The appointment letters of John Durancé George, Dental Surgeon

Writer: Countess de Flahault

Date: 9th April 1849

Address: 6 Tilney Street, Park Lane

Countess de Flahault presents her
compts to Mr George & is anxious
to know if he could see her on
Wednesday morning between 12 and 1
o’clock, instead of Friday, as she
will be out of town on that day.
She therefore hopes Wednesday
will suit him as well.

6 Tilney Street – Park Lane
Monday April 9th


The Countess de Flahault was Margaret Elphinstone, Baroness Keith, who married Auguste Charles Joseph, Count de Flahault de la Billardrie, in 1817.

The Count had been aide-de-camp to Napoleon Bonaparte, and was, at the time of the letter, ambassador to the Court of St James.

Margaret’s father was Sir George Elphinstone, later Viscount Keith, Admiral of the Red (which at that time was the foremost rank in the Royal Navy) who had seen distinguished service in the Napoleonic Wars, being second in command to Lord St Vincent in 1798, and in 1801 taking command of the Mediterranean Fleet. After the victorious operations at Genoa and at Aboukir Bay, he was made peer of the realm. Lord Keith was appointed to the Command of the North Sea Fleet in 1803 and in 1812 took Command of the Channel Fleet. After the Battle of Waterloo he again renewed his acquaintance with Napoleon when he succeeded in blocking his escape by sea and conducted him to his incarceration on the island of St Helena.

Lord Keith had been twice married, first in 1787 to Jane Mercer of Aldie who died in 1789 leaving a one year old baby daughter, Margaret – the writer of this letter. In 1808 he married Hester Maria Thrale, by whom he also had a daughter, Georgina.

To say that Margaret’s marriage to the Count de Flahault did not please Lord Keith is very much an understatement. He had spent his life fighting the French and had no intention of allowing his estates to be inherited by one of them. This is made obvious in the stringent terms of his Will which ensured that his estate at Tulliallan Castle could only be inherited by persons, "educated as a Protestant in the United Kingdom, under no allegiance to any Foreign Power, nor holding any commission of service to any Foreign State".

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