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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 24 May 1771

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Thomas Wharton Esq,
of Old-Park near
25 MA

Dear Doctor

I was really far from well in health, when I received your last letter: since that I am come to Town, & find myself considerably better. Mason has pass'd all the winter here with Stonhewer in Curson-Street, May-fair, but thinks of returning homeward in a week or ten days. he had your letter (wch had gone round by Aston) & was applying to Mr Fraser & others for proper recommendations in case poor Mrs. E: should be obliged to make use of them: but now you have given us some hopes, that these expedients may not be necessary. I for my own part do heartily wish, you may not be deceived, & that so cool a Tyrant as her Husband seems to be, may willingly give up the thoughts of exercising that tyranny, when it is most in his power: but, I own, it seems to me very unlikely. however I would not have you instrumental (but at her most earnest intreaty) in sending her out of his reach. no persuasion or advice on this head should come from you: it should be absolutely her own firm resolution (before sure witnesses) for that is the only thing, that can authorise you to assist her. it must have been her own fault (at least her weakness) that such a decision as that of these Delegates could find any grounds to go upon. I do not wonder, that such an event has discomposed you: it discomposes me to think of the trouble & expence it has brought on you!

My summer was intended to have been pass'd in Switzerland: but I have drop'd the thought of it, & believe my expeditions will terminate in Old-park: for travel I must, or cease to exist. till this year I hardly knew what (mechanical) low-spirits were: but now I even tremble at an east-wind. it is here the height of summer, but with all the bloom & tender verdure of spring. at Cambridge the Laurustines & Arbutus kill'd totally: Apricots, Almonds, & Figs lost all their young shoots. St:r has had a melancholy journey: tomorrow we expect him here.

I am ever
T G:
Letter ID: letters.0636 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 54
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 54[?]


Date of composition: 24 May 1771
Date (on letter): 24 May. 1771
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): at Frisby's, in Jermyn-Street, St. James's
Place of addressee: Durham, United Kingdom

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 3 pages, 202 mm x 172 mm
Addressed: To / Thomas Wharton Esq, / of Old-Park near / Darlington / Durham (postmark: 25 MA)


Language: English
Incipit: I was really far from well in health, when I received your last letter:...
Mentioned: London
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Old Park
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 218-219, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Poems of Mr. Gray. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings by W[illiam]. Mason. York: printed by A. Ward; and sold by J. Dodsley, London; and J. Todd, York, 1775, letter xii, section v, 395
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by Thomas James Mathias. London: William Bulmer, 1814, section V, letter XII, vol. i, 485-486
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section V, letter XVIII, vol. ii, 566-567
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. in one. London: J. Sharpe, 1819, letter CXLIX, vol. ii, 174-175
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section V, letter XIX, vol. iv, 199-201
  • 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. CCCLXXXIV, vol. iii, 320-321
  • 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. 553, vol. iii, 1188-1189