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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [26 November 1751]

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To the
Honble Horace Walpole Esq
in Arlington Street

If Etoughe had any such Paper trusted to his Hands, I don't at all doubt, but it has been shew'd to some one here. it is about three Weeks ago, that he was here with his Budget of Libels (for it is his constant Practise twice in a year to import a Cargo of Lyes, & scandalous Truths mix'd) but his Confidents are caution'd against me, who have had more Squabbles than one either with him, or about him, so that directly it would be impossible for me to come at it, or even to hear of any of the Contents: but I have a round-about Way, or two in my head: if I succeed, you shall be sure to know immediately; but this will take up a Week, or a Fortnight, for I must not seem too eager about it. I am amazed at the Impudence of the Fiend, (as much a Fiend as I knew him.) you say you took him to task; I am impatient to know in what Manner. for I imagine you sent to him, & that this has given him an Opportunity of writing those impudent Letters you mention to you. there are three Methods of taking him properly to task, the Cudgel, the Blanket, & the Horse-pond. if you are present at the Operation, you may venture to break a Leg or an Arm en attendant, & when I see you, I may possibly give you some Reasons, why you ought to have broke t'other Leg & t'other Arm also: for it is too long to stay, till he is a Bishop.

I do not wonder at their Rage venting itself on Mr Chute. they think him easier to come at, & more open to Injury: I am glad he hears so little of the Matter. what my insipid Ld H:[...]on could poke out of his Memory against him, I don't conceive. would to God anything I could do, might make all the World think of him as I do. but the way you propose, would signify very little.

Adieu, Sr, I am
Yours ever
T G.
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Letter ID: letters.0185 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: [26 November 1751]
Date (on letter): Tuesday
Calendar: Julian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To the / Honble Horace Walpole Esq / in Arlington Street / London (postmark: SAFFRON WALDEN 27 NO)


Language: English
Incipit: If Etoughe had any such Paper trusted to his Hands, I don't at all doubt,...
Mentioned: Chute, John, 1701-1776

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/53, 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. 177, vol. ii, 118-119
  • 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, 56-57
  • 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. 164, vol. i, 355-356