16 September 1811

Eliza Fenwick, London [Vauxhall], to Mary Hays, Wandsworth Common, Sunday evening [on back is written, ‘Monday 9 o/clock Sepr 16th] [1811].1

Sunday evening

My dear friend

    I would have answered your letter yesterday but an intense head-ache rendered me quite unable to write. Your generous loan, depend on it, will be thankfully & gratefully repaid by Eliza whom, indeed every thing now appears to favor. You may rely securely on her integrity. The sense of your zeal for our service never can depart from either of us.

    Eliza called on Mr Brown2 Thursday & saw only his son; she left her address, to me, because she is here, now so often, that we judged it best, & on Friday morning Mr Brown called. He was exceedingly friendly (I was glad Eliza happened to be here) and gave her an invitation to Camberwell when Mrs Brown returned. He had, he said, spoken to Mr Best of the Bank, who was the intimate friend of Mr Daniel & would for request him to give her letters of introduction. This was a singular coincidence of success to my wishes that Mr Daniel should be the person on whom Mr Brown had fixed to render us that favor, and I leave it now for you to judge whether Mr T. Dunkin3 shall be put to the trouble of calling on Mr Daniel or not.  I suppose Mr D-s visit was extraordinary in him, for Mr Dyke seemed astonished when Eliza told him of it.

    Mrs Mocatta presses Elizas visits <–> here. She has <–> certainly effected wonders in her tuition of the little girl, who at first appeared not to have a tuneable note in her voice & now sings very prettily, so that Mrs M. who sets her heart on shewy accomplishments is anxious to secure as much of Eliza’s instruction as possible & thus I gain the solace of her company. Mrs M. on Friday gave her a very handsome white sattin dress – a thing she very much wanted, & which her funds could not ^have^ reached. Mrs M— also proposed that I should invite Mr & Mrs Dyke to dine with me, as that attention might render them more attentive to Eliza, and on Tuesday they come. I wish Orlando to be here to spend the whole day with me & his sister. Mrs M goes to Newington on Monday & will not return till Tuesday evening & takes Hetty with her. ^Eliza will be here on Monday evening^ so that if Orlando will come early ^on tuesday^ we three can pass some pleasant & uninterrupted hours together. I enclose a note desiring him to request Mr W—s4 permission. He can walk here to immediately after his breakfast & I will send him back on the outside of the last stage in the evening, as perhaps it would not be adviseable for him to walk alone in the evening as it is now so soon dark. Eliza will hear with great pleasure of your & Mrs Hays invitation to Wandsworth & will leave you to fix the time. She will go on Wednesday to Limehouse for 2 or three days & afterwards will be at liberty to come when most convenient to you. She has, we hear, still about six weeks to stay in England. They expect to go with the fleet. Mr Dyke has collected all his company together and, as I believe, they only wait for the sailing of the fleet which is ^in^ the latter end of Ocr.

    The bustle of her little preparations keeps my mind occupied in a very useful degree and my moments of depression occur but seldom. Eliza sinks oftener than I do, but when I anticipate the dead calm of her absence, and the long dreary joyless winters I shall have to linger thro’ it requires my utmost resolution to turn from the chilling prospect. I think it is probable I shall not be able to come to you before we leave Vauxhall as to-day Mrs M— has settled to move tomorrow week & as my assistance may be very useful, it would not be strictly just to leave home till the confusion is over & she is settled enough to look after the children in my absence. If Eliza pays you a visit early in next month I may be able to come on a Saturday & return Sunday. I long exceedingly to see you.

    Since thursday I have had slight symptoms of a return of my complaint & last night I had recourse to the Calomel pills again, & as they have taken good effect I trust I shall not be worse. Every thing thus far favors Eliza’s enterprise. The great amendment in my health removes the most distressing of her anxieties. I dont wish her to marry a Planter. I wd rather keep her all to myself. She cd not be happy with a debauchee & I believe they are shocking sensualists – She has lately gained a lover who does not seem willing to take a refusal. He is a Printer & has tolerable prospects. He is far from unpleasing either in mind or person but she will not marry except from the motives that you recommend.

    You remember proud ungrateful Mrs Burke – Her son is now in some profitable employ in the West Indies & sends her money for her support.

    Adieu my dear kind friend

            Yrs very very truly

                                            E F


I suppose Mr W— will not object to Lanno’s coming, shd he you must use your influence for I have promised Eliza & would on no account disappoint her.


[On address page] Monday 9 oClock Sepr 16th 

Address: For | Miss Hays | Wandsworth Common

Postmark: none



1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 43-45; not in Brooks, Correspondence.

2 Samuel Brown, a wine merchant and Mary Hays's old friend; he was the son-in-law of her early mentor and correspondent, Robert Robinson of Cambridge. Brown married Robinson's daughter, Mary, an early correspondent of Hays, and someone she remained in contact with well into the 19th century. 

3 Thomas Dunkin (d. 1861), son of John Dunkin, Jr., and Mary Hays's nephew.

4 Mr. Wilkinson, headmaster of the school Orlando was attending at that time.