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31st November 1713

Dear Father,

I hope everything is going well in the city. Have you been able to find any leisure time between work and taking care of things at home? I’d imagine that it must be strange not having Mother around. The countryside is rather boring but perhaps this is due to me being bedridden. My fever’s stayed the same and my throat still hurts but Mum says the country air will do me good. Thank you for sending that copy of The Examiner. I’ve taken to reading these past few days. Do you remember when we read The Rape of the Lock together? How are you so sure that it was actually Alexander Pope who wrote it? Have you read many of his previous writings? Could you send some to me?
Mother said that she’s heard that Alexander Pope was sick quite frequently when he was a child. She said many people say he still gets quite sick now as well. I’ve been thinking a lot about him. Could you perhaps send The Rape of the Lock back with Mother next time she visits? Are you visiting soon? I know you have to make sure Anna is watched over. I wouldn’t want to get her sick as well. Mother says it’s very easy to spread sickness to other children. Anyways, I very much liked the article I read in the newspaper. I especially liked the quote, “I wish that our zeal for words would not make us forget the true nature of Things…” It’s true isn’t it Father? People do get lost in what they’re saying and they forget what it would actually mean to have it be an action. The paper seems to talk a lot about politics. You enjoy that topic don’t you Father? It seemed like the writer was trying to say that political opinions should not be prioritized over virtue and moral duty. I always thought politics and government went hand in hand, but perhaps it’s more complicated then that. It’s a difficult balance I suppose. Between doing what’s right politically and then what’s right morally. There was a term I didn’t quite understand though Father, what’s “The Damon of Party”? I thought there were only two parties, the Whigs and the Tories?
Well, I’ve run out of things to write to you about. Could you please write back soon? What’s the name of the Chocolate House you frequent again? Mother and I can’t remember for some reason. Don’t worry about me, I promise to feel better. The air in the countryside is much cleaner than the air in the city. Could you please write again? Tell Anna I said ‘hello’.

Love your son,

George Allen Boyd



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6th December 1713

Dear Father,

Thank you for sending another issue of The Examiner and for the letter. Tell Anna I have the picture she drew of London on my nightstand. It’s a very good drawing for a six-year-old to have done. I’m feeling better but Mum’s worried about the rash on my tummy. The nurse, Lavinia, keeps telling us, “only time will tell.” Mum wants to get a doctor to have a look at me. Don’t tell her I told you this father but I overheard her and Lavinia whispering in the hallway and they were saying I could have either Influenza or Scarlett Fever. Mother sounded rather frightened at this prospect. I’m not sure what those are but at least it’s not something no one’s heard of. I heard they never truly found out what Mister Alexander Pope has. Do you think I’ll be sick like him for the rest of my life as well? If I could write like him I don’t think I’d mind it too much. I doubt he’d say the same.

I’m on the Canto II of The Rape of the Lock. Thank you for sending it along with Windsor Forest. The writer has such a way with words. I particularly love line 15, “ Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide: If to her share some female errors fall, Look on her face, and you’ll forget’em all.” I asked Mum if such a women exists and she said that they only exist within the deluded perspective of a few men. She told me that the poem is suppose to be a comedy, that the writer is making fun of factors that are superfluous. Perhaps I need to keep reading.

Thank you for telling us the name of the Chocolate House you’ve been going to. White’s Chocolate House! How could we have forgotten that? Is that where you’ve been buying the issues of The Examiner? I’ve been growing quite fond of it. Could you please keep sending it along with your letters? Will you please send more letters? I know you’re very busy with work and all, but if you could find the time it would be really lovely.

I liked the article in this edition more than I liked the one in the last. I never thought of separating the world into readers and writers like the article suggests. I would think a lot of people would be left out of that divide. Not many people have much time to do either. Perhaps I’m missing the bigger point. I thought this quote was particularly interesting, “Our wits and writers make a people of themselves, a vast innumerable multitude.” The world would be very different if there weren’t those individuals who sought out to write and inform others and express their opinions. I wonder how different the world would be if all anyone read were bible verses and vernacular poetry. The article mentioned something about the French King and how there was an article published in favor of him. I’m not entirely sure if this was a bad or good thing, however. Do we not like the French, Father? I suppose they have some rather eccentric customs but… Well, what do I know about the French? I’m only Thirteen after all. I also especially liked this quote from the article, “I care not how ill several of my fellow-scriblers write, so they do but write much, and take care of our health, by considering reading as a very wholesome bodily exercise.” I can only hope that the amount of reading I’ve been doing will help improve my health! I have been feeling better though Father, truly.

I’m beginning to feel rather tired now. Perhaps in your next letter you could tell me a bit more about your experiences in the White Chocolate House in London? Is it as merry and warm as I imagine it to be? Could you explain to me why this rivalry between the Whigs and Tories divide the country so pointedly? Politics can’t be everything, can they Father?

Love your son,
George Allen Boyd




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9th December 1713

Dear Father,

Has mother told you yet? I hope she has. The doctor believes I have influenza. It’s highly contagious. He’s advised Mother and Lavania to wash their hands and other items that I’ve touched as quickly as possible. It’s getting so cold here that I don’t understand how this type of advice would be wise. I suppose it’s good though that I’m not near Anna because she’s quite susceptible to it apparently. Perhaps my young age will benefit me and the outcome won’t be what it is usually accustomed to being. Lavinia says I shouldn’t dwell on it too much because it will bring my spirits down. Have I mentioned to you that she’s from France? I asked her how she became a nurse and she said that her husband is the doctor in town and that she helps him with his work like any married women would. She’s staying with us now as a type of quarantine I think. If she did contract the disease it won’t spread very far. I asked her if she missed her family in France but she told me to stop speaking and to rest my throat.

Thank you for your last letter Father. So, you don’t know what “The Damon of Party” is? Could you ask someone at White’s Chocolate House? Perhaps they’d know. It sounds like a lovely place to frequent. I suppose your explanation of their rivalry makes sense. Some people’s political opinions encompass their morals as well, which is why the divide gets so deeply drawn. I like to think, however, that people have more in common than they believe. Perhaps they’re just not looking at the situation from the right perspective.

It seems The Examiner is having a rather poor week. I didn’t know people could actually threaten a newspaper. Aren’t there many others they could read? I suppose anger can create passion as well. It would take a great deal of passion to write such enraged letters that the writer himself would have to address them. The writer seemed to be rather concerned about the number of negative responses he received. At least that’s what I understood from this statement, “The person of the Examiner… hath been so often and so severely threatened by those whose resentments [that] are to well grounded.” I would imagine that they have received these types of letters before, but I suppose they’ve had a surplus. Politics and differing views are important though. If we didn’t have different opinions and citizens fighting for those opinions persons and issues would be overlooked. I think that’s what he was trying to say when he said, “What would become of the poor wretch, if for the sins of the publick, the honest indolent Torries should again be trodden under foot, and both his and the nation’s enemies regain the advantageous heights.” It seems like he’s afraid of what would happen should the Whig party be in full control. He doesn’t really seem to approve of their stances and he seemed to be especially concerned about how the majority of the members consist of merchants and soldiers, both of whom would not be treated very well if the Whig party were to have full advantage of the government. Are the Whigs truly only concerned with the Wealthy? I’m sure there’s much more to them than that. Perhaps not though.

Lavania knows a bit about Mister Alexander Pope, which is nice to talk to her about. She said she and her husband enjoyed some his earlier works like Pastorals and Windsor Forest. She said that the scenic descriptions took her to another world even though, in Windsor, she was in the one that was being described. I never thought anyone would write about being here in Binsfield, but she told me that most of the Pope family resides here. Isn’t that amazing? She’s even seen him a few times because he’s frequently ill.

Please keep sending your letters and The Examiner. I’m sorry to have taken Mother from you and Anna. It’s probably been very difficult to not have her around. I’ll do my best to take care of her when I can. I hope we can be home for Christmas. Tell Anna I miss her terribly and that I would enjoy another drawing of hers to accompany the one on my nightstand. I miss you terribly as well Father.

Love your son,
George Allen Boyd




15th of December 1713

Dear Father,

The past few days have been difficult but I think I’ve surpassed the worst of it. I’m afraid, however, that Mother and Lavinia have gotten sick as well. It would probably be best if you and Anna don’t come and visit us for Christmas. I’ve been trying to help Lavania with Mother but I’m still not in the best condition to do so. You shouldn’t worry though; we’re both going to be fine. Lavinia knows what she’s doing from watching her husband work on so many patients. I’ve often wondered why they don’t have any children but Mother says I shouldn’t ask questions of such a personal nature. How are your affairs in London, Dad? Are you and Anna doing well? Tell her I loved her drawing of our Christmas tree just as much as the drawing she did of London.

Someone from The Examiner must be reading our letters because the article in this issue talked about the rivalry between the Whig and Tory party. Have you noticed if people at the firm are being divided by their political opinions? I thought this quote was rather interesting, “…this evil is chiefly of our own growth; and that we are the celebrated originals.” He has a point, doesn’t he? Separation and argument rarely create forward movements, they only cause further noise. Perhaps if we were to listen to each other’s needs and ideas more things would be addressed. I suppose it takes someone of great patience to listen to another person’s opinion if they have the expectation that they will not agree with it. I don’t know if it’s true, though, that they are the “originals”. There have always been differences and arguments, but hardly ever has there been unity. I didn’t quite understand why there was a sudden transition into the topic of translated classical literature, but it was interesting to read nonetheless. He has a fair point; some of the translations into English are very… clunky. This quote seems to cite his opinion quite well, “I have seen whole English Pamphlets translated almost word for word into Factious verse.” I don’t have the confidence to say that I’ve mastered Latin, French, or Greek quite yet but I certainly would rather read the classics in their original form of language.external image 287440.jpg

Did you know that Mister Pope was mostly educated at home? I pressed Lavinia into telling me about what she saw at his home and after a while she told me that he had a great deal of books in his room, but she wouldn’t tell me which ones. I’ve started reading Canto III of The Rape of Lock. I particularly love the nymphs observations of the court and line 15-16, “A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes; at every word a reputation dies.” Proper functions do tend to operate in such a way don’t they?

I hope the season treats you well Father. Please pray for Mother, Lavania, and I. My own prayers don’t seem to be doing enough. Send Anna my love. And please send another copy of The Examiner. If you find a copy of Windsor Forest, I’m sure Lavania would enjoy it if I read it to her.





Have a Happy Christmas.


Love your son,

George Allen Boyd








31st of January 1713

Dear Father,

It’s strange settling back into school here at St. Peter’s. I know London is only a few days away from York, but the distance feels much longer than that. We haven’t talked much since the funeral. Do you blame me for Mother’s passing? I wouldn’t blame you if you did. I do.
I have another letter enclosed in this envelope for Anna. Would you please read it to her? Please tell her I still have both of her drawings with me here at school. I’ve also been sending Lavinia letters. She’s doing quite well in Binsfield. I’ve taken to buying my own copies of The Examiner now. Would you like me to send it to you?
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In this issue they had a quote in Latin just below the title, “Respice quantum te reliqueris; inture quantum petis,” Look how much you have left within the demands of. I didn’t find the article to be particularly riveting, it was mainly arguing against what the Whig party is doing. The writer went on about how the Whigs are abusing the Queens, “lenity”, “Liberty”, and “Goodness”. The writer believed that, “…the publick proceedings of the faction cleared up this mistake; and plainly shew us that they have no regard to their country.” I’m not entirely sure what to believe. You’re a lawyer father, what do you believe England needs?

The quote in Latin, however, has stayed with me. In light of everything that’s happened perhaps focusing on what has been left is best.
I haven’t picked up The Rape of the Lock since my time in Binsfield, but I did today. I was reading Canto IV and the first few lines made me smile. Perhaps they will help you do the same?
“…Not scornful virgins who their charms survive, not ardent lovers robbed all their bliss, not ancient ladies when refused a kiss, not tyrants fierce than unrepenting die, not Cynthis when her manteau’s pinned awry, E’er felt such rage, resentment, and despair, as thou, sad virgin! For thy ravished hair.”

Please write soon.

Love your son,

George Allen Boyd





10th February 1713

Dear Father,

I haven’t heard back from you in quite a few weeks. How is Anna? Is everything alright? Did you receive my last letter with a copy of The Examiner? Did you read this months issue of it? I liked it so much I couldn’t bare to send you my only copy so I went to the Chocolate House here in York and bought another to send to you. Since the death of Dr. John Sharp the Lord Archbishop of York, everyone seems to be mourning his passing, especially here. I should have assumed that The Examiner would have been discussing it as well but I honestly was not expecting it.
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The writer spoke of death so elegantly and in some way I felt comforted by these words. He spoke of “imaginary Evils” and how many persons pay more attention to those “evils” than they would to “a real solid loss”. I could particularly relate to this quote,” But to us, who are left behind…to a church and nation surrounded with a boisterous sea… such a loss is a curse and a punishment…”

I think about Mum everyday but today I thought about her even more frequently. She might not have been a person in whom millions knew and loved, but without her it’s as if I’m on a rowboat in the middle of the Atlantic and I’m missing a paddle. Her passing feels like a punishment for something that I know nothing of. All of the good memories we shared seem to press into my chest like a weight of sorrow because I can’t make anymore new ones with her. All of the rows we had, not that they were many, seem like a waste of memory. I miss her. So terribly much. And if I feel like this I can’t imagine what you must be going through Father.

I also found quite a bit of comfort in this quote, “But death, in that shape, to wise and holly persons, mature in Years and virtues, comes in all the appearance of a welcome messenger, and bestows a favour from the Almightly; by calling up a faithful servant to higher and more durable honours, and to a place nearer Himself.”

So, perhaps we shouldn’t be quite so sad. Mother’s all right where she is.

Please write soon.

Love your son,

George Allen Boyd





3rd March 1713

Dear Father,

Thank you for writing back. I’m glad that you enjoyed the issue just as I did. I know work keeps you quite busy. There’s another letter enclosed for Anna. I think she should manage to read it by herself. She’s getting quite good at writing. Have you been teaching her? The lads and I have taken to reading The Rape of the Lock out loud to each other. Canto IV still remains my favorite. We had a particularly joyous time laughing at line 175, “Oh hadst thou, cruel! Been content to seize Hairs less in sight, or any hair but these!”
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I thought the article in this issue had been quite interesting, but more childishly biting than I care to read about. I do not mean to sound arrogant but when writers attack another for expressing their own opinions it all seems to carry the air of immaturity. The writer at the Crisis and Englishmen must have been rather insulting to the writer at The Examiner since most of the article consisted of him critiquing their works. This statement was particularly cutting, “The reputation he has got by answering the importance of Dunkirk… as to Procure him a more than ordinary load of Envy; since he thinks himself reserv’d for much greater things.” The last statement of the article was the most interesting bit, “They certainly are the first objects of Resistance: But yet in the judgment of the Whigs, they are much more sacred then the person of the king, provided they like them.”

Have you lost the opportunity to indulge in the company of those at White’s Chocolate House due to your responsibilities, Father? Would you like for me to keep sending you The Examiner? I’ve heard a rumor while I was at a Chocolate House here in York that Mister Pope was translating Virgil’s The Iliad. I very much hope that there’s some truth to that. His mastery of both languages would surely translate the text superbly.

Love your son,

George Allen Boyd





3rd April 1714

Dear Father,

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your last letter. I’ve been very busy with my schoolwork. It’s strange to think that this is my last year of Grammer School. It’s a shame you haven’t been able to go to White’s Chocolate House as often as you like. Did you truly hear a humor that another Canto was going to be added to The Rape of the Lock? Did you hear that at White’s? The lads here at school have heard about it and claim that it’s one of the most famous in London. Are things well at home?
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I have the latest edition of The Examiner enclosed in this parcel along with another letter to Anna. I particularly enjoyed this issues topic. The writer was commenting on many dogmatic persons have a tendency to compromise their modesty and humility when attempting to recruit others for their causes. It’s an experience that I have been involved with and one that I find to be very irritating. This quote in particular is quite the impressive reflection of my own experiences, “…Some of my contemporaries talk ever now and then of opening Men’s eyes, and of convincing their neighbours; by shewing them, what is there True interest an who are their Best Friends…” The article goes on to explain that many of these types tend to be rather hypocritical and will retract opinions that are proved to be wrong. I have feeling, considering your line of business that you have most likely had quite a bit of experience with these types of people. The Examiner describes them as the types that, “Argue, Answer, Reply, Demonstrate, and Convince… [they] find it more for their interest to…Revile, Accuse, Menace, and Condemn.” Of course, since the paper is more skewed towards the Tory side of the political spectrum, the writer described the Whigs as a prime example for these types of people.

Well, I have to go back to studying now. I’m having a terrible time with Ancient Greek. Please write back as soon as you can and I will write to you as soon as possible. Tell Anna I said hello.

Love your son,

George Allen Boyd
















MLA Works Cited

“Influenza (Flu) Fact Sheet.” Health.ny.gov. n.p. 2012 Sept. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.

Carmen. “Chocolate Houses, Bars of the 17th Century.” Createmychocolate.com. Chocri, 2009 Dec. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.

Howard Erskine-Hill, “Pope, Alexander (1688–1744).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004: Jan 2008. Electronic. 9 Dec 2012.

Kohn, George Childs. "European influenza epidemics, early 18th century."Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence, Third Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc. Modern World History Online. 9 Dec. 2012.

Pope, Alexander and Rogers, Pat. Alexander Pope: The Major Works including The Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad. Edited by Pat Rogers. Oxford University Press, New York: 1993.

N.a. “The Examiner: From Monday November 30, to Friday December 4, 1713.” The Examiner. 30 Nov. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Friday December 4, to Monday December 7, 1713.” The Examiner. 4 Dec. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Friday December 7, to Friday December 11, 1713.” The Examiner. 7 Dec. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Friday December 11, to Monday December 14, 1713.” The Examiner. 11 Dec. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Monday December 14, to Friday December 18, 1713.” The Examiner. 14 Dec. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Friday December 18, to Monday December 21, 1713.” The Examiner. 18 Dec. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Monday December 21, to Monday December 25, 1713.” The Examiner. 21 Dec. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Friday, January 29, to Monday February 1, 1713.” The Examiner. 29 Jan. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Friday, February 5th, 1713 to Monday February 8th, 1713.” The Examiner. 5 Feb. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Monday, February 8th, 1713 to Friday February 12th, 1713.”The Examiner. 8 Feb. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: From Monday, March 1, to Friday March 5th, 1713.” The Examiner. 1 Mar. 1713: Print.
N.a. “ The Examiner: From Monday, March 8, to Friday March 12th, 1713.” The Examiner. 8 Mar. 1713: Print.
N.a. “The Examiner: Friday April 2, to Monday April 5th, 1713.” The Examiner. 2 Apr. 1714: Print.