Philip Furneaux, [1726-1783] independent minister, pastor to the the independent congregation at Clapham from 1753. The two-page letter to W. Samual Windeatt of Totnes in Devon [Furneaux's birthplace]. From Clapham dated May 1 1773, 'Penny Post Paid' stamp to address panel. You have my earnest prayers...that your dear little one may be got safely through the inoculation. It is my own opinion that the discovery of such a practice hath been a very great blessing to the world...I hope that you and my dear cousin will acquiesce in the disposal of providence whatever it may be, however I hope it will ...call not for resignation but for great thankfulness. As to what you and my cousin say of a threatened prosecution of Mr. Baynham, II had rather if such a step should be taken that it had preceeded from some bigot of the establishment than from any who call themselves dissenters. Pray give my very sincere respects to Mr. Baynham and exhort him neither to court nor to fear such an event. A prosecution....from whatever quarter it comes would, I make no doubt be the occasion of passing a very important Bill, and indeed it is the general opinion that it will succeed on a future occasion.... 1773 was the year in which Furneaux published his 'Essay on Toleration'. He had long campaigned that nonconformity should not be punished with civil penalties. He may be referring to some such case locally in Totnes. He goes on to write that it would be a great pleasure to see his correspondent and cousin [presumably his correspondent's wife] 'even at Totnes preferably to any other place (except Clapham) [here a few words are lost when the envelope was originally opened] the bad spirit and absurd conduct of some Dissenters of later years hath been an abatement to that satisfaction.....I cannot just now resolve whether I shall see Devonshire this summer or if I do in what part of it, though my inclination to do it is, I assure you, notwithstanding the disagreeable circumstances I have mentioned, very great... Good condition, with, as noted loss of a few words where envelope was originally opened. Furneaux was a leading campaigner for the rights of nonconformists in eighteenth century England where those who practised their religion outside the mainstream Anglican Church laboured under many restrictions.
Author Philip Furneaux, non-conformist minister
Binding no binding