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. The letter relates to Hamilton's relations, the Palombis (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/3/2</a>), Herries's brother-in-law (Colonel Charles Herries), and Herries's health. It also conveys news of friends, including Lady Wake and the Wynnes.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Lady Herries received Hamilton's 'interesting' letter a fortnight ago and will not attempt to begin to thank her for all her letter's 'kindness [...] that no words can sufficiently do & I may say to you as Miss Bowdler & I have agreed with regard to each other -- We have long been beyond thanking one another' feeling a fact a Sentiment so far above & beyond the poverty of words!' The mention of Miss Bowdler has brought to mind a question Hamilton had made concerning her. Bowdler is 'tolerably well' and remains in Tuscany, 'where hitherto no one has been molested though not without some thoughts of returning to England'. Herries does not believe that she will do so this year at least. Herries continues that she has read in the papers that the Starkes had arrived a number of weeks ago and she assumes that Hamilton's friend, Miss A. [Anna] Clarke (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/10/1</a>) has seen them. She continues on Hamilton's god-daughter, Miss Jackson, who has been staying with Hamilton for quite some time. Herries believes that having Miss Jackson with her indicates Hamilton's own attachment to the 'memory of her mother your departed friend' [possibly Caterina Jackson, née Clarke, see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/10/1</a>.]</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Lady Herries also writes regarding Hamilton's relations the Palombis, and on Hamilton's and her husband's 'conduct about those ungrateful Palombis'. She continues writing that she cannot 'speak [...] [her] indignation at her conduct ' [Elizabeth Palombi, née Dickenson] and she 'grieve[s] for all this [...] business must occasion [...] & [the] anxiety [...] [it may give] you both', and to her sister [Miss Sarah Dickenson] and father [John Dickenson Senior]. Herries continues on the upset a child can cause their father and notes that the Palombis 'being distressed in pecuniary matters is no Excuse for such Conduct -- they might have asked assistance from a Father, not endeavour to force it; in w[hi]ch I most sincerely hope they will be disappointed. As for you distressing yourselves for two such characters I really think it will be carrying goodness too' far. To Herries the idea of them returning to England [from Naples] would be 'madness' and it is an idea that, for the sake of Hamilton, Herries hopes will not happen.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Moving on to more general news of family and acquaintances, Herries acknowledges that Hamilton is now in the company of her friend Lady Wake (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/8/8</a>) and her daughters. It is unclear as to what Herries is alluding to but she asks Hamilton to pass on her best respects to the Wakes and writes about the 'tender reason' Hamilton has given for their present visit rather than the one expected in the autumn. Herries had hoped to visit Hamilton herself, but for various reasons she can only undertake those journeys that are absolutely necessary for this year at least. She continues that she has no 'scruple to say that Economy is a very principal one; exclusive of which the situation of my good Georgiana [presumably her sister, sister-in-law or other relation] will render moving about impossible for me for some months' [she had just given birth]. Herries continues that Hamilton knows how important Georgiana is to her given Herries's own state of health and, although she 'has another person as a stop gap at present who is a very good well meaning Creature, yet she by no means' takes Georgiana's place. She does not have all the necessary skills, but she hopes soon to find a suitable person. Herries further writes that Georgiana has 'happily thank God brought to bed above a fortnight ago of a nice little Boy & has continued to recover. The letter continues on Georgiana and on her 'anxiety' at not hearing from her husband as soon as she would wish. Herries does not doubt that he has written her, but his mother is travelling in Italy and the letter may be 'delayed or lost'. The letter continues on Georgiana wishing to 'suckle' her baby herself.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Because of Georgiana's condition, Herries thinks it likely that she will stay in Cheltenham for some time yet, particularly so as Herries has found the waters beneficial, as they 'mitigate my complaints'. Three weeks earlier she had suffered severe 'spasms' in her bowels and stomach and she assumes she will suffer them again. She reports that her headaches are less frequent whilst she takes the waters. Though she will stop taking it as she feels better and an 'apothecary, a very clean man' advises her to do so.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>By postponing seeing Hamilton, although personally disappointed, Herries believes she is doing what Hamilton would do herself and that is the 'right thing -- though oftentimes it is not at t[he] moment the pleasantest'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries also writes about Sir Robert's brother's business that, perhaps before this letter reaches her, Hamilton may have already heard of the 'misfortune' that has 'befallen' Charles Herries & Co. [a banking firm. Charles Herries (1745-1819) was Sir Robert's second brother and was known as Col. Herries, commandant of the Light Horse Volunteers for 25 years.] 'Various disappointments & losses obliged them to stop payment last Tuesday'. This has shocked Herries and her husband. Her 'heart bleeds for him & his family' and also for his young partner's family. The letter continues on Charles Herries and his family, 'money matters' and Sir Robert's banking business at St James's Street.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries returns to Georgiana, who sends her 'best duty' to Hamilton, and continues with general news of family and acquaintances. Her cousin, Miss Herries of Clarges Street, has been very ill but has now recovered. She writes on the Wynnes (see HAM/1/9/106), whom she has heard a lot of, as Mr Sackville knows them all well, particularly Mr Wynne's [Richard Wynne (1744-1798 of Falkingham] sister Madame de Rosenberg, who 'was famous both for her beauty & Genius' [Giustiniana Wynne (1737-1791), author, married Count Rosenberg-Orsini.] Herries informed Hamilton that Madame Rosenberg has written many works, including <i>Les Morlacques</i>, of which she has a copy and will pass it to Hamilton when she next sees her.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries ends her letter asking Hamilton to remember her to Mrs De Salis (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/21</a>), Mrs Hinde[?] 'if with her', and to the Dickensons, whom she asks to pass on her regrets at not being able to visit.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Cheltenham.</p>

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