To Lady Olivia Sparrow, August 1814

To: The Lady Olivia Sparrow
Address: Brampton Park/ Huntingdon
Postmark: C18AU1814
Seal: Red Wax
Watermarks: Undetermined

Augst. 1814

MS: MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 ff. 24-5
Published: Undetermined

My dearest Lady Olivia

Such a nice, long and truly interesting letter as you sent me had a claim to earlier notice. But even now I must rather be contented to thank you for it than to answer it. I have had a severe attack of illness. To others it would have been but a cold, to me it has been a bad-ish fever. I am so far on the recovery as to sit up. But I am so thankful to quit my bed that I am satisfied to keep my room which I however hope to leave in a few days

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 –

If I can get rid of my cough P. and I are engaged to go to our dear Dean of Wells about the 29th., being there we must also acquit ourselves of a long promise to stay a little with the Bishop. there will be a little difference in these Visits!! Mr. Way I trust will not be likely to come just at that time as it is the only time I shall be from home. Indeed the Dean I believe will be of the Jew party at Bristol .

Are you not delighted with the Velvet Cushion[1] ? 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.[2] 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.

Your little Anecdotes of Emperors and he[r]oes [sic] were delectable. Yesterday I was able to receive Mr. Addington in my bed chamber who had a Volume of information of the same kind to pour out. But Wellington is his hero. Whose is he not? I had not heard till he told me, that the Duke had the magnanimity as soon as he landed – after five Years of labours and fatigues and difficulties unparalled [sic], after 'hair breadth 'Scapes in the imminent deadly breach'[3] – to offer to embark instantly for America if Government wished it! Was it not noble?

Dr. Whalley, Sir A. Elton our two principle neighbours are going to France. How that abominable country is to make the old young, and the sick well, and the fanciful[l] [tear] contented I do not know. Poor Lady Waldgrave [sic] is ordered to spend the Winter at Nice, she is in very bad health, increased I fear by the dejection of her Spirits on Lord W's conduct [4] . She writes very piously wishes much that she could have the benefit and consolation of our dear Mr. Whalley's Society there, and she thinks it might patch him up for years. – But the thing is quite out of the question I think.

Mr. Cunningham writes me a good account of the female Methuens - and gives me some hope of seeing him here. – Pray, pray write me a full and true history of your doings soon, and say how you are, and if you gain strength – I am anxious about this. – [three lines of deletions]

Tho this sickness has separated me from my Apostle, I shall conclude in his words by recommending you and yours to God and the word of his Grace . I am with true affection ever my dearest Lady O –
faithfully yours HM

[Written upside down on the first page, between the salutation and the first line of the letter proper]

I hear Miss Maltby is coming to Buckden – Shall I send you Mrs. Mann?


A novel by the prominent evangelical clergyman John William Cunningham (1780-1861), subtitled 'an historical account of divisions within the Church of England since the Reformation', published anonymously in 1814. The novel was popular, with a tenth edition published in 1816. Cunningham was active in several evangelical societies, including the Church Missionary Society.


More had previously published many of her religious works anonymously in order to avoid any potential scandal at her sometimes controversial beliefs. Several of her letters mention the confusion this caused amongst her friends about whether she was, or was not, author of various religious texts published during her lifetime.


From Shakespeare's Othello, 1:3.


John James Waldegrave, 6th Earl Waldegrave (1785-1835), second son of Lady Elizabeth Waldegrave and her husband, George Waldegrave, and lieutenant-colonel of the 54th Foot. Rumours were circulating at this time about Waldegrave’s liaison with the daughter of an army chaplain; a secret marriage was suspected (the couple already had at least one illegitimate child), which attracted considerable comment about the imprudence and impropriety of Waldegrave’s alleged conduct.