Thavies Inn April 20th 1813
Special Affairs in the Court of Kings Bench, and a curious law suit in Olympus (an account of which by the bye I may one day transmit) have latterly kept me so much employed, that I have scarcely been able to find time to declare my intentions of becoming a candidate for the honourable offices of Solicitor and Treasurer to the Society of Tabby Hall: but as my competitors are very forward, I find I must immediately submit my pretensions to you, not individually, but collectively, and as a Body Corporate; I trust that notwithstanding a learned friend, who I am unfortunately opposed to, would contend that the Society cannot be a Body Politic, he will grant them to be a Body Incorporate; for the Law says a Body Politic or Incorporate — On this head I contend, all doubts would be set at rest if the Ladies were to open a Mart, for the sale of the elegant trifles manufactured by their fair fingers; for according to some old laws, the inhabitants of a town, are, to some purposes, a Corporation, and confirmedly so, when they held Guildam Mercatoriam; as would be the case were the Honorable Spinsters to adopt my hint.
A Corporation may be without a head or chief, (10 Rep. 30, 32 — Co: Lit: Jo: ed: 264) and thereby, all jealousies can be done away, and the pretensions of one of my very honorable rivals be annulled — But in this case, a Common Seal should be adopted; not being a Man of Taste, but a Man of Law, I shall not give my opinion as to what the device or arms should be; Another point in such a Corporation is that in acts done thereby, the consent of the major part of the Corporation shall be binding.
All these points considered, I shall conclude by remarking that as every thing which is not forbidden by Law is lawful; and Female Corporations not being forbidden, ergo they are lawful; and consequently the Corporation of Tabby Hall is one that must be acknowledged, as well as in court as without; and this point settled I proceed to address them as a Body Corporate.
Of my diligence in carrying on suits, and the uniformity of the results, I shall say nothing, leaving my praises to be sounded by my Clients; yet I must declare, that the desire of accomplishing any thing that might contribute to the satisfaction of so elegant a Society, will redouble my exertions. As Economy ought to be regarded, permit me simply to observe that if the offices of Treasurer and Solicitor are combined in me, my costs as due the one office can be repaid by the other, by one simple expedient, viz. putting my hand into my left-hand pocket, and transferring the due to my right one, thereby saving postages, letters, and various attendances, and also the per centages of the Treasurer on payment, which in a large bill (which will frequently be the case) would amount to a considerable sum.
I now wish to say a few words with respect to my residence, which the Tongues of Slander, Ignorance, and Lisping have so called that many think the residents in the inn accord with the title — The Generality of the Cockneys (for you must know, Ladies, I live in the City) call it Thaves Inn and Paddy construes it as he hears it, and supposing us to be agents or principals of the Corps of the light fingered Gentry, flies under that mistake, and communicates his surmise to the unthinking multitude. The Child or Fool style it Taves Inn but finding the T sound harsh, by a natural softening substitute an N, thus reducing it to Naves Inn; I leave the Society to judge what softening accrues from the substitution of a Knave for a Thief. I hope my frankness on this point will do away any doubts as to my honesty and I shall conclude with observing that I can bring Security in the very respectable manner of John Doe and Richard Roe; but should they be objected to I will substitute John Thomas and Thomas Johns and hope you will then be content.
With hope of success I conclude and subscribe myself
Your devoted humble servant