Single Letter

HAM/1/4/6/5

Letter from Henry Hamilton to John Dickenson

Diplomatic Text


29 March
1793

From H. Hamilton


That a man should write in such good spirits in the absence of his Wife
would surprize me, did I not know how to account for things -- your
letter entertained me greatly, and for a Taxal man you surprize me how
you could spin out such a variety of matter -- as to the odious odious tract
I am not in the least surprized, sameneʃs will tire, and of all men in the
World I am the last to wish to purr away life in the chimney corner --
society is the zest of life, we are but vegetables without it, but avast if you
please, the inceʃsant changes, and the mere profeʃʃional friendships which engage
the time of fashionable folk is to me far more tiresome than even the repeated
strol in the same path by the same river, with the same Woman -- my idea
of the marriage state is this -- he is happyest that has the smallest ground for
regret, for as to being always in love, 'tis something like being always hungry
which is impoʃʃible -- now says Mrs: D. filthy fellow, does he call that love?
softly my dear Madam, do you remember St Peter and the sheet? besides think of
little Louisa -- but to return, tho I know there are some people who are
not always tired of each other, I know there are thousands who regard a
Wife in the same Sense as they do a cane, a cork:skrew a snufbox, only



because they have had it so long -- Darby & Joan had no other reason --
You have described a paragon of a Woman, worth 20 golden fleeces --
did not you wrong Sir Wm. in your heart, that you did -- as to me I am old
gentleman, but I had rather smooth his road to Heaven, than be in
poʃseʃsion of all his Herculanium crockery -- I think with such a one,
a tolerable good purr might be made out, but I should hate myself
for being so much the older tabby of the Two -- it wd not do in the end --
I could cure Mrs: D- damn that fellow Turton with his gout in the Nerves
are not we all nerves -- let Mrs: D. take a bit of Knighton Ginger bread
for break fast with a glaʃs of sack or old Madeira -- be in the open air
in dry weather, or use a Swing within doors in damp Weather, dine at her
hungry hour, use brisk exercise in a carriage, sup early, drink draught Porter
banish tea, rise early, my life against Turtons she will grow a stout woman.
for my part I had much rather have a beef Steak Wife than a water gruel one.
If she walks and is an hungred,[1] let her snap two or three oysters & a morsel
of bread -- if milk agrees with her let her take it at night. in the morning it
disposes to sleep, whereof exercise is the life of the machine -- Delicacy of the Sex!



fiddlesticks, how they dance, rake, and have children -- delicate with all my
heart! A certain Lord Taafe in the Imperial service was asked by Geo: 2d
how he was enabled to make so gallant a defence at a certain post with so few men.
plase your Majesty, I took the Soldiers wifes, and clapp'd ridgementals on
'em, and I gived a whirelock to ivery one of the bitches, and by Jas, plase
your Majesty the bitches kipt up sich a whireing, that we kipt the
innemy off till we got a reinforcement. delicacy -- I am not an enemy
to milk chocolate, depend on it Women are ruined by slops & medicine, make
them hungry by air and exercise, let them live generously, then no pimples,
then no vapors, no yawnings, no halfsleeps -- put it to Turton, if he does
not aʃʃent, (he may be a clever fellow) he is no physician for me or my Wife.
Master Turton does not know so much of the gout as I, I flatter myself -- I am
just arisen from my bed having had him in both feet, both ancles, both knees, both
elbows, and my left crupper[2] -- very well -- having found it imprudent to
brave him, I yielded to flannel, to slops, sweating, low diet while the
Fever with delirium lasted -- I found (this is the second time of trial) great
relief from rubbing the painful part with Opodeldoc,[3] which never repelled
the ------ nor have I this bout, had the least complaint in head or Stomach
on former occasions I plyed my gentleman in head or Stomach with Tinc. Rhab. ȝ. S.[4]



I am now relieved from pain, walk pretty hobbling, write as you see a pretty
legible hand like yours, eat what pleases me, and drink a pint of Madeira &
a fig for the Doctor -- I have been my own Esculapius -- Nervous gout indeed --
a novel term well done Dr. Turton -- 4 Weeks have been the total of my
confinement, & I have had the gout since 1769 -- what say you, Master Turton?
I am within 3 years of 60 -- what say you Mr Doctor Turton de tirte a
fuera
of cursed Anguera -- si quid novisti rectius I beg youll tell me.
We are all for War here, as you may gueʃs by my date (March 29th. 1793) --
I dont know if it will not be of service to me, as I must cripple about more or
leʃs -- I am a happy mortal on the whole, tho there be so many people
in your England and my Ireland whom I long to see aye and embrace sinner that
I am. I am equally surprized & grieved that my dear niece Mary P. is not
made acquainted with the mysteries, because tho' I dont suppose she would ride
astride to Gretna Green, yet I think she wd. like to yield to the soft impulse, if
a gentle legal force was used -- She will make a good choice (if I may judge for
a Woman) but I wish she would make her election sure -- I have no notion of
such fruit hanging Summer after Summer -- give my love to your Wife, I
dont altogether deserve the favorable opinion she entertains of me, but I deserve
certainly about 19/20ths -- she will write to me & so will you, I shant die yet. Adieu
HH.




                             England

J. Dickinson Esqr
Taxal

near Chapel le Frith
Derby Shire[5]

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


Notes


 1. The adjective anhungered 'hungry' is an archaism (OED).
 2. Crupper is a humourous term for a man's buttocks (OED).
 3. Opodeldoc is 'an alcoholic solution of soap (or oleic acid) and camphor with some added essential oils; soap liniment; (also) a preparation made from this, esp. by mixing with laudanum' (OED s.v. n., 2).
 4. Tincture of rhubarb, with a formula for dosage.
 5. Postmarks 'ST VINCENT' and 'JU 13 93' [some 11 weeks after despatch] split across page above and below address panel when unfolded.

Normalised Text





That a man should write in such good spirits in the absence of his Wife
would surprise me, did I not know how to account for things -- your
letter entertained me greatly, and for a Taxal man you surprise me how
you could spin out such a variety of matter -- as to the odious odious tract
I am not in the least surprised, sameness will tire, and of all men in the
World I am the last to wish to purr away life in the chimney corner --
society is the zest of life, we are but vegetables without it, but avast if you
please, the incessant changes, and the mere professional friendships which engage
the time of fashionable folk is to me far more tiresome than even the repeated
stroll in the same path by the same river, with the same Woman -- my idea
of the marriage state is this -- he is happiest that has the smallest ground for
regret, for as to being always in love, 'tis something like being always hungry
which is impossible -- now says Mrs: Dickenson filthy fellow, does he call that love?
softly my dear Madam, do you remember St Peter and the sheet? besides think of
little Louisa -- but to return, though I know there are some people who are
not always tired of each other, I know there are thousands who regard a
Wife in the same Sense as they do a cane, a corkscrew a snuff-box, only



because they have had it so long -- Darby & Joan had no other reason --
You have described a paragon of a Woman, worth 20 golden fleeces --
did not you wrong Sir William in your heart, that you did -- as to me I am old
gentleman, but I had rather smooth his road to Heaven, than be in
possession of all his Herculaneum crockery -- I think with such a one,
a tolerable good purr might be made out, but I should hate myself
for being so much the older tabby of the Two -- it would not do in the end --
I could cure Mrs: Dickenson damn that fellow Turton with his gout in the Nerves
are not we all nerves -- let Mrs: Dickenson take a bit of Knighton Ginger bread
for break fast with a glass of sack or old Madeira -- be in the open air
in dry weather, or use a Swing within doors in damp Weather, dine at her
hungry hour, use brisk exercise in a carriage, sup early, drink draught Porter
banish tea, rise early, my life against Turtons she will grow a stout woman.
for my part I had much rather have a beef Steak Wife than a water gruel one.
If she walks and is anhungered, let her snap two or three oysters & a morsel
of bread -- if milk agrees with her let her take it at night. in the morning it
disposes to sleep, whereof exercise is the life of the machine -- Delicacy of the Sex!



fiddlesticks, how they dance, rake, and have children -- delicate with all my
heart! A certain Lord Taaffe in the Imperial service was asked by George 2d
how he was enabled to make so gallant a defence at a certain post with so few men.
please your Majesty, I took the Soldiers wifes, and clapp'd regimentals on
them, and I gived a whirelock to every one of the bitches, and by Jesus, please
your Majesty the bitches kept up such a whirring, that we kept the
enemy off till we got a reinforcement. delicacy -- I am not an enemy
to milk chocolate, depend on it Women are ruined by slops & medicine, make
them hungry by air and exercise, let them live generously, then no pimples,
then no vapors, no yawnings, no halfsleeps -- put it to Turton, if he does
not assent, (he may be a clever fellow) he is no physician for me or my Wife.
Master Turton does not know so much of the gout as I, I flatter myself -- I am
just arisen from my bed having had him in both feet, both ankles, both knees, both
elbows, and my left crupper -- very well -- having found it imprudent to
brave him, I yielded to flannel, to slops, sweating, low diet while the
Fever with delirium lasted -- I found (this is the second time of trial) great
relief from rubbing the painful part with Opodeldoc, which never repelled
the ------ nor have I this bout, had the least complaint in head or Stomach
on former occasions I plied my gentleman in head or Stomach with Tinctura Rhabarbari drachm S.



I am now relieved from pain, walk pretty hobbling, write as you see a pretty
legible hand like yours, eat what pleases me, and drink a pint of Madeira &
a fig for the Doctor -- I have been my own Aesculapius -- Nervous gout indeed --
a novel term well done Dr. Turton -- 4 Weeks have been the total of my
confinement, & I have had the gout since 1769 -- what say you, Master Turton?
I am within 3 years of 60 -- what say you Mr Doctor Turton de Tirteafuera of cursed Anguera -- si quid novisti rectius I beg you'll tell me.
We are all for War here, as you may guess by my date (March 29th. 1793) --
I don't know if it will not be of service to me, as I must cripple about more or
less -- I am a happy mortal on the whole, though there be so many people
in your England and my Ireland whom I long to see aye and embrace sinner that
I am. I am equally surprised & grieved that my dear niece Mary P. is not
made acquainted with the mysteries, because though I don't suppose she would ride
astride to Gretna Green, yet I think she would like to yield to the soft impulse, if
a gentle legal force was used -- She will make a good choice (if I may judge for
a Woman) but I wish she would make her election sure -- I have no notion of
such fruit hanging Summer after Summer -- give my love to your Wife, I
don't altogether deserve the favorable opinion she entertains of me, but I deserve
certainly about 19/20ths -- she will write to me & so will you, I shan't die yet. Adieu
Henry Hamilton




                             England

John Dickenson Esquire
Taxal

near Chapel le Frith
Derby Shire

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



 1. The adjective anhungered 'hungry' is an archaism (OED).
 2. Crupper is a humourous term for a man's buttocks (OED).
 3. Opodeldoc is 'an alcoholic solution of soap (or oleic acid) and camphor with some added essential oils; soap liniment; (also) a preparation made from this, esp. by mixing with laudanum' (OED s.v. n., 2).
 4. Tincture of rhubarb, with a formula for dosage.
 5. Postmarks 'ST VINCENT' and 'JU 13 93' [some 11 weeks after despatch] split across page above and below address panel when unfolded.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Henry Hamilton to John Dickenson

Shelfmark: HAM/1/4/6/5

Correspondence Details

Author: Henry Hamilton

Place sent: St Vincent (certainty: low)

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

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

Date sent: 29 March 1793

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Henry Hamilton to John Dickenson. He writes '[t]hat a man should write in such good spirits on the absence of his Wife would surprize me, did I not know how to account for things -- your letter entertained me greatly, and for a Taxal man you surprize me how you could spin out such a variety of matter'. Henry Hamilton writes that his 'idea of the marriage state' is that 'he is happyest that has the smallest ground for regret, for as to being always in love, 'tis something like being always hungry which is impossible'. He continues that Mrs Dickenson would respond to such a view with 'filthy fellow, does he call that love?'. He knows of people who are not always kind to each other and knows of 'thousands who regard a Wife in the same Sense as they do a cane, a cork skrew, a snuf[f]box, only because they have had it so long'. Dickenson has described a 'paragon of a Woman, worth 20 golden fleeces'. He mentions Mary Hamilton's ill health and writes that he could cure her: 'damn that fellow Turton [her doctor] with his gout in the Nerves are not we all nerves'. He advises her to take a bit of gingerbread for breakfast with a glass of sack or old Madeira, to be in the open air when the weather is dry, and that tea should be 'banish[ed]'. The letter continues with advice on the food she should eat. Henry Hamilton notes that he would prefer a 'beef Steak Wife than a water gruel one'. 'Delicacy of the Sex! fiddlesticks'.
    Hamilton tells a story of a Taaffe in the Imperial Service who was asked by George II how he made 'so gallant a defence at a certain post with so few men'. He told the King that he had the soldiers' wives wear regimentals, 'and I gived a whirelock to ivery [sic] one of the bitches, and [...] plase [sic] your Majesty the bitches kipt [sic] up sich [sic] a whireing [sic], that we kipt [sic] the innemy [sic] off till we got a reinforcement'. Turton may be a 'clever fellow' but he is no physician for Dickenson or his wife, and Hamilton feels he knows more about gout than the doctor does. He then continues on his own health and treatments.
   

Length: 2 sheets, 1067 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 2017/18 provided by Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester.

Research assistant: Georgia Tutt, MA student, University of Manchester

Transliterator: Francesco Della Ferrera, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted May 2018)

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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