Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, to Anne Andrews, Isleworth, Thursday, 11 October 1792.
Thursday Oct:br 11th 92
I have waited impatiently my Anna, for the mental interview you promised. I have indeed waited with a palpitating heart, to embrace the soft Idea of my Friend: a thousand times has my Soul taken the rapturous alarm; and paused in my trembling bosom to receive you. Alas! why was your Visit so short! I consider’d the various positions of your Soul, as pourtrayd in the expressions of your love: & found them sympathetic, indeed, and kindred.
Since my Father’s return, I have suffered great perplexity of feeling; Ah! my dr Friend you know the weakness of poor human Nature; the Moralist may boast of conquest; and triumph in self doing; but Wisdom laughs at, or rather pities the delusion: to “deny ourselves” indeed, we must sustain a higher Character. The satisfactions of Virtue, languish on the Soul of the Modern Theorist; in the Christian only, they are pure, rational, sublime. O my Sister! may our heavenly Father, work in us both, to will & to do, according to His good pleasure! – You know I allude here, to yt absence which crosses our self love. –
You will remember this was my favorite person, in the graceful Solitudes which surround our Village: the solemn beauty & soft grandeur of ye Autumn, was wont to inspire a rapture superior I think to that which Milton finely calls, vernal delight. Now indeed when the Sun paints his beautiful Shadow thro’ the gloom; her aspect is too soft, for my repose. Ah! why cannot I repose in thee: thou Great Original, of beauty & delight! – for
“Beauty is thine
With all its conquering powers: in thee
We trace up pleasure to its sacred source.”
“Whatever sacred force in music lies,
The dying strain which calms the wildest care,
Or loftiest note which prompts to glorious deeds;
Th’ inspiring God dwells in the mystic Sound;
To charm & captivate the list’ning Soul
Thro’ all her soft Capacities of Joy.” Mrs Rowe
I have transcribed these few lines, Lay’s you will admire; from a truly poetical address to the Supreme Being. You have expressed my sentiments with regard to France; Yes my Love we will look beyond the agency of second Causes. While we know that “The Lord is King, be the People never so impatient;” & He sitteth between the Cherubims, be the Earth never so unquiet. We must indeed rejoice yt the fetter of papal bondage, will be loosed from the Souls of Men: When that most tyranneous Empire shall be destroy’d we may look for the more glorious appearing of the Church of Christ when in a more unlimited sense it will be said “Arise, shine, for thy light is come: & the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee. The Gentiles shall come to thy light, & things to the brightness of thy rising.” – You will observe here that Kings are supposed to be in existence – As to the Calamities which threaten our own Nation, or indeed any other: surely the Lord requires us to “be still; & know yt he is God,” only let us pray, that now his Judgements are on the Earth, the inhabitants thereof, may learn righteousness.
May we my beloved Sister and all dear to us be found near yt root of Jesse, which shall stand for an Ensign of the People; whose Rest shall be glorious, then will the Friendship begun in time be blessed to Eternity. So pray’s your tenderly devoted Friend
Maria Grace Andrews
I have heard from C. St. Mrs S complains of you. I have promised Miss Flower Cheyt sing; I intreat you to alter, & send one; with a few lines. – Our dr Friends are well; & desire to be remember’d tenderly, to you. & with myself, respectfully, to the Ladies my G M. bids me enquire for a little house near you is there one you think suitable –
I thank you for the parcel. If you could send my Watch, some powder & my white feather by Mrs Shore, who leaves town in a few days; should be much oblig’d. – Betty’s box, was sent on Sunday Eveng last. Mrs Jenning[s] begs to be rememberd to her.
Text: Saffery/Whitaker Papers, acc. 142, 1.B.1.(3.), Angus Library. Address: Miss Andrews | Isleworth | Middlesex. Postmark: Salisbury; 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. 40-41. Name abbreviations refer to Chapel Street, London; Mrs Mary Egerton Scott; and Maria Grace's grandmother in Salisbury, Mrs Harding.