1793 January 7 (Maria)

Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, to Anne Andrews, Isleworth, [Monday], 7 January 1793.

Sarum Jan:y 7th 1793

I did not my beloved Anna, intend to let a Week elapse, without answering you; but interposing circumstances, have prevented me till now.

Sympathy commands a pause; what is it I hear you utter? is it the Holiday phrase of the Times? No; foreign be the spirit of licentious Mirth, from the bosom of my Friend! it is a prayer; so full of peace, and Love, yt I hope to echo it by praying, yt the “God of Love, may fill you, with all joy, and peace, in believing.” Oh! may we ever my Anna, while the swift flight of Time, is marked by these solemn periods; so be taught to “number our day’s, yt we m[ay] apply our hearts unto Wisdom.” Tell my Father, I earnestly desire, yt he may be deliver’d from “The Laws delay”; “the insolence of Office” &c and find every suitable consolation in the event; to sweeten the inheritance of Care. How truly consoling to those “afflicted, tossed with tempest, & not comforted” (to whom the promise comes); must appear the haven of imortal [sic] Joy! even in Thought; how unutterably blessed in experience! how rapturous to yt Soul, accustom’d to the dissonant language of mortality; must be the power of celestial numbers! of that harmony the Bard describes

“Strong as from numbers, without number; sweet,

As from blest Voices.” – Milton

perhaps there never existed a time, which evinced more plainly than the present, the wretched depravity of Man. Vice is now put into action, by opportunity. She actuates the Courtier, & the Patriot associations loyal and illoyal writings legal and illegal I am wearied with political artifice; and am ready to conclude that the whole head, is sick; and ye whole heart is faint. My sentiments upon the whole are underrated, yet no human authority can absolve my conscience from honoring the Sovreign, in a lawful sense. The rage for loyal association may make us laugh: but ’tis well if rebellion doth not make us weep & I cannot but think, those busied in traducing state, & villifying power, would more wisely adopt the Psalmists language; and say, “Give the King, thy judgements, O God! and Thy righteousness, to the Kings Son.”

Your critique my love, is at once benevolent and just. I do not remember the quotation, and therefore cannot name the Author. As [to] dr Mrs. Sansome, know yt I rejoice in her welfare. Your silence, has occasion’d me painful doubts respecting her – let me hear of Mary in your next. – I am interested in her. – I received the gentle Travellers, very hospitably, & they have been favor’d with my embraces, almost every day. I am indebted to my Friends for them. You desire me to be explicit; and I long to hear all you have to tell me. Therefore I would conditionally obey you. I am greatly at a loss to begin; for want of event, I must condescend to the Subject of corporeal health. I believe in my last I complaind of fever: I have since taken medicine at the expence of half a Crown, which I believe might be salutary. I cannot give you a positive account; because my feelings are equivocal: < > what you have known me before: in every sense, there is abundant room for amendment. I had not the prudence to forbear, cherishing the hope of seeing you, in the past season: to which your long silence contributed & the disappointment has done me no good. I am now looking forward to the Spring, with some hope. It is necessary, to say something of expences; I have not room for a list. Perhaps I had better mention a few; viz: Cloak dying linings &c < >, hat 6s 6d, Clog 2s Gloves do Church do, Gown Bal:n 1s6d Servants 1s Ribband &c 3s, this with yt I owed in Aug.st besides washing from that time at 1s per Week with paper, pens, and postage, &c, will be found to exhaust my finances. I have borrow’d half guinea of Mr H. [Harding] for a pr shoes and a Night Shift. – You desire me to send for Clothes; & I indeed need a change: as my white is very thin, the muslin & dimity Jackets are all I remember suitable. I shd be glad of them directly with two or three muslin Aprons & I think I could make a profitable use of my old Circassian.

Our dr Friends are tolerably well: I wd be remember’d wth proper distinction, to you, my Father, & the Ladies. You will do this for me, to all enquirers. Do my Love write soon as you value my peace; as you would prosper the mind & body, of your ardent Friend but unworthy Sister,

Maria Grace Andrews

do send some pens, a pr of ye drab gloves will do wth black tops. –

Text: Saffery/Whitaker Papers, acc. 142, 1.B.1.(4.), Angus Library. Address: Miss Andrews | Isleworth | Middlesex. No postmark; 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. 44-45. The explosion of political dissent in 1792, much of it vituperative, resulted in a proclamation that May against ‘wicked and seditious writings’ aimed at the government and the King. John Reeves soon formed his loyalist Association for Preserving Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers, which sought to defend the historic privileges of the Church and King, though his use of spies and various tactics of intimidation against religious and political dissenters appear to have had a negative effect upon MGA, who was generally sympathetic to political reform at that time.