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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 1 August 1768

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Thomas Wharton, M:D:
of Old-Park near Darling-
1 AU

Dear Doctor

I have been remiss in answering your last letter, wch was sent me to Ramsgate from Cambridge: for I have pass'd a good part of the summer in different parts of Kent much to my satisfaction. could I have advised any thing essential in poor Mrs Ett:s case, I had certainly replied immediately: but we seem of one mind in it. there was nothing left but to appeal to Delegates (let the trouble & expence be what they will almost) & to punish, if it be practicable, that old Villain, who upon the bench of justice dared to set at nought all common sense & all humanity.

I write to you now chiefly to tell you (and I think you will be pleased, (nay, I expect the whole family will be pleased with it,) that on Sunday se'nnight, Brockett died by a fall from his horse, being (as I hear) drunk, & some say, returning from Hinchinbroke: that on the Wednesday following, I received a letter from the D: of Grafton, saying, He had the K:s commands to offer me the vacant Professorship, that &c: (but I shall not write all he says) & he adds at the end, that from private as well as publick considerations He must take the warmest part in approving so well judged a measure as he hopes I do not doubt of the real regard & esteem with wch he has the honor to be, &c: there's for you. so on Thursday the K: sign'd the warrant, & next day at his Levee I kiss'd his hand. he made me several gracious speeches, wch I shall not report, because every body, who goes to court, does so. by the way I desire, you would say, that all the Cabinet-Council in words of great favour approved the nomination of your humble Serv:t & this I am bid to say, & was told to leave my name at their several doors. I have told you the outside of the matter & all the manner: for the inside you know enough easily to guess t, & you will guess right. as to his Grace I have not seen him before or since.

I shall continue here perhaps a fortnight longer, perishing with heat: I have no Thermometer with me, but I feel it as I did at Naples. next summer (if it be as much in my power, as it is in my wishes) I meet you at the foot of Skiddaw. my respects to Mrs Wharton, & the young Ladies great & small: love to Robin & Richard.

Adieu! I am truly

At your instance I have kiss'd Mrs Forster, & forgot old quarrels. I went to visit the Daughter, who has been brought to bed of a Boy, & there I met with the Mother.

Letter ID: letters.0537 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 51
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 51[?]


Date of composition: 1 August 1768
Date (on letter): 1. Aug: 1768
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Jermyn-Street (at Mr Roberts's)
Place of addressee: Durham, United Kingdom

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.; 2 pages, 236 mm x 182 mm
Addressed: To / Thomas Wharton, M:D: / of Old-Park near Darling- / ton / Durham (postmark: 1 AU)


Language: English
Incipit: I have been remiss in answering your last letter, wch was sent me...
Mentioned: Brockett, Lawrence, 1724-1768
Grafton, Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of, 1735-1811
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 185-186, 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 CXXXIX, vol. ii, 503-504
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter CLIV, vol. iv, 123-124
  • 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. CCCXXXI, vol. iii, 202-203
  • 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. 480, vol. iii, 1037-1038