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Lady Mary SP-212 - History

Lady Mary SP-212 - History

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Lady Mary

(SP-212: t. 62.7; 1. 96'6"; b. 14'; dr. 5'6"; a. 10 k.; cgl.
9; a. 1 3,pdr.)
Lad v Marg ( SP-212 ), a motor yacht, was built as
Glendu in 1905 by George Lawley & Sons Corp., Boston,
Masa., owned by B. E. Nieae of New York City and C. S.
Smith of Stamford, Conn.- and taken over under charter
as Lady Mary 16 July 1917. Acquired by the Navy 21 July
ahe commissioned 24 July 1917 at Newport, R.I.; Ena.
H. S Allen, USNRF, in command.

Assigned to the 2d Naval District, Newport, she served on dispatch duty and patrolled coastal waters in Block Island Sound from Newport to Block Island. She was returned to her former owner 9 December 1918.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Immunization Advocacy

Today’s guest post is written by Lisa Rosner, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History at Stockton University. Recent publications include The Anatomy Murders (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and Vaccination and Its Critics (ABC-Clio, 2017). She is the project director and game developer for The Pox Hunter, funded by an NEH Digital Projects for the Public grant. On Thursday, April 6, Lisa will give her talk, “Lady Mary’s Legacy: Vaccine Advocacy from The Turkish Embassy Letters to Video Games.” To read more about this lecture and to register, go HERE.

In a letter dated April 1, 1717 – 300 years ago — Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762), the wife of the British ambassador to Turkey, provided the first report from an elite European patient’s perspective of the middle-eastern practice of inoculation, or ingrafting, to prevent smallpox. She wrote to her dear friend, Sarah Chiswell:

“I am going to tell you a thing that will make you wish yourself here. The small-pox, so fatal, and so general amongst us, is here entirely harmless, by the invention of engrafting, which is the term they give it. There is a set of old women, who make it their business to perform the operation, every autumn, in the month of September, when the great heat is abated. People send to one another to know if any of their family has a mind to have the small-pox they make parties for this purpose, and when they are met (commonly fifteen or sixteen together) the old woman comes with a nut-shell full of the matter of the best sort of small-pox, and asks what vein you please to have opened. She immediately rips open that you offer to her, with a large needle (which gives you no more pain than a common scratch) and puts into the vein as much matter as can lie upon the head of her needle, and after that, binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell, and in this manner opens four or five veins…

The children or young patients play together all the rest of the day, and are in perfect health to the eighth. Then the fever begins to seize them, and they keep their beds two days, very seldom three. They have very rarely above twenty or thirty in their faces, which never mark, and in eight days time they are as well as before their illness. Where they are wounded, there remains running sores during the distemper, which I don’t doubt is a great relief to it. Every year, thousands undergo this operation, and the French Ambassador says pleasantly, that they take the small-pox here by way of diversion, as they take the waters in other countries. There is no example of any one that has died in it, and you may believe I am well satisfied of the safety of this experiment, since I intend to try it on my dear little son.”

Mary Wortley Montagu with her son Edward, by Jean-Baptiste van Mour. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

This is probably the most famous passage in all Lady Mary’s voluminous correspondence. It deserves even more attention than it usually gets, because it is the first example, in the western history of medicine, of a mother’s perspective on the practice of immunization. We tend to hear a great deal from scientists like Jenner about their discoveries, but much less from mothers who adopted their techniques for children.

But Lady Mary was not just a mother, she was also an acute observer with an inventive and inquisitive mind, and a particular interest in what we would now call public health practices. She had lost a beloved brother to smallpox she had also contracted the disease, and though she survived, she carried the scars for the rest of her life. As she traveled from London to Constantinople, she was particularly interested in innovations and cultural attitudes toward hygiene and domestic health, especially as they affected women’s lives.

Her enthusiasm for light, clean, airy environments comes through in her very first letter, written from the Netherlands. She wrote:

“All the streets are paved with broad stones and before many of the meanest artificers doors are placed seats of various coloured marbles, so neatly kept, that, I assure you, I walked almost all over the town yesterday, incognito, in my slippers without receiving one spot of dirt and you may see the Dutch maids washing the pavement of the street, with more application than ours do our bed-chambers.”

For that reason, she noted:

“Nothing can be more agreeable than travelling in Holland. The whole country appears a large garden the roads are well paved, shaded on each side with rows of trees.”

She was much less pleased with Vienna, for though there were certainly many magnificent sights, the city itself was dark and crowded. She complained:

“As the town is too little for the number of the people that desire to live in it, the builders seem to have projected to repair that misfortune, by clapping one town on the top of another, most of the houses being of five, and some of them six stories … The streets being so narrow, the rooms are extremely dark and, what is an inconveniency much more intolerable … there is no house has so few as five or six families in it.”

As her travels continued throughout the fall and winter, another custom, neglected in England, caught her attention: the stove, valuable for warmth and for lengthening the growing season. At one of the formal dinners she attended, she was offered oranges and bananas and wondered how they could possibly be grown in Austria. She wrote:

“Upon inquiry I learnt that they have brought their stoves to such perfection, they lengthen their summer as long as they please, giving to every plant the degree of heat it would receive from the sun in its native soil. The effect is very near the same I am surprised we do not practise [sic] in England so useful an invention. This reflection leads me to consider our obstinacy in shaking with cold, five months in the year rather than make use of stoves, which are certainly one of the greatest conveniencies [sic] of life.”

Mary Wortley Montagu in Turkish dress. Souce: Wikimedia Commons.

When she arrived in Constantinople and spent time with ladies of the court, both Turkish and European, Lady Mary continued to pursue her interest in gardens, in baths, in the light airy spaces found in both European and Turkish households. She was not the first European to report on the practice of “ingrafting”: her family physician in Constantinople, Dr. Emmanuel Timoni, had previously sent a report to the Royal Society of London. But seeing a disease, so dangerous in Europe, treated as an excuse for a children’s party turned her into an advocate. As she wrote:

“I am patriot enough to take the pains to bring this useful invention into fashion in England, and I should not fail to write to some of our doctors very particularly about it, if I knew any one of them that I thought had virtue enough to destroy such a considerable branch of their revenue, for the good of mankind. But that distemper is too beneficial to them, not to expose to all their resentment, the hardy wight that should undertake to put an end to it. Perhaps if I live to return, I may, however, have courage to war with them. Upon this occasion, admire the heroism in the heart of your friend.”

After she returned to London, she kept her promise “to war” with the physicians in support of inoculation. When smallpox broke out in her social circle in 1722, she decided to inoculate her daughter, and the operation was performed with great success. Physicians who visited her found “Miss Wortley playing about the Room, cheerful and well,” with a few slight marks of smallpox. Those soon healed, and the child recovered completely. The visiting physicians were impressed, and they began to incorporate inoculation into their own practices.

As the epidemic raged, Lady Mary convinced her most prominent friend, Caroline, Princess of Wales, to inoculate the two royal princesses, Amelia and Caroline. Having received the royal seal of approval, smallpox inoculation became fashionable practice among British elites throughout the 18 th century.

Memorial to the Rt. Hon. Lady Mary Wortley Montague erected in Lichfield Cathedral by Henrietta Inge. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1789, Mrs. Henrietta Inge, Lady Mary’s niece, erected a memorial to her accomplishments in Litchfield Cathedral. The text reads:

“[She] happily introduc’d from Turkey, into this country the Salutary Art Of inoculating the Small-Pox. Convinc’d of its Efficacy She first tried it with Success on her own Children, And then recommended the practice of it To her fell-w-Citizens. Thus by her Example and Advice, We have soften’d the Virulence, And excap’d the danger of this malignant Disease.”

We can recognize in Lady Mary – and in Mrs. Inge — advocates of a kind met with very frequently in the history of vaccination: mothers whose personal experience led them to champion the discoveries that preserved their family’s health and well-being.

What the Bible Says About Mary Magdalene

All four canonical gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) noted Mary Magdalene’s presence at Jesus’s Crucifixion, but only the Gospel of Luke discussed her role in Jesus’s life and ministry, listing her among “some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities” (Luke 8:1𠄳).

According to Luke, after Jesus cast out seven demons from her, Mary became part of a group of women who traveled with him and his 12 disciples/apostles, “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.” Magdalene is not a surname, but identified the place Mary came from: Magdala, a city in Galilee, located in the northernmost region of ancient Palestine (now northern Israel).

The crucifixion of Jesus with the Virgin Mary, Saint John and Mary Magdalene.

Daniela Cammilli for Alinari/Alinari Archives, Florence-Reproduced with the permission of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali/Alinari via Getty Images

“Mary Magdalene is among Jesus’s early followers,” says Robert Cargill, assistant professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa and editor of Biblical Archaeology Review. “She was named in the Gospels, so she obviously was important. There were apparently hundreds, if not thousands, of followers of Jesus, but we don&apost know most of their names. So the fact that she&aposs named is a big deal.”

After Jesus’s crucifixion—which she witnessed along with several other women from the foot of the cross𠅊nd after all his male disciples had fled, Mary Magdalene also played a key role in the story of the Resurrection. According to the gospels, she visited Jesus’s tomb on Easter Sunday, either alone (according to the Gospel of John) or with other women, and found the tomb empty.

“The women are the ones who go and tell the disciples,” Cargill points out. “They are the ones that discovered that he had risen, and that’s significant.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus actually appears to Mary Magdalene alone after his Resurrection, and instructs her to tell his disciples of his return (John 20:1-13).



She was born as Mary Archer, one of the two daughters of a happily married couple living in a cottage near Sleepy Hollow. When Mary was still a little girl, her father unexpectedly died for some unknown reason, and the family's landlord Sir Peter Van Garrett, evicted them and sold their home to his relatives, the Van Tassels.

Due to Mary's mother being suspected of doing witchcraft, no one in the town was willing to take the Archers in or give them any sort of help, so the family took refuge in the Western Woods. Mary's mother later died within a year afterward, forcing Mary and her sister to scrounge for themselves in the Western Woods.

One day, while gathering firewood, Mary and her sister ran into the bloodthirsty Hessian hiding from the arriving American soldiers. Despite the Hessian's order to be quiet, Mary gave him away to his pursuers by snapping a stick into two while her sister ran away in fear.

While watching the Hessian's execution and burial by the hands of the soldiers, Mary made a pact with the Devil: in return for her soul, she would be allowed her to raise the Hessian from the grave to assist her in taking revenge on the Van Garretts and Van Tassels. She vowed that she would one day make herself the mistress of everything they owned as her way of avenging what they did to her family. However, Mary's sister refused to be a part of this and broke off whatever ties she had with Mary.㺒 years later, Mary came over to the Van Tassels' residence as a sick nurse for Baltus' first wife Elizabeth, whom she secretly poisoned before proceeding to enter a relationship with Baltus and becoming his second wife. Two years later, she headed over to the Tree of the Dead, where the Hessian's grave was marked at. She then dug up the grave and stole the skull herself, intending to use her dark magic to revive the Horseman under her control to kill those who wronged her.


As New York police constable Ichabod Crane (the hero of the film) arrives in Sleepy Hollow following the murders of Sir Van Garrett, his son Dirk, and the widow Emily Winship, Lady Van Tassel pretends to be supportive with him. As the investigation goes on following the murders of Jonathan Masbath and Magistrate Samuel Phillipse, Crane follows the clues through the woods to a crone witch, who gives him directions to the Tree of the Dead where the Horseman's grave is located. After seeing that the skull has been stolen and witnessing the murders of the Killian family and Brom Van Brunt, Ichabod starts to believe that a conspiracy links all the deaths together, deducing that all who either benefited from or knew about Van Garrett's new will have become victims of the Horseman (except for Brom, who was only killed in self-defense). Crane then suspects that Baltus is the person behind the murder spree since he is the only one who would have inherited the fortune, though Katrina refuses to believe that her father would do such horrible things. 

One night, Crane and Masbath's son see a mysterious cloaked figure holding a lantern, disappearing into the Western Woods. As young Masbath stays behind while Crane goes to investigate, not only does he discover the cloaked figure to be Lady Van Tassel, but that she's engaged in a sexual encounter with Reverend Steenwyck, during which, she grabs a knife and violently slices the palm of her hand, allowing Reverend Steenwyck to lick her wound clean. The morning after the encounter, Lady Van Tassel notices how Crane has been so careful not to look at her hand or ask how she cut it, which would have been polite of him. She tells Crane that she knows that he had followed her into the woods and makes him promise not to tell her husband about her encounter in the woods.

Later, while Lady Van Tassel is out gathering flowers, Baltus comes to her to tell her of a gathering at the church. He then witnesses, to his horror, the Horseman coming towards Lady Van Tassel with his sword unsheathed and heads off to the church, with the townspeople filing in just as he arrives. With the men firing muskets as the Horseman circles the church, Crane realizes the Horseman can't enter the church grounds as it is hallowed ground. As a massive fight breaks out in the church, Dr. Thomas Lancaster begins to confess to his role in the conspiracy, only to be killed by Reverend Steenwyck, who is in turn shot to death by a frightened Baltus. The chaos ends only when the Horseman harpoons Baltus through a church window using a pointed church fence post attached to a rope, dragging him out and chopping off his head.

As Crane is about to leave Sleepy Hollow in disgrace, he becomes suspicious upon noticing that the hand of the supposed corpse of Lady Van Tassel has a wound that shows signs of having been caused post-mortem. Deducing that the cut was made when the woman was already dead, Crane realizes that Lady Van Tassel is the true culprit behind the murders the entire time. His suspicions are confirmed when the real Lady Van Tassel emerges alive from the dark and shocks her step-daughter Katrina into a faint. Lady Van Tassel then abducts Katrina and takes her to a windmill, where she summons the Horseman again, this time to kill Katrina to secure her hold of the entire combined Van Garrett/Van Tassel fortune for herself. As Katrina awakens, Lady Van Tassel confesses to her about her backstory and her true role behind the murder spree, also admitting that she killed Katrina's mother Elizabeth when posing as her sick-nurse. She also reveals that she had drawn the town's other four elders into her plot: instilling fear in Notary James Hardenbrook (who committed suicide before Baltus' death) and Magistrate Phillipse, blackmailing Dr. Lancaster to cover his affairs with the Van Tassels' servant Sarah (whom Lady Van Tassel killed to fake her death), and corrupting Reverend Steenwyck with his lust for her. She also confesses to having recently murdered the crone witch (who is revealed to be her estranged sister) for helping Crane and young Masbath in finding the Hessian's grave.

After confessing her crimes, Lady Van Tassel states that she now plans to have Katrina killed by the Horseman so she can get the entire fortune under her fist. Fortunately, Crane and young Masbath arrive to rescue Katrina and they head to the Western Woods to evade the arriving Horseman. Eventually, Lady Van Tassel arrives by horseback and shoots Crane while holding Katrina violently by the hair, awaiting for the Horseman to come and kill her. However, Crane (who had managed to survive the shot due Katrina's magic book intercepting it inside his coat) manages to get the stolen skull while young Masbath knocks out Lady Van Tassel with a large branch. Crane then returns the skull to the Horseman, reverting his head back to its normal form.

Finally freed from Lady Van Tassel's grasp, the Horseman spares Ichabod, Katrina, and young Masbath while reuniting with his horse Daredevil. Recognizing a recuperating Lady Van Tassel as the little girl who betrayed him to his death years ago and as the one who used him to commit the murders, the angry Horseman hoists the evil witch up on horseback and gives her a bloody kiss with his sharp teeth, much to her complete horror and agony. The Horseman and Daredevil then gallop their way back to Hell, taking a screaming Lady Van Tassel with them to make her pay for her crimes and fulfill her end of the deal with the Devil. All that ends up left of Lady Van Tassel is her sliced hand sticking out from the branches of the Tree of the Dead, indicating that she is now dead and condemned to Hell.

With the mystery behind the murders solved, Crane happily goes back to New York, taking Katrina and young Masbath with him.

These sisters all taught at Ladywood at one time. Click on their name to see what their ministry is now. Or click here to contact them!

History of Ladywood School, Indianapolis

In the 1920s, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was thriving as well as the high school, St. Mary’s Institute. Accrediting agencies were not in favor of colleges and high schools sharing the same facilities, so a decision was made to locate the Academy elsewhere.

Much thought was put into the choice of a location. Property became available in the northeast part of Indianapolis, and in 1926, the Sisters of Providence purchased some of the property of the Fletcher Estate, which included Laurel Hall. The process of changing Laurel Hall into a select finishing school for girls, both as resident and day school, officially began.

In 1926, Laurel Hall became Ladywood School for Girls, and was opened with six young women in sophomore year and eight in freshmen year. Due to an increase in enrollment, Loretto Hall was built and opened in 1928. Ladywood School was maintained as an exclusive finishing school for 37 years. In 1963, a new school building was erected and Laurel Hall and some other property were sold. In 1970, St. Agnes Academy merged with Ladywood. The young women who graduated from Ladywood became very influential in the local area as well as in many areas of the world.

The Spencers’ Royal Stuart Ancestors

Having taken a look at Kate Middleton’s ancestry last month, it struck me that I have never done a column on one of the most unique aspects of Prince William’s Spencer ancestry. Through the marriage of Princess Diana’s grandparents, John the 7th Earl Spencer and Lady Cynthia Hamilton, the Spencer family enjoys a uniquely comprehensive range of descents from the royal house of Stewart/Stuart that ruled in Scotland from the late 14th century and in all of Britain from 1603 to 1714. And in fact, if they had been legitimate lines of descent, several of the ancestors in the Spencer-Hamilton lineage would have been senior in the line of succession to the Hanover/Windsor family. But as it is, all but one of the instances that I will cite in what follows are of children born to royal mistresses, and the one exception comes from a marriage of dubious validity.

That said, although illegitimacy has long been used to debar claims to royal succession, there have been occasions when royal bastards (such as William the Conqueror) did manage to take the throne. And there have been other eras in which they certainly tried. The most recent instance in Britain was the attempt of Charles II’s son, the Duke of Monmouth, to unseat his uncle James VII/II. (Monmouth was the ancestor of the Dukes of Buccleuch, and thus of both the late Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester, and of Sarah Duchess of York.)

What I intend to concentrate on in this column are only those Spencer ancestors who were descended from the combined Stewart-Tudor lineage that begins with James V, King of Scots, who was the son of James IV and Henry VIII’s sister, Margaret Tudor. That said, it is also notable that Cynthia Hamilton’s sixteenth-century ancestor, the Duc de Chatelherault, was the closest legitimate heir to the Scottish crown during the lifetime of Mary Queen of Scots. And it is also worth noting that Lady Cynthia’s more remote ancestors included several illegitimate offspring of earlier Stewarts such as King James IV. (The old Stewart Kings were amazingly prolific in siring children outside of wedlock, but not nearly so successful within the bonds of holy matrimony.)

Working backward through the list of British sovereigns, the most recent royal link in the Spencer ancestry is to the erstwhile King James VII/II. Besides his two legitimate daughters (Queen Mary II and Queen Anne), and the line of Jacobite Pretenders descended from his second marriage (James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender, and his sons Bonnie Prince Charlie and Henry, Cardinal of York), James VII/II had six known illegitimate children. Four of these children were the offspring of Arabella Churchill, herself an ancestral aunt of the Spencers, and the other two were the children of Catherine Sedley. Of these six, Arabella Churchill’s daughter Henrietta Fitzjames became the wife of Henry Waldegrave, and their descendant Adelaide Seymour became the wife of the 4th Earl Spencer.

It is very well known that Charles II had a plethora of illegitimate children (twelve acknowledged and a few other possible ones) by several different mothers, but no legitimate child was born to him and his Queen, Catherine of Braganza. The Spencer-Hamilton lineage includes at least two of Charles II’s progeny. The Hamilton ancestors include two different lines of descent from Charles, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox, the son of Charles II and Louise de Keroualle. Most proximately, Lady Cynthia’s grandmother was a daughter of the 5th Duke of Richmond. (Interestingly, other Richmond and Lennox descendants include Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Sarah, the Duchess of York.) Additionally, Adelaide Seymour (cited above as the 4th Earl Spencer’s wife) was also descended from Charles II via the 1st Duke of Grafton, a son of Charles II and Barbara Villiers.

The historical and genealogical significance of these several lines going back to James VII/II and Charles II is great. For not only will Prince William someday be the first King, ever, descended from Charles II he will also be the first descendant of Charles I to reign over Britain since 1714. The Hanoverians descended from James VI/I by quite a different route.

In addition to the descents from James VII/II, Charles II, and Charles I, the Hamilton lineage of Princess Diana’s granny includes two other important royal ancestors. Both come, yet again, via the Dukes of Richmond.

The first is from yet another line senior in descent to the current royals, via Caroline Charlotte Duchess of Schomberg & Leinster. She was a daughter of Charles Louis, Elector Palatine (1617-1680), via his morganatic (or, bigamous) marriage to Marie Louise von Degenfield. Charles Louis was the eldest surviving son of Elizabeth Stuart, the “Winter Queen” Bohemia and daughter of James VI/I. (The Hanoverians, remember, descend from Charles Louis’ youngest sister, the Electress Sophia of Hanover.)

The second notable heritage is found in a line of descent from the Scottish Earls of Moray. Via a daughter of the 4th Earl of Moray, Prince William is a descendant of the powerful half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots. That James Stewart was the eldest illegitimate son of James V, King of Scots, and thus shared in the dual Stewart and Tudor genetic heritage that eventually brought the Stuarts to the throne of England as well as Scotland. “Moray” – as he is usually designated in histories of Mary’s reign – was a sometime supporter and sometime adversary of his half-sister. He was a staunch Protestant, and on occasion conspired against the Catholic Mary with their mutual cousin, Elizabeth I. He was suspected of having aspirations to the Scottish throne and was actively involved in the coup that eventually overthrew and deposed Mary. He then served as Regent for his infant nephew, James VI, but was assassinated early on in his regency. He left a daughter who became Countess of Moray in her own right, married a Stuart kinsman, and passed the title on to later generations.

In all of the preceding instances the family heritage of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, has brought back into Britain’s royal family major re-connections to their own history. Diana, of course, had other distinctive relatives such as the royals first ancestor from the former Raj, Eliza Kewark, an Indian woman from Mumbai (Bombay). And, like the late Queen Mother, Diana’s family history brings a broad range of ties to really significant historical figures among the British aristocracy. But for the genealogical historian in me, the unprecedented reconnection to the royals of the past is the most simply amazing piece of William’s ancestry. Except for King William IV, about whose family I wrote a couple of years ago, he is descended from every monarch of England and Scotland with known (and acknowledged) living descendants.

Among the greatest treasures of the Royal Collection housed at Windsor Castle are the portraits by such artists as Van Dyck, Sir Peter Lely, et al, of the royal Stuarts and their families from the Caroline and Restoration eras. The Collection also includes the famous series known as “The Windsor Beauties” which features several of Charles II’s mistresses. Another recent acquisition of the Royal Collection dating from the same era is the portrait of Charles II that was originally part of the great ceiling panel of St. George’s Hall painted by Antonio Verrio in the early 1680s. Discovered at auction, it has been brought home to Windsor and hangs overlooking the new Lantern Lobby adjoining the restored St. George’s Hall. Someday, when he’s king, William V will probably point some of these artworks out to his guests and say – hopefully with pride – something to the effect, “Oh yes, and this one is one of my ancestors through my mum….” Sometimes what goes around really does come around.

Monument to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Framed by the trees, this monument has a powerful sorry to tell. Originally put up by Thomas Wentworth, it was later rededicated by his son William to Lady Mary Montagu in honour of her efforts to inoculate children against smallpox. A symbol of Mary’s achievements, it is believed to be the oldest monument in the country dedicated to a non-royal woman.

Middlethorpe Hall, York National Trust Images / James Dobson

Other Possibilities

There are other possibilities that have been offered as roots of the story in the ballad:

    , in his History of the Reformation, mentions an incident of infanticide by a lady-in-waiting from France, after an affair with the apothecary of Mary, Queen of Scots. The couple was reported to have been hanged in 1563.
  • Some have speculated that the "old Queen" referred to in the song was the Queen of Scots Mary of Guelders, who lived from about 1434 to 1463, and who was married to Scotland's King James II. She was regent for her son, James III, from her husband's death when a cannon exploded in 1460 to her own death in 1463. A daughter of James II and Mary of Guelders, Mary Stewart (1453 to 1488), married James Hamilton. Among her descendants was Lord Darnley, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • More recently, England's George IV, while still the Prince of Wales, is rumored to have had an affair with a governess of one of his sisters. The governess' name? Mary Hamilton. But no story of a child, much less infanticide.

Mary Tudor was born on February 18, 1516, at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, England. She was the only child of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to survive through childhood. She was baptized as a Catholic shortly after her birth. Tutored by her mother and scholars, she excelled in music and language. In 1525, Henry named her Princess of Wales and sent his daughter to live on the Welsh border, while he continuously tried to negotiate a marriage for her.

Frustrated by the lack of a male heir, in 1533 Henry declared his marriage to Catherine null claiming that because he had married his deceased brother’s wife, the marriage was incestuous. He broke relations with the Catholic Church, established the Church of England, and married one of Catherine’s maids of honor, Anne Boleyn. After Boleyn gave birth to Elizabeth, she feared Mary would pose a challenge to the succession to the throne and successfully pressed for an act of Parliament to declare Mary illegitimate. This placed the princess outside the succession to the throne and forced her to be the lady-in-waiting to her half-sister, Elizabeth.

Lady Mary Montagu, Brilliant Autodidact Aristocrat

Lady Mary Montagu was an eighteenth century noblewoman whose contributions to the fields of travel writing and medicine were nearly forgotten due to her sex. She was a vivacious and worldly woman in a period when women were expected to be nothing but demure, and is remembered for both her flamboyant personality & adventurous spirit. She railed against the patriarchy, while gleaning all she could from it. The compilation of her travel writings, aptly titled the, “Turkish Embassy Letters,” was published posthumously should she have published it while alive, she likely would have needed to use a pseudonym.

Her biting wit and keen intellect won her favor with the court of King George I, but she was looked upon as a glamorized courtesan, as evidenced by the fact that she lost that favor once her face was marred by smallpox.

While the deadly disease ravaged England, she was lucky enough to accompany her husband (with whom she eloped, much to her family’s chagrin) to the Ottoman Empire, where she was introduced to the concept of vaccines by a group of native Turkish women. Much like the salon culture of France that existed concurrently, women in the Ottoman Empire congregated in the harems to both gossip and to develop their own medical tradition.

I am going to tell you a thing that I am sure will make you wish yourself here. The small-pox, so fatal, and so general amongst us, is here entirely harmless by the invention of ingrafting, which is the term they give it. […]

“I am patriot enough to take pains to bring this useful invention into fashion in England and I should not fail to write to some of our doctors very particularly about it, if I knew any one of them that I thought had virtue enough to destroy such a considerable branch of their revenue for the good of mankind.”

Lady Mary Montagu

Despite bringing inoculations to the Western World, she was not deemed credible by the medical establishment of the day when she sought to correct their gross misuse of the concept she introduced. While a small scratch of the skin was all that was necessary, British quacks greatly increased the risk of complications and infection by “improving,” her technique. They scoffed at her corrections solely based on her gender, but she would not be dissuaded from disseminating the life-saving technique to all those who needed it in England.

Although she was a brilliant autodidact, she could not have achieved all she did without the privilege of her aristocratic birth, yet she must be commended for the ardor with which she fought for her cause once back in England. The concept of inoculation was slow to catch on for several reasons the most relevant here being that it originated from Muslim women. She bravely demonstrated its success on her own children, yet King George I refused to have it performed on his sons (just his daughters, implying how much less he valued them).

We may never know how many lives could have been saved if people had listened to her sooner.

Although Ms. Montagu managed to live a life replete with adventure despite her sex, she was still aware of the limitations it placed on her. In one of her many letters, she warns her daughter Mary, “to conceal whatever learning she attains with solicitude,” in regards to the education of her granddaughter. Lady Mary herself was the target of sexist tirades throughout her life, most notably when Alexander Pope (whose advances she fought off) libeled her as, “Sapphos.” (Clearly, she only would have resisted him if she were a lesbian.) However, she clearly paid this attack little mind, as she happily ran off to Italy for a brief stint to cohabit with her bisexual lover before settling in provincial France to enjoy her old age.

  • Turkish Embassy Letters (Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1800)

Sarah is an autodidact, polyglot, and voracious reader who hails from the great state of Maryland. She hopes one day to enter the world of academia herself, but in the interim contents herself with dreaming of topics for theses she’ll never write.

Watch the video: Nastya and the story about mysterious surprises (August 2022).