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Thomas Gray to James Brown, 23 October 1766

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Dear Sir

I observed that Ansel was dead, and made the same reflection about it that you did. I also wrote to remind N: of it, but have heard nothing since. We have great scarcity of news here. Everything is in Lord Ch.'s breast. If what lies hid there be no better than what comes to light, I would not give sixpence to know it. Spain was certainly offered to Lord Weymouth, and in the second place, some say to Sandwich; at last, perhaps, Sir James Gray may go. But who goes Secretary do you think? I leave Mr. T. and you ten guesses a-piece, and yet they will be all wrong. Mr. Prowse has refused the Post Office. I do not believe in any more dukes, unless, perhaps, my Lord Marquis of Rockingham should like it. The Prince of Wales has been ill of what they call a fever. They say he is better, but Sir J. Pringle continues to lie every night at Kew. My Lady — has discarded Thynne and taken to Sir T. Delaval, they say. The clothes are actually making, but possibly she may jilt them both. The clerk who was displaced in the Post Office lost 1,700l a year. Would you think there could be such under-offices there? Have you read Mr. Grenville's Considerations on the merits of his own Administration? It is all figures; so, I suppose, it must be true. Have you read Mr. Sharp the surgeon's Travels into Italy? I recommend these two authors to you instead of Livy and Quintilian.

Palgrave, I suppose, you have by this time seen and sifted; if not, I must tell you, his letter was dated from Glamis, 30th Sept., Tuesday night. He was that day returned from my tour in the Highlands, delighted with their beauties, though he saw the Alps last year. The Friday following he was to set out for Hetton, where his stay would not be long; then pass four days at Newby, and as much at York, and so to Cambridge, where, ten to one, he has not yet arrived. Tom outstripped Lord Panmure at the county court at Forfar all to nothing. Dr. Richmond is body chaplain to the Duke of Athol, lives at Dunkeld, and eats muir-fowls' livers every day. If you know this already, who can help it?

Pray tell me, how do you do; and let me know the sum total of my bill.

I am ever yours,
T. G.

Commend me to Mr. Talbot and Dr. Gisborne. Delaval is coming to you. Is Mr. Mapletoft there? If not, he will lie in my rooms.

Letter ID: letters.0486 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 49
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 57[?]


Date of composition: 23 October 1766
Date (on letter): October 23, 1766
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Jermyn Street


Language: English
Incipit: I observed that Ansel was dead, and made the same reflection about it...
Mentioned: Dunkeld
Nicholls, Norton, c. 1742-1809
Palgrave, William, 1735-1799
Sharp, Samuel
Talbot, William, d. 1811
Whateley, Thomas

Holding Institution

Availability: The original letter is unlocated, a copy, transcription, or published version survives

Print Versions

  • The Correspondence of Thomas Gray and William Mason, with Letters to the Rev. James Brown, D.D. Ed. by the Rev. John Mitford. London: Richard Bentley, 1853, letter C, 363-367
  • 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. CCXC, vol. iii, 126-128
  • 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. 430, vol. iii, 942-945