No. 10


1 November 1786


My dear Sir


When Mr Cragg brought your message yesterday my heart jumped at the thoughts of being with you today, and I resolved too precipitously to obey your summons.  But I found afterwards, it could not be done with convenience and propriety.  I must therefore have patience.  When the season shall bring you to town (for I hear you are now about removing to Bath), I shall hope for an opportunity of waiting upon you, nor shall I despair of the pleasure of seeing you in Coleman Street.


Indeed, if my allotted departments in life would admit it, inclination would prompt me to be often at your elbow.  But the vacant hours in which you could conveniently receive me, when I know them, will often find me prevented by engagements, which will detain me from you.  Sometimes I hope your leisure and mine will coincide.  Nothing but indispensables will prevent me from obeying your summons.  Indeed, I long to see you, and to know from yourself the state of your health, which I am informed is not better than when I saw you last.  If it be the Lord’s pleasure to make your excursion to Bath useful to you in this respect, I shall greatly rejoice.  For I feel for you, when I think of the approaching hurry of Parliament business.


Mr Grinfield who preaches at the Brethren’s Chappel in Bath, and who married a daughter of Mr Barham, is my particular friend.  I can mention him, as a gentleman of sound sense, sterling piety, and above the little distinctions of party.  I think he is one whom you would be pleased with.  And I do mention him, as possibly he may not be known to you, supposing, that sometimes when at Bath the conversation of a person of his character may not be unacceptable to you.


I congratulate you, on the success of your application in favour of the New Holland Settlement, which I hope may be productive of very important and beneficial consequences.  The simplicity of Mr Johnson’s views, his integrity and humility, give me a pleasing expectation, that the Lord himself has chosen and called him to this service – if so, we may cheerfully expect a happy event.


But I consider your eyes, which I know must be sufficiently tried, by necessary business, and that therefore I ought not to trouble you with a long letter.


That the Lord may be your Sun and Shield; that he may honour you with much usefulness, and fill you with those comforts, which He only can bestow, is the sincere prayer, of


My Dear Sir

Your most obedient and obliged servant

John Newton


Coleman Street

1 November [17]86


Mrs Newton presents her best respects.



Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Wilberforce c.49 fol. 11



Thomas Grinfield, Moravian minister at Bath, who had married one of Newton’s friends from Bedford, Anna, daughter of Moravian Joseph Foster Barham. Newton later stayed with the Grinfields in Bath and attended Chapel with them. The chapel, founded by John Chennick, was originally in Monmouth Street, but later rebuilt in Charlotte Street and later in Coronation Street. [return]


Brethren: founded as the Unitas Fratrum (Latin for “Unity of Brethren”), the denomination became known as the Moravian Church. [return]


After gained its Independence, looked for a new location to send its convicts. Interest raised by Captain Cook’s expedition to Botany Bay led to the choice of the New Holland Settlement (Australia). [return]

Newton was concerned to see the Gospel taken out with the First Fleet of convicts to . He recommended Richard Johnson [c.1753 -1827], acting as his fund-raiser, while Wilberforce saw to obtaining the necessary parliamentary approval. [return]