Single Letter

GEO/ADD/3/82/15

Letter from George, Prince of Wales, to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


15

                                                         24th July 1779 Saty-


      As my sweetest friend's happineʃs and peace of mind is my first
object, and my greatest, indeed I may say almost my only delight, I readily
consent to dissolve, to paʃs an act of oblivion over that fatal promise, wch..
if I had known it would have cost you so much pain I never wld.. have
asked of you. God grant that you may never have any occasion to make
use of it, if you do I am thoroughly resolved not to survive yr. loʃs.[1]
Think not that this is ye. resolution of a giddy, rash, wild young man
it has arisen from the long constant contemplation of a strong & sound
mind. You say you once loved a friend who died in ye. bloom of her youth,
with enthuastic fondneʃs, think then how much stronger the pangs I must
feel will be, if ever I am separated from her, which gGod forbid, whom I
not only adore love with enthusiastic fondneʃs, but doat upon and adore
beyond the idea of every thing that is human. Need you have repeated
to me that yr. fame was dearer to you than yr. life, did not I tell you



once before, that I wld.. sooner go to immediate perdition, than attempt
to do any thing that wld.. be detrimental either to yr. reputation, honor, &
virtue. I look upon reputation as ye. brightest jewel any woman poʃseʃses
and when they lose that, they lose every thing that denotes them to be Women,
if such is my opinion concerning Women in general, you can not suppose
that I would even think of doing any thing, I repeated it again, that wld..
be detrimental either to the reputation, honor and virtue of her whom
I not only love with enthusiastic fondneʃs, but whom I doat upon, &
adore beyond ye idea of every thing that is human. Bear with me yet
once more if I conjure you on my knees not at any time to be too hasty
in making use of the release I have given you from that fatal & solemn
promise, consider only that my resolution is as fixed as ye. unalterable Book
of Fate. I think then if I know you, & if you ever had ye smallest spark
of friendly affection for yr. friend, as you say you have, you will put up with not
a little, when you know that my happineʃs not only in this world, but what is
much more serious in the next depends wholly upon it. Let not any
reflections my sweetest, dearest, ever amiable friend, of the imprudence,



inconsistency, or impropriety of yr. conduct in accepting of my friendship
disturb yr. peace & happineʃs, or torture yr. mind, as I am convinced they only
arise from a too delicate & punctilious honor & as they are now not to be remedied. The promise of an eternal and
everlasting continuance of yr. friendship is now ye. only thing that
will contribute to heal ye. wound that rankles in my heart. This
alone promise alone is sufficient to bring you out of my debt, you never
was in it till this moment, upon my consenting to dissolve that fatal promise;
I have been in yrs. till this instant. I thank you cordially for yr. good
advice, as it shews the interest you take in what befalls me. I will follow
it to ye utmost of my power, make not no more apologies for it I beg of you,[2] for
it adds an additional weight to that which now hangs upon my spirits.
Let me now see you again enjoy that portion of chearfulneʃs natural to your disposition
let me again see that happineʃs revisit yr. mind, which I am- afraid has fled from mine.
Else ere soon I flatter myself that the Almighty will call bme to the
throne of his grace, to join yr. now sainted friend in Heaven, there with
his Angels & Archangels and with His whole heavenly and bleʃsed host, to sing
eternal praises unto his holy name. Now adieu my friend, may Heaven
pour forth its most greatest bleʃsings on thee, & mayest thou for henceforward



enjoy that happineʃs, which yr. angellick disposition so richly deserves.
      I am, and ever shall be
                             Yr. sincerely affectionate Friend.

P.S.
      Excuse me if I apologize to you for having demanded at towards
ye end of my Letter, a promise of ye constant & eternal continuance of my yr.
affection to me. I never thought it was absolutely neceʃsary, but I
only desired it for my peace of mind, but now that I have reperused over
ye end of yr. Letter, which I have since destroyed, I find it is not
neceʃsary, as my sweetest friend has there given me sufficient aʃsurance-
of her never ceasing friendship and affection. Continue I conjure you
in every Letter to give me some good advice, and that without any excuse
------ I. for it hurts my delicacy as I once told you I loved honesty & openneʃs.
      Learn to contemn all praise by times
      For Flattery's ye muse of aims.

                                                         Gay.[3]
May I presume to ask a favor of my dearest friend, and that is that whatever
present she makes me of her hair. it may be notye setting of it may be quite plain, for it will always



part of 15.

be dearer to me than life itself, that on the
back of it there may be the day of yr. Birth without yr. dear name
and the Year of that event ever so dear to me,
with a Motto of yr. own, & on ye front of it
the following motto, remember it is to represent
especially on that side my sentiments concerning
you. “Toujours aimée”. Allow me also if
it is not hurting too much yr. delicacy, to
give you a plain Bracelet to answer to that
“Regretté a jamais”, in order that it may be
yr. constant ------companion and that you may
wear it on the opposite arm always when you
wear that, be it only to shew how desirous
I am of being related to him tho' I am not as
yet in the manner I aspire to with such
ambition, & which is now the sole object of my life. The



the Motto's on that shall be, the front one
in hair what you please, on the back the
day of the Month on which I was born, & ye
year. & the motto “gravé a jamais dans mon
cœur.” I am afraid in putting myself in
yr. place there I speak only according to
my desires & not ye tenor of yr. sentiments.
Adieu.

      I beg that yrs ye one motto on yrs. that I
have chose may be either “Toujours aimée”,
or “Tout ce qui m'est chère au monde” take wh.
you like. Chuse both mine if you like it,
only let me know concerning every thing in
yr. next. -- Tell me also every thing what
you know concerning the future plan concerning W-r[4]
throughout ye rest of ye Season, & who is probably to go thither.
Adieu encore.

(hover over blue text or annotations for clarification;
red text is normalised and/or unformatted in other panel)


Notes


 1. Extensive extracts from this letter appear in Anson & Anson (1925: 74-5), starting with 'I am thoroughly resolved ...'.
 2. The mark of insertion is accidentally placed after the comma rather than before.
 3. The attribution to Gay is in fainter ink.
 4. An already-abbreviated 'Windsor' has been wholly crossed through.

Normalised Text



                                                        
      As my sweetest friend's happiness and peace of mind is my first
object, and my greatest, indeed I may say almost my only delight, I readily
consent to dissolve, to pass an act of oblivion over that fatal promise, which
if I had known it would have cost you so much pain I never would have
asked of you. God grant that you may never have any occasion to make
use of it, if you do I am thoroughly resolved not to survive your loss.
Think not that this is the resolution of a giddy, rash, wild young man
it has arisen from the constant contemplation of a strong & sound
mind. You say you once loved a friend who died in the bloom of her youth,
with enthusiastic fondness, think then how much stronger the pangs I must
feel will be, if ever I am separated from her, which God forbid, whom I
not only love with enthusiastic fondness, but doat upon and adore
beyond the idea of every thing that is human. Need you have repeated
to me that your fame was dearer to you than your life, did not I tell you



once before, that I would sooner go to immediate perdition, than attempt
to do any thing that would be detrimental either to your reputation, honour, &
virtue. I look upon reputation as the brightest jewel any woman possesses
and when they lose that, they lose every thing that denotes them to be Women,
if such is my opinion concerning Women in general, you can not suppose
that I would even think of doing any thing, I repeat it again, that would
be detrimental either to the reputation, honour and virtue of her whom
I not only love with enthusiastic fondness, but whom I doat upon, &
adore beyond the idea of every thing that is human. Bear with me yet
once more if I conjure you on my knees not at any time to be too hasty
in making use of the release I have given you from that fatal & solemn
promise, consider only that my resolution is as fixed as the unalterable Book
of Fate. I think then if I know you, & if you ever had the smallest spark
of friendly affection for your friend, as you say you have, you will put up with not
a little, when you know that my happiness not only in this world, but what is
much more serious in the next depends wholly upon it. Let not any
reflections my sweetest, dearest, ever amiable friend, of the imprudence,



inconsistency, or impropriety of your conduct in accepting of my friendship
disturb your peace & happiness, or torture your mind, as I am convinced they only
arise from a too delicate & punctilious honour & as they are now not to be remedied. The promise of an eternal and
everlasting continuance of your friendship is now the only thing that
will contribute to heal the wound that rankles in my heart. This
promise alone is sufficient to bring you out of my debt, you never
was in it till this moment, upon my consenting to dissolve that fatal promise;
I have been in yours till this instant. I thank you cordially for your good
advice, as it shews the interest you take in what befalls me. I will follow
it to the utmost of my power, make no more apologies for it I beg of you, for
it adds an additional weight to that which now hangs upon my spirits.
Let me now see you again enjoy that portion of cheerfulness natural to your disposition
let me again see that happiness revisit your mind, which I am afraid has fled from mine.
Else ere soon I flatter myself that the Almighty will call me to the
throne of his grace, to join your now sainted friend in Heaven, there with
his Angels & Archangels and with His whole heavenly and blessed host, to sing
eternal praises unto his holy name. Now adieu my friend, may Heaven
pour forth its greatest blessings on thee, & mayest thou henceforward



enjoy that happiness, which your angelic disposition so richly deserves.
      I am, and ever shall be
                             Your sincerely affectionate Friend.

P.S.
      Excuse me if I apologize to you for having demanded towards
the end of my Letter, a promise of the constant & eternal continuance of your
affection to me. I never thought it was absolutely necessary, but I
only desired it for my peace of mind, but now that I have reperused
the end of your Letter, which I have since destroyed, I find it is not
necessary, as my sweetest friend has there given me sufficient assurance
of her never ceasing friendship and affection. Continue I conjure you
in every Letter to give me some good advice, and that without any excuse
I. for it hurts my delicacy as I once told you I loved honesty & openness.
      Learn to contemn all praise by times
      For Flattery's the muse of aims.

                                                         Gay.
May I presume to ask a favour of my dearest friend, and that is that whatever
present she makes me of her hair. the setting of it may be quite plain, for it will always




be dearer to me than life itself, that on the
back of it there may be the day of your Birth without your dear name
and the Year of that event ever so dear to me,
with a Motto of your own, & on the front of it
the following motto, remember it is to represent
especially on that side my sentiments concerning
you. “Toujours aimée”. Allow me also if
it is not hurting too much your delicacy, to
give you a plain Bracelet to answer to that
“Regretté à jamais”, in order that it may be
your constant companion and that you may
wear it on the opposite arm always when you
wear that, be it only to show how desirous
I am of being related to him though I am not as
yet in the manner I aspire to with such
ambition, & which is now the sole object of my life.



the Motto's on that shall be, the front one
in hair what you please, on the back the
day of the Month on which I was born, & the
year. & “gravé à jamais dans mon
cœur.” I am afraid in putting myself in
your place there I speak only according to
my desires & not the tenor of your sentiments.
Adieu.

      I beg that the one motto on yours that I
have chose may be either “Toujours aimée”,
or “Tout ce qui m'est chère au monde” take which
you like. Choose both mine if you like it,
only let me know concerning every thing in
your next. -- Tell me also every thing what
you know concerning the future plan concerning
throughout the rest of the Season, & who is probably to go thither.
Adieu encore.

(consult diplomatic text or XML for annotations, deletions, clarifications,
quotations,
spellings, uncorrected forms, split words, abbreviations, formatting)



 1. Extensive extracts from this letter appear in Anson & Anson (1925: 74-5), starting with 'I am thoroughly resolved ...'.
 2. The mark of insertion is accidentally placed after the comma rather than before.
 3. The attribution to Gay is in fainter ink.
 4. An already-abbreviated 'Windsor' has been wholly crossed through.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: Windsor Castle, The Royal Archives

Archive: GEO/ADD/3 Additional papers of George IV, as Prince, Regent, and King

Item title: Letter from George, Prince of Wales, to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: GEO/ADD/3/82/15

Correspondence Details

Author: George, Prince of Wales

Place sent: unknown

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: unknown

Date sent: c.24 July 1779
notBefore 23 July 1779 (precision: high)
notAfter 24 July 1779 (precision: high)

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from George, Prince of Wales, to Mary Hamilton, on dissolving their 'fatal promise' [regarding their friendship], his respect for her honour; and plans for a token using her hair.
    The Prince states that if Hamilton did use this 'act of oblivion', he is 'thoroughly resolved not to survive your loss'. He refers to Hamilton loving a friend 'who died in the bloom of her youth, with enthusiastic fondness'. He states that 'I look upon reputation as the brightest jewel any woman possesses and when they lose that, they lose everything that denotes them to be women'. In postscript he discusses his plans for setting her hair in a token with the motto 'toujours aimée', and giving her a bracelet with a reciprocal motto.
    Written Saturday.
   

Length: 2 sheets, 1169 words

Transliteration Information

Editorial declaration: First edited in the project 'Image to Text' (David Denison & Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, 2013-2019), now incorporated in the project 'Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers' (Hannah Barker, Sophie Coulombeau, David Denison, Tino Oudesluijs, Cassandra Ulph, Christine Wallis & Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, 2019-2022).

All quotation marks are retained in the text and are represented by appropriate Unicode characters. Words split across two lines may have a hyphen on the first, the second or both fragments (reco-|ver, imperfect|-ly, satisfacti-|-on); or a double hyphen (pur=|port, dan|=ger, qua=|=litys); or none (respect|ing). Any point in abbreviations with superscripted letter(s) is placed last, regardless of relative left-right orientation in the original. Thus, Mrs. or Mrs may occur, but M.rs or Mr.s do not.

Acknowledgements: XML version: Transcription and Research Assistant funding in 2018/19 provided by the Student Experience Internship programme of the University of Manchester.

Research assistant: Emma Donington Kiey, undergraduate student, University of Manchester

Transliterator: Emma Donington Kiey (submitted June 2019)

Cataloguer: , Archivist, The Royal Archives

Copyright: Transcriptions, notes and TEI/XML © the editors

Revision date: 20 May 2020

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