From Leeds to Madeley. Reference is made to Crosby's delay in replying to Fletcher's last and her kindness [in sending money] via William Bosanquet, who has sent two bank notes totalling £45 to [Ann] Tripp, whereof £10 was for [Sister] Taylor - she was at Leeds not long since. Taylor was advised by Mr Dornford to speak to [William] Hey, who has given her medicines as a substitute for opium. As a result, she has been able to halve her opium intake and seems much better in her health as a result. She says that her husband [Richard Taylor] wants her to go to London but she is disinclined to do so, with very good reason.
Spiritual matters are discussed in detail, with particular reference to Fletcher's kind brother [William].
This last winter Crosby has suffered in her health more than ever before -the usual aches have been added to by inflammation of her eyes.
Poor [Sister] Westerman was poorly about seven weeks since. She was quite out of her senses, talking of 'innocent things', but would eat nothing and sometimes would throw food at those who were trying to help her and moved to strike her sister with tongs and similar behaviour. After five days she regained her senses and seemed very happy 'said she had a great fight with Apolyon who had wrested away her swoard [sword] but Jesus had made her more than conqueror etc. (She then told me that one trouble on the back of another, had brot her illness on her.) She knew all had passd, but thot when out of her reason, that her husband & sister etc where evil spirits, that took THEIR SHAPES & what they wanted her to take was POISON, these spirits gave her: so wd take nothing for two days, not from Mr [William] Hey nor anyone. When in her reason, was very weak indeed, when senseless strong enough to walk abt. In another 6 days, her brain was more affected than before: So that she cryd out loud, & mournd[?] like a turtle dove. We advised them to try singing to her, wch made her STILL when at the worst. After abt a week more, dr Mr [John] Wesley came to Leeds, whom she had desired me to bring to see her; She was then very sensible & happy & quite delighted to see him. She then told him something abt seeing his bror [brother - Charles Wesley] who was just got to heaven, but sd he had a hard strougle. A little while after her senses left her again, but has since returned, & since left her again. Mr Hey sd some time agoe her brain was affected…but now he sais tis a nervious fever. She is very poorly at prest, what the end will be, God only knows'. Westerman is very uneasy that friends are being prevented from visiting her on the grounds of what she might say to them - she says that she has a good deal to tell Crosby and the others.
[John Wesley] only spent one night in Leeds, 'but was in a sweet spirit indeed & spoke very profitably. He in a manner took leave, of all the places, he visited in Yorkshr. But we HOPE to see him again, tho unworthy. Yet I believe there is many precious solid souls. in Leeds for Mr [John] Pawson's serious, loveing spirit profitable preaching, has done much good. Mrs [Frances Pawson] is of a sweet, Xtian spirit, desired her kind love to Mrs Fletcher…as does many frds…' Reference is made to [Sister] [Eleanor] Dickinson's poor health - she was very faithful to Mr Sh as was her husband, whom he would not speak to at all. At Pawson's prompting however 'She went & told bim, his conduct was contra to the word of God. He sd he cd not help it, for he WD NOT LIVE WITH HER (HIS WIFE), not for £500 a year. Soon after Mr [Pawson] wrote to him; wch letter he says, convinced him he was wrong so that he askd his wife to sleep with him, & give her his keys; behaved a little better a little while, but the poor woman is NOW very uncomfortable; God has blest her, but he wont believe a word she says & behaves exceedingly wrong to her, many ways. She frets at leaveing her good home, & offending all her family, by marrying him so hastily. Everybody that knows her, thinks there is not a woman in Leeds, so fit for a wife for him, as she wd be, if he wd behave well to her: She wd have done every thing he wd have her, & been as a child, led, & taught by him. But he is a strange man indeed!'
About two months ago, Polly Wood wrote and invited Crosby to Whitby. Crosby is however so infirm now that she is afraid to undertake a long journey but she is tempted sometimes. [Anne Tripp?] has been very sick all Spring and all her side is weakened, which Crosby supposes has something to do with her breast which is sometimes painful - the lump there increases although it is only gradual. Spiritual matters are discussed.
Sister Woods has told her that they are building a new preaching house [chapel] in Leeds, which is to be larger than the other. It is intended that [John] Wesley should open it - she supposes that is about the time he will be coming back from Scotland. The trustees for [Brother] Ripley's affairs allow his widow the same weekly sum for the upkeep of the family as they did before, but think they can allow no more than %3 to those whose money Ripley had. Mrs Woodhouse is one of those from whom he borrowed money and she is an aged widow. It is to be supposed they will see the principal again. [Eliza?] Hurrel can consider herself fortunate that her money was turned over to another or she would have shared the same fate. Fletcher's friends here were very thankful to read the account which she wrote concerning her [Swiss] nephew. They trust that he will be a 'glorious witness to supply the place of his dear uncle [John Fletcher]'. Is the youth like him in looks? From what Fletcher said in her letter to Mrs [Dorothy] Downs that [John] Fletcher had experienced 'justification; but Mrs D understood [part of the page missing] being convinced of the Divinity of Christ, & seeking salvation [part of the page missing] when you wrote her letter. But it is indeed a wonderfull mercy…'
'Poor Betty Swain! we hear she is recoverd, but not able to keep the place'. Mrs Hindmarsh called on them as she came from London and said that Mrs Fry had advised Betty to take a room and follow her own business and that Fry would help all she could. Mrs [Hindmarsh] hoped that her friends in Leeds could collect her some money. Betty apparently wants the bedstead sold (the bed which was sent to London about four years since - the rest of her goods are discussed with regard to having them appraised). There is very little money spare at present although they will send what they can. With regard to a collection, they do not know anybody who knows Betty except for Mrs Atkinson and [John] Mires and they are unlikely to get any money from the latter.
[John Wesley visited Leeds on May 5/6 1788].