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Author Biography

Patricia L. Hamilton is Professor of English at Union University in Jackson, TN. She has published on Bathsua Makin, Daniel Defoe, Frances Burney, and Charlotte Lennox.

Abstract

Scholars have puzzled over the origin of the relationship between Charlotte Lennox and Thomas Birch. That the two shared a cordial professional relationship in 1759 is not surprising, but it is unclear how and when Birch obtained the poem "The Dream, an ode by Miss Ramsey of 15" (ca. 1744-45) for his manuscript collection. Possibly Edward Cave, publisher of The Gentleman’s Magazine, or other professional associates such as Samuel Johnson or Samuel Richardson supplied it. But archival evidence indicates that Lady Isabella Finch, Lennox’s earliest patroness, was in contact with Birch in 1749, raising the question of whether she could have given Birch the poem. However, a different type of connection between Lennox and Birch is suggested by Lennox’s first novel, The Life of Harriot Stuart, written by Herself (1750), which mentions William Chillingworth, Isaac Barrow, and John Tillotson as theological influences. Lennox may have known of these three seventeenth-century divines through Birch’s biographical work on them.

Keywords

Charlotte Lennox, Thomas Birch, Lady Isabella Finch, William Chillingworth, Edward Cave