Hannah More to William Wilberforce [incomplete]


MS: Weston Library, University of Oxford, MS Wilberforce c. 48, ff. 52-3
Published: Undetermined

My dear Sir

I had dispatched my pacquet last Night before I got your letter. – And now first as to the first Subject of it – I think I have only given Mr. Boak Witherspoons Sermons Doddridge on Regeneration and Rise & Progress but not Witherson on Regeneration – I dont think he has had any others from me, and I imagine these are all the very spiritual books he has read – I was thinking as it is a very expensive Work, and as I am rather famous for my œconomy (meanness my Sisters call it) that Your Scott’s Bible which I find is at Miss Mills’s after all, might be split into two very handsome presents, the old Testament for Mrs. Baber, (as she has got Backitt on the Gospels) and the New for Mr. Boak – Whatever You send, a very serious line from You recommending the Evangelical sort of Divinity wou’d I am persuaded have a good effect, as his Mind is just beginning to open itself to right Impressions

As to gratuities to the Schools I think we are spending Your Money fast enough without them. As to Mrs. Baber; if Scott’s Bible had not been sent I had proposed giving her a guinea for You, as a cheaper present, but certainly not if she is to have the Book. If we live and you come and see us next year you shall make what little presents you please, but just now I do not think to give any thing for you as this happens to be a season of abundance of gifts and pleasures, and we must not make pleasures too plenty. This Month is the time of all our Annual festivities. I know some even very good people think these indulgencies so wrong that for the quiet of my own conscience I always take the expence of all the festivities on myself, and never lay out the Money of my friends on any Objects of questionable usefulness. I have a System about these things, which is however controverted, even sometimes by my dear Mrs. Clarke – I do not think the generality are tender enough in their charity – judging of human Nature partly by myself, I believe a kindness is often valued more than a benefit. Including the Woman’s Club-feasts and the children’s dinner I contrive in the course of this Month to treat about 1700 in what they think a grand Way for a little more than thirty Pounds – And why shou’d not these poor depressed creatures have one day of harmless pleasure in a Year to look forward to? – To know You do not think my principle wrong one wou’d encourage me a little under the labour which is not small I encourage much your visit to Cirencester You have hopeful Subjects among the daughter My Lady is an honest, blunt, sincere friendly woman, with quicker Affections than persons of her rank commonly have – she has about as much Religion as decent Ladies generally pick /up/ from Blair’s Sermons – raves about the merit of her daughters, a little too much perhaps to young Gentlemen – That You may not be frightened I warn You that this is her custom. – They are all sober-minded domestic, sensible, and addicted to reading, but have had nobody to direct them – a little sententious, but right-minded, especially Ly: Tryphona, and Susan, the former has done all her father’s business for Years and is a very exemplary daughter – Susan, the youngest, has a fine understanding, very strong feelings, & wou’d have been very religious if she shou’d; her poor Mother once lamented to me she feared that wou’d be the case, but that she was so good naturally there was no occasion of it. What You call serious books I fancy they have never read, but are orderly and decent in all religious matters. Much might be done with these two – Catherine and Selina are good girls too but are more in the World, go more to Court, and are more in pleasure, tho not one of them is dissipated, or light – I think you will do good too to a young Clergyman they have, a Son of Judge Willes – active charitable, worthy, but I suspect not much enlightened as to the great truths – Go by all means. It is your own fault that [letter ends abruptly]