RefNoVWM/80
TitleJournal of Sophie Pigott, in India
AdminHistorySophy Pigot was the illegitimate daughter of Sir George Pigot, the Governor of Fort St George, Madras, and 1st Baronet and later Baron Pigot of Patshull, Staffordshire, who died in illegal confinement in India, supposedly by violence. She married the Honorable Edward Monckton of Somerford, Staffordshire, (5th son of the 1st Viscount Galway) on 14 March 1776 and died on 1 January 1834 with 8 children.
DescriptionThis journal was written whilst she was living in India with her father, and her sister Leonora, and provides details of her impressions of the religion, society and climate of India towards the end of the 18th century. Uncle Bobby, mentioned in her journal, was Brigadier-General, Sir Robert Pigott of Patshull, Staffordshire, an officer of high reputation during the great American war; and so distinguished at Bunker's Hill, that he had obtained the coloneley of the 38th Regiment of the Foot.

Sunday 20 October [1776]

My Dear Peggy

I have divided my journal into three parts, the first and greatest, I have sent by the Grenville; the second and smallest, by Dalrymple le milord Anglois; the last and plus medesire in every sense, by the Grenwich. Politics have been my only subject of late, but I cannot help it as my head is full of nothing else. Some political verses have been written and I must not forget to give you copies of them, which I shall insert in my journal.... You cannot imagine how impatiently I long for news from England to learn how minds in general will be affected by this revolution, I know too well what my dear Peggy and her Mama will feel upon this occasion.


Sunday 27th [October 1776|

I begin now to wish earnestly for news from Dalrymple ..... My father with Major
Home's family dined here yesterday for the first time since he has been made a state prisoner. We shall now see none of our friends from Town as the Monsoon is fairly set in. You cannot imagine what delight I take in this weather, few people are of my opinion, that is to say, fond of rainy weather but we all in general celebrate the fine cloudy days and fine gloomy days, in preference to the clearances, which you would not be surprised at were you for once, to experience the heat of an eastern sun.....


Sunday 5th November |1776]

We have a great deal of rain, and few visitors I must therefore go back to seek a subject and tell you what I have neglected to mention before, which is that 1 have seen the Padre of the Mount he is just eighty years of age tail, perfectly upright, with the finest eyes you ever saw, and reads the smallest print without spectacles. We drank tea with him one evening on the Mount and 1 had the pleasure of seeing him rise from his chair at the tolling of the Bell when folding his arms across his breast, he profered his prayer, then bowing, blessed us all, and seated himself. The poor old man often comes down to see us, and pays a visit to all the officers who are very fond of him for he is the most polite as well as the best man I ever saw. he generally rides on a mule who carries him up and down those steps, this little animal though tame with him, will run away with any other person that ventures to get upon its back.


Sunday 17th [November 1776]

I am now fairly at a loss to know what to say, I wish I could get the verses. I am only to tell you that the rain still continues at intervals but the weather between each shower is intolerable. The rays of the sun are stronger than ever and we are left without a breath of air. Major Thorne went to town yesterday, a thing he has never done before since he has turned jailor, something is brewing but I cannot yet learn what. I believe I never told you that Colonel Stuart has been for some time in a dangerous fit of illness....


Sunday 24th [November 1776]

I have nothing but bad news to tell my Peggy. Leonora has been ill ever since she came to the Mount, as her indisposition was slight and we were daily in hopes she would get the better of it. I have never made it the subject of my pen as I thought it an impleasing one, and would give my friend uneasiness, however I think her considerably worse and am afraid the disorder will at last turn to the Jaundice. Our friends come to see us from the Fort but can bring little news, the last we heard shocked us very much, a young Lady who came from England in one of the last ships and who we had seen only a few weeks ago has been lost in the Bengal river and her body with those of several Gentlemen who were passengers on board the same vessel have been since found floating. It is really terrible to hear of the number of ships which have been lost there .....


Sunday 1st December (1776]

My sister is very much recovered and I hope in a short time will be perfectly well, She has been extremely yellow but is recovering her complexion very fast and her appetite is better, The rains are over and we have still hot weather except in the morning before sun rise when it is sometimes almost too cold...


Sunday 8th [December 1776]
I have sat for a miniature picture which is finished and reckoned very like, it was done by a Mr Smith who is come out to India this year and makes me pay 50 Pagodas which I suppose you know is twenty pounds in good English money. I could not help thinking how happy a picture of my Peggy would make me. my chief delight is in guessing what you are about by calculating the difference of time, sometimes my mind represents you at the opera, and sometimes at Acton sitting round a Christmas fire with your neighbour and friends, such perhaps was your occupation last night and you are now asleep. I shall next week have an opportunity of showing you how differently we pass that happy season here. but I must not forget to give you the Verse, the first three Stanzas were written by a Tory, and the others by a Whig.

The Politic Coroner's Inquest is sat
On the Governments losing it Head
Tho' the Members perform still their function of Life
He determined the Body is Dead

If tis found the Head has suspended the Breath
That the Member might sooner be dead
Let the Verdict be, se defendendo in them
But Filo de se in the Head

Beheaded tis strange that the Body should live
And natralists may make a pother
The Constitution was strong like the Hydra of Old
Loving one Head there sprung up an other

Answer

Our Body 'tis true like the Hydra of Old
By main strength has benn lopt of its Members
Yet if still there be life we may venture to hold
It exists but as fire does in Embers.
For this like the Hydra new Members appear
To have sprung from the primitive Stock
Examine them closely you'll find it is clear
That in place of the Head there's a Block


Sunday 15th [December 1776]
I am just returned home after taking the trouble of walking to the top of the Mount to see what to me appears a mockery of religion, a church decked with trappings which, to give you an idea of I can compare to nothing better than those of a chimney sweep on May Day. however it is not the religion of the Country, to speak in their own language these people are one part of Roman Catholic, this is what they call their Mount Feast it began Last Monday and will last until the eighteenth, they sing greatest part of the service, but seem to pay more attention to time than tune, their voices are terribly discordant and every note comes strained throw the nose, their Priests officiate three at a time dressed in white embroidered sattin lined with silk which stands out so stiff you would suppose it was made of buckram, I am invited on the seventeenth to go to see the Grand day .....


Sunday 29th [December 1776]

Christmas must be the subject of my pen- to day, however before I begin let me wish that, my Peggy may have passed it merrily, and then tell her how we unfortunate exiles spend ours. Mr Rupell contrived to select about a hundred of our friends among which there were seventeen Ladies with these we formed a little dance. The day had been perfectly serene not a cloud to be seen above the horizon after which we enjoyed a fine clear Moonlight night .... supper was very elegant ... and far superior to anything that has yet been given in Madras. After supper we danced again until one in the morning here everybody returned well pleased with their entertainment. The Races began last Friday my curiosity was so great to see them that 1 went wrapped up in flannen and shawls with a very bad swelled face, and did not find myself too warm, so cool was the morning the sport was but indifferent we had only two heats the horses were seven in number when they first set out but one broke its leg and two more were lambed, you may judge by this what excellent course it IF these ran for the Maccaroni plate, but the Ladies plate next day afforded us more division, the horses were better and more equally matched, we had three heats the last was for the sweep stakes we are to have two more days yet the last given us the greatest expectation,


Sunday 5 January 1777

On new years day we had the same company, and entertainment as on Christmas and were if possible in greater spirits than before, the day had been more cloudy and was consequently cooler. How 1 long to hear in what manner my Peggy has began this year, agreeably no doubt. She is now arrived at the age her mother wished before she should think of matrimony. I envy that man's happiness who is blessed with a companion like her for life, may yours ever prove an uninterrupted series of every bliss heaven can bestow.


March 6th [1777]

My dear Peggy you will say Sophy has been a very Idle girl, for having neglected her Journal so long, however I must beg you will forgive her for she has really been too ill to write. She has wrote several Europe letters today, and has suffered so much by the exertion, that I have taken companion on her, and promised to finish her Journal for her, I beg you not to be alarmed at her indisposition, for we are not all so. Tho her illness has been tedious and troublesome, yet. it is not dangerous. She desires her Duty to my Aunt, and love to you, Anne and Fanny.
I am
my dear Peggy
Your Ever affectionate Cousin and sincere Friend
Leonora Pi got
Date1776 - 1777
Extent1 item
AccessStatusOpen
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