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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
, February 28, 1823

Edited by Brooke A. Stewart.

Sponsored by:

First digital edition in TEI, date: April 15, 2017. P5.Edition made with help from photos taken by Digital Mitford editors. Digital Mitford photo files: 28Feb1823SirWilliamElford1#.JPG, 28Feb1823SirWilliamElford2#.JPG, 28Feb1823SirWilliamElford3#.JPG, 28Feb1823SirWilliamElford4#.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. 465

One quarto sheet of paper folded in half to form two octavo pages, which comprise pages 1-4 of the letter. The fourth page exposes the address. The third page has a slight rip where the wax seal was attached. Address leaf bears a black postmark, mostly illegible, reading
READING
. A large 11 denoting the posting fee has been written in black ink by the postal service across the address leaf. Sheet (pages three and four) torn on right edge of page three where wax seal was removed. Red wax seal, complete, adhered to page four.

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. partially proofread. The seal on the address leaf is difficult to read. Otherwise, ready for proofing.
To Sir W. Elford [1] On the last Saturday of February 1823 JulianJulian; a Tragedy in Five Acts. Mary Russell Mitford. London New York: G. B. Whittaker W. B. Gilley . 1823. was performed with 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
as the Principal Character. Miss Mitford went to Town for a few days on a visit to Miss Hofland on Newman st. to  [witness its first representation] and to enjoy her triumph.—#penAnnot_RCL
[2] This note is written on a small lined piece of paper, a couple inches wider than the octavo sheet. It is placed underneath the entire letter. There is a "3" written in pencil in the top left corner. Red crayon strikes through the note, continuing from a mark at the bottom of the third page of the letter.—#bas page 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 Feby 28th 1823. My dear friend

I have no frank--but I have at least the pleasure of being able to give you good news, & I think you had rather pay postage than not hear it. After a degree of contention & torment & suspense such as I cannot describe--one of my plays, my last & favourite play is I do really believe on the point of representation with my favourite Actor for the [hero]. He (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
) read it in the green room on Wednesday, & I suppose it will be out in ten days or a fortnight--Charles KembleCharles Kemble does not play in it--in revenge  perhaps 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
's refusing to play the DogeDoge Foscari
character in Mitford’s play Foscari See also historical counterpart: Doge Foscari.--#ebb
in FoscariFoscari: A Tragedy. Mary Russell Mitford. London : G. B. Whittaker . 1826. (for you know I suppose that that Play page 2
has been actually in rehearsal &  was obliged is for the present withdrawn)--but Mr. KembleCharles Kemble has behaved very fairly & honourably in other ways--has given 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
full power in getting up the Play &   with that admirable Actor (certainly the best since GarrickDavid Garrick | Born: 1717-02-19 in Angel Inn, Hereford, Herefordshire, England. Died: 1779-01-20 in Adelphi Buildings, London, England.
English actor and theatrical manager, considered the greatest actor of his era, and advocate of a more naturalistic style of acting. Prominent in Whig circles of the late eighteenth century. Frequently painted by Joshua Reynolds. Mary Robinson was one of his last acting mentees before his retirement from the stage. His greatest contributions as a playwright are his adaptations of Shakespeare for the eighteenth-century stage. He was the first actor to be buried in Westminster Abbey. --#lmw
) & this Play (certainly worth a thousand of FoscariFoscari: A Tragedy. Mary Russell Mitford. London : G. B. Whittaker . 1826. ) we can do very well without him. "JulianJulian; a Tragedy in Five Acts. Mary Russell Mitford. London New York: G. B. Whittaker W. B. Gilley . 1823. " or "The MelfiJulian; a Tragedy in Five Acts. Mary Russell Mitford. London New York: G. B. Whittaker W. B. Gilley . 1823. " (for I really don't know which they call it) is a Tragedy on a   fictitious story--I am afraid to tell you what the Critics say of it--but not afraid to stake on it my dramatic hopes. 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 be supported by Mr. BennettGeorge John Bennett | Born: 1800 in Ripon, Yorkshire, England. Died: 1879.
Versatile actor who played comic and tragic roles with success. Performed in the provinces, then at Drury Lane from 1825-1826, in Dublin from 1826-28, and at Covent Garden in 1828 before moving to the suburban London theater of Sadler’s Wells. Retired from acting in 1862. Said to have inaugurated a new, more sympathetic and serious style of playing Caliban, which had previously been considered a comic wild man character. --#lmw
(the new Actor)--Mr. Abbott --Miss Lacy--& Miss FooteMaria Foote Stanhope | Born: 1797-07-24 in Plymouth, England. Died: 1867-12-27 in Whitehall, London, England.
Well known English theater actor. She was the daughter of Samuel Foote. She played Alfonso, the King of Sicily in Julian. She performed at Drury Lane from 1814 to 1825 and then began to perform at Covent Garden in 1826. --#ejb
.--So you must write to your play going friends--for I am sure that ardent spirit 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 drive the matter on--It is page 3
odd enough that I & this zealous friend of mine have never met. He is just such another soul of fire as 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
--highly educated & a man of great literary acquirement, consorting entirely with poets & young men of talent--indeed it is to his knowledge of my 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
that I owe the first introduction of my plays to his notice.--I hope your brother still continues comfortable--Tell him that 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
's Aunt has found immense benefit from the use of Mr. Hutchinson's prescription (the [rust] of iron) & that that, as a strengthener & preventative, joined to the Reading remedy [3] The letter is torn from the last four letters of the word "remedy," which are visible on the small piece of paper that is adhered to the seal that is apparently attached to the top of the letter surface.—#bas in case of an attack is said to be most efficacious--is very impertinent in me to say this--but I do take so real an interest in him that I am sure you will forgive me--Pray make my best Compts to him & to dear Miss ElfordGrace Chard Elford, or: Miss Elford | Born: in Plympton, Devon, England. Died: 1856-02-24 in St. Thomas, Devon, England.
Elder daughter of Sir William Elford and Mary Davies Elford; she was baptised at Plympton, Devon on November 11, 1781. Her middle name, "Chard," is derived from her maternal lineage; Grace’s maternal grandmother was born Mary Chard. Grace Elford remained unmarried and later came to reside with her sister Elizabeth Elford Adams and her family, according to census records. She died on February 22, 1857 at St. Thomas, Devon.--#lmw
.[4] Mitford mentions Hutchinson's rust of iron again in her letter to Sir William Elford of 21 August 1823 in connection with his brother to inquire if he has tried it or the Reading remedy for his ailment. Hutchinson's rust (or carbonate) of iron was used to treat tic douloureux (trigeminal neuralgia), a chronic pain disorder that affects the nerves in the face. Hutchinson reported "occasionally the happiest results" with his treatment, which he advised to be taken in doses of two scruples repeated two to three times a day, in an article in The Lancet London of 30 September 1837. We have located a reference to a celebrated Reading Remedy in an advertisement in the Brighton Gazette of 7 July 1864, where it is referred to as BOULTE'S EMBROCATION (the celebrated Reading Remedy), and only certain cure for Rheumatism, Neuralgia, Face-ache, Loss of Power in the Limbs, Weak and Contracted Muscles, Stiff Joints, Feeble Circulation, Lumbago, Sore Throats, Hooping Cough, Chilblains, &c. Boulte's remedy, according to the advertisement, was sealed by a Sarah Boulte, Reading, and indicates that 40,000 persons have received benefit, suggesting that this has been in use for a long time.—#bas #ebb--Forgive page 4
this short note--I have many letters to write--& have been for the last fortnight exceedingly unwell--but this news would Cure me if I were dying. I know that I shall be quite well tomorrow.--Kindest regards from all--

Ever my dear friend
Most affectionately your'syours
M. R. MitfordMary 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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To

Sir William Elford Bart

BickhamBickham, Somerset, England | Bickham | Somerset | England | 51.163534 -3.506621999999993 | Hamlet near Plymouth, and residence of Sir William Elford, who lived there until the failure of his finances in 1825 forced him eventually to sell his family’s estate. He sold his property in Bickham in 1831 and moved to The Priory, in Totnes, Devon the house of his daughter (Elizabeth) and son-in-law.--#ebb #lmw51.163534 -3.506621999999993

PlymouthPlymouth, Devonshire, England | Plymouth | Devonshire | England | 50.3754565 -4.14265649999993 | City on the coast of Devonshire. After declines in the seventeenth century, increasingly important from the late eighteenth century into the nineteenth as a seaport, site of trade and emigration to and from the Americas, and a center of shipbuilding. Birthplace of Benjamin Robert Haydon. Sir William Elford was also born nearby at Bickham. Elford worked as a banker at Plymouth Bank (Elford, Tingcombe and Purchase) in Plymouth, from its founding in 1782, and he was elected a member of Parliament for Plymouth and served from 1796 to 1806.--#ebb #lmw50.3754565 -4.14265649999993