From A[lexander] Suter in Wolverhampton [Postmark – Suter was stationed in Wolverhampton from 1791 to 1793] to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. A day or two back, Suter received a letter from [George] Story, editor of the Methodist Magazine. He would like to quote part of Story’s letter as follows:
Mr Gilpin… in his portrait of St Paul… intimates that he can give a more circumstantial account of Mr [John] Fletcher’s journey over the Sevennes mountains. I entreat the favour of you earnestly to solicit of that gentleman or Mrs Fletcher, a copy of that journey for the magazine, as there can be no doubt, but it will be, not only pleasing, but edifying, to perhaps not less than forty of fifty thousand of our readers…
… a kind providence has favoured me with an original letter of Mr Fletcher’s on the prophecies, which was never printed. It is large and will make 12 or 16 pages of our magazine. I believe it is in Mr Fletcher’s own hand. I intend to introduce it in July magazine [John Fletcher’s letter on prophecies was printed in the July 1793 issue of the Arminian Magazine, 370-6 and 409-16.]
Suter would be grateful if Fletcher would interest herself in this request. Suter hopes that the Madeley part of the circuit is thriving, which is more than he can say of the area around Wolverhampton. Due to a mistake in the income statement received from Birmingham and the general trade depression, the temporal affairs of this circuit are not as good as they were this time last year, ‘but the friends are willing and kind’.
What does Fletcher think of the state of the times?
Fletcher may recall passing comment on a poem that Suter showed her last year. The author has revised the piece in line with Fletcher’s remarks and is now thinking of sending it for possible publication to [George] Story and [Thomas] Olivers in London. Suter is to travel to London shortly and will take the manuscript with him. The author would like to address [dedicate] the piece to Fletcher. His request follows:
The author knows of no-one equal to Fletcher to whom he can dedicate this poem, ‘the feeble efforts of a youthful muse’. He is aware that the poem is deficient in many ways. It was written at first as a means of quickening his own mind, but several friends have been kind enough to say that it may be beneficial to others.
Suter intends to be in London in about a month. His wife joins in sending her regards.
In a postscript, he asks that his respects be passed to Mr Walter and the preachers. Walter will be able to see the poem in the March issue of the magazine. He also adds that Mr Story informs him that they are printing over 1200 more monthly copies of the magazine this year than last. Fletcher’s reply should be sent to Suter at 16 Snowhill, Wolverhampton
- Alexander Suter (1754-1817) was converted by the ministry of the Wesleyan preacher Thomas Olivers and was appointed by John Wesley to be a class leader in London. Suter entered the itinerancy in 1779 and exercised an active circuit ministry in Scotland and England until poor health forced him to supernnuate in 1812. Source: Minutes of Conference 1817
- Thomas Olivers (1725-99) was converted in Bristol by the preaching of George Whitefield after a dissolute early life and subsequently joined the Methodists. He entered the itinerancy in 1753 and after working in many parts of the country, settled in London as the corrector of John Wesley's printing press. Source: Arminian Magazine 1779, 77ff, and Methodist Magazine 1799, 511.