Single Letter

GEO/ADD/3/82/31

Letter from George, Prince of Wales, to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


31

Sepbr. 5th. 1779


My dearest, dearest, dearest Sister, Friend,

      You should not put too much confidence
in yr. eyes, if from my gaiety last Night you suspect I really
was so, you are much mistaken, for I never was in lower spirits
in my life, I was obliged to act a part, I thought it wld.. please
L- C- F- if she saw me so, and as it is but so seldom
that I ever pay her a visit I intended to appear as unusually[1]
elated, as I judged it wld.. afford her & her D-s satisfaction.
What had I to make me so, ye. first thing, you appeared quite
out of spirits, ye next ye. intolerable pain I suffered, and a
certain degree of fever which attended upon it, both which I now have,
& ye. third for some time being separated from you for how long
I did not know, seeing you, and not being able to converse with you.



      I own I was not a little surprised excuse me, my friend, at ye.
extraordinary coldneʃs, & let me add another Epithet to it, unfriend=
=like
coldneʃs with which you treated me, I am afraid you must
have heard some more evil reports to which you have given too
easy a hearing, wherefore let me once more say, that as our Almigh=
=ty
Father is my Judge I do not remember to have said any
thing more to Wm.. R. than what you know already, can I be
more explicite,[2] plain, and open. Yr. conduct last Night hurt
me more particularly so, as I had expected you wld.. have re=
=ceived
me ever dearest Friend, as you had acknowledged my
innocence in yr. last. with open arms, excuse ye term, but
I have nothing strong enough to expreʃs ye. happineʃs I
proposed to myself when I was to have met you, but Alas! how
little are men in this World to trust too much to any thing.
I entreat of you my sweetest Friend to explain ye. motives
of yr. conduct to me, if it originated from mine I will allow



considering ye. friendship you ------have[3] for me, that there were some
grounds for it, as I had[4] promised you not to conceal a thought
or a secret of my Soul from you as I know you never reveal what I say, nor take any notice of it notwithstanding yr. little unkind=
=neʃs
& méchanceté to me, yet as I hope never to forfeit my word
to you indeed to any body, but most especially so to you, I
will now relate to you what paʃsed between me & a fashionable
or rather bonton Lady Yesterday Evening. Upon my first arrival
after I had paid ye. customary & usual compliments to ye.
Company, I went up to pay my particular respects to this
Lady, some little time, perhaps some two Minutes or there abouts,
having first complimented me upon ye. dreʃs of my hair, ye
cut of my Coat, ye. size of my Buckles tho' not quite large
enough, ye. cock of my hat, & in short, on my air degagé, &
saying that ye whole “Upon me huner[5] was quite comme il faut,
she thus began “Have you learned to be very discret a quality



“which all such Beaux as yrself & yr Brother learn nowadays
“as ye. first & principal thing to constitute a Macceroni[6] of ye
“first Claʃs, such as yrself, & Brother, if you have, but indeed
yr. Brother says you have so at all ventures I'll trust you”
then after a few Seconds had paʃsed in her recollecting herself,
I suppose you then entered ye. Room my Back being turned to
you I did not see you, if I had I shld.. immediately have flown
up to you rather than have walked up to you, but from ye. abrupt
manner of her beginning I suppose it was then you arrived
“Oh! Lard I had most forgot to tell you something, well then this it is
“but youl promise me not to be angry, because pozz if ye are I never
“will tell e any thing any thing again, it is about yrself, now dont
“be angry”, in this manner my dearest Friend she continued
“extorting aʃsurances of secrecy from me for some time, at last
I prevailed on her to continue in ye. following manner “Now.
“ye promise me not to be angry for to be sure I ʃld.. be very sorry to



Part of 31

×

“make ye so, Ill begin, know then that as I was upon yr. B-d-
“in ye Evening on ye T- at W- a Beau came up to me & took two
“or three turns with me, & we paʃsed youe, youe was then walking with M-
H- -- × That can not be true for you know you went after ye first sound home to yr. own Room, being very sick[7] he then said to me Lard who is H- H- walking with I wld..nt offend ye
“ye know, I pertest I never saw in all my life, if she be a friend [of] yrs.
“ye know I wld..nt offend e ye know, so ye must know, the creature actually
“said ------he never saw a plainer Girl in all his life you know, so he asked me ye know
(I hope ye are not angry ye know,) for it is meant all in good part ye
“know, so I answered him, Lard no, so he asked me ye know who the
ὂGirl was, so I answered him, (I hope tho' youe are not angry for I only
“presumed upon our old acquaintance) so I answered him to be sure there
“never was a sweeter P- ever born, but I can aʃsure e ye know he
doesnt like her, her name is M- H- shes about his Sisters a
“Gentlewoman of a very good family, but to be sure ye. know she's very
“plain ye know now I hope ye. are not offended, I know quite contrary



“he's an extraordinary good taste ye know, but, e has'nt bin much
“about in ye. World ye. know, & so he has'nt seen many Ladies comme
“il faut ye know, & therefore does'nt know who to speak to &
“who not ye know, (I know ye pardon my impertinence,) but he's
“so affable ye. know he'd speak to any body, but by and by ye. know
“says I, he'll be ye most fashionable Man ye. know in all ye town.
“Now I hope you'll not be angry, for tho' perhaps she be a friend of
yrs. you know I cld.. not help it -- I trusted to our old acquaintance“
There she ended, I then turned upon my heel & left her.
      And is it thus in courtly life (he cries)
      That Man to man acts a betrayer's part,
      And dares he thus the gifts of Heaven pervert
      Each social instinct, & sublime desire,
      Hail Poverty! if honor, wealth, & art
      If what ye great pursue & learn'd admire
      Thus diʃsipate & quench ye Soul's ethereal fire;

      From ye. Minstrel, or Progreʃs of Genius. Dr.- Beattie. Stanza 22, Book 2d.



Part of 31

You know how [I] love, esteem, & adore you, can you therefore suppose
that this conversation was pleasing to me,[8] I own I could scarce restrain myself from
saying something or other very rude to her. Tell me my ever dearest friend, you
will ever to yr. dying day continue mine, reiterate to me
that you esteem me, that you do not hate me, I can not
help confeʃsing you made my heart bleed, you draw
tears from me by yr. behaviour. I was quite disappointed,
appear to me always, show me ye. open heartedneʃs of a
Friend for ye. future in yr. countenance, what an unplea=
=sant
Night have I paʃsed! I was glad to quit my
Bed to take up my Pen in order to ease my mind, inspire
me once more with that comfort, which yesterday evening
you destroyed. You seemed astonished at ye. Bow I made
Miʃs F-[9] but it was only in answer to ye. very ridicu=
=lous
Courteʃie ʃhe made me, I can never esteem her it is now



impoʃsible. You told me you had got something in yr. pocket
to make me laugh, ------ you said you wld.. give me it
me, but you did not think I deserved it, I know I am
undeserving of every thing mark of kindneʃs you shew me,
yet my friend, allow for ye giddineʃs, unguardedneʃs, &
fire of Youth there is no knowing what follies one may commit
Yet they are not committed intentionally, & when one has
such a friend as you one never can be at a Loʃs of for ye best
advice that can be given, & for ye truest marks of friendʃhip
which sympathise in every misfortune that befalls one.
I will confeʃs myself to be foolish, unguarded, & even rash
at times, yet I have a heart, which is capable of receiveing
ye noblest sentiments, & which really I hope, at ye. bottom
is a thorough good one. This I hope will be a strong advo=
=cate
in my favor with you, & will counterbalance I hope



Part of 31

Ye weakneʃses which I ascribe to myʃelf. Continue, O continue
continue, I beseech you my friend, give me fresh aʃsurances
no, I need none, I know you so well, that it is folly in me
nay it is worse it is distrusting you. Treat me with
the same confidence you have hitherto done, I never betrayed
you, tho' I spoke unguardedly about you once that was
to W- R- & that was for ye first & shall be for ye.
last time. Tell me in yr. next you are contented ------
with my frankneʃs, that you esteem me as much as ever, &
then you will restore peace happineʃs & comfort to my distreʃsed
mind. Adieu my ever dearest, dearest, dearest Friend,
---nothing can ever exceed my affection for you, may you ever
prosper & be happy is ye first & last Prayer of
                             Yr.. Palemon.
                                                         toujours de même.
P.S.
      I thank you for ye Book I admire it very much I have very near finished it, I have but a few
leaves to read, I particularly admire ye. paʃsages you have marked, you convey
yr. advice most delicately; I have tried to correct with my utmost endeavours ye
foolish & wicked custom of swearing, & I hope I have succeeded in it, & I am endeavouring to cure my ʃelf
of making use of my honor, in a light, silly, & trivial way, which ought to be so sacred. Adieu, Adieu, Adieu -- tout ce qui m'est cher au monde.[10]


[11]

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


Notes


 1. A device above the word (un)usually is difficult to explain. Possibly it is the combined initials GP 'George Princeps', seen for instance in GEO/ADD/3/82/3, serving here to confirm the alteration.
 2. This has been taken as French rather than an obsolete English spelling.
 3. It appears that the Prince tried out two different words by overwriting, one of them feel, before cancelling both in favour of have above.
 4. There are three separate underlinings here, respectively under as I, I had and (probably added last of all) just under I.
 5. A stylised rendition of upon my honour. The Prince distances himself from the lady by spellings that imitate her fashionable pronunciation, as also by exaggerating her garrulous manner.
 6. 'A dandy or fop [...] who [...] extravagantly imitated Continental tastes and fashions' (OED s.v. macaroni n. 2).
 7. Moved sentence here from top of page, as indicated by the small cross.
 8. The mark of insertion is accidentally placed after the comma rather than before.
 9. Harriet Finch, a cousin of Lady Charlotte Finch, described by Fanny Burney as 'full of odd entertainment herself. She has a large portion of whimsical humour, which, at times, is original and amusing, though always eccentric, and frequently, from uttering whatever comes uppermost, accidental.' (d'Arblay, Diary and letters).
 10. The last line of the postscript is written vertically in the right margin, the last two words curling round to the top of the page, upside down.
 11. The last page is blank.

Normalised Text





My dearest, dearest, dearest Sister, Friend,

      You should not put too much confidence
in your eyes, if from my gaiety last Night you suspect I really
was so, you are much mistaken, for I never was in lower spirits
in my life, I was obliged to act a part, I thought it would please
Lady Charlotte Finch if she saw me so, and as it is but so seldom
that I ever pay her a visit I intended to appear unusually
elated, as I judged it would afford her & her Daughters satisfaction.
What had I to make me so, the first thing, you appeared quite
out of spirits, the next the intolerable pain I suffered, and a
certain degree of fever which attended upon it, both which I now have,
& the third for some time being separated from you for how long
I did not know, seeing you, and not being able to converse with you.



      I own I was not a little surprised excuse me, my friend, at the
extraordinary coldness, & let me add another Epithet to it, unfriendlike
coldness with which you treated me, I am afraid you must
have heard some more evil reports to which you have given too
easy a hearing, wherefore let me once more say, that as our Almighty
Father is my Judge I do not remember to have said any
thing more to William Ramus than what you know already, can I be
more explicite, plain, and open. Your conduct last Night hurt
me more particularly so, as I had expected you would have received
me ever dearest Friend, as you had acknowledged my
innocence in your last. with open arms, excuse the term, but
I have nothing strong enough to express the happiness I
proposed to myself when I was to have met you, but Alas! how
little are men in this World to trust too much to any thing.
I entreat of you my sweetest Friend to explain the motives
of your conduct to me, if it originated from mine I will allow



considering the friendship you have for me, that there were some
grounds for it, as I had promised you not to conceal a thought
or a secret of my Soul from you as I know you never reveal what I say, nor take any notice of it notwithstanding your little unkindness
& méchanceté to me, yet as I hope never to forfeit my word
to you indeed to any body, but most especially so to you, I
will now relate to you what passed between me & a fashionable
or rather bonton Lady Yesterday Evening. Upon my first arrival
after I had paid the customary & usual compliments to the
Company, I went up to pay my particular respects to this
Lady, some little time, perhaps some two Minutes or there abouts,
having first complimented me upon the dress of my hair, the
cut of my Coat, the size of my Buckles though not quite large
enough, the cock of my hat, & in short, on my air dégagé, &
saying that the whole “Upon me huner was quite comme il faut,
she thus began “Have you learned to be very discret a quality



“which all such Beaux as yourself & your Brother learn nowadays
“as the first & principal thing to constitute a Macaroni of the
“first Class, such as yourself, & Brother, if you have, but indeed
your Brother says you have so at all ventures I'll trust you”
then after a few Seconds had passed in her recollecting herself,
I suppose you then entered the Room my Back being turned to
you I did not see you, if I had I should immediately have flown
up to you rather than have walked up to you, but from the abrupt
manner of her beginning I suppose it was then you arrived
“Oh! Lard I had most forgot to tell you something, well then this it is
“but you'll promise me not to be angry, because positive if ye are I never
“will tell ye any thing any thing again, it is about yourself, now dont
“be angry”, in this manner my dearest Friend she continued
“extorting assurances of secrecy from me for some time, at last
I prevailed on her to continue in the following manner “Now.
“ye promise me not to be angry for to be sure I should be very sorry to




×

“make ye so, I'll begin, know then that as I was upon your Birthday
“in the Evening on the Terrace at Windsor a Beau came up to me & took two
“or three turns with me, & we passed ye, ye was then walking with Miss
Hamilton -- × That can not be true for you know you went after the first sound home to your own Room, being very sick he then said to me Lard who is His Highness walking with I wouldn't offend ye
“ye know, I protest I never saw in all my life, if she be a friend of yours
“ye know I wouldn't offend ye ye know, so ye must know, the creature actually
“said he never saw a plainer Girl in all his life you know, so he asked me ye know
(I hope ye are not angry ye know, for it is meant all in good part ye
“know, so I answered him, Lard no, so he asked me ye know who the
ὂGirl was, so I answered him, (I hope though ye are not angry for I only
“presumed upon our old acquaintance) so I answered him to be sure there
“never was a sweeter Person ever born, but I can assure ye ye know he
doesn't like her, her name is Miss Hamilton shes about his Sisters a
“Gentlewoman of a very good family, but to be sure ye. know she's very
“plain ye know now I hope ye. are not offended, I know quite contrary



“he's an extraordinary good taste ye know, but, he hasn't been much
“about in the World ye. know, & so he hasn't seen many Ladies comme
“il faut ye know, & therefore doesn't know who to speak to &
“who not ye know, (I know ye pardon my impertinence,) but he's
“so affable ye. know he'd speak to any body, but by and by ye. know
“says I, he'll be the most fashionable Man ye. know in all the town.
“Now I hope you'll not be angry, for though perhaps she be a friend of
yours you know I could not help it -- I trusted to our old acquaintance“
There she ended, I then turned upon my heel & left her.
      And is it thus in courtly life (he cries)
      That Man to man acts a betrayer's part,
      And dares he thus the gifts of Heaven pervert
      Each social instinct, & sublime desire,
      Hail Poverty! if honor, wealth, & art
      If what the great pursue & learn'd admire
      Thus dissipate & quench the Soul's ethereal fire;

      From the Minstrel, or Progress of Genius. Dr.- Beattie. Stanza 22, Book 2d.




You know how I love, esteem, & adore you, can you therefore suppose
that this conversation was pleasing to me, I own I could scarce restrain myself from
saying something or other very rude to her. Tell me my ever dearest friend, you
will ever to your dying day continue mine, reiterate to me
that you esteem me, that you do not hate me, I can not
help confessing you made my heart bleed, you draw
tears from me by your behaviour. I was quite disappointed,
appear to me always, show me the open-heartedness of a
Friend for the future in your countenance, what an unpleasant
Night have I passed! I was glad to quit my
Bed to take up my Pen in order to ease my mind, inspire
me once more with that comfort, which yesterday evening
you destroyed. You seemed astonished at the Bow I made
Miss Finch but it was only in answer to the very ridiculous
Curtsy she made me, I can never esteem her it is now



impossible. You told me you had got something in your pocket
to make me laugh, you said you would give it
me, but you did not think I deserved it, I know I am
undeserving of every mark of kindness you show me,
yet my friend, allow for the giddiness, unguardedness, &
fire of Youth there is no knowing what follies one may commit
Yet they are not committed intentionally, & when one has
such a friend as you one never can be at a Loss for the best
advice that can be given, & for the truest marks of friendship
which sympathise in every misfortune that befalls one.
I will confess myself to be foolish, unguarded, & even rash
at times, yet I have a heart, which is capable of receiving
the noblest sentiments, & which really I hope, at the bottom
is a thorough good one. This I hope will be a strong advocate
in my favour with you, & will counterbalance I hope




The weaknesses which I ascribe to myself. Continue, O continue
continue, I beseech you my friend, give me fresh assurances
no, I need none, I know you so well, that it is folly in me
nay it is worse it is distrusting you. Treat me with
the same confidence you have hitherto done, I never betrayed
you, though I spoke unguardedly about you once that was
to William R- & that was for the first & shall be for the
last time. Tell me in your next you are contented ------
with my frankness, that you esteem me as much as ever, &
then you will restore peace happiness & comfort to my distressed
mind. Adieu my ever dearest, dearest, dearest Friend,
nothing can ever exceed my affection for you, may you ever
prosper & be happy is the first & last Prayer of
                             Your Palemon.
                                                         toujours de même.
P.S.
      I thank you for the Book I admire it very much I have very near finished it, I have but a few
leaves to read, I particularly admire the passages you have marked, you convey
your advice most delicately; I have tried to correct with my utmost endeavours the
foolish & wicked custom of swearing, & I hope I have succeeded in it, & I am endeavouring to cure my self
of making use of my honour, in a light, silly, & trivial way, which ought to be so sacred. Adieu, Adieu, Adieu -- tout ce qui m'est cher au monde.


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



 1. A device above the word (un)usually is difficult to explain. Possibly it is the combined initials GP 'George Princeps', seen for instance in GEO/ADD/3/82/3, serving here to confirm the alteration.
 2. This has been taken as French rather than an obsolete English spelling.
 3. It appears that the Prince tried out two different words by overwriting, one of them feel, before cancelling both in favour of have above.
 4. There are three separate underlinings here, respectively under as I, I had and (probably added last of all) just under I.
 5. A stylised rendition of upon my honour. The Prince distances himself from the lady by spellings that imitate her fashionable pronunciation, as also by exaggerating her garrulous manner.
 6. 'A dandy or fop [...] who [...] extravagantly imitated Continental tastes and fashions' (OED s.v. macaroni n. 2).
 7. Moved sentence here from top of page, as indicated by the small cross.
 8. The mark of insertion is accidentally placed after the comma rather than before.
 9. Harriet Finch, a cousin of Lady Charlotte Finch, described by Fanny Burney as 'full of odd entertainment herself. She has a large portion of whimsical humour, which, at times, is original and amusing, though always eccentric, and frequently, from uttering whatever comes uppermost, accidental.' (d'Arblay, Diary and letters).
 10. The last line of the postscript is written vertically in the right margin, the last two words curling round to the top of the page, upside down.
 11. The last page is blank.

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/3/82/31

Correspondence Details

Author: George, Prince of Wales

Place sent: unknown

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: unknown

Date sent: c.5 September 1779
notBefore 4 September 1779 (precision: medium)
notAfter 5 September 1779 (precision: high)

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from George, Prince of Wales, to Mary Hamilton, on his low spirits the evening before, despite appearances, and a conversation with a 'fashionable' lady regarding Hamilton.
    The Prince refers to the 'extraordinary coldness' with which Hamilton treated him, and states that he had wanted to appear in good spirits for the benefit of L C F. He provides a full account of his conversation with 'a fashionable or rather bon ton Lady'. This includes compliments on his 'air degagé', discretion being an important attribute for a 'macaroni', and a previous conversation with a 'beau' regarding Hamilton and the Prince. The Prince writes that he only spoke 'unguardedly' about Hamilton once, with 'W. R.'.
    Signed 'Palemon'.
   

Length: 3 sheets, 1774 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: 21 May 2020

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