10 March 1812
Eliza Fenwick, [5 Tavistock Square], to Orlando Fenwick, her son, [no address page], Sunday Evening [postmark 10 March 1812].1
I acquit you my dearest boy of intending to neglect me. Miss Hays has very satisfactorily accounted for the delay of your precious little scraps, and even more satisfactory <–> than that is the talle tale she tells of your improvement & good conduct, through which you become a greater favorite than ever with all their family. What think you my beloved boy could give me so great pleasure as this information? proving as it does that you think of my admonitions & lay to your heart the counsels my affection continually offers to you. She says too that your patience & forbearance has at length softened the malicious ill will of the enemies of whom you complain to me & ask me what I would advise you to do. I can give no better advice than to bear with patience & without being moved to anger what is out of your power to redress, and most carefully suppress all inclination to provoke this adversary. In him such an abuse of power is mean & unmanly in the highest degree & by it he injures & degrades his own mind far beyond any degree of hurt hat he can do to you; and though you may be certain I shd feel great pain at seeing you thump’d & pinched in this way I should feel much more agony to see you become the person capable of acting so by no any one. In all such contentions my dear boy we must be watchful over ourselves. By losing our patience & self command we give fresh zeal to the malice of our persecutor, while we partake a little of the vile spirit by which he is governed wanting perhaps only equal power to be equally cruel.
I give you my dear dear boy no other advice than that I take myself. I am frequently smarting under grievances almost intolerable to bear. Indeed the whole course of my life is quite intolerable to my feelings, so much so, that I am compell’d to exert the most continual self-government to endure it. I fortify myself with thinking that it is for you and Eliza I thus subj submit & then the exercise of patience & forbearance brings its reward.
Pray continue to tell me of Mr Wilkinsons “very well Sir.” You see how much you have improved in this little article of penmanship since you determined to make the effort. You know you despair’d but as soon as you dert determined to try despair was at an end for you found you could succeed. So go on with continual zeal & attention. I like the drawings very very much but have not yet had an opportunity of shewing them at Hopwoods2 for I have been very poorly ever since Wednesday & have not been out of doors. I am now mending rapidly and shall take my accustomed walks tomorrow.
How my heart ached when you spoke of coming home Ah how I envied those happy parents who have a home wherein to receive their children. I know not my love what to do with you. Your father has I believe returned to live at your Uncles & there I cannot wish you to go, for things are more unpleasant there than ever. Your father & Uncle are setting up a new paper & this at present so engrosses papa that I cannot get a line from him to say whether he has removed yet to yr Uncles! I think it very probable that he (yr father) will be obliged by his Editorship to have a lodging in the City & if that should happen by the Easter Hollidays you shall come, if not you must wait with patience a little longer. How much I wish to see ^you^ I cannot express & yet the joy of your coming stands so close to the pain of parting with you that I believe I ought not to wish it so very earnestly. I am looking forward with a delighted sort of hope dear Lanno that you will perhaps stay in England to cherish your Mothers declining years. Great changes are likely to take place in India affairs which may render it extremely imprudent for you to be sent there. Should it prove so, why we will send for Eliza home and we will all be comfortable together.
If you are not to be soldier, at least I can give you the consolation of knowing that your sabre is safe & sound at Mrs Luers. Be assured my love if I can manage to have you in town for a day or two at Easter I will and I have written to your father to know whether he can find accommodation for you. I began this letter yesterday it is now Monday. I walked out to-day called at Hopwoods & shewed the drawings you sent me which gained very great commendations I assure you. The old man said you were a lad of taste & talent. Don’t be vain, but be industrious & emulous to excel in all that you undertake & some-how or some-how among us we will make a man of you if you do but provide us with the materials of good-sense good manners & good conduct[.]
God bless you dearest boy!
Am I not to have a scrap of a letter to send to Eliza? Abraham is inconsolable for want of a line from you & as he has been a little in trouble lately it wd be charitable to gratify him with three lines. Adieu
1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 78-80; not in Brooks, Correspondence.
2 William Hopwood (1784-1853), artist and printmaker (see Eliza Fenwick to Orlando Fenwick, 17 February , and his entry in the Biographical Index.