Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Gwatkin mss., 1773-1780, are the letters of Martha More, 1747-1819, and Sarah More, 1743-1817, who with their three sisters conducted a school for girls in Bristol. Written chiefly from Park Street in Bristol and one from Adelphi (the David Garrick residence), the letters are addressed to Mrs. [Edward] Gwatkin, at Roscrow near Penryn, Cornwall.

Each letter relates news of their better known sister, Hannah More, 1745-1833, religious writer and poet: the settlement made upon her in 1773 by Mr. Turner after several proposals of marriage; the review of her poem "The Inflexible Captive" as quoted from The Monthly Review; her penchant for reading Vergil and Cicero; the preparation of "The Bridal Day" (retitled "The Fatal Falsehood") for production at Covent Garden Theatre; her illnesses and the attentions of Mrs. Garrick and Dr. Cadogan; and brief mention of a trip on horseback with sister Patty (Martha) in 1780.

Further topics commented upon are the events of the elections in Bristol in 1774 and 1780, including the Edmund Burke cockade; keeping school and "this frothy age"; and Samuel Peach, noted as the "late pedlar in Wine Street."

Lines from the letters of August 9, October 11, December 6, 1774, and May 19, 1779, are quoted in Henry Thompson, The Life of Hannah More (London, 1838) (Main Library PR3605 .M6 Z847) on pages 20, 24, 25, 26, and 38.

Collection size: 9 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.