poniedziałek, 22 maja 2017

»debt of £700 and upwards due to me by my Brother«
Brothers Daniel and John Tolkien!

Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien's Last Will from 6 September 1810 was find by me yesterday. It is a beautiful document, three pages long, with wonderful calligraphy (it looks like best examples of J.R.R. Tolkien's manuscripts), and with a lot of details about Daniel Tolkien's family: his wife Ann Tolkien and his children Maria, Daniel, Ann, Martha, Charles, John and James. It begins as follows:
»THIS IS THE LAST WILL and Testament of Mr. Daniel Tolkien [Tolkein] of Hackney Road in the Parish of Shoreditch in the County of Middlesex, furrier, made in the following manner: in the first place I command my soul into kind hands of my most merciful Creator in humble hope of pardon of my manifold sins and acceptance with him through the merits of [...­] Christ our blessed Lord Saviour and I desire that my body may be buried devoutly with as little expence as may be in my family grave in the burial ground of the [...] Chapel of City Road. I give [...] Ann Tolkien [margin: to my dear wife] my [...] house in Hoxton Town, all my furniture, plates, books and linen for her own use. I also give for her term of her natural life the Interest of Two thousand pounds five per Cont. State [?] and after her decease I direct my Executors hereinafter named to sell out the said Two thousand pounds five per Cont.State and divide it amongst my Children in manner following[:] to my Daughter Charlotte five hundred pounds an account of her infirmity; to my other children Maria, Daniel, Ann, Martha, Charles, John and James the remaining fifteen hundred pounds five per Cont.State equally amongst them. Share and Share alike I give to my Executors in trust. One hundred pounds for my son James to place him out an Apprentice or [...] as they shall judge best. I give and bequeath to my Daughter Maria my Leasehold house and Garden No. 8 Cumberland St. I give and bequeath to my daughter Martha my Leasehold house and Garden 21 Cumberland Street adjoining each other and situate as aforesaid. I give and bequeath all the rest and residue of my Estate & Efforts not hereinbefore supposed, of [...] in the public funds or [...] or that shall be in the public funds at the time of my decease or whatsoever and [...] and of what nature and kind [...] I shall be possessed of or intitled to. To my children Maria, Daniel, Ann, Martha, Charles, John, Charlotte and James to be equally divided amongst them share & share alike & be paid or transferred to such of them as shall have attained the age of twenty one years. The Interest arising from the Share or Shares of the said Child or Children not having attained the age of twenty one years at the time of my decease to be paid to my dear wife Ann Tolkein who shall provide them with many [...] whether placed out or at home and I particularly recommend my daughter Charlotte may [...] in the case of her Mother after she shall have attained the age of twenty one years in case one or more of my said Children happen to die before they attain the respective age of twenty one years then the said Share or Shares of such said Child or Children to be equally divided amongst the Survivors Share & Share alike.«
So we find a lot of information about Daniel's property, his houses at Cumberland Street, Hoxton Town etc. And at last we find information about Daniel's brother, John Benjamin Tolkien! (who was probably mentioned by name, but the name seems to be covered with a streep of white paper!) This is a very strong proof that Daniel Gottlieb and John Benjamin Tolkien were real brothers (and if so we can be almost sure that Professor Tolkien's great-great-grandfather was born in Gdańsk in 1753!). And we find the explanation why the families of Daniel and John don't seem to be in good contacts in the last years of Dan and John and after:

»The debt of 700 pounds and upwards due to me by my Brother [blanked: John Benjamin Tolkien?] my Executors will receive as he shall find it convenient to pay and [I] direct that no Action at Law or providing be taken out against him. I appoint my Dear Wife Ann Tolkein, my Son Daniel Tolkein of Cheapside and John Hopowood of Paternoster No. 10 Glover Executors of this my las Will and Testament each of them to be answerable for his own disposition [...]«
A good man, isn't he? And the name of John Benjamin Tolkien seems to be covered with a streep of white paper (maybe the reason is clear: not to make any legal problems to the descendants of John Benjamin Tolkien?):

Anyway we know from my summary of John Benjamin's life that he had financial problems in 1810s. Maybe these 700 pounds were lent to John to start his own "Tolkien & Dancer Watch-movement & Tool-manufacturer" at 145 St. John's Street (evidence from 1808)? In the London newspaper The News (from 9 May 1813) we can read that he bankrupted in May 1813. Maybe it was connected with the fact that Daniel Tolkien died in the same month?

My thanks to Jarema Piekutowski for his help in transcription

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