John Childs to William Hone, 7 December, 1820

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

John Childs to William Hone, 7 December, 1820.1-TEI-


7 Dec'r 1820
Dear Hone,

You of course notice the correspondence in the Times2 between the Rev'd Rich'd Dreyer & Scraggs — the latter is my next door Neighbour & tenant; & at the same time one of the most respectable fellows in the world — on my return I find my Brother3 has commenced a subscription for the purpose of paying the Parson his Hundred Pounds, & he has succeeded in that, but as the affair has found its way into the Times by some accident, we have an idea that more may be made of it for him than was anticipated as some unknown friend has requested Effingham Wilson to receive subscriptions for him[.] I enclose you a few Copies of the letters, begging you to hand them ab't in such quarters as you think the most likely to be of service to him. You may mention to your friends that the Subscriptions will be received by us. [I]t is a most infamous case, & never did there exist a Man who deserved better of all mankind than poor Scraggs, who has in his short life time been steeped to the hips in poverty — when you come you will see him, and if all is well we will go & hear the Parson preach!

I send you a copy of Dreyer's second letter,4 which much against my Judgment they have forborne to publish out of respect to the feelings of the Parson, however do not make it public as it is Robert's wish to reserve it in case any new circumstance should arise which might give it greater effect.

Scraggs is the Son of a Player[?] who used to have a Company performing in this circuit, & after the Death of his father & mother who were much [one word][?] he made so many ineffectual struggles to procure the Bread which perishes & which at one period was very expensive that he was at one time nearly broken hearted, at length this School offered & this priest pretending great regard for him offered him one hundred pounds to enable him to take it, the[one word][?] he (the Priest) well knows all ab't the convenience of his paying, which will however be rendered more convenient than the beast anticipated.

We have this moment rec'd 20 £ from the Duke of Norfolk & 5 £ from his steward— good.

I find on enquiry the letters are all done up & sent to Wilson, you shall however have some by the Day Coach to morrow morning. But I am anxious that you should know of this. Adieu.

Yours Sincerely,
in haste,
John Childs

Mr. W. Hone

University College, London, Ogden MSS, 73(3), f. 15. [return]
Childs refers to two letters, from Dreyer to Scraggs and then Scraggs' response, which were printed in the Times on 5 December, 1820. The letters describe a local ethical/political controversy: Scraggs had received some financial assistance from Dreyer, but when Scraggs illuminated his home in honor of Queen Caroline, the loyalist Dreyer took issue with the partisan demonstration and requested the return of his loan. For his part, Scraggs claims to have been motivated by sound principles and does not consider the loan as accompanied "by any conditions as to opinions." The letters in the Times are printed under the headline: "Political Persecution." [return]
Robert Childs, John Childs's business partner, close confidant, and (like John) a close friend of Hone's. [return]
The enclosed note, a copy of a letter supposedly sent from Rev. Richard Dreyer to Scraggs, is an angry disputatious document in which Dreyer finally cuts off all communication. [return]
John Childs. Date: 2014-03-20