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Letter to Sir William ElfordWilliam Elford, Sir, baronet , Recorder for Plymouth, Recorder for Totnes, Member of Parliament for Plymouth , Member of Parliament for Rye, Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), Fellow of the Linnaean Society (FLS) | Born: 1749-08 in Kingsbridge, Devon, England. Died: 1837-11-30 in Totnes, Devon, England.
According to L’Estrange, Sir William was first a friend of Mitford’s father, and Mitford met him for the first time in the spring of 1810 when he was a widower nearing the age of 64. They carried on a lively correspondence until his death in 1837. Elford worked as a banker at Plymouth Bank (Elford, Tingcombe and Purchase) in Plymouth, Devon, from its founding in 1782. He was elected a member of Parliament for Plymouth as a supporter of the government and Tory William Pitt, and served from 1796 to 1806. After his election defeat in Plymouth in 1806, he was elected member of Parliament for Rye and served from July 1807 until his resignation in July 1808. For his service in Parliament as a supporter of Pitt, he was made a baronet in 1800. After his son Jonathan came of age, he tried to secure a stable government post for him but never succeeded. Mayor of Plymouth in 1796 and Recorder for Plymouth from 1797 to 1833, he was also Recorder for Totnes from 1832 to 1834. Sir William served as an officer in the South Devon militia from 1788, eventually attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; the unit saw active service in Ireland during the Peninsular Wars. Sir William was a talented amateur painter in oils and watercolors who exhibited at the Royal Society from 1774 to 1837; he exhibited still lifes and portraits but preferred landscapes. He was elected to the Royal Society Academy in 1790. He was also a talented amateur naturalist and was elected to the Royal Linnaean Society in 1790; late in life, he published his findings on an alternative to yeast. He married his first wife, Mary Davies of Plympton, on January 20, 1776 and they had one son, Jonathan, and two daughters, Grace Chard and Elizabeth. After the death of his first wife, he married Elizabeth Hall Walrond, widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Maine Swete Walrond of the Coldstream Guards. His only son Jonathan died in 1823, leaving him without an heir. --#ebb #lmw
, January 13, 1823

Edited by Melissa Klamer.

Sponsored by:

First digital edition in TEI, date: February 21, 2017. P5.Edition made with help from photos taken by Digital Mitford editors. Digital Mitford photo files: 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford1a.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford1b.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford1c.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford2a.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford2b.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford2c.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford3a.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford3b.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford3c.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford4a.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford4b.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford4c.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford5a.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford5b.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford5c.JPG, 13Jan1823Sir WilliamElford6.JPG , .

Published by: Digital Mitford: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive, Greensburg, PA, USA: 2013.

Reproduced by courtesy of the Reading Central LibraryReading Central Library The principal archive of Mary Russell Mitford’s personal papers and related documents, holding approximately 1,000 manuscripts and a nearly comprehensive collection of her publications.
The principal archive of Mary Russell Mitford’s personal papers and related documents, holding approximately 1,000 manuscripts and a nearly comprehensive collection of her publications.--
.

Digital Mitford Letters: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive

Repository: Reading Central Library. Shelf mark: qB/TU/MIT Vol. 4 Horizon No.: 1361550 ff. 463

This letter is comprised of two large leaves of paper. The first leaf is folded in half to make four writing surfaces that constitute the first four pages of the letter. Mitford did not treat the second leaf the same way, so that pages 5 and 6 are simply the front and back of the paper, making for two large writing surfaces. Page 6 contains the address, and on this address leaf, the writing is organized vertically and horizontally to surround the address. Sheet (pages five and six) torn on right edge of page five where wax seal was removed. Red wax seal, adhered to page six in two places.

Hands other than Mitford's noted on this manuscript:

Mitford’s spelling and punctuation are retained, except where a word is split at the end of a line and the beginning of the next in the manuscript. Where Mitford’s spelling and hyphenation of words deviates from the standard, in order to facilitate searching we are using the TEI elements “choice," “sic," and “reg" to encode both Mitford’s spelling and the regular international standard of Oxford English spelling, following the first listed spelling in the Oxford English Dictionary. The long s and ligatured forms are not encoded. Updated header info, specifically handNotes and condition. Added editorial note about "Mr." on pages 4 and 5 and another about the tear under the seal. Added note and bibl about Cellini; check formatting. Continued proofing and revision. Added suggestions for coding and research. Continued coding page 6. Fixed a few errors. Header and transcription need to be completed. Just started this letter. Have tried to fill in much of the header, including idnos for photo files.
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Sir W. ElfordWilliam Elford, Sir, baronet , Recorder for Plymouth, Recorder for Totnes, Member of Parliament for Plymouth , Member of Parliament for Rye, Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), Fellow of the Linnaean Society (FLS) | Born: 1749-08 in Kingsbridge, Devon, England. Died: 1837-11-30 in Totnes, Devon, England.
According to L’Estrange, Sir William was first a friend of Mitford’s father, and Mitford met him for the first time in the spring of 1810 when he was a widower nearing the age of 64. They carried on a lively correspondence until his death in 1837. Elford worked as a banker at Plymouth Bank (Elford, Tingcombe and Purchase) in Plymouth, Devon, from its founding in 1782. He was elected a member of Parliament for Plymouth as a supporter of the government and Tory William Pitt, and served from 1796 to 1806. After his election defeat in Plymouth in 1806, he was elected member of Parliament for Rye and served from July 1807 until his resignation in July 1808. For his service in Parliament as a supporter of Pitt, he was made a baronet in 1800. After his son Jonathan came of age, he tried to secure a stable government post for him but never succeeded. Mayor of Plymouth in 1796 and Recorder for Plymouth from 1797 to 1833, he was also Recorder for Totnes from 1832 to 1834. Sir William served as an officer in the South Devon militia from 1788, eventually attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; the unit saw active service in Ireland during the Peninsular Wars. Sir William was a talented amateur painter in oils and watercolors who exhibited at the Royal Society from 1774 to 1837; he exhibited still lifes and portraits but preferred landscapes. He was elected to the Royal Society Academy in 1790. He was also a talented amateur naturalist and was elected to the Royal Linnaean Society in 1790; late in life, he published his findings on an alternative to yeast. He married his first wife, Mary Davies of Plympton, on January 20, 1776 and they had one son, Jonathan, and two daughters, Grace Chard and Elizabeth. After the death of his first wife, he married Elizabeth Hall Walrond, widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Maine Swete Walrond of the Coldstream Guards. His only son Jonathan died in 1823, leaving him without an heir. --#ebb #lmw
1 Three Mile CrossThree Mile Cross, Berkshire, England | Three Mile Cross | Berkshire | England | 51.4047211 -0.9734518999999864 | Village in the parish of Shinfield in Berkshire, where Mary Russell Mitford moved with her parents in 1820. They lived in a cottage there until 1851. --#ebb51.4047211 -0.9734518999999864 Jany 13th 1823.

Have you forgiven me, my dear friend, for not writing to you at the time you fixed? And will you forgive me now for writing only to say that I will write again when I have more time, better spirits, & better news--if ever the two latter may come to me. I am worn out with mental labourlabor & hope deferred--& begin for the first time in my life to know what the  ladysladies' complaint called nervous means.--You must not for a moment blame Charles KembleCharles Kemble--He is true & kind & good as ever man that lived--blame nobody--blame only the anomalous & extraordinary state of the theatre in which the two great Actors do not even speak to each other. Charles KembleCharles Kemble means to bring out FoscariFoscari: A Tragedy. Mary Russell Mitford. London : G. B. Whittaker . 1826. in about six page 2
weeks--& has no doubt of doing so--he looks upon it as the main prop of his theatre for the season--This I know--but I dread the time--for I know--at least I deeply fear that MacreadyWilliam Macready
English actor (1793-1873) Born London, died Cheltenham. Appeared at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Appeared in Sheridan Knowles’s William Tell (1825) and Bulwer-Lytton’s Money (1840) --#lmw
will not play the DogeDoge Foscari
character in Mitford’s play Foscari See also historical counterpart: Doge Foscari.--#ebb
& that it will occasion another tremendous feud & end probably in the abandonment of the Tragedy. This proceeds from no ill will for me  (remember that this is in strict confidence & must not be shewnshownto any human being.)--for MacreadyWilliam Macready
English actor (1793-1873) Born London, died Cheltenham. Appeared at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Appeared in Sheridan Knowles’s William Tell (1825) and Bulwer-Lytton’s Money (1840) --#lmw
has actually this last week looked over a new play of mine which is in the hands of a friend in Town & which I never dreamt of his seeing--& admires & praises it to the skies & would give the world to substitute it for FoscariFoscari: A Tragedy. Mary Russell Mitford. London : G. B. Whittaker . 1826. --Now this play has no character for Charles KembleCharles Kemble--so that between the two great Actors each my warm friend--each the ardent admirer of the two plays it seems likely that neither will come out--of page 3
course I have my resource in Drury LaneTheatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, England | Drury Lane Theatre | Covent Garden | Westminster | London | England | 51.5128536 -0.12037150000003294 | A West End theater located in Covent Garden in the London borough of Westminster. One of the royal "patent theatres." Between 1674 and 1791, a building designed by Christopher Wren and commissioned by manager Thomas Killgrew. The Wren building was torn down by R. B. Sheridan and rebuilt. It reopened in 1791 and was destroyed by fire in 1809. The theater reopened in 1812 and still stands today. --#lmw51.5128536 -0.12037150000003294,  but where unless they be deeply pre-engaged & even if they be there is small doubt but JulianJulian; a Tragedy in Five Acts. Mary Russell Mitford. London New York: G. B. Whittaker W. B. Gilley . 1823. will be gladly accepted--but I dread the previous struggle at Covent GardenTheatre Royal, Covent Garden, London, England | Covent Garden Theatre | Covent Garden | Westminster | London | England | 51.5129211 -0.12219759999993585 | A West End theater located in Covent Garden in the London borough of Westminster. One of the royal "patent theaters." The first theater on this site was opened in 1732 by John Rich, renovated by architect Henry Holland in 1792, and destroyed by fire on 20 Sept. 1808. The second theater, designed by Robert Smirke, opened on 18 Sept. 1809 and was managed by John Phillip Kemble. Because of rent increases by the Duke of Bedford, the landowner, J.P. Kemble increased ticket prices. This led to the "old price (or O.P.) riots" and the eventual lowering of ticket prices, although the proprietors proved they would lose money at those prices. The second theater was destroyed by fire on 5 March 1856. The third theater, designed by Edward Middleton Barry, opened in 1858 and remains at the center of today’s theater complex. The theater became the Royal Opera House in 1892 and the building was renovated and expanded in the 1980s and 1990s. --#lmw51.5129211 -0.12219759999993585--the being involved in these terrible quarrels--the being forced to abandon Charles KembleCharles Kemble who has been so very kind to me--This may be averted by Mr. MacreadyWilliam Macready
English actor (1793-1873) Born London, died Cheltenham. Appeared at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Appeared in Sheridan Knowles’s William Tell (1825) and Bulwer-Lytton’s Money (1840) --#lmw
's relenting--I hope to God it will--I believe he would do any thinganything to serve the Author of JulianJulian; a Tragedy in Five Acts. Mary Russell Mitford. London New York: G. B. Whittaker W. B. Gilley . 1823. except play the DogeDoge Foscari
character in Mitford’s play Foscari See also historical counterpart: Doge Foscari.--#ebb
to C. KembleCharles Kemble's FoscariFoscari: A Tragedy. Mary Russell Mitford. London : G. B. Whittaker . 1826. --& yet the DogeDoge Foscari
character in Mitford’s play Foscari See also historical counterpart: Doge Foscari.--#ebb
is really the better part of the two--but FoscariFoscari: A Tragedy. Mary Russell Mitford. London : G. B. Whittaker . 1826. would shewshow off CharlesCharles Kemble.--Now is not this enough to put me past all hope & comfort? I have only been one morning into ReadingReading, Berkshire, England | Reading | Berkshire | England | 51.4542645 -0.9781302999999753 | County town in Berkshire, in the Thames valley at the confluence of the Thames and the River Kennet. The town developed as a river port and in Mitford’s time served as a staging point on the Bath Road and was developing into a center of manufacturing. Mitford lived here with her parents from 1791 to 1795, on Coley Avenue in the parish of St. Mary’s and attended the Abbey School. The family returned to Reading from 1797 to about 1804, after which they relocated to Bertram House. They frequently visited Reading thereafter from their homes at nearby Bertram House, Three Mile Cross and Swallowfield. Mitford later used scenes from Reading as the basis for Belford Regis; or Sketches of a Country Town.--#lmw51.4542645 -0.9781302999999753 for these three months--& except on that one morning, have never been within the walls of any house but this--never seen a human being except Mr. CrowtherMr. Crowther
The "dandy" Mitford pokes fun at in her letters of 9 and 10 January, 1819 . Possibly husband to Isabelle Crowther. According to Coles, forename may be Phillip; Coles is not completely confident that the "dandy" Mr. Crowther and Mr. [Phillip?] Crowther are the same person. The second Mr. Crowther is a correspondent of Mitford’s, whom she writes to at Whitley cottage, near Reading. He may also have resided at Westbury on Trim near Bristol. William Coles is uncertain of whether Crowtheris the same Phillip Crowthermentioned in Mitford’s Diary. Source: William Coles, Letter to Needham, 10 November 1957, NeedhamPapers, Reading Central Library. --#lmw #scw
--& have so entirely lost my spirits that page 4
except for the fulfilment of my Magazine & Newspaper engagements I really  cannot can do nothing but sit & sigh over my needle work. I am not ill--& I take great care of myself & walk five miles every day--it is over--exertion in finishing JulianJulian; a Tragedy in Five Acts. Mary Russell Mitford. London New York: G. B. Whittaker W. B. Gilley . 1823. --anxiety & that most dreadful of feelings fear--pecuniary fear for those I love. But yet I will not fear--I thank God that my efforts are crowned if not with success with that which is the pledge of success improvement--my prose articles are read & praised by those whose praise is an honour--& in the drama I feel my progress--I feel that if God grant me health & life & intellect I shall one day write a great Tragedy. Forgive this long detail--I owed it to you to tell you why I no longer sent you the letters you were so good as to like. I cannot-- & once more let me caution you that this in strict confidence. Above all do not mention  it towhat I wrote to any oneanyone with a view of making interest with Mr. page 5
14 Jany 1823. Mr. MacreadyWilliam Macready
English actor (1793-1873) Born London, died Cheltenham. Appeared at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Appeared in Sheridan Knowles’s William Tell (1825) and Bulwer-Lytton’s Money (1840) --#lmw
. [1] "Mr." appears as the last word on page four and also the first word on page five.—#bas His temper is such that if he thought I complained of him he would throw me off instantly--whilst on the other hand, he is of a noble & generous nature, & may perhaps ^of his own accord give up his  own prejudices to forward the views of a young woman in whose character & works he takes an interest. Pray do not mention  the affair my theatrical affairs to any human being--No one can help me but MacreadyWilliam Macready
English actor (1793-1873) Born London, died Cheltenham. Appeared at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Appeared in Sheridan Knowles’s William Tell (1825) and Bulwer-Lytton’s Money (1840) --#lmw
, & with him I have the best possible interest both in his own feelings & in his bosom friend (Mr. TalfourdThomas Noon Talfourd | Born: 1795-05-26 in Reading, Berkshire, England. Died: 1854-03-13 in Stafford, Staffordshire, England.
Close friend, literary mentor, and frequent correspondent of Mary Russell Mitford. Thomas Noon Talfourd was born on May 26, 1795 at Reading, Berkshire and baptised on July 12, 1795 at the Broad Street Chapel in Reading, the eldest child of Rev. Edward Talfourd and Anne Isabella Noon. His father was a brewer and later established a lunatic asylum for female patients at Normand House, Fulham, which he ran until his death, and the supervision of which was later conducted by his wife and his daughter Anne. Thomas Noon Talfourd married Rachel Rutt on August 31, 1822 at St. John, Hackney, Middlesex. Rachel was the daughter of radical politician and writer John Towill Rutt. Thomas and Rachel had five children: Francis, Mary, Katharine, Thomas Noon [II], and William Wordsworth. In 1832, the family lived at 26 Henrietta Street, St Andrew, Holborn and St George the Martyr, Bloomsbury, England. In 1837, they lived at 56 Russell Square, St. George, Bloomsbury. Talfourd’s chambers were at 2 Elm Court, Temple, London. Talfourd was educated at the newly-established Mill Hill school, a dissenting academy in Reading, from 1808 to 1810. He attended Dr. Richard Valpy’s Reading School from 1810 to 1812. He completed a legal apprenticeship with Joseph Christy, special pleader, in 1817, and was called to the bar in London in 1821. He ultimately earned a D.C.L. (Doctor of Civil Laws) from Oxford on June 20, 1844. While establishing his practice as a barrister and special pleader, he worked as legal correspondent for The Times, reporting on the Oxford Circuit, and also continued his literary interests. After 1833, he was appointed Serjeant at Law, as well as a King’s and Queen’s Counsel. He was elected and served as Member of Parliament for Reading from 1835 to 1841 and from 1847 to 1849 ; he served with Charles Fyshe Palmer, Charles Russell, and Francis Piggott. Highlights of his political and legal career included introducing the first copyright bill into Parliament in 1837 (for which action Charles Dickens dedicated Pickwick Papers to him) and defending Edward Moxon’s publication of Percy Shelley’s Queen Mab in 1841 . He was appointed Queen’s Serjeant in 1846 and Judge of Common Pleas in 1849 , at which post he served until his death in 1854. He was knighted in 1850 . Talfourd’s literary works include his plays Ion (1835), The Athenian Captive (1837) and Glencoe, or the Fate of the MacDonalds(1839). --#lmw #cmm
) who is also mine & who knows exactly my situation & feelings. Do not mention it to a living being--I would not have MacreadyWilliam Macready
English actor (1793-1873) Born London, died Cheltenham. Appeared at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Appeared in Sheridan Knowles’s William Tell (1825) and Bulwer-Lytton’s Money (1840) --#lmw
think I complained of him for the world. Mr. and Mrs. Dickinson & the little heiressFrances Vikris Dickinson | Born: 1820-03-07 in Farley Hill, near Swallowfield, Berkshire, England. Died: 1898-10-26 in Siena, Toscana, Italy.
Frances Dickinson was the only child of Charles Dickinson and Catherine Allingham. She was born on 7 March 1820 at Farley Hill, near Swallowfield, Berkshire, and was baptized on April 17. Her father Charles died when she was seven years old. She died at Siena, Toscana, Italy on October, 26 1898 and is buried in Rome. She was married to and divorced from her first husband, John Edward Geils (1813-1894) and later married the Rev. Gilbert Elliott (1800-1891). --#ajc #lmw
are spending their xmas in SomersetshireSomersetshire, England | Somerset | Somersetshire | England | 51.105097 -2.926230700000019 | County in southwest England, now known as Somerset. County town is Taunton.--#lmw51.105097 -2.926230700000019 at a fine old house of his--which she has only visited once or twice since her marriage--they are all well--I had a delightful letter from her a day or two ago--so I had from Mr. HaydonBenjamin Robert Haydon | Born: 1786-01-26 in Plymouth, England. Died: 1846-06-22 in London.
Benjamin Robert Haydon was a painter educated at the Royal Academy, who was famous for contemporary, historical, classical, biblical, and mythological scenes, though tormented by financial difficulties. He painted William Wordsworth’s portrait in 1842. MRM was introduced to him at his London studio in the spring of 1817, and Sir William Elford was a mutual friend. He committed suicide in 1846. English painter and author (1786-1846) Published Autobiography in 3 vols. (1853) John Keats named him in several poems. --#ebb #lmw
[Gap: 1 word, reason: torn.][2] There is a possibilty that a word or two are missing, as the paper has been torn under the seal. We speculate that the missing words could be "a letter" or "a note" that Mitford may have received from Mr. Haydon.—#bas #ebb on the birth of his son & heir. Have you read   [3] This is likely The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, written between 1558 and 1562. This lively account of Cellini's life has been famed as one of the most colorful and delightful autobiographies ever written. Mitford may have read the version published in 1823 under the title of Memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini : a Florentine artist ; written by himself.—#bas of Benvenuto Cellini--If not, Do! It is a most delightful piece of hair brained auto-biography--I quite agree with you & the Edinburgh Review as to Washington Irvine's book--there are pretty things in it--but the sentiment is cloying--& altogether after having read one Vol. one has no great desire to take up the second. Mr. Galt's new novel The Entail has great power but is very disagreeable--& yet there is an idiot--& and old Scotchwoman both of which are as finely drawn as Scott could do them--these are nearly the only books I have read lately)--How is Mr. Elford? I noted down the other day from a Review the title of a book which I transcribe--perhaps he would like to see it--It was very highly spoken of--on second thoughts I enclose it in a separate slip of paper.--(Farewell my dear & kindpage 6
Friend--forgive the sadness & the egotism of this letter--it has been a relief to me--I am sure of your sympathy & will write to you as soon as I know any thing certain & when I consider that Macready is really a noble creature, that he thinks very highly of both plays & that he knows exactly as you now do my situation & my feelings I have --Write to me if you can--Present my best wishes to your dear daughter & to Mr. Elford & to Lady Elford if she will accept of them & believe me always most faithfully & affectionately your's. Kindest regards from Papa & Mama. M.R. Mitford

Miss is a very fine young woman--I am more acquainted with Mrs. --but Hannah Rowe is highly spoken of by all the family & especially by her who though her sister is a woman of great sense & admirable qualities to be believed on all subjects--



Mary Russell Mitford | Born: 1787-12-16 in New Alresford, Hampshire, England. Died: 1855-01-10 in Swallowfield, Berkshire, England.
Poet, playwright, writer of prose fiction sketches, Mary Russell Mitford is, of course, the subject of our archive. Mary Russell Mitford was born on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire, the only child of George Mitford (or Midford) and Mary Russell. She was baptized on February 29, 1788. Much of her writing was devoted to supporting herself and her parents. She received a civil list pension in 1837. Census records from 1841 indicate that she is living with her father George, three female servants: Kerenhappuch Taylor (Mary’s ladies maid), two maids of all work, Mary Bramley and Mary Allaway, and a manservant (probably serving also as gardener), Benjamin Embury. The 1851 census lists her occupation as "authoress," and lists her as living at Three Mile Cross with Kerenhappuch Taylor (lady’s maid), Sarah Chernk (maid-of-all-work), and Samuel Swetman (gardener), after the death of her father. Mitford’s long life and prolific career ended after injuries from a carriage accident. She died on 10 January 1855 at Swallowfield, Berkshire and she is buried in Swallowfield churchyard. The executor of her will and her literary executor was the Rev. William Harness and her lady’s maid, Kerenhappuch Taylor Sweetman, was residuary legatee of her estate. --#lmw #ebb
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