Printer Friendly

The Public Life of a Woman of Wit and Quality: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Vogue for Smallpox Inoculation.

During a smallpox epidemic in April 1721, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu asked Dr. Charles Maitland to "engraft" her daughter, thus instigating the first documented inoculation for smallpox (Variola virus) in England. Engrafting, or variolation, was a means of conferring immunity to smallpox by placing pus taken from a smallpox pustule under the skin of an uninfected person to create a local infection. The introduction of infectious viral matter, however, could trigger full-blown smallpox, and the practice was controversial for both this reason and the pervasive conviction that it was immoral to intentionally infect a human body. Eventually, engrafting was phased out altogether in favor of vaccination, a much safer procedure established by Edward Jenner in the late eighteenth century. Montagu's decision was influenced by her experiences in Constantinople, where she had spent a year, and where engrafting was commonplace. As a smallpox survivor herself, Montagu had taken an interest in Turkish inoculation practices, and had had her son Edward engrafted while in Turkey. She was not the first person to import the idea of smallpox inoculation to England, nor the first English person to have their child inoculated (other English children had been inoculated while visiting Turkey), yet she quickly became known for importing and popularizing smallpox inoculation. At the request of her acquaintances, she took her inoculated daughter with her on a round of visits into elite households to demonstrate the safety of the procedure. The reputation she gained was both positive and negative: monuments were erected in her honor, encomiastic poems were published, and Voltaire declared her "a woman of as fine a genius, and endued with as great a strength of mind as any of her sex in the British Kingdoms"; (1) however, anti-inoculationists ridiculed her, some society figures regarded her warily, and Alexander Pope satirized her in his poetry.

Montagu's pioneering role in the smallpox debate is undoubtedly significant: she instigated the first smallpox inoculation on English soil, and she was largely responsible for making the practice acceptable in elite circles. My interest in this essay is in the nature and significance of Montagu's reputation as an inoculation pioneer. I will argue that her reputation was based on the particular combination of her social position as a Whig and an aristocratic woman; her interest in progressive and enlightened forms of social, political, and scientific thought; her standing in influential literary circles; and, not least, the force of her own personality. In broad terms, I offer Montagu's involvement in the smallpox debate as a case study in a new kind of public role becoming available to elite women in the early eighteenth century--a role that caused considerable discomfort among her peers and in the medical community, and one that stimulated a widespread controversy in print publications of the day.

The view that Montagu played an important role in the successful introduction of smallpox inoculation to England was held for a long time by medical historians, eighteenth-century intelligentsia, popular tradition, and her own family history, albeit in varied tones. In The Adoption of Inoculation for Smallpox in England and France, first published in 1957, medical historian Genevieve Miller intervened. She argued that Montagu's role was less important than that of the Royal Society, which was receiving reports of Eastern methods of inoculation, amassing statistical evidence, and circulating the results over the same period as Montagu's involvement. (2) After the World Health Organization announced the eradication of smallpox in 1980, Miller delivered a strident address to the American Association for the History of Medicine titled: "Putting Lady Mary in Her Place: A Discussion of Historical Causation." (3) Montagu's biographer, Isobel Grundy, however, objects that the triumphant narrative of medical and scientific progress obscures women's contributions. (4) Piecing together scant evidence, Grundy traces Montagu's likely influence over many of the first wave of English aristocratic smallpox inoculees. (5)


Miller and Grundy both assume a divide between the influence of women and that of medicine, as though each functioned in a separate sphere. Although they make certain qualifications--Grundy conjectures that Montagu probably worked with the medical establishment, and Miller concedes that Montagu contributed something to medical advancement--their assumption of separate spheres is distorting. Miller's belief in the primacy of scientific reason, institutions, and sanctioned authorities leads her to downplay other forces shaping popular opinion in the eighteenth century. On the other hand, Grundy's view that Montagu's story was obscured by medical history is also not entirely accurate. The initial spotlight was cast on her agency in popularizing smallpox inoculation because, as a prominent member of fashionable society, she already lived in the public eye. Her connections to the modernizing forces of empirical knowledge and globalization, and her commitment to reformist ideals of serving the common good, also ensured that her reputation persisted.

Women had particular importance in popular understandings of smallpox in the eighteenth century. Although smallpox struck indiscriminately and traversed the barriers between the sexes, classes, and races in European society to claim countless lives, the disease was considered particularly devastating for women, since survivors were left disfigured. (6) Smallpox first appeared in Europe in the early Middle Ages, and until the mid-seventeenth century it was not usually fatal in adults, although children were more vulnerable. From the early seventeenth century, smallpox mortality rates rose significantly. Also, parish registers began to note cause of death, making it easier for scholars to gauge the impact of diseases and model their patterns. Thus we know that from 1650, rural townships typically experienced smallpox epidemics every five years, but in larger urban centers, such as London, the disease was endemic, with periods of increased intensity--lasting a year or two--occurring approximately every four years during the seventeenth century and every two during the eighteenth century. (7) (This pattern was only abated by the successful global promotion of vaccination in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.) Consequently, David Shuttleton argues that the eighteenth century was "a crucial era of intensified literary representation" of smallpox. (8) As Jill Campbell explains, literary representations aligned physical and moral beauty, depicting the scarred woman as morally degenerate. (9) Felicity Nussbaum argues that representations of the "pox'd" woman--blurring the distinction between smallpox and the great pox, French pox, or syphilis--became a "locus of ... intense national fears about encroaching degeneracy in the population, the impending contagion of race and urban pestilence." (10) When Montagu had her daughter inoculated, she pitted herself, a fashionable society woman, once a renowned beauty now scarred by smallpox, against this scourge on women. She defied the assumption that a disfigured woman lacked agency or utility in society and demonstrated her willingness to fight pestilence for the common good.

Montagu has already been identified as a key figure in the ongoing debate over public and private spheres in eighteenth-century studies. Irene Brown, Amanda Vickery, Lawrence Klein, and Michael McKeon, for example, all argue that she posed a challenge to the prevailing ideology separating public and private life in the eighteenth century. (11) None of them, however, considers Montagu's long-lasting reputation for bringing smallpox inoculation into fashion or its significance for her public stature. Brown proposes that further investigation of Montagu's network would complicate her thesis about "rational domesticity," that is, the rational dialogue sustained in aristocratic women's friendships and households between 1660 and 1760. (12) Klein identifies Montagu's letters as a key source for a "reconstruction of female urban itineraries" in eighteenth-century London that reveals the public nature of women's lives. (13) I will argue that an action taken by a fashionable, aristocratic woman in her own household to protect her daughter had ramifications extending well beyond her domestic sphere and her immediate social network because much of the "private" life of women of Montagu's class was, indeed, public.

Montagu's fame for bringing smallpox inoculation into fashion was not a freak phenomenon resulting from her audacious transgression of social mores, but the result of certain possibilities available to women of her class in the early eighteenth century. The political, religious, and social ferment of the seventeenth century had opened up various public roles to women. In the 1630s, for example, Henrietta Maria, the Roman Catholic wife of Charles I, encouraged women at court to engage in intellectual discussion about religion. A number of them created a public furor by converting to Catholicism without the permission of their husbands. The autonomy claimed by aristocratic women contributed to the uneasy political climate of the 1630s that led to civil war in 1642. The war was an ideological contest driven by political and religious ideas. At one extreme stood supporters of absolutist kingship and state religion (the Church of England) and on the other, supporters of parliament and religious toleration. In 1650, after putting the king on trial and executing him, a republican government was briefly established. Women played important political roles during these decades. They preached in radical religious sects; they defended their property and principles while their husbands, fathers, and sons were fighting; and they maintained networks and practices that supported their family's religious and political orientation. In 1660 monarchy was restored. Although the political power of the king, Charles II, was diminished, the court continued to function as the center for political networking by women and men. Some women assumed public roles as spokespeople. Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, for example, challenged models of sociability and the state offered by prominent intellectuals such as Thomas Hobbes. Although not always taken seriously, she exemplifies the prerogative available to an aristocratic woman with enough wit, learning, and influence to write, publish, and gain a readership. Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, came to court in 1673 to serve as maid of honor to Mary of Modena, Duchess of York and later queen consort (1685-88). Churchill exerted considerable political influence through her friendship with Princess Anne, the Duchess of York's daughter, who later became Queen Anne (170214). Beyond the court, women used aristocratic networks to exercise influence. By the nineteenth century, however, women's position had shifted: Vickery cites Montagu as the kind of outspoken female wit no longer tolerated in polite circles. (14)

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu never held a formal role at court, but she was born into a political family. Her father Evelyn Pierrepont, Earl of Kingston, was a member of both Parliament and the reformist political party, the Whigs. The Whig party emerged during the "exclusion crisis" of 1678-81. When Charles II failed to produce a legitimate heir, his Roman Catholic brother James (Mary of Modena's husband) stood to succeed. There were attempts to pass an Exclusion Bill in parliament to prevent James's succession on the grounds of his religion. Those in favor of James's exclusion and constitutional monarchy became known as "Whigs" and those in favor of James II and absolutism as "Tories." Whig political culture was shaped not only by parliamentary debate and networks established at court, but increasingly by formal literary and political associations of men, such as the Kit-Cat Club. The Earl of Kingston's membership of the Kit-Cat Club opened up this new mode of political participation to his daughter Mary. The story of Kingston proposing his seven- or eight-year-old daughter as the toast of the Kit-Cats and her visit to the club is often retold. (15) It was her initiation into Whig literary political culture and life in the public eye. (16)

The young Lady Mary Pierrepont viewed her life as a public undertaking. She developed what she later described as a "passion ... for Learning." (17) She read widely, taught herself languages, and wrote poetry. She viewed learning as her passport to public life. In 1710 she sent her translation of Epictetus to Bishop Burner, the Whig politician, with a letter noting her presumption: "My Sex is usually forbid studys of this Nature, and Folly reckon'd so much our proper Sphere." (18) She argues not "for an Equality for the 2 Sexes," but for the moral value of women's education, since "the Careless Education given to Women of Quality, [leads to] its being so easy for any Man of Sense, that finds it either his Interest or his Pleasure, to corrupt them." (19) Alluding to conventional stereotypes of feminine weakness, Pierrepont (Montagu) stresses that a "Learned Woman" may be "liable to universal ridicule" but, better equipped to judge, she sees through the immoral persuasions of "the Loosest sort of Rakes." (20) Such arguments for women's education were circulating in popular periodicals such as the Tatler, the Female Tatler and the Spectator. (21) Montagu believed that educated ladies of quality had a special role to play in society. When she initiated intellectual dialogue with Burner, she embarked upon fulfilling those responsibilities by establishing relationships with men and women based upon rational discourse. (22) This network positioned her publicly and politically.

To be a Whig during the reign of Queen Anne meant principled opposition to the Tory values dominating political and social life. Montagu lived in this spirit. Reluctant to follow her father's plans for her marriage, and prepared to face the consequences, she eloped in August 1712 with Edward Wortley Montagu, or "Wortley," as he was known. Although she defied her father and forfeited her portion, she did not reject the values of her upbringing. (23) Wortley was a Whig. More importantly for my argument, she and Wortley understood their union in terms of contemporary ideological debates and defended their values in the republic of letters. In the prenuptial discussions, her father insisted that Wortley entail his estate on his firstborn son, but Wortley would only do so if his son proved worthy of the honor. In 1710, a year into these negotiations, Wortley provided details of the discussions to the Tatler, the Whig society journal of the time. As the journal's title suggests, the periodical circulated material drawn from society talk in order to generate further talk. (24) In September 1710, the Tatler presented the Montagus' story not as idle gossip but as a critique of aristocratic practices of inheritance, namely the valuation of a man's name or family position above his virtue or merit. (25) Such philosophical questioning of social mores and class privilege to elicit moral improvement, consonant with Whig ideals, depended upon the publicization of "private" lives. (26) Although neither Wortley, Montagu, nor Kingston is named, the reference would not have been lost on knowing readers. Evidently Wortley saw the terms of his marriage contract as public business. Furthermore, he did not see cultural and political critique as solely a masculine prerogative.

Although Whig society was undoubtedly homosocial, with its men's clubs and coffeehouse culture, and masculine ideals of cultural and political statesmanship, it provided new opportunities for women's participation, and not always from the margins. (27) As Abigail Williams points out, Whig periodicals, such as the Spectator and the Tatler, modeled "a cultural arena in which matters of taste and politics were agreed on the basis of consensus and reasoned debate" and thus opened up public discussion to more participants. (28) Primarily this encouraged the participation of middle-class men, but it made available another mode of public circulation to women of Montagu's class. McKeon implicitly supports this assumption when he identifies the discussion of Montagu's marriage negotiations in the Tatler as an example of the devolution or "domestication" of the values of absolutism that, he argues, occurs over the long eighteenth century. (29) Montagu did not write for these periodicals herself, but details of her life were used to exemplify certain issues pressing upon women of her class, such as marriage and the traditional authority of men over women's lives.

Wortley encouraged his wife's writing, no doubt recognizing that it was as valuable to his political ambitions as the charm, wit, and influence she exercised at court and in society. (30) She also advised Wortley on his political career. (31) He prompted her to comment upon a draft of Joseph Addison's play Cato (1714), which presents Cato as a patriot Whig under Tory rule. Her critique was as much political and ideological as aesthetic; she recommended that more emphasis on "Liberty ... would have a very good effect on the Minds of the People." (32) In these matters Montagu acted publicly at the behest of her husband, assuming a public prerogative that was not accepted in all circles.

The medical elite, for example, did not welcome the participation of women. Women were formally excluded from intellectual debate about smallpox. They did not qualify for membership of the professional associations promoting the new ideals of empirical science and clinical medicine. Furthermore, the fact that most women were ignorant of Latin excluded them from firsthand engagement with medical and scientific ideas. Nevertheless, women were not completely ignorant about matters of public health; they participated in other circuits of knowledge. Whereas the impact of scientific research on most people's lives was minimal, the experience of smallpox was widespread. (33) While typhoid was concentrated among the lower classes, smallpox exacted a heavy death toll throughout the community: even royalty succumbed, including Queen Mary II in 1694. (34) Montagu's contemporaries were familiar with the varieties of smallpox, from survivable, mild attacks to the more serious, often fatal, "confluent" variety. Women knew about smallpox via close personal experience of the death, scarring, and suffering it inflicted. Once contracted, the disease ran its course; doctors could do little to alleviate a patient's suffering. When Montagu's brother caught smallpox in 1713 she reported cynically to Wortley that: "Dr. Garth says 'tis the worst sort, and he fears he will be too full, which I should think very foreboding if I did not know all Doctors (and particularly Garth) love to have their Patients thought in Danger." (35) Her brother's death made her more fearful of the disease and reinforced her distrust of doctors. In an altered tone, she wrote: "[S]ince the losse of my poor unhappy Brother, I dread every evil." (36) Women were also the custodians of lay wisdom about contagion. In 1714 Montagu worried that Wortley might lease a house in which the previous inhabitants had died of smallpox. She wrote, "I know it is two or three years ago, but tis generally said, that Infection may lodge in Blankets etc. longer than that." (37) Although her concerns accorded with contemporary views on health and household management, she anticipated that they would conflict with Wortley's rational scepticism. Yet the authority of common knowledge, based upon widespread experience, was often respected at least as highly as the knowledge of doctors. (38) The following year Montagu's authority on the disease was augmented by her own experience.

When Montagu caught smallpox in December 1715, her peers were intensely interested--not merely in her welfare but in how the disease would affect a prominent lady of fashion. (39) She was lucky to survive, although she was scarred and lost her eyebrows. This was hardly remarkable at a time when smallpox was endemic in London, yet her specific experience was uncommon. Despite her cited distrust of doctors, she was treated by three leading Whig physicians: Samuel Garth, Richard Mead, and John Woodward. Their membership of the Royal Society put Montagu into closer contact with new ideas about medical treatment. The Royal Society had received reports of Turkish and Chinese practices of inoculation. (40) In fact Woodward had conveyed Dr. Emmanuel Timoni's 1714 report on engrafting from Constantinople to the society. (41) Although there is no hard evidence that her doctors discussed these new ideas over Montagu's sickbed, she became actively interested in smallpox inoculation following her recovery.

What Montagu made of her smallpox attack distinguished her from countless other women of her generation. She used her experience as material for poetry. Around 1716, soon after her recovery, she composed "Satturday: The Small Pox." (42) It is a mock Virgilian eclogue--a genre in vogue for the ironic juxtaposition of elevated classical ideals with the filth and compromise of modern life. "Satturday" is the final poem in a cycle of "town eclogues" she was composing in consultation with her friends John Gay and Alexander Pope. Jonathan Swift's mock eclogue "A Description of a City Shower" had recently appeared in the Tatler in October 1710. (43) His poem describes the leveling effects of a storm that loosens the city's detritus into a disgusting swell causing "the dagled Females" to run for shelter, while "Triumphant Tories and desponding Whigs / Forget their Fewds, and join to save their Wigs." (44) In Montagu's eclogue, smallpox is the leveling force, and a much-courted society woman, "Flavia," its victim. "The wretched Flavia, on her Couch reclin'd" (1), unable to look at herself in the mirror, contemplates her diminished prospects. Her refrain is a complaint: "Now beauty's Fled, and Presents are no more" (27); "Now Beauty's fled, and Lovers are no more" (40). Since her doctors' "triffling ... Art" (67) cannot restore her beauty, she must retreat to "some obscure recess, /Where Gentle streams will weep at [her] Distress" (89-90). (45) Flavia's retreat implies critique rather than the defeat Shuttleton identifies. (46) These modern eclogues envisage no escape from the gritty realities of Swift's "Dung, Guts and Blood" washing down the city streets nor the pus and scarring ravaging diseased bodies described by Montagu. (47) Montagu uses this poetic template to expose the disjunction between the ideals for virtuous femininity promoted in periodicals (such as the Tatler) and the realities women faced everyday. Her poem addresses her gossiping peers, members of the coterie in which the manuscript circulated. Montagu strove to exert her influence in aristocratic circles through such writing. In the process she gained a reputation she could not control. For example, when Mrs. Louther snubbed her in 1723, she responded: "[S]he fanc'd me the Author or Abettor of 2 vile ballads written on her Dying Adventure, which I am so innocent of, I never saw." (48)


Montagu's poem addresses readers of early eighteenth-century fashionable periodicals, although it was not published until 1747. Like the eclogue form itself, the name "Flavia" situates the poem in public discourses. "Flavia" is mentioned on a number of occasions in the Tatler in the years before Montagu wrote her eclogue. In 1710 Isaac Bickerstaff recounts "visit[ing] Flavia after the Small-Pox," and Flavia is also one of the fictional women to whom the Wortley and Kingston prenuptial dispute is addressed. (49) Regular Tatler readers may have recalled Bickerstaff's discussion "of disposing honourably the unmarried part of the World":
  [is] ever well dressed, and always the gentilest
   Woman you meet: But the Make of her Mind very much contributes to
   the ornament of her Body ... Everyone that sees her, knows her to
   be of Quality; but her Distinction is owing to her Manner, and not
   to her Habit. (50) 

The cast of Flavia's mind is presented as the most important indicator of her "Quality" and "Distinction," yet this critique of the shallowness of female fashions does not discount the significance of appearances: she is "ever well dressed" and her mind "contributes to the ornament of her body" (my italics). Although Montagu clearly invokes these earlier texts in "Satturday," there is no exact correlation between the Flavia in the Tatler and the Flavia in Montagu's eclogue, or Montagu herself. (51) Rather Montagu draws Flavia--and the mock eclogue form--from public discourses already established in print in order to challenge the values they sustain (such as the valuation of a woman's appearance over her mind). Evidently smallpox did not undermine the author's ingenuity, and perhaps "Satturday" was circulated to make this point. When an ambitious young woman of quality contracted smallpox, the consequences were understood to be not simply personal. It was said that Montagu's disfigurement would hamper her husband's prospects, particularly at court where she had attracted the admiring attention of the King: one contemporary observer, James Brydges, Lord Chandos, reported that Wortley was "inconsolable for this disappointment this gives him in the carrier he had chalked out of his fortunes." (52) Brydges was probably not alone in assuming that the social power Montagu wielded served her husband's political aspirations; her looks, her writing, and the principles grounding their marriage contract all contributed to Wortley's public profile. Montagu's eclogue can be seen as a deliberate exercise in generating a reputation geared to the consumption of curious members of her wider social circle. It also paved the way for her smallpox inoculation fame.

A few months after his wife's recovery, Wortley became a beneficiary of the recent Whig ascendancy in Parliament that followed the succession of King George I in 1714 and the general election of 1715: he was appointed the English Ambassador to Constantinople. (53) This consolidated the couple's repute. Official international appointments of this kind were newsworthy: Wortley's ambassadorship was reported on April 4, 1716, in the British Weekly Mercury, as was the family's imminent departure for Turkey on Saturday, July 7, 1716, in the Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer. The Ottoman Empire had been engaged in a series of wars and treaties with European powers since the late seventeenth century. As it successively ceded territory to the Hapsburgs, Russia, Poland, and Venice, the English took great interest. (54) London newspapers had assiduously reported the activities of Sir Robert Sutton, the previous English ambassador to Constantinople, emphasizing England's diplomatic role in negotiations between Turkey and Europe. For example, on one occasion the London Gazette reported both the arrival and delay of Sutton's dispatches home (September 25, 1711, and July 17, 1711, respectively); and on May 12, 1716, about a month after Wortley's appointment, the Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer reported Sutton's successful mediation between the Turks and Austria. Turkey was the talk of fashionable society. As Pope explained to Montagu later that year, "all people here are exercising their speculations upon the Affairs of the Turks ... forming prospects of the general Tranquility of Europe." (55) Interest in the Montagus' departure was also spiked by the prominence of the Orient in the literary and cultural imagination at the time. (56) Eyewitness accounts of travel to the East, such as Aaron Hill's A Full and Just Account of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire (1709), popularized an opposition between the exotic and primitive East and the rational, liberal, and modern West. (57) As an ambassador, Wortley's role was to mediate between these two poles. Montagu took her responsibility in the partnership seriously; while in Turkey, she learned Turkish, familiarized herself with its cultures, and wittily relayed her observations to her compatriots in letters and poems.

The visit to Turkey put Montagu at the center of English foreign policy and aesthetic curiosity; it also placed her in contact with the source of new information about engrafting for smallpox. Dr. Emmanuel Timoni, author of the report on engrafting received by the Royal Society two years earlier, served Wortley's family in Constantinople, as he had Sutton's. Presumably influenced by Timoni, Montagu viewed sympathetically the ritual engrafting "partys," at which an old woman would inoculate fifteen to sixteen people. (58) In March 1718 Montagu enlisted a Greek woman to inoculate her son. Dr. Charles Maitland, a surgeon who had accompanied them from England, assisted. Montagu's decision was not unprecedented; Sutton had had his son inoculated a year or so earlier. (59) Sutton's decision to inoculate went unremarked, but Montagu's became incorporated into her reputation in fashionable English society. Undoubtedly this was a result of her drive and ability to use her position in society to public effect.

Wortley's diplomatic career ended abruptly after only seventeen months, the result of a schism between rival Whig factions at home. (60) The family returned to England in 1718. For Montagu this was a return to living in public view. In a poem composed on December 26, 1717, in Constantinople, she describes Turkey as an "obscure retreat" from vicious society gossip. The poem closes:
    Even Fame it selfe can hardly reach me here,
   Impertinence with all her tattling train,
   Fair sounding Flattery's delicious bane,
   Censorious Folly, noisy party rage,
   The thousand tongues with which she must engage,
   Who dare have Virtue in a vicious Age. (61) 

This description of English society is prophetic. In 1720 the poem appeared in Edmund Curll's A New Miscellany of Original Poems, Translations and Imitations. It was attributed to "a Lady" whose identity is all but disclosed on the title page as follows: "By the most Eminent Hands, VIZ. Mr. Prior, Mr. Pope, Mr. Hushes, Mr. Harcourt, Lady M.W.M--, Mrs. Manley, &c." In the British Library copy her name is filled in, suggesting that not many readers were left guessing about the identity of the Lady who wrote so wittily of her return to England from Constantinople. (62) A year earlier, a letter she had written to her friend the Abbe Antonio Conti had been published in London. (63) Its title--The Genuine Copy of a Letter Written from Constantinople by an English Lady ... no less distinguish'd by her Wit than her Quality: To a Venetian Nobleman, one of the prime Virtuosi of the Age (1719)--addresses a readership familiar with Montagu's reputation and hungry for information of her extraordinary travels. Since her return to England, Montagu had been arousing curiosity by appearing in society wearing "oriental" dress: contemporary portraits depict her wearing a turban-style headdress (without a veil) and multilayered costumes. Jean-Baptiste Vanmour's 1717 "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with her son, Edward Wortley Montagu, and attendants," which she had commissioned for her sister Frances, Lady Mar, was imitated by Sir Godfrey Kneller in the 1720s (at Alexander Pope's behest), by Jonathan Richardson in 1726 (at her own), and by many others. (64) As Montagu acknowledges in her poem "Constantinople," her fame was generated by hearsay and gossip, but print and visual culture also contributed.


Thus when Montagu asked Dr. Maitland to engraft her daughter according to Turkish custom during the smallpox epidemic of 1721, she already had a reputation in English society as a witness to the Orient. Maitland agreed to inoculate Montagu's daughter, provided three members of the College of Physicians witnessed the procedure. This ensured that the inoculation was a public event, albeit one not immediately reported in the newspapers. Montagu may have been reluctant to involve the College of Physicians, as Maitland reports, but, contra Miller, she agreed to work with the medical profession. (65) Following the successful inoculation, one witness, apothecary James Keith, who had lost his other children to smallpox, had his six-year-old son inoculated. (66) A couple of months later, Princess Caroline became interested, ensuring the involvement of the royal physician, Sir Hans Sloane. The Princess commissioned the public trials that Maitland conducted on Newgate prisoners and orphan children of St. James parish in July 1721. When she and the doctors were satisfied that the safety of the procedure was proven, the young Princesses were inoculated (on April 17, 1722). (67) Maitland, Voltaire, Hill, and others attributed the subsequent wave of aristocratic inoculations throughout the 1720s to Montagu's brave example; to her understanding, foresight, and preparedness to act.

In 1721, with an epidemic raging, smallpox inoculation was a hot topic in the newspapers, and the inoculation of Montagu's daughter soon became part of the discussion. The trials on Newgate prisoners sponsored by Princess Caroline were reported in the Daily Journal (July 25, 1721) and in the Post Boy (September 7, 1721) and spiked curiosity about the theory of inoculation (Daily Journal, August 7, 1721). Timoni's 1713 letter to the Royal Society was republished in the Post Boy (August 15, 1721) amid the usual run of advertisements for "admirable" lotions to diminish the severity of smallpox scars--for example, "Beauty's Restorer and Preservation" in the London Journal (October 14, 1721)--and warnings against counterfeit cures (Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, December 16, 1721). The newspapers linked the Turkish origins of smallpox inoculation with conventional railing at the scourge of women's beauty. In February 1722, about six months after the Newgate smallpox trials were first reported, Mr. Maitland's Account of Inoculating the Small-Pox introduced Montagu's involvement in early smallpox inoculation as a correction to the published debate:
    HAVING understood ... that the late Experiment of Inoculating the
   Small-Pox at Newgate
, has been pretty much talk'd of; and
   finding withal, that the Reports of that Matter are various, and
   oftentimes contradictory: I thought it became me, to give the
   Publick a plain and honest Account of the Truth of Facts. (68) 

In 1717 in Turkey, "the Ambassador's ingenious Lady," he recounts, "who had been at some Pains to satisfie her Curiosity in this Matter, and had made some useful Observations on the Practice, was so thoroughly convinced of the Safety of it, that She resolv'd to submit her only Son to it." Then in April 1721, she asked Maitland to inoculate her daughter; "Miss Wortley," he reports, is recovering well. The allusion to Montagu was plain. (69)

About a month later, Montagu wrote of the newspaper reports to her sister, Lady Mar, as follows:
    I shall say little of the Death of our Great Minister because the
   newspapers say so much. I suppose the same faithfull Historians
   give you regular Accounts of the Growth and spreading of the
   Innoculation of the small pox, which is become almost a General
   practise, attended with great success. (70) 

Without mentioning her own involvement, she alludes to smallpox inoculation as a topic so pervasive that it would have reached an Englishwoman living in France. Montagu describes two circuits of knowledge: the first, her intimate network of family and friends, and the second, the public domain represented by the press. (71) Emphasizing her remoteness from vociferous newspaper reportage, she adds: "I pass my time in a small snug set of dear Intimates, and go very little into the Grand Monde, which has allways had my hearty contempt." Montagu may have held fashionable aristocratic society, or the "Grand Monde," and its cultural pretentions in contempt, but she could not limit her influence to her intimates. By June 1723, she was complaining to her sister that:
    Lady Biny has innoculated both her children, and is big with child
   her selfe. The Operation is not yet over, but I believe they will
   do very well. Since that Experiment has not yet had any ill effect,
   the whole Town are doing the same thing, and I am so much pull'd
   about and solicited to visit people, that I am forc'd to
<run> into
   the Country to hide my selfe. (72) 

Montagu happily reports on the progress of the inoculation of the children of their mutual friends, the Binnings ("Binys"), but describes feeling overwhelmed by the reaches of her social responsibilities. (73) According to Miller, Montagu could not have triggered the aristocratic inoculations of the 1720s because newspapers did not report her daughter's inoculation as they did the public trials. (74) The fact that her reputation for smallpox inoculation was not recorded in print prior to February 1721/1722, however, only demonstrates that newspapers were not privy to the doings of the "snug set" in which Montagu's influence held sway, a circle poised deliberately at a remove from fashionable high society. Montagu's letters suggest that her reputation for smallpox inoculation spread beyond her immediate circle without the aid of print. Neither the "snug set of dear intimates," the faithless "Grand Monde," nor "the whole Town" describe precisely the reaches of her influence.

Although newspapers provide no evidence that Montagu's influence extended beyond her family and friends in the second half of 1721 (when smallpox inoculation was first publicly discussed), after February 1722 she became a representative figure in the published debate. Print was a crucial means of authorizing--or discrediting--"Newfangled Notions" such as engrafting for smallpox, but its persuasive power depended less upon presenting the public with a well-reasoned case and more upon the rhetorical manipulation of common biases of class, gender, and race. (75) Maitland introduced Montagu's story to the public account as the "ingenious," "Noble," and "Honourable" truth ignored by newspaper reports, thus confirming her reputation as a court wit and connecting her nobility to her learning. (76) He presents inoculation in class terms as a "very safe and useful Method" derived from "an illiterate Sort of People ... and suited to the meanest Capacity, without the labour'd Embellishments of Learning or Eloquence," but here in England, he stresses, "Persons of a higher Rank, and more delicate Taste" will benefit most, "since they, of all Sorts of People, generally speaking, suffer the most." (77) In the domain of print, Montagu appears both as the woman who commissioned the inoculation of her children and the embodiment of high-minded aristocratic judgment benefiting England at large. Consequently, she became a target of anti-inoculationist arguments that contested the "snug" aristocratic ethos she represented.

The key proponent of the medical case against inoculation, Dr. William Wagstaffe, wrote a pamphlet in June 1722 titled A Letter to Dr. Freind; shewing the Danger and Uncertainty of Inoculating the Small Pox, which was published later the same year. He opens with the following cutting remark at the wave of smallpox inoculations among the aristocracy stimulated by Montagu's example:
    Sir, Tho' the Fashion
 of Inoculating the Small Pox has so
   far prevail'd, as to be admitted into the greatest Families, yet
   entirely concur with You in Opinion, that, till we have fuller
   Evidence of the Success of it ... Physicians
 at least, who
   of all Men ought to be guided in their Judgments chiefly by
, should not be over hasty in encouraging a
   Practice, which does not seem as yet sufficiently supported either
   by Reason
, or by Fact
. (78) 

Like Montagu in her letter to her sister, Wagstaffe describes two communities, one of professional men bound by friendship and committed to scientific reason, and the other of aristocrats bound by family networks and susceptible to fashion. His appeal to empirical method, or disinterested judgment "guided ... chiefly by Experience," raises the question of whose testimony to believe. (79) Wagstaffe devotes as much energy to undermining his opponents' authority as to shoring up his own. Gender is crucial in this endeavor:
    Posterity perhaps will scarcely be brought to believe, that a
   method practiced only by a few Ignorant Women
, amongst an
   illiterate and unthinking People, shou'd on a sudden, and upon
   slender Experience, so far obtain in one of the most Learned and
   Polite Nations in the World, as to be receiv'd into the Royal
. (80) 

Wagstaffe represents Montagu, her network and even the monarchy, as espousing old-world values, patronage, and aristocrat-led trends, that is, as the culture being displaced by new scientific learning, evidence-based judgment, and professional societies. Whereas "the present fashion" among aristocrats is driven by women of "slender Experience" seduced by "stupid" traditions of the "Native Turks," the doctors are "Men of Skill" who resist "complying with the common Vogue." (81) Montagu is important here as a specific figure, the woman who visited Turkey and had her children inoculated for smallpox, and also as a type: a fashionable society woman. Wagstaffe strives to discredit Montagu on both counts, assuming that if her reputation were compromised, fewer people would embrace smallpox inoculation. Evidently she and the elite society she represented were entrenching fashions that determined public opinion and potentially constrained the uptake of the doctors' professional expertise. Montagu's smallpox fame placed her in the midst of a public debate about who should guide public opinion. At this point, in spite of her reservations about the integrity of the press in reporting the "Growth and Spreading of the Innoculating of the small pox," Montagu rebutted Wagstaffe in a letter, "A Plain Account of the Innoculating of the Small Pox by a Turkey Merchant," published September 11-13, 1722, in the Whig newspaper, the Flying-Post: or, Post-Master. In it she does not defend her reputation. (82) She is neither named nor given the conventional cover of "a Lady of Quality"; rather authorship is attributed to a "Turkey Merchant." (83) Wagstaffe's pamphlet shows that Montagu was already publicly associated with the proponents of smallpox inoculation. As a woman of title this may have been abhorrent to her, but she did not oppose public debate. Anonymity was a rhetorical strategy. The "Turkey Merchant" lacks the professional standing and club membership of "W. Wagstaffe, M.D. Fellow of the College of Physicians and of the Royal Society, and one of the Physicians of St. Bartholomew's Hospital," but lays claim to experience of the East where inoculation was commonplace. The "Turkey Merchant," a European who travels to the East for trade, was a stock figure in popular and scientific discourse on smallpox inoculation. Royal Society journals from October 22, 1713, and June 10, 1714, record reports from merchants who had visited Turkey and witnessed inoculations there. (84) In his pamphlet, Maitland bolsters his case with "the very ample Testimony, which Mr. Cook, an eminent Turky Merchant, one Day gave to this Experiment ... what he had ever observed in Turky, of which he had seen a great many Instances." (85) The physician Thomas Nettleton invoked the authority of the "Turkey Merchant" to support the statistical method he developed to calculate the success of smallpox inoculation. He wrote to James Jurin, secretary of the Royal Society: "Whenever any shall happen to miscarry under this Operation that will indeed be very unfortunate & ill, but in this Case You will have recourse to the Merchants Logick: state the Account of Profitt & Loss to find on which side the Ballance lyes with respect to the Publick, & form a Judgement accordingly." (86) For Montagu, Maitland, and Nettleton, the "Turkey Merchant" represents the liberal ideal of common profit; he imports a wealth of eastern wisdom validated by his own experience-based testimony. Unlike the surgeon and the physician, however, Montagu is also motivated by sex and class. The "Turkey Merchant" persona is a means of separating the authority of knowledge based upon experience of the East, which Montagu shares, from her class and gender, which were under criticism.

Like Wagstaffe, Montagu deploys epistolary form to effect both familiarization and alienation, to draw the reading public into agreement with Turkish custom, and to establish readers' opposition to the doctors. She is intent not simply to discredit Wagstaffe and expose "the Knavery and Ignorance of Physicians," but to improve how engrafting is practiced in England. In what follows she describes the now familiar details of Turkish inoculation: "The old Nurse ... the General surgeon upon this Occasion at Constantinople" takes some "matter" from a smallpox sufferer, then inserts a small amount into tiny incisions on the patient's arm or leg. The wound is bound until an eruption forms. Unlike the English, "They give no Cordials to heighten the Fever, ... leaving Nature to herself." (87) Directly challenging the medical profession's vociferous attempts to convince the public of its expertise, she writes:
    [A]s I am not of the College, I will not pretend to dispute with
   those Gentlemen concerning their Genneral Practice in other
   distempers, but they must give me leave to tell them, from my own
   knowledge, witness'd by every one of our Company that has ever
   resided at Constantinople, and several Thousands of those there,
   that have happily undergone this operation, That their long
   preparations only serve to destroy the strength of the Body,
   necessary to throw off infection. (88) 

Although Montagu does not overtly defend "the greatest families," her argument for the validity of judgment based upon Eastern experience exudes an aristocratic tone. She insists: "I shall sell no drugs, nor take no Fees ... I shall get nothing by it, but the private satisfaction of having done good to Mankind, and I know no body that reckons that satisfaction any part of their Interest." (89) Here she casts the "Turkey Merchant" in the distinctly aristocratic pose of the independent bystander, whose anonymity signals that he has no vested interest and therefore that he is at liberty to judge what he observes. (90) Montagu stresses that since doctors profit from business generated by smallpox, they cannot be impartial. Like Wagstaffe, she strove to authorize her position by discrediting her opponents. The "Turkey Merchant" letter shows that Montagu took seriously her social responsibility to circulate her knowledge and experience of smallpox inoculation. A couple of weeks later, anti-inoculationist apothecary Isaac Massey decried the "sham Turky Merchant letter," confirming that the ruse of anonymity failed to convince all readers to trust the Turkish, aristocratic, and feminine practice of smallpox inoculation. (91)

Over the following decade, Montagu's admirers perpetuated her reputation for smallpox inoculation in heroic terms. Aaron Hill praised her in his essay and poem "On Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's bringing with her out of Turkey, the Art of Inoculating the SmallPox" published in The Plain Dealer (July 3, 1724). (92) It was reprinted in Richard Savage's Miscellaneous Poems and Translations (1724) with a patriotic dedication: "our Country has been honor'd by the Glory of your Wit, as Elevated and Immortal as your Soul! It no longer remains a Doubt, whether your Sex have Strength of Mind, in Proportion to their Sweetness." (93) This tone is also conveyed on the dedicatory plaque accompanying the obelisk William Wentworth, Earl of Stratford, erected at Wentworth Castle, Warwickshire, in 1747. (94) In 1789, nearly forty years after her death in 1762, Montagu's niece, Henrietta Inge, erected a monument at Lichfield Cathedral. Its plaque reiterates the familiar story: "[B]y her example and advice, we have softened the virulence, and escaped the danger of this malignant disease." (95) In slightly more measured terms in Letters Concerning the English Nation (1733), Voltaire singles her out as "one of the most intelligent women in England," who embraced the new idea of inoculation she encountered in Constantinople, making an example of her own child, and then engaging the interest of Princess Caroline. Voltaire stresses that "at least ten thousand children of good family thus owe their lives to the Queen and Lady Wortley Montagu, and as many girls are indebted to them for their beauty." (96)

Hill, Voltaire, and others employ high encomium to fend off Montagu's negative reputation, for which Dr. Wagstaffe's pamphlet is not the only source. In July 1723, Montagu recorded ambivalence within her own family. After her nephew's death of smallpox, she wrote to Lady Mar regretting that their sister, Lady Gower, refused "the offer I made her 2 years together of taking the child home to my House, where I would have innoculated him with the same Care and safety I did my own." (97) Distrust was palpable within the networks in which Montagu circulated as an authority. Montagu's inoculated daughter, Lady Bute, who was "constantly carried ... along with her [mother] to the house, and into the sick-room, to prove her security from infection," recalled "the significant shrugs [and] looks of dislike ... cast at her mother." (98) Montagu's personal experience did not convince everybody. As Ingrid Tague notes, an "uneasy tension" between "aristocratic women's widespread involvement in public affairs through the exploitation of influence" and certain "ideals of femininity" and this made combating entrenched suspicion about "Newfangled Notions" difficult. (99)

When Pope, Montagu's onetime friend, turned foe some time during the late 1720s, he fueled her negative reputation and also reinforced the idea that she was central to the early eighteenth-century inoculation movement. Possibly he was jilted in love, as Montagu's granddaughter recounts, or perhaps he really was offended when Montagu returned some borrowed sheets to him unwashed, as Horace Walpole insinuated. (100) Whatever the motivation, Pope's resentment of Montagu is obvious from the 1728 publication of "The Dunciad" onward. He declared: "From furious Sappho scarce a milder Fate, / P-x'd by her Love, or libell'd by her Hate." (101) Pope's image of Montagu promiscuously infecting her loved ones is drawn, as Campbell observes, both "from the established satiric category of the fashionable lady" and from the specific story of a woman recognized as Montagu by herself and others. (102) Pope's backhanded acknowledgment of Montagu's influence stuck in the public imagination.

As early as 1717 Montagu asked, "Who dare have Virtue in a vicious age?" anticipating that satirists and gossips would denigrate her for taking a principled stance in fashionable English society. She attempted to take control of her reputation in the Turkish Embassy Letters, a collection of familiar letters prepared during the 1720s from drafts of letters sent, notes, and her journals. (103) By December 18, 1724, the date of the preface, written by the feminist philosopher and advocate for women's rights Mary Astell, a manuscript version was circulating well beyond Montagu's "snug set." It exhibits careful planning; the subject matter of each letter decorously matches the interests of its addressee. She writes on poetry to Pope and on fashion and republicanism to her Jacobite sister. (104) Following the course of her travels chronologically, she covers different facets of her reputation as a writer, a learned woman, a disinterested witness to Turkish culture, and a commentator on social decorum, women's roles, and Whig politics. The collection includes a letter about smallpox inoculation dated April 1 (circa 1717) and addressed, probably retrospectively, to her childhood friend Sarah Chiswell who died of smallpox in 1726. (105) She writes: "A propos of Distempers, I am going to tell you a thing that I am sure will make you wish your selfe here. The Small Pox so fatal and so general amongst us is here entirely harmless by the invention of engrafting." She reiterates elements of the Turkey merchant letter: "the old woman" who "comes with a nutshell full of the matter of the best sort of small-pox ... and puts into the vein as much venom as can lye upon the head of her needle, and after binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell," for example. "I am very well satisfy'd of the safety of the Experiment since I intend to try it on my dear little Son," she continues, embracing the heroic maternal ethos propounded by Hill and others. Providing the terms by which she wishes her advocacy of inoculation to be remembered, she asserts "I am Patriot enough to take pains to bring this usefull invention into fashion in England ... Perhaps if I live to return I may, however, have courage to war with ... our Doctors." (106) Her word "Patriot" underscores the political nature of her opposition to the medical profession. Above all, she proclaims the broader social benefits that a discerning, disinterested lady of quality may bring to the commonwealth. She did not simply want to be known for her wit, reason, and judgment, but as a "patriot" driven by oppositional political and ideological principles to bring smallpox inoculation into fashion. By the 1730s, a "patriot opposition" to the Whig Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, made up of Tories and disaffected Whigs had taken shape, but Montagu does not associate herself with this movement. (107) Nonetheless her patriot stance, which is not confined to the Chiswell letter, was potentially politically inflammatory, particularly as her daughter had married the rising Tory politician and future prime minister, John Stuart, Earl of Bute. (108)

In the 1740s, still seeking a public outlet for her patriot zeal, Montagu offered to spy for Robert Walpole on the Continent, but by the 1750s she had become cynical about the public roles available to educated women of quality. She advised Lady Bute to have her daughters hide their learning in order to avoid the envy of others. The "studious Life," she writes, "may be, preferable even to that Fame which Men have engross'd to themselves and will not suffer us to share. You will tell me I have not observ'd this rule my selfe, but you are mistaken; it is only inevitable Accident that has given me any Reputation that way." (109) Montagu's critic, Miller, would agree. It is true that Montagu was born into public life, that circumstances frequently thrust her into public view, and that she attempted to keep her interventions in printed debate anonymous. Nevertheless, she deliberately exerted her influence through her social networks (and beyond, in print) to encourage aristocratic "compl[iance] with the comman Vogue" of smallpox inoculation, as the published smallpox inoculation debate acknowledged. Montagu was acutely aware of the gendered divisions that organized her society, but her involvement with smallpox inoculation demonstrates that such divisions were not universally binding. Regardless of class, professional standing, or sex, the capacity of both the doctors and Montagu to popularize (or discredit) smallpox inoculation depended upon their "Fame" or repute. Her success suggests that medico-scientific culture had not yet displaced the traditional modes of social authority represented by aristocrat-led trends. It could hardly be said that the doctors "engross'd [fame] to themselves" or that her reputation was obscured by the story of medical progress, as Grundy argues. Indeed the strident terms in which she presents her smallpox fame in her Turkish Embassy Letters reverberate still in popular and scholarly accounts of smallpox inoculation.


I would like to thank Professor Michael Bennett, Professor C.A.J. Coady, Dr. David Coady, Professor David Garrioch, and Dr. Lisa O'Connell for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this essay.

(1.) Voltaire, "On Inoculation with Smallpox," in his Letters on England, trans. Leonard Tancock (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1980), 55.

(2.) Genevieve Miller, The Adoption of Inoculation for Smallpox in England and France (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1957).

(3.) Genevieve Miller, "Putting Lady Mary in Her Place: A Discussion of Historical Causation," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 55 (1981): 2-16.

(4.) Isobel Grundy, "Medical Advance and Female Fame: Inoculation and its After-Effects," Lumen XIII (1994): 16.

(5.) Isobel Grundy, "Inoculation in Salisbury," The Scriblerian 26, no. 1 (1993): 63-65; and "Medical Advance," 27-28.

(6.) David E. Shuttleton, Smallpox and the Literary Imagination 1660-1820 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007), 115-36.

(7.) Miller, The Adoption of Inoculation, 26-35; S. R. Duncan, S. Scott, and C. J. Duncan, "Modelling the Different Smallpox Epidemics in England," Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences 346, no.1 (December 1994): 407-19.

(8.) Shuttleton, Smallpox, 1.

(9.) Jill Campbell, "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the 'Glass Revers'd' of Female Old Age," in Defects: Engendering the Modern Body, ed. Helen Deutsch and Felicity Nussbaum (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003), 226.

(10.) Felicity Nussbaum, Limits of the Human: Fictions of Anomaly, Race, and Gender in the Long Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003), 110.

(11.) Irene Q. Brown, "Domesticity, Feminism, and Friendship: Female Aristocratic Culture and Marriage in England, 1660-1760," Journal of Family History 7, no. 4 (Winter 1982): 406-24; Amanda Vickery, "Golden Age to Separate Spheres?. A Review of the Categories of English Women's History," Historical Journal 36, no. 2 (1993): 383-414; Lawrence E. Klein, "Gender and the Public/Private Distinction in the Eighteenth Century: Some Questions about Evidence and Analytic Procedure," Eighteenth-Century Studies 29, no. 1 (1996): 97-109; Michael McKeon, The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005).

(12.) Brown, "Domesticity, Feminism, and Friendship," 421-22.

(13.) Klein, "Gender and the Public/Private Distinction," 102-3.

(14.) Vickery, "Golden Age to Separate Spheres?" 398-99.

(15.) Louisa Stuart, "Biographical Anecdotes of Lady M. W. Montagu," in Mary Wortley Montagu, Essays and Poems and Simplicity, a Comedy, ed. Robert Halsband and Isobel Grundy (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), 9.

(16.) Isobel Grundy, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Comet of the Enlightenment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 12-13.

(17.) Montagu to Lady Bute, January 28, 1753, in Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, ed. Robert Halsband, vol. 3, 1752-1762 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1967), 23.

(18.) Montagu to Gilbert Burnet, July 20, 1710, in Complete Letters, vol. 1, 1708-1720 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965), 43-46. See also, Robert Halsband, The Life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (Oxford: Clarendon, 1956), 14; Grundy, Comet of the Enlightenment, 37-38.

(19.) Montagu to Burner, July 20, 1710, Complete Letters, vol. 1, 44.

(20.) Ibid., 45.

(21.) On The Spectator, see Ingrid H. Tague, Women of Quality: Accepting and Contesting Ideals of Femininity in England, 1690-1760 (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell and Brewer, 2002),45; on Tatler and the Female Tatler see periodicalsgenealogy.html (accessed September 11, 2009).

(22.) Brown, "Domesticity, Feminism, and Friendship," 406-24.

(23.) James How, Epistolary Spaces: English Letter Writing from the Foundation of the Post Office to Richardson's Clarissa (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2003), 80, 96-7; Isobel Grundy, "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her Daughter: The Changing Use of Manuscripts," in Women's Writing and the Circulation of Ideas: Manuscript Publication in England, 1550-1800, ed. George L. Justice and Nathan Tinker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 184.

(24.) Erin Mackie, Market a la Mode: Fashion, Commodity, and Gender in The Tatler and The Spectator (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 225, 251.

(25.) The Tatler, no. 223, September 12, 1710, The Tatler, ed. Donald F. Bond, vol. 3 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 230

(26.) Ophelia Field, The Kit-Cat Club: Friends Who Imagined a Nation (London: Harper, 2008), 62-84.

(27.) Sarah Prescott, Women, Authorship, and Literary Culture, 1690-1740 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Christine Gerrard, Aaron Hill: The Muses' Projector, 1685-1750 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 61-101; Klein, "Gender and the Public/Private Distinction," 97-109.

(28.) Abigail Williams, Poetry and the Creation of a Whig Literary Culture, 1681-1714 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 238.

(29.) McKeon, Secret History of Domesticity, 130-1.

(30.) Grundy, Comet of the Enlightenment, 82ff; Halsband, Life of Lady Mary, 45ff.

(31.) Montagu to Wortley, October 23, 1714, Complete Letters, vol. 1, 233.

(32.) Robert Halsband, "Addison's Cato and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu," PMLA 65, no. 6 (December 1950): 11224; How, Epistolary Spaces, 80.

(33.) Ludmilla Jordanova, "Presidential Address: Remembrance of Science Past," The British Journal for the History of Science 33, no. 4 (2000): 390.

(34.) Miller, The Adoption of Inoculation, 33-34.

(35.) Montagu to Wortley, June 25, 1713, Complete Letters, vol. 1, 182.

(36.) Montagu to Wortley, July 3, 1713, Complete Letters, vol. 1, 183.

(37.) Montagu to Wortley, December 6, 1714, Complete Letters, vol. 1, 238.

(38.) See Sara Stidstone Gronim, "Imagining Inoculation: Smallpox, the Body, and Social Relations of Healing in the Eighteenth Century," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 80, no. 2 (2006): 247-68.

(39.) Lady Loudon (January 3, 1715/1716) and James Brydges, Lord Carnarvon (later Duke of Chandos) (January 26, 1716), cited in Grundy, Comet of the Enlightenment, 100-101.

(40.) Miller, The Adoption of Inoculation, 48-54.

(41.) Grundy, Comet of the Enlightenment, 102; see also, Arnold Klebs, "The Historic Evolution of Variolation," Bulletin of Johns Hopkins Hospital XXIV, no. 265 (1913): 69-83.

(42.) Montagu, "Satturday: The Small Pox," in her Essays and Poems, 201-4. For critical discussion of "Satturday" see Shuttleton, Smallpox, 128-33; Campbell, "Lady Mary and the 'Glass Revers'd,'" 236.

(43.) The Tatler no. 238, October 14-17, 1710, The Tatler, vol. 3.

(44.) Jonathan Swift, "A Description of a City Shower," in Poetical Works, ed. Herbert Davis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967), 91-93 (lines 41-42).

(45.) Montagu, "Satturday." (Parenthetical numbers in the text reference lines of verse.)

(46.) Shuttleton, Smallpox, 131. On the poem as protofeminist see Nussbaum, Limits of the Human, 109-32. See also Robert Halsband, "'Condemned to Petticoats': Lady Mary Wortley Montagu as Feminist and Writer," in The Dress of Words: Essays on Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature in Honor of Richmond P. Bond, ed. Robert B. White (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1978), 35-52; and Sandra Sherman, "Instructing the 'Empire of Beauty': Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Politics of Female Rationality," South Atlantic Review 60, no. 4 (November 1995): 1-26.

(47.) Swift, "A Description of a City Shower" (line 61).

(48.) Montagu to Lady Mar, May 1723, Complete Letters, vol. 2, 23.

(49.) The Tatler, no. 223, September 12, 1710, The Tatler, vol. 3, 230.

(50.) The Tatler, no. 212, August 17, 1710, The Tatler, vol. 3, 118.

(51.) For example, in the Tatler, no. 206, August 3, 1710, a Flavia competes with her daughter for lovers, but Montagu was not a mother at the time. See The Tatler, vol. 3, 96.

(52.) James Brydges, Lord Chandos, to Colonel Bladen, December 28, 1715, cited in Halsband, Life of Lady Mary, 52.

(53.) Wilfred Prest, Albion Ascendant: English History 1660-1815 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 71ff.

(54.) Donald Quataert, The Ottoman Empire 1700-1922, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 37-53; Virginia H. Aksan, Ottoman Wars 1700-1870: An Empire Besieged (Harlow, UK: Pearson, 2007); Akdes Nimet Kurat ed., The Despatches of Sir Robert Sutton, Ambassador in Constantinople (1710-1714) (London: Royal Historical Society, 1953), 1-12.

(55.) Alexander Pope, "To Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, October 1716," in The Correspondence of Alexander Pope, ed. George Sherburn, vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1956), 363.

(56.) Maria Koundoura, "Between Orientalism and Philhellenism: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's 'Real' Greeks," The Eighteenth Century 45, no. 3 (Fall 2004): 249q54.

(57.) Teresa Heffernan, "Feminism Against the East/West Divide: Lady Mary's Turkish Embassy Letters," Eighteenth-Century Studies 33, vol. 2 (2000): 201, 207-8; Srinivas Aravamudan, "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in the Hammam: Masquerade, Womanliness, and Levantinization," English Literary History 62, no. 1 (1995): 69-104; Meyda Yegenoglu, "Supplementing the Orientalist Lack: European Ladies in the Harem," Inscriptions 6 (1992): 45-80.

(58.) Montagu, "To Sarah Chiswell" April 1 [1717], Complete Letters, vol. 1, 338-39.

(59.) Miller, The Adoption of Inoculation, 51.

(60.) Grundy, Comet of the Enlightenment, 155-58.

(61.) Montagu, "Constantinople: To [William Feilding]," in her Essays and Poems, 206-10 (lines 104-11).

(62.) No. T071421, English Short-Title Catalogue in Gale Eighteenth Century Collections Online.

(63.) James McLaverty, "Of Which Being Publick the Publick Judge: Pope and the Publication of 'Verses Addressed to the Imitator of Horace,'" Studies in Bibliography 51 (1998): 193.

(64.) Marcia Pointon, "Killing Pictures," in Painting and the Politics of Culture: New Essays on British Art 1700-1850, ed. John Barrell (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 43, 70; Grundy, Comet of the Enlightenment 201-2; Halsband, Life of Lady Mary 98-99; Alexander Pope, The Twickenham Edition of the Poems of Alexander Pope, ed. Norman Ault and John Butt (London: Methuen, 1954), 212; and Montagu to Lady Mar, April 1, [1717], Complete Letters, vol. 1, 325-27.

(65.) Miller, "Putting Lady Mary in Her Place," 11.

(66.) Charles Maitland, Mr Maitland's Account of Inoculating the Small-Pox (February 1722), 11-12.

(67.) Miller, The Adoption of Inoculation, 80-91; Arthur M. Silverstein and Genevieve Miller, "The Royal Experiment on Immunity: 1721 1722," Cellular Immunology 61 (1981): 437-47.

(68.) Maitland, Mr Maitland's Account, 1.

(69.) Ibid., 7, 10.

(70.) Montagu to Lady Mar, April 1722, Complete Letters, vol. 2, 15; on her epistolary style see W. H. Irving, The Providence of Wit in the English Letter Writers (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1955): 205-15; Cynthia Lowenthal, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Eighteenth-century Familiar Letter (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994), 29-34.

(71.) Kevin J. Gardner, "The Aesthetics of Intimacy: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her Readers," Papers on Language and Literature: A Journal for Scholars and Critics 34, no. 2 (April 1998): 113-33.

(72.) Montagu to Lady Mar, June 1723, Complete Letters, vol. 2, 25-26.

(73.) Stuart, "Biographical Anecdotes," 36.

(74.) Miller, "Putting Lady Mary in Her Place," 7.

(75.) Dr. William Wagstaffe, A Letter to Dr Freind; shewing the Danger and Uncertainty of Inoculating the Small Pox (London, 1722), 42.

(76.) Maitland, Mr Maitland's Account, 9, 8.

(77.) Ibid., 2-3.

(78.) Wagstaffe, A Letter to Dr Freind, 4.

(79.) Steven Shapin, "Science and the Public," in Companion to the History of Modern Science, ed. R. C. Olby, G. N. Cantor, J. R. R. Christie and M. J. S. Hodge (London: Routledge, 1990), 998.

(80.) Wagstaffe, A Letter to Dr Freind, 4-5.

(81.) Ibid., 39, 5, 38, 45.

(82.) Montagu, "A Plain Account of the Innoculating of the Small Pox by a Turkey Merchant," in her Essays and Poems, 95-97.

(83.) Margaret J. M. Ezell, "'By a Lady': The Mask of the Feminine in Restoration, Early Eighteenth-Century Print Culture," in The Faces of Anonymity: Anonymous and Pseudonymous Publication from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. Robert Griffin (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 77; Robert Halsband, "New Light on Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Contribution to Inoculation," Journal of the History Medicine 8, no.4 (October 1953): 390-405.

(84.) Journal-Book X (Royal Society Library): 513, 577, quoted in Miller, The Adoption of Inoculation, 50.

(85.) Maitland, Mr Maitland's Account, 25.

(86.) Thomas Nettleton cited in Andrea Rusnock, "'The Merchant's Logick': Numerical Debates over Smallpox Inoculation in Eighteenth-Century England," in The Road to Medical Statistics, ed. Eileen Magnello and Anne Hardy (Amsterdam: Rodolpi, 2002), 37-38.

(87.) Montagu, "A Plain Account," 9546.

(88.) Ibid., 96.

(89.) Ibid., 95.

(90.) Terence Bowers, "Universalizing Sociability: The Spectator, Civic Enfranchisement, and the Rules of the Public Sphere," in The Spectator: Emerging Discourses, ed. Donald J. Newman (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005), 150-74; Lawrence E. Klein, Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Mary Poovey, "Aesthetics and Political Economy in the Eighteenth Century: The Place of Gender in the Social Constitution of Knowledge," in Aesthetics and Ideology, ed. George Levine (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994), 83.

(91.) Issac Massey, A short and plain account of inoculation. With some remarks on the main arguments made use of to recommend that practice, by Mr Maitland and others (London, 1722), 3; Halsband, "New Light," 402-3.

(92.) Shuttleton, Smallpox, 163.

(93.) Cited in Gerrard, Aaron Hill, 97.

(94.) Wendy Frith, "Sex, Smallpox, and Seraglios: A Monument to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu," in Femininity and Masculinity in Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture, ed. Gill Perry and Michael Rossington (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994), 99-122; (accessed May 8, 2008).

(95.) mural-monuments-one-of-greatfeatures.html (accessed May" 13, 2008).

(96.) Voltaire, "On Inoculation," 55.

(97.) Montagu to Lady Mar, July 1723, Complete Letters, vol. 2, 26.

(98.) Stuart, "Biographical Anecdotes," 36.

(99.) Tague, Women of Quality, 213-14.

(100.) Stuart, "Biographical Anecdotes," 37; Grundy, Comet of the Enlightenment, 273.

(101.) "P-x'd" here is shorthand for any disease that leaves pock mark scars including smallpox and syphilis, which was also known as the Pox, the Great Pox, or the French Pox." Alexander Pope, "First Satire of the Second Book of Horace Imitated" (1733), in his Poetical Works, ed. Herbert Davis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), 343 (lines 83-84). See also Donna Landry, "Alexander Pope, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and the Literature of Social Comment," in The Cambridge Companion to English Literature 1650-1740, ed. Steven N. Zwicker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 307-29.

(102.) Jill Campbell, "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Historical Machinery of Female Identity," in History, Gender and Eighteenth-Century Literature, ed. Beth Fowkes Tobin (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994), 65.

(103.) Halsband, introduction to Complete Letters, vol. 1, xiv-xv.

(104.) Anna Secor, "Orientalism, Gender and Class in Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Turkish Embassy Letters: To Persons of Distinction, Men of Letters & c.," Cultural Geographies 6, no. 4 (1999): 379; How, Epistolary Spaces, 95-96.

(105.) Halsband, "New Light," 390-405.

(106.) Montagu, "To Sarah Chiswell," Complete Letters, vol. 2, 339.

(107.) Christine Gerrard, "Political Passions," in The Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-century Poetry, ed. John Sitter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 48-49.

(108.) See Montagu's political journal, The Nonsense of Common Sense (published 1737-1738), in her Essays and Poems, 105-49.

(109.) Montagu to Lady Bute, January 28, [1753], Complete Letters, vol. 3, 22-23.
COPYRIGHT 2012 Feminist Studies, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Barnes, Diana
Publication:Feminist Studies
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Jun 22, 2012
Previous Article:20 March, 43 BCE: Ovid Is Born.
Next Article:Grandmothers in the Archive: Three Digital Collections of Women's Writing.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters