26 January [1808]

Eliza Fenwick, London, to Crabb Robinson, Friday evening, undated [26 January 1808].1 


Friday Evening

Dear Sir

    It is wholly out of my power to express the affectionate gratitude I feel for the services you have rendered ^me^.2 The sympathy which caused such efforts for my deliverance adds an indescribable value to the benefit – In such a case the pleasure the giver feels he bestows with the gift, & the obligation is not a burthensome weight but a precious remembrance.

    A circumstance has occur’d which I am anxious to give you the earliest notice of both because you will rejoice in the advantage it tenders to me, & because it compells me to employ your assistance in another way than that I before proposed. My daughter has had a beneficial engagement tendered to her. The Managers of the Belfast Theatre are both in London, they have seen her, highly approve her & have offered an engagement for one year certain at two guineas pr week & three benefits in the year.3 At the end of the twelvemonthat the to be at her option to her renew the engagement for a second year & with a small encrease of Salary. They have press’d me very close & I have ventur’d to sign the agreements, relying that you will not think me blameable in so using the means you have put into my hands. It is the praise precise situation I would have chosen for her, for it comprises all the advantages which will tend to ensure ^her^ future easy & profitable course. But highly beneficial as it is & gratifying to our wishes had the offer come before you so kindly undertook my cause I must have refused it in despair. Some outlay is necessary to her preparation, & the Journey is a heavy expence. I have been so long accustomed to make sacrifices that I could submit, with some courage, to our separation, but both the Managers almost made a point of my accompanying her to Ireland. They assured me that my being with her ^my daughter^ would be an immediate passport for her into the genteelest families in the neighbourhood; & most materially assist her benefits. The Irish, they say, are extremely liberal of patronage & encouragement to young persons in such situation, who appear respectable. As I have some knowledge of Mr Curran,4 & one other Irish connection, I may when on the spot, get useful recommendations. Eliza’s Salary (as Belfast is a cheap place) will supply all our wants, & as so great a weight as my anxiety for her establishment will be removed form my mind, & my time, all but three evenings in the week my own I know I can employ it profitably – the more so as I shall not then need to consume the fruit of my labour before I have earned it. It is true that my going with her will add £10 to the previous expense but I believe I am doing right to make every exertion in order to go with her.

    I should be glad to know that you do not disapprove my plan. I have troubled you with a long story but you must forgive that & believe me

         Dear Sir

                yrs gratefully

                            E Fenwick


I beg to be remembered to Mrs Collier5 & family. I never shall forget the kind interest she seemed to take in my concerns.

I have written in haste & almost in the dark.

   Tuesday Morning – To my astonishment I have just found among some papers laid aside this letter which I thought I had sent to the post last Friday evening. Excuse me. I am in the greatest confusion for these Managers hurry us exceedingly, so much that I fear we shall not be able to go by sea as I thought of, & the cost of the land journey appalls6 me. I wish much to see you, & am still at Skinner Street7 till 4 oclock.

I was with Miss Hays on Sunday. She rejoices in Eliza’s prospect & thinks I am right in going with her

Dear Sir, Call on me as soon as you can



Address: Henry Robinson Esqr  | at Mr Colliers | Hatton Garden

Postmark: 26 January [1808].


1 Crabb Robinson Archive, DWL/HCR/5/4/116, Dr. Williams's Library, London; not in Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks. On the address page Crabb Robinson has written the following:  "Mrs Fenwick abot her Daur’s going on the stage I had collected for her £25.  NB: Mrs F: a most excellent woman of considerable talent. Unhappily married to a wild Irishman of a good heart but no <-> conduct he reduced her to poverty from affluence – After living in great poverty as an authoress, she went to her America, where her daur became an actress – The daur married one Rutherford He died – They the kept a school together – Wandering from place to place in the United States And West Indies her daur at length died And Mrs F: in advanced life is now supporting her grandchildren with great difficulty by keeping a school I believe in New York certainly in North America.    Feb: 1829.                                                                                                                     

2 Reference is to the monetary gift she had received through the efforts of Hays and Crabb Robinson.  

3 One of several acting engagements young Eliza Fenwick would fulfill before her move to Barbados in late 1811. 

4 John Philpot Curran, Irish politician (see his entry in Biographical Index).  

5 Mrs. John Dyer Collier, in whose home in Hatton Garden Crabb Robinson resided for many years after his return from Germany in 1805.                                                         

6 appals] MS

7 The location of the Godwins' Juvenile Library.