Amelia Opie to Henry Perronet Briggs: 9 February 1840


2nd Mo 9th 1840

My dear Henry,

It would have been pain as well as pleasure to receive thy letter of to day, had I not been sure that I wrote to thee on 6th day (Friday) last — & I fear that one by the same post to Margt Gurney[1] was not received & I am uncertain as to the fate of three letters in the neighbourhood

But enough – I will hope mine will reach thee to morrow – If this uncertainty goes on I am resolved to apply to my old acquaintance Lord Litchfield[2]

I am sorry the dear Milmans[3] were sent off so soon for thy sake as well as theirs — However – if Sir W[4] comes to sleep, I hope he will come to talk also — & not at bedtime only

I wonder whither Lady Cork[5] be really dead or, only as before, killed by the papers – I am indeed sorry to hear the noble Duke[6] is changed! & I wish thou couldst paint a new head of him entirely — more as he now is – that one might have the last impression of him — A last picture of him would, I think, be much in request by those who loved, & honored him —

I am so glad thou are engraving —

I fear, entre nous,[7] that the Bart[8], & dear Betty[9] his wife, are vexed enough about William[10] — He has neglected to keep his terms, & so can’t be called to the bar at least not yet – & he has debts at Oxford which poor Sir W – has to pay!! So marry he cannot — This is said in confidence to thee —

If my last note does not reach thee I must write again —

Pray let me know,

We are to have <fine fireworks> in the marketplace which will recal to me former times! Alas! —

Farewel! it is Meeting time

Thy ever affecte cousin

A Opie

A lump of love to the Prince,[b] who had rather a lump of sugar


Source: Dr. Shelley King and Dr. John B. Pierce


Address: none


Postmark: none


[1] Margaret Gurney (1779/80-1855), born Margaret Barclay Allardice, the daughter of Robert Barclay Allardice MP for Kincardineshire and Sarah Anne Allardice, was wife of Hudson Gurney. Her husband, the son of Richard Gurney of Keswick Hall, was a cousin of Earlham Gurneys Elizabeth Fry and Joseph John Gurney. Peter Osborne. “Gurney, Hudson (1775-1864).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. Web. 16 July 2013. Amelia Opie frequently stayed at their house in London, and Margaret Gurney was well acquainted with the Briggs, having visited their household in January of 1840. Amelia Opie. Letter to Henry Perronet Briggs. 13 Jan. 1840, MS. Huntington Library. Print.

[2] Should be Lord Lichfield, Thomas William Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield (1795-1854).

[3] Sir William George Milman (1781-1857) was the son of Sir Francis Milman (1746-1821). The latter was physician-extraordinaire to King George III, and was created a baronet in 1800. His son, Sir William Milman married Elizabeth Hurry, daughter of Robert Alderson recorder of Ipswich, who was Amelia Opie’s first cousin. They had five sons and four daughters: Francis Milman (1811-?), William Milman (1813-1885) who become the 3rd Baronet of Levaton-in-Woodland, Robert Milman (1816-1876) who became the Bishop of Calcutta, Edward Augustus Milman (1817-1850), George Alderson Milman (1830-1898), Emily Matilda Milman, and three unnamed daughters. Charles Mosley et al ed. “Milman.” Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage. 106th ed. 1999. 1936-1938. Print.

[4] Sir William George Milman, 2nd Baronet of Levaton-in-Woodland

[5] Mary Boyle née Monckton (1746-1840), countess of Cork and Orrey, was a literary hostess that entertained figures such as Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Sir Walter Scott, and Lord Byron. See, Pamela Edwards. “Boyle, Mary, Countess of Cork and Orrery (1746-1840).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. Web. 16 July 2013. Lady Cork became fast friends with Amelia Opie around 1805, following the latter’s move to London with her husband, painter John Opie. Jacobine Menzies-Wilson and Helen Lloyd. Amelia: The Tale of a Plain Friend. London: Oxford University Press, 1937.120-21. Print.

[6] Likely Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. See Norman Gash. ‘Wellesley, Arthur, First Duke of Wellingston (1769-1852).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. Web. 9 Aug. 2013.

[7] Just between the two of us

[8] Baronet Sir William George Milman (1746-1821)

[9] Elizabeth Hurry Milman, née Alderson, daughter of Robert Alderson

[10] William Milman (1813-1885), son of William George Milman and Elizabeth Milman, who become the 3rd Baronet of Levaton-in-Woodland