Single Letter

HAM/1/3/2/8

Letter from Sarah Dickenson to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


June 1795

Monday

My dear Sister/[1]
      I had intended writing to you had
not the pleasing expectation of seeing you very soon quieted
my conscience & allow'd me to think without remorse
of the days that paʃsed by without one single line being
sent to you by me -- My Father this morning received
a letter from My B to tell us you meant to spend another
week at Lady Wakes & I will not allow this evening to escape
me without expreʃsing my best thanks to the Miʃs Wakes
for their very charming and interesting notes in
your letter. -- Thursday morning My Father was extremely flatterd, and
few people have come to Birch that have not been honord
with a sight of those agreeable testimonies in favour
of his darling granddaughter. I beg you will also
give my Respects to Ly Wake & aʃsure her I feel
myself honor'd by her obliging remembrance of me.
I am to write this letter very expeditiously for my
F has been giving so many ------ prudent reasons
why it must be written to day, Thursday morning, that
even a melancholy rainy ------morning with all it's attendant
horrors coud have no effect to prevail upon him to
respite me but for one single day. I dont know whe
-ther
you woud give me credit if I was to say it was partly
for your sake I I wished to postpone writing, as the wea
ther
has an unaccountable effect upon my variable
mind & you could expect neither energy nor enter
-tainment
were you to see the clouds & hear the wind that
that my miserable senses are aʃsaild with. Truly
it is a day that the people of england hang & drown them
selves
in, & only that the canal is empty & that I have
an insurmountable objection to being suspended, &
do not know what the consequence woud be --
I have been very gay while the sun shone I aʃsure you
& have seized every paʃsing minute that coud bestow
the least delight; on Monday I call'd on Mrs: Robinson,
Mrs: Lucas, Mrs: Yates, Mrs: Potter, Mrs: Worsley, & Mrs:
Fisher I think I perform the evil of morning visiting with
a dispatch worthy of myself; on Tuesday I dined with
my Father at Mr. Places, Miʃs P: returned with us:
Yesterday We were all to have gone to the Highgrove



to dine but unfortunately the morning was not favor-
able
to the young Bachelors wishes so there perhaps
was a conquest lost -- To day Thursday we dine by an invitation
of a very long standing at Townsend how we shall get
there remains for time to unfold, but if I have a dry
thread left on me it is fully as much as I have
a right to expect, to morrow I propose to drink tea
with Mrs: Fisher and on Saturday am to meet a party
at Mr: Robinsons -- If nothing unforseed prevents
all this taking place, you will find I entering into
what I shoud once have calld a diʃsipated life. --
Mr Worsley is very indifferent & it is well if their
is not an alteration of that house very soon. Mrs:
W seem'd in tolerable spirits when I last saw her; she
will be heartbroken if you do not come soon. He has
medical men attending him every day. It is enough to
wear her to a shadow to see those harbingers of death
hovering about the house without intermiʃsion. I shan[t]
be afraid of her nerves being uneaqual to the fatigue
& anxiety she must of course undergo. -- I have heard
from Elizabeth[2] & there is a letter from her to you
they are arrived at Naples & she mentions with plea
sure
Sir W Hamiltons[3] great attentions to them
she has been alarm'd about the babies being in danger
of the small Pox, which in that hot Climate is very
alarming at this season of the year. -- John Mellors
son at M---hy fold has got the Measles; we went to
-day
& find he is doing very well; this disease prevails
in the country; & indeed in so populous a Neighbourhood,
to escape infectious diseases among children. My
F desires Louisa may have some medicine before
she comes down to purify her blood before change
of Air -- I rejoice to hear that young Lady still
continues to deserve so well the approbation of
her friends; we are all so interested about her, that
to hear her praised is a cordial to ones spirits
& makes us long to see her. Pray tell her Mrs: Patty
has produced two kittens & had so artfully
conceald them that it was very difficult to
trace her to her little family. She is very plaintive
& very hungry. Parker enjoys good health & spirits
since corn became so scarce, I have mad an order
that the dogs shall not live so luxuriously as usual



he has found the benefits of this regulation, and
is as lively & youthful as poʃsible -- We have a Thrush
in Birch Garden that will vie with all the Nightingales
you have had your ears feasted with in the South
The Barberries lament my Nieces absence, as they
find it impoʃsible to delay coming to perfection
before her arrival to taste their sweetneʃs The
gooseberrys & currants tho' vulgar fruits, bear
a very promising appearance; as for any other
kinds the inexorable winds in the spring have pre
vented
us having it in our power to boast of either
quantity or delicacy of taste. Miʃs Place is besieging
me with her loquacity; she sings, she talks, & laughs
so intolerably that it is impoʃsible to arrange one's
thought; I have recommended to her to leave me
but she has no mercy. I must therefore conclude
in haste and aʃssure you of my intense affection
S Dickenson


Remember me kindly
to Miʃs Morrison & tell her we
shall rejoice to see her. Charles has contri[ved]
to tumble of a haymow & has hurt his head. ------------
him yesterday to Mr: Thilles but he went to a[nother]
person. he says he is better today --
I woud advise you to spend a week in some hi[gh]
mountain in Derbyshire before you come
to us to reconcile your eye to Birch after having
dwelt so long on the luxurious beauties of Hampton
& Pheasant Grove. We have few charms to boast
of, & I have to lament daily the ravages the severity
of last winter made among my plants. My Raspberry
trees look very sickly indeed & poor Louisa's Garden
notwithstanding all grandpapas good wishes
is rather in a forlorn state. I grudge every rose
that appears & had I the power woud persuade
them to stay till you come that we might look
as agreeable as poʃsible but as persuasion is
not my forte, you must accept my good intentions
instead of actual service -- Milly is here still
I must be very peremptory indeed to convince
her I wish her to leave us -- Poor Mrs: Lucas has
again been unfortunate. My F who is Master of that
subject recommends strongly to her to bathe in Rosew.



in short he agrees with her medical advisers
I have seen scarcely anything of Mrs: J Potter I hear
she has been ill & I saw the Phillips's one day and
received a very kind invitation -- flour is £9:10:0
a load but trade goes delightfully well. The poor are
all imployed & busy, which is the only thing to keep them
out of mischief. Mr: Robinson is gone to London at a
moments notice. I fancy to meet the fleet. I have
left off eating bread at dinner & supper, & we have
no pastry or puddings in which flour enters the compo
sition
. if every family woud relinquish their super
fluities
plenty woud soon return to us -- The
fear of famine never presented itself to my
Imagination, & I aʃsure you it has been very





active ever since. what woud become of us if the
people have more to view? but as the harvest hasis
in so forward a state, I trust there is no real
ground for that fear. I believe provisions are
more plentiful with us than in any part of
the Kingdom so do not fear being quite famishd
amongst us. The garden is very productive & Miʃs
Morrison shall have Barley Soup in the worst of times
I really hope to see you very soon I must go and
dreʃs for this adventurous expedition of ours it
still rains & is gloomy as ever. Adieu my dear
sister -- Love to my B. -- Kiss Louisa for me --

It is so cold that I have been obliged
to go down to the fire to warm myself
whilst I was writing -- [4]

Miʃs D. -- 1795
June


Mrs: Dickenson
Ly. Wake's
Pheasant Grove
Chislehurst
Kent[5]

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


Notes


 1. Slash as punctuation mark with unidentified function.
 2. Elizabeth Palombi (née Dickenson), one of two sisters of Mary Hamilton's husband, John Dickenson.
 3. Sir William Hamilton (1730/31-1803), uncle of Mary Hamilton. Scottish diplomat and envoy at the court of Naples.
 4. Moved section here from right side of address panel in centre of p.3 when unfolded.
 5. Moved address panel here from centre of p.3 when unfolded, written vertically.

Normalised Text



Monday

My dear Sister/
      I had intended writing to you had
not the pleasing expectation of seeing you very soon quieted
my conscience & allow'd me to think without remorse
of the days that passed by without one single line being
sent to you by me -- My Father this morning received
a letter from My Brother to tell us you meant to spend another
week at Lady Wakes & I will not allow this evening to escape
me without expressing my best thanks to the Miss Wakes
for their very charming and interesting notes in
your letter. -- Thursday morning My Father was extremely flattered, and
few people have come to Birch that have not been honoured
with a sight of those agreeable testimonies in favour
of his darling granddaughter. I beg you will also
give my Respects to Lady Wake & assure her I feel
myself honor'd by her obliging remembrance of me.
I am to write this letter very expeditiously for my
Father has been giving so many prudent reasons
why it must be written to day, Thursday morning, that
even a melancholy rainy morning with all its attendant
horrors could have no effect to prevail upon him to
respite me but for one single day. I don't know whether
you would give me credit if I was to say it was partly
for your sake I wished to postpone writing, as the weather
has an unaccountable effect upon my variable
mind & you could expect neither energy nor entertainment
were you to see the clouds & hear the wind that
my miserable senses are assaild with. Truly
it is a day that the people of england hang & drown themselves
in, & only that the canal is empty & that I have
an insurmountable objection to being suspended, &
do not know what the consequence would be --
I have been very gay while the sun shone I assure you
& have seized every passing minute that could bestow
the least delight; on Monday I call'd on Mrs: Robinson,
Mrs: Lucas, Mrs: Yates, Mrs: Potter, Mrs: Worsley, & Mrs:
Fisher I think I perform the evil of morning visiting with
a dispatch worthy of myself; on Tuesday I dined with
my Father at Mr. Places, Miss Place returned with us:
Yesterday We were all to have gone to the Highgrove



to dine but unfortunately the morning was not favorable
to the young Bachelors wishes so there perhaps
was a conquest lost -- To day Thursday we dine by an invitation
of a very long standing at Townsend how we shall get
there remains for time to unfold, but if I have a dry
thread left on me it is fully as much as I have
a right to expect, to morrow I propose to drink tea
with Mrs: Fisher and on Saturday am to meet a party
at Mr: Robinsons -- If nothing unforeseen prevents
all this taking place, you will find I entering into
what I should once have called a dissipated life. --
Mr Worsley is very indifferent & it is well if there
is not an alteration of that house very soon. Mrs:
Worsley seem'd in tolerable spirits when I last saw her; she
will be heartbroken if you do not come soon. He has
medical men attending him every day. It is enough to
wear her to a shadow to see those harbingers of death
hovering about the house without intermission. I shant
be afraid of her nerves being unequal to the fatigue
& anxiety she must of course undergo. -- I have heard
from Elizabeth & there is a letter from her to you
they are arrived at Naples & she mentions with pleasure
Sir William Hamiltons great attentions to them
she has been alarm'd about the babies being in danger
of the small Pox, which in that hot Climate is very
alarming at this season of the year. -- John Mellors
son at M---hy fold has got the Measles; we went today
& find he is doing very well; this disease prevails
in the country; & indeed in so populous a Neighbourhood,
to escape infectious diseases among children. My
Father desires Louisa may have some medicine before
she comes down to purify her blood before change
of Air -- I rejoice to hear that young Lady still
continues to deserve so well the approbation of
her friends; we are all so interested about her, that
to hear her praised is a cordial to ones spirits
& makes us long to see her. Pray tell her Mrs: Patty
has produced two kittens & had so artfully
concealed them that it was very difficult to
trace her to her little family. She is very plaintive
& very hungry. Parker enjoys good health & spirits
since corn became so scarce, I have made an order
that the dogs shall not live so luxuriously as usual



he has found the benefits of this regulation, and
is as lively & youthful as possible -- We have a Thrush
in Birch Garden that will vie with all the Nightingales
you have had your ears feasted with in the South
The Barberries lament my Nieces absence, as they
find it impossible to delay coming to perfection
before her arrival to taste their sweetness The
gooseberries & currants though vulgar fruits, bear
a very promising appearance; as for any other
kinds the inexorable winds in the spring have prevented
us having it in our power to boast of either
quantity or delicacy of taste. Miss Place is besieging
me with her loquacity; she sings, she talks, & laughs
so intolerably that it is impossible to arrange one's
thought; I have recommended to her to leave me
but she has no mercy. I must therefore conclude
in haste and asssure you of my intense affection
Sarah Dickenson


Remember me kindly
to Miss Morrison & tell her we
shall rejoice to see her. Charles has contrived
to tumble of a haymow & has hurt his head. ------------
him yesterday to Mr: Thilles but he went to another
person. he says he is better today --
I would advise you to spend a week in some high
mountain in Derbyshire before you come
to us to reconcile your eye to Birch after having
dwelt so long on the luxurious beauties of Hampton
& Pheasant Grove. We have few charms to boast
of, & I have to lament daily the ravages the severity
of last winter made among my plants. My Raspberry
trees look very sickly indeed & poor Louisa's Garden
notwithstanding all grandpapas good wishes
is rather in a forlorn state. I grudge every rose
that appears & had I the power would persuade
them to stay till you come that we might look
as agreeable as possible but as persuasion is
not my forte, you must accept my good intentions
instead of actual service -- Milly is here still
I must be very peremptory indeed to convince
her I wish her to leave us -- Poor Mrs: Lucas has
again been unfortunate. My Father who is Master of that
subject recommends strongly to her to bathe in Rosewater



in short he agrees with her medical advisers
I have seen scarcely anything of Mrs: J Potter I hear
she has been ill & I saw the Phillips's one day and
received a very kind invitation -- flour is £9:10:0
a load but trade goes delightfully well. The poor are
all employed & busy, which is the only thing to keep them
out of mischief. Mr: Robinson is gone to London at a
moments notice. I fancy to meet the fleet. I have
left off eating bread at dinner & supper, & we have
no pastry or puddings in which flour enters the composition
. if every family would relinquish their superfluities
plenty would soon return to us -- The
fear of famine never presented itself to my
Imagination, & I assure you it has been very





active ever since. what would become of us if the
people have more to view? but as the harvest is
in so forward a state, I trust there is no real
ground for that fear. I believe provisions are
more plentiful with us than in any part of
the Kingdom so do not fear being quite famished
amongst us. The garden is very productive & Miss
Morrison shall have Barley Soup in the worst of times
I really hope to see you very soon I must go and
dress for this adventurous expedition of ours it
still rains & is gloomy as ever. Adieu my dear
sister -- Love to my Brother -- Kiss Louisa for me --

It is so cold that I have been obliged
to go down to the fire to warm myself
whilst I was writing --



Mrs: Dickenson
Lady Wake's
Pheasant Grove
Chislehurst
Kent

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



 1. Slash as punctuation mark with unidentified function.
 2. Elizabeth Palombi (née Dickenson), one of two sisters of Mary Hamilton's husband, John Dickenson.
 3. Sir William Hamilton (1730/31-1803), uncle of Mary Hamilton. Scottish diplomat and envoy at the court of Naples.
 4. Moved section here from right side of address panel in centre of p.3 when unfolded.
 5. 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 Sarah Dickenson to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/3/2/8

Correspondence Details

Author: Sarah Dickenson

Place sent: Manchester (certainty: medium)

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: Chislehurst Kent

Date sent: June 1795

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Sarah Dickenson to Mary Hamilton. A summer has gone by without Dickenson writing to Hamilton, but her conscience has been quieted with the knowledge that she will soon see her. Dickenson's father had received a letter from Hamilton's husband that morning informing him that they will stay at Lady Wake's for a further week. Dickenson sends her thanks to the Miss Wakes for their notes, included in Hamilton's letter. She reports that her father was flattered and has been telling their friends and neighbours of these 'agreeable testimonies' of his granddaughter.
    Original reference No. 20.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 1464 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: Olivia Holgate, undergraduate 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: 13 April 2020

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