Smith&Gosling Timeline

Influenced by the “introductory” pages of the book More than Common Powers of Perception (1991) – the published diary of Elizabeth Rogers Mason Cabot, I’ve begun to work up similar “summaries”.  KM July 2013


“In the beginning of the Year L:d. Northampton had a most dangerous fever at Stoke; but he recovered perfectly. We spent the Easter Week very happily at Ashby. All the Summer we were at Suttons, & in November set out for Wiltshire: but Emma’s having the Measles just at that time, prevented our going, & our travels ended at Heckfield & the Vyne: this was the only great disappointment I endured; I was very sorry not to go to Stoke the first Year of my Marriage.” {Mamma Smith, 1798 diary}

  • {newspaper: The Morning Post} Monday, 16 May 1801 – Mrs Drummond Smith’s Rout.
  • {newspaper: The Morning Post} Wednesday, 19 February 1806 -Lady Drummond Smith’s Card Party.
  • {newspaper: The Morning Post} Friday, 18 May 1810 – Lady Drummond Smith’s Assembly.
  • {newspaper: The Morning Post} Thursday, 20 May 1813 – Lady Drummond Smith’s Rout.
  • {newspaper: The Morning Post} Saturday, 19 March 1814 – Lady Drummond Smith’s concert.


Emma notes the shifting impressions and stories surrounding Napoleon’s escape from Elba. In an extended essay, she describes the arrival home of newly-weds Lord and Lady Compton; the Scottish bride is a ward of writer Walter Scott, whom the Smiths meet. Once removed from their country estate, Suttons – in the county of Essex, and ensconced for the Season (Feb-May) in their London residence at No 6 Portland Place, Emma begins to have lessons in music, painting and drawing, and Italian language. She mentions Covent Garden and Drury Lane; actors include Miss O’Neill and Mr. Kean. The governess at this point is a Miss Ramsay. A week of riots at the House of Commons due to the Corn Bill ensues in February. Once back at Suttons, the farming season (sheep shearing, for instance, is mentioned) gets diary attention. Family visitors replace the parties, concerts, plays and gallery visits prevalent to their London stay. News of the Battle of Waterloo filters to them on June fourteenth. The end of the year sees an extensive round of visits – and moves from estate to estate – taking place. They are home, however, at Suttons for Christmas-New Year’s. {based on Emma’s diary entries}


The New Year opens with the family at Suttons. A November 1815 letter intimates financial problems for Miss Lockwood. Mrs Smith, taking Emma this time, visits her on January 1st. A holiday guest is Miss Meen, the renowned ‘flower painter’. The Smiths visit Roehampton Grove, the Gosling home, where members of the Davison family are among their visitors. No sooner does the family celebrate the national Thanksgiving for Peace (January 19) then they go into mourning for Mrs Smith’s seventy-five-year-old uncle Sir Drummond Smith, bart. Emma’s eldest brother inherits his title. February sees the joint debuts of Augusta Smith and Elizabeth Gosling. Lord and Lady Compton, married last year, are in London; his mother and sister join them. Augusta and Emma begin lessons with Mr Vaughan. Mrs Smith squires Augusta to the various concerts (especially the Antient Music series), and family members (including Emma) attend a series of lectures by Mr Walker; the topics include pneumatics, hydrostatics and astronomy. The first Colebrooke enters the Smith circle. In May, mention is made of the news of the season: the marriage of the Princess Charlotte (daughter of the Prince and Princess of Wales). In July, her aunt the Princess Mary marries the Duke of Gloucester, and the next day Emma’s aunt Lady Smith-Burgess marries Lord Poulett; the Duke of Clarence (future William IV) gives this bride away. Mrs Smith sits to Miss Mary Ann Knight, for a portrait. In June, she falls ill with “St Anthony’s fire” in her leg; she is laid up nearly the rest of the year. Among doctors in attendance: Farquhar, Astley Cooper, and Baillie, brother of author Joanna Baillie (also drawn by Miss Knight). Lady Compton welcomes her first son, Baron Wilmington. Late in the year Augusta consults Dr Baillie about ‘a pain in the chest’; he prescribes opium-based medicine. An eclipse of the sun is witnessed on November 19th, the greatest that had been known in fifty years, records Emma. The year ends with a visit to Wells, and side-trips to Wookey Hole, Cheddar Cliffs and Glastonbury Tor. {based on Emma’s diary entries}


A notation that ‘Grandpapa was in good health at the age of 84’ opens the year. The Smiths are at Stoke for New Year’s; the company: The Northamptons, Mr and Mrs Chute and Caroline, a Mrs Langham. Charles sustains a fall from his horse. The Smiths proceed to The Vyne, and then on to London. Emma mentions the tumult occurring when the Prince Regent attends the House in late January. The disturbances seem over by the time the Smiths remove to London at the beginning of February. Charles returns to his studies at Warwick (under the direction of Mr Boudier). Augusta Smith is presented at the February 20th Drawing Room. Fanny and Augusta Smith, in company with Mrs Gosling, encounter riotous spectators at a play, due to the non-appearance of the actor Booth. {based on Emma’s diary entries} [more 1817 to come!]


At Covent Garden, Emma experiences their new GAS lighting system. Excessively-high winds wreak havoc with Miss Currie’s and Lady Haye’s London houses. Emma and family members visit ships about to embark on a voyage to North America and the North Pole. They are escorted by Lieutenant William Edward Parry, the famous explorer then at the beginning of his Northwest Passage search. Both ships return before the end of the year. Celebrations at Roehampton, the Goslings’ home, are dampended by news of illness; Lord Walsingham, Charlotte Gosling’s father, dies. Spencer leaves his Iver schooling to begin at Harrow. Spring floods near Suttons causes some detours. A lady-friend prepares to leave for India, and the Smiths bid goodbye. Summer sees the Smiths and Colebrookes in Wales; they visit the Ladies of Llangollen. The Northamptons journey to Switzerland, and see Mont Blanc; while the Smiths visit their grandfather and tour Stonehenge.  The siblings decide to act She Stoops to Conquer, one of thirteen plays Emma participates in. The Gosling family travel to the Continent, and tour the area of Waterloo. Charles enters Trinity College, Cambridge. The Smiths become upset over false reports of Charles’s death in a horse accident; the truth behind the reports unsettles them further. News of the death of Queen Charlotte reaches the populace. Emma and the Goslings ride to Windsor to witness the funeral procession. The Smiths are visited by artist John Claude Nattes, who sketched Suttons in 1811. Aunt agrees to pay for a Twelfth Night ball and the Smiths issue invitations. {based on Emma’s diary entries}


At Suttons this New Year’s; soon comes the Chigwell and Chelmsford Balls, as well as the Smiths’ own ball on January 12th. For Emma, joining her elder two siblings, Chigwell becomes the first ball she ever attends. For the Suttons ball, the house sees the arrival of the Colebrookes, Northamptons, and Charles. Between 80 and 90 people attend! Emma describes Suttons when she writes that they “danced in the dining room, received the company in the Library, supped in the drawing room & study, had tea on the billiard table & the conservatory was lighted up”. The participants sup at one and break up at six the next morning. That evening the servants have a dance. In early February, soon after the Smiths remove to London, Miss Ramsay is noted as being unwell with a cough. She battles her illness for the next six months. Reports of Grandpapa’s ill health also begin; he is visited by the Northamptons and Chutes. Harriet Colebrooke’s portrait is taken by Mrs Carpenter, the first portrait of many for this circle of people done by this artist.  Grandpapa dies on 20 March; Miss Ramsay goes North to her mother. Several Smiths attend the Mozart operas Le nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberfloete, but leave no impressions of the performances or their performers. {based on Emma’s diary entries} [more 1819 to come!]


LIST of CHARLES JOSHUA SMITH Letters (date RECEIVED). He left on June 3; returns 15 Aug 1821 (on 16th he doles out more gifts):

No. 1, 8 June, from ??? [maybe Dover or Calais]

No. 2, 16 June, Brussels

No. 3, 20 June, The Hague

No. 4, 26 June, The Hague

No. 5, 10 July, Frankfurt

No. 6, 29 July, Saxe-Gotha

No. 7, 2 August, Leipzig

No. 8, 11 August, Dresden

No. 9, 16 August, Berlin

No. 10, 21 August, Hamburg

No. (11?), 7 September, Copenhagen??

No. 12, 17 September, Gothenburg

No. 13, 25 September, Stockholm

No. 14, 11 October, Stockholm

No. 15, 15 October, Stockholm

No. 16, 30 October, Stockholm

No. 17, 1 November, Stockholm

No. 18,  21 November, St Petersburg

presents, 26 November, Hamburg

No. 19, 28 November, St Petersburg

No. 20, 8 December, St Petersburg

No. 21, 22 December, St Petersburg

No. 22, [1820 or 1821?]

No. 23, 11 January [1821], St Petersburg

No. 24, 12 January, St Petersburg

No. 25, 17 January, St Petersburg

No. 26, 19 January, St Petersburg

No. 30, 27 February, Warsaw

presents, 30 March, Vienna

No. 34, 10 May, Vienna

No. 35, 22 May, Vienna

No. 36, 29 June, Venice

No. 42, 1 August, Paris

No. 43, 12 August, Paris  {based on Emma’s diary entries}


From Mamma’s diary, summing up her “domestic” happenings for the year.

“There was more Illness among my Children than had happened for many years; but thanks to a gracious God, none that proved fatal. Eliza, Charlotte & Maria had the Measles in the Summer; Drummond, being at School, escaped it. Charlotte had it severely, almost enough to alarm us for her life; yet they all recovered rapidly. Fanny had a more dangerous Illness in Oct:r  A Typhus Fever; not of the most severe kind; but tho’ it yielded to the Medicines & began to subside in ten days, it weakened her very considerably, particularly her Nerves, for many weeks after. My Eldest Son, Charles, was of age this May, & I have reason to hope that he will give happiness to all those connected with him: he returned in August from abroad, where he had been travelling 15 months with Mr Dickins.

My Sister Emma went to France in February & did not return this year; her Friend Miss Macklin was married to Mr. Wybault.

L:d & L:y Northampton & their Daughter made a long tour in Switzerland & the North of Italy: they came to England in the middle of it on purpose to attend the Coronation: thro’ their kindness we had tickets to see it, & it was indeed a most splendid spectacle.     We went to Wells & Clifton in August, to the Vine in Sept:r —   My Daughters & Caroline amused themselves with acting two Plays at the Vine, the Lyar [sic], & Blue Beard.


The Summer had been a very cool one; in the Autumn there was no frost or snow, but an uncommon quantity of rain. The Farmers were in great distress for the price of Corn, hay, & fat Cattle was exceedingly low; most Gentlemen were lowering their Rents.

Another Expedition was sent out under the command of Capt. Parry to search for a passage thro’ the North Polar Sea”

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