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Literary Salons Across Britain

Literary Salons across Britain


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Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print General Editors: Professor Anne K. Mellor and Professor Clifford Siskin Editorial Board: Isobel Armstrong, Birkbeck & IES; John Bender, Stanford; Alan Bewell, Toronto; Peter de Bolla, Cambridge; Robert Miles, Victoria; Claudia L. Johnson, Princeton; Saree Makdisi, UCLA; Felicity Nussbaum, UCLA; Mary Poovey, NYU; Janet Todd, Cambridge Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print will feature work that does not fit comfortably within established boundaries—whether between periods or between disciplines. Uniquely, it will combine efforts to engage the power and materiality of print with explorations of gender, race, and class. By attending as well to intersections of literature with the visual arts, medicine, law, and science, the series will enable a large-scale rethinking of the origins of modernity. Titles include: Melanie Bigold WOMEN OF LETTERS, MANUSCRIPT CIRCULATION, AND PRINT AFTERLIVES IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY Elizabeth Rowe, Catharine Cockburn, and Elizabeth Carter Dometa Brothers THE ROMANTIC IMAGINATION AND ASTRONOMY On All Sides Infinity Katey Castellano THE ECOLOGY OF BRITISH ROMANTIC CONSERVATISM, 1790–1837 Noah Comet ROMANTIC HELLENISM AND WOMEN WRITERS Ildiko Csengei SYMPATHY, SENSIBILITY AND THE LITERATURE OF FEELING IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY Alexander Dick ROMANTICISM AND THE GOLD STANDARD Money, Literature, and Economic Debate in Britain, 1790–1830 Angela Esterhammer, Diane Piccitto, and Patrick Vincent (editors) ROMANTICISM, ROUSSEAU, SWITZERLAND New Prospects Ina Ferris BOOK-MEN, BOOK CLUBS, AND THE ROMANTIC LITERARY SPHERE John Gardner POETRY AND POPULAR PROTEST Peterloo, Cato Street and the Queen Caroline Controversy George C. Grinnell THE AGE OF HYPOCHONDRIA Interpreting Romantic Health and Illness David Higgins ROMANTIC ENGLISHNESS Anthony S. Jarrells BRITAIN’S BLOODLESS REVOLUTIONS 1688 and the Romantic Reform of Literature Emrys Jones FRIENDSHIP AND ALLEGIANCE IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY LITERATURE The Politics of Private Virtue in the Age of Walpole Jacqueline M. Labbe WRITING ROMANTICISM Charlotte Smith and William Wordsworth, 1784–1807 April London LITERARY HISTORY WRITING, 1770–1820 Robert Morrison and Daniel Sanjiv Roberts (editors) ROMANTICISM AND BLACKWOOD’S MAGAZINE ‘An Unprecedented Phenomenon’ Catherine Packham EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY VITALISM Bodies, Culture, Politics Emma Peacocke ROMANTICISM AND THE MUSEUM Murray G.H. Pittock MATERIAL CULTURE AND SEDITION, 1688–1760 Treacherous Objects, Secret Places Amy Prendergast LITERARY SALONS ACROSS BRITAIN AND IRELAND IN THE LONG EIGHTEENTH CENTURY Jessica Richard THE ROMANCE OF GAMBLING IN THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVEL Andrew Rudd SYMPATHY AND INDIA IN BRITISH LITERATURE, 1770–1830 Seth Rudy LITERATURE AND ENCYCLOPEDISM IN ENLIGHTENMENT BRITAIN Sharon Ruston CREATING ROMANTICISM Case Studies in the Literature, Science and Medicine of the 1790s Yasmin Solomonescu JOHN THELWALL AND THE MATERIALIST IMAGINATION Richard Squibbs URBAN ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY PERIODICAL ESSAY Transatlantic Retrospects David Stewart ROMANTIC MAGAZINES AND METROPOLITAN LITERARY CULTURE Rebecca Tierney-Hynes NOVEL MINDS Philosophers and Romance Readers, 1680–1740 P. Westover NECROMANTICISM Travelling to Meet the Dead, 1750–1860 Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print Series Standing Order ISBN 978–1–403–93408–6 hardback 978–1–403–93409–3 paperback (outside North America only) y You can receive future titles in this series as they are published by placing a standing order. Please contact your bookseller or, in case of difficulty, write to us at the address below with your name and address, the title of the series and the ISBN quoted above. Customer Services Department, Macmillan Distribution Ltd, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, England Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Amy Prendergast Trinity College Dublin, Ireland © Amy Prendergast 2015 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, Saffron House, 6–10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The author has asserted her right to be identified as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. First published 2015 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN Palgrave Macmillan in the UK is an imprint of Macmillan Publishers Limited, registered in England, company number 785998, of Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS. Palgrave Macmillan in the US is a division of St Martin’s Press LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the above companies and has companies and representatives throughout the world. Palgrave® and Macmillan® are registered trademarks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries. ISBN 978-1-349-56514-6 ISBN 978-1-137-51271-0 (eBook) DOI 10.1057/9781137512710 This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. Contents List of Figures vii Acknowledgements viii Introduction The salon’s physical setting Cultural transfers Changing nature of elite sociability 1 5 7 10 1 The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts The eighteenth-century salon in Paris Provincial salons Post-revolutionary salons 14 16 27 33 2 A French Phenomenon Embraced: The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain French connections The London town house as salon location: Boscawen, Montagu, and Monckton Hester Lynch Thrale at Streatham Edinburgh’s salons 44 47 50 66 71 3 “Never Was a Flock So Scattered for Want of a Shepherdess”: Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland Irish Bluestockings Cultural transfers across the Irish Sea 78 89 101 4 Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship Moira House Antiquarianism and translation Regional writing Political literati 106 107 111 120 128 5 Collaborative Hospitality and Cultural Transfers: Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland The Irish provincial salon and networks of exchange Provincial English salons and literary production 132 135 143 v vi Contents 6 “Dublin Is Attribilaire” – The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability Shane’s Castle and private theatricals Reading parties and book clubs Post-act of Union salons Transfers and transformations 153 155 160 168 173 Notes 177 Bibliography 216 Index 232 Figures 2.1 The Hon. Miss Monckton, 1777–1778, Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792). Bequeathed by Sir Edward Stern 1993 4.1 Moira House Dublin, drawn and etched by William Brocas, published 1811 6.1 Shane’s Castle in Lough Neagh, the Honble. Mr O’Neil’s in the county of Antrim, 1780 vii 64 108 156 Acknowledgements My initial interest in the salon was formed during my master’s study at Queen’s University Belfast, under the supervision of Moyra Haslett who originally fostered my interest in female communities and the Bluestockings, and kindly invited me to participate in my first ECLRNI (Eighteenth-Century Literary Research Network in Ireland) symposium at Lucan House. At Trinity I was fortunate enough to come under the guidance of the wonderful Ian Campbell Ross for the continuation of my research at PhD level. Ian has read and discussed so many drafts of this current work, always with much rigour, humour, and kindness. Completing the triumvirate is Aileen Douglas who, in her position as postdoctoral mentor, played a key role in helping me to transform the thesis into the monograph it is today. I am extremely grateful for the continued advice and supervision of all three of these mentors. They each have continued to guide and support me long beyond the termination of any official role, and their endless patience, combined with constant encouragement, has been and continue to be absolutely invaluable to me. I am also grateful to a variety of colleagues and friends for their insight and advice over the past several years. Niall Gillespie, Anne Markey, David O’Shaughnessy, Jim Shanahan, and Patrick Walsh have provided so much practical advice and help since I moved to Dublin, and I continue to turn to them all for guidance today. Special thanks are due to Niall for taking the time to read through the final draft and offer comments on it. I have also received particularly helpful remarks on my research at various conferences and via email from Claire Connolly, Lesa Ní Mhunghaile, Finola O’Kane, and Martyn Powell. In a work that focuses on networks and literary sociability, I must mention the great work of both the ECIS and ECLRNI, as well as the assistance I have received from members of the Elizabeth Montagu network, particularly from Nicole Pohl and Betty Schellenberg, as well as the many helpful comments from my PhD extern Elizabeth Eger. Part of the work in Chapter 4 originally appeared in the Eighteenth-Century Ireland journal – and I would like to thank the ECIS for its permission to reproduce that material here. My archival research was made much easier by staff at various institutions, including Charles Benson, Simon Lang, and all the staff in Early viii Acknowledgements ix Printed Books at TCD; Lady Georgina Forbes who kindly allowed me to access the muniment room at Castle Forbes; as well as the staff at the Public Record Office in Northern Ireland; the National Library of Ireland; the Irish Architectural Archive; and the Royal Irish Academy. I have also had extremely pleasant and helpful dealings with staff at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, as well as at Sheffield Archives, and Lichfield Record Office. My research was facilitated by the generous award of a ‘Texts, Contexts, Cultures’ scholarship, coordinated by the Trinity Long Room Hub, with funding from the PRTLI. I would like to acknowledge Crawford Gribbin’s assistance throughout the programme, and the contribution of my fellow TCC PhD students. My recent receipt of an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland postdoctoral fellowship allowed me the opportunity to shape the present monograph. Many thanks are also due to my exceptionally efficient editor at Palgrave, Ben Doyle, and his equally helpful assistant Tom René, who have managed to make the process of publication enjoyable. Academic research is not as solitary a pursuit as is often thought and I am grateful to the following people for their helpful remarks and advice since the start of this project: Sarah Crider Arndt, Toby Barnard, Roísín Blunnie, Chris Borsing, Michael Brown, Daniel Carey, Andrew Carpenter, Norma Clarke, Jane Conroy, Dara Downey, Suzanne Forbes, Rebecka Gronstedt, Raphaela Holinski, Margaret Kelleher, Gary Kelly, James Kelly, Jim Kelly, Harriet Kramer Linkin, Eoin Magennis, Jennifer Martyn, Susan McDermott, Tina Morin, Clíona Ó Gallchoir, Jennifer Orr, Shaun Regan, Daniel Roberts, Maria Anita Stefanelli, James Wood, and Julie Anne Young, as well as the extensive QUB PhD cohort. I would especially like to thank my family – my parents, James and Deirdre, and my brother Evan – for their personal support, invigorating candour, and constant encouragement. My interest in reading was nurtured at a very young age by my mum and her vast collection of books and French magazines, collected since her own undergraduate studies at Maynooth. I also owe so many thanks to my fiancé Alan Smyth for his reassurances and support, his enduring patience and endless proofreading, and his unswerving belief in me. Introduction A kind of academy of beaux esprits, gallantry, virtue and science in Paris, for all these things complement each other marvellously, as well as being the meeting place of all those who were the most distinguished both in status and merit, a tribunal where you had to make an impression and whose opinion had a great weight in the world.1 Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon (1675–1755), on the salon The salon represented an important example of associational life in the long eighteenth century as a mixed-gender voluntary gathering of social elites. Within the salons, it was women who generally presided over the polite, intellectual conversation that took place within fashionable settings. Originating in seventeenth-century France, the literary salon was subsequently warmly embraced by hostesses in Ireland and Britain. Salons indeed flourished across Britain and Ireland in the long eighteenth century, particularly in the metropolitan cities of London, Dublin, and Edinburgh, but also in provincial areas. These salons offered extensive networks of intellectual affiliation and the participants certainly held cosmopolitan ambitions, with cultural links between the salons maintained through travel and epistolary communication. This book offers the first detailed examination of the literary salon in Ireland, considered in the wider contexts of contemporary salon culture in Britain and France. Accordingly, it provides a fresh comparative approach to the salon’s evolution across three countries and reveals the cultural transfers that took place between them. Salons have been defined broadly as “private social gatherings primarily for discussing literature, art and philosophy [that] took place in many 1 2 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century European urban centres, notably in France.”2 These gatherings held great importance for the development of sociability; the creation, critique, and circulation of literature; the promotion of cultural transfers; the advance of antiquarian research; and the possibility of self-education for women. The literary salons offered interested participants a forum for the development of new research and the development of written texts, while the salon enabled all its participants to come together to engage in conversation and debate on a range of topics. Sociability itself relates to people who are “inclined or disposed to seek and enjoy the company of others [and] disposed to conversation and social activities.”3 The central role played by conversation in this sociability formed the focus of much debate during the eighteenth century, with numerous contemporary essays considering the topic. In The Present State of Conversation from Essays Moral and Literary (1782), the clergyman and educationalist Vicesimus Knox declares, “There is, perhaps, no method of improving the mind more efficacious, and certainly none more agreeable, than a mutual interchange of sentiments in an elegant and animated conversation with the serious, the judicious, the learned, and the communicative.”4 This description of “elegant and animated conversation” perfectly captures the objective of the salons with the coming together of like-minded people to engage in intelligent debate rather than to play cards or gossip. Such intelligent salon debate was generally focused on belles lettres, with participants discussing various published and unpublished poems, plays, essays, and novels. As well as providing a focus for conversation, the salons played a key role in the formation, critique, and editing of literary works. The literary salon was an institution that permitted the enhancement and, indeed, even the establishment of literary reputations. An introduction into the salon secured a professional network and ultimately an influential audience for aspiring authors and their work, regardless of gender. The salon hostesses regularly acted as patrons, while salon members frequently subscribed to the work of their fellow participants, as well as offering support and engaging in collaborative projects.5 This aspect of salon life was particularly important in the Bluestocking salons in London and Dublin, as well as in the provincial salons in Bath. These literary salons formed part of a much larger body of associational life. They existed alongside coffee houses and taverns, clubs and societies.6 What set them apart from most of these was their elite nature and their absolute insistence on mixed-gender sociability. The world of eighteenth-century associational life was one that was Introduction 3 predominantly male in composition, with women participating only rarely. The salon, as an example of mixed-gender association, offered women a valuable opportunity to avail of a form of sociability that was generally denied them. Research has revealed that women were occasionally present at coffee houses and taverns as coffee-women or servants, for example, but they were there primarily as marginalized observers rather than active participants.7 In British Clubs and Societies 1580–1800, Peter Clark further emphasises that societies in Britain were almost always exclusively male, but claims that, “female complaints about their exclusion were rare.”8 Clark alludes briefly to the presence of women in some clubs such as music, debating, and philanthropic groups, but states that these “comprised only a small minority in a maledominated associational world,” and women form a negligible part of the study.9 As Toby Barnard notes: Much of this conviviality occurred either in the tavern or coffeehouse, both of which (except for their servants) were exclusively male preserves. Women, sometimes notably public-spirited and philanthropic, might subscribe to charities, buy tickets for concerts and swell the audiences, but they were not included among the governors of the hospitals or members of the learned societies.10 Salons therefore allowed women, particularly female writers, a rare opportunity to participate in literary debate on an equal footing with men, and allowed them access to a very different form of sociability than was generally available to them. Not all women had the possibility of being salon participants, of course, with the salons generally welcoming guests who brought with them wealth, fame, or literary prowess. Clubs, coffee houses, and taverns are now recognised as forming part of the authentic public sphere as described by Jürgen Habermas: that is, as “a forum in which private people come together to form a public.”11 The adjective “bourgeois,” which is perpetually attached to the public sphere of coffee houses, taverns, clubs, and societies, does not apply in equal measure to the salon, where participation was confined to members of a flexible social elite, those “most distinguished both in status and merit.”12 John Brewer describes taverns and coffee houses, for example, as “places of pleasure and business, catering to customers from all walks of life, centres of rumour, news and information,” and stresses that they were “open to all ranks.”13 In contrast, salons were essentially, and certainly initially, aristocratic forms of association, which 4 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century allowed for the participation of particularly gifted bourgeoisie through meritocracy. At the centre of these salons, across France, Britain, and Ireland, was the salon hostess.14 It was she who organised the gatherings as well as committing herself to structuring the dialogue, inviting the guests, and providing the actual physical site for discussion within their homes. These women presided over the salons, shaped them, and ensured their existence. Suzanne Necker wrote to Baron von Grimm regarding her fellow hostess Julie de Lespinasse: “Everyone in these assemblies is [now] convinced that women fill the intervals of conversation and of life – like the padding that one inserts in cases of china; they are valued at nothing, and [yet] everything breaks without them.”15 This revealing comment gestures to both women’s importance within the salon, and also the discomfort and resentment this often caused, reminding us of the fragility of the hostess’s own position within eighteenth-century society. The salons were hosted by an array of women across Britain and Ireland, including Frances Boscawen, Alison Cockburn, Elizabeth Vesey, and Frances Sheridan, to offer but a selection of names. All these women added something of their personalities to the salons and moulded them in different ways, imposing an individual stamp on the gathering while maintaining the requisite order. Samuel Johnson is recorded by James Boswell as admitting “that is the happiest conversation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm, quiet interchange of sentiments.”16 For this “quiet interchange,” rather than monopolisation of conversation, to occur, a skilled hostess was necessary to govern and harmonise the various voices. Conversation was intended to have a salutatory effect on all salon members, both male and female, with each sex benefiting from the presence of the other, just as David Hume describes in his essay, “Of Refinement in the Arts” (1752): Both sexes meet in an easy and sociable manner; and the tempers of men, as well as their behaviour, refine apace. . . . it is impossible but they must feel an encrease [sic] of humanity, from the very habit of conversing together, and contributing to each other’s pleasure and entertainment.17 Here, the condition of “ease” is emphasised, as is the sociability of the meeting as well as the refinement of behaviour, presumably through politeness, cooperation, and exchange. Women were clearly at the centre of the salon in their capacity of hostesses, but they encouraged Introduction 5 a principle of equality among participants and did not simply privilege the opinion of their female guests. The basic premise for good conversation, both during the eighteenth century as a whole and in the salons in particular, was the cooperation of the two sexes based on the principle of complementarity, whereby all members of the salon would mutually enliven and stimulate each other’s conversation. This interaction also contributed to another important role upheld by the salon, that as a place of self-education for women. Speaking in 1787, regarding the establishment of a girls’ school, the poet Anna Laetitia Barbauld announced to the salon hostess Elizabeth Montagu that “the best way for women to acquire knowledge is from conversation.”18 Conversation has been described by Elizabeth Eger as a tool for education, “a means of exercising the understanding,” and in a society where women often received no formal education, the salon offered a forum for learning, debate, and formulation of opinions.19 The feminisation of culture, the changing perceptions regarding learned ladies, and the development of the idea that the position of women within a society indicated that society’s level of progress can all be traced through the salon’s development.20 At the same time, the contribution of men to the conversation was judged of great importance, as men were thought to bring a different type of knowledge and rational intelligence to the salon, just as women were seen as contributing to its harmonious functioning through their inherent sense of politesse. Politesse, a term that implies both courtesy and manners, was a defining element of the literary salons.21 As Stephen Conway has argued, “politeness was about easing social interaction between the traditional elite and the aspiring middle sort.”22 All the salon’s members had to acquire the rules of politesse, so enabling them to be assimilated into an elite community through polished behaviour. The possible transgression of politesse was a contentious one within salon gatherings as diversity of attitude and thought, provided it was adequately and intelligently argued, was not only allowed but indeed desired, allowing a more varied but potentially discordant exchange. The hostess was therefore present in order to make the ideal of politesse a reality through her governance and upholding of the new rules of sociability within her home. The salon’s physical setting Salons generally took place amidst opulent surroundings. The importance of the physical setting for the salons has been noted by Amanda Vickery in relation to Elizabeth Montagu, one of the most successful 6 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century English hostesses, “[Montagu] appreciated furnishings for their potential to define a space and set the tone for social gatherings.”23 The same can certainly be said of the other hostesses, all of whom sought to distinguish their salon through particular use of decoration and space. No understanding of the salon can be complete without consideration of the various material aspects to which participants, and especially hostesses, attached considerable importance. The architectural environment, deployment of the decorative arts, the consumption of food and drink, all contributed to the definition of the salon as phenomenon. The salon’s essential emphasis on space has, perhaps, led to its prolonged omission from studies of Irish culture. Irish literary salons generally took place within impressive Anglo-Irish town and country houses. Unlike in much of Britain, the Irish public’s relationship with its built heritage has been fraught with complex emotions and postcolonial realities.24 However, Terence Dooley in his introduction to The Irish Country House, Its Past, Present and Future (2011) notes that “The last twenty years or so have witnessed a regeneration of the historic house,” and that “animosity, vandalism and neglect have given way to appreciation, preservation and restoration.”25 Many of the Irish homes referred to in this book have suffered severe neglect or complete destruction during the twentieth century. More recently, however, there has been a surge in public interest in Ireland’s built heritage, as well as excellent academic engagement with these historic sites.26 Of course, these houses had a multiplicity of purposes, but one particular and important function was the historic house’s role in literary associational life. The Irish Architectural Archives, the Georgian Society, the Office of Public Works, and the National Trust have done a great deal of work in safeguarding historic buildings and their contents, as well as making them accessible to the public. Mark Purcell’s The Big House Library in Ireland: Books in Ulster Country Houses (2011), published by the National Trust, illustrates the importance of such organisations in preserving cultural and literary material. In addition to these public ventures, many archives remain in private possession in privately owned country houses, such as those carefully preserved in the muniment room in Castle Forbes, Co. Longford. Archival material at Castle Forbes includes catalogues and inventories of “books, plate, pictures, furniture, wine, game, stock and horses” belonging to the Irish salon hostess Elizabeth Rawdon, Lady Moira, and gives us a particularly detailed picture of elite life in late eighteenth-century Dublin as well as patterns of consumption there.27 Introduction 7 Salons took place in both town and country houses, although primarily in the former. This distinction is crucial to our understanding of the occupants’ choice of decoration and consumption of goods, as Rachel Stewart’s The Town House in Georgian London (2009) makes clear. Some of the century’s greatest architects, including James “Athenian” Stuart and Robert Adam, were commissioned by the salon hostesses to create the settings for the salons in eighteenth-century London and Dublin. Indeed the changing taste of French, British, and Irish elites can be traced through their architectural choices as well as their various espousal of chinoiserie, particular wallpaper, and also their personal selection of clothes.28 Salon hostesses’ choice of seating arrangement within these spaces reveals much about their sense of identity and their perception of social hierarchy, while it also gives us a greater opportunity to visualise the salon in the absence of contemporary pictorial representations. This absence, and the largely oral nature of the salon, certainly presents methodological problems, but a clear sense of salon life can nevertheless be achieved through careful consultation of published letters and diaries, as well as close attention to unedited archival material, which often retains rich allusions to literary gatherings, whether in epistolary form or embedded in household accounts. Finally, it is imperative to recognise that the term “salon” itself is in fact an anachronistic one in relation to the seventeenth and early-eighteenth century. In these periods “salon” was used solely to refer to a room in a house or apartment; only at the end of the eighteenth century did it begin to be used to refer to a social gathering.29 The term conversazione was frequently employed by English salon participants when referring to their gatherings, rather than the term bureau d’esprit, t which was often favoured by French participants.30 This study will, however, use the term salon to apply to all those gatherings that are now recognised as such, whether previously identified by terms such as conversazioni, ruelles, bureaux d’esprits or coteries. Cultural transfers The salons contributed much to the transnational circulation of ideas, goods, and practices. Much research has been conducted relating to the Grand Tour, the practice of finishing off one’s education by travelling to Continental Europe, and while specific numbers for Irish and British men and women travelling to France as part of the Grand Tour remain difficult to establish, the importance of those visits is more easily determined. Máire Kennedy, for instance, relates, “This contact with Europe, 8 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century particularly France, led to an awareness of French literature and culture and stimulated the desire to participate in the cosmopolitan civilization of the Enlightenment.”31 Such emulation of the salon indicates the pervasive influence of French culture abroad. Knowledge of the French language was also widely encouraged and promoted throughout eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland, while the letters of the Bluestockings in particular, are brimfull with French expressions, such as “bon soir, ma chère amie,” as well as lengthy quotations from French works, and original “very pretty” French verses.32 The Irish and British, however, also contributed greatly to French cultural life, emphasising the “complexity, processuality, and reciprocity of intercultural exchange relations” recognised in transfer studies.33 Intercultural exchanges were a central element of the literary salons, with the participation of foreign visitors a key factor of salon life. Additionally, British and Irish hostesses held salons in France, whilst Irish hostesses, and indeed Irish salon participants, also played a central role in England’s social life, particularly in London, through their contribution to salon culture abroad. Salon hostesses, such as Elizabeth Vesey, acted as cultural intermediaries, performing their role as importers and purveyors of foreign ideas. In addition to introducing the institution of the salon into new regions, these women transferred cultural items, such as newspapers, pamphlets, poetry, and manuscript papers, between salons in the different countries. Salon hostesses who had particularly strong links with hostesses in other countries could further disseminate the writings of their own salon members, thereby increasing readership, networks, audience, and, subsequently, the chance of publication. This was particularly important for participants of the British and Irish salons as, unlike that in eighteenth-century France, the work promoted in Britain and Ireland was frequently composed by female and regional writers, who benefited immensely from such increased circulation. Collaborative work on cultural transfers has repeatedly emphasised the “active role of the receiving culture,” stressing “the extent to which transfer implies change, as the source culture is mixed with the receptor culture to produce something new that is a combination of both and has an impact on both.”34 While always retaining their emphasis on politesse and intellectual discussion, the salons adapted to meet the assorted demands of the participants in the various countries. This allowed its members in Ireland and Britain the possibility of embracing the salon for a variety of reasons and in order to fulfil different purposes. The salon could be used, for example, to obtain a certain amount of social mobility in seventeenth-century France or as a forum for Enlightenment debate Introduction 9 in the eighteenth century. In London it could be chosen by Bluestocking participants to enable self-education. The salon could also be embraced in order to allow access to literary networks and to the world of publishing by hostesses, such as Anna Seward or Anna Miller in England, and Elizabeth Hamilton in Scotland, while Lady Moira’s Dublin salon became a primary location for Irish scholarship. While adhering to “an elite horizontal sense of solidarity,” that was sustained through transnational association and exchange, the salon could also be embraced as providing a forum for the construction of national identity.35 Salon hostesses and participants could define themselves in opposition to other gatherings and other participants. The salon itself also played a role in facilitating the advancement of such studies as antiquarianism and regional writing, which enabled the development of a clearer sense of self. This was particularly true in Ireland and Scotland where salon hostesses, such as Edinburgh’s Alison Rutherford Cockburn, defined their salons in clear opposition to those in England and frequently used the salon as a forum for negotiating personal and national identity. Moira House salon, meanwhile, became one of the most important meeting places for those engaged in recovering and constructing a sense of Ireland’s cultural heritage in the late-eighteenth century. This was also true to a lesser extent in the English salons, where distinctions dependent on national affiliation formed and were determined through recognition of group identity based on shared religious and cultural beliefs.36 Joep Leerssen’s Mere Irish and fíor-ghael (1996), which reconsiders the “cultural confrontation” between England and Ireland, defines a nation as “a group sharing a common demographical self-definition that distinguishes it from its non-members, and sharing a common allegiance to the criteria by which that self-definition is performed.”37 In Ireland, identity was complicated by the hyphenated Anglo-Irish status of the vast majority of that country’s salon members. As Andrew Carpenter has noted, poets such as Patrick Delany and Thomas Sheridan, both of whom were participants in salon life, “were Protestant and English speaking, but they were loyal to the Church of Ireland rather than to the Church of England, to Trinity College Dublin rather than to Oxford or Cambridge, and, particularly when the English administration was enacting anti-Irish legislation, to Ireland rather than to England.”38 Amidst all the cultural exchanges between France, Britain, and Ireland, it is also worthwhile to note that women themselves were often physically transplanted from one country to the next. The number of English-born women married to members of the Irish gentry 10 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century and aristocracy is quite striking. Anne Dawson, Lady Moira, and Emily Fitzgerald, the Duchess of Leinster, are just a few examples of female salon participants who left their country of birth for another and had to adapt to the circumstances arising from this. Such movement of people had multiple implications, and the correspondence written by these women betrays these issues in a variety of ways, such as with questions of “home” and where this might be; with discussions of legal repercussions of their nationality on inheritance and taxation; comments on their adjustment to a new country; and of course their negotiation of identity and what it means to be Irish. The famous Lennox sisters, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah, embraced Ireland to varying degrees after moving there following the death of their parents and Emily’s marriage to James Fitzgerald. Louisa declares in a letter to Emily in 1786, “They are now gone back to England. Sarah tells me that he is a most thorough Irishman, and that ’twas a pity I did not see him, as she reckons me so complete an Irish woman.”39 These married women’s journals, diaries, and personal papers also offer many instances of comparative judgements on salon sociability as they return to England and sample literary life there. Changing nature of elite sociability The salons reflect the distinctiveness of elite sociability in France, Britain, and Ireland as well as the changing nature of the sociability in these countries, as the salons adapted to the historical changes taking place over a period stretching from the early-seventeenth century until the July Monarchy (1830–1848). The salons took place in the contexts of Enlightenment advances and of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. The relative stability in mid-eighteenth-century Britain allowed salon life to flourish there after the turbulence of the civil war in the previous century and the Stuart crisis, which culminated in the revolution of 1688. Salons also operated, however, during periods of change, unrest and upheaval, including events such as the French Revolution, the Revolutionary Wars, the 1798 Rebellion, the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland, and the First Empire. The salon’s functioning during these periods reveals much about the impact of these events on elite cultural life in each country as the salon had to further adapt and transform to maintain its importance. As the salons adapted, other forms of mixed-gender literary gatherings began to emerge. It is possible to locate these various literary gatherings along a spectrum, with salons viewed as the most prestigious, Introduction 11 while book clubs and reading parties were more democratic. In between, one can identify intermediate forms of literary association, such as the single-author salons, where the hostess was the main literary beneficiary. Differences are primarily bound up with the fact that, rather than focusing on literary discussion and critique, the reading parties were instead centred on the reading aloud of chosen material. The work being read had generally been already published, thus rendering it immune from editorial assistance as occurred in the salons. In the reading parties, the author of the works being read was generally absent, which again distinguished them from the salon, where the author was regularly a participant. Book clubs were even more easily distinguished as they served primarily to enable the acquisition of books, although the books’ contents would have been generally discussed prior to purchase. The reading parties and books clubs are stripped of the prestige of the salons, but nevertheless retain a strong literary and cultural function common to all the literary gatherings: the dissemination of national and foreign literatures. While predominantly concentrated in metropolitan areas, salons also took place in provincial centres. Provincial life has received its most thorough study in Peter Borsay’s landmark The English Urban Renaissance: Culture and Society in the Provincial Town, 1660–1770 (1989). This study includes mention of the development of provincial newspapers and libraries, key elements of literary life outside the capital. Private subscription libraries started to appear from the mid-eighteenth century onwards, while private, clerical libraries existed long before this and added much to the cultural standing of the clergy.40 The clergy also controlled more “public” libraries, and as a result access to such collections by lay members of the neighbourhood was strictly monitored, as was the material selected.41 A wealthy neighbour’s private library in a regional area was thus of great importance for the reading members of the local elite in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. Comments relating to the accessibility of such private libraries feature intermittently in the correspondence of provincial salon members who remark on the varying degrees of difficulty in gaining access to the collections of others. The provincial salon played an important role in the circulation of books, pamphlets, and manuscript materials, both through their dissemination of material outside of the salon and their shared experience of reading and discussing the chosen material within the gathering itself. Salons also occasionally took place within rooms designated as libraries. Toby Barnard describes libraries as “spaces dedicated as much to society and conversation as to silent study. The books catered 12 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century to conviviality.”42 Several eighteenth-century libraries survive to the present day. Two surviving libraries described by Mark Purcell, the Libraries Curator of the National Trust, as “remarkable,” are those at Tullynally Castle, Co. Westmeath, which was visited by the author Maria Edgeworth, and Clonalis, Co. Roscommon, home to the antiquarian Charles O’Connor. The National Trust, meanwhile, owns 140 historic libraries across the United Kingdom, including seven houses in Northern Ireland with books.43 The core of the libraries in the two largest collections – Springhill, Co. Derry, and Castle Ward, Co. Down – were assembled before the Williamite-Jacobite War of 1689–1691.44 The library at Castle Forbes, one of the best country house libraries in eighteenth-century Ireland, co-founded by Lady Moira and her daughter Selina, Lady Granard, was auctioned in 1993, with a catalogue listing the dispersed titles.45 Inventories for the libraries of two urban salon hostesses, Elizabeth Vesey and Lady Moira, still exist, and they provide information on the reading habits of these hostesses along with the components of their respective collections.46 Of course there were also transfers of books between libraries across Britain and Ireland, and the correspondence of Elizabeth Vesey in particular details many instances of such exchange. This study begins by surveying the French literary salon, an important but overlooked aspect of which was the considerable participation of foreign visitors. The salons of Irish hostesses in France, such as Anastacia Fitzmaurice, the Countess of Kerry, and Bridget Plunket, Madame de Chastellux, offer exciting new perspectives on the salons and reveal the transformation of French sociability that took place during the French Revolution and Revolutionary Wars. Chapter 2 moves to Britain and examines a range of salons, focusing on figures such as the Irishborn Mary Monckton, one of the most neglected of the Bluestocking hostesses, as well as Edinburgh’s Alison Rutherford Cockburn. It will also feature an assessment of the influence of French salon culture on gatherings in England and Scotland, as well as Irish involvement in salons in London town houses and elsewhere. Chapters 3 and 4 offer detailed case studies of particular salons, specifically those of Elizabeth Vesey and Lady Moira, using unpublished archival material. Correspondence, biographies, journals, household reports, stray verse, travel descriptions, and assorted other items, all form part of the available material still extant for these salon hostesses, and these two chapters include discussion of their salons’ contexts, aims, influences, and main participants. Chapter 5 investigates the presence of salons outside of urban areas, arguing for the importance of Introduction 13 the provincial salon in the dissemination of literary material outside the capital, and also their role in cultural transfers between regions and countries. Finally, Chapter 6 will analyse the diffuse nature of salons, as a changing political landscape and increased democratisation resulted in the emergence of less elite gatherings, such as reading parties and book clubs, thus exploring the relationship between the salon and these more popular literary gatherings. 1 The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts These receptions are attended by all the best people and by all the distinguished foreigners and travellers.1 Reflecting in a letter to his father on his experiences of salon culture during his 1763 visit to France, the historian Edward Gibbon stressed the salons’ heterogeneity as well as their shared spirit. Emphasising their common values, he noted that the salons were not identical: “all these people have their different merit; in some I meet with good dinners; in others, societies for the evening . . . .”2 Precisely as Gibbon recognised, it is essential to respect and indeed highlight the differences and multiplicity of purposes inherent in the French salons rather than forcing the salon to adapt to a strict, inflexible definition. The salon as an institution changed and evolved over the centuries, retaining the same overall form, but fulfilling different functions and needs as contexts and circumstances varied. The French Revolution, for example, changed the salon’s conversation by politicising it and making public affairs a top priority, but its form and ethos of sociability remained virtually unaltered until 1848, when liberals began to view salons and mondanité as a “frivolous distraction.”3 In all its manifestations, the French salon was a staged event, involving distinctive forms of material culture. These forms, no less than the discussions taking place, define the salon at any one moment. To consider a sketch or outline of an evening at a salon, with its food, decoration, and guests, offers us a fuller, more appropriately complex sense of an individual gathering. What the salon hostesses wore and how they choose to set the scene for their salons reveal much regarding taste, fashion, and creativity, while enabling us to further visualise the event. These gatherings often involved large numbers of 14 The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 15 guests. Who these people were, what backgrounds they came from, and how they behaved amongst each other lead to questions of meritocracy and complementarity, politesse and gallantry. These salons offered an important forum for discussion and they had an extensive sphere of influence, encompassing the French Academy, publishing, and the world of literature in general. One important, often overlooked, feature of the French salons was the considerable participation of foreign visitors. The Englishman Edward Gibbon was just one of many foreign participants in the French salons. The abbé André Morellet, for example, recorded a list of participants at Mme Geoffrin’s Paris salon, which included Jean-François Marmontel, Baron d’Holbach, and Abbé Raynal as well as “beaucoup d’étrangers de tous les pays qui n’eussent pas cru avoir vu Paris, s’ils n’avaient pas été admis chez Madame Geoffrin.”4 The diaries, journals, and correspondence of British men and women of letters such as William Cole, David Garrick, David Hume, Horace Walpole, Laurence Sterne, Edward Gibbon, and Elizabeth Montagu all provide accounts of their visits to French salons, particularly during the 1760s and 1770s – after, or even during, the period of the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) – and offer interesting accounts of the salons from a British perspective. This flood of tourists visiting France continued until the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars when the British began to rediscover their own country, travelling to places such as the Lake District, the Wye Valley, and Edinburgh.5 Visitors were also attracted to the salons from elsewhere in Europe and the world at large; the Italian economist Abbé Galiani and the American philosopher Benjamin Franklin, for example, both frequented the Parisian salons, as did the Russian Enlightenment figure, Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova. This practice of receiving foreign visitors to the French salons did not begin in earnest until the eighteenth century.6 The presence of foreign visitors in these eighteenth-century salons allowed both Enlightenment thought and descriptions of salon culture to spread throughout the Western world, “permitting mutual appreciation and a mutual exchange of ideas.”7 Amongst the most neglected of these foreign visitors are the French salons’ Irish contributors. In addition to the priests, merchants, and soldiers who made up the three dominant Irish groups in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France, there were also many literary figures, members of the aristocracy, and travellers on the Grand Tour, who chose to visit or reside in France.8 Thomas O’Connor notes: “This exchange of people, ideas and resources marked Ireland’s historical experience and had an important 16 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century impact on Europe in the early-modern period.”9 Our understanding of the French salon is incomplete without investigating the nature of this impact. The personal papers of such figures as James Caulfield, first Earl of Charlemont, and Emily Fitzgerald, Duchess of Leinster, for instance, offer a fresh insight into the French Enlightenment and its salons. The Irish involvement in the eighteenth-century French salon was extensive. In addition to their presence in various French salons as participants, several Irish men and women also played a significant role in hosting salons. Important salons in France were held by James Butler, the 2nd Duke of Ormonde; Anastacia Fitzmaurice, the Countess of Kerry; and Bridget Plunket, Madame de Chastellux. Correspondence and personal papers held in the National Library of Ireland, in addition to published correspondence, memoirs, and travel journals belonging to such Irish men and women, provide much information about these gatherings. These Irish salons in France add further to our perception of the salons, not only demonstrating their diverse nature, but also revealing points of similarity throughout. In addition, these sources allow new, often overlooked, perspectives on an institution which has received much study, but where the same evidence is frequently circulated by authors on the subject. The eighteenth-century salon in Paris Writing at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Marquise de Lambert (1647–1733) reflects on the salons of the early-seventeenth century in the following manner: “Il y avait autrefois des maisons où il était permis de parler et de penser; où les muses étaient en société avec les grâces.”10 With this revealing statement, de Lambert highlights the importance of intellectual freedom, the ability to “both speak and think,” in seventeenth-century salons, implying her belief that free enquiry and individual reasoning were considered fundamental. Nicole Pohl has identified philosophical symposia, Medieval norms of courtly love, and Italian Renaissance court culture as having provided the “blueprint for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century salon culture,” in particular the latter through its emphasis on humanism, Platonism, and gallantry.11 Men of letters played an important role within the seventeenth-century salons, but remained on an equal level with the female members and the female literati’s own literary endeavours and interests. A sample list of participants at Mme de la Sablière’s salon, for example, includes both successful men and women: Mme de Sévigné, the Comtesse de Lafayette, Mme de Coulanges, Mme Scarron, Mme The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 17 de La Suze, Ninon de Lenclos, Madeleine de Scudéry, Paul Pelisson, Valentin Conrart, Isaac de Benserade, Jean de la Chapelle, Charles Perrault, and Fontenelle, as well as various diplomats and scientists.12 In the seventeenth-century salon, the salonnière was both hostess and avid participant, contributing to the debate with her own interjections as well as offering her own written material for conversation and formal improvement. In the eighteenth century, the composition of the gatherings altered significantly with mixed-gender sociability generally confined to a female hostess and male-only participants. Women in the eighteenth-century salon were thus present primarily as facilitators and hosts rather than as participants, but they still served an essential function. The salonnière’s most important task was now to guide conversation and to maintain absolute harmony amongst her guests. These salonnières became vital to the harmonious working of the eighteenth-century salon, invisibly determining the mood of the gathering itself. Those hostesses most associated with the salon’s “golden age,” and indeed with the term “salon” in general, are Suzanne Curchod Necker (1739–1794), Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin (1699–1777), Julie de Lespinasse (1732–1777), and Marie de Vichy-Champrond du Deffand (1696–1780).13 The participants in these Parisian salons were primarily, if not exclusively, male. Julie de Lespinasse is often referred to as the only woman present at the salon of Madame Geoffrin: “[Lespinasse] était la seule femme que Mme Geoffrin eut admise à son dîner des gens de lettres,” while descriptions of Madame Necker’s salon usually only record the presence of one other female – the Neckers’ young daughter Germaine, better known today as the famous author Madame de Staël.14 The primary role of these salon hostesses was unmistakably to govern and uphold the rules of polite conversation by facilitating the intellectual exchanges of their guests. It is attention rather than interpolation that is now essential. Madame Necker declares in one of her diaries, which were published by her husband after her death, that “the great secret of conversation is continual attention.”15 The hostess had to ensure the smooth flow of dialogue. In Marmontel’s Portrait de Madame Geoffrin (1777), the author declares: “Lorsqu’il [l’abbé de Saint-Pierre] s’en allait, Mme Geoffrin lui dit: Monsieur l’abbé, vous avez été d’une excellente conversation. Madame, lui-dit-il, je ne suis qu’un instrument dont vous avez bien joué.”16 Faith Beasley, in her work on the seventeenth-century salon, frequently belittles those of the eighteenth century while Dena Goodman claims that “it was the seriousness and regularity of these [eighteenth-century] salons that distinguished them from seventeenth-century salons.”17 Rather than denigrating salons 18 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century from different periods, it is better to see the salons as evolving to fulfil different functions. As an institutional base for the Enlightenment, the salon is no more or less serious than it would be as a centre for Fronde opinion or literary production, and one can observe that the salon’s position as a location for debate on literary and philosophical issues remained constant.18 The eighteenth-century French salons were re-established as a serious focus of study in the wake of Goodman’s critically acclaimed work, The Republic of Letters (1994), but they have been the centre of popular study for more than two centuries. The salons have been subject to idolisation at the hands of nineteenth-century amateur historians; feminist re-appropriation in the latter half of the twentieth century; abstract reasoning regarding sociability, conversation, and debates on the bourgeois public sphere during the 1980s; and more recently the denial of their very significance, with the entire history of the salon thus far denounced by Antoine Lilti as a mere product of the historical imagination.19 While it could be argued that Goodman occasionally overplays the importance of the salons, Lilti’s dismissal of their worth is untenable. Within his work, Lilti disparages many memoirs by contemporary salon members, such as Marmontel and Morellet, as mere nostalgic accounts. Correspondence and memoirs allow salon participants to disseminate a particular image of their gatherings and shape how others will perceive them. Such works, particularly these memoirs, should indeed be approached with caution, but to dismiss them entirely is a mistake. These personal writings contain much invaluable information and allow us to determine how the participants themselves interpreted the salons. The room in which the salon took place was carefully decorated with specific objects and commissioned artworks, including portraits of the salon hostesses, represented in such a way as to communicate a specific message. It is not surprising that such preparation for staging the salon also extended to consideration of how the gatherings would be perceived by others through written and visual descriptions. Within this material, there are certainly varying levels of authenticity and attempts at realistic representations. One can, for instance, easily identify such manifest fallacies as the 1812 oil painting by Lemonnier of Madame Geoffrin’s salon, which includes figures who could not have attended the salons together. Such idealisations, whether overt or ambiguous, can still help us to understand how impressions of the salons were commissioned, constructed, and circulated by both participants and hostesses. The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 19 That these salons were carefully orchestrated events is readily observable in the preparations undertaken by the hostesses prior to the actual gatherings. The salonnière often prepared meticulously in advance of the salon, setting the stage and anticipating the dialogue. Lespinasse’s guest, the chevalier de Chastellux, discovered one of Madame Necker’s diaries, or “little book,” for example, in the Neckers’ drawing room, which reveals the extent to which her salon was a planned event: It was the preparation for the very dinner to which he was invited: Madame Necker had written it the evening before, and it contained all she was to say to the most remarkable persons at table; his name was there, and after it these words, “I must talk to the Chevalier de Chastellux about Public Happiness and Agathe.” In addition to those notes regarding de Chastellux, a man of letters who had contributed to the Encyclopédie, there were also notes for Marmontel and Guibert, and indeed Mme Necker is recorded as subsequently having said, “word for word what she had written in her pocket-book.”20 Geoffrin, meanwhile, is reported to have kept a catalogue of her guests according to nationality, including some essential information adjacent to several of the names. This information was written there to help her memory when she went to receive them into her salon, such as how to pronounce their names or to make a joke: “General Barington: m’a donné à dîner, avec Milord Grosvenor; il est fort laid et marqué de la petite vérole. Grosvenor, en anglais, se prononce Gros Veneur.”21 These salonnières embraced their role with seriousness and saw their salons as performing an important function. Scholars such as Joan Landes have championed these women as being proto-feminists.22 Alan Kors, by contrast, pours scorn on them, claiming that the only place philosophes could say what was actually on their mind was in the so-called “coterie” of the Baron d’Holbach: “there the fetters were removed.”23 The salonnières’ unequivocal position of power seems to have often been met with both eulogies and expressions of discomfort from male salon members. Many male participants viewed these women’s governing of the social space with a paradoxical mixture of respect and anxiety. While Geoffrin is famously and repeatedly recorded as intervening with her “allons, voilà qui est bien” in order to draw a halt to inappropriate conversations, it is wrong to presume that liberty of speech and expression was not allowed by these women.24 The all-encompassing nature of topics permitted for discussion is illustrated 20 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century in the following quotation from Baron von Grimm commenting on Lespinasse: Politics, religion, philosophy, anecdotes, news, nothing was excluded from the conversation, and, thanks to her care, the most trivial little narrative gained, as naturally as possible, the place and narrative it deserved. News of all kinds was gathered there in its first freshness.25 Roger Picard in speaking of these salons suggests that the philosophes were there attempting to “assure the dominance of thought in society,” utilising the salons to diffuse Enlightenment ideas as a great aim of the project was to expand the audience for Enlightenment and create a model for the general public to emulate.26 Dena Goodman also repeatedly emphasises the vital importance of the salons as Enlightenment institution, describing them as “the civil working spaces of the project of the Enlightenment.”27 Goodman presents the salons as the nexus of exchange at the core of the French Enlightenment, and while it is perhaps exaggerating a little to insist on their being quite as central, they were clearly linked to Enlightenment endeavours and offered a location for discussion and debate to take place. Present there were the most prominent writers, philosophers, and politicians, all those whose names have now become synonymous with Enlightenment thought, including Rousseau, Diderot, d’Alembert, and Voltaire. Several salonnières are described as supporting the creation of Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie (28 vols., 1751–1775), a project that reflected the aspirations of the entire Enlightenment with its aim to aid the advancement of mankind through education and reason, by helping humankind to overcome ignorance. Julie de Lespinasse’s eulogy, for example, describes her as “très connue dans le monde par l’asile qu’elle donnait à M d’Alembert, par sa passion pour l’Encyclopédie et les encyclopédistes . . . .”28 The eighteenth-century salons offered a newly defined social space where enlightened philosophes could go to enable the advancement of their collective activity and benefit from the salon as a site for intellectual exchanges and collaboration. As well as acting as a forum for such collaborative work, the salons also played a role in literary production and reception. The salon had a critical function to play in the circulation of manuscript material, for example, which was still a viable practice in the eighteenth century.29 Gentil-Bernard’s Art d’Aimer and Guibert’s Eloge du Chancelier de l’Hospital are two examples of texts that were circulated extensively in manuscript rather than published form.30 The salon also played an The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 21 equally important role in the transition from manuscript to published material, having almost “the monopoly of first publication” with all new material having first to gain salon members’ assent and approbation prior to publication.31 Aspiring writers sought entry into the salons as they offered a place for manuscripts to be read aloud to an important audience who might provide financial support should they prove sufficiently impressed with the material and should the author wish to publish. The social make-up of the salons, although elite, was quite mixed, with salons being composed of both literary figures and members of the gentry and nobility. The seventeenth-century salon had offered participants a degree of social mobility and performed somewhat as “schools for assimilation into aristocratic manners.”32 Madame Geoffrin insists that the presence of the nobility in her eighteenth-century salon was solely to further the literary careers of her preferred guests: Vous croyez . . . que c’est pour moi que je vois des grands et des ministres? Détrompez-vous; je les vois pour vous et pour vos semblables, qui pouvez en avoir besoin: si tous ceux que j’aime étaient heureux et sages, ma porte serait tous les jours fermée à neuf heures, excepté pour eux. [You really believe that I invite these great men and ministers here for myself? You are quite mistaken, I invite them here for you and those like you, who might have need of them: if all those I love were happy and wise, my door would be closed every day at nine o’clock, except to them.]33 The nobility are thus declared by her to be present primarily as potential support for the literati in attendance rather than for their own worth and contribution. However, as with all correspondence, it is important to note the audience for each individual letter and interrogate the truth of the self-image being projected. While Geoffrin’s letters to the literati announce her lack of interest in the nobility, the correspondence of these men and women sheds new light on such matters. It is important to note also that the presence of foreign guests in the literary salons carried a mark of distinction, as Marianne D’Ezio has noted in relation to the presence of British guests in Italian salons.34 In addition to attracting local elite figures, the French salons were particularly alluring for foreign nobles, and it is easy to conceive how the salonnières might have enjoyed the aristocratic as well as literary celebrities who were drawn to their salons. Geoffrin, in particular, seems 22 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century to have been favoured by titled visitors from Britain and Ireland. She is described, for example, in the correspondence of Lady Holland to her sister Emily, then the Marchioness of Kildare, as “much the Duchess of Bedford’s favourite of all the French”; “the intimate friend of Lady Hervey”; and by Lady Holland herself as “exceedingly agreeable.”35 Equally, she is mentioned as being “very fond of the English,” and this fondness is put to good use. Lady Holland explains, “She is delightfully useful to strangers, because she really can tell one what to do, and what not to do,” thus avoiding any social embarrassments.36 The presence of the nobility thus adds celebrity and glamour to the chosen salon gathering, while allowing the foreign participants to better navigate French society, offering a further example of the symbiotic nature of the salon. As well as Baronesses and Duchesses, Madame Geoffrin, of course, also maintained a close friendship with King Stanislaw August of Poland, who met Geoffrin during his Grand Tour in the 1750s, and who Geoffrin purportedly referred to as her son. There are also several mentions of Geoffrin and her salon in the memoirs of Princess Dashkova of Russia. Dashkova’s memoirs are notoriously complicated, given the numerous editions in existence, the original translation by the Irish sisters Martha and Katherine Wilmot and the rigorous editing by Martha, in addition to the usual desire of a memoir’s subject to disseminate a particular public image.37 Nonetheless, it is interesting to note Dashkova’s recollection of Mesdames Necker and Geoffrin. They are described in the memoir as both urgently seeking out the Princess in person while she stayed with Diderot, before writing to request a visit: The following day I received a very flattering note from Madame Necker saying that Madame Geoffrin hated the idea of living in the same town without seeing me, and such was her high opinion of me that she would never get over the fact of having missed me.38 Whether or not the salonnières desired to meet Dashkova quite so intensely, it seems likely that they did attempt to attract her company. Dashkova later notes that she attended Necker’s salon during her second visit to Paris: “At Madame Necker’s I made the acquaintance of the Bishop of Autun as well as of Monsieur Guibert, author of a book on tactics which had earned so much fame; and there, too, I met Monsieur de Rulhiere whom I had known in Russia,” indicating once again the variety of guests present at the Paris salons, each with their own reason for being there.39 The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 23 In the eighteenth-century salon, participants were generally received into buildings designed according to that style that characterised the reign of Louis XV, the feminine and elaborately ornamental rococo. This style of residence was essentially private but nevertheless allocated a section of the house, the salon, to public activity with the result that “the discursive space of the salon was located within the public architectural space of these new private homes.”40 While Steven D. Kale has claimed that Habermas’s study can hardly be said to be “a precision instrument for describing the history of the salon, its social and political dimensions,” it is, however, useful in its application to the structural layout of the salon, allowing us to conceive of the idea of a public sphere in a private realm.41 The interior decoration of these salons offers much insight into the values and tastes of the salonnières and, indeed, their guests, as well as allowing us to better picture the conduct of a salon evening. Rococo with its asymmetrical patterns and scrollwork was the style generally favoured during the mid-eighteenth century, but this did not prevent each salon from having its own particular and highly individual character. Madame du Deffand’s salon, for example, is described as a large room hung with silk fabric of a buttercup yellow colour and dotted with fire-red bows.42 Her salon was located in the former Convent of SaintJoseph, not far from the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The convent had been founded in the 1640s, but had fallen into financial difficulty by the first decade of the eighteenth century, in common with other such institutions at the time, and rooms were thus rented out to private individuals such as du Deffand in an effort to earn some money.43 Madame du Deffand provided her guests with “petits soupers” where there were just five or six guests, offering them a choice of two entrées, a roast and two desserts.44 Both tea and coffee were drunk in the salons and, although there is no evidence that it was consumed in du Deffand’s, alcohol was served in other salons. Julie de Lespinasse was initially the full-time companion of Mme du Deffand, the sister of Lespinasse’s brother-in-law, from 1754, but was later dismissed after du Deffand discovered Lespinasse secretly holding her own salon before the elder woman’s salon had begun. Lespinasse then left du Deffand, established her own salon, and from 1765 onwards presided over one of the most important philosophical salons of the eighteenth century.45 Lespinasse’s own salon, on the corner of rue Saint-Dominique and Rue de Belle Chasse, consisted of a large room lit by four windows framed with crimson taffeta curtains. Voltaire’s bust, along with d’Alembert’s, dominated the room, which is also described as being furnished with 24 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century elegant pieces given by the Maréchale de Luxembourg, the Comtesse de Boufflers, the Duchesse de Châtillon, and Mme Geoffrin.46 In addition to her disagreement with Lespinasse, du Deffand was also at odds with Geoffrin. Lady Sarah Lennox’s letters from 1776 detail the animosity that existed between the two salonnières: “By the by I hope you did not ask Madame du Deffant [sic] about her, for they have been rival courts for many years.”47 The extent of this rivalry between the two women becomes clear when Emily, now the Duchess of Leinster, visits du Deffand despite her sister’s warnings and recommendations: Why, what a mean poor spirited, toad-eating, abject wretch you are, to go and curry favour with old Deffand at the expense of a poor woman you did not know! I am so mad with you I could almost beat you, for now mark the consequence; old Deffand will take care to have this repeated to the other to triumph over her, and then old Geoffrin will be piqued and will say you have no feeling, no gratitude not have a little consideration for the friend of your sister, who protected all the family and was so civil to them.48 Sarah’s letters refer to previous examples of disputes between the two women, and how she attempted to navigate their gatherings without provoking either salonnière. Such considerations differ greatly from the sense of camaraderie described amongst the Bluestockings in England and the comments of respect among salon hostesses in Ireland. It also reminds us of the way in which salons are often presented as idealised gatherings, but involved much rivalry and disagreement. Geoffrin’s salon, which began in 1749, was held on Mondays and Wednesdays, with different days devoted to different participants, as Lady Holland intimates: “She lives always at home and sees everybody at Paris, I think, in their turns; one day in a week she gives a dinner to the esprits and savants, another day to the artisans.”49 The Monday salon was thus primarily dedicated to artists such as Vanloo, Verdet, Lemoine, Latour, and the comte de Caylus, while the latter was reserved for men of letters.50 Only a small number of people gained entrance to both, amongst them Marmontel who describes the evenings at her house, immediately subsequent to the salon gatherings when “les petits soupers” were consumed. Marmontel declares that “la bonne chère en était succincte” and goes on to describe it as consisting of chicken, spinach, and omelette.51 While he describes it as being rather meagre, and du Deffand mocks it saying “voilà bien du bruit pour une omelette aux épinards,” Lespinasse is recorded as not offering any meal at all at hers.52 The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 25 In his literary portrait of Geoffrin, composed upon her death in 1777, Marmontel recalls the interior of her salon: “Son appartement était orné de leurs [des artistes] ouvrages. Des tableaux de Vanloo, de Greuze, de Vernet, de Vien, de Lagrenée, de Robert; des têtes de Lemoine, etc; des meubles, des bronzes du meilleur goût y montraient par-tout l’amour des arts et des artistes.”53 Some of these paintings were specifically commissioned by Geoffrin herself, including two Van Loo paintings, La Lecture espagnole and La Conversation espagnole (1754), which allowed emphasis to be placed on two central aspects of her salon: reading aloud and conversation. These two images appeared later also on Lespinasse’s walls in the form of engravings.54 Mme Geoffrin’s salon, with its exquisite furniture and ornamentation, clearly reflects the salonnière’s love of art and decoration. Marmontel expounds further to declare that her house distinguishes itself by its order, cleanliness, good taste, and utility, adding that her salon reflected something of her own character, possessing a form of uniqueness combined with simplicity.55 The discourse of clothing adds further to our visual image of the salon. On Sunday 27 October 1765, the British clergyman and antiquarian the Rev. William Cole encountered Geoffrin for the first time and the following represents his lively portrait of the salonnière, who at this time was 66 years old: After this Company was retired, came in an elderly French Lady, of about 60 years of age, to drink tea with Mr Walpole . . . and being without stays, in the loose, easy and negligent dress of the French Women, she had more the appearance of a person just got out of bed, with a night gown flung hastily over her, than a person dressed to make a visit in an evening.56 Casual negligée dress styles were indeed introduced in the mideighteenth century, but the hoop petticoat remained popular until the 1780s.57 Lady Holland’s assessment of French dress from two years earlier than Cole’s also notes the difference in dress between the French and English, but emphasises the excesses of the former and the effort required to be appropriately dressed in Paris: I am sure you would all at Richmond House be diverted to see me go by in my berlin all over glass and gliding, with my hoop and my million of curls and my rouge, and my lace liveries, and in this manner one is dressed every day, tho’ one is perhaps only to make one visit or two airing. (28 May 1763)58 26 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Elements of this style are purchased and then sent on to England and Ireland. After recommending hoops and sending worked ruffles on previous occasions, Caroline urges her sister Emily to inform her of “anything you may want from Paris by way of commission”: The winter silks are beautiful beyond imagination, to my taste at least, especially those velvet ones without gold or silver, under £30 English; one may have a gown as rich as it’s possible to be without gold or silver, there are satins with chenille flowers in two colours . . . I tell you all this in case you should have any commands. (Paris, October 1763)59 Caroline’s circulation of goods from France to England and Ireland embraces not only silks and satins, but also much china, with Caroline being particularly fond of her gift to Emily of un petit dejeuner with cup, saucer, milk-pot, and sugar dish. Emily also received literary works from her sister, including books by Riccoboni.60 As well as such literary portraits of French dress and material, there are also many representations of the salonnières, their attire, and their salons to be found in paintings from the period. Among the most famous are those in oil and pastel by Jean-Baptiste Perroneau and Maurice-Quentin de Latour. Unlike the “negligence” and disregard described by a shocked and surprised Cole, these commissioned portraits are axiomatically much more stylised, considered and self-conscious. They are carefully composed with an audience in mind.61 Jean-Marc Nattier (1685–1766) is perhaps one of the best-known portraitists of the salonnières. Nattier is credited as having revived the genre of the allegorical portrait where a contemporary person is depicted in Greco-Roman attire. His portraits include an oil painting of Madame Geoffrin, dating from 1738, in which the salonnière is presented to the viewer leaning upon a book. Mme Necker is depicted in a 1781 portrait by Jean-Siffred Duplessis as seated upon an armchair in a white satin dress with her powdered hair piled high upon her head. Morellet’s Mémoires outlines the founding in 1766 of Necker’s salon by himself, Raynal and Marmontel, describing how they settled upon Friday as the day that should be allocated to Necker so as not to be in competition with the other salon gatherings.62 Necker is said by Marmontel to have modelled her salon on that of Geoffrin. Originally the Neckers lived in the Parisian quartier of le Marais where de Scudéry had lived before them, but their home there soon became too small to accommodate all the salon habitués with the result that the family The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 27 moved to the Hôtel Leblanc on the rue de Cléry. D’Haussonville, in his full-length study of Necker’s salon, describes the façade as majestic, detailing large well-crafted stairs with an iron banister leading up to the first-floor apartments where the ceilings were beautifully decorated with mythological paintings while the walls were decorated with arabesques and medallions.63 As well as this residence, M Necker, concerned for his wife’s health, also rented the chateau de Madrid, near the bois de Boulogne as well as the chateau de Saint-Ouen. The latter is described as being close enough to Paris (under 10 km) that one could still reach it to attend the Friday salons there by using a carriage, which Mme Necker often personally provided to enable her guests to reach her easily. Provincial salons That D’Haussonville stresses Saint-Ouen’s distance from the very centre of Paris highlights how Paris became imprinted in all minds as the pre-eminent location for all salons. The Parisian salons were visited by travellers from elsewhere in Europe as well as by French literati from the provinces. Morellet, for instance, moved to Paris from his hometown of Lyon, while Marmontel was originally from a small village situated on the Dordogne. In his mapping of the salons, Lilti concentrates on the geographical formation of the “beaux quartiers” in the west of Paris, outlining the importance of the salons in the establishment of these areas as socially important: “dès le XVIIIe siècle se met en place une géographie sociale de Paris qui va marquer le XIXe et le XXe siècle avec la constitution de ce que l’on appelera les ‘beaux quartiers.’ ”64 He identifies the quartier of the faubourg Saint-Germain where Mme du Deffand and Julie de Lespinasse reigned as being one of the most important, in competition with the area around le Palais Royal where Mme Geoffrin’s salon was located in nearby faubourg Saint-Honoré, and finally the third most important quartier as Montmartre where Necker’s salon was located. Lilti’s geographical study concentrates on the year 1775, a period of relative calm before the Revolution that would erupt a decade later, altering the salons yet again. The salon was not exclusively a Parisian phenomenon, however, and there were indeed salons located outside of Paris, such as those recorded as having existed in Bordeaux, Lyons, Toulouse, Dijon, and Autun.65 Madame de Saint-Julien, for example, is said to have a hosted a salon at her chateau at Fontaine-Française in Dijon with Voltaire representing her most important guest.66 It is much more difficult to trace the development of these provincial salons than the more famous Parisian 28 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century gatherings. Sufficient documentary material does, however, survive in relation to two such salons, of an importance comparable with those held in the metropolis. The salons are those hosted by the Duke of Ormonde in Avignon in south-eastern France and Madame Duplessy in Bordeaux in the south-west. James Butler (1655–1745), 2nd Duke of Ormonde, “soldier, lord lieutenant of Ireland, and Jacobite,” had a long relationship with Avignon: “He had lived there for almost a year in 1716 and then again for several months in 1727” before he settled there permanently in 1732.67 Ormonde had originally supported William III after his success in the Revolution of 1688 and campaigned with him in the Netherlands. After the accession of George I in 1714, Ormonde left Britain to act as Secretary of State to the Old Pretender, which led to his impeachment and subsequent exile. Avignon, “the City of Popes,” was chosen as an appropriate location for residence by Jacobite exiles, such as Ormonde, as it was not part of the Kingdom of France, but rather controlled by the Pope, at that time Clement XI, who supported James as rightful King of Great Britain and Ireland.68 Writing to her husband from Avignon on 19 July 1742, the author Lady Mary Wortley Montagu relates the importance of the Duke of Ormonde’s salon: All the English without Distinction see the Duke of Ormond. Lord Chesterfield (who you know is related to him) lay at his House during his stay in this Town, and to say truth, nothing can be more insignificant. He keeps an assembly where all the best Company go twice in the week. I have been there sometimes, nor is it possible to avoid it while I stay here. . . . The Duke lives here in great Magnificence, is quite inoffensive, and seems to have forgot every part of his past Life and to be of no Party.69 As Wortley Montagu’s description makes clear, there were no political implications in visiting or being the guest of Ormonde. His salon was an important affair with “all the best company”: receiving members of the local (English, Irish, and Scottish) Jacobite community, family members, English authors such as Wortley Montagu herself, and of course French literati and nobility. Indeed, such was its importance that it was impossible for Wortley Montagu to avoid during her stay there. The salon is also described as having adhered to a strict routine with bi-weekly gatherings, recalling those of Mme Geoffrin. The Enlightenment writer Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d’Argens, gives further substantiation to Wortley Montagu’s observations in the following comment in his Memoirs of Count du Beauval: The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 29 Hence we went on to Avignon, where we had the Honour of meeting the Duke of Ormond, who appear’d not in the least afflicted at his distress’d Situation. His House was the Rendezvous of the most amiable People of both Sexes; Strangers were entertain’d at it with the greatest Elegance, and we were among the Number who often visited his Grace during our remaining at this Town.70 D’Argens’s comments highlight the mixed-gender sociability to be found at Ormonde’s salon. Apart from its provincial nature, Ormonde’s salon is, of course, noticeable due to the gender of its host. The Duke’s espousal of the customarily female role of hostess further demonstrates the changeable nature of the salon, its adaptability and malleability. Notwithstanding this, the salon’s required politesse and civility remain, with Ormonde receiving his guests with “the greatest Elegance.” The splendour of the Parisian salons is also clearly upheld. Wortley Montagu echoes d’Argens’s choice of adjective in her recollection of the “great magnificence” of the gatherings. This magnificence was a costly affair, as in 1739 Charles de Brosses estimated that Ormonde spent an income of 800,000 livres or £40,000 in Avignon.71 The Bordeaux salon of Madame Duplessy (1702–1782) was also an impressive affair with “her sumptuous home” having been described as “the rendezvous of Bordeaux’s elite.”72 Mme Duplessy was born JeanMarie Francoise de Chazot and married Claude Duplessy who died young in 1736.73 It was upon her widowhood that her salons began to gain fame. The most detailed accounts of her gathering are contained in André Grellet-Dumazeau’s La Société bordelaise sous Louis XV et le salon de Mme Duplessy (1897). This volume adheres to the conventions of many such writings of the period in its platitudes and eulogiums, but nevertheless offers some insight into Duplessy’s remarkable salon.74 Grellet-Dumazeau goes into great detail in describing Duplessy’s two large rooms and the full description allows us to obtain an idea of the salon hostess’s interests in antiquarianism, science, and history: Deux vastes pièces, ordonnés avec méthodes, sont affectées aux collections. La première, garnie d’armoires, de tablettes, de vitrines, contient toutes les richesses de la conchyliologie. La seconde rappelle les boutiques d’antiquaires, telles que certains romans se plaisent à les dépeindre, avec un appareil de réchauds, de cornues, d’instruments mystérieux, et toute une série d’animaux suspendus aux solives: chiens de mer, poissons volants, crocodiles, chauves-souris aux ailes déployées . . . Spectacle troublant pour les 30 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century âmes délicates! Heureusement le regard ne tarde pas à se porter vers les parois de la muraille ou apparaissent, rangés avec symétrie, les plumages multicolores des oiseaux des îles . . . Du temple de l’ornithologie on accède à la bibliothèque, dont les mathématiques, la physique, l’astronomie se disputent les hauts rayons. L’histoire y occupe également une place importante . . . [Two enormous rooms, methodically arranged, are set aside for the collections. The first, furnished with wardrobes, shelves, and windows, contains all the wonders of conchology. The second brings to mind antiquarian stores, exactly as certain novels delight in depicting them, with a stove, vials, mysterious instruments, and a whole set of animals suspended from the joists: seahorses, flying fish, crocodiles, bats with their wings spread out . . . A disturbing spectacle for those of a delicate nature! Happily, it is not long before one’s eyes turn towards another part of the wall where multicoloured feathers of birds from the islands are arranged symmetrically . . . From this temple of ornithology one reaches the library, where mathematics, physics and astronomy argue over the high shelves. History also inhabits an important place there.]75 While all the salons had significant decoration and attention to artistic detail, Mme Duplessy’s goes further still with the salon hostess fully epitomising the enlightened woman, surrounded by scientific equipment, taxonomic specimens, and a well-stocked library. As in Ormonde’s salons, Duplessy’s gatherings included both men and women, as well as artists and famous authors: “Aux plus distingués de ses membres se joignent les autres célébrités locales, savantes, artistes, femmes d’esprit: toute une phalange de personnes instruites.”76 Other less famous participants included members of the Lamothe family. Christine Adams’s A Taste for Comfort and Status: A Bourgeois Family in Eighteenth Century France (2000) represents a detailed study of this Bordeaux family, a typical “provincial professional family.” The Lamothes, Adams informs us, were “dedicated to creating a local milieu both in opposition to and in imitation of the dominant culture of Paris.”77 Their participation in Mme Duplessy’s salon represents such an endeavour and demonstrates that it was possible to engage in salon debate outside of France’s capital. The salon played an important role in provincial life, circulating ideas and offering a forum for discussion. Brothers Alexis and Delphin’s participation in this particular Bordeaux salon allowed them “to indulge their taste for art, literature and the sciences and to discuss current intellectual and political topics in a The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 31 freer and more critical tone than allowed by the authorized academies,” echoing the role of the salon in Paris.78 The most famous member of Duplessy’s salon was Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu: “ . . . bientôt, il ne s’établit plus de renommé littéraire qui ne portât l’estampille de son salon, et Montesquieu lui-même accepta l’honneur de figurer au nombre de ses amis.”79 Montesquieu, most famously the author of Lettres persanes (1721) and De l’esprit des lois (1748), was a founding member of the Académie de Bordeaux and in 1728 was elected to the Académie française. One of the most fascinating accounts of Montesquieu during the latter period of his life is provided by the Irish peer James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont, on his return from his Grand Tour in 1754: I have frequently met him in company with ladies, and have been as often astonished at the politeness, the gallantry, and sprightliness of his behaviour. In a word, the most accomplished, the most refined petit-maitre of Paris, could not have been more amusing, from the liveliness of his chat, nor could have been more inexhaustible in that sort of discourse which is best suited to women, than this venerable philosopher of seventy years old.80 Charlemont portrays a sprightly philosopher, somewhat at odds with the general portrayal of Montesquieu at this time.81 It is interesting that he seems to contrast the different sort of discourse that is expected from a venerable philosopher and that suitable for women. Montesquieu’s politeness and gallantry immediately identify him with salon behaviour, as does Charlemont’s recollection of “the liveliness of his chat.” Montesquieu is typically recorded as frequenting the salons of Paris, but he clearly also participated in those of Bordeaux, adding immensely to their prestige.82 The County Clare-born physician Michael Clancy (1704–1776) also claims to have spent much time with Montesquieu while a student in France: “Monsieur de Montesquieu did me the Honour to keep me with him near six months in the country” and states that, whilst in Bordeaux, “Men of the first fashion came to visit him every Day.”83 While this evidence, obtained exclusively from Clancy’s memoirs, is not entirely trustworthy, it nevertheless serves to reinforce the link between Montesquieu and Irish travellers, whether real or wished for. Duplessy’s salon continued until 1769 when the salon hostess was forced to sell her properties in order to finance her daughters’ marriages. Another participant in the salons at Bordeaux was the poet and playwright, Joseph Quesnel (1746–1809). Quesnel “came from a merchant 32 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century family at Saint-Malo France and in the 1770s he frequented literary salons in Bordeaux.”84 While it is not stated that he attended Duplessy’s salon in particular, what is significant is that Quesnel later in life attempted to set up similar salons in Canada, illustrating the importance of the provincial salon in providing a model for gatherings at home and abroad: “He [Quesnel] would later try to establish such salons in Lower Canada. Captured by the British while on a merchant ship bound for the American colonies in 1779, he was taken to Halifax and then to Montreal, where he married and conducted business.”85 Thus, the salon did not remain simply within France but spread across Europe and beyond. The literary salon was emulated by eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury salon hostesses in countries such as Germany and America as well as Canada. Literary and cultural connections became established between the various European gatherings in particular.86 These European cultural contacts were “reinforced and sustained by correspondence, dedications and recommendations.”87 Nicole Pohl identifies Christina Mariana Ziegler (1695–1760) as having hosted the first German literary salon, in Leipzig, and describes her salon as “characterized by a playful display of wit and satire – sottises galantes – often at the guests’ expense.”88 Louise Gottsched (1713–1762) is described as Ziegler’s competitor and both these salon hostesses were extremely intellectual: Ziegler was the first woman admitted into the Deutsche Gesellschaft (similar to the Académie française) whilst Gottsched worked with her husband as editor and translator.89 In comparison with developments in Paris, and indeed London, salon culture only became established in Berlin in the latter part of the eighteenth century: “Salons held by Jewish women first appeared in 1780s Berlin, with the dissemination of French Enlightenment ideas into Germany.”90 The main hostesses at this period in Berlin were Jewish women such as Henriette Herz, Dorothea Mendelssohn Veit, and Rahel Levin-Varnhagen. The salons hosted by Varnhagen (1771–1833) were “rooted in a liberal Jewish tradition of sociability,” while also being “indebted to the great French tradition of salons,” with Varnhagen influenced by her reading of the works of Sévigné, Stael, Genlis, and du Deffand.91 These salons played an important role in allowing Jewish women access to German intellectual culture, “the gatherings provided a means for acquiring knowledge of general German and Western culture and for moving beyond the confines of the Jewish community,” although one must recognise the persistent anti-Semitism endured by these hostesses, in addition to the The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 33 pejorative comments often levelled at eighteenth-century hostesses in all countries.92 American salons are discussed in David Shields’s Civil Tongues, Polite Letters in British America (1997). Again, Shields immediately identifies the model for these early Republic salons as being French in origin: “Anne Willing Bingham’s drawing room in Philadelphia, created a haven of conversation where politics, art, and economics, were discussed by men and women of influence after the fashion of Paris.”93 Shields also takes care to note “the continuing vitality of all the old arenas of sociability” following the American Revolution of 1775–1783: “The Revolution, for all the talk of republicans about simplicity, equality, and virtue, did not alter the play of private society.”94 Post-revolutionary salons In France, the Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror severely hindered the possibility of elite associational life. A letter from the Irish antiquarian Joseph Cooper Walker written from Avignon in 1791 has survived and offers an example of the extent of the chaos unleashed by the Revolution: Since I did myself the honor to write to your Ladyship [Lady Moira], I have been witness to many of the melancholy effects of the late Revolution. During the election of the Mayor of Montpellier for the [Ensuing] year, a dispute arose between the Democratic and Aristocratic parties. A riot being apprehended, a detachment of the Troupes de Ligne was ordered to parade the Streets. I met them proclaiming Martial Law. In a few minutes after, a pistol was fired at them by a fellow, who immediately took refuge in the house of M. Calan, a Procureur. The Guard pursued him; but being denied admission, they instantly brought there 4 pounders from L’Hotel de Ville & firing at the house, forced it, & killed M. Callan & a Surgeon, & wounded a servant of the former. Immediately all the shops were shut, the whole town appeared in arms & several shots were fired by both parties. It was a scene of tumult & horror. Not even a Stranger could venture with Safety in the Streets. Voila! un aristocrate! says a fellow, pointing at a poor man who was passing, & fifty muskets were instantly discharged at him. – The Guards continued parading the streets until 10 oc at night, & every [house] was illuminated. When I departed the next morning at 10 oc all the shops were shut, & armed mobs were assembling in different parts of the town. I have 34 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century since learned that seven people were killed & a much greater number dangerously wounded.95 Clearly such breakdown of society would not have allowed for the continuation of normal life for the aristocracy. Descriptions, such as Walker’s, circulated across Europe, communicating the perceived realties of life in France at the end of the eighteenth century. His reflection at the end of the letter encapsulates the fear experienced by many: “No man can foresee the moment when a furious mob, urged by the Spirit of party, may demolish his house, & plunge a dagger into his breast.”96 The salon of Irishwoman Anastacia Fitzmaurice (1723–1799) further demonstrates the turbulence unleashed by the events of 1789 and the resultant confiscation of elite property. Her salon illustrates both how the French Revolution impacted on one particular salon and also upon foreigners in general in Paris. Anastacia Fitzmaurice, née Daly, was the daughter of Peter Daly and Elizabeth Blake from Co. Galway.97 She had originally married a lawyer, Charles Daly, of Loughrea, Co. Galway in 1747 but divorced him on 7 March 1768 and 12 days later married Francis Thomas Fitzmaurice, 3rd Earl of Kerry, thereby becoming Countess of Kerry.98 The third Earl was mostly an absentee landlord and sold much of his estate in Co. Kerry during the 1780s.99 Perhaps one of the reasons for the Fitzmaurices’ removal to Paris in 1774 was the social scandal created by the marriage of the “imprudent” Fitzmaurice to a divorced Catholic woman 17 years his senior and past the age of childbearing.100 Lady Mary Coke’s journal entry from 21 May 1769, for example, describes Anastacia as “my Lady Kerry, who was divorced last year from her first Husband for adultery.”101 Their alliance is generally cited as the reason for the sale of the Kerry lands. According to Fitzmaurice’s cousin, the Earl of Shelburne, due to the scandal of their marriage and Anastacia’s age, the couple had to “fight up to get into good company, and having no posterity, they sold every acre of land that had been in our family since Henry the Second’s time, converting the remainder into life-rents.”102 In Richard Hayes’s 1943 study of Irishmen in France, we learn that: In pre-Revolutionary days Lord Kerry had a town house and considerable property in Paris. His wife’s salon in the Champs Elysées was one of the most brilliant in the French capital . . . but after the fall of the monarchy in August 1792, he hurriedly left France. A few days after his departure the authorities placed seals on his papers and effects . . . .103 The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 35 These papers and effects were preserved and now form part of a series in the national archives in Paris comprising “documents séquestrés pendant la Révolution dans le département de la Seine, provenant de particuliers émigrés ou condamnés et de quelques communautés laïques.”104 This archive includes the papers of Lord Kerry. These papers allow us an insight into the expenses of the Fitzmaurices, their reading material, and their way of life. The Fitzmaurices’ London house in Mayfair has been described as lavishly furnished, and their extraordinary wealth is also very apparent during their time in France.105 Sale catalogues for material from the Kerry family describes Fitzmaurice as having achieved “a degree of extravagance unparalleled among the contemporary Irish, if not the English and French aristocracy.”106 The Fitzmaurices were originally based in the Hôtel de Charost on rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, and later leased a hôtel particulier in the rue d’Artois.107 The material in the archives consists of many receipts and bills from their time in Paris and includes many luxurious purchases, such as two large opera glasses with silver rings; several references to horses and the renting of stables; jewellery “par Granhez, Bijoutier de la Reine” including a commissioned music box; in addition to the purchase of much clothes and fine materials.108 There are also many references to literary works, such as the receipt of a subscription for la petite bibliothèque des théâtres. Additionally, there are receipts for subscriptions to the Journal de Paris, des Affiches de Paris, ou journal général de France, and la Gazette de France, all dating from 1789. There is also a receipt from the bureau général des gazettes étrangères, indicating the Fitzmaurices’ interest in events occurring outside of France. Their rent of the apartment in which their salons were held was 960 Livres per month, with several of these receipts present in the collection. There are also many invoices and lists from booksellers, particularly from Théophile Barroire the younger. One example from 6 May 1789 includes one Nouveau voyage en Espagne, three vols in octavo; Monthly Review 1788, 12 numbers in octavo; Bell’s Classical Arrangement of Fugitive Poetry; the Bible; A History of Modern Europe in two volumes; one Royal Kalander; and a catalogue of English books printed in England. As well as books and periodicals, the family also have receipts and advertisements from such establishments as Magasin de Bougies, Rue des Prouvaires, and Bachelier, marchand épicier, r droguiste, and distillateur. Their receipts show many purchases of alcohol, including six bottles of Bordeaux red wine in August 1790, 25 on another occasion, as well as fruit, ice-cream, and, of course, clothes and bed linen. Food expenses 36 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century listed in 1792 included oranges and lemons, oil, vinegar, Parmesan, pistachios, anchovies, and Gruyère.109 One can only assume that participants at their salon would have enjoyed many of these goods. Their invitation cards to their home were certainly spectacular, as can be seen from a receipt from 1 May 1789 for “deux milles billets d’invitation pour souper imprimés sur papier vélin superfin d’Annonay dorer sur tranche.”110 This lavish lifestyle was abruptly ended by the Revolution; the Fitzmaurices’ effects were sealed, an inventory of their furniture was made and “in accordance with the official decree sequestering the property of subjects of countries at war with France, it was sold and realised 150,000 livres.”111 It is claimed that two servants were in fact guillotined trying to retrieve some of this material in 1793.112 It was not simply the Countess of Kerry’s salon that was badly affected by the Revolution, almost all salons experienced massive disruption either immediately in 1789 or at least during the Reign of Terror. Goodman suggested that “Despite their grand schemes and infinite projects, the Republic of Letters that the philosophes had been constructing for forty years was limited and fragile, too much so to support a revolution of the magnitude of 1789.”113 Steven D. Kale’s French Salons: High Society and Political Sociability from the Old Regime (2004), however, represents an extremely compelling and persuasive challenge to the above claim by Goodman who insists that the salon collapsed after the events of 1789. Kale’s work represents a full study of those salons that emerged after the French Revolution, offering an examination of their transformation into political institutions. Again, what must be emphasised is the salons’ ability to adapt to altering circumstances, highlighting their flexibility. Kale admits that the salons had, indeed, essentially dissolved in France during the actual Revolution but that they revived in Paris soon after the end of the Reign of Terror (1793– 1794). Napoleon is said to have initially encouraged this rebirth and reconstitution of the salon in an attempt to gain the support of the traditional aristocracy. Legislation under France’s First Empire was highly prohibitive of associational life, however. Article 291 of the 1810 code allowed for the dissolution of all unauthorised associations numbering more than 20 people, and threatened the leaders of such associations with three months to two years imprisonment.114 As the century progressed to witness the Bourbon Restoration (1815–1830) and the July Monarchy (1830–1848) the salons continued to be acknowledged as the chief meeting places for “elite political networking and discussion, structured by the conventions of mondaine sociability and managed by salonnières” until their decline during the reign of Louis Philippe, The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 37 Prince of Orléans, and their eventual retrenchment with the February Revolution of 1848 which altered the social landscape irreversibly.115 These post-revolutionary salons became more and more politicised with many taking on clear partisan identities, facilitating communications between different members and enabling political factions to distinguish themselves and their policies one from the other, thus gaining coherence as free debate and association became newly permitted in society. One of the most famous accounts of salon society both before and after the Revolution is that written by the Comtesse de Genlis: Memoirs of the Countess de Genlis: Illustrative of the History of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (1825). The Comtesse de Genlis (1746–1830) composed her memoirs with the desire to leave to posterity “a faithful picture of a state of society now broken up or extinct, and of a century not only passed away, but absolutely effaced from the minds of the existing generations.”116 Arriving in France with her daughter after a period of exile that began in 1792, she reflects nostalgically on a bygone period when women were modest and treated properly and when the French language was spoken decorously. One of her greatest subjects of regret is the demise of the salons. The author’s own footnote declares: “At present, the bureaux d’esprit are entirely gone, and our Government ought specially to regret them. Universal peace would be quite established, if they were to replace the bureaux of politics.”117 Several critics have interpreted these lamentations as indicative of the complete dissolution of the salons, but Genlis herself, in fact, goes on to establish her own literary salon in the Bibliothécaire de l’Arsenal. Genlis had what she described as her own bureaux d’esprit where she received “men of fashion” at her house on Saturdays: “After this nomenclature, it would have been appropriate to have given to these assemblies, (which lasted during nine years) the title of Bureaux d’Esprit.”118 Genlis was not alone in her establishment of a literary salon at this time. One example of a salon that experienced a rebirth after the revolution was that of the Marquise de Condorcet (1764–1822) who originally held a salon at the Hôtel des Monnaies, which was frequented by the philosophes, suspending it during the Terror and re-establishing it in 1795 to host the ideologues.119 Elsewhere, Mme Ancelot (1792– 1875) held an influential literary salon on the rue de Seine from 1824, while Mme Récamier (1777–1849) held a salon at the Abbaye-au-Bois, which was attended by Chateaubriand.120 The author Maria Edgeworth attended Madame Récamier’s salon several times during her 1802 visit 38 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century to France, and there are detailed descriptions of the gatherings in her letters, such as the following from 21 November: Friday we saw beauty, riches, fashion, luxury, and numbers at Mme Récamier’s; she is a charming woman, surrounded by a group of adorers and flatterers in a room where are united wealth and taste, all of modern execution and ancient design that can contribute to its ornament – a strange mélange of merchants and poets, philosophers and parvenus – English, French, Portuguese, and Brazilian, which formed the company; we were treated with distinguished politeness by our hostess, who concluded the evening by taking us to her box at the Opera.121 Récamier’s salons preserved the eighteenth-century tradition of attracting foreign visitors – including mention of the former Queen of Sweden in a later letter – as well as hosting a wide variety of guests from widely different backgrounds, and mixing “wealth and taste.”122 Edgeworth describes the salon as “elegant,” with the salonnière in “the first fashion.”123 Despite the political turmoil at the time, literature was still greatly discussed according to Edgeworth, whose novel Belinda (1801) was much praised in Paris at the time: “The conversation frequently turns on the new petites pièces and little novels which come out every day, and are talked of for a few days with as much eagerness as a new fashion in other places.”124 Genlis’s memoirs also contain frequent references to a fellow postrevolutionary salonnière, “an Irish lady,” Mary Bridget Plunket (1759– 1815). Plunket was born in Louvain [Leuven], the daughter of the army officer Baron Thomas Plunket from Castle Plunket, Co. Roscommon, and his Tipperary-born wife Mary D’Alton.125 In 1787 she married the Marquis de Chastellux, who had served as a major general in the French expeditionary force during the American War of Independence. He was also an accomplished writer and member of the French Academy. The Marquis died within a year of their marriage and four months before the birth of their child Alfred. Mary Bridget [or Marie Brigitte, as she was referred to in French] was then offered protection by the Duchess of Orléans for whom she acted as lady-in-waiting.126 Genlis had been instrumental in the marriage of Plunket to Chastellux: “I undertook the charge of every thing relative to their marriage, purchases for their outfit, and presentations every where. I introduced her into society, where every one was prejudiced against her.”127 There was, however, much animosity between the two women as Genlis was convinced that Mme de The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 39 Chastellux, as she was now styled, was endeavouring to usurp Genlis’s place as chief friend to the Duchess of Orléans. However, “in spite of all the vexations which Madame de Chastellux has occasioned me,” Genlis admits that her rival possessed many favourable merits: “she was lively and clever, that she even possessed some excellent qualities; that she was a good mother, and rendered the Chevalier de Chastellux happy . . . .”128 Hayes mentions Plunket in his biographical study of Irishmen, stating that she “presided over a fashionable salon at Paris” but that, “after the outbreak of the Revolution, the Marquise was imprisoned at Paris as an aristocrat during the Reign of Terror. Her gaol from November 1793 to November 1794 was the Austin convent where she had been educated.”129 Many details of de Chastellux’s salon are provided by the diary and letters of New York senator Gouverneur Morris. The American first went to Paris in 1789 and returned in 1793 as Minister Plenipotentiary for France.130 Morris refers specifically to visiting Madame de Chastellux’s salon: “I make a short visit in the salon of Madame de Chastellux later.”131 His diary is full of descriptions of these gatherings and recordings of those present, for example: “Go to Madame de Chastellux’s: the Duchess is there, as usual; also the Vicomte de Ségur. Some politics with him. Madame de Ségur comes in late; has been detained by her visitors.”132 The Duchess referred to is the Duchess of Orléans, and she was constantly present at de Chastellux’s salons. Phillipe-Henri, marquis de Ségur, minister of War from 1781 to 1787, and his wife are also generally listed as present. Another entry from 1790, which also includes the Ségurs’ son, describes a gathering in more detail: I take the Vicomte de Ségur to Madame de Chastellux’s, where he reads a little comedy called “Le Nouveau Cercle,” which is not without merit, but he reads too well to judge of it. For the rest, he has made himself the principal character of the piece. Lady Carey is here, an Irishwoman who has, I believe, the merit of keeping a good house in Paris. Leave this at a little after nine and go to the Louvre.133 Here we are informed not only of the participants, who include an Irishwoman as well as a French minister and American ambassador, but also of the salon’s literary emphasis. We also learn of the time of the salon, which was clearly in the evenings as Morris departed after nine. In an earlier entry, from 14 December 1789, the salon is replaced by a “large breakfast party” which upholds the literary emphasis in that “the Abbé Delille reads or rather repeats to us some of his verses, which are 40 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century fine and well delivered.”134 On another occasion, Morris recalls how his opinion was sought on literary matters at the salon: “Go from hence to Madame de Chastellux. The Vicomte de Ségur gives me a book he has written, and desires that I will give him my candid opinion of it. It is a supposed correspondence between Ninon de l’Enclos and her lover, the Marquis de Villarceaux.”135 In addition to these literary discussions, Madame de Chastellux’s salon also adheres to the general pattern for post-revolutionary salons highlighted by Kale, in that a clear political emphasis was conspicuous. In those salons that survived after 1789, until the Reign of Terror, and indeed in those that were re-established after the Terror’s conclusion, politics became a sure topic of discussion. Accounts of the salons at this time make clear how much they were dominated by political matters of various kinds. In addition to Morris’s mentioning of “some politics” with de Ségur, a “letter from M. Lally-Tollendal to his constituents” was read aloud at another gathering, while in January 1790 Morris notes: “Go from hence to Madame de Chastellux’s. Madame de Ségur and the Maréchal and the Count come in. Conversation is about the decree of the day, and so it is at Madame de Stael’s.”136 As the editor of Morris’s journal noted, “By November [1789] society began to feel the exodus from its ranks. The most brilliant salons of a few months back were closed and silent, and their gay inmates languishing in foreign lands.”137 However, the effects of the French Revolution did not initially impact greatly on Mme de Chastellux. She remained under the protection of the Duchess of Orléans, who she describes obsequiously as “a woman who is the honour of her sex.”138 However, everything altered in 1793 when the Duchess’s husband was guillotined and the Orléans fortune confiscated. The Duchess’s children were then sent to America for their safety, and de Chastellux herself spent a year imprisoned within the Augustinian convent in Paris, le couvent des dames augustines anglaises, from November 1793 to November 1794.139 She is said to have been placed there for playing a role in aiding the King’s aunts to escape, and as the widow of an aristocrat. The convent remained a gaol until March 1795 and de Chastellux was kept there alongside “a motley throng” of prisoners that included the abbé Edgeworth’s sister Betty.140 The Marquise’s position by 1795 is outlined in a fascinating exchange of letters with Thomas Jefferson, to whom she writes in order to obtain a pension for herself and her child. Her personal situation is subsequently communicated by Jefferson to George Washington on 12 September 1795: The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 41 He [Chastellux] was himself without fortune, being a younger son and therefore depended on his military pay and some pension. On his death, a small pension was continued to his widow by the crown, but her chief dependence was the Dutchess [sic] of Orleans who had taken affection to her, gave her apartments, a place at her table, and some pension. The Orleans fortune being confiscated, all these dependencies are gone, and Madame de Chastellux with her infant son is, I dare say, entirely destitute of provision.141 The correspondence is itself an absorbing study in deference and politeness and how these structures within letter writing correspond with reality. Jefferson’s letters to the Marquise resound with compliments and assurances of aid; his letters to Washington, however, reveal his unease about setting precedents in agreeing to her requests and mentions various legal restraints. His platitudes have disappeared, and he mentions to Washington that it is said that Mary Bridget intrigued her husband into marrying her. Alfred, the Comte de Chastellux, received no assistance in spite of his mother’s efforts, and by 1797 Mme de Chastellux described herself as “lead[ing] the life of a recluse,” far removed from her previous incarnation as successful salon hostess.142 Madame de Chastellux’s salon was connected in Morris’s mind with one of the most famous salonnières from this period: the daughter of Suzanne Necker, Baronne Germaine de Staël-Holstein. As well as presiding over what became one of the most important post-revolutionary salons, Staël was also a great literary figure with her novel Corinne (1807) firmly establishing her literary fame. Staël set up her intensely political salon on the Rue du Bac and such was its influence that Napoleon said of it in October 1816: “Her house had become quite an arsenal against me; people went there to be armed knights. She endeavoured to raise enemies against me and fought against me herself. She was at once Armida and Clorinda.”143 Staël’s salon attracted people of all political allegiances, as the salon did not adhere to one particular outlook. This political inclusivity attracted constitutional monarchists such as Talleyrand, Louis de Narbonne, and Mathieu de Montmorency as well as Sieyès, Lafayette, and Barnave.144 Staël’s salon, originally established before the Revolution to help and gather support for her father, Jacques Necker, eventually became a place for members of the constitutional left to gather together to discuss strategy. Another woman of the same family associated with such politically focused salons was the salonnière Albertine de Staël-Holstein, Staël’s daughter. She presided over a 42 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century salon during the July Monarchy where topics discussed included matters concerning the political economy and legislation. In both of these salons, occurring at different periods, the salonnières conducted their salons in the same fashion as Necker had before them, ensuring harmony and conviviality amongst their guests by upholding the rules of polite conversation. Despite Staël’s success, it was during the July Monarchy that the salon’s decline became most evident. Prior to 1830, changes to salon society had already begun, as Peter McPhee has noted: “Many noblewomen, too, shunned the pre-revolutionary public world of the salon and adopted the domestic ideal as the price to be paid for consolidating shattered families and restoring social authority by moral example.”145 Adjustments such as these were consolidated during the July Monarchy by other factors, which all contributed to the salon’s retrenchment. The withdrawal of the nobility from active participation in politics, and their retreat to the countryside, altered the landscape of associational life in Paris dramatically, depriving the salons of many prestigious members. Salons also began to be replaced by a non-elite form of sociability called cercles. By the end of the July Monarchy and the Revolution of 1848, there were 1,928 cercles with over 121,585 members, all male.146 Both Carol E. Harrison and Maurice Aghulon stress that the cercles “were a bourgeois, egalitarian form of the aristocratic salon.”147 These cercles differed dramatically from the literary salons – they were deliberately and exclusively male, insistently bourgeois, and took place in a rented location whose cost was divided among cercle members, rather than in private, luxurious homes.148 These masculine gatherings were primarily associated with provincial rather than metropolitan sociability and facilitated gaming and smoking as well as conversation.149 The cercles also shunned the role of the salonnière, leading to conversation that was less governed, orderly, and polite. This conclusively signalled their departure from the institution of the salon, which had flourished for over 200 years. From the early eighteenth century, the French salon benefited from the contribution of various foreign visitors, both aristocratic and literary, from Princess Dashkova of Russia to the Duchess of Leinster from Ireland. It was also shaped by those Irish men and women who established their own salons across France, for differing purposes. Whether involved in literary creation, evaluation and publication, philosophical debate or political discussion, the salon as institution played a central part in the history of France and emerged as a specific institution that other countries could and did emulate. Despite its multi-functionality The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 43 and adaptability it is nevertheless possible to identify certain key elements that are common to all salons, whatever their subject matter or emphasis. The salon can be described as a luxurious space where the company is select and meets regularly, a woman generally governs and polite conversation is imperative. The final key point to note is that all salons were shaped by cultural transfers and exchange. The salon did not exist in isolation, and the French salons were particularly remarkable for attracting many foreign visitors who acted as both observers and the observed. The presence of different nationalities, as well as the mixture of urban and rural guests, allowed for the exchange of differing viewpoints. It also enabled the dissemination of abstract ideas, in addition to physical manuscripts and published works. The subsequent chapters will investigate the development of the salon outside of France during the eighteenth century as the concept of the salon is exported to learned men and women in Britain and Ireland who continue this tradition of cultural transfer. 2 A French Phenomenon Embraced: The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain She maintained the rank in the society of Edinburgh which French women of talents usually do in that of Paris, and in her little parlour used to assemble a very distinguished and accomplished circle . . . .1 Salons in eighteenth-century Britain provided women with the possibility of associational life, normally denied to them by the various clubs and societies throughout England and Scotland, which were almost invariably male in composition.2 The salons were a key site of sociability and self-education, offering their members the chance to engage in intellectual exchange and debate. While the salons were composed of both men and women, they were particularly significant in the lives of their female members as they allowed many women a means to enter into the world of print for the first time. Not only did the salon offer emerging writers an extensive network of friendship and support, it also offered its members the possibility of submitting their work for correction and improvement, with manuscripts often the focus of discussion among salon members. Such demonstrations of collaboration and cooperation were a key element of these salons, with all participants forming part of a community intent on promoting the various members’ work, in addition to partaking of polite conversation and fine food. The figure of the hostess often served simultaneously as patron in these salons, aiding the fledgling writer in their efforts to obtain a publisher for their work, and indeed initially recommending the work for publication. Finally, published material found a ready audience in the salons, both among the members themselves and through their dissemination of the work outside the immediate circle. These literary exchanges and intellectual discussions generally took place within fashionable surroundings in England and Scotland. 44 The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 45 Contemplation of the London town house salon, for example, affords us the opportunity to investigate how the salons operated within these homes where display was paramount. The salon participants and hostesses discussed new building projects; which areas of London were most fashionable to live in; the craze for chinoiserie; the correctness of women affixing their names to mortgages; and the cost of decorating the various premises. The salon participants in Edinburgh were also concerned with ornament and display, though perhaps to a lesser degree. Fashionable areas and proximity to the centre remain key considerations, while almost all the hostesses engaged with the promotion of a particular image and identity through self-portraiture. Several salons took place in England prior to the outbreak of the English civil war in 1641, but whilst the monarchy was re-established in 1660, salon culture did not reassert itself in England for almost 100 years.3 This was due in part to the inordinate success of the coffeehouse as site of sociability: “The coffeehouse, not the salon, was the centre of literary sociability in Restoration and early Augustan England.”4 The key figures involved in the re-establishment of a stable salon culture in England were Elizabeth Montagu (1718–1800), Frances Boscawen (1719– 1805), Mary Monckton (1746–1840), Hester Lynch Thrale (1741–1821), and Anna Miller (1741–1781). Unlike the Stuart salons, described as “a fixture of courtly and aristocratic culture,” the salons of the mid- and late-eighteenth century in England were increasingly genteel in focus.5 The women who hosted these salons were highly influential figures and their lives and letters offer us fascinating insights into eighteenthcentury British society. All these hostesses were married, with rather varying degrees of happiness and success, and all had to contend with the risks and difficulties of childbirth and the threat of infant mortality.6 These women set the standard for taste and fashion within their homes and often through their dress, while maintaining a virtuous domestic appearance and presiding over successful literary salons. Montagu, Boscawen, and Monckton belonged to the group of learned men and women that came to be known collectively as the Bluestockings. The word was first introduced in 1756 to describe those present at the salons in London after one of their guests, Benjamin Stillingfleet, absent-mindedly wore blue woollen stockings rather than the formal white silk to the salon hostess Elizabeth Montagu’s Hill Street residence. By the late 1770s it had come to be associated solely with those women in attendance, and eventually to refer to intellectual women in general.7 The term later began to assume distinctly negative connotations, being used primarily to mock learned ladies, 46 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century a legacy which continued in the nineteenth and into the twentieth century.8 While individual Bluestockings, such as Elizabeth Montagu, Frances Burney, and Catharine Macaulay, have been well studied, much less attention has been paid to the Bluestocking salons themselves.9 A notable exception to this is Elizabeth Eger’s Bluestockings: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism (2010), which includes a chapter entitled “The Bluestocking Salon: Patronage, Correspondence and Conversation,” which concentrates primarily on Elizabeth Montagu’s salon. Montagu was known as the “Queen of the Blues” and is now, as she was then, universally regarded as the most important and best known of all the salon hostesses. This has led somewhat to a London-centric view of both the Bluestockings and British salons, obscuring the importance of other salons in provincial England and indeed those in Scotland, while neglecting those of contemporary Ireland almost entirely. Just as French salons owed much to the contribution of many Irish men and women, both the Bluestocking salons and other salons throughout Britain consisted of Irish as well as British participants. Literary figures such as Elizabeth Sheridan, Robert Jephson, and Edmund Burke all attended Bluestocking salons in London, while Elizabeth Vesey (c.1715–1791) hosted extremely successful Bluestocking salons in both England and Ireland.10 Meanwhile, there was a distinctive Irish contribution to the non-Bluestocking salons, with figures such as Arthur Murphy, George Ogle, and Dr Thomas Campbell participating in Hester Lynch Thrale’s salons at Streatham, for example, as well as Maria and Richard Lovell Edgeworth attending the Edinburgh salons hosted by Alison Rutherford Cockburn (1713–1794) and the Belfast-born Elizabeth Hamilton (1758–1816). Descriptions of these Edinburgh salons counter the argument, advanced by authors such as Paul Wood, that Scotland and the Scottish Enlightenment were untouched by salon culture.11 These salons in London, Streatham, and Edinburgh stood in direct juxtaposition to two prevalent gatherings in eighteenth-century Britain, the card party and the all-male club. Elizabeth Carter described the average London party of those days as: “A drum, a rout, a racket, a hurricane, an uproar – where every charm of conversation was drove away by that foe to human society, whist . . . .”12 The literary salon considered itself as operating in direct contrast to such a description, as the comments of several salon attendees demonstrate. They repeatedly express their good fortune at the fact that cards were banished from their salons in favour of intellectual debate: “We had the other night a conversazione at Mrs Boscawen’s. What a comfort for me that none of my friends play at cards.”13 The salons can be similarly contrasted with the exclusively The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 47 male clubs and societies that flourished in Britain at the time, representing an instance of successful mixed-gender voluntary association, offering an alternative to the club and the card table. It is evident from the correspondence that, rather than choosing to emulate other British or German gatherings – the male clubs and card parties discussed above, or German tischgesellschaften and sprachgesellschaften – the Bluestockings and indeed Thrale, Cockburn, and Hamilton chose the French salon as their model for “a site for sociable communication.”14 French connections While the English and Scottish salons should be appreciated as literary and intellectual gatherings with distinctive features of their own, they cannot be fully understood without considering the French salons that influenced them. Apart from works such as Susanne Schmid’s British Salons of the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (2013), which focuses on the salons of Mary Berry, Lady Holland, and the Countess of Blessington, little research has been dedicated to the study of salons in England and Scotland, with even less attention devoted to comparative studies. Schmid mentions both the Bluestockings and the French salons in her introductory chapter where she looks at the salon’s traditions. However, she is sceptical about the influence of the French salon, using it as a point of comparison, “even if no major influence,” and therefore devotes little space to its consideration.15 Two notable works that do stress the links between the salons of France and Britain are Chauncey Brewster Tinker’s The Salon and English Letters (1915), and Evelyn Gordon Bodek’s essay “Salonnières and Bluestockings: Educated Obsolescence and Germinating Feminism.”16 While Tinker’s work was a welcome development to literary studies during the early-twentieth century, it must be recognised that its treatment of the salons appears today as excessively popular in its approach. Tinker’s anecdotal, even whimsical, style may be gauged by a comment on Madame du Deffand: “And then, in the late evening of her [Madame du Deffand’s] days, a miracle occurred. The dry branch budded and bloomed.”17 Moreover, Tinker is ultimately dismissive of the Bluestockings “and their somewhat tiresome assemblies.”18 He also argues that the Bluestocking salon was less successful than its French equivalent because of the absence of intimate relations between its members, which he attributed to the supposed fact that “passion is unknown to them [the English].”19 Tinker’s main arguments are repeatedly undermined, as here, by such sweeping generalisations. Bodek’s shorter and more recent study of the two salon 48 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century communities unfortunately distorts the argument by comparing French salonnières with all of those – hostesses and guests alike – who attended Bluestocking salons.20 British hostesses would have been very much aware of the practices of those French salons dating from the previous century, thanks to the writings of Marie de Raboutin-Chantal, Madame de Sévigné. Sévigné’s correspondence, which featured extensive portrayals of seventeenthcentury French salons, was widely read and commented on by various members of the British salons. Horace Walpole, for example, had great respect for Sévigné as indicated in the following letter to Richard Bentley: “PS I have just seen in the advertisements that there are arrived two new volumes of Mme de Sévigné’s Letters. Adieu, my American studies . . . ” (3 November 1754), while Elizabeth Sheridan espouses a chatty, intimate tone when referring to Sévigné in her correspondence: “as our friend Mme de Sévigné says.”21 The main channel by which the concept of the eighteenth-century French salon was disseminated and circulated abroad, however, was by foreign visitors’ written and oral observations regarding the gatherings. Among the travellers who visited Parisian salons during their stay in France were Edward Gibbon, David Garrick, Laurence Sterne, David Hume, and Elizabeth Montagu. All of these figures demonstrate their interest in the salon as a phenomenon by including lively descriptions of their French experiences in their correspondence. These letters were, in turn, circulated back in Britain, thereby extending awareness of the French salon, and permitting British salon participants to emulate their French counterparts, while also shaping their own salons in distinctive ways. The majority of the British visitors to the French salons greatly admired the gatherings. The sections of their letters that pertain to salon activities are almost exclusively laudatory in tone, with all the correspondents selecting certain elements to hold up for praise. Edward Gibbon declares: “In these symposia the pleasures of the table were improved by lively and liberal conversation; the company was select, though various and voluntary,” while Horace Walpole heaps praise upon Mme du Deffand in his letters to Lady Gray: “[du Deffand] is now very old and stone blind, but retains all her vivacity, wit, memory and judgement, passions and agreeableness . . . . her judgement on every subject is as just as possible . . . .” (26 January 1766).22 The Bluestocking hostess Elizabeth Montagu also wrote about her experiences in the French salons. Montagu departed for Paris on 22 June 1776 and returned on 5 October of the same year. Her correspondence from this period provides numerous instances of her admiration for the The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 49 salonnières Necker and du Deffand: “Mr and Mrs Necker have been very good, they are with justice highly esteemed here. Mr Walpole’s passion Mme de Dufans [du Deffand] has a great deal of wit and is very agreeable” (15 July 1776).23 She also reflects on French sociability: “Their tables are very well served but what is of much more importance in the entertainment, their manners are easy and polite; knowledge with parts render their conversation very delightful.”24 Such letter writing as this represents a process of dissemination permitting the distribution of ideas and observations regarding salon practices. Montagu’s correspondence allowed descriptions of the salons she frequented in Paris to reach her acquaintances who remained in England, many of whom were themselves members or indeed hostesses of the Bluestocking literary gatherings, such as her fellow hostess Elizabeth Vesey, and Elizabeth Carter. Carter was also a committed Bluestocking, famous for her renowned translation from the Greek of All the works of Epictetus (1758) as well as for her poetry and contributions to Samuel Johnson’s Rambler.25 These women were thus in a position not only to receive impressions of French salon activity but also to introduce and incorporate these practices or customs into Bluestocking gatherings. Similarly, Garrick, Gibbon, and Walpole, all of whom produced extensive written documentation of their visits to French salons, were also frequenters of the English salons, thus allowing us to believe that French salon activity was widely experienced by, and known to, various members of the British salons. The positive nature of their anecdotes and the frequent declarations of approval and admiration encountered in these writings would seem to strongly suggest a desire to incorporate particular elements pertaining to French methods of sociability, such as gallantry and politesse, into English and Scottish salon gatherings. These exchanges were reciprocal, and French visitors also attended British salons. Montagu entertained several guests directly connected to the French salons, for example, further strengthening the link between the two country’s gatherings. The author and salonnière Anne-Marie Fiquet du Bocage, for instance, received a warm reception from Montagu while in London.26 Similarly, Montagu welcomed the Neckers into her household during their stay in England in the spring of 1776, thereby establishing a friendship with the salonnière Suzanne Necker, which would be continued through correspondence between the two women. Two of Madame Necker’s letters to Montagu provide several examples of expressions of reciprocal admiration and respect between the two women such as Suzanne Necker’s reference to the “plaisir que nous avons eu en recevant en France la muse d’Angleterre.”27 This mutual 50 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century respect was continued among the English hostesses themselves. While one is repeatedly struck by the antithetical relationship that existed among the French salonnières, the English hostesses instead embrace a distinctly collaborative network and engage in displays of support to enhance their salons, placing a strong emphasis on female writing and the related importance of friendship and encouragement.28 Despite the various French influences, a distinct impression of unique British salons thus begins to emerge, with the French salon system being emulated and adapted rather than simply adopted. The London town house as salon location: Boscawen, Montagu, and Monckton In France Mrs Frances Boscawen (née Glanville) was known as “la Sévigné d’Angleterre.” In England Hannah More is also recorded as having drawn a parallel between the letters of Boscawen and Sévigné: “the same admirable turn of expression, the same ease, which, when imitated, is so stiff, and when natural is so full of grace. The same philanthropy, the same warm feelings, and above all the same excess of maternal tenderness” (July 1786).29 Frances and her husband, the Admiral Edward Boscawen, moved into the family home in West London in 1747, five years after their wedding, and Frances set herself the task of decorating what would later become the site of one of London’s most sought-after literary salons. It was only after the death of her husband in 1761, however, that Boscawen began her salons there in the house at 14 South Audley Street. Christine Casey has noted that “unlike the country house insulated within its demesne, the urban house is the place where the private life meets the collective or public space . . . [and] was an occasion for the display of wealth and status, of presenting and doing justice to one’s place in society.”30 This is certainly true of Boscawen’s residence at South Audley Street in Mayfair, as well of course as Montagu’s properties in Berkeley Square and Portman Square. The building itself is a terraced town house, the largest of the row and was built c. 1736 by the carpenter Roger Balgrave.31 It was originally three stories high with basement, and four windows wide. The house has been preserved and is now Grade II listed by the British Landmark Trust.32 Volume 40 of the Survey of London has noted that the house has “kept its basic earlyGeorgian character . . . There is also an ornamental ceiling on the ground floor in the front room, with a central head of Apollo and other busts in the margins.”33 Montagu’s own salons began at her home at 23 Hill The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 51 Street, near Berkeley Square, in the 1750s and continued there until she moved to the grander Portman Square in the early 1780s. Montagu first mentions her plans to Elizabeth Vesey in June 1777: I mean in the space of three years, to make up from my income, the difference between that House and what my habitation in Hill street will sell for, added to a small sum I have in India bonds. I confess this is not necessary as I could borrow; but writing Eliz Montagu to bond or mortgage wd appear to me a masculine action . . . .34 The public often frequented Montagu’s house at Portman Square during its construction, and in 1782, after building was completed, she remarked that “it is much ye fashion to go and see my House and I receive many compliments upon its elegance and magnificence.”35 It has been noted that unlike the country house, which had much room for expansion, “the slender town house demanded a tidy vertical arrangement that made efficient use of the available space.”36 Both salons and town houses are more often associated with women than men, and it was certainly the case regarding the Boscawens, with Frances rather than Edward setting about decorating their home and arranging the available space. Edward Boscawen’s position in the royal navy meant that he was often away from home for long periods of time and his wife’s letters to him are filled with details of the house’s transformation into an enviable property: . . . my furniture, which is now pretty complete, costs many a penny. So elegant am I that my fender is a Chinese rail. Je connois des gens qui portent tellement envie à ma maison et à mes meubles qu’ils en sont presque malades, and worry their husbands night and day to go out of that odious, beastly house. (11 January 1748)37 By including a Chinese rail, Boscawen was embracing the vogue for chinoiserie, espoused by her fellow salon hostesses in London and Dublin. Chinoiserie, a hybrid Sino-Western style, had gained enormous popularity in Europe by the mid-eighteenth century as European artists turned to Asia for their inspiration, introducing Oriental elements into what were otherwise distinctly European artworks.38 This taste for chinoiserie was particularly pronounced in England where porcelain and silk from China and Japan were highly sought after and tea drinking was more widespread than in any other country. Montagu was among 52 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century the first of the English hostesses to employ a Chinese scheme for her dressing room, which served both to entertain friends on a small, intimate scale but also was used as a public room when it was opened upon the rest of the apartment during her salon gatherings.39 Known for her discernment in both literature and art, Montagu fully embraced the fashion, decorating the walls with oriental wallpaper in addition to furnishing the room with Chinese porcelain and furniture. In a letter to her sister Sarah Scott she declares: “the very curtains are Chinese pictures on gauze, and the chairs Indian fan-sticks with cushions of Japan satin painted: as to the beauty of the colouring it is carried high as possible” (January 1750).40 Montagu commissioned the leading architects James Stuart and Robert Adam for these architectural projects, the latter initiating a second Chinese scheme in 1765, which reduced the amount of chinoiserie and introduced “a classical ceiling, with eight chinoiserie roundels inserted into the scheme and a carpet in a related design.”41 In keeping with the splendour of the décor of the salon, Montagu’s guests were offered discriminating fare. The food on display on one particular occasion, for example, consisted of “coffee, chocolate, biscuits, cream, butter, toasts and exquisite tea.”42 Frances Boscawen’s interior decoration caused her great expense, as she admits in her letters to her husband: “My house is an hourly expense to me, as you may imagine . . . my furniture, which is now pretty complete, costs many a penny.”43 The purchases also included “bespoke Wilton carpeting of a very uncommon and very pretty sort.”44 Despite the obvious expense involved in furnishing the house, Frances draws repeated attention in her correspondence to her self-imposed budgeting and her efforts in carefully choosing items that would suit the house: “My second room is not yet hung, not having been able to get any paper to my mind under an exorbitant price. At length, however, I have agreed for one, and Bromwich comes to put it up tomorrow.”45 Her letters speak of white ceilings and chintz, of walls decorated with paintings, of blue and white linen, and planed floors. Boscawen’s autonomy in arranging their London town house is highlighted throughout her correspondence. She asserts her independence in the face of opposition regarding the decoration of her bow-window room, for example, where for the moment she “shall not give up my taste and opinion that tis now extremely pretty,” despite comments to the contrary.46 The Boscawens moved into their house in the late 1740s, and by the 1770s the area around South Audley Street, Mayfair, had become fashionable, recalling the beaux quartiers of west Paris. As a result of this the neighbourhood began to witness much building activity as the The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 53 following laments by Mrs Boscawen make clear: “we are almost blind with dust and my neighbour, Mrs Howard, won’t join in watering the street!” and “It used to be a great relief to walk or sit in Kew gardens . . . but now all these rural amusements are deny’d by the clouds of dust that obstruct the pursuit of them, so that, when I am wise, I sit still in my dressing-room” (June 1772).47 Elizabeth Montagu’s correspondence with Elizabeth Vesey also attests to “the great increase of the town, & the hundred new streets that are building,” and states that “In London there is such a noise & hurley burley in the streets one cou’d hardly hear ones conscience.”48 During her husband’s lifetime the Boscawens generally spent their winters in South Audley Street and their summers in the country in the same fashion as many of the country’s elite. The Boscawens purchased an estate at Hatchlands Park, south-east of London, in 1750, which is now in possession of the National Trust.49 Elizabeth Montagu described Hatchlands thus: “it resembles the mistress of it, having preserved its native simplicity, though art and care has improved and softened it, and made it elegant” (July 1755).50 The Boscawens demolished the old house and employed Robert Adam to design the interiors there in what has been described as one of his earliest commissions. The letters refer to exquisite mantelpieces, ceilings, and carved wood-casings.51 After Admiral Boscawen’s death, the widowed Boscawen purchased numerous other residences such as those at Enfield and Glanvilla, where salons were also recorded as having taken place. In a similar fashion, Elizabeth and Edward Montagu did not permanently reside in London but spent significant periods of time in “country retirement.” The parliamentary season in London – as also in the Irish capital – dictated the periods when the gentry resided in town. Thus, winters were spent in London, whilst Elizabeth Montagu spent the spring and autumn at Denton near Newcastle, and the summer season in Berkshire, at the Montagus’ country estate in Sandleford.52 Writing from Tunbridge Wells in June 1772, Montagu states. I sat by my great fireside with great satisfaction rejoicing that I had got out of the hurly burly of London of which I am always tired before the Spring is well advanced. If it were in my power, I would always leave the town before London milk maids insult the rural nymph.53 This division of time between city and country was repeatedly praised as an example of national superiority by several of the Bluestockings who opposed the English practice of dual residency with the French 54 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century preference for remaining in town. The following letter from Montagu to Robert Morrison offers an example of this: “the change we make in our amusements and mode of life by spending ye summer in ye country is I think much in our favour” (16 September 1776).54 Upon visiting 22 Portman Square in 1782 Hannah More declared: “I had no conception of anything so beautiful. To all the magnificence of a very superb London house, is added the scenery of a country retirement.”55 Montagu’s “new palace” as Horace Walpole described it, was even more magnificent than her town house at Hill Street. Designed by James Stuart, Montagu House’s great size allowed even more visitors than before, a factor recognised by Montagu who declared it to be “so ample for the devoirs of society, and so calculated for assemblies that it will suit all ones humours . . . .”56 The number of guests at London salon gatherings seems to have varied greatly according to the preference of the salon hostess. Elizabeth Montagu’s salons were always grand affairs assembling scores of people. Indeed Hannah More said of Montagu that: “The only fault that charming woman has, is that she is fond of collecting too many of them [brilliant wits] together at one time.”57 Boscawen’s salon gatherings on the other hand tended to be much more intimate affairs. More on one occasion recorded the following gathering of female-only Bluestockings at a salon: “I have been at Mrs Boscawen’s. Mrs Montagu, Mrs Carter, Mrs. Chapone, and myself only were admitted” (1775), while on a later date she noted: “ . . . I was engaged at Mrs Boscawen’s to meet by appointment a party. It was a conversazione, but composed of rather too many people; one is used to small parties there, which I like much better” (1776).58 While the number of guests differed greatly between the two salons, Boscawen preserved the role adopted by Montagu and copied from the French salons, of the hospitable hostess, catering to the conversational needs of all her guests: Our hostess [Mrs Boscawen] was all herself, easy, well-bred, and in every place at once; and also attentive to every individual, that I dare say everybody, when they got home, thought as I did, that they alone had been the immediate object of her attention.59 The Bluestockings’ guests included men as well as women; indeed one of the most famous guests was the revered scholar and lexicographer Samuel Johnson. Johnson’s relationship with the Blues, and in particular with Elizabeth Montagu, was an extremely volatile one, although his admiration for Montagu is well documented in both textual and visual form. It is to Johnson in fact that we can attribute the The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 55 origin of Montagu’s appellation “the Queen of the Blues.” Johnson’s praise of Montagu in his correspondence noticeably includes commendation of her as a worthy contributor to salon conversation, and as a possessor of all-embracing knowledge: “she has a constant stream of conversation, and it is always impregnated; it has always meaning.”60 In addition to recalling the methods of governing of the seventeenthrather than the eighteenth-century salonnière, the notes of tribute also reveal much about the nature of the conversation that would have taken place within Montagu’s salon. Johnson describes the hostess as exerting the qualities of rationalisation and intellectualism, virtues that connote deep thought and reflection as essential elements of the conversation.61 As occurred in France, this central female role within the salon sometimes made men uncomfortable, revealing a considerable tension within this society. Just as Marmontel protested before him, Johnson complained to Hester Lynch Thrale in April and May 1780 about his subjection to this “petticoat government.”62 While free to speak as he wished within the famous literary Club he formed in 1764, Johnson was clearly forced to submit to the Bluestocking hostesses in the salons, curbing his conversation to meet the proper standards of politesse and honnêteté. Oliver Goldsmith, the Irish-born man of letters who was educated in Trinity College Dublin, lamented that Johnson was “for making a monarchy of what should be a republic,” and the hostess at whatever particular salon he was attending would have been compelled to closely monitor Johnson’s participation in order to encourage interchange and prevent Johnson’s contribution from becoming a monologue.63 Despite this stricture and adherence to politeness, candour and freedom of expression were greatly encouraged and indeed valorised at Boscawen’s salons as the following quotation from Hannah More makes clear: “Mr Walpole and I fought over the old ground, Pope against Dryden, and Mrs Montagu backed him, but I would not give up.”64 On another occasion More relates a discussion regarding the Irish playwright Robert Jephson’s new play Braganza (1775): Dr Johnson asked me how I liked the new tragedy of Braganza. I was afraid to speak before them all, as I knew a diversity of opinion prevailed among the company: however, as I thought it a less evil to dissent from the opinion of a fellow-creature, than to tell a falsity, I ventured to give my sentiments.65 What appears as being of paramount importance to salon functioning in London is the ability to voice a frank opinion rather than to simply agree for the sake of consent. By expressing opinions she knew to be 56 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century contrary to those held by others, More eschewed mere flattery and obsequiousness to allow conversation to take place unimpeded by gallantry or her desire to compliment the male participants present. This instance demonstrates that the expression of one’s own opinion in the salons was not therefore dependent on the beliefs and attitudes held by those present but on the ability of the speaker to convey their own judgement independently. In France various days were associated with different salonnières, such as Necker’s Fridays or Geoffrin’s Mondays for artists. In England, however, this was generally not at all the case. In fact many salon attendees participated in more than one salon on a single night. In July 1777, the Bluestocking Hester Chapone wrote to Elizabeth Carter regarding the “unceasing torrent of wit and stories” she had heard the Abbé Reynal recount at the salon of Mrs Boscawen: “He had held on at the same rate from one at noon (when he arrived at Glanvilla) and we heard that he went the same evening to Mrs Montagu’s, in Hill Street, and kept on his speed til one in the morning.”66 It was thus possible to freely participate in more than one salon on a given night, allowing foreign visitors such as the Abbé Reynal to experience and contribute to several salons during their stay. This “torrent of wit and stories,” which was spread over numerous salons also allowed the Bluestockings to participate in a kind of self-education. The limitations of education for women in the eighteenth century caused many people to interpret the French salon as an informal university for women, an acceptable place for them to further their learning outside the realm of a formal education. The 2008 Bluestocking exhibition at the National Portrait gallery in London reflected a similar understanding of the educational role of the English salon in its announcement that the exhibition intended to celebrate the Bluestockings “at least as much for their creation of an intellectual community – almost an informal university – as for their individual literary and artistic achievements.”67 Thus, discussion of literature and politics served to advance the personal knowledge of those women present. As well as providing a site and opportunity for sociability, the English salon also copied the French literary model in its shared function as a facilitator of intellectual exchange relating to prose, poetry, drama, and imaginative prose writing. The place of belles lettres as the focus of salon conversation in general is repeatedly noted in Johnson’s correspondence and biographies, for example: “The talk was for a while about Burney’s book [[Evelina], and the old objection to the Captain’s grossness being mentioned, Lady Edgecombe said that she had known such a captain.” However, while literature was undoubtedly the principal source The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 57 of conversation it was not the only one; politics was another important subject within the salon. As well as being a hostess Elizabeth Montagu was also politically involved, supporting her husband Edward Montagu, a member of parliament for Huntingdon from the early 1730s until 1768.68 This was particularly apparent during the 1760 election when she contributed to the electioneering process by accompanying Edward to Newcastle where she attended local entertainment and visited the local Corporation there in the capacity of political wife.69 Although predominantly literary, her salon occasionally reflected this aspect of her life. Conversations such as the following occurred, for example, after Lord North had made unsuccessful overtures to Chatham to join the government: “There was talk one evening at Mrs Montagu’s of the present state of politicks: I have lived said she to see many an opposition come over to the ministry, but this is the first time I ever saw a ministry go over to the opposition” (March 1778).70 The Bluestocking hostesses were well-off individuals with a longstanding association with the court. These hostesses, and many of their salon participants, were undoubtedly interested in modernisation during the 1770s and 1980s as it affected their prosperity, but rather than advocating radical change or protest, the Blues promoted “moderation and modification.”71 Gary Kelly argued in his preface to Bluestocking Feminism (1999) that “On the whole, the members of the Bluestocking circles were so well connected with the established order, and had such a vested interest in it, that they resisted radical change to it.”72 George III’s wife, Charlotte, who reigned during the Bluestockings’ golden age, was linked with many of the Bluestocking members: particularly Mary Hamilton, who acted as sub-governess to the princesses; Frances Burney who was employed as second keeper of the robes; and Mary Granville Delany who was given a house at Windsor after the death of the Duchess of Portland, a close friend of the Queen’s.73 Charlotte, along with her five daughters, is also recorded as having visited Montagu House at Portman Square, thus further confirming the Bluestockings’ link with the royal family. The “entwined nature” of the monarchy and the Church of England is expanded upon at length in Emma Major’s illuminating Madam Britannia (2012). Unlike in Ireland, where the Protestant Ascendancy was set apart automatically from the Catholic majority of the population through both wealth and religion, the Bluestockings endeavoured to establish their own identity based not only on intellect, but also on Anglican virtue and patriotic zeal.74 Major sees in the Blues’ charitable endeavours, for example, attempts to shape the lower and middling classes into “orderly Anglicans,” with the Bluestockings 58 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century defining themselves more and more “against an allegedly treasonous, Dissenting middling class and the ubiquitous mob.”75 The salon in England did, however, aspire to maintain the French ideal that entrance would be based on merit rather than birth. Mary Hamilton was a courtier and diarist whose circle of friends included many of the Bluestockings, such as Hannah More and Mrs Boscawen. Her diary, which was begun on 30 July 1776, provides many descriptions of the Bluestocking or bas bleu gatherings. Her diary entry on 12 April 1784, for example, illustrates the type of crowd gathered together at Montagu’s salon, allowing us to determine the diverse nature of the salon participants: “Went to a bas bleu party; there were Mrs Montagu, Mr Walpole, Mr and Mrs Pepys and Sir L Pepys, Lady Rothes, Mrs Garrick, Miss H More, Dr and Miss Burney, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Miss Palmer, Lord Monboddo and Miss Carter.”76 More and Carter were from relatively humble backgrounds, with More the daughter of a local schoolmaster while Carter was the eldest daughter of the Revd Nicolas Carter, the perpetual curate of Deal Chapel. Garrick and Reynolds were also from modest families and gained entry into such circles by their own achievements. Conversely, Walpole was son of a former prime minister, and James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, was a judge and philosopher whose family was a cadet branch of the Burnets of Leys, Deeside.77 In a similar fashion Hannah More refers to a salon gathering at Montagu’s in 1775 that included Boscawen, Johnson, Reynolds and Carter as well as “some other persons of high rank.”78 Clearly lords and ladies mingled with the middle class and literati of the day just as had occurred in France. These literary figures benefited immensely from both the encouragement and support of the salon members and the patronage and guidance of salon hostesses. Hester Mulso Chapone’s dedication in Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (London, 1773) declares that her work’s existence in print is owing entirely to the intervention of Elizabeth Montagu: “I believe, you are persuaded that I never entertained a thought of appearing in public . . . perhaps it was the partiality of friendship, which so far biased your judgement, as to make you think them capable of being more extensively useful, and warmly to recommend the publication of them.”79 Had it not been for Montagu’s involvement and her warm recommendation, the letters that Chapone had been addressing to her niece since 1765 would not have been published and so would never have gone on to become the writer’s most celebrated work and “the most widely read work of the first generation of bluestockings.”80 It must be borne in mind throughout, The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 59 however, that the process of dedication was clearly meant primarily as one of deference, and generally done strategically. Montagu herself states that “I am afraid of encouraging dedications, no one but myself believes one word of ye fine things they say of me,” and later that “Miss Moore has dedicated her Essays to me which are just published. They are excellent . . . I assure you I do not praise them because I am bribed with a Dedication.”81 Montagu’s position as literary patron extended beyond encouragement to include correction and alterations to literary works. Thus, in addition to praising the work and promoting its circulation, Montagu intervened in altering and enhancing the actual textual composition of Chapone’s work: “ . . . some strokes of your [Montagu’s] elegant pen have corrected these Letters . . . .”82 Elizabeth Montagu was again the catalyst, along with William Pulteney, the Earl of Bath, for the publication of the poetry of another Bluestocking, Elizabeth Carter. Carter only published two collections of poetry herself: Poems on Particular Occasions (London, 1738) and Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1762). The publishing dates for the above illustrate that Carter had retreated from the world of publishing after her initial engagement with it in the 1730s, before being prompted to re-immerse herself in it almost a quarter of a century later upon the urging of her two Bluestocking friends. Just as was the case regarding her involvement in the publishing of Chapone’s material, Montagu again provided practical help and advice in the preparation of the text for printing. Carter’s correspondence with Montagu illustrates just how comprehensive the latter’s involvement actually was with the inclusion of such expressions as “So tell me what you would have me do, and I will proceed accordingly,” “be so good as to correct it [the Ode] when I send it, by that which you have” and “ . . . as your judgment is what I am principally concerned in, it [the Ode] shall either be printed or not as you decide.”83 Montagu’s involvement is almost one of collaboration stretching as it does from initial encouragement of publication, to alterations and correction of the proofs, to advice regarding publishing format and front matter. The salon hostess is involved at every stage of publication, even the final one of distribution of the printed word: “I have desired Mr. Rivington to send you twelve copies bound, and I enclose you a list of their destination, if you will be so good as to distribute them, which I think you told me you would” (21 December 1761).84 It is important to note, however, that many of the works read at the time were circulated in manuscript rather than printed form, and this should be seen as a deliberate choice. While some desired the manuscript work to be 60 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century circulated extensively, many of the salon participants wished for their writings to be read by a very select group. This is the case with an ode penned by Vesey, for example: how cd you think it possible I shd have blamed you for communicating to Miss Cooper what yr delicacy might not chose to have made publick. Ye ode was very pretty, but as you might not chuse [sic] to be call’d a Poetess your desiring it might not be mentiond was very natural & not less so that you shd indulge Miss Cooper with it.85 Vesey clearly wished for her poetry to remain extremely private, but manuscripts could also reach an extensive audience. Hannah More’s account of the Bluestockings, “The Bas Bleu” for example, was widely read as a manuscript poem from 1783 before its eventual publication in 1786.86 Several Bluestockings chose to publish by subscription, including Clara Reeve who published her Original Poem on Several Occasions (1769) by subscription with over 500 subscribers. Frances Burney’s novel Camilla (1796) remains the most famous example of an instance where the Bluestockings enabled a publication. Burney felt obliged to print by subscription owing to the enormous expenses that had been incurred as a result of Pitt’s Stamp Act, 1795, which introduced a heavy duty on paper. Generally it was the bookseller who advertised and sold subscriptions to attract potential subscribers; Burney not only made use of this traditional commercial approach, however, but also exploited her position as a member of the Bluestocking circle in order to secure the maximum profitability for her novel. Burney thus went about organising with her friends to solicit subscriptions among polite society and to collect and keep account of money and transactions on her behalf: “Miss Cambridge answers for Mrs Boscawen. Mrs Montagu, I fancy, may also be counted. To such characters I shall be happy to owe obligation . . . ” (18 June 1795).87 The proposals for the printing by subscription of the work in six volumes duodecimo declare that: “the subscription will be one Guinea, to be paid at the time of subscribing.”88 Burney undoubtedly benefited fully from her salon membership and the Bluestockings’ influence and prestige, allowing her to eventually realise a profit of £1000 from the subscription. In the Bluestocking salons then, friendship and mutual support amongst the Bluestocking hostesses replaced the open animosity found amongst the salonnières in France. These hostesses accelerated the notion of community inherent in the French salon to introduce the The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 61 concept not just of autonomous support within each salon but also of collaboration between salons. The element of cooperation that existed between the different hostesses was pivotal to their functioning and can be interpreted as representing a “fabric of connectedness which supported their autonomous interests.”89 Elizabeth Montagu wrote of her fellow hostess Frances Boscawen: “I think there is not a grain of evil in her composition. She is humble, charitable, pious, of gentle temper, with the firmest principles and with a great deal of discretion . . . .”90 It seems apparent that the Bluestocking salon project, in contrast to that of the French salonnières, was one of overall cooperation and clear association with a working network of salons based on friendship rather than opposition and rivalry. One of the most neglected of the salon hostesses in modern accounts of the Bluestockings has been Mary Monckton (1746–1840). Though she became Countess of Cork and Orrery after her marriage to Edmund Boyle, 7th Earl of Cork and Orrery, as his second wife at the age of 40 in 1786, Monckton’s Irish connections have been constantly overlooked.91 Like her husband, however, her father was also an Irish peer. She was the daughter of John Monckton, first Viscount Galway, who received his peerage in 1727 and his wife Jane, née Westenra, of Rathleagh in Queen’s County (now Co. Laois).92 In his own chapter on the Bluestockings, Chauncey Brewster Tinker declared: “Others of them such as Miss Monckton (still remembered for Reynolds’s sentimental portrait of her), Lady Lucan, Lady Hemes, Mrs. Greville . . . have left, in general, little more than a name (and an adjective) to posterity.”93 However, many details of Monckton and indeed her salon have been recorded not only in Bluestocking correspondence but also in biographical accounts of Johnson, who regularly frequented her gatherings. Frances Burney, in fact, described Monckton as “one of those who stand foremost in collecting all extraordinary or curious people to her London conversaziones, which . . . mix the rank and the literature, and exclude all beside” (10 November 1782).94 Thus while she may have drifted into obscurity in later years, she was a highly sought-after hostess in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century. Monckton’s early salons took place at her childhood home in Charles Street, Berkeley Square, where she lived with her widowed mother, not far from Elizabeth Montagu’s Hill Street address. It is there that she entertained such literary figures as James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, Frances Burney, and Edmund Burke. It is paradoxical that a considerable amount of our knowledge of the Bluestockings is, in fact, filtered through accounts of Johnson. 62 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century This is certainly the case with Monckton, with the hostess featuring intermittently in Boswell’s treatment of Johnson, focusing on his behaviour at her salon. Several entries illustrate that, just as in the French salons, for polite conversation to occur one must have ease, elegance, and politeness rather than stiffness or formality: Johnson was prevailed with to come sometimes into these circles, and did not think himself too grave even for the lively Miss Monckton (now Countess of Corke) who used to have the finest bit of blue at the house of her mother, Lady Galway. Her vivacity enchanted the Sage, and they used to talk together with all imaginable ease.95 It is clear that what is occurring in the above instance is a mutual exchange of opinions conducted with a sense of openness and sincerity in adherence to Bluestocking principles. The conversation is described as “lively” rather than overly solemn and Boswell communicates a sense of the mutual enjoyment gained through the encounter, one that allows for candour and vivacity to coincide rather than “disagreeable formality” or “improper solemnity.” As well as Johnson and Boswell, Monckton’s salon also included the Irish writers Edmund Burke, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Richard Lovell Edgeworth.96 Richard Lovell Edgeworth explicitly connected English salons with those he had visited in France, albeit in a rather unflattering manner: For my part English assemblies have no charm for me – Society is not only a century behind French society, but it never can be so agreeable. There is certainly too much beef and pudding about Englishmen – They appear obviously heavy in company and besides their physical inaptitude for conversation there is a mental reserve and fear of committing themselves that prevents them from mixing with the other sex in assemblies and from addressing or attending to strangers – all this I saw exemplified at Lady Cork’s conversazione last Sunday.97 Edgeworth identifies the key elements of French salon society that the English salon attempted to emulate: the mixed gender of the participants, the emphasis on conversation, and the politesse required amongst people unacquainted with one another. However, in his excoriating description, these necessary qualities are not met with, and Edgeworth’s letter allows us to gain an alternative insight into the gatherings, which are generally praised by others. The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 63 In a letter to Catherine Maria Bury, Lady Charleville, the writer Amelia Opie expands on the qualities of Monckton’s parties, detailing the number of participants, their names, the time of the gathering, and the topics of conversation: Last Tuesday we had a conversation party at Lady Cork’s, consisting of about 30 persons; and after they had formed themselves into various groups till ½ past 11, ye entrance of two supper tables divided them into two sets. At ye table where I sat, were only Lord Landsdowne, Lady Charlotte Linzie [Lindsey], Lady Crewe, Mrs Buller, Lady Boringdon, Lady Lansdowne, Mr Sneyd Edgeworth, & a Mr Kingston, & a Mr North, ye latter a young Irishman . . . . In this small, & really intellectual party, I wished much for yr Ladyship. Literature, ye right & wrong habits of society, schemes for improving ye present state of visiting, & of parties, anecdotes well told by Lord L. & Mrs Buller, made up ye conversation of ye evening, & I have scarcely passed a pleasanter one. (3 June 1810)98 This descriptive letter gives us a defined sense of what was talked about at a salon. The range of conversational topics at Lady Cork’s was extremely extensive, stretching from literature to the state of society. The recipient of these details, the Irish-born Lady Charleville, was herself a strongly intellectual woman and a salon hostess. She is often mentioned along with Lady Cork as an alternative hostess: “Although it was Lady Cork’s ‘Pink night,’ the rendez-vous of the fashionable exclusives, we got away as soon as Sir Charles came up, being voués to dear Lady Charleville’s. There we found an agreeable party already assembled.”99 Lady Cork is said to have divided her salons depending on guests, so that she had “pink (parties) for the exclusives, blue for the literary, gray for the religious, and one party of all sorts but I have no name for that.”100 Lady Morgan described the latter as “dun-ducketty mud colour.”101 Although the French salons could be split depending on artistic pursuit, this decision to invite guests based on exclusivity is a clear departure from earlier salon principles of meritocracy. Just as portraits of the salonnières enable us to form a better idea of how they wished to be perceived and represented, the same is true in the case of several Bluestocking hostesses. Elizabeth Eger has discussed the 1762 portrait of Elizabeth Montagu by Allan Ramsay at length, emphasising the connection between Montagu and the French salonnières: “His painting of Montagu is reminiscent of the French tradition, including 64 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Jean-Marc Nattier’s several portraits of the French salonnières,” and “connects her [Montagu] with both the Scottish Enlightenment and the French tradition of salon culture.”102 Evidently, Montagu wished her image, which she herself had commissioned, to promote a particular identity and to link her explicitly to the salons in France. Monckton’s portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds was painted in 1777–1778 and begun when Monckton was almost 30 years old (see Figure 2.1). One is immediately struck by the mischievous expression on Monckton’s face as Reynolds has perfectly captured her character as described by Frances Burney: “She has an easy levity in her air, manner, voice and discourse.” The portrait depicts her as sitting down, which reflects her habit of receiving her salon guests seated.103 The presence of the urn in the right background is indicative of the hostess’s status. Monckton’s later mansion on New Burlington Street, half a mile northeast of Berkeley Square, was decorated with “marble stairs, with their gilt balustrade” which led to a “suite of apartments which opens with a brilliant boudoir, and Figure 2.1 The Hon. Miss Monckton, 1777–1778, Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723– 1792). Bequeathed by Sir Edward Stern 1993. © Tate, London 2015 The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 65 terminates with a sombre conservatory.”104 While she herself remained seated, one of the traits Monckton is most remembered for is her desire “to prevent a circle”: Some new people now coming in, and placing themselves in a regular way, Miss Monckton exclaimed, “my whole care is to prevent a circle,” and hastily rising, she pulled about the chairs, and planted the people in groups, with as dexterous a disorder as you would desire to see.105 It was Monkton’s belief that separating her guests into groups was more conducive to conversation. An extract from Mary Berry’s journal for 1811 offers further evidence for Monckton’s preference: “Went to Lady Cork’s; a great assembly in her upper rooms . . . The Prince there, and all the world; and a numerous world is still in London. There were some masks, and some people singing, and Mrs Billington at a pianoforte.”106 This particular gathering seems more like a multi-stranded entertainment than one involving straightforward intellectual conversation, and features a number of guests appearing in masquerade costumes. The repetition of the word “some” implies various groups of people, gathered throughout the room with another guest, Mrs Billington, playing separately on the piano, indicating also that music was a feature of the salon. Lady Morgan’s biographical miscellany The Book of the Boudoir (1829) offers a quite extensive sketch of her first visit to Lady Cork’s salon: “invited to a rout at her fantastic and pretty mansion in New Burlingtonstreet,” where were gathered “all that was then most illustrious for rank and talent in England.”107 Lady Morgan recalls her first appearance there as being “a few days after my arrival in London and while my little book was running rapidly through successive editions.” This “little book” was The Wild Irish Girl (1806) for which Lady Morgan is best known. Lady Morgan, then Sydney Owenson, was invited to the salon by Lady Cork, specifically as author of this novel and indeed she was requested to perform the part of the novel’s eponymous hero, the wild Irish girl Glorvina: “Every body has been invited expressly to meet the Wild Irish Girl: so she must bring her Irish harp. M[ary] C[ork] and O[rrery].”108 In addition to playing the harp, Owenson was expected to embrace the character of her heroine to such an extent that she was offered “a sort of rustic seat” rather than “the civilized privileges of sofa or chair” as these were “not in character with the habits of a “Wild Irish Girl.”109 Later in the evening, Lady Cork ordered Owenson to assume character and to, in essence, perform her Irishness: “Now, my dear, do tell my Lord Erskine 66 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century some of those Irish stories, you told us the other evening at Lord Cville’s. Fancy yourself en petit comité, and take off the Irish brogue.”110 Clearly Owenson was there first and foremost to be “exhibited and shewn off” in a very uncomfortable, rather derogatory fashion. She is described by Julie Donovan in Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan and the Politics of Style (2009) as “a casualty of her own success” but both Donovan and Owenson herself recognise the value of such disagreeable performances as they “provided Owenson with the opportunity to exploit her musical talent which served as an excellent means to ingratiate herself with the powerful and influential figures she encountered.”111 Nevertheless, it is clear that by the early nineteenth century, the character of the salon was shifting, with some individuals now present specifically as performers, while others became consumers. Hester Lynch Thrale at Streatham The acknowledged brilliance of the Bluestockings ought not to blind us to the other literary salons within English society. The literary gathering at Streatham, six miles south of London, is an example of a celebrated English salon, which, although attended by guests who also frequented the Bluestockings’ salons, was not directly connected to the Bluestocking network. Hester Lynch Thrale was born in Caernarvonshire and was very proud of her Welsh heritage. Her parents, who were cousins, were connected with the leading families in north Wales as they were said to have both descended from Catrin of Berain, “Mam Cymru” (Mother of Wales).112 Much scholarship from the nineteenth and twentieth century has erroneously labelled the hostess at Streatham as a Bluestocking but Thraliana (unpublished until 1942), Hester Lynch Thrale’s collection of anecdotes, reflections, poems, and fragments from her life, contains many examples of the hostility in existence between herself and the Bluestockings and clearly indicates that she did not consider her salon as being affiliated to theirs: “the wits and the blues (as it is the fashion to call them) will be happy enough no doubt to have me safe at the Brewery – out of their way” and “Charming Blues! Blue with venom I think.”113 Despite the animosity that arose between Hester and the Blues due to class differences and Hester’s marriage in 1784 to the Italian Gabriel Mario Piozzi, a Catholic musician, the hostess’s salon practices echo many of those customs also embraced by the Bluestockings and described thus far.114 Among her salon attendees Thrale could count the actor David Garrick and the composer and musical historian Dr Charles Burney, The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 67 both of whom had travelled extensively in France prior to attending Thrale’s salon. Dr Burney’s work The Present State of Music in France and Italy (1771) had led him to conduct a tour of both countries from 1770 to 1771, while Garrick had travelled to Paris as part of his Grand Tour from 1763 to 1765 and it is well recorded that he was “cordially received” into three of the most influential salons during his time there: the salons of Helvétius, d’Holbach, and Geoffrin.115 Their presence at Streatham thereby establishes a further link between the French and English salons. It also establishes a connection with Italy and suggests that Thrale’s gatherings may have been influenced by Italian conversazioni as well as French salons.116 Hester’s impressions of Italy and the various literary gatherings there can be gleaned from her Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy and Germany (1789), including her comments on “a sort of literary coterie assemble” in Venice where the participants “form a society so instructive and amusing, so sure to be filled with the first company in Venice, and so hospitably open to all travellers of character, that nothing can now be to me a higher intellectual gratification than my admittance among them.”117 Thrale also welcomed the Italian scholar Joseph Baretti into her home at Streatham. Reference to and discussion of the participants’ nationality did occasionally arise within the salon as the following comment recorded in Thraliana illustrates: “Burke was tart upon Baretti for being too dogmatical in his talk about politicks: you have no business to be investigating the characters of Lord Falkland or Mr Hampden – you cannot judge of their merits, they are no countrymen of yours.”118 Along with Burke and Goldsmith, another participant in Thrale’s salons was the Co. Roscommon-born playwright and actor Arthur Murphy, once more emphasising the strong presence of Irish literary figures within the English salons. Again, the rule of politeness, the rule present in all the salons, emerges as the dominant one at Streatham despite a certain level of enmity and bitterness between guests: “There was Murphy, Boswell and Baretti – the two last – as I learned, just before they entered, are mortal foes . . . Politeness however smoothes the most hostile brows – and theirs were smoothed.”119 If politics was one subject of discussion, the leading topics of conversation were undoubtedly literature and art. Thraliana offers the reader many glimpses of salon conversation such as the following: “It was on the 18th day of July 1773 that we were sitting in the Blue Room at Streatham and were talking of writers.”120 This particular entry relates how the salon discussion included analysis of Richard Steele’s essays, 68 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Jonathan Swift’s style, and the poetry of William Mason and Thomas Gray. While Madame Geoffrin segregated her salons, dedicating one to art and another to literature, Thrale combined both topics in her gatherings as the following indicates: The conversation turned upon painting – I am sorry says our Doctor to see so much mind laid out on such perishable materials – canvas is so slight a substance, and your art deserves to be recorded on more durable stuff, why do you not paint oftener upon copper?121 Sir Joshua Reynolds, the painter addressed in this question, then goes on to discuss his historical scenes with the salon members. Thirteen paintings by Reynolds actually lined the walls at Streatham. Mrs Thrale and her eldest daughter Hester Maria, better known as Queeney, were displayed over the fireplace and Mr Thrale’s portrait hung at the entrance to his study while the remaining three-quarter length portraits in the library depicted the salon’s distinguished guests including Sir Joshua himself.122 The three Irish writers, Burke, Goldsmith, and Murphy were also depicted in these portraits.123 Johnson refers to the marked absence of Oliver Goldsmith at Thrale’s salon after his death in April 1774: “poor Goldsmith will be much missed at your literary parties.”124 The Collected Letters of Goldsmith (1928) include a letter from Goldsmith to Thrale indicating that she has requested volumes of his work for her perusal, and after initial confusion as to which titles are requested the work is promised: “I will take care tomorrow of the volumes in question.”125 On a later occasion, after her marriage to Piozzi, Thrale recalls reading “some elegant novels” which included “Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield as well as Voltaire’s Zadig” and “Young and Addison’s Works.”126 It was Arthur Murphy meanwhile who had initially introduced Johnson to Thrale in 1765. Theirs was quite a symbiotic relationship in that while Murphy introduced her to Johnson, Thrale circulated the work of the Irish author to other members of her salons. She sent Murphy’s writing to Bishop Thomas Percy, for example, in January 1792: “The annexed work of Mr Murphy’s will perhaps amuse the Bishop for half an hour – it is not yet published.”127 The “annexed work” is thought to be either an advance copy or the manuscript of Essay on the Life and Genius of Samuel Johnson, LLD, due to be published on 12 May 1792. Thus while it is not so surprising that Thrale would want to read the published work of her guests, this instance again demonstrates the role of the salon hostess in circulating unpublished material, through Thrale’s dissemination of Murphy’s work in manuscript form. The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 69 One visitor to the Streatham salon not included in the portraits but whose diary provides invaluable information regarding the gatherings is Dr Thomas Campbell. Campbell was a church dignitary and Irish antiquary educated at Trinity College Dublin who undertook a trip to London in 1775 primarily to meet Dr Johnson. He became acquainted with Johnson at the Thrales’ salon, the details of which he meticulously recorded in his diary. This diary allows us to obtain an indication of the material conditions of the salon such as the type of food consumed there, including the evidently unfamiliar Guinea fowl: First course soups at head and foot removed by fish and a saddle of mutton – second course a fowl they called Galena – at head, and a capon – larger than some of our Irish turkeys at foot – third course four different sorts of ices viz Pineapple, grapes, raspberry, and a fourth.128 James Clifford’s biography Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale) (1952) records that tea was also consumed in great quantities at Streatham, with Hester pouring tea “from a seemingly inexhaustible tea-pot.” It is recorded that one of her tea pots which was sold in Streatham sale, could in fact hold more than three quarts.129 Clifford’s biography also provides information regarding the time of the salon as well as the conventional time for dining in English salon society in general: “In spite of society’s pronounced preference for late evening parties, the regular dining hour in the Thrale household had always been four o’clock in the afternoon.” This information is gleaned from several entries in Reynolds’s list of engagements where he makes note of his invitation to the Thrales’ as “4 Mr Thrale.” A later entry, however, records the altered time of “8 Mrs Thrale” illustrating that Thrale later conformed to the standard dining time.130 Just as the hour for dining had distinguished it, the high number of men present at Thrale’s salon had originally set it apart from those of the Bluestockings and made it closer to the contemporary French salons. On 25 March 1777, Campbell recorded men outnumbering women by five to one: “Dined at Mr Thrales, where there were 10 or dozen gentlemen and but one lady besides Mrs Thrale.”131 In addition to London’s literati who were attracted to Streatham by Johnson’s semi-permanent residence at the Thrales’, there were also several business and political acquaintances of Henry Thrale’s present, thereby further increasing the masculine attendance. An important female addition to the gathering came with the introduction of the author Frances Burney. Thrale 70 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century described her as “a saucy spirited little puss to be sure” but then instantly qualified her comment by continuing “but I love her dearly.”132 While originally predominantly masculine, the salon later welcomed several women to the group: Yesterday I had a conversazione. Mrs Montagu was brilliant in diamonds, solid in judgement, critical in talk. Sophy [Sophia Weston] smiled, Piozzi sung, Pepys painted with admiration . . . Mrs Ord looked elegant, Lady Rothes dainty, Mrs Davenant dapper, and Sir Philips’s curls were all blown about by the wind.133 This conversazione reflects the more feminine emphasis of Thrale’s later salon, which she hosted after her second marriage as Mrs Hester Piozzi. Her scandalous second marriage caused a break with many former friends and acquaintances and the later salons welcomed new participants. Thrale renovated Streatham in 1790 to exhibit strong Italian influences: “Filled with costly vases and pictures brought back from Italy, with rich fabrics and rarities, the comfortable, sedate English country house was changed into an Italian villa.”134 Mrs Piozzi then welcomed several new guests to her redecorated home, including the sisters Harriet and Sophia Lee, Eva Garrick, Hannah More, and the actress Sarah Siddons, before she left Streatham to return to her native home in Wales in 1795. Several hostesses continued the English salon tradition further into the nineteenth century. However, the 1790s witnessed a major change in Britain’s associational life and saw the demise of the traditional salon and its replacement by gatherings that placed more emphasis on discussion of radical ideologies, such as the radical dinners held by the bookseller Joseph Johnson in St Paul’s Churchyard in the centre of London.135 The centrality of politesse and honnêteté to conversation, so fundamental to salon life, began to be replaced in the wake of the French Revolution by an emphasis on assertiveness and confrontation: “The emphasis in Rational Dissent on conversation as a form of strenuous intellectual exchange privileged candour and sincerity over polish and politeness.”136 Both politesse and the French language became established as derogatory qualities, associated with effeminacy and antithetical to Englishness.137 Politeness was still necessary for the English elite at the close of the eighteenth century, but English politeness came to be constructed as different in nature to French politesse, and became entirely divorced from women: “It is no longer politeness, a foreign and effeminating import, but its opposite, manly sincerity, that is set The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 71 to produce the English gentleman.”138 The role of the salon hostess as mediator and facilitator of polite conversation thus began to be rendered obsolete. Equally, the French Revolution had a major impact on the role of female authors and their position in the public sphere, with Jacqueline Labbe noting “a shift from a public style of authorship to a protoVictorian emphasis on domesticized femininity.”139 Those salons that began after the turn of the century generally became more akin to the French salons of the eighteenth century, with a central female hostess surrounded by male participants. The salon of Margaret Gardiner (née Power), countess of Blessington (1789–1849), for example, took place in St. James’s Square, London from 1818 until 1822 and guests included Lord Palmerston, Thomas Moore, and Earl Grey. Schmid describes the countess as being “visited by famous men but shunned by most women.”140 After her husband’s death in Paris in 1829, Blessington reestablished a salon in Mayfair (1831–1836) and her salon was again male-dominated: “her circle of acquaintance widened, as the Disraelis, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Daniel Maclise, Charles Dickens and Captain Marryat, among others, attended her soirées.”141 Edinburgh’s salons Thrale and the Bluestocking hostesses shaped the lives of many aspiring authors in England, as well as providing an important site for sociability. Several important salons in Edinburgh provided similar opportunities for those involved in Scotland’s intellectual culture in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. Katharine Glover’s Elite Women and Polite Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (2011), which concentrates on the period 1720–1770, notes “the absence in Scotland of the formal, female-headed salons that played such an important role in the intellectual life of France, or their equivalents among the English Bluestockings,” and the Scottish salons do appear to have begun later than those in England.142 There also seems to have been significantly less support for published female authors in mid-to-late eighteenth-century Scotland than in England during the same period.143 Richard B. Sher, for example, includes only two women in his list of writers in eighteenthcentury Scotland and suggests that “Scottish women who wrote for publication were violating established conventions in a much more serious way than did women of late eighteenth-century England.”144 Pam Perkins and Jane Rendall have argued, however, that there was a place for women in the world of sociability in the later eighteenth 72 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century century, with Rendall commenting on the desire amongst many women in Edinburgh for both an active sociability and a civic role.145 Pam Perkins has suggested that while Scottish women of letters did indeed remain much less visible than their English contemporaries, this is partly because they often chose to continue in manuscript rather than in print, and comments that, “shifting focus away from print and individual authorship and on to the more sociable coterie literature gives a much clearer sense of the cultural roles played by eighteenth-century women.”146 Both Perkins and Rendall, as well as Karen O’Brien, have also noted the importance of the Scottish Enlightenment for the associational lives of women in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, with O’Brien outlining how Scotland’s Enlightenment thinkers changed the way women were viewed in history and social geography, and highlights the many positive comments made by these intellectual figures regarding women’s contribution to sociability.147 The esteem enjoyed by certain learned women in this period in Edinburgh can be seen as conducive to the establishment and subsequent success of literary salons, with their encouragement of intelligent female participants and mixedgender sociability. While David Hume noted the harmonising effect women brought to conversation, William Alexander linked the place of women in society with the very progress of civilisation in his work The History of Women: The rank therefore, and condition, in which we find women in any country, mark out to us with the greatest precision, the exact point in the scale of civil society, to which the people of such country have arrived; and were their history entirely silent on every other subject, and only mentioned the manner in which they treated their women, we would, from thence, be enabled to form a tolerable judgement of the barbarity, or culture of their manners.148 Two hostesses in particular emerged during the eighteenth century in Edinburgh, who engaged actively in literary sociability, and helped to shape Scotland’s salon culture: Alison Rutherford Cockburn (1713– 1794) and Eliza(beth) Hamilton (1758–1816). Upon her husband Patrick’s death in 1753, Alison Rutherford Cockburn, who was born in Selkirkshire, some 30 miles south of Edinburgh, began a highly influential salon which has been described as having “moulded that city’s [Edinburgh’s] dining and drawing room culture.”149 T. Craig Brown, the editor of Cockburn’s collected songs and The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 73 poems, states that, in his recollection, Cockburn’s conversation brought her much nearer to a Frenchwoman than to a native of England, and indeed Walter Scott said of the hostess: She was one of those persons whose talents for conversation made a stronger impression on her contemporaries than her writings could be expected to produce . . . She maintained the rank in the society of Edinburgh which French women of talents usually do in that of Paris, and in her little parlour used to assemble a very distinguished and accomplished circle, among whom David Hume, John Home, Lord Monboddo, and many other men of name were frequently to be found.150 Thus, like those of Mary Monckton and the Blues in general, Cockburn’s salon included “society distinguished both for condition and talents.” The Letters and Memoir of Mrs A Rutherford or Cockburn (1900) includes several letters to David Hume, which include such expressions of familiarity as “Bring yourself however, as fast as you can, because just now we have a fancy for you” and on 20 August 1764, “I despise thee with affection.”151 As well as her intimate connection with Hume, Cockburn is described as having “discovered” Scott, a cousin on her mother’s side, at her salon as she “noted in the child of six the marks of his future genius.”152 In addition to Home, Hume, and Scott, Cockburn’s circle also included Henry Mackenzie, William Robertson, and David Dalrymple.153 It is important to recognise that, unlike the Bluestocking salons and recalling Thrale’s early salons, it seems that Cockburn’s were predominantly male in composition. In this respect, Cockburn’s correspondence laments what she sees as the alteration in relations between men and women in Scotland since her youth: And I think the commerce between the sexes is now totally at an end in every respect but by appetite or avarice. In my younger days our men were bred in France, and they could profess an admiration of a fine woman without being in love with her, or having any design on her, legal or illegal. Now a man looks at a woman as he does at a haunch of venison . . . . Such is the effect of the English connection . . . .154 In Cockburn’s opinion, it was their exposure to French habits of sociability that allowed the older generation of Scotsmen to appreciate 74 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century women in non-sexual ways; no longer “bred in France” the younger generation can only approach women in predatory ways. The comments from Brown, Scott, and this from Cockburn, explicitly link the Scottish salons to those of France, distancing themselves from those gatherings which took place in nearby England and rejecting outright “the English connection” despite the obvious similarity between the two countries’ salons. Perhaps much of this attempt at differentiation is owing to the discrimination experienced by many Scottish men of letters by the English. Hume himself refers to the indifference of the Englishmen towards him in a letter to Gilbert Eliot: I do not believe there is one Englishman in fifty, who, if he heard that I had broke my neck tonight, would not be rejoic’d with it. Some hate me because I am not a Tory, some because I am not a Whig, some because I am not a Christian and all because I am a Scotsman. Can you seriously talk of my continuing an Englishman? Am I, or are you, an Englishman? Will they allow us to be so? Do they not treat with derision our pretensions to that name, and with hatred our just pretensions to surpass and govern them?155 In juxtaposition to this display of denigration, Richard Lovell Edgeworth observed that “The society at Edinburgh is a hundred times more agreeable than any I ever saw in Dublin – Lady Longford’s family excepted and the speakers.”156 It seems clear that each country’s salon participants were very much aware of the endeavours of their fellow salon participants elsewhere and that the level of success of each salon impacted on the perceived level of sociability of each country. The house in which Cockburn’s salons took place was located along Crichton Street in the fashionable neighbourhood of George Square. The hostess had moved there from Castle-Hill after her husband’s death in the early 1750s. A plaque on the corner of Chapel Street and Windmill Street exists today and announces that Mrs Cockburn is buried nearby.157 Unfortunately, much of George Square was destroyed in the 1960s to make way for the University of Edinburgh’s development.158 The square had been laid out by the architect-speculator James Brown in 1766, just one year before the start of the development of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town, now a UNESCO World Heritage Centre along with the Old Town. It was Edinburgh’s largest square at the time, and in common with the earlier examples of Brown and Adam Square, it aimed to offer housing to “those of the wealthy who sought a greater The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 75 segregation from the dilapidated central areas but could not afford to build separate villas.”159 In the considerably more extravagant surroundings of Holyrood House, Princess Dashkova, whose experiences of the French salons were discussed in Chapter 1, took up lodgings in one of the palace’s apartments there. Dashkova remained in Edinburgh from c. 1776 to 1782, and she implies in her memoirs that she presided over salon gatherings during her time there. Her home welcomed the literary and aristocratic elite of the day: “The immortal Robertson, Blair, Smith and Ferguson came twice a week to spend the day with me. The Duchess of Buccleuch, Lady Francis Scott, Lady Lothian, and Lady Mary Irwin contributed to make my life pleasant.”160 Belfast-born Eliza Hamilton, most familiar today as a novelist, but also known in her lifetime as a satirist and educationalist, added much to the prestige of Scotland’s salons.161 Unlike the majority of her fellow hostesses, Hamilton was neither from an aristocratic family nor married to a wealthy husband. She was born in Ireland to Charles Hamilton “a merchant from an old Scottish family” and Katherine Mackay from Dublin.162 Eliza’s father died while she was just a year old and as a result her childhood was spent in Scotland in the care of her aunt. Elizabeth lived a rather peripatetic life, residing in various English towns and cities such as Bath and London as well as visiting Ireland and Wales before settling in Edinburgh with her sister in 1804.163 Scottish salons seem to have been much more prevalent in Edinburgh than in nearby Glasgow. Edinburgh, which had a population of c. 50,000 in 1750, is said to have “provided cultural and educational facilities that attracted large numbers of the gentry and aristocracy,” while Glasgow, with a population of 30,000, is described as “a city of international trade and nascent industry, with tobacco and West India merchants, bankers and manufacturers the prominent figures in local society.”164 Hamilton’s Translations of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah (1796) has been suggested as the hostess’s first literary success and her fame was further secured by the publication of her novel The Modern Philosophers (1800): “The popularity of The Modern Philosophers was a passport to fame and distinction; and Miss Hamilton consequently found herself admired by the celebrated and the fashionable, and an object of curiosity and interest to the public.”165 This celebrity enabled her to establish an extremely successful, although comparatively short-lived, salon in Edinburgh. In the Memoirs of the Late Mrs Elizabeth Hamilton (1818) we learn that, “her house was the resort, not only of the intellectual, but of the gay and even of the fashionable and her cheerfulness, good sense, and good humour, soon reconciled everyone to the literary lady.” 76 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century This “reconciliation” was necessary as the literary lady or “vulgar term of ‘blue stocking’ ” had by then, the year 1804, become “more hackneyed, even in the polished circles of our literary metropolis, than you can easily imagine,” echoing the general changing attitudes to female intellectualism that took place in England after the French revolution.166 The autobiography of Mrs Eliza Fletcher includes several references to Hamilton, who is described as “a woman of liberal mind, with much cultivation, with very considerable liveliness and quickness of apprehension, with great kindness of heart.”167 Fletcher states that, “in the winters of 1805 and 1806 I had much agreeable intercourse with Mrs Elizabeth Hamilton, at whose house I met with a greater variety of people than I had yet mixed with.”168 In general, Hamilton received guests in her drawing room from two o’clock whilst she spent the evening reading a book aloud “for the benefit of the whole party.” Private levees were held by Hamilton on Mondays during which she received Scotland’s literati. This is clearly outlined in her memoirs where it is explained that “On Monday she deviated from the general system, by admitting visitors all the morning; such was the esteem for her character, and such the relish for her society, that this private levee was attended by the most brilliant persons in Edinburgh, and commonly protracted till a late hour.”169 These brilliant persons who attended her salons included Joanna Baillie, Walter Scott, and Maria Edgeworth. Elizabeth Hamilton’s portrait, by Sir Henry Raeburn, was used by Benger in the frontispiece for Memoirs. In it her lips are parted as though she has stopped in midsentence with Raeburn portraying Hamilton as though in conversation, perhaps highlighting her important role as hostess in addition to her roles as writer and educationalist.170 While Cockburn and Hamilton were very successful Scottish hostesses, they were certainly not the only ones. Perkins has insisted that “mixed intellectual sociability was a defining feature of actual Scottish society,” and salons played an important part in this.171 Mrs Fletcher also refers to the gatherings at the childhood home of Robina Cullen, “for many years the resort of all the men of talent and literature in Edinburgh, and of many women of rank and fashion,” while gatherings were also held by Helen D’Arcy Stewart and her husband, the philosopher Dugald Stewart, among others.172 The Fletcher household itself is described by the writer Anne Grant as “for many years the centre of attraction to everything that is elegant or enlightened about town; for there is no place where worth and talents are so highly estimated as here, or where wealth can so little compensate the want of them.”173 Just as the French salons adapted to embrace different functions, and The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 77 the English salons promoted literary production, the Edinburgh salon placed greatest emphasis on polite conversation and vigorous intellectual debate, often on important social and political matters. The Edinburgh salon allowed its participants, both male and female, the opportunity to engage in such dialogue as well as offering the possibility of reading literary works in manuscript form. The French salon’s aims, its ethos, and even the overall atmosphere, as previously related, are reflected in both the English and Scottish gatherings. The exquisite décor, the fundamental role of conversation, the English and Scottish hostesses’ position at the centre of the group, as well as their role as harmoniser and facilitator of conversation, all echo the practices in France. That direct comparisons were made between the salonnières and British salon hostesses is revealed by the comment of both male and female writers. The traveller and memoirist Nathaniel Wraxall characterised Montagu as “the Madame du Deffand of the English capital,” while Suzanne Necker described her as “la muse d’Angleterre,” or the English muse.174 It is evident that the English hostesses drew inspiration from the latter while employing their own personal, distinctive touches to achieve a certain degree of individuality and distinctiveness. It seems clear from the correspondence and diary entries of these women that both the Scottish and English salons did remain close to those of the French. They replicated, imitated, and emulated the French salons’ functioning in many regards with the central position of women, their role as harmonisers, and the central elements of politesse, freedom of opinion, and meritocracy. The British salon did not aim merely to copy its French counterpart as shown in relation to its networks of support, composition, and the practice of overlapping salon days, but it is undeniable, nonetheless that the French salon, in all its various incarnations, provided the British salons with a model and influence which pervaded all elements of their functioning. As occurred in France, the foreign contribution to these salons is readily apparent. Again, Irish men and women in particular contributed significantly both as participants and hostesses, helping to mould and develop the British salon. One particular woman who shaped salons in both England and Ireland, Elizabeth Vesey, will be discussed in the next chapter, further revealing the intense cultural interaction between the two countries. 3 “Never Was a Flock So Scattered for Want of a Shepherdess”: Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland I scarce ever met with an Irish woman in my life, who did not in a very kindly manner take root and flourish in the soil of England. We are much obliged to you for this partiality, for you have among you imported more sense and virtue than I fear we are likely to repay you . . . .1 In this elaborately polite letter from November 1771, Elizabeth Carter explicitly praises the many Irish women who resided in England during the late-eighteenth century, bringing with them both “sense” and “virtue.” These women “flourished” in England as well of course as in Ireland where their sense and virtue had been originally fostered and where they still occasionally resided. Many of Ireland’s aristocracy and gentry spent much of their time between the two countries, passing up to 18 months in England and then returning to Dublin for six months or more during the parliamentary season, thus contributing to the societies of both countries.2 One such woman who passed her time between the two countries was the Bluestocking hostess Elizabeth Vesey (c. 1715–1791), the recipient of Carter’s letter and praise. Vesey is of particular interest as she held an important salon in Ireland as well as participating widely in the Bluestocking salons in England, hosting one of the most important London salons of the eighteenth century. International exchange was central to the literary salon and it was of paramount importance in Vesey’s gatherings in particular, with many examples of interaction between literary figures in the two neighbouring countries. Vesey’s time was shared generously between England and Ireland; Elizabeth Carter declares, “As I have a great partiality for 78 Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 79 Ireland, I am perfectly well contented it should share you with us . . . ” (8 June 1772), emphasising Vesey’s division of time between Dublin and London.3 The hostess was not the only person to alternate residence between the two countries, however. The Bluestocking network is often presented as an exclusively English affair, but it is important to remember that this network of communication and exchange was also very much a bi-national affair between England and Ireland. Several important participants attended salons in both England and Ireland, including literary figures such as the playwright and politician Robert Jephson; Dr Johnson’s good friend the poet and amateur actor Dean Marlay; as well as members of the peerage such as Lady Anne Dawson and Lady Dartrey, the first and second wives of Thomas Dawson, among many others. Carter previously used the verb “import” to describe the method of contribution by these Irish in England and the import and export of cultural items between the two countries becomes apparent through the institution of the literary salon and its involvement in patronage, publication, and the circulation of written material. Irish-born Elizabeth Vesey was the granddaughter of the influential John Vesey, archbishop of Tuam, and daughter of Sir Thomas Vesey, Bishop of Ossory, and his wife the heiress Mary Muschamp.4 After the death of her first husband, William Handcock, in 1741, Vesey married her first cousin Agmondesham Vesey of Lucan, thereby reverting to her maiden name upon her second marriage.5 While Vesey is cited almost without exception as one of the main Bluestocking hostesses, her Irishness is often addressed only in adjectival form and her activities in Dublin ignored completely.6 The concept of identity and the circumstances of being Irish in England become clear as Vesey’s “otherness” is highlighted both at a personal level and through absentee legislation. Vesey’s own perception of her salons, her salons’ participants, and the country of her birth emerges from her letters, as does a conflicting impression of her sense of self and identity. Her interest in Irish folklore and mythology, and her love of and connection with the Irish countryside, mingle with a sense of severance from England and English friends, for example. Details of the material reality of Vesey’s salons are also contained within Bluestocking correspondence, regarding the physical setting of the salon, the individual participants, Vesey’s mode of governance, and the food consumed there.7 A letter from Elizabeth Vesey to Mary Hamilton offers a glimpse of the way in which such letters were circulated at the time. Vesey’s references to the preservation and influential 80 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century nature of some of Carter’s correspondence co-mingle with anxiety regarding their reception: I have not been able to find much less to select Mrs Carters letters [.] Those fine ones I mention’d are lock’d up in a saving Box left in Ireland [,] particularly that wrote upon her return from Miss Talbot’s funeral which will one day touch the Heart & improve the religious feelings of Posterity. I trust to your friendship to her that you will not shew [sic] them if you do not think they wou’d please one for whom the author has the highest veneration & whose taste & discernment are so decisive? (25 January 1781)8 Correspondence could clearly be an indication of trust as well as performance of the self. We know that the Bluestockings often used letters to disseminate a particular image of themselves, but certain personal letters, such as Carter’s comments after returning from the funeral of an intimate friend, were explicitly intended as private and many such letters were burnt or destroyed after being read. However, many Bluestocking letters that appear to us today to be of a personal nature were frequently intended for wider dissemination, and it is important to bear this in mind in reading through their correspondence for evidence of their network. Montagu, for example, asks on one occasion that Vesey return her letters so they can be further circulated: “I wish you wd send me some of my letters back I mean such as you have read, I want the letters for a friend, I wd have only such as are copied, the originals are hardly legible.”9 In addition to dividing her time between England and Ireland, Vesey also shared her time in Ireland between two residences, firstly at Lucan House, situated around nine miles from Dublin, and also at Westmoreland Street in the heart of Dublin city. The two locations are constantly juxtaposed throughout all correspondence conducted with Vesey. Elizabeth Carter repeatedly refers to Lucan in a positive fashion in comments such as “ . . . your delightful retirement on the banks of the Liffey,” “the quiet shades of Lucan,” or “the dear, tranquil, poetic scenes of Lucan,” while Elizabeth Montagu writes, “I am glad you adhere to the calm amusements of Lucan, I should be afraid of being forgot in the diversions of Dublin.”10 Upon leaving Dublin, Vesey’s correspondents assure her that they “pity” and “grieve” for her removal from Lucan, “where you must have led a most enviable life,” although the requirement to go to Dublin is recognised: “But I suppose it is necessary for you Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 81 to go to Dublin and one must get through this ‘work-a-day-world’ as well as one can.”11 Much of the information we have about the Veseys’ early residence in Lucan comes from Mary Delany.12 Delany’s correspondence enables us to form an idea of the early period of the Veseys’ married life and their method of receiving guests: We came here on Tuesday to dinner. There is no house in Ireland I like so well to be in for any time except my own. Mr and Mrs Vesey are very friendly and perfectly easy, so we have no sort of restraint, but say and do just what we like . . . (26 August 1752)13 This sense of ease and lack of restraint features repeatedly in Delany’s correspondence: “They are pretty people to be with, no ceremony, everybody does what they please” and “it is as agreeable within doors as without – perfect ease and freedom, and books and prints innumerable.”14 Being a house-guest at Lucan involved quite a different form of sociability than that experienced in the London town house salons or the very ordered conversation of the eighteenthcentury French salon. Delany here seems to indicate private reading and independent activity interspersed with relaxed conversation. The original house at Lucan had been home to the Irish Jacobite leader Patrick Sarsfield, the 1st Earl of Lucan, although one sees little reference to this in the correspondence. It was described by Elizabeth Carter as “the dear old castle, with the niches in its walls, and a thousand other gothic beauties” (20 September 1777).15 However, Agmondesham Vesey, who has been described as an “amateur architect,” decided that it should be demolished, and in the late 1770s he replaced their old home with a modern Georgian house, designed with the help of Scottish architect William Chambers and the architect James Wyatt, of London.16 The result was a magnificent Palladian mansion, which is today the residence of the Italian Ambassador to Ireland. The plan of the house is essentially rectangular with “a semi-circular bow on the rear elevation.”17 This bow shape results in an oval room on the ground floor, while on the first floor the room is fully circular. While the oval room is thought to have provided a source of inspiration for the White House’s Oval Office, the round room is of more concern for us in that it was there that Elizabeth Vesey received her guests into her salon. Initially this room was viewed by Vesey with fear due to its similarity in her mind to a cage: “She [Vesey] has this afternoon been looking over the plan of the new-house at Lucan and seems greatly disturbed to find she 82 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century is to inhabit a round room, where she conceives she shall be like an old parrot in a cage.”18 Elizabeth Montagu refers to the room in more positive fashion in 1777: “I hope you will convey me to Dublin, for I long to see your charming house, & ye centre of your round room is the centre of my wishes.”19 The embellishment of Lucan was a costly undertaking, however: Lucan is going on at a great expense I have the weakness not to be able to say no to a pleasant object tho’ it may have its edge in a future day – the embellishment of grounds is a smooth deceiver it appears so harmless so natural the solitary winter nights that threaten at a distance are not thought of.20 Arthur Young’s famous tour throughout Ireland, undertaken between 1776 and 1779, coincided with the transformation of Lucan House, and Young’s impressions of the grounds are recorded thus: “the house is rebuilding but the wood on the river, with walks through it, is exceedingly beautiful. The character of the place is that of a sequestered shade.”21 Vesey herself describes it in similar manner in a letter to Edmund Burke as “quite enfower’d [sic] in Shade & the Cottage in Roses – & has a something tho quiet of agitation.”22 Thomas Milton’s A Collection of Select Views from the Different Seats of the Nobility and Gentry in the Kingdom of Ireland . . . (1793) includes Lucan House alongside other well-known Dublin locations such as the Casino at Marino, Leinster House, and Malahide Castle, as well as country seats, such as Florence Court in Co. Fermanagh and Brockley-Park in Co. Laois (then Queen’s County).23 Milton describes the landscape at Lucan thus: The Gardens are laid out with great Taste; the situation tho’ low, shady, and sequestered; is extremely pleasant. The Liffey runs on one Side of the Grounds, for near two Miles; the high road confines them on the other; and, thence narrow, they do not want sufficient variety.24 The writer also takes particular notice of the older elements of the landscape, mentioning that “To the Right, from the Front of the House, amidst a Group of lofty Lime-trees, are the small but venerable Ruins of an abbey” and that “The View of the New Bridge is in Part interrupted by the Remains of an old one (exhibited in the Plate); the contrast produces a very pleasing Effect.” Lady Louisa Conolly’s home at Castletown also included gothic ruins in their garden and Finola O’Kane has argued Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 83 for a link between such ruins and the Anglo-Irish in particular, noting that “the anti-historicism of ruins may have proved popular among the Anglo-Irish, whose power and position rested on a strong rebuttal of the larger Catholic cultural environment.”25 While this is entirely applicable to many examples, it is possible that the Veseys’ own emphasis on the ruined abbey and old bridge attempts to link them to the past and to the Irish landscape, as the fifth generation to reside in Ireland, as well as perhaps emphasising Elizabeth’s interest in Irish antiquity and folklore. The interior of Lucan House echoes these spectacular grounds; there are plaster medallions credited to Angelica Kauffman, a cantilevered staircase in Portland stone with mahogany handrail, and “a magnificent marble chimney piece” in the circular room which includes “inlaid flutes and an urn and festoons” on the horizontal panel or transom.26 Vesey believed there was an explicit connection between decoration and conversation: “In general I think decoration not useless [.] there is a sort of finesse of arrangement – which tho short of magnificence adds the j’ne scais quoi to conversation . . . .”27 Vesey here demonstrates the importance of material surroundings for her salon gatherings, echoing the various descriptions of sumptuous settings at de Rambouillet’s Chambre Bleue, Montagu’s Portman Square, and elsewhere. Vesey experienced very different paces of life depending on her residence in Lucan or Dublin: “Your letter, my dear Mrs Vesey, was writ when your mind was sobered and composed by the quiet retirement of Lucan: my answer will find you amidst the hurry and flutter of Dublin” (8 December 1773).28 While Vesey in her personal correspondence often showed reluctance to leave Lucan, there are also countless instances where she laments the isolation of Lucan House due to her neighbours’ removal to Dublin: “Mrs Handcock [Vesey’s sister-in-law] & I have heard enough of the howling wind seldom broke by any human voice [,] for our neighbours as well as family are all gone to Dublin where yr friend L[ad]y Newnham is a favourite of every bodies.”29 In 1906, F[rancis] E[lrington] Ball wrote unflatteringly that “In their Dublin town house in Molesworth Street, where the Veseys spent the winters in which the Irish parliaments sat, she [Elizabeth Vesey] endeavoured to replace her London circle, and brought on herself some ridicule by her predilection for baronets and pamphleteers when earls and authors of folios failed.”30 This early-twentieth-century perspective is a rather damning one, but a very different perspective emerges when we look at contemporary correspondence, such as the following letter from Elizabeth Rawdon, Lady Moira. Lady Moira was one of the only rivals for the title of Ireland’s 84 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century most important salon hostess during Vesey’s period of influence. Writing to her brother Francis, the 10th earl of Huntingdon, on 26 January 1765, Lady Moira declares: I am much concerned to hear from England that Lord Charlemont is so ill, but I yet hope to see him make one of the Bluestocking Club, when Mrs Vesey reinstitutes that assembly here. I know you are acquainted with her, pray tell her never was a flock so scattered for want of a shepherdess, no person has presumption enough to attempt her plan, and her few followers are enlisted, or enlisting, beneath the banners of Pam, the King of Diamonds and Knave Noddy . . . .31 This revealing letter emphatically removes any doubt as to whether or not Vesey played a significant role in Dublin at the time. It also depicts the salon hostess in a different light, as a shepherdess, guiding, tending to, and caring for her salon members, who without her central hosting role become “scattered.”32 Lady Moira’s letter unites the salon hostesses in relation to their dislike of cards, due to their interference with the more serious endeavours with which the salon was concerned, and while Lady Moira is perhaps being rather playful in her description, there is still a clear sense of esteem. Vesey herself refers to Lady Moira in a letter to Montagu in which she plainly connects the two salon hostesses in her description of a ball held by Lady Moira: Some sparks of your imagination my d[ea]r Mrs Montagu has flown across St Georges Channel [.] nothing less than y[ou]r magick cou’d have rais’d such a fairy vision as Lady Moiras Ball it was so like a concerti of y[ou]rs to turn a whimsical idea to publick use I cou’d not help believing you had moved y[ou]r wand . . . the Irish stuffs have the greatest variety of rich & beautiful colours in the world since the days of Solomon & with the addition of jewels & tinsel it was the gayest glittering fantastical assembly you can form an idea of. (Dublin, 28 April 1768)33 Just like the salons held by Vesey, this ball had affinities with similar events in England, but was Irish in execution and style, with Vesey’s description concluding, “the river Liffy crown’d with sedge her robe embroider’d with water plants.” A New Ballad on the Masquerade Lately Given by the Countess of Moira (1768) makes clear that the Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 85 various dresses at the ball were “all of Irish Manufacture” “much to the Honour of our Noblemen and Ladies” – “Each gallant Youth, and brilliant fair/At Moira’s kind request/In Irish Manufactures rare/This grand assembly grac’d.”34 The efforts of wives of lords lieutenant in eighteenthcentury Dublin to “set a good moral example by making the wearing of Irish cloth fashionable” was also warmly embraced by Lady Moira, who was clearly a most influential figure in Irish society.35 The salon hostess described in the ballad as “justly fam’d for elegance and taste” was eager to set a clear trend that would be emulated by others in society. The wearing of Irish cloth became a symbol of patriotism and the ballad makes reference to “true patriotic zeal” and is clear to expand on the aims of the masquerade: “Thus, whilst their Pleasures they pursue, their country’s good is held in view.” Thirty years later, Lady Moira was still being linked with her efforts in relation to Irish manufacture in the Morning Post of 17 February 1795, where the author recalls how she had “take[n] a lead in the encouragement of domestic manufactures.”36 Lady Moira’s connection with Irish cloth is not limited, however, to her setting an example in public and at masquerade balls. She was passionately involved in experiments involving the cultivation of flax. The hostess received a silver medal from the Royal Dublin Society for her efforts in 1774, and a gold medal from the Agriculture Society of Manchester. The engraving on the medal reads “Ex minimis, maxima” and the Society recalls that her “intelligence and charity induced her to make some very successful attempts to form, amongst her poor neighbours, a valuable manufacture, from the refuse of flax and hemp.”37 Specimens of her work were deemed so impressive that they were preserved in the Leverian Museum in London. A companion to the museum from 1790 describes the material in a companion to Glass case I, Shelf II: “Specimens made from flax by the Countess of Moira, so much resembling cotton and silk as not to be distinguished therefrom by the nicest eye.”38 In Vesey’s letter to Elizabeth Montagu we get a glimpse of her own pride in Irish manufacture in her quoted reference to Irish stuffs being of a superlative nature. Indeed throughout their correspondence, Montagu and Vesey often speak of the fine quality of Irish linens with the latter often providing Montagu with the material: “I shall look so charming in your Irish stuff I don’t care what it costs.”39 By the 1770s there were increasing demands for greater freedom for the Irish textile industry. Women played an important role in boycotting goods and buying Irish products during the campaign for free trade in 1778, for example.40 In a much more dramatic twist, Elizabeth Montagu, in the 1780s, reports encountering Lady Moira’s adult daughter Selina, now Lady Granard, 86 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century and learns to what extremes the promotion of Irish manufacture had reached: “I had a visit this morning from Lady Granard . . . her ladyship is lately arrived from Dublin; she tells me the mob stop ladies in their coach to see whether they have any English manufactures upon them, if that happens strip them” (28? October 1784).41 Montagu often uses information such as this to urge Vesey to either come to or remain in London. Even during the Gordon Riots of 1780 she says: “I hear Ireland is in confusion so you had better stay amidst an unarmed than go to an armed mob.”42 Throughout her time in Ireland, Vesey constantly received requests such as the above from her Bluestocking acquaintances. One such request, while again urging Vesey to return to England, simultaneously provides us with an unparalleled impression of the Blue Room in Bolton Street where Vesey held her salons, in a dream vision conjured by Elizabeth Montagu: Come to England, get into your blue room, call all your friends around you, & let every melancholy remembrance be chased away. I often dream with my eyes open of this blue room; I see Mr Garrick in one corner of it, Lord Lyttelton sitting close to the fire, Mr Burk[e] in the midst of your circle, Mrs Carter on your Sopha, the door opens, in trips a Maccaroni, or stalks a Minister of State or perhaps glides a fine Lady, no matter who or what, the spirit of Vesey is mighty still [.] it gives gentleness to ye witty, good breeding to the wise, affability to ye great, decency to the gay, all is harmony in her circle . . . .43 Montagu sets up a typical gathering of literary figures – the actor David Garrick, George Lyttleton the politician and writer, the philosopher Edmund Burke, and the author and translator Elizabeth Carter, before adding a variety of other characters, thereby alluding to the diversity of Vesey’s salons. Montagu mentions a Macaroni, a Minister of State, and a member of the peerage, emphasising the salon’s assorted make-up.44 On a separate occasion Montagu refers to another imaginary group: “a Philosopher, a fine lady, & a Gallant officer form a triangle in one corner, a Maccaroni, a Poet, a Divine, a Beauty & an ottaheite savage, a wondrous pentagon in another.”45 While entering the realms of hyperbole, Montagu is clearly emphasising the fact that various characters that belong to very different social groups could coexist together in harmony due to the “spirit of Vesey.” Participants in salons were very conscious that their success depended on adroit management and the skills of hostesses. Writing of Vesey in Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 87 1779, Frances Burney admitted the Irish woman’s attractive personal qualities, but singled out her dexterity in the organization of her salon for particular comment: She [Vesey] is an exceeding well bred woman, & of agreeable manners, but all her Name in the World must, I think, have been acquired by her dexterity & skill in selecting Parties, & by her address in rendering them easy with one another. – An art, however, that seems to imply no mean understanding. (20 July 1779)46 Vesey’s method of organising the diverse groups of participants within her salon is highlighted by Montagu above as she describes Vesey’s guests positioned in unusual groupings: “a triangle in one corner,” “a pentagon in another.” In Hannah More’s “Bas Bleu” More details Vesey’s rejection of prescribed seating arrangements: See VESEY’S plastic genius make A Circle every figure take; Nay, shapes and forms which wou’d defy All science of Geometry; Isoceles, and Parallel, Names hard to speak and hard to spell! Th’ enchanteress wav’d her wand, and spoke! Her potent wand the Circle broke . . . 47 Vesey was very well known for disrupting overly formal seating arrangements in opposition to Montagu’s more formal semi-circles or large circles. Carter wishes for Vesey’s presence while at another gathering, for example, where they are made to sit in regular fashion: “Mrs D’Oyley and I the other night, sitting diametrically opposite in a large circle, tacitly wished for you, and agreed that you would have thrown a most delightful irregularity into the form . . . .”48 Elizabeth Eger explains Vesey’s preference thus: “Vesey favoured a more random arrangement of small groups, thus hoping to erase the formal aspects of literary assemblies in favour of a more relaxed company.”49 Vesey’s choice of seating arrangement connects her loosely to her fellow Irish hostess Mary Monckton who also disliked overly formal seating and embraced a more zig-zag arrangement of furniture. The arrangement can also be linked to a sense of naturalness, which echoes Vesey’s preference of countryside to town.50 88 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century The Veseys had originally resided in Bolton Row, just south of Berkeley Square. Bolton Row was at the top of Bolton Street, which had been “built circa 1699, and described in 1708 as ‘the most westerly Street in London.’ ”51 A letter from Carter to Vesey from 7 November 1779 includes remarks indicating a change of address for the couple: I rejoice to find there is a fair prospect of your getting the house in Clarges Street, as probably Mr Vesey will be pleased with the change. For my own part I must always find any house agreeable which you inhabit; yet I shall sometimes cast a look of regret and tender remembrance on the dark green and blue rooms in Bolton-row, where I have past so many happy hours of the truest social and affectionate friendship with dear Mrs Handcock and you.52 This new house, on the east side of Clarges street was just a short distance from Bolton Row, and as with their previous home, the Veseys opted to rent rather than buy. They did this in spite of Carter’s comments that, “Surely if it lets at ninety pound a year, and is to be sold for eight hundred, the purchase would be much the best bargain. But perhaps I may judge wrong.”53 Agmondesham purchased a leasehold for 61 years for the house.54 Decisions regarding which London house to acquire were of course difficult to conduct from Ireland, and acquaintances were solicited to help in the matter, as can be gleaned from the architect William Chambers’ suggestion to Agmondesham: “I see bills upon every window & your friend Mr Dunbar who I believe is a Walker might in his Walks perhaps light upon something for you much more eligible.”55 While Montagu describes Vesey’s salon in Bolton Row as “that blue room where all people are enchanted,” the calibre of participants, based on both fortune and merit, could also be daunting to some visitors. Elizabeth Sheridan felt herself to be most inadequate upon visiting Vesey’s salon in Clarges Street with her father in 1785: I had little pleasure from the party – conscious that I was the only person in the room who had not some consequence in life from fortune, rank or acknowledg’d abilities, I felt alone in the croud [sic] and could not wholly banish the mortifying ideas the consciousness necessarily brought with it. Yet the people were all civil and attentive to me, but I have no business among them.56 While one must bear in mind a degree of self-deprecation, Sheridan’s remarks reveal much about the nature of Vesey’s salon. The use of Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 89 the adjectives “civil” and “attentive” emphasises the politeness that prevailed in eighteenth-century salons, while Sheridan’s portrayal highlights the illustrious character of Vesey’s gatherings. Just as with Lucan House, the Veseys’ London residence is also of note: “Mr Vesey’s House is by no means large but by the exquisite taste of Mrs Vesey in disposing of things the apartments appear larger than they really are” (12 March 1785).57 Throughout her time in London with her brother Richard during the 1780s, Elizabeth Sheridan sent many spirited and descriptive letters to her elder sister Alicia in Dublin. These letters allow us a glimpse into the literary nature of Vesey’s London salons. Sheridan refers to the salon itself as “a sort of conversationé – and reading party.” The company is described by Sheridan as “rather numerous” and consisting of “Lords, Ladies, Bishops.” There were also several literary figures present, in addition of course, to her own father, Thomas Sheridan: “in the literary way there was Miss H. [Hannah] Moore, and the famous Soame Jennings [Soame Jenyns].”58 A further detail from Sheridan describes her father reading to the assembled party and the literary critique that followed: My Father read one or two things which seemed to give the highest delight to the company. Lady Spencer came rather late and seemed to regret having lost the reading very much, so my Father to oblige her read a passage of Milton with which she seem’d greatly pleased and from her observations show’d both taste and sense.59 Sheridan also refers to more material aspects of the salon – detailing the food that was served and the time at which the events took place: “Our entertainment was elegant – Ices & c. & c.” and “It is not the fashion of the house to sup so at ten we came home and I was sorry the party broke up.”60 Irish Bluestockings The Sheridans were far from the only Irish participants in Elizabeth Vesey’s London gatherings. Vesey’s salons were well attended by Ireland’s politicians and literati alike. Several important figures attended her salons in both Dublin and London, substantiating the argument for intense interaction between the two countries’ Bluestockings and establishing a network of exchange, influence, and cultural transfers. These men and women’s presence in one country inevitably led to a noted absence in the other, resulting in numerous letters of lamentations from both sides of the Irish Sea. Equally, Vesey’s presence in 90 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Ireland led to severe inconvenience for the members of the English Bluestocking salons, whilst her absence from Ireland deprived the latter of any Bluestocking salon, thus “scattering the flock.” The Bluestockings that follow attended Vesey’s salons in both countries and added to the salon’s richness by enabling the spread of cultural exchange. Anne Dawson, née Fermor (1733–1769), finds a place in neither the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography nor the Dictionary of Irish Biography, but she was in fact a highly important figure in the Bluestockings’ correspondence and provides a vital and entirely overlooked link between the salons of the two countries. Anne Fermor was the youngest daughter of the Earl and Countess of Pomfret, Northamptonshire.61 In 1754 she married Thomas Dawson, the son of the banker Richard Dawson and Elizabeth Vesey (d.1730), Archbishop John Vesey’s daughter by his second marriage, thus making our Elizabeth Vesey and Anne (now Dawson) first cousins by marriage. Her husband, who was from Dawson Grove, in County Monaghan, was Member of Parliament for that county from 1749 to 1768, and was elevated to the Irish peerage, as Baron Dartrey, and then created Viscount Cremorne in 1785. Anne Dawson features throughout the Bluestocking correspondence in connection with Vesey and is always portrayed in an exceedingly positive manner: Gentle gales and halcyon seas convey you safely over, my dear Mrs Vesey, to the friends who will so truly rejoice to see you on this side the water! Pray dispatch your affairs as fast as possible and get yourself ready to come with Lady Ann Dawson, for it will be a great comfort to me to think you are embarked in the same vessel with her. She has goodness enough to save from sinking a whole fleet of such poor frail mortals as you and I . . . (13 October 1768)62 The friends “on this side the water” were all enamoured with Lady Anne, who is constantly described as having a hugely positive influence on Vesey. Montagu describes her as “Miltons divine melancholy. She is the Goddess Sage & holy,” Carter “rejoices” that “Lady Ann Dawson is to spend her winter among us” and announces that conversing with her is “like getting out of the suffocation of the world, and breathing the air of Paradise.”63 Vesey was in constant receipt of letters which begged information regarding her friend and connect Lady Anne not only with Vesey, but more specifically and importantly, with Vesey’s salon: “Pray when will Lady Anne Dawson return to us, Mr Dawson & she will Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 91 adorn even the blue room.”64 In addition to attending Vesey’s salons, Lady Anne is also recorded by Vesey as frequenting Montagu’s gatherings: “You have bewitch’d L[ad]y Ann Dawson in y[ou]r enchanted circle I wish you wou’d never play the Syren to any from this country bar Mr Vesey.”65 In a similar letter, this time to Carter, Vesey laments Lady Anne’s departure for Ireland but Carter’s response expresses the certainty that Lady Anne is equally at home and as frequent a visitor in the salons of England as those of Ireland: “I should indeed more sincerely regret for you ‘the loss of two such friends as Lady Ann Dawson and Mrs Dunbar out of Ireland,’ if I did not hope you would have nearly equal opportunities of meeting them in London.”66 Anne Dawson died at the young age of 36 on 1 March 1769, and Thomas Dawson constructed the Dartrey mausoleum, or Dawson Temple, to commemorate his wife: “It is a square building [designed by James Wyatt], with a single window in the roof, known as the Temple.”67 The Lady Anne Dawson Temple had long stood neglected, but a process of restoration commenced c. 2005, accompanied by the restoration of an important memorial sculpture to Lady Anne, which was noted at the time in The Hibernian Journal: “A few days ago was landed in Dublin a beautiful Marble Monument done by Joseph Wilton, Esq. of Portland Street, London, which Lord Dartrey is to erect in a Temple at his seat in Co. Monaghan.”68 The epitaph within this tomb was in fact composed by Elizabeth Carter, thus retaining Lady Anne’s association with the Bluestockings even after her death. In her Poems on Several Occasions (1776), Carter has included “Inscription on Lady Ann Dawson’s Monument.” The epitaph echoes her earlier mentions of Lady Anne in her correspondence with Vesey: She constantly practis’d, in their sublimest Excellence, All those evangelical Duties, Which improve, and adorn the Soul for Heaven . . . . May those Virtues remain fixed in the Remembrance, And imitated in the Lives of her Surviving Friends!69 Lady Anne’s remains were originally laid to rest in the nearby St John’s Church but were later transferred to a church in Buckinghamshire, in the estate of Lady Anne’s sister Julia, due to Thomas Dawson’s fears about the possible disturbance of them during the 1798 rebellion.70 Despite his evident sorrow at Lady Anne’s death, Thomas Dawson nevertheless remarried the following year, in May 1770, to Miss Philadelphia Hannah Freame, “granddaughter of William Penn, the 92 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century founder of Pennsylvania.”71 Dawson was created Lord Dartrey in 1770 and so his second wife became Lady Dartrey and later Lady Cremorne after her husband’s elevation to Viscount in 1785. She too was a participant in Vesey’s salons and made a significant contribution to the gatherings: This day we dined at Mr Vesey’s . . . I must talk to you of Lady Dartree for she is a woman after your own heart. She is about fifty but looks younger – Elegant in her manner, lively and pleasing in conversation, with that an excellent heart and a fine understanding highly cultivated . . . she gives me the idea of those characters that Richardson has some times drawn but that few people believe really to exist. (Monday, 28 March 1785)72 Lady Dartrey seems to have been the perfect salon guest in that she adhered to the principles of politeness, attention, and interesting conversation. She had both an “excellent heart” and “a fine understanding,” thus making her a most acceptable learned lady. Later that week, on Saturday, Elizabeth Sheridan refers to Lady Dartrey as “my favourite” and indeed from the above it seems likely she would have been a favourite to many of the salon participants and hostesses. Unlike Anne Dawson, the Irish-born literary critic Anne Donnellan (1700–1762) has received some degree of critical recognition for her connections with the Bluestockings. Patrick Kelly, for example, emphasises Donnellan’s friendship and “close involvement” with Elizabeth Montagu and Margaret Cavendish Harley, the Duchess of Portland, to justify his definition of her as an Irish Bluestocking. Kelly concludes his article with further justification for Donnellan’s position as proto-Bluestocking: While Donnellan was not a learned lady, such as Elizabeth Carter or Elizabeth Elston – to mention the most distinguished of her contemporaries – she was firmly committed to the values of learning, virtue and friendship, which Sylvia Myers has identified as the distinguishing feature of the Bluestocking circle. Although by the time Elizabeth Montagu came to employ the term, Bluestocking, Donnellan was at the end of her life, her intimacy with the leaders of the group and her role in helping form the intellectual interests of Elizabeth Montagu entitle her to consideration as important figure in the pre-history of the group.73 Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 93 Donnellan can also be connected with the Bluestockings and their association with the institution of the salon through her own personal experience with salon culture, most particularly with the salons hosted by her mother, Mrs Martha Perceval. Vesey was not the only Irish salon hostess who cultivated social life on both sides of the Irish Sea. Long before even the term “Bluestockings” was established in the 1750s, Martha Perceval was holding important salons in Ireland’s capital, before continuing on the practice to London.74 The family moved to England in 1727, and the London salon Perceval established there was visited by the prolific salon participant Mary Delany, along with figures such as Capel Moore, his wife Lady Mary, and Mr Wesley.75 Despite their prolonged residence in England, Anne Donnellan still possessed much love for the country of her birth, its people, conversation, and general sociability: I hope next summer to be in Ireland . . . You will laugh perhaps, Sir, at my saying I hope to see Ireland this year. Indeed the generality of our country folks who spend a little time here, and get into any tolerable acquaintance, seem to forget they have any other country till a knavish receiver, or their breaking tenants put them in mind of it; I prefer a sociable evening in Dublin, to all the diversions of London, and the conversation of an ingenious friend, though in a black gown, to all the powdered toupee at St. James’s. What has kept me seven years in London, is the duty I owe a very good mother, of giving her my company since she desires it, and the conveniency [sic] I enjoy with her of a house, coach, and servants, at my command.76 Donnellan makes abundantly clear the fact that many members of Irish society did choose to separate themselves entirely from their country of birth upon establishing residence in England, unlike women such as Anne Dawson. There is some ambivalence regarding Martha Perceval’s feelings towards both countries. The Percevals’ choice of England as principal residence has been explained by Delany as being due to Mr Perceval’s preference for it, but many have suggested that Martha was equally in favour of England.77 What was entirely unambiguous was both mother and daughter’s affectionate relationship with the Bluestockings and in particular with the Queen of the Blues. On several occasions during the early 1740s, Montagu is recorded as having sent small gifts to Martha Perceval: cowslips in the early 1740s and some “potted moor-game” later in the decade.78 94 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Anne and her mother knew the Bluestockings before they themselves became known as such. Other Irish literati had the opportunity to actually attend and benefit from the salons held by Vesey and her fellow Bluestockings. One such fortunate visitor to Vesey’s salons was the playwright, poet, and politician Robert Jephson (1737–1803). Born in Cork, Jephson later joined the army and, like the salon participants discussed so far, lived alternately in England and Ireland. Jephson is recorded as settling in London “about 1762” before returning to Ireland in 1767 where he purchased a house in Blackrock, Co. Dublin.79 He is perhaps best known as the author of Braganza (1775), the first of his five tragedies, amongst them The Count of Narbonne (1781) and Conspiracy (1796). Vesey lists Jephson’s presence in Dublin as a convincing reason to travel into the more boisterous society there in a letter to Montagu: “you advise me change of scene I agree with you besides I should find a pleasant society in Dublin in Mr Jephson Marlay & some more male & female but Mr Vesey has built a spacious House.”80 George Marlay was Dean of Ferns and later Bishop of Waterford. He was the son of the Chief Justice of Ireland, uncle to Henry Grattan, and member of Johnson’s famous literary Club along with Vesey’s own husband Agmondesham. As above, Jephson and Marlay are constantly cited together by Vesey during her time in Ireland: “I will(?) go & divert myself in his company if I can but I must leave it now for here is Mr Jephson & Marlay & Sir G Macartny [Sir George Macartney] come to supper.”81 Both are repeatedly recorded as being visitors at Lucan House throughout Vesey’s correspondence with Montagu and Lyttleton. Another guest who is recorded as frequenting Lucan House along with Marlay and Jephson is Emily Fitzgerald, Duchess of Leinster.82 All three important figures are referred to collectively in a letter from Vesey to Montagu written from Lucan House: . . . for here has been Mr Marlay & Jephson to breakfast & you were the whole subject of the conversation. The latter had an ague fit before he left the House in spight [sic] of the mantling Blood of the Lenoxs who were of the party [next six words blacked out] by what he said of you I believe the Montagu veracity wou’d have been a better specifick – you will soon have him again there is not sport enough in holding up the mirror here where all characters are found to wear the same uniform.83 There is clearly much activity and sociability on offer at Lucan House. It may seem puzzling that in the same letter in which Vesey announces Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 95 the presence of all these figures at her home in Lucan, she states that she regrets leaving “this delightful solitude”: “Alas I must leave this delightful solitude tomorrow for the tourbillon of Dublin.”84 Solitude to Vesey thus implies the absence of external crowds, noise, and bustle, and not the want of guests or salon participants. The above letter also indicates all participants’ connections with Elizabeth Montagu, “the whole subject of conversation.” All three were intimately acquainted with “the Queen of the Blues” and Montagu refers explicitly to both Jephson and Marlay in connection with Vesey’s Bolton Street salon: “Pray bring Dean Marlay & the Prime Serjeant [sic] with you, they would improve even the blue room, so w[oul]d Mr Jephson, but I suppose he has forgotten us.”85 She also refers to them together in relation to Vesey’s Irish salon: “I envyd the party you described, pray make my best compliments to Dean Marlay & Mr Jephson” (Hillstreet, 1772).86 The loss of Jephson to her circle was keenly felt by Montagu; she urged Vesey to bring Jephson back to London and fondly remembered his presence there: “I wish you may bring Mr Jephson to England. I remember with great pleasure the agreeable hours I pass’d in his company” (10 October 1768).87 Another letter, from 1780, refers to the poor critical reception to Jephson’s tragedy, with Vesey urging Montagu, “If you have read Mr Jephson’s Tragedy & have a favourable opinion tell me something to comfort him for the abuse he has met with in the papers not upon his theatrical talents but his nerves are drawn so fine.”88 This shows us just how much Montagu’s opinion would matter to Jephson, and also illustrates how important the letter form was as an extension to the salon, allowing for critical comment to take place beyond the confines of the gathering itself. The Duchess of Leinster’s sister, Louisa Conolly, referred to by Montagu as “that charming divine creature,” was also strongly involved in Jephson’s literary endeavours.89 Jephson is said to have “frequently performed at private parties at the Conolly’s houses in both Ireland and London,” echoing his attendance at Vesey’s salons in the two countries.90 Other frequent participants at Vesey’s salons in both England and Ireland were Mr and Mrs Dunbar, originally from Dublin but later of Wicklow. Montagu informs Vesey in 1769 that “Perhaps you may now have the pleasure of Mrs Dunbars company at Lucan, for when I saw her last she seemd to think it not impossible she might go to Ireland.”91 Montagu’s letter continues in the following strain of purported jealousy: I own I envy Mr Dunbar his journey to Ireland, as to L[or]d Blessingtons estate he was the lawful & the deserving heir, so I envy’d 96 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century it not, but there is neither Law nor Reason that entitles him to go to Lucan more than your humble servant. (6 October 1769) Charles Dunbar was son and heir of Captain David Dunbar and Mary née Dillon, and great-grandson of Murrough Boyle, 1st Viscount Blessington, on his mother’s side. Upon the death of the 1st Earl of Blessington, William Stewart, in 1769, the estate passed to Charles who was “at once returned as MP for Blessington.”92 Charles’s wife Penelope was an intimate friend of both Elizabeth Vesey and Elizabeth Carter, to whom the former had introduced her.93 Like Montagu, Carter also refers to the Dunbars’ inheritance of Blessington, in remarkably laudatory fashion: “Her mind is too great to feel any other satisfaction in their present accession of fortune, than as it will furnish greater opportunities of doing good.”94 Charles Dunbar died in 1778 and his wife Penelope remarried. Mrs Penelope Dunbar’s second marriage, to Mr Joshua Iremonger in June 1782, elicited strong reactions, such as the following from Montagu: I am rather surprised she did not rather continue in a condition in which she was perfect mistress of herself, I never wonder at a mans marrying at any age for a good servant is at all times & on all occasions a very comfortable convenient useful thing, but even a good master is not desirable when one is too old to learn new labours, & form new habits, & acquire new tastes. (22 June 1782)95 Montagu’s remarks recall Mary Chudleigh’s “To the ladies” (1703), which begins “Wife and servant are the same,/But only differ in the name,” and remind us of the perceived status of wives in eighteenthcentury England and Ireland. A month later, Montagu writes to Carter, “I really believe we shall escape the matrimonial influenza.”96 Such quotations allow for an understanding of female correspondence as a privileged space for making otherwise socially unacceptable comments. Her remarks also illustrate the relative freedom of widows, portrayed as “perfect mistress of herself.” Elizabeth Montagu’s own husband Edward died in May 1775 bequeathing her a vast fortune in his will, thus leaving Montagu “in the most advantageous position possible for a woman in the eighteenth century.”97 The library of Bishop Thomas Percy (1728–1811) includes Elizabeth Montagu’s An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear whose Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 97 dedication on the front endpaper reads, “To Dr Percy from the Editor and the friend.”98 Montagu viewed Percy as an agreeable man and a most suitable Bluestocking: “[I] met with the Mr Percy who publish’d the Reliques of ancient poetry. Mr Percy is a very agreeable wellbred man, and will make a good addition to our sect of blue stocking philosophers” (10 September 1767).99 She later calls him “a new blue stocking with whom I am much pleased” and describes him as “a very ingenious man, has many anecdotes of ancient days, historical as well as poetical” (February 1768).100 Thomas Percy was born in Shropshire in England, but his appointment as Bishop of Dromore in 1782 has caused him to be strongly associated with Ireland. In addition to Montagu’s Essay, his library also contains many other works that explicitly link him to several English salon hostesses and participants.101 For example, Percy’s library contains The Muse’s Pocket Companion: A Collection of Poems (London 1782).102 This collection includes works by Elizabeth Carter and Hannah More as well as Percy himself. Hester Lynch Piozzi’s Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy and Germany (London 1789) also forms part of his library. It contains three translations of a Latin distich on Pope Alexander III, which includes the annotation “written by my dear and Hond. Father T. Percy Bishop of Dromore with a pencil which I copied over with ink Elizabeth Meade.”103 While in England, Percy was a member of Johnson’s literary club. Subsequent to his appointment in Dromore, he ceased travelling to England and devoted himself entirely to his parishioners as well as to Irish literary life, involving himself with Lady Moira’s salon, for example, as well as becoming a founding member of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Percy was an important literary patron in Ulster and his own circle in Co. Down included the poets Thomas Stott, William Cunningham, and Thomas Romney Robinson. Frances Burney describes Percy as “perfectly easy and unassuming, very communicative, and, though not very entertaining because too prolix, he is otherwise intelligent and of good commerce.” Echoing Montagu, she identifies the bishop as “the collector and editor of the beautiful reliques of ancient English poetry.”104 Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765) involved his transmission of ancient ballads, discovered in manuscript form, to modern audiences and would provide the inspiration for Charlotte Brooke’s Reliques of Irish poetry: consisting of heroic poems, odes, elegies, and songs, translated into English verse . . . (1789). This interest in antiquarian studies and recovery of a nation’s past immediately leads to questions of national identity. In an article in 1915, 98 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Ethel R. Wheeler described Vesey as “Celtic to her fingertips,” inspiring both men and women “with love and sympathy for Ireland and Irish ideals.”105 While the article is overwhelmingly nationalist in tone and hyperbolic in its platitudes, it nevertheless hints at a certain truth in relation to Vesey’s general portrayal by her fellow Blues where she is by and large depicted as “other,” “sylph-like,” and “Irish.” In a letter to Hannah More, Horace Walpole outlines Vesey’s Irishness and reflects on the Irish as a nation: The Irish have the best hearts in the three kingdoms, and they never blunder more than when they attempt to express their zeal and affections; the reason, I suppose is, that cool sense never thinks of attempting impossibilities; but a warm heart feels itself ready to do more than is possible for those it loves. I am sure our poor friend in Clarges Street would subscribe to this last sentence. What English heart ever excelled hers? I should almost have said equalled if I were not writing to one that rivals her.106 This sensitivity and heightened emotional nature of Vesey’s character is often signalled by Vesey’s acquaintances. Hannah More herself refers to the overcrowding at some of Vesey’s salons and explains the reason for it thus: “poor dear Vesey is so sweet tempered and benevolent that though she vows she will not mention it to anybody, she cannot help asking every agreeable creature that comes in her way.”107 Vesey’s letters often portray Ireland in a most positive light, sometimes quite literally such as in her letter to George Lyttelton in which she invites him to “stand upon this Island where the sun sets in the most beautiful variety of illuminated clouding – you must come & see him throw his last parting Beams upon our ultime Irlanda before he takes leave of Europe (?)”108 Her wanderings in Cork are equally mesmerising to her: I am now in the Pais de mes Peres and wandering about the haunts of youth and happy inexperience and I find that when infant imagination held up the magick glass it told me fewer lyes than I could have expected [.] the scenery is still enchanting it is I suppose that nature is always in the right and here the hand of art had not travell’d till she was to go hand in hand with her country companion.109 Vesey praises the natural beauty of the countryside where her father was born and very much associates herself with “the land of her ancestors” Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 99 in Cork but also, by extension, with Ireland as a whole. She goes on to mention several important figures of Irish mythology, demonstrating both her knowledge of them but also again associating herself and her childhood with this, distinctly Irish, heritage: “but the fairies still play their pranks [.] Fimacul or Fingal has his 3 hillocks call’d his gridiron and a cavern for his kitchen and the great O’Moore Tombstone in the middle of a new deserted village as I have often playd with his lover . . . .”110 Fionn Mac Cumhaill is one of the most important characters in Irish mythology, forming part of the Fionn or more commonly Fenian Cycle, which details the exploits of Fionn and his companions, the Fianna. James Macpherson’s retelling of the tale of Fionn in epic form in his Fragments of Ancient Poetry, collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and translated from the Galic (1760) meant that the character of Fionn Mac Cumhaill was very well known. Vesey was a great lover of these Celtic tales as she states in a fragment of a letter to Montagu: “I have a passion for Scotland & the country of Ossian.”111 Vesey does nevertheless also have a great love for England: . . . Shall we see the resurrection of a Chatham again? England once rose to a pitch of glory when all the world desponded. I have adored England with such an enthusiasm I can think of nothing else, so don’t charge me with romance or if you do forgive it. (1778)112 Much of Vesey’s love and longing for England can be interpreted as due to missing her friends who lived there. Montagu’s letters to Vesey are also filled with a “particular account of all your friends,” “for I know when one is separated [sic] by a grand distance from people for whom one interests oneself it is agreeable to hear what they are doing.”113 Many letters feature such comments as: “I had lately a charming letter from our Sylph who I believe casts many a longing look across St George’s channel; but, alas, there is not the shadow of a hope that we shall see her this winter” (Deal, 19 December 1769).114 Indeed, upon receiving a news-filled letter from Montagu, Vesey refers to herself as “banish’d from England” and elsewhere comments that “fortune has made it my duty to consider another part of the world as my home.”115 Many of her letters to and from her friends contain details of imaginary future meetings. This is particularly in evidence in Vesey’s correspondence with Carter in which the latter exclaims: “ . . . let us too please ourselves with our little harmless fancies of meeting at Lucan, without troubling our heads with the computation of probabilities” (Clarges St., 18 January 1768) and “We may take many an excursion together to the 100 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century stars, these clear autumnal evenings, and entirely forget the imperceptible tract between Deal and Lucan.”116 Montagu’s letters also contain many similar references, with comments such as “How often has my imagination set sail for Ireland & wafted me to Lucan,” and declarations of a desire to see Killarney.117 However, there is no evidence that Montagu ever made it to Lucan. In 1777 she is still dreaming of a visit to Ireland and what such a visit might entail: “I imagine you can show me fine mountains and old castles in Ireland and my imagination indulges the vision.”118 If Vesey was particularly associated in the minds of her English friends with the imagination and the fantastic, her bi-location on either side of the Irish sea was also susceptible to political interpretations. In 1773, Edmund Burke, in his expostulations against a proposed Irish Absentee Tax, cited Vesey’s salon as vulnerable to destruction if the tax were approved. This tax emphasised Vesey’s position as an Irishwoman in England more than anything else thus far. The tax itself was to be “at the rate of 2s. in the pound on landed property, levied on those who resided more than six months in the year out of Ireland.”119 Burke saw the tax as an outrage, “a virtual declaration that England is a foreign country,” commenting that: One of the most odious parts of the proposed absentee tax is its tendency to separate friends, and to make as ugly breaches in private society as it must make in the unity of the great political body. I am sure that much of the satisfaction of some circles in London will be lost by it. Do you think that our friend Mrs Vesey will suffer her husband to vote for a tax, that is to destroy the evenings at Bolton Row? I trust we shall have other supporters of the same sex, equally powerful, and equally deserving to be so, who will not abandon the common cause of their own liberties and our satisfactions. We shall be barbarized on both sides of the water if we do not see on another now and then. We shall sink into surly, brutish Johns, and you will degenerate into Wild Irish. (30 October 1773)120 Burke is clearly drawing on the salon as an example of how the two nations can communicate. Both Burke and the recipient of this letter, Charles Bingham, were participants at Vesey’s salon, and this letter highlights the importance of these salons, these “evenings at Bolton Row,” as well as the great role played by the Irish in England’s, and particularly London’s, social as well as political structures.121 Burke emphasises Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 101 the importance of interaction between the two countries. He fears both groups will deteriorate significantly without intermittent contact with the other and asserts that both nationalities need to interact in order to prevent degeneration of either group. This recalls the principle of gender complementarity outlined by David Hume in his “Of Refinement in the Arts”.122 Burke’s assertion that Irish and English are both needed to harmonise each other clearly echoes Hume’s formula for good conversation, which required the cooperation of the two sexes, whereby all salon participants would mutually enliven and stimulate each other’s conversation. The salon is presented as the forum where this harmonising can take place, and where both men and women, Irish and English, can converse and learn from each other. Cultural transfers across the Irish Sea The process of exchange and interaction highlighted by Burke was also sustained through the transfer of cultural items between the two countries. The salons, and particularly the salon hostesses, acted as “importers” or cultural intermediaries for these exchanges, further emphasising the bi-national character of the Bluestockings. Both Vesey and Montagu detail the receipt of numerous books, newspapers, and pamphlets from each side of the Irish Sea, thereby introducing them to new readers and establishing a network of exchange. Montagu’s letters to Vesey are often accompanied by both published and unpublished material. Madame de Sevigné’s newly published letters are promised in one letter: “I will send you ye elegy you desire, & with it a vol: of Madme Sevignes letters just publishd” (9 February 1774), whilst verses by the salonnière Madame du Bocage are enclosed in another: “I have enclosed a copy of verses which Madme de Boccage sent me with a kind letter since I came to England” (27 October 1776).123 Unpublished verses dedicated to Montagu herself are guaranteed on another occasion: “I will send you ye verses next post they were by Lady Nuneham alas I am more likely to inspire a young lady than a young Lord” (6 October 1777).124 As well as more exclusively literary items, Vesey also receives State Papers from England, including those edited by the politician and writer Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwick: “I supposed you and Mr Vesey w[oul]d like to have the state papers lately published by L[or]d Hardwicke so I ordered Mrs [Denoqe] to send them to Mr Pery who promised to convey them to you” (24 April 1778).125 Carter also sends books to Ireland via Irish travellers, in her case the aforementioned Mrs Dunbar: “I hope Mrs Dunbar has not forgot to bring you Miss Talbot’s Essays, which 102 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century designed you should have had long before, if I could have found an opportunity of conveying them.”126 Booksellers evidently played a vital part in this exchange process and their importance features constantly in the correspondence of Montagu and Vesey: “I shou’d be very thankful if you wou’d send me Book pamphlet or poem if there are any you like & get Dodsley or Pain put them to Mr Veseys account” and “You enquire after books, the press has furnish’d little. I will ask Dodsley to send you Mr Hands dialogue on the use of foreign travel, which I think entirely sensible . . . .”127 The literary works that Vesey sends to England are of particular interest as for the most part they were composed by members of her salons. It is important to remember that the salon was an institution that permitted the enhancement and indeed even the establishment of professional publishing reputations. An introduction into the salon secured a professional network and ultimately an influential audience for an aspiring author and their work. By sending the finished works to England, Vesey is thus continuing the effectiveness of her salon by extending the readership abroad, as it is certain that Montagu would have circulated the works she received amongst her circle. Dean Marlay’s verses, for example, are put into Montagu’s care: “If you like Dean Marlays verses do what you like with them I shall not ask his leave” (Dublin, 1778). An undated letter records Montagu’s receipt of more verses from Marlay where the hostess is “so gloriously immortalized.”128 Montagu expresses her thanks for the receipt of work by Sheridan on another occasion: “a thousand thanks for Mr Sheridans prologue which is most admirable . . . I must beg of you to convey ye enclosed to Mr Sheridan. I envy you this [blacked out] acquaintance” (5 June 1780).129 The following year Vesey sent Montagu sonnets written by Jephson for her perusal: “Here is a sonnet of Mr Jephsons to Lady Buckingham I don’t know how it is received” (1779).130 Vesey’s salon offered a means of exercising patronage similar to that made available by hostesses in France and England. Rather than simply proffering money, the salon hostesses, in their role as patrons, provided hospitality, encouragement, and access to literary networks.131 Some hostesses went further still and supplied practical help and advice in preparing texts for publication, such as was the case with Montagu and Chapone and Carter. Vesey’s role was more centred on the circulation and promotion of her participants’ material. In addition to making their work widely known and widely read both within and outside the salon, the salon hostesses also frequently introduced their salon participants to members of the peerage who might be able to support them financially. Montagu Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 103 endeavours to do just this on behalf of Vesey’s protégé Jephson: “Lady Nuneham will come to Dublin with Lord Harcourt I will recommend Mr Jephson to their acquaintance.”132 This introduction proved successful and Jephson’s Braganza was later dedicated to the Viscountess, with the dedication concluding: “Whatever motive may be assigned for this Address, my principal purpose will be fully answered, if your Ladyship accepts it as a testimony of my gratitude for the favours I have received from the Noble Family to which you are so happily united . . . .”133 Montagu’s application to Vesey regarding the poet James Woodhouse, “the poetical shoemaker,” illustrates Vesey’s importance as hostess in Ireland and the importance of Ireland itself in the literary career of English poets, something that is often overlooked. Montagu’s request to Vesey was as follows: I have taken ye liberty to enclose four proposals for my friend Mr Woodhouse as you love virtue and verse I am sure you will be glad to dispose of them for him, & it will be of great service to him to be introduced into Ireland under yr patronage. (22 February 1766)134 Montagu, who acted as Woodhouse’s patron along with William Shenstone, clearly wished to promote his career as a poet, and introducing him to the protection of Vesey is an attempt to do this.135 On another occasion Montagu asks Vesey to attend to two foreign dignitaries visiting England and Ireland: When I left London, Count Zinzendorffe one of les grands Chambellians de l’Empire & Monsieur Dargueil a very lively clever French man, talk’d of visiting Ireland. I beg if they come to Dublin you wd take some notice of them, & say it is for my sake. You know I love to give myself consequence with Foreigners & I am sure you will be pleased with both these Gentlemen.136 Vesey unfortunately does not have the opportunity of meeting either gentleman: “imagine the disappointment of reading yesterday Count Zinzindorfs name among the list of passengers sail’d for England – I don’t know anything has given me more vexation,” but the request again underlines the important position Vesey held in Ireland’s society at the time. Elizabeth Montagu was herself a significant contributor to the world of print, with her An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear 104 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century (1769). It was, in fact, Carter who encouraged Montagu, after the death of Lord Bath in 1764, to pursue her study of the playwright as a means of diverting her from her grief, while Benjamin Stillingfleet, he to whom the origin of the term Bluestocking is attributed, is said to have corrected the proofs.137 In the French salons, animosity and competition were rife between the salon hostesses, but the collaborative effort of Elizabeth Vesey and Elizabeth Montagu illustrates again that this was clearly not the case amongst the Bluestockings. Patronage of salon members was not limited solely to the assistance of salon participants such as Jephson as it extended to the provision of aid to other Bluestocking hostesses, enabling the maximum output of new work and providing evidence of the inclusivity of the salon as a network of support for all salon members. Thus, just as Montagu, in her position of salon hostess, offered financial aid and support to others seeking to publish their work, so too did she receive it from her fellow hostess. A letter from Montagu to Carter in July 1769 reveals Montagu’s suspicion that Vesey had in fact both organised and funded the printing of Montagu’s Essay in Dublin: “I have had a letter from ye Sylph [Vesey] . . . She tells me ye Essay on Shakespear is going to be printed at Dublin. I fancy she is at ye expence of ye impression” (28 July 1769).138 The Bluestocking salons thereby provided a united community that could support various publishing projects through a network of communication and exchange rather than rivalry and opposition. Several other of the Bluestockings’ works were also published in Dublin. Correspondence from foreign visitors to Ireland during this period indicates that the prices of books in Dublin compared favourably with those of London. In her comprehensive study Dublin’s Trade in Books 1550–1800 (1989), Mary Pollard noted that “the existence of the Dublin book trade depended to a great extent on its ability to undercut the London trade in producing reprints of London originals.”139 The British Copyright Act of 1709 did not apply to Ireland and so many Irish printers concentrated chiefly on the reprint industry rather than on publishing original material.140 This was due considerably to the fact that authors generally sent their work to London to be published to secure both copyright and reputation. Hester Chapone’s Miscellanies was published in Dublin by the United Company of Booksellers in 1775, and Elizabeth Carter’s Epictetus, which was translated at the prompting of her fellow Bluestocking, Catherine Talbot, is listed as an Irish publication produced by subscription in 1758.141 The network of communication and exchange amongst the Bluestockings involved much interaction between England and Ireland. Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 105 Carter’s comments on England’s political relationship with Ireland testify to the large number of Irish in her social circles: I am far from having any wish for the recovery of America: but a breach with Ireland is of much more important consequence as a national object, and very interesting to me, who am so greatly obliged, and so happy in the friendship of so many amiable Irish. (Deal, 15 December 1779)142 The amiable Irish included men and women such as Anne and Philadelphia Dawson, Penelope and Charles Dunbar, Robert Jephson, Dean Marlay, and Bishop Percy, all of whom have been shown to have participated extensively in the Bluestocking salons in both countries, contributing to these salons’ make-up and their conversation. In addition to this exchange of participants, the commerce between Bluestockings in England and Ireland also incorporated the exchange of letters, books, and pamphlets, such as those written by Dean Marlay. Such bi-national correspondence was additionally supplemented by patronage of salon members of English and Irish identity, namely James Woodhouse and Robert Jephson, and publication of new material by each country’s own press. It must not be forgotten that behind all of these individual participants and examples of exchange was Elizabeth Vesey herself, the only Bluestocking hostess to have held salons in both countries. Vesey greatly contributed to Ireland’s social life, providing an important physical site for exchange of ideas in addition to aiding literary aspirants through promotion of their work, dissemination of their compositions, and introductions to possible financial patrons. Vesey’s salon embraced the Bluestocking ethos of meritocracy, bringing literary figures like Jephson into contact with the aristocratic figures, such as the Duchess of Leinster, the Duchess of Portland, Lady Anne Dawson, and Lady Philadelphia Dartrey. Vesey’s Irish salon members benefited from extensive opportunities to develop networks through the salon’s establishment of webs of connection with members of other Bluestocking salons in England. New writers would have sought membership of Vesey’s Irish and English salons both for the sake of their reputation and the better circulation of their work, making hers one of the most attractive salons of the time. 4 Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship The favourite spot where every person of genius or talents in Dublin, or who visited Dublin, loved most to resort to.1 Lady Moira was born Elizabeth Hastings, daughter of the well-known Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon in 1731, and married John Rawdon of Moira, Co. Down, in 1752.2 Rawdon was awarded the baronetcy of Moira in January 1762 while Elizabeth herself would later possess the titles Countess of Moira, Baroness Hungerford and Hastings amongst others.3 The splendour of these many titles was reflected in the Rawdons’ Dublin residence at Ussher’s Island, the location of Lady Moira’s influential salons. Many of Dublin’s intellectual elite frequented this important salon, with figures such as the author Sydney Owenson (later Lady Morgan) participating alongside the writer and musician Thomas Moore and the biographer and MP Francis Hardy. Moira House was also noted at the time as having received many Irish visitors from outside of the capital; Lady Moira’s obituarist wrote that her home was “the favourite spot where every person of genius or talents in Dublin, or who visited Dublin, loved most to resort to.” John Philpot Curran hailed for example from Newmarket, Co. Cork, the Rev. Edward Berwick acted as vicar for Leixlip, Co. Kildare, and Henry Boyd came to Dublin from Dromore, Co. Antrim. Such was its importance that the Moira House salon also received an eclectic range of visitors from abroad; amongst those recorded were Floubert, Commander of the French troops that briefly seized Carrickfergus in 1760, Charles James Fox, the British Whig politician in 1777, and the English novelist William Godwin in 1800.4 The above examples also serve to illustrate the longevity of Lady Moira’s salon, here stretching over a 40-year period, and indeed the salon was a central location for intellectual activities in Ireland for the greater portion of the late-eighteenth century. 106 Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 107 In exploring Moira House salon, it is extremely fortunate that so many of the family’s papers still survive. Lady Moira’s yearly diaries, her library catalogue, the account books, and the inventories for Moira House are all preserved in the muniment room at Castle Forbes, Co. Longford, the home of Lady Moira’s daughter Selina Forbes. The family correspondence of Moira House’s hostess also still exists in its entirety, as do her letters to and from literary figures such as Joseph Cooper Walker, Thomas Dermody, Maria Edgeworth, and Walter Scott among many others. The survival of these papers enables us to examine in detail and from many perspectives the world of this extraordinary Irish salon, allowing for investigation of such issues as nation, identity, and cultural transfers, both within Ireland and between Ireland, Britain, and France. Analysis of the subject matters discussed, the interests, and affiliation of the guests chosen to participate within the salon, as well as the individual works the salon hostess elected to patronise, allows us to determine the salon’s ideological aims and purpose, agreed upon by hostess and participants alike. The manner in which they embrace the salon’s potentialities for particular literary, antiquarian, or patriotic purposes also reveals much about its members’ emergent identities. Examined in this way Moira House takes its rightful place as one of the most important of Irish salons, particularly notable for its engagement with the late-eighteenth century recovery, or construction, of Ireland’s cultural heritage. Moira House Moira House salon offered a tangible location where individuals could assemble in order to exchange viewpoints, as well as to aid each other in the production of various literary and scholarly endeavours. Recalling the opulence of the English salons, the salon itself took place within the beautiful interior of Moira House. Moira House no longer exists, sadly, having been fully demolished in the 1960s. Documents in the Irish Architectural Archives chart Moira House’s destruction and its replacement by an office block and a nearby petrol station.5 Fortunately, the building greatly intrigued several late-nineteenth-century architectural historians resulting in numerous articles detailing its architectural properties (see Figure 4.1). Writing in 1898, Frances Gerrard reflected on how Moira House looked in the early 1800s, before it was transformed into the Mendicity Institution in 1824: “the massive stone mansion was surrounded with the most beautiful gardens, and was secluded by the row of large trees which extended along Arran Quay to within a few feet of Bloody Bridge.”6 An article in The Irish Builder from a 108 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Figure 4.1 Moira House Dublin, drawn and etched by William Brocas, published 1811. Image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland few years earlier, describes it as being “detached from the dwellings on either side” and situated 40 feet back from the street with three floors: “Each floor showed seven large windows en suite, three being placed in centre, and two on either side.”7 Descriptions of the “magnificent internal decorations,” which were designed by the architect Healy, are limited in all accounts to avowals of great splendour and beauty. These descriptions are modelled, almost without fail, indeed generally word for word, on John Wesley’s oft-repeated observations from April 1775: Afterwards I waited on Lady Mayra [sic], and was surprised to observe, though not a more grand, yet a far more elegant room, than ever I saw in England: it was an octagon, about twenty feet square, and fifteen or sixteen high; having one window, (the sides of it inlaid throughout with mother-of pearl) reaching from the top of the room to the bottom; the ceiling, sides, and furniture of the room were equally elegant.8 This description of Moira House can be supplemented by the fascinating room-by-room inventory conducted by Zach Foxall of Arran Quay Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 109 Dublin, on 7 May 1808, shortly after Lady Moira died in April of that year.9 This document allows us to visualise the settings in which the salons took place. According to Foxall’s account, the large front drawing room contained two large sofas and cushions with blue calico cases, seven large square chairs, also with blue calico cases, six painted cane chairs, three fire screens, two large and two small floor stools, and two small square mahogany tables.10 During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Europeans were importing calicoes from India in great quantities and it began to become a common presence in many genteel homes, as it was in Lady Moira’s.11 In addition to this fabric, the Rawdons’ drawing room also contained several examples of oriental furniture, reflecting the then fashion for chinoiserie, noticeably embraced by Elizabeth Montagu: two fine India cabinets in addition to two Chinese gilt tables with white marble tops. There is also reference to large pier glasses and three marble busts over the chimney.12 Writing to her daughter Selina, Lady Moira outlines the value she places on items of furniture, not simply as fashionable pieces, but for their role in linking members of a family to its shared past: I have a little desk for her [Lady Moira’s granddaughter], made for Drawing & keeping all the materials for that Occupation, but it wants repair, & a new green Cloth, for it belonged to her Great Great Grand Aunt, Mrs Dorothy Rawdon Sister of the Old Lady Granard . . . as a Heir Loom she will Value it – & perhaps a Rag of my Mantle of attachment to Old family Possessions may be caught up by her, when I throw it off upon my translation from Earth.13 Pieces of furniture seem to have been circulated and exchanged between Moira House and Castle Forbes on a reciprocal basis. In the same letter, Lady Moira thanks Selina for the receipt of a chair which “will beautifully ornament” her drawing Room, when gilt, “& I shall have two Ottomans to make up their set.” Furniture from the Rawdons’ home in Co. Down is also received into their town house: “I next go to altering the Study by the assistance of the Materials from the Library of Montalto.”14 Moira House also possessed a most impressive art collection, noted in Richard Twiss’s Tour of Ireland: The earl of Moira’s collection is numerous; among the chief pictures are the following, A young woman kissing a young man. Murrillo. A small marriage of St. Catherine, by Correggio, A few portraits in 110 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century crayons, by Rosalba, A warrior’s head, Rembrandt; and two or three pieces by Salvator Rosa.15 These artworks, dating from the early-sixteenth to the late-seventeenth century, record the shifting trends of European art. The small painting of a marriage is probably “The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine” (1510–1515) by Correggio, the Italian Renaissance painter, now in The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.16 Interestingly, his paintings, particularly his mythological works, are seen as prefiguring the eighteenth-century rococo style embraced by many salonnières. The “chief pictures” of the Moira collection also include works by the Spanish and Italian baroque painters Murillo and Salvator Rosa, respectively.17 Rosa, who was patronised by the Medici family in Florence, introduced a novel type of landscape that depicted wild, savage scenes.18 These bold artworks were “particularly esteemed in England by admirers of the picturesesque” and presumably in Ireland also by the occupants of and visitors to Moira House.19 Finally, the collection also possessed a warrior’s head by Rembrandt, the master painter and etcher from the Dutch Golden Age. Of the 171 pictures in the collection, it is thought that 102 were hung in the small parlour.20 After Lady Moira’s death, her husband’s collection was dispersed, primarily between Castle Forbes and Loudon and Donington, with the Hastings portraits going to her daughters, while the Rawdon portraits and most of the remaining portraits were acquired by her son Francis Rawdon Hastings and shared between his country seats at Loudoun Castle in Scotland and Donington Park in Leicestershire in England.21 Connoisseurship played a significant role in the Grand Tour, which “helped to transmit continental culture to Britain and Ireland, as tourists brought home pictures, artefacts, clothing, and continental tastes.”22 Lady Moira’s husband, Sir John Rawdon, completed a Grand Tour of France and Italy between 1738 and 1740, visiting various French towns including Blois, Versailles, and Toulouse.23 Selina Forbes, Lady Granard, travelled to France and Germany in 1785 and 1786, writing to her mother from Montpellier on 7 June 1785.24 It is worth noting that Lady Moira herself is said to have spent a period of up to 12 months in France, although there are very few details available pertaining to this journey.25 As well as the significant numbers of elite Irish travellers visiting France, French language books were also in high circulation in eighteenth-century Ireland.26 Máire Kennedy has argued that these books were not being sold by Irish booksellers uniquely to members of the Huguenot Diaspora in Ireland, but also to the educated upper classes, many of whom had been educated in the language at a young Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 111 age.27 Such a thesis is certainly supported by Lady Moira’s own collection. Included in the Granard Papers is a “List of the books which belonged to the Countess of Moira and now in the green room of Castle Forbes,” dated 18 September 1808.28 This catalogue strongly suggests Lady Moira’s fluency in French. Her library includes many French history books, Charles-Jean François Henault’s Abrégé chronologique de l’histoire de France in two volumes, as well as Annales de France, for example. The library also contains French works pertaining to genealogical matters, such as Dictionnaire de l’art de vérifier les dates, Dictionnaire Généalogique, Tables généalogiques des maisons souveraines de l’Europe, and Histoire ecclésiastique des églises reformées du royaume de France (1580). Finally there is another section of works relating to household arts; confectionery, dyeing, cooking, and washing, including Menon’s La Cuisinière Bourgeoise, Le Confiseur moderne ou l’art du confiseur . . . (1750; 1801), L’Art de Laver ou nouvelle manière de peindre sur le papier (1687?), La Teinture Parfait (1788), and La Science du Maître d’hôtel cuisinier (1749). Included in the Rawdon Estate Papers and Accounts are various other receipts and accounts belonging to Lady Moira relative to the running of Moira House. These further substantiate the widespread perception of Moira House as a place of great wealth and luxury. There are two undated summaries included in a bundle of receipts from circa 1790 that offer an illuminating insight into life at Moira House. The consumption of wines as appears from Mr Manneli’s statement, for example, records, by the dozen, those bottles consumed in the house during that year: 137 claret, 38 port, 34 white wine, “In all being 209 dozen, being nearly 7 a day.”29 The amount of butchers’ meat consumed is also recorded, by price rather than quantity, thus “from the 20th of May 1788 to the 19th of November 1789 being a year and a half” was £566 2s 6d. These figures, along with similar sums for bread and poultry, indicate a most luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by the Rawdons in late-eighteenthcentury Dublin. Lady Moira’s magnificent residence, titles, and wealth place her in an exclusive category of Irish society. Her Anglo-Irish status might lead one to believe that her salon would essentially replicate those found in England at the time, with similar concerns, aims, and ideologies. Yet, what emerges is a salon established to serve specifically Irish concerns. Antiquarianism and translation As no historical compilation of the nature of the present work could be completed by the single efforts of one man – and he engaged in a variety of pursuits – I was necessitated to solicit foreign aid.30 112 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century The last decades of the eighteenth century saw a great eagerness emerge among the Anglo-Irish for antiquarianism: the study and appreciation of the language, customs, and cultures of ancient Ireland.31 Lady Moira’s espousal of the role of salon hostess enabled her to lend her support to those who wished to promote such endeavours. She invited them to participate in the Moira House salon, thereby establishing a forum where members could converse and aid each other through instruction as well as continuing this network through epistolary communication. The longevity of Moira House salon can be contrasted with the shortlived success of other attempts at associational antiquarianism in the latter half of the eighteenth century, prior to the establishment of the Royal Irish Academy in 1785. These institutions include the PhysicoHistorical Society (1744–1752), the Select Committee on Antiquities of the Dublin Society (1772–1774), and the Hibernian Antiquarian Society (1779–1783).32 The first two societies were explicitly Protestant in composition although the Select Committee included several Catholics as corresponding members. All three were exclusively male. In contrast, the Moira House salon invited guests of different religious denomination and both men and women. Many of the key figures associated with antiquarianism – Charlotte Brooke, Joseph Cooper Walker, and the Catholic Thomas Moore – were all involved in the Moira House salon. The Cavan-born antiquarian Charlotte Brooke’s statement of intent in her Reliques of Irish Poetry: Consisting of Heroic Poems, Odes, Elegies, and Songs, Translated into English verse . . . (1789) sums up the general aim of those engaged in such study. Brooke declares that she has been “induced to undertake this work,” “with a view to throw some light on the antiquities of this country, to vindicate, in part, its history, and prove its claim to scientific as well as to military fame.”33 Brooke’s work consisted of translating ancient Gaelic poetry into English, thereby making it accessible to a much wider audience. Her preface celebrates the aesthetic value of the originals as well as their historical importance, although it also laments the lack of curiosity prevalent amongst her contemporaries for these “productions of genius.”34 According to Norman A. Jeffares and Peter Van de Kamp, Brooke’s “renderings of the Red Branch and Fenian material, reinforced by her knowledge of Celtic antiquities, were an extremely influential part of the general antiquarian movement,” thus successfully increasing awareness of, and interest in, Ireland’s past, as well as vindicating its right to be respected in the wider literary canon.35 The subscription list to Brooke’s Reliques includes several eminent AngloIrish figures, such as Lady Elizabeth Tuite and John Philpot Curran, both of whom were members of the Moira House salon.36 Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 113 Charlotte Brooke and Lady Moira first met “about the year 1786,” after which “a gradual intimacy grew up between them.”37 That Lady Moira contributed directly to Brooke’s work is indicated by the author’s acknowledgement: “to the Right Honourable the Countess of Moira I am indebted for some valuable communications.”38 Lady Moira is said to have aided Brooke with both translation and compilation, offering vital evidence of her interest in Ireland’s Gaelic culture.39 Liz Bellamy has suggested a strong link between such Anglo-Irish interests and attempts by this Protestant Ascendancy to legitimise its colonial rule in Ireland.40 However, both Lady Moira’s support for Brooke through her position as leading salon hostess and Brooke’s creation of such a text despite her Anglo-Irish background can also, and more convincingly, be interpreted primarily as illustrating the embracing of Irish rather than English culture and heritage. Both women were members of a class who were in the process of constructing a new identity for themselves in late-eighteenth-century Ireland. By clearly lending her support to such literary and antiquary developments, Lady Moira was explicitly associating both herself and her salon with a distinctive cultural movement. While the French salons, for example, can be linked with both the Enlightenment and “the Fronde,” and the English salons with the promotion of writing by female authors in particular, Lady Moira’s salon became a primary location for Irish scholarship. There she welcomed all those interested in a specifically Irish tradition, whether ancient or contemporary, offering a physical centre to the movement and allowing the members to see themselves as part of a group. Charlotte Brooke herself recognised her participation in a broader undertaking. In her acknowledgements she salutes the efforts of another antiquarian, who himself was a regular participant in Lady Moira’s salon, noting that “Joseph C. Walker, Esq.; has afforded every assistance which zeal, judgement, and extensive knowledge, could give.”41 Walker, like Brooke, was greatly interested in the Gaelic bardic tradition and is generally credited as being the inspiration and catalyst for Brooke’s own work. Brooke translated three poems for Walker’s Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards (1786), an extremely influential collection, again introducing previously obscure and impenetrable songs and poems to the Anglo-Irish community and vindicating the worth of native Irish literary endeavours. Included in the Granard Papers at Castle Forbes are letters from Walker, writing from St Valeri in Bray, Co. Wicklow, to Lady Moira about historical and antiquarian matters, highlighting both her knowledge and interest in such affairs. 114 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Lady Moira was also in communication with the politician and landowner James Caulfield, 1st Earl of Charlemont, regarding her historical enquiries.42 J.C. Walker’s letters meanwhile are filled with acknowledgements of Lady Moira’s involvement in his literary endeavours; his letter of 20 March 1798 reads, “I await impatiently, your ladyship’s instructions in regard to the paper which I did myself the honor to send you last week,” while that of 31 March of the same year explicitly illustrates the role played by Lady Moira in his research, “Availing of your ladyship’s indulgence, I did not send the books last night as I intended, but renewed my researches in them, turning in particular, to the passages pointed out by your ladyship.”43 The letters also indicate Walker’s willingness to aid his patron, with Walker offering to transcribe “for your use, some of your curious historical and biographical collections.”44 Walker’s preface to his An Historical Essay on the Dress of the Ancient and Modern Irish (1788) announces the success and optimism of antiquarianism during the 1780s and its welcome reception: “He, who undertakes to elucidate the Antiquities of Ireland, no longer engages in an ungrateful task. The Spirit of literary enquiry is gone abroad in this kingdom, and whoever advances to meet her, is sure to win her smiles.”45 The preface also clearly outlines Lady Moira’s contributions to Walker’s essay, and indeed throughout the work her expertise is constantly called upon by Walker in his explanatory footnotes. While of course acknowledging literary rules of deference, the extent of her involvement is nevertheless emphasised by Walker in the following comment, “Condescending to honour me with her correspondence during the progress of this work, there are few pages in either of the essays, which I am now offering to the public, that cannot boast some obligation to her ladyship.”46 Walker’s long-term participation in Lady Moira’s salon is recorded by his brother Samuel Walker, in the preface to J.C. Walker’s posthumously published Memoirs of Alessandro Tassoni (1815): The writer of these lines cannot, in justice to his brother, mention the name of the noble family of Moira without adverting to . . . the many delightful hours he [J.C. Walker] spent, during a series of years, at their mansion-house in Dublin; which might truly be denominated the temple of science and the belles lettres . . . whenever he visited the metropolis, he uniformly received the most friendly invitations to that house.47 Samuel Walker continues to say that his brother “there found an assemblage of rank and talent,” with members of the aristocracy mingling Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 115 with the literati and other public figures. Walker’s attendance at the Moira House salon coincided in particular with the participation of two other men of letters, Mr Francis Hardy, best known as the biographer of Lord Charlemont, and the Revd. Edward Berwick, a writer and chaplain to the Earl of Moira, both of whom were to become lifelong friends of Walker.48 While encouraging the antiquarian efforts of her salon members, one must not forget that Lady Moira had herself previously ventured into print regarding such matters. Her rather lengthily named article, which appeared in Archaeologia in 1785, was entitled, in part, “Particulars relative to a human skeleton, and the garments that were found thereon, when dug out of a bog at the foot of Drumkeragh, a mountain in the county of Down, and Barony of Kinalearty, on Lord Moira’s estate, in the autumn of 1780 . . . ” Archaeologia, or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity, was published for the Society of Antiquaries of London between 1770 and 1991, and Lady Moira’s item was also noteworthy due to her position as the first woman to contribute to the periodical. Horace Walpole refers to the article in a letter to Anne Fitzpatrick, Lady Ossory, in July 1785: I have just been reading a work by a new noble authoress, a princess of the blood of Clarence, and a lady deeply versed in the antiquities of the country where the Brian Mac Gill Patrick was seated, as well as of the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Gauls etc. It is the present Countess of Moira . . . .49 The article offers us a glimpse of Lady Moira’s research interests as well as her grasp of Irish history and contemporary scholarship. The discovery of the skeleton on the Moira estate included various items of clothing, which Lady Moira enumerates in meticulous detail, as well as two plaits of hair “plaited in a very tight close manner.”50 Lady Moira’s article, presented as a letter, offers precise details of the body’s position within the bog and attempts to situate the period that the body might date from. The hostess’s passion for flax and clothes manufacture on her estate in the late-eighteenth century is echoed in this historical interest, and Lady Moira outlines her hopes for her discovery: “From the cloathing I expected to have got some insight into the state of the flaxen and woollen manufactures amidst the native Irish at that period.”51 Her research and findings are supported by references to John Toland’s “Account of the Druids” from A Collection of Several Pieces (1726); to translations by the antiquarian Charles Vallencey; to a previous issue of 116 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Archaeologia; to Geoffrey Keating’s Foras Feasa (trans. 1723); as well as by including many footnotes and a plate of illustrations. The letter was read aloud to the society by John Theophilus Rawdon two years prior to its publication, and Lady Moira offers useful translations of words such as sliabh, the Irish for mountain, or craobh, the paw of an animal, as well as helpful pronunciation of specific words for her audience in England.52 Three years after Lady Moira’s article, Walker’s Historic Essay situated his findings very much in their historical context and offered a defence for not shying away from unwelcome matters: It was hinted to me by a friend who perused my manuscript, that I dwell with too much energy on the oppressions of the English, treading sometimes with an heavy step, on ashes not yet cold. But however thankful for the hint, I cannot subscribe to his opinion. I have only related unexaggerated historic truths.53 Lady Moira’s article also expands on her views regarding the treatment of Irish people by those in power in England. She avoids euphemisms in outlining her beliefs regarding the origin of the discovered bog body in her ironic comment: I therefore conjectured that the present object of my inquiry was one of that race, who had fallen [e] a prey to famine, in consequence of the prosecution of those humane methods my countrymen continued to employ in Elizabeth’s reign, to civilize the Irish, and conciliate their affections to their conqueror.54 In her footnote, the Countess exclaims further, “it seems but candid to seize any opportunity of relating what the Irish endured from the English, since the cruelties of the former are generally stated as not having arisen from provocation.”55 Both these works date of course from the 1780s, and both Moira and Walker wrote with much more freedom than would have been permitted or indeed sensible in the succeeding decade, after the French Revolution and with political tensions increasing in Irish society. While Walker insists in 1788 that “the wrongs of the English only live now in the page of history,” and that they have “stifled the remembrance of their oppressions in a warm embrace,” one finds numerous references throughout Lady Moira’s personal correspondence to the plight of the Irish, both past and present, alongside praise of their culture.56 Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 117 After the death of both Lady Moira and J.C. Walker, in 1808 and 1810 respectively, Henry Boyd, another member of the Moira House salon and best known as the translator of Dante into English, reunited the figures in a poem that celebrates their joint contribution to advancing Ireland’s position as a cultural force: York’s sainted heiress, who with you combin’d The drooping genius of our Isle to raise, With the communion of a kindred mind, Shall share with you, the minstrel’s grateful praise.57 This attempt by Lady Moira to raise Ireland’s “drooping genius” can be immediately identified as one of the primary aims of the Moira House salon. Boyd’s choice of the words “combin’d” and “communion,” with their connotations of mutual participation, echo the functioning of Lady Moira’s salon, where literary figures such as Brooke, Walker, and many others could come together to achieve their goals in producing a distinctively Irish literary heritage. Indeed, Brooke and Walker may have been the most prominent of Lady Moira’s guests, but other, less celebrated participants, also shared the same cultural ideals. As in the salons in Britain and France, Lady Moira’s role as hostess allowed her to decide upon the guests, and those she chose to invite consistently embraced ideas that were distinctly Irish. The poet Thomas Moore refers to Lady Moira as “the enlightened friend of Ireland” in a footnote to “The Song of Fionnuala” in his Irish Melodies (1808–1834). On the Celtic myth, “The Children of Lir,” Moore notes that “I found this fanciful fiction among some manuscript translations from the Irish, which were begun under the direction of that enlightened friend of Ireland, the late Countess of Moira.”58 Much of the translated material used by Anglo-Irish antiquarians at this time had been transcribed by Muiris Ó Gormáin, teacher, poet, and “one of the most prolific scribes of the eighteenth century,” who provided much material for Lady Moira and J.C. Walker amongst others.59 Yet again, Lady Moira is depicted as deeply interested in the Gaelic language, as well as being associated with attempts to disseminate knowledge of this Gaelic Irish tradition among a wider public, not just the members of her salon. We know that Moore, a Catholic who attended Trinity College, also attended her salon at Moira House as a young man. This knowledge is owing to a reproof made to him much later, in April 1837: “You visit everybody but me! . . . I cared for you when I met you a stripling at Moira House, but you forget and neglect Mrs. Cork in her old age.”60 118 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Moore was introduced to Lord Moira by Joseph Atkinson, “treasurer of the ordnance under the administration of the Earl of Moira; the friend of Moore, Owenson, Curran, Phillips, and the rest of the galaxy of Irish genius; and himself a respectable poet.”61 Atkinson was a dramatist as well as a poet, with his comedy and his two comic operas all produced in Dublin. Among his verse, “Killarney, a poem” (1798) was dedicated to Lady Moira’s son Francis Rawdon Hastings. Atkinson introduced Moore to the 2nd Earl of Moira whilst Moore was in England after having completed his degree in Trinity College Dublin in 1799. This introduction was of great importance, and “he [Moore] well knew that . . . the success of any publishing venture was largely dependent on the obtaining of a good name for patron.”62 Lord Moira introduced Moore to the Prince of Wales who then permitted his Odes of Anacreon (1800) to be dedicated to himself, increasing the work’s stature and reach.63 The 2nd Earl had a large impact on Moore’s life in addition to this early introduction, offering him the position of registrar in the admiral court in Bermuda in 1803, and assisting him in his visit to London in 1807 where he began the Irish Melodies.64 Lady Moira’s interest in the Gaelic language is also reflected in her interaction with the classical and Irish scholar Theophilus O’Flanagan, providing him with material for translation. O’Flanagan replaced Muiris Ó Gormáin as chief translator at the Royal Irish Academy in 1786, where he was commissioned to undertake such gargantuan projects as the translation of the Brehon laws into English. O’Flanagan was later a founding member and first secretary of the Dublin Gaelic Society, which was established in 1807. The aims of that Society recall those of the Royal Irish Academy and were clearly expressed in its only publication, Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, Established for the Investigation and Revival of Ancient Irish Literature (1808): The Society recommends itself to every liberal, patriotic, and enlightened Mind; an opportunity is now, at length, offered to the Learned of Ireland, to retrieve their Character among the Nations of Europe, and shew that their History and Antiquities are not fitted to be consigned to eternal oblivion; the Plan, if pursued with spirit and perseverance will redound much to the Honor of Ireland.65 The society’s aims involved both the preservation and the cultivation of the Irish language. Amongst its aspirations was to publish “every Fragment” which remained of the Irish language in order to preserve it, whilst Richard McElligot, of Limerick, Honorary Member of the Gaelic Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 119 Society of Dublin, also communicated his intentions to write a new Irish dictionary and grammar to ensure the language’s survival. Theophilus O’Flanagan’s contribution to the Transactions included a translation of a poem from The Book of O’Gara, which he offered to the public as, Advice to a Prince, by Thaddy Mac Brody, or Mac Brodin, son of Dary; being the inauguration ode of Donach O’Brien, Fourth Earl of thomond, when elected prince of his nation, according to ancient Irish usage; with an English translation in verse (1808). This compilation of court verse was assembled by Feargal Dubh Ó Gadhra, or Rev. Mr. O’Gara, in the midseventeenth century.66 O’Gara collected and transcribed Irish poems “in the several Coenobia of the Low countries,” particularly Lille and Brussels, after having been forced to leave his native Co. Galway during Cromwell’s persecutions.67 The collection then passed to the family of O’Daly of Dunsandel. There were only two bidders present at the sale of the library of the Right Hon. Denis Daly – Lady Moira’s Chaplain Edward Berwick and Theophilus O’Flanagan. O’Flanagan had previously been introduced to Lady Moira by the scholar and officer in the French service, “the chevalier Thomas O’Gorman, a great promoter and preserver of Irish History and Literature.”68 O’Flanagan records in his introduction that Berwick declined bidding when he discovered O’Flanagan’s identity, with the result that the scholar was able to acquire the work himself.69 Several incorrect copies of The Book of O’Gara existed throughout Ireland but the volume acquired by O’Flanagan was the “only correct one.”70 O’Flanagan dedicated his translation to Francis Rawdon Hastings in memory of Lady Moira: “Your benign Mother, of dignified Memory, enabled me to give this curious Production to the World: and I could not resist the Wish of making this Acknowledgement of Gratitude to her great departed Spirit.”71 O’Flanagan had a second motive in addressing his work to Hastings; he hoped to attract the attention of someone of the Earl’s stature and importance “to the contemplation of ancient Irish Wisdom, exhibited in this interesting and instructive Poem.”72 O’Flanagan is described as linking the world of “pre-union ascendancy antiquarianism and nineteenth-century cultural nationalism.”73 Lady Moira, although clearly embedded in ascendancy culture and ascendancy antiquarianism, also provides a link, albeit tenuous, between the two eras of antiquarian research through her connection with the Catholic scholars such as Moore and O’Flanagan, who are more commonly associated with nineteenth-century scholarship, as well as her intimate connection with fellow ascendancy figures such as Walker and Brooke. Pre-union ascendancy antiquarianism was 120 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century clearly associational in nature, just as that of the next century would prove to be. Regional writing In an entry in her journal for 5 May 1759, Mary Delany described Lady Moira, then Lady Rawdon, thus, “She is very sensible, well bred, and agreeable . . . She reads a vast deal and has a surprising knowledge of history.”74 Lady Moira was generally referred to in like manner, with great importance paid to her intellectual capabilities. Her interest in genealogical matters, for example, was frequently referred to by her contemporaries and represented a life-long passion as can be seen in the following description dated from the year of her death: “Lady Moira is quite deprived of the use of her limbs, she was able to sit up braced to her chair a few days ago and she employed herself with making out somebody’s pedigree. So you see the prevailing passion remains to the very last.”75 This oft-praised competence in several different types of scholarship allowed Lady Moira to interact with both learned men and women alike. Lady Moira disputed at length regarding the validity of genealogical arguments made by others engaged in the field, including with Bishop Percy, a long-term correspondent of hers: “In respect to the second point, to which Lady Moira, like a dutiful and affectionate niece, thought not proper to agree, she presents his Lordship with her reasons of dissent grounded on argument.”76 Similarly, Lady Moira refers to Horace Walpole’s A Catalogue of the Royal and Noble Authors of England, With Lists of Their Works (1758) in another letter, presenting her objections to it in articulate yet polite fashion: “I return you Sir many thanks for the present of Mr Walpole’s postscript to his Royal and Nobele [sic] authors . . . It is upon dry matters of fact and historical prejudices that I presume to have sentiments of my own, which often are counter to his opinion.”77 Thus Lady Moira, like the Bluestockings in England, engaged in full discussions with men, communicating her ideas in her correspondence in an open fashion, as an intellectual equal, despite referring to herself as a “dutiful niece” and limiting the extent of her disagreements to “matters of fact.” Unlike the salons in eighteenth-century France, but recalling those of eighteenth-century England, Moira House salon was very much a gathering place for both men and women. Whether by inviting them to participate in her salon or extending her patronage to them, Lady Moira offered her aid to aspiring literary figures independently of gender considerations.78 One well-known recipient of her patronage was Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 121 the precocious poet Thomas Dermody (1775–1802), whom Lady Moira entrusted into the care of Henry Boyd, then resident in Killeigh, King’s County (Co. Offaly).79 Lady Moira’s correspondence with both Dermody and Boyd is included in the Granard Papers and offers substantiation to the various accounts of Dermody’s licentious nature, his difficulty in accepting his various patrons’ advice, and in committing to the rigours of academic life.80 Dermody refers to his own impertinence in a letter to Lady Moira dated 21 August 1790. He informs her of having communicated his “many reasons for not entering the College [i.e. Trinity College Dublin]” as intended, to her chaplain, who is to relate them to her.81 In a letter from September of the same year he refers to himself as having previously been “on the brink of ruin,” and requests that Lady Moira recommend him to important figures in London: “I hope your Ladyship will be so generous as to give me some recommendations which cannot fail to introduce me into public notice.”82 The “eccentric genius” later writes to Lady Moira recollecting his “misbehaviour” towards both her and Mr Boyd and assures her of his commitment to future discipline.83 Although this and later entreaties were officially disregarded by Lady Moira, she secretly ordered the bookseller Mercier to “print at her expense” any of Dermody’s future works.84 Lady Moira also supported lesser-known female poets such as Mary Tighe and Henrietta Battier.85 Also intimately connected with Lady Moira and her salon were three writers of much greater stature: Maria Edgeworth, Sydney Owenson (later Lady Morgan), and the Scottish poet and novelist Walter Scott. Amongst her other accolades, Maria Edgeworth is often credited as one of the founders of the regional novel, defined by K.D.M. Snell as, “fiction that is set in a recognisable region, and which describes features distinguishing the life, social customs, language, dialect, or other aspects of the culture of that area and its people.”86 To a certain extent, the regional novel supports the idea of an indigenous cultural revival suggested thus far. Both Irish antiquarianism and the translation of ancient Gaelic poetry into English promote early Irish culture and its traditions, while simultaneously introducing these customs and literary works to a new audience, both within Ireland and abroad. In Maria Edgeworth’s first regional novel, Castle Rackrent (1800), the author wanted to achieve both these aims, but this time with regard to contemporaneous Irish traditions and modes of life, as the fictional editor notes: He lays it before the English reader as a specimen of manners and characters, which are perhaps unknown in England. Indeed the 122 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century domestic habits of no nation in Europe were less known to the English than those of their sister country, till within these few years.87 Edgeworth intended Castle Rackrent, which was given the subtitle “an Hibernian tale. Taken from facts, and from the manners of the Irish squires, before the year 1782,” to be read and valued in part for the sociocultural information communicated therein. Edgeworth moved from Oxfordshire to Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford with her family in 1782, the same year in which she chose to set her novel, and she continued to be very much aware of the ignorance of those from the country of her birth on Irish matters. In this work, and in her other novels set in Ireland, such as Ennui (1809) or The Absentee (1812), Edgeworth sets about critiquing Irish life in a fictional manner for those unfamiliar with it. As early as 1787, Richard Lovell Edgeworth was writing to Lady Moira declaring, “She [Maria Edgeworth] sends Madame Genlis [a] copy and begs permission to send another to your Ladyship – to whom she had hoped to dedicate her first labours, nobody else has a copy.”88 Not only were Edgeworth’s “first labours” dedicated to Lady Moira, but the hostess also contributed to Edgeworth’s later novels and short stories: “[Lady Moira] read Italian poetry, from which she chose elegant lines for Edgeworth to use as epigraphs to chapters, and to Tales of Fashionable Life as a whole.”89 In a letter to Henry Edgeworth, Maria substantiates this with her declaration: “Leonara will be out I suppose by the time you receive this – She comes out with an Italian motto chosen by Lady Moira for her first vol” (25 December 1805).90 Lady Moira is also portrayed by Edgeworth in several of her regional novels, being generally accepted as the model for Lady Oranmore in The Absentee, Mrs Hungerford in Patronage (1814), and the Countess of Annaly in Ormond (1817).91 The latter’s first introduction to the reader is announced by Lady O’Shane who declares simply, and categorically, that, “Lady Annaly does not like cards,” which calls to mind the French salonnières’ abhorrence of cards in general, and the Bluestockings’ particular hatred of whist in England.92 Lady Annaly is described as “one of the most respectable women in Ireland,” with “matronly dress and dignified deportment.”93 Lady Oranmore, in similar fashion, is described as possessing a “dignified appearance and respectable character.”94 In Ormond, the contents of the library of Lady Annaly are discussed at length, with pointed emphasis placed on its inclusion of French as well as English classics: Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 123 . . . she had mentioned a present of books which she intended for him [Ormond]: a set of books which belonged to her son, sir Herbert Annaly, and of which she found they had duplicates in their library . . . . It was an excellent collection of what may be called the English and French classics: the French books were, at this time, quite useless to him, for he could not read French. Lady Annaly, however, sent these books on purpose to induce him to learn a language . . . .95 Lady Annaly’s desire for Ormond to learn French using these books proves successful when Ormond finds himself immersed in Parisian society at a later stage in the novel. At first, Paris in general is portrayed as extremely dissipated, with its inhabitants constantly pursuing pleasure and attending grand entertainments in which moral standards are dismally low. However, after Ormond demonstrates evidence of his latent intelligence, the abbé Morellet, “then respected as the most reasonable of all the wits of France,” offers him the opportunity of temporarily quitting his life of dissipation to instead become acquainted with France’s celebrated men of letters, which Ormond had expressed to be his great ambition. At their first gathering, Ormond is instructed by Morellet to guess the names of those present after being given hints regarding their writings. The narrator’s comments explicitly illustrate the merit of Lady Annaly’s gift of books in aiding Ormond’s guesses: “It was happy for Ormond that he was well acquainted with some of their writings (this he owed to lady Annaly’s well-chosen present of French books).”96 Ormond becomes acquainted with some of the key participants of the French salons; Marmontel, Marivaux, and d’Alembert.97 Edgeworth’s description of Harry Ormond’s introduction to “some of the really good company of Paris,” “at Mad. Geoffrin’s, Mad. de Tencin’s, Mad. du Deffand’s and Mad. Trudaine’s” offers the anglophone reader a glimpse into French salon society and reminds us of Edgeworth’s own introduction into French society and her knowledge of the pre-Revolutionary French salons from her earlier visit to France in 1802–1803, when she, like her protagonist, became acquainted with the abbé Morellet.98 In Letters for Literary Ladies (1799), Edgeworth declares that, “Domestic life should, however, be enlivened and embellished with all the wit and vivacity, and politeness for which French women were once admired, with out admitting any of their vices or follies.”99 Edgeworth’s belief in the advantages of “the mixture of the talents, and knowledge of both sexes” is apparent both in her connection with the Moira House salon, and also in her own single-author salons in Co. Longford.100 124 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century It is well known and indeed well documented that Maria Edgeworth’s novels were the source of inspiration for the great Scottish poet and novelist Walter Scott, but much less known is the fact that Scott was seeking Lady Moira’s approval of his work prior to his celebrated entrance onto the literary scene as a poet in 1805. A letter from Walter Scott to Lady Moira, included in the Rawdon and Hastings correspondence at Castle Forbes, offers significant evidence of Scott’s admiration of Lady Moira, his desire for her approbation, and her access to the text as the poem progressed: [Scott wished] to request her ladyship to honour with her acceptance a copy of the “Lay of the Last Minstrel” which is at length after many delays sent into the world . . . May I be permitted to hope that as your ladyship approved of the beginning you may find some amusement in the progress and conclusion of the story. I have no doubt that it will be in your ladyship’s hands long before there are any copies with the booksellers of Dublin . . . .101 Scott’s writing to Lady Moira illustrates her reputation outside of the island of Ireland, both as an influential literary figure and as a supporter of regional literature. The letter indicates that Lady Moira has already been shown what might be termed the work in progress and that Scott is careful to reiterate her previous approval in hoping to attain overall approbation of the work. Fortunately, Lady Moira’s reply is also to be found in the Granard Papers. It informs us of the poem’s reception both by Lady Moira and by the wider Irish public. Lady Moira tells Scott that both she and Lord Granard have already received two copies of the Lay of the Last Minstrel from their Dublin bookseller, the latter being fully aware of “how much we wished to have all you published.” The poem had in fact been published in London the previous month, January 1805, with a print run of some 750 copies and Lady Moira’s letter insists that the poem has been well received in Ireland: “let me assure you that ‘the border Bard’ has not only made his way to ‘green erin’ but is held therein with due respect.”102 Lady Moira’s own respect for the work owes much to the genre itself. She praises Scott’s poem as one that concentrates on “the varying periods of elapsed time,” in his case the Scottish and English borders during the sixteenth century.103 According to Lady Moira, this genre of historical regional literature, “expands the thought, calls forth unceasing reflection; and is a mine from whence is drawn an ore which [produces] enlivening and diversified ideas.” Scott, like Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 125 Edgeworth, wished to embody and preserve his region’s traditions before they were forgotten and he stresses this intention in his correspondence. In his letter, he describes the Lay of the Last Minstrel as “a wild romantic tale . . . intended to embody and preserve traditions of my native country which are fast sinking into oblivion.”104 There is a suggestion that Lady Moira possessed family links with Scott’s “native country,” as is outlined in a letter to Lady Moira from Thomas Brydson in which the correspondent refers to “Lord Moira’s present residence and various distinguished connections with Scotland.”105 In light of this lineage Brydson wonders whether “a short memoir of his [Lord Moira’s] descent from the kings of this country and the royal armorial honours due to him in consequence, might not with propriety be recorded in the public register of the kingdom.”106 Scott’s poem was delivered to Lady Moira while she was away from Dublin and her expressions of regret and disappointment at not being able to receive the emissary at Moira House reveals much about her own sense of identity as well as being strongly indicative of her method of receiving her salon guests: Had I been at home, he would have received that Irish welcome, grafted on the plain old English Hospitality expressive of good will and frank sincerity, which is preferred by a good-hearted guest, to the frigid, insipid, indolent politeness, that (in general) is the fashion of modern days. And here I cannot omit narrating an Old Irish Curse: “may the path-way to your house be ever green” as marking this estimation of social intercourse . . . .107 Here Lady Moira expresses her espousal of Irish custom, which she directly compares to its English counterpart. She recognises the Irish welcome as “grafted on” the English tradition but nevertheless as being distinctively different, “other” and ultimately superior. Her inclusion of the Irish saying further illustrates her awareness and knowledge of Irish idiom as well as customs and tradition. Ultimately, she insists that it would be an Irish rather than an English welcome that any guest to Moira House would receive upon arrival. In doing so she firmly embraces the Irish side of her hyphenated Anglo-Irish identity.108 She concludes this discussion with Scott by insisting: “that if any persons of your friends should come to Dublin hereafter, that you will be so kind, as to introduce them by letter to me, that I may be enabled to indulge myself in a satisfaction my absence from Moira House has deprived me of . . . .”109 126 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century It was, in fact, at Castle Forbes, Newtownforbes (formerly Lios Breac) in Co. Longford, rather than at Moira House, that Maria Edgeworth came to know Lady Moira. The salon there was held by Lady Moira’s daughter Lady Selina-Frances Forbes (1759–1827), Countess of Granard. Lady Moira had six children who lived to maturity, three daughters and three sons – Lady Selina, Lady Charlotte who married Hamilton Fitzgerald, Major Hon. George Rawdon, Lady Anne who married the Earl of Aylesbury, Francis Lord Rawdon, and Hon. John Theophilus Rawdon, member of the British House of Commons.110 Interestingly, it was Lady Moira rather than Lady Granard who seemed to be the star attraction at the Castle Forbes salon, further adding to Lady Moira’s role as chief salon hostess in Ireland: The late Lady Moira, mother of Lady Granard, will long be recollected by all who duly venerate moral accomplishments . . . Here [at Castle Forbes] that amiable lady drew round her many persons conspicuous, like herself, for conversational talents, among whom not the least interesting were the principal members of the family of Edgeworth-town, whose residence is distant about nine miles from Castle Forbes.111 This posthumous portrayal of Lady Moira clearly depicts her as being at the centre of the Castle Forbes salon. In Maria Edgeworth’s memoir, written by her stepmother Mrs Frances Edgeworth and published privately in 1867, Edgeworth is referred to as having had “frequent opportunities of meeting” Lady Moira at Castle Forbes.112 In a letter to Mrs Margaret Ruxton, detailing the entertainment at Castle Forbes, Edgeworth herself exclaims, “we were extremely amused – particularly with Lady Moira’s conversation. She has at 75 a wonderful portion of the spirit of animation and as warm sympathy in the pleasure of her grandchildren as if she were in the bloom of fifteen – how well she understands the arts of living!”113 Thus, even in old age Lady Moira still commanded attention, respect and reverence for her position in society but also due to her wisdom and comprehension of “the arts of living.” Repeatedly, Lady Moira is portrayed as playing a central role both in Irish society and in Maria Edgeworth’s life: “Lady Moira was at this time, a personage of great influence in Ireland; she held a sort of court at Moira House in Dublin, the resort of all the wise and witty of the day – the notice she took of a timid unobtrusive girl was therefore gratifying.”114 This practice of extending her notice to all participants, including those who are “timid” or “unobtrusive,” also mirrors her manner of governing her salon in Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 127 Moira House. A writer in Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal of 1848 recalls his early youth in the 1780s when he was a frequent guest at Moira House. Although he admits that Lady Moira “delighted to gather around her all who had any pretensions to literary or professional celebrity,” he adds that “the aged Countess was never too much engaged with her brilliant circle to omit attending to the enjoyment of her younger guests, in whose recreation she took a kind and lively interest.”115 Lady Moira’s “younger guests” at Moira House salon also included Sydney Owenson (1776–1859) who was introduced to the literary world at Lady Moira’s at a very young age. Indeed Owenson’s very first poem, about a cat, was recited for Lady Moira at Moira House: My father took me to Moira House; made me recite my poem, to which he had taught me add appropriate emphasis and action, to which my own tendency to grimace added considerable comicality. The Countess of Moira laughed heartily at the “infant Muse” as my father called me, and ordered the housekeeper to send up a large plate of bread and jam, the earliest recompense of my literary labours.116 This affection between the two women was to last until Lady Moira’s death, as was the latter’s great interest in Owenson’s “literary labours.” Owenson’s debt to Lady Moira is recognised in the former’s dedication of her poems to her in 1801. In the dedication Owenson states, “in sanctioning by your patronage the following little poetic sketches, you have conferred an honour on their author, of which she is infinitely more sensible, than capable of expressing the gratitude it has excited.”117 Interestingly, it had also been suggested by Owenson’s father that she should be a dame de compagnie for the Countess, but Owenson flatly dismissed the suggestion: “The idea of my being dame de compagnie to so great a lady is too presumptuous, and a ‘humble companion’ I will NOT be to any one.”118 Owenson is best known for her third novel, The Wild Irish Girl (1806), and Lady Moira and her salon were still being mentioned in relation to Owenson’s literary career by the time of the novel’s publication. Lady Stuart Lonsdale refers to the work in a letter to Lady Louisa Stuart declaring, “Every one in this county is delighted with the Wild Irish Girl, the author Miss Owenson is a protégé of Moira House.”119 The Wild Irish Girl’s full title includes the description “A National Tale,” and Owenson’s novels are rightly referred to in this manner by literary critics.120 The milieu of Lady Moira’s salon is very much reflected in the antiquarianism of Owenson’s novel. Her protagonist Horatio, the son 128 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century of an English lord, becomes intrigued by the Gaelic language and culture, and undertakes to study both, assisted by the beautiful Glorvina, the eponymous Wild Irish Girl. In a letter to his correspondent, the protagonist declares, “Behold me then, buried amidst the monuments of past ages! deep in the study of the language, history and antiquities of this ancient nation.”121 Owenson’s novel is informed by the endeavours of two of her fellow participants at Moira House salon; she repeatedly cites Walker in her footnotes: “Joseph Cooper Walker, to whose genius, learning, and exertions, Ireland stands so deeply indebted,” as well as Charlotte Brooke and her “elegant version of the works of the Irish Bards.”122 Political literati Amongst its salon participants, Moira House also received many members of the United Irishmen, who were drawn to the salon from a literary as much as a political motivation. Indeed as Mary Helen Thuente notes in her work, The Harp Re-strung, The United Irishmen and the Rise of Irish Literary Nationalism (1994), “Most of the United Irish leaders and the chief writers for the movement were men of broad interests in a culture that did not segregate politics and literature into separate spheres.”123 In The Harp Re-strung, g Thuente argues that Irish literary nationalism began in the late-eighteenth rather than the mid-nineteenth century.124 Although she refers on six occasions to Lady Moira as subscriber, dedicatee or patron of various literati, Thuente fails to place any emphasis on her as salon hostess or on Moira House salon itself, other than to remark fleetingly that Charlotte Brooke may have met members of the United Irishmen there in the early 1790s. Clearly, however, the salon at Moira House provided a meeting-place of great importance for these figures. Although he did not participate in the salon itself, the connection between Moira House and Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the United Irishmen’s leading military strategist, must be alluded to, however briefly, as it has passed into Irish nationalist mythology. Lady Moira gave protection to Fitzgerald’s wife, Lady Pamela, during Fitzgerald’s concealment and arranged that the two could meet at her house in May 1798 prior to his arrest and subsequent death in a Newgate cell in June of that year.125 John Carr mentions ostensibly political and literary figures in the one breath when outlining the characters he encountered upon a visit to Moira House: It was here that I had an opportunity of witnessing the colloquial talents of that surprising man [John Philpot] Curran, whose wit, Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 129 like the electric fluid, illuminates whatever it touches; the highly poetical translator of Dante, the Rev. Henry Boyd, and several other persons less known to fame but eminent for their talents and respectability.126 Curran’s wit, described as “electric fluid,” brings to mind the loquacious outbursts of Dr Samuel Johnson in the Bluestocking salons in England and illustrates that the Moira House salon also had articulate discussions instigated by figures possessing great “colloquial talents” and further demonstrates that it was a place of polite conversation and informed debate, akin to the leading salons in both France and Britain. John Philpot Curran entered the Irish Parliament in 1783 and although it remains ambiguous as to whether he was, in fact, a full member of the United Irishmen, he was wholly sympathetic to their cause and is generally recognised as having been their primary defender in court.127 In addition to his position as MP for Westmeath and Master of the Robes, Curran also wrote poems, such as “The Deserter’s Lamentation” and “Let us be merry before we go.”128 The most famous member of the United Irishmen, Theobald Wolfe Tone, was also a visitor to Lady Moira’s salon. In a letter from H. Barry to Tone in August 1792, Tone’s attendance at Moira House is made clear: “I think it likely his Lordship will be in Dublin soon; and in that case, as you are well known at Moira House, why not call when he is there? I will write, either to Lady Moira or Lady Granard, to make your introduction pleasant.”129 An entry in Tone’s diary from the same month gives us an indication of the political leanings of Lady Moira, “Called at Moira House; apprehend I am out of favor there for holding democratic principles. Cannot be helped. ‘Tis but in vain,’ &c.”130 Janet Todd has referred to “Lady Moira’s Dublin Whig salon” and commented that “in the early 1790s many around Lady Moira and Lady Mount Cashell professed a genteel classical republicanism or enlightened patriotism, which could coexist with hierarchies of class,” thus clearly very much at odds with Tone’s democratic principles.131 Lady Moira undoubtedly sympathised with the rebels and their grievances, as indicated by their presence at her salon, but she could not agree with their revolutionary methods and did not wish to alter the hierarchical governance of society, thereby aligning her with elements of Bluestocking conservatism. Her letters reveal at once her sympathy with the frustration of her salon members and her secure self-conception as an Irishwoman – “I have become so much of an Irishwoman” – and her related distress at how matters are being “misinterpreted in England,” a country to which she is still connected, despite her new sense of identity.132 130 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century These frustrations and distress mounted as the violence of the 1798 rebellion escalated. Although primarily based at her Dublin residence, Lady Moira also spent some time in Ulster, at Montalto House, her home in Co. Down, just outside Ballynahinch. Lady Moira forsook both Montalto House and Moira House during the 1798 Rebellion to reside with her daughter Selina in Castle Forbes, as she explains in a letter to Dennis Scully, “In our Moira House society we look forward to having you sir of our party, as when I was last in town. & if nothing unforeseen occurs, you will find me again settled beneath my own roof, from which I have been long a wanderer, 9 months.”133 Montalto, in fact, became the location of the battle of Ballynahinch when Henry Monro, the United Irish leader in Co. Down, established camp on Ednavady Hill. Lady Moira’s son Francis Rawdon Hastings, the 2nd Earl of Moira, had given his most famous speech relating to Ireland in the English House of Lords, which was later published as On the Present Alarming and Dreadful State of Ireland (1797), in order to raise awareness of the situation in his home country. Lady Moira was frequently irritated at the distortion of affairs and “invention” of events, subsequent to the Rebellion: “To the Roman Catholics is attributed in England the late rebellion, stained with every cruelty and atrocity that human fancy can invent and the hundreds of Protestants shut up in a church for their religion and burnt to death is credited like the Gospel.”134 Lady Moira and the 2nd Earl of Moira were intensely against the proposed Act of Union, which had been prompted by the Rebellion of 1798. The Earl of Moira voted against it in the Irish House of Lords, but then withdrew his opposition to the Act in the English House of Lords in the mistaken belief that Catholic relief would follow.135 Lady Moira clearly shows her opposition to the Act in the following explicit comment: “My opinion is that the Union will be attempted with redoubled force of obstinacy . . . [and] . . . that they [the Roman Catholics] should be brought to sign the request after the union would be giving themselves a death blow” (6 February 1799).136 The “death blow” was not just to the Irish Roman Catholics but also to the Protestant Ascendancy, many of who were members of the Moira House salon. The last meeting of the Irish Parliament took place on 2 August 1800. Parliamentary life in Ireland then ceased and was instead transplanted to Westminster, with a subsequent relocation of members of parliament and their families. The Moira House salon reconvened after the Rebellion of 1798 and continued until Lady Moira’s death in 1808, but it took place in a very different cultural environment and with the loss of several elite participants. An announcement in the Freeman’s Journal from 30 January 1819 Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 131 gives an indication of what was to become of Moira House itself: “To be Sold, Moira House and Gardens, also well secured profit and Ground Rents arising out of Houses on Usher’s Island.”137 As occurred with many town houses in London, Moira House was sold by Lady Moira’s children who had no desire to reside there. The house was purchased by the Mendicity Institution, a charity that had been established in 1818 to provide food, clothing, and lodging to the poor of Dublin.138 Moira House was altered to suit its new purpose and remained the site of the institution for 130 years, from 1824 until 1954.139 The Moira House salon clearly espoused many features of the French salon and there were several explicit links between that salon’s participants and France, including fluency in the language, travel to Paris, and attendance at French salons. The salon at Moira House was, however, distinctly Irish in nature and a veritable site for Irish scholarship. The activities at Moira House salon and the salon’s celebration of indigenous Irish culture forms part of the “major shift in perspective” to which Clare O’Halloran refers in Golden Ages and Barbarous Nations, in which Irish Protestant writers celebrated the “Gaelic world” “primarily in terms of its music and poetry,” rather than speaking of it in relation to barbarism or military prowess.140 At her magnificent home on Dublin’s Ussher’s Island, Lady Moira welcomed to her salon all those interested in a specifically Irish tradition, whether ancient or contemporary. Through the promotion of Gaelic language and culture in communion with figures such as Charlotte Brooke, Thomas Moore, Muiris Ó Gormáin, Theophilus O’Flanagan, and J.C. Walker amongst others, and the involvement of authors such as Maria Edgeworth, Thomas Dermody, Lady Elizabeth Tuite, Henry Boyd, and Sydney Owenson, Lady Moira succeeded in uniting diverse intellectual figures at her salon. The presence there of foreign visitors as well as figures such as John Philpot Curran, Francis Hardy, and Wolfe Tone further illustrates the broad range of participants at the Moira House salon. By valuing the antiquarian tradition and by patronising writers interested in Irish national and regional tales, Lady Moira brought together in her salon very different intellectual figures, bound by a shared commitment to promote Ireland and its culture. Lending her support to a variety of literary and antiquarian projects, Lady Moira explicitly associated both herself and her salon with a very particular cultural movement, using the institution of the salon originally associated with France to help foster the Gaelic cultural revival of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century. 5 Collaborative Hospitality and Cultural Transfers: Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland The happiness of London is not to be conceived but by those who have been in it. I will venture to say, there is more learning and science within the circumference of ten miles from where we now sit, than in all the rest of the world.1 Samuel Johnson’s memoirs and correspondence repeatedly stress London’s superiority and its pre-eminence over the English provinces. Yet evidence survives of a flourishing provincial literary life in both England and Ireland in the second half of the eighteenth century. While the provinces promoted literature and associational life in a manner differing from that of the metropolitan areas discussed in the previous chapters, those who resided outside of the capitals participated, throughout England and Ireland, in various literary gatherings, which served to encourage and support literary life and elite sociability. Literary life in provincial England was rich and varied. As Elizabeth Child has noted, “Towns like Bath, Bristol, Norwich, Exeter and the new industrial sites, while admittedly only a fraction of London’s size, still became large enough, and wealthy enough, to support sweeping architectural renovation, permanent theatres, printers, multiple bookshops and libraries, and even scholarly societies.”2 Associational life was a key element of this “urban renaissance.”3 Several important learned societies developed across provincial England, such as the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, founded in 1781, as well as further literary and philosophical societies in Derby and Leeds, both established in 1783, and another at Newcastle in 1793.4 In Memoirs of the literary and philosophical society of Manchester (1793), the rules stipulate, “That gentlemen residing at a distance from Manchester, shall be eligible into this society, under the title of Honorary Members, provided no 132 Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 133 one be recommended who has not distinguished himself by his literary or philosophical publications.”5 The Lunar Society at Birmingham was another important example of intellectual associational life in provincial England, and included members such as Erasmus Darwin, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, and Thomas Day.6 Literary salons formed part of this large spectrum of sociability and allowed for the possibility of mixed-gender gatherings. Two of the most significant provincial salons were those held by Anna Miller (1741–1781) and Anna Seward (1747– 1809), in Batheaston, Somerset, and Lichfield, Staffordshire, respectively. These salon hostesses benefited from and engaged with provincial publishers and booksellers, enabling advancement for both provincial and metropolitan writers alike, and ensuring the continuation of elite sociability outside of London. In Ireland, one key example of a provincial salon was the singleauthor salon held by Maria Edgeworth (1768–1849) in the Edgeworth family’s impressive library at Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford. This single-author salon differed significantly from those salons discussed so far in that Edgeworth herself was the main beneficiary of the gatherings rather than other aspiring writers. They frequently served as a platform for discussion and appreciation of the hostess’s own work whether published or unpublished. This provincial gathering was also set apart from previous salons in that it was heavily influenced by the availability of guests or participants and was not the regularly held affair associated with its urban equivalent. Irish literary gatherings were also hosted by the prolific Sheridan family in Quilca, Co. Cavan, headed by the matriarch Frances Sheridan (1724–1766), though the exact nature of this gathering is harder to know, given the scarcity of surviving evidence. As was the case in England, it is important to bear in mind that Irish literary salons formed part of a larger spectrum of sociability. This spectrum encompassed the more democratic reading parties and book clubs, as well as private theatricals, and these differing elements of mixed-gender associational life took place in both rural and urban settings.7 Both Sheridan’s and Edgeworth’s literary gatherings were successful in their own right, but they also had strong connections with metropolitan salons both at home and abroad. In spite of their important role as provincial hostesses, it is clear that both Frances Sheridan and Maria Edgeworth can also be understood as participating in something much larger. These two women, from two different generations, were very much aware of their counterparts in France and Britain, and they understood that they participated in an intellectual conversation that 134 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century extended not only to Dublin, but also crossed national boundaries. Edgeworth, in particular, has been described as forging links as part of “an informal network of cosmopolitan women writers.”8 Both hostesses travelled extensively and communicated regularly with literary figures from abroad, as well as circulating literary works beyond their salons’ reach. This international conversation also extended across generations within the families involved. Frances and Thomas Sheridan’s daughter, the playwright Alicia Sheridan Lefanu (1753–1817), for example, held a successful salon at her Dublin house, which was described as “the resort of all the literary people, and foreigners in particular,” while Maria Edgeworth attended salons in both London and Paris with her father, the inventor and educationalist Richard Lovell Edgeworth.9 Meanwhile in England, Anna Seward rejected the attractions of London completely in favour of remaining in Lichfield, but still attracted many visitors from metropolitan areas, including Dublin, illustrating the possibility of cultural transfers between countries via provincial areas.10 The provincial salons’ distance from the capital and its booksellers did lead to certain inconveniencies for literary figures outside of the metropolis, but provincial booksellers were able to acquire material quite quickly, as Jan Fergus notes in relation to John and Thomas Clay, booksellers in Daventry, Northamptonshire: “They were able to distribute copies of magazines published in London a day after they appeared and seldom had trouble filling their customers’ orders for print.”11 This efficiency led most of the provincial elite to acquire their books from provincial booksellers such as Clay, rather than ordering print from London.12 The regional gatherings were all grounded in the practicalities of provincial life and this is very much reflected in their functioning. Collaboration was an essential component in their success, and the exchange of literary material amongst salon participants was key to their survival. Correspondence was also vital to these gatherings, and the exchange of letters, as well as literary material, allowed sociability to be maintained despite long absences. These salons played a considerable role in the encouragement and promotion of local writing, and all the literary gatherings had a central role to play in the circulation of books and literary correspondence throughout rural and provincial England and Ireland. Letters written by the various hostesses and participants allow us to determine a geographical sense of provincial salon life and to establish each gathering’s own particular character. They also enable us to ascertain in what manner they differed from those salons discussed so far, which took place in metropolitan areas. Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 135 The Irish provincial salon and networks of exchange The Sheridan family from Quilca House, Mullagh in southeast Co. Cavan made a major contribution to Irish literary life in both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While extensive research has been undertaken regarding the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, there is still a dearth of research pertaining to the female members of the family, despite the pioneering work of Julia M. Wright.13 Much of the information that can be gleaned about the Sheridans, in particular the female members of the family – such as Frances (1724–1766) and her daughters Alicia and Elizabeth (Betsy) Sheridan Lefanu – is to be obtained from Frances’s granddaughter, Alicia Lefanu’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs Frances Sheridan (1824), as well as Betsy Sheridan’s Journal, Letters from Sheridan’s sister 1784–1786 and 1788–1790 (1960).14 The author Frances Sheridan, née Chamberlaine, married Thomas Sheridan, actor, educationalist, and manager of Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre, in 1747. We learn from Alicia Lefanu’s Memoirs that “As Mr Sheridan had purchased the paternal property of Quilca from his elder brother, her time was divided between that country residence and Dublin, where Mr Sheridan had a house in Dorset Street.”15 Co. Cavan was an important literary location in the eighteenth century, owing to the Sheridan connection; the presence of the Gaelic poets Cathair MacCabe and Fiachra McBrady; and the fact that Henry and his daughter Charlotte Brooke were also resident in the local parish of Mullagh.16 Unfortunately, little record survives of Frances and Thomas’s life during the early period of their marriage. We do know that the Sheridans resided in Ireland from their marriage until they left for London in 1754, and there are glimpses of Quilca House in the Memoirs: “At this time, Quilca might be reckoned the rallying place where Mr Sheridan’s generous hospitality collected all the branches of his scattered family.”17 In addition to family members, select friends were also present in Mullagh: Sheridan is described as “surrounded by a party of chosen friends . . . [who] were very desirous that Mr Sheridan should give them a specimen of the old Irish taste of hospitality.”18 The setting for these gatherings of both friends and family was certainly spectacular: Decorations by [John] Lewis in the house of Thomas Sheridan . . . at Quilca House, Co. Cavan, included ‘a painted Parlour’, the ceiling painted as ‘sky and clouds’ and an east wall adorned with ‘panels and medallions with portraits of Milton, Shakespeare, Swift and 136 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Sheridan’, all carried out in the 1750s but perishing with the house in 1788.19 Jonathan Swift had been strongly associated with Quilca through Thomas Sheridan’s father, Thomas Sheridan Sr., who met Swift in 1717 and tutored him in Greek.20 It would seem that Lefanu includes Swift when she states that “many were the visitants whom curiosity attracted to the spot where admiration of departed genius was blended with recollections of domestic worth.”21 It is very difficult to ascertain to what extent such gatherings in Quilca resembled literary salons. Much more substantial evidence survives for the existence of a single-author salon in the Sheridan household during their residence in England. The Sheridan salon placed an obvious emphasis on literary criticism: “One evening, that the assembled company were engaged in serious literary disquisition . . . .”22 Those engaged in this particular literary discussion included “the ingenious Mrs Peckhard, wife to the celebrated dissenting minister of that name . . . [she] frequently occurs in the ‘Correspondence’ of Samuel Richardson”; the novelist Richardson himself who is described as “another favourite guest”; as well as Dr Sumner who is recorded as being on intimate terms with the family.23 Frances Sheridan’s gathering can be described as a single-author salon by virtue of the fact that all the characteristics of a salon are evident, but it is Sheridan’s own work that generally forms the basis for the literary discussion and critique. Those who met her in London employ laudatory terms to describe the author of the novel Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761) and the comedies The Discovery (1763) and The Dupe (1764). Boswell described her as “a most agreeable companion to an intellectual man. She was sensible, ingenious, unassuming yet communicative,” while Eliza Echlin, in a letter to Samuel Richardson, said that she “is, I know, a sensible and an agreeable woman: she is, I think, a fit companion for that ingenious man, who is (you justly observe) equally learned and worthy.”24 It is in Boswell’s London Journal that we get the single most extended glimpse into the salons held by Mr and Mrs Sheridan: I then went to Sheridan’s upon an invitation to drink tea and spend the evening and hear a reading of The Discovery, a new comedy written by Mrs Sheridan. He and she read alternately. I liked it much and was well entertained. Mrs Cholmondeley was there, also a Captain Jephson, a lively little fellow and the best mimic in the world. Also Colonel Irwin, a genteel, well-bred, pretty man. He told Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 137 us some little stories very well. We had some other people, and, with an elegant supper, the evening went very well on. Indeed, I was this night but a bad member of society. I was bashful and silent.25 Boswell’s entry allows us to determine the character of the gathering with the description of alternate reading, the choice of evening time for the party as also recorded in the Memoirs above, and the polite atmosphere evoked through the choice of adjectives such as “genteel” and “well-bred” to refer to guests. It is also quite clear that the focus was on the family’s published female member rather than on other published or unpublished authors, despite Colonel Irwin’s “little stories.” A later event in the Memoirs offers further substantiation for this interpretation when Lefanu states, “In the end of this year she had finished another comedy, entitled ‘The Dupe’ which was read with approbation at her own house by the assembled players.”26 Frances Sheridan’s daughter, Alicia Sheridan Lefanu (1753–1817) has also been linked to successful literary gatherings. Wright identifies the participants of the Sheridan circle in the early 1800s, naming Elizabeth Sheridan, Sydney Owenson, Olivia Owenson (Lady Clarke), and Mary Tighe, along with the Sheridan brothers Charles and Richard Brinsley, who provided the participants with support in the literary market place. Thomas Seccombe notes that “[Alicia Sheridan Le Fanu] took part in Dublin literary society, especially in private theatricals, and wrote a patriotic comedy, Sons of Erin, which received only one performance at the Lyceum Theatre in London on 13 April 1812.”27 It remains extremely difficult, however, to unearth material relating to the role she played in the literary society of the time. Wright expresses this frustration regarding source material: “Much of the biographical material available on the family stresses these men, with scant attention to the women authors except as family members and other sources of biographical documents.”28 Sydney Owenson’s letters and memoirs offer tantalising glimpses of Alicia Sheridan Lefanu at the turn of the century. In a letter to her father dated circa 1796, Owenson describes an evening where she and her sister Olivia first encounter Mrs Lefanu: “She sat in the centre of the room, surrounded by beaux.”29 Of more importance, however, is the information M. Fontaine related on their journey home: Monsieur Fontaine told us, going home in the carriage, that her house was the resort of all the literary people, and foreigners in 138 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century particular. He is to take us to see her some evening, for she invited us very cordially, and said she knew you, dear papa, very well.30 Albeit secondhand, Owenson’s report here suggests that Alicia Sheridan Lefanu’s literary gatherings had more the character of a salon than a simple reading party, attracting as it did important literati and foreign visitors in the style of Moira House or the Bluestocking salons in London. Lefanu is connected with the Bluestockings in another fascinating description from Owenson’s Memoirs in which she recounts how, late in the evening Moore came in [to “a little musical party” held by his mother] from dining at the Provost house, with Croker, and some other pets of the Provost’s lady, for she was the queen of the Blues, in Dublin, at that time, though Mrs. Lefanu, Sheridan’s sister, reigned vice-queen under her.31 The Provost of Trinity College Dublin referred to here was John Kearney, later Bishop of Ossory. Kearney became provost in 1799 and retained the position for six and a half years. He married Anne Waller Keating in February 1805, and it is to her that Owenson refers.32 Maria Edgeworth’s single-author salon also involved many important figures who were attracted to the family’s home. Edgeworth has already been mentioned in connection with the Moira House salon, but her family home in Edgeworthstown also welcomed many important Irish literary and cultural figures to its library. Maria Edgeworth moved from Oxfordshire to Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford with her family in 1782 and began the establishment of a literary network that would stretch from within Co. Longford to Counties Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Dublin, and beyond. In contrast with the Sheridans’ time in Co. Cavan, much material pertaining to the Edgeworths’ literary life in Leinster still exists.33 The correspondence is of great importance as it enables us to gain an understanding of the single-author salons held in Longford, and also to appreciate how literary networks were sustained through family connections, literary correspondence, and an intense circulation of books and manuscript material. A letter from Charlotte Edgeworth to her sister Emmeline King (née Edgeworth) allows us a glimpse of one of these literary gatherings: The company arrived at about 5 o’clock and there were a sufficient number to fill the library entirely sitting around the room – Mr and Mrs Tuite, Mr and Mrs Smyth . . . Miss Smyth and her governess, Miss Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 139 Wallis sister to Miss Wallis the actress. Now Mr Campbell. The conversation was not very general as there were too many Maria was the object of every bodies compliment and conversation. (14 July 1804)34 This salon, we soon learn, continued for six hours as Mr Tuite, who “generally goes to bed at nine o’clock,” was recorded as having “staid awake listening to Marias story til eleven o clock the greatest compliment, he ever paid, to any book.”35 The participants on this occasion involved a small gathering of family and local figures such as the Tuites from Sonnagh, Co. Westmeath, who came during the evening time primarily to enjoy Maria’s reading and conversation. As was the case with Frances Sheridan, in addition to playing the role of salon hostess, Maria was also the focus of these parties. She shared the roles of governing and mediating as was performed by hostesses such as Vesey and Montagu, but unlike these women who participated in either equal or lesser measure to their guests, Edgeworth in a sense formed the conversation, being “the object of everybody’s compliment and conversation.” At these single-author salons there was not the same opportunity for discussion and exchange of opinions as in the traditional literary salon where all participants had occasion to speak. Clíona Ó Gallchoir has described Maria Edgeworth’s desire to domesticate the Enlightenment and “to reform the Enlightenment salon and make it acceptable in post-revolutionary culture,” and Edgeworth’s gatherings were certainly a variation on the institution of the salon, rather than a complete rejection of it.36 Polite conversation was still imperative, the location for the gatherings was the Edgeworths’ impressive library and the emphasis of the talk remained almost exclusively literary. Toby Barnard highlights the significance of the library as a luxurious setting with his observation that “Few, even in eighteenth-century Ireland, had rooms designated as libraries . . . These were spaces dedicated as much to society and conversation as to silent study.”37 This was certainly true of the Edgeworth’s magnificent library, which became the focus point for the family’s literary gatherings. As at Moira House, the guests were frequently literary figures in their own right, as is apparent from a letter from Maria to Miss Honora Edgeworth in which she exclaims: “We have had a bevy of wits here” (30 November 1809). The bevy of wits that time included the judge Leslie Foster; Richard Chenevix who was a mineralogist and the author of Two Plays: Mantuan Revels, a Comedy in Five Acts, and Henry the Seventh, an Historical Tragedy in Five Acts (1812); as well as Henry Hamilton, a United Irishman, journalist and the author of 140 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century the play The portrait of Cervantes.38 Thus, the single-author salons taking place in Edgeworthstown also resembled the literary salons in their composition, being formed by members of different professions and social standing, but all from the middling and upper classes nonetheless. These particular salons generally served to celebrate Maria’s and other published authors’ work rather than offering an opportunity for new authors to enter into the literary marketplace, as occurred in the Bluestocking salons, for example. That Edgeworth was the focus of these gatherings is unequivocal, although she was eager to convince others that this state of affairs was met with approval: “They were all polite about the reading out of Emilie de Coulanges, and took it as a mark of kindness from me, and not as an exhibition.”39 Another example offers further substantiation that it was Maria upon whom attention was focused, with the recollection: “This summer of 1808 Mr and Mrs Ruxton and their two daughters passed some time with us. My father, mother, and sister came also, and Maria read out Ennui in manuscript. We used to assemble in the middle of the day in the library, and everybody enjoyed it.”40 The audience on both these occasions were members of the Edgeworths’ extended family, who encouraged and contributed to the reading parties at Edgeworthstown. Mrs Margaret Ruxton was Richard Lovell Edgeworth’s sister and the close friend and recipient of many of Maria’s letters for more than 40 years. Some of these letters are extremely revealing in relation to Maria’s literary work. The Ruxtons’ home at Black Castle, in Co. Meath, “was within a long drive of Edgeworthstown,” whilst the audience present at the reading of Emilie de Coulanges was the Pakenham family, the earls of Longford, who resided in Pakenham Hall (Tullynally Castle) near Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath, “which was twelve miles from Edgeworthstown.”41 There are many glimpses of family reading sessions in Maria’s letters to her aunt Mrs Ruxton, such as her statement that I write in the midst of Fortescues and Pakenhams, with dear Miss Caroline P[ackenham], whom I like every hour better and better, sitting on the sofa beside me, reading Mademoiselle Clairon’s Memoirs, and talking so entertainingly, that I can scarcely tell what I have said, or am going to say. (2 February 1809)42 This communal reading is maintained by literary correspondence, particularly that addressed by Maria to Sophy and Margaret Ruxton. This correspondence supports rather than offers adequate substitute for Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 141 actual group reading as Maria’s letters make clear: “But I will not dilate upon it in a letter; I could talk of it for three hours to you and my aunt” and “This evening my father has been reading out Gay’s Trivia to our great entertainment. I wished very much, my dear aunt, that you and Sophy had been sitting round the fire with us.”43 Maria urges her aunt to read Trivia and give her opinion on it, allowing both to exchange their views whilst apart. The letters detail many recommendations of novels and poems and are filled with expressions such as “at all events pray read the book” and “I recommend [it] to you as a book you will admire.”44 Other works mentioned include “the charming story of Mademoiselle de Clermont in Mme de Genlis’s Petits Romans”; “a most entertaining Voyages dans les Pays Bas par M. Breton”; “Eugene et Guillaume, a modern Gil Blas”; Mme de Staël’s Corinne, with which Maria, unlike her father, is “dazzled”; Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison; Austen’s Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice, as well as Walter Scott’s Waverley, which she described as “a work of first-rate genius.”45 These and the other works mentioned allow us to generalize about the kind of works being read by the family, which seem to have been composed principally of French and English novels, in addition to the examples of poetry mentioned. The English novels are primarily contemporary in publication with the single exception of Charles Grandison (1753–1754), which the younger Edgeworths, Sneyd and Charlotte, were reading for the first time much to Maria’s envy, as she exclaims that “it is one of those pleasures which is never repeated in life.”46 The family literary network, the focus of which were Maria’s salons, was further sustained by the exchange of books between the various familial residences. Maria writes to Mrs Ruxton that, “He [Richard Lovell Edgeworth] brought back certain books from Black Castle, amongst which I was glad to see the Fairy Tales . . . ” (8 May 1794). In turn Maria states on a later occasion, “I will look for the volume of the Tableau de Paris which you think I have; and if it is in the land of the living, it shall be coming forth at your call.”47 Her eagerness to send books to Black Castle caused her to be teased on yet another occasion, where she was “laughed at most unmercifully by some of the phlegmatic personages round the library table for my impatience to send you The Mine.”48 Besides Black Castle and Pakenham Hall, in Meath and Westmeath respectively, another literary location within Longford further strengthened the literary gathering’s guest lists and their reading material, that of Castle Forbes, at Newtownforbes. Maria alludes to this substantial reading network in her letter to Miss Lucy Edgeworth, in which she requests: “Ask your mother to send a messenger forthwith to Pakenham Hall to 142 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century borrow this book; and if the gossoon does not bring it from Pakenham Hall, next morning at flight of night send off another or the same to Castle Forbes . . . .” (13 August 1820).49 In a letter to Sophy Ruxton she also mentions, “we have from Castle Forbes 5th volume of Canterbury Tales – have not read them” (7 February 1806).50 The eagerness with which new reading materials were exchanged between these literary households can be glimpsed in Edgeworth’s account of the reception of Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake: “By great good fortune, and by the good-nature of Lady Charlotte Rawdon, we had The Lady of the Lake to read just when the O’Beirnes were with us. A most delightful reading we had” (21 June 1810).51 The letter explains that the Bishop, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, and a Mr Jephson read the poem aloud alternately during this particular gathering at which Maria seems more a silent participant.52 Maria elaborates on the poem’s many merits before concluding that “Our pleasure in reading it was increased by the sympathy and enthusiasm of the guests.”53 Extracts from Edward Berwick’s letters reveal that Charlotte was in fact in communication with Scott, as her mother had been. A letter from Scott’s Ashiestiel residence in the Scottish Borders area a few years previously acknowledges receipt of poems by a Welsh bard that Scott thinks of imitating and declares, “I am quite happy you like the lay, it is a wild story wildly told” (1805).54 Another letter from Scott refers to his interest in the Round Towers of Ashby-de-la-Zouche in Leicestershire, “built if I mistake not by your Ladyship’s ancestor the celebrated Lord Hastings.”55 The importance attached to the circulation of books can be repeatedly seen in Edgeworth’s correspondence. Maria was most eager to extend the pleasure of reading Elizabeth Hamilton’s The Cottagers of Glenburnie (1808) to Mrs Ruxton, for example: “This minute I hear a carman is going to Navan, and I hasten to send you the Cottagers of Glenburnie, which I hope you will like as well as we do.”56 Edgeworth’s decision to send the novel to Co. Meath allows it to be circulated among a much wider audience and is suggestive of the general dissemination of such works by members of the Edgeworth salon. This circulation of the works of Irish authors can be seen not only with regards to prose, but also in relation to the poetry of Wicklow-born author Mary Tighe. Edgeworth first mentions Tighe’s Psyche; or, The Legend of Love (1805) in a letter to Sophy Ruxton: “Have you seen or heard anything of a poem called Psyche printed but not published by Mrs Henry Tighe? – I am told that it is beautiful . . . .” (12 July 1806).57 Edgeworth obtained part of the work from Miss Fortescue and then disseminated the material further by circulating her favourite lines: “Miss Fortescue has lent me some extracts Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 143 from Psyche. I send you a specimen of the lines which I liked best.”58 That Edgeworth does this is of particular significance in the case of this specific poem, as Tighe, in spite of the wishes of her literary circle, had only published a limited edition of the work numbering 50 copies, which were intended for private distribution. Clearly the widespread circulation of the poem, as in the above case, meant that the initial 50 copies reached a much larger audience than was originally intended, as noted by Harriet Kramer Linkin: “Those fifty copies were the only ones printed during her lifetime, but they circulated so profusely among avid readers (many of whom made and shared their own copies) that Tighe was already feted as ‘the author of Psyche’ during the remaining five years of her life.”59 Sophy Ruxton had obtained a more complete version of the poem as Maria explains in the same letter: “Sophy who has read it all tells me, that the fable is the same as that of cupid and psyche in Montfaucon,” further emphasising the widespread circulation of Tighe’s work within the Edgeworth network and illustrating the salon’s importance in the dissemination of work by Irish writers.60 The circulation of literary material, as well as epistolary exchange, allowed the provincial salon to extend its relevance and influence beyond the physical gathering itself. These salons were not held at regular, predetermined intervals, but these cultural transfers sustained the network and permitted the salon’s intellectual debate and literary discussion to continue beyond the confines of the Edgeworthstown library. Provincial English salons and literary production In England, one salon in particular played a substantial role in both the dissemination of work by regional writers, and also in its creation and development. Anna Miller established a salon at her villa in Batheaston, two miles outside of Bath, after returning home from a tour on the continent with her husband in 1770–1771. Ruth Hesselgrave’s work, Lady Miller and the Batheaston Literary Circle (1927), remains the only full-length account of Miller’s salon. The lack of academic interest in Miller’s salon stems partly from the belief that it was less serious than those of her Bluestocking counterparts; a belief fuelled by the contemporary ridicule and mockery of men such as Horace Walpole and Samuel Johnson, and continued by such twentieth-century scholars as David Gadd who refers to Miller’s salon, and in particular its poetry, as “The silly coterie which produced this nonsense.”61 Yet while Miller never achieved the same level of recognition or success as the Bluestockings’ assemblies, her salon remains a testament to the impression made by 144 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century French customs on their English visitors, emphasising the diffusion of French salon ideas to England, and more specifically, beyond London to the English provinces. Miller’s salon allows us to focus on a specific instance of a provincial English salon, demonstrating conclusively that not all English literary salons were centred upon London, just as not all French salons took place in Paris. In a letter from Horace Walpole to Lady Aylesbury, Walpole describes Miller as having substantially altered since her tour of France and Italy and, whether he approves of them or not, as bringing with her new ideas from these countries: Alas! Mrs Miller is returned [from abroad] a beauty, a genius, a Sappho, a tenth Muse, as romantic as Mademoiselle Scudéri and as sophisticated as Mrs Vesey . . . and that both may contribute to the improvement of their own country, they have introduced boutsrimés as a new discovery. They hold a Parnassus fair every Thursday, give out rhymes and themes, and all the flux of quality at Bath contend for prizes.62 Upon leaving France, Miller took with her for her own salon the poetic game involving the bout-rimé. These bout-rimés (“rhymes without lines”) involved a literary game consisting of the composition of a poem based on a set of rhyming words selected by the hostess for her guests. Moyra Haslett has linked bout-rimés with sociability and clubbability, identifying their dependence upon associational life along with other sociable poetic forms, such as anagrams, enigmas, and palindromes.63 The boutrimés at Miller’s salon were placed in an urn, the winner chosen by a committee and subsequently crowned with myrtle by Mrs Miller. While she joined Frances Burney’s mild ridicule of the bout-rimés, Hester Lynch Thrale in fact submitted two poems to the collection, one a reflection on dreams and another concerning the subject of music, both ancient and modern.64 In an entry in Thraliana, Thrale declared that: “her [Anna Miller’s] husband and she have a fine house.”65 Miller’s husband Captain John Miller was originally from Ballycaseymore in the parish of Drumline, Co. Clare.66 He was created a baronet in 1778, and thus Anna Miller became Lady Miller three years before her death. Miller’s family, the Riggs, were also from Ireland, and Anna was the sole heiress to her grandfather, the Right Hon. Edward Riggs of Rigsdale, Co. Cork.67 Miller thus brought her husband a large fortune and he adopted her surname before his own on the death of Anna’s mother in 1788. The Millers used Anna’s fortune, Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 145 in addition to Miller’s income from his family estates, to build a large mansion in Somerset. Miller’s salon involved scheduled meetings. It was a fortnightly occurrence, unlike at Edgeworthstown where the gatherings were held opportunistically, depending on the advent of visitors. In spite of the mockery, Miller’s salon succeeded in attracting such attendees as David Garrick and the poet Anna Seward, and produced several widely read collections of poetry. Edward and Charles Dilly published a wide range of material during their partnership including many dissenting or unusual choices, for example, Lionel Chalmers’s An account of the weather and diseases of South-Carolina (1776). It is perhaps this openness to innovation and novelty that also led them to publish the poetical output of Anna Miller’s salon, Poetical Amusements at a Villa Near Bath, based on the poetry competitions held in Miller’s salon. Once a year the most meritorious of these poems were chosen for publication in the volume of poetry. Four volumes (1775, 1776, 1777, 1781) were published before Miller’s death in 1781, and Seward declares that the profits gained from the sale of the poetry were dedicated not to personal gain but to benevolent purposes, being awarded to a local charity in Bath. The publication was subject to much ridicule such as that found in the satirical The Sentence of Momus on the Poetical Amusements at a Villa Near Bath (1775), but the first edition sold out within ten days. Interest in the volumes did not lessen over the years as the following survey of domestic literature of 1781 makes clear: “The fourth volume of Poetical Amusements at a Villa Near Bath forms a very agreeable collection. Several of them have much excellence . . . This volume is not inferior to the preceding ones, and, perhaps, may be considered as excelling them.”68 Another revealing example of a printer-publisher who had an important established relationship with the Batheaston salon was Richard Cruttwell, a businessman whose success was founded on a provincial newspaper, the Bath Chronicle.69 Cruttwell is credited as being one of the earliest publishers to issue local guides through his annual publication of The New Bath Guide (1770–1799) as well as his publication of a Guide to Cheltenham (1789). In 1778 he accepted the publication of Anna Miller’s poetic composition, On Novelty: and on Trifles, and Triflers. Poetic Amusements at a Villa Near Bath, which is described as being “printed and sold by R. Cruttwell, in St James’s-Street. Sold also by all the booksellers in that city.”70 Although it must be remembered that, “neither the colonies nor the provinces ever seriously challenged London as a publishing centre in the eighteenth century,” the successful publication and sale of On Novelty offers evidence of the possibility of profitable publishing outside London.71 146 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Mary Alcock (1741?–1798) was another salon participant who is thought to have entered the world of print following on from the previous encouragement of Anna Miller and her salon. Mary Alcock, née Cumberland, was daughter of “Dr. Denison Cumberland, bishop of Kilmore, in Ireland.”72 The family moved to Co. Galway in 1763 and Mary married an otherwise unidentified Irishman referred to variously as Mr. or Archdeacon Alcock. Mary participated in the Bath salons and it was “there she announced to her relatives that she had ‘turn’d out a poet’ . . . through her participation in the celebrated literary salon of Lady Anna Miller.”73 Markman Ellis postulates that it was “perhaps through this encouragement, Alcock permitted the anonymous publication in 1784 of a seven-page poem, The Air Balloon, or, Flying Mortal.”74 After her death in 1798, Alcock’s niece, Joanna Hughes, published Poems . . . by the Late Mrs Mary Alcock (1799). This volume of poetry was published by subscription, gaining a large 652 subscribers in total. Perhaps the most famous beneficiary of Miller’s salon was Anna Seward. Seward met Miller in 1778 when she was 35 years old and this meeting and her subsequent involvement in Miller’s salon can be said to have transformed the former’s life as a writer. After Seward’s poem, “Invocation for the Comic Muse,” won the myrtle wreath at Miller’s contest, the poet began attending the salon gatherings in person and therein gained the courage to publish. Her recognition of the influence of the Batheaston salon in her publishing life is celebrated in her poem “to the Memory of Lady Miller,” which was occasioned by the death of that salon hostess in 1781. In her preface to the poem, Seward declares that the salon was “calculated to awaken and cultivate ingenuity.”75 In the poem itself, Seward directly addresses Miller, pronouncing: “tho’ all unknown to Fame its artless reed/My trembling hand, at thy kind bidding, tried/To crop the blossoms of th’ uncultur’d mead . . . .”76 It is owing to Miller’s “kind bidding” and her urging of Seward to participate in the salon and the salon’s contests that Seward’s poetic talents are fully realised. Such sanctioning was undoubtedly a significant consideration, especially amongst the female members of such salons who were sometimes reluctant to involve themselves in print culture in case such an act would transgress the bounds of female propriety.77 Not only is Miller’s salon represented as encouraging composition, Miller herself played a key role in the eventual publication of the resultant material also, as another extract from Seward’s poem further illustrates: Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 147 Safe thro’ thy gentle ordeal’s lambent flame, My Muse, aspiring dar’d the fiercer blaze, Which Judgement lights before the hill of Fame, With calm determin’d hand and searching gaze; But for thy lib’ral praise, with awful dread, Far from those burning bars my trembling feet had fled78 Clearly it is as a result of the approbation of Miller and her salon members that Seward felt the “power to pass unhurt the public fire” and enter “the fiercer blaze,” the realm of print which she had previously feared, by sending her verses to the London journals and by submitting her Elegy on Captain Cook to be printed for John Dodsley, in Pall Mall in 1780. As in the Parisian salons, one of the hostess’s primary roles was to direct and control conversation but her role as an intermediary in a text’s transition to print was of equal significance. As her poem attests, but for the “lib’ral praise” of Miller, Seward’s poetry might not have reached the printing presses. Seward herself held an important salon in Lichfield, and her gatherings reveal much about literary and associational life in Staffordshire. Seward was born in Derbyshire but moved to Lichfield at the age of seven and lived the remainder of her life in the town.79 Unlike Miller, Seward was both unmarried and untitled, remaining at the Bishop’s Palace with her father, Thomas Seward, canon residentiary of Lichfield, and his wife Elizabeth, from the age of 13 onwards. Although a small town, Lichfield held a strategic position in the English midlands at the time: “An important ecclesiastical centre and market town from medieval times, it grew and prospered, becoming an important post town and one of the principal leisure-based provincial towns of pre-industrial England.”80 Lichfield’s position as both a cathedral and leisure town attracted many members of the gentry and aristocracy to the area and its population grew to “about 3,700” by the late eighteenth century.81 Like Birmingham and Bath, Lichfield had a flourishing associational life to support its provincial elite.82 A playhouse existed there from c.1736, and a musical society, with public subscription concerts from the 1740s, including annual St Cecilia’s day concerts from 1742, while winter subscription assemblies took place from the mideighteenth century.83 These modes of sociability were supplemented by the gatherings at the Seward home, which welcomed both local residents and visitors to the town: “every stranger, who came well recommended to Lichfield, brought letters to the palace.”84 Seward’s own 148 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century literary salons evolved from the earlier salons held by her parents in the Bishop’s Palace in the 1760s and 1770s when she was a child and young woman.85 The Bishop’s Palace, “the resort of every person in that neighbourhood who had any taste for letters,” was an impressive setting for these literary gatherings.86 The ecclesiastical close in Lichfield had been rebuilt after the Restoration. This renovation work included the Bishop’s Palace, “in brick with stone facings.” Edward Pierce was the architect who undertook the task, over 18 months, at a cost of £3,808 17s. 6d.87 The palace was an impressively substantial building, two storeys high with dormer windows in the roof and “over thirty rooms, outbuildings and gardens, set in half an acre.”88 During the 1770s the Bishop’s Palace “became the centre for an important local literary circle, which included Lichfield physician Erasmus Darwin and at times visitors such as Thomas Day and Richard Lovell Edgeworth.”89 The library was again a central element for this literary group and their gatherings. Originally located in a specific building designated as a library, the collection was transferred to above the chapter house in 1758. In the later eighteenth century the library had “about 3,000 books on loan.”90 The collection began in 1671 with the Duchess of Somerset bestowing the Cathedral with the gift of “nearly a thousand volumes.”91 The initial collection grew substantially and later included works by Addison, Bacon, Swift, and Fielding, a complete set of the Gentleman’s Magazine, as well as Burney’s and Hawkins’s histories of music, “which, according to Bothfield, were not to be found within the precincts of any cathedral.”92 This uncommon privileging of musical histories was reflected in the salon gatherings themselves with local intelligentsia and distinguished visitors attracted to the Seward residence for both literary conversation and to play music.93 The gatherings often included the musical talents of John Saville, “sighing and singing to us, sharing or imparting our enthusiasms.”94 Saville sang professionally, “organized concerts, conducted oratorios around the country and was under contract to Covent Garden.”95 In addition to Saville, Day, and Edgeworth, these “musical evenings” drew in families from the prebendary houses within the Close including “the Addenbrooke’s, Smallbrooke’s, Woodhouse’s, Vyse’s and the Garrick ladies.”96 Anna Seward’s own success as a writer occurred in the early 1780s, after her contribution to the Batheaston salons, with the publication of such works as the Elegy on Captain Cook (1780), Monody on Major André (1781), and her 1784 sentimental novel, Louisa: A Poetical Novel in Four Epistles. This success attracted new visitors to Lichfield who came Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 149 with the purpose of meeting the “swan of Lichfield.” The poet William Hayley, for example, travelled to Lichfield to meet her in the early 1780s.97 As John Brewer has exclaimed: “she did not go to the literary world; it came to her.”98 Brewer describes these later salons with Anna Seward “ . . . receiving famous visitors like Johnson, Mrs Piozzi, Erasmus Darwin, Walter Scott, and Robert Southey in her drawing room.”99 A letter from Seward to Rev. Henry Francis Cary describes the pleasure she experienced from attracting such luminaries: At two that day, Friday last, the poetically great Walter Scott came “like a sun-beam to my dwelling.” . . . He had diverged many miles from his intended track of return from our capital, to visit me ere he repassed the Tweed. Such visits are the most high-prized honours which my writings have procured for me.100 In his introduction to the posthumous edition of her letters, Archibald Constable recognises this distinction of Seward in being able to attract noted literary figures to her salon: “The celebrity of this Lady procured her visits and letters from some of the most distinguished individuals of her age.”101 As well as attracting established authors, Seward also became an important patron for aspiring writers, who wished to gain the salon hostess’s respect and patronage. Echoing the manner of patronage espoused by metropolitan hostesses, Seward’s method of patronage “took the form of hospitable entertainment, social introductions, and solid cash advances.”102 William Newton, whom Seward referred to as “the Peak Minstrel,” represents an important example of a poet who benefited from his interaction with the hostess. Born in Derbyshire, Newton, the son of a carpenter, was introduced to Seward in summer 1783.103 This introduction led to the circulation of Newton’s verse among members of the Bishop’s Palace salon, including William Hayley, who greatly admired them.104 Indeed, several literary figures admired the poems to the extent that they wrote verses of praise dedicated to the poet, as Seward notes in a letter to Newton: “You must get above idle scruples about shewing, or sending to your friends verses written in your own praise. The bard, like the warrior, is privileged to display the trophies he has won.”105 Seward also wrote letters of advice to Henry Francis Cary, who she first met prior to his departure for Oxford in 1790, and Francis Mundy, author of “The fall of Needlewood forest.”106 Another visitor of note to Lichfield was Lord Moira’s private chaplain, Edward Berwick from Co. Down. A letter from Berwick to Seward, written from Moira House on 8 June 1788, reveals further connections 150 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century between the salons of England and Ireland. In the letter Berwick jokingly sets himself up as “the young Hibernian,” musing that the passing of time will have led Seward to rejoice that she had “got rid of my Irish correspondent.”107 He thanks Seward profusely for her hospitality to him while he was ill in England: I am now much better than what I was – was I not so well you might perhaps see me again wandering about tho beneath walls of your cathedral, or walking in that Parapet which Johnson used to stride a long in his former & latter childhood . . . Your politeness and attention to me whilst in Lichfield made such an impression on my heart that as long as their traces remain I must have pleasure in expressing my sense of them.108 He also thanks the hostess for a sonnet she sent to Ireland and remarks on its applicability to his life. It is not only Berwick, however, who admires Seward, but Lady Moira and all those at Moira House. The clergyman assures Seward of her fellow salon hostess Lady Moira’s esteem, and offers an explanation thus: I must tell you that Lady Moira likes you for many reasons of which I will give you four – First she likes all English people. Secondly she likes all people whose heads & spirits are sound. Thirdly she practically loves all people born in about Donington Park & fourthly she thinks she remembers Mr Seward at her father’s and liked him.109 This admiration for Seward is further substantiated by Lady Moira’s collation of all of Seward’s poems: she seems well inclined to like you & as a proof of that good propensity has got all your works that have reached the country bound up in one handsome volume – In short we all like & admire you & will have great pleasure in hearing from you whenever you have a moments leisure.110 Thus connections were established not only between provincial salons and those of the capital within a single country, but also with those abroad in the same manner as the metropolitan salons established such networks of exchange. The importance of the postal system in encouraging and maintaining this associational life has been noted by Brewer.111 Correspondence Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 151 was important not only for provincial hostesses such as Seward, but also for the Bluestockings in London, who maintained contact throughout the year via the written word. The Bluestocking letters often appear as written dialogue and have a very conversational form, replicating the conversation found in the salons.112 Seward herself, described as “a brilliant conversationalist,” was adept at both the written and spoken word. Her personal writing style can be gleaned throughout her six volumes of letters, preserved from the 12 she commissioned for posthumous publication, while Norma Clarke has remarked upon her oral performances: “With her particularly good speaking and reading voice she was in demand for reading aloud, and would recite her own verses, so it is said, with a ‘fiery vivacity.’ ”113 In an early-twentieth century biography of Seward, Martin Stapleton described her reigning as “Queen over the literary society in Lichfield.”114 While Montagu reigned as Queen in London, and Alicia Sheridan Lefanu acted as “vice-Queen” in Dublin, Seward presided over provincial salon life. This provincial salon culture, however, experienced a similar fate to that of the metropolitan cities: “Though this community of amateur and women poets survived into the next century, its importance dwindled . . . The world of poetry was reconstructed in a way that denied the ecumenical and diverse sentiments of the women and provincial poets Seward championed.”115 The salons’ important role in promoting the works of all writers, but particularly female and regional writers, was no longer viable as “by the early nineteenth century . . . the private world of the coterie has become more guarded and more familial, and sociability itself, whether worldly or textual, is presented more as a temptation than an accepted aspect of a woman’s life.”116 Salons were still widespread in France at this time, however, and another hostess, who also came from a dissenting background, Helen Maria Williams (1759–1827), moved to France in 1790 and continued the English salon tradition there. Williams’s salon on Rue Helvétius in Paris began in autumn 1792 and continued there until c.1819.117 Her salon attracted many liberal republicans and anti-Bonapartists and included the painter Pierre-Louis Ginguené, the natural philosopher Georges Cuvier, the political economist J.B. Say, as well as Robert Southey and Samuel Rogers among many others.118 The hostess was influenced by aspects of both provincial associational life and the salon tradition espoused by the English Bluestockings: “Her [Williams’s] roots were in English provincial dissenting culture, and her understanding of a female-dominated intellectual milieu in the pre-Paris years was inspired by Elizabeth Montagu and the English Bluestocking circle.”119 152 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century The hostesses of the provincial salons in England and Ireland attracted learned participants to their gatherings from both the provinces and metropolitan areas. These salon hostesses welcomed such figures as judges, playwrights, journalists, and mineralogists, whose participation demonstrates that the prestige of a literary gathering was not due to its geographical location, but rather to the calibre of its guests and hosts, allowing for several successful salons to take place outside of London or Dublin. These provincial salons were successful in promoting the sharing and dissemination of various forms of literature. Works in circulation included novels such as Eliza Hamilton’s The Cottagers of Glenburnie, poetry written by William Newton, John Sargent, Walter Scott, as well as hostesses Anna Seward and Mary Tighe, in addition to foreign-language works such as Tableau de Paris. The exchange of such works enabled their enjoyment and discussion among families who may not otherwise have had as ready access to such material. These salons saw a different form of collaboration than their metropolitan counterparts, with overnight guests and increased reliance on friends for the acquisition of new titles. In addition, the salons in the provinces were often more likely to be single-author salons. Literary figures that resided alternately in both the city and in the country, such as the Sheridan family, also served to connect the capital and the provinces. During the century the cultural distance between the urban and rural environments in Ireland and England had become diminished, helped by this flourishing literary environment and the networks provided by provincial salons across both countries. 6 “Dublin Is Attribilaire” – The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability It is astonishing the changes that have taken place in the little circle of my intimacy within a few years . . . .1 While salon gatherings were overwhelmingly literary in emphasis, they were clearly not divorced from the wider social and political world. As Ireland struggled to gain parliamentary independence in the late 1770s and early 1780s, an atmosphere was created which allowed women to assert their own independence and to promote the importance of female participation and visibility within the public sphere.2 The position of salon hostess was central to the place of women in public life, and thus the prestige of the salon would have again risen as Ireland gained temporary legislative independence in 1782, in what has become known as Grattan’s Parliament. However, despite this brief elevation, literary associational life, and salon life in particular, was severely disrupted throughout the country as a whole during the turbulent 1790s and the early-nineteenth century. The turmoil of the 1798 Rebellion and its subsequent socio-economic impact on the country deeply affected the levels of participation in voluntary associations. The pervasiveness and levels of violence prevented the possibility of normal life and literary gatherings were suspended. Similarly, the 1801 Act of Union had a massive impact on Ireland’s literary life, substantially altering Ireland’s social landscape, and the composition of the salons in particular, as many prestigious salon participants quickly relocated to England. A German traveller to Ireland in 1806, Phillip Andreas Nemnich, commented on the impact of this relocation of the elite: The emigration of the Irish gentry has really manifested itself only since the Rebellion of 1798 and increased greatly since the Union 153 154 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century of 1801. The annual remittances from Ireland to the absentees in England are calculated to be in the region of £2,000,000 sterling. [Thomas] Newenham tends to think that they amount to almost £3,000,000 . . . Dublin was formerly to be counted among the most magnificent capitals of Europe. The nobility of the country had their townhouses and squandered their incomes with an extravagance that provided all classes with nourishment.3 Nemnich goes on to state succinctly that, “Now everything is dead in Dublin, the mansions stand empty.”4 On their arrival in England, these elite Irish figures would have found a similarly altered social environment. Events such as the Birmingham riots of 1791, celebrating the second anniversary of the Fall of the Bastille, resulted in widespread destruction and the collapse of Dissenting sociability: “the Old and New Meeting Houses of the Unitarians were destroyed, and twenty-seven private houses burned or pulled down,” whilst the mob also destroyed the laboratory and library of the chemist and dissenting clergyman Joseph Priestly.5 The Two Acts of 1795, the Seditious Meetings Act and the Treason Act, restricted sociability and impacted on cultural life across the country. The retrenchment of literary salons in provincial England during the 1790s echoed the transformations that were taking place in elite social life in the capital. Successful salons across both metropolitan and provincial areas in England and Ireland became more rare, and other forms of associational life began to emerge. Lady Charleville’s aunt, Mary Dawson, commented upon the changing make-up of Irish society in January 1806, contrasting the situation in Ireland with that in England in the following, wonderfully snobbish, declaration: What a wise people the English are: if one of our Shopkeepers makes the twentieth part of the sum you mention he sets up for a gentleman for life. Cash the Lottery man has purchased your House in Granby Row from Lord Belmore: indeed I think most of the best Houses are now in the possession of them sort of people.6 As elite sociability began to alter and decline, more democratic institutions emerged, offering new opportunities for interested people to engage with literary associational life, albeit in a very different manner. Book clubs and reading parties developed across Ireland, with book clubs held in Co. Longford, for example, in addition to various reading parties, The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 155 such as those held by Dorothea Herbert (c.1770–1829) in Co. Tipperary. Unlike the salons, these gatherings in both England and Ireland did not involve the literati themselves. They also did not generally consist of members of the upper echelons of society, apart from those in positions of patrons or founders. Some elite forms of sociability did, of course, survive into the nineteenth century, such as Edgeworth’s single-author salons. Many of these elite gatherings now existed in a considerably altered landscape, however. This is true of Mary Tighe’s salon that took place in Dominick Street in Dublin in the first decade of the nineteenth century. As well as salons, another elite form of mixed-gender associational life that existed in Ireland was the private theatrical. There are many instances of elite theatrical performances in the 1780s in particular, and the examples emanating from Shane’s Castle offer much information on the conduct of these gatherings – their participants, their aspirations, the consumption of food and drink, plays performed – while the comparative framework also allows for a greater sense of salon life through contrasting definitions. Shane’s Castle and private theatricals The diary of Mrs Anna Walker, who spent time in Ireland from 1802 until 1807 as a Colonel’s wife, contains several references to theatre performances in Belfast from 1802 and 1803. Walker mentions going to see Sarah Siddons perform in the Stranger with her husband in October 1802: “We got Places in the Marchioness’s Box, & were very highly amused,” and attended Way to get Married and Blue Beard the following month, although with less positive comment: “badly represented, and the House so Miserably thin that it was quite Melancholy.”7 In addition to such public performances as these, there were also many instances of private theatricals across Ireland, such as those associated with Alicia Sheridan Lefanu. These formed part of salon sociability, and also took place within the home in the intersection between the private and public spheres. Susanne Schmid has described private theatricals thus: “They often occurred beyond the immediate circle of the family, included friends and neighbors, and, as the reviews some of them received in print publications like The Times or The Morning Post document, could be brought to the attention of the public.”8 In Ireland, these private theatricals could occasionally be impacted by religious considerations. Finola O’Kane mentions the private theatricals at Castletown House and Carton House in Co Kildare and remarks that “Ascendancy society in 156 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Ireland, possibly conscious of the political importance of strict public adherence to the tenets of Protestant faith, may have frowned upon the theatre and its attendant milieu more consistently than their counterparts in England.”9 Nevertheless, private theatricals were widespread, and one particularly important example is that at Shane’s Castle, Co. Antrim. In a letter to her brother William Drennan, Martha McTier enquires, “Do you read our Mercury? In the last you will see your name in the company with Mrs Siddons and Mrs O’Neill, a strange sort of an illwritten rant, by whom I know not.”10 This Mrs O’Neill was Henrietta O’Neill (1757/58–1793), the grand-daughter of John Boyle, the 5th Earl of Cork and Orrery, and thus the niece of the London salon hostess Mary Monckton’s husband, Edmund Boyle, the 7th Earl of Cork and Orrery. Henrietta married John O’Neill of Shane’s Castle, near Randalstown on the northeast shore of Lough Neagh in Co. Antrim, in 1777 (see Figure 6.1). The Castle, originally Edenduffcarick, was the seat of the O’Neill family of Clandeboy, the former high kings of Ireland. After the birth of O’Neill’s three children and until the onset of illness Figure 6.1 Shane’s Castle in Lough Neagh, the Honble. Mr O’Neil’s in the county of Antrim, 1780. Image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 157 in 1791, Shane’s Castle was the site of many spectacular theatrical performances. In her position as hostess at the Castle, Henrietta became “leader of the social and artistic circles of Antrim.”11 Henrietta’s death in Portugal in September 1793 was recorded by an extensive entry in Anthologia Hibernica, outlining her role as hostess at Shane’s Castle. The entry hails O’Neill as “a lady whose elegance of mind could only be surpassed by the charms of her person: uniting with the polish of courts the brilliancy of genius, she shone preeminent in the fashionable world.”12 This preeminence in the fashionable world clearly arose from her role as hostess at Shane’s Castle, but the obituary also celebrates her espousal of the roles of poet and patron. Both Henrietta and her husband were patrons of the arts, and have been especially noted for their patronage of music and theatre, as well as their support of Lady Moira’s protégé Thomas Dermody.13 Henrietta also supported “her ingenious and unfortunate friend,” the English poet and novelist Charlotte Smith, author of Elegiac Sonnets (1784). Smith’s verse in eulogy of her patron is included in the journal, praising her “native grace” and “native goodness.” Amateur theatre gatherings, such as those at Shane’s Castle, offered their participants much fluidity and a multiplicity of roles, with guests shifting between performers and spectators, as well as offering the possibility of embracing such diverse roles as author or director, which could be particularly liberating for women, generally denied such creativity.14 Henrietta was herself an enthusiastic amateur actress and performed with Lord Edward Fitzgerald in a production of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline at the theatre, which they had constructed at Shane’s Castle.15 Cymbeline took place on 20 November 1785, and the dramatis personae for earlier plays at Shane’s Castle have also been preserved.16 The School for Scandal was acted on 30 March 1781 by a variety of men and women, among them several members of the Gardiner family male and female: Mr Jephson, Miss Whittingham, and Mr North. The Farce of Polly Honeycomb was also performed in 1781, with Mrs O’Neill playing Mrs Honeycombe and Mrs Gardiner as the eponymous Polly.17 The style of entertaining at Shane’s Castle can be seen in a letter by William Drennan from Newry to his sister in Belfast in 1784, in which he describes a “very elegant entertainment and ball,” held by a Mrs Browne that was “conducted as much in the Shane’s Castle style as a small house could permit.”18 This elegant entertainment involved “an excellent supper, good music, and great good-humour, or the endeavour after it.” Despite Twiss’s conviction that music was not cultivated to any degree outside of Dublin, it did in fact play a substantial role in the 158 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century gatherings at Shane’s Castle as it did at McTier’s with “good music and sweet singing.”19 The O’Neills’ private band was made up of their own servants who were required to be musicians in addition to their more usual duties. William Birch and John Sharp, organists at Randalstown’s town church, directed this band.20 The food and music at Mrs Browne’s gathering would have been accompanied by dramatic performance at the O’Neills’ residence. William records a particular performance in a letter from the following year, in which he criticises the choice of play, but recognises other merits of the Shane’s Castle production: “The play was badly chosen, except for dress and scenery, and there will not be one in ten in the house will understand the language.”21 The clergyman Edward Berwick penned “an account of a tour to the Giant’s Causeway in the year 1787,” which included a visit to Shane’s Castle in September of that year. Berwick states that, “We visited O’Neil’s Castle – there are few people to whom a description of it would not be useless, for Irishmen have long found easy access to his Door, and have been entertained in a manner worthy of the Descendants of the Kings of Ulster by the Noble Proprietor.”22 Berwick expands on this welcome, mentioning the hospitality of Mr O’Neill and the “condescension and affability” of Mrs O’Neill. He notes the castle’s alteration in form, but is emphatic that “with those alterations some magnificent circumstances have been superinduced – Hot and cold Baths in perfect style – a conservatory built along the Lake [Lough Neagh] consisting of a great variety of Tropical plants and flowers – and a Theatre well appointed.”23 While Berwick dismisses the importance of art within the home, he does note that there are two pictures by Sir Godfrey Kneller, the illustrious portrait painter, of William and Mary, which he states are said to have been given to Mr O’Neill’s grandfather by King William himself. Perhaps the most famous visitor to the theatrical events at the Castle was the celebrated tragic actress, Sarah Siddons, mentioned by Walker as performing in Belfast in the early-nineteenth century. The anticipation with which this event was awaited can again be seen in Drennan’s correspondence: “I wish Mrs Siddons would pay Mrs O’Neill a visit. Do you hear anything of it?” (1783). While O’Neill first met Siddons in 1774 after she attended a performance of Thomas Otway’s Venice Preserv’d in Cheltenham, it was not until 1785 that Sarah Siddons was invited to Shane’s Castle.24 Siddons’s account of Shane’s Castle in the Life of Mrs Siddons provides a fascinating insight into the spectacle and is worth quoting in its entirety to fully appreciate the splendour of the particular event: The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 159 When it was ended I made a visit to Shane’s Castle, the magnificent residence of Mr and Mrs. O’Neil. I have not words to describe the beauty and splendour of this enchanting place, which, I am sorry to say, has been since levelled to the earth by a tremendous fire. Here were often assembled all the talent, and rank, and beauty, of Ireland. Among the persons of the Leinster family whom I met here was poor Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the most amiable, honourable, though misguided youth, I ever knew. The luxury of this establishment almost inspired the recollections of an Arabian Night’s entertainment. Six or eight carriages, with a numerous throng of lords and ladies on horseback, began the day, by making excursions around this terrestrial paradise, returning home just in time to dress for dinner. The table was served with a profusion and elegance to which I have never seen anything comparable. The sideboards were decorated with adequate magnificence, on which appeared several immense silver flagons, containing claret. A fine band of musicians played during the whole of the repast. They were stationed in the corridors, which led into a fine conservatory where we plucked our dessert from numerous trees, of the most exquisite fruits. The foot of the conservatory was washed by the waves of a superb lake, from which the cool and pleasant wind came, to murmur in concert with the harmony from the corridor. The graces of the presiding genius, the lovely mistress of the mansion, seemed to blend with the whole scene.25 This theatrical event shares many characteristics with the literary salon. Firstly, the location of the gathering is one of great luxury and splendour; indeed it is among the most opulent of the gatherings described during this period, with copious amounts of fine food and drink. The rank of the guests is also extremely high, distancing the event significantly from the more humble reading parties held by Martha McTier in nearby Belfast, which will be described shortly, and especially those of Dorothea Herbert in Tipperary. The Leinster family, who have previously been linked with the salons of both Moira House and Lucan House, are represented here in the person of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and Siddons’s description of the assemblage of “all the talent, and rank, and beauty, of Ireland” clearly resonates with previous descriptions of Moira House. Interestingly, as in the salons in both Britain and Ireland it is Mrs O’Neill, “the lovely mistress of the house,” who is singled out as hostess rather than her husband. Siddons’s particular choice of phrasing serves to clearly connect Henrietta with salon hostesses through their governing and harmonising roles, as she “blend[s] with the whole scene” 160 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century and presides over it in graceful fashion. Nevertheless, despite all these characteristics, the gathering lacks the essential point of the salon in its insistence on the performing aloud of plays after the fashion of a reading party, rather than discussion of the chosen work’s merits. It thus represents a more spectacular, opulent version of the modest reading parties of McTier and Herbert rather than adhering to the salons’ focus on literary criticism and creation. Reading parties and book clubs Even as these elite gatherings began to decline, other forms of literary association increased both in number and importance. This was particularly true of book clubs and reading parties. These provincial book clubs, “a phenomenon of small towns and large villages,” originally represented a form of sociability for the local male elite, allowing them to come together to eat, drink, debate, and decide upon the material to be purchased by the club.26 Peter Borsay’s research details these book clubs in early and mid-eighteenth-century England, up until 1770. He explains the ephemeral nature of these clubs’ acquisitions and their general method of operation: The books they bought were overwhelmingly controversial and topical, pamphlets and slim volumes on politics and religion. The ephemeral character of these books is indicated by the common practice of auctioneering them or selling them to members by lottery at the end of each year. Lack of storage space for the books may also account for these sales, but the value of them was as short lived as the controversies they contained.27 Later book clubs continued this association with the ephemeral, but began steadily to acquire a much more permanent nature, even establishing libraries by the close of the eighteenth century.28 Book clubs and their “larger, more formal and most evolved form” of library societies existed primarily to accumulate books for personal perusal, rather than reading them aloud, as they allowed the club to “use the purchasing power of a large group to facilitate the reading of the individual.”29 The book clubs were originally all male in composition but women began participating in them towards the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Woodstock Book Club, the Deritend and Bordesley Book Club, and the Clapham Book Society all include women in their lists of members.30 Similarly, the York Book Society was exclusively male The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 161 when it was founded in 1794, but by 1803 it included eight women among its members.31 Admittedly, women were still a small minority in these clubs. Records at the time show that women were more likely to be members of circulating libraries, which allowed them access to (predominantly imaginative) print culture, but did not offer them the same degree of sociability as the book clubs.32 This gap in associational life was overcome by the establishment of book clubs headed by women, such as the Oswestry Book Society founded in Shropshire c.1815, whose 34 members included 22 women.33 In Hampshire, Jane Austen was a member of the Chawton Book society, and her letters also associate women with book clubs and their formation: “the Miss Sibleys want to establish a Book Society in their side of the country like ours.”34 Amanda Vickery’s The Gentleman’s Daughter (2006) notes the lack of reference to female intellectual societies, such as these, in diaries and letters from the late eighteenth century, but then exclaims, “From the 1810s, however, it is another story.”35 Vickery lists book societies established by various women in Lancashire including “Eliza Whitaker in Clitheroe, Alice Ainsworth in Bolton, by ‘A. B.’ in Preston and probably by Sarah Horrocks in the same town by 1816.”36 The formal elements of the male clubs were embraced by these gatherings, which provided for formal officers. While many of these clubs, including that at Preston, concentrated on novels, the material chosen by the clubs was not limited to these, but also included “biographies, travelogues and improving tomes.”37 Alice Ainsworth, whose club had a separate English and French gathering, expressed her opinion on contemporary novels thus: “we do not tolerate the common novels of the day.”38 These founding women were of a less elevated social status than the various Bluestockings hostesses and salonnières from the previous century, but were very much considered as members of the local elite. Alice Ainsworth, for example, had “married into a family of gentlemen farmers,” while Sarah Horrocks was the second daughter of Samuel Horrocks, a cotton manufacturer, who later became extremely wealthy and a member of parliament.39 The situation was reflected in early-nineteenth-century Ireland. Book clubs and societies in north-east Ulster, for example, “provided access to books that were beyond the purchasing power of individuals, which appealed strongly to educated artisans, farmers and weavers in counties Antrim and Down.”40 As well as these Ulster examples, there are also instances of such clubs elsewhere in Ireland, which included women. Lady Moira’s daughter, Selina Forbes, participated in a book club of her own, which is thought to have taken place at either Mullingar, 162 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Co. Westmeath, or Castle Forbes itself. Happily, “rules for the book club” in Selina’s own hand are included in the Granard Papers, dating from c. 1815.41 This allows us a rare look at the conventions of such a club in Ireland and particularly one in which a woman was at its centre. Selina’s club was a small one: “The number to be limited – to 15 – or more according to the wishes of the society,” and there was an “annual subscription of two guineas each,” which was to be paid to the Secretary. The book club’s first secretary seems to have been male. Originally Forbes had written “the Secretary to have the first reading of all books, as a compensation for their trouble,” but she later crossed out “their” replacing it with “his.” As with Alice Ainsworth’s Preston club, no novels, or professional books, were to be admitted. No subscriber was permitted to write “notes, or marks in the books.” The rules also explicitly outline the fate of the books after the year’s reading, which recall the earlier book clubs in England: At the end of the year all of the books to be sold by auction, & the money to be added to the next years’ fund – all subscribers are obliged to take the books they have selected at half price, if no one will purchase them for as much or more. All accounts to be settled of Postage, Coinage &c, with the Secretary & a new one selected, for the coming year & the new subscription paid in to him.42 These rules are a fascinating body of evidence for the book club and its policies, enabling us to appreciate its size, subscription fee, choice of books, and means of purchase. As Archbold suggests, book clubs allowed members “a relative sociability” and added greatly to the literary associational life discussed thus far.43 These book clubs generally consisted either of the middle class or “literate lower orders,” making a distinct class distinction between the book clubs and literary salons.44 There also appears to have been effectively a social difference between the reading parties and the salons of Anna Miller, for example, with the reading party generally having no pretensions to be a salon. These gatherings still retained a literary emphasis, but were generally not concerned or connected with elite guests, well-known authors, or luxurious surroundings. Dorothea Herbert’s Retrospections 1770–1806 allows us a glimpse into the world of the gentry in rural Munster, as it centres on various areas in Co. Tipperary, including Rockwell House, Knockgrafton, Carrick-on-Suir, and Cashel. Herbert’s memoirs refer explicitly to a “reading party” that she had attended during her childhood: The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 163 Every Evening Miss English used to come up to Tea and a Reading Party consisting of Mr Rankin the Carshores and Mrs Cooke who was a great Amateur and Transcriber of Poetry – Miss English being a remarkable Reader was chief Lecturer . . . Miss Carshore now Supplied her place as Lecturer aided by the Reverend Thomas Rankin, who being highly enamoured of the fair Widow Cooke was with us every Evening – Whilst my Mother and Mrs Carshore wished the Belle Lettres at the devil as it interrupted all Vulgar Chat and Social Converse.45 This entry allows us to establish a clear sense of what a reading party was. It took place during the evening rather than the afternoon or earlier in the day, and refreshments were served in the form of tea. In this instance, there seems to have been a “chief lecturer,” with the role filled by Miss English, who was then later replaced by Miss Carshore. These readers at the party are explicitly linked with literary endeavours, with Mrs Cooke described as a “transcriber of poetry,” while Miss English was “the Daughter of a Clergyman Schoolmaster – And was in every Sense a compleat Learned Lady.” It is also interesting to learn of the opposition to the reading parties raised by Herbert’s mother and Mrs Carshore, as they disturbed the usual flow of gossip and instead directed attention upon the perusal of belles lettres. There were other gatherings in the neighbourhood apart from those in the Herberts’ family home, as we are told of a Mrs Honoria English, “a gay old widow lady” who “had a general Levee every Sunday of All Sorts and Sizes and her house was the general Resort of Young and Old, Grave and Gay.”46 Again, like the chief lecturers at the Herbert reading party, Mrs English’s intellect and literary capabilities are highlighted: “In her Retirement she had read much and Philosophized more.”47 When Herbert herself began writing poems these were circulated throughout the county, being read aloud at what she describes as a levée in Cashel, for example: “My poems were now carried to Cashel and read every Morning at Mr Hares to a Levee of Roscommon Officers and all the Literati of the Place.”48 They were also sent to Rockwell, the home of Andrew Roe, with whom Herbert was besotted: “Mrs Walsh got Andrew Roe to apply to me for a Perusal of them – I gave them up with a Palpitating Heart but could never learn what Reception they met at Rockwell though it may be supposed I was rather curious about it.”49 Herbert’s poetry was also disseminated in the capital where it met with success: “My poems were shewn to all the Circle of our Friends in Dublin who honourd [sic] them with great Applauses, but I soon grew tired of 164 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century trite Eulogiums.”50 This reception of her poems is a far remove from her previous recollections of “A Dublin reception” as a youth in 1779: “The first thing Mrs Fleming did was to give me a compleat scrubbing from top to toe as a Quarentine from the Land of the Potatoes.”51 Herbert’s Retrospections span the period 1770–1806 and although her focus is ultimately personal – romantic and literary – there is nonetheless a strong sense of context and external circumstance. Herbert notes the effects of the French Revolution across the European continent: After the Murder of the Royal Bourbon Race War broke out all over Europe and England after long Parliamentary Debates agreed to avenge the Murder’d Monarch – My Design does not Extend to a Delineation of Publick Disasters but History will show that there were times of unprecedented Horror and Misfortune – War, Famine, Pestilence, and intestine Rebellion ravaged all Europe.52 Herbert above explicitly states that her intention is not to delineate on public affairs, leaving that task to historians, but it is nonetheless important to reflect on how reading parties and salons were clearly affected by the turbulent events throughout Europe. Unsurprisingly perhaps, while the ideas emerging from the pamphlet wars, and indeed the Revolution itself, were disseminated throughout England and Ireland and changed the ideological leanings of both salon hostesses and participants, their espousal by members of the United Irishmen, leading to the events of 1798, actually interrupted many elite physical gatherings in Ireland, and prevented much discussion and assembly. Herbert documents the Rebellion of 1798 in her entries from this time: “We soon after returned to Carrick as the Kingdom was in such a State that all the Country Gentlemen fled to the Towns for protection – The grim Horrors of War now took place almost universally, but Carrick escaped the Carnage that ensued.”53 Her work refers to “open war” and how “Poor Shortis seem’d to have been killed with a Hatchet . . . ,” clearly causing the suspension of mundane undertakings such as literary gatherings. Johanna Archbold notes that “The foundation of the Society of United Irishmen in 1791 was a turning point in the use of print in Irish political and associational culture, as the society used book clubs and reading societies as surrogate bodies to recruit and to inform supporters.”54 While many of these clubs and societies were not merely “surrogate bodies” but functioned in their own right, the majority were certainly radical in nature. In the early 1790s, the Presbyterian physician and The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 165 patriot William Drennan (1754–1820) writes from Dublin to his sister Martha in Belfast: Mrs Bruce hinted to me that infidelity was becoming the order of the day in Belfast, but I thought she meant too great freedom in religion. No wonder Kennedy is afraid to trust his wife in your reading parties. Here, they were merely for intrigue and very stupid to those who were not worthy of initiation into the mysteries of the metropolis.55 The reading parties denominated by Drennan are sharply opposed here with those “very stupid” parties taking place in Dublin. The Dublin parties are “merely for intrigue,” whilst those in Co. Antrim at the time of this letter’s composition in 1794, are clearly linked by Drennan with radicalism, the United Irishmen, and “infidelity.” Drennan continues to paint a derogatory picture of the capital’s reading parties in the following description: “They were generally made to set off one good reader who thought herself too good for the stage . . . you heard on the whole very uninteresting, inanimate reading, and long before it was done there was an eager looking out and longing for supper.” This contrasts greatly with his later description of Martha’s parties as a species of “Attic entertainment.”56 In addition to opposing reading parties in Dublin and Belfast, Drennan’s account enables us to further clarify the actual functioning of a reading party, and to again understand their significant distinction from salons. As in Herbert’s parties there was “one good reader” who read aloud from a given text, and there was no reference to literary debate or critical thinking, both of which were essential to the salons. Although he does qualify it as inanimate, Drennan’s reference to the stage highlights the dramatic quality of the reading that took place. At the time of Drennan’s above letters from Dublin, Belfast was significantly smaller than the capital: “By 1791 its population was about one-tenth that of Dublin, a quarter of that of Cork and about the same as that of Drogheda and Waterford.”57 It is unlikely that established literary figures would have travelled to Belfast, as they did to Dublin, in order to participate in the capital’s literary life. While its size and the lack of resident literary figures such as Edgeworth in Longford or Seward in Lichfield may have inhibited the formation of salons in Belfast, reading parties like Martha’s flourished, as did many other forms of associational life. The absenteeism of Belfast’s dominant landlord, Lord Donegal, as well as that of other important landlords near the town combined with the related ineffectiveness of the town’s corporations, 166 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century meant that voluntary associations such as the Freemasons and Volunteers became extremely important within Belfast society.58 Associations involving women for the promotion of public good were also prominent in Belfast, such as Martha McTier’s association with the Humane Female Society: “I was most unexpectedly voted secretary to a society of ladies formed for the purpose of relieving lying-in women.”59 Drennan above described Martha’s reading parties as radical in tone, and this description can also be applied to the town’s other literary societies and its publishing community, all of which spread radical ideas: “Reading societies such as the Belfast Reading Society (later the Belfast Society for Promoting Knowledge) founded in 1788, printers, including the Joy family, booksellers and newspapers all served to disseminate radical ideas through print.”60 Letters pertaining to specific details of Martha McTier’s own reading parties occur in her correspondence with her brother in the autumn of 1794, although those described are not radical.61 In a letter with a Belfast postmark dated 4 October from Martha to William, the former begs Drennan to write something new for the party to read: “[I] beg you to consider what a disappointment it will be if I do not get it by return of post, as Monday is our night and I am to have an audience, which, with readers, is to be entirely female.”62 The next letter in the sequence is undated but strongly related to the previous, as the letter encloses a review of the evening’s entertainment and urges Drennan: “I do not enclose it to you merely to read, but in hopes it may afford you some little ground to go on, for a prologue to the same play repeated. I really do depend on you for some agreeable little piece of complimentary locality.” The same letter affords us a picture of the gathering itself. Its members were all young women, the gathering took place on a Saturday night and it consisted of music, reading, wine, and good food: Our play was read on Saturday night, and went off much to my satisfaction, and that of my young company, without the help of one man but Sheridan. My room was well lit, adorned with flowers, an orchestra which faced the readers, who sat at one end round a table nearly half circle, and covered with green cloth – good music and sweet singing, and fruit, cakes, wine etc., afterwards, charmed all the young ones to such a degree that they now pant for a repetition to a female audience – my poor-school and servants were the last.63 An enclosed review stated that the reading of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals “afforded an innocent, rational, and animated entertainment The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 167 to some ladies.” The play was read in parts by those invited by McTier. The editors of The Drennan-McTier Letters have helpfully provided a list of the cast: Martha herself, Anne, niece of Dr Alexander Haliday; Margaret McTier, two daughters of the merchant John Galt Smith, Catherine, daughter of Valentine Jones, two daughters of Arthur Buntin, Abigail and Mary Hamilton, daughters of John Hamilton the banker; Mary and Hannah Patterson, neighbours of Martha McTier, Bess, daughter of John Goddard of Newry, the daughters of James Fergusons and others. Thus indicating the exclusively female nature of the gathering, its middle-class composition, and its local emphasis.64 Drennan’s failure to send written material for the party angered his sister, who then refrained from giving him details of another gathering, despite his urging her to do so in two letters. Martha’s eventual response, dated Friday 24 October, informed Drennan that his place had been taken by Joseph Crombie, son of the Rev. Dr James Crombie, who provided her with a prologue and “an excellent modest humorous letter” which she read aloud to her assembly. The “little entertainment” on that occasion (a Monday) consisted of “a company of forty ladies” in addition to one man, J. Ferguson, who Martha allowed to partake, “merely that Sam [Martha’s husband] might have a companion.” New material was also provided by the United Irishman and lawyer William Sampson, who submitted a song entitled “a parody on Rule Britannia” for the amusement of the group, while Joseph Crombie, another United Irishman, provided a prologue and “an excellent modest humorous letter.”65 Clearly then, the reading parties could in fact provide a platform for the perusal of new work, albeit of a more ephemeral, much lighter nature than the work generally submitted to the salons. McTier’s reading parties were evidently almost exclusively female gatherings, although concerned with the productions of both the male and female pen, and thus would have been viewed as virtuous and exempt from the censure that Louisa Conolly suffered. Perhaps the most interesting contributor to the party was the novelist Elizabeth Hamilton: Acres spoke an epilogue that was also wrote after one o’clock that day, by a Miss Eliza Hamilton, who just then came to town with her sister Mrs Blake – Kitty that was. They applied for admittance by a 168 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century good note which I also sent you, from Mary Patterson. She is connected with all the literati in London and is author of a poem called the Tomb of Columbus, sensible, agreeable, modest, and a Belfast woman.66 Although not yet a salon hostess, Hamilton’s fame was growing at this time and her connections with London’s literary figures is clearly highlighted by Martha. Drennan himself recognizes the importance of Hamilton’s participation in raising the status of his sister’s reading party: “Miss Hamilton is a great scribe and genius and her coming among you as I hear she intends must improve your society much” (January 1796).67 McTier’s gatherings were undoubtedly reading parties rather than salons, but the contributions of figures such as Sampson, Crombie, and Hamilton would have “improved” the society and raised them higher in public perception than those more modest reading parties described by Herbert. Post-act of Union salons Like those in England, salons in Ireland witnessed a decline at the close of the eighteenth century. While the 1798 Rebellion disrupted habitual life for a specific period of time, as outlined by Herbert, the Act of Union, which took force on 1 January 1801, changed the make-up of Irish society dramatically and permanently.68 In a letter from Lady Moira to Lady Granard, the former outlines the essential political implication of the Act: “You will see the King’s proclamation respecting the Imperial Parliament, and that ours will therefore not meet again” (10 November 1800).69 Maria Edgeworth records the changes that took place as a consequence of the Act in her novel The Absentee: From the removal of both Houses of Parliament, most of the nobility and many of the principal families among the Irish commoners either hurried in high hopes to London, or retired disgusted and in despair to their houses in the country. Immediately, in Dublin, commerce rose into the vacated seats of rank; wealth rose into the place of birth. New faces and new equipages appeared . . . 70 All the hostesses and literary participants were affected by Ireland’s union with Britain. In her biography of Owenson, Mary Campbell states that Lady Morgan’s salon was the only one operating in Dublin in 1813. She notes that “there had been a great change in that city’s social The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 169 climate. In 1800 the register showed 269 peers and 300 MPs with houses in the city, but by 1821 only 34 peers, 13 baronets and 5 MPs lived there.”71 The effect was felt throughout the country and caused lamentations such as the following, which was made by Lady Charlotte Rawdon in a letter to Walter Scott: Alas! all researches after antiquity, taste, literature, all! all! are destroyed in this unfortunate country and I cannot forbear remarking that I see since the Rebellion a ferocity of character gaining ground among the common people that certainly did not exist formerly and suspicion seems cherished as a virtue. (21 June 1804)72 The literary salons continued on into the nineteenth century but they took place in an altered environment, with the loss of many of their prestigious members, peers, and politicians. While Dublin, owing to its parliament, is often cited as the area most affected, clearly the reverberations were felt across the country. Mary Tighe’s gatherings offer much insight into both post-Act of Union salons and provincial literary life before and after 1801. Tighe was strongly associated with salon culture both in Ireland and abroad. This was due initially to her ostensible attendance at several salons in a manner reminiscent of Sydney Owenson, as “With the success of Psyche, she [Mary Tighe] soon became the darling of the Dublin and London literati, and she typically presented herself at various salons and events attired as a modern-day Psyche, in pastoral garb with a chaplet of roses.”73 Unfortunately, despite the extraordinary nature of this anecdote and its widespread circulation, it is difficult to ascertain the exact location of these salons, or indeed to obtain any further information pertaining to their characteristics. Due to Tighe’s correspondence with her sister-in-law and cousin Caroline Hamilton (née Tighe), and more importantly with Joseph Cooper Walker, we have evidence of her own salons in the first decade of the nineteenth century, as well as her position within a literary network of family and local literary figures in Co. Wicklow and its environs.74 Mary’s mother Theodosia Blachford (née Tighe) was born in Rosanna, Co. Wicklow, as was her uncle William, who married Sarah Fownes of Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny, and returned to Rosanna upon the death of his father. Sarah Fownes’s granddaughter described the drawing room at Rosanna as, “exactly the room to form young minds to be busy & happy & prevent a drawing room life of working worsted & 170 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century light reading.”75 The Tighes were a strong literary and artistic family. William Tighe was a poet and his brother, the politician Edward Tighe, was also the author of political pamphlets and adaptations for the theatre.76 William and Sarah’s daughter, Caroline (later Hamilton), was a memoirist and artist, best known for her satirical works depicting the Anglo-Irish ascendancy, such as Domestic Happiness as Acted in the City: A Tragic Comic Farce and Society, while their second son, Henry, was to become Mary’s husband in October 1793. Unlike the majority of the Anglo-Irish gentry, Henry and Mary spent most of the 1790s in England before returning to Ireland in 1801, whereupon Mary “immersed herself in her writing.” It was during this period, from 1801 to her death in 1810, that Mary gained great literary fame and established an important literary circle that visited her in both Co. Wicklow and at Dominick Street in Dublin. In addition to the Tighe family, important literary and antiquary figures such as J.C. Walker, Isaac Ambrose Eccles, and William Parnell also resided in Co. Wicklow, making it another important literary location on the Irish landscape, along with Counties Down, Longford and Cavan. I.A. Eccles was “an eminent drama critic” as well as publisher of several of Shakespeare’s plays, which he believed had not been edited correctly previously.77 In an undated letter, written at Rosanna and directed to J.C. Walker, Mary Tighe refers to this neighbouring literary scholar: I think you know our next neighbour Mr Eccles – he has a very fine library I have heard, but he is not quite so liberal in that way as some other friends of mine for tho pretty well known at Cronroe I never to my knowledge saw even the outside of one of his books – I am told he scarcely regales himself with the view of his valuable collection & that his treasures are three deep in the shelves . . . .78 The success of both literary gatherings and, by default, literary correspondence, depended on the procurement of books by the gatherings’ hosts. Outside of the capital, members of literary circles were even more dependent on each other for obtaining new works, or indeed older, more obscure titles if they did not possess a great collection of their own, as the Edgeworths did. Tighe’s scathing comments above highlight the expectation that books would be circulated amongst reading circles rather than selfishly hoarded. Tighe does refer frequently to her own family library, although generally in mournful terms: “There are a vast number of Italian books in this The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 171 library but almost all old travels – I wish my ancestors hadn’t happen’d to like books more in my way.”79 Walker’s collection, however, seems to have been extremely well furnished and Tighe is repeatedly allowed to access it – “I shall put your patience further to the test & myself reap much pleasure by a pillaging visit to your library.”80 Tighe also refers to the importance of circulating libraries in obtaining books: Have you read the Lay of the last Minstrel? I confess I was a little disappointed . . . & besides I was a little provoked at the magnificent expense of the work, which – [presumably ‘placed it’] beyond the reach of common readers, except this the medium of a circulating library & great perseverance by which I at last obtained it. . . . (19 April 1806) Despite these lamentations, Tighe nevertheless did manage to acquire many new works, which she then generally put into further circulation: “I believe I have at this moment the only Ida yet in Ireland” and “We have been much entertained with Miss Edgeworth’s new tales – I got them and Madme Genlis last novel Alphonse by post & when I return to Dublin will forward them for your perusal if you have not had them first.”81 This exchange of literary material extends also to the communication of manuscript material, as the following makes clear: “I also send Mrs Wilmot’s canzone which I value as a gift from the lady herself, & also for its merit. I send you also for your perusal a few of her MSS poems which I think very pretty.”82 Mrs Wilmot was amongst those invited to Tighe’s parties in Dominick Street, which are dated in the journals by Theodosia Tighe as having taken place from November 1805 to June 1806, although some participants, such as Owenson, date their continuance into 1809.83 In Caroline Hamilton’s 1825 memoirs of her cousin, she relates that, “While Mary lived in Dominick Street she was visited (as she says herself in one of her letters) by ‘troops of friends’ all vieing with each other which should contribute most to her amusement.”84 Caroline described these as “little evening parties,” in which “Moore sang his sweetest songs to a few (perhaps not more than 8 or 10) of those who were then the most esteemed in Dublin, for rank or talents.”85 These eight or ten included Sydney Owenson, William Parnell, and Lydia White, as well as Mrs Wilmot, her sister Lady Asgill, and Lady Charlemont (Anne Bermingham of Marion House, Dublin). Tighe mentions Owenson’s presence in an undated letter to J.C. Walker in which she states: “I see a good deal of Miss Owenson & Moore – Miss White is settled in Dublin 172 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century for the winter – I wish my dear Sir I could sometimes have the pleasure & improvement of your society in my evening circles which are often very agreeable to me.”86 According to Hamilton, referring to these evening parties, “she [Mary Tighe] tried to bring together those who could talk to amuse her, while she often remained silent, at her work, the little she ever said, at such times, was pointed and interesting.”87 Tighe is described as lying on the couch during these gatherings rather than taking an active part in proceedings or governing and dominating them as Edgeworth did. Indeed her portrayal as host is quite distinct from the governing role of the salon hostesses described throughout both Ireland and Britain. However, it must be remembered that Tighe had been ill with tuberculosis since her diagnosis in 1804, and this would have significantly impacted on her embracing of the role of salon hostess. Despite these considerations, the reputation of the guests, as well as the musical accompaniment, make the gatherings seem akin to the salons of Vesey or Lady Moira. Thomas Moore directly links Tighe to the Bluestockings in a letter to a Miss Godfrey in 1806: “I regret very much to find that she [Mary Tighe] is becoming so ‘furieusement littéraire’: one used hardly to get a peep at her blue stockings but now I am afraid she shows them up to the knee.”88 While this is clearly stated in a disapproving fashion, Tighe was nonetheless explicitly associated with the Bluestocking network at the time of her literary gatherings. We are told by Hamilton that “Moore visited her [Mary Tighe] constantly & often submitted his works, to her criticism, while they were yet in manuscript,” but it does not seem that these works were submitted for general discussion and editing by the participants, but rather solely by Tighe herself. Tighe was no doubt very interested in Moore’s Irish melodies, as her letters to Walker trace the development of the poet’s awakening to the attractions of Irish history, with questions directed at Walker including: “Is there such a thing as a map of Ireland with the ancient native unlatiniz’d names? What is the best work to gain information with respect to the situation of Ireland or the legends concerning it?” or statements such as, “When I do get an hour to read I am still entirely in Irish hist[ory] – I have got [Sir James] Ware but find him very heavy on hand – not like the engaging, naïf, credulous good Keating” (Tighe’s own emphasis).89 Her interest in Irish history extends also to Gaelic language and to Gaelic literature: . . . Delighted with the Reliques of Irish poetry & knew your Miss Brooke well when a child . . . Rosanagh is the old name & I have been The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 173 told signified wholesome dews – you are an Irish scholar & I envy you for being able to ascertain this from your own knowledge.90 Moore’s “sweetest songs,” which Caroline records as being sung during the evening parties, were perhaps, one can speculate, belonging to his Irish melodies, of which Moore had “completed the first and second numbers” by June 1807.91 Hamilton above refers to these gatherings as “evening parties,” Owenson as “petites parties”: “Dublin is attribilaire, [atrabilaire: bilious] and though I am asked to whatever is going on, I scarcely appear anywhere, except at les petites parties of the dear Psyche” (1809). Owenson’s choice of atrabilaire to describe the city tells us much about her view of Dublin society at this time. Atra bilis, or “black bile,” is a translation of the Greek melanckholia, and it is as though Tighe’s parties represent something of a refuge from the melancholy state of the capital. There is a clear sense that Dublin is a very different place in the wake of the Act of Union.92 The prestige of the Irish literary gatherings diminished with the relocation of government and power to England, although some still offered solace for Owenson and others. These solace-filled “petites parties” were unfortunately of short duration, owing to Tighe’s ill health and her early death at age 37. By 1812, Owenson was lamenting the loss of her literary acquaintances due both to relocation to England caused by the Act of Union and natural death: “It is astonishing the changes that have taken place in the little circle of my intimacy within a few years, either by death or departure to England. Among my literary friends, dear Psyche, Cooper Walker, and Kirwan are no more!”93 Transfers and transformations While literary associational life continued to flourish, social and political challenges faced by members of Irish and English society at the close of the eighteenth century were mirrored in reduced salon activity. The original circumstances that allowed for the emergence of salons as important examples of elite associational life included the feminisation of culture and the promotion of female genius; political stability and the secure position of elite communities; the importance of politesse for conversation; and the agreeable environment for publishing, particularly with regards to female authors. These conditions persisted for most of the eighteenth century, allowing for the salon’s continuance, through various transformations, across eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland. The salon’s key elements – luxurious space, select company, 174 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century female governance, and polite conversation – were augmented by salon hostesses’ espousal of particular emphases for their individual gatherings, such as the promotion of self-education, access to literary networks, the negotiation of national identity, or the dissemination of regional writing. Salon life was temporarily disrupted by events such as the French Revolutionary Wars, the 1798 Rebellion, and the Birmingham riots, but the changes in elite sociability at the close of the eighteenth century, for which these events were catalysts, were more permanent and altered the social landscape of the salons dramatically. Changes brought about by the revolution of 1789 affected the aristocracy’s relationship to political life, England’s attitude to French culture, and women’s position within society, as well as literature. Associational life became more radicalised and there were changes with regards the role of politeness in conversation as radical societies multiplied in the 1790s. Legislation such as the Two Acts of 1795 and Article 291 of the 1810 code affected the possibility of associational life, while the Act of Union transformed the make-up of Ireland’s elite. Perhaps the most important consequence of the French Revolution, however, was the gradual democratisation of society and the resultant effect on elite sociability and salon life. The luxurious lifestyles of the elite in France became anachronistic, whilst the “glitter” and opulence of Bluestocking salons or the splendour of Moira House were no longer apposite. With the retrenchment of salons, less elite literary gatherings emerged, with the simultaneous proliferation of reading parties, cercles, and book clubs, such as those held by Dorothea Herbert, Martha McTier, Selina Forbes, and Alice Ainsworth. As had occurred in France with the popularity of the cercles, literary associational life had become largely democratised, with the salon’s elite structure and exclusivity becoming widely replaced by popular literary gatherings, which allowed access to a greater number of enthusiastic men and women. Despite these circumstances, there is evidence of a tenuous continuation of salon life. In addition to Mary Tighe’s gatherings in a vastly changed post-Act of Union Dublin, salons were also held by nineteenthcentury hostesses such as Lady Holland and Lady Morgan in London and Dublin respectively. Equally, the musical salons of Winaretta Singer, later the Princesse de Polignac, in Venice and Paris, demonstrate the continuing emulation of the original French salon, as does that hosted by Lady Jane Wilde in Dublin’s Westland Row and Merrion Square.94 The literary salon does, in fact, continue to the present day, albeit it in highly altered form, and generally without a host or hostess. The organisers of “Stornoway Literary salon,” held in Stornoway Library, in Scotland’s The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 175 Outer Hebrides claims: “The literary salon will present regular events, readings, networking and socialising opportunities for everyone with an interest in writing, books, ideas and all things literary.”95 Unlike many contemporary book clubs which misuse the term “salon” entirely (such as the London Literary salon whose tagline initially read “a book club worth paying for”), the Stornoway salon aims for a degree of emulation and includes established and aspiring writers as well as avid readers.96 Current discussions of literary salons are also frequent in newspapers such as The Sunday Times and The Guardian, which published “Tweeting of minds in the 21st century literary salon” (February 2010) and “where are our literary salons?” (Book blog April 2008), respectively. A publication by the American digest “Utne Reader,” entitled Salons: the joy of conversation (1991; republished 2001), offers readers a guide to establishing their own literary salons, using examples of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century salons as models. However, it is the Internet that is suggested by many as the site for modern literary salons, allowing for discussion and debate of contemporary publications online.97 The online espousal of the term “salon” represents the ultimate departure from the original incarnation of the word. This form of the modern literary salon eschews hostess, physical site, meritocracy, refreshments, and such qualities as harmony and politesse, distancing it too much from the various intentions and essential qualities of the salon through the centuries. One contemporary salon has stayed remarkably true to the original sense of the term, however, and that is the Shoreditch literary salon in London. Rather than replicate the salons of earlier centuries, it has altered and adapted the salon to meet present needs and to incorporate present technologies, echoing the French salon’s transformations from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Damian Barr, columnist, playwright, and writer is described as “a modern day salonnière.”98 The salon commenced in 2008 and its success is apparent from decisions of authors such as Helen Fielding to write the first three pages of what was to become Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy for the salon’s participants, or David Nichols to launch his novel One Day at the salon.99 Its success has sparked a huge interest in such salons and others are now beginning in London and elsewhere. Thus, while the salons suffered decline from the early-nineteenth century, there have been many important examples of salons, which have survived until the current day, emulating and exporting the idea of the salon to new generations. These literary salons illustrate the changing nature of sociability and the continuing importance of the transfer of literary works and ideas across national boundaries. 176 Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century Those who engage in the study of cultural transfers insist upon the fact that “transfer always entails transformation.”100 The eighteenthcentury salons played a central role in the transnational circulation of ideas, goods, and practices, and a comparative approach to salon sociability, incorporating cultural transfer theory, allows a reconfiguration of both their role and influences. It enables us to understand the salons in a new way, through attention to these transfers and exchanges, as well as the salon’s place within the contemporary social environment in France, Britain, and Ireland. The transfer model also highlights “the large share of foreign cultural import in each of the ostensibly selfcontained national cultures.”101 The Irish contribution to the literary salons offers a new understanding of both French and British salons, with elite Irish men and women active in shaping salons across France and Britain, as well as participating in and structuring debate at home. Literary gatherings within the homes of the elite in Ireland, whether at Moira House or Lucan House, on Dominick Street or in Edgeworthstown, played an instrumental role in crossing the distance between private and public social realms, articulating and supporting innovations in contemporary literary culture and knowledge production more broadly. They offered interested participants a forum for the development of new research and literary texts, while they enabled all participants to come together to engage in conversation and debate on a range of topics. Long neglected, Irish literary salons had a significant role to play within both Britain and Ireland with respect to literature, antiquarianism, performance, translation, and art. They also played an important role in creating and sustaining cosmopolitan networks and influencing intellectual debate. Current interest in the literary, cultural, and architectural history of Ireland will, it can be hoped, add to the understanding and appreciation of the importance of literary salons across both Ireland and Britain in the long eighteenth century. Notes Introduction 1. Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, Journal de Marquis de Dangeau avec les Additions du Duc de Saint-Simon, vol. 3 (Paris, 1854) 125, referring to the salon of Mme de Rambouillet, Une espèce d’académie des beaux esprits, de galanterie, de vertu et de science, car toutes ces choses-la s’accomodoient alors merveilleusement ensemble, et le rendez-vous de tout ce qui étoit le plus distingué en condition et en mérite, un tribunal avec qui il falloit compter, et dont la décision avoit un grand poids dans le monde. All translations are my own unless otherwise stated. 2. Ute Brandes, “Salons,” The Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991) 471. 3. “Sociability,” n. Third edition of Oxford English Dictionary, September 2009; 21 January 2015. 4. Vicesimus Knox, Essays Moral and Literary . . . vol. 2 (London, 1782) 81. 5. Siobhán Kilfeather, “The Profession of Letters, 1700–1810,” in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing: Irish Women’s Writing and Traditions, vol. 5, ed. Angela Bourke et al. (Cork: Cork UP, 2002) 776. 6. See for example, James Kelly and Martyn Powell, eds., Clubs and Societies in Eighteenth-Century Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010). 7. Markman Ellis, “Coffee-Women, The Spectator and the Public Sphere in the Early Eighteenth Century,” Women, Writing and the Public Sphere, 1700–1830 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001) 27–52. 8. Peter Clark, British Clubs and Societies 1580–1800, The Origins of an Associational World (Oxford: OUP, 2002) 204. 9. Indeed a footnote advises “see below, pp 198–204” and this is the extent to which women feature in the book. 10. Toby Barnard, “ ‘Grand Metropolis’ or ‘The Anus of the World’? The Cultural Life of Eighteenth-Century Dublin,” in Two Capitals. London and Dublin 1500–1840, ed. Peter Clark and Raymond Gillespie (Oxford: OUP, 2001) 191. There are, however, important exceptions, such as the significant work carried out by Lady Arabella Denny with regards to the Dublin Foundling Hospital and Magdalen asylum, see Frances Clarke, “Lady Arabella Denny,” Dictionary of Irish Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, with Royal Irish Academy, current) henceforth DIB. 11. Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trans. Thomas Burger (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002) 30. 12. For discussion of the “problem of orders” and an understanding of the different members of elite society including peers, aristocrats, and gentry, see Toby Barnard, A New Anatomy of Ireland, The Irish Protestants, 1649–1770 (New 177 178 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. Notes Haven and London: Yale UP, 2004), and Katharine Glover, Elite Women and Polite Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2011). John Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination (London: HarperCollins, 1997) 34; 37. Of course, there were also aristocratic clubs and societies in existence, the most famous perhaps being the Kit Cat Club (c.1696–1720), “It included many of the powerful Whig grandees of taste and no fewer than ten of its members were dukes,” Brewer 41. There were also examples of male hosts or joint male and female hosts, generally a married couple, and these are included throughout the current study. Necker to Grimm, 16 January 1777, in Necker, Nouveaux Mélanges extraits des Manuscrits de Mme Necker, r ed. Jacques Necker (Paris, 1801) 344–345. Chauncey Brewster Tinker, The Salon and English Letters: Chapters on the Interrelations of Literature and Society in the age of Johnson (New York: Macmillan, 1915) 223. David Hume, Essays Moral Political and Literary, ed. Eugene Miller, Revised Ed. (Indianapolis, Liberty Classics, 1987) 271. Barbauld, quoted in Christina de Bellaigue, Educating Women: Schooling and Identity in England and France, 1800–1867 (Oxford: OUP, 2007) 19. Elizabeth Eger, Bluestockings: Women of Reason From Enlightenment to Romanticism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) 106. E.J. Clery, The Feminization Debate in Eighteenth-Century England: Literature, Commerce and Luxury (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). Benedetta Craveri, The Age of Conversation, Trans. Teresa Waugh (New York: New York Review Books, 2005) xiv. Stephen Conway, Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe in the Eighteenth Century, Similarities, Connections, Identities (Oxford: OUP, 2011) 112. Amanda Vickery and John Styles, eds., Gender, Taste and Material Culture in Britain and North America, 1700–1830 (New Haven: The Yale Centre for British Art, 2006) 285. Vickery’s Behind Closed Doors, at Home in Georgian England (2009), is also very useful in relation to British material culture, as is such collaborative work as Jeremy Aynsley and Charlotte Grant’s Imagined Interiors: Representing the Domestic Interior since the Renaissance (2006). As Patrick Walsh has noted, “Some of this neglect can be attributed to postcolonial political and cultural concerns which have pushed the study of country houses to the margins of Irish historiography except where they dealt with the break-up of the great estates during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.” Patrick Walsh, “William Conolly and Castletown,” in The Irish Country House, Its Past Present and Future, ed. Terence Dooley and Christopher Ridgway (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011) 25. Dooley 16. Examples include the National University of Ireland Maynooth’s Centre for the Study of Historic Houses in Ireland,, and NUI Galway’s comprehensive database on landed estates and historic houses in Connacht and Munster – Landed Estates Database, Granard Papers, T3765/N. Madame de Rambouillet is said to have drawn up the plans for the 1619 and 1627 renovations of the Hôtel de Rambouillet herself, see Pamela Notes 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 179 Plumb-Dhindsa, “From Royal Bed to Boudoir: The Dissolution of the Space of Appearance Told Through the History of the French Salon,” MA thesis, McGill University, 1998, 10. Le Trésor de la Langue Française dates its first use in this manner to 1793, but Jacqueline Hellegouarc’h has traced that use to 1783 after discovering the term in volume VI of Tableau de Paris. Jacqueline Hellegouarc’h, L’Esprit de société: cercles et “salons” parisiens au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Garnier, 2000) 450. The OED suggests Frances Burney’s reference to “the conversazione” in 1782 as one of the first examples of the entrance of the term into English but there are many examples of earlier usage, including the following from Hannah More: “I was engaged at Mrs Boscawen’s to meet by appointment a party. It was a conversazione, but composed of rather too many people . . . ” (1776), Hannah More, Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Mrs Hannah More, ed. William Roberts, vol. 1 (London, 1834) 92, while Thomas Gray mentions them as early as 1739 in a letter to Richard West, where he refers to “the Marquise de Cavaillac’s Conversazione,” Thomas Gray, The Works of Thomas Gray, vol. 2 (London, 1835) 70. Máire Kennedy, “Readership in French: The Irish Experience” in Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800, ed. Graham Gargett and Geraldine Sheridan (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999) 14. Elizabeth Carter, r A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot, from the Year 1741 to 1770 . . . (London, 1808) 374; 177. Stefanie Stockhorst, ed. Cultural Transfer through Translation, The Circulation of Enlightened Thought in Europe by means of Translation (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2010) 20. Ann Thomson, Simon Burrows, and Edmond Dziembowski, eds. Cultural Transfers, France and Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century (Oxford: SVEC, 2010) 4. Conway 213. Emma Major, “Femininity and National Identity: Elizabeth Montagu’s Trip to France,” ELH 72 (2005): 901–918. Joep Leerssen, Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, its Development, and Literary Expression Prior to the Nineteenth Century (Cork: Field Day Press, 1996) 17. Andrew Carpenter, “Poetry in English, 1690–1800: From the Williamite Wars to the Act of Union,” Cambridge History of Irish Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006). Emily Fitzgerald, “Duchess of Leinster,” in Correspondence of Emily, Duchess of Leinster (1731–1814), ed. Brian Fitzgerald, vol. 3 (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1949–1957) 379. Peter Borsay, The English Urban Renaissance, Culture and Society in the Provincial Town, 1660–1770 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989) 135. Toby Barnard, “Reading in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: Public and Private Pleasures,” in The Experience of Reading, g ed. Máire Kennedy and Bernadette Cunningham (Dublin: Rare Books Group, 1999) 65. Barnard 68. Mark Purcell, The Big House Library in Ireland, Books in Ulster Country Houses (Swindon: The National Trust, 2011) 13. Purcell 13. 180 Notes 45. Anthony Malcolmson, The Pursuit of the Heiress: Aristocratic Marriage in Ireland (Belfast: Ulster History Foundation, 2006) 122. 46. Granard Papers, T3765/N/2; Ross Balfour, ed., The Library of Mrs Elizabeth Vesey (Newcastle-on-Tyne: Robinson, 1926). 1 The French Salon: Its Foreign Participants and Hosts 1. Dashkova, The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova, ed. Kyril Fitzlyon (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995) 127. 2. Edward Gibbon, Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, Esq. with Memoirs of His Life and Writings, Composed by Himself . . . (London, 1796) 432. 3. Steven D. Kale, French Salons: High Society and Political Sociability from the Old Regime (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2004) 229. 4. André Morellet, Mémoires Inédits de l’abbé Morellet de l’Académie française . . . (Paris, 1822) 85, “Many foreigners from all different countries who would not have believed they had really seen Paris if they had not been admitted to Mme Geoffrin’s.” 5. For further discussion regarding how war interrupted travel to France throughout this period, see Jeremy Black, “War, Disputes, Accidents and Crime,” in The British Abroad, The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1992) 159–181. 6. “Mme de Tencin [1682–1749] was in fact one of the first hostesses to regularly receive foreign visitors,” Benedetta Craveri, The Age of Conversation, trans. Teresa Waugh (New York: New York Review Books, 2005) 288. 7. Marianne D’Ezio, “Literary and Cultural Intersections between British and Italian Women Writers and Salonnières during the Eighteenth Century,” in Readers, Writers, Salonnières, Female Networks in Europe, 1700–1900, ed. Hilary Brown and Gillian Dow (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011) 29. 8. The substantial material dealing with the close relationship between Ireland and France in the eighteenth century has been added to with the publication of two collected editions: Graham Gargett and Geraldine Sheridan’s Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 (1999) and Jane Conroy’s Franco-Irish Connections (2009). Thomas O’Connor’s The Irish in Europe: 1580–1815 (2001), though broader in range, also adds significantly to our understanding of Franco-Irish relations at this time. 9. O’Connor 9. 10. Mme de Lambert, Réflexions nouvelles sur les femmes (Paris: Cote-femmes, 1989) 93, “In the past there were houses where one could both speak and think, where the muses were in company with the graces.” 11. Nicole Pohl, “Perfect Reciprocity: Salon Culture and Epistolary Conversations,” Women’s Writing 13.1 (2006): 139–159. 12. Craveri 210. 13. It is important to bear in mind that, although useful, salonnière is a recent coinage, and probably of American origin rather than French. 14. Jean-François Marmontel, Mémoires de Marmontel, secrétaire perpétuel de l’académie française (Paris, 1846) 231. “Lespinasse was the only woman Geoffrin would ever allow attend her dinner in honour of the men of letters.” Notes 181 15. Suzanne Curchod Necker, Nouveaux Mélanges extraits des manuscrits de Mme Necker, r ed. Jacques Necker (Paris, 1801) 1:49–50, 1:34. 16. When he [l’abbé de Saint-Pierre] was leaving, Mme Geoffrin said to him: Sir, you have given us some excellent conversation. Madame, he said, I have been but an instrument on which you have played well. André Morellet, Eloges de Madame Geoffrin, Contemporaine de Madame du Deffand par Marmontel, Thomas et D’Alembert (Paris, 1812) 12. 17. Faith E. Beasley, Salons, History, and the Creation of Seventeenth Century France: Mastering Memory (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006); Dena Goodman, “Enlightenment Salons: The Convergence of Female and Philosophic Ambitions,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 22.3 (Spring 1989): 337. 18. Perhaps the most significant political event in seventeenth-century France was the Fronde: a series of civil wars from 1648 to 1653 that occurred when the nobility rebelled against Cardinal Mazarin and the Court in order to curb the power of the monarchy during Louis XIV’s minority. 19. Antoine Lilti, Le monde des salons: sociabilité et mondanité à Paris au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Fayard, 2005). 20. Comtesse de Genlis, Memoirs of the Countess de Genlis, Illustrative of the History of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (London, 1825) 2:171; Craveri 455. Chastellux contributed to the Encyclopédie with the article “Public Happiness.” 21. Roger Picard, Les salons littéraires et la société française, 1610–1789 (New York: Brentano’s, 1943) 212, “General Barington: made me dine with Milord Grosvenor, he is very ugly and pox-ridden. Grosvenor, in English, is pronounced ‘Gros Veneur’ [i.e. Great Hunter].” 22. Joan Landes, Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1988). 23. Alan Kors, D’Holbach’s Coterie: An Enlightenment in Paris (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1976) 96. Baron d’Holbach represents a notable exception to the generally female rule of the salons. There were also salons that were seen as being governed by both male and female hosts such as chez Helvétius where husband and wife were both considered hosts. 24. Morellet, Eloges, 12, “With her gentle that’s enough for now, she never ceased to hold our thoughts as if on a leash; I had dinners elsewhere where one felt more relaxed.” 25. Julie de Lespinasse, Letters of Mlle. de Lespinasse, with Notes on her Life and Character . . . (London: Heinemann, 1902) 34. 26. Picard 139. 27. Dena Goodman, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1994). 28. Bachaumont, “Mémoires de Bachaumont,” in Mémoires de Madame du Hausset . . . ed. Fs. Barriere, M. (Paris, 1846) 406, “very well-known in the world owing to the sanctuary she gave to M d’Alembert as well as for her passion for l’Encyclopédie and the encyclopédistes . . . ” Lespinasse is often cited alternatively as d’Alembert’s mistress, lover or muse. 29. Margaret Ezell, Social Authorship and the Advent of Print (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins, 1999). 30. Goodman, “Enlightenment Salons,” 344. 182 Notes 31. Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, quoted in Goodman 344. 32. Landes 25. 33. Morellet, Eloges, 210. Morellet states that Geoffrin is writing to one of the men she liked best, “un des hommes qu’elle aimait le plus.” 34. D’Ezio 15. 35. Emily Fitzgerald, “Duchess of Leinster,” in Correspondence of Emily, Duchess of Leinster (1731–1814), ed. Brian Fitzgerald, vol. 1 (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1949–1957) 377; 399. 36. Fitzgerald, vol. 1, 463. 37. See afterword by Woronzoff-Dashkoff to Dashkova, The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova, ed. Kyril Fitzlyon (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995), as well as Angela Byrne, “Supplementing the autobiography of Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova: The Russian Diaries of Martha and Katherine Wilmot,” Irish Slavonic Studies 23 (2011): 25–34. 38. Dashkova 124. 39. Dashkova 158. 40. Goodman, The Republic of Letters, 84. 41. For more on this, see Kale, “Women the Public Sphere and the Persistence of Salons,” French Historical Studies 25.1 (2002): 116–126. 42. Craveri 332. 43. Barbara B. Diefendorf, “Contradictions of the Century of Saints: Aristocratic Patronage and the Convents of Counter-Reformation Paris,” French Historical Studies 24.3 (2001): 469–499. 44. Lilti 227. 45. For further information, see Julie de Lespinasse, Letters of Mlle. de Lespinasse, with Notes on her Life and Character by d’Alembert, Marmontel, De Guibert, Etc. (London: Heinemann, 1902). 46. Craveri 311–315. 47. Fitzgerald, vol. 2, 183. 48. Fitzgerald, vol. 2, 191. 49. Fitzgerald, vol. 1, 462. 50. In Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, “artisan” is described by Johnson as “Artist; professor of an art,” echoing his description of “artist.” See Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language . . . vol. 1 (London, 1755). 51. Marmontel 239, “the food there was frugal.” 52. Lilti 227, “what a lot of fuss over a spinach omelette.” 53. Morellet, Eloges, 57, “her apartment was decorated with their works. Paintings by Vanloo, Greuze, Vernet, Vien, Lagrenée, Robert, portrait by Lemoine, etc; pieces of furniture and some bronzes of the very best taste everywhere showed her love for the arts and artists.” 54. Goodman, The Republic of Letters, 86–89. 55. Morellet, Eloges, 60. 56. William Cole, A Journal of My Journey to Paris in the Year 1765, ed. Francis Griffin Stokes (London: Constable, 1931) 81–82. 57. Kimberly Chrisman, “Unhoop the Fair Sex: The Campaign Against the Hoop Petticoat in Eighteenth-Century England,” Eighteenth Century Studies 30.1 (1996): 10. 58. Fitzgerald, vol. 1, 374. Notes 183 59. Fitzgerald, vol. 1, 395. 60. Fitzgerald, vol. 1, 383. 61. See Marcia Pointon, Strategies for Showing: Women, Possession and Representation in English Visual Culture (Oxford: OUP, 1997). 62. Morellet 154. 63. Vicomte d’Haussonville, Le Salon de Madame Necker d’après des documents tirés des archives de Coppet (Paris, 1882) 121. 64. “A social geography of Paris began to establish itself from the 18th century which would later mark the 19th and 20th centuries with the setting up of what one would later call the ‘beaux quartiers’ or fine neighbourhoods.” Lilti 137. 65. Rosena Davison, “Salons,” in Encyclopaedia of the Enlightenment, t ed. Alan Charles Kors, vol. 4 (Oxford: OUP, 2003). 66. Genlis, vol. 1, 381. 67. René Moulinas, “James Butler, Second Duke of Ormonde in Avignon,” in The Dukes of Ormonde, 1610–1745, ed. Toby Barnard and Jane Fenlon (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2000) 255. 68. Moulinas 256. 69. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, ed. Robert Halsband, vol. 2, 1721–1751 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966) 289–290. 70. The Marquis d’Argens, Memoirs of Count du Beauval, trans. Samuel Derrick (London, 1754) 193–194. 71. Wortley Montagu, vol. 2, 290. 72. Christine Adams, A Taste for Comfort and Status: A Bourgeois Family in Eighteenth-Century France (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University, 2000) 58. 73. André Grellet-Dumazeau. La Société bordelaise sous Louis XV et le salon de Mme Duplessy (Bordeaux, 1897) 20. 74. For example, works such as Janet Aldis, Madame Geoffrin, her salon and her times (London, 1905). 75. Grellet-Dumazeau 22–23. 76. Grellet-Dumazeau 31, “The most distinguished members were joined by other local celebrities, savants, artists, learned women: a whole phalanx of educated people.” 77. Adams 2. 78. Adams 226. 79. Grellet-Dumazeau 20, “ . . . soon, there was no longer any literary renown that didn’t bear the stamp of her salon, and Montesquieu himself accepted the honour of being counted among her friends.” 80. James Caulfield, Memoirs of the Political and Private Life of James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont, t ed. Francis Hardy (London, 1810) 36. 81. In Cynthia O’Connor’s The Pleasing Hours (1999), O’Connor also recognises this difference of perspective, “others told of Montesquieu being nearly blind and not nearly as lively as Charlemont related” but that “we have no reason to doubt Hardy’s transcription” of Charlemont’s words from the now missing manuscript; O’Connor 149. 82. Charlemont MS at Royal Irish Academy, MS 12 R 5. Travellers Essays, vol. 1. 83. Michael Clancy, Memoirs of Michael Clancy MD, vol. 2 (Dublin, 1750) 52; 50. 184 Notes 84. Patricia Fleming, Gilles Gallichan and Yvan Lamonde, eds., History of the Book in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004) 345. 85. Fleming et al. 345. 86. See, Hilary Brown and Gillian Dow, Readers, Writers, Salonnières, Female Networks in Europe, 1700–1900 (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011). This collection includes several essays on eighteenth-century salons in France, Italy, and Germany, although it concentrates explicitly on the female members of these salons and on female networks, with little mention of Ireland apart from inclusion of Maria Edgeworth. 87. Eve-Marie Lampron, “From Venice to Paris: Fame, Gender and National Sensibilities in Late Eighteenth-and Early Nineteenth-Century Female Literary Networks,” in Readers, Writers, Salonnières, ed. Hilary Brown and Gillian Dow (2011) 31. 88. Pohl 143. 89. Pohl 143–144. 90. Emily D. Bilski and Emily Braun, Jewish Women and Their Salons, The Power of Conversation, (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2005) 16; Pohl 144. 91. Pohl 150. 92. Bilski and Braun 25. 93. David Shields, Civil Tongues, Polite Letters in British America (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1997) 311. 94. Shields 310; 309. Shields does, however, observe that the salons had to diversify their practices, and gives the example of how they “projected a presence in print.” 95. PRONI, Joseph Cooper Walker to Lady Moira, T3048/A/5. 96. PRONI T3048/A/5. 97. “Anastacia Daly,” 21 January 2015. i48915. 98. “Anastacia Daly,” 21 January 2015. i48915. 99. For details of the houses and estates associated with the Fitzmaurice family, see Landed Estates Database, 21 January 2015. http://landedestates 100. C. J. Woods, “Notes on Some Irish Residents in Paris,” in Franco-Irish Connections, ed. Jane Conroy (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2009) 337. 101. Lady Mary Campbell Coke, Letters and Journals of Lady Mary Coke, vol. 3., 1769–1771 (Edinburgh, 1889) 75. 102. Lord Fitzmaurice, Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, Afterwards First Marquess of Lansdowne, With Extracts From his Papers and Correspondence (London: Macmillan and Co., 1912) 3. 103. Richard Hayes, “Biographical Dictionary of Irishmen in France,” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 32.126 (1943): 241–242. I am indebted to Niall Gillespie for bringing this quotation to my attention. 104. Phillippe Bechu, “Papiers d’origine privée tombés dans le domaine public,” Centre Historique des Archvies Nationales, “documents sequestered during the Revolution in the Seine department, from emigrants and condemned individuals and from some lay communities.” 105. Nigel Aston and Clarissa Campbell Orr, An Enlightenment Statesman in Whig Britain: Lord Shelburne in Context, 1737–1805 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2011) 18. Aston and Orr refer also to an MA thesis by Patrick Pilkington. Notes 185 106. “Stephen Slaughter, Art Auction Results, Prices and Artworks Estimates,” Arcadja Auctions, 21 January 2015. /slaughter_stephen/artist/26825/. 107. The Hôtel de Charost is now home to the British embassy in Paris and is open to the public on certain days. 108. NLI Pos 7421, “by Granhez, jeweller to the Queen.” 109. Household and personal accounts of Francis Thomas Fitzmaurice, 3rd Earl of Kerry in France and England, National Library of Ireland, Pos 7241. 110. “2000 dinner invitation cards printed on superfine Annonay velum with gilt edges.” 111. Hayes 242. 112. Slaughter. 113. Goodman, “Enlightenment Salons,” 349. 114. “Assemblée national – Loi de 1901 relative au contrat d’association,” 17 April 2014. 1901-5.asp. 115. Kale, French Salons 3; 200–201. 116. Genlis, vol. 1, 8. 117. Genlis, vol. 5, 85. 118. Genlis, vol. 5, 186. 119. Kale French Salons 232. In 1807 the Marquise’s daughter Eliza married the Irish politician and revolutionary Arthur O’Connor, who assumed the name Condorcet-O’Connor. James Kelly “Arthur O’Connor,” DIB. 120. For more information on these and other nineteenth century salonnières, see Kale French Salons 231–236. 121. Maria Edgeworth, The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, ed. Augustus J. C. Hare, vol. 1 (London, 1984) 101. 122. Edgeworth 280. 123. Edgeworth 115. 124. Edgeworth 115. 125. J. G. Alger “Thomas Plunket,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: OUP, 2004) henceforth ODNB, and Jean Main, “An Irish life in Austrian service: General Thomas Von Plunket,” Sabretache (Melbourne: Military Historical Society of Australia, 2003). 126. Alger, “Thomas Plunket.” 127. Genlis, vol. 2, 113–114. Plunket is described as having had no wealth, and the marriage was greeted with “great displeasure” by the Marquis’s family. 128. Genlis, vol. 2, 114. 129. Hayes 245. 130. “Morris, Gouverneur, (1752–1816)” Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress, 17 April 2014. / 131. Gouverneur Morris, The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, Minister of the United States to France etc., ed. Anne Cary Morris (New York, 1888) 73. 132. Morris 190. 133. Morris. 134. Morris 248. 135. Morris 202. 136. Morris 268. 186 Notes 137. Morris 227. 138. Thomas Jefferson, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson Digital Edition, eds. Barbara B. Oberg and J. Jefferson Looney (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2008) 312. 139. John G. Alger, Englishmen in the French Revolution (London, 1889) 158. 140. Alger 156. 141. Jefferson 463. 142. Jefferson 344; 312. 143. Geoffrey Ellis, Napoleon (Harlow: Pearson Education: 2000) 182. 144. Kale French Salons 53. 145. Peter McPhee, A Social History of France, 1789–1914 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). 146. Carol E. Harrison, The Bourgeois Citizen in Nineteenth-Century France: Gender, Sociability, and the Uses of Emulation (Oxford: OUP, 1999) 89. 147. Harrison 95. 148. Harrison 95. 149. Harrison 89; 94. 2 A French Phenomenon Embraced: The Literary Salon in Eighteenth-Century Britain 1. Alison Rutherford Cockburn, The Letters and Memoirs of Mrs A Rutherford or Cockburn, ed. T. Craig Brown (Edinburgh: Douglas, 1900) xxvii. 2. See, for example, Peter Clark’s study, British Clubs and Societies 1580–1800, The Origins of an Associational World (2002), which devotes extraordinarily little space to addressing women and their absence from such gatherings. 3. Several attempts were made to establish salon culture in England as early as the first decades of the Stuart period, during the reign of James I (r. 1603–1625). James van Horn Melton, in his study The Rise of the Public in Enlightenment Europe (2001), details the circles surrounding the countesses of Bedford and Carlisle as instances of early English salons. Echoing Melton, Roy E. Schreiber lays particular emphasis on the fact that “the French provided the model for these gatherings, and the duchesse de Chevreuse, a good friend of the countess, undoubtedly encouraged her [the countess of Carlisle] during her stay in England,” Schreiber, “Lucy Hay, countess of Carlisle,” ODNB. This manner of imitation and emulation of the French prototype by seventeenth-century courtiers anticipates the salon hostesses of the eighteenth century and their method of adoption and adaptation of the French prototype. 4. Melton 211. 5. Melton 211. 6. Elizabeth Montagu’s only child died unexpectedly when under one year old; Frances Boscawen outlived two children; and Hester Lynch Thrale “resented the endless pregnancies, thirteen between 1764 and 1778, producing twelve children, only four of whom survived to maturity.” Michael Franklin, “Hester Lynch Piozzi,” ODNB. Monckton married aged 40 and is not said to have had any children. Notes 187 7. Sylvia Myers, The Bluestocking Circle, Women, Friendship, and the Life of the Mind in Eighteenth-Century England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990) 8–12. 8. See Moyra Haslett, “Bluestocking Feminism Revisited: The Satirical Figure of the Bluestocking,” Women’s Writing 17.3 (2010): 432–451. 9. Emma Major, “Femininity and National Identity: Elizabeth Montagu’s trip to France,” ELH 72 (2005): 901–918; Barbara Darby, Frances Burney, Dramatist: Gender, Performance, and the Late-Eighteenth-Century Stage (1997); Bridget Hill, The Republican Virago: The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay, Historian (1992). Sylvia Myers’s The Bluestocking Circle is often referenced as a full-length study of Bluestocking activity. However, in her preface Myers laments the fact that many feminists continue to emphasise what she describes as “the salon aspect” of the Bluestockings and the work subsequently concentrates uniquely on the contribution of the Bluestockings as women writers and proto-feminists rather than salon hostesses. Similarly, Gary Kelly’s six-volume set, Bluestocking Feminism, Writings of the Bluestocking Circle 1738–1790 (1999) considers the literary output of these women, only briefly mentioning their roles as hostesses thus illustrating further the little interest there has been in the Bluestockings as putative salon hostesses. 10. I use the capitalised “B” for Bluestockings throughout in order to indicate the specific participants rather than the lower-case “b,” which would indicate the more generic term. Additionally, in order to differentiate between the French and the British and Irish salon hostesses, the term salonnière should be understood to refer specifically to the hostesses of the French salons rather than those of the Bluestockings who will be referred to as salon hostesses for the purpose of clarity. 11. Paul Wood, The Scottish Enlightenment: Essays in Reinterpretation (Rochester, NY and Woodbridge: University of Rochester Press, 2000) 44. 12. Elizabeth Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot, from the year 1741 to 1770 . . . (London, 1808) 16. 13. Hannah More, Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Mrs Hannah More, ed. William Roberts, vol. 1 (London, 1834) 76. Though Elizabeth Sheridan, for example, enjoyed cards, even while she enjoyed serious conversation as well. 14. Deborah Heller argues: “The project of providing a site for sociable communication is the overriding goal of English salon activity from its beginnings in about 1750 through its golden age stretching from the early 1760s into the early 1780s.” Deborah Heller, “Bluestocking Salons and the Public Sphere,” Eighteenth-Century Life 22.2 (1998): 62. 15. Susanne Schmid, British Literary Salons of the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) 3–4. 16. While it does not deal explicitly with comparative analysis, Nicole Pohl’s, “Perfect Reciprocity: Salon Culture and Epistolary Conversations,” Women’s Writing 13.1 (2006): 139–159 offers some examples of similarities between the different countries’ salons. See also, Hilary Brown and Gillian Dow, Readers, Writers, Salonnières, Female Networks in Europe 1700–1900 (2011), discussed in Chapter 1. 188 Notes 17. Chauncey Brewster Tinker, The Salon and English Letters: Chapters on the Interrelations of Literature and Society in the Age of Johnson (New York: Macmillan, 1915) 63. 18. Tinker 213. 19. Tinker 210. 20. Evelyn Gordon Bodek, “Salonnières and Bluestockings: Educated Obsolescence and Germinating Feminism,” Feminist Studies 3 (1976): 185–199. 21. This new edition was Lettres nouvelles . . . Pour servir de supplément à l’édition de Paris en six volumes, 1754. Horace Walpole, Selected Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. W.S. Lewis (New Haven: Yale UP, 1973) 60; Elizabeth Sheridan, Betsy Sheridan’s Journal, Letters from Sheridan’s Sister 1784–1786 and 1788–1790, ed. William Le Fanu (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1960) 128. 22. Edward Gibbon, Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, Esq. With Memoirs of His Life and Writings, Composed by Himself . . . (London, 1796) 115–116. Horace Walpole, Horace Walpole’s Correspondence with Thomas Gray, Richard West and Thomas Ashton, ed. W.S. Lewis, George L. Lam and Charles H. Bennett (New Haven: Yale UP, 1948) 150. 23. Reginald Blunt, Mrs Montagu “Queen of the Blues” Her Letters and Friendships from 1762 to 1800, vol. 1 (London: Constable, 1923) 317. 24. Blunt, vol. 1, 326. 25. For further biographical details of the female Bluestockings, see Anna Miegon, The Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1/2, Reconsidering the Bluestockings (2002): 25–37. 26. Katharina M. Wilson, Paul Schlueter, and June Schlueter, eds. Women Writers of Great Britain and Europe: An Encyclopedia (New York: Routledge, 1997) 41; Blunt, vol. 2, 3. Marmontel alludes to du Bocage’s salons, although he describes them a lot less favourably than those of Geoffrin, Marmontel, Mémoires de Marmontel, secrétaire perpétuel de l’académie française (Paris, 1846) 304. 27. Georges Solovieff, “Deux Lettres de Madame Necker à Lady Montagu et une lettre de Necker à Bonstetten,” Cahiers Staeliens 25 (1978): 57; “the pleasure we had in receiving England’s muse here in France.” 28. See Chapter 1. David Hume’s letters from the 1760s also reveal much regarding the competition and animosity that could exist between the salonnières, particularly Lespinasse and Deffand. Speaking of a later period, Schmid observes that “the cult of female friendship, sometimes nostalgically evoked in salon research, had no place among the London hostesses of the 1830s.” 135. 29. More, Memoirs, vol. 2, 73. While Boscawen’s letters were never published during her lifetime, they were very well known amongst her circle of friends. 30. Christine Casey, “The Dublin Domestic Formula,” in The Eighteenth-Century Town House, ed. Christine Casey (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010) 46. 31. “14 South Audley Street W1 – Westminster . . . ” 21 January 2015. www 32. The house become listed on 1 December 1987. Ibid. 33. “South Audley Street: East Side,” Survey of London: volume 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (the Buildings) (1980) 21 January 2015. http://www Notes 189 34. Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu Papers, Montagu to Vesey, MO 6502. 35. Rachel Stewart, The Town House in Georgian London (New Haven: Yale UP, 2009) 193. 36. Jeremy Aynsley and Charlotte Grant, eds. Imagined Interiors: Representing the Domestic Interior since the Renaissance (London: V&A Publications, 2006) 114. 37. Cecil Aspinall-Oglander, ed. Admiral’s Wife, Being the life and letters of the Hon Mrs Edward Boscawen from 1719 to 1761 (London: Longmans, 1940) 72, “I know people who are so jealous of my house and furniture that they are almost ill because of it.” 38. For further information on this style see “Influence of Chinese Art upon European Artists,” in David E. Mungello, The Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500–1800 (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005) 98–103. 39. Rosemary Baird, “ ‘The Queen of the Bluestockings’: Mrs Montagu’s house at 23 Hill Street Rediscovered,” Apollo 498 (August 2003). 40. Emily Climenson, Elizabeth Montagu, the Queen of the Blue-Stockings: Her Correspondence From 1720 to 1761 (London: Murray, 1906) 203. 41. Baird. 42. Blunt, vol. 2, 3. 43. Aspinall-Oglander, Admiral’s Wife, 72. 44. Aspinall-Oglander, Admiral’s Wife, 73. 45. Aspinall-Oglander, Admiral’s Wife, 66. 46. Aspinall-Oglander, Admiral’s Wife, 73. 47. Aspinall-Oglander, Admiral’s Widow, Being the life and letters of the Hon Mrs Edward Boscawen from 1761 to 1805 (London: Hogarth, 1942) 33. 48. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6379. 49. “Hatchlands Park History,” National Trust, t 21 January 2015. http://www 50. Aspinall-Oglander, Admiral’s Wife, 188. 51. Aspinall-Oglander, Admiral’s Wife, 248. 52. Elizabeth Eger, Bluestockings: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) 67. 53. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6423. 54. Quoted by Major 212. 55. More, Memoirs, vol. 1, 141. 56. Blunt, vol. 2, 103. 57. More, Memoirs, vol. 1, 62. 58. More, Memoirs, vol. 1, 57; 92. 59. More, Memoirs, vol. 1, 93. 60. James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson. Everyman’s Library. (London: Campbell, 1992) 502. See also Ethel Roth Wheeler, Famous Bluestockings (London: Lane, 1910) 149: “Mrs Montagu’s guests came to hear her talk; Mrs Vesey’s guests came to talk themselves; Mrs Thrale’s guests came to talk to Mrs Thrale. Mrs Vesey’s parties were, therefore, the most enjoyable; Mrs Thrale’s the liveliest; Mrs Montagu’s the most intellectual.” 61. After Montagu’s falling out with Johnson, when he insulted her friend, the poet Lord Lyttelton, author of Dialogues of the Dead (1760), her most powerful weapon of revenge was in fact to withdraw this lively conversation, thus preventing Johnson’s delight in dialogue and exchange: 190 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. Notes “He addressed his hostess two or three times after dinner with a view to engage her in conversation; receiving only cold and brief answers,” Blunt, vol. 1, 231. Bruce Redford, ed., The Letters of Samuel Johnson, vol. 3 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992) 250, 251. See Marmontel 239, for example, where he states that he felt more at his ease in other gatherings, despite his praise of Geoffrin. Oliver Goldsmith, quoted in Tinker 221. More, Memoirs, vol. 1, 317. More, Memoirs, vol. 1, 54. For a heated debate between Monckton and Johnson regarding Laurence Sterne’s writings, see Boswell, vol. 2, 382. Chapone 174. One imagines that the Abbé Reynal may have caused the hostess similar problems to Johnson with his “unceasing torrent.” Amanda Vickery, “Not Just a Pretty Face,” The Guardian. Saturday 8 March 2008, 21 January 2015. /art. For a more detailed discussion of female education during the eighteenth century, see Susan Skedd, “Women Teachers and the Expansion of Girls’ Schooling in England, c1760–1820,” in Gender in Eighteenth-century England, ed. Elaine Chalus and Hannah Barker (1997). Barbara Brandon Schnorrenberg, “Elizabeth Montagu,” ODNB. Elaine Chalus, “Women and Electoral Politics in the Eighteenth Century,” in Gender in Eighteenth-century England, ed. Elaine Chalus and Hannah Barker (London: Longman, 1997) 171. Montagu generally spent spring and autumn near Newcastle, managing her husband’s coal mines and her letters reveal her pride in her role there. Hester Lynch Thrale, Thraliana, The Diary of Hester Lynch Thrale (Later Mrs Piozzi) 1776–1809, ed. Katherine C. Balderston (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1951) vol. 1, 231. While this book deals with literary salons, political salons were also recorded as having taken place in eighteenth-century England, the most (in)famous of these being that of Georgina, the Duchess of Devonshire. For more information see, Amanda Foreman, Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire (London: Harper Collins, 1998). Kelly xiii. Kelly xiii. See “Queen Charlotte, ‘Scientific Queen,’ ” in Clarissa Campbell Orr, Queenship in Britain 1660–1837 (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2002). Of course the Ascendancy were also removed from Irish Presbyterians and Protestant dissenters in general. See Toby Barnard, A New Anatomy of Ireland (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2004). Major 167. Elizabeth and Florence Anson, Mary Hamilton, at Court and at Home, From Letters and Diaries 1756 to 1816 (London: Murray, 1925) 174. Iain Maxwell Hammett, “Burnett, James, Lord Monboddo (1714, d. 1799),” ODNB. More, Memoirs, vol. 1, 53. Hester Mulso Chapone, Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (London, 1773) iii. Myers 231. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6496. Notes 191 82. Hester Mulso Chapone, The Works of Mrs Chapone (Edinburgh, 1807) 64. 83. Elizabeth Carter, Letters from Mrs Elizabeth Carter to Mrs Montagu between the Years 1755 and 1800 (London, 1817) 138, 28 October 1761; Carter 142, 10 November 1761. 84. Carter 149. 85. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6471. 86. Moyra Haslett records the large numbers of readers of More’s manuscript poem, including Vesey, Carter, Montagu, and Boscawen, as well as Lady Dartrey, Lady Rothes, the Duchess of Portland, Lord and Lady Lucan, “every reading and writing Miss at Margate,” Dr Heberden, Horace Walpole, and Samuel Johnson among many others. Haslett, “Becoming Bluestockings, Contextualising Hannah More’s ‘The Bas Bleu,’ ” Journal for EighteenthCentury Studies 33.1 (2010): 107. 87. Frances Burney, A Known Scribbler: Frances Burney on Literary Life, ed. Justine Crump (Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2002) 278. 88. Burney 20–21. 89. Myers 20. 90. Blunt, vol. 2, 118. 91. Pamela Edwards, “Mary Monckton,” ODNB. 92. Edwards, “Mary Monckton.” 93. Tinker 153, Both Mrs Greville and Lady Lucan had connections with Ireland. Lady Lucan (Margaret Bingham) was English but associated with Ireland through her Mayo-born husband. She sympathised with Ireland’s plight as outlined in her Verses on the Present State of Ireland (Dublin, 1768). The author Frances Greville was born in Ireland to James Macartney who was MP for Longford and Granard and was closely connected to the Lennox sisters. 94. Frances Burney, Diary and Letters of Madame d’Arblay, ed. Charlotte Barrett (London, 1876) 460. 95. Boswell, vol. 2, 381. Of course one cannot always take Boswell entirely for granted as a recorder of Johnson and much scholarship exists which draws his objectivity and accuracy into question. 96. Monckton’s guests also included political figures such as Lord Castlereagh, who was for a time Secretary for Ireland, as well as George Canning who had served as prime minister. 97. NLI Edgeworth Papers, Pos. 9029/473. 15 June 1805 RLE to Maria Edgeworth. 98. R. Warwick Bond, ed. The Marlay Letters 1778–1820 (London: Constable and Company, 1937) 212–213. 99. Bond 351. 100. Bond 348. 101. Bond 348. 102. Elizabeth Eger, Brilliant Women: 18th-Century Bluestockings (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2008) 52. This represents the collection of essays and portraits that accompanied the exhibition of the same name that took place at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2008. 103. Tate Collection, “The Honourable Mrs Monckton by Sir Joshua Reynolds,” 21 January 2015. -miss-monckton-n04694. 192 Notes 104. Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan), “My First Rout in London,” in The Book of the Boudoir (London, 1829) 102–103. 105. Burney 76. 106. Mary Berry, y Extracts of the Journals and Correspondence of Miss Berry from the year 1783–1852, ed. Lady Maria Lister, vol. 2 (London, 1866) 484. 107. Owenson 101; 106. Owenson explains that these memories of her first time at Lady Cork’s were stirred up shortly before she wrote the sketch by speaking at Lady Cork’s “with a lady who had been present” on her first visit to the salon, 112. 108. Owenson 101–102. 109. Owenson 105. 110. Owenson 107, “an intimate little dinner.” 111. Julie Donovan, Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan and the Politics of Style (Palo Alto, CA: Academica Press, 2009) 113. 112. Michael J. Franklin, “Hester Lynch Piozzi,” ODNB. 113. Thrale, vol. 1, 494; vol. 2, 729. 114. A letter from Elizabeth Montagu to Elizabeth Vesey offers an example of the early response to the marriage: “Mrs Thrale’s marriage has taken such horrible possession of my mind I cannot advert to any other subject. I am sorry and feel the worst kind of sorrow, that which is blended with shame . . . and I am myself convinced that the poor woman is mad,” Clifford 229. 115. Frank Hedgcock, A Cosmopolitan Actor, David Garrick and his French Friends (London: Stanley Paul, 1912). 116. Lady Mount Cashell held salons in Italy when she resided there with her second husband, George Tighe, under the name “Mrs Mason.” This Italian salon, or accademia letteraria, has been juxtaposed with the more common conversazioni: “of a more elevated kind than the usual ‘conversazioni’ of exclusively world concerns,” trans. Ian Campbell Ross. See Mario Curelli, “Lady Mountcashell alias Madam Mason,” in Leopardi in Pisa, ed. Fiorenza Ceragioli (Milan: Electa, 1998): 306–320. 117. Hester Lynch Piozzi, Observations and Reflections made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy and Germany (London, 1789) vol. 1, 179. See also, Paula Findlen, Italy’s Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2009). Marianne D’Ezio highlights the difficulty of examining Italy’s eighteenth-century salons, as Italy was then “a sort of patchwork of states with different rules, laws, and of course habits,” D’Ezio in Readers, Writers, Salonnières (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011) 12. 118. Thrale, vol. 1, 47. 119. Thomas Campbell, Dr Campbell’s Diary of a Visit to England in 1775, ed. James L. Clifford (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1947) 67. 120. Thrale, vol. 1, 172. 121. Thrale, vol. 1, 167. 122. Those depicted were Lord Sandys, Lord Westcote (William Lyttelton), Dr Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, Murphy, Garrick, Baretti, Sir Robert Chambers, and Dr Burney. See James L. Clifford, Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952) 157. 123. Clifford 157. 124. Clifford 121. Notes 193 125. Katharine C. Balderston, ed., The Collected Letters of Oliver Goldsmith (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1928) 121. 126. Mary Hyde, ed., The Thrales of Streatham Park (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard UP, 1977) 238. 127. The Piozzi Letters, vol. 2, 46. 128. Clifford 123. 129. Clifford 57. 130. Clifford 194–195. 131. Campbell 61. 132. Thrale, vol. 1, 443. 133. Clifford 195. 134. Clifford 353. 135. Anne Janowitz, “Amiable and Radical Sociability: Anna Barbauld’s ‘Free Familiar Conversation,’ ” in Romantic Sociability, ed. Gillian Russell and Clara Tuite (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002) 62–81. 136. Jon Mee, Conversable Worlds (Oxford: OUP, 2011) 140. See also Mee’s chapter “Critical Conversation in the 1790s: Godwin, Hays, and Wollstonecraft.” 137. See, Michèle Cohen, Fashioning Masculinity: National identity and language in the eighteenth century (London: Routledge, 1996). 138. Cohen 52; 61. 139. Jacqueline M. Labbe, ed., The History of British Women’s Writing, 1750–1830 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) 18. 140. Schmid 120. 141. Frances Clarke and Sinéad Sturgeon, “Marguerite (Margaret) Gardiner,” DIB. Blessington held a third salon at Gore House, Kensington from 1836 until 1849, just before her death in 1850. 142. Katharine Glover, Elite Women and Polite Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2011) 85. 143. “Although a few eighteenth-century Scotswomen (sometimes reluctantly, sometimes less so) published poetry, this move was much less pronounced in Scotland than in England,” Glover 75. 144. Richard B. Sher, The Enlightenment and the Book, Scottish Authors and their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland & America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010) 101. 145. Jane Rendall, “ ‘Women that Would Plague Me with Rational Conversation’: Aspiring Women and Scottish Whigs, c. 1790–1830,” in Women, Gender and Enlightenment, t ed. Sarah Knott and Barbara Taylor (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) 326–348. 146. Pam Perkins, “Enlightenment Culture,” in The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Women’s Writing, ed. Glenda Norquay (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2012) 47. Perkins also mentions Harriet Guest, Moyra Haslett, and Betty Schellenberg’s work in this area. 147. Karen O’Brien, “From Savage to Scotswoman: The History of Femininity,” in Women and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009) 68–109. 148. William Alexander, The History of Women, From the Earliest Antiquity, to the Present Time . . . vol. 1 (London, 1782). 149. John Dwyer, “Alison Rutherford Cockburn,” ODNB. 194 Notes 150. 151. 152. 153. 154. 155. Cockburn xxvii. Cockburn 55; 37. Cockburn xxxii. Dwyer ODNB. Cockburn 132. Ernest C. Mossner, ed., The Life of David Hume (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979) 406. NLI Pos. 9029/439. “Mapping memorials to women in Scotland,” 21 January 2015. http:// “Lost Edinburgh – George Square” The Scotsman, 24 June 2013, 21 January 2015. Miles Glendinning, Ranald MacInnes, and Aonghus MacKechnie, eds. A History of Scottish Architecture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2002) 136. Dashkova, The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995). Susan Manly, “Maria Edgeworth,” Women Writers, Chawton House Library, 21 January 2015. /uploads/2012/06/Maria-Edgeworth.pdf. Sinéad Sturgeon, “Elizabeth Hamilton,” DIB. E.O. Benger, Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton (London, 1818) 152–154. Stana Nenadic, “Middle-Rank Consumers and Domestic Culture in Edinburgh and Glasgow 1720–1840,” Past & Present 145 (1994): 126. In Tobias Smollett’s The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker (1771) it is the wonders of Glasgow rather than Edinburgh that are enthused upon at length: “But Glasgow is the pride of Scotland, and, indeed, it might very well pass for an elegant and flourishing city in any part of Christendom.” Benger 132; Sturgeon, “Elizabeth Hamilton.” Benger 177–178. Elizabeth Fletcher, Autobiography of Mrs. Fletcher with Letters and Other Family Memorials, edited by the survivor of her family (Edinburgh, 1875) 85. Fletcher 86. Benger 174. “Elizabeth Hamilton, Sir Henry Raeburn,” National Galleries of Scotland, 21 January 2015. 1486. Perkins. Fletcher 64; Pam Perkins, “Helen D’Arcy Stewart, née Cranstoun,” ODNB. Cited in Rendall 336. Qtd. in Blunt, vol. 2, 38; Solovieff 57. 156. 157. 158. 159. 160. 161. 162. 163. 164. 165. 166. 167. 168. 169. 170. 171. 172. 173. 174. 3 “Never Was a Flock So Scattered for Want of a Shepherdess”: Elizabeth Vesey Between England and Ireland 1. Elizabeth Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot, from the year 1741 to 1770: to which are added, letters from Mrs Elizabeth Carter to Mrs. Vesey, between the years 1763 and 1787 (London, 1808) 227. Notes 195 2. “From 1715 until the 1780s Parliament usually met in Dublin every second winter for five to eight months.” Tighearnan Mooney and Fiona White, “The Gentry’s Winter Season,” in The Gorgeous Mask: Dublin 1700–1850 (Dublin: Trinity History Workshop, 1987) 2. 3. Carter 253. 4. Mary Muschamp was the only surviving child and thus heir of Denny Muschamp, the successful land speculator. 5. Vesey’s husband Agmondesham was a member of the Irish Parliament as well as Privy Councillor and Accountant General to Ireland, making him an influential figure in Anglo-Irish society. 6. Even Elizabeth Eger’s, Bluestockings, Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) refers only sporadically to Vesey, generally presenting her as dear friend of Montagu rather than emphasising her Irish salons. 7. See, for example, Elizabeth Sheridan, Betsy Sheridan’s Journal, Letters from Sheridan’s Sister 1784–1786 and 1788–1790, ed. William Le Fanu (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1960); Emily Climenson, Elizabeth Montagu, the Queen of the Blue-stockings: Her Correspondence From 1720 to 1761 (London: Murray, 1906); and Reginald Blunt, ed., Mrs Montagu, “Queen of the blues”: Her Letters and Friendships from 1762 to 1800, 2 vols. (London: Constable, 1923). The Elizabeth (Robinson) Montagu Papers, MO 1–6923, at The Huntington Library, San Marino, California, contain many letters to and from Elizabeth Vesey. There are 96 letters written by Vesey herself between 1761 and 1785; 90 of these are directed to Montagu and the remaining six to Lord Lyttelton, in addition to 260 letters received by Vesey from Montagu dating from almost the identical time period, from 1761 to 1786 – Montagu Papers MO6265–6360 and Montagu Papers MO 6361–6614. 8. The University of Manchester Library, Ham/1/6/2/3, Mary Hamilton Papers. 9. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6557. 10. Carter 92; 159; 198; Montagu to Vesey, MO 6513. 11. Carter 120. 12. Mary Delany is often named, erroneously, as the joint host of an Irish literary salon dating from the early decades of the eighteenth century. It seems as though the salon that historians repeatedly refer to as being hosted by Mary and Patrick Delany was that which was held by Patrick (exclusively) until 1735, when correspondence between Mary Delany (then Mary Granville) and Jonathan Swift reports it to have ended: “I am sorry the sociable Thursdays, that used to bring together so many agreeable friends at Dr Delany’s, are broken up” (London 16 May 1735). Patrick Delany’s salon is often referred to by historians and literary critics alike as the Delanys’ salon or “The Thursday literary salons of Mary and Patrick Delany,” entirely ignoring the fact that the couple only married in 1743. Indeed it is extremely unlikely that Mary Delany played a role in any way resembling that of a salon hostess. Her comments give us much evidence of her participation, during 1733, in the salon, but exclusively as a guest: “I recollect no entertainment with so much pleasure, as what I received from the company; it has made me very sincerely lament the many hours of my life that I have lost in insignificant conversation” (Gloucester, 24 October 1733). 196 Notes 13. Angelique Day, ed. Letters from Georgian Ireland. The Correspondence of Mary Delany, 1731–68 (Belfast: Friar’s Bush Press, 1991) 109. 14. Day 154. 15. Elizabeth Carter, Letters from Mrs Elizabeth Carter to Mrs Montagu between the Years 1755 and 1800 (London, 1817) 40. 16. “Agmondisham Vesey,” Dictionary of Irish Architects, 21 January 2015. 17. Seán O’Reilly and Alistair Rowan, eds., Lucan House County Dublin (Dublin: Eason, 1988) 4. 18. Elizabeth Carter, Letters from Mrs Elizabeth Carter to Mrs Montagu, 357. 19. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6507. 20. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6298. 21. Arthur Young, A Tour in Ireland; With General Observations on the Present State of that Kingdom . . . (London, 1780) 17. 22. Sheffield Archives, WWM/BkP/2/3, Letter from Mrs Vesey to Edmund Burke, n.d. 23. The subscription list reflects the choice of views and includes such figures as the Earls of Aldborough, Belvedere, and Moira, as well as Lady Louisa Conolly and the Duke of Leinster. 24. Thomas Milton, A Collection of Select Views from the different seats of the Nobility and Gentry in the Kingdom of Ireland. Engraved by Thomas Milton. From original drawings, by the best masters (London, 1793) v. 25. Finola O’Kane, Landscape Design in Eighteenth-Century Ireland (Cork: Cork UP, 2004) 70–71. 26. O’Reilly and Rowan 9–26. 27. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6319. 28. Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot, 261. 29. This is probably a reference to Grace-Anne Newenham née Burton (b. c. 1735), wife of Sir Edward Newenham. James Kelly, “Sir Edward Newenham,” ODNB. 30. Francis Elrington Ball, A History of the County Dublin: The People, Parishes and Antiquities (Dublin: Alex. Thorn and Company, 1906). 31. Francis Bickley, ed., Report on the Manuscripts of the Late Reginald Rawdon Hastings, Esq. . . . Vol. 3. Historical Manuscripts Commission (London: HMSO, 1934) 144. 32. In a later letter to her brother (c.1770 or 1771) Lady Moira refers to a masquerade ball, held at Moira House, where many women attempted to temporarily embrace the role and dressed in like manner: “There was so many shepherdesses that their crooks formed a little thicket.” Bickley 151. 33. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6283. 34. Anon. A New Ballad on the Masquerade Lately Given by the Countess of Moira (Dublin: 1768). 35. Mary O’Dowd, History of Women in Ireland, 1500–1800 (London: Pearson Education, 2005) 56. 36. Edward Evans, “Old Dublin Mansion-houses, Moira House, Residence of Earl Moira . . . ” The Irish Builder 36.835 (Dublin, 1 October 1894): 222. 37. Thomas B. Bayley, Thoughts on the Necessity and Advantages of Care and Oeconomy in Collecting and Preserving different Substances for Manure. Notes 197 Addressed to the Members of the Agriculture Society of Manchester, October the 12th, 1795 (Manchester, 1796) 6. 38. Leverian Museum. A Companion to the Museum (late Sir Ashton Lever’s) Removed to Albion Street, the Surry End of Black Friars Bridge (London, 1790) 27. 39. MO 6419. This seems to have been the general consensus at the time with Elizabeth Sheridan making a similar comment relative to the beauty of Irish clothes: . . . I never had a gown so admired as my Irish Lawn. It has been washed 3 times and appears now if any thing better than when new, so tell Mr Porter if you think of it. It is always taken for a dutch Chintz but I take care to publish its country, (Tunbridge Wells, 5 July 1785) Sheridan 59. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. O’Dowd 58. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6587. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6541. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6424. A macaroni was a largely dismissive term used to refer to young men who embraced an affected love for fashion and elaborate forms of expression, usually following continental influences. Otaheite = Tahiti, which was visited by James Cook in 1769. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6525. Frances Burney, Diary and Letters of Madame d’Arblay, ed. Charlotte Barrett, vol. 4 (London, 1876) 338. Hannah More, “The Bas Bleu,” from Florio: A Tale, for Fine Gentlemen and Fine Ladies: And, The Bas Bleu; or, Conversation (London: 1786) 76. Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot, 132. Eger 109. I am indebted to Finola O’Kane for this observation, “The London Irish in the Long Eighteenth Century” Warwick University conference, April 2012. Henry Benjamin Wheatley, Peter Cunningham, London Past and Present: Its History, Associations, and Traditions (London, 1891). Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot, 241. Rachel Stewart, The Town House in Georgian London (New Haven: Yale UP, 2009) 73. Stewart has noted that “Rent for good houses in good areas were generally between £100 and £400 per annum, although the range was much wider.” Betty Rizzo, Companions Without Vows (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994) 369. Rizzo cites the Daily Advertiser for 27 November 1779. Stewart 73. Sheridan 43–44. Sheridan, Betsy Sheridan’s Journal 43. Sheridan, Betsy Sheridan’s Journal 43; Soame Jenyns (1704–1787) was a politician, satirist, and philosophical writer who frequented the Bluestocking salons. Sheridan, Betsy Sheridan’s Journal 43. Sheridan, Betsy Sheridan’s Journal 40. 198 Notes 61. John R. Redmill, “The Lady Anne Dawson Temple, Dartrey, Co. Monaghan,” Irish Georgian Society Newsletter (Autumn 2010) 14. 62. Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot, 349. 63. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6394; Carter, Letters from Mrs Elizabeth Carter to Mrs Montagu 14; Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot 333. 64. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6395. 65. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6283. 66. Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot 333. 67. “The Dartrey Papers, D3503,” (PRONI: 2007) 7. 68. Redmill 15. 69. Elizabeth Carter, Poems on Several Occasions, 3rd ed. (London, 1776) 104. 70. Redmill 15. 71. “The Dartrey Papers” 9. 72. Sheridan, Betsy Sheridan’s Journal, 39. 73. Patrick Kelly, “Anne Donnellan: Irish Proto-Bluestocking,” Hermathena, cliv, (Summer 1993): 39–68, 57. 74. See Laetitia Pilkington, Memoirs of Laetitia Pilkington. ed. A.C. Elias Jr., 2 vols. (London: University of Georgia Press, 1997). 75. Mary Granville Delany to Anne Granville Dewes, 8 June 1731. The Mr Wesley mentioned is Richard Colley Esq. 76. F. Elrington Ball, ed., The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, DD, vol. V (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1913) 126–127. 77. “It may be surmised that his wife did not find the arrangement distasteful, as there had been a suggestion that her first husband should be transferred to the English bench” (British Museum Addit. Mss., 28, 886, f. 41). 78. Elizabeth Montagu, The Letters of Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu . . . vol. 2 (Boston, 1825) 150. 79. Frances Clarke, “Robert Jephson,” DIB. 80. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6325. 81. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6270. 82. There are references to Vesey in the Duchess’s correspondence, such as in the following letter to Emily from her son Lord Edward Fitzgerald: “Mrs Vesey and Mrs Handcock called to see us and enquired very kindly for you” (Black Rock, 23 March 1774). Emily Fitzgerald, The Correspondence of Emily, Duchess of Leinster, r ed. Brian Fitzgerald, vol. 2 (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1949–1957) 13. 83. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6271. 84. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6271. 85. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6424. 86. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6422. 87. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6395. 88. Vesey to Montagu, MO6326. It is difficult to ascertain which tragedy this refers to, those dating from the time the letter was written seem to have been favourably received. 89. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6524. 90. Clarke DIB. Notes 199 91. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6400. 92. Thos. U. Sadleir, “The Manor of Blessington,” The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 18.2 (1928): 130. 93. Sadleir 130. 94. Sadleir 130. 95. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6574. 96. Eger 78. 97. Barbara Brandon Schnorrenberg, “Elizabeth Montagu,” ODNB. 98. His library, which is still almost intact, is preserved at Queen’s University Belfast and contains approximately 741 volumes as well as 1,225 pamphlets. “Thomas Percy Library,” Queen’s University Belfast, at RASCAL, Research and Special Collections Available Locally (Ireland) 21 January 2015. 380&navOp=locID&navVar=25. Percy Collection, Queen’s University Belfast, Percy/635. 99. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6392. 100. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6393. 101. Percy Collection, QUB. 102. Percy Collection, QUB, Percy/495. 103. Elizabeth Meade was Percy’s daughter. This copy is held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Percy 127/1–2. 104. Frances Burney, Diary and Letters of Madame D’Arblay, ed. Charlotte Barrett, vol. 5 (London: Macmillan, 1904–1905) 30–31. 105. Ethel Roth Wheeler, “An Irish Blue Stocking,” The Irish Book Lover, r VI (June 1915): 176–178. 106. Horace Walpole, Correspondence with Hannah More (and others) ed. W. S. Lewis (and others) (London: OUP, 1961) 247. 107. Walpole 227. 108. Vesey to Lyttelton, MO 6267. 109. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6302. 110. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6302. 111. Vesey to Montagu, MO Fragment. See JoEllen DeLucia, “ ‘Far Other Times are These’: The Bluestockings in the Time of Ossian,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 27.1 (2008): 39–62. 112. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6322. 113. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6375. 114. Carter, Letters from Mrs Elizabeth Carter to Mrs Montagu, 63. 115. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6285. 116. Carter 163; 145. 117. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6378. 118. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6507. 119. Edmund Burke, The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, ed. Thomas W. Copeland, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1958) 476. 120. Burke 474. 121. Bingham’s presence in Vesey’s salon is recorded by Sheridan in her journal: “Our party consisted only of Lady Dartree and Mr Bingham, son to Lord Lucan – a pleasing young Man perfectly free from the present fashionable airs.” Sheridan 40. 122. David Hume, Essays Moral Political and Literary, ed. Eugene Miller, Revised ed. (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1987) 271. 200 Notes 123. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6437; Montagu to Vesey, MO 6489. Lettres Nouvelles: Ou Nouvellement Recouvrées de La Marquise de Sévignée (Paris, 1774). Madame du Bocage’s verses possibly refer to Recueils des œuvres de Madame du Bocage (1770) but more probably refer to unpublished material. 124. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6509. 125. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6517. The state papers referred to are Miscellaneous State Papers from 1501–1726 (1778). 126. Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot. Possibly Essays on Various Subjects to Which are Added Reflections on the Seven Days of the Week by Mrs Talbot, t 2nd ed. (1772). 127. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6280; Montagu to Vesey, MO 6375. 128. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6437. 129. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6540. 130. Vesey to Montagu, MO 6323. 131. Dustin Griffin in Literary Patronage in England, 1650–1800 (1996) notes the “disproportionate amount of attention” money has received as the key element provided by patrons. See especially Chapter Two, “The Cultural Economics of Literary Patronage” for details of what patrons offered. 132. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6423. Braganza was later dedicated to Lady Nuneham. 133. Robert Jephson, Braganza. A Tragedy . . . (London, 1775) iv. 134. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6388. 135. Griffin 191. 136. Montagu to Vesey, MO 6394. 137. Gary Kelly, Bluestocking Feminism, Writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 1738– 1790, vol. 2 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1999) xxxi; Blunt 226. 138. Quoted in Kelly, vol. 1, lxxx. 139. M. Pollard, Dublin’s Trade in Books 1550–1800, Lyell Lectures, 1986–1987 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989) 161. 140. It must be borne in mind, however, that during the period c.1788–1800, from the formation of the Irish Volunteers until the Act of Union, most polemical work written by Irish people was first published in Ireland rather than England. See, Niall Gillespie, Irish Political Literature, c. 1778–1832: The Imaginative Prose, Poetry and Drama of the Irish Volunteers, the United Irish Society and the Anti-Jacobins (PhD Thesis, Trinity College Dublin, 2013). 141. Epictetus was published after 1,031 advance subscriptions had been secured from within the Bluestocking circle and their friends. Gerda Lerner, “Female Clusters, Female Networks, Social Spaces,” in The Creation of Feminist Consciousness (Oxford: OUP, 1994) 230–231. 142. Carter, A Series of Letters between Mrs Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot 36. 4 Moira House Salon: A Site for Irish Scholarship 1. Walker’s Hibernian Magazine: Or, Compendium of Entertaining Knowledge. For May, 1808 (Dublin, 1771–1809) 258. 2. Lady Moira was John Rawdon’s third wife, Rawdon married firstly Lady Helena Perceval, daughter of John, 1st Earl of Egmont and Catherine Notes 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 201 Parker in 1741, and secondly Hon. Anne Hill, daughter of Trevor Hill, 1st Viscount Hillsborough and Mary Rowe, in 1746. See Rosemary Richey, “John Rawdon,” DIB. Lady Moira’s full title, as listed in the ODNB, is Elizabeth Rawdon, née Hastings, suo jure Baroness Botreaux, suo jure Baroness Hungerford, suo jure Baroness Moleyns, suo jure Baroness Hastings, and countess of Moira. For the sake of brevity and ease of identification, Elizabeth Rawdon will be referred to throughout as Lady Moira, which is how she was generally addressed in her correspondence. Sir John Thomas Gilbert. A History of the City of Dublin, vol. 1 (Dublin, 1854) 393; “I have kept pretty good company here. Last Wednesday I dined with three countesses – Countess-dowager Moira (it was at her house), Earl and Countess Granard, and Countess Mountcashel . . . I mean to call on Lady Moira the moment I have quitted this letter,” William Godwin to J. Marshal, Dublin, 2 August 1800, in Paul C. Keegan, William Godwin: His Friends and Contemporaries (Boston, 1876) 366. Ushers Island/Quay RWD 444T, Press cuttings folder. Frances Gerard, “The Vicisssitudes of Moira House,” in Picturesque Dublin Old and New (London, 1898). Edward Evans, “Old Dublin Mansion-houses, Moira House, Residence of Earl Moira . . . ” in The Irish Builder 36.835 (Dublin, 1 October 1894): 222. Wilmot Harrison, “Memorable Dublin Houses – A Handy Guide with Illustrated Anecdotes,” in The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, ed. John Wesley (Philadelphia, 1826) III, 410 May 1890. Granard Papers, T3765/L/4, Castle Forbes, Co. Longford. Granard Papers, T3765/L/4. For more information, see Beverly Lemire’s, “Domesticating the Exotic: Floral Culture and the East India Calico Trade with England, c. 1600–1800,” Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture 1.1 (2003): 64–85. Granard Papers, T3765/L/4. Granard Papers, T3765/J/9/2/11. Granard Papers, T3765/J/9/2/11. Richard Twiss, A Tour in Ireland in 1775 (London, 1775) 23. “Coreggio, Antonio Allegri,” The Oxford Companion to Art, ed. Harold Osborne (Oxford: OUP, 1978) 283. In art history Baroque is understood as a period of style “between roughly the later 16th c. and the early 18thc. . . . [that] expresses a concern for balance and above all wholeness.” The Oxford Companion to Art, t 108. “Salvator Rosa,” The Oxford Companion to Art, t 1014. “Salvator Rosa,” The Oxford Companion to Art, t 1014. Aidan O’Boyle, “The Earls of Moira, their property and cultural interests,” Artefact 1 (2007): 75. It is possible that these pictures may have been moved to this room at a later date to make it easier to divide them amongst Lady Moira’s children, as Ruth Thorpe has suggested to me. O’Boyle 79. Stephen Conway, Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe in the Eighteenth Century, Similarities, Connections, Identities (Oxford: OUP, 2011) 192. PRONI D2924/1. Correspondence of Sir John (later Lord) Rawdon. PRONI D2924/1. 202 Notes 25. In her obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine 78.2 (1808), it is stated that, “[Lady Moira] resided in Dublin, or the North of Ireland (with the exception of one year’s absence in France) for more than half a century for the long period of 56 years.” Details of this one year absence in France appear in another obituary, that of John Beresford, M.P. for Waterford. Beresford’s wife, Anne Constantia Ligondes, was a direct relative of Lady Moira and Lady Moira had obtained permission for the young woman “to accompany her to Ireland” whilst she herself was visiting the Auvergne region. Beresford and Ligondes were married on 12 November 1760, and we can extrapolate from this that Lady Moira may have been in France in the late 1750s or very early in 1760, Gentleman’s Magazine 75.2 (1805) 1083. 26. Máire Kennedy, French Books in Eighteenth-century Ireland (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2001). 27. Máire Kennedy, “Nations of the Mind: French culture in Ireland and the International Booktrade,” in Nations and Nationalisms: France, Britain, Ireland and the Eighteenth-Century Context, ed. Michael O’Dea and Kevin Whelan (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1995) 152. 28. Granard Papers, T3765/N/2. 29. Granard Papers, T3765/L/3/3. 30. Joseph Cooper Walker, An Historical Essay on the Dress of the Ancient and Modern Irish (Dublin, 1788) vii. 31. See Clare O’Halloran, Golden Ages and Barbarous Nations Antiquarian Debate and Cultural Politics in Ireland, c.1750–1800 (Cork: Cork UP, 2004). 32. These societies faltered due to financial difficulties as well as internal rivalries. See O’Halloran 165–166. 33. Charlotte Brooke’s Reliques of Irish poetry, ed. Lesa Ní Mhunghaile (Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2009) v. 34. Charlotte Brooke’s Reliques, iv. 35. Norman A. Jeffares and Peter Van de Kamp, Irish Literture: The Eighteenth Century (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2006) 297. 36. Tim Burke, “Eliza Dorothea Cobbe, Lady Tuite,” in Irish Women Poets of the Romantic Period, ed. Stephen Behrendt (Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street Press, 2008). 37. Charlotte Brooke’s Reliques, cxxii; Monica Nevin writing in The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland dates their acquaintance to 1786. 38. Charlotte Brooke’s Reliques, ix. 39. Rosemary Richey, “Lady Moira,” DIB. 40. Liz Bellamy, “Regionalism and nationalism: Maria Edgeworth, Walter Scott and the definition of Britishness,” in Snell, The Regional Novel in Britain and Ireland, 1800–1900, 57–58. Leith Davis also records that “In the later eighteenth century, more Anglo-Irish writers in particular turned their attention to antiquarian research into traditional Gaelic culture as a means of connecting further with the native tradition” although she recognises the myriad problems and ambiguities associated with such an attempt, Music, Postcolonialism and Gender, The Construction of Irish National Identity 1723– 1784 (Notre Dame, Notre Dame UP, 2005) 56. See also, Joep Leerssen, Mere Irish and Fíor Ghael (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1986) ch x. 41. Charlotte Brooke’s Reliques, ix. Brooke does however frequently disagree with Walker’s opinions, see Davis 79–81. Notes 203 42. Though not in possession of the reference book Lady Moira wanted, Lord Charlemont refers her to the History of Nicetas Acominatus, translated by Cousin, to support her investigations into Byzantine history, National Library of Ireland, F.S. Bourke Collection, MS 10,756. 43. Granard Papers, T3765/M/3/5. 44. Granard Papers, T3765/M/3/5. 45. Walker iii. 46. Walker vii. 47. Joseph Cooper Walker, Memoirs of Alessandro Tassoni, ed. Samuel Walker (London, 1815) xlix. 48. We know from Gilbert’s, A History of the City of Dublin (Dublin, 1854) that “Lord Moira was one of Lord Charlemont’s earliest friends, and for many years his Parliamentary coadjutor in the House of Peers,” 394. Walker refers to his correspondence with Hardy and their mutual intimacy with him in a letter to Lady Moira during the time of the 1798 rebellion: “I had a letter this day from Mr Hardy. He says all is quiet about Castle Forbes . . . What times!” Granard Papers, T3765/M/3/5. 49. Horace Walpole, Horace Walpole’s Correspondence with the Countess of Upper Ossory, eds., Lewis W.S. and Dayle Wallace A., The Yale Edition, vol. 33 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1965) 474. 50. Lady Moira, “Particulars relative to a human skeleton, and the garments that were found thereon, when dug out of a bog at the foot of Drumkeragh, . . . ” Archaeologia (1785): 100. 51. Lady Moira 93. 52. Lady Moira 90. 53. Walker, Historical Essay, v. 54. Lady Moira 92–93. 55. Lady Moira 92. 56. Walker, Historical Essay, vi. 57. Walker, Memoirs, lxiii; Henry Boyd, trans., A Translation of the “Inferno” of Dante Alighieri in English Verse, 2 vols. (Dublin, 1785). 58. Thomas Moore, Irish Melodies, National Airs, Sacred Songs, Ballads, Songs, etc. (Jersey, 1828) 25. 59. Lesa Ní Mhunghaile, “Anglo-Irish Antiquarianism,” in Anglo-Irish identities 1571–1845, ed. David A. Valone and Jill Marie Bradbury (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 2008) 191. 60. Thomas Moore, The Journal of Thomas Moore, 1836–1842, ed. Wilfred S. Dowden, vol. 5 (London: Associated UP, 1988) 1864. 61. The Gentleman’s Magazine: And Historical Chronicle (July to December, 1818) 88 2: 477. 62. Andrew James Symington, Thomas Moore the Poet: His Life and Works (New York, 1880) 13. 63. Symington 13. 64. Harry White, “Thomas Moore,” DIB. 65. Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, Established for the Investigation and Revival of Ancient Irish Literature . . . vol. 1 (Dublin, 1808) ix. 66. Royal Irish Academy, Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in Royal Irish Academy, 2. MS 23 F 16. 67. RIA 2. MS 23 F 16. 204 Notes 68. Theophilus O’Flanagan, ed., Advice to a Prince . . . (Dublin, 1808) 29. 69. O’Flanagan 29. 70. It is listed in the Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy just as O’Flanagan had described it: written on seventeenth-century paper, “bound in leather, tooled, and gilt; gilt edges.” Lady Moira’s name, recorded as “E. Moira Hastings, &c. &c.” is written on the inside of the front cover. RIA MS 23 F 16. 71. O’Flanagan iv. 72. O’Flanagan iv. 73. Lesa Ní Mhunghaile, “Theophilus O’Flanagan,” DIB. 74. Augusta Hall, ed., Life and Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs Delany, vol. 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP) 552. 75. Honora Edgeworth to Charles Sneyd Edgeworth, 11 Feb 1808, Edgeworth Papers, National Library of Ireland, Pos. 9030/615. 76. John Bowyer Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century Consisting of Authentic Memoirs and Original Letters of Eminent Persons . . . (London, 1858) 6. 77. Granard Papers, T3765 M/3/14/26. 78. Invitations to Moira House are included amongst the Scully correspondence at the NLI as is the comment “In our Moira House society we look forward to having you sir of our party, as when I was last in town,” again explicitly referring to a society at Moira House. NLI MS 27485/16. 79. Morgan 92 and Granard Papers T3765/M/2/33. 80. See James Grant Raymond, The Life of Thomas Dermody, 2 vols. (London and Dublin, 1806); Lady Morgan, Lady Morgan’s, Memoirs. Autobiography, Diaries and Correspondence (London, 1862). 81. Granard Papers T3765/M/2/33/1. 82. Granard Papers T3765/M/2/33/3. 83. Granard Papers T3765/M/2/33/4. 84. Michael Griffin, “ ‘Infatuated to his ruin’: The fate of Thomas Dermody, 1775–1802,” History Ireland (May/June 2006). 85. Todd 105. 86. Snell 1. Edgeworth’s and Scott’s works have generally been classified as regional novels although many critics insist that they simultaneously fall into the genre of national tale, see Ina Ferris, The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002). 87. Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent, t in The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth, ed. Jane Desmarais, Tim McLoughlin and Marilyn Butler, I (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1998) 54. 88. Granard Papers, T3765/2/31/3. 89. Maria Edgeworth, The Absentee, in The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth, ed. Heidi Van de Veire, Kim Walker and Marilyn Butler, vol. V (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1998) xvii. 90. Edgeworth Papers, Pos. 9029/493. 91. Maria Edgeworth, Patronage, in The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth, ed. by Connor Carville and Marilyn Butler, vol. VI (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1998) xi; Richey, “Lady Moira” DIB. 92. Maria Edgeworth, Ormond, in The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth, ed. by Claire Connolly, vol. VIII (London: Pickering and Chatto, Notes 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 205 1998) 5. Hester Chapone refers to the perils of card-playing thus: “I have always considered the universal practice of card-playing as particularly pernicious in this respect, that, whilst it keeps people perpetually in company, it excludes conversation.” Hester Chapone, The Works of Mrs Chapone, Containing Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, vol. 2 (Dublin, 1775) 16. Edgeworth, Ormond 152 and 10. Edgeworth, Patronage 48. Edgeworth, Ormond 55. Edgeworth, Ormond 208. Voltaire and Rousseau, two of the key members of the eighteenth-century salon, are noted as being absent, the former not being in France at the time, and the latter in the midst of another quarrel. Edgeworth, Ormond xi. Maria Edgeworth, Letters for Literary Ladies. To Which is Added, An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-justification. 2nd edition (London, 1799) 110. Edgeworth, Letters for Literary Ladies 111. For more on Edgeworth’s gatherings, see Chapter Five. Granard Papers, T3765 M/3/14/29. Granard Papers, T3765 M/3/14/31. Of course it must be borne in mind that, as Hugh Trevor-Roper notes, “the creation of an independent Highland tradition, . . . was the work of the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.” Thus rather than recording history, Trevor-Roper argues that Scott and many like him were instead contributing to a myth of antiquity, through their false presentation of Highland traditions as “ancient, original and distinctive.” “The Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland,” The Invention of Tradition, ed. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1983) 16. Granard Papers, T3765 M/3/14/29. Thomas Brydson to Lady Moira, Edinburgh, 25 July 1785, Granard Papers, T3765/M/3/14/17. Granard Papers, T3765/M/3/14/17. Granard Papers, T3765 M/3/14/31. For further discussion on English-Irish politeness, see Martyn Powell, The Politics of Consumption in Eighteenth-Century Ireland (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) 212–218. Granard Papers, T3765 M/3/14/31. The Peerage of Ireland: or, a Genealogical History of the Present Nobility of that Kingdom . . . By John Lodge . . . vol. 3 (London, 1789) 109–110. James N. Brewer, The Beauties of Ireland: Being Original Delineations, Topographical, Historical, and Biographical, of Each County (London, 1826). Mrs Edgeworth [Harriet Butler and Lucy Robinson], A Memoir of Maria Edgeworth, With a Selection From Her Letters by the Late Mrs Edgeworth, 3 vols (Privately published, 1867) 14. Maria Edgeworth to Margaret Ruxton, 1 April 1805, NLI, Edgeworth Papers, Pos. 9029/456. Edgeworth, A Memoir 14. “Moira House at Two Epochs,” Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal, ed. William and Robert Chambers (Edinburgh, 1848) 122. 206 Notes 116. Lady Morgan, Lady Morgan’s Memoirs, vol. 1, 35. 117. Sydney Owenson, Poems: Dedicated by Permission, to the Right Honourable the Countess of Moira . . . (Dublin, 1801). 118. Morgan 177. 119. Letter from Lady Stuart Lonsdale to Lady Loisia Stuart, 26 August 1806, Gleanings from an Old Portfolio Containing Some Correspondence between Lady Louisa Stuart and Her Sister . . . (Edinburgh, 1898). 120. Both Jim Shanahan and Susan Egenolf remark on the frequency with which Lady Morgan subtitled her novels as national tales and how she thus “actively fostered the national tale as a genre”; Ireland and Romanticism, ed. Jim Kelly (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011). 121. Sydney Owenson, The Wild Irish Girl, ed. Kathryn Kirkpatrick (Oxford: OUP, 2008) 88. 122. Owenson 48, 89. 123. Mary Helen Thuente, The Harp Re-strung, The United Irishmen and the Rise of Irish Literary Nationalism (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1994) 17. 124. Thuente, “Who Fears to Speak of Ninety-Eight?” 1–16. 125. Pamela Fitzgerald can herself be read as a product of Anglo-French-Irish exchanges. The assumed daughter of Mme de Genlis and Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, she met Edward at the theatre in Paris and they later married in Tournai in 1792. Fitzgerald, vol. 2, xii. 126. John Carr, The Stranger in Ireland: Or, A Tour in the Southern and Western Parts of that Country, in the year 1805 (Hartford, 1806) 256. 127. Patrick Geoghegan, “In the courtroom he established himself as the leading defender of the United Irishmen, and was later described as being the barrister most obnoxious to the government,” in “John Philpot Curran,” DIB. 128. Curran was Master of the Robes in Ireland from 1806 and he in fact assisted Lady Granard in this capacity in suppressing the publication of 300 letters written by Lady Moira to Lady Tryawley, which had been seized by the house’s tenants (Ann and Col. John Dunkin) upon her demise. Granard Papers T3765/J/5/10. 129. Theobald Wolfe Tone, Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone, ed. William Theobald Wolfe Tone (Washington, 1826) 214. 130. Sunday 23 August 1792, Tone 184. 131. Janet Todd, “Ascendancy: Lady Mount Cashell, Lady Moira, Mary Wollstonecraft and the Union Pamphlets,” Eighteenth-Century Ireland 18 (2003): 105–106. Todd refers only briefly in her article to Lady Moira’s salon and when she does so it is to place great emphasis on it as a political gathering, open to women, and presumably men “with a political agenda from whatever religious background.” While accurately reflecting the political interests of the salon’s hostess and her husband, who along with Henry Grattan and other liberal members of the Irish Parliament, formed the Irish Whig Club in 1789, Todd misrepresents the salon’s focus and aims, which cannot be limited to the political. 132. Lady Moira to George Townsend, 14 March 1772, cited in Angela Bourke, et al., eds. The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, g vol. 5 (Cork: Cork UP, 2002) 45–46. Notes 207 133. Scully Papers, MS 27485/16/17, National Library of Ireland, “Letters to Denis Scully and others from members of his family and friends, and ecclesiastics.” 134. NLI MS 27485/15/10. 135. T3765/J/9/2/13. Lady Moira to Lady Granard: “Many of the members of both Houses who voted for the Union bitterly and loudly repent, from the most feeling source, disappointed in promises made to them.” 136. NLI MS 27485/15/10. 137. Irish Architectural Archive, Ushers Island/Quay RWD 444T. 138. For further information on the Mendicity Institution, see Audrey Woods, Dublin Outsiders: Mendicity Institution, 1818–1998 (A & A Farmar, 1999). 139. “The Mendicity Institution, about us and history,” 21 January 2015. http:// 140. O’Halloran 122. 5 Collaborative Hospitality and Cultural Transfers: Provincial Salons Across England and Ireland 1. James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, ed. Chapman R.W (Oxford: Press, 2008) 405–406. 2. Elizabeth Child, “ ‘To Sing the Town’: Women, Place, and Print Culture in Eighteenth-Century Bath,” Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture 28 (1999): 157. See also Peter Clark, British Clubs and Societies 1580–1800, The Origins of an Associational World (Oxford: OUP, 2002), “By the 1760s Bristol might boast that it had the biggest concentration of associations in the West of England, and that these recruited across the regional hinterland,” Clark 456. 3. Peter Borsay, The English Urban Renaissance: Culture and Society in the Provincial Town, 1660–1770 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989). 4. Clark 111. 5. Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, r vol. IV (Manchester, 1793) v. 6. Jenny Uglow, The Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made the Future, 1730–1810 (London: Faber, 2002). 7. For further discussion of reading parties, book clubs, and private theatricals, see Chapter 6. 8. Laura Kirkley, “Translating Rousseauism: Transformations of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s Paul et Virginie in the Works of Helen Maria Williams and Maria Edgeworth,” in Readers, Writers, Salonnières, ed. Hilary Brown and Gillian Dow (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011) 93. 9. Lady Morgan (Sydney Owenson), Lady Morgan’s Memoirs, Autobiography, Diaries and Correspondence, ed. William H. Dixon, vol. 1 (London, 1862) 144. 10. “Provincial Lichfield life might seem strange in one who was so ambitious to hold sway on the public stage, but Anna always declared her condemnation of that ‘Great Babylon’, London and its high society, refusing to move, either to there or to Bath,” Marion Roberts, 208 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. Notes “Anna Seward (1742–1809),” Chawton House Library and early women’s writing, 21 January 2015. /uploads/2012/06/Anna-Seward.pdf. Jan Fergus, Provincial Readers in Eighteenth-Century England (Oxford: OUP, 2006) 22. See Fergus, “Introduction,” 28–29. Julia M. Wright, “ ‘All the Fire-side Circle’: Irish Women Writers and the Sheridan-Lefanu Coterie,” Keats-Shelley Journal 55 (2006): 63–72. References to these literary women also occur in James Boswell’s London Journal 1762–63; Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791), Samuel Richardson’s correspondence (1804), Samuel Whyte’s Miscellanea Nova (1800), and Lady Morgan’s Memoirs (1862), amongst other works. More recently, Aileen Douglas and Ian Campbell Ross’s edition of The Triumph of Prudence over Passion (1781) for the Early Irish Fiction series has attributed that novel’s authorship to Elizabeth Sheridan, and their introduction provides biographical detail pertaining both to Elizabeth herself and to her immediate family, Elizabeth Sheridan, “Introduction,” 9–26. Alicia Lefanu, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs. Frances Sheridan (London, 1824) 31. See “The Peregrinations of Fiachra McBrady, literally translated from the original Irish,” in Andrew Carpenter, Verse in English from Eighteenth-Century Ireland (Cork: Cork UP, 1998) 498. Lefanu 34. Lefanu 35. Sean P. Popplewell, “Domestic Decorative Painting in Ireland: 1720–1820,” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review 68. 269/270 (1979): 50. Swift refers to Quilca as “a rotten cabin” in his poem “To Quilca,” and it certainly seems that a process of refinement of the building took place in the decades after Swift’s visits. Lefanu 39. Lefanu 199. Lefanu 198. Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, vol. 1, 244; Lady Eliza Echlin to Mr Richardson, 2 August 1756 from The Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, ed. Anna Laetitia Barbauld, 6 vols. (London, 1804) 75. James Boswell, Boswell’s London Journal 1762–63, ed. Frederick A. Pottle, vol. 2 (London: The Folio Society, 1985) 111. Boswell here refers to Robert Jephson who also frequented the Bluestocking salons. Lefanu 235. Thomas Seccombe, rev. Raymond Refaussée, “Philip Le Fanu,” ODNB. Wright 66. Morgan, vol. 1, 143. Morgan, vol. 1, 144. Morgan, vol. 1, 183. The Provost was strongly associated with Moore and his early career, being among the first to encourage the young poet. See Jim Shanahan, “John Kearney,” DIB. The National Library of Ireland is in possession of the Edgeworth Papers, which are available in microfilm format (Pos. 9206–9035), some of which Notes 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 209 have been transcribed and are available in Augustus Hare’s The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth (1894). National Library of Ireland, Edgeworth Papers, Pos. 9028/416. NLI Pos. 9028/416. Clíona Ó Gallchoir, Maria Edgeworth: Women, Enlightenment and Nation (Dublin: UCD, 2005) 24. Toby Barnard, “Reading in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: Public and Private Pleasures,” in The Experience of Reading: Irish Historical Perspectives, ed. Máire Kennedy and Bernadette Cunningham (Dublin: Rare Books Group, 1999) 68. James Quinn, “William Henry Hamilton,” DIB. NLI Pos. 9030/688. Hare 157. Hare 13. NLI Pos. 9030/667. Hare 31 (18 November 1793). The English Short Title Catalogue lists nine editions of Gay’s Trivia, including two printed after 1735, both of which were printed in London. In reference to Montesquieu sur la Grandeur et Decadence des Romains, and Dallas’s History of the Maroons (26 February 1805). Hare 88, 145, 206, 225, 231. Hare 145. Hare 33. Hare 151. This is most probably a reference to John Sargent’s The Mine: A Dramatic Poem (1785). Hare 315. NLI Pos. 9029/501.Thomas Tyrwhitt, The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, r 4 vols. (London, 1775), 5th volume (Glossary) added in 1778. See Derek Pearsall, “Principal editions of the Canterbury Tales,” in The Canterbury Tales (New York: Routledge, 1985). Thomas O’Beirne was a Church of Ireland bishop who had also written for the press and the theatre, as well as translating two dramas into English from French. It is unclear as to who this Mr. Jephson is, as Robert Jephson had died in 1803. Hare 173. PRONI Berwick Papers T415/44. PRONI T415/50, undated. Hare 160. NLI Pos. 9029/528. NLI Pos. 9029/532. The identity of Miss Fortescue is unspecified. Harriet Kramer Linkin, The Life and Legacy of Mary Tighe (Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street Press, 2008). NLI Pos. 9029/532. David Gadd, Georgian Summer: Bath in the Eighteenth Century (Bath: Adams and Dart, 1971) 157. Ruth Avaline Hesselgrave, Lady Miller and the Batheaston Literary Circle (New Haven: Yale UP, 1927) 5. 210 Notes 63. Moyra Haslett, “The Poet as Clubman,” in The Handbook of British Poetry, 1660–1800 (Oxford: OUP, 2013). 64. Thrale 231. 65. Thrale 229. 66. “Estate: Miller (Ballycaseymore),” Landed Estates Database, 17 April 2014. 67. Landed Estates Database. 68. The New Annual Register, or General Repository of History, Politics and Literature, for the Year 1781 (London, 1782) 239. 69. Before the lapse of the licensing Act in 1695 printing was restricted to London, York, Oxford, and Cambridge. Borsay’s The English Urban Renaissance provides a lengthy discussion of the development of provincial newspapers after the lapse of the Act, which resulted in massive, sustained growth in the provincial publishing industry. 70. Anna Riggs Miller, On Novelty: And On Trifles, and Triflers. Poetic Amusements at a Villa Near Bath (Bath, 1778) 1. 71. Terry Belanger, “Publishers and Writers in Eighteenth-Century England,” in Books and Their Readers in Eighteenth-Century England, ed. Isabel Rivers (Leicester: Leicester UP, 1982) 12. 72. Joanna Hughes, ed., Poems, &c. &c. by the late Mrs. Mary Alcock (London, 1799) v. 73. Markman Ellis, “Mary Alcock,” ODNB. 74. Ellis. 75. Anna Seward, Poem to the Memory of Lady Miller (London, 1782). 76. Seward 79–81. 77. Anonymity is one such indication of this uncertain approach. Elizabeth Montagu’s name only appeared in print for example in the fourth edition of her work, An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear (1777). Her sister, Sarah (Robinson) Scott also refrained from including her name on the title page, opting instead to declare herself simply as “ a person of quality” in A Journey Through Every Stage of Life (1754). 78. Seward 85–90. 79. “I was born 50 miles nearer Scotland than is Lichfield, and passed the first seven years of my existence in my native village, amidst the eminences of the Peak of Derbyshire,” Anna Seward, Letters of Anna Seward: Written Between the Years 1784 and 1807, ed. A. Constable, vol. 6 (Edinburgh, 1811) 39. 80. Marion Roberts, “Close Encounters: Anna Seward, 1742–1809, A Woman in Provincial Cultural Life,” ML thesis, University of Birmingham, 2010, 43. 81. Roberts, “Close Encounters” 44. 82. For details of horse racing and associated sociability, see Borsay, “Sport,” The English Urban Renaissance 173–196. Additional links include Samuel Johnson’s father having been a bookseller in the town and David Garrick, another native, having begun acting there. 83. Borsay 329, 333, 342; Roberts, “Close Encounters” 44. 84. Maria Edgeworth, ed., Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, vol. 1 (London, 1820) 237. 85. As Claudia Kairoff has noted in Anna Seward and the End of the Eighteenth Century (2012), “She [Seward] replaced her mother and, eventually, her Notes 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 211 father as host of the Bishop’s Palace salon. It was important to Seward that she maintained her social as well as literary status, owing to her need to take over her parents’ roles . . . ” Edgeworth, Memoirs, vol. 1 237. Roberts, “Close Encounters” 45. Roberts, “Close Encounters” 45. Sylvia Bowerbank, “Anna Seward,” ODNB Borsay 132. Paul Kaufman, “Readers and their Reading in Eighteenth-Century Lichfield,” Library 28 (1973): 110. Kaufman 110. Brewer 577. Seward herself was a great appreciator of music and went to Birmingham to the harmonic festival where she encountered “perilous crowds and Calcutta heat in the morning and evening performance, three days together, eight hours music out of the twenty four. It was hazarding martyrdom to the second favourite science of my life,” Seward, Letters, vol. 6, 49. Norma Clarke, The Rise and Fall of the Woman of Letters (London: Pimlico, 2004) 40. Clarke 40. Marion Roberts, Chawton House Library. Bowerbank, “Anna Seward,” ODNB. Brewer 573. Brewer 573. Seward, Letters, vol. 6, 339. Seward, Letters, vol. 1, ix. Margaret Ashmun, The Singing Swan: An Account of Anna Seawrd and Her Acquaintance with Dr. Johnson, Boswell and Others of Their Time (New Haven: Yale UP, 1931) 280. Charlotte Fell-Smith, rev. Sarah Couper, “William Newton,” ODNB. Fell-Smith, ODNB. Seward, Letters, vol. 1, 292. Brewer 604. Lichfield Archives D262/1/24. Lichfield Archives D262/1/24. Lichfield Archives D262/1/24. Lichfield Archives D262/1/24. Brewer 575. While speaking of Montagu and Carter’s correspondence, Elizabeth Eger refers to “the immediacy of their dialogue, the sense in which it tries to emulate conversation,” Eger, Bluestockings, Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) 99. Clarke 25. Martin Stapleton, Anna Seward & Classic Lichfield (Worcester: Deighton, 1909). Brewer 612. Jacqueline M. Labbe, ed., The History of British Women’s Writing, 1750– 1830 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) 18. See also, Harriet Kramer 212 Notes Linkin, “Mary Tighe and the Coterie of Women Poets in Psyche,” in the same edition. 117. Nigel Leask, “Salons, Alps and Cordilleras: Helen Maria Williams, Alexander von Humboldt, and the Discourse of Romantic Travel,” in Women, Writing and the Public Sphere, ed. Elizabeth Eger, Charlotte Grant, Clíona Ó Gallchoir and Penny Warburton (Cambridge: Cambridge, 2001) 223. The salon did not continue without interruption, Williams, her sister and mother were all imprisoned for six weeks in 1793 for example. 118. Leask 224. 119. Leask 221. 6 “Dublin Is Attribilaire” – The Changing Nature of Elite Sociability 1. Lady Morgan, Lady Morgan’s Memoirs, Autobiography, Diaries and Correspondence, vol. 2 (London, 1862) 22. 2. Elizabeth Sheridan, The Triumph of Prudence over Passion, ed. Aileen Douglas and Ian Campbell Ross (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011) 24. See Mary O’Dowd, “Women and Patriotism in Eighteenth-Century Ireland,” History Ireland 14.5 (September/October, 2006): 25–30. 3. Eoin Burke, “Poor Green Erin,” in German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011) 70–71. 4. Burke 71. 5. Deirdre Coleman, “Firebrands, Letters and Flowers: Mrs Barbauld and the Priestleys,” in Romantic Sociability, ed. Gillian Russell and Clara Tuite (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002) 93. 6. R. Warwick Bond, ed. The Marlay Letters 1778–1820 (London: Constable and Company, 1937) 97. 7. PRONI T1565/1, The Diary of Mrs Walker, 42; 45. 8. Susanne Schmid, British Literary Salons of the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) 41. 9. O’Kane remarks on the Duke of Leinster’s anxiety and Louisa Conolly’s censure in the press. 10. Jean Agnew, The Drennan-McTier Letters, 1776–1819, vol. 1 (Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1998) 213. Drennan wrote more than 1,500 letters to his sister Martha, and these are now in PRONI. 11. Bridget Hourican, “Henrietta O’Neill,” DIB. See also Andrew Carpenter, 475. 12. Anthologia Hibernica (October 1793) 319–320. 13. Bridget Hourican, “John O’Neill,” DIB. Henrietta also wrote poetry herself and her poems, “The Ode to the Poppy” and “Written on Seeing her Two Sons at Play,” are included in Andrew Carpenter’s Verses in English in Eighteenth-Century Ireland (1998). 14. See Schmid 41. 15. PRONI T1839/1, volume of copy letters, correspondence of Sir John Rawdon. 16. PRONI T1839/1. 17. PRONI T1839/1. Notes 213 18. Agnew, vol. 2, 110. 19. For further information see, Karol Mullaney Dignam, Music and Dancing at Castletown, Co. Kildare, 1759–1821 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011). 20. Bridget Hourican, “John O’Neill,” DIB. 21. Agnew, vol. 2, 214. 22. PRONI T415/62. 23. PRONI T415/62. 24. Sarah M. Zimmerman “Henrietta O’Neill,” ODNB; Bridget Hourican, “Henrietta O’Neill,” DIB. 25. Thomas Campbell, Life of Mrs Siddons, vol. 1 (London, 1831) 263–264. 26. Borsay 182. 27. Borsay 182. 28. Many book clubs, which in their early days disposed of the books after they had done their rounds, later decided to keep them. They began with a cupboard, then a room. Soon they needed a part-time librarian, and then specially designed premises. A book club could over time transform itself into a permanent library. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. William St. Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004) 252. Johanna Archbold, “Book Clubs and Reading Societies in the Late Eighteenth Century,” Clubs and Societies in Eighteenth-Century Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010) 138–162. St Clair 250. St Clair 668. St Clair 244. St Clair 251. St. Clair, “Appendix 10,” 669. Amanda Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England (London: The Folio Society, 2006) 251. Vickery 251. Vickery 251. Vickery 251. Vickery 397, 400. Archbold 142. Granard Papers, T3765/J/8/13. Granard Papers, T3765/J/8/13. Archbold 141. Archbold 141. The two guineas needed to join Selena’s book club was quite a significant sum of money and so would have excluded the literate lower orders. Dorothea Herbert, Retrospections of Dorothea Herbert 1770–1806, ed. Louis M. Cullen (Dublin: Townhouse, 2004) 82–83 (1782). Herbert 74. Herbert 74. Herbert 324 (1793). Herbert 324. Herbert 328 (1794). Herbert 43. 214 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. Notes Herbert 290–291. Herbert 386. Archbold 142. Agnew, vol. 2, 96. Agnew, vol. 2, 96; 101. Raymond Gillespie and Stephen A. Royle, No.12 Belfast, Part I, to 1840, Irish Historic Town Atlas Series (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 2003) 6. Gillespie and Royle 7. Agnew, vol. 2, 35. Gillespie and Royle 7. This could, of course, be owing to the secretive nature of the correspondence, which was often written in code to prevent suspicion. Agnew, vol. 2, 97. Agnew vol. 2, 101. Agnew vol. 2, 100. Agnew vol. 2, 105. Agnew vol. 2, 105. Agnew vol. 2, 199. For further details of the 1798 Rebellion see Ian McBride Eighteenth–Century Ireland (2009) although as McBride notes in speaking of ’98: “no single event has received more attention from the current generation of Irish historians,” 346. Granard Papers T3765/J/9/2/13. Maria Edgeworth, The Absentee, in The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth, ed. Heidi Van de Veire, Kim Walker, and Marilyn Butler, vol. V (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1998). Mary Campbell, Lady Morgan, The Life and Times of Sydney Owenson (London: Pandora, 1988) 184. Walter Scott, The Letters of Walter Scott 1787–1807, ed. H.J.C. Grierson (London: Constable, 1932) 234. Alexander G. Gonzalez, ed. Irish Women Writers: An A-to-Z Guide (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2006) 311. NLI MS 4239 and TCD MS 1461/5–7. E. Wingfield “Isabella, Frances Wingfield, 24th December, 1860,” 48, Genealogical Office, NLI. Quoted in Harriet Kramer Linkin, “Mary Tighe: A Portrait of the Artist for the Twenty-first Century,” in A Companion to Irish Literature, ed. Julia M. Wright, vol. 2 (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2010). Hare 339; Frances Clarke “Caroline Hamilton,” DIB; C.J. Woods, “Edward Tighe,” DIB. A.P. Woolrich, “Isaac Ambrose Eccles,” ODNB. Trinity College Dublin, Correspondence of J.C. Walker with Mary Tighe, MS 1461/7/44. TCD MS 1461/6/21. TCD MS 1461/7/36. TCD MS 1461/7/30. TCD MS 1461/5/8. Mrs Wilmot was born Barbarina Ogle and later married Valentine Wilmot. Upon his death she married Thomas Brand thus becoming Lady Dacre. She has been described as “one of the most accomplished women of her time, an excellent horsewoman, sculptor, and a French and Notes 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 215 an Italian scholar, as well as a writer of some note.” Thompson Cooper, rev. Rebecca Mills, “Lady Dacre,” ODNB. Harriet Kramer Linkin, ed. The Collected Poems and Journals of Mary Tighe (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005) 235. Linkin, The Collected Poems 263. Linkin, The Collected Poems 263. TCD MS 1461/7/55. Linkin, The Collected Poems 263–264. Lord John Russell, ed., Memoirs, Journal and Correspondence of Thomas Moore (London, 1856) 61. TCD MS 1461/7/41. TCD MS 1461/7/41. Harry White, “Thomas Moore,” DIB. This impression is further substantiated by Caroline Hamilton’s drawings. Society, for example, has been described as capturing “the boredom of a Dublin drawing room, paralysed by post-union torpor,” and the decline of Dublin society in general after 1801.“Details of Lot 430” Adam’s Catalogue Details, 21 January 2015. Morgan, vol. 2, 22. “[Lady Wilde] built up a large literary circle around her married homes, 21 Westland Row and (from 1855) 1 Merrion Square,” Owen Dudley Edwards, “Jane Francesca Agnes (‘Sperenza’) Wilde,” DIB. “New Stornoway Literary Salon Launches,” publ. 26 November 2010, 21 January 2015 “The London Literary Salon,” 21 January 2015. .uk/. “Twitter – The Virtual Literary Salon,” publ. 11 January 2012, 21 January 2015. /twitter-virtual-literary-salon. “Nonesense & Sensibility – Shoreditch House Literary Salon,” publ. 7 March 2012, 21 January 2015. /2012/03/shoreditch-house-literary-salon/. “Nonesense & Sensibility.” Stefanie Stockhorst, ed. Cultural Transfer through Translation, The Circulation of Enlightened Thought in Europe by means of Translation (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2010) 7. Stockhorst 21. 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Antrim, 161, 165 Shane’s Castle, 155–60 Archbold, Johanna, 162, 164 architects, see under individual names Atkinson, Joseph, 118 Austen, Jane, 161 Avignon, 28–9, 33 Barbauld, Anna Laetitia, 5 Barnard, Toby, 3, 11, 139 Bath, 132, 147, 207n10 Batheaston, Somerset, 133, 143–6 Beasley, Faith, 17 Belfast, 155, 157, 158, 165–6 Belfast Reading Society, 166 Berwick, Edward, 106, 115, 119, 142, 158 in Lichfield, 149–50 Bingham, Charles, 100, 199n121 Birmingham, 133, 211n93 Birmingham Riots, 154 Bluestockings, 45–66, 71, 78–105, 138, 143, 151, 172, 174, 187n9 the term bluestocking, 45–6, 76, 187n10 du Bocage, Anne-Marie Fiquet, 49, 101, 188n26, 200n123 Bordeaux, 28, 29–31 Borsay, Peter, 11, 160 de Bourbon-Penthièvre, Adélaïde, Duchess of Orléans, 38–41 Boscawen, Edward, 50, 51, 53 Boscawen, Frances, 45, 46, 50–6, 58, 61, 188n29 Boswell, James, 61–2, 67 Life of Johnson, 62, 191n95 London Journal, 136–7 Boyd, Henry, 106, 117, 121, 129 Boyer, Jean-Baptiste de, Marquis d’Argens, 28–9 Brewer, John, 3, 149, 150 Bristol, 139, 207n2 Brooke, Charlotte, 112, 113, 117, 128, 135 Reliques of Irish poetry, 97, 112, 113, 172 Burke, Edmund, 46, 61, 62, 67, 68, 82, 86, 100–1 Burney, Charles, 66–7 Burney, Frances, 57, 60, 61, 64, 69–70, 87, 97, 144 Camilla, 60 Evelina, 56 Bury, Catherine Maria, Lady Charleville, 63 Butler, James, 2nd Duke of Ormonde, 28–9 Campbell, Thomas, 46, 69 Canadian literary salons, 31–2 cards and card parties, 2, 46, 84, 122, 187n13, 204n92 Carter, Elizabeth, 46, 49, 58, 59, 78, 80, 81, 86, 87, 88, 90–1, 96, 99, 101, 104, 105 Epictetus, 49, 104 “Inscription on Lady Ann Dawson’s Monument”, 91 232 Index Poems on Particular Occasions, 59 Poems on Several Occasions, 59, 91 Casey, Christine, 50 Caufield, James, 1st Earl of Charlemont, 16, 31, 114, 203n42, 203n48 Co. Cavan, 133, 135, 170 Quilca House, 135–6, 208n20 cercles, 42, 174 Chambers, William, 81, 88 Chapone, Hester Mulso, 54, 56 Letters on the improvement of the mind, 58–9 Miscellanies, 104 Charlotte, Queen, 57 de Chastellux, Marquis, 19, 38–9, 41, 181n20 chinoiserie, 7, 45, 51–2, 109 Clancy, Michael, 31 clothing, 25–6, 35, 45, 110 Irish textile industry, 197n39 see also under Rawdon, Elizabeth clubs, 2–3, 44, 47, 178n13 book clubs, 11, 133, 154, 160–4, 174, 175, 213n28 see also under individual names Cockburn, Alison Rutherford, 9, 46, 72–4 coffee, 23, 52 coffee houses, 2–3, 45 Cole, Rev. William, 15, 25 Conolly, Lady Louisa, 95, 167, 196n23, 212n9 Cork, 98–9 Crombie, Joseph, 167 Curran, John Philpot, 106, 112, 128–9, 206n127, 206n128 Darwin, Erasmus, 133, 148, 149 Dashkoka, Princess Ekaterina Romanovna, 15, 22, 75 Daventry, Northamptonshire, 134 Dawson, Lady Anne, 10, 79, 90–1 Dawson, Thomas, later Lord Dartrey, 90–2 Dawson, Philadelphia, Lady Dartrey, 79, 91–2 Day, Thomas, 133, 148 Delany, Mary, 57, 81, 93, 120, 195n12 233 Delany, Patrick, 9, 195n12 Derby, 132 Dermody, Thomas, 107, 121, 157 Diderot, Denis, 20, 22 Dijon, 27 Donnellan, Anne, 92–3 Dooley, Terence, 6 Co. Down, 97, 130, 161, 170 Montalto House, 109, 130 Drennan, William, 156, 164–8 Dublin, 1, 2, 6–7, 74, 78–85, 89, 93, 94, 103–4, 106–131, 134, 137, 154, 163–4, 165, 169, 173, 174 Dominick Street (Tighe), 155, 170, 171–2 Dorset Street (Sheridan), 135 Moira House, 9, 106, 107–111, 114, 125, 126–7, 128–9, 130–1 Smock Alley, 135 Trinity College Dublin, 9, 121, 138 Westmoreland Street (Vesey), 80 Co. Dublin Lucan House, 80–3, 94–5, 99 du Deffand, Marie de Vichy-Champrond, 17, 23–4, 27, 32, 47, 48–9, 133, 188n28 Dunbar, Charles, 95–6 Dunbar, Penelope, 91, 95–6, 101 Duplessy, Jean-Marie, 28, 29–32 Eccles, Isaac Ambrose, 170 Edgeworth, Maria, 22, 107, 121–3, 124, 126, 133–4, 138–43, 155 The Absentee, 122, 168 Belinda, 38 Castle Rackrent, t 121–2 in Edinburgh, 46 Emilie de Coulanges, 140 Ennui, 122, 140 in France, 37–8, 123 Leonara, 122 Letters for Literary Ladies, 123 Ormonde, 122–3 Patronage, 122 Tales of Fashionable Life, 122 Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, 46, 62, 74, 122, 133, 148 234 Index Edinburgh, 1, 15, 44, 45, 46, 71–7 George Square, 74–5 Holyrood House, 75 education – self-education for women, 2, 5, 9, 44, 56 Eger, Elizabeth, 5, 46, 63, 87 Encyclopédie, 19, 20 Enlightenment, 8, 10, 15–16, 18, 20, 32, 46, 64, 72, 113, 139 February Revolution of 1848, 14, 37, 42 Fitzgerald, Emily, Duchess of Leinster, 10, 16, 94 Fitzgerald, Lady Pamela, 128, 206n125 Fitzgerald, Lord Edward, 128, 157, 159 Fitzmaurice, Anastacia, Countess of Kerry, 12, 16, 34–6 Fitzmaurice, Francis Thomas, 3rd Earl of Kerry, 34–6 Fletcher, Elizabeth, 76 food and drink, 24, 35–6, 52, 69, 89, 111, 159, 166 see also coffee; tea Forbes, Selina, Lady Granard, 12, 85–6, 107, 109, 110, 126, 130, 161–2 Fox, Caroline, Lady Holland, 22, 24, 25 Fox, Elizabeth Vassall, Lady Holland, 47, 174 French language, 8, 70, 123, 131, 141 books in Ireland, 110–11 French Revolution, 12, 14, 27, 70–1, 76, 116, 164, 174 French Revolutionary Wars, 15, 174 post-Revolutionary salons, 33–42 Reign of Terror, 33, 36, 37, 39, 40 friendship, 44, 50, 60–1, 92, 104 the Fronde, 18, 113, 181n18 furniture, 25, 36, 51, 52, 108, 109 Gardiner, Margaret, Countess of Blessington, 71 Garrick, David, 15, 49, 66–7, 86, 145, 210n82 Genlis, Stéphanie Félicité, comtesse de, 32, 37–9, 122, 141, 171 Geoffrin, Marie Thérèse, 15, 17–19, 21–2, 24–6, 56, 67, 68, 123 German literary salons, 32–3 Gibbon, Edward, 14, 15, 48, 49 Glasgow, 75, 194n164 Godwin, William, 106, 201n4 Goldsmith, Oliver, 55, 67, 68 Goodman, Dena, 17–18, 20, 36 Grand Tour, 7, 15, 22, 31, 67, 110 Grattan, Henry, 153, 206n131 Guibert, Jaques Antoine Hippolyte, Comte de, 19, 20, 22 Habermas, Jürgen, 3, 23 Hamilton, Caroline, 169, 170, 171–3, 215n92 Hamilton, Elizabeth, 46, 72, 75–6, 167–8 The Cottagers of Glenburnie, 142 Hamilton, Mary, 57, 58 Hardy, Francis, 106, 115, 203n48 Haslett, Moyra, 144, 191n86 Hayes, Richard, 34, 39 Herbert, Dorothea, 155, 159, 160, 162–4, 168, 174 d’Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry, Baron, 15, 19, 67 Humane Female Society, 166 Hume, David, 15, 48, 73 “Of Refinement in the Arts”, 4, 72, 101 Irish Absentee Tax, 100–1 Irish language, 112, 113, 115–16, 117–19, 128, 131, 172–3 Gaelic Society of Dublin, 118–19 Italian conversazioni, 67, 192n116, 192n117 Jefferson, Thomas, 50–1 Jephson, Robert, 46, 79, 94–5, 102, 103, 105, 136, 157 Braganza, 55, 94, 103 Johnson, Joseph, 70 Johnson, Samuel, 4, 54–5, 56, 61–2, 68, 69, 129, 132, 143, 149, 150, 189n61 Johnson’s Club, 55, 94, 97 July Monarchy, 10, 36, 42 Index Kale, Steven D., 23, 36, 40 Kearney, John, later Bishop of Ossory, 148, 208n32 Kelly, Gary, 57 Kennedy, Máire, 7, 110 Co. Kildare Carton House, 155 Castletown House, 82, 95, 155 Knox, Vicesimus, 2 Leeds, 132 Leerssen, Joep, 19 Lefanu, Alicia, 135–6, 137 Leicestershire Ashby-de-la-Zouche, 142 Donington Park, 110, 150 Lennox, Sarah, later Napier, 10, 24 Lespinasse, Julie de, 4, 17, 20, 23, 24, 25, 27, 180n14, 181n28, 188n28 libraries (building or room), 11–12, 30, 68, 109, 132, 139, 154, 170–1, 174, 213n28 circulating libraries, 161, 171 libraries (collection of books), 96–7, 111, 119, 121, 199n98 library societies, 160 see also Bishop’s Palace at Lichfield; Edgeworthstown Lichfield, Staffordshire, 133, 134, 147, 149, 150, 207n10 Bishop’s Palace at Lichfield, 147–8, 149 Lilit, Anotine, 18, 27 Linkin, Harriet Kramer, 143 London, 1, 2, 7, 8, 32, 35, 45–6, 49, 50–65, 78–9, 86, 91, 93, 94, 95, 100, 104, 118, 131, 132–3, 134–6, 144, 145, 151, 168, 169, 174, 175 Boscawen’s town house: South Audley Street, 50, 51–3 Monckton’s town houses: Charles Street, Berkeley Square, 61; New Burlington Street, 64–6 Montagu’s town houses: Hill street, Berkeley Square, 45, 50–1, 54, 235 56, 61; Portman Square, 50–1, 54, 57 Shoreditch, 175 Vesey’s town houses: Bolton Row, 86, 88, 91, 100; Clarges Street, 88–9 Co. Longford, 138, 141, 170 Castle Forbes, 12, 109, 110, 111, 126, 130, 141–2, 162, 203n48 Edgeworthstown, 122, 133, 138–43, 145 muniment room at Castle Forbes, 6, 107 Lunar Society, 133 Lyttelton, Lord George, 86, 98, 189n61 Macpherson, James, Fragments of Ancient Poetry, 99 Major, Emma, 57 Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, 132–3 manuscript circulation, 11, 20–1, 44, 59–60, 68, 72, 77, 101, 138, 142–3, 171, 172, 191n86 compare print culture Marlay, George, Dean of Ferns, later Bishop of Waterford, 79, 94–5, 102, 105 Marmontel, Jean-François, 15, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 27, 55, 123 marriage, 9–10, 38, 45, 96, 185n127 scandalous marriages, 34, 66, 70, 192n114 McTier, Martha, 156, 158, 159, 165–8 Co. Meath, 138, 141, 142 Black Castle, 140 Miller, Anna, 45, 133, 143–7, 162 Poetical Amusements at a Villa near Bath, 145 Milton, Thomas, A Collection of Select Views, 82 Moira, Countess of, see Rawdon, Elizabeth Co. Monaghan Dawson Temple, 91 Monckton, Mary, later Countess of Cork and Orrery, 45, 61–6, 87, 186n6, 190n65, 192n107 236 Index Montagu, Edward, 53, 57, 96 Montagu, Elizabeth, 5–6, 45–6, 48, 49, 50–2, 53–5, 57–9, 61, 63–4, 70, 77, 80, 84, 85–7, 91, 92, 93, 95–7, 100, 101–4, 186n6 An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear, r 96–7, 103–4, 210n77 Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat, baron de, 31, 183n81 Moore, Thomas, 71, 106, 112, 117–18, 119, 172 Irish Melodies, 117, 118, 172, 173 Odes, 118 More, Hannah, 54, 55–6, 58, 60, 70, 89, 97, 98 “The Bas Bleu”, 60, 87, 191n86 Morellet, André, 15, 18, 26, 27, 123 Morris, Gouverneur, 39–41 Murphy, Arthur, 46, 67, 68 music, 65, 66, 67, 138, 148, 157–9, 166, 174, 211n93 Napoleon, 36, 41 Nattier, Jean-Marc, 26, 64 Necker, Suzanne, 4, 17, 19, 22, 26–7, 42, 49, 56 Newton, William, 149, 152 O’Flanagan, Theophilus, 118–19 Ó Gallchoir, Clíona, 139 Ó Gormáin, Muiris, 117, 118 O’Halloran, Clare, 131 O’Kane, Finola, 82–3, 155–6, 197n50 O’Neill, Henrietta, 156–9, 212n13 Oswestry Book Society, 161 Owenson, Sydney, later Lady Morgan, 63, 65–6, 106, 121, 127, 137–8, 168, 169, 171, 173, 174 The Book of the Boudoir, r 65 The Wild Irish Girl, 65, 127–8 Paris, 15, 16–27, 30, 31, 32, 33–43, 58–9, 73, 123, 134, 144, 151, 174 les “beaux quartiers”, 26–7, 52 former convent of Saint-Joseph (du Deffand), 23 former Austin convent (Plunket), 39, 40 Hôtel de Charost (Fitzmaurice), 35, 185n107 Hôtel Leblanc (Necker), 26–7 Hôtel de Rambouillet, 178n28 rue du Bac (Staël), 41 rue Saint-Honoré (Geoffrin), 24–5, 27 rue St Dominique/rue de Belle Chasse (Lespinasse), 23–4 patronage, 44, 58–9, 79, 97, 102–5, 118, 120–1, 127, 128, 149, 155, 157, 200n131 Perceval, Martha, 93 Percy, Bishop Thomas, 68, 96–7, 120 Reliques of ancient English poetry, 97 Perkins, Pam, 71–2, 76 Philadelphia, 33 Pierce, Edward, 148 Plunket, Bridget, Madame de Chastellux, 12, 16, 38–41 Pohl, Nicole, 16, 32 politesse, 5, 8, 15, 29, 49, 55, 62, 70, 173, 175 portraits and portraiture, 18, 25, 26, 45, 63–4, 68, 69, 76, 109–10, 158 Preston, Lancashire, 161 print culture, 15, 21, 43, 44, 58–60, 71, 101–2, 103–4, 118, 121, 124, 133, 137, 140, 145, 146–7, 173, 193n143, 200n140, 210n69, 210n77 booksellers, 60, 102, 120, 121, 124, 133, 134, 210n82 printer-publishers, 145 subscription, 35, 60, 104, 112, 146, 162, 196n23, 200n141 compare manuscript circulation private theatricals, 133, 137, 155–60 Purcell, Mark, 6, 12 Quesnel, Joseph, 31–2 Rawdon, Charlotte, 126, 142, 169 Rawdon, Elizabeth, Lady Moira, 6, 10, 12, 33, 83–4, 97, 106–31, 150, 168, 200n3, 202n25 genealogical research, 120 “Particulars relative to a human skeleton . . . ”, 115–16 Index portrayal in Edgeworth’s novels, 122–3 promotion of Irish manufacture, 84–6, 115 sense of identity, 113, 125, 129 Rawdon Hastings, Francis, 2nd Earl of Moira, 110, 118, 119, 126, 130 Rawdon, John, 1st Earl of Moira, 106, 110, 200n2 Rawdon, Selina, see Forbes reading parties, 11, 133, 138, 154–5, 159, 160, 162–8, 174 Rebellion of 1798, 91, 128, 130, 153–4, 164, 168, 174, 203n48, 214n68 Récamier, Mme, 37–8 receipts and accounts, 35–6, 111 Reeve, Clara, 60 religion, 9, 32–3, 57–8, 83, 112, 113, 119, 130, 151, 155–6, 190n74, 206n131 Rendall, Jane, 71–2 Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 58, 64, 68 rococo, 23, 110 Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 20 Royal Dublin Society, 85 Royal Irish Academy, 97, 112, 118 Ruxton, Margaret, 126, 140–1, 142 Ruxton, Sophy, 140–1, 142–3 salon hostesses, see under individual names Schmid, Susanne, 47, 71, 155 Scott, Walter, 73–4, 76, 121, 124–5, 142, 149, 205n103 The Lady of the Lake, 142 Lay of the Last Minstrel, 124, 125, 171 Waverly, 141 seating, 7, 65, 87 seventeenth-century salons, 8, 16–18, 21, 45, 48, 186n3 Sevigné, Marie de Raboutin-Chantal, Mme de, 16, 32, 48, 50, 101 Seward, Anna, 133, 134, 145–52, 165, 207n10, 210n85 Elegy on Captain Cook, 147, 148 “Invocation for the Comic Muse”, 146 237 Sheridan Lefanu, Alicia, 89, 134, 135, 137–8, 151, 155 Sheridan Lefanu, Elizabeth (Betsy), 46, 48, 88–9, 92, 134, 135, 187n13, 208n14 Sheridan, Frances, 133–4, 135–7, 139 Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 62, 135, 137 The Rivals, 166–7 School for Scandal, 157 Sheridan, Thomas, 9, 89, 135–6 Siddons, Sarah, 70, 155, 156, 158–9 Smith, Charlotte, 157 social mobility, 8, 21 societies, 2–3, 44, 47, 132, 161, 164, 174, 178n13, 202n32 see also under individual names Society of Antiquaries of London, 115–16 Staël, Germaine, Baronne de, 17, 32, 40, 41–2 Corinne, 41, 141 Sterne, Laurence, 15, 48, 190n65 Stewart, Rachel, 7, 197n53 Stornoway literary salon, 174–5 Streatham, 46, 66–70 Stuart, James, 7, 52, 54 Surrey Hatchlands Park, 53 Swift, Jonathan, 136, 208n20 taverns, 2–3 tea, 23, 51, 52, 69, 136, 163 Thrale, Hester Lynch, later Piozzi, 45, 46, 55, 66–70, 73, 144, 186n6 Observations and Reflections, 67, 97 Thraliana, 66, 67 Thuente, Mary Helen, 128 Tighe, Mary, 121, 137, 142–3, 155, 169–73 Psyche; or, the Legend of Love, 142–3, 169 Tinker, Chauncey Brewster, 47, 61 Co. Tipperary, 155, 162–3 Tone, Theobald Wolfe, 129 translation, 111–19 see also Brooke, Charlotte; French language; Irish language; Ó Gormáin, Muiris 238 Index twenty-first century literary salons, 174–5 Twiss, Richard, Tour of Ireland, 109, 157 Vesey, Agmondesham, 79, 81, 88, 91, 94, 100, 195n5 Vesey, Elizabeth, 8, 12, 46, 49, 60, 78–105, 144 patronage, 102–5 sense of identity, 79, 97–100 Vickery, Amanda, 5, 161 Voltaire (François Marie Arouet), 20, 27 Wales, 66, 70 Walker, Anna, 155, 158 Walker, Joseph Cooper, 33–4, 112, 113–17, 119, 128, 169, 170, 171–3 An historical essay on the dress . . . , 114 Historical memoirs of the Irish bards, 113 Memoirs of Alessandro Tassoni, 114 Walpole, Horace, 48, 49, 55, 58, 98, 115, 120, 143–4 Co. Westmeath, 138, 139, 161 Pakenham Hall/Tullynally Castle, 12, 140, 141–2 Co. Wicklow, 169–70 Williams, Helen Maria, 151, 212n117 Wilmot, Barbarina, 171, 214n82 Woodhouse, James, 103, 115 Wortley Montagu, Lady Mary, 28–9 Wright, Julia M., 135, 137 Wyatt, James, 81, 91 York Book Society, 160–1 Young, Arthur, 82