Single Letter

HAM/1/2/57

Letter from John Dickenson to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


2nd Octr 1813

15

Thursday -- I went to the Post Office & I waited ½
an hour before I could learn that there was no letter
for me!! it is said that no News is good News but
certainly it is not agreeable & it is particularly
distreʃsing to me as it never happened before & I
am reduced to short Commons[1] here in a strange Land --
from the P. Office I went to the Marine Barracks at
Stonehouse -- where there is a very fine Band of Music
much boasted of -- Unluckily for me it was Muster
Day[2] & no Music -- I went a little further to the Lan
cashire
Barracks & then returned to Dock to take
my place in the Mail for Bath which is the best
Conveyance to Clifton & was disappointed as they
could not promise me a place before 4 OClock & then
it is uncertain -- & during my walk the Other Coach
was gone to Exeter & so here I am beguiling the time
in writing my journal & scribbling to you -- I must
get away tonight if poʃsible as my purse is low
& therefore I desire Louisa[3] will send me 5£ &
if any body chooses to write to me -- direct the letter
to Coll. Hamilton's Clifton -- I have not Money
to convey me to London as I believe I should go



home without stopping at Clifton -- I was a little provoked
after I got to the Comrs.[4] yesterday to have time to read a
Newspaper before the family entered the room in Driblets
consisting of Adml. & Mrs. Stafford -- Adl. & Mrs. Martin & their
Daughters & Miʃs2 & Mrs.1[5] Fanshaw -- The party was very
pleasant & I staid till 11 after finishing & losing 2
Rubbers -- Mrs. F. asked Ad. M. if it was too late for a
Water Excursion & he said yes -- Frequently a party goes on
the River Plym to a place 15 or 20 miles called
Wear near Tavistock -- The views are beautiful &
there is a Salmon Leap at Wear -- this is managed
by attending to the Tides, Winds &c & may be very agreeable
      I had not time yesterday /at least durst not take it
at Comrs. woud remember - at parting/ to say any Thing
about Mt. Edgcumbe -- When I sent up my Note request
ing
permiʃsion to see the Grounds & using Ly Cis's[6] Name as
She desired -- I recd. an Ansr. that I was very very welcome & was
ordered to go to the House for the Key -- & when there the Servt
said Ld. Mt. E.[7] wished to know if I would like to see the
Gardens, which is a special favor, I said yes of course
& so I went on staring at the astonishing extent & variety
of prospects till I came to Maker Tower where the Signal
posts are & from whence there is a View of the Dock Yards
Shipping, the Country to a great extent & turng round one
sees Cornwal & the narrow Isthmus on wch. stand Mt. Edg. & also



an immense expanse of Ocean -- The Views are broken in
the plantations in a most agreeable Manner as you may sup
pose
-- Lord Loughborough after seeing Mt. E. said to Mr. Comr.
"it is not a place to be puffed" what he meant one may
gather was that it was unique in Situation -- I found
when I returned the Key a Card to admit me in the Gardens
& - -- The Gardener showed me in to the Garden & returned
to his house for a Moment -- Opposite the Conservatory I
saw Ld. Mt. E. as soon as he saw me he came up to me
where I thanked him for his Civility &c he enquired after
the dear Cis -- & told me he was making an Italian Garden
of the Spot where we then were -- There
are a great many figures on pedestals
& there are also 3 on a high sort of parapet
that he did not propose to show me which is now constructing
his Son in Law & Wife &c were at the Spot -- Ld. Mt. E. ran to
the Gardener I believe to order him to attend me him
self
-- the Man was going out on busineʃs & meant to turn
me over to his Servt. -- These Gardens are beautiful & very
pretty too -- There are some buildings one contains a very good
Room where there were books & Pianoforte &c There are some
magnificent Magnolia Ferrugina[8] -- One 30 feet high in flower
several above 20 feet -- This is a most agreeable apendage
to a Place like Mt. E. & a delightful Retirement in good
Weather -- The little Lord stuck to his Workman & we [did]
not get to see what he is doing tho we made many attempts
I understand there is nothing particular in the house & it is never
shewn -- The Gardener told me that on a Monday there were
a prodigious number of people to see the Place -- There had been
as many as 1400 on one day frequently 1000 -- This must add



greatly to the hilarity of the scene -- I felt a degree of dejection for there
was no one I loved to share the pleasure I shd. have had in communicating
my Observations on the grandeur of the Scenes before me -- I looked down
on Breakwater -- that stupendous Work -- making across the Sound -- Large
maʃses of Rock are thrown into the Sea -- the base of the Column is 400



feet & at the Surface 120 -- for some distance it already is above low
water mark -- it has been in progreʃs about 14 months & in as many
more years it may be completed -- Cost is out of the Question & I
believe Calculation -- I shall now conclude for the present --
I shall know probably in time just to say if I go this afternoon not -- I
never heard any Noise like the Scream the Apple Women make, as the Men return
to the yard at 2 OClock, to attract Customers -- All pill Garlicks[9] poultry wd. not
make so discordant a Sound -- The Breakwater is intended to break the force
of a tremendous Sea that is driven into the Sound by a South wind & renders
the Harbour so dangerous & it is proposed to build a Fort /in which I will not be confined/
upon it -- No Masonry can resist the Violence of the Waves there --
      I am going this afternoon -- God bleʃs you all

                                                         Single
To[10]
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. 'Insufficient rations, scant fare' (OED s.v. commons n., 4).
 2. The annual day for enrolment in the militia of all able men.
 3. Louisa Frances Mary Dickenson (1787-1837), daughter of John Dickenson and Mary Hamilton.
 4. Probably Mr Fanshaw, Commissioner of the Dockyard at Plymouth and father of Admiral Stafford's wife Mary.
 5. Marked for reversal: Mrs. should always precede Miſs.
 6. Lady Cecilia Johnston (1730-1817), née Henrietta Cecilia West, mentioned also in HAM/1/2/48,53,56, writer of HAM/1/14/110.
 7. Richard Edgcumbe, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe PC (1764-1839), British politician and writer on music.
 8. A plant variety of the Magnolia grandiflora, a tree of the family Magnoliaceae native to the southeastern United States.
 9. Edmond Temple, The life of Pill Garlick; rather a whimsical sort of fellow, published 1813.
 10. Postmark '5 2 OC 2 1813' on either side of address panel, postmark '[PLY]MOUTH' to left.
 11. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically.

Normalised Text




Thursday -- I went to the Post Office & I waited ½
an hour before I could learn that there was no letter
for me!! it is said that no News is good News but
certainly it is not agreeable & it is particularly
distressing to me as it never happened before & I
am reduced to short Commons here in a strange Land --
from the Post Office I went to the Marine Barracks at
Stonehouse -- where there is a very fine Band of Music
much boasted of -- Unluckily for me it was Muster
Day & no Music -- I went a little further to the Lancashire
Barracks & then returned to Dock to take
my place in the Mail for Bath which is the best
Conveyance to Clifton & was disappointed as they
could not promise me a place before 4 OClock & then
it is uncertain -- & during my walk the Other Coach
was gone to Exeter & so here I am beguiling the time
in writing my journal & scribbling to you -- I must
get away tonight if possible as my purse is low
& therefore I desire Louisa will send me 5£ &
if any body chooses to write to me -- direct the letter
to Colonel Hamilton's Clifton -- I have not Money
to convey me to London as I believe I should go



home without stopping at Clifton -- I was a little provoked
after I got to the Commissioner's yesterday to have time to read a
Newspaper before the family entered the room in Driblets
consisting of Admiral & Mrs. Stafford -- Admiral & Mrs. Martin & their
Daughters & Mrs. & Miss Fanshaw -- The party was very
pleasant & I stayed till 11 after finishing & losing 2
Rubbers -- Mrs. Fanshaw asked Admiral Martin if it was too late for a
Water Excursion & he said yes -- Frequently a party goes on
the River Plym to a place 15 or 20 miles called
Wear near Tavistock -- The views are beautiful &
there is a Salmon Leap at Wear -- this is managed
by attending to the Tides, Winds &c & may be very agreeable
      I had not time yesterday /at least durst not take it
at Commissioner's would remember - at parting/ to say any Thing
about Mount Edgcumbe -- When I sent up my Note requesting
permission to see the Grounds & using Lady Cis's Name as
She desired -- I received an Answer that I was very welcome & was
ordered to go to the House for the Key -- & when there the Servant
said Lord Mount Edgcumbe wished to know if I would like to see the
Gardens, which is a special favor, I said yes of course
& so I went on staring at the astonishing extent & variety
of prospects till I came to Maker Tower where the Signal
posts are & from whence there is a View of the Dock Yards
Shipping, the Country to a great extent & turning round one
sees Cornwall & the narrow Isthmus on which stands Mount Edgcumbe & also



an immense expanse of Ocean -- The Views are broken in
the plantations in a most agreeable Manner as you may suppose
-- Lord Loughborough after seeing Mount Edgcumbe said to Mr. Comr.
"it is not a place to be puffed" what he meant one may
gather was that it was unique in Situation -- I found
when I returned the Key a Card to admit me in the Gardens
& - -- The Gardener showed me in to the Garden & returned
to his house for a Moment -- Opposite the Conservatory I
saw Lord Mount Edgcumbe as soon as he saw me he came up to me
where I thanked him for his Civility &c he enquired after
the dear Cis -- & told me he was making an Italian Garden
of the Spot where we then were -- There
are a great many figures on pedestals
& there are also 3 on a high sort of parapet
that he did not propose to show me which is now constructing
his Son in Law & Wife &c were at the Spot -- Lord Mount Edgcumbe ran to
the Gardener I believe to order him to attend me himself
-- the Man was going out on business & meant to turn
me over to his Servant -- These Gardens are beautiful & very
pretty too -- There are some buildings one contains a very good
Room where there were books & Pianoforte &c There are some
magnificent Magnolia Ferruginea -- One 30 feet high in flower
several above 20 feet -- This is a most agreeable appendage
to a Place like Mount Edgcumbe & a delightful Retirement in good
Weather -- The little Lord stuck to his Workman & we did
not get to see what he is doing though we made many attempts
I understand there is nothing particular in the house & it is never
shewn -- The Gardener told me that on a Monday there were
a prodigious number of people to see the Place -- There had been
as many as 1400 on one day frequently 1000 -- This must add



greatly to the hilarity of the scene -- I felt a degree of dejection for there
was no one I loved to share the pleasure I should have had in communicating
my Observations on the grandeur of the Scenes before me -- I looked down
on Breakwater -- that stupendous Work -- making across the Sound -- Large
masses of Rock are thrown into the Sea -- the base of the Column is 400



feet & at the Surface 120 -- for some distance it already is above low
water mark -- it has been in progress about 14 months & in as many
more years it may be completed -- Cost is out of the Question & I
believe Calculation -- I shall now conclude for the present --
I shall know probably in time just to say if I go this afternoon not -- I
never heard any Noise like the Scream the Apple Women make, as the Men return
to the yard at 2 OClock, to attract Customers -- All pill Garlicks poultry would not
make so discordant a Sound -- The Breakwater is intended to break the force
of a tremendous Sea that is driven into the Sound by a South wind & renders
the Harbour so dangerous & it is proposed to build a Fort /in which I will not be confined/
upon it -- No Masonry can resist the Violence of the Waves there --
      I am going this afternoon -- God bless you all

                                                         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. 'Insufficient rations, scant fare' (OED s.v. commons n., 4).
 2. The annual day for enrolment in the militia of all able men.
 3. Louisa Frances Mary Dickenson (1787-1837), daughter of John Dickenson and Mary Hamilton.
 4. Probably Mr Fanshaw, Commissioner of the Dockyard at Plymouth and father of Admiral Stafford's wife Mary.
 5. Marked for reversal: Mrs. should always precede Miſs.
 6. Lady Cecilia Johnston (1730-1817), née Henrietta Cecilia West, mentioned also in HAM/1/2/48,53,56, writer of HAM/1/14/110.
 7. Richard Edgcumbe, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe PC (1764-1839), British politician and writer on music.
 8. A plant variety of the Magnolia grandiflora, a tree of the family Magnoliaceae native to the southeastern United States.
 9. Edmond Temple, The life of Pill Garlick; rather a whimsical sort of fellow, published 1813.
 10. Postmark '5 2 OC 2 1813' on either side of address panel, postmark '[PLY]MOUTH' to left.
 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 John Dickenson to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/2/57

Correspondence Details

Author: John Dickenson

Place sent: Plymouth (certainty: medium)

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: London

Date sent: 30 September 1813
when 30 September 1813 (precision: low)
notBefore 30 September 1813 (precision: high)
notAfter 2 October 1813 (precision: high)

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from John Dickenson to his wife Mary née Hamilton. He describes his frustrations in Plymouth on R[3]C30 September, visiting the Marine Barracks on Muster Day, so that he cannot hear 'a very fine Band of Music much boasted of', having to wait for a place on the mail coach to Bath as the best way to get to Clifton, and then missing another coach. He asks that their daughter Louisa send him £5, as he is low on funds. He discusses a conversation the previous evening about water excursions on the River Plym, before narrating his visit to Mount Edgcumbe earlier that day (see HAM/1/2/53). He also describes a massive breakwater under construction across Plymouth Sound.
    Original reference No. 15.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 1089 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: Andrew Wells, 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

Document Image (pdf)