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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 12, 1822

Edited by Elizabeth Raisanen.

Sponsored by:

First digital edition in TEI, date: 21 April 2019. P5.Edition made with help from photos taken by Digital Mitford editors. Digital Mitford photo files: 12April1822SirWilliamElford1a#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford1b#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford1c#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford2a#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford2b#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford3a#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford3b#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford4a#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford4b#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford5a#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford5b#.JPG, 12April1822SirWilliamElford6.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. 450

Two sheets of paper, with the first full folio sheet folded in half creating pages 1-4 and then a second half folio sheet written on the front for page five and page six used as an address leaf. Six surfaces photographed. Half sheet (pages five and six) torn on right edge where wax seal was removed. Letter was folded in thirds, twice. There is a heavily faded stamp that reads 1822 in black, most likely a delivery stamp. Sheet (pages five and six) torn on right edge of page five where wax seal was removed. Red wax seal, complete, adhered to page six (the address leaf), possibly Mitford's rectangular "Mary" 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.
In grey pencil this letter is numbered "41" in the top left of the first leaf Three Mile Cross
April 12, 1822
Three 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 April 12th 1822..

Thank you very much, 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
for your very kind & entertaning letter—the story of the Housemaid & the picture is delicious—& I enter into it the more thoroughly from having lately rescued some blotted papers of my own from the fangs of an animal of that species—I write (like PopeAlexander Pope | Born: 1688-05-21 in London. Died: 1744-05-30 in Twickenham.
English author (1688-1744) --#lmw
& other great poets) on the backs of letters notes etc (not yours—they are kept untouched—I should as soon write on bank paper)—[so] that, considering the blessed & blotted state of the manuscript my Dramatic Scene for John ValpyAbraham John Valpy, or: Abraham John Valpy | Born: 1786-10-30 in Reading, Berkshire, England. Died: 1854-11-19 in St. John’s Wood Road, London, England.
Abraham John Valpy, called "John" or "A.J." Dr. Richard Valpy’s second son, Abraham John was born about 1786 and was baptized on October 30, 1786 in Reading, Berkshire. He was educated at Reading School and then matriculated at Pembroke College, Oxford on April 25, 1805; from that institution, he received his B.A. (1809) and M.A. (1811) and was appointed a Fellow for a short time in 1811. According to the DNB, he was "bound apprentice to a freeman of London, Humphrey Gregory Pridden," a printer. He was admitted a Liveryman of the Stationer’s Company in London in 1807. He worked as a printer-publisher and editor, and owned premises in London at 21 Tooke’s Court, Cursitor Street (1811) and later at Red Lion Court, Fleet Street (1821). He published numerous works of ancient and modern literature, and was the printer and publisher of periodical The Museum (1822-1825). He worked with E.H. Barker of Thetford, George Burges, George Dyer, and T.S. Hughes. He retired from the publishing industry in 1837. On February 25, 1813 he married Harriet Wylde at Burrington, Somerset. John and Harriet Wylde lived in greater London and died without issue. John died on November 19, 1854 at St. John’s Wood Road, London, and is buried at All Soul’s, Kensal Green, London. --#lmw #ebb
's new paper —(the MuseumThe Museum; or Record of Literature, Fine Arts, Antiquities, the Drama, &c.. 1822-04-27.
a weekly periodical edited by Peter Bayley and printed by John Valpy.--#lmw
—Sir—It is not come out yet—will you take it in?—I don't persuade you, mind, for I have not the least notion whether it will be good or bad—always excepting my own articles—& JohnAbraham John Valpy, or: Abraham John Valpy | Born: 1786-10-30 in Reading, Berkshire, England. Died: 1854-11-19 in St. John’s Wood Road, London, England.
Abraham John Valpy, called "John" or "A.J." Dr. Richard Valpy’s second son, Abraham John was born about 1786 and was baptized on October 30, 1786 in Reading, Berkshire. He was educated at Reading School and then matriculated at Pembroke College, Oxford on April 25, 1805; from that institution, he received his B.A. (1809) and M.A. (1811) and was appointed a Fellow for a short time in 1811. According to the DNB, he was "bound apprentice to a freeman of London, Humphrey Gregory Pridden," a printer. He was admitted a Liveryman of the Stationer’s Company in London in 1807. He worked as a printer-publisher and editor, and owned premises in London at 21 Tooke’s Court, Cursitor Street (1811) and later at Red Lion Court, Fleet Street (1821). He published numerous works of ancient and modern literature, and was the printer and publisher of periodical The Museum (1822-1825). He worked with E.H. Barker of Thetford, George Burges, George Dyer, and T.S. Hughes. He retired from the publishing industry in 1837. On February 25, 1813 he married Harriet Wylde at Burrington, Somerset. John and Harriet Wylde lived in greater London and died without issue. John died on November 19, 1854 at St. John’s Wood Road, London, and is buried at All Soul’s, Kensal Green, London. --#lmw #ebb
will pay me [del: .] the same whether you take it or no, which is all that concerns me)—Where were we? Well my dramatic Scene looked as she said such a [del: .]"tatterdemallion piece of scribble" that she clawed it up in her paw—much as a monkey would seize on an open letter, & was actually proceeding to light a fire withal when I snatched my precious manuscript from her devouring fangs—I wish you had seen the look of contempt with which this damsel of ours—a cidevant schoolmistress—looked at my composition—I dare say she would have whiptwhipped any one of her scholars that wrote only half as ill. And so you to not like Sir Andrew Wylie!—Well neither upon recollection do I—for though I was taken very much at the time with the fine [tonic] simplicity of the dialect & the pervading influence of a diverting quiet humour—yet on reflection it is as page 2
you say utterly impossible—& the latter fact in particular falls off terribly—the hero is so unnecessarily let down—& the heroine such a foolish country coquette—And yet there is one trait [del: .] in that last part which is exquisite—the giving thanks in the Church for his return home—GoldsmithOliver Goldsmith | Born: 1728-11-10 in Ireland(exact location contested). Died: 1774-04-04 in London, England.
--
never exceeded the effect of that beautiful touch of pathos & simplicity.—I am now reading a very different sort of work—Horace WalpoleHorace Walpole, Member of Parliament for Callington , Member of Parliament for Castle Rising , Member of Parliament for King’s Lynn , or: 4th Earl of Orford (second creation), Member of Parliament for Callington , Member of Parliament for Castle Rising , Member of Parliament for King’s Lynn | Born: 1745-12-10 in London, England. Died: 1797-03-02 in Berkeley Square, London, England.
Youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, British Prime Minister and Catherine, his wife. Built Strawberry Hill in Twickenham. --#lmw
's (I beg his pardon) Lord Orford's Memoires. Have you read these two delicious Quarto's of 550 pages each [del: .] of History which ought to be dull inasmuch as it embraces the most uninteresting part of our annals, & which is yet as short & as entertaining as a fairy tale? One's first [del: .]^feeling in closing that book will be a desire to begin it again. And yet I don't suppose there is much truth in it either. The dear HoraceHorace Walpole, Member of Parliament for Callington , Member of Parliament for Castle Rising , Member of Parliament for King’s Lynn , or: 4th Earl of Orford (second creation), Member of Parliament for Callington , Member of Parliament for Castle Rising , Member of Parliament for King’s Lynn | Born: 1745-12-10 in London, England. Died: 1797-03-02 in Berkeley Square, London, England.
Youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, British Prime Minister and Catherine, his wife. Built Strawberry Hill in Twickenham. --#lmw
has in the first place that keen insight into the worst part of chacracter which gives a general prejudice [del: .] against human nature—& in the second a particular & safer added prejudice against almost every [del: .] individual whom he has occassion to mention. He hates his Father's enemies—that's of course—he hates his Father's rivals—he hates his Father's successors—& he hates those of his Father's friends—who have deserted him—which considering the avowed principle of buying & selling which his Robert followed—embraces of course pretty nearly [del: .] both houses of ParliamentParliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; supreme legislative body in England. --#ajc
. Besides this sweeping filial dislike—he has a comfortable set of antipathies on his own account—& really seems to ^have hated almost every body. Tant mieux. It whets the razor, & most [del: .]^ easily & keenly does that bright weapon cut. The characters are exquisitely given for piquancy & style—there is an unexpectedness & originality in some of his expressions greater even than page 3
in his letters—& the specimens of speeches give I should imagine a very just as well as lively idea of the speakers—particularly of the great rivals PittWilliam Pitt, or: The Honourable William Pitt, William Pitt the younger, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Chancellor of the Exchequer | Born: 1759-05-28 in Hayes, Kent, England. Died: 1806-01-23 in Putney, Surrey, England.
Called William Pitt the younger to differentiate him from his father, William Pitt the elder, first Earl of Chatham, also a Prime Minister. --#lmw
& FoxCharles James Fox, The Honourable , Member of Parliament, Leader of the House of Commons, secretary of State for Foreign Affairs | Born: 1749-01-24 in Westminster, London, England. Died: 1806-09-13 in Chiswick, England.
Whig politician and leader of the House of Commons. Fox was an outspoken opponent of King George III and William Pitt the Younger, supporter of the American and French Revolutions as well as the abolitionist cause. His politics became widely known as "Foxite radicalism" and synonymous with populist causes. The young Mary Russell Mitford was an avowed Fox admirer, as were many Whig families in the decades following his death in 1806. --#ebb #lmw
—(I mean of course the Father's)—one had never—at least I had never so considerable an impression of Mr. FoxCharles James Fox, The Honourable , Member of Parliament, Leader of the House of Commons, secretary of State for Foreign Affairs | Born: 1749-01-24 in Westminster, London, England. Died: 1806-09-13 in Chiswick, England.
Whig politician and leader of the House of Commons. Fox was an outspoken opponent of King George III and William Pitt the Younger, supporter of the American and French Revolutions as well as the abolitionist cause. His politics became widely known as "Foxite radicalism" and synonymous with populist causes. The young Mary Russell Mitford was an avowed Fox admirer, as were many Whig families in the decades following his death in 1806. --#ebb #lmw
as since reading these Memoires—(Pooh—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
& 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
are playing at that tedious noisy [courting] game piquet—which makes me so stupid tonight) I meant to say that I never thought the first Mr. FoxCharles James Fox, The Honourable , Member of Parliament, Leader of the House of Commons, secretary of State for Foreign Affairs | Born: 1749-01-24 in Westminster, London, England. Died: 1806-09-13 in Chiswick, England.
Whig politician and leader of the House of Commons. Fox was an outspoken opponent of King George III and William Pitt the Younger, supporter of the American and French Revolutions as well as the abolitionist cause. His politics became widely known as "Foxite radicalism" and synonymous with populist causes. The young Mary Russell Mitford was an avowed Fox admirer, as were many Whig families in the decades following his death in 1806. --#ebb #lmw
so considerable a [del: .]man as since reading these Memoires.—Well he is a delightful person Horace WalpoleHorace Walpole, Member of Parliament for Callington , Member of Parliament for Castle Rising , Member of Parliament for King’s Lynn , or: 4th Earl of Orford (second creation), Member of Parliament for Callington , Member of Parliament for Castle Rising , Member of Parliament for King’s Lynn | Born: 1745-12-10 in London, England. Died: 1797-03-02 in Berkeley Square, London, England.
Youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, British Prime Minister and Catherine, his wife. Built Strawberry Hill in Twickenham. --#lmw
—I hope we shall have some more of his remains—& pray—may I ask—have you, his successor & likeness, composed Memoires of your own time to be put into a sealed box & opened when the first grandson or grand nephew comes of age?—your History will be better humouredhumored than Horace WalpoleHorace Walpole, Member of Parliament for Callington , Member of Parliament for Castle Rising , Member of Parliament for King’s Lynn , or: 4th Earl of Orford (second creation), Member of Parliament for Callington , Member of Parliament for Castle Rising , Member of Parliament for King’s Lynn | Born: 1745-12-10 in London, England. Died: 1797-03-02 in Berkeley Square, London, England.
Youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, British Prime Minister and Catherine, his wife. Built Strawberry Hill in Twickenham. --#lmw
's (& indeed not being the son of an ousted minister you will not have so many antipathies to disturb you)—but not a whit less amusing. Pray if you do leave a sealed box—do let it be opened before I am ninety. Now what shall we talk about? We have got Mrs. OpieAmelia Alderson Opie | Born: 1769-11-12 in Norwich, United Kingdom. Died: 1853-12-02 in Norwich, United Kingdom.
A prolific novelist from 1790 through 1834, contemporary with Mitford, and an active abolitionist in Norwich. Friendly with the Godwins, Shelleys, and Elizabeth Inchbald. Married to John Opie, the painter. --#ebb #lrs
's new novel of Madeline in the house—but I have not opened it yet—I have a good mind to write a critique on it without reading—for I think I can pretty well tell what stuff it is made of—one knows the usual ingredients of her tales—just as one knows the component parts of a plum pudding—so much common sense (for the flour) so much vulgarity (for the suet) so much love (for the sugar)—so many songs (for the plums)—so much wit (for the spices) so much fine binding morality (for the eggs)—& so much mere mawkishness & insipidity (for the milk & water wherewith the said pudding is wet up)—I think she has left page 4
off being pathetic—at least I have left out that quality in my enumeration. Yet she is a very clever woman & a goodnatured woman—& though my exceeding fastidiousness with respect to style & elegance & gracefulness in writing deprives me of any pleasure in her works, yet I know a great many very good judges who admire her writings greatly. I hope you won't tell her this by way of a compliment—though I have lately met with a misadventure which would go near to tying one's pen down to its good behavior all one's life. A discreet correspondent of mine (female of course) enquiredinquired my opinion of a recent publication—I wrote her a very fair character of the work (which I did not very much admire)—a fair & candid character—with just enough of sweet to [del: .]flavourflavor the tone (like sugar in mint sauce)—It was not a sweeping, knock me down [del: .] critique—but [del: .] a light airy neatly feathered shaft—whose censure looked almost like praise. So much the worse for me. My goose of a correspondent took it for complimentary—& by way of recommending me to the Author of the cutup work fairly read him the passage out of my letter—& then in her reply gravely told me what she had done! There's a pretty friend for you! Of course she will never get any but How d'ye do letters from me again as long as she lives.—When do you come to Town? And have we any chance of seeing you here?—I have not the slightest idea of being in Town—FoscariFoscari: A Tragedy. Mary Russell Mitford. London : G. B. Whittaker . 1826. would undoubtedly have been acted this season if Mr. HarrisHenry Harris
At the time of Foscari’s composition, Henry Harris was manager of Covent Garden Theatre. He took over the management from October 1820, following the death of his father, Thomas Harris, and the transfer by John Kemble of his one-sixth share to his younger brother Charles. Source: Covent Garden Theatre and the Royal Opera House: Management. Survey of London: Volume 35, the theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Ed. F. H. W. Shepard. London: London County Council, 1970. 71-85 . British History Online. Web. 9 June 2015. .--#lmw
had continued in the management of 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—but since this change of Dynasy we have all to begin again—I don't [del: .] think it will at any rate be performed this season—perhaps not at all—I don't page 5
believe it [del: .]has even been presented to the new managers yet—though I don't know for it is with 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. A native of Reading, Talfourd was educated at the Reading’s newly-established Mill Hill school, a dissenting academy, from 1808 to 1810. He attended Dr. Richard Valpy’s Reading School from 1810 to 1812. His career in law began with a legal apprenticeship with Joseph Christy, special pleader, in 1817. He was called to the bar in London in 1821 and 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 #ebb
& entirely in his hands. And to confess the truth, my dear friend, I am so thoroughly out of heart about it that I cannot bear even to think or speak on the subject. Nevertheless the Drama is my talent—my only talent—my only talent—& I mean to go on, [del: .] & improve. I will improve. That is my fixed determination. Can you recommend me a good subject for an historical Tragedy? I wish you would think of this, & if you have none in your own mind ask any likely person—It should have two prominant male parts—& I should prefer an Italian story in the 14th 15th 16th or 17th Century—as affording most scope—& being less liable to blame for any deviation from the truth in the plot, than any well know[gap: 1 letter, reason: torn.][n][1] Here begins a three-line-long tear that is likely from breaking the letter's seal.—#mbn #err incident in the greater states. I once thought of ou[gap: 1 letter, reason: torn.][r] Charles the First—He & CromwellOliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Member of Parliament for Cambridge, Member of Parliament for Huntingdon, or: Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland Member of Parliament for Cambridge Member of Parliament for Huntingdon | Born: 1599-04-25 in Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, England. Died: 1658-09-03 in Whitehall, London, England.
Member of Parliament, Puritan, Parliamentarian ("Roundhead") military commander. Gained prominence as a military general during the the English Civil War, leading the New Model Army who supported Parliament against the monarchy, under Charles I. Cromwell became the First Lord Protectorate of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 until his death in 1658. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in 1658, then exhumed and posthumously "executed" by Royalists after 1660 and is buried in Tyburn. Throughout the 19th century, Cromwell’s reputation was on an upswing. The trend was towards viewing him as a man guided by devout faith in God, a desire to provide for his country, and a desire to purify the Protestantism in his country. --#lmw #ejb
would form two very finely contrasted Characters—but the facts are too well known.—

Farewell, my dear friend. Kindest regards from my FatherGeorge 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
& MotherMary 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
—Ever most sincerely & affectionately yours
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

Pray write soon. You cannot tell how much I value your letters.

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 fifteen 1822

Sir Wm 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

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