7 January 1805
Joanna Hays Dunkin,1 Woodham Mortimer, to Mary Hays, 9 George Row [St. George's Place], Camberwell, 7 January 1805.2
Woodham Mortimer Jany 7 1805
I was sorry to hear from Nancy3 that you was involved in domestic trouble & vext though not much surprized at [S]pearings conduct, having known by experience that a peculiar kindness & attention to the accommodation of servants only tends to increase their self importance & that ingratitude is in general the result but gratitude I am inclined to think is a Virtue rarely to be met with. I learn from Mrs Dunkin4 you are not likely to have Sarah as she expects to be married very early in the spring & declined taking a place at Maldon last week, I woud have taken her myself coud she have stayed till Michaelmas as my housemaid is a poor creature & not very clean. I was much pleased by Mrs Gutteridgs5 kind inquiries the many agreeable hours I have spent at her house will never be effaced from my memory & I flatter my self the esteem I feel for her is mutual – it is a friendship in some respects founded on a similarity of sentiment & had no envy or petty jealousy to interrupt or destroy it. [I]n Mr & Mrs Favels6 welfare & happiness I feel a lively interest & was much concerned to hear of Marys death7 I am not likely to make any acquaintance here that will compensate for the loss of those friends & connections I have left[.] Johns family are indeed a source of comfort to me & their kind attentions every thing I can wish my young Folks8 too seem very chearful & happy & more reconciled to essex [sic] than I coud have expected considering they have so few pursuits or amusements, emma [sic] has not been quite well & has very bad Chilblains. My own spirits have been & are very low partly owing to the anxiety I feel for my Children in London but more on the account of the unhappy difference still subsisting between Mr D and my Brother9 which has greatly hurt both the health & spirits of the former. I am persuaded that Middle Age has the last chance for happiness of any part of life, as it has lost that sanguine hope which youth professes with out having attained the calm indifference which old age must in some degree arrive at, but after there is but one remedy for all the sorrows & Calamities of life & that is religion tis the only balm for a wounded heart & how often my dear Sister have I wished you partook of the Consolations it offers.
As you will most probably see Nancy soon I need not give you any domestick intelligence remember me respectfully to all my Camberwell friends, & tell Mr Gutteridg I have the pleasure of hearing from Cambridge that Mr Hall10 was much better I do not expect to be in Town till the spring when I hope to have the satisfaction of seeing all my friends.
[S]hall be happy to hear from you when convenient & be assured my best wishes for your health & happiness & that I am
your affectionate Sister
Mr Dunkin desires his love
Address: Mrs Hays | No 9 George row | Camberwell
1 Joanna Hays Dunkin (1754-1805), eldest sister of Mary Hays, married John Dunkin in 1774. Both families attended the Baptist chapel in Gainsford Street. Like her mother and sister Sarah, Joanna Dunkin remained an orthodox Baptist to her death. She appears often in the Hays-Eccles correspondence, living next door at that time (1779-80) to Mrs. Hays and her children in Gainsford Street. She would have a large number of children, with some barely into their teenage years when she died in December 1805. She was a close friend of the wife of the wealthy tanner, Joseph Gutteridge (1752-1844), and leader in the Baptist congregation at Little Prescot Street, Goodman’s Fields, London. They were neighbors previously in the Denmark Hill-Champion Hill area of Camberwell.
2 Misc. Ms. 2174, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 486.
3 Joanna Dunkin’s daughter, Anne Dunkin (b c. 1785), who would marry John Lee on 17 October 1805.
4 Her daughter-in-law, Sarah Francis Dunkin, who married her eldest son, John Hays Dunkin (1775-1858) in 1799, settling soon afterwards in Beeleigh, Essex, near Maldon.
5 Joseph Gutteridge (1752-1844) entered the tanning business in 1770, and by 1790 had joined with Samuel Beddome, son of Benjamin Beddome, the popular hymn writer and Baptist minister at Bourton-on-the-Water, to create one of London’s largest and most prosperous tanning operations. Gutteridge’s business was located in Long Lane, Southwark. Gutteridge was a staunch Particular Baptist, serving as deacon for over forty years in the Baptist congregation at Little Prescot Street, Goodman’s Fields, where Abraham Booth ministered from 1779 until 1806. Besides demonstrating leadership in numerous Baptist endeavors throughout his long life, Gutteridge was also politically active. He supported the efforts of the Protestant Dissenting Deputies to repeal the Test Acts (1787-91) and later served as treasurer of the Deputies from 1805-16 and as vice-chairman from 1816-25, working alongside the Unitarian MP William Smith in the years preceding the eventual repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828.
6 Samuel Favell (1760-1830) was a prominent Baptist layman. He lived for his early London years in Tooley Street, Southwark, where he married Sarah Bardwell in 1786. She died in 1795 and his second wife was Elizabeth Beddome (1765-1830), only daughter of Benjamin Beddome, Baptist minister at Bourton-on-the-Water. He partnered most likely with her brother, Boswell Brandon Beddome (he was a close friend of Benjamin Flower) as woollen drapers (Beddome, Fysh and Co., 170 Fenchurch Street) and operated a second partnership as a slopseller (Favell & Bousfield, 12 St Mary-Axe). By 1817 his business was listed as Favell, Beddome, and David. He was present at the initial meeting of the Sunday School Society in 1785, and served as a leading member of the London Revolution Society from 1788 to its demise in 1792, as well as Society for Constitutional Information; he was the object of a satirical piece in the London Times on 22 June 1792 titled “The Southwark Slop-Seller,” signed “Sammy Slop,” a name revisited again by the Times on 4 December 1792, described as still living in Tooley Street. Favell himself would later write of these attacks (more occurred that December) on his politics and character in a letter that appeared in the Times on 25 June 1827. He represented the Court of Common Council from 1809 through 1829. He was, like his fellow Baptists Henry Waymouth, Benjamin Shaw, Joseph Hughes, Samuel Medley, Jr., and F. A. Cox, involved in the founding of the London University, serving as a member of the first Provisional Committee formed in July 1825. He moved to Camberwell from Tooley Street c. 1794, and later was an active member of the Camberwell Bible Association. At a meeting of 8 November 1813, he was joined by Samuel Palmer (1775-1847), father of the Romantic painter Samuel Palmer (1805-81), the latter becoming a friend of Crabb Robinson and William Blake in the 1820s (see Minutes of the Camberwell Bible Association, 1813-22, MS. John Gill Papers, William B. Hamilton Collection, David M. Rubinstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University). Most likely he attended the Baptist meeting in Camberwell during the ministry of Edward Steane.
7 Most likely this is Mary Ann Favell, who was buried in the Dissenter’s burial ground at Bunhill Fields (the same place her father would be buried) on 1 December 1804, about one month before the above letter.
8 These would be Joanna’s youngest children still at home, which included Emma, Marianna, and Sarah (1793-1875), all of whom would the following year be sent to Islington to live with Mary Hays, who provided the final years of their education.
9 Either Thomas or John Hays.
10 Hall, Robert Hall (1764-1831) was raised under the tutelage of his father, Robert Hall, Sr., in the Baptist church at Arnesby, the younger Hall showed a remarkable precocity as a child. After a brief stay at John Collett Ryland’s academy in Northampton, he entered Bristol Academy at the age of 14. He eventually completed his A.M. at Aberdeen in 1785 while serving as classical tutor and assistant pastor to Caleb Evans at Broadmead and the Academy. After tensions developed between the two men in 1790, Hall preached that fall for two months in Cambridge, then for the first six months of 1791 before finally accepting the call to succeed Robert Robinson at St. Andrew’s Street in Cambridge in July of 1791. For most of that decade Hall would continue Robinson’s liberal tradition of freedom of conscience, allowing numerous Arians to remain within his congregation, all the while developing a ministry that would prove of great importance to himself and his denomination, both politically and ecclesiastically. Like Robert Robinson, Joseph Priestley, Richard Price, and his former Bristol mentor Caleb Evans, Hall bore an outspoken allegiance to the fundamental principles of political dissent, as his pen soon demonstrated, resulting in two classics of dissenting literature from the 1790s, Christianity Consistent with a Love of Freedom (1791) and An Apology for the Freedom of the Press (1793). His radical positions altered in the late 1790s (as did many reformers), and he turned his focus toward the threat of infidelity in his most famous publication, On Modern Infidelity (1800). He resigned from St. Andrew’s Street early in 1806 after a second mental breakdown (his first was in November 1804, a few months before the date of the above letter). He recovered and in 1807 accepted the pastorate of William Carey’s former church in Leicester, Mary Reid’s hometown She and her friend, Elizabeth Coltman and many of their friends, left the Great Meeting and began attending Hall’s congregation in Harvey Lane. He remained there until 1826, at which time he returned to Bristol to succeed John Ryland, Jr., as pastor at Broadmead and president of the Academy. He remained at Broadmead until his death in 1831. He argued in print with Joseph Kinghorn in 1816 about the terms of communion, and boldly defended the Framework Knitters Fund of Leicestershire in 1819. His most lasting notoriety during his lifetime, however, involved his preaching, which to many observers was unmatched by any other minister of his day. Olinthus Gregory published Hall’s Works, along with a Memoir, in 1832. See “Memoir” of Robert Hall in vol. 6 of Olinthus Gregory, ed., The Works of Robert Hall, A. M., 6 vols. (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1834); Timothy Whelan, “Coleridge and Robert Hall of Cambridge,” Wordsworth Circle 31 (2000): 38-47; idem, “Robert Hall and the Bristol Slave-Trade Debate of 1787-1788," Baptist Quarterly 38 (1999-2000): 212-224; idem, “‘I have confessed myself a devil’: Crabb Robinson’s Confrontation with Robert Hall, 1798-1800,” Charles Lamb Bulletin, New Series 121 (2003): 2-25.