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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, [18 October 1755]

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Dr Thomas Wharton M:D:
in Kings-Arms Yard Coleman
18 OC

My dear Doctor

I ought before now to have thanked you for your kind offer, wch I mean soon to accept for a reason, wch to be sure can be no reason to you or Mrs Wharton, & therefore I think it my duty to give you notice of it. it is a very possible thing I may be ill again in Town, wch I would not chuse to be in a dirty inconvenient lodgeing, where perhaps my nurse might stifle me with a pillow, and therefore it is no wonder, if I prefer your house. but I tell you of this in time, that if either of you are frighted at the thought of a sick body, you may make a handsome excuse, & save yourselves this trouble. you are not to imagine my illness is in Esse; no, it is only in Posse, otherwise I should myself be scrupulous of bringing it home to you. I shall be in town in about a fortnight. you will be sorry (as I am) at the destruction of poor [ ] views, wch promised so fair: but both he & I have known it this long time, so, I believe, he was prepared, & his old Patron is no bad ressource. I am told, it is the fashion to be totally silent with regard to the ministry. nothing is to be talked of, or even suspected, till the Parliament meets. in the mean time the new Manager has taken what appears to me a very odd step. if you do not hear of a thing, wch is in it's nature no secret, I can not well inform you by the Post. to me it is utterly unaccountable.

Pray what is the reason I do not read your name among the Censors of the College? did they not offer it you, or have you refused it? I have not done a word more of Bard, having been in a very listless, unpleasant, & inutile state of Mind for this long while, for wch I shall beg you to prescribe me somewhat strengthning & agglutinant, lest it turn to a confirm'd Pthisis. to shew you how epidemical Self-Murther is this year, Lady M. Capel (Ld Essex's Sister) a young Person, has just cut the veins of both arms across, but (they say) will not die of it. she was well & in her senses, tho' of a family that are apt to be otherwise.

Adieu, dear Doctr, I should be glad of a line from you, before I come. believe me ever
Most sincerely Yours,
T G:
Letter ID: letters.0239 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 38
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 38[?]


Date of composition: [18 October 1755]
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Stoke Poges, United Kingdom]
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 2 pages, 228 mm x 185 mm
Addressed: To / Dr Thomas Wharton M:D: / in Kings-Arms Yard Coleman / Street / London (postmark: 18 OC)


Language: English
Incipit: I ought before now to have thanked you for your kind offer, wch I mean...

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 77-78, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Poems of Mr. Gray. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings by W[illiam]. Mason. York: printed by A. Ward; and sold by J. Dodsley, London; and J. Todd, York, 1775, letter xxiii, section iv, 244-245
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter L, vol. ii, 265-266
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter LVIII, vol. iii, 141-143
  • 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. CXXV, vol. i, 279-281
  • 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. 208, vol. i, 441-443