George Frisbie Whicher.

The Life and Romances of Mrs. Eliza Haywood online

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_This Monograph has been approved by the Department of English and
Comparative Literature in Columbia University as a contribution to
knowledge worthy of publication._


_Executive Officer_


The purpose of the following study is not to revive the reputation of a
forgotten author or to suggest that Mrs. Haywood may yet "come into her
own." For the lover of eighteenth century fashions her numerous pages
have indeed a stilted, early Georgian charm, but with the passing of
Ramillies wigs and velveteen small-clothes the popularity of her novels
vanished once for all. She had her world in her time, but that world and
time disappeared with the French Revolution [a]. Now even professed
students of the novel shrink from reading many of her seventy odd
volumes, nor can the infamous celebrity conferred by Pope's attack in
"The Dunciad" save her name from oblivion. But the significance of Mrs.
Haywood's contributions cannot safely be ignored. Her romances of
palpitating passion written between 1720 and 1730 formed a necessary
complement to Defoe's romances of adventure exactly as her Duncan
Campbell pamphlets supplied the one element lacking in his. The domestic
novels of her later life foreshadowed the work of Miss Burney and Miss
Austen, while her career as a woman of letters helped to open a new
profession to her sex. Since even the weakest link in the development of
a literary form is important, I have endeavored to provide future
historians of English fiction with a compact and accurate account of
this pioneer "lady novelist."

Hitherto the most complete summary of Mrs. Haywood's life and writings
has been Sir Sidney Lee's article in the "Dictionary of National
Biography," which adds much information not found in the earlier notices
in Baker's "Biographia Dramatica" and Chalmers' "Biographical
Dictionary." The experienced palates of Mr. Edmund Gosse and Mr. Austin
Dobson have tested the literary qualities respectively of the earlier
and later aspects of her work. Professor Walter Raleigh, Dr. Charlotte
E. Morgan, and Professor Saintsbury have briefly estimated the
importance of her share in the change from romance to novel.

Perhaps the main reason for the inadequacy of these notices lies in the
fact that no one library contains anything like a complete collection of
Mrs. Haywood's innumerable books. In pursuit of odd items I have
ransacked the British Museum, the Bodleian, and several minor literary
museums in England, and in America the libraries of Columbia, Harvard,
Yale, and Brown Universities, the Peabody Institute, and the University
of Chicago. The search has enabled me to correct many inaccuracies in
Miss Morgan's tentative list of prose fiction and even to supplement Mr.
Esdaile's admirable "List of English Tales and Prose Romances printed
before 1740," which mentions only works now extant in British libraries.

In the Bibliography I have adopted an alphabetical arrangement as most
convenient for ready reference. Under the various editions of each book
I have referred to libraries, English or American, where copies are to
be found. Or when no copy was to be had, I have referred to
advertisements, either in the newspapers of the Burney Collection, in
the "Gentleman's Magazine," the "Monthly," or the "Critical," or in the
catalogues of modern booksellers. In the Chronological List I have dated
each work from the earliest advertisement of its publication.

Naturally I have incurred obligations to scholars who have previously
passed over the same little-cultivated territory. Mr. Arundell Esdaile
of the British Museum staff both facilitated the course of my
investigations in England by valuable suggestions and cheered it by his
cordial hospitality. To Professors R.P. Utter of Amherst, J.M. Clapp of
Lake Forest College, A.H. Upham of Miami University, and A.H. Thorndike
of Columbia I am indebted for friendly advice, encouragement, and
helpful criticism. And above all my thanks are due to Professor W.P.
Trent, whose love of eighteenth century letters suggested the subject of
this research, whose sage and kindly supervision fostered the work
through every stage in its development, and for whose forthcoming "Life
and Times of Daniel Defoe" this monograph is intended as a footnote.



[a] Through the kindness of Professor J.M. Clapp I am provided with the
following evidence of the decline of Eliza Haywood's popularity. In
W. Bent's _General Catalogue of Books_ (1786) fourteen of her
productions are advertised, namely: _Works_, 4 vols; _Clementina;
Dalinda; Epistles for the Ladies; La Belle Assemblée; Female
Spectator; Fortunate Foundlings; Fruitless Enquiry; Jemmy and Jenny
Jessamy; Betsy Thoughtless; The Husband; Invisible Spy; Life's
Progress through the Passions; Virtuous Villager_. In 1791 only
four - _Clementina; Dalinda; Female Spectator; Jemmy and Jenny
Jessamy_ - appeared in Bent's _London Catalogue_, and of these the
first two had fallen in value from 3/6 to 3 shillings.
















Autobiography was almost the only form of writing not attempted by Eliza
Haywood in the course of her long career as an adventuress in letters.
Unlike Mme de Villedieu or Mrs. Manley she did not publish the story of
her life romantically disguised as the Secret History of Eliza, nor was
there One of the Fair Sex (real or pretended) to chronicle her "strange
and surprising adventures" or to print her passion-stirring epistles, as
had happened with Mrs. Aphra Behn's fictitious exploits and amorous
correspondence[1]. Indeed the first biographer of Mrs. Haywood[2] hints
that "from a supposition of some improper liberties being taken with her
character after death by the intermixture of truth and falsehood with
her history," the apprehensive dame had herself suppressed the facts of
her life by laying a "solemn injunction on a person who was well
acquainted with all the particulars of it, not to communicate to any one
the least circumstance relating to her." The success of her precaution
is evident in the scantiness of our information about her. The few
details recorded in the "Biographia Dramatica" can be amplified only by
a tissue of probabilities. Consequently Mrs. Haywood's one resemblance
to Shakespeare is the obscurity that covers the events of her life.

She was born in London, probably in 1693, and her father, a man by the
name of Fowler, was a small shop-keeper.[3] She speaks vaguely of having
received an education beyond that afforded to the generality of her sex.
Her marriage to Valentine Haywood,[4] a clergyman at least fifteen years
older than his spouse, took place before she was twenty, for the
Register of St. Mary Aldermary records on 3 December, 1711, the
christening of Charles, son of Valentine Haywood, clerk, and Elizabeth
his wife. Her husband held at this time a small living in Norfolk, and
had recently been appointed lecturer of St. Mathews, Friday Street.
Whether the worthy cleric resided altogether in London and discharged
his duties in the country by proxy, or whether Mrs. Haywood, like
Tristram Shandy's mother, enjoyed the privilege of coming to town only
on certain interesting occasions, are questions which curious research
fails to satisfy. At any rate, one of the two children assigned to her
by tradition was born, as we have seen, in London.

No other manifestation of their nuptial happiness appeared until 7
January, 1721, on which date the "Post Boy" contained an Advertisement
of the elopement of Mrs. Eliz. Haywood, wife of Rev. Valentine
Haywood.[5] The causes of Eliza's flight are unknown. Our only knowledge
of her temperament in her early life comes from a remark by Nichols that
the character of Sappho in the "Tatler"[6] may be "assigned
with ...probability and confidence, to Mrs. Elizabeth Heywood, who ...was
in all respects just such a character as is exhibited here." Sappho is
described by Steele as "a fine lady, who writes verses, sings, dances,
and can say and do whatever she pleases, without the imputation of any
thing that can injure her character; for she is so well known to have no
passion but self-love, or folly but affectation, that now, upon any
occasion, they only cry, 'It is her way!' and 'That is so like her!'
without farther reflection." She quotes a "wonderfully just" passage
from Milton, calls a licentious speech from Dryden's "State of
Innocence" an "odious thing," and says "a thousand good things at
random, but so strangely mixed, that you would be apt to say, all her
wit is mere good luck, and not the effect of reason and judgment." In
the second paper Sappho quotes examples of generous love from Suckling
and Milton, but takes offence at a letter containing some sarcastic
remarks on married women. We know that Steele was personally acquainted
with Mrs. Manley, and it is possible that he knew Mrs. Haywood, since
she later dedicated a novel to him. With some reservation, then, we may
accept this sketch as a fair likeness. As a young matron of seventeen or
eighteen she was evidently a lively, unconventional, opinionated
gadabout fond of the company of similar She-romps, who exchanged verses
and specimen letters with the lesser celebrities of the literary world
and perpetuated the stilted romantic traditions of the Matchless Orinda
and her circle. A woman of her independence of mind, we may imagine,
could not readily submit to the authority of an arbitrary, orthodox
clergyman husband.

Mrs. Haywood's writings are full of the most lively scenes of marital
infelicity due to causes ranging from theological disputes to flagrant
licentiousness. Her enemies were not so charitable as to attribute her
flight from her husband to any reason so innocent as incompatibility of
temper or discrepancy of religious views. The position of ex-wife was
neither understood nor tolerated by contemporary society. In the words
of a favorite quotation from "Jane Shore":

"But if weak Woman chance to go astray,
If strongly charm'd she leave the thorny Way,
And in the softer Paths of Pleasure stray,
Ruin ensues, Reproach and endless Shame;
And one false Step entirely damns her Fame:
In vain, with Tears, the Loss she may deplore,
In vain look back to what she was before,
She sets, like Stars that fall, to rise no more!"

Eliza Haywood, however, after leaving the thorny way of matrimony,
failed to carry out the laureate's metaphor. Having less of the fallen
star in her than Mr. Rowe imagined, and perhaps more of the hen, she
refused to set, but resolutely faced the world, and in spite of all
rules of decorum, tried to earn a living for herself and her two
children, if indeed as Pope's slander implies, she had children to

The ways in which a woman could win her bread outside the pale of
matrimony were extremely limited. A stage career, connected with a
certain degree of infamy, had been open to the sex since Restoration
times, and writing for the theatre had been successfully practiced by
Mrs. Behn, Mrs. Manley, Mrs. Centlivre, Mrs. Pix, and Mrs. Davys. The
first two female playwrights mentioned had produced beside their
dramatic works a number of pieces of fiction, and Mrs. Mary Hearne, Mrs.
Jane Barker, and Mrs. Sarah Butler had already gained a milder notoriety
as _romancières_. Poetry, always the elegant amusement of polite
persons, had not yet proved profitable enough to sustain a woman of
letters. Eliza Haywood was sufficiently catholic in her taste to attempt
all these means of gaining reputation and a livelihood, and tried in
addition a short-lived experiment as a publisher. Beside these literary
pursuits we know not what obscure means for support she may have found
from time to time.

Her first thought, however, was apparently of the theatre, where she had
already made her debut on the stage of the playhouse in Smock Alley
(Orange Street), Dublin during the season of 1715, as Chloe in "Timon of
Athens; or, the Man-Hater."[7] One scans the _dramatis personae_ of
"Timon" in vain for the character of Chloe, until one recalls that the
eighteenth century had no liking for Shakespeare undefiled. The version
used by the Theatre Royal was, of course, the adaptation by Thomas
Shadwell, in which Chloe appears chiefly in Acts II and III as the maid
and confidant of the courtesan Melissa. Both parts were added by Og. The
rôle of Cleon was taken by Quin, later an interpreter of Mrs. Haywood's
own plays. But if she formed a connection with either of the London
theatres after leaving her husband, the engagement was soon broken off,
and her subsequent appearances as an actress in her comedy of "A Wife to
be Lett" (1723) and in Hatchett's "Rival Father" (1730) were due in the
one case to an accident and in the other to her friendship for the

She herself, according to the "Biographia Dramatica," when young
"dabbled in dramatic poetry; but with no great success." The first of
her plays, a tragedy entitled "The Fair Captive," was acted the
traditional three times at Lincoln's Inn Fields, beginning 4 March,
1721.[8] Aaron Hill contributed a friendly epilogue. Quin took the part
of Mustapha, the despotic vizier, and Mrs. Seymour played the heroine.
On 16 November it was presented a fourth time for the author's
benefit,[9] then allowed to die. Shortly after the first performance the
printed copy made its appearance. In the "Advertisement to the Reader"
Mrs. Haywood exposes the circumstances of her turning playwright,
naïvely announcing:

"To attempt any thing in Vindication of the following Scenes, wou'd
cost me more Time than the Composing 'em took me up...

"This Tragedy was originally writ by Capt. Hurst, and by him deliver'd
to Mr. Rich, to be acted soon after the opening of the New House;[10]
but the Season being a little too far elaps'd for the bringing it on
then, and the Author oblig'd to leave the Kingdom, Mr. Rich became the
Purchaser of it, and the Winter following order'd it into Rehearsal:
but found it so unfit for Representation, that for a long time he laid
aside all thoughts of making any thing of it, till last January he
gave me the History of his Bargain, and made me some Proposals
concerning the new modelling it: but however I was prevail'd upon, I
cannot say my Inclination had much share in my Consent.... On Reading,
I found I had much more to do than I expected; every Character I was
oblig'd to find employment for, introduce one entirely new, without
which it had been impossible to have guessed at the Design of the
Play; and in fine, change the Diction so wholly, that, excepting in
the Parts of Alphonso and Isabella, there remains not twenty lines of
the Original."

The plot, which is too involved to be analyzed, centers about the
efforts of Alphonso to redeem his beloved Isabella from, the harem of
the Vizier Mustapha. Spaniards, Turks, keepers and inhabitants of the
harem, and a "young lady disguis'd in the habit of an Eunuch," mingle in
inextricable intrigue. Some of the worst absurdities and the most
bathetic lines occur in the parts of the two lovers for which Mrs.
Haywood disclaims responsibility, but even the best passages of the play
add nothing to the credit of the reviser. Her next dramatic venture was
produced after her novels had gained some vogue with the town, as the
Prologue spoken by Mr. Theophilus Cibber indicates.

"Criticks! be dumb tonight - no Skill display;
A dangerous Woman-Poet wrote the Play: ...
Measure her Force, by her known Novels, writ
With manly Vigour, and with Woman's wit.
Then tremble, and depend, if ye beset her,
She, who can talk so well, may act yet better."

The fair success achieved by "A Wife to be Lett: A Comedy," acted at
Drury Lane three times, commencing 12 August, 1723,[11] is said to have
been due largely to the curiosity of the public to see the author, who
by reason of the indisposition of an actress performed in person the
part of the wife, Mrs. Graspall, a character well suited to her romping
disposition. It is difficult to imagine how the play could have
succeeded on its own merits, for the intricacies of the plot tax the
attention even of the reader. A certain Ann Minton, however, revived the
piece in the guise of "The Comedy of a Wife to be Lett, or, the Miser
Cured, compressed into Two Acts" (1802).

Apparently the reception of her comedy was not sufficiently encouraging
to induce Mrs. Haywood to continue writing plays, for six years elapsed
before she made a third effort in dramatic writing with a tragedy
entitled, "Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburgh," which was first
produced at Lincoln's Inn Fields on 4 March, 1729,[12] and shortly
afterward published with a dedication to Frederick Lewis, Prince of
Wales. The intention of the dedication was obviously to bid for royal
patronage, but the intended victim was too astute to be caught. In
eulogizing the Emperor Frederick (_c_. 1400) the author found abundant
opportunity to praise by implication his namesake, but unfortunately for
the success of the play none of the royal family "vouchsafed to honour
it with their Presence." Mrs. Haywood complains that hers "was the only
new Performance this Season, which had not received a Sanction from some
of that illustrious Line," and the "unthinking Part of the Town"
followed the fashion set by royalty. Unlike "The Fair Captive," which
suffered from a plethora of incidents, Mrs. Haywood's second tragedy
contains almost nothing in its five acts but rant. An analysis of the
plot is but a summary of conversations.

Act I. The German princes hail Frederick, recently elected Emperor.
Count Waldec and Ridolpho, in league with the Archbishop of Metz,
conspire against him. Waldec urges his sister Adelaid to marry the
gallant Wirtemberg. Sophia, her woman and confidant, also urges her to
marry, but Adelaid can only reply, "I charge thee Peace, Nor join such
distant Sounds as Joy and Wirtemberg," and during the rest of the act
proclaims the anguish inspired by her unrequited passion for Frederick,
married three years before to a Saxon princess.

Act II. The conspirators plan to kill Frederick. Adelaid reproaches him
for abandoning her. He welcomes his imperial consort, Anna, and takes
occasion to deliver many magnanimous sentiments.

Act III. Adelaid declares that she cannot love Wirtemberg. Waldec
excites the impatient lover to jealousy of Frederick. Ridolpho is
banished court for murder.

Act IV. Frederick is distressed by Wirtemberg's discontent. The Empress,
seeking to learn the reason for it, is infected by Wirtemberg's
suspicions. Adelaid overhears Ridolpho and Waldec plotting to slay
Frederick, but hesitates to accuse her own brother. Wirtemberg
reproaches her for her supposed yielding to Frederick, and resolves to
leave her forever.

Act V. Adelaid, in order to warn him, sends to ask the Emperor to visit
her. Waldec intercepts the letter and resolves to murder Frederick in
her chamber. Wirtemberg learns that he has been duped and defends the
Emperor. Waldec and Ridolpho are killed, though not before they succeed
in mortally wounding Frederick, who dies amid tears.

Genest says with truth that the love scenes are dull, and that the
subject is not well calculated for dramatic representation. The play was
acted only the usual three times, and fully deserved the deep damnation
of its taking off.

In 1730 Mrs. Haywood took part in the "Rival Father, or the Death of
Achilles," written by her friend, the actor and playwright William
Hatchett, and performed at the Haymarket.[13] Three years later she
joined with him to produce an adaptation of Fielding's "Tragedy of
Tragedies, or the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great" on the model of
Gay's popular "Beggar's Opera." The "Opera of Operas" follows its
original closely with a number of condensations and omissions. Almost
the only additions made by the collaborators were the short lyrics,
which were set to music by the ingenious Mr. Frederick Lampe.[14] The
Hatchett-Haywood version was acted at the Haymarket on 31 May, 1733, and
according to Genest, was repeated eleven times at least with Mrs. Clive
as Queen Dollalolla.[15] It was published immediately. On 9 November a
performance was given at Drury Lane. Although unusually successful, it
was Mrs. Haywood's last dramatic offering.[16]

The aspiring authoress apparently never found in dramatic writing a
medium suitable to her genius, and even less was she attracted by a
stage career. The reasons for her abandoning the theatre to develop her
powers as a writer of fiction are stated in a characteristic letter
still filed among the State Papers.[17]


The Stage not answering my Expectation, and the averseness of my
Relations to it, has made me Turn my Genius another Way; I have
Printed some Little things which have mett a Better Reception then
they Deservd, or I Expected: and have now Ventur'd on a Translation to
be done by Subscription, the Proposalls whereof I take the Liberty to
send You: I have been so much us'd to Receive favours from You that I
can make No Doubt of y'r forgiveness for this freedom, great as it is,
and that You will alsoe become one of those Persons, whose Names are a
Countenance to my undertaking. I am mistress of neither words nor
happy Turn of thought to Thank You as I ought for the many Unmeritted
favours You have Conferr'd on me, but beg You to believe all that a
gratefull Soul can feel, mine does who am Sir

Yo'r most humble &
most Obedient Serv't


August ye 5th 1720

Enclosed with the letter were "Proposals For Printing by Subscription A
Translation from the French of the Famous Monsieur Bursault Containing
Ten Letters from a Lady of Quality to a Chevalier."[18] The work thus
heralded was published in the latter part of 1720 by subscription -
"three shillings each Book in Quires, or five Shillings bound in Calf,
Gilt Back" - a method never again employed by Mrs. Haywood, though in
this case it must have succeeded fairly well. Three hundred and nine
names appeared on her list of subscribers, of which one hundred and
twenty-three were women's. Few subscribers of either sex were
distinguished. There were, however, that universal patron of minor
authors, George Bubb, Esq., later the Doddington to whom Thomson
dedicated his "Summer"; Mrs. Barker, the novelist; Aaron Hill; a Mr.
Osborne, possibly the bookseller whose name was afterward infamously
connected with Eliza's in "The Dunciad"; Charles de La Faye, the
under-secretary of state with whom Defoe corresponded; and a sprinkling
of aristocratic titles.

The publisher of the letters was William Rufus Chetwood, later the
prompter at Drury Lane Theatre, but then just commencing bookseller at
the sign of Cato's Head, Covent Garden. He had already brought out for
Mrs. Haywood the first effort of her genius, a romantic tale entitled
"Love in Excess: or, the Fatal Enquiry." We have the author's testimony
that the three parts "mett a Better Reception then they Deservd," and
indeed the piece was extraordinarily successful, running through no less
than six separate editions before its inclusion in her collected "Secret
Histories, Novels and Poems" in 1725. On the last page of "Letters from
a Lady of Quality to a Chevalier" Chetwood had also advertised for
speedy publication "a Book entitled, The Danger of giving way to
Passion, in Five Exemplary Novels: First, The British Recluse, or the
Secret History of Cleomira, supposed dead. Second, The Injur'd Husband,
or the Mistaken Resentment. Third, Lasselia, or the Unfortunate
Mistress. Fourth, The Rash Resolve, or the Untimely Discovery. Fifth,
Idalia, or the Self-abandon'd.[19] Written by Mrs. Eliza Haywood."
During the next three years the five novels were issued singly by
Chetwood with the help of other booksellers, usually Daniel Browne, Jr.,

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