The Brothers (1815)

The Brothers; or, Consequences: A Story of What Happens Every Day; Addressed to that Most Useful Part of the Community, the Labouring Poor. London: Button and Son, 1815. This first edition consists only of the dramatic narrative and Hays’s postscript.


Title Page

(from 1815 London edition)


The Brothers (complete text)

Postscript

(from 1815 London edition)


A Short Essay on Savings Banks 

(from 1818 London edition)


Hints towards the Formation of a Society for Promoting a Spirit of Independence among the Poor 

(Bristol, [1812])



The original for all the Savings Banks and Societies in the United Kingdom was the Charitable Bank of Tottenham, London, formed in 1804. The second and probably more relevant to what was formed at Bristol in 1812 was the work at Ruthwell begun in 1810 by the Revd Henry Duncan, and called the Parish Bank Friendly Society, which later became the Parish Bank of Ruthwell. Today Ruthwell is the sight of the Savings Banks Museum. Following close on the work at Ruthwell were the societies formed in Liverpool and Kingston-on-Thames in 1810 and the Prudent Man's Friends Society in Bristol in 1812. In America the first two Savings Banks were the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, founded 4 December 1816, and the Provident Institution for Savings, founded 13 December 1816. Each vies for the title of the first Savings Bank in America. Hays's The Brothers fall within the initial phase of this movement and, with its multiple editions in England, Dublin, Edinburgh, and America, played a significant role in promoting the aims of the new societies. For more on the formation of Savings Banks in England, see John Tidd Pratt, The History of Savings Banks in England, Ireland, and Wales (London: Rivington, xiii-xiv, 98, 131, 190). At Ruthwell today is the Savings Banks Museum.

 

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Hays’s postscript affixed to the 1815 edition mentions a short pamphlet titled Hints towards the Formation of a Society for Promoting a Spirit of Independence among the Poor (Bristol: Sold by B. Barry, [1812], upon which her drama is based. This work was reviewed in conjunction with Hays’s Brothers in the Gentleman’s Magazine, September 1816, 251. The Bristol Memorialist (Bristol: William Tyson, 1823, p. 222) notes that the author was Susanna Morgan of Clifton, who also wrote several reports for the Prudent Man’s Friends Society, Bristol, of which Hays served on the Committee with Morgan during 1815 and 1816. Morgan wrote the initial Hints, outlining the need for this new kind of Benevolent Society to be formed in Bristol (it was the first of its kind in all of England); Mary Bryan (most likely the daughter of the publisher of Hints) published the Rules of the Society in 1813; and Hays published The Brothers in 1815. These women formed a coterie of their own and, based upon their own special talents, assumed positions of leadership within a local Society in Bristol to achieve a national (even international) objective: one in establishing a proper theoretical and business model for the Society (Morgan), another in publishing the objectives and activities of the Society (Bryan), and one employing imaginative literature to  disseminate the ideals of the Society to a wide audience of readers – young and old, working class and leisure class.  For more on Hints and the Prudent Man’s Society, click here.


Other editions:


The Brothers; or, Consequences. With an Account of Savings Banks, and other Essays. London: Printed for G. & W. B. Whittaker, 13, Ave Maria Lane; & Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1818.  Title page for this edition is without the lines from Ecclesiasticus that appear in the 1815 edition. This edition includes the drama (now complete with five illustrations), but no postscript. Instead, the anonymous “A Short Essay on Savings Banks” follows the text, but given the opening sentence and its connection to the drama and the use of “we” by the writer, it seems likely the “Essay” is by Mary Hays. After the essay, this edition, as the title page suggests, includes several other works: “Advice to a Young Tradesman, written in the year 1748”; “Necessary hints to those that would be rich, written in the year 1735”; “The way to make Money plenty in every man’s pocket”; excerpt from Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack from 1758, now generally known as “The Way to Wealth”; “Humorous Account of a Custom among the Americans, entitled White-Washing, attributed to the pen of Dr. Franklin”; “Answer to the Above, in the character of a Lady, but really by the same hand”; “Remarks concerning the Savages of North America,” also by Franklin, though not attributed to him in this edition; “The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams” (anonymous); “The Handsome and Deformed Leg” (anonymous); and “The Whistle, a true story, written to his nephew” (anonymous). The small volume was printed by John Jones, 40 South Great George’s Street.

 

The Brothers; or, Consequences. A Story of What Happens Every Day. With a Short Account of Savings Banks, and other Essays, upon various Subjects. Dublin: Printed by W. Espy, Little Strand Street, 1818. This edition includes the identical text of the drama and the same illustrations from the London 1815 and 1818 editions. No quotation from Ecclesiasticus on title page, but 1820 edition includes an illustration of a squirrel. Like the 1818 London edition, the volume includes the “Short Essay,” but with one alteration. The sentence, “For this purpose we shall select one Bank, (established in London,) of which a particular account has been given, and whose example is generally followed” (p. 92, 1818 London edition) has been changed in the  1818 Dublin edition to read, “established in Dublin” (p. 110). After the essay, this edition includes all of the works affixed to the 1818 London edition except for ”Humorous Account of a Custom among the Americans, entitled White-Washing, attributed to the pen of Dr. Franklin” and “Answer to the Above, in the character of a Lady, but really by the same hand.” 

 

The Brothers; or, Consequences. A Story of What Happens Every Day. With a Short Account of Savings Banks, and other Essays, upon various Subjects. Dublin: Printed by W. Espy, 6 Little Strand Street, 1820. The text of this edition is the same as the 1818 Dublin edition (although it has been completely reset with a different pagination), but a few new illustrations have been added in the section after Hays’s play; a poem, “The Old Man’s Comforts and how he gained them,” has been added at the end of the volume; and the title page now includes an illustration of a squirrel. 

 

The Brothers, or Consequences: A Story of What Happens Every Day. With an Account of Savings Banks. [Cambridge, MA]: Printed for the Trustees of the Publishing Fund, by Hilliard and Metcalf. Sold by Cummings & Hilliard, No. 1 Cornhill, Boston, and other agents of the Publishing Fund, 1823.  No quotation from Ecclesiasticus on title page. The text of the play for this edition is not the same as the first edition, though the changes appear to be mostly word changes, but they are frequent. Hays’s “Short Essay on Savings Banks” affixed to the 1818 London edition and the Dublin editions has been replaced by a new essay, ”Savings Banks,” unsigned but most likely not by Hays, for this essay bears little relation to the former essay. This new edition appears to be sponsored by the Provident  Institution for Savings in Boston. One of the many Vice-Presidents for the Institution listed at the end of the volume is Josiah Quincy, an old friend of Mary Hays’s nephew in America, Benjamin Seymour. A prospectus describing the activities of the Provident Institution follows the essay. Unlike the previous 1818 and 1820 editions, no selections from other writers, such as Franklin, are included in this edition.   


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Copies of The Brothers reside in some 35 libraries around the world, including 28 in the United States, a testament to Hays's work in disseminating economic cultural values in the United Kingdom and across the Atlantic and empowering a new class of readers to achieve the same kind of independence she had sought for herself in 1795.