Priscilla’s journal entries at the end of the 1790s are full of references to her youngest surviving son Daniel (1776-1846). With her other children, Isabella and Edward married, Dan’s London lifestyle and was a source of concern for his mother. She constantly worried about his prospects, his friends and the temptations of the metropolis. In 1798 he had taken up a position in the Navy Pay Office and studied law later qualifying as a lawyer. By Wakefield standards he married late in life at the age of 29 in 1805. Unfortunately, his bride Isabel Mackie turned out to be a swindler racking up debts of many thousands of pounds. Dan’s legal career was in peril but the debts were eventually paid. Isabella committed suicide in 1813 and Dan remarried soon after to Elizabeth Kilgour.

Source: Priscilla Wakefield’s journals, Temple, Philip. A Sort of Conscience: The Wakefields, Auckland University Press, 2002, pp.20-21.

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 7:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Visitors and visiting

Priscilla’s journal entries are full of notations of who had visited her and the people she visited. Visiting family members and friends appears to be major part her life. She would often write ‘drank tea with …. or dined with ….. ‘ these semed to be two distinct social activities.  

As much as she enjoyed a social life at times her frustration at not being able to find the time to write is evident in her journal entries. On the 23 May 1799 with visitors in the house she writes ‘my poor book is at a complete stand still’. On the 27th they left and on the 28th she writes ‘my writing once more renewed’.

In her journal entry for 30th May 1799 a productive day allowed her to reflect on a busy month of visitors.

‘a regular day made considerable progress – Tho’ I am apt to complain of interruptions the variety that society & change of occupation afford is salutary to mind & body & lead to excite the energies of both & to preserve them in vigor. Began to read (space follows) on the Epistles of St Paul’

Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 9:49 am  Leave a Comment