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You will have seen in the papers all the histories of our glorious expeditions* and invasions of France which have put Cressy and Agincourt out of all countenance. On the first view, indeed, one should think that our fleet had been to victual, for our chief prizes were cows and geese, and turkeys. But I rather think that the whole was fitted out by the Royal Society, for they came back quite satisfied with having discovered a fine bay! Would one believe, that in the
year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fortysix, we should boast of discovering something on the coast of France, as if we had found out the North-East passage, or penetrated into some remote part of America ? The Guards are come back too, who never went: in one single day they received four several different orders !
Matthews is broke at last. Nobody disputes the justice of the sentence; but the legality of it is not quite so authenticated. Besides some great errors in the forms, whenever the Admiralty perceived any of the court-martial inclined to favour him, they were constantly changed. Then, the expense has been enormous; two hundred thousand pounds! chiefly by employing young captains, instead of old half-pay officers; and by these means, double commissions. Then there has been a great fracas between the court-martial and Willes.† He, as Chief Justice, sent a summons, in the ordinary form of law, to Mayerne, to appear as an evidence in a trial where a Captain had prosecuted Sir Chaloner Ogle for horrid tyranny: the ingenious court-martial sat down and drew up articles of impeachment, like any House of Commons, against the Chief Justice, for stopping their proceedings! and the Admiralty, still more ingenious, had a mind to complain of him to the House! He was charmed to catch them at such absurdities—but I believe at last it is all compromised.
I have not heard from you for some time, but I don't pretend to complain : you have real occupation; my idleness is for its own sake. The Abbé Niccolini and Pandolfini are
* The expedition to Quiberon.
arrived; but I have not yet seen them. Rinuncini cannot bear England—and if the Chutes speak their mind, I believe they are not captivated yet with anything they have found : I am more and more with them: Mr. Whitehed is infinitely improved; and Mr. Chute has absolutely more wit, knowled and good nature, than, to their great surprise, ever met together in one man. He has a bigotry to you, astonishes me, who used to think that I was pretty well in for loving you; but he is very often ready to quarrel with me for not thinking you all pure gold. Adieu!
Windsor, Nov. 12, 1746. I AM come hither, per saldare; but though the country is excellently convenient, from the idleness of it, for beginning a letter, yet it is not at all commode for finishing one : the same ingredients that fill a basket by the carrier, will not fill half a sheet of paper; I could send you a cheese, or a hare; but I have not a morsel of news. Mr. Chute threatened me to tell you the distress I was in last week, when I starved Nicco. lini and Pandolfini on a fast-day, when I had thought to banquet them sumptuously. I had luckily given a guinea for two pine-apples, which I knew they had never seen in Italy, and
upon which they revenged themselves for all the meat that they dared not touch. Rinuncini could not come. How you mistook me, my
dear child! I meant simply, that you had not mentioned his coming; very far from reproving you for giving him a letter. Don't I give letters for you every day to Cubs, ten times Cubber than Rinuncini ? and don't you treat them as if all their names were Walpole? If you was to send me all the uncouth productions of Italy, do you think
any of them would be so brutal as Sir William Maynard? I am exactly like you; I have no greater pleasure than to make them value your recommendation, by showing how much I value it. Besides, I love the Florentines for their own sakes, and to indemnify them, poor creatures! a
little for the Richcourts, the Lorraines, and the Austrians. I have received, per mezzo di Pucci,* a letter from Marquis Riccardi, with orders to consign to the bearer all his treasure in my hands, which I shall do immediately with great satisfaction. There are four rings that I should be glad he would sell me, but they are such trifles, and he will set such a value on them the moment he knows I like them, that it is scarce worth while to make the proposal, because I would give but a little for them. However, you may hint what plague I have had with his roba, and that it will be a gentilleza to sell me these four dabs. One is a man's head, small, on cornelian, and intaglio; a fly, ditto ; an Isis, cameo; and an inscription in Christian Latin : the last is literally not worth two sequins.
As to Mr. Townshend, I now know all the particulars, and that Lord Sandwich† was at the bottom of it. What an excellent heart his Lordship will have by the time he is threescore, if he sets out thus ! The persecutions is on account of the poor boy's relation to my father; of whom the world may judge pretty clearly already, from the abilities and disinterestedness of such of his enemies as have succeeded ; and from their virtue in taking any opportunity to persecute any of his relations; in which even the public interest of their country can weigh nothing, when clashing with their malice. The King of Sardinia has written the strongest letter imaginable to complain of the grievous prejudice the Admiralty has done his affairs by this step.
Don't scold me for not sending you those linesą to Eckardt: I never wrote anything that I esteemed less, or that was seen so incorrect; nor can I at all account for their having been so much liked, especially as the thoughts were so old and so common. I was hurt at their getting into print. I inclose you an epilogue|| that I have written since, merely for
* Minister from the Great Duke.
John Montagu Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty. | Vide Letter CLXVI.
& The Beauties, an epistle to Eckardt, the painter; reprinted in Dodsley's Miscellanies.
ll On the suppression of the Rebellion : it is in the same collection.
a specimen of something more correct. You know, or have known, that Tamerlane is always acted on King William's birthday, with an occasional prologue; this was the epilogue to it, and succeeded to flatter me. Adieu!
Arlington-Street, Dec. 5, 1746. We are in such a news-less situation, that I have been some time too without writing to you; but I now answer one I received from you yesterday. You will excuse me, if I am not quite so transported as Mr. Chute is, at the extremity of Acquaviva.* I can't afford to hate people so much at such a distance: my aversions find employment within their own atmosphere.
Rinuncini returns to you this week, not at all contented with England: Niccolini is extremely, and turns his little talent to great account: there is nobody of his own standard but thinks him a great genius. The Chutes and I deal extremely together ; but they abuse me, and tell me I am grown so English! lack-a-day! so I am; as folks that have been in the Inquisition, and did not choose to broil, come out excellent Catholics.
I have been unfortunate in my own family ; my nephew,t Captain Cholmondeley, has married a player's sister; and I fear Lord Malpas/ is on the brink of matrimony with another girl of no fortune. Here is a ruined family! their father totally undone, and all he has seized for debt!
The Duke is gone to Holland to settle the operations of the campaign, but returns before the opening of it. A great reformation has been made this week in the army; the horse
* Cardinal Acquaviva, Protector of Spain, and a great promoter of the interests of the Pretender.
† Robert, second son of George Earl of Cholmondeley, married Mary, sister of Mrs. Margaret Woffington, the actress. He afterwards quitted the army and took orders.
George, eldest son of Lord Cholmondeley, married iMiss Edwards. (She was the daughter and heiress of Sir Francis Edwards, Bart. of Grete, in Shropshire.-D.)
are broke, and to be turned into dragoons, by which sixty thousand pounds a-year will be saved. Whatever we do in Flanders, I think you need not fear any commotions here, where Jacobitism seems to have gasped its last. Mr. Radcliffe, the last Derwentwater's brother, is actually named to the gallows for Monday; but the imprudence of Lord Morton,* who has drawn himself into the Bastile, makes it doubtful whether the execution will be so quick. The famous orator Henley is taken up for treasonable flippancies.
You know Lord Sandwich is minister at the Hague. Sir Charles Williams, who has resigned the Paymastership of the marines, is talked of for going to Berlin, but it is not yet done. The parliament has been most serene, but there is a storm in the air: the Prince waits for an opportunity of erecting his standard, and a disputed election between him and the Grenvilles is likely very soon to furnish the occasion. We are to have another contest about Lord Bath's borough,t which Mr. Chute's brother formerly lost, and which his colleague, Luke Robinson, has carried by a majority of three, though his competitor is returned. Lord Bath wrote to a man for a list of all that would be against him : the man placed his own and his brother's names at the head of the list.
We have operas, but no company at them; the Prince and Lord Middlesex Impresarii. Plays only are in fashion: at one house the best company that perhaps ever were together, Quin, Garrick, Mr. Pritchard, and Mrs. Cibber: at the other, Barry, a favourite young actor, and the Violette, I whose dancing our friends don't like ; I scold them, but all the answer is,“ Lord! you are so English !" If I do clap sometimes when they don't, I can fairly say with Edipus,