To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 29 October 1822

To: The Lady Olivia B. Sparrow
Address: Brighton
Postmark: None
Seal: Red wax
Watermarks: Undetermined


MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 f. 87-88
Published: Undetermined

My dearest Lady Olivia

If I have not sooner offered /to/ you my congratulations, I have not forgotten to offer for you my cordial prayers.

I wrote to the dear Viscountess[1] as soon as I saw by the papers the happy event[2] had taken /place./ but as I directed it to Brampton Park she may not yet have received it. My heart was with you too my dearest lady but a return of illness has put me back in my most interesting duties. It was an attack brought on by my being overdone with business, brot. on me by the distress of a relation, whom I have put myself to no small inconvenience to assist. – I am still very weak & feverish.

And now let me, in the fulness of my heart, join with you in adoring that infinite goodness which has enabled you to accomplish so desirable, yet alas! so painful an object. This is a fresh exemplification of the imperfection of all human things. Even the best devised, and the most successfully executed /plans/ must, in the very nature of human things have some draw back, some reminding that this is not our rest. This noble alliance this amiable and excellent husband seems to be all that was necessary to compleat your own felicity. And yet this admirable daughter, the dearest object of your fond solicitude, this fine creature so carefully educated, and whose conduct, piety, and accomplished Mind has /so/ amply rewarded your cares and anxieties, this beloved being must be parted with, her dear Society be transferred to another. Happily that other seems to be all you could wish, or hope, and she will, I am persuaded receive and confer as much happiness as this mutable and transitory state can bestow.

I have often been surprised to see Mothers hold it as a general principle that daughters must be got rid of, at almost any rate, even before any specific proposal presents itself. For this, they are hawked about to every fashionable Market, when there is little expectation to dispose of them by private contract. How different has been your conduct! You kept your treasure to yourself till you saw the fairest prospect of her securing her happiness and multiplying her blessings by a connection worthy of her – c’est tout dire!

The Bishop of Gloucester’s ‘Charge’[3] must have delighted you. It is a kind of Vademecum for Clergymen. I have seen him [tear] I quitted my bed and his new born infant whom he calls his Duodecimo. [4] I have also had in my sick room lately, Robert Grant Sir R. Inglis, Lord Sidmouth, the learned Dr. Macbride[5] with many other distant friends whom I never thought to see in this world.

I will not touch on the many painful topics which have lately occurred – I rejoyce to find however that tho his loss can never be supplied, dear Owen’s family are left in comfortable circumstances. I had feared the contrary. Mr. Macaulay has lent me his valuable Wife for a short time in the absence of my other friend. She leaves me to morrow. I have always some inmate to receive my company below, write my letters and carry on the family devotions, and read to me

That every blessing may attend you, and that after this short life (mine must be very short) we may meet in a World where there will be neither sin sorrow or separation is the fervent prayer of
My dearest Lady Olivia
Your very faithful
and affectionate
H More


Millicent Sparrow who had married George Montagu, later 6th Duke of Manchester.


The marriage had taken place on 8 October 1822.


A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Gloucester at the Third Visitation of that Diocese in the year 1822, by Henry Ryder, DD., Bishop of Gloucester (London: Hatchard, 1822). Reviewed in The British Review, and London Critical Journal (December 1822), article XII.


Ryder had a total of thirteen children with his wife, Sophia. His newborn son was the twelfth child of their union, enabling the pun on the traditional book size one twelfth of the printing sheet.


Both More and a 'J. Macbride L.L.D Oxford' subscribed to The Truth and Consistency of Divine Revelation: With Some Remarks on the Contrary Extremes of Infidelity and Enthusiasm, in Eight Discourses Delivered Before the University of Oxford, at St. Mary's, in the Year MDCCCXI, at the Lecture Founded by the Late Rev. John Bampton, Canon of Salisbury (1813). This is perhaps John David Macbride, Professor of Arabic and Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, for whom there is a biographical entry in Alumni Oxoniensis.