From Bristol to Mary Fletcher. March is certainly a tardy correspondent, for looking at the date of Fletcher’s letter, she sees that it was sent in December 1803, three years ago! March has often thought about writing a reply ‘but something intervened, the time did not seem come.’ She is now stirred to write for two reasons; firstly, to express her condolences on the death of Fletcher’s worthy brother [Samuel Bosanquet] ‘whose charming mental portrait so finely drawn, gives excellent traits of character. I particularly admired his candour and gentle admonitions. I remember his currycombing you for his horse, & bridling you with a green ribbon, at about six years, he was then a beautiful boy, & my brother [Thomas March-Phillipps] says a handsome man. He highly esteemed and respected him as a first rate character.’
March’s second reason for writing is to thank Fletcher for the £10 that she was kind enough to lend her many years ago, and afterwards increased that obligation by cancelling the debt and returning the £10 note. March returns the money now ‘without inconvenience to myself, so graciously has providence dealt with me restoring to me the years the locust has eaten, through my cousin Ann Cramner’s bequest.’ March still however considers in debt for the interest but as she does not know how that sum stands at the moment, she leaves it for the present.
She supposes that her sister [Mrs Berkin] has told Fletcher of the sad state of Henry Cramner, ‘who from the weakness of old age & combining circumstances is incapable to take care of himself or his estates. His relations have been forced to put him into the hands of the Chancellor, who will appoint his cousin R. Cramner as heir at law [unreadable word] for the estate, and a natural son of his of the name of Gordon, a lieutenant in the militia, who has a wife and seven children, to have the care of his person. He has been some months under the control of a wicked woman & her husband, who once was his mistress, & forced herself upon him, living and ruling in his house, & wasteing his substance. It has been with great difficulty he has been rescued out of her hands, as she ran away with him from Quendon & secreted herself near London. Her husband had previously been committed to Chelmsford Gaol for assaulting one of the witnesses on the publick trial.’
March’s spiritual and mental state is presently very easy. She looks on death as ‘disarmed of its sting & the grave of its victory. The mighty Conqueror reigns…’ Spiritual matters are further discussed in detail.
She has heard three sermons this summer from Mr Grove on the three states in the second chapter of the first epistle of John.
Mrs Ray died 2 December . A few months previously she had slipped in her chamber through physical weakness and broke her arm, although the Lord made it a ‘sanctified affliction.’ She did however recover from that and died from weakness and old age.
- Samuel Bosanquet (1744-1806) was the son of the wealthy Hugeunot merchant Samuel Bosanquet senior of Forest House in Essex. His sister was the pioneering Methodist female preacher Mary Bosanquet who subsequently married the noted clergyman John Fletcher of Madeley. Bosanquet was a wealthy landowner and banker, serving as Governor of the Bank of England in 1792. He was also a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant of Essex and served as High Sheriff in 1770. Bosanquet also owned considerable estates in Monmouthshire. Source: Burke’s Landed Gentry 1853, 1:119.