1799

It was also thro’ Astley that I formed an intimacy with a lady with whom my acquaintance never ceased till her death a few years since. Mary Hayes of whom I will also say something – Miss Hays was born of Dissenting parents and became also thro’ Robert Robinson a Unitarianand also a very zealous political & moral reformer.She became the friend of Mary Wollstonecraft and professed all her opinions with more zeal than discretion – This brought her into disrepute among the rigid and her character suffered but most undeservedly – Whatever her principles might have been her conduct was rigidly correct – She confessed to me on our first acquaintance that she was wretched, the consequence of an attachment, where a Union was impossible – She early devoted herself to a life of letters – Had a small fortune which produced her about £70 per Ann. She made up the deficiency by writing – Her first Novel [    ] produced £30 Her Second  [     ] £40 – She was then engaged for Phillips in writing the Lives of Illustrious Women – A book for Schools &c. For this she received 10/6 per sheet – She was a friend of the Reids – The Drwho delighted in Sarcasm – & had quarrelled with Cha:[les] Lloyd resented C: Lloyds satirical attack on Miss Hayes in his Edmund Oliver by a very bitter Rev: in the Analytical Rev[iew] –† ……


† Her “Emma Courtney” has some reputation as a novel of passion, but was thought to be heretical on the great question of marriage. The man whom she accused of deserting her was William Friend [sic]. Rouchefoucauld says “On est plus proche d’aimer ceux qui nous haissent que ceux qui nous aiment trop.” F. could not meet the love of M. H. by equal love nor could Fuseli or Imlay M. Wolstonecrafts. Hence desertion.   

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……. It was at Miss Hayes’s that I first saw Godwin and at once expressed my admiration of him – and that in strong language. He could not but receive compliments civilly, but probably did not respect me the more for them – He allowed me to call on him, but never treated me in the way I liked – He took great liberties with me. Indeed that he did with every one, but he did not at this period at all events in the way that afterwards became so very troublesome and which ultimately forced me to break with him – that is in borrowing money – It is enough for me to say now that my acquaintance with the great apostle of the new school did not add to my devotion in its favor as a mere disciple.