|dc.description.transcription||Pisa. Aug. 7. 1820.
The purport of this letter is to inform you that I cannot comply with the request contained in yours dated July 21. & that you ought not to depend on me for any further pecuniary assistance at the present moment. – my affairs are in a state of the most complicated embarrassment: added to which I am surrounded by circumstances in which any diminution of my very limited resources might involve me in personal peril. I fear that you & I are not on such terms as to justify me in exposing to you the actual state of my delicate & emergent situation which the most sacred considerations imperiously require me to conceal from Mary; be it sufficient without entering into the subject now present to my mind to state the question in such a manner, that any entire stranger who should chance to peruse this letter, might without reference to them [deleted] these circumstances perceive that I am justified in withholding my assent to your request. -- I cannot comply. . but it will be an additional consolation to me to have shewn, that I ought not.
I have given you within a few years the amount of a considerable fortune, & have destituted myself, for the purpose of realizing it of nearly four times the amount. Except for the good will which this transaction seems to have produced between you & me, this money, for any advantage that it ever conferred on you, might as well have been thrown into the sea. Had I kept in my own hands this £4 or £5000 & administered it in trust for your permanent advantage I should have been indeed your benefactor. The error however was greater in the man of mature age extensive experience & penetrating intellect than in the crude & impetuous boy. Such an error is seldom committed twice.
You tell me that I promised to give you £500 out of the [deleted] my income of the present year. Never certainly. How is it possible that you should assert such a mistake? I might have said that I could, or that I would if I thought it necessary, I might have been so foolish as to say this; but I must have [p. 2] been mad to have promised what you alledge. Thus much at once on the subject of promises. I never but in one instance promised anything unconditionally. And the conditions were, first that I should be able to perform my engagement; & secondly, that the great sacrifices at which alone it could ever be performed by me should be made available to you [deleted] some great [deleted] adequate & decise [deleted] decisive advantage to result to you; such for instance as the [deleted] a compromise of the suit now pending. Had Mr. Gisborne advanced the money, according to the terms proposed by me, it’s application to this purpose alone, would have been secured.
In October 1819 you wrote to say that the verdict of a Jury had been obtained against you for something between £600 & £2000; & that if you had 500 you believed that you could compromise the claim founded upon that verdict. My first impulse was –that I would do every thing that I could to serve you; as much as that I certainly expressed under a belief of the emergency of your situation. But that every thing was nothing; [these italics and the semicolon deleted] in fact I could do nothing. A year passes over, & after this decision in a court of common law, the affair remains in the same situation [italics deleted] stationary. Nothing is more unlikely, than that, if your opponents have [deleted] can shew legal claim to this ever-increasing sum they will compromise the claim for a fourth of the whole [deleted] amount which has accrued, --nothing is more absurd than to pay the sum in question, if they have [deleted] can not that [deleted] shew this legal claim, with the reserve of the liability for the entire sum to those claimants in whose favour the property may be finally judged. The affair seems to me a mass of improbabilities & absurdities. You still press [deleted] urge the request of £500. You would take anything in the shape of it that would compel me to make the great sacrifise of paying it from the [the last 5 words deleted] (if indeed now it be not impossible0 of paying it from my income, without – you must allow me to say – that [deleted] a due regard to the proportion borne by your accommodation to the loss [these 3 words deleted] to my loss [deleted] immediate loss or even your own ultimate advantage. If you had bills on my income for the sum, how would you procure money on them? My credit, except among those friends from with whom I never will [these 6 words deleted] whom I never will ask a pecuniary favour, certainly would not suffice to raise it, & your own name is worth as little or less in the money market. That my bills would sell for something, I do not doubt. And when you had procured this money – this 400, what would be done [p. 3] with it? What is become of the £100 already advanced by Horace Smith. Put your hand upon your heart & tell me where it is. – In a letter written after your receipt of this sum you state with the most circumlocutory force of expression, and as if you were anxious to leave yourself no outlet for escape, that you have never received a single farthing. This of course was only meant for immediate effect; & not for the purpose of ultimately [deleted] leading into error, & is only a part of that system you pursue of sacrifizing all interests to the present one. Suppose after this I were to involve myself in the chance of destruction, to defraud my creditors of what is justly theirs, to withhold their due from those to whom I am the only source of happiness & misery, & send you these bills. The weakness & wickedness of my conduct would admit of some palliation if the [y and would deleted] money they produced were reserved for the attempt at compromise, & retransmitted to me the moment that attempt as it must, should fail. I [deleted] Sir Philip Sidney when dying, & consumed with thirst gave the water which was brought to him [these 6 words deleted] helmet of water which was brought to him to the wounded soldier who stood beside him. It would not have been generosity but folly had he poured it on the ground, as you would that I should the wrecks of my once prosperous fortune.
So much for the benefit which you would derive from my concession of your request. The evils – exclusive of that circumstance which makes concession absolutely impossible – were to me immense. I have creditors whose claims amount nearly to 2000; some of whom are exceedingly importunate – others suffering perhaps as much [both words deleted] more than you suffer; from the delays which my impoverished condition & limited income have compelled me to assign; others threatening to institute a legal process against me, which, not to speak of the ruinous expense connected with it, would expose my name to an obloquy from which you must excuse me if I endeavour to preserve it. To all [both words deleted] Amongst these creditors was [deleted] is the annuitant from who I procured money to meet your [deleted] Hogan’s claim on you, at 25 per cent, & the interest on which you pledged yourself, but have neglected, to pay. To all or any one of these objects the excess of my income over my expenditure, is most justly due. –
In case too of your bankruptcy [these 4 words deleted] any such reverse as bankruptcy happening to yourself, a then [deleted] circumstance which sometimes surprizes the most prosperous concern, & is infinitely probably in so [deleted] an embarrassed a [deleted] business conducted by a person wholly ignorant of trade, how would you regret my folly in not now being severely [these 3 words deleted] just but having [both words deleted] [p. 4] If 400 be necessary [this clause deleted]
If you are sincere with me on this subject why, instead of urging plundering a person [these 4 words deleted] seeking to plunge on already half ruined for your sake into deeper ruin, do you not procure the 400 from [deleted] by your own exertions [deleted] active powers? A person of your extraordinary accomplishments might easily obtain from the booksellers for the promise of a Novel a sum exceeding this amount, Your answer to Malthus would sell at least for 400. Half the care & thought bestowed upon this [deleted] honoruable exertion of the highest faculties of our nature, would have rewarded you more largely than dependence on a person whose precarious situation & ruined fortunes make that dependence a curse to both?
Mary is now giving suck to her infant, in whose life, after the frightful events of the last two years, her own seems wholly to be bound up. Your letters from their style & spririt (such is your erroneous notion of taste) are accustomed [both words deleted] never fail to produce an appaling an effect on her frame; [lower part of semicolon deleted] that [deleted] on one occasion, united to other circumstances [these 4 words deleted] agitation of mind produced through her a disorder was produced [both words deleted] in the little only [both words deleted] child, similar to that which destroyed our little girl two years ago. The utmost medical skill [these 3 words deleted] disorder was prolonged by alarm which it occasioned, until by the utmost [illegible word deleted] efforts of medical skill & care it was restored to health. Mary [deleted] on that occasion Mary at my request gave me the liberty of [these 5 words deleted] authorized me to intercept [ing deleted] such letters of information as I might judge likely to disturb her mind. That discretion I have exercised with the letter to which this is a reply. The correspondence therefore rests between you & me; if you should consider any further discussion of a similar nature with that which [these 3 words deleted[in which you have lately been engaged with Mary necessary, after the full explanation which I have given my views & the unalterable decision which I have pronounced. Nor must [deleted] can the [deleted] a correspondence with your daughter on a similar subject ever [deleted] be renewed. It was every wholly improper, & might [deleted] leads to presumptions among you serious [these 4 words deleted] imputations against both herself & you, which is important for her honour as well as for yours that I should only repel but prevent. She has not, nor ought she have the disposal of money, if she had poor thing, she would give it all to you.—
If you seek to oppos [this clause deleted] Such a father (I mean a man of such high genius) can be at no loss to find subjects on which to address such a daughter. Do not let me be thought to dictate, but I can only convey to her such letters are [deleted] are consistent with her peace to read; such as you once proposed to write [these 7 words followed by a dash, deleted] let them contain [ing such deleted]||