23 August 1780
Letter 125. Mrs. Wood [the relation at whose house in Salisbury John Eccles dies] to Miss Eccles, [Wednesday], 23 August 1780.1
According to your desire (my dear Miss Eccles), I will give you the particulars (as near as I can) concerning your dear brother. I was as much with him as I possibly could be, from the time he was brought to our house, till he expired; but could not see, nor hear from any person that attended him, that he was sensible three minutes together, so much as to know where he was, or who were with him. The convulsions came on on tuesday morning, and continued till within five minutes of his death. On wednesday morning he often called on the name of his dear miss Polly Hays with great eagerness, and seeming to clasp her in his arms in great ecstasy, would be satisfied for a moment! He would then call on Mr Shepherd, Mr Constable, Mr Ludgater, and many more of his London friends! Sometimes he would attempt to sing a line or two of a hymn, at others would repeat the word – but not with the least seeming sensibility. He expired just at twenty-five minutes at noon.2
I had begun to write this over again, but Mr Cater is waiting impatiently for my letter, so I’ll beg you will excuse this scrawl, though I fear you will hardly be able to pick out what I have written. I am your friend on all occasions.
August 23, 1780.
I have preserved a lock of your brother’s hair, if you, or Miss Hays should choose to have it to remember him.
1 Brooks, Correspondence 220; Wedd, Love Letters 202. Wedd's title: "To Miss Eccles From Mrs Wood."
2 John Eccles died on Wednesday, 23 August 1780.