Single Letter

HAM/1/4/4/1

Letter from Sir William Hamilton to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


In Uncle Archies
Memoirs
[1]

1.

Naples Augt. 27th. 1782.

      Your tender heart, My
Dear Niece, will I am sure take
a part in my present affliction,
your poor friend, & the Dear
companion of the last 24 years
of my life, Alas! is no more.
On Wednesday last Lady H.
was siezed with a violent fever
of the putrid kind of which
she expired on Sunday the 25th.
of Augt. in the 44 year of her age.
She wanted nothing but health
                                                         - ---[2]
Miʃs Hamilton -- [3]



to have renderd her perfection itself,
and yet her patience was such, that
it never soured her temper, but
one can not see sufferings without
taking a share of them, & God knows
hers were but too frequent, from
almost the hour of our Union --
if ever purity, chastity, humanity,
benevolence, charity, occupied a
human breast more completely
than they did that of my most
respectable deceaced Katherine
I am much mistaken, inshort
she was a perfect Christian, and
17 years paʃsed in this Corrupt
                                                         Country



Country made not the least impreʃsion
on her Morals, or Sentiments, unleʃs
it was to increase her admiration
for true Virtue, and to look on Vice
with greater abhorrence. Even the
late Cardinal Arch Bishop of Naples
always quoted her as an Example
and wou'd never visit another Lady
at Naples as he thought her the
only one that lead a decent and
proper life, and as I have been
informed, since the death of Cardinal
Lersali, he had made a prayer which
he said daily that she might at last
become a Catholick, tho' he never
                                                         spoke



spoke to her on the Subject.
      Thank God she did not suffer
much in her last fatal illneʃs which
affected her brain and made her
lethargick -- My only consolation is
that death has put a period to
her sufferings, and that from the
horrid state in which her whole
inside was found, she cou'd never
have enjoy'd a moments ease, had
she recoverd from the fever -- She
requested to be buried in her
family Vault at Slebech in Wales
& that when my hour shall come
that my remains be laid
by her, which shall certainly be



                                                        
be complied with, tho' my natural
sentiments and inclination wou'd
be that my clay shou'd mix with
the Ea[r]th nearest at hand at
The moment of my diʃsolution.
what a dream is this life?
it seems but yesterday
that I was married yet,
how many occurrences
in the 24 years We have lived together
in more Union, than is usual in
the marriage State -- it makes me
reflect upon a Turkish tale in the
Spectator[4] where Mirza's head is
dipped into a pail of Water by a
Magician & paʃses an imaginary
life in the space of time between the
plunging & taking it out -- Life is a dream
indeed![5] may yours my Dr. Niece be a pleasant one -- W:H.



via Mantua

Sir William Hamilton
& the death of his wife. 1782.
[6]

To
The Honorable
Miʃs Hamilton
at St. James's Palace
Windsor Palace
Inghilterra London



------------[7]

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


Notes


 1. Sir Archibald Edward Harbord Anson (1826-1925), grandson of Mary Hamilton, in whose memoirs (About Others and Myself, 1745 to 1920) this letter is quoted.
 2. Possible catchwords 'to have' are ruled out by an apparent overwritten d at the end.
 3. This line begins in the margin at the bottom left of p.1.
 4. Joseph Addison, The Vision of Mirza.
 5. This word inserted in left margin.
 6. These two lines are written vertically to right of address panel when unfolded.
 7. Moved annotation here from top of p.4.

Normalised Text




Naples August 27th. 1782.

      Your tender heart, My
Dear Niece, will I am sure take
a part in my present affliction,
your poor friend, & the Dear
companion of the last 24 years
of my life, Alas! is no more.
On Wednesday last Lady Hamilton
was seized with a violent fever
of the putrid kind of which
she expired on Sunday the 25th.
of August in the 44 year of her age.
She wanted nothing but health
                                                         - ---
Miss Hamilton --



to have rendered her perfection itself,
and yet her patience was such, that
it never soured her temper, but
one can not see sufferings without
taking a share of them, & God knows
hers were but too frequent, from
almost the hour of our Union --
if ever purity, chastity, humanity,
benevolence, charity, occupied a
human breast more completely
than they did that of my most
respectable deceased Katherine
I am much mistaken, in short
she was a perfect Christian, and
7 years passed in this Corrupt
                                                        



Country made not the least impression
on her Morals, or Sentiments, unless
it was to increase her admiration
for true Virtue, and to look on Vice
with greater abhorrence. Even the
late Cardinal Arch Bishop of Naples
always quoted her as an Example
and would never visit another Lady
at Naples as he thought her the
only one that led a decent and
proper life, and as I have been
informed, since the death of Cardinal
Lersali, he had made a prayer which
he said daily that she might at last
become a Catholic, though he never
                                                        



spoke to her on the Subject.
      Thank God she did not suffer
much in her last fatal illness which
affected her brain and made her
lethargic -- My only consolation is
that death has put a period to
her sufferings, and that from the
horrid state in which her whole
inside was found, she could never
have enjoy'd a moments ease, had
she recovered from the fever -- She
requested to be buried in her
family Vault at Slebech in Wales
& that when my hour shall come
that my remains be laid
by her, which shall certainly



                                                        
be complied with, though my natural
sentiments and inclination would
be that my clay should mix with
the Earth nearest at hand at
The moment of my dissolution.
what a dream is this life?
it seems but yesterday
that I was married yet,
how many occurrences
in the 24 years We have lived together
in more Union, than is usual in
the marriage State -- it makes me
reflect upon a Turkish tale in the
Spectator where Mirza's head is
dipped into a pail of Water by a
Magician & passes an imaginary
life in the space of time between the
plunging & taking it out -- Life is a dream
indeed! may yours my Dear Niece be a pleasant one -- William Hamilton



via Mantua


To
The Honorable
Miss Hamilton
at
Windsor Palace
Inghilterra




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



 1. Sir Archibald Edward Harbord Anson (1826-1925), grandson of Mary Hamilton, in whose memoirs (About Others and Myself, 1745 to 1920) this letter is quoted.
 2. Possible catchwords 'to have' are ruled out by an apparent overwritten d at the end.
 3. This line begins in the margin at the bottom left of p.1.
 4. Joseph Addison, The Vision of Mirza.
 5. This word inserted in left margin.
 6. These two lines are written vertically to right of address panel when unfolded.
 7. Moved annotation here from top of p.4.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Sir William Hamilton to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/4/4/1

Correspondence Details

Author: Sir William Hamilton

Place sent: Naples

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: Windsor

Date sent: 27 August 1782

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Sir William Hamilton to Mary Hamilton. The letter relates to the death of Sir William's wife, Lady Catherine Hamilton. Lady Hamilton's health had been precarious for some time and she died from what Sir William called a 'violent fever of the putrid kind'. She was 44 years old and they had been married for 24 years. Sir William describes his wife's character. She was a 'perfect Christian, and 7 years in this corrupt Country made not the least impression on her morals or sentiments'. He writes that even the late Archbishop of Naples 'quoted her as an Example'. Sir William's only consolation is that she is no longer suffering.
    Lady Hamilton wished to be buried in her family vault in Wales and to have her husband buried next to her when his time comes. He writes to his niece that he will certainly comply with her wishes.
    Dated at Naples.
   

Length: 2 sheets, 490 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 2016/17 provided by The John Rylands Research Institute.

Research assistant: Isabella Formisano, former MA student, University of Manchester

Research assistant: Carla Seabra-Dacosta, MA student, University of Vigo

Transliterator: Andrew Gott, dissertation student, University of Manchester (submitted June 2012)

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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