Hamish Riley-Smith

Rare Books And Manuscripts

William Wilberforce

Unpublished autograph letter to R H Marten

June 1828


Autograph letter signed to R. H.Marten. Highwood Hill, Middy 4th June 1828

Octavo, 7.6 x 11.2 cm, 4 pages in ink, leaf edges gilt, fold marks, excellent condition.

Fine unpublished autograph letter from the philanthropist and politician William Wilberforce to Robert Humphrey Marten, [1763-1839] whose city career was matched as a religious leader and reformer, Baptist Minister in London and in 1803 he was on a committee for managing a Patriotic Fund, presumably in the Napoleonic Wars and also he made an ‘Address to Royal Humane Society’ in 1812. He was a Freeman of the City of London. Friend of Wilberforce who was a frequent visitor to Marten’s home Broadway House at Plaistow. He was a member of the committee to repeal the Test Acts.
In 1825 Wilberforce retired from the House of Commons and in June 1826 moved to a new home Highwood Hill, (from which this letter was written) just north of London with 140 acres of land and cottages. He was plagued by eyesight problems which he mentions in this letter.

Location of many of William Wilberforce letters and papers: Bodleian Library, Oxford; Duke University; St John’s College, Cambridge

page 1
Highwood Hill.
4th June 1828

My dear Sir
I use my first quiet
Interval after my return to this
place yesterday, for the purpose
of thanking you for the pledges
of your kind regard with
which you favourd me about
a fortnight ago. While I was in
London (Sundays alone ex
cepted) all that part of the
day on which I can use my
pen (for till towards the middle
page 2
of the day the State of my eyes render
it highly injurious to them)
was one continual Bustle,
& the Sentiments & feelings
calld forth by your truly in-
teresting Communication were
quite of the Closet kind; or
rather of such a sort as the
quite ungenial with the Beau-
ties of Nature indeed with
all its varied Solitudes, are
quite abhorrent from the
busy turmoil of crowded
Streets & the rattling of Chariot
Wheels & the stun of Knock
-ers – But I find so much
page 3
to do during the very short time I am
now about to continue here, that
I must not indulge my feelings
or yours by giving Expression
to the sympathies you have
excited. The Xtian Excellencies
of the part over whom you
have Lord, tho’ they must have
rendered her doubly dear
to you, yet supply the surest
Source of Consolation, they
Satisfy you that with her all
is well, & you thus & are
enabled to feel that the
stroke is that of a father
page 4
& not that of an enemy –
may you & all you love
be fovourd with the best &
Blessings of a gracious
Providence & be at length ad
-mitted into a better World
to part no more for ever
I am my dear
Sir wth kind regards to
Miss M & indeed from my famy
Circle to yrs
With cordial Esteem & regard
Ever sincerely yours
W Wilberforce

R.H.Marten Esq.

William Wilberforce - Unpublished autograph letter to R H Marten
William Wilberforce - Unpublished autograph letter to R H Marten

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