- George Mortimer (d.1844) was the son of the prominent Wesleyan layman Harvey Walklate Mortimer (1753-1819) by his first wife, and the step-son of the noted female evangelist Elizabeth Ritchie (1754-1835), Harvey Mortimer's third wife. Mortimer was educated at Queens College Cambridge and after ordination served as Evening Lecturer of St Werburgh's Bristol. In 1811 he was appointed curate of Wellington with Eyton close to Madeley. Mortimer enjoyed a cordial relationship with Mary Fletcher and Mary Tooth in the years leading up to his appointment to Wellington, but after Fletcher's death in 1815, his relationship with the Madeley Methodists became strained and the charge was made against him that he was damaging their once close relationship with the parish church. Mortimer moved to the parish of Hutton in Somerset in 1828 and emigrated to Canada where he was killed after falling out of his carriage. Two of Mortimer's sons also followed him into the Anglican ministry. Mortimer's brother Thomas (d.1851) was also an Anglican minister and graduate of Queen's College, who was on friendly terms with London Methodists. Source: Information provided by Mr John Lenton, Clergy of the Church of England database, City Road Chapel by George Stevenson (1872), Gentleman's Magazine 1844 and Fletcher-Tooth collection (MARC)
From William Taylor in Birmingham to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. He would have written previously, but he did not have the time during Mr [George] Mortimer's visit to Birmingham and his calling upon Taylor. He informed Mortimer of the 'reception I received when I reached home and which I suppose he has communicated to you - my long stay had given a good deal of uneasiness to my wife, but she received me kinder than I did expect - I felt very thankful to the Lord for answering your prayers ... I count it an unspeakable privilege of having the benefit of your all prevailing prayers, for I hope the Lord will answer them in the salvation of her soul - for she is not converted to God as yet ...'
Taylor had a very profitable time with Fletcher and the dear Miss Tooths [Mary and her sister Rosamund]. 'The privilege of seeing your patience under great suffering, and your resignation to the will of God - your zeal for his glory, your earnest prayers for Zion's prosperity, your great love for the ministers of the Gospel, your great compassion for the poor and afflicted ...' Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.
Taylor wishes that he could always feel as he did when he was in Fletcher's preaching house, in her classes and in her family and at prayers. Reference is made to the good being done in the chapels close to where Fletcher lives and his hope that there will be an increase in believers. He prays that the Lord will grant that Fletcher and the dear Miss Tooths will be pillars of the Church 'and intercessors for the world' for years to come.
Reference is made to the way that the Lord has supported Fletcher in her 'severe exercises' and the great blessing that she has been to the people. Thousands have benefited from her prayers, her alms and example. Taylor believes that she will enjoy a blessed eternity with her dear partner [John Fletcher] and her saviour. 'O may the Lord still enable Sister Tooth to persevere on in her labour of love to the children of men ...'
His health since returning home has been very indifferent. His breathing has been very bad and he has suffered from bad headaches, 'but my heavenly Father does all things well ...'.
Taylor has many sick to visit and his own body being weak, he often feels fatigued, but the Lord gives him strength. He has 'many precious moments with some of his dear Saints in their latest moments - one dear sister said to her daughter, a little before she died, seeing her daughter weep, dont weep for me but go down on your knees to thank the Lord a thousand times that he hath took me out of all my trouble ...'.
A poor woman came weeping to Taylor last Thursday and begged him to come and see her poor husband - she had seven children and five of them had had the fever and now her husband had it with no hopes of recovery. She said that he had once been a good man but that he had suffered great losses which had turned him away from God and back to the world. Taylor called on the man, who said that it was too late and that there was no mercy for him. Taylor prayed for his salvation and this greatly affected the poor man, his wife and their children. Taylor called again on Saturday and they had a 'very affecting season while engaged in prayer'. He called again the following day, but the man had died.
The fever has been very bad in these parts and there have been many deaths.
The Lord has sent them some very excellent preachers and Taylor has hopes that they will experience a revival. They had a love feast at Deriton on Sunday and it was a 'very refreshing season.' Taylor intends going to the country love feast at Coleshill (10 miles from Birmingham) a week on Sunday
In a postscript, he asks that his love be passed to Mr and Mrs Mortimer, with the news that Mr [John] Eyton has not sent him the second volume of sermons for Mr Taverner. His regards should also be passed to the Miss Whatmores.