12 April 1822

John Dunkin, Taplow Hall, Buckinghamshire, to Mary Hays, at Mrs. Hills, [Islington], 12 April 1822.1

Taplow Hall Bucks

April 12 1822

     In reply to yours of the 22d March deliverd to me a few days past by my Daughter Hills2 I must confess I was totally ignorant in the first place of the Bond drawn by Mr Collins3 being without date & in the next place that it was not register’d – I certainly do not pretend to sit in judgment in opposition to the professional men you have mentioned, but as to the necessity of such a Circumstance I never heard before, nor do I now think it is necessary, for if it were I think it would have been mentioned to me, as I have several bonds by me of some magnitude drawn up by professional Men, and none of them have been registerd – some Counties, I believe Middlesex for one, where Money is advanced on Mortgage, it is necessary the Deeds shoud be registerd to prevent a Second Mortgage, but the registry of Bonds I never heard before –

       I commend your Care in seeing any Securities you have are good, but I think there shoud be a delicacy in Money Concerns which you have not attended to, so much as I shoud think  necessary – When the omission by Mr Collins had been found out, it might have been mentioned to him by your Brother, which of Course he was bound to rectify – he woud have done it quite as well as applying to Mr Panter,4 and as for the other Gentleman5 I think you might as well have put the Case into the Essex Chronicle,6 for being communicated at Witham, it cod not well have been more publick –

      The money advanced by you was not at my request, for at that time I had no use for it – it was for your benefit, not mine but and as you had a desire to sink that Sum (abt £400) in order to increase your Income I offerd you 10 pCent, when in reality I do not suppose at your Age it was worth at that time much more than 7 or 7 ½ pCent – as therefore in the first instance I did it for your benefit, so now I shall be ready to pay it off in the same proportionate Value – if then I suppose nearly 30 yrs past (for I cannot say the time unless I were to look back to books long since put away) its value was 10 pCent – so now, I think it might be worth 20 pCt – without interest and Calculation, both Principal & Int I think must long since have been paid back, but as Int was not my motive for taking it, I pray God you may live to enjoy it many Years longer.7 

      I have lived to see many revolutions in families of the greatest respectability, and I have <-> witness’d unexpected trials in my own, but I am thankful no one is left destitute. “There is a tie in the affairs of Most Men”8 – perhaps if some of my own family had attended more to theirs they woud have been in a different Situation – I have nothing to reproach myself for, and every thing in the end I know will turn out for good – many blessings are still remaining & true religion points out the road to happiness, by learning “In whatsoever State I am, therewith to be Content”9 – Shoud I leave this place which I probably may for the wants of such society as I coud wish, other Motives may be attributed than what are really the Case, but it matters not to me what others may think when I am justified in my own Conscience. I do not know that imprudence can be charged on me at any part of my life – in former times when my income was much larger and my family around me I laid more than half my Income, so now after the different allowances I am making I find a surplus and, were it but half of what it now is, I shoud still feel very uncomfortable by spending the whole.

       Having now nearly reach’d the age of Man, my best hopes are when providence removes me hence, “like a Shock of Corn that is full ripe,”10 may be gatherd into the Heavenly garner and can I offer a better wish for you and all our family, than that we may meet our friends already there, and offer that gratitude that will be due to the Almighty for ever? – believe me my Dear Mary that I remain

             Faithfully & affectionately


                                John Dunkin


Address: Mrs Mary Hays | per favor of Mr Hills11

Postmark: none

1 Misc. Ms. 2287, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 494-95.

2 Emma Dunkin, Dunkin's daughter and Hays’s niece, married William Hills, Hays's nephew and Emma's cousin, in 1810; they settled in Canonbury Lane, a part of Canonbury Square, only a short distance from Hays in Cross Street and Elizabeth Lanfear in Church Street, Islington.

2 Possibly Daniel Collins, law stationer at 28 Cursitor Street, Chancery Lane (see PIgot’s 1823 London Directory, 158).

4Most likely William Panter, Jr., commercial broker at 12 Idol Lane, Great Tower Street, London (see Pigot’s 1823 London Directory, 62).  

5 Reference here is almost certainly to Crabb Robinson, a solicitor who was for many years the primary executor of Hays’s estate. He was a regular visitor to his many friends and relations in the Witham area, all of whom by this time were known to Dunkin and Hays through the marriages of two of his daughters to the Wedd family. 

6 Local country newspaper; closing quotation mark missing in MS. 

7 Dunkin is referring to the £40 annuity he set up on behalf of Mary Hays in 1792, a sum that was the starting point for her initial removal from his home at the Paragon in Southwark to Kirby Street in 1795, supplementing that amount with income from her magazine writings and novels to sustain her independent and semi-independent lifestyle for the remainder of her life.

8 Famous line from Shakespeare’s tragedy, Julius Ceasar, Act III, scene 7, l. 21.

9 Philipians 4:11; closing quotation mark missing in MS.

10 Line taken from Job 5:26; closing quotation mark missing in MS.

11 William Hills, Hays's nephew and Dunkin's son-in-law.