Single Letter

HAM/1/2/15

Letter from John Dickenson to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


1.

      Bath 19th. June 1789 --

Ma tres chere femme
      I am at last arrived in this
Town and am writing to you in Miʃs T. Nicolls
Apartments -- First of all I shall begin with my
Journal -- At Buxton I found my Company
consisted of a Little lively Italian a sickly Frenchman
an English Bear who had travelled a great deal, who was
so extremely like John Spencer, that at first I was surprised
at his presumption -- & I found the resemblance to be
equally strong in temper & manners -- the other was a Rider --
at Ashborn a woman about 4 times the size of Betty
Shallcroʃs got into our very small Coach, which She half filled --
And had I not been an intruder, I certainly wd. not have
admitted her -- for two of us were obliged to go on the Out
-side
-- I took my post there from Litchfield to Birmm --
The Air was intensely tart, otherwise that mode of
travelling is pleasant, as one may see more of a Country
than on Horseback -- ten miles from Birmm. we took up
a person who soon entered into Conversation with me --
in the course of it he entered into a minute detail of
the inside of Warwick Castle which he is perfectly well
acquainted with -- he was the person who bro-t. Mr. Ladbroke in
for the Town -- wh. he did from a publick Spirit -- he said he had



always been extremely attached to the family & would now do
any thing in his power to serve them -- but the manner in wch.
the town was treated vexed him & having his Spirits raised
with a bottle of Wine, he unfortunately gave his promise
to Mr. Ladbroke which tho he repented, he Would not retreat --
The Sum of twenty Guineas given in a handsome manner
at a particular time would have prevented Robert's losing his Seat -- but Ld. W-
thought the Inhabitants so much at his command, that
no Act of Attention or Civility was neceʃsary from him to keep
them subservient to him -- This Man's name is Wilmot, Brother
to Dr. W- of Warwick. he is a painter -- in consequence of his Opposition
to the Ws., he has lost a place &c of the value of 9000L[1] to him & has been
obliged to resume his profession in Birmm- which he had left off for
many years He did not know that I was at all interested in this conversation -- it is a pleasant thing to see the Springs of Actions -- At Birmm- I found there was no room in the
Bristol Coach was just setting out & that the Bath Coaches go
only on three days a Week & that I must stay till Thursday
morng wh. I did not like to do so I engaged a place at the
Swan, to wh. Inn I removed, for the next afternoon for
Bristol, as I determined to take that Opporty of seeing
Miʃs Mores -- I went to a circulating Library to get a
Book where I met with a very extraordinary boy of 12 years
old -- he answered my questions in such a manner that I
could not help laughing & supposed that he was aping his
Master who probably might be a pedantick Bookworm
I asked him if he was fond of reading? O yes Sir I read a
great deal. Plays & novels I suppose? O no, I never read
such books as those -- pray what is yr- favorite Study? Divi
nity
Sir? and whose book's do like best? Watts I like but
Watson is my favorite Author -- just then his Mistreʃs
came into the Shop -- who told me "that the little old Man
had made his Election" I enquired on what his choice



had fallen. She said the Anabaptist Church -- which he said
was the only perfect one -- I left the Shop taking with me a trans
lation
of Voltaires history of Peter the great --
Wednesday -- I was engaged in reading till it was too late to
have much conversation with this religious boy when I
returned the book -- There happened to be a Man there who told
me that the Master was so fond of him that he wd. not be
without him for a 1000L & that if he was his Child & his
only one he could not have a greater regard for him -- The
boy is an orphan -- just before we set out a Gentleman
desired I would give him leave to go in the Coach as all the
places were taken -- As one was a young girl I consented
but afterwards repented, from the additional seat which
a fifth person occasioned -- he was a dissenting Minister
a young Man & agreeable enough -- We had also a ve[ry]
[s]illy weak woman & her Abigail[2] -- who sat
opposite to me -- the only amusement I had was
in making the Maid laugh at her Mistreʃs's
Nonsense which I did by reminding her now & then
with my knees poor Soul I'm sure Her back wd. ache, &
God help her for serving such a Fool -- We supped at Worcester
I came on the outside from Bromsgrove & found it extreme
ly
pleasant, as the heavy rain in the morning had laid
the dust at Tewksbury I did not feel quite comfortable as
we found that some Accident had happen'd almost every
Night lately and broken bones were spoken of with y- utmost
indifference -- I ------------ thought of my dear Mary & her
sweet Bedfellow -- We however arrived safe at Bristol at
7 OClock -- after being 15 hours upon the road without
Sleep and having plenty of disagreeable expectations, no
conversation, ------ my companions were snoring round me
& to compleat my happineʃs I cd. not rouse a Servant till
8 OClock when I got some hot Water which I used as a Suc-



cedaneum
[3] for a warm bath -- changed my Linnen, by wch. I was
tolerably refreshed -- The rain fell inceʃsantly till 10 OClock
when I went to Miʃs More's -- I found Hannah & Patty were absent
but received a hearty welcome from the rest -- with whom I spent
a most agreeable day -- diner en famille -- had a great deal of
pleasant conversation & left them with regret at 4 -- when I had
a smart run to be in time for my Coach -- I shall write more
about this visit in my next & shall only now say that They said
there was little doubt of a certain person's having married a common
Woman at Plymouth many year's ago, whh. Acct. they had from their own



Mother -- I was very sorry to hear it indeed -- I came to Bath at 6 yester
day
& was received with open Arms by the Rundells where I spent the Evg.
Mrs. Rundell fixed me at Mr. Davis's No. 16 Queens Square -- Mr. Rundell say
that a few times bathing will relieve me -- the irritation is owing
to Bile's being thrown to the outward parts of the body where
it is too thick to paʃs thro' the pores -- he told me that a few
Drops of Laudanum would always give me relief -- I'm sure he
loves us both, he wishes to see Louisa -- Sally is just come down
in papillotes[4] to tell me that Opera house is burnt down
& I'm to say a 1000 things for her -- the best thing I can say is yt- She
lives by herself & that her Sisters have left her -- God for ever bless &
preserve you my dear dear Mary, kiʃs our dear Louisa for herself & me
think of me & always love me, half as much as you are beloved by
                             Yr. faithful
J.D --

my Love to my Father & Sisters --
I am not to Drink the Waters or bathe till Sunday -- Dr. Rundell -- [5]

Mrs. Dickenson --
Taxal
Chapel le frith
Derbyshire
X Post. --

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


Notes


 1. L [Latin Libra] = pound of money ..., now often repr. by the conventional sign £; e.g. 100l. or £100 (OED s.v. L n., Initialisms).
 2. 'A lady's maid; a female servant or attendant' (OED s.v. Abigail n.).
 3. Succedaneum 'substitute' (OED).
 4. Papilottes 'curl-papers' (OED).
 5. These two lines appear to the left of the signature.

Normalised Text



      Bath 19th. June 1789 --

Ma tres chere femme
      I am at last arrived in this
Town and am writing to you in Miss T. Nicolls
Apartments -- First of all I shall begin with my
Journal -- At Buxton I found my Company
consisted of a Little lively Italian a sickly Frenchman
an English Bear who had travelled a great deal, who was
so extremely like John Spencer, that at first I was surprised
at his presumption -- & I found the resemblance to be
equally strong in temper & manners -- the other was a Rider --
at Ashbourne a woman about 4 times the size of Betty
Shallcross got into our very small Coach, which She half filled --
And had I not been an intruder, I certainly would not have
admitted her -- for two of us were obliged to go on the Outside
-- I took my post there from Lichfield to Birmingham --
The Air was intensely tart, otherwise that mode of
travelling is pleasant, as one may see more of a Country
than on Horseback -- ten miles from Birmingham we took up
a person who soon entered into Conversation with me --
in the course of it he entered into a minute detail of
the inside of Warwick Castle which he is perfectly well
acquainted with -- he was the person who brought Mr. Ladbroke in
for the Town -- which he did from a public Spirit -- he said he had



always been extremely attached to the family & would now do
any thing in his power to serve them -- but the manner in which
the town was treated vexed him & having his Spirits raised
with a bottle of Wine, he unfortunately gave his promise
to Mr. Ladbroke which though he repented, he Would not retreat --
The Sum of twenty Guineas given in a handsome manner
at a particular time would have prevented Robert's losing his Seat -- but Lord Warwick
thought the Inhabitants so much at his command, that
no Act of Attention or Civility was necessary from him to keep
them subservient to him -- This Man's name is Wilmot, Brother
to Dr. Wilmot of Warwick. he is a painter -- in consequence of his Opposition
to the Warwicks, he has lost a place &c of the value of 9000L to him & has been
obliged to resume his profession in Birmingham which he had left off for
many years He did not know that I was at all interested in this conversation -- it is a pleasant thing to see the Springs of Actions -- At Birmingham I found there was no room in the
Bristol Coach was just setting out & that the Bath Coaches go
only on three days a Week & that I must stay till Thursday
morning which I did not like to do so I engaged a place at the
Swan, to which Inn I removed, for the next afternoon for
Bristol, as I determined to take that Opportunity of seeing
Miss Mores -- I went to a circulating Library to get a
Book where I met with a very extraordinary boy of 12 years
old -- he answered my questions in such a manner that I
could not help laughing & supposed that he was aping his
Master who probably might be a pedantic Bookworm
I asked him if he was fond of reading? O yes Sir I read a
great deal. Plays & novels I suppose? O no, I never read
such books as those -- pray what is your favorite Study? Divinity
Sir? and whose book's do like best? Watts I like but
Watson is my favorite Author -- just then his Mistress
came into the Shop -- who told me "that the little old Man
had made his Election" I enquired on what his choice



had fallen. She said the Anabaptist Church -- which he said
was the only perfect one -- I left the Shop taking with me a translation
of Voltaires history of Peter the great --
Wednesday -- I was engaged in reading till it was too late to
have much conversation with this religious boy when I
returned the book -- There happened to be a Man there who told
me that the Master was so fond of him that he would not be
without him for a 1000L & that if he was his Child & his
only one he could not have a greater regard for him -- The
boy is an orphan -- just before we set out a Gentleman
desired I would give him leave to go in the Coach as all the
places were taken -- As one was a young girl I consented
but afterwards repented, from the additional seat which
a fifth person occasioned -- he was a dissenting Minister
a young Man & agreeable enough -- We had also a very
silly weak woman & her Abigail -- who sat
opposite to me -- the only amusement I had was
in making the Maid laugh at her Mistress's
Nonsense which I did by reminding her now & then
with my knees poor Soul I'm sure Her back would ache, &
God help her for serving such a Fool -- We supped at Worcester
I came on the outside from Bromsgrove & found it extremely
pleasant, as the heavy rain in the morning had laid
the dust at Tewksbury I did not feel quite comfortable as
we found that some Accident had happen'd almost every
Night lately and broken bones were spoken of with the utmost
indifference -- I thought of my dear Mary & her
sweet Bedfellow -- We however arrived safe at Bristol at
7 OClock -- after being 15 hours upon the road without
Sleep and having plenty of disagreeable expectations, no
conversation, my companions were snoring round me
& to complete my happiness I could not rouse a Servant till
8 OClock when I got some hot Water which I used as a Succedaneum



for a warm bath -- changed my Linen, by which I was
tolerably refreshed -- The rain fell incessantly till 10 OClock
when I went to Miss More's -- I found Hannah & Patty were absent
but received a hearty welcome from the rest -- with whom I spent
a most agreeable day -- diner en famille -- had a great deal of
pleasant conversation & left them with regret at 4 -- when I had
a smart run to be in time for my Coach -- I shall write more
about this visit in my next & shall only now say that They said
there was little doubt of a certain person's having married a common
Woman at Plymouth many year's ago, which Account they had from their own



Mother -- I was very sorry to hear it indeed -- I came to Bath at 6 yesterday
& was received with open Arms by the Rundells where I spent the Evening
Mrs. Rundell fixed me at Mr. Davis's Number 16 Queens Square -- Mr. Rundell say
that a few times bathing will relieve me -- the irritation is owing
to Bile's being thrown to the outward parts of the body where
it is too thick to pass through the pores -- he told me that a few
Drops of Laudanum would always give me relief -- I'm sure he
loves us both, he wishes to see Louisa -- Sally is just come down
in papillotes to tell me that Opera house is burnt down
& I'm to say a 1000 things for her -- the best thing I can say is that She
lives by herself & that her Sisters have left her -- God for ever bless &
preserve you my dear dear Mary, kiss our dear Louisa for herself & me
think of me & always love me, half as much as you are beloved by
                             Your faithful
John Dickenson --

my Love to my Father & Sisters --
I am not to Drink the Waters or bathe till Sunday -- Dr. Rundell --

Mrs. Dickenson --
Taxal
Chapel le frith
Derbyshire
X Post. --

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



 1. L [Latin Libra] = pound of money ..., now often repr. by the conventional sign £; e.g. 100l. or £100 (OED s.v. L n., Initialisms).
 2. 'A lady's maid; a female servant or attendant' (OED s.v. Abigail n.).
 3. Succedaneum 'substitute' (OED).
 4. Papilottes 'curl-papers' (OED).
 5. These two lines appear to the left of the signature.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from John Dickenson to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/2/15

Correspondence Details

Author: John Dickenson

Place sent: Bath

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

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

Date sent: 19 June 1789

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from John Dickenson to his wife Mary née Hamilton, relating to Dickenson's visits to Buxton and Bath. Dickenson describes the people he met in Buxton and his journey to Bath. He travelled by coach, in which he reported that a large woman 'got into our very small coach, which she half filled and had I not been an intruder, I certainly w[oul]d not have admitted her', as two of the coach passengers were obliged to move to the outside of the coach. He travelled to Bath via Bristol as the direct coach only ran three days a week and Dickenson did not wish to wait for it. Whilst waiting for his coach, he visited a Circulating Library and met a twelve-year old boy there who he describes as a 'bookworm', and the way he answered his questions made him initially believe that he must be 'aping his master'. Dickenson continues to describe his journey and other coach passengers and his time at Bath and the water treatments in that city.
    Original reference No. 1.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 1305 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: Sana Ditta, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted May 2018)

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

Revision date: 2 April 2020

Document Image (pdf)