Skip main navigation

Thomas Gray to James Brown, 8 August 1759

Back to Letters page

To the Revd James Brown M:A: President of Pembroke-Hall Cambridge
8 AV

Dear Sr

The season for triumph is at last come; I mean for our Allies, for it will be long enough before we shall have reason to exult in any great actions of our own, & therefore, as usual, we are proud for our neigbours. Contades' great army is entirely defeated: this (I am told) is undoubted, but no particulars are known as yet; & almost as few of the other victory over ye Russians, wch is lost in the splendor of this greater action. so much for war, & now come and see me in my peaceful new settlement, from whence I have the command of Highgate, Hampstead, Bedford-Gardens, & the Musæum. this last (as you will imagine) is my favourite Domain, where I often pass four hours in the day in the stillness & solitude of the reading room, wch is uninterrupted by any thing but Dr Stukeley the Antiquary, who comes there to talk nonsense, & Coffee-house news. the rest of the Learned are (I suppose) in the country; at least none of them come there, except two Prussians, & a Man, who writes for Ld Royston. when I call it peaceful, you are to understand it only of us Visiters, for the Society itself, Trustees, & all, are up in arms, like the Fellows of a College. the Keepers have broke off all intercourse with one another, & only lower a silent defiance, as they pass by. Dr Knight has wall'd up the passage to the little-House, because some of the rest were obliged to pass by one of his windows in the way to it. moreover the trustees lay out 500£ a year more than their income; so you may expect, all the books & the crocodiles will soon be put up to auction. the University (we hope) will buy.

I have not (as you silently charge me) forgot Mosheim. I enquired long ago & was told there were none in England, but Nourse expects a cargo every day, & as soon as it comes, you shall have it. Mason never writes; but I hear, he is well, from Dr Gisbourne. do not pout, but pray let me hear from you, & above all do, come & see me, for I assure you, I am not uncomfortably situated for a Lodger, & what are we, but Lodgers?

Adieu, Dear Sr, I am ever
Letter ID: letters.0344 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 42
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 50[?]


Date of composition: 8 August 1759
Date (on letter): Aug: 8. 1759
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): At Mr Jauncey's, Southampton-Row, Bloomsbury
Place of addressee: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To the Revd James Brown M:A: President of Pembroke-Hall Cambridge (postmark: 8 AV)


Language: English
Incipit: The season for triumph is at last come; I mean for our Allies,...
Mentioned: London
Mosheim, Johann Lorenz von
Stukeley, Dr. William

Holding Institution

Henry W. And Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, New York Public Library , New York, NY, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

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 XLVI, 186-188
  • 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. CXC, vol. ii, 94-96
  • 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. 299, vol. ii, 632-633