The Letters of Horace Walpole Volume 3
by Horace Walpole
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

(376) As Mr. Walpole seems to impute Mr. Charles Townshend's silence on the question of privilege to fickleness, or some worse cause, it is but just to state that he never quite approved that question. This will be seen from the following extract from some of his confidential letters to Dr. Brocklesby, written two months before Parliament met:—"You know I never approved of No. 45, or engaged in any of the consequential measures. As to the question of privilege, it is an intricate matter; The authorities are contradictory, and the distinctions to be reasonably made on the precedents are plausible and endless." Mr. Townshend gave a good deal of further consideration to the subject, and his silence in the debate only proves that his first impressions were confirmed. Mr. Burke's beautiful, but, perhaps, too favourable character of Charles Townshend will immortalize the writer and the subject.-C.

(377) John, afterwards second Earl of Delawarr, vice-chamberlain to the Queen.-E.

(378) This singular person had been secretary to the Duke de Nivernois's embassy, and in the interval between that ambassador's departure and the arrival of M. de Guerchy, the French mission to our court devolved upon him. This honour, as Mr. Walpole intimates, seems to have turned his head, and he was so absurdly exasperated at being superseded by M. de Guerchy, that he refused to deliver his letters of recall, set his court at defiance, and published a volume of libels on M. de Guerchy and the French ministers. As he persisted in withholding the letters of recall, the two courts were obliged to notify in the London Gazette that his mission was at an end; and the French government desired that he be given up to them. This, of course, could not be done: but he was proceeded against by criminal information, and finally convicted of the libels against M. de Guerchy. D'Eon asserted, that the French ministry had a design to carry him off privately; and it has been said that he was apprised of this scheme by Louis XV. who, it seems, had entertained some kind of secret and extra- official communication with this adventurer. He afterwards continued in obscurity until 1777, when the public was astonished by the trial of an action before Lord Mansfield, for money lost on a wager respecting his sex. On that trial it seemed proved beyond all doubt, that the person was a female. Proceedings in the Parliament of Paris had a similar result, and the soldier and the minister was condemned to wear woman's attire, which d'Eon did for many years. He emigrated at the revolution, and died in London in May, 1810. On examination, after death, the body proved to be that of a male. This circumstance, attested by the most respectable authorities, is so strongly it variance with all the former evidence, that the French biographers have been induced to doubt whether the original Chevalier D'Eon and the person who died in 1810 were the same, and they even endeavour to show that the real person, the Chevali'ere, as they term it, died in 1790; but we cannot admit this solution of the difficulty, for one, at least, of the surgeons who examined the body in 1810, had known D'Eon in his habiliments, and he had for ten years lived unquestioned under the name of D'Eon.-C.

(379) On the 26th of October, D'Eon, meeting M. de Guerchy and a M. de Vergy at Lord Halifax's, in Great George-street, burst out into such violence on some observation made by De Vergy, that it became necessary to call in the guard. His whole behaviour in this affair looks like insanity.-C.

Letter 182 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Dec. 2, 1763. (page 254)

I have been expecting a letter all day, as Friday is the day I have generally received a letter from you, but it is not yet arrived and I begin mine without it. M. de Guerchy has given us a prosperous account of my Lady Hertford's audience still I am impatient to hear it from yourselves. I want to know, too, what you say to your brother's being in the minority. I have already told you that unless they use him ill, I do not think him likely to take any warm part. With regard to dismission of officers, I hear no more of it: such a violent step would but spread the flames. which are already fierce enough. I will give you an instance: last' Saturday, Lord Cornwallis(380) and Lord Allen,(381) came drunk to the Opera: the former went up to Rigby in the pit, and told him in direct words that Lord Sandwich was a pickpocket. Then Lord Allen, with looks and gestures no less expressive, advanced close to him, and repeating this again in the passage, would have provoked a quarrel, if George West(382) had not carried him away by force. Lord (Cornwallis, the next morning in Hyde-park, made an apology to Rigby for his behaviour, but the rest of the world is not so complaisant. His pride, insolence, and over-bearingness, have made him so many enemies, that they are glad to tear him to pieces for his attack on Lord Temple, so unprovoked, and so poorly performed. It was well that with his spirit and warmth he had the sense not to resent the behaviour of those two drunken young fellows.

On Tuesday your Lordship's House sat till ten at night, on the resolutions we had communicated to you; and you agreed to them by 114 to 35: a puny minority indeed, considering of what great names it was composed! Even the Duke of Cumberland voted in it; but Mr. Yorke's speech in our House, and Lord Mansfield's in yours, for two hours, carried away many of the opposition, particularly Lord Lyttelton, and the greater part of the Duke of Newcastle's Bishops.(383) The Duke of Grafton is much commended. The Duke of Portland commenced, but was too much frightened. There was no warmth nor event; but Lord Shelburne, who they say spoke well, and against the court, and as his friends had voted in our House, has produced one, the great Mr. Calcraft(384) being turned out yesterday, from some muster-mastership; I don't know what. Lord Sandwich is canvassing to succeed Lord Hardwicke, as High Steward of Cambridge; another egg of animosity. We shall, however, I believe, be tolerably quiet till after Christmas, as Mr. Wilkes Will not be able to act before the holidays. I rejoice at it: I am heartily sick of all this folly, and shall be glad to get to Strawberry again, and hear nothing of it. The ministry have bought off Lord Clive(385) with a bribe that would frighten the King of France himself: they have given him back his 25,000 a year. Walsh(386) has behaved nobly: he said he could not in conscience vote with the administration, and would not Vote against Lord Clive, who chose him: he has therefore offered to resign his seat. Lady Augusta's(387) fortune was to be voted to-day and Lord Strange talked of opposing it; but I had not the curiosity to go down. This is all our politics, and indeed all our news; we have none of any other kind. So far you will not regret England. For my part, I wish myself with you. Being perfectly indifferent who is minister and Who is not, and weary of laughing(388) at both, I shall take hold of the first spring to make you my visit.

Our operas do not succeed. Girardini, now become minister and having no exchequer to buy an audience, is grown unpopular. The Mingotti, whom he has forced upon the town, is as much disliked as if he had insisted on her being first lord of the treasury. The first man, though with sweet notes, has so weak a voice that he might as well hold his tongue like Charles Townshend. The figurantes are very pretty, but can dance no more than Tommy Pelham.(389) The first man dancer is handsome, well made, and strong enough to make his fortune any where: but you know, fortunes made in private are seldom agreeable to the public.(390) In short, it will not do; there was not a soul in the pit the second night.

Lady Mary Coke has received her gown by the Prince de Masseran, and is exceedingly obliged to you, though much disappointed; this being a slight gown made up, and not the one she expected, which is a fine one bought for her by Lady Holland,(391) and which you must send somehow or other: if you cannot, you must despatch an ambassador on purpose. I dined with the Prince de Masseran, at Guerchy's, the day after his arrival; and if faces speak truth, he will not be our ruin. Oh! but there is a ten times more delightful man—the Austrian minister:(392) he is so stiff and upright, that you would think all his mistress's diadems were upon his head, and that he was afraid of their dropping off.

I know so little of Irish politics, that I am afraid of misinforming you: but I hear that Hamilton, who has come off with honour in a squabble with Lord Newton,(393) about the latter's wife, speaks and votes with the opposition against the Castle.(394) I don't know the meaning of it, nor, except it had been to tell you, should I have remembered it.

Well! your letter will not come, and I must send away mine. Remember, the holidays are coming, and that I shall be a good deal out of town. I have been charming hitherto, but I cannot make brick without straw. Encore, you are almost the only person I ever write a line to. I grow so old and so indolent that I hate the sight of a pen and ink.

(380) Charles, first Marquis of Cornwallis: born in 1738, succeeded his father, the first Earl, in 1762, and died in India in 1805.-E.

(381) Joshua, fifth Viscount Allen, of Ireland, born in 1738.-E.

(382) George, second son of the first Earl of Delawarr.-E.

(383) Bishops made during the Duke of Newcastle's administration, and who were therefore supposed likely to be of his opinion. The Duke of Newcastle after being nearly half a century in office, was now in opposition.-C.

(384) John Calcraft, Esq. was deputy commissary-general of musters: he was particularly attached to Mr. Fox; which is, perhaps, one reason why Mr. Walpole, who had now quarrelled with Mr. Fox, speaks so slightingly of Mr. Calcraft.-C.

(385) Robert Clive, who, for his extraordinary services and success in India, was, at the age of thirty-five, created an Irish peer. It was of him that Mr. Pitt said, that he was "a heaven-born general, who without any experience in military affairs, had surpassed all the officers of his time." The wealth which this great man accumulated in India was, during his whole subsequent life, a subject of popular jealousy and party attack.-C.

(386) John Walsh, Esq. member for Worcester.-E.

(387) Princess Augusta, eldest sister of George III.; married in January 1764 to the Duke of Brunswick, killed at Jena, in 1806. Her Royal Highness died in London in 1810.-E.

(388) Mr. Walpole affected indifference to politics, but the tone of his correspondence does not quite justify the expression of laughing at either party; he was warmly interested in the one, and bitterly hostile to the other, and for a considerable period took a deep and active interest in political party.-C.

(389) Thomas Pelham, member for Sussex, afterwards comptroller of the household, and first Earl of Chichester.-E.

(390) The reader will observe, in this description of the Opera, an amusing allusion to public affairs; the last sentence refers, no doubt, to Lord Bute.-C.

(391) Lady Georgina Caroline Lenox, eldest daughter of Charles, second Duke of Richmond. She had been, in 1762, created Baroness Holland in her own right.-C.

(392) Probably the Count de Seleirn, minister from the Empress-Queen, Maria Theresa.

(393) Brinsley Lord Newton, afterwards second Earl of Lanesborough, married Lady Jane Rochfort, eldest daughter of the first Earl of Belvidere. In the affair here alluded to Lord Newton exhibited at first an extreme jealousy, and subsequently what was thought an extreme facility in admitting Mr. hamilton's exculpatory assurances.-C.

(394) This is not quite true; but Mr. Hamilton was on very bad terms with the Lord Lieutenant, and certainly did not take that prominent part in the House of Commons of Ireland which his station as chief secretary seemed to require,.-C.

Letter 183 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Arlington Street, Dec. 6, 1763. (page 256)

Dear sir, According to custom I am excessively obliged to you: you are continually giving me proofs of your kindness. I have now three packets to thank you for, full of information, and have only lamented the trouble you have given yourself.

I am glad for the tomb's sake and my own, that Sir Giles Allington's monument is restored. The draught you have sent is very perfect. The account of your ancestor Tuer(395) shall not be forgotten in my next edition. The pedigree of Allington I had from Collins before his death, but I think not as perfect as yours. You have made one little slip in it: my mother was granddaughter, not daughter of Sir John Shorter, and was not heiress, having three brothers, who all died after her, and we only quarter the arms of Shorter, which I fancy occasioned the mistake, by their leaving no children. The verses by Sir Edward Walpole, and the translation by Bland, are published in my description of Houghton.

I am come late from the House of Lords, and am just going to the Opera; so you will excuse me saying more than that I have a print of Archbishop Hutton for you (it @is Dr. Ducarel's), and a little plate of Strawberry; but I do not send them by the post, as it would crease them: if you will tell me how to convey them otherwise, I will. I repeat many thanks to you.

(395) Herbert Tuer, the painter. After the death of Charles 1. he withdrew into Holland, and it is believed that he died at Utrecht.-E.

Letter 184 To The Earl Of Hertford. Friday, Dec. 9, 1763. (page 257)

Your brother has sent you such a full account of his transaction with Mr. Grenville(396) that it is not necessary for me to add a syllable, except, what your brother will not have said himself, that he has acted as usual with the strictest honour and firmness, and has turned this negotiation entirely to his own credit. He has learned the ill wishes of his enemies, and what is more, knows who they are: he has laughed at them, and found at last that their malice was much bigger than their power. Mr. Grenville, as you would wish, has proved how much he disliked the violence of his associates, as I trust he will, whenever he has an opportunity, and has at last contented himself with so little or nothing, that I am sure you will feel yourself obliged to him. For the measure itself, of turning out the officers in general who oppose, it has been much pressed, and what is still sillier, openly threatened by one set; but they dare not do it, and having notified it without effect, are ridiculed by the whole town, as well as by the persons threatened, particularly by Lord Albermarle, who has treated their menaces with the utmost contempt and spirit. This mighty storm, like another I shall tell you of, has vented itself on Lord Shelburne and Colonel Barr'e,(397) who were yesterday turned out; the first from aide-de-camp to the King, the latter from adjutant-general and governor of Stirling. Campbell,(398) to Whom it was promised before, has got the last; Ned Harvey,(399) the former. My present expectation is an oration from Barr'e(400 in honour of Mr. Pitt; for those are scenes that make the world so entertaining. After that, I shall demand a satire on Mr. Pitt, from Mr. Wilkes; and I do not believe I shall be balked, for Wilkes has already expressed his resentment on being given up by Pitt, who, says Wilkes, ought to be expelled for an impostor.(401) I do not know whether the Duke of Newcastle does not expect a palinodia from me(402) T'other morning at the Duke's lev'ee he embraced me, and hoped I would come and eat a bit of Sussex mutton With him. I had such difficulty to avoid laughing in his face that I got from him as fast as I could. Do you think me very likely to forget that I have been laughing at him these twenty years?

Well! but we have had a prodigious riot: are not you impatient to know the particulars? It was so prodigious a tumult, that I verily thought half the administration would have run away to Harrowgate. The north Briton was ordered to be burned by the hangman at Cheapside, on Saturday last. The mob rose; the greatest mob, says Mr. Sheriff Blunt, that he has known in forty years. They were armed with that most bloody instrument, the mud out of the kennels: they hissed in the most murderous manner: broke Mr. Sheriff Harley's coach-glass in the most frangent manner; scratched his forehead, so that he is forced to wear a little patch in the most becoming manner; and obliged the hangman to burn the paper with a link, though fagots were prepared to execute it in a more solemn manner. Numbers of gentlemen, from windows and balconies, encouraged the mob, who, in about an hour and a half, were so undutiful to the ministry, as to retire without doing any mischief, or giving Mr. Carteret Webb(403) the opportunity of a single information, except against an ignorant lad, who had been in town but ten days.

This terrible uproar has employed us four days. The sheriffs were called before your House on Monday, and made their narrative. My brother Cholmondeley,(404) in the most pathetic manner, and suitably to the occasion, recommended it to your lordships, to search for precedents of what he believed never happened since the world began. Lord Egmont,(405) who knows of a plot, which he keeps to himself, though It has been carrying on these twenty years, thought more vigorous measures ought to be taken on such a crisis, and moved to summon the mistress of the Union Coffee-house. The Duke of Bedford thought all this but piddling, and at once attacked Lord Mayor, common council, and charter of the city, whom, if he had been supported, I believe he would have ordered to be all burned by the hangman next Saturday. Unfortunately for such national justice, Lord Mansfield, who delights in every opportunity of exposing and mortifying the Duke of Bedford, and Sandwich, interposed for the magistracy of London, and after much squabbling, saved them from immediate execution. The Duke of Grafton, with infinite shrewdness and coolness, drew from the witnesses that the whole mob was of one mind; and the day ended in a vote of general censure on the rioters. This was communicated to us at a conference, and yesterday we acted the same farce; when Rigby trying to revive the imputation on the Lord Mayor, etc. (who, by the by, did sit most tranquilly at Guildhall during the whole tumult) the ministry disavowed and abandoned him to a man, vindicating the magistracy, and plainly discovering their own fear and awe of the city, who feel the insult, and will from hence feel their own strength. In short, to finish this foolish story, I never saw a transaction in which appeared so little parts, abilities, or conduct; nor do I think there can be any thing weaker than the administration except it is the opposition: but an opposition, bedrid and tonguetied, is a most ridiculous body. Mr. Pitt is laid up with the gout; Lord Hardwicke, though much relieved by a quack medicine, is still very ill; and Mr. Charles Townshend is as silent as my Lord Abercorn(406—that they too should ever be alike!

This is not all our political news; Wilkes is an inexhaustible fund: on Monday was heard, in the common Pleas, his suit against Mr. Wood,(407) when, after a trial of fourteen hours, the jury gave him damages of one thousand pounds; but this was not the heaviest part of the blow. The Solicitor-general(408) tried to prove Wilkes author of the North Briton, and failed in the proof. You may judge how much this miscarriage adds to the defeat. Wilkes is not yet out of danger: they think there is still a piece of coat or lining to come Out of the wound. The campaign is over for the present, and the troops going into country quarters. In the mean time, the house of Hamilton has supplied us with new matter of talk. My lord was robbed about three o'clock in the night between Saturday and Sunday, of money, bills, watches, and snuff-boxes, to the amount of three thousand pounds. Nothing is yet discovered, but that the guard in the stable yard saw a man in a great coat and white stockings come from thereabouts, at the time I have named. The servants have all been examined over and over to no purpose. Fielding(409) is all day in the house, and a guard of his at night. The bureau in my lord's dressing-room (the little red room where the pictures are) was forced open. I fear you can guess who was at first suspected.(410)

I have received yours, my dear lord, of Nov. 30th, and am pleased that my Lady Hertford is so well reconciled to her ministry. You forgot to give me an account of her audience, but I have heard of the Queen's good-natured attention to her.

The anecdotes about Lord Sandwich are numerous; but I do not repeat them to you, because I know nothing how true they are, and because he has, in several instances, been very obliging to me, and I have no reason to abuse him. Lord Hardwicke's illness, I think, is a rupture and consequences.

I hope to hear that your little boy is recovered. Adieu! I have filled my gazette, and exhausted my memory. I am glad such gazettes please you - I can have no other excuse for sending such tittle-tattle.

(396) This transaction was an endeavour on the part of Mr. Grenville to obtain from General Conway a declaration that "his disposition was not averse from a general support of the persons and measures of those now employed," and permission " to say so much when he might have occasion to speak to him." This declaration General Conway declined to give, although Mr. Grenville seemed to ask it only to enable him to save Conway from dismissal on account of his late vote. There is reason to believe that at this conference (at which the Duke of Richmond was present, as Conway's friend) some overtures of a more intimate connexion with the administration were made; but Conway declared his determination to adhere to the politics of his friends, the Dukes of Devonshire and Grafton. "At least," he said, "if he should hereafter happen to differ from them, he should so steer his conduct as not to be, in any way of office or emolument, the better for it."-C.

(397) Isaac Barr'e was a native of Ireland, and born in 1726: he entered the army early in life, and rose, gradually to the rank of colonel. He was in 1763 made adjutant-general and the governor of Stirling Castle, but was turned out on this occasion, and even resigned his half-pay. He continued to make a considerable figure in the House of Commons: in 1782 he became a privy-councillor and treasurer of the navy, which latter office he soon exchanged for paymaster of the forces; but on the change of government he retired on a pension of 3200 pounds, which his political friends had previously secured for him. From this time his sight failed him, and he was quite blind for many years previous to his death, which took place in 1802.-C.

(398) Captain James, afterwards Sir James Campbell, of Ardkinglass: a captain in the army, and member for the county of Stirling.-E.

(399) Major-General Edward Harvey, lieutenant-general in 1772.-E.

(400) Colonel Barr'e, previous to his dismissal, had distinguished himself by an attack on Mr. Pitt, which is not reported in the Parliamentary Debates.-C. [In the Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 171, will be found the following passage, in a letter from Mr. Symmers to Sir Andrew Mitchell, dated January 29, 1762:—"Would you know a little of the humour of Parliament, and particularly with regard to Mr. Pitt?' I must tell you that Colonel Barr'e, a soldier of fortune, a young man born in Dublin, of a mean condition, his father and mother from France, and established in a little grocer's shop by the patronage of the Bishop of Clogher; a child of whom the mother nursed; this young man (a man of address and parts), found out, pushed, and brought into Parliament by Lord Shelburne, had not sat two days in the House of Commons before he attacked Mr. Pitt. I shall give you a specimen of his philippics. Talking in the manner of Mr. Pitt's speaking, he said, 'There he would stand, turning up his eyes to heaven, that witnessed his perjuries, and laying his hand in a solemn manner upon the table, that sacrilegious hand, that hand that had been employed in tearing out the bowels of his mother country!' Would you think that Mr. Pitt would bear this and be silent; or would you think that the House would suffer a respectable member to be so treated? Yet so it Was."]

(401) In the House of Commons, a few days before, Mr. Pitt had condemned the whole series of North Britons, and called them illiberal, unmanly, and detestable: "he abhorred," he said, "all national reflections: the King's subjects were one people; whoever divided them was guilty of sedition: his Majesty's complaint was well-founded; it was just; it was necessary: the author did not deserve to be ranked among the human species; he was the blasphemer of his God and the libeller of the King."-E.

(402) This improbable event a few weeks brought about. We shall see that Mr. Walpole did sing his Palinodia, and went down to Claremont to eat a bit of mutton with the man in the world whom (as all his writings, but especially his lately published Memoires, show) he had most heartily hated and despised.-C.

(403) Philip Carteret Webb, Esq. solicitor to the treasury and member for Haslemere.-E.

(404) George third Earl of Cholmondeley; born in 1703: married Mr. Walpole's only legitimate sister, who died at Aix in 1731; and as all Sir Robert Walpole's sons died without issue, Lord Cholmondeley's family succeeded to Houghton, and the rest of the Walpole property, as heirs-at-law of Sir Robert.-C.

(405) John, second Earl of Egmont, at this time first lord of the admiralty. Lord Egmont had been in the House of Commons what Coxe calls "a fluent and plausible debater;" but he had some peculiarities of mind, to which Walpole here and elsewhere alludes.-C.

(406) James, eighth Earl of Abercorn, "a nobleman," says his panegyrist, "whose character was but little known, or rather but little understood; but who possessed singular vigour of mind, integrity of conduct, and patriotic views." Mr. Walpole elsewhere laughs at his lordship's dignified aversion to throwing away his words.-C.

(407) An action brought by Wilkes against Robert Wood, Esq. late under-secretary of State for seizing Wilkes's papers, etc. It was tried before Chief Justice Pratt, and under his direction the jury found for the plaintiff.-C.

(408) Sir Fletcher Norton was not made attorney-general till after this trial.-E.

(409) Mr. John Fielding, chief police magistrate.-E.

(410) The robbery was committed by one Bradley, a discharged footman, and one John Wisket. The former was admitted a witness for the crown, and the latter was hanged on his evidence, in Dec. 1764.-C.

Letter 185 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Dec. 16, 1763. (page 261)

On the very day I wrote to you last, my dear lord, an extraordinary event happened, which I did not then know. A motion was made in the common council, to thank the sheriffs for their behaviour at the riot, and to prosecute the man who was apprehended for it. This was opposed, and the previous question being put, the numbers were equal; but the casting vote of the Lord Mayor(411) was given against putting the first question—pretty strong proceeding; for though, in consequence and in resentment of the Duke of Bedford's speech, it seemed to justify his grace, who had accused the mayor and magistracy of not trying to suppress the tumult; if they will not prosecute the rioters, it is not very unfair to surmise that they did not dislike the riot. Indeed, the city is so inflamed, and the ministry so obnoxious, that I am very apprehensive of some violent commotion. The court have lost the Essex election(412) merely from Lord Sandwich interfering in it, and from the Duke of Bedford's speech; a great number of votes going from the city on that account to vote for Luther. Sir John Griffin,(413) who was disobliged by Sandwich's espousing Conyers, went to Chelmsford, at the head of five hundred voters.

One of the latest acts of the ministry will not please my Lady Hertford: they have turned out her brother, Colonel Fitzroy:(414 Fitzherbert,(415) too, is removed; and, they say, Sir Joseph Yorke recalled.(416) I must do Lord Halifax and Mr. Grenville the justice to say that these violences are not imputed to them. It is certain that the former was the warmest opposer of the measure for breaking the officers; and Mr. Grenville's friends take every opportunity of throwing the blame on the Duke of Bedford and Lord Sandwich. The Duchess of Bedford, who is too fond a Wife not to partake in all her husband's fortunes, has contributed her portion of indiscretion. At a great dinner, lately, at Lord Halifax's, all the servants present, mention being made of the Archbishop of Canterbury,(417) M. de Guerchy asked the Duchess, "Est-il de famille?" She replied, "Oh! mon Dieu, non, il a 'et'e sage-femme." The mistake of sage-femme for accoucheur, and the strangeness of the proposition, confounded Guerchy so much, that it was necessary to explain it: but think of a minister's wife telling a foreigner, and a Catholic, that the primate of her own church had been bred a man-midwife!

The day after my last, another verdict was given in the common Pleas, of four hundred pounds to the printers; and another episode happened, relating to Wilkes; one Dunn, a mad Scotchman, was seized in Wilkes's house, whither he had gone intending to assassinate him. This was complained of in the House of Commons, but the man's phrensy was verified; it was even proved that he had notified his design in a coffee-house, some days before. The mob, however, who are determined that Lord Sandwich shall answer for every body's faults, as well as his own, believe that he employed Dunn. I wish the recess, which begins next Monday, may cool matters a little, for indeed it grows very serious.

Nothing is discovered of Lord Harrington's robbery, nor do I know any other news, but that George West(418) is to marry lady Mary Grey. The Hereditary Prince's wound is broken out again, and will defer his arrival. We have had a new comedy,(419) written by Mrs. Sheridan, and admirably acted; but there was no wit in it, and it was so vulgar that it ran but three nights.

Poor Lady Hervey desires you will tell Mr. Hume how incapable she is of answering his letter. She has been terribly afflicted for these six weeks with a complication of gout, rheumatism, and a nervous complaint. She cannot lie down in her bed, nor rest two minutes in her chair. I never saw such continued suffering.

You say in your last, of the 7th, that you have omitted to invite no Englishman of rank or name. This gives me an opportunity, my dear lord, of mentioning one Englishman, not of great rank, but who is very unhappy that you have taken no notice of him. You know how utterly averse I am to meddle, or give impertinent advice; but the letter I saw was expressed with so much respect and esteem for you, that you would love the person. It is Mr. Selwyn, the banker. He says, he expected no favour; but the great regard he has for the amiableness of your character, makes him miserable at being totally undistinguished by you. He has so good a character himself and is so much beloved by many persons here that you know, that I think you will not dislike my putting you in mind of him. The letter was not to me, nor to any friend of mine; therefore, I am sure, unaffected. I saw the whole letter, and he did not even hint at its being communicated to me.

I have not mentioned Lady Holdernesse's presentation, though I by no means approve it, nor a Dutch woman's lowering the peerage of England. Nothing of that sort could make me more angry, except a commoner's wife taking such a step; for you know I have all the pride of A citizen of Rome, while Rome survives: In that respect my name is thoroughly Horatius.

(411) William Bridgen, Esq.-E.

(412) John Luther, Esq. was returned for Essex, on the popular interest, after a severe and most expensive contest.-C.

(413) Sir john Griffin Griffin, K. B., major-general and colonel of the 33d regiment; member for Andover. He established, in 1784, a claim to the barony of Howard de Walden, and was created, in 1788, Baron Braybrook, with remainder to A. A. Neville, Esq. He died in 1797.-C.

(414) Colonel Charles Fitzroy, member for Bury, afterwards Lord Southampton. It seems strange that Mr. Walpole should be mistaken in such a point; but Colonel Fitzroy was not Lady Hertford's brother, but her brother's son.-C.

(415) William Fitzherbert, Esq. member for Derby: a lord of trade.-C.

(416) the rumour mentioned in the text was unfounded, Sir Joseph continued at the Hague till 1783.-C.

(417) Archbishop Secker. The Grounds for this strange story (which Walpole was fond of repeating) was, that the Archbishop had, in early youth, been intended for the medical profession, and had attended some hospitals.-C.

(418) Mr. West married, in February 1764, Lady Mary Grey, daughter of the Earl of Stamford: he died without issue, in 1776.-E.

(419) "The Dupe," by Mrs. Sheridan, mother of Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The Biographia Dramatica says it was condemned, "on account of a few passages, which the audience thought two indelicate."-E.

Letter 186 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Dec. 29, 1763. (page 263)

You are sensible, my dear lord, that any amusement from my letters must depend upon times and seasons. We are a very absurd nation (though the French are so good at present as to think us a very wise one, only because they themselves, are now a very weak one); but then that absurdity depends upon the almanac. Posterity, who will know nothing of our intervals, wilt conclude that this age was a succession of events. I could tell them that we know as well when an event, as when Easter will happen. Do but recollect these last ten years. The beginning of October, one is certain that every body will be at Newmarket, and the Duke of Cumberland will lose', and Shafto(420) win, two or three thousand pounds. After that, while people are preparing to come to town for the winter, the ministry is suddenly changed, and all the world comes to learn how it happened, a fortnight sooner than they intended; and fully persuaded that the new arrangement cannot last a month. The Parliament opens; every body is bribed; and the new establishment is perceived to be composed of adamant. November passes, with two or three self-murders, and a new play. Christmas arrives; every body goes out of town; and a riot happens in one of the theatres. The Parliament meets again; taxes are warmly opposed; and some citizen makes a fortune by a subscription.(421) The opposition languishes; balls and assemblies begin; some master and miss begin to get together, are talked of, and give occasion to forty more matches being invented; an unexpected debate starts up at the end of the session, that makes more noise than any thing that was designed to make a noise, and subsides again in a new peerage or two. Ranelagh opens and Vauxhall; one produces scandal, and t'other a drunken quarrel. People separate, some to Tunbridge, and some to all the horseraces in England; and so the year comes again to October. I dare to prophesy, that if you keep this letter, YOU Will find that my future correspondence will be but an illustration of this text; at least, it is an excuse for my having very little to tell you at present, and was the reason of My not writing to you last week.

Before the Parliament adjourned, there was nothing but a trifling debate in an empty House, occasioned by a motion from the ministry, to order another physician and surgeon to attend Wilkes; it was carried by about seventy to thirty, and was only memorable by producing Mr. Charles Townshend, who having sat silent through the question of privilege, found himself interested in the defence of Dr. Brocklesby!(422) Charles ridiculed Lord North extremely, and had warm words with George Grenville. I do not look upon this as productive of consequential speaking for the opposition; on the contrary, I should expect him sooner in place, if the ministry could be fools enough to restore weight to him and could be ignorant that he can never hurt them so much as by being with them. Wilkes refused to see Heberden and Hawkins, whom the House commissioned to visit him; and to laugh at us more, sent for two Scotchmen, Duncan and Middleton. Well! but since that, he is gone off himself: however, as I (lid in D'Eon's case, I can now only ask news of him from you, and not tell you any; for You have got him. I do not believe you will invite him, and make so much of him, as the Duke of Bedford did. Both sides pretend joy at his being gone; and for once I can believe both. You will be diverted, as I was, at the cordial esteem the ministers have for one another; Lord Waldegrave(423) told my niece, this morning, that he had offered a shilling, to receive an hundred pounds when-@Sandwich shall lose his head! What a good opinion they have of one another! apropos to losing heads, is Lally beheaded?

The East India Company have come to an unanimous resolution of not paying Lord Clive the three hundred thousand pounds, which the ministry had promised him in lieu of his nabobical annuity. Just after the bargain was made, his old rustic of a father was at the King's lev'ee; the King asked where his son was; he replied, "Sire, he is coming to town, and their your Majesty will have another vote." If you like these franknesses, I can tell you another. The Chancellor(424) is chosen a governor of St. Bartholomew's Hospital; a smart gentleman, who was sent with the staff, carried it in the evening, when the Chancellor happened to be drunk. "Well, Mr. Bartlemy," said his lordship, snuffling, "what have you to say?" The man, who had prepared a formal harangue, was transported to have so fair opportunity given him of uttering it, and with much dapper gesticulation congratulated his lordship on his health, and the nation on enjoying such great abilities. The Chancellor stopped him short, crying, "By God, it is a lie! I have neither health nor abilities my bad health has destroyed my abilities." The late Chancellor(425) is much better.

The last time the King was at Drury-lane, the play given out for the next night was "All in the Wrong:" the Galleries clapped, and then cried out. "Let us be all in the right! Wilkes and Liberty!" When the King comes to a theatre, or goes out, or goes to the House, there is not a single applause; to the Queen there is a little: in short, Louis le bien-aim'e is not French at present for King George.

The town, you may be sure, is very empty; the greatest party is at Woburn, whither the Comte de Guerchy and the Duc de Pecquigny are going. I have been three days at Strawberry, and had George Selwyn, Williams, and Lord Ashburnham;(426) but the weather was intolerably bad. We have scarce had a moment's drought since you went, no more than for so many months before. The towns and the roads are beyond measure dirty, and every thing else under water. I was not well neither, nor am yet, with pains in my stomach: however, if I ever used one, I could afford to pay a physician. T'other day, coming from my Lady Townshend's, it came into my head to stop at one of the lottery offices, to inquire after a single ticket I had, expecting to find it a blank, but it was five hundred pounds—Thank you! I know you wish me joy. It will buy twenty pretty things when I come to Paris.

I read last night, your new French play, Le Comte de Warwick(427) which we hear has succeeded much. I must say, it does but confirm the cheap idea I have of you French: not to mention the preposterous perversion of history in so known a story, the Queen's ridiculous preference of old Warwick to a young King; the omission of the only thing she ever said or did in her whole life worth recording, which was thinking herself too low for his wife, and too high for his mistress;(428) the romantic honour bestowed on two such savages as Edward and Warwick: besides these, and forty such glaring absurdities, there is but one scene that has any merit, that between Edward and Warwick in the third act. Indeed, indeed, I don't honour the modern French: it is making your son but a slender compliment, with his knowledge, for them to say it is extraordinary. The best proof I think they give of their taste, is liking you all three. I rejoice that your little boy is recovered. Your brother has been at Park-place this week, and stays a week longer: his hill is too high to be drowned.

Thank you for your kindness to Mr. Selwyn: if he had too much impatience, I am sure it proceeded only from his great esteem for you.

I will endeavour to learn what you desire; and will answer, in another letter, that and some other passages in your last. Dr. Hunter is very good, and calls on me sometimes. You may guess whether we talk you over or not. Adieu!

P. S. There has not been a death, but Sir William Maynard's, who is come to life again: or a marriage, but Admiral Knollys's who has married his divorced wife again.

(420) Robert Shafto, Esq. of Whitworth, member of Durham, well known on the turf.-C.

(421) To a loan.-C.

(422) Dr. Richard Brocklesby, an eminent physician. He had been examined before the House of Commons, as to Mr. Wilkes's incapacity to attend in his place. His Whig politics, which probably induced Mr. Wilkes to sen@ for him, induced the majority of the House to distrust his report, and to order two other medical men to visit the patient. This proceeding implied a doubt of Dr. Brocklesby's veracity, which certainly called for,@ the interference of Mr. Charles Townshend, who was a private as well as a political friend of the doctor's. Dr. Brocklesby, besides being one of the first physicians of his time, was a man of literature and taste, and did not confine his society nor his beneficence to those who agreed with him in politics. He was the friend and physician of Dr. Johnson, and when, towards the close of this great man's life, it was supposed that his circumstances were not quite easy, Dr. Brocklesby generously pressed him to accept an annuity of one hundred pounds, and he attended him to his death with unremitted affection and care.-C.

(423) John, third Earl of Waldegrave, a general in the army: in 1770 master of the horse to the Queen.-E.

(424) Lord Henley; afterwards Earl of Northington.

(425) Lord Hardwicke.

(426) John, second Earl of Ashburnham; one of the lords of the bedchamber, and keeper of the parks.-E.

(427) By La Harpe. This play, written when the author was only twenty-three years old, raised him into great celebrity; and is, in the opinion of the French critics, his first work in merit as well as date.-C.

(428) This phrase has been also attributed to Mademoiselle de Montmorency, afterwards Princess de Cond'e, in reply to the solicitations of Henry IV.; and is told also of Mademoiselle de Rohan, afterwards Duchess of Deux Ponts.-C.

Letter 187 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Jan. 11, 1764. (page 266)

It is an age, I own, since I wrote to you; but except politics, what was there to send you? and for politics, the present are too contemptible to be recorded by any body but journalists, gazetteers, and such historians! The ordinary of Newgate, or Mr. * * * * who write for their monthly half-crown, and who are indifferent whether Lord Bute, Lord Melcombe, or Maclean is their hero, may swear they find diamonds on dunghills; but you will excuse me, if I let our correspondence lie dormant rather than deal in such trash. I am forced to send Lord Hertford and Sir Horace Mann such garbage, because they are out of England, and the sea softens and makes palatable any potion, as it does claret; but unless I can divert you, I had rather wait till we can laugh together; the best employment for friends, who do not mean to pick one another's pocket, nor make a property of either's frankness. Instead of politics, therefore, I shall amuse you to-day with a fairy tale.

I was desired to be at my Lady Suffolk's on New-year's morn, where I found Lady Temple and others. On the toilet Miss Hotham spied a small round box. She seized it with all the eagerness and curiosity of eleven years. In it was wrapped up a heart-diamond ring and a paper in which, in a hand as small as Buckinger's, who used to write the Lord's Prayer in the compass of a silver penny, were the following lines:—

Sent by a sylph, unheard, unseen A new-year's gift from Mab our queen: But tell it not, for if you do, You will be pinch'd all black and blue. Consider well, what a disgrace, To show abroad your mottled face Then seal your lips, put on the ring, And sometimes think of Ob., the king.

You will easily guess that Lady Temple(429) was the poetess, and that we were delighted with the genteelness of the thought and execution. The child, you may imagine, was less transported with the poetry than the present. Her attention, however, was hurried backwards and forwards from the ring to a new coat, that she had been trying on when sent for down; impatient to revisit her coat, and to show the ring to her maid, she whisked up stairs; when she came down again, she found a letter sealed, and lying on the floor—new exclamations! Lady Suffolk bade her open it: here it is:—

Your tongue, too nimble for your sense, Is guilty of a high offence; Hath introduced unkind debate, And topsy-turvy turned our state. In gallantry I sent the ring, The token of a lovesick king: Under fair Mab's auspicious name >From me the trifling present came. You blabb'd the news in Suffolk's ear; The tattling zephyrs brought it here; As Mab was indolently laid Under a poppy's spreading shade. The jealous queen started in rage; She kick'd her crown and beat her page: "Bring me my magic wand," she cries; "Under that primrose there it lies; I'll change the silly, saucy chit, Into a flea, a louse, a nit, A worm, a grasshopper, a rat, An owl, a monkey, hedge-hog, bat. Ixion once a cloud embraced, By Jove and jealousy well placed; What sport to see proud Oberon stare, And flirt it with a pet-en Pair!" Then thrice she stamped the trembling ground, And thrice she waved her wand around; When I endowed with greater skill, And less inclined to do you ill, Mutter'd some words, withheld her arm And kindly stoppld the unfinish'd charm But though not changed to owl or bat, Or something more indelicate; Yet, as your tongue has run too fast, Your boasted beauty must not last, No more shall frolic Cupid lie In ambuscade in either eye, >From thence to aim his keenest dart To captivate each youthful heart: No more shall envious misses pine At charms now flown, that once were thine: No more, since you so ill behave, Shall injured Oberon be your slave.

The next day my Lady Suffolk desired I would write her a patent for appointing Lady Temple poet laureate to the fairies. I was excessively out of order with a pain in my stomach, which I had had for ten days, and was fitter to write verses like a poet laureate, than for making one: however, I was going home to dinner alone, and at six I sent her some lines, which you ought to have seen how sick I was, to excuse; but first, I must tell you my tale methodically. The next morning by nine o'clock Miss Hotham (she must forgive me twenty years hence for saying she was eleven, for I recollect she is but ten,) arrived at Lady Temple's, her face and neck all spotted with saffron, and limping. "Oh, Madam!" said she, "I am undone for ever if you do not assist me!" "Lord, child," cried my Lady Temple, "what is the matter?" thinking she had hurt herself, or lost the ring, and that she was stolen out before her aunt was up. "Oh, Madam," said the girl. "nobody but you can assist me!" My Lady Temple protests the 'child acted her part so well as to deceive her. "What can I do for you?" "Dear Madam, take this load from my back; nobody but you can." Lady Temple turned her round, and upon her back was tied a child's waggon. In it were three tiny purses of blue velvet; in one of them a silver cup, in another a crown of laurel, and in the third four new silver pennies, with the patent, signed at top, Oberon Imperator; and two sheets of warrants strung together with blue silk according to form; and at top an office seal of wax and a chaplet of cut paper on it. The warrants were these:—

>From the Royal Mews: A waggon with the draught horses, delivered by command without fee.

>From the Lord Chamberlain's Office: A warrant with the royal sign manual, delivered by command without fee, being first entered in the office books.

>From the Lord Steward's Office: A butt of sack, delivered without fee or gratuity, with an order for returning the cask for the use of the office, by command.

>From the Great Wardrobe: Three velvet bags, delivered without fee, by command.

>From the Treasurer of the Household's Office: A year's salary paid free from land-tax, poundage, or any other deduction whatever, by command.

>From the Jewel Office: A silver butt, a silver cup, a wreath of bays, by command without fee.

Then came the patent:

By these presents be it known, To all who bend before your throne, Fays and fairies, elves and sprites, Beauteous dames and gallant knights, That we, Oberon the grand, Emperor of fairy land, King of moonshine, prince of dreams, Lord of Aganippe's streams, Baron of the dimpled isles That lie in pretty maidans' smiles, Arch-treasurer of all the graces Dispersed through fifty lovely faces, Sovereign of the slipper's order, With all the rites thereon that border, Defender of the sylphic faith, Declare—and thus your monarch saith: Whereas there is a noble dame, Whom mortals Countess Temple name, To whom ourself did erst impart The choicest secrets of our art, Taught her to tune the harmonious line To our own melody divine, Taught her the graceful negligence, Which, scorning art and veiling sense, Achieves that conquest o'er the heart Sense seldom gains, and never art; This lady, 'tis our royal will Our laureate's vacant seat should fill: A chaplet of immortal bays Shall crown her brow and guard her lays; Of nectar sack an acorn cup Be at her board each year fill'd up; And as each quarter feast comes round A silver penny shall be found Within the compass of her shoe; And so we bid you all adieu!

Given at our palace of Cowslip-castle, the shortest night of the year. Oberon. And underneath, Hothamina.

How shall I tell you the greatest curiosity of the story? The whole plan and execution of the second act was laid and adjusted by my Lady Suffolk herself and Will. Chetwynd, master of the mint, Lord Bolingbroke's Oroonoko-Chetwynd; he fourscore, she past seventy-six; and, what is more, much worse than I was, for, added to her deafness, she has been confined these three weeks with the gout in her eyes, was actually then in misery, and had been without sleep. What spirits, and cleverness, and imagination, at that age, and under those afflicting circumstances! You reconnoitre her old court knowledge, how charmingly she has applied it! Do you wonder I pass so many hours and evenings with her? Alas! I had like to have lost her this morning! They had poulticed her feet to draw the gout downwards, and began to succeed yesterday, but to-day it flew up into the head, and she was almost in convulsions with the agony, and screamed dreadfully; proof enough how ill she was, for her patience and good breeding makes her for ever sink and conceal what she feels. This evening the gout has been driven back to her foot, and I trust she is out of' danger. Her loss would be irreparable to me at Twickenham, where she is by far the most rational and agreeable company I have.

I don't tell you that the Hereditary Prince(430) is still expected and not arrived. A royal wedding would be a flat episode after a re(il fairy tale, though the bridegroom is a hero. I have not seen your brother General yet, but have called on him. When come you yourself? Never mind the town and its filthy politics; we can go to the gallery at Strawberry—stay, I don't know whether we can or not, my hill is almost drowned, I don't know how your mountain is—well, we can take a boat, and always be gay there; I wish we may be so at seventy-six and eighty! I abominate politics more and more; we had glories, and would not keep them: well! content, that there was an end of blood; then perks prerogative its ass's ears up; we are always to be saving our liberties, and then staking them again! 'Tis wearisome! I hate the discussion, and yet One cannot always sit at a gaming-table and never make a bet. I wish for nothing, I care not a straw for the ins or the outs; I determine never to think of them, yet the contagion catches one; can you tell any thing that will prevent infection? Well then, here I swear,-no I won't swear, one always breaks one's oath. Oh, that I had been born to love a court like Sir William Breton! I should have lived and died with the comfort of thinking that courts there will be to all eternity, and the liberty of my country would never once have ruffled my smile, or spoiled my bow. I envy Sir William. Good night!

(429) Anne, one of the daughters and coheirs of Thomas Chambers, of Hanworth, in the county of Middlesex, Esq. wife of Earl Temple. This lady was a woman of genius: it will hereafter be seen, that a small volume of her poems was printed at the Strawberry Hill press.-E.

(430) Of Brunswick.

Letter 188 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Jan. 22, 1764. (page 270)

Monsieur Monin, who will deliver this to you, my dear lord, is the particular friend I mentioned in my last,(431) and is, indeed, no particular friend of mine at all, but I had a mind to mislead my Lord Sandwich, and send you one letter which he should not open. This I write in peculiar confidence to you, and insist upon your keeping it entirely to yourself from every living creature. It will be an answer to several passages in your letters, to which I did not care to reply by the post.

Your brother was not pleased with your laying the stopping your bills to his charge.(432) To tell you the truth, he thinks you are too much inclined to courts and ministers, as you think him too little so. So far from upbraiding him on that head, give me leave to say you have no reason to be concerned at it. You must be sensible, my dear lord, that you are far from standing well with the opposition, and should any change happen, your brother's being well with them, would prevent any appearance that might be disagreeable to you. In truth, I cannot think you have abundant reason to be fond of the administration. Lord Bute(433) never gave you the least real mark of friendship. The Bedfords certainly do not wish you well: Lord Holland has amply proved himself your enemy: for a man of your morals, it would be a disgrace to you to be connected with Lord Sandwich; and for George Grenville,(434) he has shown himself the falsest and most contemptible of mankind. He is now the intimate tool of the Bedfords, and reconciled to Lord Bute, whom he has served and disserved just as occasion or interest directed. In this situation of things, can you wonder that particular marks of favour are withheld from you, or that the expenses of your journey are not granted to you as they were to the Duke of Bedford!

You ask me how your letters please; it is impossible for me to learn, now I am so disconnected with every thing ministerial. I wish YOU not to make them please too much. The negotiations with France must be the great point on which the nation will fix its eyes: with France we must break sooner or later. Your letters will be strictly canvassed: I hope and firmly believe that nothing will appear in them but attention to the honour and interest of the nation; points, I doubt, little at the heart of the present administration, who have gone too far not to be in the power of France, and who must bear any thing rather than quarrel. I would not take the liberty of saying so much to you, if, by being on the spot, I was not a judge how very serious affairs grow, and how necessary it is for you to be upon your guard.

Another question you ask is, whether it is true that the opposition is disunited. I will give you one very necessary direction, which is, not to credit any court stories. Sandwich is the father of lies,(435) and every report is tinctured by him. The administration give it out, and trust to this disunion. I will tell you very nearly what truth there is or is not in this. The party in general is as firmly and cordially united as ever party was. Consider, that without any heads or leaders at all, 102(436) men stuck to Wilkes, the worst cause they could have had, and with all the weight of the Yorkes against them. With regard to the leaders there is a difference. The old Chancellor is violent against the court: but, I believe, displeased that his son was sacrificed(437) to Pratt, in the case of privilege. Charles Yorke(438) resigned, against his own and Lord Royston,S(439) inclination, is particularly angry with Newcastle for complying with Pitt in the affair of privilege, and not less displeased that Pitt prefers Pratt to him for the seals; but then Norton is attorney-general, and it would not be graceful to return to court, which he has quitted, while the present ministers remain there. In short, as soon as the affair of Wilkes and privilege is at an end, it is much expected that the Yorkes will take part in the opposition. It is for that declaration that Charles Townshend says he waits. He again broke out strongly on Friday last against the ministry, attacking George Grenville, who seems his object. However, the childish fluctuation of his temper, and the vehemence of his brother George(440) for the court, that is for himself, will for ever make Charles little to be depended on. For Mr. Pitt, you know, he never will act like any other man in the opposition, and to that George Grenville trusts: however, here are such materials, that if they could once be put in operation for a fortnight together, the present administration would be blown up. To this you may throw in dissensions among themselves: Lord Halifax and Lord Talbot are greatly dissatisfied. Lord Bute is reconciled to the rest; sees the King continually; and will soon want more power, or will have more jealousy than is consistent with their union. Many single men are ill disposed to them, particularly Lord George Sackville: indeed, nobody is with them, but as it is farther off from, or nearer to, quarter-day: the nation is unanimous against them: a disposition, which their own foolish conduct during the episode of the Prince of Brunswick,(441) to which I am now coming, has sufficiently manifested. The fourth question put to him on his arrival was, "When do you go?" The servants of the King and Queen were forbid to put on their new clothes for the wedding, or drawing-room, next day, and ordered to keep them for the Queen's birth-day. Such pains were taken to keep the Prince from any intercourse with any of the opposition, that he has done nothing but take notice of them. He not only wrote to the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pitt, but has been at Hayes to see the latter, and has dined twice with the Duke of Cumberland; the first time on Friday last, when he was appointed to be at St. James's at half an hour after seven, to a concert. As the time drew near, F'e6ronce(442) pulled out his watch; the Duke took the hint, and said, "I am sorry to part with you, but I fear your time is come." He replied "N'importe;" sat on, drank coffee, and it was half an hour after eight before he set out from Upper-Grosvenor street for St. James's. He and Princess Augusta have felt and shown their disgusts so strongly, and his suite have complained so much of the neglect and disregard of him, and of the very quick dismission of him, that the people have caught it, and on Thursday, at the play, received the King and Queen without the least symptom of applause, but repeated such outrageous acclamations to the Prince, as operated very visibly on the King's countenance. Not a gun was fired for the marriage, and Princess Augusta asking Lord Gower(443) about some ceremony, to which he replied, it could not be, as no such thing had been done for the Prince of Orange;(444) she said, it was extraordinary to quote that precedent to her in one case, which had been followed in no other. I could tell you ten more of these stories, but one shall suffice. The Royal Family went to the Opera on Saturday: the crowd not to be described: the Duchess of Leeds, ]lady Denbigh, Lady Scarborough, and others, sat on chairs between the scenes; the doors of the front boxes were thrown open, and the passages were all filled to the back of the stoves; nay, women of fashion stood on the very stairs till eight at night. In the middle of the second act, the Hereditary Prince, who sat with his wife and her brothers in their box, got up, turned his back to the King and Queen, pretending to offer his place to Lady Tankerville(445) and then to Lady Susan. You know enough of Germans and their stiffness to etiquette, to be sure that this could not be done inadvertently: especially as he repeated this, only without standing up, with one of his own gentlemen, in the third act. I saw him, without any difficulty, from the Duchess of Grafton's box. He is extremely slender, and looks many years older than he is: in short, I suppose it is his manner with which every mortal is captivated, for though he is well enough for a man, he is far from having any thing striking in his person. To-day (this is Tuesday) there was a drawing-room at Leicester-house, and to-night there is a subscription ball for him at Carlisle-house, Soho, made chiefly by the Dukes of Devonshire and Grafton. I was invited to be of it, but not having been to wait on him, did not think it Civil to meet him there. The Court, by accident or design, had forgot to have a bill passed for naturalizing him. The Duke of Grafton Undertook it, on which they adopted it, and the Duke of Bedford moved it; but the Prince sent word to the Duke of Grafton, that he should not have liked the compliment half so well, if he had not owed it to his grace. You may judge how he will report of us at his return!

With regard to your behaviour to Wilkes,(446) I think you observed the just medium: I have not heard it mentioned: if they should choose to blame it, it will not be to me, known as your friend and no friend of theirs. They very likely may say that you did too much, though the Duke of Bedford did ten times more. Churchill has published a new satire, called "The Duellist,"(447) the finest and bitterest of his works. The poetry is glorious; some lines on Lord Holland, hemlock: charming abuse on that scurrilous mortal, Bishop Warburton: an ill-drawn, though deserved, character of Sandwich; and one, as much deserved, and better, of Norton.

Wednesday, after dinner.

The Lord knows when this letter will be finished; I have been writing it this week, and believe I shall continue it till old Monin sets out. Encore, the Prince of Brunswick. At the ball, at Buckingham house, on Monday: it had begun two hours before he arrived. Except the King's and Queen's servants, nobody was there but the dukes of Marlborough and Ancaster, and Lord Bute's two daughters. No supper. On Sunday evening the Prince had been to Newcastle-house, to visit the Duchess. His speech to the Duke of Bedford, at first, was by no means so strong as they gave it out; he only said, "Milord, nous avons fait deux m'etiers bien diff'erens; le v'otre a 'et'e le plus agr'eable: j'ai fait couler du sang, vous l'avez fait cesser." His whole behaviour, so much 'a la minorit'e, makes this much more probable. His Princess thoroughly, agrees with him. When Mr. Grenville objected to the greatness of her fortune, the King said, "Oh! it will not be opposed, for Augusta is in the opposition."

The ball, last night, at Carlisle-house, Soho, was most magnificent: one hundred and fifty men subscribed, and five guineas each, and had each three tickets. All the beauties in town were there, that is, of rank, for there was no bad company. The Duke of Cumberland was there too; and the Hereditary Prince so pleased, and in such spirits, that he stayed till five in the morning. He is gone to-day, heartily sorry to leave every thing but St. James's and Leicester-house. They lie to-night at Lord Abercorn's,(448) at Witham, who does not step from his pedestal to meet them. Lady Strafford said to him, "Soh! my lord, I hear your house is to be royal] v filled on Wednesday."—"And serenely,"(449) he replied, and closed his mouth again till next day.

Our politics have been as follow. Last Friday the opposition moved for Wilkes's complaint of breach of privilege to be heard to-day: Grenville objected to it, and at last yielded, after receiving some smart raps from Charles Townshend and Sir George Saville. On Tuesday the latter, and Sir William Meredith, proposed to put it off to the 13th of February, that Wilkes's servant, the most material evidence might be here. George Grenville again opposed it, was not supported, and yielded. Afterwards Dowdeswell moved for a committee on the Cider-bill; and, at last, a committee was appointed for Tuesday next, with powers to report the grievances of the bill, and suggest amendments and redress, but with no authority to repeal it. This the administration carried but by 167 to 125. Indeed, many of their people were in the House of Lords, where the court triumphed still less. They were upon the "Essay on Woman." Sandwich proposed two questions; 1st, that Wilkes was the author of it;(450) 2dly, to order the Black Rod to attach him. It was much objected by the Dukes of Devonshire, Grafton, Newcastle, and even Richmond, that the first was not proved, and might affect him in the courts below. Lord Mansfield tried to explain this away, and Lord Marchmont and Lord Temple had warm words. At last Sandwich, artfully, to get something, if not all, agreed to melt both questions into one, which was accepted; and the vote passed, that it appearing Wilkes was the author, he should be taken into custody by the usher. It appearing, was allowed to mean as far as appears. Then a committee was appointed to search for precedents how to proceed on his being withdrawn. That dirty dog Kidgel(451) had been summoned by the Duke of Grafton, but as they only went on the breach of privilege, he was not called. The new club,(452) at the house that was the late Lord Waldegrave's, in Albermarle-street, makes the ministry very uneasy; but they have worse grievances to apprehend!

Sir Robert Rich(453) is extremely angry with my nephew, the Bishop of Exeter, who, like his own and wife's family, is tolerably warm. They were talking together at St. James's, when A'Court(454) came in, "There's poor A'Court," said the Bishop. "Poor A,Court!" replied the Marshal, "I wish all those fellows that oppose the King were to be turned out of the army!" "I hope," said the Bishop, "they will first turn all the old women out of it!"

The Duc de Pecquigny was on the point of a duel with Lord Garlies,(455) at Lord Milton's(456) ball, the former handing the latter's partner down to supper. I wish you had this Duke again, lest you should have trouble with him from hence: he seems a genius of the wrong sort. His behaviour on the visit to Woburn was very wrong-headed, though their treatment of him was not more right. Lord Sandwich flung him down in one of their horse-plays, and almost put his shoulder out. He said the next day there, at dinner, that for the rest of his life he should fear nothing so much as a lettre de cachet from a French secretary of state, or a coup d''epaule from an English one. After this he had a pique with the Duchess, with whom he had been playing at whisk. A shilling and sixpence were left on the table, which nobody claimed. He was asked if it was his, and said no. Then they said, let us put it to the cards: there was already a guinea. The Duchess, in an air of grandeur said, as there was gold for the groom of the chambers, the sweeper of the room might have the silver, and brushed it off the table. The Pecquigny took this to himself, though I don't believe meaned; and complained to the whole town of it, with large comments, at his return. It is silly to tell you Such silly stories, but in your situation it may grow necessary for you to know the truth, if you should hear them repeated. I am content to have you call me gossip, if I prove but of the least use to you.

Here have I tapped the ninth page! Well! I am this moment going to M. de Guerchy's, to know when Monin sets out, that I may finish this eternal letter. If I tire you, tell me so: I am sure I do myself. If I speak with too much freedom to you, tell me so: I have done it in consequence of your questions, and mean it most kindly. In short, I am ready to amend any thing you disapprove; so don't take any thing ill, my dear lord, unless I continue after you have reprimanded me. The safe manner in which this goes, has made me, too, more explicit than you know I have been on any other occasion. Adieu!

Wednesday-night, late.

Well, my letter will be finished at last. M. Monin sets out on Friday. so does my Lord Holland: but I affect not to know it, for he is not just the person that you or I should choose to be the bearer of this. You will be diverted with a story they told me to-night at the French Ambassador's. When they went to supper, at Soho, last night, the Duke of Cumberland placed himself at the head of the table. One of the waiters tapped him on the shoulder, and said, "Sir, your Royal Highness can't sit there; that place is designed for the Hereditary Prince." You ought to have seen how every body's head has been turned with this Prince, to make this story credible to you. My Lady Rockingham, at Leicester-house, yesterday, cried great sobs for his departure. Yours ever, page the ninth.

(431) This letter does not appear.

(432) Lord Hertford had claimed certain expenses of his journey to Paris which had been allowed to his predecessors, but which were refused to him; he therefore may have expressed a suspicion that his brother's opposition in Parliament rendered the ministers at home less favourable to him; but there never was any difference or coldness between the brothers in their private relations. This appears from their private letters at this period.-C.

(433) In April 1763, Lord Bute surprised both his friends and his opponents by a sudden resignation. The motive of this resolution is still a mystery. Some have said, that having concluded the peace, his patriotic views and ambition were satisfied; others that he resigned in disgust at the falsehood and ingratitude of public men; others that he was driven from his station by libels and unpopularity. None of these reasons seem consistent with a desire which Lord Bute appears to have entertained, to return to office with a new administration. A clamour was long kept up against Lord Bute's secret and irresponsible influence; but it is now generally admitted that no such influence existed, and that Lord Bute soon ceased to have any weight in public affairs.-C.

(434) Mr. Walpole was so vehement in his party feelings, that all his characters of political enemies must be read with great distrust.-C.

(435) Lord Sandwich was an able minister, and so important a member of the administration to which Mr. Walpole was now opposed, that we must read all that he says of this lord with some "grains of allowance."-C.

(436) On the 19th of January, when the ministers were about to proceed to vote Wilkes in contempt, and expel him, a motion was made by Wilkes's friends to postpone the consideration of the affair till next day; this was lost by 239 to 102.-C.

(437) He means that the opposition had adopted Pratt's view instead of Mr. Yorke's.-C.

(438) This is not true; the real cause of his resignation is stated ant'e, p. 251, letter 181; he certainly disagreed from the Duke of Newcastle and others of his friends, who made the matter of privilege a party question instead of treating it as a legal one, as Mr. Yorke did.

(439) Philip Lord Royston, afterwards second Earl of Hardwicke, elder brother of Mr. Charles Yorke.-E.

(440) George, first Marquis of Townshend, at this time a major-general in the army. In the divisions on branches of the Wilkes question, we sometimes find General Townshend a teller on one side, and Mr. Townshend on the other.-C.

(441) The Hereditary Prince, who came to England to marry the Princess Augusta, eldest sister of George III. He landed at Harwich on the 12th of January, and arrived the same evening at Somerset-house, where he was lodged. Lady Chatham, in a letter to Mr. Pitt, relates the following anecdotes Mrs. Boscawen tells me, that while the Prince was at Harwich, the people almost pulled down the house in which he was, in order to see him. A substantial Quaker insisted so strongly upon seeing him, that he was allowed to come into the room: he pulled off his hat to him, and said, 'Noble friend, give me thy hand!' which was given, and he kissed it; 'although I do not fight myself, I love a brave man that will fight: thou art a valiant Prince, and art to be married to a lovely Princess: love her, make her a good husband, and the Lord bless you both!'" See Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 272.-E.

(442) The Prince's chief secretary.-E.

(443) Granville, second Earl Gower, afterwards first Marquis: groom of the stole.-E.

(444) William Charles Henry, Prince of Orange, who, in 1734, married Anne, eldest daughter of George II.-E.

(445) Alicia Ashley, wife of Charles, third Earl of Tankerville, lady of the bedchamber to Princess Augusta. Nothing but Mr. Walpole's facetious ingenuity could have tortured the Prince's little attention to Lady Tankerville into a desire to insult the King.-C.

(446) Mr. Wilkes had thought it prudent to retire to Paris, under circumstances which certainly rendered it unlikely that the King's ambassador should pay him any kind of civil attention.-C.

(447) Again Mr. Walpole's partiality blinds him. "The Duellist" is surely far from being the finest of Churchill's works. Mr. Walpole's own feelings are strongly marked by the glee with which he sees hemlock administered to his old friend Lord Holland, and by being charmed with the abuse of Bishop Warburton.-C.

(448) Mr. Walpole, by one of those happy expressions which make the chief charm of his writings, characterizes the stately formality of this noble lord. His house at Witham is close to the great road, a little beyond the town of Witham. Her late Majesty, Queen Charlotte, slept there on her way to London, in 1761.-C.

(449) Mr. Walpole probably understood his lordship to mean that a Serene Highness was not sufficiently important to require his attendance at Witham.-C.

(450) Wilkes was convicted, in the Court of King's Bench, on the 21st of January, the day before this letter was begun, of having written the Essay on Woman.-C.

(451) Mr. Kidgel, a clergyman, had obtained from a printer a copy of the Essay on Woman, which he said he felt it his duty to denounce. His own personal character turned out to be far from respectable.-C.

(452) The opposition club was in Albemarle-street, and the ministerial at the Cocoa-tree; and the papers of the day had several political letters addressed to and from these clubs.-C.

(453) The oldest field-marshal in the army.

(454) Major-general A,Court had a little before resigned, or rather been dismissed, for his parliamentary opposition, from the command of the second regiment of foot-guards.-C.

(455) John, afterwards seventh Earl of galloway.

(456) Joseph Damer, first Lord Milton.

Letter 189 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Arlington Street, Jan. 31, 1764. (page 277)

Dear Sir, Several weeks ago I begged you to tell me how to convey to you a print of Strawberry Hill, and another of Archbishop Hutton. I must now repeat the same request for two more volumes of my Anecdotes of Painting, which are on the point of being published. I hope no illness prevented my hearing from you.

To The Rev. Mr. Cole.

Dear Sir, I am impatient for your manuscript, but have not yet received it. You may depend on my keeping it to myself, and returning it safely.

I do not know that history of my father, which you mention, by the name of Musgrave. If it is the critical history of his administration, I have it; if not, I shall be obliged to you for it.

Your kindness to your tenants is like yourself, and most humane. I am glad Your prize rewards you, and wish your fortune had been as good as mine, who with a single ticket in this last lottery got five hundred pounds.

I have nothing new, that is, nothing old to tell you. You care not about the present world, and are the only real philosopher, I know.

I this winter met with a very large lot of English heads, chiefly of the reign of James I., which very nearly perfects my collection. There were several which I had in vain hunted for these ten years. I have bought too, some very scarce, but more modern ones out of Sir Charles Cotterell's collection. Except a few of Faithorne's, there are scarce any now that I much wish for.

With my Anecdotes I packed up for you the head of Archbishop Hutton, and a new little print of Strawberry. If the volumes, as I understand by your letter, stay in town to be bound, I hope your bookseller will take care not to lose those trifles.

Letter 190 To Sir David Dalrymple.(457) Arlington Street, Jan. 31, 1764. (page 278)

I am very sorry, Sir, that your obliging corrections of my Anecdotes of Painting have come so late, that the first volume is actually reprinted. The second shall be the better for them. I am now publishing the third volume, and another of Engravers. I wish you would be so kind as to tell me how I may convey them speedily to you: you waited too long the last time for things that have little merit but novelty. These volumes are of still less worth than the preceding; our latter painters not compensating by excellence for the charms that antiquity has bestowed on their antecessors.

I wish I had known in time what heads of Nanteuil you want. There has been a very valuable sale of Sir Clement Cotterell's prints, the impressions most beautiful, and of which Nanteuil made the capital part. I do not know who particularly collects his works now, but I have ordered my bookseller Bathoe,(458) who is much versed in those things, to inquire; and if I hear of any purchaser, Sir, I will let you know.

I have not bought the Anecdotes of Polite literature,(459) suspecting them for a bookseller's compilation, and confirmed in it by never hearing them mentioned. Our booksellers here at London disgrace literature, by the trash they bespeak to be written, and at the same time prevent every thing else from being sold. They are little more or less than upholsters, who sell sets or bodies of arts and sciences for furniture; and the purchasers, for I am sure they are not readers, buy only in that view.(460) I never thought there was much merit in reading: but yet it is too good a thing to be put upon no better footing than In damask and mahogany.

Whenever I can be of the least use to your studies or collections, you know, Sir, that you may command me freely.

(457) Now first collected.

(458) This very intelligent bookseller, who lived near Exeter 'Change, in the Strand, died in 1768.-E.

(459) This was a very amusing and judicious selection, in five small volumes, very neatly printed.-E.

(460 "I once said to Dr. Johnson, 'I am sorry, Sir, you did not get more for your Dictionary.' His answer was, 'I am sorry too; but it was very well: the booksellers are generous liberal-minded men.' He, upon all occasions, did ample justice to their character in this respect. He considered them as the patrons of literature and, indeed, although they have eventually been considerable gainers by his Dictionary, it is to them that we owe its having been undertaken and carried out at the risk of great expense for they were not absolutely sure of being indemnified." Boswell's Johnson, vol. ii. p. 58.-E.

Letter 191 To The Earl Of Hertford. Arlington Street, Feb. 6, 1764. (page 279)

You have, I hope, long before this, my dear lord, received the immense letter that I sent you by old Monin. It explained much, and announced most part of which has already happened; for you will observe that when I tell you any thing, very positively, it is on good intelligence. I have another much bigger secret for you, but that will be delivered to you by word of mouth. I am not a little impatient for the long letter you promised me. In the mean time thank you for the account you give me of the King's extreme civility to you. It is like yourself, to dwell on that, and to say little of M. de Chaulnes's dirty behaviour; but Monsieur and Madame de Guerchy have told your brother and me all the particulars.

I was but too good a prophet when I warned you to expect new extravagances from the Due de Chaulnes's son. Some weeks ago he lost five hundred pounds to one Virette, an equivocal being, that you remember here. Paolucci, the Modenese minister, who is not in the odour of honesty, was of the party. The Duc de Pecquigny said to the latter, "Monsieur, ne jouez plus avec lui, si vous n''etes pas de moiti'e." So far was very well. On Saturday at the Maccaroni Club(461) (which is composed of all the travelled young men, men who wear long curls and spying-glasses,) they played again: the Duc lost, but not Much. In the passage at the Opera, the Duc saw Mr. Stuart talking to Virette, and told the former that Virette was a coquin, a fripon, etc. etc. Virette retired, saying only, "Voil'a un fou." The Duc then desired Lord Tavistock to come and see him fight Virette, but the Marquis desired to be excused. After the Opera, Virette went to the Duc's lodgings, but found him gone to make his complaint to Monsieur de Guerchy, whither he followed him; and farther this deponent knoweth not. I pity the Count (de Guerchy,) who is one of the best-natured amiable men in the world, for having this absurd boy upon his hands!

Well! now for a little politics. The Cider-bill(462) has not answered to the minority, though they ran the ministry hard;(463) but last Friday was extraordinary. George Grenville was pushed upon some Navy bills; I don't understand a syllable, you know of money and accounts; but whatever was the matter,(464) he was driven from entrenchment to entrenchment by Baker,(465) and Charles Townshend. After that affair was over, and many gone away, Sir W. Meredith moved for the depositions on which the warrant against Wilkes had been granted. The ministers complained of the motion being made so late In the day; called it a surprise; and Rigby moved to adjourn, which was carried but by 73 to 60. Had a surprise been intended, one may imagine the minority would have been better provided with numbers; but it certainly had not been concerted: however, a majority, shrunk to thirteen, frightened them out of the small senses they possess. heaven, earth, and the treasury, were moved to recover their ground to-day, when the question was renewed. For about two hours the debate hobbled on very lamely, when on a sudden your brother rose, and made such a speech(466)—but I wish any body was to give you the account except me, whom you will think partial: but you will hear enough of it, to confirm any thing I can say. Imagine fire, rapidity, argument, knowledge, wit, ridicule, grave, spirit; all pouring like a torrent, but without clashing. Imagine the House in a tumult of continued applause imagine the ministers thunderstruck; lawyers abashed and almost blushing, for it was on their quibbles and evasions he fell most heavily, at the same time answering a whole session of arguments on the side of the court. No, it was unique; you can neither conceive it, nor the exclamations it occasioned. Ellis, the forlorn hope, Ellis presented himself in the gap, till the ministers could recover themselves, when on a sudden Lord George Sackville led up the Blues;(467) spoke with as much warmth as your brother had, and with great force continued the attack which he had begun. Did not I tell you he would take this part? I was made privy to it; but this is far from all you are to expect. Lord North in vain rumbled about his mustard-bowl, and endeavoured alone to outroar a whole party: him and Forrester, Charles Townshend took up, but less well than usual. His jealousy of your brother's success, which was very evident, did not help him to shine. There were several other speeches, and, upon the whole, it was a capital debate; but Plutus is so much more persuasive an orator than your brother or Lord George, that we divided but 122 against 217. Lord Strange, who had agreed to the question, did not dare to vote for it, and declared off; and George Townshend who had actually voted for it on Friday, now voted against it. well! upon the whole, I heartily wish this administration may last: both their characters and abilities are so contemptible, @at I am sure we can be in no danger from prerogative when trusted to such hands!

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19     Next Part
Home - Random Browse