Hannah More to Henry Thornton, September 12th 1799

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MS: Cambridge University Library, Add. 7674/1/E/1
Published: Undetermined

I coud not answer your letter sooner. As you seem to wish to furnish Tracts for this Month I will say no more against /it/ but I hope you will allow it to drop afterwards. – Hazard writes me he can get no
3d. part of Cannardly.
No Prayers nor 1st Hester Wilmot
Nor 7 Part Bragwell – He suggests that Editions of these & some others shoud be printed

I own I do not feel disposed to make Hazard any compensation for what I know has been a gainful business to him. He thinks there is a deal of money and he may get a share. I will give you an instance of his covetousness. He has just recommd. to me his Nephew as Master of my new School at Wedmore with a high character. His /Man/ has been in trade and faild for want of Capital. As usual I found I must pay his debts before I coud get him, but he and his wife seemd such superior people I thought it right to put up with this /loss./ It was 30 or 40£ – I proposed to Hazd. to advance £15 only which he was to be repaid but he refused for so near a relation and has thrown the debt in my hands. I must pay £25 or lose the Man To help out this /Expence/ I assure you I refused to have any medical Assistance after my Accident for being so far from Bristol I know it wou’d cost a great deal.

This Subject of Money leads me to say (which I did not intend) that I believe I must desire you not to give away the Interest of Mrs. Bouveries’s Money any more but to let me have it; do not however tell her this just now. I am now engaged for such very large expences, that, humanly speaking, I do not very well see how I shall get thro it, and my faith /which is not over strong/ is kept pretty much on the sketch. Assessed Taxes and some other things have reduced my Sisters’ Income £150 a Year and they spent all before; as I shall feel it right to help towards this deficiency I shall not be able to make /the new/ addition towards the Schools which I had hoped I will not however distrust that Providence which has so unexpectedly carried me on hitherto and I hope to use these little difficulties and uncertainties as an exercise of my trust in him, You will think so when I tell you that in spite of the continued opposition at Wedmore we are building a house there P. says she thinks we tire you with our Stories, I will however tell you one which I think will be much to Mrs. Clarke’s taste. After going on Sunday to Wedmore (30 miles there and back) on the wettest day I was ever out in we found our poor 300 Children assembled in the half finished room without a floor a door or a window, we taught them with great peace and content, not one of the Farmers condescending to come nigh us, or offering the least accommodation tho the rain was so violent /but I borrowed a Cottage/ At length the season came out – The children had /been/ trying to sing for the first time one of Watt’s Hymns, this brought a Farmer who said now he was sure we were Methodys; on being asked what gave the Parish such a terror of Methodists he said this was his answer – ‘Some years ago a Methody preacher came and preached in our Orchard under my Mother’s best apple tree, immediately after the leaves withered and the tree died; we saw at once this was a judgment, and called a vestry to see what could be done to save our Orchards; We there agreed that we shoud not have an Apple left in the parish if we suffered a Methody to stay, so we ordered the people to get all the stones and rotten eggs they could muster, and beat the whole crew out of the Parish; they did so, and sure enough it saved our Orchards for we have not lost an Apple tree since’. I have told it verbatim – This is the enlightened 18 Century! One woud put up with a little ill treatment to instruct such a parish as this in spite of itself

But we have difficulties of a far more serious nature than this which I wou’d not trouble you with an account of, but that perhaps you may be able to suggest some useful hints to us. In two or three of our most established parishes where most good seems to be doing, there is arisen a most violent opposition agt. us or rather against. religion. They let P. and I go on quietly while there was no serious Clergymen in the Country, but two or 3 of our Oxford Young Men having been down in the Summer and preached about at our Clubs &c has excited an Animosity that is dreadful. One of the worldly Clergy has declared he will /give himself the trouble to/ set up an Evening Lecture at the Church as the only means he can devise to destroy our evening Reading. I shoud rejoyce at this did I not know what stuff he will preach. If he does however I shall endeavour to make our people go, but as many of them seem really serious I fear they will not. – Our other great trial is at Blagdon, where the Clergyman (the Magistrate you saw here once) is such a hypocrite that he affected to shed tears when I was ill, and said in a canting tone ‘what wou’d become of the Country’, yet is doing all he can to knock up the School, thro a genuine hatred to Xtianity and a personal hatred to one of our serious young Ministers who has awakend a dying woman and several others. This Blagdon Parson has been reading Socinian books, and now boldly preaches against the Trinity, St Paul &c. and tells the people that they need pay no attention to any part of Scripture but the Sermon on the Mount. He has so disturbed the faith of the whole parish nearly that they are afraid to attend at the school where they say other doctrines are taught, and if the Parson is in the right, the ladies must be in the wrong. I am extremely distressed what to do having no Bishop no Rector who cares for any of these things. I am well tried on all sides and am rather more worked than my nerves will bear tho I am better. Remember me kindly to Mrs. T. and excuse this long scrawl

Yours HM

I have no objection to yr. sending Cobbett £5 [unclear] [unclear] I have sent him some bound Vols. from [unclear]