St John's College O.73

George Whittington, Commonplace book. English, 1796 and later

George Downing Whittington, of Eton College and St John's College (1780-1807): 'Common Place Book January 27 1797', including: witticisms; epigrams; several signatures of J. Harris Esq. of Salford and of Graham Wharton Harris; minutes of the St John's College Debating Society, 1801 (printed in The Eagle (2001), 49-57); 'The Speech of George Earl Cromartie on being asked why Judgement of Death should not be passed on him (vide Gentleman's Mag: 1745)', to which is noted 'This speech was spoken with great effect by Sargeant on Election Monday - July 29th - 1799'; 'A Parody of the Apothecary in Romeo & Juliet' signed 'K.S. November 1796', with another signed 'M March 1797'; 'An Imitation of Valdarno's sonnets in the Monthly Mirror' signed 'M. Decr 31 1798' and 'M. & K.S. March 1797'; 'The Storm' signed 'M. March 1797'; 'Alexis - a Pastoral' signed 'M. October 1797'; 'A Legendary Gale' signed 'M. Novr 1797'; 'Ellen: a Ballad' signed 'Eton November 1797 K.S. M.'; 'A Lyric Love letter' signed 'K.S.'; 'An Address spoken at a private Theatre at ?Dolby, Leicestershire, March 1786'; three fos torn away; 'Inscription for the Villa of a decayed statesman on the Coast, supposed to be written by Gray' dated 14 Apr. 1798; 'Extract from a bombastic Eulogy on the Repeal of the Watch & Clock Tax by a poetical Watchmaker' signed 'B - May - 1798'; 'Fancy - a Burlesque Pindaric Ode - inserted in the Lady's Monthly Museum (for August 1798) as a genuine Pindaric ode' signed 'K.S. - M. - July 1798'; 'Eton - July 18 1799 - Vocat Labor ultimus'; 'Verse to a Lady whom the author wished to persuade to wear Violets instead of Roses'; a list of 'Books to get'; 'Literary Hours, containing A Register of Books read for instruction & amusement at Leisure times - accompanied with other Memoranda interesting only to the Owner, GDW, 1796' (continues in considerable detail until the end of 1802, gradually transforming into something like a journal); a brief journal of a European tour with 'Lord Aberdeen [George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen] & Gurney', 1802-3, which continues to document Whittington's life in a very abbreviated form through to 1805. Among the blank pages at the end of the volume are several more or less successful attempts at silhouettes, one of them identified as 'Samuel R. Gardiner 1848'. On Whittington see Mark Nicholls, 'Tales of Terror, 1801', Notes and Queries NS 48 (2001), 119-21.

Manuscript extra information

203x163 mm. 123 fos, several blanks. College bookplate, 1937, inside front cover. Purchased from Alister Mathews of Swanage, 1947 (inscription inside front cover).

Autograph, written mostly on recto, with notes and commentary on facing verso. Paper. Rebound c. 1950 by the Cambridge Binding Guild.