Mary Steele, [Broughton,] to Dr. [Samuel] Stennett, London, [Wednesday] 11 October 1786.
Accept Dear & Hon’d Sir My Mothers & my most grateful acknowledgements for both your very valuable Presents. I fear I must have appear’d ungrateful in not returning our thanks before – as the Books arriv’d while Mr Lewis was in London – on his return he gave me hope of receiving a further favor, a letter, so I delay’d writing on that Account – Our Thanks however are not the less ardent or sincere for their delay – A more valuable Present the Hand of Friendship could never bestow. – A Portrait at once of that Mind & Form! may I desire as much improvement from the perusal of the one (& it will be my own fault if I do not) as I shall feel Veneration & Delight whilst contemplating the other!
It gave us all pleasure to hear that our Friends at Muswell Hill were so well & particularly that your own Health Sir was so well establish’d – Oh may it long remain uninterrupted – To implore the continuance of Dr Stennett’s Life & Health is to invocate a Blessing on thousands!
Mr & Mrs Lewis desir’d me to present their best respects, Mr L had a safe Journey but contracted a cold which he has since increas’d – The fear of his leaving the Congregation here is extremely painful to us – Alas [illegible] seem even more desolate than at present. He has been a kind Friend to us under our Affliction & is certainly an excellent Preacher – But Few know how properly to value the Blessings they possess – A kind Providence indulges us with tolerable Health – But how hard is the Lesson to learn to live without our Dear Accustom’d Support when every Day shews us more & more our need of it – My Mother’s Spirits are habitually very low & I often find it very difficult to forbear adding to her Distress. – But shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right Excuse this Scribble My Kind Friend & remember us at the Throne of Mercy – We all unite in best Regards to Yrself Mrs Miss Stennett &c – I ever am with similar veneration & Gratitude Sir
yr much obliged St
Text: Angus Collection, Box 2, Angus Library, Oxford. Postmark: Stockbridge. Address: Dr. Stennett / c/o Mr. William Strapham’s / 62 Upper Thames Street / London. For an annotated text of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840, vol. 3, p. 327. Joseph Angus glued onto the letter a small piece of paper identifying the letter as "Miss M. Steele Hymn Writer," apparently confusing Mary with Anne Steele.