Single Letter

HAM/1/15/2/18

Letter from Mary Hamilton to Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Diplomatic Text


15


18th. July 1781
Babel

      I am perfectly recover'd my Dear Astrea & I
deserve Your reproaches for my silence -- I know
not how it is but I feel incapable of exerting
myself -- I neglect & postpone doing the very
things from which I might derive comfort,
for I am sure receiving Your letters is one of
my greatest, & yet I delay writing & thereby
lose many letters from You. I ought to answer
Your enquiries respecting the Synod;[1] after tomorrow
it will be once a fortnight -- therefore the 16th of Augt.
is ye. Synod day -- but as that is Mercurys[2] Birth
day I think it most probable it will not be
held. -- Atoʃsa[3] has a Cold & we are left this
week at Babel -- Ah how you would feel for
me did You know what I have gone through
on her account -- she is the most deceitful,
as well as the most treacherous and dangerous
young person I ever met with -- imagine to your-
self
my surprize when Rhea[4] after having told
me came into my room the other day, & said she
wish'd to question me about a conversation I had
had wth. Atoʃsa last Winter -- I being perfectly
aʃsured I had never said any thing to her that
I ought not, was not alarm'd, however I was aston-
ish'd
at this addreʃs: Rhea then told me that Elise



had repeated to her what Atoʃsa had told her, I had said
against ye. person who wrote to you lately about
me when I was Ill; had it been so, had I
told her in confidence my opinion of yt. lady
it wd. have been very base in her to have
repeated it wth. a view of making mischief;
but wt. renders it so shocking is, that the
whole was a falsehood. Rhea behaved with
the utmost candour & gave me a fair oppor-
tunity
of clearing myself. after this instance
of Atoʃsa's disposition for mischief-making, to
give it not harsher a severer epithet; I shall
live in a continual dread of some secret stab. --
for how is poʃsible to guard against such
a being. this affair has made a stronger im-
preʃsion
upon me that ------------------ they think it has done,
for it makes me wish a thousand times a day
that I had never enter'd into this situation.
I cannot conceal from You that I am very
unhappy -- I desire you will not on any account
mention this trait of Atoʃsas character
as it might prejudice the world greatly
against her were it made public. I make
one exception -- when You & Ldy. W.[5] are alone
together show her this letter -- It will be
a comfort to me to have You sympathize
together in concern for Your friend.



I recd. a kind letter from Mrs. WalshinghamHero[6] abt. a
fortnight ago -- she says she intends coming to Babel
as soon as her Affairs are settled -- so I hope we
may look forward for some happy meetings
before Winter as I make no doubt but that Hero
will invite You. Helen & her Daughter have
been at the Walk every Evening -- which is, & has
been much the topic of every tea table within ten
Miles; (for very slight notice is taken of ym. by
Osyris, Rhea & even P W.) -- they say it is wanting
proper spirit, & it is a matter of astonishment at
the family House, that a person
who is so delicate, that ye. leas[t]
fatigue overcomes ym. shd. be
able to set out in ye. heat of ye. afternoon
& walk two hours -- one Eveg. last week they
came in ye. Rain & ye. family party were not there.
so much for scandal -- where I to send you all yt.
this place affords I might be employ'd some hours
every day, the Germans are going from Old Babel
various are the reason's aʃsign'd for their quitting
that place -- when we meet we will talk over
what is not of importance enough -- or of too much
importance to write. What would I not give to
be able to spend a few days wth.. You in the Country;
tell Benedict & Isabella yt. I shall feel for them
when you quit H-. you say the W-- have not



visited You -- You may be content they have not, for I
believe he is a very ignorant stupid Man, & I do not
imagine there is much to regret in not being acquainted
with his Wife -- Mr. T. of A- is a very worthy Man
but is so devour'd by Nerves that he will not
make a good Neighbour for Benedict -- pray take
some pains to find out the Character of his eldest
daughter, I am greatly interested abt. her for her poor


Mothers sake -- I shall be very much delighted if You
find her to be a proper companion for Is- as they are
suitable in age, situation &c: I know she has talents
& I hope she is amiable -- when Yo. see her say a great
deal from me & aʃsure her though I have not wrote, that
I often think of, & enquire after her -- tell her I am now
ashamed to write & if she will aʃsure send me her forgiveneʃs
by You I will venture. As this letter is just the length
of five or six of Yours put together You have no longer,
a right to complain -- & I promise also (if Yo. will send me
frank's directed to H.) to write as often as We used to
do -- Adieu my Dearest friend -- fail not to answer
this in full immediately -- God Bleʃs You Adieu
I rejoice yt. Yr. B has had ye. M.[7]
MirandaMary HamiltonMiranda[8]

I suppose you have heard of ye. Balls -- at Ldy. Egremonts,[9] at Bushy Park &
Ldy. Aylesford[10] give's one soon
They talk much of Ld. Aylesfords[11] attachment to Miʃ Thynne
& yt. Ld. Fairford is to marry Ldy. F. Finch.[12] Ld. Bostons[13] Bro. Mr.
Irby is going to be married to some East India Lady. West India[14][15]

To[16]
The Honble. Miʃs Gunning
at Sr: Robert Gunnings
Horton near
Northampton[17]

18th July
1781[18]

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


Notes


 1. 'Synod' is probably a humorous code name for Drawing Room; cf. HAM/1/15/2/23.
 2. 'Mercury' is presumably Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763-1827), born 16 August 1763.
 3. 'Atossa' is a code name probably for the Princess Royal, after an Achaemenid empress and daughter of Cyrus the Great and Cassandane (Wikipedia).
 4. 'Rhea' is a code name for Queen Charlotte, consort of King George III (1744-1818), after the 'mother of gods' of Greek mythology (Wikipedia).
 5. Lady Mary Wake (née Fenton) (d. 1823), wife of Sir William Wake, 8th Baronet (1742-1785).
 6. 'Hero' is a code name for Charlotte Hanbury Boyle-Walsingham (née Williams) (d. 1790), after the virgin priestess who fell in love with Leander in Greek mythology (Wikipedia).
 7. Perhaps 'Benedict has had the Measles'.
 8. Annotator has written 'Mary Hamilton' to the left of and partially over 'Miranda', crossing out the remainder.
 9. Alicia Maria Brühl (née Carpenter), Countess of Egremont (d. 1794), a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Charlotte.
 10. Charlotte Finch (née Seymour), Countess of Aylesford (1730-1805) [not to be confused with Lady Charlotte Finch (née Fermor) (1725-1813), royal governess].
 11. Heneage Finch, 4th Earl of Aylesford (1751-1812) (son of Lady Aylesford), who would marry Lady Louisa Thynne (1760-1832) in 1781.
 12. The marriage referred to here does not appear to have taken place, as Lord Fairford is linked to a different woman in HAM/1/15/2/22 one year later.
 13. Frederick Irby, 2nd Baron Boston (1749–1825), a Lord of the Bedchamber to King George III, whose brother The Honourable William Henry Irby (1750-1830) married Mary Blackman from Antigua in 1871.
 14. Author's correction, although what is meant is 'West Indies' or 'West Indian'.
 15. Moved postscript here from top left of p.1, written upside down.
 16. Postmarks '12 JY' split to left and right of address when unfolded, and'Windsor' to right.
 17. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically.
 18. Moved date here from right side of address panel in centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically.

Normalised Text




18th. July 1781
Babel

      I am perfectly recover'd my Dear Astrea & I
deserve Your reproaches for my silence -- I know
not how it is but I feel incapable of exerting
myself -- I neglect & postpone doing the very
things from which I might derive comfort,
for I am sure receiving Your letters is one of
my greatest, & yet I delay writing & thereby
lose many letters from You. I ought to answer
Your enquiries respecting the Synod; after tomorrow
it will be once a fortnight -- therefore the 16th of August
is the Synod day -- but as that is Mercurys Birth
day I think it most probable it will not be
held. -- Atossa has a Cold & we are left this
week at Babel -- Ah how you would feel for
me did You know what I have gone through
on her account -- she is the most deceitful,
as well as the most treacherous and dangerous
young person I ever met with -- imagine to yourself
my surprise when Rhea
came into my room the other day, & said she
wish'd to question me about a conversation I had
had with Atossa last Winter -- I being perfectly
assured I had never said any thing to her that
I ought not, was not alarm'd, however I was astonish'd
at this address: Rhea then told me that Elise



had repeated to her what Atossa had told her, I had said
against the person who wrote to you lately about
me when I was Ill; had it been so, had I
told her in confidence my opinion of that lady
it would have been very base in her to have
repeated it with a view of making mischief;
but what renders it so shocking is, that the
whole was a falsehood. Rhea behaved with
the utmost candour & gave me a fair opportunity
of clearing myself. after this instance
of Atossa's disposition for mischief-making, to
give it not a severer epithet; I shall
live in a continual dread of some secret stab. --
for how is possible to guard against such
a being. this affair has made a stronger impression
upon me than they think it has done,
for it makes me wish a thousand times a day
that I had never enter'd into this situation.
I cannot conceal from You that I am very
unhappy -- I desire you will not on any account
mention this trait of Atossas character
as it might prejudice the world greatly
against her were it made public. I make
one exception -- when You & Lady Wake are alone
together show her this letter -- It will be
a comfort to me to have You sympathize
together in concern for Your friend.



I received a kind letter from Hero about a
fortnight ago -- she says she intends coming to Babel
as soon as her Affairs are settled -- so I hope we
may look forward for some happy meetings
before Winter as I make no doubt that Hero
will invite You. Helen & her Daughter have
been at the Walk every Evening -- which is, & has
been the topic of every tea table within ten
Miles; (for very slight notice is taken of them by
Osyris, Rhea & even the Prince of Wales) -- they say it is wanting
proper spirit, & it is a matter of astonishment at
the family House, that a person
who is so delicate, that the least
fatigue overcomes them should be
able to set out in the heat of the afternoon
& walk two hours -- one Evening last week they
came in the Rain & the family party were not there.
so much for scandal -- were I to send you all that
this place affords I might be employ'd some hours
every day, the Germans are going from Old Babel
various are the reason's assign'd for their quitting
that place -- when we meet we will talk over
what is not of importance enough -- or of too much
importance to write. What would I not give to
be able to spend a few days with You in the Country;
tell Benedict & Isabella that I shall feel for them
when you quit Horton. you say the W-- have not



visited You -- You may be content they have not, for I
believe he is a very ignorant stupid Man, & I do not
imagine there is much to regret in not being acquainted
with his Wife -- Mr. T. of A- is a very worthy Man
but is so devour'd by Nerves that he will not
make a good Neighbour for Benedict -- pray take
some pains to find out the Character of his eldest
daughter, I am greatly interested about her for her poor


Mothers sake -- I shall be very much delighted if You
find her to be a proper companion for Isabella as they are
suitable in age, situation &c: I know she has talents
& I hope she is amiable -- when You see her say a great
deal from me & assure her though I have not wrote, that
I often think of, & enquire after her -- tell her I am now
ashamed to write & if she will send me her forgiveness
by You I will venture. As this letter is just the length
of five or six of Yours put together You have no longer,
a right to complain -- & I promise also (if You will send me
frank's directed to Horton) to write as often as We used to
do -- Adieu my Dearest friend -- fail not to answer
this in full immediately -- God Bless You Adieu
I rejoice that Your B has had the M.
Miranda

I suppose you have heard of the Balls -- at Lady Egremonts, at Bushy Park &
Lady Aylesford give's one soon
They talk much of Lord Aylesfords attachment to Mis Thynne
& that Lord Fairford is to marry Lady F. Finch. Lord Bostons Brother Mr.
Irby is going to be married to some India Lady. West India

To
The Honourable Miss Gunning
at Sir Robert Gunnings
Horton near
Northampton

18th July
1781

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



 1. 'Synod' is probably a humorous code name for Drawing Room; cf. HAM/1/15/2/23.
 2. 'Mercury' is presumably Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763-1827), born 16 August 1763.
 3. 'Atossa' is a code name probably for the Princess Royal, after an Achaemenid empress and daughter of Cyrus the Great and Cassandane (Wikipedia).
 4. 'Rhea' is a code name for Queen Charlotte, consort of King George III (1744-1818), after the 'mother of gods' of Greek mythology (Wikipedia).
 5. Lady Mary Wake (née Fenton) (d. 1823), wife of Sir William Wake, 8th Baronet (1742-1785).
 6. 'Hero' is a code name for Charlotte Hanbury Boyle-Walsingham (née Williams) (d. 1790), after the virgin priestess who fell in love with Leander in Greek mythology (Wikipedia).
 7. Perhaps 'Benedict has had the Measles'.
 8. Annotator has written 'Mary Hamilton' to the left of and partially over 'Miranda', crossing out the remainder.
 9. Alicia Maria Brühl (née Carpenter), Countess of Egremont (d. 1794), a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Charlotte.
 10. Charlotte Finch (née Seymour), Countess of Aylesford (1730-1805) [not to be confused with Lady Charlotte Finch (née Fermor) (1725-1813), royal governess].
 11. Heneage Finch, 4th Earl of Aylesford (1751-1812) (son of Lady Aylesford), who would marry Lady Louisa Thynne (1760-1832) in 1781.
 12. The marriage referred to here does not appear to have taken place, as Lord Fairford is linked to a different woman in HAM/1/15/2/22 one year later.
 13. Frederick Irby, 2nd Baron Boston (1749–1825), a Lord of the Bedchamber to King George III, whose brother The Honourable William Henry Irby (1750-1830) married Mary Blackman from Antigua in 1871.
 14. Author's correction, although what is meant is 'West Indies' or 'West Indian'.
 15. Moved postscript here from top left of p.1, written upside down.
 16. Postmarks '12 JY' split to left and right of address when unfolded, and'Windsor' to right.
 17. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically.
 18. Moved date here from right side of address panel in 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 Mary Hamilton to Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Shelfmark: HAM/1/15/2/18

Correspondence Details

Author: Mary Hamilton

Place sent: Windsor (certainty: high)

Addressee: Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Place received: Horton, Bucks.

Date sent: 18 July 1781

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Mary Hamilton to Charlotte Gunning. The letter is concerned with 'mischief-making' at court that was aimed at her. She was accused by 'Atossa' of saying things that she did not; 'I shall live in a continual dread of some secret stab. -- for how is [it] possible to guard against such a being[?]'. She writes of being unhappy and how such things make her regret entering her situation at court. She asks that Gunning show this letter to Lady Wake when she has the opportunity, as it will give her some comfort to know that two friends are together sympathizing with her. Hamilton continues her letter with general news of acquaintances.
    Dated at 'Babel' [i.e. Windsor].
    Original reference No. 15.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 1013 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: Donald Alasdair Morrison, undergraduate student, University of Manchester

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

Transliterator: Ruby Linden, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted November 2014)

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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