PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE DEAN OF WESTMINSTER
[TRENCH, Melesina Chenevix St. George] Journal Kept During a Visit to Germany in 1799, 1800. Edited by the Dean of Westminster. [London : Savill and Edwards, printers 1861] Privately printed, 1861. [Not published]. First edition. pp. viii, 97, . Purple cloth, title in gilt on upper cover. Minor wear to spine ends. A very good copy. Housed in a quarter morocco solander box, titled in gilt along spine.
Melesina Trench (née Chenevix) (1768-1827) was an Irish writer, poet and diarist. During her lifetime she was known more for her beauty than her writing, and it wasn’t until her son, Richard Chenevix Trench, published her diaries posthumously in 1861 that her work received notice.
Melesina Chenevix was born in Dublin to Philip Chenevix and Mary Elizabeth Gervais. She was orphaned before her fourth birthday and brought up by her paternal grandfather, Richard Chenevix (1698-1779), the Anglican Bishop of Waterford. The family were of Huguenot extraction. After the death of Richard Chenevix she went to live with her other grandfather, the Archdeacon Gervais. In 1786 she married Colonel Richard St George who died only four years later in Portugal, leaving one son, Charles Manners St George, who became a diplomat.
Between 1799 and 1800, Melesina travelled around Europe, especially Germany. It was during these travels that she met Lord Nelson, Lady Hamilton and the cream of European society, including Rivarol, Lucien Bonaparte, and John Quincy Adams while living in Germany. She later recounted anecdotes of these meetings in her journal.
In 1803 in Paris she married for a second time. Her second husband was Richard Trench (1774-1860), sixth son of Frederick Trench, brother of Lord Ashtown. After the breakdown of the Peace of Amiens, Richard Trench was detained in France by Napoleon’s armies, and in August 1805 Melesina took it upon herself to petition Napoleon in person and plead for her husband’s release. Her husband was released in 1807, and the couple settled at Elm Lodge in Bursledon in Hampshire. Their son Francis Chenevix Trench was born in 1805. In 1807, when they were on holiday in Dublin, their son Richard Chenevix Trench was born. He went on to be the Archbishop of Dublin, renowned poet and contemporary of Tennyson.