John Newton to Elizabeth Cuningham


19 April 1783

My dear Sister

I continue to address my letters to you; at the same time I repeat my thanks to Miss Chalmers, in which Mrs Newton joins, particularly now for her favour of the 14th, which I have received just in time to acknowledge by tonight’s post.

With respect to yourself, I can say little but what I have said before. I mean in the prospect of our loss I rejoice in the prospect of your gain. In the meantime so long as the Lord continues your [life] on this side Jordan, we shall be thankful to hear often of you. It is a great comfort to know that his good hand supports you, and his gracious presence cheers you under your afflictions. Now you know and feel that the Gospel on which you have been enabled to rest your hope, is true in itself, and true to you. You have not followed cunningly devised fables, [1] nor have you taken up with empty notions. You know by happy experience that your Shepherd is full of compassion and full of power – that you are under his eye, and his care, and that he will effectually preserve that which you have committed unto him, [2] will be your guide and guard to the end of your pilgrimage, and then receive you to himself forever.

Last night Eliza took an emetic; she had a good night after it, and Mr Smith who called here this evening, says, she is in every respect better, than he has seen her yet. Indeed it appears to me, that her looks mend daily; she has little or no cough, sleeps well, eats sufficiently. She has exchanged asses' milk, for warm milk from the cow every morning, [3] and it agrees well with her. If I had time I could write a whole letter about her, I am afraid I love her too well already. It is impossible I should not have a regard for a child of yours, but I have a distinct affection for her as if she was a child of my own. She has that tenderness and affection in her disposition, which make everybody love her. So that if as I hope, it may please the Lord to spare her life, you may rest assured, that it is hardly possible for any two persons, who are not actually her parents, to have a warmer desire to act the part of parents to her. It adds greatly to my comfort, that she and our Betsy (who is now at home with her) seem very cordially to love each other, as much as they could do if they were sisters. We consider them as sisters, I hope I dare promise, that we neither shall nor can make the least difference between them, and I believe everybody who knows us, will witness for us that we have not been wanting in attention to0 the child who has been so long under our care.

If any of the letters I have formerly written to you and my brother Cuningham are preserved, I shall be glad to have them again sometime, as I purpose to prepare two more volumes of Cardiphonia, and should be glad to insert some that I have written to two friends whom I dearly loved, in the number.

Your sister will write a word for herself. Miss Cowie is writing – so that I shall only repeat that I am most affectionately

John Newton
[in Mary Newton’s hand:]

Hoxton April 19th 1783

My dearest Sister

Mr Smith has just been here. He says the ship is arrived that has the truck and bag on board, but it cannot be delivered till Monday – and Mr Smith will go after it and bring. He says he should like to know what ship the other parcels are put on board of that they may be enquired for.

Yours as or more than ever my dearest Sister

M Newton

Many thanks to Miss Chalmer[s] for her kindness in writing.

[1] 2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
[2] 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
[3] Newton to Thomas Robinson, 3 April 1780: 'we have a very tolerable house in Charles-square, Hoxton —an airy situation, within sight of trees and cows'. Presumably the 'warm milk from the cow every morning' came from the field next door.

Lambeth Palace Library, MS 3096, ff 85-86

Marylynn Rouse, 20/08/2019