Thursday, 10 February 2011
De Quincey notes a considerable number of texts in his Everton diary which formed his reading during the summer of 1803. Many of these texts are now obscure and unknown to many including myself. Therefore, it is my intention to provide information on the texts referred to by De Quincey to get a better understanding of his reading at this point in his life.
He lists John Moore's Mooriana as part of a breakdown of his expenditure prepared on April 16th 1803 for his mother. The cost was threepence which I am assuming was the cost to borrow from a lending library in Liverpool.
John Moore(1729-1802) was born at Stirling, the son of a clergyman. After taking his medical degree at Glasgow, he served with the army in Flanders during the Seven Years' War, then proceeded to London to continue his studies, and eventually to Paris, where he was attached to the household of the British ambassador. In 1792 he accompanied Lord Lauderdale to Paris, and witnessed some of the principal scenes of the Revolution. His Journal during a Residence in France (1793) is the careful record of an eye-witness, and is frequently referred to by Carlyle. He died in London on 21 January 1802.
His novel Zeluco (1789), a close analysis of the motives of a selfish profligate, produced a great impression at the time, and indirectly, through the poetry of Byron, has left an abiding mark on literature. Read more on Wikipedia
Here are 2 extracts from Mooriana which I thought had a certain irony. De Quincey was a life long hypochondriac and he was full of ennui during his stay in Everton in 1803! (Click on images to enlarge)
I had completely forgotten that De Quincey was baptised in St Ann's Church in Manchester until I read it again this afternoon. The coincidence between his attending St Anne's Church in Liverpool while in Everton in 1803 and being baptised in a church of the same name in 1785.
MANCHESTER SJ8398SE ST ANN STREET 698-1/27/384 (South side) 25/02/52 Church of St Ann GV I Church. 1709-12 (traditionally said to have been designed by Sir Chistopher Wren or one of his pupils); restored 1886-91 by Alfred Waterhouse. Sandstone ashlar, hipped slate roof. Classical style. Nave with east apse and west tower. The 2-storey 6-bay nave has coupled pilasters to both levels, the lower being fluted Corinthian and the upper plain, both with cornices, each bay containing large round-headed windows with keystones, and the westernmost a square headed doorway in a large pedimented tetrastyle Corinthian doorcase with fluted columns; and a pilastered parapet (formerly with urns). The semi-circular full-height apse has tall fluted Corinthian pilasters, a full entablature with carved emblems on the frieze, a very prominent cornice, and large round-headed windows with panelled aprons, moulded imposts and enriched keystones. The square west tower has 4 stages divided by string courses and a mid-height cornice, rusticated clasping corner pilasters to the lower half, a Tuscan pilaster west doorway, coupled round-headed lancets to the 2nd stage, an oculus in a blank arch to the 3rd stage (and clock-faces under segmental pediments in the north and south sides), a belfry stage with coupled fluted Corinthian pilasters framing round-headed 3-light louvred belfry windows with keystones, and a moulded cornice and balustraded parapet (originally surrounding a 3-stage cupola). Interior: galleries on 3 sides, supported by stout Tuscan columns (replacing square pillars), and with upper arcades on original slender Tuscan columns; most furnishings dating from C19 restoration, including choir in nave, but fragments of original pulpit and communion rail survive. Stained glass by Frederick Shields. History: second oldest church in Manchester, built as part of early C18 development of St Ann's Square; formerly had strong Whig and Anti-Jacobite connections; John Wesley preached here 1733 and 1738, Thomas De Quincey was baptised here 1785. English Heritage
Yermacks Conquest of Siberia, 1582 by Vasily Surikov.
"Yermack, the rebel, a drama; (poetic and pathetic) was one of the works De Quincey listed in his diary which he wished; "at some time or other, seriously intended to execute".
I presume that De Quincey was thinking of Yermack Timofeyevich:
Yermack Timofeyevich with a force of free Cossacks were enlisted by the Russian Tsar to defeat Kucham the self-proclaimed Khan of Siberia. Yermacks force prepared for the campaign during the winter and embarked on their campaign crossing into Siberia in the early summer of 1582, culminating in the routing of Kuchams large army on the banks of the River Irtysh and entering the Siberian capital of Khanate on the 26th October 1582. Yermack is shown standing under the Vernicle standard which is now housed in the armoury of the Kremlin in Moscow. Military Art
I am unsure where De Quincey read about Yermack or Yermac but one possible source is Colin Macfarquhar, George Gleig Encyclopædia britannica: or, A dictionary of arts, sciences, and miscellaneous literature, Volume 17, Part 2 1797 or L'Eveque's History of Russia. De Quincey was a prolific reader and may have come across Yermack's story in the encyclopaedia. It is an early example of De Quincey's fascination with the East.
As ever with this blog we search out strange connections on our travels. Here's Group X with There Are Eight Million Cossack Melodies And This Is One Of Them:
According to Rick Resource Forum this is The Mark Leeman Five
Monday, 7 February 2011
I am always fascinated by writer's plans for their work even if they don't produce the final article. We can sometimes learn a lot about what interested writers by these kinds of plans or lists. De Quincey was an aspiring writer in 1803 and his diary reflects his plans for his future writing:
Thursday night, May 26, 1803
"The following is a list of the works which I have, at some time or other, seriously intended to execute:-
1. Ethelfrid, a drama (poetic and pathetic)
2. Yermack, the rebel, a drama; (poetic and pathetic)
3. Paul a drama;
4. A pathetic tale, of which a black man is the hero;
5. A pathetic tale of which an Englishman is the hero;
6. An essay on poetry;
7. An essay on character;
8. A life of Catiline;
9. A life of Julius Caesar;
10. A poetic and pathetic ballad reciting the wanderings of two young children (brother and sister) and their falling asleep on a frosty - moonlight night among the lanes...and so perishing. (I projected this at Bath; I think, a few weeks before my going to Ireland.)
11. A pathetic poem describing the emotions (strange an wild) of a man dying on a rock in the sea...which he had swum to from a shipwreck...within sight of his native cottage and the paternal hills.
12. An ode in which two angels or spirits were to meet in the middle of the Atlantic.
I have sometimes thought too, though with less firmness of determination than on the preceding, that I would write-
1. An essay on pathos, as a counterpoint to No 6;
2. An essay on French and English Character, as a sequel and illustration of No. 7;
3. Many different travels and voyages.
I have besides always intended of course that poems should form the corner-stones of my fame;- but I not (at this moment) recollect any subjects that I have chosen for my poetical efforts..except those already mentioned. Between 11 and 12 o'clock"
I will be posting in more detail of some of the above at a later date.
The Reverend William Blundell was the rector of St. Anne's Church who was living in 1 Clare Street, Liverpool in the early 1800's. De Quincey refers to the Reverend William Blundell on several occasions in the 1803 Diary:
Thursday night, April 14, 1803
"High consideration" - Mr Blondell tranposed "from the top to the bottom" to "from the bot to the toppom" last Sunday. - "And inclined our -s to keep this law". Miss - turned in Cathedrali Caspiensi to me at "but there is no man to help vel aliquod simile in the psalms." (NB Chatto & Pickering edition of the 1803 Diary replaces Caspiensi for Cestriensi which translates as Chester Cathedral, vel aliquod translates as "or something")
Sunday, May 1, 1803
"Went to St Ann's - heard an ass preach"
Sunday, May 8, 1803
"Charity Sermon at St. Ann's for Infirmary"
Sunday, May 14, 1803
"On my road to church, am surprised to meet Mr Kelsall; - go with him to St Ann's; hear Blondell"
Sunday, May 22, 1803
"Go to St Ann's; - am plagued with the old man; - hear a political sermon"
Sunday, May 29, 1803
"Go to St Ann's; see people running after mad dog; - am again disturbed by old man; hear Blondell preach about the spirit"
De Quincey seems to be singularly unimpressed by William Blundell from the diary entries. De Quincey mis-spells both Blundell's surname and the church.
It would appear from the above entries that De Quincey attended St. Anne's Church for the first month of his 1803 stay in Everton. De Quincey may have been familiar with the church from previous visits to Everton as the church was the nearest to where he was staying in Everton and was probably used by the people who he knew in Everton. After his May 29th visit he appears to have started attending St George's Church in the centre of Liverpool which I will feature in a later post.
There is little information about William Blundell in the 1927 edition of the 1803 Diary edited by Horace A. Eaton or in the Chatto and Pickering edition of the 1803 Diary.
I have managed to find a few snippets including that he was paid £144 per annum according to Tait's Edinburgh Magazine Vol 2 1835:
Here is his obituary in the Gentleman's Magazine 1843 Volume 174 Page 196:
I wondered whether he was related to the famous Liverpool family of the Blundells - here is what I found in Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire Proceedings and papers, Volumes 3-4 1850-51:
Reverend Blundell was also the chaplain for the Asylum of the Blind in Liverpool as mentioned in the extract from Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire Transactions Vol 3 1850-51 Page 154:
He also contributed to the British and Foreign Bible Society mentioned in their 1813 documents:
In 1804, he contributed to the School for the Blind:
It is interesting to note that the Harper family contributed to the fund. The Harpers may have worshiped at St. Anne's and were an influential family in Liverpool in the early 1800's.
Below is the inscription for the Asylum for the Blind:
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Went to St. Ann's;— heard an ass preach;— went to the woodlands after return to Everton and thence to the resounding shore, "To worship God amongst His handy-works."
St Anne's Church (note De Quincey mis-spells the name)was about half a mile from where he was staying in Everton in 1803. He would have walked out of the village down what is now Everton Brow then called Causeway Lane or Loggerheads Lane after the tavern at the bottom of the lane and into Richmond Row which joined St Anne's Street as can be seen on the 1848-64 map below.
The Reverend William Blundell was the minister who he called an "ass". I will return to the minister in a later post.
Here are several descriptions of the church.
"St Ann's Church stands at the North end of St Anne's Street. It was built by two private gentlemen about the year 1770. It was a small neat structure of brick and stone, chiefly of the Gothic sty;e. At the North end is a plain brick tower, on each angle there is a pinnacle... The inside is well pewed in two aisles; the galleries are supported on each by slender cast-iron columns. The altar ornaments are neat, and the window is of glass richly executed. The church is remarkable for being in a north and south direction" The Stranger in Liverpool 1812
St. Anne's Richmond was opened for divine service on 25th October 1772. The building had been started earlier and had been completed under the terms of 'An Act for completing a building intended for a new Church or Chapel at Richmond near Everton...' 1772. The church was built at the expense of Thomas and Richard Dobb, cabinetmakers, of Williamson Square and a Henry North, fruit merchant, Dale Street. The church was built on land belonging to them. They had noted that there was a need for a church 'in some convenient part near to Everton due to the increasing population'. The church stood in what later became known as St. Anne Street. According to an article in 'Topographical News cuttings: St. Anne's Church, St. Anne Street' [Liverpool Record Office] for many years 'the original St. Anne's held the most aristocratic congregation in the town and the pews at one time were sold for sixty and seventy guineas to some of the most noted families of the period'. There were no free pews in the church, the pew rents and money given for burial plots in the churchyard having largely made up the incumbent's income.
In time the 'character of the locality deteriorated'. The rich moved away, the poor owned no pews and by the middle of the 19th century the church had fallen into neglect and disuse.
In 1865 the Liverpool Construction Act was passed on 26 May 1865. Under the terms of this act, St. Anne's Street was to be extended into Cazneau Street. To facilitate this, the Act provided for the demolition of St. Anne's Church but its terms prevented the Corporation from pulling down St. Anne's before erecting a new church. The Corporation duly built the new church of St. Anne's at the corner of St. Anne Street and Great Richmond Street and the consecration of the new building took place on 16th November 1871. GEN UKI
The location of the original church can be seen on the map below. (Click to enlarge)
Sir James Allanson Picton was critical of the design of the church:
It was originally plain red brick, with stone jambs to the windows and doors, supporting ogee arches, intended, it is presumed, to indicate the Gothic or Pointed style of architecture. At the north end was a plain square brick tower. Internally it was a simple parallelogram, with galleries on three sides, and a recess for the altar at the south end. Any attempt at criticism on such a piece of composition would be superfluous. It is worthy of notice on another account. It was one of the very few public buildings in Liverpool which terminated a vista. In former times, standing as it did at the extremity of a long, straight avenue, on a slightly rising eminence, and shadowed by trees, the perspective was striking when seen from a distance, at which the paltry detail was lost in the general outline. Our English towns are for the most part deficient in effects of this kind. Paris abounds with them. Edinburgh possesses a noble avenue in its George Street, terminated by the Melville Monument at one end, and by St. George's Church at the other.
On the principle of gilding refined gold, the dingy brickwork of St. Anne's Church was ultimately covered with a coat of compo, which brought out with better effect its incarnate ugliness. Memorials of Liverpool, Historical and Topographical 1873
James Stonehouse says:
(St Anne's) .... was the most aristocratic church in town. The pews at one time sold for sixty and seventy guineas each" The Streets of Liverpool 1869
We passed the site of both churches on our first De Quincey dérive. Below is a photograph taken on the dérive of the site:
The photograph is taken roughly from where the first church stood looking back up St Anne's Street and the second church was on the site of the car wash on left of the photo.