COWPER, William (1731-1800). Poet and letter-writer.
Document Signed, 1 page 4to (some weakness, old repairs) with conjoint leaf, 13 July 1762. Signed by Cowper as a commissioner of bankruptcy and by four others.
A petition by William Parker against a bankrupt, Thomas Parke of Liverool 'Merchant Dealer & Chapman', who still owed him £10 11s 8d. ('for Goods sold and delivered by this deponent to or to t[he ]house of the said Bankrupt For which said sum or any Part therof this Deponent hath not received any Satisfaction or Security whatsoever'). The petition itself is dated 26 March 1759, which gives some indication of the slow pace of the legal process at the time.
Cowper was never happy with any public position, the few which he held caused him much anxiety and unrest, and would certainly have contributed to his mental instability. After a prolonged period in the asylum of Dr Nathaniel Cotton from July 1764 he resigned his commissionership in bankruptcy, his last public position.
As a result, his means were reduced to a point where he could barely support himself, and several of his relatives agreed to contribute money annually to provide him with an annual income close to the gentry threshold of £100. Joseph Hill assumed responsibility for Cowper's affairs, frequently supplementing the sometimes reluctant contributions from relatives and rent from the chambers in the Inner Temple (nominally £20 a year) to enable his friend to live as a gentleman. [John D. Baird in Oxford DNB]
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