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I breakfasted the day before yesterday at Ælia Lælia Chudleigh's. There was a concert for prince Edward's birth-day, and at three a vast cold collation, and all the town. The house is not fine, nor in good taste, but loaded with finery. Execrable varnished pictures, chests, cabinets, commodes, tables, stands, boxes, riding on one another's backs, and loaded with terreens, philigree, figures, and every thing upon earth. Every favour she has bestowed is registered by a bit of Dresden china. There is a glass-case full of enamels, eggs, ambers, lapis lazuli, cameos, tooth-pick cases, and all kinds of trinkets, things that she told me were her playthings; another cupboard, full of the finest japan, and candlesticks and vases of rock chrystal, ready to be thrown down, in every corner.
But of all curiosities, are the conveniences in every bed chamber: great mahogany projections, with brass handles, cocks, &c.- I could not help saying, it was the loosest family I ever saw. Adieu !
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, April 19, 1760. WELL, this big week is over ! Lord George's sentence, after all the communications of how terrible it was, is ended in proclaiming him unfit for the king's service. Very moderate in comparison of what was intended and desired, and truly not very severe, considering what was proved. The other trial, lord Ferrers's, lasted three days. You have seen the pomp and awfulness of such doings, so I will not describe it to you. The judge and criminal were far inferior to those you
have For the lord high steward,' he neither had any dignity, nor affected any! nay, he held it all so cheap, that he said at his own table t’other day, “I will not send for Garrick and learn to act a part.” At first, I thought lord Ferrers shocked, but in general he behaved rationally and coolly ; though it was a strange contradiction to see a man trying, by his own sense, to prove himself out of his senses. It was more shocking to see his two brothers brought to prove the lunacy in their own blood, in order to save their brother's life. Both are almost as ill-looking men as the earl; one of them is a clergyman, suspended by the bishop of London for being a methodist ; the other, a wild vagabond, whom they call in the country, ragged and dangerous. After lord Ferrers was condemned, he made an excuse for pleading madness, to which he said he was forced by his family. He is respited till Monday-fortnight, and will then be hanged, I believe in the Tower; and, to the mortification of the peerage, is to be anatomized, conformably to the late act for murder. Many peers were absent; lord Foley and lord Jersey attended only the first day; and lord Huntingdon, and my nephew Orford, (in compliment to his mother*) as related to the prisoner, withdrew without voting. But never was a criminal more literally tried by his peers,
i Lord Keeper Henley was appointed lord High Steward on the occasion. (Ed.)
for the three persons, who interested themselves most in the examination, were at least as mad as he ; lord Ravensworth, lord Talbot, and lord Fortescue. Indeed, the first was almost frantic. The seats of the peeresses were not near full ; and most of the beauties absent: the duchess of Hamilton and my niece Waldegrave, you know, lie in ; but, to the amazement of every body, lady Coventry was there, and what surprised me much more, looked as well as ever. I sat next but one to her, and should not have asked if she had been ill-yet they are positive she has few weeks to live. She and lord Bolingbroke seemed to have different thoughts, and were acting over all the old comedy of eyes. I sat in lord Lincoln's gallery; you and I know the convenience of it; I thought it no great favour to ask, and he very obligingly sent me a ticket immediately, and ordered me to be placed in one of the best boxes. Lady Augusta was in the same gallery ; the duke of York and his young brothers were in the prince of Wales's box, who was not there, no more than the princess, princess Emily, nor the duke. It was an agreeable humanity in my friend the duke of York ; he would not take his seat in the house before the trial, that
2 The reverend Walter Shirley died 15th December 1792. [Ed.]
3 Theophilus, earl of Huntingdon married lady Selina Shirley, second daughter and co-heiress of Washington, second earl Ferrers, who died without issue male in 1729. (Ed.]
4 Who, on the death of his father, had married, secondly, the honourable Sewallis Shirley. (Ed.]
he might not vote in it. There are so many young peers, that the show was fine even in that respect ; the duke of Richmond was the finest figure : the duke of Marlborough,5 with the best countenance in the world, looked clumsy in his robes; he had new ones, having given away his father's to the valet de chambre. There were others not at all so indifferent about the antiquity of theirs : lord Huntingdon’s, lord Abergavenny's 6 and lord Castlehaven's? scarcely hung on their backs; the two former they pretend were used at the trial of the queen of Scots. But all these honours were a little defaced by seeing lord Temple, as lord privy seal, walk at the head of the peerage. Who, at the last trials, would have believed a prophecy, that the three first men at the next, should be Henley the lawyer, bishop Secker, and Dick Grenville !
The day before the trial, the duke of Bolton fought a duel at Marylebone with Stuart, who lately stood for Hampshire; the latter was wounded in the arm, and the former fell down. Adieu !
5 George, fourth duke of Marlborough, succeeded to the title 20th October 1758, on the death of his father at Munster in Germany; whither he bad gone in the previous July, upon being appointed to command the British forces sent to serve in Germany under prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. (Ed.]
6 George, twenty-fourth lord, succeeded his father, William, twenty-third lord, 21st September, 1744; and in 1784 was created earl of Abergavenny, and viscount Nevill of Berling. (Ed.]
7 John Touchet, baron Audley of Heleigh, and baron of Orier in England, earl of Castlehaven in Ireland, succeeded his father, James, October 1740, and died without issue in 1769. He was succeeded by his brother John Talbot, fifteenth lord, on whose death, also without issue, in 1777, the Irish earldom of Castlehaven became extinct. His nephew, George Thicknesse, the son of his sister Elizabeth, married to Philip Thicknesse, Esq., succeeded as heir general to the ancient barony of Audley as sixteenth lord, and was father of George John, the present and seventeenth lord, who succeeded him 24th August, 1818. [Ed.]
8 Dr. Thomas Secker, translated to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury in 1758, upon the death of Dr. Hutton. [Ed.]
9 Richard Grenville Temple, second Earl Temple, formerly M.P. for Buckingham, succeeded to the earldom on the death of his mother in 1752. He was keeper of the Privy Seal at the death of king George the second, and distinguished himself as leader of the opposition to lord Bute’s administration in the early part of the following reign. (Ed.]
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, May 6, 1760. The extraordinary history of lord Ferrers is closed : he was executed yesterday. Madness, that in other countries is a disorder, is here a systematic character: it does not hinder people from forming a plan of conduct, and from even dying agreeably to it. You remember how the last Ratcliffe died with the utmost propriety; so did this horrid lunatic, coolly and sensibly. His own and his wife's relations had asserted that he would tremble at last. No such thing; he shamed heroes. He bore the solemnity of a pompous and tedious procession of above two hours from the Tower to Tyburn, with as much tranquillity as if he was only going to his own burial, not to his own execution. He even talked on indifferent subjects in the passage; and if the sheriff and the chaplains had not thought that they had parts to act, too, and had not consequently engaged him in most particular conversation, he did not seem to think it necessary to talk on the occasion; he went in his wedding-clothes, marking the only remaining impression on his mind. The ceremony he was in a hurry to have over: he was stopped at the gallows by the vast crowd, but got out of his coach as soon as he could, and was but seven minutes on the scaffold, which was hung with black, and prepared by the undertaker of his family at their expense. There was a new contrivance for sinking the stage under him, which did not play well; and he suffered a little by the delay, but was dead in four minutes. The mob was decent, and admired him, and almost pitied him ; so they would lord George, whose execution they are so angry at missing. I suppose every highwayman will now preserve the blue handkerchief he has about his neck when he is married, that he may die like a lord! With all his
'Lord Ferrers, on the morning of his execution, dressed himself in the suit of light coloured clothes embroidered with silver, in which he had been married. The following verses are said to have been found in his apartment in the Tower:
“ In doubt I lived, in doubt I die,
Yet stand prepared the vast abyss to try,
madness he was not mad enough to be struck with his aunt Huntingdon's sermons. The methodists have nothing to brag of his conversion, though Whitfield prayed for him, and preached about him. Even Tyburn has been above their reach. I have not heard that lady Fanny dabbled with his soul; but I believe she is prudent enough to confine her missionary zeal to subjects where the body may be her perquisite.
When am I likely to see you? The delightful rain is come -we look and smell charmingly. Adieu.
To the EARL OF STRAFFORD.
Strawberry-hill, June 7, 1760. MY DEAR LORD,
WHEN at my time of day one can think a ball worth going to London for on purpose, you will not wonder that I am childish enough to write an account of it. I could give a better reason, your bidding me send you any news; but I scorn a good reason when I am idle enough to do any thing for a bad
You had heard, before you left London, of miss Chudleigh's intended loyalty on the prince's birthday. Poor thing, I fear she has thrown away above a quarter's salary! It was magnificent and well-understood-no crowd-and though a sultry night, one was not a moment incommoded. The court was illuminated on the whole summit of the wall with a battlement of lamps; smaller ones on every step, and a figure of lanthorns on the outside of the house. The virgin-mistress began the ball with the duke of York, who was dressed in a pale blue watered tabby, which, as I told him, if he danced much, would soon be tabby all over, like the man's advertisement ;' but nobody did dance much. There was a new miss Bishop from sir Cecil's endless hoard of beauty daughters, who is still prettier than her sisters. The new Spanish embassy was there—alas ! Sir Cecil
1 A stay-maker of the time, who advertised in the newspapers making stays at such a price; “ tabby all over." [Or.]