From Elizabeth Mortimer in Islington, London to [Mary] Fletcher in Madeley. Fletcher’s letters are always profitable particularly as most of Mortimer’s early religious friends are now dead and this makes the few that are left even more precious.
Since Mortimer last wrote, Mrs Ray ‘has been called to join the Church of the first born.’ She broke her arm while crossing her arm and the affliction ‘was truly sanctified.’ Her arm recovered but general weakness set in and she died about three months ago in much peace.
Poor Mrs Burgess is still in severe financial straits and Mortimer does not see any prospect of her ever coming out of the situation as her debts are so large. A guinea or two would however prove useful in alleviating present wants. Burgess sends her regards and thanks for the pound note that Fletcher asked Mortimer to give to her on her behalf. Burgess has confidence that God will help her through these difficulties.
Did Mortimer inform Fletcher that Jonathan Cousins had a stroke of the palsy some time ago and was forced to desist from the itinerant ministry. His poor wife now sends Mortimer word that her husband died at Diss soon after the last Conference. They had just one child, a daughter aged twenty who is religiously inclined and a good help at this time.
[Joseph] Benson has said that he is not about to publish [John Fletcher’s] works in the Methodist Magazine yet, but when he does, he will fulfil Mary Fletcher’s request.
Mortimer would have been pleased to have been able to visit Madeley this last summer. Dear Mary [Mortimer’s step-daughter?] thinks that she would have particularly enjoyed a day or two there and it would have given Mortimer much pleasure to have seen her old friend. She hopes that the way will open for them to visit this next summer.
Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.
Mortimer thinks that she mentioned concerning one of her [step] sons [George], a young man of twenty and deeply ‘serious’ after being converted about five years ago. He has lately finished his apprenticeship and he begged his father to allow him to ‘devote himself to the God of the his salvation, in the work of ministry.’ After carefully examining the matter, his father and Mortimer did not dare refuse. It was not a new feeling but had been on his mind for some time. The young man had resisted the feeling for some time but reached the stage where only his father’s refusal could prevent him from applying for the ministry. He is now preparing to attend university. Fletcher would like him a great deal – he has a fine ‘understanding’, is ‘moderately cultivated’ and very spiritual. The biography of dear John Fletcher is one of his favourite books.
Mortimer saw Lady Mary [Fitzgerald] one day this week – her health appears reasonable.
On the 11th, Mortimer sent Fletcher a barrel of oysters by the Birmingham ‘carrier’.
Mary and Mortimer’s husband send their love to Fletcher and Mary Tooth.
In a postscrtipt, Mortimer asks that Fletcher’s letters be directed as usual to Fleet Street.
- Jonathan Cousins (1757-1805) laboured as a local preacher until his acceptance into the itinerancy in 1780. His active ministry lasted for the rest of his life which ended on 31 October 1805 while he was stationed in the Diss circuit through an attack of palsy. Source: Minutes of Conference 1806 and Kenneth Garlick, An Alphabetical Arrangement of Wesleyan Methodist Preachers and Missionaries, and the stations to which they were appointed 1739-1818
- George Mortimer (d.1844) was the son of the prominent London lay Methodist and City Road trustee Harvey Walklate Mortimer (1753-1819) and the step-son of Mortimer’s wife Elizabeth Ritchie (1754-1835). After completing an apprenticeship in business, Mortimer went up to Queen’s College Cambridge in January 1807 with the specific intention of entering the Anglican ministry. He graduated in 1811 and after ordination was appointed Evening Lecturer at St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol. Mortimer later moved to Canada as Rector of Thornhill in Ontario. He was killed in 1844 when he was thrown out of his carriage after the horse took fright. Source: Alumni Cantabrigienses, edited by J. A. Venn (1947) and the Elizabeth Ritchie/Mortimer letters within the Fletcher-Tooth collection MAM/FL/6/7 (MARC).