To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 August [1816]

To: [In another hand] The Lady O B Sparrow
Address: Tennant’s Hotel/ Southville St/ Dublin
Postmark: Present but not readable
Seal: Black wax
Watermarks: Undetermined


MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 ff. 51-2
Published: Undetermined

My dearest Lady Olivia

The sight of your hand writing rejoyced me the more in proportion as the interval of silence had been longer than usual. I do not much like this loss of ‘fat and strength’ in one who had so little to spare of either. I am afraid you work that delicate person and active mind more than they can afford to be worked. It is with no small pleasure I hear of your pleasant projects for next month. How many things shall we have to say and to hear! Have you not observed that when real friends meet after a long separation, tho each is impatient to hear all the other has to say, yet there is such an excitement in the spirits, that all talk at once and tho much pleasure is felt little information is gained

I congratulate you on having had or rather ceased such good and profitable Bible Meetings. We hear strange things are brewing in your Neighbourhood, but hope the reports are not true.

Mr. Sparrow spent a day with us lately with Mr. and Mrs. Hodson. [2] I had never seen her before, she is a pretty pleasing Woman. Mr. S. called on us again on Saturday in his return from their Devonshire Tour, in high health and Spirits; his beauty rather increased than diminished by having ridden so long a journey in the Sun , for thank God, (who has not forgotten to be gracious) we have Sun at last, and I trust, thro his mercy in time to save the harvest

In reply to your kind enquiries after the health of our now reduced party, the best answer I can make to it seems to be that at our Bible Meeting in the Village last week /we/ not only attended, but after it was over entertained above 60 Gentlemen and ladies at dinner and about 120 at tea! Think of us poor creatures doing so dashing a thing!! But without such exertions we find it will not be kept up.[3] The dear Bishop of Gloucester was with us to breakfast before Nine with Mrs. Ryder &c We had much good speaking, and I think in a good spirit, for there was neither acrimony nor adulation. We had twenty five Clergymen of the Establishment and but one Dissenter, so I think we at least shall not contribute much to overturn either Church or State.

We were much gratified by a visit of a few days from the two Mr. Charles Grants, as I presume your late guest told You. I tried much to detain him, and to bestow on us a little of that Oratory which I have so often admired upon paper, but business called him to town, and his excellent father was engaged to visit his Constituents in Invirnesshire. His hurry however did not prevent his sending me down some good books e’re he departed

I sincerely sympathized with Lord Calthorpe on his great family calamity.[4] I shall be glad to see him, if he comes, as I hear he intends, into this Neighbourhood. He is a genuine Christian I really think.

The Bishop and Mrs. Ryder have very cordially pressed us to go soon to them, but notwithstanding all my bragging just now, I feel as if I should not [v]isit [tear] any more but be satisfied with seeing my friends at home. For tho I am tolerably well myself, my Sisters are but poorly , and we h[ave] [tear] not slept from home since this time twelvemon[th] [tear] when we were at Wells. George Sandford told me that the Bishop had invited him to meet you there, and that Mrs. R. who knows that her house and beds, have limits said, ‘he has asked ten already.’ Dont mention this. She doubtless wished to keep the party smaller and more select.

Not a word of dear Millicent all this time. My best love attends her. How glad we shall be to see you both here!

My Sisters join their respectful regards to those of my dearest Lady Olivia, your ever obliged and affectionate
H. More

You know I presume that all the Thorntons and the Inglis’s are gone unto Yorkshire.[5]


The letter is dated on the basis of the postmarks.


Mrs Hodson was a niece of James Stephen.


More and her sister, Patty, held an event like this every summer after the founding of the Auxiliary Bible Society in Wrington in April 1813. Anne Stott has suggested that the festivals were evidence of More’s ‘shrewdness’, her awareness that ‘sociability and celebration’ were important ‘to the creation of Evangelical culture’ (see Stott, p. 299). More demonstrated her awareness of this in her correspondence. See letter to William Wilberforce, 1818.


Lord Calthorpe’s younger brother, the Honourable John Gough-Calthorpe, had died on 10 June aged only twenty-three.


In the aftermath of the deaths of Henry and Marianne Sykes Thornton, the Thornton children spent a good length of time with their Yorkshire relatives (they were especially close to their mother’s brother, Daniel Sykes, and his wife).