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Lord Harcourt (fl. 1763-1791) to Catharine Macaulay

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01794.15 Author/Creator: Lord Harcourt (fl. 1763-1791) Place Written: Harcourt House Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 22 June 1783 Pagination: 4p. ; 19 x 15 cm.

Summary of Content: He mentions the recent conclusion of her great histories as models for future historical work. He expresses his annoyance with Parliament and their useless debates.

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: June 22d: - 83
Yesterday I was honoured with your obliging letter, and valuable present, which was highly acceptable to me, not only from the certainty of receiving both instruction ...and entertainment from every production of your spirited and nervous pen, but likewise as being a fresh mark of that friendship and regard I have so repeatedly experienced on many occasions, and on which I justly set so great a price.
It is with difficulty, Madam, that I can write to you without repeating what I have so often said before, with respect to the great and astonishing work you have lately brought to a conclusion so honourable to yourself, & which might be productive of the greatest [2] advantages to this country, did it know how to avail itself of your instruction, and would future historians take you for their model, instead of following the past epigrammatic, or the nauseaus preferred styles, at present in vogue - your last task was a difficult one indeed, and therefore I particularly admire the courage and address with which you extricated yourself out of it; for without meanly corecting either party at the expence of truth and humanity, and without attacking with rude & violent hands either of their Idols, you content yourself with proving, to the conviction of all unprejudiced persons, that they were not the proper objects of admiration, and if after this men will still continue admire, the reason can only be that their blindness is incurable.
I left London on a sudden, or should have done myself the honour of previously paying my respects to you; as for the [3] amusements of the town, I partake but of few of them, and those few I can always leave without regret, and as for Parliament, & particularly that branch of it, in which I have a voice, my opinion of it is such, that unless things should greatly change, I shall no longer attend their useless debates, nor have I been in the House since I gave my vote for the Peace; for I almost disbelieve in the existence of political honesty, and think the nation in general as despicable, and as callous to all sense [struck: add] [inserted: of] honour & dignity, as the wretches they chuse to represent them, or even as the Bishops, & peers themselves.
Ly Harcourt desires me (with her compts) to return her thanks for your obliging message, and to add that [inserted: she] would certainly have waited on you, had I not prevented it, by the information I gave her relative to the troublesome occupation of [4] preparing your philosophical work for the press.
Pray give my Comopts: to Mr: Graham, and allow me the honour of assuring you, Madam, of my most sincere esteem and respect.

June 1783
Earl Harcourt
[address leaf:]
Mrs: Macaulay
Graham High Row No: 1
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People: Macaulay, Catharine, 1731-1791

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Literature and Language ArtsRevolutionary WarMilitary HistoryForeign AffairsGovernment and CivicsWoman AuthorGlobal History and Civics

Sub Era: Road to Revolution

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