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Thomas Gray to Mary Antrobus, [c. December 1765]

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Dear Molly

I am almost afraid of advising you for fear I should hurt, where I mean to serve you.

I think Mr M: & your Friends in Town mean exceedingly well, & deserve your acknowledgements: but when they propose this method of proceeding, they are ignorant of what has passed.

I entirely approve of your answer in every respect, as it is. what if you added to it, (as in confidence to Mr M:,) that a Friend of yours had found means to recommend you not long since to the two Lords at the head of that Board, & had received a very favourable answer in case of your Mamma's death. that you have reason to believe, there was nobody before you on their list, & that they would not easily give ear to any applications made to your prejudice.

That nevertheless you were conscious, many accidents might arise to disappoint these hopes; & fully sensible of how much consequence the kind foresight & assistance of the Mr P:s may be to you in all senses; & that you therefore did desire Mr M: would communicate your letter (if he thinks it proper) to them, & entreat the continuance of their favourable intentions to you & to your Sister.

This you will put into your own style (wch is always best) but before you do so, consider whether it agree with your own sentiments, & whether you foresee any ill, that may arise from it, wch does not occur to me: for my notion is, that generally People judge best upon due reflection in their own affairs.

I will see you after dinner.

Letter ID: letters.0473 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 49
Addressee: Antrobus, Mary, b. 1732
Addressee's age: 33[?]


Date of composition: [c. December 1765]
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: I am almost afraid of advising you for fear I should hurt, where I mean...

Holding Institution

Rosenbach Museum & Library , Philadelphia, PA, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes; a photostat is in MS. Toynbee c.2, Bodleian Library, Oxford

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. 418*, vol. ii, 908-909