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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Hyde 61

George Henry Glasse correspondence

Letters received by a classical scholar and Church of England clergyman, concerning the University of Oxford, church politics, and social life.


  • 1757-1808
  • Majority of material found within 1778-1808

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


1.2 linear feet (10 volumes)

The first two letters in the collection, items (1.1) and (1.2), 1757 and undated, are addressed to clergyman Charles Poyntz (1735-1809), an Oxford classmate of Samuel Glasse. Despite this beginning, the great majority of these letters are addressed to George Henry Glasse, with most of the remainder addressed to his father Samuel Glasse.

The earlier letters, mostly from 1778 to 1788 in volumes 1 and 8, are largely concerned with Oxford matters, Glasse's literary interests, and his establishment at Hanwell. The bulk of the letters from 1802 onward reflect Glasse's increased preoccupation with social status as a domestic chaplain to the nobility, and concern social invitations, financial negotiations, and patronage positions. Events in Glasse's life which attract extensive attention in these letters are: his publication of a Greek translation of William Mason's Caractacus in 1781, mostly in Volume 1; his failed courtships of Elizabeth de Blaquiere in 1803 (Volumes 2 and 3) and Anastasia Jessey Gascoigne in 1804 (Volume 3); and the christening of his youngest son Frederick in June of 1806 (Volume 4).

Several letters mention Samuel Johnson. A transcript of a 1783 letter from Robert Bromfield, item (1.29), passes on comments from Samuel Johnson on Glasse's work. Another 1783 Bromfield letter, item (3.81), discusses Johnson's health and Glasse's recent visit to Johnson. A 1788 George Horne letter, item (1.67), comments on Hester Lynch Piozzi's Letters to and from the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Charles Thomas Barker, in a 1795 letter, item (10.24), describes a re-enactment of a Johnson-Boswell dialogue. Johnson's friend and Glasse's acquaintance, author Hester Lynch Piozzi, is discussed at length in at least two letters: by Robert Myddleton in 1806, item (5.9); and by Charles Thomas Barker in 1804, item (10.104).

Glasse also received numerous letters from British and French nobility, mostly penned by equerries writing on behalf of their masters. The great bulk of these communications are extending or responding to social invitations, or responding to patronage requests. Glasse received communications from six sons of George III, King of England, including: five dated 1802-1806 from George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales (1762-1830) (later George IV, King of England); a lone empty cover from William Henry, Duke of Clarence (1765-1837) (later William IV, King of England); eighteen dated 1802-1807 from Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent (1767-1820); four dated 1803-1808 from Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1771-1851) (later King of Hanover); five dated 1804 to 1808 from Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843); and sixteen dated 1802-1808 from Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge (1774-1850). The equerries of William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester (1776-1834), the nephew of George III, wrote on twelve occasions, from 1803 to 1808. Julie de St. Laurent (1760-1830), mistress of Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent (1767-1820), wrote 31 letters dated 1804 to 1806 and undated, some offering courtship advice. Most of these letters are in French, with some in English.

From the French royal family are three autograph social letters dated 1804 to 1806 from Louis Philippe, duc d'Orléans (1773-1850) (later King of the French); and 13 letters dated 1802-1808 from Louis Joseph de Bourbon, prince de Condé (1736-1818), and his equerry.

By far the most extensive run of letters in this collection is from Charles Thomas Barker (1758-1812), an Oxford classmate of Glasse's. Barker received his B.A. at Christ College in 1781, his M.A. in 1784, and remained as a tutor through 1797, then was appointed prebendary of Wells in 1798. The letters begin in 1778 when the two were still in college, and continue regularly through 1804, filling volumes 8, 9, and 10. Common topics in these letters include Oxford news, Anglican politics, and Barker and Glasse's respective pursuits of wives.

John Campbell wrote 36 letters between 1801 and 1805. He apparently served as an intermediary between Glasse, Sir John McMahon, and the Earl of Moira (later Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Marquess of Hastings), to whom Glasse had complex financial obligations. His letters are all grouped together, items (7.91-126).

Political writer William Cobbett (1763-1835) wrote 8 letters dated 1804 to 1806 and undated, mostly short notes attempting to arrange visits, with one offering his more substantial comments on the honors being paid to the late William Pitt, item (4.62).

Glasse's father Dr. Samuel Glasse (1735-1812) is represented here by letters both sent and received. Seventeen of his letters to George dated 1774 to 1808 are included, items (1.31), (4.25), (4.101), (5.66), (5.67), (5.70), (6.42), and throughout Volume 3. These letters are generally long, warm, and supportive. The collection also includes approximately twenty or thirty letters addressed to Samuel Glasse, interspersed throughout, dated from 1776 to 1808. Many letters are not addressed, or are addressed simply Rev. Glasse, making an exact count impossible. Letters addressed to Rev. Dr. Glasse are assumed to be probably addressed to Samuel, unless the content indicates otherwise. Glasse's mother Hannah Clutterbuck Glasse is represented by nine letters or postscripts, 1785-1807, items (3.64), (3.68), (3.69), (4.69), (6.17), (7.28-30), and (10.56).

George Horne (1730-1792) is represented by twenty letters dated 1783 to 1788, including three to Samuel Glasse. Horne was then Dean of Canterbury and president of Magdalen College at Oxford. He wrote as a friend of the Glasse family, and his letters are concerned mainly with Oxford affairs and literary matters. They are mostly scattered through Volume 1, with one in Volume 3, item (3.88).

Army officer and writer Charles James (d. 1821) wrote 26 letters from 1805 to 1808, items (7.127-152). Most of them concern financial dealings with the Earl of Moira.

Sir John McMahon (ca. 1754-1817), member of parliament and secretary to the Prince of Wales (later George IV, King of Great Britain), wrote 32 letters dated 1801 to 1808, including some which touch upon politics and some written on behalf of the Prince. Most of these are grouped together, items (7.49-90). Interspersed with these are fourteen social letters dated 1804 to 1806 and undated from McMahon's wife Elizabeth Ramsay McMahon (d. 1815).

Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) is represented by six letters, 1804, 1808, and undated, items (3.23), (3.25), (3.83), (5.83), (5.88), and (7.25). These are mostly short social letters.

Educator Samuel Parr (1747-1825) is represented by nine letters in Volume 1, 1788 and undated, on literary topics. He is also discussed in letters by Charles Thomas Barker, who courted his daughter, particularly in items (9.113) and (10.24).

Biographical / Historical

George Henry Glasse (1761-1809) was the son of Dr. Samuel Glasse (1734-1812), rector of St. Mary's in Hanwell, Middlesex, near London. George attended Christ Church, Oxford, receiving his BA in 1779 and his MA in 1782. He succeeded his father as rector of Hanwell in 1785, and published numerous sermons and translations. He also served as the domestic chaplain to Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge (1774-1850).

In November of 1783, he married his cousin Anne Fletcher (d. 1802), and they had at least seven children, including Anna Glasse (1784-1802); Caroline Glasse Hume (b. ca. 1786); George Henry Glasse (b. 1789), who later assumed the name George Henry Elliot; Arthur Henry Glasse (1798-1840); Emma Margaret Glasse Popwell-Brigstock; Ellen Clara Glasse Johnson; and Mary Louisa Glasse Griffith. Late in 1803, he was engaged to Elizabeth de Blaquiere, who broke off the engagement. In 1804, he pursued Lady Anastasia Jessey Gascoigne of St. Petersburg, Russia, who was then separated from her industrialist husband Charles Gascoigne.

In October of 1805, he married Harriet Wheeler (d. 1846), by whom he had one more child, Frederick Henry Hastings Glasse (b. 1806). Struggling with heavy debt, he committed suicide in 1809. Harriet remarried in 1811 to Sir James John Gordon Bremer (1786-1850).


These letters are bound into volumes. In the inventory, the letters are listed in the order in which they are bound. The lower left-hand corner of every tenth letter has been numbered. The sequence tends to be chronological, but is not very precise.

Bound into volumes as follows:
  1. 1. 1757-1788 (inclusive), 1781-1788 (bulk)
  2. 2. 1797-1806 (inclusive), 1802-1805 (bulk)
  3. 3. 1781-1805 (inclusive), 1804-1805 (bulk)
  4. 4. 1774-1806 (inclusive), 1805-1806 (bulk)
  5. 5. 1805-1808 (inclusive), 1806-1808 (bulk)
  6. 6. 1805-1808 (inclusive), 1807-1808 (bulk)
  7. 7. 1802-1808 (inclusive), 1808 and undated (bulk); also includes runs of letters from John and Elizabeth McMahon; John Campbell; and Charles James, 1801-1808.
  8. 8. 1778-1783 (inclusive), all from Charles Thomas Barker
  9. 9. 1783-1792 (inclusive), all from Charles Thomas Barker
  10. 10. 1793-1804 (inclusive), all from Charles Thomas Barker

Physical Location

Hyde Case 9

Immediate Source of Acquisition

*2003JM-173. Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.

Separated Materials

Seven letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi to Glasse were removed from these volumes by the previous owner, and can now be found in the Hester Lynch Piozzi Correspondence, MS Hyde 3, item (42). One letter from William Cobbett to Glasse was also removed, and is now in the Hyde Autograph Collection, MS Hyde 10.

Balderston, Katherine C., ed., Thraliana: The Diary of Mrs. Hester Lynch Thrale (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1942), 1045, 1047, 1084. Bloom, Edward A., and Lillian A. Bloom, eds., The Piozzi Letters: Correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821 (Formerly Mrs. Thrale) (Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, 1989-2002) v. 3, 433. Nichols, John. Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century (London: printed for the author, 1815) IX, 132-134.
  • Balderston, Katherine C., ed., Thraliana: The Diary of Mrs. Hester Lynch Thrale (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1942), 1045, 1047, 1084.
  • Bloom, Edward A., and Lillian A. Bloom, eds., The Piozzi Letters: Correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821 (Formerly Mrs. Thrale) (Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, 1989-2002) v. 3, 433.
  • Nichols, John. Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century (London: printed for the author, 1815) IX, 132-134.

Processing Information

Processed by: Rick Stattler
Link to catalog
Glasse, George Henry, 1761-1809, recipient. George Henry Glasse correspondence: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

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