Thomas Gray to Mary Antrobus, [c. 5 September 1759]
The Death of the poor Alderman is an event, that you have so long weekly expected, that (tho' it may justly afflict his family) yet it could not surprise them.
I am sorry to hear of the attempt making to deprive your Mamma of her Office at such a time, & do not understand upon what pretences your enemies should ground such a proceeding, when she had so lately too obtain'd a confirmation of it. they charge her to be sure with something; whether justly or unjustly is not the Question, but any Friend, who would enter into her cause & justify her effectually, must be acquainted with what is objected, & with the reasons she can alledge in her own defence, wch are (I hope) sufficient to set aside the malice of these people. Mr Shelvocke, if he is continued in his office, seems the first Person to apply to, & (I should imagine) you have already done so. tho' I have not seen him for years, I should not scruple speaking to him myself, but that you have not furnish'd me with any thing to say; & (if he should not be a friend to our cause, wch is a thing I do not know) I might perhaps do more hurt than good by interposing. neither of the Post-Masters are (as you suppose) related to Mr Pitt: one is the Earl of Bessborough, & the other Mr Trevor-Hambden. what I could, I have done: by this night's post I have wrote to Ld John Cavendish, who is Brother to Ld Bessborough, to desire he would write, or speak a word in behalf of your Mamma: but he is as far off as Chatsworth in Derbyshire, & besides (tho' I believe inclined enough to oblige me) naturally very shy & backward in asking any thing even from his nearest Relations. therefore I can by no means promise myself success, & especially if the case should be (what I once told you I was afraid of) that Mrs A:s should have trusted your Gr: Papa with any money belonging to the Office, wch may be now suddenly demanded of her, wch I should be extremely sorry for.
If there is any thing else I can do, inform me; but my connection with People in power is very small, & that little I have never employed in asking favours at their hands, even for myself. I do not recollect any body, that I know, who has any interest in Mr Trevor: he is Uncle to the Dutchess of Marlb'rough, if your Mamma knows any means of applying to her.
My Service to Mrs Antrobus. I do not at all expect, she should write herself at such a time, & think you may very well be her scribe. Adieu, I am
Love to Dolly . . . pray, may I communicate with Powdish on this subject for any information, or is it better not? I am not at all well, & have a sort of fever: they tell me I am going to have a Jaundice.
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- 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. 301, vol. ii, pp. 638-640 - view pages