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Thomas Gray to Mary Antrobus, 29 July 1768

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Dear Mary,

I thank you for all your intelligence (and the first news I had of poor Brocket's death was from you) and to reward you in part for it, I now shall tell you, that this day, hot as it is, I kissed the King's hand; that my warrant was signed by him last night; that on Wednesday I received a very honourable letter from the D. of Grafton, acquainting me that his majesty had ordered him to offer me this Professorship, and much more, which does me too much credit by half for me to mention it. The Duke adds, that from private as well as public considerations, he takes the warmest part in approving this measure of the King's. These are his own words. You see there are princes (or ministers) left in the world, that know how to do things handsomely; for I profess I never asked for it, nor have I seen his Grace before or after this event.

Dr. R. (not forgetting a certain lady of his) is so good to you, and to me, that you may (if you please) show him my letter. He will not be critical as to the style, and I wish you would send it also to Mr. Brown, for I have not time to write to him by this day's post; they need not mention this circumstance to others, they may learn it as they can. Adieu!

I receive your letter of July 28 (while I am writing), consult your friends over the way, they are as good as I, and better. All I can say is, the Board have been so often used to the name of Antrobus lately, that I fear they may take your petition not in good part. If you are sure of the kindness or interest of Mr. A. the opportunity should not be lost; but I always a little distrust new friends and new lawyers.

I have found a man, who has brought Mr. Eyres (I think) up to my price, in a hurry; however he defers his final answer till Wednesday next. He shall not have it a shilling lower, I promise; and if he hesitates, I will rise upon him like a fury. Good-night. I am ever yours.

How could you dream that St: or Hinchl: would ask this for themselves? The only people that ask'd it were Lort, Marriott, Delaval, Jebb, and Peck–, at least I have heard of no more. Delaval always communicated his thoughts to me, knowing I would make no ill use of that knowledge. Lort is a worthy man, and I wish he could have it, or something as good: the rest are nothing.

Letter ID: letters.0536 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 51
Addressee: Antrobus, Mary, b. 1732
Addressee's age: 36[?]


Date of composition: 29 July 1768
Date (on letter): [29 July, 1768]
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: I thank you for all your intelligence (and the first news I had of poor...
Mentioned: Brockett, Lawrence, 1724-1768
Brown, James, 1709-1784
Grafton, Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of, 1735-1811
Lort, Michael, 1725-1790
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809

Holding Institution

WISFM: 2003.35.143.1, Townshend Manuscript Collection, Wisbech & Fenland Museum , Wisbech, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant, but there is no further information about its availability

Print Versions

  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CLIII, vol. iv, 121-123
  • 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. CCCXXX, vol. iii, 199-202
  • 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. 479, vol. iii, 1034-1036