To Anonymous April 16, 1790
From the original letter at the New York Public Library.
London April 16th 1790
My Dear Friend
To begin with our Journey, we had a very pleasant one — we got to Boulogne on Saturday about 5 o’clock — (left Paris Thursday about the same time) passed from Boulogne to Dover in three hours and a half — and got to London Monday Evening — sent all your Packets to W. Corvie — and though we have alternately called on each other have not yet met — for three or four days after our arrival I missed the little Box for Mr. Macpherson which gave me exceeding great concern, and it appeared to me that I had rather have lost my portmanteau; neither Mr. Rutledge nor I could divine what had become of it, when, to our great satisfaction it appeared, as of itself. I know not how, for going on Evening into my room it presented itself to me on the table — I almost said to it — “Thou little runaway where hast thou been and why hast thou plagued me so” — It had I suppose slipped into some corner and the girl in putting the room to rights had found it —
The morning after my arrival I went first to Debrets Bookseller Piccadilly (he is the opposition Bookseller) he informed me that Mr. Burke’s pamphlet was in the press, (he is not the publisher) that he believed Mr. Burke was much at a loss how to go on, that he had revised some of the sheets, 6, 7, 8, and one 9 times — I then made an appointment with Lord Stanhope, and another with Mr. Fox — the former received me with saying “have I the pleasure of shaking hands with the author of Common Sense?” — I told him of the condition of Mr. Burke’s pamphlet, and that I had formed to myself the design of answering it, if it should come out at a time when I could devote myself to it — from Lord Stanhope I went to Mr. Fox, but how was I disappointed to find that he had not received my letter from Paris, that letter (as you will recollect the Contents of it) laid down all the principal points with respect to the french Revolution, the Test Act, &c which I intended as subjects for Conversation when we mett — you will recollect that I expressed some surprise to you at the Postage which the servant took for it — and I cannot avoid suspecting that he never put the letter in the office — I mention this that you may question him about it, and be on your guard with respect to your own letters — I always reproach myself for trusting letters by a servant — I sent one to the post-office in London to go by Packet to America — the servant brought me 17 shillings out of a Guinea, but the letter never arrived.
The Conversation with Mr. Fox was chiefly on European Politics — There will be no Peace, said he, between the Russians Austrians and Turks if the King of Prussia can prevent it — I replied that the Turks must be exceedingly unwise indeed not to see that he Prussia would keep the Turks for ever at War with Russia and Austria, if he could — because it took two powerful Enemies off his hands whom he would dread if that peace was concluded, and rather than have it concluded he would probably join in the War — from an apprehension, that if peace was now made with the Turks, Russia and Austria would both attack him — in this Mr. Fox agreed — I then spoke of the Reports which were circulated when that war first broke out, that the English Court had spirited up that war on an expectation of drawing France to the support of the Turks — that the policy, besides being wicked, was exceedingly illjudged, for the effect of the Policy went to do France a favour by setting her free from a connection which, by the change of Circumstances on the Continent since that Connection was formed, had not now one Article remaining which induced the Connection, nor any new ones to supply their place — that the dissolution of it opened the way to a connection between France and Russia, which was an event the English Cabinet appeared to me not to have sense enough to foresee — Mr. Fox replied that the English Ministry had always denied the accusation of spiriting up that war, but that for his part he believed they were not so clear of the charge as they wished to appear — I talked to him of Mr. Burke’s pamphlet, and said that I believed I should reply to it — I afterwards saw Sir George Staunton to whom I mentioned the same thing — I told him of a letter I saw from Mr. B- to a gentleman at Paris, the contents of which surprised me — He asked me if it was not to Mr. Christie, and spoke of you in very handsome terms — he afterwards told me of a letter from some gentleman at Paris to Mr. Burke — perhaps thought I it is my friend Christie, but I did not ask —
But I am now inclined to think that after all this vapouring of Mr. B-, he will not publish his pamphlet — I called yesterday at Debrets, who told me — that he has stopped the work (I have not called on Mr. Burke — and shall not until his pamphlet comes out or he gives it up —) I met Dr. Lawrence, an intimate friend of Mr. Burke a few days ago - to whom I said, “I am exceedingly sorry to see a friend of ours so exceedingly wrong.” “Time,” says he, “will show if he is.” — he is, said I, already wrong with respect to time past — One of the Messr. Walker from Rotherham has come to London, and we have sent a person down to conduct at the Bridge — I hope if Mr. B- intends to publish, it will be before I am too much engaged — Apropos. I should have told you — that Mr. Burke’s Letter is to be addressed to Lally Tollendal —
I shall in a few days write to my Dear Friend, the Marquis de la Fayette — In the mean Time I wish you to call upon him and tell him my intention — I shall send it in the Marquis de la Lucerne’s despatches — forget not to remember me to him very affectionately and also to Madame de la Fayette — Shake hands for me with my old friend Mr. Mazzei — call upon our friends at No 36 Palais Royal — and forget me not among the rest of our acquaintances — and if there is any thing I can serve you in here or elsewhere, the greatest favor you can do me is to inform me of it.
I am my Dear Friend,
yours very affectionately
Tomorrow I dine at Mr. Vaughns with Dr. Price
Direct to me No 31 King Street near — Soho Square—
We have had very cold weather Snow & Rain for a week past —
If you have an opportunity of seeing the Duke de la Rochefoucault remember me to him and to his very kind and good family — Complts to Mr. Short, M. de Condorcet — Mr. Le Roy —
Did you del. Mr. Mazzei’s letter to Dr. Gern
Send letters for agent at Philadelphia M. D’ Erembourg