Skip main navigation

Norton Nicholls to Thomas Gray, [26 May 1770]

Back to Letters page

Why you will not write I can't guess, because if you recollect I was to wait your more certain direction before I wrote to Bonstetten. I have not heard from him, but that only serves to make me obstinate; I do not so easily give up, or suffer myself to be given up by a person whom I think worth my esteem. I have had an answer from the bishop (for he is determined to shew me that he thinks a gentleman entitled to an answer) most civil in terms, but most uncivil in fact, for preach I must; indeed I had no other expectation. It is not however about my own foolish concerns that I write now. I have this moment received the enclosed from poor Temple, and have been as irresolute and full of doubts whether to send it all, or transcribe from it, as I am every day about the Genera of Linnæus. You will see best from his own words what he wants, and I am sure you will feel his situation; any instance of attention and kindness from you will be a medicine to his distress; his spirits require to be raised, and I know nothing so likely to raise them; if you should write yourself it would be an act of charity indeed! he has no other refuge or consolation than his books, when his mind is unbent from that attention it sinks into despair. In short his letter is too faithful a portrait of his mind, and I send it you because I think you are interested in his fate. What must I say to him about that resolution of separating which he seems to speak of seriously? Will it pass off of itself? or should I dissuade it? or what can it mean? separating only from her bed? that will be a source of perpetual ill-humours and misery, if not impossible. as for any other separation how can he possibly afford that? I should scruple to have sent you the letter if I were not conscious to myself of acting from motives of the truest friendship. I would do the best, but am quite at a loss. I am sure your heart will prompt you to advise me.

I fear you are on your journey to Yorkshire, but I trust this will be safely conveyed to you. I shall however for fear of accidents blot out names–the direction, if you will write yourself, is near Chudleigh.

I live in hopes of the first week in July.

N. N.
[Use arrow keys to navigate]
Letter ID: letters.0604 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Nicholls, Norton, c. 1742-1809
Writer's age: 28[?]
Addressee: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Addressee's age: 53


Date of composition: [26 May 1770]
Date (on letter): May 26th.
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Blundeston, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: Why you will not write I can't guess, because if you recollect I was...
Mentioned: Bonstetten, Charles Victor de, 1745-1832
Herbert of Cherbury, 1st Baron

Holding Institution

Availability: The original letter is unlocated, a copy, transcription, or published version survives; a photocopy is at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, OSB MSS c 467, box 1, folder 92

Print Versions

  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, letter XXIX, vol. v, 109-111
  • 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. 526, vol. iii, 1136-1137