To Lady Olivia Sparrow, February 17 1815

I hear Cowan has quitted Clifton, after having perfectly /mobbed/ the Audience at a Sermon he preached for some Charity, for putting their shabby pound Notes into the plate If the report I heard was not exaggerated there never was such exhibition of imprudence rashness and violence in a regular church. His departure must be a great relief to good sober Hensman whose church was nearly deserted by the more sober-minded residents.

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 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, 23 August [1815]

This is the first letter I have written you for a long time without having your son for a topic. Is he returned to Clifton? I suppose Mr. Hodson is too modest to bring down his bride till the appearance of his pupil shall seem to furnish him with a justifying Motive. I heard with pleasure of the high satisfaction he afforded by his Sermon at the Charitable Clergy Meeting at . I heard it commended by different Classes of characters. He is sometimes said (but not on that occasion) to want a little energy of manner: but this objection [deletion] I believe is made by those who are accustomed to the vehemence of his Predecessor.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 04 August [1817]

Last Week we had our Annual Bible Meeting. It was a very good one, good collection, & good speaking We had 29 Clergymen of the Establishment. Poor Patty was not able to attend, but notwithstanding her bad health, we supported the good cause by inviting about 60 to dinner and 120 to tea. We had a good many Clifton friends. Lady Lifford the Powys’s Miss Methuen, (who looked woefully) and her brother Tom who made a speech. I have had a very pious letter from poor Lord Edward* who feels his loss deeply, but submits to the hand which inflects [sic] it [tear] You will have felt for poor Made. de Staël.* W[hat] [tear] good might she not have done with those super eminent talents! May she have found Mercy! Sir T. and Lady Acland came to us last week H[e is] [tear] a fine noble minded creature, and I hope will be an instrument of much good.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [March 1820]

I have the kindest message to give you from Miss E. Powys who was here the other day with Lady Louisa de Spaen, daughter of my old friend Lady Kington.* [As] [tear] far as I can judge both Mother and daughter [are] [tear] become religious in earnest. The latter is mod[est] [tear] and diffident, but Lady Lilford’s family to whom I introduced her at Clifton think very well of her. She takes kindly to the husband and daughter of her late unfortunate Sister, who lived and died a fine Penitent.* She gave what is to me the most unequivocal sign of repentance, that of never desiring to be received or to come into the world.

Hannah More to Thomas Dyke Ackand, after 1828

Capt and Mrs. Jenkinson are staying with his father at Clifton. What a fine creature she is; both in person and mind: they were so good to come and see me. As far as one can judge from one morning’s visit, she seems truly enlightend and devoted in heart and mind to religion. I never saw in any young woman such fervent piety. It seems to be the sole object of her concern; many people are going to heaven I hope, but she seems already there – she brought two angelic little children.

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

I began this scrawl several days ago as you will see by the dates, but indisposition and other interruptions have prevented my finishing it. Our Seraphic friend Way has left us. He seems to me not so much to be going to heaven but to be already there. I am a little alarmed for him, tho his Mind is perfectly well, yet he is so compleatly absorbed in the great Object* he has in hand that I fear it will wear him out. His Mind is so imbued, I may say so saturated with Scripture that one does not want one’s Bible whence he is. We kept him very quiet, but in no company that he might gain rest and composure as he is gone on to preach at several Churches in this district. We had talked of you in public in a general way as to your health, where you were &c – but before his departure I took him aside and asked if he had heard from you lately, and when you were coming to Clifton. He set my mind much at rest by saying he had not heard anything about you for some time; now as he was just come from , Clifton &c I comforted myself that the thing is not so much discussed as you feared. I have also seen the Powis’s who dined here but not a word was said which might lead to the Subject. I trust this transient cloud will soon be dispersed and your mind restored to its firm tone, I should rather say your nerves, for your mind seems to have possessed its full vigour in this transaction I have no impertinent curiosity but shall be gratified to know hereafter, that all terminated to your satisfaction I am grateful to God that the young person herself has conducted herself so unexceptionably. Such an experience may tend to strengthen her character beyond a hundred fine theories.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow [incomplete]

Poor Sir E. Hartopp is settled at Clifton He has been to see us. Alas! how different from his former visits when his blooming, elegant pious daughters were of the party! This afflicting trial promises to produce happy effects on the mind of the broken hearted Mother.* She meant well but was not a comfortable parent to these sweet girls.

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 . 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.*