Friday, 9 June 2017

Moorish Britain, Multicultural Infidelity

Dr Samuel Johnson (1755 A.D.) has, "(Moor, and in Latin Maurus): A Negro Black Moor." European animosities were chiefly those of sex, class, religion and nationality.
Francis Barber
Under Edward III an English man who so "lowered" himself as to have intercourse with an Irish woman, was guilty of high treason. The penalty of which is to be half-hanged, disembowelled and quartered.

The irony of this is that both the Irish and English were of the same faith of Catholicism. Dr Samuel Jackson said his Negro servant and heir, Frank Barber, was a great favourite with the women. "Frank," he said "has carried the empire of cupid further than most men." He had a white wife that bore him children.

Francis Barber (c. 1742/3 – 13 January 1801), born Quashey, was the Jamaican manservant of Samuel Johnson in London from 1752 until Johnson's death. 

Johnson made him his residual heir, with £70 a year to be given him by Trustees, expressing the wish that he moves from London to Lichfield, in Staffordshire, Johnson's native city. After Johnson's death, Barber did this, opening a draper's shop and marrying a local woman. Barber was also bequeathed Johnson's books and papers, and a gold watch. In later years, he had acted as Johnson's assistant in revising his famous Dictionary of the English Language and other works. Barber was also an important source for Boswell concerning Johnson's life in the years before Boswell himself knew Johnson.

Barber was born a slave in Jamaica on a sugarcane plantation belonging to the Bathurst family. His original name was Quashey, which was a common name for a male slave.
Dr Samuel Jackson
 At the age of about 15, he was brought to England by his owner, Colonel Richard Bathhurst, whose son, also called Richard, was a close friend of Johnson. Barber was sent to school in Yorkshire. 

Johnson's wife Elizabeth died in 1752, plunging Johnson into a depression that Barber later vividly described to James Boswell.

The Bathursts sent Barber to Johnson as a valet, arriving two weeks after her death. Although the legal validity of slavery in England was ambiguous at this time (with Somersett's Case of 1772 clarifying that it did not exist in England), when the elder Bathurst died two years later he gave Barber his freedom in his will, with a small legacy of £12 (equivalent to £2,000 in 2015).

Johnson himself was an outspoken opponent of slavery, not just in England but in the American colonies as well.

The Earl of Craven caught his Negro servant, with his mistress, Harriette Wilson. He was reported as saying, "her dismissal from my cottage was because I caught her on the knee of my black footman, Mingo, and I bundled black and white into the coach together to seek their fortune."

Harriette, was the most talked-of female writer of her time. She later became the mistress of the Duke of Wellington of Waterloo fame. Harriette though, does mention Mingo.

WILLIAM CRAVEN 1st Earl of Craven (1770–1825)
Craven was the eldest son of William Craven, 6th Baron Craven, and succeeded his father as seventh Baron Craven in 1791. He served in the Army and achieved the rank of major-general.
William Craven
 In 1801 he was created Viscount Uffington, in the County of Berkshire, and Earl of Craven, in the County of York. The earldom was a revival of the title held by his 17th-century kinsman and namesake William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven.

Craven later served as Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire from 1819 to 1826. He mostly resided at Coombe Abbey, near Coventry in Warwickshire and occasionally at Hamstead Marshall in Berkshire. He is not entirely forgotten — Harriette Wilson begins her famous memoir, "I shall not say why and how I became, at the age of fifteen, the mistress of the Earl of Craven." Craven married Louisa Brunton in 1807. He died in July 1825, aged 54, and was succeeded in his titles by his son William.

Harriette Wilson (22 February 1786 – 10 March 1845) was a celebrated British Regency courtesan, whose clients included the Prince of Wales, the Lord Chancellor and four future Prime Ministers.

Harriette Dubouchet was one of the fifteen children of Swiss John James Dubouchet (or De Bouchet), who kept a small shop in Mayfair, England, and his wife Amelia, née Cook.

Her father is said to have assumed the surname of Wilson about 1801. She began her career at the age of fifteen, becoming the mistress of William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven, 7th Baron Craven.
 Among her other lovers with whom she had business arrangements was Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, who commented "publish, and be damned" when informed of her plans to write her memoirs.

Her decision to publish was partly based on the broken promises of her lovers to provide her with an income in her older age. The Memoirs of Harriette Wilson, Written By Herself, first published in 1825, are still in print. They are celebrated for their opening line:
Harriette Wilson
"I shall not say how and why I became, at the age of fifteen, the mistress of the Earl of Craven."

Her sisters Amy, Fanny and Sophia also became courtesans. Sophia married respectably into the aristocracy, when she wed Lord Berwick at age 17.

ARTHUR WELLESLEY 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852), was an Anglo-Irish soldier and statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain. His defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 put him in the top rank of Britain's military heroes. Wellesley was born in Dublin, belonging to the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. He was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787, serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland. He was also elected as a Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons.

He was a colonel by 1796, and saw action in the Netherlands and in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and, as a newly appointed major-general, won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle of Assaye in 1803.

Wellesley rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, and was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French Empire at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Following Napoleon's exile in 1814, he served as the ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the allied army which defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, together with a Prussian army under Blücher.

Wellesley's battle record is exemplary; he ultimately participated in some 60 battles during the course of his military career.

Wellington is famous for his adaptive defensive style of warfare, resulting in several victories against numerically superior forces while minimising his own losses. He is regarded as one of the greatest defensive commanders of all time, and many of his tactics and battle plans are still studied in military academies around the world.

After ending his active military career, Wellington returned to politics. He was twice British prime minister as part of the Tory party: from 1828 to 1830, and for a little less than a month in 1834. He oversaw the passage of the Catholic Relief Act 1829, but opposed the Reform Act 1832. He continued as one of the leading figures in the House of Lords until his retirement and remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death.

No comments:

Post a Comment