8 December 1789

Robert Robinson, Chesterton, [near Cambridge], to Mary Hays, [Gainsford Street], 8 December 1789.1


Chesterton  Tuesday Decr 8 – 89


     Pardon me, good Miss Hayes, I just call in to ask, how you do? I hear you have not been well. I sympathize with you. I have had a long ugly cold, but I trust now it is taking its leave. Let us not be surprized. It is rather wonderful that such frail mortals as we should ever enjoy health a single day, 

         that harp of thousand strings

         Should keep in tune so long.2

I hope you are perfectly recovered, if not I pray God to grant you a speedy revival, for health is the zest of life. Is your worthy matron perfectly above her late illness? Mrs Robinson, and all my house, particularly Nancy, interest themselves much in the health and happiness of yours. We comfort ourselves by thinking of the inexhaustible fountain of all wisdom and goodness, the supreme cause, who hath condescendingly informed us that he himself loveth us. What can be imagined too great for infinite love to do? If not exactly what we wish, yet assuredly what upon the whole is wisest and best.

      I will no longer fatigue you than to say I am Dear Miss Hayes, in which this whole house joins me, your most constant and cordial well wisher

                                    Robt Robinson.


1 Misc. MS. 2161, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence, 263; Christian Reformer 11 (October 1844), 944.   

2 Isaac Watts, Hymn XIX ("Our frail bodies, and God our preserver") from Hymns, Book II ("Composed on Divine Subjects"), in The Works of Isaac Watts, 9 vols (Leeds: Edward Baines, 1813 ), 9.165.