Anne Steele, Broughton, to Grace Cottle, at Robert Cottle’s, Bristol, 18 May 1761.
Dear Mrs Cottle
Having heard nothing of you so long, your Letter gave me an unequaled pleasure. I am glad to hear that you are settled so much to your satisfaction, especially with regard to your Son’s better Interest. I thank you for your friendly invitation to Bristol but cannot accept it. I do not leave my Father (except for a few days to see my Sister) since my Mother’s death. I believe the account of that mournful Event must have been affecting to you, but a distant Friend feels not the pain of separation like those who have lived so many years together – May you and I under the Influences of divine Grace experience a lively hope of our interest in, and an increasing meetness for that happy World where I doubt not she is rejoicing! May we be followers of them, who thro’ [strength] and Patience inherit the Promises.
In answer to your kind enquiry concerning our health &c my Father has lately been disposed but is now much better. My Sister Wakeford has had but little health for some years past, and is now, but very indifferent, she has two Boys and a Girl, the eldest about eight years old, the youngest about five months. My Brother has only a little Maid near eight years old. I have been often ill in the past Winter, but am now favour’d by divine Goodness with better health.—
My sincere good wishes attend your self and son. I am
Dear Mrs Cottle
Your obliged affectionate
Friend & Servant
Broughton May 18th 1761.
Text: Cottle Album, Cornell University; transcription taken from the microfilm copy at the British Library, shelfmark M468. 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. 315-16. Grace Cottle, Joseph Cottle’s grandmother and Anne Steele’s cousin, had moved from Trowbridge to Bristol sometime around 1760 to live with her son. Cottle’s note at top of first page of the letter reads: "Miss Steele – Author of Theodosia’s “Poems.” 8vo – a Cousin of my Grandmother J.C."