building at Park-place, called the Cottage, for which he had consulted Mr. Walpole on the propriety of ebony chairs.
Letter 160 To George Montagu, Esq. Huntingdon, May 30, 1763. (page 223)
As you interest yourself about Kimbolton, I begin my journal of two days here. But I must set Out With owning, that I believe I am the first man that ever went sixty miles to an auction. As I came for ebony, I have been up to my chin in ebony; there is literally nothing but ebony in the house; all the other goods. if there were any, and I trust my Lady Convers did not sleep upon ebony mattresses, are taken away. There are two tables and eighteen chairs, all made by the Hallet of two hundred years ago. These I intend to have; for mind, the auction does not begin till Thursday. There are more plebeian chairs of the same materials, but I have left commission for only the true black blood. Thence I went to Kimbolton,(295) and asked to see the house. A kind footman, who in his zeal to open the chaise pinched half my finger off, said he would call the housekeeper: but a groom of the chambers insisted on my visiting their graces; and as I vowed I did not know them, he said they were in the great apartment, that all the rest was in disorder and altering, and would let me see nothing. This was the reward of my first lie. I returned to my inn or alehouse, and instantly received a message from the Duke to invite me to the castle. I was quite undressed, and dirty with my journey, and unacquainted with the Duchess—yet was forced to go—Thank the god of dust, his grace was dirtier than me. He was extremely civil, and detected me to the groom of the chambers—asked me if I had dined. I said yes—lie the second. He pressed me to take a bed there. I hate to be criticised at a formal supper by a circle of stranger-footmen, and protested I was to meet a gentleman at Huntingdon to-night. the Duchess and Lady Caroline(296) came in from walking; and to disguise my not having dined, for it was past six, I drank tea with them. The Duchess is much altered, and has a bad short cough. I pity Catherine of Arragon(297) for living at Kimbolton: I never saw an uglier spot. The fronts are not so bad as I expected, by not being so French as I expected; but have no pretensions to beauty, nor even to comely ancient ugliness. The great apartment is truly noble, and almost all the portraits good, of what I saw; for many are not hung up, and half of those that are, my lord Duke does not know. The Earl of Warwick is delightful; the Lady Mandeville, attiring herself in her wedding garb, delicious. The Prometheus is a glorious picture, the eagle as fine as my statue. Is not it by Vandyck? The Duke told me that Mr. Spence found out it was by Titian—but critics in poetry I see are none in painting. This was all I was shown, for I was not even carried into the chapel. The walls round the house are levelling, and I saw nothing without doors that tempted me to taste. So I made my bow, hurried to my inn, snapped up my dinner, lest I should again be detected, and came hither, where I am writing by a great fire, and give up my friend the east wind, which I have long been partial to for the Southeast's sake, and in contradiction to the west, for blowing perpetually and bending all one's plantations. To-morrow I see Hinchinbrook(298)—and London. Memento, I promised the Duke that you should come and write on all his portraits. Do, as you honour the blood of Montagu! Who is the man in the picture with Sir Charles Goring, where a page is tying the latter's scarf? And who are the ladies in the double half-lengths?
Arlington Street, May 31.
Well! I saw Hinchinbrook this morning. Considering it is in Huntingdonshire, the situation is not so ugly nor melancholy as I expected; but I do not conceive what provoked so many of your ancestors to pitch their tents in that triste country, unless the Capulets(299) loved fine prospects. The house of Hinchinbrook is most comfortable, and just what I like; old, spacious, irregular, yet not vast or forlorn. I believe much has been done since you saw it—it now only wants an apartment, for in no part of it are there above two chambers together. The furniture has much simplicity, not to say too much; some portraits tolerable, none I think fine. When this lord gave Blackwood the head of the Admiral' that I have now, he left himself not one so good. The head he kept is very bad: the whole-length is fine, except the face of it. There is another of the Duke of Cumberland by Reynolds, the colours of which are as much changed as the original is to the proprietor. The garden is wondrous small, the park almost smaller, and no appearance of territory. The whole has a quiet decency that seems adapted to the Admiral after his retirement, or to Cromwell before his exaltation. I returned time enough for the opera; observing all the way I came the proof of the duration of this east wind, for on the west side the blossoms were so covered with dust one could not distinguish them; on the eastern hand the hedges were white in all the pride of May. Good night!
Wednesday, June 1.
My letter is a perfect diary. There has been a sad alarm in the kingdom of white satin and muslin. The Duke of Richmond was seized last night with a sore throat and fever; and though he is much better to-day, the masquerade of to-morrow night is put off till Monday. Many a Queen of Scots, from sixty to sixteen, has been ready to die of the fright. Adieu once more! I think I can have nothing more to say before the post goes out to-morrow.