The Diary of Joseph Farington: A Picture of the England of George Iii
EDITED BY JAMES GREIG
IN the winter of 1921, Messrs. Puttick and Simpson, the well-known auctioneers who occupy the house in Leicester Square, London, where Sir Joshua Reynolds lived and worked, were asked to see the small property of the late Miss M. L. E. Tyrwhitt, of Northwood Lodge, Wallington, Surrey, and found, among other things, the Silver Plate presented by the Royal Academy to Joseph Farington, one of its members, as well as a large number of his drawings.
Attention was drawn also to a batch of books, in a case, which the vendor thought of little value. They were, however, carted to the salesroom along with the other contents of the house, and on November 28, 1921, the firm invited several people to see a Diary and its tributary notebooks.
A member of the Morning Post staff was the first to call next day, and, after a cursory examination of a few entries, here and there, satisfied himself that the volumes were of more than ordinary importance. At his suggestion the sale was postponed for three weeks, so that a more careful study of their contents might be made. This he was permitted to do and, on the strength of the knowledge gained, he advised Mr. H. E. Gwynne, editor of the Morning Post, to buy the Diary for publication.
At the sale on December 9, there were in attendance representatives of the Royal Academy and of some of the public galleries, as well as of publishers and London newspapers. The bidding began at sixty guineas, and the collection was knocked down to the Morning Post at the paltry price of one hundred and ten guineas.
The first intention was to publish the Diary, — as a test, — daily, in the Morning Post, for six weeks, dating from January 23, 1922. Its success exceeded the anticipation of almost everyone. Large numbers of the public asked for its continuation and it is still appearing in serial form with growing popularity.
Who was Joseph Farington? What was his professional standing? What were his opportunities for acquiring information of sufficient interest to fill with manuscript sixteen large volumes, besides numerous small notebooks? The biographical dictionaries say very little about his art or himself; he is nowhere mentioned as a diarist. A Memoir of Sir Joshua Reynolds is the only literary work by him that is recorded. Let us give briefly the few facts known before 1922, which illustrate his achievement.
Farington was descended from an old Lancashire family, and studied art under Richard Wilson, the famous landscape-painter. His topographical drawings, if not brilliant, are remarkable records of things seen with eyes wide open to the intimate beauty of the landscapes, conveyed by him with great assurance and simplicity in the water colors, which, during his lifetime, were held generally in high esteem, in spile of the fact that his contributions to the public galleries were infrequent.
From the year 1773 he ceased to exhibit with the Incorporated Society, and withdrew from it as a member. In June of that year he went to Houghton Hall in Norfolk, the seat of the Earl of Orford, and there remained for three years, employed, along with his young brother and pupil, George Farington, in making drawings of its pictures, which were sold in 1779 to the Empress Catherine of Russia, at a cost of £40,555, the value set on the collection by Benjamin West and Cipriani, to the astonishment of Horace Walpole. In July, 1776, Farington went to Keswick in Cumberland, where he continued principally to reside until 1780, when, in December of that year, he removed to London and established himself at 35 Upper Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square. Between 1773 and 1778 Farington did not exhibit anywhere; but in the latter year he began to contribute regularly to the Royal Academy, up to 1799, and afterward, at intervals, showing there for the last time in 1813.
His name became widely known in his day, mainly through the drawings, reproduced in handsome volumes, of his many tours in England, Scotland, and France. As a man he won the highest respect and his influence was exercised for the good of his fellow men. He was ‘a true gentleman,’ says James Northcote, R.A. ‘. . . the great man to be looked up to on all occasions. . . . His great passion was the love of power — he loved to rule. He did it, of course, with considerable dignity.’
In the life of Sir Martin Shoe, a president of the Royal Academy, we read: —
The principal spokesman was Mr. Farington, whose name was associated with every proceeding of the Royal Academy, in whose movement for good or evil he exercised so powerful a control as to procure for him the appellation of the Dictator of the Academy. He possessed a degree of weight in the deliberations of the councils of the body far beyond what any other member could hope to attain or excel.
On May 8, 1792, a correspondent, who severely criticized Farington’s Views of Windsor Castle and of Westminster, added:—
Though Mr. Farington has more authority in the Academy than any other member, and from Majesty of appearance, and haughtiness of Behaviour can terrify His puny Competitors into violent Obedience, we speak our opinion.
Farington’s pride in his authority kept him sincerely modest, he feeling that his qualities, and his ‘acts of kindness and of love,’ would at some time be remembered. Here is proof of his prescience as recorded by himself: —
He [John Taylor, once editor of the Morning Post and author of Monsieur Tonson] again spoke to me at the request of the Editor of the Monthly Mirror, desiring me to let Him have a portrait of me and some Biographical material, to enable him to publish an acct. of me. — I told him it wd. be to me a most [undesirable] circumstance to see my name in print in such a way; that if, a few years hence, it should seem more proper, it might be done, but I certainly could not now consent to it; and that there was no doubt but at a future period I should be noticed in the proportion as I ought to be. (The italics are mine.)
Such was the history of Farington known to the world before the publication of the Diary in the Morning Post. To-day his fame extends far beyond the boundaries of his native land; he has at last come into his right ‘proportion.’ In the volume of extracts from his Diary, shortly to be published, will be found a few of the innumerable letters and other references relating to it that came to the editor of the Morning Post from all sorts and conditions of people; and these show the consensus of the opinion expressed to be that Farington will in future rank with Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn as a chronicler of the sayings and doings of the eminent men and women and the stirring events of a later and momentous period in history.
Long experience, discretion, generosity, candor, and even temper brought to him all who wanted counsel in the important, and even trivial, affairs of life. A Turner or a Constable, wishing to be elected an A.R.A.; a Lawrence, a Hoppner, or a Wilkie, anxious to secure full Academic honors; hard-up painters, an artist’s widow or daughter in need of a pension from the Academy — all eagerly sought Farington’s favor.
The Prince Regent took a fancy to Van Dyck’s beautiful picture, containing three different portraits of Charles I. Farington was asked to approach his friend Mr. William Wells, of Redleaf, its owner; he parted with the painting for 1000 guineas, — 500 guineas was first suggested, — and it passed to Windsor Castle, where it still remains one of the most important works in the King’s collection.
He knew almost every eminent man and woman of his time; in after-dinner talks, across the walnuts and the wine, at town or country mansion, club, or coffeehouse, he heard and recorded many important and curious things. In his Diary vivid descriptions are given of men who led the revolutionary movement in France. Mirabcau’s meeting with Edmund Burke is delightfully described, and there is nothing of their kind in literature finer than the stories of the death of Burke’s son Richard, and the great statesman’s relations with his wife — ‘My dear Jane.’
Farington and others give, from personal observation, remarkable wordpictures of Napoleon in his heyday and decline; and Josephine’s convincing opinion of the Emperor finds a place. The difference between the characters of Wellington and Blücher is aptly illustrated, and there are numerous entries relating to Nelson, Howe, Hood, and ot her naval commanders.
Politicians come and go in the Diary, and their success or failure is faithfully recorded in its pages. We learn what the King thought of Chatham’s writing; Pitt is a great figure seen in a new light; the amours of Charles Fox are delicately referred to, and we learn much about his association with the democratic movements that disturbed England in the seventeen-nineties.
Literature is fully represented. Dr. Johnson was dead before Farington began his Diary, but memories of the ‘Great Cham’ are given by James Boswell, whose obiter dicta occupy considerable space. There is a charming description of Mr. and Mrs. Piozzi’s home at Streatham; also of Lord Orford’s life, and his treasures at Strawberry Hill, which Pope called ‘a Gothic Vatican of Greece and Rome.’ The fifth Earl of Chesterfield’s opinion of Wordsworth’s poetry is bluntly expressed; we learn that Wordsworth thought very little of Sir Walter Scott’s romances, and Farington’s account of Coleridge’s glib, but confusing, tabletalk is ‘curiously confirmative of some of the well-known impressions of Lamb, Hazlitt, and Carlyle.’
Sheridan, Byron, and Anacreon (Tom) Moore also have a place in the Diary. Mrs. Siddons explains why William Combe, author of The Tours of Dr, Syntax, thought her ‘penurious in the extreme’; her alleged intimacy with Sir Thomas Lawrence shocks the painter’s friends; Hoppner, R.A., says that Mrs. Jordan afforded very little entertainment in company, and that Jack Banister, the celebrated actor, was an amusing mimic, but ‘in understanding, an ordinary man.’ Sir Joshua Reynolds and Gainsborough are the subjects of many valuable entries; and important questions are settled with regard to the latter’s wife and his picture of the Blue Boy, which is now in America.
There is much to interest Americans in the Diary. Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley, his son (the future Lord Lyndhurst), Trumbull the artist, and Robert Fulton the inventor of the first submarine, all Americans, figure in it prominently, and there arc notable references to the War of Independence and the growth of the new Republic. Particularly moving is the scene where George III, in presence of the Queen, discusses with Benjamin West the possible loss of the American Colonies and its effect.
Apart from the Diary, which dates from July 13, 1793, to December 30, 1821, there is a large number of letters, and small notebooks containing all sorts of scraps and fragments — mémoires pour servir, in their place and way. The most readable parts of these little volumes contain records made during Farington’s sketching excursions. One of the entries of special interest may be printed. On July 20, 1792, — the year before the Diary began, — he dined with Air. Riddle at Friars Carse, near Dumfries. Robert Burns also was a guest. Here is how he appeared to Farington: —
Mr. Burns, the Scottish Poet, At present an Exciseman in Dumfries, on £70 a year. He is married, and has a family. He is a middle-sized man, black complexioned, and his general appearance that of a tradesman or mechanic. He has a strong expressive manner of delivering himself in conversation. He is not acquainted with the Latin language. His father was a gardener in Ayrshire.
The foregoing statement does not adequately present the varied interest of the Diary. Few things escaped Farington’s eyes, and his ears were ever open to what was well worth hearing. Goldsmith’s Vicar was as a child in knowledge compared with Farington. We wonder how the latter’s handsome head held the half of what he knew; and wonder still more how he, singlehanded, found time in his otherwise busy life to write with meticulous care the human and historical documents that make the Diary invaluable for all time. Farington is not content with recording after-dinner talks across the walnuts and the wine. At every public or private dinner that he attended, howsoever unimportant, he drew a plan of the table, — round or square or oblong, — and wrote down the name at the place occupied by each one of the party. Only those, indeed, who have seen the original volumes of the Diary can realize its importance, and the genius of Joseph Farington.
The last entry in his Diary is dated Sunday, December 30, 1821, the day of his tragic death, at the age of seventyfour. The words run: —
rose 10 after 8 — a dull moist morning. Thermr. at noon 44 1/2. Wind West. Didsbury Church I went to morn’g and afternoon, my Brother remaining at home on acct. of his cold, and Eliza being unwell. At Didsbury Church I spoke to Mrs. Geo. Philips, Mr. & Mrs. Fieldin, & Mr. Birleg.
Following this, on the same page, his niece wrote: —
Mark the uncertainty of this life!!! My venerable respected and affectionately regarded Uncle — So wrote his day’s notes, —previous to setting out for the Evening Service at Didsbury Church — from which it was the Will of Heaven he should not return in life!!
The Service concluded, he was descending from the Gallery where his Brothers Pew was — but his hands encumbered with Hat Umbrella and prayer book — His feet equally So with Golloshes he was unable to recover from a slip of his feet and went down the flight of stairs with great rapidity and force,— Such as to project him beyond the Stairs — So that his head came with heavy fall on the pavement of the Church floor — the vital spark was gone. He — neither looked, spoke, moved — or breathed again.
Such was the Will of God — and doubtless all in Mercy — Of a nervous temperament, illness affected my good Uncle greatly — and would have embittered the decline of a life — which had long been preparing as was evinced by his Conduct, and writing, for that Future State — So as to be by
Ready to Depart!!
EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY — 1793-1815
The first paragraph in the Diary refers to Horace Walpole, and Mary and Agnes Berry, his ‘Twin-Wives’ — his ‘Dear Both.’ In 1788, Walpole, then seventy years of age, met the sisters, and yielded to their witcheries. He spoke of Mary as ‘an angel both inside and out,’ and he lavished every term of endearment upon them. He was ready to go through the formal ceremony of marriage with either, ‘to make sure of their society and confer rank and honour on the family.’ The sisters were more than society beauties. Mary, particularly, was very clever. She wrote copiously, her most important work being on A Comparative View of the Social Life of England and France, from the Restoration of Charles the Second to the French Revolution. Although twice sought in marriage, she remained single, and died at midnight, November 20, 1852. A marble bust of her is one of Mrs. Darner’s finest works.
July 13, 1793. — Went early this morning in company with Mr. George Dance [R.A.], the Architect, and Portrait Draughtsman and Mr. Samuel Lysons [eminent Antiquary] of the Temple, to Lord Orfords at Strawberry Hill, where we breakfasted with his Lordship. In the forenoon Mr. Dance made a drawing of his Lordship’s profile, an excellent resemblance. Lord Orford is now in his 76th year, infirm in his body, but lively and attentive in mind. He went into the different apartments with us, and we were very much pleased with the singularity of the appearance of them, as well as with a variety of curios and valuable miniatures, some larger pictures, and sundry articles, particularly with a silver bell enriched with carving by Benvenuto Cellini. [The bell, ascribed to Cellini, was bought in at £252 in the Strawberry Hill Sale, 1842.] Mr. Berry and his two daughters [Mary and Agnes] came to dinner at 4 oClock. They are near neighbours to Lord Orford, and reside in a house in which the late Mrs. Clive, the actress, dwelt. It belongs to Lord Orford, who gave it to Mrs. Clive during the latter part of her life, and since her death to Mr. Berry, to be a country house for him and his daughters [‘so that the Earl, then over seventy-two, could enjoy their society without the ridicule or the trouble of marriage,’ to use Miss Mary’s phrase].
July 20. — Went to breakfast at Mr. Piozzi’s at Streatham [Piozzi married Mrs. Thrale, Dr. Johnson’s friend]. In the Library at Streatham are 3/4 portraits, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, of Lord Sandys, Lord Westcote, Mr. Murphy, Dr. Goldsmith, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Robert Chambers (Judge in Bengal), Mr. Garrick, Mr. Thrale, Mr. Baretti, Dr. Burney, father of Fanny Burney [author of Evelina], Mr. Burke, and Dr. Johnson. Over the chimney piece wholelength portraits of Mrs. Piozzi and her eldest daughter, Miss Thrale [‘Queenie,’ who became Viscountess Keith]. Mr. Piozzi obligingly played on the pianoforte and sung in a charming taste. He is a very obliging, unaffected man, and as much English as a foreigner can be in manner and way of thinking. He and Mrs. Piozzi are nearly of t he same age, somewhere about 50. Miss Harriet Lee, authoress of a novel called Errors of Innocence, wason a visit to them. — Mrs. Piozzi received from Cadell, the Bookseller, £150 for the Manuscript of her Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson, and £500 for her Letters from Italy. Cadell lost by the publication. — Mrs. Piozzi subscribed 2 guineas towards the monument proposed to be erected to the memory of Johnson.
September 13. — The Prince of Wales on Sunday [at Brighton] gave a dinner to the Officers of his Regiment and some others. He sat at the head of the table and had three Vice-Presidents, one at the bottom and two in the centre of the table. He commenced the jollity after dinner by drinking 10 bumper toasts, out of glasses, 6 of which held a bottle. This jollity continued till 12 at night, from 6, when they dined, the music playing at the outside of the pavilion. The French may retort on us for a contempt of Sunday.
September 15. — Called on Lawrence R.A. . . . Sir Gilbert Eliott [afterwards Lord Minto] told Lawrence that he was at school or an Academy with the celebrated Mirabeau. Sir Gilbert introduced him, when he visited England, to Mr. Burke. It was very singular to see Mirabeau and Burke in controversy. Mirabeau could speak little English, Burke, French imperfectly. Yet these celebrated men argued with as much earnestness and continuation as if they had been speaking a language common to both. Mirabeau was astonished at the eloquence and force with which Burke expressed his meaning, though he could only do it by uniting words of different languages. — While Mirabeau was in England, Sir Gilbert was often called upon to get him out of scrapes. — Sir Gilbert lost 4 or 500 pounds by him.
October 26. — Hamilton [R.A.] was well acquainted with Marat [who was killed in his bath by Charlotte Corday] and with Brissot [also a Revolut ionary leader: he was guillotined] when they were in England (in 1775). Hamilton studied under Zucchi [R.A.], to whose house Marat came in the most familiar manner, a knife and fork being laid for him every day. He borrowed from Zucchi at different times about £500, which he could not repay. He professed himself a physician and cured Bonomi, the architect, of severe complaints twice or three times. He had an original way of thinking in his professional capacity, as was observed by the apothecary who made up the medicines, and acted against common rules. He was a little man, about the size of Cosway [R.A.], the painter, slender but well made. Of a yellow aspect and had a quick eye. He had a great deal of motion, seldom keeping his body or limbs still. He was thin, discontented, and abused the establishments which existed. This was about 18 years ago, when Marat appeared about 40 years of age. Zucchi at that time courted Angelica Kauffmann, the artist, and frequently took Marat with him in the evenings, when he went to visit her.
November 5. — I was informed at Chertsey that Mr. [Charles James] Fox and Mrs. Armstead pass a great deal of their time at St. Anne’s Hill. Mrs. Armstead is described to be a very agreeable woman and highly accomplished, and towards fifty years of age. Mr. Fox has a natural son about nineteen years old, very like him, but unhappily he is both deaf and dumb. The young man frequently comes to St. Anne’s Hill to see his father. Mr. Fox has also a daughter, a little girl of seven or eight years of age, of whom Mrs. Armstead is very fond, though not her daughter. This girl is cross-eyed, otherwise pretty.
Marchant [R.A.] passed the evening with me, and told me He had lately passed two days at St. Anne’s Hill with Mr. Fox and Mrs. Armstead. — Their manner of living is, to breakfast at 9, dine at 4, — Coffee and tea soon after 6, then walk, then cards, and slight supper at 9, and to bed at 10. Their table plain. — A little girl, a daughter of Mr. Fox, but not by Mrs. Armstead, was there. Mr. Fox spoke of the Arts, and said Commerce must support them. He entertains the highest opinion of Sir Joshua Reynolds, — and thinks very favourably of Northcote & Opie. — Of [Benjamin] West He spoke with contempt and thinks slightly of the works of Fuseli. [Fox married his mistress, Elizabeth Bridget Cane, or Armstead, about 179.5, but kept the marriage secret until 1802.]
November 6.— Angelica Kauffman [R.A.], the paintress, made about £14,000 while she resided in England. Her application was very constant. Zucchi [also a Foreign Artist] made about £8,000 while he was in England. Angelica is about 48 years of age, Zucchi is near 70 years old. [They were afterwards married.]
Air. Tickel, the celebrated author of the pamphlet called Anticipation [an imaginary debate in the House of Commons], published during the American War, and some beautiful pieces of poetry [He was also responsible for parts of the Rolliad], on Monday last threw himself out of a window of the attick storey in the Fount Court of Hampton Court, and dashed the back part of his head to pieces. His carriage was waiting for him at the time to bring him to the Stamp Office, where he had a place, and Mrs. Tickel, a beautiful woman, was in the room. Distressed circumstances and an apprehension of being arrested, it is said, is the cause of this momentary phrenzy.
November 7. — Boswell told me it was not by advice of any medical friend that Dr. Johnson was induced to leave off drinking wine. A constant apprehension which he had, of becoming insane, made him fear the consequence of continuing the use of it. Yet he often declared he had never been known to have been intoxicated, though he said he once at College drank three bottles at a sitting. Boswell and Humphry [R.A.] proposed a small Society for the Winter, to meet at each other’s houses, not to exceed 8 persons. Boswell, Humphry, myself, George Dance, and [Edmund] Alalone were mentioned to begin with.
November 15. — Information came from Baris last night of the death of the Duke of Orleans, who was executed at Paris on the 6th of this month. He dined at the Royal Academy, with the Prince of Wales, a few years since, at one of the great Annual Exhibition Dinners, and it happened a wholelength portrait of him, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was placed above the seat on which he sat on the Prince’s right hand. The picture is a very fine one, a whole-length in an Hussar dress, and a remarkable likeness, which everybody acknowledged who then had an opportunity of comparing it with the original. The Picture was painted for the Prince of Wales and was placed in Carlton House, till the detestable conduct of the Duke, in what related to the late King of France, caused the Prince to have it taken down, and it is now in some private apartment in Carlton House. The Prince moved about the same time to have him expelled from the Je nc sais quoi Club held at the Star and Garter [in Pall Mall], which was immediately done, and his name scratched out by one of the waiters. He was 50 years of age — born in 1743.
November 17. — In 1788, when I was at the Marquiss of Graham (now Duke of Montrose), he told me, when he was abroad and at Paris, he was sometimes of the late Duke of Orleans parties, which he made for a select number of his acquaintance, and that ladies were included. These assemblies were held at one or other of his country houses, near Paris. The Marquiss observed that he never saw a man so well preserve the dignity of his rank as the Duke did in the midst of scenes of great freedom and voluptuousness.
December 20. — Went to the Club. Seventeen Members present. Before dinner Mr. West desired Mr. Tyler and Copley and myself to go into another room, where he informed us that on Thursday evening he went to Sir William Chambers, and that after a long conversation he had prevailed on Sir William to agree to the proposed plan for a celebration. That Sir William and he had been this morning at nine o’clock with his Majesty, when Mr. West delivered the paper of resolutions and inclosed in it the estimate. The King read the first through and then looked over the estimate, and said the Academy should not be disappointed, and that the estimate of expence was very moderate.
In the course of the evening I mentioned to the Members present my wish, and I knew it to be the wish of others, that a uniform dress [the French Academicians wear a green uniform] should be worn by Members of the Ro} al Academy at all their public meetings, which would give an impressive respectability to them, and in a becoming way distinguish them as a body. Nollekens said he would second my motion, and all appeared disposed to concur in it. I mentioned that formerly such an idea had been held by Sir Joshua Reynolds, &c., and that they proposed that gowns should be worn. I thought this would be carrying it too far, and that a blue coat, with some distinction of collar, cuff, and button would be sufficient, and would subject the Members to no real addition of expence, as the coat might be worn in common if the cape were taken off. [Uniform dress was never worn by the Royal Academicians.]
December 21. — [After wasting much time in useless palaver, a fitting address to the King was prepared, thanks to the commonsense of Farington and Boswell. The address settled, Farington and Tyler, R.A., went, on December 23] . . . to the Freemasons Tavern and spoke to Richold [who afterwards charged for more people than were present] about the dinner to be prepared for the celebration. The great annual Exhibition Dinner is charged at half a guinea a head, the desert included, but on account of this being a much dearer season He proposed that half a crown eacli should be allowed for the desert, making the whole thirteen shillings a head. If 54 persons dine on that day He thinks the whole expence of the entertainment will be about sixty guineas. Champaigne is become very dear and scarce since the French troubles began, but as it has been customary we ordered it should be served once round.
January 16, 1794. — This day died Edward Gibbon, Esqre., Professor of ancient History in the Royal Academy. He was in his 57th year. [On January 24 Farington wrote] Lysons told us Ld. Orford was with Gibbon two days before he died. That at the time He was in good spirits, and had no apprehension of his approaching end. Gibbon died of a mortification, occasioned by a Hydrocele, of 16 years growth. It had increased without his noticing the apparent distension, and he noticed with surprise, at last, people looking towards that part, not being sensible of the size, which was equal to that of a man’s head. It became necessary to open it at last, but the parts were then in such a state as to cause a mortification. Gibbon by will bequeathed the whole of his fortune to a young Swiss man. He did not even mention in his will, Lord Sheffield, his particular friend, or any of the few relations he left behind.
June 3. — Went into Sir Wm. Chambers Box and heard Burke speak against Hastings; this is the 3d. day of his reply. Windham read for him. — Grey in the Box part of the time, no other managers came. — Francis sat at the end of the Managers Box. — Mr. Hastings was writing or reading the whole time, and appeared to pay no direct attention to Burke. — Markham was in the Councils Box, and He was much alluded to as being the agent on the Station where the abuse was committed. — But few Commons attended and only abt. 23 or 4 Lords. — The Galleries were well filled. Several relaxations in dress since the beginning of the trial. Grey came into the Managers Box in Boots and Spurs. Several peers came upon the throne behind the Chancellor without Robes, Lord Albemarle in boots.
June 11. — Last night Sir Roger Curtis arrived at the Admiralty from Ld. Howe, announcing a great victory gained over the French fleet of 26 sail of the line, by the British fleet of 25. The Battle was fought on Sunday June 1st. — 6 ships were taken and two sunk, — wiht. the loss of one British ship. The papers this morning reported the news. [Here is the French version of the Battle]: June 24. — An acct. came to-day from Paris, stating Barrere’s report to the Convention of the Arrival of the victualling fleet from America consisting of 116 sail, which entirely removes all apprehension of famine from France.—He also gave an acct. of the late Xaval engagement, which He called glorious for France. That the English had 14 sail of the line more than the French, yet left the scene of action to them. That the French had 7 sail dismasted, which He fears are lost. — But the English had Ten dismasted, which wd. have boon taken but for the cowardice of certain French Captains, which are sent to Paris for trial. “ So much for a specimen of French representation as a Republic.
At 2 o’clock in the morning [June 11] we were knocked up to put out lights. — Many windows were broke. The Illuminations became general. Lord Stanhopes windows were smashed.
June 12. — Fuseli came to me . . . and afterwards dined with me — & we walked out to see the illuminations which to-night were general and began early. The streets undisturbed by mobs and no windows broke.
June 13. — Illuminations were again general this evening — the third night.
July 1. — Mr. Trumbull, the Artist, is arrived from America, and comes in the capacity of secretary to Mr. [John] Jay the Ambassador, to settle the differences which have risen between the two countries lately. — Mr. Trumbull said everything seemed to promise fair for a settlement. He said the prudence of Mr. Washington prevented resolutions from being passed in America of such a nature as would have produced a war between the two countries.
He spoke of Tom Paine with aversion. His temporary pamphlet, entitled Common Sense, gave Tom for a while credit in America, but He was at last seen through to be a man disposed by nature to disturb the peace and order of society.
The Arts are likely to be well encouraged in America. Stuart, who is now at New York, & well employed. — His prices are not so great as He had in England, but his expences arc proportionately more reasonable.
America thrives rapidly, towns increase in size, and people grow rich. Very bad accts. were received to-day from Flanders. The French have defeated the Prince of Saxe-Coburgh, and Charleroi surrendered in consequence. Brussells, it is said, is also in their possession. The Duke of Yorks Army of British and Hanoverians, seems to be in a dangerous situation in the neighbourhood of Toilrnay. It is said to consist of 12,000 men, almost surrounded by the French. A later account says, ‘It appears the Allies are retreating from the French in every quarter.’
July 31, 1794. — Lord Orford mentioned many particulars relative to the late Mr. Topham Beauclerc [the celebrated wit]. He said He was the worsttempered man He ever knew. — Lady Di passed a most miserable life with him. Lord O., out of regard to her, invited them occasionally to pass a few days at Strawberry Hill. — They slept in separate beds. — Beauclerc was remarkably filthy in his person, which generated vermin. — He took Laudanum regularly in vast quantities. — He seldom rose before one or two o’clock. — His principal delight was in disputing on subjects that occurred; this lie did accutelv. Before He died He asked pardon of Lady Di, for his ill usage of her. — He had one son and two daughters by Lady Di. — One married Lord Herbert, the second went abroad with her Brother, Lord Bolingbroke.
August 3. — Richd. Burke, only child of Edmund, died yesterday. He had been elected member for Malton in the room of his Father, 10 days since. August 9. — Marchi [assistant to Sir Joshua Reynolds] said the grief of Burke on the loss of his Son was excessive. He cd. not be kept from the room in which the corpse lay, and after viewing threw himself on the bed in agonies, and was so weakened by his greif He could scarcely stand. — Burkes servants thought the journey and business of the election in Yorkshire had hastened his end. He had sickness in the night which He desired his servant to conceal from his Father. He was 36 years old.
Lady Inchiquin this morning [September 30] described to me the death of Young Burke.
Two days only before his death He was removed to Brompton, and it was not till then that his Father was sensible of his danger. — On that day He died He heard his Father so loud in his expressions of greif in the next room, as himself to be much moved by it. He ordered his servant to dress him and make him appear as well as He could. He then walked into the next room to his Father and addressed him on his allowing his greif so to overcome him. ‘You unman me, Sir, by it, — recollect yourself, — come in to me, and talk to me of religion, or on some other subject.’
They returned together, and being seated, the young man said, ‘my Heart flutters.’—Hearing a noise like rain He said does it rain? His Father replied no, it is the wind — again hearing it He said surely it is rain, No said the Father, it is the wind among the trees. — The Son then began to repeat that part of the morning Hymn, from Milton [.Paradise Last, Book V], beginning with: —
Breathe soft, or loud; and wave your tops, ye Pines!
With ev’rv plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains! and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs! Warbling tunc Ins praise
While proceeding in repeating that Hymn, He sunk forward into his Father’s arms and expired. Mrs. Burke came in at this distressing moment.
Walter King wrote the eulogium on Young Burke, published in the papers.
(The diarist’s record will be continued from 1795-1815 in the Atlantic for February)