Single Letter

HAM/1/20/118

Letter from Francis Napier, 8th Lord Napier, to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


                                                         Wilton Lodge
                                                               12th. Decr- 1791.




My Dear Sister,
      Was you born in Ireland?
Did You ever dip in the Shannon? Resolve
me these questions speedily, for till You
do so, I must remain lost in wonderment
& astoundation. Instead of that humble,
penitential acknowledgement of your Ne=
=gligence
, due to my uncommon condes=
=cension
in writing a Second Letter to You,
the very first Page of your Folio Epistle
contains a downright attack on Me, & an
expectation of my falling on my Marrow
Bones,[1] the first time we may chance to
meet. Luckily, a Snow Storm & an Empty
Purse, are two strong Motives for remaining
at Home, I might otherwise have been
tempted, instantly to have set out, to Bil=
=lingsgate
[2] You in Person. Be aʃsured, it
is not want of inclination, but only the above
mentioned Causes & my well known Spirit
of Moderation, that prevent my taking my
Revenge, by transporting myself & Family to
eat You out of House & Home this Christmas.
Think of the punishment You have escaped,
& let the terrifying Nature of it sink so
deep into your Memory as to work a com=
=pleat
Reformation & Amendment in your



manners. And beware of forcing Me, to vent
any part of that Gall & Spleen on You, which,
divers croʃs & diabolical machinations of
my Enemies, have caused to arise, and much
discompose the amiable gentleneʃs of my
disposition. Having said so much by way
of caution, I shall make a stop in my Ex=
=hortations
, to allow You proper time, to
reflect seriously, on the enormity of your
Effrontery & Presumption --
      You are pleased to refer Me
to Mr. Dickenson, for an Account of the Why
you did not write to Me. But be it known
to You, that I entertain too high an Opinion
of the Dignity & Authority of the Lord & Master
of a Family, to put so groʃs an Affront on a
Husband, as to suppose him bound to answer
for a Wife's Lazineʃs or Inattention, I therefore
positively command You to make your
own proper submiʃsion & Apology under
your own proper signature. By the bye,
You was so conscious of the Arrogance of
your last Letter, that you sent it away
without date or name affixed to it. The
first page, to be sure, has, “Taxal Novr 1791” at
the Top of it, & on the fourth Page appears “Decr. 4 --
1791” -- but neither of these can be esteemed
legal dates.
      That I may not entirely drive
You to Despair, I will now condescend to
tell You, that whenever Mr. Dickenson will
either bring or send You here, You shall be
received with decent affection & treated with



a tolerable share of kindneʃs. The sooner
you make your appearance, the more
convinced I shall be of your Contrition, and
really I would advise Mr. Dickenson to bring
You here without loʃs of time, as I begin
to suspect, a little sharp Rebuke, would be
good for You. We wont starve You, for
be it known to You, that we now kill
all our own Meat. Excellent Mutton, Admi=
=rable
Highland Beef, Delicate Chinese Pork,
& delicious Poultry of all kinds.
      What a pity it was, the Chevalier
Palombi
did not stray as far North as Wilton
Lodge. He might, perhaps, have taken a
fancy for my Sister Harriot, & so removed
the probability, which now attends her, of
leading Apes,[3] (It is fortunate, that she is not
looking over my Shoulder,) & the vexation, which
      his inclination for Miʃs D.
      has given your family. of
      your Engaging, Charming Emma,
      I know nothing, except having
heard, that Sir Wm. H. had married a Young, beautiful
woman, of a very musical disposition, & who the
illnatured world suspected, had been on a footing
of intimacy with him, before their Nuptials. Not
having considered the Noble K.B. as accountable
to Me for any of his actions, I never enquired
further, but shall receive any communica=
=tion
from You, on that subject, with the most
profound Attention. And now, Madam, You may
flatter yourself with my good wishes & those
of my Rib. Love & affection to Mr. D. & the Brat. My
Brats
are well. The last, denominated Sophia. All this
from Your Affece. Brother, till Death,
                                                         Napier.




Hawick Thirteenth Decr= 1791.[4]

[5]
      Mrs= Dickenson
           Taxal
           Chapel le Frith
                             Derby
                             by Carlisle
Napier.

[6]

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


Notes


 1. ‘The shin bones; (also) the knees. Frequently used humorously in phrases referring to kneeling in supplication, prayer, etc.’ (OED s.v. marrowbone n. 2.a. Accessed 04-11-2021).
 2. Derived from the place-name Billingsgate and the language supposedly found there: ‘scurrilous vituperation, violent abuse’ (OED s.v. Billingsgate n. 2). The verb is attested only once in the OED (accessed 04-11-2021) and does not appear in Grose's (1788) Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
 3. ‘To lead apes in hell: the fancied consequence of dying an old maid’ (OED s.v. ape n. 6. Accessed 04-11-2021).
 4. As an MP, Napier is able to frank his own letters.
 5. Postmark ‘HAWICK’ in brown ink.
 6. Remains of a gummed wafer.

Normalised Text


                                                         Wilton Lodge
                                                               12th. December 1791.




My Dear Sister,
      Was you born in Ireland?
Did You ever dip in the Shannon? Resolve
me these questions speedily, for till You
do so, I must remain lost in wonderment
& astoundation. Instead of that humble,
penitential acknowledgement of your Negligence
, due to my uncommon condescension
in writing a Second Letter to You,
the very first Page of your Folio Epistle
contains a downright attack on Me, & an
expectation of my falling on my Marrow
Bones, the first time we may chance to
meet. Luckily, a Snow Storm & an Empty
Purse, are two strong Motives for remaining
at Home, I might otherwise have been
tempted, instantly to have set out, to Billingsgate
You in Person. Be assured, it
is not want of inclination, but only the above
mentioned Causes & my well known Spirit
of Moderation, that prevent my taking my
Revenge, by transporting myself & Family to
eat You out of House & Home this Christmas.
Think of the punishment You have escaped,
& let the terrifying Nature of it sink so
deep into your Memory as to work a complete
Reformation & Amendment in your



manners. And beware of forcing Me, to vent
any part of that Gall & Spleen on You, which,
divers cross & diabolical machinations of
my Enemies, have caused to arise, and much
discompose the amiable gentleness of my
disposition. Having said so much by way
of caution, I shall make a stop in my Exhortations
, to allow You proper time, to
reflect seriously, on the enormity of your
Effrontery & Presumption --
      You are pleased to refer Me
to Mr. Dickenson, for an Account of the Why
you did not write to Me. But be it known
to You, that I entertain too high an Opinion
of the Dignity & Authority of the Lord & Master
of a Family, to put so gross an Affront on a
Husband, as to suppose him bound to answer
for a Wife's Laziness or Inattention, I therefore
positively command You to make your
own proper submission & Apology under
your own proper signature. By the bye,
You was so conscious of the Arrogance of
your last Letter, that you sent it away
without date or name affixed to it. The
first page, to be sure, has, “Taxal November 1791” at
the Top of it, & on the fourth Page appears “December 4 --
1791” -- but neither of these can be esteemed
legal dates.
      That I may not entirely drive
You to Despair, I will now condescend to
tell You, that whenever Mr. Dickenson will
either bring or send You here, You shall be
received with decent affection & treated with



a tolerable share of kindness. The sooner
you make your appearance, the more
convinced I shall be of your Contrition, and
really I would advise Mr. Dickenson to bring
You here without loss of time, as I begin
to suspect, a little sharp Rebuke, would be
good for You. We wont starve You, for
be it known to You, that we now kill
all our own Meat. Excellent Mutton, Admirable
Highland Beef, Delicate Chinese Pork,
& delicious Poultry of all kinds.
      What a pity it was, the Chevalier
Palombi did not stray as far North as Wilton
Lodge. He might, perhaps, have taken a
fancy for my Sister Harriot, & so removed
the probability, which now attends her, of
leading Apes, (It is fortunate, that she is not
looking over my Shoulder,) & the vexation, which
      his inclination for Miss Dickenson
      has given your family. of
      your Engaging, Charming Emma,
      I know nothing, except having
heard, that Sir William Hamilton had married a Young, beautiful
woman, of a very musical disposition, & who the
ill-natured world suspected, had been on a footing
of intimacy with him, before their Nuptials. Not
having considered the Noble Knight Bachelor as accountable
to Me for any of his actions, I never enquired
further, but shall receive any communication
from You, on that subject, with the most
profound Attention. And now, Madam, You may
flatter yourself with my good wishes & those
of my Rib. Love & affection to Mr. Dickenson & the Brat. My
Brats are well. The last, denominated Sophia. All this
from Your Affectionate Brother, till Death,
                                                         Napier.




Hawick Thirteenth December 1791.


      Mrs= Dickenson
           Taxal
           Chapel le Frith
                             Derby
                             by Carlisle
Napier.

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



 1. ‘The shin bones; (also) the knees. Frequently used humorously in phrases referring to kneeling in supplication, prayer, etc.’ (OED s.v. marrowbone n. 2.a. Accessed 04-11-2021).
 2. Derived from the place-name Billingsgate and the language supposedly found there: ‘scurrilous vituperation, violent abuse’ (OED s.v. Billingsgate n. 2). The verb is attested only once in the OED (accessed 04-11-2021) and does not appear in Grose's (1788) Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
 3. ‘To lead apes in hell: the fancied consequence of dying an old maid’ (OED s.v. ape n. 6. Accessed 04-11-2021).
 4. As an MP, Napier is able to frank his own letters.
 5. Postmark ‘HAWICK’ in brown ink.
 6. Remains of a gummed wafer.

Metadata

Library References

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

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Francis Napier, 8th Lord Napier, to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/20/118

Correspondence Details

Sender: Francis Scott Napier, 8th Lord

Place sent: Roxburghshire

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

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

Date sent: 12 December 1791

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Francis Napier, 8th Lord Napier, to Mary Hamilton, relating to Emma Hamilton. Napier writes inviting Mary to Wilton Lodge and notes that it is a shame that the Chevalier Palombi did not travel as far North as he may have taken a liking to his sister, Harriet. He also refers to Sir William Hamilton's wife [they married in 1791] Emma, and Palombi's preference for Hamilton's sister-in-law Sarah Dickenson [whom he was to marry] over Emma Lyon. The 'vexation which his inclination for Miss D has given your family of your Engaging, Charming Emma, I know nothing, except having heard, that Sir W[illia]m H[amilton] had married a young, beautiful woman, of a very musical disposition, & who the ill natured world suspected, had been on a footing of intimacy before their nuptials'. Napier declares that as he did not consider Sir William accountable to him he had not enquired further into the subject.
    Dated at Wilton Lodge [Roxburghshire].
   

Length: 1 sheet, 729 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, 2019-2023).

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: Christine Wallis, editorial team (completed 4 November 2021)

Cataloguer: Lisa Crawley, Archivist, The John Rylands Library

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

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

Revision date: 3 December 2021

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