Skip main navigation

Thomas Gray to James Brown, 27 April 1768

Back to Letters page

Dear Sir

By this time I conclude, you are return'd to Cambridge: tho' I thought it a long time, before I heard of you from Thrandeston, and could have wish'd you had stay'd longer with Palgrave: perhaps you are in Hertfordshire, however I write at a venture. I went to Mr. Mann's, and (tho' he is in Town) not finding him at home, left a note with an account of my business with him, and my direction. I have had no message in answer to it: so possibly he has written to you, and sent the papers. I know not.

Mr. Precentor is still here, and not in haste to depart, indeed I do not know whether he has not a fit of the Gout: it is certain, he had a pain yesterday in his foot, but whether owing to Bechamel and Claret, or to cutting a corn, was not determined: he is still at Stonhewer's house, and has not made his journey to Eton and to Bath yet, tho' he intends to do it.

We have had no mobs, nor illuminations yet, since I was here. Wilkes's speech you have seen; the Court was so surprised at being contemn'd to its face, and in the face of the World, that the Chief in a manner forgot the matter in hand, and enter'd into an apology for his own past conduct, and so (with the rest of his Assessors) shuffled the matter off, and left the danger to the officers of the Crown, that is indeed, to the Ministry. Nobody had ventured, or would venture to serve the Capias upon him. I cannot assure, it is done yet; tho' yesterday I heard it was, and (if so) he comes again to-day into Court. He professes himself ready to make any submissions to the K., but not to give up his pursuit of Ld. HI. The Delavals attend very regularly, and take notes of all that passes. His writ of Error on the Outlawry must come to a decision before the House of Lords.

I was not among the Coal-heavers at Shadwell, tho' seven people lost their lives in the fray: Nor was I in Goodmans Fields where the Bawdy-house was demolish'd. The Ministry (I believe) are but ticklish in their situation: they talk of Grenville and his Brother, again. Lord forbid! it must be dreadful necessity indeed, that brings them back.

Adieu! I am ever yours,
T. G.

If you are at Cambridge, pray let me know.

Letter ID: letters.0532 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 51
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 59[?]


Date of composition: 27 April 1768
Date (on letter): April 27, 1768
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: London, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Southampton Row

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 1s. (3p.)


Language: English
Incipit: By this time I conclude, you are return'd to Cambridge: tho' I thought it...
Mentioned: Hertfordshire
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Palgrave, William, 1735-1799
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809

Holding Institution

fMS Eng 870 (52a), Houghton Library, Harvard University , Cambridge, MA, 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 CXX, 415-417
  • 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. CCCXXVII, vol. iii, 195-197
  • 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. 476, vol. iii, 1030-1032