Letter from WILLIAM BURKE to JAMES BARRY, written 27 June 1766, at London

Source: Fryer, Works of Barry, i. 43-44.

Barry had now finished his copy of the picture at the Palais Royal by Eustache Le Sueur (c.1616-55), La maladie d’Alexandre [img] which he had promised to Edmund Burke. William Burke (1728-98), 'kinsman' to Edmund, who was also helping to finance Barry's studies on the Continent, had just been elected as member of parliament for Great Bedwyn on 16 June 1766.

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St. James's, June 27, 1766.

Dear Barry,

I do very heartily congratulate you on your at last obtaining the picture to copy, and have myself real obligations to all those through whose assistance you have succeeded. I must particularly beg you to make my compliments to Mr. Crammond1 for the very obliging letter he wrote to me on the subject, as well as for all the other trouble he so kindly took in the affair, and to assure him, that in any business he may have here, I shall readily take as much trouble for him.

Ned2 was extremely happy at the resolution you formed of being content to follow your original most faithfully. I do not pretend to give his reasons for this; I think, without being perhaps able to account well for it, there is good sense in so doing, but if I had ever so good an argument to support my opinion, I should not give it to you, as I only catch the time while my servant is now dressing me, to tell you that we are all well, and to mention what I know will give you pleasure, and what you will like to have under my own hand, that I am now in parliament.

There was one little word, my dear Barry, that dropt unawares; why are you at all to regret a point that gives us pleasure, do not you think it will one day be a satisfaction to yourself to be able to advance the cause of ingenuity? repine Repine not then that we have the good fortune of doing so, in having the pleasure of serving you.3 I am sure by this time you must more than have occasion for money, and pray don't make it necessary for us to press you, but draw immediately. Dick says, and I think truly, that he has wrote oftener than you seem to apprehend.4 He and all of us are well. Make our compliments to Colonel Drumgold,5 and let him know that his books are packed up, and wait only an opportunity of sending.—Yours go at the same time. Farewell, my dear Barry, and believe me, sincerely and affectionately,

Your friend and servant,

William Burke.