The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from Lady Catherine Herries (née Foote) to Mary Hamilton

Herries (née Foote), Catherine

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Lady Catherine Herries to Mary Hamilton, relating to James Boswell's <i><i>Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson</i></i>, to Hannah More and Ann Yearsley, and with general news of friends and family.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries writes to Hamilton of reading <i><i>Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson</i></i>, (1785) in which she notes are 'excellent things of Johnson's sayings & doings - but some I would have [...] had omitted'. She continues asking what 'necessity [was there] to put down or further to publish that of [the] thoughts of Mrs Montagu [Elizabeth Montagu see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/6/4</a>. Montagu published in 1769 <i><i>An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear Compared with the Greek and French Dramatic Poets</i></i>] on Shakespeare so dull a book he could not get through it'. She notes that Boswell has now made 'an enemy for himself of course'. She continues that there are nevertheless 'many amusing things in it - many observations & remarks of Johnson [...] on the whole there are fewer unguarded things than I expected in the book'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries moves on to write about Hannah More and the 'ungrateful Milkwoman's conduct' [More had discovered and attempted to organise the publication of the poems of Ann Yearsley, the 'Milk woman' (c.1753-1806) who later criticised More] whom Herries notes - using a phrase of Elizabeth Carter's - it 'sets one's soul on edge - one would have though it impossible that goodness like Miss More's could have been so rejected'. Herries notes that she has read a letter from Miss More to Elizabeth Vesey (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/6/2</a>) in which not 'one word of this ungrateful woman, so regulated by the spirit of Christian forgiveness is the mind of this excellent & superior woman'. Herries continues on the subject stating that Lord Bristol had given Yearsley £50 towards the publication of a new edition 'but forbade her to say any thing disrespectful of Miss More'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The letter continues on the 25th of the month. Herries reports that Mrs Vesey is getting better and that word was sent that the health of Mr Glover (see HAM/1/17/13) also improves. She notes that she spent the previous night in the company of Mrs Hunter [probably Ann Hunter née Home, (1743-1821), married John Hunter] who promised to give Herries a copy of her 'verses to her son to send to you - she did not say they might not be copied by you or me but she would not give them to any other'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries concludes her letter with news of family and acquaintances. She notes that Lady Cunynghame has been ill although she did not tell her what she has been suffering with but is 'well again now & happy' and that her son is to dine with the Herrieses that day. The letter ends with an update on the health of Sir Robert Herries.</p>

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