Single Letter

HAM/1/15/1/24

Letter from Charlotte Margaret Gunning to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


Honble- Mʃ. Gunning     1723



St James's Octobr: 6th 1787

      My dear Friend!
I have been leading for this Month past an unsettled
rambling kind of life, which has prevented me doing
anything I ought, or wished to have done -- particularly --
I have not been allowed to write a letter, for chès nous
nobody does such a thing, & I am abused whenever I sit
down with a pen in my hand, at any time, but lately
the House has been full of young Men, who have made
it totally impoʃsible to settle comfortably to anything -- we
have been visiting too -- been at the Races -- &c --
Inshort my dear you have been constantly in my
mind as well as heart, but I confeʃs I have much to
reproach myself on the score of writing -- I used you know
to be an excellent correspondant, but then the intercour[se]
was kept up briskly on both sides, you liked writing, had
good Eyes -- & had nothing else to do -- now you are married
have other occupations, other pursuits, of much greater
consequence, and cannot have time to write frequently
to all those who love & are interested about you, cela est
naturel et de raison, auʃsi
I do not expect it, & think you
very good indeed if you kn now & then let me hear
from you. I have two of your letters to answer my dear
Friend tho' I cannot allow that I am two in your debt.
So there is no chance of seeing you at Horton this year
no nor any year -- it is decided & I give the thing up -- I
shall never ask you, or hope to see you there, again -- as
for expecting it -- I never did -- if I could help being vexed



& almost angry, I should be inclined to think it very
ridiculous --
There is more probability of our meeting in London
to that idea I will attach myself -- & will indulge myself
in that of seeing your dear little Louisa & enjoying something
of your society, in the spring -- I do not mean to be unreas[onable]
nor do I intend to monopolize you, for I daresay you
will come but for a short time & will be devourd -- that
I expect, & must submit to get a bit myself, as I can
in a scrambling way -- I wish your naughty Eyes woul[d]
get well, I do not approve of their continuing weak for
such a length of time -- what do you do for them?[1] pray
do not use them too much, even to write to me, for
I had rather not hear from you -- tho' indeed you hav[e]
so perfect a Secretary, that I cannot but be perfectly
satisfied when with his imitation both of your hand
& style -- I believe I should not have discovered the differ[ence]
pray thank him sincerely & returning the very affece
regards he sent me. Since your first letter I have
been at Dallington, slept there &c we went to the
play at Northamton with them -- I like Ly Cathcart
vastly, she is very pleasing, gentle & unaffected
I do not exclude Ld C. by only mentioning her, for tho'
I knew him a little before, he improves much upon
further acquaintance -- a very sensible young Man
& by far the best bred one of the present age -- but I
am quite in love to with the dear Boys, particularly
not little, but great Wm who is the tallest Boy of 3&½
years old that ever was seen, & who was put into
Breeches at 13 Months -- he is a prodigy to be sure
je n'en reviens pas! they are now in Dorsetshire at



at
Admira Digby's, from whence I fancy they intend
returning soon, as they have been now gone some time.
that name puts me in mind of poor Ly Lucy -- is it
poʃsible my dear Friend that you should be still ignora[nt]
of her Death which happened near two Months ago --
she suffered cruelly for many hours previous to that
event, particularly so, for she had suffered much, for
Months -- it was a happy release, for there had been
no hopes from the beginning almost of her disorder, &
nobody certainly could be better prepared for another
world, or more properly detached from this, than she
was. Mr Digby I have not seen since Ly Lucy's Death
he has been ever since with his relations & does not
leave that part of the world, till the end of November
when he will come for the Drawingroom -- he h[as]
suffered much in his Health & more in his min[d from]
anxiety & attendance -- I think he will never recover
a loʃs, that so entirely changes his way of life & all
his plans & prospects of Comfort & happineʃs -- his
little Girl stayed with us till last Wednesday when I
brought her with me and sent her back to School.
I return again to Horton on Monday for three weeks
in the Course of which time Bell & I are going to make a
little excursion to Sir G. Robinson's & Mr Hanburys --
the latter are to have a great musical party at Kelmar[sh]
on the 19th, Mara[2] & other Singers -- I shall like that
vastly, for I am not leʃs fond of musick than I was.
after the Acceʃsion, I go to Mrs Wilmots & then to St Leonar[ds]
where I have not yet been this year, indeed I have been
at Horton since the 8th of June a few Days excepted when
I have come up for Drawingrooms -- in Nov: I return to H.
for another fortnight -- I saw Ly Wake before she went into



Yorkshire -- she looked very ill -- but I am glad to hear she
is recovered & will enjoy herself at her Fathers -- I think she
returns in November, or before -- I shall see her then certainly.
I wish I could tell you anything pleasant of your Friend Miʃs
Thursby, not that I know or believe anything eʃsentially blam[able]
in her Conduct -- I am sure she is a very good Girl, as she
is a very sensible one, but she is in a very bad style & way
& will certainly get into a scrape -- i. e. make a very foolish
& bad match -- there is a Mr Armitage, Sir Ges Brother, a
very vulgar affected young Man, in a bad style & having nothing
who admires her, rides with her all about the Country (that
indeed she does with every Man at North:!) & they say will



marry her -- in his absence she (what the world calls) encourag[es]
other Men -- she only means to talk & laugh to amuse hers[elf]
but it hurts her tho it is perfectly innocent of any bad
intentions -- ------------------------------ I wish
she had you to give her some advice -- her Friend Miʃs
C. Sutton scampers about in the same violent way --
I have not told you I believe that we are all well at Horton
perfectly so -- my rooms here have been new papered
painted &c I have more Books, more Bookcases, tables &c
inshort am perfectly comfortable & shall delight to have
you by me to enjoy & add to my comfort -- adieu my dear
Friend -- God bleʃs you -- adieu --

Oh! My dear what would [I] have given to have been with you
at Calwick[3] -- what a delight! I should have kiʃsed every step
I trod -- how happy you must have been! but you could not ever
feel what I should have don[e]
poor, dear Rouʃseau![4]

To
Mrs Dickenson
Taxal
Chapel le Frith
Derbyshire[5]

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


Notes


 1. Hamilton makes reference to eye problems, for example in a diary entry for 19 August 1784: 'I had so bad a Cold in my Eyes that I would not indulge myself in Reading' (HAM/2/14, p.7 of image PDF).
 2. Gertrud Elisabeth Mara (1749-1833), operatic soprano based in London from 1784 to 1802, 'recognized as the greatest singer that Germany had produced' (Wikipedia). See also HAM/1/4/3/13.
 3. Calwich Abbey was the home of Bernard Granville, a neighbour and friend of Jean-Jacques Rousseau during his residence in 1766 at Wootton Hall in Wootton, Staffs. Granville (younger brother of Mrs Delaney, who disapproved of Rousseau) introduced Rousseau to the Duchess of Portland among others (L.-J. Courtois. 1910. Le Séjour de Jean-Jacques Rousseau en Angleterre, pp.35-72, transl. 2016 by Malcolm Crook & Stephen Leach as Rousseau in Wootton).
 4. Moved postscript here from top of p.1, written upside down around the dateline.
 5. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically. There are a number of postal markings scribbled around the address, including 'C4/6', 'C3/4' and '6'.

Normalised Text


     



St James's October 6th 1787

      My dear Friend!
I have been leading for this Month past an unsettled
rambling kind of life, which has prevented me doing
anything I ought, or wished to have done -- particularly --
I have not been allowed to write a letter, for chez nous
nobody does such a thing, & I am abused whenever I sit
down with a pen in my hand, at any time, but lately
the House has been full of young Men, who have made
it totally impossible to settle comfortably to anything -- we
have been visiting too -- been at the Races -- &c --
In short my dear you have been constantly in my
mind as well as heart, but I confess I have much to
reproach myself on the score of writing -- I used you know
to be an excellent correspondent, but then the intercourse
was kept up briskly on both sides, you liked writing, had
good Eyes -- & had nothing else to do -- now you are married
have other occupations, other pursuits, of much greater
consequence, and cannot have time to write frequently
to all those who love & are interested about you, cela est
naturel et de raison, aussi
I do not expect it, & think you
very good indeed if you now & then let me hear
from you. I have two of your letters to answer my dear
Friend though I cannot allow that I am two in your debt.
So there is no chance of seeing you at Horton this year
no nor any year -- it is decided & I give the thing up -- I
shall never ask you, or hope to see you there, again -- as
for expecting it -- I never did -- if I could help being vexed



& almost angry, I should be inclined to think it very
ridiculous --
There is more probability of our meeting in London
to that idea I will attach myself -- & will indulge myself
in that of seeing your dear little Louisa & enjoying something
of your society, in the spring -- I do not mean to be unreasonable
nor do I intend to monopolize you, for I daresay you
will come but for a short time & will be devoured -- that
I expect, & must submit to get a bit myself, as I can
in a scrambling way -- I wish your naughty Eyes would
get well, I do not approve of their continuing weak for
such a length of time -- what do you do for them? pray
do not use them too much, even to write to me, for
I had rather not hear from you -- though indeed you have
so perfect a Secretary, that I cannot but be perfectly
satisfied with his imitation both of your hand
& style -- I believe I should not have discovered the difference
pray thank him sincerely & return the very affectionate
regards he sent me. Since your first letter I have
been at Dallington, slept there &c we went to the
play at Northampton with them -- I like Lady Cathcart
vastly, she is very pleasing, gentle & unaffected
I do not exclude Lord Cathcart by only mentioning her, for though
I knew him a little before, he improves much upon
further acquaintance -- a very sensible young Man
& by far the best bred one of the present age -- but I
am quite in love with the dear Boys, particularly
not little, but great William who is the tallest Boy of 3&½
years old that ever was seen, & who was put into
Breeches at 13 Months -- he is a prodigy to be sure
je n'en reviens pas! they are now in Dorset at



Admiral Digby's, from whence I fancy they intend
returning soon, as they have been now gone some time.
that name puts me in mind of poor Lady Lucy -- is it
possible my dear Friend that you should be still ignorant
of her Death which happened near two Months ago --
she suffered cruelly for many hours previous to that
event, particularly so, for she had suffered much, for
Months -- it was a happy release, for there had been
no hopes from the beginning almost of her disorder, &
nobody certainly could be better prepared for another
world, or more properly detached from this, than she
was. Mr Digby I have not seen since Lady Lucy's Death
he has been ever since with his relations & does not
leave that part of the world, till the end of November
when he will come for the Drawingroom -- he has
suffered much in his Health & more in his mind from
anxiety & attendance -- I think he will never recover
a loss, that so entirely changes his way of life & all
his plans & prospects of Comfort & happiness -- his
little Girl stayed with us till last Wednesday when I
brought her with me and sent her back to School.
I return again to Horton on Monday for three weeks
in the Course of which time Bell & I are going to make a
little excursion to Sir G. Robinson's & Mr Hanburys --
the latter are to have a great musical party at Kelmarsh
on the 19th, Mara & other Singers -- I shall like that
vastly, for I am not less fond of music than I was.
after the Accession, I go to Mrs Wilmots & then to St Leonards
where I have not yet been this year, indeed I have been
at Horton since the 8th of June a few Days excepted when
I have come up for Drawingrooms -- in November I return to Horton
for another fortnight -- I saw Lady Wake before she went into



Yorkshire -- she looked very ill -- but I am glad to hear she
is recovered & will enjoy herself at her Fathers -- I think she
returns in November, or before -- I shall see her then certainly.
I wish I could tell you anything pleasant of your Friend Miss
Thursby, not that I know or believe anything essentially blamable
in her Conduct -- I am sure she is a very good Girl, as she
is a very sensible one, but she is in a very bad style & way
& will certainly get into a scrape -- i. e. make a very foolish
& bad match -- there is a Mr Armitage, Sir Ges Brother, a
very vulgar affected young Man, in a bad style & having nothing
who admires her, rides with her all about the Country (that
indeed she does with every Man at Northampton!) & they say will



marry her -- in his absence she (what the world calls) encourages
other Men -- she only means to talk & laugh to amuse herself
but it hurts her though it is perfectly innocent of any bad
intentions -- I wish
she had you to give her some advice -- her Friend Miss
C. Sutton scampers about in the same violent way --
I have not told you I believe that we are all well at Horton
perfectly so -- my rooms here have been new papered
painted &c I have more Books, more Bookcases, tables &c
in short am perfectly comfortable & shall delight to have
you by me to enjoy & add to my comfort -- adieu my dear
Friend -- God bless you -- adieu --

Oh! My dear what would I have given to have been with you
at Calwick -- what a delight! I should have kissed every step
I trod -- how happy you must have been! but you could not ever
feel what I should have done
poor, dear Rousseau!

To
Mrs Dickenson
Taxal
Chapel le Frith
Derbyshire

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



 1. Hamilton makes reference to eye problems, for example in a diary entry for 19 August 1784: 'I had so bad a Cold in my Eyes that I would not indulge myself in Reading' (HAM/2/14, p.7 of image PDF).
 2. Gertrud Elisabeth Mara (1749-1833), operatic soprano based in London from 1784 to 1802, 'recognized as the greatest singer that Germany had produced' (Wikipedia). See also HAM/1/4/3/13.
 3. Calwich Abbey was the home of Bernard Granville, a neighbour and friend of Jean-Jacques Rousseau during his residence in 1766 at Wootton Hall in Wootton, Staffs. Granville (younger brother of Mrs Delaney, who disapproved of Rousseau) introduced Rousseau to the Duchess of Portland among others (L.-J. Courtois. 1910. Le Séjour de Jean-Jacques Rousseau en Angleterre, pp.35-72, transl. 2016 by Malcolm Crook & Stephen Leach as Rousseau in Wootton).
 4. Moved postscript here from top of p.1, written upside down around the dateline.
 5. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically. There are a number of postal markings scribbled around the address, including 'C4/6', 'C3/4' and '6'.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Charlotte Margaret Gunning to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/15/1/24

Correspondence Details

Author: Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Place sent: London

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: Taxal, Chapel-en-le-Frith

Date sent: 6 October 1787

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Charlotte Gunning to Mary Hamilton. The letter is concerned with general news of friends and family including Lord and Lady Cathcart and Mr Digby. She also writes that the house at Horton has been full of young men who have made it impossible 'to settle comfortably to anything'. She reports that she has been visiting and attending the races.
    Dated at Horton.
    Original reference No. 23.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 1263 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: Research Assistant funding in 2014/15 and 2015/16 provided by the Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester.

Research assistant: Isabella Formisano, former MA student, University of Manchester

Research assistant: Carla Seabra-Dacosta, MA student, University of Vigo

Transliterator: Lucy Brookes, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted May 2016)

Cataloguer: Lisa Crawley, Archivist, The John Rylands Library

Cataloguer: John Hodgson, Head of Special Collections, The John Rylands Library

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

Revision date: 13 April 2020

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