"Our Supreme Governors, The Mob"
Context: Walpole is generally considered one of the greatest of English letter writers, along with William Cowper and Thomas Gray. He wrote literally thousands of letters, and very few of them fail to be enlivening. In addition to his ability to be generally entertaining, he usually shows in his letters brilliance, charm, wit, humor, and a wide-ranging knowledge including literature, politics, society, and art. Following his years at Cambridge (1735–1739) he made the traditional grand tour of Europe and, while in Florence, met Horace Mann. Although they never met again, they maintained an extensive correspondence. This letter, charming and gossipy, contains an allusion to anti-French sentiment in England and is in response to a query by Mann concerning news of some social events in England:
You ask me about the marrying Princesses: I know not a tittle. Princess Louisa seems to be going, her cloths are bought; but marrying our daughters makes no conversation. For either of the other two, all thoughts seem to be dropped of it. The Senate of Sweden design themselves to choose a wife for their man of Lubeck.The City, and our supreme governors, the mob, are very angry that there is a troop of French players at Cliefden. One of them was lately impertinent to a countryman, who thrashed him. His Royal Highness sent angrily to know the cause. The fellow replied, "he thought to have pleased his Highness in beating one of them, who had tried to kill his father, and had wounded his brother"–This was not easy to answer.