1793 January 22 (Maria)

Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, to Mrs. Elizabeth Saffery, London, [Tuesday], 22 January 1793.

My Dear Friend,

Since your tenderness prohibits me the use of Madam, I chearfully accept the privilege your indulgence offers; & address you by this more endearing title; which tho too often consider’d as a mere convenience, to preface an Epistle, is now I entreat you to believe, intended to convey, sentiments of ye sincerest gratitude, esteem, & love. –

I think I need not say, how gladly I welcom’d dear Mr Saffery’s letter; it relieved me in some good measure, of my fears; and I hope I was not unaffected, with the tender Mercies of the Lord, whose kind providence, conducted you in safety. O how sweet is it to realize the guardian hand, of a Covenant God! – Our dr Friends, express a variety of concern for you. Some are much dissatisfied, with ye air of L—n, on yr acc:t but tho I do not enter into their views, as it respects the effect of it on yr health, I am ready to reply, in the language of Dr Watts to their Solicitude,

“Isr’el is safe; the poison’d air,

Grows pure, if Isr’els God be there.”

I confess however, yt my anxieties are not dissipated by Mr S—y’s letter. You were very poorly on the Day in which he wrote. O my dear Friend! I long to see you, as I trust I shall, restored by the healing hand, of the great Physician! – Mrs M—h desires me to write, yt she may hear from you very soon –

I was at Fisherton on Monday; and admitted to the Chamber of our dying Friend. With what sublime delight should such a scene, fill ye bosoms of Zions Travellers! what Music is there in the voice of an expiring Saint, proclaiming the Conquest of a dying, & an ever living, Jesus! what more than mortal beauty, in the Countenance of such an One, array’d in Smiles, of triumph! Ah! my beloved Mrs Saffery, with what contempt must this our dear Sister, (Alas! I hardly dare call her name) look on the lying vanities of time, a sense she brings to my Mind, a striking similitude, used by the Poet speaking of ye good Man, even superior to ye World; he says,

“As some tall Rock, projects its awful form,

Swells from ye wave, & midway leaves ye storm;

While on its breast, the rolling Clouds are spread,

Eternal sunshine, settles on its head.”

So while the cold, & stormy, wave of death, is beating on ye mortal part of our Friend, her Soul removed, “above ye storms, yt tempest human life”; is warm’d with the smiles of divine Complacence – I told her of yr earnest wish to see her, before yr departure for L—n. She sends love to you & dr Mr S.–

We sustain’d a disappointment on Sabbath Day; a letter which inform’d Mr Smith of Mr Mile’s illness, remain’d by mistake, at Mr M—h’s, till Saturday Night. Mr S– sent a message to Downton, in ye Mor:g. Mr Baine preach’d in ye Aft:n in ye Even:g we heard Mr Adams. I shd have said, yt Mr S– fill’d up ye time in Morn:g, by reading an excellent Sermon of Mr Whitfield’s on walking with God. –

Our poor weeping friend Mrs Houghton talks of you with great affection, & longs for yr return. I am charged with so many messages of love, yt I must forbear a Catalogue. Mr Roberts bids tell you of an addition to his Family. Mrs R– & her little daughter are as ye nurses phrase it, as well as can be expected. Mr & Mrs M—h, J—h, a Mrs Lodenburg, beg their love. Mr & Mrs H—g wd I suppose be remember’d also. My respects if you please, to Mr & Mrs Shoveller, & love to yr dear little Neices –

Adieu my beloved Friend, I think you will condescend to write to me, when you can. I am very desirous, thus to enlarge ye debt of obligation, I have already contracted. –

Yrs with ye tenderest Esteem,

M. G. A.

My affectionate respects to Mr S—y when you < > I am uneasy at his Cough.

Text: Saffery/Whitaker Papers, acc. 142, I.A.11.(a.), Angus Library. Address: Mrs Saffery, | Mr Shoveller’s, | No 19 Upper Newman Street | Oxford Street | London | Janry 22d. Postmark: Salisbury, 23 January 1793; 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. 46-47. Thomas Marsh was a grover and chandler in Salisbury and prominent member of the Brown Street congregation during the tenure of John Saffery.