Elizabeth Montagu project

  • INTRODUCTION

Dr Messenger Monsey (“chief medical advisor” to the Whigs), who for many years was accounted rival to the earl of Bath in a prolonged flirtation with Elizabeth Montagu, “declared that he did not believe a more perfect human being was ever created”. Sir Joshua Reynolds passed on Monsey’s observation to Edmund Burke, who replied, “And I do not think that he said a word too much.” Samuel Johnson was equally impressed by this extraordinary woman: “She diffuses more knowledge than any woman I know, or indeed, almost any man. . . . Conversing with her, you may find variety in one.”

Lord Kames agreed, telling Elizabeth directly: “I love to converse with Mrs Montague: I love to write to her: Sorry I am that the latter only is in my power.”

— Henry Home, Lord Kames to Elizabeth Montagu
6 March 1767; EE letter ID: homeheEE0020064a1c

Electronic Enlightenment is immensely pleased to be part of the Elizabeth Montagu Project, which will create the first modern, scholarly edition of Elizabeth Montagu’s correspondence, making best use of innovative digital editing and publication systems which will run from manuscript imaging, through collaborative online transcription, to the editing and annotating of the texts using standardized digital resources including EE’s biographical, calendaring and place-name data-sets.

Robert V. McNamee
Director, Electronic Enlightenment
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

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