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Thomas Gray to Richard Farmer, [12 April 1770]

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Mr Gray returns Mr Farmer's Books, with many Thanks. The MS. Letters would be of some Value, if the Transcriber had better understood what he was about: but there are so many words mistaken, so many omitted, that the Sense can often only be made out by Conjecture.

Does not recollect that they have been printed in any of the Collections: but thinks he has seen several of them (the Originals) in the Harleian Library. Lord Herbert plainly had seen them, & (as far as they goe) has made them the Foundation of his History. They serve to shew, as he says, That the Cardinal, in his Dispatches was more copious than eloquent.

The Instructions to Tunstall & Wingfield, after the Battle of Pavia, & the King's Directions after he had signed the Peace with Francis, are most remarkable.

Letter ID: letters.0594 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 53
Addressee: Farmer, Richard, 1735-1797
Addressee's age: 34


Date of composition: [12 April 1770]
Date (on letter): 12 April.
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Pemb: Hall

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.; 1 page


Language: English
Incipit: Mr Gray returns Mr Farmer's Books, with many Thanks....

Holding Institution

W.b.487, no. 5, Folger Shakespeare Library , Washington, D.C., USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes; the manuscript is one of many included in several volumes of Garrick-related correspondence, purchased by Mr. Folger from Bernard Quaritch in 1913, Lot 281 in Sotheby Catalogue for 7th and 8th July 1917. This is the "Catalogue of Valuable Printed Books, Autograph Letters . . . including the Library of the Late Bram Stoker, Esq." However, the Garrick items are listed as "Property of a Gentleman," not as part of the Stoker material; a copy is at the British Library, Add. MSS. 5860, 57

Print Versions

  • Bibliotheca Farmeriana. A catalogue of the curious, valuable and extensive library, in print and manuscript, of the late Revd. Richard Farmer, ... Which will be sold by auction, ... by Mr. King, ... on Monday, May 7, 1798, ... London: Thomas King, 1798, part of Lot 8102
  • 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. CCCLX, vol. iii, 273-274
  • 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. 516, vol. iii, 1119-1120