1793 February 11 (Anne)
Anne Andrews, Isleworth, to Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, [Monday], 11 February, .
I rec.d & perused your letter my dear Sister with unfeignd delight – Believe me your prayers and wishes are sympathetically and fully echoed by my kindred Spirit And oh! may our Petitions, our desires for each other, for our Friends, be granted and prosper’d by the great Disposer, whose parental goodness “is ever more ready to hear than we to pray, & who is wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve” – Alas! that we should be so backward to ask, when the encouragement is so great, the Promises so large. Our King is not an Ahasuerus, who may be approach’d without danger yet we should do well in following the example of Esther, in circumstances, where the path of duty unlike hers, is that of safety; the Golden Sceptre of Heavenly Mercy is sure to be extended to every imploring Supplicant: and there is no angry frown to be dreaded no Sentence of death denounced, to exclude us from the presence of divine Royalty – “Let us therefore” my sister come boldly, as the apostle exhorts, “come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain Mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need” – Heb: 4 Ch. 16 v.
I shall now defer answering the other parts of your Letter till I have given you some information on the events which have occurr’d since I wrote last I dare say Mrs Scott has informed you of my visit to Chapel Street and probably also of my Father’s Indisposition but lest she should have forborne from any motive to convey this Intelligence I will briefly recite Essentials during my stay at our Friends He was served with a violent bleeding at his Nose which lasted rather alarmingly as I was afterwards inform’d by Mr Doge who exerted himself with his usual zeal on such occasions after he had so much < > this copious evacuation as to walk abroad. [The] Gout took possession of his left foot owing according to Mr D’s opinion to the great loss of blood be that as it may it made a prisoner of him till last Monday when he went to Town for the first time tho he has not yet left off his cloth shoe – I think this will prove beneficial to the general state of his health which will fully compensate for the temporary pain and confinement you have been in some respects more than usually wanted for my reputation as a Nurse you know was never great but as the Patient has been well enough to exercise his own Judgement we have done pretty well.
You ask of Mary I have not seen her since my return from Town but hear she is recoverd from the indisposition in which I left her I have been so much engaged I have had no time to attend to her – I hope your health will improve with the true wintry Weather as I remember cold agreed with you and when there is natural strength in the vital Power and due warmth and circulation in the blood it will I believe generally be found an excellent Bracer of the nervous system. It suits me very well provided I have opportunity for sufficient exercise which I dare say you do not forget is ever requisite in one to preserve a suitable celerity of motion in the lary Wheels of my corporeal frame & indeed I might say the same of the mental machine which partakes too much the nature of its yoke-fellow and frequently stands in singular need of friction to rub off the rust to awaken it from its lethargic drowsiness and stimulate the dormant strings of intellectual Life.
I not only am pleased with your Political sentiments but admire your expression of them it evinced the choice of the Heart as well as ye judgement of ye Head – I am happy to peruse it for instruction as well as pleasure and am convinced that it might convey many useful Lessons to the Mushroom Sages of the present Day whether their ambitious vanity enlists them under the puissant Banner of Modern Patriotism or teaches them to emulate the sounding Titles of loyal Subjects Bulwarks of the State Pillars of the Throne (titles generally there bestowd where they are least deserved) Woe to the Sovereign who shall depend upon such duty! – Miserable Nation that shall rest on such deceitful strength and surely that seat of Majesty however glorious that shall be supported by such bruised reeds must experience an inevitable fall. Witness the unfortunate Grande Monarque – I have no time to express to you my sentiments on so copious a subject –
Since I wrote this part of my Letter I have been delay’d a whole Week by Circumstances too tedious to recite the first however & principal is the ill Behavior & consequent dismission of our Servant the particulars of which I must defer relating but will beg you in the mean time not to mention it to any one – the next hindrance has been the illness of Mrs Larkin which has necessarily occupied some part of my time She is now on the recovery – Do not be surprized at sight of so many of your things the time will soon be here when you will want them – I have kept your great Coat as I conceive it will be too small but may be useful to me – I have sent some Irish which with a little conjuration will I believe make two shifts whh will no doubt be acceptable – I write this in a most indescribable haste therefore you must excuse incoherencies & omissions – I shall like you indulge a hope of meeting in the spring but if not me you will see my Father – we must refer settling pecuniary accts as well as those of love to that time – Pray speak for us to our friends to yourself & believe me to be
Your Affecte Sister
Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.3.(b.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. No address page; for a fully annotated text of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, gen. ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 6, pp. 47-49. Reference here is to the death (by guillotine) of the French king, Louis XVI, in Paris on 21 January 1793, by the decree of the French National Convention. Compare Anne's response to governmental corruption to that of a young Baptist schoolmistress in Southmolton, Devon. Eliza Gould, writing to her future husband, the radical newspaper editor Benjamin Flower, expressed her dismay with the powers that be in language that by the end of 1795 could have placed her in danger of being charged with sedition. ‘Some attempts’, she writes on 5 April 1795, ‘have [been] made to purify this mass of corrupt matter but they have hitherto prov’d ineffective & I am inclin’d to think that a total erasure must take place, & an entire removal of the polluted rubbish ere we can enjoy the blessings of breathing free uncontaminated air, the best restorative for a decay’d, unsound [constitution] etc. etc. etc. Treasonous papers have too general a circulation—meer [composite] draughts, prescribed by our national quack doctr Pittachio [Pitt]—but as opiate medicines have a tendency to debilitate the Constitution, & having both now, & heretofore, been unskilfully administered, hope the stimulating matter, your Intelligencer contains, will prove a universal Catholican. Poor deluded multitude! how long will you suffer yourselves to be deceived by this Empiric of State? Bear witness of his baneful & destructive influence—ruin’d families—weeping Mothers,—mourning Widows—orphan children—limping soldiers—& half starved poor misery’s hard & unsatisfying crust, is your regimen—& leaden Pills, he has wantonly—wickedly & profusely imposed on thousands, & with them death in all its painful & horrid forms—&c &c &c. Whilst our great national Quack was preparing by a general Fast, the Stomach of his patients, the swinish multitude, for the reception & digestion, of the luscious Blood of their Negro Brethren.’ See Whelan, Politics, Religion, and Romance, p. 9.