File NLW MS 13587F. - Benjamin Flower correspondence

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 13587F.


Benjamin Flower correspondence


  • 1794-1808 (mainly 1799-1800) (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

135 numbered items.

Guarded and filed at NLW.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Benjamin Flower (1755-1829) was a writer and printer who travelled widely in Europe and spent six months in France in 1791. He was appointed editor of the influential provincial newspaper The Cambridge Intelligencer, which had liberal views. In 1799, he was summoned before the House of Lords for libelling Bishop Watson of Llandaff, whose political conduct he had censured. He was imprisoned in Newgate. He married Eliza Gould (d.1810) in 1800, and they had two daughters, Eliza (1803-1846) and Sarah (1805-1848). Later, he became a printer in Harlow.

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Scope and content

A collection of one hundred and twenty-one letters, and thirteen further fragments, 1794-1808 (mainly 1799-1800), being mostly the correspondence of Benjamin Flower (1775-1829), political writer and Unitarian (DNB, vol. 19, p. 339) with Eliza Gould, whom he married in January 1800.
The collection is fullest for the period August to October 1799 (the period of Flower's imprisonment at Newgate for an alleged libel against Bishop Watson of Llandaff, whose political conduct he had censured in the Cambridge Intelligencer) when almost daily exchanges took place between himself and Miss Gould. For the years following their marriage in 1800 the correspondence is less complete and consists mainly of domestic trivia and concern for one another's health and welfare. In two lengthy letters, 1799, Flower provides a detailed account of his 'past life, ... present situation and ... future prospects' (nos 17, 19). There are regular references to the difficulties faced by Flower in writing 'paragraphs' for the Cambridge Intelligencer, and, after 1805, to the problems of running a printing business at Harlow. Accounts of contemporary political and literary life are interspersed with personal details, and there is some discussion of the war against France. The later letters also contain many references to their two daughters Eliza (born 1803) and Sarah (born 1805).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Item: 1.1 Loose Manuscript Documents (NLW MS 13587F). Action: Condition reviewed. Action identifier: 5202283. Date: 20020917. Authorization: Selected for conservation. Authorizing institution: NLW. Action agent: J. Thomas. Status: Loose Manuscript Documents (NLW MS 13587F) : Black dust on paper, tears and creases on documents. Institution: WlAbNL.

Item: 1.2 Loose Manuscript Documents (NLW MS 13587F). Action: Conserved. Action identifier: 5202283. Date: 20031120. Authorizing institution: NLW. Action agent: E. Pugh. Status: Loose Manuscript Documents (NLW MS 13587F) : Repaired paper, guarded and filed and lettered in black. Institution: WlAbNL.


System of arrangement

Arranged chronologically at NLW.

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Language of material

  • English

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Finding aids

For a calendar of the letters see NLW, Schedule of the Benjamin Flower Correspondence, 1980. For a transcript of the contents see NLW ex 2225.

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Publication note

Timothy Whelan, 'Politics, Religion, and Romance: Letters of Eliza Gould Flower, 1794-1802', The Wordsworth Circle, 36.3 (Summer 2005), 85-109 [accessed 17 April 2024]

Publication note

Politics, Religion, and Romance: The Letters of Benjamin Flower and Eliza Gould Flower, 1794-1808, transcribed and ed. by Timothy D. Whelan (Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, 2008)

Notes area


Title based on contents.


Formerly George Eyre Evans Bequest MS 375.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 13587F.


Nos 17 and 123 are two parts of a single letter.

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Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

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  • Text: NLW MS 13587F.