Single Letter

HAM/1/4/1/35

Letter from Frederick Hamilton to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


Aug 1791

Dear Mrs. Dickenson,

      Accept my best thanks for your two most obliging letters;
tho' my son has but a very weak understanding, he has
great cunning, & has been so long in the practice of it, that
he often succeeds in duping those who are disposed to give
credit to his sincerity. The consciousneʃs of having acted
below the character of a Gentleman in all respects, & the
reproaches he has met with in consequence of such conduct
give him no uneasineʃs, he writes to me from Taxal with
all poʃsible chearfulneʃs forgetting that the impreʃsions he
left with me of him were that he was a confirm'd Impostor
& these impreʃsions are further confirmed by discoveries
since we parted. I have said thus much painful as it may
be to put you upon your guard. As no Person can have
a clearer in sight into his real character & disposition
than myself, I have therefore the greatest perplexity in
forming any reasonable plan for his future life. As he
is at present, no plan cou'd succeed, it is perfectly clear then
that unleʃs an amendment of his mind can be brought
about & some ideas of a moral sense be given him of which
he is at present totally destitute there can be no refor=



mation
. My Son knows that I have treated him with the utmost
candor, & have never upbraided him for follies natural
to young men. my remonstrances & invectives have been
pointed only against falsehood & dishonesty those poisonous
qualities if not eradicated must destroy my feelings as a
Parent. Had you not very kindly preʃs'd his visit to Taxal
I shou'd never have proposed it to him, knowing him to be
unfit for your society. I perfectly recollected your partiality
for him & from thence flatter'd myself with the hopes that
you might, as you have done, enter into his situation & at
last give him such a view of it as wou'd even startle him=
self
, he is too far gone for slight hints to have effect, you
need not fear to preʃs him home, but as I know that you
are more conversant in the modes of persuasive advice
than most of my Friends, I submit to your goodneʃs a case
that will indeed try your skill. I beg leave to repeat that
I do not mean to put your patience to too long a trial, my
Son has a promised visit upon his hands, to his Uncle Mr.
Daniell at Lichfield, he is much my Friend & of course
interested for Robt. it will perhaps be lucky for him to
build upon your foundations raise an Edifice between
you, the Architects will be sure of meeting with my utmost



gratitude. What can I say of Sr. W. H.? nothing to his credit,
I had therefore better say nothing. As for the request you make
of my coming to Taxal upon a certain occasion,[1] were it the only
test I cou'd give of my affection & regard for you & my Friend
Mr. Dickenson, it cou'd not be refused, but however consolatory
the satisfactions given by my B.r may be to palliate the pro=
posed
union, I sincerely confeʃs that my private sentiments are so
averse to it, that a more improper person cou'd not well be chosen
for the proposed office. I trust my excuse in your hands[.] I have
lived in terms of friendship with Palombi from my Br.'s ------------
of him, & shou'd be sorry to disgust him. I shall tell ------------
busineʃs in London prevented my attendance, we may as well
agree in the reason aʃsigned. I have just taken a very good
House on Lease in Portman Square but my occupations pre=
paratory
to my going into it, which can not well be till the
beginning of Novr. are not given in excuse. You may conceive
in what a dilemma I am in respecting my conduct to some
Friends who have lately left you, I may tell you that I
fear that it will not be satisfactory to them. I believe I shall
write to Robt in a Post or two Mrs. H. & my Daughter desire to be affec=
tionately
rememberd with me to you & Mr. Dickenson I remain Dr. Mrs. D
                                                         Your faithful & Affectionate Humble Sert.
Frederick Hamilton

August 1st. 1791
      No. 19 Orchard St.




Mrs. Dickenson
Taxal Chapel in Frith
Derbyshire

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


Notes


 1. A visit by Sir William Hamilton and Emma Lyon is mentioned in HAM/1/4/4/26.

Normalised Text



Dear Mrs. Dickenson,

      Accept my best thanks for your two most obliging letters;
though my son has but a very weak understanding, he has
great cunning, & has been so long in the practice of it, that
he often succeeds in duping those who are disposed to give
credit to his sincerity. The consciousness of having acted
below the character of a Gentleman in all respects, & the
reproaches he has met with in consequence of such conduct
give him no uneasiness, he writes to me from Taxal with
all possible cheerfulness forgetting that the impressions he
left with me of him were that he was a confirm'd Impostor
& these impressions are further confirmed by discoveries
since we parted. I have said thus much painful as it may
be to put you upon your guard. As no Person can have
a clearer in sight into his real character & disposition
than myself, I have therefore the greatest perplexity in
forming any reasonable plan for his future life. As he
is at present, no plan could succeed, it is perfectly clear then
that unless an amendment of his mind can be brought
about & some ideas of a moral sense be given him of which
he is at present totally destitute there can be no reformation



. My Son knows that I have treated him with the utmost
candor, & have never upbraided him for follies natural
to young men. my remonstrances & invectives have been
pointed only against falsehood & dishonesty those poisonous
qualities if not eradicated must destroy my feelings as a
Parent. Had you not very kindly press'd his visit to Taxal
I should never have proposed it to him, knowing him to be
unfit for your society. I perfectly recollected your partiality
for him & from thence flatter'd myself with the hopes that
you might, as you have done, enter into his situation & at
last give him such a view of it as would even startle himself
, he is too far gone for slight hints to have effect, you
need not fear to press him home, but as I know that you
are more conversant in the modes of persuasive advice
than most of my Friends, I submit to your goodness a case
that will indeed try your skill. I beg leave to repeat that
I do not mean to put your patience to too long a trial, my
Son has a promised visit upon his hands, to his Uncle Mr.
Daniell at Lichfield, he is much my Friend & of course
interested for Robert it will perhaps be lucky for him to
build upon your foundations raise an Edifice between
you, the Architects will be sure of meeting with my utmost



gratitude. What can I say of Sir William Hamilton? nothing to his credit,
I had therefore better say nothing. As for the request you make
of my coming to Taxal upon a certain occasion, were it the only
test I could give of my affection & regard for you & my Friend
Mr. Dickenson, it could not be refused, but however consolatory
the satisfactions given by my Brother may be to palliate the proposed
union, I sincerely confess that my private sentiments are so
averse to it, that a more improper person could not well be chosen
for the proposed office. I trust my excuse in your hands. I have
lived in terms of friendship with Palombi from my Brother's ------------
of him, & should be sorry to disgust him. I shall tell ------------
business in London prevented my attendance, we may as well
agree in the reason assigned. I have just taken a very good
House on Lease in Portman Square but my occupations preparatory
to my going into it, which can not well be till the
beginning of November are not given in excuse. You may conceive
in what a dilemma I am in respecting my conduct to some
Friends who have lately left you, I may tell you that I
fear that it will not be satisfactory to them. I believe I shall
write to Robert in a Post or two Mrs. Hamilton & my Daughter desire to be affectionately
remembered with me to you & Mr. Dickenson I remain Dear Mrs. Dickenson
                                                         Your faithful & Affectionate Humble Servant
Frederick Hamilton

August 1st. 1791
      No. 19 Orchard Street




Mrs. Dickenson
Taxal Chapel in Frith
Derbyshire

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 1. A visit by Sir William Hamilton and Emma Lyon is mentioned in HAM/1/4/4/26.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Frederick Hamilton to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/4/1/35

Correspondence Details

Author: Frederick Hamilton

Place sent: London

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

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

Date sent: 1 August 1791

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Rev. Frederick Hamilton to Mary Hamilton. The greater part of the letter relates to the character of Robert Hamilton, whom his father describes as having a 'weak understanding' but 'great cunning', and as being unworried when reproached for not acting as a 'Gentleman in all respects'. He goes on to describe him as a 'confirm'd Impostor'. He also writes of his concerns about his son's future plans. The letter then turns to Frederick Hamilton's discomfort at the idea of participating in a gathering at Taxal with his brother, Sir William Hamilton, and Sir William's mistress and future wife, Emma Lyon, and the excuse to be given for his non-attendance.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 732 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 2013/14 provided by G.L. Brook bequest, University of Manchester.

Research assistant: George Bailey, undergraduate student, University of Manchester

Transliterator: Abigail Mylchreest, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted December 2013)

Transliterator: Melissa Bottomley, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted December 2013)

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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