MS Hyde 27
Rice family. Rice family papers: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Location: Hyde Case 9
Call No.: MS Hyde 27
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Rice family.
Title: Rice family papers,
Date(s): 1758-1958 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1773-1776 (bulk).
Quantity: 1 collection (1 volume (.2 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Letters from Hester Lynch Thrale (later Hester Lynch Piozzi) and Henry Thrale concerning
the elopement of John Rice and Frances Plumbe in 1773, with other papers.
Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.
These papers apparently passed from John Rice to his son, the Rev. John Morgan Rice.
The entire lot was offered for sale by Myers & Co. of London in their 1941 catalog.
Myers & Co. sold them to Maj. J.H. Busby in 1944, who was still in possession in 1955.
On 1970 Oct. 27, the papers were auctioned by Sotheby's to Mary Hyde.
Processed by: Rick Stattler
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
Rice Family Papers (MS Hyde 27). Houghton Library, Harvard University.
In May of 1773, John Rice (ca. 1751-1801) of Tooting, London, eloped with Frances Plumbe (1758-1790), aged fifteen. Frances was the daughter of
alderman Samuel Plumbe (1717-1784) and Frances Thrale Plumbe (1726-1811?), who were outraged. However, the marriage was supported by John's father Morgan Rice
(High Sheriff of Surrey), by Frances's aunt Hester Lynch Thrale (1741-1821), and even
by Mrs. Thrale's friend, the great moralist Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). The young
couple traveled in Europe until a financial settlement was arrived at between the
parents. Meanwhile, Mrs. Thrale served as a liaison in England.
John and Frances Rice soon settled in Chislehurst, England, and had thirteen children before Frances's early death. The eldest was the Rev. John
Morgan Rice (1774-1833), who married Elizabeth Holmes, daughter of William Holmes.
The Rice elopement is discussed in detail in James L. Clifford, Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs. Thrale) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1941), 99-101; and in Mary Hyde, The Thrales of Streatham Park (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1977), 61-62. A Rice family history transcribed
from their Bible is in Joseph Jackson Howard, ed., Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, Third Series, Volume 1 (London: Mitchell and Hughes, 1896), 101. Some of the letters
were published in Miriam A. Ellis, Some Inedited Letters of Mrs. Thrale, in Fortnightly Review, 1903 Aug., 268-276. Some of the letters published in Ellis are not part of the present
This collection consists primarily of letters written by Hester Lynch Thrale (later
Piozzi) to Frances, John, and Morgan Rice from 1773 to 1776. The correspondence does
not mention Samuel Johnson or his involvement in the matter. Other papers include
a letter to John Morgan Rice dated 1813; two items relating to the Lade family; a
small collection of prints relating to Hester Thrale; and later research notes.
- (1). Piozzi, Hester Lynch, 1741-1821. 6 letters to Frances Plumbe Rice (1758-1790), 1773-1776 and undated. 1 folders
All but the 1775 May 9 letter are published in Ellis.
- (2). Piozzi, Hester Lynch, 1741-1821. 7 letters to John Rice (ca. 1751-1801), 1773-1775 and undated. 1 folders
Four letters in Ellis: 272 (1773 July 26), 274 (1774 July 16 and Sept. 2), 276 (1775
- (3). Piozzi, Hester Lynch, 1741-1821. 8 letters to Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Rice, 1773 and undated. 1 folders
The letter dated  May 24 is written as a note from Frances Thrale Plumbe, but
appears to be in Piozzi's hand.
Not in Ellis.
- (4). Thrale, Henry, 1728-1781. 3 letters to John Rice (ca. 1751-1801), 1773. 1 folders
Not in Ellis.
- (5). [Holmes?], William. 1 letter to Elizabeth Holmes Rice, 1813 Feb. 2. 1 folders
Routine family letter from the brother of Mrs. John Morgan Rice, written while on
vacation in Clapham (Bedfordshire, England).
Not in Ellis.
- (6). Lade, John, Sir, d. 1759. "Fees paid for Sir John Lade's creation of Baronet" : manuscript document, 1758 May 28. 1 folders
Itemized receipt, signed by Richard Shadwell.
- (7). "Lady Lade driving in Warblington Park, Sussex" : pen and watercolor on paper, undated. Artist unknown. 16 cm x 21 cm.
Title supplied on verso in pencil.
Alleged to depict Lady Laetitia Lade, d. 1825, wife of Sir John Lade (1759-1838) and friend of King George IV.
Depicts a scene in Warblington Park, Havant (England), in Hampshire near the Sussex line. In foreground: woman on open four-wheeled carriage,
driving four horses. Background: large house and outbuilding.
- (8). Lade, Laetitia, Lady, d. 1825. Research file, 1955-1958 and undated. 1 folders
Research notes on "Lady Lade Driving in Warblington Park, Sussex", including: typescript letter signed, Arthur Oswald of Country Life magazine to Maj. J.H. Busby, 1955 Jan. 13; two newspaper clippings, 1958 and undated; and modern photographic reproductions
of two paintings of Lade.
- (9). Miscellaneous engravings, 1809-1842 and undated. 1 folders
- James Boswell, Esq., engraved by G.W. Hutin after Joshua Reynolds, no date
- Yours Sincerely, H[enry] Thrale, engraved by Edward Scriven after Reynolds, no date
- Mrs. Thrale [Hester Lynch Piozzi], engraved by Samuel Freeman after Reynolds, 1842
- Mrs. Hester Lynch Piozzi, engraved by James Thomson after Hopwood, 1820
- Mr. Thrale's House at Streatham, engraved by Sears, with text, no date
- Mrs. Piozzi's House at Streatham, engraved by John Landseer after Prout, 1809
- Streatham Park, Surrey, artist unknown, no date
- [Tooting Church 1793], artist unknown, no date
- Tooting Church, engraved by George Cooke, 1827
- (10). Notes, 1891-1900 and undated. 1 folders
Research notes on the Rice and Thrale families.