Our happy Band of Sheep Finders went off track recently with helping in the acquisition of a rare copy of Charlotte Smith’s Manon L’Escaut– not a Lost Sheep from the Godmersham Park Library, but an important work not in the Chawton House library for early women writers – and it should be. So our generous group of donors [North American Friends of Chawton House and GLOSS] stepped up and contributed to bringing it to Chawton – here is curator Emma Yandle’s post from the CH website, and with hearty thanks to all those GLOSSians who helped put it on the shelves next to Smith’s other works.
Chawton House has acquired a rare copy of Charlotte Smith’s (1749-1806) first novel, Manon L’Escaut: or, The Fatal Attachment
We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Manon L’Escaut: or, The Fatal Attachment. A French Story (London: Printed for T. Cadell in the Strand, 1786) for our historic books and manuscript collection.
This first – and only – edition of Charlotte Smith’s debut novel is exceptionally rare, with only two other copies listed in private collections in the UK. Following the success of her Elegiac Sonnets in 1784, Smith began her successful career as a novelist with Manon L’Escaut appearing at the end of the 1785 (the title-page listing the following year, as was customary).
Ostensibly a translation of Abbé Prévost’s 1731 novel of the same name, it was conceived by Smith for ‘some English friends who did not read the French’, leading her to ‘translate the whole; or’ – as she pointedly notes – ‘rather to write it anew in English.’ Her wording is important for she substantially adapts the original story, changing the characterisations of the criminal Manon, and the hero, the Chevalier des Grieux, in an act of creative translation that rewards further study. It is by far her rarest work, likely due to charges of plagiarism levied by critic George Steevens, which had a terrible impact on sales. Smith declared that she would rather ‘withdraw the book than let Cadell [the publisher] suffer.’
Smith is one of the most important woman writers of the Romantic period, who made substantial contributions to poetry and to the Gothic. Manon L’Escaut is an important work within Smith’s oeuvre, as the transition between her poetry and novel writing.
With this acquisition, Chawton House’s collection contains the complete set of Charlotte Smith’s novels in their first editions. We are grateful for the support of GLOSS (The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society) and individual donors to aid in this purchase.—
 ‘Translator’s Preface’ to the above work.  See Terry Hale, ‘Translation in Distress: Cultural Misappropriation and the Construction of the Gothic’, in European Gothic: A Spirited Exchange 1760-1960, ed. By Avril Horner. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002), pp.17-38.  Catherine Dorset, ‘Charlotte Smith” in Walter Scott, Miscellaneous Prose Works, 6 vols (Edinburgh: Cadell, 1827), vol. iv, p.46
A Bibliography of Smith’s works: [see the CH library catalogue for what they have in the collection]
Elegaic Sonnets and other Essays (London: J. Dodsley, 1784)
Manon Lascaut, or, The Fatal Attachment (trans.) from Abbé Prevost (London: T. Cadell, 1785) (later withdrawn)
The Romance of Real Life, a translation of selected tales from Gayot de Pitaval’s Les Causes Celebres. 3 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1787)
Emmeline, the Orphan of the Castle. 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1788)
Ethelinde, or the Recluse of the Lake. 5 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1789)
Celestina: A Novel. 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1791)
Desmond: A Novel. 3 vols. (London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1792)
The Emigrants, a poem, in two books (London: T. Cadell, 1793)
The Old Manor House: A Novel. 4 vols. (London: J. Bell, 1793)
The Wanderings of Warwick, a sequel to The Old Manor House (London: J. Bell, 1794)
The Banished Man: A Novel. 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell junior and W. Davies, 1794)
Rural Walks: In Dialogues: Intended for the Use of Young Persons. 2 vols. (London: Cadell and Davies, 1795)
Montalbert: A Novel. 3 vols. (London: Sampson Low, 1795)
Rambles Farther: A Continuation of Rural Walks: In Dialogues Intended for the Use of Young Persons. 2 vols. (London: Cadell and Davies, 1796)
Marchmont: a Novel. 4 vols. (London: Sampson Low, 1796)
A Narrative of the loss of the Catharine, Venus and Piedmont Transports, and the Thomas, Golden Grove and Aeolus Merchant-ships near Weymouth, on Wednesday the 18th November last. Drawn up from information taken on the spot by Charlotte Smith, and published for the Benefit of an unfortunate Survivor from one of the Wrecks, and her infant child (London: Sampson Low, 1796)
Elegiac sonnets, and other poems. Vol.II. (London: T. Cadell, junior, and W. Davies, 1797)
Minor morals, interspersed with sketches of natural history, historical anecdotes, and original stories. 2 vols. (London: Sampson Low, 1798)
The Young Philosopher: a Novel. 4 vols. (London: Cadell and Davies, 1798)
What is she? A comedy, in five acts, as performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. (London: Longman and Rees, 1799)
The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer: containing narratives of various description. Volumes 1-3 (London: Sampson Low, 1800-1)
The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer. Volumes 4-5 (London: Longman and Rees, 1802)
Conversations, Introducing Poetry; chiefly on subjects of natural history, for the use of children and young persons, with an engraved portrait of Charlotte Smith, by J. Conde. 2 vols. (London: J. Johnson, 1804)
A History of England, from the Earliest Records, to the Peace of Amiens in a Series of Letters to a Young Lady at School. 3 vols. Volumes 1 and 2 by Charlotte Smith. (London: Richard Phillips, 1806)
Beachy Head, Fables, and Other Poems (London J. Johnson, 1807)
A Natural History of Birds, intended chiefly for young persons. 2 vols. (London: J. Johnson, 1807)
While 2020 can be said to have been a total disaster of a year in so many ways, I am happy to offer up one very exciting, positive, and downright awesome accomplishment: William Cowper is back home at Chawton House.
Now, Cowper was not aware he had been sent from home at some point, but in the history of the whys and wherefores of the books in Edward Austen Knight’s library at Godmersham Park, i.e. why some remained and some were sold, the fact that William Cowper’s Poems left the nest was a sad event, and the finding and returning of it has really been the Holy Grail of our team of diligent GLOSSers. And so we are Happy to report that the deed is done, this Holy Grail of ours now in the safekeeping of the Library at Chawton, and we can all rest easy from here on in.
[UPDATE:Here is a photo in The Times of January 4, 2021, with Chawton House’s Clio O’Sullivan proudly holding up the Cowper for all the world to see – excellent PR!]
What was different about this particular book is that it has been available since the Reading with Austenproject began – for sale at Bernard Quaritch and completely out of our reach. And every time we found ourselves getting closer, another GPL book would show up at auction, and off went our scant funds to purchase it. Enter the Friends of the National Libraries! To their very generous donation to Chawton House for the express purpose of acquiring this Cowper, GLOSS was able to supply the needed additional funds, and the Cowper is now officially at Chawton once again.
The title itself is actually two volumes of poems: the first one published in 1782 was Cowper’s first published work Poems, by William Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq. (J. Johnson, 1782)
Title Page, Poems, 1782, RwA website
The second volume is the 1785 published edition of Cowper’s most well-known poem The Task, A Poem in Six Books, to which is added his comic poem “The Diverting History of John Gilpin.” (Johnson, 1785)
Title page, The Task (1785), RwA website
So why William Cowper? What makes this book so important to The Reading with Austen project and the Library at Chawton House?
Does anyone actually read him anymore? Does anyone actually know how to properly pronounce his name?? [it’s Cooper]. Does he perhaps have something to do with Jane Austen??
Well, it all started with Henry Austen – in his “Biographical Notice” in the posthumous publication of his sister’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, he writes:
Her reading was very extensive in history and belles lettres; and her memory extremely tenacious. Her favourite moral writers were Johnson in prose, and Cowper in verse.
This then was a ready invitation to find Cowper reflected in all her letters and all her fiction – and one is not disappointed:
In November 1798 [Ltr. 12], Austen writes to Cassandra:
We have got Boswell’s “Tour to the Hebrides’, and we are to have ‘his Life of Johnson’; and, as some money will yet remain in Burdon’s [the bookseller] hands, it is to laid out in the purchase of Cowper’s works.
[Deirdre Le Faye suggests that this would either be the 6th edition of 1797 or the new edition of 1798]. Ed. I believe that the 6th ed. was published in 1794, so a typo, a later printing of the 6th or a later edition??…. shall look into this…
2. And nearly a month later in December 1798 [Ltr. 14], she writes again that “My father reads Cowper to us in the evening, to which I listen when I can.”
3. When next Austen mentions Cowper, in February of 1807, we can readily believe she has memorized all of his poetry, because she drops his lines whenever she can, and it is the Sharp Elves eyes of many an Austen scholar who have found these gems:
Now in Southampton, Austen writes of the Shrubs which border the gravel walk in her garden: “…we mean to get a few of the better kind & at my own particular desire he procures us some Syringas. I could not do without of a Syringa, for the sake of Cowper’s Line. – We talk also of a Laburnam [sic].” [Ltr. 50]
Cowper’s line: from The Task “The Winter Walk at Noon”
‘…Laburnum, rich / In streaming gold; syringa, iv’ry pure.’
4. In September 1813, Austen is at Godmersham, and we can perhaps imagine she has this very Cowper in hand when she writes:
“I am now alone in the Library, Mistress of all I survey – at least I may say so & repeat the whole poem if I like, without offence to anybody.” [Ltr. 89]
Here Austen is playing on Cowper’s words in his “Verses, supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk” where we find:
“I am monarch of all survey, My right there is none to dispute; From the centre all round to the sea, I am lord of the fowl and the brute.”
5. In November of the same year, and again at Godmersham, Austen writes of Henry’s man-servant William, who apparently is a lover of the country rather than of city life: “An inclination for the Country is a venial fault. – He has more of Cowper than of Johnson in him, fonder of Tame Hares & Blank verse than of the full tide of human Existence at Charing Cross.” [Ltr. 95]
Cowper writes in concluding “The Sofa”:
God made the country, and man made the town. What wonder then, that health and virtue, gifts That can alone make sweet the bitter draught That life holds out to all, should most abound And least be threaten’d in the fields and groves? Possess ye therefore, ye who, borne about In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue But that of idleness, and taste no scenes But such as art contrives, possess ye still Your element; there only ye can shine, There only minds like yours can do no harm. Our groves were planted to console at noon The pensive wand’rer in their shades. At eve The moon-beam, sliding softly in between The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish, Birds warbling all the music. We can spare The splendour of your lamps, they but eclipse Our softer satellite. Your songs confound Our more harmonious notes: the thrush departs Scar’d, and th’ offended nightingale is mute. There is a public mischief in your mirth, It plagues your country. Folly such as your’s, Grac’d with a sword, and worthier of a fan, Has made, which enemies could ne’er have done, Our arch of empire, steadfast but for you, A mutilated structure, soon to fall.
Now for the Novels:
First, in Sense and Sensibility, Marianne bemoans Edward’s appalling lack of emotive reading skills:
“Oh! mama, how spiritless, how tame was Edward’s manner in reading to us last night! …To hear those beautiful lines which have frequently almost driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, such dreadful indifference!-
“He would certainly have done more justice to simple and elegant prose. I thought so at the time, but you would give him Cowper.”
“Nay, mama, if he is not to be animated by Cowper! – but we must allow for differences of taste…but it would have broke my heart had I loved him, to hear him read with so little sensibility.” [S&S, Vol. I, ch. 3]
And later, from Elinor:
“Well, Marianne…you have already ascertained Mr. Willoughby’s opinion in almost every matter of importance. You know what he thinks of Cowper and Scott; you are certain of his estimating their beauties as he ought, and you have received every assurance of his admiring Pope no more than is proper.” [S&S, Vol. I, ch. 10]
2. InEmma, Mr. Knightley, keen observer of Frank and Jane, conjures up Cowper:
…he could not help remembering what he had seen; nor could he avoid observations which, unless it were like Cowper and his fire at twilight,
‘Myself creating what I saw,’
brought him yet stronger suspicion of there being a something of private liking, of private understanding even, between Frank Churchill and Jane. [Emma, vol. III, ch. 5, quoting The Task, Book IV, “The Winter Evening”].
3. Fanny in Mansfield Park twice quotes Cowper:
Her horror at Mr. Rushworth’s plans to “improve” Sotherton:
Cut down an avenue! What a pity! Does not it make you think of Cowper? ‘Ye fallen avenues, once more I mourn your fate unmerited’ (from The Task, Book I, “The Sofa”)
And later, Fanny, stranded in Portsmouth, again quotes Cowper in Vol. III, ch. 14:
Her eagerness, her impatience, her longings to be with them, were such as to bring a line or two of Cowper’s Tirocinium forever before her. “With what intense desire she wants her home,” was continually on her tongue, as the truest description of a yearning which she could not suppose any school-boy’s bosom to feel more keenly.
Cowper’s “Tirocinium: or, A Review of Schools” (1785, published with The Task) is a poem Cowper wrote addressed to a father who has sent his son away to school; Cowper “recommend[s] private tuition in preference to an education at school.”
But Cowper is much more than a quote here and there in Mansfield Park. Kerri Savage, in her Persuasions On-line essay: “Attending the Interior Self: Fanny’s ‘Task’ in Mansfield Park,” believes that the character of Fanny actually embodies all that Cowper espouses in The Task, and that “ultimately [Cowper’s] Task emphasizes the individual who makes a difference in the world as one who ‘attends to his interior self.’ Cowper contrasts the immorality in the city with the quiet, green rural life that nurtures the introspective moral life,” as we saw above. Sounds just like Fanny, doesn’t it?
5. And in Austen’s unfinished Sanditon, Cowper is found in Mr. Heywood’s responding to Mr. Parker that he knows not a thing about the famous bathing spot Brinshore:
“Why, in truth, sir, I fancy we may apply to Brinshore, that line of the Poet Cowper in his description of the religious Cottager, as opposed to Voltaire – ‘She, never heard of half a mile from home’” [from “Truth” in Poems, 1782)
….Cowper’s point being that the happy cottager is content with her faith and her rural life, unlike the worldly Voltaire:
She for her humble sphere by nature fit, Has little understanding, and no wit, Receives no praise, but (though her lot be such, Toilsome and indigent) she renders much; Just knows, and knows no more, her bible true, A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew, And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes, Her title to a treasure in the skies. Oh happy peasant! Oh unhappy bard! His the mere tinsel, her’s the rich reward; He prais’d perhaps for ages yet to come, She never heard of half a mile from home…
We think of Cowper as a moral, religious poet, with a tendency to melancholy, musing on the beauties of nature and rural life, and why Henry emphasized Austen’s appreciation of him in his overly sanitized biographical essay. But in reading a few poems [can I confess to not doing much with Cowper before? – here’s an Aside: I looked in all my college British Literature texts – Cowper is there, but we touched on nary a single one of his poems!]… but in now finally reading a few of his poems, I do find much humor, especially the very comic “The Diverting History of John Gilpin.”
First published anonymously in The Public Advertiser in 1782, and then in The Task in 1785, “John Gilpin” has been rendered into a number of children’s books, notably by Randolph Caldecott in 1878 – his illustration of Gilpin on his wild run has even become the symbol of the esteemed children’s book award, the Caldecott Medal:
Randolph Caldecott, John Gilpin [wikipedia]
It was also illustrated by Charles E. Brock, noted illustrator of Jane Austen’s novels. [I love these connections!]:
And certainly knowing the backstory of and a reading of the beginning of The Task, can bring to mind an appreciative young Austen reading these works with much laughter and perhaps a bit of idea-plucking for her very own juvenilia?
Here’s “The Sofa” story and how The Task came to be, as Cowper describes it himself:
The history of the following production is briefly this. A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the Author, and gave him the SOFA for a subject. He obeyed; and, having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and, pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair – a Volume. [Advertisement to The Task, 1785].
“The Sofa” begins thus: from The Task, A Poem, In Six Books, Book I. The Sofa.
SING the SOFA. I who lately sang Truth, Hope and Charity, and touch’d with awe The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Escap’d with pain from that advent’rous flight, Now seek repose upon an humbler theme; The theme though humble, yet august and proud Th’ occasion — for the Fair commands the song.
We can recall Austen’s penchant for sofas in her juvenilia – one is always quite relieved to find one always at the ready when needed!
[Note: Laurie Kaplan in her Persuasions On-Line essay references other aspects of Austen’s juvenilia in relation to Cowper’s love of the Country vs. the City:
“…for example, in “Letter the 4th: Laura to Marianne” in Love and Freindship, Jane Austen may have been alluding laughingly to Cowper’s preference for the simple life. Laura tells Marianne that she has been warned: “‘Beware of the insipid Vanities and idle Dissipations of the Metropolis of England; Beware of the unmeaning Luxuries of Bath & of the Stinking fish of Southampton’” (78-79). “‘Alas!,’” Laura exclaims, “‘What probability is there of my ever tasting the Dissipations of London, the Luxuries of Bath or the stinking Fish of Southampton? I who am doomed to waste my Days of Youth & Beauty in an humble Cottage in the Vale of Uske.’”]
I offer you a brief version: [short-shift really – do yourself a favor and read all the links I provide – it is all very interesting, whether my English professors at the time thought so or not…]
William Cowper (1731-1800) was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, and was known for his nature, religious, and humanitarian poetry. He was the most-read poet between the eras of Alexander Pope and William Wordsworth. Coleridge called him “the best modern poet,” and he is considered a major influence on the Romantic poets.
[A totally irrelevant Aside: I lived for a number of years in Barkhamsted, Connecticut, which was incorporated in 1779 and named after England’s Berkhamsted. The Town of Barkhamsted presented Berkhamsted with a gavel and block on July 4, 1976 in celebration of the United States Bicentennial – the Berkhamsted Town Council uses it in its meetings. I wonder if I had known about William Cowper at the time, if I would have been better versed in his poetry today!]
Cowper’s friendship with John Newton [hence the combined Museum in their names] was foundational in many ways in Cowper’s life and writings. Newton was a former captain of a slave ship who became a staunch abolitionist, wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace,” and invited Cowper to contribute hymns to his Olney Hymns (1779) – Cowper wrote 67 of them [some sources say 68]! Newton also wrote the preface to Cowper’s first published Poems (1782) – this was suppressed by the publisher who thought its overly religious tone might discourage readers, but the preface is here in this 1st edition Godmersham copy, making it the earliest of printing runs before Johnson stepped in and had it removed, and the more rare indeed.
In a letter of 3 October 1790, Cowper wrote to Joseph Johnson, asking him to reinstate the preface—which was done for the 5th edition of 1793 and for all subsequent editions published by Johnson, including the 6th of 1794. [I thank Peter Sabor for this information. located in The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. 5 vols. Oxford UP, 1979-86].
It was meant to be sung as the ballad “Admiral Hosier’s Ghost” to the tune of “Come and Listen to my Ditty” – you can listen to the first stanza here, with thanks to the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings:
The Negro’s Complaint
Forc’d from home and all its pleasures, Afric’s coast I left forlorn; To increase a stranger’s treasures, O’er the raging billows borne. Men from England bought and sold me, Paid my price in paltry gold; But, though theirs they have enroll’d me, Minds are never to be sold….
Cowper’s life was a roller-coaster of manic episodes, poetry his main outlet for expression. He was trained in the Law but did not practice [hence his “of the Inner Temple, Esq.”], and seemed to have been dependent on the kindness of friends and loved ones to get him through his trying times. He published his first book of Poems in 1782, not a success apparently; published his “Epitaph on a Hare” [see above for Austen’s reference to the “Tame Hares”!] in The Gentleman’s Magazine in 1784 (as well as Cowper’s letter on his hares which you can read here: https://www.cowperandnewtonmuseum.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/mw_tame_hares.pdf, but it was the1785 publication of The Task that did very well and ensured his popularity. He also translated Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey from the Greek in 1791.
So much of his output was autobiographical, and his 1799 poem “The Castaway” gives the reader a true sense of his emotional struggles. He died in 1800 and is buried at the St. Nicholas Church in East Dereham, where a stained glass window commemorates his life. There is also one at St. George’s chapel in Westminster Abbey, a two light stained glass window in memory of both Cowper and George Herbert.
And he lives on and on because Jane Austen mentions him numerous times in her letters and novels [do they read him now in British Literature college classes I wonder?!]
So Welcome Home Mr. Cowper – we are most pleased you are no longer missing, no longer a LOST SHEEP! Kudos to the Friends of the National Libraries and to the dedication and generosity of the GLOSS team!
Austen, Jane. The Letters of Jane Austen. Ed. Deirdre Le Faye. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011.
Austen, Jane. The Novels: I referred to the Oxford Classics editions, the Chapman Oxford editions, and the Cambridge editions for text and notes.
Great news all! Our GLOSS team has been successful in locating and returning another title [Memoirs of Saint-Simon] formerly housed in Edward Austen Knight’s Godmersham Park library! It has the Montagu George Knight bookplate and the shelf ticket from the library. Purchased at Arenberg Auctions in Brussels (yours truly happily won the bidding, despite the entire auction being conducted in French!), it is now safe and sound in the Chawton House library collection:
Saint-Simon, Louis de Rouvroy duc de. Mémoires de monsieur le duc de S. Simon, ou L’observateur véridique, sur le règne de Louis XIV, & sur les premières époques des règnes suivans. Londres ; et se trouve à Paris, Buisson ; Marseille, Jean Mossy, 1788.
[Saint-Simon, Louis de Rouvroy duke of. Memoirs of Monsieur le Duc de S. Simon, or The Truthful Observer, on the reign of Louis XIV, and on the first periods of the following reigns].
This is the first substantial edition of these famous Mémoires, the complete edition of which will not appear until 1829-1831. Without the suppl. printed in 1789.
Portrait of Louis de Rouvroy, duke of Saint-Simon, knight of the King of France’s Orders in 1728. By Jean-Baptiste van Loo. Private collection (Le Mallier, matrilineal heirs to the last duke of Saint-Simon, castle of Chasnay), reproduction after a photograph of the original painting [Wikipedia]
Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon was born in Paris in 1675, son of the first duke Claude de Rouvroy (1608–1693) and Charlotte de L’Aubespine, daughter of François, marquis de Hauterive by his wife, Eléonore de Volvire, marquise de Ruffec. King Louis XIII appointed Claude a Master of Wolfhounds and granted him a dukedom in 1635 [the title’s name refers to the seigneury that was held by the Rouvroy family at Saint-Simon in Aisne]. Louis’s godparents were Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse.
In 1695 Louis married Marie-Gabrielle de Durfort, daughter of Guy Aldonce Durfort, Duke of Lorges; they had three children. The dukedom passed from father to son Louis in 1693; he was the second and last holder of the title, since his two sons predeceased him.
Louis’s memoirs are a classic of French literature, wherein Louis gives a full and lively account of the court of Versailles of Louis XIV, “The Sun King,” and the beginnings of the Regency of Louis XV. [Do not let all these Louis’s confuse you – it is part and parcel of French history and cannot be avoided…she says confusedly]
“In the Memoirs, Saint-Simon’s observations allowed him to describe vividly both the elegance and the corruption of the court of Versailles. Despite some errors of fact and interpretation, his knowledge of history made him aware of the breakdown of traditional checks and balances that underlay Louis XIV’s royal absolutism and which was to lead, in the next century, to the French Revolution. Saint-Simon’s intensely written accounts of court intrigues and such events as the deaths of the Grand Dauphin, the Duke of Burgundy, and Louis XIV himself—as well as his incisive word portraits of his fellow courtiers—make him perhaps the world’s greatest writer on the prestige, the ambitions, the uncertainties, and the ironies of public life. He completed his Memoirs in 1752.”
When Saint-Simon died in Paris in March 1755, mostly in debt and out of favor, all his possessions, including his writings, were seized by the Crown. According to Wikipedia, these“Mémoires were kept under sequestration and only circulated through private copies and excerpts until the restitution of the manuscript to his heirs in 1828.”
Did Jane Austen ever comment on Louis XIV? – she had much to say in her History of England about the British monarchs, but she made only a passing reference to the Duke and Duchess of Orléans and the D’Entraigues in her letters [and one tiny reference to Louis XIV – see below]. Members of the French royal family who has sought refuge in England during the tumultuous revolution in France, Louis-Phillipe (1773-1840) and his wife Marie-Amélie (1782-1866) [she was the niece of Marie Antoinette] lived in England for part of their exile. Returning to France during the Bourbon Restoration, Louis-Philippe was chosen as King of the French and reigned from 1830-1848. They returned to England in 1848 after his abdication [following the history of France and its monarchy is a chaotic exercise, so only here mentioning this Louis-Philippe because Jane Austen did]:
In September of 1816, Cassandra is visiting Cheltenham (where she and Jane had visited in May), and Jane writes:
“The Duchess of Orleans, the paper says, drinks at my Pump.”[Ltr. 144, Sept 1816]. And a few days later she writes again:
“So, you have C. Craven [Charlotte Craven] among you, as well as the Duke of Orleans & Mr. Pococke. But it mortifies me that you have not added one to the stock of common acquaintance. Do pray meet with somebody belonging to yourself. – I am quite weary of your knowing nobody.”[Ltr. 145, Sept 1816]
Austen also refers to the D’Entraigues & Comte Julien in April 1811:
“…[they] cannot come to the Party – which was at first a greif, but…their not coming has produced our going to them tomorrow Even’g, which I like the idea of. It will be amusing to see the ways of a French circle.”
“Eliza caught her cold on Sunday in our way to the D’Entraigues…Eliza enjoyed her even’g very much & means to cultivate the acquaintance – & I see nothing to dislike in them, but their taking quantitites of snuff. – Monsieur the old Count, is a very fine looking man, with quiet manners, good enough for an Englishman – & I believe is a Man of great Information & Taste. He has some fine paintings, which delighted Henry as much as the Son’s music gratified Eliza – & among them, a miniature of Philip 5. of Spain, Louis 14.s Grandson, which exactly suited my capacity. – Count Julien’s performance is very wonderful… but M. le Comte must do without Henry. If he w’d but speak English, I would take to him.”[Ltr. 71, April 1811].
[As an aside, because here’s a tale to tell, and Austen doesn’t mention a thing about it: the Comte Emmanuel-Louis D’Antraigues (1753-1812) was a French pamphleteer, diplomat, spy and double agent, forger, and political adventurer. He and his wife were both murdered in their London home on July 22, 1812 by their Italian servant, either for personal or political reasons, who can tell – but this is a mere one year and three months after Austen visited them…]
So, we do know that Austen certainly followed the events in France – she had after all two brothers who served in the Royal Navy, and for most of her life England was at war with France. Her knowledge of French and French history would have increased due to her close relationship with her cousin Eliza (later her brother Henry’s wife), married to a French Count who lost his head to the guillotine. Austen peppers her letters with French phrases, though not so much in the novels [for a great discussion read Joan Austen-Leigh’s account “Jane Austen: The “French Connection” in Persuasions 20 (1998): 106-18].
This happy but confusing aside into French history is to just address the question whether Jane Austen read French, the general consensus being that she did. Did she read this very book about Louis XIV? She may have, or at least we can imagine her pulling it off the shelf – South Case, column 5, shelf 1 to be exact! [see here on the Reading with Austen website [pictures soon to be added].
OR, maybe Austen just pretended to understand France and French history and the French language, à la Catherine Morland…
Regardless, this French title is now in the library at Chawton House, where it certainly belongs – kudos to all on the intrepid GLOSS team for help in getting these memoir volumes back home!
For our ‘Reading with Austen’ Readers: I posted this originally on my Jane Austen in Vermont blog, but thought it would be an interesting exercise to see which of the many books mentioned by Janice Hadlow in herThe Other Bennet Sister were actually in Edward Knight’s library at Godmersham – so here is the post, with the addition of all titles in the the GPL and whether they are safe in the Knight Collection, or LOST SHEEP.
In Janice Hadlow’s The Other Bennet Sister, a brilliant effort to give the neglected-by-everyone Mary Bennet a life of her own, Mary’s reading is one of the most important aspects of the book – we see her at first believing, because she knows she is different than her other four far prettier and more appealing sisters, that her prospects for the expected life of a well-married woman are very limited, and that she must learn to squash her passions and live a rational life. She also mistakenly thinks that by becoming a reader of philosophical, religious, and conduct texts that she will finally gain approval and maybe even love from her distant, book-obsessed father.
So Mary embarks on a course of serious rational study – and one of the most insightful things in the book is that she learns, after much pain and introspection, that this is no way to lead a life, to find happiness, to find herself. She rejects the novels like the ones Mrs. Bennet finds at the local circulating library as being frivolous, largely because James Fordyce tells her so…
So, I have made a list of all the titles that Hadlow has Mary reading or referring to – all real books of the time, and many mentioned and known by Jane Austen. Hadlow is very specific in what books she puts in Mary’s hands! And shows her own knowledge of the reading and the reading practices of Austen’s era. [If anyone detects anything missing from this list, please let me know…]
I am giving the original dates of publication of each title; most all the titles in one edition or another are available on Google Books, HathiTrust, Internet Archive, or the like – I provide a few of those links, if you are so inclined to become such a rational reader as Mary….
Anonymous. The History of Little Goody Two Shoes (show JA’s copy). London: John Newbury, 1765. Attributed to various authors, including Oliver Goldsmith. We know that Jane Austen has her own copy of this book, here with her name on it as solid proof.
This exact copy, as noted in Gilson K1, is owned by the great-grandsons of Admiral Sir Francis Austen. It has been on display in the exhibition at the Jane Austen’s House in Chawton in 1975 and at the British Library in 1976.
Rev. Wetenhall Wilkes. A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice to a Young Lady: Being a System of Rules and Informations: Digested Into a New and Familiar Method, to Qualify the Fair Sex to be Useful, and Happy in Every Scene of Life. London, 1746. Another conduct book.
Catharine Macaulay. The History of England. 8 vols. London, 1763-83. A political history of the seventeenth century, covering the years 1603-1689. This was very popular and is in no way related to the later History published by Thomas Babington Macaulay. You can read more about this influential female historian in this essay by Devoney Looser: Catharine Macaulay: The ‘Female Historian’ in Context
5 volumes only are noted in the GPL catalogue and all are extant in the Knight Collection:
Rev. James Fordyce. Sermons to Young Women. London, 1766. A conduct manual.
In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Collins chooses to read Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women aloud to the Bennet sisters, Lydia especially unimpressed: “Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him …’.
Listed in the GPL and in the Knight Collection at Chawton House:
Frances Burney. Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World. London, 1778. Hadlow gives Evelina a good hearing – in the discussion in Mr. Bennet’s library with Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth directly quotes Austen’s own words in defense of the novel that are found in Northanger Abbey. [Evelina, and Mary’s difficulty in coming to terms with such a frivolous story, is mentioned more than once].
Evelina. U Michigan Library
The only work of Frances Burney listed in the GPL is The Wanderer – and that remains in the Knight Collection – only 3 of the 5 volumes, volumes 1 and 5 have gone missing… so are LOST SHEEP:
Other Novels mentioned are:
– Samuel Richardson. The History of Sir Charles Grandison. London, 1753. 7 vols. Reported to be Austen’s favorite book, all seven volumes!
And all 7 volumes are in the GPL catalogue and remain in the Knight Collection: [but where oh where is Pamela??]
– Henry Fielding. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. 4 vols. London, 1749. Supposedly the reason Richardson wrote his Grandison. [Mentioned more than once] – and here we find three LOST SHEEP:
There are three Fielding titles in the GPL:
Tom Jones (1749 – it says it is 6 volumes) – it is however, a LOST SHEEP
A Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (1755) – a LOST SHEEP
And Joseph Andrews (1742) – a LOST SHEEP
– Laurence Sterne. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. 9 vols. London, 1759-1767.
In the GPL catalogue and in the Knight Collection – only 2 volumes are listed, dated 1760, 2nd ed. Sterne published the first 2 volumes in 1759, and seven others followed over the next seven years (vols. 3 and 4, 1761; vols. 5 and 6, 1762; vols. 7 and 8, 1765; vol. 9, 1767).
The GPL also lists Sterne’s The Sermons of Mr. Yorick (London, 1765-66) – and the 7th ed. is happily in the Knight Collection.
Hugh Blair – wikipedia
Hugh Blair. Sermons. Vol. 1 of 5 published in 1777.
“You assign greater consequence to the clergyman than one has been used to hear given, or than I can quite comprehend. One does not see much of this influence and importance in society, and how can it be acquired where they are so seldom seen themselves? How can two sermons a week, even supposing them worth hearing, supposing the preacher to have the sense to prefer Blair’s to his own, do all that you speak of? govern the conduct and fashion the manners of a large congregation for the rest of the week? One scarcely sees a clergyman out of his pulpit.”
Well, both Blair’s Sermons (all 5 volumes of varying dates) and Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres. 11th ed. 3 volumes (London, 1809), are in the GPL catalogue and remain in the Knight Collection:
William Paley, by George Romney (wikipedia)
William Paley. A View of the Evidences of Christianity. London, 1794.
Paley is well-represented in the GPL: this Evidences(2nd. ed., 1794) – in the Knight Collection, but also his:
– The principles of moral and political philosophy. By William Paley, M.A. Archdeacon of Carlisle. The second edition corrected (London, 1786) – in the Knight Collection.
– Horæ Paulinæ, or the truth of the scripture history of St. Paul evinced, by a comparison of the epistles which bear his name, with the Acts of the Apostles, and with one another. By William Paley, M.A. Archdeacon of Carlisle. 1st ed. (London, 1790) – in the Knight Collection.
– Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of The Deity, collected from the appearances of nature. By William Paley, D.D. Late Archdeacon of Carlisle. The Sixteenth Edition, 1 vol. (London, 1819) – a LOST SHEEP
Aristotle. The Ethics of Aristotle. [no way to know the exact edition that Mr. Collins gives to Mary – it’s been around for a long time!]
The GPL lists only one Aristotle title, and this is a LOST SHEEP:
Aristotelous Peri Poiētikēs. Aristotelis De Poetica Liber. Textum recensuit, versionem refinxit et animadversionibus illustravit, Thomas Tyrwhitt. Editio Tertia (Oxford, 1806).
Mentions: all Enlightenment thinkers and heavy reading for Mary!
John Locke – LOC (wikipedia)
– John Locke: the GPL lists only this title and it is a LOST SHEEP
Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, The false Principles and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, And his Followers, Are Detected and Overthrown. The Latter, is an Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government. By John Locke Esq; The Fifth Edition. 1 vol. (London, 1728).
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau: much more popular in Edward’s library! – there are several titles listed, these all in the Knight Collection:
Emilius; or, an Essay on Education. By John James Rousseau, Citizen of Geneva. Translated from the French by Mr. Nugent. In two volumes (London, 1763)
A Project for Perpetual Peace. By J. J. Rousseau, Citizen of Geneva. Translated from the French, with a Preface by the Translator (London, 1761).
Lettres de deux amans, Habitans d’une petite Ville au pied des Alpes. Recueillies et publiées par J.J. Rousseau. 3 vols. (Amsterdam, 1761)
Oeuvres diverses de Mr. J.J. Rousseau, citoyen de Genève. 2 vols. (Amsterdam, 1762):
There is some LOST SHEEP material here, but what is actually missing needs to be sorted – M Rousseau is in need of further investigation and might get his very own blog post!
Collection complette des oeuvres de J.J. Rousseau. 1774-1783. partially a LOST SHEEP
David Hume (McGill)
– David Hume has three titles in the GPL:
The History of England, from The Invasion of Julius Cæsar to the Accession of Henry VII. Containing the Reign of The Prince before Conquest, William the Conqueror, William Rufus, Henry I., Stephen, Henry II, Richard I. and John. By David Hume, Esq. 1 vol. (London, 1777) – in the Knight Collection.
Essays, Moral and Political. The Second Edition, Corrected. 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1742) – a LOST SHEEP (though we know it sold at auction in 2013).
The Life of David Hume, Esq. written by himself. 1 vol. (London, 1777) – a LOST SHEEP
A Dictionary of the Greek Language – Mr. Collins gives a copy to Mary:
We cannot know what book Mr. Collins gives Mary – but there are a number of titles in the GPL either in Greek or translated from the Greek. There is this one Greek grammar which I shall include here since it is a LOST SHEEP:
The Elements of Greek grammar, with notes for the use of those who have made some progress in the language. By Richard Valpy. 1 vol. (London, 1805).
Edward Young. Night Thoughts. 1743. wikipedia
Edward Young. The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality. [Known as Night-Thoughts]. London, 1742-45. [No wonder Mr. Hayward suggested a lighter type of poetry!]
This is in the GPL and is unfortunately a LOST SHEEP: The complaint: or, night-thoughts on life, death, and immortality. By Edward Young. 2 vols. (London, 1746).
William Wordsworth, portrait by Henry Edridge, 1804; in Dove Cottage, Grasmere, England. Britannica.com
William Wordsworth. Lyrical Ballads. London, 1798. Full title: Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge [Mr. Hayward does not mention Coleridge at all!], first published in 1798 and considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature. Most of the poems in the 1798 edition were written by Wordsworth; Coleridge has only four poems included, one being his most famous work, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Well, I find this interesting – The Knights must not have been much for the Romantics! Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats, Shelley – none are in the GPL at all; Robert Southey has three titles, all in the Knight Collection, so I shall leave him for another day…
William Godwin. Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness. London, 1793. [Godwin married Mary Wollstonecraft and was the father of Mary Godwin Shelley]. Outlines Godwin’s radical political philosophy.
William Godwin (portrait by James Northcote) and Mary Wollstonecraft (portrait by John Opie) – from BrainPickings.org
No Godwin either, nor any Wollstonecraft…
Machiavelli – is referred to by Mary, so assume she is familiar with his The Prince (1513).
But we do find Machiavelli!:
The Works of the famous Nicolas Machiavel, Citizen and Secretary of Florence. Written OriginaIly in Italian, And from thence newly and faithfully Translated into English. 1st ed. 1 vol. (London, 1695) – a LOST SHEEP
Image: Guide to the Lakes. ‘View on Winandermere’ [now called Windermere], by Joseph Wilkerson. Romantic Circles
William Wordsworth. Guide to the Lakes. [full title: A Guide through the District of the Lakes] – first published in 1810 as an anonymous introduction to a book of engravings of the Lake District by the Reverend Joseph Wilkinson. A 5th and final edition was published in 1835 – you can read that online at Romantic Circles here, along with a full account of its rather tormented publication history: https://romantic-circles.org/editions/guide_lakes
Alas! no Guide either…
John Milton. Paradise Lost. A mention by Mr. Ryder who is defeated by its length, so we know Mary was familiar with it.
Milton gets his due in the GPL:
Paradisus Amissus. Poema Joannis Miltoni. Latine Redditum A Guilielmo Dobson, LL.B. Nov. Coll. Oxon. Socio. [By John Milton, trans. William Dobson, William]. 1 vol. (Oxford, 1750) – in the Knight Collection.
Paradise Lost. A Poem. The Author, John Milton. 1 vol. (London, 1736) – this is a FOUND SHEEP– thanks to three of our esteemed GLOSS Friends!:
Paradise lost. A poem, in twelve books. The Author John Milton. 1 vol. (London, 1751). This is LOST SHEEP (perhaps Mary Bennet absconded with it??)
Paradise regain’d. A poem, in four books. To which is added Samson Agonistes; and Poems upon Several Occasions: And Poems upon Severl Occasions. The author John Milton. The Second Edition, With Notes of various Authors, By Thomas Newton, D. D. 1 vol. (London, 1743) – another LOST SHEEP.
The Edinburgh Review / The Quarterly Review – brought to Mary by Mr. Ryder, and for which Mr. Hayward perhaps wrote his reviews. The Edinburgh Review (1802-1929); Quarterly Review (1809-1967, and published by Jane Austen’s publisher John Murray) – both were very popular and influential publications of their time…
None are listed in the GPL catalogue, which is not to say that the Knights and Family did not pour over these on a regular basis…
The Other Bennet Sister is an enjoyable read – it is delightful to see Mary Bennet come into her own, that despite what she viewed as an unhappy childhood, she finds her way through a good number of books in a quest to live a rational, passionless existence. And that the development of some well-deserved self-esteem with the help of various friends and family, might actually lead her to a worthy equal partner in life, just maybe not with Mrs. Bennet’s required £10,000 !
Our GLOSS Team is very pleased to announce a new LOST SHEEP that has been returned to the Fold!
Pharmacopoeia Collegii Regii Medicorum Edinburgensis. [By the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh]. Edinburgi, Apud W. Sands, A. Murray, & J. Cochran. Sumptibus J. Patoni ibidem Bibliopolae. MDCCXLIV. [Fourth Edition].
A little history:
“Before the existence of the Pharmacopoeia, there were no standardised recipes or methods of producing remedies for apothecaries, and no book or manual for physicians to consult when prescribing drugs or ointments. The move towards standardising medical teaching and practice was yet to happen, and this book acted as the first chain in that process of professionalisation.” [RCPE]
The College of Physicians of London had first published their own Pharmacopoeia in 1618. The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh attempted their own such manual in 1683, but ongoing infighting between surgeons and apothecaries delayed the actual publication until 1699. And what followed is an interesting and confusing history of twelve editions with many changes, some due to advances in chemistry and medical science, some due to previous editions having sold out, and some due to infighting as to what should actually be included and how it should be listed.
The various editions remained in general use in Scotland until 1864, when it combined with the London and Dublin Pharmacopoeias in 1864 to create the British Pharmacopoeia, still in use today. But unlike most other medical writing that since around 1750 was rendered in English rather than Latin, the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia was still published in Latin until the 11th ed of 1839. Translations were made into English and many other languages, and this added to the confusion when trying to gain an understanding of all available editions. None of the various editions stated as such, and only by studying the introductory material and the contents listings can it be determined how much revising actually took place. Fortunately David L. Cowen did all this work for the researcher in 1957 (see resources below).
Cowen lists the following editions:
First – 1699 Second – 1722 Third – 1735 Fourth – 1744 Fifth – 1756 Sixth – 1774 Seventh – 1783 Eighth – 1792 Ninth – 1803 Revised Ninth – 1805 Tenth – 1817 Eleventh (first in English) – 1839 Twelfth (second in English) – 1841
In this image of the 1st edition of 1699, notice the “device” on the title page:
1st ed. 1699 – image from the RCPE
As Cowen notes,
“in the first edition, the device was a combination of medical, national, and municipal symbols. It contained a staff and snake in a double ornamented oval frame that suggests the Badge of the Scottish Order of the Thistle. Within the ovals was the motto of the Order (and also one of the mottos in the Arms of Scotland): Nenw me impune lacesset. This was capped by a shield containing a representation of Edinburgh Castle, supported by a maiden and a hind, or unicorn, and by the enscrolled motto Nisi Dominus Frustra – all derived from the seal of the City of Edinburgh.
The second edition, and all subsequent printings that used the device, dropped the symbols of the City, and changed the staff to a triple thistle plant about the stalk of which a snake was entwined. A double circle frame, suggesting the Star of the Order of the Thistle was used, containing the same motto as before. On several printings these circles were encased in a black square with corner ornaments.” [Cowan, Part II, 342-43]
It is the 4th edition of 1744 we are most interested in, because this is the copy that was in the Godmersham Park Library. Here is the title page with the revised device that Cowen refers to:
4th ed. of 1744
It has the Montagu George Knight bookplate: [note the price of £20 – very painful! as well as the incorrect date of 1745 – someone did not know their Roman numerals…]
To give you an idea of the contents (there is no T of C in the 1744 edition), these are the main headings:
Medicamenta Simplicia which identifies botanicals, minerals and animals. Then there are the sections that tell how to prepare the remedies with these headings: Praeparationes; Destillate; Spiritus Stillatitii; Aquæ infusæ & Aceta; Tincturae; Decota; Syrupi; Melita, Gelatinæ, Succi & Succorum fæcul; Condita, Confervæ, & Sacchara; Pulvis Antiepilepticus, de Gutteta di êfus; Electuaria, Confeétiones, Anti dota, & Lohoch; Pilulæ Æthiopicæ; Trochifci; Olea per expreffionem; Balsama; Unguenta; Emplastra; Cataplasmat; and finally Medicamenta chemica. Followed by a detailed Index.
And I am sure that all made a good deal of sense… a later edition that did have a contents page (6th ed. of 1774) reads like this:
Changes to the Pharmacopoeia were ridden with conflict – folk medicine and tradition often rivaling the learnings of science and pure reason. Cowen gives an example of the animal simples in our 4th edition of 1744 still listed under Man as: “blood, urine, fat, milk, cranium, and mummy of man.” [Pharmacopoeia, 1744, p. 24.]
Here are a few pages to give you an idea of layout and content: [click on each for full page]
When first researching this post, I thought I would make a list of all the titles in the GPL that are in Latin. In a count of the spreadsheet titles, I find 100 in Latin, and another 21 that are an English / Latin combination. So I shall not be listing those, but what is important to note is that the 1818 GPL catalogue does contain this title (and mentioned above):
Pharmacopoeia Collegii Regalis Medicorum Londinensis. By Royal College of Physicians of London. London: Apud T. Longman, T. Shewell, et J. Nourse, 1746.
And this is a LOST SHEEP!
I find another medical text, though in English, that is also a LOST SHEEP, so will add that in here as well and add these two titles to our list of LOST SHEEP:
William Lewis, ed. Medical Essays and Observations, published by A Society in Edinburgh, In Six Volumes; Abridged and disposed under General Heads, In Two Volumes. Containing Vol. I. Meteorology, Mineral Waters, Materia Medica and Pharmacy, Animal Oeconomy. Vol. II. Anatomy and Chirurgery, Essays on particular Diseases, Histories of Morbid Cases, Improvements and Discoveries in Physic. With Copper Plates. By William Lewis, M.B. F.R.S. London: Printed for C. Hitch at the Red Lion, and T. Astley at the Rose in Pater-noster Row, 1746.
Image: Internet Archive
In sum, the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia is now at the Library at Chawton House, and images will soon be added to its rightful place on the Reading with Austenwebsite. A hearty thank you to the GLOSS team for their generous donations to make this purchase possible, and now on to the next find … eyes peeled one and all for the many LOST SHEEP still waiting to be found ….
In the most recent issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine, there is an essay by Emily Brand on “Foul-weather Jack,” a tale about poet Byron’s grandfather Vice-Admiral John Byron (1723-1786). Brand has recently published her book on the Byron family, The Fall of the House of Byron (John Murray, 2020), and it looks like a compelling read about a family that seemed to be cursed with all manner of misfortune through at least three generations.
[You can hear about the book on several episodes at BBC Sounds – only good for a few more days.]
What caught my eye was Brand’s reference to the Godmersham Park Library and three narratives of sea-faring adventures involving a John Byron apparently housed there – so my GLOSS view of the world went into high-gear to see what books are listed in the 1818 library catalogue and if they are Lost Sheep. And from there, down the research rabbit-hole… here are the results:
First, a bit about John Byron:
Byron was a British Royal Navy officer and explorer. He earned the nickname ‘Foul-Weather Jack’ because of his frequent encounters with bad weather at sea. At the age of 16 he was a midshipman on the ship HMS Wager, part of George Anson’s squadron intending to circumnavigate the globe – Byron made it only to southern Chile, when the Wager shipwrecked, a mutiny ensued and it took Byron more than five years to get back to England. The story of this adventure has been told in various accounts, including Byron’s own Narrative published in 1768 (more on this below).
Vice-Admiral The Hon. John Byron – by Joshua Reynolds, 1759,
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
You can read more about Byron and his further sea adventures circumnavigating the globe (which he did as commodore with his own squadron in 1764–1766), to a stint as Governor of Newfoundland, action in the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution here. He rose to Vice Admiral of the White before his death in 1786. He fathered nine children (three died in infancy), his son John the father of Byron. Admiral Byron died two years before our poet was born, but Byron was familiar with his grandfather’s adventures and paid tribute to him in his shipwreck scene in Don Juan. He wrote to his half-sister Augusta Leigh that his own turbulent, unlucky life was similar to his grandfather’s: “he had no rest at sea, nor I on shore.”
But as compelling as Admiral Byron’s life may be, our interest is in the books in the 1818 GPL catalogue – there are three books in the collection that relate to Byron and his voyages, and all are LOST SHEEP:
Two works are about the 1764-66 voyage of the Dolphin with Byron as Commodore:
1. A Voyage Round the World, In His Majesty’s ship The Dolphin, Commanded by the Honourable Commodore Byron. In which is Contained, A faithful Account of the several Places, People, Plants, Animals, &c. seen on the voyage: And faithful Account of the several Places, People, Plants, Animals, &c. seen on the voyage: And, among other Particulars, A minute and exact Description of the Streights of Magellan, and of the Gigantic People called Patagonians. Together with An Account of Seven Islands lately discovered. In the South Seas. By an Officer on Board the said Ship. The second edition.
Printed for J. Newbery, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard; and F. Newbery, in Pater-noster Row, 1767.
The author as stated on the title page reads: By an Officer on Board the said Ship, and the book has been attributed to Byron himself – indeed this copy is listed in the GPL catalogue as “Byron’s Voyages” and Byron is listed as the author in the 1908 catalogue. As the author remains unknown it is now listed and catalogued in libraries under the publisher Newbery. It is for us a LOST SHEEP.
At the time, there was controversy about the unknown author(s) : I find this (rather lengthy) in The Gentleman’s and London Magazine for May, 1767:
A Voyage round the World in his Majesty’s Ship the Dolphin, commanded by the Honourable Commodore Byron
SOON after the publication of this book, the following paragraph appeared in the Daily Advertiser:
“We are authorised by the undermentioned officers of the Dolphin man of war, to assure the public, in relation to a book lately published for Mr. Newbery, bookseller, in St. Paul’s Church-yard, entitled, “A voyage round the world in his Majesty’s ship the Dolphin, under the command of the Hon. Commodore Byron, and said to be wrote by an officer of the said ship,” that neither of them is the author thereof; that they will not presume to publish the voyage without obtaining leave for that purpose; and that the said bookseller is entirely unknown to them ; P. Mouat, captain; John Marshal, 2d lieutenant; George Robertson, 3d lieutenant, Henry Stacy, purser. The first lieutenant has been abroad seven months, the master three months, and both are still absent, which with the surgeon (who is at present out of town) and those whose names are signed above, were the principal officers of the Dolphin.”
To this paragraph the following answer was published two days afterwards in the Gazetteer.
“Some of the officers belonging to the ship, from motives, perhaps, of a private nature, have disavowed their having any concern in the publication of this volume, and asserted, that they neither know the author or the bookseller. But this amounts to nothing. The author is an officer; but the same motives that induced them to publish their advertisement, obliges him to keep himself conceal’d. All we pretended to was, that the book we published contained a faithful and true account of what was seen on the voyage, and was written by an officer on board the said ship. This is true, and is a truth which these gentlemen will not contradićt, nor, indeed, have they attempted it. Could the author have prefixed his name to the volume without incurring the displeasure of his superiors, he would; but, as that cannot be done, he hopes that so slight a circumstance will not be suffered to invalidate that truth, which the opposers of this publication, and, indeed, all the world cannot contradict.”
The truth seems to be, that the book in question is made from one of the ship journals, kept on board the Dolphin, in consequence of the curiosity excited by a report of some gigantic savages having been discovered in the course of the voyage on the coast of Patagonia. It is undoubtedly genuine, and contains innumerable facts and incidents that it would have been impossible to feign; the account of the Patagonians, however, does not fill quite seven pages of the work, in which, as the editor candidly acknowledges, the reader must not look for that entertainment which many books of the same kind afford, as, fortunately for the adventurers, but unfortunately for the reader, they met with no considerable distress during the voyage, and lost but 12 men out of both ships* [the other ship was the Tama]. The book is adorned with three cuts, not ill designed or executed, two representing the Patagonians, which were certainly drawn from fancy, aided by a verbal description ; and one representing a very picturesque scene in one of the islands of the South-Seas, said in the title to be seven in number, but appears, by the account, to be eight. It is to be wished that instead of one of them at least there had been a chart of the Straits of Magellan, and of the coasts of the principal places mentioned in the narrative; for, without this, the reader has so imperfect and confused a notion of the course, that his imagination cannot accompany the adventurers.
The discovery of the islands in the South-Seas was the object of the voyage, and the editor has, with great propriety, suppressed the latitudes and longitudes of them, in obedience to government, and to prevent any other nation from availing itself of our discovery.
The Commodore left Masa Fuero, called by the Spaniards the lesser Juan Fernandes, an island lying in latitude 33 deg 28 min. south, and in longitude 84 deg 27 min. west from London, and after a passage of 36 days, steering northward, discovered two small islands, which afforded a very delightful prospect, and perfumed the air with the fragrance of their fruits, but the people were prevented from landing by the Indians, who crowded in an hostile manner to the shore, and ran along the coast watching the boat. To these islands, therefore, they gave the name of the Islands of Disappointment. At the distance of about 67 leagues to the W. S. W. they discovered a third island, which all round next the sea was covered with beautiful red and white coral, fine shells and pearls. This they called Coral-Island; it is about, 11 leagues long, and near three broad, but has little fresh water. In the middle of it, however, there is a lake, where the Indians catch turtle, of which they saw many shells. They found also great quantities of fish hanging on the limbs….
[etc. it goes on for a few more pages outlining their discovery of a few more islands, one of which they name Byron after the Commodore. No more is said about the authorship…]
A sale at Christies of this title in 2009 lists the author as Byron, with this note: “This work is normally ascribed to midshipman Charles Clerke” (which is a whole other story … about the Patagonian giants). You can see said giants in this frontispiece from the 1st edition of Voyage:
2. John Hawkesworth. An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, And successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, In the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn up From the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, And from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq; By John Hawkesworth, LL. D. In Three Volumes. Illustrated with Cuts, and a great Variety of Charts and Maps relative to Countries now first discovered, or hitherto but imperfectly known.
London: Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell in the Strand, 1773
This title is listed in the 1908 catalogue but is not in the Knight Collection – so another LOST SHEEP.
[UPDATE:Jocelyn Harris in a comment below reminds us that Jane Austen would have certainly been familiar with this Hawkesworth account of the voyages: notice the names of Wallis and Carteret; there is also a Dalrymple and an Elliot – all names Austen uses in her Persuasion. See Harris’s brilliant book A Revolution Beyond Expression: Jane Austen’s Persuasion (U of Delaware P, 2007). A future post will discuss the other books in the GPL about James Cook’s voyages, where we will discover additional LOST SHEEP.]
3. The third work in the GPL tells the tale of Byron’s first voyage as a midshipman on the HMS Wager, in 1740-41, its shipwreck and mutiny of some of the crew. It was published in 1743.
John Bulkeley and John Cummins, Late Gunner and Carpenter of the Wager. A Voyage to the South-Seas, In the Years 1740-1. Containing, A faithful Narrative of the Loss of his Majesty’s Ship the Wager on a desolate Island in the Latitude 47 South, Longitude 81:40 West: With the Proceedings and Conduct of the Officers and Crew, and the Hardships they endured in the said Island for the Space of five Months; their bold Attempt for Liberty, in Coasting the Southern Part of the vast Region of Patagonia; setting out with upwards of Eighty Souls in their Boats; the Loss of the Cutter; their Passage through the Streights of Magellan; an Account of their Manner of living in the Voyage on Seals, Wild Horses, Dogs, &c. and the incredible Hardships they frequently underwent for Want of Food of any Kind; a Description of the several Places where they touch’d in the Streights of Magellan, with an Account of the Inhabitants, &c. and their safe Arrival to the Brazil, after sailing one thousand Leagues in a Long-Boat; their Reception from the Portuguese; an Account of the Disturbances at Rio Grand; their Arrival at Rio Janeiro; their Passage and Usage on Board a Portuguese Ship to Lisbon; and their Return to England. Interspersed with many entertaining and curious Observations, not taken Notice of by Sir John Narborough, or any other Journalist. The Whole compiled by Persons concerned in the Facts related, viz. John Bulkeley and John Cummins, Late Gunner and Carpenter of the Wager.
London: Printed for Jacob Robinson, Publisher, at the Golden-Lion in Ludgate-Street, 1743.
This title was in the GPL, listed in the 1908 catalogue (but has been crossed- out), and has gone missing, so a LOST SHEEP.
It is this 1740-41 voyage that Byron writes about in his own Narrative in 1768, interestingly enough the year after the “By an Officer on Board the said Ship” author-disputed voyage of the Dolphin (#1 above) was published.
John Byron. The narrative of the Honourable John Byron (commodore in a late expedition round the world) containing an account of the great distresses suffered by himself and his companions on the coast of Patagonia, from the year 1740, till their arrival in England, 1746. : With a description of St. Jago de Chili, and the manners and customs of the inhabitants. : Also a relation of the loss of the Wager man of war, one of Admiral Anson’s squadron. / Written by himself and now first published. London: Printed for S. Baker and G. Leigh; and T. Davies, 1768.
His book sold well enough and went into several editions. [And a little aside: this narrative forms the basis of the novel The Unknown Shore by Patrick O’Brian*]. Byron’s account was the only one which in any way defended Captain Cheap.
Frontispiece -Byron Narrative – BHL
This book is not in the GPL, which I find interesting since the library contained the other three titles concerning Byron – it is not listed in 1908 or in the Knight Collection either. But I find Byron’s “Preface” worth a read, as he mentions the 1743 Bulkeley account of this voyage (#3 above):
As the greatest pain I feel in committing the following sheets to the press, arises from an apprehension that many of my readers will accuse me of egotism; I will not incur that charge in my preface, by detaining them with the reasons which have induced me, at this time, to yield to the desire of my friends. It is equally indifferent to the public to be told how it happened, that nothing should have got the better of my indolence and reluctance to comply with the same requests, for the space of twenty years.
I will employ these few introductory pages merely to shew what pretensions this work may have to the notice of the world, after those publications which have preceded it. It is well known that the Wager, one of lord Anson’s squadron, was cast away upon a desolate island in the South-seas. The subject of this book is a relation of the extraordinary difficulties and hard-ships through which, by the assistance of Divine Providence, a small part of her crew escaped to their native land; and a very small proportion of those made their way in a new and unheard-of manner, over a large and desert tract of land between the western mouth of the Magellanic streight and the capital of’ Chili; a country scarce to be paralleled in any part of the globe, in that it affords neither fruits, grain, nor even roots proper for the sustenance of man; and what is still more rare, the very sea, which yields a plentiful support to many a barren coast, on this tempestuous and inhospitable shore is found to be almost as barren as the land; and it must be confessed, that to those who cannot interest themselves with seeing human nature labouring, from day to day, to preserve its existence under the continual want of such real necessaries as food and shelter from the most rigorous climate, the following sheets will afford but little entertainment.
Yet, after all, it must be allowed there can be no other way of ascertaining the geography and natural history of a country which is altogether morass and rock, incapable of products or culture, than by setting down every minute circumstance which was observed in traversing it. The same may be said of the inhabitants, their manners, religion, and language. What fruits could an European reap from a more intimate acquaintance with them, than what he will find in the following accidental observations? We saw the most unprofitable spot on the globe of the earth, and such it is described and ascertained to be.
It is to be hoped some little amends may be made by such an insight as is given into the interior part of the country; and I find what I have put down has had the good fortune to be pleasing to some of my friends; insomuch that the only fault I have yet had laid to my papers is, that of being too short in the article of the Spanish settlements. But here I must say, I have been dubious of the partiality of my friends; and, as I think, justly fearful lest the world in general, who may perhaps find compassion and indulgence for a protracted tale of distress, may not give the fame allowance to a luxurious imagination triumphing in a change of fortune, and sudden transition from the most dismal to the gayest scenes in the universe, and thereby indulging an egotism equally offensive to the envious and censorious.
I speak as briefly as possible of matters previous to our final separation from the rest of lord Anson’s squadron; for it is from this epocha that the train of our misfortunes properly commences: and though Mr. Bulkeley, one of the warrant officers of the Wager, has long since published a Journal and Account of the return of that part of the ship’s company, which, dissenting from captain Cheap’s proposal of endeavouring to regain their native country by way of the great continent of South America, took their passage home in the long-boar, through the Streights of Magellan; our transactions during our abode on the island have been related by him in so concise a manner as to leave many particulars unnoticed, and others touched so slightly, that they appear evidently to have been put together with the purpose of justifying those proceedings which could not be considered in any other light than that of direct mutiny. Accordingly, we find that the main substance of his Journal is employed in scrutinizing the conduct of captain Cheap, and setting forth the conferences which passed between him and the seceders relative to the way and measures they were to take for their return home. I have, therefore, taken some pains to review those early passages of the unfortunate scene I am to represent, and to enter into a detail, without which no found judgment can be formed of any disputed point, especially when it has been carried so far as to end in personal resentment. When contests and dissensions shall be found to have gone that length, it will be obvious to every reader, why a licentious crew should hearken to any factious leader rather than to the solidity of their captain’s advice, who made it evident to every unprejudiced understanding, that their fairest chance for safety and a better fortune, was to proceed with the long-boat till they should make prize of some vessel of the enemy, and thereby be enabled to bring to the commodore a supply of stout fellows to assist in his conquests, and share in the honour and rewards.
And yet it is but justice even to this ungovernable herd to explain, that though I have said above they appeared in the light of mutineers, they were not actually such in the eye of the law; for till a subsequent act, made, indeed, on this occasion, the pay of a ship’s crew ceased immediately upon her wreck, and consequently the officers authority and command.
Having explained the foregoing particulars, I hope I may flatter myself there are few things in the following sheets, which will not be readily understood by the greatest part of my readers; therefore I will not detain them any longer.
So threeLost Sheep – keep your eyes open GLOSSers!
* Patrick O’Brian’s The Unknown Shore (1959), a sort of sequel to his The Golden Ocean (1956), is neither part of his well-known Aubrey-Maturin Napoleonic War series that started with Master and Commander in 1969, but rather a precursor. The Unknown Shore tells the story of a Jack Byron and Tobias Barrow, who sail aboard HMS Wager as part of the voyage around the world led by Anson in 1740 (sound familiar?) These two characters are considered the prototypes of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin – the series of course was O’Brian’s literary tribute to Jane Austen (notice the JA in both names) – so proof once again, that everything does come back to Jane Austen, no matter how far afield we think we are…
So, I begin this final post on Charles Knight’s diaries with a book mentioned in an earlier diary that Hazel just found – In Diary 6, November 7, 1833, Charles writes:
‘read to Henry the Memoirs of Dalrymple’.
Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland. From the Dissolution of the last Parliament of Charles II. Until the Sea-battle off La Hogue. By Sir John Dalrymple, Bart. The second edition. Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, in the Strand: and A. Kincaid and J. Bell, and J. Balfour, Edinburgh, 1771-88.
This 3 volume set is found in the GPL catalogue and was listed in the 1908 catalogue, but is alas! A LOST SHEEP.
According to Wikipedia, “Sir John Dalrymple of Cousland, 4th Baronet (1726 – 26 February 1810) was a Scottish advocate, judge, chemist and author. He is best known for his Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland from the dissolution of the last parliament of Charles II until the sea battle of La Hogue, first published in 1771. A new edition of 1790 carried on to the capture of the French and Spanish navies at Vigo. The Dalrymples formed a dynasty among the legal profession in Scotland. Although a central figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and a friend of persons like David Hume and Adam Smith, Dalrymple’s writings were rather unappreciated and he has been described as an irritating member of the Edinburgh literati.” [love this!]
Now on to the last of the Diaries, numbers 13, 14, and 15. These three diaries are dated January 1837 through March 1851. None of the books mentioned will be in the Godmersham Library catalogue, and as Hazel notes:
“Attached are Charles’ diary entries which mention books or reading. They are numbered 13, 14 and 15 on the cover. There is no 12, but it isn’t missing – the dates continue more or less uninterrupted from Diary 11. The final diary ends in March 1851. There must be other diaries out there – I cannot believe that he just stopped. The references to books are few and far between over these years. He belongs to a book club, but fails to specify the texts bought in from Varty’s or his response to them. Neither does he reveal the titles of books read on visits to his parishioners (I think I found one.) Frequent trips back to Godmersham are disappointingly unrecorded, beyond the date he leaves and returns to Chawton.”
Diary marked number 13, January 30th 1837 – September 25th 1837; January 1841 to November 9th 1844:
No evidence of reading, but:
1844: ‘Thursday Feby 8. I spent most of the day with Adela. Willis came about cleaning the pictures.’
‘Friday ... I was with Adela looking over old pictures.’
[Charles is at Chawton, Adela is Edward II’s 2nd wife and mother of Montagu! (who did care very much about the books, even if his father didn’t!)]. I have asked Chawton House is there is any knowledge of a Willis – a servant, either man or woman – a check into local census records of the time mention no one with that name…] – a picture of Adela is forthcoming. Reading Hazel’s newest book – see below – you learn more about Adela. I love this image of she and Charles looking over old pictures…]
Diary marked number 14, November 10th 1844 to July 31st 1847:
1845 ‘Saturday June 28 … Read Eothen.’ [he continues reading Monday June 30th]
Alexander William Kinglake. Eothen; or Traces of travel brought home from the East. London: J Ollivier, 1844.
Eothen title page – 2nd edition (all I could find)
Kinglake – 1863 portrait by Harriet M. Haviland (National Portrait Gallery)
Alexander Kinglake (1809–1891) was an English travel writer and historian. Eothen was originally published anonymously and very popular, and tells of his travels in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. He is most known for his The Invasion of the Crimea: Its Origin, and an Account of its Progress down to the Death of Lord Raglan, in 8 volumes, published from 1863 to 1887 by Blackwood, Edinburgh. This book is listed in the 1908 catalogue (under Crimea) with an incorrect publication date; and all 8 volumes are still in the Knight Collection, but nothing on Eothen.
‘Monday August 25 … Dined at Wigrams & met some Heathcotes; and sang. I took an old book full of songs from the Gt House – which was of use.’
So, what this is anybody’s guess! No knowing if they were religious songs or something more light-hearted. There is listed in the Knight Collection a book titled Divine Songs, by Isaac Watts – no mention of this either in the GPL 1818 or Chawton 1908 catalogues, but it was published in 1715 as Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children(also known as Divine and Moral Songs for Children, a collection of didactic, moralistic poetry for children that for the next 150 years remained one of the most popular of children’s books and went into many editions. It looks like something that might have been / should have been in the GPL, and something Charles would have been familiar with, and likely used so much it wasn’t on the shelf during the cataloguing process – but I am completely digressing / guessing here!
Divine Songs – title page – British Library
‘Wednesday Nov 5. I walked to Alton … Looked in at Mrs Faithfull to leave Sumner’s exposition of the Gospels, which I mean to read there.’
‘Drew a little to make a beginning, copying from a beginner’s book of the childrens (Edward’s children). Read some French grammar.’
A Series of sermons on the Christian faith and character, by John Bird Sumner. London, 1823. Not in the GPL. But is in 1908 and the Knight Collection.
This one now mentioned is A Practical Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark, in the form of lectures … By J. B. Sumner. London : J. Hatchard & Son, 1831. The 1834 edition of this is listed in 1908 and remains in the Knight Collection, so likely what Charles is referring to.
John Bird Sumner, 1780-1862, was a bishop in the Church of England and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1848-62. He wrote numerous treatises on religion, and while none are in the GPL catalogue, several are listed in the 1908 and remain in the Knight Collection.
Portrait of Sumner attributed to Eden Upton Eddis – Wikipedia
Don’t know to what children’s book he is referring, but interesting that he has taken up drawing, and continuing with his French.
‘Tuesday Nov 11 …. Read at Mrs Faithfull’s at half past ten, one of Sumner’s lectures on St Matthew [see above] to her & Sally Howard.’
‘Friday Nov 27 … I wrote to desire Roake & Varty to send Crawley the Bishops charge & Wigram’s sermon.’ (His friend Crawley from his days at Trinity College Cambridge, who now lives in Wales).
Art. II.—“A Sermon, preached June 11, 1827, before the Corporation of the Trinity House.” By the Rev. Joseph Cotton Wigram, A. M. Curate of St. James’, Westminster. London: Rivingtons. 1827.
It appears in The Christian Remembrancer; or, The Churchman’s Biblical, Ecclesiastical and Literary Miscellany: Volume 10. January 1, 1828.
The “Bishop’s Charge” likely refers to this:
The Bishop’s Charge, not as it was, but as it should have been. By a Protestant. [Charles James Blomfield]. London, 1843.
Neither is in 1908 or in the Knight Collection.
‘1846 Jany 1 ... I wrote to Roake & Varty [for more books] & Jarvis & Jones’ [see below]
‘Thursday Feby 5 … I staid in all the afternoon reading Walpole’s memoirs.’
‘Saturday Feby 8 … I read a good deal of Walpole’s memoirs of Geo. 3d —’
Horace Walpole.Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Third ... Edited, with notes, by Sir D. Le Marchant. Horace Walpole. London, 1845.
These Memoirs were published in 4 volumes. The listing in both the 1908 catalogue (under George III!) and the Knight Collection list only two volumes.
Horace Walpole (1717-1797) Horace Walpole portrait: by Rosalba Carriera, c. 1741
The Jarvis & Jones must refer to an outdoor clothing outfitter, as in Diary Vol 5, Monday February 11, 1833, Charles writes: ‘I received a velveteen shooting jacket from Jarvis & Jones.” Charles was an avid outdoorsman, not something all that clear in these posts about his (mostly) religious reading. If you want to know more about the importance of proper shooting attire and the “velveteen shooting jacket,” here is all you need to know via the The Sportsman from 1859.
‘Monday Feby 9 ... I wrote to Mrs Lefroy & sent her a book by Edwd to B Stoke, who went to meet the express train. It was a manuscript of Aunt Janes from FCK.’
‘Lady Susan’ Manuscript – Morgan Library
Well, this is VERY exciting! Charles is writing this in February 1846. It is believed this was the manuscript of Lady Susan – Cassandra Austen had bequeathed it to her niece Fanny Knight Knatchbull on her death in March 1845 – so here it is being delivered to Mrs. Lefroy, who would be his cousin Anna Lefroy (daughter of James Austen) – exciting indeed!
Tuesday Feby 19 … Went to the book sale at Wigram’s … I bought some books for myself, and some for Edwd.’
‘Saturday Feby 28 … I sent a box of books to Bain to be bound.’ (They are returned to him on April 17th.)
So I find this: the bookbinder Bain might be this – still in existence!:
Bell & Bain, founded on 4th April 1831 by James Bell and Andrew Bain, is one of the oldest established printing companies still in existence in UK. In 1891, the firm was made a limited company, under the title Bell & Bain Ltd.
I had no luck with Wigram’s as a bookseller or publisher … unless he is referring to Joseph C. Wigram, mentioned above – Wigram was the Archdeacon of Winchester and Bishop of Rochester and wrote on religious topics including a work on the management of Sunday Schools. In August 1845 (see above) Charles writes of dining at Wigrams and meeting some Heathcotes – Deirdre Le Faye includes both in her biographical index to the Letters – so could this just be a reference to a friend selling some of their books?
‘Monday May 18 ... I finished the Crescent & the cross.’
Eliot Warburton. The Crescent and the Cross, Or, Romance and Realities of Eastern Travel. London: Henry Colburn, 1845.
Warburton, was an Irish traveler and novelist, born near Tullamore, Ireland. This book was an account of his travels in 1843 in Greece, Turkey, Syria, Palestine and Egypt – I mentioned above the Kinglake book Eothen – they appeared at nearly the same time and shows the public’s ongoing interest in such travels. The fact that Charles read both accounts is telling. Warburton’s book was a huge success and went into 18 editions! It is however, neither in the 1908 nor the Knight Collection.
And just to give another nod to Horace Walpole, Warburton wrote the Memoirs of Horace Walpole and His Contemporaries (London: Colburn, 1852).
1847: ‘April 22 … read Roscoe’s life of Lorenzo de ‘ Medici & got thro’ the preface & part of the 1st chapter.’
Roscoe – Title page, Vol 2 of 3rd ed, 1797 – HathiTrust
William Roscoe. The Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici called the magnificent. I-II. London: Printed by J. M’Creery and Sold by J. Edwards, 1795.
There are several editions of this work, so not sure which Charles is reading as it is not listed in either catalogue – first edition was published in 1795 in 2 volumes.
Portrait of Lorenzo de’ Medici, 15th century,
Agnolo Bronzino and workshop (Wikipedia)
‘Thursday May 13 … Wrote for some books to Varty.’ [Charles was a boon for the independent bookshop!]
‘June 8 … Sarah Ewens began to be educated by me today as candidate for a pupil teacher; we began Mrs Markham’s History of England.’
Mrs. Markham (i.e. Elizabeth Penrose). A History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans to the End of the Reign of George III. (1823).
Elizabeth Penrose (1780 – 1837), known by her pseudonym Mrs. Markham, was an English writer, mostly of histories and stories for children. Her History of England, first published in 1823, went through many editions, with the title changing with the addition of the reigning monarchs after George III. We cannot know which edition Charles was using for teaching Sarah Ewens.
Philip de Laszlo. Sketch for ‘Dame Emily Penrose – wikipedia
[An additional bit on Penrose is that her granddaughter was Dame Emily Penrose, DBE (1858 – 1942) – she was Principal of three early women’s university colleges in the UK: Somerville College, Oxford University from 1907 until 1926, the Principal of Royal Holloway College from 1898 until 1907, and the Principal of Bedford College from 1893 until 1897.]
Diary 15: August 1st 1847 to March 24th 1851
1848: ‘Monday Oct 17 … Wrote to Varty for some stationery & books for the school.’
‘Sunday Oct 22 ... Had the pupil teachers at 5 to read Secker’s lectures.’ (And the following Sunday.)
Secker Lectures – from Reading with Austen website
Thomas Secker appeared in Part IV: this was in the GPL and remains in the Knight Collection:
Lectures on the Catechism of the Church of England: with A Discourse on Confirmation. By Thomas Secker, LL.D. Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. Published from the Original Manuscripts By Beilby Porteus, D.D. and George Stinton, D.D. His Grace’s Chaplains. London, 1769.
1849: ‘Thursday April 5 … I went to Alton & ordered Burke’s landed gentry & Williams’s laws relating to the clergy.’
There are so many editions of Burke’s landed gentry – it has its own wikipedia page!
Since he is ordering this in 1849, it might be the edition of 1843-49 titled:
A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, a companion to the Baronetage and Knightage. By John Burke and John Bernard Burke. London: H. Colburn, 1845-1848.
No editions are listed in either catalogue. The Knight Collection has only this book by Bernard Burke: Encyclopaedia of Heraldry: or General Armory [later titled General Armory, which is how it is listed in the Knight Collection – first published in 1884 under this title.]
For Williams, I find this:
David Williams. The laws relating to the clergy; being a practical guide to the clerical profession in the legal and canonical discharge of their various duties. London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1813 and a 2nd ed in 1822.
The Knight Collection has a book titled: The Duties and Rights of the Clergy – this could refer to Edward Stillingfleet’s Ecclesiastical cases relating to the duties and rights of the parochial clergy stated and resolved according to the principles of conscience and law / by the Right Reverend Father in God, Edward, Lord Bishop of Worcester. London: Printed by J.H. for Henry Mortlock.., 1698.
There are other titles by Edward Stillingfleet in the GPL catalogue, but not this one – need to have a better look at the complete title in the Knight Collection.
‘April 18 … Preparations for lending Library.’ (In Alton. Charles suggested setting it up.)
‘April 19th ... arranged the lending Library books and tracts.’
‘April 22 … Gave G. Ewens some books to cover for the lending Library.’
Well, hooray for Charles! I need to research more to see if the existing library in Alton, located on Vicarage Hill, is actually the very one that Charles Knight started in the community.
Alton Library, Vicarage Hill (Wikipedia)
1850: ‘Feb 11. Monday … Began to read “Daily steps toward Heaven.” God grant they may really lead me there.’
[I hope you are now there too Charles!]
I find this:
Daily steps toward Heaven, or practical thoughts on the Gospel history, and especially on the life and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, for every day of the year, according to the Christian seasons, with titles and characters of Christ, and a harmony of the four Gospels. London, Park, 1850. 2nd ed. By A. H. Dyke Acland, afterwards Troyte. Earliestr edition I find is 1849. This title page is from 1860.
‘July 22. Monday. Called on Mrs Hedges. Lent her Mant’s book about the state of the blessed.’
Se, there are a few options here:
The Souls of the Blessed. By Bishop Mant. London: Edwards and Hughes, 1844. Series: Tracts for Englishmen, 6; Pamphlets, v. 1, no. 26.
The Happiness of the Blessed considered as to the particulars of their state; their recognition of each other in that state; and its difference of degrees. … To which are added Musings on the Church and her Services [in verse]. By Richard Mant, successively Bishop of Killaloe, and of Down, Connor and Dromore. London, 1833.
[my underlines – Charles’ words are “the state of the blessed” so likely he is referring to this book]
This book is not in either catalogue or the Knight Collection.
But I like this one the best, though I don’t think even Charles could have imagined this one in 1850, because it was not published until 1869!
Henry Alford. The State of the Blessed Dead. This was one of 4 discourses delivered in Canterbury Cathedral during Advent in 1868, and appeared in the “Pulpit Analyst” in 1869.
So we will leave Charles with his reading and his writing here. There are no more diaries, at least none have yet been found. Charles lived until 1867, and it would be odd that from 1851 until his death he would have stopped journaling – we can only hope more will be located.
As a final parting, here is an example of Charles’ diary writing, making our little peak into his life all the more personal, and with thanks again to Hazel for sharing this:
Extract from Charles Knight’s diary for 1834
If you want to learn more about Charles Bridges Knight, Hazel has just published her new book The Other Knight Boys: Jane Austen’s Dispossessed Nephews (Uppercross Press, 2020). You will learn much about Charles, as well as all of his brothers: Edward, George, Henry, William, and John. It is a compelling tale of Jane Austen’s brother Edward’s male children. I have enjoyed reading along with Charles (well some of the time!) – I hope you have too. It has been a grand entry into the Godmersham Park Library and later the library at Chawton House as we continue the search for the LOST SHEEP – help us if you can!
Links to the previous five posts on Charles’ diaries, with again, sincere thanks to Hazel Jones for sharing all the diary entries about Charles in the Godmersham Library.
There’s been a gap of over seven months (!) since the last posting on Charles’ reading at Godmersham – so I’ll repeat some of the introductory material to refresh your memory. I again offer hearty thanks to Austen scholar Hazel Jones for sharing this with us as she mines Charles’ diaries – and please see below about information on her just published work The Other Knight Boys, wherein we learn not just more about Charles Bridges Knight, but all his brothers as well!
The Reading with Austenwebsite focuses on the contents of the Godmersham Park Library as noted in the 1818 catalogue of the collection. We know that Jane Austen read and rested in this library because her letters tell us so, and the RwA website has brought this long-ago library back to colorful life. So it is a very interesting treasure to stumble upon other mentions of this library. The scholar Hazel Jones* has been very generous in sharing her research into the diaries of Austen’s nephew Charles Bridges Austen (later Knight), who also spent time in this very library. In doing the research for her new book on Edward Austen Knight’s sons, Hazel’s reading (and transcribing) Charles Bridge’s diaries (which are housed at Jane Austen’s House Museum ), she finds numerous references to the titles he is reading.
Charles Bridges was born March 11, 1803 at Godmersham Park in Kent, the 8th child of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Knight and Elizabeth Bridges. He was a commoner at Winchester* from 1816-1820, attended Trinity College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1828. He was the curate of West Worldham in Hampshire and rector of Chawton from 1837-1867. He died unmarried on October 13, 1867, aged 64 years. He is buried in the graveyard at the St. Nicholas Churchyard in Chawton (Section B: Row 2. 70 ).
You can read the other parts here that tell of Charles’ reading while living at Godmersham:
We continue now with Diary 11, dated November 2nd 1837 – January 28th 1840
Hazel notes: There is very little of interest in this diary concerning books. Charles is largely obsessed with detailing symptoms of the gout, various remedies and ‘lowering’ diets.
1. ‘Sunday Nov 5 … Received cookery garden and cellar books from Alton.’
These books are not identified by title, so we can only assume Charles has ordered books from the local bookseller in Alton about cookery, gardening, and cellar (root cellar? wine cellar?) books – these would have been his own books and not part of the Godmersham library – but nice to know he is reading something other than religious tomes!
2. ‘Monday Nov 6 ... ‘Sent by Gale for some books.’
No information, though I do find a printer / bookseller imprint for a Gale, Curtis and Fenner out of London – they printed and sold books on sporting as well as religion, but mostly around the 1810s – so this may be an offshoot of that original firm. There is also a later Gale bookseller in London. Here is a title page from their book on sporting.
3. ‘Tuesday Dec 5 … I wrote to Johnson about the furniture, & to Roche about some books.’ / and ‘Monday March 26 … Wrote to Roche & Varty for some books.’ / and ‘Saturday April 7 … I found a parcel of books arrived for me from Roche & Varty.’
So I was able to find references to Varty in WorldCat, and with the help of Peter Sabor, we find that “Roche” actually refers to “Roake” –
Roake & Varty were publishers and booksellers / stationers in London from about 1829-1842. They published a number of political, religious, and educational books – so Charles could have been either buying and reading for his own edification or, as Hazel suggests, purchasing books for the Chawton and Alton schools. He mentions supplying the teachers with various texts. [According to Hazel, Charles apparently was in the habit of turning up in the classrooms unannounced to examine the pupils! Every teacher’s nightmare!…] There are no Roake & Varty books at GPL, but here is a title page of one such published by them:
On the laws and liberties of Englishmen: Britons ever shall be free! 1831 (from Internet Archive)
4. ‘Friday April 20 … I bought today Edward’s Gibbon, at three guineas and a half.’
Ok, so the interesting thing here is that Charles seems to have BOUGHT the Gibbon from his brother Edward! Edward SOLD it to him?? OR Edward is Gibbon’s first name, so did he just mean Edward Gibbon, no possessive? Or, is he just completely confused about author and title? He later mentions “Gibbon’s decline and fall” so we know he is talking about The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, first published 1776 and succeeding volumes through 1789, and many re-printings. It is not listed in the GPL.
Title page from 2nd ed volume I: Heritage Auctions
The only Gibbon book at Godmersham was this, his first published work: Essai sur l’étude de la literature (1761) and a LOST SHEEP:
Edward Gibbon, by Henry Walton – wikipedia
[Aside: Human interest story (i.e. gossip): While living in Switzerland as a young man, Gibbon met the love of his life: Suzanne Curchod, the daughter of the pastor of Crassy. Their romance was thwarted by family on both sides – but Curchod went on to marry Louis XVI’s finance minister Jacques Necker – their daughter became Madame de Staël.]
5. ‘Sunday April 22 … I came home soon after 5 and read till 7 when I dined — at 1/2 past 9 I read the first chapter of Anderson’s Expositions of the Epistle to the Romans, to the servants, meaning to go on with it every Sunday.’
Robert Anderson. A practical exposition of St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans. London: J. Hatchard and Son, 1833. [also an appendix was published in 1837]
[Image: Internet Archive]
Not in the GPL – so one wonders where DID Charles’ own books go??
6. ‘Monday June 11 ... Today I have been silly enough to subscribe to a publication going about of the lives of eminent Englishmen.’
Charles must mean this: Lives of eminent and illustrious Englishmen, from Alfred the Great to the latest times, on an original plan. George Godfrey Cunningham. Glasgow, A. Fullarton & Co., 1834-42.
Not in the GPL – but it is good to know that Charles had a moment of “silliness”! It was originally published in 16 parts (then into 8 volumes).
[Image: Internet Archive]
7. ‘Wednesday June 13 ... I read some of Waddingtons History of the church & some of Johnson’s Life by Boswell … I have generally passed the time in reading the above books, besides the Bible’. (Hazel notes: He finds time for reading over a period when he is laid up with the gout.) – Not in the GPL, but here is a title page [from HathiTrust]:
History of the church, from the earliest ages to the reformation, by George Waddington / Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. London: Baldwin & Cradock, etc…, 1830-1833.
Boswell’s Life of Johnson was covered in this post on Samuel Johnson in the GPL: this is a LOST SHEEP, however, and therefore worth repeating…
8. ‘Monday July 23 … I began to read Gibbon’s decline and fall today.’
See above for details: he bought it on April 20, started it July 23 – Charles, like all of us, must have had a piled-high TBR stack!
9. 1839 ‘Thursday (Feb 7th) I began this morning reading to the servants before prayers, instead of having prayers only. I began Slade’s psalms …’
Slade is mentioned in Part IV of Charles’s reading: James Slade wrote a few works on the Psalms, a number of them after the diary date of 1839. There is nothing in the GPL: but maybe this was what he was reading to the servants (did Charles always “practice” on the servants I wonder?)
An Explanation of the Psalms as read in the Liturgy of the Church. By the Rev. James Slade, Canon of Chester. London, 1832. [ title page from MW Books on abebooks]
10. ‘Friday March 8 … The rest of the day I passed in reading Abercrombie’s Intellectual powers, which I finished; & began his moral feelings.’
We have two works mentioned here, neither in the GPL catalogue:
In 1830, John Abercrombie published his Inquiries concerning the Intellectual Powers and the Investigation of Truth. Edinburgh / London, 1830. We don’t know what edition Charles had, but here is a title page from the 5th edition of 1835 [HathiTrust].
This was followed with The Philosophy of the Moral Feelings in 1833, published by John Murray (Jane Austen’s own publisher!)
John Abercrombie (1780-1844) was a Scottish physician and philosopher, known for his medical treatises. These two works of philosophy were widely popular at the time of their publication and were variously reprinted in Britain and the United States.
John Abercrombie – ( c) Wellcome Library; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Though these books are not in the 1818 GPL catalogue, it gives me an opportunity to tell of two books by a different John Abercrombie that were at Godmersham, but are now LOST SHEEP.
This John Abercrombie (1720-1806) was a Scottish horticulturist who wrote a number of books on gardening, and was as a young man employed at the Royal Gardens at Kew, and at Leicester House.
John Abercrombie. The propagation and botanical arrangements of plants and trees, useful and ornamental, proper for cultivation in every department of gardening; nurseries, plantations and agriculture. …etc. [a very long title!]. London, 1784.
The Universal Gardener And Botanist; or, a General Dictionary of Gardening and Botany. Exhibiting in Botanical Arrangement, according to the Linnæan System,…. Etc, etc.,[another very long title!]. By Thomas Mawe and John Abercrombie. London, 1778.
And finally, the last entry for Diary 11:
11. ‘Tuesday March 19 … I began reading Thicas’s history of the French revolution, which Edward lent me.’
I can find nothing on this exactly, but perhaps it is a mistake on Charles’s part or illegible, because I do find this (it is not in the 1818 catalogue):
Adolphe Thiers, circa 1830 – wikipedia
Histoire de la Révolution française, by Adolphe Thiers (could this be the “thicas” ?) The first two volumes appeared in 1823, the last two (of ten) in 1827. It was the first major history of the French Revolution in French and won Thiers a seat as the second-youngest elected member of the Academie Française. He was the second elected President of France, and the first President of the French Third Republic.
There are other books in the 1818 catalogue about the French Revolution, as well as a number of books in French– so if Edward lent it to Charles around 1839, where did it come from if not the Godmersham or Chawton libraries? It is not listed in the 1908 catalogue either. Did Charles never return the set to Edward? And, is it clear that Charles spoke / read French?
This book on the French Revolution is listed in the GPL catalogue and is in the Knight Collection, and has the Montagu George Knight bookplate:
Archibald Alison. History of Europe during the French Revolution. Embracing the period from the Assembly of the Notables, in M.DCC.LXXXIX., to the establishment of the Directory, in M.DCC.XCV. By Archibald Alison. London / Edinburgh, 1833-1842.
There is one more post in this series about Charles’ Godmersham reading, which I shall prepare shortly. In the meantime, you can learn more about Charles and his brothers in Hazel Jones’ just publishedThe Other Knight Boys: Jane Austen’s Dispossessed Nephews– watch this space for an upcoming interview with Hazel – I highly recommend the book, so many interesting tales of the children Jane Austen knew and played with, and the various directions their lives took them. You can purchase it here at Jane Austen Books.
While many of the interesting titles found in the Godmersham Park Library of Edward Austen Knight are of religious or historical nature, I find the listings of works by women writers to be the most I am drawn to – and with questions: Did Edward acquire and read these? Did his wife Elizabeth Bridges? We know that all in the family were “great Novel-readers & not ashamed of being so…” [Le Faye, Ltr. 14] Or, perhaps were some of the earlier works those of the original owner of the estate, Mrs. Thomas Knight, Edward’s adoptive mother Catherine Knight?
Catherine Knight, by George Romney – Occeansbridge.com
[Aside: We know that Mrs. Knight was a reader. In Austen’s letters, we find a good number of references to her and it is clear that she and Austen had a respectful and affectionate relationship. This goes back to as early as Austen’s composition of The History of England (completed in 1791), when Austen, in her defense of Mary, Queen of Scots writes:
Oh! what must this bewitching Princess whose only freind was then the Duke of Norfolk, and whose only ones are now Mr Whitaker, Mrs Lefroy, Mrs Knight & myself, who was abandoned by her Son, confined by her Cousin, abused, reproached & vilified by all, what must not her most noble mind have suffered when informed that Elizabeth had given orders for her Death!
Mr. Whitaker was the author of Mary Queen of Scots Vindicated (1787) [the title page states: “Author of the history of Manchester; and rector of Ruan-Lanyhorne, Cornwall”] – this book is not in the GPL collection, though there are a few other titles on the history of Mary, Queen of Scots – we can wonder if Jane was influenced by these as well – a topic for another blog post!
Mrs. Lefroy was a neighbor and great friend to Jane. And the mention of Mrs. Knight shows that even at this young age, she and Mrs. Knight would have some sort of rapport discussing history and literature.
Mrs. Knight is also in on the great secret of Jane as author: in an April 25, 1811 letter written to Cassandra while at Henry’s in London, Austen writes of her working on the proofs of Sense and Sensibility:
“I have had two sheets to correct, but the last one only brings us to W.s first appearance. Mrs. Knight regrets in the most flattering manner that she must wait till. May, but I have scarcely a hope of its of its being out in June [it was not published until 23 October 1811]….I am very much gratified by Mrs. Knight’s interest in it; & whatever may be the event of it as to my credit with her, sincerely wish her curiosity could be satisfied sooner than is now probable. I think she will like my Elinor, but cannot build on anything else.”
The point being that Mrs. Knight was a reader and may have added a good number of novels to the collection before she left Godmersham and gave the estate to Edward. Something to be investigated…]
But, back to the topic at hand: women writers at the GPL. I shall start with Sarah Scott. Two of her most popular works were in the GPL and both are now Lost Sheep.
Sarah Scott,1744, by Edward Haytley [wikipedia]
Sarah [Robinson] Scott (1720-1795), born in Yorkshire to Matthew and Elizabeth Robinson, the youngest of nine children, lived much of her life in Cambridge. They were a distinguished family and the children went on to have successful careers. Her older sister was the acclaimed Bluestocking Elizabeth Montagu, who was more well-known and regarded than Sarah for her writings and literary salons, though Elizabeth herself thought Sarah the more talented.
Elizabeth Montagu, 1762, by Allan Ramsay – wikipedia
Gary Kelly in his DNB entry for Scott writes:
Her early letters exhibit a witty, satirical, and fastidious outlook on people, fashionable society, and courtship and marriage, a strong interest in handsome and intelligent men, and contempt for men who feared educated women, for women with no intellectual interests, and for unclean persons of either sex.
After contracting smallpox in 1741, Sarah’s stock in the marriage market would have plummeted; it may have led to her retreat from the expected social life of a young woman and directed her into a life of writing and female friendships. She developed a close friendship with Lady Barbara Montagu (no relation to Elizabeth), and after a rather disastrous marriage to George Lewis Scott in 1751, of which little is known (and certainly scandalous in some manner*), she and Barbara pooled their small resources and settled in Bath.
Scott published all her works anonymously, though as with Jane Austen, it was likely an “open secret” among her friends and correspondents. Her first novel was The History of Cornelia, published in 1750, and wherein the Heroine has a number of Gothic encounters but returns to a rational and safe view of the world, the book similar to Northanger Abbey in its emphasis on the dangers of reading and female sexuality.
She continued to write novels, largely of a sentimental nature, translated a work from the French, wrote two political histories, and several educational texts. Her 1762 work A Description of Millenium Hall was her most popular, followed by its sequel The History of Sir George Ellison in 1766. These are the two novels that were in the GP Library to which Austen had access, though there is no mention of Scott in her letters (only Sir Walter!). Both are now missing and Lost Sheep (they do show up in the 1908 catalogue under their titles), Scott is well-represented in the Library at Chawton House with several (but not all) of her works: 1st editions of Millenium Hall, George Ellison, Life of Theodore Agrippa d’Aubigné, and The History of Cornelia (though it doesn’t show up on WorldCat as being in any library!)
Millenium Hall provided a fictional example of what Scott and Lady Barbara were attempting to create in real life, a utopian community of women who would provide help and educational opportunities to the poor women and children in their neighborhood. Millenium Hall, published as written “by A Gentleman on his Travels,” is narrated by a male character who Scott later uses as her protagonist in Sir George Ellison. He tells the life stories of the women living in their secular convent-like home. It is said that it took Scott all of a month to write. The November 1762 of the Monthly Magazine carried the following review of the novel:
Millenium Hall is a name given to the rural and elegant abode of a happy society of Ladies, which the Author tells us he met with in the West of England. The respective histories of these accomplished female Worthies, with their motives for retiring from the World, and forming this delightful connection; together with a particular description of their residence; an account of the rules, and orders of the society; and a view of the very laudable manner in which the amiable Recluses employed their time and their fortunes; — these are the outlines of a work well calculated, as the title justly professes, to inspire the Reader with proper senti ments or humanity, and the love of virtue. We have perused it with pleasure; and heartily recommend it, as a very entertaining as well as a truly moral and sensible performance.
The book was popular and went into several editions through 1778.
[Aside 2: There is a connection to Jane Austen I must mention. It seems that Sir Egerton Brydges, brother of Austen’s great friend and neighbor Anne Lefroy, was the first to note in his Censura Literaria of 1805 that Sarah Scott was the author of nine works. Egerton was married to Mary Robinson, the daughter of Mrs. Scott’s youngest brother, William, and thus probably knew Mrs. Scott’s literary efforts from personal contact. It was a small world! And more proof again that Austen would have known of her. [See Walter M. Crittenden’s introduction to Millenium Hall, p. 18].
1767 Edinburgh ed.
The other title listed in the GP Library catalogue is The History of Sir George Ellison(1766) [also with the title A Man of Real Sensibility; or The History of Sir George Ellison]. The narrator of Millenium Hall tries to improve slaves’ lives in Jamaica, and later establishes a charity school for boys in England modeled after what he had observed at Millenium Hall. His character is likened to Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison, Jane Austen’s very own favorite Hero. Scott prefaces the book with an epigraph from Lawrence Sterne’s Sentimental Journey:
Dear SENSIBILITY!—Source inexhausted of all that’s precious in our Joys, or costly in our Sorrows.—’Tis here I feel thee—’tis thy Divi|nity that stirs within me.—For that I feel some generous joy—some generous care beyond my self.—All comes from Thee—
Here is a letter to Scott from her sister Elizabeth Montagu about the impending publication of this book: [from the EMOC twitter account, dated 18 February 2020:
[See below for the list of all Scott’s works].
Lady Barbara died in 1765, and Scott lived in various places. Her efforts to again establish a real Millenium Hall at Hitcham House in Buckinghamshire in 1767, to which she invited the writer (and Henry’s sister) Sarah Fielding, among others, proved a failure. She finally settles in Catton, near Norwich, where she dies after a lengthy illness. All of her letters and papers were destroyed after her death in 1795 as per her instruction, though a number of letters to and from her sister Elizabeth Montagu remain. Many of these letters are in the Elizabeth Montagu Collection at the Huntington Library, and currently part of an ongoing project to digitize all of Montagu’s correspondence.
And though most of her letters were destroyed, it seems that there is a 2-volume recent publication of all her extant letters, edited by Nicole Pohl, that runs to 912 pages! – Nicole Pohl, ed., The Letters of Sarah Scott, 2 vols. (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014). It too is prohibitively expensive (starting at $350 even on the used book market) – you can find it here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/letters-of-sarah-scott/nicole-pohl/9781848934689
There has been renewed interest in Scott and her contributions to the female literature of her time, called of late “Bluestocking Feminism” [see Kelly]. There have been scholarly editions of her most popular works and all her titles are available in either these scholarly texts, online, or in readily available reprints. What we GLOSSers want however, are the original copies of Millenium Hall and Sir George Ellison that sadly went missing from the Godmersham / Chawton House library sometime after 1908. Let’s hope we can locate (and hopefully) return these twoLost Sheep to the Library at Chawton House! Please contact us if you have any information.
List of works by Sarah Scott:
– The History of Cornelia(1750) [no author noted]: at Chawton House and available as a Gale ECCO reprint.
–Agreeable Ugliness, or, The Triumph of the Graces; Exemplified in the Real Life and Fortunes of a Young Lady of Some Distinction (1754). A loose translation of Le Laideur aimable by Pierre Antoine, Marquis de La Place, it is a morality tale of two sisters, one beautiful but vain, and the other plain but virtuous. There is a copy at the British Library, a free ebook on Google Books, and a Gale ECCO reprint POD.
Dublin ed, 1754
– A Journey through Every Stage of Life, Described in a Variety of Interesting Scenes, Drawn from Real Characters. By a Person of Quality (1754). An Arabian Nights sort of work “comprising tales told by a witty female servant to divert her mistress, a disgruntled princess exiled by her brother to clear his way to the throne.” [Kelly, DNB]. A copy at the British Library and available as a Gale ECCO reprint.
– The History of Gustavus Ericson, King of Sweden; With an Introductory History of Sweden, from the Middle of the Twelfth Century. By Henry Augustus Raymond, Esq. (pseud. for Scott) (1761). Full text on HathiTrust, available in reprints.
-The History of Mecklenburgh, from the First Settlement of the Vandals in that Country, to the Present Time; including a Period of about Three Thousand Years (1762). [No author noted]. Likely prompted by the marriage of King George III to Charlotte, the Princess of Mecklenburgh in 1761. At the British Library; full text at HathiTrust, Google Books; various reprints available.
-A Description of Millenium Hall and the Country Adjacent, Together with the Characters of the Inhabitants and such Historical Anecdotes and Reflections as May Excite in the Reader Proper Sentiments of Humanity, and Lead the Mind to the Love of Virtue (1762). By A Gentleman on his Travels. At Chawton House, full text at HathiTrust, the 1955 edition by Walter Crittenden, a scholarly edition edited by Gary Kelly in 1995 (Broadview), and various reprints abound, including kindle.
-The History of Sir George Ellison(1766)]. [No author noted]. Full text available on Google Books (vol 2); also on HathiTrust, a 1767 Edinburgh edition titled A Man of Real Sensibility; or The History of Sir George Ellison; a 1774 Philadelphia edition, printed by James Humphreys, is online at Evans Early American Imprint Collection: ; a scholarly edition edited by Betty Rizzo (1996); and various reprints now available.
-The Life of Theodore Agrippa d’Aubigné, Containing a Succinct Account of the Most Remarkable Occurrences during the Civil Wars of France in the Reigns of Charles IX, Henry III, Henry IV, and in the Minority of Lewis XIII(1772). [No author noted.] Theodore Agrippa d’Aubigné (1552-1630) was a French poet, soldier, and historian. At the British Library and a few other libraries in the UK and one in Dublin; full text at HathiTrust and Google (same copy); various reprints available.
-The Test of Filial Duty; In a Series of Letters between Miss Emilia Leonard, and Miss Charlotte Arlington: A Novel(1772). Scott’s final work, it is an epistolary novel, emphasizing female friendship and criticizes clandestine marriages as well as “the male-dominated systems of property and patronage.” [Kelly, DNB]. At the British Library, no full-text available except here [subscription needed] : vol. 4 of Bluestocking Feminism: Writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 1738-1785, edited by Gary Kelly – print edition is available for exorbitant prices!), but there are cheaper reprints available of Filial Duty.
*George Lewis Scott (1708–1780) was a mathematician and literary figure who was tutor to the future George III from 1751 to 1755. He was a friend of the historian Edward Gibbon, the poet James Thomson, Samuel Johnson and other members of the Georgian era literary world, as well as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin. [Wikipedia]. He was a Robinson family friend, twelve years Sarah’s senior, and family lore says the marriage was never consummated. One problem may have been that Lady Bab tagged along on their honeymoon and lived with them after their return! Scandal would have resulted when Scott returned to her family, so Scott agreed to pay Sarah an annuity, but sources says they spoke of each other with bitterness for the rest of their lives…[Wikipedia, which alas! can sometimes be wrong!]
We can never really know what happened, Scott continued to write and work on her charities, rather than having the requisite twelve children or dying in childbirth…. I am currently reading Millenium Hall – will report on it when I am finished – a bit of a slog, but interesting at the same time! I hope this short intro will entice others to read her, her works thankfully now so readily available.
A Select bibliography for further reading: there are an increasing number of scholarly essays on Sarah Scott – I list here just a few that I consulted.
Backscheider, Paula R., ed. Revising Women: Eighteenth-Century “Women’s Fiction” and Social Engagement. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U, 2000.
Crittenden, Walter Marion. The Life and Writings of Mrs. Sarah Scott, Novelist (1723-1795). Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 1932.
Since there is a bit of a gap since my last posting in late April on these diaries of Charles Bridges Knight, I’ll repeat some of the introductory material to refresh your memory. As we continue to see what Charles was reading in the Godmersham Park Library, I again offer hearty thanks to Austen scholar Hazel Jones for sharing this with us as she mines Charles’ diaries:
The Reading with Austenwebsite focuses on the contents of the Godmersham Park Library as noted in the 1818 catalogue of the collection. We know that Jane Austen read and rested in this library because her letters tell us so, and the RwA website has brought this long-ago library back to colorful life. So it is a very interesting treasure to stumble upon other mentions of this library. The scholar Hazel Jones* has been very generous in sharing her research into the diaries of Austen’s nephew Charles Bridges Austen (later Knight), who also spent time in this very library. Ms. Jones is writing a book on Edward Austen Knight’s sons, and in reading (and transcribing) Charles Bridge’s diaries (which are housed at Jane Austen’s House Museum ), she finds numerous references to the titles he is reading.
Charles Bridges was born March 11, 1803 at Godmersham Park in Kent, the 8th child of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Knight and Elizabeth Bridges. He was a commoner at Winchester* from 1816-1820, attended Trinity College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1828. He was the curate of West Worldham in Hampshire and rector of Chawton from 1837-1867. He died unmarried on October 13, 1867, aged 64 years. He is buried in the graveyard at the St. Nicholas Churchyard in Chawton (Section B: Row 2. 70 ).
You can read the other parts here that tell of Charles’ reading while living at Godmersham:
We continue now with Diary 10, dated January 19 1836 – January 27th 1837:
‘Jany 24 … I read some of Kidd on my return home.’
John KIdd – Wellcome
John Kidd (1775-1851), a physician, chemist and geologist, is considered the first of the “scriptural geologists.” His On The Adaptation of External Nature to the Physical Condition of Man, was volume II of the “Bridgewarter Treatises,” a collection of 8 volumes by various scientists and theologians that began publication in 1833. The GPL housed only volume 1, 2, and 4 – by Thomas Chalmers, John Kidd and Charles Bell respectively.
Not in the Library at Chawton House, so all three of these volumes are Lost Sheep.
‘Jany 25 … I rose at 1/2 past 7 and read german till breakfast time. After that I sat in the Hall and read Burnet till one o’clock, a good long patch. It is an interesting book I think. It was very well in those days to have texts & restraints against popery, when the papists were a strong party, a popish King was on the throne, and the protestant interest all over Europe was threatened.’ (He then launches into a sermon on Christian conduct and principles.)
It is interesting here to have some actual commentary from Charles!
There are several books by a Burnet in the GPL, four by Gilbert Burnet, and two by Thomas Burnet.
Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury -WP
Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): I surmise Charles is referring to either of these two titles – the Bishop Burnet’s Travels has a reference to a discussion of Popery:
Bishop Burnet’s travels through France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland: Describing their Religion, Learning, Government, Customs, Natural History, Trade, &c. And illustrated with curious Observations on the Buildings, Paintings, Antiquities, and other Curiosities in Art and Nature. With a Detection of the Frauds and Folly of Popery and Superstition in some flagrant Instances, also Characters of several eminent Persons, and many other memorable Things worthy the Attention of the Curious. Written by the Bishop to the Honourable Robert Boyle. To which is added, an Appendix, containing Remarks on Switzerland and Italy, by a Person of Quality, and communicated to the Author. A Table of Contents and a Character of the Bishop and his Writings. London, 1750.
However, if you note Charles’ entry for March 26 below:
‘March 26 … I finished Burnets times, which has lasted me all the winter, & given me much instructive information and interest. I like the book very much, & am sure the author must have been a very good and wise & sociable man.’
He is referring to this:
Bishop Burnet’s History of His Own Time. Vol. I. From the Restoration of King Charles II. to the Settlement of King William and Queen Mary at the Revolution: To which is prefix’d A Summary Recapitulation of Affairs in Church and State from King James I. to the Restoration in the Year 1660. London, 1724, 1734.
Both of these Burnet titles are in the 1818 GPL catalogue and are extant in the Knight Collection at CH. They also both have the Thomas Knight bookplate.
Samuel Horsley -Wikipedia
‘Jany 26 … I tried my luck at a sermon on the marriage supper … but could make nothing of it, and therefore read one and then another of Horsleys … After dinner I read some of Kidd, which I do not think much of – it seems very much got up I think.’
Well, so much for Kidd! –
We discussed Samuel Horsley in Part III – he wrote a number of tracts, sermons, and treatises, and Charles notes he was reading more than just this one title that is listed in the 1818 catalogue:
Letters from the Archdeacon of Saint Albans, in reply to Dr. Priestley. With an appendix, containing Short Strictures on Dr. Priestley’s Letters by an unknown Hand. London, 1784. This is at Chawton.
‘Jany 30 … I read some of the articles of faith of the reformed french church, contained in a french testament, with prayers and psalms set to tunes & offices at the back of it, printed in 1668.’
Well, he could have been reading anything…there are a number of French titles in the catalogue, though I do not find anything dated 1668. We are impressed with Charles’ abilities to read in German and French…
‘Feby 2 … I rose at 7 and read some Slade’s psalms.’
James Slade-unknown artist – Bolton Library and Museum – WP
James Slade (1783-1860): In 1813 Slade became the rector of Teversham and in 1817 the vicar of Bolton-le-Moors, where he remained for nearly 40 years.
He is most known for these two titles which went into a number of editions; neither is listed in GPL catalogue, but worth the mention nonetheless. They may have been in Charles’ own collection.
Twenty-one prayers, composed from the psalms, for the sick and afflicted : to which are added various other forms of prayer for the same purpose, with a few hints and directions for the use of the younger clergy. London: Rivington, 1828.
An Explanation of the Psalms as read in the Liturgy of the Church. By the Rev. James Slade. London, 1832.
‘Feby 6 … After dinner I finished Kidd, & began Bell.’
This refers to the citation above, the 4th volume in the “Bridgewater Treatises” along with John Kidd. This volume is by Charles Bell (1774-1842) and titled: The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design. London, 1833. This, as noted, is a Lost Sheep.
This work he wrote as part of the eight the “Bridgewater Treatises” on the hand, is full of pictures where he compares “hands” of different organisms ranging from human hands, chimpanzee paws, and fish feelers. After the first few chapters, Bell orients his treatise around the significance of the hand and its importance in its use in anatomy. He emphasizes that the hand is as important as the eye in the field of surgery and that it must be trained” [wikipedia].
This work may have done much to feed Charles’ abiding interest in natural history…. we can only wish he had commented more on it.
‘Feby 7 … I read some of Bell at different times today, & a part of a sermon of Barrows.’
See Part I for another reference to Barrow. I find nothing re: sermons in the 1818 catalogue; there is only this title: The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H. M. S. Bounty: its causes and consequences.
Issac Barrow, by Mary Beale
But I do find an Isaac Barrow (1630-1677), “an English Christian theologian and mathematician who is generally given credit for his early role in the development of infinitesimal calculus; in particular, for the discovery of the fundamental theorem of calculus” [Wikipedia]. He is most known for his sermons, of which he published a number, such as Several Sermons against Evil-Speaking [London, 1678]. Charles is likely referring to him, though there are no works in the GPL catalogue… but you can read, if you are so inclined to follow Charles’ reading path, many of Barrow’s sermons online here: https://biblehub.com/sermons/authors/barrow.htm
Mary Beale, self-portrait, c1675
[Totally an aside here, with nothing to do with Charles or his reading, or even the GPL, but interesting to note that this portrait of Isaac Barrow was painted by Mary Beale (1633-1677), one of most famous and successful female portrait painters of the 17th century… always good to give a nod to the Ladies, with all these overly-wigged men weighing down these posts…!] This self-portrait is in the collection of the St. Edmundsbury Museums.
Hazel notes here after the Feb 7 diary entry : Repeat reading of Burnet, Bell, and Kidd throughout the month and beyond, the latter even though he claims to have finished it on Feb 6th.
‘Feby 21 … I rose at 1/2 past 7 and read a bit of Hermas s Shepherd before breakfast. I don’t know much about its authenticity, but it was at any rate I suppose written quite in the earliest age of Christianity and is on that account very interesting.’
In the 1818 catalogue, I find the following:
The Genuine Epistles of the Apostolical Fathers, S. Barnabas, S. Ignatius, S. Clement, S. Polycarp. The Shepherd of Hermas, and the Martyrdoms of St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp, Written by those who were present at their Sufferings. Being, together with the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, a compleat Collection of the most Primative Antiquity for about CL Years after Christ. Translated and Publish’d, with a large Preliminary Discourse Relating to the several Treatises here put together. By the Right Reverend Father in God, William, Lord Bishop of Lincoln. The Second Edition, Corrected. By William Wake. London: 1710.
This is a Lost Sheep.
William Wake (1657-1737) was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1716 until his death in 1737; he authored numerous treatises, two of which are in the GPL, the one above and this:
The Principles of the Christian Religion Explained: In a Brief Commentary upon the Church-Catechism. By the most Reverend Father in God, William, Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury. The Fifth Edition Corrected. London, 1731. This also a Lost Sheep.
The Shepherd of Hermas was an early Christian work of the 2nd century – it comprises five visions, twelve mandates, and ten parables, uses allegory to tell its tale, and calls on the faithful to repent of the sins that have harmed the Church. You can read the full text in translation here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/shepherd.html
‘March 8 … Read some Exodus and Hall’s contemplations. I mostly read a contemplation of Hall’s now if I have time, & there happens to be a suitable one to my morning’s chapter … I read every evening before I go to bed a chapter in the NT in Greek, & refer to Macknight. This whim is about a week old.’
Neither of these authors is listed in the 1818 GPL catalogue, but Charles is likely referring to these two titles:
Joseph Hall (1628) – WP
Joseph Hall (1574-1656), an English Bishop, satirist and moralist. Contemplations on the Historical Passages of the Old and New Testaments published in 1614.
James MacKnight (1721-1800) wrote several works on the New Testament, any of which Charles might be referring to: Harmony of the Four Gospels (1756), The Truth of the Gospel History Shewed (1763), and A New Literal Translation from the Original, of the Apostle Paul’s First and Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (1787).
‘March 15 … Before dinner I read some of Secker on Popery’. (Also on the 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st)
Thomas Secker (1693-1768), the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1758-1768, has two works listed in the 1818 GPL, and both are in the Knight Collection, and both have the less common oblong Montagu George Knight bookplate:
Lectures on the Catechism of the Church of England: with A Discourse on Confirmation. By Thomas Secker, LL.D. Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. Published from the Original Manuscripts By Beilby Porteus, D.D. and George Stinton, D.D. His Grace’s Chaplains. London, 1769. “Five Sermons against Popery” can be found in this work.
Sermons on Several Subjects, By Thomas Secker, LL.D. Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. Published from the original Manuscripts, By Beilby Porteus D.D. and George Stinton D.D. His Grace’s Chaplains. London, 1770.This title has Edward’s signature and “Godmersham Park” on the front free endpaper as you see above.
Painting of Thomas Secker, after Joshua Reynolds, in the collection at Lambeth Palace
‘March 23 … After breakfast I spent some time looking into various books in the library to find something about the 10 tribes of Israel that were taken away by Shalmaneser when he took Samaria & destroyed the Kingdom of Israel.’
Well, this could be any number of books on the history of the OT, etc.!
The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (825 B.C.) -Bible History Online
‘March 26 … I finished Burnets times, which has lasted me all the winter, & given me much instructive information and interest. I like the book very much, & am sure the author must have been a very good and wise & sociable man.’ [See above]
‘April 1 … finished Jebb & Knox’s correspondence. I had great pleasure in reading that book, and have learnt a great deal from it.’ [see Part III on these letters]
‘April 2 … After breakfast read Epictetus’s moral maxims in my french & german grammar. I think of doing the same in Greek with Mrs Carter’s help.’
For his Mrs. Carter reference, Charles is referring to this title:
All the Works of Epictetus, Which are now Extant; consisting of His Discourses, preserved by Arrian, In Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments. Translated from the Original Greek, By Elizabeth Carter. With An Introduction, and Notes, by the Translator. London, 1758.
There are two copies listed in the 1818 catalogue and both are extant in the Knight Collection. What interests us GLOSSers even further is that both Thomas Knight Sr. and his son Thomas Knight Jr. are listed as subscribers, and perhaps the reason there are two copies in the collection.
Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806) was a poet and translator and part of the Bluestocking Circle founded by Elizabeth Montagu. She is most known for this translation of Epictetus.
Elizabeth Carter as Minerva, goddess of wisdom, by John Fayram (1735-1741), NPG [Wikipedia]
Carter was well-known enough in her time to be one of the women depicted in Richard Samuel’s “Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo” (1775) – she is on the far left, though exact identification of each of the portraits has always been unsubstantiated. Carter said herself to Elizabeth Montagu, “by the mere testimony of my own eyes, I cannot very exactly tell which is you, and which is I, and which is any body else.”
Portraits in the Characters of the Muses (1775) – Richard Samuel
Carter’s poetry was well-regarded, and though Charles does not mention reading her poems, there is a 1st edition copy of her 1762 Poems on Several Occasions listed in the 1818 catalogue. This IS a Lost Sheep, so we add it to our list.
‘March 4 (he means April) … Read some Exodus. Epictetus after breakfast: & german with Louisa … I finished B White’s tract on Popery …’
Though this title is not in the 1818 catalogue, Charles was reading Joseph Blanco White’s The Poor Man’s Preservative against Popery: addressed to the lower classes of Great Britain and Ireland. London, 1825.
White (1775-1841), born José María Blanco y Crespo, was a Spanish theologian and poet (and obviously the long-lost ancestor of Alan Cumming…? sorry, I couldn’t resist this totally irrelevant aside – I think even Charles would have been amazed at the resemblance!).
J B White
‘April 7 … After breakfast read Epictetus in the library … I did some more Epictetus after lunch … I read a little of Pascals thoughts.’ [See Part III for Pascal’s Thoughts]
‘April 8 … I read Knox’s letter on Christian preaching before dinner, & liked it very much: it will bear many readings.’ [See Part III on Knox]
‘April 9 … I rose soon after 7 & read as usual 2 of Slade’s psalms, a chapter in Exodus, writing remarks, & some of Hall’s contemplations.’ [See above]
Here are a few of Charles’ rare comments on the Godmersham Library itself:
‘June 16 … Louisa & I began to put the Library to rights.’ [Louisa (1804-1889) was Charles’ younger sister].
‘June 17 … I put some of the Library to rights.’
‘June 20 … I finished looking over the Library books by the catalogue.’
[Peter Sabor and Hazel both wonder two things: what sort of mess did he and Louisa leave the library in?? Recall his comment in Part III when he writes of “Rice & I play[ing] at Rackets in the Library…..”
And two, if these comments about “putting the Library to rights” and his reference to the catalogue are any indication that Charles may be one of the hands that crossed out and / or added titles to the catalogue – it appears however after analyzing the various handwritings that this is not the case – more detective work is needed…]
‘June 23 … Began Campan’s Marie Antoinette.’
Marie Antoinette (1783) – Le Brun – The Met
[This portrait of Antoinette is also painted by a woman, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, a prominent French portrait artist of the late 18th century.]
Jeanne Louise Henriette Genet Campan. Memoirs of the private life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre. To which are added, recollections, sketches, and anecdotes, illustrative of the reigns of Louis XIV. Louis XV. And Louis XVI. By Madame Campan, First Lady of the bed-chamber to the Queen. Third Edition. In two volumes. London, 1824. French text.
Jeanne Louise Henriette Genet Campan (1786) – Joseph Boze
Campan (1752-1822) “was a French educator, writer and lady-in-waiting, in the service of Marie Antoinette before and during the French Revolution” [Wikipedia]. These Memoirs were published posthumously in 1823, as was her De l’Education des Femmes (1824), in which she emphasized the importance of training young girls in domestic economy and all manner of housework.
This title is in the GPL catalogue and remains in the Knight Collection, so is not lost – and another work with Edward’s signature, as you see here.
I wish Charles had something to say about these Memoirs, but alas! he does not, and Hazel notes that there is no mention of books or reading until November. Perhaps the reading about Marie Antoinette put him off his religious reading diet?? The next diary offers us nothing about Marie Antoinette either…
Notes from Hazel: there are another four diaries, but Diary 10 is the last one likely to be of interest as far as Charles’ reading at Godmersham is concerned. He has moved to Chawton Rectory by the beginning of Diary 11, which is dated Nov 1837 to Jan 1840.
Today’s post has added fiveLost Sheep to our growing list of Books Wanted (you can view the list here). And though Charles has left Godmersham and moved to Chawton, we will continue with his comments on reading that are found in Diary 11 and then Diaries 13 – 15 dated 1837-1851 [apparently there is no Diary 12]. So stay tuned…
*Hazel Jones is the author of Jane Austen & Marriage (Bloomsbury Continuum 2009, Uppercross Press 2017), Celebrating Pride & Prejudice (co-authored with Maggie Lane, Lansdown 2012), Jane Austen’s Journeys (Hale 2014) and is currently writing a book on Jane Austen’s Knight nephews. She was a tutor in the Department of Lifelong Learning at Exeter University until 2005 and continues to teach residential courses on aspects of Jane Austen’s writing, life and times. She is the membership secretary and a co-founder of the UK Jane Austen Society, South West Branch.