Single Letter

HAM/1/5/2/14

Letter from Wilhelmina Murray to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


X     11
Hble. Mrs. Murray
From Honble Wilhelmina Murray

      5.[1]

Stanley House 1 Oct.. 1788.


      I take the first opportunity of thanking my Dear
Mrs. Dickenson for her obliging and entertaining letter
not, that I think I shd. have done it so quick but the
opportunity of Gen: Murray's being with us to frank it,
tempted me to intrude so soon on your time as I
wished to tell you how pleased I am, with the
idea of your being so near London and likly to
continue there some time, as we flatter ourselves with
hopes to have the pleasure of seeing you on our
arrival, the distance being so easy. -- as we propose
to leave the country, the beginning of Novr. therefore
you will be sure to hear of us, No. 110 Park Street
and if you are disposed, to follow my good example
in answering me directly, please to direct to Stanley
House, near Perth -- without enclosing it; as the Gen:
is going South: therefore, any under his cover, would
travell a long time, before it came to me. --
your Anecdotes entertained me very much, but
that of Lady Tweedale did not surprise; as She
has been loseing her memory for a great many



years and of late, has been odd to a great degree
so no wonder she should have forgot the Saxons &c[2]
as for that of Sir Mathew Decker I have often heard it
from those personaly acquainted with him, and the
fact was, that Sir John Germaine had been a footman
very low and illiterate. got a great fortune in the
S. Sea year,[3] and had the good fortune ------ that, to marry
that Exellent Woman Lady Betty that we all remember
but that, niether made him a better scholar, nor a
Gentleman.. when he was a dying, he was very uneasy
and the celebrated Doctor Clarke, then Rector of St.
James's was sent for to aʃsist him. but on coming
he found him totaly ignorant of every thing and
believing in nothing. he thought it in vain to atempt
teaching a dying man, therefore asked to read to him
which being accepted he opened the Bible, and read
our Savr. Sermon on the mount. Sr. John was much
pleased and sd. it was an exellent book, who had wrote
it? Sr. Mathew replied Dtr. Clarke, the other never having
heard of any Saint, but a great deal of Sir Mathew
his Neighbour, replied indeed! I never thought he had



been able to write so well. The answer surprised
the Doctor but nothing more paʃst, and it did not
occurr to him that he confused the Saint and the Sir.
but on every body's surprise at the clause, then added
to the Will Doctor Clarke recollected and told the
circumstance that most likly ocasioned it --
I must apologise for having begun this letter on
a half sheet, but the Duke of Atholl, in writting
yesterday, had tore it off so neatly, that till I
came to turn over I never found out part had
been used -- The influenca has been all over the
country even the Highlands have not escaped; and
all the familly at Atholl House have had it but the
Duke, Dutcheʃs and Lady Elizabeth -- her Grace is in
expectation of soon adding another Bonny Lad, or Laʃs
(to use the Scots poets expreʃsion) to the number
she is already bleʃt with: but continues as yet
in perfect good health -- Lord Tullibardine has
paʃst the Last holidays at my Brothers with his
two School-fellows and was much pleased. the situa



tion
of Ockham[4] and that his has been used to among
the Highlands it must apear like a differrent
world to him[5] -- you give but a Melancholy acct. of
the R. Familly the poor Princeʃses seem to have
sufferr'd very much; and tho' Ps. Mary is got well
it does not apear Ps. Elizabeth is she is so pleasing
every body is interested in her health, which
seems but very bad -- . The Duke of York does
not seem to please, so much as expected, having
with all the Follies of Youth too much of the
foriegn Hauteur to paʃs it off. and serves to sett
of his brothers to more advantage who is more
Easy -- his late purchase is certainly a good one
for a prince there is just Elbow room sufficient
for amusement, without any com̄and to give jealousy
or distance from Court to have tales and reports
prevail before they could be contradicted -- pray
do You hear what is become of P.E.[6] a storry has
prevailed that he stript the D. Palace of Plate
and valuables converted it into money. and then sett



off for Italy with a Venus
I am much obliged for your recom̄endation of
the books which I shall try and get from Perth
but fear of succeʃs as their librarys are not
very good and we generaly find it easier to get
our things from London than Edinburgh --
the adition to Madame de Sevignée[7] letters will
be a great acquisition if they can be fairly
made out, but I think the stile will soon shew
them to be genuine or not -- I think the act.
coming out of the Memoires of the Late Ducheʃs
of Kingston[8] if fairly well told, may be made
not only amusing but interesting; as she had a
busy life among all ranks. it is not thought her
Estate in Ruʃsia tho' a tract almost as large
as England will sell for sufficient to pay
the legacies she has bequeathed -- her death
was ocasioned by the paʃsion she put herself into
on being told one of her law suits was likly to
be decided against her, the agitation broke a blood



Veʃsell of which she died next day -- her house
near Calais she has left in its present state all
to the com̄andant in being -- Lord Carmarthen's
choice seems to promise happineʃs, as that
familly has been always marked as amiable
well behaved, and well Educated -- without which
I think behaviour and Character is always precar
:ious
-- have you read The Sisters wrote by Mrs. Hervey[9]
(Mrs. Beckfords daughter.) where that lecon is strongly
incuculated. and I think the whole is wrote in a
pleasant stile, and better than the usual style of
Novels -- my paper is near at an end before I tell you
we have taken charge of a neice during the absence of
her Father, who is gone to Lisbon on the hope of recovering
his Eldest daughter a beautifull Girl of 18. he has burried
his wife (the Captains Sister) and nine children of consumption
and having only two left has separated them for fear
of the youngest catching the cough -- we shall carry her
to London to finish her masters so that I flatter myself
she will be returned to Mr. Farquharson much improved[10]
my good Husband & Sister joyn me in best wishes to Yr Self
& Mr. Dickenson not forgetting the fair Louisa. I am yrs. affectly
                                                         Wilhelmina Murray

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


Notes


 1. Moved annotation here from below dateline.
 2. This anecdote about Lady Tweeddale is mentioned in Horace Walpole's letters following his translation of the Mémoires de Grammont.
 3. 1720, the year of the so-called South Sea Bubble.
 4. The seat of Wilhelmina's brother-in-law.
 5. This sentence seems somewhat garbled. Possibly some such wording was intended as '[Between] the situation of Ockham and that [he] has been used to among the Highlands, it must seem a different world.'
 6. Possibly Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767-1820).
 7. Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné (1626-1696).
 8. Elizabeth Pierrepont, Duchess of Kingston (1720-1788).
 9. Elizabeth Hervey (1748-1820), author of Melissa and Marcia; or, the Sisters: A Novel (1788).
 10. Miss Farquharson's progress is mentioned also in HAM/1/5/2/16, 17.

Normalised Text


     



Stanley House 1 October .


      I take the first opportunity of thanking my Dear
Mrs. Dickenson for her obliging and entertaining letter
not, that I think I should have done it so quick but the
opportunity of General Murray's being with us to frank it,
tempted me to intrude so soon on your time as I
wished to tell you how pleased I am, with the
idea of your being so near London and likely to
continue there some time, as we flatter ourselves with
hopes to have the pleasure of seeing you on our
arrival, the distance being so easy. -- as we propose
to leave the country, the beginning of November therefore
you will be sure to hear of us, Number 110 Park Street
and if you are disposed, to follow my good example
in answering me directly, please to direct to Stanley
House, near Perth -- without enclosing it; as the General
is going South: therefore, any under his cover, would
travell a long time, before it came to me. --
your Anecdotes entertained me very much, but
that of Lady Tweedale did not surprise; as She
has been losing her memory for a great many



years and of late, has been odd to a great degree
so no wonder she should have forgotten the Saxons &c
as for that of Sir Mathew Decker I have often heard it
from those personally acquainted with him, and the
fact was, that Sir John Germaine had been a footman
very low and illiterate. got a great fortune in the
South Sea year, and had the good fortune that, to marry
that Excellent Woman Lady Betty that we all remember
but that, neither made him a better scholar, nor a
Gentleman.. when he was a dying, he was very uneasy
and the celebrated Doctor Clarke, then Rector of St.
James's was sent for to assist him. but on coming
he found him totally ignorant of every thing and
believing in nothing. he thought it in vain to attempt
teaching a dying man, therefore asked to read to him
which being accepted he opened the Bible, and read
our Saviour Sermon on the mount. Sir John was much
pleased and said it was an excellent book, who had written
it? Sir Mathew replied Dtr. Clarke, the other never having
heard of any Saint, but a great deal of Sir Mathew
his Neighbour, replied indeed! I never thought he had



been able to write so well. The answer surprised
the Doctor but nothing more passed, and it did not
occur to him that he confused the Saint and the Sir.
but on every body's surprise at the clause, then added
to the Will Doctor Clarke recollected and told the
circumstance that most likely occasioned it --
I must apologise for having begun this letter on
a half sheet, but the Duke of Atholl, in writing
yesterday, had tore it off so neatly, that till I
came to turn over I never found out part had
been used -- The influenza has been all over the
country even the Highlands have not escaped; and
all the family at Atholl House have had it but the
Duke, Duchess and Lady Elizabeth -- her Grace is in
expectation of soon adding another Bonny Lad, or Lass
(to use the Scots poets expression) to the number
she is already blessed with: but continues as yet
in perfect good health -- Lord Tullibardine has
passed the Last holidays at my Brothers with his
two School-fellows and was much pleased. the situation



of Ockham and that his has been used to among
the Highlands it must appear like a different
world to him -- you give but a Melancholy account of
the Royal Family the poor Princesses seem to have
suffer'd very much; and though Princess Mary is got well
it does not appear Princess Elizabeth is she is so pleasing
every body is interested in her health, which
seems but very bad -- . The Duke of York does
not seem to please, so much as expected, having
with all the Follies of Youth too much of the
foreign Hauteur to pass it off. and serves to set
off his brothers to more advantage who is more
Easy -- his late purchase is certainly a good one
for a prince there is just Elbow room sufficient
for amusement, without any command to give jealousy
or distance from Court to have tales and reports
prevail before they could be contradicted -- pray
do You hear what is become of P.E. a story has
prevailed that he stripped the D. Palace of Plate
and valuables converted it into money. and then set



off for Italy with a Venus
I am much obliged for your recommendation of
the books which I shall try and get from Perth
but fear of success as their librarys are not
very good and we generally find it easier to get
our things from London than Edinburgh --
the addition to Madame de Sévigné letters will
be a great acquisition if they can be fairly
made out, but I think the style will soon show
them to be genuine or not -- I think the account
coming out of the Memoirs of the Late Duchess
of Kingston if fairly well told, may be made
not only amusing but interesting; as she had a
busy life among all ranks. it is not thought her
Estate in Russia though a tract almost as large
as England will sell for sufficient to pay
the legacies she has bequeathed -- her death
was occasioned by the passion she put herself into
on being told one of her law suits was likely to
be decided against her, the agitation broke a blood



Vessel of which she died next day -- her house
near Calais she has left in its present state all
to the commandant in being -- Lord Carmarthen's
choice seems to promise happiness, as that
family has been always marked as amiable
well behaved, and well Educated -- without which
I think behaviour and Character is always precarious
-- have you read The Sisters wrote by Mrs. Hervey
(Mrs. Beckfords daughter.) where that lesson is strongly
inculcated. and I think the whole is written in a
pleasant style, and better than the usual style of
Novels -- my paper is near at an end before I tell you
we have taken charge of a niece during the absence of
her Father, who is gone to Lisbon on the hope of recovering
his Eldest daughter a beautiful Girl of 18. he has buried
his wife (the Captains Sister) and nine children of consumption
and having only two left has separated them for fear
of the youngest catching the cough -- we shall carry her
to London to finish her masters so that I flatter myself
she will be returned to Mr. Farquharson much improved
my good Husband & Sister join me in best wishes to Your Self
& Mr. Dickenson not forgetting the fair Louisa. I am yours affectionately
                                                         Wilhelmina Murray

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



 1. Moved annotation here from below dateline.
 2. This anecdote about Lady Tweeddale is mentioned in Horace Walpole's letters following his translation of the Mémoires de Grammont.
 3. 1720, the year of the so-called South Sea Bubble.
 4. The seat of Wilhelmina's brother-in-law.
 5. This sentence seems somewhat garbled. Possibly some such wording was intended as '[Between] the situation of Ockham and that [he] has been used to among the Highlands, it must seem a different world.'
 6. Possibly Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767-1820).
 7. Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné (1626-1696).
 8. Elizabeth Pierrepont, Duchess of Kingston (1720-1788).
 9. Elizabeth Hervey (1748-1820), author of Melissa and Marcia; or, the Sisters: A Novel (1788).
 10. Miss Farquharson's progress is mentioned also in HAM/1/5/2/16, 17.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Wilhelmina Murray to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/5/2/14

Correspondence Details

Author: Wilhelmina Murray (née King)

Place sent: Stanley, near Perth (certainty: high)

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: unknown

Date sent: 1 October 1788

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Wilhelmina Murray to Mary Hamilton. The letter relates to books and general news and gossip. Murray notes that Sir John Germaine was once an illiterate footman, who gained a great fortune and married highly. Neither his marriage nor his wealth made 'him a better scholar, nor a Gentleman', and when dying, a Doctor Clarke (a churchman) was called and 'found him total[l]y ignorant of every thing'. Dr Clarke read to him from the Bible. On being informed that Saint Matthew had written the sermon, Sir John, 'never having heard of any Saint, but a great deal of Sir Matthew his Neighbour', said 'I never thought he had been able to write so well'. Murray notes that there was an additional clause to Sir John's will, and that this addition may have come from this conversation.
    Murray reports that Princess Elizabeth is ill. A story is circulating about what is to come of 'P.E.', who possibly 'stript the D Palace of Plate and valuables converted it into money and then set off for Italy'. She thanks Hamilton for her book suggestions and will try to get hold of them, although she fears for her success, as the Library at Perth is not very good and she generally finds it easier getting them from London than Edinburgh. She looks forward to the acquisition of Madame de Sévigné's Letters and believes that the style will show if they are genuine or not. The soon-to-be-published Memoirs of the late Duchess of Kingston 'if fairly well told, may be made not only amusing but interesting, as she had a busy life'. The letter continues on family news.
    Original reference No. 5.
   

Length: 2 sheets, 1160 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 2014/15 and 2015/16 provided by the Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester.

Research assistant: Donald Alasdair Morrison, undergraduate student, University of Manchester

Transliterator: Nerea Rodríguez-Estévez, dissertation student, University of Vigo (submitted March 2015)

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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