Single Letter

HAM/1/15/1/36

Letter from Charlotte Margaret Gunning to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


11.

      Miʃs Gunning
7th May 1789

I have been my dear Friend intending every day
to write to you tho' I have not heard from you of an
absolute age never indeed in answer to my last
letter, but my good intentions upon this subject
as upon many others, have been detourneed & divertd
from been put into execution by the various constant
occurences of the day & moment -- I wish I could say
or think I was occupied -- that would be accounting
for my time and silence in a manner I should
not be ashamed of -- no what one does from morning
to night here deserves not to be dignified withby the na[me]
of occupation, it is hurry,[1] it is a something that
carries with it the appearance of importance, the
force of neceʃsity, but which is vain, empty &
unsatisfactory -- such as it is however it demands
the attention & fills up the day of the miserable
Beings who are confined to this place; & must
account as well as it can, or you will allow it, for
my not doing the things I like & prefer, & in this
instance particularly for not having written
to you -- besides my dear Friend I have been
tormented for this month past with a rheumat[ic]
pain in my face, I have had a Blyster on & have
been out of Town -- My Father has been confined
these 6 weeks past with the Gout during 3 of
which I never stirred in an Evening -- he has
been for a week at Horton is returned, is going



in a fortnight to Harrowgate for a Month which
will bring him & us to the end of June when thanked
be God we shall be at Horton! it is impoʃsible to
tell you my dear Friend! to expreʃs the disgust
the abhorrence I have conceived for this place
it has been growing these some years & now is
arrived at a degree that makes it quite insupp[ortable]
Oh! that something would happen to take me quite
out of it! I am now in a violent longing fit for
the Country -- I was interrupted in this letter my
dear Friend the other day & now resume it &
mean to conclude it before I set out for Richmond,
where I am going for some days. Never was anything
so heavenly & enchanting as the weather, I am
sitting with my window open hearing the Birds sing
& absolutely seeing the leaves burst into life -- nothing
can be prettier I really think than the scene before
me -- I must not however indulge myself in
description, but tell you something more to the
purpose about myself or rather ourselves -- My
Brother is gone abroad for a year -- he went on
Tuesday sev'night[2] & we have already heard from
him from Paris where he arrived safe after a
good paʃsage & pleasant journey, & where the
concourse of People who were collected on account of
the aʃsemblée des notables was so great that it was
wth the utmost difficulty, he could get a Lodging
in any Hôtel -- I believe he means to remain
there a Month or six Weeks, it will depend on
Circumstances. you will perhaps often hear my
dear Friend that the King is ill -- do not believe
a word of it -- God be thanked he is as well as I
& all such sincere Lovers of his as I am, wish him



he feels weak and exhausted -- how natural, how
inevitable after such an illneʃs -- he told me so
on the day we went to St. Pauls -- a day I shall never
forget as long as I live -- I went to the Qs House[3] first
of course -- the K. was in the next room & as soon as
he saw me he came out to speak to me -- this was th[e]
first time I had seen him -- when he spoke my
knees trembled my tongue faultered & I could not
utter a word but burst into a violent fit of tears --
this was a bad beginning to such a day -- I never saw
anything so grand so stupendous so imposant as the
Building of St Pauls, or so affecting, & so Solemn as the
whole Service -- we all walked in proceʃsion thro' th[e]
isle amidst the songs of 5000 Children -- the Sermon
was preached by Porteus & the finest I d ever heard
I did nothing but cry the whole time, you can conceiv[e]
nothing so affecting -- the King was devout & attentive
as usual the Queen much affected -- the Prince o[f]
W. D. of Y[.] ------; laughing immoderatly the whole
time -- every other Person impreʃsed with the
awfulneʃs of the place & the occasion -- as to me
I had not recovered the effect of the day a week afterwa[rds]
I remember promising to give you some account of
the Ball at Whites[4] -- it was indeed magnificent & perfectly
well conducted -- the Pantheon was lit up with enclosed
Lamps -- & the effect of every woman being in white & gold
was ------ a very remarquably good one -- Brooks
Ball[5] was at the Opera -- magnificent they said, but
not pleasant as the crowd was amazing[6] -- neither
Bell nor I were there owing to an idea of the Queen's
objecting to her Friend's being there -- this original one
was altered afterwards, but then we had given away
our Tickets & it was too late -- the Club of Boodles
give a Ball at Ranalaugh[7] on this occasion --
the French & Spanish Ambaʃsadors[8] are to be magnif[ic][9]
the Queen goes & we attend her -- Good God how
sick I am of it all -- I am leaing to draw flowers of
Mr Brown Ly Wakes Man & have had my first



leʃson to day & think I shall like it vastly -- you shall
have my first decent production -- I have as yet
not seen Ly Wake, but at this minute she rings
the Bell & is coming up -- we have called on each
other several times with London succeʃs -- ie never
meeting -- Adieu my very dear Friend -- write to
me -- tell me that Mr D. is well -- that dear little
Louisa grows & speaks & is not spoilt -- and a great
deal about yourself -- Ly Wake begs her best love



to you, she talks of being at Courteenhall the first
week in June -- happy -- she -- God bleʃs you
once more my dear Friend -- I long to hear
from you -- pray write soon -- I hope all is
well chès vous --
Saturday 9th May.

To[10]
Mrs Dickenson
Taxal
Chapel le Frith
Derbyshire[11]

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


Notes


 1. 'Commotion, fuss, etc.'.
 2. The noun sennight, sevenight, etc. meaning 'week'.
 3. Buckingham House, at the west end of the Mall in St James's Park, [which] became known as the Queen's House (Wikipedia).
 4. See HAM/1/15/1/35. "White's", a [Tory] gentleman's club situated in St James's Street, London (Wikipedia), gave a ball at the Pantheon Assembly Rooms on Oxford Street on the occasion of the King's recovery.
 5. Brooks's ball, given by the [Whig] club which supported the Prince Regent.
 6. Probably amazing in the then old-fashioned sense 'causing distraction, consternation, confusion, dismay; stupefying, terrifying, dreadful' (slightly postdating OED s.v., adj., 1).
 7. Ranelagh Gardens, public pleasure gardens in Chelsea.
 8. The Spanish ambassador hosted another lavish event at Ranelagh a week after the Boodle's fête.
 9. The reading is not quite certain but appears to be magnific '[n]obly lavish or munificent; profuse in expenditure' (OED s.v., adj., 5).
 10. Postmark 'MA 10 89' to right of address when unfolded.
 11. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically.

Normalised Text



     
7th May 1789

I have been my dear Friend intending every day
to write to you though I have not heard from you of an
absolute age never indeed in answer to my last
letter, but my good intentions upon this subject
as upon many others, have been détournéed & diverted
from being put into execution by the various constant
occurences of the day & moment -- I wish I could say
or think I was occupied -- that would be accounting
for my time and silence in a manner I should
not be ashamed of -- no what one does from morning
to night here deserves not to be dignified by the name
of occupation, it is hurry, it is a something that
carries with it the appearance of importance, the
force of necessity, but which is vain, empty &
unsatisfactory -- such as it is however it demands
the attention & fills up the day of the miserable
Beings who are confined to this place; & must
account as well as it can, or you will allow it, for
my not doing the things I like & prefer, & in this
instance particularly for not having written
to you -- besides my dear Friend I have been
tormented for this month past with a rheumatic
pain in my face, I have had a Blister on & have
been out of Town -- My Father has been confined
these 6 weeks past with the Gout during 3 of
which I never stirred in an Evening -- he has
been for a week at Horton is returned, is going



in a fortnight to Harrogate for a Month which
will bring him & us to the end of June when thanked
be God we shall be at Horton! it is impossible to
tell you my dear Friend! to express the disgust
the abhorrence I have conceived for this place
it has been growing these some years & now is
arrived at a degree that makes it quite insupportable
Oh! that something would happen to take me quite
out of it! I am now in a violent longing fit for
the Country -- I was interrupted in this letter my
dear Friend the other day & now resume it &
mean to conclude it before I set out for Richmond,
where I am going for some days. Never was anything
so heavenly & enchanting as the weather, I am
sitting with my window open hearing the Birds sing
& absolutely seeing the leaves burst into life -- nothing
can be prettier I really think than the scene before
me -- I must not however indulge myself in
description, but tell you something more to the
purpose about myself or rather ourselves -- My
Brother is gone abroad for a year -- he went on
Tuesday sennight & we have already heard from
him from Paris where he arrived safe after a
good passage & pleasant journey, & where the
concourse of People who were collected on account of
the assemblée des notables was so great that it was
with the utmost difficulty, he could get a Lodging
in any Hôtel -- I believe he means to remain
there a Month or six Weeks, it will depend on
Circumstances. you will perhaps often hear my
dear Friend that the King is ill -- do not believe
a word of it -- God be thanked he is as well as I
& all such sincere Lovers of his as I am, wish him



he feels weak and exhausted -- how natural, how
inevitable after such an illness -- he told me so
on the day we went to St. Pauls -- a day I shall never
forget as long as I live -- I went to the Queens House first
of course -- the King was in the next room & as soon as
he saw me he came out to speak to me -- this was the
first time I had seen him -- when he spoke my
knees trembled my tongue faultered & I could not
utter a word but burst into a violent fit of tears --
this was a bad beginning to such a day -- I never saw
anything so grand so stupendous so imposant as the
Building of St Pauls, or so affecting, & so Solemn as the
whole Service -- we all walked in procession through the
aisle amidst the songs of 5000 Children -- the Sermon
was preached by Porteus & the finest I ever heard
I did nothing but cry the whole time, you can conceive
nothing so affecting -- the King was devout & attentive
as usual the Queen much affected -- the Prince of
Wales Duke of York ------; laughing immoderately the whole
time -- every other Person impressed with the
awfulness of the place & the occasion -- as to me
I had not recovered the effect of the day a week afterwards
I remember promising to give you some account of
the Ball at Whites -- it was indeed magnificent & perfectly
well conducted -- the Pantheon was lit up with enclosed
Lamps -- & the effect of every woman being in white & gold
was a very remarkably good one -- Brooks
Ball was at the Opera -- magnificent they said, but
not pleasant as the crowd was amazing -- neither
Bell nor I were there owing to an idea of the Queen's
objecting to her Friend's being there -- this original one
was altered afterwards, but then we had given away
our Tickets & it was too late -- the Club of Boodles
give a Ball at Ranelagh on this occasion --
the French & Spanish Ambassadors are to be magnific
the Queen goes & we attend her -- Good God how
sick I am of it all -- I am learning to draw flowers of
Mr Brown Lady Wakes Man & have had my first



lesson to day & think I shall like it vastly -- you shall
have my first decent production -- I have as yet
not seen Lady Wake, but at this minute she rings
the Bell & is coming up -- we have called on each
other several times with London success -- ie never
meeting -- Adieu my very dear Friend -- write to
me -- tell me that Mr Dickenson is well -- that dear little
Louisa grows & speaks & is not spoilt -- and a great
deal about yourself -- Lady Wake begs her best love



to you, she talks of being at Courteenhall the first
week in June -- happy -- she -- God bless you
once more my dear Friend -- I long to hear
from you -- pray write soon -- I hope all is
well chez vous --
Saturday 9th May.

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. 'Commotion, fuss, etc.'.
 2. The noun sennight, sevenight, etc. meaning 'week'.
 3. Buckingham House, at the west end of the Mall in St James's Park, [which] became known as the Queen's House (Wikipedia).
 4. See HAM/1/15/1/35. "White's", a [Tory] gentleman's club situated in St James's Street, London (Wikipedia), gave a ball at the Pantheon Assembly Rooms on Oxford Street on the occasion of the King's recovery.
 5. Brooks's ball, given by the [Whig] club which supported the Prince Regent.
 6. Probably amazing in the then old-fashioned sense 'causing distraction, consternation, confusion, dismay; stupefying, terrifying, dreadful' (slightly postdating OED s.v., adj., 1).
 7. Ranelagh Gardens, public pleasure gardens in Chelsea.
 8. The Spanish ambassador hosted another lavish event at Ranelagh a week after the Boodle's fête.
 9. The reading is not quite certain but appears to be magnific '[n]obly lavish or munificent; profuse in expenditure' (OED s.v., adj., 5).
 10. Postmark 'MA 10 89' to right of address when unfolded.
 11. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically.

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/1/15/1/36

Correspondence Details

Author: Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Place sent: unknown

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

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

Date sent: 7 May 1789

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Charlotte Gunning to Mary Hamilton, relating to the King's health. Gunning advises Hamilton not to believe word that the King is ill. He is well but feels weak and tired, which is only natural after such an illness. The King told her so himself on the day that they went to St Paul's. Gunning notes that she trembled when he spoke to her and that she will never forget the day at St Paul's [a Thanksgiving service on the King's recovery]: 'we all walked in procession through the [a]isle amidst the songs of 5000 Children'. She notes that she did nothing but cry the whole time. This is to be contrasted with the Prince of Wales and Duke of York 'laughing immoderat[e]ly'. She continues to describe the service at St Paul's and the celebrations in London.
    Original reference No. 11.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 1094 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: Abigail Tait, 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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