26 August 1813

Eliza Fenwick, Lee Mount, to Mrs. M. Hays, at John Hays, Paragon, Blackheath, Mrs. Mackies, Tansor, near Oundle, Northamptonshire, 26 August 1813.1

Lee Mount Augst 26th 1813

My dearest Friend,

         I feel the greatest inquietude respecting your long silence. Do you remember what a period has elapsed since you wrote to me! I forwarded my last to you by Mrs Hewitt fro when she returned to England, June 4th, and I cannot doubt its having reached ^you^ because Mr Lamb had one at the same time which he acknowledged. I should earlier have made the enquiries which my affection for you dictated but that I was unwilling to put you to the expence of Postage and some time since Mr Amyot2 forwarded letters from Antigua to me with a note from himself saying Mr Robinson was gone into^the Country^. I do not know that he has returned but I venture upon this mode of conveyance in hopes that it will be forwarded & that I may soon know from yourself the causes of this protracted silence. Sometimes I imagine you are engaged in visits to your Essex friends & defer writing till your return to Town, but at others I dread lest late vexations should have attacked your constitution which is I think peculiarly susceptible of injuries from the imitation of the mind, shaken as it has been by high wrought feeling & the most poignant disappointments. It seems to me particularly hard that you should not now be able to rest in peace nor can I easily forgive those who have imposed on you these new trials. I cannot but be anxious to hear whether you are likely to find an endurable home where you may hope to continue. Shifting about from place to place & from plan to plan is nothing to me or a[t] least but a comparative inconvenience while to you it is a serious exer evil indeed – the greatest I believe you have left to sustain.

         The complaint of which I lately spoke so much in my head is considerably better. I have tried river bathing & imagine it agrees with me but whenever the wind is Easterly I am crippled with the Rheumatism nor do I walk with perfect ease to myself, however I generally persevere in taking exercise. On the 25th of last month I was suddenly attacked by my old Enemy from whom I imagined I had parted for ever. I had a return of the pains every second or third day during a fortnight & since that I have been free. This visitation was probably brought on by fright. Mrs Honner had a most dangerous delivery: she was obliged to take lodgings in Cork for the period of her confinement because her accoucheur never leaves the Town & what with my alarm for her, & the anxiety I felt so to govern the family at home that all should go on well during her absence together with perpetually going backwards & forwards from hence to her, altogether turned me out of my accustomed course & probably gave rise to this attack. The baby lived to the second day only after its birth & Mrs Honner is now at home & more recovered than I could have expected. She continues studiously attentive to promote my comfort, nor have I ever found a change in her. Since the 24th of May I have had a regular succession of letters from Antigua all of the most satisfactory mind & pourtraying a mind elated with & fondly appreciating its own happiness. I cannot tell whether Eliza or Mr R. writes most urgently on the subject of my coming to the West Indies. I have taken a year to consider of the plans they suggest and if matters continue to appear as favorable as they now do for my successful establishment I think I ought to go, especially if Orlando as Mr Rutherford strongly recommends goes there to study & practise the Law of their Courts. I forget whether I explained these views in my last, but if I did not I will enter into the details when I write again.         

       I conclude that you duly received the £6 because Mr Mocatta mentions having paid it to Mr Lamb. Perhaps you will be shocked to hear that I have actually this year overrun my income – adequate as it did appear to me to every possible want. Every article of dress is very dear & I am necessarily obliged to be more expensive than I was in London, for I wear my clothes out much faster & in conformity to Mrs Honners Lady refinements I dress better. That however, with my management, I could keep within reasonable bounds but Orlando’s expences continually exceed my estimates, and these I cannot in conscience retrench so valuable do I deem the advantages he is reaping. My Doctors bill shall never if I can help it come to such an amount again ^as it has this year^. English Apothecaries are dear but irish ones exp exorbitant: I am charged £1 for each visit, independent of medicines the prices of which exceeds any thing of the kind I ever saw. In future I will apply my own remedies & have nothing to do with the Doctor. Orlando continues to afford me every hope of his future welfare. He is much pleased with the thoughts of going to his Sister & Mr Rutherford, whose letters to him have made a great impression on his mind & ^he^ is not a little impatient to begin the ^preparatory^ career of his own independence. He is still most affectionate towards me & tractable to my wishes nor does he fail to remember all your kindness to him with grateful fondness. The qualities you approved in him are strengthened, & his temper is much regulated, but his animal spirits rise to an almost fatigueing excess. I am sure you would be much pleased with him now and I cannot be so blind as not to trace to your kind counsels & influence much of his improvement.

       Let me hear from you as soon as possible & as particularly as possible and believe me ever my dearest friend

                        most affectionately yours

                                    E Fenwick


Address: For | Mrs M. Hays | John Hays Esqr ^Mrs Mackies^ | Tansor Paragon | ^near Oundle^ Blackheath | Northamptonshire.


Postmark: None


1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 141-42; not in Brooks, Correspondence.

2 Thomas Amyot (1775-1850) had been a close of Crabb Robinson's since his late teenage years. Amyot was from Norwich and, like Robinson, contributed to the short-lived periodical from that city, The Cabinet, in 1794-95. Like Robinson, Amyot became a solicitor but his career changed in 1806 when he became private secretary to William Windham (also of Norwich) when he became War and Colonial Minister. Amyot left Norwich for London and in 1812 published a three-volume set of Windham's parliamentary speeches, along with a memoir. He continued to hold positions in the Colonial Department, and along the way devoted himself to archaeology, becoming a fellow of the Royal Society in 1824, already having become a member of the Society of Antiquaries. He also served as one of the Directors of the Camden Society between 1839 and his death in 1850. Through his position with the Colonial Office, his services were often beneficial to his friends who traveled to places within the Commonwealth or emigrated, as Fenwick had done.