The Memoirs of Miss Arabella Bolton
This article is incomplete. The wicked Colonel Luttrell's seduction of the noble Arabella Bolton and her tragic end, written as a political and moral tale probably by Cuthbert Shaw. How true are the facts?
From Henry Lawes Luttrell's ODNB article
In 1769, after Wilkes's election for Middlesex had been declared void for the third time, Luttrell offered to stand if the government would ensure his return on petition. Although heavily defeated in the election on 13 April 1769 by 1143 votes to 296, the House of Commons carried a motion by 197 to 143 declaring Luttrell elected, which sparked popular outrage. Horace Walpole reported that Luttrell was hissed out of the theatre, assaulted as he left the house, and for several months ‘did not dare appear in the streets or scarce quit his lodgings’ (Walpole, 3.359). Luttrell was frequently attacked in print, particularly by the political satirist Junius who, representing the views of anti-court whigs, disparaged his election as an ‘arbitrary appointment [which] invades the foundation of the laws themselves’ (Letters of Junius, 83, letter 15, to the duke of Grafton, 8 July 1769). Luttrell's personal unpopularity was compounded by his family's scandalous reputation. Junius compared his ‘unnatural union’ with Middlesex to the clandestine marriage of Luttrell's sister, Anne Horton, to the duke of Cumberland (ibid., 316, letter 68, to Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, 21 Jan 1772).
From Cuthbert Shaw's ODNB article
Meanwhile Shaw had involved himself in opposition politics. His verse satire Corruption, inscribed to Richard Grenville, Earl Temple, appeared in December 1768. In August 1769 he became editor of The Middlesex Journal, or, The Chronicle of Liberty, and asked Wilkes, who was then in prison, and other friends of freedom to write in its support (BL, Add. MS 30870, fol. 186). Later that year he was writing caustic political pieces in the pro-Wilkes Freeholder's Magazine, or, Monthly Chronicle of Liberty, where, in April and May 1770, also appeared long extracts from his unpublished poem ‘Resignation’. Shaw died intestate, in debt, and, it was said, ‘overwhelmed with complicated distress’, on 1 September 1771 at his house in Titchfield Street, Oxford Market, London (London Magazine, 1771, 472).
The story of John Wilkes and the five Middlesex elections of 1768 and 1769 is long and complicated, and I refer you to the article on Middlesex constituency 1754-1790 in historyofparliamentonline.org or the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on John Wilkes (1725-1797). But by March 1769 the government needed to put up a candidate to oppose Wilkes (who had twice been elected unopposed and then declared incapable of election) and the man who offered was Colonel Henry Lawes Luttrell (DNB 1737-1821). Wilkes received 1143 votes to Luttrell's 296 and parliament declared Luttrell elected, when he became a very unpopular man who (according to Horace Walpole) hardly dared go outdoors. While the poll was taking place some of his correspondence was published alleging that when a student at Oxford in 1756 he had seduced Arabella Bolton, a gardener's daughter, made her pregnant (and given her venereal disease) and neglected to pay the doctor whom he had asked to take care of her. Following Arabella Bolton's death in October 1769 a book was published in 1770 by Isaac Fell, called the Memoirs of Miss Arabella Bolton, which told the story of her seduction, her "barbarous treatment" by the Colonel, and her subsequent virtuous but tragic life. Fell also published the pro-Wilkes Middlesex Journal, edited by Cuthbert Shaw (DNB 1738/9-1771). It seems likely to me that Shaw wrote the Memoirs. (In Vol 2 p10-11 "to describe the feelings of Sir William during this conflict, would require the pen of an Addison, a Dryden, or a Shaw*. *The author of a late celebrated Monody, does honour to the English language, and renders him immortal" and Vol 2 ends with a poem by Shaw).
Shaw's satirical The Race, by Mercurius Spur (1765) had won some praise from the crtics, who were the butt of much of its satire, while his Monody (1768), written on the death of Shaw's young wife in childbed, had been highly praised in both Smollett's Critical Review and Griffiths' Monthly Review. When he turned to political satire in Corruption (1768) the reviewers were lukewarm, while the Memoirs of Miss Bolton, which they may or may not have guessed were by him, were dismissed as trash. "A most malignant and contemptible scribbler who seems to have thought it impossible to make the devil appear black enough" (Monthly Review). The London Magazine supposed the work had been "raised up to the size of a novel by many fabricated stories" but added "we are rather apprehensive that the foundation is not laid upon a sandy bottom." and concluded "in point of literary execution, however, nothing can be more despicable, and those only who have an inordinate appetite for scandal, can possibly find the least satisfaction in the perusal". The Critical Review, after noting The Genuine Memoirs of Miss Faulkner (see Anna Maria Falkner DNB d.1796/7) had been written "to destroy the peace of a woman who has been cautious of giving public offence, and a nobleman who has deserved well of his country" went on to say of the Memoirs of Miss Bolton that they were "probably by the manufacturer of the last article, and published with an equally laudable intention". However, Miss Bolton's Memoirs apparently had a rapid sale, as celebrity scandal often does. I set about checking the names and dates to see how sandy the bottom of the fabricated stories was. As for its literary merits, I can only say I found it well written and worthy of the author of the Monody, but then maybe I have an inordinate appetite for scandal.
Perhaps because he was now fair game, Luttrell was featured in a Tete a Tete in the Town & Country Magazine in 1771 (vol 3 p625) which mentioned no less than seven of his amours, including Miss Bolton, though as regards Luttrell's seduction of her it stated "This story has, however, we believe, been greatly exaggerated, to serve the purposes of party, in order to render the Colonel unpopular and obnoxious at the time of his election for Middlesex." But the piece went on to tell of his seduction of the wife of an eminent New York merchant, Mr P---- in whose house he was a guest and which led to a duel and a further challenge which he escaped when his regiment was ordered back to England, and then to mention his amours after his return to London in 1761 with miss H---n, lady D---, mrs G---n, Lucy S--k and miss J-nes. There are also records of three of his illegitimate children, a daughter Harriet by Elizabeth Mullen whom he married in America in 1759 as a minor without her parents' consent, so the marriage was annulled on his being ordered back to England, and Henry Luttrell (DNB 1768-1851) wit and poet, and his sister; their mother, after a marriage or another liaison, was known as Mary Otto Baijer Nugent. Luttrell married Jane Boyd in 1776 and none of the amorous scandal seems to postdate his marriage but he left no legitimate children when he died in 1821. However his impetuous and quarrelsome nature continued to get him into trouble in his military actions against rebels in Ireland and in dealing with his estates there (see his DNB article).
To come to Arabella Bolton. The Memoirs are online at Gale Databases' Eighteenth Century Online. If you can only find Vol 1 search on Arrabella rather than Arabella in titles. Facsimiles are apparently available to buy online but I suspect they don't include volume 2. The book claims
THAT her father James Bolton was for many years gardener to Mr Moreton at Tackley, near Woodstock in Oxfordshire. Morton can be found in historyofparliamentonline under members 1754-90, I could not find the Boltons in any parish registers of Tackley or adjacent parishes. According to History of Tackley (which covers the Mortons p17-22) the house of William Bolton there was licensed for worship in 1804. THAT Morton was aparticular friend of Luttrell's father, Lord Irnham.
THAT Luttrell arranged an assignation with Miss Bolton with the help of Morton's elderly housekeeper Mrs D---y. THAT Luttrell put opiate in the wine of Mrs D---y and Miss Bolton and raped her while she was unconscious, infecting her with venereal disease and making her pregnant. The pro-Luttrell side of this story appeared in the Dublin Mercury 15-17.8.1769, describing miss Bolton as "a girl whose character was not so unblemished as to entitle him to the name of a seducer" and referring to "mutual signs of infection" leaving it unclear who gave the clap to whom, and claiming that Luttrell "behaved with the utmost humanity and tenderness". The Memoirs take a very different view, presenting miss Bolton as innocent, naturally virtuous, and highly principled, in fact a true romantic heroine.