To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 April [1815]

To: The Lady Olivia B. Sparrow
Address: Brampton Park/ Huntingdon
Postmark: C29AP291815
Seal: Red wax
Watermarks: Undetermined

April 27th.

MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 ff. 38-9
Published: Undetermined

I was meditating a letter to you my dearest Lady Olivia just as your very kind one reached me; and ever since have been prevented by shoals of company succeding each other so quickly as to leave no interval for any thing I liked. Alas! Alas! I did hope our summer would not have begun so early. I take most kindly and so does Patty your very feeling enquiries. She has had a very bad winter, her state is weak and I have had great apprehensions on her subject. Her spirits are sometimes depressed which is inseparable from bile and fever. I am however thankful to say that the last few days she is considerably better, so that I hope, if it be the will of God, she may rally with the Summer. We shall all I trust be better when we are blessed with a west wind.

You are very good to express so kind a wish to see us at Brampton. Few things would give us more pleasure. But I really think home is the only place for invalids, tho the sick in general seem to act on the direct contrary principle But there is another reason – we have already refused some invitations, to travel with /some/ friends and to go to meet others. Among the latter dear Mrs. H. Thornton[2] wished us to join her at Malvern in case she should be able to go. It was with reluctance I was obliged to say I feared we should not be able to accomplish it; tho, her sad situation considered, if we did any thing, it ought to be with a view of seeing her. Notwithstanding her Christian exertions, every letter from her seems to wear a deeper shade of woe.

The Harfords spent a couple of days with us last week ; from them I learnt that you do not go to Town. I could hardly believe it, till your kind invitation to us seems to confirm it. The only concern it gives me is, that I fear you do not judge yourself stout enough even for a short London campaign for that I thought was your plan. Pray be specific on this head when you write

A thousand thanks for your attention even to my Amusement, in sending me Walter Scotts last Work .[3] It was so considerately kind! He cannot but always be a fine Poet, and a great Master of his Art; but this appears to me to be the most defective of his Poems. Like some other people that I could name, not a hundred Miles from Barley Wood, he writes too much. It is true he has an opulent Mind and the stores of his rich imagination are not easily exhausted.

I have been delighted to see the elegant Robert Sparrow in his character of Cicerone to the Saints. He one day came down with Mr. Wilson whom I never saw before and who is a most amiable /Man/ and another with Hugh Pearson an old favorite of mine . His Mentor of course accompanied. It is pleasant to see him easy and cheerful in such sort of company, and they exhibit religion to nam[tear] a pleasing form, without any of that alloy of coa[rse]ness [tear] which by assimilating itself with religion, makes the /young/ fancy that religion itself is worse. The Saints Jubilee at Bristol produced a great harvest.[4] About 800 to the Missionary only.[5] – The Jew business promises to revive these,[6] that I hope will give me a peep at Mr. WayI sent him my book ,[7] but know not if he has read it. It is a singular thing, that I have received more encouraging and flattering reports on that book from Bishops and the higher Clergy than from almost any others. I scarcely expected it

I enter heartily into your concern about your Clergyman. It is of such importance! I hope I am furnishing Mr. Dunn with a young Tutor for his little boy of the highest value. But it is only in trial, as my young friend is not yet in orders I trust it will be a mutual benefit

I will not lose time by sending this about to beg a Frank

Mr. Sandford and a party are just gone.

P. sends her grateful regards. Dearest Lady ever
Yours H More

love to dear Millicent


The letter is dated on the basis of the references to Marianne Sykes Thornton’s health and decline


Marianne Sykes Thornton’s husband Henry had died three months previously, and her own health was extremely precarious.


The Lord of the Isles by Sir Walter Scott, published in 1815. The poem, about Robert the Bruce’s campaign against the English in the early fourteenth century, received mixed reviews and proved less popular than Scott’s earlier poems. (Read it on Google Books)


A meeting was held annually by the Bristol auxiliary branch of the Church Missionary Society. They were important fundraising events, but were also social occasions which More, when in better health, had often attended.


£800, a huge contribution.


An auxiliary society of The London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, of which Lewis Way was president, was formed in Bristol in 1815. See The History of the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews from 1809-1908 by W. T. Gidney (London: London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews, 1908), p. 45.


This is likely a reference to More’s book, An Essay on the Character and Practical Writings of Saint Paul (London: Cadell and Davies, 1815).