Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, 9 October 1815

To: Miss M. Thornton
Stamped: None
Postmark: None
Seal: None
Watermarks: B. E & S BATH 1814


MS: Cambridge University Library, Add.7951/1
Published: Undetermined

My dear Miss Thornton

I was prepared for your truly afflicting intelligence by a preparatory letter from Mr. Macaulay, our most kind and considerate friend in both the calamitous events of the present sad year.[1] It would be difficult to say whether I mourn most deeply over the state of the body, or rejoyce most triumphantly over that of the mind of my ever beloved and faithful friend. I will not add to your sorrows by dwelling on my own, but I will say that no one out of her own family can feel deeper sorrow than myself. I know I ought not to dwell on this distressful side of the question, but keep my eyes more intently fixed on that bright side to which your piety points my attention. May God’s holy name be praised that in this second conflict she is enabled by his grace so to glorify her Redeemer. My prayers for her are fervent and frequent. She is much on my mind in my long nightly vigils. But I feel that I stand more in need of her prayers than she of mine; Her purified spirit is ascending to her God and Saviour She must be lifted by a mighty faith, to manifest such serenity and resignation under circumstances so peculiarly trying to her affectionate maternal heart. Some months ago, before her illness, Mrs. R. Thornton (from whom I have not since heard) put me in mind of an expression of mine on my first acquaintance with your dear Mother nineteen Years ago – ‘that she would make a good Martyr.’ I did not think I had so much penetra /tion/

I do not address you my dearest Marianne as a feeble girl, shrinking from sorrow and from duty, and yielding up yourself to disqualifying lamentation. It has pleased your heavenly father to call you very early to service and repeated trials; your feelings have been, and are, still tried most tenderly, most acutely. In the lap of prosperity, in the height of happiness, in the gay season of youth, and health, and spirits, you have been called to make sacrifices the most costly to a dutiful and affectionate heart. Your conduct under these visitations has done honour to your Christian education. The examples of your excellent parents illustrated their precepts. The world will look to their children for more than ordinary virtue, and I persuade myself that they will not look in vain. Your Sainted father is probably beholding with delight the effects of God’s blessing on his pious labours, and your excellent Mother is personally feeling those effects in your Christian tenderness and filial piety. Do not neglect your own health

Your letter affords so little hope of the continuance of her earthly existence that I think there is more true kindness in writing to you, as are without any expectation as to this world, than to labour to administer false comfort ; to do this would not be doing justice to your strength of character and to the lessons of wisdom you have been so long imbibing. Who knows but your obvious submission to the Divine hand which has inflicted these heavy strokes may not help to confirm these principles of Christian piety /with/ which Mr Penington’s[2] mind seems penetrated. God grant that the convictions of this estimable Man may end in a sound conversion! What joy would this give, not only to the Angels in heaven but to the two happy Spirits who may soon be united to that blessed Society. I do love this Penington. I cannot say what a gratification it would be to me to be with you. It is for my own sake I wish it, that I might learn how to die. But my own infirm health, and still more that of Patty would make us a burthen instead of a comfort. With such comforts indeed you are far more richly provided. I cordially rejoyce that you are inclosed with such a circle of such friends, and that those amiable and excellent Inglis’s are about to be added. My affectionate love to the patient Sufferer. I am more disposed to ask comfort from her than to offer it to her.

Yours my dear Marianne
most truly
H More

I cant ask you to write but I hope somebody will – Direct near Bristol not Wrington – Your letter was sent to Salisbury.

I know not how I should address you if not ‘Miss Thornton’. I inclose to Mr. Wilberforce

I embrace the dear Children.

Barley Wood Octbr. 9 – 1815

The greatest satisfaction I can receive in the present state of things is that we met in August. Tho I looked not to our meeting again in this world little did I think our final separation was so near!


More refers here to the deaths of Henry Thornton in January, and Marianne Sykes Thornton his wife in October.


Dr Pennington attended Henry and Marianne Thornton in their illnesses, and was with Henry at the end of his life. Pennington also provided medical care to other Clapham families, including the Grants. See E. M. Forster, Marianne Thornton, p. 127.