I wrapped up the John/Mary (‘Polly’) Wilkes correspondence today, which contained some of the most interesting writing I’ve seen from Wilkes thus far on this trip. Here’s a fairly typical specimen, with Wilkes writing Polly, who was then 20, shortly after becoming an Alderman for the City of London.
Friday morning. April 27.
. . .
Every thing has passed very quietly as Alderman, since I wrote to you at Dover I am taken up every hour in going thro the great arrear of business, which has been so long depending, and it has had my first care. Yesterday sat on the Bench as one of the Judges at the Old Bailey, and afterwards dined in form with Baron Adams, the Aldermen, &c. I have brought so much good humour into the business, that at present every body affects to be pleased.
The cat is determined to be on terms of intimacy with me, whither I will or no. I was very coy and shy at first. She persevered, and as Berton tells me you brought her up, she is taken into favour, is my first morning visitant, and ranges all the apartments at pleasures, without one cross word from Mr Alderman Wilkes. I hear Mademoiselle La Vallerie cropt her tail, for which I shall fine her all the sugar she used to drink in her coffee for the first week after her return . . . .