Scope and Content

From Mary Whittingham at Potten vicarage to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. She was happy to find from Fletcher's last letter that her health has been better than usual. Whittingham hopes that she is 'enabled to continue your meetings for the edification of your dear people ...'

She has, as usual, visited the church three times today. They always have a great number of young people attending in the evening. Her Saturday meeting for young females began the first New Years Day after they arrived here in 1808. Some of them have turned out well - one of them lives with Whittingham's pious friend Lady St John [family of Baron St John of Bletso, Co. Bedford], and another with one of her daughters. They also have two of them here in the Whittingham home - one of them is the daughter of a pious servant who was formerly employed by Whittingham and at whose birth, Whittingham was present. She tries to get the girls into service etc. One of them has 'gone to glory' - she was a lovely child, whose obituary, Whittingham intends sending to the Christian Guardian.

She began a penny society for the Jews in 1811 which takes up a lot of her time, but she hopes to have collected about £50 in total during the last 3 years. Whittingham heard '2 young Jews speak delightfully at Bedford. Now, there is a society formed of Jews who are converted to meet together, about 40 of them to visit the sick and distribute Bibles etc. My husband [Richard] has laboured hard in the cause of the Bible Society.'

Her children are all well. Her second son is a 'fine youth' who is to leave school at Christmas. He wishes to learn farming for 2 or 3 years so that he can enter the business himself. The Whittinghams cannot afford to send him to college and this seems the best way forward for the boy. Her other son goes on well. Her two daughters Eliza (who is a great help to her mother) and Emma, who is still very young, are still at home. Her other daughter Marianne is at Sidmouth where the air is mild. She lodges with a Methodist, which Whittingham is pleased about, but supposes that she will move on soon.

She supposes that Fletcher has heard that Whittigham's sister has lost her second daughter - to whom she was very close. She was married to a clergyman and died at the age of about 27, three months after giving birth to her first child. The baby is a fine, healthy boy and is to be raised by Whittingham's sister for at least some years.