Mary Robinson to Samuel Jackson Pratt
August 31, 1800
31st August 1800
My dear Friend
I never wish to have any introductions to my own Poetry in the M P and therefore I thought of course that yours did not require it: the merit of your lines speaking for themselves. I have already taken care, I believe twice, to announce the Gleanings &c&c and on their publication I will do every thing that is right, and just, and handsome about them, for I feel warmly interested in every thing that is pleasant and honorable to you. I continue my daily labours in the Post; all the Oberons. Tabithas. M R's and indeed most of the Poetry, you see there is mine.
I know not when your letter was written but I only received it this
morning here. I remain secluded till November-- will you come a pass a few days with us, this autumn? You must tell me what you think of my Lyrical Tales now printing by Longman & Reese-- I am still tormented with ill health, but I have had my Cottage perpetually full of visitors ever since I came to it: and some charming literary characters,-- authoresses -- &cccc. I wish you would come and see us;-- I expect the Miss Porters, the beautiful Sisters of the painter of - --- the Seringapatam Picture with their mother. I have had Mrs Fenwick, the Elegant authoress of "Secresy" & her daughter, here, this month past-- Tomorrow I expect Godwin-- and his Philanthropic friend, Mr Marshall-- they will only stay a day or two. I shall see Mrs Parsons here soon; and I regret that I was not in town when Mrs Bennet called upon me: If you know her, tell her that I lament not seeing her before she set out for Scotland.
God bless you and farewell remember I have always a spare bed for my best friends, consequently we shall be deleghted to see you. We have some thoughts of making an hasty journey to visit Coleridge, the Poet, and his amiable little wife, in Cumberland but health must decide this matter.
Farewell ever truly yrs
[Address, page 4]
S. J Pratt Esqr
Editorial Note: Quoted by permission of the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation, Inc.; this letter is part of the Shelley Circle Pforzheimer Collection (SC 29; see below for full documentation). Samuel Jackson Pratt (1749-1814) was a poet and novelist who contributed to the Morning Post (where Robinson was poetry editor); he also wrote Robinson's epitaph. Robinson mentions a number of writers in this letter with whom she was acquainted: William Godwin (whom she knew through Robert Merry- see her letter to Godwin), Jane Porter (poet and historical novelist, author of Thaddeus of Warsaw (1803) and Anna Maria Porter (novelist), "Mrs. Parsons," probably Elizabeth Parsons (author of The Castle of Wolfenbach), Eliza Fenwick (close friend of Mary Hays, educator, and author of Secresy), "Mrs. Bennet," probably Agnes Maria Bennet (novelist, author of Agnes de Courci). The "Seringapatam Picture" refers to the panorama painted by Sir Robert Ker Porter (1777-1842), titled the "Storming of Seringapatam."
This letter and extensive annotations are published in Shelley and His Circle 1773-1822, Ed. Kenneth Neill Cameron, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961) p 231-35. All underlined words in the manuscript are italicized in this hypertext, to avoid confusion with hyperlinks (which are always underlined).
Shelley Circle documentation:
SC 29 MARY ROBINSON TO S. J. PRATT, AUGUST 31, 1800
AL signed M Robinson -, 3 pages. Double sheet, 4to (8-8 x 7.3 inches).
Laid paper. Watermark- [posthorn in crowned shield]l JRI. Gilt edges.
Seal:wax, red: MR [intertwined in oval]l.
Postmarks: i. (provincial Stamp): WINDSORI; 2. (morning duty stamp, London):
C SEP 1 1800.
Docket, page 4: Mrs Robinson.
PROVENANCE-. Andre' de Coppet (Sotheby, Nov. 14, I955, lot II97).