John Newton to Elizabeth Cuningham


30 June 1753

My dear Sister

If I was not disposed to be thankful for small favours, I should hardly acknowledge the receipt of yours 12th December, which is the only one come into my hand. I am very glad you are in health and congratulate you upon the tranquillity you say you have attained to, and really I will to deny but as the world goes peace and content are blessings which ought to satisfy, and which are often wholly lost by those who seek for more. I cannot pronounce you a happy girl, but if you continue in the same mind (supposing you wrote your mind) for seven years, I will say you are a wise one, yet at the same time as most worldly wise people are I shall think you a little mercenary, that you will not venture a grain of your own ease for the sake of your fellow creatures. Tell me more seriously, can a constant round of rising, dressing, visiting and going to bed by yourself entitle you to be styled happy? You will say perhaps you have friends, books, etc, you can walk, ride, divert yourself at your needle, and sometimes dance yourself tired with a partner you care not a single farthing for; this is all pretty to superficial lookers on, but do not I know, that to a person of your sense and discernment, that the greatest part is only a varied scene of impertinence: I agree with you, that perhaps a good estate could not afford you more pleasure than you have, that is because as I said before, you cannot place your pleasure, in the empty gaudy trifles that make half the world mad, so that your good taste must be your punishment as long as you continue single, and indolence and freedom from pain, be the only pleasure you can boast. I expect to be treated like a brother, and not be put off with a cold general encomium upon your own situation, for we that are in the secret know better things. If you have a humble servant in waiting I give my consent, if you have none I offer my assistance, as I am sure you have too much spirit and sensibility, to live and die alone, by choice.

Give my duty to Polly, I have not wrote her by this ship, there[their] being to sail together and she will have letters by the other three. I forgot to thank you for five lines and a half I received from you upon the coast. I hope to sail for Liverpool in about three weeks from this, but perhaps it may be longer.

Remember me to Papa and Mamma and Georgy, to Mrs Soan and all her children, and where else you think proper.

I am with great regard
My dear
Your most affectionate and obliged brother

J Newton

St Kitts ye 30th June 1753

Lambeth Palace Library, MS 3096, f 55

Marylynn Rouse, 20/08/2019