From Joseph Cross, Cork-Cutter, Guest Row, Aberdeen, to [Mary] Fletcher at Madeley. 'Being pretty far advanced in life, and considerably past what is often called the meridian, tis high time my house was set in order, and all things put into a proper trim for my leaving this world…' Upon looking over his 'account' the other day, he discovered a 'debt of gratitude' to [Mary] Fletcher, which he has not yet paid. Hence this letter. If nothing else, it will add to the stock of gratitude which is owed to her.
Between twenty and thirty years ago, his pious mother gave him a copy of Fletcher's small but excellent An Aunt's advice to her niece. That work proved to be the instrument of his conversion. Fletcher is therefore his 'Mother in Christ'.
The names of John and Mary Fletcher have rendered Madeley and Shropshire in general 'very respectable in my estimation'. He has therefore particular regard for any religious person coming from that area. One of the preachers currently in this circuit is in fact a native of that region and Cross is 'so weak' as to like him the better for it. His name is [William] Tranter and he stands at the head of Cross's list of 'select' friends. Apart from his origin, he is a man of promising ability and his powers of preaching are improving rapidly. He [Cross] has heard much from him concerning Fletcher but nothing different to what he had heard before.
Cross's experience for the last twenty-five years has been various 'and some parts of my history rather curious'. He will not however trouble Fletcher with an account of it, unless desired. He has sometimes been up and sometimes down. The improvement in him has on the whole been much less than it ought to have been, all things considered.
In a postscript, he adds that since writing the above, he has seen [Tranter] who has asked to be remembered to Fletcher.
[Manuscript annotation by Mary Fletcher - 'No 16 Ravels[?] Court, Fetter Lane [London?] to [unreadable word] at No 50 the [unreadable word] Street'].
- William Tranter (1778-1879) was born at Little Dawley, near Madeley, Shropshire. He was converted at the age of nineteen through the ministry of the Wesleyan minister Valentine Ward who introduced him to religious meetings organised by the followers of John Fletcher. Tranter was subsequently a founder member of the first Methodist class held in Dawley. The female evangelist Mary Fletcher was also a major influence on the young Tranter. Tranter entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1803 and served in home circuits mainly in Scotland and Northern England for forty-three years, rising to the position of District Chairman. After his superannuation in 1846, Tranter settled in Salisbury and continued to preach locally and be actively involved in Methodist activities until a short time before his death at the age of one hundred and one. Source: Minutes of Conference 1879