Moody, Christopher Lake (Revd.), 1753—1815
by Benjamin Colbert
The Reverend Dr. Christopher Lake Moody was born in 1754. Little if anything is currently known of his early years and parentage, though it is likely that his family had a presence in and around Kingston-upon-Thames, certainly his residence when he married the poet Elizabeth Greenly Moody (1737-1814) in 1777, when she was 40 and he 23.
By this time Moody was already a dissenting minister and a journalist. His pamphlet, The Value of the Poor, the Duties Owing to Them and the Importance of Leading Them to an Early Acquaintance with Religion (1786), expresses his religious views, but he is now more well known for his many contributions to Ralph Griffiths’s (1720?-1803; ODNB) Monthly Review, a connection lasting from the 1770s until the end of his life (Moody reviewed works by Coleridge, Godwin, Southey, Byron, and many others).
Around 1778, a year after his marriage, Moody became a shareholder in Griffiths’s St. James’s Chronicle. Elizabeth Moody became one of the chief contributors of original poetry under the pseudonym of ‘The Muse of Surbiton’, after the farm just outside of Kingston where the newlyweds resided, and continued to reside until at least 1799. The Moodys moved next to Turnham Green Terrace to be nearer Griffiths, also of Turnham Green. At some point – possibly after the death of Griffiths – C. L. Moody joined Charles Baldwin (1774-1869; ODNB) as proprietor of the St. James’s Chronicle, a position he held until his death.
How C. L. Moody became entrusted with the travel letters of Louise Albanis Beaumont (1751-1818) is not known. He explains in his preface to the published Sketch of Modern France (1798) that he acted as editor, abridging, correcting, and translating passages from the French, and, in the absence of the author's name, affixing his ‘to authenticate the publication’ (vii). After publication, Moody continued to intercede for Louise Beaumont (and her husband, who took a pecuniary interest in the volume) and wrote to Cadell and Davies on the marketplace fate of 'Mrs. Beaumont's work' (Moody).
C. L. Moody died in 1815, a year after the death of Elizabeth Moody.
British Women Writers of the Romantic Period: An Anthology of Their Literary Criticism. Ed. Mary A. Waters. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print.
Forster, Antonia. 'Griffiths, Ralph (1720?–1803), journal editor and bookseller'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 28 May 2015. Oxford University Press. Web. 6 Oct. 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/11621
General Evening Post, no. 6864 (23-25 Dec. 1777). Gale Databases: 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers. Web. 6 Oct. 2017.
Moody, Christopher Lake. Letter to Cadell and Davies, 23 Dec. 1798. MS. Montagu d. 14. Bodleian Lib., Oxford.
Proceedings on the Trial of a Special Action on the Case […] against Charles Baldwin, for a Libel. London: James Ridgway, 1816. 22-23. Print.
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