1757 (undated) (6)

Anne Steele, [Broughton], to Mary Wakeford, [Andover], undated c. 1757.

Your serious repeated complaints my dear Amira, exite [sic] my tender concern, but I am still perswaded that there is more than a possibility of your yet writing cheerfully; I thank you for your kind promise, and for this Earnest, and am willing to wait for more, I am sensible you have less leisure than I, and therefore cannot expect very long Letters.

Will you permit me to advise a little?—when even a thought of importance passes thro’ your Mind, arrest or recall it, think it over again, and consider what improvement may be made of it, write it, this will strengthen the impression, lay it by ’till your next leisure, or thinking season, read it over and perhaps new reflections may arise on the Subject. This will I believe after a few trials be easy, and afford entertainment and profit to your self as well as to me.—I am half in doubt whether my writing fit may not depart before yours arrive, if it shou’d I desire you will pay me back my tiezing [sic]: if I talk of unworthiness, call it compliment, and if I plead incapacity tell me ’tis only diffidence – I have much reason to be dissatisfy’d with my self, much cause of complaint as well as you; but let us my dear Sister improve the lucid minute in endeavouring to enliven each other.—Is there any such thing as a laudable self satisfaction?—no – for in our best, our sweetest moments we know most of self-abasement, and every satisfying tho’t flows from a higher Source, the free, unmerited, unbounded Mercy of God, and the infinite merits of our Great Mediator! let this be our theme, this is the theme of Angels and glorify’d Saints! The Song of Eternal Bliss!—and shall our thoughts only glance on it for a moment, and sink again into insensibility? O let us, imploring the powerful influences of the Blessed Comforter, endeavour to meditate on this all-important, this ever-interesting Subject ’till we find our hearts warm’d to Love and Praise! May their humbling Sense of our own emptiness, lead us to Jesus Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge! and in Meditation, Prayer and every duty of the Christian Life let us always remember his own Words. “Without me ye can do nothing[”]

I join your closing wish, but expect not its perfect accomplishment

’Till Death with friendly hand dissolve the tye

Which chains the Mind to frail Mortallity.

Then with new vigor all our pow’rs shall glow

+Beyond what e’er we tho’t or wish’d below

The inclos’d Story (tho’ you have heard it) I send, thinking that possibly some hints may arise from it which may give you an inclination to write again to

Your obliged affectionate Silviana

+Delightful Hope! And shall we met above

In the fair Regions of Immortal Love

May Gracious Heav’n increase the cheerful sacred ray

Till Hopes fair sweet dawn is lost in perfect Day

Text: STE 3/13/xiv, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford. No address page. For an annotated version of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, gen. ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 2, ed. Julia B. Griffin, pp. 303-04.