(295) The seat of the Duke of Manchester.-E.
(296) Sister of the Duke of Manchester.-E.
(297) Queen Catherine of Arragon, after her divorce from Henry the Eighth, resided some time in this castle, and died there in 1536.-E.
(298) The seat of the Earl of Sandwich.-E.
(299) As opposing in every thing the Montagus.
Letter 161 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, June 16, 1763. (page 225)
I do not like your putting off your visit hither for so long. Indeed, by September the gallery will probably have all its fine clothes on, and by what have been tried, I think it will look very well. The fashion of the garments to be sure will be ancient, but I have given them an air that is very becoming. Princess Amelia was here last night While I was abroad; and if Margaret is not too much prejudiced by the guinea left, or by natural partiality to what servants call our house, I think was pleased, particularly with the chapel.
As Mountain-George will not come to Mahomet-me, Mahomet-I Must come to Greatworth. Mr. Chute and I think of visiting you about the seventeenth of July, if you shall be at home, and nothing happens to derange our scheme; possibly we may call at Horton; we certainly shall proceed to Drayton, Burleigh, Fotheringay, Peterborough, and Ely; and shall like much of your company, all, or part of the tour. The only present proviso I have to make is the health of my niece who is at present much out of order, we think not breeding, and who was taken so ill on Monday, that I was forced to carry her suddenly to town, where I yesterday left her better at her father's.
There has been a report that the new Lord Holland was dead at Paris, but I believe it is not true. I was very indifferent about it: eight months ago it had been lucky. I saw his jackall t'other night in the meadows, the secretary at war,(301) so emptily-important and distilling paragraphs of old news with such solemnity, that I did not know whether it was a man or the Utrecht gazette.
(300) Admiral Montagu, first Earl of Sandwich; by Sir Peter Lely. In early life he was distinguished as a military commander under the parliamentary banner, and subsequently joint high-admiral of England; in which capacity, having had sufficient influence to induce the whole fleet to acknowledge the restored monarchy, he received the peerage as his reward. Having attained the highest renown as a naval officer, he fell in the great sea-fight with the Dutch, off Southwold-bay, on the 28th of May, 1672. Evelyn, in his diary of the 31st, gives the following high character of the Earl:—"Deplorable was the loss of that incomparable person, and my particular friend. He was learned in sea affairs, in politics, in mathematics, and in music: he had been on divers embassies, was of a sweet and obliging temper, sober, chaste, very ingenious, a true nobleman and ornament to the court and his prince; nor has he left any behind him who approach his many virtues."-E.
(301) Welbore Ellis, Esq. afterwards Lord Mendip.-E.
Letter 162 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, July 1, 1763. (page 226)
Mr. chute and I intend to be with you on the seventeenth or eighteenth; but as we are wandering swains, we do not drive one nail into one day of the almanack irremovably. Our first stage is to Bleckley, the parsonage of venerable Cole, the antiquarian of Cambridge. Bleckley lies by Fenny Stratford; now can you direct us how to make Horton(302) in our way from Stratford to Greatworth? If this meander engrosses more time than we propose, do not be disappointed, and think we shall not come, for we shall. The journey you must accept as a great sacrifice either to you or to my promise, for I quit the gallery almost in the critical minute of consummation. Gilders, carvers, upholsterers, and picture-cleaners are labouring at their several forges, and I do not love to trust a hammer or a brush without my own supervision. This will make my stay very short, but it is a greater compliment than a month would be at another season and yet I am not profuse of months. Well, but I begin to be ashamed of my magnificence; Strawberry is growing Sumptuous in its latter day; it will scarce be any longer like the fruit of its name, or the modesty of its ancient demeanour, both which seem to have been in spencer's prophetic eye when he sung of
"The blushing strawberries Which lurk, close-shrouded from high-looking eyes, Showing that sweetness low and hidden lies."
In truth, my collection was too great already to be lodged humbly; it has extended my walls, and pomp followed. It was a neat, small house; it now will be a comfortable one, and except for one fine apartment, does not deviate from its simplicity. Adieu! I know nothing about the world, and am only Strawberry's and yours, sincerely.
(302) The seat of the Earl of Halifax.
Letter 163 To Sir David Dalrymple.(303) Strawberry Hill, July 1, 1763. (page 227)
Perhaps, sir, you have wondered that I have been so long silent about a scheme,(304) that called for despatch. The truth is I have had no success. Your whole plan has been communicated to Mr. Grenville by one whose heart went with it, going always with what is humane. Mr. Grenville mentions two objections; one, insuperable as to expedition; the other, totally so. No crown or public lands could be so disposed of without an act of parliament. In that case the scheme should be digested during a war, to take place at the conclusion, and cannot be adjusted in time for receiving the disbanded. But what is worse, he hints, Sir, that your good heart has only considered the practicability with regard to Scotland, where there are no poor's rates. Here every parish would object to such settlers. This is the sum of his reply; I am not master enough of the subject or the nature of it, as to answer either difficulty. If you can, Sir, I am ready to continue the intermediate negotiator; but you must furnish me with answers to these obstacles, before I could hope to make any way even with any private person. In truth, I am little versed in the subject; which I own, not to excuse myself from pursuing it if it can be made feasible, but to prompt you, Sir, to instruct me. Except at this place, which cannot be called the country, I have scarce ever lived in the country, and am shamefully ignorant of the police and domestic laws of my own country. Zeal to do any good, I have; but I want to be tutored when the operation is at all complicated. Your knowledge, Sir, may supply my deficiencies; at least you are sure of a solicitor for your good intentions, in your, etc.
(303) Now first collected.
(304) See ant'e, p. 215, letter 154.-E.
Letter 164 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Strawberry Hill, July 1, 1763. (page 228)
Dear sir, As you have given me leave, I propose to pass a day with you, on my way to Mr. Montagu's. If you have no engagement, I will be with you on the 16th of this month, and if it is not inconvenient, and you will tell me truly whether it is or not, I shall bring my friend Mr. Chute with me, who is destined to the same place. I will beg you too to let me know how far it is to Bleckley, and what road I must take: that is, how far from London, or how far from Twickenham, and the road from each, as I am uncertain yet from which I shall set out. If any part of this proposal does not suit You, I trust you will own it, and I will take some other opportunity of calling on you, being most truly, dear Sir, etc.
Letter 165 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, July 12, 1763. (page 228)
Dear sir, Upon consulting maps and the knowing, I find it will be my best way to call on Mr. Montagu first, before I come to you, or I must go the same road twice. This will make it a few days later than I intended before I wait on you, and will leave you time to complete your hay-harvest, as I gladly embrace your offer of bearing me company on the tour I meditate to Burleigh, Drayton, Peterborough, Ely, and twenty other places, of all which you shall take as much or as little as you please. It will, I think, be Wednesday or Thursday se'nnight, before I wait on you, that is the 20th or 21st, and I fear I shall come alone; for Mr. Chute is confined with the gout: but you shall hear again before I set out. Remember I am to see Sir Kenelm Digby's.
I thank you much for your informations. The Countess of Cumberland is an acquisition, and quite new to me. With the Countess of Kent I am acquainted since my last edition.
Addison certainly changed sides in the epitaph to indicabit to avoid the jingle with dies: though it is possible that the thought may have been borrowed elsewhere. Adieu, Sir!
To The Rev. Mr. Cole.
Dear sir, Wednesday is the day I propose waiting on you; what time of it the Lord and the roads know; so don't wait for me any part of it. If I should be violently pressed to stay a day longer at Mr. Montagu's I hope it will be no disappointment to you: but I love to be uncertain, rather than make myself expected and fail.
Letter 166 To George Montagu, Esq. Stamford, Saturday night, July 23, 1763. (page 229)
"Thus far arms have with success been crowned," bating a few mishaps, which will attend long marches like ours. We have conquered as many towns as Louis Quatorze in the campaign of seventy-two; that is, seen them, for he did little more, and into the bargain he had much better roads, and a dryer summer. It has rained perpetually till to-day, and made us experience the rich soil of Northamptonshire, which is a clay-pudding stuck full of villages. After we parted with you on Thursday, we saw Castle Ashby(305) and Easton MaudUit.(306) The first is most magnificently triste, and has all the formality of the Comptons. I should admire 'It if I could see out of it, or any thing in it, but there is scarce any furniture, and the bad little frames of glass exclude all objects. Easton is miserable enough; there are many modern portraits, and one I was glad to see of the Duchess of Shrewsbury. We lay at Wellingborough—pray never lie there— the beastliest inn upon earth is there! We were carried into a vast bedchamber, which I suppose is the club-room, for it stunk of tobacco like a justice of peace. I desired some boiling water for tea; they brought me a sugar dish of hot water in a pewter plate. Yesterday morning we went to Boughton,(307) where we were scarce landed, before the Cardigans, in a coach and six and three chaises, arrived with a cold dinner in their pockets, on their way to Deane; for as it is in dispute, they never reside at Boughton. This was most unlucky, that we should pitch on the only hour in the year in which they are there. I was so disconcerted, and so afraid, of falling foul of the Countess and her caprices, that I hurried from chamber to chamber, and scarce knew what I saw, but that the house is in the grand old French style, that gods and goddesses lived over my head in every room, and that there was nothing but pedigrees all around me, and under my feet, for there is literally a coat of arms at the end of every step of the stairs: did the Duke mean to pun, and intend this for the descent of the Montagus? Well! we hurried away and got to Drayton an hour before dinner. Oh! the dear old place! you would be transported with it. In the first place, it stands in as ugly a hole as Boughton: well! that is not its beauty. The front is a brave strong castle wall, embattled and loopholed for defence. Passing the great gate, you come to a sumptuous but narrow modern court, behind which rises the old mansion, all towers and turrets. The house is excellent; has a vast hall, ditto dining-room, king's chamber, trunk gallery at the top of the house, handsome chapel, and seven or eight distinct apartments, besides closets and conveniences without end. Then it is covered with portraits, crammed with old china, furnished richly, and not a rag in it under forty, fifty, or a thousand years old; but not a bed or chair that has lost a tooth, or got a gray hair, so well are they preserved. I rummaged it from head to foot, examined every spangled bed, and enamelled pair of bellows, for such there are; in short, I do not believe the old mansion was ever better pleased with an inhabitant, since the days of Walter de Drayton, except when it has received its divine old mistress.(308) If one could honour her more than one did before, it would be to see with what religion she keeps up the old dwelling and customs, as well as old servants, who you may imagine do not love her less than other people do. The garden is just as Sir John Germain brought it from Holland; pyramidal yews, treillages, and square cradle walks with windows clipped in them. Nobody was there but Mr. Beauclerc(309) and Lady Catharine,(310) and two parsons: the two first suffered us to ransack and do as we would, and the two last assisted us, informed us, and carried us to every tomb in the neighbourhood. I have got every circumstance by heart, and was pleased beyond my expectation, both with the place and the comfortable way of seeing it. We stayed here till after dinner to-day, and saw Fotheringhay in our way hither. The castle is totally ruined.(311) The mount, on which the keep stood, two door-cases, and a piece of the moat, are all the remains. Near it is a front and two projections of an ancient house, which, by the arms about it, I suppose was part of the palace of Richard and Cicely, Duke and Duchess of York. There are two pretty tombs for them and their uncle Duke of York in the church, erected by order of Queen Elizabeth. The church has been very fine, but is now intolerably shabby; yet many large saints remain in the windows, two entire, and all the heads well painted. You may imagine we were civil enough to the Queen of Scots, to feel a feel of pity for her, while we stood on the very spot where she was put to death; my companion,(312) I believe, who is a better royalist than I am, felt a little more. There, I have obeyed you. To-morrow we see Burleigh and Peterborough, and lie @t Ely; on Monday I hope to be in town, and on Tuesday I hope much more to be in the gallery at Strawberry Hill, and to find the gilders laying on the last leaf of gold. Good night!
(305) A seat of the Earl of Northampton.
(306) A seat of the Earl of Sussex.
(307) The seat of Lord Montagu.
(308) Lady Betty Germain.-E.
(309) Aubrey Beauclerk, Esq. member for Thetford. He succeeded to the dukedom of St. Albans, as fifth Duke, in 1787, and died in 1802.-E.
(310) Lady Catharine Ponsonby, daughter of the Earl of Desborough.
(311) James the First is said to have ordered it to be destroyed, in consequence of its having been the scene of the trial and execution of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, beheaded there in February 1587.-E.
(312) Mr. Cole.
Letter 167 To George Montagu, Esq. Hockerill, Monday night, July 25, Vol. 2d. (page 231)
You must know we were drowned on Saturday night. It rained, as it did at Greatworth on Wednesday, all night and all next morning, so we could not look even at the outside of Burleigh; but we saw the inside pleasantly; for Lord Exeter, whom I had prepared for our intentions, came to us, and made every door and every lock fly open, even of his magazines, yet unranged. He is going through the house by decrees, furnishing a room every year, and has already made several most sumptuous. One is a little tired of Carlo Maratti and Lucca Jordano, yet still these are treasures. The china and japan are of the finest; miniatures in plenty, and a shrine full of crystal vases, filigree, enamel, jewels, and the trinkets of taste, that have belonged to many a noble dame. In return for his civilities, I made my Lord Exeter a present of a glorious cabinet, whose drawers and sides are all painted by Rubens. This present you must know is his own, but he knew nothing of the hand or the value. Just so I have given Lady Betty Germain a very fine portrait, that I discovered ,at Drayton in the Woodhouse.
I was not much pleased with Peterborough; the front is adorable, but the inside has no more beauty than consists in vastness. By the way, I have a pen and ink that will not form a letter. We were now sent to Huntingdon in our way to Ely, as we found it impracticable, from the rains and floods, to cross the country thither. We landed in the heart of the assizes, and almost in the middle of the races, both which, to the astonishment of the virtuosi, we eagerly quitted this morning. We were hence sent south to Cambridge, still on our way north to Ely: but when we got to Cambridge we were forced to abandon all thoughts of Ely, there being nothing but lamentable stories of inundations and escapes. However, I made myself amends at the university, which I have not seen these four-and-twenty years, and which revived many youthful scenes, which, merely from their being youthful, are forty times pleasanter than any other ideas. You know I always long to live at Oxford: I felt that I could like to live even at Cambridge again. The colleges are much cleaned and improved since my days, and the trees and groves more venerable; but the town is tumbling about their ears. We surprised Gray with our appearance, dined and drank tea with him, and are come hither within sight of land. I always find it worth my while to make journeys, for the joy I have in getting home again. A second adieu!
Letter 168 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, Aug. 8, 1763. (page 232)
Dear sir, You judge rightly, I am very indifferent about Dr. Shorton, since he is not Dr. Shorter. It has done nothing but rain since my return; whoever wants hay, must fish for it; it is all drowned, or swimming about the country. I am glad our tour gave you so much pleasure; you was so very obliging, as you have always been to me, that I should have been grieved not to have had it give you satisfaction. I hope your servant is quite recovered.
The painters and gilders quit my gallery this week, but I have not got a chair or a table for it yet; however, I hope it will have all its clothes on by the time you have promised me a visit.
Letter 169 To Dr. Ducarel. Strawberry Hill, Aug. 8, 1763. (page 232)
Sir, I have been rambling about the country, or should not so long have deferred to answer the favour of your letter. I thank you for the notices in it, and have profited of them. I am much obliged to you too for the drawings you intended me; but I have since had a letter from Mr. Churchill, and he does not mention them.
Letter 170 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, Aug. 9, 1763. (page 232)
My gallery claims your promise; the painters and gilders finish to-morrow, and next day it washes its hands. You talked of the 15th; shall I expect you then, and the Countess,(313) and the Contessina,(314) and the Baroness?(315)
Lord Digby is to be married immediately to the pretty Miss Fielding; and Mr. Boothby, they say, to Lady Mary Douglas. What more news I know I cannot send you; for I have had it from Lady Denbigh and Lady Blandford, who have so confounded names, genders, and circumstances, that I am not sure whether Prince Ferdinand is not going to be married to the hereditary Prince. Adieu!
P. S. If you want to know more of me, you may read a whole column of abuse upon me in the Public Ledger of Thursday last; where they inform me that the Scotch cannot be so sensible @as the English, because they have not such good writers. Alack! I am afraid the most sensible men in any country do not write.
I had writ this last night. This morning I receive your paper of evasions, perfide que vous 'etes! You may let it alone, you will never see any thing like my gallery—and then to ask me to leave it the instant it is finished! I never heard such a request in my days!—Why, all the earth is begging to come to see it: as Edging says, I have had offers enough from blue and green ribands to make me a falbala-apron. Then I have just refused to let Mrs. Keppel and her Bishop be in the house with me, because I expected all you—it is mighty well, mighty fine!-No, sir, no, I shall not come; nor am I in a humour to do any thing else you desire: indeed, without your provoking me, I should not have come into the proposal of paying Giardini. We have been duped and cheated every winter for these twenty years by the undertakers of operas, and I never will pay a farthing more till the last moment, nor can be terrified at their puffs; I am astonished you are. So far from frightening me. the kindest thing they could do would be not to let one have a box to hear their old threadbare voices and frippery thefts; and as for Giardini himself, I would not go cross the room to hear him play to eternity. I should think he could frighten nobody but Lady Bingley by a refusal.
(313) Of Ailesbury.
(314) Miss Anne Seymour Conway.
(315) Elizabeth Rich, second wife of George Lord Lyttelton.
Letter 171 To The Earl Of Strafford. Strawberry Hill, Aug 10, 1763. Page 233)
My dear lord, I have waited in hopes that the world would do something worth telling you: it will not, and I cannot stay any longer without asking you how you do, and hoping you have not quite forgot me. It has rained such deluges, that I had some thoughts of turning my gallery into an ark, and began to pack up a pair of bantams, a pair of cats, in short, a pair of every living creature about my house: but it is grown fine at last, and the workmen quit my gallery to-day without hoisting a sail in it. I know nothing upon earth but what the ancient ladies in my neighbourhood knew threescore years ago; I write merely to pay you my pepper-corn of affection, and to inquire after my lady, who I hope is perfectly well. A longer letter would not have half the merit: a line in return will however repay all the merit I can possibly have to one to whom I am so much obliged.
Letter 172 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Aug. 15, 1763. (page 233)
The most important piece of news I have to tell you is, that the gallery is finished; that is, the workmen have quitted it. For chairs and tables, not one is arrived yet. Well, how you will tramp up and down in it! Methinks I wish you would. We are in the perfection of beauty; verdure itself was never green till this summer, thanks to the deluges of rain. Our complexion used to be mahogany in August. Nightingales and roses indeed are out of blow, but the season is celestial. I don't know whether we have not even had an earthquake to-day. Lady Buckingham, Lady Waldegrave, the Bishop of' Exeter, and Mrs. Keppel, and the little Hotham dined here; between six and seven we were sitting in the great parlour; I sat in the window looking at the river: on a sudden I saw it violently agitated, and, as it were, lifted up and down by a thousand hands. I called out, they all ran to the window; it continued; we hurried into the garden, and all saw the Thames in the same violent commotion for I suppose a hundred yards. We fancied at first there must be some barge rope; not one was in sight. It lasted in this manner, and at the farther end, towards Teddington, even to dashing. It did not cease before I got to the middle of the terrace, between the fence and the hill. Yet this is nothing: to what is to come. The Bishop and I walked down to my meadow by the river. At this end were two fishermen in a boat, but their backs had been turned to the agitation, and they had seen nothing. At the farther end of the field was a gentleman fishing, and a woman by him; I had perceived him on the same spot at the time of the motion of the waters, which was rather beyond where it was terminated. I now thought myself sure of a witness, and concluded he could not have recovered his surprise. I ran up to him. "Sir," said I, "did you see that strange agitation of the waters?" "When, Sir? when, Sir?" "Now, this very instant, not two minutes ago." He replied, with the phlegm of a philosopher, or of a man that can love fishing, "Stay, Sir, let me recollect if I remember nothing of it." "Pray, Sir," said I, scarce able to help laughing, "you must remember whether you remember it or not, for it is scarce over." "I am trying to recollect," said he, with the same coolness. "Why, Sir," said I, "six of us saw it from my parlour window yonder." "Perhaps," answered he, "you might perceive it better where you were, but I suppose it was an earthquake." His nymph had seen nothing neither, and so we returned as wise as most who inquire into natural phenomena. We expect to hear to-morrow that there has been an earthquake somewhere; unless this appearance portended a state-quake. You see, my impetuosity does not abate much; no, nor my youthfullity, which bears me out even at a sabat. I dined last week at Lady Blandford's, with her, the old Denbigh, the old Litchfield, and Methuselah knows who. I had stuck some sweet peas in my hair, was playing at quadrille, and singing to my sorci'eres. The Duchess of Argyle and Mrs. Young came in; you may guess how they stared; at last the Duchess asked what was the meaning of those flowers? "Lord, Madam," said I, "don't you know it is the fashion? The Duke of Bedford is come over with his hair full." Poor Mrs. Young took this in sober sadness, and has reported that the Duke of Bedford wears flowers. You will not know me less by a precipitation of this morning. Pitt and I were busy adjusting the gallery. Mr. Elliott came in and discomposed us; I was horridly tired of him. As he was going, he said, "Well, this house is so charming, I don't wonder at your being able to live so much alone." I, who shudder at the thought of any body's living With me, replied very innocently, but a little too quick, "No, only pity me when I don't live alone." Pitt was shocked, and said, "To be sure he will never forgive you as long as he lives." Mrs. Leneve used often to advise me never to begin being civil to people I did not care for: For," says she, "you grow weary of them, and can't help showing it, and so make it ten times worse than if you had never attempted to please them."
I suppose you have read in the papers the massacre of my innocents. Every one of my Turkish sheep, that I have been nursing up these fourteen years, torn to pieces in one night by three strange dogs! They killed sixteen outright, and mangled the two others in such a manner that I was forced to have them knocked on the head. However, I bore this better than an interruption.
I have scrawled and blotted this letter so I don't know whether you can read it; but it is no matter, for I perceive it is all about myself: but what has one else in the dead of summer? In return, tell me as much as you please about yourself, which you know is always a most welcome subject to me. One may preserve one's spirits with one's juniors, but I defy any body to care but about their contemporaries. One wants to linger about one's predecessors, but who has the least curiosity about their successors? This is abominable ingratitude: one takes wondrous pains to consign one's own memory to them at the same time that one feels the most perfect indifference to whatever relates to them themselves. Well, they will behave just so in their turns. Adieu!
Letter 173 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 3, 1763. (page 235)
I have but a minute's time for answering your letter; my house is full of people, and has been so from the instant I breakfasted, and more are coming; in short, I keep an inn; the sign, the Gothic Castle. Since my gallery was finished I have not been in it a quarter of an hour together; my whole time is passed in giving tickets for seeing it, and hiding myself while it is seen. Take my advice, never build a charming house for yourself between London and Hampton-court: every body will live in it but you. I fear you must give up all thoughts of the Vine for this year, at least for some time. The poor master is on the rack; I left him the day before yesterday in bed, where he had been ever since Monday, with the gout in both knees and one foot, and suffering martyrdom every night. I go to see him again on Monday. He has not had so bad a fit these four years, and he has probably the other foot still to come. You must come to me at least in the mean time, before he is well enough to receive you. After next Tuesday I am unengaged, except on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday following; that is, the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, when the family from Park-place are to be with me. Settle your motions, and let me know them as soon as you can, and give me as much time as you can spare. I flatter myself the General(316) and Lady Grandison will keep the kind promise they made me, and that I shall see your brother John and Mr. Miller too.
My niece is not breeding. You shall have the auction books as soon as I can get them, though I question if there is any thing in your way; however, I shall see you long before the sale, and we will talk on it.
There has been a revolution and a re-revolution, but I must defer the history till I see you, for it is much too big for a letter written in such a hurry as this. Adieu!
(316) General Montagu, who, in the preceding February, had married the Countess-dowager of Grandison.-E.
Letter 174 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 7, 1763. (page 236)
As I am sure the house of Conway will not stay with me beyond Monday next, I shall rejoice to see the house of Montagu this day se'nnight (Wednesday), and shall think myself highly honoured by a visit from Lady Beaulieu;(317) I know nobody that has better taste, and it would flatter me exceedingly if she should happen to like Strawberry. I knew you would be pleased with Mr. Thomas Pitt; he is very amiable and very sensible, and one of the very few that I reckon quite worthy of being at home at Strawberry.
I have again been in town to see Mr. Chute; he thinks the worst over, yet he gets no sleep, and is still confined to his bed 'but his spirits keep up surprisingly. As to your gout, so far from pitying you, 'tis the best thing that can happen to you. All that claret and port are very kind to you, when they prefer the shape of lameness to that of apoplexies, or dropsies, or fevers, or pleurisies.
Let me have a line certain what day I may expect your party, that I may pray to the sun to illuminate the cabinet. Adieu!
(317) Isabella, eldest daughter and co-heir of John Duke of Montagu, and relict of William Duke of Manchester; married, in 1763, to Edward Montagu, Lord Beaulieu.-E.
Letter 175 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 3, 1763. (page 236)
I was just getting into my chaise to go to Park-place, when I received your commission for Mrs. Crosby's pictures; but I did not neglect it, though I might as well, for the old gentlewoman was a little whimsical, and though I sent my own gardener and farmer with my cart to fetch them on Friday, she would not deliver them, she said, till Monday; so this morning they were forced to go again. They are now all safely lodged in my cloister; when I say safely, you understand, that two of them have large holes in them, as witness this bill of lading signed by your aunt. There are eleven in all, besides Lord Halifax, seven half-lengths and four heads; the former are all desirable, and one of the latter; the three others woful. Mr. Wicks is now in the act of packing them, for we have changed our minds about sending them to London by water, as your wagoner told Louis last time I was at Greatworth, that if they were left at the Old Hat, near Acton, he would take them up and convey them to Greatworth; so my cart carries them thither, and they will set out towards you next Saturday.
I felt shocked, as you did, to think how suddenly the prospect of joy at Osterly was dashed after our seeing it. However the young lover(318) died handsomely. Fifty thousand pounds will dry tears, that at most could be but two months old. His brother, I heard, has behaved still more handsomely, and confirmed the legacy, and added from himself the diamonds that had been prepared for her. Here is a charming wife ready for any body that likes a sentimental situation, a pretty woman, and a large fortune.(319)
I have been often at Bulstrode from Chaffont, but I don't like it. It is Dutch and triste. The pictures you mention in the gallery would be curious if they knew one from another; but the names are lost, and they are only sure that they have so many pounds of ancestors in the lump. One or two of them indeed I know, as the Earl of Southampton, that was Lord Essex's friend.
The works of Park-place go on bravely; the cottage will be very pretty, and the bridge sublime, composed of loose rocks, that will appear to have been tumbled together there the very wreck of the deluge. One stone is of fourteen hundred weight. It will be worth a hundred of Palladio's brigades, that are only fit to be used in an opera.
I had a ridiculous adventure on my way hither. A Sir Thomas Reeves wrote to me last year, that he had a great quantity of heads of painters, drawn by himself from Dr. Mead's collection, of which many were English, and offered me the use of them. This was one of the numerous unknown correspondents which my books have drawn upon me. I put it off then, but being to pass near his door, for he lives but two miles from Maidenhead, I sent him word I would call on my way to Park-place. After being carried to three wrong houses, I was directed to a very ancient mansion, composed of timber, and looking as unlike modern habitations, as the picture of Penderel's house in Clarendon. The garden was overrun with weeds, and with difficulty we found a bell. Louis came riding back in great haste, and said, "Sir, the Gentleman is dead suddenly." You may imagine I was surprised; however, as an acquaintance I had never seen was an endurable misfortune, I was preparing to depart; but happening to ask some women, that were passing by the chaise, if they knew any circumstance of Sir Thomas's death, I discovered that this was not Sir Thomas's house, but belonged to a Mr. Mecke,(320) fellow of a college at Oxford, who was actually just dead, and that the antiquity itself had formerly been the residence of Nell Gwyn. Pray inquire after it the next time you are at Frocmore. I went on, and after a mistake or two more found Sir Thomas, a man about thirty in age, and twelve in understanding; his drawings very indifferent, even for the latter calculation. I did not know what to do or say, but commended them and his child, and his house; said I had all the heads, hoped I should see him at Twickenham, was afraid of being too late for dinner, and hurried out of his house before I had been there twenty minutes. It grieves one to receive civilities when one feels obliged, and yet finds it impossible to bear the people that bestow them.
I have given my assembly, to show my gallery, and it was glorious; but happening to pitch upon the feast of tabernacles, none of my Jews could come, though Mrs. Clive proposed to them to change their religion; so I am forced to exhibit once more. For the morning spectators, the crowd augments instead of diminishing. It is really true that Lady Hertford called here t'other morning, and I was reduced to bring her by the back gate into the kitchen; the house was so full of company that came to see the gallery, that I had no where else to carry her. Adieu!
P. S. I hope the least hint has never dropped from the Beaulieus of that terrible picture of Sir Charles Williams, that put me into such confusion the morning they breakfasted here. If they did observe the inscription, I am sure they must have seen too how it distressed me. Your collection of pictures is packed up, and makes two large cases and one smaller.
My next assembly will be entertaining; there will be five countesses, two bishops, fourteen Jews, five papists, a doctor of physic, and an actress; not to mention Scotch, Irish, East and West Indians.
I find that, to pack up your pictures, Louis has taken some paper out of a hamper of waste, into which I had cast some of the Conway papers, perhaps only as useless , however, if you find any such in the packing, be so good as to lay them by for me.
(318) Francis Child, Esq. the banker at Temple-bar, and member for Bishop's-Castle, who died on the @3d of September. He was to have been married in a few days to the only daughter of the Hon. Robert Trevor Hampden, one of the postmasters-general.-E.
(319) This young lady was married in the May following to Henri, twelfth Earl of Suffolk.-E.
(320) The Rev. Mr. Mecke, of Pembroke College. He died on the 26th of September.-E.
Letter 176 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 8, 1763. Page 239)
Dear Sir, You are always obliging to me and always thinking Of me kindly; yet for once you have forgotten the way of obliging me most. You do not mention any thought of coming hither, which you had given me cause to hope about this time, I flatter myself nothing has intervened to deprive me of that visit. Lord Hertford goes to France the end of next week; I shall be in town to take leave of him; but after the 15th, that is, this day se'nnight, I shall be quite unengaged and the sooner I see you after the 15th, the better, for I should be sorry to drag you across the country in the badness of November roads.
I shall treasure up your notices against my second edition for the volume of Engravers is printed off, and has been some time; I only wait for some of the plates. The book you mention I have not seen, nor do you encourage me to buy it. Some time or other however I will get you to let me turn it over.
As I will trust that you will let me know soon when I shall have the pleasure of seeing you here, I will make this a very short letter indeed. I know nothing new or old worth telling you.
Letter 177 To The Earl Of Hertford.(321) Arlington Street, Oct. 18, 1763. (page 239)
My dear Lord, I am very impatient for a letter from Paris, to hear of your outset, and what my Lady Hertford thinks of the new world she is got into, and whether it is better or worse than she expected. Pray tell me all: I mean of that sort, for I have no curiosity about the family compact, nor the harbour of Dunkirk. It is your private history—your audiences, reception, comforts or distresses, your way of life, your company—that interests me; in short, I care about my cousins and friends, not, like Jack Harris,(322) about my lord ambassador. Consider you are in my power. You, by this time, are longing to hear from England, and depend upon me for the news of London. I shall not send you a tittle, if you are not very good, and do not (one of you, at least) write to me punctually.
This letter, I confess, will not give you much encouragement, for I can absolutely tell you nothing. I dined at Mr. Grenville's to-day, if there had been any thing to hear, I should have heard it; but all consisted in what you will see in the papers—some diminutive(323) battles in America, and the death of the King of Poland,(324) which you probably knew before we did. The town is a desert; it is like a vast plain, which, though abandoned at present, is in three weeks to have a great battle fought upon it. One of the colonels, I hear, is to be in town tomorrow, the Duke of Devonshire. I came myself but this morning, but as I shall not return to Strawberry till the day after to-morrow, I shall not seal my letter till then. In the mean time, it is but fair to give you some more particular particulars of what I expect to know. For instance, of Monsieur de Nivernois's cordiality; of Madame Dusson's affection for England; of my Lord Holland's joy at seeing you in France, especially without your Secretary;(325) of all my Lady Hertford's(326) cousins at St. Germains; and I should not dislike a little anecdote or two of the late embassy,(327) of which I do not doubt you will hear plenty. I must trouble you with many compliments to Madame de Boufflers, and with still more to the Duchesse de Mirepoix,(328) who is always so good as to remember me. Her brother, Prince de Beauvau,(329) I doubt has forgotten me. In the disagreeableness of taking leave, I omitted these messages. Good night for to-night—OH! I forgot—pray send me some caff'e au lait: the Duc de Picquigny(33) (who by the way is somebody's son, as I thought) takes it for snuff; and says it is the new fashion at Paris; I suppose they drink rappee after dinner.
I might as well have finished last night; for I know nothing more than I did then, but that Lady mary Coke arrived this evening. She has behaved very honourably, and not stolen the hereditary Prince.(331)
Mr. Bowman(332) called on me yesterday before I came, and left word that he would come again to-day, but did not. I wished to hear of you from him, and a little of my old acquaintance at Rheims. Did you find Lord Beauchamp(333) much grown? Are all your sons to be like those of the Amalekites? who were I forget how many cubits high.
Pray remind Mr. Hume(334) Of collecting the whole history of the expulsion of the Jesuits. It is a subject worthy of his inquiry and pen. Adieu! my dear lord.
(321) This is the first of the series of letters which Walpole addressed to his relation, the Earl of Hertford, during his lordship's embassy in Paris, in the years 1763, 1764, and 1765. The first edition of these letters appeared, in quarto, in 1825, edited by the Right Honourable John Wilson Croker, and contained the following introductory notice:—
"No apology, it is presumed, is necessary for the following publication. The Letters of Mr. Walpole have already attained the highest rank in that department of English literature, and seem to deserve their popularity, whether they are regarded as objects of mere amusement, or as a collection of anecdotes illustrative of the politics, literature, and manners of an important and interesting period.
"The following collection is composed of his letters to his cousin, the Earl of Hertford, while ambassador at Paris, from 1763 to 1765; which seem, at least as much as those which have preceded them, deserving of the public attention.
"It appears from some circumstances connected with the letters themselves, that Mr. Walpole wrote them in the intention and hope that they might be preserved; and although they are enlivened by his characteristic vivacity, and are not deficient in the lighter matters with which he was in the habit of amusing all his correspondents, they are, on the whole, written in a more careful style, and are employed on more important subjects than any others which have yet come to light.
"Of the former collections, anecdote and chit-chat formed the principal topics, and politics were introduced Only as they happened to be the news of the day. Of the series now offered to the public, politics are the groundwork, and the town-talk is only the accidental embroidery.
"Mr. Walpole's lately published Memoires have given proof of his ability in sketching parliamentary portraits and condensing parliamentary debates. In the following letters, powers of the same class will, it is thought, be recognised; and as the published parliamentary debates are extremely imperfect for the whole time to which this correspondence relates, Mr. Walpole's sketches are additionally valuable.
"These letters also give a near view of the proceedings of political parties during that interesting period; and although the representation of so warm a partisan must be read with due caution, a great deal of authentic information on this subject will be found, and even the very errors of the writer will sometimes tend to elucidate the state of parties during one of the busiest periods of our domestic dissensions.
"Mr. Walpole's party feelings were, indeed, so warm, and his judgment of individuals was so often affected by the political lights in which he viewed them, that the Editor has thought it due to many eminent political characters to add a few notes, to endeavour to explain the prejudices and to correct the misapprehensions under which Mr. Walpole wrote. In doing so, the Editor has, he hopes, shown (what he certainly felt) a perfect impartiality; and he flatters himself that he has only endeavoured to perform, (however imperfectly) what Mr. Walpole himself, after the heat of party had subsided, would have been inclined to do."— To the notes here spoken of, the letter C. is affixed.
(322) John Harris, Esq. of Hayne, in Devonshire, who married Anne, Lord Hertford's eldest sister.-E.
(323) The actions at Detroit and Edge Hill, on the 31st of July and 5th and 6th of August, between the British and the Indians. In the former the British were defeated, and their leader, Captain Ditlyell, killed; in the latter engagements, under Colonel Bouguet, they defeated the Indians.-C.
(324) Stanislaus Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. He died at Dresden, on the 5th of October.-E.
(325) Mr. Fox, so long a political leader in the House of Commons, had been lately created Lord Holland, and was now in Paris. Mr. Walpole insinuates, in his letter to Mr. Montagu of the 14th of April, that Lord Holland's visit to France arose from apprehension of personal danger to himself, in consequence of his share in Lord Bute's administration—an absurd insinuation! What is meant by his joy at seeing Lord Hertford in France is not clear; but the allusion to the secretary probably refers to the absence of Sir Charles, then Mr. Bunbury, who was nominated secretary to the embassy, but who had not accompanied Lord Hertford to Paris: as Mr. Bunbury had married Lady Holland's niece, there may have been family reason for this allusion.-C.
(326) Lady Hertford was a granddaughter of Charles II., and therefore cousin to the pretender, who, however, was at this period in Italy; and the cousins alluded to were probably the family of Fitz-James.-C.
(327) John, fourth Duke of Bedford, was Lord Hertford's predecessor. Mr. Walpole had been on terms of personal and political intimacy at Bedford-house; but political and private differences had occurred to sharpen his resentment against the Duke, and even occasionally against the Duchess of Bedford.-C.
(328) The Mar'eschale de Mirepoix was a clever woman, who was at the head of one class of French society. She, however, quarrelled with her family, and lost the respect of the public by the meanness of countenancing Madame du Barri.-C.
(329) Son of the Prince de Craon: he was born in 1720; served with great distinction from the earliest age, and was created, in 1782, marshal of France. His conduct in discountenancing the favouritism of the last years of Louis XV. was very honourable, as was his devotion to Louis XVI. in the first years of the revolution. The marshal survived his unfortunate sovereign but three months.-C.
(330) Son of the Duke de Chaulnes.-E.
(331) The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick was at this time betrothed to the King's eldest sister; and Mr. Walpole, a constant friend and admirer of Lady Mary, affects to think that her beauty and vivacity might have seduced his Serene Highness from his royal bride. Lady Mary lived till 1810.-C.
(332) This gentleman was travelling tutor to Lord Hertford's eldest son, and had been lately residing with him at Rheims.-C.
(333) Francis, afterwards second Marquis of Hertford, who died in the year 1822.-E.
(334) David Hume, the historian. He was at first private secretary to Lord Hertford, and afterwards secretary of embassy.-E.
Letter 178 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Nov. 12, 1763. (page 242)
I send you the catalogue as you desired; and as I told you, you will, I think, find nothing to your purpose: the present lord bought all the furniture at Navestock;(335) the few now to be sold are the very fine ones of the best masters, and likely to go at vast prices, for there are several people determined to have some one thing that belonged to Lord Waldegrave. I did not get the catalogue till the night before last, too late to send by the post, for I had dined with Sir Richard Lyttelton at Richmond, and was forced to return by Kew-bridge, for the Thames was swelled so violently that the ferry could not work. I am here quite alone in the midst of a deluge, without Mrs. Noah, but with half as many animals. The waters are as much out as they were last year, when her vice-majesty of Ireland,(336) that now is sailed to Newmarket with both legs out at the fore glass, was here. Apropos, the Irish court goes on ill; they lost a question by forty the very first day on the address. The Irish, not being so absurd or so complimental as Mr. Allen, they would not suffer the word "adequate" to pass.(337) The prime minister is so unpopular that they think he must be sent back. His patent and Rigby's are called in question. You see the age is not favourable to prime ministers: well! I am going amidst it all, very unwillingly; I had rather stay here, for I am sick of the storms, that once loved them so cordially: over and above, I am not well; this is the third winter my nightly fever has returned; it comes like the bellman before Christmas, to put me in mind of my mortality.
Sir Michael Foster(338) is dead, a Whig of the old rock: he is a greater loss to his country than the prim attorney-general,(339) who has resigned, or than the attorney's father, who is dying, will be.
My gallery is still in such request, that, though the middle of November, I give out a ticket to-day for seeing it. I see little of it myself, for I cannot sit alone in such state; I should think myself like the mad Duchess of Albemarle,(340) who fancied herself Empress of China. Adieu!
(335) In Essex, the seat of the Waldegraves.-E.
(336) The Countess of Northumberland.-E.
(337) To prevent the presentation of a more objectionable address from the corporation of Bath, in favour of the peace, Mr. Allen had secured the introduction of the word adequate, into the one agreed to; which gave such offence to Mr. Pitt that he refused to present it.-E.
(338) One of the judges in the court of King's Bench.-E.
(339) The Hon. Charles Yorke.
(340) Widow of Christopher Duke of Albemarle, and daughter of the Duke of Newcastle.
Letter 179 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Nov. 17, 1763. (page 243)
If the winter keeps up to the vivacity of its d'ebut, you will have no reason to complain of the sterility of my letters. I do not say this from the spirit of the House of Commons on the first day,(341) which was the most fatiguing and dull debate I ever heard, dull as I have heard many; and yet for the first quarter of an hour it looked as if we were met to choose a King of Poland,(342) and that all our names ended in zsky. Wilkes, the night before, had presented himself at the Cockpit: as he was listening to the Speech,(343) George Selwyn said to him, in the words of the Dunciad, "May Heaven preserve the ears you lend!"(344) We lost four hours debating whether or not it was necessary to open the session with reading a bill. The opposite sides, at the same time, pushing to get the start, between the King's message, which Mr. Grenville stood at the bar to present, which was to acquaint us with the arrest of Wilkes and all that affair, and the complaint which Wilkes himself stood up to make. At six we divided on the question of reading a bill.(345) Young Thomas Townshend(346) divided the House injudiciously, as the question was so idle; yet the whole argument of the day had been so complicated with this question, that in effect it became the material question for trying forces. This will be an interesting part to you, when you hear that your brother(347) and I were in the minority. You know him, and therefore know he did what he thought right; and for me, my dear lord, you must know that I would die in the House for its privileges, and the liberty of the press. But come, don't be alarmed: this will have no Consequences. I don't think your brother is going into opposition; and for me, if I may name myself to your affection after him, nothing but a question of such magnitude can carry me to the House at all. I am sick of parties and factions, and leave them to buy and sell one another. Bless me! I had forgot the numbers; they were 300, we 111. We then went upon the King's message; heard the North Briton read; and Lord North,(348) who took the prosecution upon him and did it very well, moved to vote a scandalous libel, etc. tending to foment treasonable insurrections. Mr. Pitt gave up the paper, but fought against the last words of the censure. I say Mr. Pitt, for indeed, like Almanzor, he fought almost singly, and spoke forty times: the first time in the day with much wit, afterwards with little energy. He had a tough enemy too; I don't mean in parts or argument, but one that makes an excellent bulldog, the solicitor-general Norton. Legge was, as usual, concise; and Charles Townshend, what is not usual, silent. We sat till within a few minutes of two, after dividing again; we, our exact former number, 111; they, 273; and then we adjourned to go on the point of privilege the next day; but now
"Listen, lordings, and hold you still; Of doughty deeds tell you I will."
Martin,(349) in the debate, mentioned the North Briton, in which he himself had been so heavily abused; and he said, "whoever stabs a reputation in the dark, without setting his name, is a cowardly, malignant, and scandalous scoundrel." This, looking at Wilkes, he repeated twice, with such rage and violence, that he owned his passion obliged him to sit down. Wilkes bore this with the same indifference as he did all that passed in the day. The -House, too, who from Martin's choosing to take a public opportunity of resentment, when he had so long declined any private notice, and after Wilkes's courage was become so problematic, seemed to think there was no danger of such champions going further; but the next day, when we came into the House, the first thing we heard was that Martin had shot Wilkes: so he had; but Wilkes has six lives still good. It seems Wilkes had writ, to avow the paper, to Martin, on which the latter challenged him. They went into Hyde-park about noon; Humphrey Coates, the wine-merchant, waiting in a postchaise to convey Wilkes away if triumphant. They fired at the distance of fourteen yards: both missed. then Martin fired and lodged a ball in the side of Wilkes; who was going to return it, but dropped his pistol. He desired Martin to take care of securing himself, and assured him he would never say a word against him, and he allows that Martin behaved well. The wound yesterday was thought little more than a flesh-wound, and he was in his old spirits. To-day the account is worse, and he has been delirious: so you will think when you hear what is to come. I think, from the agitation his mind must be in, from his spirits, and from drinking, as I Suppose he will, that he probably will end here. He puts me in mind of two lines of Hudibras,(350) which, by the arrangement of the words combined with Wilkes's story, are stronger than Butler intended them:—
"But he, that fights and runs away, May live to fight another day."
His adventures with Lord Talbot,(351) Forbes,(352) and Martin, make these lines history.
Now for part the second. On the first day, in your House, where the address was moved by Lord Hilsborough and Lord Suffolk, after some wrangling between Lord Temple, Lord Halifax, the Duke of Bedford, and Lord Gower; Lord Sandwich(353) laid before the House the most blasphemous and indecent poem that ever was composed, called "An Essay on Woman, With notes, by Dr. Warburton."', I will tell you none of the particulars: they were so exceedingly bad, that Lord Lyttelton begged the reading might be stopped. The House was amazed; nobody ventured even to ask a question: so it was easily voted every thing you please, and a breach of privilege into the bargain. Lord Sandwich then informed your Lordships, that Mr. Wilkes was the author. Fourteen copies alone were printed, one of which the ministry had bribed the printer to give up. Lord Temple then objected to the manner of obtaining it; and Bishop Warburton, as much shocked at infidelity as Lord Sandwich had been at obscenity, said, "the blackest fiends in hell would not keep company with Wilkes when he should arrive there." Lord Sandwich moved to vote Wilkes the author; but this Lord Mansfield stopped, advertising the House that it was necessary first to hear what Wilkes could say in his defence. To-day, therefore, Was appointed for that purpose; but it has been put off by Martin's lodging a caveat.(354) This bomb was certainly well conducted, and the secret, though known to many, well kept. The management is worthy of Lord Sandwich, and like him. It may sound odd for me, with my principles, to admire Lord Sandwich; but besides that he has in several instances been very obliging to me, there is a good humour and an industry about him that are very uncommon. I do not admire politicians; but when they are excellent in their way, one cannot help allowing them their due. Nobody but he could have struck a stroke like this.
Yesterday we sat till eight on the address, which yet passed without a negative - we had two very long speeches from Mr. Pitt and Mr. Grenville; many fine parts in each. Mr. Pitt has given the latter some strong words, yet not so many as were expected.(355) To-morrow we go on the great question 'of privilege; but I must send this away, as we have no chance of leaving the House before midnight, if before next morning.
This long letter contains the history of but two days; yet if two days furnish a history, it is not my fault. The ministry, I think, may do whatever they please. Three hundred, that will give up their own privileges, may be depended upon for giving up any thing else. I have not time or room to ask a question, or say a word more.
Nov. 18, Friday.
I have luckily got a holiday, and can continue my despatch, as you know dinner time is my chief hour of business. The Speaker, unlike Mr. Onslow, who was immortal in the chair, is taken very ill, and our House is adjourned to Monday. Wilkes is thought in great danger: instead of keeping him quiet, his friends have shown their zeal by him, and himself has been all spirits and riot, and sat in his bed the next morning to correct the press for to-morrow's North Briton. His bon-mots are all over the town, but too gross, I think, to repeat; the chief' are at the expense of poor Lord George.(356) Notwithstanding Lord Sandwich's masked battery, the tide runs violently for Wilkes, and I do not find people in general so inclined to excuse his lordship as I was. One hears nothing but stories of the latter's impiety, and of the concert he was In with Wilkes on that subject. Should this hero die, the Bishop of Gloucester may doom him whither he pleases, but Wilkes will pass for a saint and a martyr.
Besides what I have mentioned, there were two or three passages in the House of Lords that were diverting. Lord Temple dwelled much on the Spanish ministry being devoted to France. Lord Halifax replied, "Can we help that? We can no more oblige the King of Spain to change his ministers, than his lordship can force his Majesty to change the present administration." Lord Gower, too, attacking Lord Temple on want of respect to the King, the Earl replied, "he never had wanted respect for the King: he and his family had been attached to the house of Hanover full as long as his lordship's family had."(357)
You may imagine that little is talked of but Wilkes, and what relates to him. Indeed, I believe there is no other news, but that Sir George Warren marries Miss Bishop, the maid of honour. The Duchess Of Grafton is at Euston, and hopes to stay there till after Christmas. Operas do not begin till tomorrow se'nnight; but the Mingotti is to sing, and that contents me. I forgot to tell you, and you may Wonder at hearing nothing Of the Reverend Mr. Charles Pylades,(358) while Mr. John Orestes is making such a figure: but Dr. Pylades, the poet, has forsaken his consort and the Muses, and is gone off with a stonecutter's daughter.(359) If he should come and offer himself to you for chaplain to the embassy!
The Countess of Harrington was extremely alarmed last Sunday,, on seeing the Duc de Prequigny enter her assembly: she forbade Lady Caroline(360) speaking to such a debauched young man, and communicated her fright to everybody. The Duchess of Bedford observed to me that as Lady Berkeley(361) and some other matrons of the same stamp were there, she thought there was no danger of any violence being committed. For my part, the sisters are so different, that I conclude my Lady Hertford has not found any young man in France wild enough for her. Your counterpart, M. de Guerchy, takes extremely. I have not yet seen his wife.
I this minute receive your charming long letter of the 11th, and give you a thousand thanks for it. I wish next Tuesday was past, for Lady Hertford's sake. You may depend on my letting you know, if I hear the least rumour in your disfavour. I shall do so without your orders, for I could not bear to have you traduced and not advertise you to defend yourself. I have hitherto not heard a syllable; but the newspapers talk of your magnificence, and I approve extremely your intending to support their evidence; for though I do not think it necessary to scatter pearls and diamonds about the streets like their vice-majesties(362), of Ireland, one owes it to one's self and to the King's choice to prove it was well made.
The colour given at Paris to Bunbury's(363) stay in England has been given out here too. You need not, I think, trouble yourself about that; a majority of three hundred will soon show, that if he was detained, the reason at least no longer subsists.
Hamilton is certainly returning from Ireland. Lord Shannon's(364) son is going to marry the Speaker's daughter, and the Primate has begged to have the honour of Joining their hands.
This letter is wofullv blotted and ill-written, yet I must say it is print compared to your lordship's. At first I thought you had forgot that you was not writing to the secretary of state, and had put it into cipher. Adieu! I am neither, dead of my fever nor apoplexy, nay, nor of the House of Commons. I rather think the violent heat of the latter did me good. Lady Ailesbury was at court yesterday, and benignly received;(365) a circumstance you will not dislike.
P.S. If I have not told you all you want to know, interrogate me, and I will answer the next post.
(341) Parliament met on the 15th of November. The public mind was at this moment in a considerable ferment, and the King's speech invited Parliament "to discourage that licentious spirit which is repugnant to the true principles of liberty and of this happy constitution." It was expected that these words would, from their being understood as a direct attack on Mr. Wilkes, have opened a debate on his question, which was then uppermost in every mind; but the opposition were unwilling to put themselves under the disadvantage of opposing the address and of excepting against words, which, in their general meaning were unexceptionable; they, therefore, had recourse to the proceedings so well described in this letter.-C.
(342) He means, that parties were so violent that the members seemed inclined to come to blows.-C.
(343) The King's speech, which is now read at the house of the minister, to a selection of the friends of government, was formerly read at the Cockpit, and all who chose attended.-C.
(344) "Yet oh, my sons! a father's words attend; So may the Fates preserve the ears you lend."-E.
(345) "As soon as the members were sworn at the table, Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Grenville then a chancellor of the exchequer, arose in their places, the first to make a complaint of a breach of privilege in having been imprisoned, etc.; and Mr. Grenville, to communicate to the House a message from the King, which related to the privileges of the House: the Speaker at the same time acquainted the House, that the clerk had prepared a bill, and submitted it to them, whether, in point of form, the reading of the bill should not be the first proceeding towards opening the session. A very long debate ensued, which of these three matters ought to have the precedence,, -and at last it was carried in favour of the bill." Hatsell's Precedents, vol. ii. p. 77.-E.
(346) Afterwards Lord Sydney. The Townshends were supposed to be very unsteady, if not fickle, in their political conduct; a circumstance which gives point to Goldsmith's mention of this Mr. Townshend in his character of Burke:-
"——yet straining his throat To persuade Tommy Townshend to lend him a vote."-C.
(347) Henry Seymour Conway, only brother of Lord Hertford, at this time a groom of the bedchamber, lieutenant-general in the army, and colonel of the first regiment of dragoons. He was, as we will see, in consequence of his opposition to government on these questions, dismissed both from court and his regiment: but he became, on a change of ministers in 1765, secretary of state; and in 1772 was promoted to be a general; and in 1793 a field-marshal.-C.
(348) Lord North was at this time one of the junior lords of the treasury.-E.
(349) Samuel Martin, Esq. Member for Camelford. He had been secretary of the treasury during the Duke of Newcastle's and Lord Bute's administration.-E.
(350) These lines, and two others, usually appended to them—
"He that is in battle slain Can never rise to fight again,"
are not in Hudibras. Butler has the same thought in two lines—
"For those that fly may fight again, Which he can never do that's slain." Par. iii. Cant. 3, 1. 243.-C.
(351) At the coronation, Lord Talbot, as lord steward, appeared on horseback in Westminster-hall. His horse had been, at numerous rehearsals, so assiduously trained to perform what was thought the most difficult part of his duty, namely, the retiring backwards from the royal table, that, at the ceremony itself, no art of his rider could prevent the too docile animal from making his approaches to the royal presence tail foremost. This ridiculous incident, was the occasion of some sarcastic remarks in the North Briton, of the 21st August, which led to a correspondence between Lord Talbot and Mr. Wilkes, and ultimately to a duel in the garden of the Red Lion Inn, at Bagshot, Mr. Wilkes proposed that the parties should sup together that night, and fight next morning. Lord Talbot insisted on fighting immediately. This altercation, and some delay of Wilkes in writing papers, which (not expecting, he said, to take the field before morning) he had left unfinished, delayed the affair till dusk, and after the innocuous exchange of shots by moonlight, the parties shook hands, and supped together at the inn with a great deal of jollity.-C.
(352) A young Scotch officer of the name of Forbes, fastened a quarrel on Mr. Wilkes, in Paris, for having written against Scotland, and insisted on his fighting him. Wilkes declined until he should have settled an engagement of the same nature which he had with Lord Egremont. Just at this time Lord Egremont died, and Wilkes immediately offered to meet Captain Forbes at Menin, in Flanders. By some mistake Forbes did not appear, and the affair blew over. A long controversy was kept up on the subject by partisans in the newspapers; but on the whole it is impossible to deny that Forbes's conduct was nasty and foolish, and that Wilkes behaved himself like a man of temper and honour.-C.
(353) At this time secretary of state. " It is a great mercy," says Lord Chesterfield, in a letter to his son, of the 3d of December, "that Mr. Wilkes, the intrepid defender of our rights and liberties, is out of danger; and it is no less a mercy, that God hath raised up the Earl of Sandwich, to vindicate true religion and morality. These two blessings will justly make an epocha in the annals affairs country."-E.
(354) The Bishop of Gloucester, whose laborious commentaries on Pope's Essay on Man gave Wilkes the idea of fathering on him the notes on the Essay on Woman.-C.
(355) Dr. Birch, in a letter to Lord Royston, gives the following account of what passed in the House of Lords on this occasion:- -"The session commenced with a complaint made by Lord Sandwich against Mr. Wilkes for a breach of privilege in being the author of a poem full of obscenity and blasphemy, intitled 'An Essay on Woman,' with notes, under the name of the Bishop of Gloucester. His letters, which discovered the piece was his, had been seized at Kearsley's the bookseller, when the latter was taken up for publishing No. 45 of the North Briton. Lord Temple and Lord Sandys objected to the reading letters, till the secretary of state's warrant, by which Kearsley had been arrested, had been produced and shown to be a legal act; but this objection being overruled, the Lords voted the Essay a most scandalous, obscene, and impious libel, and adjourned the farther consideration of the subject, as far as concerned the author, till the Thursday following."-E.
Lord Barrington, in a letter to Sir Andrew Mitchell, gives the following account of Mr. Pitt's speech:—"He spoke with great ability, and the utmost degree of temper: he spoke civilly, and not unfairly, of the ministers; but of the King he said every thing which duty and affection could inspire. The effect of this was a vote for an address, nem. con. I think, if fifty thousand pounds had been given for that speech, it would have been well expended. It secures us a quiet session." See Chatham Correspondence, Vol. ii. p. 262.-E.
(356) Probably Lord George Sackville, so disagreeably celebrated for his conduct at Minden; afterwards a peer, by the title of Lord Sackville, and secretary of state. In the North Briton which was in preparation when Wilkes was taken up, he advised that Lord George should carry the sword before the King at an intended thanksgiving. Of all the persons suspected of being the author of Junius, Lord George Sackville seems the most probable.-C. ["It is peculiarly hostile to the opinion in favour of Lord George, that Junius should roundly have accused him of want of courage." Woodfall's Junius, Vol. i. P. 161.]
(357) Lord Gower had been reputed the head of the Jacobites. Sir C. H. Williams sneeringly calls him "Hanoverian Gower;" and when he accepted office from the house of Brunswick, all the Jacobites in England were mortified and enraged. Dr. Johnson, a steady Tory, was, when compiling his Dictionary, with difficulty persuaded not to add to his explanation of the word deserter—"Sometimes it is called a Go'er."-C. ["Talking," says Boswell, "upon this subject, Dr. Johnson mentioned to me a stronger instance of the predominance of his private feelings in the composition of this work than any now to be found in it: 'You know, Sir, Lord Gower forsook the old Jacobite interest: when I came to the word renegades after telling what it meant, one who deserts to the enemy, a revolter, I added, sometimes we Say a GOWER: thus it went to the press; but the printer had more wit than I, and struck it out.'" Croker's Boswell.]
(358) Churchill the satirist and Wilkes; of whom Mr. Southey, in his Life of Cowper, relates the following anecdote:—"Churchill became Wilkes's coadjutor in the North Briton; and the publishers, when examined before the privy council on the publication of No. 45, having declared that Wilkes gave orders for the printing, and Churchill received the profits from the sale, orders were given for arresting Churchill under the general warrant. He was saved from arrest by Wilkes's presence of mind, who was in custody of the messenger when Churchill entered the room. 'Good morning, Thompson,' said Wilkes to him: 'how does Mrs. Thompson do? Does she dine in the country?' Churchill took the hint as readily as it had been given. He replied, that Mrs. Thompson was waiting for him, and that he only came for a moment, to ask him how he did. Then almost directly he took his leave, hastened home, secured his papers, retired into the Country, and eluded all search."-E.
(359) Mr. Southey states, that "a fortnight had not elapsed before both parties were struck with sincere compunction, and through the intercession of a true friend, at their entreaty, the unhappy penitent was received by her father: it is said she would have proved worthy of this parental forgiveness, if an elder sister had not, by continual taunt,; and reproaches, rendered her life so miserable, that, in absolute despair, she threw herself upon Churchill for protection. Instead of making a just provision forher, which his means would have allowed, he received her as his mistress. If all his other writings were forgotten, the lines in which he expressed his compunction for his conduct would deserve always to be remembered—
"Tis not the babbling of a busy world, Where praise and censure are at random hurl'd, Which can the meanest of my thoughts control, one settled purpose of my soul; Free and at large might their wild curses roam, If all, if all, alas! were well at home. No; 'tis the tale which angry conscience tells, When she, with more than tragic horror, swells Each circumstance of guilt; when stern, but true, She brings bad action.,; full into review, And, like the dread handwriting on the wall, Bids late remorse awake at reason's call; Arm'd at all points, bids scorpion vengeance pass, And to the mind holds up reflection's glass— The mind, which starting heaves the heartfelt groan, And hates that form she knows to be her own.'"-E.
(360) Her eldest daughter, afterwards Viscountess Fortrose . she died in 1767, at the age of twenty.-E.
(361) Elizabeth Drax, wife of Augustus, fourth Earl Berkeley; she had been lady of the bedchamber to the Princess-dowager.-E.
(362) Hugh Earl, and afterwards Duke of Northumberland, and his lady, Elizabeth Seymour, only surviving child of Algernon Duke of Somerset, and heiress, by her grandmother, of the Percies.-E.
(363) Sir Charles Bunbury, Bart. The reason evidently was, that he remained to vote in the House of Commons.-C.
(364) Lord Boyle, eldest son of the first Earl of Shannon, married, in the following month, Catharine, eldest daughter of the Right Hon. John Ponsonby, Speaker of the Irish House of commons, by Lady Ellen Cavendish, second daughter of the third Duke of Devonshire. Lord Shannon, Mr. Ponsonby, and the Primate, Dr. George Stone, Archbishop of Armagh, were the ruling triumvirate of Ireland. They were four times declared lords justices of that kingdom. Some differences had, however, occurred between these great leaders, which Mr. Walpole insinuates that this marriage was likely to heal.-C.
(365) the benignity of her reception at court is noticed because General Conway's late votes against the ministry might naturally have displeased the King, to whom he was groom of the bedchamber.-C.
Letter 180 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Nov. 20, 1763. (page 250)
You are in the wrong; believe me you are in the wrong to stay in the country; London never was so entertaining since it had a steeple or a madhouse. Cowards fight duels; secretaries of state turn Methodists on the Tuesday, and are expelled the playhouse for blasphemy on Friday. I am not turned Methodist, but patriot, and what is more extraordinary, am not going to have a place. What is more wonderful still, Lord Hardwicke has made two of his sons resign their employments. I know my letter sounds as enigmatic as Merlin's almanack; but my events have really happened. I had almost persuaded myself like you to quit the world; thank my stars I did not. Why, I have done nothing but laugh since last Sunday; though on Tuesday I was one of a hundred and eleven, who were outvoted by three hundred; no laughing matter generally to a true patriot, whether he thinks his country undone or himself. Nay, I am still: more absurd; even for my dear country's sake I cannot bring myself to connect with Lord Hardwicke, or the Duke of Newcastle, though they are in the minority-an unprecedented case, not to love every body one despises, when they are of the same side. On the contrary, I fear I resembled a fond woman, and dote on the dear betrayer. In short, and to write something that you can understand, you know I have long had a partiality for your cousin Sandwich, who has out-Sandwiched himself. He has impeached Wilkes for a blasphemous poem, and has been expelled for blasphemy himself by the Beefsteak Club at Covent-garden. Wilkes has been shot by Martin, and instead of being burnt at an auto da fe, as the Bishop of Gloucester intended, is reverenced as a saint by the mob, and if he dies, I suppose, the people will squint themselves into convulsions at his tomb, in honour of his memory. Now is not this better than feeding one's birds and one's bantams, poring one's eyes out over old histories, not half so extraordinary as the present, or ambling to Squire Bencow's on one's padnag, and playing at cribbage with one's brother John and one's parson? Prithee come to town, and let us put off taking the veil for another year: besides by this time twelvemonth we are sure the world will be a year older in wickedness, and we shall have more matter for meditation. One would not leave it methinks till it comes to the worst, and that time cannot be many months off. In the mean time, I have bespoken a dagger, in case the circumstances should grow so classic as to make it becoming to kill oneself; however, though disposed to quit the world, as I have no mind to leave it entirely, I shall put off my death to the last minute, and do nothing rashly, till I see Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple place themselves in their curule chairs in St. James's-market, and resign their throats to the victors. I am determined to see them dead first, lest they should play me a trick, and be hobbling to Buckingham-house, while I am shivering and waiting for them on the banks of Lethe. Adieu! Yours, Horatius.
Letter 181 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Nov. 25, 1763. (page 251)
You tell me, my dear lord, in a letter I have this moment received from you, that you have had a comfortable one from me; I fear it was not the last: you will not have been fond of your brother's voting against the court. Since that, he has been told by different channels that they think of taking away regiments from opposers. He heard it, as he would the wind whistle: while in the shape of a threat, he treats it with contempt; if put into execution his scorn would subside into indifference. You know he has but one object—doing what is right; the rest may betide as it will. One or two of the ministers,(366) who are honest men, would, I have reason to believe, be heartily concerned to have such measures adopted; but they are not directors. The little favour they possess, and the desperateness of their situation oblige them to swallow many things they disapprove, and which ruin their character with the nation; while others, who have no character to lose, and whose situation is no less desperate, care not what inconveniences they bring on their master, nor what confusion on their country, in which they can never prosper, except when it is convulsed. The nation, indeed, seems thoroughly sensible of this truth. They are unpopular beyond conception: even of those that vote with them there are numbers that express their aversion without reserve. Indeed, on Wednesday, the 23d, this went farther: we were to debate the great point of privilege: Wilbraham(367) objected, that Wilkes was involved in it, and ought to be present. On this, though, as you see, a question of slight moment, fifty-seven left them at once: they were but 243 to 166.(368) As we had sat, however, till eight at night, the debate was postponed to next day. Mr. Pitt, who had a fever and the gout, came on crutches, and wrapped in flannels: so he did yesterday, but was obliged to retire at ten at night, after making a speech of an hour and fifty minutes; the worst, I think, I ever heard him make in my life. For our parts, we sat till within ten minutes of two in the morning: yet we had but few speeches, all were so long. Hussey,(369) solicitor to the Princess of Wales, was against the court, and spoke with great spirit, and true Whig spirit. Charles Yorke(370) shone exceedingly. He had spoke and voted with us the night before; but now maintained his opinion against Pratt's.(371) It was a most able and learned performance, and the latter part, which was oratoric, uncommonly beautiful and eloquent. You find I don't let partiality to the Whig cause blind my judgment. That speech was certainly the masterpiece of the day. Norton would not have made a figure, even if Charles Yorke had not appeared; but giving way to his natural brutality, he got into an ugly scrape. Having so little delicacy or decency as to mention a cause in which he had prosecuted Sir John Rushout(372) (Who sat just under him) for perjury, the tough old knight (who had been honourably acquitted of the charge) gave the House an account of the affair; and then added, "I was assured the prosecution was set on foot by that Honest gentleman; I hope I don't Call him out of his name—and that it was in revenge for my having opposed him in an election." Norton denied the charge upon his honour, which did not seem to persuade every body. Immediately after this we had another episode. Rigby,(373) totally unprovoked either by any thing said or by the complexion of the day, which was grave and argumentative, fell Upon Lord Temple, and described his behaviour on the commitment of Wilkes. James Grenville,(374) who sat beside him, rose in all the acrimony of resentment: drew a very favourable picture of his brother, and then one of Rigby, conjuring up the bitterest words, epithet, and circumstances that he could amass together: told him how interested he was, and how ignorant: painted his Journey to Ireland to get a law-place, for which he was so unqualified; and concluded with affirming he had fled from thence to avoid the vengeance of the people. The passive Speaker suffered both painters to finish their words, and would have let them carry their colours and brushes into Hyde-park the next morning, if other people had not represented the necessity of demanding their paroles that it should go no farther. They were both unwilling to rise: Rigby did at last, and put an end to it with humour(375) and good-humour. The numbers were 258 to 133. The best speech of all those that were not spoken was Charles Townshend's.(376) He has for some time been informing the world that for the last three months he had constantly employed six clerks to search and transcribe records, journals, precedents, etc. The production of all this mountain of matter was a mouse, and that mouse stillborn: he has voted with us but never uttered a word.
We shall now repose for some time; at least I am sure I shall. It has been hard service; and nothing but a Whig point of this magnitude could easily have carried me to the House at all, of which I have so long been sick. Wilkes will live, but is not likely to be in a situation to come forth for some time. The blasphemous book has fallen ten times heavier on Sandwich's own head than on Wilkes's: it has brought forth such a catalogue of anecdotes as is incredible! Lord Hardwicke fluctuates between life and death. Lord Effingham is dead suddenly, and Lord Cantelupe(377) has got his troop.
These are all our news; I am glad yours go on so smoothly. I take care to do you justice at M. de Guerchy's for all the justice you do to France, and particularly to the house of Nivernois. D'Eon(378) is here still: I know nothing more of him but that the honour of having a hand in the peace overset his poor brain. This was evident on the fatal night(379) at Lord Halifax's: when they told him his behaviour was a breach of the peace, he was quite distracted, thinking it was the peace between his country and this.
Our operas begin to-morrow. The Duchess of Grafton is come for a fortnight only. My compliments to the ambassadress, and all your court.
(366) There is reason to think that at this moment Mr. Grenville and Lord Halifax were those to whom Mr. Walpole gave credit for honest intentions and a disposition to moderate and conciliate. This opinion, though probably correct, Walpole soon changed, as to Mr. Grenville.-C.
(367) Randle Wilbraham, LL.D. a barrister, deputy steward of the University of Oxford, and member for Newton, in Lancashire.-E.
(368) The question was, "That Privilege of Parliament does not extend to the case of writing and publishing seditious libels, nor ought to be allowed to obstruct the ordinary course of the laws in the speedy and effectual prosecution of so heinous and dangerous an offence."-C.
(369) Richard Hussey, member for St. Mawes. He was counsel to the navy, as well as solicitor to the Queen, not, as Mr. Walpole says, to the Princess. He was afterwards her majesty's attorney-general.-C.
(370) Charles Yorke, second son of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke. He had been attorney-general, but resigned on the 31st of October. He agreed with the ministry on the question of privilege, but differed from them on general warrants. This last difference may have accelerated his resignation; but the event itself had been determined on, ever since the failure of a negotiation which took place towards the end of the preceding August, through Mr. Pitt and Lord Hardwicke, to form a new administration on a Whig basis.-C.
(371) Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, afterwards Lord Camden. He had discharged Wilkes out of confinement on the ground of privilege.-E.
(372) Sir John Rushout, of Northwick, the fourth baronet. He had sat in ten Parliaments; in the three first for Malmsbury, and in the rest for Evesham. He had been a violent politician in Sir Robert Walpole's administration. See vol. i. p. 222, letter 53.-E.
(373) The Right Hon. Richard Rigby, master of the rolls in Ireland, afterwards paymaster of the forces; a statesman of the second class, and a bon vivant of the first. Mr. Rigby was at one time a chief friend and favourite of Mr. Walpole's, but became involved in Mr. Walpole's dislike to the Duke of Bedford, to whom Mr. Rigby was sincerely and constantly attached, and over whom he was supposed to have great influence.-C.
(374) Fourth brother of Lord Temple and Mr. George Grenville; father of Lord Glastonbury.-E.
(375) Lady Suffolk, in a letter to the Earl of Buckingham, of the 29th of November, says, "Jemmy Grenville and Mr. Rigby were so violent against each other, one in his manner of treating Lord Temple, who was in the House, and the brother in his justification of his brother, that the House was obliged to interfere to prevent mischief. Lord Temple comes to me; but politics is the bane of friendship, and when personal resentments join, the man becomes another creature."-E.