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Thomas Gray to Richard Stonhewer, 2 November 1769

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To Richard Stonhewer, Esq. at Durham By Caxton-bag

My dear Sr

I am sincerely pleased with every mark of your kindness, & as such I look upon your last letter in particular. I feel for the sorrow you have felt, & yet I can not wish to lessen it: that would be to rob you of the best part of your nature, to efface from your mind the tender memory of a Father's love, & deprive the Dead of that just & grateful tribute wch his goodness demanded from you.

I must however remind you, how happy it was for him, that you were with him to the last; that he was sensible perhaps of your care, when every other sense was vanishing–he might have lost you last year, might have seen you go before him at a time, when all the ills of helpless old-age were coming upon him, & (tho' not destitute of the attention & tenderness of others) yet destitute of your attention & your tenderness. May God preserve you my best Friend! & (Long after my eyes are closed) give you that last satisfaction in the gratitude & affection of a Son, wch you have given your Father.

I am ever
Most truly & entirely
T G:
Letter ID: letters.0566 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 52
Addressee: Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809
Addressee's age: 41[?]


Date of composition: 2 November 1769
Date (on letter): Nov: 2. 1769
Calendar: Gregorian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To Richard Stonhewer, Esq. at Durham By Caxton-bag (postmark: CAMBRIDGE)


Language: English
Incipit: I am sincerely pleased with every mark of your kindness, & as such I look...

Holding Institution

fMS Hyde 77, Houghton Library, Harvard University , Cambridge, MA, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

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 CXXVII, 433-434
  • 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. CCCLII, vol. iii, 239
  • 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. 507, vol. iii, 1081