Wilberforce, William

Hannah More to Patty More, 4 August 1794 [copy, presented to EM Forster by his great aunt, Marianne Thornton

I suppose by this time you expect I should give you some account of my adventures I am not yet at the place of my destination I got to Hertford Street in time to drink tea with the & & the who very gallantly appeared soon after me. Wilberforces carriage came for me after breakfast & carried me to Battersea Rise to dinner where were both the Masters & & . Wilberforces carriage took me after dinner the next stage where to my great surprise was waiting to carry me to my journeys end Theres politeness for you! Dont you think that the Masters improve! At Bitchworth the fine who fought the duel the other day, was stopping with his . He says the breakfasted with him the day before & told him that all was over between him & . I asked him if he thought they were ever married – he thinks not but is not sure

Hannah More to Mrs James, 2 December 1804

I feel quite hurt at sending to your house on a Sunday – but it is on account of a very valuable parcel which Mr. Wilberforce has sent me from Lyme, by a Waggoner who puts up at the Three Queen in Thomas Street* and who promis’d faithfully to deliver it at your House last Thursday – Shou’d it be come You will be so good as deliver it to the Bearer as also any letter – I have ordered him to wait till the Post is in, hoping that may throw some light on this Accident –

Hannah More to Mrs James, 2 December 1804

You wou’d be pleas’d to see the kind and deep interest Mr. Wilberforce takes in the illness of your * – I have written to him the good news of his being better – May God restore him!

Hannah More to Marianne Sykes Thornton, April 5th 1809

and &c tell me they never see or hear of – I am disgusted at her want of decency, to say the least, in not concealing her satisfaction at quitting a place, so pleasant so advantageous /so congenial/ to her husband.7 The change must be an immense expence. W. and I have had a good deal of intercourse a few weeks ago about health – We agreed in thinking, that more relaxaxation [sic] from business without travelling about, and renouncing the comforts and accommodations of his pleasant home, was the best thing for him at this time of year. I hope he does relax and that you will soon if the Spring shoud ever begin, get to Battersea for your sake especially. – Shoud You see will you tell tell her that I will write to her on her kind proposal soon, and that we are soon looking out for the Barrister the Circuit being nearly over.8 I agree with you in wondering that your coud overlook that agreeable girl and chuse one so inferior both in mind and person.9 How can you read by way of learning to do good? An avow’d Atheist? An acquaintance of mine, woud have married him she said had he been only an Infidel, but he denied a first course.10 To me his writings are the blackness of darkness. Hume by his elegance, and Voltaire by his wit and the charms of his style are seducing. But tell Mr. T. if he reads it, not to let others read it, for I remember at Xt Church and were frightened at his reading Hume’s Essays to them11 They were not then so strong in Religion as they are since become. Seriously I think Plays and Novels safe reading compared with books of subtel sophistry and promiscuous reasoning – I dont mean that you may not pack /up/ up good things in them. I have not yet read the C. O.12 but have run over Ingram13 which is very good, the second part I thought leaned a little more to Calvinism than I do, that is I thought it woud give the C. O. a rather more Calvinistic Air than it has lately assumed I am glad the C. O. takes up the Plan14 – I have been in constant correspondence (when able) [wi]th [tear] this good Bp on the Subject ever [s]ince [tear] he planned it. It is to raise the character morals, learning & piety of the Welch Clergy. I hardly know so pressing a cause. There will unavoidably, to save his credit be mixd with it a little too much High Church but we must be glad to do something if we cannot do all that is wanted. I subscribe and propose leaving a legacy to the St. David’s Plan. The building a sort of Welch College was partly my Suggestion. –

Hannah More to Marianne Sykes Thornton, 28 November 1814

I know a lady just returned who says the English had raised the price of Cambric there from half a crown to 7:6 a Yard, while our own looms are standing still – I must say with Hamlet – ‘It cannot nor it will not come to good’, and that /war/ was not worse than such a peace – Especially if our dear Africans are rescued. – I hear of a book of Mr. Wilberforce to the French? What is it about? and how is his health.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 23 June [1819]

I fear I have been doing a very foolish thing I thought I had as compleately made up my mind to hang my harp upon the willows* as you had to keep your three rules. But in my case, as in Hamlet’s Mother 'the lady did protest too much'.* I have been so struck with the French Mania in all classes almost of our people of the desertion of our country in the time of its deepest distress, and of the importation of French Manners, that I felt it a sort of duty not to hold my tongue. On the other hand, the Mischief done by the [unclear]ders, and its probable fatal consequences, I thought called for notice. Then the errors of religious people I think require a gentle hint; as well as the prevalence of high profession and low practice &c &c &c – to all this I have added a pretty long dissertation on prayer, and some of the errors which hinder its efficacy. In about four Months I have written (at an age when I ought to have rested) as many hundred pages. I expect to give offence to many of my friends especially by shewing the dangers of foreign association, and neglect of religion in the education of the great, but I have delivered my own Soul, and I must soon stand at a higher bar than that of this world’s judges. I have kept it so secret that I have not yet named it even to Wilberforce, but as it is now going to press I shall relax a little of my strictness.* Pray for me that it may be made useful, to a few at least.

Hannah More to William Hayley, 31 August 1811

I inclose this to Mr. Wilberforce

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, October 26 1813

Our poor dear Thorntons have suffered intensely on account of . never was so deeply afflicted at any event. I am glad they change the Scene a little by going to Brighton. Wilberforce has been totally absorbed by Abolition business the whole Summer. He had projected a Visit to Barley Wood. The disappointment to me was great. I have a letter from which says their hopes are revived respecting the Slaves, but he is not sanguine nor am I.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, January 16 1815

Tho I have nothing /to say,/ and am not well enough to say it if I had, I cannot forbear writing a line to unite in sympathy with you, on the, I fear hopeless, state of our dear invaluable *, a letter from Mr. Wilberforce* and another from the last night, leaves us little or nothing to hope. Oh! what a chasm will his death make in the world! It will not only be irreparable to , and poor children*, but to multitudes of the poor and the pious. May God comfort us all, especially his own family, and sanctify to us this heavy loss, by quickening us in our preparation for our own great change! For my own part, my hopes have been long very faint, tho in opposition to the declaration of his eminent Medical Attendants* I shall always think /entre nous/ that corroding grief for preyed on his vitals, and laid his weak constitution open to any disease which might attack it: I dread that every post may bring us the final issue of this long disease!

Hannah More to Marianne Sykes Thornton, February 1815 [copy, presented to EM Forster by his great aunt, Marianne Thornton]

Will you let one of the little ones Send a line to say ‘Mama is better or worse’ Poor Wilberforce he has lost a great part of himself – his right-hand in all great & useful measures, heavily indeed will he go down to the House of Commons without his ‘own peculiar friend’.*

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 23 August [1815]

If this were a world in which every one had their due, you would long ere this have received my cordial thanks for your truly kind letter, a letter so interesting in a variety of ways! I read good part of it to dear Wilberforce who was here when it arrived he was shewing * the West of England. He slept here a night or two both going and coming [deletion]. But his visits were in that hanging way which diminishes the pleasure of seeing him so that the chief comfort I had was that of finding him, for him, very well in health to which I hope the relaxation from business and constant change of air much contributed.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [20? October 1815] [incomplete]

I have delayed writing from day to day till it should please our gracious father to determine the fate of our beloved . That afflicting event has now taken place near a week, and yet I have not had the heart to write.* You doubtless have been informed by the same kind hand with myself, of the fatal progress and final termination! God’s will be done! This we must not only say but submissively assent to under dispensations the most trying. And surely the removal of our dear friend is a very trying as well as Mysterious dispensation. To herself the charge is most blessed. To her children the loss is most irreparable. Poor dear Orphans! little did we think a year ago of this double bereavement! but let us bless the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ that he enabled this suffering friend to bear her dying testimony to his faithfulness and truth. Never was a sweeter death than that so feelingly painted by Mr. Wilberforce How strong must have been that faith which not only lifted her so much above all worldly considerations /but/ which enabled /her/ to commit her beloved children, about whom her anxiety had been so excessive, to the father of the fatherless. It has pleased God to raise them, among many friends, and to whose care she consigned, and who have generously accepted the charge. They are peculiarly fitted for the purpose, sensible, pious, amiable, strongly attached to the Thorntons and without children of their own. Thus is the saying illustrated that the Seed of the Righteous shall never be forsaken.* My opinion is that Mrs. T is dead of suppressed grief. She reminds me of part of an Epitaph I have seen, only changing the word day for Year

Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, 9 October 1815

I know not how I should address you if not ‘Miss Thornton’. I inclose to Mr. Wilberforce

Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, October 16th 1815

When little was up weeping last night on receipt of Mr. Wilberforce’s letter, she lifted up her hands and cried God bless dear little

Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, November 23rd 1816

We have had many of your friends and neighbours staying here one after another. – I thought the remarkably well and I have a delightful long descriptive letter from him from the Isle of Skie [unclear]. and Mr. Wilberforce (dear Creature) spent three days with us the week before last he was pretty well for him, all spirit, feeling & kindness as usual. Lord C. has been at Bath for his health and is better, I rather think the are moving this way. * spent the day here yesterday – he has good Sense, a correct taste and much piety

Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, October 11th 1819

I suppose you know all [tear] were here, and that went to Cheddar with them the very day her mortal seizure attacked her! Mr. Walone, came and most kindly staid a day last week. –

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [March 1820]

Our admirable friend at K. Gore* wrote on ’s marriage desiring me to invite them both to Barley Wood, as he said he and had come hither immediately after their wedding 22 years ago.* I could refuse nothing to such a petitioner So they came from Bath and staid a day and night. He is gentlemanly and agreeable in his manners, mais, voila tout. She is handsome but I thought her vapid and uninteresting. It is /all/ very well now that they are visiting about, and the days are all halcyon; but what is to become of them I cannot guess, nor can their dear father. Il faut manger dans ce pauvre Monde. And how that father is to provide a separate Establishment for one, /who/ neither can, nor probably will do nothing I cannot guess.* It goes to my heart as I know he has nothing to spare, and even the youth’s education is not finished. I shall be agreeably disappointed if he ever takes to business. When he returns to town too he will meet with his old associates, Alas!!

Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, December 13th 1825

I forgot to ask Wilberforce where to write to him – he has left Bath – he said he had no home ready for him, but talked of some *

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 18 October 1825

I am in expectation of seeing /the/ dear the beginning of November. It has been a longer separation than has occurred since our first acquaintance. Mr. Wilberforce, who was with him writes me, how deeply, yet like a Christian, he felt the loss of his excellent Son.* He was however much revived by a letter from the Young Man’s Captain which spoke in the highest terms not only of his correct conduct, and amiable manners, but his piety – is most obliging and friendly towards /me,/ and we are very good friends; he is however with some good points about him, made out of other Materials than the Prelate above mentioned.

I take the liberty to make my usual request that you will be so good as let your servant take me a place on the Bath two day Post Coach which sets out next Thursday Morning /June 5/ at 8 o clock – please to let him say I shall be taken up at the White Horse Piccadilly* and they must let me know what time to be there You will favour me with a line directed to me at Mr. Wilberforce’s Clapham Common*

Hannah More to Thomas Dyke Ackand, after 1828

Those alive people are


Niece of from a painting of his.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow. 8-11 October [1815]

I know not what reason you have to think Mr. W – will be at Bath. Is his there. If I should see either or both of them, I think you may depend on my discretion.

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 . and * 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, * 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, [20? October 1816]

Lest should have left Sidmouth (which I hope he has found a salutary rest from his labours) I write strait to you. My reason for writing so soon is that you would naturally conclude Mr. Wilberforce would have been here and consequently you would expect to know somewhat of the result. But mark this fresh instance of the uncertainty of all human things! He had fixed the day of his coming to which we were looking forward with that pleasure which his presence never fails to give. But the day before yesterday when we were looking out for him from Bath, arrives instead of himself a letter dated Sunning Hill,* to which place he had been travelling nearly all night in order to take the last farewell of his beloved Sister !* She had been long declining but there was no reason to expect she was so near her end. Her most tender and affectionate implored Mr. W– to come to her, but it was too late, she expired while he was on the road. Worn out as she was with suffering and disease nothing could surpass the affection of Mr. Stephen, his grief is proportionally great. For my own part it is a new rent made in my friendships. For thirty years there has been subsisted between us the most entire and cordial friendship. /Tho/ Always sickly and very nervous, she had a great flow of wit and humour with strong reasoning powers. Her delight was to hold a religious debate with .* But tho fond of arguing, she was one of the humblest Christians I ever knew. Humility and self distrust were indeed distinguishing features in her character. She had for many years conquered entirely her love of the world, and spent a large portion of her time in religious exercises. She was often tormented with doubts of her own state when I should have been glad to have stood in her Shoes.

Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, 1816

How I have enjoyed dear Mr. Wilberforce’s honours at Brighton; not for his sake, the honour was done to the in his selection of such a guest*. This notorious and marked attention to such a man, will do good in a variety of ways. Oh! that it might good to the Royal host! It strongly proves the power of consistency of character, how it eventually bears down all opposition. I wish religious people in general were more aware of this. It is this very want of consistency in many high professions which causes them to do so little good, /their practice defeating what their talk has /done.//

To Lady Olivia Sparrow from Mary Roberts on behalf of Hannah More, 14 April [1832]

I feel it necessary to apologise for this intrusion, but hope that the motive which has prompted it may obtain its excuse. Your Ladyship must be well aware that our dear Friend has a considerable number of your letters to her, in her possession; these letters, as well as those of many other of her valued correspondents, she has been fond of looking over, but being no longer capable of exercising the same care & caution as formerly, she suffers them to lie scattered on her Table, liable to the inspection of any person who may have more curiosity than honour. We have however, prevailed upon her to deposit your letters Madam, with those of Mr. Wilberforce &c with us, & they are at present in our possession – I can with truth affirm unread.