From Rosamund Tooth to an unnamed correspondent [possibly Thomas Holy - see note below]. Their correspondent's kind and supportive letter arrived safely. Their dear departed friend [Mary Fletcher, who died on 9 December 1815] is indeed a severe loss to the entire country. Her friends were privileged to have observed her "unexampled life and continual kindness to all ... she is an unspeakable loss indeed". As for an account of Fletcher's death, Rosamund's sister Mary has sent one this week to [Joseph] Benson and it will probably appear in the February issue of the magazine [Methodist Magazine 1816, 80 and 157]. Mary has also drawn up an account for a seperate pamphlet, which she hopes to publish.
Rosamund's sister Mary sends her love and was sorry to hear of their correspondent's daughter's lameness, but hopes that it will improve with the weather.
- The sheet is missing half of its address, but the name "Holy" survives, indicating that the correspondent may have been Thomas Holy of Sheffield.
- Thomas Holy (1752-1830) was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, the eldest son of a Methodist businessman Thomas Holy and his wife Sarah. Holy was educated by Revd. John Ryland of Northampton and in 1766, just after leaving school, he joined the Wesleyan society. The well-known itinerant Matthew Mayer of Stockport, a close friend of the Holy family, was a particularly strong spiritual influence. Holy's father died in 1760 and his mother passed away when the boy was sixteen, leaving him in charge of the family business. Despite his youth, Holy quickly proved himself an astute and principled businessman. During the course of his life he amassed a very large fortune. Holy remained a staunch Methodist throughout his life, although the press of business prevented him from taking on lay offices. John Wesley stayed with him during his visits to Sheffield and used to preach in front of Holy's house. He was generous in his giving and was particularly concerned with the needs of Methodist ministers and their families. His greatest contribution was however the erection and maintenance of chapels. It was stated in his obituary that 'there are few Methodist chapels within twenty or thirty miles round Sheffield, to whose erection, or subsequent relief from debt, he did not contribute.' His generosity was not confined to Methodist causes but encompassed all the major Protestant denominations. Holy died after a long decline on 9 November 1830 and was buried in a family vault close to Carver Street Chapel. Source: Arminian Magazine 1832, and Revd. T. Alexander Seed, History of Norfolk Street Chapel and Wesleyan Methodism in Sheffield (London, ).
- 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. 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).