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William Mason to Thomas Gray, 22 July 1765

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To Thomas Gray Esqr at Thomas Whartons Esqr at Old Park near Durham

Dear Mr Gray

As bad as Your Verses were, they are Yours, & therefore when I get back to York Ill paste them carefully in the first page of My Shakespeare to inhance its Value for I intend it to be put in My Marriage Settlement as a Provision for my Younger Daughters. My Eldest Boy is to be provided for out of Huttons Nose & I have just now writ to Stonehewer to get a reversionary grant of a Commission of Hawkers & Pedlars for my second Son. When this matter is settled I hope soon to be in possession of My gentle Argentile. For really & sincerely I have seen her, got her Consent have written to her Father & Letters now pass evry Post relative to her Jointure. After all I verily beleive it wont do. And am at present much out of sorts about it. and was it not that I love her more than ever, should wish I had been soused Head & Ears at Hartlepool e'er I had ventured to make my proposals. But no more of this. You wont pity me now, no more than you did when I was in residence & Sore Eyes.

I am here about the Commission concerning My Exchange of Glebe wch I hope to finish next Wednesday. After wch I shall go soon either to Hull or York unless Lord Holdernesse stops me by coming here next Week, wch tho he talks of doing, I fancy he will not.

I know nothing of Politics except from a Letter of Frasers, that He is taken from Lord Northumberland by the Duke of Grafton & is just where he was four years ago with Lord Holdernesse. Poor Fellow I pity him, but I hope Stonehewer will be good to him for he is a worthy Creature. I have no beleif however in the Duration of this Ministry unless Mr Pitt adds himself to it, which I fancy hell hardly do.

You will be very cross I know at this Letter, since it will tell you that I shall not come to Hartlepool. For I know You want somebody that you may Frump & scold & say sharp things to. And my Dovelike temper would be n[o]thing in the world for you after a g[ulp] of Sea Water. However my Eyes are [so] perfectly well, that I laugh at the Scurvy.

I direct this to Dr Whartons on Supposition that you are tird of Hartlepool. Give my best compliments to the Dr & His Lady & beleive me to be as much as I can be any bodys at present

Yours most sincerely
Letter ID: letters.0462 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Writer's age: 41
Addressee: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Addressee's age: 48


Date of composition: 22 July 1765
Date (on letter): July 22d 1765
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Aston, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Aston
Place of addressee: Durham, United Kingdom

Physical description

Addressed: To Thomas Gray Esqr at Thomas Whartons Esqr at Old Park near Durham (postmark: ROTH[ER]HAM)


Language: English
Incipit: As bad as Your Verses were, they are Yours, & therefore when I get back...
Mentioned: Grafton, Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of, 1735-1811
Isle of Wight
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Shakespeare, William
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809
Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
William Shakespeare to Mrs Anne, Regular Servant to the Revd Mr Precentor of York

Holding Institution

Henry W. And Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, New York Public Library , New York, NY, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Correspondence of Thomas Gray and William Mason, with Letters to the Rev. James Brown, D.D. Ed. by the Rev. John Mitford. London: Richard Bentley, 1853, letter XCI, 341-343
  • The Letters of Thomas Gray, including the correspondence of Gray and Mason, 3 vols. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. London: George Bell and Sons, 1900-12, letter no. CCLXXIV, vol. iii, 78-79
  • Correspondence of Thomas Gray, 3 vols. Ed. by the late Paget Toynbee and Leonard Whibley, with corrections and additions by H. W. Starr. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971 [1st ed. 1935], letter no. 408, vol. ii, 881-883