6 September 1780

Letter 127. Miss Eccles to Mary Hays, 6 September 1780.1

Sept. 6, 1780

     I am happy (my dear Madam) in having my wishes thus far answered, as to hear from one, who I know my dear and affectionate brother so tenderly loved. Oh, how much do I feel for you, and have done from the first moment I received the fatal intelligence of my brother’s death. I pity you, I am grieved and pained to the heart on your account – the awful stroke is also to me very severe – but to you alas! it must be still more so! My dear brother has left a world of trouble and disappointments – cut off in the bloom of life, just at a time when his prospects were opening with a promise of more pleasing scenes than he had yet experienced. How much do I pity you, who at so interesting a period, have lost the most amiable of men, and tenderest of lovers – how dear he was to me! I loved him as myself, and saw him all perfection! I had promised myself the greatest happiness in seeing him settled in life. Ah my dear Madam! Let us derive comfort from the assurance that he is happy; landed safe on the blissful shore, where he is singing the praises of redeeming love; and where we hope one day to meet him, when the pain of parting can be no more.

     I will now begin the most painful part of my letter, to answer (as far as I am able) the request you made me respecting my brother’s death.

     The first account we received of his dangerous situation, was by a messenger, who was sent to inform us of it, he arrived at Fordingbridge about twelve on monday night; my father took chaise immediately and set off to Salisbury, and never left him till he left the world. What account I have to give you of this melancholy event, is from my father, and the relation at whose house my brother breathed his last. From the time he came to Salisbury, he was not sensible enough to know one person from another; he did not know his father, though he seemed glad to hear his name; he would often call out very earnestly on his dear Polly, and wonder at her staying so long from him; then he would seem satisfied for a moment, supposing you was with him; sometimes he would attempt to sing a line or two of a hymn; at other times he would repeat some lines of poetry as correct as if he had been in perfect health; the last words he was heard to speak, were calling for you very eagerly; he expired on wednesday, 23rd of August, about thirty-five minutes after twelve in the afternoon.

     My brother’s corpse was brought the saturday following to Fordingbridge in a hearse to the church gate, where it was met by six young men, who were his acquaintance, and the pall was supported by six young maidens, who were sisters to the young men; he was interred about seven o’clock in the evening, by the side of his mother. – I fear, my dear Madam, that this melancholy relation, will only add to your affliction – this thought has added to the anguish I have felt in writing it to you.

     I shall always esteem it the greatest favor to hear from you, and should be particularly glad of an answer to this by the return of post. – I have almost forgot to mention one thing, which may give you satisfaction, it is, that there was no want of advice, nor attendance for my brother; he had a Physician, and two Apothecaries who attended him, from the time he arrived at Salisbury till his death; and I have no doubt but the same care was taken of him while he was in London.

         I subscribe myself

                     Your sincere friend through unknown

                                                         Mary Eccles


1 Brooks, Correspondence 221-22; Wedd, Love Letters 205-06.  Wedd's title: "Mary Eccles Replies."