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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [16 April 1751]

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The Honble Horace Walpole Esq
in Arlington Street

I am ashamed, but not astonish'd at poor Mr Whithed's Insensibility. yet I had settled it with myself before, that he would give Mr Chute 500£ a Year, wch I thought at least by half too little. but this was just the Thing, in wch Mr Chute neither would, nor could, suggest to him what he ought to do; & so he has done accordingly. I hope, it was only negative Ingratitude; but (I own to you) I do suspect, there was a little Reflection in it, & that his Conversations with Mr L:, & perhaps with another Person, who knows the Value of Money, better than that of Friendship, might have had their Effect upon his Mind. I do not wonder, that Mr Chute is satisfied with every Thing: I even believe, that when Time shall convince him, that Whithed has fall'n extremely short in his Acknowledgements to him, it will rather add to his Concern, than diminish it. my best Wishes always accompany him; & I can only wish, that they were of more Consequence. what a Change this Loss will make in his future Life! I can only guess at the Extent of it. the Brothers are nasty People, that don't deserve mentioning. I see Alexander sets himself up in his Brother's Room, wch (I hope in God) will considerably reduce his Share in the Inheritance.

You surprise me with the Account you give me of the Alteration in your own Family. what a Man must my Ld O: have been, who might so easily have prevented it? I am heartily concerned for the Share you must bear in it. sure Your Uncle, & Mrs H:, have it in their Power, if not to retrieve, at least much to alleviate, this Misfortune; for from the Mother no body would expect anything. perhaps the good Qualities you mention in your Nephew may go farther in repairing his Loss, than any of his Relations could have done. from the little I had seen & heard of him, it did not seem probable, that he could continue long in the thoughtless Ways of Folly. You were very good, when you found Time to let me know, what I am interested in, not barely from Curiosity, but because it touches you so nearly. I can return that kindness no otherwise, than by not taking up your Attention longer, when it is so fully employed on your own Affairs.

Adieu, my dear Sr, I am ever
T G:
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Letter ID: letters.0181 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 34
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 33


Date of composition: [16 April 1751]
Date (on letter): April 16
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Cambridge
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honble Horace Walpole Esq / in Arlington Street / London (postmark: CAMBRIDGE 17 AP)


Language: English
Incipit: I am ashamed, but not astonish'd at poor Mr Whithed's Insensibility....
Mentioned: Chute, John, 1701-1776

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/50, College Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge , Cambridge, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

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. 174, vol. ii, 109-111
  • 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, 49-50
  • 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. 160, vol. i, 345-346