To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 25 March [1815]

To: The Lady Olivia B. Sparrow
Address: Brampton Park/ Huntingdon
Postmark: C25MR251815
Seal: Red wax
Watermarks: Undetermined

March 25th. 1815

MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 ff. 36-7
Published: Undetermined

My dearest Lady Olivia

I feel a little ashamed of my own impetuosity and selfishness, that in the first burst of sorrow for our lamented friend H. Thornton[2] I should /mix/ any regret for my petty concerns, as they regarded my poor, with the sorrow of heart which I shared with hundreds. It has however given occasion to the exercise of your generous and Christian liberality, and I thank you most cordially in the name of hundreds for your kind and seasonable bounty.

Death has again been thinning the ranks of my beloved friends. Mrs. Porteus has followed her dear Bishop, I trust to the land of everlasting rest. She was to me a faithful and attached friend for 35 Years, and one of that sure and steady character that, in that long period, I never experienced from her a wry word; /or a cold look. I always spent June with them./ She had been thro life the healthiest Woman I ever knew, and her fine person and sound health gave you no idea of age. She taken, and I spared! Such is the dispensation of infinite wisdom!

Your dear Robert spent the day with us on Wednesday. He came without his Mentor, who had a cold, but not without a wise and pious Guide. Our friend Dunn was of the party, who by the way has never bestowed a single night on Barley Wood, tho so long in our neighbourhood with friends quite new compared to me. I am not jealous however but glad he spent his time so much more pleasantly. I was much pleased with your Son whom I drew out to take a little more share in the conversation, as far as related to the present state of the world, and he expressed himself well, and with accuracy and pleased me by taking a lively interest in what is going on. Dear Mr. Dunn did not give a very good account of your health and your letter does not mend that account, which grieves me much. I think you have judged very wisely, as you are not very stout, to abridge your London sejour. Dunn gave me great delight in the report he makes of the progress of mind and growth in piety of your dear daughter. You have laid an excellent foundation, of which I trust the superstructure will be altogether worthy. She will, I am persuaded make a strong character. You have now had time to form her to good habits which will be of incalculable importance to her future character and happiness.

H. Bowdler[3] declines interfering, but says /again/ the Gisborne’s[4] are the proper people if any assurance is necessary, which she does not think will be the case; but she does not /see/ the strong prejudices of her brother as I, and others see them.

How menacing are the times! and how portentous the prospect! The iniquities of the Amorites[5] are not yet full. Our own country wants sifting, and France a strong correction. – Poor Lady Wellington! her brother killed, and her other hero sent again to oppose the Armed Banditti.[6] It is well for us that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. He who stilleth the waves can still the madness of the people ; and can break the Rod of his anger when that rod has done its work.

Patty, who is in very poor health does remember you with the warmest and most grateful affection and joins me in best wishes to Miss Sparrow and Mr. Obins. – Dunn agreed with us in liking a certain dignitary better than his chere Moitié[7]

May God have you in his holy keeps, prays and ever pray Your faithful
H More.


The letter is dated on the basis of the postmarks and context.


Henry Thornton had died on 16 January 1815. His death was a great shock to his evangelical friends.


More had contacted Henrietta Bowdler in order to elicit her support in persuading Bowdler’s father John to allow the preparation of a memoir of his recently-deceased son, also John.


Thomas and Mary Gisborne had been proposed as the authors of the planned memoir of John Bowdler.


A reference to a heathen tribe of the Bible, descended from the Canaanites - an idolatrous race punished by God through the delivery of their lands to the Israelites. In scripture the term Amonite is often used interchangeably with Canaanite.


After Napoleon’s arrival in Paris the governments of the countries allied against the French requested Wellington take command of the forces in the Netherlands. This agreement was reached around the date of More’s letter, indicating how well More kept up with current affairs.


More uses here a slightly tongue-in-cheek way to say ‘his darling wife’.