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Thomas Gray to James Beattie, 8 September 1765

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To Mr Beattie, Professor, in Marischal College Aberdeen


A little journey I have been making to Arbroth has been the cause, that I did not answer your very obliging letter so soon as I ought to have done. a Man of merit, that honours me with his esteem & has the frankness to tell me so, doubtless can need no excuses: his apology is made, & we are already acquainted, however distant from each other.

I fear, I can not (as I would wish) do myself the pleasure of waiting on you at Aberdeen, being under an engagement to go tomorrow to Taymouth, & if the weather will allow it, to the Blair of Athol: this will take up four or five days, & at my return the approach of winter will scarce permit me to think of any farther expeditions northwards. my stay here will however be a fortnight or three weeks longer, & if in that time any business or invitation should call you this way, Ld Strathmore gives me commission to say, he shall be extremely glad to see you at Glames: & doubt not, it will be a particular satisfaction to me to receive & thank you in person for the favourable sentiments you have entertain'd of me, & the civilities, with which you have honour'd me.

I am, Sr
Your most obliged humble Servant
Letter ID: letters.0465 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 48
Addressee: Beattie, James, 1735-1803
Addressee's age: 29


Date of composition: 8 September 1765
Date (on letter): 8 Sept: 1765
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Glamis Castle, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Glames-Castle
Place of addressee: [Aberdeen, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To Mr Beattie, Professor, in Marischal College Aberdeen (postmark: DUNDEE)


Language: English
Incipit: A little journey I have been making to Arbroth has been the cause,...
Mentioned: Arbroath

Holding Institution

AU MS 30/24/6/1, AU MS 30, Papers of James Beattie (1735-1803), Historic Collections, Special Libraries and Archives, King's College, University of Aberdeen Library , Aberdeen, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes; a photostat is in MS. Toynbee d.32, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Print Versions

  • The Poems of Mr. Gray. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings by W[illiam]. Mason. York: printed by A. Ward; and sold by J. Dodsley, London; and J. Todd, York, 1775, letter xlix, section iv, 308-309
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section IV, letter XLIX, vol. i, 410
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter CXXI, vol. ii, 457
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter CXXIII, vol. ii, 86-87
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CXXXII, vol. iv, 62
  • 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. CCLXXVI, vol. iii, 81-82
  • 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. 411, vol. ii, 886