c. early October 1811
Eliza Fenwick, [Vauxhall], to Mary Hays, at T. Hays, Esqr, Wandsworth Common, Wednesday, 3 o’clock, [early October 1811].1
Wednesday 3 oClock
Your letter arrived just as Eliza was leaving me last night & gave her much disappointment. She cannot come on Friday for her Uncle has made it a particular request that she will keep house for him & overlook his people while he goes to Manchester for which place he means to depart on Saturday. It is great nonsense for he is continually compell’d to leave home on business & his workmen will have a hundred opportunities of idling away their time beside this when Eliza in is in another world; nor is it to be supposed, she can either watch them or estimate what ought to be done; however he has set his mind on this partial small security & it was wiser to make some sacrifice than to offend him will you receive her ^on^ the following Friday? or appoint any day after that more convenient to you & Mrs Hays?2 Her uncle will be back on the Thursday at farthest. If I hear from you in approval of her coming I will endeavour to pay you a visit of a night coming either on Saturday evening & returning Sunday evening or coming Sunday Morning and returning Monday Morning. Which do you think will be best?
I hope Eliza will have one teté a teté day with you to indemnify her for her loss on Friday. I fear she will not go with a good grace to Limehouse on that day, for nothing can exceed the general discomfort of that her Uncles house. Yet she feels that he intends kindly toward her & acts accordingly. I was pleased with a promise that he voluntarily gave Eliza when she was last with him – Namely that he would always provide for Mr F. He said he was now convinced that his ^brother^ never would or could assist himself & that it was his determination to allow him a subsistence though he wd never pay his debts, & that he meant shortly to propose his going down to Cornwall to live on an income sufficient for his wants. I sincerely hope this will be accomplished because it will preclude the likelihood of claims on Eliza equally painful for Eliza to reject or comply with.
What advantage might Orlando gain by a removal to the Military College? And what sort of interest does it require? Mr Fenwick could, I know, get the interest of Lord Holland & Whitbread.3 Beside having materially obliged, when he had the statesmen, Coll Glennie, Col. Bromfield,4 the Prince’s Aid-de-Camp, & one or two others of that station I have no doubt he could & would get some recommendations – At least he would try, provided you are of opinion that the point is material to establish. I have no idea of the nature of the College & its terms &c, therefore can form no judgment. Where sobriety, industry, & economy were not the necessary ingredients Mr F— would exert himself to serve Orlando or any other boy so circumstanced.
And now my dear friend pardon me, for having forced you back to painful associations. I admire the forbearance from complaint you exercise and perhaps I ought to imitate it; but when I shall begin I cannot tell. When I am pouring out my bitter thoughts and lamentations the consciousness of your sympathy in my feelings impels me forward. I neglect to consider that my consolation is suffering to you & that I ought to endeavour rather to beguile you of heavy moments rather than than to present you with new anxieties. I must try to imitate your firmer & wiser example.
Lanno’s letter though not much ^quite^ like Copper plate pleased both me & Eliza very much. There were some sweet expressions in it. Ever since he has been near you I have traced the development of his mind & feelings in a way that animates my hope of him. This mercurial spirit must keep poor Mrs Wilkinson in thorns. How seldom tutors think that it is necessary to be respected as well as feared, or value the love of their pupils, which may I believe be gained even without any relaxation of discipline. Unmerited reproach & mortifying sarcasms may wound but will never amend the temper or habits: I hope the dear Boy will learn to endure without resenting these petty evils. Your kindness makes him ^an^ ample amends.
God bless you & thank you. Remember me in the properest manner to yr Brother & Mrs Hays.
Perhaps if Friday or Saturday ^or Sunday^ is equally convenient to you Eliza will choose that which suits me best & walk with me from hence shd the weather permit. In that case do you decide whether I chos shall choose Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.
Yrs most truly
I am quite insensible about the Concert, my mind is so taken up with lesser matters. I shd not however participate in Orlando’s magnificent frolic.
1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 41-43; not in Brooks, Correspondence.
2 Mrs. Thomas Hays.
3 Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland (1773-1840) was a Whig politician and nephew of the prominent Whig MP, Charles James Fox. Samuel Whitbread (1764-1815) was a brewer who served as MP for Bedford from 1790 to 1813, becoming one of the leading Whig politicians during that time. Fenwick was attempting at this time to enlist help, which included Thomas Hays, in procuring admission for Orlando as a cadet most likely into the Military College at Woolwich or Addiscombe, with the hope that he would be granted a commission in the Army or the East India Company.
4 Colonel Glennie became an instructor at Addiscombe Military School (designed for cadets to serve the East India Company in India) near Croydon upon its founding in 1809. There were 60 cadets that first year, and about 90 in 1813, paying £30 per annum for tuition, room and board. Glennie was paid £200 per annum as the instructor in Fortification, but he had been relieved of his duties May 1811, a few months before the above letter (see Henry Meredith Vibart, Addiscombe: It Heroes and Men of Note [Westminster: Archibald Constable, 1894], 38, 39). Stephen Bromfield (1740-1823) was a retired British military officer, having served in America and St. Domingo.