Single Letter

HAM/1/5/2/19

Letter from Wilhelmina Murray to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


      Wilhelmina Murray[1]

Park Street 21 March 1794

     

      Your letter my Dear Friend had been long wishd
for and I need not say gave me great pleasure, especiely
as it raises my hopes that Bath, air, Water, and Society
will very soon conquer Your complaints; and enable
You to enjoy health and friends -- I should sooner
have acknowledged your kind remembrance had not
my mind been too much bustled[2] to be an agreable
correspondent; My Husband[3] was kept wind bound, at
Spithead and St. Helens ever since January, and could not
obtain leave of absence (being under Sailing Orders) even
to come to London to see his Brother, or on any buʃsineʃs
of his own which he had plenty of -- the General poor
Man growing every day weaker and the Duke of Atholl[4]
marrying in such haste compleeted the bustle: he has
made a choice that every body aproves: and makes his
Sisters very happy, as the Dutcheʃs bears so great a
Character and is such an intimate friend of theirs
that there is every reason to hope it will not only prove happineʃs
to the Duke but to all his familly. She is a very prety
Woman and has never had any children is two and
thirty so of a very proper age to be a companion to
him who is 39 and to take charge of his daughters
perhaps You have seen her and the constent atention
she paid to Lord MacLeod[5] during his life has raised her
Character very high as a Wife, and I trust she will con
tinue
to shine in that with the adition of being as good a



a
Mother in law[6] -- the only thing to be aprehended is her
health as she is of a very delicate construction -- I was at
the Wedding the Dutcheʃs Dowager, Lady Jane[7] & Mr. Muirhead[8]
Lady Mary Martin Miʃs Knight and Y.H.S. were all the
Ladies the Gentlemen were Lord George Murray[9] who performed
the ceremony Lord Tullibardine[10] James and Edward Murray[11]
Colo. Knight who gave the Bride away and Mr. Stuart
the ceremony was perfformed in the evening after which
we all dispersed and the Bride and Bridegroom went out
of Town to Caen-wood[12] where they remained some days and
then sett out for the North. -- Lady Jane is still in Town
and talks of returning to Bath next week -- poor Gen.
Murray we have lost, he lived till Wednesday when
he died retaining his fortitude to the last -- indeed it
has been a shock to my feeling He was an old friend of
at least twenty Year and his death has renewed feelings
I had endevor'd to compose for the Loʃs of another Brother
for whom we have only quited Mourning a fortnight --
the papers amuse themselves with a 1000 lies about
him all without foundation: but not worth refuting, all
that were acquainted with him know his Value and those
that are Strangers can have no amusement in reading
pros and cons on such a subject -- We are all under the
greatest anxiety, for poor Lady Amelia Cooke[13] third Sister
to the Duke of Atholl; she went with her Husband last Year
to Jamaica, he was a Major in the Horse, and very happy
in each other; unfortunately he died of a fever last Decr.
and she was left a truely disconsolate widow, without
man, woman, or child belonging to her there: Gen: & Mrs.
Williamson[14] the Lt. Govr. took her to their house and have



treated her with every atention and kindneʃs that could be in
their power to bestow, or expected to be received from the
known Hospitality and goodneʃs of their hearts which is
too well known to need any thing I can say in praise
of them: but this poor Ly. Amelia was on board the
William and Elizabeth,[15] on her return home: and has
met with that shocking Wreck on the Sands. We are
assured no life is lost. but we are entirely in the dark
what is become of her -- are in daily hopes she will
arrive in some of those fortunate ships that have escaped
the Danger of the Sea and that of the Enemy but till
She does arrive we must be very anxious: God knows
what is best for Us Blind Mortals: and We must receive
these misfortunes with humility and not repine
at the Bleʃsings He sees fit to deprive us of; and
be very thankfull for those He is so good to continue
to us --
in the midst of all this bustle, I have had the
comfort of seeing my Husband return in good health
at a time when by the wind I concluded he was
sail'd to Torbay -- he was sent for expreʃs by the
Admiralty and is now to give up the Glory, and sail very
soon to a very different destination -- I am just this
instent informed that poor Lady Amelia Cooke is safe
arriv'd at Portsmouth God grant the news may be
true! -- You will excuse this stupid letter my Dear
Friend but though my Nerves have had some excercise
I trust I have excerted them and shall continue to do
so, in a Manner that will intitle me to a continuance
of my friends aprobation and among that number



my Dear Mrs. Dickenson give me leave to rank You
I return the Clever paraphrase enclosed with many
thanks have taken a copy of it as You gave me leave
and in return send You a song that is very fashonable
and I think very good make no doubt but You will
think so too. -- pray write soon, very soon and tell
me all about Yourself and La Charmante Louisa[16]
Mr. Dickenson &c &c The Commodore joyns my
Sister and self in compts and every good wish to
You and Yours and believe me in all situations
My Dear Mrs. Dickenson
Your Affectionate and
Sincere Friend

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 centre of sheet below dateline, written in pencil in an unknown hand.
 2. 'Harassed, disordered; stirred up, roused' (OED s.v. bustled adj.1).
 3. Vice Admiral George Murray (1741–1797), a Royal Navy officer and politician, and the grandson of John Murray, first Duke of Atholl.
 4. John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), succeeded to the title of 7th Earl of Tullibardine in 1774. Married to Margery Forbes and cousin-in-law of Mary Hamilton.
 5. Maj.-Gen. John Mackenzie, Lord MacLeod (1727–1789), first husband of Margery Forbes.
 6. In sense 'stepmother'.
 7. 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.
 8. John Grosset Muirhead (d. 1836)
 9. Rt. Rev. Lord George Murray (1761-1803), son of John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl and brother of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), cousin-in-law of Mary Hamilton.
 10. John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), succeeded to the title of 7th Earl of Tullibardine in 1774.
 11. Probably Lt.-Gen. Sir James Murray (1782-1837) and Lord Edward Murray (b.1783), the sons of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830).
 12. What is now known as Kenwood House, in Highgate, London.
 13. Lady Amelia Cooke (née Murray) (d. 1818), sister of Lady Jane Muirhead (née Murray) (d. 1846) and of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), cousin-in-law of Mary Hamilton.
 14. Sir Adam Williamson (1736–1798), Lieutenant-General, governor of Jamaica and St. Domingo.
 15. Name of the vessel.
 16. Louisa Frances Mary Dickenson (1787-1837), daughter of John Dickenson and Mary Hamilton

Normalised Text


     

Park Street 21 March 1794

     

      Your letter my Dear Friend had been long wished
for and I need not say gave me great pleasure, especially
as it raises my hopes that Bath, air, Water, and Society
will very soon conquer Your complaints; and enable
You to enjoy health and friends -- I should sooner
have acknowledged your kind remembrance had not
my mind been too much bustled to be an agreeable
correspondent; My Husband was kept wind bound, at
Spithead and St. Helens ever since January, and could not
obtain leave of absence (being under Sailing Orders) even
to come to London to see his Brother, or on any business
of his own which he had plenty of -- the General poor
Man growing every day weaker and the Duke of Atholl
marrying in such haste completed the bustle: he has
made a choice that every body approves: and makes his
Sisters very happy, as the Duchess bears so great a
Character and is such an intimate friend of theirs
that there is every reason to hope it will not only prove happiness
to the Duke but to all his family. She is a very pretty
Woman and has never had any children is two and
thirty so of a very proper age to be a companion to
him who is 39 and to take charge of his daughters
perhaps You have seen her and the constant attention
she paid to Lord MacLeod during his life has raised her
Character very high as a Wife, and I trust she will continue
to shine in that with the addition of being as good a



Mother in law -- the only thing to be apprehended is her
health as she is of a very delicate construction -- I was at
the Wedding the Duchess Dowager, Lady Jane & Mr. Muirhead
Lady Martin Miss Knight and Your Humble Servant were all the
Ladies the Gentlemen were Lord George Murray who performed
the ceremony Lord Tullibardine James and Edward Murray
Colonel Knight who gave the Bride away and Mr. Stuart
the ceremony was performed in the evening after which
we all dispersed and the Bride and Bridegroom went out
of Town to Caen-wood where they remained some days and
then set out for the North. -- Lady Jane is still in Town
and talks of returning to Bath next week -- poor General
Murray we have lost, he lived till Wednesday when
he died retaining his fortitude to the last -- indeed it
has been a shock to my feeling He was an old friend of
at least twenty Year and his death has renewed feelings
I had endeavoured to compose for the Loss of another Brother
for whom we have only quitted Mourning a fortnight --
the papers amuse themselves with a 1000 lies about
him all without foundation: but not worth refuting, all
that were acquainted with him know his Value and those
that are Strangers can have no amusement in reading
pros and cons on such a subject -- We are all under the
greatest anxiety, for poor Lady Amelia Cooke third Sister
to the Duke of Atholl; she went with her Husband last Year
to Jamaica, he was a Major in the Horse, and very happy
in each other; unfortunately he died of a fever last December
and she was left a truly disconsolate widow, without
man, woman, or child belonging to her there: General & Mrs.
Williamson the Lieutenant Governor took her to their house and have



treated her with every attention and kindness that could be in
their power to bestow, or expected to be received from the
known Hospitality and goodness of their hearts which is
too well known to need any thing I can say in praise
of them: but this poor Lady Amelia was on board the
William and Elizabeth, on her return home: and has
met with that shocking Wreck on the Sands. We are
assured no life is lost. but we are entirely in the dark
what is become of her -- are in daily hopes she will
arrive in some of those fortunate ships that have escaped
the Danger of the Sea and that of the Enemy but till
She does arrive we must be very anxious: God knows
what is best for Us Blind Mortals: and We must receive
these misfortunes with humility and not repine
at the Blessings He sees fit to deprive us of; and
be very thankful for those He is so good to continue
to us --
in the midst of all this bustle, I have had the
comfort of seeing my Husband return in good health
at a time when by the wind I concluded he was
sail'd to Torbay -- he was sent for express by the
Admiralty and is now to give up the Glory, and sail very
soon to a very different destination -- I am just this
instant informed that poor Lady Amelia Cooke is safe
arriv'd at Portsmouth God grant the news may be
true! -- You will excuse this stupid letter my Dear
Friend but though my Nerves have had some exercise
I trust I have exerted them and shall continue to do
so, in a Manner that will entitle me to a continuance
of my friends approbation and among that number



my Dear Mrs. Dickenson give me leave to rank You
I return the Clever paraphrase enclosed with many
thanks have taken a copy of it as You gave me leave
and in return send You a song that is very fashionable
and I think very good make no doubt but You will
think so too. -- pray write soon, very soon and tell
me all about Yourself and La Charmante Louisa
Mr. Dickenson &c &c The Commodore joins my
Sister and self in compliments and every good wish to
You and Yours and believe me in all situations
My Dear Mrs. Dickenson
Your Affectionate and
Sincere Friend

Wilhelmina Murray

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



 1. Moved annotation here from centre of sheet below dateline, written in pencil in an unknown hand.
 2. 'Harassed, disordered; stirred up, roused' (OED s.v. bustled adj.1).
 3. Vice Admiral George Murray (1741–1797), a Royal Navy officer and politician, and the grandson of John Murray, first Duke of Atholl.
 4. John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), succeeded to the title of 7th Earl of Tullibardine in 1774. Married to Margery Forbes and cousin-in-law of Mary Hamilton.
 5. Maj.-Gen. John Mackenzie, Lord MacLeod (1727–1789), first husband of Margery Forbes.
 6. In sense 'stepmother'.
 7. 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.
 8. John Grosset Muirhead (d. 1836)
 9. Rt. Rev. Lord George Murray (1761-1803), son of John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl and brother of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), cousin-in-law of Mary Hamilton.
 10. John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), succeeded to the title of 7th Earl of Tullibardine in 1774.
 11. Probably Lt.-Gen. Sir James Murray (1782-1837) and Lord Edward Murray (b.1783), the sons of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830).
 12. What is now known as Kenwood House, in Highgate, London.
 13. Lady Amelia Cooke (née Murray) (d. 1818), sister of Lady Jane Muirhead (née Murray) (d. 1846) and of John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830), cousin-in-law of Mary Hamilton.
 14. Sir Adam Williamson (1736–1798), Lieutenant-General, governor of Jamaica and St. Domingo.
 15. Name of the vessel.
 16. Louisa Frances Mary Dickenson (1787-1837), daughter of John Dickenson and Mary Hamilton

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/1/5/2/19

Correspondence Details

Author: Wilhelmina Murray (née King)

Place sent: London

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: Bath (certainty: high)

Date sent: 21 March 1794

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Wilhelmina Murray to Mary Hamilton, containing general family and society news. Murray hopes that the waters and the society of Bath will soon cure Hamilton of her 'complaints'. Murray complains that she has been too 'bustled' to be a good correspondent, and that her husband is unable to obtain a leave of absence from his ship, as he is under sailing orders, which has added to her strain. She reports on the family's approval of the marriage of the Duke of Atholl [Sir John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl (1755-1830)] to Margery Forbes [her first husband was Maj-Gen John Mackenzie, Lord MacLeod (1761-1842)], who was 32 and had yet had no children. Murray describes the wedding and the bride.
    Murray writes of the death of a brother for whom she has just finished mourning and with whom 'the papers amuse themselves with a 1000 lies about him all without foundation: but not worth refuting'. Another relation, Lady Amelia Clarke, went to Jamaica with her husband, who was a Major. He died there of a fever and leaves her a widow 'without man, woman, or child belonging to her there'. She was taken in by the Lieutenant Governor and his wife, in whose house she received much kindness and hospitality. On her return home, her ship, the William and Elizabeth, met with an accident on the sands. Murray assumed no life had been lost, but she has not yet been able to find out what has become of her. (Later in the letter, news is received of her safe arrival at Portsmouth.) Murray continues on the dangers of the sea and of the enemy.
    The letter ends with Murray asking that Hamilton excuse her 'stupid' letter.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 986 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: Isabella Formisano, former MA student, University of Manchester

Transliterator: Andrew Wells, MA student, University of Manchester (submitted May 2016)

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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