My Dear Wife
London December 30th 1727
I rejoice to hear by your 26th Inst. that the family is in good Health, which Mercy I am also favoured with. I suppose Elias may be returned before this coming to hand, if not remember me kindly to him and to our other two children and tell them I should greatly rejoice to hear they were seriously enquiring the way to Sion, with their faces thitherwood: this ought to be their chiefest concern, as ever they propose to themselves the enjoyment of True Happiness: tell them that I sometimes reflect on the Melancholy Circumstances of the late Prince Menshikov, who a few months since was Prime Minister to the great Emperor of Russia, had arrived to an extraordinary Height of Power, had accumulated to himself an Immense Quantity of Riches and was almost adored by all as the most Happy of all Men, but was suddenly deprived of all and reduced to his former Degree of Meanness, having also incurred the highest displeasure of the Great Monarch; yet in my Apprehension (notwithstanding the many sorrowful Reflections he may be supposed to make upon it) his Case is very desirable when set in Compare with that fool mentioned by our Saviour (Luke 12) who when his Soul comes to be required of him, shall be found only to have been laying up Treasure to himself and is not rich towards God, for the former hath Time and Opportunity to provide himself of a far better and greater Treasure than what he hath lost, whilst the other is past all Hope in that Respect: the former hath nothing left to fear from the Rage of his Great Master than the killing of his Body, but Oh! what hath not the latter to fear from the Anger of an Incensed God, who had so often Offered himself unto him as his Portion in order to his Everlasting Happiness, but was neglected and slighted; and for what was the Gracious Offer declined? Even for the Gratification of Sinful Lusts, or for the enjoyment of Lying Vanities, which he very well knew he must soon leave, and how soon who can tell ? the Lord grant these considerations may make suitable Impressions on all our Minds, to his Care I heartily commend you, and with dear Love to you and Duty and Dear Respects to all and wishing you all a Happy New Year and many of them. I and Mr Lidston was to sail the Middle of last week, so shall send the Screws and Pulleys by next vessel. Mrs Wallin, being present, gives her Service to you.
Your Affectionate Husband
In the Dartmouth Museum archive is a letter in Thomas Newcomen's hand. It's addressed to his wife Hannah, and dated December 30th 1727 and written from London. Newcomen urges her to tell their three children that he "should greatly rejoice to hear they were seriously enquiring the way to Sion with their faces thitherward: This ought to be their Chiefest Concern".
Reproduction: courtesy Dartmouth Museum