William Hone to W. J. Fox, 3 June, 1826

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William Hone to Rev. W. J. Fox, 3 June, 1826. 1-TEI-

22 Belvidere Place
3 June 1826.
My dear Sir

Misfortune and ill report usually go together, and you cannot therefore, I imagine, be ignorant, that I am, at least, in deep trouble.2 How it has been occasioned many will presume to know better than myself — of such knowledge, or of any of the manifold conjectures concerning me, I am ignorant uninformed, and desire to remain so, but of this I do with truth, assure you, that if I have life and faculties, I shall be able to show I have derived nothing but sorrow to myself, and have done nothing for which any one may blush when he recollects that he at any time befriended me. In the my present situation I do not expect the world to alter its usual course, but I do hope there may be a few, who, if they cannot afford me their open countenance, will in some degree continue their private favor, and I am mistaken if I may not regard you as one of that "few" — for, though we have seldom met, yet, when we have, it has been with intimacy, and I have met you as often as any, of that small number, whom I could esteem as friends. I say this because it is natural for you to suppose that I might have seen others more frequently — but, in truth, for the last two years, I have been secluded in the midst of the world, and during the last summer, and even into the present year, have had so much of mental infirmity, as to be unable to see any one without communica[ting] pain, inflicting greater on myself.

But, to come to my present purpose, it is fitting I should at once tell you, that since I have come under the extreme power of the law, by the enforcement of just claims upon me which I am unable to discharge, my second daughter Fanny has been married to Mr. Thomas Hemsley of King Street Tower hill. He is son to a daughter of old Mrs. Seaton of Chatham, through an old friendship with whom I became acquainted with his late father. This young man is neither bookish, nor political, nor fanatical — but he is one of the most strait-forward fellows in the world, and if he cannot make his way in it by plain dealing, he will not get through it at all. By business he is an optician & mathematical instrument maker, & there was a time when I had hoped to have assisted him, but now I am powerless. His father died in rather embarrassed circumstances, & Thomas assisted aided by another of his brothers has discharged every penny of the his parents debts, and so restricted his own means, that they are insufficient. He is nothing but an honest man, with an honest girl for his wife, and being my son in law, I feel, on my daughter's account, a painful anxiety for her welfare, and the more so, as he resisted the prudent remonstrances of prudent friends, who, as soon as my situation was known, would gave him advice, which, if he had followed, would have broken my poor girl's heart. Tom's answer was a call upon me to walk out of the perlieus of a prison, and give him Fanny's hand at Aldgate Church.

This "Thomas Hemsley" is a candidate for the office of Deputy Sea-Coal Master[?], which, if he gets into it, will give him & his wife bread. He has not a single friend in the Common Council, & knows no one to introduce him, but Dr. Evans of Islington, of whose Church his mother is a member, & is one of the congregation. How I stood with the Common Councilmen at one time I know well — how I stand with them now I pretty well guess — they are men "of credit and renown," & I an in poverty & distress. Now I cannot write a creature besides yourself on the subject, and I send you this letter by him, with intreating that you will confer a kindness on me, in the midst of my mishaps, by aiding him to the utmost of your influence with such of the Coal Committee as you can bring it to bear upon. This solicitation to you is all the assistance I can give him, and, to be brief, would I would desire each word a mouth, & each letter a tongue, to eloquently express my earnest[?] desire for your friendship in his behalf. I believe I need say no more.

If Mrs. Fox will be pleased to accept my kind remembrances & you will convey them to her I shall be gratified. I have been separated from my family nearly six weeks during which time they were homeless. We have got together again with the last ten days in a little house by ourselves. Hoping that your health (which I have heard of frequently & [one word][?]) is improving with the improving weather

I am My dear Sir
Yours sincerely
W Hone.
The Rev. Mr. Fox
Hone Collection, Adelphi University, Series 1A, Bx 1, f. 3. [return]
Hone refers to both his own ill health and his financial straits, having been arrested for debt in April of 1826. Hone's address at this time, 22 Belvidere Place, is located with the rules of King's Bench Prison. For more information on Hone's circumstances, see Hone's letter to John Childs, written shortly after his arrest.[return]
William Hone. Date: 2014-11-14