The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letters from Mary Hamilton to Charlotte Margaret Gunning

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Two letters from Mary Hamilton to Charlotte Gunning.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Hamilton begins the first of two letters noting that she has waited on Hero [Charlotte Hanbury Boyle-Walsingham (née Williams) (d. 1790)] and flatters herself that she is 'in good Odour with her'. They attended Walker's Lecture together. She continues that Hero talked of Gunning but did not say anything about Gunning's coming to her and Hamilton did not 'venture the question'. Hamilton asks what Gunning's father has to say about all the changes to the Ministry. Gunning has asked Hamilton to obtain for her a lock of hair (she does not specify whose, possibly one of the princesses') and writes that she will do so but that she 'must on no account boast of having this invaluable Treasure in [her] possession'. Hamilton is interested to know what Gunning intends to study during the summer and which books she has been reading. She continues on the subject of books and wishes they could have read together. Some text has been censored by Hamilton so it is not possible to read all that she writes on her interests, but she does note that she wishes to know something on natural history. She has seen advertised a new novel, <i>Cecilia</i>, by Miss Burney [Frances Burney (1752–1840)], who wrote <i>Evelina</i>, and she would like to see it. Hamilton thought <i>Evelina</i> to be 'a wonderful proof of genius for that Kind of Writing[,] if it is true that she was so young & had no assistance'. The new book is in five volumes and Hamilton thinks it may be a good 'lounging' book, and advises Gunning to purchase it and write to her on how she gets on with it.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>In the second letter, dated 21 August 1782, Hamilton informs Gunning of the death of Prince Alfred. She details the funeral arrangements for the Prince and writes on the King and Queen.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Kew.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Original reference No. 20.</p>

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