c. May 1799
Mary Hays, [30 Kirby Street], to William Tooke,1 Ormond Street, undated [c. May 1799].2
Be so good as to send by the bearer, the anti-Jacobin Review.3 When ^you are^ at leisure, I should be glad to hear your opinion respecting the legal ground for a prosecution, to which I am strongly urged; it is intimated to me that there are those who would gladly support me in punishing these assassins of private character. I have little doubt of Lloyd’s being directly or indirectly concerned in this gross violation of the laws of honor & humanity.
I shall by no means take my resolutions hastily, without consulting my friends, among whom I reckon with pleasure you & your family. In the mean time there can be no impropriety in having a Review purchased & marked by a friend. It would, I believe, be proper to employ on this occasion a respectable person not known as a party-man. Would it be disagreeable to your father, your brother or yourself to undertake for me this friendly office? – If so, signify it to me without scruple. I trust, I need not say to you that my character will not shrink from the severest scrutiny, yet, I am not sure that I have courage to venture on a measure of such notoriety, the manner in which the present attack has affected my health & spirits convinced me that I am a woman.
I return a part of your father’s books by this opportunity, with thanks, I am necessitated to request the review you have in your hands, as it belongs to a young man who lodges in the house, & whom curiosity induced to purchase it.
I have no engagement for any day in this ensuing week excepting Wednesday, any other evening, should your health allow of your going out, I shall be glad to see you. I am your friend &c.
Address: Mr Wm Tooke Junr | 19 – Ormond Street | Lamb’s Conduit Street
1 William Tooke (1777-1863) was a prominent legal, political, and cultural figure in London throughout the first half of the nineteenth century. He became a solicitor in 1798, working out of his offices in 39 Bedford Row, eventually forming the firm of Tooke, Son, and Hallowes. In the 1820s he became a colleague of Crabb Robinson as a result of their association with University College, University of London. For more on Tooke, see his entry in the Biographical Index.
2 MS MH 0035, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 323; Walker, Idea of Being Free 279-80.
3 Hays appeared in the review of Richard Powhele's The Unsex'd Females in the May 1799 issue of the Anti-Jacobin (27-33), but most likely she is referring to an unsigned and extremely harsh review (Hays suggests it was written by Lloyd) of Hays's two novels, Emma Courtney and The Victim of Prejudice, in that same issue (54-58).