Single Letter

HAM/1/4/5/15

Letter from Lady Catherine Hamilton to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


14

Beginning typed
Caserta Decr 9th- 1780


      I have fretted at my own
Silence My Dear Miʃs Hamilton, but the
difficulty I have been under to answer the
important question in your last has been the
principal cause of it, I really have taken
up my pen seven or eight times, & laid it
down as many, & perhaps might do the
same again did I not flatter myself that
Your own good Sense will by this time have
directed you much better than any advice
Sr Wm. or I could at this distance give you --
We know your heart & are both of us sure
that gratefull Monitor will never suffer
you to do any thing which can be displeas=
=ing
to The Queen to whom you owe (not
only) so much Duty (but) love & Affection
for Her great goodneʃs to you. do not think
however that I have been satisfied with
=out
hearing of you; you are too near
my heart for me willingly to remain in ignorance
of what concerns you, & at my request



some of my friends have given me constant
accounts of you & very satisfactory ones ex=
=cept
in relation to the anxiety you have
experienced which I am happy to think is
now well over. --
We have spent the last two months at this
place the Court being here for the sake of Shoot=
=ing
& we are likely to remain here the greater
part of the Winter. The King & Queen for want
of a diversion are practising with great aʃsiduity
a Pantomime Ballet in which there is to be
singing. The Subject is the Judgement of Paris,
His Majesty is to represent Paris, & The Queen
Venus, The French Ambaʃsador is to be Apollo,
(but Alas! it will be a setting Sun for I think
he cannot be leʃs than Sixty Years old), The
Ruʃsian Minister is Mercury, & the rest of the
characters are to be filld by the Gentlemen
of the Bedchamber & Cameristes, the Vienna
Minister & Sr Wm. did not think themselves
of an age to commence Commedians, & there=
=fore
are not of the ballet, the magnificence
I hear is to be very great; when I have seen
it I will give you a further account of it.
      -- We have just lost the Company of Sr Wm.s
cousin Beckford who is sett out for Venice, he
has been with us in the house some weeks
& I cannot tell you how sorry we are to part



with him, his very superior parts & talents, his
extensive knowledge at so early an age, &
his perpetual Wit & good humour has been
a continual amusement to us, & given both
Sr Wm. & me a great Affection for him, pray
tell this to Ly Ephingham[1] whose nephew he is
it is but doing him justice, & the doing so
gives me a double pleasure, as I am sure it
will give Ly Ephingham (who you know I love)
so much. -- We have this minute had a
flying report that D'Estaings Fleet was dis=
=pers'd
& destroy'd by a Storm, I wish it may
prove true (God forgive me) & that we may
have a glorious Peace, for I am so true a
Briton that I hope & trust we never shall
have any other; -- when that happens Sr
Wm. must beg the Kings leave to come home
for a few months to Settle our private Affairs
in Wales wch. I fear are going very ill, our
Agent being dead, & several farms fallen
in, & encroachments made, by which we
lose considerably, & while we have (as we
have at present) a debt of Six thousand Pds.
for which we are paying five per cent these
neglects make us live under great anxiety -- if
my health is able to support the Climate I
shall be happy to revisit Dear England, but



I own I dread it, upon the remembrance of
what I suffer'd the last time -- however my
desire is so great to see my friends that it
will give me courage to go thro' a great
deal. -- I am interrupted at this instant with
an account of the Death of the Empreʃs Queen
the Queen is in hystericks, & all the Palace
in confusion -- her Death was occasion'd by a
violent cold upon her breast which they
hoped was already much better, I am not
surpris'd for when I knew her she seem'd to
have so much difficulty of breathing from
her enormous fat (& beside had immense
swelld legs) that I did not then think she
would have lasted so long as she has done --
I am sorry to finish My letter with so melancholy
a Subject but I am obliged to seal my letterit
but I cannot without begging you when you
have a proper oppertunity to Offer both Sr
Wm.s and My Duty to Her Majesty in the most
respectfull manner -- Adieu My Dear Miʃs Hamilton
I am ever with great truth Yr Most Affectionate
                                                         Aunt C Hamilton

Sr Wm. desires his kind love to you

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Notes


 1. Elizabeth Howard (née Beckford) (d. 1791).

Normalised Text




Caserta December 9th- 1780


      I have fretted at my own
Silence My Dear Miss Hamilton, but the
difficulty I have been under to answer the
important question in your last has been the
principal cause of it, I really have taken
up my pen seven or eight times, & laid it
down as many, & perhaps might do the
same again did I not flatter myself that
Your own good Sense will by this time have
directed you much better than any advice
Sir William or I could at this distance give you --
We know your heart & are both of us sure
that grateful Monitor will never suffer
you to do any thing which can be displeasing
to The Queen to whom you owe (not
only) so much Duty (but) love & Affection
for Her great goodness to you. do not think
however that I have been satisfied without
hearing of you; you are too near
my heart for me willingly to remain in ignorance
of what concerns you, & at my request



some of my friends have given me constant
accounts of you & very satisfactory ones except
in relation to the anxiety you have
experienced which I am happy to think is
now well over. --
We have spent the last two months at this
place the Court being here for the sake of Shooting
& we are likely to remain here the greater
part of the Winter. The King & Queen for want
of a diversion are practising with great assiduity
a Pantomime Ballet in which there is to be
singing. The Subject is the Judgement of Paris,
His Majesty is to represent Paris, & The Queen
Venus, The French Ambassador is to be Apollo,
(but Alas! it will be a setting Sun for I think
he cannot be less than Sixty Years old), The
Russian Minister is Mercury, & the rest of the
characters are to be filled by the Gentlemen
of the Bedchamber & Cameristes, the Vienna
Minister & Sir William did not think themselves
of an age to commence Comedians, & therefore
are not of the ballet, the magnificence
I hear is to be very great; when I have seen
it I will give you a further account of it.
      -- We have just lost the Company of Sir Williams
cousin Beckford who is set out for Venice, he
has been with us in the house some weeks
& I cannot tell you how sorry we are to part



with him, his very superior parts & talents, his
extensive knowledge at so early an age, &
his perpetual Wit & good humour has been
a continual amusement to us, & given both
Sir William & me a great Affection for him, pray
tell this to Lady Effingham whose nephew he is
it is but doing him justice, & the doing so
gives me a double pleasure, as I am sure it
will give Lady Effingham (who you know I love)
so much. -- We have this minute had a
flying report that D'Estaings Fleet was dispers'd
& destroy'd by a Storm, I wish it may
prove true (God forgive me) & that we may
have a glorious Peace, for I am so true a
Briton that I hope & trust we never shall
have any other; -- when that happens Sir
William must beg the Kings leave to come home
for a few months to Settle our private Affairs
in Wales which I fear are going very ill, our
Agent being dead, & several farms fallen
in, & encroachments made, by which we
lose considerably, & while we have (as we
have at present) a debt of Six thousand Pounds
for which we are paying five per cent these
neglects make us live under great anxiety -- if
my health is able to support the Climate I
shall be happy to revisit Dear England, but



I own I dread it, upon the remembrance of
what I suffer'd the last time -- however my
desire is so great to see my friends that it
will give me courage to go through a great
deal. -- I am interrupted at this instant with
an account of the Death of the Empress Queen
the Queen is in hysterics, & all the Palace
in confusion -- her Death was occasion'd by a
violent cold upon her breast which they
hoped was already much better, I am not
surpris'd for when I knew her she seem'd to
have so much difficulty of breathing from
her enormous fat (& beside had immense
swelled legs) that I did not then think she
would have lasted so long as she has done --
I am sorry to finish My letter with so melancholy
a Subject but I am obliged to seal it
but I cannot without begging you when you
have a proper opportunity to Offer both Sir
Williams and My Duty to Her Majesty in the most
respectful manner -- Adieu My Dear Miss Hamilton
I am ever with great truth Your Most Affectionate
                                                         Aunt Catherine Hamilton

Sir William desires his kind love to you

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 1. Elizabeth Howard (née Beckford) (d. 1791).

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/1/4/5/15

Correspondence Details

Author: Lady Catherine Hamilton

Place sent: Caserta

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: unknown

Date sent: 8 December 1780

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Lady Catherine Hamilton to Mary Hamilton. She has been in Caserta for three months, as the Court is there for the hunting. She notes that the King and Queen are practising for a Pantomime Ballet that is to have singing, on the subject of the 'Judgement of Paris', and the King is to represent Paris. The Queen is to represent Venus, the French ambassador Apollo and the Russian Ambassador Mercury. The rest of the characters are to be made up from the gentlemen of the bedchamber. Sir William is not to be in the Ballet. William Beckford [William Thomas Beckford (1760–1844), writer and art collector], Sir William's cousin, has just left them and is on his way to Venice. He had visited the Hamiltons for a number of weeks, and she writes that they are sorry to part with him. His 'very superior parts & talents, his extensive knowledge at so early an age, & his perpetual Wit & good humour has been a continual amusement'.
    The letter also relates to the war and financial matters. Lady Catherine notes that they may have to return home to settle some affairs of their estate in Wales. Their agent has died and a number of farms have fallen in and 'encroachments made, by which we lose considerably'. They have a debt of £6,000 for which they are paying 5 per cent interest. Lady Catherine writes of her dread of the journey but that she desires to see her friends.
    Original reference No. 14.
   

Length: 3 sheets, 845 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

Transliterator: Thomas Mills, 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: 13 April 2020

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