The Mary Hamilton Papers : Diary of Mary Hamilton (22 February 1797 - 3 April 1797)

Hamilton, Mary

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This diary is from a later period than the other diaries in the series, covering the period from 22 February to 3 April 1797. It describes a visit to London by Mary Hamilton, John Dickenson and their daughter Louisa.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Hamilton meets up with many of her old friends and relations who feature in her earlier diaries, including the Wakes and her cousin Charles Greville. She describes her social visits, including calling on Lord Orford (Horace Walpole) and Frances Boscawen. Hamilton notes Lord Orford’s poor health: he was ‘confined to his bed & declining very fast’. In a later entry in her diary Hamilton records his death. She visited Mrs [Maria Eliza] Rundell, whose husband was at their house in Blackheath (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/8/6</a>). She also met Lady Cremorne and talked of the Royal family including the Queen and 'poor Princess Sophia'; saw Mr Antrobus, who talked of the landing of the French in Wales, with 1400 taken prisoner; visited Eva Maria Garrick; met Hannah and Sally More; visited Elizabeth Montagu; and spent the day with Elizabeth Carter. Hamilton writes that Mrs Garrick is now 63 years old and had come to England in 1747 when she was sixteen. Then she went to Lord Burlington's in Yorkshire, where she saw the Housekeeper of the Queen's House who was on a visit. '[T]his good woman I saw a few days ago with red & white & false eye brows. She has a strong nervous affection in her head & wears feathers when dressed!!!'. Hamilton writes of the various plays and concerts she attended including the 'Ladies Sub-Concert' at Mrs Boone's at Berkeley Square with Mrs [Julia Henrietta] de Salis, and a concert at the Haymarket Theatre. Hamilton also writes of a visit to the Queen's House and notes the good health of the King and Queen.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>As well as writing about her friends and social engagements, Hamilton includes some information about wider society. She notes the capture of Spanish ships by Admiral Jarvis; 'every body [is] in great Spirits' at this news. At a dinner at Lady Cremorne's, Hamilton writes that there was 'nothing but good news'. Lady Cremorne showed her a Spanish ½ dollar given to her by Captain Calder, who had brought her the intelligence of the taking of the Spanish ships. She later notes that Admiral Jarvis took another six Spanish ships. She also writes with news that the British had 'taken St Trinidad in the West Indies taken 3 ships of the Spanish line & burnt frigate'. Hamilton also discusses literature. She visited a Mr Cole, who showed her an extract from <i><i>Mr & Mrs Douglass's letters from the Continent</i></i> which had been printed 'only for their friends. It was a very affecting picture of a gentleman ruined by the Revolution'. Hamilton reports that she has found a drawing master for her daughter Louisa and that Louisa is pleased with him.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The diary includes news and gossip of friends. Her cousin, the Duke of Atholl's eldest daughter, has married a man with a fortune, and her relation Henry Hamilton (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/4/6</a>), Governor of Bermuda, has died; he was due to return to England in the spring and has left his young 'widow with child'. Hamilton describes a visit from Monsieur De Luc, who told her many things relating to the death of Mrs [Elizabeth] Schwellenberg (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/7/13</a>). They spoke of the Royal family and she comments that the Prince of Wurttemberg, who is to marry the Princess Royal, has never been to England, though his brothers have. She writes that he 'is not so very large as represented'. She continues to note that one of his brothers was in England for a number of years and had the 'audacity to present a Mistress of his at Court under the title of a Lady of Quality travell[e]d to England'. She also writes about the Prince and Princess of Wales and other society gossip. She reports gossip about 'young Mrs Walpole' (the youngest Miss Churchill) 'who has been 16 times with child'. Hamilton also writes of her daughter and of her attending a ball held by Mrs Hamilton, listing the guests. Hamilton notes that while in London the Dickenson family sat for their portrait. Hamilton concludes her diary by writing about her uncle, Sir William Hamilton, and she describes a party she attended where one of the ladies was very beautiful and was said to resemble Lady Emma Hamilton.</p>

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