Single Letter

HAM/1/2/49

Letter from John Dickenson to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


                                                         7.
                                                         1813

Oakford Monday morning ½ past 6
13 Sepr. 13


Not having an Oppy of writing when I wish & as I can not write after
8 this morng before Thursday I got [up] at 6 to scribble on -- Recd. Yrs. 4
yesterday -- I got after turnings & windings as far as Exmouth
we went on the Sands & picked up a few Shells the refuse of what
had been left but threw most of them away -- there is a Row of
houses called the Beacons that are built on the Rock above the
Sea that have a commanding prospect of it & the Country, The
rest of the Town is built hickledy piggledy -- there is an Aʃsembly
room &c & houses let as high as 15 Guineas a Week -- We met some
promenaders bowing & scraping, ducking & even curtseying to
each other some on Donkeys &c a true picture of a Watering
place -- there is an Embankment here done by Mr.           [1]day wch
he has taken in a snug Corner from the Sea at present it does
not wear the Appearance of profit -- I wished to have croʃsed this
water to Dawlish wch. is two miles from here only ¼ Mile
by water but finding James P. averse to it I gave it up -- one of
his objections was that the last time the horse he then had did
not like the motion of a boat & jumped overboard & very nearly
took him too -- so that was given up & we took another road
by the Œstuary for 2 miles which gave us a good view of Pow-
derham
Castle -- In order to avoid Topsham, again we miʃsed
our way -- & with some difficulty got our Noses set straight
forward -- We came by the Artillery Barracks, a mile from
Exeter which are on a large Scale & when we arrived at 2 on com
paring
Notes we found that our hearty Luncheon would not
admit of Dinner -- My Companion had dawdled away so much
time in changing his dreʃs, as we were to go to the Equestrian
performances at 7 that we had hardly time to drink Tea -- for the
Waiter told us if we were not there by 7 we should not get seats
so we drank our Tea a la Washerwoman, nearly scolded our throats



& then posted to the elegant Theatre -- constructed of boards & an
Awning -- it looked comical & answered the purpose -- We were in good
time to choose Seats & paid 3/[2] for Admittance -- there was part of a
military band I believe 5th Regiment who played very well & the per
formances
were equal to any Thing I ever saw -- the Master Mr. West
is the handsomest Man in face & person I think I have seen &
an excellent Rider -- We had all sorts of feats -- hoisting one another
on their Shoulders 4 or 5 stories high in various ways, tumbling,
riding, jumping & tumbling over 4 horses at once -- a dextrous poney
& pretty Woman doing such feats on the Slack wire as astonished
me -- At one time She had a table placed an the Wire -- on it were
Two Candlesticks wh- Candles -- a Tea pot & 2 Cups & Saucers -- Then
swinging with great force, She pretended to pour out Tea into the
Cups -- then took a CupSaucer in each hand & moved the Cups about
as quick as the Indian moved the Kings round his Toes & did
various other feats that were very extra ordinary -- Afterwards a
Man amused us with his dexterity on the Slack Rope where he
seemed to be perfectly at home -- I have seldom been more amused
for 2 hours -- When I came home J. P. said he wished to spend
an hour with his friend who we met on the road & at the Theatre
so I wished a good Night & sat down to write my letter fm. Exeter
& before 12 went to bed but could not sleep. I believe the slack Wire
had unstrung my Nerves -- The next morning Nothing
occurred before going to the Cathedral except going to the Coffee
Room where Sir John Stuart[3] the Hero of Maida came in & asked
an Admiral who was sitting by me what News? Sir J. said he
shd. not be surprised if Bonaparte gained some advantages at
first & he shd. not despond if he did, for he had the Advantage of Tilsit[4]
on his Side, but he expected he would not succeed eventually -- this
is great Authority -- Sir J. was at the Theatre -- I had often wished to
see this Man -- Who the Admiral was I had no Oppy of making an
Enquiry -- The Bishop said he could not ask us to dinner as he



was to dine out himself but hoped we shd. stay over Monday -- This we excused
ourselves -- he consulted me about putting a Curtain behind the Singers &
I said it was what I was going to suggest, he then said come along with
me & took me to the Organ Loft & introduced the Organist to me & said
that it was my Opinion so & so -- The Organist said it wd. certainly have
a good effect but they expected a great Number of people wd. be in
the other part of the Cathedral at a lower price & of course they
would have reason to be diʃsatisfied -- this was unanswerable so
we returned to our Seats & then I was convinced by a Chorus
that they had powers sufft. to fill the Cathedral & I told the Bp
that I had changed my Opinion & thought that it would be best to
have it as it was or the Chorus wd. be too loud to be agreeable --
This Youth who sings so finely & who's Name is
Marsh has a Hair Lip -- his Voice is perfectly
clear & harmonious & I think equal to Braham[5] --
He has imitated Catalani[6] & unfortunately mimicked her fall[7] he
has got her quivering Chin -- When the Bp. sent for him P. observed
he would not sing in Te deum -- & I saw the B. give him some sour look
afterwards when he went to present the Book to his Lordship I saw [him]
speak correctly & good humourdly to Marsh & I gueʃsed what was
paʃsing -- & to be sure he did sing delightfully The whole Anthem
was a Solo except the concluding Chorus -- If there had been
any regular Conveyance to Exeter I would have gone there to day but
there is None but post Chaises & that does not suit my Calculations
This little excursion cost me enough, as I would not let James pay, wch. I
managed as delicately as poʃsible & I gave the Boy 1£ Note thinking
it would please the Mother & I believe the little urchin did not tell
his Brother -- Before we left Exeter we saw St. Sidwells Church wch
is nearly finished -- it is the prettiest Church I know, built
after the Manner of a Cathedral -- The pillars are light & the Ornaments
beautifully executed after the ancient Models -- the Profits of the music
to day is to go towards a steeple. The Body has cost 8000£ -- There is a
painted Glass Window at the East End -- representing our Saviour rising
in the Clouds -- The Head is fine & some parts besides & some shocking
We then went to see Mr. Grangers Garden wch. adjoins the Castle



as is truly one of the Lions[8] at Exeter -- There is a poplar / Lombardy / & a Platanus
that exceed any I have ever seen in size & height -- The Garden is unique



Depending on a horse we did not leave Exeter till 3 OClock -- we rested
our Horses ½ hour at Tiverton & then found the private road dark as
in many places it is overshadowed wh- trees -- The Moon was obscured
& sometimes I could hardly see the road -- P. had a Toothache, his horse
not well & tired so I led the Way -- Mumchance -- We walked down
one of the horrible hills near this place & hard work I found it as it is
covered with loose Stones -- We got home safe -- eat a good Supper
& went to bed --      Please to inform Madam La Comteʃse......[9]
that Dr. Fothergill /he lives I believe in Exeter St. in the Strand/ has cured
3 persons afflicted wh- the Tic doloreux, one of 8 Years continuance --
The Drs. affect to think it impoʃsible, but Miʃs Mordaunt aʃsured me it is a
fact -- Monday I am either to fish or shoot to day -- Tomorrow we go to shoot
at Mr. Bere's & return on Wednesday -- On Thursday I will write again & then
fix a day for my future peregrinations -- Adieu God bleʃs you all
                                                         Amen


                                                         Single
[10]To
Mrs. Dickenson
32 Devonshire Place
London[11]

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


Notes


 1. Gap left for completion of name ending in day or by.
 2. It looks as if Dickenson uses 3/ rather than the more normal 3/- for exactly 3 shillings.
 3. Sir John Stuart (1759–1815), Count of Maida, a Lieutenant-General who led British troops to victory at Maida in southern Italy.
 4. Treaties were signed by Napoleon at Tilsit in 1807 with Russia and then with Prussia.
 5. John Braham (c1774–1856), an English tenor opera singer from London.
 6. Angelica Catalani (1780-1849), an Italian opera singer and a soprano.
 7. If the correct reading is fall, as suggested by Lawrence Woof, the sense is 'the conclusion [...] of a melody; a cadence' (OED s.v. n.2, 20).
 8. 'Things of note, celebrity, or curiosity (in a town, etc.); sights worth seeing' (OED s.v. lion n., 4a).
 9. Possibly Mrs de Salis: cf. HAM/1/4/3/28.
 10. Faint postmark 'B 15SE15 1813' split to left and right of address when unfolded and postmark '[B]AMPTON-- 187' to left.
 11. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfoded, written vertically.

Normalised Text


                                                        
                                                        

Oakford Monday morning ½ past 6
13 September 1813


Not having an Opportunity of writing when I wish & as I can not write after
8 this morning before Thursday I got up at 6 to scribble on -- Received Yours 4
yesterday -- I got after turnings & windings as far as Exmouth
we went on the Sands & picked up a few Shells the refuse of what
had been left but threw most of them away -- there is a Row of
houses called the Beacons that are built on the Rock above the
Sea that have a commanding prospect of it & the Country, The
rest of the Town is built hickledy piggledy -- there is an Assembly
room &c & houses let as high as 15 Guineas a Week -- We met some
promenaders bowing & scraping, ducking & even curtseying to
each other some on Donkeys &c a true picture of a Watering
place -- there is an Embankment here done by Mr.           day which
he has taken in a snug Corner from the Sea at present it does
not wear the Appearance of profit -- I wished to have crossed this
water to Dawlish which is two miles from here only ¼ Mile
by water but finding James Perkin averse to it I gave it up -- one of
his objections was that the last time the horse he then had did
not like the motion of a boat & jumped overboard & very nearly
took him too -- so that was given up & we took another road
by the Œstuary for 2 miles which gave us a good view of Powderham
Castle -- In order to avoid Topsham, again we missed
our way -- & with some difficulty got our Noses set straight
forward -- We came by the Artillery Barracks, a mile from
Exeter which are on a large Scale & when we arrived at 2 on comparing
Notes we found that our hearty Luncheon would not
admit of Dinner -- My Companion had dawdled away so much
time in changing his dress, as we were to go to the Equestrian
performances at 7 that we had hardly time to drink Tea -- for the
Waiter told us if we were not there by 7 we should not get seats
so we drank our Tea a la Washerwoman, nearly scolded our throats



& then posted to the elegant Theatre -- constructed of boards & an
Awning -- it looked comical & answered the purpose -- We were in good
time to choose Seats & paid 3/ for Admittance -- there was part of a
military band I believe 5th Regiment who played very well & the performances
were equal to any Thing I ever saw -- the Master Mr. West
is the handsomest Man in face & person I think I have seen &
an excellent Rider -- We had all sorts of feats -- hoisting one another
on their Shoulders 4 or 5 stories high in various ways, tumbling,
riding, jumping & tumbling over 4 horses at once -- a dextrous pony
& pretty Woman doing such feats on the Slack wire as astonished
me -- At one time She had a table placed an the Wire -- on it were
Two Candlesticks with Candles -- a Tea pot & 2 Cups & Saucers -- Then
swinging with great force, She pretended to pour out Tea into the
Cups -- then took a Saucer in each hand & moved the Cups about
as quick as the Indian moved the Kings round his Toes & did
various other feats that were very extra ordinary -- Afterwards a
Man amused us with his dexterity on the Slack Rope where he
seemed to be perfectly at home -- I have seldom been more amused
for 2 hours -- When I came home James Perkin said he wished to spend
an hour with his friend who we met on the road & at the Theatre
so I wished a good Night & sat down to write my letter from Exeter
& before 12 went to bed but could not sleep. I believe the slack Wire
had unstrung my Nerves -- The next morning Nothing
occurred before going to the Cathedral except going to the Coffee
Room where Sir John Stuart the Hero of Maida came in & asked
an Admiral who was sitting by me what News? Sir John said he
should not be surprised if Bonaparte gained some advantages at
first & he should not despond if he did, for he had the Advantage of Tilsit
on his Side, but he expected he would not succeed eventually -- this
is great Authority -- Sir John was at the Theatre -- I had often wished to
see this Man -- Who the Admiral was I had no Opportunity of making an
Enquiry -- The Bishop said he could not ask us to dinner as he



was to dine out himself but hoped we should stay over Monday -- This we excused
ourselves -- he consulted me about putting a Curtain behind the Singers &
I said it was what I was going to suggest, he then said come along with
me & took me to the Organ Loft & introduced the Organist to me & said
that it was my Opinion so & so -- The Organist said it would certainly have
a good effect but they expected a great Number of people would be in
the other part of the Cathedral at a lower price & of course they
would have reason to be dissatisfied -- this was unanswerable so
we returned to our Seats & then I was convinced by a Chorus
that they had powers sufficient to fill the Cathedral & I told the Bishop
that I had changed my Opinion & thought that it would be best to
have it as it was or the Chorus would be too loud to be agreeable --
This Youth who sings so finely & whose Name is
Marsh has a Hare Lip -- his Voice is perfectly
clear & harmonious & I think equal to Braham --
He has imitated Catalani & unfortunately mimicked her fall he
has got her quivering Chin -- When the Bishop sent for him Perkin observed
he would not sing in Te deum -- & I saw the Bishop give him some sour look
afterwards when he went to present the Book to his Lordship I saw him
speak correctly & good humouredly to Marsh & I guessed what was
passing -- & to be sure he did sing delightfully The whole Anthem
was a Solo except the concluding Chorus -- If there had been
any regular Conveyance to Exeter I would have gone there to day but
there is None but post Chaises & that does not suit my Calculations
This little excursion cost me enough, as I would not let James pay, which I
managed as delicately as possible & I gave the Boy 1£ Note thinking
it would please the Mother & I believe the little urchin did not tell
his Brother -- Before we left Exeter we saw Saint Sidwells Church which
is nearly finished -- it is the prettiest Church I know, built
after the Manner of a Cathedral -- The pillars are light & the Ornaments
beautifully executed after the ancient Models -- the Profits of the music
to day is to go towards a steeple. The Body has cost 8000£ -- There is a
painted Glass Window at the East End -- representing our Saviour rising
in the Clouds -- The Head is fine & some parts besides & some shocking
We then went to see Mr. Grangers Garden which adjoins the Castle



as is truly one of the Lions at Exeter -- There is a poplar / Lombardy / & a Platanus
that exceed any I have ever seen in size & height -- The Garden is unique



Depending on a horse we did not leave Exeter till 3 OClock -- we rested
our Horses ½ hour at Tiverton & then found the private road dark as
in many places it is overshadowed with trees -- The Moon was obscured
& sometimes I could hardly see the road -- Perkin had a Toothache, his horse
not well & tired so I led the Way -- Mumchance -- We walked down
one of the horrible hills near this place & hard work I found it as it is
covered with loose Stones -- We got home safe -- ate a good Supper
& went to bed --      Please to inform Madam La Comtesse......
that Doctor Fothergill /he lives I believe in Exeter Street in the Strand/ has cured
3 persons afflicted with the Tic douloureux, one of 8 Years continuance --
The Doctors affect to think it impossible, but Miss Mordaunt assured me it is a
fact -- Monday I am either to fish or shoot to day -- Tomorrow we go to shoot
at Mr. Bere's & return on Wednesday -- On Thursday I will write again & then
fix a day for my future peregrinations -- Adieu God bless you all
                                                         Amen


                                                         Single
To
Mrs. Dickenson
32 Devonshire Place
London

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



 1. Gap left for completion of name ending in day or by.
 2. It looks as if Dickenson uses 3/ rather than the more normal 3/- for exactly 3 shillings.
 3. Sir John Stuart (1759–1815), Count of Maida, a Lieutenant-General who led British troops to victory at Maida in southern Italy.
 4. Treaties were signed by Napoleon at Tilsit in 1807 with Russia and then with Prussia.
 5. John Braham (c1774–1856), an English tenor opera singer from London.
 6. Angelica Catalani (1780-1849), an Italian opera singer and a soprano.
 7. If the correct reading is fall, as suggested by Lawrence Woof, the sense is 'the conclusion [...] of a melody; a cadence' (OED s.v. n.2, 20).
 8. 'Things of note, celebrity, or curiosity (in a town, etc.); sights worth seeing' (OED s.v. lion n., 4a).
 9. Possibly Mrs de Salis: cf. HAM/1/4/3/28.
 10. Faint postmark 'B 15SE15 1813' split to left and right of address when unfolded and postmark '[B]AMPTON-- 187' to left.
 11. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfoded, written vertically.

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/1/2/49

Correspondence Details

Author: John Dickenson

Place sent: Oakford

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: London

Date sent: 13 September 1813

Letter Description

Summary: Dickenson writes of his time in Oakford including an excursion to the coast and a visit to the theatre, which was 'constructed of boards & an Awning -- it looked comical'. He also describes a visit to Exmouth and his impressions of Exeter Cathedral.
    Original reference No. 7.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 1482 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: Thomas McKiernan, MA 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: 2 April 2020

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