Anne Andrews, Isleworth, to Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, [Wednesday], 16 May 1792.
With what zealous transport, what trembling agitation, did I welcome the eagerly expected Herald, from the favor’d residence of Love and Sensibility, in the breast of my Maria: yet all graceful, all tender as was the message which he bore, it could not satisfy the solicitous, the throbbing heart of sisterly affection, which would have dwelt on every work, every look (were it possible) every vibration of the kindred spirit. –
Your Messenger was indeed strongly tinctur’d with the vicissitudes of his native region where
“rapture and agony in Natures loom;
Have form’d the changing tissue of their doom”
The recovery of a Parent so justly dear and respected, was a subject of real congratulation, the establish’d health of another was not less grateful, judge what joy the safety of a Sister, so inexpressibly, so doubly beloved inspired; yet I think I need not explain to you, the numberless sensations which repress’d those congratulations, and chastised that joy: – but you must not, I will not look back, or if we do, be it only to adore in silence, those mysterious dispensations we cannot comprehend, in any other sense retrospect is not for us; the past is an era that will not bear inspection: a path of which our little lives, cannot afford one bright specimen let us then my sweet friend, look forward with a restrain’d a modest hope on Earth, and seek to attain the full and perfect enjoyment of that more inestimable hope, which is glorious and full of immortality then however painful the past, however present frowns, however futurity may be involved in clouds, (tho’ the judgment of an erring World be averse in this particular) we cannot fail of a portion of happiness in Time, nor of blessedness in Eternity – but I have no time to indulge in pleasing reflections, and must proceed to business –
I am happy to inform you that the error in the proof Sheets has been partly rectified, and I expect on Wednesday to see it completely so. – I send you with this the Preface, have written it as correctly as I could it now remains with you, to expunge what parts you should think proper, which I hope you will do as soon as possible as it will be the only probable hindrance to the publication of the Work –
Mr & Mrs Cameron & Miss Bush are set off for Bath and have some intention of making Salisbury on their way if so you will see them – they have drank tea with me since your departure, and desired to be kindly remember’d to you. –
I am well pleased with what I have hitherto heard of your fellow travellers, & participate the satisfaction you experienced in the conversation of the enthusiastic votary of the Delphic God, and the tuneful Sisters. I should have liked very well had circumstances permitted, to have made the fourth in such good company –
I must not forget to tell you that we are reading a book entitled the Jockey Club, it openly supports Revolution principles, & in the most plausible manner reprobates our nobility and Government, by bringing forward the most abandon’d & worthless Characters of both parties, ministerial & antiministerial; from them inferring the venality and corruption of our Parliament, and the undue influence of the two superior Estates of the Kingdom – its apparent truth and impartiality, added to the enormous, ye almost diabolical crimes of the wretches it thus exposes to public view render it a very dangerous & inflammatory work – but more of this hereafter.
I desire you will write soon, and be more circumstantial – let me know how you chiefly spend your time, and whether you remember my injunction to walk often, as also if the change of air has procured you peaceful slumbers, and been beneficial to your Spirits after the first agitation subsided –
I have written to Mrs [Mary Egerton] Scott, and forwarded the desired remembrances – Mr Powell favor’d us with a good Sermon on Sunday morning – Mr Nicholl dined here the same day – Item – He admires his hand as much as ever –
I hope you do not concern yourself at all on my account – I pass my time with a tolerable degree of tranquillity, solacing myself in the sweet hope of your return – your agreeable Inmates as you justly stile them, are extremely kind and attentive to me, you will please to conceive and appropriate all the polite and obliging compts and good wishes with which I am charged by them –
I must hasten to a conclusion, let me however first entreat you not to deceive me with respect to your health, remember what I have often said that you have no right to trifle with the peace of others, and believe me it is a thing I could not easily forgive my Father joins me in affectionate and dutiful regards to my Grandfather and Grandmother, and in best love to yourself –
Adieu my Sister, my Friend – that the eternal Providence, to whose powerful protection never fail to commend the beloved of my heart, may shower down his choicest blessings on your head, is the sincere and ardent prayer of
Your tenderly devoted
Isleworth May 16th 1792
Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.3.(o.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. No address page; for a complete annotated text of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, gen. ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 6, pp. 24-26. Anne's reading of the The Jockey Club, by the radical satirist Charles Pigott (d. 1794), suggests her radical political positions in 1792. The book was published in three parts in London in 1792. Shortly thereafter two rebuttals appeared: The British Constitution Invulnerable. Animadversions on a Late Publication, entitled The Jockey Club, and An Answer to Three Scandalous Pamphlets, entitled The Jockey Club. In 1794 Pigott produced two more political satires, The Female Jockey Club and The Whig Club. Pigott was an ardent supporter of the French Revolution and opponent of ministerial corruption and aristocratic excess, embodied in 1792 in the persons of William Pitt and George III, who are the brunt of much of Pigott’s satire in The Jockey Club. In Part 3, Pitt is repeatedly referred to as ‘the Grand Apostate’, a reference to his having departed from his previous support for parliamentary reform. Pigott writes, ‘The conduct of such men, who with insolent effrontery and unparalleled profligacy, have not hesitated to prefer a total loss of reputation, to a dereliction of the power and emoluments of office, – who have preferred the insidious smiles and rewards of a c—t, to the honourable gratifications of a just and deserved popularity, demands the stigma of general abhorrence, and the heaviest punishment ought to be inflicted.’ See The Jockey Club; or a Sketch of the Manners of the Age. Part the Third, 3rd ed. (London: H. D. Symonds, 1792), p. 102.