Hannah More to William Wilberforce


MS: Weston Library, University of Oxford, MS Wilberforce c. 3, ff. 31-2
Published: Undetermined

My dear Sir

Allow me to anticipate the pleasant intelligence which I shall soon hope to receive, and to be beforehand in my cordial, affectionate and warm congratulations on an event which involves your own happiness and that of your amiable bride. I earnestly pray that this union while it will, I trust, partly tend to soften the cares and alleviate the solicitudes of your very anxious and laborious life, may also multiply your spiritual blessings. The piety of your fair companion you have chosen gives me a comfortable hope that marriage in your case, so far from dangerously entangling you more and more in the cares of this fashionable world, may, on the contrary, help to speed you in the race of glory and honour and immortality. As I conceive you both to have warm and affectionate tempers, your difficulty and danger may probably arise from those very qualities which will at the same time so essentially contribute to your hap/piness/ if wisely used. I conceive of your both therefore as being, in turn, called upon to act the part of Swift’s Flapper, and of occasionally reminding each other that this is not your rest. But on the other hand what a delightful consideration is it for two married persons, who are true Christians to be able to say even in their happiest days, “this is not our happiest state, but thro the tender mercies of Our God, and the merits of our Redeemer, we have a future blessedness to look to, with which the highest pleasures of this imperfect and transitory World are not worthy to be compared. What a joy to reflect that the smallest Act of self-denial for God’s sake, the smallest renunciation of our pleasure for his glory shall not lose its reward!”

But I must not indulge myself with thus running on, but proceed to remind You of your kind promise to set out with an Act of humility and bring your bride to visit my Cottage and my poor . The Plan I wou’d chalk out for you is to be here on Saturday either at dinner or tea, the former I shall like best, and then you may have your quiet evening walk. We can contrive to lodge an humble footman, tho not a fine Valet de Chambre and then he will be ready to dress you, and you shall have one of the Parlours for your Dressing Room. As to the Lady, I will be handmaid myself to her, “I’ll weave her Garlands & I’ll pleat her hair On Sunday Morn You shall sally forth at half past eight Patty and I attending you in another Chaise – we go first to Shipham, then to Axbridge – then get to Cheddar, about Eleven Miles you know there to cut your cold Meat, a good seasonable penance for your I trow. The Church, School, and evening devotions will keep us there till about seven; then we call in on another little Society at Axbridge and get home after Nine. Cheddar is eight Miles from Wells; but it will not do for you to sleep at Wells on the Saturday and meet us at Cheddar on Sunday as you once thought; because in that case you can go but to one School, as they lie in a contrary direction. But if your time runs short so that you cannot indulge us by coming back hither on the Sunday Night you might in that case go from Cheddar to Wells to sleep if you find you can’t /do/ any thing /more for us./ It is very generous in me to suggest this as I hope you will not adopt it, as I shoud greatly wish to have you both here on the Sunday Night. Patty has one great trouble, half Cheddar is under inoculation and her troops for about three Sundays will be very thin. Be so good as give me a line au plutot with your plan as we shall probably perform our pilgrimage towards another point of the Compass next Sunday if we are disappointed of your Company.

My affectionate congratulations to your fair friend. Heartily commending you both to the eternal favour of God. I remain my dear Sir
here and your very affectionate & faithful
H More