Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 31 October 1757
Dr Thomas Wharton, M:D: in
Kings-Arms Yard Coleman Street
I should be extremely sorry to think that You or Mrs Wharton came a day the sooner to Town on my account this fine season. if you are already come, I shall come to you: if not, you will let me know some day this week (for I shall hardly stay here much longer) that I may write for a lodging. I rejoice to hear you are all well.
If there be really any Enquiry into the Expedition (wch I believe will scarcely be, unless it be very hard press'd) many things will appear, as well with regard to the design as the execution, that do not yet seem to be generally known. the design, for wch the Soldiers were put into the boats, was to attack a Fort, call'd Fourasse, at the mouth of the Charante (for Rochefort itself lies five miles up the River). it was necessary, they should be masters of this place not only to clear their way to the Town, but to have some place of security for their first imbarkation of about 1200 Men, who must remain for four hours exposed to the Enemy, before any reinforcement could join them (as the Admirals declared), & (I have heard) this design was laid aside in great measure upon Capt: Howe's saying it would be, if practicable at all, a very bloody, & difficult attempt. if therefore he asserts what you have been told, it is very strange. when I see you, I shall tell you more; & even this, if you do not hear it publickly said, I should wish, you would not mention.
I want to know what is said of our Capt: General's resignation & the causes of it, for this seems a more extraordinary thing than the other.
Egerton MS 2400, ff. 98-99, 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 LXVII, vol. ii, 298-299
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter LXXV, vol. iii, 179-180
- 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. CLIII, vol. i, 369-370
- 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. 255, vol. ii, 536-537