Online Priscilla

When I first began researching Priscilla Wakefield I had to scour the national libraries to locate print copies of her publications. I had to make appointments and take time off work to visit research libraries. I had to take hand written notes in pencil or pay for expensive photocopies. Times have changed. Internet sites such as this bring together digitized copies of Priscilla’s works http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Wakefield%2C%20Priscilla%2C%201751-1832

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Published in: on December 19, 2014 at 7:47 am  Comments (1)  

Darton & Harvey archive

A recent Internet search has revealed a source related to Priscilla’s publications. It is the Darton & Harvey archive held at the University of Reading. The link to information about this archive is here http://www.reading.ac.uk/adlib/Details/archiveSpecial/110014355 and Priscilla is noted at the bottom of the entry.

Published in: on November 1, 2014 at 4:52 am  Comments (1)  

More about maps

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The inclusion of folded maps was a feature of Priscilla’s travel books. The above image provides a sense of the scale of these maps in comparison to the text. It must have been a source of delight to children to carefully unfold them and follow the adventures of Arthur, Henry Franklin and Sancho in North America.

This image is on the website of an online auction for Excursions in North America with the following description.

third edition, 1 large folding engraved map of North America, some very light browning, contemporary ink inscription to front free endpaper, contemporary blind-stamped calf, gilt, spine gilt in compartments, rubbed, 1819 § Birkbeck (Morris) Notes on a Journey in America , third edition, 1 large folding engraved map ‘from the Coast of Virginia to the Territory of Illinois’, hand-coloured in outline, some slight soiling, modern morocco, spine gilt, edges uncut, 1818; and 4 others, similar America, 8vo, (6). http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/25783941_wakefield-priscilla-excursions-in-north-america#.

Published in: on October 27, 2014 at 4:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Research

There has been interest from later descendants and academics in researching Priscilla Wakefield. One of the descendants was Mrs Mary Priscilla Mitchell who accumulated a lot of Wakefield material. Following is a link to the transcript of a recording that was made in 1986 and held in the Borrow Collection at Flinders University http://hdl.handle.net/2328/23546 Click on the ‘view/open’ link to read the transcript.

Of particular interest is the confirmation that Priscilla’s Journals could not be located at that time and appear to be lost.

Published in: on May 25, 2013 at 5:20 am  Comments (1)  

Ailing Priscilla

Because of continuing ill-health Priscilla moved to Ipswich in 1813 to live near her daughter Bell. But it appears she left alone and husband Edward was not included in the removal. Over time Edward Wakefield had become an increasingly shadowy figure whose presence seemed more of an irritant to Priscilla especially when he chose to ‘stay down’ (downstairs) when she wanted to write. Edward died in 1826, the same year his grandsons Edward Gibbon and William Wakefield would be tried and convicted for the abduction of a young woman in a failed elopement plan.

Priscilla spent the remaining 19 years of her life in Ipswich. Her health greatly deteriorated and was of such concern that she was not told immediately told of Catherine’s marriage in 1823 for fear of the excitement. (A Sort of a Conscience, p. 76) She died in September 1832 as the former convict Edward Gibbon Wakefield was reinventing himself as a colonial reformer.

In his publication A Letter from Sydney, published in 1829, a fictional character visits his Grandmother who is quite possibly modelled on Priscilla.

“Just before I embarked at Plymouth, I visited my grandmother, in order to take leave of her for ever. Poor old soul! She was already dead to the concerns of this life ; my departure could make but little difference in the time of our separation, and in regard to her affection for me, it could be of no importance to her which of us should quit the other. My resolution, however revived her for a day all her woman’s feelings. She shed an abundance of tears, and then became extremely curious to know every particular about the place I was going. I rubbed her spectacles whilst she wiped her eyes, and having places before her a common English chart of the world, pointed out the situation of New Holland.”

A digital copy of A Letter from Sydney can be found here http://archive.org/details/aletterfromsydn00gouggoog

Daniel Wakefield (1776 – 1846)

As a young man Daniel’s London life style was of great concern to his mother Priscilla. The circumstances around his marriage to Isabella suggest her fears were well founded. But he subsequently remarried and perused a successful career in the law. There is a biography of Dan in the DNB and here is a portrait done in 1824.

It is not surprising that Dan was the author of a number of publications and this Worldcat search provides a useful list. But the following information from the Coroners’ Inquest into his death published in The Observer, 27 July 1846 reveals more about the man.

He died at his home No. 5, Cambridge Terrace, Hyde Park. On a Sunday morning he failed to come down to breakfast and was found collapsed in his shower-bath by Mary Brind the housemaid. The doctor was called but he died shortly after. The inquest heard that also in the house were Miss Clarke, his adopted daughter, and Mr Henry D. Pearson a young gentleman of seventeen who had resided with him since the age of four. Daniel had not been well for about three weeks prior to his death but had not sought medical advice. The verdict was that he died from the effect of apoplexy.

A note following the report of the inquest states that he died in very embarrassed circumstances “a result which may be wholly ascribed to his benevolent disposition. He has on many occasions been known to refuse money and return fees for holding briefs on ascertaining that his clients were in distress”.

His sole heir was his daughter Sarah Clarke known as Sally. A Sort of a Conscience, p. 388.

Published in: on January 2, 2013 at 9:09 am  Leave a Comment  

London, Sugar and Slavery

Since 2007 the Museum of London Docklands have had a permanent exhibition that examines London’s involvement with the slave trade. The website is here http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Docklands/Whats-on/Galleries/LSS/ and along with may other people Priscilla’s work to highlight this isssue is acknowledged here http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Docklands/Whats-on/Galleries/LSS/Map/Resistance/People/102.htm

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Uncovering Priscilla

Internet searching can sometimes reveal information about Priscilla’s writing that has long been concealed.  

Information on the website of the bookshop George Bayntun in Bath suggests that Priscilla wrote the text to the book designed by Alfred Mills.

Pictures of English History, in Miniature

 

Published in: on June 4, 2012 at 5:13 am  Comments (1)  

Dan and Isabella

Dan, Priscilla’s youngest child, married a woman called Isabella Mackay. In 1807 Dan took a case to court in an attempt to nullify the marriage arguing that at the time she used a false name of Isabella Jackson. The case was not sustained. The judgment however provides information about Dan and Isabella and their relationship.  Isabella’s mother was Ann Mackay (Ann Jackson before her marriage) and the father was unknown. As a child she lived in a Roman Catholic boarding school in Hammersmith and in 1794, when she was eight, a man was convicted of sexually assaulting her. Daniel and Isabella intermittently lived together from 1800 when she was about fifteen. They both used a number of assumed names and in 1804 they were married in a Roman Catholic ceremony. The evidence was given to the court that a Mr Baster formed a relationship with Isabella and tried to persuade her to leave Daniel and marry him. It appears that she had greatly embellished the circumstances of her background. On 29th of May 1805 Dan and Isabella were married in the Church of St James, Clerkenwell with Isabella using the name of Jackson. A name that the court concluded had not been false.

Source : 161 Eng. Rep. 593 1752-1865.

Published in: on April 29, 2012 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Religion

Bell, Priscilla’s daughter Isabella, married Quaker Joshua Head in 1799. He was a brewer and the couple lived at Woodbridge near Ipswich. Little of the detail of Bell’s life is known but the obituary of her daughter Lucy provides a glimpse. It states that Lucy was ‘granddaughter to Priscilla Wakefield, the writer and philanthropist, and daughter to one who for many years was the foremost in all religious and philanthropic work in Ipswich’. The obituary goes on to state that ‘at the age of 16 [Lucy] followed her mother, who had received baptism a few years previously under deep spiritual convictions into the Church of England’.

Lucy was born in 1803 and would have been 16 years old in 1819 which means that Bell probably changed her religious affiliation at the time the aging Priscilla was living with her.

Source : ‘In Memoriam : Mrs Vincent Stanton’,  The Ipswich Journal, Issue 8069, 9 Jan 1883.

Published in: on April 29, 2012 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment