Letter

Scope and Content

From Joseph Peake in Newcastle under Lyne to Mary Tooth. He cannot apologise enough for his temerity in writing to Tooth. He does so on the grounds that he has tremendous regard for her personally and also because she is the last representative of one of the best and holiest families that the world has ever seen. Finally, he needs some information that only she can provide. If he were to offer yet another reason, it would be this – he loves Madeley and its neighbourhood and any scrap of news that he can glean is a treat.

Peake is under some apprehension concerning Tooth’s health, but he hopes that these lines find her well or better than when he last saw her in company with Mr [John] Bartlam. He has often regretted that he did not take the opportunity of asking her some questions concerning Mrs [Mary] Fletcher’s nephew of whom so pleasing an account was given in the ‘former part of the second volume of Mrs F’s life.’ It appears singular to him that she makes so little mention of him afterwards. Can Tooth tell him what became of the young man ‘or how he acted the Christian soldier’ after leaving England. ‘I venerate that family and should be glad to trace them all to heaven’.

Peake would also be pleased to receive some information about Mrs Lefevre, the author of a small volume of letters. ‘Those letters I have read and the spirit the breathe inspires me with a desire to know some little of her personal history. I am inclined to think Mrs Fletcher knew her in early life and it struck me that she might have named her to you from time to time in conversation…or if you know of any magazine or any other book which may furnish some account of her life, I shall deem it a favour your naming it.’

As for Peake, his health is as good as when they met last. He now has less to do with the world and hopes therefore to concentrate on achieving a more intimate relationship with God.

‘Does the church in your house prosper? I often think of your Upper Room and its furniture – the pulpit, the cushion, the old table and cloth! But alas what are all these without the presence of him…May his presence and blessing attend you in all your meetings. When I saw the noble chapel in Madeley Wood and the new church at Ironbridge, I paused and said “What a wonder God hath wrought” – more especially since the days when Mr [Fletcher] used to meet his little flock in the Rock Church!’

Peake hopes that Tooth’s niece is well and with her, manifesting the same attachment to Tooth as Ruth did to Naomi.