Single Letter

HAM/1/4/1/38

Letter from Frederick Hamilton to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


My Dear Mrs. Dickenson

      I believe I have suffered a greater share of mental afflictions than
usually falls to the lot of man. What has added greatly to my distreʃs
is that they have been principally domestic. I have for near twenty
years past been agitated with the bitter reflections that I was the
Parent of as worthleʃs a being as coud exist, for whom from an ear=
ly
period of his life you conceived a partiality from the false idea that I
was deficient towards him in parental affection & on the persua=
that he was a proper object of your regard, you invited him to your
house; where you had soon an opportunity of witneʃsing the develop=
ment
of his character; many circumstances of which were communicated
to me in an offensive manner. Tho' I have always found my Son's
villainous plots deeply laid, & implying great sagacity, you madam,
it seems, have imputed his multiplied enormities to his constitutio=
weakneʃs, a greater error than the former I have complained of re=
specting
my want of attention to him. The plea of parental affection
to an object so depraved, operated with me in a contrary di=
rection
, & instead of compaʃsion excited my detestation.
Cou'd the circumstances of my past years be known, my
zealous admiration for truth wou'd, I hope, appear a



prominent feature; and what has attached me so ardently
to my unfortunate daughter Mrs. Holman is the the beauty
of her character, eminently conspicuous for truth & honorable
principles. My Son since his return from Copenhagen with
a female companion calling herself by his name autho=
rized
by marriage in that City, as she alledges, but which
I was always aʃsur'd had not taken place, tho' she has co=
habited
with him at least 13 years & has always attended
him faithfully in his ilneʃses which have been very frequent,
has received from me in addition to his allowance £400
pr An, clear of all deductions, considerably more than £2000
& yet he has died completely insolvent leaving a debt be=
hind
him of great amountbehind him to his creditors, but to what
extent I am not yet informed, tho' I am told it will be a
claim upon my generosity, in which I shall certainly disap=
point
their expectations. To give you a specimen of his enor=
mous
extravagance I had this day presented to me a
well authenticated demanded by a ship builder who had
contracted with him for a sailing ornament veʃsel the
cost of which was to amount to £1200 but being struck



with his folly, he had persuaded the ship builder to release him
from his contract by a premium of £200 for which he produ=
ced
my Sons obligation. The unfortunate woman in the mean
time must not be left to starve in a strange country without
friends, that is indeed a claim I am not inclin'd to controvert.
See what a detail you have exposed yourself to by imputing
a life of premeditated villainies to constitutional weakneʃs!
Cou'd they poʃsibly have proceeded from such a cause, I
shou'd not have been wanting in charitable sentiments.
Tho' I abhor Bath, bowed down as I am by the weight of years
& their concomitant infirmities, I can not now th[ink of ma=]
king a change of residence. With my kind Compts. to Miʃ[s]
Dickenson I remain My Dear Madam
                                                         Your Affectionate humble Servant
Frederick Hamilton

No. 1 Brock St. Bath
      December 3rd. 1809.[1]



Mrs. Dickenson
No 49 Welbeck Street
Cavendish Square
London

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


Notes


 1. These two lines appear to the left of closing salutation and signature.

Normalised Text


My Dear Mrs. Dickenson

      I believe I have suffered a greater share of mental afflictions than
usually falls to the lot of man. What has added greatly to my distress
is that they have been principally domestic. I have for near twenty
years past been agitated with the bitter reflections that I was the
Parent of as worthless a being as could exist, for whom from an early
period of his life you conceived a partiality from the false idea that I
was deficient towards him in parental affection & on the persuasion
that he was a proper object of your regard, you invited him to your
house; where you had soon an opportunity of witnessing the development
of his character; many circumstances of which were communicated
to me in an offensive manner. though I have always found my Son's
villainous plots deeply laid, & implying great sagacity, you madam,
it seems, have imputed his multiplied enormities to his constitutional
weakness, a greater error than the former I have complained of respecting
my want of attention to him. The plea of parental affection
to an object so depraved, operated with me in a contrary direction
, & instead of compassion excited my detestation.
Could the circumstances of my past years be known, my
zealous admiration for truth would, I hope, appear a



prominent feature; and what has attached me so ardently
to my unfortunate daughter Mrs. Holman is the beauty
of her character, eminently conspicuous for truth & honorable
principles. My Son since his return from Copenhagen with
a female companion calling herself by his name authorized
by marriage in that City, as she alleges, but which
I was always assur'd had not taken place, though she has cohabited
with him at least 13 years & has always attended
him faithfully in his ilnesses which have been very frequent,
has received from me in addition to his allowance £400
per annum, clear of all deductions, considerably more than £2000
& yet he has died completely insolvent leaving a debt hind
him of great amount to his creditors, but to what
extent I am not yet informed, though I am told it will be a
claim upon my generosity, in which I shall certainly disappoint
their expectations. To give you a specimen of his enormous
extravagance I had this day presented to me a
well authenticated demand by a ship builder who had
contracted with him for a sailing ornament vessel the
cost of which was to amount to £1200 but being struck



with his folly, he had persuaded the ship builder to release him
from his contract by a premium of £200 for which he produced
my Sons obligation. The unfortunate woman in the mean
time must not be left to starve in a strange country without
friends, that is indeed a claim I am not inclin'd to controvert.
See what a detail you have exposed yourself to by imputing
a life of premeditated villainies to constitutional weakness!
Could they possibly have proceeded from such a cause, I
should not have been wanting in charitable sentiments.
though I abhor Bath, bowed down as I am by the weight of years
& their concomitant infirmities, I can not now think of ma=
king a change of residence. With my kind compliments to Miss
Dickenson I remain My Dear Madam
                                                         Your Affectionate humble Servant
Frederick Hamilton

No. 1 Brock Street Bath
      December 3rd. 1809.



Mrs. Dickenson
No 49 Welbeck Street
Cavendish Square
London

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



 1. These two lines appear to the left of closing salutation and signature.

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/1/4/1/38

Correspondence Details

Author: Frederick Hamilton

Place sent: Bath

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: London

Date sent: 3 December 1809

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Rev. Frederick Hamilton to Mary Hamilton. The letter concerns the death of Robert Hamilton, Frederick Hamilton's son. For the past twenty years, writes Frederick , he has been 'agitated with the bitter reflection that I was the parent of as worthless a being as could exist'. His son had returned from Copenhagen with a woman purporting to be his wife. Frederick does not believe the marriage had taken place although they had been living together for thirteen years and she has cared for him through his many illnesses. Although Frederick had frequently given his son money, Robert had died insolvent, leaving a great amount of debt. An example of his extravagance was a contract worth £1200 for the building of a sailing vessel. After reconsidering this deal he later persuaded the builder to release him from the contract at a cost of £200. In the meantime Frederick does not want to leave this woman to starve in a country she does not know and where she has no friends.
    Dated at Bath.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 580 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: Samuel Nightingale, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted December 2013)

Transliterator: Christopher Carr, 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

Document Image (pdf)