This is a collection of letters and Diary written by Martha Coffin Derby (1783 - 1832) to her family

Starting with Page 107

But my mother's {Sarah Ellen Derby Rogers} love for her Aunt was far greater than her awe. She wrote at Mrs. Derby's death, " There is one thing that seems to me that I must have. I want to have something constantly about me to remind me of my dear Aunt Martha that her example may always guide me aright. I wish Uncle Richard would send me a pin with a lock of her hair, but if you do not like to ask him, do send me the hair and I must endeavor to get one set in pearls - pure and spotless and free from gloom as she always was."

Through all her life Mrs. Derby bore herself with a simple but conscious pride and accepted naturally and happily the very best of the social life around her. Though she was always interested in beautiful things and lovely scenes, she was still more so in people of cultivation and refinement, but evidently, she cared little for "problems". Though not really not an intellectual person, she wrote well in both French and English and she made every exertion to know what was necessary to bear her through all social experiences. The journals and letters of her sisters and other relations often written amid the same scenes and events deal with passing trifles or records of health and affection - but Mrs. Derby's are full of notes that continue to have interest for others. In all her letters and journals, though they treat so much of social life there is a marked absence of scandal or gossip and there is scarcely an allusion to the subject of money - either her own or that of other people. From her writings you would scarcely know that money existed or that money existed. When she remarks that books in Paris are "cheap as dirt" one starts so surprising to find her speaking of cost. The single exception is one letter in which she deplores the need of bargaining in English shops and regards a possible extravagance in purchasing glass to fulfill a commission of my grandfather's. This would be an added tribute to her manners as a lady if such were needed and she would be glad that it was gleaned from her old papers.

I have a beautiful book inspired doubtless by her early tutor, but all in her own careful writings which records the knowledge on which was built up the information which abundant travel and experience in the world expanded. Illustrated by many sketches it gives condensed surveys of Botany, Architecture, Heraldry, History and Geography. A person who has mastered it could face social life bravely.

Not only was this lady a marked in her time and her surroundings, but to my youthful mother she appears as such a model and paragon that it will add to our picture of family surroundings to quote liberally from her many and interesting thoughts through now somewhat broken and scattered letters and journals. In making the quotations, the descriptions of places and works of art with which these papers abound are omitted because photographs and travel have now made them familar to all. (Where is the Journal?)

 

Soon after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Derby made a journey through the Atlantic coast cities - which Mr. Derby contemplated as an education but which he delayed while the young beauty of 17 learned more of him as as suitor. Not indeed that this seemed wholly necessary, for this is how she wrote of her engagement to him,

 

 

Martha Coffin to her sister. Eleanor Coffin in Portland

August, 1800 Boston.

 

..... What says Mama, - that I am too young; that a girl of seventeen ought not to think of such a thing; that it is a great care, and a thousand such things. I have thought of them all. I have maturely weighed all these circumstances, and what is the result? Why, Eleanor, Richard loves me and I love Richard. We are never happy when separated and therefore we have agreed to live always together. You may think this love of ours is too romantic, too violent, - but to lay aside all feelings of the heart and to speak only from the head, he has, I assure you, convinced me that the most reasonable, the best in the world to be united.

Richard, you know, was going on a tour of the United States before he saw me. Well, he put it off for a year for the purpose of getting acquainted. That year is now nearly expired and though I tell him it is better to defer it one more, he cannot think of that because he wishes to get settled in life, and this will not be the case until he has taken this tour, - besides a thousand other very good reasons. How could you bear the thought of so long a separation! I declare you I could not. He fears very much Papa and Mama will make some objection because I am so young, and we have been acquainted but one year but they knew each other only six months. We have quite time to know each other. I believe I am perfectly acquainted with Richard's heart, his disposition, etc, and so is he with mine - but as far as that, I could have married him after knowing him for one day as well as a thousand years. Pray, ought I to be or feel serious on this occasion? I am not, -on the contrary quite the reverse. It is a very solemn affair and makes people very sober; but I believe it is those who do not marry for love. In that case I should be sober too, for it appears to me a thing impossible, and that I should much sooner think of killing myself than to marry a man I did not love more than all the rest of the world.

Their wedding journey along the Atlantic coast was quickly followed by a long tour abroad. As they never had children, they were exceptionally free to make journeys and did make them through their married life. But whether they went to the springs of Northern New York, at Saratoga and Ballston and Trenton and Savannah, or to Santa Cruz and the West Indies; or in the Capitals of Europe, she always kept her eyes open to the sights which usually interest tourists, it was always the social life of cultivated people that interested Mrs. Derby. Carrying many letters of introduction and having the charm of exceptional beauty, all doors were open to this young couple in a most remarkable manner.

On their wedding journey to the cities on the Atlantic coast -the journey in short meditated - the young Mrs. Derby writes from Charleston!

 

Mrs. Richard Derby to her sister Eleanor Foster in Portland -District of Maine

Sandy Hill,
General Washington's
30 miles from Charleston
Sunday, March 10th 1801

My dear Ellen

---—This morning we have romped till I am half dead. I proposed to Miss Washington to have a race and the General and Mrs. Derby actually bet on us.

Savannah I Savannah I Savannah! Here we are dear Ellen. I won't pretend to finish my description of our journey here. Suffice to say we have been a fortnight coming; have enjoyed ourselves as well as any human beings ever did; received as much attention as it was possible to show to an Emperor and now are fixing our bib and tucker for Savannah. Half of them have already paid their Devoire. ...... I have so many engagements, so many things to do and see I cannot say much to you,,,,,,. If we go to St Mary's we shall take Cumberland in our way and then see the charming Mrs. Cornelia Greene. You may be sure I am impatient for this. We can go 60 miles by land and then there are good boats. I should like to take a look at the Spaniards. It will not retard our going home many days. Adieu, dear, dear Ellen. I am in great haste.......

 

 

Charleston II of April my birthday

Dearest Ellen

We have taken our passage, Ellen, and shall sail in 8 to 10 days....... We shall stay three weeks or more in New York, not only to be with Frances but to get a few things done in the housekeeping way. - Good Lord I only hear me talk of housekeeping I only wish you were with me for I know no more what is handsome, what's tasty, or what's genteel than if I had never been out of Portland in my life and positively all the splendid and fashionable things which I have daily seen I have no recollection of ..... We returned from Savannah three days ago....... Today we dined with a pleasant party at a Mr. Russell's and this evening spent at Mrs. Manigault's. I have told you of her before. She is not a woman that I could love; a reserve almost bordering almost hauteur would forbid it! She has no vanity though much pride. She is more accomplished than any woman I ever knew; very far from being handsome, but extremely elegant in her manner; though educated wholly in France, she is not the least bit a French woman; in fact she is that kind of woman by whom you would be more proud to be noticed than a thousand others put together. Of course her attention to me is not a little flattering. Malbone is here and succeeds wonderfully. Young Alston is most astonishing and they both go to Europe soon. ..... Richard sends much love with you

Martha

 

Shortly after this Mr. and Mrs. Derby undertook a long journey to Europe. They left America August 27 1801. Records of their first year abroad are rather scant. They passed it in Liverpool, Birmingham, Oxford, Bath, London, and in Bristol, where lived the Coulsons - that loyal branch of the Coffin family who expatriated themselves from America when the Revolution began. Soon after the Derbys sailed on their foreign tour.mcd.jpg (29012 bytes)

Evidently my grandmother, Mrs. Richard Derby's sister had just -been engaged to my grandfather, for Mrs. Derby writes

 

To Miss E. Coffin Portland. District of Maine North America London Nov 14 1801

 

....... I think my father and mother will feel happy to see their last daughter engaged to such a man as brother John. ..... Tell Ellen Foster - Jesse and Harriot, John and Ellen, Richard and Martha, are the happiest people in all the world. ..... I am surrounded by friends whom till a few weeks ago I scarcely knew -beloved by them and loving them almost as sisters. ..... I say not one word of this mighty place - though I have been at the Lord Mayors show, dined at Guildhall, have been introduced to Nelson, touched the Prime Ministers arm, and sat next to Mr. Sheridan.

 

Bath, Dec 8 1801

....... The ladies here are more industrious than we are. You cannot call in a morning but the table is out, either netting or carpet working or something of the kind going forward. It displays always a beautiful little workbox and their netting boxes are exactly like the one Mrs. Moses gave me and which I am ashamed was never made proper use of......... I have never been a house, morning, noon or night, to breakfast, dine or sup, but that the little table has been before the fire, - if in the morning, filled with work; if in the evening, music or cards or ready for the tea. All is ease. Perhaps you don't seat yourself for an hour after you go in or you do immediately, or you look at the pictures. None are ever seated at the same time. Cards are begun before tea - the tables out when you come from dinner. Tea is then brought up and you take a cup on the card table. And the Balls - dear Ellen. How it would surprise you I have been to a Ball with 4 hundred people and never once sat down. They begin at 7 or 8. The fashionable hour is not till ten for going. When they begin dancing each one takes his partner. There is no drawing. If there among the ladies any of the nobility. Strangers are also paid the compliment of being put at the head, but not above the titled Dames (that very circumstance would prevent me from inevitably from living in this country,' my ambitious spirit could never submit to this). Everyone follows then and the first of course get the best places. There is, however, no confusion. If you do not choose to stand up first but rather like to take a survey of the dancers, it is just as well provided you take your place in the line to go down the dance before the lady who called it. This is the most pleasant thing in the world. The space for dancing is divided by ropes and kept clear, but every other inch of ground or floor is covered with people walking in all ways. This is delightful. Perhaps sometimes in the whole course of the evening you don't meet or you do meet with your acquaintance! Sometimes you go away without knowing many of your friends were there, and if you go with a party obliged to keep pretty close or perhaps be separated for the evening. So if you come in ever so late the scene is quite as pleasant and you may dance just the same only not so much. This gives you the advantage of dining out or of drinking tea out and then you may if you choose merely take a look in at the Ball and away again. If your head is well dressed (except you dance) it is enough and all that is seen. Do not let me forget to sat that Lady Temple was in my opinion the finest looking woman at the Ball last evening among 3 to 4 hundred ladies. How I boasted of our American. They do not dance as well as us; have not the grace and lightness (generally speaking) of the French and Americans. We are, I think, a happy medium between the two. The women here, however, are very accomplished and most that I have met with have improved minds as well as persons. They are more conversant with books, are acquainted with all their own poets and most french authors. On the other hand, the lower class of people are the most wretchedly miserable you would want of any beings in existence and the most miserable objects to behold. You meet a beggar at every corner and are incessantly taxed with these miserable creatures. You might give away a fortune in one day and for some time I could not learn to refuse them. ....... I beg of you not to fail sending roe " Yankee Doodle ", " Adams and Liberty ", etc, etc., with all the old time American songs; " Father Abby's Well " and all the droll things you can get. Foster will supply you, I dare say, with some Cambridge anecdotes. Write me of all these thing going forth in your world.

 

 

Mrs. Richard Derby to her sister, Eleanor Foster in Portland,

London March 1 1802

My dear Ellen -

...... It is impossible to travel without improvement even though you should not seek it. Every object serves to improve the taste and mind and leads us to form a just estimate of our own country and our own friends. ........ We shall go the first of April (recollect to keep my birthday) to Paris. I hope the Definitive may not be signed. I should like so much to be at Amiens while the Ambassadors are there. We shall remain in Paris two to three months. Then we shall perfect ourselves in the French language and putting society out of the question (for I am told that the French ladies are not the roost desirable reable companions in the world) We shall have enough to delight and charm us........

Richard says I have been very extravagant in getting brother John's things, - thanks his stars that no blame can come to him.

........ I think everything is very reasonable but the glass ....Glass is, I know, very dear, and if I have got it of too good a quality or too handsome, I am sincerely sorry. ...... I shall be heartily glad to hear they are received and that I am not accused of extravagance.

The descendants of "• Brother John " acquit of America they cannot have any accomplishment. A lady asked me the other day if we had any mountains, - any sublime scenery in America. " My dear Madame ". said I, " We have lakes where we might put your little island of Ireland and not see land. We have rivers which from the mouth are navigable as many leagues as it is from here to America. Now with such lakes and such rivers - what must be our mountains I! " I was at a Rout the other evening with Mrs. Lenox and her niece who have just returned from France and were dressed like the D - I! If I thought I should be so metamorphosed I would never enter Bonaparte's dominions. Tom says all French women are all life and spirit and do very well en passant. " Zounds! how they jump and caper! I can't hold a candle to them, says Tom!

Either peace or war is hourly expected. Whether the Definitive Treaty will be signed or not seems to be uncertain but it is the general opinion that it will be decided in a few days that Lord Cornwallis will stay no longer to be trifled with in France. A renewal of hostilities is feared by some.

A grand fete is to be given in Paris on the occasion and something similar here. I suppose this city will be illuminated.......

Sir Grenville Temple I like very much. He is not haughty or proud as was said, but even if he is, it is necessary here. I do think there is a meanness in the people here, which I never saw in others. I believe it is because there are so many poor. If you happen to drop your glove in the street and one of these creatures (With which the streets are infested) picks it to, you must give him three pence or four pence or they will tease you to death. Everyone will cheat if they can; that is an established rule. But now for something which you can scarcely credit but which is the real truth, in the very first circles they make you pay for the cards. Nobody sits down to cards without putting a shilling under the candlestick, is this not despicable? But even this is not quite so bad as in Germany where I am told if you are invited to dine out you must absolutely give the gentleman of the house 2 or 3 shillings for the servants. Otherwise you'll be sure to have the gravy poured over you the next time. .......Mr. and Mrs. Bird who were some years in America and received much attention from Mr. Derby's family in Salem have found us out and been extremely polite. They give charming parties. Captain Abthorpe has lodgings directly opposite to us. Of course we are always together. A charming man. Adores his wife. Longs to see her and his sweet children. I suppose you know her if she has come to Salem. ....... N.H. the fashionables and elegantes have got to having one lock of hair hanging on the neck, so by degrees we shall tie the sunburn tresses in their once original state, flowing bravely. Mr J. Amory, I hear. is again in Paris. Where is Mr. Pieronnet? How come I to mention two beings so widely different together? I believe because one is the thing in the world the other would most heartily despise. Your M.D,

 

 

Mrs. Richard C. to her sister Mrs. Jesse Sumner in Boston

Paris 21st June 1802 Monday night

My dear Harriot

. . . . . . Do you know that McLane ' s entered our heads twenty times but I thought as it belonged to her it would not be sold. T'would have been the very dandy

This is a compleat Mrs. Winslur story - about our going to Court. The more you know the less you believe. I shall surely learn to moralize before I get home. Mrs. Bingham was very solicitous about Maria's going, so much so that Mrs. Thing got a friend to promise to introduce her. But I should not choose to be introduced by anyone else and any body of common sense might suppose that Mrs. Thing who has been out of her room 3 months could hardly dress and go to Court. After she was confined and got better she came to me the first thing and, for the first time she ever mentioned it, made an offer of her service to go to Court - at the same time regretting it had not before been in her power. We accepted and ordered my dress and the next Thursday went to St James. So if all Boston was to say that Mrs. W. does, I know Mr. and Mrs. Thing too well to believe it.

I am delighted that sister C. has a daughter. Shall write immediately to congratulate her. Frank with you and Tom thank fortune with us. It is delightful to meet in Europe. We shall stay for the Grand Fete the 14 July in honor of the Peace, for which all France is to bring the treasures and splendors to Paris; then off to Montpelier? and about that time Tom will leave Paris also for England. He doesn't think of going to Bristol, though I imagine J. Coulsen will meet him if he knows it in London. I'm glad you like his picture. Laura will be married this autumn......... Pray always tell me as much as you can about Mr. Peironnet. I am distressed that he has been hurt so much.... I can't tell you the different things we see and hear. The country all about Paris is delightful. The Public Gardens etc. etc. formally belonging to the Noblesse and now to the Nation, in every village of a Sunday they are dancing on the green, and it is exactly with a peasantry as has been often represented to us in Switzerland, — tho' I believe firmly that they don't enjoy any more if so much liberty as under their former government. They are glad to be once more quite and appear happy. We have made a little excursion of two or three days, Tom. Richard and myself, last week to Versailles, St Germain, and by Malmaison, the present residence of Bonaparte. You have no idea how many beautiful villas and pavillions were destroyed in the time of Robespierre, -- some of the most enchanting places where a painted wall and the form of a house alone remains - nothing seems to have escaped the fury of the mob.

Richard has been introduced to the Premier Consul, but Madame Bonaparte did not have a Levee, tho' my dress was in readiness. She has now gone to a watering place and if she shall not return by the time we leave town then I shall not have the felicity of paying my respects to her Ladyship.

Adieu my dear Harriot. Best love to J.—- and kiss the sweet little girl

from your R & M

 

In August 1802 they were in Switzerland finding on all hands churches pillaged and marks of French invasion. They visited most of the great cities, made an excursion from Thun to the glaciers of Lanterbounnen and Gundenwald and another seven days from Geneva to the valley of Chounonuix, across the Col de Baume, with its view into the valley of Valais, and so around the lake by Vevay and Lausanne. Mrs. Derby says in her journal, " We have in passing through Switzerland avoided all the danger of the war. A few days after our leaving Berne the city was taken and not a fortnight after leaving Zurich the town was bombarded and obliged to surrender. "

 

Shaffhausen August 24th 1802 ...... A sea of foam is not more dazzling than this sheet of water. From the spot where I now sit the most striking picture presented itself to my view. On the right was the castle of Lauffen erected upon the very edge of this precipice and projecting over the river; near it a church and some cottages; in the background mountains and rocks, tufted with hanging woods or planted with vines; a beautiful little ham; let upon the summit half hid by foliage and trees. In front of the immense cascade of water rushing with the inconceivable fury, the two crags above mentioned boldly advancing mist the fall, their heads covered with shrubs and dividing the cataract into two branches.

We at length attained the summit of the Col de Baime. Here such a scene I It is above my powers I stood on the highest point of the mountain, on one side the beautiful valley of Chaumony which we had just quitted, with the Arve flowing into a thousand winding riverlets through its calm bosom; the Glaciers de Bois, d'Argentiere, de Burpane and at the farthest extremity Mont Blanc.

 

 

On the other side a new world opened in view. The whole Valais at our feet. Its cultivated hills, its plains scattered with cottages, its beautiful groves, the impetuous Rhone flowing in ten thousand directions through the vale. Yet all this could not make me leave the sweet vale of Chaumony without regret. I sat for half an hour contemplating the one and the other. I could not but regret that one moment would hide forever that charming vale whose beauties had so enchanted us. We descended till the majestic cime of Mont Blanc alone was discoverable. It was like quitting ones own dear country. I remounted a few steps to take a last view and bid it forever farewell. Clarens seemed consecrated by the pen of Rousseau - " From thence to Vevey the road winding round the lake affords at every instance some new and interesting point of view and the remembrance of Julia d'Etange, of Claire d^Orbe and of St Preux animates the scene and renders every object attendeisant." Indeed so strikingly does every spot recall to mind that charming novel that we can hardly believe its fictitious. I imagine I could see St Preux distractedly wandering about the rocks of Millierie. The borders of the lake where Julia sacrificed her life to save her son I passed with a melancholy pleasure and the Chateau de Chillion which was the cause of her death I regarded with horror.

 

Geneva, Sept 25, 1802

The inhabitants carry their hatred to the French to the greatest excess, not deigning to speak or associate with any of the officers or their families who are stationed here. Considering however the conduct of the French people in general, they have been extremely mild in regard to the Genevois...... When the French army entered Geneva not an inhabitant offered his house for the use of the officers and soldiers and they were obliged to sleep in the streets on straw, -- a striking example of the universal hatred of the Genevois and of the good order and discipline of the French army who had it in their power to plunder and destroy a conquered people.

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—— Our most splendid party (at Geneva) was a ball given by Captain Lovelace of the 1st Guards - a young Englishman who has been there six months. I danced cotillions until 2 o'clock. I felt in charming spirits; much exhilarated by having the pleasure of dining with Mr. Necker. We went out to Coopet at half past one to deliver our letter to Madame d^Estale without any intention but of merely leaving our cards. She, however, came out to the carriage and insisted on our going in to dinner which was on the table and added us an inducement that we should see her father.

There was no resisting. We were presented and received with great politeness by Mr. Necker. Two gentlemen and two fine boys of Madame d^Estale were the only persons at the table. After dinner we went into the drawing room and they asked us many questions about America. I had the opportunity of observing Mr. Necker. His likeness resembles him pretty well. He is immensely fat - so much as scarcely to be able to move; no shape at all; but has a noble face.

We stayed till five then took leave. On our way back visited Ferney. The bedroom which Voltaire occupied remains the same; the portraits of Frederick 2nd being opposite that of Voltaire, the Empress of Russia, with prints of all his correspondents were placed about the room. I observed also Franklin and Washington.

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Leaving Geneva they passed by Aix les Bains, Chambery, and through the wild defiles around Modane.

" The pale light of the moon with the impetuous torrent at our feet and the unaccessible mountains which enclosed us, recalled to my mind the fine description which Mrs. Radcliff gives of this part of the Alps and it did not require the force of imagination to discern a desolate and half ruined castle on the summit of the higher rocks. Often did I picture one of those beautiful heroines, led by ruffian hands round these wild and dangerous precipices and at length arriving at the old moulding tower, which seemed only the resort of banditti and robbers......

I continued musing when the sound of the postillion's whip than brisk than usual raised me from my reverie. I found we had arrived at Lannesbourg, the village at the foot of Mt Ceins."

 

6 October, 1802

 

....... We rose at an early hour and found our carriage had already taken to pieces, the guides and mules prepared, and everything in readiness to cross the mountain. At 9 o'clock we began to ascend, Richard and myself on mules, our courier behind with the carriage which was carried by two mules, the wheels etc. on another, and the baggage on another, - making us all eight mules. We found the road perfectly wide and safe, cutting a zig zag and met many people in passing.

After ascending 2 hours we arrived at the hospital. ..... Here we stopped and took some refreshment and then began to descend..... After descending two hours we arrived at the village of Zerrura, the first in Piedmont. Here I took a chaise a porteur for the remainder of the mountain and viewing the plain beneath, the mountains on each side, the river, the trees, the cottages, - " All this " said I " is Italy - and I am here " I looked back on Ceins and all that chain of Alps which I saw between me and every friend. I saw myself in a new world. Another Atlantic seemed to throw itself between America and us.

We arrived at the little village of Novalesca and there our carriage came an hour after and was remounted, and at 6 we set out for Susa which we reached at 8.

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Mr. and Mrs. Derby continued their journey through Turin, Milan, Lodi, Verona, to Venice making short stays in these cities and describing the monuments in the journal. On reaching Venice they made a longer stay, but Mrs. Derby seems to have missed the spirit of the place.

" We passed several other palaces on the Grand Canal of beautiful architecture. The Nobility have been generally rained by the revolution and obliged now to live in an economical manner. All Venice is changed. The Carnivals are no longer gay. The ceremony of espousing the sea is all over. The finest palaces and churches have been stripped of their ornaments by the French and almost all classes of people have suffered by the revolution. - Italy is no longer Italy " (said a Venetian tome). " All the world are going to France. Venice is destroyed; her citizens ruined. Besides robbing us of our paintings, our statues, we have been obliged to clothe and feed their troops, to pay immense contributions, to see our republic fallen; but complaining is useless. "

" We are heartily sick of Venice, The climate is horrid; paddling around in these boats is misery to me, and the little dirty alleys one is obliged to pass through in walking are still worse, so dreadfully dirty, and the objects one meets so disgusting. St Marks Place is the only walk, but there, instead of breathing fine fresh air and being shaded by trees, we are obliged to meet with all sorts of people, sailors, Turks, masters and servants smoking their pipes and taking coffee. Venice is a compleat prison to me. All the people are at their country houses, but when in town they never entertain strangers. There are no amusements worth seeing, no rides, no walks, no agreeable view but of canals and boats. Nothing but the hope of seeing Frank could keep us here a moment."

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" From Padua we came to Monts-Sediri to sleep, about 10 miles from there the next morning crossed the Adige which divides the Italian or as the Commandant more properly said, the French Republic from the Emperors dominions. We found some difficulty in getting over the carriage and while they were preparing the horses I had some conversation with the Commandant. He told me that he was formerly in the service of the Venetian Republic, but now was in his majesty's. He regretted the fate of Venice, asked me if we enjoyed tranquility in America; how things were in Paris when we left it, and concluded by saying he believed now that the war was now only in the Cabinet. — " in fact la guerre avec la plume " was his expression."

 

 

 

Mrs Richard C. Derby to her sister Mrs. Jesse Sumner in Boston

Dear Harriot

If half a dozen people whom I could name would be here, Florence would be the most delightful place in the universe.

It seems an illusion, a dream. I can scarcely realize it. In Italy, visiting the famous gallery - walking the streets of Florence, - but one event has so succeeded another for this year past that I am no longer surprised at wonders. I expect them as things of course. The common things of life will appear strange to me one of these days.

I have just received a card. Louise de Stolberg Countess d^Albany is at home this evening at 7 o'clock. So for the first time I am going to a Conversazione, - a woman of the first rank in Italy, where I expect to meet the first people in Florence. Don't you suppose lamina flurry. I only sent my card and letter of Introduction yesterday. Now for my dress. But I have become accustomed to these things. They do not agitate me as they once did. I will give you a particular description when I return this evening. Adieu for the present. Now I think I can hear brother Jesse " After all she pretends a dollar she's gone to fix her dress for the evening"!

They will never forgive me in London for preferring Paris to London. Do you know I have a great many conversations with you lately. Now Harriot what sort of furniture should you buy to take out. I must begin to think of it. It is in vain to put it off any longer. But how shall I fix on any? I wish to heaven you could direct me. I must not think of French furniture - t'would alarm the natives and I should be cried up as being the most—-----! Good Gracious! a canopied bed, large mirrors, chairs with bronze feet -t'would make more noise than Colonel Devans wedding bed!

In the next place our houses do not do for French furniture, so I must leave Parisian Magnificence for good English comfort. Now again I am at a loss. I do not know what to do. Could we have the McLains house how charmingly you would have sent me out the dimensions for carpets, window curtains etc., etc. As it is, I know not what to do. I have not a single idea of one thing that I should like to take out, and yet it would be very silly to return without anything. I see so much elegance, so much beauty in the first houses in Europe, that what may appear very handsome in America seems here quite insignificant. Upon my word I have not an idea what to do so pray if you have any pity give me a word of advice.

We are in a country where we can get anything. We have sometimes talked of damask for the drawing-room. Here it is in plenty, in Italy, of the finest kind, and Richard says, "If you think it proper, get it. I've nothing to say. Get what you please." But that seems to me old fashioned. Do give me your opinion - what do think will be elegant and handsome, for I assure you, you are a better judge at that distance where you can form things in idea than I who am surrounded with such confusion. There is full time because if I receive your letter six months hence in England t'will not be too late.

Is not Mrs. Abthorpe a sweet woman. My husband says so much of her it makes me jealous. I thought F. Williams would have married Susan Higgerson. Where are the Misses Lowells? What passage had Tom? is Issac P. in love with Eliza - ? What's the news? Write me oftener, I beg. I hope there will be nothing to prevent our all going to Portland together the first of next September. If there is I shall be completely provoked and will never forgive either you or Ellen or sister Lucy. You must all come to Europe and learn to be wise like your sage sister M. Derby

I have a thousand things now to say, my dear sister. This Italy is certainly a charming country. I would not have come for the whole world, and if we meet Frank in Naples it would be delightful. Tell Tom this is a fine contrast to the stiffness of Holland, and that even Paris could hang its head at some of the wonders of Italy. I can make nobody believe that I have ever crossed the Atlantic and they have the impudence to assert that I shall not return with pleasure to America. Nobody knows me in this country or they certainly would think so ill of me Twenty ships have arrived at Leghorn lately. Have you directed letters to anyone there I should have received them in safety, but I must have a little patience and get them from England and France. A lady in Geneva learnt me to write in this manner. ( i.e. by crossing the page. Confound the Genevan lady. Editor ) I beg you to practise it in the future and I shall get a great deal more by it. If you have different colored ink it is perfectly plain. Give my love to Uncle and Aunt and Betsy and ally look out for a good house for us in Boston. I am so sorry McLane's is sold. It was just the thing. Be sure to go to P. Kiss dear little Harriot for me and if you have opportunities send your letters till after May to Paris and before the last of February direct them to Leghorn and I shall be sure of getting them.

 

 

Florence, Nov 22, 1802

 

......... I have been so anxious to give you an idea of the Gallery and the other fine monuments of antiquity in Florence that present inhabitants have almost escaped my notice. After formed an acquaintance however with the Countess of Albany it would be unpardonable to write one line without mentioning her.

She is the widow to the pretendant to the Crown of Great Britain. Both Duputy and Moor in their travels speak of this family as having retired from Rome to Florence where they lived under the name of Albany in great retirement. Mr Allen Smith gave us a letter and as soon as we delivered it the Countess of Albany called, invited us to tea and told us that she saw company every Thursday evening.

Since we have constantly attended her conversaziones where we meet all the literary men and women of Italy - among others the celebrated Alfiers whose tragedies are so highly esteemed and who is reckoned a second Shakespeare. We have been introduced to the Marchioness ( Marchese) Forrigiani, a charming little woman who gives very pleasant conversaziones. We met there the other evening the son of the celebrated Dupaty and if I may be a judge of physiognomy he possesses all his father's enthusiasm, sensibility and genius.

The same evening the Prince of Mecklenburg was there, an elegant handsome young man, who charmed everyone by the affability and sweetness of his manners. He took me for an Englese and asked me great many questions about the habits of my country women, -whether they danced the waltz, etc. Indeed it is ridiculous to see the astonishment of everyone on learning we are Americans. How unfortunate that we have not some national character to distinguish us. I wish our language were different.

The Cavaliere Cervante of the Italian ladies is the most insipid creature in the world, but perhaps I should explain what a Cavaliere Cervante is. Pretty much the same as l'ami de la maison in Paris, except that he is approved by the husband and it is agreed upon in manner and form. These gentlemen wait upon the lady, are always ready to attend her either walking, riding, to the play, or in making visits, while the husband is paying his devoirs to some other fair damsel. It would be ridiculous to see a husband attending his wife or even with her except in the presence of the Cavaliere. Marriages are for convenience, fortune and family and I actually heard of an anecdote the other day which American ears will sound rather outre.

A gentleman very much in love with a beautiful lady begged a friend of his to marry her that he might be her Cavaliere Cervante - and the thing took place.

With such customs domestic felicity is excluded. As for the poor children, they are brought up in Convents and never attended to by their parents till they can marry them to advantage. If that happens the girls are glad to get their liberty. Otherwise they are obliged to take the veil. We saw two of these victims at the Church of the Annunziata. As it was a grand Mass for the Duke of Parma and strangers went dressed in mourning I was very much astonished to see three young girls dresses in full court dress with large hoops, lappets, hanging from their heads, bunches of roses, ribbons, diamonds, etc., etc,, piled one above the other. This excited my curiosity in a very great degree, particularly as one of them was a beautiful girl of about seventeen. On enquiry I found they were going to take the veil and it was an ancient custom among the Tuscans that six months previous to that event these poor girls who have been all their lives in a Convent should be allowed all the pleasures of the world, dressed in the fantastic stile to show that they were to throw off all the finery of this week world. .......... I am told that they are all very enthusiastic and quit the pleasures of this world with joy.

Our English party at Florence is not very large. Mr. and Mrs. LeMaistre arrived a few days after us; Sir Francis and Lady Drake and her sister day before yesterday,' and Lady Hester Stanhope with Mr. and Mrs. Egerton from England. We have had several pleasant parties, 0rn Bansir, Mr Orsi and Madame are very attentive and took us the other evening to a Cascino which we were not much pleased with. We had last night a charming little dance at Lady Drake's. We dine tomorrow with Mrs. LeMaistre and dance in the evening at Madame Orsi^s. Tuesday they dine with me and Monday we set off for Leghorn.

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Leghorn Nov

 

...... Richard went immediately to see Mrs. Degen and deliver our other letters and in the course of the evening I had made acquaintance with half a dozen ladies of Leghorn. Carriages were offered. Boxes at the Opera. In fact I have never met with such politeness and hospitality as we have experienced during our short residence in this city, particularly from Mrs. Degen and Mrs. Felichi.

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Florence

 

........ We set off for Rome tomorrow by Sienna and Vilcibe. ..... I took leave of Madame D^AIbany who hoped to see me on my return, said a great many curl things, shook my hand very affectionately. I could have kissed her with a great deal of pleasure. Count Alfiere was there, I pointed him out to Lady Merut Capel. This morning she had bought his plays.

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Thus by Sienna and Viteibo and Bolsena the Derbys journeyed on to Rome

 

Rome, Dec 19, 1802

My dear Mamma

While Richard has gone in great state accompanied by our Consul and Our Minister to the Court of Madrid (Mr. Pickney) to pay his respects and deliver his letter of introduction to his Eminence Cardinal Consalvi, Secretary of State, I improve the first leisure moment I have had since coming to Rome to give you some idea of this City of Sublimity. From Florence we came to Sienna, crossed the Mountain Radicopani, passed through Viteibe, the former Capital of Etruria, and proceeded to Rome by the Via Flaminia.

To describe to you any sensations on first seeing the Dome of St Peter's, - to dilate upon the Porta de Popols by which we entered, - the magnificent square with the Egyptian obelisk in the middle and the two superb churches in front, with three of the principal streets of the city in full view, would be impossible. But the wonders I have since seen, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, Triumphal Arches, Ruined Temples, Remains of Acequeducts, Baths, Egyptian Obelisk, Columns of granite and posphyny and alabaster, magnificent churches and Palaces filled with the finest Statues and pictures -all of these things have so astonished and delighted me that I scarcely know where I am.

Thanks to our friend Mr. Murray we have seen everything properly.

He gave us a letter to Mr. Noir, Antiquarian at Rome, and under his directions and with him we have gone over both ancient and modern Rome. Without some person in whose guidance you can depend, it is impossible to have a just idea of the situations of things in ancient times.

 

Sunday 19th Dec 1802

This morning. Mama, Richard has been introduced to the Pope -only think - but to tell all things in form and order. He had a letter to the Cardinal, Secretary of State, from M. Murray. He called on him as I mentioned above. Today at II o'clock was appointed both for our Minister who is here and him to be presented to his Holiness. They were received with all the politeness in the world and kissing the hand was substituted in place the toe I! As the Pope understood from our Counsel that I had expressed a great desire to see his Holiness, and ladies are never permitted to enter the Palace, he had the politeness to say it would give him infinite pleasure to be introduced to an American lady and the day after tomorrow in the Gardens of the Palace I have the honor to be presented to him by Cardinal Consalvi. I don't expect such a reception as I had from the King of England for you must know he has been a monk all his life and does nothing . After the royal kiss such as I had from King George I have no inclination for a monkish one.

I have just returned from a dinner party and if I ever had to exert myself it was today. Only imagine me, dear Mama, seated at table with 20 gentleman Cardinals, Ambassadors, half a dozen young French officers and all dignified Clergy in Rome and not another lady at the table. We were engaged to dine at Mr. Lavaggi's and went at the hour appointed. Half the company were there but in handing me in he told me that Madame Lavaggi was suddenly unwell. I however expected to see her appear at every moment and at last asked if we were not to have that pleasure at all. He replied that she was ill in bed, that she had hoped all morning to be better, but found herself incapable of rising. Then I expected she had sent some female friend to entertain me, but not one lady came and I was handed in by the French Ambassador and desired to take her place at the table and desired to take her place at the table. We sat on one side, a very pleasant Cardinal on the other, and, as you know I sometimes prefer the company of gentleman to ladies. I (strange as it may seem) never enjoyed a dinner party more. The were all impressed to render everything pleasant, asked me a thousand questions about America and talked much about General Washington. I summoned up all my courage and behaved as Betsy Coulson says, very prettily, and as soon as I got my dish of coffee, bid them good-night.

But the most singular thing of all I have not told you. On going into the drawing room there sat a Cardinal who had been saying Mass all morning, playing piquet at 3 o'clock ( they dine early in this country) of a Sunday afternoon. I could not recover from my astonishment and never should have believed such a thing. But now I begin to think nothing strange. I have seen so many things which I never should have credited without ocular demonstration that for the time to come nothing will appear improbable or impossible.

I am very sure were I to give you a description of some of the Palaces in Rome you would think it a fiction; the elegance, the richness of marbles, of statues, of paintings, we can have no idea in America. I begin to find great fault when a room is not fitted up to my taste and make my arrangements with as much importance -such columns of alabaster should have been placed differently, -that marble 's not rich enough for the rest of the ornaments, -these paintings are not equal to the sculpture; and if its not altogether superb or elegant I do not deign to waste my time looking at it.

But after all, dear Mama, could you believe it, the very people who own these very great abodes are insensible to all the beauties they posses. The Prince Borghese, a young man of 25, just come into possession of the finest villa and Palace in the world with the most valuable collection of statues and paintings, - is an illiterate unpolished man whose education has been entrusted to a priest whose whole care it was to say from time to time that his pupil had the best masters and improved daily. This is the kind of education in Italy - and the women - they know nothing but to play cards.

Mr. and Mrs. LeMaistre have come. Lord and Lady Morut-Castle arrive tonight. Poinsett and Burn tomorrow so that we all happen to be together which is a charming circumstance. Lady Drake writes from Naples that they are not so gay as they expected. The English are not so sociable and want Mrs. LeMaistre to rouse their spirits. She is a fine hand at a frolic and is determined to give two or three dances if she hires a hay loft, for they say there is nothing else the town is so full. We have written our bankers to get lodgings. It is nearly 12 o'clock and we rise at 6 to go to Tivoli to see Hadrians Villa. Good night, dear mama. .... When I saw Raphael's picture of the fire etc., etc., I only wished you and Papa and Mr. Pieronnet were here to experience in seeing these things as much again pleasure as you did in reading his description.

21st

We have been to Tivoli - walked over the remains of Hadrian's villa, saw the beautiful Sibyl's Temple - the Grotto of Neptune which is a natural grotto in the rocks where the water rushes in with a tremendous noise, - the cascades, and everything that was to be seen. I walked 4 miles. How much I wished to transport everybody there to enjoy with me the fine mild weather, the heavenly pale blue sky. the fields covered with grass and shrubs and flowers, the fine foliage on the old ruins, the beautiful windings of the river Anio and the charming scenery which its banks presented - and all this in the middle of December. I could talk of Tivoli all day but so many, many things crowd upon my mind. I have seen the Aurora of Gaido. It is a fresco painting in the Rospylieco Palace. Apollo in his car attended by the Hours, proceeded by Aurora, with wreaths of flowers in her hands, the gloom of night disperses. The slats faintly twinkle. The light gradually breaks upon the water and discover 4 or 5 little boats and the whole effect is so natural it seems like life itself.

I have seen, too, Angelica Kauffman and her beautiful paintings. She is nearly sixty and draws charmingly, elegantly, and is considered the finest artist in Italy. Her manners are very pleasing. I begged permission to call upon her often. How little did I suppose, when Mr Peironnet wrote her name among the other celebrated painters in my common-place book that I should ever know her.

We were at a Conversazione last night. Princes, Princesses, Dukes and Dutchess, and (if I could be allowed to use a favorite expression of Tom's) the whole boudle of Italian Nobility. One party consisted of six. We did not play and went from room to room searching and scrutinizing every face ineffectually. Neither beauty, or sense, or elegance, or grace, or soul, or mind were to be found.

We go to hear high Mass Christmas Eve. They remain the whole night in the Church and Christmas Day the Pope preforms his functions at St Peters. Our names are in the Major Domo's book which entitles us to the best places.

I have sent all around Rome and cannot get one Mince Pie!! How shall I ever believe it is Christmas. No snow on the ground. I can only discover a little which covers the distant mountains, - but in Rome the weather is mild and soft, the sky clear and transparent, the fields enamelled with flowers - everything hear the call of Spring.

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The Derby family held many close relations with business in Naples. In August 1799 Captain Elias Haskett Derby Jr., was writing to his father that he held a passport from Lord Nelson and he was carrying a letter from him to Naples - " The English Minister, Lord Nelson, and Commander Trowbridge, have been very polite tome". In March and April he was again in Naples and then agreeable relations during his visits may have paved the way for a cordial reception in that city of his younger brother and his handsome wife. At all events, the journal shows that they found the social life of the city entertaining.

 

Naples, Jan 16th, 1803

" We left Rome the evening of the twenty-sixth of December after being presented to the Pope, in company with Mr. Pickney our Minister to Spain. The first night we stopped at Albano where there are several ruins of Temples, Acqueducts, and Tombs. The next day we passed through Veletro and Terracnia to Fundi, and from thence through Molo di Gaeta and Capiere to Naples. ... Our first inquiry was if the Royal Family was to come to town on New Years Day, wishing to be presented by the intercession of Mrs Pickney, the Spanish Ambassadress. We found that they are at Casserton and would not be in town till the 12th.

Descriptions of Naples, Pompeii and Herinlaneum follow and Mrs Derby was especially interested in the unrolling of the Manuscripts at Pompeii and at a ceremony at which she assisted when a young girl of 17 took the veil.

•" The concourse of strangers at Naples now is astonishing. The English alone amount to 2 or 3 hundred. Among them are many of the Nobility and people of the first fashion in London. The Russians, Germans, Spanish, etc., contribute more to the amusement than any others." There is an old Russian Countess, Madame Shavarownsky, We have been presented to her by the Marchioness of Mos. She gives a ball and a masquerade alternately every week.

" On the 18th of this month Mr. Derby was presented at Court by the Spanish Ambassador. As it was the King's birthday and the Court was very crowded, the Queen deferred giving audience to the ladies till the next day when we were all presented, the English by their Minister, Mr. Drummond, and myself by the Ambassadress of Spain, Madame de Mos. As the Spanish Court has precedence here, I had the first audience.

" On arriving at the Palace we went to an anti-drawing room where all the Court was assembled, and there waited till it was announced that the ------- was ready to receive us. I went in accompanied with Madame de Mos and a German lady who was introduced at the same time. The Queen was alone and standing. She conversed very familiarly and with great affability for some minutes and then courtesied to us all and at the same time we withdrew and the English entered. She was dressed in plain white silk with a black lace cloak, a black bonnet and her gloves, as though she had just come in from walking. She speaks French with much ease as though it was her natural language and has the remains of a very beautiful woman. Her arm and hand which have always been much celebrated, retain all their loveliness and are generally ornamented with a handsome bracelet.

We saw neither the King nor the Hereditary Princess.

In the evening Madame de Mos took us to Countess Scavarownsky^s in our Court Dresses. Mine was a white satin with a drapery of Lace before and trimmed behind in the form of a tunic with point lace 4 inches wide The sleeves hitched up with bunches of pearls. Pearls on my neck and head; My hair dressed in curls.

At the Countess's I danced with Lord Brook, a genteel young Englishman to whom I was introduced on the Medusa. Captain Gore, who commands the Medusa, has given one or two splendid balls. He is a most elegant man. The Carnival has begun. Masquerades are the order of the day. The Countess gives one to which we must all go in character. Whether it be a Quaker, a Nun, a ghost, a flower-girl, or what part to act, I cannot determine. I am so little accustomed to these things.

Saturday, 23rd Jan 1803

On Tuesday there was a Grand Ball at Mr. Drummond's in honor of the Queen of England's birthday to which we were invited. 7 or 8 rooms were open. The supper tables were magnificent. Lady Beverly, the Marchioness of Mos placed at the head. I danced with Lord Brook, the secretary of Legation, Mr. Egerton and Captain West. Charming partners. We talked about the Masquerade which would be on Thursday, but nobody would tell their character.

At length Thursday, the wished-for day, arrived - the day on which for the first time I was to behold a scene so new and as my imagination had pictured, so enchanting. The novelty of the scene, the strange figures I saw, the noise, bustle and variety of objects that met my view amazed and delighted me. I seemed in a new world. The mask gave me the courage to answer all the droll questions put to me, and even to ask many myself and to accost people to whom I had never spoken. I went as an English Blue-coat or Charity girl, with my long waist white apron and bib, my round cared cap, nice clean mittens, and black shoes. Mrs. LeMaistre went as my brother and the poor English Charity girl and boy were followed about the room and offered cakes and sweetmeats and ribbons and all sorts of presents. I was charmed with everything around me and unmasked with reluctance to finish the evening with dancing.

The characters were good and well supported. Mr. LeMaistre was a Traveling Tutor looking out some young English Nobleman who had money enough to spend. Lord Grantham was dressed up as Lady Hester Stanhope; Lord Brierly like an old woman; the men turned women; the women housemaids, gypsies, flower girls, Savoyards, etc., etc.,

Do not imagine that we are so engaged in dissipation as to forget the interesting objects to be seen about Naples -—-(which are described at length).

30th

On the 25th we ascended to the summit and descended to the crater of Mount Vesuvius - an exploit which has astonished all of Naples, as few ladies ever venture to the top, and none has ever known to descend to the crater.

We sate out from Naples at 9 in the morning, stopped for a few minutes at Portici and then proceeded to the little town of Resina about a mile from thence. We there got out of our carriages and mounted our mules and in this manner proceeded as far as the Hermitage which is about half way. After taking some refreshments we continued still mounted on mules for about a quarter of a mile. We then dismounted and began to ascent the steepest part of the mountain. To aid us as much as possible, we held fast to a handkerchief which our guide had fastened about his waist. At every step our feet sunk into the ashes but at last after great fatigue which required some courage and all the delightful prospects which every moment presented themselves to our view, we gained the summit.

Now I shall describe to you my feelings in finding myself on the top of Mount Vesuvius. With what rapture did I look at Naples, the Bay, the islands, Portici and Ferre de Grace at our feet. Pansilepe, the castle of St Bimo, and the villas and villages scattered along the sea side which appeared like small white spots upon the earth. It recalled to me the moment of my being at the top of the Col de Baun when on my right hand I saw the village of Chamouny with Mount Blanc and its depending glaciers, and on the other the beautiful Valais with the Rhone forming through the plain beneath. Before me now was the beautiful Bay of Naples, the Islands, Baia, and the far distant Mediterranean, the cultivated fields, villas and villages, churches and convents, and the fine city of Naples. This certainly was the most elegant, the most finished scene and one that would be contemplated with more pleasure, - but that of Switzerland exceeds it in sublimity, in wilderness, in savage beauty and in greatness.

I could not resist my inclination to descend into the crater, and in spite of the remonstrances of my guides I determined, however dangerous, to make the attempt. It was, I must confess, attended with some difficulty. To arrive at the place where it was possible to descend we were obliged to pass along the edge of the mountain with precipices on both sides where evitable death must have been the consequence of falling. We at length attained the spot from whence in a few seconds we arrived at the bottom of the crater. In general places it vomited smoke and was so hot that we were unable to bear our hands upon it. At the side of hard stones and lava we picked up green moss. And we did not think it safe to remain long in this abode which appeared to me the mouth of the infernal regions, we provided ourselves with handkerchiefs full of lava stone and re-ascended to the top. This we found a most difficult task, our feet sinking at every step into the ashes, and every stone by which we attempted holding giving way. After much trouble and fatigue we gained the summit, repassed again the dangerous passage and began to descend at the same place where we had first arrived. We ran down in less than ten minutes and had great difficulty in making the good friar at the Hermitage believe that we absolutely been at the bottom of that terrible crater.

In looking over the Book I found many names that I knew. We left ours amongst the number. I was delighted in looking about the Hermit's room to find two little prints which I had copied many years ago. I did not expect to find anything on Mount Vesuvius that would remind me so much of home.

It was quite dark before we returned to Naples. Our mules and our Drivers amused us not a little. Mr. Maniver and Miss Wilmot were our party.

Naples

You can imagine nothing so odd and droll as masks in the streets of Naples. Sunday and Thursday are the days for general masking. Then all the world goes into the Strata Toledo ( which is the longest and largest street in the city ) in every sort of disguise and throw sugar-plums at each other. When they find an acquaintance it is a pitched battle till one or another is pelted off the field. This amusement lasts from 3 o'clock until dark. They then return to their houses and put on a new disguise for the evening. At II they go to the Opera House which is superbly illuminated and there dance and plague their acquaintances and talk and laugh with all the world. The boxes are filled with people of the first rank in Naples, sometimes in character or more often with only a Domino and Mask, and during the Carnival they give suppers in their Boxes.

We were last evening with the Marchioness of Mos. She and the Marquis were in the character of Dwarfs. It was a long time before we discovered them. But the best character I have seen was the Portugese Ambassadress who was dressed as a Magician with a wand and black covered book where she wrote the fate of these mortals who asked their destiny. I was seated in her Box which is on a line with the Pitt when she accosted me and foretold many events. I tried in vain to find out who my magician was till she entered the Box and unmasked! I did not discover her,

The Neapolitans appear to enjoy this kind of amusement more than any other. I cannot say I was much pleased with the public masquerades though I delight in a private one.

 

Naples, 20th Feby

During the whole of the last four weeks we have been in a continual round of dissipation. Ball after Ball; Masquerade suceeding to masquerade. The Royal family came to town last week and Lady Acton gave two Balls at which they were present. It was supposed that she gave the Balls instead of the Queen that only foreigners be invited. The Queen delighted everybody. The little Princess, or rather the hereditary Princess, is a sweet little fat girl of 13, her husband a full 30 large and ungenteel. The Princesses are not handsome but genteel looking. They were dresses in short velvet dancing dresses with white silk petticoats; the Queen, a black crepe spotted thick with spangles; the hereditary Princess a dark green spotted like the Queen's; their heads dressed with diamonds and pearls. The Queen gave a superb Ball 2 nights after at Portici. I have never beheld anything so brillant. For half a mile before coming to the Palace of La Favorite the whole street was illuminated. The company to the number of 800 were assembled in a large elegant oval room beautifully lighted up and hung with festoons of flowers. The King stood in the midst of a circle of gentleman and the ladies were seated around the room when the Queen and the hereditary Princess followed by the two Princesses and their 2 brothers entered. All the ladies rose at once. The Queen walked around the circle and spoke to everyone in particular. She inquired after my health, for I had been indisposed at Lady Acton's, which flattered me very much. After the ceremony, the King went to a little balcony which looked, and indeed was, open upon the room. The Queen went to one opposite and then descended again and then the dancing began. About 50 couples stood up. The Hereditary Princess with her husband led the first, the Princesses afterwards, and then the Marchioness of Mos with the young Prince. The whole house was open and I have never seen so brilliant a scene in my life.

 

Florence, March 7th, 1803

We have come with such rapidity from Rome that I have scarcely have had time to breathe, much less write. On the 25th of Feby, we left dear Naples after dancing till 4 o'clock at the Grand Bretagne - a Ball given by the young English men. We remained but 3 days in Rome, every day of which I employed in taking a farewell view of the noble monuments and ruins ...... The thought of quitting even an inanimate object forever creates most unpleasant sensations. Indeed, I find that the most disagreeable circumstance in travelling. We not only see objects that we admire, but make acquaintances with people that we love and to whom we feel indebted for every sort of attention and politeness. To leave such people is truly painful and I have left so many of them at Naples that my first day's journey was spent in tears.

I regarded every object at Rome with increased pleasure and thought they never appeared so —- missing two pages

I had my fortune told yesterday by an old lady who they pretend is mighty wise, - I don't however, put much faith in her wisdom. T'is the Miss Carey whom Smollet mentions in his letters.

The marble ornaments here at Marcarli's shop are beautiful. Since I have been traveling in Italy I have wished more than ever for a fortune to spend on trifles. Adieu - I am full of engagements which I have been indeed for a year past. This constant hurry and hustle has now become so habitual I don't know how I shall relish a life of rest and ease.

 

Genoa, March 16th, 1803

We came in a day and half from Leghorn to this place and the passage was not on the whole as bad as I expected. I congratulate myself now for coming by water since it gave me the opportunity of seeing Genoa the superb to the greatest advantage - that is, from the Bay. It is built partly on hills interspersed with gardens, and nothing can have a more beautiful effect. The streets are very narrow, carriages are seldom used, but the Genoise go up and down their hills in sedan chairs."

After describing the city and its inhabitants, the journal continues; -

" We dined yesterday with Madame De La Rue, a very amiable woman who took us in the evening to a Conversazione where we saw all the Genoese ladies. They are said to be very beautiful. Our Consul here is very attentive and polite and I find those persons to whom we had letters of introduction so agreeable I regret that we have not more time to spend here. We talk of going over the mountains to Nice, but they threaten us with all sorts of dreadful things if we attempt it. I am too sick to go by water and unless we can cross the mountains ( and we generally found that all the difficulties vanish at our approach ) we must be obliged to go again to Turni and cross the Col de Tonde. Genoa suffered dreadfully during the war. They were blockaded for 50 days and were reduced to live upon horse flesh. It was not uncommon to give a guinea a pound of flour or wheat.

 

Nice, 28th, March, 1803

We have not met spring, but summer, at Nice. The approach to it is through groves of orange and lemon trees which fill the air with a delicious fragrance and seemed to be placed by nature to promise health to the innumerable number of invalids who come here. ...

We sent the carriage and baggage with John in a Feluca and took a horse for Mr. Derby and a chair with six porters for myself to come over the mountains. The weather was delightful and if we could have had 2 or 3 companions, I know of no party of pleasure more charming.

The road was all the way along the steep banks of the Mediterranean and at the turning of every point presented us with beautiful prospects. Sometimess a little village surrounded with hills and open only to the sea where thousands of little boats were passing and re-passing; sometimes the distant mountains lost in the horizon with a white speck in the immense sea which we could hardly distinguish to be a sail.

When we entered a village the children ran about my chair as though it were a rare show or some wild beast caged up, - as they bring bears and lions with us - and in fact I believe it had in some measure that appearance. On the fourth day at Noon we entered France and dined at the little town of Monaro. On our way from thence to Nice I could not but remark the fine and healthy looks of the peasants and particularly the beauty of the women who are tall and elegantly shaped and wear some kind of a round eared cap and large straw hat which is remarkably becoming.

We found our baggage arrived two days before us. ..... but there is a glass or something to be mended in the carriage and it is such a luxury to be in a good Inn once more that we feel no inclination to move. We have been wonderfully expeditious in coming from Naples and intend going on in the same manner until we get to Paris, when I hope and trust we shall remain some time."

Thus they journeyed to Toulon, breaking an axle tree along the way and finding no post horses, and in consequence having to use mules. At Marseilles, they found an agreeable society. " and the unbounded attention of our consul, Mr. Cathalin, and his sweet daughter " made their stay delightful. " They have introduced us to the Mayor's and I never saw in Paris a more elegant party. The women are beautiful and dance inimitably well. " Leaving Marseilles they stopped " not far from the fountain of Vancluse. In the morning we rose early and within one hour's time we arrived at Petrach's celebrated fountain. I sat down upon the border and thought of Laura and of Patrach and looked at the valley and the river rushing down; then at the fountain so calm and silent. I would not pretend to describe it. It answered all my expectations. I spent a whole hour deliciously placed on the banks of the stream. "

Thence by Avignon and across the Rhone in boats, by the Pont de Garde to Nismes, Montpelelier, Lyons and finally Paris was reached exactly one year from their first entrance into the city.

" Paris is as charming as ever. Our Minister has a Levee every Friday. All the first company of Paris and all the foreign Ambassadors. Nothing can be more agreeable, and their kindness to us, their civilities unbounded... The Theatres, I cannot say enough of them. Mlle George is the Mrs. Siddons of France. Young, beautiful, dignified, majestic, fine voice, fine manners. She has just come out and is the rival of Mile. Duchenois who is very ugly but performed inimitably well.

I have seen Bonaparte at the Theatre. Les Trois Sultanes was performed. Mde de Cadignan and I sat in the Box alone.

War is all the talk. War. they say, must and will inevitably take place. It is rumored that Lord Wilmarth is going..... We have ordered several plaster figures made to send to America ... I am about getting a Library of French books. They are cheap as dirt. ...They say Louisiana is to be ceded to the U.S. Mr. Munroe is here, but Mr. Livingston has been some time making the Treaty. The French debt too will certainly be paid.... Opinions are much divided. Some say Bonaparte will give up Malta - others not.... The Theatre Feydeau is our constant amusement.

 

May 20th

The English Ambassador went last week. They are determined upon war and have already taken 2 French vessels which has so much enraged the French that they have put all the English here ( to the number of 500 ) on their Patrol and sent them all to Fontunnebleu. The communications between Calais and Dover, they say, will be stopped. Mr. Jay, who is going to take our Treaty with France, will have a flag of Truce so that at any rate we shall go with him. The English did wrong to remain after their Ambassador....

We are very busy getting things to send to America - our furniture, etc., I can only say of Paris that we are charmed more and more every day. That it is a most delightful place and I shall quit it with great regret.

Wednesday, 13th. Went to Mrs. Cadignon's at 10 o'clock to bathe and breakfasted with her at 12 after which we were going to make some calls, but the servant announced Madame d'Arblay - Miss Barrey that was - the authoress of Evelina, etc. Was charmed to meet her. Sat an hour longer. She lent me Madame de Itael's new romance " Delphine " to read, with her notes upon it.

Thursday, 14th ... I had the honor of a visit from Madame Dupaty with her daughter.

Wednesday 20th

Mr. Dorr called and showed us the first coin with the head of Bonaparte just hot from the Mint. - the first day of their appearance, the last day of the Germinal.

Friday, 22nd. Went to our Minister's to dinner at 6 - the party was large and a great deal of company in the evening .... In the evening Madame de la Fayette and her daughter came in....

 

Tuesday 26th

... to Mr. Burge ' s where we break fasted with Mr. Pickney, Cadignan, and M^ d^Arblay. Charming Breakfast. Went from there at half past three. Called for Mde. Dupaty and went to the Louvre to see the famous picture by Gerrard which I did not really seem so fine as the rest of the world do. The subject is taken from Racine.

The journal is full of notes of visits to the Fedeau Theatre and the Italian Opera, and of dinners, calls, shopping, almost daily calls from Mr. Robert Lumpton ( who seems to have been the American Minister in Paris at that time, ) and visits and excursions with many friends.

 

Thursday, 26th of May 1803

Left Paris forever!! ... Slept at Roye. instead of coming through Amiens, determined to take the road through Roye, Perrenne, Arras and St Omar.

Friday, 27th - Shocking weather. Read " The Minstrel ". Obliged to show our passports almost everywhere. All the English sent back to Paris.

Saturday 23rd - Arrived at Calais at 4 o'clock..... The Hotel is full of English ..... found a Danish ship going - took our passage.

 

 

Sunday, 29th - Sailed at 5 o'clock on board the Danish ship but obliged to come to an anchor.

Monday, 30th - Laid at anchor all day. Above 100 passengers -all dreadfully sick. Came ashore again at Calais at 6 in the evening.

 

Tuesday 31st - The wind is still contrary.

 

Wednesday, 1st of June. Expected to be called at 7 in the morning but the wind still continued unfavorable..... Mr. Talbot and the rest of the English have the liberty to return to England. Lady May and Lady Deering in dreadful fidgets about getting back......

Two old dowagers. Lady Deering and Lady May, run about without knowing what to do. First they will go on one ship - then in the packet; then in this, then in that. It is a droll scene. They walk around the garden, say " Good Morning " to each other, ask the news, condole one another and return to their rooms again discontented enough. . .. ..

 

Wednesday

They say we are [positively to sail tonight. So may it be! I hope with all my soul. The old dowagers have taken berths in the packet which is to go about the same time with a flag of truce.

 

Dover, Thursday, 2nd, June 1803

Nous voila enfin arrives! We think ourselves fortunate to have come over in one night only. A good dish of coffee with a muffin with 3 hours comfortable sleep has settled our heads and fitted us for undulating our journey as soon as our carriage can be got out. We came ashore in a little boat at 6 this morning - Miss Thomson, Richard and myself. We have been into the Alien office to give our names, years, country, etc. , etc. , etc. They have given me brown eyes. I have grown thin already with this deuced voyage. I believe it's more with regret for having left Paris forever! Forever I What a shocking word!"

Through July they were in London with an excursion to Devonshire. Plays, Operas, Ranelagh and Vauxhill fill the journal. At Ranelagh the " gentlemen must be in full dress, that is to say in shoes and a three cornered hat. The ladies formerly, I am told, wore an elegant headress, but now they go in full dress, without hats, etc., etc. We were taken the first time by Lady Martin. We dined with her Ladyship, from there went to a grand Rout given by Mrs. Thomson at which all nobility and the Prince of Wales were present. At II Lady M. and Mrs. Powell called for us and promised themselves much pleasure in witnessing my surprise, but the rooms were not crowded nor did Ranelagh answer my expectations. The fireworks were put off owing to the evening being rainy.

Vauxhall is a very large garden which in the daytime is horrible, but nothing but its trees and beautiful lamps are seen in the evening. On each side is a covered walk and supper tables spread. Branching out from this on each side are what they call the Dark walks which have one solitary lamp. The rememberance of that

scene in " Evelina " where she is treated so cruelly, made us all wish to see those walks.

 

London, Jermyn Street,

Monday 4th July 1803

Spent the morning at Mr. Copley's. Went out to Chestnut House to dine with Lady Martin and Mrs. Powell; large party; pleasent day; music; gathered moss roses; jumped and fell into the water; returned at II at night; superb moonlight; thought of home. At Sea Lat 44; Long 27:50 24 Aug 1803

We left London the 2nd of August and embarked the next morning from Gravesend. All the passengers went on board in a little boat together. I cast my eyes round and took a view of the faces. The Capt struck me ( for this was the first of my seeing him ) as a sensible gentleman-like man. ... But tro go on as we went on, talking, eating, being sick until we got off Deal. The anchor was then dropped and in the morning we went ashore. Deal is a neat little town inhabited by fishermen. Two days on shore recruited me wonderfully. Deal boasts two circulating libraries which furnished me with stories of Old Castles, Haunted Towers, Ghosts and Hobgoblins and kept me very pleasantly employed.

 

Sunday Morning ( 7th August )

We came on board with the addition of Mr. Stewart to our party ...We had come so far without knowing what had become of Mr. S. whose baggage was on board. He, however, ( wiser than any of us ) had walked from London to Deal, supposing that we should remain a day or two for a wind, 3 American ships had got under way before we came on board, but we soon set sail and for half a day had a tolerable wind. At night dropped anchor again and was batting down Channel all week. Sunday, 14th, the wind came fair; we got clear of the Channel and came on bravely. Since that we have a continued good wind until yesterday. Yesterday the sea was calm and unruffled..... The dolphins played about the ship in great numbers. The Boat was lowered down and two of them with a black fish were caught by the captain. This gave us fresh fish for dinner. ... in the evening danced to the sound of Doctor Post's violin and concluded with looking at the beautiful rising moon, the spangled heavens, the unruffled sea, and the admiring majesty of the ship which seemed floating in a world where it was the sole Inhabitant.... How sublime it is to look around on such an expanse of Sea and Heaven. It fills the mind with ideas too great for expression and while it astonishes and confounds, awes us to silence.

We were hoarded by 2 or 3 English frigates soon after leaving the Channel. The last heisted French Colors, but we knew very well from the appearance that they were English. On learning that we had late papers they came on board. The Captain very politely gave him his last newspapers. They knew nothing of the Rebellion in Ireland. Enquired anxiously if there were any signs of a war with Spain. Never should I forget the looks of the young Lieutenant who came on board. I could have shaken hands with him most willingly and " hailed him as brother" so delightful it is to meet at sea. After drinking a glass of wine and wishing us a pleasant passage, with many thanks for the Papers, he returned to his ship. The manner of the Ships in hailing us was by firing a gun to give us notice. The Captain then ordered the top sails taken in, but first the colors hoisted. How my heart swelled with pride whenever I saw the American Flag. On seeing who we were the frigate would come near and in passing ask where from, where bound and what news. The last only came on board and merely to get the papers.

In 1831 Mr. and Mrs. Derby were traveling again and this time in search of health. Mrs. Derby was ill and indeed never recovered, but meanwhile sought warm climates and visited Charleston and Savannah and the Island of Santa Cruz.

 

She writes

St Thomas, Monday Jan 10 , 1831

At about 8 o'clock we anchored in the beautiful harbor of St Thomas being the 13th morning from quitting New York. Nothing can exceed the picturesque appearance that now presented itself; an amphitheater of mountains enclosing on all sides but one, the beautiful basin where ships from every nation, their streamers flaunting in the wind, lay quietly at anchor, and others under full sail gracefully making their way thro' the narrow pas by which we had just entered. Before us were richly clothed and verdant hills with each a small town literally perched like a pigeon house half way up its summit.... Our mate and sailors had prepared a chair, and wrapping the U.S. flag around me, they hoisted me into the air and gently lowered me into the little boat waiting beneath. Jane soon followed ( the mate laughing at the differences in our weights) and bidding good -bye to those excellent seamen ( not forgetting those two important personages the cook and the steward ) We pushed off from the " Concordia " and landed on Terra Firma.

St Thomas Sunday Jan 16th 1831

 

... Met the Lieut, Mr. Erminger coming for us. We stepped on board and in a few minutes were along side the Sloop. The chair was let down, the boatswain's whistle and we were soon on board a Danish Man-of-war! Received most politely by the Captain and introduced to the Officers. I preferred remaining on deck, having refused taking any refreshment, ( breakfast being just over ) I gave all my attention to the proceedings on board. The sailors were all in white shirts and trousers. They and the ship looked waxwork. The first Lieut. with a trumpet in his hand gave the word and voila like magic, the sails unfurled one after another.... The anchor was weighed and we glided slowly on ( for there was scarcely a breath of wind.) Two boats were out in front towing us and a frigate that had arrived the night before sent a 3rd to assist. The long oars, 6 or 8 in number, 4 men to each, were then ordered ands in spite of almost a calm we soon got out of the harbor.... Entering the Captain's cabin the table was laid for a breakfast ( a la fourchette ) consisting of chocolate and tea served in a French porcelain from a sideboard. On the table was a dish of chicken, rice, fried bananas, guava jelly - and again at 1/2 past 4 we were ushered into a dinner - an excellent soup, a superbly dressed turtle ( looking more like a calfs head pie ) served in one-half the shell. The head was left on and something in its mouth to keep it open. A roast turkey with nicely browned potatoes completed the dinner. A dish of flapjacks ( a favorite with the Danes ) was served for the second course, with preserved cherries. The cherries were laid in rows on the pancake which is then folded over and over and you cut between the cherries so as to take one with each mouthful. Coffee was served on deck and at night tea also brought up.

Finding that we should be obliged to pass the night on board, I begged the Captain to allow us to be of as little trouble as possible and a mattress anywhere was sufficient for roe. He said he should take one of the officers hammocks and leave the cabin to me and mine. I found his bed excellent. It was on one side of the cabin quite concealed by a sliding door. Near it on a sofa was placed a mattress for Jane and 2 more on sofas round the cabin for Mr. D. and the Count.

Monday 17th - Found that going on deck we were in sight of the green fields of Santa Cruz. A dish of tea was served on deck and breakfast ( a la fourchette ) at 12. We soon after dropped anchor. The boat was lowered, the chair arranged and after making our acknowledgements to the Captain and officers we left the ship for the shore accompanied by Mr. Erminger.

 

Thursday, Jan 13 At Counsellor Berg's Santa Cruz

The Governor, Capt. Finett, Mr.--- came to dinner. It was served in white porcelain. First, a fine turtle soup; a large turtle pie looking like our calfs head pie only covered with forcemeat balls; sausages dressed with cabbage, which seems a favorite dish here; bouille beef, but dressed with all sorts of vegetables, peppers, tomatoes, etc.; curried chicken, rice, macaroni, 2nd course - squabs with a delicious sauce, roast beef and sallad. Such a sallad! I have never tasted anything equal to it. The egg seemed to be all cream; The top all white though there was no cream in it. Chicken was mixed with it. It was covered at the top with small leaves of salad and nasturtium flowers intermixed. It looked beautifully. Small bottles of claret wine were on the table and jugs ( a sort of antique shape porous jar ) of water to almost every plate; bordeaux, port, first rate maderia, and musket were circulated in turn. Fine English cheese and porter. Tarts made of guava and soft custards ( called creams ) made the last course, in the middle of the table was a large glass dish full of flowers. As the cloth was taken off the clock struck six and fear of not getting down the hill before it was dark made me beg leave to rise from table and change my dress. When equipped for my horse I returned and drank a glass of wine and tasted some fruit, thou I was too much in haste to see all the variety. We mounted, leaving all the party at the door with the faithful Peter holding the bridle and telling me to keep a tight rein, I reached Mr. Kelly's in safety. "

Quite a risky ride, one would say in these later degenerate days, especially for a delicate invalid I

The Journal further says - " There is always a little green pepper in the salt cellar for those who like to make use of it. Everyone made use of lime juice with the soup. Instead of being cut in two, they were peeled and cut in pieces avoiding the seeds and pulp. They were then spread out in a long dish ( like our long boats ) and served as a pendant to the anchovies with egg and capers ( as James dresses it ) and cucumbers dressed like ours.

 

 

Martha Coffin Derby to her sister Mrs. John Derby in Salem

 

Santa Cruz, 4th Feb, 1831 Mount Victory

My dear Ellen

.... The houses posses very few conviences, and as to cooking, I don't know how they get on, but they bring a very good dinner to the table after a while. What would brother John do here? He might hurry and hurry and stamp with his foot and rap with his knuckles and go to the door ( where there is one ) and walk to and fro, and fume and fret ( if he ever did such things ) - all in vain - he may sit quietly down - the d—-1 himself could not make them move. It is some amusement to me to see how resignedly the Master and Mistress submit to their fate and so perfectly good-humouredly, -no scoldings, no pointing to the clock ( by-the-by, I have not seen one on the island ). To the guestion, " Is dinner almost ready? " " Very soon Masse " and Massa waits until " very soon " comes, which is sometimes to say the least half an hour.

****************************************

St. Thomas and Santa Cruz at that time presented a good deal of social life such as dinner parties etc. Of this Mr. Derby could avail himself better than Mrs. Derby in her invalid condition. However, on Washingtons Birthday, at a Ball given to the Captain of the American ship " Vincennes " -

" As soon as the Governor arrived, the dancing commenced: to my

astonishment I was led to the head of the room by one of the managers, Mr. Dedrichsen, ( a very gentlemanly man ) and led off the country dance. Mrs. Shubree ( the wife of the American Captain ) it seems never dances.

Jan II - Our gentlemen returned from the Governor's quite delighted. An elegant dinner, 18 or 20 consisting of Military and Naval officers. Richard seated at his right hand. The first toast " Our respective Governments ". Servants in livery and everything in the handsomest French stile.

 

 

To Mrs. John Derby Court St. Salem

Santa Cruz Friday - 25th 1831

... with his accustomed tact he had fixed on this day for the ball given by the inhabitants of Frederustedts ( West End ) to the Captain and the officers of the " Vincennes"... The Ball was beautiful. So many red coats - quite european. Flambeaux burning all the way in front of the houses ( 3 houses open ajoining each other ) I stopped as I passed along the gallery to gaze at the outside before entering within. The row of coconut trees that bordered the ocean lighted up with flambeaux - the groups of pepole beneath them - the calm beautiful sea glistening in the moonlight ( there was never as much moonlight as here ). It was almost equal to that Ball at Portici. Rooms crowded - young ladies simply and sweetly dressed, and some very beautiful; all holding themselves remarkably well. The strangers placed at the Governor's table. Healths, the King, President of the U.S. and the sacred memory of Washington, with appropriate music and cannon firing. I have no time any more. Am going to dine at the Governor's and sleep at the hotel and leave this to send by the Phila. vessel.

 

 

Mrs Richard Derby to Mary Jane Derby in Cincinnati

 

Boston, 20th of Sept, 1831

My dear Mary Jane:

I expect you will make a famous traveler. Don't mind trifles -make the best of everything - and be sure you have your wits about you in case of acident - no screaming and crying - exert your energies to remedy it - women can often do more than men - have more presence of mind and promptness to act, and you, I am sure, will not be behind any of your sex in anything. ...

 

From same to same

Chestnut Street Thursday, 29th, Sept., 1831

My dear Mary Jane:

.... We are preparing for the South and shall go as soon as may be, but Miss Bacon thinks of going by Seal She is afraid of the commotions (slaves) in Virginia and N. Carolina. ....

 

Mrs R. C. Derby to Miss Derby in Cincinnati

Charleston, Feb 29 1831.

My dear Mary Jane:

Uncle Richard dines with the Governor today - a large party at the Miss Pickney^s in the evening. Town full of strangers and parties every night . .. ..

 

Mrs. Richard Derby to her niece Mary Jane Derby in Cincinnati.

Charleston, 22 Nov., 1831

 

... You will have received Miss Wilemen's letter before this reaches you and her aunt's and her kind invitation to pay them a visit. I hope S. Ellen will forgive me for urging it with all my might. In February you will have been 5 months with her. The races begin here on the 22nd of that month and I am told that the distance is less from Cincinnati here than from Boston there, and by leaving Cincinnati early in February you will be here in good season. Uncle Richard will go half way to meet you ( I don't know even that he could not be tempted to go the whole way. ) .... and only think of seeing so much delightful society here as you will. All the elite come to town to the Races. I shall write your mama if she consents, to send one or two of my Ball dresses to meet you here, combs, etc. . . ..

Mrs Richard Derby to Mary Jane Derby in Cincinnati

 

36 Broadway N.Y. 27th June, 1832

Dear Mary Jane:

.. .Apropos to tell us about Mrs. Trollope and if she was in good society in C. Spitting, chewing, and smoking which she deprecates so much is a crying sin and shame to our country, and I hope it may be corrected. . . ..

 

On Saturday Evening. Nov 24th, Mrs. M.C. Derby wife of R.C. Derby Esq. of Boston

Although we undertake with hesitation and delicacy to describe a character so much loved as the subject of this notice, it would be unjustice to ourselves and this community to suffer one so distinguished by her virtures and talents to pass from among us without some public expression of the regard with which every heart is filled.
The Simplicity, purity and kindness of Mrs. Derby's character, and her entire freedom from vanity and pretension were strikingly heightened by her unparalleled grace and beauty which were the theme of universal praise; but those only to whom she was bound by ties of kindred and friendship, know how faithfully and generously she sustained these relations, with what devotedness and vigor of purpose she met the exigencies and satisfied the demands of duty and effection .
The winning sweetness of manners for which she was remarkable did not result more from loveliness of disposition than from good sense and candor with which she estimated the character of others. In the severe trials of life, so unshaken and at the same time so unestenteatious were her constancy and fortitude that they often surprised those who knew her best. Accustomed as she was from youth to admiration, in Europe and in her own country, she never set too high or too low a value in the world's favor but met it with gentle and grateful acceptance. The choicest veins of her happiness lay far deeper in the tender affections and high principles of her nature, in the elegant and refined ..........
 

 

 List of Individuals Mentioned in Letters of Martha Coffin Derby

Malbone - Edward Greene - 1777-1807 - American Miniaturist. He was a friend of Benjamin West. He traveled to Europe in 1801. In 1804-5 he worked in Boston. Page 8

 

Sheridan - Richard Brimsley - 1751-1816 - British Playwright and Politician. He was very active in political and social circles. He was a close friend of the Prince of Wales, later George IV.

 

Sir Grenville Temple - He was the son of Earl Richard Grenville Temple and nephew of William Pitt.

 

J Coulson - was Martha Derby Coffins cousin. Thomas Coulson married Dorcus Coffin a sister of her father, Dr. Nathaniel Coffin. Before the American Revolution, the Coulsons returned to England to live. J. Coulson is probably a son or daughter of the Thomas Coulsons.

Jacques Necker - 1732-1804 - French financier and Statesman. He married Suzanne Curchod whose "Salons" attracted the leading figures of that time. In 1776, Louis XVI named him Director General of Finance. He raised money to help France in the American Revolution. He was not given a title because he was a Protestant. He retired to Coppet and wrote a number of books. His daughter, Madame de Stael wrote " Memoirs of the Private Life of M. Necker" Paris 1804. His grandson Baron Auguste Louis de Stael-Holstein published "Oeuvres" complete in 15 volumes Paris 1820-1.

Alfieri - Count Vittorio 1749-1803 - He was an Italian tragic poet. In 1777, he fell in love with the Countess d 'Albany, wife of Charles Edward who was the Stuart pretender to the British

 

Cardinal Erecole Consalvi - 1757-1824 - He was briefly imprisoned by "the French after which he was made Secretary of State by Pope VII in 1800. He signed the French Concordat. He promoted the Arts and streamlined the Papal Administration. He was forced to resign by Napoleon in 1806. He was known as one of the "Black Cardinals" because they refused to recognize Napoleons second marriage. After Napoleons abdication, he again served as Secretary of State. He is considered one of the greatest statesmen ever to serve the Court of Rome.

 

Angelica Kauffaan - 1741-1807 - She was a Swiss painter who settled in Rome. Her house was a rendezvous for painters and scholars.

 

Ferdinand IV of Maples -( Kingdom of the Two Scilies.) He was the son of Charles IV of Spain. His reign extended throughout the French Revolution. He was thrown out by Napoleon but restored by the Congress of Vienna ( He then became Ferdinand 1) He was succeeded by his son Ferdinand II.

 

Louisiana Purchase - President Jefferson sent James Monroe and Robert Livingston to France to buy New Orleans, but Napoleon decided to sell all of Louisiana for 15 million rather than chance that Britain would seize New Orleans. Livingston and Monroe accepted and signed the treaty thus doubling the size of the Republic.

 

Madame d*Arbley (Frances Burney) 1752 - 1840 - She was an English novelist and a favorite of the literary men of her day. He lasting contribution was the " Diary and Letters of Mme d'Arblay" edited by her niece Charlotte Frances (1842-46). It is an invaluable source for the manners and customs of the day.

 

John Singleton Copley - 1783- 1815 - He marriedSusan Farnam Clarke  a 3rd cousin in 1769. In 1769 he went to England and settled in London. He was a noted American Painter.

 

 

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