BLACKMAIL THWARTED YATE (Walter Honyford, b. 1779, of Bromesberrow, J.P. and D.L. for Gloucestershire, Political Writer)

Fascinating bound volume of 11 Autograph letters or Autograph Copy letters sent to Mary, Countess of Berkeley (c. 1767-1840), her son Colonel William Berkeley (1786-1857, later 1st Earl Fitzhardinge), or to their Solicitor in London J.R. Cocker, with 5 other Autograph Letter Signed or copy letters in support of Yate to Cocker or to Edward Bloxsome, the Berkeleys' solicitor in Dursley, concerning a MS 'Romance' which Yate had bought from Captain Thomas Ashe, the Irish writer and adventurer (1770-1835), intending to publish it under his own name, but realising it libelled Lady Berkeley, had offered to Lady B. for what he had paid Ashe, leading to threats of obtaining money from the Berkeleys with menaces, the correspondence traces Yate's protestations of innocence in trying to 'protect' Lady B., his rearguard action, final apology and delivery of the MS, also present are 2 printed items bearing Yate's name, the first dated June 1812 (altered in Yate's hand to March 1814) to 'Sir', on the face of it a circular letter, inviting comments on the 'Syllabus' on the conjugate sheet (not present), but with every appearance of blackmail,the second dated 1811 (again altered to March 1814) about Yate's book on Parliamentary Reform, the letters 32 sides 4to. (56 including blanks and addresses), the printed items 4 sides 4to. (plus 2 blank), old green boards, c. November 1813 - 22nd March one letter repaired without loss, occasional dust marks, stitching loose in places, spine defective

In the letter of c. November 1813, Yate recalls to the Countess "the Difference ... which existed between Lady B: & Captain Ashe & which ended in the abortion of a work composed by that celebrated & ingenious Writer, on purpose, & written under the sanction of Lady B:, & which now Mr. Y: conceives is in her possession. The Mss: Mr. Y: has purchased ... originated from that untoward circumstance, & tho' compiled perhaps under the irritation of conceived ill-usage & disappointed hopes yet Mr. Y: fearlessly asserts it is a classical, interesting, & well-founded work; & which the terrors of the Law cannot suppress ...". Later he concedes that the "Romance ... certainly appeared" to refer to "a public occurrence, the revival of which ... might be painful to the family" (8th March 1814).
The beautiful and capable Lady B. was the daughter of the local butcher. She married the 5th Earl in 1796 having previously borne him four sons. After her husband died in 1810 it is rumoured that she received an offer of marriage from the Duke of Clarence. The "public occurrence", no doubt, was the failure in 1811 of Col. Berkeley to establish his claim to the Earldom. It was held that the 5th Earl had falsified the parish register to make Col. Berkeley appear born in wedlock.
Yate asks Cocker not to reveal his address, as he is avoiding his creditors.
With a checklist.
Item Date Page From To
1. Sun. (? Nov). 49 Yate (Oxford) Lady Berkeley.

2. Thu. 20 Jan. 17 Yate (London) Cocker.
3. Sat. 5 Feb. 53 Yate (Exeter) Cocker.
4a Fri. 11 Feb. 22 Yate (n.p.) Bloxsome (copy).
4b Sat. 12 Feb. 21 Yate (n.p.) Lady Berkeley (copy).
4c Sat. 12 Feb. 23 Yate (n.p.) Cocker.
5a Sat. 26 Feb. 29 H. Evill (Bath) Bloxsome (copy).
5b Mon. 28 Feb. 30 Bloxsome (Dursley) Evill (copy).
5c Tue. 1 Mar. 31 Bloxsome (Dursley) Cocker.
6 Sun. 27 Feb. 25 Evill (Bath) Cocker.
7 Sun. 6 Mar. 9 Evill (Bath) Cocker.
8 Mon. 7 Mar. 5 Yate [Bath] Cocker.
9 Tue. 8 Mar. 13 Yate [?Bath] Lady Berkeley.
10 Tue. 8 Mar. 1 Yate [?Bath] Col. Berkeley.
11 Wed. 9 Mar. 33 W. Lawday [?Bath] Cocker.
12 Sun. 13 Mar. 37 Yate (n.p.) Cocker.
13 Sat. 19 Mar. 45 Yate (Devizes) Cocker.
14 Tue. 22 Mar. 41 T. Fisher (Solr., London) Cocker.

Item Date:  1814

Stock No:  51159      £3500

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