From Henry Stormont in Coventry to Mary Tooth in Madeley. Since Stormont received Tooth’s kind note, he has had further conversation with Mr [John] Mason [Mason was stationed in Coventry from 1820 to 1823] regarding the subject referred to in Tooth’s last. As it is of the highest importance that Stormont should be absolutely clear as to his fitness for ‘so sacred a work’, he hopes that Tooth will pardon him taking the liberty of writing to her with a summary of his experience. [It is clear from the context that Stormont was considering offering himself for the itinerant ministry]
He has invariably felt the happiest when talking of God to others. The study of languages, to which he has long been partial, while it was valuable in study of the bible, nevertheless he felt it was not focussed enough on the central concern of life.
‘When I think of directing my attention to those branches which are more intimately connected with my present calling, I feel like a ship without her helm, tossed to and fro in a sea of confusion…’ He thinks that his taste for languages would not have been given, had it not been intended for a ‘a more general purpose than to be employed in my present circle of action.’
None of the above would have ‘induced me to renew the subject, having deliberately … in a providential manner, entered upon another profession’ if several neutral observers had not mentioned that they thought that Stormont would be suited to another course of action. Finally, Mr Mason, raised the subject with Stormont last week and asked that Stormont write to Tooth immediately ‘as he thought it would be proper to bring it forward next quarterly meeting’. [Candidates for the Wesleyan itinerancy were recommended to Conference by their circuit following consideration of applications by the quarterly meeting]
‘Nothing but a fear [of] being in my wrong place and frustrating the designs of providence would influence me [to] think of entering upon a work replete with so many trials and difficulties’.
Reference is made to Stormont’s current situation at a school.
Stormont would be grateful if Tooth could write to him soon with her opinion.
Stormont’s wife [Caroline] would like to add a note to this letter, so he will now sign off.
From Caroline Stormont to Mary Tooth. She has such a small space in which to write that she cannot say half of what she would wish, but she can at least thank Tooth for the kind present of the china. She will return the basket at the first opportunity. Mr Stormont senior had much business to transact in Tofton[?], so she did not like to encumber him too much.
Reference is made to the many happy hours that she has spent in Tooth’s sweet garden and house. Spiritual matters are discussed.
Her regards should be passed to [Rosamund Tooth], Mrs Herd, Miss Dorset and any other of Caroline’s friends. ‘I felt greatly rejoiced to hear of the happy death of ?? Sankey’
[Annotated by Tooth – ‘Answered February 22’]
- John Mason (1781-1864) was born in Derbyshire. He was trained in business before entering the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1811 and this background proved invaluable. Mason's circuit ministry lasted until 1824 when he was appointed a General Secretary of the Missionary Society. In 1827 he was transferred to the Wesleyan Book Room with the office of Book Steward and served in that capacity until his death thirty-seven years later. Mason's first task as Book Steward was the management of the accumulated debts of the operation. He then oversaw a period of expansion that saw the Book Room move into profitability. Throughout this period Mason also preached regularly at City Road Chapel and acted as a class leader. Source: Minutes of Conference 1864 and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)