Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, October 11th 1819

To: Miss Thornton
Address: Battersea Rise/ Clapham/ London/ R. H. Inglis Esqr/ Sea Beach Cottage/ Dover
Stamped: Present but illegible
Postmark: 12 o’Clock OC 11 1819 END and A13OC131819 and [unclear] Clock OC. 13 1819 END and [unclear] C14 1819
Seal: Black wax
Watermarks: YM 1816


MS: Cambridge University Library, Add.7951/5
Published: Undetermined

[Letter paper is black edged][1]
My dearest Lady Olivia Marianne

Your extreme true kindness in writing me so affectionate a letter, when dear Lucy was so ill was gratifying to me. I have now heard from Mrs. Macaulay that she is doing well, but that you are under some anxiety for the valuable health of Mrs. Inglis. This gives me great concern which I am sure you will remove, if you can, by informing me that she is better. Her life is so important not only to the more intimate companion of her joys and sorrows, but to all his adopted family that I cannot think of any serious illness befalling her without taking the deepest interest in it. I have frequently lamented that one of the worst effects of sickness or sorrow is, that it is apt to induce selfishness, but on this occasion I have not realized my own idea.

I have received about a hundred letters full of kindness and condolence, and many of them, of piety – but I have felt myself utterly unable to answer them – You will be so kind as make this true apology to any friends who may think themselves neglected. My health has been very bad, and neither body or mind has yet made much progress, the former I hope is most in fault, for I bless God my mind is I trust unrepining and submissive, but it is still very weak. I am forbid by my Doctor to see company, for which I am thankful as I have no heart to see any but two or three particular friends in my own room – for talking brings back the complaint in my chest. Your excellent Mr. Dealtry kindly promises to come to see me from Bath I hope it will not be till I am much better, as I should be sorry to see him only for an hour in my chamber which is all I can yet do. It is grievous too that Lord and Lady Teignmouth should be at Clifton at this time – It is many years that we both looked forward to seeing those dear friends for a few days, and [deletion] now I can so little profit by their neighbourhood is painful to me.

I spare myself entering on the details of her four dying days – They were exquisitely painful; but blessed be God, the trial was not long, and every interval of reason exhibited. the strength of her faith and the resignation of her Soul [2] – She cast herself entirely on the mercies of God, and the merits of a crucified Saviour. I believe never was an obscure individual more generally lamented – this is only gratifying as it bears such a testimony to her worth. The kindness of the good is very soothing, but real consolation must come from a higher source.

She has left the chief part of her property to charities and small legacies to a few friends, All to be paid after my death among the latter little expressions of affection, she has left you fifty pounds and her Go[dau]ghter [tear] Lucy twenty –

I suppose you know all the Wilberfor[ces] [tear] were here, and that she went to Cheddar with them the very day her mortal seizure attacked her! Mr. Walone, came and most kindly staid a day last week.

I hope the bathing was of service to all – I am glad dear Bella is so renovated. My affectionate love to all not forgetting the Ancient Barton

Assure Mr. and Mrs. Inglis of my most cordial esteem and attachment. –

I hope to hear from you at your leisure especially till Mrs. I. is better . Mrs. Macaulay and Selina kindly promise to come to relieve my Solitude soon My complaint in my eyes must apologize for this scrawl – This complaint is doubtless sent as a fresh weaning and warning. The sight is not affected, thank God. – We can pray for each other, and prayer is one of the last Offices of friendship – Dear Patty had long been much in prayer, and thought (tho she never owned it to me) that her summons was at no great distance. May we all be united to her and your beloved parents in God’s own time

H More


The last of More’s four sisters, Patty, had died on 14 September 1819, leaving Hannah bereft.


Patty’s death was drawn out and distressing. Anne Stott gives the following account: ‘her energy seemed to revive [...] when the Wilberforces came to Barley Wood for a week [in September 1819]. She insisted on accompanying them on outings to the local beauty spots, and on the evening of the 9th she kept Wilberforce up until nearly midnight, talking animatedly about Hannah’s early life. Then a couple of hours after retiring to bed, “she awoke in the pangs of death” with “agonies unspeakable” and “shrieks” that rent her sister’s heart’ (Stott, The First Victorian, p. 315). See also Wilberforce's diary entry, quoted in The Life of William Wilberforce (1832), vol. 5, p. 32. (Read online.)