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Archive reference D/EARLE/3/3/4
The extract above is from a letter that Joseph Denham wrote to his wife Sukey Denham in 1763. The handwriting is not very clear but it reads:
"I must now tell you that for a long time past you have been almost the perpetual subject of my thoughts; and detesting every thing that ever led me from my affection to you. I have long loved you more ardently and sincerely than ever I did when I had first the happiness of making you my wife – I am eternally musing about you and your dear Image is ever haunting me in my Dreams and present to my Imagination – would God Almighty ever hear my Prayers, and once more join you to me, my Happiness would be complete and I should adore you."
This letter is from a collection of documents in the Maritime Archives and Library relating to the Earle family of Liverpool merchants. The collection includes a number of letters that Joseph wrote when he was in Italy, working for the Earle family. He appears to have been an educated, but poor, society gentleman who struggled to make his way in the world. He was in the army, but left, and at the time he wrote his letters was struggling to find enough income to keep him in the manner he was accustomed to (in one letter he wrote that he had to give up his box at the theatre to economise). He writes that he cannot return to England because of his debts.
Despite what he says in the passage quoted above, he had in past letters forbidden his wife from joining him. In 1771 he writes to Sukey telling her that as he had not had replies to his last letters he had supposed her dead and associated with other ladies until he got one pregnant. This lady's family forced him to marry her and he now has a son, a daughter and another baby on the way, which would suggest the marriage happened some time ago. He writes that he does not blame the Italian wife and is attempting to nullify the marriage. There are no further letters from him.
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