Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" and "The Mysteries of Udolpho"

Illustration from The Mysteries of Udolpho (1806 edition)
Illustration from The Mysteries of Udolpho (1806 edition)
The connection between Northanger Abbey and The Mysteries of Udolpho

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Mrs Ann Radcliffe was published in 1794 and became one of the most popular Gothic novels of its time. I have written a plot summary of the book in another post. The Mysteries of Udolpho has a special attraction to any fan of Jane Austen as it is referred to numerous times in Northanger Abbey. In her novel, Jane Austen delights in poking fun at the Gothic style and emphasising the ridiculousness of confusing fantasy with reality.

Haddon Hall from Evenings at Haddon Hall  edited by Baroness EC de Calabrella (1846)
Haddon Hall from Evenings at Haddon Hall
edited by Baroness EC de Calabrella (1846) (5)
What is behind the black veil?

Catherine Morland, the heroine of Northanger Abbey, is painted as a very ordinary girl, with a very ordinary life, who has read rather a large number of novels. She becomes totally engrossed in The Mysteries of Udolpho and eagerly discusses it with her friend, Isabella Thorpe:
“But, my dearest Catherine, what have you been doing with yourself all this morning? Have you gone on with Udolpho?”
“Yes, I have been reading it ever since I woke; and I am got to the black veil.”
“Are you, indeed? How delightful! Oh! I would not tell you what is behind the black veil for the world! Are you not wild to know?”
“Oh! Yes, quite; what can it be? – But do not tell me – I would not be told upon any account. I know it must be a skeleton, I am sure it is Laurentina’s skeleton. Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it, I assure you; if it had not been to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world.” (1)
There are times when the book grips Catherine’s imagination so much that it seems more exciting than reality:
“I do not pretend to say that I was not very much pleased with him; but while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if nobody could make me miserable. Oh! the dreadful black veil! My dear Isabella, I am sure there must be Laurentina’s skeleton behind it.” (1)
If you want to find out what was behind the black veil, scan to the end of my plot summary of The Mysteries of Udolpho.

An unhealthy obsession

Later Jane laughs again at Catherine’s complete obsession with the book she is reading and states:
“In spite of Udolpho and the dressmaker, however, the party from Pulteney-street reached the upper rooms in very good time.” (1)
The tea room, the Assembly Rooms, Bath. They were known as the  Upper Rooms to distinguish them from the older Lower Rooms
The tea room, the Assembly Rooms, Bath. They were known as the
Upper Rooms to distinguish them from the older Lower Rooms
Read more about the Bath Assembly Rooms in the novels of Jane Austen here.

Catherine likes to make comparisons between the world of fantasy she is reading about in Udolpho and the reality of her daily life:
“Oh, that we had such weather here as they had at Udolpho, or at least in Tuscany and the South of France! – the night that poor St Aubin died! – such beautiful weather!” (1)
Blaise Castle

The proposed outing to Blaise Castle (3) is particularly attractive to Catherine because she envisages something like Haddon Hall (5) - a Gothic edifice akin to the Castle of Udolpho:
“To feel herself slighted by them was very painful. On the other hand, the delight of exploring an edifice like Udolpho, as her fancy represented Blaize Castle to be, was such a counterpoise of good, as might console her for almost any thing.” (1)
But Jane Austen is actually playing a joke on poor Catherine, because Blaise Castle was not a ruin or even that old. She was referring to a Gothic folly built in 1766 as a summer house to entertain the guests of its then owner, Thomas Farr! (4)

Wall decoration at Haddon Hall
On the wall at Haddon Hall
“The mouth of the fool gushes folly” (2)

Jane Austen draws a stark comparison between Mr Thorpe, who makes bold statements without thought or understanding, and Mr Tilney, who speaks from an informed mind. Mr Thorpe claims never to read novels, but then promptly talks of the ones he has read. He claims to like Mrs Radcliffe’s novels and yet muddles up The Mysteries of Udolpho with Fanny Burney’s Camilla.
“Have you ever read Udolpho, Mr Thorpe?”
“Udolpho! Oh, Lord! Not I; I never read novels; I have something else to do.”
Catherine, humbled and ashamed, was going to apologise for her question; but he prevented her by saying, “Novels are all so full of nonsense and stuff; there has not been a tolerably decent one come out since Tom Jones, except the Monk; I read that t’other day; but as for all the others, they are the stupidest things in creation.”
“I think you must like Udolpho, if you were to read it; it is so very interesting.”
“Not I, faith! No, if I read any, it shall be Mrs Radcliffe’s; her novels are amusing enough; they are worth reading; some fun and nature in them.”
“Udolpho was written by Mrs Radcliffe,” said Catherine, with some hesitation, from the fear of mortifying him.
“No, sure; was it? Ay, I remember, so it was; I was thinking of that other stupid book, written by that woman they made such a fuss about, she who married the French emigrant.”
“I suppose you mean Camilla?”
“Yes, that’s the book; such unnatural stuff!”
Haddon Hall
Haddon Hall - possibly the inspiration for the Castle of Udolpho (5)
"The person...who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid"

Jane Austen must have felt that gentlemen looked down on novels and so I am sure that it was no coincidence that she put her oft-quoted words in defence of the novel into the words of a gentleman, Northanger Abbey's hero, Mr Tilney:
“You have been abroad, then?” said Henry, a little surprised.
“Oh no, I only mean what I have read about. It always puts me in mind of the country that Emily and her father travelled through, in The Mysteries of Udolpho. But you never read novels, I dare say?”
“Why not?”
“Because they are not clever enough for you – gentlemen read better books.”
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho, when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; - I remember finishing it in two days – my hair standing on end the whole time.”
“I am very glad to hear it, indeed; and now I shall never be ashamed of liking Udolpho myself. But I really thought before, young men despised novels amazingly.” (1)
The "nicest" book

We can catch a glimpse of how fashionable it was to enjoy Gothic romances by Catherine’s innocent comment that she found it the “nicest” book. I think we can assume that Jane Austen disliked the word nice as being too generic!
“But now, really, do not you think Udolpho the nicest book in the world?”
“The nicest; - by which I suppose you mean the neatest. That must depend upon the binding.”
“Come, Miss Morland, let us leave him to meditate over our faults in the utmost propriety of diction, while we praise Udolpho in whatever terms we like best. It is a most interesting work.” (1)
Illustration from The Mysteries of Udolpho (1806 edition)
Illustration from The Mysteries of Udolpho (1806 edition)
The dangers of Gothic novels

In Catherine’s mind, Northanger Abbey becomes the Castle of Udolpho, where anything might have happened in the past. Her imagination runs away with her and she incurs Mr Tilney’s anger at her wild suppositions. This allows Jane Austen to defend her own style of writing – true pictures of character rather than the stylised players in a Gothic world that in no way resembled reality.
“Charming as were all Mrs Radcliffe’s works and charming even as were the works of all her imitators, it was not in them perhaps that human nature, at least in the midland counties of England, was to be looked for.”
“But in the central part of England there was surely some security for the existence even of a wife not beloved, in the laws of the land, and the manners of the age. Murder was not tolerated, servants were not slaves, and neither poison nor sleeping potions to be procured, like rhubarb, from every druggist.” (1)
Notes
(1) From Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1818).
(2) From Proverbs 15v2 – I thought this verse summed up Mr Thorpe’s speech beautifully!
(3) Spelt Blaize by Jane Austen.
(4) Blaise Castle House was built in 1796-8 - around the time Jane Austen wrote Northanger Abbey - but the folly is almost 40 years older, dating from the time when Thomas Farr was using the estate as a private pleasure ground. For more details see the Friends of Blaise Castle website below.
(5) According to W Adam, in the Description of Buxton etc included below: Haddon Hall was "a structure which assisted the imagination of Mrs Radcliffe in its wildest flights, when writing The Mysteries of Udolpho."

Sources used include:
Adam, W, Description of Buxton, Chatsworth, Bakewell, Haddon Hall, and Castleton: with a tabular view of the principal drives and objects of interest throughout the county: abridged from Adam's Gem of the Peak (1852)
Austen, Jane, Northanger Abbey (1818)
Calabrella, Baroness EC de (editor), Evenings at Haddon Hall (1846)
Radcliffe, Mrs Ann, The Mysteries of Udlopho (1794)

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Sandsfoot Castle, Weymouth, Dorset

Sandsfoot Castle
Sandsfoot Castle
Weymouth Castle

On the cliff overlooking Portland Harbour, just a little way along the coast from Weymouth, stand the ruins of Sandsfoot Castle. The castle has been known by various names over the years – Weymouth Castle, Sandes Foot or Sandes Fort – but is now usually referred to as Sandsfoot Castle.

Sandsfoot Castle from the Rodwell trail
Sandsfoot Castle from the Rodwell trail
A Tudor blockhouse

Sandsfoot Castle was built as a Tudor blockhouse during the reign of Henry VIII in c1539-41 to protect the south coast of England from European invasion after Henry’s break with Rome. Its position high up on the cliff would have made it very visible to approaching ships, forcing them to plot a course much closer to Portland. This would have put them in the firing line of Portland Castle, Sandsfoot’s sister castle, also built by Henry VIII, which would have been hidden until the ships were well into Portland Roads, that is, Portland Harbour.

The castle was governed by a series of governors and captains. It was part of the defensive network against the Spanish Armada and changed hands several times during the Civil War.

In 1665, when Humphrey Weld of Lulworth Castle was governor, the castle was removed from the military register. It was due to be slighted, that is, deliberately destroyed, to prevent it being used against the government, but for whatever reason, this never happened and the castle was simply abandoned.

View from Sandsfoot Castle
View down to the beach
from Sandsfoot Castle
What was the castle like?

Sandsfoot consisted of a rectangular, two-storey accommodation block with a storage area in the basement, a tower on the west end and a gun platform on the eastern side, overlooking the sea. Earthworks and ditches were added later to protect the castle from inland attack. The castle walls contained a number of decorated pieces of stone which probably came from nearby Bindon Abbey, just east of Wool.

Model of Sandsfoot Castle in Weymouth Museum
Model of Sandsfoot Castle in Weymouth Museum
Sandsfoot Castle as a ruin

By 1725, Sandsfoot Castle had become a ruin. Since 1691, stone had been robbed from the walls for use elsewhere; some was probably used in the building of the Weymouth town bridge in 1712. The royal coat of arms carved in stone was removed from the castle in 1825 and is now over the south door of All Saints Church, Wyke Regis.

Royal coat of arms from Sandsfoot Castle in All Saints Church, Wyke Regis
Royal coat of arms from Sandsfoot Castle
in All Saints Church, Wyke Regis
But the castle’s biggest enemy was the sea. Even during its active service, regular repairs had been necessary to prevent it falling into the sea, but once abandoned, nothing was done to protect it from its fate. In 1837, most of the gun platform collapsed onto the beach, but sea erosion slowed down after 1849 when the new Portland Harbour breakwater was created.

A Georgian visitor attraction

Weymouth Castle by S Prout from Picturesque Views on the South Coast of England (1826)
Weymouth Castle by S Prout
from Picturesque Views on the South Coast of England (1826)
Sandsfoot Castle attracted artists and other visitors to its picturesque ruins, looking out over the sea. It was described in Delamotte’s The Weymouth Guide (1785):
“Weymouth Castle, called also Sandes Foot, or Sandes Fort, stands a miles S. W. of the town, on a high cliff, almost opposite Portland Castle, and commands the Bay. It was built by King Henry VIII. Leland calls it “a right goodly and warlyke castle, having one open barbicane”. Its form is a parallelogram, or long square, and was faced with square stone, now all carried away. At the north end was a tower, on which were the arms of England, supported by a wyvern and unicorn: the north part seems to have been the Governor's apartment, which is all vaulted; the south front is semicircular, and said to have been the gun room: before it, on the south, was formerly a platform for cannon. On the east is the remains of a small gate, and a deep trench surrounds the whole, except on the south: the walls were thick and lofty when entire; and though it was not large, must have been a beautiful structure. It seems to have been neglected since the Restoration. In 1631, George Bamfield had a grant of the office of Custos [ie Guardian] of Sandsfoot Castle, during pleasure: and in 1640, Nathaniel Speccot, Knight, was made Custos for life. After the restoration, Humphrey Weld, of Lulworth Castle, was Governor for many years.” (1)
Sandsfoot Castle from The Lady's Magazine (1789)
Sandsfoot Castle from The Lady's Magazine (1789)
The Lady’s Magazine (1789) wrote:
"Weymouth Castle, called also Sandes Foot, or Fort, stands a mile south-west of the town on a high cliff, almost opposite Portland Castle, and commands the bay. It was built by king Henry VIII. Leland calls it ‘a right goodly and warlyke castle, having one open barbicane’. Its form is a parallelogram, or long square stone, now all carried away. At the north end was a tower on which were the arms of England, supported by a wyvern and unicorn: the north part seems to have been the governor’s apartment, which was vaulted: the south front is semi-circular, and said to have been the gun-room: before it, on the south, was formerly a platform for cannon. On the east is the remains of a small gate, and a deep trench surrounds the whole, except on the south. The walls were lofty and thick when entire; and though it was not large, it must have been a beautiful structure. It seems to have been neglected since the Reformation." (2)
Harvey’s Improved Weymouth Guide (1800) was more succinct:
"At a small distance from hence is an old ruin called Weymouth, or Sandsfoot Castle, the remains of which are well worth seeing: from this Castle along the sands leading to the ferry house, when tide is out may be justly deemed a pleasing healthful excursion, it being quite level and as smooth as a bowling green." (3)
Part of Sandsfoot Castle showing some old graffiti
Part of Sandsfoot Castle showing some old graffiti 
The later years

In 1902, the castle was bought by the Weymouth Corporation for £150, but it had to be closed to the public in 1930 because the structure had become unsafe. Tudor style gardens were added in 1931 and in 1953 it became a Scheduled Monument and Grade II* Listed Building. The final part of the gun room collapsed in 1954.

The Castle was stabilised and repaired by the Friends of Rodwell Trail and Sandsfoot Castle in conjunction with Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and reopened to the public in 2012.

Sandsfoot Castle with Portland Harbour in the background
Sandsfoot Castle with Portland Harbour in the background
Notes:
(1) From The Weymouth Guide by Peter Delamotte (1785).
(2) From The Lady’s Magazine or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, Appropriated Solely to Their Use and Amusement (1789).
(3) From Harvey's Improved Weymouth Guide (1800)

Sources used include:
Delamotte, Peter, The Weymouth Guide (1785)
Friends of Rodwell Trail & Sandsfoot Castle, Sandsfoot Castle (2014)
Harvey, John, Harvey's Improved Weymouth Guide (1800)
The Lady’s Magazine or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, Appropriated Solely to Their Use and Amusement (1789)
Turner, JMW, Picturesque Views on the southern coast of England, from drawings made principally by JMW Turner and engraved by WB Cooke and others (1826)
Sandsfoot Castle and the Rodwell Trail website

Photographs © Andrew Knowles - More of Andrew's photos of Sandsfoot Castle on Flickr

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The general election of 1784

The Devonshire, or most approved method of securing votes  by Thomas Rowlandson, published by William Humphrey (1784)  © British Museum
The Devonshire, or most approved method of securing votes
by Thomas Rowlandson, published by William Humphrey (1784)
© British Museum
The background to the election

After the resignation of the loyal Lord North in 1782, George III appointed the Whig Lord Rockingham in his place, but he died within a few months of taking office. Perhaps the most obvious successor for leading the cabinet was Charles James Fox, but George III hated Fox and so appointed his rival, Lord Shelburne, as his Prime Minister. Fox formed a coalition with his previous enemy, Lord North, to force Shelburne’s government to fall.

For a while, the Fox-North coalition was in control, nominally under the leadership of the Duke of Portland. But George III was determined to be rid of Fox. The King announced that he would count as his enemies any who voted in favour of Fox’s East India bill in the House of Lords. By this means, the government was defeated and George III appointed the youthful Tory William Pitt the Younger as his new Prime Minister in December 1783.

In March 1784, as support swung in favour of Pitt’s government and away from Fox, a general election was called.

Read more about the two parties, the Whigs and the Tories, here.

Left: Charles James Fox from The Historical and Posthumous Memoirs   of Sir Nathaniel Wraxall (1884)  Right: William Pitt the Younger from Memoirs of George IV by R Huish (1830)
Left: Charles James Fox from The Historical and Posthumous Memoirs 
of Sir Nathaniel Wraxall (1884)
Right: William Pitt the Younger from Memoirs of George IV by R Huish (1830)
The 1784 election

The electoral system in 1784 was very different from what it is today. The country was not split into areas each returning a single Member of Parliament. Rather, it was a motley system of counties and parliamentary boroughs—towns which had been granted a royal charter which allowed them to elect two Members of Parliament. Changes in population over time had led to some boroughs being in the control of a very small electorate. These became known as rotten boroughs—controlled by a very small electorate—and there were also pocket boroughs, which were effectively controlled by a single landowner. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge even had their own Members of Parliament!

On top of this, very few adults had the right to vote. You had to be male, Protestant and eligible according to the varying criteria of your particular borough.

It was expected that both parties would use their patronage and wealth to influence the electorate to vote for them. Canvassing in 1784 was not merely about going from door to door encouraging people to vote in your favour; it was about patronage and bribery on a big scale. Even the great abolitionist William Wilberforce started off his political career in 1780 by ‘buying’ the votes of the electorate of Hull at the expected rate of two guineas each.

The Westminster Election

The Westminster hustings in front of St Paul's Church, Covent Garden  from Covent Garden its romance and history by R Jacobs (1913)
The Westminster hustings in front of St Paul's Church, Covent Garden
from Covent Garden its romance and history by R Jacobs (1913)
The most controversial constituency in the 1784 election was the borough of Westminster. This was a borough with a large electorate—an electorate where the votes of the people really counted. Three candidates were standing for the two places in Parliament: Lord Admiral Hood, a popular hero from the American war who supported Pitt; Sir Cecil Wray, who had deserted the Whigs to support the Tory government; and Charles James Fox, leader of the Whig Opposition.

The polling opened on 30 March and closed on 17 May (1). The hustings were set up in Covent Garden, adjacent to the polling booths. Fox and a few associates remained on the platform whilst the rest split up and went out into the area to canvas the voters. It seems that they counted the votes that were placed each day and so there was a running tally as to which candidate was in the lead.

A picture of Covent Garden

An excerpt from a letter written by Hannah More to her sister in 1784 gives a glimpse of the prevailing atmosphere in Westminster:
“A propos of elections – I had like to have got into a fine scrape the other night. I was going to pass the evening at Mrs Cole’s in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. I went in a chair; they carried me through Covent Garden: a number of people, as I went along, desired the men not to go through the Garden, as there were a hundred armed men who, suspecting every chairman belonged to Brookes’s, would fall upon us. In spite of my entreaties, the men would have persisted; but a stranger, out of humanity, made them set me down, and the shrieks of the wounded, for there was a terrible battle, intimidated the chairmen, who at last were prevailed upon to carry me another way. A vast number of people followed me, crying out, “It is Mrs Fox: none but Mr Fox’s wife would dare to come into Covent Garden in a chair; she is going to canvass in the dark.” Though not a little frightened, I laughed heartily at this, but shall stir no more in a chair for some time.” (2)
The ladies of the election

From left to right: Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire;
Henrietta Ponsonby, Lady Duncannon, later Countess of Bessborough;
Anne Seymour Damer (7)
Many of Fox’s friends were canvassing in their own constituencies and so much of the weight of his campaign fell on the shoulders of his female supporters. His canvassing team included a number of notable ladies: Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire; her sister, Harriet, Lady Duncannon; Anne Seymour Damer; the Duchess of Portland; Lady Jersey; Lady Carlisle; Mrs Bouverie; the three ladies Waldegrave; Mary Robinson. The canvassers dressed in the party colours of blue and buff with foxtails in their hats.
“Several ladies of rank and fashion stood forth as Fox’s friends—at their head, Georgiana, the eldest daughter of Earl Spencer, and the wife, since 1774, of the fifth duke of Devonshire. Of great beauty and unconquerable spirit, she tried all her powers of persuasion on the shopkeepers of Westminster. Other ladies who could not rival her beauty might at least follow her example. Scarce a street or alley which they did not canvass in behalf of him whom they persisted in calling 'the Man of the People', at the very moment when the popular voice was everywhere declaring against him.”  (3)
The Duchess of Devonshire

Female influence; or the Devons-e canvas  published by William Wells (1784) © British Museum
Female influence; or the Devons-e canvas
published by William Wells (1784) © British Museum
During the canvassing, the Duchess of Devonshire was famously accused of exchanging kisses for votes:
“It was at this election that the beautiful Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, successfully wooed the electors for the great Whig leader by her smiles and her kisses. ‘Your eyes are so bright, my lady, that I could light my pipe by them,’ said an Irish labourer to her at Covent Garden. She is said to have valued that compliment more highly than any she received during a long and brilliant career  in social and political life. ‘The Duchess having purchased the vote of an impracticable butcher by a kiss is said to be unquestionable,’ says Earl Stanhope.” (4) 
Dr Cornwallis wrote:
“The Duchess of Devonshire is indefatigable in her canvass for Fox; she was in the most blackguard houses in Long Acre by eight o’clock this morning.” (5)
'Woman of the People'

There is no doubt that the Duchess threw herself into the election with considerable fervour. The Tory press tried to turn public opinion away from the Whigs by ridiculing Fox’s reliance on ladies to run his campaign and in particular, they targeted the Duchess, making derogatory comments about her unladylike involvement. It was one thing for Fox to be the ‘Man of the People’, but a ‘Woman of the People’ was a prostitute and unsavoury prints rushed to make the lewd connection.

Ride for ride or secret influence rewarded published by Edward Shirlock (1784) © British Museum
Ride for ride or secret influence rewarded
published by Edward Shirlock (1784) © British Museum
Pitt wrote to Wilberforce on 8 April:
“Westminster goes on well in spite of the Duchess of Devonshire and the other 'Women of the People'; but when the poll will close is uncertain.” (3)
Disillusioned by the polls which suggested that Fox was going to lose and worn down by both the physical exertion and the mental torment of the hateful press, the Duchess left Westminster on 12 April and went to stay with her mother. But the tide was beginning to turn in Fox’s favour and the Whigs begged her to return, believing that her charismatic presence was winning people over. Refreshed, the Duchess returned to Westminster and continued to canvas for Fox.

Fox is victorious

The final result was: Lord Hood 6,694 – Fox 6,234 – Sir Cecil Wray 5,998 (6). Fox had held onto his seat – a significant victory for the Whigs. Led by horsemen in blue and buff with foxtails in their hats, Fox and his supporters marched in triumph from St Paul’s to Carlton House and onto Devonshire House where the Duchess of Devonshire and the Prince of Wales greeted them. There followed a succession of dinners and balls at Carlton House, celebrating Fox’s victory.

Procession to the hustings after a successful canvass  by Thomas Rowlandson, published by William Humphrey (1784)  © British Museum
Procession to the hustings after a successful canvass
by Thomas Rowlandson, published by William Humphrey (1784)
© British Museum
The Whigs are defeated

Fox might have won his seat in Westminster, but around the country, the results for the Whigs were disastrous. 89 Whigs lost their seats and became known as Fox’s Martyrs. Pitt was returned as MP for the University of Cambridge—the seat that he had failed to win at the previous election. The Tory government was secure and the Opposition became a shadow of what it had been before the election.

To make matters worse, a scrutiny of the Westminster election was instigated, suggesting that there was some irregularity in the voting. Until the scrutiny was completed, Fox was barred from taking his seat. This was seen as a stalling tactic by Pitt’s government to keep Fox out of the House. Fortunately Fox had a back-up plan. He had been elected for Tain Burghs in April and sat for them until the election scrutiny was finally resolved in his favour—in March 1785!

Notes
(1) The Book of Parliament gave the dates for the election as 1 April to 17 May. Some sources stated that the poll closed on 10 May, but The Gentleman's Magazine stated 17 May.
(2) In a letter from Hannah More to her sister in Memoirs of the life and correspondence of Mrs Hannah More by William Roberts (1834).
(3) From Life of the Right Honourable William Pitt by Earl Stanhope (1861) p208-9.
(4) From The Book of Parliament by Michael Macdonagh (1897).
(5) In a letter from Dr Cornwallis, 9 April 1784, in Covent Garden, its romance and history by R Jacobs (1913).
(6) Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman (1998) recorded the vote for Fox at 6,234 but some other sources say 6,233. The Gentleman's Magazine for May 1784 stated the two different figures in the same article!
(7) The sources of the pictures in the collage:
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Thomas Gainsborough (c1785-7) at Chatsworth
Countess of Bessborough - from La Belle Assemblée (1810)
Anne Seymour Damer - from La Belle Assemblée (1810)

Sources used include:
Foreman, Amanda, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1998)
Jacobs, Reginald, Covent Garden, its romance and history (1913)
Macdonagh, Michael, The Book of Parliament (1897)
Roberts, William, Memoirs of the life and correspondence of Mrs Hannah More (1834)
Stanhope, Philip Henry, Earl, Life of the Right Honourable William Pitt (1861)
The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle (1784)
Walpole, Horace, The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, in six volumes (1840) Vol 6

The History of Parliament online