Lady Nugent and Jamaica, 1801-1805

March 21, 2013 at 6:32 pm (books, diaries, history, people, places, research) (, , , , , , , , )


The Smiths’ aunt Susannah (Mrs Thomas Smith) notes that her brother-in-law, Lord Mayo, attended an 1823 ball hosted by Lady Nugent. Maria (née Skinner) Nugent turns out to have left a journal, which was published as Lady Nugent’s Journal: Jamaica One Hundred Years ago (published: 1907).

maria lady nugentMaria Skinner was born in New Jersey.

Mrs Thomas Smith first writes of encountering Sir George Nugent in 1808 at Clovelly Court.

Kristin Condotta speaks on Mrs Nugent’s colonial years in a talk entitled ‘I Thank God I’m not a Man’: Lady Nugent and the Self-Made Woman in Colonial Jamaica, 1801-05. You can listen to this talk online (19+ minutes)

From the introduction to the 2002 edition, re-edited by Philip Wright, “Maria Nugent’s Journal is mainly concerned with life int he household of the Governor of Jamaica during a period of about four years, from Augusta 1801 to June 1805. As the Governor’s wife, the writer found herself at the centre of a slave-owning society, with a part to play there and no mere onlooker, yet observing its manners with the curiosity of a stranger. She met everyone of importance in the colony…”

Diarist Elizabeth Fremantle (in The Wynne Diaries, 3 vols) has left this “first impression” of the lady, from a meeting in December 1800: “Mrs. Nugent is the most conceited little woman I ever saw, she is very pretty though shorter than myself, she has the smallest head that can be, very thin and little. She is an amazing dresser, never appears twice in the same gown.” After a shopping expedition: “Mrs. Nugent bought a great deal of lace, she seems not to care how much money she spends in dres,s but she truly improves upon acquaintance and is a pleasant even-tempered little woman.”

Lady Nugent died, aged 63, in 1834.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: