The whole of Lady Honywood’s text is transcribed here from the copy of the book held at the Kent History & Library Centre: U951/Z49/19. This copy has a few corrections and additions in the hand of the author. If you wish to copy any content from the book, you will need to clarify with the Kent Archives Service. Page numbers are printed here in bold: 4-50.
The transcription is followed by notes on Lady Honywood’s later life as well as some links between the Memorial and Sense and Sensibility. Deborah Kaplan has an interesting section on the Memorial in her book Jane Austen Among Women (1994 edition, pages 54-56).
William’s eldest sister, Frances Courtenay, married their cousin John Honywood in 1779. After he inherited a baronetcy from his grandfather in 1781 the couple were styled sir John Honywood and lady Honywood. His younger brother William (‘Captain Honywood‘) married Mary Drake of Beachborough (Kent) and inherited Marks Hall (Essex) from his step-uncle Filmer Honywood. Sir John died in 1806.
There were eight children from the marriage:
- Frances Elizabeth | married Aubone Surtees* 1802 | died 1854
- See Isabella Courtenay and her niece; this post includes portraits by Joshua Reynolds of sir John Honywood and of lady Honywood with their daughter Frances Elizabeth as a child.
- a still-born son |died 1782
- Charlotte Dorothea | married Frederick Grey Cooper* 1805 | died 1811
- A few years after Charlotte Dorothea’s death, Frederick Cooper married a widow, Josepha Sophia Wheat. He inherited the family baronetcy from his nephew in 1836; in his will of that year he mentions his ‘natural daughter’ Susan Cowell of Bury St Edmunds.
- Annabella Christiana | married Edward Knatchbull* 1806 | died 1814
- After Annabella Christiana’s death, Edward Knatchbull inherited the family baronetcy from his father in 1819 and in the next year married Frances Catherine Knight (Jane Austen’s niece ‘Fanny’).
- John Courtenay | married Mary Anne Cooper 1808 | died 1832
- He inherited the family baronetcy from his father in 1806 and from that time was styled sir John Courtenay Honywood; from February 1811 to January 1812 (the usual one year term of office) he was sheriff for the county of Kent (see page 23 of the Memorial).
- Caroline | married Edward Dalbie Temple 1807 | died [?]
- Eliza Augusta | died [?]
- Louisa Catharine | married Henry Reed Quartly 1820 | died 1822
* Some of the sons-in-law named above appear in the Memorial: Aubone Surtees may be the ‘Mr Surtees‘ mentioned as residing at Helchin; Frederick Grey Cooper (‘Colonel Cooper‘) was the younger brother of William Henry Cooper and so an uncle of sir John Courtenay Honywood’s wife Mary Anne Cooper; Edward Knatchbull (‘Mr. Knatchbull‘, ‘friend’ and ‘coadjutant’ of sir John Courtenay Honywood) was a son of the baronet, sir Edward Knatchbull, and a baronet himself from 1819.
Lady Honywood wrote the Memorial for her two referees (see page 44): ‘Lord Henniker‘ and a ‘Mr. Sparrow‘ who may well have been James Goodeve Sparrow (1770-1838) of Gosfield Place (Essex), a neighbour of her brother-in-law William Honywood. ‘Mr. Courtenay‘ (page 33) is probably the second cousin, another William Courtenay, who succeeded her brother as earl of Devon in 1835.
Lady Honywood’s brother William had begun his long exile in 1811 before the concluding events of the Memorial. On page 19, she writes that ‘My brother very generously offered to meet Sir John half way in discharging my embarrassments and increasing my income.’ In his will of 1831 William named sir John Courtenay Honywood as a trustee but the younger man died before his uncle.
Evington was in the parish of Elmsted but the house was demolished in 1938. For the Comte de Fouchécour, see People in William’s life A-Z. For Lady Cooper and her relations, see the note Image at the foot of this page.
HONOURABLE LADY HONYWOOD,
THE USE OF HER REFEREES.
PRINTED BY S. GOSNELL, LITTLE QUEEN STREET.
The errors of one, to whom I stand in so near a relation as that of a parent, compel me to undertake the painful task of writing this Memorial. Your own feelings will represent to you what I must suffer on this occasion, more forcibly than any language of mine can convey.
It is unnecessary to speak of my illustrious descent, of the education bestowed on me by an indulgent and a noble father, and of the luxury and magnificence in which I was brought up; or to tell you that I am the widow of a man of the highest respectability in point, not only of private character, virtue and honour, but of family and of fortune. These considerations will, with men of your liberal and just sentiments, have their due weight.
The disorder into which the affairs of the late Sir John Honywood fell, and the consequent privations to which I was reduced to submit, conspired to shorten his life—he literally died of a broken heart. And the melancholy event was accelerated by the reflection, that though he was possessed of an estate worth from seven to ten thousand pounds per annum, he, from the extent of the entail, was under the necessity of leaving me dependent upon the promises of my son for a great part of my future provision.
How far these promises have been fulfilled, and what the conduct of this son has been, will fully appear in the sequel of this, my eventful narrative; in which, to the best of my recollection, I have not advanced a single circumstance that I should hesitate to ratify by the most solemn appeal.
My marriage with the late Sir John Honywood took place in the month of December 1779. The jointure, for which my father stipulated, is one thousand pounds per annum. About twelve years after our marriage Sir John’s health began to decline, and he grew anxious about what would be my situation in the event of his death; for he held my jointure by no means an adequate provision for me, considering the increased price of every necessary of life. In confirmation of which circumstance I beg leave to subjoin the following extract from a letter of Doctor Metcalfe’s, a physician, who resided for a considerable time in our house; which letter I received in answer to one I wrote him on this subject; it is dated at Sedgely, near Wolverhampton, 11th November 1811: —
“My dear Lady Honywood, I last night was honoured with yours; and to prove the regard I have ever felt for yourself, and every branch of your respectable family, I will state as near as my recollection will bear what passed between the late Sir John Honywood and myself, on the subject of the letter I have now before me. I well remember, about two years before I quitted my residence under the hospitable roof of my late friend Sir John, we were traversing some of his grounds in quest of game; when, unsolicited, and without any previous preparation, he told me that the settlement which he had made on your Ladyship’s marriage, he did not consider as adequate to the increase of expense, considering the rise in all the necessaries of life; and he was determined, if the Almighty spared his life, to make a proportionate addition to the settlement originally made. This I thought would have taken place, as at that time he was subject to bleedings at the nose; and he was somewhat alarmed at the observations I made on the reduced state of his blood, and recommending to be more moderate in his exercise, or the consequences might be unpleasant. After
the above conversation my residence at Hamburgh was so long, that all intercourse between us was for a long time stopped.”
On going to London, Sir John applied to his solicitor, Mr. Wildman, to increase my jointure five hundred pounds per annum; but was informed by him that no farther charge could be made on the estate till his son was twenty-one years of age, from the entail imposed by his grandfather: of this circumstance Sir John informed me himself, and also that he hoped to live to see the time when he should insist on such an increase of jointure’s taking place, together with a house well furnished.
Sir John having, from various causes, afterwards contracted debts to the amount of between forty and fifty thousand pounds, was obliged to grant large annuities; and it was proposed to him, in the year 1798 or 1799 (I am not certain as to the date), to put his estate in trust for the payment of these annuities, and the liquidation of such debts as the seizure and the sale of his personals left unprovided for.
I immediately offered to submit to any establishment, and to live in any way which should be considered conducive to his future benefit. The trust-deed was signed, and a ready-furnished house taken in London, to which we all removed. But from that period Sir John’s health began to decline. The situation of his family preyed upon his heart. He would frequently lie awake whole nights lamenting my privations, and often say, he hoped it would please God to spare him till his son was of age, to see me well provided for, and to make me some remuneration for (what he ever termed) my sufferings on his account; for he hoped and trusted that, as a widow, I should possess every pecuniary comfort, and enjoy that ease to which my birth and rank entitled me, and which my noble father trusted to his honour to see done.
The lease of the last ready-furnished house we occupied, in Little Argyle Street, expired on the 25th day of March 1806, at which period Sir John intended to purchase a house on a ninety-nine year’s lease, and to furnish
it with plate, linen and china, for my jointure-house. Pocock, an upholsterer in Southampton Street, Covent Garden, was to procure and furnish this house, on the security of being repaid when my son came of age in the month of February 1808. Holmes, the coach-maker, was to build a barouche for me, like one he had built for Colonel Vaughan, my brother-in-law, on the same terms as Pocock. With this intention Sir John and I went in September 1805 to look at several houses, but did not meet with one to suit us. About the middle of this month he went into Kent, where he remained till towards the end of October; from which time he was almost entirely confined to the house, and under the care of Sir Francis Millman, by whose advice we removed to Bath, on the 23d day of December. We had not been a month at Bath ere he said to me, “I shall never live to see Courtenay of age, but he has promised to fulfil all those intentions towards you, which have so frequently been the subject of our conversations. Remember he has promised, on coming of age, to purchase you a house, to furnish it completely for you, to build you a carriage, to buy you a pair of horses, and to increase your jointure five hundred pounds a year.”
But, notwithstanding that, Sir John was always begging of me to send for Mr. Smith, that he might dictate some form for Courtenay to sign, expressive of his promises; but this I refused to comply with, and entreated him to make himself easy, and that, as my son had made these promises, I must trust to his honour to perform them; for that no instrument could make them legally binding on him, as he was only in the nineteenth year of his age; and Sir John promised never to agitate himself more by speaking to me on the subject. Several of my friends have blamed me for not acceding to this proposal; but I should hope that no wife, who unfortunately witnessed such accumulated sufferings in a husband as I did in Sir John Honywood, would have acted otherwise. Some judgment may be formed on this subject, when I declare that I was never undressed, nor had a single night’s rest, from our arrival at Bath, on the 26th of December 1805, till the 23d day of March following, when he made a point of my going to London to take him another house, and to remove some papers of consequence
from the house in Argyle Street, which we were to give up on the 25th. The day before I left him, he fancied himself so much better, that he hoped he should soon be able to follow me; for to Doctor Parry, who came into the room, he said, “I know I cannot live long; but if you can but patch me up, to enable me to go to London, even if I am carried in a litter, you will do me a most essential service, as I want to see a person on a very important business, which has been too long neglected.”
When Doctor Parry left him, he told me it was on my account he was so anxious to get to London, that he might see his solicitor, Mr. Smith.
On the 24th I arrived in London, and on the 27th took a house in Prince’s Street, Hanover Square, to which his papers and a few other trifling effects were removed. I then settled my two daughters with a friend of mine, intending to have returned that night to Bath, but being so debilitated and exhausted by agitation and grief, I could not with safety be put into a carriage. On the 29th, however, I set out, and met my son at Speenhamland, who communicated to me the sad news of my being a widow; his father having expired that morning at seven o’clock.
I entreated him to let me proceed to Bath; this he would not hear of, but begged of me to compose myself, and added, that “as far as he could he would mitigate my loss, for he meant to be faithful to the promises he had made his father.” This conversation took place in the hearing of a third person, whom I can bring as a witness.
Baron Von Schmiedern, Aide-de-Camp to Lord Paget, saw Sir John the day before his death, when he said to him, “My dear Schmiedern, for these last four months, I have been indebted for my life to the care and affection of my wife; and if I could think for one moment that Courtenay would forfeit the promises he has made me respecting his mother, my last moments would be wretched.”
On my return to London I was in want of money, and applied to Mr. Smith for a legacy of three hundred pounds, left me in Sir John’s will, and appointed to be paid to me one month after his decease; but Mr. Smith told me that I could derive no benefit from the will, as there was no personal property, but that I must draw a quarter in advance on my jointure. He at the same time advised me to go somewhere to the sea-side for the benefit of my health, and spoke of Worthing; but Mr. Penfold (an old friend of the family) suggested my going to Brighton, as a much cheaper place, till the season commenced; thither my two youngest daughters and I went on the 23d of April, and from thence removed to Rottingdean on the 10th of July, and remained there till the month of November, when we returned again to Brighton, where we continued till the following spring, when I took a ready-furnished house in Conduit Street for a year.
By the late Sir John Honywood’s will I was left the sole guardian to my children, and a joint-executrix with Mr. Brett. It was his first intention to leave me the sole executrix, but, on reflection, he said he thought he had better appoint another, who would act under my direction, and save me trouble; and on that account only Mr. Brett’s name was inserted in the will. But from the unsettled state in which Sir John left his affairs, Mr. Smith advised me not to act, and indeed at that time I was by no means capable of acting, for I was in so reduced a state of health as not unfrequently to be subject to a delirium.
Mr. Brett was known to Sir John in their early years, and this acquaintance was renewed on our going to live in Kent; an acquaintance which has proved most destructive and fatal. So completely did this person insinuate himself into the good graces of Sir John, that he not only named him an executor, but appointed him to be the receiver and disburser of all the rents, under the deed of trust.
No sooner had the Honywood estate changed possessors, than the obsequious fawning Mr. Brett was converted into the insolent upstart; and the man who was appointed to defend my rights, neglected them,
and undertook the direction and management of my son; for which I make no doubt but he had very material reasons.
Previously to the execution at Evington, the late Sir John Honywood had sent down to Mr. Brett’s house a mahogany octagon table, and several items of furniture which I much valued, in order to secure them for me; and particularly requested him to keep them until I should ask for them. About a year and a half before Sir John’s death he wished to have some of them removed to Helchin (the residence of Mr. Surtees), for his use, when there, which was done; but when, as his widow, I claimed them of Mr. Brett, he informed me I could not have them, they must be given up to the creditors.
The other personals of which Sir John was possessed at his death, were, a tent bed, a mirror, a gouty chair, an easy chair, a mangle, a small quantity of very old household linen, an imperfect dinner service, a few articles of plate, a few dozens of wine, a gig, and a chestnut mare; also a horse in the possession of Mr. W. Smyth, with whom he made an agreement, either to let me have the horse, or to give me thirty-five guineas, but that he should prefer the latter. Out of which personals the following were allowed me: the tent bed, the mirror, the chairs, the mangle, the old linen, the dinner service, the plate, and the wine (for which Mr. Brett was very urgent I should pay). The chestnut mare, being in his possession last October, he can account for the best. The horse Mr. Smyth would have paid me for, but was prevented by my son. And the first-mentioned articles of furniture, which Mr. Brett’s friendship for the late Sir John and myself induced him to preserve so many years for me, are now in my son’s house. But this is only the first unfolding of Mr. Brett’s disposition and character.
As guardian to my son, I conceived that I had the best right to direct his conduct. It was my wish that he should remain in the West Kent Militia; but, as he declined that, I wrote to Lord Sidmouth, and several other of my deceased husband’s friends, to find out a proper person with
whom he could live for some time, in order to prepare him for a university. He was accordingly placed with a Mr. Sissan, in Hertfordshire, with whom he only remained a month, and then returned into Kent. I begged of him not to think of remaining in Kent, but to go to Cambridge. This point, however, I was obliged to give up, as Mr. Brett found so many cogent reasons for keeping him within the sphere of his influence.
Henceforth he chose to reside at Helchin, and from that moment he was lost to me. Mr. Brett’s views, in causing a separation between a mother and her son, are pretty apparent from the following speech of my son, on my threatening to make him a ward in Chancery: “Mother” (says he), if you make me a ward in Chancery, you will be the ruin of Brett; for then the whole trust-deed must be laid before the Chancellor.” That Mr. Brett knew of the claims which my son’s promises to his father give me on him, I have no more doubt than I have of my own existence; and I conceive it implied in what he said to Miss Cooper: “Sir John will do very well if he can be kept from his mother.” This is but a slight sketch of what I can adduce of Mr. Brett, whom I shall drop for the present.
So long after the death of Sir John as the spring of 1808, my health and strength were so far from being recovered, that I could not move from my sofa without assistance; and both my physician and surgeon told me that the restoration of my health, and the recovery of the use of my legs, depended upon a warm sea-bath and constant exercise in a bracing air. I consequently ordered my housekeeper to call in all my bills, and to prepare for my leaving London; when those which she brought me, exceeded my means of payment by six hundred pounds.
My son had now been of age nearly three months, but I had never spoken to him on the subject of my establishment, for I conceived he would come forward honourably of himself, and fulfil his promises. But now it became necessary for me to remind him of them, by letter, to state my situation to him, and the impossibility of my living on my jointure, which, by the deduction of the income-tax, was reduced to nine hundred
pounds a year. I at the same time begged of him to provide me with a carriage and horses; and told him that I did not wish to be particular in exacting the performance of his promises to his father, and that if I could do with less than the sum promised, I would, as I did not wish to be a burden on him. I also mentioned to him, that for the sake of my health I intended to take a house in the country, which it would be impossible for me to furnish for less than a thousand pounds.
But, at the time of my writing this letter, I had no idea of the value of money. How could I?—married before the age of seventeen, to a man who never chose any particular sum to be set apart for my pin-money, and who had so great a dislike to my interfering into any domestic affairs, as not even to allow me to give directions to my housekeeper. For which reason I always appeared more a visitor than the mistress of my own house.
But I have since found that the five hundred pounds per annum, which my son promised his father to add to my jointure, is not more than sufficient to provide me with the necessaries of life, and to enable me to live with comfort in my own sphere in society; and that fifteen hundred pounds a year is not so much at present, as a thousand a year was at the time of my marriage.
To this letter to my son I received no answer; and, though he called on me a few days after, he said not a word on the subject; but, “If you must have a carriage (said he abruptly), you may take my barouche.”—I was too weak and too ill to talk to him of my affairs, and we parted.
In this carriage I left London on the 5th day of May 1808, and met with my son on the evening of the same day, at Colonel Cooper’s (where I remained two days in my way to Lowestoff). He still contrived to take no notice of my letter, or of his promises to his father; but informed me that it was his intention to marry Lady Cooper’s eldest daughter, to whom he had made proposals of marriage about two days before. My answer was, “If she is necessary to your happiness, I am satisfied; but I should
think you might do better.” For I considered my son a match for any woman. The next morning we parted.
On my arrival at Lowestoff, I reflected a great deal on my son’s intended marriage, and felt quite convinced that it was a match made for him by the Cooper family. I was by no means ambitious of my son’s marrying a daughter of Sir William Cooper’s, and still less of his leading one of her Ladyship’s daughters to the altar; for, from the very unfavourable impression I had received of her (Lady Cooper’s) character from the dowager Lady Cooper, I had, independently of her birth, a particular objection to her.
As my son had not seen enough of the world to be able to make a proper choice, and to know the qualities in a wife essential to contribute to his happiness, I wrote Colonel Cooper to the following effect: I begged of him not to let this match be hurried on; that he ought to consider my son was but just come to his estate, that his knowledge of the world was very slight, that he had made promises on my account, which he was bound in honour to fulfil, that he had his father’s affairs to settle, and that these consideration should weigh with him on his niece’s, as well as my son’s account. And, in answer to Colonel Cooper’s repeated complaints of my son’s manners and conduct, I expressed my sorrow that they were not such as I should have expected, and wished them to be.
This letter was given to my son, and carried by him to Lady Cooper; and I have never been forgiven for it by either of them. But that is immaterial to me. I did my duty in writing it, and, were it still to do, would do the same again.
As a proof of Lady Cooper’s early ascendancy over my son, a few days previous to his marriage he had written to me to request, if my health would allow of it, that I should witness the ceremony. This he mentioned to Lady Cooper; and that he was conscious he had a mother who did not merit, at his hands, the treatment she had received. Lady Cooper told
him the letter should not go, and sent her servant to take it from the postman. For the veracity of this, as I was told it by my daughter, Mrs. Cooper, some time before her death, I can vouch.
After this I had only a few lines from Sir John, saying he should be married on the 27th of July. And in less than a month from that period, Lady Cooper and her whole family established themselves in his house for thirteen months, for the avowed purpose of keeping his own family from him.
The day before his marriage I received a letter from Mr. Smith, in answer to the one I wrote my son respecting his promises to his father and my establishment, previously to my leaving London; which letter takes no notice of my letter, or of my application for horses, but says that Sir John had made up his mind to pay the amount of the bills I owed in London, and to allow me one thousand pounds a year clear of the income-tax.
It was in vain for me to remonstrate against this settlement, or to maintain that it was impossible for me to live on such an allowance. And I am sorry that my son should be capable of asserting that my brother Lord Courtenay, and my brother Captain Honywood, had said that the allowance was sufficient. It is not the fact; for they, at that time, were totally ignorant of what had passed between my husband and his son, and would be the last persons on earth to teach him that his promises to his dying father are not binding on his honour. When I put the question to them, the former said, he was very far from saying, or even thinking such a thing; and Captain Honywood’s answer is, “I am sorry Sir John should assert such a thing as coming from me; I think you cannot live on less than fifteen hundred pounds a year; nor do I know why you should attempt it; for I have no more doubt of those promises, you mention, having passed between my nephew and his father, than of my own existence.”
I took my house at Lowestoff for a year, and finding the air of Suffolk so beneficial to my health, was determined to continue in it; and falling in
with a convenient house, with garden, coach-houses, stables, &c. for a hundred guineas a year, I hired it for three years. I then wrote my son, told him of what I had done, and requested him to send me a thousand pounds to purchase furniture; but this letter shared the same fate as most of my other letters—it was not answered. I then went to London, and consulted with my brother; I told him that my health would not allow me to live always in London, and that I could not get a ready-furnished house in the country, nor could I in my present situation afford to pay for one; he said I was perfectly right, and advised me to consult with Captain Honywood, who very kindly came to me in Portman Square; he was of the same opinion with my brother and myself; said, I must have furniture, and that he would use his interest with my son to pay for it.
I had no alternative but to order furniture, or to return to an empty house. I therefore went to Pocock, gave him the size and number of the rooms, and ordered him to send furniture to the amount of a thousand pounds, but at any rate not to go beyond twelve hundred, as I was afraid I should have much difficulty in paying him even that sum. The furniture was accordingly sent down. But Captain Honywood received no answer to his letter to my son respecting my furniture; and about three months after I had received the furniture, Pocock sent his bill for £1860. I wrote my son again to settle this bill, to make a proper provision for me, and that I was convinced Pocock would be glad to take a much less sum than that specified in the bill. And the impression of the answer I received to this letter I shall carry to my grave: “I will never do any thing for you while you live, or when you die.”
Soon after this, particular circumstances called me to London, I mentioned my situation to Mr. Smith, who spoke to Sir John on the subject; who said that the reason for his not having done more for me was, that Sir Edward Knatchbull and Mr. Brett advised him not to do it, and showed him a letter from the latter, containing this advice.
As Pocock became very pressing for the amount of his bill, I left town, and went to Captain Honywood’s seat in Essex. Meantime the worthy Mr. Brett came to London; and a friend of mine, who witnessed my aforesaid conversation with Mr. Smith, having a mind to see to what length Brett’s insolence would carry him, requested, in the presence of my youngest daughter, his advice relatively to settling the above-mentioned bill; when he had the modesty to propose that all my personals should be sold, that I should give up five hundred pounds a year for my creditors, and be placed at board with the remaining five hundred!
She then asked him if I was to be allowed a carriage. He answered, “No, Lady Honywood must learn to do without one.” She then requested to know if he had not forgotten of whom he was speaking; but that she was not much surprised at his conduct, considering the letter and the advice he had dared to give Sir John; which letter and advice he had the effrontery to deny. This is but one more of the many instances I could bring forward of the behaviour of this man. On the subject of the carriage, see Dr. Bankhead’s letter at the end of this Memorial.
Next day the same friend met Mr. Pocock, who offered to accept £1500 instead of £1860, provided I would accept bills at six months, and allow him interest for the time he had been kept out of his money. To this I, with the approbation of Captain Honywood, acceded; for neither he nor I knew what to do better for my relief.
When I heard of this farther outrage of Brett’s, coupled with the dishonourable conduct of Sir Edward Knatchbull, to the widow of a man to whom he had professed so much friendship (though it requires no great penetration to discover his motives), I was quite shocked, and declared that I would rather perish for want than trust my jointure out of my own power; I therefore came to the resolution of raising a supply for my most pressing demands.
On this occasion it became necessary to investigate Sir John’s rent-roll, of which I was perfectly ignorant, as the rents during his minority never
came through my hands, from my not acting as executrix; when I found that, notwithstanding the sales I had signed (for the principal part of the estate is invested for my jointure), it amounted to near eight thousand a year; and it is estimated to be worth two thousand a year more, as some of the old leases are yet unexpired. And when I say that, independently of his rent-roll, my son has received sixty thousand pounds, in cash, since the death of his father, I speak within bounds; thirty thousand of which, however, has been appropriated to the fortunes of the younger children.
At this time I received the following letter from the Comte de Fouchécour; till the receipt of which, I was ignorant of any one’s having been made a party to my son’s promises to his father but myself:
“My Lady, | I have been extremely mortified and distressed at being informed of your Ladyship’s inconvenience in pecuniary matters, and must confess that I was surprised when I recollected a conversation, to which I was a witness, that took place between my ever to be lamented friend, the late Sir John Honywood, and his son, a few days previous to Courtenay Honywood’s going to join his regiment. Sir John expressed himself in the most affectionate manner when speaking of your Ladyship, and most earnestly entreated his son, in the event of his dissolution, to conduct yourself towards your Ladyship with every possible degree of respect, and kindness, and attention. And I pledge you my honour to have heard Sir John particularly request his son to make him a promise that, upon his attaining his age, he would give Lady Honywood fifteen hundred pounds annually, and that he would also provide her with a suitable house, &c. &c. To these propositions the son of Sir John not only assented, but bound himself by a promise to fulfil in every respect his father’s wishes. This conversation of my dear friend Sir John was of a very interesting nature, and made an impression upon me not to be forgotten; and I believe the late Sir John Honywood made me a witness of the promise of his son in account of the relationship in which I stand to Lady Honywood. I can hardly suppose it possible that it can have escaped the memory of the present Sir John
Courtenay Honywood, or that he can possibly stand in need of such a recollection to induce him to fulfil his promise to his father, and to do every thing in his power to make Lady Honywood, the best of wives and of mothers, comfortable by every means in his power. If it were necessary to have witnesses to the conversation I have mentioned, a Noble Earl, who, like myself, was an intimate friend of the late Sir John, has often heard him express a strong desire to live until his son Courtenay attained his age of twenty-one, that he might have the power to make that provision for his beloved lady which she merited; but that he depended upon his son’s (in the event of his death) fulfilling his wishes by an immediate settlement of fifteen hundred pounds per annum, with a house and with other assistance as her Ladyship’s situation should require. It has been a painful task to write these particulars; but it is an obligation I owe to the memory of my departed friend and to Lady Honywood; and I hope and presume that her son’s sense of his duty, and the respect he must have for the memory of his father, will make it unnecessary for this testimony to convince him of the imperious obligation there is for him to recollect the most solemn injunctions of a dying father.
“I am with great respect, | My Lady, | Your ever faithful and humble servant, | FOUCHÉCOUR. | 10th June 1811. | Honourable Lady Honywood.”
My intention, at that time, was to leave England, but from this step I was dissuaded by my own family; I therefore returned to my house in Suffolk, there patiently to wait the period of those acceptances becoming due; which house I again left on the third day of October. The bills fell due on the fifth, and were presented at my son’s solicitors for payment, but were dishonoured and protested. I was convinced a writ would be the consequence; and on that day, not knowing what to do, and being able no longer to contend with my difficulties, I set out for Maidstone, and thence wrote the following letters:
To Sir EDWARD KNATCHBULL, Bart.
“SIR, | From the time I first knew you I have always been inclined to look upon you as an honourable man; and although your conduct to me has not been what I had a right to expect, yet I was more inclined to think you erred from mistake than from badness of heart. From this statement you may judge that I was not a little hurt when, no longer ago than last May, Sir John Honywood gave as a reason for not rendering me the pecuniary assistance of which I stand in need, that he had consulted his friends, Sir E. Knatchbull and Mr. Brett, and they both advised him not to do anything more for me. Had this letter not been seen by a man of whose veracity I cannot doubt, I should hardly believe you would have given such an advice; and several persons to whom I mentioned the circumstance were also inclined to think it a calumny. From the time of Sir John’s first introduction to Lady Cooper and her family, he has been almost a stranger to me; this was necessary in order to induce him to act in direct opposition to me, and in violation of every promise made his father. You, no doubt, will not be a little surprised at the astonishing power Lady Cooper early obtained over him, when I tell you that three days previous to his marriage he felt remorse for his conduct to me, and wrote me, and asked me to his wedding; after he had written, he told Lady Cooper what he had done, upon which she sent her footman to overtake the postman, to get the letter back and destroy it. I was told this cost my son a few tears, but he was not equal to cope with a woman of her consummate art. After his marriage she and her family established themselves at Evington, for the avowed purpose of keeping my son’s family away. Her Ladyship no doubt felt that I must know her character, and perhaps guessed from what quarter my information came; she must feel conscious that I could have no wish to meet her any where; she might have been satisfied with forming an alliance so much beyond what she has a right to expect, for a daughter of hers, without taking command of Sir John’s house and fortune; and nothing could induce me to go to Evington but the earnest solicitation of my son, for I never felt any partiality for that place or for the county of
Kent. Perhaps you do not know that previous to Sir John’s death, and before he went to Bath, he was so fully persuaded that I could not live on my jointure, that he told his son so, and wished me to have five hundred pounds added to it; and that I should have a good house, well furnished, a carriage and horses; this he repeatedly told me, and told his son before witnesses; and his son promised to fulfil all his wishes and intentions with regard to me; and if he has a spark of honour he cannot deny this. I cannot feel it any mitigation of my sufferings, and of his failing in his promises, that he was drawn in to marry a girl without fortune before he had properly provided for me, or had discharged his father’s debts. He makes a great boast of what he has done for me—I cannot view it in the light he does, neither would you, could every thing be properly explained to you. I find it utterly impossible to live on my jointure with the greatest economy, and of this all my own family are as sensible as myself. My brother very generously offered to meet Sir John half way in discharging my embarrassments and increasing my income. Hitherto Sir John has prevented my receiving any benefit from these offers by refusing to come to any terms. But now things are come to a crisis, for when you receive this I shall be at Maidstone, and probably in the gaol; I must be arrested for my upholsterer’s bill, and will remain there till Sir John and his friends find the means to release me. Had you not made yourself a party in the business, I should not have written to you; but as one of Sir John’s advisers, it is but right you should know the advantage your advice has been of to me. I have written Mr. Brett to thank him also, and both my letters shall be made public in the county of Kent.
“I have the honour to remain | Sir, | Your humble servant, | FRANCES HONYWOOD | Maidstone, 5th Oct. 1811.”
To THOS. BRETT, Esq. Spring Grove
“SIR, | It is rather more than thirty years since the late Sir John Honywood took me for the first time into Kent, and introduced you to me. You were then ready to lick the dust under my feet, and felt properly sensible of the honour done you in being an admitted guest at our table. From the attention you showed Sir John at all times, and particularly in his illness, I gave you credit for disinterested attachment; but time makes wonderful discoveries! Since Sir John’s death you seem to wish that I should know you in your real colours. You have dared to blacken my character, in order to make a breach between my son and me; and, from having been my most obsequious parasite, you are become my most inveterate enemy. You have been in a great measure the ruin of my son, by inducing him to live at Evington before he came of age, instead of following a plan I had proposed for him. You had the effrontery to tell the eldest Miss Cooper, that, ‘provided Sir John could be kept from his mother, he would do very well.’
“How strikingly have you displayed your gratitude for all the honour and favours conferred on you by Sir John and myself! Had he not taken you by the hand, had you not been introduced by us into the society of your superiors, had he not got you put into the commission of the peace, you would have remained to this day the insignificant being we found you.
“Want of birth is no man’s disgrace; but want of honour and principle is your shame, and will be an eternal one to you.
“Sir John did you the honour of naming you an executor in his will, because he knew me totally unconversant with business, and that I might be secure of obtaining every thing he wished; instead of which I have been defrauded, injured and abused by you, which I can and will declare in any court in England. By Sir John’s will the surplus of my daughter’s fortune is ordered to be vested from time to time in government or other securities;
but when I applied to you on that subject, you referred me to Mr. Smith, and he to Sir John; by which means Miss Louisa’s arrears are now in her brother’s hands, to the amount of five hundred and fifty pounds, and I have been a considerable loser every year by her; you ought not to have suffered her fortune to have been paid into Chancery—her brother had no right to do it, and your duty was to have told me it was wrong.
“To finish all, you wrote to my son, and advised him, no longer ago than last May, not to render me the pecuniary assistance of which I stood in need, and by so doing, upheld him in forfeiting (what ought to be dearer than life to a gentleman) his honour, and promises made to his father on his death-bed.
“Things are now come to a crisis, and as I have written to his other adviser, Sir Edward Knatchbull, I am determined the law shall take its course; and not far removed from that vault in which the remains of your friend are deposited, will I surrender myself into the hands of bailiffs, and by them be conveyed to Maidstone gaol, there to wait the pleasure of Sir John and his honourable advisers for my release. You have now not only my opinion of you, but also that of many others; and this letter shall be made public in Kent.
“Your humble servant, | F. HONYWOOD.”
At Maidstone I saw Mr. James Selby (who had been an agent to the late Sir John), to whom I told my business; he advised me by all means to go on to Evington, as it would injure Sir John very much to have such a thing as my arrest even hinted at in the county. In consequence of this I set out on Monday, the 7th (with my daughter, Mrs. Temple); when we arrived at Wye, within four miles of my son’s house, I stopped while she went on to inform him where I was, and what brought me into Kent. His answer to her was: “My mother is as safe at Wye as here; but I will send for Brett.” My daughter returned to me, and about two hours after
my son arrived. He took no notice of my situation, but said, if I pleased he would send for me at nine o’clock next morning; which he did, and the reason he gave for so doing was, “that Brett advised him”—this was on Tuesday. On Wednesday Mr. Knatchbull arrived; he was sent for by my son to examine me. And that examination I shall relate as nearly as I possibly can in the very words in which it took place, between Sir John Honywood, Mr. Knatchbull, and myself:
Mr. K. What brought your ladyship into Kent?
Lady H. The fear of a prison, from Pocock’s bill for furnishing my house not being paid.
Mr. K. What is the amount of it?
Lady H. Sixteen hundred and fifty pounds.
Sir John. Mother, what other debts have you
Lady H. Very few, except the annuity I was obliged to raise on my jointure last June.
Sir John. I fear you must suffer much in consequence of that.
Mr. K. Take care, Sir John, what you say—do not commit yourself. Who advised your ladyship to come into Kent?
Lady H. Not any body. I mentioned to my solicitor my intentions of going to Maidstone; and when I arrived I saw Mr. Selby, who advised my proceeding to Evington.
Mr. K. It was the worst advice any one could give you. What makes you think Pocock will arrest you? and how should he know where you are?
Lady H. He would know it by inquiring at the hotel I left.
Mr. K. It is more natural for Pocock to seize the furniture.
Lady H. That would be as hard, as then I should not have a bed to sleep upon, and therefore I thought it much better to come away.
Mr. K. Your Ladyship means it as a threat to Sir John?
Lady H. Not at all; I only seek my own relief.
Sir John. This is not the way to find relief; and if I do any thing for you, it must be from your laying open the whole of your affairs.
Lady H. That I have done more than once; but last May, in particular, when you told me you could do nothing for me.
Mr. K. Madam, were you again to lay open your affairs, Sir John does not pledge himself to do any thing for you. Indeed, Sir John, I do not see how you can relieve Lady Honywood, except she will give up her jointure, and accept of what you choose to allow her.
Lady H. I will not do that without the approbation of Mr. Williams.
Sir John. Remember, mother, if I set you free, I must know every thing.
Mr. K. Take care, Sir John, do not commit yourself, though you are not bound by any thing you say here. I cannot think why you came into Kent; for if Sir John (as Sheriff) thinks proper to commit you to Maidstone, it cannot hurt him at all in the county.
Lady H. I by no means wish to hurt my son, I only demand assistance.
Mr. K. You may rest assured that not any thing you can do will cause reflections to be cast on your son; for were you sent to Maidstone to-morrow, it would not be known; or if it were known, it would be in such a confined circle, that he could easily explain his reasons for his conduct. Has your Ladyship made a will?—Because—
A look from Sir John deprived me of the remainder of THIS SPEECH. I declined answering any more questions that night. Next morning my examination was recommenced. The same trio as before.
Mr. K. Has your Ladyship thought of last night’s conversation? If Sir John relieves you now, what security will you give him not to trouble him again?
Lady H. I shall do nothing without consulting Mr. Williams. I find it utterly impossible to live on my present income; if Sir John will give me the means on which I can live, I will give him every security Mr. Williams thinks proper, never to ask him for another sixpence; for I still claim his promises to his father, and I have a proof with me of these promises in this letter of the Comte de Fouchécour.
Mr. Knatchbull read the letter (see page 16), and then gave it to Sir John to read.
Mr. K. Sir John, do you remember this conversation with your father?
Sir John. This conversation may have passed between my father and me, but I forget it.
Mr. K. How old were you when it happened?
Sir John. Between eighteen and nineteen.
Mr. K. I return your Ladyship’s letter, and advise you never to show it or mention it to any body again; for Sir John was under age at the time, and it can be of no avail. When is your Ladyship’s time up at Northwood? because if you do not live where Sir John pleases, he will not assist you.
Lady H. I will never be bound to live where Sir John pleases, or with whom he pleases. I have a right to please myself in both these particulars, and I will do it.
Mr. K. Then I am sure Sir John will do nothing for you, and I am sorry I interfered.
Lady H. Courtenay, there is one thing I am certain of: Lady Cooper is constantly influencing your actions towards me.
Sir John. I do assure you, mother, she never influences my conduct, or interferes in my behaviour respecting you.
Mr. Knatchbull, not being able to obtain any promises from me, left Evington, but returned on Saturday again, and prefaced his re-appearance, by saying that, out of regard to Sir John, he had returned to propose another plan, which was, That the matter between us should be settled by the arbitration of four gentlemen; two to be chosen by Sir John, and two by me; with this proviso, that they should be neither relations nor intimate friends.
He then retired with my son for a short time, and on his return addressed me in these words: “I suppose your Ladyship feels, things being so far adjusted, the sooner you go hence the better; and Sir John will lend
you his horses on Monday, to take you either to Ashford or to Canterbury.
At this moment I received a letter from my solicitor, informing me there was a writ out against me. I showed this letter to both the gentlemen, and said I should be seized on the road. They answered that I was in no danger of that.
I soon after heard, what I was ignorant of at that time, that I am under great obligation to Mr. J. Scudamore, who on the writ being applied for, immediately gave an undertaking for me.
As my solicitor wished me to remain in Kent, I went on Monday to Feversham, to the house of an old respectable servant, who lived with me from the time I was three years old till after the birth of my sixth child. Soon after my arrival there, I had ample proof of the truth of my observation to Sir John, respecting Lady Cooper’s conduct towards me; in which conduct, though my son denied it, I still believed.
The original of the following letter, torn in twelve pieces, was put into my hands.
Lady COOPER to Lady HONYWOOD.–(Copy.)
“MY DEAREST MARY ANNE, | I am so anxious to know how you do after the agitation that you have been thrown into, that I send Jem over to you to let me know; I feel also for the trial Courtenay had to undergo of his feelings, as a son and a husband; as for my giving any opinion on the subject, my love, it is utterly impossible, although I am very much obliged to Courtenay for having thought of coming to me for advice under the first impulse of the moment; I am very glad he did not, for it would have been quite impossible for me to have given him any: an impartial friend, who has his interest at heart, is the only person calculated to advise in such an instance. The only advice
I take upon me to give is, that after Lady H’s business is arranged, she should be given to understand that her visit must end, and never be repeated; or what has been now considered in the county as matter of necessity and propriety, will then be looked upon as matter of choice; and this last piece of artifice and atrocity to Courtenay must render her character more than ever odious in sight of all well-judging and respectable people. I was prepared for some explosion by Lady Knatchbull hinting to me that Lady H. was in Maidstone gaol, as by a letter Sir Edward had received from her with that post mark, they conjectured so. You will take any method you think proper to contradict this to Sir E.: he only told me she was in the county, but bid me not ask him any questions, and Lady K. believed it was only to alarm Courtenay into paying her debts. If you write to Mr. Knatchbull, let me know what his answer is. In what state was Lady H. when she arrived? I can easily imagine how you were; let me entreat you, my dearest child, to keep yourself as composed as you possibly can—remember your situation—I am very anxious about you. My affectionate love to Courtenay, and tell how sincerely I feel for him. Kiss my darlings for me. Your sister’s best love. He was just the same, in his constant marked manner, yesterday, as he was when with the Locals, and at times looked very wretched about going, which he did this morning. Your sister is tolerable; but I can now only think of you and Courtenay. If I could be of any use, I would offer (in spite of my abhorrence of Lady H.) to go to you; but, all things considered, I am better away: pray, however, write constantly, to say when Lady H. is to be got rid of, and how you do. God bless you, my dear child, and believe I never was more than at this moment,
”Your affectionate mother, | J. B. C.
“My best affections to you, my dearest Courtenay; do not suppose, from any thing I have written, that I condemn what you have done; and believe me sincerely gratified by your wish for having my advice, in the first moment, in what way you were to have acted, and believe me your
affectionate mother. The two Miss Hammonds came to me on Monday, and stay till Thursday.”
To Sir JOHN HONYWOOD, Bart. | Feversham, 18th Oct. 1811.
“I little thought, when I wrote to you from hence last Wednesday, to let you know I was still in the county, that I should ever have to address you on the subject I now write on. I told you at Evington, Lady Cooper was an enemy of mine, and prejudiced you against me, even before your marriage; and to corroborate my opinion, I told you of the circumstance of her having got back from the postman a letter you had written to ask me to your wedding. This you denied, and also her ever attempting to influence your actions or behaviour to me. I am sorry to say that I did not believe you at the time, and the enclosed copy of the original letter from Lady Cooper to her daughter, proves that you are neither entitled to be looked upon as a man of honour or veracity. If you are capable of applying to a third person to interfere between you and me, why not have the courage of a man, and dare to own your proceedings? Why condescend to the mean and pitiful subterfuge of a lie, which, without considering it as a crime, is always the coward’s screen? Why have I never been told of the crimes laid to my charge? And why have I never been brought face to face with my accuser? but I have been accused, judged, and condemned, without knowing of what I have been guilty.
“At a time, when, almost broken-hearted, I fled to you for shelter and protection from the horrors of a prison, I am represented by Lady Cooper as having committed another act of atrocity and artifice; and in her elegant composition to her daughter, she inquires in what state I was when I arrived at Evington? Did she expect that I was in a state of intoxication? That I am her abhorrence is no grief to me. I never tried to define what I felt for her, more than that of heartily despising her.
“But what will people think of you? Will they not say Lady Cooper must well know her power over Sir John before she would dare to write in such terms of his mother? Perhaps you will claim some merit in not having yourself obeyed all Lady Cooper’s injunctions! But where is the difference? You employ Mr. Knatchbull to turn me out of that house in which I had given you birth, and by that means he had the exalted honour of being deputy to Lady Cooper’s deputy. How proud he ought to feel! And how well it well tell in the world, both for him and for you!
“Believe me, the day of retribution will come, and you will not find that, when you stand before the bar of an offended God, it will benefit you to lay your crimes to the instigation of others. Bitter and heavy is the curse denounced against an unnatural and a disobedient child.
“What will Sir William Cooper and his son feel, when all the circumstances of my situation are laid before them? I always wished to be your friend.
“I am your afflicted mother, | F. HONYWOOD.”
On the 28th day of October I returned to London, finally to settle my reference; when the Comte de Fouchécour called upon me. I told him of my having shown his letter to my son and Mr. Knatchbull, and that the former had forgotten his promises. The Count said, that was impossible, and that he would write to him.
It was now necessary to put in special bail for me, and Mr. J. Scudamore accordingly wrote to my son on the subject, on which Sir John and his coadjutor, Mr. Knatchbull, came to London. Sir John then told Mr. Scudamore that he was under such promises that he could not bail me, but that he would allow him to put in bail for me, under these restrictions: that if my referees thought the bail ought to surrender me, I should submit; at the same time pledging his honour to abide by their decision—to this I agreed.
A few days after I received the following copy of a letter from the Comte de Fouchécour to my son:
“Dear Courtenay, | Cleveland Court, 20th Nov. 1811. | Hearing Lady Honywood was in town, I have done myself the honour to call on her Ladyship, who has told me you do not remember the particular conversation which take place between my lamented friend, your father, yourself, and me (November 1805), on the eve of, or a few days before your departure for your garrison at Whalley: that want of memory astonishe me the more, as it seemed to me tears were in your eyes at the moment of your father’s pronouncing the name of his beloved wife in sobbing accents. My dear Sir, could you bring to your recollection these promises, you will do justice to your father, to your mother, and to yourself. And if you need to be remembered of them, allow me to repeat again, you solemnly promised, when you came to age, to make your mother’s dowry £1500 a year, besides a house, furniture, carriage, and horses. And if needful, I further remember you of the last words which closed the conversation of your respectable and excellent father: ‘Dear Courtenay (said your father), as you are faithful to your engagement, made this night in the presence of our mutual friend the Count, respecting your mother, so may the Almighty God deal with you, and his blessing fall upon you.’
“I hope you will excuse this letter from an old friend, who has known you from your youth, and who, in the midst of his misfortunes, was sheltered by your father, and for a length of time lived in the bosom of your family. My only motive is to save the feelings of my late friend’s widow, and the honour of his son.
“Believe me faithfully, | Dear Courtenay, | Your friend and relative, | FOUCHÉCOUR.”
The Count never received any answer to this letter.
Gentlemen, here ends my Memorial, from which you will find how impossible it was for the late Sir John Honywood to make an adequate provision for me in any other way than by making known his wishes to his son; and engaging his honour and promises for their fulfilment. Therefore the question which remains for your decision, is, whether a man, in the situation of Sir John Courtenay Honywood, inheriting an estate from his father, capable of producing a rent-roll, of from eight, to ten thousand a year, without any entail, and having, in the nineteenth year of his age, entered into certain solemn promises, and engagements, for the benefit of his father’s widow, and his own mother, on his coming of age; is bound as a son, as a gentleman, and as a man of honour, to fulfil such promises, and engagements, or not; or whether you think his choosing to marry a woman, without fortune, on his coming of age, can lessen or release him from such promises, and obligations, to his father, or form any excuse for the sufferings to which his mother, from such neglect, must be exposed; added to which, that addition of jointure which the late Sir John Honywood conceived due to my rank, and family, has been rendered absolutely necessary, from the state of health, in which I have been ever since his death; for it is as impossible for me to live without the daily use of a carriage, as for me to subsist without bread; and I think no person in his senses will presume to say, I can keep one on a less income than £1500 a year.
Nothing is so beneath the dignity of a woman of rank, as to have incurred debts, beyond her means of payment; and to have found this my situation, under any other circumstances, than those in which I have been placed, I should consider as most disgraceful.
My son having made me promise to lay my embarrassments before you, I feel myself justified in doing it to the fullest extent, and have therefore enclosed a schedule of the particulars, and the amount; not but I think it perfectly irrelevant to your present meeting; which I conceive to be solely for the purpose of deciding my claims on my son, both in their nature, and the extent of the sum to be allowed for personals.
The jointure speaks for itself, and on that point he is indebted to me, next December, £2000.
I lived in hopes my son would repent his conduct, till at length I was reduced to fly to him, at the risk of those insults I have received from him and his own friend; or submit to the horrors of imprisonment. Not any body who knew my son at the age of fourteen, and should see him now, would believe him to be the same person—then his manners were perfectly those of a gentleman; his disposition was generous, gentle, and disinterested; and his word sacred. To his parents he was dutiful, respectful, and affectionate to the highest degree. The ties and duties of a son are now entirely forgotten by him; but I must forego both my principles, and my feelings, before I can forget he is my son; and the son of the late Sir John Honywood, however unworthy his conduct may be of his excellent and respectable father.
I have the honour to remain, gentlemen, with the most perfect reliance on your honour, and integrity, respecting the points to be decided between my son and myself,
Your humble servant, | F. HONYWOOD | Hanover Street, Nov. 26, 1811.
The following is a Copy of Dr. BANKHEAD’s Letter.—(See Page 15 in the Memorial.)
Madam, | Brighton, Nov. 10th, 1811.
I regret that I was absent from Berkeley Square when your Ladyship did me the honour of sending to my house lately.
I perfectly, recollect that while visiting you last summer professionally, I was more than once called upon, from the state of your symptoms to (express [sic] my opinion that carriage exercise was indispensable to your health, and that I considered wine as a most necessary medicine—I am still of the same opinion; because I know that, from the swelling of your legs, ‘tis impossible that you can take a sufficiency of exercise in any other manner (exclusive of any reference to the previous habits of your life and station in society). Indeed, unless you had the advantages of being in the air frequently, by means of a carriage, and a glass of good wine as a seasonable tonic, I am at a loss to conceive what benefit could result to your Ladyship from medical aid, in that state of relaxation, and nervous debility, which I have so often witnessed in your constitution.
I return to town in a fortnight. I have the pleasure to inform you that Lady Charles is now quite well.
I am ever your Ladyship’s | Grateful servant | CHAS. BANKHEAD | To the Honourable Lady Honywood | Conduit Street, London.
[33 – no page number printed]
Sir JOHN COURTENAY HONYWOOD’s Letters to his Mother, on the Subject of the Reference; and several from her Ladyship to him in Answer.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Oct. 19th 1811.
I have received all your letters, and shall be happy to hear when you have fixed upon a second person to act with Mr. Courtenay* for the arrangement of your affairs.
I am, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | Custom House, Faversham.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Oct. 23d 1811.
I omitted mentioning to you in my last letter that I do not intend writing to Pocock, as we agreed, before you went from here, that the whole state of your affairs was to be referred to two gentlemen on behalf of each of us; it is therefore impossible for me to write to Pocock to guarantee the payment of the debt. You mention in your last letter that you send me a copy of an original letter from Lady Cooper to Lady Honywood; I shall be much obliged to you if you will return it immediately. I am very anxious that you should name your two friends to act on your behalf.
I am, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | Custom House, Faversham.
* Mr. Courtenay was a mere suggestion of Mr. Knatchbulls I never once thought of him as my Referee. [asterisk and footnote added in lady Honywood’s hand]
My dear Mother, | Evington, Sunday Night, Oct. 27th 1811.
I return you Pocock’s letters, and must refer you to my last letter for my reasons for not answering any of his to you. Let me again entreat to name your friends—you see how very necessary it is to do so immediately.
I remain, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | Wm. Vizard’s, Esq. | No. 3, New Square, Lincoln’s Inn.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Nov. 1st 1811.
It is impossible for our mutual friends to meet so soon as next week. I am very happy you have Lord Henniker to act for you; but I must say that I object to Mr. Williams, as I cannot think him an impartial friend. I shall lose no time, you may be assured, in getting this business arranged.
I am, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | 28, Conduit Street, Bond Street.
My dear Mother, | Nov. 6th 1811.
I beg leave to inform you, that Mr. Hatton has been so kind as to say that he will meet Lord Henniker; I am going into the country immediately, and shall be happy to hear when Lord Henniker has appointed a day to meet Mr. Hatton.
I remain, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | No. 28, Conduit Street.
My dear Mother, Evington, Nov.10th 1811.
As it is my wish to have my conduct in regard to your present exigencies laid before and decided by a gentleman of this county and my neighbourhood, I cannot indeed comply with your request, that I should give up Mr. Hatton; your objections are very superfluous and unfounded. I cannot conceive that a man of Mr. Hatton’s rank and situation can be influenced by any one to act contrary to his judgment. I have not applied to any other of my friends, as I concluded you intended to abide by Lord Henniker’s proposal of having only one friend of each to act in this business. Mr. Hatton is ready to meet his Lordship in town any day he may appoint.
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | Hon. Lady Honywood, | No. 28, Conduit Street, London.
My dear Mother, Evington, Nov. 14th 1811.
My only objection to Mr. Williams was, his being a professional man, as on my first application to Mr. Hatton he said he hoped no person connected with the profession would be named on either side, as he could not meet one. I should be very happy, as we have named Lord Henniker and Mr. Hatton, that it should be left to them only, as the subject could be submitted and decided upon immediately. Under any circumstances I do not see how I can proceed to name a second until I know who your friend is.
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | No.13 Hanover Street, | Hanover Square, London.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Nov. 21st 1811.
I have seen Mr. Hatton to-day, who desires me to say that he cannot meet Mr. Sparrow, or any other gentleman but Lord Henniker, who he is ready to meet any time he may fix. As Mr. Hatton makes such objections to the matter being referred to any body but Lord Henniker and himself, I hope you will wave [sic] all difficulties, and let the meeting take place as soon as possible.
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | No.13, Hanover Street, | Hanover Square, London.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Nov. 29th 1811.
I cannot possibly consent to your naming any friend as a second referee who is not in some degree known to me. I have not the least knowledge of Mr. Sparrow, which was my reason for objecting to him. As you are determined I shall find another friend on my part, I must endeavour to get a gentleman to act for me; and if I cannot, I shall consult with my most intimate friends, and abide by their advice in what way I am to act.
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | No.13 Hanover Street, | Hanover Square, London.
Dear Courtenay, | London Nov. 30th 1811.
In reference to your own letters, whereby the proposal for two friends of each of us was long since concluded, and in order to give you every
opportunity of meeting such as must be considered friends and gentlemen, than whom, there are none better qualified, as to judgment and integrity, to decide the difference between us, I beg to state the three following names: Sir P. Blake, Lord Gosford, or Mr. Sparrow; out of which, I hope, without farther trouble to either of us, you will choose one to act with Lord Henniker on my behalf; and I request your early reply to
Your affectionate mother, | F. HONYWOOD.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Dec. 2d 1811.
You must be aware that I am as totally unacquainted with Sir Patrick Blake and Lord Gosford, as I am with Mr. Sparrow, and upon which ground I objected to him. I am now quite tired out by delays in this business, which are equally distressing to my feelings, as useless to your cause; and the only thing I will now hear of, is a day being fixed for a meeting to take place between Lord Henniker and Mr. Hatton (who I have not yet made acquainted with your two last letters). If this is not agreed to immediately, there must be an end to the proposed reference, and I shall, as I before told you, consult with my most intimate friends, as taking their advice will be more satisfactory to myself. As to arbitration bonds, independent of the expense, I consider them to be unnecessary, and cannot admit of anything of the kind. I shall make Mr. Hatton acquainted with what I have now written to you.
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD
Dear Courtenay, | 13, Hanover Street, Tuesday, 3d Dec.
So far, I have complied strictly with the mode of settling our difference by naming my friends (and which was by Mr. Knatchbull and yourself proposed, and confirmed by your letters of the 23d Oct. the 14th and
29th Nov.); no delay can be imputed to me. In regard to the nomination of Mr. Sparrow, it was not only my own, but in compliance with the approbation of Lord Henniker, and the advice of Capt. Honywood. But surely the same rule would bear me out in objections, if I did not feel with all my friends, that the four referees might be indifferent as to our mutual acquaintance, so that they were men of integrity and honour, and of course not likely to be partially biased; or should they decide this reference in prejudice, the usual and only legal mode of entering on this business, by bonds, would secure to both of us such attention by the referees as would qualify and conclude their or an umpire’s award, in a manner that would be decisive, and by which there is no doubt we should mutually receive justice, without any farther appeal being necessary; besides which, my bond to you would be a security against farther claims on you. I cannot say any more on this subject, but should be sorry that any further delay on your side should prompt to act, as by the advice of my friends, in making your letters the subject of equitable inquiry. Lord Henniker and Mr. Sparrow are ready to meet your friends at his Lordship’s house in Grosvenor Square, before whom my accounts and your letters are this day laid.
I remain | Your affectionate mother, | F. HONYWOOD. | To Sir John C. Honywood, Bart.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Dec. 6th 1811.
Your view of the subject that has been in discussion between us is so very different from that which I ever had in contemplation, that I see no prospect of our notions being reconciled. You treat the matter as if you had a legal demand upon me, or that there were disputed rights between us, which were to be settled by arbitrators in preference to legal decision: my intention in consulting with friends on this occasion was certainly not to appoint any persons to dictate to me how to act, but to have heard their
opinion (before I decided) in a situation in which I felt so great delicacy; this was the only principle on which I acceded to Mr. Knatchbull’s proposal of a reference. To an arbitration or an umpire I never did or will consent.
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD
Dear Courtenay, | 13, Hanover Street, 11th Dec. 1811.
I have been prevented writing to you sooner from illness, and having a blister on. I shall now answer your letter by stating my views of the subject between us, and the relationship we stand in to each other. But before we proceed to that, I shall first observe, I can have no legal claim on you, or I should not have been obliged to suffer what I have done for these last four years.
The first claim I make on you is nature! I am your mother, the nearest natural relation you ever can have, the being to whom you owe your existence; and who, in my widowed state, ought to stand to me in the place of your father. You are my lawful protector; in defending me you defend him, and yourself. If I am insulted, so are you! If I am defamed, so are you! If I fall, you must totter! If I am oppressed, it becomes your honour to defend me! On your attaining your majority, I had the first claim on your heart, your honour, and your fortune. To see me guarded, to see peace and comfort restored to me, and to see every reasonable want supplied (had your father never expressed a wish on the subject), the ties of our affinity gave me a claim.—My second claim is on your honour! In all the conversations that passed between you, Mr. Knatchbull, and myself, these were the claims I made; and these conversations plainly show the reference intended was, for my referees, in conjunction with yours, to consider these claims, and how far you ought to comply with them.
Probably these gentlemen would be able to settle the business without further reference; but should they differ on any single point, it must be referred to an umpire, who must be a person chosen by themselves. You, when last in London, gave your honour to abide the decision of the referees. On this principle I was admitted to bail; and though this to a man is considered more forcible than any legal instrument, yet I cannot, as a woman, pledge my honour; and as the gentlemen have a claim on our mutual confidence in their honour and integrity, all indifferent persons who have known any thing of your proposed reference, give it as their opinion, that mutual bonds should be exchanged, compelling us to abide their decision.
You can have little to dread; if there is anything to fear, it must be with me. A weak and helpless woman, cast on the world in the evening of my days,–what a fate is mine! Born amid the splendour and indulgences of a palace—married, from affection, before I was seventeen, to a man to whose honour my father would have trusted my existence,–at a period of my life I had a right to look forward to peace and quiet, I am led to the confines of a prison! But I thank God, should his will permit its walls to-morrow to encircle me, I can submit with fortitude and composure, carrying with me my dignity of mind and peace of conscience.
I remain, dear Courtenay, | Your affectionate Mother, | F. COURTENAY.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Dec. 15th 1811.
I am sorry that you have been unwell, and hope to hear that the blister has been of service to you. I will answer your last letter more fully in two or three days. I was surprised to hear from Caroline, who came here on Friday, that Louisa had been seriously ill, as you have never mentioned it in any of your letters to me. Lady Honywood is now writing to her to inquire after her.
I remain, my dear mother, | Your affectionate son | JOHN C. COURTENAY | The Hon. Lady Honywood, | No.13, Hanover Street, Hanover Square, London.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Dec. 18th 1811.
Since the receipt of your last letter, I have bestowed every consideration in my power upon the subject, and have finally determined how it will become me to act. I am glad you have relinquished the idea of a reference upon the mistaken principle upon which you have for some time past pressed it. I do not, however, feel that I should be justified in submitting the consideration of a question of so much importance to me to those whom you have named as referees, and whose minds, from the information they have received from you, must be influenced by the same mistaken ideas under which, till now, you have yourself been placed. I consider it necessary for me to act by the advice of my own friends; and if you desire me to afford you assistance, I must request that you will send me an account of your debts of every description. I must also beg to be particularly informed whether you have sold any part of your jointure. Full information of all your difficulties must be given to me before I can determine whether it will be in my power to assist you. I hope this will put an end to a correspondence which must be as distressing to you as it is painful to me. I shall be ready to give as early an answer as possible after receiving a full statement of your affairs and embarrassments; and
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD | Hon. Lady Honywood, | No.13, Hanover Street,| Hanover Square, London.
Dear Courtenay, | Hanover Street, Dec 21st, 1811.
I can by no means understand your last letter. I never even hinted at relinquishing the reference, and still claim it of your honour. My referees are in a great measure strangers to me, and men of the highest character for honour and integrity; therefore when I sent my affairs to them, I placed them out of my own power, by pledging myself to abide by their decision;
therefore I do not see how it is possible I can withdraw. I have no objection to their meeting any gentleman Mr. Hatton may name excepting Mr. Brett; or if you wish it, you may act for yourself with Mr. Hatton. I am going out of town to Louisa on Monday next, who is very ill. I shall return again in ten days.
Your affectionate mother, | F. HONYWOOD | To Sir John C. Honywood, Bart.
My dear Mother, | Evington, Dec. 31st 1811.
What I stated in my last letter was, that by relinquishing all idea of a legal claim, you have abandoned the only ground upon which a reference such as you have been endeavouring to establish could be supported. When the proposal was first made to refer the demand you make upon me to four friends, I am persuaded it was made, and it certainly was agreed to by me, only for the purpose of obtaining the advice of those friends who might be supposed capable of forming a fair and unbiassed opinion upon the case. This principle, as is evident from your letters, you have abandoned; and the gentlemen whom you have named, as appears from Lord Henniker’s letters, have been led to believe, that they were to meet for purposes essentially different. I believe it is the first time that, under any circumstances, either any application for voluntary assistance, or an appeal to the affections of a son, was ever proposed to be enforced by an arbitration-bond. To the just claim of such an appeal I am ready so [sic] listen, but while I remember I am a son, I must not forget I am a husband and a father. When I first entertained an idea of a reference, I thought the examination of your affairs would be conducted with more delicacy by third persons than by myself. I felt I might want the advice of friends on whose judgment I could depend; you have endeavoured to convert this reference for advice into an arbitration to authorize other people to dispose of my property at their pleasure. I never will submit to it; and am therefore firmly resolved to act by the advice of my own friends, and shall therefore only repeat, that if you expect me to assist you, I must beg you immediately to send me the statement I have
requested, to enable me to determine whether I can relieve you or not. If you do not accede to this, it will only remain for me to inform Mr. Scudamore that all interference on my part is at an end.
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD
My dear Mother, | Evington, Jan. 12, 1812.
It is very near a fortnight since I wrote to you, requesting a statement of your affairs might be sent to me; and not having received an answer, I think it right to inform you, it will be necessary for me to receive the required statement by the end of this week. I am at a loss to conjecture why we do not receive any accounts of Louisa, so repeatedly as we have written to inquire after her; we therefore hope she is recovered.
I remain, | My dear mother, | Your affectionate son, | JOHN C. HONYWOOD
Marks Hall, 26th January 1812.
I have received a letter from Mr. John Scudamore, inclosing me the copy of your letter to him. I have written to him by this day’s post, and to my solicitor, Mr. Vizard, to say that it was my intention to surrender myself immediately; X I shall be in London to-morrow. This I know will be as much a matter of rejoicing to Lady Honywood, Lady Cooper, and yourself, as the day I left Evington, when “the joyful intelligence of my being off was sent to Barham.”
I have shown all the letters I have received from you since the middle of October to Captain and Mrs. Honywood, and the copy of my answers to the most material of them. The Memorial I
wrote for Lord Henniker and Mr. Sparrow I mean to have printed, which will contain Lady Cooper’s letter to her daughter (so creditable to the feelings of their hearts and yours), the letter I received from the Comte de Fouchécour last June, the copy of the letter he wrote you, and my letter to Sir Edward Knatchbull, and also to Mr. Brett, and this I send you to-day. I have not the smallest wish to have any further correspondence with you on any subject whatever; I therefore take this opportunity of informing you, that neither Lord Henniker or Mr. Sparrow ever had an idea of my having any other claim than a claim on your honour. I do not feel that I shall be in the least disgraced by surrendering myself a prisoner. The vile Courtenay blood (to use an expression of the Cooper family) is far from being subdued. You have much to answer for, and that your conscience must at times tell you, notwithstanding the blandishments of Lady Cooper, the sycophantic fawning of Mr. Brett, and the sophistry of Mr. Knatchbull. May your own friends make up to you the mother you have discarded, and who is now lost to you for ever.
X In consequence of the letter from Sir J. C. Honywood to Mr. Scudamore an Execution was sent into my House the [?1st] Febry [cross and footnote added to page 43 in lady Honywood’s hand]
Two Letters to GEORGE FINCH HATTON, Esq.; also two to EDWARD KNATCHBULL, Esq.; and one from him to her Ladyship.
Sir, | 12th Nov. 1811. | I received a letter from my son last Friday, in which he tells me that you have offered to be his referee in the unfortunate business between us. The impulse of the moment made me object to you, and I wrote to my son by return of post, to say that I could not look upon you as an impartial person, knowing the intimacy between you and Mr. Brett; and the recollection of Lady Elizabeth’s behaviour to me at the late Lady Darlington’s (the only time I had been in company with her Ladyship since my husband’s death), tended to confirm me in the opinion that I had been infamously misrepresented to your family; and I know Mr. Brett is not sparing of his assertions. After my letter was gone, I was sorry I had objected to you, recollecting your exemplary behaviour to your mother. This consideration has induced to me to write by this post to my son, to say that I agree to his nomination of you; but he must also fix on another friend, agreeable to his first proposition, I having engaged two.
I remain, Sir, | Your humble servant | F. HONYWOOD. | George Finch Hatton, Esq. | Eastwell Park. | 1st Letter.
(No answer received.)
(Copy.)—To G. F. HATTON, Esq. Letter 2d.
Sir, | London, 2d Dec. 1811. | I have received many letters from my son, between the 23d of October and the 2d instant, relative to the reference of our matter in difference; and those so contradictory in regard to the appointment of the four friends, that
I cannot but feel that he is ill-advised; however, as he cannot impute any delay to me, I must leave the whole of my circumstances to another tribunal, unless he and his friends meet Lord Henniker and Mr. Sparrow, according to my conclusive proposal to him this day, for the 10th inst. or as soon as convenient to them afterwards.
In his letter of 21st November, my son states as a reason for his objections, “that Mr. Hatton would not meet any other person than Lord Henniker.” How bonds, which are the only means of indemnifying both parties referring their parties in dispute’; or how the measures of gentlemen of honour or integrity, or the number of them, can be an objection by one party on a reference where the advantage is reciprocal, I am at a loss to conceive. I therefore write to you, and request that you will take under consideration the circumstances attending this dispute, and the original and many subsequent proposals of reference to four gentlemen; and if you have objections, be good enough to state them in a reply to this, that their reasonableness or futility may be taken under consideration by my friends. On this subject I enclose you letters from Lord Henniker, and an extract of a letter to me from Captain Honywood to me.
I remain, Sir, | Your humble servant, | F. HONYWOOD.
(This letter received no answer.)
Extract from Captain HONYWOOD’s Letter.
“Marks Hall, 1st Dec. 1811. | From what Lord Henniker says, and your own knowledge of Mr. Sparrow, I should not give him up was I in your situation, and from experience too, a bond, signed by both parties, to agree to the award, will most assuredly be necessary.”
Sir, | London, Dec. 2d, 1811. | When the interview took place at Evington, and the proposal to refer the matters in difference between myself and Sir John to four gentlemen was made by you, I most cordially acceded to the same. Several letters which I have received from my son, between the 23d of October and this inst. confirmed that proposal. Notwithstanding which, in some of such letters my son has proposed to alter such reference to two, instead of four, after I had repeatedly, in compliance with his desire, furnished him with friends for the reference on my behalf. I therefore hope you will see, or write to him and remind him of your proposal (and by which I can only abide), that the meeting may immediately take place with my referees, Lord Henniker and Mr. Sparrow, and the two to be named by Sir John.
I remain, Sir, | Your humble Servant | F. HONYWOOD. | To Ed. Knatchbull, Esq. | Provender.—1st. Letter. | (Copy.)
Answer to the Letter of 2d December. 1811.
Provender, Dec. 4th, 1811. | I have to acknowledge the receipt of your Ladyship’s letter, relating to the proposal made some time since to appoint four gentlemen, who might state their opinion of the demands you make upon your son, and who at the same time might advise him how far he ought, or is able to comply with them. I will not fail to show your letter to Sir John the first opportunity, and
I remain, | Your obedient Servant, | E. KNATCHBULL. | To the Hon. Lady Honywood, | Hanover Street, London. | (Copy.)
Sir, | London, Dec. 21, 1811. | I again write to you as the friend of Sir John. As his friend you were sent for when I was at Evington; as his friend you proposed to leave my affairs to the reference of four gentlemen, to which both Sir John and myself agreed; and that reference I expect you as a man of honour will see carried into effect. I have sent you a copy of a letter I have written to Sir John by this day’s post. I must know a week or ten days before the reference is to take place.
I remain, Sir, | Your humble Servant, | F. HONYWOOD. | 2d Letter to Edward Knatchbull, Esq. | Provender, Kent.
(This letter received no answer.)
Gentlemen, London, March 1812.
It is nearly five months since you allowed me the honour of naming you as my friends in the reference, proposed by Mr. Knatchbull, between my son and myself; the subject of which has been fully explained to you in my Memorial. During the whole of this time I have in vain endeavoured to prevail on Sir John either to name a second friend or to appoint a day of reference.
Mr. Knatchbull being the proposer of this means of settling our difference, I wrote to him twice on the subject; my first letter received a very evasive answer, my second not any. From the whole conduct pursued by my son and his own friends, I am persuaded that the reference was merely a scheme to get rid of me agreeable to the orders of Lady Cooper, and never intended to take place.
I begin to think that I was never taught the proper etymology of the word honour; or, that it has received a new one; or that some persons in the county of Kent apply to it a definition peculiar to themselves. I must confess I should have conceived Mr. Knatchbull would have felt his honour wounded by not seeing his own proposal carried into effect, did I not recollect the opinion he gave on the Count de Fouchécour’s letter to me.–See page 24, in the Memorial.
I am now in a much worse situation than when I first sent you my Memorial; I have been deprived of all my personal property, and have laid the whole of my circumstances for the second time before my son and his own friends, without receiving any redress.
It is impossible for me to express how much I feel obliged to you for the attention you have bestowed on my affairs. As a justification due to myself, I have laid the whole correspondence which has passed on this
occasion before you, the better to enable you to draw your own inferences; at the same time considering it as the only apology I can offer for the reference never having taken place.
Gentlemen, I remain | Your obliged humble servant, | FRANCES HONYWOOD.
Printed by S. GOSNELL, Little Queen Street, London.
Lady Honywood’s life after the Memorial
In August 1812 lord Sidmouth, the Home Secretary and an old friend of her husband (see page 9), wrote to lady Honywood confirming that her Memorial would be presented to the Prince Regent. Later that year she and Sidmouth were in correspondence about her claim to the ancient barony of de Redvers, last held by Isabella de Fortibus/Forz, countess of Aumale and of Devon, and lady of the Isle [of Wight]. Isabella died in 1293.
In the spring of 1821, by which time the Prince Regent had become king George IV, lady Honywood wrote to him from Paris (6 rue de Verneuil, Faubourg St. Germain), seeking a recommendation for her to become English governess to the young children of the duchesse de Berri. She seems to have had recent exchanges with sir John Courtenay Honywood (‘My Son when I apply to him‘) but describes herself as having ‘barely the means of existence‘: ‘reduced to want and penury‘, ‘I cannot obtain any thing from my friends or relations‘. The king refused to become involved but he did, although absorbed in planning the many splendours of his coronation, find time to ask lord Sidmouth to express ‘His Majesty’s regret to learn that her Ladyship was exposed to any Inconvenience‘.
By 1834 Frances had married Louis Léon comte du Genevray and was now styled ‘the right honorable lady Frances Honywood du Genevray’.
Links between the Memorial and Jane Austen
The novelist Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra came across several of the characters from the Memorial during visits to their brother Edward in Kent. Years later, and after Jane’s death, their niece Fanny became Edward Knatchbull’s second wife (he had by that time succeeded his father as baronet). Later still their nephew Edward Knight eloped with Mary Dorothea Knatchbull, the eldest of his sister Fanny’s stepdaughters.
Jane left a careful description of how the younger lady Honywood presented herself to the world and commented in another letter: ‘I do not like Mr. Brett‘ (letters to Cassandra, 6-7 November 1813 and 20-21 November 1800).
Sense and Sensibility was published in November 1811. This was before Lady Honywood’s Memorial had been written yet there are echoes of its narrative in the opening chapters of the novel. Austen gives a clear signal that some allusion is intended by her choice of family name for Elinor and Marianne: ‘The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex.’
It’s tempting to see a further association with the exchange between the two sisters in chapter 17 about ‘wealth’ and ‘a competence’. When Jane Austen was reading proofs of her novel she wrote to Cassandra: ‘The Incomes remain as they were, but I will get them changed if I can‘ (letter of 25 April 1811).
Perhaps there is even the feint trace of a recollection six years later in Sanditon where the setting is once more Sussex, the names are again very similar and Charlotte Heywood, like Frances Honywood, is one of fourteen siblings.
Thomas Gainsborough: Isabelle Bell Franks. Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
(Portraits by Joshua Reynolds of sir John and lady Honywood are included in the post 1783: Isabella Courtenay and her niece).
Isabelle Bell, daughter of Philah and Moses Franks, was baptised as a christian in May 1787 and married William Henry Cooper later that month; the couple were still minors but both fathers witnessed the marriage. Her husband was ordained in 1791 (CCEd Person ID: 109472) and, on the death of his father in 1801, succeeded him as baronet, from which time Isabelle Bell became known as lady Cooper.
Her husband, sir William Cooper, is mentioned only once in the Memorial (page 28). He was probably still in France at the time of the main events, living at Verdun in the colony of British deténus with lady Cadogan. Lawrence Stone refers to their scandalous liaison in Road to Divorce and as a case study in Broken Lives; in both books he appears as the reverend William Henry Cooper.
Lady Cooper’s son-in-law sir John Courtenay Honywood died in 1832 and her daughter Mary Anne (lady Honywood) in 1841. She herself was widowed in 1834 and her only son died in 1835. Lady Cooper survived until January 1855.
- First published online 19 July 2019