Correspondence from Lady Mansfield

Scope and Content

Lady Louisa Mansfield née Cathcart (1756-1843) was a cousin of Mary Hamilton and the daughter of Hamilton's aunt, Lady Jean Cathcart and Lord Cathcart. Her first husband was Lord Stormont, David Murray, 2nd Earl of Mansfield, whom she married in 1776. Louisa was created Countess of Mansfield in 1793 suo jure, and after the death of her first husband in 1796 she married her cousin, Robert Fulke Greville (HAM/1/5/3) the following year. Mansfield had seven children with her two husbands.

The correspondence in this sub-series relates mainly to family and friends and the various social engagements they attended. Mansfield writes with news of her family including Lord and Lady Warwick and the Duke and Duchess of Atholl. She writes of her visits to them, of their health, their children and so forth. She reports that her cousin, Charles Greville, is immersed in his mineral collection and she thinks that he is writing a catalogue.

Mansfield also discusses the Royal family, including her attending the Drawing Room, the christening of Prince Alfred, the King's health and news of the Prince of Wales whom she often saw at Court and at social events. She notes that the Prince had made enquiries about Hamilton and that he hopes to see Hamilton at a ball he is giving (see HAM/1/18/78). She also discusses mutual friends including Lord Winchilsea, Mrs Garrick, Hannah More, the Duchess of Portland, Mrs Delany and Lord Napier. Mansfield writes about the social events that she attended and included in the sub-series is a list of those present at a ball she went to. She also writes of a masquerade and of attending a party with Lord Aylesford in which they travelled on a barge from Whitehall as far as Vauxhall (HAM/1/18/47).

The letters also touch on the subject of Mansfield's many confinements and of her hopes for her next baby being a girl. She writes of her sister's disappointment at not being able to breastfeed her son and of her being told that the child would suffer if she did not give up her attempts. The letters also refer to the illness and death of Prince Alfred and on the 'blow' that this will be to the King and Queen as they are so 'affectionate parents' (HAM/1/18/51). Mansfield writes of a visit to Weymouth with her children and of sea-bathing there. She continues on the subject of society in Weymouth, of attending a ball and having a turtle dinner. The letters also describe Mansfield's charitable work, of her aiding a woman in distress and asking Hamilton if she can also aid her (HAM/1/18/92). She writes of an 'unfortunate couple' that she has recommended to Hamilton's protection (HAM/1/18/165-166) and of a charity that Hamilton is involved with, setting up a subscription for a School of Industry (HAM/1/18/162). The letters also refer to the poet Ann Vearsley's and Hannah More's attempts to get her poems published.

Mansfield often invites Hamilton to dine with her and to spend the evening with her and many of the items in this sub-series relate to their meetings.

Arrangement

The correspondence has been arranged in chronological order with undated items placed at the end of the sequence unless dates could be inferred from their content, context or physical characteristics.