Skip main navigation

Thomas Gray to James Brown, 2 November 1765

Back to Letters page

[Use arrow keys to navigate]

The Revd Mr Brown,
President of Pembroke Hall
2 NO

Good Sr

I am at last return'd to my old Squirrel's nest from the Highlands, wch would be Italy, if they had but a climate, & even that was not wanting for the few days I pass'd among them. there it is, that the beauties of Scotland lie hid. of the Lowlands, wch every true Scotsman celebrates as a Paradise, I shall only say, they are better than Northumberland (don't tell Mr Delaval) & the nearer they come to the Mountains the better they grow. I return'd by Stirling, being a foe to drowning (tho' it be 35 miles about) to Edinburgh, & from thence to Old Park, where after a fortnight's repose leaving the good family in a hopeful way to increase, & charged with many civilities to you & fruitless invitations I got in three days (including nights) to London. the particulars of my travels I must defer, till I see you, when we shall have many chapters to treat. I did not visit the new-married couple, because he prohibited me to touch his Wife, wch is a distinction reserved for you.

The night after I arrived, the D: of Cumberland died. the preceding night he pass'd at Windsor, & meant to be at Court in the morning, but overslept himself & came too late to Town. between 7 & 8 he found his usual Asthma more troublesome than ordinary, & going to a window threw it up for air. after a few minutes he said it was too cold for him, complain'd of a shivering & an uncommon sensation in his arms, & desired to be help'd to a couch. he was immediately bloodied, & then throwing himself back said it was all over: they could do him no good, & expired instantly. there was to be a Cabinet-council that night at his house, & three of them were just then arrived. I do not hear, that this event will make any present alteration in Men or measures. the D: of N: cries his eyes out, & will not be comforted: so you must do so too, but have a care you don't do it in earnest.

Adieu, Dear Sr, I should be glad, you would send me the Sum Total of my bill, & the novelties of Cambridge of wch all I know is, that poor Lobb is dead. where is the Abbé, & what does he say & do? Ld St: wonders, he never answer'd his letter of invitation.

I am ever
Letter ID: letters.0468 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 48
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 56[?]


Date of composition: 2 November 1765
Date (on letter): Novr. 2. 1765
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Jermyn-Street
Place of addressee: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.; 2 (letter)/4 (journal) pages, c. 190 mm x 232 mm (letter)/160 mm x 196 mm (journal)
Addressed: To / The Revd Mr Brown, / President of Pembroke Hall / Cambridge (postmark: 2 NO)


Language: English
Incipit: I am at last return'd to my old Squirrel's nest from the Highlands,...
Mentioned: Highlands
Old Park
Palgrave, William, 1735-1799
Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Surrogates: Digital facsimile [JPEG] from original letter

Holding Institution

MS. Montagu d. 17, fols. 97-100, Montagu papers, Special Collections, Bodleian Library, Oxford University , Oxford, 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. 414, vol. ii, 897-898