Letter from WILLIAM BURKE to JAMES BARRY, written 7 December 1770, at London

Source: Fryer, Works of Barry, i. 195-96.

This is the first response from any of the Burkes to Barry's anxious letters about his financial predicament while in Bologna; his good friend and Edmund Burke's 'kinsman' William Burke (1728-98) reassures him that money has been sent.

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London, December, 7, 1770.

My Dear Barry,

I have time but to say a word, to thank you for your two letters, one by post, one through Sir Joshua;1 we are all well. The inclosedenclosed will shew you that the 30l.2 was paid, and had we known how to address you, we should long since have wrote to you. InclosedEnclosed I send you the acknowledgement of the house here.3 InclosedEnclosed you have a letter from your father, who is in a bad state of health,4 and, with great deference, it were wise and not improper to see him before he dies. You may, dear Barry, be assured that we would do any thing sooner than leave you distressed in a strange country; but still cash is not as plenty as it was some time ago, so that if you have further occasions, mind not to draw so many days after date, but after sight, which gives us time to look out for the money, which is otherwise due before we see the bill, and is an unnecessary inconvenience. When I say this, take it as it is meant, not as the least lessening of our regards or willingness to be always useful to you.

I am sorry to tell you that one of your five cases is wanting; your Adam and Eve and that case is gone down to Beaconsfield.5 I will only say that your friends are thoroughly pleased with them, or if they have objections, I leave them to themselves to make them. I am glad to hear you yourself are so well satisfied with your Philoctetes.6 The remaining three cases are in an empty house opposite to us, for our house is very small,7 and would not hold them, but they are safe.

We heard from Richard the day before yesterday.8 He was well and doing well. Ned9 joins in the most affectionate regards to you. Mrs. B. is with her lovely boy in the country, but both well.10

I am, dear Barry,
Most truly yours,

William Burke.