28 March 1799

Eliza Fenwick to Mary Hays, 22 Hatton Garden, London, [28 March 1799].1  

Dear Dear Mary

    It will not be in my power to see you this week unless you come hither. I must work hard. Miss Braddock2 arrives Saturday evening & it wd be unkind to be absent. I was very well this morning but a letter from Jamaica has shaken me so that I cannot do any thing. It contains an account of the death of poor Mrs Vaughan & Addington under circumstances of deep distress. She died for want & he the evening ^after^ her funeral expired in Agonies with a beautiful boy then 7 months old lying by his side. The lady who has written to me found my <–> ^name^ & Mr Godwins among Mrs V—s papers with all her history.  She was an entire stranger but has taken the lovely Orphan to her protection. I will detail more when we meet – Poor Creature  Hers was a short career! I am to write to her Father. What a tale to tell of the end of all that ever in his breast excited a spark of affection.3

                Yrs ever  

                            E  F.

Miss P—s will not tell who but I am convinced it was not Mrs G—n4


Address: Miss Hays | 22 Hatton Garden

Postmark: 28 March 1799


1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, Unpublished Letters, NY Historical Library (letter does not appear in Wedd, Fate, or Brooks, Correspondence). 

2 Henrietta Braddock (1764-1852) appears on several occasions in Fenwick's letters to Hays between 1799 and 1812. As a later letter reveals, Braddock operated a shop in Woodstock Street, London. 

3 Philip Addington (probably the son of the Independent minister Stephen Addington) was a Hereford haberdasher who became bankrupt in October 1797, just after his elopement with Priscilla Vaughan, wife of John Vaughan of Ashperton, Herefordshire.  She was formerly Priscilla Pynock, and had married Vaughan in 1791. After her elopement, they fled to Jamaica, where Priscilla gave birth to a son, Philip, in late 1797 or early 1798 in Kingston. As this letter reveals, both Priscilla and Philip died when the boy was about seven months old, which would be summer or early fall 1798.  The child was taken in by Fenwick’s correspondent, and made known to Priscilla’s father, Richard Pynock of Ledbury, Herefordshire, who provided for the boy, still living in Jamaica, in his 1803 will.  Priscilla Vaughan appears on numerous occasions in Godwin’s diary from late August through early October 1797, after her elopement with Philip Addington and removal to London just prior to their departure for Jamaica. Philip Addington appears in the diary between late June and late September. On 14 September Priscilla is joined at Godwin’s residence with the Fenwicks, and on 26 September with Eliza Fenwick (she is last mentioned in the diary on 4 October). On 19 September an Addington (most likely Philip) appears in Godwin's diary at another residence where Godwin and the Fenwicks were dining. Priscilla’s connection, however, is with John Fenwick, not Eliza. John Fenwick's mother, Priscilla Mackariss, was the only child of Robert and Priscilla Mackariss; she married John Fenwick, an itinerant Methodist preacher who settled in Newcastle before returning to the Methodist ministry. Among their children were John Fenwick, eldest son and husband to Eliza Fenwick; Priscilla, who married Richard Pynock and was the mother of the Priscilla who eloped with Philip Addington; Sarah, who married Peter Molyneux, jeweler of Liverpool; and Mary, who married John Duckworth, also of Liverpool. Thus, John and Eliza Fenwick were young Priscilla’s uncle and aunt, which explains Eliza’s notification about their deaths in Jamaica. My thanks to Ed Pope's History for information on the Fenwicks, Priscilla Vaughan, and Philip Addington (see http://edpopehistory.co.uk/).

4 Most likely the Misses Plumptres and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.