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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 15 October 1756

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Dear Doctor

I have not been dead, but only gone to [Mr Chute who had been] seized with a cruel fit of the Gout, wch held him five weeks, & as he had no other company in the house it was impossible to leave him in that condition. since my return I have made a visit of four days at Twickenham. I shall probably stay here till the middle of next month & then transplant myself to London, if Mrs Wharton and You de bon cœur have no objection to me. if any thing has happen'd, since I saw you, to make it inconvenient I insist upon being told so. I have heard the story of the Lyon, & its consequences, tho' you say not a word about it. pray, inform me how Miss Peggy got over her operation. Leicester-house is (as I suppose you know) settling upon its own terms. 40,000£ a year for the P:, 5000 for P: E:d., no removing to St. J:s, Earl of Bute Groom of the Stole (there is for you) Mr Stone Controller of the [Household (wch see]ms a concession by way of thanks) Lords of the Bed Chamber I have forgot. Miss Shepherd's Mr Ingram, & Mr Onslow, the Speaker's Son, Grooms of the Bed-chamber. are you upon the List?

Shew me such another King, as the K: of Prussia. every body used to call him Coxcomb, & to be sure he is one; but a Coxcomb (it is plain) may make a figure far superior to the ordinary run of Kings. I delight in his treatment of the K: of Poland. when he first inform'd him of the necessity he was under to make use of Saxony in his way to Bohemia, he added that if his Majesty chose to retire into his Polish Dominions he had order'd Relais on the road, & that all the respect in the world should be shewn him. & his last memorial to the Empress-Queen ended with point de réponse en stile d'Oracle.

I recommend two little French Books to you, one call'd Memoires de M:r De la Porte. it has all the air of simplicity & truth, & contains some few very extraordinary facts, relating to Anne of Austria, & Card:l Mazarin. the other is two small Volumes, Mem:es de Madame Staal. the facts are no great matter, but the manner & vivacity of it make it interesting. she was a sort of Confidente to the late Dutchess of Maine, & imprison'd a long time in the Bastille on her account during the Regency. the first you may buy, & the latter borrow. I desire my Compliments to Mrs Wharton, & am,

Ever Yours
Letter ID: letters.0259 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 39
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 39[?]


Date of composition: 15 October 1756
Date (on letter): Oct: 15. 1756
Calendar: Gregorian


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

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 3 pages, 161 mm x 101 mm


Language: English
Incipit: I have not been dead, but only gone to [Mr Chute who had been] seized...
Mentioned: Bohemia
Chute, John, 1701-1776
Porte, Pierre de la
Staal, Mme de

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 84-85, 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
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter LIV, vol. ii, 276-277
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter LXII, vol. iii, 154-155
  • 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. CXXXIII, vol. i, 305-309
  • Essays and Criticisms by Thomas Gray. Ed. with Introduction and Notes by Clark Sutherland Northup. Boston and London: D. C. Heath & Co., 1911, letter excerpt, 184
  • 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. 228, vol. ii, 482-485