To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [28? October 1819]

To: The Lady Olivia Sparrow
Address: Brampton Park/ Huntingdon
Postmark: C30OC301819
Seal: Black wax
Watermarks: Undetermined

Octr 1819.

MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 f. 78-9
Published: Undetermined

My dearest Lady Olivia

Two such very very kind and interesting letters merit to be acknowledged with a gratitude proportionate to their value. Thank you cordially for the account of your Royal Society. I delight in the prospect of improving good in the amiable character of the Duke. you fill me with a hope of his growth in piety.[2] His Mother had a strong friendship for me I always saw a great deal of her when in town, and in a long illness when I was not able to answer her, she never failed to write to me every week. [3] I have received a very sensible and rather pious letter from Princess Sophia just now. [4] I believe both brother and Sister want only right Society and Christian friends to make them all we could wish. [Two lines of deletion]

I pray earnestly that the Brampton Visit may prove as profitable as doubtless it was delightful to him. – How good you were in such a state of exhaustion to indulge me with writing! You know how I value your letters; it is in the same proportion in which I value your friendship. I I [sic] hope quiet will soon restore you to your moderate share at least of health and strength. Tho the retirement you meditate is good for your health and your mind, Yet it does not seem the Atmosphere in which you were born to live, in which you can do most good to others. Wherever you are I know you will do good with your pains [unclear] and your exertions; but you are still more wanted where your conversation is heard, and your example seen, and I am not sorry sometimes to hear of you in the higher circles that you may give them a relish for something better than their frivolous pursuits.

My health improves a little, but I still chiefly confine myself to my chamber for a pretence to avoid an influx of company. In my room I receive my particular friends. Yesterday Lady Lilford and her excellent daughters came.[5] Miss Emily spoke with delight of her visit to Brampton – Dear Lewis Way made me a long visit. He was delightfully entertaining with his Imperial communications ,[6] his sanguine, not hopes, but certainties, of the near approach of the last days. While he is talking in his heaven /ly/ anticipations, sanguine as he is, one cannot help adopting his views, and hoping as he hopes. He has preached twenty Sermons and Speeches within a week or two!! At Bristol my friends say he was almost superhuman.[7] He kindly pressed me to go and spend the Winter at Stanstead,[8] as Mr. Harford has done to pass it at Blaise Castle – but for old age sickness and sorrow there is nothing like home Every paper I open of my blessed Sister raises my ideas of her piety.[9] It is plain that she had expected her great change, for in her Pocketbook for this year,[10] she writes, 'this is the last account book I shall ever want'! she also says, – 'May every Year’s charities increase as becomes a Christian woman'! A few hours before her death when in exqui[site] [tear] pain, she said, on some one pitying her – [tear] I love my sufferings, they come from the [tear] and I love every thing that comes from him’. In her delirium she was always giving away cloaths or Shoes to poor Men and Women; tho this was in her wanderings, it showed the habit of her mind. I never knew a more devoted self denying creature.

I was so absorbed in my sorrow, that a second and third Edition of my book[11] have been nearly sold without my being able to make one correction. I never expected even the first Edition which was a large one would go off,[12] & my book seller writes me there never was a Season more particularly bad for the Sale of books on account of the state of the Country, so that I am astonished at a success I so little expected.[13] It was written in great haste. I now hope to make the next Edition if it reaches another, a little more correct. [14]

To my very dear Miss Sparrow say every thing that is kind from me; and with my cordial prayers for your health and comfort I remain
dearest lady ever yours
H More


The letter is dated on the basis of the postmark: letters of More’s are typically postmarked two days after the date written on them by More. The dating of the letter as October 1819 is certain; the day of writing is a deduction.


It has not been possible to identify which of George III’s sons More was referring to here, but five of them (the Dukes of York, Kent, Cumberland, Sussex and Cambridge, his second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh sons respectively) were active in evangelical circles and supported activities initiated by evangelical Christians.


Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818), wife and queen consort of George III. More had become acquainted with Queen Charlotte. Neither Roberts nor Stott mention a close friendship existing between the Queen and More. There are also no known letters between More and the Queen.


Princess Sophia (1777-1848), second youngest daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte.


Lady Mary Mann Powys (d. 1823), wife of Thomas Powys, 1st Baron Lilford. She had four surviving daughters: Eleanor (1773-1854); Lucy (d. 1847); Emily (d. 1844); and Louisa (1800-71). In her will, More left to Emily a copy of her Essay on the Character and Practical Writings of Saint Paul.


Lewis Way had recently returned from a journey to Europe and the Russian Empire, where he had undertaken studies of and missions for communities of Jews on the continent.


Whilst it has not been possible to identify Way’s itinerary whilst in Bristol at this period, the effects of his activities at this time were recorded in The Jewish Expositor and Friend of Israel 5 (1820), which documents significant donations to the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews. See p. 44. (Read at Google Books)


Lewis Way purchased Stansted Park near Chichester in Hampshire, in 1804.


Patty More, who had died on 14 September 1819.


Patty More’s pocketbook does not survive.


Moral Sketches, which was first published in late June 1819 by Cadell and Davies.


According to More’s biographer, Henry Thompson, the whole of the first edition of Moral Sketches sold out in one day. See The Life of Hannah More, II p. 113.


Thompson claimed that by 1838 10,000 copies had been sold, yielding £3,000.


Moral Sketches ultimately reached eleven editions.