MARY HAYS LETTERS,
This set of 10 letters written by Robert Robinson (1735-90), celebrated Baptist minister at St. Andrew's Street, Cambridge, are the only surviving letters of Hays from this decade. Nine of these letters (except for the 13 November 1782 letter) appeared in the Christian Reformer 11 (September and October 1844), 813-20, 941-44. The Pforzheimer Collection holds nine of these letters now, with only the 16 September 1789 letter missing. Robinson was, like Mary Hays and her family, a Particular Baptist, but during the 1780s created considerable controversy for his shift in his views of the doctrine of the Trinity. His heterodox positions brought him notoriety and a large following of former orthodox Baptist and Independents and Anglicans who found themselves moving in a similar direction toward Arian and Socinian positions, a group that included George Dyer, William Frend, Benjamin Flower, Thomas Mullett, and many others. Mary Hays and her sister Elizabeth (but apparently not the other members of their family) also joined this group of followers of Robinson, who they met during his visits to London and eventually became friends and corespondents of two of his daughters, Mary and Ann. In 1790 both John Dunkin, Jr., and Mary Hays subscribed to Robert Robinson’s History of Baptism, his address at that time listed as Thomas Street, Southwark. In 1792 he and Hays (3 copies this time) also subscribed to Robinson's posthumous Ecclesiastical Researches, living now at the Paragon, Surrey. Robinson's letters to Hays also appear in Brooks, Correspondence of Mary Hays (31-233) and a small selection in Walker, The Idea of Being Free (99-102).
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