From Edward Postlethwaite Page to [Mary] Fletcher. 'Edward Postlethwaite Page cannot leave Madeley without confirming the truth of what of what he wrote and said to that exalted lady, Mrs Fletcher, who has granted him a favour…he cannot repay. He is not accustomed to weep, yet it will always afford him a sort of comfort, the remembrance of his having really dropped a tear on the tomb of Mr [John] Fletcher. His weak endeavours have been with no little zeal employed on recommending the works and describing the piety of his exalted soul.'
Page has already given three copies of [Joseph] Benson's life of John Fletcher to Mr Phillips, the independent minister at Clapham near London, Miss Wilkinson at Clapham and W. H. Vale in Birmingham. Page would do anything for the Methodists – ‘God has given him [Page] time, and half a guinea a week for life besides rich relations who would allow as much more as was necessary to keep him genteely, but his wants are so few that he has sufficient without any help from them. Therefore he shall take a cottage and resign himself wholly to his God and the study of divinity, making Mr Fletcher his pattern next to Jesus Christ.’
Mr Samuel Bosanquet, who Page believes to be a relation of Mrs Fletcher, is a London banker and merchant. He resides for some months each year at Dingestow Court, seven miles from Monmouth. Page’s father and family dwelled there about 10 years ago and they told him that Mr Bosanquet “was such another man as Squire Page in his goodness to the poor”.
- Joseph Benson (1748-1821) was born of farming stock at Mamerby in Cumberland. Intended by his father for the Anglican ministry, Benson received a sound classical education and became a teacher at the age of sixteen. Converted under the influence of a Methodist cousin, he was introduced to John Wesley and was appointed classics master at Kingswood School. In 1769 Benson entered St Edmund Hall Oxford but was denied Anglican orders because of his Methodist sympathies. After serving for a short time as headmaster of the Countess of Huntingdon's ministerial training college at Trevecca, he joined the Methodist itinerancy in 1771. Benson was a great favourite of John Wesley and the two often corresponded. He went on to become President of Conference in 1798 and 1810 and served as its secretary in 1805 and 1809. In 1803 Benson was appointed connexional editor and in this capacity was a major influence on the development of the Methodist Magazine. Despite his own experiences, Benson was a staunch supporter of the link with the Church of England and two of his own sons entered the Anglican priesthood. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism(1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)
- Samuel Bosanquet (1744-1806) was the son of the wealthy Hugeunot merchant Samuel Bosanquet senior of Forest House in Essex. His sister was the pioneering Methodist female preacher Mary Bosanquet who subsequently married the noted clergyman John Fletcher of Madeley. Bosanquet was a wealthy landowner and banker, serving as Governor of the Bank of England in 1792. He was also a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant of Essex and served as High Sheriff in 1770. Bosanquet also owned considerable estates in Monmouthshire. Depending on the date of this letter, the reference could be to Samuel’s son Samuel junior (b.1768) who inherited his father’s estates in 1806. Source: Burke’s Landed Gentry 1853, 1:119