Letter

Scope and Content

From Anne Tripp to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. Fletcher's most kind and sympathetic letter [upon the death of Sarah Crosby] proved a great comfort to Tripp's 'wounded mind. None know how so well how to feel for others, as those who have drunk of the same cup, which as you tenderly observe is to me, a bitter one, for in her I have lost a mother, a spiritual friend, an endearing companion that knew all my weaknesses and bore with them.' Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.

Crosby's death was sudden, but it was not unwelcome to Crosby herself. All the previous week, she was very sick but did not shy from her normal religious activities and her spirit seemed 'often on the wing for glory, frequently singing more than she had done for months.' On Thursday and Friday she met with both of her classes as usual and related to them the folllowing dream: "She thought she was in a company of people, some that she knew and others she did not recollect. They were talking about a very holy bishop being come to reside in Leeds, which much delighted her, and she began praying in the midst of them for the Lord to bless and fill her soul ... and while praying, the power of God descended in such a manner that she cried glory, glory, till she woke". Crosby remarked in one of her classes that she thought that she would not be long for this world and that she was more "allied to heaven than earth, for though she had many friends here, she had more in glory."

Crosby replied to Fletcher's last letter, which Tripp hopes was received, and another letter on Saturday. Crosby went to the select band in the evening and bore a testimony for the Lord. 'She related the instances mentioned in the letter and the necessity of being ready.' She was very sick, but rose on the Sunday morning at 7 and went to the preaching, which she said, sweetly refreshed her spirit. At breakfast, she said that she wanted a little more time to arrange her papers, if the Lord would spare her a little longer. 'She wished the few poor of her class might have a small token of her love 2/6 [2 shillings and 6 pence] and several other little circumstances, but the subject being so unpleasant, I was glad to dismiss it.' After dinner, Crosby became very sick in her stomach. Tripp gave her some brandy and water and she said that it was a great relief. Crosby then went to the preaching and said when she returned that she had a severe chest pain right through to her shoulders. Tripp repeated what had done Crosby good on previous occasions and Crosby eat her supper before retiring to bed. In the night, she was very bad indeed with cold sweats. Tripp sent to [William] Hey and he sent medicine over and then came himself. Tripp asked him if he thought that Crosby was in danger and he replied that he hoped not. However, Crosby said that without relief, she could not last for long, but that if she were to die, she had no doubt or cloud over her faith because she knew that she would be going to heaven. She then started to pray for her bands and classes and for the Church. Tripp begged her not to over-exert her strength.

'But I have got on a subject that my feelings will not bear the recital of. Suffice it to say that when I had begun to hope the bitterness of death was past (for Mr Hey had seen her at 5 and said her pulse was tolerable). About 8 she closed her eyes and mouth and sweetly fell asleep in Jesus without sigh, groan or struggle. The placid serenity that overspread her countenance astonished many of her friends that flocked in to see her when the preaching [unreadable word].'

On Thursday 1 November her remains were borne to the old church amidst a numerous crowd of spectators and weeping friends and were interred under [Sarah] Ryan's gravestone. As it was All-Saints day, the lesson at the church was 'uncommonly striking'. The psalm that they chose for the occasion was '1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 verses of the 34 Psalm new version'.

Tripp's friends have been very kind and helpful 'and by your kindness just received, the temporal part of the business will be borne without drawing anything out of the business; though she had always set apart the 21 pounds left her by Mrs Timothy Rhodes and 9 pounds she has added to it since ... for the purpose of sickness and death'. Crosby had made her will some years ago in which she left Tripp her clothes, books and what might remain of her money once her debts and funeral expenses had been settled, with the following proviso: "that if her dear and honoured friend Mrs Fletcher should think anything she had, worth her acceptance, she was to have it.' Tripp would be very happy to fulfill her friend's wishes in this respect. There are some monies owing to Mr Trant, Mr [William] Hey and some others, which will be settled. The funeral sermon is to be preached by Mr Taylor a week on Monday. The text will be the one that Crosby chose when first she was set at liberty - Revelations 21:4.

Tripp feels very inadequate to this business in both body and mind. Her 'consolation' has received a great shock. She has not yet paid R. Taylor but will do so by the time appointed, and similarly for Rose Gibson. Tripp knows that many additional burdens will fall upon her as a result of Crosby's death - one of her classes will require Tripp to meet with them now and as she has two large classes to start with, this will be a tremendous added burden.

Tripp has just received a very kind letter of consolation from dear Mrs [Elizabeth] Mortimer. Spiritual matters are discussed.

Mr Hey has just called in and asks that his best wishes be passed on to Fletcher. Tripp's regards should also be given to dear [Mary] Tooth.