Monthly Archives: November 2017

Jonathan Swift and the Temple family

Today marks the 350th birthday of Jonathan Swift (1667–1745), the Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, pamphleteer, poet, and cleric, best remembered as the author of Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Swift was born in Dublin on 30 November 1667 and was the second child of Jonathan Swift (1640–1667), a steward of the King’s Inns, Dublin, and his wife, Abigail Erick (1640–1710). His father died two months before he was born. Unable to support her son, his mother placed him in the care of his uncle, Godwin Swift. He was enrolled at Kilkenny College in 1674, and in 1682 entered Trinity College Dublin. Having received his bachelor’s degree in 1686, Swift continued at Trinity College to study for a master’s. However, Roman Catholic unrest in Ireland following the Glorious Revolution in 1688 forced him to quit his studies and leave for England.
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In England his mother found him a position as secretary to the English statesman and essayist Sir William Temple (1628-1699) at Moor Park in Surrey. During the subsequent decade, Swift assisted Temple in political errands and research for his essays and memoirs. Under Temple’s guidance, and with a rich library at his disposal, it was at Moor Park that Swift developed his skills as a writer. During this time he wrote a number of essays, including A Tale of a Tub and ‘The Battle of the Books’, published together in 1704 and both touching on the debate surrounding Temple’s essays on ancient and modern learning.

It was also during this time that Swift met Esther Johnson, known by her nickname “Stella”, whose mother was in the service of William Temple. Swift took a keen interest in Stella and acted as her tutor and mentor. The two would maintain a close relationship throughout their lives and a debate continues as to whether they were secretly married in 1716. Swift returned to Ireland twice during the decade he worked for Temple. During one of these visits, in 1695, he took the necessary steps to become an ordained priest in the Church of Ireland. After Temple’s death in 1699, Swift completed the task of editing and publishing his memoirs. This, however, resulted in a clash with members of the Temple family, most notably Lady Gifford (Temple’s sister), who argued against Swift’s inclusion of material against Temple’s wishes.

The works of Sir William Temple, bart. edited by Jonathan Swift [Rare Books quarto PR 3729.T2]

The works of Sir William Temple, bart. edited by Jonathan Swift [Rare Books quarto PR 3729.T2]

Sir William Temple had two sisters, Martha (later Lady Gifford) and Mary, and a brother, John. Sir John Temple (1632-1705) was an Irish lawyer and politician and father of Henry Temple, first Viscount Palmerston (1673-1757), who purchased the Broadlands estate in 1736. It is through this link that the Broadlands archives contain a number of items relating to Swift.

The two earliest items date from 1724. The first of these is a letter to Henry Temple, first Viscount Palmerston, from Lewis Roberts, his lawyer in Dublin, dated 6 October 1724. The letters contains a reference to Swift’s speeches against William Wood’s Irish half penny [MS 62 BR140/4/8], delivered from the pulpit of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin where Swift had held the position of dean since 1713. William Wood was an English manufacturer who had been granted a patent to mint copper halfpence for Ireland. The response in Ireland was one of outrage. There was a strong belief that the wishes of the Irish parliament had been bypassed and that the inferior quality of the money would devalue Irish coinage and damage the local economy. Swift was one of the most vocal critics in the campaign against Wood and published several pamphlets containing open letters and poetic broadsides on the subject. The letters, written under the pseudonym M. B. Drapier, were later published collectively as Drapier’s Letters. The opposition to the halfpenny was so strong that it occasionally took on a violent form, with Oliver Ferguson noting that “in Cork a mob prevented a shipment of halfpence from being unloaded, and threatened to burn the ship; and in Dublin Wood was hanged in effigy – an event which Swift celebrated with A Full and True Account of…the Execution of William Wood.”

Among Swift’s poetic broadsides on the subject was ‘Prometheus’, originally published around November 1724. It was retitled ‘Prometheus. On Wood the Patentee’s Irish Half-Pence’ in later collections. A manuscript copy of the poem, dating from 1724, can be found in the Broadlands collection [MS 62 BR3/36].

Prometheus, a Poem by Jonathan Swift [BR3/36]

Prometheus, a Poem by Jonathan Swift [BR3/36]

Another group of items relating to Swift are three letters exchanged between Swift and first Viscount Palmerston from January 1725/6 [MS 62 BR3/63-5]. The two men had known each other since Swift’s time at Moor Park. As with other members of the Temple family, their relationship was strained. Three months earlier, in the fourth of his Drapier’s letters (titled To the Whole People of Ireland), Swift had named Palmerston among the Englishmen who held substantial sinecures paid for out of the Irish treasury.

The short exchange, which can be found among Swift’s published letters, centres on the letting of rooms at Trinity College Dublin to a William Curtis who Swift claims “has been very unjustly and injuriously treated” [MS 62 BR3/63]. Swift is of the understanding that Palmerston had granted the rooms to a John Elwood for life and, as such, Elwood had the right to sublet them to Mr Curtis. In his response, Palmerston informs Swift that the rooms had been granted to Elwood for his personal use, and not for subletting, and that “When he quits, I am att liberty to dispose of the premises again” [MS 62 BR3/64]. In the final letter, Swift acquits Palmerston “of any injury or injustice done to Mr. Curtis”, noting that the “injury and injustice he received were from those who claimed a title to his chambers, took away his key, reviled and threatened to beat him, with a great deal more of the like brutal conduct” [MS 62 BR3/65].

Swift's signature [MS 62 BR3/63]

Swift’s signature [MS 62 BR3/63]

While the matter is ultimately cleared up, the tension in the exchange is palpable. Swift, in his first letter, states that he will refrain from commenting on William Curtis’ character, referencing a Thomas Stauton who he had once recommended to Palmerston but “whom you afterward rejected, expressing your reason for doing so, that I had recommended him.” Concerning the rejection he concedes, with more than a hint of sarcasm, that “these are some of the refinements among you great men, which are above my low understanding” [MS 62 BR3/63]. Palmerston adopts an equally sarcastic tone in the opening of his reply, stating that “I should not give my selfe the trouble to answer your polite letter, were I as unconcerned about character & reputation as some are.” He then proceeds to clarify the conditions under which the rooms had been granted to Mr Eldwood and defend himself concerning his dismissal of Mr Stauton, which was due to “his demand of a large additional salary, more than he had before my time”, noting that “he left the office, and was not turned out” [MS 62 BR3/64].

Palmerston concludes his letter with a powerful statement:

“My desire is to be in charity with all men; could I say as much of you, you had sooner inquired into this matter, or if you had any regard to a family you owe so much to; but I fear you hugged the false report to cancel all feelings of gratitude that must ever glow in a generous breast, and to justify what you had declared, that no regard to the family was any restraint to you. These refinements are past my low understanding, and can only be comprehended by you great wits. I always thought in you I had a friend in Ireland, but find myself mistaken. I am sorry for it; my comfort is, it is none of my fault. If you had taken any thing amiss, you might have known the truth from me. I shall always be as ready to ask pardon when I have offended, as to justify myself when I have not.” [MS 62 BR3/64]

Swift opens the final letter with the line “I desire you will give yourself the last trouble I shall ever put you to; I mean of reading this letter.” Then, in addition to acquitting Palmerston, he acknowledges his indebtedness to the Temple family, and defends himself against any misunderstanding, stating: “My lord, if my letter were polite, it was against my intentions, and I desire your pardon for it” [MS 62 BR3/64]. Palmerston has endorsed the letter as “Not answered”. The matter of the rooms at Trinity College was later taken up by third Viscount Palmerston in a letter written in 1813 to his agent, Graves Swan, in which he requests Swan to pursue his claim to the rooms [MS 62 BR146/10/1].

Jonathan Swift held the position of dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin until his death on 19 October 1745, at the age of 77.

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The Repository of Arts

Objects found in books hold a fascination for those who find them. Usually they are unrelated to the text – tickets used as bookmarks or letters placed for safekeeping; it is less common to find objects which were part of the original publication, as is the case in the Repository of Arts which contains tiny fabric samples, as colourful today as when the issues were first published in the early nineteenth century.

Fabric samples: June 1812

Fabric samples: June 1812

Published by Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834), the Repository of Arts, or, to give it its full title the Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics, was the style bible of its day. A monthly magazine, running from 1809 to 1829, it covered all of the subjects listed in its title as well as providing reports on public health and agriculture. The emphasis though, was on stylish living and the magazine was designed to appeal to members of fashionable society who could afford the subscription of three shillings and sixpence, approximately £11 today.

Morning dress: February 1813

Morning dress: February 1813

The Repository had developed from Ackermann’s publishing and print-selling business, also named the Repository of Arts, which he established in the Strand in 1798. There, the early nineteenth-century equivalent of ladies (and gentlemen) who lunch could keep up to date with latest trends, acquire art supplies and prints, take tea or attend lectures in the gas-lit surroundings of what became a fashionable social centre. The magazine kept those who could not visit the Repository informed by including hand-coloured fashion plates and by providing the fabric samples. These were accompanied by suggestions of the type of garment for which the material could be used – the issue for June 1812 included a new printed cambric ‘of the mosaic pattern, calculated for morning and domestic wear’, an example of the recently introduced ‘Chinese crape’ and ‘a new lilac sarsnet for evening or full dress’.

Furniture: February 1811

Furniture: February 1811

Interior design was another feature of the magazine, with many issues having a ‘fashionable furniture’ section, or presenting ideas for room designs, such as the ‘gothic conservatory’ illustrated in the April 1813 issue. On occasions, samples of wallpaper or decorative papers were also included, the final sample in the June 1812 issue being a ‘specimen of the new embossed fancy paper, coloured in oil over a silver ground, in every shade and colour’. The amount of descriptive detail contained in the Repository makes it an important source for anyone with an interest in the aspirational fashions and interiors of the Regency period.

Gothic conservatory: April 1813

Gothic conservatory: April 1813

Ackermann is considered to be a pioneering publisher of colour-plate books, having set up a lithographic press in the Strand prior to opening the Repository. The hand-coloured aquatints in his many publications were highly valued by contemporaries. Later generations have also to thank him for the record he provided of contemporary London in his celebrated Microcosm of London, (1808-1810), in which he employed the talents of Augustus Pugin (1768/9-1832) and William Rowlandson (1757-1827).

Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics, vols.3-9 (1810-1813) Rare Books N1

Exploring protests, rebellion and revolution in the Special Collections

As part of the Explore Your Archive campaign the Special Collections team will be hosting two events. On Wednesday 22 November, there will be a drop-in session highlighting an array of material from the manuscript and printed collections relating to protests, rebellion and revolution.

Come and find out about protests and revolts, from the Peasants’ revolt of 1381 to the Swing riots in Hampshire of 1830, the Southampton Dockers’ strike of 1890 and the General Strike of 1926.  Protest groups and student activism also are represented, with material relating to groups established to combat fascism in the 1930s and 1990s, student action against apartheid, and the work of the “Women in Black”: 35s, the Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry.

Conflict at the Place Maubert

Conflict at the Place Maubert from ‘History of the Revolutions in Europe, 1848’. Supplement to the Illustrated London News (1 July 1848)

Also on display will be a range of material focusing on revolutions, including the English Civil War, the French Revolution, the wars for independence in North and South American, and the European revolutions of 1830 and 1848.

Book your ticket on Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-protests-rebellion-and-revolution-in-the-special-collections-tickets-39658571856) to reserve a place or feel free to drop by on the day. The event will run from 2-5pm.

There will also be an extended opening for our current exhibition ‘Between The West and Russia’ until 5pm. For further details visit: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/news/events/2017/10/23-russia-exhibition.page

All are welcome! Please feel free to share. Visitors may be asked for photo ID by Library Reception staff.


The Special Collections team will also be taking part in the Hands-on Humanities day on Saturday 18 November, 1030-1630, Avenue Campus.

Extract from grant for a subscription for a trading voyage [MS62 BR4/1/1]

Extract from grant for a subscription for a trading voyage [MS62 BR4/1/1]

Can you write like scribes of old?  Why not come along and try your hand at this and other practical activities on offer.  For further information on this go to: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/per/news/events/2017/11/hands-on-humanities-day.page

The Nation mourns Princess Charlotte of Wales

On the morning of 6 November 1817, the country woke to the awful news that Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales had died after giving birth to a stillborn son.  She was just 21.  As the only legitimate grandchild of George III her death ended the line of succession and plunged the kingdom into deepest mourning.

Charlotte was the only child of the Prince of Wales, then Prince Regent (later George IV) and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick.  Her childhood was coloured by their unhappy marriage, and by their continual acrimonious disputes.  Allowed limited contact with her mother, Charlotte lived in a separate establishment, cared for by governesses and servants; but she had a warm relationship with her grandfather, George III.  Her biographer describes her as “fair and plump, bright, high spirited and boisterous” (J.S.Lewis, Oxford DNB).  She grew up to be hugely popular with the public, a bright hope for the future in contrast to the dissipation and extravagance of her father.  Her marriage to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in May 1816 set the seal on her happiness and there were huge crowds and great celebrations in London on her wedding day.

The unexpected shock of Charlotte’s death just 18 months later swept the nation in a tide of grief.  The shops closed for two weeks.  The Royal Exchange, the Law Courts, and the docks followed suit.  The linen drapers ran out of black cloth as even the poor wore black armbands.  Popular composers of the day captured their feelings in words and music.  We can see this in a collection of sheet music held in the Special Collections at the University of Southampton.  George Kiallmark, for example, wrote: “Farewell bright Star! A tribute to the memory of her late Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales”.

The photo below shows the title page to a piece by John Parry in the same volume: “Mourn England Mourn. An elegy written and composed on the lamentable demise of Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales.”

Title page to Mourn England Mourn, by John Parry, Rare books q M 341 SHI, Misses Shirreff collection of sheet music from late 18th to early 19th century, vol. 4

Title page to Mourn England Mourn, by John Parry, Rare books q M 341 SHI, Misses Shirreff collection of sheet music from late 18th to early 19th century, vol. 4

The words of the first verse read:

Mourn England mourn, thy lovely Rose is dead,
Its beauties faded and its fragrance shed,
Britannia’s brightest Hope, and Albion’s pride,
Fled and blighted, when Cambria’s Princess died,
What heart but feels, what breast but heaves a sigh?
What stoic seen without a tearful eye?
But ah! what must thy Parents, Husband feel?
Their grief is more than language can reveal!

Locally, the High Sheriff of Hampshire called a county meeting at Winchester to propose addresses of condolence to Prince Leopold and the Prince Regent – who were indeed grief stricken.  The latter was too prostrate to attend Charlotte’s funeral.  At the county meeting of nobility, gentry, clergy, freeholders, and other inhabitants “most respectable and numerous”, Lord Palmerston moved the address to the Prince Regent.  His words were reported in the local newspaper:

Newspaper report, 13 December 1817, MS62 BR112/11/28

Newspaper report, 13 December 1817, MS62 BR112/11/28

“Never, indeed, in the annals of our history had there existed so universal a feeling throughout the nation as that which had been excited by the loss we had lately sustained – it was felt by all, not merely as a public calamity, but with the same deep and personal affliction that follows the loss of a near and dear relation. The career of the Princess Charlotte had indeed been short; but in that short course she had in a most remarkable degree conciliated the affections and gained the esteem of the people; with all those milder virtues and gentler qualities which more peculiarly belong to and adorn her sex… she combined a vigour of intellect, and a masculine energy of mind that eminently qualified her for the high station which we had fondly hoped she was one day destined to fill…”

But while the public sympathised, the public also blamed. Charlotte had died after the ordeal of a fifty-hour labour.  While the Prince Regent refused to blame Sir Richard Croft – the accoucheur responsible for Charlotte’s care – many others did, and three months after the death of the Princess, he committed suicide.  These tragic deaths were to lead to significant changes in obstetric practices in the future.

Lock of hair of Princess Charlotte, 1799 MS69/4/2

Lock of hair of Princess Charlotte, 1799 MS69/4/2

Two other items held in the Special Collections show us a glimpse of Princess Charlotte. The first, is a lock of her hair, with its original wrapper, dated 1799, MS69/4/2.  Charlotte was born on 7 January 1796, and would have been a small child when this was cut.  In Victorian times it was popular to keep locks of hair from loved ones, and hair jewellery was very fashionable. This clipping may have been given to Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, as a memento after her death. It survives amongst the papers of Christopher Collins, who was for many years the personal confidential servant to the Duke.

Lord Wellington's March, by Princess Charlotte MS 69/4/24

An extract from ‘Lord Wellington’s March’, by Princess Charlotte MS 69/4/24

The Collins archive also includes a manuscript copy of a piece of music called ‘Lord Wellington’s March’. A note on the colourful title page states: “Composed by Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales.”  Charlotte was an accomplished pianist and this piece is scored for piano. It is a rousing march in honour of the hero of Waterloo – bright and energetic, much like its young composer.

Click on the link below to hear an arrangement played by the Band of the Welsh Guards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uNqWu49xO0

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales 1796-1817.

Balfour Declaration 100

2 November 2017 marks the centenary of the letter sent by Arthur Balfour, the Foreign Secretary, to Lord Rothschild, setting out the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This Balfour Declaration could be seen as constituting a first step in achieving the objective of political Zionism that had been outlined by the First Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, namely “Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law.”

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The motives behind this decision were various. Aside from a belief in the righteousness of the Zionist cause, it has been suggested that British leaders hoped the declaration would help gain Jewish support for the allies in neutral countries, such as in the United States of America or Russia.  Great Britain and France were mired in a stalemate with Germany on the western front by 1917 and all efforts to defeat the Turks had failed.  They feared that the war might be fought to a draw.  Lloyd George also had come to see British dominance in Palestine as an essential post-war aim and felt that the establishment of a Zionist state, under its protection, would accomplish this.

The text of the declaration reads as follows:

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,

Arthur James Balfour

Among the Special Collections, the collection MS 144 contains papers relating to the Balfour Committee, formed for the purpose of convening a conference of Anglo-Jewry to consider means of furthering the policy laid down in the Balfour Declaration. The collection contains a book of committee minutes, dating from 17 Dec 1917 – 26 Oct 1918; correspondence of A.M.Hyamson, honorary secretary of the committee, 1917-18, including correspondence with Dr Israel Abrahams; together with statements for the press, drafts of heads of scheme, and copies of memoranda, including proposals for Jewish settlement of Palestine, some signed by members of the committee.