8 December 1808

Eliza Flower in London to Benjamin Flower at Harlow, undated [postmarked Thursday, 8 December 1808].

London Thursday

My dear Love

I went to Walworth last night for the purpose of seeing Dr Dobson in the morning but Mrs Gurney said I might as well consult an old woman & urged my seeing Dr Babington[1] accordingly I went this morning to Guy’s Hospital hoping to have met with him there but it was not his day. From there I went to his House in Aldermansbury but he had not been at Home all the morning & the servant told me that he was always at Home from nine to eleven unless he was called out on any extraordinary occasion which had been the case this morning —so I sleep in Town tonight at Mr Rileys for the purpose of being on the spot—I am quite as well if not better than when I left home & bear the fatigue of walking much better than I expected. Eliza is in excellent spirits—had a snap at Mr Burtons a little after their dinner time & Eliza stays to drink Tea with Maria & very delighted she is. Mrs Burton is to send her to me here (at Mr Rileys) by seven oclock. I hope to see you to morrow but if it so happens that I do not see Dr Babington in time or that I should not be able to see him to morrow then you will not expect to see us till Saturday & write you to night lest you might be uneasy.

I have seen Bumford[2]—& he is so pleased with your publication[3]& as you would scarcely conceive—& says he expects a great demand for it with the next Review—he says every person who bought your Review of him for last month bought also the work. Mr Riley was going to write you respecting your book which he is quite delighted with he says it is the best thing you ever wrote in your life & that it does you infinite credit both as a man & a Christian & that Clayton lies if he says he does not mean to read it—& if he does not reply to it his character is blasted forever. Mr R is sorry it was not printed at a lower price he wished you had done it in a 2 shilling pamphlet & only have stitched it & have printed 2000—tho perhaps he says as many will read it now by buying & lending it.

Bumford does not think the price of much consequence as he says those friends who regard you will not care about the price. Bumford says the preview sells on the average 800—reckoning those that are continually going off of the back numbers—but he wishes you to well advertise it. I have seen but very little of Creaks—but shall see them to morrow. I hope you are all as well as when I left you—& that my mother[4] is quite comfortable. I know you will keep Sarah well covered in the night—she had a little cold when I left home. I long to be at home again for I hate London—& I shall not leave you for many a month.

My kind love you [to] you all & tell dear Sally [illegible] mamma will not forget her

Yours ever

E Flower—

You must not criticise to[o] closely since I have written my letter in extreme haste

Eliza Gould Flower died on 11 April 1810, after giving premature birth to a son (who also died), a labor complicated by her consumptive condition. Benjamin Flower never remarried; instead, he raised his daughters alone, educating them himself in their home. Eliza and Sarah became well known literary and musical figures in London. In 1819, Flower and his two daughters removed to Dalston, in the parish of Hackney, London, where he spent the final decade of his life in pleasant retirement, writing occasionally for Unitarian periodicals. He was buried in the Flower vault in the Baptist cemetery, Harlow, alongside his wife and children.

Note: For the complete annotated text, see Timothy Whelan, ed., Politics, Religion, and Romance: The Letters of Benjamin Flower and Eliza Gould Flower, 1794-1808 (Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, 2008), pp. 336-37.