From Elizabeth Mortimer in [London] to [Mary] Fletcher in Madeley. She was grateful for receipt of Fletcher’s two kind letters, Mortimer was pleased to read that Mrs Goshen died well – she always thought that Goshen’s heart was right with God and that she loved the saviour – ‘where these two things meet, many eccentricities will be overlooked by the God of love and ought to be so by us.’
Mrs Burgess was very grateful for Mortimer’s kindness and sends her regards. She has had losses and been wronged to the sum of £1200. Her only daughter is dead and her only son is a very weak young man, although well-disposed enough. Things have not therefore been good with her and the collection was to enable her to continue in some small way of business.
They were both [presumably Mortimer and her husband Harvey Walklate Mortimer] pleased that the oysters ‘answered to a good end’ and arrived safe with Fletcher. Some that Miss Gilbert sent were spoiled.
What Fletcher said concerning “Return unto me ye backsliding children for I am married unto you etc” [“Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion” (Jeremiah 3:14)] was a source of particular blessing to Mortimer. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.
One of their old brothers Mr Hoyland, a class leader of many years standing, has recently died. He had been a steady Christian for forty years ‘and about ten years ago entered the rest of perfect love. Since that time he has walked in blessed liberty. He suffered much in his last illness but was divinely supported…’ A friend called on him not long before he died and although Hoyland was unable to say much, his few words were exactly what one would wish and expect in such circumstances.
‘He took his friend by the hand and said:
I cannot of my cross complain/ I cannot of my goodness boast
Then lying silent a little, he said:
Pardoned for all that I have done/ My mouth as in the dust I hide…’ [From the hymn “O God most merciful and True.” Hymn 363 in Hymns for the People called Methodists]
Mr Thornton of Camberwell has also died.
Fletcher asked concerning Mr [John] Crosse. He came up before the Conference and said he would leave Bradford whether he came to London or not. Crosse found the situation here exactly what he was looking for – he was to have his stipend from the trustees but ‘labour in perfect harmony with the preachers. All parties liked him and he said it was the very situation of all others [that] he thought would suit his mind, but he feared Mrs Crosse would not like to leave Yorkshire. She objected to coming but was soon in such a state of health that there seemed no human probability of her recovery. He then fixed his time for coming. She is a little better, but will not come, or cannot, and he writes word that though he shall feel like the dove in the ark, no rest till he comes to the place where of all others he wishes to be, yet he is providentially detained and must submit. He would do better with the preachers than any one that I know, as he would let them have their own way and lie at their feet. [The trustees of London City Road Chapel, including Mortimer’s husband Harvey Walklate Mortimer, were very conservative and retained a link with the Church of England well after many other chapels had adopted what was effectively an independent course. Crosse would have been employed to specifically administer the sacraments at the chapel as well as preach.] Our congregations are large, and several are brought to some knowledge of the truth, but in general the work seems to me less deep than in days that are past.’
Lady Mary [Fitzgerald] sends her love – her health is pretty much the same as usual, but is very distressed at present because her son is dangerously ill.
Mrs [Ann] Brooke of Dublin has recently died after a painful illness.
[Joseph] Benson has recently been encouraging Mortimer to try to correct dear [Sarah] Crosby’s diary for publication in the Methodist Magazine. [Benson was the editor of the Methodist Magazine.] Mortimer has finally consented and [Ann] Tripp is to send the manuscript. ‘A life cannot be attempted by anybody but you and on many accounts I am inclined to think those of her own papers which are fit to meet the public eye, will be better than a life, as though much excellent matter may be collected, some parts of her life which few that are now living know any respecting, had better be passed over in silence. I bless God I ever knew her.’
[The rest of this letter consisting of at least one more sheet appears to be missing]
- Ann Brooke nee Kirchoffer (d.1805) was the wife of the artist and prominent Irish Methodist Henry Brooke. Visiting evangelicals including John Wesley and John Fletcher were frequently entertained at her home in Dublin. Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography edited by Donald Lewis (1995)