Letter

Scope and Content

From Anne Tripp in Leeds to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. It was a great pleasure to receive a letter from Fletcher written in her own hand. It was one more proof of God's answer to the prayers of his people 'by enabling you again to exercise among the dear people; and giving you the satisfaction of seeing the work deepen, and increase among them; and if it be His blessed will, that the complaint in your breast, should be so far healed and rendered easy, can be considered as little less than a miracle.' Tripp's own breast has been sore for some days, but she is hoping that it is simply in response to the change in the weather. She is still able to get about a little and meet with her 2 classes - she often feels the Lord's presence. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.

The visit of [Harvey Walklate?] Mortimer to Madeley will hopefully be a blessing to the people and a help to Fletcher. Tripp hopes that Fletcher's advice and guidance will be a great blessing to [Elizabeth] Mortimer. Where is poor Mr Walters going?

The awful circumstances of Lady Mary F[itzgerald]'s death were most distressing. It is a particular trial for Fletcher and Mortimer, who knew Fitzgerald much better than Tripp. She has heard the Fitzgerald was buried, at her own request, close to [John] Wesley.

[Eleanor] Dickenson is with her children at Headingley, but Tripp will pass on Fletcher's letter at the first opportunity.

It will give Fletcher pleasure to hear that the public missionary meetings that started in Leeds and which spread through Yorkshire, are now being held in almost every county in England. They have been a means of raising thousands of people to support missionaries in different countries. [Jabez] Bunting told them on Monday night that he had 'been waited on by 4 girls and 2 boys from a Sunday school in Fornley[?] with a £10 note for the support of missionaries, which they had raised by collecting half pennies and pennies each week. Bunting said that nothing had given him greater pleasure than receiving this contribution. He then read a most interesting account of the missionaries in Ceylon, of the conversion of one of the 'idol priests' who was a man of great eminence among the natives. The missionary [Benjamin] Clough had several conversations with him and answered questions concerning the Christian religion. Clough presented the man with 4 gospels in the Sinhalese language. As a result, the priest has now converted. His friends tried their best to dissuade him, but to no effect. The other priests threatened him so the man fled to the governor and threw himself on his protection. The former priest was publicly baptised with the name Peter on Christmas Day in the church attached to the fort. Tripp thinks that the missionaries acted as his Godfathers - he is still under the governor's protection and Mr Clough thinks that the man will be more use in spreading the gospel than 50 European missionaries. He is now engaged in translating the bible into 2 languages.

'The thought just struck me with what delight, dear Mr [John] Fletcher would welcome his old friend Lady M[ary] F[itzgerald] to the realms of Glory ...'

Note

Notes

  • Jabez Bunting (1779-1858) was born in Manchester, the son of a taylor. His family were devout Methodists and despite their poor circumstances managed to give their son a good education. While studying for a career in medicine, Bunting felt the call to offer himself for the Wesleyan ministry. He was accepted in 1799 and within a few years revealed himself to be a minister of exceptional ability. Bunting served four terms as President of Conference, held office as the secretary of the Conference from 1814 to 1819 and again from 1824 to 1827. He was also Connexional Editor from 1821 to 1824 and played a leading role in the establishment of the Wesleyan Missionary Society. He was the main advocate for the setting up of the Theological Institution in 1834 for the training of ministers. Bunting was without doubt the dominant figure in the Methodist Church of his day. His oustanding talent for leadership and organisational ability placed the Church on a more efficient footing, and provided the framework for continued expansion. His authoritarian style was however very controversial and resulted in several divisions and expulsions, most notably the Wesleyan Reform Movement of the 1840s. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)
  • Benjamin Clough (1791-1853) was born at Bradford, Yorkshire. At the age of twelve, he started to attend the weekly meetings for young people organised by the Anglican evangelical John Crosse and was converted. Clough joined the Methodists at the age of seventeen and became a local preacher. His reputation was such that he was recommended to Thomas Coke as a travelling companion and in 1813 entered the itinerancy with the intention of accompanying Coke to Ceylon. After the mission's arrival in the east, Clough started to teach at a school and was soon fluent in the local and classical languages of Ceylon. He went on to translate the bible into Singhalese and compiled an English-Singhalese dictionary which was widely used by the colonial administration. Clough also assisted in the preparation of the New Testament into Pali. Clough served twenty-five years in Ceylon until failing health forced him to return to England, where he exercised an active circuit ministry until superannuation in 1852. He settled in Southwark, London. Source: Minutes of Conference 1853