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Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 2 December 1758

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Dr Wharton, M:D:
in Southampton-Row, Bloomsbury
4 DE

Dear Doctor

You are so hospitable in your offers, that my Cargo is preparing to set out on Monday next, & will (I imagine) present itself at your door on Tuesday or Wednesday next: it comes by water, & the Man undertakes the whole together, so that I need not trouble any one to send to the wharf about them. I have divided this incumbrance between yourself & Mrs Forster, yet am afraid you will find your share of it more than enough. it consists of

  • 1. A Chest cover'd with leather & bound with iron. No 1. full of Bed & Table Linnen.  
  • 2. A large wainscot Box with iron handles, No 2. full of the same, & other furniture.  
  • 3. A long deal Box, No 3. of the same.  
  • 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Five large Baskets, of China. No 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.  
  • 9. A wainscot Chest of Drawers, matted up. No 10. with table-linnen, covers for chairs, curtains, and some little Plate.  
  • 10. A middling deal-box, of sheets, quilts, &c: No 13.  
  • 11. A square India-Cabinet, of odd nameless things. No 16.  

The numbers you see at the end (wch are also inscribed on the parcels) relate to the whole & not to your part of them, therefore you need not take any notice of them. as to the danger of fire, nothing can be more combustible than the China-baskets, being of wicker and pack'd full of Tow, Paper-Shavings, & Hay: wherever they are disposed, I should hope nobody would come with a candle. if the matted things fright you on the same account, the coverings may be taken off, & laid by in some dry place. I like mightily your proposal of insuring; but I thought, they would not do it for China, Glasses, or Linnen. the value (including Mrs Forster's parcels) I should set at about 250£. I could not perhaps sell the contents for so much, but it is certain, that I could never buy them for that money. if it could be done immediately, I should be glad (supposing it be not any great trouble) tho' in about ten days I shall be in Town myself. will you let your Servant enquire, if my old lodgeings will be vacant at that time?

It may be necessary to add a list of the remaining parcels, supposing you should think it right to insure all together. At Mrs Forster's

  • 1. An old leather Trunk nail'd, No 4, with Beds, Quilts, & table-linnen, &c.  
  • 2. A Hand-basket, with a Kettle, Pewter, No 11. & kitchen-utensils.  
  • 3. An old Portmanteau, with servant's linnen, &c: No 12.  
  • 4. A Walnut-tree Escritoire, upper half, with quilting, a bed, toilettes, & some China. matted. No 14.  
  • 5. Lower Part of ye same, with Cushions, Curtains, Blankets, & a few Books. No 15.  
  • 6. Large Deal-Case with Looking-Glasses, No 19. Pictures, &c:  
  • 7, 8, 9, 10. Six chairs, & a Settee –matted–No. XX, 1; 2; 3; & 4.  
  • 11. A Deal Chest of Books ... No 21.  

there are some other trifles, but this all worth mention.

I am glad you are master of a Pietá. I could have said Pietá myself, if I had not left off being a Coxcomb or a Connoisseur. Palma (that is the old one) was a good Colorist, like most of ye Venetians, but remarkable for bad drawing, particularly of hands & arms. what you say of Dr. Ak: I fully agree with you in, & have mention'd it to Mason. as soon as I can write to Mr. H:, I shall repeat to him a part of your own words, wch I think will prevail, besides I know he thinks himself obliged to you in Dr. H:n's affair. I have seen no Rousseau, nor any body else: all I can tell you is, that I am to dine with my Lady Carlisle to-morrow, who is a melancholy Dowager reduced from Castle-Howard & ten thousand Pound a-year to 1500£, her jewels, plate, & a fine House in town excellently well-furnish'd. she has just discover'd too (I am told in confidence) that she has been long the object of Calumny, & Scandal. what can I say to comfort her?

I do not dislike the Laureat at all. to me it is his best Ode, but I don't expect any one should find it out; for Otbert & Ateste are surely less known than Edw: the 1st, & Mount Snowden. it is no imitation of me; but a good one of

Pastor cum traheret &c:

wch was falsely laid to my charge.

Adieu, Dear Sr, I am ever

P:S: If the China arrives safe & without rattling, the Men will deserve something to drink, wch I shall be careful to repay: they promise to bring it on biers, not in a cart. in No 6 is the best of it.

Pray, do you know any thing of Stonhewer? is he in London?

Letter ID: letters.0330 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 42
Addressee: Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794
Addressee's age: 41[?]


Date of composition: 2 December 1758
Date (on letter): Dec: 2. 1758
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Stoke Poges, United Kingdom]
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.; 3 pages, 202 mm x 157 mm
Addressed: To / Dr Wharton, M:D: / in Southampton-Row, Bloomsbury / London (postmark: 4 DE)


Language: English
Incipit: You are so hospitable in your offers, that my Cargo is preparing to set out...
Mentioned: Akenside, Dr. Mark
Hurd, Dr. Richard
Hurd, Richard, 1720-1808
Rousseau, Jean Jacques
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809
Whitehead, William

Holding Institution

Egerton MS 2400, ff. 120-121, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter LXXXI, vol. ii, 327-328
  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter LXXXIX, vol. iii, 211-212
  • 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. CLXXXI, vol. ii, 66-69
  • 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. 285, vol. ii, 600-602