Although the infant Princess Charlotte has already been heartily welcomed by the entire Empire, this delightful letter would have set exactly the right tone for her babyship as the Royal family prepares for the Princess’s Christening this week-end.
Miss Talbot to a new-born child, daughter of Mr. John Talbot, a son of the Lord Chancellor.
You are heartily welcome, my dear little cousin, into this unquiet world: long may you continue in it, in all the happiness it can give; and bestow enough on all your friends, to answer fully the impatience with which you have been expected. May you grow up to have every accomplishment, that your good friend the Bishop of Derry can already imagine in you; and in the mean time, may you have a nurse with a tunable voice, that may not talk an immoderate deal of nonsense to you. You are at present, my dear, in a very philosophical disposition: the gaities and follies of life have no attraction for you; its sorrows you kindly commiserate; but, however, do not suffer them to disturb your slumbers; and find charms in nothing but harmony and repose. You have as yet contracted no partialities, are entirely ignorant of party distinctions, and look with a perfect indifference on all human splendor. You have an absolute dislike to the vanities of dress; and are likely for many months to observe the Bishop of Bristol’s first rule of conversation, silence, though tempted to transgress it, by the novelty and strangeness of all the objects round you. As you advance farther in life, this philosophical temper will by degrees wear off. The first object of your admiration will probably be a candle; and thence, (as we all of us do) you will contract a taste for the gaudy and the glaring, without making one moral reflection upon the danger of such false admiration as leads people, many a time, to burn their fingers. You will then begin to shew great partiality for some very good aunts, who will contribute all they can towards spoiling you; but you will be equally fond of an excellent mamma, who will teach you, by her example, all sorts of good qualities; only let me warn you of one thing, my dear, and that is, do not learn of her to have such an immoderate love of home, as is quite contrary to all the privileges of this polite age, and to give up so entirely all those pretty graces of whim, flutter, and affectation, which so many charitable poets have declared to be the prerogative of our sex. Ah! my poor cousin, to what purpose will you boast this prerogative, when your nurse tells you, with a pious care to sow the seeds of jealousy and emulation as early as possible, that you have a fine little brother come to put your nose out of joint. There will be nothing to be done then, I believe, but to be mighty good, and prove what, believe me, admits of very little dispute, (though it has occasioned abundance) that we girls, however people give themselves airs of being disappointed, are by no means to be despised. Let the men unenvied shine in public, it is we must make their homes delightful to them; and, if they provoke us, no less uncomfortable. I do not expect you, my dear, to answer this letter yet awhile, but as, I dare say, you have the greatest interest with your papa, will beg you to prevail upon him, that we may know by a line, (before his time is engrossed by another secret committee) that you and your mamma are well. In the mean time I will only assure you, that all here rejoice in your existence extremely; and that
My very young correspondent,
most affectionately yours,
A Selection of Curious Articles from the Gentleman’s Magazine, Volume 3, John Walker 1811
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The pious and ingenious author of the above letter, who died Jan. 9, 1770, aged 48, was the [unnamed! Caroline? Charlotte?] only daughter of Mr. Edward Talbot, Archdeacon of Berks, and younger son of Dr. Talbot, Bishop of Durham. There having been the most intimate friendship between him and the late Archbishop Seeker, his widow and daughter lived as inmates in his grace’s family till his death, when he left the interest of £3,000 to them and the survivor of them, and afterward the whole sum to charitable uses. 1770, Feb.