1819

This Summer I became more acquainted with ^saw more of^ Mary Hayes who once more changed her residence & took a small house in Pentonville – I forget I have not lately written about her and I forget what I may have formerly said – Here I will briefly say, That she was one of the minor literati of the generation, now forgotten She was free in her opinions and incurred reproach because she avowed her friendship for Mrs Woolstonecraft who was really a woman of a superior mind – Miss Hayes had only the faculty of easy writing – She was perfectly correct in her conduct and of a kind disposition – She was upright & benevolent She made herself disagreeable in company by preaching – She was a moral pedant, but no Scholar – She professed Unitarianism and her connections lay among U-s. She was long courted by W. Frend – and he professed an attachment, but he wanted the means of supporting a Wife ^he said^  His sudden marriage with Miss Blackburne was a severe blow to her – Formerly she was wearisome to her friends – by her complaining to me of conversation – NoAll this I have probably said before – [     ] now I find from my journal, that she was become more cheerful & agreeable in company – being less sentimental

          30th– Augt– [     ] This day I called on her at Pentonville. She told me of the melancholy death of Mary – the daughter of Mrs Woolstonecraft by Imlay the American – She was said to have died in Ireland but she died be in England and by her own hands – She was very plain – but upright & generous – She adopted Godwins opinions and justified Mary Godwin in her elopement with Shelley –

          She was pitied & respected and her death was felt both by Godwin & Mrs G. who was not without sensibility tho’ a person I never liked – She had a son by a former husband who bore the name of Claremont, whether actually married to him or not is doubted – and a son by G. Towards him (Mr. G.) she was however a meritorious wife – but I doubted her integrity & truthfulness towards others – But all are dead – Lately died Mrs Shelley a woman of genius, leaving a son born after her marriage with the unfortunate poet, and therefore inheriting the baronetcy

          His exterior is not favorable. He is Coutish, but he bears a good character and is said the moment he came of age, to have settled an annuity on his father’s friend Leigh Hunt –

 

^It is a curious fact, that a niece of Mary Hayes (a daughter of her Brother John,) is become an authoress, being as her aunt was, in advance of the age – if advance be the proper term, which it is to be hoped, it is not; for that implies that the age is to follow = She is the translatress of several of George Sand’s novels !!!^


[31 July 1859]