Single Letter

HAM/1/5/2/16

Letter from Wilhelmina Murray to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


      13
      From the Honble Wilhelmina Murray

7.

20 May 1789

my Dear Mrs. Dickinson

      I cannot leave the Town without
sending you my best wishes, and a few regretts at the
disapointment I feel at not having had the pleasure of
seeing you this winter: but I will not repine at what
was proper you say to do; and you have always judged
so well that I must say nothing more on the subject: but
will hope that when we return, we shall be fortunate
enough to meet, and have a little enjoyment of society --
the Town has realy been tipsey if I may so say ever since
H. M. recovery: it has been continual balls riots and
rejoicing: but it has been a great baulk to his Friends
after the thanksgiving was over, not to see them as usual
not one Levée has been: it has given a continuance
to disagreable reports; and they cannot be avoided but
by his apearance as usual -- I am sorry to say his
friends say altho' perfectly well, yet he is much weak:
:ened
: his legs swell at night and he is very thin so
that he is not looked upon to be in good health. this



will acount for his not coming forward as usual
but I think if he was to Stay but half an hour it would
be a satisfaction and put an end to reports ... the Queen
has had but two drawing rooms both very much
crouded the first was atended with fits laughing &
screaming: the loʃs of trimmings; Lappets and even
trains -- the ladies that were to be presented lost their
company's and either were pushed before H. M. and obliged
to present themselves or, never got the honor at all --
the last was better regulated a new door was opened next
the Windows for company to go in at, the center was kept
shut till H. M. came who was led to the middle table
the Princeʃses stood in a line to the upper end of the
room so the company paʃst one by one and turning
under the Canopy went out at the door the Queen came
in at: and being desired to go out, prevented any croud
or pushing -- the Queen looked very well. she has
since been at the play and opera, at the first she
was recieved with such aclamations as overcame her
and the Princeʃses. at the latter there was a Hiʃs



That surprised every body but was not drowned without
being noticed -- last night She gave a great Ball at
Windsor Lord and Lady King were of the number
the Ladies dreʃs is the Windsor uniform dark blue
Laby[1] gown with very broad gold fringe down the sides
which are drawn up about half way with two superb
taʃsels of gold the apron or petitcoat is white crape with
two gold fringes by way of trimming narrow and a
twist above the fringe of red & blue. the handkercheifs
ruffles and caps are all uniform four white plumes
in the latter. inshort the dreʃs altogether is from 36 to
forty pound -- a good round sum for a ball dreʃs
that must be wore -- this last fête has ocasioned great
heart burning's for while H. M. stopt with the peers
daughters the Maids of Honor and commoners were
out of the question, but having invited Miʃs Pulteney
and Miʃs Copes to this it has opened every body's
mouth and expectation as many think they had as good
if not a better right to be asked. no doubt there was a
reason but it ought to have been a very strong one to let



in such a croud upon her hands -- you will hear of all
this from better authority I imagine -- the Duke of Atholl
is in town on Buʃsineʃs which all his friends are very
anxious about its succeʃs; they have had a great shock
which prevented his coming so soon as he returned post
to the Dutcheʃs from Edinbr. when on his way to London
it was the sudden death of Lord Frederick, the youngest
Boy who was a remarkable strong and fine child of his
age, had been crowing in the Dutcheʃs's lap not five
minutes before it was siezed with a fit which it never
came out of -- the teeth was the ocasion -- I feel quite glad
not to have seen it, but it was born at Blair just when
we left the country so had no opportunity --
tomorrow we sett out, and intend to verifie the old adage
that the farthest way about is the nearest way home
as we go first to the Grange to visit Mr. Henry Drummond
in our way to Bath, where we intend to visit Lady Jane
and Mr. Muirhead[2] who live there, as does Lady Charlotte
Murray -- from thence we propose to go to Lord
Henry Murray who is married & settled near Liverpool
and after that visit shall sett our faces North and get



home as fast as we can. My Sister will I hope quite establish
her health; in this tour and flatter myself we shall bring
her back still better than we take her -- I likewise hope
to return my Charge[3] to Her Father in high health she is
very much grown and I hope he will aprove, of the use
she has made of her time and the expence he has been
at for her improvement which has been very liberal he
will think well bestowed. You will easily believe I shall
be happy to see Him satisfied with it, as he placed such
implicit confidence in us and now that she is his only
Darling, it made me doubly anxious. in spight of Masters
and amusements, she has found
time for more serious & nesesary
ap̄lication, having been confirmed
and recieved the Sacrament. since
which we have been to one Opera, Ranelagh,[4]
Sadlers, Wells, & Astleys,[5] so that she will have
a very good idea of what she will hear & read of in the
papers, but the amusement I liked best was an Exhibition
at Covent Garden Theatre in Lent by Walker,[6] shewing the
revolution of the Earth Moon & Stars with Comets Eclipses
and the Causes of the Ebb & flow of the tides -- it was a
moral entertainment, was atended by very full houses & a
Silence that did them honor even to the Gallerys. but I
find I am come to the end of my paper so must leave
the Stars to aʃsure My Dear Mrs. Dickenson I am at all
times her Sincere well wisher
                                                         & Affectionate Friend
Wilhelmina Murray

my Sister & Husband present
you with their best compts
add mine to theirs & make[7]
them acceptable to Mr. Dickenson.      I admire Miʃs Louisa'[s]
anxiety & Loyalty. I hope she will continue her improvements of body [&]



mind as they must make you and all so happy. I m[ake]
no doubt she already manages Grand. papa & will very soon
Papa & Mamma --
Gen: & Mrs. Leland [are] in the country he has been under Surgeons
hands three months with his wounded Leg breaking out again
so is gone upon his crutches for change of air. she is very well
+ my Brother has just put his third & youngest son to Eton
six year old the other two you know have been there a great
while -- Addio V' Auguro Ogni Bene --
+ Lord King

King London may twenty 89[8]
Mrs: Dickenson
Taxal
Chapel le frith
Derbyshire[9]

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


Notes


 1. A Scots word meaning 'a loose garment or wrap' (OED s.v. labey n.).
 2. John Grosset Muirhead (d. 1836) and his wife, Lady Jane Muirhead (née Murray) (d. 1846), sister of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), who was a cousin-in-law of Mary Hamilton.
 3. On Miss Farquharson see HAM/1/5/2/14, 17.
 4. Ranelagh Gardens, public pleasure gardens in Chelsea.
 5. Astley's Circus, near Westminster Bridge (Wikipedia) -- reading thanks to Elaine Chalus, Professor of British History, Bath Spa University.
 6. Adam Walker (1731–1821), English inventor, writer, and science lecturer who invented the Eidouranion, a kind of orrery combining mechanical movement with a method of back projection.
 7. These first 3 lines of the postscript appear to the left of the signature.
 8. Postmark '89' otherwise illegible to right of address when unfolded.
 9. This address appears written vertically in panel in centre of page 5 when unfolded.

Normalised Text


     
     



my Dear Mrs. Dickinson

      I cannot leave the Town without
sending you my best wishes, and a few regrets at the
disappointment I feel at not having had the pleasure of
seeing you this winter: but I will not repine at what
was proper you say to do; and you have always judged
so well that I must say nothing more on the subject: but
will hope that when we return, we shall be fortunate
enough to meet, and have a little enjoyment of society --
the Town has really been tipsy if I may so say ever since
His Majesty's recovery: it has been continual balls riots and
rejoicing: but it has been a great baulk to his Friends
after the thanksgiving was over, not to see them as usual
not one Levee has been: it has given a continuance
to disagreeable reports; and they cannot be avoided but
by his appearance as usual -- I am sorry to say his
friends say although perfectly well, yet he is much weakened
: his legs swell at night and he is very thin so
that he is not looked upon to be in good health. this



will account for his not coming forward as usual
but I think if he was to Stay but half an hour it would
be a satisfaction and put an end to reports ... the Queen
has had but two drawing rooms both very much
crowded the first was attended with fits laughing &
screaming: the loss of trimmings; Lappets and even
trains -- the ladies that were to be presented lost their
company's and either were pushed before Her Majesty and obliged
to present themselves or, never got the honor at all --
the last was better regulated a new door was opened next
the Windows for company to go in at, the center was kept
shut till Her Majesty came who was led to the middle table
the Princesses stood in a line to the upper end of the
room so the company passed one by one and turning
under the Canopy went out at the door the Queen came
in at: and being desired to go out, prevented any crowd
or pushing -- the Queen looked very well. she has
since been at the play and opera, at the first she
was received with such acclamations as overcame her
and the Princesses. at the latter there was a Hiss



That surprised every body but was not drowned without
being noticed -- last night She gave a great Ball at
Windsor Lord and Lady King were of the number
the Ladies dress is the Windsor uniform dark blue
Labey gown with very broad gold fringe down the sides
which are drawn up about half way with two superb
tassels of gold the apron or petticoat is white crape with
two gold fringes by way of trimming narrow and a
twist above the fringe of red & blue. the handkerchiefs
ruffles and caps are all uniform four white plumes
in the latter. in short the dress altogether is from 36 to
forty pound -- a good round sum for a ball dress
that must be wore -- this last fête has occasioned great
heart burning's for while Her Majesty stopped with the peers
daughters the Maids of Honor and commoners were
out of the question, but having invited Miss Pulteney
and Miss Copes to this it has opened every body's
mouth and expectation as many think they had as good
if not a better right to be asked. no doubt there was a
reason but it ought to have been a very strong one to let



in such a crowd upon her hands -- you will hear of all
this from better authority I imagine -- the Duke of Atholl
is in town on Business which all his friends are very
anxious about its success; they have had a great shock
which prevented his coming so soon as he returned post
to the Duchess from Edinburgh when on his way to London
it was the sudden death of Lord Frederick, the youngest
Boy who was a remarkable strong and fine child of his
age, had been crowing in the Duchess's lap not five
minutes before it was seized with a fit which it never
came out of -- the teeth was the occasion -- I feel quite glad
not to have seen it, but it was born at Blair just when
we left the country so had no opportunity --
tomorrow we set out, and intend to verify the old adage
that the farthest way about is the nearest way home
as we go first to the Grange to visit Mr. Henry Drummond
in our way to Bath, where we intend to visit Lady Jane
and Mr. Muirhead who live there, as does Lady Charlotte
Murray -- from thence we propose to go to Lord
Henry Murray who is married & settled near Liverpool
and after that visit shall set our faces North and get



home as fast as we can. My Sister will I hope quite establish
her health; in this tour and flatter myself we shall bring
her back still better than we take her -- I likewise hope
to return my Charge to Her Father in high health she is
very much grown and I hope he will approve, of the use
she has made of her time and the expense he has been
at for her improvement which has been very liberal he
will think well bestowed. You will easily believe I shall
be happy to see Him satisfied with it, as he placed such
implicit confidence in us and now that she is his only
Darling, it made me doubly anxious. in spite of Masters
and amusements, she has found
time for more serious & necessary
application, having been confirmed
and received the Sacrament. since
which we have been to one Opera, Ranelagh,
Sadlers, Wells, & Astleys, so that she will have
a very good idea of what she will hear & read of in the
papers, but the amusement I liked best was an Exhibition
at Covent Garden Theatre in Lent by Walker, shewing the
revolution of the Earth Moon & Stars with Comets Eclipses
and the Causes of the Ebb & flow of the tides -- it was a
moral entertainment, was attended by very full houses & a
Silence that did them honor even to the Gallerys. but I
find I am come to the end of my paper so must leave
the Stars to assure My Dear Mrs. Dickenson I am at all
times her Sincere well wisher
                                                         & Affectionate Friend
Wilhelmina Murray

my Sister & Husband present
you with their best compliments
add mine to theirs & make
them acceptable to Mr. Dickenson.      I admire Miss Louisa's
anxiety & Loyalty. I hope she will continue her improvements of body &



mind as they must make you and all so happy. I make
no doubt she already manages Grand. papa & will very soon
Papa & Mamma --
General & Mrs. Leland are in the country he has been under Surgeons
hands three months with his wounded Leg breaking out again
so is gone upon his crutches for change of air. she is very well
+ my Brother has just put his third & youngest son to Eton
six year old the other two you know have been there a great
while -- Addio V' Auguro Ogni Bene --
+ Lord King

King London may twenty 89
Mrs: Dickenson
Taxal
Chapel le frith
Derbyshire

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



 1. A Scots word meaning 'a loose garment or wrap' (OED s.v. labey n.).
 2. John Grosset Muirhead (d. 1836) and his wife, Lady Jane Muirhead (née Murray) (d. 1846), sister of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), who was a cousin-in-law of Mary Hamilton.
 3. On Miss Farquharson see HAM/1/5/2/14, 17.
 4. Ranelagh Gardens, public pleasure gardens in Chelsea.
 5. Astley's Circus, near Westminster Bridge (Wikipedia) -- reading thanks to Elaine Chalus, Professor of British History, Bath Spa University.
 6. Adam Walker (1731–1821), English inventor, writer, and science lecturer who invented the Eidouranion, a kind of orrery combining mechanical movement with a method of back projection.
 7. These first 3 lines of the postscript appear to the left of the signature.
 8. Postmark '89' otherwise illegible to right of address when unfolded.
 9. This address appears written vertically in panel in centre of page 5 when unfolded.

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/1/5/2/16

Correspondence Details

Author: Wilhelmina Murray (née King)

Place sent: London (certainty: high)

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

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

Date sent: 20 May 1789

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Wilhelmina Murray to Mary Hamilton. The letter relates to the King's recovery from his illness. There has been much rejoicing and balls. She notes that until the King is seen more in public, 'disagre[e]able reports' cannot be avoided. The Queen has held only two Drawing Rooms (society gatherings), which were both 'very much crouded' [sic]. The first was 'at[t]ended with fits of laughing', as the Ladies that were to be presented 'lost their company's and either were pushed before H.M. and obliged to present themselves or, never got the honor at all'.
    The letter continues on the Queen, who had attended a play and the opera. Murray notes that at a Ball given by the Royal Family, many of the Ladies wore the 'Windsor uniform' of dark blue gown with a gold fringe down the sides. She describes the clothes in detail and prices them at around 36 to 40 pounds each, 'a good round sum for a ball dress that must be wore'. The rest of the letter relates to family news and a trip to the Convent Garden Theatre.
    Original reference No. 7.
   

Length: 2 sheets, 1248 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: 13 April 2020

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