13 January 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft to Mary Hays, Friday morning, undated [13 January 1797].1


   I have now to request you, as a particular favour, to thank the persons, to whom you have applied for Mary, and request, with some earnestness, their interest for the next year.

   I have not time, at present, or I would tell you how I defended your novel yesterday – that is your character, to Mr Barbauld, with whom I dined, you are stigmatized as a Philosophess – a Godwinian – I assured him that your nove[l] would not undermine religion, &c.2

   I send you P. P3 –  if you do not chuse to review it return it after you have perused it –

     yours truly


Friday Morning

Take no notice to Miss C4 that I mentioned to you her opinion of your novel –

Address: Miss Hays. –

Postmark: none.

1 MS MW 0041, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 310-11; Todd, Letters 400. 

2 Godwin has tea at Mr. Carr’s on 12 January 1797. Godwin mentions Wollstonecraft, Anna Letitia Barbauld (1743-1825), and some others being present, but not Rochemont Barbauld, though, as this letter makes clear, he was present. Rochemont Barbauld (1749–1808) was the grandson of a French Huguenot and was once a student at Warrington where Barbauld's father had been a teacher. The Barbauld's were married in 1774, despite misgivings by members of her family concerning his tendency toward insanity. They removed to Suffolk, where Rochemont ministered to a Dissenting congregation and the couple taught in the Palgrave Academy. In September 1785, due to his deteriorating mental condition, the Barbaulds moved to Hampstead, where he preached at the Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Church and she continued to write poetry and prose works and tutor children in their home. In 1802 they removed to Stoke Newington, where Rochemont ministered to the Dissenting chapel there. Unfortunately, his madness grew worse and he drowned himself in 1808. 

3 Reference is most likely to the popular writings of Peter Pindar, the nom de plume used by John Wolcot (1738-1819). 

4 Most likely Anne Christall, who socialized often at this time with Wollstonecraft, Hays, and Godwin.