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Letter-Book of a Friend of Hester Lynch Piozzi

Letter-Book of a Friend of Hester Lynch Piozzi by GLOVER, John Octavius & Elizabeth (1829)

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Author: GLOVER, John Octavius & Elizabeth
Title: Letters and Documents [Letter copy book]
Year: 1829
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: Cornwall; Ireland
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
Price: £650
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Added under Manuscripts  

Voluminous letter-book of a man described by his friend Hester Piozzi as 'a fine showy fellow, tall and stout' - a judgement amply justified by this collection of breathless correspondence with everyone from the Archbishop of Canterbury to Glover's aunt in Madras.

Folio-sized letter-book bound in half reversed calf over brown marbled boards, with the years from 1829-1834 written on the spine. Binding rubbed but sound. Manuscript title and the names of Glover and his wife Elizabeth in ink to first pastedown. Lined manuscript pages, Britannia watermark, c140 leaves - 280 pages, c60,000 words. Copy letters and documents in Glover's easily legible cursive hand. John Octavius Glover (1789-1855) was a veteran of the Peninsular wars and this collection dates from the period when Glover was living with his wife and children in Cornwall, administering the significant Irish estates which came to him on his marriage to Eliza - daughter of an Irish banker - and corresponding with a wide range of friends, relatives and acquaintances across Britain and the Britis Empire.

Irish property, irreligion (often in Ireland), his children's and later his wife's health, Belfast harbour and the city's mooted 'railroad' all occupy much space here. Glover's very first letter was to George Sloan at Mount Vernon, Castle Belfast, in which he addresses problems with his freeholds in the city. There is a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury about the absence of clergy and Glover addresses another senior cleric about the 'Romanism... encreasing, and coming on like a flood... I hate suggesting melancholy signs and symptoms...' Glover wrote to Dr Cheyne, 6 Merrion Square, Dublin to discuss his medical prescription for his daughter and also to his aunt in Madras (April 1830) about her return to Britain.

An anxious letter went to Rev Thomas Hincks (1830) in Belfast asking how to ensure 'the theatre [is] devoted to a thoroughly Church of England purpose' - Glover had acquired through his marriage to Eliza the freehold of one of Belfast's theatres. Glover involved himself in controversial church building projects in Newlyn in Cornwall and lobbied Joseph Hume MP over a private Parliamentary bill regarding the improvement of Belfast harbour and the building of a 'railroad' (1831) which he seems to have disapproved of. He represents the Naval and Military Bible Society in a letter to Joseph William Bazalgette (senior). The second half of the volume is increasingly dominated by the decline of his wife and the volume includes a letter in which he made arrangements for the wording of her memorial: 'wife of Iohn Octavius Glover Leaves a large family to lament their loss.'

John Octavius was the elder son of Colonel Glover, born in Gibraltar and by July 1809 a Captain in the Royal Scots Regiment. He was awarded a Peninsular Medal and married Eliza Ewing of Macedon, County Antrim bringing a considerable fortune to the union. She died in 1834 at their family home in Penzance, Cornwall. John retired as a Lieutenant Colonel shortly afterwards, moving to Cambridge where he died in 1855. Hester Piozzi often mentions the family in her letters, offering this characterisation in 1815: 'He [John Octavius Glover] is a fine showy fellow, tall and stout: his lady whiter and fairer... her hair immense in quantity and just the colour of your mahogany doors at Brynbella; soft smiling blue eyes – but wretched teeth.'
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