Rich Man, Poor Man

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The Family Chronicle of the Grahams of Edmond Castle

In 1818 the Grahams of Edmond Castle were living in Clapham, close to London. Thomas (vi) Graham had died in 1813, and his widow, Susannah Davenport, was raising their family of two boys and three girls.

Her eldest child, Thomas (vi), was 25, and trained as a lawyer. He had already inherited the Graham estate. John, the next child was 24, and another lawyer. John and Thomas lived mostly in Gower St., London, presumably working at the law practice, although I doubt that Thomas worked very hard, given how wealthy he already was.

The three girls were living with Mamma; Elizabeth Maria was 23, Emily was 21, Harriet had died in 1806, and the baby, Anne Margaret, was 17. They lived in The Hall, one of the largest and grandest houses on the north side of Clapham Common, spent the season in town, in Gower St., and the summers/autumns in Eastbourne.

Widow Elizabeth was a well-known author of the time, writing, under the penname Theresa Tidy, books for children about neatness and decorum, and grammar. Her children spouted doggerel like it was casual conversation. They wrote travel diaries and journals, they sketched sketches and painted paintings, they wrote about themselves, about their neighbours, they told the world about all the silly things they did and thought, and where they went, and what they ate and who they met. And then they collected it all in a Family Chronicle, published every Saturday afternoon at 3 pm. They were real Georgian bloggers.

One complete year, 1818-1819, of The Family Chronicle survives.

I defy anyone to read this Chronicle and not like this family.

The whole Chronicle (including a reproduction of the original pages, together with my transcription) is almost 700 pages long. It's a big download and a lot of stuff to read. A bit indigestible, taken all at once. So, as well as providing a link to the entire Chronicle, I've provided some excerpts of bits that I found particularly interesting.

The whole Chronicle Be warned. It's about 650 pages in total.
Introduction My introduction to the Chronicle, giving a bit of background information about the people appearing in it.
FAQ The Chronicle FAQ, written by the Timaens (i.e., the Grahams). Always a good place to start, to learn more about the Chronicle. Pay particular attention to the following question and answer: Q. Do its authors strictly adhere to Truth? A. By no means. There is nothing they take so much pains to avoid as a simple statement of facts.
A was an Abbess ... ... who studied Romances. The ABC rhyme for children.
The Grand Cannibal Dinner Two of the very first Maori to visit England were Tuai and Teteri, and they met the Grahams at least twice. And appear in the Chronicle. The most detailed account was that of a Grand Cannibal Dinner, with a description of the two Maori. This is actually a highly interesting document for early New Zealand history.
Travel diary in verse John Graham's travel diary. In verse, no less.
Into the future. John Graham imagines life in 2018. I kid you not. Clearly the Graham women were not happy with their subservient role and imagined a far better future.
Early account of The Hall A short account of the childhood of Elizabeth Davenport, and the building of The Hall.
A Mrs. Radcliff novel Neatly summarised in one page of verse.
Ode to the Family Chronicle I think this is a lovely ode, particularly the last four lines.