The Lady Olivia B. SparrowAddress:
Brampton Park/ HuntingdonStamped:
MS: British Library, Egerton 1965 ff. 28-9Published:
Tho I have nothing /to say,/ and am not well
enough to say it if I had, I cannot forbear writing a line
to unite in sympathy with you, on the, I fear hopeless, state
of our dear invaluable Henry
Thornton , a letter from
Mr. Wilberforce and another from the
Macaulays last night, leaves us little or
nothing to hope. Oh! what a chasm will his death make in the world! It will not
only be irreparable to his broken hearted
wife, and poor children , but
to multitudes of the poor and the pious.
May God comfort us all,
especially his own family, and sanctify to us this heavy loss, by quickening
us in our preparation for our own great change!
For my own part,
my hopes have been long very faint, tho in opposition to the declaration of his
eminent Medical Attendants I shall always think /
entre nous/ that corroding grief for
his unfortunate brother preyed on his
vitals, and laid his weak constitution open to any disease which might attack
I dread that every post may bring us the final issue
of this long disease
I have not heard from you of an age. Do give me a line to say when you go to
Town, that I may know where to
Saint Paul to wait on you. The printing will be finished to morrow
I hope and it will probably be out in [deletion] ten days. I have sent your name to
Cadell to send Your copy; with that of your neighbour
Huntingdon, but if you are moving you woud perhaps like
it better to meet you in
Town. I am also going
to order [to] Hatchard to send You
new Edition of the Dramas with the Additional Scene in
Pray speak of this to your friends to prevent their
encouraging the pirated Editions – The genuine is only printed by Cadell and Davies.
I long to know how your health /is/ and whether you
have gained strength by living quietly at home.
I have had
 most suffering. If all the dispensations of God
were not just and right, I should have said it came unseasonably when I had so
much [tear] for my eyes. I bless God they are
[tear] to me, after being consigned for some time to
darkness and idleness.
Patty joins me in every kind regard to dear
Millicent, not forgetting our good Mr. Obins.
Are you not pleased with
Whalley's little book
? I am delighted, but not with the
Henry Thornton's case was indeed hopeless;
ironically More wrote this letter on the day of Thornton's death at the
home of his close friend William Wilberforce following a 'fit'. He had
been unwell for several years with suspected tuberculosis. He was buried
at St. Paul's in Clapham the following week.
Thornton had moved to Wilberforce's home at Kensington Gore towards the
end of 1814 in order to be cared for in his final decline. See Anne
Stott, Wilberforce: Family and Friends (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2012), p. 180.
Marianne Sykes had married Henry
Thornton on 1 March 1796. The couple had nine children: the youngest,
Charles, was just four years old at his father's death.
Thornton was attended principally by two
medical men, Dr Pennington and Sir Henry Halford; the latter had been
appointed physician-extraordinary to George III in 1793, became FRS in
1810, and was considered at this time to be one of the most eminent
doctors in London.
The eighteenth edition of Sacred Dramas
(originally published in 1782) was brought out in 1815 by Cadell and Davies.
More added a fourth scene to 'Moses in the Bulrushes', the first of the
'Sacred Drama'. In the new scene Moses's sister outlines her brother's
An inflammation of the eye. More had
frequent bouts of poor health in her eyes as she aged. These episodes at
times made it difficult to maintain her correspondence without