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. The letter is concerned with Napier's life in his regiment and Hamilton's relationship with John Hope. Napier's time is all accounted for and he has no time to sit down from dawn until bedtime with being out in the field, drills on horseback, foot parades and other regimental business as he prepares for the King's review. He has so little time for writing and notes that she cannot expect long letters from him until after the review.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Hamilton had written to Napier with her opinion of Colonel Bland [from the 7th Dragoons, who are stationed in Northampton, a slight acquaintance of Napier's]. Napier notes that he has only ever been acquainted with the Colonel as a soldier and that he never met him outside of camp. As to his 'common place Compliments to the Lady's thats a fault most men get when young and often continues with them after years grows upon them'. Hamilton has been brought up very differently from most women, otherwise, Napier notes, she would not have been both surprised and shocked at receiving compliments 'made use off [sic] to young Ladys indiscriminally'. They are so common that they have no meaning and are mere words. He continues that this is 'the only conversation carried on between the young people of either Sex in this age'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Napier is concerned to hear of John Hope's misfortunes, although his friends are surprised that it did not happen long before. His relations who could help him out of his difficulties [debt] are angry with him and will do little if anything for him. He begs Hamilton to take care, noting that pity is a virtue but if 'carried too far may become a vice'. The 'Warmth' with which Hamilton writes of Hope's affairs makes Napier afraid that her 'sensibility [...] may without Your knowledge produce another passion which I most sincerely wish not to see in you, but towards a proper object, which considering his Children & many other good reasons he cannot be'. Napier would be happy to see Hamilton married, but it should be to a man who is both capable and willing to make 'her happiness the study of his Life'. He advises her to study her heart, and if she finds that she has 'tender' feelings for Hope, then she should 'get the better of it as soon as possible'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Canterbury.</p>


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