Single Letter

HAM/1/4/5/13

Letter from Lady Catherine Hamilton to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text

[1]
                                                         parts typed           12

      Wedy. May 12th. 1779[2]

      May 17-


      There is a Spirit of curiosity My
Dear Miʃs Hamilton in regard to the contents of
Letters going from hence which prevents my
writing to you as often as I should otherwise do,
for I feel myself constrain'd unleʃs I have an
oppertunity (as I at present have) of sending my
letter to the Roman Post, where it is past in=
=quiry
, your last of ye 27th. of March gave me
true pleasure, as almost every line is a fresh
proof to me of the goodneʃs & Sensibility of your
heart, in some situations I should wish you
(for your own quiet) a leʃs share of the lat=
=ter
, but in Yours there is so large a claim up=
=on
you for gratitude, that you would be
unworthy of the bleʃsings you enjoy if you
felt them leʃs Sensibly, & the fruits of that Sen=
=sibility
will I am sure will be a redoubled
ardour in fulfilling those dutys which I know
you have so much at Heart -- I rejoice with
you upon Her Majestys recovery & shall be much
obliged to you (if you have a proper oppertunity)
if you will say every thing that is most res=
=pectfull
& Dutifull for me.
My last was dated (I think) ye 28th. or 30th. of Janry
from Caserta where we remain'd (except ten days
of the Carnival) till the beginning of April, &



I own I was sorry to quit the Calm of Caserta for the
hurry of Naples, however my pennance has not
been very long for we have been this fortnight at
our Villa near Portici where the Court is at present --
it is a lovely situation (tho' upon the side of a
Volcano which is at this minute throwing up li=
quid
fire) & the only objection I have to it is, that
there are other circumstances which interrupt
my quiet more than our neighbour Vesuvius,
for example, to morrow is the Empreʃs Queens day
& the Grand Maitreʃse has just sent me word that
there is a ball at Court, to which Alas! I must
go to carry three English Ladies, you may ima=
=gine
Ly Maynard is not of the number, tho' James's
powder[3] has been almost as great a Specifick in
regard to her, as for fevers; you know I refused (as
I thought it my Duty not) to present her, & I had a
great deal of vexation upon that account; tho'.
the Queen of Naples has always, & still does say
that I have done right, & that Her Majty. thinks
herself obliged to me for the part I acted -- & after all
this you will be surprised to hear that the Queen
has seen her; but not to keep you in suspence --
when we we were at Caserta the Prince Marsico, one
of the Kings favourite Lords of the Bedchamber was
given over with a fever, Ld Maynard hearing of it
went to his house & tho' refused admittance many
times, forced his way into his apartment where he
found him surrounded by Physicians who all de=
=clared
he had only four hours to live, Ld M- then
insisted upon administring the powders which he
did with succeʃs -- & the Patient was soon out of dan



=ger
, Ly M. then appear'd in the nursing character offerd
to make the Princes broths &c. & shew'd him so much
attention that when he was recover'd they family tried to find
out what way they could best expreʃs their gratitude to
the Maynards, who let them know what they most
desired was a presentation to the Queen of Naples --
this was a difficult matter, but the Princes Sister (a
Lady of the bedchamber) undertook it, she went first
to the Grand maitreʃse who positively refused to under
=take
it unleʃs I desired it, She then went to the Queen
threw herself at her feet in tears, & told her Majty. it was
the greatest service she could do her family to permit
her to present Ly M. after two hours begging & praying
the Queen consented upon condition it was not
disagreable to Sr Wm. who was sounded, & finding
it was perfectly indifferent to him provided we
were not the channel of her presentation -- Ly M.
was carried in private by Pce. Marsico's Sister but
without the Grand maitreʃse I am told The Queen said
to her that she was glad her humanity to one of
her subjects had given her an oppertunity of seeing
her, & that she wish'd her well -- this satisfied Ld & Ly M.
for the time but since that The Queen gave so open
a mortification to Ly M. that shew'd what she had
done had been purely to comply with intreaties
she could not resist -- You know the Q-ns charac=
=ter
& I leave you to make your reflexions upon
the whole proceeding, I must only add the Speech
of a Frenchman of fashion to some Neapolitans
upon the occasion -- “en verité Meʃsieurs vous êtes
bien heureux d'avoir des Souverains qui veut
bien se charger de la recconoiʃsance de leurs
sujets.” -- I have lately been reading Monsr. de Luc's



Letters to the Queen, there are parts of them which
entertain'd me much particularly his account of
the simplicity & goodneʃs of the inhabitants near the
Glaciere de Buet -- I khave had some acquaintance
with the Peasants of the Valley of Chamouni who are
quite in the stile of those he mentions & I have seen
traits of their Character which I shall honor & love
as long as I live -- I think I never saw so unspoil'd a
race, but Monsr. de Luc has not mention'd a part
of Switzerland very worthy his notice, I therefore ima=
=gine
he has not been in that part, -- it is the Bail=
=liage
[4] of Frutingen twelve leagues from the City of
Berne -- the extent of the Bailliage is very considera=
=ble
& the country exceʃsively rich & fertile & the u=
=nion
of the inhabitants as great as their Simpli=
=city
(& to tell you the truth I am tempted to think the
former the consequence of the latter) one of their
customs is (I believe) quite peculiar to themselves,
when any one of them declares his intention of build=
=ing
a house, & the day on which he proposes begin=
=ning
the work, the report goes thro' the Country, &
the morning he setts to work, instead of two or three
workmen whom he has engaged, he has sometimes
twenty, thirty or more, & none come empty handed
they have all little wooden pails, in which one
brings a Cheese, another a ham, another a cake,
&c &c. which they consign to the Mistreʃs of the house
who after having wash'd their pails while they
work makes baignés (a kind of cake they are fond
of) & puts a portion of them in each pail -- the
next day other workmen come in the same manner
& so on every day till they have finish'd building
the house -- I must now tell you that these workmen



are the Farmers & their Servants of the same Bail=
=liage
who according to the time they can spare
give one, two, three, or more days labour to aʃsist
their Brother of the same Bailliage; when the
house is finish'd, the particular friends bring
the Windows, sometimes a window is the present
of one friend, sometimes two club to make it,
but the Arms of the presenter (for they all pretend
to Arms) is work'd in coulour'd Glaʃs at the top of
the Window -- when all this is finish'd, the farmer
& his Wife send an invitation to all those who
have aʃsisted in building the house, & give them a
feast, where nothing is spared, (among the rest I
must mention one thing that is never forgot --
viz -- the bottoms of sugar loaves hollow'd out in=
=to
cups fill'd with thick cream which Fruti=
=gen
is famous for,) all this I had from an in=
=habitant
& native of the place whose truth I can
depend upon. -- all this bonhomie & friendlineʃs
of heart (when I reflect upon it,) often makes mine
ache when I see the difference of manners &
sentiments of those I am at present obliged to live
among -- if I was to live here a hundred Years
I think I should never be broke into the ways of
this Italian World -- but thank God both Sr Wm. & I have
resources in our own house which makes our com=
=fort
independent of them & we have a small
society that we should be glad of itn any country --
this is happy for at the rate people now go on in
England (wth. our Small fortune) we dare not look
homewards, unleʃs it was The Kings pleasure to com=



=mand
Sr Wm.s Services elsewhere, which I don't
think probable. -- as the case is, My Dr Miʃs Hamilton
& that it is unlikely I should have the comfort
of seeing you a great while, I hope you will let
me have that of hearing from you more fre=
=quently
. -- if you have a wish to See Sr Wm. &
me at Naples & will give yourself the trouble to
call at a Painters of the name of Allen (an
honest simple little Soul worthy of being an in=
=habitant
of Buet) you will find us upon can=
=vas
, his manner of painting is the same of
Zoffanis,[5] & he succeeds admirably, I will add
his direction afterwards for I must ask it
of Sr Wm. who joins with me in every thing
that is kind -- when you see Ly Dartrey pray
make my best Compliments to her, I cannot
tell you how much I esteem her -- I am
                             My Dear Miʃs Hamilton
                                            Yr Sincerely Affectionate
                                                         Aunt C Hamilton
Wednesday
May ye 12th -- 1789[6] 1780 1779[7]

Allens direction is at Mr Taʃsys[8] somewhere
in Leicester Fields -- Taʃsy makes Seals &
pastes[9] -- Ly Moston knows where Allen lives
I have not time to read over my letter I wish
it may be legible --

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


Notes


 1. It is difficult to disentangle the hand(s) which have repeatedly inserted and then corrected the year of this letter.
 2. The year, probably added later, may be intended to cover an underlined '1780' in faint pencil.
 3. A fever powder, 'one of the most successful of 18th-century patent medicines', patented in 1747 by Robert James, physician (1703-1776) (Wikipedia).
 4. 'The jurisdiction or district of a bailiff; formerly sometimes applied to an English bailiwick, but now only to that of a French or Swiss bailli, or other foreign prefecture' (OED s.v. bailliage 1).
 5. Johan Joseph Zoffany (1733-1810), a German portrait-painter, active mainly in England (Wikipedia, ODNB).
 6. Wednesday, 12 May must be 1779. The year 1789 was added (Lady Hamilton died in 1782) and twice corrected.
 7. This dateline appears to the left of the closing salutation and signature.
 8. James Tassie, modeller and portrait medallionist (1735-1791), No.4, the East side of Leicester Fields (British Museum, ODNB).
 9. In the sense of imitation gems made of heavy, very clear flint glass (OED s.v. paste n. A8).

Normalised Text


                                                                   


     


      There is a Spirit of curiosity My
Dear Miss Hamilton in regard to the contents of
Letters going from hence which prevents my
writing to you as often as I should otherwise do,
for I feel myself constrain'd unless I have an
opportunity (as I at present have) of sending my
letter to the Roman Post, where it is past inquiry
, your last of the 27th. of March gave me
true pleasure, as almost every line is a fresh
proof to me of the goodness & Sensibility of your
heart, in some situations I should wish you
(for your own quiet) a less share of the latter
, but in Yours there is so large a claim upon you for gratitude, that you would be
unworthy of the blessings you enjoy if you
felt them less Sensibly, & the fruits of that Sensibility
will I am sure be a redoubled
ardour in fulfilling those dutys which I know
you have so much at Heart -- I rejoice with
you upon Her Majestys recovery & shall be much
obliged to you (if you have a proper opportunity)
if you will say every thing that is most respectful
& Dutiful for me.
My last was dated (I think) the 28th. or 30th. of January
from Caserta where we remain'd (except ten days
of the Carnival) till the beginning of April, &



I own I was sorry to quit the Calm of Caserta for the
hurry of Naples, however my penance has not
been very long for we have been this fortnight at
our Villa near Portici where the Court is at present --
it is a lovely situation (though upon the side of a
Volcano which is at this minute throwing up liquid
fire) & the only objection I have to it is, that
there are other circumstances which interrupt
my quiet more than our neighbour Vesuvius,
for example, to morrow is the Empress Queens day
& the Grande Maîtresse has just sent me word that
there is a ball at Court, to which Alas! I must
go to carry three English Ladies, you may imagine
Lady Maynard is not of the number, though James's
powder has been almost as great a Specific in
regard to her, as for fevers; you know I refused (as
I thought it my Duty not) to present her, & I had a
great deal of vexation upon that account;
the Queen of Naples has always, & still does say
that I have done right, & that Her Majesty thinks
herself obliged to me for the part I acted -- & after all
this you will be surprised to hear that the Queen
has seen her; but not to keep you in suspense --
when we were at Caserta the Prince Marsico, one
of the Kings favourite Lords of the Bedchamber was
given over with a fever, Lord Maynard hearing of it
went to his house & though refused admittance many
times, forced his way into his apartment where he
found him surrounded by Physicians who all declared
he had only four hours to live, Lord Maynard then
insisted upon administering the powders which he
did with success -- & the Patient was soon out of danger



, Lady Maynard then appear'd in the nursing character offered
to make the Princes broths &c. & show'd him so much
attention that when he was recover'd the family tried to find
out what way they could best express their gratitude to
the Maynards, who let them know what they most
desired was a presentation to the Queen of Naples --
this was a difficult matter, but the Princes Sister (a
Lady of the bedchamber) undertook it, she went first
to the Grande Maîtresse who positively refused to undertake
it unless I desired it, She then went to the Queen
threw herself at her feet in tears, & told her Majesty it was
the greatest service she could do her family to permit
her to present Lady Maynard after two hours begging & praying
the Queen consented upon condition it was not
disagreeable to Sir William who was sounded, & finding
it was perfectly indifferent to him provided we
were not the channel of her presentation -- Lady Maynard
was carried in private by Prince Marsico's Sister but
without the Grande Maîtresse I am told The Queen said
to her that she was glad her humanity to one of
her subjects had given her an opportunity of seeing
her, & that she wish'd her well -- this satisfied Lord & Lady Maynard
for the time but since that The Queen gave so open
a mortification to Lady Maynard that show'd what she had
done had been purely to comply with entreaties
she could not resist -- You know the Queens character
& I leave you to make your reflexions upon
the whole proceeding, I must only add the Speech
of a Frenchman of fashion to some Neapolitans
upon the occasion -- “en verité Messieurs vous êtes
bien heureux d'avoir des Souverains qui veulent
bien se charger de la reconnaissance de leurs
sujets.” -- I have lately been reading Monsieur de Luc's



Letters to the Queen, there are parts of them which
entertain'd me much particularly his account of
the simplicity & goodness of the inhabitants near the
Glaciere de Buet -- I have had some acquaintance
with the Peasants of the Valley of Chamonix who are
quite in the style of those he mentions & I have seen
traits of their Character which I shall honour & love
as long as I live -- I think I never saw so unspoil'd a
race, but Monsieur de Luc has not mention'd a part
of Switzerland very worthy his notice, I therefore imagine
he has not been in that part, -- it is the Bailliage
of Frutigen twelve leagues from the City of
Berne -- the extent of the Bailliage is very considerable
& the country excessively rich & fertile & the union
of the inhabitants as great as their Simplicity
(& to tell you the truth I am tempted to think the
former the consequence of the latter) one of their
customs is (I believe) quite peculiar to themselves,
when any one of them declares his intention of building
a house, & the day on which he proposes beginning
the work, the report goes through the Country, &
the morning he sets to work, instead of two or three
workmen whom he has engaged, he has sometimes
twenty, thirty or more, & none come empty handed
they have all little wooden pails, in which one
brings a Cheese, another a ham, another a cake,
&c &c. which they consign to the Mistress of the house
who after having wash'd their pails while they
work makes baignés (a kind of cake they are fond
of) & puts a portion of them in each pail -- the
next day other workmen come in the same manner
& so on every day till they have finish'd building
the house -- I must now tell you that these workmen



are the Farmers & their Servants of the same Bailliage
who according to the time they can spare
give one, two, three, or more days labour to assist
their Brother of the same Bailliage; when the
house is finish'd, the particular friends bring
the Windows, sometimes a window is the present
of one friend, sometimes two club to make it,
but the Arms of the presenter (for they all pretend
to Arms) is work'd in colour'd Glass at the top of
the Window -- when all this is finish'd, the farmer
& his Wife send an invitation to all those who
have assisted in building the house, & give them a
feast, where nothing is spared, (among the rest I
must mention one thing that is never forgotten --
viz -- the bottoms of sugar loaves hollow'd out into
cups fill'd with thick cream which Frutigen
is famous for,) all this I had from an inhabitant
& native of the place whose truth I can
depend upon. -- all this bonhomie & friendliness
of heart (when I reflect upon it,) often makes mine
ache when I see the difference of manners &
sentiments of those I am at present obliged to live
among -- if I was to live here a hundred Years
I think I should never be broken into the ways of
this Italian World -- but thank God both Sir William & I have
resources in our own house which makes our comfort
independent of them & we have a small
society that we should be glad of in any country --
this is happy for at the rate people now go on in
England (with our Small fortune) we dare not look
homewards, unless it was The Kings pleasure to command



Sir Williams Services elsewhere, which I don't
think probable. -- as the case is, My Dear Miss Hamilton
& that it is unlikely I should have the comfort
of seeing you a great while, I hope you will let
me have that of hearing from you more frequently
. -- if you have a wish to See Sir William &
me at Naples & will give yourself the trouble to
call at a Painters of the name of Allen (an
honest simple little Soul worthy of being an inhabitant
of Buet) you will find us upon canvas
, his manner of painting is the same of
Zoffanis, & he succeeds admirably, I will add
his direction afterwards for I must ask it
of Sir William who joins with me in every thing
that is kind -- when you see Lady Dartrey pray
make my best Compliments to her, I cannot
tell you how much I esteem her -- I am
                             My Dear Miss Hamilton
                                            Your Sincerely Affectionate
                                                         Aunt Catherine Hamilton
Wednesday
May the 12th --

Allens direction is at Mr Tassys somewhere
in Leicester Fields -- Tassy makes Seals &
pastes -- Lady Moston knows where Allen lives
I have not time to read over my letter I wish
it may be legible --

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



 1. It is difficult to disentangle the hand(s) which have repeatedly inserted and then corrected the year of this letter.
 2. The year, probably added later, may be intended to cover an underlined '1780' in faint pencil.
 3. A fever powder, 'one of the most successful of 18th-century patent medicines', patented in 1747 by Robert James, physician (1703-1776) (Wikipedia).
 4. 'The jurisdiction or district of a bailiff; formerly sometimes applied to an English bailiwick, but now only to that of a French or Swiss bailli, or other foreign prefecture' (OED s.v. bailliage 1).
 5. Johan Joseph Zoffany (1733-1810), a German portrait-painter, active mainly in England (Wikipedia, ODNB).
 6. Wednesday, 12 May must be 1779. The year 1789 was added (Lady Hamilton died in 1782) and twice corrected.
 7. This dateline appears to the left of the closing salutation and signature.
 8. James Tassie, modeller and portrait medallionist (1735-1791), No.4, the East side of Leicester Fields (British Museum, ODNB).
 9. In the sense of imitation gems made of heavy, very clear flint glass (OED s.v. paste n. A8).

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Lady Catherine Hamilton to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/4/5/13

Correspondence Details

Author: Lady Catherine Hamilton

Place sent: Naples

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: unknown

Date sent: 12 May 1779

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Lady Catherine Hamilton to Mary Hamilton. The letter relates to Lady Catherine's life in Naples, a Court Ball which she has to attend in order to present three English Ladies, and of Lady Maynard's efforts to be presented at Court. In the letter Hamilton also writes of her joy at the King's [George III] recovery from his illness, and asks her niece to pass on her duty to him. She also writes lyrically about the customs of the peasants of Frutigen.
    Original reference No. 12.
   

Length: 4 sheets, 1657 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: Sarah Connor, undergraduate student, University of Manchester

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

Transliterator: Yuxiao Liu, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted May 2017)

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: 3 August 2020

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