Hannah More to Thomas Babington Macaulay, 14 October [no year]

To: Master Thos. B. Macaulay
Address: Clapham
Stamped: None
Postmark: None
Seal: None
Watermarks: 1810


MS: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge: Henry Holland Album, p. 29 (1)
Published: Undetermined

My dear Tom

I must write one line to thank for your two letters , which I do with the more pleasure because they were written in so good a hand, so neat and free from blots. By this obvious improvement you have intitled yourself to another book. You must go to Hatchard’s and chuse. I think we have nearly exhausted the Epics. What think you of a little good prose? – Johnson’s Hebrides[2] or Walton’s Lives[3] – unless you would like a neat Edition of Cowper’s Poems [4] or of Paradise Lost[5] for your own eating[6] – In any case chuse something which you do not possess. – I want you to become a complete Frenchman that I may give you Racine the only Dramatic Poet I know in any modern language that is perfectly pure and good.[7] On second thoughts what say you to Potter’s Eschylus [8] on attendant that you are a complete Grecian? – It is very finely done and as heroic as any of your Epics. If you prefer it Send for this to Hatchard’s neatly bound. I think you have hit off the Ode very well, I am much obliged to you for the Dedication . I shall reserve your translation to see how progressive your improvement is. Next Summer if it please God I hope We shall talk over some of these things. Remember me kindly to Your Pappa and tell him I cannot say how much I am obliged to him for his kindness to poor Shepherd [9] . He has made the Widow’s heart to sing for joy[10] – O Tom! that is better, and will be found so in the long /run/ to have written as good an Ode as Horace himself[11] .

My love to your Sisters – All here send theirs
Yrs. affectly.
H More

If you had not religious Points, I should propose religious books but I know You are so well supplied in that most important article that it would be sending coals to Newcastle.


The letter is dated based on the watermark.


Samuel Johnson’s A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland was first published in 1775. His companion James Boswell’s A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides appeared in 1785.


Izaak Walton, The Lives of Dr. John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Mr. Richard Hooker, Mr. George Herbert, originally published in 1675.


Possibly Poems by William Cowper (London: J. Johnson, 1801).


Multiple editions of John Milton’s epic poem were available in the early nineteenth century.


More's choice of a gustatory metaphor perhaps alludes to Francis Bacon's Of Studies (1597, enlarged 1625).


Jean Racine (1639-99), French dramatist and poet. Anne Stott notes that ‘even in her Francophobic old age [More] kept her love of much French literature, with the moralistic Racine a special favourite’. See Stott, Hannah More, p. 11. More learned to read French fluently whilst a young girl.


Robert Potter, The Tragedies of Aeschylus Translated (1777). More met him in 1788 at one of Elizabeth Montagu's salons: 'The only person who was new to me was Mr Potter, the learned and elegant translator of Aeschylus. He is a very amiable and modest man'.


It has not been possible to identify this individual.


"The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy." Job 29:13 (KJV)


Two manuscript poems by Thomas Babington Macaulay survive in the Huntington Library among HM 32039-32046.