Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, December 4th 1819

To: Miss Thornton
Address: Battersea Rise/ Clapham/ London
Postmark: C6DE61819 and [unclear] o’Clock DE6 [1819] END
Seal: Black wax
Watermarks: J&M 1816


MS: University Library, Add.7951/6
Published: Undetermined

[Letter paper is black edged][2]
My dear Marianne

Thanks for your very kind and interesting letter. We were all deeply affected with Henry Venn and all the circumstances which accompanied his introduction into his sacred Office.[3] May he, in living and preaching be the exact representative of his excellent Father’s. Such fathers as his and yours have left a high Standard to which I trust it will be the study and the delight of the children of both families to act up. It is a great thing even where we cannot say we have altogether attained to be always pressing forward. I doubt not I shall admire Mr. Dealtry’s Sermon[4] as I do every thing that comes from his pen, his head, and his heart. I should be sorry if they had diluted it. I do not approve of that prudence which is apt to put ‘trop d’eau dans le vins de peres.’ [5] In my poor judgment it is not easy to be too strong on the delinquencies of the present times – When we adopt excessive moderation to the few we are guilty of cruelty to the many – I should prefer the Sermon glowing and animated as you heard it, to the more lowered cautious production, after it had passed thro the hands of the nibbling and lapping critics.

Take notice I write upon your information for I have not yet seen the Sermon in question. I have had much anxiety on the subject of Mrs. Inglis. Her life is so valuable that one cannot think without deep concern of any thing likely to affect it. I beg my kind regards to them both, and tell Mr. Inglis how much I felt the sympathizing kindness of his affectionate letter . I am now beginning to answer with my own pen a few of the overflowing number I have received. I have deeply felt the affectionate kindness of many though I have not been able to acknowledge it. My eyes are better, but I am not yet able to use them by candle light, which now fills a large portion of ones time. Mrs. Macaulay and her daughter[6] who have been with me near a Month have most kindly supplied my lack of sight. Alas! it is Newspapers that now fill too much of ones time and thoughts. I tremble for our country politically and morally. I do not know my own nation we certainly are not that England I once knew, and must always love. I look to the death of the king as the completion of our calamities . Rivington has asked leave to collect into a [tear]le cheap book the Tracts and ballads agai[nst] [tear] Se[dition] [tear] and blasphemy I wrote in the last year or two, as they will now come from the Organ of Orthodoxy, I hope they may make their way, you must recommend the dispersion of them to all who come in your way I shall order one to be sent to Mr. Inglis.[7]

I expect your friend Zachary this day ; from him I expect to hear a great deal about you all. I hope dear Lucy has quite recovered her strength. My love to the [sic] all, and to the ancient Burton when you see him. I hope she continues staunch. Do let me hear from you sometimes – a letter costs you little or nothing and it is great pleasure to me I owe some expression of love and gratitude to almost every Grant. I do love them all cordially.[8]

Be sure write your next on a good handsome Sheet, they made me pay double for the two small pieces received last night.

God bless you my very dear Marianne
prays your truly affectionate
H More


The letter is dated based on the postmarks.


Hannah More’s last sister, Patty, had died on 14 September 1819.


Henry Venn was ordained a deacon in 1819.


William Dealtry, The dispositions and conduct required of Christians towards their rulers; . and the tendency of infidelity to promote a spirit of disloyalty. A sermon, preached at the parish church of Clapham, in Surrey, on Sunday, November 7, 1819 (London: 1819). The sermon was a response to the Peterloo Massacre which had occurred on 16 August 1819.


‘Too much water in the wine of our fathers’: a colloquialism which means ‘to tone it down’.


The Macaulays had five daughters. It is not known which one made this visit.


More had been asked in 1817 to write new tracts to help quell dissent and violence, which had led to the revocation of Habeas Corpus that year. These were reprinted by Rivington in 1819 as Cheap Repository Tracts Suited to the Present Times.


The Grants were close friends and neighbours of the Thorntons. Marianne Thornton, in her ‘Recollections’ of her childhood, written after she left Clapham Common, and published in part by her great-nephew E. M. Forster, wrote that ‘The Grants lived close to us, and in nearly every confinement Mrs Grant came to nurse my mother, and she generally brought over some of her daughters [...] They lived where the Horners do now, and our houses and grounds were almost common property [...] My father and mother delighted in the Grants more than any other family with whom they were acquainted’ (E. M. Forster, Marianne Thornton, p. 33).