Letter from ANON to JAMES BARRY, written 15 January 1800, at London

Source: MS James Barry, Papers and Letters. The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

The reasons for including this letter in the correspondence are, first, that it is among the Barry papers, and second, the internal evidence; however it is unsigned and the year is not given.

The circumstances described suggest the writer was a friend who had accompanied Barry on the previous evening to a lecture in which Bacon was mentioned. This may allude to a lecture in the Royal Academy: lectures were held between January and March and were open to the public; William Godwin went to one of Barry's lectures on 18 February 1793 (David V. Erdman, Blake: Prophet against Empire: a poet's interpretation of the history of his own times (1954; New York, 1991), p. 38, n. 31). Or the allusion may be to a discussion at the Dissenters' Club at St. Paul's Coffee house; Barry told Charles James Fox this was 'where Dr. Price occasionally came & where I had frequently ye the opportunity of hearing interesting Constitutional questions honestly & ably discussed' (Appendix A, Barry to Fox, 5 October 1800).

A rough estimate of the year as 1800 is based on the fact that Dr. Ferris, mentioned in the letter, was elected Chairman of the Society of Arts' Committee of Correspondence and Papers in 1799, and Barry may have had dealings with him about that time. On the other hand the allusion may be to a medical problem Barry was having.

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Jan 15

Dear Sir.

Early this morning I waited on Dr Ferris1 to execute your commission, but was most happy to find that he had given you ample satisnn satisfaction on so delicate & interesting a subject - I am infinitely obliged to you for taking me with you last night - there were a variety of things, that struck me forcibly as I am sure they did all who heard them, with mind, & with taste, but I am in hopes Bacon2 & […] [gap in transcription (space)] you do not disagree, at least not materially, but that Appelles Apelles 3 was misunderstood, the reducing combiningcombining his selections so as to give the whole the appearance of Nature, not taken in by those who wrote of their his practise practice - this I should suppose Ld Bacon meant to say was wanting,4 though I speak only from guess not recollection - in this only perhaps he was deficient that he took the accounts of Appelles Apelles as he received them, & argued in consequence - "Bacon & Barry must agree" pray accept one more pi scrap of scribbling