Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, [19 July 1761]
As you & Mr R: Wharton seem determined for the foundation, I shall say no more on that subject: it is pity you could not resolve sooner, for I fear you are now too late, & must defer your design till the next year, as the Election at Eton begins this day se'nnight, & your Nephew ought to be there on the evening of the 27th at farthest, wch is scarce possible. you have never told me his age: but (I suppose) you know, that after 15 compleat Boys are excluded from the election, & that a Certificate of their age, (that is, an extract from the Parish-Register, where they were baptised,) is always required, wch must be attested & sign'd by the Minister & Churchwardens of the said Parish. your Nephew (I imagine) is much younger than fifteen, & therefore there will be no great inconvenience if he should be placed at Eton, whenever it suits Mr Wharton to carry him, & there wait for the next election. this is commonly practised, & Dr A: (I do not doubt) will be equally ready to serve him then, as now. he will probably be placed pretty high in the School, having had the same education, that is in use there, & will have time to familiarise himself to the place, before he actually enters the College. I have waited to know your intentions, before I could answer Dr A:s letter; & wish you would now write to me, what you finally determine. there is a Month's Breaking-up immediately after the Election (wch lasts a week) so it is probable Mr Wharton will hardly send his Son till those holidays are over.
I do not mention the subject you hint at for the same reason you give me; it should be offer'd, & clear of all taxes, before I would go into it, in spite of the mines in America, on which I congratulate you.
I shall hope to see Old-Park next summer, if I am not bedrid, but who can tell? Mr Brown presents his best services to the family with mine: he is older than I.
Egerton MS 2400, ff. 148-149, 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 XCVIII, vol. ii, 389-390
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CVI, vol. iii, 285-286
- 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. CCXXIII, vol. ii, 218-219
- 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. 337, vol. ii, 742-743