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What am I doing, to be talking to you of drawings and chintzes, when the world is all turned topsy turvy? Peace, as the poets would say, is not only returned to heaven, but has carried her sister Virtue along with her!-Oh! no, Peace will keep no such company_Virtue is an errant * *, and loves diamonds as well as my lady ****, and is as fond of a coronet as my lord Melcombe. Worse! worse! She will set men to cutting throats, and pick their pockets at the same time. I am in such a passion, I cannot tell you what I am angry about-Why, about Virtue and Mr. Pitt; two errant cheats, gipsies! I believe he was a comrade of Elizabeth Canning,' when he lived at Enfield-wash. In short, the council were for making peace;
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
He insisted on a war with Spain, was resisted, and last Monday resigned. The city breathed vengeance on his opposers, the council quaked, and the Lord knows what would have happened; but yesterday, which was only Friday, as this giant was stalking to seize the Tower of London, he stumbled over a silver penny, picked it up, carried it home to lady Esther, and they are now as quiet, good sort of people, as my lord and lady Bath who lived in the vinegar-bottle. In fact, madam, this immaculate man has accepted the barony of Chatham for his wife, with a pension of three thousand pounds a year for three lives; and, though he has not quitted the House of Commons, I think my lord A **** would now be as formidable there. The pension he has left us, is a war for three thousand lives! perhaps, for twenty times three thousand lives ! But
1 In 1753, the attention of the whole country was arrested by the affair of Elizabeth Canning, who represented herself as having been cas ried off and maltreated at the house of Mrs. Webb, when, in fact, she had only gone out of the way to lie in. Her tale was for a long time believed to be true; nine persons were arrested, tried, and convicted upon her testimony, and would certainly have been hanged, had it not been that the Sessions papers accidentally fell into the hands of a gentleman, who published a pamphlet in which he proved the impossibility of the facts she stated being true. [Ed.)
Does this become a soldier? this become
What! to sneak out of the scrape, prevent peace, and avoid the war! blast one's character, and all for the comfort of a paltry annuity, a long-necked peeress, and a couple of Grenvilles ! The city looks mighty foolish, I believe, and possibly eren Beckford may blush. Lord Temple resigned yesterday : I suppose his virtue pants for a dukedom. Lord Egremont has the seals ; lord Hardwicke, I fancy, the privy seal; and George Grenville, no longer speaker, is to be the cabinet minister in the House of Commons. Oh! madam, I am glad you are inconstant to Mr. Conway, though it is only with a Barbette! If you piqued yourself on your virtue, I should expect you would sell it to the master of a Trechscoot. I told you a lie about the king's going to Ranelagh
-No matter ; there is no such thing as truth. Garrick exhibits the coronation, and, opening the end of the stage, discovers a real bonfire and real mob: the houses in Drury-lane let their windows at three-pence a head. Rich is going to produce a finer coronation, nay, than the real one; for there is to be a dinner for the knights of the Bath and the barons of the Cinque Ports, which lord Talbot refused them.
I put your Caufields and Stauntons into the hands of one of the first heralds upon earth, and who has the entire pedigree of the Careys; but he cannot find a drop of Howard or Seymour blood in the least artery about them. Good night, madam!
Yours most faithfully.
TO THE Hon. H. S. CONWAY.
Arlington-street, October 12, 1761. It is very lucky that you did not succeed in the expedition to Rochfort. Perhaps you might have been made a peer; and as Chatham is a naval title, it might have fallen to your share. But it was reserved to crown greater glory: and, lest it should not be substantial pay enough, three thousand pounds a year for three lives go along with it. Not to Mr. Pitt-you can't suppose it. Why truly, not the title, but the annuity
does, and lady Hesther is the baroness ; that, if he should please, he may earn an earldom himself. Don't believe me, if you have not a mind. I know I did not believe those who told
But ask the gazette that swears it—ask the king, who has kissed lady Hesther—ask the city of London, who are ready to tear Mr. Pitt to pieces-ask forty people I can name, who are overjoyed at it—and then ask me again, who am mortified, and who have been the dupe of his disinterestedness. Oh, my dear Harry! I beg you on my knees, keep your virtue : do let me think there is still one man upon earth who despises money. I wrote you an account last week of his resignation. Could
you have believed that in four days he would have tumbled from the conquest of Spain to receiving a quarter's pension from Mr. West ?' To-day he has advertised his seven coach-horses to be sold—Three thousand pounds of his own will not keep a coach and six. I protest I believe he is mad, and lord Temple thinks so too; for he resigned the same morning that Pitt accepted the pension. George Grenville is minister in the House of Commons. I don't know who will be speaker. They talk of Prowse, Hussey, Bacon, and even of old sir John Rushout. Delaval has said an admirable thing: he blames Pitt-not as you and I do ; but calls him fool; and says, if he had gone into the city, told them he had a poor wife and children unprovided for, and had opened a subscription, he would have got five hundred thousand pounds, instead of three thousand pounds a year.
In the mean time the good man has saddled us with a war which we can neither carry on nor carry off. 'Tis pitiful ! 'tis wondrous pitiful! Is the communication stopped, that we never hear from you? I own 'tis an Irish question. I am out of humour: my visions are dispelled, and you are still abroad. As I cannot put Mr. Pitt to death, at least I have buried him : here is his epitaph:
Admire his eloquence-It mounted higher
1 Secretary to the treasury. [Or.]
October 13. Jemmy Grenville 2 resigned yesterday. Lord Temple is all hostility; and goes to the drawing-room to tell every body how angry he is with the court—but what is sir Joseph Wittol, when Nol Bluff is pacific? They talk of erecting a tavern in the city, called The Salutation: the sign to represent lord Bath and Mr. Pitt embracing. These are shameful times. Adieu !
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Strawberry-hill, October 24, 1761. I HAVE got two letters from you, and am sensibly pleased with your satisfaction. I love your cousin for his behaviour to you ; he will never place his friendship better. His parts and dignity, I did not doubt, would bear him out. I fear nothing but your spirits and the frank openness of your heart; keep them within bounds, and you will return in health, and with the serenity I wish you long to enjoy.
You have heard our politics; they do not mend; sick of glory, without being tired of war, and surfeited with unanimity before it had finished its work, we are running into all kinds of confusion. The city have bethought themselves, aud have voted that they will still admire Mr. Pitt; consequently, he, without the check of seeming virtue, may do what he pleases. An address of thanks to him has been carried by one hundred and nine against fifteen, and the city are to instruct their members; that is, because we are disappointed of a Spanish war, we must have one at home. Merciful! how old I am grown! Here am I, not liking a civil war! Do you know me? I am no longer that Gracchus, who, when Mr. Bentley told him something or other, I don't know what, would make a sect, answered quickly,
2 The right hon. James Grenville, brother of lord Temple, born 12th February, 1715, and died 14th September, 1783, leaving two sons, James, born 6th July, 1742, created baron Glastonbury, with a special remainder to his brother, general Richard Grenville, in 1797, and died unmarried 26th April 1825, when the title became extinct, general Grenville having died in 1823. [Ed.]
it make a party ?" In short, I think I am always to be in contradiction; now I am loving my country.
Worksop' is burnt down; I don't know the circumstances; the duke and duchess are at Bath; it has not been finished a month; the last furniture was brought in for the duke of York: I have some comfort that I had seen it, and, except the bare chambers, in which the queen of Scots lodged, nothing remained of ancient time.
I am much obliged to Mr. Hamilton's civilities; but I don't take too much to myself ; yet it is no draw back to think that he sees and compliments your friendship for me. I shall use his permission of sending you any thing that I think will bear the sea;
but how must I send it ? by what conveyance to the sea, and where deliver it? Pamphlets swarm already; none very good, and chiefly grave; you would not have them. Mr. Glover has published his long-hoarded Medea,” as an introduction to the House of Commons; it had been more proper to usher him from school to the university. There are a few good lines, not much conduct, and a quantity of iambics and trochaics, that scarce speak English, and yet have no rhyme to keep one another in countenance. If his chariot is stopped at Temple-bar, I suppose he will take it for the straits of Thermopylæ, and be delivered of his first speech before its time.
The catalogue of the duke of Devonshire's collection is only in the six volumes of the Description of London. I did print about a dozen, and gave them all away so totally, that on searching, I had not reserved one for myself. When we are at leisure, I will reprint a few more, and you shall have one for your speaker. I don't know who is to be ours: Prowse, they say, has refused; sir J. Cust’ was the last named: but I am here and know nothing; sorry that I shall hear any thing on Tuesday se’nnight.
1 The duke of Norfolk’s fine seat at Worksop Manor, Nottinghamshire, was burnt down on the 20th October 1761. The damage was estimated at £100,000. When the duke heard of it, he exclaiined,
“ God's will be done!” and the duchess, “ How many besides us are sufferers by the like calamity.” [Ed.]
2 Glover's Tragedy of Medea. (Ed.]
3 Sir John Cust was elected speaker, and approved of by the king, 6th November 1761. (Ed.)