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Pelham, lady Hertford, lord Beauchamp, lord Huntingdon, old Bowman, and I. This new convent is beyond Goodmau’s-fields, and I assure you, would content any Catholic alive. We were received by oh! first, a vast mob, for princes are not so common at that end of the town as at this. Lord Hertford, at the head of the governors with their white staves, met us at the door, and led the prince directly into the chapel, where, before the altar was an arm-chair for him, with a blue damask cushion, a prieDieu, and a footstool of black cloth with gold nails. We sat on forms near him. There were lord and lady Dartmouth in the odour of devotion, and many city ladies. The chapel is small and low, but neat, hung with Gothic paper, and tablets of benefactions. At the west end were enclosed the sisterhood, above an hundred and thirty, all in greyish brown stuffs, broad handkerchiefs, and flat straw hats, with a blue riband, pulled quite over their faces. As soon as we entered the chapel, the organ played, and the Magdalens sung a hymn in parts; you cannot imagine how well. The chapel was dressed with orange and myrtle, and there wanted nothing but a little incense to drive away the devil—or to invite him. Prayers then began, psalms and a sermon: the latter by a young clergyman, one Dodd,5 who contributed to the Popish idea one had imbibed, by haranguing entirely in the French style, and very eloquently and touchingly. He apostrophized the lost sheep, who sobbed and cried from their souls; so did my lady Hertford and Fanny Pelham, till I believe the city dames took them both for Jane Shores. The confessor then turned to the audience, and addressed himself to his royal highness, whom he called most illustrious prince, beseeching his protection. In short, it was a very pleasing performance, and I got the most illustrious to desire it might be printed. We had another hymn, and then were conducted to the parloir, where the governors kissed the prince's hand, and then the lady abbess, or matron, brought us tea. From thence we went to the refectory, where all the nuns, with
5 The well known Dr. Dodd (he took his degree of LL.D. in 1776), author of a valuable ‘Commentary on the Bible,’ in 3 vols. folio, 1770, and of the ten times reprinted Thoughts in Prison,' and many other works. He suffered death at Tyburn, 27th June 1777, for forging a bond for £4,200, purporting to be executed by his pupil, Lord Chesterfield, and obtaining money on the same. [Ed.]
out their hats, were ranged at long tables, ready for supper. A few were handsome, many who seemed to have no title to their profession, and two or three of twelve years old: but all recovered, and looking healthy. I was struck and pleased with the modesty of two of them, who swooned away with the confusion of being stared at. We were then shewn their work, which is making linen, and bead-work; they earn ten pounds a-week. One circumstance diverted me, but amidst all this decorum, I kept it to myself. The wands of the governors are white, but twisted at top with black and white, which put me in mind of Jacob's rods, that he placed before the cattle to make them breed. My lord Hertford would never have forgiven me, if I had joked on this ; so I kept my countenance very demurely, nor even inquired, whether among the pensioners, there were any novices from Mrs. Naylor's.
The court-martial on lord George Sackville is appointed : general Onslow is to be speaker of it. Adieu! till I see you ; I am glad it will be so soon.
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, March 27, 1760. I should have thought that you might have learnt by this time, that when a tradesman promises any thing on Monday or Saturday or any particular day of the week, he means any Monday or any Saturday of any week, as nurses quiet children and their own consciences by the refined salvo of to-morrow is a new day. When Mr. Smith's Saturday and the frame do arrive, I will pay the one, and send you the other.
Lord George's trial is not near being finished. By its draggling beyond the term of the old mutiny-bill, they were forced to make out a new warrant: this lost two days, as all the depositions were forced to be read over again to, and re-sworn by, the witnesses ; then there will be a contest, whether Sloper' shall re-establish his own credit by pawning it farther. Lord Ferrers comes on the stage on the sixteenth of next month.
1 Lieutenant-colonel Sloper (of Bland's dragoons), the principal evidence against lord George Sackville, and whose testimony went to accuse his lordship of having disobeyed the orders of his commander through fear. [Ed.]
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.
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
seen. 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
I Lord Keeper Henley was appointed lord High Steward on the occasion. [Ed.]
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,3 and my nephew Orford, (in compliment to his mother4 ) as related to the prisoner, withdrew without voting. But never was a criminal more literally tried by his peers, 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 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.]
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, 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 had 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.]