Letter 13: To Mrs. Rickards, 10 August 1803

Letter 13: To Mrs. Rickards, 10 August 1803

  • Physical form: One sheet folded into 2 leaves (18.7 x 23 cm); fol 2r is blank, 2v is cover
  • Cover: Mrs R[ickards] / Church Row / Hampstead
  • PM: 7 o’Clock / AU 10 / 1803 N.T
    TwoPy[P] / Unpai[d] / Stoke Ne[xx]
  • WM: J RUSE / [18]01
  • SM: Misc MS 4354

Dear Madam,

In consequence of a notice which Mr Barbauld sent to his & your Landlord that he should quit the house, Mr Marsac informs him that he wishes to sell all the three, & desires him to make it known in Hampstead. [1] We think it right therefore that you & Mr Tierney [2] should be apprized of it the first, & shall be much obliged to you to convey the intelligence to Mr Tierney with our Compliments——I suppose you still continue your intention of going to the sea in spite of the French, but I hope we shall see you here first—Miss Belsham has just been reading me a letter from her sister in Ireland, in which she says “You talk of being afraid

[fol 1v] of invasion, I wish we had nothing worse to be afraid of” [3]—I have had a letter from Mr Carr, they are all well—I long to know how much your benevolent exertions produced this year at West end fair. [4] Often do I think of Hampstead & every thing belonging to it, & with pleasure, when I reflect on friends that I may visit or hope to see here at the distance of 5 miles, from time to time, but it is with far different feelings that, since I began this letter, I have been taking leave of Mrs Shiells [5] & her sweet family, whom, when I shall see again, or if ever, heaven knows—With affectionate remembrances to Miss Rickards from Mr Barbauld & myself, & Compts to Miss Harrop I am dear Madam,

Sincerely Yours,

AL Barbauld


[1] Mr. Marsac: Not identified; seemingly, the Barbaulds' and Rickardses' landlord in Hampstead. If so, it should seem that the "notice . . . to quit the house" would have been sent in March 1802, when the Barbaulds removed to Stoke Newington. BACK

[2] Sabine Tierney, occupant of a house in Church Row, Hampstead, next to the one the Barbaulds had occupied and near the one tenanted by Lydia Rickards (IR 23/51: 1798 Land Tax Assessments: Middlesex, Vol. 4, fol. 1179, Register No. 4694 [The National Archives, Kew]). BACK

[3] "Miss Belsham" is Anne Belsham, sister of the Rev. Thomas Belsham and his housekeeper. "Her sister in Ireland" is Mary, one of Belsham's numerous siblings (ODNB). "Invasion" because the war with France had resumed in May and Napoleon was known to be preparing a fleet for invasion of England. Landowners in Ireland, like Mary, were more afraid of tenants' uprisings. BACK

[4] West End Fair was an annual charity event in Hampstead, at which fashionable ladies presided at sales tables. ALB wrote a poem twitting the Fair (Poem 123 in ALB, The Poems, Revised [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019]). BACK

[5] "Mrs. Shiells": A Barbauld neighbor in Hampstead. Richard, her husband, is said to have been a friend of Thomas Muir, the transported Scottish radical (ALBVE, 634n105). BACK