Autograph letter signed ('Dorset') to Sir Robert [Smyth, 5th Bart, of Berechurch Hall], Paris, 6 July 1787, MENTIONING CRICKET; Dorset writes as ambassador in Paris to report on his efforts on behalf of Lady Gormanston, the uncertainty of his return to England, the prospects of war with France and of a daily post between Paris and London ('a cursed bad thing for Ambassadors who will be obliged to write so much oftener') and to complain of the heat and the tedium, 'Paris is quite a desert all the beaux and belles absent ... the weather goes confoundedly hot, too hot even for Cricket besides they have ploughed up la plaine de Sablonne' [i.e. 'la plaine des Sablons', adjoining the Bois de Boulogne], four pages, 4to, bifolium.

A prominent patron and proponent of cricket in the late 18th century, the Duke of Dorset (1745-1799) was one of the two idle aristocrats satirised in The Noble Cricketers (see lot 52), and 'an indolent and unremarkable ambassador to France' (ODNB) from December 1783. He seems to have made some progress in introducing the sport to France, participating in a match on the Champs Elysées which was reported in the Times in 1786. 'In 1789 he allegedly asked his friend the earl of Tankerville to bring a cricket side over to France. The team ... assembled at Dover in August but was met there by the duke hastily retreating from the preliminary skirmishes of the French revolution (op. cit.).

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