BAYLY, Nathaniel Thomas Haynes (1797–1839), poet and playwright. ALS to an unnamed correspondent

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BAYLY, Nathaniel Thomas Haynes (1797–1839), poet and playwright. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 2 sides, 4vo, no place, no date [1830s], regarding a publishing project “I arrived in Town last night & found your two notes, in which you refer to a communication of Messrs Smith & Elder enclosing plates, which I assure you I never received……. Being very punctual in matters of business, I am much annoyed that any party concerned in the work should consider me neglectful, or that I should have appeared rude & uncourteous to yourself.  I leave Town tomorrow at one oclock & shall remain 3 weeks at S Skinners Esqr. Shirley Park, Croydon……. Messrs. S. & E. have promised to send me the plates immediately & I shall return them with the letters without delay; and the end of the week hope to send the articles”. Paper thin and slightly browned, small loss to one corner and with invisible archival tape repair to folds. The letter comes with an engraved portrait of Bayly c 5.5 x 7 inches.

Abandoning opportunities to become an attorney and to enter the church, Thomas Haynes Bayly set out on a literary path in 1817 by writing and publishing poems and songs. He met and eventually married in 1826 an admirer of his work, Helena Beecher Hayes. Bayly published his first novel in 1827, and went on to also make his name as a playwright, but suffered severe financial losses in1831 from various investments from which he never fully recovered and was forced to earn a living from his writing. Afflicted by illness from 1837 onwards, he died of jaundice complicated by dropsy on 22 April 1839, aged just forty-one.

His friends the Skinners were Samuel Skinner (1744-1864) of Shirley Park, near Croydon, Surrey, who had made his fortune as a circuit judge in Madras, and his wife the society hostess Mary Skinner (née Routledge), who entertained a wide range of literary figures at their home.

The engraved portrait dating to 1831 is from a pencil and chalk drawing by Frederick Richard Say.

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