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Thomas Gray to James Brown, [24 July 1753]

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The Revd Mr Brown, M:A:
President of Pembroke Hall Cambridge
By Caxton

Dear Sr

We perform'd our journey, a very agreeable one, within the time appointed, & left out scarce any thing worth seeing in or near our way. the Doctor & Mrs Wharton had expected us about two hours when we arrived at Studley on Friday; we passed that night at Rippon, & the next at Richmond, and on Sunday Evening got to Durham. I can not now enter into the particulars of my travels, because I have not yet gather'd up my Quotations from the Classicks to intersperse, like Mr Addison: but I hope to be able soon to entertain you with a dish of very choice erudition. I have another reason too, wch is, that the Post is just setting out. suffice it to tell you, that I have one of the most beautiful Vales here in England to walk in with prospects that change every ten steps, & open something new wherever I turn me, all rude & romantic, in short the sweetest Spot to break your neck or drown yourself in that ever was beheld. I have done neither yet, but I have been twice at the Races, once at the Assembly, have had a visit from Dr Chapman & dined with the Bishop. I am very shabby, for Stonhewer's Box with my Coat in it, wch went by Sea is not yet arrived. you are desired therefore to send Lee the Bedmaker at Pet: house to the Master of the Lynn-boats to enquire, what Vessel it was sent by, & why it does not come. it was directed to Dr Stonhewer of Houghton to be left with the Rector of Sunderland. another trouble I have to give you, wch is to order Barnes to bring any Letters Stonhewer or I may have to you, & direct 'em hither. the Doctor & Mrs Wh: desire their particular Compliments to you, & are sorry you could not be with us.

Adieu, I am ever Sincerely
T G:

P:S: I have left my Watch hanging (I believe) in my bed-room. will you be so good to ask after it.

Letter ID: letters.0208 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 36
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 44[?]


Date of composition: [24 July 1753]
Date (on letter): July 24. Tuesday
Calendar: Gregorian


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

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 1 page
Addressed: To / The Revd Mr Brown, M:A: / President of Pembroke Hall Cambridge / By Caxton (postmark: DURHAM)


Language: English
Incipit: We perform'd our journey, a very agreeable one, within the time...
Contents: "In the 1753 letter he gives details of his trip to Durham and the surroundings there;"
In: Nelson, Christine, "extra-illustrated copy of Gray's Odes". E-mail to the editor, 14 November 2006
Mentioned: Addison, Joseph
Richmond (Yorks.)
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809
Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794

Holding Institution

PML 16518 (extra-illustrated copy of Gray's Odes), 5, Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts (LHMS), Morgan Library & Museum , New York, NY, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes; a photostat is in MS. Toynbee d.32, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Both Mitford (1853) and Tovey (1900) erroneously give Mason as the addressee.

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 III, 13-16
  • 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. CVI, vol. i, 235-236
  • 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. 179, vol. i, 379-380