FRY Elizabeth - Autograph Letter Signed 1843 to Lady Shaftesbury
Elizabeth FRY (1780-1845)
Autograph Letter Signed (“Elith Fry”) to “Dear Lady Ashley” [Emily, wife of Lord Ashley, later the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury], urging her to visit with her children.
2 pages 8vo, Upton, 14 July 1843.
“I fear that our notes will be really troublesome, but the fact is we are so unwilling to loose [sic] the pleasure of your company that it makes us rather zealous to see you soon as we propose leaving home the week after next therefore hope that nothing will prevent your paying us your proposed visit with your children some day next week as we have not seen you this [blank]. I hope by this time that thy health is restored and believed me (though personally unknown to thee) affectionately thy friend. . .”
Elizabeth Fry and Lord Ashley, better known by his subsequent title Lord Shaftesbury, were close friends and supported each others’ campaigns to help the neediest in Victorian society. Their religion – evangelical Christian in Lord Shaftesbury’s case, Quaker in Elizabeth Fry’s (hence her use of “thou” and “thy” in her letter) informed their thinking to a great extent, but their energy and practicality were exceptional. Elizabeth Fry is particularly remembered for her work for prison reform, which gained her the respect of like-minded people across Europe.
If Lady Ashley’s visit did indeed take place with her children, it was likely to have been a crowded, and possibly noisy, affair, as she was at the time mother to seven children ranging in age from one to twelve; three more children would come later. Elizabeth Fry herself was mother to eleven children, though all had reached adulthood by this date.
The blank leaf of the letter has been cut away, and small portions of the letter have been torn away at the top and left margin, affecting one letter of the text on the verso, where we also find remains of the mount at the top.
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