I fear I have been doing a very foolish thing I thought I had as compleately made up my mind to hang my harp upon the willows* as you had to keep your three rules. But in my case, as in Hamlet’s Mother 'the lady did protest too much'.* I have been so struck with the French Mania in all classes almost of our people of the desertion of our country in the time of its deepest distress, and of the importation of French Manners, that I felt it a sort of duty not to hold my tongue. On the other hand, the Mischief done by the [unclear]ders, and its probable fatal consequences, I thought called for notice. Then the errors of religious people I think require a gentle hint; as well as the prevalence of high profession and low practice &c &c &c – to all this I have added a pretty long dissertation on prayer, and some of the errors which hinder its efficacy. In about four Months I have written (at an age when I ought to have rested) as many hundred pages. I expect to give offence to many of my friends especially by shewing the dangers of foreign association, and neglect of religion in the education of the great, but I have delivered my own Soul, and I must soon stand at a higher bar than that of this world’s judges. I have kept it so secret that I have not yet named it even to Wilberforce, but as it is now going to press I shall relax a little of my strictness.* Pray for me that it may be made useful, to a few at least.
We have had a more quiet Autumn than usual, which I ascribe to our friends being almost all gone to France. I do not much admire this unrighteous speed; till there is something like society formed, I think the impatience childish and irrational. I have seen many who are returned, and have had many letters, all concur in giving the same deplorable account of the state of Morals. Of religion there appears to be none. What amazed me most was a friend went to an English Methodist Meeting in Paris!! it was crouded.
Dr. Whalley, Sir A. Elton our two principle neighbours are going to France. How that abominable country is to make the old young, and the sick well, and the fanciful[l] [tear] contented I do not know. Poor Lady Waldgrave [sic] is ordered to spend the Winter at , she is in very bad health, increased I fear by the dejection of her Spirits on Lord W's conduct*. She writes very piously wishes much that she could have the benefit and consolation of our dear Mr. Whalley's Society there, and she thinks it might patch him up for years. – But the thing is quite out of the question I think.
How menacing are the times! and how portentous the prospect! The iniquities of the Amorites* are not yet full. Our own country wants sifting, and France a strong correction. – Poor Lady Wellington! her brother killed, and her other hero sent again to oppose the Armed Banditti.* It is well for us that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. He who stilleth the waves can still the madness of the people; and can break the Rod of his anger when that rod has done its work.
But to return for one moment to your Bible Gala – How I should have delighted to have made an unworthy guest at this hallowed festival! What did your Neighbour say to your muster roll of Peers and Peeresses? What honour would he have done himself by joining it! A propos of Bible Meetings – Our excellent Bishop of Gloucester rode over one broiling Morning to invite P. and I to spend the week at and attend a B. Meeting at of which he is President. I should have liked it much but we were to /expecting/ Wilberforce at home, who after all never came till it was over. I regretted it the less as the Assembly met in the Abbot’s Kitchen of that vast and venerable ruin; which was damp and dreary.* What a contrast between the good cheer once proposed on this now deserted spot and the holy purpose to which it was on this day dedicated! Tho my own health has rallied much from the dry Atmosphere of this pleasant Summer, I have declined all visits, but believe I must go next week to the two Bishops at Wells if P. is better. Her health I fear is declining, and she thinks /ill/ of herself. I pray God to avert this blow. In spite of all my endeavours to avoid it by giving no invitations, and returning no visits, we are sadly overdone with company but as every body is gone or going to France* I suppose we shall live to pine in Solitude
A kind, agreeable, long and interesting letter from dear Miss Sparrow should be answered directly but that I am in deep arrears to your Ladyship. Nothing can be more obliging than her little details, than which nothing makes letters so pleasant. Public events are just now of so complicated & overwhelming a nature that even to touch upon /them/ would fill my paper and occupy your time to little purpose. I truly pity the K–* How surely does God at one time or other visit our errors and bring our sins to remembrance! How he will get extricated the wisest seem not to know. I have just got a letter from a friend whose habits lay open much information to him. He tells me that a Gentleman of his acquaintance on whom the firmest reliance may be placed is lately come from the Continent. Passing through a small town in he stopped at an Inn and desired to see a good bed. On being shown one, he said it was not large enough for him and his Wife –"Not large enough," said the Mistress of the Inn, "why the Princess of Wales and the Baron her Chamberlain Slept in it last week, and so they have done twenty times before and they never complained that it was too small." You don’t mean that they slept together said the gentleman? Yes replied the woman I do, as they have always done." One or two such testimonies woud be proof positive. But then in what a distracted state would it place this poor country.* – I fear we are emulating France in all its parricidal horrors! What a Providential escape of the Ministers I grieve to think what a flood of drunkenness, idleness and perjury this premature Parliamentary election will introduce, – A propos. I am desired to request your vote and interest for Lord John Russel who is canvassing . I know nothing of him, but that I fear he is what I call, on the wrong side. They speak well of his talents*
I hope you have seen a little poem called ‘Emigration’.* It is written by a young Clerical friend of mine, but is Anonymous. It is a Subject very important to the religious, moral, and patrio[tic] [tear] interests of this Country. The great and Opulent are flying from their own country to one which has brought our present miseries upon us. They have turned their numerous Servants upon the world to beg or to rob. They injure Government by escaping the Taxes, and starve the poor for want of labour. Lord Darlington who draws £6000 a year from this Parish has never given it a guinea while we little people are drained.* I have a large School in two adjoining parishes, the inhabitants are all /poor/ Miners, not one able to give a farthing and trade is so bad they cannot sell a single bag of Ore, they are near perishing.* In the mean time our very Curates are living at . It really makes my heart Ach. I have several Correspondents on the Continent, all describe our Ladies as notoriously violating the Sabbath, this is not Mr. Marriott’s fault* The Pope himself expressed his disappointment at the character of the English ladies at and the gayest Sunday assemblies are held by our Country women. Is it not making Religion a Geographical distinction to do in France or what they would not do in ? If still with you thank the Bishop for his kind letter. I greatly love and esteem Mrs. Ryder