Hannah More to William Wilberforce

I thank you for the Box which is to come We warped dear Mrs. Clarke so much with our un-orthodox Conventicles, that Mr. C. will have something to do to bring her Mind Straight again. –

Hannah More to William Wilberforce

Mrs. W and all of you must have thought me if not “rather a kind of imposter”, yet rather a kind of a brute not to have written a word since we parted, so kind as you all were to me! But I know how you are overdone with writing and I spare you every unnecessary line. To speak the truth I have been a little worked myself and for the few last days have been confined to my bed by one of my feverish colds; I am sitting up a little to day but not in very good writing plight having a blister on my back as broad as little William’s face. I wonder if I shall ever see that said little William? – To thank you over-warmly for your feeling and affectionate letter would be to imply that it was possible I coud have suspected your large liberality and considerate kindness . I shall obey you by dedicating Mrs. Barnards kind legacy to the purchase of a post Chaise, and her Annuity to the maintaining it. I hope I shall keep within the limits of your allowance. Any two periods of the year it will be the same to me to receive it. Christmas and Midsummer are my usual grand seasons, but if a Month or two or three later will suit you better, I can manage as I shall have some money of my own to take.

Hannah More to William Hayley, 31 August 1811

Allow me to offer You a plain and simple, but sincere and cordial assurance of my gratitude for the great honour you have done me, and the great gratification you have given me, by your elegant and beautiful Poem*. Tho I feel myself, (and there is no affectation in declaring it) very unworthy of the kind and flattering things it contains, yet I feel a considerable addition of pleasure in perusing it, from the idea that it is your approbation of the serious Spirit in the little work* which you are so good to commend which disposes You to overlook any defects in the composition; defects multiplied by bad health which indisposes, and partly incapacitates me from correcting coolly, tho it does not yet always prevent me from writing rapidly, and therefore I fear, carelessly.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, December 29 1812

The stings of my conscience get the better of all impediments to writing, and while I am constantly eating you at breakfast, and drinking you at dinner I can no longer rest under the load of ingratitude of not cordially thanking you for the affectionate interest you take in my health by your kind present of Arrow Root* – I must just observe by the way that it would have been more speedy as well as safe had both been directed to me at Mr. Adorns’s Wine Street Bristol.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, December 29 1812

But among all the sensual gratifications with which you furnish me, I must not forget those of the intellect. Your pleasant letter was a treat to me. I felt inclined, but I resisted the inclination, to envy your Bible feast* at Cambridge I am astonished how Mr. Cunningham continues to rise upon himself every time he speaks; but on this awakening Bible business, the heart helps out the head. It gives birth /to/ a joint production; piety as well as talent animating the piece Our County project for a Bible Society* is very uphill work. The Bishop against it*. The Aristocracy friendly. I have been charmed with a letter I have just read on the occasion from Lord Egmont, manly decision and deep piety were strongly expressed. The noble and Royal Meeting at Westonmister [sic], headed by five Princes of the blood, will I trust give a new impulse to the Provincial Societies*. Mrs. H. Hornton who was present, gave me an interesting report of the day.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, January 1813

I this moment receive your too kind letter, and tho it is late, and tho it is not a writing day,* and tho I have been so unusually ill the whole week , I could not sleep if I did not send you a line. I cannot express the vexation the mortification, I feel at your not having got the book from me.* I directed not Hatchard, but Cadell the Publisher who is always the dispenser of presents because they are sent a few days before publication to send one the very first hour to Bruton Street – and you have not had it – I should have ordered it to Huntingdon with the Bishop's but you my dearest Lady preferred your town House. Such a thing ought not to vex me so much as it does. If you do not find it in Bruton Street – which you will be charitable enough to tell me, I will order Hatchard /Cadell/ to send you the very first of the 2d. Edition, which as the delay has been already so great will I hope put you in possession of a more correct copy. Believe me, it is not that I overrate the Book, by laying so much stress on this disappointment, but that I cannot bear the suspicion of neglect, where both my affections, my esteem and my gratitude are equally concerned.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, January 1813

I hope you got a letter from me a few days ago; thanking you for the reviving Squish [sic]. Of The books to which you allude I know nothing. I will send to the Hotel. How can you be so good and kind? – I know not what they are but I am sure they are a fresh instance of your unwearied generous friendship I have not allowed myself to read your letter to the very end, but snatched up my pen to ease my mind. I will now finish it.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, January 7 1813

The books are arrived. Inclosed were some Reviews &c. which I shall send to Bruton Street by the Coach as the loss of them would break the regularity of your numbers.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, January 7 1813

And now my dearest Madam, what can I say to you for this splendid present? You are so vigilant an Observer, that I find I must be on my guard what I say before you, for you watch my words, and anticipate wishes expressed at random, per maniere de parler [sic],* and without any definite design. You are really my universal purveyor; and not only provide for the Animal but the rational part of your undeserving, but not ungrateful friend.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, January 7 1813

With such a provision as you have furnished for my body and mind, added to my many mercies, I must not complain of solitude and silence, for tho I have been so ill the last ten days as scarcely to be able to see any body, much less to talk to them I can read and drink Soda, two luxuries which so many invalids have not, or having, cannot enjoy.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, January 7 1813

My most affectionate remembrances to your young companion . I desire her not to forget me. I do not know if she has ever read Baron Haller's letters to his daughter which I shall take the liberty to inclose when I return your Reviews.*

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, March 18 1813

I know not what to say to D. Baillie for what I must call his elegant kindness. Do you think he would take it rightly [if] [tear] I sent him Christian Morals *? – has he [tear]ren? – they at least might read it – If you think it right, perhaps you would have the goodness to order Hatchard to get /ready/ a copy of the 4th. Edition elegantly bound, but not to send it till I write to you again. Take care of your health my dearest Lady – Remember that the constant excitement of your sensibility, and the exertions of your mind, with people of the right /stamp/ , is more wearing than the uninteresting insipidity of the frivolous.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, October 26 1813

A thousand thanks for your kindness of all sorts to me, for remembering to write to me as soon as you got home, and for your attention both to my body and Mind in the Soda Water* which came safe, and for Dr. Clarke who is arrived but not read. I was thinking how I could get this Third Volume, your kindness having furnished me with the two preceeding; and lo! like my attendant Sylph you guessed at my wants and supplied them.*

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, August 1814

I long to know how your great day went off. Mr. Boak passed thro Huntingdon at the time and heard of it far and near. I believe you can do everything but mollify certain hard hearts and open certain eyes judiciously blinded. Thank dear Millicent for the harmonious and very pleasant Way-Verses. So characteristic of the delightful writer! By the way – when [he] does he talk of accomplishing his plan at Bristol? – If you have any intercourse with him be sure put him in mind that he is pledged to Barley Wood for a night or two –

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, August 1814

Are you not delighted with the Velvet Cushion*? I am extremely pleased with it; I expect it will have a great run. I was much amused at receiving an excessively pretty Epigram a high compliment to myself from a Gentleman who supposed me to be the Author.* Sir Thos. Acland who has been /here/ to take leave previous to his departure for Vienna told me that others had done me the honour to ascribe it to me. The sentiments are certainly in strict Unison with my own – The Author kindly sent it to me – Is his name yet made public? I will send you the Verses another time.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, February 17 1815

I hope you are still enjoying the profitable and very pleasant Society [deletion]. He cribbed me sadly in the time he bestowed on us. If he has not left you be so good to tell him that I received his valuable present of Fenclon.*It was indeed paying me for my Bristol Stones with Jewels of the first water. Pray tell him also that I was afraid, that thro the well meant folly of stupid Bulgin he had not receved [sic] a copy both for himself and Mr. Le Touche , but have at last the satisfaction to find that he did. I woud write to himself but from the fear that he has left you, and if not this will save him the trouble of a letter I hope to see him again. The loss of such friends as we have lost makes us cling still closer to those of the same class who remain to us – I am ready to exclaim with Wilberforce in his last letter – Who next Lord?

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 16 March [1815]

Conceiving that you will be glad to hear from time to time a word from me respecting your Son, I resolve to scribble a line, tho yesterday was a peculiarly bad day . Mr. Sparrow his Tutor and Mr. Hensman spent a long day here lately. I took Mr. H. as usual into my room; we had a very long discussion, and I required an explicit account of their goings on, which he very minutely gave me. I have the satisfaction of reporting that every thing seems very promising; if the improvements are not rapid they are at least progressive. At my request he has begun to attempt composition. He reads Watts’s Logic*and Mr. H. makes observations on their joint perusal both of that and whatever else they read together. As the days lengthen he rises earlier which gives him more time for the Greek Testament before breakfast. He is translating some passages from Demosthenes* which will help to form his Style. I suggested that here after he should learn and recite some fine passages in Burke’s Speeches.* He reads by himself more than he did, and I lent for that purpose Plutarch’s Lives;* and Travels thro Germany.* I have also presented sent him with the Saint Paul of Barley Wood,* which he has promised to read; I told him that being written by one who had the honour to be his Mother’s friend, it might interest him more. Mr. H. says that tho he cannot say he sees as yet any decided piety, yet he has great pleasure in seeing that he [has] not the slightest prejudice against religion or religious people. This is /a/ great point for ‘a Harrow fellow’.* But what I rejoyced at as the most gratifying circumstance, was that he told me he possessed great purity of mind. This is a blessed thing at an age when boys have commonly their minds tainted. May God’s blessing preserve it to him! I think Clifton a very fortunate situation for him. I think now he is getting a step towards manhood he would hardly endure the dullness & total want of society of an obscure Village, where he woud probably be too solitary, or led into inferior company. Now at Clifton their little social intercourse is entirely among religious, and well mannered people, and his Sunday’s Instruction sound and good. It was Providential for poor distressed Hensman to get Hudson to fill at once the Niche so fortunately vacated by Cowan,* or he might have forced himself into it again at his return. There appears to subsist a pleasant affection and confidence between the Tutor and Pupil and Hensman says the latter has easy access to his house where he often calls, and where he will get nothing but good. I have said so much about this interesting youth that I have left myself no room for other Subjects.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 16 March [1815]

I have just got a long letter from dear Mary Gisborne replete with sorrow, affection and the deepest piety. How stupid, in Bowdler’s prejudiced bigoted father* to obstruct the very desirable plans of Ld. Calthorpe and Mr. Inglis to write a Memoir of the dear departed! I have written to Harriet Bowdler to try to soften her brother Bartlett’s-Buildings heart. * Poor Mrs. Thornton I hear looks sadly, has a pain in her chest and drinks Asses Milk. I tremble for her life. Her letters rather increase in sadness, but it is a sanctified sadness. – I forgot to say that Mr. H. and I agreed that nothing would so much contribute to give Mr. S. a habit of application as to give him a slight tincture of Fractions, and Algebra; not to make him a Mathematician but to tie down his attention – I know of no person likely to suit Lady Gosford’s friend as a Governess . You ask how I like W. Scott’s new Poem.* I have not seen it, but do not hear it thought equal to its predecessors. A friend has sent me Eustace’s Tour thro Italy.* It is classical & elegant in a high degree – but has too much Republicanism too little of the Manners of the people, and I think a disposition to overrate their Virtues – God be praised for the peace!* – but what Peace so long as the Witchcrafts of Bonaparte are so many. P. is in very poor health. We all join in kind remembrances to Yr. Ladyship and Miss S.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 25 March [1815]

I feel a little ashamed of my own impetuosity and selfishness, that in the first burst of sorrow for our lamented friend H. Thornton * I should /mix/ any regret for my petty concerns, as they regarded my poor, with the sorrow of heart which I shared with hundreds. It has however given occasion to the exercise of your generous and Christian liberality, and I thank you most cordially in the name of hundreds for your kind and seasonable bounty.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 April [1815]

A thousand thanks for your attention even to my Amusement, in sending me Walter Scotts last Work.* It was so considerately kind! He cannot but always be a fine Poet, and a great Master of his Art; but this appears to me to be the most defective of his Poems. Like some other people that I could name, not a hundred Miles from Barley Wood, he writes too much. It is true he has an opulent Mind and the stores of his rich imagination are not easily exhausted.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 April [1815]

I have been delighted to see the elegant Robert Sparrow in his character of Cicerone to the Saints. He one day came down with Mr. Wilson whom I never saw before and who is a most amiable /Man/ and another with Hugh Pearson an old favorite of mine . His Mentor of course accompanied. It is pleasant to see him easy and cheerful in such sort of company, and they exhibit religion to nam[tear] a pleasing form, without any of that alloy of coa[rse]ness [tear] which by assimilating itself with religion, makes the /young/ fancy that religion itself is worse. The Saints Jubilee at Bristol produced a great harvest.* About 800 to the Missionary only.* – The Jew business promises to revive these,* that I hope will give me a peep at Mr. Way I sent him my book,* but know not if he has read it. It is a singular thing, that I have received more encouraging and flattering reports on that book from Bishops and the higher Clergy than from almost any others. I scarcely expected it

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 23 August [1815]

I have just received from a stranger a new book called ‘the Invisible Hand’ – I have read but a small part, but it seems well written and pious – tis a Tale.*

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 13 December [1815]

I am sorry you saw so little of Mrs. La Touche I earnestly hope that visit will be yet made; to say nothing of her residence which I wish to see of all places, she is herself very interesting, and a character of inestimable value. (by the way) I am astonished at what you tell me of Mr. Knox , if there is any coolness it must be on his part. I am sure it has not been on mine. We have not indeed corresponded as largely as we used to do, but he himself has apologized for it, from his other pursuits. My esteem for his virtues and admiration of his talents are great and undiminished. We do not indeed think alike on certain religious points and Mr. Jebb (whom I also much love) had the candor to tell me that our difference in this matter was the reason why he did not write to thank me for my books . but I did not know why this should make any coolness among /Christian/ friends, I am sure it will make none in heaven, and I am the last person who would lower my regard for a friend on account of their opinion of my writings. I shall hope to see both Knox and Jebb next Summer.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 March [1817]

You would, were you not candor itself, think me a strange Animal, not to have thanked you, both for your kind letter and interest/ing/ present of books. But in this seeming/ly/ quiet spot I can hardly give you an idea what a scanty commodity time has been with me; the continued bad state of my two Sisters , company very frequently, and every interval filled with scribbling half penny and penny compositions . Tho I would have you to know, I am now rising in dignity and importance, having just finished (what I hope may be my last) a work that will be very costly three half pence, if not actually two pence, The Death of Mr. Fantom the new Fashioned Reformist.* If not a very learned composition, I hope it may be of some little use.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 March [1817]

I hope you will write to me sooner than I deserve. My best love to dear Millicent. The Bishop told me he was not without hope that You would spend the Passion week* at the Deanery My Sisters desire their most affectionate respects Patty is very proud of her Book,* both for the sake of the donor, and because it coincides so exactly with our own views of the Subject

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 August [1817]

I gallop on hardly knowing what I write and without a minute to read it, but I cannot bear to suffer another post to go out without a line. I have had several good books given me lately, among others the life and Diary of Mrs. Graham * an American which contains as much solid piety expressed in as eloquent strains as I have often seen; for I am not in general fond of Diaries. ‘Cowpers’ letters’ You have read by this time, and are I trust as much pleased with them as I am.* Chalmers Evidences,* White’s and Beans Sermons,* the two Preachers at Welbeck Chapel and two old friends of mine have been also sent me /& Blackmans Life./ * I wish they could also send me time to read them.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [4 January 1818]

You will smile to hear that among a Multitude of Royal funeral Sermons* I have just received one from my friend Dr. Maltby !!* I have not yet read it

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 August [1816]

We were much gratified by a visit of a few days from the two Mr. Charles Grants, as I presume your late guest told You. I tried much to detain him, and to bestow on us a little of that Oratory which I have so often admired upon paper, but business called him to town, and his excellent father was engaged to visit his Constituents in Invirnesshire. His hurry however did not prevent his sending me down some good books e’re he departed

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 11 August [1819]

Such a letter as your last should not have been unanswered a day, if I could have commanded my time, but in different ways I have really been working double tides. So much company, such an over-flow of letters, to say nothing of a presumptuous book of between 5 and 6 hundred pages hurried over in a few Months. * – It will be abused, and I am prepared for it. I hope Hatchard has by this time sent it you as I directed before publication Professor Farish who was here the other day gave us an interesting account of your Bible Meeting. I rejoyce that Episcopal tyranny could not defeat your pious labours. I have heard such stories lately from that quarter, as I had rather repeat than write.*We too in our little way had a most prosperous Meeting* 40 Clergymen &c – 120 dined at Barley Wood in the Garden chiefly, and 200 drank tea – I shall thankfully forwards your kind Subscriptions to the French Translation, as soon as I am informed that my former one was received. * They frightened me by calling the Tracts Contes Moraux, that Rogue Mamontal’s Title I have as I think I told you prefixed the Epithet Nouveaux which I think will obviate it.* The priests are very watchful and we must be prudent. I have got in the Conservateur, as well as the News papers of Paris, such abuse of the Bible Society!* – Poor Dr. Hamilton ! his society was rather too much for you! Painful recollections must have been inseparable from the sight of him. – And there is no hope!*

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [March 1820]

I have not seen Dodwell’s Greece,* and shall be very thankful for it, as you so kindly offer it.

Hannah More to Mrs Smith, 1822

I beg leave to present this new and improved Edition of the Bible Rhymes* to your dear little girl. In great haste I am my dear Madam

Hannah More to Thomas Cadell Junior, 23 March 1825

As I presume the third Edition must be published [obscured by inkblot] /published by/ this time, I beg the favour of you to send me half a Dozen Copies by the Coach directed to Mr. Bulgin for me. I have lately had a visit from Mr Eastburn – the chief Bookseller and Printer of New York. He sent me some years since /a present of/ an American Edition of my own works – He printed thirty Editions of Coelebs One thousand in each Edition. He is a man of excellent Sense and character –

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 18 October 1825

The inclosed trifle is not worth sending, but as they are the last rhymes I shall ever scribble I send them. They were made for the Album of an idle young lady.*

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, Dec 1826 [incomplete]

I hear frequently from that most active and genuine Christian the Duchess of Beaufort* – She is the Lady Olivia of this part of the World. Three of her daughters, as you know, are most exemplary.* I trust you have read Lord Bexley’s Bible Speech ,* he sent it me with [tear]ly pious letter. Tho not many [tear], not many noble are called, yet blessed be God some are, and the number is visibly greatly increased, and increasing.

Hannah More to Thomas Dyke Ackand, after 1828

I return you a hundred thanks for your nice benison to me, and a thousand thanks for your kind present to my dear kind Physician. He was so delighted and so proud, and got together a grand party who dined most luxurious. You really conferred a great obligation on me by /it./ He has been attending me daily Six weeks sometimes /twice/, and he will never take a Fee

Hannah More to Thomas Babington Macaulay, 14 October [no year]

I must write one line to thank for your two letters , which I do with the more pleasure because they were written in so good a hand, so neat and free from blots. By this obvious improvement you have intitled yourself to another book. You must go to Hatchard’s and chuse. I think we have nearly exhausted the Epics. What think you of a little good prose? – Johnson’s Hebrides* or Walton’s Lives* – unless you would like a neat Edition of Cowper’s Poems * or of Paradise Lost* for your own eating* – In any case chuse something which you do not possess. – I want you to become a complete Frenchman that I may give you Racine the only Dramatic Poet I know in any modern language that is perfectly pure and good.* On second thoughts what say you to Potter’s Eschylus * on attendant that you are a complete Grecian? – It is very finely done and as heroic as any of your Epics. If you prefer it Send for this to Hatchard’s neatly bound. I think you have hit off the Ode very well, I am much obliged to you for the Dedication. I shall reserve your translation to see how progressive your improvement is. Next Summer if it please God I hope We shall talk over some of these things. Remember me kindly to Your Pappa and tell him I cannot say how much I am obliged to him for his kindness to poor Shepherd *. He has made the Widow’s heart to sing for joy* – O Tom! that is better, and will be found so in the long /run/ to have written as good an Ode as Horace himself*.

Hannah More to Mrs Smith, unknown date [According to Smith]

I have been for some time looking out for a conveyance of the inclosed Urns which were due to you after the Bazaar, and Louisa has daily put me in mind as she said her purchase was not equal to your bounty /recievd/ before – I was very glad to hear from You and that you were happily restored – a thousand thanks for the fine grapes – How are the dear young ones, especially my sweet little friend?

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, September 1815

I return you many thanks in behalf of the poor and needy and him that is ready to perish for your kind benefaction of £25. I should not have delayd this so long, but that the day I received it arrived here Lord C. and his Sister * and Mr. Wilberforce . This has fully occupied me for the last three days. They are just gone I not only could find no time to write, but I wished to defer it till I could say something about them. Ld. C. looks well, and tho he is not, as you know naturally communicative and gay yet he seemed not to labour under the same depression of spirits, but seemed to take an interest in the conversation without much joining in it. Not a word passed on a certain subject of course. Your name was never once pronounced when we were together, nor did Mr. W. when we were alone once advert to it nor in any particular manner to the late indisposition. Miss C. when we were alone incidentally mentioned your name several times on indifferent subjects, and mentioned with much feeling, that you had been kind and useful to her unfortunate deceased brother.* In short no bystander would have suspected that any thing extraordinary had passed. Ld. C. is still slower of speech than usual but that is all. Unfortunately, Dr. Perry * in whom they seem to place extreme confidence has a bad paralytic stroke. This seems likely to shorten their stay at Bath. Tho in fact there is little /or/ nothing in what I have said yet I thought you would like to hear that little. I believe both W and I were equally afraid to broach the Subject and perhaps as things are irrevocably fixed, it was as well not. No one I have seen from Clifton or elsewhere has ever said a word on the subject; this shows that it is not generally known, otherwise it would be talked of. So I hope you will cheer up and be comfortable and happy.*

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [No date, but likely March/April 1817]

A thousand thanks for your attention to our pleasure in sending Clarke’s New Volume.* It is an age since I heard from You.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [No date, but likely March/April 1817]

I write a hasty line to take advantage of Mr. Addington ’s Patent Frank * to send you a Specimen of my learned labours. I was earnestly desired by some high persons to do something towards an Antidote for the evil Spirit of insurrection which is at work more busily perhaps than you are aware. The Tract inclosed I have adapted to the present times, and it is widely circulated.* Perhaps you would like to order some copies from Hatchard, and recommend Your Friends to do the same.

Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, 1816

I want to send you a cheese, such a one as you liked last Summer, it is of Cheddar, but too new, you must not cut it till May. I cant send it till you tell me where to direct it in Town, have you got a leaving house.

Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, 1816

Will you forgive my troubling You to let some friend or Servant who goes to Town pay for my Book Cases , as you were so kind to bespeak them I thought it best the Money should go thro’ you. Pray let the Maker know I like them exceedingly With the Six Shillings that will remain will you buy Maise [unclear] a handkerchief as a little remembrance.