The Influential Spiritual Writings of Anne Dutton v. 1; Eighteenth-century British Baptist Woman Writer: Letters

Women theologians in the eighteenth century were a rarity. Were there no other reason, this alone would make the literary legacy of the Baptist Anne (Williams) Dutton (1692-1765) significant. In 1731, Anne and her minister husband, Benjamin Dutton, settled in Great Gransden, Huntingdonshire. After Benjamin's death, Anne became known on both sides of the Atlantic primarily through her extensive writings, including tracts, treatises, poems, hymns, and letters. Among her many correspondents were Howel Harris, Selina Hastings, William Seward, Phillip Doddridge, John Wesley, and George Whitefield. Harris believed God had entrusted her with a Talent of writing for Him. Whitefield, who helped promote and publish Anne's writings, commented upon meeting her that her conversation is as weighty as her letters. She wrestled with the question of whether it was biblical for a woman to be a writer of theological matters. But in a tract entitled A Letter to such of the Servants of Christ, who may have any scruple about the Lawfulness of Printing any thing written by a Woman (1743), she stated that she wrote not for herself but only the glory of God and the good of souls. Dutton's writings impacted evangelical revival in England and America. Not since 1884 have any of her writings been readily available. Now extensive portions of her letters, her tracts and booklets, and her poetry and hymns are once again available.