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Title: Private Letters of Edward Gibbon (1753-1794)  Volume 1 (of 2)
Author: Gibbon, Edward, 1737-1794
Language: English
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  PRIVATE LETTERS
  OF
  EDWARD GIBBON

  (1753-1794).

  WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
  THE EARL OF SHEFFIELD.

  EDITED BY
  ROWLAND E. PROTHERO,
  BARRISTER-AT-LAW, SOME-TIME FELLOW OF ALL SOULS' COLLEGE, OXFORD.

  VOL. I.

  LONDON:
  JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.

  1896.

  LONDON:
  PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
  STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.



INTRODUCTION BY THE EARL OF SHEFFIELD.


The centenary of the death of Edward Gibbon (died January, 1794, aged
fifty-six) was recorded by a public commemoration held in London in
November, 1894, at the instance of the Royal Historical Society. The
distinguished committee of English and foreign students, who were
associated on that occasion, invited me to become their President,
as representing the family with which Gibbon had been so intimately
connected, and which still retained the portraits, manuscripts,
letters, and relics of the historian. The exhibition of these in
the British Museum, and the commemoration held on November 15,
reawakened interest in the work and remains of one of the greatest
names in English literature; and a general desire was expressed that
the manuscripts should be again collated, and that what was yet
unpublished might be given to the world.

As is well known, it was my grandfather, the first Earl, who made
the historian almost his adopted brother, gave him a home both in
town and in country, was his devisee and literary executor, and
edited and published the famous Autobiography, the letters, and
remains. All of these passed under Edward Gibbon's will to Lord
Sheffield; and, together with books, relics, portraits, and various
mementos, they have been for a century preserved by my father and
myself with religions care and veneration in Sheffield Park. The
original autograph manuscripts of the _Memoirs_, the _Diaries_,
_Letters_, _Note-books_, etc., have now become the property of the
British Museum, subject to the copyright of all the unpublished
parts which was previously assigned to Mr. Murray. And it is with no
little pleasure and pride that I have acceded to the request of the
publishers that I would introduce these unpublished remains to the
world, and thus complete the task of editing the historian, to which
my grandfather devoted so great a portion of his time, not only as a
testamentary duty, but as a labour of love.

The connection of the historian with my grandfather, his early
friend, John Holroyd, and the members of the Holroyd family, forms
one of the pleasantest and also most interesting passages in literary
history. It was in no way interrupted by Lord Sheffield's public and
official duties; it was continued without a cloud to obscure their
intimacy, until it was sundered by death; and the Earl, who survived
his friend so long, continued to edit and to publish the manuscripts
left in his hands for some twenty years after the death of the
historian.

By a clause in the will of Edward Gibbon, dated July 14, 1788, his
papers were entrusted to Lord Sheffield and Mr. John Batt, his
executors, in the following terms:--

"I will that all my Manuscript papers found at the time of my
decease be delivered to my executors, and that if any shall appear
sufficiently finished for the public eye, they do treat for the
purchase of the same with a Bookseller, giving the preference to
Mr. Andrew Strahan and Mr. Thomas Cadell, whose liberal spirit I
have experienced in similar transactions. And whatsoever monies may
accrue from such sale and publication I give to my much-valued friend
William Hayley, Esq., of Eastham, in the County of Sussex. But in
case he shall dye before me, I give the aforesaid monies to the Royal
Society of London and the Royal Academy of Inscriptions of Paris,
share and share alike, in trust to be by them employed in such a
manner as they shall deem most beneficial to the cause of Learning."

In pursuance of the directions contained in the will and of many
verbal communications, Lord Sheffield, in 1799, published the
_Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, with Memoirs of his Life and
Writings_, in 2 vols., 4to. A third volume was added in 1815, and a
new edition of the whole, with additions, appeared during the same
year in 5 vols., 8vo. In 1837 another edition, in one large 8vo
volume, was published.

By a clause in his own will, Lord Sheffield directed that no further
publication of the historian's manuscripts should be made.

"And I request of my said trustees and my heirs that none of the said
manuscripts, papers, or books of the said Edward Gibbon be published
unless my approbation of the publication be directed by some
memorandum indorsed and written or signed by me. And I also request
the person entitled for the time being to the possession thereof not
to suffer the same to be out of his possession or to be improperly
exposed."

This direction has been strictly followed by my father, the second
Earl, and by myself; and it is believed that no person has ever had
access to any of the manuscripts for any literary purpose, excepting
the late Dean Milman, who, when editing his well-known edition of the
_Decline and Fall_, in 1842, was permitted to inspect the original
manuscripts of the Autobiography, on condition of not publishing any
new matter.

The commemoration of 1894, however, again raised the question
whether such an embargo on giving to the world writings of national
importance was ever meant to be, or even ought to be, regarded as
perpetual. Whilst persons named in these papers or their children
were living, whilst the bitter controversies of the last century
were still unforgotten, whilst the fame of Edward Gibbon had hardly
yet become one of our national glories, it was a matter of good
feeling and sound judgment in Lord Sheffield to exercise an editor's
discretion in publishing his friend's confession and private
thoughts. Now that more than a hundred years have passed since his
death, no such considerations have weight or meaning. And the opinion
of those whom I have consulted, both professionally and as private
friends, amply corroborates my own conclusion, that it is a duty
which I owe to my own ancestor and to the public to give to the world
all the remains of the historian which for more than a century have
been preserved in the strong room of Sheffield Park.

The unlocking of the cases in which these manuscripts were secured
was quite a revelation of literary workmanship, and has led to a
most interesting problem in literary history. The manuscripts of
the historian are all holographs--the text of the famous Memoirs
being written with extraordinary beauty of calligraphy, and studied
with the utmost care. But, singularly enough, none of the texts are
prepared for immediate, or even direct, publication. The historian
wrote, at various intervals between 1788 and 1793, no less than
_six_ different sketches. They are not quite continuous; they partly
recount the same incidents in different form; they are written in
different tones: and yet no one of them is complete; none of them
seem plainly designed to supersede the rest. There is even a small
seventh sketch, from which one of the noblest and most famous
passages that Gibbon ever wrote has been excised, and inserted in the
published Autobiography.

Lord Sheffield executed his editorial task with extreme judgment,
singular ingenuity, but remarkable freedom. He was assisted in
preparing the manuscripts for publication by his wife and by Lady
Maria Holroyd, his eldest daughter, who became by marriage the first
Lady Stanley of Alderley. This very able and remarkable woman,
of whose abilities the historian expressed in letters his great
admiration, evidently marked the manuscripts in pencil handwriting
(now recognized as hers) for the printer's copyist. These pencil
deletions, transpositions, and even additions, correspond with the
Autobiography as published by Lord Sheffield. Quite a third of the
whole manuscript is omitted, and many of the most piquant passages
that Gibbon ever wrote were suppressed by the caution or the delicacy
of his editor and his family.

The result is a problem of singular literary interest. A piece, most
elaborately composed by one of the greatest writers who ever used
our language, an autobiography often pronounced to be the best we
possess, is now proved to be in no sense the simple work of that
illustrious pen, but to have been dexterously pieced together out of
seven fragmentary sketches and adapted into a single and coherent
narrative. The manner and the extent of this extraordinary piece of
editing has been so fully explained in the address of November 15,
published by the Centenary Committee, that it is not necessary for me
to enlarge upon it further.

No sooner had the discovery of the process by which Gibbon's
_Autobiography_ had been concocted been made public, than a general
desire was expressed to have the originals published in the form
in which the historian left them. It was no case of incomplete or
illegible manuscripts, nor of rough drafts designed only as notes
for subsequent composition. The whole of the seven manuscripts
are written with perfect precision; the style is in Gibbon's
most elaborate manner; and each piece is perfectly ready for the
printer--so far as it goes. It was impossible to do again the task
of consolidation so admirably performed by Lord Sheffield. Nothing
remained but to print the whole of the pieces _verbatim_, as the
historian wrote them, not necessarily in the order of time of their
apparent composition, but so as to form a consecutive narrative of
the author's life.

The reader may now rest assured that, _for the first time_, he has
before him the Autobiographic Sketches of Edward Gibbon in the exact
form in which he left them at his death. The portions enclosed in
dark brackets are the passages which were omitted by Lord Sheffield,
and in the notes are inserted the passages or sentences, few and
simple in themselves, which Lord Sheffield added to the original
manuscript. For various reasons it was found impracticable to print
the six sketches in parallel columns; but the admirers of the
historian and all students of English literature will find abundant
opportunity for collating the original texts with each other, and
with the text as published by the editor, and now for a century
current as one of the masterpieces of English literature.

The _Letters_ of the historian, the bulk of which were addressed
to Lord Sheffield and his family, were published in part by my
grandfather in one or other of the editions of _The Miscellaneous
Works of Edward Gibbon_. But in this collection many letters
were omitted, and most of them were printed with some omissions
and variations. These omissions have now been restored; and the
_Letters_, like the other papers of our author, are now for the first
time given to the world in the form in which they were composed.

I cannot pretend to any rivalry with my grandfather in the matter
of the skill with which he performed the task of editing and
selecting for publication the remains of his friend. But I can
assure the reader that _every piece contained in this volume as the
work of Edward Gibbon is now printed exactly as he wrote it without
suppression or emendation_. And in transferring these literary
treasures to the nation, and in giving them to the world, I feel
that I am fulfilling the trust which the historian reposed in my
grandfather, and am acting in the spirit of the lifelong friendship
that bound him to my family.

I cannot conclude these prefatory remarks without acknowledging to
the fullest extent the obligation I am under to Mr. Frederic Harrison
for the assistance he has given me in the preparation and composition
of this Preface.



EDITOR'S PREFACE.


This collection of Gibbon's correspondence, extending as it does
from 1753 to 1794, practically covers the whole of the historian's
life, and contains his observations on society, literature, and
politics during a period which includes such momentous events as the
Seven Years' War, the War of American Independence, and the French
Revolution.

By far the greater number of the letters now appear for the first
time; but portions of the correspondence, marked in this edition with
asterisks, were printed by Lord Sheffield shortly after Gibbon's
death. These published portions were treated by the editor with great
tact and more freedom. Lord Sheffield was giving to the world letters
which discussed recent events and criticised living persons; it was,
therefore, necessary for him to suppress some allusions and conceal
many names. Jealous of his friend's literary reputation, he corrects
errors in spelling or grammar, gives a dignified turn to the more
homely phrases, and omits as trivial the petty details of domestic
life. Sometimes, also, Lord Sheffield's editorial methods pass beyond
the exercise of these more or less legitimate powers. In order to
concentrate the interest of the correspondence, he culls a few lines
from one letter, chooses a sentence from a second, extracts a passage
from a third, and prints his patchwork as a genuine letter from
Gibbon's own hand.

In this edition the letters are printed as they were written. For
the blanks which conceal the identity of persons are substituted the
real names; the suppressed passages are restored; the spelling and
grammar of the original are preserved; the language is left as Gibbon
wrote it. If the Memoirs give us Gibbon in the full dress of a fine
gentleman of letters, the correspondence reveals to us the man as he
was known to his valet and his housekeeper.

The letters have the ease and freshness of conversations with
intimate friends, and, considering the character of the century in
which they were written, they present one feature which deserves
special notice. Only one short sentence has been omitted as too
coarse to be printed. With this solitary exception, the reader knows
the worst as well as the best of Gibbon, and there are scarcely a
dozen phrases, scattered over 800 pages, which will offend good taste
or good feeling.

The notes must speak for themselves. Though some points on which
information is needed remain obscure, it is hoped that, so far as
they go, they may be found useful. In their correction and revision,
valuable aid has been given by Mr. G. H. Holden, Assistant Librarian
at All Souls' College, Oxford.



ERRATA.


  Vol. I. page 185, note, last line, _for_ "Roslyn" _read_ "Rosslyn."
   "       " 314, note 2, line 7, _for_ "Madame du Barry" _read_
         "Madame du Barri."
   "       " 386, note 2, _for_ "Wibraham" _read_ "Wilbraham."

  Vol. II. page 4, note 1 (twice), _for_ "Bushy" _read_ "Bushey."



GIBBON'S CORRESPONDENCE.

1753-1794.


On June 8, 1753, Edward Gibbon, then sixteen years of age, and an
undergraduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, was received into the
Roman Catholic Church by a Jesuit named Baker, one of the chaplains
to the Sardinian Embassy. His change of religion led to his removal
from the University, and decided his father to place him under the
care of M. Pavillard, a Calvinist minister at Lausanne. Escorted by
M. Frey, a Swiss gentleman of Basle, Gibbon left England on June 19,
1753. His first letter announces his safe arrival.



1.

_To his Father._


  [Lausanne], July 30th, 1753.

  DEAR SIR,

I must beg you to excuse my not having wrote till now, but knowing
that Mr. Frey had given you an account of my safe arrival by the
first post, I chose to stay some time, that I might be able to give
you a more exact account of my present situation. After a pretty
tiresome journey of eleven days, I got safe to Lausanne. Mr. Frey,
when he had delivered me into Mr. Pavilliard's hands, left the place
and went to Geneva. I have now been with him a month, and during
the whole time have been treated by him with the greatest civility
imaginable. I read French twice every day with him. I already
understand almost all that is said, and can ask for any common things
I want. With regard to other things, the people here are extremely
civil to strangers, and endeavour to make this town as agreeable as
possible. The English here are Mr. Townshend, nephew to the present
Lord Townshend, Lord Huntingtower, Mr. Crofts, and Mr. Umberstone.
I have also been introduced to the Earl of Blessington, who resides
here now with his family, as well as to Madame de Brissoné, to whom
you gave me a letter of recommendation, and who is an extremely
agreeable woman. This is the chief I have to say of the place. As to
the climate, I have reason to think it will agree extremely well with
me. When I was at Calais my books were seized and sent to Paris to be
examined, but a friend there, whom Mr. Frey has wrote to, is to send
them to Lausanne. I must beg my sincere compliments to Miss Ellison.

  I am, dear Sir,
  With the greatest respect and sincerity,
  Your most obedient and most dutiful son,
  EDWARD GIBBON.



2.

_To his Aunt, Miss Catherine Porten._[1]


  February, 1755.

"Pray remember this letter was not addressed to his mother-in-law,
but his aunt, an old cat as she was to refuse his request."[2]

  DEAR MADAM,

*I have at length good news to tell you; I am now a good Protestant,
and am extremely glad of it.[3] I have in all my letters taken
notice of the different movements of my mind. Entirely Catholic
when I came to Lausanne, wavering long time between the two systems,
and at last fixed for the Protestant, when that conflict was over,
I had still another difficulty. Brought up with all the ideas of
the Church of England, I could scarce resolve to communion with
Presbyterians, as all the people of this country are. I at last
got over it in considering that, whatever difference there may be
between their churches and ours in the government and discipline,
they still regard us as brethren, and profess the same faith as us.
Determined, then, in my design, I declared it to the ministers of the
town assembled at Mr. Pavilliard's, who, having examined me, approved
of it, and permitted me to receive the communion with them, which I
did Christmas Day, from the hands of Mr. Pavilliard, who appeared
extremely glad of it. I am so extremely myself, and do assure you
feel a joy pure, and the more so as I know it to be not only innocent
but laudable.*

Could I leave off here I should be very glad, but I have another
piece of news to acquaint you with. Mr. Pavilliard has already hinted
it in the letter you have, I suppose, already received, and which I
have translated into English. Let me tell you the whole fact as it is
really past.

[Sidenote: A GAMBLING SCRAPE.]

One evening I went to see Mr. Gee, one of the English now here. I
found him in his room, playing at Pharaon with some other gentlemen.
I would have retired, but he desiring me to stay, I took a chair and
sat down by the fire. I continued to look at the gamesters about half
an hour, till one of them going away, Gee desired me to take his
place, and I refused; but on his assuring me that I might punt as
low as I would, at last complied, and soon lost about half a guinea;
this vexed me, and I continued upon my word. The play warmed, and
about three o'clock the next morning I found I had lost only forty
guineas. Guess my situation (which I did not dare communicate to any
one); such a loss, and an utter impossibility of paying it. I took
the worst party I could. I demanded my revenge; they gave it me, and
the second meeting was still worse than the first. It cost me 1760
francs, or 110 guineas.

Never have I felt a despair equal to that I had then. I was a great
while hesitating upon the most violent parties. At last I resolved
to go seek my money in England, not doubting to be able to raise
that sum at London. I had not forgot that step would expose me to
all the indignation of my father, but I shut my eyes on all those
considerations, to reflect that it was my only resource to pay my
debt and to disengage my word; in pursuance of this, I bought a
horse, a watch, and some other things of Mr. Gee himself, payable
with the rest in England, and set out proposing to sell those things
to carry me on my journey. Was successful as far as Geneva, but there
the difficulty I found to dispose of my horse having stopped me some
days, Pavilliard, who had perceived my evasion, ran after me, and
half entreaties, half force, brought me back to Lausanne with him.

I am there at present, not knowing what to do; the term given me
almost out, and my creditors extremely pressing. What party can I
take? Should I acquaint my father with it? What first-fruits of a
conversion should I give him? I have then no other resource than you.
Tell me not you are poor, that you have not enough for yourself. I do
not address myself to you as the richest, but as the kindest of my
relations; nor do I ask it you as a gift, but as a loan. If you could
not furnish me the whole sum, let me have at least a part of it. I
know you have thoughts of doing something for me by your will; I beg
you only to anticipate it. I shall make no use of any other prayers
than this plain recite of my situation; if it produces no effect on
you, nothing else would. Remember only that my term finished March
15. I tremble for your answer, but beg it may be speedy. I am too
much agitated to go on. I will tell you something of myself in my
next, _i.e._ very soon.

  I am, dear Kitty,
  Your unfortunate nephew,
  E. GIBBON.

P.S.--I have enclosed a _carte blanche_--write there a promise for
what you send me; it may serve you with my father in case of my death.

P.S.--You may inquire for Grand and Wombwell, bankers, who will give
you bills upon Mr. Grand, banker, at Lausanne for as much as you will.

  [1] Judith Porten, the mother of Edward Gibbon, was the third
  and youngest daughter of Mr. James Porten, a merchant of London.
  She died in December, 1747, leaving the maternal care of her
  son to her sister, Miss Catherine Porten, the "Aunt Kitty" of
  the later correspondence, to whom this letter is addressed.
  After her father's commercial ruin, Miss Catherine Porten opened
  a boarding-house for Westminster School, in College Street.
  Under her care Gibbon spent the two years which he passed at
  Westminster. He entered the school in January, 1748, and was
  placed in the second form.

  [2] This endorsement is in the handwriting of his stepmother, the
  second Mrs. Gibbon.

  [3] "M. Pavilliard has described to me the astonishment with
  which he gazed on Mr. Gibbon standing before him; a thin little
  figure, with a large head, disputing and urging, with the
  greatest ability, all the best arguments that had ever been used
  in favour of popery." [Lord Sheffield.]



[Sidenote: VOLTAIRE AT GENEVA.]

3.

_To his Father._


  March 1st, 1755.

  DEAR SIR,

As Mr. Pavilliard writes to you at present, I will not let slip the
occasion of sending my letter by the same post. Give me leave, sir,
to demand of you, once more, and to demand of you with the last
earnestness, the return of your paternal tenderness, which I have
forfeited by the unhappy step I have made. I hope to merit that
return by my behaviour. Give me leave, too, to repeat my former
demands of some masters, as for the _manége_ for fencing and for
dancing. With regard to the last, I own that Mr. Pavilliard, overcome
by importunities, and imagining you would not disapprove of it, gave
me leave to take it about three months ago, and I actually learn. My
health still continues good, and I continue my studies in the same
manner I have already described to you. The only news I have to tell
you is that the famous Mr. de Voltaire[4] is come to spend, as he
says, the rest of his days here. He has bought an estate near Geneva,
where he proposes to spend the summer, and to pass the winter at a
country house he has hired near Lausanne.

Give me now leave, dear Sir, to finish, repeating the demand of your
former affection. If I could hope to hear from you I should think
myself completely happy.

  I am, dear Sir,
  Your most obedient and most dutiful son,
  E. GIBBON.

  [4] Voltaire lived from 1755 to 1758 at _les Délices_ near
  Geneva, and within Genevan territory.



4.

_To Miss Catherine Porten._


  September 20th, 1755.

  DEAR MADAM,

In compliance with your request, I answer the very day I have
received it. I own you had vexed me; not so much in refusing me
the money I asked you, as by revealing the thing to my father. But
what is done cannot be undone, and as my father has forgiven me,
I think I may do as much for you. I consent, then, to the renewal
of our correspondence with all my heart. I shall begin by the tail
of your letter. My whole debt was not with Gee; a great part was
with a person of this town, who has heard reason easily enough.
He has consented to receive a note by which I own the debt, and
promise to pay him when I can. Gee has not been so easy. After
having obliged him to take back the watch and the mare, the debt
was still at fifty guineas. I bought him for twenty another watch,
paying (as I do still) two guineas a month to the watchmaker, and
which Mons. Pavilliard and I contrive to retrench out of my other
expenses. Gee left us about four months ago. Have you a mind to
know his destiny? Yes. Hear it, then. His parents had ordered him
forty guineas for his journey, but as they had allowed him to stay
a fortnight at Paris, he was to take twenty more in that place.
Gee quits Lausanne in this manner. Suppose him at Lyons. He goes
immediately to the correspondent of his banker, for whom he had a
letter of recommendation. "Sir," says he, in accosting him, "I have
a letter for you from your correspondent, Mons. Grand of Lausanne.
You will find in it that he desires you to pay me twenty-five guineas
at sight." The banker puts on his spectacles, reads the letter,
but finds nothing in it about money. Upon which he tells Gee that
certainly there is some mistake, and he cannot give him a farthing
before it is cleared up. Gee replies that he must be at Paris a
certain day, and that without money he cannot go. In a word, for I
hate long stories, the banker gives him the money, but writes to
his correspondent at Paris to stop Gee's twenty guineas. He, having
some wind of the affair, runs post, day and night, arrives at Paris
four hours before the letter, and draws the money. Gee's adventures
at Paris would take up a volume, as he played a great deal. Once he
had a hundred and fifty thousand livres, French money, in his pocket
(£6700), but a week after he was 1500 guineas in debt, thanks to the
famous Mr. Taff[5] and some others of much the same stamp. The end
was _that his mother, though extremely poor, paid all his debts_, and
sent him into England, where he is now, having lost his commission,
having hardly any other resource than his Majesty's highway. So much
for Gee.

  [5] It is probable that this was the Mr. Taaffe who, with Mr.
  Wortley Montagu and Lord Southwell, invited a Jew named Abraham
  Payba to dine with them at Montagu's lodgings in Paris, in
  September, 1751. Having made him drunk, they won from him in
  less than an hour eight hundred louis d'or. Their debtor paid
  them with drafts which he knew would be dishonoured. Finding
  themselves outwitted, Taaffe and Montagu broke into Payba's
  house, and possessed themselves of a considerable sum of
  money and a quantity of jewellery. For this offence they were
  imprisoned for three months in the Grand Châtelet (Nichols'
  _Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century_, vol. iv. pp.
  629-634).

[Sidenote: HIS FATHER'S SECOND MARRIAGE]

A tear to poor Nell; she really deserves it. Am glad Nemmy is well
married. Would write to my aunt Hester,[6] but know not what to say
to her. You tell me Snell and Milton are gone; where? Compliments to
Bett Gilbert and to the Darrels[7] since you are at Richmond. I hurry
over; but, _à propos_, who directed your letter, for it is not your
hand? I hurry over all these things to come to my father's marriage.

  [6] Miss Hester Gibbon died unmarried in 1790, at the age of
  eighty-six, at King's Cliffe in Northamptonshire. William Law,
  the author of the _Serious Call_, originally her brother's tutor
  at Putney, afterwards her almoner, spiritual adviser and guide,
  died at her house in 1761. In the tomb which she caused to be
  built for him, she was also herself buried. Hester Gibbon is
  stated to have been the Miranda of the _Serious Call_; but her
  age at the date when the book was published (1728) makes this
  doubtful.

  [7] The second daughter of Mr. James Porten married Mr. Darrel of
  Richmond, and left two sons, Edward and Robert.

About a fortnight ago I received a vastly kind letter from my father
of the 18th of August (inquire the day of his marriage). He forgave
me in it all my past faults, promised never to speak of them again
to me, provided only I kept the promises I had made him about my
future behaviour; allows me to make a little tour about Switzerland,
which I had asked him, and tells me that, after having completed my
studies and my exercises, he would make me make that of France and
Italy. But not a syllable about his marriage.[8] Three days after I
heard of it by the canal of a certain Mr. Hugonin, whose father is
our neighbour in Hampshire, but without any particularities either
of name or anything else. Guess my surprise; you know he had always
protested that he never would marry again--at least, had he done it
in the time he was angry with me, I should have been less struck; but
now what can he mean by it? What frightens me most is what I remember
you told me; if my father married again, by my grandfather's will the
estate went to the children of the second bed, and that I had only
200 a year, provided the second wife had more fortune than my mother,
who had only £1500. You may easily guess the anxiety that has put me
in. I have wrote to a friend in England, who I think I can trust to
get me a copy of that will out of Doctors' Commons; but though sure
of his discretion, I do not know whether he will care to serve me.
_Could you not do it YOURSELF?_ and inquire whether my father has not
taken care of me by his marriage contract.

  [8] Gibbon's father married his second wife, Miss Dorothea
  Patton, in 1755.

You say that Mrs. Gibbon (Miss Patton) has set my father against the
Mallets.[9] I do not know if 'tis so very good a sign. Since she was
intimate with him when I was under Ward's[10] hands, I should think
you must have heard something of her. Do make some inquiries about
her and send them me. I wonder what will become of my poor cousin.
She will be sold at last. Since they are in France, and that the war
is going to break out, what if they should come to Lausanne?

  [9] David Mallet, or Malloch, poet, playwright, and miscellaneous
  writer (1705-65), is best known for his ballad of _William and
  Margaret_, his unsubstantiated claim to the authorship of _Rule
  Britannia_, and his edition of Bolingbroke's works. Bolingbroke,
  said Dr. Johnson, had "spent his life in charging a gun against
  Christianity," and "left half-a-crown to a hungry Scotchman to
  draw the trigger." Mallet was "a great declaimer in all the
  London coffee-houses against Christianity," and the obtrusion of
  his sceptical views made his household unpleasing to David Hume.
  To his house Gibbon was taken after his reception into the Church
  of Rome.

  [10] A well-known doctor of the day.

[Sidenote: YOUNG TRAVELLERS.]

*Now for myself. As my father has given me leave to make a journey
round Switzerland, we set out to-morrow. Buy a map of Switzerland,
'twill cost you but a shilling, and follow me. I go by Iverdun,
Neufchâtel, Bienne or Biel, Soleure or Solothurn, Bâle or Basil,
Bade, Zurich, Lucerne, and Bern. The voyage will be of about four
weeks; so that _I hope to find a letter from you waiting for me_.
As my father had given me leave to learn what I had a mind, I have
learned to ride, and learn actually to dance and draw. Besides that,
I often give ten or twelve hours a day to my studies. I find a great
many agreeable people here; see them sometimes, and can say upon the
whole, without vanity, that, tho' I am the Englishman here who spends
the least money, I am he who is the most generally liked. I told you
that my father had promised to send me into France and Italy. I have
thanked him for it. But if he would follow my plan, he won't do it
yet a while. I never liked young travellers; they go too raw to make
any great remarks, and they lose a time which is (in my opinion) the
most precious part of a man's life. My scheme would be, to spend
this winter at Lausanne--for tho' 'tis a very good place to acquire
the air of good company and the French tongue, we have no good
professors--to spend (I say) the winter at Lausanne; go into England
to see my friends a couple of months, and after that, finish my
studies, either at Cambridge (for after what's past one cannot think
of Oxford), or at a university in Holland. If you liked the scheme,
_could you propose it to my father by Metcalf, or somebody else who
has a certain credit over him_? I forgot to ask you whether, in case
my father writes to tell me his marriage, would you advise me to
compliment my mother-in-law? I think so. My health is so very regular
that I have nothing to say about it.

I have been the whole day writing you this letter; the preparations
for our voyage gave me a thousand interruptions. Besides that, I was
obliged to write in English. This last reason will seem a parradox,
but I assure you the French is much more familiar to me.* _À propos_,
do you know anything of my Lord Newnham?[11] I heard he was in
Germany.

  I am, dear Kitty,
  Your affectionate nephew
  (_Not your grave, obedient, humble servant_),
  E. GIBBON.

  [11] George Simon (1736-1809), Viscount Nuneham, afterwards
  second Earl of Harcourt, eldest son of the first earl. He was
  remarkable for his affectation of French manners and fashions.



5.

_To his Father._


  10 juin 1756.

  MON TRÈS CHER PÈRE,

Je reçus hier votre lettre avec beaucoup de plaisir, mais qui ne
fut pas tout-à-fait sans mélange d'Inquietude. Je craignois vous
avoir encore offensé par quelque nouvelle faute. Vous savez combien
une affection vive et sincère prend facilement l'allarme aux plus
grandes minucies. Je fus frappé en ouvrant votre lettre de voir votre
style ordinaire de Dear Edward changé en un froid Monsieur. Il est
vrai que la suite me rassura; j'y voyois un Père tendre qui vouloit
bien entrer dans mes peines, les soulager, et me delivrer de toutes
mes craintes, en m'assurant que, si je me conduisois toujours d'une
façon conforme à mon devoir, le nouvel engagement qu'il avoit pris
ne me porteroit aucune prejudice. J'espère que je me connois assez
à présent pour pouvoir regarder cette condition comme une promesse
absolue. En effet si je m'en écartois, avec quels yeux pourrois-je me
regarder moi-même après m'être coupable d'une aussi noire ingratitude
pour tant de bonté? Ce trait dont vous me faites part au sujet de
votre nouvelle épouse, me la fait déjà aimer d'avance. Je n'aurai pas
beaucoup de peine à considérer comme ma mère celle qui, ne pouvant
pas me donner la vie, me l'a au moins rendu. J'aurai l'honneur de
lui en faire mes très humbles remerciemens, et de l'assurer des vœux
qui je fais pour son bonheur. Pour vous, mon très cher Père, je
puis vous protester dans la sincerité de mon cœur que tous ceux que
je fais à votre sujet ont pour unique but votre felicité mutuelle.
Puissiez-vous gouter tous les agreémens d'une Union fondée sur
l'amour et l'estime, et puisse je vous réiterer ces mêmes souhaits
pendant une longue suite d'années.

Vous me demandez compte de mes études et de mes exercises. Pour vous
en rendre il faut nécessairement que j'entre dans un certain détail.
Vos questions la-dessus peuvent se rapporter: 1. à mon François.
Je sais qu'il s'en faut de beaucoup que je ne possède cette langue
aussi bien que je pourrois le faire. Mais j'ose dire pourtant,
sans craindre d'en être démenti par Monsieur Pavilliard, que je la
sais mieux que la plupart des Anglois que j'ai vu à Lausanne. 2.
Mes Langues mortes. Vous savez mieux que personne ma faiblesse par
rapport au Latin lorsque j'ai quitté l'Angleterre. Il n'y avoit alors
point d'auteur que je pusse lire avec facilité ni par conséquent avec
plaisir. A present il n'y en aucun que je ne lise coulamment. J'en
ai lu plusieurs depuis quelque peu de tems, tels que la plus grande
partie des ouvrages de Ciceron, Virgile, Saluste, les Epitres de
Pline deux fois, les comédies de Terence autant, Velleius Patercule,
et je me propose de les lire tous avec le tems. Pour ce qui est du
Grec comme je n'ai commencé à l'aprendre que depuis un mois, ou
six semaines, vous sentez bien que j'en suis encore aux Premiers
Principes. 3. Ma Philosophie. J'ai achevé la Logique de Monsieur de
Crousaz laquelle est fort estimée dans ce pays-ci, en partie avec
Monsieur Pavilliard et en parti dans mon Particulier. Je vais lire
pour la seconde fois L'Etendement Humain, et, aussitôt que je l'aurai
fini, je commencerai l'Algèbre que vous me recommandez tant. 4. Ma
Danse et mon Dessein. Je crois que vous ne serez pas mécontent de mes
progrés dans la dernière de ces choses. Pour ce de la première je
fais tout ce que je puis. Monsieur Pavilliard me rendra la justice de
dire je ne suis pas fort dissipé. Je ne sors pas beaucoup et alors
même ce n'est que pour aller dans les compagnies de la ville.

[Sidenote: HIS STUDIES.]

Je suis bien faché, mon très cher Père, de voir que ces malheureux
mots de Mons. Hugonin, lachés et rapportés si mal à propos, ne sont
pas encore effacés de votre esprit. Je vous en demande sincèrement
excuse, et je vous prie de les oublier totalement. Pour ce qui est
de mon ...[12] que j'avois parlé à ma Tante, je voudrois n'en avoir
jamais parlé puisqu'il vous déplait. J'avoue pourtant que l'ayant
mûrement reconsideré je n'y ai point pu decouvrir l'Incongruité
dont vous me parlez. Comme ma Tante vous a montré mes lettres je ne
repeterai point ce que j'y ai dit. Je remarquerai seulement qui ce
même Locke dont vous me conseilliez tant la Lecture, pense tout comme
moi au sujet des voyages prematures.

  J'ai, l'honneur d'être,
  Mon très cher Père,
  Avec un profond respect et une affection sincère,
  Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur et fils,
  E. GIBBON.

P.S.--Si j'osois je prierois de m'envoyer par un des voituriers
qui vont si souvent de Londres en Suisse, la Bibliothèque Oriental
d'Herbellot qui est parmi mes Livres.

  [12] Word omitted in original.



  6.

  _To his Father._


  4 juin 1757.

  MON TRÈS CHER PÈRE,

  Je me hate de vous assurer encore une fois de mes sentimens.
  Je ne crois pas qu'ils vous soient inconnus, mais je me plais
  à les repeter; heureux si les expressions de mon cœur ne vous
  deplaisent pas.

  Quand pourrois-j'esperer de vous les temoigner, ces sentimens en
  Angleterre? Quatre ans se sont déjà ecoulés depuis qu'un arret
  de votre part m'a fixé dans ce pays. Ils m'ont paru autant de
  siècles. Ce n'est pas que je me plaigne du pays même ni de ses
  habitans. Je leur ai des obligations essentielles. Je dois au
  séjour que j'y ai fait mon gout pour la culture de mon esprit, et
  les progrès quelqu'ils soient que j'ai fait dans quelques genres
  d'études. Je me suis même acquis un petit nombre d'amis qui
  meritent mon estime, et dont le souvenir me sera toujours cher.
  Mais ces amis que sont-ils au prix d'un père à qui je dois tout,
  d'une mère qui a autant de droit sur ma reconnoissance que sur
  mon respect, d'une Tante que j'aimai dès que je la connus, et qui
  je connus aussitôt que moi-même? Je ne repasserai pas toutes les
  raisons dont je me suis déjà servi, pour faire voir que, quelques
  soient vos intentions, un plus long séjour à Lausanne ne me peut
  être que nuisible. Je vous les ai proposé, c'est à vous à les
  peser. Mais permettez-moi, mon très cher Père, de vous prier de
  refléchir serieusement quel effet le différent emploi de mes plus
  belles années peut avoir sur le reste de ma vie. Je ne fais point
  entrer en ligne de compte mon propre agrément, c'est un objet
  trop leger pour être mis à coté de ceux-ci. Au moins, quelques
  soient vous resolutions, ne m'accablez pas par le silence. Que
  je les apprenne de vous, ce sera toujours pour moi une sorte de
  consolation.

  Mais si des raisons que je n'ai gardé de blamer vous engagent á
  me laisser plus longtems dans ce pays; adoucissez au moins ma
  situation. Je vous ai souvent demandé la liberté de prendre un
  Domestique. Je vous le demande encore comme le douceur qui me
  seroit le plus sensible. Comme je sais, mon cher Père, que vous
  n'aimez pas beaucoup à écrire des lettres, si après six semaines
  ou deux mois, je regarderai votre silence comme un consentement.

  Je n'ai rien de nouveau à vous dire sur ma santé ni sur mes
  études. Celle-la est passable; je fais tout ce je puis pour qu'on
  puisse dire quelque chose de plus de celles-ci.

  Assurez ma chère mère (c'est avec bien du plaisir que je lui
  donne ce titre) de tous les sentimens que ce nom sacré emporte
  avec lui. J'ai l'honneur d'être, mon très cher Père, avec le plus
  profond respect et le plus tendre devouement

  Mon très cher Père,
  Votre très humble et très obeissant Serviteur et fils,
  E. GIBBON.



  [Sidenote: HIS FATHER'S SILENCE.]

  7.

  _To his Father._


  Lausanne, 26 Octobre, 1757.

  MON TRÈS CHER PÈRE,

  Dois-je me flatter que vous m'aimiez encore? Si j'en croyois mes
  propres sentimens, je me dirais sur le champ que j'aime mon père
  avec une tendresse si vive et si vraie qu'il est impossible que
  je ne sois pas payé de retour. Si j'ai bien entendu ses paroles,
  ajoutais-je à moi-même. Ce père, ci-devant si rempli de bonté,
  m'a daigné assurer que tout étoit oublié et qu'il me rendoit son
  ancienne affection. Je ne dois donc plus en douter. Il m'aime,
  je suis heureux. Cependant d'un autre coté mille Idées facheuses
  s'offroient en foule à mon esprit. Je lui ai écrit plusieurs
  fois, je lui ai demandé des graces que je croyois raisonnables,
  et que j'esperois d'obtenir. Il se tait cependant. Un silence si
  cruel m'afflige, m'épouvante, me fait envisager le plus grand
  des malheurs: la perte de son amitié. Ne croyez pas, mon très
  cher Père, qu'il entre le moindre réproche dans ces plaintes,
  le respectueux attachement que j'aurai pour vous m'en interdit
  jusqu'à l'apparence. Vous avez sans doute vos raisons, et quand
  même elles me paroitroient pas tout à fait suffisantes, mon
  devoir, et, plus encore, mon cœur feroient taire ma faible raison
  et vous assureroient d'une obeissance libre de tout murmure.

  Lorsque vous me permettez, il y a deux ans, de faire le tour
  de la Suisse, de peur de faire une depense trop forte, nous
  laissâmes Genève pour une autre fois. Je viens de faire ce petit
  voyage actuellement. J'y ai passé trois ou quatre semaines que
  j'ai taché de mettre à profit. Ma depense pendant ce tems là
  est allée à seize Louis neufs. J'espère, mon très cher Père,
  que vous ne la désapprouverez pas. Je ne l'aurois pas fait sans
  prèalablement demander votre permission, mais le tems pressoit.
  Une troupe de Comédiens François étoient à Genève en passant.
  Il étoit bien naturel de saisir une occasion de prendre quelque
  Idée du Théâtre François, et cette occasion (vu la Guerre) ètoit
  presque unique. De retour à Lausanne, j'ai repris mes anciennes
  occupations avec une ardeur nouvelle. Assurez, s'il vous plait,
  madame votre epouse de mon sincère Attachement, et faites moi la
  justice de me croire avec une tendresse et un respect sans bornes

  Mon très cher Père,
  Votre très Humble et très obeissant Serviteur,
  E. GIBBON.



  8.

  _To his Father._


  Lausanne, March 29th, 1758.

  DEAR SIR,

  It is with the greatest pleasure that I see the time approach
  in which I may hope to enjoy what I have so long desired, your
  presence and the view of my native country. With regard to
  the road, the war[13] renders all roads almost impracticable.
  However, after having consulted the persons most used to
  travelling, they all agree that that of France will be the least
  dangerous. I shall pass for a Swiss Officer in Holland. I shall
  have Dutch Regimentals, and a passeport from the Canton of Berne.
  I am pretty sure that my Tongue won't betray me. I think of
  setting out the 8th or 10th of next month, and if I stay a few
  days in Holland to look a little about me, I may be in London
  the 2nd or 3rd of May, where I hope to meet you. I return you
  beforehand my most hearty thanks for your condescendance in
  concurring with my impatience. Tho' you think I shall not relish
  Beriton, I can assure you that the prospect of passing the summer
  in yours & Mrs. Gibbon's compagny, dividing my time between
  successive study, exercise, and ease, is the most agreable one
  I can conceive. I shall punctually follow your directions about
  money, and shall not abuse of the confidence you have in me. Be
  so good as to assure Mrs. Gibbon of all the sentiments Esteem
  and duty can inspire. As I run post I cannot bring her the
  Arquebuzade Water myself, but I shall remit to a waggoner, who
  will be at London almost as soon as I, several bottles of the
  very best I can find.

  I am, Dear Sir, with the greatest respect and the truest
  affection,

  Your most obedient humble Servant and Son,
  E. GIBBON.

  [13] The Seven Years' War, 1756-63.--"A war," says Horace
  Walpole, "that reaches from Muscovy to Alsace and from Madras to
  California" (Horace Walpole to the Earl of Strafford, June 12,
  1759).



[Sidenote: HIS RETURN TO ENGLAND]

9.

_To his Father._


  The Hague, April the 29th, 1758.

  DEAR SIR,

After a journey pretty tiresome, but in whitch I have not run the
least risk, I am arrived safe at the Hague. Holland is certainly a
country well worth the curiosity of a stranger, but as I have not
the time to examine it as it deserves, I choose rather to put off
that pleasure, than to enjoy it imperfectly. Perhaps my desire to see
you soon deceives me, perhaps that desire is the only true source
of my great haste. However it be, I intend to embark at Helvetsluys
next Wednesday, and if the wind is good I may be in London Saturday
or Sunday, where I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you and Mrs.
Gibbon.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Your most obedient humble Servant and Son,
  E. GIBBON.



10.

_To his Aunt, Miss Hester Gibbon._


  Beriton, July the 20th, 1758.

  DEAR MADAM,

Tho' the public voice had long since accustomed me to think myself
honoured in calling Mrs. Gibbon my aunt, yet I never enjoyed the
happiness of living near her, and of instructing myself not less by
her example than by her precepts. Your piety, Madam, has engaged you
to prefer a retreat to the world. Errors, justifiable only in their
principle, forced my father to give me a foreign education. Fully
disabused of the unhappy ideas I had taken up, and at last restored
to myself, I am happy in the affection of the tenderest of fathers.
May I not hope, Madam, to see my felicity compleat by the acquisition
of your esteem and friendship? Duty and Inclination engage me equally
to solicit them, all my endeavours shall tend to deserve them, and,
with Mrs. Gibbon, I know that to deserve is to obtain. I have now
been in England about two months, and should have acquitted myself
much sooner of my duty, but frequent journeys to London scarce left
me a moment to myself, and since a very ugly fever my father has
had, engrossed all my thoughts. He is now entirely recovered, and
desires his love and service to you, Madam, as well as to Mr. Law.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  With the sincerest esteem and most profound respect,
  Your most obedient humble servant and dutiful nephew,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.



11.

_To his Father._


  London, October the 24th, 1758.

  DEAR SIR,

The Chevalier and myself, after a pretty tedious journey, which his
conversation did not render less so, arrived in town Sunday evening.
We have got our old lodgings in Charles Street. Hugonin arrived a
few minutes afterwards, tired of the country, and he seems to be
now tired of the town. I have not yet got the lottery tickets. I
shall certainly buy yours, but my forgetfulness of leaving money in
my bureau may perhaps hinder me from buying my own myself. We have
no great news in town, but that, one day, Sir George Elkin, a man
of family and fortune, has married Miss Roach, a woman of the town.
Everybody pities him. He is but eighteen: unluckily they were married
in Scotland. She stayed five days with him, the sixth she ran away
and came up to London. I beg you would assure Mrs. Gibbon of my
respects. I hope to see you the latter end of the week.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  With the greatest respect,
  Your most obedient servant and dutiful son,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: A VISIT TO LONDON]

12.

_To his Stepmother._


  November, 1758.

  DEAR MADAM,

I arrived in town between four and five o'clock safe and well, though
almost frozen.--Turton[14] was not to be found, but I will endeavour
to see him to-morrow; though I believe that change of air and scene
will be of greater benefit to me, than any prescriptions he can order
me.--I write from Mrs. Porten's,[15] who begs to be remembered to you
in the kindest terms. She is totally ignorant of _forms_, but will
see Mrs. Darrel to-morrow morning and endeavour to settle everything.
Let me entreat you, my dearest Mrs. Gibbon, to try to divert
thoughts, which cannot be suppressed, and believe me that I can only
be easy as I have reason to think that you are so.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

Dean's Yard. Tuesday Evening. Nine o'clock.

My sincerest compliments wait on Mr. and Mrs. Bayley. I wish they
would recollect anything in which I could be useful to them in town.

  [14] Dr. John Turton (1736-1806) was in 1782 appointed physician
  to both the King and Queen. He attended Goldsmith on his
  death-bed. His progress to fame and fortune was very rapid, and
  when he died he left his widow £9000 a year in land, and £60,000
  in the funds. "The bulk of his great fortune he has bequeathed,
  after the death of his wife, to her Royal Highness the Princess
  Mary, their Majesty's fourth daughter" (_Annual Register_, April
  15, 1806).

  [15] Miss Porten had now removed from College Street to a large
  boarding-house which she had built in Dean's Yard, Westminster.



13.

_To his Father._


  New Bond St., December the 14th, 1758.

  DEAR SIR,

I must begin by the most disagreeable news I have to tell you. All
our tickets have come up blanks.[16] All our visionary plans of
grandeur are disappointed, the dream of those who have had the ten
thousand pounds will last a little, but perhaps, not much longer.

I am settled at last in a very good lodging; I say at last because I
lived a day and a half at Mrs. Porten's in the middle of hurry and
noise and meazels. My aunt desires her compliments to you and Mrs.
Gibbon. We eat the levret together. Pray did you not send her a hare
some time ago? I know not what happened, but she never received it.
I saw at her house Dr. Maty's son,[17] a little odd cur, and by an
unexampled generosity I tipped the boy with a crown and the father
with a coal of fire. Last night I was at the King's Scholars play,
and, proper allowances being made, was very well entertained. All
spoke justly enough and some (one or two) promised a good deal. Harry
Courtenay was one of these, but he disappointed me before the end of
the play. He came on with ease and entered well into his character
(an old man in the Phormio), got safe over the dreadful first scene.
From thence he sunk gradually tho' encouraged by repeated claps,
dragged himself through the last scenes in the most dead and lifeless
manner. My expectations were deceived more than they ever were in my
whole life. I am just come from Madame Cilesia's.[18] She received me
in a dirty white linnen gown, no rufles; in a word, _a negligé qui
n'alloit pas le mieux du monde, à sa Majesté Corse_. She received
me, however, like an old fellow-sufferer. Not that we talked at all
of the M.....s, tho' on the brink of it several times, but neither
of us broke the ice. I do not think her pretty, something sweet
enough in her face, _mais enfin voilà tout_. I am to dine there
to-morrow. To-day I dine in state at home, and after dinner shall go
to Cleone,[19] though generally disliked.

I lodge in New Bond Street at a linnen draper's, a Mr. Steward, and
I have a very good first floor, dining-room, bed-chamber and light
closet with many conveniences for a guinea and half a week. I believe
I shall keep to it. Lee is very serviceable to me, he has got me a
very handsome chair for twenty-seven shillings.

I beg you would present my best compliments and true respects to Mrs.
Gibbon.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  With the greatest regard,
  Your most _faithful_, humble servant and son,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.

P.S.--I have not yet been able to do your commissions.

  [16] The lottery began to be drawn November 14, 1758; the last
  ticket was drawn December 12, when "No. 72,570 in the present
  lottery was drawn a prize of £10,000."

  [17] Matthew Maty, born near Utrecht in 1718, settled in
  England as a physician in 1741; in 1756 he was appointed an
  under-librarian at the British Museum, and in 1772 succeeded
  Gowin Knight as chief librarian. His _Journal Britannique_
  (1750-55), published in French at the Hague, contains a
  bi-monthly review of English literature. He died in 1776. If the
  son, whom Gibbon "tipped," resembled the father, this passage
  may confirm Dr. Johnson's description of Maty as a "little black
  dog." For Gibbon's relations with Maty, see note to Letter 15.

  [18] Dorothea Mallet, Madame Celesia (1738-1790), a poet and
  dramatist, eldest daughter, by his first wife, of David Mallet.
  She married Pietro Paolo Celesia, a Genoese gentleman, who was
  ambassador to this country from 1755 to 1759, and was afterwards
  ambassador to Spain. Madame Celesia's drama of _Almida_, an
  adaptation of Voltaire's _Tancrède_, was brought out at Drury
  Lane in 1771, and published in the same year.

  [19] Dodsley's tragedy of _Cleone_ was then being played at
  Covent Garden.



14.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, December, 1758.

  DEAR MADAM,

How many thanks have I to return you! I shall wait upon Sir William
Milner[20] as soon as he is in town, and do not doubt of liking that
family, at least the lady: to say she is your friend is a sufficient
enconium.

[Sidenote: WANT OF MONEY]

But, Madam, I am really concerned my father has not sent me a
draught. I am really distressed for money. I have hardly a guinea
left, and you know the unavoidable expences of London. I have tryed
to borrow of Mrs. Porten and of Harvey, my father's lawyer. But
without success. Could not you send me a bank-note by the Hastings
Post of Monday? I would run all the risks of its being lost; for upon
my word I shall hardly know what to do in three or four days.

Will you admit my excuse? I am just going to see Garrick, _alias_ Sir
John Brute.[21] It will be a _vilaine bête_.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Yours most sincerely,
  E. GIBBON.

P.S.--The author of Eurydice[22] (who greeted me at the Smyrna
Coffee-house) asked much after you and my father. What can you mean
about Miss Allen?

  [20] Sir William Milner, Bart. (1719-1774), for many years
  receiver-general of the Excise, married Elizabeth, youngest
  daughter of the Hon. and Rev. George Mordaunt, brother of the
  third Earl of Peterborough. She died a year after her husband.

  [21] Sir John Brute, the surly, drunken husband of Lady Brute in
  Vanbrugh's play of _The Provoked Wife_.

  [22] Mallet's tragedy _Eurydice_, written in 1731, was revived in
  1759. The Smyrna Coffee-house in Pall Mall stood on the site now
  occupied by Messrs. Harrison, the booksellers. It was famous in
  the days of the _Tatler_ and the _Spectator_.



15.

_To his Father._


  London, December the 21st, 1758.

  DEAR SIR,

I am afraid you will be angry at seeing a letter instead of me, but
indeed I knew not how disagreeable it was, travelling in this season.
I am besides invited to Mrs. Wray's and Mr. Darrel's for next Monday
and Wednesday. Do you think these reasons sufficient? (I beg you
would tell it me freely.) If you do not I will endeavour to come down
the latter end of next week; as I suppose my being there Christmas
Day is of no consequence.

I have seen Dr. Maty. _La La._ He made little or no excuse for having
deferred writing, but has already criticised it with sense and
severity. He finds it as I hoped; good, in general, but many faults
in the detail.[23]

I have dined once with M. Cilesia, with whom I am extremely pleased;
he has wit and learning, and speaks French like a Parisian. But pray
have you heard the shocking pretensions of Mlle. de Vaucluse? A prior
marriage with him, or at least a promise of Marriage with a vast
forfeiture. I do not know the particulars, but she pushes the affair
vigorously at Genoa, and disperses a Memoire, which I hope to see. If
she is not an Imposture, how criminal it makes the husband and how
unhappy the wife.

I believe it is needless to assure Mrs. Gibbon of my sincerest love
and regard. Pray tell her Sir W. Milner is in town. I shall execute
all her and your commissions.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  With the greatest regard,
  Your most obedient and affectionate servant and son,
  E. GIBBON.

  [23] On his return from Lausanne Gibbon completed his _Essai
  sur l'étude de la Littérature_, his first published work. The
  manuscript was submitted to Dr. Maty in 1758, and by his advice
  partly rewritten and wholly revised. It was published in French,
  with a letter to the author from Dr. Maty, in 1761. The essay is
  printed in _The Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon_ (ed. 1814),
  vol. iv. pp. 1-93.



[Sidenote: HIS FIRST LITERARY VENTURE]

16.

_To his Father._


  New Bond Street, December the 30th, 1758.

  DEAR SIR,

Your illness really alarmed me. To be taken in so sudden and violent
a manner. If you had not assured me that you was so much better, I
would have set out immediately for Beriton. I hope you have had some
advice better than Harvey's. I hope too that Mrs. Gibbon tries to
hinder you from going out in the cold. I say tries, because I know
that with regard to going out you are a most ungovernable patient.

At last Maty and I have downright quarrelled. He behaved so very
contemptuously to me. Never made the least excuse for having eked
out two weeks into two months, left two letters I wrote him since,
without any answers, never came near me, that at last I desired him
to send back my manuscript. He did so. I then wrote him a letter to
explain my behaviour. He answered it by another politely bitter. So
_tout est fini_!

I return you, Dear Sir, my sincerest thanks for telling me of my
faults. I shall always consider it the truest proof of your affection
for me. I hope you do not impute my not writing to Mrs. Gibbon to the
least want of regard for her. I should be the most ungrateful of men,
if I did not love and respect her like my own mother. But I really
thought that in a union like yours, writing to one was writing to
both. However, dear Sir, it is enough that you think it an omission,
for me to repair it by the very next post.

I endeavour to see no company in town but such as you yourself would
approve of. Mrs. Cilesia's and Mrs. Hayes's are the two houses I
frequent the most. The former has promised to introduce me to Lady
Harvey's[24] Assembly, where ('tis true though wonderful) there is no
card-playing, but very good company and very good conversation. I am
also to meet at Mrs. Cilesia's the great David Hume. I shall seek
his acquaintance without being discouraged by Maty.

I have answered Bordot's letter. He desires a present relief, a
quick release, and a good place in England. The first alone is in
my power. I beg you would give him Five Guineas and deduct it upon
the Christmas quarter of my Allowance. I do not doubt but you will
do something for him, as I really think his situation deserves pity.
This cessation of the prisoner's allowance shows, I think, better
than fifty monitors to how low an ebb the French are reduced. I
cannot help pitying them too. I do not think it necessary to have
no compassion, in order to be a good Englishman. My unfashionable
politicks are that a war can hardly be a good one, and a peace hardly
a bad one. My sincerest love and regard wait upon Mrs. Gibbon.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  With the highest regard and best wishes for your health
      Your most affectionate son and humble servant,
  (E.) GIBBON.

P.S.--The Barometer was broke on the road. You will lay it upon me.
I lay it upon François, and François upon Henry who packed up the
things. Shall I buy another? Numbers 15553, 15554 Blanks.

  [24] Lady Hervey, the beautiful "Molly Lepel," daughter of
  Brigadier-General Nicholas Lepel, was the widow of John, Lord
  Hervey, the "Sporus" of Pope's Prologue to the _Satires_,
  and the Boswell of George II. and Queen Caroline. Married in
  October, 1720, she was the mother of four sons, three of whom in
  succession became Earl of Bristol. She died September 2, 1768.



17.

_To his Father._


  1760.

  DEAR SIR,

*An address in writing, from a person who has the pleasure of being
with you every day, may appear singular. However, I have preferred
this method, as upon paper I can speak without a blush, and be heard
without interruption. If my letter displeases you, impute it, Dear
Sir, only to yourself. You have treated me not like a son, but like
a friend. Can you be surprized that I should communicate to a friend
all my thoughts, and all my desires? Unless the friend approve them,
let the father never know them; or, at least, let him know at the
same time, that however reasonable, however eligible, my scheme may
appear to me, I would rather forget it for ever, than cause him the
slightest uneasiness.

[Sidenote: UNFITNESS FOR POLITICAL LIFE.]

When I first returned to England, attentive to my future interest,
you were so good as to give me hopes of a seat in Parliament. This
seat, according to the Custom of our venal country, was to be
bought, and fifteen hundred pounds were mentioned as the price of
the purchase. This design flattered my vanity, as it might enable me
to shine in so august an assembly. It flattered a nobler passion; I
promised myself that by the means of this seat I might be one day
the instrument of some good to my country. But I soon perceived how
little a mere virtuous inclination, unasisted by talents, could
contribute towards that great end; and a very short examination
discovered to me, that those talents were not fallen to my lot.
Do not, Dear Sir, impute this declaration to a false modesty, the
meanest species of pride. Whatever else I may be ignorant of, I
think I know myself, and shall always endeavour to mention my good
qualities without vanity, and my defects without repugnance. I shall
say nothing of the most intimate acquaintance with his country and
language, so absolutely necessary to every Senator. Since they may
be acquired, to alledge my deficiency in them, would seem only the
plea of laziness. But I shall say with great truth, that I never
possessed that gift of speach, the first requisite of an Orator,
which use and labour may improve, but which nature can alone bestow.
That my temper, quiet, retired, somewhat reserved, could neither
acquire popularity, bear up against opposition, nor mix with ease in
the crowds of public life. That even my genius (if you will allow
me any) is better qualified for the deliberate compositions of the
Closet, than for the extemporary discourses of the Parliament. An
unexpected objection would disconcert me; and as I am incapable of
explaining to others what I do not thoroughly understand myself, I
should be meditating, while I ought to be answering. I even want
necessary prejudices of party, and of nation. In popular assemblies,
it is often necessary to inspire them; and never Orator inspired well
a passion, which he did not feel himself. Suppose me even mistaken in
my own Character; to set out with the repugnance such an opinion must
produce, offers but an indifferent prospect. But I hear you say It is
not necessary that every man should enter into Parliament with such
exalted hopes. It is to acquire a title the most glorious of any in
a free country, and to employ the weight and consideration It gives
in the service of one's friends. Such motifs, tho' not glorious, yet
are not dishonourable; and if we had a borough in our command, if
you could bring me in without any great expence, or if our fortune
enabled us to dispise that expence, then indeed I should think them
of the greatest strength. But with our private fortune is it worth
while to purchase at so high a rate, a title, honourable in itself,
but which I must share with every fellow that can lay out Fifteen
hundred pounds? Besides, Dear Sir, a merchandize is of little value
to the owner, when he is resolved not to sell it.

I should affront your penetration, did I not suppose you now see the
drift of this letter. It is to appropriate to another use the sum you
destined to bring me into Parliament; to employ it, not in making
me great, but in rendering me happy. I have often heard you say
yourself, that the allowance you had been so indulgent as to grant
me, tho' very liberal in regard to your estate, was yet but small,
when compared with the almost necessary extravagances of the age. I
have indeed found it so, notwithstanding a good deal of œconomy, and
an exemption from many of the common expences of youth. This, Dear
Sir, would be a way of supplying these deficiencies, without any
additional expence to you.--But I forbear.--If you think my proposals
reasonable, you want no entreaties to engage you to comply with them;
if otherwise, all will be without effect.

All that I am afraid of, Dear Sir, is, that I should seem not so much
asking a favour, as this really is, as exacting a debt. After all I
can say, you will still remain the best judge of my good, and your
own circumstances. Perhaps, like most Landed Gentlemen, an addition
to my annuity would suit you better than a sum of money given at
once. Perhaps the sum itself may be too considerable. Whatever you
shall think proper to bestow upon me, or in whatever manner, will be
received with equal gratitude.

I intended to stop here; but as I abhor the least appearance of
art, I think it will be better to lay open my whole scheme at once.
The unhappy War which now desolates Europe, will oblige me to defer
seeing France till a peace. But that reason can have no influence
upon Italy, a country which every Scholar must long to see; should
you grant my request, and not disaprove of my manner of employing
your bounty, I would leave England this autumn, and pass the winter
at Lausanne, with M. de Voltaire and my old friends. The armies no
longer obstruct my passage, and it must be indifferent to you,
whether I am at Lausanne or at London during the winter, since I
shall not be at Beriton. In the spring I would cross the Alps, and
after some stay in Italy, as the war must then be terminated, return
home thro' France, to live happily with you and my dear Mother. I
am now two or three and twenty; a tour must take up a considerable
time, and tho' I believe you have no thoughts of settling me soon,
(and I am sure I have not) yet so many things may intervene, that the
man who does not travel early, runs a great risk of not travelling
at all. But this part of my scheme, as well as the whole, I submit
entirely to you.

Permit me, Dear Sir, to add, that I do not know whether the compleat
compliance with my wishes could encrease my love and gratitude; but
that I am very sure, no refusal could minish those sentiments with
which I shall always remain, Dear Sir, your most dutiful and obedient
son and servant,*

  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.



[Sidenote: A CAPTAIN OF MILITIA.]

18.

_To his Stepmother._


  Winchester Camp,[25] Monday Morning,
  [in pencil] '61?

  DEAR MADAM,

I have got four dozen of Franks for you from Sir Gerard Napier, which
I shall send you by return of the waggon. In return I must beg the
favor of a book. It is Greek, but don't be frightened; you may easily
find it. It is a short but very thick folio, bound in parchment,
the title on the back in large letters, either Strabo, or Strabonis
Geographia, printed in two columns, one Greek, the other Latin. I am
pretty sure it is upon the couch. I hope you like the Devizes; the
place is good, & I think the neighbourhood to Bath no objection. I
hope soon to meet you there, and am,

  Dear Madam,
  Yours most affectionately,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.

  [25] In June, 1759, Gibbon and his father joined the Hampshire
  regiment of militia as respectively captain and major. The
  South battalion, to which they belonged, was kept "under arms,
  in constant pay and duty," from the date of its enrolment till
  December 23, 1762, when it was disbanded as a permanent force.
  The battalion was at Winchester Camp from June 25 to October 23,
  1761, and from the latter date to February 28, 1762, at "the
  populous and disorderly town of Devizes" (see next letter). His
  _Autobiography_ shows that Gibbon found that "a camp," as Johnson
  wrote to Mrs. Thrale in October, 1778, "however familiarly we
  may speak of it, is one of the great scenes of human life," and
  that, partially at least, he agreed with Lord Chesterfield, that
  "courts and camps are the only places to learn the world in."



19.

_To his Stepmother._


  Devizes, February the 14th, 1762.

  DEAR MADAM,

Knowing you as I do I can easily judge of the effect my father's
accident must have produced upon you. Besides, I can guess at it by
the impression it made upon me, though I heard of the danger and
the escape at the same time. I thank God it was no worse. I hope my
father is now thoroughly recovered. I shall remember the Arquebusade
this week.

Of myself and my situation at the Devizes I have little to say,
and that little not very agreeable. A great deal of noise and no
conversation, a great many people and no society, a most excessive
familiarity and no friendship; in a word, the usual scene, only I
think we are not so quarrelsome as we used to be.

I wrote to my father who by this time must have received my letter.
However I must just mention to him two or three things relative to
the battalion. He will see by the enclosed return, our strength and
what we have done, which is nothing to what we might do had we money.
The Blacks[26] now grow so numerous that I think they must drive
us out of town, they desire it so strongly, & Lord Shelbourne[27]
has such powerful interest. I believe Sharrock[28] will get an
ensign, one Hall,[29] near this place, a very pretty lad of sixteen
with a good qualification, though not in our county. He expects an
answer from Durnford, who, by the bye, has not yet wrote either to
Harrison[30] or me.

How does your pupil go on? I hope soon to have an account of him, as
William is very clamourous for a new livery.

You say nothing of your brother. I hope he is sailed. Surely it must
by this time be determined. I beg you would present my love and duty
to my father, and believe me,

  Dear Madam,
  Most affectionately yours,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.

  [26] The Black Musqueteers of Colonel Barré were raised in 1761-2
  as the 106th Regiment of Foot (or Black Musqueteers.) See List of
  General and Field Officers for 1763, p. 175.

  [27] William, Lord Fitzmaurice, M.P. for Chipping Wycombe,
  afterwards Prime Minister (1782), and first Marquess of
  Lansdowne, succeeded his father as second Earl of Shelburne
  in the spring of 1761. He acted as the go-between in the
  negotiations between Bute and Fox, which led to the cessation of
  the Seven Years' War and the Treaty of Paris.

  [28] Robert Sharrock was a captain in the South Battalion of the
  Hampshire Militia.

  [29] James Hall received his commission as ensign in February,
  1762.

  [30] John Butler Harrison, lieutenant in the South Battalion,
  was Gibbon's chief friend in the regiment. In his journal Gibbon
  speaks of the disagreeable society in which he was compelled
  to live. "No manners, no conversation, they were only a set
  of fellows, all whose behaviour was low, and most of whose
  characters were despicable. I must, however, except Sir Thomas
  and Harrison out of this society. Harrison is a young man of
  honour, spirit, and good nature. The virtues of his heart make
  amends for his having none of the head."



[Sidenote: FOREIGN TOUR.]

20.

_To his Father._


  Boulogne, January the 25th, 1763.

  DEAR SIR,

*You see by the date of my letter where I am. I arrived here
in company with the Duke of Bridgewater,[31] the Marquis of
Tavistock,[32] Lord Ossory[33] and a Mr. Leigh, about three in the
afternoon, after a tedious but pleasant passage of about nine hours.
We were forced to come in here, not being able to make Calais. I have
hired a chaise, & propose setting out to-morrow, but alone, as the
road will not supply horses for our number. I hope to be at Paris
either Thursday or Friday. Writing in the midst of noise and hurry &
being just ready to go to supper, you will excuse my ending abruptly.*

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Yours most affectionately,
  E. GIBBON.

  [31] Francis Egerton, third and last Duke of Bridgewater
  (1736-1803), with the assistance of Brindley, developed the canal
  system of the north of England.

  [32] The Marquis of Tavistock, who married, in June, 1764, Lady
  E. Keppel, was killed in the hunting-field in 1767.

  [33] John, second and last Earl of Ossory, married, in 1769, the
  Duchess of Grafton. Anne Liddell, daughter of Lord Ravensworth,
  married to the Duke of Grafton in January, 1756, was separated
  from her husband in 1765. Her daughter by Lord Ossory was born
  in 1768; her divorce from the duke, and her marriage with Lord
  Ossory, took place in March, 1769.



21.

_To his Stepmother._


  Paris, February the 12th, 1763.

  DEAR MADAM,

You remember our agreement; short and frequent letters. The first
part of the treaty you have no doubt of my observing: I think I ought
not to leave you any of the second. _À propos_ of treaty,[34] our
definitive one was signed here yesterday, and this morning the Duke
of Bridgewater and Mr. Neville[35] went for London with the news of
it. The plenipotentiaries sat up till ten o'Clock in the morning at
the ambassador of Spain's ball, and then went to sign this treaty
which regulates the fate of Europe.

[Sidenote: PARISIAN SOCIETY.]

Paris in most respects, has fully answered my expectations. I have
a number of very good acquaintances which encrease every day, for
nothing is so easy as the making them here. Instead of complaining
of the want of them, I begin already to think of making a choice.
Next Sunday for instance I have only three invitations to Dinner.
Either in the houses you are already acquainted, you meet with people
who ask you to come and see them, or some of your friends offer
themselves to introduce you. When I speak of these connections, I
mean chiefly for dinner & the evening. Suppers, as yet I am pretty
much a stranger to, and I fancy shall continue so: for Paris is
divided into two Species who have but little communication with each
other. The one who is chiefly connected with the men of letters
dine very much at home, are glad to see their friends, and pass the
evenings till about nine in agreable and rational conversation.
The others are the most fashionable, sup in numerous parties, and
always play or rather game both before and after supper. You may
easily guess which sort suits me best. Indeed, Madam, we may say
what we please of the frivolity of the French, but I do assure you
that in a fortnight passed at Paris I have heard more conversation
worth remembering, and seen more men of letters among the people of
fashion, than I had done in two or three winters in London.

Amongst my acquaintance I cannot help mentioning M. Helvetius,[36]
the author of the famous book _de l'Esprit_. I met him at dinner at
Madame Geoffrin's,[37] where he took great notice of me, made me a
visit next day, & has ever since treated me not in a polite but a
friendly manner. Besides being a sensible man an agreable companion,
& the worthiest creature in the world He has a very pretty wife,
a hundred thousand Livres a year and one of the best tables in
Paris. The only thing I dislike in him is his great attachment to
and admiration for Stanley,[38] whose character is indeed at Paris
beyond any thing you can conceive. To the great civility of this
foreigner, who was not obliged to take the least notice of me, I must
just contrast the behaviour of the D. of B.[39] I could not see him
(on account of his gout) till last Sunday. I was then introduced
to him & presented my letter from the D[uke] of R[ichmond].[40] He
received me civilly, desired I would apply to him whenever I wanted
his assistance, and thus dismissed me. I have not heard of him since.
Indeed I have often blushed for him, for I find his stateliness and
avarice make him the joke of Paris. Instead of keeping any thing of a
publick table, he hardly ever asks any body; while the Spaniard[41]
gives balls every week, the magnificence of which is only exceeded by
their politeness & elegance. Neville who is exactly Mr. W. Patton[42]
received me very well, but seemed to laugh both at Mallet & his
letter of recommendation.

I beg my duty to my father to whom I propose writing next week, and
my most sincere compliments to the two Gentlemen.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most affectionately yours,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR, _alias_ DE GUIBON.

  [34] The Treaty of Paris was signed February 10, 1763.

  [35] Mr. Neville arrived in London with the Definitive Treaty,
  February 15, and at once had an audience of the king, which he
  describes in a letter printed in the _Bedford Correspondence_,
  vol. iii. p. 199.

  [36] Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715-1771) published his
  materialistic book, _De l'Esprit_, in 1758. He married
  Mademoiselle de Ligneville, who survived him more than a quarter
  of a century.

  [37] Madame Geoffrin (1699-1777), a woman of humble origin,
  the widow of a wealthy ice-merchant, opened her _salon_ to
  philosophers and men of letters. Madame du Deffand called her
  _la mère des philosophes_, also _la reine mère de Pologne_ for
  her intimacy with Stanislas Poniatowski. She affected to despise
  the influence of Madame Geoffrin. When some friend spoke to her
  of her rival's _salon_, she exclaimed, "Voilà bien du bruit pour
  une omelette au lard." Gibbon owed his introduction to Madame
  Geoffrin to Lady Hervey. Writing to Lady Hervey in October, 1765,
  Horace Walpole says of Madame Geoffrin, "she has one of the best
  understandings I ever met, and more knowledge of the world."
  Yet his account of her, on the whole, confirms Lord Carlisle's
  opinion that she was "the most impertinent old brimstone" (Lord
  Carlisle to George Selwyn, December 26, 1767). Gibbon speaks in
  his _Autobiography_ of her "capricious tyranny." In a letter to
  Gray (January 25, 1766) Walpole paints an elaborate portrait of
  her and her rival, Madame du Deffand.

  [38] The Right Hon. Hans Stanley, of Paultons in the New Forest,
  was a grandson of Sir Hans Sloane. He was a distinguished
  diplomatist, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Trustee of the
  British Museum, Cofferer of the Royal Household, and M.P. for
  Southampton. Walpole speaks of him as "deep in the secrets of the
  peace of Paris." He committed suicide at Althorpe on January 13,
  1780. Gibbon knew him through Stanley's connection with Hampshire
  and the Isle of Wight. Stanley was twice Captain and Governor of
  the Island, 1764-66 and 1770-80.

  [39] John, fourth Duke of Bedford (1710-1771), to whom Gibbon
  had a letter of introduction from the Duke of Richmond, was in
  1756 appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Keeper of the Privy
  Seal in 1761, and in 1762 ambassador to France, where he signed
  the preliminaries of peace with France and Spain. "The Duke of
  Bedford," writes Horace Walpole in September, 1762, "is gone in a
  fury to make peace, for he cannot be even pacific with temper."

  [40] Charles, third Duke of Richmond, born 1735; ambassador at
  Paris, 1765; Secretary of State, 1766; Master of the Ordnance,
  1783; died 1806.

  [41] The Marquis Jeronymo Grimaldi, a member of an illustrious
  Genoese family, was at this time the Spanish ambassador. He
  negotiated the family compact of 1761 between France and Spain.

  [42] Mrs. Gibbon's youngest brother.



22.

_To his Stepmother._


  Paris, March the 25th, 1763.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am afraid (as dates are stubborn things) that I have been rather
too lazy. As you love truth, and know me, I will not attempt an
awkward apology, but shall only say, that I will endeavor such a
delay shall not happen a second time. My father has more extensive
priviledges, and indeed he seems to be very well acquainted with them.

[Sidenote: FRIENDS IN PARIS]

I still continue to like Paris, as well as I expected. You know that
is saying a great deal. In two months I am acquainted with more, (and
more agreable) people, than I knew in London in two years. Indeed the
way of life is quite different. Much less play, more conversation,
and instead of our immense routs, agreable societies where you know
and are known by almost every body you meet. I have added several
families to those I have already mentioned to you, and I find my
conquests multiply every day. With regard to Mrs. M.'s son,[43] I am
glad to see that for once she has not exagerated; indeed she hardly
could in speaking of him. We are now very intimate, & I think I begin
to know his character. It is astonishing for a young French officer
of the Guards. He is as reserved, as little a man of the world, and
as awkward as I can be. But he has a fine natural understanding,
improved upon almost every subject, a clear unprejudiced head, and
a heart which seems to be full of the noblest sentiments of honor,
probity and friendship. I will not decide too hastily, but I believe
and hope that I am forming a connection which will last as long as
my life. We see one another very often, and in most of my visits of
curiosity he generally accompagnies me. These parties are of service
to us both. I improve by the communication of his remarks, and he has
occasion to see twenty places which he would perhaps not have seen
for the too common reason, that they were in the place he had passed
all his life in. The only unlucky circumstance is, that he has no
women in his family. A Wife or a sister are, you know, most usefull
and convenient things to bring friends together, whereas we are both
single; he in his cousin's house, I in a lodging; and in this great
town, are both obliged to get our living, which prevents our meeting
so often as we could wish. Madame Bontems[44] is a very good sort of
a woman, agreable and _sans pretensions_. She seems to have conceived
a real motherly attachment for me. I generally sup there three or
four times a week quite in a friendly way.

I have nothing new to say of his Excellency. I have not seen him
since my last letter, and but once in all. Not a single invitation
either general or particular, and tho' I have made it a rule to
leave my name at the door, at proper intervalls, I have never been
lett in. The behavior is so very singular (especially with _such a
recommendation as mine_) that I am sometimes tempted to think, some
ill offices must have been done me. Not that I am conscious of any
thing wrong or even imprudent in my behaviour. On the contrary,
whenever I have heard the D.'s manner of living here blamed and
laughed at, I have always thought it right to try to justify him,
even against my own conscience. Indeed I am sorry, for the honor of
my country to see how contemptible a figure he makes amongst our late
enemies and constant rivals. My only comfort is that the National
character is as much revered as his is despised. What Cromwell wished
is now litterally the case. The name of Englishman inspires as great
an idea at Paris as that of Roman could at Carthage, after the defeat
of Hannibal. Indeed the French are almost excessive. From being very
unjustly esteemed a set of pirates and Barbarians, we are now, by a
more agreable injustice, looked upon as a nation of Philosophers and
Patriots. I wish we would consider this opinion as an encouragement
to deserve a character, which I am afraid we have not yet attained.
I could add many things (some curious enough) with regard to the
reigning politicks and publick affairs; but I have no occasion to say
_why_ it is much better to talk them over in your Dressing room some
time hence. Perhaps I have even said too much already.

[Sidenote: PARIS AND LONDON CONTRASTED.]

With regard to Paris itself, I mean the houses and buildings, you
know very well that their people of fashion are incomparably better
lodged there than in London. Their vast Hotels, courts, stables,
gardens, are very magnificent as well as convenient. A striking
proof of the difference is the situation of our Embassador. He is
full as well if not better lodged, in the Rue St. Dominique, than
in Bloomsbury Square. However, his own house is reckoned one of the
very best in London, and his hired one here is, both as to size,
beauty and price, far inferior to a great many, even of that class,
at Paris. Indeed I take the article of house rent to be much higher
than in London, Did you ever hear of seven and eight hundred and even
a thousand pounds a year being given for a house unfurnished. There
are instances of it here. But as to the middling people, even those
of fashion, I like a London house better. Without a regular porter to
answer at the door, our little street-doors are more convenient. A
fine large court is a very agreable thing, but a dark nasty gate-way
is a very disagreable one. When you get up stairs you generally meet
with two rooms. If we sat as much in our bed-chambers as they do, we
have as many. They have indeed besides, an ante-chamber ill fitted
up, and much littered, which the servants inhabit all day, except at
noon and night that it serves for an eating parlour.

I have just seen here two families, the one my father's acquaintance,
the other your's. The first was Mr. Prowse, who only passed thro'
Paris, in his way for Tours, to which place he was going, with all
his family, for his health. I dined with him at Mr. Foley's[45] &
went about with him to several places the next day. In consequence of
some little civilities of that kind, he asked me to dine with him the
day after. He is a very agreable sensible man, but a strange being in
France. The second is your good friend Mrs. Poyntz,[46] whom I met
by accident. She talked of you, whom she adores, asked me a hundred
questions in a breath, told me all her own affairs, her tradesmen,
her house-rent, her daughter, Lord Spencer, &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c.,
and insisted upon my calling upon her.

My love and duty to my father. I shall write to him next post and
hope to hear from him sometimes. I have been obliged to draw for
another hundred pounds. I do assure you I study the œconomical art.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most affectionately yours,
  E. G.

  [43] M. d'Augny.

  [44] Marie Jeanne de Chatillon, Madame Bontemps. Gibbon had
  met her son, who was acting as private secretary to the Duc de
  Nivernois in London, at Mallet's house in November, 1762. She
  translated Thomson's _Seasons_ into French prose in 1759.

  [45] The English banker at Paris.

  [46] Mrs. Poyntz, wife of Stephen Poyntz, of Midgeham, Berkshire,
  was mother of Lady Spencer and grandmother of Georgiana, the
  beautiful Duchess of Devonshire.



23.

_To his Father._


  Paris, April the 5th, 1763.

  DEAR SIR,

I received your last letter with pleasure, because every thing that
comes from you gives me pleasure; but I must own it afflicted me
very much, as I see there are several things in which I have had the
misfortune to displease either you or some other of my friends. I
must endeavour to justify myself, and I think I can easily do it upon
most of those heads.

Lord Litchfield[47] is angry at my writing to him. I am sorry for
it and surprized at it at the same time. I could discover many
reasons why he might not serve me, none that He could be angry at my
application to him, especially as that application was made with all
the decency and moderation, I could put into my letter. I should with
pleasure have communicated it to you, and known your sentiments, but
as we imagined here that the D. of B. would go away very soon, I was
afraid that delay might destroy the very small hopes I had. Indeed I
thought it the less necessary as I knew already your opinion both as
to the eligibility of the thing, and the propriety of an application
to the Noble Lord. I own the giving him no direction was not a happy
specimen of my Secretarial acuracy.

As to my friends, Mallets, Worsleys,[48] Portens, &c. &c. &c. &c.,
I must plead guilty, very guilty indeed to the indictment. I will
not take up my time and yours in vain excuses, my best and only
excuse ought to be and shall be, more exactness for the future.
Notwithstanding Mrs. M.'s outrageousness she is the person I trouble
my head the least about. However I propose writing to her to-night
tho' with great repugnance and difficulty. I neither chuse to go to
the Bastille for sending her observations upon the French government,
nor to fill my letter full of romantick protestations of attachment
and friendship, which I do not feel for her, and which she feels
for nobody. As to La Motte I cannot forgive him his complaints,
when I have so much juster ones to make of him. Follow his advice
I most certainly did not, since he never would give me any, tho' I
asked him several times in as intelligible terms as I could properly
make use of. I was forced to have recourse to my other friends, to
Madame Bontems, to M. d'Augney and to M. de Mirabeau,[49] and their
directions have been very usefull to me. La Motte always shewed me
such a dryness, such an unwillingness to connect himself at all with
me, that I have been at last obliged to drop him almost entirely.

[Sidenote: CONDUCT OF THE DUKE OF BEDFORD.]

Do you think, dear Sir, that I would have stood upon the formality
of a visit with the great Duke? Besides I had no occasion to do it.
He returned mine the very next day. Since that time I have presented
myself at his door once every week or ten days without being ever let
in or hearing a syllable from him. What can I do more than sit down
quiet and wonder at his behavior?

I have enquired into Mr. Thos. Bradley's affair. Mr. Taaffe is no
longer at Mr. George Woolfe's. He is in a much safer place, in the
Châtelet, a prison of Paris for debt. He has settled with his English
Creditors and given up his estate at Jamaica for the payment of his
debts. He wants to compromise with his other Creditors who are very
numerous, (but as they are convinced he wants to cheat them and that
he only offers the same estate after the other debts are cleared,
which cannot be in less than ten or fifteen years) they will hear of
no compromise. All that Mr. Bradley could do, would be to join with
those Creditors in case they should at last agree to his proposals.
Mr. Taaffe's scheme is to keep another estate at Jamaica clear of
his creditors. They on their side want to starve him into giving
up that likewise. If Mr. Bradley thinks it worth his while to push
the affair, it will be attended with some trouble and expence. He
must impower somebody at Paris to act in his name, and in order to
do so a journey to London will be necessary where he must find out
Mr. Benjamin Bobbin an Attorney beyond the Royal Exchange, who does
all that kind of business, and who will draw up a letter of attorney
in French for him, and get it certified by the French ambassador; a
formality absolutely necessary to give it weight in this country. As
to his Attorney at Paris, the necessary delays of the Law will render
it proper to have a man who is established at * * *

I cannot therefore offer myself, (which I should otherwise do with
great pleasure,) and I should hope Mr. Foley would be willing as he
is certainly able to undertake it. I wish I could give Mr. Bradley a
better account, but this seems to be the true state of the case.

My losses at Play have not been very considerable since I have been
here, they amount to seven Livres lost one night at Picquet. It is
indeed rather my good luck than my prudence that saves me. All my
Societies are houses where I never see a card, so that I do not fall
because I have no temptation. I find Paris however very expensive.
One article which, tho' it encreases my draughts at present, will
diminish them hereafter is cloathes, ruffles, silk stockings, &c.,
which after serious deliberation, I thought I had better make a
provision of at this Capital of the Fashionable world. However as
I begin to have pretty well seen Paris, I propose (if you have no
objection) setting out about the eighth of next month, & going thro'
Dijon and Besançon to Lausanne to pass two or three quiet and cheap
months with my old friends there on my way to Italy. Adieu, Dear Sir,
my paper fails me and I would avoid a cover.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Yours most affectionately,
  E. G.

  [47] George Henry Lee (1718-1772), who succeeded his father as
  third Earl of Lichfield in 1743, was one of the leaders of the
  Jacobites. He came to court, however, on the accession of George
  III. "Lord Lichfield and several other Jacobites have kissed
  hands; George Selwyn says, 'They go to St. James's, because now
  there are so many _Stuarts_ there'" (Walpole to Montagu, November
  13, 1760). Lord Lichfield became in 1762 Chancellor of the
  University of Oxford, which may explain his reception of Gibbon's
  letter.

  [48] Sir Thomas Worsley, Bart., Lieut.-Colonel of Gibbon's
  battalion of the Hampshire regiment, succeeded his father, Sir
  James Worsley, of Pilewell in Hampshire, and Appuldurcombe in
  the Isle of Wight. He married the eldest daughter of the Earl
  of Cork, by whom he had a son and a daughter. He continued a
  collection of notes on the Isle of Wight, commenced by his father
  and completed by his son, Sir Richard Worsley, the author of the
  _History of the Isle of Wight (1781)_. He died September 23, 1768.

  [49] The Marquis de Mirabeau (1715-1789), father of the
  famous orator and political leader, belonged to the school of
  Economists. In 1760 his _Théorie de l'Impôt_ had lodged him in
  the Bastille, and made him the fashion in Paris. Gibbon speaks of
  him in his Journal (February 24, 1763): "Il a assez d'imagination
  pour dix autres, et pas assez de sens rassis pour lui seul." He
  met him at a supper-party in the house of Madame Bontemps.



24.

_To his Stepmother._


  Besançon, May the 18th, 1763.

  DEAR MADAM,

You will give me leave according to an article of our treaty, to
write you only three lines, just to tell that I am well and where I
am.

Upon my arrival at Besançon I saw Mr. Acton[50] directly. He has
received me with a degree not only of civility but of friendship
which astonished me, insisted upon my taking an appartment in his
house, and since my seeing him, himself and his three sons (our
Southampton friend is one) have been only taken up in procuring me
every kind of amusement, in carrying me to all my father's friends
here who have all enquired much after him, in seeing publick places,
and in parties at home and abroad. The only inconvenience is that
I have not an instant to myself and that I am forced to write this
scrawl at half an hour after one in the morning. The day after
to-morrow I set out for Lausanne, where I shall be a little quieter.
The Acton family desire to be remembered to my father.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Yours and my father's with the truest affection,
  E. G., JUNIOR.

  [50] Dr. Acton was a cousin of Gibbon. He married, "renounced his
  country, and settled at Besançon, and became the father of three
  sons, the eldest of whom, General (afterwards Sir John Francis
  Edward) Acton, is conspicuous in Europe as the principal minister
  of the King of the Two Sicilies." He was the grandfather of the
  present Lord Acton.



[Sidenote: BESANÇON.]

25.

_To his Father._


  Lausanne, May the 31st, 1763.

  DEAR SIR,

I staid four or five days at Besançon longer than I intended, so that
I got here only the 25th. It was even with some difficulty that I
could disengage myself so soon from Mr. Acton's civilities. Indeed
nothing could exceed them. Not only they insisted upon my lodging in
the house, but during the time I passed in it, the sole business of
the family seemed to be finding out amusements for me. They carried
me to the best houses in the place, showed me whatever was worth
seeing, and made several parties for me in the country. What I saw of
Besançon pleased me so much, that, could I have stayed there without
being an inconvenience to them, I should have liked to have stayed
a few days or even weeks longer. Mr. Acton is the best sort of man
in the world, and is bent on doing everything most agreable. He has
a great deal of business, many friends and a very high reputation.
He has indeed unluckily been too long out of England to remember his
own language, and not long enough in France, to have learnt that of
the country. He talked a vast deal of you, and tho' it is so long
since you have been there, I have found your memory very fresh & many
people who have enquired after you. The two sisters in particular of
your _écuyer_ (I have forgot their names) talked to me by the hour
of their old friend Monsieur de Guibon. As to Acton's wife, you know
the character Mrs. Darrel gives of her, and I was sorry to find it
is pretty well established at Besançon; but she is certainly a very
agreable and sensible woman, and I should have taken her for a very
good-natured one. If she is a termagant I never saw such a Wolf in
sheep's cloathing.

At last, Dear Sir, I am got to Lausanne and established very agreably
among my old acquaintance, and in a way of life I like extremely,
a moderate mixture of society and study. News from a place so very
quiet and obscure you cannot expect. I have however seen an old
friend of ours who has just left us; Sir Willoughby Aston.[51] He
had been here about a twelfmonth with Lady Aston and his numerous
[family], and are just gone to Tours in France. Nobody could guess
why. They lived very cheap here; Lady Aston had as many rubbers of
Whist, and Sir Willoughby as many bottles of wine every day as they
wanted. What could they have more? Sir Willoughby asked much after
you, and was glad to see me to talk over Winchester camp and Reading
court martial.

A propos of our militia, I have seen that of Switzerland. Their
General review (of the Lausanne Battalion) was last Monday, Tuesday
and Wednesday. I attended all three from beginning to end, and making
all proper allowances saw them with great pleasure. They are only
exercised twelve days in the year, and tho' many of them have been in
foreign services, yet you know, Dear Sir, how very easy it is for a
soldier to forget. They went through the manual, fired by divisions
and platoons, formed the column, and square, a General discharge and
charge: all very decently, and some (especially the Grenadiers) very
prettily. I do not compare them to our militia. As we were embodied
two or three years, the comparaison would be an affront.

[Sidenote: LAUSANNE]

I took credit from Mr. Foley upon a Lausanne banker, who is likewise
a brother captain of Grenadiers. I have not made use of it yet, and
when I do, it shall be as sparing as possible. I have got a few books
together, and am busy upon the ancient Geography of Italy and the
reviewing my Roman history and antiquities. If you have no objection
to leaving me here till the spring, I should like it very much and
think it might be of use to me. But I submit the thing entirely to
you.

You will be so good, Dear Sir, as to present my sincerest love and
duty to Mrs. Gibbon, and my most affectionate compliments to her
brothers, and to believe me

  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.

  [51] Sir Willoughby Aston was returned M.P. for Nottingham in
  1754, and was appointed Colonel of the Berkshire Militia in 1759.
  Lady Aston was a Miss Pye, of Farringdon, Berks. His "numerous"
  family consisted of his only son and successor, and of six
  daughters. He died August 24, 1772.



26.

_To his Stepmother._


  Lausanne, June the 18th, 1763.

  DEAR MADAM,

If my own laziness did not deprive me of any right to complain, I
should say perhaps that it was a great while since I had heard either
from you or my father. I have indeed the satisfaction of knowing my
father was well the 26th of May, and I hope he is by this time one
of the Honorable Verdurers of the forrest of Beer. Pray, a propos
of English and county news, who is our Lord Lieutenant? I had the
mortification of seeing in the paper that the Duke of Bolton was
turned out (I mean had resigned) and that the Marquis of Caernarvon
was appointed in his room. _I hope_ it is not true.

[Sidenote: HIS OLD LOVE FOR SUZANNE CURCHOD.]

You have often heard me talk of Lausanne and of the pleasure I should
have in seeing it again. Our imagination generally improves upon
those agreable prospects; but I can assure you, my ideas had not
heightened any part of this. A beautifull country, great leisure
for study, and a very agreable society, make me pass my time very
much to my satisfaction. I have found all my old friends here very
glad to see me, and my countrymen, who only know the outside of the
companies, are amazed at the number of family parties I am asked
to every day. Those countrymen (whom I do not reckon as a very
important part of my happiness) consist only in a Mr. Sidney and
a Mr. Guise.[52] The former (Mrs. Perry's son) is a meer boy, and
the second (a Sir John Guise of Gloucestershire's son) is a very
sensible well-bred man. Pavillard and I were really glad to see one
another. He shewed me his snuff-box which he always carries in a
wooden case for fear of spoiling it. I was at first uneasy about my
lodging. I did not chuse to see the leg of mutton roasted a second
time with a gash in it, and yet I was afraid of disobliging my old
friend. Luckily he had got into a new house and had no room for me;
so that he himself assisted me in settling in a very agreable family
which I was very well acquainted with before. The Husband[53] who is
much of a gentleman keeps the Academy, his wife is a charming woman;
and the apartments and table are both cheap and good. I should like
extremely to pass the winter here, if my father would give me leave.
Give me leave to add (for I am sensible you may have suspicions) that
no woman is the least concerned in my desire, and that as to any old
inclinations,[54] they are so far from subsisting that no one can be
more opposite to them at present than myself. This I assure you of
upon my word of honor. I hope after that I need say nothing more.

I have just drawn a bill of fifty pounds sterling upon my father.
I shall do my utmost to endeavour at Economy, and I hope here my
endeavours will be successfull.

Present, Dear Madam, my love and duty to my father and my sincerest
compliments to your brothers. Pray let me hear from you or my father
soon.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most affectionately yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [52] William (afterwards Sir William) Guise, subsequently M.P.
  for Gloucestershire, only son of Sir John Guise, Bart., died
  without issue, April 6, 1783.

  [53] M. de Mesery.

  [54] In Gibbon's Journal at Lausanne, in June, 1757, occurs the
  entry: "I saw Mademoiselle Curchod--_Omnia vincit amor, et nos
  cedamus amori_." He was, in fact, shortly afterwards engaged
  to Suzanne Curchod, daughter and only child of the Minister of
  Crassy, a hamlet at the foot of the lower slopes of the Jura,
  between Geneva and Lausanne. Both the lovers were born in 1737,
  and were in their twenty-first year. At Lausanne, at the _Société
  du Printemps_ and the _Académie de la Poudrière_, of which
  Suzanne Curchod was the founder and the president, she frequently
  met Gibbon, and the attachment, on her side at least, was strong
  and genuine; on his it seems to have always had a touch of
  affectation. The account given by Julie von Bondeli (E. Bodemann,
  _Julie von Bondeli_, pp. 217, 218: Hanover, 1874) of Gibbon's
  passion has the exaggeration of unreality. He was seen, says
  this friend of Wieland and Rousseau, stopping the country people
  near Lausanne, and demanding, at the point of a naked dagger,
  whether a more adorable creature existed than Suzanne Curchod.
  Gibbon wrote her several letters, some of which are quoted by M.
  d'Haussonville in his _Salon de Madame Necker_, and addressed
  to her indifferent verses. The following lines seem to be an
  expansion of the entry in his Journal:--

    "Tôt ou tard il faut aimer,
    C'est en vain qu'on façonne;
    Tout fléchit sous l'amour
    Il n'exempte personne,

        Car Gib. a succombé en ce jour
        Aux attraits d'une beauté
    Qui parmi les douceurs d'un tranquil silence
    Reposait sur un fauteuil," etc., etc.

  They became engaged, and Gibbon implored her to marry him
  without waiting for the sanction of his father. This, however,
  she refused to do. When Gibbon left Lausanne in 1758, she wrote
  to him once; then all correspondence between them seems to have
  ceased, though Gibbon says that he wrote to her twice on his
  journey and once on his return to England. He also sent her his
  _Essai_ with a dedicatory letter in 1761. In August, 1762, he
  wrote to break off the engagement, on the ground of his father's
  opposition, in a letter quoted by M. d'Haussonville (_Le Salon de
  Madame Necker_, pp. 57, 58). In 1763 Gibbon came to Lausanne, and
  there received from Mademoiselle Curchod a letter in reply, which
  showed, so far as words could prove anything, that she had never
  ceased to love him. Her friend, the Pastor Moultou, endeavoured
  to interest J. J. Rousseau in the story, and to make him speak
  to Gibbon on the subject. But Rousseau declined to interfere,
  saying that Gibbon was too cold-blooded a young man for his taste
  or for Mademoiselle Curchod's happiness. In Gibbon's unpublished
  diary, he thus comments on the receipt of this letter, September
  22, 1763: "J'ai reçu une lettre des moins attendûes. C'etoit de
  Mademoiselle C. Fille dangereux et artificielle! Elle fait une
  apologie de sa conduite depuis le premier moment, qu'elle m'a
  connû, sa constance pour moi, son mepris pour M. de Montplaisir,
  et la fidelité delicate et soutenue qu'elle a cru voir dans la
  lettre où je lui annoncois qu'il n'y avoit plus d'espérance.
  Ses voyages à Lausanne, les adorateurs qu'elle y a eû, et la
  complaisance avec laquelle elle les a ecouté formoient l'article
  le plus difficile à justifier. Ni d'Eyverdun (dit elle), ni
  personne n'ont effacé pendant un instant mon image de son cœur.
  Elle s'amusoit à Lausanne sans y attacher. Je le veux. Mais ces
  amusements la convainquent toujours de la dissimulation la plus
  odieuse, et, si l'infidelité est quelquefois une foiblesse, la
  duplicité est toujours un vice. Cette affaire singulière dans
  toutes ses parties m'a été très utile; elle m'a ouvert les yeux
  sur le caractère des femmes, et elle me servira longtemps de
  preservatif contre les seductions de l'amour." Mademoiselle
  Curchod came to Lausanne in February, 1764, and again met Gibbon;
  "Elle me badine sur mon ton de petit maître. Elle a du voir cent
  fois que tout étoit fini sans retour." "Nous badinons," he says
  again in the same month, "trés librement sur nôtre tendresse
  passée, et je lui fais comprendre tout clairement que je suis
  an fait de son inconstance." Gibbon's continued coldness at
  length convinced Mademoiselle Curchod that his affection for her
  was entirely extinguished, and she took her leave of him in an
  indignant letter, quoted by M. d'Haussonville, as she undoubtedly
  thought, for ever. In this farewell letter she repudiates the
  suggestion of her inconstancy: "Si l'on vous a dit que j'aie
  écouté un seul moment M. d'Eyverdun, j'ai ses lettres, vous
  connoissez sa main, un coup d'œil suffit pour me justifier."
  Mademoiselle Curchod married, at the end of 1764, Jacques Necker,
  and became the mother of Madame de Stäel-Holstein.



27.

_To his Stepmother._


  Lausanne, August the 6th, 1763.

  DEAR MADAM,

I hope I need not assure you how agreable your letters are to
me. Letters such as you write would be highly pleasing from an
indifferent person, judge of the pleasure they must give me when
I receive them from a friend and a mother: I put the friend first
and I believe you will not blame me for it. I should be very glad
to hear somewhat oftener from my father; But tho' his dislike to
letter-writing is _inconceivable_ to me, I see I must be contented
with hearing from you that he is well. At this time especially I have
no hopes. He must be now (according to my reckoning) in the very
midst of Harvest, and I am very sensible, that

    When Harvest is in the case
    All other business must give place.

You will hardly expect news from me. We are buried in a quiet
Solitude, and seem separated from the rest of the universe by a
Wall of mountains, whose summits are at this instant covered with
snow. I have found most of my old friends well, and made some new
ones, and between the society of both, I lead a very agreable life.
I could talk to you with great pleasure about them did I not know
how very uninteresting an account of people you know nothing of must
be to you. I should be glad to know soon whether my father has any
objection to my passing the winter here. I do not dissemble that my
inclination would make me desire it; but I have a much better tho'
as real a motive to alledge to him; a considerable work I am engaged
in, which will be a most usefull preparation to my tour of Italy
and which I shall not be able to finish sooner. It is a Description
of the ancient Geography of Italy, taken from the Original writers.
If I go into Italy with a work of that kind tolerably executed, I
shall carry every where about with me an accurate and lively idea
of the country, and shall have nothing to do but to insert in their
proper places my own observations as they tend either to confirm, to
confute, or to illustrate what I have met with in books. I should
not even despair, but that this mixture of study and observation,
properly digested upon my return to England, might produce something
not entirely unworthy the eye of the publick on a subject, upon which
we have no regular or compleat treatise.

[Sidenote: VOLTAIRE AS HOST AND ACTOR.]

I made a little excursion some days ago to Geneva, not so much
for the sake of the town which I had often seen before, as for a
representation of Monsieur de Voltaire's. He lives now entirely
at Fernay, a little place in France, but only two leagues from
Geneva. He has bought the estate, and built a very pretty tho'
small house upon it. After a life passed in courts and Capitals,
the Great Voltaire is now become a meer country Gentleman, and even
(for the honor of the profession) something of a farmer. He says
he never enjoyed so much true happiness. He has got rid of most of
his infirmities, and tho' very old and lean, enjoys a much better
state of health than he did twenty years ago. His playhouse is very
neat and well contrived, situated just by his Chappel, which is
far inferior to it, tho', he says himself, _que son Christ est du
meilleur faiseur de tout le pays de Gex_. The play they acted was my
favourite Orphan of China. Voltaire himself acted _Gengis_ and Madame
Denys _Idamè_; but I do not know how it happened: either my taste is
improved or Voltaire's talents are impaired since I last saw him.[55]
He appeared to me now a very ranting unnatural performer. Perhaps
indeed, as I was come from Paris, I rather judged him by an unfair
comparaison, than by his own independent value. Perhaps too I was
too much struck with the ridiculous figure of Voltaire at seventy,
acting a Tartar Conqueror with a hollow broken voice, and making love
to a very ugly niece of about fifty. The play began at eight in the
evening and ended (entertainment and all) about half an hour after
eleven. The whole Company was asked to stay and set Down about twelve
to a very elegant supper of a hundred Covers. The supper ended about
two, the company danced till four, when we broke up, got into our
Coaches and came back to Geneva just as the Gates were opened. Shew
me in history or fable, a famous poet of Seventy who has acted in
his own plays, and has closed the scene with a supper and ball for a
hundred people. I think the last is the more extraordinary of the two.

You may imagine how glad I am to hear of the fall of our Tyrant[56]
and the accession of a just and righteous prince. Lord ____[57] was
always our utmost wish, and I have so very good an opinion of him
as to believe he will not even plague our enemies to oblige us. I
am very glad to hear the battalion addressed him, as you style it,
and as I could not sign the general letter, I apprehend a particular
compliment to his Lordship cannot displease him. I have accordingly
wrote to him this post. My father had formerly some thoughts of
resigning the Majority to me. It is a matter of great indifference
at present, but if he has a mind to provide against a future
storm, I suppose it would be very easily settled at present, and
that my friend Poussy (who has never answered me any more than Sir
Thomas[58]) would have the Company of course. I wish my father would
consider too, whether changes of much greater consequence might not
be effected, such as the incorporation of both battalions, &c. But
these are only hints.

Present, Dear Madam, my love and duty to my father, my sincerest
Compliments to your Brothers, and believe me ever

  Most affectionately and entirely yours,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.

  [55] At Monrepos in 1757-58, when Voltaire was living at _les
  Délices_, Gibbon had heard him in his tragedies of _Zaïre_,
  _Alzire_, _Zulime_, and his sentimental comedy _L'Enfant
  Prodigue_. Voltaire settled at Ferney in 1758.

  [56] Charles Paulet, fifth Duke of Bolton, who committed suicide
  in 1765, was succeeded in the Lord Lieutenancy of Hampshire by
  James Brydges, Marquess of Carnarvon. Lord Carnarvon resigned the
  post in 1764, because Mr. Stanley was appointed Governor of the
  Isle of Wight (_Grenville Correspondence_, vol. ii. pp. 399-403).

  [57] Name illegible. Probably Lord Northington.

  [58] Sir Thomas Worsley, Bart.



28.

_To his Father._


  Lausanne, September the 10th, 1763.

  DEAR SIR,

This morning I received your letter, and according to your desire
prepared myself immediately to answer it.

I hardly thought it possible, any letter of yours could have given me
so much uneasiness. I am very sensible how many obligations I have
to you, and that in this affair you continue to act with your usual
goodness to me. If there is any fault it is partly my own and partly
that of unhappy circumstances. My expences have been too great for
our fortune. I was afraid of it at the time; and tho' I cannot yet
see that relative to my situation of travelling and being at Paris
I have launched into any extravagancy, the consequences are equally
disagreable. But what is past cannot be recalled. With regard, Dear
Sir, to the proposal mentioned in your letter; if your own ease
or happiness had depended upon it, I should not have hesitated an
instant, but as the advantages resulting from it relate only to me
you will give me leave to canvass it freely.

I need not say any thing of the great inconvenience of mortgages
nor how much they eat up an estate piece meal. We feel it but too
sensibly: Sir T. R.'s is particularly disagreable, since he has it
in his power to distress us whenever he pleases by calling for his
money. I own the thought of increasing it hurts me very much.

[Sidenote: DECLINES TO ENTER PARLIAMENT.]

The advantages for me would be, your being able to bring me into
Parliament, increasing my annuity and enabling me to continue my
travels. Give me leave to say, Dear Sir, that the first has very
little weight with me. I find my ambition diminish every day, and
my preference of a quiet studious life to hurry and business grow
upon me. Besides I should imagine the thing almost impossible in
the middle of a parliament and at such an interesting period:[59]
and if I was in, what could I do? Whether I consulted principle or
prudence, every thing seems so unsettled that I might find myself
very soon at the tail of an opposition; (and as a total change
seems to be the modern maxim of every new Ministry,) in case I had
got any thing, I should be reduced to my former situation, with
the additional mortification of having just tasted a little more
power and plenty. The encreasing my annuity would be certainly very
agreable, but as it would be only the difference of passing four or
six months every winter in London, I should not think it equivalent.
The continuing my travels is the great object. When I am just in view
of Italy, to be obliged to give up a scheme which has been always a
favourite, would afflict me to the greatest degree.

Would it not be possible, Dear Sir, to think of another scheme?
One has come into my head which would set me entirely at my ease
without costing you a shilling. It would be to change my annuity
into a perpetual rent charge upon the Estate: this I would sell
immediately for an annuity upon my own life, which would certainly
give me Six hundred pounds a year, would enable me to travel (at
least with a small addition) and to live afterwards in a very
agreable manner in England. I think I may venture to say I shall
never marry, and even supposing that possibility and afterwards the
possibility of children; Would this scheme hurt them more than the
other? But I submit it entirely to you. In case this proposal should
be disagreable to you, you have my full consent to the other. Only
give me leave, Dear Sir, to mention one thing. I should be a monster,
If I could distrust either your honor or your goodness to me; but
I am afraid (excuse the freedom) that Œconomy is not the virtue
of our family. A variety of schemes would offer, old incumbrances
would appear, and you yourself would be the first surprised to find
the sum almost sunk to nothing. I should think that the dividing it
might equally suit us both. I should have a fund for my extraordinary
expences, which I should be the more interested to husband, as I
should know that I could have no pretence to ask for any thing more.
You on the other hand, Dear Sir, would be likewise at a certainty
with regard both to your expences and mine.

I shall end here, Dear Sir; for I am too much agitated to talk of any
thing else: only begging you to excuse the liberty I have taken. Your
goodness has encouraged me to it and I think our mutual interest
requires it. In case you should approve of my first proposal, I
suppose my going over in the Spring will be sufficient. Otherwise, I
should be glad to hear from you as soon as possible, that I might set
out before winter.

My love and duty are always Mrs. Gibbon's and my sincere compliments
wait upon the Brothers.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  With the greatest affection sincerely yours,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.

  [59] On April 7, 1763, Lord Bute resigned, and was on the same
  day succeeded by George Grenville, as First Lord of the Treasury.
  During the autumn recess, George III. opened negotiations with
  Pitt to take Grenville's place. But no change was made, and
  Grenville was preparing to meet Parliament in November, 1763, as
  Prime Minister.



[Sidenote: WAYS AND MEANS.]

29.

_To his Father._


  Lausanne, October the 15th, 1763.

  DEAR SIR,

Give me leave to begin with the part of my letter which has given you
the most uneasiness, and which is entirely owing to a mistake. As I
have no copy of my letter, I cannot exactly recollect my expressions,
tho' I am perfectly sure of my meaning. When I mentioned _unhappy
circumstances_ I meant only that my expences, tho' not excessive
in themselves, appeared great, and were in fact more than what the
_unhappy circumstances_ of our estate allowed you to support. That
I assure you, Dear Sir, was my only meaning; if my expression was
doubtfull, attribute it solely to the agitation of spirits I was
in when I wrote. When I reflect on my expences, I do not see, that
were I to live last winter over again at Paris, I could, according
to the almost necessary extravagance of the age, spend less than I
have done. I do not pretend to say that a man of a more exact economy
might not have done sometimes the same things for less money, but
I am sure there was no one blamable or ridiculous expence. Play in
particular, Dear Sir, must have occurred to you, tho' you do not
mention it. I give you _my word of honor_, that since I have left
England I have not lost twenty pounds.

I will say no more of my scheme, since you disaproove of it. I own
I thought it might have made me very easy without any additional
expence to you. But you do not mention, Dear Sir, my other proposal
supposing we borrowed the five thousand; that of giving me half of
it, and making no addition to my allowance whatsoever. Unless you
want the whole sum, I should still think it must be more, or at least
as eligible to you as any other. I own it would be highly agreable
to me, to have always a sum of money lying by me, besides my income;
for I do assure you, Sir, that it is much more a scheme of economy
than of expence. I should employ about seven or eight hundred of
it to encrease my annuity during a year and a half and to enable
me to travel agreably. The remainder I should put into the stocks,
and spend only the interest, reserving the Capital, for any uses
that might appear to both of us worthy of it, for I would promise,
Dear Sir, not to touch any part of it without your knowledge and
consent. In case you want the greatest part of the sum, I should beg
at least that, instead of the two Hundred a year you design adding
to my annuity, you would only add one hundred a year and a thousand
pounds. If the whole is necessary, I am far from contesting it with
you, Dear Sir, but after thanking you for the very handsome encrease
of my annuity, you must give me leave to say that six hundred pounds
a year will not enable me to travel. In this age, it would be almost
impossible for me to do it under 9 or 8 hundred; every thing is much
altered since you were abroad, and I believe if you consult those who
have travelled lately, they would name scarcely less than a thousand.
After the experience I have had, it would be deceiving both myself
and you to talk in another strain.

I own the thoughts of a mortgage frighten me. The diminution of the
estate, the weight of the interest, the uncertainty of paying which
we have already felt in the old one, give me the greatest repugnance
to encreasing it. Tho' it would hurt me excessively, I could wish
we could avoid it. I would return to England and wait for a more
favorable opportunity. This I speak merely for myself. If it is
necessary to make you easy, I have nothing more to say.

At all events, Dear Sir, you may depend upon my being in England a
few days before the 30th of December. As I should be glad to return
to this place as soon as the business is over (in case you still
chuse it) I was thinking that so short an apparition might set the
world a talking and guessing at the reasons, and as it would be
better they should know nothing of them, it might be as well if I
came over incognito. I could see you and Mrs. Gibbon in London,
appear very little in publick and go back immediately. But as I can
hear from you again before my departure, you will settle every thing
as you please.

I am surprised that Mrs. Gibbon has not received the Arquebusade
water I sent her four months ago, tho' I forgot to mention it.--A
propos upon reflexion, I directed it to Becket and neglected giving
him any directions about it. If you will write a line to him, I dare
say it lies at his shop, near Somerset house in the Strand. I shall
endevour to get you some Lucerne myself, unless you chuse to stay
till next [autumn].

I beg my love and duty to Mrs. Gibbon and sincere compliments to all
friends.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most affectionately and most sincerely yours,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.



[Sidenote: HIS SIX MONTHS AT LAUSANNE.]

30.

_To his Stepmother._


  Lausanne, December the 7th, 1763.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am afraid I have made you wait a little. But let me tell you
without any reproach that I have imitated your example in proclaiming
the arrival of my letter about two months before it really begins its
march. I must acknowledge your letters deserve waiting for better
than mine. However I flatter myself you are as well pleased with
hearing from me as I can be in hearing from you, and that is saying a
great deal.

After having assured you how much I love and respect you, Dear Madam,
which I hope you are convinced of without my saying it, I should give
an account of my method of passing my time here, but the happiness
the most difficult to be described is perhaps the truest in reality.
If I was in a place where I could fill pages with accounts of balls,
reviews, Court assemblies, &c., the conclusion would perhaps be only
that I had spent a great deal of time and money with very little
genuine satisfaction. Here every day is an agreable mixture of books
and good company, & consequently every day resembles the day that
preceded it; I have passed six months at Lausanne, but tho' the sum
of my pleasures has been very pleasing I cannot pick out any single
event that I think worthy your attention. You would hardly be
entertained with minute characters of people you are not acquainted
with & will probably never see.

We have some English here; most of them raw boys just escaped from
Eaton. Mr. Guise--I do not reckon him in the number of them. He is
about my age, has seen a good deal of the world, & without being
a profound scholar is far from wanting either parts or knowledge.
As far as I can judge of him he seems to be a prudent worthy young
man. If I can go into Italy with him I should like it extremely.
Lord Palmerston[60] passed thro' some time ago. He seems to have a
very right notion of travelling and I fancy will make very great
improvements.

[Sidenote: GIBBON A MAJOR.]

As we have the English papers here, we are by no means strangers to
what passes at home, and many an insignificant piece of news which we
should not have minded in England, gives us great pleasure at this
distance. I was very glad to hear of my friend Wilkes's deserved
chastisement,[61] and if the law could not punish him, Mr. Martin
could. After all the noise of faction, the numbers in the first
division seem to have shewn that the court still preserves a very
great superiority.

Will you be so good, dear Madam, as to assure my father of my
constant love and duty, and to acquaint him that I have just drawn a
bill of a hundred pounds upon him. I beg my best compliments to the
brothers. I hope poor David has destroyed his old ennemy the gout.
As to Billy [Patton] (do not tell it to him) I hope he is no longer
at Beriton, and that he has got the better of a enemy still more
dangerous--_Laziness_.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours most affectionately,
  E. GIBBON.

  [60] Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston (1739-1802), a man
  of artistic tastes, and, in after-years, a frequent resident in
  Italy. He was at this time M.P. for Hastings. He married, as his
  second wife, January 3, 1783, Miss Mee, by whom he was the father
  of the Prime Minister, born 1784.

  [61] In Gibbon's Journal for September 23, 1762, written at
  Southampton, occurs the following entry which explains the words
  "my friend Wilkes:"-- "Colonel Wilkes of the Buckinghamshire
  Militia dined with us, and renewed the acquaintance Sir Thomas
  and myself had begun with him at Reading. I scarce ever met
  with a better companion; he has inexhaustible spirits, infinite
  wit and humour, and a great deal of knowledge: but a thorough
  profligate as well in principle as in practice; his character is
  infamous, his life stained with every vice, and his conversation
  full of blasphemy and bawdy. These morals he glories in, for
  shame is a _weakness_ he has long since surmounted. He told
  us himself that, in this time of public dissension, he was
  resolved to make his fortune. Upon this noble principle he has
  connected himself with Lord Temple and Mr. Pitt, commenced a
  public adversary to Lord Bute whom he abuses weekly in the _North
  Briton_, and other political papers in which he is concerned.
  This proved a very debauched day; we drank a good deal both
  after dinner and supper, and when at last Wilkes was retired,
  Sir Thomas and some others (of whom I was not one) broke into
  his room and made him drink a bottle of claret in bed." Wilkes
  had been challenged by Mr. Samuel Martin, M.P. for Camelford,
  formerly Secretary of the Treasury under both the Duke of
  Newcastle and Lord Bute, for speaking of him in the _North
  Briton_ as a low fellow and dirty tool of power. Wilkes was
  dangerously wounded in the duel, which was fought in November,
  1763. In the preceding April he had been arrested under a General
  Warrant on suspicion of being the author of No. 45 of the _North
  Briton_. He applied for a writ of Habeas Corpus, and the case
  came before Lord Chief Justice Pratt in the Court of Common
  Pleas. He was discharged from custody, the judges unanimously
  holding that the arrest was a breach of his privilege as a member
  of Parliament.



31.

_To his Father._


  Lausanne, February the 1st, 1764.

  DEAR SIR,

I had the pleasure of your letter last saturday, & found with
great satisfaction that you & Mrs. Gibbon were very well, and that
everything went on as usual in our part of the world. I am very
proud of my new dignity,[62] tho' I have not as yet communicated
my promotion to my countrymen here. We have three or four honest
regulars in the house with whom I am in a constant state of war,
which I have tolerably maintained as yet notwithstanding their great
superiority of number: I hope you continue to be well-pleased with
our Lord Lieutenant, and that he is in every thing the reverse of his
predecessors.

I am much obliged to you, Dear Sir, for your goodness in paying the
bill I drew upon you in December last, but am sorry to find you are
so much dissatisfied at my expenses, which I endeavour to moderate as
much as I can: keeping up the kind of figure which you would desire
your son should. In case I leave this place about the end of next
month, I am afraid that reckoning the several bills I have to pay,
the purchase of a chaise, and some money to carry me on to the next
place, I shall want about two Hundred pounds more, or at least one
hundred and fifty. I am very much concerned I have already drawn for
above half your income, and the more so, as I see no possibility of
my expences being less when I am moving about in Italy. We have here
a young Englishman and his governor, who is a very sensible sedate
man. I have questioned him very much about Italy; he has assured me
that it was not possible for an Englishman to keep good company in
Italy, and to go thro' the country in an agreable manner, under 800
or at the lowest under 700 pounds a year. If it was possible for
you, Dear Sir, to make such an effort for _only one year_, I should
consider it as an obligation which it ought to be my study to repay
by the most exact œconomy upon all other occasions, and by coming (if
necessary) into any schemes which might be thought of to make us both
easy. But in case you cannot do it, I had rather give up a scheme (I
have indeed always set my heart upon) than it should be the occasion
of perpetual unneasinesses and inconveniences to us both.

Upon reading over what I have wrote, I am afraid, Dear Sir, you will
suspect me of murmuring and being out of humor. Such sentiments
are far from me. I am convinced there is nothing occasions your
complaints but your not being able to support it, and in that case,
tho' I cannot lessen my expence, I can put an entire stop to it. May
I beg, Dear Sir, your speedy directions for my conduct. If I am to
pass the mountains (which I wish and hope still) I must not wait for
the month of April as it is the very worst in the year.

I beg my love and duty to Mrs. Gibbon. I shall write to her very
soon, though I have little more to say than what I have just said.
My Aunt Porten---- Indeed I am much in the wrong, but I will not be
so longer, and I hope very soon to clear score with all my friends.
S^{r} Thomas is the only one with whom I have a C^{t} account;
creditor indeed in more than one sense of the word. If he and George
Dux, my other creditor, would pay me, it would be a little help.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most affectionately yours,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR.

  [62] Gibbon refers to his promotion to the rank of major in the
  Hampshire Militia.



[Sidenote: LETTERS OF LADY M. W. MONTAGUE.]

32.

_To his Stepmother._


  Lausanne, February 17th, 1764.

  DEAR MADAM,

You are very good to take notice of my owing you a letter. I am
afraid I am too apt to depend upon my friends knowing me, and upon
their being convinced that there is not the least connection between
my regard for them and my putting pen to paper to assure them of it.

My laziness as to writing is but too natural to me; but no place is
so apt to encourage it as this, where my way of life is so agreable
but at the same time so uniform, that a month or two are elapsed
before I know any thing of the matter. Pleasant weather, (I am forced
to draw the curtain this moment to exclude the sun) study in the
morning, and company in the afternoon. Books you are not perhaps
acquainted with, and people that I am sure you do not know, make
up my occupations, and notwithstanding all the pleasure I hope for
in Italy, I own I shall quit this place with some unwillingness.
My health is very good, only about two months ago I found my blood
thickening, and was forced to be bled. I have since taken some gentle
physick once or twice, and am now well and in very good spirits.

The only book I have read lately that you can have any knowledge
of, is the letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague.[63] They have
entertained me very much. What fire, what ease, what knowledge of
Europe and of Asia! Her account of the manners of the Turkish women
is indeed different from any thing we have yet seen. One should have
hardly suspected, that a Turkish husband with his four wives and
twenty concubines, is very far from being absolute.

Will you be so good, Dear Madam, as to excuse the shortness of this
letter. The post is _really_ just going out and I have barely time to
seal it. My love and duty to my father. I have just drawn a bill for
fifty pounds at fifteen days after date.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly & affectionately yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [63] Lady Mary died in 1761. A surreptitious edition, said to be
  edited by John Cleland, of her letters written during her travels
  in Europe, Asia, and Africa, was published in three volumes at
  London in 1763.



33.

_To his Father._


  Lausanne, April the 14th, 1764.

  DEAR SIR,

The reason which has made me defer some time answering your last
obliging letter was our waiting every post for Mr. Guise's last
instructions. As he has never received them, and we have settled the
time of our departure, I take the first opportunity of laying before
you our plan of operations.

[Sidenote: PASSAGE OVER MONT CENIS.]

We propose moving from hence next Wednesday the 18th instant, and
passing by Geneva and Mont Cenis to Turin, which we shall reach in
about ten days. After some stay at that place, which I hope our old
camp acquaintance Pitt[64] will make very agreable to us, we intend
going by the Boromean Islands, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, and
Padua to Venice, which we must reach by the 30th of May to be present
at the great ceremonies of Ascension day, where we shall have an
opportunity of paying our court to the Duke of York.[65] I hope we
shall have seen Venice in about a fortnight, after which we shall
have nothing to prevent our setting out from thence, passing thro'
Ferrara and Bologna and reaching Florence by the latter end of June.
We intend from thence to retire to Sienne or some other quiet town,
and pass about six weeks in the study of Italian. When we get back
to Florence, that place with Leghorn, Pisa, Luca, &c., will furnish
us ample matter for between two and three months till the latter end
of October, when we propose going to Rome, pushing on directly to
Naples and returning again to Rome the latter end of November. If we
pass there about three months I shall be ready to come out of Italy
the beginning of next March, and hope to bring back some improvement,
as I had pretty well prepared myself in England, and as I hope I
have not lost my time here. I think I know my fellow-traveller very
well, and that knowledge convinces he is a very sensible good-natured
prudent young man.

I wish, Dear Sir, I could have followed your Directions, but it
was impossible for me to leave the town after paying all my bills
without Drawing for £200, the remainder of which will barely carry
me to Turin. I shall endeavour during my tour to live with the most
exact æconomy and not to exceed the sum you have mentioned. I give
you my word of honor that neither play nor women shall form any part
of my expence, and I hope our being two will still contribute to
diminish it. I am very sensible that it is often rather negligence
than extravagance that runs away with my money, and I do assure that
I will be as exact as I can. Consider, Dear Sir, that this is a
sacrifice you make once in my life, and that a hundred pounds now are
of more service to me than three times as much at any other time.

The passage of the mountains is very easy at present, and we have
the advantage of going with a Sardinian officer who is very well
acquainted with the country. As soon as I get to Turin I shall have
the pleasure of writing to you. In the mean time I beg my compliments
to the brothers, and my love and duty to Mrs. Gibbon, from whom I had
a letter the other day.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [64] George Pitt, first Lord Rivers (cr. 1776), served as Envoy
  at the Court of Turin from 1761 to 1768, in which latter year he
  was elected M.P. for Dorsetshire. He died in 1803, at the age of
  eighty-two.

  [65] Edward Augustus, Duke of York, third child and second son of
  Frederick, Prince of Wales, born March 14, 1739, died September
  17, 1767, at Monaco.



34.

_To his Father._


  Turin, April 28th, 1764.

  DEAR SIR,

After a very tedious journey of nine days from Lausanne, I got safe
to Turin the night before last. The roads thro' Savoy are very bad,
but nothing could surpass the pleasantness of our passage over Mont
Cenis. A very fine day, a most romantick variety of prospects, and a
perfect consciousness that there could not be the smallest danger.
I was carried over the mountain in a small chair by four men, who
relieved each other during about five leagues. The uphill work was
very hard, but upon the plain, &c., downhill, they went a kind of a
trot which I can only compare to our double time. I am sure you will
not blame me for having added a Guinea to the half crown at which the
King has taxed this hard day's work.

Upon my arrival at Turin, I was much disapointed to find Mr. Pitt was
to set out for England as to-day. I saw him however yesterday, and
nothing could be civiler than he was. He talked very much of you and
of Winchester Camp, and has recommended me to his Chargé d'Affaires
a Mr. Dutems,[66] as well as to the Count de Virry, a Minister of
State, for whom likewise Lord Mountstuart had given me a letter. We
are (I believe) to be presented at Court to-morrow. We shall see
some company and visit the King's palaces and manufactures, but I
hardly think we shall extend our stay here beyond the fortnight we
talked of at first. Every thing follows the example of the Court,
which from one of the most polite in Europe is become bigotted,
gloomy and covetous. Guise and I seem as yet very well satisfied with
each other. Such a society is desirable both as to entertainment
and lessening the expence. As I mentioned in my last letter that my
draught at Lausanne would little more than send me out of the town,
you will not be surprised, Dear Sir, at my having drawn for £100
here. As near as I can calculate at a distance, I shall be obliged to
take another Hundred at Venice, two in Tuscany, and three at Rome and
Naples as well as to get out of Italy, which will make up all the 700
which you have been so good as to mention, & which I am determined if
possible not to exceed, but to watch with as scrupulous an attention
over every expences as your goodness requires of me. Thus, Dear Sir,
you will in the two years and half I may be abroad, have sacrificed
about a thousand pounds extraordinary to the most agreable part of my
life; a sacrifice I shall endeavour to repay by the behavior of my
whole future life.

I propose writing next post to Sir Matthew Fetherston.[67] Could not
I make my peace for my Paris neglect, which is however excusable by
my care and attention to his commands in Italy?

My love and duty attend Mrs. Gibbon and my best compliments the
brothers. I shall not forget the Wax Candles. Shall I send you any
Florence Wine? I fancy we shall move towards the 10th to be at Venice
some time before the 31st, and in Tuscany towards the end of the
month. Our direction will be, _recommended to Mr. Schalkhauser and
Hughell at Venice, and to Mr. Joseph Frescobaldi et fils Bankers at
Florence_.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

I was forced to draw at fifteen days sight; the Banker did not chuse
to give me more and wanted to have had only eight.

  [66] Louis Dutens (1730-1812), chaplain to the Embassy at Turin
  in 1758, had, in the absence of the Envoy (the Hon. Stuart
  Mackenzie), acted as _chargé d'affaires_. He retained the post
  till the appointment of George Pitt in 1762. In 1764 he was once
  more acting as _chargé_. The Count de Viry had been Sardinian
  Minister in London, where his services to Lord Bute gained him
  from George III. a pension of £1000 a year, and a promise of
  the post of minister for his son. Viry was at this time Foreign
  Secretary to Charles Emanuel III.

  [67] Sir M. Featherstonhaugh, Bart., F.R.S., M.P. for Portsmouth,
  died March, 1774.



[Sidenote: THE BORROMEAN ISLANDS.]

35.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq.,[68] at Lausanne._


  Borromean Islands, May 16th, 1764.

  DEAR LEGER,

Most certainly, I am a puppy for not having wrote to you sooner: it
is equally certain that you are an ass if you expected it. *Hurry
of running about, time taken up with seeing places, &c. &c., are
excellent excuses; but I fancy you will guess that my laziness and
aversion to writing to my best friend are the real motive, and I am
afraid you will have guessed right.

We are at this minute in a most magnificent palace, in the middle
of a vast lake; Ranging about suites of rooms without a soul to
interrupt us, and secluded from the rest of the universe. We shall
sit down in a moment to supper attended by all the Count's houshold.
This is the fine side of the medal. Turn to the reverse. We are got
here wet to the skin; we have crawled about fine gardens which rain
and fogs prevented our seeing; and if to-morrow does not hold up a
little better, we shall be in some doubt whether we can say we have
seen these famous islands. Guise says yes, and I say no. The Count is
not here; we have our supper from a paultry hedge alehouse, (excuse
the bull,) and the Servants have offered us beds in the palace,
pursuant to their master's directions.

[Sidenote: LIFE AT TURIN.]

I hardly think you will like Turin; the Court is old & dull;[69]
and in that country every one follows the example of the court.
The principal amusement seems to be driving about in Your Coach in
the evening & bowing to the people you meet. If you go when the
royal family is there, you have the additional pleasure of stopping
to salute them every time they pass. I had that advantage fifteen
times one afternoon. We were presented to a Lady who keeps a public
assembly, and a very mournfull one it is. The few women that go to
it are each taken up by their Cicisbeo; and a poor Englishman, who
can neither talk Piedmontese nor play at Faro, stands by himself,
without one of their haughty nobility doing him the honor of speaking
to him. You must not attribute this account to our not having staid
long enough to form connections. It is a general complaint of our
countrymen, except of Lord Berkely, who has been engaged for about
two years in the service of a Lady, whose long nose is her most
distinguishing fine feature.

The most sociable women I have met with are the King's daughters.
I chatted for about a quarter of an hour with them, talked
about Lausanne, and grew so very free and easy, that I drew my
snuf-box,[70] rapped it, took snuff twice (a Crime never known
before in the presence-chamber,) & continued my discourse in my usual
attitude of my body bent forwards, and my fore finger stretched out.
As it might however have been difficult to keep up this acquaintance,
I chiefly employ my time in seeing places, which fully repaid me in
pleasure the trouble of my journey. What entertained me the most,
was the Museum and the Citadel. The first is under the care of a M.
Bartoli, who received us without any introduction, in the politest
manner in the world, and was of the greatest service to us, as I dare
say he will be to you. The Citadel is a stupendous work; & when you
have seen the suterraneous part of it, you will scarcely think it
possible such a place can ever be taken. As it is however a regular
one, it does not pique my curiosity so much as those irregular
fortifications hewn out of the Alps, such as Exiles, Fenestrelles,
& the Brunette[71] would have done, could we have spared the time
necessary.* The last of these places you may see.

I mentioned you to M. Dutems, Chargé des Affaires de sa Majestè
Brittanique, in Pitt's absence. He cannot send you so unlimited a
permission as you wanted, but if you will write to him some days
before you set out, specifying the time you shall pass, & the names
of the peoples to be inserted, he will take care to have one sent to
Suze.

[Sidenote: GENOA.]

*Our next stage from Turin has been Milan, where we were mere
Spectators, as it was not worth while to endeavour at forming
connection for so very few days. I think you will be surprised
at the great Church, but infinitely more so at the regiment of
Baden-Baden, which is in the Citadel. Such steadiness, such alertness
in the men, & such exactness in the officers, as passed all my
expectations. Next Friday I shall see the Regiment reviewed by
General Serbelloni. Perhaps I may write a particular letter about
it. From Milan we proceed to Genoa, & from thence to Florence. You
stare--But really we find it so inconvenient to travel like mutes,
and to lose a number of curious things for want of being able to
assist our eyes with our tongues, that we have resumed our original
plan, and leave Venice for next year. I think I should advise you to
do the same.*


Milan, May 18th, 1764.

*The next morning was not fair, but however we were able to take
a view of the islands, which, by the help of some imagination, we
conclude to be a very delightfull though not an enchanted place. I
would certainly advise you to go there from Milan, which you may
very well perform in a day and half. Upon our return, we found Lord
Tilney[72] and some other English in their way to Venice. We heard a
melancholy piece of news from them; Byng[73] died at Bologna a few
days ago of a feaver. I am sure you will all be very sorry to hear it.

We expect a volume of news from you in relation to Lausanne, and
in particular to the alliance of the Dutchess with the frogs. Is
it already concluded? How does the Bride look after her great
revolution? Pray embrace her and the adorable, if you can, in both
our names; and assure them, as well as all the spring,[74] that we
talk of them very often, but particularly of a Sunday; and that we
are so disconsolate, that we have neither of us commenced Cicisbeos
as yet, whatever we may do at Florence. We have drank the Dutchess's
health, not forgetting the little woman[75] on the top of Mont Cenis,
in the middle of the Lago Maggiore, &c. &c. I expect some account
of the said little woman. Whether she talks ---- as much as usual
and who is my successor? I think Montagny had begun to supplant me
before I went.* Salute all our friends in both our names. The Count,
the Queen's own, Buch Tysen, The foot Guards & the Oxford stage (&
Mr. George Hyde Clarke). I am sorry to hear from Grand, that the last
was ill. I heard likewise that your military list was augmented by a
Hanoverian: I dare say the canonading of _Amenebourg_ has often been
fought over. As to people of the town, embrace Grand, Pavillard, and
the Mesery, make some Compliments to a great many more, and don't
forget to kick Constant & Dittermanches before you come away. *I
expect your answer at Florence, and your person at Rome; which the
Lord* of his infinite mercy *grant. Amen.*

  [68] At Lausanne, in 1764, Gibbon met Mr. Holroyd (afterwards
  Lord Sheffield). In his Journal for April 6, 1764, he says:
  "J'ai conçu une véritable amitié pour Holroyd. Il a beaucoup de
  raison et des sentimens d'honneur avec un cœur des mieux placé."
  The friendship then begun ripened into warm affection. "My
  obligations to the long and active friendship of Lord Sheffield,"
  Gibbon says in the will by which he appoints his friend one of
  his executors, "I could never sufficiently repay." Of the warmth
  of his affection, and the nature of some of his obligations, the
  letters now published afford continual proof.

  [69] Charles Emanuel III., Duke of Savoy and second King of
  Sardinia, came to the throne on the abdication of his father in
  1730. He died in 1773. "He is the most insignificant looking
  fellow I ever saw; but he has so much good-nature, and such
  obliging manners, that one is soon reconciled to his appearance"
  (Scrope to George Selwyn, January 12, 1752).

  [70] This was a characteristic habit of Gibbon's throughout
  life. In 1780 some verses were written by Richard Tickell, which
  purport to be addressed by Charles James Fox to his friend
  the Hon. John Townshend on his election to Parliament by the
  University of Cambridge. They contain the following lines:--

    "Soon as to Brookes's thence thy footsteps bend,
    What gratulations thy approach attend!
    See Gibbon rap his box: auspicious sign
    That classic compliment and wit combine."

  Another description is given of Gibbon in "The Luminous
  Historian; or, Learning in Love," written by George Colman the
  Younger (_Eccentricities for Edinburgh_, pp. 73, 74).

    "His person look'd as funnily obese
    As if a Pagod, growing large as Man,
    Had, rashly, waddl'd off its chimney-piece,
    To visit a Chinese upon a fan.
    Such his exterior; curious 'twas to scan!
    And, oft, he rapt his snuff-box, cock'd his snout,
    And ere his polish'd periods he began,
    Bent forwards, stretching his fore-finger out,
    And talk'd in phrase as round as he was round about."

  [71] Exilles commanding the valley of the Houlx, Fenestrelle
  holding the Col de Fenestrelle, and La Brunette guarding the Pas
  de Suze, were strongly fortified posts on the Italian side of
  the Alps. The two latter forts were destroyed in 1796 and 1798
  respectively.

  [72] John Child Tylney, second Lord Tylney, F.R.S., M.P. for
  Malmesbury.

  [73] John Byng, youngest son of the Hon. George Byng, and
  grandson of the first Viscount Torrington.

  [74] _La Société du Printemps_ was the name of the society of
  young ladies at Lausanne, mentioned in the _Memoirs_.

  [75] Madame Besson.



36.

_To his Father._


  Genoa, June the 4th, 1764.

  DEAR SIR,

I dare say you will be surprised when you see the date of my letter,
as according to my last from Turin, you must have imagined me at
Venice. It was indeed our intention till we got as far as Milan,
and saw the shoals of English that were pouring in from every side,
and till we heard the same accounts from everybody of the crowds
and dearness at Venice upon this occasion. Garrets hired as a great
favor at four sequins a night, every thing else in proportion, and
with regard to us, who could not have got there above two days
before Ascension day, the greatest danger of lying in the street.
A fortnight passed at Venice at this time would have occasioned a
very considerable augmentation in my expences, greater I am afraid
than would have suited you, and which I should have brought upon
you merely for the sake of a ceremony, as I can take Venice in as
convenient, and a much cheaper manner in coming home. I was happy
enough to find Mr. Guise entirely of my opinion, & we both agreed
to strike off to Genoa & from thence by the way of Leghorn into
Tuscany. I can easily conceive how extravagant Venice would have been
upon such an occasion, from what I have already experienced of the
dearness of travelling in Italy. Upon the road the necessary expences
of the posts, &c., are higher than in England, and with regard to the
inns, the instant they discover you are an Englishman, they do not
know what to ask. We are constantly obliged to reduce their demands
to one half, and even then to pay them too much. At Pavie I remember
they asked us about twelve shillings for our lodging two nights in a
single room. We gave them about eight, which they took after about
half an hour's wrangling.

This, Dear Sir, is the disagreable side of travelling. In every other
respect my tour exceeds my most sanguine expectations, altho' I am
not yet got to the most interesting part of Italy. Turin, Milan,
and Genoa have afforded me very great entertainement, and very
different scenes. You cannot expect, Dear Sir, an account of any one
of them. The whole it would be impossible to give you, and I should
hardly know what particulars to select. We had better reserve them
till we meet at Beriton, where the history of my peregrinations may
perhaps furnish out the amusement of some evening when there is no
post. Indeed if negligence and conciseness can be ever excused in
a Correspondent they ought to be in a traveller. The common excuse
of having no time is almost verified. Your morning is taken up with
running about to see places, your evenings are commonly engaged in
company, and you are forced to employ the very few moments you have
at home in setting down some account of the things you have seen.

But amongst all my avocations I cannot help mentioning Mr. & Mrs.
Celesia, who have received us not only in the most polite but really
in the most friendly manner. We have dined and supped several times
with them; once at their Country house which is still wilder than
Beriton, and they have introduced us to the Doge and to several
houses in the town. This afternoon we are going with them upon a
party in the country. Mrs. Celesia seems to retain the warmest
friendship for Mrs. Gibbon; she is very sorry their correspondence
has been dropt, and has some thoughts of renewing it herself. I
likewise saw the other day Captain John Elliot,[76] who came in with
his Frigate and sailed again in about a couple of hours for Minorca.
He has been a great while beating about the Mediterranean.

Mr. Guise and I travel in great harmony and good humour. He is
indeed a very worthy sensible man, and I hope I have formed a
friendship that will last as long as my life. He is very far from
being ignorant & will be more so every day, as he has a very proper
spirit of curiosity and enquiry. My inferior companion (my servant)
is a very useful one in this country, and in general a very good one.
I never enjoyed a better state of health, and hope I shall stand the
heats of Florence pretty well. I fancy I shall be obliged to draw
again soon after my arrival there, which will be in about ten days.
I hope I need say nothing of my sentiments which are always the same
for Mrs. Gibbon. I hope to write to her from Florence. My sincere
compliments wait upon the brothers.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most affectionately yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [76] Captain J. Eliot, R.N., was connected through his
  sister-in-law, Mrs. Eliot of Port Eliot, (_née_ Catherine
  Elliston), with Gibbon. He died unmarried, an admiral and
  governor of Newfoundland.



[Sidenote: FLORENCE.]

37.

_To his Stepmother._


  Florence, June 20th, 1764.

  DEAR MADAM,

Without any of those common apologies for not writing which are
generally made use of to fill up the first half page of a letter, I
shall tell you at once that I am got here safe and in perfect health,
tho' somewhat later than I intended. We proposed going by sea from
Genoa to Leghorn. We had taken a Felucca, and were to have embarked
the 7th, but a strong south-west wind springing up the day before,
made it impossible for any vessel to stir out of the harbour, and
kept us waiting six days a most disagreable state of anxiety and
attendance. At last, seeing no likelyhood of any alteration in the
wind, we were forced to set out by land, and to come round thro'
Parma, Modena and Bologna. As we stopt to see what was worthy our
notice upon the road, (excepting only Bologna, which will require
a fortnight or three weeks) we got here only last night, and are
settled in an excellent good _hôtel garni_ kept by one Charles, an
Englishman, whom the Duke of Richmond is very well acquainted with as
well as with our footman Valentin (for we only take one between us),
to whom he has given an exceeding good character in writing.

Every step I take in Italy, I am more and more sensible of the
obligation I have to my father in allowing me to undertake the tour.
Indeed, Dear Madam, this tour is one of the very few things that
exceed the most sanguine and flattering hopes. I do not pretend
to say that there are no disagreable things in it: bad roads, and
indifferent inns, taking very often a good deal of trouble to see
things which do not deserve it, and especially the continual converse
one is obliged to have with the vilest part of mankind--innkeepers,
post-masters and custom house officers, who impose upon you without
any possibility of preventing it,--all these are far from being
pleasing. But how amply is a traveller repaid for those little
mortifications by the pleasure and knowledge he finds in almost every
place. The actual beauties are always the very great singularity
of the country, the different pieces of antiquity either dispersed
or collected into cabinets, and the variety of master-pieces of
sculpture and painting have already made me pass some of the most
entertaining days I have yet known, and I have before me the pleasing
reflexion that what I have yet seen is far inferior to what I shall
find in this place as well as Rome and Naples. I flatter myself, that
the works of the greatest artists, which I have continually before
my eyes, have already begun to form my taste for the fine arts. I
shall however endeavour not to become a Coxcomb, nor to take the
knowledge of a few terms for real science. I shall perhaps bring back
to England an unafected taste for those arts, I am afraid without the
judgment of a connoisseur, and I hope without the ridiculous part of
that character.

I have never lost sight of the undertaking I laid the foundations of
at Lausanne, and I do not despair of being able one day to produce
something by way of a Description of ancient Italy, which may be of
some use to the publick, and of some credit to myself. At least I
know that I have already collected a considerable stock of materials
which is daily encreasing, and that from reading and travel I have
made a number of observations which will enter, very properly enter,
into such a work, and which will have at least the merit of novelty.
You will excuse me, Dear Madam, from entering into particulars as to
any part of what I have seen; the task would be endless, and I must
employ in giving you a very imperfect account a time of which I want
almost every instant. But as my memory is pretty good, and as I keep
a very exact journal; the recollection of this part of my life may be
no disagreable employment of some winter evenings at Beriton. I am
going to take an Italian master, and shall endeavour to get as much
out of him as I can during my stay here, which Mr. Guise and I seemed
to have fixed at about two months.

We have several English here. Lord Exeter, whom we shall hardly
see, as he sets out after dinner; Mr. Ponsonby,[77] son to the
Irish speaker, a very agreable young man whom we knew at Turin; Mr.
Littleton, son to Lord Littleton,[78] &c. Some more whom I have
not yet seen. We make our first visit after dinner to Sir Horatio
Mann,[79] who happens to be a distant relation of Mr. Guise. Indeed
without that advantage his general behavior to the English assures
of the politest reception and an introduction into the best company
in town. From the universal character of Florence I expect to
meet with a very agreable society. I hope we shall avoid the fate
of Lord Fordwich[80] (whom I forgot to mention). The charms of a
superannuated beauty have captivated him to such a degree as to make
him totally forget his country, and to fix him at Florence these
five or six years without the least prospect of his ever leaving it.
The Duke of York is expected here to-night from Venice in his way to
Leghorn, from whence he goes by sea to Marseilles and so to Paris.
It is said he will finish his travels by a visit to his sister at
Brunswick.[81] I suppose we must be all presented to him.

I was much disapointed to find no letters from England, and
especially from my father; as I had wrote to the banker at Venice to
send all that might come to Florence. I hope none on either side
have miscarried. I wrote upon leaving Lausanne, as well as from Turin
and Genoa. I shall be obliged to draw immediately for a hundred
pounds; and as far as I can foresee my expences I hope I shall keep
within my bounds. I am very sensible of the times I may have launched
out a little too much, but I can safely say, that were I to perform
the journey I have already I could not do it for a Guinea less. I
have made some progress in the arts of æconomy and exactness, but
those of the Italians are necessarily superior to mine. Will it be
necessary, Dear Madam, to repeat any assurances of those sentimens
which duty and inclination have an equal share in?

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

I shall not forget the wax candles. I shall send with them a small
quantity of Florence wine.

  [77] William Ponsonby (1744-1806), eldest son of Speaker
  Ponsonby, and first Lord Ponsonby.

  [78] Thomas Lyttelton (1744-1779), son of the first Lord
  Lyttelton, afterwards known as "the wicked Lord Lyttelton,"
  had engaged himself, while at Oxford, to a daughter of General
  Warburton. He was sent abroad, while the settlements were being
  arranged. The engagement was broken off in consequence of his bad
  reputation.

  [79] Sir Horace Mann (1701-1786) was appointed Assistant Envoy at
  the Court of Florence in 1737. Three years later he became Envoy,
  and held the post till his death in 1786. From Florence he kept
  a close watch on the movements of Charles Stuart, and carried on
  his voluminous correspondence with Horace Walpole.

  [80] George Nassau, Lord Fordwich (1738-1789), who succeeded his
  father in 1764 as third Earl Cowper, married in 1775 Miss Hannah
  Gore, and died at Florence in 1789.

  [81] The Princess Augusta, eldest child of Frederick, Prince of
  Wales, born August 11, 1737, married the Duke of Brunswick.



[Sidenote: ROME.]

38.

_To his Father._


  Rome, October the 9th, 1764.

  DEAR SIR,

We set out from Florence last Saturday sevenight and are arrived
here after a journey of about ten days. We came round by Lucca,
Pisa, Leghorn and Sienna, and I think made a very agreable tour of
it. I must acknowledge that I had the least pleasure in what my
companion enjoyed I believe the most; the Opera of Lucca. That little
republick, who could give usefull lessons of gouvernment to many
states much more considerable, lays out a very large sum of money
every autumn in entertaining an exceeding good Opera at the time that
public entertainements are very dead in the other towns of Italy, and
receives their money again with very good interest from the great
affluence of strangers who resort to Lucca upon that occasion. Of the
different tastes which a man may form or indulge in in Italy that
of musick has hitherto been lost upon me, and I have always had the
honesty never to pretend to any taste which I was in reality devoid
of.

We past four days at Leghorn where I saw the Actons. They were so
civil to me that I was much embarassed how to behave. The poor old
Commodore is in a most melancholy situation. Last winter he had a
most violent attack of the Apoplexy; whilst in that situation he was
persuaded either from motives of interest or devotion to change his
religion in which he had been till then very steady. The immediate
consequence of which imprudent step was the total neglect of all his
English friends, who from being very intimate with him have taken
the unanimous resolution of not holding the smallest connection with
him. I most sincerely pity him. At his time of life, to lose the
only friends he had, (for he has never been able even to learn the
language of the country) to be continually regretting England which
he will never see again, and to find himself oppressed with every
misfortune of age and infirmity, is a situation truly melancholy. He
talked to me a great deal of you and of times which I had scarce any
remembrance of, and I think from his manner and conversation that I
never saw a more lively picture of an unhappy man. I thought it right
to acquaint the English at Leghorn of my reasons for not neglecting
him as they did, and they all seemed to approve of my behavior.

I am now, Dear Sir, at Rome. If it was difficult before to give you
or Mrs. Gibbon any account of what I saw, it is impossible here. I
have already found such a fund of entertainement for a mind somewhat
prepared for it by an acquaintance with the Romans, that I am really
almost in a dream. Whatever ideas books may have given us of the
greatness of that people, their accounts of the most flourishing
state of Rome fall infinitely short of the picture of its ruins. I am
convinced there never never existed such a nation, and I hope for the
happiness of mankind there never will again. I was this morning upon
the top of Trajan's pillar. I shall not attempt a description of it.
Only figure to yourself a column 140 feet high of the purest white
marble, composed only of about 30 blocks and wrought into bas-reliefs
with as much taste and delicacy as any chimney piece at Up-park.[82]

The sickness of Naples seems pretty well over. I shall not however
yet venture to it. The concern you and Mrs. Gibbon express in her
last letter, makes it my duty to avoid the appearance as well as the
reality of danger. If I allow about three months to Rome, a month
to Naples, and a fortnight or three weeks to the road, &c., visiting
again some of the most curious things upon my return, I shall have
but few idle moments, and yet shall hardly be able to take my last
leave of Rome before the end of February. About six weeks may do
for Bologna, Verona, &c., and Venice, and towards the middle or end
of April I hope to have finished a tour attended with the greatest
pleasure, and I flatter myself with some improvement. I shall then
be ready, Dear Sir, to obey your orders with regard to the time and
manner of my returning to England. The grand tour of Germany I do not
even think of, as I am sensible of the considerable and unavoidable
expence it would be attended with. The route thro' Bavaria to the
Rhine and Low Countries, or that of the south of France to the same
parts, would have their several advantages and might each employ
about two months. However from the great extent of country I must
pass thro' so rapidly, they would not be without an addition of
expence. Believe me, Dear Sir, that is a consideration I feel so
often and so sensibly; that rather than any thing should disturb the
pleasure of our meeting, I will come down from Venice to Leghorn and
embark for England. Satisfied with the enjoyment of Italy and France,
I will rather reflect upon what I shall have seen than upon what I
shall have lost. I wait, Dear Sir, for your directions. I have asked
for them rather soon, both to unburthen my mind, and because we are
neither of us the most exact Correspondents. I have a hundred more
things to say. I would thank Mrs. Gibbon for the agreable news she
sent me in her last letter of your having entirely got over your late
indisposition, but my paper is out and I can only add that I am and
ever shall be,

  Dear Sir,
  Most sincerely yours,
  E. GIBBON, JUNIOR. _May I add Major?_

  [82] Near Stansted in Sussex, purchased in 1746 from the Earl of
  Tankerville by Sir Matthew Featherstonhaugh, M.P. for Portsmouth.



[Sidenote: MONEY TROUBLES.]

39.

_To his Father._


  Rome, November the 10th, 1764.

  DEAR SIR,

I received last Wednesday your letter of the 16th of October, and
could scarcely have thought that any one from you could give me
so much uneasiness as this has done. I have let slip one post in
order to consider it with more attention, and I believe I must visit
again every thing I have seen, or seemed to see, in the intermediate
days. I must own, Dear Sir, that I am frightened both when I look
back, and when I look forwards. A mortgage of £10,000 contracted
about six years ago, £1200 taken out of Hervey's hands; and now an
urgent necessity of selling one of our very best estates! Where
must this end? Believe me, Dear Sir, I am very far from meaning the
smallest reproach. I am convinced that all these measures have been
dictated by necessity, and that this necessity has been occasioned
by the intricacy of affairs, the iniquity of men, and a variety of
accidents over which prudence has no power. But this very conviction
encreases my uneasiness. What may be one day my fate without half
your knowledge of business, and deprived of all those ressources
which you must have found in living so many years in the Country, and
in managing and improving your estate? With less æconomy and perhaps
more wants, I may very easily find my way to a Gaol.

Notwithstanding all this, Dear Sir, I am very sensible of the unhappy
difficulties of Otway's affair, and both duty and inclination would
engage me to submit to every thing in order to extricate you from it.
But for a sum which is not very considerable, will it be necessary to
sell an Estate which I have heard you often speak of as the clearest
and most valuable you are in possession of? If it is absolutely
necessary to sell something, would it not be better to endeavour to
part with Putney? I speak, Dear Sir, very much at random for want
of knowing the respective values of the Estates, and what you are
offered for Lenborough.[83] Indeed without some such knowledge I can
scarcely say anything positive upon the subject; more than that, if
you still persist in that scheme, it would be very difficult for me
to dispute any thing that you think expedient, or conducive to your
own ease and happiness.

But in that case, Dear Sir, should you think the following
conditions unreasonable?--1st. That upon the sale of the estate,
after discharging the mortgage and deducting £1200 for Otway's
affair, the residue of the money should be paid into a banker's hands
and be lodged in the funds in our joint names. The interests should
be solely yours, and we should have what we have so often desired,
a sum of money ready for any emergency, and sufficient to execute
any plan, either of bringing me into Parliament, or any thing else.
Surely, Dear Sir, this scheme is preferable to purchasing more land.
Have not we enough already? The only thing that hurts me in this
proposal is the air of distrust it seems to carry with it. Believe
me, Dear Sir, when I say that I can as little doubt of your care and
regard for me as of my own, and that if I take any precautions, they
are such only, as I should think it equally prudent to take against
myself. My other condition would be the same which I mentioned
last year, that of changing my annuity into a rent charge upon the
estate, and permitting me to convert that into another annuity which
I apprehend would be at least double what I at present enjoy. I have
often considered it coolly since that time, and a scheme which would
make me easy and happy for life, appears to me much more eligible
than any other which would make a small addition to my income at
your expence. Marriage, and the consideration of posterity would be
the only motives which could ever make me repent of such a step, and
against these my circumstances, my constitution and a way of thinking
grounded upon reasoning and strengthened by experience and habit,
will I hope effectually secure me. My views will never extend beyond
the happiness of your life, that of Mrs. Gibbon's and of my own.
Let us mutually consult what may the most contribute towards that
object without calculating what estate may at last remain _for the
Elliots_.[84]

I hope you will excuse, Dear Sir, the warmth [with] which I have
expressed myself on a subject so highly interesting to us both. I
am sure I have not wrote a line that has not been dictated by those
sentiments of respect, duty and gratitude upon which you have so
many claims, and which will always engage to place your ease and
happiness upon a level with my own. I shall wait your order as to the
time and manner of my coming home; but I hope you will not insist
upon it's being before the month of June.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most sincerely and most affectionately yours,
  E. G.

  [83] The Manor and Mansion-house of Lenborough, in the county
  of Bucks, passed, by purchase from the families of Ingoldsby
  and Dormer, into the hands of Mr. John Rogers, of Buckingham,
  who, about the year 1730, sold them to the grandfather of Edward
  Gibbon. The "Mansion" was converted into a farmhouse for the
  tenant of the farm.

  [84] The grandfather of Edward Gibbon died in 1736, leaving
  one son and two daughters. Catherine, the eldest of these two
  daughters, married Mr. Elliston, of South Weald, Essex, and her
  only child married, in 1756, Mr. (created in 1784 Lord) Eliot, of
  Port Eliot in Cornwall. Their three sons were Gibbon's nearest
  male relatives.



[Sidenote: HIS CREDIT WITHDRAWN.]

40.

_To his Father._


  Rome, December the 5th, 1764.

  DEAR SIR,

This moment to my great surprize, Barazzi, the banker of Rome, sent
for me to shew me a letter he had just received from the banker at
Lausanne, who had given me my general credit all over Italy, to
recall that credit and to desire he would give me no more money.
This can be only owing to the last draught from Florence having been
protested, and as the banker has probably sent the same advice to
his other correspondents, my character is ruined in every great town
in Italy, and what makes it more unfortunate is the draught I gave
from hence about a week ago for £100 more at twenty days' sight;
which will probably have the same fate. I feel my situation the more
as I am not conscious of having deserved it by distressing you with
extravagant draughts. After a mature deliberation you fixed upon 700
pounds for my tour of Italy. I have always advised you regularly
before I drew, and I have never, Dear Sir, exceeded my proportion of
the sum. To what then am I to attribute this unforeseen misfortune?
In your last letter you say nothing, and yet you must have then
received mine from Florence. Forgive my warmth, Dear Sir, I scarce
know what to think, write, or do.

I shall wait with the utmost impatience for an answer. Indeed I shall
be very uneasy till it comes. Barazzi, who was very civil upon the
occasion, desires if you send me credit upon any other banker (which
will be absolutely necessary) that you would apply to Andrew Drummond
whom he corresponds with. Till then it will be impossible for me to
stir from Rome, or to live with much pleasure in it, while I know
there are people who may very naturally suspect me of being a rogue
or an adventurer. Once more, Dear Sir, forgive a man who scarce
knows what he writes, and believe me ever

  Most sincerely yours,
  E. G.

I beg, Dear Sir, a speedy answer.



41.

_To his Father._


  Rome, the 5th of December, 1764.

  DEAR SIR,

Since I sent my letter, which is already sealed up in Barazzi's
packet, I have considered that the new credit which it will be
necessary to send me must be given by the London Banker upon the
other towns I am to go to, as well as upon Rome; at least upon
Naples, Bologna, Venice, and one or two principal places in France
or Germany according as you intend I should come home. After so
unfortunate an accident I can scarce hope Barazzi himself will give
me any credit elsewhere; and I must be the more exact, as in several
of those places I shall find the bankers prepossessed against me by
the letter of the Lausanne banker which must have been circular. How
can it have happened, Dear Sir, that a letter can have had the time
to go from London to Florence, from Florence to Lausanne, and from
Lausanne to Rome without my having had the smallest intimation of it
from you?

  I am, Dear Sir, once more
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: NAPLES.]

42.

_To his Stepmother._


  Naples, January the 29th, 1765.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am very sorry for the reason (it is really no excuse) which I have
had for my late dilatoriness in writing. I have waited with great
impatience for an answer to the letters I had wrote my father, have
always hoped and imagined that I could scarce fail of receiving
it the very next post, and living in that daily expectation have
suffered several posts to elapse without writing myself. Indeed I
begin to fear that some letters must have miscarried. I hope however
to hear from my father very soon, since if I should return to Rome
without having had any orders from him as to the time and manner of
my returning home, I should find myself very much embarassed how to
act.

We arrived here only last night, so that as yet I have seen nothing;
not even the glorious prospect of the bay of Naples. A thick foggy
cloudy day (for such weather have we sometimes even in this happy
climate) hangs over it, and veils all its beauties. The journey from
Rome has satisfied at least one species of a disagreable curiosity,
that of being acquainted with the very worst roads in the universe.
You are sometimes sunk in sloughs and sometimes racked and battered
on the broken remains of the old Appian way, and when after a tedious
day you at last arrive at the long desired inn, you soon wish for
the moment of setting out again. Governor Ellis[85] who is here, a
man famous for attempting the North West passage, and consequently
acquainted with every species of hardship, declares that he had
rather circumnavigate the Globe, than go from Rome to Naples. This
single circumstance may convince you, Dear Madam, how just are the
common but melancholy observations, of the wretched state of this
fine country and of the misery of its idle and oppressed inhabitants.
They are indeed painted in too lively colours to escape the notice
of the most inatentive traveller, and so shocking as to excite the
pity of the least feeling one. I will not repeat here, Dear Madam, my
old and lazy maxim of saying little because I have a great deal to
say, and of reserving every thing for your dressing Room. I assure
you without flattery, that I am very impatient to see it. I cannot
say whether you will find me improved in any thing else, but at least
I think I am become a better Englishman, and that, without adopting
the honest prejudices of a Hampshire farmer, I am reconciled to my
own country, that I see many of its advantages better than I did, and
that a more enlarged view has corrected many errors of my premature
and partial observation.

We are at present in the midst of a most brilliant carnaval, and
shall scarce be able to breath between balls, operas, Assemblies and
dinners. I have not yet seen Mr. Hamilton our Minister,[86] but he is
extremely liked by the English here, of whom most are our Roman or
Florentine acquaintance. Our only Peer is Lord Berkely, with whom we
are just going to dine. I imagine we shall be presented to the boy
King next Sunday. It must be a most ridiculous farce of Majesty.

Will you be so good as to acquaint my father that I drew for £100 at
twenty days' sight the morning I left Rome, and that not having time
to write by that post I acquainted Mr. Darrel with it by a letter of
four lines.

How superfluous is it, Dear Madam, to repeat my protestations of duty
and affection to my father, of tenderness to yourself, or of real
friendship, and my best wishes for your brothers.

  E. G.

  [85] Henry Ellis (1721-1806) wrote an account of an expedition
  in which he served to discover the North-West passage. His
  _Voyage to Hudson's Bay, by the Dobbs Galley and California in
  the years 1746 and 1747, for Discovering a North-West Passage_,
  was published in 1748. He was afterwards appointed successively
  Governor of Georgia and Nova Scotia.

  [86] Mr. (afterwards Sir William) Hamilton (1730-1803) was
  appointed Envoy at the Court of Naples in 1764. In September,
  1791, he married, as his second wife, Amy Lyon, who as Emma
  Hamilton became famous.



43.

_To his Father._


  Rome, the 19th of March, 1765.

  DEAR SIR,

We are at last going to quit Rome, and altho' every reason for not
writing much or often looks suspicious from an old offender like
me, yet at present a laudable avarice of time makes me regret every
moment I am not rambling about a place I am so soon to take my leave
of.

I shall be obliged to draw (at as long a sight as I can) for two
hundred pounds: not that I have run into any new expences I did not
foresee before, but merely from a prudence which I think a proper one
in the very nice situation into which the Florence affair has thrown
me. I am sure I can have the money from Barazzi here, as Grand has
renewed my credit upon him, but tho' I hope and believe he has done
it equally upon the other Bankers, I am not at all sure of it, and
might find myself exposed to the refusal of the banker at Venice,
and without any acquaintance there who could vouch for my character
and circumstances. As I hope to carry away a good £150 I am at least
sure of getting to Genoa, where I have some previous knowledge of
the banker, and where in case of any difficulty I could call on
Celesia. I hope this precaution, which appeared to me in the light of
a necessary one, will not be inconvenient to you. It shall make no
alteration in the plan I laid down in my letters from Naples, and you
may depend upon it, Dear Sir, that neither in point of time nor of
money I will any ways exceed it.

I can scarce hope to receive any more letters from you, which reduces
me to the necessity of chusing for myself. I shall however write to
you, Dear Sir, from Bologna, Genoa, and one or two places in France
to acquaint you with my motions till I have the pleasure before the
end of June of embracing you and Mrs. Gibbon at Beriton.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

Lyons is the only place I can think of where you can direct to me to
the post-house.



[Sidenote: DISAPPOINTMENT WITH VENICE.]

44.

_To his Stepmother._


  Venice, April the 22nd, 1765.

  DEAR MADAM,

Your last letter which I received only at Bologna was a most pleasing
renewal of a correspondence, which (somehow or another) had been
a little interrupted, but which I shall always consider as both
usefull and agreable to me, since I am sure of finding in all your
letters the tenderness of a mother, the sincerity of a friend and the
entertainement of a most knowing correspondent. I am indeed but too
unworthy of such a commerce.

Of all the towns in Italy, I am the least satisfied with Venice;
objects which are only singular without being pleasing produce a
momentary surprize which soon gives way to satiety and disgust.
Old and in general ill built houses, ruined pictures, and stinking
ditches dignified with the pompous denomination of canals, a fine
bridge spoilt by two Rows of houses upon it, and a large square
decorated with the worst Architecture I ever yet saw, and wonderfull
only in a place where there is more land than water: such are the
colours I should employ in my portrait of Venice; a portrait
certainly true in general, tho' perhaps you should attribute the
very great darkness of the shades to my being out of humour with the
place. Here are no English, and all communication with the natives of
the place is strictly forbid. Our chief ressource is our Resident Mr.
Murray,[87] an honest plain man, and a very good companion, who gives
us most excellent dinners every other day.

I found here that my prudence in taking up a larger sum of money
at Rome than I immediately wanted, was very far from being a vain
precaution. I found this Banker a sour, suspicious old fellow, who
began by vexing me very much in talking of my letters having been
protested in presence of Guise, to whom I had never mentioned it.
Indeed the Brute did it in so very abrupt a way that it seemed his
chief design was to mortify me. Upon my mentioning that I believed
the Lausanne banker had restored my credit, he began to make a number
of difficulties, which I at last cut short by telling him that I
neither wanted his money nor his company. It was very lucky I had it
in my power to talk in that manner.

The part of your letter, Dear Madam, which related to my being at
home in May made me a little uneasy. My father hinted something
of that kind in a former letter. I am sorry that your's is wrote
before the reception of my answer, as I should then know whether my
father still expected my return so soon. It would be most highly
inconvenient to me. I could indeed, going directly from hence, arrive
in England by the end, and the end only, of May. But in order to do
it, I must go the very straitest road, never stop, and give up a
number of curious things which will scarce ever be within my reach
again! Cannot the meeting be put off till September? Cannot Sir
Thomas[88] protract his stay one month longer? Will my missing one
more meeting hurt the Battalion very sensibly? I am forced to ask
all these questions without being able to wait for their answers. I
must here at once determine for myself and I am afraid of determining
wrong. I could have wished, my father would have explained himself
more clearly, whether he thought my return in May, a thing absolutely
necessary and right, and am almost inclined to imagine that he would
have done so, if he had looked upon it in that light. I have still
some hopes of receiving his answer to my letter from Naples, which I
should immediately obey.

[Sidenote: PLANS FOR HIS RETURN.]

You may see, Dear Madam, in what a state of perplexity I am, and that
I am not really yet determined what to say or what to do. However the
prospect of my tour thro' the South of France (which will only delay
my return about a month or six weeks) is so pleasing, and the means
of obviating any inconveniences in the Battalion appear so easy, that
I cannot help taking a resolution which I hope will not displease
my father. I leave this place in a day or two and shall be at Turin
about the beginning of May; from thence I shall proceed to Lyons, go
down the Rhone to Avignon and wheel round by Provence and Languedoc
to Bordeaux, where I shall easily find a ship bound for London. I
have made this alteration, as it enlarges my tour, without making any
difference either in time or expence. I shall only draw for another
hundred, and my father may depend upon my being at Beriton by the
end of June or the beginning of July; barring accidents of wind and
weather. With what pleasure, Dear Madam, shall we meet. I assure you
I have not forgot the Wax Candles. Venice is the place for them, but,
as far as I can learn, tho' whiter they do not burn so well as ours.
I cannot make out whether in point of price it is worth sending them.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [87] John Murray, Resident at Venice, was appointed in November,
  1765, ambassador at Constantinople. He died at Venice in August,
  1775.

  [88] Sir T. Worsley.



45.

_To his Father._


  Lyons, May the 29th, 1765.

  DEAR SIR,

After a pretty troublesome passage of Mount Cenis we are at last
arrived here. I say at last, for it is at least a fortnight later
than we expected, occasioned by several inevitable hinderances. Upon
casting up as well as I could my accounts of time and money, I soon
found how impossible it would be for me to execute my tour of the
south of France within the limitations of both which I had proposed.
I mean to execute it with any degree of pleasure or profit, to stay
long enough in any place to be acquainted with the inhabitants, and
not to hurt my health perhaps by travelling too quick in a very hot
season and country. Perhaps, Dear Sir, if I had had time to have
consulted you, you might have indulged me a little longer; but it was
an indulgence I was determined not to grant myself at the expence of
the promise I had made you of being in England by the end of June or
beginning of July. The only way I have of keeping my word is going
from hence to England by the way of Paris, where I shall stay a few
days. I have drawn from hence £100 at eight days' sight (which term
was forced upon me). When I consider that my last draught from Rome
was about the middle of March, I cannot think I have been extravagant
in spending about £150 in ten weeks and a journey of above 700 miles.
I own that when I consider I have only seen Paris and Italy in two
years and a half, I am displeased with myself for having staid so
long at Lausanne. Had I set out for Italy the autumn before, I might
have passed last winter in the south of France, and yet been at
home in the spring; but it is easier to condemn than to repair past
faults. Perhaps one day you may spare me, Dear Sir, some months to
compleat what I have left unfinished at present--But my duty is now
to set down contented at Beriton with you and Mrs. Gibbon, and I can
assure you that never was duty more agreable to inclination.

At Suze at the very foot of the Alps I met Sir Thomas Worsley and
family. We supped together and talked over national, provincial, and
regimental affairs. He is just the same as he was; only not so great
a courtier. He seems much pleased with his intended scheme. I think
it a very bad one. Naples has no advantage, but those of climate and
situation; and in point of expence and education for his children is
the very last place in Italy I should have advised. Indeed I should
have thought that the south of France would have suited him much
better.

I shall write once more from Paris: till when, Dear Sir, believe me

  Most sincerely yours,
  EDWARD GIBBON.



[Sidenote: REGRET AT MISSING BERLIN.]

46.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq., at Berlin._.


  Beriton, October 31st, 1765.

  DEAR LEGER,

*Why I did not leave a letter for you at Marseilles? For a very
plain reason: Because I did not go to Marseilles. But, as you have
most judiciously added, why did not I send one? Humph! I own that
nonplusses me a little. However, hearken to my history. After
revolving a variety of plans, and suiting them as well as possible
to time and finances, Guise and I at last agreed to pass from Venice
to Lyons, swim down the Rhosne, wheel round the South of France,
and embark at Bourdeaux. Alas! At Lyons I received letters which
convinced me that I ought no longer to deprive my country of one of
her greatest ornaments. Unwillingly I obeyed, left Guise to execute
alone the remainder of our plan, passed about ten delicious days at
Paris, and arrived in England about the end of June. Guise followed
me about two months afterwards, as I was informed by an epistle from
him, which, to his great astonishment, I immediately answered. You
perceive there is still some virtue amongst men. _Exempli gratiâ_,
your letter is dated Vienna, October 12th, 1765; it made its
appearance at Beriton, Wednesday evening, October the 29th. I am at
this present writing, sitting in my library, on Thursday morning,
between the hours of twelve & one.

I have ventured to suppose you still at Berlin; if not, I presume
you take care that your letters should follow you. This Ideal march
to Berlin is the only one I can make at present. I am under command;
and were I to talk of a third sally as yet, I know some certain
people who would think it just as ridiculous as the third sally of
the Renowned Don Quixote. All I ever hoped for was, to be able to
take the field once more, after lying quiet a couple of years. I must
own that your executing your tour in so compleat a manner gives me a
little selfish pain. If I make a summer's escape to Berlin, I cannot
hope for the companion I flattered myself with. I am sorry however I
have said so much; but as it is difficult to increase your honour's
proper notions of your own perfections, I will e'en let it stand.
Indeed I owed you something for Your account of the favourable
reception my book[89] has met with. I see there are people of taste
at Vienna, and no longer wonder at your liking it. Since the court
is so agreeable, a thorough reformation must have taken place. The
stiffness of the Austrian Etiquette, and the haughty magnificence of
the Hungarian princes, must have given way to more civilized notions.
You have (no doubt) informed yourself of the forces and revenues of
the Empress. I think (however unfashionably) we always esteemed her.
Have You lost or improved that opinion? Princes, like Pictures, to be
admired, must be seen in their proper point of view, which is often
a pretty distant one. I am afraid you will find it peculiarly so at
Berlin.

I need not desire you to pay a most minute attention to the Austrian
and Prussian discipline. You have been bit by a mad Serjeant as well
as myself; and when we meet, we shall run over with every particular
which we can approve of, blame, or imitate. Since my arrival, I have
assumed the august character of Major, received returns, issued
orders, &c. &c. I do not intend you shall have the honor of reviewing
my troops next summer. Three-fourths of the men will be recruits;
and during my pilgrimage, discipline seems to have been relaxed. I
do not care to expose the chosen seed to the prophane mockery of
the uncircumcised. But I summon you to fulfil another engagement.
Make me a visit next summer. You will find here a bad house, a
pleasant country in summer, some books, and very little _strange_
company. Such a plan of life for two or three months must, I should
imagine, suit a man who has been for as many years struck from one
end of Europe to the other like a tennis-ball. At least I judge of
you by myself. I always loved a quiet, studious, indolent life; but
never enjoyed the charms of it so truly, as since my return from an
agreable but fatiguing course of motion and hurry. However, I shall
hear of your arrival, which can scarce be so soon as January, 1766,
and shall probably have the misfortune of meeting you in town soon
after. We may then settle any plans for the ensuing campaign.

[Sidenote: VISIT TO MADAME NECKER.]

_En attendant_, (admire me, this is the only scrap of foreign lingo
I have imported into this Epistle--if you had seen that of Guise to
me!) let me tell you a piece of Lausanne news. Nanette Grand is
married to Lieutenant-colonel Prevôt, _a poor unfortunate half-pay
officer_. Grand wrote to me; and by the next post I congratulated
both father and daughter. There is exactness for you. The Curchod
(Madame Necker) I saw at Paris. She was very fond of me, and the
husband particularly civil. Could they insult me more cruelly? Ask
me every evening to supper; go to bed, and leave me alone with
his wife--what an impertinent security! It is making an old lover
of mighty little consequence. She is as handsome as ever and much
genteeler; seems pleased with her fortune rather than proud of it.
I was (perhaps indiscreetly enough) exalting Nanette de Illens's
good luck and the fortune. "What fortune?" said she, with an air of
contempt--"not above 20,000 Livres a year." I smiled, and she caught
herself immediately. "What airs I give myself in despising twenty
thousand Livres a-year, who a year ago looked upon 800 as the summit
of my wishes."[90]

I must end this tedious scrawl. Let me hear from you: I think I
deserve it. Believe me, Dear Holroyd, I share in all your pleasures,
and feel all your misfortunes. Poor Bolton![91] I saw it in the
newspaper. Is Ridley[92] with you? I suspect not: but if he is,
assure him I do not forget him tho' he does me. Adieu; and believe
me, most affectionately yours,*

  E. GIBBON, JUN.

  [89] Gibbon's _Essai sur l'étude de la Littérature_ was published
  in 1761. The essay, translated into English, was published in
  1764.

  [90] Madame Necker, writing to Madame de Brentès, November 7,
  1765, thus describes this visit of Gibbon to her married home:
  "Je ne sais, madame, si je vous ai dit, que j'ai vu Gibbon;
  J'ai été sensible à ce plaisir au-delà de toute expression, non
  qu'il me reste aucun sentiment pour un homme qui je vois n'en
  mérite guère; mais ma vanité féminine n'a jamais eu un triomphe
  plus complet et plus honnête. Il a resté deux semaines à Paris;
  Je l'ai eu tous les jours chez moi; it étoit devenu doux,
  souple, humble, décent jusqu'à la pudeur; témoin perpétuel de
  la tendresse de mon mari, de son esprit et de son enjouement,
  admirateur zélé de l'opulence, it me fit remarquer pour la
  première fois celle qui m'entoure, ou du moins jusqu'alors elle
  n'avoit fait sur moi qu'une sensation désagréable" (_Lettres
  diverses recueillies en Suisse_, par le Comte Fédor Galovkin, pp.
  265, 266: Geneva, 1821).

  [91] Theophilus Bolton, who was making the tour with Mr. Holroyd
  and Major Ridley, died of consumption at Genoa.

  [92] Son of Sir Matthew Ridley, Bart., Major in the Welsh
  Fusiliers. He had served in Germany during the Seven Years' War,
  and was at this time Mr. Holroyd's travelling companion.



47.

_To James Scott, Esq._


  January the 14th, 1766.
  At Miss Lake's, St. James's Place, an indifferent lodging.
  2 Guineas a week. I fancy I shall not stay in it.

  DEAR SIR,

I should have wrote to Beriton last post, or even (which I might have
done) the post before. I am sorry at present to have so disagreable
an excuse for the shortness of my present letter as a new attack
in my shoulder, which has confined me to my lodgings yesterday and
to-day. If I am not better to-morrow I will certainly have advice
about it.

Mrs. Porten has not been well but has recovered. I have met Guise
in town with his whole family, who have been exceedingly civil to
me.--To-morrow (if I am able) I shall introduce d'Eyverdun[93]
to Miss Comarque at the new play, to which she has obliged me to
contribute a ticket. The number of separations encrease daily.
They talk of Lords and Ladies Bolingbroke,[94] Warkworth,[95]
Grosvenor,[96] Sr. James Lowther and Lady,[97] Mr. & Mrs. Onslow,
&c. (would you believe it?) Sr. M. & Lady F. Soon, Dear Sir, I will
write more at large, till when believe me,

  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [93] M. Deyverdun had known Gibbon at Lausanne, and from 1766-69
  was a frequent guest at Beriton. With his assistance Gibbon
  published the _Mémoires Littéraires de la Grande Bretagne pour
  l'an 1767_ (Londres: Chez T. Becket and P. A. de Hondt dans le
  Strand, 1767), which were discontinued in 1768, when Deyverdun,
  on his friend's recommendation, left England as tutor to the son
  of Sir T. Worsley, afterwards the Right Hon. Sir Richard Worsley.
  In 1783 Gibbon took up his abode with Deyverdun at the latter's
  house at Lausanne. Deyverdun died in July, 1789, leaving his
  house and land by will to Gibbon for his life.

  [94] Lady Diana Spencer married in 1757 Frederick St. John,
  Lord Bolingbroke, the "Bully" who figures in George Selwyn's
  correspondence, from whom she was divorced, March 10, 1768. Two
  days later she married Topham Beauclerk, grandson of the first
  Duke of St. Albans, the friend of Dr. Johnson, and the collector
  of a magnificent library. During his long illness she nursed
  him, as Johnson, no friendly witness, admits, "with very great
  assiduity." He died in 1780. Lady Diana, whose skill as an artist
  is frequently alluded to by Walpole, died in 1808.

  [95] Hugh, Lord Warkworth, eldest son of Sir Hugh Smithson,
  Bart., of Stanwick, who was created Duke of Northumberland in
  1766, married July 2, 1764, Lady Anne Stuart, third daughter
  of the Earl of Bute. They were divorced in 1779. As Earl Percy
  he served in the American War at the battle of Lexington and
  elsewhere.

  [96] See note to Letter 126.

  [97] Sir James Lowther, Bart., first Earl of Lonsdale, married
  (1761) Lady Mary Stewart, eldest daughter of the Earl of Bute,
  and sister of Lady Warkworth.



[Sidenote: WANT OF FRIENDS IN LONDON.]

48.

_To his Stepmother._


  Miss Lake's in St. James's place, January the 18th, 1766.

  DEAR MADAM,

I have the pleasure of assuring you that my Rheumatism (or what else
you chuse to call it) has again sounded a retreat & left me quite
well. However I do still intend to consult a physician by way of
precaution, & I think that Physician shall be Heberden.[98] I have
seen a number of servants, but believe I shall pitch upon one who
seems very clever without having anything of the fine Gentleman, &
whose demands surprize me only by their reasonableness. I wrote to
his last master at Bath four or five days ago, & expect an answer
with some impatience.--I believe I mentioned in my last that I was to
introduce d'Eyverdun to Miss C. at the play. They saw each other: the
Lady with some apparent pleasure; the Gentleman with as little horror
as could be expected. I presented him, proposed a visit, pressed for
time & place; & am by her own appointment to carry him to pass the
evening with her next Monday. The rest must depend on himself. As
to myself; I hardly know myself as yet, in this immense City; & to
speak honestly am not as yet very highly entertained. I have had some
invitations & expect more, but I must acknowledge, I sometimes regret
the small parties where an acquaintance may pass the evening & sup
without form or invitation. I have however candor enough to lay these
defects rather upon the confined circle of my friends than on the
general manners of the Metropolis. Society (no doubt) may be very
agreable here, but the avenues to it are fortified with some care,
and I wish I may be able to muster up that modest assurance which is
so necessary to force them. Several more of my acquaintance Up park,
Port Elliott, Hartley,[99] are however come or coming to town & may
serve to enliven it. The public diversions are a great ressource,
and the Cocoa Tree[100] serves now and then to take off an idle
hour. I am not even without hopes of being enrolled in the School of
Vice which, notwithstanding the terrors of its name, is as agreable
and I believe as innocent a Club as any in this Metropolis. What I
want the most, is to be taken off the town and to get into private
keeping. You may guess I mean my old scheme of boarding in a genteel
family. You know I have talked of Toriano. I wish it may succeed,
but the very situation of the man which makes it so agreeable makes
it likewise very difficult. Things must be treated with a degree of
delicacy. An acquaintance must be formed, and I shall not think this
winter ill-spent if it lays a good foundation for next. In the mean
time I am looking out for something to stay my stomach. I have heard
of a house near Leicester fields which appears tolerable, and of
another near Soho whose very situation excludes it.

We wait for Tuesday Sevennight with impatience. Mr. Pitt is in Town
and spoke a great while last Tuesday. He is the declared Advocate
of the Colonies, but a very equivocal one of the present ministry;
tho' great compliments passed between him & Conway.[101] The debate
yesterday (which lasted till nine in the evening) was on printing
the American papers. The friends to secresy, thought it much better
only to leave them upon the table for the inspection and copies of
about 500 people.--Almost all the separations come to nothing except
that of L. & Lady B. which has taken place already.

I forgot upon the study table some maps which I want to make up into
an atlas. Will you be so good, Dear Madam, as to collect all the
French or Latin loose maps in the study and send them to me by the
first opportunity. Pray do not despise me so far as to give me no
commissions.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly your's and my father's,
  E. GIBBON.

  [98] Dr. William Heberden (1710-1801), one of the most famous
  physicians of the century, and a distinguished scholar. He was
  called by Dr. Johnson "Ultimus Romanorum" (a title which might
  be as justly applied to Sir H. Halford), as being "the last of
  our learned physicians." He is hailed by Cowper as "virtuous and
  faithful," perhaps because, as Dr. G. B. Hill suggests, he bought
  and destroyed an unpublished manuscript by Dr. Middleton on _The
  Inefficacy of Prayer_.

  [99] Up Park, near Stansted in Sussex, the seat of Sir Matthew
  Featherstonhaugh, F.R.S., formerly M.P. for Morpeth, at this time
  M.P. for Portsmouth; Port Eliot, St. Germans, Cornwall, that of
  Gibbon's cousin, Mr. Edward Eliot, M.P. for Liskeard, afterwards
  for Cornwall, created in 1784 Baron Eliot of St. Germans; and
  Hartley Manduit that of Sir Simeon Stuart, M.P. for the county of
  Southampton.

  [100] Under Lord Bute, the Ministerial Club, as it was at first
  called, used to meet at the Cocoa Tree Tavern, in St. James's
  Street. In 1745 it had been the great resort of the Jacobites.
  Gibbon describes a supper at the club in his Journal for
  November, 1762. [_Memoirs of My Life and Writings--Miscellaneous
  Works_, vol. i. p. 154 (second edition, 1814).] By the "School of
  Vice" it is more than probable Gibbon meant White's Club, formed
  in 1736, at this time the great Tory gaming club. It contained
  within its walls an Old and a Young Club, the Old being recruited
  from among the members of the Young. Hence, perhaps, arose its
  name of the "School of Vice."

  [101] The Stamp Act, charging stamp duties on all legal documents
  executed in the Colonies, received the royal assent March 22,
  1765, and came into operation November 1, 1765. When Parliament
  reassembled on January 14, 1766, Pitt attacked the policy of
  the Act. General Conway, one of the Secretaries of State, who
  replied to him, said that the sentiments which he had expressed
  were substantially those of the ministers, and that, for his own
  part, he would gladly resign his office if Pitt would take it.
  Grenville, who followed, defended the Act, and it was in reply
  to him, on the same evening, that Pitt delivered one of the most
  eloquent and famous of his speeches. Ireland took a keen interest
  in the question, and the debate happens to be fully reported
  by two Irish gentlemen, Sir Robert Dean and Lord Charlemont;
  otherwise, like many others of the time, it might have passed
  without record. In the same session, February 24 to March 17, two
  resolutions were carried in both Houses, one declaring the right
  of Great Britain to tax the Colonies, the other repealing the
  Stamp Act. Two Acts of Parliament expressed these resolutions in
  legislative form.



[Sidenote: MARRIAGE OF MR. HOLROYD.]

49.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, April 29th, 1767.

  DEAR LEGER,

*I happened to-night to stumble upon a very odd piece of intelligence
in the St. James's Chronicle; it relates to the marriage of a certain
Monsieur Olroy,[102] formerly Captain of Hussars. I do not know how
it came into my head that this Captain of Hussars was not unknown to
me, & that he might possibly be an acquaintance of yours. If I am not
mistaken in my conjecture, pray give my compliments to him, & tell
him from me, that I am at least as well pleased that he is married as
if I were so myself. Assure him, however, that tho' as a Philosopher
I may prefer celibacy, yet as a Politician I think it highly proper
that the species should be propagated by the usual method; assure
him even that I am convinced, that if celibacy is exposed to fewer
miseries, marriage can alone promise real happiness, since domestick
enjoyments are the source of every other good. May such happiness,
which is bestowed on few, be given to him; the transient blessings of
beauties, and the more durable ones of fortune, good sense, and an
amiable disposition.

I can easily conceive, and as easily excuse you, if you have thought
mighty little this winter of your poor rusticated friend. I have been
confined ever since Christmas, and confined by a succession of very
melancholy occupations. I was scarce got to Beriton, where I only
proposed staying about a fortnight, when a brother of Mrs. Gibbon's
died unexpectedly, tho' after a very long and painfull illness. We
were scarce recovered from the confusion which such an event must
produce in a family, when my father was taken dangerously ill, and
with some intervalls has continued so ever since. I can assure you,
my dear Holroyd, that the same event appears in a very different
light when the danger is serious & immediate; or when, in the gayety
of a tavern dinner, we affect an insensibility that would do us no
great honor were it real. My father is now much better; but I have
since been assailed by a severer stroke--the loss of a friend. You
remember, perhaps, an Officer of our Militia, whom I sometimes used
to compare to yourself. Indeed the comparaison would have done honor
to any one. His feelings were tender and noble, and he was always
guided by them: his principles were just and generous, and he acted
up to them. I shall say no more, and you will excuse my having said
so much, of a man you had not the least knowledge of; but my mind
is just now so very full of him, that I cannot easily talk, or even
think, of any thing else. If I know you right, you will not be
offended at my weakness.

[Sidenote: WITH THE MILITIA.]

What rather adds to my uneasiness, is the necessity I am under of
joining our Militia the day after to-morrow. Tho' the lively hurry
of such a scene might contribute to divert my ideas, Yet every
circumstance of it, and the place itself, (which was that of his
residence,) will give me many a painful moment. I know nothing would
better raise my spirits than a visit from you; the request may appear
unseasonable, but I think I have heard you speak of _an uncle_ you
had at Southampton. At all events, I hope you will snatch a moment
to write to me, and give me some account of your present situation &
future designs. As you are now fettered, I should expect you will not
be such a _Hic et ubique_,[103] as you have been since your arrival
in England. I stay at Southampton from the 1st to the 28th of May, &
then propose making a short visit to town; If you are any where in
the neighbourood of it, you may depend upon seeing me. I hope then
to concert measures for seeing a little more of you next winter than
I have lately done, as I hope to take a pretty long spell in town. I
suppose the Goat[104] has often fallen in your way: He has never once
wrote to me, nor I to him: in the Country we want materials, and in
London we want time. I ought to recollect, that you even want time to
read my unmeaning scrawl. Believe, however, my dear Leger, that it is
the sincere expression of a heart entirely yours.*

  E. GIBBON.

  [102] The name was so spelt in the newspapers. John Baker Holroyd
  married in 1767 Miss Abigail Way, only daughter of Lewis Way, of
  Richmond, Surrey.

  [103] The motto of the regiment of light dragoons, called Royal
  Foresters, in which Mr. Holroyd had been captain, and which was
  disbanded in 1763.

  [104] A nickname for Mr. Guise.



50.

_To his Stepmother._


  Southampton,[105] May the 8th, 1767.
  My birth-day. May I have many happy ones. Amen.

  DEAR MADAM,

The post is really going out, at a most inconvenient hour, half after
nine in the morning, and as usual I neglected writing the night
before. All I can do now is to express the joy I received by your
accounts of my father's improvement in point of health, and to return
you some portion of joy, by telling you, that on Wednesday morning
Mrs. Harrison was safely delivered of a boy. Both mother and child
are in the fairest way--The bay horse is sold--the post chaise tempts
one very much.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  THE MAJOR.

  [105] At Southampton Gibbon attended every spring the monthly
  exercise of the militia, of which, by the resignation of his
  father and the death of Sir T. Worsley (1768), he eventually
  became lieutenant-colonel commandant.



[Sidenote: THE GENERAL ELECTION.]

51.

_To his Father._


  Newport, I. of W., December the 1st, 1767.

  DEAR SIR,

Here I am, and how much longer I may stay in this little island, Lord
knows. Jemmy Worsley is still at Guernsey upon Election business. I
have passed four or five days at Stenbury with only Sir Thomas, his
son, and Jemmy's sister, rather quietly indeed than agreably. Last
night we were summoned to Newport quite unexpectedly, & this morning
Sir Thomas is gone to Newtown with three Lawyers in order to fix
the boundaries of some borough lands; I expect him back to dinner,
as it is the monthly club of the island, & I fear will be a drunken
day. Upon the whole this is to me a very unpleasant scene, but I
am engaged in it & I can scarce tell how to get away from it. The
first step after the conveyances of my borough land are finished,
is to oblige the Mayor (Holmes himself) to swear me in a burgess of
Newtown; for the constitution of that borough is of a very mixed
nature. Mandamus's for this purpose are every day expected from the
King's bench; so that, should I leave the island _pendente lite_,
I might be recalled the next day. It is however some comfort that
my conscience will be less burthened than I expected. We were both
mistaken as to that terrible oath which regards only freeholds in
Counties.

As to our success or possibility of success you will excuse my
entering into particulars, especially upon paper & by the post.[106]
In general we are sanguine, especially at Newtown. Affairs are
incomparably well managed by the advantage of having a great lawyer
acting for himself. He hurries things thro' the courts with a
expedition that is rather uncommon in law proceedings. The ennemy
contrived however to insert into our friend's advertisement a most
curious _quaere_ which you have probably seen. The printer will ask
pardon or be prosecuted. Power as well as art is employed. Yesterday
we learnt that Captain Lee, who refused to promise his vote, was
turned out of the government of Carisbroke Castle, (ten shillings a
day) and the place given to Captain Holmet. It seems to occasion a
great outcry, and may perhaps do them more harm than good.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly your's and Mrs. Gibbon's,
  E. G.

  [106] Parliament was dissolved March 11, 1768, and the elections
  took place in March. Gibbon seems to have assisted the Worsleys
  in the Isle of Wight against the Castle interest and that of
  the Holmes family. In 1586, when the Crown sought to create a
  parliamentary party in the House of Commons, six members were
  returned to Parliament by the three boroughs of Newport, Newtown,
  and Yarmouth, because in the Isle of Wight, through its military
  captain and governor, the influence of the Crown was paramount.
  Gradually the leading families of the island acquired control
  over the three boroughs, and at this period they were disputed
  by the Worsley, Barrington, and Holmes families, the latter
  being descended from Sir Robert Holmes, who took New York from
  the Dutch, and "first bewitched our eyes with Guinea gold." At
  the election of 1768 the following members were elected for the
  respective boroughs:--Newport: Hans Sloane, Esq., and John Eames,
  Esq., one of the Masters in Chancery. Newtown: Sir J. Barrington,
  Bart., and Harcourt Powell, Esq. (re-elected). Yarmouth: Jervoise
  Clarke, Esq., and William Strode, Esq.



52.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, April the 18th, 1768.

  DEAR MADAM,

The reason I have delayed (besides the usual one) was the real
scarcity of news either of a publick or a private nature. As to
myself I got safe to town, and have lived there in my usual manner;
the Romans,[107] Boodle's,[108] the Theatre and some acquaintances
whom you already know. In all these places nothing new or interesting
has occurred. Ranelagh[109] is indeed opened. I was there last
night for the first time. Notwithstanding the brilliancy of the
first moment, I must own I think it very soon grows insipid to a
by-stander, or by-walker if you like it better. I acknowledge it
indeed the most convenient place for courtships of every kind. It is
certainly the best market we have in England. Lord Abingdon[110] is
just going to make a pretty considerable purchase; of Miss Warren,
Mrs. Fitzroy's sister. The Lord wants money, the Lady a title, so
that as the bargain seems advantageous to both parties we apprehend
it will speedily be concluded.

[Sidenote: VOLTAIRE'S RUIN.]

I will not trouble you with election news, as it is both dull
and uncertain. I must however mention that I have seen Serjeant
Glynn,[111] who is encouraged by the Sollicitor General[112] to
pursue his petition, and who flatters himself that the Duke of B.
will lend his weight, and that the D. of G. will stand neuter. He
is strongly of opinion that Sir Thomas should be in town to make
interest, and _has intended for some time past_ to write to the
Baronet who sleeps at Pilewell. The opponents (_without intending
anything_) have already canvassed most of the members. Indeed there
seems to be a general dislike to petitions (of which there never was
known so great a number), and I think most of the returned members
have a very good chance unless they are attacked by formidable men.
Such is the case of Preston[113] fought by Lord Strange, and such
I fear will be the case of Yarmouth; many people at least have a
bad opinion both of our cause and of our interest.[114] I do not
think this can be called carrying the three boroughs in the isle
of Wight. Northampton will be attacked and defended with great
vigour and expence.[115] That will be the second act of Lord H.'s
Tragi-Comi-farce. As Osborn & Rodney have exactly all the same
votes, if Howe succeeds, there must be a new election of a second
member, and in that case the two Noble Lords may probably quarrel
about the man, which may compleat the third act of the said farce.
I shall say nothing of Wilkes;[116] every man has his story and his
opinion, which mutually destroy each other. Wednesday will decide
most of these disputes, and you may depend on my immediately writing
some particulars of that great day. Lord B.'s tryal[117] is not
yet come out. I will take care to send it with _La Princesse de
Babylone_,[118] a new Romance of Voltaire which is a very agreable
absurd trifle. A propos, poor Voltaire is almost ruined. He had
intrusted most of his money to that expensive scoundrel the Duke of
Wirtenbergh,[119] who paid him a much greater interest for it than
anybody else would give. The Duke is ruined, the security worth
nothing and the money vanished. Voltaire has dismissed several
dependants who lived in his house, and even his niece Madam Denys,
all with handsome presents; and keeps only a man and three maids,
with Père Adam an old Jesuit that plays at chess with him from
morning to night. I am really sorry for the poor old man; as he spent
his fortune much better than he acquired it.

I hear Sir Simeon[120] is confined with the gout to Hartley. The
reputation of his new Physician is quite ruined by it.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly your's & my father's,
  E. GIBBON.

  [107] A convivial club, meeting once a week, established by
  Gibbon and other travellers.

  [108] Gibbon was a member of Boodle's Club, known as the _Savoir
  vivre_.

  [109] Ranelagh Gardens, now part of Chelsea Hospital Gardens,
  stood on the site of a villa belonging to Lord Ranelagh, the
  Jones of Grammont's _Memoirs_. The Rotunda, an amphitheatre,
  with an orchestra in the centre, surrounded by "balconies full
  of little alehouses," was opened to the public May 24, 1742. The
  last entertainment given there was the installation ball of the
  Knights of the Bath in 1802. The gardens were closed in 1803. A
  staple, fixed in one of the trees of the avenue, preserved, till
  a few years ago, the traditions of the glories of Ranelagh when
  the gardens were lighted by a thousand lamps.

  [110] The Earl of Abingdon married, on June 7, 1768, the daughter
  of Admiral Sir Peter Warren.

  [111] Serjeant Glynn, well known as the advocate of Wilkes,
  was afterwards elected as second member for Middlesex at a
  by-election. He married a daughter of Sir J. Oglander, of
  Nunwell, in the Isle of Wight, and had been an unsuccessful
  candidate for one of the Isle of Wight constituencies at the
  general election of 1768.

  [112] John Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton.

  [113] Sir Peter Leycester and Sir Frank Standish were found,
  November 29, 1768, not duly elected.

  [114] The return for Yarmouth, I.W., was amended by order of the
  House of Commons, dated January 19th, 1769, by erasing the names
  of Jervoise Clarke and William Strode, and substituting those of
  George Lane Parker and Thomas Lee Dummer.

  [115] On February 14, 1769, Sir George Osborne was found not duly
  elected, and Thomas Howe was declared duly elected. The return of
  Sir George Rodney was held to be valid. A note by Sir Denis le
  Marchant, appended to Lord Orford's _Memoirs_, states that the
  expenses of the contest and petition cost Lord Spencer £70,000.

  [116] John Wilkes was expelled from the House of Commons in
  January, 1764, and outlawed in the following August. He returned
  to England in February, 1768, and was at the bottom of the poll
  for the City (March 23). He headed the poll for Middlesex, March
  28, 1768. His outlawry was reversed as technically illegal by the
  Court of King's Bench in the same year; but his two convictions
  for republishing No. 45 of the _North Briton_, and the _Essay
  on Woman_, were affirmed, and he was sentenced to two years'
  imprisonment. He was expelled the House February 3, 1769;
  re-elected February 16 and expelled February 27; re-elected March
  16 and expelled March 17. At the election on April 13 he polled
  1147 votes to the 296 of Colonel Luttrell; but the House resolved
  (April 15) that the election of Wilkes was void, and Luttrell
  duly elected. He was discharged from his imprisonment in 1770.

  [117] Lord Baltimore was charged with decoying to his house a
  young milliner named Sarah Woodcock, and with rape. On February
  12, 1768, he was committed for trial at the spring assizes at
  Kingston, and acquitted in the following March.

  [118] "Il y a," writes Madame du Deffand to Walpole, speaking
  of _La Princesse de Babylon_ (April 3, 1768), "quelques traits
  plaisants, mais c'est un mauvais ouvrage, et, contre son
  ordinaire, fort ennuyeux."

  [119] During Gibbon's stay at Lausanne in 1763, the duke, brother
  of the reigning duke, occupied a villa called La Chablière, a
  short distance from the town.

  [120] Sir Simeon Stuart, Bart., M.P. for the county of
  Southampton, died in November, 1779.



53.

_To James Scott, Esq._[121]


  Beriton, December the 20th, 1768.

  DEAR SIR,

Some particular and very urgent reasons, oblige me as well in my
own name as in those of my father, and Mrs. Gibbon, to request your
immediate presence at Beriton. Your own interest is deeply concerned,
but what (I am convinced) will be a much more powerfull inducement,
you will have an opportunity of adding a most essential obligation to
those which your friendship has already conferred on our Family. As
we have now a very pressing occasion for your advice and assistance,
we shall flatter ourselves with the hopes of seeing you Friday
evening.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  With the truest regard,
  Your most sincere Friend and obedient humble Servant,
  EDWARD GIBBON, JUNIOR.

  [121] The bulk of the letters for the years 1768 and 1769 relate
  to the pecuniary affairs of the Gibbon family. Mr. Gibbon was
  the owner of estates at Maple Durham, in the parish of Beriton
  near Petersfield, at Lenborough in Buckinghamshire, and a house,
  garden, and lands at Putney. He had also inherited shares in the
  New River Company, and other investments. But he had for years
  lived beyond his income, and it was only to the wreck of this
  fortune that the historian succeeded in 1770.



[Sidenote: FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES.]

54.

_To his Father._


  January the 2nd, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

We got safe to town. In my way I delivered the Lease to Fletcher with
proper instructions. To-morrow we shall proceed on business with all
possible dispatch. I have nothing to add more than that Wilkes is
just chose against Bromidge, 285 to 69.[122] Such is the spirit of
the times.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [122] On January 2, 1769, Wilkes was chosen alderman of the ward
  of Faringdon-Without against Bromwich, a paper-maker on Ludgate
  Hill.



55.

_To his Father._


  January the 5th, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

Southouse (with whom Mr. Scott and myself passed three hours this
morning) has examined the Putney Writings. I wish I could say he was
satisfied with them. The former Deeds (while it was yet a Copyhold)
he thinks of little or no consequence. The Deed of Enfranchisement
is what he principally wants, nor is it sufficient that it may be
enrolled in Chancery or in the Wimbledon Court Rolls. The Deed
itself formerly in your possession is what he wants, for, says he,
any purchaser would naturally be allarmed at it's not being to be
found, and would immediately suspect that some incumbrance (perhaps
for your life only) had been contracted on that security. I hope and
sincerely believe that meer accident or neglect has deprived us of
this important writing, but as it is so important, we must beg you
would recollect all you can about it, and if possible give us some
clue which may lead to a discovery of it.

There are later papers which he likewise calls for, an authenticated
copy of my Grandfather's Will, your Marriage Settlement, both with
my mother and with Mrs. Gibbon. He wants to be acquainted with the
extent and nature of the fine and recovery passed by us ten years
ago. The Counter Part of Gosling's Mortgage must be in your hands,
and he thinks the sight of it _absolutely_ necessary. In a word,
unless everything is laid before him, we are only losing our time,
and it is impossible to carry anything beyond meer speculation, not
only with regard to any general Plan, but even in respect to the
immediate money we may want. Whatever can be got either from Public
officers or from the Goslings, &c., he will get, but he judges it
both safer and cheaper that the materials should be laid before him,
than that he should be forced to fish them out. He asked me questions
about the Attornies employed in those several transactions, and
wishes he could see any of their bills, which would inform him of
what had been done. The several leases which actually subsist between
you and any Tenants should be produced. In a word, he is of opinion
that nothing can be done without the whole is probed to the bottom.

I must therefore desire that you would immediately send up every
thing that can give any light into our affairs. As to Putney in
particular, I must beg you would order Newney to deliver to my order
the leases relating to that Estate. As soon as I have got some more
materials I am again to see Southouse. I hope they will be speedily
in Town, as an expensive Residence here is neither convenient nor
at present agreable.--I have just received an answer from Boissier,
who can make no offer as he is not acquainted with our terms, but
declines an interview, and thinks it may suit other people better
than himself.

I find the Chancery business cannot be got off, but it may be so
easily delayed that there is no present apprehension from it. I hope
to hear from you by the return of the post, and to receive _as soon
as possible_ every thing you can find. Mr. Scott is a most zealous
friend, and on this as well as on every other occasion you shall ever
find me most truly yours,

  E. G.



[Sidenote: FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES.]

56.

_To his Father._


  Pall Mall, January 14th, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

Since my last we still go on, tho' indeed rather slowly. All that
I can say is, that our slowness neither proceeds from our own
negligence, nor even from the dilatoriness of Law, but merely from
our having been destitute of the necessary Writings. Southouse has
been very active, and has already seen Stephen Harvey, Gosling's
Attorney and Mrs. Williamson. The two former (tho' he has a just
idea of Harvey) promise the free use of all that is in their hands.
The last has wrote to her brother & hopes the Deed may be recovered
from him, notwithstanding he is so odd a man. Harvey believes he may
have the Counterpart of the Mortgage. In a word, we are to meet again
next Wednesday, when Southouse thinks we shall be in a condition to
offer some security for the money we immediately want, as well as to
trace the outlines of our general Deed of trust. As I find I cannot
be a Party in it, I should wish to substitute my uncle Porten as
Joint-Trustee with Mr. Scott.

We should be glad to receive as soon as Possible Mrs. Gibbon's
marriage Articles; In relation to which I shall not _forget_ the
conversation we had in the Study. It is my duty as well as my
inclination to consider her in the light of a real Mother. 2. The
Abstract of the Deeds in Gosling's hands; Hervey, who thinks he has
the counterpart of the Mortgage, is positive he delivered you this
Abstract. 3. The Title, (whatever it is), by which we possess the
Copper share, or at least some account of the Writings relative to
it. To these particular enquiries I must add a general request of
searching out any thing that may give us any new lights. You have
(for instance) made some little purchases about Beriton, the title
to which cannot be included in the general writings of the Manor,
&c. For any thing of that kind the Cocoa Tree is a surer direction
than my obscure lodgings (which are still those of Sir Thomas's),
but I think it would be still better to send them at once to Mr.
Southouse, Attorney at Law, Milk Street, Cheapside. I have already
received and transmitted to him, the Putney Leases (Vane's signed).
Yesterday I had a letter from John Harris, with some particulars of
the Buckinghamshire Estate.

I find Southouse a true man of business; civil but determined to
know everything. He questioned me very plainly about my change of
Religion, of re-conversion to which I gave him very satisfactory
answers. Indeed he will know everything.

I think, Dear Sir, you must be easy after what he said of the
Chancery affair. I asked with some anxiety how long it could be
staved off. What does that signify? answered he. We shall have the
Money before it is wanted.

Depend on it, Dear Sir, we do not wish to flatter you with vain hopes
(indeed to what end could they serve?) and let this consideration
dispell the Fantom which torments you and makes me so unhappy.
Endeavour as far as lies in your power to reassume both a chearfull
heart & and a chearfull countenance. They are indeed necessary to
your health as well as to your Credit.

As for myself, I shall only say that as I cannot be happy, without
your being so, I am willing to make every reasonable sacrifice to
your tranquillity. The only restraints I shall wish to impose on you
are such as will be conducive to our common Good. Perhaps it had been
better for us all, had I insisted on them some years sooner.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours & Mrs. Gibbon's,
  E. G.



57.

_To his Father._


  January the 21st, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

We had this morning a long conference with Southouse, who complains
very much of the obscurity of our affairs, which is so great he
cannot as yet form even a clear Idea of the difficulties which
surround us. These difficulties however and the delays which they
produce are chiefly owing to your neglecting either to keep or to
send us the necessary writings.

[Sidenote: FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES.]

Let me beg of you, Dear Sir, not to suffer any indolence or false
delicacy to prevent your going to the bottom of your affairs. The
time of temporary expedients is now passed. Nay, without a compleat
knowledge of things, hardly anything can be done even at present, for
as to borrowing any money on the Putney Estate, Mr. S. thinks it not
practicable till a clearer title is made out. He desires you would
immediately send up the Writings of the Copper share; as that is
unencumbered it may form part of a basis for some temporary security.
We will do every thing that can be done, but these obstacles are not
to be so easily surmounted.

I am very unhappy at not being able to send you, _for the present_,
a more favorable account, and am the more unhappy as I fear you will
even magnify every difficulty, and really make things worse by the
state of your own mind. Upon that head, Dear Sir, what can I say!
what have I to add on so melancholy a subject. Your health, your
credit, Mrs. Gibbon's health and peace, (I feel for what she must
have suffered) my own ease and fitness for any business, all depends
on your resolution.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

We have not yet got the Deed of Enfranchisement nor will even Mrs.
W. discover her brother's habitation, but we hope to trace him out &
prevail with him.



58.

_To his Stepmother._


  January the 21st, 1769.

  DEAR MADAM,

Tho' I have nothing to add to my letter to my father, I cannot
forbear writing a few lines to ask [how] you do yourself. I am too
well acquainted with your sensibility not to have some fears. Send
me some particular account of my poor father, his style makes me
very unhappy: perhaps not the least so of the three; for it is very
irksome to wear a perpetuall mask of gaiety.

You will see, Dear Madam, how much we have laboured, and how little
we have done. For God's sake, for all our sakes, press my father to
recollect everything, to look out everything & to send us everything
that he can. All our difficulties proceed from former carelessness.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



59.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, January 31st, 1769.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am glad to say that my father's fears from my silence these last
two posts were without foundation, & am sorry to say that the hopes
you conceived from it were not better founded. The truth really was
that I wrote nothing because I had not anything to write. Yet we
had not been idle. I have seen and talked to W., who answers the
idea I had of him tho' not the character his sister gave of him. She
represented him as a shy melancholy man, he is on the contrary a very
sottish but dissipated man. On my applying for "G," he immediately
produced an Alphabetical Index of Joe Taylor's papers--Nothing was
there recorded under the name of Gibbon except some old things of my
grandfather's relating to the Duc d'Autem privateer. He promised to
make a further search & I am to call on him to-morrow, but I hope
very little from him. I shall venture to talk of some gratuity, but
in the mean time, we wish my father and yourself would recollect &
search whatever can be found.

My father's last letter distressed me very much. He talks of my
having doubts & suspicions. Whatever unguarded expressions may have
dropped from me, I hope my past conduct & my present designs are
far from deserving the reproach of doubts & suspicions. At the same
time it is true, that tho' neither myself nor Mr. Scott nor even
Mr. Southouse have any doubts, yet if we want to sell, or even to
borrow money on the Putney Estate, any Purchaser will demand, 1st The
Deed of Enfranchisement, & 2nd My Aunt Elliston's release for £2000
due to her, & charged by my grandfather on the said Putney Estate.
It appears indeed by that will that of his eleven copper shares,
six were left to my aunt Gibbon, five should therefore be still my
father's property, and yet there appears only one & that sold to my
father by Mrs. Elliot.

Mr. S. thinks it absolutely necessary that my father should come
up next week to execute on that occasion, & at the same time his
presence may be usefull to us in other respects: I hope in my next
letter to be able to appoint the day for his coming up.

The Chancery Affair can easily be deferred till the clear title
to Putney is made out, and if my father will not encrease our
difficulties by his own fears we shall yet be happy.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: HIS FATHER'S REPROACHES.]

60.

_To his Father._


  February 23rd, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

I scarce thought that our present melancholy situation could receive
any addition of uneasiness, but the displeasure your last letter
expressed, convinced me that the meer blows of fortune are trifling
when compared with the unexpected reproaches of those we love.

Since my arrival in Town Mr. Scott and myself have been constantly
employed on the general plan which will, I flatter myself, give ease
and security to us all. Mr. Southouse has almost finished the rough
Draught of our Deed of Trust, the basis of all our solid hopes.
The many delays which have occurred have never proceeded from our
carelessness. So far from wishing to expose your name, I consulted
S. on the practicability of omitting the particular Schedule, and a
method has been agreed on--When that deed of Trust is finished, which
will be, I hope, in a very short time, we shall desire your presence
in town. I shall execute writings by which I make myself liable to
near eight thousand pounds Debt. You will then be able to make use
of Mr. Scott's money, & we shall find means to answer the Chancery
Demands. As yet your credit is unhurt, and your own fears have been
the only importunate Creditor. After this, Dear Sir, give me leave to
ask whether your last expression that you are _still affectionately_
was not somewhat severe.

I should be truly insensible if the steps you talk of taking in the
Country did not _already_ alarm me. They made me pass a very cruel
night. The very obscurity of your language terrified me. What can
those steps be? I must however say, that should you intend to procure
an immediate supply, by any extraordinary methods, both Mr. Scott and
myself must think ourselves disengaged from any promise, and our
whole plan is entirely dissolved.

I have wrote, Dear Sir, from a full heart, for which I make no
apology. It is by actions, not by words, that I shall ever seek
to prove how truly I feel for yourself and poor Mrs. G., and how
ardently I wish to make you, if possible, happy.



61.

_To his Father._


  London, March the 4th, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

The discovery of Williamson's papers, tho' in itself a most pleasing
event, is however productive of some delay as well as trouble.
Besides the Deed of Enfranchisement there are two very large boxes of
writings, many no doubt very trifling, but some which certainly are,
and others which possibly may be, of importance to us. Southouse will
examine them with all possible diligence, but from the new matter
which arises, he is obliged for a very few days to suspend the Deed
of Trust, and during that time, as he has daily occasion to see me,
he insists on my not leaving Town; for which reason you must excuse
me, Dear Sir, from accepting at present the interview which you
desire, at Beriton.

[Sidenote: PROSPECTS OF FUTURE EASE.]

Our plan is still the same as what seemed to be agreeable to your
Wishes: To devote the Hampshire and Putney Estates to the payment of
your debts, to convey the Copper and New River Shares to my use (on
my giving up my present annuity of £300 p. annum) and to reserve the
Buckinghamshire Estate for your support. Mr. Scott's £900 will be
ready on the signing the Deeds, and we can _now_ make out so good a
title to Putney, that the disposal of it will be a matter of neither
delay nor difficulty.

The only proposed alteration was that you should allow me to have
the nominal possession of the Buckinghamshire Estate, subject to pay
You the whole real profits of it in the form of an annuity to you,
and the Estate itself chargeable with Mrs. Gibbon's jointure. The
very harsh Reception this proposal has met with from you has given
me the deepest concern, as I am conscious of the rectitude of my
intentions & still persuaded of the propriety of the measure. My
motives could be only such as were both fair & even kind. The nominal
property of land could afford me no pleasure, the _real management_
of it must be attended with some trouble. I am willing, nay desirous,
to put it absolutely out of my power to sell, mortgage, or alienate
the smallest portion of it, and wish to bind myself by the severest
ties that the Law can invent, to pay you regularly half yearly, a
method which must be easy to you and may sometimes be inconvenient
to me--But I shall proceed no farther on a Subject which appears so
disagreeable to you; I hope indeed I have the less occasion to do it,
as Mr. Scott's last letter must have cleared up some passages of his
first, which did not strike you immediately in their true meaning.

I shall not, Dear Sir, swell this letter, with any vain
protestations. I now see the fairest prospect of future ease and
tranquillity. During the course of this unfortunate transaction I
have endeavoured to have the approbation of my own conscience, and of
our real friends Mr. Porten and Mr. Scott. I flatter myself that I
shall one day obtain yours.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours and Mrs. G.'s,
  E. GIBBON.



62.

_To his Father._


  Pall Mall, March the 22nd, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

It is impossible for me to express how much your last letter
surprized and grieved me; as well from the particular contents of it,
as from the general strain of resentment & dis-satisfaction which
runs thro' the whole. To be accused of neglect, of indifference, of
unjust insinuations are reproaches, which I can only bear because I
am conscious of not having deserved them. I wish to look forwards,
& if at any time I look back, it is only where such a retrospect,
however unpleasant, becomes necessary.

Our Deed of Trust has ever been considered by us all as the Great
Basis of our future conduct, & Mr. Porten, by our mutual consent.
We were to empower them to sell the Hampshire and Bucks Estates, &
to reconvey to us the Remainder (after payment of Debts, &c.) on
certain conditions, which have been more than once explained. Such
was the clear sense of this Deed, which I thought had been long since
understood by us all. Indeed to put that sense into a Legal form was
not in our power. Southouse is doing that, and it was thought as
necessary as it is usual, that the Attorney's work should be revised
by a Lawyer of some note, Mr. Pechell, a Master in Chancery and
particular friend of Mr. Porten. To these four persons only, the two
Trustees, one Attorney and one Council, has the affair been exposed.

[Sidenote: HIS FATHER'S SCHEME IMPRACTICABLE.]

With regard to my possessing the Buckinghamshire Estate in fee,
irrevocably charged with your annuity and Mrs. G.'s jointure; it
was what, after the maturest consideration & the most disinterested
advice, I cannot depart from. Should I ever be idiot enough to sell
it whilst so heavily burdened, no such act could in the least affect
your settled annuity or Mrs. G.'s jointure. I am however willing
to give you my word of honor, that I will never sell or mortgage
any part of it during your life; and that I will immediately make a
Will, by which (supposing I should die without children before you)
I leave the Estate to you in fee simple. If any legal restraints can
be devised, (other than such as make me for ever a meer life Tenant)
I will consent to them with pleasure: I will do more, I will try to
discover them.

So far, Dear Sir, from neglecting our immediate occasion for money,
the Trustees are impowered to borrow whatever sums may be wanted
before the Estates can be disposed of. But I must add that till the
Deed is executed nothing can be done, and that you are therefore
the Cause of the Delays with which you reproach us. I am the more
sensible of a speedy dispatch as the Chancery affair cannot be put
off much longer.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



63.

_To his Father._


  London, March the 31st, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

According to your request I communicated your last proposals to
our common friends. I must acknowledge that we all discovered many
strong and almost insuperable difficulties in it; many of which
related even to your own comfort and happiness, which will ever be
a very principal consideration. But I shall not at present trouble
you with our objections; as we should not have time to execute this
new scheme, however eligible it might be; at present every thing
is nearly finished. The Hampshire Deed is almost engrossed, the
B[uckinghamshire] is now before Council, and I can venture to assure
you that in the course of next week, I shall be able to write in
order to fix the positive day for your's and Mrs. G.'s coming up.
Should we now adopt your Proposal, every thing must begin again _de
novo_, and several weeks would elapse before we should be reinstated
in our present situation.

With regard to your last questions, I can now positively say that
neither household furniture nor stock are comprized in the Deed, tho'
we expect and depend on your word of honor, that the latter, and
such of the former as is not wanted, will be faithfully applied by
yourself to the same common purposes.

I believe I mentioned some time ago, that the particulars of Debts
will not be described in the Deed of Trust, but in a private Schedule
referred to therein. You will be so good, Dear Sir, as to prepare
and bring the materials of it with you. The List you gave me at
Beriton must already have suffered some alterations, both as Debtor
and Creditor. Besides Clarke's Debt is as yet unknown.--Indeed it
will be necessary that previous to your coming up, you should send
the Deeds of Copyhold (if any) and College Holding which we have
not at present. We should likewise be glad to hear your sentiments
still further with regard to Putney. The practice of Advertising is
universal, and it is in vain to think of secrecy.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly your's & Mrs. G.'s,
  E. G.



64.

_To his Father._


  April 13th, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

Mr. Southouse whom I saw yesterday tells me, that I may desire
the favor of your company, with Mrs. G.'s, next Thursday evening.
He thinks that Friday and Saturday mornings will suffice for our
immediate business. As to the place, I should be glad to know
whether you choose my lodgings or wish me to look out for any
other place.--Should any thing (which I do not foresee) happen
to defer your coming up, I shall take care to give you timely
intelligence.--It is very difficult to say any thing positive as
to money till we have finished writings, &c. However as to the C.
affair, Mr. Scott will answer for it.

Mrs. G. distresses me every way.--I am truly concerned that it should
be necessary for her to come up, at a time when I can easily conceive
the state of her mind & spirits; but I am still more embarassed from
her generous obstinacy. The sum of her Jointure is left in blank.
Should she still object to the encrease of her Jointure, I must leave
it as an engagement not of law, but of honor, of gratitude and of
inclination.

You may depend on another letter by Sunday, till when

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Yours most truly,
  E. G.



65.

_To his Father._


  April 18th, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

I waited till to-night before I took Lodgings, as I was not sure
of your intentions. To-morrow morning I shall look out for one.
I apprehend Suffolk Street or that neighbourhood will be at once
private and convenient.--You will of course come in by Hyde Park
Corner, and my servant shall attend at my lodgings at Mr. Taylor's,
Grocer's, opposite to the Duke of Cumberland's, Pall Mall, to conduct
you to your lodgings, where I shall immediately attend you. I should
think that you had better not arrive till towards five o'clock, when
Sir R. will be gone to dinner.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: HIS FATHER'S FAILING EYESIGHT.]

66.

_To his Stepmother._


  Thursday night, Cocoa Tree.

  DEAR MADAM,

I was a good deal alarmed with your letter of yesterday, and as much
pleased with that of to-day, which dispelled my uneasiness: before
you receive this I flatter myself that my father will be quite
recovered. I have seen Wentzel,[123] who very obligingly took my
guinea to tell me that he could tell me nothing about my father's
case without seeing him. On that head he was very cool and very fair;
a decay of the optic nerve, he said, was sometimes tho' seldom to
be removed; as to the opinions of our surgeons he treated them with
infinite contempt.

I am glad that our Meeting was attended, that things may end with a
good grace. Sir Simeon has been so dangerously ill with the gout,
that I have not yet settled my resignation. Henry will attend next
Tuesday.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [123] The Baron de Wentzel was the most famous oculist of the
  day, and the discoverer of operations for cataract. He died in
  London in 1790.



67.

_To his Father._


  London, June the 1st, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

I am sorry that I cannot give you more pleasing accounts of our
progress in the Putney affairs, but we find people very cool,
and tho' many applications are made, yet nobody as yet has spoke
seriously and to the point. We attribute this general slowness in a
great measure to the vague description of an Estate seven miles from
London, &c., and heartily wish you would allow us to particularize
place, name, &c. Boissier has been over to S.'s at Wimbleton. It
plainly appears that he wishes to buy, but to buy cheap, and that,
notwithstanding his polite professions, he will do all in his
power to keep off all other purchasers. Considering all these rubs,
we could very much wish that you would set about giving us the
particulars of the Hampshire Estates, that the summer may not steal
away upon us, without any things being done.

I am much concerned to hear from Mrs. Gibbon that your Operation
has not produced any good effects, tho' we could hardly expect any
alteration in so short a time. As soon as we see a little more
clearly into what can or cannot be done as to Putney, I propose
coming down, as I wish to see you and Mrs. Gibbon, and I am sure
London has now no charms for me.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

We wish to know upon what terms your Putney Tenants who have no
leases (Bateman, I think, & Stewart) hold their land and what they
pay.

P.S.--If you think I can be of more service at Beriton than in
London, I will attend you as soon as our Militia meeting is over, for
till then I think I cannot decently be in Hampshire.



68.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, June 22nd, 1769.

  DEAR MADAM,

Before I received your last letter I was displeased with myself for
having been so long silent, and yet I should have been still more
displeased if I had wrote, as I could say nothing that was agreable,
nothing but what must lower my father's spirits as they every day
do mine. Tho' we have had many enquiries about Putney, yet nothing
like an offer has presented itself. We must therefore think of
Beriton, and tho' I do not wish to complain, I must say that we are
all surprized at my father's seeming indifference on that occasion.
We feel for the situation both of his eyes & his spirits, but still
we are surprized.--Things indeed draw so near a crisis that some
resolution must be taken. Mr. Scott & Mr. Porten propose entering
upon it next Week, and think my presence necessary. As soon as
something is settled you may depend either on seeing me at Beriton,
or at least on hearing every particular which can interest the common
cause.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours & my father's,
  E. G.



69.

_To his Father._


  Pall Mall, August the 17th, 1769.

  DEAR SIR,

We have agreed with Mr. Wood for the £8500, the rents and profits
till Michaelmas excepted. The writings are sent to his Lawyer's
to-day, and as there is no difficulty in the title, we may look upon
the affair as concluded. Our friends were clearly of opinion that the
measure is prudent, and, every thing considered, I could not avoid
being of the same opinion. But I shall say the less on that head as
they propose writing themselves very soon. They wish me to remain
here till Wood's Lawyer has signified his approbation. I hope to be
with you Sunday, as I find myself in a far greater solitude in Town
than at Beriton.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: SHEFFIELD PLACE BOUGHT BY MR. HOLROYD.]

70.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, October 16th, 1769.

  *MY DEAR HUSSAR,

I received your agreeable Missive about two days ago; and am glad
to find that, after all your _Errors_, you are at last a settled
man.[124] I do most sincerely regret that it is not in my power to
obey your immediate summons. Some very particular business will
not at present permit me to be long absent from Beriton. The same
business will carry me to town, about the 6th of next Month, for
some days. On my return, I do really hope and intend to storm your
Castle before Christmas, as I presume you will hardly remove sooner.
I should be glad to meet Cambridge;[125] but the plain dish of
friendship will satisfy me, without the seasoning of Attic Wit. Do
you know any thing of Guise? Have you no inclination to look at the
Russians?[126] We have a bed at your Service. Vale.

Present my sincere Respects to those who are dear to you; Believe me,
they are so to me.

Do I direct right to East Grinstead?*

  [124] In 1769 John Baker Holroyd purchased from Lord de la Warr
  the estate of Sheffield Place in Sussex.

  [125] Richard Cambridge (1717-1802) married in 1741 Miss
  Trenchard, and in 1751 settled at Twickenham in a villa which
  became the resort of many of the most distinguished men of the
  day. In 1751 he published the _Scribleriad_, a poem in six books,
  and from 1753 to 1756 wrote essays for the _World_. He was an
  intimate friend and old schoolfellow of Dr. Cooke, the father of
  Mrs. Way, sister-in-law to Mrs. Holroyd. Gibbon, accepting one of
  Mr. Cambridge's invitations to Twickenham, speaks of the Thames
  as an "amiable creature." On his way he was upset into the water,
  and obliged to return home. The ducking was, said Cambridge to
  Miss Burney, "God's revenge against conceit" (Madame d'Arblay,
  _Diary and Letters_, ii. 278).

  [126] On October 2, 1769, the _Annual Register_ notes that "part
  of the Russian fleet cast anchor at the mouth of the Humber.
  The whole fleet, consisting of twenty ships of the line, is to
  rendezvous at Spithead, where one or two straggling ships are
  already arrived. This fleet was separated in a storm, but has
  received no considerable damage."



[Sidenote: LETTERS OF JUNIUS]

71.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Boodle's, Ten o'Clock, Thursday Evening.
  [Dec. 1769.]

  *DEAR HOLROYD,

My schemes with regard to you have been entirely disapointed. The
business that called me to town was not ready before the 20th of
last month, and the same business has kept me here till now. I have,
however, a very strong inclination to eat a Christmas Mince-pye with
you; and let me tell you that inclination is no small Compliment.
What are the trees and waters of Sheffield-place compared with the
comfortable smoke, lazy dinners, and inflammatory Junius's, which
we can every day enjoy in town? You have seen the last Junius?[127]
He calls on the distant Legions to march to the Capital, and free
us from the tyranny of the Prætorian Guards: I cannot answer for
the ghost of the '_Hic & ubiques_,' but the Hampshire Militia are
determined to keep the peace for fear of a broken head.*--After all,
do I mean to make a visit next week? Upon my soul I cannot tell. I
tell every body that I shall. I know that I cannot pass the week with
any man in the world, with whom the pleasure of seeing each other,
will be more sincere or more reciprocal. Yet between you and [me] I
do not believe that I shall be able to get out of this town before
you come into it. At all events I look forwards with Great impatience
to Bruton Street and the Romans.

  Believe me,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [127] The letters signed "Junius" began to appear in the _Public
  Advertiser_ on January 21, 1769: the last was published on
  January 21, 1772. The letter to which Gibbon alludes is that
  dated December 19, 1769, addressed to the king. "The prætorian
  bands, enervated and debauched as they were, had still strength
  enough to awe the Roman populace; but when the distant legions
  took the alarm, they marched to Rome and gave away the empire."
  The point of the allusion is the case of Major-General Gansel
  (September 21, 1769), who, after being arrested for debt, was
  rescued by a sergeant and file of musqueteers, acting under
  command of an officer of the Guards.



72.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Pall-Mall, December 25th, 1769.

  DEAR HOLROYD,

Some Dæmon, the enemy of friendship, seems to have determined that
We shall not meet at Sheffield-place. I was fully resolved to make
amends for my lazy scruples, and to dine with you to-morrow; when I
received a letter this day from my father, which irresistibly draws
me to Beriton for about ten days. The above-mentioned Dæmon, though
he may defer my projects, shall not however disapoint them. Since you
intend to pass the winter in retirement, it will be a far greater
compliment to quit active, gay, political London, than the drowsy
desert London of the holydays. But I retract. What is both pleasing
& sincere, is above that prostituted word _compliment_. Believe me,
most sincerely yours.

_A propos_, I forgot the compliments of the season, &c. &c.



73.

_To his Stepmother._


  DEAR MADAM,

I only write two lines to tell you that Mrs. Elliot designs a visit
to Beriton in her way to Cornwall. Perhaps she will be with you
Tuesday, but I think Wednesday at farthest, and from my having really
forgot it last night's post, my letter may perhaps be of no use. I
am just come from an Excursion out of town with them. We are grown
wonderfully intimate.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

There can be no difficulty in using the Chaise; as you must have paid
the year beforehand.



74.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, three o'clock.

  DEAR MADAM,

I got to Godalming at half past nine, to Epsom (Lockwood was in town)
at twelve and over Westminster Bridge at two, pretty good travelling!
I am perfectly well, very hungry and

  Ever yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: A COUNTRY NEIGHBOUR IN LONDON.]

75.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, Saturday night.

  DEAR MADAM,

The little Curate gave me the other day the pleasure of hearing you
were perfectly well, I send two lines to return the same assurances
with regard to myself. The Levite is now at Chatham, but will have
his ears regaled next week, after Clarke and myself are returned from
Holroyd's, whither we intend to run down to-morrow. In the midst of
our amusements I shall consult the Oracle.--D'Eyverdun is not come
back, nor has he replied a syllable to six letters of mine and
Sir R.'s.[128] Lord Chesterfield, tired with waiting and fruitless
enquiries, has sent his heir abroad under another Governor. I pity
our friend, but fear he will not be able to justify himself either
to his friends or to his own judgment. Jolliffe[129] has bought an
excellent house in Little Argyle Street, very cheap. I had the honour
of seeing in it _Madame la Mére_; vastly like one of the elderly
ladies in Mackbeth. She was wonderfully gracious to me.

  Adieu, Dear Madam,
  E. G.

  [128] Gibbon and Sir Richard Worsley were endeavouring to obtain
  for M. Deyverdun a tutorship. He eventually went abroad with the
  young Stanhope, afterwards Lord Chesterfield.

  [129] Probably Mr. Jolliffe, M.P. for Petersfield, and a country
  neighbour of Gibbon. He married, in November, 1769, the only
  daughter and heiress of Sir R. Hylton, Bart., of Hylton Castle,
  Durham.



76.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, Thursday evening.

  DEAR MADAM,

I wrote last night with twenty people round me, and reperusing
your letter this morning, I found I had only forgot to answer the
most material part of it; _the pews_. The thing itself is utterly
indifferent to me, but as Sir Hugh has the Manor, I think the
compliment is properly due to him, and I will write to him for that
purpose to-morrow.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



77.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, February 17th, 1770.

  DEAR MADAM,

Laziness and procrastination are poor excuses for silence; yet such
as they are I am too often forced to employ them. However at this
time, I was partly satisfied by the frequent [accounts] I received
from Beriton both by Pitman's journey & the channel of Mr. Porten;
and I might perhaps have remained still longer in my Lethargy, had I
not been rouzed by the unaccountable fate which your last letter has
met with. Thro' some strange jumble between Mr. Porten's servant,
the maid & Luke, it has dropt somewhere by the way. This _upon my
honor_ is the exact truth; so that if there was any thing in it which
requires a particular answer I must intreat you to repeat it.

Baron Wentzel is at last arrived, but says himself that he is at
present overwhelmed with business. I submit it to my father and
yourself, whether it may not be better to wait till he shall be
somewhat more at leisure.

This great public scene is still as noisy & as nonsensical as ever.
Particulars would be endless, & indeed the papers are now so daring
that they almost forestall any private intelligence. Conjectures I
leave to men more idle or more busy than myself. However the general
opinion is that the next fortnight must decide the fate of the
ministry.[130] If Lord North (whose spirit & abilities are certainly
great) holds out till then, the minority will probably divide,
desert, & run away.

A more agreable piece of private news relate to our old arrears,
which we are in a fair way of recovering as the North already have.
Abbot is in town and we are pushing the affair. This will amount to
about £100 for myself, & near double for my father, and with this I
close my Militia service. I have already conversed with Sir Simeon &
propose resigning in a few days. However I will come to the meetings,
if I am absolutely necessary, & should be glad to know the days.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Your's & my father's,
  E. G.

  [130] On the 9th of January, 1770, the Earl of Chatham returned
  to public life, from which he had retired in October, 1768. His
  reappearance, and his attacks upon the Government, determined
  the Duke of Grafton, who had succeeded him as Prime Minister,
  to resign office. On January 28, Lord North, who was already
  Chancellor of the Exchequer, accepted the post of First Lord of
  the Treasury, which he held for eleven years.



[Sidenote: BUCKFORD'S REMONSTRANCE.]

78.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, March the 20th, 1770.
  Two o'clock in the afternoon.

  DEAR MADAM,

You and my father know already that I have not obeyed your summons,
but you do not know that it was impossible for me to obey it. Your
letter was received at the Cocoa-tree yesterday afternoon, but was
not sent to my lodgings till after I was gone out to dinner. I dined,
went down to the House of Commons, staid out a very long debate, &
was not in bed till four o'clock this morning. When I got up about
twelve, I perceived your letter; but it was then much too late, since
had I set out immediately I could not have reached Petersfield before
ten o'clock at night. If this accident has prevented any meeting, I
am really sorry for it, & will readily come any other day that it
can be adjourned to. But I still flatter myself that my father found
himself better than he expected.

The debate I mentioned was upon the Remonstrance:[131] it was
carried, 284 against 127, that questioning the legal existence of
Parliament is highly unwarrantable, tending to sedition and an abuse
of the right of petitioning. To-day they go upon a most loyal address
of lives & fortunes, after which a severe censure of the Mayor &
Sherifs is expected; but as the nature of that Censure has not
transpired, so the consequences of it cannot be foreseen.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [131] On March 14 the Lord Mayor (Beckford) presented to the King
  at St. James's "an Address, Remonstrance, and Petition of the
  Lord Mayor, aldermen, and livery of the city of London," praying
  for the dissolution of Parliament as not representing the people,
  and for the removal of "evil ministers." On March 15 a motion was
  carried by 271 to 108 for a copy of the Remonstrance to be laid
  on the table of the House. On March 19 it was resolved by 284
  to 127 that the Remonstrance tended to disturb the peace of the
  kingdom. Beckford died June 21, 1770.



79.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, April 19th, 1770.
  A good voyage to the Nabob.

  DEAR MADAM,

Pitman was a monkey to alarm you about me. I was indeed troubled
last week with something not unlike my old complaint, a difficulty
of breathing and a soreness upon the breast and stomach. As it was
attended with a good deal of pain and feaverish heat, I sent for Dr.
Turton, a young but very sensible Physician, (Mr. Eliott employs
him likewise) & who I believe has every requisite except those of
gravity & a tye-Wig. He set me up very soon, but I have since had a
return, & upon the whole he thinks it is growing into something of an
intermittent feaver: if that should prove to be the case, he intends
throwing in the bark: In the mean time I live low & keep a good deal
at home. I hope my father's complaints will be of no more consequence
than mine.

  Believe me, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



80.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, June the 26th.

  DEAR MADAM,

Your Wastecoat is most universally admired, and I shall be much
obliged to you for another exactly the same. I hope to pay my
respects to Mr. and Mrs. Gould (to whom I beg my compliments) some
time next week, but cannot yet fix the day. In the meantime I am in
wonderfull haste, just going to Vauxhall.[132]

  Dear Madam,
  Ever Yours,
  E. G.

  [132] The Spring Gardens at Vauxhall (properly Fulke's Hall, the
  manor of Fulke de Breauté) were formed in the reign of Charles
  II. From 1732 onwards, under the management of Jonathan Tyers,
  the music, vocal and instrumental, and the masquerades, or
  _Ridottos al fresco_, attracted the fashionable world of London.
  The gardens were closed in 1859. The name of their enterprising
  manager is preserved in Tyers Street.



[Sidenote: HIS FATHER'S ILLNESS.]

81.

_To James Scott, Esq._


  Beriton, July the 3rd, 1770.

  DEAR SIR,

We are very happy to find by your last letter, that your health and
spirits are in so very good a state. I sincerely wish, that it were
in my power to return you as favourable an account of my poor father,
but indeed I apprehend him to be in a very bad way. Within these ten
days or fortnight he has been much worse than before. Dr. Cuthbert
was sent for last night from Portsmouth and has just left us. He is
convinced that my father's disorder must end in a dropsy, and fears
that his liver is affected. He neither eats nor sleeps, and is indeed
very ill. You may judge that Mrs. Gibbon & myself are very far from
being easy or happy.

Such an account, Dear Sir, promises you but little amusement at
Beriton, yet it is in such times that the company of a real friend
is the most acceptable. Yours would be most truly so to us all, and
particularly to myself. There are other subjects, which it is as
cruel to press, as inconvenient to neglect. I can hardly venture to
say that your presence would produce any effect, but I am too well
assured, that without your presence nothing can be done.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



82.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, August the 9th, 1770.

  DEAR HOLROYD,

I am much obliged to you for persisting to court a friend who has the
appearance of neglecting you. But when you are told the reason of it,
you will rather pity than blame me. It is my poor father's illness
that confines me here, and cannot permit me to stir till the affair
is decided: a confirmed Dropsy and Asthma which have either produced
or been caused by a general decay of the constitution allows us no
hope of his recovery.

You may easily suppose that I am in a very improper frame of mind for
the easy flow of a familiar epistle. I shall therefore only speak to
business. The men I spoke of are the two Smiths, the father who lives
at Havant, and the son who lives at Wickham in this county. Both,
especially the son, are famous for surveying and valuing _Timber_
(the surveying land is a separate branch, and quite out of their
way). My father has always had reason to be satisfied with their
skill and honesty. Their price for surveying is a guinea a day, or
so much in the pound (I don't know exactly what) if they sell the
timber. I will make any further enquiries you desire, and in the
meantime, wish you would sometimes raise my spirits by a friendly
salutation.

  I am, Dear H.,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



83.

_To James Scott, Esq._


  Beriton, November the 6th, 1770.

  DEAR SIR,

You, who have passed the summer with us, and a melancholy one it
has been, are more sensible than any one else can possibly be, how
difficult it is to give any account of my poor father. If I had
wrote last week, I should have said that he was better than when you
left Beriton, not indeed as to strength, but in regard to spirits,
appetite, and sleep, the last of which was indeed procured him by a
very gentle opiate of Mrs. Gibbon's. Now, on the contrary, I think
him much worse. His breath is very bad, he is greatly swelled, and
this morning had a fainting fit, which alarmed us exceedingly.

I am very much obliged to you and Mr. Porten for obtaining this
delay from the G[osling]s, and hope the interest will be paid as it
ought. Should my father be a Little better, I shall try to steal up
to London next week, and the more so, as I am very desirous of seeing
Mr. Porten.

May health and amusement attend you at Bath. If any thing should
happen that could be either _agreable_ or _necessary_ for you to
know, you may depend on hearing from me.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most sincerely yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: HIS FATHER'S DEATH.]

84.

_To James Scott, Esq._


  Beriton, November the 13th, 1770.

  DEAR SIR,

Yesterday evening, about six o'clock, it pleased God to take my poor
father out of the World. My situation and that of poor Mrs. Gibbon
will excuse my saying any more on the melancholy occasion, than that
I am and ever shall be,

  Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



85.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, November 18th, 1770.

  DEAR HOLROYD,

The melancholy and long expected event of my father's death happened
last Monday the 12th instant. The expectation itself through the
course of a very painful illness had in some measure prepared me for
it. Yet notwithstanding these just motives of consolation it has
been a very severe shock. The multitude of affairs I find myself so
suddenly involved in, will not allow me to say when I can hope to
wait on you, or indeed what portion of the Winter I shall be able
to spend in town. I must however go there next week on particular
business. I should think myself very lucky, if, during my stay (which
will be about ten days) anything should call you to London. I shall
be in my old Lodgings opposite to the Duke of Cumberland's, Pall Mall.

  Believe me, my dear Holroyd,
  Most sincerely yours,
  E. GIBBON.



86.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, November 26th, 1770.

  DEAR MADAM,

I hope that Mrs. Porten's Commission was executed to your
satisfaction; I had mentioned to her the sending down the things
ready made, but was told what I apprehended before, that without a
measure it was not possible--Mrs. Williams,[133] as I understand from
Mr. Scott, is ready to wait on you whenever you please, but till I
know something more of Miss Massey, I have not made any offer of
bringing the other down, nor do I well see how it will be possible
for me to hear any thing from Essex in time, as I still propose being
in Hampshire next Monday. I wish, my Dear Madam, that I may meet
you in an easier state of mind, and that the justest regrets may by
degrees receive relief from the power of reason and from that of time.

  Believe me, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

I have had a letter from Northamptonshire, a very odd one.

  [133] Arabella Mallet, a daughter of David Mallet's second wife,
  married Captain Williams, of the royal engineers. The second Mrs.
  Mallet was Lucy, daughter of Lewis Elstob, steward to the Earl of
  Carlisle.



87.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, November 27th, 1770.

  DEAR MADAM,

I went this morning with Mr. Porten to Doctor's Commons to take out
letters of administration, a formality, as I found, indispensably
necessary. There I was told, that before I could properly administer,
a proxy, in the enclosed form, must be signed by you, in the
presence of two Witnesses. If you will be so good as to return it
by Thursday's post, the business will be entirely finished Saturday
Morning.

I am sorry to find by a letter from Mr. Bayley, that you have not yet
left your own room. Let me intreat you, Dear Madam, to allow your
friends to see you, and not to refuse the reliefs of air and change
of place. As to myself they have so good an effect on _my_ health,
that were I to consult a Physician, I should be at a loss what bodily
complaint to alledge.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: A COMPANION FOR MRS. GIBBON]

88.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, December the 1st, 1770.

  DEAR MADAM,

I was very happy to hear from Mr. Bayley to-day, that you was
returned to Beriton, & that after a first shock, which I dread for
myself, your reason began to prevail over what must ever be lamented,
but which cannot be recalled. You are, I am sure, my Dear Madam, so
well convinced of my sentiments, and I am so conscious myself of the
weakness of reflection and argument, that I shall say no more on the
subject.

Finding that there were no hopes of Miss Massey, I called on Mr.
Scott this morning, and have, I believe, engaged Mrs. Williams for
the middle of next week. This morning I was at Doctors' Commons, all
was perfectly right, and what was added proved quite superfluous.
Some things that could not be finished, as well as a little
uncertainty about the time Mrs. Williams can be ready, will defer my
departure till about Wednesday or Thursday. There are many reasons
why I wish to return to Beriton, as soon as I can.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



89.

_To James Scott, Esq._


  Pall Mall, December the 4th, 1770.

  DEAR SIR,

I have now been about ten days in town. The scene of Beriton was
too melancholy to support, and with respect to health as well as to
spirits I found a change of scene and air absolutely requisite. Mrs.
Gibbon went for a few days to Bayley's, who, both husband and wife,
have behaved in the most friendly manner on the occasion. To-morrow
I propose returning to Beriton, and shall carry with me Mrs.
Williams, a daughter of Poet Mallet, whose lively company will I hope
contribute to divert poor Mrs. Gibbon during the gloom of the Winter.

With regard to business, you are sensible, Dear Sir, that it is not
yet in my power to say much about it. The most pressing part I have
attended to, and the interest to Goslings will be entirely paid by
next Saturday. The next month which I shall spend at Beriton will
afford me time and opportunity for looking into the state of it, the
profits and expences of the farm, the value of the Estate, and the
probable encrease of it in respect to timber; I hope to return to
town with such materials as may enable me rationally to decide which
of the Estates it will be most prudent to part with. At present I
incline (and it seems to be very much Mr. Porten's sentiment) towards
keeping and letting Beriton. As soon as a resolution is taken, not
a moment should be lost in the execution. I shall always hope, Dear
Sir, for the continuance of your advice and friendship, and beg that
you would believe me,

  Most sincerely yours,
  E. GIBBON.



90.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, December the 4th, 1770.

  DEAR MADAM,

I write only two lines just to say that I hope to dine with you
Thursday in company with Mrs. Williams: but as the time still depends
on that Lady, whose notes to Mrs. Scott are far from sufficiently
clear, I still look upon it as somewhat uncertain, whether I may not
be kept here a day or two longer. In the mean time, believe me, my
Dearest Madam, with every wish that friendship, duty or gratitude can
suggest,

  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



91.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, December 5th, 1770.

  DEAR MADAM,

Mrs. Williams who has just left me came to me in order to say that
it was impossible for her to be ready before Saturday. I could not
refuse her so short a delay. Every thing is now settled, and I cannot
foresee any thing that can prevent our dining at Beriton next Sunday.
The disapointment really vexed me: both because I think my presence
at Beriton proper and even necessary, and because I am impatient to
see you again,

  Believe me, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: HIS AUNT'S CONDOLENCES.]

92.

_To his Aunt, Miss Hester Gibbon._


  December, 1770.

  DEAR MADAM,

In the midst of the justest affliction nothing could afford me a
greater consolation than your kind letter: as it convinced me that
the nearest relation of my poor father shared my grief, and still
interested herself in my future Welfare. Some immediate business
which called me to town prevented my answering it directly, nor
indeed did I find myself able to enter so soon into the melancholy
detail which you are desirous of hearing.

The first affliction with which my father was visited, was a
gradual decay of sight, which at last terminated in an almost total
blindness. With his sight he lost almost every pleasure of life, as
he could no longer enjoy the country nor attend to the business of
the farm, in which for many years his chief amusement and occupation
had consisted. Tho' he bore this severe stroke with surprizing
fortitude and resignation, yet the effect it had on his health and
spirits began to alarm us very much, when last spring we were still
more terrified by the symptoms of an approaching dropsy; a shortness
of breath, swelling of the legs and body and the loss of rest,
strength and appetite. The Physician who attended him encreased
our apprehensions by confessing his own difficulties, as he was
well assured that Mr. G.'s constitution could not support the usual
methods external or internal, which might otherwise be proper for
his disorder. In the month of August however a favourable Revolution
seemed to happen. Dr. Addington,[134] whom a friend in London
consulted, advised the use of broom ashes. They immediately produced
a very great evacuation of Water, reduced my father's legs and body
to their natural size, and for a while gave us very great room to
hope, tho' our hopes were at the same time mixed with so many fears
as prevented us from writing to any of our friends at a distance.
My father himself kept us from taking such a step, by insisting
that Mrs. Eliott should not be acquainted with his situation, for
fear her tenderness should bring her to Beriton and expose him to
an interview to which his strength and spirits were not equal. At
length, Dear Madam, after several turns in his disorder, which all
gave him a temporary relief, without in the least restoring his
strength, my poor father was on Tuesday the 6th of last month taken
with a fainting fit. They returned several times during the week with
more or less violence, but during the intervals between them he was
perfectly easy and composed. The fatal one of Monday the 12th began
about Noon and lasted near six hours, tho' we have every reason to
think that he suffered very little in the last struggle. Nature was
entirely exhausted and his disorder, whatever appearances it might
assume, was a total decay of the constitution.

Long before the melancholy event my father was sensible of his
approaching end, and prepared himself for it with the truest
resignation; besides his private prayers he was attended by the
Clergyman of the Parish, from whom he received the Communion, who
testified the highest satisfaction in his edifying behaviour. But my
father's best preparation was the comfort of a well-spent life. He
was followed to the grave by the tears of a whole country which for
many years had experienced his goodness and charity.

[Sidenote: THE STATE OF HIS AFFAIRS]

There is one circumstance indeed which I would conceal even from
you, were it possible to conceal it from the World. Economy was not
amongst my father's Virtues. The expences of the more early part of
his life, the miscarriage of several promising schemes, and a general
want of order and exactness involved him in such difficulties as
constrained him to dispose of Putney, and to contract a mortgage so
very considerable that it cannot be paid unless by the sale of our
Buckinghamshire Estate. The only share I have ever taken in these
transactions has been by my sensibility to my father's wants and my
compliance with his inclinations, a conduct which has cost me very
dear, but which I cannot repent. It is a satisfaction to reflect that
I have fulfilled, perhaps exceeded my filial duties, and it is still
in my power with the remains of our fortunes to lead an agreable
and rational life. I am sensible that as no Estate will answer the
demands of vice and folly, so a very moderate Income will supply the
real wants of Nature and Reason.

I have now, Dear Madam, gone thro' the heads of what I apprehended
to be most interesting to you. Should there be any other points,
about which you wish for farther information, I shall esteem myself
happy in giving you all the satisfaction in my power, as well as in
embracing every opportunity of convincing you, with how much truth
and regard

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Your affectionate Nephew and faithfull humble Servant,
  E. GIBBON.

  [134] Anthony Addington (1713-1790), father of the Prime
  Minister, was originally a physician at Reading. In London he
  became Chatham's doctor, and was in 1788, after his retirement
  from practice, consulted on the condition of George III., whose
  early recovery he alone predicted.



93.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, January the 15th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

Since I have been in town I have done a good deal of business;
you easily guess the subjects, and as particulars will be long, I
shall refer them to the time of my return to Beriton, which I hope
and trust will be the latter end of next week. Let me only say
that agreeable to your opinion I am getting the writings out of
Southouse's hands.

I flatter myself, Dear Madam, that your health and spirits gain
ground every day, and that Mrs. Williams's lively oddities begin
to entertain you. I beg you would present my respects to her.
She will soon perceive that her tooth-powder was not forgot. Her
Sister's play[135] was received last Saturday with great and deserved
applause. I tryed to see Cotti Sunday morning to rejoice with him.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [135] Madame Celesia's play of _Almida_, acted at Drury Lane.



94.

_To his Stepmother._


  DEAR MADAM,

Nothing was ever more judicious than your advice of getting my
writings out of the Old Fox's den. The difficulty he gives me shews
the necessity of it. I have not yet been able either to get a word
or a line from him; and Mr. Porten, whose time is more taken up than
ever, strongly dissuades me from leaving town till they are in my
power. Pray give my compliments to Mrs. Williams, and try to convince
her that business not pleasure, Writings not Ridottos[136] detain
me here. One comfort for her is, that the Manor Court was fixed for
the 6th of February, and that I suppose it will be necessary for
me to be on the spot, two or three days at least before that most
unpleasant meeting.

I should be much obliged to you, if you would send me by Saturday's
Machine, the papers of Lenborough. I think it would be right to send
up Lord Halifax's bill in order to have it accepted.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

My compliments to the Calf.

  [136] The _Ridotto al fresco_ was introduced at Vauxhall in
  1732. The word is said to be derived from the Latin _reductus_,
  and to mean "music reduced to a full score." It came to mean an
  entertainment of music and dancing, and was used as a synonym for
  masquerades. Bramston, in _The Man of Taste_, speaks of the way
  in which the use of a foreign word sanctioned things which in
  plain English would have seemed objectionable--

    "In Lent, if masquerades displease the town,
    Call 'em ridottos, and they still go down."

  The word survived in the _Redoutensaal_ of Vienna and the
  _Redoutentänze_ of famous composers. Other authorities derive the
  use of the word from the sense in which it is employed by Dante,
  _i.e._ a "shelter," or "place of refuge." Hence it came to mean
  a "place of convivial meeting." In Udino's Italian-French-German
  Dictionary (Frankfurt, 1674) the German equivalent is given
  as _Spielhaus_. The transition from this to "ball-room" is
  not difficult. Byron in _Beppo_ correctly defines the popular
  meanings of the word--

    "They went to the Ridotto--'tis a hall
    Where people dance and sup, and dance again;
    Its proper name, perhaps, were a masked ball,
    But that's of no importance to my strain."



  95.

  _To his Stepmother._


  January the 29th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

  At all events you may depend on seeing me next Sunday. I hope
  sooner, but I fear that it will be difficult to assure it. In the
  meantime I hope you will assure Mrs. Williams that business not
  pleasure keeps me in this wicked town.

  I have received Lord Halifax's Draught.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



  [Sidenote: HIS DETENTION IN LONDON]

  96.

  _To his Stepmother._


  Saturday night, half an hour past nine, '71.

  DEAR MADAM,

  Till this moment, it was my firm intention to set out to-morrow
  morning at seven o'clock. An unforeseen business has just arisen
  which will put off my journey till Wednesday. Messieurs Scott and
  Porten who are both with me desire their compliments. Thursday
  night I returned from Bucks, well, much tired, but _hugely_
  pleased with my Expedition.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



  97.

  _To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, February the 2nd, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

  I have advanced with some care and some success in gaining
  an Idea of the Bucks Estate. The Tenants are at Will, and
  from a compairison with my rents with the neighbouring ones,
  particularly Lord Verney,[137] there is great probability that my
  Estate is very much underlet. My friend Holroyd, who is a most
  invaluable Counsellor, is strongly of that opinion.

  I am at a loss what to say about Mrs. Lee's letter, as I do not
  well understand what you mean by her mistake, but if the account
  is fair and can be conveniently paid from the farm money, I think
  it would be right to satisfy her. However a short delay can make
  but little difference.

  I am sorry to hear that William has the gout. My best wishes to
  him, respects to Mrs. Williams & compliments to the Calf.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [137] Ralph Verney, Viscount Fermanagh, and second Earl Verney in
  the Peerage of Ireland, formerly M.P. for Carmarthen, was at this
  time M.P. for Buckinghamshire. At his death, in 1791, the title
  became extinct.



98.

_To James Scott, Esq._


  Pall Mall, February 4th, 1771.

  DEAR SIR,

After passing the Christmas at Beriton, I returned to town about
three Weeks ago. The friendly part you have taken in my affairs,
would render me inexcusable, if I omitted to acquaint you with what
has been done, as well as to consult you in relation to what ought to
be done.

With regard to the Goslings I have paid them a full year's interest
to last November. Seven hundred and forty-seven Pounds is a severe
pull, and I told Clive in a jocose manner but with great truth, that
if he was tired of being my Landlord, I was most heartily so of being
his tenant.

[Sidenote: WAYS AND MEANS]

In my last I expressed an inclination of parting with Lenborough
rather than with Beriton, but in these complicated affairs, so many
opposite reasons combat each other that I now incline to execute, if
possible, the original plan. We always knew the Bucks to be a most
desirable Estate, but I am now convinced that it is a very improvable
one. My Lands are let at twenty-three per acre, those of Lord Verney
in the same parish and intermixed with mine let for nine & twenty.
See the difference. 23½, 29; £636, £785. And this account I had
too from John Harris, who seems frightened out of his Wits, for fear
I should raise the rents; which it is always in my power to do, as
the Tenants are only at will, and without any leases. But I shall
soon know things more exactly, as a very trusty and able man is sent
down to value the Estate.

The Hampshire Estate on the other hand receives a great drawback
from the Woods and Manour; the former produce no interest, nor can
I afford to wait the slowness of their growth; the latter, tho'
extremely valuable to a Sportsman and Country Gentleman, would be to
me only a source of vexation, expence, lawsuits, quarrels, &c. &c. &c.

In order then to proceed in that line, it was necessary to get all
those Writings, which old Southouse has kept these two years without
any receipt, that we might examine whether we had a good saleable
title. The old Gentleman has shewn a reluctance in the restoring
them which was very far from pleasing. The best and perhaps the true
motive is his carelessness of business, and frequent stay in the
Country, but even that was a sufficient reason for taking my business
out of his hands. I am strongly recommended by Mr. Porten and other
friends to employ Mr. Newton, a man of character and ability, who has
great experience in the branch of buying and selling Estates. I shall
not take that or any other step of consequence without your praevious
approbation, and in case you have not any person in view I should
directly employ Newton. Southouse refuses to deliver up the Copy
of our Deed of trust, which was designed for the trustees, without
your order. Would it be disagreable to you, to send us a line by the
return of the post, directing him to deliver up the Deed to your
brother Trustee?

As soon as I have put this business in train I shall return for some
time to Beriton, to compleat the surveys and other things begun
there. I say nothing of Mrs. G., as I presume you correspond with her.

I am, Dear Sir, with every wish for your health and amusement,

  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



99.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, February 12th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

If the weather with you is only half as uncomfortable as it is in
town, Beriton must indeed be a most dismal place. We are cut in
two with the cold, and buried in the deepest snow that ever I saw
in London. This circumstance makes my presence with you the less
necessary, as it would not be possible for Bricknall or any body else
to do anything in the surveying way. As soon as I see a possibility
I shall write to him to undertake it, and shall beg Hugonin to
assist him with his directions. The Woods (an account of which he
has given me) amount to £3500. It was about what I expected. I
had a letter from Hugonin, to whom I excused me not attending the
Court. He desires to become my tenant for a field. I am ignorant of
circumstances, but _think_ he would not ask anything improper.

The business of settling the Beriton title, with the Lawyer here,
seems to be now the most urgent affair. I hope, but cannot promise,
that by the end of next week it may be sufficiently advanced to allow
me to come down. I most truly pity poor Mrs. W., and should think
that if Beriton is so insupportable to her, she might come up by
herself in the Machine. I hope her spirits, your health and Patton's
gout are all better.

Will you be so good as to order Tregus up to town with the horse.
He must bring him to Wisdom's Livery Stable, Park Lane, Hyde Park
Corner, who is prepared to receive him.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



100.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, February 25th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

Things advance so very slowly, that I propose to run down to Beriton
for a fortnight, and shall certainly be with you Wednesday. It is
therefore unnecessary to say any more at present, than that I beg you
would not wait dinner for me, as it is very uncertain whether I shall
arrive before Evening.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: THE LORD MAYOR IN THE TOWER.]

101.

_To his Stepmother._


  Grosvenor Street, Tuesday evening.

  DEAR MADAM,

I write a very few lines with a very bad pen at a very late hour,
to say that my cold is a great deal better, that I hope you will
get some company at Beriton, were it even Miss Higgons, that I hope
William has got the better of his gout, and that we are all in
confusion with the Idea of sending a Lord Mayor to the Tower. I hope
Bricknall is returned and that he goes on with vigour.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



102.

_To his Stepmother._


  Boodle's, March 29th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I have let slip some posts without writing, and I can hardly say
why I have done so. Nothing of business has occurred; I am sure you
are well convinced how much I interest myself in your health, your
amusements, how much I wish you had some company at Beriton. Why
cannot you get the Roberts from the Isle of Wight?

As to my own cold it has at length been tired of keeping me company.
The news of the town are great. You know that two wild beasts have
been sent to the Menagerie in the Tower,[138] but such beasts are
hardly worth speaking of.--Tregus of course goes on breaking in the
colt, and I hope with regard to that and everything else at Beriton
you will be so good as to issue your orders, and to believe me

  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [138] On March 14, 1771, the House of Commons ordered that the
  printer of the _London Evening Post_ be taken into the custody
  of the sergeant-at-arms. He was arrested by the messenger of
  the House under the Speaker's warrant; but was discharged from
  custody, and the messenger committed, by the city magistrates.
  For this breach of privilege Alderman Richard Oliver, M.P. for
  the City, was committed to the Tower by order of the House of
  Commons, March 25, 1771. Thu Lord Mayor, Brass Crosby, was
  committed on March 27.



103.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, April 13th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am much obliged to you for the Certificate, but it came too late
to be of any service to my poor Chaise. Whilst I was in the country,
a regular process in the Exchequer (a matter of form) was commenced,
and the date of the payment in the Country was too late. Mr. G. Scott
whom I consulted read me a lecture on the heinous sin of cheating
Government, and the business ended in my paying the tax with all its
arrears, sixteen pounds.

Mrs. Denton's invitation gives me great pleasure, as I am persuaded
that Bath, if you can settle there in a manner agreeable to yourself,
will be a very proper and a very convenient place. I must add, though
I hope there is no occasion to say it, that nothing in my power shall
be wanting to make it so.

[Sidenote: MASQUERADE AT SOHO.]

Are all the poor sheep at Havant dead of the rot? We are frightened
in town with the apprehensions of famine, and it is said there is
no probability of a tolerable harvest. Wheat in that melancholy
prospect must be rising, and I should think--but I have no sort of
business to think--and am sure you will give your order with a much
more enlightened zeal for our Interest than I could possibly do
myself.

Mrs. Eliot is in town, I dined with them last Sunday. They say, as
usual, every thing that _is proper_ on every occasion. The next day
(Monday) I dined with Sir Matthew [Featherstonhaugh], and last night
I passed in a gay varied scene called a Masquerade at Soho.[139]
There will be another next week, at the Haymarket, and yet _we_ have
had no Earthquake.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [139] The Soho masquerades were given at Carlisle House by Mrs.
  Theresa Cornelys, whom Walpole calls "the Heidegger of the
  age." It was here that, the year before, the Duke of Gloucester
  appeared as Edward IV. with Lady Waldegrave as Elizabeth
  Woodville.



104.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, April 27th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

It is very near eleven o'clock, and you know that I am a very dry
Writer. I only wish to tell you that I am well, and that I hope you
are so.

How do you like Sir John Dalrymple?[140] I hope Bricknall is not
idle, and should think it high time for him to have done.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [140] Sir John Dalrymple published in 1771 the two first volumes
  of his _Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland_. His style was
  parodied by Dr. Johnson, who said, "Nothing can be poorer than
  his mode of writing; it is the mere bouncing of a schoolboy!"



105.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, May the 4th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am rather vexed than disappointed at the delays of the formal Mr.
Bricknall. All men of business are like him when they know you
cannot easily get out of their hands. Mr. Newton in town, tho' far
preferable to old Southouse, is full of delays and avocations. I
press him as much as I can to get through the Writings, and hope you
will be so good as to do the same both in your own name and in mine
with the aforesaid Bricknall.

You know that the country merely in itself has no charms for me,
and I do not see _that as yet_ my presence can be of any use. I
therefore propose staying here the remainder of the month; towards
the middle of it I shall see my friend Holroyd, who is obliged upon
some particular business to make the tour of Ireland, Scotland and
Yorkshire,[141] but who will certainly be at Beriton, as the active
little man writes me word, by the end of June. By that time I hope
we may persuade Mr. Scott to make us a visit, which may in many
respects be of use. In the mean time I am only concerned at the
solitary life you lead there, and though nobody that I know possesses
more resources against the complaint of Ennui, yet I could wish
you had more living company than Sir John Dalrymple. Surely Mrs.
or at least Miss Roberts could come over. In the mean time I have
sent you Robertson's book,[142] in which I think you will find much
entertainment and information.

Mrs. Eliott, with whom I dined yesterday, told me she had just
wrote to you. I suppose she acquainted you with the doubtful tho'
pleasing suspense they are in since Colonel Nugent's death.[143] We
are _amazing_ friends, and I am actually employed in fishing out
intelligence for them, by the means of my connections with Lord
Berkeley.

  I am, with best _Wishes_ to William,
  Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [141] Mr. Holroyd owned property in Ireland, and at Greave Hall,
  near Ferrybridge, in Yorkshire.

  [142] William Robertson (1721-1793) published in 1758 his
  _History of Scotland during the Reigns of Queen Mary and James
  VI._, and in 1769 his _History of the Reign of the Emperor
  Charles the Fifth_.

  [143] Lieutenant-Colonel Nugent, of the 1st Foot Guards, son to
  Viscount Clare, and groom of the bedchamber to the king, died at
  Bath, April 26, 1771. The Eliots were connected with Lord Clare
  through the Craggs family.



[Sidenote: THE PRICE OF WHEAT.]

106.

_To his Stepmother._


  May the 13th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I believe I must write to that old fellow Mr. Bricknall who cannot
measure the Estate, _pour trois raisons_; however in time he must
finish it, and we are so far engaged with him, that there is no
retreating. As to the Wheat, I think that there can be _no doubt_
about selling at the present advanced price, but in that and every
thing else I beg you would use your own judgment, and that you
would be convinced how much I think myself obliged to you for using
it. With regard to the Servants I could not avoid giving Richard a
Livery, and think that the other servants ought to have theirs, at
least of the slightest kind.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



107.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, June the 1st, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I have deferred writing to you for some posts, in expectation of
hearing of Mrs. Eliott's visit, who I find from Mr. E---- was still
with you on Tuesday. The hour of eleven (the common excuse) only
allows me time to say that I am well, and propose being at Beriton in
eight or ten days.

I hope the eternal Bricknall is not idle, and must intreat you to
quicken him. If Mrs. E. is still with you, I beg you would present my
love and compliments. I am this instant come from a very agreeable
dinner in Spring Gardens.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



108.

_To his Stepmother._


  June 11th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I know you will excuse short letters, and that you are persuaded
that the _expression_ of my love and regard are very unnecessary.
It was my intention to have been at Beriton next Sunday, but the
Scotch affair of Mr. Lockwood & myself has just intervened. The final
Deeds I have sent to King's Cliffe this post, nor can I leave town
till Mrs. Eliott has returned them from Cornwall. I hope that before
Sunday Sevennight, I may have the pleasure of assuring you how truly

  I am, your
  E. G.



109.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, Saturday Evening, June 22nd, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

Mrs. Hester Gibbon makes some very unmeaning difficulties about
signing the Scotch Papers. I hope notwithstanding that Mr. Lockwood
will be able to clear these up to her, and that it will be in my
power, as it really is in my inclination, to dine at Beriton next
Thursday. Unless you have any objection to it, I propose inviting Mr.
Scott, as his company may be agreeable, and his advice of use to us.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

Your Commissions shall be taken care of.



110.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, June 25th, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I only write two lines to desire that you would not be surprized if
you do not see me Thursday. I have neglected so many little things
that I fear they will require another day. Friday you may depend
on seeing or hearing from me. I hope the former, as I am extremely
desirous of being at Beriton.

  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: MR. HOLROYD AT BERITON.]

111.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield Place, August the 2nd, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I got here Tuesday Evening, and find great satisfaction in a pleasant
place, and a friend's Company. According to the present plan, we,
family and all go to Brighthelmstone next Sunday. From thence Holroyd
and myself shall set off and arrive at Beriton, Wednesday, or more
probably Thursday. Should anything _on his side_ occasion any further
delay, I will apprize you of it by Wednesday's post.

I hope Mr. Scott is arrived in good health and good spirits. Present
him with my best Compliments and every proper Apology, for my running
away at the very time when we expected his Company.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



112.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  August 18th, 1771.

  DEAR HOLROYD,

I am glad you are returned. I detest your races. I abhor your
assizes. Supposing therefore that all will be ended, and you at
Sheffield place again by Saturday the 27th instant, I propose being
with you, the Wednesday or Thursday following, with a design of
passing a few days in your chateau, and from thence, bringing you
away in triumph to my cottage. Till when we bid you heartily farewell.

  GIBBON.



[Sidenote: WARM DEFENCE OF HIS HONOUR.]

113.

_To his Stepmother._


  1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am much obliged to your friendship, for the advice you have given
me with regard to my future conduct, and shall always pay the most
sincere deference to it. Both prudence and inclination will engage
me to get rid of the farm as soon as such a complicated piece of
business can be transacted. With respect to my expences they shall
always be proportioned to my income, and I am already preparing to
discharge a cook, a groom, and other unnecessary Servants. There is
one part of your letter which has given me, Dear Madam, very great
uneasiness. You say that you have heard from undoubted authority
that my own imprudences had so much embarrassed me, as to oblige me
to make a concession which otherwise I might not have done. Were I
conscious of these imprudencies, I should fairly acknowledge them,
and endeavour by future behaviour to make some amends for past
follies. But an innocent person has a right to speak a very different
language. I know my own innocence, and without any vain protestations
of it, I will at once come to such facts as must either establish
it, or else expose me not only as a prodigal, but as a man devoid of
honour and veracity. I therefore solemnly affirm the truth of the
following facts.

1. When I returned from Switzerland about twelve years and a half
ago, my father told me his affairs were a good deal embarrassed, and
desired that I would joyn in cutting off the entail and in raising
£10,000. I was then a raw lad of one and twenty, unacquainted with
law or business, and desirous of obliging my father. He then gave me
three hundred a year, a moderate allowance to which his eldest son
would have had a natural claim, had no such transaction intervened.

2. Upon and within that allowance, I have constantly lived, except
during two years and a half that I was abroad the second time.
Whilst I was abroad I spent about seven hundred a year, a sum which,
with the unavoidable expences of travelling, barely supports the
appearance of an English gentleman.

3. I have never on any occasion received from my father any pecuniary
inducements to consent to any step whatsoever, except once, four
hundred pounds, near £100 of which were arrears of my allowances, and
about the same sum I returned to my father when he wanted it very
much.

4. I have never lost at play a hundred pounds at any one time;
perhaps not in the course of my life. Play I neither love nor
understand.

5. I have never taken up any money for myself, in any way whatever.

6. Neither at my father's death nor at any other period have I ever
had any other debts than common tradesmen's bills, which are paid
from one year to another, and even those to a very trifling amount.

I have tried to answer a general charge, as far as a general charge
can be answered. But for our mutual satisfaction, let me intreat you,
Dear Madam, to communicate that part of my letter to the persons from
whom you received your intelligence. Desire that without sparing me
they would contradict _by facts_ any of those which I have advanced,
or that they would mention any which I have suppressed. If they are
unable to do this, your candour must allow that they were either
weakly deceived, or wicked Deceivers. As I neither know nor wish to
know who they are, Charity induces me to believe the former rather
than to suspect the latter.

I think, Dear Madam, you will excuse my warmth. I should deserve the
imputation could I submit to it with patience. As long as you credit
it, you must view me in the light of a specious Hypocrite, who meanly
cloaked his own extravagancies under his father's imprudence, and who
ascribed to filial piety what had been the consequence of folly and
necessity. As long as you credit it, I must be deprived of the esteem
of a person, whose good opinion and friendship it will ever be my
wish and study to deserve.



114.

_To his Stepmother._


  10 minutes after Eleven, Saturday Night, 1771.

  DEAR MADAM,

I have only time to tell you (being this moment come home) that I
have received Arnold's draught, that I go into Bucks, Tuesday, shall
return here Thursday, for Holroyd is in a violent hurry, and hope
to be at Beriton Sunday. Should there happen any alteration I will
write. _Mes compliments à la vache Espagnole, et le White Calf._

  I am,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



115.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  October 6, 1771.

  *DEAR HOLROYD,

I set down to answer your Epistle, after taking a very pleasant
ride.--_A Ride! and upon what?_--Upon a horse.--"_You lye!_"--I
don't. I have got a droll little Poney, and intend to renew the
long-forgotten practice of Equitation, as it was known in the World
before the 2nd of June of the year of our Lord one thousand seven
hundred and sixty-three. As I used to reason against riding, so I
can now argue for it; and indeed the principal use I know in human
reason is, when called upon, to furnish arguments for what we have an
inclination to do.*

I am obliged to you, for looking me out this Lancashire Man, who
may assuredly be of use, and no less so for your intercession with
Gosling or Clive. If he and his Partner will condescend to receive
my Tribute, I am in no violent hurry to dispose of the Place, which
under Mrs. Gibbon's management is certainly no losing Game. She
thanks you for your Papers, and has delivered the _Roster_ to Mr.
Luff, who, though it is new, likes it hugely.

[Sidenote: FARMER GIBBON]

*What do you mean by presuming to affirm, that I am of no use here?
Farmer Gibbon of no use! _Last week_ I sold all my Hops, and I
believe well, at nine Guineas a hundred, to a very responsible Man.
Some people think I might have got more at Weyhill Fair, but that
would have been an additional expence, and a great uncertainty. Our
quantity has disapointed us very much; but I think, that besides hops
for the house, there will not be less than 500_l._;--no contemptible
Sum of thirteen small Acres, and two of them planted last year only.
_This week_ I let a little Farm in Petersfield by auction, and
propose raising it from 25_l._ to 35_l._ pr. annum: and Farmer Gibbon
of no use!

To be serious; I have but one reason for resisting your invitation
and my own wishes; that is, Mrs. Gibbon I left nearly alone all last
Winter, and shall do the same this. She submits very chearfully to
that state of solitude; but, on sounding her, I am convinced that she
would think it unkind were I to leave her at present. I know you so
well, that I am sure you will acquiesce in this reason; and let me
make my next Visit to Sheffield-Place from town, which I think may
be a little before Christmas. I should like to hear something of the
precise time, duration, and extent of your intended tour into Bucks.
Adieu.*



116.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, October 25th, 1771.

  DEAR HOLROYD,

To shew that I am not an ungratefull Wretch, I wrote immediately to
Damer,[144] and to shew that I am a very careless one, I directed the
letter to another person, whose Epistle went to Damer. Lord Milton's
heir was ordered to send me without delay a brown Ratteen Frock, and
the Taylor was desired to use his interest with his cousin the Duke
of Dorset. The mistake has been rectified, but I have not yet had
an answer. Is your Bucks Scheme settled, do you start and where do
I meet you? I will attend you either in London, at Winslow, or at
Denham,[145] where under your protection, I believe I might trespass
for one night on Mr. Way. From thence, "Tencro duce et auspice
Tencro," I will try to find out my little dairy. My Hops are well
sold, with judgement, and that Judgement my own, for even Mrs. G.
wanted me to keep them for Wayhill Fair, where they were a mere drug.
The little farm, I told you of, I have raised from £25 to £38 pr.
annum, but _Plâit au ciel_, that I had neither Farm, nor Tenants,
they suit not my humour. _I have wrote on the wrong side of the
paper._

Your four-footed friend is not thought to have attained years of
strength and discretion, however if you are impatient he shall be
forthcoming. A two-legged friend of yours I breakfasted with this
morning at Up-park,--Lascelles; he seems civilized. We abused you,
your place, Wife, children, &c. &c., pretty much. Adieu.

  E. G.

Pray write to me as soon as I wish, but much sooner than I deserve.

  [144] The Hon. John Damer, eldest son of Lord Milton, afterwards
  created Earl of Dorchester. His mother was Lady Caroline
  Sackville, daughter of the first Duke of Dorset, and sister of
  the then existing Duke; married, in 1742, to Joseph Damer, Lord
  Milton.

  [145] Denham, Bucks, built in 1667 by Sir Roger Hill, came to
  Lewis Way through his marriage with Abigail Locke, Sir Roger's
  granddaughter. Lewis Way, who died January 24, 1771, left by his
  first wife one son, Benjamin, who succeeded to Denham, and one
  daughter, Abigail, wife of J. B. Holroyd. By his second wife he
  left another son, Gregory Lewis Way, the translator of _Fabliaux;
  or, Tales abridged from French Manuscripts of the Twelfth and
  Thirteenth Centuries_ (edited by George Ellis, and published in
  two volumes in 1796-1800), who is more than once mentioned in
  these letters. Denham Place was the "pastoral retreat" of Sir
  Humphrey Davy.



117.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, Nov. 18, 1771.

  *MOST RESPECTABLE SOUTH SAXON,

It would ill become me to reproach a dilatory correspondent.

"Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes?" Especially when that
Correspondent had given me hopes of undertaking a very troublesome
Expedition for my sole advantage, and indeed great would be the
advantage. Yet thus much I may say, that I am obliged very soon to
go to town upon other business, which, in that hope, I have hitherto
deferred. If by next Sunday I have no answer, or if I hear that your
Journey to Denham is put off _sine die_, or to a long Day, I shall
on Monday morning set off for London, and wait your future Will with
_Faith, Hope, and Charity_. Adieu.

I have had no answer from J. D., but will see him if in Town.*



[Sidenote: A VISIT TO SHEFFIELD PLACE]

118.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield Place, January the 8th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am safe housed at Sheffield Place where I arrived last Monday,
and find it a very hospitable shelter against the snow which covers
the Country. Here I shall stay till at least Sunday seven-night,
and hope to receive the Map and Greyhound by the hands of Tregus.
Aubrey has refused in a manner (though very polite) as shews
plainly that the Puppy only sought to gratify his own Vanity. The
Oracle is now writing a proper letter for the young Goose. Should
anything immediately result from it, you may depend on the earliest
intelligence.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



119.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield Place, January 14th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

What a villain that B[ricknall] is. Pray leave neither him nor his
assistant one moment's peace or quietness till we get the Plan. If
you can get it, as I think you must within ten or twelve days. It
will be best to send Tregus over with it, and Miss Holroyd, for
so long will I wait here in the expectation of it. The Oracle is
very impatient to see it. He proposes to be in town himself by the
beginning of next month. We shall then give our attention to the
transaction with the G[oslings], which will be neither so simple nor
so easy as we once flattered ourselves. The magnanimous Spirit of my
Governor keeps me however from desponding.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



120.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield Place, January 20th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I know not what to say or do about that Anabaptist as Holroyd calls
him. You will, I am sure, persecute him with all the zeal of an
Inquisitor, and if he should be in town after I get there (which
will be next Sunday), pray send me his direction that I may flog him
myself. Holroyd, who will be soon in town likewise, wants to see a
State. of what I rent of others, and what is rented of me, with the
term in each of them. If it would not give you too much trouble, you
might (I should think) make it out, with Luff's assistance.

I have got Mr. Barton's account; the balance to Lady-Day amounts to
£82 14_s._ 10_d._, which you will please to pay him if you have the
money. I am sorry to hear from him, though not from yourself, that
you are confined with a cold, I hope not a serious one. My cold is
only in my hands, pen and Ink, which are all frozen. Do you hear
anything of Petersfield House?

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Sincerely yours,
  E. G.



121.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, February the 4th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

What a fool, what a great fool, what an egregious fool he is! I
called upon him yesterday morning in Palace Yard, and as a particular
favourite was admitted into a bed-chamber up two pair of stairs to
breakfast with him and Madame. N.B. that Madame is incognito, sees
no company, has no cloaths, but seems however better satisfied with
the air of Westminster than with the solitude of Petersfield. The
conversation turned partly on the Hampshire Election,[146] and I
unwarily said things without any meaning, which made him stare, and
for which, had I then received your letter, I deserved to have had my
bones broken.

[Sidenote: REVOLUTION IN DENMARK.]

Very astonishing indeed these Denmark affairs.[147] We are just as
much in the dark about them in London, as you can be at Beriton. It
seems that the King, whether from nature or any _officious_ helps
of medicine, is totally incapable of Government. The Physician and
the Queen ruled him entirely, and had led him into measures which
had disgusted the old Ministry, the Nobility and at last the Army.
The Mal-contents linked themselves with the Queen Dowager and her
son, and the weak Monarch is now in their hands. Mothers-in-law are
very dreadful animals, and he stands a very poor chance indeed. His
wife is sent to a castle, and it seems to be the General opinion,
that if an Order of ---- Ladies were to be founded, she would be the
Sovereign of it. Do you not think that our wise K---- might have
suffered his Mama[148] to dye in peace without knowing it? They now
reckon her life by hours.

I will immediately send you the new Play[149] which is not much
liked. There is nothing else. The Spanish Romance[150] does not come
out till next month. I am totally a stranger to Mrs. Williams and her
misfortunes. You warded off the blow by talking of your journey to
Bath; but I hope you will seriously and speedily think of it, as I am
convinced that your health as well as spirits would find the greatest
benefit from such an excursion.--Business is at a stand till Holroyd
comes to town, which will be in a few days. I hope that soon after
his arrival I shall be able to write something to the purpose.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [146] Lord Henley, M.P. for the county of Southampton, succeeded
  his father as second and last Earl of Northington in January,
  1772. At the election to fill this vacancy Sir Henry Paulet St.
  John was elected.

  [147] Caroline Matilda, posthumous child of Frederick, Prince
  of Wales, was born in July, 1751. She married in October, 1766,
  Christian VII., King of Denmark. Before her departure from
  England, her portrait was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who
  complained that she was so constantly in tears that he could
  do justice neither to her nor to himself. The marriage proved
  unhappy. Her husband appears to have been a low brute, whose
  excesses impaired whatever mind he originally possessed. The
  queen, on her side, was guilty, at the least, of imprudences
  which were used against her by her enemies. During his travels,
  the king had made a favourite of a young physician named
  Struensee, who practically became Prime Minister, and, with his
  friend Brandt, governed Denmark. The Queen Dowager, Juliana
  Maria, stepmother of the king, placed herself, with her son
  Frederick, at the head of the malcontents. In January, 1772,
  Struensee and Brandt were arrested, and, after a protracted
  inquiry, executed in the following April. The queen was
  imprisoned at the Castle of Cronenbourg. From this prison she was
  released by the intervention of her brother, George III., and
  passed the few remaining years of her life at Zell, in Hanover,
  where her great-grandmother, Sophia Dorothea, had died in
  captivity. There she died in 1775, at the age of twenty-four.

  [148] The Princess Dowager (1719-1772), youngest daughter of
  Frederick II., Duke of Saxe Gotha, widow of Frederick, Prince of
  Wales, mother of George III. and the Queen Caroline of Denmark,
  died at Carlton House on February 8, 1772.

  [149] Either Joseph Cradock's adaptation of Voltaire's play _Les
  Scythes_, acted at Covent Garden under the title of _Zobeïde_,
  with a prologue by Goldsmith, or Cumberland's _Fashionable
  Lover_, as acted at Drury Lane. Both plays were published early
  in 1772.

  [150] _The History of the Famous Preacher, Friar Gerund de
  Campazas, otherwise Gerund Zotes._ London, 1772. 2 vols., 8vo.



122.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  London, 1772.

  *DEAR HOLROYD,

The sudden Change from the sobriety of Sheffield-Place to the
Irregularities of this Town, and to the Wicked Company of
Wilbraham,[151] Clarke,[152] Damer, &c. having deranged me a good
deal, I am forced to employ one of my secretaries to acquaint you
of a Piece of News I know nothing about myself. It is certain, some
extraordinary Intelligence is arrived this Morning from Denmark, & as
certain that the Levee was suddenly prevented by it. The Particulars
of that Intelligence are variously & obscurely told. It is said, that
the king had rais'd a little Physician to the Rank of Minister &
Ganymede: such a mad Administration had disgusted all the Nobility,
that the Fleet and army had rose, and shut up the King in his Palace.
_La Reine se trouve mêlée la dedans_, & it is reported that she is
confined, but whether in Consequence of the Insurrection, or of some
amorous amusements of her own, does not seem to be agreed. Such is
the rough Draft of an Affair that nobody yet understands. _Embrassez
de ma Part Madame, et le reste de la chère Famille._

  GIBBON.
  _et plus Bas_--WILBRAHAM, Sec.*

  [151] George Wilbraham, of Delamere Lodge, Cheshire.

  [152] Godfrey Bagnal Clarke, M.P. for Derbyshire, who had made
  the tour of Italy at the same time as Gibbon.



123.

_To his Stepmother._


  Saturday Evening, near eleven, '72.

  DEAR MADAM,

I did not intend to have troubled you till Monday or Tuesday, but I
have this moment found a note from Mrs. P. requesting some game, to
answer a hare, on Wednesday. At this season I know of no game but a
Turkey. Holroyd is in town, as active but not so effectual as I could
wish. He is pleased with Bricknall's _four_ plans, but wishes that he
would sketch out the outlines of them, on a single piece of paper,
that their relative situation may be seen at one view. Adieu, Dear
Madam, and believe me,

  Ever yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: THE ROYAL MARRIAGE ACT.]

124.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Boodle's, 10 o'clock, Monday night, Feb. 3rd, 1772.

*I love, honour, and respect every member of Sheffield-place; even my
great enemy Datch,[153] to whom you will please to convey my sincere
wishes, that no _simpleton_ may wait on him at dinner, that his wise
Papa may not show him any pictures, and that his much wiser Mamma may
chain him hand and foot, in direct contradiction to Magna Charta and
the Bill of Rights.

[Sidenote: THE OPENING OF THE PANTHEON.]

It is difficult to write news--because there are none. Parliament is
perfectly quiet; and I think that Barré,[154] who is just now playing
at Whist in the Room, will not have exercise of the lungs, except,
perhaps, on a Message much talked of, and soon expected, to recommend
it to the wisdom of the H. of C. to provide a proper future remedy
against the improper marriages of the younger branches of the royal
family.[155] The noise of Lutteral[156] is subsided, but there was
some foundation for it. The Colonel's expenses in his bold enterprise
were yet unpaid by government. The Hero threatened, assumed the
Patriot, received a sop, and again sunk into the Courtier. As to
Denmark, it seems now that the king, who was totally unfit for
government, has only passed from the hands of his Queen Wife to those
of his Queen Mother-in-Law. The former is said to have indulged a
very _vague_ taste in her Amours. She would not be admitted into the
Pantheon,[157] from whence the _Gentlemen Proprietors_ exclude all
beauty, unless unspotted and immaculate (tautology, by the by). The
_Gentlemen Proprietors_, on the other hand, are friends and patrons
of the Leopard Beauties. Advertising challenges have passed between
the two Great Factions, and a bloody battle is expected Wednesday
Night. _A propos_, the Pantheon, in point of Ennui and Magnificence,
is the wonder of the XVIIIth Century and the British Empire. Adieu.*

  [153] The name by which Mr. Holroyd's son called himself.

  [154] Colonel Isaac Barré (1726-1802), succeeded Lord Fitzmaurice
  as M.P. for Chipping Wycombe in 1761. He afterwards sat for
  Calne. He had served under Wolfe at Quebec, and appears in
  West's famous picture of the death of Wolfe. At the battle he
  lost his left eye, and in his picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds the
  right side of his face is turned towards the spectator. He was
  a prominent opponent of Lord North, and held office under the
  first Pitt, and subsequently in the Rockingham and Shelburne
  administrations.

  [155] The Duke of Cumberland married, in October, 1771, Mrs.
  Horton, a daughter of Simon Luttrell, Lord Irnham (afterwards
  Earl of Carhampton), "a young widow of twenty-four, with the
  most amorous eyes in the world, and eyelashes a yard long." The
  Duke of Gloucester, a few months later, avowed his clandestine
  marriage with Maria, an illegitimate daughter of Sir Edward
  Walpole, and widow of the second Earl of Waldegrave. The Royal
  Marriage Bill was brought in, in consequence of these marriages,
  on February 20, 1772, and became law in the following March.

  [156] Colonel Luttrell (1743-1821), brother of the Duchess of
  Cumberland, had been declared by the House to be elected for
  Middlesex against Wilkes in April, 1769, although the latter
  polled 1143 votes to Colonel Luttrell's 296. He was made
  adjutant-general of the land forces in Ireland; but in 1772,
  being discontented with the post, threatened to resign his
  seat for Middlesex, and so renew the struggle with Wilkes. The
  circumstances in which the appointment was made are noticed by
  Junius (August 22, 1770).

  [157] Walpole, writing in May, 1770, speaks of "a winter-Ranelagh
  erecting in Oxford Road at the expense of sixty thousand
  pounds." "Imagine Balbec in all its glory!" he writes, when
  it was approaching completion in April, 1771. The Pantheon,
  built by Wyatt, was opened on January 27, 1772, "to a crowded
  company of between fifteen hundred and two thousand people. In
  point of consequence, the company were an olio of all sorts;
  peers, peeresses, honourables, and right honourables, jew
  brokers, demireps, lottery insurers, and quack doctors" (_Annual
  Register_). It was destroyed by fire on January 16, 1792.

  Gentlemen and ladies could only subscribe to the Pantheon on
  the recommendation of a peeress, in order to prevent, as the
  proprietors announce in the _Gazetteer_ (December 17, 1771),
  "such persons only from obtaining subscriptions whose appearance
  might not only be improper but subversive of that elegance and
  propriety which they wish on every occasion to preserve." On the
  other hand, once admitted to be subscribers, they could introduce
  friends of any or no character. The struggle between the two
  factions was decided by the efforts of a number of gentlemen,
  headed by Mr. William Hanger, who, with drawn swords, succeeded
  in forcing an entrance for Mrs. Baddeley. Possibly Gibbon
  meant, instead of repeating "Gentlemen Proprietors," to mark
  the contrast by writing "Gentlemen Subscribers" in the second
  sentence. The dispute is alluded to in a poem published in 1772,
  called _The Pantheon Rupture; or, A Dispute between Elegance and
  Reason_. In their dialogue Elegance says--

    "I glory to keep on a _virtuous course_,
    And hate the very name of a _divorce_;
    Besides the _Managers_ admit none in,
    That e'er were known to have committed sin;--
    The needy dame, who makes of love a trade,
    These _Realms of Virtue_ must not dare invade;
    The company's selected from a class
    Too chaste to suffer _demireps_ to pass.

    REASON.

    But, _Elegance_, before more time you waste,
    Inform me, pray, are all those Ladies chaste?

    ELEGANCE.

    Chaste! surely yes.--The Managers admit
    None but chaste Ladies, in their virtuous set;
    Besides, if any one a slip hath made,
    A _Title_ hides it with oblivion's shade."



  125.

  _To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Boodle's, Saturday night, Feb. 8, 1772.

  *Though it is very late and the bell tells me that I have
  not above ten minutes left, I employ them with pleasure in
  congratulating you on the late Victory of our Dear Mamma the
  Church of England.[158] She had last Thursday 71 rebellious sons,
  who pretended to set aside her will on account of insanity:
  but 217 Worthy Champions, headed by Lord North, _Burke_, Hans
  Stanley, Charles Fox, Godfrey Clarke, &c., though they allowed
  the thirty-nine clauses of her Testament were absurd and
  unreasonable, supported the validity of it with infinite humour.
  By the by, C. F. prepared himself for that holy war, by passing
  twenty-two hours in the pious exercise of Hazard; his devotions
  cost him only about £500 per hour--in all £11,000. Gaby lost
  £5000. This is from the best authority. I hear, too, but will not
  warrant it, that Will Hanger,[159] by way of paying his court to
  L. C., has lost this winter £12,000. How I long to be ruined!

  There are two county contests, Sir Thomas Egerton and Colonel
  Townley in Lancashire,[160] after the county had for some time
  gone a-begging. In Salop, Sir Watkin, supported by Lord Gower,
  happened by a punctilio to disoblige Lord Craven, who told us
  last night, that he had not quite £9000 a-year in that county,
  and who has set up Pigot against him. You may suppose we all wish
  for Got Almighty,[161] against that Black Devil.

  I am sorry your journey is deferred. No news from Fleet Street.
  What shall I do? Compliments to Datch. As he is now in Durance,
  great minds forgive their enemies, and I hope he may be released
  by this time.----Coming, sir. Adieu.

  You see the P[rincess] of W[ales] is gone. Hans Stanley says, it
  is believed the Empress Queen[162] has taken the same journey.*

  [158] Parliament met January 21, 1772. On February 6, Sir
  W. Meredith presented a petition from the "Feathers Tavern
  Association," signed by two hundred and fifty clergymen, lawyers,
  and physicians, praying that their professions might be relieved
  from the necessity of subscription to the XXXIX. Articles. The
  House decided, by 217 to 71, not to receive the petition.

  [159] Afterwards the third Lord Coleraine.

  [160] Lord Archibald Hamilton, M.P. for Lancashire, accepted the
  stewardship of the Manor of East Hendred, January, 1772. Sir T.
  Egerton was elected in his place.

  [161] An allusion to the Welsh opinion that Sir Watkin Williams
  Wynn was as great a person. On the death of Sir John Astley, M.P.
  for Shropshire, Sir Watkin was elected.

  [162] Maria Theresa did not die till November, 1780.



[Sidenote: GOSSIP OF THE TOWN.]

126.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  London, Feb. 13, 1772.

  Dear H.,

The principal object of my writing to-night is to acquaint you, that
the old Anabaptist has escaped Damnation by sending in his papers,
&c., on the 10th Instant, the destined day of judgement. *They
arrived safe in town last night, and will be in your hands in their
intact virgin State in a day or two. Consider them at leisure, if
that word is known in the Rural life. Unite, divide, but above all
_raise_. Bring them to London with you: I wait your orders; nor shall
I, for fear of tumbling, take a single step till your arrival, which,
on many accounts, I hope will not be long deferred.* No news from
Fleet Street! What is their surveyor about?

*Clouds still hover over the Horizon of Denmark. The public
circumstances of the Revolution are related, and, I understand,
very exactly, in the foreign Papers. The secret springs of it still
remain unknown. The town, indeed, seems at present quite tired of
the subject. The Princess's death,[163] her Character, and what she
left, engross the Conversation. She died without a will; and as her
savings were generally disposed of in Charity, the small remains of
her personal fortune will make a trifling object when divided among
her Children. Her favourite, the P[rincess] of B[runswick][164]
very properly insisted on the K.'s immediately sealing up all the
papers, to secure her from the Idle reports which would be so readily
swallowed by the great English Monster. The business of L. and Lady
Grosvenor[165] is finally compromised, by the arbitration of the
Chancellor[166] and Lord Cambden. He gives her £1200 a year separate
maintenance, and £1500 to set out with; but, as her Ladyship is now a
new face, her Husband, who has already bestowed on the public seventy
young Beauties, has conceived a violent but hopeless passion for his
chaste Moiety.* Her brother Vernon told me, that he has now in his
hands a counter-affidavit of Countess Denhoff, in which she declares
that she received a sum of money to swear the former, the contents
of which are totally false. Such infamous conduct may blast her,
but can never acquit the other; any more than another allegation of
her friends, which must be only whispered to Mrs. H[orton], viz.
that though the D[uke] of C[umberland] possessed the inclination, he
wanted the power to injure _any_ husband. Poor Mrs. H.! Yet why do
I say poor?--*Lord Chesterfield is dying.[167] County Oppositions
subside.* Adieu. _Je me recommande._ Entirely yours.

  [163] _i.e._ The Princess of Wales.

  [164] Her eldest child, Augusta (1737-1813), married, in 1764,
  the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.

  [165] Henrietta Vernon, married to Lord Grosvenor in July, 1764,
  was seduced by the Duke of Cumberland. Lord Grosvenor brought an
  action against the duke for criminal conversation, July 5, 1770,
  and recovered damages in the sum of £10,000. Lady Grosvenor, who
  was separated, not divorced, married, in 1802, General Porter,
  M.P. for Stockbridge.

  [166] Lord Apsley.

  [167] Lord Chesterfield died March 24, 1773.



127.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, Feb. 17th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I would tell you that I have been somewhat out of order; a foulness
or fullness, call it as you please, in my stomach which occasioned an
ache as well there as in my head, and indeed a general languor all
over me. Turton, whom I called to my assistance, despising the solemn
nonsense of the faculty, has given me Pills with some James's Powder
in them, & I think the enemy has, or at least is sounding a retreat;
he has been marching off all this morning in very _loose_ order.

Bricknall is gone down to Holroyd in the same condition as I received
him. I expect that great man in town in a few days, and hope that
his active Genius will hasten and facilitate everything. You are so
good as to say, dear Madam, that you had no objection to your Annuity
being transferred from Bucks to Hants.

I propose sending you the draught of a Deed to that effect, which you
will please to return with any observations that may occur to you.
When do you go to Bath?

  Ever yours,
  E. G.



128.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Feb. 21, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

An exact man should acknowledge the receipt of Letters, Papers,
&c. How do I know for instance whether my Hampshire Acres, the
long expected fruits of my Anabaptist's Labours, may not be sunk,
irrecoverably sunk in the Sussex Dirt? *However, notwithstanding my
indignation, I will employ five minutes in telling you two or three
recent pieces of News.

1. Charles Fox is commenced Patriot, and is already attempting
to pronounce the words _Country_, _Liberty_, _Corruption_, &c.;
with what success, time will discover. Yesterday he resigned the
Admiralty.[168] The most probable account seems to be, that he could
not prevail on Ministry to join with him in his intended repeal of
the Marriage Act (a favourite measure of his father, who opposed it
from its origin,) and that Charles very judiciously thought Lord
Holland's friendship imported him more than Lord North's.

2. Yesterday the Marriage Message came to both Houses of Parliament.
You will see the words of it in the Papers; and, thanks to the
submissive piety of this Session, it is hoped that the Princes of the
next Generation will not find it so easy as their Uncles have done to
expose themselves and to burthen the Public.

[Sidenote: DR. NOWELL'S SERMON.]

3. To-day the House of C. was employed in a very odd way. Tommy
Townshend[169] moved, that the Sermon of Dr. Knowell, who preached
before the House on the 30th of January (_id est_, before the
Speaker and four Members,) should be burnt by the Common Hangman,
as containing arbitrary, Tory, High-flown doctrines. The House was
nearly agreeing to the Motion, till they recollected that they had
already thanked the Preacher for his excellent discourse, and ordered
it to be printed. Knowell's Bookseller is much obliged to the Right
Honourable Tommy Townshend.

When do you come to Town? I want Money, and am tired of sticking to
the Earth by so many Roots.* No news from Fleet Street. _Embrassez de
ma part la Sainte famille._ Adieu.

  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [168] Fox only retired from the Government on the Royal Marriage
  question. In January, 1773, he resumed office as one of the Lords
  of the Treasury.

  [169] Afterwards Lord Sydney. Dr. Nowell's sermon, which, it was
  alleged, inculcated passive obedience, was preached January 30,
  1772, at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The vote of thanks was
  voted January 31, and the sermon printed by desire of the House.
  On February 21 it was moved that, for the future, the thanks
  of the House should not be voted till the sermon was printed
  and delivered. The motion here attributed to Townshend was an
  expression of his opinion, given in the course of the debate.
  Lord North evaded the motion by moving the order of the day. On
  February 25 a motion was proposed and carried to expunge the
  entry of the vote of thanks.



129.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, February the 22nd, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I write by return of the Post, as you desire it, but have not
anything to say. Mr. Bayley, whom by this time you have probably
seen, saw me the day before yesterday, well, _perfectly well_, and
sucked me quite dry as to news.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



130.

_To his Stepmother._


  March 5th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I know you are so good as to be satisfied with my short notes, which,
from hurry and laziness, I defer to the moment the post is going out.
I am perfectly well and have entirely thrown off all remains of my
late disorder. Holroyd will be in town in a very few days, and I hope
will furnish me with materials for a more ample Letter. I now write
from Atwood's, a new Club into which I have been chose, and am now
thouroughly established. It is unnecessary to add how much I am,

  Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



131.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, March 21st, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I admit the justice of your kind reproaches, and without attempting
any idle excuses, I will endeavour to prove my repentance by my
amendment. We are now (Holroyd and myself) very busy, but with much
less success than I could wish. Though it has been mathematically
demonstrated to the Goose, that at twenty-two, he would make near 3
pr. cent. of his money, the Goose, for such he most truly is, after a
long shuffling dilatory suspense, without being able to find out his
own foolish mind, has this morning told me that he must at least for
the present decline it. We immediately proceed to an Advertisement,
and the Oracle has made the value of the thing so clear even to
me that I am almost as sanguine as himself. We are soon to have a
Conference about Beriton. He thinks the map you have sent will be
of use, and prevent his losing his Way, when he goes down with me
about Easter, as he will certainly do. As from Bricknall's slowness
it was impossible to let the Farms at Lady Day, they can only be let
at Michaelmas: and we, however reluctantly, go through another and
last Harvest. I am doubly anxious that it should be the last, not
only to have my own affairs in a smaller compass and clearer order,
but likewise to release you, dear Madam, from a melancholy situation,
which your affection for me has persuaded you to undertake.

[Sidenote: SIR RICHARD WORSLEY.]

*Sir Richard Worsley[170] is just come home. I am sorry to see many
alterations, and little improvement. From an honest wild English
buck, he is grown a _philosopher_. Lord Petersfield displeases every
body by the affectation of consequence: the young baronet disgusts
no less by the affectation of wisdom. He speaks in short sentences,
quotes Montaigne, seldom smiles, never laughs, drinks only water,
professes to command his passions, and intends to marry in five
months. The two lords, his uncle as well as Jemmy, attempt to show
him that such behaviour, even were it reasonable, does not suit this
country. He remains incorrigible, and is every day losing ground
in the good opinion of the public, which at his first arrival ran
strongly in his favour. Deyverdun is probably on his journey towards
England, but is not yet come.*

The attention of the Public is much engaged about the Marriage
Bill. The Princes of the Blood will lose their natural rights,
and a most odious law will be forced upon Parliament. I do not
remember ever to have seen so general a concurrence of all ranks,
parties, and professions of men. Administration themselves are the
reluctant executioners, but the King will be obeyed, and the bill is
universally considered as his, reduced into legal or rather illegal
form by Ld. Mansfield and the Chancellor. By the bye, the Duke of
Manchester told me the other day that since the bill Lady Waldegrave
has authorized all her friends to declare that she _is_ married. The
Duke and Duchess of C[umberland] are in town, but live in princely
solitude. He drives her about the streets in a Phaeton, and they have
sometimes concerts to which none but the Luttrel family are admitted.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [170] Sir R. Worsley succeeded to the baronetcy on the death, in
  1768, of Sir Thomas Worsley. He was M.P. for Newport, Isle of
  Wight, 1774-84, and for Newtown, Isle of Wight, 1790-1802. He
  was sworn a privy councillor, and made Governor of the Island in
  January, 1780. He was also Comptroller of the Royal Household. He
  published his _History of the Isle of Wight_ in 1781. In 1782,
  on the accession to office of the Rockingham administration, he
  was deprived of the Governorship of the Island in favour of the
  Duke of Bolton. As Diplomatic Resident at Venice, he made the
  collections and sketches which are reproduced in the _Museum
  Worsleyanum_ (2 vols., 1794-1803). He died in 1805. His only son
  predeceased him. His estates passed, through his only sister,
  Henrietta Frances (married to John Bridgman-Simpson, Esq.), to
  her only child, Henrietta, who married the Earl of Yarborough.



132.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, April 8th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

According to the indulgent conditions you have been so good as to
allow me, I only write to say that I am perfectly well, and that I
hope to be at Beriton towards the end of next week. The day is still
in suspense from some arrangements which do not entirely depend on
myself, and which have occasioned my missing a post or two. I believe
that I shall be able to fix it by Saturday or Tuesday at furthest.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



133.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, April 15th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

It was not in my power to write last Saturday night, as my friend
Clarke, on whom my motions partly depended, had not yet settled his
plan of operations. I can now say that I hope to dine with you on
Thursday. The aforesaid Clarke (who I think will please you) will
make us a visit next week: I shall return with him to Aldershot near
Farnham, and from thence to town. So near a prospect of seeing you
naturally stops my pen. The bill I received, and suppose it useless
to send down a draught, as I shall follow the post in a very few
hours.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: A TENANT FOR BERITON.]

134.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._[171]


  Beriton, April 21st, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

*I am just arrived, as well as yourself, at my Dii Penates, but with
very different intention. You will ever remain a Bigot to those
Rustic Deities; I propose to abjure them soon, and to reconcile
myself to the Catholic Church of London.* The inhabitants of this
evil Country are frightened and have frightened me about advertising
for proposals. _It has never been done, ergo it will never do,
&c._ There is a Man near Chichester who has made offers, will only
take the whole, buy all the stock. It is even _said_, that he does
not seem astonished at 18 or even 20 Shillings for the Low Hill
Ground, and every one is convinced that his purse is adequate to
his proposals. Suppose I was to write him a polite Epistle--his
character--first offer--willing to listen to his proposals, for
taking Miss Nancy Beriton into private keeping, before I throw her
upon the town. Decide.

Mrs. G. is well, and salutes you; but is not a little mortified at
not seeing you. She is doubtfull of herself and of Luff, and wished
you to examine into the _Present_ State of Europe. I foresee I must
look you over some day or other. In the mean time, I embrace Madame
(_autant qu'il m'est permis_) Datch, the Capering Lady, and the rest
of your family, Bipede and Quadrupede. I expect Clarke to-morrow, and
shall be in town the middle of next week.

  I am, yours sincerely,
  E. G.

  [171] This letter affords a curious, though extreme, instance of
  Lord Sheffield's editorial methods. The letter numbered XXXII. in
  Lord Sheffield's edition of "Letters to and from Edward Gibbon,
  Esq." (1814), is dated October 13, 1772. It begins with the first
  four lines of this letter, which was written on April 21, 1772.
  The next nine lines are taken from the commencement of the letter
  written on October 3, 1772. The five following lines consist of
  the letter written on November 3, 1772. The next four lines are
  taken from the letter dated October 30, 1772. The two following
  lines are from the letter written on October 15, 1772. Thus what
  purports to be a real letter in itself, proves to be a patchwork
  composed from five letters extending over a period of six months.



135.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, April 29th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

To-day one o'clock, I arrived in Town from Aldershot, perfectly well;
and now as ever,

  Most sincerely yours,
  E. G.



136.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, May the 5th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I excuse the cheat and consent to the money being employed as you
mention. I hope I shall not be obliged to take my revenge before I go
into the Country. When I have said that, after three very pleasant
days at Aldershot, I am returned with caution to my usual way of life
in town, I have no private news to add, except that the Masquerade
was dull and magnificent. I had the sole care of Mrs. I. above two
hours; a Parisian husband! As to public news I believe you may depend
on the L. of D[enmark]'s divorce, that Fregates[172] are going for
her, and that she will reside at Zell. My compliments to Mr. Bayly.
Clarke returns him a thousand thanks and wishes to feast his ears in
St. James's Street. Sir--The bell is going by--I have just done. Why
do I always write at eleven o'clock at night?

  I am, dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

I have wrote to Chatfield.

  [172] May 27, 1772.--"This afternoon three ships belonging to
  his Britannic Majesty cast anchor in the road of Elsineur. They
  are to convoy her Danish Majesty to Stade in her way to Zell"
  (_Annual Register_).



[Sidenote: TROUBLES OF A LANDOWNER.]

137.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Pall Mall, May 26, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

The reason, or if You like it better the pretence of my long silence,
was the waiting for an answer from my farmer, to whom I had wrote in
consequence of your permission. It came two or three days ago. He
thanks me for my offer, but has made a purchase in Sussex, and my
farm no longer suits him. This is surely the Season for letting it.
Shall I advertise? in which case an advertisement must be thought
of? or would it be better to impower Hugonin (whose honesty I can
trust as much, and whose knowledge far more than my own) to treat in
conjunction with Mrs. Gibbon, with any _Good_ Men, who may offer?
*I wish you lived nearer, or even that you could pass a week at
Beriton. When shall you be at Richmond, or would there be any _use_
in my going down to Sheffield for a day or two? In thee alone I put
my trust, and without thee I should be perplexed, discouraged, and
frightened; for not a single fish has yet bit at the Lenbourough bait.

I dined the other day with Mr. Way[173] at Boodle's. He told me, that
he was just going down to Sheffield. As he has probably unladen all
the politics, and Mrs. Way all the scandal of the town, I shall for
_the present only_ satisfy myself with the needfull; among which I
shall always reckon my sincere compliments to Madame, and my profound
respects for Mr. Datch.

  I am, dear H.,
  Truly Yours,
  E. G.

It is confidently asserted that the Emperor and K. of P. are to run
for very deep stakes over the Polish Course.[174] If the news is
true, I back Austria against the aged Horse, provided little Laudohn
rides the match. _N.B._--Crossing and jostling allowed.*

  [173] Probably Mr. Benjamin Way, the brother of Lady Sheffield.
  His wife was a daughter of Dr. Cooke, Provost of King's College,
  Cambridge.

  [174] In Poland, desultory hostilities had been carried on for
  several years between the Roman Catholics, favoured by France,
  and the Dissidents (_i.e._ those embracing any other form of
  Christian faith), supported by Russia. Taking advantage of the
  anarchy which King Stanislaus Poniatowski was powerless to
  control, Frederick the Great, the Empress Catherine, and the
  Emperor Joseph II. proposed to occupy those provinces which were
  respectively most contiguous to their own dominions. The result
  was the partition of Poland, August, 1772. Field-Marshal Laudohn
  (1716-1790) is said to have been of Scottish origin. During
  the Seven Years' War he had proved himself, at the head of the
  Austrian forces, a formidable antagonist to Frederick the Great.



138.

_To his Stepmother._


  June the 10th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

Two reasons (assisted, as you will, by a laziness of nature) have
kept me silent for several posts. The one of a pleasant, the other of
a disagreeable kind.

1. Deyverdun is at length arrived, and has explained fully to my
satisfaction the reasons of his whole conduct, tho' they are such
as it is not permitted me to reveal. Lord Chesterfield was not in
the least offended at having been obliged to wait, and my friend
with young Stanhope sets out for the University of Leipsic about the
middle of next week. As I have so short a period to enjoy his Company
between two such intervals of separation, I am obliged to give up
every other engagement, and to sacrifice every other business in
order to snatch the hours which he is able to give me. He begs his
most gratefull compliments to you, and laments that his time will not
allow him to present them himself.

2. The other reason was an inflammation in my Eyes, which is now
perfectly removed, but which I had most richly deserved by going from
a melting Garrick's to cool myself at Vauxhall.

[Sidenote: ENQUIRIES AS TO THE CROPS.]

The Oracle is astonished at the general neglect of the World about
Lenborough. He commands me, if they do not come in sooner, to raise
the rents myself at Michaelmas. In the meanwhile he is not in a
hurry about the farm, thinks that both transactions should move
together, and is sure that I do not lose by it. I am not disinclined
to follow his advice, and my only objection is on your account. I am
exceedingly glad to hear the Goulds are preparing to visit us. I say
us, for I hope to meet them on or before the last day of this month.
I shall likewise write to Holt. Pray how does the Corn--and the Hops
look?--I called on Sir John Miller this morning and found him laid up
with the small-pox. Sir Matthew is breaking up very fast.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



139.

_To James Scott, Esq._


  Pall Mall, Cocoa Tree, June the 16th, 1772.

  DEAR SIR,

I have not troubled you during the Winter, as I had frequent
opportunities of hearing of your health, and as I well knew that
neither of us were extremely fond of writing. But it is now time to
put you in mind that the season is approaching when Beriton is the
most tolerable. The Colonel and Mrs. Gould will make us a visit,
and I flatter myself that our last Summer there will not be the
least agreable. I propose being down the first of next month, and,
unless it was inconvenient to you, have a particular reason for
wishing to meet you there. The Clarkes (as you may well suppose) are
impatient, and will expect to hear from me as soon as I get down:
but as your company and assistance will be of the greatest use, I
must make a praevious visit into Sussex, and spend some days with
Holroyd, till you can conveniently come. I must therefore beg the
favour of a line.--My fair Prospects about Lenborough are very much
darkened by many unforeseen accidents. However all will come round
again. D'Eyverdun begs to be remembered to you. He has spent only a
fortnight in England, and sets out again to-morrow night with Mr.
Stanhope.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most sincerely yours,
  E. GIBBON.



140.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, July 2nd, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

You will excuse a Laconic Epistle when I tell you, that I hold fast
the lively hope of dining with you, as well as with Colonel and
Mrs. Gould (to whom I beg my respects) next Monday. Should the Bans
be forbid by any lawfull cause or impediment, I will write a line
Saturday night.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: DEATH OF MR. HOLROYD'S SON.]

141.

_To Mrs. Holroyd, Sen._


  Beriton, near Petersfield, Hampshire, July the 17th, 1772.

  MADAM,

*There is not any event which could have affected me with greater
surprise and deeper concern, than the news in last night's paper, of
the death of our poor little amiable friend Master Holroyd,[175] whom
I loved, not only for his Parents' sake, but for his own. Should the
news be true (for even yet I indulge some faint hopes,) what must
be the distress of our friends at Sheffield! I so truly sympathize
with them, that I know not how to write to Holroyd; but must beg to
be informed of the state of the family by a line from you. I have
some Company and business here, but would gladly quit them, had I the
least reason to think that my presence at Sheffield would afford the
least comfort or satisfaction to the man in the world whom I love and
esteem the most.

  I am, Madam,
  Your most obedient humble Servant,
  E. GIBBON.*

  [175] John William Holroyd, at that time the only son of Mr.
  Holroyd.



142.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, July the 30th, 1772.

  MY DEAR HOLROYD,

*It was my intention to set out for Sheffield as soon as I received
your affecting Letter, and I hoped to have been with you as to-day;
but walking very carelessly yesterday morning, I fell down, and put
out a small bone in my ancle. I am now under the Surgeon's hands, but
think, and most earnestly hope, that this little accident will not
delay my journey longer than the middle of next week. I share, and
wish I could alleviate, your feelings. I beg to be remembered to Mrs.
Holroyd.*

  I am, My Dear Holroyd,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



143.

_To James Scott, Esq._


  Beriton, August the 2nd, 1772.

  DEAR SIR,

Though I have been near three weeks in the country, I have still been
prevented from writing to you by the want of anything to say, as well
as by the fear of hurrying you away from a place so conducive to your
health. But the C.'s have been silent, and my other affairs are so
unfortunately at a stand, I am not sorry to protract that unpleasant
one. I am going next Wednesday into Sussex to condole with my friend
Holroyd on the loss of his only son. But you will find in the mean
time Mrs. G. and a sincere welcome at Beriton. Should your friendship
oblige you to go to town (which I think cannot be suddenly) I will
attend you there, and endeavour to make the Journey as little
inconvenient to you as I possibly can.

  I am, Dear Sir,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



144.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield Place, August the 7th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I found a good deal of Company at Up-Park, Harry[176] and Tutor,
Franklin and Wife, Batten and son; Sir James and Lady Peachy came
to drink Tea, and I should have passed a very pleasant day, had it
not been for the spectacle of poor Sir Matthew, who is visibly and
_litterally_ dying. *I set out at six yesterday morning, got to
Brighthelmstone about two--a very thin season, everybody gone to Spa.
In the evening I reached this place. My friend appears, as he ever
will, in a light truly respectable; concealing the most exquisite
sufferings under the show of Composure and even chearfulness, and
attempting though with little success to confirm the weaker mind of
his Partner.* I apprehend (tho' with much uncertainty) that my stay
will not exceed a fortnight. Adieu, Dear Madam, remember me to Mr.
Scott and the Baylys who (I hope) are with you, and believe me,

  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [176] Eldest son of Sir Matthew Featherstonhaugh, and his
  successor in the baronetcy.



[Sidenote: TOUR WITH THE HOLROYDS.]

145.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield, August 21st, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I thought by this time to have been leaving this place, but I find
my friend who is still very low, expresses so much uneasiness at the
Idea of my quitting him, that I cannot refuse him the remainder of
the month. *If Mr. Scott, as I suppose, is at Buriton, he has himself
too high a sense of Friendship not to excuse my neglecting him. Once
I had some hopes of engaging Mr. and Mrs. H. to make an excursion
to Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Southampton, &c.: in which case they
would have spent a day or two at Beriton.* At present there is a
possibility though no great likelyhood of such a scheme being put in
execution.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



146.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield Place, August 25th, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

*A sudden resolution was taken last night in favour of the Tour
mentioned in my last. We set out, Mr. and Mrs. H., a Mr. Faukier and
myself, next Thursday, and shall dine at Beriton the following day,
and stay there most probably three or four days. A Farmhouse without
either Cook or Housekeeper will afford but indifferent entertainment,
but we must _exert_ and they must _excuse_.* Our Tour will last about
a fortnight, after which my friend presses me to return with him, and
in his present situation, I shall be at a loss how to refuse him.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



147.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, September the 25th, 1772.

Blessings on the man (his name is now buried in oblivion) who first
invented the loud trumpet of Advertisements. Blessings on those two
great men, the intrepid Holroyd and the prudent Hugonin, without
whose charitable aid the wretched Gibbon must for ever have grovelled
in the mire of Beriton.

We much depended, as you may remember, on the Rumsey Farmer and the
Distiller. But--_omne quod humanum instabile_. The latter never
replied to the letter which I sent him, the former missed the
appointed Wednesday and threw me into an agony of despair, which
was soon changed into joy on the discovery that I had escaped a
very indifferent Tenant. Many candidates succeeded, a letter from
Norfolk, and farmers of various appearance and from different places.
Luff (I believe he used no foul play) always chose to show the farm,
and then conducted them to Hugonin, who debated the matter with
them over a bowl of Punch and then acquainted me with the result.
It would be tedious and at present of little use to expatiate on
the objections, difficulties, &c. At last a Farmer named Winton
from Shoreham who knows you (by the bye, all the farmers abuse you,
a high compliment!) made his appearance: the father is a man of
substance, 200 a year of his owne, the son a brisk active fellow
about thirty, both of unexceptionable character, and throughout the
whole transaction uncommonly fair and candid. They take all my stock
at an appraisement, sheep excepted (they don't like the sort), and
allow me a year for repairs, about which they gladly take Hugonin for
Umpire, and have not indeed demanded any one unreasonable thing. I
have given at their request a thirty years' lease, and immediately
signed a legal article. Monday sennight the stock will be appraised
by one on each side.

In a word, all is settled and (though I have given up something of
the proposed rent) I should think it one of the most agreeable days
of my life, were it not embittered by the uneasiness I feel on Mrs.
G.'s account. She refused to yield an iota of her pretensions, and
even to allow the Tenant any Rick Yard, or a way from the Lawn into
his farm-yard. She was repeatedly told that every farmer did and
ever would reject the farm on such terms. At length she gave Hugonin
authority to say that she had given up all thoughts of the place: but
her temper both then and since has been very different from what I
could wish it. She is angry if she is not constantly consulted, and
yet takes up everything with such absolute quickness, that we all
dread to consult her. She is at present I fear equally offended with
me, with Hugonin and Mr. Scott. Nothing shall however abate my regard
for her, and as soon as I can discover whether she will fix on Bath
or some country place, she may command every service within my power.
All this _sub sigillo amicitiæ_.

I am summoned to dress. The Jolliffes dine here. Adieu. Every kind
wish to Mrs. H.



[Sidenote: BERITON LET.]

148.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, 3rd October, 1772.

*I am so happy, so exquisitely happy, at feeling so many Mountains
taken off my shoulders, that I can brave your indignation, and even
the three-forked lightning of Jupiter himself. My reasons for taking
so unwarrantable a step (approved of by Hugonin) were no unmanly
despondency (though it daily became more Apparent how much the farm
would suffer, both in reality and in reputation, by another year's
management),* but the following grounds. 1. The being secure against
repairs for so long a term, and 2. The giving the Tenant a durable
interest to use my land like his own. The Revolutions of this country
may take various turns within that period; nor do I recollect that,
although you fixed on 21 years, you so strongly disaproved of a
longer term. However the Mischief is done; and I can only wish that,
at or about Michaelmas in the year of our Lord God one Thousand seven
hundred and ninety-three, you convince me that Gib-ben knows no more
of country business than Maria, which by that time most probably will
be very true. The rent after deducting Ponds, Yards, &c. (which every
tenant objected to) is very little short of the grand desideratum
twenty and ten, a price which fills the country round with terror
and amazement. The Tenant is confessedly rich, and in this whole
transaction about Covenants, repairs &c., has shewn himself the
reverse of _eminently troublesome_. The father may perhaps be
slovenly, the son who is properly my Tenant is (in H.'s opinion) a
very active, clever, sensible fellow.

But to turn from the past to the future. _My Bucks Tenants_ have all
consented (though 'tis very "_heard_") to pay Church and Poor, but
before they sign the paper, they wish to wait on me, either here or
in London, and Harris hints to me their intended request, "That they
may have the cutting of the Hedges for wood for their own use, but
not to sell any; and to cut such hedges as I think proper, and so
much in the year; to be done in a husband-like manner, and to do all
their own repairs, thatching and everything." On consulting Hugonin,
I found that what they ask is allowed in this part of the country,
so that I am almost enclined by sending them a gracious permission
to secure their signature and prevent the deputation of the Savages.
However I wait for orders. It is of more consequence to consider what
further steps may be taken with regard to the disposal of Lenborough;
for as I now see land, I am very impatient to get ashore. Suppose
_you made Gosling_ acquainted with all difficulties being smoothed
and made him a final offer for--the Mortgage _and_ £5000 shall we
say? It is surely worth it. If he refuses We have no resource but
the hazardous one of a Auction. Think of it: and of the steps to be
taken, and whether in the last case we may not _divide_ with success.

Mrs. G. is now cheerfull and I hope satisfied: but I fancy _will
hardly accept_ of your obliging invitation this year. To-morrow we
appraise the stock. The _week after I carry my_ Hops to Weyhill. On
my return we shall find much to do in settling the plan of selling
my corn during the winter, selecting the choicest furniture and
preparing for _an auction of the rest_. She is then desirous of
going to look about her at Bath, where I shall attend her, and on my
return shall be impatient to examine London in quest of a comfortable
habitation. We shall probably meet when you are on your Surrey (I
suppose Richmond) scheme, and you will find me a sure resource in the
bleak season when you can get nobody else. Adieu.



149.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, 15th October, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

I am most seriously uneasy with regard to what you say of Mrs. H.,
her health, her spirits and her thinness. I wish she may receive
benefit from Dr. Pepys's prescription, but am of opinion that change
of air and amusements would prove the best Physician. Recollect the
service our little tour was to her, consider that the evenings are
growing long and Sheffield Place affords no variety of objects or
company. _You know she loves Bath_, which is now in season, and I
should think that place would fill up the gloomy vacuity between this
time and Christmas. *If among a crowd of acquaintances one friend can
afford you any comfort, I am quite at your service there.*

[Sidenote: LEAVING BERITON.]

You know as much as I do of Lord Verney's tythe. Harris has not
answered that part of my letter; probably he had not seen his
Lordship. I write to him by this post to enquire into that matter,
& to order him absolutely _to lett the Underwood_, and, if he can,
to prevail on the Tenants to pay something more for the liberty of
cutting the hedges. Whatever is done about the sale must be _done
quickly_, and on that account I fear not so well. The Goslings are
impatient. I know not how to ask them for another year, and to take
up so large a sum for one Year only would be attended with much
difficulty and expence. They wish, if I cannot speedily dispose of
Bucks, I would pay off part by the sale of the New River share, for
which I know they have a hankering. It is a most delicious bit of
Property, and I should be sorry to part with it for such a price as
one commonly gets by a forced sale. If they would give me a _rotund_
sum for both, it might perhaps tempt. I wish to hear from you soon.
Everything is hastening to a dissolution. Winton has taken my stock
(_all_ the horses), but the appraisement came short of what I
expected (not quite £1000). I believe many of the things, live and
dead, were old. Last Monday I went with Mr. Scott to Weyhill fair,
and sold my hops pretty well. The sheep are moving off very fast. My
Corn, a noble stock, will be threshed out and sold _sous les Yeux
de_ Mr. Luff. The household furniture will be sold by auction after
my departure, but I reserve a great deal (most assuredly the three
pictures) for my house in Town. Hugonin undertakes the repairs, so
that I see nothing which can prevent my quitting this damned place in
about a fortnight or three Weeks. As soon as I have deposited Mrs. G.
at Bath, I shall be quite my own Master. Adieu.

  E. G.



150.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, 21st of October, 1772.

To quit a subject now become a matter of curiosity, I shall only say
that in this country the Hampshire Gentleman is supposed to have
lett his farm exceedingly high, and that on every side he hears
compliments from the Gentlemen and clamours from the Farmers. He
did not _sneakingly conceal, &c._ The Tenant pays for the seeds, the
Fallows were given him, from the opinion of Hugonin, &c., who agreed
that they were very ill made. But now, hark forward.

The Gosling's impatience will I fear hurry us very unpleasantly.
Their proposal of _the New River_ share would not suit in any
respect. It brings in at least £260 pr. annum, yearly encreasing, and
must, I should think, as freehold be worth thirty years' purchase;
call it £8000. The average (for it varies prodigiously) of _the
Copper share_ is under £100. I cannot think it would sell for more
than £1500. When that was done, instead of a surplus of Money, I
should find myself possessed of two Landed Estates, with at least
£7000 mortgage on one of them, and for a time totally disabled from
buying a house or forming any plans of life, for a great deal of the
farm stock must go towards paying a variety of middling debts of my
most careless Father, which it was unnecessary to trouble you with.
So that scheme will never answer. I tell my Fleet Street friends that
if it will be very inconvenient to them to allow me another year,
or even to stay the Winter, I must endeavour to get their Mortgage
transferred for a twelfmonth to some other Person, which cannot be
done without trouble and expence. In either case we must act with
vigour. I am so far from chusing to _sell under 30 years' purchase_
(a bare £20,000 without Manor, &c.) that I think _that a very sorry
price: They are still at old Rents. Why cannot we try an auction of
the whole_ before we divide? _I wish to see you, and think Denham_
a good place of Rendez-vous: But before I can get from hence, carry
Mrs. G. to Bath, and traverse to Bucks, it will grow _towards the
10th of November_. Will that do? To another man, I should talk
nonsense about trouble, obligation, gratitude, &c. &c. To you, I only
say, If I can't meet you at Denham, _take R. Way with you_, carve
Lenborough and let the Deed itself serve you for a reward. I have had
another letter from Harris: not a word _about Lord V._ But he speaks
of _Mr. Monkeith_, a rich man who liked the Estate, and objected only
to the Poor's tax. I desired he would give him my direction at the
Cocoa Tree, and inform that that objection was removed. Adieu. _You
do not say_ a word about Mrs. H. I hope she is better.

  E. G.



[Sidenote: DEATH OF MR. PATTON.]

151.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, October 30th, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

The steps you are taking seem perfectly right and promise success.
I have not heard anything from Monkeith as yet, but have received a
letter from Mr. Scott in town that Clive would send a purchaser (I
know nothing more) to talk with my lawyer Newton. The more irons in
the fire the better. Partly for business and principally to breath,
for I am almost suffocated, I propose running up to town (you shall
have a line from thence) Sunday and down here again Thursday.

I was in hopes by this time to have been in motion. Our preparations
have been thrown a full fortnight back by the illness and death of
Mrs. G.'s brother, that poor invalid whom you saw at Beriton. It
can hardly be called a loss, as his life would only have been a
burthen to himself and others; yet a few moments must be given to
Nature, and a few days to decency. By the best calculations it must
be at least the 20th instead of the tenth before I can meet you in
Bucks. However, if your days are counted and you judge my presence
necessary, all other business must yield to that most important one.
Adieu. Excuse a double letter, I did not perceive I was writing on a
half sheet. *Sincerely glad to hear Mrs. H. is better. Still I think
Bath would suit her. She, and you too I fear, rather want the Physic
of the mind than of the body. Tell me something about yourself.* Once
more--Adieu.

  Cocoa Tree, Tuesday, Eleven o'Clock, Nov. 3rd, 1772.

*I see pleasure but not use in a Congress, therefore decline it. I
know nothing as yet of a purchaser, and can only give you full and
unlimited powers. If you think it necessary, let me know when you
sell; but, however, do as you please.* Where am I to write to you
next; you are acquainted with our Route. Adieu.



152.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Beriton, 15th November, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

As the day draws near and my cares diminish, I think my hurry
encreases--expect only four lines--Way's terms I leave to you, his
own appear _smart_ to me.--An indifferent plan I have found and will
bring with me, but without a measurement.--If Way is employed, some
deference must I think be paid to his opinion about the time of sale.
The delay is short and the difference he talks of immense; else I am
tired of being a Landlord at 2¾ and as Tenant at 4½ per cent.
I told you of my letter to Fleet Street several weeks ago, refusing
the Copper share, and requesting, if _necessary_, another year. I
have had no answer: silence I suppose gives consent. If you are in
town you might call. I go from this place for ever, next Thursday.
Mrs. G. will hover about Up-Park and Maple Durham about a fourteen
days longer, till the servants she takes to Bath are recovered from
Inoculation. She insists on my not going with her, as it is so much
later than we first imagined. I go to town directly to look for a
House. Another business, but that is a pleasant one.

  E. G.

Harris does not like to have anything to say to Lord V[erney]. Once
(he says) my father attempted to take the Tythe in kind: it amounted,
_toute dépense faite_, only to £8. Can you account for it?



153.

_To his Stepmother._


  Newman Street, Thursday Night, '72.

  DEAR MADAM,

I got safe to town about four o'clock, and now write from Mrs.
P.'s fire-side, who desires her best compliments to you. Farther
particulars by Saturday night's post, though I much fear the Houses
will not do. By that time I hope you will be removed from the ruins
of Beriton. Has Mr. Barton got his pony? The saddle met with an
accident the other day, but Poynter has orders to repair and deliver
it to the Rector; he will easily find out his books. I found a note
from Jolliffe, who wants to see me to-morrow morning; but I have
something else to do.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

Your ticket by this time is bought. If you have the £20,000, I shall
charge brokerage.



[Sidenote: SEARCH FOR HOUSE IN LONDON.]

154.

_To his Stepmother._


  November 21st, 1772.

DEAR MADAM,

Had I not promised you some account of my proceedings by to-night's
post, I should have deferred it till Tuesday, for though I have seen
much I have done little or nothing. Houses rise to my enquiry every
moment, but where is a perfect house or perfect man to be found?
Lady Rous's is one of the most pleasing (Bentinck Street),[177] but
I neither like the offices nor two pair of stairs. Mrs. Bernard's
worthy Tenant (Sir Everard) declares that he will neither suffer
any one to see his house nor quit it till the last extremity of the
law. The Lord of Petersfield,[178] to whom I am indebted for three
blank Visets, has sent me word of a house in Argyle Street which I
am to see Monday, as well as another strongly recommended by a Lady
in Mrs. Porten's street (Newman Street). My wise friends check my
impatience: my foolish ones, whom on this occasion I think wiser,
encourage it; however I will do nothing rash.--Henry means to go down
to Beriton next week; he has left some things there which he fears
will be swept away in the general inundation. Wherever you are, dear
Madam, whether at the proud Up-park or the humble Maple Durham, I beg
my best Compliments to the natives, and the earliest intelligence of
your intended motions, which I much fear it will be out of my power
to attend without losing sight of my enchanted palaces.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [177] Sir John Rous, M.P. for Suffolk, died October 31, 1771, and
  from his widow Gibbon took 7 Bentinck Street, where he lived till
  September, 1783.

  [178] William Jolliffe, M.P. for Petersfield, Commissioner of
  Trade and Plantations.



155.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, Dec. 2nd, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

It pleased my Lord Godolphin to speak by a letter directed to Beriton
a few days since, which he hopes you had. Since the receipt of your
last, he paused, as not knowing whether he should direct to the top
or bottom of the hill.

The stops I have met with about my houses would require pages instead
of lines, but I believe in the end I shall settle in Bentinck Street.
I am at this moment in such hot pursuit of it that I fear it will be
out of my power to attend you to Bath, without running risks to which
I am sure you would be sorry to expose me. I wish you may find Bath
easier or be yourself less difficult than I have been in London. I
hope the best of the sale, but am sensible that it must in a great
measure be left to the Chapter of Accidents. I will write to Sir Hugh
about the business of Patrick's, which falls in luckily enough. Your
ticket I have enclosed, two days ago it was undrawn. May it be the
rival of 345! Adieu! dear Madam. Give my compliments to Mr. & Mrs.
Bayley, and if I do not hear from you sooner, let me hear a good
account of your Bath journey; till I receive it I shall not easily
satisfy myself for not having attended you there.

  Yours sincerely,
  E. G.

You have received two letters from me since my arrival, both from
Mrs. Porten's. If you have not had the last, I suspect her servant
and want to enquire into it.



[Sidenote: AN ATTACK OF GOUT.]

156.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Pall Mall, Dec. 11th, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

*By this time, I suppose you returned to the Elysian fields of
Sheffield. The Country (I do not mean any particular reflections on
Sussex) must be vastly pleasant at this time of the Year! For my
own part, the punishment of my sins has at length overtaken me. On
Thursday, the third of December, in the present year of our Lord, one
Thousand seven hundred and seventy-two, between the hours of one and
two in the Afternoon, as I was crossing St. James's Church Yard, I
stumbled, and _again sprained my foot_; but, alas! after two days'
pain and Confinement, a horrid monster, _ycleped the Gout_, made me
a short Visit; and though he has now taken his leave, I am full of
apprehensions that he may have liked my company well enough to call
again.

The Parliament, after a few soft murmurs, is gone to sleep, to wake
again after Christmas,[179] safely folded in Lord North's[180]
arms. The town is gone into the Country, and I propose _visiting
Sheffield_ about Sunday se'nnight, if by that time I can get my
household preparations (I have as good as taken Lady Rous's lease
in Bentinck-Street) in any forwardness. Shall I _angle for Batt_?
No news stirring, except the Dutchess of G[loucester]'s pregnancy
certainly declared.[181] Way called on me the other day, and has
taken my plan with him to consider it; he still wishes to defer to
Spring; talks of bad roads, &c. and is very absolute. I remonstrated,
_but want to know whether I am to submit_.* Before I go out of town
_I must call to settle with_ the Gosling. I am afraid of _some
peremptory_ declaration, though I flatter myself they would not
materially injure me by a precipitated sale. *Adieu. _Clarke_, who is
writing near me, begs to be remembered. The savage is going to hunt
Foxes in Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, &c. Yours
sincerely.*

  [179] Parliament adjourned from December 23, 1772, to January 22,
  1773.

  [180] An allusion to Lord North's habit of sleeping in the House
  of Commons. He slumbered, as Gibbon says in his Autobiography,
  between the Attorney-General (Thurlow) and the Solicitor-General
  (Wedderburn), who roused him when it was necessary that he should
  speak. On one occasion a member of the Opposition exclaimed,
  in reproach of his somnolence, "Even now the noble lord is
  slumbering over the ruin of his country!" "I wish to Heaven,"
  muttered Lord North, slowly opening his eyes, "that I was!"

  [181] Her daughter, Sophia Matilda (1773-1844), was born May 29,
  1773.



157.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Tuesday Evening, 15th December, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

My letter which crossed yours has already apologized for my silence
and inactivity. Yesterday morning, however, I went to see a house
for you in Duke Street to be lett for any term or in any manner.
The pro and con are dispatched in a few words--Vile street, good
quarter--An excellent house, spacious and convenient, but a little
old-fashioned--The price ten Guineas a week.--Colonel Amherst had
been already applied to by somebody else, but will neither lett nor
leave his furniture.

I enquired about a house ready furnished in Hill Street, 400 Guineas
a year for not less than three years certain. I shall pursue my
enquiries, now I am getting stronger, but I think for your sake as
well as my own I shall defer my Visitation four or five days.

I have not slept about my house in Bentinck Street, for, as I have
accepted Lady Rous's lease, I call it my own. Ireland the Upholder
visited it with me this morning, and, to omitt other particulars,
talked of Book-cases, quite agrees in the proscription of Mahogany.
The paper of the Room will be a fine shag flock paper, light blue
with a gold border, the Book-cases painted white, ornamented with a
light frize: neither Doric nor Dentulated (that was yours) Adamic.
The Dog was to have sent me drawings to-night to enclose to you, but
has disapointed me. I am afraid I can hardly wait for them. I am
called to supper. Adieu.



158.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  London, December, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

I was indeed alarmed, both at the cause of your apprehensions and at
your temper of mind--so much alarmed that I knew not what to say, and
therefore said nothing. I have this moment (on my return from the
play) received your comfortable epistle, and rejoyce with you and
Mrs. Holroyd.--I have nothing new to tell you concerning houses, only
that the Courtier promised to send you particulars of a desirable
one in Saville Row. Were I worthy to advise I would recommend to you
to take up with a common lodging house (of those there are plenty)
at so much a week; the first fortnight will shew you numbers of more
desirable ones. Adieu.

  E. G.



159.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Night, 19th December, 1772.

  DEAR H.,

I am sorry at not hearing from you to-night, because I apprehended
that if our poor little friend had been perfectly recovered you would
have been impatient to have told me so. Mrs. Clive has had your note
and I suppose has separated in consequence: but I don't myself think
the house will do,--the street! You may have coach-house and stables
in the neighbourhood, but the man (who is impatient for a positive
answer) cannot keep the house (as to the commencement of rent) longer
than the 10th of January. I tried this morning a house in Henrietta
Street, Cavendish Square--lett the day before--I have just heard of
another in Dover Street, a charming situation, not less than six
months certain, seven Guineas a week. I will see it Monday morning.
Several things about my house and another unexpected affair will
not allow me dine at S. P. before Thursday, when you may positively
expect me. I called at Payne's the other day, he has secured such of
your members as remained. The next time I call I will mention Lord B.
Adieu.



[Sidenote: SETTLED IN BENTINCK STREET.]

160.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, December 21st, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I should be very uneasy at your prolonged silence, especially at this
critical juncture, if I had not heard from Mr. Scott that you are
arrived at Bath safe, though not perfectly well. I hope, as indeed
I have hoped for several posts past, that a letter is now on the
road to tell me that you have got the better of your fatigues and
indisposition, that you begin to relish the new scene, and that you
have seen a house to your mind. For me, I have at last pitched on
Lady Rouse's house in Bentinck Street, which I have only taken till I
find whether the place, situation, &c., will suit me. My upholsterer
is hard at work, and whilst he is employed, I shall set out next
Thursday for Holroyd's, stay about a fortnight, send up for my books
and _young_ Housekeeper about the middle of next month, and get into
my new Habitation towards the end of it; in which last article I
possibly flatter myself too lightly. I think I shall be comfortable,
and when I have shaken off the load of Lenborough dirt, not unhappy,
which in this life is saying a great deal. In the meantime I have
absolutely settled with Clark and Rout, and got a discharge for £900
less than I at first expected. I am rather vain of my conduct of that
intricate business. Adieu, Dear Madam, Mrs. Porten begs her love and
Compliments to you. I desire you would present mine (though love is
rather too strong) to Mrs. Gould.

  I am, most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

The Jolliffes have advanced and I have retreated almost by equal
steps.



161.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, December 22nd, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I have nothing about myself to add to my letter of last night, except
to answer your obliging anxiety about my Gout, which Mr. Scott took
the trouble of mentioning to you. A sprain in the same foot as last
year brought on a kind of inflammation which was suspected to be that
dignified disorder; but I much doubt the fact, and be it as it may,
the whole was over in four or five days, and I am now strong and well.

You know, dear Madam, how many various calls I have upon me, but
yours will always stand the first, and will be answered whenever it
is most convenient to you.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most sincerely yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: DEATH OF A FRIEND.]

162.

_To his Stepmother._


  Pall Mall, December 31st, 1772.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am called upon to perform a melancholy office, and to acquaint you
with what I am sure you will esteem a loss, whatever accession of
fortune you may derive from it.

Last Sunday sevennight I dined with our friend Mr. Scott at Mrs.
Porten's, and thought him remarkably well and in spirits. On Thursday
I went down into Sussex, and the bad foggy weather we had in town
prevented my calling upon him in the mean time. He was however
already very much out of order, with a bad cold apparently and a
general weakness; his Apothecary however thought him in no danger,
till Dr. Fothergill, who was sent for, apprehended there was a great
deal, though he would not suffer the people of the House to acquaint
him with it. They, on the Monday 28th instant, thought it incumbent
on them to inform Mr. Oliver, the only friend of his they knew, of
his dangerous situation. Mr. Oliver, on the receipt of their very
pressing letter, immediately dispatched a Post Office Express to Mr.
Gibbon of Petersfield, and the Express (returned by the care of Mr.
Bayley and Griffiths of the Cocoa Tree) reached me last night very
late at Sheffield Place. I came up to Town this morning, but was too
late. Your kinsman and my friend had already terminated a blameless
and happy life by a very easy death about three o'clock Tuesday
afternoon. There was so little appearance of a visible illness that
Dr. Fothergill could only call it a sudden but general decay of
Nature.

After consulting with Sir Stanier Porten[182] we both judged it
would be right to take no steps with regard to his Effects till you
could be informed of what had happened. We went to his Lodgings this
afternoon, and in the presence of the Landlord, the Apothecary and
Mr. Newton's Clerk, we examined every probable place in search of
a Will but found none. All the papers that seemed of any moment we
locked up in a trunk and put our Seal upon it. The principal one is
a bond of £1980 from me to Mr. Scott only a few days ago to pay off
the Clarkes. I heartily wish that you may be my Creditor. I suppose
it will be necessary and proper for you immediately to examine
Mr. Scott's Lodgings at Bath, which I think was more his regular
residence than London. If no Will should be found anywhere, you are
his natural heir, nor do I understand that it will be necessary for
you to come to town to administer unless you chuse it.

As I do not see that I can be of any immediate use to you, I propose
returning to Sheffield to-morrow for about ten or twelve days more,
but if I am wanted sooner, shall be ready at an hour's warning either
to attend you in London or to execute any of your directions. Sir
Stanier, who sincerely laments our old friend, proposes to undertake
what requires the most immediate care, but it will be necessary
for him to know whether, in case of a Will, Mr. Scott has left any
orders concerning his funeral, or whether you would chuse to give
any particular ones yourself. If the matter is left to him, we had
agreed that it should be in the Parish Church plain, decent and
private. Tuesday next is the last day, and it would, I should think,
be better to send your letter to Sir Stanier by a Post Office Express
under cover to the Earl of Rochefort, Cleveland Row, which franks the
Express.

The nature of the subject and the length of this letter prevents
me from adding any more than that I most sincerely wish you every
happiness of the next and of many succeeding years.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [182] See note to Letter 204.



163.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Pall Mall, January 16th, 1773.

  DEAR H.,

Mrs. G. fastened upon me as soon as I got to town, and was in some
measure the cause of some of the blessings you might possibly honour
me with when Yesterday's post arrived at Sheffield. Mrs. G. succeeds
without a Will to Mr. Scott, and though she certainly finds a sum of
money, yet I believe it turns out very short of her expectations. She
means to return to Bath, but you will still I fancy find her here.

I have not as yet got you either footman or stables. The latter
seems almost impossible. In at least twenty yards, my man Henry has
received the _same_ answer; that it is not worth their while to
let them for less than a year: so that I fear you will be reduced
to a livery stable. In consequence of the Advertisement I had five
or six Candidates at my _Lever_, but none tolerable. We shall see
enough. Goose or Couse (what do you call him?) waited on me yesterday
morning; but although the Sultan referred us to his Vizier, he had
not signified to him that the House was agreed for. I assured him it
was; he believed me, and on the morning after your landing will wait
on you with the Inventory and a short paper. The maid, a most usefull
Servant as he says, is apprized of your coming and expects your
servants. So much for business, and indeed so much for everything,
for I have kept so close to Mrs. G. that I don't know a syllable of
news.--If the Fosters are still with you salute them. Tell Mr. Harry
that Mrs. G. has not the honour of being acquainted with any Monkey
whatsoever. Mrs. H.'s watch is in the hands of Trajan, some relation
I presume of the Emperor.

    Tandis que tristement sur ce globe qui balance,
    J'appercois à pas lents la mort qui s'avance;
    Le Francois emporté par de legers desirs,
    Ne voit sur ce cadran qu'un circle de plaisirs.

Mrs. H. when in town will, I fancy, be of the Frenchman's way of
thinking. _Ainsi soit il._ Adieu--Yorkshire arrived in town very
gratefull and not entirely dislocated.



[Sidenote: COMFORTS OF HIS NEW HOUSE.]

164.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck St., February 11th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

Though I cannot applaud your punctuality in giving me one line the
first night of your arrival, yet a very excellent Cheese had already
informed me that you had reached Marlborough, and were not unmindful
of me. I still waited from post to post till I could date my thanks
from my own house in Bentinck St. After some expence of temper
occasioned by the cursed delays of upholsterers, I am got into the
delightfull mansion and already enjoy the long wished comforts of it.
May you soon be settled as much to your satisfaction at Bath as I am
in London. Sir Matthew is expected here to-morrow, but I hear nothing
of Eliotts; I suppose they will come up for the winter about the
beginning of May. I am so unfashionable as not to have fought a duel
yet. I suppose all the Nation admire Lord B.'s behaviour.[183] I will
give you one instance of his--call it what you please. L. T.'s pistol
was raised, when he called out, "One moment, my Lord--Mr. Dillon, I
have undertaken a commission from the French Embassador--to get him
some Irish poplins--should I fall, be so good as to execute it. Your
Lordship may now fire." L. B. is certainly quite out of danger, but
the cure will be long and painful.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [183] The duel in question was fought between Lord Bellamont
  and Lord Townshend. The cause, according to the _London Evening
  Post_, was the offence taken by Lord Bellamont at the abrupt
  refusal of Lord Townshend, then Viceroy of Ireland, to see him
  at Dublin. As soon as Lord Townshend arrived in England, Lord
  Bellamont sent him a message that he would be glad if the affair
  could be "settled _à la militaire_." The duel took place February
  2nd, in the Mary-le-bone Fields, when Lord Bellamont received a
  shot near the groin, and then fired his pistol in the air. Lord
  Ligonier was Lord Townshend's second, and Mr. Dillon acted for
  Lord Bellamont.



[Sidenote: THE DELIGHTS OF HIS OWN HOME.]

165.

_To his Stepmother._


  February the 27th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

After having been silent longer perhaps than I ought to have been,
suffering post after post to slide away with a firm resolution to
write the very next (and what is one day's difference?), I am now as
usual driven to the sound of the bell and the verge of eleven. Will
you for once accept as a letter the information that I am perfectly
well, and that I only wish you as happily settled in a house at Bath
as I am in London? Holroyd admires Brook Street, but not the side
where his father lives.[184] The opposite side has a fine prospect
from the back rooms.

Adieu! Dear Madam, and either in long or short letters, believe me,

  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [184] Isaac Holroyd, who, by his wife, Dorothy Baker, was the
  father of John Baker Holroyd, lived at Bath, where he died in
  May, 1778. With him lived his only surviving daughter, Sarah
  Martha Holroyd, who died unmarried, some years later, at Bath.
  She translated, says Miss Burney, from the French version
  a German work, in four thick volumes--Sturm's _Religious
  Meditations and Observations for every Day in the Year_. Both Mr.
  and Miss Holroyd are frequently mentioned in the letters.



166.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, March 25th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

You are clearly in the right. If seldom, long letters: if short ones,
often. 'Tis perfectly equitable, but now to my old reasons there is
a new one added,--this abominable fine weather which will not allow
me a quiet hour at home, without being liable to the reproaches of
my friends and of my own conscience. It is the more provoking as
it drives me not out of a stinking Apothecary's, but from my own
new clean comfortable dear house, which I like better every week I
pass in it. I now live, which I never did before, and if it would
but rain, should enjoy that unity of study and society, in which I
have always placed my prospect of happiness. Though I do not find my
expences rise higher than I calculated that they would, I have not
yet practised much of that Economy with which the voice of Fame has
complimented me: but at least I keep (in general) better hours than I
ever yet could bring about in London.

With regard to the Cornish journey. I will fairly lay before you the
state of my mind. As we are often tempted to sacrifice propriety
to inclination, I am afraid that I should have deferred it another
summer in favour of Derbyshire. Your company has fixed me, but I
thought when you was in town we had settled it for the autumn. If
you wish to be early in your visit, I will calculate that the Autumn
begins with August, and will then attend you at Bath, or if you chuse
to go _still_ earlier, I will bring you back; for I fancy my stay at
Port Eliott will hardly be so long as yours. I hear nothing of the
Lord of it, but I know that the _copper_ Lockwood impatiently expect
him in town.

Holroyd, who begs to be remembered to you, has got a new scheme of
regulating the Tythe-laws, holds meetings, writes declarations and
employs his great soul and his little body entirely on the business.
Mrs. Porten is, I much fear, in a very bad way: her old complaint,
but the fits more violent and more frequent. We shall not possess her
long.

This morning, the fact is certain, an Address was delivered to Lord
B[ellamont] from the Grand Jury of the County of Dublin, thanking
him for his proper and spirited behaviour. Incomparable Hibernians!
A Judicial Body appointed to maintain and execute the Laws publicly
applaud a man for having broke them.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



167.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, May the 5th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

Your kind letter and just reproaches, instead of making me do
immediately what I had resolved to do every post-night for a
fortnight before, put off my letters two or three days longer. The
Snail of Love-lane, I saw this morning, and he tells me that he had
sent you a satisfactory explanation of his conduct; if it appears
otherwise to you, and that his delays are still inconvenient to you,
I beg that you would draw upon me, and hope you are persuaded that,
as I have two hundred pounds in Fleet Street, you are welcome to one
of them.

With Holroyd's assistance, who is determined to extricate me out of
all my troubles, the sale of Lenborough by auction at Buckingham
is fixed for the 24th of this month. He goes down with me, and the
Estate has been carefully divided into four lots, rising successively
in value above each other, so that, if any parts should remain upon
my hands a while longer, they will be the best. These precautions
are requisite in the present scarcity of money, which gives me
little hopes of selling the whole together, and even the sanguine
Holroyd is apprehensive that I shall be obliged to buy it in again
and provide for the mortgage by some other measures, at least of the
procrastinating kind.

[Sidenote: A HAPPY MAN.]

Were it not for these worldly cares, I should be a very happy man. I
never formed any great schemes of avarice, ambition or vanity: and
all the notions I ever formed of a London life in my own house, and
surrounded by my books, with a due mixture of study and society, are
fully realised. I have seen the Eliotts several times, and think he
and I take to one another very well this year. They both express
great pleasure at the thoughts of seeing us in Cornwall. I shall be
glad to know whether the time I mentioned will suit. I am obliged to
you for your invitation to Bath, and am lost in admiration at the
size of your house, which enables you to spare a bed-chamber and
drawing-room; tho' after all, I can offer you the same apartment in
my little Palace, which is absolutely the best house in London. The
Waste-coats are _sincerely_ pretty, without gratitude or compliment.
The Madeira I have got from Oliver; it is incomparable, but saddled
with nine or ten pounds due for cellarage ever since Mr. Scott's
arrival in England. Where was the Rum, for Oliver knows nothing about
it? Apropos the Beriton pictures; should you think it worth while to
frame and put them up at Bath? They will not suit my rooms and will
be soon spoilt in a Lumber-room. If you do not chuse them, I believe
I shall let them take their choice at Christie's, though I find by a
very good painter's opinion that we much over-rated their value. My
compliments to the Goulds, &c. Poor Mrs. Porten has long and frequent
attacks, but her spirits are still good.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



168.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Boodle's, May 11th, 1773.

  DEAR H.,

I hope you got safe to S. P.; that the most amiable Ram, and the less
admirable Bull, are both in health and spirits; that Maria remembers
me; and that Mrs. H. is quietly metamorphosed from a Lady of the town
(an awkward expression) into a country Gentlewoman. We dined to-day
at the Romans, seven, who all talked of you--Lord A. was very happy
to meet _Holroyd_, and enquired whether _Wilbraham_ was gone into
Sussex. Is your plan settled? when do you come? and are you resolved
to take a bed in Bentinck Street? You will disapoint me extremely if
you do not, for it is a point of ambition I have set my heart upon.

*I am full of worldly cares, anxious about the great 24th, plagued
with the public Advertiser, and distressed by the most dismall
dispatches from Hugonin. Mrs. Lee claims a million of repairs which
will cost a million of money.

[Sidenote: THE EAST INDIA COMPANY.]

The House of Commons sat late last night. Burgoyne made some spirited
motions "that the Territorial acquisitions in India belonged to the
State" (that was the word); "that grants to the servants of the
Company (such as jaghires) were illegal; and that there could be no
true repentance without restitution."[185] Wederbourne[186] defended
the Nabobs with great eloquence but little argument. The motions were
carried without a division; and the hounds go out again next Friday.
They are in high spirits; but the more sagacious ones have no idea
they shall kill. Lord North spoke for the enquiry, but faintly and
reluctantly. Lady C. is said to be in town at her mother's, and a
separation is unavoidable; but there is nothing certain. Adieu.*

  Sincerely yours,
  E. G.

  [185] The charges against Lord Clive, the famine in Bengal
  (1770), and the financial embarrassments of the East India
  Company, had for many months attracted public attention. In
  April, 1772, a Select Committee of the House of Commons was
  appointed to investigate the Company's affairs. During the recess
  (June 10 to November 26) the directors applied to Lord North
  for a loan of £1,500,000. On November 26 Parliament met, being
  specially summoned to discuss the state of India, and Lord North
  proposed and carried a motion for a Secret Committee of Inquiry.
  Four months later (March 9, 1773), Lord North proposed to lend
  to the Company £1,400,000, on condition that its dividends
  were restricted, and its surplus revenues appropriated to the
  liquidation of the debt. On these conditions, the Company was to
  enjoy possession of the territorial acquisitions till 1779, when
  its exclusive charter expired.

  On May 3, the General Court of Proprietors of East India Stock
  petitioned Parliament against arbitrary interference with their
  territorial rights. The petition was ordered to lie on the
  table, and Lord North introduced the outlines of his scheme
  for the reconstitution of the Company. The chief changes were
  the appointment by the Crown of a governor-general and the
  establishment at Calcutta of a Supreme Court of Judicature. These
  changes and the provisions for the loans were embodied in two
  Bills, which received the royal assent on June 21 and July 1
  respectively (13 Geo. III. cc. 63 & 64).

  On May 10, whilst Lord North's proposals were under discussion,
  General Burgoyne moved three resolutions: (1) That all
  acquisitions made by military force or by treaty with foreign
  powers do of right belong to the State; (2) that to appropriate
  such acquisitions to private use is illegal; (3) that such
  acquisitions have been appropriated by private persons.

  The first two resolutions, which virtually transferred to the
  Crown the territorial acquisitions made by the Company in India,
  were carried that night without a division. The third, which was
  practically an indictment of Lord Clive, was rejected on May 21.

  John Burgoyne (1722-1792) married Lady Charlotte Stanley in 1743,
  and through Lord Derby's influence was now M.P. for Preston. He
  was made a major-general in 1772. His motion on the East India
  Company was his chief political achievement, his surrender at
  Saratoga (October 17, 1777) the most striking episode in his
  military career, and his comedy, _The Heiress_ (1786), his chief
  literary success.

  [186] Alexander Wedderburn (1733-1805), Solicitor-General
  (January 22, 1771), succeeded Edward Thurlow (Lord Chancellor,
  1778) as Attorney-General, became Lord Chief Justice of the
  common Pleas and Lord Loughborough in June, 1780, was Lord
  Chancellor from 1793 to 1801, created Earl of Rosslyn in 1801, and
  died in 1805.



169.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, May the 27th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

I find that I am not the only lazy being in the Universe, and my
friends without any diminution of regard can leave me at least _three
weeks_ without a line, and totally at a loss what to answer when I am
questioned whether they are got into their new house, &c. However, as
you will be in suspence about the 24th instant, I must for once break
an old rule and tell you that Holroyd accompanied me to Buckingham in
his way to Ireland. The auction was very cold, as all auctions are at
present, and the highest sum that was bid was £19,000 by an Agent of
Lord Temple. By the advice of H., my faithfull friend and Minister,
I was immoveably fixed at £20,000, which, _all things considered_,
is not amiss. The Agent had gone to the utmost of his instructions,
but I have very good reasons to believe, that either from him or some
other person I shall get the money very soon. Till that event happens
I shall not be easy.

The Snail of Aldermanbury has promised to send you down the Deed
transferring from Bucks. to Hampshire. I hope it will be satisfactory
to you.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: A BUYER FOR LENBOROUGH.]

170.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  June 12th, 1773.

  DEAR H.,

*Lenborough is no more.--Lrd. Temple acted like a Jew, and I dare
say now repents of it. In his room Way found me a better man, a rich
brutish honest horse Dealer, who has got a great fortune by serving
the cavalry. On Thursday he saw Lenborough, on Friday came to town
with R. W., and this morning at nine o'clock we struck at £20,000,
after a very hard battle, in which he squeezed from me a promise of
throwing him back a hundred for trouble, &c. As times go I am not
dissatisfied; the worst of it is the time of payment, which I could
not prevail on him to fix sooner than November, though he gave me
hopes of getting it somewhat earlier. Gosling must wait till then.
R[ichard] W[ay] and the new Lord of Lenborough (by name Lovegrove)
dined with me; and though we did not speak the same language, yet
by the help of signs, such as that of putting about the bottle, the
natives seemed well satisfied.

The whole world is going down to Portsmouth,[187] where they will
enjoy the pleasure of smoke, noise, heat, bad lodgings, and expensive
reckonings. For my own part, I have firmly resisted importunity,
declined parties, and mean to pass the busy week in the soft
retirement of my _bocage de_ Bentinck Street.

Yesterday the East India Company positively refused the Loan,--a
noble resolution, could they get money anywhere else.[188]

They are violent, and it was moved, and the motion heard with some
degree of approbation, that they should instantly abandon India to
Lord North, Sujah Dowlah, or the Devil, if he chose to take it.*

My respectfull salutations wait on Madame. If with the handkerchiefs
she was to bring me over some Irish linnen for shirts, it would be an
action worthy of her humanity. Adieu.

  E. G.

  [187] The king left Kew on Tuesday, June 22, 1773, and reached
  Portsmouth between ten and eleven the same morning, in order
  to review the fleet at Spithead, consisting of twenty ships of
  the line, two frigates, and three sloops. He returned to Kew on
  Saturday, June 26. "A very great number of yachts, and other
  sailing vessels and boats, many of them full of nobility and
  gentry," followed the royal yacht _Augusta_, and "an incredible
  multitude of people" lined the shores.

  [188] On June 11, 1773, the Court of Proprietors of East India
  Stock determined to reject the loan and conditions offered by the
  Government; but on June 19 the East India Loan Bill was read a
  third time in the Lower House. Parliament was prorogued from July
  1, 1773, to January 13, 1774. Sujah Dowlah was the Nawab of Oude
  (see note to Letter 192).



171.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, June 15th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

At length the Buckinghamshire transaction is at an end. Lord T.,
after tormenting himself or me to very little purpose, absolutely
refused to give more than £19,000, but a Mr. Lovegrove, an
Oxfordshire man, who has made his own fortune, applied to Mr. Richard
Way, viewed the Estate, and after a long altercation agreed with me
at £20,000, and an excellent purchase he has made, though the weight
of interest, the importunity of the Goslings and the scarcity of
money oblige me to be satisfied with what I have been able to get
for it. By Michaelmas I shall be a clear, though a poor man; since,
when I have discharged the Mortgage and cancelled the bond which I
gave Mr. Scott for the Clarke's money, very little indeed that I can
call my own will remain of that noble estate. My only comfort, and
a very cold one, is that, though these incumbrances must be paid at
my expence, they were not contracted by my imprudence. But to leave
these melancholy reflections on a subject which is now irretrievable.

Newton will I believe send you down the Deed engrossed in a day or
two. The confidence, Dear Madam, which you express in me, pleases
without surprizing me, and I hope the business will be settled to
your satisfaction. Apropos you forget your half-year, which now at
least you must allow to be due. Do you chuse to draw upon me, or
shall I send you the money in Bank Notes?

By what I can collect at Spring Gardens, Mrs. E. will go into
Cornwall in a few days, but will not pass through Bath in her way.
Eliott stays something longer, but, as well as I can judge, the
beginning of August will suit them perfectly well. I therefore
still persist in my design of attending you about that time, and am
impatient to see both your new house and its owner. I wish you could
see how comfortable I am established in mine.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: A VISIT FROM DEYVERDUN.]

172.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, July 13th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

You will excuse my silence when I tell you I have a friend with me,
who takes up the greatest part of my last Friday se'nnight. Mr.
d'Eyverdun most agreeably surprized me by walking into my library.
His young Lord Chesterfield has come over for a few weeks, and as
he went down almost immediately with Lovel Stanhope to the Duke of
Chandos, my friend has established himself in my house during the too
short period of his visit. You may easily suppose how much I think
he embellishes my little habitation. I carry him about, we converse,
read and write, and are together almost every hour in the day without
the least constraint on either side. The town is growing empty and
what is commonly called dull, but with such a companion and my books
you will believe me when I say that I do not regret the pleasures of
the winter. Even the latter would be sufficient, and were it not to
see you, the charms of Cornwall would scarcely induce me to leave
London in one of the hottest summers that we have felt for a great
while.

The Eliott family is moving away by different detachments. Mrs.
Eliott and William, Miss and Edward have already reached Cornwall,
but it is impossible to discover when the Lord of St. Germains
means to follow them. I have sounded him, and by his dark equivocal
hints can only learn that he is certainly not upon the point of his
departure. His slowness will I fear retard our intended visit and
derange my subsequent operations. He will surely not be in Cornwall
till the beginning of next month, and the decent time we must give
him to settle himself will soon carry us to the end of it. I will
send the earliest intelligence I can obtain of his motions, for
I know by experience that a state of suspense even in trifles is
painfull.

You will receive, dear Madam, by the Bath coach a representation
which is said to be very like a person whom I believe is not
indifferent to you. Whatever you may think of his face, be persuaded
that his heart is sincerely your own. Adieu. d'Eyverdun desires his
compliments and respects to you. If he should go to Bath, which is
not impossible, his first visit would be to Charles Street.



173.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, July 31st, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

You know how glad I am to catch at a pretence for not writing; my
present one is the uselessness of it when we are so soon to meet; and
as your friend John Buncle[189] says, we can talk the value of a good
octavo volume in the course of a morning. I still however hang on
the good pleasure of the Lord of Boroughs, but he now seems to hint
that another week will wind up his stay in town; if so, a fortnight
will do my business, and I shall hope to be at Bath about the 15th of
next month. I am much obliged to you for your kind offer of coming
down immediately, and should with pleasure accept of it, were I not
detained here by some things that I wish to finish, and for which my
Library is absolutely requisite; laugh at the bookworm if you please,
but excuse the nature of the animal. As to poor d'Eyverdun he is not
his own master, or you would most assuredly see him. He is now at
York with his Lord; but I hope to catch a sight of him before I leave
London, and he England. The Eliots testify a strong inclination to
see us in Cornwall, a passionate one indeed. I hope we shall like one
another, but I could wish Mrs. Bonnefoy[190] were of the party. We
are huge friends. Adieu.

  Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [189] Thomas Amory, into whom, says Hazlitt, "the soul of
  Rabelais passed," published (1756-66) _The Life of John Buncle,
  Esq._--a curious book, which is in part autobiographical.

  [190] Miss Anne Eliot, sister to Mr. Eliot, of Port Eliot,
  married Captain Hugh Bonfoy, R.N. Two portraits of her by Sir
  Joshua Reynolds are in existence--one painted in 1746, the other
  in 1754.



174.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq., at Edinburgh._


  Bentinck Street, Aug. 7th, 1773.

  DEAR H.,

I beg ten thousand pardons for not being dead, as I certainly ought
to be. But such is my abject nature, that I had rather live in
Bentinck Street, attainted and convicted of the sin of laziness,
than enjoy your applause either at old Nick's or even in the Elysian
fields. After all, could you expect that I should honor with my
correspondance a wild Barbarian of the bogs of Erin? Had the Natives
intercepted my letter, the terrors occasioned by such unknown Magic
characters might have been fatal to you. But now you have escaped the
fury of their Hospitality, and are arrived amongst a Cee-vi-leezed
Nation, I may venture to renew my intercourse.

You tell me of a long list of Dukes, Lairds, and Chieftains of Renown
to whom you are recommended; were I with you, I should prefer one
David to them all. When you are at Edinburgh, I hope you will not
fail to visit the Stye of that fattest of Epicurus's Hogs,[191] and
inform yourself whether there remains no hope of its recovering the
use of its right paw. There is another animal of _great_, though
not perhaps of _equal_, and certainly not of _similar_ merit, one
Robertson;[192] has he almost created the new World? Many other men
you have undoubtedly seen, in the country where you are at present,
who must have commanded your esteem. But when you return, if you are
not very honest, you will possess great advantages over me in any
dispute concerning Caledonian merit.

[Sidenote: LONDON A DELICIOUS SOLITUDE.]

Boodle's and Atwood's are now no more. The last stragglers, and
Clarke in the rear of all, are moved away to their several castles;
and I now enjoy, in the midst of London, a delicious solitude. My
Library, Kensington Gardens, and a few parties with new acquaintance
who are chained to London, (among whom I reckon Goldsmith and Sir
Joshua Reynolds,[193]) fill up my time, and the monster _Ennui_
preserves a very respectfull distance. By the bye, your friends Batt,
Sir John [Russel], and Lascelles, dined with me one day before they
set off; for I sometimes give the prettiest little dinners in the
world. But all this happiness draws near its conclusion. About the
16th of this month Mr. Eliot carries me away, and after picking up
Mrs. G. at Bath, sets me down at Port Eliot. There I shall certainly
remain six weeks, or, in other words, to the end of September. My
future motions, whether to London, Derbyshire, or a longer stay in
Cornwall, (pray is not "motion for stay" rather in the Hibernian
style?) will depend on the life of Port Eliot, the time of the
meeting of Parliament, and perhaps the impatience of Mr. Lovegrove,
Lord of Lenborough.

One of my pleasures in town I forgot to mention, the unexpected visit
of d'Eyverdun, who accompanies his young Lord (very young indeed!)
on a two months' tour to England. He took the opportunity of the
Earl's going down to the Duke of Chandos's, to spend a fortnight (nor
do I recollect in my life a more pleasant one) in Bentinck Street.
They are now gone together into Yorkshire, and I think it doubtfull
whether I shall see him again before his return to Leipsic. It is a
melancholy reflection that while one is plagued with acquaintance
at the corner of every street, real friends should be separated
from each other by unsurmountable bars, and obliged to catch at a
few transient moments of interview. I desire that you and My Lady
(whom I most respectfully greet) would take your share of that
very new and acute observation; not so large a share, indeed, as
my Swiss friend, since Nature and fortune give _us_ more frequent
opportunities of being together. You cannot expect News from a
Desert, and such is London at present. The papers give you the full
harvest of public intelligence; and I imagine that the eloquent
Nymphs of Twickenham[194] communicate all the transactions of the
polite, the amorous, and the marrying World. The great Pantomime of
Portsmouth was universally admired; and I am angry at my own laziness
in neglecting an excellent opportunity of seeing it. Foote has given
us the 'Bankrupt,'[195] a serious and sentimental piece, with very
severe strictures on the licence of scandal in attacking private
Characters. _Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione loquentes?_[196]
Adieu. Forgive and Epistolize me. I shall not believe you sincere
in the former, unless you make Bentinck Street your Inn. I fear I
shall be gone; but Mrs. Ford[197] and the Parrot will be proud to
receive you and My Lady after your long peregrinations, from which I
expect great improvements. Has she got the Brogue upon the tip of her
tongue?*

  [191] David Hume, who was now living at Edinburgh, was, from
  1763 to 1766, Secretary to the Embassy at Paris under the Earl
  of Hertford. The description is quoted from Mason's satire
  (published in 1773), _An Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers
  on his Book of Gardening_--

    "David, who there supinely deigns to lie,
    The fattest hog in Epicurus' sty,
    Though drunk with Gallic wine and Gallic praise,
    David shall bless Old England's halcyon days."

  [192] William Robertson, the historian (1721-1793), whose
  _History of Scotland_ (1758) and _History of Charles the Fifth_
  (1769) had already appeared, was now engaged on his _History of
  America_ (1777).

  [193] After the death of Goldsmith in 1774, Gibbon seems to have
  succeeded to his place as Sir Joshua's companion to places of
  amusement, masquerades, and ridottos (_Life and Times of Sir
  Joshua Reynolds_, vol. ii. p. 273).

  [194] The family of Richard Owen Cambridge.

  [195] Samuel Foote's _Bankrupt_ was produced at the Haymarket
  in July, 1773, Foote himself taking the part of Sir Robert
  Riscounter. The play was published in 1776, with a dedication
  to the Marquis of Granby. It contains a vigorous attack on the
  licence of the press and of the "impudent, rascally Printer."
  "The tyranny exercised by that fellow," says Sir Robert, "is more
  despotic and galling than the most absolute monarch's in Asia....
  I wonder every man is not afraid to peep into a paper, as it is
  more than probable that he may meet with a paragraph that will
  make him unhappy for the rest of his life."

  [196] Gibbon quotes incorrectly from Juvenal (_Sat._ 2, 1. 24)--

  "Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes?"

  [197] Gibbon's housekeeper.



[Sidenote: A JOURNEY TO CORNWALL.]

175.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, August 7th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

I just write two lines to say that Mr. Eliot proposes staying
another week, and then escorting you down to Cornwall. My motions
are uncertain since they still depend on those of another, but, if
no alteration happens in his plan, I think you may expect to see us
both at Bath, Monday the 16th. Charming hot weather! I am just going
to dine alone. Afterwards I shall walk till dark in _my_ Gardens at
Kensington, and shall then return to a frugal supper and early bed
in Bentinck Street. I lead the true life of a Philosopher, which
consists in doing what I really like, without any regard to the world
or to fashion.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

Mr. Barton breakfasted with me yesterday. He seems to think us both
very well lodged.



176.

_To his Stepmother._


  Newman Street, August 13th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

Mr. Eliot dined with [me] to-day, and the time of our departure is
positively settled (he desired one day more for particular business)
to Tuesday next. I mentioned your fears to him, but he like a hero
laughs at them all, and indeed I should have laughed at him if he had
not. We mean to accept your kind offer of the two beds, and then to
continue our march as soon as may suit with your conveniency. I think
we shall reach Bath Tuesday evening, but as heat, accidents, &c., may
stop us, we hope you will neither expect nor make any preparation
for us. In the mean time your commissions shall not be neglected;
though the choice of a present for the _youth_ perplexes me. I think
of a pocket-book which will give him the air of a man of letters and
Business. Mrs. Porten, who sets out to-morrow morning for Margate on
a party of pleasure, with the spirits of five and twenty, desires her
compliments to you.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



177.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Port Eliot, Sept. 10th, 1773.

  DEAR H.,

*By this time you have surely finished your Tour, touched at
Edinburgh, where you found a Letter, which you have not answered,
and are now contemplating the beauties of the Weald of Sussex. I
shall demand a long and particular account of your peregrinations,
but will excuse it till we meet; and for the present, expect only a
short memorandum of your health and situation, together with that
of my much-honoured friend Mrs. Abigail Holroyd. A word, too, if
you please, concerning Father and Sister; to the latter I enclose a
receipt from Mrs. G., who is now with me at Port Eliot.

Blind as you accuse me of being to the beauties of Nature, I am
wonderfully pleased with this country. Of her three dull notes,
_Ground_, _Plants_, and _Water_, Cornwall possesses the first and
last in very high perfection. Think of a hundred solitary streams
peacefully gliding between amazing Clifs on one side and rich meadows
on the other, gradually swelling by the aid of the Tide into noble
rivers, successively losing themselves in each other, and all at
length terminating in the Harbour of Plymouth, whose broad expanse
is irregularly _dotted_ with two-and-forty Line of battle Ships. In
_Plants_, indeed, we are deficient; and though all the Gentlemen now
attend to Posterity, the country will for a long time be very naked.
We have spent several days agreeably enough in little parties; but in
general our time rolls away in an equal kind of insipidity. Our civil
Landlord possesses neither a pack of hounds, nor a stable of running
horses, nor a large farm, nor a good library. The last only would
interest me; but it is singular that a Man of fortune, who chuses
to pass nine months of the year in the country, should have none of
them.* One possession he has indeed most truly desirable; but I much
fear that the Danae of St. Germains has no particular inclination
for me, and that the interested Strumpet will yield only to a Golden
Shower.[198] My situation is the more perplexing as I cannot with
any degree of delicacy make the first advance. A propos, do you
still think of starting for the Town ... [illegible] will be very
serviceable on the occasion.

[Sidenote: LORD CHESTERFIELD'S LETTERS.]

*According to our present design, Mrs. G. and myself shall return to
Bath about the beginning of next month. I shall probably make but a
short stay with her, and defer my Derbyshire Journey till another
year. Sufficient for the summer is the evil thereof, of one distant
country Excursion. Natural inclination, the prosecution of my great
Work, and the conclusion of my Lenborough business, plead strongly
in favour of London. However, I desire, and one always finds time
for what one really desires, to visit Sheffield Place before the end
of October, should it only be for a few days. I know several houses
where I am invited to think myself at home, but I know no other
where I seem inclined to accept of the invitation. I forgot to tell
you, that I have declined the publication of Lord C[hesterfield]'s
letters.[199] The public will see them, and upon the whole, I think
with pleasure; but the whole family were strongly bent against it;
and especially on d'Eyverdun's account, I deemed it more prudent to
avoid making them my personal enemies.

  Yours,
  E. G.*

Pray did you use the house in Bentinck Street?

  [198] Alluding to negotiations between Mr. Eliot and himself for
  a seat in Parliament.

  [199] Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son, Philip Stanhope,
  were sold by that son's widow, Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope, and
  published in 1774, "from the originals in her possession." M.
  Deyverdun was at this time tutor to the young Lord Chesterfield
  [1755-1815], a distant kinsman of the deceased Earl. According to
  Walpole, an injunction was applied for to prevent the publication
  of the letters. Terms were, however, arranged by which the
  publication was permitted, on condition that the family expunged
  certain passages, and regained possession of such copies as
  had been made of the unpublished _Portraits_, or _Characters_
  (Walpole to Mason, April 7, 1774).



178.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, October the 20th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am neither dead nor lost, as you might naturally suppose. My visit
to Sir William[200] produced another to the Bishop of Landaf[201]
in Oxfordshire. We proceeded by slow journeying, arrived safe in
town Sunday evening, and yesterday I left my little friend in the
hands of his Aunts. I ought to have given you a line sooner--but
procrastination---- Next Sunday I go into Sussex. Adieu, and believe
me,

  Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [200] Probably Sir William Guise.

  [201] Shute Barrington, afterwards Bishop of Durham.



179.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Dec. 4th, 1773.

*We have conquered; Winton was amazed at the tempest just ready
to burst over his head. He does not desire to go to law, wishes
to live in peace, has no complaints to make, hopes for a little
indulgence. _Hugonin is now in the attitude_ of St. Michael trampling
upon Satan; he holds him down, till Andrews has prepared _a little
chain of Adamant_ to bind the foul fiend. In return, receive my
congratulation on your Irish Victory.[202] Batt told me yesterday, as
from good authority, that administration designed a second attempt
this session; but to-day I have it from much better, that they always
discouraged it and that it was _totally an Iernian scheme_. You
remark that I saw Batt. He passed two hours with me; a pleasant man!
He and Sir John [Russel] dine with me _some day next week_: you will
_have both their portraits; the originals are engaged_.* Walton _is
perfectly dry_; both the copies will be done from the first pictures;
in both they are unquestionably the best, and my Lady has more spirit
and sense than in the second. Ah! my Lady, my Lady, what rumours have
you diffused in the regions of Bath relating _to Sappho_[203] and
your Slave. Adieu. I am called to cut in for the next Rubber. Town
is empty, dirty and comfortable. Newton is at his Villa: I _hope my
Cabinet afforded a refined tête-à-tête to the_ congenial souls.

  E. G.

  [202] A tax had been proposed in the Irish Parliament of two
  shillings in the pound on the estates of absentee landlords. The
  motion was lost by 122 to 102.

  [203] Mrs. Holroyd, through her sister-in-law, Miss Holroyd, who
  lived at Bath, had apparently hinted to Mrs. Gibbon at a possible
  attachment between Edward Gibbon and Miss Fuller, niece to Mr.
  Rose Fuller, of Rosehill, Sussex, M.P. for Rye.



[Sidenote: UNFOUNDED RUMORS OF HIS ENGAGEMENT.]

180.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, December 7th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

I break a long silence to write a little more than three lines.
Though I cannot call it a silence, since we were regularly informed
once a week, of the most essential points; each other's healths, and
amusements. Of my amusements indeed the Sheffield newspaper (like
most other newspapers) reported more than it could easily prove.
The intelligence you received of fair eyes, bleeding hearts, and
an approaching daughter-in-law, is all very agreeable Romance. A
pair of very tolerable eyes, I must confess, made their appearance
at Sheffield, and what is more extraordinary were accompanied by
good sense and good humour, without one grain of affectation. Yet,
still I am _indifferent_, and she is _poor_; remove those two little
obstacles: and Miss H.'s intelligence might have some foundation.
I came only four or five days ago from Sussex: the pleasing
consciousness of being of some use and comfort to my friend, who is
greatly mended, kept me there much longer than I intended. I am now
pursuing the conclusion of Lenborough; some entertaining delays of
the law have driven us a little beyond the appointed time, but I
flatter myself we shall finish either before or immediately after the
Holydays.

Mrs. Porten is young again. I mentioned Pitman to Sir Stanier, but
wished I could have been more particular as to his pretensions and
the _precise object_ of his present ambition. I should be glad to
be of service to him, especially as you interest yourself on his
account; but am not even acquainted with the Johnsons, Governor
Duprey, or any people of weight in that line. Besides, one ought to
have favours to grant to have a right to ask any.--Caplin packed up
your books. The old trunk, he says, was unequal to the weight and
journey. However, it is still in Covent Garden.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



181.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, Dec. 16th, 1773.

Do not be in such a passion. I think I use you very tolerably, nor
did I ever set up for the Supplement to the Cambridge Mail.[204] By
the bye, you have had a full account from that region of the visit,
the picture and the conspiracy, which entirely failed through
my blundering management. The surprize was, notwithstanding that
disapointment, very fine indeed, and moved me exceedingly. Our day at
Twickenham passed off very easily, though two o'clock is a strange
hour for dinner; but it suits our Father and consequently must be
right. I am glad you was pleased with Sheffield. The designed visit
from thence will be I suppose after your excursion. As to my being
present at it, fate and circumstances must determine. I neither fly
to or from a Baron and Baronne; with regard to these it is probable I
shall like them the better for being inclined to like me.

*To the vulgar eye of an Idle man London is empty; but I find many
pleasant companions both dead and alive. Two or three days ago I
dined at Atwood's with a very select party. Lord G. Germaine[205]
was of it, and we communed for a long time.--You know L. Holland
is paying Charles's debts. They amount to £140,000. At a meeting
of the Creditors, his Agent declared that after deducting £6000
a year settled on Ste.,[206] and a decent provision for his old
age, the residue of his wealth amounted to no more than £90,000.
The creditors stared till Mr. Powell, a creature, declared that he
owed everything to the noble Lord, that _he happened_ to have £5000
in long annuities, and begged he might be permitted to supply the
deficiency. How generous! Yet there are people who say the money only
stood in his name.--"My brother Ste.'s son is a second Messiah," said
Charles the other day. How so? "Because born for the destruction of
the Jews."*

[Sidenote: TROUBLE WITH HIS TENANTS.]

My compliments to Mr. Walton, best wishes to Lascelles, duty to
My Lady, and love to the Maria and to Sappho[207] if she is with
you.--What! nothing for fear of tales being told out of school.
Adieu. As to business Lenborough moves slowly, either from temper
or design Matthews starts difficulties that will certainly carry us
beyond the Holydays--Winton grows pert again, and Hugonin mollifies.
I have just wrote him a stinging letter, and insist on a written
allowance of time. The House is clear by the Lease. I may carry it
away.

  E. G.

  [204] The Cambridges, the "eloquent Nymphs of Twickenham."

  [205] Lord George Sackville, son of Lionel, Duke of Dorset,
  assumed, in 1770, the name of Germain on succeeding to the
  Northamptonshire estates of his aunt, Lady Betty Germain (died
  December 16, 1769), second wife of Sir John Germain, Bart., whose
  first wife, Lady Mary Mordaunt, brought him the property. Lord
  George was dismissed from the army for his conduct at the battle
  of Minden (August 1, 1759). He was at this time M.P. for East
  Grinstead. He became Secretary of State for the Colonies in Lord
  North's administration, was created Lord Sackville in 1782, and
  died in 1785.

  [206] The Hon. Stephen Fox, eldest son of Lord Holland, succeeded
  his father, July, 1774. He died December 26, 1774.

  [207] Miss Fuller.



182.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, Thursday Morning, 23rd December, 1773.

The enclosed requires an immediate answer, as my business both in
respect to Mrs. Lee and Winton seems brought to a crisis. Answer
therefore yourself, and in my name send instructions, and if you can,
comfort to Hugonin. Whether you decide (as to the Sporting Farmer)
for severity or leniency, Hugonin will be desired by to-night's post
to comply implicitly with your mandate.--Adieu, I hear you do not go
to Denham till to-morrow, and that there was some design to carry my
Lady to the School of Wives[208]--proper enough! A wife is taught by
that play how to support and reclaim an irregular Husband. Pray what
was the meaning of your being in town, but not in Bentinck Street,
yesterday morning? _Pray_ be more exact in your return. Again Adieu.
Write to Francis Hugonin, Esq., Nursted, Petersfield, Hants, as soon
as you can.

  [208] _The School of Wives_, a comedy by Hugh Kelly (1739-1777),
  was produced at Drury Lane on December 11, 1773. Walpole speaks
  of it as "exceedingly applauded," though "Charles Fox says" it
  "is execrable."



183.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Dec. 25th, 1773.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am in a very awkward situation, detained in town (not that I
dislike my prison) by the weekly and almost daily expectation of
finishing Bucks, which is still delayed by the cold slow-paced forms
of the Law; and at the same time desirous of running down for four
or five days to Sheffield Place, on a sort of appointment with Lord
and especially with Lady Pelham:[209] in this polite age, married
women of Fashion, and not your Miss Sappho Fullers are the object of
the Man of the World.

Whenever you please to draw for £100 on Messrs. Gosling and Clive,
Fleet Street, they have order to honour, which for the future
I should think would be the easiest and properest way. At your
conveniency you will be so kind as to enclose a receipt in a letter.
Mrs. P. joins with me in the honest old compliments of the season.
She is a little out of order to-day! I hope very little. If I knew
where Pitman's mother-in-law lived I would call upon her.

  Adieu! Dear Madam,
  Believe me most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [209] Thomas, Lord Pelham of Stanmer (afterwards first Earl of
  Chichester), was at this time surveyor-general of the Customs
  of London. He married Miss Anne Frankland, granddaughter of Sir
  Thomas Frankland, Bart.



184.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  January, 1774.

Way's letter trifling--He says nothing to the great point of the
Modus. I have wrote to him to-night to call for his Evidence,
which I should have for some day next week, when I am to meet my
Horse-Jockey. Matthews is unaccountable. He declines coming up with
his client; more shuffling, I fear.

*I have a letter from Hugo, a _dreadful_ one I believe, but it has
lain four days unperused in my drawer. Let me turn it over to you.

Foster is playing at what he calls Whist; his partner swearing
inwardly. He would write to you to-night, but he thinks he had
rather write _next_ post; he will think so a good while. Every thing
public, still as death. Our Committee of the Catch Club[210] has done
more business this morning than all those of the house of Commons
since their meeting. Roberts does not Petition.[211] This from the
best authority, and perhaps totally false. Hare is married to Sir
Abraham Hume's daughter.[212] You see how hard pressed I am for news.
Besides, at any time, I had rather talk an hour, than write a page.
Therefore adieu. I am glad to hear of your speedy removal. Remember
Bentinck Street.*



185.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  January 29th, 1774.

On recollection it appeared superfluous to send you Hugo's letter. It
was wrote before he received yours. Winton bullies, Mrs. Lee scolds,
but I am fearless. Clarke[213] promises me Franks from day to day,
and prevented me from applying to any body else. I heard from R. Way;
his declaration of my not warranting the Modus quite sufficient: it
is sent to Lovegrove, whose only objection it appeared to be. He and
his Lawyer decline a personal interview, and talk of what they should
have done four months ago, laying the abstract of the Title before
Mr. Duane. Patience is a virtue.

[Sidenote: DINNER WITH AUTHORS, MANAGERS, ETC.]

*I am now getting acquainted with authors, Managers, &c. good
company to know, but not to live with. Yesterday I dined at the
Br_ee_tish Coffee-house,[214] with _Garrick_,[215] _Coleman_,[216]
_Goldsmith_,[217] _Macpherson_,[218] _John Hume_,[219] &c. I am
this moment come from Coleman's Man of Business. We dined at the
Shakespeare, and went in a body to support it; between friends,
though we got a Verdict for our Client, his Cause was but a bad one.
It is a very confused Miscellany of several Plays and Tales; sets out
brilliantly enough, but as we advance the Plot grows thicker, the Wit
thinner, till the lucky fall of the Curtain preserves us from total
Chaos.

Bentinck Street has visited Welbeck Street. Sappho is very happy that
she has left Lewes: on Sheffield-place she squints with regret and
gratitude. Mamma consulted me about buying Coals; we can't get any
round ones. Quintus is gone to head the Civil War. Of Mrs. Frances
I have nothing to say. I have got _my intelligence for insuring_,
and will immediately get the preservative against fire. Foster has
sent me _eight-and-twenty pair of Paris silk stockings_, with an
intimation that My lady wished for half-a-dozen. They are much at her
service; but if she will look into David Hume's Essay on National
Characters, she will see that I durst not offer them to a Queen of
Spain. _Sachez qu'une Reine d'Espagne n'a point de jambes._[220]
Adieu.*

  [210] "The Noblemen and Gentlemen's Catch Club" was founded in
  1761, to encourage the composition and performance of catches and
  glees. Members were elected by ballot. It met every Tuesday from
  February to June at the Thatched House Tavern. The club still
  flourishes. Gibbon speaks as if he were a member; but his name
  does not occur in the lists of the club.

  [211] By the death of Sir R. Ladbroke a vacancy occurred in the
  representation of the City. The candidates were the Lord Mayor
  (Bull) and Roberts. The result of the poll, by which the Lord
  Mayor was elected, was declared on December 4, 1773. A scrutiny
  was demanded on behalf of Roberts, but it was abandoned.

  [212] James Hare, the politician and wit ("the Hare and many
  friends"), was M.P. (1772-74) for Stockbridge, and (1781-1804)
  for Knaresborough. He married (January 21, 1774) Miss Hannah
  Hume, sister of Sir Abraham Hume, Bart., F.R.S., the famous
  collector of minerals and pictures, and one of the founders of
  the Geological Society.

  [213] Godfrey Clarke, M.P. for Derbyshire.

  [214] The British Coffee-house, in Cockspur Street, was a
  favourite resort of Scotchmen. The Duke of Bedford, soliciting
  the votes of the sixteen Scottish peers in 1750, is said to have
  enclosed all the letters under one cover, and addressed it to the
  British Coffee-house.

  [215] Garrick and Colman were managers of the two rival theatres,
  Covent Garden and Drury Lane.

  [216] George Colman (1732-1794) was at this time a formidable
  rival to Garrick. His five-act comedy, _The Man of Business_,
  was produced at Covent Garden in January, 1774. It is, as Gibbon
  describes it, made up from Terence and other writers; "so full of
  modern lore," writes H. Walpole, "of rencounters, and I know not
  what, that I scarce comprehended a syllable."

  [217] Goldsmith (1728-1774), whose play, _She Stoops to Conquer_,
  had been produced at Covent Garden under Colman's management
  (January, 1773), died April 4, 1774, scarcely more than two
  months after this dinner. Gibbon signed the Round Robin, drawn up
  at Sir Joshua Reynolds's by Burke, asking Dr. Johnson to write
  Goldsmith's epitaph in English instead of Latin.

  [218] Probably James Macpherson (1736-1796), whose _Fragments
  of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands_ were published in
  1760. At this time he was settled in London, where he was engaged
  in historical literature, a translation of the _Iliad_, and
  political writing on behalf of the Government.

  [219] John Home (1722-1808), the author of _Douglas_ (1756), had
  helped to bring Macpherson's Ossianic poems before the public.
  His _Douglas_ was played at Covent Garden (1757); his _Agis_
  (1758) and _Siege of Aquileia_ (1760) were given at Drury Lane.

  [220] Gibbon refers not to the essay on _National Characters_,
  but to that on _Polygamy and Divorces_. Hume quotes a story
  from Madame d'Aunoy's _Mémoires de la Cour d'Espagne_. "When
  the mother of the late King of Spain was on her road towards
  Madrid, she passed through a little town in Spain famous for its
  manufactory of gloves and stockings. The magistrates of the place
  thought they could not better express their joy for the reception
  of their new queen, than by presenting her with a sample of
  those commodities for which alone their town was remarkable. The
  _major domo_, who conducted the princess, received the gloves
  very graciously; but, when the stockings were presented, he flung
  them away with great indignation, and severely reprimanded the
  magistrates for this egregious piece of indecency. _Know_, says
  he, _that a queen of Spain has no legs_. The young queen, who at
  that time understood the language but imperfectly, and had often
  been frightened with stories of Spanish jealousy, imagined that
  they were to cut off her legs. Upon which she fell a-crying, and
  begged them to conduct her back to Germany, for that she could
  never endure the operation; and it was with some difficulty they
  could appease her" (Hume's _Philosophical Works_, ed. 1854, vol.
  iii. p. 205).



[Sidenote: GARRICK IN HAMLET.]

186.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  February 7th, 1774.

Quarrelled with you! aye sure, and if she had beat you it would
have been perfectly agreeable to the rule of Right, and the fitness
of things. A space of time _not less_ than four natural days, each
day consisting of twenty-four hours, My Lady is to pass in Bentinck
Street, only making some occasional excursions to various parts of
the Cities of London and Westminster. Garrick I believe acts Hamlet
to-morrow night, and will probably repeat it once or twice within
a fortnight: I am not sure whether I might not muster up interest
enough to determine it for one Night rather than another. As to
you, I much want your presence. I fear Lovegrove will not turn out
much better than Winton. In spite of R. Way's positive Evidence, he
insists that I had warranted the _Vicarial Tythes_. Adieu. Gib sends
his Love to Maria. I will enquire about _Capability_.[221] Give me
intelligence of your motions.

  [221] Probably a reference to Lancelot Brown (1715-1783), the
  landscape gardener, known as "Capability Brown."



187.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, February 16th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

The indolence of Bath and the hurry of London are alike enemies to
very exact correspondencies, and I much fear that both of us will
sometimes experience their baleful influence. I am prepared to give
and receive a _reasonable measure_ of Toleration, in the full
conviction that the most sincere friendships have the least occasion
for the regular repetition of such outward demonstrations.

Besides this general apology for my delay, I have another on this
occasion. The Musical Counsellor whose opinion you desired was absent
on a visit to Lord Craven. He is now returned, and thus he says, "If
the Lady in question, and who wishes to perfect a fine voice, has no
other object than her own amusement, Parsons[222] will do very well:
but if she considers Music as a profession, Bach[223] is infinitely
preferable, both as a much more finished Master, and, as having the
principal direction of the Queen's concert," and that chance indeed
I should think a much properer one, than poor Sir Stanier. The Under
Ministers of the King's business are seldom those of Her Majesty's
amusements.

I have received a letter from Mrs. Dawkes, but very little to the
purpose, and containing neither facts nor dates. I have called on
her, but did not find her.

Holroyd and Madame come to my house next week. I shall be glad to see
them on many accounts, and particularly him on my Bucks business.
Delays and difficulties are started in which I begin to suspect there
may be something more than the mere procrastination of the Law.--I
dined with Mrs. P. to-day. She looks forward to Easter as the Jews to
their Messiah. I flatter myself that her hopes will be better founded.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [222] William Parsons (1746-1817) was appointed Master of the
  King's Band of Music in 1786, was knighted in 1795, became
  instructor in music to the princesses in 1796, and acted as a
  stipendiary police magistrate at Great Marlborough Street.

  [223] Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782) was organist at Milan
  Cathedral, 1754-59. He married an Italian prima donna, and came
  to London, where he held the appointment of Director of Public
  Concerts.



[Sidenote: NEWS FROM AMERICA]

188.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  February, 1774.

*Did you get down safe and early? Is My Lady in good spirits and
humour? You do not deserve that she should be, for hurrying her
away. Does Maria coquet with Messieurs Divedown?[224] Adieu. Bentinck
Street looks very dismal. You may suppose that nothing very important
can have occurred since you left Town; But I will send you some
account of America[225] after Monday, though indeed my anxiety about
an old Manor takes away much of my attention from a New Continent.
The mildness of Clarke is rouzed into military Fury; but he is an old
Tory, and you are a Native of the Bog. I alone am an Englishman, a
Philosopher, and a Whig.*

  [224] The Rev. Dr. Dive Downes.

  [225] Two recent events had brought American affairs into
  prominence. The news of the attack upon the tea-ships in Boston
  Harbour (December 16, 1773) had just reached England, and the
  Privy Council had voted the Petition of the House of Assembly
  of Massachusetts for the recall of Governor Hutchinson and
  Lieutenant-Governor Oliver to be "groundless, vexatious, and
  scandalous."



189.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._

Heads of a Convention between Mr. Newton and Mr. Gibbon in Love Lane,
March the 11th, 1774.


Agreed--

1. That a proposal of Arbitration such as was wished for should be
accepted when offered.

2. That Mr. Way, to whom it was made, is the proper channel through
which it should be answered.

3. That Mr. Palmer, a man of very fair character, assisted by two
gentlemen of the Law, are very proper Arbitrators.

4. That from Parole and written evidence, they should determine
whether the small tythes were warranted, and in case they were,
what abatement should be made to the purchaser for a doubtfull or
imperfect Title to them.

5. As it may be apprehended that Lovegrove, if their Decision was
unfavourable to him, might direct his quibbles to some of the many
other inexhaustible resources of the Law, it is submitted to Mr. H.,
whether the whole business, with regard to the general title, great
tythes, time and obligation to compleating the purchase, had not
better be left to the final award of three Gentlemen of character,
than litigated for half a Century in Chancery.

6. As such an Arbitration will demand several important
preliminaries, that an early meeting should be proposed to Messieurs
Lovegrove and Matthews, where they may confer with Messieurs Newton,
Gibbon, and perhaps Holroyd.

7. That the letter, a copy of which is enclosed, should be written by
next Tuesday's post to Mr. Way if approved of. _Judge and Alter._



190.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Boodle's, Wednesday Evening, March 16th, 1774.

Your Epistle of Sunday was not received till Monday night 12 o'Clock,
Consequently your Commissions ceased of Course.

*I was this morning with Newton. He was positive that the attempt to
settle the preliminaries of Arbitration by Letters, would lead us
on till the middle of the Summer, and that a Meeting was the only
practicable Measure. I acquiesced, and we blended his Epistle and
yours into one, which goes by this post. If you can contrive to suit
to it your Oxford journey, your presence at the Meeting would be
received as the descent of a Guardian Angel.

[Sidenote: THE BOSTON PORT BILL.]

Very little that is satisfactory has transpired of America. On Monday
Lord N[orth] moved for leave to bring in a Bill to remove the Customs
and Courts of Justice from Boston to New Salem; a step so detrimental
to the former town, as must soon reduce it to your own terms; and yet
of so mild an appearance, that it was agreed to, without a division,
and almost without a debate.[226] Something more is, however,
intended, and a Committee is appointed to inquire into the general
state of America. But administration keep their Secret as well as
that of Free Masonry, and, as Coxe profanely suggests, for the same
reason.

Don't you remember that in our Pantheon Walks we admired the _modest
beauty_ of Mrs. Horneck?[227] _Eh bien!_ alas! she is * * *. You ask
me with whom? with Scawen, of the Guards; both the Storers, Hodges,
a Steward of Lady Albemarle's, her first love, and half the town
besides. A Meeting of Horneck's friends assembled about a Week ago,
to consult of the best method of acquainting him with his frontal
honours. Edmund Burke was named as the Orator, and communicated the
transaction in a most Eloquent speech.

_N.B._--The same Lady, who, at public dinners, appeared to have
the most delicate Appetite, was accustomed, in her own Apartment,
to feast on pork steaks and sausages, and to swill Porter till she
was dead drunk. Horneck is abused by the Albemarle family, has
been bullied by Storer, and can prove himself a Cornuto, to the
satisfaction of every one but a Court of Justice. O Rare Matrimony!*

  [226] The Boston Port Bill was brought in by Lord North on March
  14, 1774, and received the royal assent on the 31st. It was
  followed on March 28 by the Bill for regulating the government
  of Massachusetts Bay. A third Bill was introduced (April 15) for
  "the impartial administration of justice;" it provided for the
  transfer of persons accused of being concerned in the late riots
  for trial in England. All three Bills were passed during the
  session. Governor Hutchinson was superseded by General Gage, who
  was sent out with four regiments.

  [227] Mrs. Horneck, wife of Captain Charles Horneck, Goldsmith's
  "Captain-in-Lace" ("Verses in Reply to an Invitation to Dinner
  at Dr. Baker's:" _Works_, ed. Cunningham, vol. i. p. 110), was
  one of the most abandoned women of the time. She eloped with
  her husband's brother-officer, Captain Scawen, who had in the
  previous year fought a celebrated duel with "Fighting Fitzgerald."



191.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  March 29th, 1774.

_Lenborough._--Last Sunday morning I saw R. Way in Bentinck Street.
He had seen Lovegrove both in country and in Town, but it seems
very difficult to make any thing of him. Way pressed him to call
upon me or Newton to settle the preliminaries of the Arbitration.
He replied, that without Matthews he could do nothing. Matthews on
the other hand, when Newton wrote to him, said, that he could be of
no use in town till the conveyances were ready for signing. Such
damned shuffling. Way promised to call on Palmer, who in general has
accepted the office of Arbitrator, and get him to write to Lovegrove
to convince him of the necessity of settling things previously as to
the object of the Arbitration, and penalty of the parties. On his
return into the country he will see Lovegrove and Matthews, and
assure them how strongly I _appeared_ resolved for chancery, if I
found any farther delay or difficulty. Would it were over!

_Beriton._--Mrs. Lee, on receiving Andrews's letter, wrote to him
to desire he would send it up to me (as it seemed written without
my knowledge), and to press that I would disclose my real intention
about repairs, maintaining that according to Law, Honor and my former
declarations, I am obliged to fulfil them, hinting however, that if
I can settle the business with Winton, Mrs. Lee desires to hear no
more about it. On that ground I can direct a most excellent letter to
Hugonin, which may tame the monster without making it desperate.

*_America._--Had I wrote Saturday night, as I once intended, Fire
and Sword, Oaths of Allegiance and high treason tryed in England,
in consequence of the refusal, would have formed my letter. Lrd.
North, however, opened a most lenient prescription last night; and
the utmost attempts towards a new settlement seemed to be no more
than investing the Governor with a greater share of executive power,
nomination of civil officers, (Judges, however, for life,) and some
regulations of Juries. The Boston Port bill passed the Lords last
night; some lively conversation, but no division.

_Bentinck-street._--Rose Fuller the Great was against the Boston port
Bill, and against his niece's going to Boodle's masquerade. He was
laughed at in the first instance, but succeeded in the second. Sappho
and Fanny very indifferent (as Mama says) about going. They seem
of a different opinion.* This morning d'Eyverdun arrived: When you
consider him, morning walks, dinners, Evenings, the general idleness
of town, and my peculiar employment, you must not swear, if I am not
very punctual. Adieu. Duty to My Lady, and love to Maria. I hope the
_latter is quite well_; for Miss Huff insinuated somewhat to the
contrary.



192.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  April 2nd, 1774.

  DEAR H.,

*You owe me a letter; so this extra goes only to acquaint you with
a misfortune that has just happened to poor Clarke, and which he
really considers as such, the loss of a very excellent father. The
blow was sudden; a thin little Man, as abstemious as a hermit, was
destroyed by a stroke of Apoplexy in his Coach, as he was going out
to dinner. He appeared perfectly well, and only two days before had
very good-naturedly dined with us at a Tavern, a thing he had not
done for many years before. I am the only person that Clarke wishes
to see, except his own family; and I pass a great part of the day. A
line from you would be kindly received.

[Sidenote: GREAT NEWS FROM INDIA.]

Great news, you see, from India.[228] Tanjore--four hundred thousand
pounds to the Company; Sujah Dowlah--600,000.* Tygor Roch[229] is
certainly got off from the Cape to Mauritius in a French ship. Adieu.

  [228] In 1773, the East India Company at Madras and the Nabob of
  the Carnatic were allies: the Rajah of Tanjore, though nominally
  an ally, was known to be in correspondence with Hyder Ali and the
  Mahrattas. The Company agreed for a sum of money to reduce the
  Rajah and transfer his dominions to the Nabob. The bargain was
  fulfilled, and the news, transmitted to the Board of Directors,
  reached London, March 26, 1774. In October, 1773, Sujah Dowlah,
  Nawab of Oude, offered Warren Hastings a large sum of money
  if the Company would conquer and transfer to him the Rohilla
  country, north of his dominions and east of the Ganges. At the
  same time the provinces of Corah and Allahabad were sold to Sujah
  Dowlah by the Company.

  [229] Captain David Roche sailed with his wife on board the
  _Vansittart_, East Indiaman, in May, 1773, in order to take up
  an appointment in the Company's service at Bombay. On the voyage
  he quarrelled with Lieutenant James Ferguson, whom he killed
  at the Cape in September, 1773. It was alleged that Roche had
  treacherously assassinated his antagonist; but, on his trial at
  Cape Town, it was proved that Ferguson was the assailant, and
  that Roche had killed him in self-defence. Strong feeling was
  aroused about the affair, because Roche was wrongly identified
  with a notorious duellist of the day. The governor of the Cape
  obtained a passage for Roche in a French frigate to Mauritius,
  whence he reached Bombay. On arrival there, he was arrested and
  sent home to England. Examined before the Privy Council on July
  10, 1775, he was committed to Newgate. A special commission was
  issued (August 5) to try him, and at the Old Bailey, on December
  11, 1775, he was again acquitted of the charge of murder. (See
  _A Plain and Circumstantial Account of the Transactions between
  Captain Roche and Lieut. Ferguson_, etc. London, 1775.)



193.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, April 2nd, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

My Bucks affair is not settled, and I much fear that it will
occasion me more trouble than I at first expected. Mr. Lovegrove's
difficulty--not to call it by a harsher name--turns on a point
of fact not of law, and is so very unreasonable that he must be
condemned either in the more eligible way of arbitration (which
I hope will be settled) or in the Court of Chancery, should I be
reduced to the sad necessity of calling it to my aid. The uneasy
suspense that it has kept and will keep me in for some time, defers
my intended visit to Bath, and disappoints Mrs. Porten, as well as
myself, of a pleasure which we had assured ourselves of enjoying.

I am at present engaging in two other tasks of a very different
nature, the receiving one friend and the comforting another.
d'Eyverdun arrived in Bentinck Street last Tuesday, and will I
believe go abroad again in about a month with Lord Middleton.[230]
I dined with him to-day at Tommy Townshend's,[231] his pupil's
guardian. It's an unworthy office for him; but Lord M. appears a
very tame bear, and if we can fix a quiet annuity, he may after this
Tour enjoy ease and independence for the rest of his life. Upon
recollection this paragraph must seem very unintelligible to you, as
I do not believe that I mentioned to you, his having been forced to
quit Lord C[hesterfield], by the little peer's strange behaviour, the
uncertainty that he could be of any use to him or to himself, &c.

[Sidenote: HIS FRIEND GODFREY CLARKE.]

My other occupation, which claims at present the far greater part
of my time, is attending my poor friend Clarke, who has just lost a
very excellent father by a very sudden and terrible stroke. The old
gentleman, who was perfectly well, died of a stroke of apoplexy in
his coach as he was going out to dinner. Clarke feels it severely,
and as he seems pleased with my company, I seldom leave him, except
when he goes to his sister.

Is not Mr. Eliot at Bath? How does he do at present? Is Mrs. E. with
him? Do they think of coming to town? Be so good as to say everything
proper in my name, and

  Believe me, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [230] Lord Midleton was the son of the third Lord Midleton and
  his wife, Albinia, eldest daughter of the Hon. Thomas Townshend.

  [231] Thomas Townshend (1733-1800), son of the Hon. Thomas
  Townshend and grandson of the second Viscount Townshend, was
  the "Tommy Townsend" of Goldsmith's _Retaliation_, in which he
  describes Edmund Burke as--

    "Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his throat,
    To persuade Tommy Townsend to lend him a vote."

  He was M.P. for Whitchurch in four successive Parliaments, and
  held a series of important or lucrative offices. He was created
  Baron Sydney in 1783, and Viscount Sydney in 1789.



194.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  April 13th, 1774.

  DEAR H.,

*At length I am a little more at liberty. Clarke went out of town
this morning. Instead of going directly into Derbyshire, where he
would have been overwhelmed with visits, &c. he has taken his Sister,
brother, and aunts, to a little Villa near Farnham, in which he has
the happiness of having no neighbourhood. If my esteem and friendship
for Godfrey had been capable of any addition, it would have been
very much encreased by the manner in which he felt and lamented his
father's death.* Incredible as it sounds to the generality of sons,
and as it ought to sound to most fathers, he considered the old
Gentleman as a friend. *He is now in very different circumstances
than before; instead of an easy and ample allowance, he has taken
possession of a great Estate, with low rents and high incumbrances. I
hope the one may make amends for the other: under your conduct I am
sure they would, and I have freely offered him your assistance, in
case he should wish to apply for it.

In the mean time I must not forget my own affairs, which seem to be
covered with inextricable perplexity. R. Way, as I mentioned about a
Century ago, promised to see Lovegrove and his Attorney, and to oil
the wheels of the Arbitration. As yet I have not heard from him. I
have some thoughts of writing _myself_ to the Jockey, stating the
various steps of the affair, and offering him, with polite firmness,
the _immediate_ choice of Chancery or Arbitration.

For the time, however, I forget all these difficulties, in the
present enjoyment of Deyverdun's Company; and I glory in thinking,
that, although my house is small, it is just of a sufficient size to
hold my real friends, male and _female_; among the latter My Lady
holds the very first place.*

Apropos of My Lady, Harry Hobart the other day gave me a _very
pleasing hint_, which he received from his wife. If there is any
foundation for it, I sincerely congratulate you.

*We are all quiet.--American business is suspended, and almost
forgot. The other day we had a brisk report of a Spanish War.[232] It
was said they had taken one of the Leeward Islands. It since turns
out that we are the Invaders, but the invasion is trifling.* Batt and
Sir John not returned. Are you alone? I have received another dozen
of handkerchiefs, and you, by this time, have got your books and
silver spoons, which Caplin has sent by the coach. Adieu.

*_Bien obligé non_ (at present) for your invitation. I wish My Lady
and you would come up to our Masquerade the 3rd of May.[233] The
finest thing ever seen. We sup in a transparent temple that costs
£450.*

  [232] This probably refers to an attempt on the part of the
  English to collect sugar duties at the island of Toracola (Crabb
  Island) near Porto Rico, and the reply of the governor of
  Porto Rico that the island belonged to Spain. In the _Morning
  Chronicle_ for April 12, 1774, it was reported "that the
  Spaniards had bombarded the town of Kingston in Jamaica."

  [233] The masquerade was given at the Pantheon, by Boodle's Club.



[Sidenote: IN VELVET AND RUFFLES.]

195.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  April 21st, 1774.

  DEAR H.,

*I begin to flag, and though you already reproach me as a bad
Correspondent, I much fear that I shall every week become a more
hardened Sinner. Besides the occasional obstructions of _Clarke and
Deyverdun_, I must entreat you to consider, with your usual candour,
1. The aversion to Epistolary Conversation, which it has pleased the
Demon to implant in my nature. 2. That I am a very fine Gentleman,
a Subscriber to the Masquerade, where you and My Lady ought to come,
and am now writing at Boodle's, in a fine Velvet Coat, with ruffles
of My Lady's chusing, &c.[234] 3. That the aforesaid fine Gentleman
is likewise a Historian; and, in truth, when I am writing a page, I
not only think it a sufficient reason of delay, but even consider
myself as writing to you, and that much more to the purpose than if
I were sending you the tittle tattle of the town, of which indeed
there is none stirring. With regard to America, the Minister seems
moderate, and the House obedient.

Hugonin's last letter, by some very _unaccountable accident_, had
never reached me; so that yours, in every instance, amazed me. I
immediately wrote him groans and approbation. Winton, however, gives
me very little uneasiness. I see that he is a bully, and that I have
a stick. But the cursed business of Lenborough, in the midst of
Study, Dissipation, and friendship, at times almost distracts me.*
R. Way seems to have done nothing with the Jockey, (who indeed is
as strange as Winton himself, singular luck enough I have had) nor
have I yet ventured to cross the Rubicon by writing to him. _I wish
your journey here_ and into Oxfordshire was to take _place soon_, and
yet I hardly know what you could do for me. *I am surely in a worse
condition than before I sold the Estate, and what distresses me is,
that _His ego nec metas rerum, nec tempora pono_.

Both Deyverdun and Clarke wish to be remembered to you. The former,
who has more taste for the Country than ----,[235] could wish to
visit you, but he sets out in a few days for the Continent _with Lord
M[iddleton]_.* Your letter for the latter was immediately mentioned
and very kindly received. He is now at Aldershot with his family, and
on this _occasion only_ I write to him almost every post, as I am
this moment preparing to do. Therefore Adieu.

  E. G.

  [234] Gibbon was always careful, if not elaborate, in his dress.
  George Colman the younger, in his _Random Records_ (1830), vol.
  i. pp. 121, 122, describes his meeting as a boy with Gibbon and
  Johnson:--

  "On the day I first sat down with Johnson, in his rusty brown,
  and his black worsteads, Gibbon was placed opposite to me in a
  suit of flower'd velvet, with a bag and sword." The "costume," he
  adds in a note, "was not extraordinary at this time, (a little
  overcharged, perhaps, if his _person_ be considered,) when
  almost every gentleman came to dinner in full dress." "Each," he
  continues, "had his measured phraseology; and Johnson's famous
  parallel, between Dryden and Pope, might be loosely parodied, in
  reference to himself and Gibbon. Johnson's style was grand, and
  Gibbon's elegant; the stateliness of the former was sometimes
  pedantick, and the polish of the latter was occasionally finical.
  Johnson march'd to kettle-drums and trumpets; Gibbon moved to
  flutes and hautboys; Johnson hew'd passages through the Alps,
  while Gibbon levell'd walks through parks and gardens. Maul'd as
  I had been by Johnson, Gibbon pour'd balm upon my bruises, by
  condescending, once or twice, in the course of the evening, to
  talk with me; the great historian was light and playful, suiting
  his matter to the capacity of the boy;--but it was done _more
  suá_ (sic); still his mannerism prevail'd;--still he tapp'd his
  snuff-box,--still he smirk'd, and smiled; and rounded his periods
  with the same air of good-breeding, as if he were conversing with
  men.--His mouth, mellifluous as Plato's, was a round hole, nearly
  in the centre of his visage."

  [235] Word erased.



196.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, April 23rd, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

When I already began to chide my own laziness, a little gentleman
from Bath brought me a very elegant proof of your kind attention
to me. The little man himself I could not see, as I happened to
be abroad twice when he called upon me; but I had the pleasure of
hearing through him that Mr. Eliot was quite or almost recovered. I
beg you would assure him and Mrs. Eliot how much I rejoice in the
news.

Clarke has now been at his house near Farnham some days. Next week he
is obliged to visit town on some business, and expresses a violent
intention of carrying me down with him. The pleasure of being of
service to an afflicted friend, may make even the country agreeable.
In that case I should leave Deyverdun in possession of Bentinck
Street, though I should grumble at giving up any part of his short
stay.

I have likewise seen another heir, younger and much more
cheerful than Clarke, though extremely decent, I mean Sir Harry
Fetherstone.[236] At present everything carries the appearance of
sobriety and economy. The Baronet, instead of flying to Paris
and Rome, returns to his college at Oxford, and even the house at
Whitehall is to be left. Lady Fetherstone talked to me a great deal
about you. Do you correspond with her?

[Sidenote: BOODLE'S MASQUERADE.]

Our attention is now very much taken up with a very grand Masquerade,
which Boodle's is going to give at the Pantheon. We have a great
deal of money and consequently of taste. Flying bridges, transparent
temples and eighteen thousand lamps in the Dome are the general
subject of conversation. For my own part I subscribe, but am very
indifferent about it. A few friends and a great many books may
entertain me, but I think fifteen hundred people the worst company in
the world.

I am still in very perplexing suspence about Bucks.

  Adieu, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [236] Appearances proved deceitful. Amy Lyon, afterwards Emma
  Hamilton, became the mistress of Sir H. Featherstonhaugh at
  Up-Park in 1780, and was discarded by him just before the birth
  of her second child.



197.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  May 4th, 1774.

  DEAR H.,

Most sincerely do I condole with you on the effects of Fanaticism.
That furious principle which has sometimes overturned Nations has
in this instance indeed been contented with unsettling the reason
of a Cook: but the domestic Calamity must have been attended with
very unpleasant circumstances, and I shall think it a very happy
Catastrophe when the poor Wretch is safely and quietly lodged in
Bedlam.



198.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  May 4th, 1774.

*Last night was the Triumph of Boodle's. Our Masquerade cost two
thousand Guineas; a sum that might have fertilized a Province, (I
speak in your own style,) vanished in a few hours, but not without
leaving behind it the fame of the most splendid and elegant Fête that
was perhaps ever given in a seat of the Arts and Opulence. It would
be as difficult to describe the magnificence of the Scene, as it
would be easy to record the humour of the night. The one was above,
the other below, all relation. I left the Pantheon about five this
morning, rose at ten, took a good Walk, and returned home to a more
rational entertainment of Batt, Sir John [Russel], and Lascelles, who
dined with me. They have left me this moment; and were I to enumerate
the things said of Sheffield, it would form a much longer letter than
I have any inclination to write. Let it suffice, that Sir John means
to pass in Sussex the interval of the two terms. Every thing, in a
word, goes on very pleasantly, except the terrestrial business of
Lenborough. Last Saturday se'nnight I wrote to Richard, to press him
to see Lovegrove, and urge the Arbitration. He has not _condescended_
to answer me. All is a dead Calm, sometimes more fatal than a storm.
For God's sake send me Advice. I seem to be in a much worse situation
than before I agreed with him.*

Adieu. My Lady's and Maria's healths were drank unanimously to-day.
Deyverdun sets off for Lausanne in about ten or twelve days with Lord
Middleton, Tommy Townshend's Nephew.



199.

_To his Stepmother._


  Boodle's, May 24th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

Instead of censuring my indolence (though you might as usual do it
with very just reason), listen to a tale of wonders.

[Sidenote: MISS HESTER GIBBON.]

On Sunday last, when my servant came to the place where I had dined,
with the carriage, he told me that Mrs. Gibbon was come to town,
had sent to Bentinck Street and wished to see me that evening. It
appeared somewhat singular that you should have run up to town
without giving me any notice, and somewhat unkind that you should
not have made Bentinck Street your Inn.--But, *guess my surprize
when a further enquiry discovered to me that it was not Mrs. Gibbon
of Bath, but Mrs. Gibbon of Northamptonshire. I immediately went to
Surrey Street where she lodged, but though it was no more than half
an hour after nine, the Saint had finished her evening devotions and
was already retired to rest. Yesterday morning (by appointment) I
breakfasted with her at eight o'clock, dined with her to-day at two
in Newman Street, and am just returned from setting down. She is in
truth a very great curiosity, her dress and figure exceed everything
we had at the Masquerade. Her language and ideas belong to the last
century. However, in point of religion she was rational, that is to
say silent. I do not believe that she asked a single question or
said the least thing concerning it. To me she behaved with great
cordiality, and in her way expressed a great regard.* In a light
of interest, however, her regard is of little consequence to me;
if I may judge from her appearance her life is a better one than
mine. Please to communicate a proper part of this intelligence to
our Cornish friends. She expressed the utmost disappointment at not
finding Mrs. Eliot and her children in town. I am sorry to hear that
we have less chance than ever of seeing them since Hams, Cheeses and
my little friend John[237] are gone down to Bath.

My knowledge of Mr. Eliot's disinclination to writing has prevented
me from giving him the trouble of an answer. My despair of equalling
the elegant raillery of the Goddess has kept me silent on that
quarter likewise. Lazyness you will say never wants an excuse.

As the Summer advances (and sorry I am to say that it advances much
faster than my Bucks business), I now fear that Mrs. P. and myself
must defer our Bath journey to the latter season of the Year. There
would however be a way which would bring us together much sooner. You
have been long and impatiently expected at Sheffield Place, where
I propose to pass at least the month of July. From Charles Street
to Bentinck Street it is a pleasant drive; from Bentinck Street to
Sheffield Place little more than a morning walk. Mrs. P. tells me
that she has just wrote to you. She ought to go to a Masquerade once
a year. Did you think her such a girl?

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

  [237] The second son of Mr. Eliot, of Port Eliot.



200.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Boodle's, May 24th, 1774.

*I wrote three folio pages to you this morning, and yet you complain.
Have reason, and have mercy; consider all the excellent reasons for
silence which I gave you in one of my last, and expect my arrival in
Sussex, when I shall talk more in a quarter of an hour than I could
write in a day. A propos of that arrival; never pretend to allure me,
by painting in odious colours the dust of London. I love the dust,
and whenever I move into the Wold,[238] it is to visit you and My
lady, and not your Trees. About this day month I mean to give you a
_visitation_. I leave it to Guise, Clarke, and the other light Horse,
to prance down for a day or two. They all talk of mounting, but will
not fix the day. Sir John [Russel], whom I salute, has brought you, I
suppose, all the news of Versailles.[239] Let me only add, that the
Mesdames, by attending their father, have both got the small-pox.
Your Attorney has your Case. I congratulate you. I can make nothing
of Lovegrove, or his Lawyer. You will swear at the shortness of this
letter.--Swear.*

  [238] The Weald of Sussex [S.].

  [239] Louis XV. died May 10, 1774, of small-pox. "Two of the
  King's daughters," writes Walpole (May 15, 1774), "though they
  never had the small-pox, attended him." Both the princesses
  caught the disease, but recovered. Louis XVI. and his two
  brothers were vaccinated, and the successful results did much to
  establish the practice on the Continent.



201.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, June 4th, 1774.

I hope you, Templar, Doves, &c., got down safe. Compliments to Maria
and My Lady.--I passed this morning, three horrid hours at Searle's
Coffee House.[240] I was a Hero, La Brute not exceedingly clever, and
M. more candid than I had yet seen him. We almost parted once in the
mutual defiance. At last they consented that on Monday and Tuesday,
the two Attornies should examine the Deeds at Gosling's, compare
them with the Abstract and lay the whole before Duane: and likewise
that they should search Offices about my title to the great Tythes
_without prejudice_ to the General Warranty which was agreed to by
letter. If we coalesce at all, _Arbitration_; if not, _Chancery_. The
latter I fear, and I must own that I fear it in every respect. Adieu.

  E. G.

  [240] Since the days of the _Spectator_, the Grecian, Squire's,
  and Serle's Coffee-house had been the resort of lawyers.



[Sidenote: DIFFICULTIES WITH LENBOROUGH.]

202.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Evening, 11th June, 1774.

The enclosed came to-day--The business of the search is finished,
and will I fancy be laid before Duane. The Omens are a _little_ more
favourable; when I see farther I write. I will not affront either you
or myself by thanking you for your offers--Embrace My Lady,--Clarke
who is in town for 48 hours salutes; he talks of taking Sheffield in
his way to his Kentish Estate--the time not determined. The _Fete
Champetre_[241] would fill volumes: by all accounts dull ones. Adieu.

  [241] The _fête_ was given by Lord Stanley at The Oaks, near
  Epsom, in Surrey, on June 9, to celebrate his approaching
  marriage with Lady Betty Hamilton, June 23, 1774. The _fête_ was
  the subject of Burgoyne's _Maid of the Oaks_, played at Covent
  Garden in November, 1774.



203.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  25th June, 1774.

I am alive.

You know how much rather I would send my person than Epistle to
Sheffield. Therefore you will, I flatter myself, forgive my silence
when I tell you that on Monday the 4th of July I shall certainly dine
at the aforesaid place. Clarke will cross the country from Aldershot
nearly about the same time. My Lenborough business is almost at a
stand, as I shall then tell you more particularly. It is indeed a
damned affair.

Salute My Lady and Maria.



204.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, June 29th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

*Do you remember that there exists in the World one Edward Gibbon,
a Housekeeper in Bentinck Street? If the standard of writing and of
affection was the same, I am sure he would ill deserve it. I do not
wish to discover how many days (I am afraid I ought to use another
word) have elapsed since the date of my last, or even of your last
letter; and yet such is the sluggish nature of the beast, that I am
afraid nothing but the arrival of Mrs. Bonfoy, and the expectation
of Mr. Eliot, could have rouzed me from my Lethargy. The Lady gave
me great satisfaction, by her general account of your health and
spirits, but communicated some uneasiness, by the mention of a little
encounter, in the style of one of Don Quixote's, but which proved,
I hope, as trifling as you at first imagined it. For my own part,
I am well in mind and body, busy with my Books, (which may perhaps
produce something next year, either to tire or amuse the World,)
and every day more satisfied with my present mode of life, which I
always believed was calculated to make me happy. My only remaining
uneasiness is Lenborough, which is not terminated. By Holroyd's
advice, I rather try what may be obtained by a little more patience,
than rush at once into the horrors of Chancery.

[Sidenote: SIR STANIER PORTEN.]

But let us talk of something else.* You remember surely Mrs. Hobson
(Miss Comarque). She is just returned to England under a different
name. She is now Madame la Baronne de Bavois. Her second husband
is an old Swiss Officer about seventy, a man of family, but with
as little money as character, who most probably married her for a
fortune which he now begins to discover was spent to his hands.
They talk of leaving England very soon, and fixing themselves in
some cheap Provincial town in the South of France. The Baronne is
more ridiculous, and will I fear be more miserable than ever. Mrs.
Porten, out of regard to the laws of Hospitality, gave them a dinner
last Sunday, & insists on my doing the same to-day, and her brother
Sunday next. She grows younger every day, but Sir Stanier much older.
*You remember, I think in Newman Street, a good agreeable Woman,
Miss Wybolt. The under Secretary[242] is seriously in love with her,
and seriously uneasy that his precarious situation precludes him
from happiness. We shall soon see which will get the better, Love or
reason. I bet three to two on love.*

I cannot find your last letter (a sad memento); did not you ask me
with whom Deyverdun was gone abroad? with young Lord Middleton. Lady
Fetherston (as they are to return next spring) is mad to get him,
but I should fancy Sir Harry must be consulted--I hear confusedly of
strange Revolutions in the Gould family.

Next week I go to Sheffield place. Holroyd, who passes a few days
with me, was sincerely concerned to hear that you had no thoughts of
the Journey this summer. His Father, I find, has had a violent attack.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

The Goslings will obey your commands, whenever you please to signify
them.

  [242] In the list of marriages for 1774 appears the
  following:--"Dec. 8, 1774. Sir Stanier Porten, Knt., to Miss Mary
  Wibault of Titchfield St." (_Ann. Register_). Sir Stanier Porten,
  Gibbon's uncle, was in 1760 made Consul-General at Madrid. In
  1772 he was knighted in order to qualify him to act as proxy to
  Sir George (afterwards Lord) Macartney, K.B. In May, 1774, he
  was an Under Secretary of State, and was appointed Keeper and
  Registrar of His Majesty's papers and records for the business of
  State at Whitehall. He became a Commissioner of the Customs, and
  died at Kensington Palace, June 7, 1789.



205.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, August 6th, 1774.

With regard to your influencing the Jury, I am convinced that B. is
in the right. Out of twelve Jurymen, I suppose six to be incapable
of understanding the question, three afraid of giving offence, and
two more who will not take the trouble of thinking. Remains one
who has sense, courage and application. Ergo B. is in the right.
But as he has _no right_ on this occasion to be in the right, and
as you were _not Foreman_, I am totally against _your committing_
yourself with such a fellow, giving him anything under your hand or
_permitting him to publish your letters_. If _it be really true_ that
you were mistaken as to the date of the Defamation, you have gone
further than perhaps you might have done in the article of damages,
but as I still think you committed no injustice, I cannot see that
the Jury, much less any individual of it, owe him any reparation.
Considering the profession of the two men, very high damages were
surely required for the accusation of so scandalous a crime, which
was certainly groundless since it was _afterwards_ disproved in a
Court of Justice. What you supposed to be the case (and by the bye I
would in a polite letter ask the question of the Judge) was no more
than an aggravation, and an aggravation too of a public rather than
a private nature, consequently relating rather to punishment than to
damages.--Upon the whole I disapprove of your corresponding with B.,
who seems capable of any rascally trick. Nothing that he can publish
will affect your character, especially in an affair where it is well
known that you had neither interest nor passion to mislead you.
However if you think differently, or find yourself too far engaged
with him, your letter is proper and guarded.

You make me very uneasy by a part of your last; pray send me a
speedy, and if you can a favorable account of Dr. H[eberden]'s
visit.--She has been so well a great while.--Clarke is now in the
Country,--Aldershot. I heard from him yesterday. His health there
has been various, and is not I fear quite settled. I break off to
get into my chaise for Twickenham. People may talk of the town's
being empty in September, my only complaint is the thickness of
my engagements. I have not by many degrees been so diligent as I
intended. I have conversed with Cadell,[243] and find him ready and
even willing. He proposes next March (if I am prepared) and 750
Copies. _Deliberabimus._ The snails of the Law are copying the Tythe
deed, and we shall soon see the effect of it. Hugonin's letter I have
not yet read, it is only a week since it was received, no hurry. I
believe I must goad Gilbert in his enquiries, in case you cannot do
it without giving room to surmises.

  E. G.

  [243] Thomas Cadell was born in 1742, in Wine Street, Bristol.
  He was apprentice, partner, and ultimately (1767) successor, to
  Andrew Millar, the bookseller and publisher of the Strand, one of
  "the Gentlemen Partners" who published Johnson's _Dictionary_.
  In conjunction with Strahan, Cadell brought out the works of
  Johnson, Robertson, Blackstone, Henry, and other writers. He was
  printer to the Royal Academy from 1778 to 1793. He died in 1802.



[Sidenote: ILLNESS OF GODFREY CLARKE.]

206.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bond Street, Wednesday Evening, 10th August, 1774.

  DEAR H.,

Though I can assure you that the first stage from S. P. was heavy
and awkward, yet I am very glad that I came to Town. Sir Edmond's
intelligence was but too well founded, and poor Clarke is here in a
very unpleasant way. His Aunts and Sister are come up on purpose. He
is attended by Dr. Thomas and the family Apothecary who has known
his Constitution from a child; yet both are at a loss, his spirits,
stomach and head are all violently affected: the disorder seems of an
intermittent nature. I now write from his lodgings. I had seen him in
the morning (for last night he could not see me) and left him taking
a medicine; he threw it up with a large quantity of black bile, and
has been in bed (but not easy) since two o'clock. Adieu. Embrace My
Lady and Maria for me. May the great Saturday be _correct_. I shall
write soon. Send me some account of the progress of Architecture.



207.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  12th August, 1774.

  DEAR H.,

I write two lines to acquaint you _that Clarke_ is much better than
he was; all doors have been set open for the retreat of the unwelcome
guest, and in a great measure he has taken the hint. Spirits have
rose with health, and he desires to be remembered to S. P.--Wilkes
is dangerously ill, we shall lose much amusement. The Victory of
the Russians is real but not decisive.[244] If you have an Irish
_Cream-cheese_ to spare, Bentinck Street is ready to receive it.
Success to the _august morrow_. It will be over ere you receive this.
Adieu.

I shall remember your frank, but the paper is not in my pocket, nor
the name in my memory.

  [244] The Russian forces under Peter Alexandrovich Romanzow
  (1725-1796) drove back the Turks and surrounded their camp at
  Shumla, sixty miles south of Silistria, and one of the keys of
  Constantinople. Peace was, in consequence of these successes,
  signed July 21, 1774, between Russia and Turkey at Kainardji, by
  which Azof was ceded to Russia and the freedom of the Black Sea
  established.



208.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bond Street, Tuesday morning, eleven o'clock, August, 1774.

  DEAR H.,

Since my last we have had an alarm, a very terrible one indeed. On
Sunday Clarke was better than I had yet seen him, and said that he
felt himself getting well apace. He slept several hours in the night,
but about five o'clock the Monday morning, he was seized with a fit
so very violent that it totally deprived him of his speech and almost
of his senses; a blister and plaister to his feet were immediately
applied, and Turton was called in to consult with Dr. Thomas his
ordinary Physician.

They both judged him in the most imminent danger, and particularly
were alarmed by a numbness (which he complained of as soon as he
could speak), and which was the same symptom as had proved the
forerunner of his father's apoplexy. He recovered however from his
fit, and even from the immediate consequences of it sooner than could
have been expected, was perfectly sensible last night, and this
morning appears even chearful and easy. But his Physicians still
think him in danger of a Relapse, and to his friends the prospect is
still shocking. You will easily forgive me for not writing on any
other subject. Adieu.



209.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  August the 20th, 1774.

I begin with what I am sure will interest you the most,
notwithstanding your own schemes, I mean the state of Clarke's
health. It is surprisingly well, as likewise his spirits, both far
better than by his own account they have been for many months. The
recovery is indeed perfect; may it be lasting. But his Doctors have
still their fears.

[Sidenote: A NEW MAN FOR THE COUNTY.]

Now to your designs, I have turned them on every side and will give
you my opinion as distinctly as so very slight a knowledge of your
county will permit.

1. I cannot yet think you ripe for a county member.[245] Five years
are very little to remove the obvious objection of a _novus homo_,
and of all objections it is perhaps the most formidable, as it rouzes
the foolish pride and envy of all the animals--bears, hogs, asses and
Rhinoceroses who have slept in the country for some generations. To
these only (who by the courtesy of England are called Gentlemen) are
you as yet known, and by these you will never be liked. Seven more
years of an active life will spread your fame among the great body of
Freeholders at large, and to them you may one day offer yourself on
the most honourable footing, that of a candidate whose real services
to the County have deserved and will repay the favor which he then
solicits. You must recollect, too, some very good reason you gave me
yourself, why the attempt might be more convenient and the success
more desirable seven years hence than at present.

2. Consider that you are rising in rebellion against an establishment
which, however feeble, always fights with very great advantages. When
a vacancy happens--either by death or resignation, any Gentleman who
thinks himself qualified has a natural right to offer his services,
and as he may succeed without envy, so he may retreat without
shame. Your _prise d'armes_ must hurt you, I think, if you were not
victorious. _People grumble_; Englishmen love to grumble, and are
satisfied with having done it. You see many obstacles. Goodwood[246]
reluctant, Ld. Ash.[247] hostile, the green plumb[248] probably
interested, and a large previous subscription backed by strong
interest. As to the multitude, you cannot conceive the effect of the
magic sounds, _disturbing the peace of the County_.

3. To all this you oppose 'hur own if hur can catch hur.' But
I should much distrust the strength of your desired Ally.[249]
Unpleasant recollections, a stately and supposed proud behaviour, a
solitary life, since he never troubles himself with County meetings,
must, I should apprehend, very greatly diminish his popularity, and
conceal those abilities which you so justly value, but which few of
your country boors are qualified to understand or esteem. Is the mere
Dorset[250] interest a _commanding one_?

4. You say that you are not apprehensive at Lewes of a horrid silence
or hiss. Perhaps not. But should you be so easily satisfied? Who do
you design should propose you at the nomination meeting? for much
depends on that, not only as to the hopes of success, but even the
dignity and propriety of the declaration. The person to move and the
person to second it (for both are necessary) should be distinguished
in the County, either by character or property; Minden[251] would
certainly do very well. You will tell me that your connection is not
sufficiently formed to request such a favour. But is not that a proof
that things are yet unripe?

5. If you proceed, which upon the whole, I strongly dissuade, I would
(in case of a favourable answer from Minden) immediately epistolize
or rather visit Goodwood. I would declare my intention of taking the
_sense_ (if any can be found) of the General meeting, requesting
that if it should prove favourable to Lord G. L[ennox] and myself,
we might previously agree to advertise and act together. A refusal
would permit you to retreat with honour, consent would enable you to
advance with vigour and confidence, and even the proposal would place
you on the _much desired footing_ of a future Candidate. After all,
for God's sake remember the expence, and do not trust your fortune
and your passions to the danger of a Contest.

Duane after a very long delay has at last given his opinion
concerning the tythes, and the opinion is favourable. He thinks the
title, _clear, safe, and even compellable_, but directs that the
original grants of James the first's time should be searched for
in the proper office and copied. This will be attended with some
expence, but it cannot be avoided. Newton, whom I saw to-day, writes
by this post to Matthews and sends him the opinion. So that in a
short time we may I think either come to an amicable conclusion, or
meet them in arms on _firm ground_. I hear nothing of the insurance.
Cream cheese will be welcome.--To my Lady and the monstrous Maria,
_salut_.

  [245] Mr. Holroyd proposed to stand for the county of Sussex.
  He apparently hoped that he might represent the eastern half,
  and relied on the influence of the Duke of Dorset at Buckhurst.
  But the Richmond influence carried both east and west, and Mr.
  Holroyd withdrew his candidature. The members returned were Sir
  Thomas S. Wilson and Lord George H. Lennox.

  [246] The Duke of Richmond.

  [247] Probably Lord Ashburnham, of Ashburnham Place, near Battle
  in Sussex.

  [248] Probably William Hall, second Viscount Gage, who married
  Elizabeth Gideon, sister of Sir Sampson Gideon, afterwards Baron
  Eardley of Spalding, and is said to have introduced the greengage
  into Sussex. See Letter 210.

  [249] Lord George Germain.

  [250] John Frederick, third Duke of Dorset, who succeeded his
  uncle in 1769, was appointed Ambassador at Paris in 1783. He died
  in 1799.

  [251] Probably refers to Lord George Germain, who was M.P. for
  East Grinstead, and possessed estates in Sussex. See note to
  Letter 181.



210.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday evening.

[Sidenote: THE VICTORY OF ROMANZOW.]

I am in a violent hurry--Clarke is extremely well--I have sent you
the Deputation. The old Lady expects to hear from me _soon_. I wish
your Geographer was arrived, and that Gilbert had discovered the
Tythe owners. *By your submission to the voice of reason, you eased
me of a heavy load of anxiety. I did not like your enterprize.*
'Who is the green plumb?' Why the brother-in-law of Sampson to be
sure.[252] As to papers, I will shew you I can keep them safe till
we meet. *What think you of the Turks and Russians? Romanzow is a
great Man. He wrote an account of his amazing success to Mouskin
Pouskin[253] here, and declared his intention of retiring as soon
as he had conducted the army home; desiring that Pouskin would send
him the best plan he could procure of an English Gentleman's farm.
In his answer, Pouskin promised to get it; but added, that at the
same time he should send the Empress _a plan of Blenheim_, a handsome
Compliment, I think. My Lady and Maria, as usual.* Where is my Cheese?

  [252] See note to Letter 209.

  [253] The Russian Ambassador in London.



211.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, Sept. 10th, 1774.

*Since Heberden is returned, I think the road lyes plain before you;
I mean the Turnpike road. The only party which in good sense can be
embraced is, without delay, to bring My Lady to B[entinck] S[treet],
where you may inhabit two or three nights, and have any advice
(Turton, Heberden, &c.) which the town may afford, in a case that
most assuredly ought not to be trifled with. Do this as you value our
good opinion. The Cantabs[254] are strongly in the same sentiments.
There can be no apprehension of late hours, &c. as none of Mrs. H.'s
raking acquaintance are in town.* As to Burtenshaw's Manifesto, I can
form no judgement of an imperfect fragment, except that it appears
to me very artful. The case relative to you I have reconsidered, but
find no reason to alter my opinion.

1st. An answer on your side cannot be necessary, since he had no
right to single you out.

2dly. It cannot be expedient, since a fellow of so much passion and
cunning will surely in the end either provoke you or entangle you
in an unworthy contest. If however you have given him hopes of an
answer, I would positively declare to him that it should be the last,
and that no consideration should tempt me to a reply.

You give me no account of the Works. When do you inhabit the library?
_Turn over--great things await you._

[Sidenote: OFFER OF A SEAT IN PARLIAMENT.]

*It is surely infinite condescension for a Senator to bestow his
attention on the affairs of a Juryman. A Senator? Yes, sir, at last
_Quod nemo promittere Divum auderet, volvenda dies en! attulit
ultro._* About ten days ago Eliot spent an hour with me, talked
sensibly of his will, and his children, and requested that I would
be Executor to the one and Guardian to the other. I consented to
accept an office which indeed I consider as an essential duty of
social life. We parted. *Yesterday morning, about half an hour after
seven, as I was destroying an army of Barbarians, I heard a double
rap at the door, and my Cornish friend was soon introduced. After
some idle conversation he told me, that if I was desirous of being in
Parliament, he had an _independent_ seat very much at my service.*
You may suppose my answer, but my satisfaction was a little damped
when he added that the expence of the election would amount to about
£2400, & that he thought it reasonable that we should share it
between us. I paused, and, recovering myself, hinted something of
Parental extravagance, and filial narrowness of circumstances and
want of ready money, and that I must beg a short delay to consider
whether I could with prudence accept of his intended favour, on
which I set the highest value. His answer was obliging, that he
should be very much mortified if a few hundred pounds should prevent
it, and that he had been afraid to offend me by offering it on less
equal terms. His behaviour gave me courage to propose an expedient,
which was instantly accepted with cordiality and eagerness, that when
his second son John (who is now thirteen) came of age I would restore
to him my proportion of the money.

I am not disposed to build Castles in Spain, but I think my conduct
prudent. Before that time my own honest industry or the deaths of
old Ladies _may_ make me a richer man: or else I can offer (some
years hence) a fair and liberal bargain, that I will settle Beriton
on John, in case I have no children, with the proviso that on the
birth of a child, I shall pay him the money with legal interest. The
agreement will be easy for me, and advantageous to them. *This is
a fine prospect opening upon me, and if next spring I should take
my seat, and publish my book, it will be a very memorable Era in my
life. I am ignorant whether my Borough will be Leskeard[255] or St.
Germains. You despise Boroughs, and fly at nobler game. Adieu.*

  [254] Probably the Cambridges of Twickenham.

  [255] ibbon was M.P. for Liskeard.



212.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, Sept. 14th, 1774.

You must not suppose that I mean to keep up with you _this Prussian
firing_ of four times in a minute, a letter every other day. I shall
now hold my tongue for some time. Burtenshaw's end I like better than
his beginning. Your expedient is excellent, honourable and safe:
therefore execute it without delay, and think no more about the
whole business. I receive your congratulations; as to consequences,
your scheme has the most apparent, mine the most real generosity,
but there is not any hurry for either.--_Clarke_ is returned, very
indifferent the first day, but now perfectly well, at least for the
present. Wilbraham is likewise come up to make some preparations and
to buy a little gold chain (vulgo a ring) for his squirrel. Both
salute you.--The World may now be in flames when it pleases, provided
the Sun fire office be safe; your Man was with me this morning; a
very compleat puppy!--Not a word of _My Lady!_ is she quite lively
and spleepy? Nor a word about the _Journey to town_; there never was
a more rational proposal, indeed there never was. From My Lady _I
pass to the cheese_. It was divine in every respect but immortality.
I fear the season is too far advanced for another--Enquire.



213.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Sept. 17th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

Without reproaching you for your silence (which would indeed be the
height of assurance) give me leave to inform you of a piece of news,
with regard to which I am sure you will share my very agreeable
feelings. Mr. Eliot has in the most liberal manner assured me a seat
in Parliament, an event which changes the colour of my whole future
life. After such intelligence I could add nothing but what would be
flat and insipid.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



214.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  24th Sept., 1774.

As the matter admitted of no delay, and the paper was anonymous, it
went by this morning's coach. Otherwise I am a great friend to County
meetings & resolutions to abide by their sense. They form a happy
medium between the Juntas of Grandees in town, and the Mob-archy
of the rout of freeholders, and preserve _the peace of the County_
without sacrificing its independence. Moreover, I do not comprehend
your plot---- You are totally in the wrong in not coming to town.
Does the Bath journey hold? Mrs. G. grows impatient, but it will
most wonderfully delay the fall of the Roman Empire. I gave your
holy paper, and reasonable request to Caplin. He graciously promised
to consider of it. Clarke is infinitely better, town very lively.
Dine next Tuesday at Atwood's with Duke of Portland, &c. Smythe is
sensible, for he agrees with me, and I hope September 24th, 1774, has
tranquillized you.



[Sidenote: DISSOLUTION AND GENERAL ELECTION.]

215.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Oct. 4th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

Last Friday I went down to Sheffield Place at the particular request
of Mr. H., to advise with him about a Parliamentary scheme of his
own, but which proved impracticable. We then were talking only of
next Spring, but the next day I received from Clarke the unexpected
intelligence.[256] The Sunday I wrote to Mr. Eliot directing my
letter into Cornwall, where I supposed him long since arrived, and
I now wait impatiently for an answer. As to my journey, it has
now become impossible; the election will be over before I can get
there. Indeed, as I can have no interest there but his assistance,
his presence is alone necessary or useful. However, in my letter I
offered _to fly_. If you will answer for Mr. Eliot's intentions I
will answer for his power. His disturbance could arise only from his
indolent temper, the surprize and perhaps some little concern about
Grampound which does not relate to me. As he is in firm possession,
the suddenness of the occasion is at all events more favourable to
him than to any concealed or secret enemies. Therefore, I do indeed
consider myself as secure. Before his offer, I could contentedly have
borne my exclusion, but I could not now support the disappointment,
and were it to happen, I would instantly and for ever leave this
kingdom. A few days will now determine my fate, and you may depend on
the first intelligence of it.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [256] Parliament was dissolved on September 30, "six months
  before its natural death.... The chief motive is supposed to be
  the ugly state of North America, and the effects that a cross
  winter might have on the next elections" (Walpole to Mann,
  October 6, 1774). The result of the elections was, on the whole,
  favourable to Lord North.



216.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  7th October, 1774.

I do not find that Harcourt has advertised in _any_ of the Papers,
and begin to doubt whether he will stand. Yet I wish you would curb
your impatience, and adopt my slow and cautious plan. Your _visit
to Goodwood_ I cannot thoroughly like, nor do I think that a seat,
were it obtainable _on those terms_, would be any very distinguished
honour. As for us, we are all in a hurry with London, Westminster,
&c.: but I could not write particulars without copying sheets of
lyes from the Papers.--Clarke[257] is pretty well _at present_. He
does not go into Derbyshire, and expects, like me, but with more
Philosophy, the news of his success. Deyverdun is arrived to-day with
his friend Lord M., who I believe is _satisfied_ with his travels. He
is with me, and I have nothing more to say. I gave My Lady a little
sermon about her un-wellness, which I hope she will profit by and
consent to seek for some advice.

  [257] Lord G. Cavendish and Godfrey Bagnal Clarke were elected
  members for Derbyshire.



217.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  October the 10th, 1774.

Since you have broke loose, my cold counsels must be changed into
warm wishes, and, as far as my nothingness can extend, into warm
actions. Yet my outset may appear careless and dilatory in not
writing to you or to the others on Saturday night. Your damned coach
kept the parcel all the evening, and it was not delivered to me
till yesterday morning, therefore it was impossible to write sooner
than to-day. It is very few borderers that Sir Hugh can collect,
but I am sure he will do his utmost. I had a proper opportunity of
writing to Lady Fetherstone, which I thought was still better than
to Lascelles. I have wrote to L. likewise. I am sorry that you have
started, but since you have done the deed, I wish you had done it
sooner. _Sir Thomas[258] has now the advantage_ of time and the
show of a nomination. I shall be impatient to hear of your success
with the Grandees. The few Elections already over have been conducted
(thanks to the Grenvillian Act[259]) with a sobriety, a chastity and
a parsimony unexampled in this venal country. My devoirs to My Lady,
and the Cantabs; assure the latter that I much regret my running away
from them. After Wednesday I shall hourly expect some Cornish news.
Adieu.

Surely M. d'Harcourt uses both the County and his friends very ill
in not taking the least notice of either. Do not they grumble? I
congratulate you on the prospect of dining with your old acquaintance
at the Mansion House.[260]

  [258] Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson, with Lord G. H. Lennox, was
  returned for Sussex.

  [259] On March 7, 1770, a Bill for regulating the proceedings of
  the House of Commons on controverted elections was introduced,
  and became law in April, 1770. It was subsequently known as the
  Grenville Act, from its chief supporter, George Grenville. The
  decision of controverted elections was under the Act transferred
  from the committee of the whole House to a select committee
  specially chosen for each case. Originally passed for five years,
  it was made perpetual in 1774.

  [260] John Wilkes was elected Lord Mayor, October 8, 1774.



[Sidenote: HOLROYD WITHDRAWS HIS CANDIDATURE.]

218.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  October 13th, 1774.

I received this day your two Epistles, the one per post, the other
per coach. Your first was perfectly clear, and convinced of what
you repeat in the second, that an honourable retreat is your only
resource. Yet even that is difficult. What can you say? that you
decline for the peace of the County? You advertised against a
declared Candidate. Personal respect for Sir T[homas] W[ilson]? Do
you owe him any compliment? Besides you cannot approve of him without
betraying the honour of the East. It is much easier to advance than
to retire, because you never can give the true reason of a retreat.
Suppose you only say--To the Gentlemen, &c. "The Encouragement I have
received from my numerous friends deserves and claims my warmest
acknowledgements, but the powerful interest already formed in the
_Western part of the County_ and in the neighbourhood of the place
of Election induces me to spare them the trouble of so long and
probably so useless a journey.

  I am, &c.,
  J. B. HOLROYD."

It is nonsense, but I see no better nonsense you have to write. I
wish you had never begun it. Remember my old slow plan. It is now
more likely to succeed than ever.

I am now in constant expectation of hearing from Cornwall. Adieu.
Duane has thoroughly opposed my great tythes.

  E. G.



219.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  October the 14th, 1774.

I am sure you have generosity enough to hear with pleasure the news
which I have just received, that I am elected Member of Parliament
for Liskeard.

  E. G.

Franks do not take place till the 20th.



220.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, October 15th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

I fancy Mrs. Eliot has already conveyed to you the pleasing
intelligence which I received to-day, that I am elected Member for
Liskeard.

  I am,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

The right of franking does not commence till the 20th.



[Sidenote: A VISIT TO BATH.]

221.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Boodle's, October the 22nd, 1774.

By this time I suppose your Election over, and would bet two to one
that Sir James[261] has carried it,--a lucky circumstance for you;
he will fill the place, and some years hence, when you have shaken
off the _novus homo_, you may assert the liberty of the East.--You
are now quiet, and I want to hear about the Bath scheme. Amusement,
Piety, _Health_ all recommend it; and I think that with the opening
of next month you and My Lady should find yourselves in Bentinck
Street, stay two or three days for consultations, purchases, &c., and
then set out for Bath, which will allow me a clear fortnight there
before I am summoned to town. I want a speedy answer about your plan.

Duane's opinion has been sent, but with very little effect. Lovegrove
is at Bristol, I believe dying--Matthews shuffles as usual. I have
directed a very clear, peremptory Epistle--Hugonin was much disposed
for you, and even Sir Harry, if I may trust a letter from his Mama.
Adieu. I do not like My Lady, and think that on her account you
should come up directly.

Shall I order the Papers to be directed to me at S. P.?

  [261] Sir James Peachy, Bart., was bottom of the poll for Sussex.



222.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, October the 29th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

You know I am never fond of long letters, and the less so when I
have the near prospect of seeing you very soon. About the middle of
the week after next, that is, about the 8th or 9th of November, Mrs.
Porten and myself propose getting into my chaise, and, lying one
night on the road, to arrive the second day in New Charles Street. My
aunt is well _at present_ and in vast spirits on the occasion. As my
time is now circumscribed I should have set out sooner, were I not
detained by some circumstances relative to the Holroyds. They have
left me this morning after a short stay of only two nights in town.
You will not alarm the family at Bath, but _I really think her very
far from well_.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



223.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bond Street, November 3rd, 1774.

Though I have nothing to say, I must write two lines to say what you
know already, how truly I sympathise with you. I hope at last Mrs.
H. will hear with patience of Bath, and of the cold Bath. I am sure
the latter (for air, exercise, and gentle amusement) would be of
infinite service to her. My time as you see is so strictly defined,
that I cannot wait longer than Thursday next. Deyverdun goes with
us, and Clarke, who is advised to try the waters, will possibly
follow us. Both desire to be named to you. My compliments to the Lady
Cambridges; and many thanks to my fair Guest in particular. Next
Monday I visit Twickenham.

O rare Sir Thomas Wilson! Adieu.

  E. G.



224.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Nov. 5th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

Next Wednesday Mrs. P. and myself start from town, and hope to
enjoy the pleasure of drinking Tea in Charles Street on Thursday.
Deyverdun, who is returned to England with Lord Middleton, means to
be of the party: that is to say he will get into the machine, when we
mount the chaise, and will keep company with us in the journey. We
mean to live with you and upon you, but as Mrs. P. is large and your
house is small, I should think, if you procured us two bed-chambers
and a dining-room in the neighbourhood of Charles Street, _we should
have more room to swing a cat_. However, I submit every arrangement
to your wise Counsels, and am,

  Dear Madam, ever yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: ANXIETY FOR MRS HOLROYD.]

225.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Spinham lands, Nov. 9th, 1774.

I am not a little uneasy in not hearing either Monday or Tuesday from
S. P. Is Mrs. H. worse either in health or spirits? Has she tryed
the Cold bath, or does she at least hear the sound of it with less
reluctance? I am still of opinion that Bath in every respect would be
the best place for her _to make some stay in_, and if my intreaties
or authority could have any weight, I would wish you to give them
their full force. I am now (Mrs. Porten and Deyverdun are with me)
above half-way on my journey. As your father is infirm and sister a
female, shall I secure you a Lodging, &c.? By this time I suppose Sir
Thomas is Knight of Sussex. _Cedat fortunæ Ratio._ Adieu.

My Compliments to the Ladies Cambridge. I have used their Parent like
a Dog; but it was unavoidable.



226.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bath, Nov. 13th, 1774.

I arrived at Bath, Thursday night, and saw the Pater and Sorella[262]
the next morning: the former in my opinion surprizingly well. They
gave me very satisfactory information as to health and designs. If
you really arrive the eighteenth, we shall have one week together in
this enchanted spot, where the Goddess of Pleasure is supposed, by
the vulgar, to hold her Court. You may possibly see Guise, but I fear
Clarke will not be prevailed on to leave Town. I have most strongly
pressed him, and I think you will call on him in your passage,
wherein I suppose of course you will lodge in Bentinck Street. I
conclude: my coffee-house materials are most vile, and I hope this
will not find you at Sheffield. My fellow travellers, Aunt and
Deyverdun, are well, and Mrs. G. has almost choaked us with kindness
and good things. Adieu.

  E. G.

  [262] _I.e._ Mr. Isaac Holroyd and Miss Sarah Holroyd.



227.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Nov. 29th, 1774.

All safe and well. I am just returned from the Cock-pit. The K.'s
speech vigorous with regard to America.[263] Our address a loyal Echo.

I have talked with Barré about Tremlet, he is an intimate friend
both of the Colonel and of Dunning, and they think him equal to all
his Bath Atchievments.--Lord Clive[264] _certainly_ cut the jugular
vein with a pen knife--it is called a feaver frenzy. To-morrow we
are sworn in, and the amiable virtues of Sir Fletcher[265] will most
assuredly procure him a Unanimity. I hope Bath still agrees with My
Lady. I wish I could send you a favourable account of poor Clarke,
but he is really very bad; his looks more shocking than ever, neither
strength, rest nor appetite. Dr. Addington, his Physician, _hopes_
his liver is not touched, but thinks him in one of the worst habits
of body he ever saw,--his complaint bilious and obstructions of the
bowels; dreads an inflammation. It is a melancholy subject.

Adieu. See Mrs. G.

  [263] The new Parliament met November 29, 1774.

  [264] Lord Clive died November 22, 1774.

  [265] Sir Fletcher Norton was re-elected speaker, November 29,
  1774.



228.

_To his Stepmother._


  Boodle's, Nov. 29th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

Our journey was successful and agreeable. Mrs. P. arrived in town
perfectly well, and, I believe, writes to you by this post. This
morning I took my seat, and found it in every respect an easy one.
Poor Clarke is extremely ill, and I fear there is very great if not
immediate danger. His present physician is Dr. Addington, with whom I
am very much pleased. As to Bath, it would be impossible to transport
him.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: ILLNESS OF HIS FRIEND CLARKE.]

229.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, December 2nd, 1774.

I wish I could speak more favourably of poor Clarke, but I much fear
that there is very little hope. It is in vain to enquire whether
his complaint is bilious, that is a very _soft_ word; but his
situation is as bad as you can conceive. Dr. Addington (whose skill
is I believe equal to his humanity), as well as his very sensible
Apothecary, seems only undetermined between the fear of a _short_
fit or a _long_ palsy. His Constitution is broke up. He has been
persuaded to think of a settlement which may save a noble Estate from
the hands of an idiot Brother, and Skipwith and myself are to be
Trustees; painful and ungrateful office, yet there is not a moment to
be lost.

*I send you inclosed a dismal letter from Hugonin. Return it without
delay, with observations. A Manifesto has been sent to Lovegrove,
which must, I think, produce immediate peace or war. Adieu. We
shall have a warm day on the Address next Monday. A number of young
Members! Whitshed,[266] _a dry Man_, assured me, that he heard one of
them ask, whether the King always sat in that Chair, pointing to the
Speaker's.* I embrace My Lady. Deyverdun thanks and salutes.

  E. G.

Sackville Street complained yesterday of silence.

  [266] James Whitshed, M.P. for Cirencester.



230.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  December, 1774.

Poor Clarke is too melancholy a subject to dwell much upon. Had I
wrote last night I should have said that symptoms appeared rather
more favourable, but I must now have contradicted myself. I fear
there remains but little hope. If I have any really good news to send
you I will not lose a moment. Otherwise permit me to be silent on
that unpleasant head.

Monday last was our first engagement. You have seen the Address,[267]
Lord John Cavendish's amendment, and the numbers--264 to 73. Burke
was a water-mill of words and images; Barré an Actor equal to
Garrick; Wedderbourne artful and able. Lord G. Germaine, though An
Anti-American, remained silent; Hartley,[268] Sir William Maine[269]
and some other new Members lost their maidenheads with very little
credit. Once or twice I was a little lewd, but am now well pleased
that I resisted the premature temptation. I divided with the
Majority. Your Lewes friend Sir Thomas[270] (to the general surprize)
with the minority.

As to private affairs, It is a strange pair of brutes that I an
engaged with. I send your letters as instructions to Hugonin. As to
Lovegrove we expect his _Ultimatum_. The Bishop of Landaff gives a
very bad character of Matthews.

Last Tuesday I dined at Lethiuellier's[271] with Maudit,[272]
Lascelles and Sir Thomas Millar. Next Tuesday they dine in Bentinck
Street, with the addition of Batt.[273] From some circumstance it
appears that my romantic attack on Lord A. might have succeeded.
Adieu.

Embrace my Lady. The treaty between moles and paper is far advanced.

  [267] The Address was carried on December 5, 1774. An amendment,
  claiming the fullest information on American affairs, was moved
  in the Lower House by Lord John Cavendish.

  [268] David Hartley, M.P. for Kingston-upon-Hull.

  [269] Sir W. Maine, Bart., of Gatton Park, Surrey, M.P. for
  Canterbury.

  [270] Sir Thomas Miller, Bart., of Chichester, M.P. for Lewes.

  [271] Benjamin Lethieullier, at this time M.P. for Andover,
  whom Gibbon met at Up Park in 1762, was brother to Lady
  Featherstonhaugh, and a relation of Smart Lethieullier, the
  antiquary.

  [272] Israel Mauduit, pamphleteer and woollen-draper, best known
  for his _Considerations on the Present German War_ (1760), was
  agent for Massachusetts Bay. It was on his application that
  Wedderburn was heard before the Privy Council, in answer to the
  petition for the recall of Hutchinson and Oliver.

  [273] "Lawyer Batt," whose name often occurs in these letters,
  was John Thomas Batt, of Newhall near Salisbury, successively a
  Master in Chancery, and a Commissioner for the auditing of the
  Public Accounts. He was a "prime favourite" of Miss Burney, and a
  friend of Walpole, Lord Malmsbury, and Sir J. Reynolds.



[Sidenote: A GOOD SON AND A GOOD FRIEND.]

231.

_To Mrs. Holroyd._


  Bentinck Street, Dec. 17th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

With regard to my silence, poor Clarke is too good and too melancholy
an excuse. I know not what to say about him; he is reduced to
nothing, and his disorder is attended with every bad symptom. Yet his
Physicians--Addington and Thomas--are on the whole less desponding
than they were some days ago.

Surely no affair was ever put into better hands than mine has been.
Your skill and friendship I am not surprized at, but Mrs. Porten is
a most excellent procuress, and The Lady Mother has given as proper
an answer as could be expected. There is only one part of it which
distresses me, _Religion_. It operates doubly, as a present obstacle
and a future inconvenience. Your evasion was very able, but will not
prudence as well as honour require us being more explicit in the
_suite_? Ought I to give them room to think that I should patiently
conform to family prayers and Bishop Hooper's Sermons? I would not
marry an Empress on those conditions. I abhor a Devotee, though a
friend both to decency and toleration. However, my interests are
under your care, and if you think that no more need be said on _the
awkward_ subject, I shall acquiesce.

After all, what occasion is there to enquire into my profession of
faith? It is surely much more to the purpose for them to ask how I
have already acted in life, whether as a good son, a good friend,
whether I game, drink, &c. You know I never practised the one, and
in spite of my old _Dorsetshire_ character, I have left off the
other. You once mentioned Miss F. I give you my honour, that I have
not either with her or any other woman, any connection that could
alarm a wife. With regard to fortune Mrs. P. speaks in a very liberal
manner; but above all things, I think it should not be _magnified_.
If it should be necessary to hint at incumbrances, your delicacy I am
sure could place them in such a light as might raise the character
of the living without injuring the memory of the dead. You see how
serious I am in this business. If the general idea should not startle
Miss, the next consultation would be how, and where the Lover may
throw himself at her feet, contemplate her charms, and _study her
character_. After that we may proceed to other more minute enquiries
and arrangements.

Mrs. Porten knows she was _blind_. Her brother is married.--How go on
your Civil Wars? Next week Foote and Coleman will be with you. Adieu.

  Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  BENEDICT GIBBON.

Excuse me to Holroyd for a post or two.



232.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, December 20th, 1774.

Hear, but be silent especially to Mrs. G.--_The Gout_ has attacked
my left foot, and that Imperious Mistress, if I presumed without
her permission to dispose of myself---- However, she seems inclined
to pardon and to leave me. In that case poor Clarke is my next
difficulty; without a hope of recovery he may linger longer, than
some days ago I thought was possible. Should I find myself at
liberty, I have _engaged_ myself to visit the Widow the first week
in January; ten days from that date will lead me to the meeting of
Parliament, an awful meeting indeed! You will _receive with this the
resolutions of the American Congress_.[274] I shall certainly be in
town (if your impatience soon drives you from Bath) _to house you and
My Lady in your passage_. Deyverdun is not averse to go to S. P. when
I go to Up-park.

  E. G.

  [274] Delegates from eleven Colonies met at Philadelphia,
  September 5, 1774, and constituted themselves a Congress. A
  Declaration of Rights was drawn up, in which it was shown that
  recent Acts of Parliament had infringed those rights. Resolutions
  were passed to suspend all imports from, or exports to, Great
  Britain and Ireland and their dependencies, till American
  grievances were redressed. An association was formed to carry out
  these resolutions and on October 26 Congress dissolved.



233.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Dec. 24th, 1774.

I do not upon the whole like your Sackville Street plan. At least I
should not like it, were it not for an unlucky guest I have got in
the house. I do not mean my Gout, for that is on the wing, but a bad
kind of small-pox which has attacked one of my Virgins in the Garret.

[Sidenote: DEEP IN AMERICA.]

I am deep in America with Maudit, passed four hours with him
yesterday, and I shall dine and spend the day tête-à-tête with him
next Monday. He squeaks out a great deal of sense and knowledge,
though after all I mean to think, perhaps to speak, for myself. I
likewise (at his house) conversed with Governor Hutchinson,[275] with
whom I mean to get acquainted.

Tremlett I will try to see in May, but his book is not worth the 18
pence he gave for it. I mean barring the good Spanish. That Spanish
is in truth the original, composed by one Miguel de Luna in the
sixteenth century, as a pretended translation from an imaginary
Arabic Manuscript of General Tarikh.[276] The History is a Romance
mixed up with gross improbabilities and anachronisms. Adieu. Young
Cooke[277] of Turin dined with me to-day. I thought it a civility
to Denham, though I believe only half the house will thank me for
it. He is a _very_ fine Gentleman. Adieu. I salute My Lady. Do you
salute _Madame ma Mère_, Sunday morning, tell her that I am sorry for
her Rheumatism, have taken care of the Lees, and will epistolize her
Monday or Tuesday.

À propos--I thought of the Arabic MS., but had almost forgot to tell
you that Gilbert of Lewes was with me this morning. He has discovered
the owner of the Tythes, an Attorney--Mr. Charles Down of Hythe,
where he is at present, but who lives in town.

I fear to put the Saint to any expence, and remembered what you
said of negotiating in person. Therefore agreed that when Gilbert
comes to London next month, we would see Down together; in the
interim--silence. But if you think not a moment should be lost, I can
by a line despatch Gilbert to Hythe.

Again--Adieu.

  [275] Thomas Hutchinson, Governor of Massachusetts, and Andrew
  Oliver, Lieutenant-Governor, had corresponded with a private
  friend in England, Thomas Whately, formerly secretary to George
  Grenville. Their letters were purloined and placed in the
  hands of Franklin, who sent copies to the House of Assembly
  of Massachusetts. The House petitioned for their recall in
  consequence of the language they had used in these letters. The
  petition was dismissed by the Privy Council. Hutchinson, however,
  returned home early in 1774. He had already published (1764-68)
  two volumes of his _History of the Colony of Massachusetts_. He
  died in 1789, at the age of seventy-eight. The third volume of
  his history was published from his manuscripts in 1828.

  [276] The work in question is _La verdadera Hystoria del rey Don
  Rodrigo: compuesta por Abulcacim Tarif Abentarique_. Nuevamente
  traduzida de la lengua Arabiga por M. de L[una]. In two parts.
  Granada, 1592-1600, 8vo. It was really written by Miguel de Luna,
  and, as Gibbon points out, the Arabic MS. is imaginary. The book
  was translated into English as _The Life of Almanzor_, translated
  into Spanish by M. de Luna. London, 1693. 8vo.

  [277] Probably a nephew of Mr. Benjamin Way, of Denham, Mrs.
  Holroyd's brother, who married Miss Elizabeth Cooke.



234.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Dec. 28th, 1774.

  DEAR MADAM,

My poor friend died last Monday, and has left me--together with Mr.
Skipwith--his Executors and Trustees, a very painful and perhaps
thankless office. You will easily suppose that the shock, however
expected, and the hurry of melancholy business, have swallowed up the
remembrance of any lesser disappointment, and indeed engross all my
thoughts. The Holroyds dine with me to-morrow.--You will be so kind
as to excuse the Christmas draught for a week or ten days at farthest.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: DEATH OF GODFREY CLARKE.]

235.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  B. S., Thursday Evening, January 5th, 1775.

    Winton has _submitted_,
    His whole rent is remitted.

But what is to become of you and My Lady? are you both swallowed up
in the Sussex roads? Deyverdun desires to be remembered. A letter of
business from his Lord M[iddleton], which he daily expects, still
detains him in town. Give him a line _about your motions_ and _tell
him when_ you may be ready to receive him. I say to him, rather than
to me, because I lie Saturday night at Twickenham and dine on Sunday
with the Widow. The 17th (Tuesday se'nnight) I shall be in Bentinck
Street again, as our Parliamentary Campaign opens on Thursday. Adieu.
I write with severall people in the room, and am called away to a
Chess party. Will _Maria excuse_ my silence? but she should early be
taught that men retreat, when young Ladies advance.

I have had two very long days with Skipwith on poor Clarke's affairs;
they are indeed in a very distressed condition, and reckoning the
brother and sister's fortunes, £100,000 will hardly clear them, but
the means are large, my colleague indefatigable, and it is the only
office of friendship now left in my power. I could only wish that our
authority was less circumscribed.

On re-reading Sir Hugh's letter, which I had not yet done, I find
that after Winton's brother arrived they went to Petersfield,
consulted with another Lawyer, and when they had _shamefully and
scandalously_ abused Andrews, paid the money and gave up everything,
Straw demand, &c. They think no more of law, but will pay their rent
quarterly into my own hands only. Cannot I refuse it (it will be
disagreeable), and oblige them to pay it on the _spot to any person_
I shall empower?



236.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, January 7th, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

After the loss of my poor friend, I begin to be a little relieved
from the load of business and anxiety which his confidence has
devolved upon me in conjunction with Mr. Skipwith, and with
assistance the affairs of poor Clarke will soon be brought into a
regular method, which in time may enable us to discharge our trust
and to deliver a very noble Estate from a very heavy incumbrance of
debt. I now propose to spend the ten days that remain before the
meeting of Parliament,[278] at Up-park. The change of air will not I
fancy do me any harm either in mind or body; I mention the latter, as
I find Sir Stanier betrayed me. The Gout has now asserted his rights
in an unquestionable manner, but on this occasion he has exercised
them in a very gentle manner, and I can say with truth, that I find
myself rather benefitted than injured by his transient visit. I hope
you may be able to send me as good an account of the Rheumatism.

The Willow Garland you sent me has not much disconcerted my
Philosophy, and indeed the sanctity of the Lady, had a little
prepared me for, and reconciled me to, the disappointment. I am
only sorry that the ill-success of a negociation conducted with so
much ability and of so promising an appearance should have given
you a disgust for the honourable profession of Ambassadress. On the
contrary, I should hope that in the well-furnished market we might,
either now or hereafter, find the opportunity of retrieving our first
miscarriage.

Sir Stanier and Lady Porten exhibit a very pretty picture of conjugal
fondness and felicity, and yet they have been married very near three
weeks.

I have now, dear Madam, sent you the Christmas Draught, and hope
the short delay has not been attended with the least inconveniency
to you. It was occasioned by the obstinacy of Winton, who obliged
me to distress for rent. Hugonin obeyed very spirited orders with
skill and alacrity, and the well-timed chastisement has rendered
the Brute perfectly tame and submissive. His character indeed is of
much less consequence to me than his substance, which is of a very
responsible nature. Excuse me for dwelling a moment on so trifling
and disagreeable a subject.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

I set out about twelve o'clock, take a dinner and bed with the
Cambridges and dine to-morrow at Up-park.

  [278] Parliament met January 19, 1775.



237.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  18th January, 1775.

I received at Up-park your _long expected rescript_. Yesterday I
returned to town. Our party was numerous. Lady F. proposed to have
her brothers,[279] Sir Thomas and Lady Miller, &c. But so uncertain
are human affairs that accidents disapointed her. In their room we
had the fox-hunting friends of Sir Harry. Lord Egremont, who is civil
and sensible; General Pitt with his wife, a determined Sportsman
(I mean Sportswoman) who hunted all the morning and slept all the
evening. On my return I slept with Hugonin. He was lamentable, as you
may suppose, about Winton's repairs, &c. Yet I am satisfied Winton
is cowed, and my Repairs which were represented as a most dreadful
account leave Hug. in debt to me. They are all furious against
Jolliffe, and Lutterel endeavours to prove that the Lord of Buriton
is the real Lord of the Manor of Petersfield. I think I am obliged to
him. Will you have some matches? they may entertain My Lady whom I
salute.

     Lord Beauchamp[280]--Lady F. Wyndham.

     Mr. T. Conway--Lady Holland[281] (when brought to bed).

I did hear two more, but I fear confusion and mistake. When do you
come to town? Hugonin intends to meet you. Wednesday Evening. Such a
fog as I never saw in London.

  [279] Sir M. Featherstonhaugh married, in 1746, Sarah
  Lethieullier, who died in 1788. One of her brothers was Benjamin
  Lethieullier, M.P. for Andover. See note to Letter 230.

  [280] Lord Beauchamp, at this time a widower, married, in May
  22, 1776, as his second wife, Lady Isabella Shepheard, eldest
  daughter of the last Lord Irvine.

  [281] Lady Mary Fitzpatrick, daughter of the first Earl of Upper
  Ossory, married, in 1766, Stephen Fox, second Lord Holland. She
  died October 6, 1778, without marrying a second time.



238.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Boodle's, Jan. 31st, 1775.

*Sometimes people do not write because they are too idle, and
sometimes because they are too busy. The former was usually my case,
but at present it is the latter. The fate of Europe and America seems
fully sufficient to take up the time of one Man; and especially of
a Man who gives up a great deal of time for the purpose of public
and private information. I think I have sucked Mauduit and Hutcheson
very dry; and if my confidence was equal to my eloquence, and my
eloquence to my knowledge, perhaps I might make no very intolerable
Speaker. At all events, I fancy I shall try to expose myself.

  Semper ego auditor tantum? nunquamne reponam?

For my own part, I am more and more convinced that we have both the
right and the power on our side, and that, though the effort may be
accompanied with some melancholy circumstances, we are now arrived
at the decisive moment of persevering, or of losing for ever both
our Trade and Empire. We expect next Thursday or Friday to be a
very great day. Hitherto we have been chiefly employed in reading
papers, and rejecting petitions. Petitions were brought from London,
Bristol, Norwich, &c., &c., framed by party, and designed to delay.
By the aid of some parliamentary quirks, they have been all referred
to a separate inactive committee, which Burke calls a Committee of
Oblivion, and are now considered as dead in law. I could write you
fifty little House of Commons stories, but from their number and
nature they suit better a conference than a letter. Our general
divisions are about 250 to 80 or 90.*

Gilbert was with me this morning. He has been with the Tythe Owner,
whom Martin knows very well. The former seems inclined to sell but by
auction. I wish you would send for Gilbert and settle something with
him. I must soon write to Mrs. G. What must I say? When do you fix
the rent of Newhaven? Remember Lady Day approaches: and we must say
something definitive to Martin. Caplin knows not any proper servant,
but will be so kind as to enquire, for his friend Mr. H. What wages,
&c., do you give? Adieu. I embrace My Lady.

  E. G.



239.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, Jan. 31st, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

*An idle Man has no time, and a busy Man very little. As yet the
House of Commons turns out very well to me, and though it should
never prove of any real benefit to me, I find it at least a very
agreeable Coffee-house. We are plunging every day deeper into the
great business of America; and I have hitherto been a zealous,
though silent, friend to the Cause of Government, which, _in this
instance_, I think the Cause of England. I passed about ten days,
as I designed, at Up-park, but was a little disappointed in my
party. Instead of the Brothers I found Lord Egremont and fourscore
fox-hounds. Sir Henry is very civil and good-humoured. But from the
unavoidable temper of youth I fear he will cost many a tear to Lady
F. She consults everybody, but has neither authority nor plan. In my
return I called on the Bayleys and lay at Nursted.

The Troubles of Buriton are perfectly composed, and the Insurgents
reduced to a state, though not a temper, of submission. You may
suppose I heard a great deal of Petersfield. Lutterel means to
convict your friend of Bribery, to transport him for using a second
time old stamps, and to prove that Petersfield is still a part of
the Manor of Buriton. I remain an impartial Spectator.* I like the
Epigram much. Don't you apprehend that the Eliots [are] at Bath?
Their Cornish friends talk of it. If I should run down at Easter,
would you secure me a Wife? It is surely a good Market. Adieu, Dear
Madam.

  I am ever yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: TROOPS SENT TO AMERICA.]

240.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Wednesday Evening (February 8th, 1775).

*I am not damned, according to your charitable wishes, because I
have not acted; there was such an inundation of speakers, young
Speakers in every sense of the word, both on Thursday in the Grand
Committee, and Monday on the report to the house, that neither Lord
George Germaine nor myself could find room for a single word. The
principal men both days were Fox and Wedderburne, on the opposite
sides; the latter displayed his usual talents. The former taking
the vast compass of the question before us, discovered powers for
regular debate, which neither his friends hoped, nor his Enemies
dreaded. We voted an address (304 to 105), of lives and fortunes,
declaring Massachusets Bay in a state of rebellion. More troops, but
I fear not enough, go to America, to make an army of 10,000 men at
Boston; three Generals, Howe, Burgoyne, and Clinton. In a few days
we stop the ports of New England.[282] I cannot write Volumes: but
I am more and more convinced, that with firmness all may go well;
yet I sometimes doubt Lord N[orth]. I am now writing with Ladies
(Sir S. Porten and his Bride), and two card tables, in the Library.
As to my silence, judge of my situation by last Monday. I am on the
Grenvillian Committee of Downton.[283] We always sit from ten to
three and a half; after which, that day, I went into the House, and
sat till three in the morning.* I will shew your letter to Caplin
as well for Porter as footman. I do not understand your new scheme.
_Your drawing-room will never do!_ Write soon about Gilbert.

  E. G.

I will write soon again.

  [282] Lord North proposed (February 10) a Bill restricting the
  trade of America with Great Britain, Ireland, and the West
  Indies, and excluding the colonists from the Newfoundland
  fisheries.

  [283] The two members returned for Downton, Thomas Dummer and
  Thomas Duncombe, were declared not duly elected, and Sir Philip
  Hales and John Cooper declared duly elected.



241.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Wednesday Eve, 15th February, 1775.

A letter to-day from Mrs. G.: she has heard of the Tythes-man being
found, wishes to buy by private Contract, fears the price, distrusts
Gil[bert]; and wishes to hear from you through me. I shall use your
hints to-morrow. I have found you a Servant--George Barton, a Native
of Cheshire. Sir Harbord,[284] whom he last lived with, gives him (to
me) a very good character; he is a middle-aged, sober, well-looking
man, loves the country, takes care of horses, and likes your terms
so well that, if you chuse it by return of post, he will attend you.
The post this instant rings, d'Eyverdun exists. Next week I think
the fishery Bill. There is some reason to think (Barrè told me just
now) that the New York Assembly has dissented from the Congress.[285]
Adieu.

  [284] Sir Harbord Harbord, afterwards Lord Suffield, M.P. for
  Norwich.

  [285] Efforts were made by Lord North to secure the loyalty
  of the province of New York, which at first repudiated the
  non-importation agreement of Congress, refused to print letters
  of the committee of correspondence appointed to carry out that
  policy, and declined to choose delegates to the second Congress
  which was to be held in May, 1775. Patriotic feeling, however,
  prevailed, and New York decided in April, 1775, to fall into line
  with the other colonies.



[Sidenote: NORTH'S CONCILIATORY SCHEME.]

242.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Evening, February 25th, 1775.

Enclosed I send you Aunt's power of Attorney. It is not legal,
owing I suppose to her ignorance of forms, but _still it expresses
her sentiments_, and will, I think, relative to her, authorize you
to take any measures that may be expedient for the general good,
and they must be taken without delay. I think if we _could get a
tolerable lease_ of the Tythes for a good term of years, it would be
a stop-gap in our favour till at better leisure we could purchase
them.

*We go on with regard to America, if we can be said to go on; for on
last Monday a conciliatory Motion of allowing the Colonies to tax
themselves was introduced by Lord North, in the midst of lives and
fortunes, War and famine.[286] We went into the House in Confusion,
every moment expecting that the Bedfords would fly into Rebellion
against those measures. Lord North rose six times to appease the
storm; all in vain; till at length Sir Gilbert [Elliot] declared
for Administration, and the Troops all rallied under their proper
standards. On Wednesday we had the Middlesex Election.[287] I was a
Patriot; sat by the Lord Mayor,[288] who spoke well, and with temper,
but before the end of the debate fell fast asleep. I am still a Mute;
it is more tremendous than I imagined; the great speakers fill me
with despair, the bad ones with terror.

When do you move? My Lady answered like a woman of sense, spirit, and
good nature. "Neither she nor I could bear it." She was right, and
the Dutchess of Braganza[289] would have made the same answer.* How
do you like your footman? Sir H. only parted with him because the Man
wanted to set up his Trade in his own Country. Adieu.

  [286] On February 1, 1775, Lord Chatham, in the House of Lords,
  brought in a Bill for settling the troubles in America, by which
  it was enacted, _inter alia_, that no tax should be imposed on
  the colonists by the British Parliament without the consent of
  their own representative assembly. The Bill was rejected; but
  it probably influenced Lord North, who, on February 20, brought
  forward, in the Lower House, his conciliatory scheme. This was
  a resolution proposing that, if the colonists should make a
  satisfactory provision for the defence and government of the
  province, the right of taxing them should be suspended. Sir G.
  Elliot represented the Bedford party in the House of Commons.

  [287] On February 22 Wilkes proposed a motion rescinding every
  step which the late Parliament had taken with reference to the
  Middlesex election. Gibbon voted for the motion against the
  Government. The motion was lost by 239 to 171.

  [288] Wilkes.

  [289] Robert Jephson's successful tragedy _Braganza_ was played
  at Drury Lane in February, 1775, Mrs. Yates taking the part of
  Louisa, Duchess of Braganza. Gibbon is probably referring to
  this play in comparing Mrs. Holroyd to the spirited Duchess.
  The answer of "My Lady" is in keeping with the character of the
  Duchess as depicted in the play--

    "I have a woman's form, a woman's fears,
    I shrink from pain and start at dissolution.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Yet summoned as we are, your honour pledged,
    Your own just rights engaged, your country's fate,
                        ... Still would I on,
    Still urge, exhort, confirm thy constancy,
    And, though we perished in the bold attempt,
    With my last breath I'd bless the glorious cause,
    And think it happiness to die so nobly."



  243.

  _To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Tuesday Evening, February 28th, 1775.

  The Bell rings---- I like the intended Journey of Sunday. For
  sundry reasons think you had better auspicate by Twickenham, and
  reserve Bentinck Street, for the _bonne bouche_ week. Still dumb:
  but see, hear, laugh sometimes, am oftener serious, but upon the
  whole very well amused. Adieu.



  [Sidenote: A SILENT MEMBER.]

  244.

  _To his Stepmother._


  March the 30th, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

  *I hardly know how to take up the pen. I talked in my last pen
  of two or three posts, and I am almost ashamed to calculate
  how many have elapsed. I will endeavour for the future to be
  less scandalous. Only believe that my heart is innocent of
  the lazyness of my hand. I do not mean to have recourse to the
  stale and absurd excuse of business, though I have really had
  a very considerable hurry of new Parliamentary business: one
  day, for instance, of seventeen hours, from ten in the morning
  till between three and four the next morning. It is, upon the
  whole, an agreeable improvement in my life, and forms just the
  mixture of business, of study, and of society, which I always
  imagined I should, and now find I do, like. Whether the House of
  Commons may ever prove of benefit to myself or Country is another
  question. As yet I have been mute. In the course of our American
  affairs, I have sometimes had a wish to speak, but though I felt
  tolerably prepared as to the matter, I dreaded exposing myself in
  the manner, and remained in my seat safe, but inglorious. Upon
  the whole (though I still believe I shall try), I doubt whether
  Nature, not that in some instances I am ungrateful, has given me
  the talents of an Orator, and I feel that I come into Parliament
  much too late to exert them.*

  The H.'s have passed a fortnight with me and went away yesterday.
  I regret them much. We often thought and talked of you, and
  the more so, as we stumbled on your friend Mrs. Ashby. She is
  an agreable Woman, though we cannot think her either handsome,
  or proper for your daughter-in-law. *Do you hear of Port
  Eliot coming to Bath? and, above all, do you hear of Charles
  Street[290] coming to Bentinck Street, in its way to Essex, &c.
  Adieu.

  Dear Madam,
  I am most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.*

  [290] Mrs. Gibbon's residence at Bath.



245.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Night, 8th April, 1775. Atwood's as usual.

_A Letter from Aunt._ She supposes me too much taken up with Public
business to write. And yet, alas! throughout that public business I
have remained silent, and notwithstanding all my efforts chained down
to my place by some invisible--unknown invisible power. Now America
and almost Parliament are at an end. I have _resumed my History_ with
vigour and adjourned Politicks to next Winter. Deyverdun will render
account of his own Commissions. Lord Stamford and Booth Gray _hunt_
Brown for your service. He is difficult to catch. I embrace My Lady
and Maria. _She_ (I mean My Lady) is good and grateful. Adieu.

Lovegrove still shuffles: I know not what to do.



246.

_To his Stepmother._


  April 11th, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am sorry to hear of your rheumatism, but the return of Spring is
much in your favour. I wish you would follow Mrs. Porten's method,
who is never out of order above four and twenty hours at a time, and
is still, take her upon the whole, one of the youngest women I know
about town. I am glad to find that Mr. Eliot is coming to Bath; he
will be in town, I suppose, some days after the end of the Sessions.
His friends continually ask me about him, and when his name is drawn
upon a Ballot it is a standing joke in the House of Commons. It
will certainly not be in my power to attend him and to visit you as
I could have wished during the very short period of our Holidays.
I never yet found myself more taken up with business: one part of
it, though indeed the most trifling, you will not, I believe, be
displeased at, _a presentation at Court next week_. I likewise have
an engagement to meet Lord North at dinner, which will probably be
followed by another at his own House (but this between ourselves).
Besides all this, the melancholy duty which I am discharging to
poor Clarke makes it impossible for me to move for some time, as my
Colleague--Skipwith--takes the country business and leaves me that of
town, which is much more perplexing and tedious than I expected. So
you see, dear Madam, that you must return my visit, and I hope you
will seriously think of it. Deyverdun kisses your hands, and will
soon send you something in verse or prose.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

Be so good as to give me a line on Mr. E.'s arrival, with some idea
of his intended motions, that I may epistolize him.



[Sidenote: PRESENTATION AT COURT.]

247.

_To his Stepmother._


  House of Commons, May the 2nd, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

*I accept the Pomeranian Lady with gratitude and pleasure, and shall
be impatient to form an acquaintance with her. My presentations
passed graciously,* and I am glad that I can now walk about the Rooms
on a footing with other people. Sir S. P. had no concern in the
business which was transacted by the Lord of the Bed-chamber in one
place, and the Chamberlain on the other. *My dinner at Twickenham
was attended with less ceremony and more amusement. If they turned
out Lord N. to-morrow, they would still leave him one of the best
Companions in the Kingdom. By this time I suppose the Eliots with
you. I am sure you will say every thing kind and proper on the
occasion. I am glad to hear of the approbation of my Constituents for
my vote on the Middlesex Election; on the subject of America, I have
been something more of a Courtier. You know, I suppose, that Holroyd
is just stept over to Ireland for a fortnight. He passed three days
with me on his way.*

Adieu, Dear Madam. You have had but a disagreable Winter, I think, in
point of health. A Journey to town, Essex, &c., would do you a great
deal of good.

  Ever yours,
  E. G.



248.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  15th May, 1775.

Since your departure a considerable event has happened with regard
to Deyverdun, which disconcerts many of our schemes. Sir Abraham
Hume[291] has proposed to him to go abroad with his younger brother
for four years. Our friend was undetermined especially as the first
year or eighteen months were to be passed in the uncomfortable
University of Gottingen. But as he was offered in a very handsome
way a Life annuity of £100 per annum which will secure him a
Philosophic independence free from the odious necessity of riding
post with young cubs, reason has compelled him to accept and me to
acquiesce. He sets out soon, though he still hopes to see you. A
fortune that would enable a Man to give him an Equivalent on less
unpleasant terms would just now be a very desirable thing.

Returned this moment from an American debate. A Remonstrance and
Representation from the Assembly of New York, presented and feebly
introduced by Burke, but most forcibly supported by Fox.[292] They
disapprove of the violence of their neighbours, acknowledge the
necessity of some dependence on Parliament with regard to Commercial
restraints and express some affection and moderation; but they claim
internal taxation, state many grievances and formally object to the
declaratory Act. On the last ground it was impossible to receive it.
Division 186 to 67. The House tired and languid. In this season and
on America, the Archangel Gabriel would not be heard. On Thursday an
attempt to repeal the Quebec bill,[293] and then to the right about,
and for myself, having supported the British, I must destroy the
Roman Empire.

Are we not very popular in the Bog? Is your business done, and when
do you _superas condere ad auras_? I frequently hear from the Heroine
of Brighthelmstone, and in the brevity of my Rescripts treat her with
the dignity of a Sultan. Adieu.

No news from Lovegrove. The affair begins to make me seriously
unhappy.

  [291] See note to Letter 184.

  [292] May 15, 1775.

  [293] May 18, 1775. This Act, passed in the spring of 1774,
  sanctioned the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion in
  Canada.



249.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, May 16th, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

To-day Deyverdun, myself, and another gentleman dined at home. After
drinking coffee in the Library, we went down stairs again, and as we
entered the Parlour, our ears were saluted with a very harmonious
barking, and our eyes gratified by the sight of one of the prettiest
animals I ever saw. Her figure and coat are perfect, her manners
genteel and lively, and her teeth (as a pair of ruffles have already
experienced) most remarkably sharp. She is not the least fatigued
with her voyage, and compleatly at home in Bentinck Street. I call
her _Bath_. Gibbon would be ambiguous and Dorothea disrespectful.
However it may still be changed. A thousand thanks, and if the E.'s
are arrived, many compliments.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: THE MARCH TO CONCORD.]

250.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  May 30th, 1775.

You will probably see in the Papers, the Boston Gazette
Extraordinary. I shall therefore mention a few circumstances which I
have from Governor Hutchinson.

That Gazette is the only account arrived. As soon as the business was
over the Provincial Congress dispatched a vessel with the news for
the good people of England. The vessel was taken up to sail instantly
at a considerable loss and expence, as she went without any lading
but her ballast. No other letters were allowed to be put on board,
nor did the crew know their destination till they were on the Banks
of Newfoundland. The Master is a man of character and moderation, and
from his mouth the following particulars have been drawn. _Fides sit
penes auctorem._

It cannot fairly be called a defeat of the King's troops; since they
marched to Concord, destroyed or brought away the stores, and then
returned back.[294] They were so much fatigued with their day's work
(they had marched above thirty miles) that they encamped in the
evening at some distance from Boston without being attacked in the
night. It can hardly be called an engagement, there never was any
large body of Provincials. Our troops during the march and retreat
were chiefly harrassed by flying parties from behind the stone walls
along the road and by many shots from the windows as they passed
through the villages. It was then they were guilty of setting fire to
some of those hostile houses. Ensign Gould had been sent with only
twelve men to repair a wooden bridge for the retreat; he was attacked
by the Saints with a minister at their head, who killed two men and
took the Ensign with the others prisoners. The next day the Country
rose. When the Master came away he says that Boston was invested by a
camp of about fifteen hundred tents. They have canon. Their General
is a Colonel Ward, a member of the late Council, and who served with
credit in the last War. His outposts are advanced so near the town,
that they can talk to those of General Gage.

This looks serious, and is indeed so. But the Governor[295] observed
to me that the month of May is the time for sowing Indian corn, the
great sustenance of the Province, and that unless the Insurgents are
determined to hasten a famine, they must have returned to their own
habitations: especially as the restraining act (they had already
heard of it) cuts off all foreign supply, which indeed generally
become necessary to the Province before Winter. Adieu.

  [294] On April 18, 1775, General Gage despatched several hundred
  British troops from Boston to destroy some military stores
  collected at Concord. On the 19th they reached Concord; but,
  on the return, they were attacked by the Colonial Minute-men,
  and were only saved from annihilation by the detachment which
  Gage had sent to their support at Lexington. The battle was
  immediately followed by the investment of Boston by the American
  militia.

  [295] _I.e._ Hutchinson.



251.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, June 3rd, 1775.

The American news becomes every hour more problematical. Darby,
the master of the Ship, has not condescended to show to any one
the original of the Salem Gazette. He has refused to come to Lord
Dartmouth, and what is still more extraordinary, though he says he
left his ship at Southampton, a person of consequence sent down there
by Government has not been able to learn the least news about it.
Yet on the other hand a ship from New York is certainly arrived at
Bristol with the report that a Skirmish at Boston was talked of. No
news from Gage. What am I to do about Handkerchiefs? I thought the
letter you sent me for Downs was an order for them. He sent them to
me without my application, and they are already marked and used. On
the other hand Mrs. B[enjamin] W[ay] is outrageous. It is all your
fault and must be cleared up by you. I think I see some hopes about
Lovegrove, though too faint as yet to be worth any detail. I rejoyce
in My Lady's health. What is the name of her friend the Dutchess's
Captain? Deyverdun is on the wing. I wish you would make and send
me a cheese. I must eat two before I think of Sheffield. Bath, who
desires his compliments, promises himself a very pleasant summer
there.

  E.G.



[Sidenote: ENGAGED ON A HISTORICAL WORK.]

252.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, June 7th, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

The post after I received your last letter, I wrote to Eliot to know
whether he had any intention of coming to town from Bath, but his
Lazyness has not yet condescended to answer me. With the frankness
that our friendship permits and requires, I will fairly tell you the
state of the case. If he does not visit London, decency and perhaps
gratitude call upon me to meet him at Bath; but if he relieves me
from that necessity, the Autumn will be a much more convenient time
for me to make my appearance in Charles Street. The season is more
agreable, and I am just at present engaged in a great Historical
Work, no less than a History of the Decline and fall of the Roman
Empire, with the first Volume of which I may very possibly oppress
the public next winter. It would require some pages to give a more
particular idea of it: but I shall only say in general that the
subject is curious, and never yet treated as it deserves, and that
during some years it has been in my thoughts and even under my pen.
Should the attempt fail, it must be by the fault of the execution.
Adieu, Dear Madam; all Compliments, where they are due, and believe
me,

  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



253.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  June, 1775.

Though Darby's vessel cannot be found, it is pretty clear he is no
impostor. He arrived in his boat at Southampton, and probably left
his ship in some creek of the Isle of Wight. He has now left town,
and is gone, it is said, on a trading voyage to purchase Ammunition
in France and Spain. Do you not admire the lenity of Government? This
day news came that a Ship arrived at Liverpool from Rhode Island.
She sailed the 20th, the day after the Skirmish, and has brought a
general confirmation of it. There was a report this evening of the
arrival of the Sukey[296] from Gage, but it certainly is not true,
and you know as much of the matter as Lord North.

  [296] The sloop sent by General Gage from Boston.



254.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  London, June the 17th, 1775.

I have not courage to write about America. We talk familiarly of
Civil War, Dissolutions of Parliament, Impeachments and Lord Chatham.
The boldest tremble, the most vigorous talk of peace. And yet no more
than sixty-five rank and file have been killed. Governor H[utchinson]
assures me that Gage has plenty of provisions fresh and salted,
flour, fish, vegetables, &c.: _hopes_ he is not in danger of being
forced----

What can I know of the Tythes? Gilbert has done nothing. I acquainted
Mrs. G. with it in a very polite Epistle, which she has answered by a
very polite silence.

After calling twice on Sir Richard Sutton, I sent to know when I
could have the honour, &c. He was gone for the summer that very
morning.--My Lady has received Sevigné[297] that is one of the new
volumes; instead of the other, a different book (I fancy Danville's
_Geographie Ancienne_) was sent; as it may be of more use to me than
to her, the error should be mutually rectified. Deyverdun goes next
week. Yesterday I gave a dinner on his account to the Humes, Sir
Charles Thompson and Sir Richard Worsley. He is going to marry the
youngest Miss Fleming:[298] love and £80,000.--This day I sent almost
a _Charte blanche_ to Lovegrove (do not be frightened) offering to
warrant according to Duane's directions or wishing to know what he
should expect as a compensation. The letter was settled between
Newton and me, and if it does no good, will do no harm. Adieu.

  E. G.

  [297] A new edition of Madame de Sévigné's letters appeared at
  Paris in 1775--_Recueil des lettres de Madame la Marquise de
  Sévigné à Madame la Marquise de Grignan sa fille_.

  [298] Sir R. Worsley married, September 20, 1775, Miss Seymour
  Dorothy Fleming, daughter and coheiress of Sir John Fleming,
  Bart., of Rydal, Westmoreland, and Brompton Park, Middlesex.



[Sidenote: HIS HISTORY GOING TO PRESS.]

255.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  29th June, 1775.

America is too great a subject--Tythes are best in your
hands--Nothing satisfactory from Lovegrove, to whom I have offered
Warranty secundum. Duane, Arbitration or a treaty about some
compensation--Now Lord Stamford and his brother are out of town.
_I know not how to get at Brown._ The Roman Empire will derange
Sheffield; _the Press is just set to work_, and I shall be very busy
the whole _summer in correcting_ and composing. Deyverdun wrote to
me from Calais; he will not be fixed till his arrival at Gottingen.
He has left me somewhat dull and melancholy. My respects to my Lady,
Mama and the _sweet Maria_. Adieu. Batt dined with me yesterday,
Thursday evening. You mistook me when I talked of his visiting
Sheffield. It was not Lawyer Batt _but Dog Bath_, who sends you his
compliments, and proposes to himself great amusement in Sussex.
What does Foster (Mac) in England? He speaks of the Bog with great
modesty.



256.

_To his Stepmother._


  July the 3rd, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

I wish you would believe, what is really the case, that before I
received your letter I intended to have written this very post. It is
true that I had the same intention for many posts before, and that
the glorious spirit of procrastination always told me that the next
would do just as well: I do not mean as to your franks, for those I
must confess I had absolutely and irrecoverably forgotten. *Deyverdun
had left me just before your letter arrived, which I shall soon have
an opportunity of conveying to him. Though, I flatter myself, he
broke from me with some degree of uneasiness, the engagement could
not be declined. At the end of the four years he has an annuity of
£100 for Life, and may, for the remainder of his days, enjoy a decent
independence in that Country, which a Philosopher would perhaps
prefer to the rest of Europe. For my own part, after the hurry of
the town and of Parliament, I am now retired to my Villa in Bentinck
Street, which I begin to find a very pleasing Solitude, at least as
well as if it were two hundred miles from London; because when I am
tired of the Roman Empire, I can laugh away the Evening at Foote's
Theatre, which I could not do in Hampshire or Cornwall.* You know I
am not a writer of news, but I cannot forbear telling you that the
Dutchess of Bedford made regular proposals of marriage to the young
Earl Cholmondely, and was as regularly refused. Poor as he was (he
replied to Mr. Fitzpatrick the Embassador) he was not quite poor
enough to accept them.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly Yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: PRINTING THE HEAD BEFORE THE TAIL.]

257.

_To Mrs. Holroyd._


  Boodle's, Thursday Evening, 13th July, 1775.

The parsimony of your spouse, who rather chuses to build Gateways
than to buy books, has hitherto _deprived you of Hume_. Having just
got the best Edition, I have sent you a good one. By this time you
have probably _received Sevigné_. Enclosed Mr. H. will _find Aunt's
letter_. I have not read it, as I never read more business than is
absolutely necessary. You will please to inform him that a letter
on his plan has been sent to Lovegrove. _I write no news_, 1st
because there are none authentic, and 2dly because you will see dear
MacFoster to-morrow.

_How does sweet Maria?_ You have both used me ill in sending me no
intelligence about her. I shall soon write again to the Baron and
inform him of the reasons _which may delay my_ Journey. Those that
would hasten it you will know.

  Your slave,
  E. G.



258.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  July 20th, 1775.

Do you believe that my inclination leads me to S. P.? If you do not,
you are a D---- fool to give yourself the trouble of asking me. If
you do, you may as well believe that I am giving you reasons and not
pretences. I am just now in the most busy moment of my life, nor is
it so small a work as you may imagine to destroy a great Empire. I
do not merely mean correcting the sheets from the press: that might
certainly be performed at S. P., as both Printer, Strahan,[299]
and Author, an odd circumstance, are Senators. But from a natural
impatience, as you well know, I have begun to _print the head before
the tail_ was quite finished; some parts must be composed, and, as
I proceed in the reviewing, so many emendations and alterations
occur, which require the neighbourhood of my Library, that in any
other region of the Earth, I should find myself every day at a full
stop. As well as I can see before me, I think that I may give you
September: _but I promise nothing_. As soon as I find it within my
power, I shall order my chaise. Therefore be silent and resigned.

_General Frazer,[300] with whom_ I dined to-day at _the British_,
talks of visiting you next month. _Do you remember my Aunt whom you
invited, and who is much disposed to accompany me?_ I was thinking
that your mother's illness might render that _less convenient_. _If
it does you may give her a civil Epistle._ You recollect de Salis;
he is in town, and asked after you.--As to public affairs, we are in
hourly expectation of a battle, and flying reports arrive but do not
prevail. They are certainly premature. What do you think of £1700 a
year for 31 years on poor Ireland to gain Flood, and to pay some of
the C. F's debts without making a friend of him, but only to buy his
place at an extravagant price?[301] My domestic affairs seem calm;
the Wintons are quiet, and the other brute has graciously accepted
the Arbitration of Palmer and will mention it to him in a few days.
Booth Gray, to whom I wrote about Brown, is silent. _Duane was so
till this morning_, when he sent me a note that he had been ill and
could not visit the Tythes of Newhaven till September. Your projects
are vast; but the essential thing seems to be a _present_ decent
increase of rent for Aunt Gibbon.

I approve of the _fall_ rather than _decline_ of the Sussex society.

  E. G.

  [299] William Strahan (1715-1785), Printer to His Majesty, was
  at this time M.P. for Malmesbury. At the election of 1780 he
  was returned for Wootton Bassett; but did not seek re-election
  after the dissolution in 1784. He purchased in 1770 from Mr.
  Eyre a share in the King's Patent as a printer. His character
  is sketched in Nichols' _Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth
  Century_, vol. iii. pp. 390-397.

  [300] General Fraser (1726-1782), the eldest son of the Simon,
  Lord Lovat, who was executed in 1747, was himself included in
  the Act of Attainder for his share in the '45. Pardoned in 1750,
  he raised a regiment of Highlanders (afterwards the 78th), and
  commanded it in Canada during the Seven Years' War. He became
  a major-general in 1771. Three years later, the estates which
  his father's treason had forfeited were restored to him, in
  consideration of his services in the late war. He was M.P. for
  Inverness from 1761 to 1782. He married Miss Catherine Bristow,
  who survived him many years.

  [301] Charles James Fox was Clerk of the Pells in Ireland. The
  place was purchased from him by the Government, who conferred it
  upon Charles Jenkinson in order that the latter might vacate his
  office of Vice-Treasurer of Ireland in favour of Henry Flood.



259.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, August 1st, 1775.

*Your apprehensions of a precipitate work, &c., are perfectly
groundless. I should be much more addicted to a contrary extreme.
The _head_ is now printing? true, but it was wrote last year and
the year before, the first Chapter has been composed _de nouveau
three times_; the second _twice_, and all the others have undergone
reviews, corrections, &c. As to the tail, it is perfectly formed and
digested (and were I so much given to self-content and haste), it is
almost all written. The ecclesiastical part, for instance, is written
out in fourteen sheets, which I mean to _refondre_ from beginning to
end. As to the friendly Critic, it is very difficult to find one who
has leisure, candour, freedom, and knowledge sufficient. However,
Batt and Deyverdun have read and observed. After all, the public
is the best Critic. I print no more than 500 copies of the first
Edition; and the second (as it happens frequently to my betters) may
receive many improvements. So much for Rome.* Now for Ireland. I am
desired to consult you about Lord Ely[302] who (between ourselves)
pays his court to a niece of Eliot's. His fortune is very large, he
is a widower, and as we hear behaved well in his first place; but we
wish to get an impartial account of his general character, manners,
inclinations, virtues and defects. Can you give or procure it?

[Sidenote: NOTHING NEW FROM AMERICA].

*We have nothing new from America. But I can venture to assure you,
that administration is now as unanimous and decided as the occasion
requires. Something will be done this year; but in the spring
the force of the country will be exerted to the utmost. Scotch
highlanders, Irish papists, Hanoverians, Canadians, Indians, &c. will
all in various shapes be employed. Parliament meets the first week
in November. I think his Catholic Majesty may be satisfied with his
summer's amusement. The Spaniards fought with great bravery, and made
a fine retreat; but our Algerine friends surpassed them as much in
conduct as in number.[303] Adieu.

The Dutchess[304] has stopped Foote's piece. She sent for him to
Kingston house and threatened, bribed, argued, and wept for about
two hours. He assured her that if the Chamberlain was obstinate, he
should publish it with a dedication to her Grace.*

  [302] Lord Ely married, on September 18, 1775, the daughter of
  the late Captain Hugh Bonfoy, R.N., and Mrs. Bonfoy (_née_ Anne
  Eliot).

  [303] A great expedition against the Barbary States was organized
  by the Spaniards, and on July 2, 1775, a powerful fleet landed
  their army at Algiers. After a fight of thirteen hours the
  Spaniards were obliged to retreat.

  [304] The famous Duchess of Kingston, formerly Miss Chudleigh,
  married the Duke of Kingston, while her first husband, Augustus
  Hervey, then a lieutenant in the navy, afterwards (1775) Earl
  of Bristol, was living. She was tried for bigamy and convicted
  in 1776. Foote proposed to tell her story in a play called _A
  Trip to Calais_, and to introduce her under the name of "Kitty
  Crocodile." Lord Hertford, as Chamberlain, interdicted the piece,
  which Foote brought out in 1777 as _The Capuchin_.



260.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, August 4th, 1775.

A _vue de pays_, I should have reached S. P. the first week in
September. If you visit Sir John [Russell] about that time, you and
My Lady will of course lodge in Bentinck Street, and in your return
I may condescend to accompany you. _Gage is recalled._[305] Good men
rejoice. Patriots murmur. Adieu.

  E. G.

A quadrille party in the next room, Mrs. Bonfoy, Lady Ely,[306] &c.:
we are impatient.

You have acted like yourself about Newhaven.

  [305] After the battle of Bunker's Hill (June 17, 1775) General
  Gage was recalled, and General Howe appointed to the chief
  command in America.

  [306] Gibbon speaks of Miss Bonfoy, the _future_ Lady Ely.



261.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, August 15th, 1775.

I have not time to hold a long conversation with you: but I want to
settle the _plan of our visit_ (Aunt and self) to S. P. According
to our last it seemed that you were to go into Bucks _the first
week in September_, and that it would suit us all to _attend your
return_ into Sussex. But as I was pacing along the Strand last week,
the Baronet arrested me with a friendly laugh and _a hearty shake_,
and told me, among other curious and interesting particulars, that
your visit to him would not _take place before the 18th_: an awkward
period, as it intersects the time that we could bestow upon you.
Suppose you _were to defer it till the first week in October_. We
could then give you the whole month of September, and come up with
you. _Siquid novisti rectius istis, candidus imperti, sinon_---- I
have nothing to add about the enclosed. Palmer is out of town,
and Lovegrove and Matthews appear wonderfully nonchalant. Eliot is
stepped down into Gloucestershire. I shall communicate the Lord's
portrait,[307] and I think it will please and suit them.

  [307] Doubtless a reference to Mr. Holroyd's character of Lord
  Ely.



[Sidenote: HIS DOG THE COMFORT OF HIS LIFE.]

262.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, August 18th, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

*Will you excuse my present litterary business as an excuse for my
not writing? I think you will be in the wrong if you do; since I was
just as idle before. At all events, however, it is better to say
three words, than to be totally a dumb dog. _A propos_ of dog, but
not of dumb, Bath (a foolish name enough) is the comfort of my life;
pretty, impertinent, fantastical, all that a young Lady of fashion
ought to be; I flatter myself that our passion is reciprocal.* Have
you seen Mr. Eliot very lately? He left us about ten days ago to
make a visit in Glostershire, and perhaps may have looken upon you
at Bath: we expect him again very soon, and shall live together
as we did before in a very pleasant society for the time of year.
Next month I believe Mrs. P. and myself shall pay a short visit to
Sheffield place. Deyverdun, from whom I heard the other day, desires
his Compliments and best wishes to you.

You will be surprized and concerned to hear, as I did last week by a
letter from Mr. Dawkes at St. Omers, that poor Pitman is dead. I know
no other particulars about it. Adieu.

  Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



263.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Night, August 26th, 1775.

I think that, through the dark and doubtful mist of futurity, I
can discern some faint probability that the Gibbon and his Aunt
will arrive at S. P. before the Sun, or rather the Earth, has
accomplished eight diurnal Revolutions. A Caledonian Hero, who
commands the warriours of the Fraserian tribe, seemed likewise to
threaten an invasion about the same period. Adieu.

Lord Ely has given great satisfaction. The business is concluded.



[Sidenote: MRS. GIBBON CATCHES SMALL-POX.]

264.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday, ten o'clock in the Evening, Spinham lands, 1775.

I arrived in town about one, and calling on the Eliots found they
received yesterday a letter from their sister at Bath, that Mrs. G.'s
small-pox is of a very bad confluent sort. I got out of town about
half an hour after three (too much hurried to write), have travelled
till the Moon failed me, propose being at Bath about noon to-morrow.
Shall write to-morrow evening.



265.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bath, October 2nd, 1775.

To continue my journal, I departed from Spinham lands about five
o'clock on Sunday morning, and arrived here at eleven. Caplin,
whom I had sent on before, met me at the town's end, and agreeably
surprised me with the most favourable account. Miss Eliot had too
rashly taken the alarm, as Mrs. G.'s sort, though confluent, was
a very good one. It has turned, in the best manner possible, the
ninth day, and she has at present, but in the slightest degree, the
secondary fever. Dr. Delacour assures me that she is perfectly out
of all danger: but hesitates about acquainting her of my arrival
these three or four days. He knows not the value of time when the
fate of an Empire depends upon it. Without disclosing my motives,
I urge business: and at all events talk of setting out Thursday.
Even if I should not see her, the attention would be all the same. I
ought to have acquired some merit at the expence of infinite hurry,
twenty pounds (for I rattled with four horses and two servants for
the sake of sending Caplin forwards), and above all of a week's loss
of time. I am impatient on all accounts to get away; notwithstanding
the agreeable society of Mrs. Cochran, Misses Sharp, Major Matthews,
and Bresboro the conjurer.----After separating them by a very long
dash, I shall mention that I saw Breck Street last night; Sally looks
very poorly, and Mr. H. made me melancholy by his desponding way of
talking of himself. I have likewise seen Foster, the father of Harry,
who inquired much after Jack Holroyd. Methinks he has something
of the Brogue upon the tip of his tongue now. How do you relish
solitude? Can you endure so many severe strokes which were inflicted
in one day? My adorations wait on My Lady, nor do I forget the infant
Spinny. Have you had any more _Desserts à la Francaise_? Depend upon
it you will always be properly opposed in such arbitrary measures.

  E. G.



266.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, October 14th, 1775.

Yes, yes, I am safe enough in town, and so comfortably in mine own
dear Library, and mine own dear Parlour, that I thought I might as
well give myself a few Holydays from any Epistolary cares. Aunt
Hester starts Monday or Tuesday _certainly_. It is _needless to say
much of Bath_, from whence you receive weekly folios. You have been
_informed how artfully the conspiracy was carried on_, and how I
arrived eight and forty hours after I came. Since my return (I will
not tell you what day) I have had regular and favourable despatches
from Mrs. Gould, and this day for the first time an Epistle from
Mrs. Gibbon herself, full of health, good spirits, and expressions
of gratitude. She is much concerned that I had the trouble of coming
to Bath, but if I know her, would have been much _more concerned
if I had_ not come. So much for that business, which has proved no
inconsiderable interruption.

As to my domestic War, _Madox and the Solicitor-General_ are
enlisted; they have each of them received a Guinea to drink my
health. Newton wanted likewise the Attorney-General; I hesitated, and
asked if it was necessary to employ three great Lawyers to puzzle
our plain case. A peremptory message was sent at the same time to
Matthews to demand his ultimate answer. He replied by the next post
that he would write as soon as he had seen Lovegrove, who was then
from home. Unless they are at once subdued by the terror of my arms,
I much fear that our dispute will last as long as the American
Contest.

[Sidenote: DIFFICULTY IN RAISING TROOPS.]

Apropos of that Contest, *I send you two pieces of intelligence from
the best authority, and which, unless you hear them from some other
quarter, _I do not wish you should_ talk much about. 1st, When the
Russians arrive,[308] (if they refresh themselves in England or
Ireland,) will you go and see their Camp? We have great hopes of
getting a body of these Barbarians. In consequence of some very plain
advances, George, with his own hand, wrote a very polite Epistle to
sister Kitty, requesting her friendly assistance. Full powers and
instructions were sent at the same time to Gunning, to agree for
any force between five and twenty thousand men, _Carte blanche_ for
the terms; on condition, however, that they should serve, not as
Auxiliaries, but as Mercenaries, and that the Russian General should
be absolutely under the command of the British. They daily and hourly
expect a Messenger, and hope to hear that the business is concluded.
The worst of it is, that the Baltic will soon be froze up, and that
it must be late next year before they can get to America. 2nd. In
the mean time we are not quite easy about Canada;[309] and even if
it should be safe from an attack, we cannot flatter ourselves with
the expectation of bringing down that martial people on the back
settlements. The priests are ours; the Gentlemen very prudently wait
the event, and are disposed to join the stronger party; but the same
lawless spirit and impatience of Government which has infected our
Colonies, is gone forth among the Canadian Peasants, over whom, since
the Conquest, the Noblesse have lost much of their ancient influence.
Another thing which will please and surprize, is the assurance I
received from a Man who might tell me a lye, but who could not be
mistaken, that no arts, no management whatsoever have been used to
procure the _Addresses which fill_ the Gazette,[310] and that Lord
N[orth] was as much surprized at the first that came up, as we could
be at Sheffield. We shall have, I suppose, some brisk skirmishing in
Parliament, but the business will soon be decided by our superior
weight of fire. _A propos_, I believe there has been some vague but
serious conversation about _calling out the Militia_. The new Levies
go on very slowly in Ireland.[311] The Dissenters, both there and
here, are violent and active.[312] Adieu. I embrace My Lady and
Maria.* _Bath_ not Batt, _Qui croit et s'embellit_, sends you his
best Compliments, and expresses great satisfaction at the hope of
visiting S. P. next summer.

  [308] George III. negotiated ineffectually with the Empress
  Catharine for the hire of twenty thousand Russian mercenaries for
  service in America. Sir Robert Gunning (1731-1816), the British
  envoy at St. Petersburg, was at first led to believe by both
  Panin, the Russian Foreign Minister, and the empress herself,
  that the troops would be provided. The negotiations were broken
  off on the ground that the Russian officers could not take the
  required oath of allegiance to George III.

  [309] In May, 1775, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold surprised
  the Forts of Ticonderoga on Lake George and Crown Point on Lake
  Champlain. General Carleton, the Governor of Canada, was in
  command of very inadequate forces, and it was feared that the
  province would join the Colonists against the British.

  [310] Addresses from the principal trading towns of England
  poured in, asking the king to prosecute the war with vigour.
  Walpole (_Journal of the Reign of George III._, 1771-83, vol. i.
  pp. 501, 502, Dr. Doran's edition) says that the addresses were
  bought.

  [311] The Government endeavoured to raise a regiment of Irish
  Catholics; but these, says Walpole, "would not list, nor could
  they in the whole summer get above 400 recruits in England"
  (_Journal of the Reign of George III._, vol. i. p. 500).

  [312] Dr. Wesley, on the other hand, published, in 1775, his
  _Calm Address to our American Colonies_, in which he urged
  arguments similar to those of Dr. Johnson in his _Taxation no
  Tyranny_.



267.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, October 16th, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

Though I am always pleased to hear from you, I can assure you no
letter ever gave me so much satisfaction as your last. You have now
completely got over a very serious disorder, and without being a
prophet, I will venture to assure you, that you are armed against it
for the remainder of your life. I understand that your Doctor has
made a general confession of all his tricks; and indeed no Christian
ever lyed on a proper occasion with more zeal and humanity than that
honest Jew has done. At present he will, I hope, assure you with as
much regard but with more truth, that your constitution in the late
attack, has shewn its strength, thrown off the incumbrance and taken
a new and a long lease, of many, and I flatter myself, of happy
years. We must soon talk of your finishing your recovery by breathing
the pure and healthy air of Mary-le-Bone. In the meantime take care
of yourself, and present my most hearty thanks to Mrs. Gould for the
kind and friendly part she has acted in the whole course of this once
alarming but now agreeable transaction.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.



268.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  31st October, 1775.

In the midst of Avocations, Litterary, Parliamentary and Social,
which now on all sides overwhelm me, you must not expect any regular
correspondence. Sayer's[313] business (you must know it by this
time) is foolish beyond description. _He_ was a fool! Richardson a
busy knave, and Lord R. acting Justice of the Peace who was obliged
to take the information. You will see by the numbers that last
Thursday we had an easy, but it was a languid, victory. We have a
warm Parliament but an indolent Cabinet. The _Conquest_ of America
is a _great_ Work: every part of that Continent is either lost or
useless. I do not understand that we have sufficient strength at
home: the German succours are insufficient, _and the Russians are
no longer hoped for_.[314] _When do you come up?_ I dined and lay
at Twickenham, Sunday. Batt was there--Govr. Lyttleton seconded the
Address,[315] matter good, manner ridiculous. Adieu. I delivered
yours to C.

  [313] Mr. Stephen Sayer, a London banker, and one of the sheriffs
  of the City, was accused by one Richardson, a young American
  officer in the Guards, of a plot to seize the Tower, and attack
  the king as he went to open Parliament. The guards were trebled,
  and Sayer, brought before Lord Rochford, Secretary of State for
  the Southern Department, was committed to the Tower. Another "mad
  enthusiast for liberty" and "one or two dissenting Divines" were
  also apprehended. The meeting of Parliament, however, passed off
  quietly, and the temporary panic subsided. On October 28, 1775,
  Sayer was brought before Lord Mansfield on a _Habeas Corpus_,
  and admitted to bail. On December 13 he was discharged from his
  recognizances.

  [314] The negotiations with Russia failed. But the Landgrave of
  Hesse, the Duke of Brunswick, and other petty German potentates
  supplied seventeen thousand mercenaries.

  [315] The address was moved on October 26, 1775, by Mr. Acland
  (eldest son of Sir Thomas Acland), and seconded by the Hon.
  William Lyttleton. M.P. for Bewdley, formerly Governor of
  Jamaica, and minister at Lisbon, An amendment proposed by Lord
  John Cavendish, demanding the fullest information on the subject
  of America, was rejected by 278 to 108.



[Sidenote: AT WORK ON HIS HISTORY.]

269.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, December 4th, 1775.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am still alive, and in spite of the influenza perfectly well.
But why have you not at least written _one_ line in so very long
a space of time? All that I can say on the subject is to declare
with the utmost sincerity that not a single morning has arisen
without my forming the resolution to write before the evening, and
that not a single evening post-bell has rang without sounding the
alarm to my conscience. In the mean time, days, hours and weeks
have imperceptibly rolled away: a perpetual hurry and long days of
Parliamentary business, the whole world coming to town at once, and a
great deal of occupation at home relative to my History, which will
come out some time after Christmas. In a word, I do not like to write
to you, but I want very much to see you. Have you totally forgot your
promise of making me a visit in town? I can lodge you, &c., without
the smallest inconveniency, and I am sure that after getting the
better of so formidable an enemy as you have done, nothing would be
so likely to give the last polish as a change of air, of situation
and of company. Be so kind as to send me an _answer_ and not a
compliment, on this subject.

Mrs. Porten is still well and young. Her sister-in-law has got and
lost a child. The former wishes to be remembered to you. You see
the honour which Mr. Eliot[316] has acquired. I am amazed how he
condescended to accept of it. The Member of St. Germans might lurk
in the country, but the knight of Cornwall must attend the House of
Commons.--I salute from a distance all Bath friends: and particularly
the Colonel,[317] Mrs. G[ould], Fanny, Birds, dogs, &c., &c.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [316] Mr. Eliot, on the death of Sir J. Molesworth, was elected
  M.P. for Cornwall. Miss Burney, in 1781, speaks of meeting "Mr.
  Eliot, knight of the shire of Cornwall, a most agreeable, lively,
  and very clever man." He was one of the pall-bearers at the
  funeral of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was also a friend of Johnson,
  to whom he lent Defoe's _Memoirs of Captain Carleton_, a book
  which the Doctor had never seen (Boswell's _Life of Johnson_, ed.
  G. B. Hill, 1887, vol. iv. pp. 334-344).

  [317] Colonel Gould.



270.

_To his Stepmother._


  December 24th, 1775.

  MY DEAR MADAM,

Inclosed I send the ordinary draft. As you have never had reason
to doubt my sincerity, you will believe me, when I say that I feel
myself ashamed of my _real_ and _apparent_ negligence, and deeply
concerned at the subject of your last letter. That subject is of
such melancholy and weighty import, that though I fear I cannot say
anything very satisfactory, I must beg leave to defer, two or three
posts longer, the taking any farther notice of it. Allow me only
to explain, what I mean by my _apparent_ negligence. Your _former_
letter was delivered to me while I was abroad at dinner, and when
I returned home very late at night, I locked it up without having
examined the contents. The next morning it was impossible for me to
find it or to recollect how I had disposed of it: and I vainly and
indolently delayed writing from post to post, in hopes that I might
accidentally stumble upon it.--Mr. H. is probably _at_ or _near_
Bath. I am sorry to hear so indifferent an account of Mrs. H.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

If there was anything in your former which you have not said in your
last letter, may I beg you to repeat it. I am perfectly well, and
shall pass my holidays in town.



[Sidenote: HIS BOOK ALMOST READY.]

271.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, 3rd January, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

Had I not been engaged in hastening and finishing the Impression,
I would with great pleasure have made you a Christmas visit. I may
truly say to you and not to Bath, for I have never much relished
the style and amusements of that seat of idleness which so many
people are fond of; and I am much inclined to think that if you
fixed your residence in any other part of the Kingdom, I might pass
the remainder of my life without ever seeing Bath again. Since I
have mentioned my book, let me add that it will probably make its
appearance about the middle or end of February: and that one of the
very first copies of it shall be carefully transmitted to Charles
Street. The Public, I know not why, except from the happy choice
of the subject, have already conceived expectations, which it will
not be easy to satisfy: the more especially as lively ignorance is
apt to expect much more than the nature and extent of historical
materials can enable an author to produce. However, if the first
volume is decently received in the world, I shall be encouraged to
proceed; and shall find before me a stock of labour and of amusement
sufficient to engage my attention for many years. The prosecution of
some scheme is in my opinion the circumstance the most conducive to
the happiness of life, and, of all schemes, the best is surely that,
the success of which chiefly depends on ourselves. Parliamentary
business, and agreeable society fill the eye, the intervals of my
time, and my situation would in every respect be a comfortable one,
if I could only put an end to my Buckinghamshire sale, which is still
attended with many difficulties, and will hardly be decided without
the interposition of Chancery. You will not wonder that I lose time
and catch at every hope, rather than involve myself in that labyrinth
of Chicane and expense.

I say nothing of public affairs. Never did they wear a more
melancholy aspect. We much fear that Quebec[318] will not hold out
the Winter. The Provincials have everywhere displayed courage and
abilities worthy of a better cause; and those of my Ministerial
friends who are the best acquainted with the state of America, are
the least sanguine in their hopes of success for next year.

An odd discovery is just now made. At a sale in the country, an old
cabinet was going to be knocked down for twenty shillings, when
the curiosity of some people present urged them to examine it more
closely. Two private drawers were found; one of which contained
bank-notes to a very large amount, the other held an older and more
valuable curiosity; the individual ring of Queen Elizabeth, the Earl
of Essex, Lady Nottingham, &c.: you remember the story.[319] It was
in a very fine purse embroidered with pearls; and is authenticated by
a writing, found in the same purse, of an old Lady Cook who attended
the Queen in her visit to the Countess, and picked up the ring when
her Majesty threw it from her with horror and indignation. I have
seen the purse and ring (a yellow kind of diamond) at Barlow's,
a silk-mercer in King Street, Covent Garden, who affirms that he
has read the paper, but the mystery which is made about the place
of sale, and the name of the present proprietor, leaves room for
suspicion. Horace Walpole is determined, if possible, to get to the
bottom of the affair.

I hope, dear Madam, that not only your health, but your beauty
likewise, are perfectly restored, but I must desire an explicit and
_satisfactory_ answer about your promised visit to London. The air
will, I am sure, be of the greatest service to you, and as the Spring
will soon advance upon us, you may easily connect London with Essex,
Sussex or any other part of the Kingdom, where you have any visits to
make or promises to fulfill.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [318] On November 14, 1775, Benedict Arnold made an unsuccessful
  attempt to capture Quebec by surprise. Reinforced by a
  considerable body of troops under General Montgomery, he renewed
  his attack on December 31. Montgomery was killed, Arnold wounded,
  and the assault repulsed. The siege was, however, continued, and
  it was not till May, 1776, that General Carleton was able to
  assume the offensive and drive the Americans out of Canada.

  [319] Gibbon alludes to the story, that the Countess of
  Nottingham kept back a ring which Essex, before his execution,
  sent by her hand to Elizabeth. The ring, which had formerly been
  worn by the queen, is probably now in the possession of Mr.
  Francis Thynne, to whom it descended through Lady Mary Devereux.
  It is a cameo head of Elizabeth, cut in a sardonyx, and set in
  a gold ring, enamelled at the back. It has been enlarged with
  _soft_ solder, as though Essex had only trusted it to a jeweller
  working in his presence. Walpole makes no allusion to the alleged
  discovery.

Bentinck Street, January 3rd of the

New Year 1776. May you find it an agreeable introduction to many
happy ones.

P.S.--Messrs. Gosling and Clive will honour your order whenever you
chuse to draw for the last half year, and on every future occasion
I will take care that it shall be ready for your draught, which I
think, once for all, will be the best way of settling it.



272.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  London, January 18th, 1776.

*How do you do? Are you alive? Are you buried under mountains
of snow? I write merely to triumph in the superiority of my own
situation, and to rejoice in my own prudence, in not going down to S.
P., as I seriously but foolishly intended to do last week.* Hugonin
by appointment came to town, but we soon agreed that the expedition
(on his side at least) must be deferred till next summer; for
which time he made a very solemn and, as I believe, a very serious
engagement. We talked over Horn farm, which will be let next month by
auction, and I am only afraid of getting too much money for it. Chalk
woods, &c., settled to admiration, and every thing goes well except
the d----d Lovegrove. However I have had the arrears of rent paid
into Fleet street: which leaves a very moderate balance of interest
against me.

[Sidenote: GLOOMY ASPECT OF AMERICAN AFFAIRS.]

*We proceed triumphantly with the Roman Empire, and shall certainly
make our appearance, before the end of next month. I have nothing
public. You know we have got 18,000 Germans from Hesse Brunswick
and Hesse Darmstadt. I think our meeting will be lively; a spirited
Minority, and a desponding Majority. The higher people are placed,
the more gloomy are their countenances, the more melancholy their
language. You may call this cowardice, but I fear it arises from
_their knowledge_ (a late knowledge) of the difficulty and magnitude
of the business. Quebec is not _yet_ taken. I hear that Carleton is
determined never to capitulate with Rebels. A glorious resolution
if it were supported with 50,000 men. Adieu. I embrace My Lady
and Maria. Make my excuses to the latter for having neglected her
birthday.*



273.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  January 29th, 1776.

Hares &c. arrived safe; were received with thanks, and devoured
with appetite: send more, _id est_, of hares. I believe in my last
I forgot saying any thing of the son of Fergus; his letters reached
him.--What think you of the season? Siberia, is it not? A pleasant
campaign in America. I read and pondered your last and think that
in the place of Lord G. G.[320] you might perhaps succeed; but I
much fear that our Leaders have not a genius which can act at the
distance of 3000 miles. By the bye the little islands of the Bermudas
have just declared in favour of the Congress. You know that a large
draught of Guards are just going to America, poor dear creatures! We
are met; but no business. Next week may be busy; Scotch Militia &c.
Roman Empire (first part) will be finished in a week or fortnight.
At last I have heard Texier;[321] wonderful! Embrace My lady. The
weather too cold to turn over the page. Adieu.

Since this I received your last, and honour your care of the old
Women, a respectable name which in spite of My lady may suit Judges,
Bishops, Generals (_Je gage que j'ai raison_) &c. Several letters
directed to you and enclosed to me, have been franked. Ferguson's
might be among them. I am rejoyced to hear of Maria's inoculation.
I know not when you have done so wise a thing. You may depend upon
getting an excellent house. Adieu.

[320] The Duke of Grafton resigned the Privy Seal November 9, 1775.
Lord Dartmouth succeeded him, and Lord George Germain took Lord
Dartmouth's place as Secretary of State for the Colonies.

  [321] Horace Walpole, writing November 23, 1775, says, "A
  Monsieur Tessier, of whom I have heard much in France, acted
  an entire play of ten characters, and varied his voice, and
  countenance, and manner, for each so perfectly, that he did not
  name the persons that spoke, nor was it necessary. I cannot
  decide to which part he did most justice, but I would go to the
  play every night if I could see it so acted."



[Sidenote: PUBLICATION OF HIS HISTORY.]

274.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck-street, February 9th, 1776.

*You are mistaken about your dates. It is to-morrow _seven-night_,
the 17th, that my book will decline into the World.* I will attend to
Coachman and house, though I could wish that in point of price and
situation you had been a little more explicit.

*I am glad to find that by degrees you begin to understand the
advantage of a civilized city,*--I cannot say as much as Batt and
Cantab, who dined with me, Beauclerck and Lady Di.[322] Adieu. *No
public business; Parliament has sate every day, but we have not
had a single debate.* There is a rumour that Quebec is taken, and
Washington is said to have communicated the news to Howe, but it is
not yet absolutely believed. *I think you will have _your book_ on
Monday. The parent is not forgot, though I had not a single one to
spare.*

  [322] Topham Beauclerk and Lady Diana Beauclerk (see note to
  Letter 47).



275.

_To his Stepmother._


  House of Commons, Wednesday Evening, February, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

I write two lines to return you my thanks for what you say of my
book,[323] of which you are not indeed so good a Judge as you would
be of any written by another author. By a mistake you have received
_two_ bound books instead of one. Be so good as to return one of them
by coach or wagon, and I will give an order that an unbound one shall
go to-morrow to Brook Street. Your soiled one (honourable marks)
you will retain. But when will you flatter me in person in Bentinck
Street? March approaches.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [323] _The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_,
  by Edward Gibbon, Esq. Vol. i., London, 1776, 4to, was published
  by W. Strahan and T. Cadell in February.



276.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, March 26th, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

Lazyness is ingenious; but on this occasion mine was provided with
too good an excuse, I mean your own silence. From post to post I
have expected a letter to fix the time and manner of your Journey
to London. I now begin to despair, and am almost inclined to think
that your sedentary life has rivetted your chains, and cut off your
wings. I must therefore try (though a very sedentary animal myself)
whether I cannot visit you at Bath, and as the Easter vacation seems
to promise me the most convenient leisure that I am likely to enjoy
in the whole year, I entertain some thoughts of running down to you
for a few days. The Eliots, who with great difficulty have existed
in town about two months, seem to intend moving towards that place
about the same time. The Holroyds are likewise in town: they have
inoculated their girl, and I understand with the greatest pleasure
that there are some hopes of an increase of family.--As to myself,
I have the satisfaction of telling you that my book has been very
well received by men of letters, men of the world, and even by fine
feathered Ladies, in short by every set of people except perhaps by
the Clergy, who seem (I know not why) to shew their teeth on the
occasion. A thousand Copies are sold, and we are preparing a second
Edition, which in so short a time is, for a book of that price, a
very uncommon event.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.



277.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bath, April 11th, 1776.

I write two lines to signify my arrival at this place. Beauclerck's
heart failed him, and he left me in the lurch; but he had made me
take such steps of giving notice, &c., that the journey was become
unavoidable. I propose staying till this Day sen'night and shall
return for the Budget. This morning I saw _Pater_, and do not think
him worse than he has been for these two or three years past. _Soror_
is actually above stairs with Mrs. G. and other Ladies. Though I had
not the opportunity of a whisper, I suppose she desires Compliments.
The place appears full, and they say is lively, but you know how
little its kind of pleasures have the happiness of charming me. I
long to get back to the Library in Bentinck Street, where I shall
speedily but not hastily undertake the second Volume. The Ladies here
do me the honour of admiring me.



[Sidenote: THE NECKERS IN LONDON.]

278.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, April 26th, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

Though you may censure my silence for two or three posts, you must
allow that my taking up my pen while your daughter-in-law is sitting
close to me is an instance of no vulgar complaisance. I am a good
deal taken up with the Neckers.[324] We are vastly glad to see one
another, but she is no longer a Beauty. How is Colonel Gould? I am
well.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [324] Madame Necker, formerly Suzanne Curchod (see note to Letter
  26), and her husband were at this time in London. "M. et Madame
  Necker se préparent à un voyage en Angleterre; ils partiront le
  semaine de Pâques, et ils m'assurent qu'ils seront ici de retour
  à la fin de mai" (Madame du Deffand to Walpole, March 17, 1776).



279.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  27th April, 1776.

Lest you should growl, I write, though I have nothing to say, for
the Dutchess alias _Countess_[325] is not an object worthy of our
attention. I rejoyce to hear of your approaching arrival, and _hope_
that by that time Newton may have something to say. Your letter to
Foster is not forgot: nor was the visit to his namesake of Orchard
Street. When will you send me up the lease for Mrs. Gibbon, who
will soon complain of my delay by a thundering Epistle? At Bath
all were well, _Pater_ not worse, I think, than last year, and
Soror in much better looks and spirits. You probably know that poor
Lady Russel[326] is brought to bed of a dead child. Great is the
desolation of all branches of the family. I write with three or four
very fine Ladies round me. Therefore--Adieu.

  E. G.

  [325] The Duchess of Kingston was Countess of Bristol, her
  previous marriage with Augustus Hervey (afterwards Earl of
  Bristol) having been declared legal. See note to Letter 259.

  [326] Sir John Russell, Bart., of Chequers, Bucks., married on
  October 25, 1774, Miss Carey, daughter of General Carey, and
  granddaughter of Lord Falkland.



280.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  London, May 20th, 1776.

*I am angry, that you should impede my noble designs of visiting
foreign parts, more especially as I have an advantage which Sir
Wilful had not, that of understanding your foreign lingos. With
regard to Mrs. Gibbon, her intended visit, to which I was not
totally a stranger, will do me honour, and though it should delay my
emigration till the end of July, there will still remain the months
of August, September and October. Above all abstain from giving
the least hint to any Bath Correspondent, and perhaps, if I am not
provoked by opposition, the thing may not be absolutely certain. At
all events you may depend on a previous visit. At present I am very
busy with the Neckers. I live with her just as I used to do twenty
years ago, laugh at her Paris varnish, and oblige her to become a
simple reasonable Suissesse. The man, who might read English husbands
lessons of proper and dutiful behaviour, is a sensible good-natured
creature. In about a fortnight I again launch into the World in the
shape of a quarto Volume. The dear Cadell assures me that he never
remembered so eager and impatient a demand for a second Edition.

The town is beginning to break up; the day after to-morrow we
have our last day in the house of Commons to inquire into the
instructions of the Commissioners;[327] I like the man, and the
motion appears plain. Adieu. I dined with Lord Palmerston[328]
to-day; a great dinner of Catches; Sir Farby and spouse part of the
company or rather of the family: I embrace My lady and the Maria.*

  [327] Two commissioners, Admiral Lord Howe and his brother,
  General Howe, were empowered, in May, 1776, to treat with the
  colonists, receive submissions, grant pardons, and inquire into
  grievances. Lord Howe reached Sandy Hook on July 12th. On July 4
  the Declaration of Independence had been adopted by Congress, and
  the mission was too late.

  [328] Lord Palmerston was elected a member of the Catch Club in
  1771.



[Sidenote: A PROBABLE VISIT TO PARIS.]

281.

_To his Stepmother._


  Almack's,[329] May 24th, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

Shame, shame, always shame---- Yet two lines will I write in the midst
of a crowd. My mornings have been very much taken up with preparing
and correcting (though in a minute and almost imperceptible way)
my new Edition, which will be out the 1st of June. My afternoons
(barring the House of Commons) have been a good deal devoted to
Madame Necker. Her husband and the rest of her servants leave this
country next Tuesday, entertained with the Island, and owning that
the barbarous people have been very kind to them. Do you know that
they have almost extorted a promise to make them a short visit at
Paris in the Autumn. But pray, Madam, when do you set out, the month
of June draws near, and both myself, the Portens and the inhabitants
of Sheffield Place are impatient to be informed of the time and
circumstances of your intended journey.

Poor Mallet![330] I pity his misfortune and feel for him probably
more than he does for himself at present. His "William and Margaret,"
his only good piece of poetry, is torn from him, and by the evidence
of old Manuscripts turns out to be the work of the celebrated Andrew
Marvel composed in the year 1670. Adieu, dear Madam.

  I am most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [329] Almack's Club, in Pall Mall, surpassed White's in the
  extravagance of its gambling. Brooks, a money-lender and
  wine-merchant, took up the management of the club, which was
  dispersed when he opened the new premises of Brooks' Club, in St.
  James's Street, in 1778.

  [330] Mr. Child (_The English and Scottish Popular Ballads_,
  part iii. p. 199, Boston, 1885) says that Mallet passed off as
  his own, with very slight changes, a ballad called _William and
  Margaret_, a copy of which, dated 1711, has been discovered. But
  the resemblances between the two poems scarcely seem to justify
  Mr. Child's criticism, though Gibbon's statement confirms it. The
  writer of the article on Mallet, in the _Dictionary of National
  Biography_, throws no doubts upon Mallet being the author of
  _William and Margaret_, nor does the writer on Marvell, in the
  same series, lay any claim for Marvell to its authorship. Thomas,
  better known as "Hesiod," Cooke, who published his _Life and
  Writings of Andrew Marvell_ in 1726, and who not only disliked
  Mallet, but characterised his _William and Margaret_ as "trash,"
  nowhere suggests that Mallet was not the author. The first stanza
  is taken from Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy of _The Knight of
  the Burning Pestle_, where old Merrythought sings--

    "When it was grown to dark midnight,
      And all were fast asleep,
    In came Margaret's grimly ghost,
      And stood at William's feet."

  In Percy's _Reliques_, vol. iii. p. 331 (ed. Dodsley, 1759),
  Mallet's poem is printed with the following note: "This Ballad,
  which appeared in some of the public Newspapers in or before the
  year 1724, came from the pen of David Mallet, Esq.; who in the
  edition of his poems, 3 vols., 1759, informs us that the plan was
  suggested by the four verses quoted above ***, which he supposed
  to be the beginning of some ballad now lost."



282.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  June the 6th, 1776, from Almack's, where I was chose last week.

*To tell you any thing of the change or rather changes of Governors
I must have known something of them myself: but all is darkness
confusion and uncertainty; to such a degree that people do not even
know what lyes to invent. The news from America have indeed diverted
the public attention into another and far greater channel. All that
you see in the papers of the repulse at Quebec as well as the capture
of Lee[331] rests on the authority (a very unexceptionable one) of
the Provincial papers as they have been transmitted by Governor Tryon
from New York. Howe is well and eats plentifully, and the weather
seems to clear up so fast that according to the English custom we
have passed from the lowest despondency, to a full assurance of
success.

My new birth happened last Monday, 700 of the 1500 were gone
yesterday. I now understand from pretty good authority that Dr.
Porteous,[332] the friend and chaplain of St. Secker, is actually
sharpening his goose quill against the last two Chapters.* Mrs. G.
has not yet signified her intentions about the London and Sheffield
expedition. I have not advanced one single step with regard to
Lovegrove. Palmer will not interfere till he has seen the abstract
of the title with Duane's observations, which we cannot get them to
communicate even to their own friend. Adieu. I embrace My lady and
the Maria.

  [331] The report of General Lee's capture was false. He was taken
  prisoner December 13, 1776.

  [332] Beilby Porteus, Bishop of Chester, afterwards Bishop of
  London, had been chaplain to Archbishop Secker, whose Charges
  he published in 1769. He did not publish any reply to Gibbon's
  _Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_.



[Sidenote: SECOND EDITION OF HIS BOOK.]

283.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Almack's, June 29th, 1776.

*Yes, yes I am alive and well; but what shall I say? Town grows
empty and this house, where I have passed very agreable hours, is
the only place which still unites the flower of the English youth.
The style of living though _somewhat_ expensive is exceedingly
pleasant and notwithstanding the rage of play I have found more
entertaining and even rational society here than in any other Club
to which I belong. Mrs. G. still hangs in suspense and seems to
consider a town expedition with horror. I think however that she
will be soon in motion, and when I have her in Bentinck-street we
shall perhaps talk of a Sheffield excursion. I am now deeply engaged
in the reign of Constantine, and from the specimens which I have
already seen, I can venture to promise that the second Volume will
not be less interesting than the first. The 1500 Copies are moving
off with decent speed, and the obliging Cadell begins to mutter
something of a third Edition for next year. No news of Deyverdun or
his French translation. What a lazy dog! Madame Necker has been gone
a great while. I gave her _en partant_ the most solemn assurances
of following her _paws_ in less than two months, but the voice of
indolence begins to whisper a thousand difficulties and, unless
your absurd policy should thoroughly provoke me, the Parisian
journey may possibly be deferred. I rejoyce in the progress of *
* * towards light. By Cork Street I suppose you mean the Carters
and highly approve of the place. We are in expectation of American
news. Carleton is made a Knight of the Bath.[333] The old report
of Washington's resignation and quarrel with the Congress seems to
revive.* I shall say nothing of Lovegrove, the beast makes me very
uneasy, as I cannot devise any expedient to force, persuade, or bribe
him out of his obstinate silence. Adieu.

  [333] Sir Guy Carleton was gazetted K.B., July 6, 1776.



284.

_To his Stepmother._


  Almack's, July 4th, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

I can freely and sincerely tell you, that there is no journey which
will give me half the pleasure of staying in Bentinck Street to
receive you the latter end of next week, which I shall expect with
impatience.

  I am,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.



285.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Night, Bentinck Street, 13th July, 1776.

Mrs. G. at last arrived. I enclose her letter. Our plan seems to be
to visit Sheffield Place towards the end of next week. _À vue de
pays_, Friday appears the most likely day. I have no news public or
private, and loose conversation may be deferred till our meeting. I
was deeply engaged in the decline, but this visit and journey put a
heavy spoke in the wheel. Adieu.



286.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday evening, August, 1776.

*We expect you at five o'Clock Tuesday without a sore throat. You
have ere this heard of the shocking accident which takes up the
attention of the town.* Our old acquaintance poor John Damer[334]
shot himself, last Wednesday night, at the Bedford arms, his usual
place of resort, where he had passed several hours with four Ladies
and a blind fidler. By his own indolence rather than extravagance,
his circumstances were embarrassed, and he had frequently declared
himself tired of life. *No public news, nor any material expected
till the end of this or beginning of the next month when Howe will
probably have collected his whole force.[335] A tough business
indeed; you see by their declaration that they have now passed the
Rubicon and rendered the work of a treaty infinitely more difficult:
You will perhaps say, so much the better; but I do assure you that
the _thinking_ friends of government are by no means sanguine.* Mrs.
G. seems likely to expect your arrival. She has had no answer out
of you. I am pretty much a prisoner except about _one_ hour in the
evening: but as she dines to-morrow with Mrs. Ashby, *I take the
opportunity of eating turtle with Garrick at Hampton.* Adieu.

  [334] The Hon. John Damer, son of Lord Milton, shot himself,
  August 15, 1776. To his widow, the daughter of General Conway,
  Horace Walpole left Strawberry Hill for her life.

  [335] On August 27, 1776, General Howe defeated the Americans at
  the battle of Brooklyn or Long Island.



287.

_To his Stepmother._

  London, September 2nd, 1776.


  DEAR MADAM,

Yesterday afternoon about half an hour past five a young _Lady_[336]
was introduced into the world, and though her sex might be considered
an objection, she was received with great politeness. She is
perfectly well, as likewise My Lady, who eat a whole chicken for her
dinner to-day. How do you like Essex ladies? Have they resisted the
attacks of two and twenty years? I hope they will not detain you
from Bentinck Street much longer, and I rather consider my having no
letter to-day as a good sign.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [336] Louisa, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Holroyd.



288.

_To his Stepmother._


  25th September, '76.

At a large Meeting of the most considerable Wits of the two Islands,
it was agreed that Rouen Ducks have white feathers, but this is not
the whole business of this letter. The Gibbon has so often declared
an intention of letting Mrs. Gibbon know that he is well without
so doing, that it is just determined to acquaint her he exists.
Moreover Mrs. H. and the Brat are quite well, and Mrs. H. wishes
for an opportunity of promoting eloquence in Mrs. Gibbon on Gothic
Architecture.

It is a certain fact that the Gibbon exists, and that his resolutions
have been as usual much better than his intentions. He looks back
with pleasure and regret on the time with Mrs. Gibbon, and most
sincerely hopes that as she has now conquered all the Lyons upon the
road, she will no longer entertain any apprehensions of the Journey.
Mrs. Porten is well, and I believe has written. The other day I told
her that there was an Irish edition of the Decline. Her question
amused me. "Do you understand it?" She supposed it was published
in the Irish language. The natives have printed it very well, and
the notes at the bottom take up much less space than I could have
imagined.

  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.



289.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday, ¾ past eleven, 19 Oct. 1776.

I have waited so long that the bell is tolling in my ear, but I know
you would swear----

By the enclosed you will see Sir Hugh's impediments, and if the
rest of his letter requires any answer you may amuse yourself with
scratching it out.

*For the present I am so deeply engaged that you must renounce the
hasty apparition at S. P.; but if you should be very impatient I will
try (after the meeting) to run down between the friday and monday,
and bring you the last Editions of things.--At present _nought_ but
expectation. The attack on me is begun, an anonymous eighteen-penny
pamphlet, which will get the author more Glory in _the next World_
than in this. The Heavy troops, Watson[337] and another, are on their
march. No news from Richard Way. Adieu.*

  [337] _An Apology for Christianity, in a Series of Letters to
  Edward Gibbon, Esq._, by Richard Watson, D.D. (afterwards Bishop
  of Llandaff). Gibbon had a great respect for Dr. Watson, at this
  time Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, as "a prelate of a
  large mind and liberal spirit." He writes (November 2, 1776) to
  "express his sense of the liberal treatment which he has received
  from so candid an adversary."



[Sidenote: FEARS OF WAR WITH FRANCE.]

290.

_To his Stepmother._


  Ampthill Park, Oct. 24th, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

I hardly dare recollect how long I have been without writing to you,
but you know my sentiment and my laziness; so I will say no more on
that threadbare subject. I have been some days at this place and have
spent them very agreeably. Luckily the weather has been bad, which
in a great measure has secured me from excursions, and confined us
to an excellent house, conducted on an easy plan, and filled with
a comfortable society in which the principal part was performed by
Mr. Garrick. I return to town to-morrow. By-the-bye, you will be so
good as not to mention this Bedfordshire journey to Miss Holroyd:
it might get round to Sheffield Place which I have cheated of a
promised visit. In a few days our Parliamentary campaign will open,
and the beginning of success which we have tasted in America will
enliven our countenances, if they should not be clouded again by the
apprehensions of a French war, which seem to increase every day. With
regard to another great object of hostilities,--_myself_,--the attack
has been already begun by an anonymous Pamphleteer, but the heavy
artillery of Dr. Watson and another adversary are not yet brought
into the field. I was afraid that I should be hurt by them, but if
I may presume of my future feelings from the first tryal of them, I
shall be in every sense of the word _invulnerable_.

My long depending and troublesome business with Lovegrove is at
length, by the strenuous interposition of Holroyd, not concluded,
but broke off. The fellow wanted either power or inclination to
compleat his agreement, and after weighing all the difficulties
and delays of Chancery, it was judged most expedient to consent to
a mutual discharge. By this transaction I have lost a great deal
both of time and money, and am now to begin the sale again. It has
occasioned me much vexation, but Holroyd assures me that I have
been guilty of no fault, and that I may still entertain very fair
hopes. The subject was grown so odious to me, that I could not bring
myself even to talk to you about it. Adieu, Dear Madam. Remember that
by your summer excursions you gain health and give pleasure. This
doctrine is true and I hope that another year you will draw some
practical inferences from it.

  I am,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.



291.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  November the 4th, 1776.

*I hope you bark and growl at my silence: growl and bark. This is
not a time for correspondence. Parliament, visits, dinners, suppers,
and an hour or two stolen with difficulty for the Decline leave but
very little leisure.* I dare say you admire the Howes; so do I; and
I firmly believe that whatever force can effect will be performed
by them. *I send you the Gazette and have scarcely any thing to add
except that about five hundred of them have deserted to us, and that
the New York incendiaries were immediately and very justifiably
destined to the Cord.[338] Lord G[eorge] G[ermain] with whom I had
a long conversation last night was in high spirits and hopes to
reconquer Germany and America.[339] On the side of Canada he only
fears Carleton's _slowness_, but entertains great expectations that
the light troops and Indians under Sir William Johnson, who are
sent from Oswego down the Mohawk River to Albany, will oblige the
Provincials to give up the defence of the lakes for fear of being
cut off.--The report of a foreign War subsides. House of Commons
dull;[340] and Opposition talk of suspending hostilities from despair.

An anonymous pamphlet and Dr. Watson out against me: (in my opinion)
feeble; the former very illiberal, the latter uncommonly genteel. At
last I have had a letter from Deyverdun, wretched excuses, nothing
done, vexatious enough.--To-morrow I write to Suard, a very skilful
translator of Paris, who was here in the spring with the Neckers to
get him (if not too late) to undertake it.* Not a line from R. Way!
Adieu. I embrace, &c. Remember the fourteenth. I expect at least a
week. What's the whim of my lady's not paying her proper respects to
Bentinck Street?

  [338] On September 15 General Howe occupied New York, which had
  been evacuated by the American troops; a few days later a great
  part of the city was destroyed by incendiaries.

  [339] Lord Chatham boasted that he had conquered America in
  Germany. Wilkes, in March, 1776, had said, alluding to Lord G.
  Germain's misconduct at Minden and Chatham's boast, that Lord
  George might conquer America, though, he believed, it would not
  be in Germany. Gibbon apparently refers to this remark, and to
  Lord George's hope that he might recover his lost reputation by
  the reconquest of America.

  [340] Parliament met October 31, 1776. An amendment to the
  address, expressing pacific sentiments, was negatived by 242 to
  87, and the address carried by 232 to 83.



[Sidenote: HOWE'S PROCLAMATION.]

292.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Almack's, Thursday evening, November 7th, 1776.

*Letters from Bourgoyne. They embarked on the lakes the 30th of
September with 800 British Sailors, 6000 regulars, 3000 Canadians,
and a naval force superior to any possible opposition: but the season
was so far advanced that they expected only to occupy and strengthen
Ticonderoga and afterwards to return, and take up their winter
quarters in Canada.--Yesterday we had a surprize in the house from
a proclamation of the Howes[341] which made its first appearance in
the Morning post, and which nobody seems to understand. By this time
My lady may see that I have not much reason to fear my antagonists.
Adieu till next Thursday.*

  [341] The proclamation, issued September 19, 1776, was addressed
  to the people of America, promised a revision of recent
  legislation, and was designed to induce separate colonies to
  negotiate with the commissioners independently of Congress. It
  was not published in the official Gazettes, which had appeared on
  November 4 and 5, 1776.



[Sidenote: FRENCH TRANSLATION OF HIS HISTORY.]

293.

_To M. Suard._[342]


  Bentinck Street, Cavendish Square, le 8 Novembre 1776.

  MONSIEUR,

Quand on se propose de visiter un pays étranger où la langue que
nous parlons n'est pas connue, on doit chercher les plus habiles
interprètes de ses pensées. C'est pour cette raison que vous me
permettrez de m'adresser à vous au sujet de mon histoire de la
décadence et de la chute de l'Empire Romain.

Quand j'ai en le plaisir ce printems dernier de vous voir à Londres
avec M. et Madame Necker, je crois vous avoir dit que mon ami
Deyverdun s'étoit chargé de ma traduction, et qu'il se proposoit
de la faire paroître en Allemagne, où il séjourne actuellement
avec ce jeune Anglois. Mais l'exactitude et la diligence ne sont
pas du nombre des vertus de mon ami; et après un long silence qui
n'a pas laissé de m'ettonner, je reçus hier au soir une lettre de
sa part, par laquelle j'apprens que sa paresse, ses occupations et
les projets de son élève l'obligent de renoncer absolument à cette
entreprise qu'il avoit à peine commencée. Me voici donc à present
libre mais isolé. J'ai toujours méprisé la triste philosophie qui
veut nous rendre insensibles à la gloire. J'ambitionne celle d'être
lu en France et dans le Continent; et je me verrois au comble de mes
désirs, si la même plume qui a si bien rendu l'éloquence historique
de Robertson vouloit se preter à un écrivain son inferieur à tous
egards mais qui a reçu de l'indulgence de ses compatriotes un
acceuil presqu'aussi favorable. Un succès si flatteur m'encourage à
me livrer avec ardeur à la composition du second volume. Malgré la
dissipation de Londres et les soins du Parlement j'y ai déjà fait
quelque progrès et je compte avec une assurance assez bien fondée de
pouvoir l'achever dans deux ou tout au plus dans trois ans. Comme je
m'empresserois alors de vous envoyer les feuilles à mesure qu'elles
sortiroient de la presse, il nous seroit facile de nous arranger de
manière que ce volume parût en même tems dans les deux langues.

Si vous avez, Monsieur, l'inclination et le loisir de vous engager
dans ce travail, je ne perçeois plus que deux obstacles, qui sont à
la verité assez considerables. Le premier c'est l'objet et la nature
de mes deux derniers chapitres, qui doivent paroitre moins edifians
encore en France qu'en Angleterre. Je sens cependant qu'un homme
d'esprit rompu comme vous dans l'art d'écrire seroit souvent en état
d'adoucir l'expression sans affoiblir la pensée. Je ne craindrois
pas de vous confier les droits les plus étendus pour changer et
même pour supprimer tout ce qui vous paroitroit le plus propre à
blesser la delicatesse de votre église et de votre police. J'irais
moi-même au devant de leurs scrupules et si par le moyen des couriers
de nos ministres, vous m'envoyez les feuilles de la traduction, je
vous aiderois à enlever toutes les pierres d'achoppement. Enfin si
malgré toutes ces précautions l'ouvrage se trouvoit encore trop
fort pour passer à la censure, ne pourroit on pas obtenir par le
crédit de nos amis communs un privilège tacite qui suffiroit pour
mettre votre edition à couvert de l'avidité des libraires? L'autre
obstacle se tire de la crainte que dans cet intervalle de tems perdu
par la negligence de mon ami, Deyverdun, quelque main assurément
moins habile ne vous ait déjà prevenu. On m'a parlé fort confusement
d'une traduction entreprise par Moutard, libraire sur le quai des
Augustins, mais j'ignore jusqu'a quel point elle est avancée et
quelles mesures on prend pour le faire paroitre. Vous êtes à portée,
Monsieur, de vous informer et je conçois que cet eclaircissement
pourra influer sur vos resolutions, et j'ose vous prier de me les
communiquer au plûtot.

Mes affaires ne m'ont pas permis de faire un voyage à Paris cet
été. J'ai senti douleureusement cette privation dont je ne me suis
consolé qu'en formant des projets pour l'année prochaine. Quand on se
rappelle les momens delicieux qu'on a passés avec Madame Necker dans
ce taudis de Suffolk Street, toutes nos Angloises paroissent encore
plus froides et plus maussades. Ayez la bonté, Monsieur, de l'assurer
que son souvenir ne s'effacera jamais de mon coeur et de presenter
en même tems à Monsieur Necker mes respects les plus sinceres. Comme
homme je dois applaudir à la justice qu'on rend an vrai mérite; mais
si je ne pensois qu'en Anglois je vous avoue franchement que ce
n'est pas là le Ministre des Finances que je voudrois donner à la
France. J'espère néanmoins que l'ami de l'humanité sera disposé à
nous epargner le plus terribles de ses fleaux.

Excusez, Monsieur, ce long barbouillage dont j'ai pris la liberté de
vous importuner, ou pardonnez tout à l'amour paternal. Recevez mes
remerciemens en même tems pour cet excellent discours à l'Academie
Françoise dans lequel vous avez mis des idées à la place de
complemens. A propos nous sommes fort en colère contre votre confrère
Voltaire pour les blasphemes qu'il vient d'écrire contre le Dieu du
Théâtre Anglois;[343] et qu'on a lu, dit-on, en pleine Academie dans
la presence même de sa prêtresse Madame Montagu.

J'ai l'honneur d'être avec une consideration distinguée,

  Monsieur,
  Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
  E. GIBBON.

  [342] J. B. Antoine Suard (1733-1817), whose acquaintance Gibbon
  made at Paris in 1763, had translated Robertson's _History of
  Charles V._ in 1771, and was now at work on a translation of his
  _History of America_, which was published in 1778.

  [343] In a letter, dated "Ferney, July 19, 1776," and addressed
  to M. d'Argenteuil, Voltaire wrote strongly against a projected
  translation of Shakespeare. He claims that he himself had
  first pointed out to the French some pearls which he found on
  Shakespeare's "enormous dung-heap." "I little thought," he
  continues, "that I should help to tread under foot the crowns
  of Racine and Corneille, in order to adorn the head of a
  barbarian and a buffoon." The letter was read aloud before the
  Academicians. Mrs. Montague, who was present, when she heard
  the words "énorme fumier," exclaimed, "C'est un fumier qui a
  fertilisé une terre bien ingrate."



294.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Friday evening, November 22nd, 1776.

*News from the Lakes. A Naval combat in which the Provincials were
repulsed with considerable loss.[344] They burnt and abandoned Crown
point. Carleton is besieging Ticonderoga. Carleton, I say, for he
is there, and it is apprehended that Bourgoyne is coming home. We
dismissed the Nabobs without a division. Burke and Attorney General
spoke very well.* This evening a letter from Aunt Hester. She seems
angry with Gilbert's accounts, and dissatisfied with her poor
balance. Adieu.

  [344] On November 22, letters arrived from Sir Guy Carleton
  giving an account of the destruction of the American fleet on
  Lake Champlain, October 11-13, 1776. Arnold, after destroying
  Crown Point, retired to Ticonderoga. General Burgoyne returned to
  England on December 9, 1776.



295.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Evening, 23rd Nov., 1776.

You will receive this post a large parcel which came last night from
Northamptonshire and to which you must return an immediate answer,
as the old Lady seems impatient. Her wanting me to lend her money in
contradiction to all rules established between Aunts and Nephews is a
very _ugly_ circumstance. I do not like to borrow money to purchase
land; nor to lend money without being able to call for either
principal or interest. Yet she might in various ways be offended
at my declining it. Therefore if the Tythes can be dispensed with,
give an opinion against them. I do not like Gilbert; he says that
Martin has a long lease of land two miles from Newhaven, and that he
could distress us by taking in kind. Consider, and if there is doubt
enquire.

Examine in your library an old translation of Tacitus by Sir Henry
Saville: if it contains the life of Agricola, send up the book for
the use of the Sollicitor General.

  I embrace, &c.



[Sidenote: TWO ANSWERS TO HIS HISTORY.]

296.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, Nov. 29th, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

Let me just write a line to ask how you do and to tell you that I am
very well--very well, and I think unhurt amidst as hot a cannonading
as can be pointed against Washington. Two answers (which you perhaps
have seen), one from Mr. Chelsham[345] of Oxford, the other from
Dr. Watson of Cambridge, are already born, and I believe the former
is choleric, the latter civil, and both too dull to deserve your
notice; three or four more are expected, but I believe none of them
will divert me from the prosecution of the second volume, which will
be much more laborious for me, but not less entertaining to the
reader than the first. I shall be pretty much fixed in town, though I
have been forced into a kind of promise for S. P. and tempted into
another for Ampthill.[346] I understand and remember your question.
_She_ was in London, and I see her much less than formerly, as
Beauclerc and Lady Dy are at Bath. _My lace._

  I am entirely yours,
  E. G.

  [345] _Remarks on the Two Last Chapters of Mr. Gibbon's History
  of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_, by James Chelsum,
  D.D. London, 1776. 8vo.

  [346] With Lord and Lady Ossory.



297.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Atwood's, Saturday Evening, Dec. 7, 1776.
  Just going to supper.

This day a dispatch arrived from Northamptonshire. Mrs. G. is
extremely satisfied with my diligence and prolixity; but seems to
wish that _we_ would settle her account with Gilbert. I have not her
letter about me, but will send it next post. I expect to receive
from you some plan for the disposal of Lenborough, the great thorn
which sticks in the side of my happiness. Lord G. G. who is playing
at Whist says there is not any news, though great hopes.--This
morning I received by the _post_ (charged two guineas and a half) a
first volume of a French translation containing only the seven first
chapters, but to be continued. I did not however regret the money,
as it is admirably well done by M. de Septchenes[347] (Sevenoaks),
a young man who has been lately in England, and who sent me a very
pleasant dose of flattery on the occasion.

I mean to eat my Christmas dinner with you, and think Sir Hugh will
accompany me. I believe in the meantime I shall run down to Bath and
pay a charitable visit to poor Beauclerck.

  [347] The translation, commenced by M. Le Clerc de Septchênes,
  and completed by other hands, passed through numerous editions in
  France. It was the foundation of an Italian version published at
  Pisa in 1779-86.



[Sidenote: SEPTCHÊNES TRANSLATES "DECLINE AND FALL."]

298.

_To M. de Septchênes._


  Bentinck Street, le 10 Decembre 1776.

Le paquet interessant que vous m'avez addressé, Monsieur, par la
poste, m'a été rendu le 7^{me} de ce mois: et c'est avec empressement
que je saisis le premier instant pour rassurer votre modestie et
pour vous témoigner les sentimens auxquels vous avez acquis les
droits les plus légitimes. Representez-vous les inquiétudes d'un père
pour le sort d'un enfant cheri, égaré sans guide du milieu de Paris
et exposé au danger de déshonorer par des liaisons honteuses le nom
qu'il portoit. S'il apprenoit donc, d'un coup, qu'une main secourable
retirant son fils d'un état aussi triste l'avoit présenté dans les
meilleures compagnies de Paris avec un éclat et des avantages qu'il
ne tenoit point de sa naissance, jugez, Monsieur, des sensibilités de
ce Père envers son ami et son bienfaiteur. L'estime seroit augmentée
par la reconnoissance et leur affection commune pour l'objet de
leurs soins deviendroit peut-être le lien le plus étroit de leur
amitié. Pour parler sans figure de votre traduction de l'histoire de
la décadence de l'Empire Romain, je l'ai lu, Monsieur, avec autant
de plaisir que d'aviditê. Je crains de trop louer une production à
laquelle j'ai moi-même fourni les materiaux, mais cette crainte ne
doit pas m'interdire d'accorder des justes éloges qui sont dus à
votre parfaite intelligence de l'original Anglois, et à la fidelité,
aussi bien qu'à l'elegance, avec laquelle vous l'avez transporté
dans votre langue. Si dans un petit nombre d'endroits j'ai été
moins content de la traduction, ce ne sont que de legères meprises
presqu'inevitables dans un ouvrage de longue haleine et auxquelles
l'obscurité du texte peut quelquefois avoir donné lieu. Je prendrai
la liberté de vous envoyer à la première occasion les observations
qui se sont presentées à mesure que je lisois votre ouvrage; vous
en ferez l'usage que vous jugerez le convenable. J'attens avec une
vive impatience la suite de la traduction, et si le succès de la
première partie ne vous encourage pas à la continuer, je déclare
d'avance que ce ne sera point votre faute mais celle de l'original.
Au cas que vous ne renonciez pas à cette enterprise, je serois charmé
que vous voulussiez bien m'envoyer les épreuves, au sortir de la
presse, je les examinerai avec toute l'attention de l'amour propre,
et comme vous avez déjà gagné de vitesse sur vos concurrens, le délai
de quelques jours seroit d'une assez petite importance. A propos,
Monsieur, quel parti prendrez vous à l'égard des deux derniers
chapitres? En Angleterre même ils ont excité, je ne sais pourquoi, du
scandale parmi nos Ecclesiastiques, et malgré toutes vos précautions
j'ai de la peine à concevoir comment ils pourrent soutenir la censure
sévère de votre Eglise et de votre police. Mais nous avons du tems
pour y songer; car je pense que dans tous ces chapitres, qui
forment votre 2^e partie, il n'y a rien, dont la delicatesse la plus
scrupuleuse puisse se formaliser.

Je regrette sincèrement de n'avoir pas eu le plaisir de vous
connoître dans votre dernier voyage: mais comme le Libraire Elmsley
m'assure que vous aimez ce pays et que vous le visitez souvent, je
ne desespère pas de trouver une occasion favorable pour reparer mes
pertes. D'ailleurs j'ai quelque idée moi-même de faire une course à
Paris ce printems prochain. En ce cas-là ma première demarche seroit
de vous chercher, Monsieur, pour vous réiterer les assurances de
l'estime et de la consideration avec laquelle j'ai l'honneur d'être

  Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
  E. GIBBON.

P.S.--Votre paquet m'a couté deux Guinées et demi. Il vaut bien son
prix: mais il faut toujours eviter les despenses inutiles. Si vous
addressez vos lettres To Sir Stanier Porten, Under Secretary of
State, Cleveland Row, London, Elles me parviendront avec sureté et
sans frais.



299.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Thursday Evening, 19th Dec., 1776.

Believe me when I say _upon my honour_, that a particular business
of serious importance has just arisen, which, as long as it is in
agitation, will not allow me to quit town for a day. I still think
however that I shall see S. P. before the close of the year. You
may say in general in the family (if any should bark) that you are
satisfied with my conduct, and order them to shut their trap.

[Sidenote: A WAR OF POSTS.]

Confused news from New York, the Howes' dispatches are not arrived;
but it appears from some officers' letters which I have seen, that
we attacked and carried a post ill defended by 6000 men, upon which
they evacuated Kingsbridge, though they still occupy Fort Washington
on the Island of N. Y.[348] They shew little courage or conduct, but
the ground is incredibly strong, and it seems running into a War of
posts.--I shall write to Mrs. G. Is the historian of the Roman Empire
to write out twenty copies himself of a few acres in Bucks. I should
like to have them transcribed or even printed. Why not? Adieu.

  [348] After the battle of Brooklyn, Washington withdrew his
  troops to the heights of Haarlem. General Howe, towards the end
  of October, engaged in several skirmishes with the Americans,
  but made no effort to bring them to a decisive engagement. On
  November 16, 1776, Fort Washington was taken by the British, and
  2600 of the American troops, exclusive of officers, surrendered
  as prisoners of war. Following up his advantage, Howe advanced
  into New Jersey, Washington retreating beyond the Delaware.



300.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, December 25th, 1776.

  DEAR MADAM,

Next week I go for a fortnight to Sheffield Place, not from any
weariness of an empty town, for in its most deserted state I still
prefer it to the most agreeable rural scene, but the little man is
so pressing, that I was obliged to sacrifice to his commands an
invitation to Ampthill Park, accompanied with all that could render
the visit desirable. Your silence gives me reason to hope that you
have now dismissed your indisposition which had made me a little
uneasy. I hear the most favourable accounts of Beauclerc's recovery.
Adieu, Dear Madam. Messieurs Gosling and Clive are instructed to obey
your commands whenever you please to send them.

  I am,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



301.

_To Mrs. Holroyd._


  Downing Street, January 16th, 1777.

Inconstant pusillanimous Woman!

Is it possible that you should so soon have forgot your solemn vows
and engagements, and that you should _pretend_ to prefer the dirt
and darkness of the Weald of Sussex to the splendid and social life
of London? Before the reception of your Lord's epistle, Downing
Street[349] and Bentinck Street were ready to engage in a Civil War.
They have now suspended their hostilities and united their interests,
and they both, jointly and separately, insist on your appearance with
or without your mate on the appointed Saturday the 25th instant, to
remain a hostage in our hands till we think proper to dismiss you.
Donna Catherina[350] will undertake to dress you, as human and female
creatures are usually dressed. A proper application of rouge will
conceal the variety of colours, and the deficiency of hair may be
supplied by a fashionable periwig. Adieu.

  DONNA CATHERINA. MOUNTAINEER.[351] LE GRAND GIBBON.

  [349] General Fraser lived in Downing Street, and died there,
  February 8, 1782.

  [350] Mrs. Fraser.

  [351] General Fraser.



302.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck-street, January the 18th, 1777.

*As I presume, My Lady does not make a practise of tumbling down
stairs every day after dinner, by this time the colours must have
faded, and the high places (I mean the temples) are reduced to a
proper level. But what, in the name of the great prince, is the
meaning of her declining the urban expedition? Is it the spontaneous
result of her own proud spirit? or does it proceed from the secret
machinations of her domestic tyrant? At all events, I expect you will
both remember your engagement of next Saturday in Bentinck Street,
with Donna Catherina, the Mountaineer, &c.

Things go on very prosperously in America. Howe is himself in the
Jerseys, and will push at least as far as the Delawar River. The
Continental (perhaps _now_ the rebel) Army is in a great measure
dispersed, and Washington, who wishes to cover Philadelphia, has not
more than 6 or 7 thousand men with him. Clinton designs to conquer
Rhode Island in his way home. But what _I_ think of much greater
consequence, a province has made its submission, and desired to be
reinstated in the peace of the King. It is indeed only poor little
Georgia, and the application was made to Governor Tonyn of Florida;
some disgust at a violent step of the Congress, who removed the
President of _their_ provincial assembly, a leading and popular
man, co-operated with the fear of the Indians, who began to amuse
themselves with the exercise of scalping on their back settlements.

The measures for Lenborough are in train, but we must wait for our
turn in the papers. Adieu. Town fills, and we are mighty agreeable.
Last year, on the Queen's birthday, Sir G. Warren had his diamond
star cut off his coat; this day the same accident happened to him
again, with another star worth £700. He had better compound by the
year.*

  E. G.



[Sidenote: "JOHN THE PAINTER."]

303.

_To Mrs. Holroyd._


  January 21st, 1777.

The Bristol fire is universally imputed to design and patriotic
virtue.[352]

What creatures women are! They talk of the art and management of the
Highlander in every point which he has a mind to carry. But Donna
Catherina, with all her seeming naivetè, exceeds him many a degree.

By suggesting the Ab of Ab,[353] for whom I cannot squeeze out a
bed without obliging her to pig with Caplin, she has compelled me
to consent to your emigration into Downing Street. _Bien entendu_,
however, that, when you are less _fine_ and can appear in town
accompanied only by your own charms, Bentinck Street shall be
restored to its ancient rights. You puzzle us all by the mention
of the 26th, which is Sunday. Had you forgot the engagement _to
dinner_ in B. S. for Saturday the 25th, which still holds if you can
move that day? Otherwise it stands for the 27th, as I am engaged
Sunday. An answer to this by the return. I kiss your fair hands and
party-coloured face.

  E. G.

  [352] On December 7, 1776, a fire broke out in Portsmouth
  Dockyard, and in the hemp warehouse a quantity of combustibles
  were found; at Plymouth an attempt to set the dockyard on fire
  was discovered; at Bristol several houses close to the quay
  were set on fire. The incendiary was "John the Painter," whose
  real name was Aitken. He confessed his guilt, and asserted the
  complicity of Silas Deane, the American agent at Paris. He was
  tried at Winchester Assizes, convicted, and hanged at Portsmouth.

  [353] _I.e._ probably the Abigail of Mrs. Abigail Holroyd.



304.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, February the 10th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

Your lace arrived safe, and now it is put on a fashionable frock
makes a very handsome figure. The Taylor tells me it would be
impossible to get such stuff from the shops.

Though the memorandum is quite superfluous, it will often put me in
mind of the creator. The Holroyds are just gone, not from me but
from General Fraser's, where they spent a fortnight. The town is now
full and pleasant, though my usual hurry is increased by a daily
attendance on Dr. Hunter's Anatomy lectures,[354] which amuse me
beyond any I ever studied. My compliments to Mrs. Gould, she shall
not wait long for her franks. I am sorry to hear of young Gould.
Adieu.

  Sincerely yours,
  E. G.

  [354] John Hunter (1728-1793) began his Anatomy Lectures in 1773.
  Originally delivered to his pupils, they were afterwards thrown
  open to the public on payment of a fee of four guineas. They were
  delivered annually from October to April, on alternate evenings
  at 7 to 8 p.m.



305.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Feb. 15, 1777.

*You deserve, and we exult in, your weather and disappointments. Why
would you bury yourself? I dined in Downing-street Thursday last; and
I think Wedderburne was at least as agreeable a companion as your
timber-surveyor could be. Lee is certainly taken, but Lord North
does not apprehend he is coming home. We are not clear whether he
behaved with courage or pusillanimity when he surrendered himself;
but Colonel Keene told me to-day, that he had seen a letter from Lee
since his confinement. "He imputes his being taken, to the alertness
of Harcourt, and cowardice of his own guard; hopes he shall meet his
fate with fortitude; but laments that freedom is not likely to find
a resting-place in any part of the globe." It is said, he was to
succeed Washington. We know nothing certain of the Hessians;[355] but
there _has_ been a blow. Adieu.*

  [355] Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day, 1776,
  surprised two regiments of Hessians at Trenton, and in the
  following January again reduced the Jerseys, while Howe remained
  inactive at New York.



[Sidenote: UNIFORMITY OF HIS LIFE.]

306.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Almack's, Wednesday evening, March 5, 1777.

*In due obedience to thy dread commands I write. But what shall
I say? My life, though more lively than yours, is almost as
uniform; a very little reading and writing in the morning, bones
or guts from two to four, pleasant dinners from five to eight,
and afterwards Clubs, with an occasional assembly, or supper. As
to Lenborough the bait is in the water, but I have not heard of
any fish biting. America affords nothing very satisfactory; and
though we have many flying reports, you may be assured that we are
ignorant of the consequences of Trenton, &c. Charles Fox is now
at my elbow, declaiming on the impossibility of keeping America,
since a victorious Army has been unable to maintain any extent
of posts in the single province of Jersey. Lord North is out of
danger (the animal is so gross that we trembled for its important
existence). I now expect that _My Lady_ and you should fix the time
for the proposed visitation to Bentinck Street. March and April are
open--chuse. Adieu.*



307.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, March the 29th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

Instead of inventing any artificial excuses for my natural and
original sin of indolence, I believe my most prudent method would
be to quarrel with you for the provoking patience with which you
have endured my long and scandalous silence. Even in the midst of
the dissipation of this town I might have found a few moments to
tell you that I have been perfectly well this winter, and to enquire
after your health, your spirits and your amusements. Lady Dy. tells
me that she was once in your company at Dr. Delacour's, for whom
both she and Beauclerc express a veneration almost equal to your
own. As little or no conversation passed between you, she had only
an opportunity of admiring the harmony of your voice and the beauty
of your teeth, on which she bestows the most lavish enconiums. They
mean to visit Bath again this spring, and I am very desirous that you
should be better acquainted with her. You will find her one of the
most accomplished women in the World, and she will soon discover in
you qualities more valuable than those which are now the objects of
her enconiums.

The decline of the Roman Empire does not yet decline, the clamour
subsides, the sale continues, and we are now printing a third edition
in quarto of 1000 copies (in all 3500) with the notes at bottom. I
am often pressed about the second volume, which advances very slowly
indeed. Last year was allowed for repose and preparation, the usual
distractions of the winter have been increased by a constant daily
attendance of two hours _every day_ to Dr. Hunter's Anatomy Lectures,
which have opened to me a new and very entertaining scene within
myself. This summer I propose passing at Paris, as I must not lose
any time if I wish to catch my friends the Neckers[356] in their
brilliant and precarious situation of Ministers. As soon as we have
paid the King's debts I intend (about the end of next month) to set
forward on an expedition in which I promise to myself very great and
various entertainment. You need not in any respect be allarmed at my
design. My seat at Westminster is a full security for my return in
four or five months; the supplies for the journey will be paid by
the Roman Empire, and my business (particularly in Bucks) will be
entrusted to the safeguard and active hands of the Lord of Sheffield.
Adieu, Dear Madam,

  I am,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.

Mrs. Porten is as young as ever. I understand that the giddy girl has
neglected writing to you.

  [356] In June, 1776, after the fall of Turgot, Necker was
  associated with Taboureau des Réaux, the Controller-General, in
  the management of the finances of France, and given the title of
  _Directeur du trésor_. In June, 1777, he succeeded Taboureau des
  Réaux, but, because of his religion, only received the title of
  _Directeur Général_.



[Sidenote: VISIT TO PARIS.]

308.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday night, April 12th, 1777.

*Your dispatch is gone to R. Way, and I flatter myself that by your
assistance I shall be enabled to lose £1000 upon Lenbourough before
my return from Paris. The day of my departure is not absolutely
fixed; Sunday sen-night, the 27th instant, is talked of: but if any
India business should come on after the Civil list, it will occasion
some delay. Otherwise things are in great forwardness,* a livery
servant is provided, a Swiss who speaks French and English. I take my
own chaise, and begin to think of settling my credit. Pray if I can
save four pr. cent. by it, may I not decline Fleet Street, who are
very indifferent, I believe, about that sort of business? *Mrs. G. is
an enemy to the whole plan; and I must answer, in a long letter, two
very ingenious objections which she has started; 1st, that I shall be
confined, or put to death by the priests, and, 2ndly, That I shall
sully my _moral_ character, by making love to Necker's wife. Before I
go, I will consult Newton, about a power of Attorney for you. By the
bye, I wish you would remember a sort of promise, and give me one day
before I go. We talk chiefly of the Marquis de la Fayette,[357] who
was here a few weeks ago. He is about twenty, with 130,000 Livres a
year; the nephew of Noailles, who is Ambassador here. He has bought
the D. of Kingston's Yacht, and is gone to joyn the Americans. The
Court _appear_ to be angry with him. Adieu.*

  E. G.

  [357] The Marquis de la Fayette, born 1757, married the second
  daughter of the Duc d'Ayen, eldest son of the Maréchal de
  Noailles, and brother of the Marquis de Noailles, the French
  ambassador. La Fayette came to London on a visit to his wife's
  uncle early in 1777, and was presented to George III. A few days
  later he returned to Paris, sailed from Passages with several
  young Frenchmen for America, landed in June, and immediately
  received the rank of major-general in the American army. A
  _lettre de cachet_ was sent after him to Bordeaux; but he avoided
  it by crossing into Spain.



[Sidenote: HIS STEPMOTHER'S GROUNDLESS FEARS.]

309.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, April the 14th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

I will freely acknowledge that I was not a little surprized and even
vexed at finding by your last letter, that you had conceived so
strong a dislike to my intended journey. But I must add at the same
time that I was equally sensible of the obliging frankness with which
you communicate your objections. The less foundation I can discover
for your apprehensions, the more I am convinced of the delicacy
of your regard. True love is of very timid and even pusillanimous
nature, and can easily transform the most harmless objects into
horrid phantoms which appear to threaten the happiness of those who
are dear to us. But when you have indulged the exquisite sensibility
of friendship, you will, I am sure, make a proper use of your
excellent understanding, and will soon smile at your own terrors. The
constancy and danger of a twenty years' passion is a subject upon
which I hardly know how to be serious. I am ignorant what effect that
period of time has produced upon me, but I do assure you that it has
committed very great ravages upon the Lady, and that at present she
is very far from being an object either of desire or scandal. As a
woman of talents and fortune she is at the head of the literature of
Paris, the station of her husband procures her respect from the first
people of the country, and the reception which I shall meet with
in her house will give me advantages that have fallen to the share
of few Englishmen. When I mention her _house_, I must remove the
misapprehension which seems to have allarmed you. I shall _visit_ but
not _lodge_ there. I have not the least reason to believe that they
think of offering me an apartment, but if they do, I shall certainly
refuse it, for the sake of my own comfort and freedom: So that the
husband will be easy, the world will be mute, and my moral character
will still preserve its immaculate purity.

A moment's reflection will satisfy you that I have as little to
fear from the hatred of the priests as from the love of Madame N.
Whatever might be the wishes of the French Clergy, the wisdom of the
Government and the liberal temper of the Nation have rendered those
monsters perfectly inoffensive. Their own subjects (Voltaire for
instance, who resides near Geneva, but in France) think, converse
and write with the most unbounded freedom: and can you imagine that
an English Protestant, a member of the British Legislature, living
at Paris under the protection of his Minister, and in Society with
their own, will be exposed to the smallest possible danger or even
trouble for having published a profane book in a foreign language and
country? When David Hume (the name, the most abhorred by the Godly)
was at Paris, he was oppressed only with civilities; and the recent
fame of my book is perhaps the circumstance which will introduce me
with the most favour and eclat.

The scheme of passing some months at Paris (though I have patiently
waited till I could execute it with prudence and propriety) has
been formed many years ago. I cannot persuade myself without any
reason that strikes my understanding to renounce an expedition which
promises so much entertainment and information: but it will be a very
considerable alloy to my satisfaction if I leave any uneasiness or
apprehension on your mind. I could very much have wished to fulfil
my promise of an Easter visit; but I imagined that I had already
explained how closely I was confined in town by my daily attendance
on Dr. Hunter's lectures. They prevent my setting out for Paris till
after the 25th instant, by which time I hope we shall have paid the
King's debts.[358] You may depend on receiving regular though concise
intelligence of my motions.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [358] On April 9, 1777, a message from the king was delivered to
  both Houses, asking for the payment of his debts, which amounted
  to £600,000. At the same time a Bill "for the better support of
  the Royal Household" was introduced, to increase his revenue by
  £100,000 a year. A motion for a committee to inquire into the
  accounts was rejected; the king's debts were discharged, and the
  Government Bill carried.



310.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Atwood's, Saturday night, [April 19th, 1777].

*It is not possible as yet to fix the day of my departure. That
circumstance depends on the state of India, and will not be
determined till the general court of next Wednesday. I know from
the _first_ authority, if the violence of the Proprietors about
the Pigot[359] can be checked in the India house by the influence
of a Government Majority, the Minister does not wish to exert the
omnipotence of Parliament; and I shall be dismissed from hence time
enough to set forwards on Thursday the first of May. On the contrary,
should we be involved in those perplexing affairs, they may easily
detain me till the middle of next month. But as all this is very
uncertain, I direct you and My Lady to appear in town to-morrow
sennight. I have many things to say.* You mistake about the dear
inseparable Caplin. He rides at his ease in the Chaise with his
master, while the Swiss, who will condescend to put on a livery at
Paris, will mount on horseback. *We have been animated this week,
and, notwithstanding the strict œconomy recommended by Charles Fox
and John Wilkes, we have paid the Royal debts.*

  E. G.

  [359] Lord Pigot, Governor of Madras, was arrested in April,
  1776, by the Madras Council for his support of the Rajah of
  Tanjore against the Nabob of the Carnatic, and his opposition
  to an iniquitous claim upon the Rajah's revenue made by Paul
  Benfield. He died while still under arrest, in May, 1777. The
  Court of Proprietors voted by a large majority for his release
  and restoration to his governorship. The Directors were almost
  equally divided upon the question. Meanwhile the Government
  exercised all its influence to carry through the Court of
  Proprietors three resolutions--one recalling Lord Pigot, a second
  ordering home his friends in the council, a third ordering home
  his enemies. These resolutions were carried. Lord Pigot's case
  was then taken up in Parliament, and on May 22, 1777, Governor
  Johnston moved several resolutions approving Lord Pigot's action,
  and condemning the Madras Council. The resolutions were rejected
  by 90 to 67. See note to Letter 371.



311.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Monday night, [April 21st, 1777].

*Bad news from Hampshire.----Support Hugonin, comfort me, correct or
expell Winton, sell Lenborough, and remove my temporal cares. When do
you arrive?*



312.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Wednesday night, [April 23rd, 1777].

*It is uncertain whether India comes to Westminster this year, and
it is certain that Gibbon goes to Paris next Saturday sennight.
Therefore Holroyd must appear in town the beginning of next week.
Gibbon wants the cordial of his presence before the journey. My Lady
_must_ come.*



[Sidenote: STARTS FOR PARIS.]

313.

_To his Stepmother._


  May the 3rd, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

After some public delays which have tryed my patience, I at length
resolved to wait no longer for the Budget. I set forwards Monday,
and hope to breakfast at Calais Tuesday and to dine at Paris either
Friday or Saturday; the alternative depends on my stepping out of my
way to Lisle. You may be assured of receiving immediate notice of my
effecting my landing on the Continent.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

You will find Fleet Street instructed to obey your Midsummer Order.



314.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Dover, Tuesday evening, May 6th, 1777.

*My expedition does not begin very auspiciously. The wind, Which
for some days had been fair, paid me the compliment of changing
on my arrival; and, though I immediately secured a vessel, it has
been impossible to make the least use of it during the whole course
of this tedious day. It seems doubtful, whether I shall get out
to-morrow morning; and the Captain assures me, that the passage will
have the double advantage of being both long and rough. Last night
a small Privateer, fitted out at Dunkirk, with a commission from
Dr. Franklin, attacked, took, and has carried into Dunkirk road, the
Harwich Pacquet.[360] The King's Messenger had just time to throw
his dispatches overboard: he passed through this town about four
o'clock this afternoon, in his return to London. As the alarm is now
given, our American friend will probably remain quiet, or will be
soon caught; so that I have not _much_ apprehension for my personal
safety; but if so daring an outrage is not followed by punishment and
restitution, it may become a very serious business, and may possibly
shorten my stay at Paris.

Adieu. I shall write by the first opportunity, either from Calais
or Philadelphia.* I wrote last Friday to Hugonin, and announced an
Epistle of instructions from you. I embrace My lady. Did your Lord
and Colonel disappoint you?

  [360] The _Prince of Orange_, packet from Harwich to Helvetsluys,
  was captured by the _Surprise_, an American privateer commanded
  by Captain Cunningham, carrying four guns and ten swivels.



315.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Calais, Wednesday, May the 7th, 1777.

*_Post nubila Phœbus._ A pleasant passage, an excellent house, a good
dinner with Lord Coleraine, whom I found here. Easy Custom-house
Officers, fine Weather, &c. I am detained to-night by the temptation
of a French Comedy, in a Theatre at the end of Dessaint's Garden;
but shall be in motion to-morrow early, and hope to dine at Paris
Saturday. Adieu. I think I am a punctual Correspondent; but this
beginning is too good to last.*



[Sidenote: PLEASURES AND OCCUPATIONS IN PARIS.]

316.

_To his Stepmother._


  Calais, May the 7th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am this moment (about one o'clock in the afternoon) landed after
a very pleasant passage. I already feel my mind expand with the
unbounded prospect of the Continent. But notwithstanding my love of
freedom you may rest assured that in due season, I shall return
without reluctance to my cage in Bentinck Street.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



317.

_To his Stepmother._


  Paris, May 12th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

The departure of the post only leaves me time to say that I reached
this place last Saturday night, and that I already find myself as
perfectly established as I ever was in London.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: HIS SUCCESS IN FRENCH SOCIETY.]

318.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Paris, June the 16th, 1777.

I told you what would infallibly happen, and you know enough of the
nature of the beast not to be surprized at it. I have now been at
Paris exactly five weeks,[361] during which time I have not written
to any person whatsoever within the British Dominions except two
lines of notification to Mrs. Gibbon. The Daemon of procrastination
has at length yielded to the Genius of Friendship, assisted indeed by
the powers of fear and shame. But when I have seated myself before
my table and begin to revolve all that I have seen and tasted during
this busy period, I feel myself oppressed and confounded; and I am
very near throwing away the pen and resigning myself to indolent
despair. A compleat history would require a volume at least as
corpulent as the decline and fall, and if I attempt to select and
abridge, besides the difficulty of the choice there occur so many
things which cannot properly be entrusted to paper, and so many
others of too slight a nature to support the Journey, that I am
almost tempted to reserve for our future conversations the detail
of my pleasures and occupations. But as I am sensible that you are
_rigid_ and impatient, I will try to convey in a few words a general
idea of my situation as a man of the World and as a man of Letters.

You remember that the Neckers were my principal dependance, and the
reception which I have met with from them very far surpassed my most
sanguine expectations. I do not indeed lodge in their house (as it
might excite the jealousy of the husband and procure me a letter
de cachet), but I live very much with them, dine and sup whenever
they have company, which is almost every day, and whenever I like
it, for they are not in the least exigeans. Mr. Walpole gave me
an introduction to Madame du Deffand,[362] an agreable young Lady
of eighty-two years of age, who has constant suppers and the best
company in Paris. When you see the D. of Richmond at Lewes he will
give you an account of that house, where I meet him almost every
evening. Ask him about Madame de Cambis.[363] I am afraid poor Mary
is entirely forgot. I have met the D. of Choiseul[364] at his
particular request, dined _by accident_ with Franklin, conversed with
the Emperor,[365] been presented at court, and gradually, or rather
rapidly, I find my acquaintance spreading over the most valuable
parts of Paris. They pretend to like me, and whatever you may think
of French professions, I am convinced that some at least are sincere.
On the other hand I feel myself easy and happy in their company, and
only regret that I did not come over two or three months sooner.
Though Paris throughout the summer promises me a very agreable
society, yet I am hurt every day by the departure of Men and Women
whom I begin to know with some familiarity, the departure of Officers
for their Governments and Garrisons, of Bishops for their Dioceses,
and even of country Gentlemen for their estates, as a rural taste
gains ground in this Country.

So much for the general idea of my acquaintance; details would be
endless yet unsatisfactory. You may add to the pleasures of Society
those of the Spectacles and promenades, and you will find that I
lead a very agreable life; let me just condescend to observe that it
is not extravagant. After decking myself out with silks and silver,
the ordinary establishment of Coach, Lodgeing, Servants, eating and
pocket expences does not exceed sixty pounds pr. month. Yet I have
two footmen in handsome liveries behind my Coach, and my apartment is
hung with damask. Adieu for the present. I have more to say, but were
I to attempt any farther progress you must wait another post, and you
have already waited long enough of all conscience.

Let me just in two words give you an idea of my day. I am now
going (nine o'clock) to the King's Library, where I shall stay
till twelve. As soon as I am dressed I set out to dine with the
Duke de Nivernois,[366] shall go from thence to the French Comedy
into the Princess de Beauvau's _loge grillée_,[367] and am not
quite determined whether I shall sup at Madame du Deffand's, Madame
Necker's, or the Sardinian Embassadress's.[368] Once more Adieu. Do
not be fond of shewing my letter; the playful effusions of friendship
would be construed by strangers as gross vanity.

I embrace My lady and Bambine. I shall with chearfulness execute any
of her commissions.

  [361] This letter was begun one Sunday and finished the next.

  [362] Marie de Vichy-Chamrond (1697-1781) married, in 1718, Jean
  Baptiste Jacques de la Lande, Marquis du Deffand. Separated
  from her husband in 1722 for her relations with the Regent duc
  d'Orléans, the President Hénault, and others, she lived chiefly
  at Sceaux till the death of her husband in 1750. In 1753 she
  opened her salon at the Convent of St. Joseph. A year later she
  became totally blind. She had stayed at La Source with Lord
  Bolingbroke in 1721, and since then had known some of the most
  distinguished men and women in France and England. But the
  following extracts from her correspondence with Walpole, who had
  introduced Gibbon to her, show her appreciation of the historian
  as a member of society:--"Je suis fort contente de M. Gibbon;
  depuis huit jours qu'il est arrivé, je l'ai vu presque tous les
  jours; il a la conversation facile, parle très-bien français;
  j'espère qu'il me sera de grande ressource" (May 18, 1777).
  "Je lui crois beaucoup d'esprit, sa conversation est facile,
  _et forte de choses_, comme disait Fontenelle; il me plaît
  beaucoup, d'autant plus qu'il ne m'embarrasse pas" (May 27). "Je
  m'accommode de plus en plus de M. Gibbon; c'est véritablement
  un homme d'esprit; tous les tons lui sont faciles, il est aussi
  Français ici que MM. de Choiseul, de Beauvau, etc. Je me flatte
  qu'il est content de moi; nous soupons presque tous les jours
  ensemble, le plus souvent chez moi; ce soir ce sera chez Madame
  de Mirepoix" (June 8). "M. Gibbon me convient parfaitement; je
  voudrais bien qu'il restât toujours ici; je le vois presque tous
  les jours; sa conversation est très facile, on est à son aise
  avec lui" (June 22). "M. Gibbon a ici le plus grand succès, on se
  l'arrache; Je ne sais pas si tous les jugements qu'il porte sont
  bien justes, mais il se comporte avec tout le monde d'une manière
  qui ne donne point de prise aux ridicules; ce qui est fort
  difficile à éviter dans les sociétés qu'il fréquente" (September
  21).

  [363] Gabrielle Charlotte Françoise d'Alsace-Hénin-Liétard
  married, in November, 1755, Jacques François, Vicomte de Cambis.
  She was the sister of the Prince de Chimay, and niece of the
  Marquise de Boufflers. She knew English well, and translated
  into French several of the _Portraits_ of Lord Chesterfield. Her
  conquest of the Duke of Richmond was well known in Paris. Gibbon
  himself was her victim. "Le Gibbon," writes Madame du Deffand to
  Walpole, April 20, 1780, "était aussi un peu épris; elle fait
  plus de conquêtes à présent qu'elle n'en a fait dans sa première
  jeunesse; sa coquetterie est sèche, froide et piquante; c'est un
  nouveau genre qu'a sa séduction." The Vicomtesse de Cambis died
  at Richmond in 1808. Madame de Genlis, who disliked her, says
  (_Mémoires_, vol. ii. pp. 30, 31) that she was deeply pitted with
  the small-pox, and that "elle avoit l'air le plus dédaigneux et
  le plus impertinent qu'on ait jamais osé porter dans le monde."

  [364] The Duc de Choiseul (1719-1785) was Minister of Foreign
  Affairs, and afterwards War Minister and Naval Minister, to
  Louis XV. during the ascendency of Madame de Pompadour. He
  was disgraced in 1770, when Madame du Barri became the royal
  favourite.

  [365] Madame du Deffand describes a small party at the Neckers',
  where she met the Emperor Joseph II. and Gibbon.

  [366] Louis Jules Mancini, Duc de Nivernois (1716-1798), was
  ambassador in England from 1762 to 1763. In that capacity he had
  given Gibbon introductions to leaders of Parisian society during
  his first visit to the capital.

  [367] Marie Sylvie de Rohan-Chabot married, as her first
  husband, the Marquis de Chermont d'Amboise. Left a widow in
  1761, she married in 1764, as his second wife, the Maréchal de
  Beauvau, fourth son of the Prince de Craon (died 1793), and was,
  therefore, stepmother of his daughter the Princesse de Poix. She
  and her husband belonged to the Liberal party, who supported the
  Duc de Choiseul and opposed the ascendency of Madame du Barri.
  For this reason she was nicknamed "la mère des Machabées." The
  Princesse de Beauvau, one of the most charming women of her
  time, wrote an _Eloge_ of her husband. She died in 1807. Her own
  character is sketched in the _Hommage à la mémoire de Madame la
  princesse de Beauvau_ of Madame de Luynes. "Elle étoit, a mon
  avis, la femme la plus distinguée de la société, par l'esprit,
  le ton, les manières, et l'air franc et ouvert qui lui étoit
  particulier" (Madame de Genlis, _Mémoires_, vol. i. p. 357).

  [368] Count de Viry, the Sardinian ambassador, as Baron de la
  Perrière, was formerly Sardinian ambassador in England. There
  he married Miss Harriet Speed, a niece of Lady Cobham, and one
  of the heroines of Gray's _Long Story_ who were sent from Lady
  Cobham's house to rid the country of the "wicked imp they call
  a poet." "My old friend Miss Speed," writes Gray to Wharton
  in 1761, "has done a very foolish thing; she has married the
  Baron de la Perrière, son to the Sardinian Minister, the Count
  de Viry. He is about twenty-eight years old (ten years younger
  than herself), but looks nearer forty." In September, 1777,
  Viry was recalled from Paris, and disgraced, because, as was
  alleged, his wife had been bribed by Lord Stormont to betray
  the diplomatic secrets of the court of Turin. Another account
  is given in Lescure's _Correspondence Secrète sur Louis XVI.,
  Marie Antoinette, etc._: "M. le Comte de Viry, ambassadeur
  de Sardaigne, est rappelé à Turin. On croit qu'il y a de la
  disgrace" (vol. i. p. 74). A secret treaty was signed early
  in 1777 between Austria, France, Spain, and Sardinia against
  England, and the secretary of the Comte de Viry "a vendu une
  copie du traité à milord Stormont" (_ibid._, vol. i. p. 82). See
  also, for a third account, _Dutensiana_ (Londres, 1806), pp.
  216-219.



[Sidenote: HIS FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES.]

319.

_To his Stepmother._


  Hotel de Modene, Paris, July 24th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

If ever my negligence could be excused by your good natured
friendship, it would be from the consideration of my present
circumstances, and I am sure that your regard for me is of so pure
and disinterested a character that you had much rather I should be
happy without hearing from me, than if you received by every post a
regular succession of complaints. Happily indeed have I passed two
short months since my arrival at Paris, and every circumstance of
my journey has more than answered my most sanguine expectations. My
connection with the Neckers, who every day acquire more power and
deserve more respect, first opened the door to me, and perhaps the
reputation of a popular writer has contributed a little to enlarge
the entrance. I pass my time in the society of men of letters,
people of fashion, the higher ranks of _the clergy_, and the foreign
Ministers, and except when I wish to steal a few moments' privacy, it
seldom happens to me to dine or sup at my hotel. The vacancies of my
time are filled by the public libraries in the morning, and in the
afternoon by the spectacles, and as part of my acquaintance begin
to disperse themselves in the environs of Paris, I have contrived,
though in a most unfavourable season, to make several very pleasant
excursions. Such is the general idea of my life, in which I have made
many acquaintance and formed some more intimate connections, from all
of which I receive civilities, amusement and information. Details
would be infinite, and must be reserved for your fireside at Bath;
but I cannot forbear saying something of two or three persons whom
you know.

First then you will expect to hear of Mrs. Mallet. Mr. Scott had
desired me to take charge of a letter, and I delivered it to her own
fair hands the second day after my arrival. She received me with a
shriek of joy and a close embrace, and we sat down to talk of old
and new subjects. I found her exactly the same talkative, positive,
passionate, conceited creature as we knew her twenty years ago.
She raved with her usual indiscretion and fury of Gods, Kings and
Ministers, the perfections of her favourites and the vice or folly
of every person she disliked. Unfortunately she had applied to
Mr. Necker for some favour, and had not been received in a manner
suitable to her importance. Her resentment was expressed in such
indecent language, that after repeated but ineffectual hints of my
intimate connection with the person she was abusing, I was obliged to
shorten my visit with a firm resolution of never returning.

Your favourite, the Duke of Richmond, has fallen in my way infinitely
more than he ever did in England, and I do assure you that the air
of Paris agrees perfectly well with him. He is easy, attentive and
cheerful, pays his court to young and to old women, and is extremely
popular and even fashionable in the Society of Paris. I have likewise
seen a great deal of the Sardinian Ambassadress whom you have
formerly known with Lady Cobham, under the name of Miss Speed. She
keeps a very hospitable house, and has acquired the manners of the
country without losing the sentiments of her own. Adieu, Dear Madam.
If you can think of any commissions for me I will execute them with
care and pleasure, though I have no occasion for any memento to make
me often think of you.

Sir Stanier will be so good as to forward anything to me.



320.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Paris, August the 11th, 1777.

*Well, and who is the Culprit now?--Thus far I had written in the
pride of my heart, and fully determined to inflict an Epistle upon
you, even before I received any answer to my former; I was very near
a Bull. But this forward half line lay ten days barren and inactive,
till its generative powers were excited by the missive which I
received yesterday.

[Sidenote: NO IMMEDIATE RISK OF FRENCH WAR.]

What a wretched piece of work do we seem to be making of it in
America! The greatest force which any European power ever ventured to
transport into that Continent, is not strong enough even to attack
the enemy; the Naval strength of Great Britain is not sufficient
to prevent the Americans (they have almost lost the appellation of
Rebels) from receiving every assistance that they wanted; and in the
mean time you are obliged to call out the Militia to defend your own
coasts against their privateers.[369] You possibly may expect from
me some account of the designs and policy of the French Court, but
I chuse to decline that task for two reasons: 1^{st,} Because you
may find them laid open in every newspaper; and 2^{ndly,} Because I
live too much with their Courtiers and Ministers to know anything
about them. I shall only say that I am not under any immediate
apprehensions of a War with France. It is much more pleasant as
well as profitable to view in safety the raging of the tempest,
occasionally to pick up some pieces of the Wreck, and to improve
their trade, their agriculture, and their finances, while the two
countries are _lento collisa duello_. Far from taking any step to put
a speedy end to this astonishing dispute, I should not be surprized
if next summer they were to lend their cordial assistance to England,
as to the weaker party. As to my personal engagement with the D[uke]
of R[ichmond], I recollect a very few slight skirmishes, but nothing
that deserves the name of a general engagement. The extravagance
of some disputants, both French and English, who have espoused the
cause of America, sometimes inspires me with an extraordinary vigour.
Upon the whole, I find it much easier to defend the justice than the
policy of our Measures; but there are certain cases, where whatever
is repugnant to sound policy ceases to be just.

The more I see of Paris, the more I like it.[370] The regular course
of the Society in which I live is easy, polite, and entertaining;
and almost every day is marked by the acquisition of some new
acquaintance, who is worth cultivating, or who, at least, is worth
remembering. To the great admiration of the French, I regularly dine
and regularly sup, drink a dish of strong Coffee after each meal, and
find my stomach a citizen of the World. The Spectacles, (particularly
the Italian, and above all the French Comedie) which are open the
whole summer, afford me an agreeable relaxation from Company; and to
shew you that I frequent them from taste only, and not from idleness,
I have not yet seen the Colisee, the Vauxhall, the Boulevards, or
any of those places of entertainment which constitute Paris to
most of our Countrymen. Occasional trips to dine or sup in some of
the thousand Country-houses which are scattered round the environs
of Paris, serve to vary the scene. In the mean while the summer
insensibly glides away, and the fatal month of October approaches,
when I must exchange the house of Madame Necker for the house of
Commons.

[Sidenote: PARIS BECOMING EMPTY.]

I regret that I could not chuse the winter, instead of the Summer,
for this excursion: I should have found many valuable persons, and
should have preserved others whom I have lost as I began to know
them. The Duke de Choiseul, who deserves attention both for himself,
and for keeping the best house in Paris, passes seven months of the
year in Touraine; and though I have been tempted, I consider with
horror a journey of sixty leagues into the Country. The Princess of
Beauvau* (by the bye Beauveau, fine calf, is an orthography worthy of
a Sussex farmer), the Princess of Beauvau, *who is a most superior
Woman, has been absent above six weeks, and does not return till the
24^{th} of this month. A large body of Recruits will be assembled by
the Fontainbleau journey; but in order [to] have a thorough knowledge
of this splendid Country, I ought to stay till the month of January;
and if I could be sure that opposition would be as tranquil as they
were last year--

I think your life has been as animated, or, at least, as tumultuous,
and I envy you Lady Payne,[371] and Lady Dy, &c. much more than
either the Primate,[372] or the Chief Justice.[373] Let not the
generous breast of Mylady be torn by the black serpents of envy.
She still possesses the first place in the sentiments of her slave:
but the adventure of the fan was a mere accident, owing to Lord
Carmarthen. Adieu. I think you may be satisfied. I say nothing of my
terrestrial affairs.* Good works are unnecessary, as I can only hope
to be justified by my faith in the merit of my Redeemer John Holroyd.

  [369] "American privateers," writes Walpole, July 17, 1777,
  "infest our coasts; they keep Scotland in alarms, and even the
  harbour of Dublin has been newly strengthened with cannon." On
  August 7 the crew of a privateer landed at Penzance and plundered
  several farmers of their live stock. It was in the following
  year, April, 1778, that Paul Jones first harried the English and
  Scottish coasts.

  [370] In _The Private Correspondence of David Garrick_ (vol. ii.
  pp. 255, 256) is printed a letter from Gibbon to Garrick, written
  from the "Hôtel de Modène, rue Jacob, Fauxbourg St. Germain," at
  Paris, and dated August 14th, 1777. Gibbon begins by thanking
  Garrick for a kindly mention of his name. "It is pleasant to find
  one's-self mentioned with friendship by those whom posterity will
  mention with admiration. Foreign nations are a kind of posterity,
  and among them you already reap the full reward of your fame."
  "You have reason," he continues, "to envy me, for I can truly
  declare that I reckon the three months which I have now passed
  in Paris among the most agreeable of my life. My connection with
  a house, before which the proudest of the Gallic nobles bow the
  knee, my familiar acquaintance with the language, and a natural
  propensity to be pleased with the people and their manners, have
  introduced me into very good company; and, different in that
  respect from the traveller Twiss, I have sometimes been invited
  to the same houses a second time. If besides these advantages
  your partiality should ascribe any others to your friend, I am
  not proud enough entirely to disclaim them. I propose to stay
  at Paris about two months longer, to hook in (if possible) a
  little of the Fontainebleau voyage, and to return to England a
  few days before the meeting of Parliament, where I suppose we
  shall have some warm scenes. You cannot surely be satisfied with
  the beginning, or rather no beginning, of the American campaign,
  which seems to elevate the enemies as much as it must humble the
  friends of Great Britain.

  "At this time of year, the society of the Turk's-head" (in
  Gerrard Street, where the Literary Club met) "can no longer be
  addressed as a corporate body, and most of the individual members
  are probably dispersed; Adam Smith in Scotland; Burke in the
  shades of Beaconsfield; Fox, the Lord or the devil knows where,
  &c., &c. Be so good as to salute in my name those friends who may
  fall in your way. Assure Sir Joshua, in particular, that I have
  not lost my relish for _manly_ conversation and the society of
  the brown table. I hope Colman has made a successful campaign.
  May I beg to be remembered to Mrs. Garrick? By this time she
  has probably discovered the philosopher's stone; she has long
  possessed a much more valuable secret,--that of gaining the
  hearts of all who have the happiness of knowing her.

  "I am, dear Sir, most affectionately yours,

  "E. GIBBON."

  [371] Françoise Lambertine, daughter of Baron Kolbel, married,
  September 1, 1767, "a rich West Indian," Ralph Payne (knighted in
  1771), a son of the Governor of St. Christopher's, and himself
  Governor of the Leeward Islands (1771-75). Sir Ralph represented
  various constituencies in Parliament from 1768 to 1799, and,
  with his wife, was prominent in London society. He was created
  Viscount Lavington. Lady Lavington survived her husband, who died
  in 1807, as Governor of Antigua and a bankrupt.

  [372] The Hon. Fred. Cornwallis, Archbishop of Canterbury.

  [373] Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench.



321.

_To his Stepmother._


  Hotel de Modene à Paris, September the 1st, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

I must either write ten lines or twenty pages, and you will easily
judge which I shall prefer. The various sets of company with whom
I pass my time are so completely strangers to you, that before I
mentioned any person of my acquaintance I must introduce them with
a very tedious yet imperfect account of their birth, parentage,
education and character. After all, what would principally interest
the curiosity of friendship may be dispatched in two words--_I am
well and happy_. Mr. Necker has not yet discovered any signs of
jealousy, and I supped last night between two Arch-bishops who, I am
persuaded, have not the least intention of solliciting a _lettre de
cachet_ to send me to the Bastille. I only regret that it was not
possible to choose another season of the Year for my Expedition.
In summer Paris is very far from being a desert like London, and I
have the daily pleasure of living in a very numerous and agreeable
Society, yet as there is always a considerable emigration into
the provinces I am sensible that many valuable acquisitions have
escaped me. In the first or second week of October the Court goes to
Fontainebleau, and as it is never so full and splendid as in that
place, I propose passing a few days there. I must afterwards allow
myself a little space to thank and embrace my Paris friends: and
shall return by the first of November to a very different scene of
things in London.

You will not be sorry to hear that, though I love the French from
inclination and gratitude, I have by no means lost my relish for my
native country. I have spent so much time in gay dissipation, that
I must set myself in good earnest to work; but you may depend on
my desire to steal a few days of the Christmas recess for a Bath
expedition. I fancy we shall have a busy Session of Parliament, and
unless Howe has very decisive success we shall be less unanimous
for the design of conquering America. I will not trouble you with
politics, but will only venture to assure you, that, in the present
moment, the French Counsels are seriously inclined for peace. My
friend Necker (for I now esteem and love him on his own account) is
declared principal minister of the finances, and though he has great
obstacles to contend with, his knowledge, his firmness, and the
purity of his intentions ought to make us wish for his disgrace.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: A MARTYR TO GOUT.]

322.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, Nov. 4th, 1777.

I arrived last night, laid up with the gout in both my feet. I
suffer like one of the first Martyrs, and possibly have provoked my
punishment as much. If you wish to see me, come to town before the
meeting. I hope my Lady will not laugh.



323.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, November 4th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

When you hear the reason, you will excuse my telling you in two
words that I arrived last night. I am laid up with a very painful
fit of the gout in both my feet. I came over from Calais with some
difficulty; yet I rejoice that I am in my own library, and three
hundred miles nearer _you_ than I was a week ago. I think it cannot
last long.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly,
  E. G.



324.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  [Bentinck Street,] Saturday, [November, 1777.]

*Had you four horns as well as four eyes and four hands, I should
still maintain that you are the most unreasonable Monster in the
Creation. My pain is lively, my weakness excessive, the season cold,
and only twelve days remain to the meeting. Far from thinking of
trips into the Country, I shall be well satisfied if I am on my
legs the 20th, in the medical sense of the word. At present I am a
Corpse, carried about by four arms which do not belong to me. Yet I
try to smile: I salute the hen and chickens. Adieu. Writing is really
painful.*



325.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Nov. 13th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

As my disorder was perfectly free from danger, I thought it needless
to repeat _every_ post, that I was in a good deal of pain: but I
seize the first opportunity of telling you that the enemy appears
to be raising the siege, and that he makes a regular and gradual
retreat: the pain is gone, the swellings diminished, my strength is
returning; this morning for the first time I enjoyed the luxury of
using crutches, and I aspire to the superior luxury of throwing them
away. In the course of my recovery you may depend on my prudence.
Adieu! dear Madam, I sincerely envy your loving couple: but be
pleased to remember that _they_ are only twenty.

  I am
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



326.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Friday, November 14th, 1777.

*I do not like this disorder on your eyes: and when I consider your
temperance and activity, I cannot understand why any spring of the
machine should ever be deranged. With regard to myself, the Gout has
behaved in a very honourable manner; after a compleat conquest, and
after making me feel his power for some days, the generous Enemy has
disdained to abuse his victory or torment any longer an unresisting
victim. He has already ceased to torture the lower extremities of
your humble servant; the swelling is so amazingly diminished that
they are no longer above twice their ordinary size. Yesterday I
moved about the room with the laborious majesty of crutches; to-day
I have exchanged them for a stick; and by the beginning of next
week, I hope, with due precaution, to take the air and to inure
myself for the interesting representation of Thursday. How cursedly
unlucky! I wanted to see you both; a thousand things to say and to
hear, and every scheme of that kind broke to pieces. If you are not
able to come to Bentinck Street, I must contrive to steal three or
four vacant days during the Session, and run down to Sheffield. The
town fills, and I begin to have numerous levers and couchers, more
properly the latter. We are still in expectation, but in the mean
while we believe (I mean Ministers) that the news of Howe's victory
and the taking of Philadelphia are true.[374] Adieu.*

  [374] General (afterwards Sir William) Howe defeated Washington
  at Brandywine on September 11, 1777, and took possession of
  Philadelphia on the 27th.



327.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Night, 30th November, 1777.

Your feaver, rhumatism, confinement and the use of a strange hand
make me very uneasy. If I thought I could be of any use, I would in
spite of Parliament[375] immediately run down; but I do most heartily
advise, beg and intreat that, as soon as you are fit for motion, you
would come to town, and consult about the best method of putting an
end to this tedious complaint. For myself, I have almost forgot the
gout. No alteration as to the public: Much debating, little hopes and
no news. Your Inn business I will skilfully manage either in person,
or by my faithful Minister, and you may depend on the earliest
account of it. You asked about the Highlander: he is still in his
mountains. I fear Mrs. G. expects me at Christmas, but I _really_
prefer Sheffield, and will try to defer the Bath journey till Easter.
Do not however reckon upon my success. Adieu.

  [375] The Parliamentary session opened on November 18.



[Sidenote: WEARY OF THE WAR.]

328.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Monday night, December, 1777.


*I congratulate your noble firmness, as I suppose it must arise from
the knowledge of some hidden resources which will enable us to open
the next Campaign with new armies of 50 or 60,000 men. But I believe
you will find yourself obliged to carry on this glorious War almost
alone. It would be idle to dispute any more about politics, as we
shall so soon have an opportunity of a personal combat. Your journey
gives me some hopes that you have not entirely lost your reason.*
Your bed shall be ready. Caplin has conversed with your Tenant, but
his demands were certainly excuses, as he has given over all thoughts
of the enterprize: possibly you may be more successful. Adieu. I do
not embrace My lady, as she seems to decline accompanying you. Her
conduct is shameful and unnatural.



329.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  December 2nd, 1777.

By the enclosed you will see that America is not _yet_ Conquered.
Opposition are very lively,[376] and though in the house we keep our
numbers, there seems to be a universal desire of peace even on the
most humble conditions. Are you still fierce?

  [376] Lord Chatham, in the House of Lords, moved an amendment
  to the address, that the army should be recalled, the late Acts
  rescinded, and every effort used to reunite with America. The
  same motion was made in the Lower House. But the amendments
  were rejected by large majorities in both Houses. On December
  2, Fox moved for a committee of the whole House to inquire into
  the state of the nation, including the expenses and resources
  of the nation, the loss of men, the state of trade, the present
  situation of the war, our foreign relations, and the progress
  made by the Commissioners in bringing about peace. Lord North
  accepted the motion, and the committee sat for the first time
  on February 2, 1778. Parliament was adjourned from December 11,
  1777, to January 20, 1778.



[Sidenote: SARATOGA.]

330.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  House of Commons, Thursday, Dec. 4th, 1777.

Dreadful news indeed. You will see them partly in the papers, and we
have not yet any particulars. An English army of nearly 10,000 men
laid down their arms and surrendered prisoners of war, on condition
of being sent to England and of never serving against America.[377]
They had fought bravely, and were three days without eating.
Burgoyne is said to have received three wounds. General Frazer[378]
with 2000 men, killed. Colonel Ackland[379] likewise killed. A
general cry for peace. Adieu. We have constant late days.

  [377] General Burgoyne, after capturing Ticonderoga, pushed
  forwards towards the Hudson River, intending to invade the United
  States from the side of Canada. His supplies began to fail. The
  American forces gathered at Saratoga, and after several days'
  fighting, surrounded the British troops, whose strength was
  reduced to three thousand five hundred men. On October 17, 1777,
  Burgoyne surrendered to General Gates.

  [378] Simon Fraser had served under Wolfe at Quebec with the
  Fraser Highlanders, and commanded a brigade during Burgoyne's
  campaign. Mortally wounded on October 7, 1777, he died October
  8, and was buried, under a heavy fire, in one of the British
  redoubts.

  [379] John Dyke Acland, best known by the devotion of his wife,
  Lady Harriet, was wounded and taken prisoner at Saratoga (October
  9). He died in October, 1778, from a cold caught at a duel on
  Bampton Down, in Devonshire. He was then M.P. for Callington, in
  Cornwall.



[Sidenote: DESPAIRS OF COERCING AMERICA.]

331.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, December 16th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

I flatter myself that my long silence must have given you great
satisfaction. You recollect that while I was under the tyranny of the
Gout, I showed myself tolerably exact in sending you intelligence
of my situation and improvement. From my silence therefore, you
must have concluded that I am, now, as indeed I am, restored to
public health, and once more engaged in the busy as well as idle
dissipations of this great town. I jumped at once from a sick
chair into the warmest debates, which I ever remember in my short
parliamentary life. They have constantly been fed by our miserable
news from America, and the Session after the holydays will be taken
up by Committees on the state of the Nation, Enquiries into the
conduct of Ministers and Generals, &c., which will at least serve
to increase the public ferment. What will be the resolutions of our
Governors I know not, but I shall scarcely give my consent to exhaust
still further the finest country in the World in the prosecution of a
war from whence no reasonable man entertains any hopes of success. It
is better to be humbled than ruined.

Half my acquaintance, Lady Dy, Lady Payne, the Solicitor
General,[380] &c., are running down to Bath for the holydays. Had
I no other inducement I should certainly escape from the crowd, and
employ that short interval of quiet in resuming my long neglected
History. Those literary occupations however I would gladly sacrifice
to the pleasure of seeing you, but I apprehend I shall be engaged to
prefer the Sussex to the Bath journey by some reasons which I will
fairly submit to your judgement.

1. Holroyd, as you must have learned from his sister, is in a very
indifferent state of health. His eyes are affected, his spirits are
low, he has been disappointed of other company and he entreats me in
a very moving way not to abandon him on this occasion.

2. I wish to pass some time with him on my own account, and
to consult him with regard to Buriton, which is, I fear, very
indifferently treated by my tenant Winton.

3. I expect, without knowing the day, a French lady of quality,
Madame de Genlis,[381] to whom I have very great obligations.
Whenever she informs me of her arrival in London, I must instantly
fly (on the wings of mere friendship) to receive and attend her:
now it would be somewhat vexatious to travel an hundred and ten
miles, and to be called away the next day. Determine for me, my dear
friend, you have every tye upon me of promise, of gratitude and of
inclination. If you are not perfectly satisfied with my positive
engagement to pass the Easter recess with you, depend upon it I will
break through every difficulty that detains me at present. I have
a thousand things to hear and say, and I know that you will enjoy,
what I could not perhaps say to others without incurring the censure
of vanity. If the Goulds are at Bath, I beg to be remembered to
them. I see your friend Mr. Melmoth[382] has published a translation
of another piece of Tully: on a subject which you understand at
least as well as either of them. It will be worth your reading, for
the treatise is valuable and he is an elegant as well as faithful
translator.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [380] Wedderburn.

  [381] Stephanie Félicité Ducrest de St. Aubin (1746-1830)
  married, in 1761, the Comte de Genlis. Through her aunt, who was
  secretly married to the Duc d'Orléans, she became "gouvernante"
  to the duke's children by his first wife, a daughter of the
  Duc de Penthièvre,--Madame Adelaide, Louis Philippe, and three
  others. She was a voluminous and versatile writer. Her _Adèle
  et Théodore_ was published in 1782. "J'eus une liaison assez
  intime," she says in her _Mémoires_ (ii. 351), "avec M. Gibbon,
  auteur de la chute de l'empire romain, ouvrage anglais que nos
  philosophes ont beaucoup loué, parce qu'il renferme de très
  mauvais principes, mais qui est, a tous égards, un mauvais
  ouvrage, très diffus, sans vues nouvelles, et fort ennuyeux."

  [382] William Melmoth (1710-1799), "Pliny" Melmoth, as Miss
  Burney says he was nicknamed, was an author, commissioner of
  bankrupts, and a good classical scholar. In 1753 he published
  Cicero's _Ad Familiares_; in 1773, the _De Senectute_; and in
  1777, the work referred to in the letter, _De Amicitia_.



332.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield Place, December the 26th, 1777.

  DEAR MADAM,

I arrived yesterday at Sheffield Place to enjoy the beauties of
the country, which are displayed in a profusion of rain, snow and
fogs. I think I never saw the Landlady in better looks, health or
spirits. With regard to the Landlord, the principal object of this
cold expedition, his eyes are somewhat better, and I flatter myself
that the conversation of a friend will contribute to enliven him. I
admire your fortitude, but I assure you that my despondency was not
occasioned by the misfortunes of Bourgoyne and his gallant troops. It
is founded on a very full consideration of a plan, the difficulties
of which present themselves every day in a stronger light. What must
be the means or the instruments to extricate us from this melancholy
situation still remain to be considered with the most serious and
dispassionate attention.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

The family desired to be remembered to you.



333.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday night, 1778.

The Gib is _half_ astounded and _half_ disappointed at the
Revolution. He thinks (at present) that he shall appear in person at
S. P. either Monday or Tuesday next to require an explanation. London
is a dead calm and delicious solitude. If some people would send for
the Eliza all might be forgiven. Adieu.

  E. G.

Tuesday next will certainly produce his presence or an Epistle.



334.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  1778.

For _Tuesday_ read _Wednesday_. I think I may reach S. P. by dinner
time; but do not wait. My Lady's inconstancy disarranges me much,
but it is far better that I should be disarranged, than that her
gentle spirit should be grieved. Yet, why cannot she live quiet, and
solitary at Brighton?



335.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Monday night, January 26th, 1778.

What can I say? No news or business. Lord G.'s great misfortune
has procured him a respite.[383] We shall soon have something of a
brush to-morrow on his first appearance.[384] Lord N. seems in high
spirits: we hear no more of conciliatory propositions. I received
to-day a huge pacquet, a Theological answer written by a _mere_ Irish
parson.[385] Adieu. I embrace my Lady, and wait with impatience.
I hope your eyes are not the worse for a little fatigue. I love a
dutiful aunt. It is now half an hour past nine. I have been hard at
work since dinner, and am just setting out for Lady Payne's Assembly,
with half the fine Bs at it, after which, I shall perhaps sup with
Charles, &c., at Almack's.

  [383] Lady George Germain (formerly Miss Diana Sambrooke) died of
  the measles, January 15, 1778.

  [384] Gibbon voted against the Government (February 2) for
  Fox's motion, "That no more of the Old Corps be sent out of the
  Kingdom." The motion was rejected by 259 to 165.

  [385] Probably, _A Reply to the Reasonings of Mr. Gibbon_, etc.,
  by Smyth Loftus, M.A., Vicar of Coolock. Dublin, 1778.



336.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Feb. 23, 1778.

*You do not readily believe in præternatural miscarriages of letters;
nor I neither. Listen, however, to a plain and honest narrative.
This morning after breakfast, as I was ruminating on _your_ silence,
Thomas, my new footman, with confusion in his looks, and stammering
on his tongue, produced a letter reasonably soiled, which he was to
have brought me the day of his arrival, and which had lain forgotten
from that time in his pocket. To shorten as much as possible the
continuance, I immediately inquired, whether any method of conveyance
could be devised more expeditious than the post, and was fortunately
informed of your Coachman's intentions.* In your observations on the
opposition, &c., I desiderate somewhat of your usual moderation. I
suppose you imagine that a reluctant effort of reason is at once to
efface past errors, to command present acquiescence, and to inspire
future confidence.

[Sidenote: ATTEMPTS AT CONCILIATION.]

*You probably know the heads of the plan; an act of parliament,
to declare that we never _had_ any intention of taxing America:
another act, to empower the Crown to name commissioners, authorized
to suspend hostilities by sea and land, as well as all obnoxious
acts; and, in short, to grant every thing, except Independence.[386]
Opposition, after expressing their doubts whether the lance
of Achilles could cure the wound which it had inflicted, could
not refuse their assent to the principles of conduct which they
themselves had always recommended. Yet you must acknowledge, that
in a business of this magnitude there may arise several important
questions, which, without a spirit of faction, will deserve to be
debated: whether Parliament ought not to name the Commissioners?
whether it would not be better to repeal the obnoxious acts
ourselves? I do not find that the World, that is, a few people whom
I happen to converse with, are much inclined to praise Lord N.'s
ductility of temper. In the service of next Friday,[387] you will,
however, take notice of the injunction given by the Liturgy: "And all
the people shall say after the _minister_, Turn us again, O Lord, and
so shall we be turned."

While we considered whether we shall negociate, I fear the French
have been more diligent. It is positively asserted, both in private
and in Parliament, and not contradicted by the Ministers, that on the
5th of this month a treaty of Commerce[388] (which naturally leads to
a war) was signed at Paris with the Independent States of America.
What do you think of the tardyness of administration? Yet there
still remains a hope that England may obtain the preference. The two
greatest countries in Europe are fairly running a race for the favour
of America;* and I fear our _Lord_ has more bottom than foot. Adieu.
Am not I very good? but you must not expect a repetition of such
exalted Virtue. Your Eyes? I embrace My lady, &c. I have written to
all: no answers. I will see Cadell.

I send you a parcel, that, as a member, I have just received.

  [386] The Bills proposed by Lord North were: (1) "For removing
  all doubts and apprehensions concerning taxation by the
  Parliament of Great Britain in any of the Colonies;" (2) for the
  appointment of five commissioners to treat with the Colonies. By
  the first the claim of taxation was abandoned. A third Bill, for
  the express repeal of the Massachusetts Charter Act, was also
  supported by the Government. The three Bills received the royal
  assent on March 11, 1778. Walpole, writing to Mason, February
  18th, 1778, says, "You perhaps, who have all ecclesiastical
  history at your finger-ends, may recollect something approaching
  to the transaction of _yesterday, the 17th of February_, a day
  of confession and humiliation that will be remembered as long as
  the name of England exists. Yesterday, Feb. 17th, did the whole
  Administration, by the mouth of their spokesman, Lord North, no,
  no, not resign; on the contrary, try to keep their places by a
  full and ample confession of all their faults, and by a still
  more extraordinary act, by doing full justice both to America
  and to the Opposition,--by allowing that the former are no
  cowards nor conquerable,--that they are no Rebels, for the new
  Commissioners are to treat with the Congress or anybody, and, by
  asking pardon by effects, _i.e._ the cancelling all offensive
  acts, and by acknowledging the independence of the 13 provinces,
  not _verbally_ yet _virtually_."

  [387] A solemn fast was kept on February 27, 1778.

  [388] The treaty was also one of friendship. It was signed on
  February 6.



[Sidenote: SUEING FOR PEACE.]

337.

_To his Stepmother._


  February 28th, 1778.

  DEAR MADAM,

You will think me the most impudent fellow alive: but I am really
angry with _you_ for not being angry with _me_ o account of my long
and shameful silence. We have had (I do not mean it as any excuse)
the hardest work I have yet known in Parliament. You see that we are
reduced to the humiliation of sueing for peace. I much fear we shall
have the additional humiliation of being rejected. In the meantime
a French war is every day a probable event. I have not yet seen so
very black a prospect. How have you passed the winter, in health, in
spirits and in amusements? For my own part I am perfectly free from
the gout, and notwithstanding the hurry of business and pleasure, I
steal some moments for the Roman Empire. I can assure you with the
utmost truth that I look forward to Easter with such impatience I
_will_ write oftener.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



338.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Almack's, Saturday night, [February, 28th, 1778].

I like your method of proceeding, and I am much relieved to find
that after fighting so long with savage monsters, we have at length
found a being not totally devoid of sense and feeling. Yet I fear
the events which may happen before Michaelmas. With regard to your
other schemes, I think them _hard_: but the times are so: and I must
submit. Hugonin shall not be omitted.

*As to politics, we should easily fill pages, and therefore had
better be silent. You are mistaken in supposing that the Bills are
opposed; some particular objections have been stated, and in the
_only_ division I voted with Government.[389]* Yet I still repeat
that in my opinion, Lord N. does not deserve pardon for the past,
applause for the present, or confidence for the future. You are,
however, perfectly in the right in supposing that the most able men
in the Kingdom will go to America, as a proof of which I must inform
you that Lord Carlisle is certainly appointed first Commissioner.[390]

Caplin enquired about the groom. He is a drunken, worthless fellow.
Adieu. I hear the bell. My Lady is a most aimiable Creature. I
rejoice in her snugness.

  [389] Mr. Powys moved a clause to repeal expressly and by name
  the Massachusetts Charter Act. This clause was opposed by Lord
  North, and on a division was rejected. Lord North, however,
  supported a separate Bill for the attainment of the same object.

  [390] The five commissioners, appointed on April 13, 1778, were
  Lord Carlisle, Lord Howe, Sir W. Howe, William Eden (afterwards
  Lord Auckland), and George Johnstone (ex-governor of Florida).



339.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  February 29th, 1778.

  DEAR H.,

Last night I found a note from Gosling that he wished to see me this
morning. In my reply I submitted it to him whether it might not be
better to wait a few days for our common friend. He answered me that
he had no objection to talking about Bucks when you came, but that
my Estates being intermixed with Lord Verney's seemed to him an
_insuperable_ objection, So that I fear there is an end of our sheet
Anchor. I wait impatiently for your arrival. What is to be done?
Aubrey whispered me last night, that Sir Sampson Gideon[391] was
purchasing everything in that part of Bucks. Excuse my writing meerly
about my own affairs, I am really out of spirits. Monday night, if
there is anything stirring, I will give you a letter of news. Adieu.

  [391] M.P. for Cambridgeshire.



340.

_To his Stepmother._


  March 7th, 1778.

E. G. is alive, well, but much ashamed of himself. In two or three
posts he intends to write somewhat more at large. The H.'s will come
to him next Sunday.



[Sidenote: WAR WITH FRANCE.]

341.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Night, ten o'clock, 14th March, 1778.

Enclosed I send Arthur Young's character. You will judge, but I
should not be satisfied with it. Your polite footman shall be sought
for. This moment Beauclerck, Lord Ossory, Sheridan, Garrick, Burke,
Charles Fox and Lord Cambden (no bad set you will perhaps say) have
left me. It is reported that M. de Noailles has signified to Lord
Weymouth the treaty of France with the united and independent States
of America, with the cold modification that it is not of a hostile
character.[392] We have had hard but dull work. Monday will be a
great day,--the enquiry and the orders given by Lord George for the
Canada expedition.[393]

Dr. Robertson is in town. I shall dine with him to-morrow. Adieu. I
have given directions for La Fontaine's fables.

  [392] The note formally announcing the Treaty of Commerce and
  Friendship between France and the United States, was delivered
  to Lord Weymouth on March 13, 1778. "On Saturday," writes
  Sir Gilbert Elliot to Lord Malmesbury, March 20, 1778, "all
  the French in London were sent to the opera, plays, clubs,
  coffee-houses, ale-houses, and spill-houses, to publish the
  intelligence, which they did with all their natural impertinence."

  [393] On March 19 Fox moved three resolutions: (1) that the
  Canadian expedition was ill concerted, (2) that it was impossible
  it should succeed, (3) that no sufficient instructions to
  co-operate had been sent to General Howe. The resolutions were
  lost by 164 to 44. Fox then tore up the paper on which he had
  written the fourth resolution, a censure on Lord G. Germain.



342.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Almack's, Saturday night, [March 21st, 1778].

*As business thickens, and you may expect me to write sometimes,
I shall lay down one rule; totally to avoid political argument,
conjecture, lamentation, declamation, &c., which would fill pages,
not to say volumes; and to confine myself to short, authentic pieces
of intelligence, for which I may be able to afford moments and lines.
Hear then--The French ambassador[394] went off yesterday morning,
not without some slight expressions of ill humour from John Bull.
Lord Stormont[395] is probably arrived to-day. No _immediate_
declaration expected on our side. A Report (but vague) of an action
in the bay, between La Motte Piquet and Digby; the former has five
ships and three frigates, with three large store ships under convoy;
the latter has eleven ships of the line. If the Frenchman should sail
to the mouth of the Delawar, he may possibly be followed and shut
up. When Franklin was received at Versailles,[396] Deane went in the
same character to Vienna, and Arthur Lee to Madrid. Notwithstanding
the reports of an action in Silesia, they subside;[397] and I have
seen a letter from Eliot at Berlin of the tenth instant, without any
mention of actual hostilities, and even speaking of the impending
War as not absolutely inevitable. Last Tuesday the first payment of
the loan £600,000 was certainly made; and as it would otherwise be
forfeited, it is a security for the remainder. I have not yet got
the intelligence you want, about former prices of stock in Critical
times. These are surely such. _Dixi. Vale._ Send me some good news
from Bucks; In spite of the War, I must sell. We want you in town.
Frazer is impatient: but if you come without Mylady, every door will
be shut.

  [394] M. de Noailles left London at six in the morning to avoid
  insults. He and his wife were pelted by the mob as they passed
  through Canterbury; but the Government ordered a salute to be
  fired in his honour as he left Dover.

  [395] David, seventh Viscount Stormont, who succeeded (1793) his
  uncle as second Earl of Mansfield, was at this time ambassador at
  Paris. In October, 1779, he was made one of the Secretaries of
  State. He was afterwards President of the Council under Pitt. He
  died in 1796.

  [396] The three American deputies were presented to Louis XVI.
  on March 21, 1778, by M. de Vergennes, the Minister for Foreign
  Affairs.

  [397] On December 30, 1777, the Elector of Bavaria died. With
  him was extinguished the male line of his house. Austria took
  the opportunity of occupying portions of Lower Bavaria, and the
  King of Prussia supported against her the claims of the elector's
  general heir and nearest male relation, the Elector Palatine of
  the Rhine. War began in July, 1778; but before negotiations were
  abandoned, Bohemia, Silesia, and Saxony were occupied by the
  forces of Austria and Prussia.



[Sidenote: HIS PRIVATE AFFAIRS.]

343.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck Street, March 30th, 1778.

The short delay of my answer, you must ascribe on this occasion not
to lazyness but to despondency. What a melancholy prospect of public
and private affairs. Excuse my saying anything of the former (indeed
there is nothing fixed or certain), I am too much engaged by the
latter.

What can I say about Fleet Street? The remittance they mention from
Hugonin, with another of a halfe year's rent from Bucks, will
diminish though not discharge the accruing interest which indeed must
always gain upon me, unless I could live upon air. With regard to the
principal, as they are in very affluent circumstances, I did flatter
myself that instead of urging me to dispose of the dearest part of
my property, the new River share, at the most unfavourable season,
they would have allowed me the chance of another summer to dispose
of Lenborough which would ease me at once of principal and interest.
I beg you would make that earnest request to them, I mean to Clive,
and manage it with all the zeal and dexterity of your friendship.
Let me know, whether I can second it by any steps of politeness and
propriety. I had rather write than speak.--Should they still be
inflexible and rigourously exact the immediate sale of the New River,
give me your advice and assistance. Your _advice_ whether in honour
and prudence, I may dispute the point and gain time by the dilatory
and expensive resources of the law. If I ought to yield, your
_advice_ as to the best method of Sale. Sure they cannot insist on my
selling it much below its value. I fear you must run to town for two
or three days. With regard to Buriton. Hugonin has sent me a letter
for you unsealed. I have kept it some days, without having courage to
read it. Is it very bad? I was much satisfied with your conference
with Winton, but can we depend on his promises? What security have we
between this time and Michaelmas for the intentions of an attorney
and the conduct of a madman.

Adieu, my dear friend. My disposition is chearful, my wants not
extravagant, my amusements within my own power, and connected with
the amusement of many. But the scene before me is horrid, unless you
can shew me some ray of comfort. Adieu.

Mrs. G. presses me; I think of going about the 15th of next month and
staying a fortnight at Bath.--I have got a Groom for you, but am not
yet assured of his Character.



344.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, April the 6th, 1778.

  DEAR MADAM,

As we can talk more in an hour than we can write in a day, I shall
only say that I propose myself the pleasure (and a great pleasure it
will really be) of waiting on you on Thursday evening the 16th inst.
If anything should delay my journey two or three days later you shall
certainly have timely notice.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



345.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bath, 25th April, 1778.

Here I am in close attendance of my Mama, who is better in health,
spirits, &c., than I have known her for some years. Had I attempted
an Easter excuse it would have been very ill received. I am vastly
complaisant, _amuse_ myself in Routes and private parties and
play shilling Whist with the most edifying resignation. The Rooms
and public places I seldom frequent, and claim some merit from a
sacrifice which in reality is none at all. The Paynes are here, and
I contrive to see something of them. Are you acquainted with Dr.
Delacour? In truth there is much kindness in that Jew and much good
sense likewise; he gives as good dinners as the superstition of the
females of his family will permit, and has a proper contempt for all
that a reasonable man ought to despise. I had destined and shall give
a _full_ fortnight to Bath, and shall return to town the latter end
of next week, but as the day is not irrevocably fixed, I do not wish
you to suppose me in Bentinck Street before the Monday or Tuesday
of the week following. I understand with satisfaction that the
Majorina[398] intends to visit the great City. I have much to say and
much for you to do. You may expect to be favoured with some military
instructions. Adieu. I hear from Zara[399] a very tolerable account;
but my proposed visit was respectfully declined. I like the new house
very well.

  [398] Mr. Holroyd served as major in the Sussex Militia under
  the Duke of Richmond. The militia was in 1778 organized as a
  permanent force for the defence of the country.

  [399] Miss Sarah Holroyd.



346.

_To his Stepmother._


  House of Commons, Wednesday Evening, ten o'clock, '78.

I arrived safe in town, and, after finding most _excellent_ reasons
for two or three days' delay, when I had really very little to do, I
now snatch a moment from a very warm debate to tell you that I found
the H.'s in town. The Major's eyes are not better, but otherwise his
spirits are good, and he becomes his military character. Remember me
to the sister. I sympathise in her distress at my departure. Assure
all my friends, Christians but more especially Jews,[400] of my own
grateful sense of their kindness, but let me say with the utmost
truth, that the part of my Bath visit which I recollect with the
greatest pleasure, are the moments which I spent with you and with
you alone.

The H.'s (I had almost forgot) salute you. They stay till Monday.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [400] Apparently an allusion to Dr. Delacour, Mrs. Gibbon's
  doctor at Bath.



347.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Night, 16th May, 1778.

Before I received your letter, I had just heard from Bath! I can say
nothing on the occasion. Nature and Reason have their respective
provinces; and I ought not to hope either to prevent the effect of
the former, or to hasten that of the latter.

[Sidenote: D'ESTAING'S FLEET.]

I shall expect you about the end of next week, but it will be
highly proper that you should give me some days either in going or
returning. Notwithstanding all you may see in the Papers, you may be
assured that there is not any certain intelligence of D'Estaing's
squadron having passed the straights of Gibraltar.[401] A Court of
Enquiry is ordered and will sit on Monday on Bourgoyne;[402] but I
am not certain whether he has been forbid Court. I attended Ireland
with great alacrity;[403] but the business seems to be compromised.
I do not exactly know in what manner or whether the Constituents on
either side will be satisfied. The Inscriptions shall be considered.
Adieu.

  [401] The Comte d'Estaing with the French fleet left Toulon on
  April 13, and arrived off Sandy Hook on July 8, 1778.

  [402] General Burgoyne was refused admission to the royal
  presence. The Court of Enquiry was not held, as the general
  officers reported that they could not take cognizance of the
  conduct of an officer who was a prisoner on parole to the
  Congress. A court-martial was on similar grounds refused.
  Finally, on May 26, a motion was proposed for a committee of the
  whole House on Saratoga, which gave Burgoyne the opportunity of
  defending himself. The motion was opposed by the Government and
  rejected.

  [403] Counsel and evidence were heard on Irish trade; but,
  by a compromise between the opponents and supporters of the
  projected bills for the relaxation of the commercial code, and in
  consequence of the opposition of English traders, Lord North's
  projected concessions were reduced to the smallest proportions
  and carried without divisions.



348.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Almack's, Friday, [June 12th, 1778].

*R. Way's letter gave me that sort of satisfaction which one may
receive from a good Physician, who, after a careful examination,
pronounces your case incurable. But no more of that--I take up the
pen, as I suppose by this time you begin to swear at my silence. Yet
litterally (a bull) I have not a word to say. Since D'Estaing's fleet
has passed through the Gut (I leave you to guess where it must have
got out there) it has been totally forgot, and the most wonderful
lethargy and oblivion, of war and peace, of Europe and of America,
seems to prevail. Lord C[hatham]'s funeral was meanly attended,[404]
and Government ingeniously contrived to secure the double odium of
suffering the thing to be done, and of doing it with an ill grace.
The chief conversation at Almack's is about tents, drill-Serjeants,
subdivisions, firings, &c. and I am revered as an old Veteran. Adieu.
When do you return? If it suits your evolutions, aunt Kitty and
myself meditate a Sussex journey next week. I embrace Mylady.*

  [404] Lord Chatham died May 11, 1778. The body lay in state in
  the Painted Chamber on the 7th and 8th of June, and was buried in
  Westminster Abbey on June 9. Parliament was adjourned from June 3
  to November 26.



349.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, June the 12th, 1778.

  DEAR MADAM,

Inclosed I send you what you desire. Believe me I have not forgotten,
how much, in every sense of the word, I feel myself indebted to you.
I wish that all of us in publick and private affairs had a less
melancholy prospect before us; but courage and Philosophy must assist
us. Letters (I do not mean Epistles) are in every state of life an
amusement, a comfort or a resource.

The Holroyds are still in Yorkshire, I expect them in about ten days;
and have some thoughts with Mrs. Porten of making them a visit next
month. I carry down a good deal of lumber, and shall work reasonably
hard.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



350.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Monday Evening, 29th June, 1778.

With a trembling hand I inclose a letter from Hugonin in its pure
and original state--_Return it with proper directions_; or answer it
yourself, which would please me much better.--I suppose there are
complaints of my silence. I am however by four and twenty hours less
guilty than I seem----

I expect an account of your meeting and motions; and some
encouragement might attract Aunt Kitty and myself in the course of
next week----

[Sidenote: KEPPEL'S ATTACK ON FRENCH FRIGATES.]

What think you of Keppel?[405] We are pleased on the whole: yet some
Ministers such as Ld. Mansfield and Wedd[erburn] affect to talk
doubtfully about a War. Adieu.

  [405] Admiral Keppel, who left Portsmouth early in June, fell in
  with two French frigates, the _Licorne_ and the _Belle Poule_,
  on June 17, 1778. The first he captured, the second was driven
  ashore. This action began the war with France.



[Sidenote: COXHEATH CAMP.]

351.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Wednesday evening, July 1st, 1778.

Your plan of operations is clear and distinct; yet, notwithstanding
your zeal, and the ideas of Ducal discipline, I think you will be
more and longer at S. P. than you imagine. However, I am disposed
to advance my journey as much as possible. I want to see you; my
martial ardour makes me look to Coxheath,[406] necessity obliges me
to think of Beriton, and I feel something of a very new inclination
to taste the sweets of the Country. Aunt Kitty shares the same
sentiments; but various obstacles will not allow us to be with you
before Saturday, or perhaps Sunday evening; I say _evening_, as we
mean to take the cool part of the day, and shall probably arrive
after Supper. Keppel's return[407] has occasioned infinite and
inexpressible consternation, which gradually changes into discontent
against him. He is ordered out again with three or four large ships
as reinforcement; 2 of 90, 2 of 74, and the 50th Regiment as marines.
In the mean time the French, with a superior fleet, are masters of
the sea; and our homeward-bound East and West India trade is in the
most imminent danger. Adieu.

  [406] Summer encampments were established at Salisbury, Bury
  St. Edmunds, Winchester, Warley, and Coxheath in Kent. At the
  last-named place were stationed the 1st battalion of Royals, 2nd,
  14th, 18th, 59th, and 65th Regiments of Foot, the 1st Regiment of
  Dragoons, and twelve regiments of militia. Coxheath was visited
  by the king and queen in November, 1778.

  [407] Papers captured on a French frigate showed Keppel that a
  fleet superior to his own lay in Brest harbour. He therefore
  retired to Portsmouth. "And now," writes Walpole, July 4, 1778,
  "Mr. Keppel is returned, we learn that the East and West Indian
  fleets, worth four millions, are at stake, and the French
  frigates are abroad in pursuit of them."



352.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Bentinck-street, July 7th, 1778.

*Expect me----when you see me; and do not regulate your active
motions by my uncertainty. Saturday is impossible. The most probable
days are, Tuesday or Friday next. I live not unpleasantly, in a
round of Ministerial dinners; but I am impatient to see my white
house at Brighton. I cannot find that Sheffield really has the same
attractions for you. Lord North, as a mark of his gratitude, observed
the other day, that your Regiment would make a very good figure in
North Carolina. Adieu. I wrote two lines to Mitchel lest he should
think me dead.*



353.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Thursday Evening, July, 1778.

O Lord! O Lord!--I am quite tired of Parliament and sigh for the
country. I talked of being at S. P. next Saturday; I shall think
myself fortunate if I reach it that day sen'night. Many bills are
sent to the Lords, the forms of their house will consume some days,
the Ch.'s temper[408] may destroy more time, and the prorogation will
not take place before the 17th. In the meanwhile every body is going
out of town, and the danger of not getting a house will probably
force me to stay, and, after all, this place is not uncomfortable.
Adieu. No news. I embrace my Lady.

Adam talks of accompanying me.

  [408] Lord Thurlow became Lord Chancellor in June, 1778,
  succeeding Earl Bathurst.



354.

_To his Stepmother._


  Sheffield Place, July 19th, 1778.

  DEAR MADAM,

Miss Holroyd who arrived here yesterday informed me that you were
certain that I could not be at S. P. as you had not received any
letter from me. This throws me under some difficulty, since I must
either set aside your authority or distrust the evidence of my
senses, which seems to tell me that I am actually at the seat of
J. B. Holroyd, Major of the Sussex Militia. The aforesaid Major
returned last night from his first sally, which had lasted a whole
week, during which time he left me Governor of the Castle and
Guardian of his fair Spouse. I acquitted myself of this great
office in so satisfactory a manner, that I am again invested with
the same dignity, as the doughty Champion moves forward to-morrow
morng. on a second Expedition. The Regiment is divided between Lewes
and Brighthelmstone, and the Duke of Richmond, &c., works like a
Serjeant, a clerk, and a pack-horse. Their motions are irregular
and uncertain, and if the Major's quarters should be fixed at
Brighthelmstone, My Lady and Sarah will immediately march, and I
shall follow the Camp, as it is a place where I can enjoy studious
leisure in the midst of dissipation. If they are ordered to any other
place I shall return to my retirement in Bentinck Street, as at all
events the 'decline and fall' must proceed, which it does at present
with tolerable vigour.

Mr. Eliot, whom I saw in London as frequently as I could, wished
(if Plymouth and Port Eliot were not burnt down) to receive me in
September to meet Lord and Lady Ely. I expressed gratitude but
declined a promise. I should think the journey a very proper one; but
I must own that I neither like the expence nor the loss of time. Yet
those would sound like paltry excuses after a six months' expedition
to Paris.

The Major with our three Ladies, Abigail Holroyd, Sarah Holroyd, and
Catherine Porten, present their compliments to you. We often talk you
over, and this morning at Breakfast his honour scolded sister for not
bringing you with her; though on calmer reflection we all thought it
better that your second visit to S. P. should be deferred to a more
peaceable and settled time, such as it may be hoped next year will
prove. Sarah looks well; several passages yesterday of the House,
&c., affected her a good deal, but I think she will grow easy and
cheerful.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Most entirely yours,
  E. GIBBON.



355.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Wednesday morn, Brighton, 1778.

You feed me royally and almost superabundantly.--Though Brighton is
truly the most agreeable place in the World, I am desirous to spend
three or four days at S. P., and am not unwilling to meet Lord
M[ansfield]. But are you sure of a visit from that venerable Sage?
You have a formidable Rival, Gerard Hamilton,[409] who has invited
me to dinner for Sunday to meet the Chief Justice whom I wish to
conciliate, which your instructions will enable me to do; but at
all events if you miss the Judge you will have the Historian the
beginning of next week. Adieu.

  [409] William Gerard Hamilton ("Single-Speech"), at this time
  M.P. for Wareham, lived in Upper Brook Street. He was a brilliant
  talker. If Dr. Johnson was unwilling to part with a friend,
  he accompanied him down the first pair of stairs in hope of
  his return. With Hamilton he went as far as the street door.
  "Single-Speech Hamilton has been giving suppers to all the fine
  ladies," writes Storer to George Selwyn, April, 1779.



356.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Brighthelmstone, 1778, Wednesday morning, ten o'clock.

I have carefully perused the Report, and think you have considerably
improved both the matter and arrangement. The remarks were as clear
to my conception as they could be made without the help of maps,
and the general language is easy and spirited: to render the style
minutely elegant and correct would be a tedious and at the same time
a very useless task. As it now stands the work must do credit to the
author and may do service to the country. Adieu. We meet at Lord G.'s.

Friday morning; I suspect that my Lady will decline the party.



[Sidenote: FRUITLESS SEARCH FOR FRENCH FLEET.]

357.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Tuesday evening, Sept. 20th, 1778.

The French fleet is stole back into Brest without meeting
Keppel;[410] the Fox frigate taken same day, the Captain (Windsor,
Lord Plymouth's brother) killed; others add, but doubtful, that we
have lost a fleet of twelve merchantmen. There is good reason to
believe that we have taken the Iphigenie, a French frigate. You were
hardly aware of the depth of ditch you tumbled into, and I have sent
you the enclosed that you may see Hugonin's despair and reproaches.
The money must be found by Saturday sen-night; and the only step I
could think of was a fair polite letter to Clive, who came to town
yesterday, stating the business, representing the probable near
conclusion of the New River sale, and begging leave to draw upon him.
I know his good nature, but if he hesitates you must intercede, or
help me some way or other. Adieu. How do you advance in les Travaux
de Mars? The advertisements have been inserted; Hugonin has received
one application from a Mr. Butler, Camberwell, Surry, to make
enquiries.

  [410] After a fruitless search for the French fleet, Admiral
  Keppel returned to Portsmouth. "Admiral Keppel is very unlucky in
  having missed them, for they had not above twenty-five ships" (H.
  Walpole, October 8, 1778).



358.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday night, September 25th, 1778.

*No news from the fleets; we are so tired of waiting, that
our impatience seems gradually to subside into a careless and
supine indifference. We sometimes yawn, and ask, just by way of
conversation, Whether Spain will joyn?[411] I believe you may depend
on the truth, not the sincerity, of an answer from their Court,
that they will not support or acknowledge the independence of the
Americans. But on the other hand, Magazines are forming, troops
marching, in a style which threatens Gibraltar. Gib. is, however, a
hard morsel; 5000 effectives, and every article of defence in the
most compleat state. We are certainly courting Russia. So much for
the Republic.*

I am strangely amazed and frightened about Buriton: as I had not the
least suspicion of the approaching, nay impending demand of so large
a sum. How could it amount to so much, and why did Hug. stipulate so
near a day? I have desired him to gain time or borrow money. They
bite in the New River, and I am offered 7½, but Newton encourages
me to hold out, and thinks I may get ¼ more, which is not to be
despised in certain situations----

I have seen several servants, and like one who has lived with Mr.
Milbank (Sir Ralph's eldest son), who desired his brother to give
him a very good character. On a quarrel between him and the Swiss
Valet de Chambre, both were dismissed, the one with honour, the
other with ignominy. Something more in the Italian than the Swiss
style had been designed by the Valet de Chambre, but rejected by
your Candidate; yet, as he was discharged, there is something not
perfectly clear. If you chuse it, you may write to Milbank, who is
with his Militia in the North: but send me the letter and I will
forward it. If without any farther ceremony you have a mind to try
him (I mean no harm), I can order him to quarters. I am satisfied
with his appearance, and he professes to understand what you require.
Adieu.

  [411] War was declared in June, 1779, between Great Britain and
  Spain.



359.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Sept. 29, 1778.

  DEAR MADAM,

I think I grow worse and worse. I am sensible that you are acquainted
with my sentiments and my faults, and that you are disposed to
believe that the stream of my friendship is deep and pure, though it
flows _silently_, very silently indeed. Yet my conscience whispers in
my ear that I ought not to abuse the confidence which you may with
justice repose in me. My conscience, likewise, informs me that as I
made Sarah Holroyd the security of my promise, she has a right to
complain that she became in some measure the accomplice of my quill.
She has, I daresay, given you a particular account of the way I spent
the greatest part of the summer; how, in the absence of the Major,
I was left Governor of the Castle and Director of the fair females
who inhabited it, and how I behaved myself in the execution of that
important office.

[Sidenote: DISCOMFORTS OF BRIGHTON.]

I went over to Brighthelmstone, but found not much encouragement to
settle, the Company was not agreeable, few of my acquaintance except
the Paynes and Beauclercs; more difficulty and more expence than I
expected in settling myself with any degree of comfort, and great
inconvenience in being so long absent and distant from my tools.
Upon mature consideration I resolved to relinquish that plan and
to retire for some time to my rural retirement in Bentinck Street:
the neighbourhood is not very populous at present, nor am I much
interrupted by visits or invitations; yet I find as much society
as I want for relaxation; and motives enough to engage me to take
more exercise of a morning than I should anywhere else; besides the
occasional Holydays which I sometimes allow myself to various friends
who dwell in villas adjacent to town. In the meantime I have the
pleasure to see the sheets of my second volume insensibly acquire a
respectable or at least a decent size; and though my progress gives
me a clearer view of the difficulties of my undertaking, yet I find
that gentle and steady diligence will in time carry me through it:
and I still look forwards to the spring of 1780 with hope though not
with confidence.

Before I left Sussex I visited, in company with the Major, Cox
Heath Camp: where I was received as a Father of the Old Hampshire
Militia, though few officers now remain in it, with whom I have any
connection. Jolliffe was returned to his station of Ensign, with the
_Cave_ of General Keppel, who would not however see him or forgive
his extravagant behaviour, which was much worse than anything you
saw in the Papers. I am afraid you were malicious enough to rejoyce
at his absurdity. While I was in the Camp, I felt my military ardour
revive; but I soon recollected that, notwithstanding the pleasure
of passing a part of the winter on the Down, my library is upon
the whole as agreeable as a Tent, and Almack's as comfortable as a
Suttling booth. What odd animals we are! I have deferred from post
to post, I am afraid to think how long, a very easy and pleasing
occupation, which has now made me pass a very agreeable half hour in
conversing with the dearest and most valued of my friends; who will
derive some pleasure from the conversation. I positively believe I
shall reform.----

Before I conclude I must add three words on a subject which is not
so entertaining. You know how little I love to talk about business,
but I ought not to omit what you will probably hear from some other
quarter. My tenant Winton had done _some_ mischief to Buriton;
he threatened to injure it much more deeply, and I was persuaded
by my Council to get rid of him, which I have just accomplished.
Till the farm is let again, which I hope will be soon, Hugonin has
undertaken the temporary administration. I have lost considerably in
taking leave of my old tenant, and fear my loss in engaging a new
one will be still more considerable, and I can ill support these
extraordinary demands. Yet I should consider that, if all external
circumstances were as smooth and satisfactory as the temper of my own
mind, my condition would be too fortunate.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

I cannot go to Port Eliot this autumn, but shall try to propose an
accomodation to Madam of meeting at Bath.



[Sidenote: PAUL JONES.]

360.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  October 27th, 1778.

You are certainly right in your suspicions that I shall not again
visit S. P. before the meeting of Parliament. I am perfectly well
in wind and limb, but the time is so short, the derangement is so
considerable, and I am so deeply engaged not in London but at Rome,
that I can only regret and hope.--There is not any account of the
French fleets in Europe or America. Sir Charles Hardy[412] is sailed
chiefly to protect and convoy the East Indiamen now in Ireland. I
know not what to say of your countrymen, nor have I any notion of the
plan (if any) of Government. The A. G.[413] came to town last night,
and I am just going to sup with him. I expect a full account of the
Regiment. Adieu. Denmark[414] (inseparably connected with Russia) has
behaved very handsomely in restoring two Victuallers and ordering the
captor, one of Paul Jones's Squad, to quit the Harbour of Bergen.
This is sure and important.

  [412] Sir Charles Hardy, already over sixty years of age, as
  governor of Greenwich Hospital had retired from active service.
  He had not been to sea for many years, till he was now placed in
  command of the fleet.

  [413] Wedderburn succeeded Thurlow as Attorney-General when the
  latter was made Chancellor (June, 1778).

  [414] "The court of Denmark, when they gave orders for the
  release of our ships taken by Paul Jones, were very explicit in
  their declaration in our favour against America" (C. Townshend to
  G. Selwyn, October, 1778).



361.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Tuesday night, November, 1778.

*You sometimes complain that I do not send you early news; but you
will now be satisfied with receiving a full and true account of all
the parliamentary transactions of _next_ Thursday. In town we think
it an excellent piece of humour (the author is one Tickell)[415]
Burke and C. Fox are pleased with their own Speaches, but serious
Patriots groan that such things should be turned to farce. We seem to
have a chance of an additional Dutch War:[416] you may depend upon
its being a very important business, from which we cannot extricate
ourselves without either loss or shame. *Hugonin was in town last
week about his eyes. I have given him full powers, and still hope
that he will agree with Hearsay on tolerable terms. Say something to
Beauclerc and Lady Dy. I pity them both, and I pity you too, for at
this time of year Brighton must be a damned place. I shall now be
immersed in politics. Society and study and hardly a moment be ever
found for Epistolary Commerce. Therefore be patient. _Vale._

  [415] Parliament met November 26, 1778. Gibbon refers to a
  pamphlet called _Anticipation_, which appeared the day before the
  opening of Parliament, and gave a summary of what would be said
  by the chief speakers. The author was Richard Tickell, grandson
  of Addison's contemporary, and a dependent of Lord North.

  [416] The outbreak of a war with Holland at this time seemed
  probable. At the close of 1778 a number of petitions were
  presented from Dutch merchants to their High Mightinesses the
  States-General of the United Provinces, protesting against the
  right of search for contraband of war which was exercised by
  the British ships. In September, 1780, an American packet was
  captured, on board of which was Mr. Laurens, President of the
  Congress. A box of letters, which he threw overboard, floated,
  and was found to contain a draft treaty between the United States
  and Holland, and various letters from the "patriotic party,"
  showing that Amsterdam at least wished for alliance as early as
  August, 1778. A memorial reciting these letters was delivered to
  the States-General in November, 1780, but no answer was returned.
  In December the British ambassador was recalled, and the Dutch
  ambassador left London, December 30, 1780.



362.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Wednesday Night, December, 1778.

Good news from India, a revolution has happened among the Marattas;
the French interest is destroyed, Ragged boy[417] (or some such name)
is placed on the throne of that warlike people, and we have now more
to hope than to fear from them. According to the Orders sent out
in the Spring it is not impossible that Pondicherry,[418] feebly
garrisoned, may at this moment be in our hands. The West Indies[419]
are tolerably secure by the land and sea force which went from New
York, and our operations in that part of the World may be offensive.
In several places the Sky clears a little, and if we could be secure
from Spain we may promise ourselves some success. You see I am less
desponding than usual. But we must depend more on arms and policy
than upon idle threats, which may do mischief and cannot do good. We
must likewise remove a Secretary of State so universally odious to
the Army,[420] &c.

[Sidenote: THE BATTLE OF USHANT.]

Our Admirals[421] have had a spar or two, and Sir H. P., finding
that K. did not apply for a Court Martial upon him, has this day
lodged a charge of six Articles in the Admiralty and has made himself
the accuser of his Commander.

  [417] Ragoba or Ragonaut Ráo, an exiled Peshwah of Poonah, was
  supported by the English, and an expedition to reinstate him was
  despatched by Warren Hastings in the autumn of 1778.

  [418] Pondicherry had already (October 17, 1778) surrendered to
  Sir Hector Munro, and Chandernagore had also fallen.

  [419] Sir Henry Clinton, who had succeeded Sir W. Howe in the
  chief command in America, had sent five thousand men in October,
  1778, to the Indies with Commodore Hotham.

  [420] William Wildman, second Viscount Barrington (1717-1793),
  was succeeded as Secretary at War by Charles Jenkinson in
  December, 1778.

  [421] The Admirals referred to were Sir Hugh Palliser and
  Admiral Keppel, both members of Parliament; Keppel being a Whig
  and opposed to Lord North, Palliser a staunch supporter of
  the Government. The dispute arose over the battle of Ushant.
  The English fleet under Keppel had met the French fleet under
  Count d'Orvilliers off Ushant on July 27, 1778. An indecisive
  engagement was fought. Keppel signalled to Sir Hugh Palliser to
  come up and renew the battle next morning; but Sir Hugh, whose
  own ship had suffered severely, was unable to do so. The French
  retired on the 29th to Brest, and Keppel to Portsmouth. Palliser
  made charges against Keppel, which led to a court-martial on the
  latter. The charges against him were pronounced to be malicious
  and ill founded, and his conduct was declared to have been that
  of a brave and experienced officer. Similar charges were made by
  the Comte d'Orvilliers against the Duc de Chartres, who commanded
  the Blue Squadron of the French fleet, and did not obey the
  signal of his superior officer.



363.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday Night, 1778.

Our East India Revolution has not succeeded, and Raggaboy is no
longer at the head of the Marattas.[422] In the West we much fear
that D'Estaing is run down to the Islands.[423] Black again. The
Court Martial would furnish volumes of opinions, but not a line
of fact. In private life you see we open a lively campaign of
Marchionesses, Countesses, &c.--I am sorry to find that you are so
firm about Buriton. Consider the bad condition and growing expence
which I am so little able to bear. The option of the term of years
cannot perhaps be admitted, but otherwise I am much disposed to
accept the hard conditions of Hearsay, and almost fear that our delay
will lose the opportunity. I am transported to hear that you will
call at Buriton in your way to Bath, and only beg, that considering
my situation rather than your spirit, you will not leave the place
without deciding the business. How long do you stay at Bath? Shall
you not return through town? I want to see you about some things
which I cannot trust to paper. Adieu.

  [422] The expedition against Poonah failed. The English were
  surrounded, and the Convention of Wargaum restored to the
  Mahrattas all territory acquired since 1756, and Ragoba was given
  up to Scindiah (January, 1779).

  [423] In November, 1778, the French fleet sailed for the West
  Indies. But St. Lucia was successfully defended by the British
  forces.



364.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Almack's, Wednesday evening, 1778.

*I delayed writing, not so much through indolence as because I
expected every post to hear from you. The supplies are raised. Clive
and Gosling allow me (very handsomely) to draw for the Barbarian
tribute, and the New river (unless one of the Suitors retreats)
is gone, alas gone for ever, for £7550. The state of Buriton is
uncertain, incomprehensible, tremendous. It would be endless to send
you the folios of Hugonin, but I have enclosed you one of his most
pictoresque Epistles, on which you may meditate. Few offers; one,
promising enough, came from a Gentleman at Camberwell: I detected
him, with masterly skill and diligence, to be only an Attorney's
clerk, without money, credit, or experience. I wrote as yet in
vain to Sir John Shelley, about Hearsay; perhaps you might get
intelligence about him.

I much fear that the Buriton expedition is necessary; but it has
occurred to me, that if I _met_, instead of _accompanying_ you, it
would save me a journey of above one hundred miles. That reflection
led to another of a very impudent nature; _viz._ that if I did not
accompany you, I certainly could be of no use to you or myself on the
spot; that I had much rather, while you examined the premises, pass
the time in a horse-pond; and that I had still rather pass it in my
library with the 'decline and fall.' But that would be an effort of
friendship worthy of Theseus or Perithous: modern times would hardly
credit, much less imitate, such exalted virtue.

[Sidenote: SUMMER CAMPAIGN IN AMERICA.]

No news from America, yet there are people, large ones too, who
talk of conquering it next summer with the help of 20,000 Russians.
I fancy you are better satisfied with private than public War. The
Lisbon Packet in coming home met about forty of our privateers.
Adieu. I hardly know whether I direct right to you, but I think S. P.
the surest.*



365.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Jan. 7th, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

You will pity rather than blame me when I tell you that all last week
I have been a good deal indisposed. The changes of weather brought a
severe cold, accompanied with some degree of fever. I was confined
to my room several days, and the state of my spirits as well as that
of my health would have rendered the effort of writing very painful
to me. The effort would have been still more painful with regard
to the subject of your two last letters. I feel your happiness so
much connected with mine, that the account of your sentiments and
situation must disturb the enjoyments and encrease the anxiety of my
own life. I feel it the more deeply as I am sensible that it is not
in my power to remove the two causes of your present uneasiness.

I know not how to offer advice, and I am incapable of giving any
efficacious help. I have easily perceived in my successive visits
to Bath that a dislike of the place, of public life, and of mixed
Society was insensibly gaining ground in your mind: and as I know
that our happiness must always depend on our opinions and habits,
I never presumed to prescribe for the constitution of another.
Business and pleasure, Society or no Society, town or country, have
undoubtedly their respective merits, and every one must on those
subjects think and judge and act for themselves. The gay hurry of
Bath or the silent retirement of Mrs. Massey's in Essex may alike be
enjoyed by the mind to which they are adapted, and the only advice
which I could think of offering, would be, not to engage yourself
rashly in a connection of which you might afterwards repent. I have
always considered marriage as a very serious undertaking, and the
agreement of any friends to live together in the same house is a sort
of marriage. If they have passed several years in different modes of
life, their manners, their opinions, their sentiments on almost every
subject must have contracted a different colour, and every little
circumstance of hours, &c., will prove the cause of mutual restraint
or mutual dissatisfaction.

But I now find, what indeed I have sometimes feared, that your
design of retiring from Bath is not entirely the effect of choice
and inclination; that a stronger power, the power of necessity or at
least of prudence, urges you to take that resolution, and that in
a word you find the place too expensive. You do not explicitly say
what income would support your present establishment, and I am not so
stupid or so ungrateful as not to feel the generous delicacy of your
behaviour. If my own circumstances were affluent, the obligations
and friendship of twenty years would instantly prompt me to gratify
my own inclinations in the performance of sacred duty. I am not
insensible that in my present situation, you have a substantial
and even legal claim upon me to a very considerable amount, and
while I feel the value of your tenderness on this occasion, I must
lament that it is not in my power to attain even the humble though
indispensable virtue of Justice.

[Sidenote: LESS INCOME THAN EXPENSES.]

Without recurring to any recollections which would be painful
to us both, I may appeal to the anxious regard which you have
always felt and expressed for my interest. You know the distressed
embarrassed situation in which my affairs were left, and though I
have always been directed by the advice of Mr. H., I have hitherto
been disappointed in every attempt to extricate myself by the
sale of Lenborough Estate. The prospect of public affairs and the
universal want of money forces me at present to suspend every idea
of a sale, and all credit is so compleatly dead, that in the most
pressing exigency I should be at a loss how to borrow a thousand
pounds. In the mean time I have been paying five per Cent. interest
on a Estate which hardly produced three per Cent.; and in the very
moment when I could the least afford it, the madness of my Buriton
tenant has involved me in new scenes of vexation and expence. My
desires have always been moderate and my domestic economy has been
conducted with tolerable prudence. Yet my income has never been quite
adequate to my expences, and those expences, unless I retired from
Parliament--from London and from England--it would be impossible for
me to retrench. When I look back I cannot find much to censure or
regret in my own conduct, but when I look forwards, I am sometimes
alarmed and perplexed. I should indeed find room to despond, if my
spirits were not supported by the resources which I derive from my
litterary character, and by the well grounded hopes which I build on
the assistance of a tried and powerful friend.

I cannot on _this_ head explain myself more particularly by letter,
but I have the strongest reasons to believe that the year which we
have just begun will not end without producing a material improvement
in my situation. If you have not already taken any decisive steps
about leaving Bath, I could wish that you would suspend them till I
can have the pleasure of conversing with you in the Easter holidays.
If you still persist in your design, why should you bury yourself
at Mrs. Massey's? Some pleasant village retirement at a moderate
distance from London, where I could frequently visit you, might
be consistent with your plan of expence, and you might there find
yourself at once delivered from the costly and tasteless vanities of
a fashionable life. Whatever resolution you adopt, let me hear from
you soon, and always believe me with the most unalterable affection,

  Ever yours,
  E. G.

I can say nothing of public affairs. Men of all parties--Ministers
themselves--think them bad enough; but I do assure you that I
have not any claims to the injurious epithet of 'a Patriot.' The
apprehension of a Dutch War, though it is now blown over, was real
and serious.



[Sidenote: PROSPECT OF A PLACE.]

366.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, January the 26th, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

As we are mutually convinced of each other's sentiments, words,
compliments, assurances would be as idle as they are useless: yet it
would be incumbent on me to employ them, if they became either of
us; since I am so unfortunate as to be reduced to those equivocal
marks of regard, whilst I receive from you the most solid and
substantial proofs of that friendship and real affection which I
have invariably experienced above twenty years.--You ask me why I
should wish you to wait till Easter, and you seem desirous of an
explanation of the latter part of my letter. It is for that very
purpose of an explanation that I desired that delay, as it includes
a variety of circumstances which I ought not to trust to paper or to
the post. I can only say in general that from the assistance of a
very powerful friend I have room to hope that I may soon be placed in
an honourable and advantageous post[424] either at home or abroad,
which would enable me to satisfy my duty as well as inclination
by making your residence at Bath easy and comfortable to you in
the manner you yourself have calculated your expences. I am not of
a sanguine temper, and I am very sensible that besides the usual
grounds of doubt and distrust, there are many circumstances which it
is impossible for me to explain, that may either forward or delay or
entirely disappoint the most rational expectations. Last week things
seemed to draw so very near a crisis that I suspended my letter in
hopes of making it more satisfactory to you and to myself. At present
they are rather thrown back, and for aught I know the present Session
of Parliament may end in darkness and uncertainty. Yet, I think the
chance is worth waiting for a few months, perhaps somewhat longer;
the difference of your income and expence cannot be very important,
and if you do not wish me to make a difficult effort, I cannot
see any great mischief in your eating a little deeper into your
principal. I am the more anxious that you should not hastily quit a
place which upon the whole must suit you better than any other; not
only because I hope it will not be necessary, but as I am sure in
your indifferent state of health, the unpleasant removal would be
attended with fatigue of body and anxiety of mind which might be very
prejudicial to you.

I am much flattered by your approbation of my pamphlet.[425] It was
a disagreeable but a necessary step, after which I take my absolute
and final leave of controversy. My second volume advances, and I hope
will be finished within the _ensuing_ year (1780). You were right as
to the benefit I have derived from the first; under the pressure of
various difficulties, it proved a seasonable and useful friend; but
if it supported, it did not enrich its author. I did not send a copy
of my vindication to Port Eliot, nor indeed to any person except to
yourself. Eliot must be in town in a fortnight to a very severe call
of the House. I have meditated a letter to him, or rather to Mrs. E.,
above three months without success.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [424] Gibbon was on July 1, 1779, made a Lord Commissioner of
  Trade and Plantations--a place which he retained until 1782,
  when the Board was abolished, the work being transferred to
  the Secretaries of State. He had at one time hoped to obtain
  the Secretaryship to the Embassy at Paris (see Letter 476).
  The following lines were written on his acceptance of the
  Commissionership by, it is said, Charles Fox:--

        "King George, in a fright
        Lest Gibbon should write
    The story of England's disgrace,
        Thought no way so sure,
        His pen to secure,
    As to give the historian a place.

        "But the caution is vain,--
        'Tis the curse of his reign
    That his projects should never succeed;
        Though he wrote not a line,
        Yet a course of decline
    In the author's example we read.

        "His book well describes
        How corruption and bribes
    O'erthrew the great empire of Rome;
        And his ratings declare
        A degeneracy there,
    Which his conduct exhibits at home."

  [425] In 1778 appeared _An Examination of the Fifteenth and
  Sixteenth Chapters of Mr. Gibbon's History_, etc., by Henry
  Edward Davis, M.A., of Balliol College, Oxford. The author
  charged Gibbon with inaccuracy and plagiarism. He replied early
  in 1779 with his _Vindication of some Passages in the Fifteenth
  and Sixteenth Chapters of the History of the Decline and Fall
  of the Roman Empire_. Walpole calls it "the quintessence of
  argument, wit, temper, spirit, and consequently of victory."



[Sidenote: COURT-MARTIAL ON KEPPEL.]

367.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  February 6th, 1779.

*You are quiet and peaceable, and do not bark, as usual, at my
silence. To reward you, I would send you some news; but we are
asleep; no foreign intelligence, except the capture of a frigate;
no certain account from the West Indies; and a dissolution of
parliament, which seems to have taken place since Christmas. In the
papers you will see negociations, changes of departments, &c. and I
have _some_ reason to believe, that those reports are not entirely
without foundation. Portsmouth is no longer an object of speculation;
the whole stream of all men, and all parties, runs one way. Sir Hugh
is disgraced, ruined, &c. &c.;[426] and as an old wound has broke
out again, they say he must have his leg cut off as soon as he has
time. In a night or two we shall be in a blaze of illumination, from
the zeal of Naval Heroes, Land Patriots, and Tallow-Chandlers; the
last are not the least sincere. I want to hear some details of your
military and familiar proceedings. By your silence I suppose you
admire Davis, and dislike my pamphlet; yet such is the public folly,
that we have a second Edition in the press; the fashionable style of
the Clergy, is to say they have not read it. If Maria does not take
care, I shall write a much sharper invective against her, for _not_
answering my Diabolical book. My lady carried it down, with a solemn
promise that I should receive an _unassisted_ French letter. Yet I
embrace the little animal, as well as Mylady, and the _spes altera
Romæ_. Adieu.

  E. G.

There is a buz about a peace, and Spanish Mediation.*

  [426] The court-martial held at Portsmouth entirely acquitted
  Admiral Keppel on February 11. The news reached London that
  night. It was treated as a triumph for the Opposition. Ladies
  appeared at the opera in caps _à la Keppel_, and blue cockades
  bearing the Admiral's name were worn. His "Head" became
  a favourite alehouse sign. Houses were illuminated; guns
  discharged; bells rung; the windows of the houses of Sir H.
  Palliser, Lord North, Lord G. Germain, and Lord Sandwich were
  broken. Sir H. Palliser resigned his seat for Scarborough as well
  as all his employments, and asked for a court-martial, which
  acquitted him from any charge of misconduct. He underwent the
  operation to which Gibbon alludes. "Here are the exact, and all
  the words which the King said to him, the first time he was at
  Court afterwards--'Sir Hugh, how does your leg do?'" (Warner to
  Selwyn, May, 1779).



368.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  March 16th, 1779.

You use me very ill.--Will you never condescend to abuse, curse, damn
me for not writing? There is no bearing such treatment. Yet I have
not anything particular to write except to acquaint you with the
_certain_ intelligence of the taking of Pondicherry, which arrived
this day. You will soon hear the particulars, but the essential is
that the French have not any place of arms in the East Indies. With
regard to the West, there is a strong rumour of action in our favour:
but at all events we are safe, and possibly successful. We have had
and are like to have Parliamentary storms. There are no questions
which my opposition friends think stronger, and which I think
weaker than their Naval Operations.[427] I hardly know your opinion
about them. I want to hear some account of your military state and
progress, but much about my Lady, Maria, &c. &c., which interest me
more nearly than the Grenadier or Light Infantry Companies. I was
obliged to you about your friendly hint from Bath. I had not been
deficient, but from a sort of delicacy, I had satisfied myself with
corresponding with Mrs. Gould and Dr. Delacour, and desired that Mrs.
G. might not be informed of it. However, since your letter she is in
a less dangerous way, several letters have passed between us, and we
are now come to a tolerable understanding. Do you recollect that you
promised me a Visit of Inspection to my Aunt? She wrote to me some
time ago, I promised an account, and by this time she may be grown
impatient again.

  E. G.

I expect you (without a blush) to write soon.

  [427] The Opposition used every effort to make political capital
  out of the dispute between Keppel and Palliser. Motions were
  proposed by them on December 11, 1778, for the trial of Sir Hugh
  Palliser; on February 19, 1779, for the dismissal of Sir H.
  Palliser from the Navy; March 3, for a censure on the Admiralty
  for sending out Admiral Keppel with too small a force; on April
  19, for the removal of the Earl of Sandwich from the Admiralty.



369.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, 21st March, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

If your former letters made me uneasy, your last note, which I
received yesterday after the hour of the post, made me quite unhappy
for many reasons; but most of all because I found that you were so
yourself. The delay in my answer which has given you so much pain,
was not occasioned by any avocations of business, for there could be
no business which interested me half so much; nor by any carelessness
or forgetfulness, for I can say with truth that there has not been
any hour in the day and very few in the night in which the idea was
not uppermost in my mind. Much less did it arise from any degree of
resentment at any part of your behaviour. I had expressed myself with
some warmth, I wrote from my feelings, and I was apprehensive of
some alteration in your sentiments towards me. Had I been cold and
indifferent myself, I should probably have been more cautious and
respectful.

Yet unless I totally forget the language of my letter, I did not,
I could not, disapprove of your consulting your own happiness, and
of calling on me after so long a respite to fulfil some part of the
most equitable obligation. The cause of my delay was a strong, an
unjustifiable repugnance to write on a subject so foreign to our
ordinary conversations. I dreaded and I delayed too long so painful
an effort. As I am now sensible how uneasy that delay has made you,
I have taken the shortest method of sending, that of the coach.
Forgive this seeming inattention, and believe me when I say that the
affectionate regard, the tender solicitude which you express, have
made an essential part of the happiness, and will always contribute
to the consolation of my life.

I find that I must have stated rather too strongly the difficulties
of my situation so as to alarm and terrify you, both on your
account and on my own. I will endeavour to represent them more
clearly. I have never been extravagant; nor have I made as yet any
_considerable_ addition to the load of debt contracted by my father:
but I have not been able to discharge it. The unhappy accidents which
retarded the sale of Lenborough, have been attended, from the general
hardships of the times, with the most fatal consequences, as land
cannot at present be sold even on the most disadvantageous terms. In
the course of seven or eight years interest has been much higher than
rent, my Expences (notwithstanding the supply of some hundred pounds
from my book) have inevitably exceeded my income.

[Sidenote: HIS PLANS OF ECONOMY.]

You are sensible from your own experience that any plan of economy
must be regulated by place and circumstances. As long as I am in
London and in Parliament, a house in Bentinck Street, a coach,
such a proportion of servants, clothes, living, &c., are almost
necessaries. But they are only necessaries in that situation, and
I am not ignorant that a prudent man should adapt his arrangements
to his fortune. Other countries of a less expensive cost, France,
Switzerland, or perhaps Scotland, may afford an humble Philosophical
retreat to a man of letters, nor should I suffer any accidental
change of fortune, any fall in the World to affect my spirits or
ruffle my tranquility. I have more than once balanced in my own mind
the propriety, or indeed the necessity of such a resolution. The
reason which induces me to suspend such an important and decisive
measure arises from a hope which I could only insinuate and which I
can at present only imperfectly explain. I can only mention that I
am particularly connected with the present Attorney General, that
he solicited my friendship, and offered me his services; and that
if some arrangement should take place which would raise him to a
much higher station, I may depend on a seat at one of the boards
with an additional income of £1000 a year, which would remove every
difficulty and supply every want. Without building on a doubtful
foundation, inclination and even prudence recommend that I should
wait some time for the event of this hope: and my only request is
that you would on your side suspend any resolution of leaving Bath
for some months, perhaps for a year. The difference of the expence in
a year would not exceed £100, which you may command whenever (with a
few days' notice) you will draw upon me.

If my expectations should deceive me (and I am never sanguine)
my party is taken. I feel with gratitude and confusion your
kind offer of retiring for my sake: but independent of every
other consideration, it is far more proper that the unpleasant
circumstances of such a removal should fall on the person who has
health and youth and spirits to support them. With regard to any
further _security_, I should have imagined that in the ordinary
course of credit, my Bond was a very good security to the amount of
the sum: but I am ready to consent to any act which you may consider
as conducive to your interest or happiness.--I much fear that the
agitation of mind may have injured your health before its perfect
recovery from your late accident, and if a single word which I
have written has tended to produce that effect, I shall not easily
forgive myself. Though I cannot bear the thought of your quitting
Bath against your inclinations, I should imagine that in the summer
months, the air of the country would be beneficial to you. Whether
you choose Port Eliot, Sheffield, Essex or any other place, I will,
if my company can be any pleasure or relief to you, lay aside every
other occupation to accompany you.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly and affectionately yours,
  E. GIBBON.



370.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Wednesday night, April, 1779.

I am glad you have exerted some diligence about Mrs. G.'s Estate, but
I wish you could have prevented a letter which I have just received,
and which like a true coward I send you unopened. I fear it contains
sharp or dry reproach for my neglect and silence. On this occasion
you must step in to my assistance and in a proper letter exculpate
me, and take the _whole_ of the blame upon yourself. Whatever _you_
do, you are always entitled to her gratitude, and cannot be afraid
of her displeasure. No time should be lost, therefore return her
Epistle with the aforesaid ostensible letter. I do not go to Bath
this Easter; and Mrs. Gibbon is now satisfied with my conduct and
correspondence. Some journey or arrangement to see her must be
thought of in the course of the summer, but at present it would be
highly inconvenient, our respite is little more than a week, and
besides the approaching hurry of Parliamentary business, of which
there is a large provision, I am now deeply and not unsuccessfully
engaged in the decline and fall; and I _do not totally despair_ of
bringing out the second Volume next Winter. So that upon the whole
(as you do not interfere either with History or Parliament) I am
ready to receive you when you please: but had much rather you would
bring My Lady with you, as I very much like that sort of taste of
Matrimonial life. I am not perfectly well. So--Adieu.

  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: PARLIAMENT AND THE ROMAN EMPIRE.]

371.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Friday Evening, 1779.

When do you come to town? You gave me hopes of a visit, and I want
to talk over things in general with you, before you march to the
extremities of the West, where the Sun goes to sleep in the Sea.
Mrs. Trevor told me your destination was Exeter;[428] and I suppose
nothing but truth can proceed from a pretty mouth. I have been, and
am still very diligent; and, though it is a huge beast, (the Roman
Empire,) yet, if I am not mistaken, I see it move a little. You seem
surprized that I was able to get off Bath: very easily, the extreme
shortness of our Holydays was a fair excuse; her recovery of health,
spirits, &c. made it less necessary, and she accepted my Apology,
which was however accompanied with an offer, if she chose it, in
the prettiest manner possible. A load of business in this house,
(I write from it,) will be the amusement of the Spring; Motions,
Enquiries, taxes, &c. &c. We are now engaged in Lord Pigot's affair,
brought on by a motion from the Admiral,[429] that the Attorney
General should prosecute Mr. Stratton[430] and Council;[431] all the
Masters, Charles, Burke, Wedderburne, are of the same side, for it;
Lord North seems to make a feeble stand, for the pleasure of being
in a Minority. The day is hot and dull; will be long: some curious
Evidence; one Man who refused three Lacks of Rupees, (£37,500,)
merely not to go to Council; our mouths watered at such Royal
corruption; how pitiful is our Insular bribery! A letter from aunt
Hester. Adieu.

  [428] The Sussex Militia were ordered to Exeter.

  [429] Admiral Pigot, M.P. for Bridgnorth, brother of Lord Pigot.
  See Letter 311.

  [430] Mr. Stratton was a member of the Madras Council, by which
  Lord Pigot was arrested.

  [431] The House resolved on an address to the Crown for the
  prosecution of Stratton and other members of the Council.
  The case was tried in the Court of King's Bench, before Lord
  Mansfield, Wedderburn being for the prosecution and Dunning
  for the defence. The jury convicted (December 20, 21), and on
  February 10, 1780, Messrs. Stratton, Brooke, Floyer, and Mackay
  were fined £1000 apiece.



372.

_To his Stepmother._


  House of Commons, April 16th, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

We are now, after a very short recess, engaged in a great hurry of
business, which will probably last a great while. I find however
time, and a good deal of time (without fatiguing myself too much),
for the occupation which after all is the pleasure, and I hope,
the honour of my life. In your last letter you ask whether your
remaining at Bath is necessary to my tranquility. I can answer that
question in the clearest manner, and, while I answer it, I must feel
with gratitude how kindly it is proposed. It _is_ necessary for
my happiness that you should not be _forced_ to leave Bath by any
difficulties which it would be my duty to remove: nor could I enjoy
the comfort of any situation which was purchased at the expence of
your ease and happiness. But if your retiring from Bath was the
effect of your own inclination, it is impossible that I could be
hurt at your leaving a place which I should never visit but on your
account; and I should visit you with at least as much pleasure in
a country retirement as in that scene of (what has always appeared
to me) very awkward gaiety. But surely it is better to suspend any
decisive resolution for the present. I was happy to hear from General
Frazer, a very favourable account of your health & spirits.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



373.

_To Mrs. Holroyd._


  April 30th, 1779.

You easily conceive my reasons for not answering your Epistle. The
Major is with me as I believe; I say--as I believe, because the House
of Commons takes me up so entirely that we have scarcely seen each
other. He is as usual hurried, flurried, taken up with innumerable
business and wishing to be quiet. He looks better than I expected,
but he complains of heat, and want of sleep, and I have persuaded
him to consult Heberden.--What does your Ladyship mean by preferring
the Regiment to Bentinck Street? It is my intention before you march
into the West, you should take a moderate taste of the amusements of
the Civilized World. I am glad to hear a favourable account of the
Infants: but am much at a loss to understand how Maria can so far
forget her I. S. as to break her engagement of sending me a French
letter. Yet I embrace her as well as her Mama. Adieu.



[Sidenote: THE MINISTRY CRESTFALLEN.]

374.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Saturday night, May, 1779.

*Alas! alas! fourteen Ships of the line:[432] you understand by this
time that you have not got a single long-boat. Ministry are more
crestfallen than I ever knew them, with the last intelligence; and I
am sorry to say, that I see a smile of triumph on some opposition
faces. Though the business of the West Indies may still produce
something, I am much afraid that we shall [have] a campaign of
immense expence, and little or no action. The most busy scene is at
present in the House of C.; and we shall be involved, during a great
[part] of next month, in tedious, fruitless, but, in my opinion,
proper Enquiries.

You see how difficult it would be for me to visit Brighton; and I
fancy I must content myself with receiving you on your passage to
Ireland. Indeed, I much want to have a _very serious_ conversation
with you. Another reason, which must in a great measure pin me to
Bentinck-street, is the decline and fall. I have resolved to bring
out the _suite_ in the course of next year; and, though I have been
tolerably diligent, so much remains to be done, that I can hardly
spare a single day from the Shop. I can guess but one reason which
should prevent you from supposing that the picture of Leicester
Fields was intended for Sheffield library;[433] _viz._ my having
told you some time ago that I was under a formal engagement to Mr.
Walpole. Probably I should not have been in any great hurry to
execute my promise, if Mr. Cadell had not strenuously urged the
curiosity of [the] public, who may be willing to repay the exorbitant
price of _fifty_ Guineas. It is now finished, and my friends say,
that, in every sense of the word, it is a good head. Next week
it will be given to Hall the Engraver, and I promise you a first
Impression. If I were a rich man you should have a similar picture.
Adieu. I embrace my lady, and infants.*

  E. G.

  [432] In the daily papers of May 15, 1779, it was announced that
  "fourteen ships of the line" had sailed from Brest to attack
  Admiral Arbuthnot, who lay with a much smaller force at Torbay.
  Orders were sent to Portsmouth to fit out every available ship
  for his support.

  [433] Sir Joshua Reynolds, in May to July, 1779, painted a
  portrait of Gibbon. But the picture here referred to is probably
  that by Wharton.



[Sidenote: AT WORK ON HIS SECOND VOLUME.]

375.

_To his Stepmother._


  May 31st, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

It is almost ridiculous for so hardened a sinner as myself to assign
any particular reason for his silence and negligence: Yet I can
say with truth that I do not remember the time when I have been
more fully engaged. The attendance of the House of Commons on our
fruitless, hopeless enquiries is really severe at this unseasonable
time of year, and my literary business, though much more pleasing,
engrosses a still larger share of my time and attention. On every
account both of fame and interest, it will be highly expedient
that the continuation of my history should appear about this time
twelvemonth; much is already done, much remains to do; I am well
satisfied that by a course of steady temperate diligence, the object
may be accomplished; but I shall not be able to lose a week, and
hardly a day.

I most sincerely rejoice at the visible improvement in your health
and spirits, and am convinced amusement and change of air will
produce the most salutary effects. I conceive and I wish I could
partake the happiness you enjoy with Mrs. Eliot and her sons: I beg
you would communicate to them the expression of my most sincere and
lively regard. Has Mrs. Eliot totally renounced London? She herself
may be happy in a Solitude, but she might diffuse happiness among
a larger circle of her friends. For myself I cannot say anything
very positive or indeed very pleasing on the subject of my hopes:
but I have weighed every circumstance and am prepared for every
possible event. I only beg you to have patience a few months longer,
and I give you _my honour_ that I will make such arrangements as
shall enable you to reside at Bath. I will likewise add, what I
know is material to your feelings, that I shall enjoy myself a very
comfortable if not desirable plan of life. I should be glad to
provide for Will Budd, but the sort of place which you described to
me some time ago, hardly exists in any family. However I shall not
forget him.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



376.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Friday evening, July, 1779.

*The inclosed will inform you of an event, not the most disagreeable
of those which I have lately experienced. I have only to add, that
it was effected by the firm and sincere friendship of the A[ttorney]
G[eneral]. So many incidents have happened, that I hardly know how to
talk of news. You will learn that the Lords have strangely castrated
the new Militia Bill.[434] The Ferrol Squadron, 8 or 9 ships, have
joined the French. The numbers stand on our side 32, on their's 37;
but our force is at least equal, and the general consternation much
dispelled. If you do not Hibernize, you might at least Bentinckize. I
embrace, &c. Parliament will be prorogued to-morrow.*

  [434] On June 21 Lord North proposed a Bill for doubling the
  militia. The Bill was read a third time on June 24. The Lords
  (June 30) threw out the second clause, which empowered his
  Majesty "to direct the number of private men to serve in the
  militia to be doubled." On recommitment to the Commons, it was
  argued that the amendment was a breach of privilege, as the Bill
  was a Money Bill. Eventually the amendment was accepted, and the
  Bill, as amended, received the royal assent on July 3.



377.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, July the 3rd, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

I have the pleasure of acquainting you, that I am now appointed one
of the Lords of Trade in the room of Bamber Gascoyne;[435] Andrew
Stuart[436] has succeeded at the same time to the place of Jolliffe,
and our new Colleagues[437] do us the honour of saying that in both
instances they have gained by the exchange. As the salary of this
place will secure and improve my own situation, so I really set much
more value upon it, as it will enable me to discharge a small part
of my debt of duty and gratitude towards you. For the future you may
depend on receiving the interest of the Bond (at 5 per cent.) which
will make the two half yearly payments £150 instead of £100 each; and
will I hope be sufficient to support your establishment at Bath in a
manner more agreeable to you. I have only to beg a short respite, and
that you would be satisfied with the usual draught at present and the
double (£200) at next Christmas. At the moment my increase of fortune
encreases my actual poverty. Sir Francis Wronghead[438] was perfectly
in the right when he said, "Mayhap I may not receive the first
quarter of my salary this halfe yeare:" he might have added that
the heavy fees of offices eat up the greatest part of it, and that
a space of some months must elapse before the stream begins to flow
regularly and beneficially. I am not insensible that this addition of
income is of a very precarious nature, and that the event of an hour
or the caprice of a man may throw me back into my former anxiety, but
the alteration shall never affect your happiness or situation, and
the plan of retirement into Switzerland with my friend d'Eyverdun
which I had perfectly considered and digested will be a resource not
unworthy of a Philosopher, which I shall always have it in my power
to command.

[Sidenote: A LORD OF TRADE.]

I am now going to resume my literary employments, which have suffered
a short interruption, and I shall resume them, if not with more
tranquility at least with more cheerfulness of mind. I find myself
however under a difficulty of reconciling two plans for this year,
each of which is equally recommended by my interest, my duty and
my inclination. On the one hand I anxiously desire to publish the
continuation of my history about this time twelvemonth. Though much
is already done, much still remains to do, and I should almost
despair of being able to finish so large a task, unless I steadily
proceed without losing a day, or unless I compensate any intervals
of negligence by extraordinary and improper efforts of industry.
This important object seems to confine me to Bentinck Street and my
Library: but on the other hand I am desirous and even impatient to
visit you at Bath; to carry you down to Port Eliot, where I am sure
the air and society would be your best Physician, to see Mrs. Eliot,
and to convince _him_ of the grateful sense that I entertain of his
behaviour in consenting to my re-election,[439] which I know was
highly unpleasant to him. I shall endeavour to concert measures in
such a manner as to reconcile those opposite views: but I foresee
that the execution of such a scheme can only become practicable
towards the Autumn.

I ought to make some apology for leaving some days in anxious
suspence. I can only say, that I was myself in the same condition.
Every morning I expected the event of the evening, and every evening
the return of the morning. Till the business was absolutely finished,
a hundred accidents might have dashed the cup from my lips, and I
was afraid of raising your hopes only to embitter the melancholy news
which might have followed.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.

  [435] Bamber Gascoyne, M.P. for Truro, was made a Commissioner of
  the Admiralty.

  [436] M.P. for Lanarkshire.

  [437] His colleagues were Soame Jenyns, Lord R. Spencer, Hon.
  Charles Greville, William Eden, and Thomas de Grey.

  [438] Sir Francis Wronghead, of Bumper Hall, M.P. for Guzzledown,
  in _The Provoked Husband; or, A Journey to London_ (Vanbrugh and
  Cibber).

  [439] _I.e._ as a Commissioner of Trade.



378.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, September 17th, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

*I am well and happy; two words which you will accept as the
substance of a very long letter; and even as a sufficient excuse for
a very long silence. Yet I really do intend to behave better; and
to prevent the abominable consequence of hours and days and posts
stealing away, till the sum total amounts to a formidable account,
I have a great mind to enter into an agreement, of sending you
regularly every month, a _miniature_ picture of my actual state and
condition on the first day of the aforesaid month.

I am happy to hear of the very beneficial effects you have derived
from your recent friendship with the Goats;[440] and as I cannot
discover in what respect this poor Country is more prosperous or
secure than it was last year, I must consider your present confidence
as a proof that you view the prospect through a purer medium, and
a glass of a more chearful colour. I find myself so much more
susceptible of private friendship than of public spirit, that I am
very well satisfied with that conclusion. My summer has been passed
in the town and neighbourhood, which I still maintain to be the best
society, and the best retirement; the latter, however, has been
sometimes interrupted by the Colonel of Dragoons[441] with a train
of Serjeants, Trumpets, Recruits, &c. &c. My own time is much and
agreeably employed in the prosecution of my business. After doing
much more than I expected to have done within the time, I find myself
much less advanced than I expected: yet I begin to reckon, and as
well as I can calculate, I believe, that in twelve or fourteen
months I shall be brought to bed, perhaps of twins. May they live,
and prove as healthy as their eldest brother.

[Sidenote: DISCLAIMS THE "HISTORY OF OPPOSITION."]

With regard to the little foundling which so many friends or
enemies chose to lay at my door, I am perfectly innocent, even of
the knowledge of that production; and _all_ the faults or merits
of the History of Opposition must, as I am informed, be imputed to
Macpherson, the Author or translator of Fingal.* I am much at a loss
what to say about Mr. Eliot; he is certainly very far from being in
a good state of health or spirits, but I am not Physician enough
to distinguish between the influence of the body and that of the
mind: he feels for the public with the most exquisite sensibility,
and all his sentiments are of the painful kind. He still loiters
in town, which I dare say he will not leave till near the meeting
of Parliament, and will go about the month of November to pass the
_Summer_ in Cornwall. His delay has disconcerted my measures, as I
had resolved (however inconvenient it might be) to make an Expedition
this year to Port Eliot; and had proposed myself the pleasure of
passing some days at Bath on my way. Cornwall must be deferred till
next summer, which will arrange indeed much better with my litterary
projects; but I cannot refuse myself the satisfaction of seeing you
either before the meeting of Parliament or in the Christmas recess.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly Yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [440] Mrs. Gibbon had recently paid a visit to Abergavenny.

  [441] Major Holroyd had raised a regiment of horse, called the
  Sussex, or 22nd Regiment of Light Dragoons, of which he was
  colonel.



379.

_To Colonel Holroyd._


  September, 1779.

I do not despair of passing some days at S. P. before the meeting
of Parliament; but unless I should totally interrupt my business in
a very Critical moment, it is impossible to fix any time which must
undoubtedly be at a _considerable_ distance. No news of Sir John
Ross; Lord Mackartney[442] has written to Lord George [Germain] from
Rochelle; the insolence of d'Estaing's terms made him rather chuse
to surrender at discretion, but he has since received assurance that
private property will be respected.

Lady Spencer, Lady Harriet and D[uchess] of Devonshire behaved like
heroines in the Engagement[443] which they saw very distinctly; the
latter exposed herself to save them. I perfectly approve of Neville
for eldest Captain, and think that Wedderburne cannot be offended.
I am curious to see your Colonel's letter, but you must answer it.
I embrace My Lady; did you scold her very much? She was, as on most
occasions, quite in the right.

  [442] Lord Macartney (1737-1806) was at that time Governor and
  Captain-General of the Caribbee Islands, and was at his post at
  Grenada in July, 1779, when that island was attacked, and, after
  a gallant defence, was captured by the French. Macartney was
  carried as prisoner of war to France, but was soon exchanged.
  Count d'Estaing's terms were that he should hold Macartney
  personally responsible for all the consequences of his refusal to
  surrender. Such of the inhabitants as were taken in arms would
  irrecoverably lose their estates and properties, and the free
  coloured people would be reduced to slavery.

  [443] The ladies, returning from Spa, embarked at Ostend on the
  _Fly_ sloop for Calais. On the voyage the sloop was attacked
  (September 17) by two French cutters. After a long engagement the
  French were beaten off.



380.

_To Colonel Holroyd._


  October 6th, 1779.

I am always in the right, I knew the journey would be of service to
me, and I eat my Pheasant at dinner with a degree of appetite which
I have not known for some days. As to the majestic complaint of the
foot, the event will probably be decided by to-morrow morning, but
as it seems to be better notwithstanding the jolting of the Chaise,
I begin to hope that it may go off without further trouble. In spite
of the Divine Billy Burrel it is certain that Dr. Turton _is_ in
town, and that I shall see him to-morrow. If I am well enough to go
out I must attend a board of trade for which I have found a summons.
You think we are idle----Embrace my Lady in my name and respectfully
salute Miss Cooke, Major Price, &c. By the enclosed you will see that
there is not any authentic news.



381.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, October the 27th, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

Whenever you have desired an immediate answer you have not found
me very negligent; it is therefore incumbent on me to explain my
_apparent_ tardiness which was occasioned by a visit to Tunbridge.
Your letter was sent there the day after I left it, and by some delay
and some circuits it did not reach my hands till Monday last, and I
had firmly resolved before I received your second Epistle to write by
to-night's post.

The officious intelligence which was communicated, I suppose, from
Sheffield Place to Bath, alarmed your tenderness much more than was
necessary about the state of my health. A Derangement in my stomach
which seemed of the bilious kind determined me to return to town in
search of advice. Turton was divided for two or three days between
the probability of Jaundice and Gout, but either Nature or his
skill preserved me from both; and I am now perfectly free from all
complaints and apprehensions whatsoever. It will be an addition to my
happiness if you are able to make the same declaration.

[Sidenote: HIS "MÉMOIRE JUSTIFICATIF."]

I hope you are perfectly satisfied that I had no hand in the History
of the Opposition, but you will receive by the Coach (directed for
fear of a mistake to Dr. Delacour's) a French pamphlet which I have
not the same right to disclaim.[444] In the summer the Chancellor and
Lord Weymouth were desirous of answering a very weak Manifesto of
the Court of Versailles, and very politely requested me to undertake
the task. Though I will never make myself the Champion of a party, I
thought there was no disgrace in becoming the Advocate of my Country
against a foreign enemy, and the _memoire Justificatif_ which you may
read was the result of that opinion. The publication was delayed for
various reasons; but it has now been communicated as a State paper
and in the King's [name] to all the Ministers and Courts in Europe,
and as far as I can understand it has been received with some degree
of approbation. Elmsley the bookseller desired to print a new Edition
which he has swelled by the addition of the French Manifesto. You
will easily suppose that I rather expect by such a work to _procure
friends_ than fame: but it may very possibly be abused in some shape
or other in the approaching Session of Parliament, which will be loud
and turbulent.[445]

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most affectionately yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [444] In 1779 a _Mémoire Justificatif_ was put forth both at
  Paris and Madrid to explain the zeal of two despotic monarchies
  for the new-born republic of the United States. Gibbon was
  requested by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Weymouth, then
  Secretary of State, to vindicate, against the French manifesto,
  the justice of the British arms. His _Mémoire_, written in
  French, was approved by the Cabinet, and delivered as a State
  Paper to the courts of Europe. The _Mémoire_ is published
  in English in the Annual Register for 1779 (pp. 397-412),
  preceded by translations of the Spanish and French manifestoes.
  Beaumarchais wrote a reply to the _Mémoire_, which he attributes
  to Lord Stormont (_Observations sur le Mémoire Justificatif de la
  cour de Londres. Œuvres de Beaumarchais._ Edition 1809, vol. v.
  pp. 1-50).

  [445] Parliament met November 25, 1779.



382.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, Oct. 29th, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

This day I dined in Conduit Street, a well-furnished house, good
table, proper attendance, &c. Thus far you will say there was nothing
very extraordinary. But the Lady of the house was Mrs. Williams,
alias Bell Mallet. Her aunt Elstob is just dead, and has left her
that house, furniture, plate, &c., with a fortune (as Mr. Scott tells
me) of £14,000 chargeable only with an Annuity of £100 a year to her
sister during her mother's life. She is in high spirits, as she well
may be, very French, but really agreeable and even handsome. She
talks of settling her affairs and returning to France. Her husband
is at New York much esteemed in his profession, and she may be very
happy if he does not _now_ recollect his wife, though Mrs. Elstob,
by appointing Trustees, George Scott and Mr. Waller, has taken every
possible measure to secure her fortune from him. I thought you would
not be sorry to hear something of that little animal, who came to
town only Saturday and sent to me only last night.

  I am,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES.]

383.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Dec. 10th, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

Nothing has given me for a long while more real uneasiness than the
doubt, which I am now obliged to express, whether it will be in my
power to pass my Holydays at Bath. After so long a delay and such
repeated disappointments, I had promised myself much pleasure, I
may say happiness, in spending some few days with you at a time
when every disagreeable circumstance was removed and our domestic
prospect was become more cheerful. But the advantages of office must
be accepted with some inconveniences. You know how much the Irish
business engages our attention and fears at this moment, and you will
see by the papers that Lord North has proposed some very important
alterations with regard to the commerce of that country.[446] The
bills for that purpose will pass in Parliament, but there still
remains a great number of subordinate circumstances, though highly
essential to be regulated, and which in some form will be referred to
the Board of Trade. We shall be forced to sit almost every day during
the Recess, and the absence of a _new Lord_ on the occasion would be
thought peculiarly improper.

There is even another motive which I cannot explain, which will I
hope make my attention to this business of some future benefit to the
public or at least to myself. These reasons will satisfy the delicacy
of your friendship, but I beg you would keep them to yourself, as
I abhor and despise above all things the seeming affectation of
official importance. Only be persuaded that I feel the delay (as I
fear it must prove) of my visit, not less disagreeably than you do
yourself.

I have seen very little of Mrs. Williams, and am sorry, and indeed
surprised to hear so bad an account of a little coquette to whom
I only imputed the venial faults of vanity and affectation. I
understand she is already on the Wing. Mr. Eliot is still in town:
we all try to push him down to Bath; he seems immoveable; but he
appears in somewhat better health and spirits. He deplores the state
of public affairs, past, present and future. With regard to the last,
though from different principles, I am afraid that his apprehensions
are not imaginary, and the impending dangers from war and faction
are most alarming. I never knew anything equal to the violence
of this Session of Parliament, which has not left me a moment of
peace or leisure. Adieu! dear Madam, I do most seriously _intend_
to write again very soon. Your _ordinary_ remittance shall reach
you on Christmas-day, and I hope that I shall be able to add the
_extraordinary_ or rather the new one. But my own supplies, both from
Hampshire and from the Exchequer, come in so very slowly that I may
be obliged to defer the second £100 till the end of January in case
it should not be inconvenient to you.

  I am,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [446] On December 1, Lord Shelburne in the Lords, and, on
  December 6, Lord Ossory in the Commons, moved a vote of censure
  on the Government for their conduct in Ireland. The Volunteer
  movement spread rapidly; a French invasion was dreaded; the
  cry for "free trade" rose higher and higher; a non-importation
  agreement was entered into; and the relief of Dissenters from the
  sacramental test was demanded. In consequence of this pressure,
  Lord North (December 13, 1779) proposed and carried a series of
  resolutions granting free export trade to Ireland.



384.

_To his Stepmother._


  December 25th, 1779.

  DEAR MADAM,

Inclosed you will receive two draughts for two different terms, which
will each be ready for your commands.--I must delay the pleasure of
seeing you; but _hope_ I shall write oftener than usual. I wish you
joy of the fair ending of the Year. May 1780 be still more propitious
for public and private happiness.

  I am,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: HOLROYD STANDS FOR COVENTRY.]

385.

_To Colonel Holroyd, at Coventry._


  London, Monday, February 7th, 1780.

*When the A. G. informed me of the Express he had just sent down to
Coventry,[447] I had not the least doubt of your embracing the bolder
resolution. You are indeed obliged to him for his real friendship,
which he feels and expresses warmly; on this occasion, I hope, it
will be successfully, and that in a few days you will find yourself
among us at St. Stephen's in the heat of the battle. But you know
that I am a dastardly, pusillanimous spirit, more inclined to fear
than to hope, and not very eager in the pursuit of _expensive_
Vanity. On this vacancy the celerity of your motions may probably
prevent opposition; but at the general election, your enemy, the
Corporation, will not be asleep, and I wish, if it be not too late,
to warn you against any promises or engagements which may terminate
in a defeat, or at least a Contest of ten thousand pounds. Adieu. I
could believe (without seeing it under her paw) that my lady wishes
to leave Coventry. No news! foreign or domestic. I did not forget
to mention the _Companies_, but find people, as I expected, torpid.
Burke makes his motion Friday; but I think the rumours of a Civil
War subside every day:[448] petitions are thought less formidable;
and I hear the Sussex protest[449] does not gather signatures in the
country.*

  [447] "The character of my friend (Mr. Holroyd)," says Gibbon in
  his autobiography, "had recommended him to a seat in Parliament
  for Coventry, the command of a regiment of light dragoons, and an
  Irish peerage." The seat for Coventry was vacant by the death of
  Walter Waring, M.P.

  [448] Towards the end of 1779, and in January, 1780, Yorkshire,
  Middlesex, Hampshire, and many other counties petitioned the
  House of Commons to grant no more taxes till the expenses of
  Government were reduced and sinecure places abolished. The tone
  of several of these county meetings seemed almost to threaten
  Civil War. Devonshire is said to have voted a fund for buying
  arms. The Yorkshire petition was presented by Sir George Saville,
  February 8, 1780.

  [449] In Lord Sheffield's edition of this letter (Gibbon's
  _Miscellaneous Works_, vol. ii. p. 239), the words are given as
  "I hear your Sussex protest gathers signatures in the country."
  The protest was suggested and promoted by Colonel Holroyd.



386.

_To Colonel J. B. Holroyd._


  Brookes's,[450] Saturday Night, February (12th), 1780.

I rejoyce in the successful progress, and am convinced that for the
_present_ at least the catastrophe will be happy. Your last was
safely conveyed to Lord Charles Spencer in the few hours that he
happed to be in town. Though I hate to go out in the morning I will
be at the Admiralty with Lord Mulgrave, Lord Lisburn and Penton
to-morrow at ten o'clock.

[Sidenote: VICTORY OVER THE SPANISH FLEET.]

Burke[451] opened his ingenious partial scheme of public economy
yesterday, but I cannot give you a speech of three hours in three
lines, and you will hear and see enough about it. What is of much
more consequence than this Parliamentary prattle (I talk to you now
as a free mason) is the business of which we have received to-day
the certain though not official information. Rodney encountered the
Spanish Fleet off Cape St. Mary's;[452] the Commodore (90 guns) blew
up, three line of battle-ships taken, two more likewise taken, but
so much shattered and dismasted, that they were separated and forced
by an unlucky gale of wind into the Port of Cadiz. The letters from
thence express despondency and fears (which for us are hopes) of
several other ships. Patriots very dull, the Duke of Grafton who is
now standing by the fire, looks blacker than usual. I dined with
Wedderburne (at Lord Carlisle's), who was to see one of your Agents
to-night; he is earnest and sanguine--God send a good deliverance to
the Colonel and Secretary.

  [450] Brooks's Club, originally in Pall Mall, was moved to 60,
  St. James's Street, in 1778. Gibbon, proposed by Mr. St. John,
  was elected in 1777. In Richard Tickell's verses celebrating the
  Hon. John Townshend's return for Cambridge in 1780, occur the
  following lines:--

    "And, know, I've bought the best champagne from Brookes.
    From liberal Brookes, whose speculative skill
    Is hasty credit, and a distant bill;
    Who, nursed in clubs, disdains a vulgar trade,
    Exults to trust and blushes to be paid."

  [451] On February 11, Burke brought forward his scheme for
  securing the independence of Parliament, and for Economical
  Reform, in a speech which Lord North said was "such as no other
  member could have made." Besides other reductions of expense,
  he proposed to abolish altogether the Board of Trade, the Civil
  Branch of the Ordnance, and the third Secretaryship of State.
  Lord North allowed the Establishment Bill to be brought in,
  the only member who opposed its introduction being Lord George
  Gordon. The House of Commons went into Committee on the Bill,
  March 8, 1780.

  [452] On January 16, 1780, Rodney encountered the Spanish Admiral
  Langara off Cape St. Vincent, won a complete victory, relieved
  Gibraltar, supplied Minorca, and proceeded to the West Indies.
  The _San Domingo_ (70 guns) blew up; the flagship _Phœnix_ (80
  guns), and three other ships of 70 guns, were taken. The _San
  Julian_ (70 guns), after her prize crew was put on board, ran
  ashore. Another ship, after her officers were shifted, was
  totally wrecked. Four, more or less damaged, escaped into Cadiz.



387.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, March 10th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

*When you awakened me with your pen, it was my intention to have
shown some signs of life by the next post. But so uncertain are all
human affairs, that I found myself arrested by a mighty unrelenting
Tyrant, called the Gout; and though my feet were the part on which
he chose to exercise his cruelty, he left me neither strength nor
spirits to use my hand in relating the melancholy tale. At present I
have the pleasure of informing you, that the feaver and inflammation
have subsided; but the absolute weakness and monstrous swelling of my
two feet confine me to my chair and flannels; and this confinement
most unluckily happens at a very _nice_ and important moment of
Parliamentary affairs. Col. Holroyd pursues those affairs with eager
and persevering zeal; and has the pleasure of undertaking more
business than any three men could possibly execute.* He is much
obliged to you for your kind congratulation. Mrs. Eliot is in town;
but I am quite ignorant (not more so than they are themselves) of
their intentions. I will write again very soon.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



388.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, ½ hour past nine,
  Saturday Evening, March, '80.

  DEAR MADAM,

If I had written as I intended three or four posts ago, I should have
informed you that Turton and myself were very well satisfied with
the proceedings of the Gout, that he had behaved like a fair and
honourable enemy, and that after making me sensible of his power, he
was taking leave in a gentle and orderly manner. I cannot send you
at present quite so favourable an account; the Gout has seriously
returned into one of my feet; the pair kept me sleepless last night;
and I have been low and weak all day. I can easily understand this
alteration, and you will not be surprized when you hear that I was
forced to go out rather too soon, and to sit up two whole nights in
the House of Commons. You will see by the Papers, that a Vote has
passed against the Board of Trade,[453] but I can assure you that it
has not disturbed my tranquility. It will probably be rejected by
the House of Lords; and at all events I have reason to expect some
equivalent. I hope I am falling asleep.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [453] On March 13, 1780, the Board of Trade was declared to
  be useless by 207 to 199. Burke alluded to the literary value
  of the Board, which had its separate professor for every
  department of literature, and paid a sneering compliment to the
  "historian's labours, the wise and salutary results of deep,
  religious researches." As an Academy of _Belles Lettres_ he held
  the commissioners hallowed; as a Board of Trade he wished them
  abolished.



389.

_To his Stepmother._


  April 3rd, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

I have now the pleasure of informing you that the gout has quite
left me, and from the general state of my health and spirits, I am
much inclined to believe many of the things that are reported in
its favour. I wish it were in my power to embrace your scheme of
Lord Mulgrave's lodging: but my two great chains the _press_ and the
_house_ chain me by either foot.

  I am,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.



[Sidenote: RECOVERY FROM THE GOUT.]

390.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Monday Evening, April, '80(?).

  DEAR MADAM,

I should not have left you in suspense, if the Gout had not treated
me exactly in the same manner. My journal (had I sent one every post)
could only have specified its irregular motions from one place and
from one foot to another; swelling, inflammation, weakness, pain
increasing, diminishing, shifting, &c.: and the alternative of good
and bad nights; sometimes forcing myself out of doors and sometimes
nursing myself at home. However the real violence of the fit such as
it was during the first week or ten days has never returned, there
has not at any time been the slightest symptom or most distant hint
in any part except the feet, and I now hope that it is seriously
and finally going away. The short interval of the holidays (short
indeed, for Parliament meets again to-morrow Sennight) may give me
strength and spirits to support a scene which I am heartily tired
of. We must again submit to our common disappointment, and if the
decline and fall make you any amends you will be glad to hear that
the continuation (two quarto volumes) goes to the press in May and
will certainly appear next winter.

  I am, dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



391.

_To his Stepmother._


  May the 15th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

Your kind epistle gave me much more pleasure than pain; for I am
grown callous to shame, but am not insensible of gratitude and
friendship.

I have heard of you by Mrs. Sarah Holroyd, and was much pleased
and edified by the zeal with which you communicated to your family
the Colonel's first spirited Oration.[454] He instantly exclaimed,
'Those are the friends I like to have.' He has not spoke since, but
he is, as you may well suppose, indefatigable and eager, and it
will not be long before he feels a second inspiration. I can only
condole with you that a person, in whose fate and reputation you
are perhaps more deeply interested, should still continue a dumb
dog. He has indeed the grace to acknowledge his infirmity, and if my
seat in the House of C. had not some remote connection with a more
valuable seat, I should retire without any regret from that scene of
noise, heat and contention. A dissolution of Parliament, though it
may be delayed many months, is by many expected every hour: and I am
totally ignorant of the designs of the Electors of Liskeard. My great
constituent grows warmer in patriotism, but he still expresses the
same regard for me, and though I have no motives for confidence, I
have not any reasons for fear. He is perfectly silent on the subject,
and I am prepared for the worst. I saw my young friend John in his
passage, and was indeed astonished by the sense and propriety of his
behaviour without embarrassment and without forwardness. Mrs. Eliot
is not in the least altered.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [454] In the debate on the Army Estimates and the new Levies
  (April 5, 1780), Fox commented on the manner in which Colonel
  Holroyd had raised his Regiment of Horse. It is to Holroyd's
  reply, and his explanation that the regiment was raised by him
  for active service, and not as a "fencible corps," that Gibbon
  refers.



392.

_To his Stepmother._


  June 6th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

*As the old story of Religion has [raised] most _formidable_ tumults
in this town,[455] and as they will of course seem much more
formidable at the distance of an hundred [miles], you may not be
sorry to hear that I am perfectly safe and well: my known attachment
to the Protestant Religion has most probably saved me. Measures, and
effectual measures, are taken to suppress these disorders, and every
street is filled with horse and foot. Mrs. and Mrs. Sarah H. went out
of town yesterday morning. The Colonel shews his usual spirit.*

  I am sincerely Yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [455] On June 2, 1780, Lord George Gordon presented the petition
  of the Protestant Association against the relaxation of the Penal
  Laws against the Roman Catholics. The "No Popery" riots took
  place on the 6th and 7th, when London was for some hours in the
  hands of the mob.



[Sidenote: THE GORDON RIOTS.]

393.

_To his Stepmother._


  London, June 8th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

*As a M. of P., I cannot be exposed to any danger, as the H. of C.
has ajourned to Monday sen'night; as an individual, I do not conceive
myself to be obnoxious. I am not apt, without duty or of necessity,
to thrust myself into a Mob: and our part of the town is as quiet as
a Country Village. So much for personal safety; but I cannot give
the same assurances of public tranquillity; forty thousand Puritans,
such as they might be in the time of Cromwell, have started out of
their graves; the tumult has been dreadful; and even the remedy of
military force and martial law is unpleasant. But Government with
15,000 Regulars in town, and every Gentleman (but one) on their side,
must extinguish the flame. The execution of last night was severe;
perhaps it must be repeated to-night: Yet upon the whole the tumult
subsides. Col. H. was all last night in Holbourn among the flames,
with the Northumberland Militia, and performed very bold and able
service.[456] I write again in a post or two.*

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever Yours,
  E. G.

  [456] On Wednesday night, June 7, the riot was quelled by
  military force. The Northumberland Militia, which reached London
  on June 7 by a forced march of twenty-five miles, were led by
  Colonel Holroyd into the thick of the riot at High Holborn, to
  prevent the mob advancing westward, and to protect, if possible,
  Mr. Langdale's distillery. By Thursday morning the tumult was
  entirely suppressed. "To Colonel Holroyd, since deservedly
  raised to the British peerage as Lord Sheffield, the Country was
  eminently indebted for repelling the fury of the Mob at the Bank"
  (Wraxall's _Historical Memoirs_, 3rd edit., vol. i. p. 351).



394.

_To his Stepmother._


  June 10th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

*I should write with great pleasure, to say that this audacious
tumult is perfectly quelled; that Lord G[eorge] G[ordon] is sent
to the Tower; and that instead of safety or danger, we are now at
leisure to think of justice; but I am now alarmed on your account,
as we have just got a report, that a similar disorder has broken out
at Bath. I shall be impatient to hear from you; but I flatter myself
that your pretty town does not contain much of that scum which has
boiled up to the surface in this huge Cauldron.*

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most sincerely Yours,
  E. G.



[Sidenote: HIS TWO VOLUMES IN THE PRESS.]

395.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, June 27th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

*I believe we may now rejoyce in our common security. All tumult has
perfectly subsided, and we only think of the justice which must be
properly and severely inflicted on such flagitious criminals. The
measures of Government have been seasonable and vigorous; and even
opposition has been forced to confess, that the military force was
applied and regulated with the utmost propriety. Our danger is at an
end, but our disgrace will be lasting, and the month of June 1780,
will ever be marked by a dark and diabolical fanaticism, which I had
supposed to be extinct, but which actually subsists in Great Britain,
perhaps beyond any other Country in Europe. Our Parliamentary work
draws to a conclusion;[457] and I am much more pleasantly, though
laboriously engaged in revising and correcting for the press, the
continuation of my history, two Volumes of which will certainly
appear next winter. This business fixes me to Bentinck Street
more closely than any other part of my litterary labour; as it is
absolutely necessary that I should be in the midst of all the books
which I have at any time used during the composition. But I feel a
strong desire (irritated, like all passions, by repeated obstacles)
to escape to Bath.* And if the summer should pass away, the autumn
shall not elapse without gratifying my wishes. As you are my sole
object, it is a matter of perfect indifference whether the place is
full or empty, but I should like to know your summer plan, and if
you have any design to climb the Welsh mountains. I am ashamed that
Midsummer day should have passed in silence, but I am not able to
get a shilling from Hampshire, and the treasury, my best support, is
uncommonly backward. Next week, however, you may depend on receiving
the proper line from me.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly Yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [457] The session ended July 8, 1780.



396.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, July 8th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

I keep my promise though I have been driven to the last verge of
breaking it: but I hope you have not felt any inconvenience from
the delay. The World disperses and London grows a very pleasant
retire[ment]. We are now so quiet that the tumults of last month
appear a very incredible dream. Colonel H. passed through town in
his way to his Regiment. I understand that his spirited behaviour in
London has firmly seated him at Coventry.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly Yours,
  E. G.



397.

_To Colonel Holroyd._


  July 25th, 1780.

*As your motions are spontaneous, and the stations of the Lord
Chief[458] unalterably fixed, I cannot perceive the necessity of your
sending or receiving intelligence. However, your commands are obeyed.
You wish I would write, as a sign of life. I am alive; but, as I am
immersed in the decline and fall, I shall only make the sign. It is
made. You may suppose that we are not pleased with the junction of
the fleets; nor can an ounce of West India loss be compensated by
a pound of East India success; but the Circuit will roll down all
our news and politics of London. I rejoyce to hear that the Sussex
Dragoons are such well-disciplined Cannibals; but I want to know when
the chief Cannibal will return to his den. It would suit me better
that it should happen soon. Adieu.*

  [458] Lord Mansfield.



398.

_To his Stepmother._


  July 29th, 1780.

I have not heard from Way. It will be necessary that I should be
provided with a Bucks Steward to make his visit soon after Michaelmas
to examine the state of things and inspect the late Harris's accounts
which an Attorney (Mr. Hearne) has offered for my perusal. Such extra
trouble will doubtless claim an extra allowance.

We are pleased that Clinton[459] has returned to New York, as an
army on the salt water is a very helpless animal. Greaves[460] has
been seen on the coast with a wind fair for the northwards. He has
certainly the start of Ternay, who is still invisible. I cannot send
you the least account or even conjecture of Lords to be created or
Commons to be dissolved. Adieu, I shall expect you about the middle
of next month; and I find that it will suit me to visit the Castle
within a few days of your return.

  [459] Sir Henry Clinton had captured Charleston, May 12, 1780.
  Early in June, he re-embarked on Admiral Arbuthnot's fleet and
  returned to New York. Sir Henry was married to Miss Harriett
  Carter, a first cousin of Colonel Holroyd.

  [460] Admiral (cr. 1794 Lord) Graves sailed, June, 1780, with six
  ships of the line, to reinforce Admiral Arbuthnot at Long Island,
  and joined him in July. The French fleet under d'Estaing was at
  the same time strengthened.



399.

_To his Stepmother._


  Reading, Six o'clock, Sunday evening, '80.

_Eels, Beer and fowl._--A nasty day makes a good Inn appear still
more comfortable. And now let me look back to Bath, and declare
in sober truth, that I number the last three weeks among the
happiest of my life. The best ingredient in that happiness was the
satisfaction of seeing you more perfectly alive both in mind and body
than I have known you for many years past. My best compliments to all
friends, &c., Jews and Christians, particularly to Sarah, who was a
naughty girl for not staying dinner. Pray send me with all convenient
speed, the adventures of a tame Cat.

  Bentinck Street--Monday half-past one.

Safely landed--I ran my time to the last moment, and find on my table
some respectful complaints from Mr. Cadell, and a summons for the
Board of Trade to-morrow, which particularly requires _my_ attendance.



400.

_To Mr. Eliot._


  August 11th, 1780.

  DEAR SIR,

Before you leave town, I cannot refrain from applying to you on a
very interesting subject, and I trust that you will excuse either my
past silence or my present importunity. The former has not been the
effect of presumption, nor does the latter proceed from any want of
confidence in your friendship.

[Sidenote: UNCERTAINTY OF HIS SEAT.]

It seems to be universally understood that this parliament will be
dissolved in a few months and perhaps in a few days--and you are
not ignorant how much the whole colour of my future life depends
on your resolution. Unless I obtain a seat in the next parliament,
I cannot flatter myself with a hope of remaining at the board of
trade; such is the unpleasant state of my private affairs, that I
must resign with my office all prospect of living in England, and
the discontinuance of your favours will therefore be a sentence
of banishment from my native country. My firm assurance that your
kindness will allow some weight to these personal considerations will
teach me to acquiesce, whatever may be your designs, with sincere and
grateful resignation. I could not even lament that I was not sooner
apprized of your intention to withdraw this mark of your friendship
at the time when it became the most valuable. The largest notice
would not perhaps have enabled me to take any other measures for the
attainment of the same object, and your silence, though it may have
excited some anxious thoughts or nourished some delusive hopes, has
not made any real difference in my situation.

It gives me pain at the same time to mention another topic. Various
circumstances of public and private distress have hitherto prevented
me from disposing of my Buckinghamshire Estate, from whence I may
expect to derive a considerable supply, and I shall find myself under
the necessity of soliciting your indulgence till I can discharge what
I shall always esteem a very small part of my obligations.



401.

_To Mrs. Holroyd._


  August 31st, Bentinck Street, 1780.

The Colonel left town about seven o'clock. Could he have held a
pen with each finger and each toe, at the same time, he would have
found employment for them all. He therefore named me his Secretary
to signify to Sheffield Place his health, duty, impatience, &c.--The
_Intrigue du Cabinet_ shall not be neglected. But the _Intrigue
du Parlement_ is now the universal pursuit. It will be dissolved
to-morrow,[461] the Writs will be out Saturday night, and a few days
will terminate the business. You probably receive my last frank. I
have _found_ reason to believe that I shall never rise again, and
I submit to my fate with Philosophic composure. If any parcels or
letters directed to me should arrive at Sheffield you will be so good
as to return them by the Coach.--Adieu.

  E. G.

  [461] Parliament was dissolved September 1, 1780.



402.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, Sept. 2nd, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

In the general dissolution you will be anxious to know my fate,
and I wish it were in my power to send you a more agreeable
account. Mr. Eliot, actuated, as it should seem, by the Demon of
Party, has renounced me.[462] I am not without resources; but his
civil ambiguous silence, by feeding my hopes, has encreased my
difficulties. I doubt whether my _real_ friends will be able to serve
me at so short a notice, and I think it more than probable that I
shall not be in the new Parliament, at least in the beginning of it.
A few days however will determine that question, and I still proceed
with perfect composure to prepare for my lying-in. They will be
twins, and I reckon about next February.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. G.

Col. H. who came with me Thursday from S. P. darted down to Coventry.
I think he is secure.

  [462] The Hon. Wilbraham Tollemache was elected in Gibbon's place
  for Liskeard.



[Sidenote: PROMISE OF ANOTHER SEAT.]

403.

_To Colonel Holroyd._


  September 7th, 1780.

I shall again breathe the pestiferous air of St. Stephen's
Chappel.[463]--The sagacious Eden whom I accidentally visited
the day after your departure pressed and persuaded me to make a
bold application to the powers above. I fairly stated my public
disappointment and private difficulties, and declared to Lord N.
in the most explicit terms, that notwithstanding my sincere desire
to replace myself in a situation, where I may be serviceable to
his Government, _small indeed_ must be the effort which I shall
be capable of making for that purpose, an idea which I explained
to Robinson in a more familiar tone, by asking for an _almost_
gratuitous seat. After some importunity and delay, I saw the
Secretary yesterday; and he communicated Lord N.'s resolution of
bringing me into Parliament, either for the first meeting, or at
the Re-Elections which will immediately be occasioned by the option
of those who are returned for two places. He did not mention terms;
if any, they must be very light. On my return home I found a letter
from Lord L[oughborough][464] worthy of himself, and may now remain
perfectly quiet and secure. Success produces good humour; and I shall
be very gentle in my answer to the Port, which I do not hurry. This
event, as you will easily understand, decides in a great measure the
rest of my life. You will growl if I lament in some sort that it has
disconcerted a very pleasant scheme, a sweet vision of _Helvetic_
retirement: I know that a prudent man ought not to make himself happy.

While I steal in through a postern, you thunder at one of the great
gates: knock and it shall be opened unto you. Your victory appears
certain, and it will be productive of a lasting conquest. Eden is not
yet returned from Woodstock; I will confabulate with him.

The Westminster battle[465] begins this morning; Rodney will be chose
almost unanimously. It was imprudent to propose Lord Lincoln; he is
disliked by the substantial tradesmen: but they _abhor_ Fox, and
the Patriot, after his appeal to the _People_ of Westminster, must
probably retire to the Duke of R.'s dependent voters of Chichester,
where I am told Keppel[466] will make room for him.

Not a word of news. Adieu.

  [463] The newly elected Parliament met October 31, 1780. Gibbon
  was elected, at a by-election, M.P. for Lymington, June 25, 1781.

  [464] Alexander Wedderburn succeeded Sir W. de Grey (afterwards
  Lord Walsingham) as Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, with
  the title of Lord Loughborough (June, 1780).

  [465] Admiral Rodney and Charles Fox were elected for
  Westminster, September 22, 1780, against Lord Lincoln.

  [466] Admiral Keppel was returned for Surrey, after being
  defeated at Windsor by Portlock Powney. George III. canvassed for
  the latter. "The pony with the powerful rider has carried away
  the plate" (Warner to G. Selwyn, September, 1780).



404.

_To Mr. Eliot._


  B. S., Sept. 8th, 1780.

  MY DEAR SIR,

I have not attempted to shake your decided resolutions nor shall I
presume to arraign the consistency of the Electors of Leskeard, whom
you so gravely introduce. You are undoubtedly free as air to confer
and to withdraw your parliamentary favours, and I should despise my
own ingratitude were I capable of forgetting my past obligations to
you because you are not disposed to render them more perfect, or
more permanent. I am still ignorant what will be the consequences
of your refusal; but I declare upon my honour, at the date of my
last letter that they appeared to me exactly in the light in which
I represented them, that I had never formed any hopes much less
any claims of ministerial support, and that I never opened my lips
on the subject to the noble friend whose character seems to extort
the praise of his political enemies. Since your absolute refusal, I
have been encouraged to hazard an application which has been kindly
entertained. If it proves unsuccessful the principal difficulty will
arise from the lateness of my request. I am asked why Mr. Eliot, who
re-elected a placeman last year, maintained to the last moment an
ambiguous silence without condescending to inform me that I must not
depend on his friendship at the General Election. I confess that I am
at a loss for an answer.

[Sidenote: DEFENCE OF HIS CONDUCT IN PARLIAMENT.]

I am equally at a loss how to answer the part of your letter, which
in polite language represents my parliamentary conduct as the cause
of your displeasure. You will not expect that I should justify
the grounds of every silent vote which I have given, or that I
should write a political pamphlet on the eventful history of the
last six years. But I may fairly rest my apology on the truth of
one single assertion, that I have never renounced any principle,
deserted any connection, or violated any promise. I have uniformly
asserted both in private and public the justice of the American War.
I have constantly supported in Parliament the general measures of
Government, except at one particular crisis while it was doubtful,
after Bourgoyne's defeat whether they would offer terms to the
rebels. I agreed with you in a speculative opinion, almost equally
rejected by both parties, that after the substance of power was lost,
the name of independence might be granted to the Americans. I have
often and severely censured the faults of administration, but I have
always condemned the _system_ of opposition: and your judgment will
allow that in public life, every man is reduced to the necessity
of choosing the side which upon the whole appears to him the least
reprehensible. The mere acceptance of a seat at the board of trade
does not surely convey any reproach or disgrace, since you yourself,
my Dear Sir, have held the same disqualifying place under several
successive Administrations, without any of those domestic reasons,
which, if an excuse were necessary, might be alleged in my favour.
You revive an old conversation between us concerning Mr. Peachey's
election, which passed, if I am not mistaken, in the garret of
the House of Commons. At that time I had never given a single vote
against the actual measures of Government, and the indiscreet opinion
which you urged me to declare must apply to your sentiments, not
to my own. I thought and I still think, that, were I master of a
Borough, I would not from motives of interest, elect a _stranger_
whose political principles were repugnant to my own.

Thus far for my own honour, I have been forced into this unpleasant,
though I hope not intemperate explanation, but I perfectly concur
with your wish to avoid all future complaints or apologies. I most
willingly embrace the offer of your private friendship, and I shall
always cultivate a cordial intercourse with a person who is entitled
to my esteem and gratitude.

I beg you would present my kindest wishes and compliments to Mrs.
Eliot and the rest of your family. I suppose Mr. Edward will succeed
me at Leskeard.[467]

  I am, &c., &c.

  [467] Edward James Eliot, eldest son of Mr. Eliot, was elected
  for St. Germains. He was made a Commissioner of the Treasury in
  July, 1782.



405.

_To Colonel Holroyd._


  Sept. 15th, 1780.

I expect but cannot send news. I am passive, you are active, without
the form of a letter you might dispatch every night the numbers of
the poll.--Fox is victorious, and though some Enemies have been
thrown out, I do not find that we gain so much as might be wished.
Lord L[oughborough] is not yet arrived, but I have conversed with the
future Secretary of the bog:[468] he approves and will assist your
vanity. I am very sorry to hear that Batt is detained at Oxford in a
bad state of health, with some symptoms of a growing dropsy. Adieu.

  [468] William Eden, M.P. for Woodstock, was appointed in October,
  1780, principal secretary to the Lord Lieutenant and Privy
  Council of Ireland.



[Sidenote: HIS WEARINESS OF POLITICAL LIFE.]

406.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, October 5th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

I have delayed answering your kind enquiry about my seat in
Parliament, till I should be able to say something satisfactory and
positive. Had Mr. Eliot been explicit some months since, another
arrangement would have been made without difficulty. His silence has
occasioned some delay, but I have the strongest reason to believe
that I shall be again in the House of Commons before Christmas. I
expect the event with the most tranquil indifference: I am heartily
tired of the place, and if such indulgence were compatible with my
situation and prospects I should be glad to find myself released
from such troublesome attendance. Your anxiety lest any coldness
should arise between Mr. E. and me will, I hope, prove groundless. I
have nothing to reproach myself, I do not reproach him, and from the
letters which have passed between us, I should imagine that we shall
meet next winter on proper terms of friendship and civility. You see
by the Gazette that Langlois[469] is dismissed; and he himself has
not received any other information from Cornwall. You may easily
suppose that in my present state of suspence and attendance, it is
not in my power to leave town: but I am almost offended that you are
not angry! I think I may venture to promise not you but myself, that
no considerations human or divine shall prevent me from eating my
Christmas dinner at the Belvedere.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

We need not trouble Sir Stanier; three shillings (no very
considerable sum) pay twelve letters. The economy of the age on the
subject of Franks and postage has always amazed me.

  [469] Benjamin Langlois, M.P. for St. Germains in the last
  Parliament, made room for Mr. Dudley Long. He was made keeper of
  his Majesty's stores, ordnance, and ammunition of war in June,
  1778, and was appointed a Commissioner for Trade and Plantations
  _vice_ Soame Jenyns.



407.

  _To Mrs. Holroyd
  (announcing that Colonel Holroyd was created Lord Sheffield[470])._


  Bentinck Street, Nov. 27th, 1780.

Mr. Gibbon presents his respectful compliments to Lady Sheffield and
hopes her Ladyship is in perfect health, as well as the Honble. Miss
Holroyd, and the Honble. Miss Louisa Holroyd. Mr. Gibbon has not had
the honour of hearing from Lord Sheffield, since his Lordship reached
Coventry, but supposes that the election begins this day.

Be honest? How does this read? Do you not feel some titillations of
vanity? Yet I will do you the justice to believe that they are as
faint as can find place in a female (you will retort, or a male)
heart, on such an auspicious event. When it is revealed to the
Honble. Miss, I should recommend the loss of some ounces of noble
blood. You may expect, every post, a formal notification, which I
shall instantly dispatch. The birds, as well as I now recollect their
taste, were excellent. I hope the _Voyages_ still amuse. I had almost
forgot to say that my seat in parliament is deferred. Stronger and
more impatient rivals have stepped before me, and I can wait with
chearful resignation till another opportunity. I wish the Baron's
situation (and temper) were as placid as mine. No news--we are very
dull. Adieu--I shall go to Bath, about the 15th of next month--But
silence.

  [470] The _Gazette_ for December, 1780, announces that the grant
  of the dignity of a baron of the kingdom of Ireland was conferred
  on John Baker Holroyd, Esq.--Baron Sheffield, of Dunamore, in the
  county of Meath. "I had a long conversation," writes Miss Burney
  in 1781, "with the new Lord Sheffield. He gave me a long account
  of his Coventry affairs, and of the commitment of the sheriffs to
  Newgate. He is a spirited and agreeable man, and, I doubt not,
  will make himself conspicuous in the right way."



[Sidenote: THE COVENTRY ELECTION.]

408.

_To Colonel Holroyd._


  Brookes's, November 28th, 1780.

*Perhaps the sheriffs, the tools of your enemies, may venture to
make a false and hostile return, on the presumption that they shall
have a whole year of impunity, and that the merits of your petition
cannot be heard this session.[471] Some of your most respectable
friends in the house of Commons are resolved, (if the return should
be unfavourable) to state it forcibly as a special and extraordinary
case; and to exert all proper strength for bringing on the tryal
of your petition without delay. The knowledge of such a resolution
may awe the sheriffs; and it may be prudent to admonish them of the
_impending_ danger, in the way that you judge most advisable. Adieu.
God send you a good deliverance.*

  [471] At the general election in September, 1780, Colonel
  Holroyd's re-election for Coventry was prevented by no return
  being made. After a hearing before the House, the sheriffs of
  Coventry were committed to Newgate, and a new election ordered.
  The poll began towards the end of November, and remained open
  for thirty days. At the close, though a large majority voted for
  Colonel Holroyd and Mr. Yeo, Sir Thomas Hallifax and Mr. Thomas
  Rogers were declared duly elected. The unsuccessful candidates
  petitioned against the return. The first day on which a committee
  could be balloted for was June 26, 1781. But on the motion of
  Lord Beauchamp (January 23) the petition of Lord Sheffield and
  Mr. Yeo was referred to a committee for February 15. The return
  was amended by an order of the House, dated February 27, 1781, by
  substituting for Hallifax and Rogers the names of Colonel Holroyd
  (who in the interval had been created Lord Sheffield) and Mr.
  Edward Roe Yeo.



409.

_To his Stepmother._


  December the 7th, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

My restoration to the character of a Senator has suffered some delay
by the impatience of some strong competitors who have pushed between
me and the door. I have received from the fountain head every kind
of apology and assurance. I believe them to be sincere, and it is a
matter of perfect indifference to me whether I enter the H. of C.
the beginning or the end of the winter. My journey to Bath is not an
object of indifference, and as nearly as I can calculate the business
(for there is business) of the board of trade, I think I shall have
the pleasure of embracing you about the 23rd or 24th of this month.
You mentioned a lodging near your aerial castle (my sole object at
Bath), and I shall be glad if you will secure it for that time.

Poor George Scott died this morning of the consequence of falling
down a flight of stairs at Lord Bathurst's. His life was long and
happy, and his death was not painful. After a false alarm I was glad
to hear that Dr. Delacour was not in the bosom of Abraham. The poor
Colonel is fighting with the monsters of Coventry. I think he will
conquer, but his victory will be dearly purchased.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.

Young Eliot is in town and dined with me Tuesday. The kindest
enquiries passed reciprocally between Port Eliot and Bentinck Street.
The father does not come till after the Holydays.



410.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  [Dec. 9th], Saturday Night, 1780.

Succeed--and may you say, such another victory would ruin us! The
messenger has returned from the Bog, but Lord B[uckinghamshire][472]
has not yet sent the necessary forms and titles for his creatures;
it will not however be in his favour to delay, that or any other
business much longer, and I wish your entrance into one house was as
secure as the other.

An express has just arrived in nine days from Vienna; the Empress
is dead,[473]--and the Austrian Eagle may soar.--It is confidently
said that the two great fleets are in sight, and expectation is high
and eager. For my own part I do not believe that there ever can be a
sea-fight.

  [472] Lord Buckinghamshire was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The
  reference is to Colonel Holroyd's elevation to the Irish peerage
  as Lord Sheffield.

  [473] The Empress Maria Theresa died November 29, 1780.



[Sidenote: HOLROYD CREATED LORD SHEFFIELD.]

411.

_To J. B. Holroyd, Esq._


  Monday Night, December, 1780.

All delays are at an end--Tuesday--to-morrow the final warrant will
be signed; Friday next, you may salute the Royal paw.

Saturday the gazette will announce his Lordship, and Sunday
(December 24th) I shall set out for Bath. Be resolute and conquer.
We have forgot the fleets, but it is supposed that d'Estaing is in
Brest. It is time that everybody should go to sleep for the Winter.



412.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, December 21st, 1780.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am sorry to inform you that I shall be forced to trespass a
few days beyond the precise term which I had fixed. The constant
attendance on the board of trade almost every day this week, has
obliged me to defer till next Monday a visit of inclination and
propriety to Lord Loughborough (at Mitcham in Surrey). I shall not
return till Wednesday or Thursday, and instead of my Christmas, I
shall eat my new-year's dinner, at the Belvidere. May that new year
prove fortunate to you, to me, and to this weary country, which is
this day involved in a new War. I shall write again about the middle
of next week with a precise account of my motions. I think the
gallant Colonel, who is now Lord Sheffield, will succeed at Coventry
_perhaps_ on the return, certainly on the petition.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.



413.

_To Lord Sheffield._

_Prophecy of the events of two years._


[Sidenote: December 31st, 1780.]

A profane historian will depart from Bentinck Street, London, and
drink tea, sup and lye at Newbury in Berkshire.

[Sidenote: January 1st, 1781.]

The same historian will gently proceed from Newbury to Bath till he
reaches the aerial cell of the Fairy of the Green, or more probably
the white mountain. It is apprehended that the said Fairy will not be
able to dine that day before four o'clock in the afternoon.



414.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, February 24th, 1781.

  DEAR MADAM,

*As you have probably received my last letter of thirteen hundred
pages,[474] I shall be very concise; Read, judge, pronounce: and
believe that I sincerely agree with my friend Julian,[475] in
esteeming the praise of those only who will freely censure my
defects. Next Thursday I shall be delivered to the World, for whose
inconstant and malicious levity I am coolly but firmly prepared.
Excuse me to Sarah. I see more clearly than ever the absolute
necessity of confining my presents to my own family; _that_, and that
only, is a determined line, and Lord S. is the first to approve his
exclusion. He has a strong assurance of success, and some hopes of
a speedy decision. How suddenly your friend General Pierson[476]
disappeared! You thought him happy. What is happiness?*

  I am, My Dear Madam,
  Ever Yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [474] The second and third volumes of the _Decline and Fall of
  the Roman Empire_. Gibbon had presented his first volume of the
  _Decline and Fall_ to the Duke of Gloucester. When the second
  volume appeared, it was, in like manner, presented to the Duke,
  who "received the author with much good nature and affability,
  saying to him, as he laid the quarto on the table, 'Another
  d--mn'd thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble!
  Eh! Mr. Gibbon?'" (Best's _Personal and Literary Memorials_, p.
  68). "You will be diverted to hear," writes Walpole to Mason,
  January 27, 1781, "that Mr. Gibbon has quarrelled with me. He
  lent me his second volume in the middle of November. I returned
  it with a most civil panegyric. He came for more incense; I gave
  it, but alas! with too much sincerity; I added, 'Mr. Gibbon, I
  am sorry _you_ should have pitched on so disgusting a subject as
  the Constantinopolitan History. There is so much of the Arians
  and Eunomians, and semi-Pelagians; and there is such a strange
  contrast between Roman and Gothic manners, and so little harmony
  between a Consul Sabinus and a Ricimer, Duke of the Palace, that
  though you have written the story as well as it could be written,
  I fear few will have patience to read it.' He coloured: all his
  round features squeezed themselves into sharp angles; he screwed
  up his button-mouth, and rapping his snuff-box, said, 'It had
  never been put together before'--so well, he meant to add--but
  gulped it. He meant _so well_ certainly, for Tillemont, whom he
  quotes in every page, has done the very thing. I well knew his
  vanity, even about his ridiculous face and person, but thought he
  had too much sense to avow it so palpably."

  [475] "When he ascended the throne, his pride was sometimes
  cruelly mortified by the reflection that the slaves who would
  not dare to censure his defects were not worthy to applaud his
  virtues" (_Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_, vol. iii. ch.
  xxii.). Gibbon quotes the sentiments from the words of Julian
  himself (Ammianus, xxii. 10).

  [476] Probably General Sir Richard Pearson, K.B., who died
  suddenly at Bath of gout in the stomach, February 13, 1781.



[Sidenote: RECEPTION OF HIS NEW VOLUMES.]

415.

_To his Stepmother._


  Bentinck Street, April 13th, 1781.

  DEAR MADAM,

I am always obliged to you for waking me by a friendly pinch from my
silent lethargy, and I think it most prudent to write before I fall
asleep again.

An author must always begin on the subject of his own work, the
subject always most interesting to himself, but on this occasion he
may assume the privilege of friendship and justly believe that it
is not less interesting to you. Your praise has afforded me real
satisfaction, not only because I wish to please you, but as I do not
know any person (where questions of pure learning are concerned) from
whose approbation I should derive more pride. To speak frankly, I am
of your opinion with regard to the improvement of the style, nor is
it very surprizing that my long practice should make a workman more
expert and ready at his trade. I am curious to learn what passage in
Prior you have in your eye: but as the works of that agreeable Poet
are not extremely familiar to me, the resemblance is more probably
the effect of chance than of design. The reception of these two
volumes has been very unlike that of the first, and yet my vanity
is so very dextrous, that I am not displeased with the difference.
The effects of novelty could no longer operate, and the public was
not surprized by the unexpected appearance of a new and unknown
author. The progress of these two volumes has hitherto been quiet and
silent. Almost everybody that reads has purchased, but few persons
(comparatively) have read them; and I find that the greater number,
satisfied that they have acquired a valuable fund of entertainment,
differ the perusal to the summer, the country and a more quiet
period. Yet I have reason to think, from the opinion of some judges,
that my reputation has not suffered by this publication. The Clergy
(such is the advantage of total loss of character) commend my decency
and moderation: but the patriots wish to damn the work and the author.

Mrs. Hester Gibbon is now in town and stays some weeks. Her house
is repairing, and her old friend Mrs. Hutchinson[477] is just
dead, without leaving her anything, at which Hester expresses more
resentment than seems becoming in the character of a Saint. She is
still healthy and sensible, refuses as formerly to enter my house,
but appears pleased with my attentions, and those of Mrs. and Lady
Porten and of Lord and Lady Sheffield, who have all visited her
in Surrey Street. She enquired civilly and even quietly into your
situation, and approved the sentiments which naturally fell from
me.--When I sent you my book I likewise despatched another with a
very polite letter to Port Eliot--A dead silence--I accidentally
called in Spring Gardens to visit the son, and heard that the father
had been three weeks or a month in town. I instantly wrote a note
to express my surprize and concern,--a dead silence of four days
terminated only by a mute, blank, formal visit. Mrs. Eliot however
(they are an odd family) has called upon me this morning to announce
her arrival; and I shall return her visit this evening.

My health this winter has been perfect, without the slightest attack
of the gout, and I rejoyce to hear that you revive with the Spring.
A friend like Mrs. P. was a real loss, and I think with you that in
such an intimate connection the heart is of much more importance
than the head. Embrace in my name Sara and the tame cat. I hope the
former is not offended with, and I am persuaded that the latter
adores, me, but am much disappointed that her Bath residence has not
produced any shining adventures: a pair of small, neat horns might
peep very gracefully out of a laurel crown, which her husband well
deserves, though I think with you that his effusions are too frequent
and precipitate.[478] Adieu, dear Madam. I am still ignorant and
indeed indifferent about the precise moment of my parliamentary
beatification. Lord S. is chaired next Monday at Coventry; but it is
needless to mention that family, as you hear the earliest and most
copious accounts of them. Once more, Adieu!

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Most truly yours,
  E. GIBBON.

  [477] Mrs. Hutcheson, whose maiden name was Lawrence, married as
  her first husband Colonel Steward. Her second husband, Archibald
  Hutcheson, M.P. for Hastings, at the time of his death (1740)
  commended her to the guidance of William Law. She was joined
  by Miss Hester Gibbon, and the two ladies, in 1743, settled at
  King's Cliffe, in a house belonging to Law. There Mrs. Hutcheson
  founded a school for boys. She died at the age of ninety-one, in
  January, 1781, and, at her own request, was buried at the feet of
  Mr. Law.

  [478] William Hayley (1745-1820) was a voluminous poet. Byron
  (_English Bards and Scotch Reviewers_) attacks him with severity--

    "Whether he spin poor couplets into plays,
    Or damn the dead with purgatorial praise,
    His style in youth or age is still the same,
    For ever feeble and for ever tame."

  In 1780 he had addressed to Gibbon _An Essay on History, in Three
  Epistles_. He married, in 1769, Eliza Ball, daughter of the Dean
  of Chichester. The marriage proved unhappy; but it should be
  added that Mrs. Hayley adopted her husband's illegitimate son,
  who, born in 1780, afterwards became the sculptor, and treated
  him as her own child. In 1789 Hayley was separated from his wife,
  whose mind had become affected. Hayley was at this time living at
  Eartham, in Sussex, a property which he had inherited from his
  father.



[Sidenote: HIS ANNUAL TAX TO THE GOUT.]

416.

_To his Stepmother._


  Friday, May 30th, 1781.

  DEAR MADAM,

When I was called upon last February for my annual tax to the Gout, I
only paid for my left foot which in general is most heavily assessed:
the officer came round last week to collect the small remainder that
was due for the right foot. I have now satisfied his demand; he is
retired in good humour, and I feel myself easy both in mind and
body.--If I complained of your silence, though somewhat longer than
usual, I should be unreasonable indeed, and I only wish to be assured
that it does not proceed from want of health or spirits. I hope you
do not stand in need of a Physician, but I am concerned to think
that, since the Jew's departure, you have not any one who knows your
constitution or in whom you repose any confidence. How do you propose
to spend the summer? do you mean to breathe the sharp air of the
Welsh mountains? If you would visit the banks of the Thames you would
find a hearty wellcome, and my cottage would be easily enlarged by an
occasional lodging. I feel great comfort in this retreat at Hampton
Court, and shall now escape every week from the heat and dust of the
House of Commons.

  I am, Dear Madam,
  Ever yours,
  E. G.



417.

_To his Stepmother._


  June 16th, 1781.

  DEAR MADAM,

I take the earliest opportunity of informing you that in the course
of next week I shall be elected for the borough of Lymington in
Hampshire. You may be sure of hearing from me before the end of the
month.

  I am,
  Ever yours,
  E. GIBBON.


END OF VOL. I.

  LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
  STANFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

The carat character (^) indicates that the following letter
is superscripted (example: 2^e). If two or more letters are
superscripted they are enclosed in curly brackets (example:
2^{ndly,}).

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been
retained.

Corrections have been made for Volume 1 as listed in the Errata.

Page 44: The original had a blank area where the transcriber has
inserted a dash as follows:

"and the accession of a just and righteous prince. Lord ---- was ..."

The following two sidenotes appear in the margin of page 395 next to
the pararaphs which follow. All other sidenotes appear at the top of
alternate pages:

[Sidenote: December 31st, 1780.]

A profane historian will depart from Bentinck Street, London, and
drink tea, sup and lye at Newbury in Berkshire.

[Sidenote: January 1st, 1781.]

The same historian will gently proceed from Newbury to Bath till he
reaches the aerial cell of the Fairy of the Green, or more probably
the white mountain. It is apprehended that the said Fairy will not be
able to dine that day before four o'clock in the afternoon.





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