Wolverhampton BTW

Louisa Frederica Woide

Woide, Louisa Frederica, c.1775—1826

By Benjamin Colbert

The anonymous editor’s preface to the English translation of Karl Philipp Moritz’s Travels, Chiefly on Foot through Several Parts of England (1795) identifies the translator as a ‘very young lady’, and ‘one of the daughters of a venerable man . . . mentioned . . . in the ensuing letters’ (xvii). ‘And, young as she is’, the editor somewhat cryptically adds, ‘this is not the first time she has solicited and obtained British patronage, and British protection’. Moritz’s German editor, Otto zur Linde, takes this last statement as contradicting the anonymous editor’s earlier statement that the work was the translator’s ‘first performance of the kind’ and that, contrariwise, she had in fact published before. In this he was likely to have been in error, but Linde does identify the likely candidate as one of the daughters of the expatriate Polish national, the Rev. Dr. Carl Gottfried Woide (1725-1790; ODNB), clergyman, oriental scholar, and assistant librarian at the British Museum. Besides the internal evidence that Linde cites, the most compelling evidence for this is the obituary notice by Beilby Porteus, Lord Bishop of London, in which he supported Woide’s orphan daughters’ call upon ‘the protection of the British nation’, a phrasing echoed in the 1795 editor’s preface, as above.

The Lord Bishop’s notice describes the Woide daughters as 14 and 17 years of age respectively in 1790. By 1795 when the translation of Moritz’s text appeared, Louisa Frederica Woide (c. 1775-1826) and Charlotte Elizabeth Woide, later Goodhart (1772-1844).would have been 19 and 22 respectively. The editor’s insistence on the translator’s extreme youth could point to either but is more likely to suggest the younger daughter, adopted for the lead entry in this database. Both sisters nevertheless remain contenders for the translator’s role in the absence of further evidence.

Louisa Frederica Woide (c. 1775-1826), then, was the second of the two daughters of Rev. Dr. Carl Gottfried Woide and his wife, name unknown, who predeceased him. Carl Gottfried Woide’s large acquaintance of literary friends, including Sir Joseph Banks at whose house he died, almost certainly ensured that his daughters received a varied upbringing in which scholarship was appreciated. Nothing definite however is known about her upbringing, the circumstances of her translation of her father’s Travels, or her movements thereafter until the marriage of her elder sister, Charlotte Elizabeth, to Joseph Goodhart (1776-1819) in 1803. We do know that Louisa Frederica remained unmarried and close to her sister, most likely residing with Charlotte at The Grove, Hackney, after (and possibly before) Goodhart’s death in 1819. Louisa Frederica listed The Grove as her residence when composing her own Will, and she died, as The Sun reported, ‘at her sister’s house’ on 10 January 1826.

Sources:

Courtney, W. P., and S. J. Skedd. ‘Woide, Charles Godfrey (1725-1790), oriental scholar and librarian’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Web. 8 May 2022.

‘Died’ [obit. notice for Frederica Louisa Woide]. The Sun, Friday, 13 Jan. 1826. British Newspapers Archive. Web. 10 May 2022.

Linde, Otto zur. Einleitung [Introduction]. Reisen eines Deutschen in England im Jahr 1782, by Carl Philipp Moritz. Ed. Linde. Berlin: B. Behr’s Verlag, 1903. v-xxxiii. Print.

Porteus, Beilby, Lord Bishop of London. ‘Rev. Dr. Woide’. Town and Country Magazine 22 (Aug. 1790): 343-44. Print.

Will of Louisa Frederica Woide, Spinster of Grove Hackney, Middlesex. PROB 11/1709/124. National Archives, Kew.

Texts

Title Published
Travels, Chiefly on Foot, through Several Parts of England 1795 Translator

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