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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, 30 July 1756

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It is a good number of years since I applied to you on a like occasion. your ready compliance with my desire at that time gives me confidence to do so at present, but how far it is practicable or proper for you to satisfy me in this case I leave entirely to your own judgement.

Dr Long, the Master of Pembroke Hall, (I am told) is either dying or dead. Mr Brown, the President & Sen: Fellow, is a Person entirely unknown to the World, whom those few, that know, love & esteem; & to whom I myself have a thousand obligations. his interest in the College is considerable; but as among 11 or 12 Fellows, who elect, there are (you will not doubt) some, that will regard their own interest rather more than his, a word from you to Mr F:, or the D: of Bd, or any other great Man, may contribute to recommend him, & incline these doubtful People to vote for him. Mr Mason, who is himself qualified to be Master, & might probably enough succeed, I am fully persuaded (tho' you will think there is not common Sense in the assertion) will do every thing to further Mr Brown's election. he (if you will let him know, when you are at home,) will wait upon you, & give you any necessary information. I can answer for Mr Bs Principles in Government, as I can for my own, that they are those of every true & rational Whig. perhaps you may hear the contrary said; & I ought not to conceal from you, that he is one of the plainest, worthiest & most honest Men I ever met with, but this ought to be a secret. the Antagonist I apprehend is a Mr Addison, a Creature of your Uncle & prefer'd by him (do not think, I say this, to add a spur to you, for I flatter myself, it is not necessary) he will have the Bp of Chester's assistance, & that of the Heads of Colleges, (who know him for a staunch Man,) & consequently, of the D: of Newc:le. the thing (supposing Dr L: dead) must be decided in 8 or 10 days, I believe, the obligation you will lay upon me by this, will be as great or greater than if I myself were the immediate object of your kindness. but I repeat, that You only are to judge, how far it can answer the end I propose. Mason comes to Town from Tunbridge today, & will stay there, I imagine, some days.

I am ever

When I mention'd the D: of Bd, I forgot that Mr Franklyn may have some weight there. he is a mortal enemy of my Mr Brown.

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Letter ID: letters.0250 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 39
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 38


Date of composition: 30 July 1756
Date (on letter): July 30. Friday, 1756
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Stoke Poges, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Stoke


Language: English
Incipit: It is a good number of years since I applied to you on a like occasion....
Mentioned: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Mason, William, 1724-1797

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/69, 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. 196, vol. ii, 158-160
  • 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, 89-91
  • 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. 219, vol. ii, 467-469