To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 August [1817]

To: [In another hand, in black ink] The Lady Olivia Sparrow
Address: Southampton [Beneath the address, in the same hand, is written] I. H. Addington. [In a different hand, in red ink] No 20 Park Lane/ London
Postmark: [Partial] 30AU30/1817
Seal: Black wax
Watermarks: Undetermined

August 1817. / Mrs. H– More

MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 f. 63-5
Published: Undetermined

My dearest Lady Olivia

I have had this Frank two days without finding a single quarter of an hour to write; this morning I thought I had secured a little time when unexpect /ed/ ly poor Lady Southampton came to spend /a/ good part of the day . She has had so many afflictions, (one sweet daughter has had a one leg cut off, and the other seems threatening the same calamity)[2] that one cannot but feel a particular interest for the Mother. She is entirely devoted to religion, and lives in so profound a retirement that I am afraid it will not be good for the young Lord who accompanied /her./ [3] I have been pleading for the young people, who being only children cannot be expected to be quite so abstracted as she wishes. The eldest girl is very pious and to her, confinement is no hardship. I have run on this long to account for the very short time /I shall have/ to desire you to thank Mr. Obins for his very kind letter, and to thank you my very dear Lady Olivia for your very kind few lines; but I must request you not to think I am so unreasonable as to expect even a single line from your own hand till your heart is more at ease. The accounts from Falmouth were not very encouraging. God grant the next may be more favourable! I long to know the decision of the last consultation. I do not much like your being driven out again on the ocean in the tempestuous Season of the Equinox which is approaching. [4] I am afraid too it is bad for your own health, which I must say is no inconsiderable thing in the account current.

I was much grieved to hear that dear Miss Sparrow had had an Attack. I cannot forbear of asking you (because I promised I would do so) whether you have heard of a Mr. Stewart a Scotch Clergyman who is said to have done wonders in consumption cases,[5] and to whom patients are flocking from all quarters. I am told he quite restored a daughter of the late Duke of Northumberland[6] who was supposed to be past cure. His Mode of treatment is quite new, and as it should seem, quite rash. Instead of starving he feeds his patients, allows them meat and all nourishing things. The reason he assigns for this is, that whatever increase of fever it promotes, is counterbalanced by food giving strength to resist the fever. Pray remember that I should be the last person to advise your going to Scotland to consult this Clerical Empyric, but a promise was extorted from me by some Scotch Women of fashion, that I woud mention it. Every one feels so much for you that if prayers and cordial good wishes could restore your dear invalid, his sufferings would be removed. But I am well aware that there is an Almighty, All merciful Being, who loves him better than any friends, or even than his fond Mother and who never willingly afflicts his children, but who sometimes manifests more love in afflicting them than in a dispensation which to our short sighted views woud seem more grievous. He can make sickness a blessing both to the sufferer and to his friends.

I gallop on hardly knowing what I write and without a minute to read it, but I cannot bear to suffer another post to go out without a line. I have had several good books given me lately, among others the life and Diary of Mrs. Graham [7] an American which contains as much solid piety expressed in as eloquent strains as I have often seen; for I am not in general fond of Diaries. ‘Cowpers’ letters’ You have read by this time, and are I trust as much pleased with them as I am.[8] Chalmers Evidences ,[9] White’s and Beans Sermons ,[10] the two Preachers at Welbeck Chapel and two old friends of mine have been also sent me /& Blackmans Life ./ [11] I wish they could also send me time to read them.

Poor Patty is still in very bad health. I am much troubled about her. She joins me in every respectful and affectionate remembrance to your Ladyship, Mr. and Miss Sparrow and Mr. Obins. I do not trouble the latter with an answer because I write to You which is the same Pray tell him I think Warner[12] a very trumpery fellow. He puts paragraphs from his worthless Sermon in the Bath Paper every week, and sometimes writes them in verse in the hope of discrediting the serious Clergy /, which he seems to have much at heart./ [13]

I am expecting to morrow the Bishop of Salisbury and Mrs. Fisher. I hope he will confirm all the very favourable reports we hear from all [qu]arters [tear], of his late Royal pupil.[14]

Adieu my dearest Lady Olivia, I commend you in the Apostolic words to God and the word of his grace. If Lady Gosford is with you assure of her best regards I am ever
Your faithful and affectionate
H. More


The letter is dated on the basis of the postmark and contextual information.


Lady Southampton had two daughters, but it has not been possible to determine what lay behind their unfortunate condition.


Charles Fitzroy, third Baron Southampton (1804-72), had inherited his father’s title aged only six.


This is likely a reference to the declining health of Lady Olivia’s only son, Robert. On doctor’s orders he was shortly after taken abroad, to the south of France, where he died the following year.


The Dr Stewart recommended by More is very likely the same man attracting praise in The Monthly Gazette of Health 8 (1823). Read on Google Books


Hugh Percy, second Duke of Northumberland (1742-1817). He had two daughters: Lady Emily Frances, and Lady Agnes Percy.


Isabella Graham, The power of faith exemplified in the life and writings of the late Mrs. Isabella Graham (New York, 1816). (Read at the Internet Archive)


Memoir of the Early Life of William Cowper, Esq. Written by himself, and never before published. With an appendix, containing some of Cowper's religious letters, and other interesting documents, illustrative of the memoir (London: Printed for the editor, & sold by E. Cox & Son, 1816).(Read at the Hathi Trust)


Thomas Chalmers, The Evidence and authority of the Christian Revelation (Edinburgh: Blackwood, Oliphant, Waugh, and Innes, 1817). See ( Read at the Internet Archive)


Possibly Thomas White, Sermons preached at Welbeck chapel, St. Mary-le-bone (1817)(Read on Google Books), and James Bean, Parochial Instruction: or, Sermons delivered from the pulpit, at different times, in the course of thirty years (London: F. C. & J. Rivington, 1817). (Read on Google ooks)


It has not been possible to identify this text.


Reverend Richard Warner, vicar of Norton St Philip near Frome in Somerset. In her correspondence with Zachary Macaulay in November 1817, Warner’s dislike of evangelical ‘gloominess’ is commented upon. See 21 Nov 1817 to Zachary Macaulay (Read on Google Books)


Notice of Warner’s sermon, preached on 2 June, also appeared in the London reviews. See The Critical Review 5 (1817), p, 649 (Read on Google Books)


John Fisher had recently been released from his role as tutor to the heir presumptive, Princess Charlotte, a position he had held since 1805. She was at this time heavily pregnant with her first child, but would die shortly after giving birth, on 6 November 1817.