23. Robert Bloomfield to Capel Lofft, 5 March 1800*
London, March 5th 1800
I yesterday waited on his Grace the Duke of Grafton in obedience to your letter of the 2nd inst. I found (accompanied with a present) the utmost condescension and goodwill expressd by his Grace, as well as by two ladies present. After about half an hour's conversation the Duke very generously asked if I could name any Books which I might have a desire to see. I mentioned 'Burns' Poems,' to which the Duke added several others, and the younger lady added 'Mrs. Barbauld's,' some others they proposed to add to the list which his Grace wrote with a pencil, at the same time taking my address; with a request that I would wait on him again in ten days and receive the Books, and (to use his own words) 'and by that time we shall be a little Better acquainted, and you will have thought more what may be most agreeable to be done further.'
I this day received a letter from Mr Walker, of Conduit Street, highly flatering to myself, and accompanied with a ticket of admission to his lecture and exhibition at the Hay market Theatre, and an invitation to call at his house. These high tokens of respect I trace to you, Sir, as the prime cause of my gratifications and my advantages too.
Copies of the poem I received last night from Mr Hood, and I now send a copy to my Mother, Brothers &c, the Duke of Grafton speaks in the highest possible commendation of the execution of the work; and everyone allows, that, printed in this splendid manner, the piece has a very striking appearance. It is larger and more beautifull than I had conceived. I had not seen the poem, and consequently not the preface, when I waited on the Duke. My thanks, Sir, will be best expressed in my future conduct. the prospects before me and my present encouragements are a real blessing to my family, and I write in the enjoyment of feelings which I will not endeavour to express, but remain,
Most worthy Sir, your Obedient Servant,