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had a rap this morning that will do it some good, unless it is weak enough to do itself more harm. The judges of the Commonpleas have unanimously dismissed Wilkes from his imprisonment, as a breach of privilege ;' his offence not being a breach of the peace, only tending to it. The people are in transports; and it will require all the vanity and confidence of those able ministers lord S*** and Mr. C*** to keep up the spirits of the court.
I must change this tone, to tell you of the most dismal calamity that ever happened. Lady Molesworth's house, in Upper Brook-street, was burned to the ground between four and five this morning. She herself, two of her daughters, her brother," and six servants, perished. Two other of the young ladies jumped out of the two pair of stairs and garret windows : one broke her thigh, the other (the eldest of all) broke her's, too, and has had it cut off. The fifth daughter is much burnt. The French governess leaped from the garret, and was dashed to pieces. Dr. Molesworth and his wife, who were there on a visit, escaped; the wife by jumping from the two pair of stairs, and saving herself by a rail ; he by hanging by his hands, till a second ladder was brought, after a first had proved too short. Nobody knows how or where the fire began ; the catastrophe is shocking beyond what one ever heard : and poor lady Molesworth, whose character and conduct were the most amiable in the world, is universally lamented. Your good hearts will feel this in the most lively manner.3
| Wilkes was discharged on the 6th of May, by the lord chief justice Pratt, who decided, that he was entitled to plead his privilege as a member of parliament; the crime of which he was accused, namely, a libel, being in the
eyes of the law only a high misdemeanor, whereas the only three cases which could affect the privilege of a member of parliament, were treason, felony, and the peace : the last signifying, as his lordship explained, a breach of the peace. [Ed.]
& Captain Usher.-Lady Molesworth was daughter of the rev. W. Usher, archdeacon of Clonfert, and the second wife of Richard third viscount Molesworth, who was aide-de-camp to the duke of Marlborough at the battle of Ramilies, and had the honour of saving his grace's life in that engagement. He afterwards obtained the rank of lieutenant-general in the army, and filled the high offices of master-general of the ordnance, and commander-in-chief of his majesty's forces in Ireland. [Ed.]
3 The king, upon hearing of this calamity, immediately sent the young ladies a handsome present, ordered a house to be taken and furnished for
I go early to Strawberry to-morrow, giving up the new opera, madame de Boufflers, and Mr. Wilkes, and all the present topics. Wilkes, whose case has taken its place by the side of the seven bishops, calls himself the eighth-not quite improperly, when one remembers that sir Jonathan Trelawney, who swore like a trooper, was one of those confessors.
There is a good letter in the Gazetteer on the other side, pretending to be written by lord Temple, and advising Wilkes to cut his throat, like lord E***, as it would be of infinite service to their cause. There are published, too, three volumes of lady Mary Wortley's letters, 4 which I believe are genuine, and are not unentertaining.–But have you read Tom Hervey's 5 letter to the late king? That beats every thing for madness, horrid indecency, and folly, and yet has some charming and striking passages.
I have advised Mrs. H*** to inform against Jack, as writing in the North Briton ; he will then be shut up in the Tower, and may be shown for old Nero.6 Adieu!
TO THE REY. MR. COLE.
Strawberry-hill, May 16, 1763. DEAR SIR,
I promised you should hear from me if I did not go abroad, and I flatter myself that you will not be sorry to know that I am much better in health than I was at the beginning of the winter. My journey is quite laid aside, at least for this year ; though as lord Hertford goes ambassador to Paris, I propose to make him a visit there next spring.
them at his expense, and not only continued the pension settled on the mother, but ordered it to be increased £200 per annum. [Ed.]
4 This was a surreptitious edition.--Her ladyship’s works, including her Correspondence, Poems, and Essays, were published in 1803, from papers in the possession of John first marquis of Bute, under the editorship of Mr. Dallaway. [Ed.]
5 "A Letter from the right hon. Thomas Hervey to the late King.” The anthor was son of John first earl of Bristol, and uncle of George William the second earl. [Ed.]
• An old lion there, so called. [Or.]
As I shall be a good deal here this summer, I hope you did not take a surfeit of Strawberry-hill, but will bestow a visit on it while its beauty lasts; the gallery advances fast now, and I think in a few weeks will make a figure worth your looking at.
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Strawberry-hill, May 17, 1763. On vient de nous donner une très jolie fête au château de Straberri: tout était tapissé de narcisses, de tulipes, et de lilacs ; des cors de chasse, des clarionettes, des petits vers galants faits par des fées, et qui se trouvaient sous la presse, des fruits à la glace, du thé, du café, des biscuits, et force hot-rolls. This is not the beginning of a letter to you, but of one, that I might suppose sets out to-night for Paris, or rather, which I do not suppose will set out thither; for though the narrative is circumstantially true, I don't believe the actors were pleased enough with the scene, to give so favourable an account of it.
The French do not come hither to see. A l'Anglais happened to be the word in fashion; and half a dozen of the most fashionable people have been the dupes of it. I take for granted that their next mode will be à l'Iroquoise, that they may be under no obligation of realizing their pretensions. Madame de Boufflers. I think will die a martyr to a taste, which she fancied she had, and finds she has not. Never having stirred ten miles from Paris, and having only rolled in an easy coach from one hotel to another on a gliding pavement, she is already worn out with being hurried from morning till night from one sight to another. She rises every morning so fatigued with the toils of the preceding day, that she has not strength, if she had inclination, to observe the least, or the finest thing she sees! She came hither to-day to a great breakfast I made for her, with her eyes a foot deep in her head, her hands dangling, and scarce able to support her knitting bag. She had been yesterday to see a ship launched, and went
! The comtesse de Boufflers, who, after the revolution in France of the year 1789, resided in England for two or three years, with her daughter-inlaw, the comtesse Emilie de Boufflers. [Or.]
from Greenwich by water to Ranelagh. Madame Dusson, who is Dutch-built, and whose muscles are pleasure-proof, came with her; there were besides, lady Mary Coke, lord and lady Holderness, the duke and duchess of Grafton, lord Hertford, lord Villiers, Offey, Messieurs de Fleury, D'Eon, et Duclos. The latter is author of the Life of Louis Onze; dresses like a dissenting minister, which I suppose is the livery of a bel esprit, and is much more impetuous than agreeable. We breakfasted in the great parlour, and I had filled the hall and large cloister by turns with French horns and clarionettes. As the French ladies had never seen a printing-house, I carried them into mine ; they found something ready set, and desiring to see what it was, it proved as follows:
For Madame de Boufflers.
For Madame Dusson.
2 George Bussy Villiers, younger and only surviving son of William Villiers third earl of Jersey. He succeeded to the earldom on the 28th of August 1769, and on his death on the 22d of August 1805, was succeeded by his son the present earl. (Ed.]
3 The chevalier D'Eon was, on his arrival in England, secretary to the duke de Nivernois, the French ambassador, and upon the duke's return toFrance, was appointed minister plenipotentiary, but on the comte de Guerchy being some time afterwards nominated ambassador, the chevalier was ordered to resume his secretaryship; at which he was so greatly mortified, that he quarrelled with and libelled the comte de Guerchy, for which libel he was indicted and found guilty in the Court of King's Bench, on.. the 9th of July 1764. (Ed.]
You will comprehend that the first speaks English, and that the second does not ; that the second is handsome, and the first not; and that the second was born in Holland. This little gentilesse pleased, and atoned for the popery of my house, which was not serious enough for Madame de Boufflers, who is Montmorency, et du sang du premier Chrétien; and too serious for Madame Dusson, who is a Dutch Calvinist. The latter's husband was not here, nor Drumgold, who have both got fevers, nor the due de Nivernois, who dined at Claremont. The gallery is not advanced enough to give them any idea at all, as they are not apt to go out of their way for one ; but the cabinet, and the glory of yellow glass at top, which had a charming sun for a foil, did surmount their indifference, especially as they were animated by the duchess of Grafton, who had never happened to be here before, and who perfectly entered into the air of enchantment and fairyism, which is the tone of the place, and was peculiarly so to-day ;-à-propos, when do you design to come hither? Let me know, that I may have no measures to interfere with receiving you and your grandsons.
Before lord Bute ran away, he made Mr. Bentley a commissioner of the lottery; I don't know whether a single or a double one; the latter, which I hope it is, is two hundred a year.
Thursday, 19th. I Am ashamed of myself to have nothing but a journal of pleasures to send you; I never passed a more agreeable day than yesterday. Miss Pelham gave the French an entertainment at Esher; but they have been so feasted and amused, that none of them were well enough, or reposed enough to come, but Nivernois and Madame Dusson. The rest of the company were, the Graftons, lady Rockingham, lord and lady Pembroke, lord and lady Holderness, lord Villiers, count Woronzow the Russian minister, lady Sondes, Mr. and Miss Mary Pelham, lady Mary Coke, Mrs. Aune Pitt, and Mr. Shelly. The day was delightful; the scene transporting; the trees, lawns, concaves, all in the perfection in which the ghost of Kent would joy to see them."
Secretary to the duc de Nivernois. [Or.] 5 The ambassador and plenipotentiary sent by the court of France to treat for the peace. He left England on the 22d of May 1763, on his, return to Paris. (Ed.]