To Lady Olivia Sparrow from Mary Roberts on behalf of Hannah More, 01 May [1830]

To: The Lady Olivia B Sparrow
Address: Brampton Park/ Huntingdonshire
Stamped: No. 2 [and] BRISTOL AP30
Postmark: E1MY11830
Seal: Red Wax
Watermarks: Undetermined

Miss Roberts/ about Hannah M[tear]

MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 f. 98-9
Published: Undetermined


It is now some time since dear Mrs Hanh. More has quite ceased from corresponding with her Friends, she has therefore requested me to assure your Ladyship of the very great pleasure with which she received the late kind & affecte. Communication from one whom she remembers with such unfeigned esteem & regard. Of those Friends indeed whom she yet does retain in her memory she has the most kind & warm recollections, but it is the Will of the Almighty that this faculty of her mind should visibly & rather rapidly decline; its amiable qualities however remain in full vigour, & as her benevolence is still exercised in a degree only limited by the very utmost extent of her pecuniary ability, her prolonged life is a great blessing to very many. The recollections too of the truly beneficial purposes to which she employed her fine intellect when it was in full vigour, must endear her to all who estimate talents only as their influence is exerted for the glory of the great Grace, & the benefit of His creatures – she has still many cheerful spirits & is very open to enjoyment & to the attentions of those immediate friends who surround her, with whom she is generally able to converse Collectedly & very pleasantly but as the introduction of Strangers now bewilders & fatigues her, it is deemed, by those who love her best & therefore consider her most, advisable to admit none but very old & intimate acquaintances to intercourse with her, altho’ to enforce such a restriction requires (it is found) a very Strenuous and determined effort, & brings upon Miss Frowd, the kind & affecte. friend who constantly lives with her, some reproach & ill will . My Sister & myself inhabit a house not fifty Yards from her abode,[2] & see her some part of most days, indeed are frequently her intimates.

When your Ladyships letter arrived this dear & revered friend was confined to her bed by a pretty severe attack upon her Chest, which detained her there nearly Six Weeks; but she is now restored to nearly her usual strength, & has entirely left her chamber , she is perfectly reconciled to her change of Residence[3] indeed that was the case very soon after the agitating event took place, & she enjoys the sight of the beautiful Rocks & Woods[4] from her Window, at least as fully as she did the rural scenery of Barley Wood. She enters enough into public concerns to lament the Religious apathy on the one hand, & the Religious differences on the other, which mark these portentous times, but above all, is her mind distracted & grieved at the Spreading & Systematic desecration of the [tear]th so deplorable in a country which calls [tear]. She was able also to afford her full tribut[e of] [tear] praise to the righteous & truly patriotic courage which abolished Sutticism:[5] Oh would to God she might yet before her departure have to rejoice also over the abolition of the AntiXtian flagitious System of Colonial Slavery or at least could have the comfort of seeing every Bishop in this land maintaining a public & stedfast opposition to this violation of every Xtian precept, in his legislative capacity – Dear Mrs. H More desires me to convey her most affectionate regards & acknowledgements, & with my Sister’s cordial respects I have the honour to remain with much esteem

Your Ladyship’s very faithful
& obliged,
Mary E Roberts


The letter is dated based on the postmarks and contextual information.


Mary and Margaret Roberts lived at 1 Windsor Terrace, just a short distance from More’s home at number 4. See Stott, Hannah More: the First Victorian, pp. 326-8.


More had been advised in 1828 to leave Barley Wood, having received at times poor care from her servants there. Although she felt the loss of her former home keenly (especially the gardens and terraces, which she had largely planted herself), the change helped secure More’s financial situation: maintaining a large household in addition to her charitable expenses had taxed More’s resources. In Clifton, More was also surrounded by friends who tended to her welfare. See Stott, Hannah More: the First Victorian, pp. 326-8.


Windsor Terrace enjoyed (and still enjoys) an elevated position above the Avon Gorge and Leigh Woods.


The Bengal Sati Regulation was passed on 4 December 1829 by More’s acquaintance, and Governor-General of India, Lord William Cavendish Bentinck. The Regulation outlawed the practise in British-run territories of Hindu widows self-immolating on the pyres of their husbands.