Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, [10 October 1751]
A little kind of Reproach, that I saw the other Day in a Letter of yours to Mr Brown, has made my Guilt fly in my Face, & given me Spirit to be a Beast no longer. I desired him to tell you in the beginning of the Summer, that I fear'd my Journey into the North would be prevented by the Arrival of my Cousin, Mrs Forster (whom you remember by the Name of Pattinson) from India. she came in August; & I continued in Town with her a Month in order to do what little Services I could to a Person as strange, & as much to seek, as tho' she had been born in the Mud of the Ganges. after this the Year was too far advanced to undertake such an Expedition; & the Thought of seeing you here in the Spring in some measure comforts me for the Disappointment; for I depend upon your coming then, when it will be far easier to confer together, & determine about a Thing, in wch (I fear) I am too much interes[ted to deserve having] any great share in the Determination: for [ ]
People. you are aware undoubtedly, that a certain Deference, not to say Servility, to the Heads of Colleges is perhaps necessary to a Physician, that means to establish himself here: you possibly may find a Method to do without it. another Inconvenience your Wife, rather than you, will feel, the Want of Company of her own Sex; as the Women are few here, squeezy & formal, and little skill'd in amusing themselves or other People. all I can say is, she must try to make up for it among the Men, who are not over-agreeable neither. I much approve of your settling seriously to your Profession; but as your Father is old, if you should lose him, what becomes of your Interest, & to whom is it then to be transfer'd? would you leave London & your Practise again to canvas an Election for yourself? it seems to me, that, if you execute your present Scheme, you must (in case of Mr Wh:n's Death) entirely lay aside all Views of that Kind. the gradual Transition you propose to make thro' Bath or Cambridge to London is very well judged, & likely enough to succeed. for Bath, I am wholly unacquainted with it, & consequently can say little to the Purpose. the Way of Life there might be more amusing to Mrs Wharton, than this; but to You, I think, would be less satisfactory. I sincerely congratulate you on the good Effects of your new Medecine, wch is indeed a sufficient Recompence for any Pains you have taken in that Study. but to make a just Tryal of its Efficacy & of your own Constitution, you certainly ought to pass a little Time at London (a Month or so) & that [ ] engaged himself to make it up 1000£, in case the Brothers will not do it, & they have (after some Hesitation) refused it. our good Mr Brown goes out of his Office today, of wch he is not a little glad. his College, wch had much declined for some time, is picking up again: they have had twelve Admissions this Year; & are just filling up two Fellowships with a Mr Cardell, whom I do not know, but they say, he is a good Scholar; & a Mr Delaval, a Fellow-Commoner (a younger Son to old Delaval of Northumberland) who has taken his Degree in an exemplary Manner, & is very sensible, & knowing. the Appeal, wch has been so long contended for, will, I believe, at last be yielded to with a good Grace, or rather bestowed, by the Advice of the D: of N:, & my Lord Ch:r, & will be the best & most popular Thing they can do, but you must not mention it, till it is actually done. I am sorry your friend Chapman will lose all the Merit of his Pamphlet, wch (by the Way) has been answer'd exceedingly well, & with all due Contempt. he seems much mortified, & was preparing a Reply; but this Event, I doubt, will cut him short.
I know of nothing new in the literary Way, but the History of Lewis, 14th, by Voltaire; not that I have yet seen it but my Expectations are much raised.
Most truly Yours
P:S: I am ready to pay my Debts, if you will tell me to whom. my Compliments & good Wishes to Mrs Wharton, & the little Gentry.
Egerton MS 2400, ff. 41-42, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/bldept/manuscr/>
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter XXIV, vol. ii, 208-210
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter XXXI, vol. iii, 75-78
- The Letters of Thomas Gray, including the correspondence of Gray and Mason, 3 vols. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. London: George Bell and Sons, 1900-12, letter no. XCVI, vol. i, 215-218
- Correspondence of Thomas Gray, 3 vols. Ed. by the late Paget Toynbee and Leonard Whibley, with corrections and additions by H. W. Starr. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971 [1st ed. 1935], letter no. 163, vol. i, 351-354