Letter

Scope and Content

From Brislington. When Fletcher wrote to him requesting on behalf of her nephew [a Swiss nephew of John Fletcher] that he should be allowed to ‘wait of my ward Miss Haskins’ [ie make an offer of marriage], he could not at that time agree for reasons which he outlined in a letter.

Miss Haskins being now in her twentieth year and he supposes, having no objection to a good offer [of marriage], it occurred to him to inform Fletcher that if her nephew was not engaged, then he might like to make an offer to Miss Haskins. Ireland gives his permission for this to happen. Her fortune upon her coming of age [21] will be about £9,000 and about £3,000 more when she attains her twenty-fifth year. If her brother should die, she would receive about £13,000 more. As her trustee, Ireland would of course expect a proper offer of a [marriage] settlement [from the family of a prospective groom].

Ireland should mention to Fletcher that his ward has no religious character. She is young and lively and is very fond of Switzerland. The girl is fluent in French and is in other respects an accomplished young lady and a very fine person. ‘Farther particulars cannot be obtained without minute observation’.

As for religion, he can say nothing in her favour, although it is probable that she can be ‘brought to attend [religious worship], provided she falls into good hands’.

Lady Mary [Fitzgerald?] is now here [Bristol]. She is expected at Brislington today.

His regards should be passed to Fletcher’s nephew, her brother [probably her brother-in-law Henry de la Flechere] and [Joshua] Gilpin.

Ireland has just recovered from an attack of [unreadable word] - ‘we are all verging toward the grave. I thought my day approached on acct of a swelling in my legg’, but he recovered through the mercy of God.

Note

  • Lady Mary Fitzgerald (1725-1815) was the daughter of John, Lord Hervey and a grandaughter of the Earl of Bristol. As a young woman she had served as Lady of the Bedchamber to Princess Amelia Sophia. Her family circumstances appear to have been extremely unhappy; Three of her brothers inherited the Earldom of Bristol and were characterised by scandalous behaviour. One, Frederick, was a particularly notorious Bishop of Derry for thirty years. In 1745 she married George Fitzgerald of Turlough. The marriage was unhappy and the couple separated. Her oldest son George Robert Fitzgerald was known as "Fighting Fitzerald" and enjoyed a considerable reputation for violent behaviour and general recklessness. He was convicted of an assault against his own father and was ultimately executed for shooting his coachman. Fitzgerald joined the Methodists and was a close friend of John and Mary Fletcher. Her character was described as 'marked by great meekness and humility, joined with a quiet firmness which enabled her to abide faithfully by the principles she once embraced'. At the age of ninety, she was burned to death when her clothes caught fire accidentally. She was buried in City Road Chapel, London. Source: Eminent Methodist Women by Annie E. Keeling (London 1893), pp. 83-92

Note

Note

  • Lady Mary Fitzgerald (1725-1815) was the daughter of John, Lord Hervey and a grandaughter of the Earl of Bristol. As a young woman she had served as Lady of the Bedchamber to Princess Amelia Sophia. Her family circumstances appear to have been extremely unhappy; Three of her brothers inherited the Earldom of Bristol and were characterised by scandalous behaviour. One, Frederick, was a particularly notorious Bishop of Derry for thirty years. In 1745 she married George Fitzgerald of Turlough. The marriage was unhappy and the couple separated. Her oldest son George Robert Fitzgerald was known as "Fighting Fitzerald" and enjoyed a considerable reputation for violent behaviour and general recklessness. He was convicted of an assault against his own father and was ultimately executed for shooting his coachman. Fitzgerald joined the Methodists and was a close friend of John and Mary Fletcher. Her character was described as 'marked by great meekness and humility, joined with a quiet firmness which enabled her to abide faithfully by the principles she once embraced'. At the age of ninety, she was burned to death when her clothes caught fire accidentally. She was buried in City Road Chapel, London. Source: Eminent Methodist Women by Annie E. Keeling (London 1893), pp. 83-92