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William Mason to Thomas Gray, 20 July 1761

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Dear Mr Gray.

The Old Man was really dying when I wrote to you from Stilton. But in spite of all his old Complaints in spite of an added feaver and fistula, He still holds out, has had strength to undergo two Operations, and is in hopes of a perfect recovery. However, if he ever does die I am now secure of succeeding him, & I find the Object of much more importance than I at first thought, for one Year with another by fines &c the Preferment is good £230 per Annum:

The Coronation &c prevents Lady Holdernesse from coming into the North. But I am to meet His Lordship at Doncaster the Day after to morrow & proceed with him to Aske & Hornby. He will stay in the Country only 8 Weeks, & I shall follow him to Town three Weeks after, as My waiting falls in the Coronation month. I wish you would write me an Epithalamic Sermon, It could not fail but get me a Mitre next in goodness to Squires.

This letter is merely to tell you My Motions and to beg youll write to me, under His Lordships cover to Aske near Richmond. I was at Chatsworth last week, and had the pleasure to find Lord John perfectly recoverd. My Love to Mr Brown

Beleive me Dear Mr Gray
most cordially yours
Letter ID: letters.0389 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Writer's age: 37
Addressee: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Addressee's age: 44


Date of composition: 20 July 1761
Date (on letter): July 20th 1761
Calendar: Gregorian


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


Language: English
Incipit: The Old Man was really dying when I wrote to you from Stilton....
Mentioned: Aske Hall
Hornby Castle

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 LXVIII, 264-265
  • 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. CCXXIV, vol. ii, 219-220
  • 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. 338, vol. ii, 744