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Elizabeth Wilson 1750
Elizabeth Wilson
Letter to Admiral Smith
Unpublished manuscript
Primary unique
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This letter was first published in the Hon. M.M. Wyndham, Chronicles of the Eighteenth Century: Founded on the Correspondence of Sir Thomas Lyttelton and his Family, 1924, vol. 2, p. 66; and later in WGC, pp. 19-20
Full Text
Bristol, 7th Novr 1750. - It is as unwelcome a task to me to be troublesome to you as any thing that can happen to me in this World. which has occasioned me being a good while sumoning up courage to write to you not from any fear of your not caring to help me out of a difficulty, for those are acts I know that give you pleasure. but Because I am very sensible that so good a friend as you are ought to have some respite. What I am about to trouble you in Admiral, my brother nor I have had an opportunity to lay fully before you, I mean the affair between Mr. Harris and my brother concerning the Pictures of the two Miss Jenkins. The last time I was at the Doctors [Ayscough] I brought with me the letters my brother received from Mr. Harris upon that account, for he has not seen Mr. Harris since the middle of June, nor could he be prevailed upon to come to the house ever since the Pictures were finished. which looked but too like that what he had bespoke in one humour he might have objections to in another. Only that I fear detaining you. or I think I could convince you Admiral that my Brother offered and did every thing to endeavour to please him that was in the power of a man; both on account of his belonging to you, and that it was in his interest to oblige everyone. It was all lost upon him. He was outrageous to the greatest degree. He swore my Brother had changed your picture that was took home to be amended, He went to several houses (some where they had never heard of my Brother), one a particular friend's, when he endeavoured to do him a great deal of mischief; adding he would never pay for Miss Jenkins pictures unless you insisted upon it, and called my Brother more bad names than one would think could come out of the mouth of a Gentleman. All this I assure you upon my word is strictly true, and I do imagine you will think it a hard case, especially as it is an Oppression from a Man of Fortune to an Artist, whose time is his patrimony and whose good name is of consequence to him. I have troubled you with this detail to shew you that no friend can be lost in Mr. Harris, let me do what I will in it; and if I had your leave or (which I had rather) that you can advise me to it, I will order them to be packed up and sent to him. I believe that custom in these cases goes no further than that if a gentleman pays half down for what he bespeaks, he is at liberty then either to take or leave the performance, but be that as it will, Sir, I submit it entirely to you, only begging the favour of you to call at the Woolen Draper's next door but one where we did live, and look at them; which was what my Brother a long while begged of Mr. Harris to do, assuring him of his readiness to do any thing to them that was found necessary, either then or if it were seven years hence. I am quite ashamed to have taken up so much of your time which indeed Admiral is owing to a greater necessity than I should care Mr. Harris knew belonged to either my brother or I. I am with unspeakable Gratitude and Esteem, Sir, Your ever obliged and most obedient servant, E. Wilson