101. William Palmer to Samuel Palmer: letter copied by John Linnell (MS119-2000)

To Mr Samuel Palmer junr.

November 1839

My Dear Brother,

Having through illness and other unlooked for exigencies been placed in circumstances of perplexity and distress, I regret to say that some time ago I borrowed for my relief, the use of some of your pictures, not doubting but that I should be able to restore them before your return to England - but a party who owned me a considerable sum of money has gone away, I cannot ascertain wither, without paying me, and I grieve to say has left me no alternative but the enclosing of the ticket giving on the pictures, for the present, but you may rely on my remunerating you as speedily as possible.

You may not have forgotten Brother that I, when I was better off made you a promise respecting the presenting you with a considerable sum (47) and I kept my word - which I will also religiously do on this occasion.

I hope you and your wife will return well home but I do not intend to see you again after you receive this note, until I can meet you with money in my hand - embarrassment alone led me to avail myself of your pictures without your knowledge, but influenced by the fullest certainty that I should myself have been able to regain the pictures ere your return - But I have been left in the trying exigency which this note exposes and must throw myself on your indulgence for some little time - I shall (for the present) avoid an interview, as it could not but yield pain to us both.

I have thought of emigrating to New Zealand or some distant place where I may begin life anew and be free from objects which cannot but give me painful associations. However I promise you should I determine on this course I will not go till I have paid you with interest the sum which the recovery of the pictures may demand, and believe me Brother though my unhappy circumstances have betrayed me to action unworthy of myself, I shall never forget that there is a barrier fixed before the extremes of baseness which honor will not let me pass -

William Johnson

[Addition by John Linnell]

Why the name is not signed William Palmer may be guessed
Correct copy made by Mr John Linnell Decr 14 1839 of a letter from William Palmer to his Brother Samuel Palmer

[The letter ends with a list of six pictures]

The Fitzwilliam Museum