Hannah More to William Wilberforce


MS: Weston Library, University of Oxford, MS Wilberforce 3, ff. 242-3.
Published: Undetermined

My dear Sir

I have neglected to obey your commands in sending the deficient Numbers of Scott’s bible till I begin to fear you may be removed out of the reach of your Bookseller

As I desired our sage friend the Historian of Africa to communicate to You the result of my several interviews with Ladies Waldegrave and Easton, I shou’d not take up your time with referring to it now but with a view of furnishing you with a first stimulus for the diligent prosecution of your Work – You have so many Works, that I ought to discriminate better, by saying your Book – To these and such as them, the secret ones of God, who have desires and dispositions which they are obliged to smother for want of some cheering countenance to encourage, or some helping hand to guide them, it will I conceive be particularly animating & serviceable. Where, in their Station shall they look for comfort and assistance when they told me that tho acquainted with several Bishops they never cou’d get a word of seriousness or profit from any of them? For when Ly. E – mentioned her finding Bp. Watsons conversation the most profitable I thought it right to warn her of my Suspicious as to his principles. I wish I may not have done harm in my conversations with these amiable Women Alas! I am too apt to err on the side of prudence; but here I was so impressed with their wants & necessities, and with the importance of my few short opportunities which might never return, that I fear I accelerated Matters more than they had strength to bear, and like your friend whom you advised to be cautious, I caught myself talking of the new Birth when it might have been safer to have rested in lower views and doctrines less novel & terrifying But somewhat like Lord Hastings, I reflected
– that I had an Age’s work,
And but a minute’s time to do it in.

I had an affecting letter from Ly Waldegrave Yesterday lamenting that while she is reading the Books I have given her her Mind is full of distraction & her attention drawn off by worldly thoughts. – This whole family seems worth attention – I think you shou’d hereafter renew your acquaintance with the Duchess, if only for the sake of Prince W – who seems to have right dispositions

I fear you will condemn me, as your friend did for refusing to go to Ly W –– s. My conscience is not quiet about it, but I am such a miserable crutch for feebleness to rest /upon/ that I am afraid of doing harm instead of good. I wou’d not have taken shelter behind this Excuse, tho, if I had not had a better in my concerns here where I thought I was wanted.

Excuse this long scrawl from
Yr. obliged & sincere
H More