Thomas Gray to James Brown, 8 August 1759
To the Revd James Brown M:A: President of Pembroke-Hall Cambridge
The season for triumph is at last come; I mean for our Allies, for it will be long enough before we shall have reason to exult in any great actions of our own, & therefore, as usual, we are proud for our neigbours. Contades' great army is entirely defeated: this (I am told) is undoubted, but no particulars are known as yet; & almost as few of the other victory over ye Russians, wch is lost in the splendor of this greater action. so much for war, & now come and see me in my peaceful new settlement, from whence I have the command of Highgate, Hampstead, Bedford-Gardens, & the Musæum. this last (as you will imagine) is my favourite Domain, where I often pass four hours in the day in the stillness & solitude of the reading room, wch is uninterrupted by any thing but Dr Stukeley the Antiquary, who comes there to talk nonsense, & Coffee-house news. the rest of the Learned are (I suppose) in the country; at least none of them come there, except two Prussians, & a Man, who writes for Ld Royston. when I call it peaceful, you are to understand it only of us Visiters, for the Society itself, Trustees, & all, are up in arms, like the Fellows of a College. the Keepers have broke off all intercourse with one another, & only lower a silent defiance, as they pass by. Dr Knight has wall'd up the passage to the little-House, because some of the rest were obliged to pass by one of his windows in the way to it. moreover the trustees lay out 500£ a year more than their income; so you may expect, all the books & the crocodiles will soon be put up to auction. the University (we hope) will buy.
I have not (as you silently charge me) forgot Mosheim. I enquired long ago & was told there were none in England, but Nourse expects a cargo every day, & as soon as it comes, you shall have it. Mason never writes; but I hear, he is well, from Dr Gisbourne. do not pout, but pray let me hear from you, & above all do, come & see me, for I assure you, I am not uncomfortably situated for a Lodger, & what are we, but Lodgers?
Henry W. And Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, New York Public Library , New York, NY, USA <https://www.nypl.org/about/divisions/berg-collection-english-and-american-literature>
- The Correspondence of Thomas Gray and William Mason, with Letters to the Rev. James Brown, D.D. Ed. by the Rev. John Mitford. London: Richard Bentley, 1853, letter XLVI, 186-188
- 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. CXC, vol. ii, 94-96
- 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. 299, vol. ii, 632-633