Hannah More to Marianne Thornton, 1816

To: Miss Thornton
Address: Battersea Rise
Stamped: None
Postmark: None
Seal: Black wax
Watermarks: B. E. & S BATH 1814

H. More

MS: Cambridge University Library, Add.7674/1/E/5
Published: Undetermined

My dearest Marianne

I have been long wishing to write to you but was prevented [deletion] by many weeks of disqualifying fever and its attendant sufferings . Thro the mercy of God I am much better, that is I am got back nearly to my usual state of moderate suffering . My Sister Patty is very poorly with that alarming determination of blood to the head which is so much the reigning complaint. May it please our infinitely gracious God by these awakening calls to remind us how short our time is, and to prepare us for a change which must soon take place!

And now let me thank you cordially for the pleasure I received from your interesting letter. Those little domestic details are quite to my taste, when I love the detailer and the persons who make the subject of the Narrative. Frequently do I thank the great disposer of events who after the heavy and successive /storms/ which have passed over your head and half broken your heart, has mercifully placed you in such a state of comfort and repose, /&/ has, by an extraordinary interposition of his Providence raised you up such stedfast, zealous efficient friends, as in the common course even of favourable events could not be reckoned upon. Such losses as you have sustained can never be repaired, but surely never were such losses so softened, so mitigated.[2] I long to see your delightful Establishment, and Mrs. Inglis presiding in her department, a situation which brings her talents into full action. When she was acquiring her various accomplishments she little suspected what would be the objects which should call them into exercise. May God reward her generous exertions and bless her little pupils with his best blessings!

How I have enjoyed dear Mr. Wilberforce’s honours at Brighton; not for his sake, the honour was done to the Prince in his selection of such a guest[3] . This notorious and marked attention to such a man, will do good in a variety of ways. Oh! that it might good to the Royal host! It strongly proves the power of consistency of character, how it eventually bears down all opposition. I wish religious people in general were more aware of this. It is this very want of consistency in many high professions which causes them to do so little good, /their practice defeating what their talk has /done.//

Mrs. Waldegrave by the desire of my dear Lady W. just before her death announced to me her departure. Her dying behaviour was most exemplary. She lived to see her offending, would I might say her penitent son. She is thro much, very much turbulation endured unto the kingdom of heaven. I never witnessed such a life of trials. They have been sanctified to her. I feel much for her death tho I cannot regret it. It closes for ever my connexion with Strawberry hill. [4] There is no family in so many branches of which I have found such zealous friends. Lady W herself, her Sister Lady Easton, her Mother the Duchess of Gloucester, her Uncle Lord Orford, all were singularly attached to me /and my constant correspondents/ I have seen them all go down to the grave – for one Alas! the brightest of the band[5] I have not ceased to mourn, not on account of his death but his unhappy prejudices against religion, tho they never appeared either in his conversation or letters to me.

I want to send you a cheese, such a one as you liked last Summer, it is of Cheddar, but too new, you must not cut it till May. I cant send it till you tell me where to direct it in Town, have you got a leaving house.

Louisa writes a letter most days to Etta. My love to all the dear children. Remember me to the Macaulay’s. He is a noble character Mrs. Thatcher said you had been so kind to invite her, at which she was much pleased.

Will you forgive my troubling You to let some friend or Servant who goes to Town pay for my Book Cases , as you were so kind to bespeak them I thought it best the Money should go thro’ you. Pray let the Maker know I like them exceedingly With the Six Shillings that will remain will you buy Maise [unclear] a handkerchief as a little remembrance.

£ S D
Inclosed Bank Notes 6: 0: 0
To pay Book Cases – 4: 14: 0
Remain –––––––––– 0: 6:


The letter is dated on the mention of Lady Waldegrave’s death which occurred in 1816.


Marianne Thornton, along with her eight siblings, had been orphaned the previous year after the death of their mother: their father had died in January 1815. They were then adopted by Sir Robert and Lady Inglis.


Wilberforce had been invited by the Prince Regent to be his guest at his Pavilion in Brighton. According to Anne Stott the two men enjoyed a conversation during the dinner in which Wilberforce commented upon the alterations that had occurred in the prince’s life. See Stott, Wilberforce, p. 24.


Lady Waldegrave was the great niece of Horace Walpole through her mother, his niece Maria Walpole. Lady Waldegrave died at Walpole’s former home, Strawberry Hill, in Twickenham. In October 1815 her son, the sixth earl Waldegrave, had finally married his long-term lover.


A reference to Horace Walpole, who had been More’s long-standing correspondent and friend.