WALPOLE, Horace, 4th Earl of Orford (1717-1797). Autograph letter signed ('Horace Walpole') to [Thomas Pitt, 1st Baron Camelford], Strawberry Hill, 5 June 1764, in brown ink, including a long postscript on the last page, 6 pages, folio, integral leaf. Provenance: Thomas Pitt to George Grenville; Grenville papers deposited at Stowe; sold by 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos to Edwin James (his attorney) who sold the letter to John Murray, 1851; Sotheby's sale, 11 May 1970 (lot 231).
A long and impassioned defence of General [Henry Seymour] Conway, whose loyalty as a military commander has been impugned by George Grenville because of his principled stance against the Government: 'He has been as ill, as hardly, & as unjustly used as ever man was; & yet he will do whatever he thinks right, tho his behaviour may serve his bitterest enemies ... I was born free & will live and die so, in spite of patents & places. I may be ruined as Mr Conway has been, but I will preserve my honour inviolate ... You know the passion I have for Strawberry hill; but trust me at this moment I know I coud with pleasure see it sold, if reduced to it by suffering for my country and my principles'.
Published in Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. W.S. Lewis and J. Riely (1980), vol. 40, pp 330-337. Walpole wrote to Conway the same day, enclosing a copy of the present letter.