24 January 1807

Mary Hays, 3 Park Street, Islington, to William Tooke, [39 Ormond Street], 24 January 1807.1


       Dear Sir, I have sent, for the examination of your friends, to whom I shall feel myself indebted to you for an introduction, a fair specimen & proportion of my MS. which I have brought down to the accession of the Stuarts.

      My original design was to have written this work principally for young persons, in the form & manner which I have adopted in my Historical Dialogues, of which I send a volume as an example. But, in my progress, I thought it better to change this plan, & to weave my reflections into the subject. In my introductory chapters, it will be perceived, the dialogue still stands, which will easily be altered when the MS. goes to press.2

       I do not pretend to enter learnedly & profoundly into my subject but to write (not compile) a popular history, which may entertain & inform common readers. My work will admit of any arrangement upon which my publisher & myself may agree.

       I have already written seventeen hundred pages; &, should I find, in future, such materials as I wish, to bring the history near the present times, I am of opinion that the matter will extend to six 8 vo, or 12 mo, volumes. But this at present is conjectural.

       Should your friends be inclined to engage to purchase the copy-right, as I should not chuse to have any future risque or anxiety respecting it, the terms, I doubt not, will be easily adjusted between us, as you have taught me to expect in these3 gentlemen & liberal tradesmen.           

       I am, dear Sir, with respect & esteem, your sincere & obliged friend

                                     Mary Hays


January 24th 1807


No 3. Park Street, Islington.


NB Errors & incorrectnesses will probably be found in the MS. as I never go over what I write (not even to read it) a second time, till I prepare it to send to press.


Address: Wm Tooke Esq.

1 MS MH 0031, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 342; Walker, Idea of Being Free 281-82. 

2 This literary venture, the outgrowth of her work on the volume she composed for Charlotte Smith’s History  of England (1806) never materialized, but Hays did complete all three volumes of the Historical Dialogues  (1806-08). Her work may have been discouraged by the printers because of the appearance the next year of Sarah Trimmer's A Concise History of England, 2 vols (London: J. Harris, 1808), a work designed for children.

3 them] MS