Single Letter

HAM/1/15/2/1 (item a)

Letter from Mary Hamilton to Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Diplomatic Text


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On Thursday Eveg last —— to my utter astonishment ------
------
[1] took it in his head to pay me a visit -- I was so between
frighten'd & confused (for I dreaded any one coming
& finding him in my apartment) yt. I know not
wt. I said or did -- how impertinent will you exclaim!
-- but what will you say when I tell yo. he afterwards
went to yt. foolish Woman you have heard me mention --
& said he saw my confusion -- that he wish'd he had taken
advantage of it to make a declaration of his paʃsi[on]



                             8th Novr 1779?
yt he could no longer bear the torture of suspence wch he
had suffer'd two years -- yt. it was better to know his doom
-- yt. he shd. shortly be in poʃseʃsion of a 1000 a year &c, &c
how happy should he be to have me share his fortunes -- then cry'd
& rav'd & was in despair. -- did you ever hear such
stuff? for my part I know not how to act -- I dare
not behave rude, forand I must acknowledge his behaviour
to me is perfectly resptectful.
      I hope & trust I shall hear from you tomorrow. I
           did not indulge myself in expecting
           a letter to day -- for wch. I am now very
           thankful as I shd. have felt the disappointment
tell me every minute circumstance relative to your-
self
-- how ye. waters agree, wether your cold is gone &
if you think you gain strength -- both of Body & of Mind?
-- Mr S Adieu I am asham'd of ye. frequent
mistakes & scrawl of this letter -- I am hurry'd
for ye. post goes from hence before 9 -- & ye. C——n
have interrupted me twenty times --
God Bleʃs you my Dearest
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                             8th November 1779?
                             1779[2] [3]

Honble- Miʃs Gunning
      at
      Bath[4]

[5]
                                                         [6]

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


Notes


 1. The person whose name has been censored has not yet been identified. It cannot be the younger William Wake, only eleven at the time. The ‘torture of suspence wch [the visitor] had suffer'd two years’ does not help if it merely dates the infatuation to Hamilton's first arrival at Court in 1777. Edwin Stanhope had been tormenting Hamilton with his continuing attentions in December 1779; see GEO/ADD/3/83/49 p.1 n.2. The surviving correspondence of John Farhill with Hamilton only begins in August 1780 (HAM/1/7/4/1, etc.). It is tempting to suspect the Prince of Wales as the unwelcome visitor, though the prospect ‘of a 1000 a year’ seems unlikely in his case. Several letters of the Prince's mention a female gossip who may have got wind of a possible scandal, once actually labelled ‘that foolish, vulgar meddling Woman’ (GEO/ADD/3/82/30). Indeed, on 7 November the Prince asks Hamilton not to be ‘too hasty in lending an ear to every liye yt. little deceitful Rascal, or yt. designing Woman invent’ (GEO/ADD/3/82/58). This could be read as extenuation for a remark made after visiting Hamilton, yet it seems unlikely that the Prince would risk any comment to the woman repeatedly disparaged in his letters, if the same person as cited here by Hamilton. However, the most likely contender is ‘[t]hat little fool B’ [Bourdieu?] who had, probably in November 1779, ‘offer'd that great fool of a woman 100 Guineas to procure a small lock of my Hair’ (HAM/1/15/2/27b).
 2. This dateline is not visible here due to the folded note that was added to the back of this letter. It can be seen on HAM/1/15/2/1 p.3.
 3. HAM/1/15/2/1b p.2 can be seen here.
 4. The address has been written vertically in relation to the main text.
 5. Bishop mark reads '8 NO', indicating the date this letter went through the post.
 6. Remains of a seal, in red wax.

Normalised Text







On Thursday Evening last —— to my utter astonishment ------
------ took it in his head to pay me a visit -- I was so between
frightened & confused (for I dreaded any one coming
& finding him in my apartment) that I know not
what I said or did -- how impertinent will you exclaim!
-- but what will you say when I tell you he afterwards
went to that foolish Woman you have heard me mention --
& said he saw my confusion -- that he wished he had taken
advantage of it to make a declaration of his passion



                            
that he could no longer bear the torture of suspense which he
had suffered two years -- that it was better to know his doom
-- that he should shortly be in possession of a 1000 a year &c, &c
how happy should he be to have me share his fortunes -- then cryed
& raved & was in despair. -- did you ever hear such
stuff? for my part I know not how to act -- I dare
not behave rude, and I must acknowledge his behaviour
to me is perfectly respectful.
      I hope & trust I shall hear from you tomorrow. I
           did not indulge myself in expecting
           a letter to day -- for which I am now very
           thankful as I should have felt the disappointment
tell me every minute circumstance relative to yourself
-- how the waters agree, whether your cold is gone &
if you think you gain strength -- both of Body & of Mind?
-- Adieu I am ashamed of the frequent
mistakes & scrawl of this letter -- I am hurried
for the post goes from hence before 9 -- & the Children
have interrupted me twenty times --
God Bless you my Dearest
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                             8th November
                            

Honourable Miss Gunning
      at
      Bath


                                                        

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quotations,
spellings, uncorrected forms, split words, abbreviations, formatting)



 1. The person whose name has been censored has not yet been identified. It cannot be the younger William Wake, only eleven at the time. The ‘torture of suspence wch [the visitor] had suffer'd two years’ does not help if it merely dates the infatuation to Hamilton's first arrival at Court in 1777. Edwin Stanhope had been tormenting Hamilton with his continuing attentions in December 1779; see GEO/ADD/3/83/49 p.1 n.2. The surviving correspondence of John Farhill with Hamilton only begins in August 1780 (HAM/1/7/4/1, etc.). It is tempting to suspect the Prince of Wales as the unwelcome visitor, though the prospect ‘of a 1000 a year’ seems unlikely in his case. Several letters of the Prince's mention a female gossip who may have got wind of a possible scandal, once actually labelled ‘that foolish, vulgar meddling Woman’ (GEO/ADD/3/82/30). Indeed, on 7 November the Prince asks Hamilton not to be ‘too hasty in lending an ear to every liye yt. little deceitful Rascal, or yt. designing Woman invent’ (GEO/ADD/3/82/58). This could be read as extenuation for a remark made after visiting Hamilton, yet it seems unlikely that the Prince would risk any comment to the woman repeatedly disparaged in his letters, if the same person as cited here by Hamilton. However, the most likely contender is ‘[t]hat little fool B’ [Bourdieu?] who had, probably in November 1779, ‘offer'd that great fool of a woman 100 Guineas to procure a small lock of my Hair’ (HAM/1/15/2/27b).
 2. This dateline is not visible here due to the folded note that was added to the back of this letter. It can be seen on HAM/1/15/2/1 p.3.
 3. HAM/1/15/2/1b p.2 can be seen here.
 4. The address has been written vertically in relation to the main text.
 5. Bishop mark reads '8 NO', indicating the date this letter went through the post.
 6. Remains of a seal, in red wax.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Mary Hamilton to Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Shelfmark: HAM/1/15/2/1 (item a)

Correspondence Details

Sender: Mary Hamilton

Place sent: unknown

Addressee: Charlotte Margaret Digby (née Gunning)

Place received: Bath

Date sent: 8 November 1779
when 8 November 1779 (precision: high)

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Mary Hamilton to Charlotte Gunning.
    In the letter, dated 8 November [?]1779, Hamilton writes of an unwelcome visit by a gentleman. She notes that a man [whose name has been censored from the letter] 'took it into his head to pay me a visit'. Hamilton writes that she was frightened and confused as she 'dreaded any one coming & finding him in my apartments'. She notes that he actually told a foolish woman' that she had previously mentioned to Gunning and declared that he was aware of Hamilton's confusion and 'wish[e]d he had taken advantage of it'. He said that he could not bear the 'torture of suspense' which he has had for two years. Hamilton did not want to appear rude to him and she acknowledges that his behaviour towards her was respectable.
    Original reference No. 1.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 292 words

Transliteration Information

Editorial declaration: First edited 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: Transcription and XML version created as part of project 'Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers', funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council under grant AH/S007121/1.

Transliterator: Cassandra Ulph, editorial team (completed 21 September 2020)

Cataloguer: Lisa Crawley, Archivist, The John Rylands Library

Cataloguer: John Hodgson, Head of Special Collections, The John Rylands Research Institute and Library

Copyright: Transcriptions, notes and TEI/XML © the editors

Revision date: 10 December 2021

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