From Brislington. Ireland has the pleasure to introduce to Fletcher a ‘precious minister of the gospel, Mr Simon of Cambridge [probably in fact the famous evangelical Charles Simeon - there was no student whose surname was Simon at Cambridge during the late 18th century], a gentleman you must have heard of, the gentleman most like our dear departed friend (now in glory) [John Fletcher] in all respects that I now know - receive him, I know you will as an angel of God; & I hope & trust he will do good wherever he goes. I have given him a letter [of introduction] to Mr [Joshua] Gilpin, but I must beg the favor of you to plan in what respect he may be most useful at Rockwardine [Wrockwardine]. I hope you’ll forward the earliest notice to Mr Gilpin that as iron sharpeneth iron he may be of use wherever he goes.’
He has felt close to his own death since the last time that he wrote. Ireland feels old age ‘advancing with hasty strides &…sapping even the foundation of my frame…I long to hear from you & that you will tell me while I am here whether I can be of any use to you & whether I may hope to see you here…as you sometimes visit these parts. Here you’ll find many of the antients [ie older generation of Methodists]…& the foremost my old friend Mrs [Elizabeth] Johnson & many others’.
In a postscript, he mentions that he wrote to Fletcher of his eldest daughter’s marriage. He has not heard from Fletcher for a long time .
[Annotated by Fletcher - ‘He forgets. I have wrote twice since I heard from him’.]
- Charles Simeon (1759-1836) was the son of Richard Simeon of Reading, Berkshire. His elder brother was Sir John Simeon, Master in Chancery and First Baronet (1756-1824). Simeon was educated at Eton and King's College Cambridge where he was converted. He was ordained deacon in 1782 and shortly afterwards made the acquaintance of John Venn , the evangelical clergyman and associate of the Wesleys. Simeon at first worked as a curate at St Edward's, Cambridge and was then appointed Vicar of Holy Trinity, Cambridge. After much intitial opposition because of his reputation for piety, Simeon won over the parishioners through his unflagging energy and benevolence. He was three times Dean of King's College and vice-provost from 1790 to 1792. Simeon is best known for his promotion of Anglican missionary work in India. A close friend of Charles Grant, a director of the East India Company, Simeon was his confidential advisor with regard to the appointment of chaplains. He persuaded some of his own curates, such as Henry Martyn, to offer themselves for work overseas. He was one of the founders of the Church Missionary Society in 1797 and a supporter of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Source: Dictionary of National Biography