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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
, July 28, 1819

Edited by Daniel SchierenbeckLisa M. Wilson.

Sponsored by:

First digital edition in TEI, date: 26 April 2015. P5.Edition made with help from photos taken by Digital Mitford editors. Digital Mitford photo files: DSCF9476.jpg, DSCF9477.jpg, DSCF9478.jpg, DSCF9479.jpg, DSCF9480.jpg, DSCF9481.jpg, DSCF9482.jpg. DSCF9483.jpg. DSCF9484.jpg. DSCF9485.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. 377

One sheet of folio paper, four surfaces photographed. Address leaf bearing black postmark, partially illegible, reading
READING
. A large 3 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.
page 1
To Sir W. Eld. Begin with these lines 13 July 28, 1819.


Why WizzardWizard thus disturb my dormant life
And raise me through the water's misty strife
Oh cease! Your high behests with speed disclose
With speed dismiss me to my dread repose

It is not from laziness believe me, my dear Friend, that I have sent your four lines unaltered. I have been altering them all the morning—turning & twisting them twenty different ways—& on an impartial survey of the several readings am convinced that your version is much the best. Mine all look patched. Indeed I write verses so seldom now that I have lost the little power I once possessed. The reason of my not sending you any of my attempts is, that I fear your modesty or your politeness might tempt you to prefer my bad lines to your good ones & I would not put such a risk in your way. Surely the last line is very [del: .] good—the repetition strengthens it. In addition to the greater clearness of these last verses which we both prefer, they remind me much less of those in Manfred for which you know I took the first you sent me, & as your Picture though strikingly coinciding in subject with this fine conception of Lord ByronGeorge Gordon Noel Byron, sixth Baron Byron | Born: 1788-01-22 in Holles Street, London. Died: 1824-04-19 in Missolonghi, Greece.
--
's is not taken from it—has I suppose neither the cascade-rainbow nor the Alpine scenery of his Drama you would of course not wish your nymph to be confounded with the "Witch of the Alps."

Now that our something like business is dispatched, let me thank you a thousand times for your charming letter & all its kindness. You have before now received my doleful epistle, & know that we cannot come to 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. I wish I was setting out for it this very moment. I did not want that dear letter to remind me of all that I love. And yet it has very much encreasedincreased my regret. I shall do nothing for a whole week but pity myself & hate Mr. Elliot. What pleasure I should have had in seeing with you such scenery as you describe—in meeting Miss Welsford who is so good to me & whom I look upon as a ready made friend—in making acquaintance with your daughters who are I hope equally well disposed towards me—& even in hearing the Balcombe family talk of my page 2
hero. (Do send me word what they say of him.)—I must not think of what I lose or I shall become quite fretful & repining. I must talk of something else. You are certainly a critic of the very first water my dear Sir WilliamWilliam 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
deny it as you may—& neither Mrs. HoflandBarbara Wreaks Hofland | Born: 1770 in Yorkshire. Died: 1844-11-04 in Richmond-on-Thames.
Novelist and writer of children’s books popular in England and America, Barbara Hofland was a native of Sheffield, Yorkshire, where she published poems from July 1794 in the local newspaper, The Sheffield Iris. Her first marriage to Thomas Bradshawe Hoole left her widowed and in poverty, raising a son, Frederic, on her own, and she supported herself by publishing poems and children’s books, and by running a girl’s school in Harrogate. second marriage was to the artist Thomas Christopher Hofland. (Source: ODNB)--#ebb
nor I flatter you in the least. As to Mrs. Hof:Barbara Wreaks Hofland | Born: 1770 in Yorkshire. Died: 1844-11-04 in Richmond-on-Thames.
Novelist and writer of children’s books popular in England and America, Barbara Hofland was a native of Sheffield, Yorkshire, where she published poems from July 1794 in the local newspaper, The Sheffield Iris. Her first marriage to Thomas Bradshawe Hoole left her widowed and in poverty, raising a son, Frederic, on her own, and she supported herself by publishing poems and children’s books, and by running a girl’s school in Harrogate. second marriage was to the artist Thomas Christopher Hofland. (Source: ODNB)--#ebb
I don't think she can flatter—she does not know how & says things sometimes in the way of truth-telling that startle a whole company like the sudden going off of a gun—and as to me—I may sometimes in my enthusiasm think a leetel more than exists, but I never said a word more than I believed even of you on BuonaparteNapoleon Bonaparte
In 1814 when Napoleon was still powerful but on the retreat in Europe, Mary Russell Mitford published a poem titled Napoleon’s Dream in The Poetical Register and Repository of Fugitive Poetry VIII: 215-220 . In the poem, she characterized the military leader and emperor as be-nightmared. Betty Bennett featured an edition of Napoleon’s Dream in her digital collection British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism, 1793-1815 in 2004 . --#ebb
. (how do you like the conjunctions?) Now that I have cleared my ground I may be believed when I tell you how much I admire all that you have said of these Tales of my Landlord.[1] Mitford refers to Walter Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor.—#lmw The shifts & contrivances of the servant (always excepting the admirable detail of the cooper's menage which they are the means of introducing—the only piece of real life in the story) are not only false & poor & worthless—a bad imitation of some farce that I have seen—abortive humour which is worse than anything—they are not only detestable in themselves, but by bringing back the imagination ^with a jerkto all that is low & pitiful completely destroy the illusion which the Author intended to produce by the romantic & supernatural tone of the story. He certainly as you so well observe does believe himself in all manner of second-sight & Faëry—& if he had had Fairfax's good luck & lived in days when such a belief would not have been laughed at, & pilloried in reviews & [del: .]pelted in newspapers he would have been as great or greater than Fairfax in his own way. Prevailing poet whose undoubting mind
Believed the magic wonder that he sung
—but being by his evil stars condemned to make his fortune in a sneering & a skeptical age, he is obliged to cover his strong under current & of credibility with little fluctuating waves of mock-unbelief, & affected levity which entirely counteract one effect, without actually producing the other. I wonder he does not feel & know how [del: .]completely the artificial state ofpage 3
of mind excited by a powerful representation of supernatural [del: .] subjects must be destroyed by anything light or ludicrous—anything which breathes or suspends even for a moment the gloomy & passionate feeling. Everything in ghost stories depends on continuity—one cannot lay down the book to snuff the candle without letting some part of the awe escape—The hair which has been standing to charmingly an end with fright fallsdown flump—& won't get up again.—The nymph of the fountain is very pretty & I think original. If you like such water sprite stories you should read UndineUndine: A Romance, translated from the German. George Soane , Friedrich de la Motte .
Mitford would likely have been familiar with the 1818 translation by George Soane entitled Undine: a romance, translated from Friedrich de la Motte, Baron Fouqué’s Undine: eine Erzahlung, first published in German in 1811. Soane, a prolific playwright, also produced a play version of the Undine story in 1821.--#lmw
(Do you remember how you attracted my handwriting about that word?) There is in that the prettiest mixture of childishness & witchery that can be imagined with a deep & intense moral feeling—and very short—only one small volume.

I am very stupid tonight—worse than usual—& I can guess why. I have been reading a fine thick metaphysical book—Professor BrownThomas Browne | Born: 1605-10-19 in London, England. Died: 1682-10-19 in Norwich, England.
--
on Cause & Effect—& to use the learned professor's own phraseology I suppose that the general "consequent" of such an "antecedent" as reading his book is stupidity. I must tell you how [del: .][I] was betrayed into such a headachy lecture this warm weather. Miss James [page torn, perhaps "gave"]—> me the book—& she knows and likes the author & wanted to say something nice to him about his work—but being too wise to read it herself sent it to me to read for her. Is not she a pretty fellow?

Did I tell you in my last for really I don't remember Deuce take Professor Brown's great book!) that I have got a new pet? All this warm weather I sit out of doors in the Plantations—just on one side of my seat is a filberd tree the branches of which spread quite across my feet & on these branches every day comes a young red breast—first of all he appeared at a distance—then he came nearer then he fed close to me & now the moment I call Bobby he comes. MossyMossy
Mitford’s dog; He died on Saturday, August 21, 1819 at Bertram House. "Mossy" was a nickname for "Moss Trooper."--#lmw #ncl
himself is not more tame or more fond—he comes on my feet & my gown—feeds almost on my hand (not quite) & has by example tamed his Papa & one or two of his brothers & sisters who come like him & feed from a board on the tree quite close to me but do not like my own Bobby come when they are called. Is this unusual in the summer? I know they are tame in the winter—but this is quite a young bird has never known cold or hunger, he had not a red feather in his breast a fortnight ago. He likes very much to be talked to in a soft monotonous & caressing tonepage 4
Bobby! Bobby! Bobby! & turns his head in the prettiest attitudes of listening that you can imagine & generally finishes by taking two or three flights across me so close as almost to touch my face. I shall be so long to leave him—I think that I shall try to get it put in the deeds that Mr. Elliot must feed Bobby.

. How very good you were to transcribe for me Mr. Cranstown's account of young Napoleon.—though perhaps one had rather that he were more like a boy—one does not imagine his father to have been so sedate a person at his age. But Princes poor things never can be children—their luckless station will not let them—& that I suppose is one reason why so few of them turn out great men. Did you ever hear that a damsel of his own rank & age—a little Princess of the Netherlands is desperately in love with their own BuonaparteNapoleon Bonaparte
In 1814 when Napoleon was still powerful but on the retreat in Europe, Mary Russell Mitford published a poem titled Napoleon’s Dream in The Poetical Register and Repository of Fugitive Poetry VIII: 215-220 . In the poem, she characterized the military leader and emperor as be-nightmared. Betty Bennett featured an edition of Napoleon’s Dream in her digital collection British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism, 1793-1815 in 2004 . --#ebb
. She vows she will never marry anyone else—she will have him—she is as violently in love with him as most [del: .] heroines of her years are with a doll or a dumpling. I understand the young lady is a very promising subject—a charming haughty refractory child—full of self will & attraction.—Adieu. PapaGeorge Mitford, Esq., or: George Midford | Born: 1760-11-15 in Hexham, Northumberland, England. Died: 1842-12-11 in Three Mile Cross, Shinfield, Berkshire, England.
George Mitford was born on November 15, 1760 in Hexham, Northumberland, the son of Francis Midford, surgeon, and Jane Graham. He was related to the Mitfords of Mitford Castle, Northumberland. In 1784, he was living in Alresford and is listed in a Hampshire directory as "surgeon (medicine)." Although later sources would claim that he was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh medical school, there is no evidence that he obtained a medical degree; his father and grandfather worked as surgeon-apothecaries and it seems likely that he served a medical apprenticeship with family members. He married Mary Russell on October 17, 1785 at New Alresford, Hampshire. On the marriage allegation papers, both gave their addresses as Old Alresford; they later came to live at Broad Street in New Alresford. Their only child to live to adulthood, Mary Russell Mitford, was born two years later on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire. George Mitford died on December 11, 1842 at Three Mile Cross in the parish of Shinfield, Berkshire. --#lmw
continues quite well & joins with MamaMary Russell Mitford, or: Mrs. Mitford | Born: 1750 in Ashe, Hampshire, England. Died: 1830-01-02 in Three Mile Cross, parish of Shinfield, Berkshire, England.
Mary Russell was the youngest child of the Rev. Dr. Richard Russell and his second wife, Mary Dicker; she was born about 1750 in Ashe, Hampshire. (Her birth date is as yet unverified; period sources indicate that she was ten years older than her husband George, born in 1760.) Through the Russells, she was a distant relation of the Dukes of Bedford (sixth creation, 1694). She had two siblings, Charles William and Frances; both predeceased her and their parents, which resulted in Mary Russell inheriting her family’s entire estate upon her mother’s death in 1785. Her father’s rectory in Ashe was only a short distance from Steventon, and so she was acquainted with the young Jane Austen. She married George Mitford or Midford on October 17, 1785 at New Alresford, Hampshire. On the marriage allegation papers, both gave their addresses as Old Alresford. Their only daughter, Mary Russell Mitford, was born two years later on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire. Mary Russell died on January 2, 1830 at Three Mile Cross in the parish of Shinfield, Berkshire. Her obituary in the 1830 New Monthly Magazine gives the "New Year’s day" as the date of her death. --#ajc #lmw
in kindest remembrances—
Ever most affectionately your's
M.R.M.

I do not wait for a frank lest I should detain the picture—Pray write soon.—I am so glad to hear Miss Welsford is better.-Does my fair Sister Poetess ever write now.—once more Adieu my dear Friend.

To Sir William Elford BartWilliam 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

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