Letter

Scope and Content

From Anne Tripp in Leeds [postmark] to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. She trusts that Fletcher will by this time have received the little parcel, which Tripp entrusted to Mr [Thomas] Taylor when he left for Conference [the 1805 Wesleyan Conference convened in Sheffield]. The parcel contained the egg, the seal and a bit of [Sarah Crosby's] hair. Tripp also took the liberty of sending a Cambria muslin shawl of Crosby's. The bag consisted of a piece of her gown, which Tripp knew that Fletcher would value. Taylor mentioned that he passed it on to [John] Kingston, who has been stationed by Conference in the Shrewsbury circuit.

The four outgoing preachers have gone from Leeds [Thomas Taylor, Robert Johnson, John Grant and William Leach] and the four new ones have arrived [Henry Moore, Thomas Cooper, John Gaulter and William Radcliffe]. They are all strangers to Tripp, although she has heard Moore preach twice with profit. He met with the select band last night and he seems to have a real talent for building up believers. He preaches full salvation more clearly than she has heard for some years. She supposes that Mr Cooper is a popular preacher, although she has not heard him yet.

Tripp feels very drawn to pray for a deeper baptism of the spirit on her own soul. That conversation of [John] Fletcher's at Mr Smith's (as related by [Hester Ann] Rogers in her experience) has been a particular blessing to Tripp - "To magnify God with the new heart of love; and the new tongue of praise (as he observes they did), who on the day of pentecost were filled with the Holy Ghost", is what my soul longs for; and cannot be satisfied without a larger measure of. He insists "that believers are now called to make the same confession; seeing we may all prove the same baptismal fire; showing that the day of pentecost was only the opening of the dispensation of the Holy Ghost, the great promise of the Father! And that the latter day glory (which he believed was near at hand) should far exceed the first effusion of the Spirit" with much more to the same purpose.' Tripp thinks it a great pity that this passage is not inserted in the late published edition of Fletcher's life.

Tripp's health has been quite poor for the last three months, but she is now a little better. Spiritual matters are discussed. One of Tripp's class, a young woman, was siezed with putrid fever, which killed her within a few days. The affliction was so violent that none of her friends were able to visit her. They had an 'affecting time' of praying for her in the class meeting last friday night. Tripp called on one of the class members to pray - she has met with Tripp in class for more than 18 years ever since the age of 13. 'She was much led out in prayer and spoke sweetly of the goodness of God to her soul ... The next evening she was going a few miles out of town on a visit to her brothers for the benefit of the air, the shafts of the gig broke going down a hill, threw them all out. She pitched on the side of her head; she lived some hours, but never spoke; nor showed the least sign of sense after. Another proof that "in the midst of life we are in death." The little infant 2 months old, in her arms, did not receive the least hurt.'

Tripp received a letter a fortnight ago from Miss Tindall. Her brother, who is a great shipbuilder in Scarborough, had three of his men killed by lightning when working on the deck of a ship. His son, who is a serious youth, was standing close by them, but was uninjured. except for the loss of his hearing for a few days.

Tripp has not heard from [Elizabeth] Mortimer since the beginning of [unreadable month], so she does not yet know what use will be made of [Crosby's] personal papers.

It would be a source of great pleasure to Tripp for her to hear that Fletcher's health remains tolerable and that 'your valuable life may be still spared and lengthened for a greater blessing to his Church and people.' Mrs [Dorothy] Downes asks to be remembered to Fletcher - she is in a reasonable state of health, although Tripp thinks that her faculties are becoming more impaired and worse than [Crosby's] despite the fact that Downes is younger. Tripp sends her respects to [Mary] Tooth.

Fletcher asked if the sacrament is administered in the chapel in Leeds? It is not, although it is administered at chapels in Hunslet, Holbeck and Woodside. Tripp agrees with Fletcher that if they had more "of the first spirit", there would be less controversy 'about outward things'.

Tripp has received a letter from the S. Society saying that if 'Prissy still continued in my service, she would be entitled to her 3rd debenture. I answered, but she has not yet received it.'

The Atkinsons have retired to the country close to her sisters. Tripp hears that he has made a good recovery, although his only daughter has died since they moved. The move was a trial to her as 'they are far from any means' [sacramental provision].

Tripp had not heard of poor Mr Ganson's death.

It has been more than a week since Tripp started this letter. Her interruptions have been many. Prissy sends her respects.

Note

Notes

  • Thomas Cooper (1760-1832) was converted at an early age and entered the itinerant ministry in 1781. He served circuits mainly in Northern England until his retirement through ill health in 1821. Cooper was married twice and had eight children. His second wife Harriet was a correspondent of the female evangelist Mary Fletcher. Source: Minutes of Conference 1832 and Fletcher-Tooth correspondence (MARC)
  • John Kingston (fl.1791-1807) entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1791. He served in the circuit ministry until 1807 when he was unanimously expelled by Conference for immorality. Kingston was stationed at the time in Shrewsbury. He also apparently absconded with money taken from the Book Fund, having first aroused suspicion the previous year - the prominent female evangelist Mary Fletcher of Madeley had described him as a 'bad man' and declared that she would have to 'interfere'. Source: Manuscript Conference Journal 1807, MAM Fl 4/9/8 (MARC), Methodist Recorder (Winter number Christmas 1895), 96, and information provided by John Lenton.