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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
, April 25, 1823.

Edited by Elizabeth RaisanenMelissa Klamer.

Sponsored by:

First digital edition in TEI, date: 11 August 2014. P5. . IMG_0196.JPG, IMG_0195.JPG, IMG_0194.JPG, IMG_0199.JPG, IMG_0198.JPG, IMG_0197.JPG, IMG_0193.JPG, IMG_0192.JPG, IMG_0191.JPG, IMG_0190.JPG, IMG_0189.JPG, IMG_0188.JPG, IMG_0187.JPG, IMG_0186.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford7c#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford7b#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford6c#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford7a#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford6a#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford6b#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford4c#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford4b#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford4a#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford3a#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford2b#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford2a#.JPG, 25April1823SirWilliamElford1a#.JPG, .

Published by: Digital Mitford: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive, Greensburg, PA, USA: 2014.

Reproduced by courtesy of the The Reading Central Library.

Digital Mitford Letters: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive

Repository: The Reading Central Library. Shelf mark: qB/TU/MIT Vol. 4, Horizon No.: 1361550 ff. 469

One quarto sheet of paper folded in half to form two octavo pages, which comprise pages 1-4 of the letter. The fifth page bears the end of the letter on one side, and (after being folded into four panels) exposes the address portion of the leaf on the other side. The address side of the leaf seems to have been matted, though the reverse side is fully visible in the Reading Central Library bound portolio. Address leaf lacking postmarks, bears the date "April twenty six 1823" in Mitford's hand, with "J. B. Monck Plymouth" at the bottom indicating that Monck franked this letter on Mitford's behalf. The last sheet of the letter is torn suggesting a missing round seal.

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. Added address information. Fixed handShift; now is signalled within text. Proofread this file. Checked for completion, corrected spelling errors. Comments left in for reviewing. Added collection information and minor addition to handNotes. Added idno and photo file idnos. Updated header to include the letter xml:id. TRANSCRIPTION INCOMPLETE. I have updated the header so it doesn't erroneously point to another letter, and I documented the address leaf.
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To Sir W. Elford April 25th 1823. My dear Friend

I am but just returned from Town, whither I have been led by one of the evil consequences of dramatic Authorship--that is to say a false report--& lose not a moment in writing to you to thank you for your Zealous kindness, & to say how heartily we sympathisesympathize in all your feelings.--I have no time to tell you the story of the strange mistake which led me to LondonLondon, England | London | England | 51.5073509 -0.12775829999998223 | Capital city of England and the United Kingdom; one the oldest cities in Western Europe. Major seaport and global trading center at the mouth of the Thames. From 1831 to 1925, the largest city in the world.--#lmw51.5073509 -0.12775829999998223--no heart to talk to you of plays & theatres--for my very soul is sick of them all--they mean to be kind I believe all of them--but between the lies & the quarrels & thepage 2
envy that attends [suc[Gap: 1 chars, reason: inkblot.]ess] I have fairly wished a thousand times that the Play had failed. Do not tell this--But really my soul sickens within me when I think of the turmoil & tumult which I have undergone--& am to undergo--for Charles KembleCharles Kemble will not suffer me to withdraw my Tragedy of the FoscariFoscari: A Tragedy. Mary Russell Mitford. London : G. B. Whittaker . 1826. , & threatens me with a lawsuit if I do. In the meantime I am tossed about between him & 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
like a cricket ball--affronting both parties, & suspected by both because I will not come to a deadly rupture with either. Only imagine what a state this is for one who values peace & quietness beyond every other blessing of life!--In the meantime they have stoptstopped JulianJulian; a Tragedy in Five Acts. Mary Russell Mitford. London New York: G. B. Whittaker W. B. Gilley . 1823.  the Play at the end of the eighth night though it was page 3
going brilliantly to brilliant houses--& [1] Miss Mitford received £ 200 for Julian from Covent Garden £ 100 cash on the 9 of May & £ 100 by  bill payable on the 12 of October—#penAnnot_RCL (but this is quite between ourselves) not paid me for the third & sixth nights--To be sure I have Charles KembleCharles Kemble's personal word--& I believe him to be an honest man--but to undergo all this misery & not get my money would be terrible indeed! To crown all, Mr. HamiltonSamuel Hamilton, or:
Publisher and editor of the Lady’s Magazine. He took over the publishing business of his father and grandfather, both named Archibald, alongside his brother, also named Archibald. He first appeared as the printer of the magazine in August 1799. Mitford had contributed articles to the magazine, for which Hamilton may have neglected to pay her the total amount due, sometime in 1823. --#bas
of our Magazine has absconded above forty pounds in my debt--Oh who  would be an Authoress!--The only comfort is that the Magazine can't go on without me, & that the very fuss they make ^in quarrelling over  me at the Theatre proves my importance there--& so that if I survive these vexations, I may in time make something of my poor poor brains.--but I would rather serve in a shop--rather [scrub] scrubfloors--rather nursepage 4
children than undergo these tremendous & interminable disputes & this unwomanly publicity.--

Well I will talk of this no more & I have nothing else to talk of--for though I have been in Town I have been so engrossed & absorbed by these distracting concerns that I have lost all consciousness of any thing  better--I shall have something to send you in a month or two for I have been sitting for my portrait to be engraved at the desire of my Bookseller--I hope & [Gap: 1 word, reason: .][trust][2] This word is smudged, and also struck through by a later annotator in red crayon, the same hand that drew diagonal lines across many of Mitford's manuscript pages in 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.--
collection.—#mjk #ebb
that you are all as well as you can be--say every thing to yourself & your brother & 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
& all who are so good as to know me ^of your family that may convey [most] of gratitude sympathy[3] It is possible that the sympathy is in reference to the recent passing of his son Jonathan. However, this is difficult to definitively prove.—#bas #ebb & true good wishes--I hope Mr. Elford continues & will continue better--Adieu my dear friend--

Ever most faithfully your'syours,
M.R. Mitford

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 April twenty six 1823

Sir W. Elford

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

J.B. MonckJohn Berkeley Monck
Member of Parliament for Reading area 1820-1830, who frequently franked Mary Russell Mitford’s letters. Mitford’s letter to Sir William Elford of 20 March 1820 about the election of Monck describes him in context with a politically active "Patriot" shoemaker, Mr. Warry, who brought him from France. Monck was the author of General Reflections on the System of the Poor Laws (1807), in which he argued for a gradual approach to abolishing the Poor Laws, and for the reform of workhouses. Francis Needham claims that it is he who is referred to in "Violeting", when the narrator thinks she sees "Mr. and Mrs. M. and dear B.". ("Dear B." would be their son, Bligh.) Dr. Webb’s research suggests that "celebrated shoemaker" is Mr. Warry, possibly Joseph Source: Francis Needham, Letter to William Roberts, 26 March 1954. Needham Papers, Reading Central Library.--#lmw #ebb #scw
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
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It is very strange that I was about to request you to enclose your letter to Mr. MonckJohn Berkeley Monck
Member of Parliament for Reading area 1820-1830, who frequently franked Mary Russell Mitford’s letters. Mitford’s letter to Sir William Elford of 20 March 1820 about the election of Monck describes him in context with a politically active "Patriot" shoemaker, Mr. Warry, who brought him from France. Monck was the author of General Reflections on the System of the Poor Laws (1807), in which he argued for a gradual approach to abolishing the Poor Laws, and for the reform of workhouses. Francis Needham claims that it is he who is referred to in "Violeting", when the narrator thinks she sees "Mr. and Mrs. M. and dear B.". ("Dear B." would be their son, Bligh.) Dr. Webb’s research suggests that "celebrated shoemaker" is Mr. Warry, possibly Joseph Source: Francis Needham, Letter to William Roberts, 26 March 1954. Needham Papers, Reading Central Library.--#lmw #ebb #scw
who is so Kind as to give me a general permission his address is--J. B. MonckJohn Berkeley Monck
Member of Parliament for Reading area 1820-1830, who frequently franked Mary Russell Mitford’s letters. Mitford’s letter to Sir William Elford of 20 March 1820 about the election of Monck describes him in context with a politically active "Patriot" shoemaker, Mr. Warry, who brought him from France. Monck was the author of General Reflections on the System of the Poor Laws (1807), in which he argued for a gradual approach to abolishing the Poor Laws, and for the reform of workhouses. Francis Needham claims that it is he who is referred to in "Violeting", when the narrator thinks she sees "Mr. and Mrs. M. and dear B.". ("Dear B." would be their son, Bligh.) Dr. Webb’s research suggests that "celebrated shoemaker" is Mr. Warry, possibly Joseph Source: Francis Needham, Letter to William Roberts, 26 March 1954. Needham Papers, Reading Central Library.--#lmw #ebb #scw
Esqre M. P.
Coley Park
Reading.

Pray forgive this sad no letter! Alas the free & happy hours when I could  read & think & prattle for you are past away!--Oh will they ever return! I am now chained to a desk 8, 10, 12, hours a day--at mere drudgery--all my thoughts of writing for hard money--all my correspondence on hard business--Oh pity me! Pity me! My very mind is sinking under the fatigue & the anxiety--God bless you my dear friend!--Forgive this sad letter.