6 January 1780
Letter 112. John Eccles to Mrs. Elizabeth Hays, 6 January 1780.1
Having received the most liberal proofs of your kindness from you, and such as are singularly flattering, permit me to present to you the effusions of a grateful heart. I must be lost to the most generous feelings of the soul, were I insensible of the many repeated instances of your tenderness: this last is inexpressibly beyond what I could ever expect. I cannot say how sincerely I thank you; but I feel a warmth of the heart far beyond the power of words. Amidst restrictions dictated (I know) by maternal affection and prudence, how many traits of goodness have been intermingled! And how often have I broken in on those restrictions, and been purposely unnoticed! But these were acts of disobedience, which it was impossible for me to avoid, and which you perhaps think pardonable.
To add to the numerous obligations by which I am already bound to you, I am going to solicit another: from the past, I think I may hope you will grant me. You have expressed your disapprobation of my visiting Miss Hays in your absence; I wish to be obedient to every word that falls from your lips; put it in my power then, Madam, to obey you with pleasure, by permitting to see her when you are at home. You have been witness to our long and mutual attachment; no time can ever efface it. You now consider it with favorable ideas; be still propitious then, and stamp it with this mark of your approbation. ’Tis from your late generosity, Madam, that I am thus emboldened to speak with freedom.
With respect to the business we have talked of, I leave myself to be guided entirely by your directions; if you think fit to accept it, nothing shall be wanting on my part, which industry and application can perform; if you think best to decline it, I will acquiesce, and wait some more promising opportunity. In everything I promise to be
Your most devoted humble servant
January 6, 1780.
1 Brooks, Correspondence 208-09; Wedd, Love Letters 185-86. Wedd's title: "Eccles to Mrs. Hays."