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expanded, I could write to the last scrap of my paper ; but I won't.
Yours most entirely.
To The EARL OF STRAFFORD.
Strawberry-hill, July 22, 1761. MY DEAR LORD,
I love to be able to contribute to your satisfaction; and I think few things would make you happier than to hear that we have totally defeated the French combined armies, and that Mr. Conway is safe. The account came this morning: I had a short note from poor lady Ailesbury, who was waked with the good news, before she had heard there had been a battle. I don't pretend to send you circumstances, no more than I do of the wedding and coronation, because you have relations and friends in town nearer and better informed. Indeed, only the blossom of victory is come yet.-Fitzroy is expected, and another fuller courier after him. Lord Granby, to the mob's heart's content, has the chief honour of the day-rather, of the two days. The French behaved to the mob's content too, that is, shamefully. And all this glory cheaply bought on our side. Lieutenantcolonel Keith killed ; and colonel Marlay and Harry Townshend wounded. If it produces a peace, I shall be happy for mankind -if not, shall content myself with the single but pure joy of Mr. Conway's being safe.
Well ! my lord, when do you come ? You don't like the question, but kings will be married and must be crowned and if people will be earls, they must now and then give up castles and new fronts, for processions and ermine. By the way, the number of peeresses that propose to excuse themselves makes great noise ; especially as so many are breeding, or trying to breed, by commoners, that they cannot walk. I hear that my lord D ****, concluding all women would not dislike the ceremony, is negotiating his peerage in the city, and trying if any great fortune will give fifty thousand pounds for one day, as they
1 Lieut. Colonel Fitzroy, aid-de-camp to Prince Ferdinand, arrived with the particulars of the victory on the 23d. (Ed.]
often do for one night. I saw miss **** this evening at my lady Suffolk's, and fancy she does not think my lord * * * * quite so ugly as she did two months ago. Adieu, my lord! This is a splendid year!
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Strawberry-hill, July 22, 1761. For my part, I believe Mademoiselle Scuderi? drew the plan of this year. It is all royal marriages, coronations, and victories; they come tumbling so over one another from distant parts of the globe, that it looks just like the handy-work of a lady romance writer, whom it costs nothing but a little false geography to make the great Mogul in love with a princess of *****, and defeat two marshals of France as he rides post on an elephant to his nuptials. I don't know where I am. I had scarce found Mecklenburgh Strelitzo with a magnifying glass, before I am whisked to Pondicherri :—well, I take it, and raze it. I begin to grow acquainted with colonel Coote, and to figure him packing up chests of diamonds, and sending them to his wife against the king's wedding-thunder go the Tower guns, and behold Broglio and Soubise are totally defeated ; if the mob have not much stronger heads and quicker conceptions than I have, they will conclude my lord Granby is become nabob. How the deuce in two days can one digest all this? Why is not Pondicherri in Westphalia ? I don't know how the Romans did, but I cannot support two victories every week. Well, but you will want to know the particulars. Broglio and Soubise, united, attacked our army on the fifteenth, but were repulsed ; the next day, the prince Mahomet Alli Cawn-no, no, I mean prince Ferdinand, returned the attack, and the French threw down their arms, and fled, run over my lord Harcourt, who was going to fetch the new queen ; in short, I don't know how it was, but Mr. Conway is safe, and I am as happy as Mr. Pitt himself. We have only lost a lieutenant-colonel Keith; colonel Marlay and Harry Townshend are wounded.
1 Magdeline de Scudery, the celebrated authoress of Ibrahiın ou l'Illustre Bassa'— Le Grand Cyrus,' &c. It is related of this lady, that when travelling with her brother, at a time when they were engaged in the composition of Artamenes, they entered into a discussion at a small inn where they were resting, as to whether they should kill the prince Mazares, one of the characters in that romance, by poison or the dagger, and being overheard by two merchants, were arrested on suspicion of intended murder, and escaped from ' durance vile' by a declaration of the real facts of the case. [Ed.]
2 In consequence of the king's announcement of his intention to demand in marriage the princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz. [Ed.]
3 The news of the capture of Pondicherry, in January 1761, had only arrived the day preceding the date of this letter. [Ed.]
I could beat myself for not having a flag ready to display on my round tower, and guns mounted on all my battlements. Instead of that, I have been foolishly trying on my new pictures upon my gallery. However, the oratory of our lady of Strawberry shall be dedicated next year on the anniversary of Mr. Conway's safety. Think with his intrepidity, and delicacy of honour wounded, what I had to apprehend; you shall absolutely be here on the sixteenth of next July. Mr. Hamilton tells me your king does not set out for his new dominions till the day after the coronation; if you will come to it, I can give you a very good place for the procession; where, is a profound secret, because, if known, I should be teased to death, and none but my first friends shall be admitted. I dined with your secretary yesterday; there were Garrick and a young Mr. Burke,5 who wrote a book in the style of lord Bolingbroke, that was much admired. He is a sensible man, but has not worn off his authorism yet, and thinks there is nothing so charming as writers, and to be one.
He will know better one of these days. I like Hamilton's little Marly; we walked in the great allée, and drank tea in the arbour of treillage; they talked of Shakspeare and Booth, of Swift and my lord Bath, and I was thinking of Madame Sevigné. Good night! I have a dozen other letters to write; I must tell my friends how happy I am-not as an Englishman, but as a cousin.
4 Mr. Montagu's private secretary. (Ed.)
5 The celebrated Edmund Burke, who came into parliament two years after this. Many of his earliest political writings, which were published anonymously, were so masterly in style and argument, that they were generally attributed to lord Boling broke. (Ed.]
To The Hon. H. S. CONWAY.
Strawberry-hill, July 23, 1761. WELL, mon beau cousin ! you may be as cross as you please now : when you beat two marshals of France and cut their armies to pieces, I don't mind your pouting; but, in good truth, it was a little vexatious to have you quarrelling with me, when I was in greater pain about you than I can express. I will say no more; make a peace, under the walls of Paris if you please, and I will forgive you all—but no more battles : consider, as Dr. Hay said, it is cowardly to beat the French now.
Don't look upon yourselves as the only conquerors in the world. Pondicherri is ours, as well as the field of Kirk Denckirk. The park guns never have time to cool; we ruin ourselves in gunpowder and sky-rockets. If you have a mind to do the gallantest thing in the world after the greatest, you must escort the princess of Mecklenburgh' through France. You see what a bully I am; the moment the French run away, I am sending you on expeditions. I forgot to tell you that the king has got the isle of Dominique and the chicken-pox, two trifles that don't count in the midst of all these festivities. No more does your letter of the 8th, which I received yesterday: it is the one that is to come after the 16th, that I shall receive graciously.
Friday, 24th. Not satisfied with the rays of glory that reached Twickenham, I came to town to bask in
but am most disagreeably disappointed to find you must beat the French once more, who seem to love to treat the English mob with subjects for bonfires. I had got over such an alarm, that I foolishly ran into the other extreme, and concluded there was not a French battalion left entire upon the face of Germany. Do write to me; don't be out of humour, but tell me every motion you make: I assure you I have deserved you should. Would you were out of the question, if it were only that I might feel a little humanity! There is not a blacksmith or linkboy in London that exults more than I do, upon any good news,
your success ;
you Her late Majesty. (Or.]
went abroad. What have I to do to hate people I never saw, and to rejoice in their calamities? Heaven send us peace, and you home! Adieu !
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, July 28, 1761. No, I shall never cease being a dupe, till I have been undeceived round by every thing that calls itself a virtue. I came to town yesterday, through clouds of dust, to see The Wishes, and went actually feeling for Mr. Bentley, and full of the emotions he must be suffering. What do you think, in a house crowded, was the first thing I saw ? Mr. and Madame Bentley, perched up in the front boxes, and acting audience at his own play! No, all the impudence of false patriotism never came up to it. Did one ever hear of an author that had courage to see his own first night in public? I don't believe Fielding or Foote himself ever did, and this was the modest, bashful Mr. Bentley, that died at the thought of being known for an author even by his own acquaintance. In the stage-box, was lady Bute, lord Halifax, and lord Melcombe. I must say, the two last entertained the house as much as the play; your king was prompter, and called out to the actor every minute to speak louder. The other went backwards and forwards behind the scenes, fetched the actors into the box, and was busier than harlequin. The curious prologue was not spoken, the whole very ill acted. It turned out just what I remembered it; the good parts extremely good, the rest very flat and vulgar; the genteel dialogue, I believe, might be written by Mrs. Hannah. The audience was extremely fair: the first act they bore with patience, though it promised very ill; the second is admirable, and was much applauded; so was the third; the fourth woeful; the beginning of the fifth it seemed expiring, but was revived by a delightful burlesque of the ancient chorus, which was followed by two dismal scenes, at which people yawned, but were awakened on a sudden by Harlequin's being drawn up to a gibbet, nobody knew why or wherefore: this raised a prodigious and continued