The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from William Napier (later 7th Lord Napier) to Mary Hamilton

Napier, William, 7th Lord

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from William Napier [later 7th Lord Napier] to Mary Hamilton. He has just received Hamilton's letter and one from John Hope that she enclosed with it. Possibly referring to John Hope, Napier says he is sure that Hamilton believes every word she writes about a 'mutual attachment' but advises that everyone should take great care before actually forming one, women more so than men. He advises her to be cautious and not to be in a hurry to form friendships with either sex especially the male sex. Hamilton is too sanguine a person to 'take it easily & give them up [friendships] without hurting yourself'. Hamilton, with her 'affectionate heart' is apt to believe that every body is like her and Napier asks her to believe him when he says that the world is very different from what it appears to be. '[D]eceit now seems to be a science more studied than any of the virtues'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Napier also writes of Hamilton's desire to know 'on what occasion a woman has to take an offer where her heart is not concerned'. In Napier's opinion there is none, but he notes that from the 'instant a girl is able to understand anything, she is told she must have a Husband, by Mother, maid & visitors, till such time as her little head is full of nothing else & she believes it the summum bonum of this life and the thoughts of being that detested thing an old Maid frights Miss so that rather than wait till she meets with a Man that can engage her heart & make her happy she takes the first offer as Mama tells her that good ones dont come every day'. After which she finds herself miserable, especially if she later sees a man she likes better than her husband. Napier asks if this answers her question.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Canterbury.</p>

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