9 September 1763

Anne Steele, Broughton, to Caleb Ashworth, Daventry, 9 September 1763.

To Mr Ashworth Daventry

Dear Sir

With great pleasure I congratulate your safe return, and tender my thankful acknowledgements for your kind Letter it is a favour I wished for, but the deferring it required no apology, since the pleasure you gave at Broughton amply compensated for all you cou’d receive. To say that I esteem myself highly honoured by your Friendship, is saying too little, my heart feels the obligation, tho’ I want words to express my sense of it. May all the Blessings which you wish for us be imparted abundantly to you and your amiable Partner, and to your Family! Continue, Dear Sir, your Prayers for me and mine, I hope I shall count them among my peculiar priviledges. I cannot better express the pleasure I find in your approbation of my Verses than by saying that I look on it as a confirmation of the hope that my earnest wishes in the publication are in some degree answered, and as a new obligation to warmer gratitude to my Almighty Benefactor. I often think of the poor Woman’s two mites cast into the Treasury of the Temple and am encouraged by reflecting on the gracious acceptance that little Offering found. The friendly concern you express for my health is very obliging. Your sentiments agree with mine. I hope I have reason to bless God for the sweet consolations I have sometimes enjoy’d in seasons of Affliction: I believe that all the Dispensations of Providence are not only Just & Wise, but Good & Kind; and when I reflect how many Mercies are mingled with my Afflictions, there appears no room for uneasy complaint, but of my Self. The thoughts which occasiond those expressions of doubt which you observed, frequently occur; but they also frequently lead me to examine the foundations and evidences of my hope: and I think (if I am not deceived) it is generally rather more confirmed by the tryal. I hope I can sometimes experience the happy effects you mention of renewed application to the precious blood of Jesus, and desire for the sanctifying, comforting influences of his Spirit. O may I ever keep in view my exceeding vileness, my utter unworthiness; and the perfect Righteousness and all-sufficient Grace of the Great Redeemer! Thus much I thought it necessary to say in answer to your kind concern for my health & comfort.

And now, Sir, permit me, for my self & friends, to thank you & Mrs Ashworth for your friendly Visit, to repeat that I am exceedingly obliged by your kind Letter, and to express my sincere wishes for your happiness. Under the auspicious influences of Providence and Grace may your domestic comforts & your public usefulness be continued & increased! May you experience much of the Divine Presence, & be enabled continually to diffuse around you a savour of that abundant Grace which you receive! My Father and Brother join in respectful & affectionate Compliments to you and Mrs Ashworth with

Dear Sir

Your obliged Friend & Servant

A. Steele

Broughton 9th Septr 1763

To The Revd Mr Ashworth at Daventry

Text: STE 3/13/ix, 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. 325-26.