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Earl of Buchan (1742–1829) to Catharine Macaulay

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01794.05.01 Author/Creator: Earl of Buchan (1742–1829) Place Written: London, England Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 12 February 1769 Pagination: 2p ; 25.3 x 20.2 cm

Summary of Content: Typed Copy of GLC 01794.05 The 11th Earl of Buchan, David Steuart Erskine, (1742–1829)

Background Information: A full inventory is available.

After the death of her husband George Macaulay in 1766, Catharine Macaulay married an Anglican minister William Graham. Letters from her female descendents are in GLC 1795. ...Notable in that collection are letters of her daughter, Catharine Sophia Macaulay [Gregorie], to Macaulay while the latter toured America and France. This collection of Lady Catharine's correspondence was broken-up for public sale in 1993. The Gilder Lehrman Collection has also acquired other letters written to her, including GLC 1784.01-1800.04. There are approximately 190 items between these accession numbers. GLC 1784-1793 and 1796-1800 are individual documents written by important American figures including John Adams, Ezra Stiles, John Dickinson, William Cooper, Richard Henry Lee, Mercy Otis Warren and the pseudonymous "Sophronia." Most of the documents relate to the events leading the Revolution. A few, notably the letters from Mercy Otis Warren and "Sophronia" concern the new Constitution and the French Revolution.See More

Full Transcript: Madam,
Feb. 12th 1769
I had the Honor of your's & [struck: should] [inserted: ought to] have returned my thanks for it sooner had I not been desirous to read your fourth ...Volume before I [struck: should] [inserted: write] to you. I have now done so, & when I tell you that I approve highly of it, I tell you nothing that can flatter you, for your reputation is far above that Standard to which my Applause could add any weight-Give me leave to add that Partial as I may be well supposed to be to any production of yours, a short & simple approbation without any warm Eulogys, from one who is so sparing as I am of these figures in Rhetoric is more Significant than the Rhapsodys of a Modern Puffer.
I have Seen a letter from [2] A Young American within these few days of the name of Rusk, of whom you have made an entire Conquest; & that too in a manner by which very few Ladies of my Acquaintance extend their empire: He gives a long Account of a Conversation you honord him with & is so full of it that he even sent down a Card of invitation you sent him to Breakfast, because it was wrote with your own hand as a Curiosity to his Friend.
You will allow from this Specimen that you stand Very high in Mr Rush's opinion, & I only mention it as a great Student of Human Nature to Show the effects Of uncommon Talents on Minds that can Apprehend them.
I remember I never was more flattered then by overhearing Some common people in the Streets disputing whither it was I who passd by them one of them Alledging that I was a tall stately Gentleman. You [3] I am Sure are a Figurative Gyant & I wish I was So, as thro the Channels of Truth & of Virtue it is the greatest object of my Ambition.
Among my Acquaintances here I have found one Lady who has read your last Volume with Conviction, & is likely to become a Convert to more principles which are So rarely to be met with in your Sex. I have heard an Eminent Sportsmen Say that Hares had a pleasure in being hunted, it would Seem as if the Same Instinct prevaild amongst the more timid half of the Human Kind for you are all advocates in general-for that Enthrallment which in Some particular Cases you wish to elude; I had a letter lately from Dr Pristly the author of the Essay on Government, in which are contained many Excellent Sentiments [4] with respect to Civil & Religious Liberty, But I thought him Guilty of Some dangerous Errors with respect to the papist Superstition which gave me great pain in the present State of it & which made me take the liberty to Send him Some strictures on those Passages. I do not expect that in the Midst of So much more Important occupations you Should take the trouble to answer my letters, at any time except when your other Avocations will Easily permit you. I shall inform you in what studies I am employed & for what Purposes Soon, But my health is so very indifferent, & I am so often attacked with Returns of my headaches that I am much retarded in my Progress, But how ever Or wherever I may be I shall remain with great Truth, Madam
Yr Obliged Servnt

[docket #1:]
Febry 12 1769 -
[docket #2:]
A Letter from
the Earl of Buchan
Feb. 12 1769
[address leaf:]
Mrs. Macaulay
Berner Street Oxford Road
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People: Macaulay, Catharine, 1731-1791

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Women's HistoryLiterature and Language ArtsGlobal History and CivicsForeign Affairs

Sub Era: Road to Revolution

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