From Elizabeth Mortimer at River Terrace [Islington, London] to [Mary] Fletcher in Madeley. Before Fletcher’s letter arrived, she had been much on Mortimer’s mind. Reference is made to Fletcher’s previous letter and the enclosed money, which was gratefully received by Sister Burgess.
Mortimer regularly meets with two large classes at City Road Chapel, a band of nine persons at her home and often meets with a third class based at Queen Street Chapel. As the other people attending the meetings live at a great distance away from Mortimer, it takes up a great deal of her time ‘to see after them, this with a number of sick etc that fall under my notice, and the public means [often used at this time as a reference to the service of Holy Communion – possibly in this context, Mortimer is referring to general worship services] almost fills my time…I love his [God’s] work better than ever and though deeply conscious of my inability to recommend so good a master, feel increasing pleasure in it.’
The work prospers here – multitudes flock to hear, many are awakened and some are converted. Several of their old friends have recently died including Sister [Adylena] Clark. She had lately suffered from several slight paralytic strokes but had still been able to walk a little. ‘For several months she had desired the little class she had been used to meet might be incorporated into one of mine. Her simple tale often warmed our hearts – she seemed all love and talked much of her dear husband [George], Mr [John] Wesley and our friends in light, frequently saying she would soon be with them. She was only confined [to her bed] a few days: her mind was all praise and though a mortification which began in her foot ended her mortal life, she suffered little pain.’
‘Another of our excellent old [class] leaders is lately gone. Her mental powers were far stronger than Sister Clark’s and her love and devotedness to God as great. Her name was Thornton, but I rather think you did not know her.’
Has Fletcher heard from Bath recently? Poor dear Mr [William] Smyth has died – some time ago he lost the court case in Ireland respecting his nephew’s property and this upset him a great deal. Last summer he started to distance himself from everyday life to concentrate on spiritual matters, telling his wife that she should dispose of his surplus income. During this time there was a reconciliation with his brother [Edward] and Edward talked of leaving his churches in Manchester to move to join his brother in Bath. William’s widow asked Mr Roberts (married to her niece) to write to inform Mortimer that William died on the 11th inst. If Fletcher feels that she would like to write to the widow, her address is Park Place, Bath.
Fletcher enquires after Miss Barford – she is doing well. She has been in lodgings not far from Mortimer ever since she came and meets in Mortimer’s class and band. ‘She is very teachable, gains ground in her soul and is much better in health than when you saw her.’ At present Barford has some problems with her aunt’s executor.
Mortimer was pleased that Mrs Wettingham’s visit to Madeley went very well. Mortimer once saw her for an hour or two and was impressed – she seemed a veritable Lydia. [‘And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.’ (Acts 16:14)]
She supposes that Fletcher has heard that poor dear sister [Ann] Tripp is in danger of losing her sight. Mortimer asked in her last letter to Leeds if she would carry on the business? ‘Prissy can sell out, but I fear she cannot buy in.’
Mortimer is thankful that Fletcher’s health is improved. Dear Lady Mary [Fitzgerald] is as well as usual. She will continue to send Fletcher the porter as long as she lives and some time ago asked Mr Wait to arrange for it to be sent – unfortunately Mr Wait has now died.
Mortimer’s step-daughter Mary is doing well and George has now gone up to Cambridge and the rest of their large family are well.
Mortimer has sent Fletcher a barrel of oysters by the Birmingham wagon.
Harvey and Mary join in sending love to Fletcher and Mary Tooth.
- Adylena Clark (1727-1807) was the wife of the prominent London Methodist George Clark (1711-1797). The couple often provided hospitality for visiting preachers and were good friends of John Wesley Adylena enjoyed a considerable reputation for personal piety. She died in November 1807 following a series of slight strokes – Clark had continued to meet with her class until a short time before her death. Source: George John Stevenson, City Road Chapel, London, and its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Memorial (1872), 506-507 and MAM/FL /6/7/25 (MARC).