Edward Wakefield to William Hone, 28 December, 1813 — An Electronic Edition

[1780-1818] - [1818-1824] - [1825-1832] - [1832-1842] - Hone Correspondence

from Edward Wakefield to William Hone, 28 December, 1813.1-TEI-

Southgate Green, Bury St. Edmunds
28th December 1813
Dear Sir

2The information which I derive from your letter of yesterday affords me infinite pleasure, since no one can be more fully sensible than myself of the benefits which will arise from such an institution as you propose.3 I have my fears about raising the £100.000. and have not much expectation of the subscribers being paid £10. per cent., but these fears will not slacken my exertions in its favor, for the maxim of Locke that "he that will not stir till he infallibly knows the business he goes about will succeed; will have little else to do but to sit still and perish" is always uppermost in my mind when excellent plans for ameliorating the condition of mankind are afloat. I am unacquainted with Mr Bevans4 except by character. I have little doubt that he is an excellent man and very likely to be supported. I am glad to find that there [are] others as well as myself who have observed the wretched state of the private mad houses near the metropolis. I have pretty well explored them in procuring the liberation of the Rev'd Mr. Chauner and I have made numerous enquiries and possess considerable information upon the subject.

I have written by this post to Mr. Allen to tell him that I will cheerfully take part with the gentlemen who are to meet on Friday, and have hinted to him that I am acquainted with one who I think upon examination may prove a fit person for the secretary — this is as I understand what you wish me to do — but at the same time you must know sufficient of me to be aware that no personal regard could cause me to recommend any other but the man whom I thought upon careful consideration would best discharge the duties of the important office. I am inclined to think that you are peculiarly adapted for it and have no doubt but when further communication, not only with you but with Mr Allen & Dr Hancock, with both of whom I am very intimate, that we'll[?] find that we'll[?] be serving the institution by recommending you to the [one word][?] of the proprietor—but with all my prepossession in your favor. I think it right to apprise you that the fittest candidate for the situation must be the object of my choice.

I expect to be in London in January, but the time depends upon some possible meetings. Mr. Place can tell you when they will happen and in the mean time I beg that you will write me word if there be any thing which I can do. I think Mr Place a very fit man to attend the meeting on Friday.

I am with much esteem
Your faithful
humble servant
Edward Wakefield

P.S Your letter is not quite clear. You say in the first instance you wish for an introduction to the preliminary meeting, and subsequently you do not wish to be named. I have however taken the liberty of naming you to Mr. Allen, on whom I think you had better call and offer to act at the meeting pro tempore. You are also at liberty to shew this letter to Dr. Hancock, or Rich'd Phillips if you wish it. If you write me by tomorrow pm you can have an answer by Friday morning's delivery, and at any rate I should like to know what passes—should the meeting be adjourned for a fortnight. I shall most probably attend it, and am wishing to become a subscriber and recommend to my friends to do so also. Mr Bevans cannot do better than follow the plan of the Retreat, which is admirable.

Mr Wm Hone.

No. 18 Ivy Lane
Paternoster Row

British Library, Add. MS 40120, ff. 20-21. [return]
[Wakefield's note:] Where do you learn that there are 6 or 7000 insane persons in London — the parliamentary returns contradicts such statement. [return]
The "insitution" Wakefield refers to is the proposed asylum for the mentally infirm. (For a more detailed discussion of the project, see the biographical fragment entitled "Hone and the London Asylum.") Clearly, the present letter is Wakefield's response to an early inquiry intended to guage his interest and perhaps to encourage him to forward Hone's name as the potential "secretary" of the asylum. [return]
James Bevans, the architect who designed the Friends Retreat in Yorkshire for the treatment of the insane. [return]
Edward Wakefield. Date: 2013-10-24