15 August 1815

Elizabeth Coltman, Leicester, to Anne Steele Tomkins, Westwood, Southampton, [Friday] 25 August 1815.


   It gave me pleasure my dr Madm to find that affliction had not occasioned your silence; could I have accomplished what I wished in a satisfactory manner, I should have written again without waiting the arrival of your letter; which I should have immediately acknowledged, but I was then at Matlock with a sick friend, & as my stay was uncertain, letters were not forwarded. –  Much am I pained to find that all my efforts respecting the monumental inscription fall so far short of my wishes, however I have got rid of the four last lines should you approve of a different termination to the former, after, by acting, living to make others blest, suppose it closed with the following,


Thus unambitiously life’s vale she trod,

Her eye on Heaven, her trust a Saviour God.

Miss R does not like this so well as the former, but I know not how otherwise to curtail it.  If you do not quite like it, & can suggest any other mode of shortening it satisfactorily, do not scruple freely to mention it.  The fourth line is I think improved by substituting “thine,” for thee.


                     Whose worth posterity in thine may trace.


Should any thing be offered more appropriate, you will oblige me by substituting it. –  Mrs Head’s loss I had not heard of, the shock must have been severely felt, & the trial is a very painful one, but I rejoice that she has those supports, & consolations which the world can neither give nor take away.  The present scene is fast closing upon us all, when those who have fled for refuge to the only foundation of a sinners hope, to him who is mighty to save unto the uttermost, will find, that all has been working together for good. – I hope Miss Steele’s health is improved, & should rejoice to hear you were established at Broughton, where I hope the prayers of a pious ancestry will be answered in blessings upon your children & your childrens’ children.  There is something very gratifying, may I not say very salutary in living on a spot, which has been long consecrated by the devout aspirations, the benevolent actions of pious progenitors, of those who are now spotless before the throne, who are probably watching, & waiting, anxious that the last of their posterity, may inherit their virtue, & share their bliss.  If Mrs Russell continues at B–, (for whom I feel a sincere respect,) I would present kind remembrances, also to W Crouch, & N Reeves. Miss Reid & Miss Atchison are now in Leicester; they desire to be kindly remembered.  With best wishes for the welfare of yourself & family,

                                 I remain

                                             My dr Madm

                                                         Yours very sincerely

                                                                     E Coltman


Leicr Augst 25th 1815

Text: STE 6/3/iii.  Postmark illegible. Address: Mrs Tomkins / Westwood / Southampton; for an annotated edition of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, ed., Nonconformist Women Writers 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 3, pp. 387-88. George Head, Marianna Attwater Head’s only son, had died some three years prior to the letter.