17 February [1812]

Eliza Fenwick, [5 Tavistock Square], to Orlando Fenwick, 17 February [1812].1

Thursday Feby 17th

    Better late than never, they say, so here comes my apology which you say ought to have been made for not writing sooner than my last was written. I beg your pardon.

     Better late than never again my dear Boy in behalf of your writing which was really a great deal better. Never despair, for if Mr Wilkinson sometimes praises you [for] a good copy, they might all be good if you took the same pains & followed the same principle. Every body can do things better at one time than another, but if we always try to improve we shall never altogether fail though sometimes we shall perceive a greater progress than at others. Now on the 3d of May next you will be the 14 years old; between this and that there are 73 days. Now if you write only at the rate of a line a day with care and pains you will produce 73 well written lines and become almost a confirmed good penman. I give you that time & desire you will daily think of it for I shall be on the watch and if you dont write a tolerable hand on the day you are 14 I will give you such a trimming that you shall bless your stars that there are no seven league boots to be hired for me to stride to Wandsworth in while my fury is at its height. Seriously I expect much to be done in these 73 days in every way for if you are not a reaonsable, patient, most industrious – in short just such boy as I like to love dearly I think I will break my heart on purpose to make you suffer for your neglect. Believe me my love the style of your letters pleases me much but now having done with the writing I must begin to abuse the spelling. O fie Orlando what words are these




lating –for Latin


wold – for would


[paper torn]





Wadsworth – and barbadoes falmouth &c with small letters O fie Orlando! next time you are so naughty I believe I shall get your the your young friend of 16 to give you a second thumping – Had I seen him while at the first I think I should have given him a scratching.

     I like the heads &c. I shewed them to Hannah Heywood who commended them. All the family desire to be remembered to you & I sent Mr W. H—2 your [paper torn] as you desired I would. Hannah says she shall make some drawings for you to copy. Never mind thumpings ^coughs^ or other small troubles. I have many buffettings to bear for the world uses me hardly but I bear it all well for your sake. The only thing I could not bear would be bad conduct from you. While we love each other and feel that we strictly do our duty to each other ^& to every one else^ whatever disappointments we meet with, or whatever unkind or unjust treatment we receive we shall have much consolation still.

     Elias claims a letter from you. He says you promised him & he is much disturbed at your faithlessness.

     I enclose Elizas letter or rather my copy of it. I shall make a copy of the next for I think you will always like to have them will you not. Such good news is worth a second reading

            Adieu Love Be good and

     you will always have an affectionate Mother

                                 in E Fenwick


I shall recommend Miss Hays to give you a dose of salts for your cough but I hope such a delicious day as this will do it good. Write soon & I will not give you cause to be uneasy about my silence again.    



1 Crabb Robinson Archive, DWL/HCR/5/1/66, Dr. Williams's Library, London. Written on the back is “Orlando. Mrs Fenwick” (appears to be in Robinson's hand). In another hand is written (appears to be by Fenwick): “Pathetic Letter | to an only boy | who died soon after | Mrs Fenwick.”  HCR has added: “Mrs Fenwick to Orlando and only Son who died soon after. The writer, a remarkable person – one of Sir Richard Phillips poor authors.  The date uncertain probably between 1795 and 1800.”  [HCR's date is incorrect.] 

2 William Hopwood (1784-1853), was the son of James Hopwood (d. 1819), a prominent printmaker who arrived in London in 1797 and began working for James Heath. In 1813 he became secretary of the Artists’ Benevolent Fund, a position he held until 1818, when ill health forced his retirement; he died the following year. His two sons, William and James, Jr. (b. c. 1795), continued his work as printmakers. Most likely the Mr. Hopwood who appears in Eliza Fenwick’s letters is William. Both he and his brother exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, with William primarily specializing in book illustrations. The National Gallery, London, has numerous prints by Hopwood between 1800 and 1832. According to Fenwick's letters to Hays, Hopwood's daughter, Patty, attended school for a time c. 1812 under the teaching of Elizabeth Dunkin Francis (1787-1825), Mary Hays’s niece. He also took an interest in the drawings of Orlando Fenwick during his time at Mr. Wilkinson's school near Wandsworth in 1812.