Scope and Content

From Henry Thornton in London to [Mary Fletcher]. He has already mentioned to Mr [Melville] Horne, his intention of sending Fletcher something for the poor in her neighbourhood. He is therefore now enclosing £25, which she should apply to the relief of the poor at her discretion. In the coming winter, if there are many people needing relief, then he will willingly send her the like sum again upon her mentioning it. Thornton would be grateful to receive word that Fletcher has received the enclosed banknotes for £10 and £15 - she should write privately and enclose the letter 'in a favor, since the first seal and cover of my letters are commonly broken open by my partners in business'.



  • Henry Thornton (1760-1815) was a wealthy banker and philanthropist, who gave away much of his annual income to worthy causes. The son of a generous supporter of the early evangelicals, Thornton carried on this tradition by serving as treasurer of the British and Foreign Bible Society and the Society for Missions to Africa and the East. A close friend and cousin of William Wilberforce with whom he shared a house for five years, Thornton used his position as member of parliament for Southwark to promote legislation opposed to slavery. Thornton was also an economist of note and did much to influence financial strategy during Pitt's administration. Source: Dictionary of National Biography
  • Melville Horne (c.1761-c.1841) was the son of an Antiguan barrister and planter and the nephew of Nathaniel Gilbert (c.1721-1774) the pioneer of West Indian Methodism. Horne entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1784 and was ordained into the Anglican ministry a short time after on John Wesley's recommendation. In 1786 he succeeded to the curacy at John Fletcher's old parish of Madeley, but retained his connection with Methodism and was appointed Superintendent of the new Wolverhampton circuit in 1787. Horne was appointed chaplain of Sierra Leone in West Africa in 1792 where he joined his second cousin Nathaniel Gilbert junior. He was however unable to adapt to the climate and returned to England after one year and published his Letters on Missions a year later. Horne served as Vicar of Olney from 1796 to 1799 and then succeeded the evangelical minister David Simpson at Christ Church Macclesfield. Horne enjoyed a close friendship with Jabez Bunting but this turned to coldness on both sides which culminated in Horne's final break with Methodism in 1809. He later served Anglican parishes in Essex, Cornwall and Salford.bSource: Dictionary of National Biography