1794 May 14 (Anne)

Anne Andrews, Isleworth, to Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, Wednesday, [14] May 1794.

Isleworth Wednesday Eveng < > oclock

My dear Love

I am ready to anticipate your charge of unkindness & ingratitude to one of the tenderest and best of Sister’s, when I reflect on the length of time which has elapsed since I received your welcome Letter: but I have as usual much to say in my own vindication I have been at Ham only a Fortnight on Monday last during which time Nancy Sparrow has been my only Servant, & will be so for some little space longer – Besides this the House has been undergoing a Reformation or Renovation in respect of cleanliness &c: for the Reception of a new Servant, or rather Servants, Mrs Wynne who was the obstacle to our taking one having that morning moved to Teddington: by way of information Mrs Larkin & Miss Wardour are gone to live at Chelsea with old Mr < > who is lately married to a Mrs Bedford – but a truce to digression you will readily conceive that I have had my hands fully employ’d; Val is also with me, who tho a dear little Fellow, is a very rude one: not only this, but my long stay in Town (more than five weeks) made me a good deal of Work on my return – perhaps you will be thinking when you are got this far; I am satisfied on this Head I should like to hear < > about the London excursion, indeed my Dear it was like most things in this life chequer’d with pain & pleasure; but I have much occasion for gratitude, that pleasure was the predominant part of the composition: our beloved Mrs Scott more kind, more endear’d to me than ever: dear Mr S– friendly and faithful – I enjoy’d some sweet moments there, such as are reviving in the remembrance – Thus with respect to my so dreaded visit in Bishopsgate St you who were acquainted with my fears ought to be inform’d of my deliverance I had not been in Mrs & Miss Clareson’s company above two hours, before an opportunity offer’d of declaring my dislike to places of public diversion, to which as I expected it had been their intention to escort me – this was done in the presence of my Father, who behaved pretty well on the occasion & they gave way without expressing much reluctance, & conducted themselves (a little Raillery excepted) very agreeably during my abode with them – they went with me to Bread Street three times once to Spital Fields church to hear Mr Cecil, twice to St Mary Woolnoth, besides permitting me to hear Mr Foster every Thursday at St Peter’s Cornhill while Miss C– was engaged with her Music Masters: this was very comfortable & demands a tribute of thanks to Him in whose Hand are the Hearts of all Men – Alas! that with all this indulgence to my weakness & infirmities I did not act more to His Glory did not more honor Him in the general tenor of my conversation & conduct how much reason have I to apply the words of our Poet to my own case –

But oh what poor returns I make –

Friday Eveng 11 oclock –

I have been prevented entirely during this interval from finishing my letter. I am however not altogether sorry it has so happen’d, as it enables me to inform you of the safe arrival in Town of our friend Mrs Houghton which I learn’d with a mixture of surprise & concern by a letter I received from her yesterday; it will no doubt be needless to explain to you either the proport of the Epistle or the nature & degree of embarassment to whh it subjects me: nor do I wish to trouble you with a detail of my projects & of the various difficulties which attend them – tho I have more pleasure in indulging the hope of transmitting you an acct of the successful execution of some plan as I have not yet made a decided choice – She tells me she is better than she expected after such a trial – Poor dear Creature I am afraid she is come from tranquility at least, to experience those distresses under whh she labor’d at Sarum without the alleviation whh < > she possessd I feel < > interested for her happiness but I shall hear more of the reason for her conduct when I see her whh I trust will be very soon – I was just before pleasing myself with being able to send her so good an account of little Matthew whom I saw with no small satisfaction apparently well clean & happy – I never caress’d the poor Child so much before, but indeed it was for his Mother’s sake –

I have this day received a litter from our dear Sister with particular advice on a point which I refer’d to her opinion it was respecting a Prayer meeting which is establish’d at Mr Keens’s about which I think we had some short conversation when you were with me: If I remember right we anticipated the improprieties that might probably attend this plan from the Sentiments of our Weslean friends; indeed the descriptions I gave of the manner of < > which I trust was candid, has induced both Mr & Mrs Scott to give their vote against my joining them; Mrs Ford is also of the same way of thinking, but it has given me great uneasiness, as you must be sensible in what light my absenting myself is consider’d by them besides the fear I feel of not being influenced by proper motives in my rejection of it –

I purchased while in Town Edwards on the Affections and Doddridge’s Rise & Progress of Religion in the Soul I hope soon to be able to say more to you about them, I also bought two of Mr Fuller’s Sermons with an intention of sendg you one the first opportunity –[6]

Dear Mrs Ford & Mrs Sansom would be very tenderly remember’d Mrs Keens Polly Colman &c: must not be forgot I beg you will perform the same good offices for me to our Salisbury friends Mr & Mrs Saffery especially whom I need not tell you how highly I value. Pray present dutiful & affecte regards to Mr & Mrs Harding – tell my dr Grandmama I am sincerely grieved to hear of her frequent indispositions – You may expect to hear from me again almost immediately but do not let this prevent my receiving a letter at Mrs Ford’s in a few days –

Adieu my beloved that you may have a large increase of grace wisdom & every Spiritual gift & may experience all peace & joy in believing is the sincere prayer of

Your friend & Sister

Anne Andrews

May 17th 94[7]

Text: Reeves Collection, 14.2.(g.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Address: Miss Andrews | Mr Saffery’s | Exeter Street | Sarum. Postmark: Isleworth 1794; 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. 70-72. Anne Andrews and her group attended the preaching of Thomas Scott on Sunday afternoons at St Mildred’s, Bread Street; Richard Cecil (1748-1810) was the Sunday evening preacher at Christ Church, Spitalfields; John Newton was vicar at St Mary Woolnoth; Henry Foster, former colleague of William Romaine and Richard Cecil, preached occasionally at St Peter upon Cornhill, located on the corner of Gracechurch Street and Cornhill. All were among London’s leading evangelical Anglican ministers and all were members of the Eclectic Society, founded by Newton, Foster, Cecil, and Eli Bates in 1783. Other references here are to The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul (1745), by Philip Doddridge; A Treatise concerning Religious Affections (1746), by Jonathan Edwards (1703-58); and the writings Andrew Fuller (1754-1815), Baptist minister at Kettering; all had a wide influence among evangelicals, both Anglicans and nonconformists, during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The Keenes were a prominent Baptist family in the London area at that time as well.