To Lady Olivia Sparrow, November 30 1812

To: The Lady Olivia B. Sparrow
Address: Sydney Hotel/ Bath
Postmark: None
Seal: Red Wax
Watermarks: Undetermined

Novr. 1812

MS: MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 ff. 1-2
Published: Undetermined

My dear Lady Olivia

I had proposed being beforehand with you, not as a specimen of rapidity and punctuality, of which I am not likely hereafter to support the character but to express my gratitude to you for the sealed paper I found on my table, mixed however with a little chiding at your /too/ large liberality. You will I trust allow me to divide that portion of it intended to assist piety and literature in one young and most deserving Collegian, into two or three – you will have /the/ pleasure hereafter of having contributed to advance learning and religion in these promising characters.

Now for the reason why I did not write on Saturday – Since you left us I have had and still have, a most severe bilious attack which I am thankful waited your departure before it appeared, as I should have been grieved to have lost any of the little time in which I was within reach of enjoying your Society.

I dont know whether I was most glad or sorry at receiving your kind letter last night, glad at hearing from you and that you were embarked in Bath-drinking, or sorry that your letter was a substitute for your appearance, as we were not till then without some faint hope of getting another peep of you.

I believe you had some part of your education at St. Omers [1] , or at least at Maynouth[2] – for was there not something a little jesuitical in your converting my hope into a promise? As to the other convention between us, that of the medical case, tho I dare not I fear shrink from a treaty which you will pretend was ratified, I must however plead for delay, and the more so as it will not be necessary to send it, till you are landed in that sink of sin and sea coal, as Will Honeycomb calls London.[3]

I would sympathize with you on the rough treatment you experienced from the Calomel[4] but I believe the preparation was judicious. May God give his blessing to the Water!

My Sister Martha who joins the others [in] [tear]dest respects, is laid up with a severe cold and hoarseness – So you see you took us at our best moment.

Hatchard is about to publish a little Book by a worthy friend of Mine, entitled ‘a Father’s Letters to his Children’[5] ; I beg to recommend it to you as sound and deeply serious.

My best love to dear Millescent. Is that famil [sic] or ceremonious?

In any case there is no form or ceremony in my assuring your Ladyship that I am cordially and with great truth,
Your faithful and sincere
H. More


St Omers was a Jesuit college which educated English Catholic students originally in France (from the college’s founding in 1593) before the expulsion of the Jesuits from France in 1762 forced the college to relocate first to Bruges, then Lieges, before finally securing a new permanent home at Stonyhurst in Lancashire.


St Patrick’s College at Maynooth was founded in 1795, but no evidence has been found that Lady Olivia Sparrow was a student there. More here is using "Jesuitical" idiomatically (and somewhat perjoratively) to suggesti that Lady Olivia's reasoning is rhetorically clever but logically unsound.


From The Spectator No. 530, 7 November 1712. Will Honeycomb was a friend of ‘Mr. Spectator’ who describes himself as having been ‘immersed in Sin and Sea-Coal’ before his recent marriage to a country girl. HM makes the same literary reference in a letter to Mr Addington, 10 September 1814: "I am very sorry you are [...] obliged to leave your fine lawn, your rides, and your pleasant family Society, for what Will Honeycomb calls 'the sin and Sea coal of London'" (Publication of letter forthcoming.)


Mercury Chloride (Hg2 Cl2), used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a laxative and disinfectant


A Father’s Letters to his Children, in which the Holiness, Justice, and Mercy of God are shewn to have ever existed upon the same Foundation of Wisdom, Truth, and Love; and the Messiah the only Saviour of Gentiles, Jews, and Christians, from the Beginning of the World. Authored by ‘a Country Gentleman’ and published by Hatchard in 1813.