Single Letter

GEO/ADD/3/82/8

Letter from George, Prince of Wales, to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


8

Sunday Morng. 10 oClock 20st.. June
1779[1]


      How could my dearest, dearest,
dearest Friend write so cruel a Letter.
to me. I thought you knew how sacred
a meaning ye. word friendʃhip carries
with it. That[2] which I have for you
is of the purest kind, and as durable
as any earthly thing can be. You
say that yr. friendship can not be
of any consequence to me either now
or hereafter, by Heavens it is more
than you can imagine, for you are the
only Friend to whom I can commu=
=nicate
my most hidden & inward



thoughts; you desire me to excuse you
as if you had committed a fault in accept=
=ing
of my friendship, consider I
ʃhall not, if I loosʃe you as my Friend,
have a single person whom I can
treat with that openneʃs, frankneʃs
and sincerity as I treat yourʃelf
recollect the promises we made each
other of a firm and everlasting union.
You say you wish me not to forget you
immediately. If you can suppose
as you mentioned in yr. Letter, that
either the gaiety, ofr vain pageantry
of the World, will be the cause
of my forgetting you, know, that



the dear image of my Friend will
never be effaced out of my heart. I flatter
myself that my sentiments are such
upon this sacred subject as to encourage
you to continue to treat me with
that confidence which you hitherto have
done. Adieu, et soyez persuadé que
ni du lieu la distance, ni du temps
la longeur vous effaceront jamais du
cœur
[3] de celui qui sera charmé de
se signer toujours votre très affectionné
                                                         Ami.
P.S.
      Let me see you more in spirits this morning at Prayers
I beseech of you, & let me hear or receive a promise from
you that yr. melancholy shall quit you. I consent according
to yr. desire to drop our clandestine intercourse by Letter, unleʃs
something particular happens concerning which I wish to
ask yr. advice. I return you yr. too cruel words pour toujours
and desire you will revoke them by destroying the piece of
                                                         paper upon which they are
                                                         written. Adieu jusqu'au
                                                         revoir.


[4]

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


Notes


 1. Day and time appear to be contemporary; it is unclear whether the year or indeed the whole date was added subsequently. It is curious that the ordinal superscript above the figure 20 looks more like st than the expected th.
 2. A loop over initial capital T (more usually F) becomes a flourish in the Prince's hand over much of the word.
 3. These lines would seem to derive, directly or more likely indirectly, from a 'Serment d'amour' by the 17th-century Belgian poet Guillaume van Exaerde: 'Ni du lieu la distance, | Ni du tems la longueur | N'auront jamais puissance | De t'oster de mon cœur' (reference due to Dominique Boulonnais, who observes that the Prince's omission of ne before vous effaceront, while erroneous, may perhaps reflect contemporary spoken French). Versions of the quatrain appear in diverse French sources in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the first two lines invariant, the latter two with various verbs or phrases for 'remove', and variations on 'you' or a named lover for the immovable object, all meaning roughly 'Separation by neither distance nor time will ever [have the power to] remove you from my heart'.
 4. The last page is blank.

Normalised Text





      How could my dearest, dearest,
dearest Friend write so cruel a Letter.
to me. I thought you knew how sacred
a meaning the word friendship carries
with it. That which I have for you
is of the purest kind, and as durable
as any earthly thing can be. You
say that your friendship can not be
of any consequence to me either now
or hereafter, by Heavens it is more
than you can imagine, for you are the
only Friend to whom I can communicate
my most hidden & inward



thoughts; you desire me to excuse you
as if you had committed a fault in accepting
of my friendship, consider I
shall not, if I lose you as my Friend,
have a single person whom I can
treat with that openness, frankness
and sincerity as I treat yourself
recollect the promises we made each
other of a firm and everlasting union.
You say you wish me not to forget you
immediately. If you can suppose
as you mentioned in your Letter, that
either the gaiety, or vain pageantry
of the World, will be the cause
of my forgetting you, know, that



the dear image of my Friend will
never be effaced out of my heart. I flatter
myself that my sentiments are such
upon this sacred subject as to encourage
you to continue to treat me with
that confidence which you hitherto have
done. Adieu, et soyez persuadée que
ni du lieu la distance, ni du temps
la longeur vous effaceront jamais du
cœur
de celui qui sera charmé de
se signer toujours votre très affectionné
                                                         Ami.
P.S.
      Let me see you more in spirits this morning at Prayers
I beseech of you, & let me hear or receive a promise from
you that your melancholy shall quit you. I consent according
to your desire to drop our clandestine intercourse by Letter, unless
something particular happens concerning which I wish to
ask your advice. I return you your too cruel words pour toujours
and desire you will revoke them by destroying the piece of
                                                         paper upon which they are
                                                         written. Adieu jusqu'au
                                                         revoir.


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



 1. Day and time appear to be contemporary; it is unclear whether the year or indeed the whole date was added subsequently. It is curious that the ordinal superscript above the figure 20 looks more like st than the expected th.
 2. A loop over initial capital T (more usually F) becomes a flourish in the Prince's hand over much of the word.
 3. These lines would seem to derive, directly or more likely indirectly, from a 'Serment d'amour' by the 17th-century Belgian poet Guillaume van Exaerde: 'Ni du lieu la distance, | Ni du tems la longueur | N'auront jamais puissance | De t'oster de mon cœur' (reference due to Dominique Boulonnais, who observes that the Prince's omission of ne before vous effaceront, while erroneous, may perhaps reflect contemporary spoken French). Versions of the quatrain appear in diverse French sources in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the first two lines invariant, the latter two with various verbs or phrases for 'remove', and variations on 'you' or a named lover for the immovable object, all meaning roughly 'Separation by neither distance nor time will ever [have the power to] remove you from my heart'.
 4. 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/3/82/8

Correspondence Details

Author: George, Prince of Wales

Place sent: unknown

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: unknown

Date sent: c. 20 June 1779
notBefore 19 June 1779 (precision: high)
notAfter 20 June 1779 (precision: high)

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from George, Prince of Wales, to Mary Hamilton, on receiving her cruel letter, and the importance of their friendship.
    The Prince writes that Hamilton is 'the only friend to whom I can communicate my most hidden & inward thoughts'. He hopes that Hamilton will be in more spirit at Prayers, and consents 'to your desire to drop our clandestine intercourse by letter'.
    Written Sunday morning 10 o'clock.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 353 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: 18 May 2020

Document Image (pdf)