13 April 1814

Eliza Fenwick, Lee Mount, to Mrs. M. Hays, at T. Hays, Esqr, Mill Street, Dock Head, Southwark, 13 April 1814 [note here to Crabb Robinson about Fenwick’s son, Orlando].1

Lee Mount April 13 1814

My dear Friend,

     I congratulate you heartily on your farewell to Northamptonshire and your prospects at Clifton and I should when last dispatching a letter to Eliza have written some of the crowding thoughts that yours had occasioned in my mind, but that I had difficulty to bear the exertion of a very few lines to her from the effects of a violent attack chiefly in my head resembling in anguish last years visitation but attending attended with more fever. Either nervous or bilious it must be & was I think brought on by a foolish ^unfounded^ fright which I now have not time to explain. I am <–> perfectly recovered by but some casualties have rendered it impossible to write, as I wished, much, yet selfishness will not suffer me to delay any longer asking for that kind that ready assistance which has ever been prompt & zealous for my benefit. Time pressing so much I cannot at present enter into the details of why I think it my duty not to allow Orlando to go to the West Indies. Mr Rutherfords & Eliza’s intentions & wishes are as generous and sincere as ever, but some unlucky contingencies have fallen in their way & struggling as they are in the outset of life I will not burthen their labours with such an expence as from the answers to my direct enquiries I find it would be to push Orlando forward in the Law across the Atlantic. Nor will I use any portion of their money, unless fortune should become very lavish in her favors to them. Yet it is as you justly say high time to fix him & I am looking round with indescribable anxiety and embarrassment as to the means. You are I suppose visiting again your family connections: Do I make a troublesome or injudicious solicitation when I ask you to enquire among them or of any commercial acquaintance for a vacant situation that this boy can fill. You know him and love him but do not recommend him too warmly lest he seem below your estimate. 16 he will be next month, with a sound constitution and not an untractable disposition. He has (& it was his own plan) latterly applied himself to learn book-keeping under a brother of his school master who was principles chief Clerk in some irish Commercial house. Of his progress I do not pretend to judge but if it were incompetent I wd get him lessons from Tate of Throgmorton Street who I remember to have heard is an eminent teacher of Counting house business. Orlando himself I must tell you is of opinion that he needs no further instruction beyond what practice will give him. I do not imagine that at first he can look for much remuneration, nor shall I be reluctant to bear the chief burthen of his maintenance till he shall be deemed equal to such employment as will provide for his support. Bear in your mind my dear friend that I do not attempt to choose. Situated as I am I must look to casualties for the fixing his destination. I name offices & counting houses as places that occur to my mind, not as directing you or any benevolent person who would assist him to get forward how he is to be <–> established. I will say no more, than that he is very decently equipped in point of Wardrobe & I hope & trust will not in any way disgrace your recommendation. If you think proper to mention ^it^ to Mr Hays pray offer my Compts & good wishes. I could send him Orlando to London speedily to London, but unless any thing shd offer I propose keeping him till next month here.

             Now my dear friend excuse this short & selfish letter. I have many extracts I long to send you, & much to say on my own views. Eliza has begun a school at Barbadoes to try, very prudently, whether the support that has been promised will be given to such an extent as to secure me such compensation as will indemnify me for risque & inconvenience. More of this when I write again which shall be soon.

              Public events seem little short of miraculous. Engrossed by my own affairs I yet cannot help looking at them with great emotion.  

            Your letter demands much to be said on various points, but as I said before I can only now sympathize in your escape from Oundle And however envious of the Clifton Lady’s superiority over me2 I shall not easily believe you will love her better than you do your affectionate

                                     E Fenwick

I have written a line to Mr Robinson about Orlando in the cover of this letter.3

Address: Mrs M. Hays | T. Hays Esqr | Mill Street | Dock Head | Southwark

Postmark: 23 April 1814

1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 154-56; not in Brooks, Correspondence.

2 Hays's stay at Mrs. Mackie's school for girls in Oundle did not go well, and she had already broached the idea of living with Penelope Pennington in Dowry Square, the Hotwells, Bristol, at the base of the hill upon which Clifton sits; Fenwick had also proposed the idea that she and Hays would form their own school and live together, and this idea Fenwick would continue to float for the next decade and more, her last proposal occurring when she and young Eliza were living in New Haven, Connecticut. 

3 The cover is no longer extant.