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George Baxter letter to Jabez Bunting regarding Waterhouse at Taranaki
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1) Dr Jabez Bunting by Hill & Adamson courtesy of Wikipedia and available under a creative commons licence 2) Baxter;s print - The Rev. J. Waterhouse Superintending the Landing of the Missionaries at Taranaki, New Zealand 3) Baxter's print - Destruction Of The "Tanjore" By Lightning, Off Ceylon

We are lucky that there are quite a few letters written by George Baxter still in existence, nearly all coming from the Snelling Archive (Link 1 below) now at Reading Museum, being a batch of letters kept by Baxter’s sister Ann Snelling and through her line. All these letters are personal from Baxter to other members of his family but rarely do we ever find anything that relates to his business dealings. We can thank one Frank Baker whose collection of Wesleyana and British Methodism is now held at the Duke Universities Library in America for saving one example.
The letter is to Rev Dr Jabez Bunting who was the Secretary of The Wesleyan Mission Society for 18 years, although at the time of this letter, was also the head of the Ruling body of the Wesleyan Church. The letter below is self-explanatory but would have included a copy of the print ‘CL 87’ The Rev. J. Waterhouse Superintending the Landing of the Missionaries at Taranaki, New Zealand. Rev Waterhouse was the General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Mission Society's missions in Australia and Polynesia. Baxter’s print details an event that took place in 1841. Unfortunately the Rev Waterhouse died in 1842 so never saw this print. The print was published 1st Nov 1844, just over two weeks before the date of this letter.
The letter reads as follows:

To the Rev’d Dr Bunting
11 Northampton Square
18th Nov 1844

Dear Sir
Having now bought my picture of the landing of Mr Waterhouse to the highest state of perfection, I send you a copy, and by your friendly acceptance of it, I flatter myself that I have done every justice to the subject and hope that you will deem the picture worthy of your kind notice.
I have communicated to Mr Hoole my intention of donating to the friends of the society a portion of the profits arising from the sale, and have no doubt he has laid before you my letter upon the subject.
Begging the favour of you drawing the attention of your friends to the picture

I remain
Yours Truly
G Baxter
On a blank side is written “Mr Baxter – with coloured print – Ans’d (answered) Dec 26 1844

Mr Hoole, as mentioned in the letter, was one of the general secretaries of the Wesleyan Missionary Society and most probably was Baxter’s main contact there. He featured as the standing figure in Baxter’s print ‘CL 96’ Destruction of the "Tanjore" by Lightning, off Ceylon which was used as a frontispiece to one of Hoole’s books in the same year as this letter but Baxter had produced a wood engraving of the same subject in an undated book some years earlier and shows his King Square address so between 1829 – 1835. Hoole married the daughter of Charles and Maria Chubb and it is undoubtedly his connection that got Baxter his commission for this very rare pair or portraits.

I would like to thank the David M Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library Duke University, the owners of the letter, for making a copy available to me. Unfortunately, and rather strangely although they own the letter they don’t own the copyright so are unable to give me permission to show the same here.

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