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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 9 May 1761

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Dr Thomas Wharton at
Old-Park near

Dear Doctor

I have been very naughty, I confess; but I informed your Brother a good while ago, that both your letters came safe to my hands. the first indeed wch went to Cambridge, had had its seal broken, wch naturally I should have attributed to the curiosity of somebody at Durham: but as Mr. Brown (who, you know, is care itself) sent it me without taking notice of any such thing, I rather believe it was mere accident, & happen'd, after it had pass'd thro' his hands.

I long to see you, but my visit must be defer'd to another year, for Mr. Jauncey having lost his Bishop, & having settled his Son in a Curacy, means to let his house entire, & in September I shall be forced to look out for another place, & must have the plague of removing. the glass-manufacture in Worcester:re (I am told) has fail'd. Mr. Price here has left off business, & retired into Wales: the Person, who succeeds him, does not pretend to be acquainted with all the secrets of his art. the Man at York is now in Town, exhibiting some specimens of his skill to the Society of Arts: him (you say) you have already consulted. coats of arms will doubtless be expensive (Price used to have five Guineas for a very plain one) figures much more so. unless therefore you can pick up some remnants of old painted glass, wch are sometimes met with in farm-houses, little out-of-the-way churches & vestries, and even at country-glasiers shops, &c: I should advice to buy plain colour'd glass (for wch they ask here in St Martin's Lane 5S: a pound, but it is sold at York for 2 or 3S:) & make up the tops of your windows in a mosaïck of your own fancy. the glass will come to you in square plates, (some part of wch is always wrinkled & full of little bubbles, so you must allow for waste), any glasier can cut it into quarrels, & you can dispose the pattern & colours, red, blew, purple, & yellow (there is also green, if you like it) as well or better than the Artisan himself, & certainly much cheaper. I would not border it with the same, least the room should be too dark. nor should the quarrels of clear glass be too small (in the lower part of the window); if they are but turn'd corner-ways, it is enough to give it a gothic aspect. if there is anything to see (tho' it be but a tree) I should put a very large diamond-pane in the midst of each division.

I had rather Major G: throw'd away his money, than somebody else. it is not worth while even to succeed, unless gratis; nor in any case to be attempted without the B:s absolute concurrence. I wish you joy of Dr Squire's Bishoprick: he keeps both his livings, & is the happiest of Devils. Stonhewer, who is coming, will (if you see him) tell you more news vivâ voce, than I could write: I therefore do not tap that chapter.

my best services to Mrs. Wharton, I am ever truly

I am at last going to Cambridge: it is strange else.

Letter ID: letters.0383 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 44
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 44[?]


Date of composition: 9 May 1761
Date (on letter): May 9. 1761
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]
Place of addressee: Durham, United Kingdom

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.; 2 pages, 204 mm x 161 mm
Addressed: To / Dr Thomas Wharton at / Old-Park near / Durham (postmark: 9 MA GR)


Language: English
Incipit: I have been very naughty, I confess; but I informed your Brother...
Mentioned: Cambridge
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 142-143, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter XCVI, vol. ii, 384-386
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CIV, vol. iii, 280-282
  • 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. CCXX, vol. ii, 212-213
  • 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. 333, vol. ii, 735-737