GREVILLE [née Macartney], Frances (1727?–1789), poet. AL (part) 1771

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GREVILLE [née Macartney], Frances (1727?–1789), poet. Incomplete autograph letter, missing the last page, 4 sides, 4to, to "My Lord" [George Townsend, Viceroy of Ireland], Wilbury, August 26th 1771. A long (and in part, flirtatious) letter touching upon friends, family and politics, etc "I received your letter with infinite pleasure but since I can't cure you of Philandering me I wish I could at least cure myself of the strong propensity I have to think you mean to laugh a little at your humble servant, my vanity would find it's account in such a want of modesty, for if flattery is palatable even from different persons how grateful must it be from those on whose opinion one sets a high value"............"As to what you ask concerning Lord S[uffolk ?]. I am told he makes only two Members and his secretary Mr. W. has a seat which he bought. I did hear, but with what truth I know not, that Lord N[orth]. seemed to incline most to that set of people that belonged to G. G. [George Grenville?] I do not believe that ever was a syllable of truth in any of the reports of this going out and this I am sure of from people very nearly connected with him; that he was remarkably satisfied his M's favour and protection even at a time when some who should have known much better looked upon him as on the eve of being dismissed" .......... "Everyone here is astonished at your success, and I think my Lord since you have so good a hand at these matters you had better come over to help us, but I don't believe you wish, therefore I shall, one of these days go and claim your promise of visiting the lake of Kilarney." ......... "Before I conclude I must remind you of the obligation you said you would confer on me in the person of my unfortunate cousin; when you can without inconvenience to your own plans grant him the little thing I requested you will make a brave and worthy man very happy". Despite the missing end of this letter, the opening of the last paragraph suggests that most of the matters are dealt with. Split along fold.

Probably born in Ireland, the daughter of James Macartney (1692–1770), Irish MP, and Catherine Coote (d. 1731), Frances Macartney was beautiful, spirited, and celebrated for her clever verses. In 1747 she met the popular socialite and man of fashion Fulke Greville (1717–1806), of Wilbury in Wiltshire, who she eloped with and married. The writer Fanny Burney described her as ‘pedantic, sarcastic, and supercilious’, but to the few who possessed her favour, ‘she was a treasure of ideas and of variety’. Her husband gambled away his fortune, and following the death of their son Robert in 1768, he returned to England from his diplomatic post in Munich, in a state of collapse, and ruin ensued in 1782, when Wilbury was sold. Fances took refuge in Ireland, and by 1788 a legal separation was effected. ODNB

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