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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 10 July 1764

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Dr Thomas Wharton at
Old-Park near

My Dear Doctor

I do remember & shall ever remember, as I ought, your extreme kindness in offering to be present, & to assist me in the perilous hour. when I received your letter, I was pleased to find, I had done every thing almost, that you advised. the fault lay in deferring matters too long. upon inspection they found no reason to apprehend a Fistula, but the piles only in an extreme degree, that threaten'd mortification. 9 or 10 strokes of the lancet, & the application of a caustic, with fomentations innumerable I suffer'd manfully: indeed the pain in idea is much greater than in reality, & now I am glad, I know it. it is certain, I am better at present, than I had been in at least a year before the operation. I should tell you, that for some days before I submitted to it, I had taken soap in large quantities, & for ought I know the inflammation might be rather increased by it. Dr. Whytt (I remember) speaking of the use of Limewater & Soap, says, that if the Patient be subject to the piles, he must omitt the latter. towards the end of my confinement, during wch (you may believe) I lived on nothing, came the Gout in one foot, but so tame you might have stroked it; such a Minikin you might have play'd with it. in 3 or 4 days it disappear'd.

It was true, as Stonhewer told you, that I had a great tendency towards Old-Park & Hart-le-pool: but on prudent consideration I find, I can not well afford it, & must defer that pleasure to another summer. the Minikin & I act upon the same principles: she can not be a river, nor I a Traveller, without money. if we had but a head, we should both of us make a figure in the world.

Mason does not seem very impatient, for he writes word, that he is busy in modelling antique vases in clay, & in reading a course of ecclesiastical History, when I expected consummation, & was praying heaven to give him a good & gentle Gouverness: no Man wants such a thing more in all senses; but his greatest wants do not make him move a foot the faster, nor has he properly speaking any thing one can call a passion about him, except a little malice & revenge.

Our Election here is in Westminster-Hall: but it is not likely that any great matter can be done in it till Michaelmas-Term next. in the meantime Ld Sandw: & his Friends do what they can to keep up an interest & a bustle. here is a poor Scribler, that he hires to write a weekly paper call'd the Scrutator, who by abuse of characters does all in his power to provoke people: but can not so much as get himself answer'd. I could not find any one in Town, that ever heard of it (tho' the subject is well known there), & if any body saw its name in the advertisements, I believe, they only took it for a Scrutore to be sold. the Nation is in the same hands as the University, & really does not make so manful a resistance. grumble indeed every one does, but since Wilkes's affair they fall off their metal, & seem to shrink under the brazen hand of Norton & his Collegues. I hear there will be no parliament till after Christmas. if the French should be so unwise as to suffer the Spanish Court to go on in their present measures (for they refuse to pay the ransom of Manilla, & have driven away our Logwood-cutters already) down go their friends the Ministry, & all the schemes of Right Divine & Prerogative; and this is perhaps the best chance we have. are you not struck with the great similarity there is between the first years of Charles the first, & the present times? who would have thought it possible five years ago?

That old Rogue Ld Bath is dead at last. I understood the contest for his spoils lay between your noble Friend at Raby & Mr Coleman, the Comick Poet, but whether they are fallen to either of them I have not heard as yet. pray what is the policy of that castle? the elder Brother lives more than usual in the country, as if he were not in the best humour with his Friends at Court, & the younger has been at times an Orator in the opposition? have they been disobliged, or do they fear to disoblige their former friends, who may come into play again?

Two more volumes of Buffon are come over: I mention them in case you chuse to have them. I know of nothing else, except half a dozen new works of that inexhaustible, eternal, entertaining Scribler Voltaire, who at last (I fear) will go to heaven, for to him entirely it is owing, that the King of France & his Council have review'd & set aside the decision of the Parliament of Thoulouse in the affair of Calas. the poor Man, 'tis true, has been broke on the wheel long ago: but his Widow & wretched family may have some reparation & his Murtherers may smart a little for it. you see a Scribler may be of some use in the world!

If you see Stonhewer at his return from Buxton, be so good to tell him, that there will be only 200 copies of Ld Herbert's Life printed, half of which are for Ld Powis, & the rest will be given away only. if I happen to have two (wch I do not expect) he shall have one of them.

Ah! poor James Lyon! —how do the – Family bear it? my best respects to the Lady of Old-Park (the Dutchess I should say) & Lady Mary, &c: I hope they are all well. are Mr and Mrs Jonathan with you? do you say your prayers o' nights?

Adieu, I am ever
T G.

Mr. Brown, who is quite well, presents his humble Service. he would wish to come tomorrow, only he thinks it impossible; & does not believe any body did ever really go so far.

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Letter ID: letters.0442 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 47
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 47[?]


Date of composition: 10 July 1764
Date (on letter): July 10, 1764
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Cambr:
Place of addressee: Durham, United Kingdom

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 3 pages, 230 mm x 189 mm
Addressed: To / Dr Thomas Wharton at / Old-Park near / Durham (postmark: [CA]MBRIDG[E])


Language: English
Incipit: I do remember & shall ever remember, as I ought, your extreme kindness...
Mentioned: 'Minikin'
Buffon, Comte de
Colman, George
Herbert of Cherbury, 1st Baron
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Scott, James
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 162-163, 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 CXIV, vol. ii, 432-435
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CXXV, vol. iv, 32-36
  • 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. CCLIX, vol. iii, 35-40
  • 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, 269
  • 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. 390, vol. ii, 836-841