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Thomas Gray to James Brown, [c. 28 March 1760]

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Dear Sr

I received the little letter, & the inclosed, wch was a summons from the Insurance-Office. on Tuesday last came a dispatch from Lisbon. it is probable you have had one from my Lord, but least you should not, I will tell you the chief contents of mine. Mr Pitt says, they were both dreadfully sick all the time they were beating about the Channel, but when they came to Plymouth (I find) my Lord was so well however, that he open'd a Ball in the Dock-yard with the Master-Attendant's Daughter. they set sail from thence on the 28th, & cross'd the Bay with a very smooth Sea, came in sight of C. Finisterre in 3 days time, & before night saw the rugged Mountains of Galicia with great delight, & came near the coast of Portugal opposite to Oporto. but (the wind changing in the night) they drove off to the West, and were in a way to visit the Brasils. however on the 7th of this month they enter'd the Tagus. he describes the Rock of Lisbon, as a most romantic & beautiful scene; & all the North-bank of the river up to the City has (he says) every charm but verdure. the City itself too in that view is very noble, & shews but little of the Earthquake. that is all as yet. my Ld is to write next packet.

Ld G: S: proceeds in his defence. People wonder at, (& some there are that celebrate) his dexterity, his easy elocution, & unembarass'd manner. he told Gen: Cholmondeley, one of his Judges, who was asking a Witness some Question, that it was such a question as no Gentleman, or Man of honour, would put, & it was one of his misfortunes to have him among his Judges. upon wch some Persons behind him gave a loud clap. but I do not find the Court either committed or reprimanded them. Ld Albemarle only contented himself with saying, he was sure, that those Men could be neither Gentlemen, nor Men of honour. in the midst of this I do not hear any one point made out in his favour; & Col: Sloper, whose evidence bore the hardest upon him, & whom he had reflected upon with great warmth, & very opprobrious terms, has offer'd the Court (if they had any doubt of his veracity) to produce 16 more Witnesses, who will say the same thing. to be sure nothing in the Field of Minden could be half as dreadful, as this daily baiting he now is exposed to; so (supposing him a Coward) he has chose very ill.

I am not very sorry, your Venetians have abandon'd you: no more (I believe) are you. Mason is very well, sitting (as usual) for his picture, & while that is doing, will not think of Yorkshire. we heard Delaval the other night play upon the water-glasses, & I was astonish'd. no instrument, that I know, has so celestial a tone. I thought it was a Cherubim in a box.

Adieu, Dear Sr, remember me to such as remember me; particularly (whether she does or not) to Mrs Bonfoy.

I suppose, you know, Dr Ross has got the Living of Frome from Ld Weymouth.

Letter ID: letters.0356 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 43
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 51[?]


Date of composition: [c. 28 March 1760]
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: I received the little letter, & the inclosed, wch was a summons...
Mentioned: Lisbon

Holding Institution

Library, Historical Society of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia, PA, 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

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 LI, 200-203
  • 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. CXCIX, vol. ii, 128-131
  • 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. 309, vol. ii, 662-664