Maria Grace Andrews, Isleworth, to Anne Andrews, Salisbury, [Friday], 17 October 1794.
Isleworth Octr 17th 1794
My dear Friend
Your letters have fill’d my heart, with a thousand emotions of anxiety, & love, & joy – how could you my Sweet Friend, whose candour < > extends far beyond the limits of a < > before I wrote you the last gossiping Epistle, circumstances wh you may readily conceive, were somewhat perplexing to my feelings (shame to my unbelieving heart!) very unequal yes my dear Creature I was languishing for larger supplies of ye spirit of Peace, e’er I conversed with my loved Sister – not yt I was in a desponding state; but wishing to experience more unreserved resignation, to ye divine will, more suavity (if I may so express myself) amid those dispensations of His infinite Wisdom & unbounded Love, which cross’d any of my foolish devices – Thus do I reply to your jealousy, which indeed is held in such subjection by your generous Friendship, yt it is not suffer’d to wound more than it can heal; by ye pleasing manifestation it affords me of your love – and when I consider those passages in your letter which are so expressive of your confidence in my affection, anxiety is put to flight. This love makes a kind of triumphant Entrance into those dark corners of my heart, where this restless principle, had made its transient home. –
Much indeed, do I long for an opportunity of personal intercourse with you my beloved & will it not rejoice the sister of my heart to find yt I have been busied in making preparations for my journey for < > but my things are in great measure pack’d up for < > where I shall < > from thence to Salisbury. So that unless you reply directly I shall not think it worthwhile to send the Parcel you request beforehand.
< > Were it not for a view of the Lords sovereignty and overruling < > Providence, I would suffer very much from solicitude at this period, & as dr Mrs Ford says, the hardest lesson we have to learn in these circumstances, is that of Standing Still, but that is to say, the Lord has promised us a sight of His Salvation – when I behold an earthly Friend dismay’d, restless, unresolved, like unstable water, stifled with every blast that passes over it, how desirable to feel it, to have the soul staid upon the Eternal God, whose Nature is incapable of Change, whose “Counsels of old are faithfulness & truth,” and who encourages the weak, and worthless, like you & me to call him Father, who says in the language of Paternal love, “call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver, & you shall glorify me.”
My Father went to Town yesterday Morng & is there today on important business with ye Gentlemen of ye Tine Office, possibly with Marchant, I may add &c &c &c. If my coming should be delay’d, you will know I trust to what cause, such probable circumstance may be ascribed to such repeated experience in your own Person.
I will if possible fulfil your commandment. O my dear Evening comes o’er me like a flood to < > sympathizing heart the many inconveniences to which I may, or rather must be, exposed.
I have as yet received no letter < > but shall now live in ye hope of so desirable a favor. Many thanks to the dear Friends who have remember’d me so kindly, & to all indeed as if named. They must excuse a Catalogue in my best moments, I feel the sweetest union of heart to them, and it is my ardent wish, yt we might be knit together in love, yet more & more the precious few, in ye dark regions, join in ye tenderest remembrances of Esteemed love in this party, your name seems to be used as a specific against drawing no gloom, &c judge with what pleasure I hear their tongues < > glowing & their hearts sparkle in ever moisten’d Eyes. Mrs Ford longs for a letter but her friendship is too benevolent for the softest reproach. Mrs Samson is amazingly well for her circumstances. She cannot be pleased at this separation from her dr Miss Anne, altogether tho she owns it is best. Your little Mary is a good deal rusticated charming health as well as her brothers. She goes to school on Monday at Mrs Collins, is much with me & is exceedingly kind indeed she says she knows you don’t love her as she loves you. Mrs Keen is rather poorly < > Colman disregarding the allurement of < > Pounds, which < > if she wd give up religion, now she is I fear wretched < >
Remember me to my Grand Papa & Grand Mama in the language of duty & affection. & now my dear Love, let me intreat you to rest assured of my unfeign’d prayer for your abundant comfort & Establishment in the service of your adorable Master. May the Lord give us to see each others face with Joy, and bless our meeting with the sweetest influence from above. So prays your tenderly united in the bonds of Nature, & and I trust of Grace,
Maria Grace Andrews
you say nothing of ye storm at Sarum
Text: Saffery/Whitaker Papers, acc. 142, I.B.1.(9.), Angus Library. Address: Miss Andrews | Mr Harding’s | Exeter Street | Sarum. | Octr 17th. Postmark: Isleworth; 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. 87-88. Letter is very faded. A reference here is to the Tontine Insurance Office, named for the seventeenth-century Neopolitan banker Lorenzo Tonti, who first devised a plan for municipalities to relieve their debt burden by selling annuities (essentially a form of life insurance) in which annual payments were shared out in increasing degrees among surviving members of the tontine. Eventually these tontines evolved into something similar to the modern life insurance company. Mr Andrews may have invested in the last tontine in England, this one based upon the life of George III and issued in 1789. Whether related to the same issue or not, a year later Mr Andrews would become embroiled in a lawsuit against Marchant.