Letter

Scope and Content

From Anne Tripp in Leeds [postmark] to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. Tripp is pained to reflect on the fact that she has failed to respond to Fletcher's letter before now, but she is sure that Fletcher will understand once she reads what Tripp has been engaged upon.

She had hoped that [William] Hey's medicines might have a positive effect on Tripp's eyesight and this hope caused her to delay writing. Soon after that she was seized with a nervous disorder and a cough accompanied by a fever that kept her in bed for near a month. However, she is now feeling much better and is able to get out again. On the first day of her illness, she lost much of the sight in her right eye - it has been failing for some time before that. This was certainly a test of faith and resignation. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.

She was pleased to read that Fletcher's health is no worse and she hopes that Fletcher will take all possible care to keep up her strength 'for the good of the Church and the people, to whom the Lord has made you so great a blessing.'

Tripp certainly remembers Miss Gaussen and was pleased to read that she continues so well-disposed. She trusts that Fletcher's prayers for them all will be answered. Mr [Robert] Hopkins is a 'lively, loving man' and she hopes that he will be made a blessing to the people.

Tripp received a most affectionate letter a month ago from Mrs [Elizabeth] Mortimer. She wrote that she had received a letter from Mrs [Frances] Pawson, which informed her of Tripp's illness, and that [William] Hey had ordered her to drink porter and a glass or two of port each day. Reference is also made to Mrs Barford.

Dear sister Marsden has also been in Leeds and gave Tripp her annual donation of £5. Two or three friends have also sent Fletcher a bottle of wine. Tripp has received many other kindnesses from the Methodist preachers and people.

Prissy sends her love to Fletcher and [Mary] Tooth, as does Mrs [Eleanor] Dickenson - she and her family are well and comfortably settled in St Peter's Square. Many of Fletcher's friends often enquire after her.

Mrs Mortimer reports that [Adylena] Clark, widow of G[eorge] Clark has died. The times seem very bad and the clothing trade depression has thrown hundreds out of work. There is much distress among the poor.

Dr [Thomas] Coke is expected in Leeds on Christmas Day. He is fund-raising for foreign missions.

Tripp must conclude now. She wishes Fletcher and Tooth a happy new year.

Note

Notes

  • Miss Gaussen was probably a relation of Anna Maria Gaussen (d.1804), sister of Mary Fletcher
  • Robert Hopkins (1758-1827) was born in Devizes, Wiltshire. He was converted at the age of seventeen and became a local preacher soon after. His zeal brought him to John Wesley's attention and in 1781 he was appointed to the itinerancy. Hopkins spent his active travelling ministry mainly in the North and the Midlands. He was travelling until a few days before his death. Hopkins was a friend of the female evangelists Mary Fletcher and Mary Tooth. Source: Minutes of Conference 1827, Hill's Arrangement 1819 and Fletcher-Tooth collection (MARC).
  • George Clark (1711-97) was converted at the age of thirty-five after hearing John Wesley preach at the Foundry. He was appointed a class leader with such success that he had to form two additional classes. Clark was a close friend and correspondent of John Wesley and freqently provided hospitality for visiting preachers. When City Road Chapel was erected, Clark took a plot of adjacent land and built a house, which after his death was lived in by one of the City Road ministers. Clark and his wife Adylena are interred near the east wall of City Road Chapel close to the altar. His wife Adylena (1727-1807) was a great favourite of John Wesley and enjoyed a considerable reputation for piety. Source: George John Stevenson, City Road Chapel, London, and its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Memorial (1872), pp.506-507.
  • Thomas Coke (1747-1814) was born in the Welsh town of Brecon, the son of a wealthy apothecary. He was educated at Jesus College Oxford and took Anglican Orders in 1772. Coke was driven from his curacy in 1776 because of his evangelical leanings and he then joined with the Methodists. He swiftly rose to become John Wesley's chief assistant and it was widely assumed that Wesley intended Coke to be his successor. In 1784 Wesley appointed him to be 'Superintendent' of American Methodism and during his trip to the United States later that year, Coke ordained Francis Asbury to be his colleague. Coke was to make repeated transatlantic visits during the next 25 years. He travelled extensively on preaching tours and while he was never fully accepted because of what Americans viewed as his divided loyalties, he nevertheless played a significant part in shaping the American Church. Coke served two terms as President of the Wesleyan Conference and also presided regularly over the Irish Conference. His most significant contribution was however in the field of overseas missions. In addition to his work in the United States and Canada, he made four tours of the West Indies and promoted attempts to spread the gospel in West Africa and Gibraltar. Coke died while en route to India as the leader of the first Methodist mission to that country. Source: Apostle of Methodism by John Vickers (1969), Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)