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William Taylor How to Thomas Gray, 25 April 1763

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Thomas Gray Esq
at Pembroke Hall
9 MA


I am desired by Count Algarotti to forward the two inclosed Letters to You & Mr Mason; and as I am at a loss where to direct to Mr Mason, I take the Liberty of charging you with a double Postage on his Account, as well as of begging you to take under your Care the letter directed to him. He the Count has sent two or three little treatises of his, that have been lately printed at Leghorn, as a present to you & Mr Mason: they are imbarqued in the Beverley, Captn Allen, but will probably be delivered to you by an unknown Hand: 'tis upon this occasion, he tells me, that he has wrote to you both; and if upon the Receipt of his Letter, or of his Books, you think proper to write him an answer, the best direction will be this.

A Monsieur Monsieur Le Comte Algarotti
    Chambellan de S.M. Le Roy de Prusse
                        a Bologne —

En Italie.

In my last Letter to Mr Brown, Sir, I begged he would return you my best Acknowledgements for the very obliging Note with which you had favoured me by his means, and therefore I do not pretend to say any thing more to it here, except merely to thank you for the kind thought of transmitting Ossian the son of Fingal to me in Italy; but I can now tell you, Sir, that I have met with him, and that I have read him, at least Macpherson's English prose translation of Ossian's Poems, which has sufficed to give me such an Idea of the Original, as may, I hope, correspond with your declared Opinion of it. Tho' but ill in Health at present, next Wednesday Morning I shall set out towards the Ascension at Venice, and afterwards I believe by short Stages, & slow Movements to Paris, and the German Spa. You see, Sir, I presume much upon your Goodnature in communicating my concerns to You; if too much, blame yourself, Sir, who have encouraged me to it, or excuse it for once from one, who is with the highest Respect

Your most faithful            
& most obedt Servt            
Wm. Taylor How.         
Letter ID: letters.0423 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: How, William Taylor, d. 1777
Writer's age: [u
Addressee: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Addressee's age: 46


Date of composition: 25 April 1763
Date (on letter): April 1763
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Pisa, Italy
Address (on letter): Pisa

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 2 pages, 246 mm x 184 mm
Addressed: To / Thomas Gray Esq / at Pembroke Hall / Cambridge / Inghilterra (postmark: 9 MA)


Language: English
Incipit: I am desired by Count Algarotti to forward the two inclosed Letters to...
Mentioned: Algarotti, Francesco, Conte, 1712-1764
Algarotti, Francesco, Conte, 1712-1764
Macpherson, James, 1736-1796
Macpherson, James, 1736-1796
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797

Holding Institution

Add. MSS 26889, ff. 25-26, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • 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. 370, vol. ii, 800