Letter 26: 30 November 1807

Letter 26: 30 November 1807

  • Physical form: One sheet folded into 2 leaves (18.2 x 22.7 cm)
  • Cover: Miss Rickards / Crescent / Birmingham
  • PM: None
  • WM: BUTTANSHAW / 1804
  • SM: Misc MS 4367

My dear Lydia,

(For after some months I must not, you know, call you Lydia, [1] & I love the name so well I am resolved to use it while I can) I cannot satisfy my feelings without personally addressing you on a subject which must be near to my heart because it relates to the disposal of yours. How pleasing it must be to you to form the important connection you are going to form with the full approbation of your family & your dear parent, as well as with your own decided inclination. Without both these I know you would not be happy, & yet, how seldom is it that both so cordially concur. Till this decisive engagement is taken, be the parent as indulgent & the daughter as dutiful as they may, they cannot be sure they shall not be called upon to sacrifice the peace of one or the other party. Tho I have not the pleasure of knowing the gentleman who has been so happy as to obtain your regard, the celebrity of his father gives me naturally a respectable idea of the son, & makes me feel as if I half knew him— Mr Robert Kinder has brought home his bride, & they are quietly settled in their house in Paradise Row. [2] They look already as if they had been

[fol 1v] married these seven years, quite quiet & domestic, to which appearance little Lætitia sitting by the side of her new mother something contributes. The connection is a very pleasing one to all the family— The Carrs, I find, continue till Christmas at Hampstead, consequently out of our reach at this season— I am sure you were sorry to see your old neighbour Mr Lyson Lewis in the Gazette. [3] The trading world seem at present under a good deal of consternation from the very unusual state of public affairs, [4] & heaven knows what it will end in, but I own I am not sorry to see longings for peace, tho perhaps only from an interested motive, begin to prevail over the savage breathings for perpetual war which our merchants so lately exhibited. Happy are they, & they alone, who in every event public & private, can rest their hopes on an over ruling providence—Mr Barbauld joins me, dear Lydia, in the most affectionate & cordial wishes for your happiness in every scene of life tried & untried.

with affectionate respects to Mrs Rickards, I am Ever Yours

AL Barbauld

Miss Finch begs her compts


[1] ALB must not call her "Lydia" because etiquette dictated that a married woman be addressed as "Mrs," even by her friends. BACK

[2] On Robert Kinder, see Note 4 to Letter 23 (also Note 5 to Letter 7). Paradise Row was a street in Stoke Newington. BACK

[3] "Lyson Lewis": A Hampstead neighbor, now a bankrupt; the Gazette was a list of bankrupts. BACK

[4] "public affairs": The war against Napoleonic France produced severe economic hardship for all combatants. See E. J. Clery, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven: Poetry, Protest, and Economic Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2017). BACK