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Thomas Gray to William Mason, [c. 20 October 1761]

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Dear Mason

Perhaps You have not yet hang'd yourself! when you do (as doubtless you must be thinking of it) be so good as to give me a day or two's notice, that I may be a little prepared. yet who knows? possibly your education at St John's (in conjunction with the Bp of Glr:) may suggest to you, that the naked Indian, that found Pitt's diamond, made no bad bargain, when he sold it for three oyster-shells, & a Pompon of glass-beads to stick in his Wife's hair! if so, you may live, & read on.

Last week I had an application from a broken Tradesman (whose Wife I knew) to desire my interest with the D: of Newcastle for a Tide-Waiter's place; & he adds, Sr, your speedy compliance with this, will greatly oblige all our Family. this morning, before I was up, Dr Moreton of the Mus├Žum call'd here & left the inclosed note. he is a mighty civil Man, for the rest you know him full as well as I do; & I insist that you return me a civil answer. I do not insist, that you should get him the Mastership: on the contrary I desire (as any body would in such a case) that you will get it for yourself; as I intend, when I hear it is vacant, to have the Tidewaiter's place, if I miss of the Privy-Seal, & Cofferership.

T G:
Letter ID: letters.0397 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: [c. 20 October 1761]
Date (on letter): Oct: 1761
Calendar: Gregorian


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


Language: English
Incipit: Perhaps You have not yet hang'd yourself! when you do (as doubtless you...
Mentioned: Cambridge

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 LXXI, 278-279
  • 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. CCXXX, vol. ii, 237-238
  • 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. 346, vol. ii, 758-759