200 years ago a threatened lawsuit meant Keats’s assets were frozen

On Wednesday 16 June 1819 Keats wrote to his sister:
“My dear Fanny,
“Still I cannot afford to spend money by Coach-hire and still my throat is not well enough to warrant my walking. I went yesterday to ask Mr. Abbey for some money; but I could not on account of a Letter he showed me from my Aunt’s solicitor. You do not understand the business. I trust it will not in the end be detrimental to you. I am going to try the Press once more, and to that end shall retire to live cheaply in the country and compose myself and verses as well as I can. I have very good friends ready to help me—and I am the more bound to be careful of the money they lend me. It will all be well in the course of a year I hope. I am confident of it, so do not let it trouble you at all. Mr. Abbey showed me a Letter he had received from George containing the news of the birth of a Niece for us—and all doing well—he said he would take it to you—so I suppose to day you will see it. I was preparing to enquire for a situation with an apothecary, but Mr. Brown persuades me to try the press once more; so I will with all my industry and ability…
“I have not run quite aground yet I hope, having written this morning to several people to whom I have lent money requesting repayment. I shall henceforth shake off my indolent fits, and among other reformation be more diligent in writing to you, and mind you always answer me…
“Your affectionate Brother, John”

[Their aunt Margaret Jennings was threatening to sue the Keats family for a share of Tom’s estate. As a result their Guardian Richard Abbey froze all their funds.]

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