The Mary Hamilton Papers : Journal-letter from Lady Catherine Herries (née Foote) to Mary Hamilton

Herries (née Foote), Catherine

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Journal-letter from Lady Catherine Herries to Mary Hamilton. The sheets in this letter have been written on different dates in a journal style. The letter contains news of friends, schooling, Hester Thrale Piozzi's writings on Samuel Johnson and James Boswell's dispute with her.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Lady Herries writes that she has so many things to tell Hamilton. She writes of her pleasure at receiving her letter, which was passed to her while she was in company. She recognised Hamilton's hand at once but had to leave reading it until she was alone. Herries wishes Hamilton would write to her more often but understands that her correspondence is so extensive that she knows the letters she does receive do not reflect any diminishing feeling with regard to their friendship. Herries continues her letter on the subject of friendship and her recurrent eye inflammation, which prohibits her from writing by candlelight. She writes that the previous night she wished to 'talk' to Hamilton, 'yet feeling I should make my eyes weak if I did'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries moves on to write of her two girls, Mary, her younger sister, and Nina [the natural daughter of her husband]. She reports that Nina seems less deaf. They have been 'trying syringing & mean to make a trial also of Electricity'. Nina has also been taking the waters at Tunbridge Wells and she will again drink the waters there in a month or two. Herries writes of her youngest brother, Edward, joining the Navy and on the death of her father-in-law, who 'has not left me any thing', which she writes she expected. His fortune is 'strictly curtailed' and is to go to 'Mr Gray', who she believes is to take his name. Herries continues on the subject, noting that he was a man of great qualities and he will be a loss to the community in which his Estate lies.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The sheet following on from this is dated 17 April 1786, in which Herries writes of news of friends including Mrs Carter, Mrs Delany and Lady Wake. She notes that Lord Monboddo is to dine with her and that her friend, Mrs Hunter, intends to come over so that she can talk 'nonsense' to him.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The letter continues dated 27 April 1786, noting that the long interval is caused by her two girls. Mary is to return to school although Herries's 'head & heart prefers a home education' but she will be away from town for part of the year, which she believes is a sufficient reason for Mary coming to her. She expects Mary to have one more year of schooling. She acknowledges that schools have 'defects' but notes that in some ways they have their advantages. They teach 'obedience & in making a person more highly value the tender love they meet at home'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The letter continues with news of friends. Herries visited Mrs Vesey, where there was a party with many of Hamilton's friends there including Mrs Carter, Mrs More, Mrs Garrick and Horace Walpole. 'How delightful will it be to see you making one again of a Circle that love & admire you so truly'. Herries asks Hamilton if she has seen James Boswell's 'advertisement since Mrs Piozzi's book came out, <i><i>Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson</i></i>, [née Lynch Salusbury (1741-1821), author and patron of the arts. She was married twice, first to Henry Thrale and secondly to Gabriel Mario Piozzi]. He brings strong proof that he does not attribute a false opinion to the Lady about Mrs M: (More) book', noting that Mrs Piozzi had read his journal some years past and that she now denies it. Herries blames the publishers for printing things that were meant as private conversation.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at St James's Street, [London].</p>

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