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Written by Myretta
(2/14/2013 10:25 a.m.)
To Francis Austen July 3-6 1813 Chawton to HMS Elephant in the Baltic
As Francis's ship, HMS Elephant is currently stationed near Sweden, Jane waxes eloquent about Swedes, mentioning particularly,
Gustavus-Vasa (1496-1560, the Swedish nobleman who delivered Sweden from Danis Rule and was elected King of Sweden in 1523
Charles 12th – King (1682-1718) – another warrior king
Christiana – Queen Christina (1626-89)who preferred intellectual study to a crown and abdicated in 1654.
Linneus – Charles Linnaeus (1707-78) – naturalist and originator of the Linnaean system of botanical classification
Chapman's notes talk about the new garden at Chawton house that Jane Austen mentions in this letter:
Chawton House faces west; in front of it, at some distance and at a lower level, is the Alton-Southampton road. The Rectory is on the other side of the road. The present garden, which is large and enclosed by a beautiful brick wall is 'at the top of the lawn' behind the house, and is no doubt of Edward's making. Mrs. Montague Knight tells me that the garden was in the church meadow (RWC)
Some other of Le Faye's notes:
Henry Austen is promoted from Deputy Receiver to Receiver-General for Oxfordshire (RWC)
Edward Knight, son of Edward Austen Knight (Jane's brother) is to go with Henry to Scotland.
To Sweeten it means to allow time for the fumes from the new paint to evaporate. Painter's colic, a mild form of lead poisoning is caused by such fumes.
Her not half so entertaining as P&P books MP in which she mentions Frank's ships, Cleopatra, Elephant and Endymion.
More interesting in this letter is the news of the state of the Stoneleigh inheritance.
First of all, Thomas Leigh (1734 = 26 June 1813) Rector of Adlestrop and of Broadwell inherited Stoneleigh Abbey. Cousin to Mrs. GA and the Mrs. L.P. Jane Austen mentions is her Aunt Leigh Perrot,
The Vile Compromise is chronicled in Le Faye's Jane Austen: A Family Record Here are the details:
In 1786 the last Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh had died unmarried, leaving his property to his sister, the Hon. Mary Leigh, for her life, and thereafter, according to the odd wording of his will, "unto the first and nearest of his kindred, being male of his blood and name that should be alive at the time." All the Leighs of the Stoneleigh branch had died out, and an heir had therefore to be sought amongst their remote cousins, the Adlestrop Leighs. In ordinary circumstances the heir would have been James Henry Leigh, who was the head of the branch; but by the wording of Lord Leigh's will all those of an alder generation, who were thus 'the first and nearest of his blood and name' appeared to take precedence of the natural heir. Ever since 1786 the Adlestrop Leighs had been discussing amongst themselves how this strange situation was to be settled, and some of the men who descended in the female line even changed their names back to 'Leigh' in the hope that this would give them claim.
On July 2, 18806 the Hon. Mary Leigh died in London; and as the elder Leigh at this time was Revd. Thomas, his lawyer advised that he should take immediate possession to forestall any other claimants – hence the hasty trip from Adlestrop to Stoneleigh. This visit, and the whole question of the succession to Stoneleigh was of special interest to the Austens, for it seemed likely that Mr. Leigh-Perot would have a life-interest in the estate after Revd Thomas Leigh, if he survived him. It was , however, obviously most in accordance with the desire of the testator that the estate should dexcend by the usual rules of primogeniture to James Henry Leigh; so Mr. Leigh-Perrot eventually resigned his claim to the estate in exchange for a capital sum of £24,00 and an annuity of £2,000, which latter lasted until the death of his widow in 1836.
And I personally love this quote: "You will be glad to hear that every Copy of S&S is sold & that it has brought me £140 – besides the Copyright, if that should ever be of any value." If only she knew what a copyright of S&S would be worth today should one exist.
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