Drafts of Meditations among the tombs, and Reflections on a flower-garden, with miscellaneous other material, by James Hervey

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Comprises what are probably the earliest drafts of Hervey's most famous works, apparently not previously known to their many editors and publishers, containing many corrections, alterations, additions, and deletions; also, several pages of Greek New Testament text, being excerpts from Luke 1, Matthew 1, and John's Gospel 1 on the Incarnation, and many pages of Hervey's shorthand, which has not yet been deciphered, but appears to include some English, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew words and letters with Biblical references interspersed. The text includes six English manuscript poems, some of these excerpts from Milton and Pope, others probably Hervey's own compositions.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Hervey (1714-1758) was born and brought up in Northamptonshire where his father was a village clergyman. He entered Lincoln College, Oxford at the age of 18 and graduated with a B.A. in 1736 after a not very distinguished career. Following several minor clerical appointments in 1740 he became the curate of Bideford, North Devon, where he started work on the drafts of his famous Meditations and Reflections. The latter works appeared in 1745-1746, to be followed in 1747 by his Contemplation upon the night and other works. For further details of his life see the Dictionary of National Biography.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from C.R. Johnson, bookseller, on 7 September 1992.


Mainly in English, but with some Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

Other Finding Aids

The poems are indexed in the BCMSV database http://www.leeds.ac.uk/library/spcoll/bcmsv/bcmvlink.htm#bcltq56