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Medwaye fragment HSP Dreer Collection

[recto side of page:]

Medwaye had three sisters; two, Harriet & Mary older than himself & Jane younger by five years. There was much resemblance, in character & person, between himself & his younger sister, but he possessed few or no properties in common with the elder. Harriet was vitious & Mary was simple but unfortunate. The parents dying in the childhood of their offspring, the girls were reared by their aunt, Mrs. Philips, while the boy was taken by Mr. Ellen.

Mrs. Philips was ignorant and full of prejudices. She knew nothing but to dress, talk flippantly, & gad among her neighbors. Her pupils imbibed her habits & follies.

Harriet and Mary were married nearly about the same time, the first, an English officer, who carried her away with him, the second, a shew[y] adventurer, with whom she lived six years in New York. Coldthurst, that was his name, was prodigal, luxurious & ostentatious, but cunning & addressful. Thus long his arts supported him; he then absconded, leaving his wife & two girls in indigence. The wife died of sorrow, & the orphans were taken & provided for by Medwaye, who was then only eighteen years old. The younger sister, Jane, then only eleven [“eleven” crossed out] thirteen years old, he took from under the care of Mrs. Philips, & placed her under more profitable guardianship.

Since that period they have received from him the most incessant & solicitous protection. Their subsistence & his own was derived from his own industry. At twenty years of age, he became exclusive occupant of an house. He placed in it his sister, two nieces, Sarah, a negro woman about forty, her son Alfred, about eighteen & her daughter, about twelve.

Sarah was honest, neat, industrious, and intelligent. Previous to this she was Medway's Laundress.

(1790)The house was built according to a plan of his own and furnished agreably [sic] to his peculiar system. It was not deficient in splendour but was studiously commodious & cheap. His ideas of building & accommodation were derived from accurate observation & diligent inquiry. Theyre [sic] were few more conversant with this brand of knowledge than Medway [sic]. His mind was incessantly inquisitive, & pregnant with deductions & inferences.

C. B. Brown

[signature pasted on from another sheet]

[verso side of page:]

These two years were spent at Ellendale. He occupied an exclusive apartment, but frequently resorted to the city, whither he was called by business, pleasure & benevolence.Mr. Ellen died in 1788. He left to his family, his plantation of two hundred acres, cultivated, for half the produce, by a subtenant, a countryman of Ellen's, honest, sober, thrifty & diligent; an house in town & some mortgages sufficient for respectable subsistence.

Mr. Ellens [sic] Brother was a Scottish Baronet, who occupied a place at court, & was opulent. He was unmarried & without offspring. He invited his nephew Lauder to come over to him, & promised, provided his conduct gave no dissatisfaction, to make him his heir

The characters of the nephew & uncle were greatly repugnant, & the youth dreaded that to please his uncle, would demand the sacrifice of his integrity & independence. In hopes, however, of preserving his affection, & aware that a separation would be productive of no additional poverty or inconvenience, the invitation was accepted.

Medwaye & Lauder had been brought up together from their infancy & the affection between them was fervent & entire. Their genius was somewhat different. They delighted in the same pursuits, but Lauder was most attached to mathematics and mechanics, while the other bestowed his chief regards upon history & eloquence.

Lauders [sic] meditations inclined towards the solution of problems & the structure of machines. Medway mused upon the forms of poetry & the systems of morals. Very early he began the carreer [sic] of composition, in dialogues & narratives, & in this carreer he persisted.

Lauder's design of going to England suggested a scheme of authorship. Lauder should take charge of & procure the publication, in London, of a manuscript performance. This scheme was adopted only one week previous to Lauder's departure. In this week, at short intervals, Medwaye produced a fictitious tale of three hundred pages, which Lauder carried away with him, in Autumn 1788.

A punctual and copious correspondence was maintained by the friends in which each recounted his thoughts & actions. Sir Keneth received his nephew with much affection, & treated him with great liberality. Gradually causes of dissention & dislike made their appearance, which, at length, matured into a quarrel & brought about a separation after one years co-residence. Hence, till the death of the uncle, by which, contrary to all his expectations, he found himself, his heir, & which took place six years after


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