Skip main navigation

Thomas Gray to John Chute, [23 November 1746]

Back to Letters page

John Chute Esq
at the House of Francis Whithed Esq
in New Bond Street


It is doubtless highly reasonable, that two young Foreigners come into so distant a Country to acquaint themselves with strange Things should have some Time allowed them to take a View of the King (God bless him) & the Ministry, & the Theatres, & Westminster Abbey & the Lyons, & such other Curiosities of the Capital City: you civilly call them Dissipations; but to me they appear Employments of a very serious Nature, as they enlarge the Mind, give a great Insight into the Nature & Genius of a People, keep the Spirits in an agreeable Agitation, and (like the True Artificial Spirit of Lavender) amazingly fortify & corroborate the whole nervous System. but as all Things sooner or later must pass away, & there is a certain Period, when (by the Rules of Proportion) one is to grow weary of every Thing: I may hope at length a Season will arrive, when you will be tired of forgetting me. 'tis true you have a long Journey to make first, a vast Series of Sights to pass thro'. let me see! you are at Lady Brown already. I have set a Time, when I may say, oh! he is now got to the Waxwork in Fleetstreet: there is nothing more but Cupid's Paradise, & the Hermaphrodite from Guinea, & the Original Basilisk Dragon, & the Buffalo from Babylon, & the New Chimpanzee, & then I. have a Care, you had best, that I come in my Turn: you know in whose Hands I have deposited my little Interests. I shall infallibly appeal to my best invisible Friend in the Country.

I am glad Castalio has justified himself & me to You. he seem'd to me more made for Tenderness, than Horrour, & (I have Courage again to insist upon it) might make a better Player than any now on the Stage. I have not alone received (thank you) but almost got thro' Louis Onze. 'tis very well, methinks, but nothing particular. what occasion'd his Castration at Paris, I imagine, were certain Strokes in Defence of the Gallican Church & its Liberties–a little Contempt cast upon the Popes, & something here & there on the Conduct of the great Princes. there are a few Instances of Malice against our Nation, that are very foolish.

My Companion, whom you salute, is (much to my Sorrow) only so now & then. he lives 20 Miles off at Nurse, & is not so meagre as when you first knew him, but of a reasonable Plumposity. he shall not fail being here to do the Honours, when you make your publick Entry. heigh-ho! when that will be, chi sá? but, mi lusinga il dolce sogno!–I love Mr Whithed, & wish him all Happiness.

Farewell, my dear Sr, I am ever Yours
T G:

Commend me kindly to Mr Walpole.

Letter ID: letters.0144 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 29
Addressee: Chute, John, 1701-1776
Addressee's age: 44


Date of composition: [23 November 1746]
Date (on letter): Sunday
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Cambridge
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To / John Chute Esq / at the House of Francis Whithed Esq / in New Bond Street / Westminster (postmark: CAMBRIDGE 24 NO)


Language: English
Incipit: It is doubtless highly reasonable, that two young Foreigners...
Mentioned: Duclos, Charles Pinot

Holding Institution

Chute of The Vyne, Sherborne St John, The Vyne , Sherborne St John, UK <>
[See this record from the Hampshire Record Office]
Availability: The original letter is extant, but there is no further information about its availability

Print Versions

  • A History of the Vyne in Hampshire. By Chaloner William Chute. Winchester: Jacob & Johnson, 1888, 102-104
  • Gray and his Friends: Letters and Relics, in great part hitherto unpublished. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1890, section III, letter no. 2, 181-183
  • 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. LXX, vol. i, 147-149
  • 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. 126, vol. i, 252-254