Hannah More to Marianne Sykes Thornton, 21 January 1815

To: Mrs. Henry Thornton
Stamped: None
Postmark: None
Seal: Black wax
Watermarks: IVY MILL/ 1809

H. More

MS: Cambridge University Library, Add.7674/1/E/4
Published: Undetermined

My very dear friend

How can I write to you or how can I forbear to write? I have however postponed it, well knowing that you want no such consolations as I can suggest . My sincere sympathy and my fervent prayers are all I have to offer you. My grief is softened by the knowledge of many merciful circumstances; one is that you are surrounded by so many enlightened and truly Christian friends; another and the principal one, is the cheering report they all give of the deeply submissive and resigned spirit with which you bow to this most trying dispensation. In the midst of my sorrow I bless God that he has enabled you to give this evidence of your faith in him, and of the truth of Christianity itself, which can afford such supports under such trials . Still my dear friend, allow me to say I fear for you – I do not fear that your resignation will diminish, or your fortitude forsake you – I trust that the same divine grace will continue to support your soul; but I fear for your body, I fear that the very elevation of your feelings will be obtained, at the price of your health sinking under your Efforts . I am afraid you will think me but a worldly counsellor when I say, I wish you not too much to restrain your tears, or to labour to suppress emotions which Nature dictates and which grace does not forbid. Your life is now of increased importance, your value to your dear children is doubled. The duties of two parents instead of one are now devolved upon you. I know these sort of arguments are frequently made use of to stop the signs and outward expressions of grief, but I know the make of your mind so well that I employ them with a view to induce you not to put a /too/ violent restraint on your natural sensibilities fearing the pent up sorrow may prey more inwardly on the heart and the health.

Some kind friend near you has sent us a line every day, but merely of sympathy and kindness, and to say how you were. Of our dear sainted friend we know no particulars, those they will send us I doubt not soon . For ourselves we shall long mourn; for him if our imperfect vision could see things a[tear] they are, we should do nothing but rejoy[ce] [tear] He is gone to the resting place of the just. His life has left us an example of rare purity, of integrity seldom equalled, of consistent piety, of charity almost boundless. I shall reckon it among my responsibilities of the day of general Account if I am not the better for having so long and so intimately known him .

We here, for the last month had little hope, for the last fortnight none. Your secret misgivings we felt. Yet the shock when it did come was scarcely less. Patty is deeply distressed. Sally who is very poorly, lost her voice when it was announced and has not recovered it . May God comfort you and bless you and your dear children. I know the sight of them cuts two ways; they are at once the source of consolation and of anxiety.[2] Take care of yourself that you may be spared to render them worthy of such a father. I know this will be a motive with you. My dear friend ever yours

H More.


The letter is dated based on the subject matter: the death of Henry Thornton in January 1815.


The Thorntons had nine children. The youngest, Charles, was just four when his father died.