A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley

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Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley (PIERREPONT) (1690-1762). -- Letter-writer, was the eldest dau. of the 1st Duke of Kingston. In her youth she combined the attractions of a reigning beauty and a wit. Her early studies were encouraged and assisted by Bishop Burnet, and she was the friend of Pope, Addison, and Swift. In 1712 she m., against the wishes of her family, Edward Wortley-Montagu, a cousin of the celebrated Charles Montagu, afterwards Earl of Halifax. Her husband having been appointed Ambassador to the Porte, she accompanied him, and wrote the sparkling Letters from the East which have given her a place high among the great letter-writers of the world. While in Turkey she became acquainted with the practice of inoculation against smallpox, which she did much to introduce into western countries. After her return to England she settled at Twickenham, and renewed her friendship with Pope, which, however, ended in a violent quarrel, arising out of her publication of Town Eclogues. She was furiously attacked by both Pope and Swift, and was not slow to defend herself. In 1737, for reasons which have never been explained, she left page 276her husband and country, and settled in Italy. Mr. M. having d. 1761, she returned at the request of her dau., the Countess of Bute, but d. the following year.