Inheritance and Illegitimate Heirs + Release of “The Earl Claims His Comfort” + Excerpt & Giveaway


Could an illegitimate son inherit during the Regency? We are speaking of the illegitimate son inheriting the man’s property, not necessarily his peerage/title. First one must realize that there is actually a rule against perpetuity law (a restriction saying the estate cannot be taken away from or given away by the possessor for a period beyond certain limits fixed by law) which addresses an entail that lasting more than the three lives (generally the grandfather who is the holder of the entailed property, his first born son, and his first born grandson) plus twenty-one years. Keep in mind that an entail can be renewed when the original owner’s son (meaning the first born son), as described above, becomes the grandfather, the original grandson becomes the father, and there is a new grandson.

The common rule against perpetuities forbids instruments (contracts, wills, and so forth) from tying up property for too long a time beyond the lives of people living at the time the instrument was written. For instance, willing property to one’s great-great-great-great grandchildren (to be held in trust for them, but not fully owned, by the intervening generations) would normally violate the rule against perpetuities. The law is applied differently or not at all, and even contravened, in various jurisdictions and circumstances. Black’s Law Dictionary defines the rule against perpetuities as “[t]he common-law rule prohibiting a grant of an estate unless the interest must vest, if at all, no later than 21 years (plus a period of gestation to cover a posthumous birth) after the death of some person alive when the interest was created.” At common law, the length of time was fixed at 21 years after the death of an identifiable person alive at the time the interest was created. This is often expressed as “lives in being plus twenty-one years.” (Wells Law Blog

Another point to keep in mind is that property and peerages followed different rules of inheritance, so customarily matters were set up so that the family seat went along with the title.

Property was disposed of through deeds, marriage settlements, and wills. Trusts were established to hold property for the benefit of the real owners. The rules of descent and distribution of these trusts could be set up any way one wanted-—within reason, of course. If property was disposed of by a settlement that was in force for the three lives in being + 21 years (as described above), at the end of that time it would need to be resettled by creating a new entail. That is what many did. If the property was not resettled, or dealt with in a will, it descended by through PROPERTY LAWS, not by LAWS GOVERNING PEERAGES. As long as the  property went from father to son or from grandfather to grandson along with the title, all was well. However, if there suddenly was no male heir in the direct line, other provisions were established for disposing of the property. The title might go to a cousin twice removed, but the property could even go to a daughter or the offspring of a daughter.

Male heirs were preferred only because males, especially of the gentleman class, did not want the property to go to another family. Though daughters have as much family blood as a son, when a daughter married (at least, up until the 1870’s) her property came under the control of her husband. Her son would belong to a different family then.

The laws of descent and distribution and inheritance of real estate are complex. It should be remembered that property and peerage have different rules of descent. The family seat can be separated from the title. Property cannot be extinct though titles could be. Property was rarely forfeited to the Crown due to lack of heirs. Usually it was due to a criminal action.

For example, Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, died without legitimate issue. In 1871, his illegitimate son, Richard Wallace, inherited all his father’s unentailed estates and an extensive collection of European art, while the title and a country estate passed to a distant cousin. Later, Wallace was made a baronet for his services during the siege of Paris, when he equipped several ambulances (using his own funds), founded the Hertford British Hospital, and spent lavish sums to bring relief to those afflicted by the clash.

Another example of the illegitimate son inheriting comes to us from Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont, who was the eldest son and heir of Sir William Wyndham and Catherine Seymour, daughter of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset. He succeeded to the Orchard Wyndham estates as 4th baronet on his father’s death in 1740, and in 1750, he succeeded by special remainder as 7th Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Egremont and received his share of the Seymour inheritance, the former Percy estates, including Egremont Castle in Cumbria, Leconfield Castle in Yorkshire, and the palatial Petworth House in Sussex. Charles’ son George, the 3rd Earl of Egremont, inherited in 1763, but after the 3rd earl’s death in 1837, his son inherited all but the title due to illegitimacy. How so, you may ask?

George Francis Wyndham, 4th Earl of Egremont was the son of William Frederick Wyndham (youngest son of Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont and Frances Mary Hartford, the illegitimate daughter of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore. George’s father’s eldest brother, George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont of Petworth House, Sussex, died without legitimate male issue and so George Francis Wyndham as the heir male succeeded him as Earl of Egremont, as well as Baron Wyndham and Baron Cockermouth. Unfortunately, George Francis Wyndham did not inherit the Petworth estate or mansion, which was inherited by the 2nd Earl Egremont from the Percy family). Instead, the 3rd Earl of Egremont bequeathed that property to his natural son, Colonel George Wyndham, who was created Baron Leconfield in 1859.

Royalty often bestowed titles upon their illegitimate children. King William IV, for example, presented his illegitimate son, George Augustus Frederick FitzClarence with the title(s) 1st Earl of Munster, 1st Viscount FitzClarence, and 1st Baron Tewkesbury on 4 June 1831.

For a more modern take on the law of perpetuities, check out this piece from CBS News, dated 9 May 2011. “Millionaire’s Heirs Get Inheritance After 92 Years.”

front cover-2 copy.jpgIntroducing The Earl Claims His Comfort: Book 2 of the Twins’ Trilogy (releasing September 16, 2017, from Black Opal Books)

Hurrying home to Tegen Castle from the Continent to assume guardianship of a child not his, but one who holds his countenance, Levison Davids, Earl of Remmington, is shot and left to die upon the road leading to his manor house. The incident has Remmington chasing after a man who remains one step ahead and who claims a distinct similarity—a man who wishes to replace Remmington as the rightful earl. Rem must solve the mystery of how Frederick Troutman’s life parallels his while protecting his title, the child, and the woman he loves.

Comfort Neville has escorted Deirdre Kavanaugh from Ireland to England, in hopes that the Earl of Remmington will prove a better guardian for the girl than did the child’s father. When she discovers the earl’s body upon road backing the castle, it is she who nurses him to health. As the daughter of a minor son of an Irish baron, Comfort is impossibly removed from the earl’s sphere, but the man claims her affections. She will do anything for him, including confronting his enemies. When she is kidnapped as part of a plot for revenge against the earl, she must protect Rem’s life, while guarding her heart.


Howard’s expression became more serious. “In the beginning, I enjoyed the novelty of the situation. When we called in at the clubs, everyone thought Troutman was you. I knew a few meals would not break your credit, and so Frederick and I considered it amusing. But soon I heard rumors of your accepting invitations to some of the ton’s finest events. I am profoundly grieved, Remmington, that my lack of forethought encouraged Troutman’s deception.”

“So this Troutman fellow learned of my directions and my habits from you?”

“I fear so,” Howard admitted. “I beg you to extend your forgiveness.”

“When we finish our conversation,” Rem instructed, “I will expect you to repeat your story to Sir Alexander.”

Howard nodded his agreement. Rem had not offered his forgiveness, but eventually he would. He learned long ago to keep Howard on a short rope.

“How long did you remain Troutman’s associate?”

“No more than a fortnight,” Howard confided. “I enjoyed his company at first, but over the first sennight his interrogation regarding your comings and goings began to wear thin. In the midst of our second week of acquaintance, Troutman said something that set my hackles on alert.”

“And that was?” Rem asked suspiciously.

A vaguely disturbing smile crossed his cousin’s features. “One day in the midst of a conversation as we reviewed new quarters for my residence, Troutman said if he were the earl, then he would see that I did not go without, and that is was a grave oversight on your part that I was to know less than I deserved. I attempted to explain how my fortune came from a yearly allowance from my revered father, and I was not your dependent, but Troutman was adamant that I was your responsibility.

“Then he said it would serve you right to lose the earldom to a stranger with ties to the title. I explained that, with my father’s poor health, many saw me as your heir presumptive for even if father first succeeded, I would soon follow. I also explained that if another had a right to claim the earldom that it would not lessen your position in Society. Parliament accepted you as Remmington, and even if another proved to be the earl, the fortune and the unentailed lands would remain with you. The claimant would have Tegen Castle and Davids Hall and little else. From what could be salvaged from those properties, your mother retains her widow’s dower.”

Rem wondered if his pretender had aspirations of unseating him as the earl. “Is there anything else that I should know?”

“Yes,” Howard said as he set his glass upon a nearby table. “The remark that caused me to curtail my association with him was when Troutman asked if I thought you were the father of Lady Kavanagh’s daughter.”

Rem lifted his brows in surprise. He wondered who spoke so intimately to Troutman of Rem’s business.

Howard continued as if Rem had not reacted to the remark. “Certainly it is possible that Troutman overheard those awful rumors, but as many in Society thought Troutman were you, I cannot imagine any fool would speak so freely to your face.”

Rem presented his cousin a slow nod of agreement.

“As I suspected,” Howard confirmed. “It appears Troutman matched his name. The man fished for information about you.”

“Those I questioned speak of my pretender walking with a limp. Was that also true when you knew Troutman?” Rem inquired.

“Yes,” Howard confirmed. “Troutman said it was from a childhood injury, but I hold no personal knowledge of how it came about. I did not ask, and Troutman did not confide the information.”

51Qc31W5ZSL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep: Book 1 of the Twins’ Trilogy

Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, wakes in a farmhouse, after a head injury, being tended by an ethereal “angel,” who claims to be his wife. However, reality is often deceptive, and Angelica Lovelace is far from innocent in Hunt’s difficulties. Yet, there is something about the woman that calls to him as no other ever has. When she attends his mother’s annual summer house party, their lives are intertwined in a series of mistaken identities, assaults, kidnappings, overlapping relations, and murders, which will either bring them together forever or tear them irretrievably apart. As Hunt attempts to right his world from problems caused by the head injury that has robbed him of parts of his memory, his best friend, the Earl of Remmington, makes it clear that he intends to claim Angelica as his wife. Hunt must decide whether to permit her to align herself with the earldom or claim the only woman who stirs his heart–and if he does the latter, can he still serve the dukedom with a hoydenish American heiress at his side?

Now, for the Giveaway. I have an eBook copy of The Earl Claims His Comfort available to those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on Tuesday, September 26, 2017. 

Posted in Black Opal Books, blog hop, book excerpts, book release, British history, eBooks, Georgian England, Georgian Era, historical fiction, Inheritance, primogenture, Regency era, Regency romance, research, romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Irish Rebellion with Guest Author, Alina K. Field, and the Release of “The Viscount’s Seduction”

Today, I welcome one of my newer Beau Monde friends, Alina K. Field. She brings us a bit of the history that influenced her latest release, The Viscount’s Seduction and a lovely excerpt that is certain to entice you. 

Research into the life and work of British Spy Master William Wickham for a blog post led me into the often tragic history of Ireland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. My muse took bits and pieces of that information and spun the backstory of the heroine of the The Viscount’s Seduction, the second book in my Sons of the Spy Lord series.

In the 17th century, the people of Ireland had endured dreadful trials under Oliver Cromwell. By the Georgian era, conditions for the Irish people were still dismal, especially for Roman Catholics.

Inspired by rebellions in America and France, Irish rebels organized as the United Irishmen launched two significant attempts to throw off British rule in 1798 and in 1803. For each attempt, the Irish people had a major martyr, Lord Edward Fitzgerald in 1798 and Robert Emmet in 1803.

497px-Lord_Edward_Fitzgerald_by_Hugh_Douglas_Hamilton.jpg Lord Edward Fitzgerald was the charismatic, well-traveled younger son of a Duke who fought on the British side in the American Revolutionary War, and later served with the British army in Canada. He was radicalized in revolutionary France by Thomas Paine.

arrest of fitzgerald by cruikshank.jpg In 1798, Fitzgerald and the United Irishmen were betrayed by one of their own. The authorities were reluctant to arrest a member of a noble Protestant family and would have preferred his escape. His continued plotting forced the government’s hand and a reward was offered for his capture. During his arrest, Fitzgerald received what was thought to be a minor wound, but he died several days later from infection.

To bring the rebellious Irish under political control, the English forced through the Act of Union, abolishing the Irish Parliament and creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Promises of Catholic emancipation were vetoed by the king, and Irish rebels, both Catholic and Protestant, continued to plot.

Robert_Emmet_-_Portrait.jpg  Robert Emmet was a Protestant doctor’s son who became involved in the cause of Irish nationalism at Trinity College. During the 1798 revolt, he avoided arrest by fleeing to the Continent, and once there, tried again to secure French help for the Irish cause. His 1803 rebellion failed, and he was arrested and executed in Dublin.


Throughout this period, the British paid bribes, recruited spies, and turned some rebels into informers, trying to stay ahead of the revolutionaries. William Wickham was Irish Chief Secretary during the 1803 rebellion, and he resigned soon after the execution of Emmet. He is quoted as saying he couldn’t enforce laws that were “unjust, oppressive, and unchristian,” and regarding Emmet “had I been an Irishman, I should most unquestionably have joined him.”

This is the background for my heroine, Lady Sirena Hollister, daughter of an Irish earl and sister of a man believed to be an Irish traitor.


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Introducing The Viscount’s Seduction: Book Two of the Sons of the Spy Lord Series, releasing September 12, 2017

He’s in no rush to marry…until the dreadfully unsuitable Lady Sirena Hollister crosses his path.

Searching for the Truth

Lady Sirena Hollister has lost her family, her home, and even her fey abilities, but somehow the fairies have handed her an unexpected chance at a Season in London. From her place on the fringes of high society, she resolves to find the truth about her only brother’s vanishing, and settle her family’s score with the wily English Spy Lord, the Earl of Shaldon. Soon enough, her schemes stir up an unknown enemy…and spark danger of a different sort, in the person of the Earl’s handsome heir, Viscount Bakeley.

Seducing the Beauty

The impertinent hoyden Bakeley met years earlier was as wild as her Irish roots, and just as unlucky. And she’s still an Irish traitor’s sister! But Lady Sirena has grown into a beauty whose charm and courage intrigue him. When danger threatens, Bakeley comes to her rescue, risking scandal, the ton’s disapproval, his interfering father’s ire…and his own heart.

Purchase Links…








Thump-thump. “Go and rescue that fool. He’s attempting to stand up with her again,” Lord Shaldon said.

Bakeley sighed.

“Go. I know you’re in no danger of beguilement.”

“I’m in no danger of getting another glass of punch either.” 

He searched the room for his brother’s tawny hair. Charley was indeed preparing to stand up again with the same partner. Nodding to acquaintances, he wove through the crowd, reached his brother, and moved him aside.

And his heart launched into a gallop. The beauty that Charley was with—and she was a rare beauty—stared soulfully up at him. The blondest of hair shimmered and gray eyes glowed luminous in the light of many candles.

“How do you do?” Only manners honed by many years of encounters with the fairer sex kept him from stumbling over his words. He bowed. “Charles, Father commands your appearance. I am Bakeley, miss. I hope you do not mind dancing with an older brother.”

Charley sighed, and then shrugged, a grin spreading. “My apologies, my lady. This is not a proper introduction, but it will have to do. This is my brother, Lord Bakeley.”

The lady’s cheeks went unaccountably pink and she ducked her head in a curtsey.

Drat. She perhaps knew him, but he didn’t recognize her. So she was a lady, and beautiful. Was she also rich?

They took their place in the line. Damn, but he should have examined her when Charley had picked her out.

When she moved in a turn around the next gentleman, he looked her over as discreetly as possible. She was a thin little thing in her blue silks, not as plump as he normally liked. What he knew about dresses was almost nothing, but this one seemed to fit with the current fashions, though it had less of the flounces, ribbons, and fluttering pieces.

Which, in his estimation was good.

And it was not white, which meant she was not making her first bows.

A widow, perhaps. She smiled up at him on the next turn. A young widow, and not terribly willing. That smile had been tight and polite.

They went down the middle together and waited through a set. “I don’t believe we’ve met before. Is your family in town for the Season? Is your husband active in Parliament?”

She blinked and her eyes widened.

Not married, then. “I beg your pardon. Your title is from your father?”

They were interrupted again by the need to turn, and he concentrated momentarily on the dance.

When they came together again, her lips had curved up and her eyes gleamed with humor. “You are Shaldon’s heir, are you not?”


More infernal turning. Would this dance never end so he could find out who she was?

They marched down the center together again. Where her hand touched his arm, he felt a delicate heat.

“And isn’t this always the problem, Lord Bakeley, when a lord and lady dispense with a proper introduction?”

He heard it then: the slightest lilt, the tiniest burr. They parted to go round the next couple in line and came together again.

“You are Irish.”

The dance ended and she curtsied, dipping her chin and rising again with a grin.

headshot resized.jpg Meet Alina K. Field…

Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit her at:

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Posted in blog hop, book excerpts, book release, British history, eBooks, Georgian England, Georgian Era, historical fiction, Ireland, political stance, publishing, real life tales, Regency romance, suspense | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

How Do We Define the Genre for Jane Austen’s Novels? a Guest Post from Victoria Kincaid

This piece appeared on Austen Authors in May 2017, but I thought some of you might enjoy Ms. Kincaid’s analysis. Read on. 

images.jpg Earlier, I wrote of Austen and the Rise of the Novel and how Jane Austen played a role. I thought that in today’s post I would address the simple question: Into what genre of fiction does Austen fit? But answering that question turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.

I had actually expected the question to be fairly easy to answer. She was a…Well…she wrote like a…Okay, her style was…. The fact is that Austen’s genre is hard to pin down. Today many people would consider her genre to be historical romance, but of course, that category didn’t exist in her day, and her books wouldn’t have been considered historical when she was writing them. The idea of “romantic” doesn’t necessarily fit either. Romantic literature at that time often had to do with prioritizing human emotions and imagination—as well as emphasizing the beauty of nature. It didn’t have the same connotation that it does today: primarily concerning romantic/erotic love between two human beings. Thus Austen’s readers would have considered Wordsworth’s poems, Walter Scott’s novels, or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to be examples of romanticism; but they would not necessarily have given that label to most of the novels we consider romances today. 41VnNmKAL2L._AC_US218_.jpg

51Y05iwfDGL._AC_US218_.jpg 51hOy7hXGZL._AC_US218_.jpgAnother label that has been suggested for Austen’s works is comedy of manners, which is exemplified by Restoration comedies or Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Yet, those plays have a brittle humor not demonstrated by Austen’s works and lack her seriousness of purpose. In those works, poking fun at social convention is the primary goal and the happiness of the characters is secondary. Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is also called a comedy of manners; and Elizabeth and Darcy sometimes resemble a Regency era Beatrice and Benedick. However, both Much Ado and Austen’s works have more drama and a greater seriousness of purpose than many of the typical comedies of manners—so I would not say it is an entirely accurate description.

Since the novel itself was still a relatively new literary form when Austen was writing, it was still quite malleable and without as many established traditions as older forms. Still, many novels had been written before Austen herself started to write. Many of the novels Austen read were in the “sentimental novel” tradition—which valorizes “fine feeling” and emphasizes scenes of distress and tenderness—and many others were in the gothic tradition—full of crumbling castles, thrilling villains, and trapped heroines. Austen’s novels (particularly Northanger Abbey and Emma) famously poked fun at these genres, but she was not free of their influence either. Her novels do feature women who face distress and tenderness and threats to their virtue or who are trapped by social circumstances, if not by portcullises and moats. So her novels can be said to have elements of these genres while not fully belonging to them.

51495bmpIAL._AC_US218_.jpg 51s7y+Js4UL._AC_US218_.jpg 51TlkLOul1L._AC_US218_.jpg Austen herself often saw her books fitting into a genre of realism which had a slender yet noble tradition that included Daniel Dafoe (Robinson Crusoe), Henry Fielding (Tom Jones), and Samuel Richardson (Pamela). All of these novels were considered to have greater realism—often greater psychological insight—than other novels of the era. Yet, even in this tradition, Austen stands out. These “realistic” novelists tend to pick sensationalistic subjects and larger-than-life characters. Austen described ordinary people in everyday situations: dances, walks in the country, dinners, polite conversation. One critic calls this approach “social realism.”

And there is yet another candidate for Austen’s genre; there is no doubt that her stories are comedies or that that describe romances. So “romantic comedy” seems like an obvious label. Yet Austen’s books don’t exactly follow the familiar formula from today’s romantic comedies. Much of Austen’s comedy, for example, comes from social satire of the people around the hero and heroine, rather than that typical romantic comedy staple: humorous situations that the couple find themselves in. In fact, I find Austen’s use of comedy strikingly specific—as if humor helped to leaven the criticism that Austen, a woman, was aiming at a male-dominated world.

Maybe the answer is that it’s impossible to actually categorize Austen into a specific genre. Perhaps because she started writing when the novel was so new and unformed, Austen’s work doesn’t easily fit into a specific category. Or maybe Austen is so hard to categorize because she’s a genre unto herself.

Meet Victoria Kincaid: Victoria has a Ph.D. in English literature and has taught composition to unwilling college students. Today she teaches business writing to willing office professionals and tries to give voice to the demanding cast of characters in her head. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two children who love to read, a cute (but clumsy) puppy, and an overly affectionate cat. A lifelong Jane Austen fan, Victoria confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.

Please visit her website at


Posted in Austen Authors, British history, Georgian England, Guest Post, historical fiction, Jane Austen, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Early Origins of the Novel

In the mid to late 1700s, the novel, as a means of literary expression developed to an art form. In many of the Regency-based romances that I read, it speaks of the “novel” being something females might read, rather than a male. However, I doubt that many of my contemporary writer understand how “debased” those early tales were. Most of the stories dealt with fornication, rape, incest, adultery, seduction, polygamy, and voyeurism. Some of the early novels were Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1722), Richardson’s Clarrisa, Fielding’s Tom Jones, and Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.

One of the greatest writers of all times, Jane Austen, read Richardson quite often. According to her nephew, James-Edward Austen-Leigh, her knowledge of Samuel Richardson “was such as no one is likely again to acquire . . . Every circumstance narrated in Sir Charles Grandison, all that was said or done in the cedar parlour, was familiar to her; and the wedding days of [characters like] Lady L. and Lady G. were as well remembered as if they had been living friends.” But what was the context of Richardson’s writing? 

pamela_set11.jpgLaurel Ann at Austenprose tells us: “Richardson is a literary hero of mine, too, and I always think it’s sad that so few people read him nowadays. Not only because Clarissa, in particular, is one of the great masterpieces of European literature, but because it’s only by reading Richardson that you really understand the tradition Austen was writing in, and where she got some of the inspiration for her books. Pamela is a novel-in-letters, written by a young serving-maid to her parents, in which she describes her master’s attempts to seduce her. But as the subtitle (‘Virtue Rewarded’) suggests, all’s well that ends with a wedding. It sounds pretty standard stuff now, but at the time it was a publishing sensation.  There were 5 editions by the end of 1741, with an estimated 20,000 copies sold. It was also the first book to have what we would now call a ‘promotional campaign’. As a printer himself, Richardson employed all the tricks of the book-trade, including newspaper leaders and celebrity endorsement, and may even have encouraged the publication of a pamphlet that denounced the novel as pornographic, which certainly had a predictably healthy effect on sales! But if it was Pamela that was ground-breaking, Richardson’s next novel, Clarissa, is the one that really established a new kind of prose fiction in English. This, like all Richardson’s books, is an epistolary novel, and it’s worth remembering that when Austen first put pen to paper seriously herself, she chose exactly this form – first in Lady Susan, and then in Elinor & Marianne, the first version of Sense & SensibilityClarissa is the story of a young woman who’s tricked away from her family by the libertine, Robert Lovelace, and eventually raped. The story evolves through two parallel correspondences – Clarissa’s with her friend Anna, and Lovelace’s with his confidant Belford. The depth and subtlety of the psychological characterization is extraordinary, and you can see immediately why Henry Austen says his sister was such an admirer of ‘Richardson’s power of creating, and preserving, the consistency of his characters.'”


Do you recall the scene in Becoming Jane, a biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen (portrayed by Anne Hathaway) and her romance with a young Irishman (played by James Mcavoy), where Tom Lefroy’s character tempts Jane by suggesting that she read Tom Jones? His suggestion is more than one of presenting a young lady with a piece of literary greatness. It is part of his romantic “seduction” of Miss Jane Austen. 

An awareness of sexuality was never far from the surface in these early novels. One of the major forces of the time was John Cleland, an administrator for the East India Company. Reportedly Cleland made a bet that he could write the “dirtiest book in the English language” without using ANY “dirty words.” His Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (better known as Fanny Hill) provided readers with the story of a country girl who experiences lesbianism, group sex, masturbation, flagellation, etc. For his efforts, Cleland was arraigned before the Privy Council. The Earl of Granville, the president of the Council, suggested that Cleland be awarded a pension of £100 a year, with the guarantee that he would not repeat the exercise. Cleland foolishly sold the copyright of the book to a publisher for a mere £20. The publisher raked in more than £10,000 in book sells. 

John Wilkes, a strong political activist, who spoke out regularly against George III and who supported the American colonies’ push for independence, is said to have written Essay on Woman, a parody of Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man. Whether Wilkes actually penned the piece is debatable, but it was the perfect instrument for his political opponents to use against him. It did not help Wilkes’s defense that he was reportedly a member of the Medmenham monks, or Hell-Fire Club, a secret society known to take pleasure in sexual activities. According to The Montague Millennium, “The Hell-Fire Club was sort of a cross between the Dead Poets Society and a risque Playboy club. John Montagu (Lord Sandwich) was a principal, and apparently Lady Mary Wortley Montagu attended. The club formally styled itself the Monks of Medmenham, and originally occupied the caves beneath the ancient Abbey of Medmenham. Its members could reach the Abbey by boat from the river at night and thus not be bothered by `paparazzi’.”

If Wilkes was a member of this group, I find it odd that Lord Sandwich was the one who read the scandalous poem to the House of Lords, which termed the poem as “a gross profanation of many parts of the Holy Scriptures.” Before the House of Lords could have Wilkes arrested, the man escaped to America, never to stand in answer to the charges against him. In absentia, he was fined £300.

images.jpgAccording to Nussbaum, Martha C., and Alison L. Lacroix, eds., of Subversion and Sympathy: Gender, Law and the British Novel. [New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2013, pages 78-79], “For more than a century. . . English law yielded nothing at all definitive about the concept of literary obscenity. There was no definition of the concept, no rationale for its regulation, and only sporadic skirmishes over the issue. The historian Peter Wagner has aptly characterized the “Age of Enlightenment” as the “Age of Eros.” The proliferation of writing about sex in the eighteenth century led to ‘a sort of downward osmosis’ through which an upper-class ‘libertine philosophy’ was, at least, for a time, dispersed and then absorbed by a larger culture. By the 1780s, when the United States was contemplating its Constitution, London was awash with all sorts of sexually explicit material, including lewd novels, racy poems, bawdy songs, erotic prints, and licentious newspapers and magazines. Throughout this era, neither influential citizens or public authorities made any serious effort ‘to curb this sexual Eden,’ though occasional prosecutions were brought when individual libel was involved or ‘when there were personal axes to grind, as in the prosecution of Wilkes. It was against this background that the United States enacted the First Amendment.

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Awarding Guardianship of a Minor Child + Release of “The Earl Claims His Comfort” + Excerpt & Giveaway

In my latest Regency romantic suspense, The Earl Claims His Comfort, my main character, Levison Davids, the 17th Earl of Remmington, has been summoned home from his assignment for the Home Office upon the Continent to assume the guardianship of a child everyone believes to be his, but he adamantly denies siring.

So, who or what determined whether a person was a fit guardian? Guardianship during the Regency era held its strictures. For example, guardianship was not hereditary. If a guardian dies, someone had to apply to the Court in Chancery to be appointed the minor child’s next guardian. All children over the age of 14 had a right to suggest the person he or she wanted as guardian. Quite often two or three guardians were named in case one of them died before the child reached his/her majority. At one time, the guardians were the child’s godparents—2 males and 1 female for a male child and 2 females and 1 male for a female. The mother and her brother were often named. However, the mother lost her rights as guardian if she remarried.

Minor children, especially girls, were customarily left to the joint guardianship of the child’s mother and a specifically-named male, a brother, cousin, etc. The mother would make the ordinary decisions about the child(ren), but the male would deal with money, any lawsuits,  or business matters. Usually, the male was happy enough to leave the upbringing of the girls to the mother unless the lady was considered immoral or otherwise a bad example for the child.

If he took offense against the mother’s character, it would be necessary for her to plead her case before the Chancery court, where there was no knowing how the judge would rule. Women held so little power in the Regency, the court could choose to strip her of her children based only upon the word of a “so-called gentleman.”

Generally, the heir of the deceased would assume the guardianship without any legal appointment if the original guardian died. However, if any of the children have money settled upon them through wills and marriage settlements, or if they are entitled to peerage, entailed land or unentailed land, the one (customarily a solicitor) in charge of the money held for the child was not to give it to any except official guardians.

As to access to the minor’s funds, the guardians could have access, especially if a separate trustee had not been appointed to deal with the money. The trustees for settled land/property were different from those for money or a trust fund. It was possible for a ward to sue his/her guardians if they discovered, upon reaching his/her majority, that the guardian squandered away the child’s inheritance. Often the ward won the case. A well drawn up will set up for guardianship would make it difficult for the guardian to misuse the funds.

Often we see stories where a young man, usually holding a peerage, “inherits” a young woman as his ward. In reality, this would not happen unless the father specifically named the man as the young lady’s future guardian in his will or, at a minimum, named a second guardian to assist the gentleman in the woman’s care.

An exception to this is that a peer has the right to be guardian over his heir apparent or heir presumptive if no other guardian is named for the child—but this situation does not apply to his siblings. 

The guardian had to be at least 21 years old. If the named guardian died before the father, the father could name another or the mother would be considered the natural guardian as long as she  did not remarry.

However, none of these scenarios apply to my character, for he is not the child’s legal guardian. Once the girl’s legal father has his heir to the barony, he sends his first born child away, for Lord Kavanagh purposely married Miss Delia Phillips for a substantial payment from her parents, even though Kavanagh knew Miss Phillips was with child.

As in the case of Lord Remmington, an unofficial guardian cannot legally give permission for a minor to marry by license. Neither can an unofficial guardian force his/her ward to marry nor can he act in a lawsuit as the guardian. If a lawsuit is necessary, he can only act as a “friend” to the minor. It is all quite convoluted.

front cover-2 copyIntroducing The Earl Claims His Comfort: Book 2 of the Twins’ Trilogy (releasing September 16, 2017, from Black Opal Books) ~ Finalist for the 2016 Hot Prospects Award

Hurrying home to Tegen Castle from the Continent to assume guardianship of a child not his, but one who holds his countenance, Levison Davids, Earl of Remmington, is shot and left to die upon the road leading to his manor house. The incident has Remmington chasing after a man who remains one step ahead and who claims a distinct similarity—a man who wishes to replace Remmington as the rightful earl. Rem must solve the mystery of how Frederick Troutman’s life parallels his while protecting his title, the child, and the woman he loves.

Comfort Neville has escorted Deirdre Kavanaugh from Ireland to England, in hopes that the Earl of Remmington will prove a better guardian for the girl than did the child’s father. When she discovers the earl’s body upon road backing the castle, it is she who nurses him to health. As the daughter of a minor son of an Irish baron, Comfort is impossibly removed from the earl’s sphere, but the man claims her affections. She will do anything for him, including confronting his enemies. When she is kidnapped as part of a plot for revenge against the earl, she must protect Rem’s life, while guarding her heart.

Black Opal Books      Nook        Kobo      


Excerpt from Chapter 2…

Rem would have preferred to scramble to his feet and turn the blasted woman over his knee to exact his revenge, but today was not a “scrambling” kind of day. Today was a roll-onto-one’s-side-and-bite-one’s-tongue to disguise the pain type of day.

“Ma’am,” he heard the marquess say with kindness, “perhaps you should assist the young miss with his lordship’s horse. Draco is remarkably strong, and such a pretty miss should not muddy her dress in an attempt to hold the animal. I will assist the—”

“Marquess,” Rem groaned. For some reason Rem did not want the woman to know his identity. It was more than his angry response to an innocent. He did not know who wanted him dead. The woman was a stranger, and she would not be the first female who had practiced a deceit against him.

“Yes, the Marquess of Malvern,” Huntington McLaughlin said in what sounded of confusion.

Rem remained curled in a tight ball as the marquess approached. McLaughlin knelt beside him and gently rolled Rem to his back. “Where are you injured?” he asked in quiet tones.

Rem draped an arm across his eyes, not wishing to observe the sympathy on the marquess’ features. More than a year prior, he had wished Malvern to the devil when Rem had received word that Miss Angelica Lovelace had accepted Malvern’s proposal. Now Fate meant to throw him and his former friend together again.

“Cut on the back of my head.” He repeated the litany of aches and pains. “More bruised pride than for which I care to account. Loss of blood. There’s a bullet in my upper thigh.”

Malvern growled, “Dear Lord, Rem, why did you not say so previously? I will ride to the castle to summon a surgeon.”

Rem lowered his arm to catch Malvern’s shoulder. “I told the woman I wanted no surgeon. Someone shot me less than a quarter mile from the threshold of my manor house. I do not know whom I can trust. You can remove the bullet.”

Malvern grinned sheepishly. “How do you know you can trust me?”

Rem presented the marquess a hard stare. “I have known your betrayal previously, and I survived. You already have Miss Lovelace to wife, and you are the heir to the Duke of Devilfoard. I own nothing of interest to invite your dishonesty.”

Malvern’s frown lines deepened. “One day soon you must agree to listen to my explanation. I promised the marchioness I would speak to you as I should have done long ago.”

Rem did not wish to hear the marquess’s apology. There was nothing the words could change. Marriage was forever. “Not today. I am too weak to stomach your portion of humble pie.”

“As you wish, but know this chasm between us will be closed whether you care for the return of our association or not.” Malvern braced Rem to a seated position before wrapping one of Rem’s arms about the marquess’ shoulders to heft Rem to his feet. “Steady now,” Malvern cautioned.

Rem gritted his teeth. As they took short, stumbling steps toward where the woman waited with his horse, Rem hissed from the corner of his mouth, “Do you know her identity?”

“Mrs. Stoddard explained that the woman and the child were the reason your housekeeper sent for you.” Malvern spoke in tones so soft Rem had to listen with care to hear his former friend. “The child is Miss Phillips’s daughter,” the marquess shared.

Rem halted their progress. “That explains why the girl appeared so familiar.” He scowled his disapproval. “Though for a moment I thought that God changed all his angels to childlike forms. Why is the girl in the neighborhood? Is Lady Kavanagh’s father not at Phillips Hall?”

Malvern tightened his hold on Rem before responding. “From Mrs. Stoddard I learned that Phillips Hall was not Phillips’s primary seat, nor was it entailed upon the title. Viscount Phillips disposed of it recently to a Mr. Haughton.”

“Then who tends the child?” Rem asked suspiciously.

Malvern nodded toward where the pair waited. “Kavanagh employed the woman to escort the child to York, not to Phillips Hall, but rather to Tegen Castle.”

Rem’s reasoning was not so sharp as customary. He missed a few details in Malvern’s explanation. “Why here? Was Kavanagh aware of Phillips’s exit from the neighborhood? You said the land purchase was a recent one.”

“By recent, I mean some time after Miss Phillips married her Irish baron. It is my understanding that Kavanagh disowned the child after Lady Kavanagh’s passing. The baron instructed the woman who came to your aid to deliver Miss Deirdre to her real father.”

It took an extra heartbeat for Rem to understand the marquess’ words. “Oh hell, no,” Rem declared vehemently. “I was in Spain when Delia conceived her first born.”

“Keep your voice down,” Malvern cautioned. “It is not the child’s fault her legal father is a prig. Kavanagh has his heir so the baron has no more need of Lady Kavanahg or the child. With his wife’s demise, after a reasonable time, he can remarry and produce a brood of little Irish babes.” The marquess paused dramatically. “According to your housekeeper, Miss Deirdre possesses your eyes, Remmington.”

Rem turned his head to disguise his ire from the watchful eye of the ladies. “I do not care what shade the child’s eyes claim. Although I dreamed often of bedding the girl’s mother, a woman to whom I was promised, I was up to my ears in Froggies when Miss Phillips permitted another what she promised me.”

51Qc31W5ZSL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_ Also check out Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep: Book 1 of the Twins’ Trilogy ~ from Black Opal Books ~ Finalist for Eighth Annual Dixie Kane Awards for Historical Romance; 2017 Finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in Historicals

Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, wakes in a farmhouse, after a head injury, being tended by an ethereal “angel,” who claims to be his wife. However, reality is often deceptive, and Angelica Lovelace is far from innocent in Hunt’s difficulties. Yet, there is something about the woman that calls to him as no other ever has. When she attends his mother’s annual summer house party, their lives are intertwined in a series of mistaken identities, assaults, kidnappings, overlapping relations, and murders, which will either bring them together forever or tear them irretrievably apart. As Hunt attempts to right his world from problems caused by the head injury that has robbed him of parts of his memory, his best friend, the Earl of Remmington, makes it clear that he intends to claim Angelica as his wife. Hunt must decide whether to permit her to align herself with the earldom or claim the only woman who stirs his heart–and if he does the latter, can he still serve the dukedom with a hoydenish American heiress at his side?

Now, for the Giveaway. I have an eBook copy of The Earl Claims His Comfort: Book 2 of the Twins’ Trilogy to those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on Thursday, September 21.

Posted in Black Opal Books, book excerpts, book release, eBooks, excerpt, Georgian Era, historical fiction, Inheritance, marriage customs, primogenture, publishing, Regency era, Scotland, suspense, titles of aristocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Beginning of the Turnpike Roads in Georgian England


The Hyde Park Gate in London, erected by the Kensington Turnpike Trust. This was the first toll point encountered along the Bath Road, upon leaving London. ~ Public Domain ~ Turnpike_trusts#/media/ File:Hyde_park_turnpike_toll_ gate.jpg

 The roads leading into London were placed under the control of individual turnpike trusts during the first 30 years of the 1700s in England. My mid century, cross-routes were added to the list under turnpike trusts. The roads, especially those leading toward Wales and the northwestern shires were turnpiked, many roads placed under the same trust authority. Roads, for example in the southern sections of Wales were grouped by counties under a single trust for each. The 1770s saw connecting roads, those over bridges, and those leading to growing industrial areas, as well as the roads in Scotland brought under the auspices of trust authorities. More than 1000 turnpike trusts were created during the 1800s. According to E. Pawson’s (1977) Transport and Economy: the turnpike roads of eighteenth century England, “About 150 trusts were established by 1750; by 1772 a further 400 were established and, in 1800, there were over 700 trusts. In 1825 about 1,000 trusts controlled 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of road in England and Wales.”

Taxing the people who used the roads seemed the fairest means of improving them so new trusts and renewals of older legislation took root in 18th Century England. Overseeing the upkeep and administration of turnpikes was left to each individual parish. The parish exacted a toll on the users of the road, hopefully in proportion to the “wear and tear” upon the road’s surface. We must recall that at this time the roads were often in poor shape: deep ruts, icy in winter, poor drainage during a rainstorm, dry and cracked in the summer heat, etc. 

Parliament expected each trust authority to raise loans for road repair, erect milestones it indicate directions and mileage to the next town or parish, erect gates and tollhouses. “Rules of the Road” grew out of common and courteous practice. One drove on the left, for example. The turnpike trusts could change the charge based on weather conditions. They might charge a bit more to wet down the roads during the summer to keep dust at a minimum. General Turnpike Acts dealt with the administration of the trusts and restrictions on the width of wheels – narrow wheels were said to cause a disproportionate amount of damage to the road.


Poster advertising the letting of tolls, 1826. Unknown – National Library of Wales ~ Public Domain ~ File:To_Be_Let_The_Tolls_Cribbin,_ Llanfihangel_and_ Pencader_Gates_1826.jpg

Each trust authority employed a local lawyer/solicitor as clerk, a treasurer and a surveyor. When the road passed a particular estate or cut across a gentleman’s land, the landowner had a say in the road’s condition. 

Not everyone paid the same toll to cross the turnpike: The size of the vehicle and the number of horses drawing it determined the amount of the toll. The weight of the load also affected the toll exacted at some tollhouses. Some tollhouses used a weighing machine to determine the weight of the wagon and its load. If so, a ticket was produced so the driver could present it to each of the subsequent tollhouses he encountered upon his journey. 

220px-ThomasTelford.jpg By the early 19th Century turnpike trusts had made major highway improvements. Thomas Telford reorganized the existing trusts along the London to Holyhead Road and oversaw the construction of large sections of new road. Telford was a Scottish civil engineer, architect and stonemason, and a noted road, bridge and canal builder. After establishing himself as an engineer of road and canal projects in Shropshire, he designed numerous infrastructure projects in his native Scotland, as well as harbors and tunnels. Such was his reputation as a prolific designer of highways and related bridges, he was dubbed The Colossus of Roads (a pun on the Colossus of Rhodes), and, reflecting his command of all types of civil engineering in the early 19th century, he was elected as the first President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a post he retained for 14 years until his death.

“By 1838 the turnpike trusts in England were collecting £1.5 million p.a. from leasing the collection of tolls but had a cumulative debt of £7 million, mainly as mortgages. Even at its greatest extent, the turnpike system only administered a fifth of the roads in Britain; the majority being maintained by the parishes. A trust would typically be responsible for about 20 miles (32 km) of highway, although exceptions such as the Exeter Turnpike Trust controlled 147 miles (237 km) of roads radiating from the city. On the Bath Road for instance, a traveller from London to the head of the Thames Valley in Wiltshire would pass through the jurisdiction of seven trusts, paying a toll at the gates of each. Although a few trusts built new bridges (e.g. at Shillingford over the Thames), most bridges remained a county responsibility. A few bridges were built with private funds and tolls taken at these (e.g., the present Swinford Toll Bridge over the Thames).” (Turnpike Trusts)

Coaching routes followed the main roads, those that were better maintained, but only a small portion of the roads under the authority of the various trusts were overseen with care…only about 12%. Packhorses were the only means to transport goods along the roads and pathways not part of the turnpike system. Tollhouses were generally situated at cross roads where the toll keeper had a good view of the gates, the roads, and the traffic. Unfortunately for many travelers, the toll keeper was not always available: away from his post, asleep, inebriated, or off taking care of his own business. As they were only paid an average of 9s per week, one can imagine they were not always as diligent as they should have been. According to the Regency Collection, “This changed in the 1770’s when the operation of the turnpikes was “farmed” out to the highest bidder at auction (an early example of privatisation). This meant that the “farmer” paid annual rent to the trust, but kept the tolls collected. He would either run the tollgate himself or appoint a gate-keeper.”

Daniel Defoe commented as such on the subject of toll gates in the early years of the 18th Century:
“…Turn pikes or toll bars have been set up on the several great roads of England, beginning at London and proceeding thro’ almost all those dirty deep roads in the Midland Counties especially; at which, turn pikes all carriages, droves or cattle and travellers on horseback are oblig’d to pay an easy toll; that is to say, a horse a penny, a coach three pence, a cart fourpence, at some six to eight pence, a wagon six pence, in some a shilling. Cattle pay by the score, or by the herd, in some places more. But in no place is it thought a burthen that ever I met with, the benefit of a good road abundantly making amends for the little charge the travellers are put to at the turn pikes…”.

List of Turnpike Trusts with details of their size and income collected in a table can be found HERE.


Map of the Turnpike Tollgates in London 1801. ~ J. Cary – Old London Maps at ~ Public Domain ~ via Wikipedia


Bogart, Dan. “Turnpike Trusts and the transportation revolution in the 18th Century” 

“Roads 1750-1900,” The History Learning Site 

“Turnpike Trusts,” Schools History 

“Turnpikes and Toll,” UK Parliament

Posted in British history, buildings and structures, commerce, Georgian England, Industrial Revolution, Living in the UK, Scotland, travel | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Princess Louise, the Marchioness of Lorne, Travels to Canada


Benjamin Disraeli via Wikipedia

In 1878, prime minister Benjamin Disraeli tagged the John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, to become the governor general of the Dominion of Canada. This would take Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise away from England, for Princess Louise was married to the marquess. As the queen’s son-in-law, Lorne would prove to be a valuable asset to Victoria’s reign. A royal princess accompanying her husband to Canada was an added incentive. Although Lorne was a member of England’s Liberal party, Disraeli, a staunch Conservative, believe Lorne’s presence in Canada could unite a country that remained fragmented. Lorne and Princess Louise symbolized imperial accord. 


John Campbell, the Marquess of Lorne ~ via Wikipedia

“The office began in the 16th and 17th centuries with the Crown-appointed governors of the French colony of Canada followed by the British governors of Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries. Subsequently, the office is, along with the Crown, the oldest continuous institution in Canada. The present incarnation of the office emerged with Canadian Confederation and the passing of the British North America Act, which defines the role of the governor general as “carrying on the Government of Canada on behalf and in the Name of the Queen, by whatever Title he is designated”. Although the post initially still represented the government of the United Kingdom, the office was gradually Canadanized.” (Governor General of Canada)

1837 saw changes in the role of governor general change after the rebellion that occurred during that year. The British granted responsible governments to the individual Canadian provinces. This move made the viceroys named by Britain largely nominal heads rather than rulers of the country. The democratically elected legislatures crafted Canada’s laws. This arrangement continued after the reunification of Upper and Lower Canada in 1840 into the Province of Canada, and the establishment of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. 

Upon his arrival in the country, Lorne became the highest ranking person in Canada. He was head of state with the prime minister as his subordinate, but in truth, the head of the government. Lorne would serve as a surrogate for the British government. Jerrold Packard in Victoria’s Daughters (St. Martin’s Press, 1998, page 188), “Like the monarch in the United Kingdom, he would be constitutionally responsible for ministerial succession were a government to resign or be defeated at the polls, though in reality he was constrained to appoint as prime minister whichever political leader commanded a majority in the Canadian Parliament. In addition to these broad duties, which left limited leeway for independent action on the incumbent’s part, Lorne would be unofficially expected to settle any number of administrative and diplomatic problems arising between London and Ottawa. Finally—and the role in which Louise was regarded as a tremendous boon—Lorne and his wife would stand indisputably at the peak of Canadian society, where the governor general’s wife was every bit as important as her husband.”

Queen Victoria did not wish to lose Louise to the Canadian wilderness, but she was wise enough to realize that Lorne’s success in the position would esteem not only her reign, but also Louise’s position. As governor general, Lorne would finally outrank his “princess” bride. Moreover, Lorne’s popularity as a member of the parliament had waned, and it was likely he might lose his place in the House of Commons soon. His party was out of favor at the time, and Lorne’s budding career as a poet had never taken off. Perhaps in Canada, he would know the success and popularity he desired. The honor of being governor general would save Lorne a loss of face among the aristocracy. Lorne had hoped that the Canadian position might lead him to more important posts, such as the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland or Governor-General of India. 

 download.jpg Princess Louise held several objections to her husband’s taking the post: She would be required to abandon her interest in London’s literary world. Louise did not wish to miss out upon her brother’s, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, marriage to Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. She also worried that Canada’s bitter cold would affect the facial neuralgia from which she suffered. However, the sense of duty to office instilled in her by both her mother and father had Louise agreeing to support her husband’s appointment to the post. 

Victoria presented Lorne with a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George honorific before he sailed to Canada. Lorne and Princess Louise departed on 14 November 1878. The marquess and marchioness sailed on the Allan Line steamer, Sarmatiain, rather than a ship of the Royal Navy suggested by his mother-in-law. 


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