John Newton to Thomas Robinson

25. 13 April 1786*
My Dear Friend
I am afraid you have thought me tardy about Mr Abbot,[1] but I have not been unmindful of your commission. Applications are so frequent, that I often know not to whom to speak, when a new case occurs. I have, however, received twenty one Guineas for Mr Abbot. I shall either enclose you a note for that sum, or send you a bank note of Twenty Pounds, and stand accountable to you for the rest.
Your recommendation would always have the force of a command with me; but Mr Abbot's case speaks for itself. I have likewise a small personal knowledge of him, having once met with him at Mr Venn's. I am glad it has been in my power to do him any service, and beg you to mention my love to him.
I have reason to be thankful that I have escaped many difficulties, which some deserving ministers have been exercised with. I have known some of them pinched with poverty, others unsettled, without employ, or tossed from place to place. My first attempts and prospects were discouraging enough; but the Lord was merciful to me; in some respects He gave me the desire of my heart, in others He did for me more than I could either ask or think, not for my righteousness, be it known unto me, but for His own name's sake.
We are now busy in the midst of a removal. My study removes today, and we shall be in our new house (if the Lord pleases) in the course of next week. It is in Coleman-street-buildings, No. 6, where, if you will but come to London, you shall have a hearty welcome day and night.
After what I have said, you will not expect a long letter from me just at this time. Through the Lord's goodness we are pretty well: join in love to Mrs Robinson and all friends.
I think it will be a full fortnight or more, before Messiah appears; it has been printed off some weeks, but we are waiting for the index, for I think a book is but half a book without an index. Help me with your prayers, that the Lord may ac­company the publication with His blessing.
I am, indeed, your affectionate friend,
Hoxton, April 13, 1786        John Newton
*    The Evangelical Register, 1839; page 108, No. 26  


[1] This would appear to refer to George Stackhouse Abbott, vicar of Thornton-with-Bagworth in Leicestershire from 1780. The Society of Stewards and Subscribers for Maintaining and Educating Poor Orphans of the Clergy, lists in children elected, for 31 August 1781, ‘Frederick Abbott Stackhouse, aged 8, one of seven children of the Rev Samuel [Lemuel] Abbott Stackhouse, late vicar of Thornton in the county of Leicester’. Lemuel, ordained in 1755, had been vicar of Thornton from 1773 to 1776. George was ordained in 1777, and may well have been his son, with perhaps a switch of name order in confused records. Neither father nor son appears to have been to university, for both are identified simply as “literate” in the clergy database. Newton was acutely aware of the financial struggles of country clergy. In 1788 he founded The Society for the Relief of Poor Pious Clergy. Richard Cecil, Henry Foster, Jarvis Abdy, John Jowett, Ambrose Martin, William Wilson and William Romaine were amongst the members of the committee. Betsy Catlett was one of the subscribers, as was Newton’s brother-in-law Benjamin Nind. This Society is still functioning, under the wing of the CPAS.



Marylynn Rouse, 13/07/2015