17 December 1778

Letter 1.  John Eccles to Mrs. Elizabeth Hays, Friday, 17 December 1778.1

            Fryday December 17th 1778.


     My father’s letter is what I expected it to be. Some excuse was necessary for him, to save his money, and he has pleaded losses; how far he is there right or wrong, it is not for me to dispute: it is sufficient for me that I have now, hardly any expectations from him. I have but one more application to make to him, and that is almost a hopeless one. It will be however some satisfaction to me, that I am cleared from the imputation of a deceiver; my father knows, and I know it too, how far I am deserving of such a character. Whether or no I was wrong in not communicating my father’s letter [f. 7] to me after I returned from the country, I am not to be a judge. I can only give these reasons in my own defence, why I did not do it: first I hoped that by writing to him, or seeing him, I should bring him back to his first engagement, and then I loved Miss Hays, and dreaded what would be the consequence of disclosing that letter. I tenderly loved her, she was the only happiness I had promised myself on earth. I could sooner have thought of parting with life than have borne the thought of living without her. To see and to think of her were the only pleasures I had, and now I am afraid to see her, and it is a pain to think of her — I am however conscious, and I feel a pride in saying it, that as far as it has been in my power, I have endeavored to deserve Miss Hays. I am conscious likewise that I never once thought of deceiving her.  Formed for the pleasures of a social life, and endowed with all the sensations requisite to make it happy, I am in all probability to be precluded from the enjoyment of it, by the narrow disposition of a parent: for it would hurt me to think my affection for Miss Hays, could be transferred to another. Did not I know that my father’s circumstances would permit him to assist me now, my situation would not be so painful, but as things are, it is cutting2 to think of.

     I am very sensible, Madam, of the good indulgence I have experienced from you; had my fathers feelings [f. 8] been equal to yours, I should have been happy: but why, do I repine at the unerring dispensations of providence, or how do I know but the heart-ache I now feel may terminate in the highest point of bliss I could hope for?

     With the greatest deference,

                 I am, Madam

                              Your most obed.t servant,

                                         John Eccles.—

1 Not included in Brooks, Correspondence, or Wedd's Love Letters.

2 cuting] MS