Letter

Scope and Content

From Anne Tripp in Leeds [postmark] to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. They arrived here safely on Friday afternoon. Spiritual matters are discussed.

Fletcher is aware of the difficulty that they faced when they reached Shifnall - the only way to proceed, was by chaise to Wolverhampton. There they might have stopped but they decided instead to go in the same chaise to Birmingham; the gentleman who went with them behaved extremely well and they had a good conversation on religious matters. He appeared to listen with great attention 'and expressed an acquiescence with the truth'. They arrived about 3 o'clock, but it rained so hard that they could not get to see any friends, so they tarried at the inn until 4 the next morning. They then left on the stage coach to Derby and arrived safely a little before noon. They went immediately to Mrs Dobinson's only to find that she had left on business a little before. They did not have the opportunity to see her, but they did leave the book. Tripp was disappointed not to stay longer, especially as she found that Dobinson was expecting them to stay for 2 or 3 days. However, as they had paid their fare to Sheffield, they could only stop for as long as it took to change the horses. Tripp does see the hand of God in their hurried journey as a lady boarded the coach at Derby, 'whose heart seemed prepared to receive the truth; she expressed much satisfaction; and said she never met with such company before and whenever she heard that blessing (the peace of God etc) pronounced, she should think of us ...'.

They slept in Sheffield that night and left for Leeds the next morning, arriving without incident. [Sarah Crosby] met them at Mrs [Eleanor] Dickenson's, which was the first time that she had been able to go so far, since soon after Tripp left for Madeley. Tripp was concerned when she saw how she looked, but friends assure her that she is in fact looking much better. In addition to her old complaints, [Crosby] has a nervous fever. She thinks that [William] Hey's medicines had been very beneficial. She is continuing to recover.

Spiritual matters are discussed in detail, with particular regard to the benefits that Tripp experienced through her visit to Madeley and receiving Fletcher's advice and instruction. She will never forget the blessing that she felt from worshipping with the dear people of that place. Tripp was particularly favoured by 'the blessed truths you so sweetly opened and explained ... particularly that we are "sanctified through the belief of the truth etc; and that as iron by being put in the fire; and abiding in it. Partakers of the nature of the fire, so the soul by coming to; and abiding in the saviour does partake the divine nature." Tripp felt that she might lose the blessing when she left Madeley, but thanks be to God, this has not happened.

[Crosby] and Miss Rhodes join in sending their kindest respects to dear Lady Mary [Fitzgerald]. Reference is made to several people in Madeley, including Mrs Ferriday, Mrs Michealwhite and Mrs Whitehouse etc. Fletcher should inform Mrs Sanderson that her daughter is well and that Tripp has given the money to Mr Percival.

They have received the 3s 6d for the letters and they shall send the guinea to Mr Taylor at the first opportunity.

[Crosby] was very grateful for the paste that Fletcher sent and she thinks that it will do her good. 'She is sweetly happy in her soul.' Mrs Rhodes sends her love and will write herself soon.

Note

Notes

  • Lady Mary Fitzgerald (1725-1815) was the daughter of John, Lord Hervey and a grandaughter of the Earl of Bristol. As a young woman she served as Lady of the Bedchamber to Princess Amelia Sophia. Her family circumstances appear to have been extremely unhappy; three of her brothers inherited the Earldom of Bristol and were characterised by scandalous behaviour. One, Frederick was a particularly notorious Bishop of Derry for thirty years. In 1745 she married George Fitzgerald of Turlough. but the marriage was unhappy and the couple eventually separated. Her oldest son George Robert Fitzgerald was known as "Fighting Fitzerald" and enjoyed a considerable reputation for violent behaviour and general recklessness. He was convicted of an assault against his own father and was ultimately executed for shooting his coachman. Fitzgerald joined the Methodists and was a close friend of John and Mary Fletcher. Her character was described as 'marked by great meekness and humility, joined with a quiet firmness which enabled her to abide faithfully by the principles she once embraced'. At the age of ninety, she was burned to death when her clothes caught fire accidentally. She was buried in City Road Chapel, London. Source: Eminent Methodist Women by Annie E. Keeling (London 1893), 83-92