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suit in the family, he was unable to prosecute his studies, and was glad to accept the mastership of a foundation school, obtained through the patronage of Lord Bottetourt, at Stapleton, near Bristol. Soon after his removal thither, he married the daughter of a respectable farmer, a woman of plain education, but vigorous intellect; and of their five daughters, Hannah was the youngest
Mr. More was a staunch Tory and high-churchman ; but his family had been originally Presbyterians, and two of his great-uncles were captains in Oliver Cromwell's army. His mother was a pious woman, and used to tell her younger relatives, that they would have known how to value gospel privileges, had they lived, like her, in the days of proscription and persecution, when, at midnight, pious worshippers went with stealthy steps through the snow, to hear the words of inspiration delivered by a holy man at her father's house ; while her father, with a drawn sword, guarded the entrance from violent or profane intrusion ; adding, that they boarded the minister, and kept his horse, for
ten pounds per annum.' The old lady was a staunch Presbyterian, -- remarkable for her simplicity and integrity. She always rose at four, even in the winter, after she had reached her eightieth year; and she survived her ninetieth. We presume that Mr. Jacob More got rid of his Presbyterianism at Norwich school; but, although we do not believe that religion runs in the blood, we generally find, however it may be explained, that when piety springs up in a high-church family, there has been a nonconformist cross in the breed not far back.
Hannah, the fourth daughter of the master of Stapleton school, was born in the year 1745,-nearly ten years before George Crabbe, whose memoirs we have recently been tracing. From her earliest years, she was distinguished by quickness of apprehension, a retentive memory, and a thirst for knowledge. Her nurse, a pious old woman, had lived in the family of Dryden, whose son she had attended in his last illness ; and the inquisitive mind of the little Hannah was continually prompting her to ask for stories about the poet Dryden. Mr. More had a strong dislike of female pedantry, but he had nevertheless begun to instruct his daughter in the rudiments of Latin and the mathematics, when he became
frightened at his own success. The study of mathematics was not pursued; but the little taste of them his daughter had thus acquired, she often said, was of sensible advantage to her in her subsequent intellectual progress. Her acquaintance with the Latin classics, she ever carefully cultivated. She acquired some knowledge of French from her eldest sister, who, upon her weekly return from a French school at Bristol, sedulously imparted to her younger sisters the lessons she had received.
For her correct acquaintance with its idiom and pronunciation, Hannah was indebted to frequent intercourse, at her father's table, with some
French officers of cultivated minds and polished manners, who were on their parole in the neighbourhood.
* In her days of infancy, when she could possess herself of a scrap of paper, her delight was, to scribble upon it some essay or poem, with some well-directed moral, which was afterwards secreted in a dark corner where the servant kept her brushes and dusters. Her little sister, with whom she slept, was usually the depository of her nightly effusions; who, in her zeal lest these compositions should be lost, would sometimes steal down to procure a light, and commit them to the first
paper which she could find. Among the characteristic sports of Hannah's childhood, which their mother was fond of recording, we are told, that she was wont to make a carriage of a chair, and then to call her sisters to ride with her to London to see bishops and booksellers ; an intercourse which we shall hereafter shew to have been realized.'
It was the wish of their parents, that their daughters should be qualified to maintain themselves in respectable independence by establishing a boarding-school; and the eldest Miss More was not quite twenty-one, when this long projected undertaking was actually commenced under the most Aattering auspices. Hannah, then scarcely twelve years of age, was taken under the care of her sister, that she might have the benefit of masters. She had just reached her sixteenth year, when the elder Sheridan came to Bristol, to give lectures on eloquence ; and such was the impression made upon her young imagination by an exhibition so novel and intellectual, that her feelings could find utterance only in 'a
copy of verses,' which was presented to the lecturer by a friend of both parties, and led, of course, to an introduction and acquaintance. About the same period, illness brought her under the care and friendly notice of Dr. Woodward, an eminent physician; and she derived no small advantage from an intimacy formed with Ferguson, the popular astronomer, then engaged in giving public lectures at Bristol.
* But among her early acquaintance, to none does she appear to have been more indebted for her advancement in critical knowledge and the principles of correct taste, than to a linen-draper of Bristol, of the name of Peach, of whose extraordinary sagacity and cultivated intellect she was often heard to express herself with great admiration. He had been the friend of Hume, who had shewn his confidence in his judgement, by entrusting to him the correction of his history, in which, he used to say, he had discovered more than two hundred Scotticisms. But for this man,
it appears, two years of the life of the Historian might have passed into oblivion, which were spent in a merchant's counting-house in Bristol, whence he was dismissed on account of the promptitude of his
pen in the correction of the letters entrusted to him to copy ! Another of Miss More's early literary acquaintance was Dr. Langhorne, with whom a very lively intellectual intercourse' was
sustained, until a habit of intemperance, in which he had vainly sought relief under the pressure of domestic calamity, raised a barrier between him and persons of strict behaviour.' Several sprightly letters from his pen to his young correspondent are given in this first volume. In one of these, describing the constant regimen of his life, ' a pint basin of punch and to bed,' are mentioned as the regular close of the day. Family worship is not hinted at. Yet, Dr. Langhorne speaks of himself as a spiritual person,' meaning, a clergyman! Alas! the professional spirituality conferred by orders, is too much like the regeneration conferred by baptism. This accomplished, but unhappy man, died in the prime of life, when the brilliant promise of his youth seemed on the verge of its accomplishment !
At this time, there existed few or none of these unexceptionable and judicious Selections from our best authors, which are now introduced into all schools, and even young ladies, it seems, were taught to commit to memory parts of plays, not always sound in ‘ principle or pure in tendency. In the hope of giving to this practice a safer direction, Miss More wrote, in her seventeenth year, her pastoral drama of the “ Search after Happiness.” And the attempt, her Biographer adds,“ succeeded as it deserved.'
• At the age of twenty, having access to the best libraries in her neighbourhood, she cultivated with assiduity the Italian, Latin, and Spanish languages; exercising her genius, and polishing her style in translations and imitations, especially of the Odes of Horace, and of some of the dramatic compositions of Metastasio, which were shewn only to her more intimate literary friends, of whom some have left their testi. monies to their spirit and elegance. She was not, however, in sufficient good-humour with these or any of her very early compositions, to allow them to live. The only one which was rescued was Metastasio's
opera of Regulus, which, after it had lain by for some years, she was induced to work up into a drama, and publish with the title of “ The Inflexible Captive."* It is related of her, in proof of the ease with which she transfused the spirit of the Italian authors into her own language, that, being present at an Italian concert, to gratify one of the company
who was desirous of knowing the subject of some parts of the performance, she took out her pencil, and gave a translation of them, which was snatched from her, and inserted in the principal Magazine of the day. She ranked among her literary friends at this time, Dean Tucker, Dr. Ford, and Dr. Stonehouse; persons, to mix with whom upon equal terms, was proof sufficient of her early maturity of understanding.'
Dr. (afterwards Sir James) Stonehouse, having relinquished the medical profession and taken orders, had fixed his residence in the same street in which Hannah More lived with her sister. A friendship soon commenced between them, which was interrupted only by the death of Sir James ; and he became a useful guide to Miss More in her study of divinity, and her choice of
theological writers. To this estimable man, she was also greatly indebted for his friendly interposition in an affair of a very delicate and trying nature. At about the
age of twenty-two, Miss More received the addresses of a gentleman of fortune, more than twenty years older than herself. He was a man of strict honour and integrity, but, her Biographer says, of indifferent temper. However this may have been, the match went off; and as various unfounded explanations have been given of the circumstances, we shall transcribe a letter giving an account of the whole affair, from 'a lady whose early and long intimacy with Mrs. * More, and personal knowledge of this delicate transaction, coupled with the great respectability of her character, entitle her testimony to the fullest credit."
«« I knew the late Mrs. Hannah More for nearly sixty-four years, I may say most intimately; for during my ten years' residence with her sisters, I was received and treated, not as a scholar, but as a child of their own, in a confidential and affectionate manner; and ever since the first commencement of our acquaintance, the same friendly intercourse has been kept up by letters and visiting. I was living at her sister's when Mr. Turner paid his addresses to her ; for it was owing to my cousin Turner, (whom my father had placed at their school,) that she became acquainted with Mr. Turner. He always had his cousins, the two Miss Turners, to spend their holidays with him; as a most respectable worthy lady managed and kept his house for him. His residence at Belmont was beautifully situated, and he had carriages and horses, and everything to make a visit to Belmont agreeable. He permitted his cousins to ask any young persons at the school to spend their vacations with them. Their governesses being nearly of their own age, they made choice of the two youngest of the sistersHannah and Patty More. The consequence was natural. She was very clever and fascinating, and he was generous and sensible ; he became attached, and made his offer, which was accepted. He was a man of large fortune, and she was young and dependent: she quitted her interest in the concern of the school, and was at great expense in
preparing and fitting herself out, to be the wife of a man of large fortune. The day was fixed more than once for the marriage, and Mr. Turner each time postponed it. Her sisters and friends interfered, and would not permit her to be so treated and trifled with. He continued in the wish to marry her ; but her friends, after his former conduct, and on other accounts, persevered in keeping up her determination not to renew the engagement.
I am, dear Madam, &c." • In this difficulty, (we borrow still from the same authentic source,) Sir James Stonehouse was applied to for his timely interposition, and his assistance was promptly afforded. In the counsel of such a friend, she found resolution to terminate this anxious and painful treaty. The final separation was amicably agreed upon, and the contracting parties broke off their intercourse by mutual consent. At their last conversation together, Mr. T. proposed to settle an annuity upon her; a proposal which was with dignity and firmness rejected, and all intercourse appeared to be absolutely at an end. Let it be recorded, however, in justice to the memory of this gentleman, that his mind was ill at ease till an interview was obtained with Dr. Stonehouse, to whom he declared his intention to secure to Miss More, with whom he had considered his union as certain, an annual sum, which might enable her to devote herself to her literary pursuits, and compensate, in some degree, for the robbery he had committed upon her time. Dr. Stonehouse consulted with the friends of the parties, and the consultation terminated in a common opinion, that, all things considered, a part of the sum proposed might be accepted without the sacrifice of delicacy or propriety, and the settlement was made without the knowledge of the lady, Dr. Stonehouse consenting to become the agent and trustee. It was not, however, till some time after the affair had been thus concluded, that the consent of Miss More could be obtained by the importunity of her friends.
• The regard and respect of Mr. T. for Miss More was continued through his life; her virtues and excellences were his favourite theme among his intimate friends, and at his death he bequeathed her a thousand pounds.'
The distress and disturbance which Miss More suffered from these circumstances, are stated to have led her to form the resolution of avoiding any similar entanglement. Not long afterwards her hand was again solicited, and refused; and as in the former case, the attachment of the proposer was succeeded by a
cordial respect, which was returned with a corresponding sentiment.
It was in the year 1773 or 1774, when she had not yet reached the important age of thirty, that Miss More paid her first visit to London, in company with two of her sisters. Her introduction to Mr. and Mrs. Garrick took place about a week after her arrival in the metropolis. Garrick had seen a letter from Miss More, describing the effect produced on her mind by his performance of the character of King Lear, which excited his curiosity to see the writer. The interview was easily procured, and it led to Miss More's sudden introduction to the brilliant circle of which Garrick was at this time the centre. He was of course prepared to be pleased with her, and he found her extremely pleasing, On the next day Miss More and Mrs. Montagu met at his house ; and it was afterwards Mr. Garrick's delight to introduce his new acquaintance to the most gifted of his friends. The desire she had long felt to see Dr. Johnson, was speedily gratified. Her first introduction to him took place at the house of Sir Joshua Reynolds. A letter from Miss Sally More thus describes a second interview.
*(London, 1774.) We have paid another visit to Miss Reynolds. She had sent to engage Dr. Percy, (Percy's collection,--now you know him,) quite a sprightly modern, instead of a rusty antique as I