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Horace Walpole to Thomas Gray, 8 March 1768

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I dont mean to trouble you with any farther Searches; but I must thank you for your readiness to oblige me. I will try to return it by keeping the Roll as long as I can, that you may see it, if you look Londonwards; it is really a great Curiosity, & will furnish one with remarks. Not that I am going to answer such trumpery as Guthrie's, who does not seem to disagree with me (tho I scarce can discover the scope of his jumbled arguments) but is angry I did not declare I agreed with him, tho I vow I never saw his book. It shall rest in peace for me, as all such Writers ever shall. The few Criticisms I have suffered have done more than my own arguments coud: They have strengthened my opinion, seeing how little can be advanced to overturn it. Mr Hume has shown me an answer he has drawn up. It is nothing but his former arguments enlarged: no one new fact or new light. I am trying to persuade him to publish it, that I may have occasion to add a Short appendix, with some striking particulars; not, to dispute more with him. I propose too to give eight or nine figures from Rous's roll. In the Coronation roll, is this Entry, which you & I overlooked: Things ordered in haste by My Lord Duke of Buckingham. Then Immediately follow the Robes for Edward 5th.–proof I think of the Design that He shoud walk.

I shall correct a mistake I find (by Guthrie) I made, about the Duke of Albany. For the Confession of the Lady Butler, I take it to be an absolute Lie. The Commission of Sr James Tirrel I have not had time to search for in Rymer, where I suppose it is, if any where. But you did not observe that It is dated in Nov. 1482. Consequently under Edward 4th. & if true, contradicts Sr T. More, who says Tirrel was kept down. If the Date shoud be 83; it was subsequent by two or three months to the time assigned for the murder. But enough of all this till I see you.

Have you read the two new volumes of Swift? The Second is the dullest heap of trumpery, flattery, & folly. The first is curious indeed! what a Man! what childish, vulgar Stuff! what gross language to his Goddess! what a curious Scene when the Ministry thought themselves ruined! what Cowardice in Such a Bully!–then his libels, & his exciting the Ministers to punish libels in the same breath!–the next moment generous & benevolent. But his great Offence with me, is preventing a poor fellow from being pardoned, who was accused of ravishing his own Strumpet.

I think you will like Sterne's sentimental travels, which tho often tiresome, are exceedingly goodnatured & picturesque.

Good night!
yrs ever
H W.

P.S. I this moment hear that the Robbery & setting fire to Mr Conway's House was committed by a Servant belonging to the Duke of Richmond. I know no more yet. They had a great Escape of their lives, tho the loss & damage is considerable; & they have been most unhappy, as they have none but old & faithfull Servants, & coud not be persuaded any of them were guilty.

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Letter ID: letters.0530 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Writer's age: 50
Addressee: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Addressee's age: 51


Date of composition: 8 March 1768
Date (on letter): March 8. 1768
Calendar: Gregorian


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


Language: English
Incipit: I dont mean to trouble you with any farther Searches; but I must thank you...
Mentioned: Conway, Henry Seymour, 1721-1795
Guthrie, William
Hume, David
Rymer, Thomas
Sterne, Laurence
Swift, Jonathan
Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797

Holding Institution

Morgan Library & Museum , New York, NY, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant, but there is no further information about its availability; a photocopy is at the Bodleian Library, MS. Facs. b. 48, fols. 94-5

Print Versions

  • The Correspondence of Gray, Walpole, West and Ashton (1734-1771), 2 vols. Chronologically arranged and edited with introduction, notes, and index by Paget Toynbee. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1915, letter no. 243, vol. ii, 288-290
  • The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence. Ed. by W. S. Lewis. New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP; London: Oxford UP, 1937-83, vols. 13/14: Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Thomas Gray, Richard West and Thomas Ashton i, 1734-42, Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Thomas Gray ii, 1745-71, ed. by W. S. Lewis, George L. Lam and Charles H. Bennett, 1948, vol. ii, 181-184
  • 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. 474, vol. iii, 1025-1027