(895) In a letter to her sister, dated from Fulham Palace, Miss More says,—“Lord Orford has presented me with Bishop Wilson’s edition of the Bible, in three volumes quarto, superbly bound in morocco (Oh! that he would himself study that blessed book), to which, in the following most flattering inscription, he attributes my having done far more good than is true—
“To his excellent friend, miss Hannah more, the book, which he knows to be the dearest object of her study, and by which, to the great comfort and relief of numberless afflicted and distressed individuals, she has profited beyond any person with whom he is acquainted, is offered, as a mark of his esteem and gratitude, by her sincere and obliged humble servant, Horace, Earl of Orford, 1795.”
To judge of my satisfaction and gratitude on receiving the very acceptable present of your book,(896) Sir, you should have known my extreme impatience for it from the instant Mr. Edwards had kindly favoured me with the first chapters. You may consequently conceive the mortification I felt at not being able to thank you immediately both for the volume and the obliging letter that accompanied it, by my right arm and hand being swelled and rendered quite immovable and useless, of which you will perceive the remains if you can read these lines which I am forcing myself to write, not without pain, the first moment I have power to hold ’a pen; and it will cost me some time, I believe, before I can finish my whole letter, earnest as I am, Sir, to give a loose to my gratitude.
If you ever had the pleasure of reading such a delightful book as your own, imagine, Sir, what a comfort it must be to receive such an anodyne in the midst of a fit of the gout that has already lasted above nine weeks, and which at first I thought might carry me to Lorenzo de’ Medici before he should come to me.
The complete volume has more than answered the expectations which the sample had raised. The Grecian simplicity of the style is preserved throughout; the same judicious candour reigns in every page; and without allowing yourself that liberty of indulging your own bias towards good or against criminal characters, which over-rigid critics prohibit, your artful candour compels your readers to think with you, without seeming to take a part yourself. You have shown from his own virtues, abilities, and heroic spirit, why Lorenzo deserved to have Mr. Roscoe for his biographer. And since you have been so, Sir, (for he was not completely known before, at least out of Italy,) I shall be extremely mistaken if he is not henceforth allowed to be, in various lights, one of the most excellent and greatest men with whom we are well acquainted, especially if we reflect on the shortness of his life and the narrow sphere in which he had to act.