Hannah More to William Wilberforce

To: Wm. Wilberforce Esqr.

MS: Weston Library, University of Oxford, MS Wilberforce c. 48, ff. 29-30
Published: Undetermined

My dear Friend

I know I ought not to write to you oppressed as you are; but I am really anxious to learn some thing of your dear Invalid. Perhaps you will let my Godaughter send me a bulletin.

Things seem to be going on de mal en pis What perjury is carrying on at this moment and not among the vulgar only! a friend of mine, who spoke of his own knowledge, told me that this pernicious Woman’s chief champion, I had almost said bully, Lord Carnarvon has repeatedly called the Q a d__d basistone [unclear] – pray burn Dr. Brydges was here a day or two or two ago, he was just come from Dr. Parr who is his tenant, and was his Curate. Parr told him that he had written no answers for the Queen since July, but that he had committed it entirely to Fellowes. He (Parr) was in such a rage with the Bishops! and part of what he said would have become a better man “Hes not the Church (said he) given us 39 Articles how does that fellow at Peterboro’ stretch it /to/ 89? It is the greatest stretch of Tyranny over the consciences of Men that ever was exerted. No Pope ever took so arbitrary a step.”

It is said, and /it/ would be great joy to have it confirmed, that the K – is not only living very quietly, but that he has prayers read to him every morning – but all this [unclear] me nothing so long as he is not more careful of his company, but if he really does pray I shall have great hopes.

You have, I suppose, now looked through Foster’s important book “on popular ignorance” I cannot but fear that he /has/ pushed his point of popular education so far that he will, with the Adversaries, (Lord Sid – at their head injure the cause he meant to advance – It is in my poor judgment preposterous to think of making labouring Men profound Historians, Philosophers &c – if they could find the money where would they find the time? I stick to my old idea which I fancied I was so happily realizing at Blagdon – that of appointing a very sensible, as well as pious Schoolmaster for the poor [deletion] both Sundays and week-days, and pay him; but to give him the advantage of taking on week days with Tanners and little tradesmens sons, who were to pay him for writing Arithmetic, and general common reading, History of England &c. – Now as even Tanners have no objection to religion when they are not obliged to practise it themselves, and when it costs nothing for their children, my object was that they should get that Christian instruction which should qualify them for Constables Overseers, Jurymen &c &c that they should be taught the awful Nature of /an/ Oath, which they too often took without any due sense of its importance. This my favourite plan I was obliged to sacrifice, & give up the parish to the reprobation which has followed, on being accused of sedition &c &c. – Somewhat of this I mentioned to Mr. Macaulay in the letter he shewed Brougham who appears to me to have taken juster views of the Subject than Foster (whom however I greatly admire) and without his Republicanism.

I ought to be ashamed of obtruding my poor opinion, which I should not do, were I not perhaps less ignorant of the character and the wants of the lower class than on any other subject Radicalism here as elsewhere spreads terribly; my /Loyal/ neighbour Mr. Wylde a Rector of two parishes and a Magistrate; at his Tythe dinner could only get five Men out of fifty to drink the kings health. – The Cryer of the Court Leet at Wrington refused the old form at dismissing the meeting to say God save the king –

I wish you could have any means of discouraging a New Mondays Bath Paper, I believe it is called the Mercury. There have only /been/ three Numbers it is as bad as the Times; it is doing infinite harm in my village. The advertisements are stuck up at every corner, and the vender with his horn attracts every body round him –

I know that the Lord is king be the people never so unquiet – but it is the provenance of a /King/ to punish as well as to protect.

Indeed I did not intend this length when I began – I go on tolerably well – You did drop something of my seeing you again, but I dare not hope it. My companion sends her best respects. Lord Exmouth is hissed at Plymouth, where he is temporary briefing [unclear] – The infection is universal

Yet there remaineth a rest for the people of God [the letter ends abruptly]