Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Anthony and Tom: Brotherly Love

First of all, ladies and gents, allow me to express my utmost surprise on my own silliness of not detecting the fact I am about to present sooner. Secondly, allow me to express such surprise by this one:

Oh. My. God. Oh my God. OH MY GOOOOOD!!!

Phew. There. Now, then.

In the light of my recent post re: Thomas Edward Preston Lefroy (TEPL) and his father Anthony Lefroy and their relationship with Tom Lefroy (see this post), I have suggested that the fate of Anthony Lefroy was one of the main (if not indeed THE main) reasons for Tom to leave Jane and marry the Wexford Mary Paul (there you go, name your daughter ‘Mary’ and she will marry one of the utmost important people in the history – pardon my pun!).

Now, in this post, I shall reveal a bit more of Anthony Lefroy, Tom’s younger brother. But let me reiterate what Deirdre Le Faye wrote in her Jane Austen’s Letter (page 545):

Anthony Lefroy (1777-1857) became a Captain in the 65th Regiment, the commission being purchased for him by his Langlois great-uncles. Unfortunately, Anthony married in 1798 Elizabeth Wilkin, who was considered in some way undesirable, and the Langlois family refused to provide any further financial assistance. Tom Lefroy was eventually able to obtain for his brother the position of Barrack-Master, first in Arundel and later in York, where this branch of the family therefore remained. One of their sons, Thomas Edward Preston Lefroy (1815-1887), married in 1846 his cousin Anna-Jemima Lefroy (daughter of Anna Austen and Benjamin Lefroy; see below).

Now, I’ve been wondering the exact date of Anthony’s wedding, and I was silly enough not to cross check my other reference: Cranfield’s From Ireland to Western Australia. Here’s what I found from page 9 of Cranfield’s book, which I have read before actually, but did not see the relevance. It’s #6 of the list of the children of Anthony Peter Lefroy and Anna Gardner:

Anthony, born October 19th, 1777. Became Captain in 65th Regiment. Married on November 5th, 1798, Elizabeth, daughter of William Wilkin, of Appleby, Westmorland. Died September 7th, 1857, having had, with other issues, Thomas Edward Preston, M.A., Q.C., born August 30th, 1815, who married September 9th, 1846, Anna Jemima (died October 17th, 1855), eldest daughter of Reverend Benjamin Lefroy, and died July 25th, 1887, leaving issue.

Now, dear friends, lovers of Jane and Tom, let us see the date of Anthony’s wedding: November 5th, 1798. In another word, twelve days before Jane Austen’s letter to Cassandra dated November 17th, 1798 telling the departure of Tom Lefroy to Ireland (and his possible visit to Ashe without subsequent visit to Jane). This is the extract of the letter:

Mrs. Lefroy did come last Wednesday, and the Harwoods came likewise, but very considerately paid their visit before Mrs. Lefroy's arrival, with whom, in spite of interruptions both from my father and James, I was enough alone to hear all that was interesting, which you will easily credit when I tell you that of her nephew she said nothing at all, and of her friend very little. She did not once mention the name of the former to me, and I was too proud to make any inquiries; but on my father's afterwards asking where he was, I learnt that he was gone back to London in his way to Ireland, where he is called to the Bar and means to practise.

So, bearing in mind that:

1. Tom Lefroy had been called to the Bar since 1797 (Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy);

2. Tom went to Ireland in two weeks after Anthony’s unblessed wedding;

3. Tom helped his brother Anthony to be the Barrack Master later on after Uncle Ben Langlois cut off his financial assistance to Anthony;

4. TEPL obtained the Cadell letter, a case that, to me, has Tom Lefroy’s finger prints all over it;

5. TEPL was also the very person the old Tom Lefroy confided in about his ‘boyish love’ towards Jane Austen

I am very much inclined to propose that the main reason for Tom going to Ireland in November 1798 was Anthony’s wedding. Tom needed to discuss the urgent matter with his family, and I am certain that the discussion would then lead to Tom’s wedding with Mary Paul.

I am also inclined to suggest that one of the reasons for Tom’s deferring his wedding with Mary (to whom he had engaged in Easter 1797) was Jane Austen. I am not in favour of the ‘study’ reason, for Tom still returned to London after his wedding with Mary on March 16, 1799 to finish his study.

And, upon checking the list of Jane's letters to Cassandra in Oct/Nov 1798, I found out that there was indeed more than a month's gap of no records between 27-28 Oct to 17-18 Nov 1798. Both letters (27-28 Oct and 17-18 Nov) were addressed to Cassandra from Steventon to Godmersham. My suggestion is that Jane found out something strange about Tom (could it be that Tom already knew of Anthony's plan to get married/elope since October 1798?), and she told Cassandra about it. Or... Tom also said that he might have to leave for Ireland and there was no way they could communicate again as 'friends' afterwards.

I am interested to know what you dear friends think of the suggestions. To close this post, I shall insert an excerpt of a brotherly love poem by Millette Addison (titled Entertain Angels Unaware):

What If I was an angel?
Sent from God above.

To test man of,
His brotherly love?

You will never know,
If you never give true brotherly love

~ Millette Addison


Reference:

Cranfield, R. E. 1960, From Ireland to Western Australia: The Establishment of a Branch of the Lefroy Family at Walebing, Western Australia, 1842 to 1960, Service Printing Perth.

Faye, D. L. 1997, Jane Austen's Letters, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Lefroy, T. 1871, Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy, Hodges, Foster & Co., Dublin.


PS 23 August 2007:

I just would like to add the fact from Cranfield’s book that Anthony was indeed the first offspring of Anthony Peter Lefroy and Ann Gardner that got married (November 5th, 1798), followed by Tom (March 16th, 1799) and then their sister Sarah, who married Captain Thomas Courtenay in May 9th, 1799. By the time Anthony got married in 1798, none of Tom’s siblings (including himself) was married. Hence, as Anthony was kicked out of the financial support of Ben Langlois, Tom should really come forward and save his family (including his six sisters).

I will post an article about verbatim quotes from Cranfield on this matter soon.



Pic 1: Young Tom Lefroy by G. Engleheart (1799), from the Carrigglas website

Pic 2: A portrait of two boys by David Allan (c1785), from Clacksweb.org.uk. I especially love the brotherly expression; the older boy protecting his little brother, and the mischievous smile of the younger brother. So like Tom and Anthony. The older boy was possibly James Floyer Erskine, later became the 7th Earl of Mar, and his little brother might be John Thomas Erskine, later became the 8th Earl of Mar. The interesting thing is, James was later disinherited by his father, thus John became the next Earl of Mar. The opposite of Tom and Anthony, whereby Anthony was the one who was cut off from his uncle.


15 comments:

Michelle said...

OMG!!! I am not qualified to type anymore than that exclamation - but this has motivated me to get my butt into a chair and pick up my JA resources, pronto!

I’m quoting your suspicions from an earlier blog comment:

Michelle, yeah, mate, 1798! A year before Tom's wedding with Mary in March 1799. I bet Anthony got married (I tend to think he eloped) before November 1798, before Tom went back to Ireland. Oh, such a sad story, I can cry now... sob!

Right on!

I have a bazillion questions, but right now I am interested in Tom/Mary’s engagement and the time between Easter 1797 and their marriage in 1798. Did anything significant happen during this time? My interest has stemmed from your observation:

I am also inclined to suggest that one of the reasons for Tom’s deferring his wedding with Mary (to whom he had engaged in Easter 1797) was Jane Austen. I am not in favour of the ‘study’ reason, for Tom still returned to London after his wedding with Mary on March 25, 1799 to finish his study.

Which sources reveal the “study” excuse for the delayed wedding? After all, didn’t they usually marry fairly soon after engagement (with notable exceptions such as waiting to come into inheritance, etc, etc)?

In an earlier post you speculated that JA & TL may have possibly met in Bath in November 1797 – which would have been after Tom’s engagement to Mary: http://becomingjane.blogspot.com/2007/07/jane-and-toms-rendezvous-in-bath.html

So, Tom & Jane met in 1795/96 – Tom became engaged Easter 1797 - possibly reunited with Jane in Bath 1797 (as you have asked, how did TL know of the Caddell letter)– did NOT meet in Oct/Nov 1978 – and Tom married in March 1799, and there was the end of direct contact. Is this correct?

Why was Tom Lefroy visiting Hampshire in Nov 1798? Is there no record at all of how long he was there? Are you suggesting that he was there such a short time due to the impudent marriage that he did not have time to see Jane? Or would not there have been some uncomfortable form “estrangement” owing to his engagement? (I need my Spence book to arrive, dammit!)

In a comment on your blog “Tracking Tom Lefroy and his nephew”, you said:

I always thought that Tom was not a cruel guy, and all the indications found during our research showed that he was still very fond of Jane even in 1797.

…In any case, the more I think of it, the more I am certain that Anthony's fate was the main reason for Tom to resume his engagement with Mary and leave Jane behind


I agree with the reasoning that ONE impudent marriage was bad enough, two – particularly involving the eldest son, unthinkable. What did you find to suggest that Tom was still fond of Jane into 1797? Pre-engagement, I presume? Also, back to my earlier Tom/Mary engagement questions, your comment of Tom’s “resuming” his engagement with Mary is intriguing. Can you shed anymore light on behind the choice of “resume”?


Slightly OT, but I have wondered about these excerpts for a while (now that I have my “Letters” I can read them in context), but on their own, they are thought provoking.

Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection – JA, 18 November 1814

Nothing can be compared to the misery of being bound without Love, bound to one, & preferring another – JA, 30 November 1814


How on earth do historians explain the second excerpt? As it clearly states that Jane herself felt the misery of being “bound without Love” (to Mr Bigg-Wither) while “preferring another”. <- Other than the “mystery man by the sea” (whom Radovici suggested could have been a “cover” by the Austen family to explain Jane’s spirits. Paraphrase, I can find the ref. later), then this “other” must have been in reference to Tom Lefroy? Would this be correct? Who else could this be referring to? (second note to self; get off internet & pick up your JA books!)

Hope this all makes sense! Keep up the excellent work!! I love the inclusion of the “brothers” poem. Tom’s assistance of Anthony is so touching.

Arnie Perlstein said...

Icha, first let me say "Bravo!" on a truly Holmesian discovery and inference. Second, there was a very good reason why this linkage between Tom's brother's sudden marriage and Tom's sudden departure for London (note that Mrs. Lefroy reported that he went to London first before returning to Ireland) was not detected previously, by Le Faye, Spence, Radovici, our friend Linda, or any of the rest of us.

Lt. Col. J.A.P. Lefroy, Tom's modern day descendant, in his 1978 article "Jane Austen's Irish Friend", a key source for everyone coming after him in terms of facts about the Irish Lefroys, wrote the following:

"Tom, like his father before him, was dependent on Langlois money. His father had made an imprudent match and had the luck to get away with it, but Mrs. Lefroy dared not risk incurring the Langlois wrath a second time. In fact, Tom's brother Anthony did make an unfortunate marriage A FEW YEARS LATER [my emphasis]. He was cut off without a penny, had to sell his commission in the Army and was ruined. So Mrs. Lefroy's fears were amply justified."

It seems that JAP mistakenly believed that Anthony Lefroy got married a few years AFTER Tom's visit to Ashe, when in fact it was the reverse-and that, as you suggest, changes everything!

And it shows that it is really important, when we have the Internet at our fingertips, to go back to original sources and double check facts for accuracy.

Anyway, based on the above, I am now ready to alter my view of Tom Lefroy's sudden departure, and to allow for the distinct possibility that he did indeed come to Ashe with the intent of breaking his then existing engagement with Mary Paul, and instead proposing to Jane, or at least, agreeing with Jane to remain single until a futur e date when they might have the resources to marry. But then his brother's marriage intervened and scotched that dream forever. I.e., I am now more amenable to seeing Tom Lefroy as more Edward Ferrars than John Willoughby! ;)

Again, bravo, Icha!

Icha said...

Arnie...

I cannot even write this respond without shaking... it's so important coming from you who previously - in the most friendly way - oppose the idea that Tom did not leave Jane because of his lack of compassion...

Anyway, I did not even have the Huguenot paper... It's in my reading list, I have to ask Linda to provide me that. But if so, well, there you go ;-) Glad that BJ Fansite can prove Tom Lefroy's innocence.

We still have to cross reference Cranfield's source, though. I can send you the PDF file later for your eyes to see it yourself. Cranfield's book was written in 1960 under the commission of E.H.B Lefroy, a direct descendant of Tom's youngest brother Henry Lefroy. Hence, I assume that the info on Anthony's wedding date is correct. November 5th, 1798 (I have the book in front of me now).

Re: John Willoughby vs Edward Ferrars... I suspect JA did not know of Anthony Lefroy's unfortunate marriage until much later... for I can see her writing Willoughby and Edward Ferrars both to represent both sides of Tom that she saw or perceived as she wrote Sense & Sensibility. The interesting thing is, I have not yet met the reference that suggest JA knew of Anthony's marriage. But of course, I am open for more info.

Gotta go to Michelle's also long and interesting comments. Thanks again, mate!

Icha said...

Oh, Arnie,

there was a very good reason why this linkage between Tom's brother's sudden marriage and Tom's sudden departure for London (note that Mrs. Lefroy reported that he went to London first before returning to Ireland)

Yes... I was thinking about going to London first before Ireland. It could be because of the route to Ireland (how the heck people travelling from London to Dublin those days? Not from Southampton, I suppose? There's another city in the west of England...). But also, could be because Tom needed to double check with Anthony (who might be waiting for him in London or somewhere) about Ben Langlois' decision. In any case, I believe that Tom had learned of Uncle Ben's treatment to Anthony BEFORE he reached Ashe. Hence, he did not pay Jane a visit. Who could, under such pressure?

Arnie Perlstein said...

I have another very important question---I understand that TEPL was born in 1815--but what was the date of birth of the FIRST child of the marriage of Anthony Lefroy and Sarah Wilkin? Is it possible that this was, as we say here in the States, a shotgun marriage?

Icha said...

Now, dearest Michelle, in answering your questions:

I have a bazillion questions, but right now I am interested in Tom/Mary’s engagement and the time between Easter 1797 and their marriage in 1798. Did anything significant happen during this time? My interest has stemmed from your observation:

I am also inclined to suggest that one of the reasons for Tom’s deferring his wedding with Mary (to whom he had engaged in Easter 1797) was Jane Austen. I am not in favour of the ‘study’ reason, for Tom still returned to London after his wedding with Mary on March 25, 1799 to finish his study.

Which sources reveal the “study” excuse for the delayed wedding? After all, didn’t they usually marry fairly soon after engagement (with notable exceptions such as waiting to come into inheritance, etc, etc)?


I forgot which source... whether I read it somewhere, or it was just me looking for a reason for Tom NOT immediately marrying Mary after their engagement. After all, their case was not like Cass/Fowle case where Cass had to wait for Thomas Fowle to gain some income from his trip to India. Mary was rich (her father, at least), hence there was no need in delaying the wedding. Not from the financial POV.

Speaking of which, Arnie &c, Mary had a brother, Thomas as well, a friend of Tom Lefroy. I don't know what happened to Thomas Paul. He died or what... for Mary was the sole heir of the Pauls. We need to know more of the Pauls (and Christmases).

So, Tom & Jane met in 1795/96 – Tom became engaged Easter 1797 - possibly reunited with Jane in Bath 1797 (as you have asked, how did TL know of the Caddell letter)– did NOT meet in Oct/Nov 1978 – and Tom married in March 1799, and there was the end of direct contact. Is this correct?

Correct. JA/TL timeline comin' up, now that Anthony has made his long-awaited appearance!

Why was Tom Lefroy visiting Hampshire in Nov 1798? Is there no record at all of how long he was there? Are you suggesting that he was there such a short time due to the impudent marriage that he did not have time to see Jane? Or would not there have been some uncomfortable form “estrangement” owing to his engagement?

I just think that Tom visited Ashe to consult with Anne Lefroy. He had known of Ben Langlois' treatment of Anthony (due to his marrying Lizzy Wilkin), and hence was in the state of confusion. I suppose, the discussion in Ashe lead to the decision of Tom departing to Ireland (or if Tom had planned it, his visit to Ashe strengthened the plan).

What did you find to suggest that Tom was still fond of Jane into 1797? Pre-engagement, I presume? Also, back to my earlier Tom/Mary engagement questions, your comment of Tom’s “resuming” his engagement with Mary is intriguing. Can you shed anymore light on behind the choice of “resume”?

Tom still fond of Jane: First, the delay between engagement (April/May 1797) to the wedding (March 1799). Second, various references indicating their meetings in Bath (check also Mrs. Barrett's reference... http://becomingjane.blogspot.com/2007/08/mrs-barrett-remembered.html)

Tom resuming or cancel his plan to cancel :-D his engagement with Mary:
Financial reason mainly, choosing head over heart like Elinor Dashwood. But I also believe that he liked Mary a lot, so the decision was not that hard. It's not like Edward Ferrars choosing between Elinor and (ack!) Lucy Steele!

Mary also had her merits... though I doubt that Tom would chose her had Anthony not married Lizzy.

Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection – JA, 18 November 1814

Nothing can be compared to the misery of being bound without Love, bound to one, & preferring another – JA, 30 November 1814


I agree that both letters can imply to both TL and JA. The first one can also involve Harris Bigg-Wither, though... and the second one is more of TL, from JA's perspective (for in 1814 TL must have been in love with Mary as well...sigh...).

Icha said...

I have another very important question---I understand that TEPL was born in 1815--but what was the date of birth of the FIRST child of the marriage of Anthony Lefroy and Sarah Wilkin? Is it possible that this was, as we say here in the States, a shotgun marriage?

Not sure, Arnie. Been thinking about it as well: we have to track down TEPL and his family, starting from Anthony Lefroy (and Elizabeth, not Sarah, Wilkin). The start can start from York or Westmorland... but it will be mainly done by Rachel (as if she's not having enough homework already!).

Yes, interesting eh, about the lateness of TEPL's date. Imagine, 17 years after his parent's wedding he was born! Lizzy must be VERY productive!

Icha said...

Oh, guys, I added this paragraph to the main post, after checking the list of JA's letters;

"And, upon checking the list of Jane's letters to Cassandra in Oct/Nov 1798, I found out that there was indeed more than a month's gap of no records between 27-28 Oct to 17-18 Nov 1798. Both letters (27-28 Oct and 17-18 Nov) were addressed to Cassandra from Steventon too Godmersham. My suggestion is that Jane found out something strange about Tom (could it be that Tom already knew of Anthony's plan to get married/elope since October 1798?), and she told Cassandra about it. Or... Tom also said that he might have to leave for Ireland and there was no way they could communicate again as 'friends' afterwards."

Good night!

Michelle said...

Wow, wow, wow ... I will shutup and sit tight. This is amazing! Now re-reading in at a more sane time, and after reading the comments, I am sitting here (literally) gaping at all the possiblities. It's honestly going to take a while to settle in. :-0

PS: Thank you for answering so many of my questions - I will check in later once I've thought things over. I have two quick q's: Did Tom ever visit the Lefroy's at Hampshire AFTER 1798, and is there any likelihood of existing records that could identify the "nephew" taken to Bath in 1797?

Arnie Perlstein said...

Michelle,

Yes, Tom DID visit Ashe, with his father, Colonel Lefroy, in early October, 1800 (see Mrs. Lefroy's Letter #1). Perhaps not coincidentally, there is a 16-month gap in Jane Austen's surviving letters, between June 1799 and October 25, 1800. Perhaps there were things in some of those letters about Tom better left unknown to others?

In her Oct. 25, 1800 letter, JA writes "I am not yet able to acknowledge the receipt of any parcel from London, which I suppose will not occasion you much surprise.-I was a little disappointed today, but not more than is perfectly agreable; & I hope to be disappointed again tomorrow, as only one coach comes down on sundays."

Could this in any way have something to do with Tom Lefroy? A piano, perhaps? ;)

But the first we hear about Mrs. Lefroy after Tom's visit is in Letter #24, dated Nov. 1, 1800 (so about 4 weeks after his visit to his aunt and uncle) , and it gives no indication of anything noteworthy.

As for records that could identify which nephew was taken to Bath, I have no idea, but would guess they don't exist, or someone would have found them, because people have surely searched for that answer before.

ARNIE

Michelle said...

Hi Arnie, thank you for these answers. I had a little laugh at your "piano" comment - but as we know, 'stranger things have happened'?

As you mentioned, the large gap in Jane's suriving letters between the period directly after Tom's marriage and visit to Ashe could be telling? After all, I assume a lot happened between these events.

PS: I ordered the list of your recommended resources and am now working my way through them. :)

Arnie Perlstein said...

Michelle, it's flattering to have my advice followed so closely, I am pretty sure, from our conversations so far, that you will be pleased with what you read! ;)

Icha said...

Oh. My. God. Arnie, I really need to buy that book. Tom visiting Ashe in early October 1800!!! And yes, the quote from JA's letter Oct 25 1800 was so strange...

And allow me to recall that Tom did stay in London after his wedding in March 1799. He needed to finish his study. Oh. My. God.

And I also laughed at the 'piano' joke!

But the first we hear about Mrs. Lefroy after Tom's visit is in Letter #24, dated Nov. 1, 1800 (so about 4 weeks after his visit to his aunt and uncle) , and it gives no indication of anything noteworthy.

But of course Mrs. Lefroy would not say anything about such a matter (read: Tom/Jane interaction) in her letter. It was imprudent! :-D

Thank you so much, guys!

vanessa said...

hey girls,
ok so i'm actually totall unworthy to make any comment since i don't know so much about JA (YET!) but to Arnie Perlstein's comment who asked:

"Arnie Perlstein said...

Michelle,

Yes, Tom DID visit Ashe, with his father, Colonel Lefroy, in early October, 1800 (see Mrs. Lefroy's Letter #1). Perhaps not coincidentally, there is a 16-month gap in Jane Austen's surviving letters, between June 1799 and October 25, 1800. Perhaps there were things in some of those letters about Tom better left unknown to other"

I need to say that I agree with you on this! It might really be that the missing letters about Tom have been destroyed to the only purpose that she wrote something that wasn't destined for anybody else but her sister(whom she trusted alot. And Cassandra was the only one who knew every little detail about Jane and Tom's "flirtation").
I ask myself what was written? And to that I can only say that she must have been informed of Tom's engagement(or something like that) like Marianne was of Willoughby's engagement to Ms. Grey and wrote it to her sister?! I mean every little character and scene she wrote in her book about was something she hast seen or experienced so that's the only thing I can think of...BUT there also might be another matter she has written about in her letter.

Ai too bad, I wish somebody had invented a "Time mashine" yet because then I would prevent Cassandra from destroying the letters, and escaping with them into the future! :P

Icha said...

Vanessa, it's not a secret here that I knew nigh zilch, near nothing, of JA before I watched BJ at the end of last March. You are still welcomed here, with or without prior knowledge of Jane Austen :-)

I believe that there are some other reasons other than Tom that caused Cass to burn the letters... but I have to say that I also believe the conversations/info about Tom comprised a larger part of the letters. Jane, after all, was a sharp-tongued woman, in the best sense. She would not hide such facts from her confidant, i.e. Cassandra.