To Lady Olivia Sparrow, September 1815

To: The Lady Olivia B. Sparrow
Address: / Sidmouth
Postmark: None
Seal: Black Wax
Watermarks: Undetermined


MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 ff. 53-4
Published: Undetermined

My dearest Lady Olivia

I return you many thanks in behalf of the poor and needy and him that is ready to perish for your kind benefaction of £25. I should not have delayd this so long, but that the day I received it arrived here Lord C. and his Sister [2] and Mr. Wilberforce. This has fully occupied me for the last three days. They are just gone I not only could find no time to write, but I wished to defer it till I could say something about them. Ld. C. looks well, and tho he is not, as you know naturally communicative and gay yet he seemed not to labour under the same depression of spirits, but seemed to take an interest in the conversation without much joining in it. Not a word passed on a certain subject of course. Your name was never once pronounced when we were together, nor did Mr. W. when we were alone once advert to it nor in any particular manner to the late indisposition. Miss C. when we were alone incidentally mentioned your name several times on indifferent subjects, and mentioned with much feeling, that you had been kind and useful to her unfortunate deceased brother.[3] In short no bystander would have suspected that any thing extraordinary had passed. Ld. C. is still slower of speech than usual but that is all. Unfortunately, Dr. Perry[4] in whom they seem to place extreme confidence has a bad paralytic stroke. This seems likely to shorten their stay at Bath. Tho in fact there is little /or/ nothing in what I have said yet I thought you would like to hear that little. I believe both W and I were equally afraid to broach the Subject and perhaps as things are irrevocably fixed, it was as well not. No one I have seen from Clifton or elsewhere has ever said a word on the subject; this shows that it is not generally known, otherwise it would be talked of. So I hope you will cheer up and be comfortable and happy.[5]

They told us Mr. Dunn was intending to have been here the day they came, but as they gave him an intimation of the scantiness of our accommodations, he has delay’d his coming. I suppose we shall see him now, on his way to you.

We have had a good many interesting Visitors lately from different parts of Europe full of various [unclear] information. The last were Sir Gore and Lady Ouseley our Persian friends.

P. has been better for a few days.

I hear Mr. Sparrow is got back to his Mentor. I dare say I shall soon see them. Our dear Bishop spoke kindly of him in his letter to me. I presume you have lost both him and Mr. Mernott:[6] but Mr. Dunn will repair the loss. I am sorry to hear that excellent and amiable Man a little too /much/ vindicates some of the peculiar opinions of our friend Knox. You must combat them if you find them carried a little too far. Of course you will not drop what I have said

With love to dear Millicent I am ever
my dearest Lady faithfully yours
H. More

I woud not ask Mr. W for a Frank lest he should suspect I was on the look-out for intelligence. I sat in continual fear lest your name should escape me – Burn this


In a letter dated 23 September 1815 More wrote to Charles Hoare of this visit of Sir Gore Ousley’s in almost identical terms to those she uses here, suggesting the letters may have been written at around the same time.


Lord Calthorpe had two sisters, neither identified by the ODNB.


Lord Charles Gough-Calthorpe, second baron Calthorpe, who had died at the age of 21 in 1807.


It has not been possible to identify this individual.


This mysterious subject is the topic of a number of letters from More to Lady Olivia at this time. The matter seems to relate to a romantic attachment or entanglement between Lady Olivia’s son Robert, and an unknown lady.


It has not been possible to identify this individual.