Single Letter

HAM/1/19/36

Letter from William 7th Lord Napier to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


17th-

17

      Canterbury March 7th- 1773
I have attempted above twenty times My dearest
Mary writing you but might as well have just
tryed to have jumped to Northampton as to
write nor do I know whither I'll be able to
make out this ʃide as I am interrupted every
moment, this is my buʃy time nor have I
time almost to sit down from seven in the morn
=ing
to bed time, what with field days, drills on
Horse back & Foot, parades, & other neceʃsary bu
sineʃs's
my time is so taken up that my friends
must take the word for the deed till after the
Kings review, & except to Mrs Napier & yourself
I am resolved not to write a single line
and you both must be content with a few
lines Your selves, this My dearest Girl I tell
you that you may not expect long ones
from me till after I see you which I hope
will be in the middle of May in my way
northwards. You give me your opinion of
Colonel Bland which I make no doubt is just



tho I am little acquaint with him but as a Soldier
never having ʃeen him much but in Camp, as
to common place Compliments to the Lady's
thats a fault most Men get when young and
often continues with them after years grows
upon them, you My dear Mary have been bred
up very differently from the generality of your
Sex otherwise you would not have been either
surprised or shocked at hearing these Compliments
made use off to young Ladys indiscriminally, as
they have no meaning they become words of
course & go into one ear & out of t'other, & a little
more uʃuage in the World will shew you its
the only conversation carried on between the
young people of either Sex in this age, so no
wonder if some of it remains with both after
they come to more years. It gives me great
concern to hear of Mr Hope's misfortune tho
its been a wonder to his friends it has not
happened long ago I shall be extremely glad
if it brings his affairs to a happy Criʃses



tho I am apprehendʃive that those relations
he has that are able to extricate him out
of his dificulty's are so angry with him
that they will do little or nothing for him
I shall be happy if I am mistaken but own
I dread the worst. Take care My dearest Ward,
pity is a virtue but carried too far may become
a vice, pity from a Young Lady with such a Mind
as yours, may lead to a very disagreeable point
and may make you paʃs many many unhappy
hours, days & even years, you will I am ʃure
excuse me in writing so freely but the Warmth
you expreʃs about Mr Hope & his affairs mademakes
me really afraid that Your sensibility (which
is extremely strong) may without Your knowledge
produce another paʃsion which I most sincerely
wish not to see in you, but towards a proper
object, which considering his Children & many
other good reasons he cannot be, Happy
should I be to see My dear Ward properly
settled for Life but then it must be with



one who is not only capable but willing to make
her happineʃs the study of his Life such a
Man & no other deʃerves My Mary & while I
have any thing to say with her none but
such a Man ever shall call her his. write
My dear girl soon, examine your own heart
(& keep nothing from your most sincere Friend)
& if you find the least Symtom of the tender kind
get the better of it as ʃoon as poʃsible, your
own good ʃense I know will ʃoon convince
you & those things are eaʃily got the better
off at first Adieu My dearest Mary write
soon as I really am extremely uneaʃy &
till you aʃsure me otherwise must continue
so, but as I have all the reason in the
World to believe you'll be sincere with
me I hope in a few days to be put out of
my pain My best respects to Mrs Hamilton
& believe me My dearest Mary most ʃincerely
& most Affctly Yours &c --

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Normalised Text




      Canterbury March 7th- 1773
I have attempted above twenty times My dearest
Mary writing you but might as well have just
tried to have jumped to N as to
write nor do I know whether I'll be able to
make out this side as I am interrupted every
moment, this is my busy time nor have I
time almost to sit down from seven in the morning
to bed time, what with field days, drills on
Horse back & Foot, parades, & other necessary business's
my time is so taken up that my friends
must take the word for the deed till after the
Kings review, & except to Mrs Napier & yourself
I am resolved not to write a single line
and you both must be content with a few
lines Your selves, this My dearest Girl I tell
you that you may not expect long ones
from me till after I see you which I hope
will be in the middle of May in my way
northwards. You give me your opinion of
Colonel Bland which I make no doubt is just



though I am little acquaint with him but as a Soldier
never having seen him much but in Camp, as
to common place Compliments to the Lady's
thats a fault most Men get when young and
often continues with them after years grows
upon them, you My dear Mary have been bred
up very differently from the generality of your
Sex otherwise you would not have been either
surprised or shocked at hearing these Compliments
made use of to young Ladys indiscriminately, as
they have no meaning they become words of
course & go into one ear & out of the other, & a little
more usage in the World will shew you its
the only conversation carried on between the
young people of either Sex in this age, so no
wonder if some of it remains with both after
they come to more years. It gives me great
concern to hear of Mr Hope's misfortune though
its been a wonder to his friends it has not
happened long ago I shall be extremely glad
if it brings his affairs to a happy Crisis



though I am apprehensive that those relations
he has that are able to extricate him out
of his difficulty's are so angry with him
that they will do little or nothing for him
I shall be happy if I am mistaken but own
I dread the worst. Take care My dearest Ward,
pity is a virtue but carried too far may become
a vice, pity from a Young Lady with such a Mind
as yours, may lead to a very disagreeable point
and may make you pass many many unhappy
hours, days & even years, you will I am sure
excuse me in writing so freely but the Warmth
you express about Mr Hope & his affairs makes
me really afraid that Your sensibility (which
is extremely strong) may without Your knowledge
produce another passion which I most sincerely
wish not to see in you, but towards a proper
object, which considering his Children & many
other good reasons he cannot be, Happy
should I be to see My dear Ward properly
settled for Life but then it must be with



one who is not only capable but willing to make
her happiness the study of his Life such a
Man & no other deserves My Mary & while I
have any thing to say with her none but
such a Man ever shall call her his. write
My dear girl soon, examine your own heart
(& keep nothing from your most sincere Friend)
& if you find the least Symptom of the tender kind
get the better of it as soon as possible, your
own good sense I know will soon convince
you & those things are easily got the better
of at first Adieu My dearest Mary write
soon as I really am extremely uneasy &
till you assure me otherwise must continue
so, but as I have all the reason in the
World to believe you'll be sincere with
me I hope in a few days to be put out of
my pain My best respects to Mrs Hamilton
& believe me My dearest Mary most sincerely
& most Affectionately Yours &c --

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Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from William 7th Lord Napier to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/19/36

Correspondence Details

Author: William, 7th Lord Napier

Place sent: Canterbury

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: Northampton

Date sent: 7 March 1773

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from William Napier [later 7th Lord Napier] to Mary Hamilton. The letter is concerned with Napier's life in his regiment and Hamilton's relationship with John Hope. Napier's time is all accounted for and he has no time to sit down from dawn until bedtime with being out in the field, drills on horseback, foot parades and other regimental business as he prepares for the King's review. He has so little time for writing and notes that she cannot expect long letters from him until after the review.
    Hamilton had written to Napier with her opinion of Colonel Bland [from the 7th Dragoons, who are stationed in Northampton, a slight acquaintance of Napier's]. Napier notes that he has only ever been acquainted with the Colonel as a soldier and that he never met him outside of camp. As to his 'common place Compliments to the Lady's thats a fault most men get when young and often continues with them after years grows upon them'. Hamilton has been brought up very differently from most women, otherwise, Napier notes, she would not have been both surprised and shocked at receiving two compliments 'made use off [sic] to young Ladys indiscriminally'. They are so common that they have no meaning and are mere words. He continues that this is 'the only conversation carried on between the young people of either Sex in this age'.
    Napier is concerned to hear of John Hope's misfortunes, although his friends are surprised that it did not happen long before. His relations who could help him out of his difficulties [debt] are angry with him and will do little if anything for him. He begs Hamilton to take care, noting that pity is a virtue but if 'carried too far may become vice'. The 'Warmth' with which Hamilton writes of Hope's affairs makes Napier afraid that her 'sensibility [...] may without Your knowledge produce another passion which I most sincerely wish not to see in you, but towards a proper object, which considering his Children & many other good reasons he cannot be'. Napier would be happy to see Hamilton married, but it should be to a man who is both capable and willing to make 'her happiness the study of his Life'. He advises her to study her heart, and if she finds that she has 'tender' feelings for Hope, then she should 'get the better of it as soon as possible'.
    Dated at Canterbury.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 723 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 2017/18 provided by Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester.

Research assistant: Georgia Tutt, MA student, University of Manchester

Transliterator: Arianna Losa, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted May 2018)

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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