[Catherine Hutton, novelist.] Three Autograph Letters Signed to Birmingham bookseller James Belcher, discussing in moving terms her nursing of her elderly parents, her plans for a future book ('my incipient Queens') and 'Dr. Hutton's bust'.

Catherine Hutton (1756-1846), English novelist and letter-writer, daughter of the Birmingham bookseller and local historian William Hutton (1723-1815) [James Belcher, junior, Birmingham bookseller]
Publication details: 
ONE: No place; 4 December 1821. TWO: Bennett's Hill; 21 January 1827. THREE: 'Saturday Morn.'
SKU: 15555

All three items in good condition, on lightly aged paper. ONE: 4 December 1821. 3pp., 12mo. Bifolium. The letter, which concerns her plans for a book, begins: 'My dear Sir | In consequence of your opinion, I send a prospectus for Mr. Dawes [the critic Manassah Dawes (d.1829)?], which you will have the goodness to forward at a proper opportunity. But for this opinion, I should not have had the courage to apply to him, though the refusal of two persons ought not to prevent the application to a third. Nothing in my opinion could have been more certain than the subscriptions of Mr. Corrie [John Corrie (1769-1839) of Woodville] and Mr. Galton [Samuel Galton (1753-1832), member of the Lunar Society]; the former, the president of the Philosophical Society, took ten days to say "No;" the latter seems to suppose I wanted to make him my agent.' She explains that she has written Galton a letter disabusing him of his notion, 'and saying that, as the former associate of Dr. Priestley, Mr. Boulton, Mr. Watt and Mr. Keir, I considered it a duty to give him an opportunity to subscribe, if such should have been his choice'. She asks him to tell her 'truly your opinion of my incipient "Queens." Not that I mean implicitly to abide by it; this would be too much to expect either from an author or a lady, neither of whom are the most reasonable of beings'. Her last letter from 'Mr. Baldwin [her London publisher Robert Baldwin, of the firm Baldwin, Cradock & Joy] seems to hold out some encouragement for a future undertaking, and I mean to send it for his opinion, in my packet to Dr. Hutton'. She concludes by asking for 'the manuscript with Mr. Dawes's answer'. Both Catherine Hutton and her father have entries in the Oxford DNB. TWO: Bennett's Hill; 21 January 1827. 3pp., 12mo. Bifolium. With seal in black wax. A moving letter, written as the recipient's mother is dying, which begins: 'My dear Friend | I feel sincerely for you situation, but I do not write to offer useless condolence. The sick you cannot save; yourself, I hope you may, and it is a duty you owe to yourself and your friends. I, who am one of the latter, demand it of you. Many daughters have sacrificed themselves to hopeless, dying mothers, but you are the only son I ever heard of that incurred such a risk. Sickness is apt to be selfish; no person can watch with such attention, as those who are the most attached, and these offices are generally required where best performed. But remember yourself, you who ought to exist when your parent must necessarily be no more.' She continues by stating that 'Few persons have been called upon to practice what I here recommend more than myself. I was five years the nurse of a mother, a most beloved mother, who was hopelessly and deplorably ill. I procured attendants for day and night, during twenty two months, who relieved each other at stated hours, and I was in regular attendance myself from eight o'clock in the morning till twelve at night; but beyond this I never went, or was required to go. With my father the case was different; he was not ill, but infirm. My mind was always with him, and my hands were ever ready to assist him. I fed him, I helped to undress him, I saw him safe in bed, and I then left him to the care of a servant, who slept in his room.' She 'might have done more [...] though he never asked me to do so; but, being the first to observe, I might always have been the first to execute; but I contented myself with saying to the servant, "whatever you neglect, do not neglect my father," and with seeing that my orders were punctually andn minutely observed'. The next paragraph reads: 'To bid you moderate your grief would be to "charm away with words, I only bid you go to bed. [last three words underlined]'. She concludes in the hope that her lines, 'dictated by [...] reason, as well as [...] true regard', may be of some service. THREE: 'Saturday Morn.' 1p., 12mo. Bifolium. With seal in red wax. She joins her cousin Samuel Hutton in thanking him 'for the trouble you have undertaken respecting Dr. Hutton's bust'. She has informed Hutton, and has 'written to Mr. Boulton on a prospectus, and inclosed a letter from Dr. Hutton (not the one you saw) and a copy of one from the late Mr. Rennie [the engineer John Rennie (1761-1821)]'.