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The Chevalier D’Eon and his Worlds
Gender, Espionage and Politics in the Eighteenth Century

Edited by Simon Burrows, Jonathan Conlin, Russell Goulbourne and Valerie Mainz

Continuum UK, The Tower Building, 11 York Road, London SE1 7NX Continuum US, 80 Maiden Lane, Suite 704, New York, NY 10038 Copyright © Simon Burrows, Jonathan Conlin, Russell Goulbourne and Valerie Mainz 2010

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission from the publishers. First published 2010 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-0-82642-278-1

Typeset by Pindar NZ, Auckland, New Zealand Printed and bound by MPG Books Ltd, Cornwall, Great Britain


Illustrations Preface Acknowledgements Introduction Simon Burrows, Jonathan Conlin, Russell Goulbourne, Valerie Mainz Career and Politics 1762–1785 1 The Chevalier d’Eon, Media Manipulation and the Making of an Eighteenth-Century Celebrity Simon Burrows 2 On the Art of Diplomacy and the Art of Describing Diplomacy: The Chevalier d’Eon and British Political Life at the End of the Seven Years’ War Edmond Dziembowski 3 ‘Faire le Wilkes’: the Chevalier d’Eon and the Wilkites, 1762–1775 Jonathan Conlin 4 Beaumarchais and d’Eon: What an Affair Donald C. Spinelli 5 D’Eon and Tonnerre, 1779–1784 Elisabeth Chaussin Gender and Representation 6 A ‘monster of metamorphosis’: Reassessing the Chevalier/Chevalière d’Eon’s Change of Gender Stephen Brogan 7 Dressing d’Eon Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell 8 The Chevalier d’Eon and his Several Identities Valerie Mainz

vii ix xiii 1


25 45 57 73

81 97 113

9 La Vie militaire, politique et privée de Melle d’Eon (1779): Biography and the Art of Manipulation Anne-Marie Mercier-Faivre 10 Identity, Gender, Genre and Truth in The Maiden of Tonnerre: The Vicissitudes of the Chevalier and Chevalière d’Eon Marilyn Morris Heroes and Heroines 11 The Myth of the Amazons in the Eighteenth Century and the Legend of the Chevalier d’Eon Alexandre Stroev 12 Transvestite Traditions and Narrative Discontinuities: d’Eon and the abbé de Choisy Joseph Harris 13 The Chevalier d’Eon, Rousseau and New Ideas of Gender, Sex and the Self in the Late Eighteenth Century Anna Clark 14 Louvet’s Les Amours du Chevalier de Faublas: Sexual, Political and Textual Imbroglios Simon Davies 15 An Eighteenth-Century French Commonwealthman? Exploring the Context of the Chevalier d’Eon’s Translation of Marchamont Nedham’s The Excellencie of a Free State Rachel Hammersley A Note on the d’Eon Archive in the Brotherton Collection, Leeds University Library Chris Sheppard Afterword D’Eon: Christian, Woman and Autobiographer Gary Kates Index









233 241



Victor-Marie Picot after Charles Jean Robineau, The Assault, or Fencing Match, which took place between/Mademoiselle La Chevalière D’EON DE BEAUMONT and Monsieur DE SAINT GEORGE on the 9th of April 1787./At Carlton House, in the presence of His Royal Highness, Several of the Nobility, and many eminent Fencing Masters of London, mezzotint, 17 cm × 19 cm, 1789, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection. George Dance, Charles Geneviève Louise Auguste André Timothée Chevalier d’Eon, drawing, graphite with grey wash and watercolour, 25.6 cm × 19.2 cm, 1793, London, British Museum, Prints and Drawings, © The Trustees of the British Museum. Anon, Mademoiselle de Beaumont, or the/Chevalier D’Eon/Female Minister Plenipo. Captain of Dragoons Etc. Etc., etching, 14 cm × 10.2 cm, from the London Magazine of September 1777, xlvi, p. 443, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection. Anon, Casque à la Minerve ou la Dragone, engraving, hand-tinted gouache, 29.5 cm × 23.8 cm, from the Galerie des Modes, Rapilly, 1776, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Costume Council Fund, Photograph ©2009 Museum Associates/LACMA Bodice, skirt and overskirt said to have belonged to the Chevalier d’Eon, silk taffeta lined with white linen, lace, ribbons, c. 1779, Tonnerre Museum, inv. 1991, fiche 449, gift of Madame Coeurderoy. Francis Haward after Angelica Kauffmann from a painting by Latour, Carola-Genovefa-Louisa-Augusta-Andrea-Timothea-D’Eon de Beaumont, stipple engraving, 18 cm × 11 cm, 1788, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection. Anon, The Chevalier d’___ producing his Evidence against certain Persons, etching, 9.5 cm × 15 cm, from the Oxford Magazine, London, 3, November 1769, p. 184, London, British Museum, Prints and Drawings, © The Trustees of the British Museum British Museum. Anon, The Trial of M. D’Eon by a Jury of Matrons, etching, 9 cm × 17 cm, from the Town and Country Magazine, 15, June 1771, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection.









Anon, La Découverte ou la Femme Franc-Maçon, mezzotint, 32.5 cm × 24.5 cm, London, S. Hooper, 1771, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection. Anon, Enlevement de Mlle d’Eon, etching, early proof, 16.5 cm × 23 cm, 1771, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection. Anon, No.3 The Nuptuals of Miss Epicæne d’Eon, etching, 19.5 cm × 25.5 cm, 1771, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection. Anon, Hail! Thou Production most uncommon/Woman half-man and man half-Woman, etching, frontispiece to An Epistle from Mademoiselle d’Eon to the Right Honorable Lord Mansfield – On his Determination in regard to her Sex, London, M. Smith, 1778, © British Library Board. All Rights Reserved 1562/290. Anon, St George & The Dragon and Madlle d’Eon riposting, etching, 26 cm × 34 cm, 1789, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection. After Jean-Baptiste Bradel, A La Chevaliere d’Eon, frontispiece engraving to La Vie militaire, politique et privée de Melle d’Eon, 1779, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection. Anon, Charles Genovefa Louisa Augusta Andrea Timothea D’Eon de Beaumont./Knight of the Royal & military order of St. Louis. Captain of Dragoons. Aide de Camp to the Marechal Duke de Broglio;/Minister Plenipotentiary from France to the King of Great Britain, mezzotint, 37 cm × 28 cm, 1773, London, S. Hooper, University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection.

8.4 8.5 8.6

8.7 9.1


Griselda Pollock

‘Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d’Eon de Beaumont (5 October 1728–21 May 1810), usually known as the Chevalier d’Eon, was a French diplomat, spy, soldier and Freemason who lived the first half of his life as a man and the second half as a woman.’ Thus, does the entry in Wikipedia succinctly present the subject/topic of this important new collection of scholarly papers that aim to bring historical depth and analytical rigour to a racy story. A famous Dragoon and fencer of considerable skill, a member of the secret service of Louis XV charged with sensitive diplomatic missions to Russia and Great Britain, the Chevalier d’Eon’s gender became the topic of a wager in fashionable London in the early 1770s. Although the issue was never tested and proven, the Chevalier chose to/was obliged to dress as a woman and lived and wrote as a woman throughout the rest of her life, even offering to form a battalion of women to fight in the post-Revolutionary wars. How can we make sense of this archive, this story, this episode? Is it a matter for historians, political theorists, art historians, costume historians, or biographers of his spiritual quest and right to decide a gender?1 Or can such a complex case only be grasped through the many lenses of each of these specializations? This collection of papers on the fascinating, challenging and perplexing figure of the Chevalier d’Eon is, therefore, an exemplary transdisciplinary project. Transdisciplinary is not identical with interdisciplinary. There is no intention to mix and match different approaches in the hope of creating a third way. Instead, the aim is to present something more akin to seeing a scene through a kaleidoscope. A single object of study – an eighteenth-century French, transgendering, international diplomat and spy, a master-fencer, and author of both spiritual reflections and political autobiographies – is examined from as many different angles and perspectives as the complexity of his/her life, work, representations by self and by others, political affiliations and contexts, friendships and intellectual competitions, intersections with pre-Revolutionary international relations and political theory demands. The Chevalier d’Eon presents the assembled array of historians, literary specialists, costume historians, art historians, local and regional historians, political theorists, and biographers with challenges to each of their disciplinary modes of analysis because the ‘case’ defies any one scholar or discipline. What can we know about this extraordinary historical figure unless we bring together the techniques and methods of every one of these disciplines into whose field of expertise this historical archive intervenes? Thus, the transdisciplinary is the experience of expanded knowledge and multi-focal understanding gained by the reader, who is offered here a range of detailed, disciplinary analyses of the varied aspects of a historical person and his/her intriguing, politically charged and visually fascinating moment. This superb collection was initiated by the convergence of an historian, an art



historian and a French studies scholar, all with specializations in the history and culture of eighteenth-century Britain and France. This took place at the University of Leeds where, for reasons as curious as the case itself, and probably linked to the fact the Chevalier was a Freemason, an archive of papers and images relating to the Chevalier d’Eon had been deposited in the founding Special Collections of the Brotherton Library.2 Scholars interested in this case were obliged to come to Leeds to do their research. Thus, it made sense for the University of Leeds to initiate an expanded study of the resources on its doorstep by soliciting work on the Chevalier from a wide range of international scholars, with the ambition of critically analyzing not only a fascinating episode from eighteenth-century British/French relations and pre-Revolutionary political culture, but also an historical case study full of resonances for contemporary queer and transgender studies. D’Eon’s change of gender identity not only leads scholars to investigate his/her own writings on self, gender and identity, which are shaped in late-eighteenth-century modes of spiritual autobiography and theories of gender, but also demands visual analysis of the prints, paintings and cartoons that this extraordinary personal transformation inspired and troubled. While historians may draw on contemporary visual imagery as supplementary evidence or as documentation, the art historian analyzes the semiotic and visual conventions used in each different system of representation, from engraved portraiture to political cartooning, each tradition in turn also being shaped by local and national histories of image-making and political/aesthetic vocabularies. The images need to be read as themselves specific sites for the articulation of the meanings of bodies, genders, national and political identities. D’Eon’s place in French regional history is as important as the part that such an educated, travelled and literary figure played in international relations and the shifting terms of British and French political discourse. Thus, papers in this volume defy the tendencies in historical as well as cultural studies to remain within national boundaries or to distinguish between local and national histories. D’Eon’s involvement in diplomatic affairs also led him to Russia, and this international dimension can be tracked through his work. As part of the history of his natal town of Tonnerre, in France, the complex history of a cross-dressed or transgender member of a secret service who later welcomed the Revolutionary overthrow of the regime for which he had worked, becomes a canvas on which to plot out new aspects of both late eighteenth century society and contemporary explorations of gender and sexuality on the one hand, and gender as an imaginary identity, conventionally as well as imaginatively constructed across intersecting worlds of intimacies, secrets and intrigues as well as public debate, diplomacy, war, military training, courts and costume. This collection of readings, studies, interpretations, debates and investigations does not come to a single conclusion about who or what the Chevalier d’Eon was. Instead, this group of international scholars and archivists seek to examine the complexities of history through the interplay of distinctive and diverse disciplinary expertise, each analyzing in depth one aspect of the multi-faceted figure whose interest and significance lies precisely in his/her role in instigating questions that defy easy answers and breach disciplinary boundaries. Far from fostering prurient curiosity about a scandalous case, the collection makes subjectivity, politics, soldiering, spying, writing, theorizing, celebrity-seeking, gender, power, and self-fashioning come into play on an international historical stage, linking the political and intellectual ferment of the pre-Revolutionary eighteenth-century in Britain and France with other trends in cultural-historical examination of the relation between individual subjectivities and their fields of action and self-realization.



This project was initially sponsored by the transdisciplinary initiative of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History, then supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to which acknowledgement must be made for enabling the lively encounters and debates of which this excellent collection of transdisciplinary scholarly work is the considered product. Notes
1 Gary Kates, Monsieur D’Eon Is a Woman: A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade (New York: Basic Books, 1995). 2 I am indebted to Chris Shepherd of the Special Collections of the Brotherton Library for this suggestion as to how Lord Brotherton, when buying materials for the library he was creating for his scholarly niece, made the decision to acquire this collection of materials.

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The editors would like to thank all those whose assistance, advice, financial and material help, contributions or encouragement made possible the present volume and the conference at Leeds in April 2006 at which many of its chapters were first presented as papers. In particular, we would like to thank Griselda Pollock and the AHRC Research Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History (Centre CATH) at the University of Leeds for providing vision, drive, funding and administrative support for the Chevalier d’Eon conference. We must also acknowledge the organizational contribution of Josine Opmeer and Rosalind McKever in ensuring that the conference ran smoothly. We are grateful, too, to Ben Hayes and his colleagues at Continuum books for their help and support in the production of this book. In addition, we would like to acknowledge the generous financial support from the Royal Historical Society and from the School of Fine Art, School of History, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Centre for Gender Studies, and the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds. The Brotherton Library is also to be thanked for kindly agreeing to waive reproduction fees for the many images that it supplied for this book. However, the most pleasurable sponsorship came in the form of a donation of 144 bottles of award-winning Chevalier d’Eon wine by Eric and Emmanuel Dampt of Vignobles Dampt at Collan on the Tonnerre-Chablis border. It is difficult to think of a more appropriate contribution. After all, d’Eon himself used imported Tonnerre wines to forge enduring friendships with the British nobility, and the wines they sent likewise helped to cement many deep friendships and lasting cultural links. These included a new relationship between Leeds and d’Eon’s home town of Tonnerre, which was represented at the conference by a municipal delegation. We would therefore like to acknowledge the interest, input, encouragement and reciprocal hospitality of Raymond Hardy, at that time mayor of Tonnerre; his deputy, Frédéric Billy; Marie-Christine Beccavin of the Bibliothéque municipale de Tonnerre; Laurent Hardy; Christine Rolland; Elisabeth Chaussin; and Philippe Luyt, as a representative of d’Eon’s wider family. We hope that they and all other conference delegates are satisfied by the result of our endeavours. We are also grateful to all our contributors, and particularly Chris Sheppard, who has worked tirelessly with the editors on behalf of the Brotherton Library, and Gary Kates, who encouraged the project from the start and proved so very generous with his time and resources, receptive to new ideas, and genuinely excited by papers that revised aspects of his own work.



Finally, we would like to note our gratitude to Margaret Coutts, University Librarian at Leeds, Professor Simon Dixon and Dr Mark Curran. Simon Burrows, Jonathan Conlin, Russell Goulbourne and Valerie Mainz May 2009.

Simon Burrows, Jonathan Conlin, Russell Goulbourne, Valerie Mainz

Cross-dressing author, envoy, soldier and spy, Charles d’Eon de Beaumont’s unusual career fascinated his contemporaries and continues to attract historians, novelists, playwrights, filmmakers, image makers, cultural theorists and those concerned with manifestations of the extraordinary. D’Eon’s significance as a historical figure was already being debated more than 45 years before his death. In 1763, a hostile writer predicted that d’Eon’s memory would be associated with dishonour and scandal for both himself and France:
‘Il outrage la France jusques dans les siècles à venir.’ . . . Le Livre du Plenipotentiare [i.e. d’Eon’s Lettres, mémoires et négociations] sera un monument éternel de la division des Ministres François . . . Les Historiens diront que son administration étoit mauvaise . . . que dans cette Cour tout étoit livré à la cabale et à la prévention. Les Annales d’Angleterre citeront ces endroits, pour . . . le Tableau de la France sous le règne de Louis XV. C’est ainsi que le plus petit mortel déshonore souvent un grand Etat, et le flétrit jusques dans la dernière posterité. [‘He outrages France right up to centuries to come.’ . . . The book of the Plenipotentiary will be an eternal monument to the division of French ministers . . . Historians will say that its administration was bad . . . that in that Court everything was given up to faction and prejudice. The Annals of England will cite those places for . . . the picture of France under the reign of Louis XV. This is how the smallest of mortals often dishonours a great State, and blackens it for the whole of posterity.]1

This prediction proved erroneous, for the event that has most fixed the attention of contemporaries and historians on d’Eon was his subsequent unique mid-career gender change in the 1770s. Unsurprisingly, this has been a subject for intense speculation, often to the exclusion of other aspects of his life and achievements as a scholar, diplomat, soldier, duellist, feminist thinker, publicist and secret agent. Hence, most scholars have seen him as a marginal and exceptional individual, and made little attempt to assess d’Eon’s historical and cultural significance. The essays in this collection contribute to d’Eon’s rehabilitation as a figure worthy of scholarly attention and display a variety of disciplinary approaches. They offer significant new insights into d’Eon’s life and times, and give nuanced readings of how a gender identity could come to be negotiated over time. The problem of reaching a realistic assessment has been compounded by the mystery and myth that surround d’Eon as a historical figure. Much of it was encouraged by the Chevalier himself, in a series of heavily fictionalized autobiographical accounts.2 These



self-justificatory narratives attempted to explain how d’Eon was born a woman but had lived the first half of his life as a (highly successful) man. In fact, this was the opposite of the truth: d’Eon was really a man who in the mid-1770s took on a female persona, thereby bringing his political career to a close. Many of d’Eon’s fabrications – for example, the story of how he first dressed as a woman, Lia de Beaumont, on a diplomatic mission to Russia in order to befriend the Empress Elizabeth, are repeated in recent popular historical accounts.3 Other tales were invented in the nineteenth century, particularly by the historian Frédéric Gaillardet, to try to explain his gender transformation. A native of d’Eon’s home town of Tonnerre, Gaillardet suggested that d’Eon dressed as a woman primarily in order to seduce other men’s wives and daughters.4 This assumption was lent some credibility by the memoirs of another famous early modern cross-dresser, the abbé de Choisy, which contain a catalogue of amourous exploits.5 Gaillardet nonetheless pushed his claims to extremes. Under his pen, d’Eon became the lover of George III’s Queen, Charlotte of MecklenbergStrelitz, and sired George IV. As the dates of Charlotte’s marriage (8 September 1761), d’Eon’s arrival in Britain (September 1762) and Prince George’s birth (12 August 1762) made such a thing impossible, Gaillardet’s account suggests that d’Eon travelled to England in December 1761 during a lull in fighting in the Seven Years’ War, and had a secret interview with Queen Charlotte during which the Prince of Wales was conceived. Despite Gaillardet’s later admission that he fabricated much of his evidence, the story has been repeated persistently down to the present day.6 Not surprisingly, such sensational material has attracted the attention of enthusiasts, scholars and litterateurs to ‘the strange case of the chevalier d’Eon’.7 He has also attracted the attention of psychologists and sexologists, and for most of the last century his gender transformation has been viewed through a Freudian lens. His cross-dressing, it was usually assumed, must have a psychosexual explanation. Until the second half of the twentieth century the terms ‘Eonist’ and ‘Eonism’ were the standard English words for transvestites and transvestism respectively, but ‘Eonism’ was also, thanks to Havelock Ellis, widely regarded as a psychological condition or compulsion.8 However, in the mid-twentieth century, new ideas about gender-identity disorders led to d’Eon being redefined not as a transvestite, but a transsexual – a person who considers their sex to have been ‘misassigned’.9 In his 1995 study Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman: A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade, Gary Kates suggested a radically different interpretation of d’Eon’s case, that seemed better geared to the known facts. Drawing on an untapped collection of d’Eon’s autobiographical manuscripts and papers in the Brotherton Library in Leeds, Kates suggested that d’Eon’s gender change had little to do with sexuality and everything to do with politics. He presented evidence to suggest that d’Eon himself was responsible for the first rumours that he was really a woman, and showed that they began to circulate at a time when he was marginalized politically, troubled by debts and feared enemies in high places, some of whom, d’Eon believed, wished to kill or kidnap him. Using a sale catalogue of d’Eon’s library, Kates also revealed that d’Eon possessed numerous books on the nature of women: indeed his collection of this so-called querelle des femmes literature was the largest in any known private library of the period. D’Eon had clearly read this literature for, among the manuscripts in the Brotherton Library, Kates found a number of unpublished manuscripts in d’Eon’s hand which could only be described as Christian feminist writings.10 These provided a further key to d’Eon’s gender transformation, for they suggested that d’Eon came to view the adoption of a female persona as a means of moral regeneration, leaving behind the corrupt world of



male politics. From a ‘bad boy’ he had been transformed into a ‘good girl’.11 He then went on to explore the rich implications of d’Eon’s gender change and the ease with which he had been able to manipulate contemporary perceptions of himself. Kates’ multi-layered analysis opened up rich possibilities for further study of d’Eon and the worlds in which he operated, exploring, among other things, eighteenth-century perceptions of gender; early feminist literature; his use of the media to reinvent himself; d’Eon’s political links, both in France and in British radical circles; his gendered theology; factional conspiracy and espionage in Louis XV’s France; the shadowy worlds of underground pamphleteering and London’s French refugee community. His interpretation thus has been of considerable heuristic value to other scholars, as well as offering a new interpretation of d’Eon himself. In the wake of Kates’ work, d’Eon could no longer be dismissed as ‘a strange case’, nor pathologized as a psychological condition. Instead, he emerged as a serious, autonomous political actor, worthy of attention in his own right, but also a means by which scholars could explore many facets of eighteenth-century life and culture. In the decade following the publication of Kates’ book, several scholars explored d’Eon in these wider contexts.12 Alexandre Stroev presented him as one of many ‘aventuriers des lumières’ and Simon Burrows depicts him as a leading Grub Street pamphleteer and political blackmailer.13 Anna Clark has used the Wilkes and d’Eon affairs as a vehicle to examine changing views of manhood and citizenship,14 while Dror Wahrman used d’Eon as a case study to support his challenging contention that the later eighteenth century witnessed the development of modern perceptions of the self.15 This renewal of interest inspired an academic conference at Leeds University in April 2006 under the aegis of the AHRC Research Centre CATH, in which scholars and d’Eon enthusiasts, including a delegation from d’Eon’s home town of Tonnerre, came together to discuss d’Eon’s career, image and significance. Many of the chapters in this book are revised versions of papers given at the conference, and several of them attempt to revise aspects of Gary Kates’ original thesis. From that conference it became apparent that the myth of d’Eon exists in the various guises of visual representation alongside those culled from the texts of history, literature and autobiography. Through the media of pictures, prints and paintings, constructions of d’Eon can appear to be deeply embedded within past times whilst also continuing to offer up significant material for contemporary cultural discourse and analysis. Since the 1770s, changing representations of d’Eon have been widely used to articulate societal concerns about the nature of identity, gender and nationality, and they continue to inspire reflections on these issues. The essays in this collection are divided into three main sections, dealing with d’Eon’s career and politics, gender and representation, and heroes and heroines. These are followed by a note by Chris Sheppard on the provenance of d’Eon’s papers and a conclusion by Gary Kates, which reflects further on the implications of new research for our understanding of d’Eon and the thesis he advanced in his landmark study.

Charles de Beaumont was born on 5 October 1728 in Tonnerre, a small town approximately 100 miles southeast of Paris. His parentage, though noble, was relatively humble. The Beaumonts were big fish in the small pond of the Tonnerrois, supplying mayors and supervising their vineyards and estates, and they looked likely to remain so. A precocious youth, d’Eon quickly distinguished himself by his scholarly aptitude, moving to



Paris to attend the Collège Mazarin, followed by legal studies at the Collège de Quatre Nations and admission to the Paris Parlement at the unusually young age of 19. His first, rather dry publications, his Essai historique sur les différentes situations de la France par rapport aux finances sous le règne de Louis XIV (1753) and Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire générale des finances (1760) appeared in these years. Application and brains were not enough to secure advancement in the rigidly hierarchical society of ancien régime France. Charles needed patronage. Family connections provided a start, helping secure him an appointment as secretary to the Intendant of Paris, Bertier de Sauvigny. D’Eon gave complimentary copies of his publications to leading nobles, drawing the attention of Directeur de la librairie Malesherbes, who appointed him to the post of royal censor in 1758. This gave d’Eon more opportunities to hone his style, as did shorter pieces for periodicals. D’Eon went on to secure an appointment as secretary to Alexander Mackenzie, the Chevalier Douglas, a Scottish Jacobite in French service sent on a diplomatic mission to the Russian court. Once arrived at court in St Petersburg, d’Eon had to navigate the troubled waters of international diplomacy in the attempt to improve French relations with the rising northern power. France’s hope of detaching Russia from her alliance with England proved unsuccessful. For ‘our little d’Eon’, there was plenty of opportunity to show his capabilities. Douglas’ mission to Russia had a second, covert aim, which cut across the declared one of seeking a new ally. King Louis XV was becoming increasingly concerned at the military successes of his talented cousin, the Prince de Conti. Although there is little evidence to support later claims that Conti considered mounting a coup, the King was nonetheless eager to find a stage for Conti’s talents at a safe distance from France.16 Working closely with his confidant, the Comte de Broglie, he mobilized le Secret du Roi, a secret network of French agents in Poland, Russia and elsewhere to connive at Conti’s election as King of Poland.17 Among them was d’Eon, acting in a double capacity long before there was any question of his sex. Working for the King’s Secret arguably encouraged d’Eon’s tendency to show impatience or even indifference towards his nominal superiors. As an agent he was working for the King, not his ministers. D’Eon was keen to see action in the Seven Years’ War with Prussia and England, which had broken out in 1756. His chance came in May 1761, when Minister of War Choiseul agreed to appoint him to a cavalry regiment. He quickly transferred to a dragoon unit in the regiment d’Autichamp, closer to the front, and saw action at Villinghausen. At skirmishes at Ulstrop, Einbeck and Osterwick later in 1761 he showed conspicuous bravery under fire, rescuing munitions from enemy capture and taking several hundred prisoners. His service was brief, however, and ended early the following year with his appointment as secretary to peace envoy, the Duc de Nivernais. In the years that followed, d’Eon was rarely seen outside his distinctive dragoon uniform, which he shed only with the greatest reluctance. D’Eon’s appointment as secretary to Nivernais was in some ways a surprise given his Russian expertise but the King’s Secret had now turned its attention to Britain, so it accorded with d’Eon’s position as secret agent. Besides his public role, d’Eon also arrived in London carrying a secret order, signed by Louis XV, to investigate possible routes for invading Britain. D’Eon’s impact on the negotiations of the 1763 Peace of Paris was less significant than he would later claim, yet he once again distinguished himself by his remarkable diligence, slaving away at despatches for up to fifteen hours a day. He was accorded the great, extraordinary honour of carrying the ratified treaty to Paris at King George III’s behest in February 1763. On his return to London, Nivernais decorated



him with the cross of the royal and military order of Saint-Louis, which raised d’Eon to the rank of ‘Chevalier’. This honour remained with d’Eon for the rest of his life – the cross of St Louis was the only male embellishment he continued to wear after adopting female dress in 1777. With peace concluded, Nivernais returned to France, and d’Eon was accorded the rank of Minister Plenipotentiary until the arrival of the new ambassador, the Comte de Guerchy. Even before Guerchy reached London, he and d’Eon were at loggerheads over money. Once the ambassador arrived, the dispute escalated rapidly as d’Eon defied orders to hand over his papers to the new ambassador and ignored letters of recall. Thereafter the affair degenerated into a mud-slinging pamphleteering battle that led, in due course, to both d’Eon and Guerchy facing criminal charges before British courts. D’Eon and Guerchy’s paths had crossed before, on the battlefield, in circumstances which led the former to question the latter’s courage as an officer. Court politics also played a role: Guerchy’s appointment was due to his links to the Choiseul-Praslin faction, which Louis XV’s mistress the Marquise de Pompadour had successfully championed; d’Eon clung to the disgraced Broglie clan. The way in which the Broglie-operated Secret du Roi had survived this ministerial change naturally caused confusion and concern to Pompadour and her favourites, who may initially have targeted d’Eon in order to flush out the king’s clandestine espionage machine and its political allies. By publishing a large quarto volume, the Lettres, mémoires et négociations in March 1764, however, d’Eon shifted the dispute up a gear.18 Larded with the laboured puns, biblical and classical analogies and self-important posturing that characterized his later works, the Lettres gave chapter and verse on d’Eon’s financial claims. They included copies of ministerial correspondence that managed to be excruciatingly embarrassing for Guerchy and Praslin, while holding back the genuinely sensitive material in his possession. The book nonetheless enjoyed a succès de scandale on both sides of the Channel. The British ambassador at Versailles was lending it out by the hour.19 D’Eon had broken all the rules of polite and professional discretion. Although the British government refused an extradition request, d’Eon was stripped of his rights to appear at George III’s court. Guerchy was recalled to France in 1767 and died shortly afterwards. With characteristic doggedness, death did not discourage d’Eon from publishing a final pamphlet against him. Louis XV’s death in 1774 would, one might have thought, have marked the end of the Secret. In practice it survived in a somewhat ghostly form, and the 1763 plan for revenge on Britain would eventually bear fruit in the secret arming of the rebel American colonies. Remarkably, considering the scandals he had caused, Broglie and Louis XV decided that it was best to keep d’Eon in London, even with all the compromising papers he still held, rather than buying him off. D’Eon’s obstinacy helped here, as he turned down repeated offers to return, scuppering several promising negotiations by his petulant insistence that debts dating back to his Russian service be paid, with interest. Although Louis XV did grant him a pension of twelve thousand livres in 1766, this was fitfully paid and repeatedly suspended. The years between 1765 and d’Eon’s return to France in 1777 thus represent an extended pas de deux between d’Eon on the one hand and Broglie and the French King on the other. During this period d’Eon’s closest English friend was Admiral Shirley, the 5th Earl of Ferrers, who gave him the run of the library and estate at Staunton Harold, a pleasant retreat in which to write Les Loisirs du Chevalier d’Eon.20 This series began appearing in 1770, and eventually extended to 13 volumes, covering finance, history and political theory. Staunton Harold also offered a convenient bolt-hole when rumours began



circulating that he was a woman. The first documented rumours date to October and December 1770. In London the Macaroni fad with its over-accessorized fops and effeminate manners was just beginning, and so the question of d’Eon’s gender quickly became the focus of fierce betting, which often took the form of life-insurance policies. By late March 1771 d’Eon was frequenting the coffee houses where stock-jobbers met, challenging anyone who bet on his sex to a duel. Such antics had the opposite effect of silencing speculation, which continued until 1777 when, having heard perjurous but uncontested evidence in a case concerning wagers on d’Eon’s sex, a jury concluded that d’Eon was indeed a woman. French Foreign Minister Vergennes had tasked Beaumarchais with picking up the tangled skein of negotiations for d’Eon’s return. Vergennes was almost certainly not fooled, but went along with Beaumarchais’ convenient fiction that d’Eon was in fact a woman. For one thing it made it impossible for d’Eon to insist on one of his many demands – that he have his audience de congé (farewell audience) with George III, something a woman could never do without throwing ridicule on both monarchs. The ‘Transaction’, a document d’Eon signed on 4 November 1775, laid down the conditions for his return to France.21 The most surprising of the conditions laid down in the ‘Transaction’ was that d’Eon was to ‘re-adopt’ women’s clothing, accepting that he had in fact been a woman all along, and not to wear his treasured Cross of Saint-Louis whilst at Versailles or Paris. Given that tales of d’Eon adopting women’s dress in Versailles or in Russia in the 1750s are now untenable, this transformation is indeed remarkable. Although d’Eon was presented to Louis XVI at Versailles in 1777, otherwise he seems to have adopted female attire reluctantly. His motivations for accepting this fiction were probably political in nature. As a woman he was far less likely to become the victim of kidnap or assassination by government agents, or Guerchy’s relations, who had not forgotten his role in the Ambassador’s recall and death. The transformation thus served Vergennes and d’Eon. The former could rest assured that any revelations d’Eon now made would not be credited; the latter came – eventually – to appreciate the celebrity this transformation brought him. Although he spent the next eight years an exile back in Tonnerre, and was refused permission to return to London in 1778, he still enjoyed the freedom to play the notable in his home town. When he finally secured permission to return to London in 1785 in order to rescue his possessions from being sold to cover debts owed to his landlord, it was en femme. He remained in female attire even after the fall of the French monarchy absolved him of any residual loyalty to Louis XVI or his predecessor. It also robbed him of his pension, forcing him to sell off some of his impressive library in 1791, followed by other possessions in 1792. He nonetheless came out in support of the revolutionary cause in 1792, offering to lead a regiment of Amazons in the war against Austria and Prussia. His sympathy with the new republic faded however, following the execution of the king in January 1793. D’Eon now capitalized on his combination of fencing skill and female dress to display himself in theatres in London and later tour the country with the actress and female fencer Mrs Bateman and the Chevalier de Saint George. This career as performer was cut short in 1796, due to an injury d’Eon accidentally sustained during a show at Southampton. By this point d’Eon had already been obliged to quit his capacious lodgings underneath a wine merchant in Brewer Street and move into lodgings with Mrs Mary Cole, a native Frenchwoman and widow of a British Navy engineer. In 1805 he secured an advance from a publisher for his Memoirs, which he prepared, yet never published.



The temper of the times had changed markedly since the Macaroni 1770s, and ‘he-she things’ such as d’Eon were now the object of confusion or disgust rather than innocent wonder and bemusement. Female clothing did not protect him from several months’ imprisonment for debt in 1804, from which he was released only at the price of selling his Cross of Saint-Louis. D’Eon’s horizons, which had once encompassed the globe, were now confined to a single room at 26 New Milman Street. Here d’Eon spent years writing and rewriting the story of his, or rather her, life, shuffling reams of newspaper clippings and in many cases amending original letters and documents to fit her fictional story, a salvation-seeking pilgrim’s progress from ‘bad boy’ to ‘good girl’. D’Eon died peacefully on 21 May 1810. The mystery of his male anatomy was now discovered and rigorously documented.

The first set of essays in this collection deals with d’Eon’s career and politics in the period spanning 1762–1785, when d’Eon enjoyed his greatest public prominence. D’Eon’s activities have important implications for our understanding of Anglo-French political culture. Following on from Gary Kates’ observations that the Chevalier d’Eon’s gender transformation was effected for political rather than sexual reasons, Simon Burrows considers the Chevalier d’Eon’s dispute with the Comte de Guerchy in 1763–64 to show how the Chevalier d’Eon used the press to fabricate evidence and mould his public identity. Guerchy’s alleged plot to poison the Chevalier d’Eon in October 1763 was the kind of incident that brought the French government and its agents into disrepute, reinforcing images of France as a despotism and Britain as a land of liberty. Edmond Dziembowski’s examination of d’Eon’s correspondence with his paymasters in Paris during 1762–3, when d’Eon was at the zenith of his diplomatic career, illuminates both how d’Eon shaped the intelligence he supplied to suit his own agenda, and how French politicians and diplomats interpreted and responded to British politics. It reveals how difficult they found it to understand the new style of politics pioneered by Pitt the Elder, which fascinated and terrified them by turns. D’Eon himself was to exploit British political methods shortly afterwards in his struggles with Guerchy, and later on behalf of the French government. Jonathan Conlin examines how the Chevalier used Wilkite weapons of legal challenge, pamphlets and mob violence to cause public embarrassment to Guerchy. In his writings of this period, d’Eon promotes a pre-modern patriot politics in which pluralist political mediations are criticized in the name of a classical model of traditional participatory citizenship, founded on ideas of Republican virtue and the undistorted voice of the people. The Chevalier d’Eon’s relationship with the playwright Beaumarchais is the subject of an essay by Donald C. Spinelli. Whilst he was negotiating terms for d’Eon’s return to France, rumours spread in London that d’Eon was a woman. Spinelli shows how Beaumarchais capitalized on these rumours to advance and enrich himself at d’Eon’s expense, coercing him into female dress. Finally, in Elisabeth Chaussin’s essay on d’Eon’s activities during his stay in Tonnerre between 1779 and 1785, we encounter d’Eon the builder, agriculturalist and local notable who succeeded in maintaining the fiction of his femininity among and in cooperation with a community who shared the secret of his gender. The town’s archives are mined to provide fresh information about the Chevalier d’Eon’s background and behaviour during this period when, dressed as a woman, he carried off the performance of his life while juggling the roles of woman and minor nobleman.



An underlying theme of the section on gender and representation is the veracity or otherwise of the historical evidence that has accrued to the figure of d’Eon. Both visual and verbal materials indicate that notoriety was, to an extent, fostered by d’Eon, although a self-fashioned cult of celebrity might, as now, backfire. In the eyes of contemporaries, Stephen Brogan observes, d’Eon appeared to be a masculine woman. Drawing on gender theorists such as Judith Butler and English portraits and caricatures of the 1790s, Brogan examines how the Chevalier d’Eon changed his costume but failed ‘to feminise himself emotionally or behaviourally’. Indeed, the change of costume may actually have reinforced his masculinity. As the central defining fact of the Chevalier d’Eon’s transformation was his costume, this section continues with a piece on ‘Dressing d’Eon’ by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell. Through an examination of eighteenth-century fashion history she throws important light on the contents of the Chevalier d’Eon’s wardrobe. Her revelations that d’Eon was purchasing female undergarments and accessories in the early 1770s, strongly suggest that he was experimenting in secret with cross-dressing at an earlier point than previously thought. She proposes that in accepting a female identity, d’Eon was able to avoid the stigma associated with transvestism. Valerie Mainz discusses caricatures and visual images of the Chevalier d’Eon produced in England during the 1770s. Besides the obvious interest in cross-gendered clothing, these satires follow on from the inventions of Hogarth and present the French man sometimes as an effeminate aristocrat, sometimes as a treacherous and duplicitous diplomat, sometimes as a Freemason hoaxer. Much more directly than grand manner history painting, caricatures belonged to a more subversive culture of celebrity that was liable to backfire on those who entered the public domain. D’Eon may well have found biography a more conducive medium through which to assert his female identity than dress or visual appearance, as Anne-Marie MercierFaivre shows in a detailed study of d’Eon’s ghost-written La Vie militaire, politique et privée de Mademoiselle Charles, Geneviève, Louise, Auguste, Andrée, Thimotée Eon ou d’Eon de Beaumont, first published in 1779 and nominally attributed to la Fortelle. She sees it as borrowing features from two divergent genres – traditional hagiography and the newly emergent genre of vies privées. La Vie militaire therefore presents its author as ‘une pionnier dans l’intrication du biographique et du politique’ [a pioneer in the commingling of biography with politics]. Marilyn Morris continues the theme of hybrid genres while considering another work unquestionably by d’Eon, his autobiographical La Pucelle de Tonnerre: Les Vicissitudes du Chevalier et du Chevalière d’Eon, which remained unpublished for almost 200 years after his death.22 Morris argues that this work interpolates the genres of protestant spiritual autobiography and mémoires scandaleuses and prefigures a third – the transsexual narrative. In contrast to Kates, she believes that this work undoubtedly belongs in the ‘transsexual canon’, and that transsexuality should be considered a valid concept even when applied to a period in which clinical gender reassignment was medically impossible. Approaching d’Eon’s gender transformation in terms of premodern gender dysphoria rather than current clinical definitions of transsexuality, she also considers the cases of other eighteenth-century gender outlaws such as Lord John Hervey, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Charlotte Charke. The final section, entitled ‘Heroes and Heroines’ considers mythical, historical, philosophical and literary figures with which d’Eon chose to associate himself, or has been associated. Alexandre Stroev examines how the Enlightenment used the myth of the Amazons to pour derision on effeminate men and women, to formulate feminist demands and advance new social principles. D’Eon regularly compared himself to an



Amazon, drawing on a myth already associated with Russia and in particular with the empress Catherine II. In the second essay in the section, Joseph Harris treats the phenomenon of French cross-dressing in the early modern period, by examining the two most celebrated cross-dressing narratives of the era, d’Eon’s autobiographical writings and those of the abbé de Choisy. He argues that both Choisy and d’Eon sought to ‘revalorize femininity’ as better than its male counterpart, and suggests that crossdressing is best understood as an activity with its own history rather than as a series of transgressions of established rules and conventions. There were nonetheless important divergences between the two cases: Choisy’s cross-dressing was aesthetic and sexually predatory; d’Eon’s was ethical and spiritually regenerative. Whereas Choisy dressed up to be a bad boy, d’Eon sought to be a good girl. Anna Clark documents the evolution of d’Eon’s relationship with another renowned exile and troublemaker: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The philosopher’s autobiographical writings provided role-models for d’Eon’s self-fashioning, firstly as anti-courtier and man of nature, then as master of his own passions and finally as a ‘unique self ’. Yet d’Eon’s fashioning of his female self challenged the misogyny often imputed to the philosopher and his novels, resisting slavish dependency on the Rousseauian hero(ine). Simon Davies’ essay goes further, showing how d’Eon’s interaction with contemporary authors and their fictional creations could be a two-way process. Davies highlights many fascinating parallels with the cross-dressing hero of the sentimental novel Les Amours de Faublas, suggesting that real events in d’Eon’s colourful career may have inspired fictional accounts. Finally, Rachel Hammersley throws light on the production of d’Eon’s translation of a seventeenth-century English political tract, The Excellencie of a Free State. Teasing out links to several other fellow-travellers of the republican Commonwealth tradition, she places d’Eon among an intriguing cohort of thinkers, active on both sides of the Channel. They included men who would inspire Revolutions across the Atlantic world, notably Thomas Hollis and Jean-Paul Marat. D’Eon’s endless rewriting of his own history and doctoring of his personal archive has made it necessary for scholars to wrestle with their subject, and to pay especial attention to the provenance of the images and manuscript sources on which they work. Chris Sheppard’s study of the background to the most important collection of d’Eon papers, held at the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, is especially timely, therefore. It identifies Freemasonry as the thread linking Lord Brotherton and his librarian with the Chevalier. The complex readings that d’Eon’s palimpsestuous nature demands might be considered a source of frustration to those foolhardy enough to tackle him. The afterword by d’Eon’s biographer Gary Kates suggests otherwise, describing the exhilaration he experienced when first uncovering the richness of the Leeds archive. Here he pauses to reminisce, but also to reflect on the dramatic resurgence of scholarly and public interest in this figure. Kates’ engagement in particular continues to draw attention to the unique combination of feminism and salvationist theology that d’Eon brought to bear in his later autobiographical writings. Taken as a whole, this collection allows us to draw a number of conclusions. Close attention to the ways in which d’Eon was perceived in Britain reveals the complexities of eighteenth-century British attitudes towards France and the French. While some caricatures and satires on d’Eon reinforce stereotypes of the French ‘other’, much newspaper commentary was supportive of d’Eon and far from xenophobic in character. Britons from well beyond the political elite were capable of distinguishing between opposing sides in French political battles, and identifying with groups whose struggles, political values and interests appeared to parallel their own. Although he was French, the London mob



lionized d’Eon. If, in fact, the political cultures of Britain and France diverged rapidly in the 25 years before the French revolution, this was not fully visible to contemporaries, particularly on the French side. Even after long exposure, Gallic statesmen and diplomats struggled to grasp the realities of the new British politics, which was taking on a more popular complexion. The similarities between Britain and France were often sufficient to make them miss or misunderstand key differences. Only by embracing a more complex and less fundamentally oppositional model of British attitudes to the French and vice versa can we explain d’Eon’s career and the milieux in which he operated. Similar caution is required as we turn to the question of his gender transformation. Modern transgender studies have suggested that the transition from one sex to the other can be accomplished as quickly and totally as flicking on a light switch, extinguishing past gender identities. The findings presented here, however, suggest that in d’Eon’s case the process was far more attenuated, presaged by experimentation and never fully complete. D’Eon’s transition possessed a layered quality that defies two-dimensional paradigms. His surreptitious donning of corsets and his stubborn insistence in continuing to wear his Cross of Saint-Louis above his female attire, suggests the need for a model of gender identity that can accommodate stratification and gradation equally well as homogenization. Judith Butler’s model of gender identity suggests that the individual performs gender before a passive audience. D’Eon’s audience, however, was far from passive. As the evidence discussed here makes clear, many of the individuals and communities who consumed d’Eon’s literary, visual or physical persona were aware of the fictions that underpinned it. They were in short complicit in his self-fashioning. His transformation therefore was less of a confidence trick perpetrated on his contemporaries than a masquerade at once public and intensely private. In his search for role-models and alter-egos capable of helping him to express his multiple selves, d’Eon drew inspiration from a breathtakingly wide range of contexts and genres: historical and mythical, sacred and secular, classical and Christian, scholarly and scandalous. To us, these may well appear to be antonyms, opposites, mutually exclusive. Indeed, the bricolage by which d’Eon appropriated tropes and attributes could be taken as symptomatic of an identity on the verge of collapse. In fact, d’Eon drew strength from apparently contradictory sources, and even while his physical and financial resources were drained by years of penury in old age, this apparently most paradoxical of personalities established a strong sense of identity. Far from being the ‘le plus petit mortel’, d’Eon’s refashioning of his self ensured his immortality. Notes
1 [Ange Goudar], Examen des lettres, mémoires, et négociations particulières du Chevalier D’Eon (London: Becket and de Hondt,1764), reprinted in Chevalier D’Eon, Pièces relatives aux lettres, mémoires, et négociations particulières du Chevalier d’Eon (London: Dixwell, 1764), pp. 125–6. 2 See especially the ghostwritten account in La Vie militaire, politique et privée de Melle d’Eon (Paris: Lambert, Onfroi, Valade, Esprit et chez l’auteur, 1779) and the autobiographical materials in the Brotherton Collection in the Brotherton Library, Leeds, many of which have finally been published; Roland A. Champagne, Nina Ekstein and Gary Kates, trans. and eds., The Maiden of Tonnerre: the Vicissitudes of the Chevalier and Chevalière d’Eon, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press 2001). 3 This tale has been refuted convincingly by Ernest Alfred Vizetelly, The True Story of the Chevalier d’Eon (London: Tylston and Edwards and A. P. Marsden, 1895), pp. 50–7; Gary Kates, Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman: A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade (New York: Basic Books, 1995); En Russie



4 5 6

7 8 9 10 11 12

13 14 15

16 17 18 19 20

21 22

au temps d’Élisabeth. Mémoire sur la Russie en 1759 par le chevalier d’Eon, ed. Francine-Dominique Liechtenhan (Paris: L’Inventaire, 2006), p. 8. Frédéric Gaillardet, Mémoires du Chevalier D’Eon (Paris, 1935 [original edition, 2 vols, Paris: B. Grasset, 1836]). François-Timoléon, abbé de Choisy, Mémoires de l’abbé de Choisy, ed., Georges Mongrédien (Paris : Mercure de France, 1966 [reprint 2000]). On Choisy, see the chapter by Joseph Harris below. Mémoires du Chevalier d’Eon, p. 128–40. Gaillardet’s admission appeared in a purified edition of his work published in 1866. For recent repetitions of the story, see Nathalie Grzesiak, Le Chevalier d’Eon. Tout pour le roi (Paris: Acropole, 2000), p. 120 and passim; L’Yonne Républicain, 30 juillet 2007. John Rogister’s Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on d’Eon repeats Gaillardet’s story that d’Eon seduced Madame de Pompadour while dressed as a woman at a Versailles ball in 1755. The phrase is taken from the title of Edna Nixon, Royal Spy: the Strange Case of the Chevalier d’Eon (New York: Reynal & Co., 1965). See for example Havelock Ellis, ‘Eonism’, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, 2 vols (New York: Random House, 1936), II, pt. ii, 1–110. See Kates, Monsieur d’Eon, p. xxii. Many of these manuscripts have subsequently been published in Champagne, Ekstein and Kates, trans. and eds., The Maiden of Tonnerre. See Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds Library [Brotherton Collection], box 1, file 1, Chap. VIII, p. 3. Besides works mentioned in this paragraph, see Jonathan Conlin, ‘Wilkes, the Chevalier d’Eon and “the dregs of liberty”: an Anglo-French perspective on ministerial despotism, 1762–1771’, English Historical Review, 120, (2005), 1251–88; James Lander, ‘A tale of two hoaxes in Britain and France in 1775’, Historical Journal, 49, (2006), 995–1024. Alexandre Stroev, Les Aventuriers des Lumières (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1997); Simon Burrows, Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution: London’s French Libellistes, 1758–1792 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006). Anna Clark, ‘The Chevalier d’Eon and Wilkes: masculinity and politics in the eighteenth century’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 32, (1), (1998), 19–48, and Scandal: the Sexual Politics of the British Constitution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), pp. 43–4. Wahrman first outlined this case briefly in the final essay in, The Age of Cultural Revolutions: Britain and France 1750–1820, eds. Colin Jones and Dror Wahrman, (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 2002). He elaborated on his argument and made several important references to d’Eon in Dror Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004). Cf. John D. Woodbridge, Revolt in Pre-Revolutionary France. The Prince de Conti’s Conspiracy against Louis XV, 1755–1757 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995). The most detailed study of the Secret du Roi is Gilles Perrault, Le Secret du Roi, 3 vols (Paris: Fayard, 1992–6). D’Eon, Lettres, mémoires, et négociations particulières du Chevalier d’Eon, Ministre . . . avec les Ducs de Praslin, de Nivernois, de Sainte Foy, et Regnier de Guerchy, Ambassadeur extraordinaire, etc. 3pt., (The Hague, 1764). Conlin, ‘Wilkes, The Chevalier d’Eon and “the dregs of liberty”’, p. 1252. Chevalier D’Eon, Les Loisirs du Chevalier d’Eon, 13 vols (Amsterdam, 1774). D’Eon explained to Broglie that the Loisirs would contain nothing hostile to the French court. On the contrary, they would provide a front for secret activities, by fooling observers into thinking he had abandoned covert operations, ‘Note de M D’Eon du 31 Juillet 1770’, Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères [MAE], Correspondance Politique, Angleterre [CPA], Supplément 16, f. 377S. On the Transaction, see Kates, Monsieur d’Eon, ch. 41; Lander, ‘A tale of two hoaxes’. It was finally published in 2001 as Champagne, Ekstein and Kates, trans. and eds., The Maiden of Tonnerre.

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The Chevalier d’Eon, Media Manipulation and the Making of an Eighteenth-Century Celebrity
Simon Burrows

The Chevalier d’Eon first honed his skills of media manipulation in his quarrel with the French ambassador to London, the Comte de Guerchy, in 1763–1764. He did so with such success that, by the end of their spat, d’Eon had become a household name among Europe’s elite, while his allegations that Guerchy had conspired to kidnap and murder him were widely accepted by the British public and had given rise to a criminal prosecution against the ambassador. During the course of the dispute and his vitriolic press campaign against Guerchy, d’Eon learned to fabricate evidence and to mould his public identity. Thus the Guerchy affair laid the groundwork for d’Eon’s later celebrity and manipulation of perceptions of his gender. It also provides a case study in the construction of celebrity status in the later eighteenth century. Recent explorations of eighteenth-century celebrity emphasize three points that are salient here.1 First, although d’Eon’s contemporaries did not yet refer to individuals as ‘celebrities’, a phenomenon akin to ‘celebrity’ was emerging and, in Britain, from about 1760 until the eve of the French revolution it is possible to identify a veritable ‘cult of celebrity’ characterized by prurient interest in individuals’ private lives alongside their public distinctions or achievements.2 These developments were made possible by the decline of the Hanoverian court as a focus of patronage, a vibrant consumer culture and a burgeoning public sphere. However, ‘the cult of celebrity’ came to an abrupt end with a hardening of moral attitudes from the late 1780s, whereupon, according to Linda Colley, the British populace required of its heroes a ‘shift of style from peacock to sombre man of action’.3 Second, despite the many apparent similarities, twentieth- and twenty-first-century manifestations of celebrity differ from those that first emerged in the eighteenth century. Stella Tillyard insists that while late eighteenth-century England was not ‘a world full of celebrities’, cultural icons like Sir Joshua Reynolds ‘were nevertheless extremely interested in, and avid consumers of, some of the attributes of celebrity that we ourselves still recognise’.4 Finally, in the eighteenth century, fame, (that is, an enduring reputation in the eyes of posterity), was considered to be different from the phenomenon of being celebrated by one’s contemporaries. Whereas fame had always been considered a legitimate concern, the pursuit by artists, writers, actors, courtesans, adventurers and other cultural figures of a celebrity hitherto only available to statesmen, courtiers and military heroes, was only made desirable and conceivable by emergent cultural, social and market conditions. This distinction between fame and celebrity will be respected throughout this chapter. It might be noted, however, that of the two, the pursuit of fame was considered the more respectable, since it implied enduring achievement, whereas celebrity was both transient and involved (often scandalous) exposure to the public gaze. Moreover, women’s celebrity was associated with scandal almost by definition,



since the term ‘public woman’ implied prostitution. Not surprisingly, therefore, both before and after his gender transformation d’Eon made assiduous attempts to suggest that his celebrity rested on genuine claims to fame as both a writer and statesman, earned before his dispute with Guerchy catapulted him into the public consciousness. In fact, such claims were rather shaky. Historians have considered his learned works on finances and public administration competent, but they should not be considered among the first rank. Moreover, d’Eon’s diplomatic and political career achievement prior to 1763 amounted to relatively little. Certainly, he had assisted the Chevalier Alexander Douglas and the Duc de Nivernais in important negotiations, and carried the resulting treaties to France, but there is little evidence that he influenced events. This point did not escape contemporary commentators: in a review of d’Eon’s Lettres, mémoires et négociations, the Monthly Review opined that d’Eon appeared to have been ‘employed in affairs of no great moment’, and dismissed his role in treaty negotiations as that of a ‘post-boy’.5 Thus historians have perhaps been guilty of taking d’Eon’s claims about his glittering career at face value and, as Stephen Brogan has argued, overlooking the fact that his hopes of becoming ambassador to London ahead of Guerchy in 1763 were unrealistic.6 Superficially d’Eon’s quarrel with Guerchy began as a mundane dispute about money. As Minister Plenipotentiary, d’Eon was charged, as was customary, with acquiring and preparing a residence for the new ambassador, but even before Guerchy arrived in London in mid-October 1763, he was accusing d’Eon of spending too much of his (that is, Guerchy’s) money in the process.7 Nevertheless, there were subtexts. D’Eon was bitterly disappointed and resentful at having been passed over. He considered Guerchy an aristocratic nonentity who had been promoted due to his rank and friendship with the foreign minister, Praslin. It is possible, too, that there were deeper resentments, for d’Eon later claimed that at the battle of Hoxter on 19 August 1761 Guerchy refused orders to assist d’Eon’s unit in evacuating munitions while under enemy fire.8 There was also a factional component to the dispute, stemming from the eclipse of d’Eon’s patrons, the Broglies, and the dismantling of their secret espionage network, the Secret du Roi.9 Praslin and Guerchy belonged to the ascendant faction headed by Louis XV’s de facto chief minister, the Duc de Choiseul, who was also Praslin’s cousin, and the royal mistress, Madame de Pompadour, all of whom d’Eon later accused of complicity in a conspiracy to poison or kidnap him. D’Eon claimed that this pro-Austrian faction would stop at nothing to marginalize advocates of a traditional anti-Habsburg policy, and blamed them for the sudden deaths of two of his allies at court, Lebel and Tercier, as well as the Comte de Broglie’s dismissal.10 D’Eon’s resistance to orders to return to France and subsequent attempts to discredit Guerchy, and hence Praslin, Choiseul and Pompadour, were thus part of a factional struggle to control foreign and dynastic policy. Nevertheless, d’Eon apparently acted in an individual capacity: Broglie, though he attempted to defend him, was furious with his protégé and feared he would be blamed for d’Eon’s behaviour.11 Two factors made the dispute between d’Eon and Guerchy difficult to contain. First, it was conducted very publicly in print, and later spilled over into the English law courts. Second, d’Eon was in a strong position to blackmail the monarchy. Due to his roles as diplomat and spy for the Secret du Roi, d’Eon possessed damaging documents, including a secret order from Louis XV to spy out invasion routes in southern England, which he threatened to publish unless compensated for his alleged expenditure in royal service.12 To make clear that he was serious he published a taster volume, carefully shorn of really damaging material, his Lettres, mémoires et négociations particulières du

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Chevalier d’Eon. This work simultaneously emphasized his claims to fame and made him a celebrity across Europe almost overnight.13 But his diplomatic correspondence was not the only reason why this work proved sensational, for it also took his pamphlets against Guerchy to a wider audience. While the truth of d’Eon’s allegations remains uncertain, it is clear that he fought a shrewd media campaign across a wide front. For example, his attempts to link Guerchy’s agent Pierre-Henri Treyssac de Vergy to a conspiracy against him in his Lettres, mémoires et négociations were accompanied by cloak and dagger attempts to defame him by other means. Chief among them was a four-page pamphlet entitled Lettre de Mlle Le Bac de Saint-Amant à Monsieur de la M*** écuyer, &c de la Société roïale d’agriculture, dated variously 29 and 30 December 1763. An account of d’Eon’s printer James Dixwell proves that the publication of this curious pamphlet was financed by d’Eon, and it is therefore possible that he was also the author.14 If so, the pamphlet represents d’Eon’s first experiments with taking on a female persona. The Lettre de Mlle le Bac offers a first person narrative account of Mademoiselle Le Bac’s coach journey from Paris to Lille in Vergy’s company the previous August. En route Vergy told her he was going to London to replace d’Eon and made clumsy attempts to seduce her. These began with kissing games among the coach passengers, in which Le Bac participated willingly, but culminated in attempted rape at a coaching inn. The spirited Le Bac parried Vergy’s attentions directly enough to put him ‘hors de combat’, and Vergy departed the next day with despair in his eyes. ‘Le Bac’ ends by recording that Vergy had just been arrested for debt, but had escaped. The pamphlet portrays Vergy as a contemptible and ungallant braggart, debtor, lecher and failed adulterer. He has abandoned his wife in a convent but is incapable of storming the flimsy moral or physical defences of the feisty Le Bac. This rather puerile character assassination followed other revelations about Vergy’s character. D’Eon, who was assiduous in gathering information on his enemies, revealed in his very first pamphlet against Guerchy, that Vergy’s title was usurped and that the Paris police (in which d’Eon’s uncle served) considered him a gambler, libertine, and thief. He was being pursued by creditors and had been chased from the home of the Comte d’Argental, French ambassador to Parma.15 Notwithstanding these claims, d’Eon later endorsed a very different account of the relationship between d’Argental and Vergy. Unlike Guerchy, d’Eon quickly realized the potential of British newspapers, which appeared much more frequently than their heavily censored French counterparts: by the 1760s, London had several daily titles, whereas France did not have a daily paper until 1777. Newspapers had several advantages over pamphlets for conducting political feuds. Whereas pamphlets appeared just once and needed to find their own audience, newspapers appeared regularly and served an audience which already enjoyed a relationship of confidence with their chosen title. Newspapers were thus ideal vehicles for repeated insinuation, or campaigns of denigration or self-defence; British newspapers also carried considerable amounts of what would today be considered ‘celebrity gossip’. Moreover, eighteenth-century newspapers across Europe borrowed material from one another. Thus, reports in the British press were often recycled across the continent.16 Although d’Eon’s political role had included summarizing the content of the London press for Nivernais and Praslin, his books of press cuttings suggest that he only grasped the full potential of newspapers once his dispute with Guerchy was under way.17 It is probable that he was educated about them by British Wilkite politicians. They wished to draw parallels between John Wilkes’ situation and that of d’Eon, suggesting that both



became renegades by struggling for justice from their respective governments.18 They even suggested that the government intended to exchange d’Eon for Wilkes, who had fled to France to avoid prosecution for libel.19 However, they also erroneously believed that d’Eon’s diplomatic correspondence would reveal that British ministers had been bribed to make territorial concessions to France following Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War.20 According to d’Eon, they also wooed him assiduously and repeatedly offered to buy his papers.21 To mobilize opinion in his favour, d’Eon and his Wilkite allies launched a concerted press offensive, traces of which are discernible among d’Eon’s newspaper cuttings. It began on 21 June 1764, when d’Eon announced in the Gazetteer that he had no debts and paid bills in cash to ensure he could not be arrested and kidnapped. This announcement alluded to an incident at Easter 1752, when the Marquis de Fratteaux was seized in London by French agents with the connivance of a corrupt bailiff named Blaisdell. Fratteaux, the author of a manuscript pamphlet attacking key courtiers, spent the rest of his life in the Bastille.22 He was thus a key point of reference for those wishing to suggest that d’Eon ran similar risks. Thereafter, and throughout the summer of 1764, newspaper reports repeatedly insisted that French agents were in London to kidnap d’Eon. Two days after the Gazetteer announcement, d’Eon and his allies published a one-off broadsheet newspaper entitled The Extraordinary Intelligencer, which was soon reprinted by other papers.23 It warned of ‘a dangerous and unconstitutional measure . . . to take from this country by force, a gentleman who has thrown himself under its protection’. It then described the dispute of M. Frugalité [Guerchy] with M. Verité [d’Eon], before alleging that a skiff was waiting on the Thames to spirit d’Eon away to an ocean-going boat moored at Gravesend. But it also asserted that Guerchy’s enmity towards d’Eon stemmed from d’Eon’s disapproval of Guerchy’s ‘mean and scandalous practices’. These included encouraging British artisans to emigrate to France; fomenting misunderstandings between the two countries; compensating his poorly paid servants by allowing them to bring contraband goods into the country, shielded by ambassadorial immunity; forcing his retinue to picnic in open fields en route to London to save the cost of eating at an inn; and offering crowds celebrating a royal birth only four pots and a pint of porter, rather than the customary fountain of wine, thereby risking public disorder. This story covered Guerchy in ridicule and incited popular complaints about the abuse of prerogative by Guerchy and his household, while ignoring the real grievances of the ambassador and French government against d’Eon. Over the following days and weeks, the story received further amplification. On 25 June, the Gazetteer claimed to have received intelligence from a correspondent ‘concerning an intention of carrying off a certain gentleman, for which purpose, he says, a boat with six rowers is kept on the river, and an armed vessel with twenty hands at Gravesend’. It added that the gentleman (i.e. d’Eon) had confirmed the truth of this. The story also alluded to the Fratteaux affair, suggesting that the present government would not suffer such an attempt ‘with impunity’. However, for present purposes, the most important aspect of the story is that it identifies d’Eon as a source. Thereafter journalists, rumour-mongers and d’Eon’s allies picked up and spun the story. The Gazetteer of 28 June predicted that ‘French bravoes’ come to kidnap d’Eon would surely fail. They would arouse public indignation and bystanders would be sure to come to d’Eon’s assistance. The next day, the Public Advertiser called on Britons to prove they were not ‘the savages of Europe’, as a French writer alleged, by providing d’Eon with hospitality and saving him from Fratteaux’s fate. Nor was Fratteaux’s the only kidnapping invoked: on 24 August a correspondent to the Public Advertiser writing

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under the pseudonym ‘Phileultheros’ declared that French police had recently made attempts on a mysterious ‘Chevalier S’, who had written pamphlets attacking French grandees.24 In September, the Lloyd’s Evening Post published allegations that the British ministry intended to seize d’Eon (who had by then been convicted of libelling Guerchy) and exchange him for Wilkes – sourcing the story, somewhat improbably, to the Brussels Gazette. Pressure on the British government was also stepped up. On 4 July, ‘Libertas’ wrote to the Public Advertiser demanding a government inquiry into allegations that Guerchy was involved in racketeering and conspiracy to kidnap, while ‘Publicus’ reported that several gentlemen had pledged to defend d’Eon and accompanied him everywhere. Further pseudonymous denunciations of the ambassador’s abuse of diplomatic privilege followed sporadically over the next few months, including a letter to the Lloyd’s Evening Post by ‘Britannicus’, a known partisan of the Chevalier.25 Although using pseudonyms was standard practice among eighteenth-century newspaper letter-writers, the insider information that ‘Publicus’ provided, together with an almost formulaic reference to Fratteaux, indicates that both his letter and that from ‘Libertas’ probably originated in d’Eon’s entourage. The persistence of ‘Britannicus’ in writing on the Chevalier’s behalf also suggests a personal association. Likewise, ‘Phileultheros’ purports to show a suspiciously intimate knowledge of d’Eon’s work (he claimed it could be used to identify the ‘Chevalier S’), which suggests that his letter, too, emanated from the d’Eon camp.26 Despite these rumours, only once was there a suggestion that an attempt to seize d’Eon had actually been made. The story clearly came from d’Eon’s entourage and appears in an anonymous letter to the Lloyd’s Evening Post dated 3 September 1764. It recounts that on 26 August, d’Eon, two male friends and an English lady were walking in Hyde Park when Colonel Glover and two other gentlemen informed him that ‘a sett of kidnappers’ were lying in wait at Spring Gardens. The lady, who was just taking her leave, secretly resolved to drive to Spring Gardens, where she saw ‘six fellows standing together arm-in-arm, and a seventh who seemingly headed them’, waiting for d’Eon and his companions. However, when they saw her coach they said ‘“That is the lady with whom he was walking and her coach is waiting for him”’ and their lookout added ‘“That is very true, our scheme will not answer this night, but it may tomorrow or some other time.”’ For good measure, the paper added ‘Such are the words which were expressed by those treacherous kidnappers, as this lady informs us’. Although this story contains several intriguing details, there are reasons to doubt its veracity, even if we ignore both the villains’ contrived melodramatic dialogue and the question of how ruffians waiting at Spring Gardens had seen the lady in Hyde Park. A summary of these reasons is provided by the pseudonymous ‘Simon Magus’, writing to the St James’s Chronicle of 6 to 8 September 1764. He opens by equating the attempt against d’Eon with the great hoaxes of the previous few years: ‘Wonders, I find, will never cease. The Rabbit Woman surprised us in the last Age27 – Ashley’s Jew,28 the Bottle-Conjuror,29 and Elizabeth Canning,30 amused us in their Turn for some Time, and the Scratching of the Cock-Lane Ghost is scarce out of our ears,31 before our Appetite for the Wonderful is arrived [sic] by the kidnapping of Chevalier d’Eon.’ In explanation, he argues, the ruffians must be conjurors to hope to carry away ‘a Man from Spring Gardens in the Day-Time, in the Face of a Multitude through this populous Town, and through a frequented high Road to Gravesend’ without interruption from the magistrates or population. A key feature of articles concerning d’Eon over the summer of 1764 is the patriotic language in which they are dressed. For example, the Extraordinary Intelligencer



denounced Guerchy’s alleged intentions as ‘a scheme against all our laws and liberties, which overthrows at once those sacred prerogatives which this nation always knew how to preserve, and by which we have been hitherto triumphant’. ‘Britannicus’, writing to the Public Advertiser, went a stage further and juxtaposed British liberty to French servitude and degradation:
. . . they [the French] are the slaves of a despotic power; we are a free people whose country is the asylum of the oppressed; to violate it is a breach of public liberty and a crime against our country: let us never, therefore, suffer a stranger who flies to us for shelter, to be a sacrifice to a misguided fury or the horrors of the Bastille.

Moreover, d’Eon made a better patriot Briton in his defence of liberty than the British ministry.32 Hence ‘a British Swiss’ wrote to the printer of the St James’s Chronicle of 11–13 September 1764:
Ever since Wilkes and Liberty left this kingdom, we have been alarmed for the chevalier d’Eon – we are now told that this champion of liberty is to be kidnapped and carried to France. The Vox Populi or in other words, the Minority [in Parliament], accuses the Majority of a determined resolution to extirpate . . . even the dregs of liberty, and not suffer the least appearance of it, even in a Frenchman. As I am a Swiss, I don’t care a farthing either for the Majority or the Minority: but, pray, what have we to apprehend from the Spirit of Liberty in a Frenchman?

These reports transformed d’Eon from a participant in a factional dispute about power and money into a symbol of British liberty. As a ‘worthy’ foreigner he could also be juxtaposed against an ‘unpatriotic’ British ministry. Thus d’Eon, the French diplomat and spy, had become an unlikely celebrity and hero of the British opposition. The print media’s role was vital to this extraordinary transformation. Yet it must also be admitted that d’Eon played his part to perfection, and was not, in any case, without sympathy for the struggle for liberty. A quarter century later, he supported the French revolution in its opening stages, and he often encouraged other French renegades in the struggle against ministerial despotism. Those he aided even included the blackmailer and pamphleteer Charles Théveneau de Morande, who had the run of d’Eon’s library while preparing a pamphlet exposé of the Bastille.33 Having examined the printed propaganda put out by d’Eon and his allies, it is time to consider whether there was any substance to their allegations of poison and kidnap plots.34 Let us turn first to the poison plot. D’Eon asserted that while Guerchy was behind the conspiracy, it was Stephen Chazell, Guerchy’s ‘master of horse’, who actually slipped opium into his wine while he dined at the embassy on 28 October 1763. As the poison took hold, d’Eon alleges that Guerchy’s servants offered him assistance and a carriage to his lodgings in the hope of kidnapping him, but he refused their entreaties and struggled home alone.35 However, there are three problems with d’Eon’s testimony. First, it is self-interested; second, it relies on supposition and finally, d’Eon himself admits that other diners fell sick after eating with him at the embassy.36 We might suspect food poisoning or dirty pans were the real culprit. Nevertheless, there is corroborating evidence for d’Eon’s allegations, for in October 1764, Vergy confessed that Guerchy and Praslin employed him to assassinate d’Eon. Moreover, in 1767, d’Eon claimed that Vergy’s testimony so terrified Chazell that he had abandoned his newly wed bride and fled to Naples. This assertion was disingenuous. Chazell’s departure offers no proof that he was a poisoner, since he had fled several

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weeks before Vergy’s confession and for other reasons.37 In fact, he was evading arrest for arson, having threatened to burn down the house where his wife had taken refuge from his excessive violence. On 15 June 1764 a warrant was issued for Chazell’s arrest and six days later three officers attempted to arrest him at Guerchy’s house, which doubled as the French embassy. This action nearly resulted in a significant international incident, for Guerchy tore up the warrant, throttled one of the officers, imprisoned them briefly, and protested to the British government against the violation of diplomatic immunity. The French wanted the officers to be punished, but the British government was fearful that, in light of Chazell’s crime and the ambassador’s ‘highly improper and illegal’ behaviour, a jury would acquit them. Thus, with considerable difficulty, they succeeded in placating the French without bringing the men before a court.38 Although this extraordinary tale appears to confirm the truth of d’Eon’s insinuations that Guerchy was out of his depth in a diplomatic role, it also shows that his evidence against Chazell was at best circumstantial and that d’Eon knowingly distorted facts to reinforce his own allegations. Similarly, many details of Vergy’s confession were almost certainly invented, in particular claims that he was recruited by d’Argental; that Praslin told him that d’Eon must be destroyed; and that Guerchy ordered him to assassinate d’Eon after Chazell’s poison failed.39 The first assertion is probably false because – as we have already noted – before Vergy turned against Guerchy, d’Eon himself had asserted that Vergy had been evicted from d’Argental’s home.40 The second statement is demonstrably mendacious. Although Vergy met Praslin before leaving Paris, their subsequent correspondence demonstrates that Vergy’s account of their interview is a fabrication.41 Vergy’s assertion that the plot originated in July 1763 – i.e. at least six weeks before problems emerged between d’Eon and Guerchy – also appears devoid of truth.42 In consequence, Vergy’s statement that Guerchy ordered him to kill d’Eon also cannot be accepted uncritically, particularly as Vergy had resentments of his own against the ambassador.43 Nevertheless, Vergy’s behaviour towards d’Eon on his arrival in London was suspicious. Indeed, in the days before the poisoning incident, d’Eon became so mistrustful of Vergy that he challenged him to a duel.44 Thus, although there may be grains of truth somewhere among Vergy’s allegations, which certainly involved huge personal cost for little gain, most of the details were invented or distorted to suit d’Eon’s purposes.45 D’Eon – who probably secured Vergy’s release from debtor’s prison – was almost certainly complicit in the fabrication of this evidence. Vergy’s tale shattered Guerchy’s reputation. Indeed, following his confession, the Attorney-General agreed to lodge a bill of indictment against Guerchy for hiring Vergy to ‘kill and assassinate d’Eon’, and an Old Bailey grand jury found against the ambassador.46 This provocative insult to the French king and his representative embarrassed British ministers, who pressurized the Attorney-General without success to suppress the case. The jury’s decision that there was a prima facie case for the ambassador to answer vindicated d’Eon and effectively negated his conviction for libelling Guerchy. To avoid the embarrassment of the case proceeding to trial, the government transferred it to the Court of King’s Bench, where it remained in stasis.47 The dispute broke Guerchy. Recalled in 1767, he was snubbed at Versailles and died within weeks.48 In all probability he was innocent of any murder attempt, having fallen victim to elaborate attempts to prove an ungrounded suspicion, or even to frame him. However, although the story of the attempted ambush at Spring Gardens seems farfetched, there is documentary evidence that Guerchy and the French ministry considered abducting d’Eon. Shortly before Guerchy arrived in London, Choiseul and Praslin sent an agent to London to investigate a possible kidnap.49 Guerchy himself also proposed



to the British that d’Eon should be abducted, but was rebuffed.50 Thereafter, in April 1764, Louis XV authorized a three-pronged approach. The British would be pressured to extradite or deport d’Eon. If that failed, Guerchy could bring a libel prosecution. As a final resort, Praslin was to proceed with kidnap plans.51 The extradition request was duly refused,52 but the British government consented to bring a libel case against d’Eon. In July, d’Eon was duly found guilty but went into hiding, failed to turn up at court for sentencing, and was declared an outlaw.53 In these circumstances, the kidnap phase of Louis XV’s plan was rendered obsolete: nothing in French diplomatic correspondence suggests that agents were sent to seize d’Eon. This contrasts with the surviving evidence for abortive attempts against Théveneau de Morande in 1772–1774 and the Comte de La Motte in 1786, which are well documented.54 By the late 1760s, therefore, d’Eon had learned valuable lessons about the print media. He had learned that celebrity could be constructed out of unpromising materials and serve to protect him against the machinations – real or imaginary – of his enemies. He had also seen that the media had the power to redefine events, transforming a personal and factional dispute into a struggle for British liberties. He had also learned to fabricate and manipulate evidence, and may even have started to experiment with a female persona. These lessons made it possible for d’Eon to imagine his next breathtakingly audacious step towards life-long celebrity and enduring fame. For the gender transformation that he effected between 1770 and 1777 would require both the fabrication of evidence about his past and present identity, and the manipulation of public perceptions. The gender change, moreover, was surely motivated in part by d’Eon’s emotional and practical need for celebrity and the protection and opportunities it provided. Thus while Gary Kates is surely correct in his contention that far from being motivated by sexuality, d’Eon’s gender transformation was driven by political and spiritual considerations and a desire to escape a career deadlock and disillusionment, his interpretation appears to underplay two important ancillary motivations. First, as a woman, d’Eon marginalized himself politically and greatly reduced the threat of kidnap or assassination, though he continued to fear both until his dying day. Although d’Eon probably fabricated or exaggerated the most serious plots against him, the experience of other exiled dissidents proves that his fears were not without foundation. Second, the celebrity status d’Eon gained by becoming Europe’s most accomplished woman would keep him in the public eye. Although d’Eon sought fame, he needed celebrity, for it brought him the attention and security he craved. It attracted the rich and powerful into his orbit and allowed him to cash in on the commercial opportunities the newly emergent public sphere offered to the most celebrated writers and public figures. More importantly, perhaps, celebrity shielded him from assassination or kidnap, because – in contrast to fame – it involved a plebian appeal, and hence it was possible for d’Eon and his political allies to mobilize the London mob in his defence. This important social distinction – so crucial in d’Eon’s case – between those who respectively confer and consume ‘celebrity’ (plebs) and ‘fame’ (educated elites, present and future) has been largely ignored in recent literature, and deserves further reflection. Nevertheless, fame also played an important role in protecting d’Eon, particularly once he adopted a female role. For, because he had, and insisted on having, prior claims to ‘fame’ independent of the causes of his ‘celebrity’, he was assured of enduring recognition across his lifetime and hence escaped much of the scorn reserved for other public women. Thus, d’Eon’s career trajectory becomes more comprehensible in the light of the eighteenth-century public sphere and its cult of celebrity. By 1770, d’Eon was intensely aware that his public persona was a media construct, and that only continuing celebrity status could maintain his position and

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safety. His subsequent gender change must therefore be seen in part as an extreme response to the realization that, in a fallen world, female celebrity could afford him a security that masculine fame never could. Notes
1 See for example the various essays in Joshua Reynolds. The Creation of Celebrity, ed. Martin Postle, (London: Tate Publishing, 2005); Michael Rosenthal, ‘Public reputation and image control in lateeighteenth-century Britain’, Visual Culture in Britain, 7, (2006), 69–92. 2 Stella Tillyard, ‘“Paths of Glory”: fame and the public in eighteenth-century London’, in Joshua Reynolds, ed. Postle, pp. 61–9. 3 Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation (New Haven, CT: Yale, 1993), p. 187 4 Tillyard, ‘“Paths of Glory”’, p. 62. 5 Monthly Review, (June 1764), p. 432 in Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds Library [Brotherton Collection], box 8, file 58, between pp. 15 and 16. 6 Stephen Brogan, ‘Contemporary British perceptions of the Chevalier/Chevalière d’Eon affair’, unpublished B.A. diss., Birkbeck College, University of London, 2004, p. 8. 7 Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Paris [MAE], Correspondance Politique, Angleterre [CPA] 541 ff. 255–6, Chevalier d’Eon to Guerchy, 22 September 1763; ff. 268–71, Chevalier d’Eon to Guerchy, 25 September 1763; Brotherton Collection, box 3, file 23, Nivernais to Chevalier d’Eon, Paris, 11 September 1763. 8 D’Eon also blamed Guerchy for several débâcles, including the loss of the French baggage train at Minden. On these incidents see: Chevalier d’Eon, Pièces relatives aux Lettres, mémoires et négociations particulières du Chevalier d’Eon (London: Dixwell, 1764), p. 15; Brotherton Collection, box 2, file 9, pp. 216–17; box 4, file 24, p. 13; box 11, file 69, pp. 8, 59; Chevalier d’Eon, Lettres, mémoires et négociations particulières du Chevalier d’Eon, ministre plénipotentiaire de France auprès du roi de la Grande-Bretagne (London: Dixwell, 1764), passim; and Ange Goudar, Examen des Lettres, mémoires et négociations particulières du Chevalier d’Eon (London: Becket and de Hondt, 1764), reprinted in d’Eon, Pièces rélatives aux Lettres, mémoires et négociations, p. 117. 9 On the Secret du roi see Albert, Duc de Broglie, Le Secret du roi: correspondance secrète de Louis XV avec ses agents diplomatiques, 1752–1774, 2 vols (Paris: Calmann Levy, 1878); Gilles Perrault, Le Secret du roi, 3 vols (Paris 1992–6); Correspondance secrète du Comte de Broglie avec Louis XV, edited by Didier Ozanam and Michel Antoine, 2 vols (Paris: Klincksieck, 1956–1961). 10 MAE, CPA supplément 16 ff. 111–12, annotation of d’Eon on Tercier to Chevalier d’Eon, 27 December 1763 (copy). 11 See, for example, MAE, Mémoires et documents, France, vol. 539 ff. 153–8, Broglie to Louis XV, Broglie, 9 December 1763. The document has been published in Ozanam and Antoine, eds., Correspondance secrète de Broglie, I, 186–96; an abridged translation appears in Gary Kates, Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman: A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade (New York: Basic Books, 1995), pp. 112–14. 12 Chevalier d’Eon to Tercier, 23 March 1764, in Correspondance secrète inédite de Louis XV, ed. M. E. Boutaric, 2 vols (Paris: Plon, 1866), I, 313–16. 13 On the reception of d’Eon’s Lettres, mémoires et négociations see Kates, Monsieur d’Eon, pp. 119–21. 14 Account from Dixwell to d’Eon, 13 March 1764, in the Brotherton Collection, in Ernest Alfred Vizetelly, The True Story of the Chevalier d’Eon (London: Tylston and Edwards and A. P. Marsden, 1895) extraillustrated edition compiled into seven volumes by A. M. Broadley, vol. VII, f. 3. 15 ‘Note remise à Guerchy’, in d’Eon, Pièces relatives aux Lettres, mémoires et négociations, pp. 21–5, 42. 16 On the press across Europe see Hannah Barker and Simon Burrows, eds, Press, Politics and the Public Sphere in Europe and North America, 1760–1820 (Cambridge: CUP, 2002), esp. the current author’s chapter on ‘The cosmopolitan press’. 17 D’Eon’s main collection of press cuttings for this period is found in Brotherton Collection, box 8, file 58, which is chronologically arranged. Unless otherwise stated, cuttings for all newspaper references cited below can be found there. 18 On the links between the Wilkes and d’Eon affairs see: Jonathan Conlin, ‘Wilkes, the Chevalier d’Eon and “the dregs of liberty”: an Anglo-French perspective on ministerial despotism, 1762–1771’, English Historical Review, 120, (2005), 1251–88. 19 Lloyds Evening Post, 5–7 September 1764; Simon Burrows, Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution: London’s French Libellistes, 1758–92 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006), pp. 194–5. 20 Colley, Britons, p. 101; Chevalier d’Eon to Tercier, 23 March 1764, in Boutaric, ed., Correspondance secrète inédite de Louis XV, I, 313–16; Kates, Monsieur d’Eon, pp. 123–6. 21 Brotherton Collection, box 2, file 8, ‘Etat des services’, [1777?], pp. 5–6; MAE, CPA 16 supplément ff. 24–53, ‘Etat abregé des services militaires et politiques de Mlle d’Eon’, at f. 29.



22 On Fratteaux, see also Comte d’H****, The Unfortunate Officer, or the History of M. Bertin, Marquis de Fratteaux (London: Woodfall, 1755). This was a translation of L’Histoire de M. Bertin: Marquis de Fratteaux (Paris, 1753). 23 Original copies can be found interleaved between Brotherton Collection, box 8, file 58 ff. 11 and 12, and in the Brotherton Collection’s unique extra-illustrated edition of Vizetelly, True Story, vol. VI. The Public Ledger, 26 June 1764, republished The Extraordinary Intelligencer verbatim. 24 The pseudonym and place from which the letter was addressed (‘Great Burlington Street, 18 August’) are not available from the handwritten translation of the article in Brotherton Collection, box 8, file 58, but an unattributed cutting of the original letter survives in the Brotherton Collection’s extra-illustrated edition of Vizetelly, True Story, vol. VII, unpaginated folio. 25 Lloyds Evening Post, 10–12 September 1764. An earlier letter from ‘Britannicus’ is described below. 26 Phileultheros suggests that the ‘Chevalier S’ was a correspondent mentioned in the fourth volume of d’Eon’s Lettres, mémoires et négociations. Unfortunately, it is a one-volume work. 27 On the ‘rabbit woman’, Mary Toft, see Valerie Mainz’s chapter in the present volume. 28 ‘Ashley’s Jew’ was a reference to the case between Henry Simons, a Jew of Polish descent, and James Ashley in 1753. Simons had accused an innkeeper named Goddard of robbing him, but Goddard was acquitted and Simons was charged with perjury. After Simons was acquitted also, Ashley alleged that Simons had tried to frame him, too, for robbery by slipping money into his pocket. This time Simons was found guilty, but a retrial was ordered after it emerged that there had been a misunderstanding between judge and jury. This was the first retrial after conviction in English legal history and resulted in Simons being acquitted once again. Occurring in the same year that Parliament granted citizenship to Jews, the trial unleashed a wave of anti-semitism, fanned by Ashley’s own pamphleteering. 29 On the ‘bottle-conjuror’ (‘bottle imp’) see Valerie Mainz’s chapter in the present volume. 30 Elizabeth Canning was at the centre of a notorious legal case in 1753 to 1754. She claimed to have been abducted on behalf of a brothel-keeper, who attempted to force her into prostitution, but was later convicted of perjury. 31 The Cock Lane ghost was a notorious hoax conducted in January 1762 and subsequently exposed. 32 Public Advertiser, 29 June 1764. 33 MAE, CPA 502 ff. 177–9, Chevalier d’Eon to Broglie, London, 13 July 1773, at f. 178. On Morande see Simon Burrows, A King’s Ransom: A Life of Charles Théveneau de Morande, Blackmailer, Scandalmonger and Master-Spy (forthcoming, London: Continuum, 2010). 34 The analysis of these plots here expands on material in Burrows, Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution, pp. 92–3. 35 The allegation first appears in MAE, CPA supplément 13 ff. 118–31, Chevalier d’Eon to Broglie and Louis XV, London, 18 November 1763, in Frédéric Gaillardet, Mémoires du Chevalier d’Eon, réédités à Paris (Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1935 [original edition, Paris, 1836]), pp. 199–205 and (abridged) in Kates, Monsieur d’Eon, pp. 106–8. Chazell’s role is identified in MAE, CPA supplément 16 ff. 113–14, ‘Note de M. d’Eon’, and Brotherton Collection, box 1, file 2, pp. 87–95, ‘Extrait de la lettre de . . . d’Eon à . . . d’Autichamp’ at p. 91; file 19 f. 43, unpublished memoir drafts (1805); Political Register, (October 1767), p. 377. 36 MAE, CPA supplément 13 ff. 118–31, Chevalier d’Eon to Broglie and Louis XV, London, 18 November 1763, in Gaillardet, Mémoires du Chevalier d’Eon, pp. 199–205 at pp. 200–1. 37 Chevalier d’Eon to Guerchy, 5 August 1767, in Political Register, (October 1767), p. 377. In Brotherton Collection, box 11, file 69, pp. 7–8, d’Eon records that Chazell secured a place in the Lazaroni regiment through the Vicomte de Choiseul, French ambassador to Naples, but fled when d’Eon’s complaints reached Italy. He joined the Polish confédérés, and was killed by Russian forces. 38 Documents concerning the incident survive in the National Archives, London, [National Archives], SP78/262 ff. 85–97, 131–7, 138, 146, 149, 151 and 202. 39 Pierre-Henri Treyssac de Vergy, ‘Seconde lettre à Monseigneur le Duc de Choiseul’, in Chevalier d’Eon, Suite des pièces relatives aux Lettres, mémoires et négociations particulières du Chevalier d’Eon (London: Dixwell, 1764), pp. 19–62; National Archives, SP78/264 f. 59, Treyssac de Vergy to Choiseul, 15 November 1764. 40 ‘Note remise à Guerchy’, in d’Eon, Pièces relatives aux Lettres, mémoires et négociations, pp. 21–5, 42. 41 MAE, CPA 451 f. 237, Vergy to [Praslin], London, 16 September 1763, refers to Vergy’s presentation to Praslin by d’Argental, and begs for employment. Praslin annotated the letter ‘point de reponse’, the standard phrase when no reply was to be given. 42 MAE, CPA 507 ff.. 46–8, Will of Pierre-Henri Treyssac de Vergy, 24 July 1774, at f. 47. 43 Guerchy had apparently reneged on a promise to employ Vergy as a secretary, and later refused to pay his release from debtor’s prison. 44 See MAE, CPA 451 f. 468, Chevalier d’Eon to Lord Sandwich and Lord Halifax, 26 October 1763; f. 469, Vergy to Chevalier d’Eon, 27 October 1763; ff. 470–1, note of d’Eon, 27 October 1763; CPA supplément 16 ff. 113–14, ‘Note de M. d’Eon’; Chevalier d’Eon, Letter Sent to His Excellency, Claude-Louis-François Regnier, Comte de Guerchy (London: Dixwell, 1763).

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45 Indeed, Morande claims d’Eon and Vergy fabricated Vergy’s affidavits: see British Library, Add. MS. 11,340 ff. 8 and 34, cuttings from Westminster Gazette, 20–24 August and 10–14 September 1776. 46 Gazette britannique, 8 March 1765; London Chronicle, 29 September–1 October 1767; Political Register, (September 1767). 47 Kates, Monsieur d’Eon, pp. 133–6. 48 MAE, CPA 474 ff. 143–5, Guerchy to Choiseul, 7 July 1767; Political Register, (September 1767), p. 295. 49 Ozanam and Antoine, eds., Correspondance secrète du Comte de Broglie, I, 238n. 50 MAE, CPA supplément 13 ff. 132–3, Guerchy to Louis XV, London, 6 November 1763 (copy). National Archives, SP78/259 f. 39 Halifax to Guerchy, St James, 24 November 1763. 51 Louis XV to Tercier, 10 April 1764, in Boutaric, ed., Correspondance secrète inédite de Louis XV, I. 320. National Archives, SP78/261 f. 54, Hertford to Halifax, Paris, 11 April 1764, confirms that Praslin applied diplomatic pressure. 52 See National Archives, SP78/261 ff. 206–7, Memorial delivered by Guerchy, 17 May 1764. 53 Kates, Monsieur d’Eon, pp. 129–30. 54 On these attempts see Simon Burrows, ‘Despotism without bounds: the French secret police and the silencing of dissent in London’, History, 89, (2004), 525–48; Burrows, Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution, chs 3–4.


abduction, see plots, to murder or kidnap d’Eon Abrégé de la vie de Louis Mandrin 133 absolutism 233 Académie française 25, 165 accessories 98, 99, 103, 106 account book 97, 106, 107, 109 Achilles 173 actors 120 Adélaïde, sister of Faublas, fictional character 203–4 Adhémar, Jean-Balthazar, Comte d’ 28 adultery scandals 15, 118–19 adultresses 118–19 after-life of d’Eon 129 agricultural revolution 73 Aiguillon, Armand du Plessis, Duc d’ 51, 55 n.43 Alfieri, Vittorio 119 Algarotti, Francesco 157 Almaviva, Comte d’, fictional character 60, 68, 202, 211 Almon, John 224, 228 n.69 Alther, Lisa 155 Amazon(s) 8–9, 83, 85, 165, 166, 149, 152–3, 165–9, 173 and d’Eon 124, 189, 194–5 Amazones modernes 167 Amazones révoltées 167 Amelot de Chaillou, Antoine-Jean 104 America 172 American colonies 5, 34, 54 n.18, 116, 218 American Declaration of Independence 78 American Psychiatric Association 150 American Revolution 78 American revolutionaries 63, 68, 209 Americans 116 Amerongen, Gerrit van 198 Amour valley 75 Amours du Chevalier de Faublas 9, 201–12 androgeny 84, 94 n.30

Angelo, Domenico 117 Angelo, Henri 87–8, 98–9, 107, 117, 109 Angelucci, Guillaume 57–8, 68, 69 n.2 Anglomania 213 n.61 Anna Ivanova, Empress of Russia 168 Année littéraire 25, 48 anti-Catholicism 124 anti-clericalism 222 anti-religious publishing 222 anti-semitism 22 n.28 Antoine, Michel 26 Apologie des dames 169 Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber 156 appointment, of d’Eon as Minister Plenipotentiary 5, 27, 81, 82, 190 appointment, of d’Eon as royal censor 4 Arabi Pasha, see Orabi, Ahmed Archives nationales 234 archives, of d’Eon’s papers x, 2, 229–32, 234–8 Argental, Comte d’ 15, 19, 22 n.41 Ariosto 165 Aristophanes 174 n.15 Aristotle 117 Arnaud, François-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d’ 163 Arsacides 145 n.36 art exhibitions 119 Arts and Humanities Research Council xi Artus, Thomas 91 Ashley, James 17, 22 n.28 assassination, see plots, to murder or kidnap d’Eon Assault or Fencing Match ... between ... d’Eon and Saint George 87 astrology 209 asylum 93 Athena 88 Attorney-General 19 Aublet de Maubuy 168 authors 49



autobiography 147–60 of d’Eon (unpublished) 9, 97, 100, 104, 110, 147–58, 171–2, 177–86, 234–8 inspiration for 161–73 d’Eon’s fabrication of 1–2, 7, 134, 141, 158, 166 see also Maiden of Tonnerre Aventures de Zéloïde et d’Amanzarifdine 167 Aventurier français 167 aventuriers des lumières 3 Avis important à la branche espagnole, see Dissertation extraite d’un plus grand ouvrage, ou Avis important à la branche espagnole B***, Marquis de, fictional character 202, 208–211 passim B***, Marquise de, fictional character 202, 204, 206–8, 210 Baccelli, Giovanna 107 Barbier de Séville 68, 211 Barbin, Herculine 182 Baron, Richard 216–17, 221 Barrault des Mottes 79 Barrell, John 120 Barrington, General 214 n.69 Barrington, Lady 214 n.69 Barry, wine seller 74 Bartholo, fictional character 211 Bastille 18 Bateman, Mrs 6, 87 battalion of women, d’Eon’s offers to form ix, 6, 152–3, 173 Beattie, James 117 Beaumarchais 6, 52, 57–68, 145 n.24, 163, 172, 177, 195, 202, 203, 211 accused of keeping d’Eons money 67, 141 accused of libertinage by d’Eon 61 aids Americans 63 and Morande 60–1 and wagers on d’Eon’s sex 64 claims d’Eon in love with him 64–5 convinced d’Eon is woman 57, 67 correspondence with d’Eon 57, 69 n.1, 142 lends d’Eon money 66 Louis XVI’s opinions of 63, 65 negotiations with d’Eon 6, 46–7, 62–3, 95 n.63 offers to negotiate with d’Eon 58–60, 61–2 possible involvement in producing libelles 69 n.2 quarrel with d’Eon 64–8, 134–5, 141–2, 143 relations with d’Eon 7, 60–68 retrieves d’Eon’s papers 62–3 self-justifications 67–8 suggestions will marry d’Eon 64–5

suppresses scandalous pamphlet 57–8 trip to Vienna 58 Vergennes’ testimony concerning 71 n.51 see also Barbier de Séville; Figaro; Mariage de Figaro Beaumont, Christophe de 148, 234, 236 Beaumont, Elie de 162 Beaumont, Lia de 2, 210 Beaumont Society 93 n.10 beauty spots 127 Beauvais, Madame 107 Becket 224, 228 n.69 Beckford, William 29 Bedford, 4th Duke of, see Russell, John Bedlam 220 Belépine, M. 75 Belle Isle, Maréchal de 137 Bellona 166, 168 Bernis, Comte de 137 Bertier de Sauvigny, Louis-Jean 4 Bertier, shoemaker 106 Bertin, Rose 77, 97, 99–106, 109, 110, 150, 152, 154, 161, 172, 180, 187 Betjeman, Sir John 229 Bible 158–9 n.15, 234 Bible-dipping 149, 158–9 n.15 Bibliothèque municipale de Tonnerre 105, 145 n.36, 234 Bill of Rights 228 n.64 biographers, of d’Eon 81–2, 233 Blackett, Sir Walter Calverley 223 blackmail 156 laws 46 of French government by d’Eon 14–15, 45, 58–9, 138 Blaisdell 16 bluestockings 230–1 bodily transformation of d’Eon 152 Bodleian Library 231 Bolingbroke, Viscount 47, 193, 217 Bombelles, Marquis de 104, 110 Bon, Baron de 161 Bonaparte, Napoleon 231 Bontemps 28 book trade 211 Bornstein, Kate, 153–4 Boscawen, Edward, Admiral 32, 33, 34, 36 Bossuet, Jacques-Bénigne 233 Boswell, James 84 bottle imp or bottle conjuror 22 n.29, 122, 131 n.51 Boucher, clerk at French embassy 28 Bouchers, father and son 74 Boudier, Dom 185



Bouquin, Nicolas 78 Bourignon, Antoinette 238 Bradamante, female knight 165 Bradel, Jean-Baptiste 127 Brant, Clare 156 Breteuil, Louis-Auguste Le Tonnelier, Baron de 137 Bretherton, J. 132 n.60 Brevot, Mme de 75 Brewer Street 124 Brewster, Thomas 216 Bristol, Lord 55 n.48 Britain ix, 4, 7, 25 and passim attitudes towards France 9–10 d’Eon’s first impressions 28–9 informants of d’Eon in 28 invasion proposed by d’Eon 35 national debt 48 national character 125 national identity 93, 132 n.60 opposition courts d’Eon 16 Parliament 26–41 passim, 53, 211 politics 10, 16–18, 25–41 passim Britannicus (pseudonym) 17, 18 British, d’Eon’s views of 49 British images of French 115 British patriot party 17–18, 220, 233 British politics and politicians, d’Eon’s opinions on 25–41 passim, 42 n.42 British Library 234 British Museum 88 British Swiss (pseudonym) 18 Broadley, Meyrick Broadley 230–1, 232 Brogan, Stephen 8, 14, 126 Broglie, Charles-François, Comte de, 4, 5, 14, 26–7, 43 n.58, 45, 50, 51, 55 n.43, 55 n.47, 141, 192, 225 n.3 Broglie, Victor-François, Maréchal-Duc de 14, 81–2, 141 Brooke, John 32 Brotherton Collection 147, 229–32, 234–8 Brotherton Library x, 2, 9, 97, 147, 220, 229–32 Brotherton, Sir Edward Allen, later Lord Brotherton of Wakefield 229–32 Brown, John 49 Brown, Mr, a.k.a Charlotte Charke 156 Brown, Mrs, friend of Charlotte Charke 156 Brussels Gazette 17 Bunbury, Henry 132 n.60 Bunbury, Lady Sarah 118 see also Lady Sarah Bunbury Sacrificing to the Graces Bunyan, John 149 Burkhardt, Carl Jacob 233

Burlington Magazine 230 Burrows, Simon 3, 7, 52, 69 n.2 Bute, John Stuart, Earl of 28, 30, 33, 35–6, 47–8, 51, 54 n.16, 55 n.50, 114–17 Butler, Judith 8, 10, 85–6, 92, 95 n.43, 151 Byfleet, 51 Cabanis, Pierre 162 Cabinet du philosophe 169 Cadran bleu 213 n.26 Cailleau, André-Charles 133 Calvinism 148 Campagnes du sieur Caron de Beaumarchais en Angleterre 61 Campan, Henriette 104, 162 Canning, Elizabeth 17, 22 n.30 caricature(s) 8, 9, 130 of d’Eon 8, 55 n.50, 108, 113–29 Carlton House 87–8, 128 Carnival 98 Casanova, Giacomo 188 Casque à la Minerve ou la Dragone 102 castration, symbolic 161–2 castratos 99 Catherine II, Empress of Russia 9, 168, 169 Caucasus 167 Cavendish, Elizabeth, 195 Cavendish, ‘Jack’, see Cavendish, Elizabeth celebrity 13, 20, 100, 238 culture of 113, 119, 129, 130 n.4 status of d’Eon 152 Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History xi, 3 Chains of Slavery 222–4 Challes, Robert 169 Chamfort, Nicolas 162 Chanlatte, Dom, abbot of Pontigny 78 Charke, Charlotte 8, 155–7 Charke, Mr 156 Charles I, King of Great Britain 31, 215, 224 Charles II, King of Great Britain 215 Charles, G. 54 n.13, 55 n.48 Charles Townley with a group of connoisseurs 119 Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, Queen of England, 2, 107 Châtelet, Marquis de, French ambassador 52, 56 n.58 Chatham, Earl of, see Pitt, William, the Elder Chaumont, Madame de 106 Chaussin, Elisabeth 7 Chazell, Stephen 18–19, 22 n.37 Chérubin, fictional character 202, 203, 211 Cherubini 202



Chevalier d’Eon de Beaumont: A Treatise 81 Chevalier d’-n producing his Evidence against certain persons, 55 n.50, 113, 122 Chevrier, François-Antoine 133–4 childhood, of d’Eon 135, 140, 181 chivalry 125 Choiseul, Etienne François, Duc de 4, 47, 49, 51, 55 n.54, 226 n.25 and conspiracies against d’Eon 5, 14, 19 and d’Eon’s Loisirs 217, 224, 226 n.29 and French patriot movement 217, 224 foreign policy 27, 51 parallels with Pitt the Elder 47 Choiseul, Vicomte de 22 n.37 Choiseul-Praslin faction 5 Choisy, François-Timoléon, Abbé de, 2, 9, 161, 177–86, 203, 210 comparison with d’Eon 177–86 Chrisman-Campbell, Kimberly 8, 94 n.29, 95 n.34 Christ, Jesus 136, 149, 237 Christian devotional literature 153 Christian feminism 2, 148 Christian fundamentalism 148–9 Christianity 188, 193 and d’Eon 147, 148, 149, 234–8 Christians 168 chronique scandaleuse 211 Cibber, Colley 156 Cicero 218, 221 cider tax 29 civic humanism 120 Clarence House 87, 93 n.1, 95 n.51 Clark, Anna 3, 9, 90, 117, 131 n.51, 233 Cloots, Anacharsis 173 clothes, clothing 8, 65, 66, 84–5, 88, 89, 94 n.29, 95 n.34, 97–110, 115, 120, 125, 127, 139, 140, 152, 157, 161–2, 182, 185, 193, 194, 197, 142, 183, 184, 234–5 female, d’Eon’s adoption of 6, 7, 86, 150, 161, 187 d’Eon first wears as disguise 192 d’Eon ordered to wear ix, 63, 64, 91, 99 d’Eon’s purchases of 98 d’Eon’s trousseau of 64, 65 see also fashion Cock-Lane ghost 17, 22 n.31 Coeffure à la D’Éon 106 coffee houses 95 n.58 Cohen, Michèle 84 Colbert, Jean-Baptiste 193 Cole, Marie 6, 109 Collège de Quatre Nations 4 Collège Mazarin 4, 135

Colley, Linda 13, 93 Colnaghi, P. & D. and Co. 88 Colonie 167, 169 Comédie italienne 210 Commonwealth tradition 9 Commonwealthmen 215–25 passim Company of Bricklayers 223 Confederation of Bar 209 conference, about d’Eon x, 3, 82, 90 confessional narratives 155 Confessions, of J.-J. Rouseau 155, 188, 189, 196, 198, 238 Confessions, of St Augustine 148, 237 Conlin, Jonathan 7, 233 Constant, Benjamin 201 Constantinople 168 consumer revolution 13, 49 Conti, Prince de 4, 76, 136, 160 n.64, 166–7, 171 Continental Congress 78 conversion narratives 148–9, 153, 155, 158 Coquelle, Pierre, 26 Cordeliers Club 224–5 Correspondance littéraire 145 n.36, 162 Correspondance secrète 100 corsets 98, 99, 106, 110, 150, 185 Corsica 41 Cosway, Richard 119, 131 n.41, 132 n.73 Cotes, Humphry 51 Council of Reims 134 Courier de l’Europe 70 n.42, 211 court cases against d’Eon for libel of Guerchy 17, 19, 20, 51 against Guerchy for conspiracy to murder 19 concerning d’Eon’s sex 6, 91, 117, 125, 194 of d’Eon against Le Sénéchal family 134, 145 n.36 Covent Garden 61 Cox, Cynthia 81–2 Coypel, Charles-Antoine 124 Crébillon fils 211 Cromwell, Jason 150–1, 154 Cromwell, Oliver 31, 37 Cromwellian Protectorate 216 Cross of Saint-Louis 5, 6, 7, 10, 63, 64, 88, 89–90, 97, 101, 104, 106, 108, 115, 119, 120, 125, 127, 142, 161 cross-dressing 84, 98, 99, 161, 177–86, 189, 194, 212 by d’Eon 8, 97, 99, 135, 140 female to male 178–9, 181, 189 in literature 202–12 in theatre 201



narratives 9, 177–86 see also Charke, Charlotte; Choisy, abbé de; Faublas, transvestites, transvestism Cumberland, Henry, Duke of 118 Cumberland, William Augustus, Duke of 29 Damer, Anne 195 Dance, George 88, 108 Daniell, William 88 Dashwood, Sir Francis 117 David, King of Israel 136 Davies, Simon 9 Death and Life Contrasted, or an Essay on Man 92 death, of d’Eon 89, 109 Decker, Michel de 105 Déclaration de la femme et de la citoyenne 173 decoding, of satires 124 Découverte ou la Femme Franc-Maçon 120–2, 125–6 Dekker, Rudolf 178 Delaval, Thomas 223 De l’éducation physique et morale des femmes 172 Delille, Jacques, Abbé 162 De Republica 218 Desaives, Jean-Paul 74 Deschamps, Charles Antoine 79 Desfontaines, Pierre François Guyot 167 Desjardins, Jeannette 77 despotism 7, 18, 37, 46, 49, 94 n.10, 170, 171, 173, 216, 219, 223, 224 Dictionnaire historique portatif des femmes célèbres 169 Diderot, Denis 189, 193, 211 Dighton, Robert 92, 131 n.46 diplomatic correspondence 7, 26–41, 47, 48, 235 published by d’Eon 5, 116 Discourse on Inequality 189, 191 Dissertation extraite d’un plus grand ouvrage, ou Avis important à la branche espagnole 58, 69 n.2 divine grace 148 divorce(s) 118, 119 Dixwell, James 15 Dolbois, Sieur 106 Don Quixote (character) 122, 124–5, 132 n.57 Don Quixote (novel) 124–5 Donald, Diana 125 Dorat, Claude-Joseph 134–5, 168, 169–70 Dorset, 3rd Duke of, see Sackville, Frederick John Douglas, Chevalier de, see Mackenzie, Alexander Downie, Miss 107 drag kings 86 drag queens 86

dragoon uniform 4, 97, 98, 99, 101, 102, 105, 106, 109, 110, 117, 127, 152, 159 n.31 dragoons 161–2 d’Eon’s identification with 4, 48, 64, 83, 84–5, 101, 102, 104, 109, 115, 125, 127–8, 141, 152, 159 n.31-n.32, 161–3, 169, 172, 180, 182, 187, 189, 196, 234–5, 236. see also dragoon uniform. dress, see clothes dressmakers 106, 107 complicity with d’Eon 109–10 du Barry, Comtesse 60, 142, 193 du Bouciquault, Louis Le Maingre 167, 168 du Deffand, Mme 100 duels, duelling 129, 190, 213 n.35 Duffy, Michael 115 Dufour, Mme 94 n.29 Dugazon, Jean-Henri 162 Duke of B-d’s Reception at Exeter 116 du Portail, fictional character 204–5, 209 Durand de Distroff, François Michel 26–7, 33 Durival, Jean 68 Duval, Jean 70 n.45 Dziembowski, Edmond 7, 47, 53, 54 n.20, 54 n.22, 217 early writings, of d’Eon 48–9 education, of d’Eon 4, 135–6 effeminacy 84, 94 n. 30, 94 n.31, 95 n.32 125, 126, 127, 129, 130 of d’Eon 99, 117, 194 Egremont, Lord 34, 35, 38, 44 n.72, 44 n.74 Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman 220 Elizabeth I, Empress of Russia 2, 97, 136–7, 141, 158 n.3, 160 n.64, 166, 168, 171 Ellis, Havelock 2, 93 n.10 Emile 187, 189, 197 English Civil War 31, 223 English language skills, of d’Eon 28, 46 English Masculinities 84 English Revolution, see English Civil War Enigma of the Age 81 Enlevement de Mlle d’éon 122–3 Enlightenment 8, 171, 189, 193, 233 Eon de Beaumont, Françoise d’ (d’Eon’s mother) 75, 78, 101, 107, 139, 140, 150, 181, 190, 191, 237 Eon de Beaumont, Louis d’ (d’Eon’s father) 73, 75, 140, 147, 181 Eon de l’Etoile 134 Eon, Mme. d’ (d’Eon’s grandmother) d’ 181 eonism 2 Epinay, Mme d’ 173



Epistle to Lord Mansfield 195 Epître de Madame*** à Mademoiselle la Chevalière D’Eon 169–70 Esperances d’un vrai Patriote 48–9 Espinasse, Mlle de l’ 173 Espion anglois 107 espionage 83, 137 see also Secret du Roi Esprit des journaux 173 Esprit des lois 49 Essai historique sur les différentes situations de la France 4, 48 Essay on Laughter and Ludicrous Composition 117 Essay on Woman 193 estates, of d’Eon 73–4 Excellencie of a Free State 9, 215–21 passim, 224, 225 Exeter 116 exile, of d’Eon in Tonnerre 6 extradition attempts, against d’Eon 5, 20 extra-illustrated books 230–1 Extraordinary Intelligencer 16, 17–18, 49 Falkland Islands crisis 41, 52 fame 13, 20 Far East 168 farming 73–5 Fars, Vicomtesse de 104 fashion 107, 127 see also clothes, clothing Fastes militaires 145 n.36 Faublas, Chevalier de, fictional character 202–12 Feint Alcibiade 177 female deportment 103, 106, 157, 187 female identity, d’Eon’s construction of 149–50 female saints 149 female sexuality 127 feminine identity, of d’Eon 166 femininity 85, 157, 183, 184, 189, 196 and d’Eon 156, 181 feminism 167–8, 187 Christian, see Christian feminism of d’Eon 172, 192 feminist scholars 187 feminists 159 n.46 Femmes militaires 167 femmes savants 157 fencing bouts 6, 78, 87–8, 109, 128–9, 152, 161, 187, 210 Fénélon, François 47, 167 Ferrers, Lady 209 Ferrers, Washington Shirley, 5th Earl 5, 209 feudalism 188 Fielding, Henry 49, 156, 202

Fielding, John 52, 193, 194 Figaro 59, 68, 170, 202, 211 see also Barbier de Seville; Mariage de Figaro Fille Garçon 210 Filles de Sainte Marie 236 financial problems, of d’Eon 6–7, 86–7 financiers 49 Fitzherbert, Maria 88 Fitzroy, Augustus Henry, Lord Grafton 116 Florian, Jean Claris de 162 Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovier de 168 forgeries 97, 171 Foucault, Michel 84, 210 Foulon, merchant 168 Fox, Charles James 28 Fox, Henry 116 Fox-North coalition 28 François (servant of d’Eon) 77, 78 François I, King of France 141 Franklin, Benjamin 74 Fratteaux, Marquis de 16, 17, 94 n.15 freedom, see liberty freemasonry x, 8, 9, 77, 78, 120, 122, 162, 174 n.4, 231–2 French embassy 50 French émigrés 109 French national character 125 French navy 27, 31, 32, 37, 39 French protestants 34, 39 French renegades 18 French Revolution 6, 18, 87, 109, 110, 173, 233 French revolutionaries 225 French revolutionary wars ix, 6, 152 Fréron 25, 54 n.22 Freud, Sigmund 2 Fromageot, Paul 106 Fuzelier, Louis 167 Gachet, bourgeois of Tonnerre 74 Gady, valet 76–7 ‘Gageure sur le sexe du Chevalier D’Eon’ 170 Gaillardet, Frédéric, 2, 11 n.6, 209–10, 213 n.48 Gainsborough 119 Galatians 237 galenic theory 151 Galerie des femmes fortes 169 Galerie des Modes 102 Galien, Mme 169 gamblers challenged to duel by d’Eon 6 payments to d’Eon 66 see also wagers on d’Eon’s sex Ganymede 123, 132 n.53



Garnier, Charles-Jean 69 n.10 Garnot, Sieur 106 Garrick, David 189, 195 gastronomy, and d’Eon 117 gay activists 159 n.46 Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser 16, 90–1, 193, 227 n.44 gender as cultural construction 85–6 attitude of d’Eon towards 147, 182, 234–5, 238 eighteenth-century conceptions 187–9, 195 hierarchy 179, 181, 188 identities 128, 147–60 issues posed by d’Eon’s case ix-x, 1–2, 81–93 performance of 81, 85–6, 151, 154, 179, 185 roles 233 stereotypes 177 subversion 177 theory 85 transformation, of d’Eon 10, 147–58, 163 concept challenged 82–93 motives for 1–2, 6, 20–21, 82, 92, 192, 234–8 Gender Outlaw 153–4 Gender Trouble 85 genealogical claims, of d’Eon 134–5, 141 general warrants 46 Genet, Mme 103 genitalia 151, 188 George II, King of Great Britain 48 George III, King of Great Britain 2, 6, 28–41 passim, 42 n.42, 43 n.54, 44 n.72, 47, 48, 52, 63, 67, 114, 118, 129, 194, 210 George IV, Prince of Wales, Prince Regent then King of Great Britain 2, 43 n.63, 87–8, 99, 109, 113, 128–9 Getty Museum 231 Girardin de Tréfontaine, Captain 78 Girondins 201 Glover, Colonel 17 Gluck, Christophe von 163 Glynn, Serjeant John 223 God 138, 148,149, 153, 154, 158, 168, 182, 183, 184, 188, 196, 197, 236 Goddard, innkeeper 22 n.28 Goëzmann-LaBlache affair 58, 68 Goliath 136 Gordon, Lord William 118 Gordon, Thomas 222 Goujon, Sieur 106 Grace Abounding 149 Grafton, Lord, see Fitzroy, Augustus Henry, Lord Grafton 116

grand manner portrait paintings 119, 125 Grand Orient de France 78 grangerization 230–1 graphic method 128 Gravesend 16, 17 Great Britain, see Britain Great Chain of Being 188 Great Historical Epistle 147–8, 152–4, 155, 156, 157, 180, 235–8 Greece, classical 221 Greek heroes 119 Green Park 119 Grenville, George 29, 30–2 35, 36, 37, 39, 54 n.9 Greuze, Jean-Baptiste 162 Grimm, Friedrich Melchior, Baron 107 grocery lists 234 Grosvenor, Lady 118 Grub Street 3 Gudin de La Brenellerie, Paul-Philippe 69 n.5, n.10 Guerchy, Claude-Louis-François Regnier, Comte de 6, 26, 27, 33, 39, 40, 55 n.47, 58–9, 82, 133 and Vergy 15, 22 n.43 claims d’Eon mad 44 n.80 cowardice in battle (alleged) 5 d’Eon’s allegations against 15, 16, 18, 50, 123, 217 truth of 18–20 d’Eon’s press campaign against 13, 15–20 passim, 49–50 diplomatic incompetence (alleged) 34 factional links 5, 14, 217 indictment for attempted murder of d’Eon 19, 46 quarrel with d’Eon 5, 7, 13, 14–20, 46, 82–3, 190, 217 Guerlichon femelle 52 Guyon, Claude Marie 167 Halifax, Lord 44 n.74, 55 n.47 Hammersley, Rachel 9 Hanger, Major George 128–9, 132 n.71 Hardman, John 60 harems 168 Harewood, Earl of 231–2 Harlot’s Progress 127 Harlowe, Clarissa 172 Harrington, James 216, 217 Harrington, Lady 118, 127 Harris, Joseph 9 Harveley, Micaut d’ 105 Haymarket Theatre 122 Heartwell, pseudonoym 193 hemp 73

Henri IV, King of France 141 Henry Angelo’s Fencing Academy 87 Henwood, Miss 107 heresy 134 Hermaphrodites 91 hermaphrodites 91, 98, 182 Héroïne mousquetaire 169 Hervey, George Grenville Augustus 55 n.48 Hervey, Lord John 8 heterosexuality 194 Histoire de Jeanne d’Arc 169 Historical Manuscripts Commission 231 historical significance, of d’Eon 1–2 History of England 220, 221, 224 Hitchcock, Tim 84 Hobbes, Thomas 219 Hodgkin, Dorothy 231 Hodgkin, Howard 231 Hodgkin, John Eliot 230, 231 Hodgkin, Thomas 231 Hodgkin’s disease 231 Hodgson’s auctioneers 230 Hogarth, William 8, 114, 122, 125, 127 Holbach, Paul-Henri-Dietrich, Baron d’ 222, 227 n.54, n.56 Holdernesse, Lord 50 Hollis, Thomas 9, 217, 221, 226 n.29, 227 n.52 Holy Land 168 Homberg, Octave 172 homophobia 159 n.46. homosexual desire 123, 132 n.53 see also sodomy; sodomites. Hondt, Pierre de 228 n.69 honour 37–8, 50, 90, 129, 137, 138, 141, 195 and d’Eon 137, 138, 141 Hooper, S. 140 Hôpital, Marquis de l’ 141, 192 Horace 117 hormone injections 150 Horneck, Captain Charles 194 Houdetot, Mme d’ 213 n.28 Houdon, Jean-Antoine 162 Howell, James 216 Hoxter, battle of 14 huguenots 216, 225 Hume, David 50, 55 n.40, 190 humour, theories of 117 humours 151 Hunter, J. Paul 154 Hyde Park 17 Illustres françaises 169 images, see visual images


impostors 166 imprisonment, of d’Eon at Dijon 92 for debt 7 Independent Whig 222 Ireland 35, 38 Isle des Amazones 167 Jacobites 48, 54 n.18 Jacques le fataliste 211 Jansenism 148, 235, 238 Jarrett, Derek 47 Jefferson, Thomas 99 Jews 124 jingoism 127 Joan of Arc 141, 149, 162, 169, 170, 173, 178, 193, 194, 195 Joan, Pope, see Pope Joan Johnson, Dr Samuel 230 Joloye 74 Jones, Captain 194 Jousselin, Fernand 172 Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloïse 196, 204 Kates, Gary 63, 91, 99, 110 n.3, 133, 143, 158, 171, 190, 195, 221, 229 and d’Eon’s feminism 2, 9 interpretation of d’Eon’s gender change 2–3, 7, 20, 81, 84, 85, 147, 192 challeged 92, 110, 148 themes raised by study of d’Eon 3, 82 Kauffmann Angelica 108 Kercado, Comte de 134 kilts 98 King’s Bench, Court of 19, 51 Klink, Andreas 198 Lacepède 162 La Chèvre, de 67, 71 n.47 la Chevre, seller of fans 106 Laclos, Chloderos de 202, 211 La Cressonnière, Charlotte-Catherine Cosson de 172 La Croix, Jean-François de 169 Lady Sarah Bunbury Sacrificing to the Graces 118 Lady’s Magazine 109 Lafayette, Mme de 181, 211 Lafitau, Joseph François 167 La Fortelle 8, 77, 105, 127, 133–4, 141, 144, 145 n.36, 172, 175 n.42, 235 see also Vie militaire, politique et privée de Melle d’Eon Lalande 162 Lambert, Marquise de 177, 181



Lambert, publisher 134 La Mettrie, Julien Offray de 189, 193 La Motte, Comte de, 20 Land Tax 33 Laqueur, Thomas 151, 188, 193 Larcher, Albert 113 La Rozière, Marquis de 26–7 la Rupel, de 78 La Scala operahouse 202 La Sentinelle 201 Latour, Germaine 78 law suits, see court cases lazaroni regiment 22 n.37 Le Bac, Mademoiselle, (d’Eon’s alter ego?) 15 Lebel 14 Le Comte, Mme 104 Leeds archive (of d’Eon’s papers) 234–8, 229–32 Leeds University Library, see Brotherton Library Leeds University, see University of Leeds Legrand, Marc-Antoine 167 Le Moyne, Pierre 169 Lenglet Dufresnoy 169 Lennox, Charles, see Richmond, Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Leroy, Alphonse 168 Lesage, Alain René 167 lesbianism 126, 195–6 Le Secq 74 Le Sénéchal family 77, 134, 145 n.36 Lesuire, Robert Martin 167 Letters to Serena 222 Lettre de Mlle Le Bac de Saint-Amant 15 Lettres, mémoires et négociations 1, 5, 14–15, 26, 46, 63, 133, 134, 169, 238 Liaisons dangereuses 202, 208, 211, 213 n.30 libel 46, 52 d’Eon’s conviction for 17, 19, 20, 51 Libertas 17 libertines 194 liberty 7, 18, 28, 50, 53, 83, 114, 125, 171, 193, 216, 218–24 passim British 18, 20 d’Eon as a symbol of 18 of expression 83, 114 library, d’Eon’s 2, 6, 109, 168, 172, 187, 192 Licensing Act 83 Life and Death Contrasted, or an Essay on Woman 92 Lignolle, Comte de 202, 208–9 Lignolle, Comtesse Eléonore de, fictional character 202, 208, 210 Ligonier, Lady 118–19 Ligonier, Lord 29, 119 Linguet, Simon-Nicolas-Henri 166, 170, 173

Lintilhac, Eugène 69 n.1 Lister, Anne 198 literary genre 153 literary pursuits, of d’Eon 25–6 Lives of Saints 138 Lloyd’s Evening Post 17 Locke, John 217 Lodge of Immortality 120 Lodge of the Nine Sisters 162 Lodoïska, fictional character and real wife of Louvet de Coudray 201, 202, 209 Loisirs du Chevalier d’Eon 5, 11 n.15, 63, 215, 217–20, 223, 224, 225 n.3, 226 n.19, 226 n.29 Lomonossov, Mikhail 168 London Evening Post 226 n.29 London Magazine 86, 90, 125 London mob 9–10, 46, 50 Long Parliament 215 Lorraine, Prince de 77 Louis XIV 119, 233 Louis XV ix, 25, 51, 107, 133, 158 n.3, 210, 233 and Beaumarchais 58, 60, 61 and Comte de Broglie 4, 5, 26, 81–2 and Conti 4 and d’Eon’s pension 5, 137 and du Barry 60 and Pompadour 5 and Secret du Roi 4–5, 14, 26, 81–3 passim and Wilkes 46 death 5 foreign policy 26–7, 41, 82 reports d’Eon is a woman 84 secret orders to d’Eon 4, 14, 27, 45, 82, 83 Louis XVI 6, 74, 89, 100, 150 and Beaumarchais 58–67 passim and Choiseul 217 execution 201 foreign policy 41 impotence (alleged) 208–9 orders d’Eon to dress as woman 62–3, 91, 99, 150, 234–5 pamphlets concerning 57, 58 presentation of d’Eon to 6, 102 Louise de France, Madame 236 Louvet de Coudray, Jean-Baptiste 201–12 passim inspired by d’Eon 203 Lovzinski, fictional character 209 Luchet, Marquis de 167, 168 Ludlow, Edmund 216 macaronis 6, 7, 95 n.57, 119, 194 Macaulay, Catherine 195, 204, 220–1, 224, 227 n.44, 227 n.52



Machiavelli, Niccolo 219 Mackenzie, Alexander 4, 14, 141, 166, 171, 175 n.33 Mademoiselle de Beaumont, or the Chevalier d’Eon 90–1, 126, 132 n.73 madness, alleged, of d’Eon 39, 44 n.80 Magdalene institution 220 Magna Carta 50 Maiden of Tonnerre: The Vicissitudes of the Chevalier and Chevalière d’Eon 8, 147–158 Maillet de Régnière, Françoise Charlotte 78 Maillet de Régnière, lieutenant 78 Maillot, Antoinette 103, 106, 109 Maillot, Génévieve 77, 103, 106, 109 Maillot, wigmaker, cousin to Geneviève and Antoinette 106 Mainz, Valerie 8 Mairobert, see Pidansat de Mairobert, MathieuFrançois make-up 85 Making of the Modern Self 188 Malesherbes, Chrétien-Guillaume de Lamoignon de 4 Mallet, Mrs 107 Mandar, Théophile 224 manhood, see masculinity Manon Lescaut 169 Mansfield, William Murray, Earl of 91, 117, 125, 126, 194–5 Marat, Jean-Paul 9, 222–4, 228 n.58, 228 n.69 Mariage de Figaro 59–60, 170, 177, 202, 203, 211 Marie-Antoinette 58, 77, 97, 99, 102, 105, 106, 109, 150, 152, 161, 211, 217 Marivaux 64, 167, 169, 201 Marphise 165 Marriage à la Mode 127 masculinity 120, 156, 181–3, 184, 190, 196, 236 d’Eon and 8, 21, 81, 82, 85, 86, 88, 90–3 passim, 98, 125, 136, 141, 154, 162, 172, 192, 195 masquerade balls 97, 98, 193 Maupeou 74, 217, 224 Maurepas, Comte de 60 Maurepas, Comtesse de 103, 107 Mayor, Godefroy 231 Maza, Sarah 133 medical fraternity 122 Medmenham Abbey 117 Meister, Henri 162 Mémoire pour la chevalière d’Eon 77 Mémoires du Chevalier d’Eon (Gaillardet) 201, 209 Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire générale des finances 4, 25 Mémoires secrets 100–1, 105

Mémoires secrets d’une femme publique 51–2, 142 Mendelssohn manuscripts 230 Mercier-Faivre, Anne-Marie 8 Mercurius Politicus 215–16 Merteuil, Marquise de, fictional character 202, 208 Mesmerism 209, 210 mezzotint process 120 Michaux, Madame 106 military service, of d’Eon 4 see also dragoons Milton, John 216, 217 Minden, battle of 21 n.8 Minerva 63, 87, 91, 102, 127, 142, 168, 173 Mirepoix, ambassador to Britain 34 misogyny 117, 120, 127, 129, 157, 167 missions of d’Eon to London 4, 5, 26–41, 82, 83 to Russia 4, 136–7, 141, 166–7, 171, 175 n.33 Mohammed the Prophet 168 Molas, Marquis de 134 Molesmes 78 Molière 201 mollies 194 Moncrif, François-Augustin Paradis de 167 Monet, General 84 Monica, mother of Saint Augustine 237 monkey, satirical image 115, 190 Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman 2–3, 82, 229 see also Kates, Gary Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley 157 Montesquieu 28, 49, 226 n.39 Monthly Review 14 Montmorency-Bouteville, Duchesse de 103, 107, 149, 184, 234–5, 236, 237, 238 Moore, Lisa 156 Morande, see Théveneau de Morande, Charles More, Hannah 194, 195 Moreau le jeune, Jean-Michel 162 Morel, Jean-Marie 76 Morning Chronicle 193 Morning Post 63, 65, 66 Morris, Marilyn 8 mouches 127 Mouffle d’Angerville, Barthélemy 133 Moullet de Monbar, Abbé 165 Mount Olympus 123 murder, see plots, to murder or kidnap d’Eon Musée de Tonnerre 107, 109, 112 n.87 Musgrave, Dr Samuel, 51, 55 n.48, 55 n.50, 114–16 Muslims 168 Musson, painter 142 Mystery of Masonry Brought to Light by ye Gormagons 122, 125



myths of Amazons 167–73 passim inspirations for d’Eon’s autobiography 178 surrounding d’Eon 1–3, 143, 147, 158 n.3, 161 see also Amazons; Beaumont, Lia de; Gaillardet, Frédéric; Russia myth Namier, Sir Lewis 29 Narrative of the Life of Mrs Charlotte Charke 156 native Americans 116 Nedham, Marchamont 215–17, 218, 220, 221, 224, 225 New Testament 158–9 n.15 theology 237–8 New World 167 Newcastle, Duke of 28, 30, 32, 123 Newcastle-upon-Tyne 228 n.63 election (1774) 223 newspapers 7, 9, 15, 50, 57, 83, 90, 193, 211, 215–16, 220–1, 234, 235 British 122 comment, on d’Eon’s gender 83–4 manipulated by d’Eon 13–20 passim, 50–1, 83 see also under titles of individual newspapers Ninias 169 Nivernais, Louis-Jules Mancini-Mazarini, Duc de 14, 15, 26, 28, 29, 37, 42 n. 32, 58–9, 60, 94 n.22, 137 career 25 decorates d’Eon 4–5 despatches 25, 30 embassy to London 4, 25, 30, 32, 82 negotiates Peace of Paris 4, 25, 30, 32, 82 opinions of Pitt 32 North Briton 30, 46, 48 North, Frederick, Lord 28, 32, 52 Notre-Dame-du-Pont 73, 76 Nouveau Gulliver 167 Nouvelle colonie ou la Ligue des femmes 167 Nouvelle Héloïse, see Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse novels 154–5, 156, 172, 203, 211 Nussbaum, Felicity 149, 153, 155, 157 O’Gorman, Madame (d’Eon’s sister) 73–4, 75 O’Gorman, Thomas, Chevalier d’ 67, 73, 74–5, 77–8, 194, 210 obituaries, of d’Eon 235 obscene libel 212 Observateur anglais 211 old age, of d’Eon 6–7, 92, 109, 152 Old Bailey 19 Olympe de Gouges, Marie 173 one-sex model 151

Onfroi, publisher 134 Orabi, Ahmed 230 Order of Saint-Louis 115 see also Cross of Saint-Louis Orléans, Duc d’ 88 Orneval, Jacques-Philippe d’ 167 Ossory, Lady 84 outlawing of d’Eon 20 of Wilkes 193 Oxford Magazine 113–14, 116 Ozanam, Didier 26 Palais Royal 202 Pallas 139–142 passim, 165, 166, 169, 170 pamphlets British republican 216 revolutionary 133 use by d’Eon, 190 Panaetius 218 Panza, Sancho 125 Parlement of Paris 4, 135, 141, 169 parlementaires 53 Parlements 49, 211, 217, 224 Pascal, Blaise 238 Pascal, Roy 158 patriot party in France 217 in Britain, see British Patriot Party patriotism, of d’Eon 7, 25, 30, 33, 40, 47–53 passim, 219, 224, 233 patronage 4 Peace of Paris 4, 8, 27, 32, 34, 41, 82 Peace of Utrecht 38 pension, of d’Eon 5, 6, 62, 75, 83, 87, 91, 95 n.63, 99, 109, 110, 137 perceptions of d’Eon among his contemporaries 3, 81–2, 84–5, 89–93, 104 of the modern self 3 Percy 195 performance of gender, see gender, performance of Peters, Marie 53 Petit, Pierre 167 Petite réponse au Grand Voltaire 169 Peyraud de Beaussol 145 n.36 phallic objects 161–2 phallic power 117 Phileultheros (pseudonym) 17 Phillips, Constantia 155 Phipps, Constantine John 223 physical appearance, of d’Eon 8, 81, 85, 99, 113, 117, 129, 141, 162–3



physionomy 208, 210 Picot, V. M. 87, 95 n.51 Pidansat de Mairobert, Mathieu-François 211 Pile (or Pille), Barthélemy known as La Grenade 75, 77 Pilkington, Laetitia 155 Pinsseau, Pierre 73, 134 Pitt, William, the Elder 29, 30, 43 n.50, n.63, 48, 49, 54 n.9 and George III, 35, 43 and Nivernais 32 comparison to Choiseul 47 d’Eon’s opinion of 31, 32, 34, 37–41, 42–3 n.49, 45, 48 foreign policy 35, 36–41, 45, 48 political style 7, 47, 54 n.20 return to power 35–7, 45, 48 plots, to murder or kidnap d’Eon 2, 7, 13–14, 16–20, 46, 52, 83, 122–3 Poland 4, 209, 218 police of Paris 15 political skills, of d’Eon 48 political writings, of d’Eon 235 Polybius 218 Pommereau, Marquis de 57, 58–9, 69 n.10 Pompadour, Madame de 5, 14, 82, 171, 210, 217 Pontigny 78 Pope Joan 149, 162, 170, 193 pornography 193 Porter, Roy 83, 93 n.2 post-mortem examination of d’Eon 81, 89, 109, 147 Poullain de Saint-Foix 211 Praslin, Gabriel de Choiseul-Chevigny, Duc de 15, 22 n.41, 25, 26, 41 n.2 and d’Eon’s Lettres, mémoires et négociations 5 and Guerchy 5, 14, 18–19 attitude to Pitt 32 correspondence from d’Eon 27–8, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 40 foreign policy 27 plots to kidnap d’Eon 19 plots to murder d’Eon (allegedly) 18–19 Préchac, Jean de 169 précieuses 167 predestination 148 presentation, of d’Eon at court 102, 103, 104 press, see newspapers Prévost, Antoine François, Abbé 169 Price, Chase 119 Price, Munro 60 priests 49 Prince of Wales, see George IV Prince Regent, see George IV

Princeton University Library 231 print culture 114 print shops 120, 131 n.46 private sphere 133 promotion, of d’Eon, to Chevalier 5, 89 Prosser, Jay 150–5 passim prostitutes, prostitution 14, 127, 194 Protestant Reformation 188 Pruneveaux, M. 60, 69 n.10 see also Pommereau Pruneveaux, Mme 60 pseudonyms, use of 17 psychologists views of d’Eon 2 Public Advertiser 16, 17, 18, 51, 83, 220–1 public opinion 50, 133, 156, 158, 194–5 public sphere 13, 20, 113–14, 119, 133 Publicus (pseudonym) 17 publisher’s advances 109 Pucelle de Tonnerre, see Maiden of Tonnerre Puritan autobiography 147–8, 153 Puritan conversion narratives, see conversion narratives Puritans 148–9 Quakerism 231, 232 Queer identities 159 n.46 Queer studies x Quérard, Joseph-Marie 145 n.36 querelle des femmes 2, 167 Quinault 163, 177 Rabelais 135 Radix de Sainte-Foy, Claude-Pierre Maximilien 45, 46, 49, 211 Ranke, Leopold von 233 Rariora 231 recall, of d’Eon 14, 82, 116 Recherches sur les habillements des femmes et des enfants 168 Recruiting Serjeant or Brittannias Happy Prospect 116 Reine de Benni 167, 168 religion, and gender change 234–8 see also Christianity religious conversion of d’Eon 152, 153, 165, 172, 179, 235, 236 see also Christianity Remarques véritables et très remarquables, sur les Audiences de Thalie 166 republican virtue 53, 120 republicanism 215, 216–17, 219–20, 222, 224–5, 225 n.3 reputation of d’Eon, as a writer 118



return of d’Eon to France (1777) 67, 110 n.3 to London as woman 6 Reynolds, Sir Joshua 13, 119 Riballier 173 Riccoboni, Marie-Jean 211 Richardson, bookseller 224 Richardson, Jonathan 131 n.44 Richardson, Samuel 157 Richmond, Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of 52, 56 n.58 Ridley, Matthew 223 Ridley, Sir Matthew White 223 Rigoley, Charles François 78 Robbins, Caroline 220 Robespierre, Maximilien 201, 202 Robineau, Charles Jean 87, 93 n.1, 128 Rochford, William Henry Nassau de Zuylestein, 4th Earl 47, 52, 55–6 n.57, 56 n.58, 66 Rogister, John 11 n.6 role models, for d’Eon 10 Roman Catholicism 148 see also Christianity Roman Empire 34–5 Roman Republic 220 Rome 221 Rosambert, Comte de, fictional character 203, 204, 206, 208, 211 Rosenthal, Michael 119 rouge 95 n.41 Roulière, Jeanne, known as Jeannette 77, 78 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 9, 204, 209, 213 n.28 and d’Eon 9, 48, 155, 160 n.49, 187–91, 196–8, 233–4, 238 Rowlandson, Thomas 87 Royal Academy 119 Royal Collection 87 Royal Navy 27, 32 Rubens, Peter Paul 125 rumours, about d’Eon’s sex 2, 6, 7, 83, 98, 117, 192 194 Rump Parliament 216 Russell, John, 4th Duke of Bedford, 38–9, 44 n.74, 52, 55–6 n.57, 116 see also Duke of B-d’s Reception at Exeter Russia ix, 2, 4, 9, 97, 141, 158 n.3, 167–9 passim, 171, 175 n.33, 192 Russia myth 10 n.3, 158 n.3, 166–7, 171 Rustaing de Saint-Jorry, Louis 167, 168 Rutgers University 230 Ruvat, Mrs 107 Sackville, Frederick John, 3rd Duke of Dorset 107 Sade, Marquis de 193

Saint-Foi, see Poullain de Saint-Foix Saint-Georges, Chevalier de 6, 87–8, 128–9, 210, 213 n.60 Saint-Petersburg 4, 166, 168, 171 Sainte-Foy, see Radix de Sainte-Foy Sainte-Suzanne 74 sales, of d’Eon’s possessions 6, 7, 109 salvation by faith 148 same sex relationships 159 n.46 Sandwich, Lord 44 n.74 Sapphick Epistle 196 Sartine, Antoine-Gabriel de 57, 68 satirical prints 113, 119 Satyr Against the French, 115 Saucière de Tenance, Antoine-Nicolas de 74 Sawbridge, John 221 Sayre plot 52 scandal, scandals 1, 5, 13–14, 29, 51, 118–24, 133, 141, 155–6, 177, 211 scandalous biographies 142, 147–8, 155–6 scandalous memorialists, 155–8 passim Scavoir Vivre club 194 Scipio 217–18 Scots 35 Scots Magazine 85 Scythia 169 Scythians 168 Secret du Roi 4, 5, 14, 26, 27 33, 37, 40–1, 45, 46, 82–3, 91, 94 n.14, 171, 233 secret service (French), see Secret du Roi Seigel, Jerrold 197 self, conceptions of 113, 187–98 passim d’Eon’s 189–98 Selwyn, George 97 Sémiramis 168, 169 servants 76–7 Seven Years’ War 4, 16, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 34, 45, 47, 82, 115, 116, 233 sex reassignment surgery 148, 151, 159 n.46 sexologists views of d’Eon 2 sexual difference, notions of 120 sexual exploits of d’Eon (fabricated) 2, 213 n.48 Shelburne, Lord 29 Sheppard, Christopher 9, 234 Shirley, Washington, 5th Earl Ferrers 5, 62, 65 shoes, 106 Sidney, Algernon 216, 217 signature, of d’Eon 66 Silhouette, Étienne de 49, 54 n.29, n.30 Simon Magus 17 Simons, Henry 17, 22 n.28 Sir Charles Grandison 157 skin 151–2, 172



Smith, Adam 47 Smollett, Tobias, 54 n.17, 227 n.42 sociability, d’Eon’s 77–8 Society of Anti-Gallicans 50 Society of Friends 232 sodomy, sodomites 98, 194, 198 Some Sober Inspections 216 Sophie (character in Rousseau’s Emile) 187 Sophie, Faublas’ wife, fictional character 202, 203–4, 209, 210 Soufflot, Dame 106 Soumarokov, Aleksandr Petrovich 168 Spacks, Patricia Meyer 157, 158 Special Request by Mademoiselle d’Eon 147, 154, 237 Spinelli, Donald 7 squibs, poetic 115 spiritual autobiography 147–8, 153, 155 spiritual conversion 147, 148 spiritual diaries 188 Spring Gardens 17, 19 St Augustine 148, 153, 237, 238 St George & The Dragon and Madlle d’Eon riposting 128–9 St James Chronicle 17, 18 St James’s Macaroni 132 n.60 St Paul 148, 237 St Ursula, 139, 161 Standards of Care: the Hormonal and Surgical Sex Reassignment of Gender Dysphoric Persons 150 Staunton Harold 5 Stone, Sandy 151 Strange Career of the Chevalier d’Eon de Beaumont 81 Stroev, Alexandre 3, 8 Sully, Maximilien de Bethune, Duc de 193 summary biography of d’Eon ix, 4–8 Suzanne, fiancée of Figaro, fictional character 59, 211 Sweden 51 Swedish ‘Patriot’ party 51 Swinton, Charlotte 70 n.42 Swinton, Samuel 66, 70 n.42 Symington, J. A. 229–32 syphilis 127. Tasso, Torquato 165 taste 120, 131 n.43, 131 n.44 tax farmers 49 Taylor, Charles 188, 189 Telfer, J. B. 81, 94 n.30 Temple 43 n.49, 46, 54 n.9, Tendre ami des mères nourrices 145 n.36

Tercier, Jean-Pierre 14, 27, 43 n.58, 171 Terrier de Cléron, Claude-Joseph 133 Thalestris, Queen of the Amazons 168, 173 theatre 98, 99, 127, 156, 162–3, 201 Théâtre Français 145 n.36 Théveneau de Morande, Charles 68, 142, 195 allegations against d’Eon 23 n.45, 194, 195 and Beaumarchais 58, 60, 61, 63–4, 69 n.2, 70 n.17 and Choiseul 226 n.25 attempted kidnap 20 blackmails du Barry and Louis XV 51, 52, 58, 60 challenged to duels by d’Eon and others 194 encourages wagers on d’Eon’s sex 63–4 pamphlets 18, 51 uses d’Eon’s library 18 was possibly Angelucci 69 n.2 see also Mémoires secrets d’une femme publique Thibault, Mme 74 Thompson, Lynda 156 Thomson, Charles 78 Thomson, Mr 78 Tillyard, Stella 13 Toft, Mary 17, 122, 131 n.51 toilette 150, 152 Toland, John 222 Tolkien, J. R. R. 229 Tom Jones 202 Tombs, Isabelle 217 Tombs, Robert 217 Tone, Wolfe 202 Tonnerre x, 2, 3, 7, 73–9, 92, 101, 107, 152, 172, 174 n.4 d’Eon’s building projects in 75–6 d’Eon’s influence in 79 wines 73–5 Tonnerrois 73 Tories 29, 48 Tourvel, Présidente de, fictional character 202 Town and Country Magazine 117 Town Moor affair 223 Transaction, The 6, 63, 66 transdisciplinarity ix transgender(ed) canon of writings 148 identities 151 persons 159 n.46 spirituality, of d’Eon 237–8 studies x, 10 style 153–4 transgendering 81, 86, 92



translations, of English republican works 216–17 transmen 151 transsexual(s) 8, 86, 150–1, 152 definitions of 148 female to female (FTF) 154 female-to-male (FTM) 150, 151 identities 150–1 male to male (MTM) 151 male-to-female (MTF) 150, 151, 156 narratives 147–8, 150–4 scholars 150 writers 159 n.46 transsexualism, transsexuality 8, 147, 148, 150, 152, 253, 159 n.22 d’Eon and 2, 147–8, 153–4 transvestite(s) 84, 98, 203 memoirs 177–86 transvestitism 2, 8, 84, 93 n.10, 94 n.29, 98, 177–86 Treaty of Paris 4, 27, 34, 114–15, 116 Trenchard, John 222 Tressan, Comte de 165 Trial of M. D’Eon by a Jury of Matrons 117–18, 119 Trinity 153 True Story of the Chevalier d’Eon 81, 231 Turgot, Anne-Robert-Jacques 233 Turkey 168 two-sex model 151 tyranny, tyrants, see despotism underpants 98 unicorn, symbolism of 116 United States 41 University of Leeds Library, see Brotherton Library University of Leeds x, 2, 3, 9, 82, 97, 147, 220, 229–32, 234 University of Leiden 222 Urquhart, bookseller 224 Valade, publisher 134 Van de Pol, Lotte 178 Van der Cruysse, Dirk 183 Van Dyck, Antonis 125 Vane, Lady Frances 155, 200, 227 n.42 Vanguin, Sieur 106 Vanneck, Sir Joshua 28 Vaucher, Paul 28 Vaulavré, Jacquillat de, (cousin of d’Eon) 74, 78, 79 Vaulichères 73–4 Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens 87 Venus 142 Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de 6. 41, 47, 52, 58–9, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 71 n.51, 99, 142

Vergy, Pierre-Henri Treyssac de 15, 18–19, 22 n.41, 22 n.43 commits perjury for d’Eon 19, 23 n.45 d’Eon’s defamation of 15 Vernet, Joseph 162 Versailles 19 Vie de Marianne 169 Vie militaire, politique et privée de Melle d’Eon 8, 77, 133–44, 145 n.36, 235 Vie politique et militaire de M. le maréchal duc de Bell’Isle 133 Vie privée de Louis XV 133 Vie privée et criminelle d’Antoine-François Desrues 133 Vies des femmes illustres de la France 168 vies privées, literary genre 8, 133–44 passim Vignoles, Jean-Joseph de 77 Vignoles, Mademoiselle 77 Villinghausen, battle of 4 Vilmorin-Andrieux, M. 76 Virgin Mary 124, 139, 142, 145 n.24, 234–5 virginity 140, 141, 151, 153, 154, 172, 189, 196 Viry, Comte de 28, 38, 44 n.20 visual images of d’Eon 3, 8, 86–92, 108–10, 113–29, 139–40, 161, 162, 166 as fraudster 120–2 reading of x market for 88–9 viticulture 73–5 Vizetelly, Ernest 81, 231 Voltaire 28, 93, 95 n.32, 162, 168, 169, 209, 212 n.14, 219, 221, 233–4 Vorontsov, Count 166 Voyage dans l’île des plaisirs 167 wagers, on d’Eon’s sex ix, 6, 63–4, 66, 90–1, 117, 120, 123, 126, 140, 149, 194, 195 Wahrman, Dror 3, 11 n.15, 113 188–9, 194 Wales, Princess of 36 Walpole, Horace 84, 100 Walpole, Sir Robert 39–40. Walpole, Thomas 28 wardrobe, of d’Eon 97–110 bills 97 list 105 Warens, Mme de 204 Watkins, Owen C. 148–9 Westminster Gazette 193, 194, 195 Whately 55 n.48 Whigs 29, 195 Whisperer 193 Wikipedia ix Wilkes affair 3



Wilkes, John 17, 19, 53, 54 n.9, 56 n.66, 63, 190, 227 n.52, 228 n.69 and Catherine Macaulay 221 and Commonwealthmen 221–2 and d’Holbach 222, 227 n.54 and Marat 222–3, 228 n.58 and North Briton 30, 48 attacks on Bute 30, 48 condemns sodomy 194 d’Eon sees as potential French tool 35, 48 d’Eon’s relationship with 114, 221, 233 election in 1772 194 emulated by d’Eon 193 flees to France 16 lampooned with d’Eon 115–16, 122–4, 124, 221 outlawed 193 parallels with d’Eon 15–16, 45–6, 53, 94 n.10, 193, 198

pornographic publications 193 rumoured to be in French pay 51 Wilkites 7, 15–16, 35, 46, 47–8, 49, 50, 53, 114, 116, 117, 121–2, 222–4 passim, 228 n.64 Willermawlaz, Thérèse de 70 n.14 Willis, Dr 210 wine 73–5, 79 n.6, 95 n.35 Wode 137 Wollstonecraft, Mary 157 women, political influence of 193 women’s autobiographies 157 women’s novels 157 Woronzow, comte 137–8 Wortley Montagu, Lady Mary 8 Woulf, banker 74 Zeus 123

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