In January 1815, only a few months before the death of Andrew Fuller—when Britain was gearing up for its decisive showdown with the French dictator Napoleon—the Baptist leader decided to answer an enquiry about his life, his early religious impressions and conversion, from “a friend in Liverpool.” That was the very way that I described his correspondent in my The Armies of the Lamb: The spirituality of Andrew Fuller (Joshua Press, 2001), p.75. I had no more information, though, about the person in question. Imagine my delight and amazement when this afternoon—through the help of my good friend Dr Grant Gordon—I was able to identify this correspondent as “Miss Maria Hope” of “Hope Street, Liverpool.” Grant alerted me to a letter of Fuller’s best friend John Ryland Jr., in which Ryland talks about his writing of his friend’s memoir after Fuller’s death. The letter is written to Maria and Ryland talks about the letters that Fuller had written to her.
Wowsers! What a find! I must say: it was incredible to read the letter.