From Sarah Nowill at 9 Meadow Street, Sheffield, Yorkshire, to [Mary] Fletcher. ‘I feel at a loss how to address you, when I so much reverence & esteem, and to whom I am so greatly indebted, at the remembrance of your condescension and kindness to me a worthless stranger while under your hospitable roof, my heart swells with gratitude…’ Spiritual matters are discussed.
They have a very pleasing prospect here with regard to the work of God. The preachers appear to be joined together ‘as the heart of one man, and there is raised among the people a spirit of desire, expectation, and prayer, since conference several backsliders have been restored, and I think in the hearts of believers it is generally deepening…’ As for Nowill herself, she feels at peace with God. Fletcher’s encouragement and advice is often made a great blessing to her. Nowill longs for a closer communion with God - ‘I want to lose myself for ever in the ocean of his love…’
Sister Sydall sends her regards. Nowill’s love should be passed on to [Mary] Tooth.
In a postscript, she adds that she has arrived safe at her father’s house and he has given her a pair of glasses as a present for Fletcher. He hopes that their use will render reading and writing much easier. If however the glasses do not seem right for her vision, the optician recommends the following; ‘when you have the glasses on, take a rule marked with inches, put the end to the side of your eye, then vary your book nearer or further from you till find out at what distance you can see most perfectly, then mark the number of inches even with your book from the end of your eye.’
If the glasses are no use, she should return them to Nowill’s good friend George Sykes of the Wolverhampton circuit [George Sykes was stationed in the Wolverhampton circuit from 1809 to 1811.] who has been the bearer. She should enclose a note of the number of inches at which she can see clearly and the optician will make the correct adjustment. Also, if she needs a greater magnification altogether, she should return the glasses and they will take the first opportunity of replacing them.
- George Sykes (1782-1817) was described as a ‘pious young man of plain but improvable talents’ on the occasion of his acceptance for the itinerancy by the Conference of 1808. He was at that time resident in the Manchester circuit and was unmarried. Sykes exercised an active circuit ministry for nine years. His final circuit was Paisley in Scotland. He was compelled by failing health to retire from the ministry in March 1817 and he died on 18 October of the same year. He left a widow and one child. Source: Minutes of Conference 1818 and Register of Preachers on Trial 1803-31