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To Pendlebury Houghton from E Houghton and S Taylor

A very mysterious pair of letters.  This was a shared letter.  E Houghton, who I believe is Pendlebury's stepmother (see Norwich 1822) is the author of the main letter on the inside sheet.  In this she basically details the disposal of his effects and house.  Lots names referenced within this letter, The Taylors were a prominent Norwich family in the dissenting community, the Martineaus, who are mentioned elsewhere on this site and others.  She refers to "my Mary's Book case",  "Marys old P-folio" and "her treasures that are worth keeping", I cannot think that this refers to Houghton's daughter Mary but to his mother Mary.  Houghton's father had married Elizabeth within 5 months of his first wife's death and it could well be that they were friends.

The second letter is from S Taylor, who we know is Mrs Taylor from the first letter.  She talks of differences between the congregation and himself  "Surely you and your congregation have been like two lovers - each accusing the other of unkindness merely for want of a clear understanding of each others views and sentiments".  Such fantastic language.  As to her identity.  I believe she is Susanna Taylor.  Susanna Taylor was the wife of John Taylor and is covered in this article in the Gutenburg Project ebook  George Borrow and his Circle.  The article mentions her relationship to the Martineaus (cited in the first letter), the Aikins, and Mrs Barbauld (see any number of pages reference Anna Letitia Barbauld and her poem 1811).  All of these, and others, feature in Susanna Taylor's life.

So the background seems to be a dispute with his congregation which involves largely selling up, giving it away and moving to London where he remains a minister until 1811.

Norwich Dec Br 12

My Dear Sir

        I sent on friday by waggon the Bed etc, hair Trunk, & the Book's, Mr Marsh, & your F-ds thought it not so eligible their going by sea, & not much cheaper, I fear I have sent the wrong sheets, & Blankets, this morning in a Drawer I found 4 prs of large sheets, & two Blankets, large & good, but not a like, If, I have done wrong, & you like to have them sent write this week, the key of the Trunk is under the direction on the Road, Mr Athow was at the House to day, to morrow begin his Inventory, & the beginning of next week the purpose to the sale, I hope every thing will be conducted to your Satisfaction, your F-ds Dr Sayers, Reeve & Smith, Mr Barron, W & E Taylors Mrs Reeve, & S Taylor, all made choice of some Book's as a Dear remembrance, to Mrs Reeve I presented Dr Mary's Mahogany chair with which she highly gratified her Baba is too young at present to use it, but Mrs R looks forward with pleasure, to the time she may occupy it, to Dr Reeve I offered the clock it was readily accepted & will be retained with care till you call for it.  Mr Will_nt was ready with the needfuly, for the package's I beg'd them to make choice of some Book's which I hope they will do, the concordance you mentiond, & an other that was found was preserved for Robberds, at Mr J Taylors with the Books you requested to be keept, the Prayer Book to the Priory, I have taken 2 Vol of Walkers Sermons for Burrell for which & the sofa accept with my thanks, my Mary's Book case I shall take to my room, & her treasures that are worth keeping.  Mr Barron came with his Father took a few drawing that were in Marys old P-folio to remember Her, I thought of sending the Garden Coach to the Martineaus the Lad's came home yesterday, Poor Mrs Loyd is no more, Davies is there & to stay some time. I wrote to Mary by Him, Mrs Taylor is to write on this Paper, shall only say, your F-ds were much gratified b your remembrance of them beg'd me to say how much they were obliged, & to desire you of their respect & good wishes, that you and the Dear object of your Love may enjoy health & happiness is

                    the sincere & Servant Prayer
                        of your affectionate
                            E Houghton

 

My dear Friend

        We have endeavoured to comply with your injunctions of but I wish much to know whether your would not like some more of your books to be preserved because we can make room for them without inconvenience indeed what we have taken can be restored whenever you like to [damage] them - Surely you and your congregation have been like two lovers - each accusing the other of unkindness merely for want of a clear understanding of each others views and sentiments - yet they  openly avowed theirs and yours had better have been declared in the presence of the whole body - In the letter they send to you signed by them collectively the most affectionate sentiments were expressed and you cannot doubt their feeling them.  The situation they are now in (according to the general opinion) absolutely demanded decision their regret in making decision had been fully implied - By this I mean not to vindicate the mode of acting but the motives for what has been done. you know my wish has been that you should be indulged in every desire and that you should not only return to us, but return with a conviction that you consulted your own happiness in doing so. To think you will not return fills me with sorrow nay with anguish and among the causes which have contributed to sink my spirits and to destroy the elasticity of my mind.  I shall always reckon and the loss of your both as a preacher and a companion - I hoped to have enjoyed these comforts to the end of my life.  May God bless you! and preserve you and dear Mary!  If you republish your sermons surely you might add another volume.  I have just been writing to Mrs Barbauld and to Charles Aikin -- From a mind so clouded and oppressed and I will not try to make you uncomfortable - Be assured however of my continued affection and of the interest which will always be felt for your happiness by

                                Your faithful Friend
                                            S Taylor