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Thomas Gray to James Brown, 15 May 1766

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Dear Sir

To-morrow morning I set out for Canterbury. If any letter comes, I believe it will be better to direct to me as usual at Mr. Roberts's here, and he will take care to send it. I know not how long my stay in Kent may be: it depends on the agreeability of Mr. Robinson and his wife.

You expect to hear who is Secretary of State. I cannot tell. It is sure this morning it was not determined; perhaps Lord Egmont; perhaps Lord Hardwicke (for I do not believe he has refused, as is said); perhaps you may hear of three instead of two. Charles Townshend affirms he has rejected both that office and a peerage; doubtless from his firm adherence to Mr. Pitt–a name which the court, I mean Lord Tt., Lord Nd., and even Lord B. himself, at present affect to celebrate, with what design you are to judge. You have doubtless heard of the honour done to your friend Mrs. Macaulay. Mr. Pitt has made a panegyric of her History in the house. It is very true Wilkes has arrived. The tumults in Spain spread wider and wider, while at Naples they are publicly thanking God for their cessation; perhaps you may hear. All is not well in Ireland. It is very late at night. Adieu. Pa. went home to-day and Mr. Weddell with him. J. Wheeler has returned from Lisbon. The great match will not be till after Christmas. Tom is gone to Scotland. It is sure the lady did refuse both Lord Mountstuart and the Duke of Beaufort.


I came away in debt to you for two post-chaises. Pray set it down.

Letter ID: letters.0476 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 49
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 57[?]


Date of composition: 15 May 1766
Date (on letter): May 15, 1766
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Jermyn Street

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 1s. (2p.)


Language: English
Incipit: To-morrow morning I set out for Canterbury. If any letter comes, I believe...
Mentioned: Canterbury
Lyttelton, George Lyttelton, 1st Lord
Macaulay, Mrs. Catherine
Palgrave, William, 1735-1799
Robinson, William, Rev., c. 1726-1803

Holding Institution

fMS Eng 945 (18), Houghton Library, Harvard University , Cambridge, MA, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • 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 XCVII, 356-358
  • 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. CCLXXXII, vol. iii, 105-108
  • 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. 421, vol. iii, 924-926